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Saturday, June 17, 2006
On this day:

Moving On

The move has been made, the road full of potholes. Likely it's take time to smooth out the path to the new homestead. But I expect this to be the last Blogger post. Despite the recurring down-times, Blogger is a decent tool for the neophyte. I recommend it, still.

My new Address, for my three readers: http://tannish.net. Please update your bookmarks.

I might change the name and/or the focus of my reborn blog. Certainly it'll look different. Metamorphosis takes time, which is in short supply during my work's busy season - and energy, too: Ditto. My two-fold goal remains: to improve my writing skills; to generate a modest readership. I have one now, I think, but it's a bit too modest. I still haven't learned to play the game.

Remember my new address. Please follow me there.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
On this day:

Winds of Change

I feel a breeze in the blogosphere. Perhaps its a natural progression of an Internet addict to advance from the free services toward the more robust control and flexibility of a web host. I've resisted the change for years (the Tannish Page, started when GeoCities was its own company, has been around the block a time or two.)

It started yesterday evening with a conversation with my teenage daughter and her neophytes blogging experience. As an artistic type, she's concerned about plagiarism and wants to include the Creative Commons copy protection to her blogs. Unfortunately, her free Earthlink web space, utilizing Trellix, is lame as a blogging tool - I've noted this before - and she's steered away from the site there toward Blogs.com, who won't let you tinker with the templates without paying $25 yearly. Being a high-schooler, that's too much money for her. Unbeknown to me, she's been agonizing over this for weeks: It finally came out yesterday.

In the interests of being a "good papa" and to serve my own self-interests as well, I bit the proverbial bullet and signed up with a hosting service I've been ogling for a while. Included in the low monthly charge is registration of two domains - one for each of us - and a decent package of extras. Neither of us expect much traffic, so this should work for the next couple years or until she's off to college, whichever happens first.

The next move is to... well, move. I'm not sure how one goes about this, but that's the challenge isn't it? As I've already taken a tentative step toward a new blog concept, Who knows whrere the winds of change will deposit me?

Monday, June 12, 2006
On this day:

Death of Privacy

Isn't is creepy when you get a spam email with your full name in the header? Who else knows about you? That thought alone would keep some awake at night. I also receive email with my address writ in bold face in the header. Somehow, that troubles me more.

We live in an increasingly transparent society. Wiretaps are passe, snoops now use computer to parse vast amount of voice transmissions, ostensibly to find terrorists. Maybe the intentions are pure: I'm just amiable enough today to give benefit to the doubt, but this same information can be used in many ways - some unthought of as yet.

Bank records are already there for the taking, employers can Google a name and receive some interesting stuff. Go ahead, Google yourself. Your credit history is an open book, these days, so why not your phone conversations?

Invasion of privacy? What are you hiding and from whom? In our hyperconnected world, privacy is dying. Secrecy is for governments, and even they are having trouble keeping a lid on things. I say: Good riddance.

Who needs secrecy? Crooks and Liars do. Murderers and compromized politicians require privacy to hide behind, as do corporate CEO's with sticky fingers. To then the "right to privacy" is essential. To conscientious individuals, law abiding and open-hearted, privacy is no big deal. What do they need to hide from? this thought make me think the death of privacy can be a beneficial change. As generations progress with the idea of a trasnparent society, people who understand how easily they can get caught in their tresspasses, will desist. Oldsters who remember the day will flinch, but thier grandchildren will no no difference. A society without secrets is safer.

Don't we all want a place to raise our children where we can let them run? How much outdoor time d othey get now? If you live n a major metropolitan area like I do, the answer is "Not much." And that's too bad...

Friday, June 09, 2006
On this day:

Polarized into Paralysis

As a modern American Buddhist, I sometimes feel pulled in two directions. While I practice the path, and study the sutras and the contemporary work of the likes of Thich Nhat Hahn, Pema Chodrön, and the Dalai Lama, I understand how humanity is fundamentally good. Underneath all the chaos and confusion, people want to love and be loved, to help one another and be nurturing. This week’s word of wisdom From the Dzogchen Organization, founded by Lama Suryas Das, reflects that belief.

The capability of human life is beyond our imagination. This capability is unique. What counts is the human capacity to investigate and transform our own mind and the world around us in a powerful and positive direction. ~ Gehlek Rinpoche

I look in the papers and see the dead face of a stranger gracing the front page in full color. This recently departed man is the latest high-profile victim of America’s folly – a man whose mane was only uttered sparingly throughout the whole war, but is now on every news outlet in the nation. I know nothing about him except the questionable spin provided by our propaganda machine, one would assume he didn’t believe in the basic goodness of mankind, that he acted in accordance to this. But then neither does the American people, or its government. We’re acting accordingly, too; now this man and countless others – men women and their children – lie dead at the behest of our nation’s elite.

And then – as if we need a second example – there is Anne Coulter, whom it appears, is naming her latest book after her personal style of oratory. Hyper-inflammatory, her words give lie to the aforementioned tenet of Buddhists whom, it should be noted, are not theists. Ms. Coulter loudly proclaims her Christianity while sputtering venom like this:
They [liberals] have an irreducible fascination with barbarism and will defend anything hateful--Tookie, Mumia, Saddam Hussein, Hedda Nussbaum, abortion, The North American Man/Boy Love Association, New York Times columnist Frank Rich.
Frank Rich? I guess he really ticked her off… But I digress

My confusion with my core beliefs and current events sometimes make me want to hide, or to throw my hands up in existential disgust. Mostly, it numbs me into a kind of spiritual paralysis. How can one rectify the evidence of an open heart, and the demonstrations of heartless aggression?

Compare the two quote above: Given this polarization of words and world views, I am not apologetic in my personal choice to forgo a belief in a God - who allows his adherents to continually battle each other in whatever form is handy - for a belief in no God and in the basic goodness of mankind. I’ll stick with the foreigners and with the Americans with funny names, anytime.

Thursday, June 08, 2006
On this day:


Mornings are the times my brain likes to wander. During this morning’s commute I ponder generational monikers and the insufficiency of both of the Big Ones to adequately describe people like myself. The term Baby Boomers refers to the post WWII generation, and is sometimes extended to those born up to 1964. Generation X originally referred to those born in the ‘60’s through the ‘80’s, although the media typically ran away with the neologism Generation X, spinning it to their own needs despite its conception in Douglas Coupland’s novel of the same name. The novel that coined the phrase was talking about those who spent the 1960’s in grammar school: too late for the sexual revolution; too early for grunge rock.

Generations, and their delimiters, are arbitrary. Most people think of them in lineal terms, like walking through some kind of cultural doorway, but the advent of different generational cycles overlap in waves like successive bell curves, each starting and ending slightly offset; the boundaries are fuzzy. Taking a populist view, there’s a lot of uncharted territory between the common demographic boundaries. Those of us now in their forties have fallen into the void, as intimated by Mr. Coupland.

I’ve always referred to us as ‘Tweeners, because we are caught in between the vast cultural forces of the self-involved Baby Boomers and their children for whom the trendy title of Generation X was appropriated. Perhaps a lame handle, but compare it to some others proffered: Baby Busters, an obvious play on the Boomers, and unworthy of consideration because of its riding the skirts of Boomer mythology; or even Wedgies, which is obviously a joke, but the concept is sound. Still marginalization seems to be our calling card. We don’t fit anywhere, or we’ve become so adept at keeping our heads down, we’ve escaped notice. Either way, we’ve remained out-represented, doomed to be forgotten.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006
On this day:

An Absence of Substance

“You’re stupid. You want to know why? It’s because you don’t agree with my point of view. Do you want to hear my side? No? Well that just proves how stupid you are. Did you know the definition of idiot is a person uninterested in politics? My definition of moron is anyone who can’t see what needs doing in this country. I can’t believe you think like that! You and the Mainstream Media – you guys are nuts. What kind of Kool-ade have you been drinking? You freaking imbecile! If we pass that law it’ll destroy America. What kind of world do you want to live in? I don’t want to hear your crap. Why don’t you just crawl back into your cave and die? Leave the running of this country to the people who know how.”

The above is representative of the lack of substance in twenty-first century American political debate. No matter your stance, both camps are screeching the same thing: I’m right, you’re wrong. Notwithstanding the few on either side capable of substantiation, or the fewer who care to provide evidence, the message is clear. We aren’t capable of reconciliation at this juncture. What we are experiencing is warfare of ideas, a philosophical tug-of-war using the future of America and – by extension through the hyper-connectivity of world markets and information distribution – the world.

Just as conventional warfare is captured on film and broadcast throughout the world, so too is the struggle of America’s conscious propagated and disseminated. With opposed ideologies, like good-and-evil sprites upon the proverbial shoulders, America is teetering in its confusion.

Ask someone on either side, they’ll tell you that the other is wrong. Is everyone wrong, then? This cycle of rhetoric is getting tedious. As a Lefty Blogger prone to Bushwhacking, even I’m getting bored with it all. Still, the tempers flare a bit higher with each passing month, the stakes are raised, ugliness escalates. How long before the debate, if it still can be called such, spills out from the hallowed halls into the streets where there is a profusion of firearms: Kent State redux, anyone?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
On this day:

Just Another Day (SIGH)

I awoke this morning to a harsh reality: the world hasn't ended yet. While my mind has been embroiled all week in the ramifications of a major change in the office, the outside world limps on as usual. To some degree I am disappointed. This morning would have been a good time for closure, as I lay amongst my sleeping family. Who could not wish to be with loved ones at the End of All Things? Alas, it's not to be...yet.

For those afflicted with hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, my condolences. Your particular malady has again beunsubstantiatedted. Perhaps next time. Any day in June of 2066 is ripe with portent - just imagine a whole month of days in which the world may end - makes me twitchy just thinking about it.

It’s a beautiful day for the end, who could ask for better: sunny, warm, my yard full of birds and small mammals threading through my too-tall grass. One can almost ignore the brownish haze near the horizons reminding us that the air is not as pure as we think. The distant rush of the highway tells me we're still chasing the dinosaurs' record of mass extinction: So why not today? Again, I'm mildly annoyed; I don't want to go to work today…

Monday, June 05, 2006
On this day:

It’s Too Tight!

…Brown People are the enemy… All Muslims are terrorists… Buy more guns… I hear the will of Jesus… Defend our borders before the dark people destroy America… White Christians must defend themselves… AIDS is God’s retribution against Gays and Africans…. War is good… Iran has Weapons of Mass Destruction… Oil is our birthright…

So sorry: I can’t get this foil helmet off. These damn things are supposed to block the mind-wiping radio frequencies the government is broadcasting, but in fact, they amplify them. Is that a dirty trick, or what?

If You Sit On The Fence, Do Your Legs Dangle To Both Sides?

Where sits the Media, really?

I can’t count the many times the MSM gets bashed by all concerned parties. The Right has innumerable knee-jerk allusions of how far left the media is. Lately, the progressives – we dare not associate with the term “liberal” – are singing in counterpoint how the same media is in the pockets of the Repulsives… the Repugnants… the… Oh, you get the idea.

Does this mean the media is actually functioning properly? If both sides are whining, then both sides must own sufficient representation. One caveat is the tendency of a news outlet to pander to the dollar, meaning the whole paper (for example) will lean the same way, in order to maximize its readership. An understandable response when viewed as an item of commerce. An unfortunate byproduct of such homogenization is the ease in which we all can avoid hearing both sides of an argument; too easily can we ignore what we don’t want to hear.

That is precisely how our dipolar political standoff has occurred. Back in the day In my grandfathers time, newspapers were obliged by a common code of honor to represent both sides of a difficult conundrums; acting as their own police, they understood that honesty was tantamount to capitalistic gain. Not so, anymore: Money is the walk, the talk, and the entire meaningful universe to corporate news outlets. Money decides what is printed, pandered, and propagated. So much for the good-old-days.

So if media is getting a bad rap from progressives and congressives alike, where do they stand?

Sunday, June 04, 2006
On this day:

Kudos, Frank Rich

Someday I hope to be half as eloquent as Frank Rich of the NY Times. In today’s editorial he bombasts the government with one of the strongest arguments I’ve recently heard for bringing the troops home.

Enumerating our failed war policy is easy. To do so with as few words as possible is the trick. Frank delivers. Regarding the false claim of “Standing down,” he counters with:

So let's do the math. According to our own government, more Iraqis are standing up — some 263,000 at latest count. But we are not standing down. We are, instead, sending in more American troops. Where have we seen this shell game before

More great writing is evident, but the most poignant paragraph refers to the latest round of gay bashing legislation making the rounds in congress:
The marriage-amendment campaign will be kicked off tomorrow with a Rose Garden benediction by the president. Though the amendment has no chance of passing, Mr. Bush apparently still thinks, as he did in 2004, that gay-baiting remains just the diversion to distract from a war gone south.

When is enough more than enough? I can’t ask this rhetorically anymore. We must pull out. NOW!