The Post-Postmodernist

Saturday, April 29, 2006

New Hybrid SUV: The Chrysler Methana

I bought one of the new hybrid SUVs this year, The Chrysler Methana.

It runs on lithium batteries and methane gas. Very innovative technology.
My old car ran like shit. My new car runs on shit. Now, that is progress!

You just stuff shit in --- doesn't matter what kind of shit -- cow shit, pig shit, sheep shit, goat shit, fish shit, doesn't matter --- and VROOM off it goes. The more shit you put in, the faster it goes.

And talk about economical! In fact, I wrote to the President of Chrysler himself, suggesting that their new marketing slogan ought to be, "Goodbye Citgo, Hello ShitGo!"


Instead of bench seats, The Methana has five toilets that come Standard™, plus two little baby safety toilets in the way back facing the other way. Sounds a little uncomfortable, but I got the padded leather option. There is nothing too good for my family.

The only drawback is, when the weekend comes, and you need to haul the boat out to the lake, you really need to plan ahead to handle that extra weight.

So the night before we leave, I put on my chef's hat and apron and serve up a really big family-style meal: steaks and potatoes and spaghetti and cornbread and pumpkin pie, and then follow that up the next morning with a big he-man breakfast -- I stuff those little kids with sausages and hotcakes and french toast till their entire alimentary canal is jammed end to end with fuel pellets.

"C'mon kids, let's go! Time to go to the lake! Get in the truck!"

"But Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom!"

"You hold that in, young man! If you shit anwhere but in my truck, you're gettin' a whuppin'!"

So we're on the road to the lake, and we hit a steep hill, and we got that boat weighing us down, so we all gotta really bear down and crank that shit OUT, or you start rolling backwards.

"Come on, you can do it! Push! Daddy said Push!"

"But Daddy, I can't!"

"The shit you can't!"

"That's what I said!"

Luckily, I'd brought an emergency box of bran muffins.

"You eat those muffins like your life depends on it 'cuz if we get stuck going up this hill, I will whup your ass and beat the shit out of you!"

Sure enough, my family pulled together and came though in a pinch -- a really big pinch -- and I put the hammer down and off we went, tearin' up that mountain like a big brown bobcat.

Another benefit to owning the Methana, you never have to worry about tailgaters. They stay way, way back.

Owning this new state-of-the-art SUV has really reinvigorated my marriage, too. I love my wife, but I'll admit there have been times when I didn't really appreciate her. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it used to be that it even sort of got me down, her being so fat and all. But those days are over:

She's good for half a tank every week.

And now, whenever I see that gas station and its obscene $3.79/gallon sign standing there on the corner so loud and proud, I get a big smile on my face, and drive right on by, thinking how much I love my wife because she is so FULL of shit and always will be!

The Chrysler Methana. If You Don't Own It, You Don't Own Shit.®

Emancipation of the Slaveways

Mickey Kaus writes about the decrease in traffic in L.A. since gas prices spiked here.

He is now able to drive from Eagle Rock to the beach in about 45 minutes, which is my memory of how long it took when I was living in Eagle Rock in 1985, assuming he means Malibu.

If he means Santa Monica, Yahoo maps estimates that trip as being only 23 minutes --which is also about what I remember the time being in 1985.

(Note: does this mean that Yahoo's map engine is 20 years out of date? Or maybe it, like double-breasted suits, just comes back into style after a sufficient period of time has lapsed.)

I also can attest. I went to a test-screening of my friend's new movie - just a rough cut, but looked great - but the weird thing was how empty the freeways were coming home. This may be meaningless to non-Angelenos, but I made it from Sony to my neighborhood in about 19 minutes, not speeding, at 6:30pm on a Thursday! Yahoo maps says it should take 17 minutes (in the past, I would have said, "Ha! Maybe on Sunday at 4:28am!").

Those gas prices seem to be having at least one positive effect. I would also suspect that there are less unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road, because the price-difference probably hits them hardest.

Makes me happy I have a Prius, complete with Smug Certificates on all four corners.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Do Be Adobe

My money in the emerging VOD market is on somewhat of a darkhorse: Adobe, whose acquisition of Macromedia a year ago is starting to look like genius. I've been really impressed by YouTube's streaming quality -- esp. given that they now have 6 million daily users worldwide. They are using Macromedia Flash to deliver the goods. Michelle Malkin's new Vlog, Hot Air, also looks like they are using Flash. Looks great (as does Michelle...), and has never crashed my system or stalled to buffer.

But I think Yahoo's longterm strategy in this sector is pretty smart.

By integrating Yahoo's existing, ZIP-code-based TV listings - which the company has made available for years - into the software the company initially developed for downloading music videos via broadband, Yahoo is putting two and two together, converting users' PCs into a low-cost equivalent of TiVo...without the service charge.

...a user of Yahoo's new Go for TV Beta service can utilize the listing service to program her PC to record video from the card, onto her local hard drive. The video source isn't the Internet, of course, but the cable service, or even a simple coaxial lead from an aerial antenna. The equipment, therefore, is entirely customer-owned, and the service is pre-existing... so they avoid TiVo's service charges. For a three-year service plan, TiVo waives the fee for hardware, but charges customers $16.95 per month. Meanwhile, an ATI TV Wonder Elite PCI card costs about $120 - an investment many of Go for TV's users have already made. Suddenly, Yahoo makes a very compelling case for carving a new niche for itself, not from its old territory of search, but directly from the heart of the burgeoning video-on-demand industry where standards and practices still have yet to be decided.

I was one of Tivo's first few thousand customers, but have never bought stock in the company, mainly because of early patent-issues, and later because it seemed so displaceable by bigger players in the market. Their interface is the best of any DVR available, and their name, like Google, has become an eponymous verb. So maybe they will make it still. More likely, an almost certain takeover candidate.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Page 17 in 2002, Pulitzer in 2005

Brilliant exposé at Riehl World View of the agenda-driven media's handling of the exact same information in the Priest secret-prisons story, three years earlier.

In 2002, 9/11 was still fresh in everyone's mind. And Bush had a 90% approval rating, the highest for any President in the era of modern polling. Such a situation, I would argue, was dangerous to the future of the Democratic Party.

No one likes being at war. And no one likes high gas prices - in fact, look at this graph showing the strong correlation between Bush's approval number and the price of a gallon of gasoline. (And if you really want to get rational about it, look at the price-adjusted cost of gasoline since 1979....)

But I think that you have to be almost willfully blind not to have seen a systematic and concerted, effort to bring that approval number down by a national press only 15% of whom self-report as being conservatives.

Image is Everything...

Check out the latest images created with a new scenery generation software program called, appropriately... Terragen.

Beautiful stuff, though this quote may have to updated a bit for the 21st Century:

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Talk About Connecting the Dots!

As Jackie Gleason would say, "How sweet it is!"

Major Chaz has an series of updated flow-charts of the Democratic perfidy in the Priest/McCarthy/Wilson/Goodfellow gambit that I played a small role in bringing to light, though of course, one of my favorite blogs, Sweetness and Light was the real hero in uncovering these connections.

Do not miss his post: hell hath no fury like a warrior armed with Powerpoint!

Bang Zoom! Right in the Kisser!

Dan Rather to Start Blogging?

Disgraced Democratic party organ Dan Rather is thinking about starting a blog when he leaves CBS.

Rather has a famously large and brittle ego, fed by years of talking to a camera, with no one talking back.

Boy, I sure hope he has open comments... it will be such fun to see Bummer Dietz and others torture him with reason and facts. If he's vlogging, the camera just might capture actual smoke coming from his ears before we are treated to this.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mission Possible

Welcome to the future.

The touch-based computer interface that cost millions to simulate in Minority Report, is now a reality.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Driving in India

No stoplights, no stopsigns... no problem! Welcome to driving in India.

My first thought on watching the video was: Ayn Rand would love this -- talk about rational self-interest. Conversely, I just can't see, for example, Al Gore, being able to watch the whole two minutes without breaking out in hives and screaming, "Somebody regulate it, please!"

Words Written In Self-Defense

[UPDATE: Dear Post-Postmodernist Reader - Some background on this (very long) post, below. It is my last email response to a (now-ex) LLL friend who "fired" me after a long and contentious exchange of emails in which I was asserting that Islam is not just a religion, but a totalitarian political ideology, one that unlike Nazism, or Communism, and one that, in the hands of militants, poses an existential threat to Western Civ. Originally, I just copy/pasted this email you are reading, but in reading it back myself, in the naked context of a blog entry, I've decided to insert a context clarification: Please bear in mind that my original statement to him about the probability of the WOT ending horrifically with millions lost on both sides was made during a series of emails about 1) Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to to be wiped off the map and threatening to unleash 40,000 terrorists against the West if his covert nuke facilities are attacked; 2) "The Islamic Thinkers Society" chanting about mushroom clouds over Israel while standing outside of the Israeli Embassy in NYC; and 3) after discussing the implications of Seymour Hersh's book, The Samson Option. - The Ed.]

Dear D_____,

Well, you've reallly seemed to make a full and convincing argument to yourself that debating with me is a complete waste of your time, because I am a "child" with "not good" intentions who desires the "genocide"
of every Muslim on Earth.

That must feel good. No more of those stupid emails with all of those referenced hotlinked facts and tightly reasoned arguments that just don't fit into the version of reality that You Know Is The Truth. Ahhhh, much better. As Homer Simpson would say, "Mmmmmm... donuts....harhgharhghahrhargh."

Speaking of food, let's pick the low hanging fruit, out of your inaccurate vitriol, first:

"It continues in
sending me a document that you say was "written six
months before 9.11" when it has the date "10.03.2001"
written on it."

Actually, before I get to this... I know you are bright. As you've told me, you were advanced for your age and could have graduated early etc. As could have I. But -- getting to the "who's being childish, here?" point -- you should note: I've never, ever, in the hundreds of emails we've exchanged before this instant response to your (latest) ad hom attack, EVER have launched ad hom attacks on you. Have you noticed that? "Gee, WordWarp never gets really angry or calls me names, weird!" Please admit just this, if only to yourself.

Even in the last meltdown we had, try to remember how diplomatic and cordial and good-humored I remained despite your vitriol. I never lashed back, never stooped to ad homs and name-calling. Remember? Is that the mark of a child? No.

You impute bad motives to me. You say that you think that I do not have good intentions. This is not correct. My motive in this whole multi-year dialogue of ours has been this: After seeing your blog, and the quality and purity of your thought -- and esp. the intensity of your convictions -- it was, and remains, my goal to "turn you" -- to present enough refutatory (word?) evidence so that you, like I, would become an liberal apostate, a heretic, willing to try to convince other True Believers on the Left, where I used to reside, that, given 9/11, that maybe Bush is not the problem here. That maybe militant Islam is, and will continue to be, the problem, and that it poses an existential threat not just to Western Civilization, but to global peace and well-being.

You are always looking for ill-motive in me, but it is not there. I know that I told you that one of my central concerns is that if there were a catastrophic WMD attack, here, or elsewhere, that it might cause global financial collapse, and that, being as my 75-year old mother depends, solely, on the income from her securities -- which only remain "secure" and viable in a world without WMD attacks, her very existence would be threatened. It doesn't get more personal than that. I know for a fact that I have also pleaded with you to acknowledge the vast ripple effect that a WMD attack would have on the world economy. Guess what (as I know I've said before), if the shit goes down, the poor around the world will feel it the hardest. You think life is hard in Indonesia now? Wait until all of the factories are completely *idle* -- then what do you think will happen?

Do you remember what life was like in the weeks and months after 9/11? The global economy SHUT DOWN. Sort of. But if nukes go off in NYC, or London, or Tel Aviv..., it will shut down for real. This must not be allowed to happen. Period.

You ascribe genocidal intent to me -- I know you dashed off your several thousand word email in an emotional forty minutes, so I'm willing to cut you some slack, but really, this is what you wrote:

"The end result of all this childish thinking has ended
up, in your case, to be an endorsement of ethnic
cleansing. Your argument can be distilled down to the
call for the deaths of 100 million Muslims. And you
still think this is a serious argument. I don't think
genocidists are serious people. Dangerous, yes, but
not serious."

Here is what I actually said:
"This war is going to go on for most of this century, you do realize that, right? Before it's over, western cities will be gone, and probably 100 million plus Muslims will be dead. But Western Civ will survive. I hope."

Where exactly did I call for their deaths? Your mischaracterization of my words is slander. Read it back. What you said I said is NOT what I said. There is a difference between a person predicting, woefully, what they fear might happen, and a person ADVOCATING the same, and if you cannot distinguish the difference, perhaps you shouldn't consider yourself as smart as you so plainly do. Honestly, a fucking apology is in order.

Speaking of brains, note that I have never before mentioned my brainy bona fides, or used them as justification for an argued position, because I thought it was both unseemly and irrelevant (stupid of me for assuming there was a mutual respect for brains, which, sadly, doesn't seem to be the case), even though in fact I scored in the 99th percentile on both the SAT and the even more selective LSAT, so forgive me this once for pointing out that, by currently accepted objective standards, I, though with frequent exceptions, being human after all, have a reasoning ability that is close to perfect.

I know you are in the same league. That is one reason I like to argue with you. But, I'll put forth here, I think your pure reasoning ability is hampered by rigid ideological constraints. If presented with evidence that contradicts your set of almost religiously held beliefs, you disregard it, time and time again. Pure cognitive dissonance

Anyway, after this long tangent, let's get back to that low hanging fruit:

"It continues in
sending me a document that you say was "written six
months before 9.11" when it has the date "10.03.2001"
written on it".

Read the fucking document, D_____, (and note that at least THREE independent translations have been done of it already):

Beginning of the translation of page 6 from document BIAP 2003-000654
In the Name of God the Merciful The Compassionate

Top Secret

The Command of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

No 3/6/104

Date 11 March 2001

To all the Units

Subject: Volunteer for Suicide Mission

The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire ***to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests*** [asterisks mine] and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.

Air Brigadier General

Abdel Magid Hammot Ali

Commander of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

Air Colonel

Mohamad Majed Mohamadi.

End of translation of page 6"!

It uses the *European* date notation, D_____. Your cognitive dissonance tried to kick out of your brain a PRIMARY SOURCE (you were a history major, right?) that is clearly dated 11 March, 2001, and which calls for SUICIDE volunteers from the Iraqi AIR FORCE to strike American interests, but somehow your brain led you to pick out that one notation in the document -- "from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001" -- and interpret that as being from OCTOBER, because, even though all of the other dates in the document were written in European dates, that one interpretation let your CogDis off the hook! HE IS LYING TO ME! THIS CANNOT BE TRUE! SADDAM HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11! BUSH LIED, KIDS DIED!!!


Okay. Next point. Or have you deleted this email by now? Ducked out? Ouch! CogDis hurts!

The CogDis will continue. Maybe WordWarp isn't the child... maybe I'm calling him that out of PROJECTION because he's TREATING me like a child, talking down to me, scoffing at me, making fun of my logical fallacies! Did THAT thought ever occur to you? Has it occured to you that you scrubbed your ENTIRE comments log on your blog coincidentally within days after I posted a few derisive comments making fun of your poor reasoning? Why did you do that? CogDis? Embarrassment? Did I so wound you to the core? Are you really that soft? Who is the child?

Have you ever taken a good look at your OWN motives when sending a hate mail like you sent to me? That maybe your entire SELF-IMAGE is at stake in trying to refute my points -- that your sense of humor, based on a taken-as-a-given superiority of your point of view, suddenly evaporates when your rigid foundational premises are questioned? There are only three kinds of humor: superiority, incongruity, and relief. My humor mainly comes from the second two. Yours, quite plainly, from the first. You make fun of me, and I shrug it off, and come back with a rejoinder and a refutation. But when I make fun of you, it's a different story. You perceive it as an attack, as emasculating to you, as threatening your deepest sense of self. It is the ultimate unpardonable sin, the worst offensive, the deepest cut and betrayal.

So, after that, anything's fair game, right? And that, I would argue, is why you are so willing to ascribe the worst of motives to me, to accuse me of fucking ADVOCATING GENOCIDE -- because I laugh at your reasoning. "He said this, but he's in favor of genocide, and he's a bigot and a sexist racist homophobe, so I can safely ignore it and sneer at him instead!"

Honestly, that's fucked up. Wake up and smell the CogDis. As Dennis Miller would say, Welcome to who you are.

Okay, let's get on with "Maybe D____ isn't as smart and omniscient as he thinks he is," part trois:

You wrote:
"It continues in saying that stopping
the Millennium bombing was "a lucky break" when the
entire National Security apparatus spent 12.31.99 in a
secure location monitoring events worldwide
(documented in Against All Enemies)."

Here's a citation, from our pals at NBC:

"NBC News decided to take a close look at what happened four years ago. Was the bomb plot foiled by an alert White House or by an alert agent on the front lines?

“His story didn’t make sense to me,” said customs inspector Diana Dean. Now retired, Dean was working the border that night. On a hunch something wasn’t quite right, she questioned Ressam and asked him to pop his trunk. Inside were big bags of white powder that were first thought to be drugs.

But that night, drug tests came back negative. When investigators looked further, they found timers and realized the powder was explosives.

Dean said, “My heart dropped right into my toes when I realized what it was.”

She says no one had told her anything about being on alert for terrorists.

“I don’t recall any specific threats," she added. "I don’t recall anybody saying watch for terrorists.”

Customs officials confirm that no alert had gone out to the field.


Almost done.

You wrote:

"considering I lived for the first
16 years of my life with thousands of ICBMs pointed
directly at my skull."

What do you think I was doing at the time? I actually did duck and cover drills -- did you? I marched against the VN war when i was TEN FUCKING YEARS OLD, pal. Was that childish of me? And, at the price of incredible internal family strife, I refused to register for Selective Service in 1980 when I turned 18. Did you? Or was it non-required by then? If so, you didn't have to make the choice. I did.

Bear this in mind: the closest you've ever come to even CONCEDING a point is to say "Great Mencken quote." You know that I am not stupid.  I provide you with links to evidence when I make a point.  Are you EVER going to become intellectually flexible enough to absorb contradictory data?  If not, you have some real self-inspection to do.

Okay, that's enough.  I've had five bourbons, and am violating the don't write emails when drunk rule as it is.  Believe it or not I still think that I can change your mind.  And I still value your friendship.  And I still think that by changing your mind I might change other people's minds.  And I think that really needs to happen.

You owe me an apology for suggesting that I am in favor of genocide.   That is not true, and you know it.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mob Rule

Mobbing in Academia... the science behind group-think and peer-bullying.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Anchoress of the Post-Christian Left

This WaPo profile of Maryscott O'Connor, my neighbor down the Boulevard in lovely Sherman Oaks (Shoaks to the homies), accurately captures the religious zeal and ideological rigidity of True Believers on The Angry Left.

If, like like the authors of "Why God Won't Go Away", you think that the religious impulse is neurological in nature (as evidenced by near-identical MRIs of the brains of chanting Buddhists, praying nuns, tongue-speaking Baptists, and LSD-tripping Alan Watts-disciples), it only makes sense that the brain-vacuum resulting from being Post-Christian will find a substitute to fill itself.

The Russians outlawed God, then made a Christ out of Lenin.

The postmodern, post-Christian Left has replaced the old-fashioned God (the one that "I hate you Daddy!" believes in) with the new-fashioned Gaiaism (the Eco-Religion) or with Activism (the Politico-Religion)....

What doesn't change is the mouth-foaming zealotry of the True Believers. Savonarola's got nothing on Maryscott. History repeating, as farce. Same coin, different side.