Sunday, February 27, 2005

This is too well-put to try and frame it. The embedded links are mine.

It was remarkable to see President Bush lecture Vladimir Putin on the importance of checks and balances in a democratic society. Remarkably brazen, given that the only checks Mr. Bush seems to believe in are those written to the "journalists" Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Karen Ryan, the fake TV anchor, to help promote his policies. The administration has given a whole new meaning to checkbook journalism, paying a stupendous $97 million to an outside P.R. firm to buy columnists and produce propaganda, including faux video news releases.

The only balance W. likes is the slavering, Pravda-like "Fair and Balanced" coverage Fox News provides. Mr. Bush pledges to spread democracy while his officials strive to create a Potemkin press village at home. This White House seems to prefer softball questions from a self-advertised male escort with a fake name to hardball questions from journalists with real names; it prefers tossing journalists who protect their sources into the gulag to giving up the officials who broke the law by leaking the name of their own C.I.A. agent.

[continued in the full article]

     W.'s Stiletto Democracy - Maureen Dowd - New York Times
Oh, here's an interesting editorial gaffe:

The Contenders - We look at which films will dike it out for Oscar gold


Minutes later, I found this one:

In the past, the Wal-Mart money shot was always...


Hm. Maybe ...someone should let these guys know the etymological root of the phrase.

What's next? Corporate bukakke?

      - a coworker
When Rhode Islanders were polled on whether they support allowing the medical use of marijuana, Mirken said, 69 percent said they favored it with 26 percent saying they didn’t. But when those same people were asked if they think a majority of people in the state support it, 26.5 percent said yes and 55.9 percent said no.

How does it come to pass that the majority believes they are the minority? Well, how do people get their information, and why would those sources of information either be uninterested in this information or unwilling to say it?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Remember how the religious right suggested that AIDS was god's way of smiting gays? Hell, they still do.

So what can we conclude when -- days after the Pope compares abortion to the holocaust -- god makes the pontiff so ill that his voice must be removed with a tracheotomy? The Holy See equates a woman's right to choose with the extermination of six million Jews and he is silenced, possibly forever, two days later.

Hmm. Maybe there is a god...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Today, at the local supermarket, I'm behind a guy buying some groceries. His purchase includes a ton of baby food.

Cashier: [to him] Do you have a Shaw's card?
Guy: No.
Me: Here, he can use mine.
Guy: Thanks!
Me: Oh, no problem. This'll drive the FBI nuts. All of a sudden I start buying baby food?? They're gonna spend months trying to figure that one out...

That's when he stopped talking to me.

Monday, February 21, 2005

On one hand, my opinion of George Bush went up a notch today.

On the other hand, my opinion of George Bush went down three.

Seems that an acquaintance of George Bush has been recording phone conversations with Bush, but not just recently. He's been doing this since Bush was governor of TX. The New York Times broke the story on Feb. 20th.

• Bush confided that he felt James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas, wanted him to "attack homosexuals." Bush refused, claiming he told Robison, "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" So he's an asshole and a lunatic, but at least he's consistent. Thumbs up for Bush. Yes, you read that right.

• In these tapes Bush also said, "This is an issue I have been trying to downplay. I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."

Sounds harmless. Unless you substitute the word "blacks" for "gays." How about immoral? Unethical? Evil? The trademark bigot-stradling politicans are known for?

I feel I can substitute "blacks" for "gays" freely here because sexuality is not a choice. I know this is an old argument because it's the very last foothold dogmatism has on cherished predjudices, but the question seems to have been settled.

Or, as Ella likes to put it: "If you think sexuality is a choice, go try and be gay for a day. Tell me how well you do."

• I was reading in ...some marijuana magazine about how Bush tacitly advised parents to lie to their kids about drugs. "The question is, have you learned from your mistakes," he said. "The answer is yes. If I were you, I wouldn't tell your kids that you smoked pot unless you want them to smoke pot. I think it's important for leaders and parents not to send mixed signals. I don't want some kid saying, 'Well, Governor Bush tried it'."

Maybe this is what Bush was thinking when he lied to the world about Saddam. After all, why let the fact that there were no WMD muddy the waters? Why send mixed signals? We know he's dangerous, so whatever you need to in order to remove him. Including lying to the world. Thanks, Dad.

I mean ...the leader of the free world just admitted to being in favor of lying when the truth is inconvenient for the outcome you desire for fuck's sake!!

Do you suppose George has ever heard of Niccolo Machiavelli? ... Sorry, I'm getting sidelined here.

Oddly enough, the Bible doesn't say anything about smoking marijuana. It does, however, strongly criticize lying.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

So if I understand correctly, so far as god is concerned, George is about on par with gays. He even gets bonus points for killing innocent Iraqi civilians by continuing the lie and heckling the UN. It's a goddamn hat trick!

Bush apparently doesn't the see the irony of his using marijuana and cocaine and then becoming the President of the United States. He worries that it sets a bad example. Maybe, but it's the truth. Suck it up, buttercup.

If it's all about growing up and realizing your mistakes, does that mean he advocates releasing all non-violent drug prisoners who say they've obtained that wisdom? If not, why doesn't he volunteer to turn himself in?

I admire George Bush for his conviction in the same way that I admire Manson for his. Consistency is a nice touch but it's the frosting, George, not the cake.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Fundamentalist Christianity, fascinating. These people actually believe the age of the world is twelve thousand years old. I swear to god. Based on ...what, I asked them. 'Well, we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages, twelve thousand years.' ... Well how fucking scientific. Ok. I didn't know that you'd gone through so much trouble there, that's good. You believe the world is 12,000 years old? 'That's right.' Ok, I've got one word to ask you. One word question, ya ready? 'Uh huh.' Dinosaur. Ya know, if the world is 12,000 years old, and dinosaurs existed, and it existed in that time, then you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point. 'And though Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth but the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus with a splinter in his paw. And oh, the disciples did run and shreek, 'What a big fucking lizard, lord!'

     Bill Hicks - Revelations

Ok, first thing first. Kim, ignore this post. You're a sweetie, but I've been on a Bill Hicks kick lately. The the last line of that quote had me laughing my bloody ass off for a good three minutes solid, so I had to post it.

Guess you had to be there.

I just watched this Military Channel (I think that's what it's called) show about the United States military involvement with the Columbian government in regards to bringing Pablo Escobar to justice. I didn't know this, but apparently (a) the U.S. commander in charge of our forces disobeyed orders by engaging in a firefight with Escobar on at least one occasion, (b) the commander and his troops were not immediately removed, (c) our forces on the ground were aware of death squad-like actions by the group they were training, (d) had solid reason to believe that the group they were training were passing on CIA intelligence to native vigillante groups that were killing suspected Escobar employees and (e) Escobar himself was executed after being rendered unconscious in a firefight.

The most this pseudo documentary made of our government's complicity in murder was that the U.S. diplomat to Columbia expressed concern that the actions of the troops might cause an "international incident." The special forces were pulled only after the subsequent vigillante killings of "five [suspected] Escobar associates every day" and even then, our forces were allowed to stay in-country and continue working for another 30 days pending the arrival of more conventional troops. It was during this time that Escobar was executed.

Put another way, U.S. forces engaged in warfare without Congressional (and therefore citizen) approval, oversight or accountability. U.S. forces trained and then subsequently observed (by way of autopsies) at least sixty instances of Columbians accused of criminal involvement being killed assassination-style and still did not disengage their involvement with the Columbian government.

The ethical question of training forces engaged in dozens of assassinations without any legal process (even by their own admission) never came up in this show. At all. I'm not saying Escobar was unworthy of being killed. Frankly, I don't know enough about it all to say. But I can say that the involvement of our troops being knowingly and willfully engaged in training native forces to kill people accused of crimes even though that target has been disabled and rendered harmless is criminal itself.

I wonder how many people came away from that program feeling uneasy about it.

I've been thinking a lot about how society itself represents a sort of local maxima problem. We try to solve issues that plauge us as a whole in some manner which is very likely not the optimal solution. For example, we threw millions of dollars at a campaign centered around the words "just say no." Since the beginning of the so-called war on drugs, the cost of heroin (when adjusted for inflation and purity) has dropped 6,000%. In other words it isn't working.

Why do I bring this up? Because I have to wonder about how we're told to look at things. Not just the way we're expected to live our lives, but that's my current focus. Go to school, maybe chill out a bit between college (regret not living enough if you skip this part, regret being a slacker if you don't), then a career. If you're one of the truly lucky, you'll find something that doesn't bore the everloving shit out of you after doing it for 45 years. Do that until you're 65, fight a lot of politicians to keep what you've paid for (read; Social Security), then die. I've been thinking this way for ...I calculated it, actually: 11,738 days.

Maybe this model is good for society. It isn't working for me. Maybe a better plan is to find out where people suffer and focus your effort there.

Ella and I sometimes discuss how this society likes to keep women focused on crap like beauty and weight just so they stay distracted enough to never notice their chains. Well maybe there are a lot more caste systems in place to facilitate those in power staying that way than we realize.

US > Europe > Industrialized Nations > Third world
Males > Females
Mega rich > wealthy > middle class > poor > homeless

Effluvium gravitates to the lowest geographical coordinate, I guess. Maybe everyone else is happy clawing up that pile of shit.

I'm not.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Met a very interesting guy today. About seventy, though you'd never guess it by looking at him. Turns out he's a former MIT student, doctor and former college professor. Apparently he taught at the school my boss went to, so we're not talking about a guy who is talking out his butt. At the very least, Doc has the credentials he claims to have. We had a nice chat about exploring blood by aspirating it, torching the spray then analyzing the spectrum.

We get on the subject of triglycerides. He tells me that B12 cures cancer. Explained how, too. Massive doses. On the order of 2,000x the RDA but specifics depend on BMI. Also tells me that MIT is doing work on it. He pointed out that when a relative of his was sick and about to undergo chemo, he mentioned it to the doctor, but that hospital didn't offer the treatment. "Where could [the relative] get this treatment?" "Canada," was the reply.

Doc tells me that they don't allow the treatment to go mainstream because there is no money to be made. B12 occurs naturally. You can't patent something that occurs naturally. Which is why drug companies are always trying to synthesize something and never show interest in natural remedies. Plenty of money to be made in chemo, though.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a homeopathic practitioner by any stretch.

Then, just by raw coincidence, he started talking about leg circulation. I have DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and it's hit twice, both times just by having my leg in a cramped position for too long. He tells me that Beth Israel was doing this series of test trials about three years back which involved injecting "good" DNA into the leg. Turns out that the blood pathways will reform/reroute based on the new DNA. He also told me that it was quite successful and that they might be looking for volunteers with DVT issues like mine.

Interesting, the twist, turns and random-yet-stunningly-relevant things that can happen to you on any given day.

Friday, February 18, 2005

"If you really believe in sanctity of life, then you believe it for people of all ages. That's what I hate about this fucking child worship children syndrome going on. 'Save the children! Think of the children! How many children were the wake... The children!' What does that mean? They reach a certain age, they're off your fucking love list? Fuck your children if that's the way you feel, and fuck you with them. You either love people of all ages or you shut the fuck up."

     - Bill Hicks, responding to "save the children" types.

"Yeah, if that's true, then how come we don't see Bradley tanks knocking down Catholic churches?"

     - Bill, again, on the FBI's claim that they invaded the Waco compound because of claims of child molestation

Thursday, February 17, 2005

passing through
uncouscious states
when I awoke
I was on
the onset of
a later stage
the headlights are
beacons on
the high way

     - Death Cab For Cutie

It's weird how ...the older I get, the more I like life and the more I detest it. So much more "wow," so much more "what the fuck?" I guess I always figured that there was a finite amount of emotion, if not range.

Turns out there is a never ending supply of both.

God bless natural-looking exit strategies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ok, now I'm pissed. And it isn't Dubya this time.

Macrovision has announced a new DVD encryption program called RipGuard™. The claim -- and this is from their own goddamn engineers and PR people -- is that it will prevent 97% of all software from ripping DVDs.

Christ, where do I begin...

First, encryption is not copy protection, encryption is not copy protection, encryption is not copy protection. Maybe someday the world will wake up to this fact.

Short illustration, and I'll keep it strictly non-techie. Suppose I have a coded message such as:

    T4%J0 B1&#XP9

Now, you can't understand that message, can you? No. But you sure as hell can copy it until your eyes bleed, eh? You won't be able to understand the copy, granted, but that's reading, not copying. If we both have reading decoders then we can both read the message. So encrypted DVDs protect against unauthorized players, not copying.

Second, suppose you're a world-class, uber elite haxx0r type and you want to rip a DVD and distribute it on the net. How would you do this? Hmmm. Well, the first step would be to find the program that falls in that 3%. Then you'd get a pirated copy of that ripping software, rip the DVD, then distribute it.

Macromedia specifically state that since their software prevents 97% of software from ripping a DVD, then their software will prevent 97% of ripping. What a complete load of horseshit. It takes ONE person to rip a DVD. Once it's ripped into a distributable format (take your pick, AVI, MPEG, etc), then nobody needs to rip it again. You can view the resulting file in Windows Media Player, WinDVD, whatever.

I don't know what the flying !@#% is wrong with the industry these days. Is the MPAA taking an extra large dose of stupid pills? Ok, ...maybe that one is obvious, but don't they have a single nerd kicking around to explain precisely why they're going to spend a few million on a scheme that won't even begin to stop piracy. They could cough up $40k in salary and feed a starving IT guy and save themselves a whole lot of trouble, money and embarrassment.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I guess there are different levels of truisms. Or at least realization of them.

I've come to accept ...kinda ...that the news is biased, but I guess I never realized how biased. Every day, I see more and more examples, more and more egregious, so I guess I don't actually realize the full extent yet.

For example, take this piece: Report: U.S. drones spying on Iran.

Now, maybe this is true, maybe it isn't. It appears that the Pentagon is denying it while senior staffers are confirming it and even giving dates. It's kind of unimportant. The issue is the reaction. Have you met any Americans pissed off about this? Turn it around -- suppose Iran started flying unmanned vehicles over New Jersey to gather intelligence. Do you think Americans would be upset about it? If so, why is their reaction different when the target is Iran?

The answer I'd get from my right-leaning friends (and they're getting shorter in number every day) is that Iran is a menace and so this is a response to that menace. I guess who qualifies as a "menace" is very much a matter of one's point of view. Do the countries that consider Bush a threat to peace get to fly their planes over U.S. airspace now? Seems awful might-makes-right.

That's my rant. My tendency lately is to switch all foreign relations country names around and see if my reaction is the same. It never is. The conclusion is that we are either spasmatically altrustic or we're hypocrites. You can guess which theory I'm going with.

Talked to my daughter tonight. Explained that the reason I've missed visits is due to her mom's demand that visits happen where I used to live. I phrased it in a "if I dropped you off in New Hampshire, where you used to live, wouldn't that be a bit strange?" way. She seemed to understand. I already emailed the mother to explain that visits will happen where I live now or she can explain to her daughter why she refuses to send her here, despite my offer to make up the difference in tolls, gas, even paying her for her extra drive time.

I'm still pretty bent that I bend over backward to accomodate the most ridiculous demands and then get blamed for missing visits due to conflicting logistics of those demands.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The tenative Iraq election results are in:

   • al Sistani (Shia): 48%
   • Kurdish Alliance: 25%
   • Allawi (Shiite): 14%

Bloomberg reports that "Iraq may be run by a coalition government formed around a secular leader such as interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi after a Shiite Muslim coalition failed to win a majority in the National Assembly election."

So they're going to form a government around the guy who got the least votes? This must be the new Bush math. But hey, it's nice to see a government where a minority position is represented, but it's sad that in order to find a government "for the people," you have to move to Iraq, or Yugoslavia.

And remember kids. The United States was created by a bunch of guys who didn't want to pay their taxes.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Benjamin Franklin: He was world famous, universally beloved and he loved a good fart joke. Why would he be unelectable today? He loved the ladies, loved 'em. Old, young, fat, thin, whatever. Couldn't get enough, just loved 'em. Also he once wrote "as to Jesus, I have some doubts as to his divinity." Kiss the red states goodbye.

    America - A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I started off this post by explaining everything but it's so fucking long that I figured it'd just be better to rant.

The mother of my daughter asked that I move this month's scheduled visitation to another week. It wasn't really a request, more of a "she has something to do, make it another week" kind of demand. We both agreed -- and we both agreed that we agreed -- that the shift was contingent upon me checking with Chris and his schedule. Why do I have to check with Chris' schedule to visit my daughter? Oh, I'm so glad you asked...

I used to live in RI. Now I live in MA, about 17 miles further away than I used to be. I have court ordered visitation but the address that it should occur at is the Rhode Island address. So I have to trek about six hours each way to see my daughter once a month. Wake at 6AM, take 7AM train to Boston, take subway to South Station, take train/bus to providence, arrive around noon.

Did I mention that I don't even live there any more?

Chris and I have been friends for fourteen years. Tonight he decides it would be a bright idea to mention that sometimes it's me that misses vists, sometimes it's Melissa's fault. This is ironic since it is only through my bending and agreeing to have visits in a place I don't even live any more that is a six hour trip away that have caused me to have to miss some visits. Travelling to and from Rhode Island plus eating out for two people for six meals is expensive, and unfortunately, I don't always have enough money to pay for it. I take home about $215 every two weeks this time of year. That's full time in retail minus taxes and child support.

So it's time to stop being a nice guy and being fucked for being a nice guy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The news isn't west-slanted, huh? Check out this AP article. I'll break it down by paragraph. Iranian-perspective points are bold.

1. Rice warns Iran.
2. Rice says opposition to Iran coalescing.
3. Rice says countries starting to offer more help in Iraq.
4. Rice says U.S. feels U.N. should get tough on Iran and deadline looms.
5. Bush warns Iran that he and the world feel Iran should stop.
6. Bush says Iran having nuclear weapon would destabilize Middle East.
7. Rice says Iran should understand 6. and understand other reprecussions from U.N. exist.
8. Iran says nuclear program is peaceful.
Google's news service is compiled and edited 100% by a computer. My guess is that it works similarly to their search engine. That is to say it searches news sites, determines what subjects are getting the most attention, then searching for all sites on that subject.

The advantage here is that it is one degree removed from direct human editing and fact-tuning. Granted, it's colored by what the major news sites want you to read, but it also allows for minority voices to slip in.

That's why I'm going to suggest that everyone check out's world report. In the last 24 hours, there have been articles featured involving the inner workings of the highly fragile middle east peace plans, the Hezbollah's reaction to the new environment in Israel following Abbas' steps to work with Israel, coup fallout in Africa and possible use of torture by the Kuwaiti government. Granted, what I know about these issues is merely a nail-scratch, but it's better than what I find on

Also, the BBC still does a good job, though still west-centric. also rules but they pissed me off a bit when they quietly removed an article immediately after 9/11 that mocked Bush for shopping for a new villain. It could have been read the wrong way but I think the article was dead-on and they should have stuck with it.

Finally, is incredible. Sign up for their mailing list and see ten examples every day of how the popular media just makes shit up when it suits them. And rocks but they don't update as much as they could, I think.
That lady is all hopped up on Ephesians...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ella: Yeah, Art is kind of like a Casablanca guy, you know, talking like this...
Me: But I've never seen Casablanca.
Ella: Neither have I.
Me: Ok, let me see if I understand this. We're going to talk about a guy we both know in abstract terms by referencing a movie that neither of us have seen?
[laughing asses off]

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Turkey is "terrified" that Iraq will turn in to a Kurdish stronghold. Turkey, due to their proximity to Iraq, is a critical ally in the war.

You remember the Kurds. They're the people in northern Iraq who we supposedly protected from Saddam with the no-fly zones. Truth is, we routinely ignore Turkey attacking the Kurds. Why? Because Kurds want an "autonomous state." That is to say they want to rule themselves. In Turkey, the Kurdish language is outlawed. How's that for human rights?

Condoleeza Rice visited Turkey today to assure Turkish leaders that we have no intention of letting the region "destabilize." By this, the Bush administration is saying they will not allow the Kurds the right to self-rule and will take action to prevent it.

Doesn't democracy in action make you all warm and fuzzy?

What's ironic is if a Kurd detonated himself and killed Americans because we were actively fighting their right to rule themselves, Bush would claim that it happened because the Kurds hate democracy. Then the press would echo that "fact" to the American people.

And then you'd all think that was the case.
Lately, I've been subscribed to a site called Media Matters. What they do is ask volunteers to watch media outlets for a short period and fact-check what is presented. The results have been far worse than anything I could have imagined, and I'm Mr. Cynical.

Some examples from the last two days only:

* Media (ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOX) refers to the Democrat reaction (booing) to Bush's State of the Union "unprecedented" when, in fact, Republicans booed Clinton during his. Some of the people commenting were actually at the Clinton State of the Union address in question.

* Kathleen Hays with CNN -- making this mistake twice in three days -- reported that Bush's Social Security plan, "would give workers a way to pass their Social Security retirement benefits on to their heirs. Under the current system, those benefits stay with the government." This is 100% incorrect and the Social Security Administration's own website clearly states this.

* John McCain's (R-AZ) stated that the Social Security trust fund will have "no money at all left" in 15 years in an interview following President Bush's February 2 State of the Union address. NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams did not correct him. The Socal Security board of trustees (non-partisan) estimates that the fund will not be exhausted until 2042 and that 68% of benefits would still be delivered until 2078.

* On FOX News' pre-State of the Union coverage, general assignment correspondent Brian Wilson expressed bewilderment at how involved parties -- presumably Democrats -- were able to formulate and distribute responses to the speech since "they don't really know what the president is going to say."

In fact, several FOX News correspondents and commentators had already made clear that they had obtained embargoed copies of the speech, and it was available to the public on the Internet, so it was hardly mysterious how Democrats were able to review the speech and react to it before President Bush delivered it. The implication you're left with is that Democrats don't actually listen to Bush, they just say his ideas suck sight-unseen.

* In the February 2 edition of The Washington Post, staff writer Michael A. Fletcher incorrectly reported that the 2004 federal budget deficit was $521 billion. In fact, the actual figure is $412 billion. The $521 billion figure is the amount that the president's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projected in February 2004. Around the same time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected the amount would be $477 billion.

This actually helps Bush because everyone knows that the budget is a mess, so why not inflate how bad it is to make a recovery seem more impressive than it is? Bush is now saying he'll cut the deficit in half. What he's saying is that he will halve the overhyped number, so in a way it's already been cut without any action whatsoever.


Look, it doesn't matter if you don't care about these issues. What matters is that the media, in case after case, either doesn't do it's own fact-checking or even exercise some critical thinking.

The news you watch tells you a very one-sided view of what is happening. It is created by people with interests similar to yours, edited by people with the same general vested interest as you. Why do you think that the terrorists are all painted as American-hating lunatics? Well, because they don't share our priorities so their mindset is completely alien to any culture that doesn't attempt to see the other side of things. They're not crazy, they're pissed off.

I'm not saying they're right, just that we don't bother to determine if they are in any meaningful way. Have you ever seen a news column present -- not necessarily sympathetic, just present -- the Iraqi insurgent view of what is going on?

Anyway, that's my rant. If you want to see hundreds of examples, dozens daily if you sign up for their email, then just head to Stop thinking that the news educates you. All it does it cement what you believe to be true already.

Friday, February 04, 2005

[Dane Cook on screen discussing Aliens boarding the subway]
Ella: That's the kind of thing you'd see on the green line.
Me: Yeah...
in Unison: Orange line.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I was up tonight and thinking to myself about the nature of my job. I generally either point people to correct stuff or try to "sell" things to them. This involves asking them questions and then pointing out which items we have that meet their needs, explain what those items do and point out benefits they may or may not have considered.

My job is to socially and mentally bind this person to an object. "Hand it to them," the training manual says. "It creates a perception of ownership." Right.

My job is to foster posession. It sure as shit isn't to interrupt that process. Nowhere in this whole scheme am I supposed to question whether they need a digital proportioned remote controlled car with underbody lighting kit, stage 2 engine upgrade and "drifting kit." We really do sell a drifting kit for a goddamn remote controlled car, I'm not making that up.

We sell air purifiers. Commercials can now convince you that breathing is bad. Quick, buy one of these, thinsulate yourself from smelling pollen and cat danders. Give us two hundred dollars and we'll help you die a little. Buy this iPod because the last thing you want to do is acknowledge the trying-too-hard thumb-holes-in-sweater emo pressed six inches from your face on the red line and your own thoughts are too scary anyway, let these white-corded plugs fix all that for four hundred plus tax (or fifty hours pay, depending on how you look at it).

What would I do if computers just vanished. Maybe I'd become a better person.

Maybe we'll get to the point in evolution where, like the Bran Van girl wonders, "Where'm I gonna be when there's nothing left to spend?" When there is nothing left to buy, maybe we'll display social dominance by openly hiring people to do precisely nothing. Or maybe meaningless tasks, or even self-destructive ones. If you're rich, you might pay a guy to sit in a glass box outside your house eight hours every day.

"Holy crap, this guy must be loaded! He's got a family of four on his lawn display alone..."

Think about it. Today, how much money do you think you'd have to spend to get someone to never leave a car for a year? Three? Ten? Think anyone would agree to ten?

No? I do.
they butcher my work. they reproduce themselves without asking. they’re never warm or friendly. the keys are in the wrong place. they don’t go fast enough. they’re heavy. they go out of date too fast. they’re not loud enough. they’re made by cheap labor. they keep changing the date to 1942 and then labeling all files accordingly. they never actually find the virus. they talk to each other but you can’t hear. they are not logical. - thom yorke of radiohead, when asked, "what did computers ever do to you, anyway?"