Apr/21
2006
Well if there's anything to be said for the current administration it's that they're consistent. If it would benefit them financially or politically they would issue reports that the world is flat and that images from space were fakes created by commie-loving leftists to help enact environmental regulations designed to reduce massive profit margins from the petroleum industry. Or some such bullshit. The latest casualty in the Bush-war-on-science is today's FDA report that marijuana has no medical benefits. Nope none. It's simply a "gateway" drug to get people hooked on harder stuff. Wtf. Ok? On one hand the Institute of Medicine issued a report stating that marijuana had anti-nausea properties that were beneficial to AIDS and cancer patients, on the other the FDA which didn't conduct any research, simply dismisses educated and certified professional opinions because.... well just because they didn't agree. Yep it's the dark ages again. Amazing isn't it? We're past the year 2000 and witch hunts and inquisitions against scientific truths are in full force. States are not only encouraging but legalizing the use of school time for "Bible Study". It's simply amazing that for a country so advanced we can step so far back into time.
Apr/21
2006

Need A Fix?

Apr/19
2006
I don't understand some people's seemingly conscious effort to keep their blinders on. It's as if they have wrapped their mind into a paradigm shift (ooo buzzword) and refuse to budge from their position. It doesn't matter how much evidence you throw at them, how much logic you use, or even how inadequately supported their position is. Sometimes, the blinders are put on by small minded handfuls who just want the truth to go away. Other times, the blinders are put on by the masses. I can give examples either way. The most well known example is the Holocaust. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can claim it never happened. There is enough evidence to choke a mule. Pictures, testimonials, SURVIORS. It’s a no brainer. But that doesn’t stop people from making fantastical claims about it being a hoax. Another good one is the people that step up and say 9/11 was staged or part of some government conspiracy. While there isn’t quite as much evidence against this position as there is for the holocaust, there just doesn’t seem to be any way to justify many of their claims. Blinders on. My final example is the most amusing in my opinion. We never landed on the moon. Oh yeah. This theory has more holes than Swiss cheese, but you’ll never convince its supporters. The worst part is I can’t even understand their logic for why we would fake the damn thing. The most reasonable explanation is to win the Space Race with the Soviets. Of course, that idea is a little flawed by the fact that those very same Soviets would probably have noticed we were faking it and called us on it. I mean, they were watching us pretty close to see if we pulled it off. I think they might have noticed that nothing left orbit. Blinders on. Of course, in the other direction, there are a few notable cases. For the most part, things of this nature fall into the “Things your History class never told you” category. But in some cases, it’s willful ignorance. Take for example the Columbus’s attempt to “prove the earth was round and find a trade route to India.” Yeah. That’s not true. Not even a little bit. Aristotle claimed the earth was round. Other ancient philosophers even closely estimated the size. The common canon is that Columbus convinced Isabella that it was round. She was a queen with a pretty good education. She KNEW it was round. Most educated people did. The only convincing he has to do was to prove to her that he could sail the distance required to get to India with the supplies available (he was wrong by the way). But damn if every history book I’ve ever seen doesn’t teach it differently. Another prime example is the image of our founding fathers as some sort of moral gods. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. Imagine Virginian plantation owners owning slaves! Not really a shock, but it’s amazing how many people pop their blinders on. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize slavery. It wasn’t just a southern thing. Patrick Henry’s “Give me freedom or give me death” was given eight months after he organized and led patrols to prevent slaves from accepting the British offer of freedom for service. The list goes on. I could expound on this subject for hours probably, but the long and short of it is this: many people have some form of historical error imprinted on their brains. In the case where a minority has smoked a little too much dope and come up with a crazy idea, I can only shake my head. For the places where the public either willingly or mistakenly has simply accepted an error as fact, one can only wonder how such things have occurred, work to correct them, and try to prevent further incidents. Just imagine a history book that identified Bush as a uniter, not a divider. You never know. It could happen.
Apr/18
2006
Speaking romantically of politics and nostalgia I'd like to point out that the current dictators just don't have the same 'je ne sais quois' that the old dictators did. Well most politicians don't. The oratorical ability possessed by the Churchills, Roosevelts, Kennedies, or even the Stalins and Hitlers just do not exist any more. Instead we get overly hyped posturing and fist shaking with little or no verbal accompaniment like some silent movie from the days of Charlie Chaplin. I'm not sure why no one in their 'office of speech writing' hasn't pointed out that phrases like "we shall chop off the hands of the aggressors" just sounds limp. Or that using the same rhetoric as the last dictator to land in the hands of a national or international court really doesn't say much for their future in politics as a whole. Maybe the same speech writers are running from one failing 3rd world regime to the next like rats before the deluge. You have to wonder what their resume's look like, and if the people hiring them can read in the first place...
Apr/18
2006
I'm sure I've ranted on this topic before, but regardless, I want to rant on it some more. The subject under the microscope is in the arena of politics which means many of you can immediately stop reading since most of my positions are pretty well known by now. The trigger this time is the now-unsecret agreement between the CIA and the National Archives. Under the claim that documents had been released without their review, items that were public ally available have been quietly removed from the Archives. How many? The current estimate is more than 55,000 pages. While I find the whole "secret agreement" and "removal of public documents" revolting, I'm not in the least surprised. It's part and parcel of the whole mentality that has fitted this administration like a glove. Born and raised during an era of American involvement in wars and conflict, Bush longs for a return to those "glory days", of the pacific conflicts and cold war. To me, the removal of public records (some of which actually date to the 1950's) is just part of the whole "Red Scare" mentality - only now we can't call it the Red Scare. Maybe we can call it the "Towelhead Scare" instead. (Can't use "Curry Scare" since lots of non-threatening cultures use curry, like the Jamaicans for example). On the whole I don't disagree with the idea that if someone made a mistake and declassified material accidentally that it shouldn't get withdrawn. However, not coming out and saying you fucked up is wrong, especially since the point of the National Archives is to provide public record for government decisions and actions. Further, if the fucking telegraph between some Polish Ambassador to the second Turkish Minister of Goat Cheese wasn't supposed to be released, but has been, and has been widely distributed already then what the hell is the point of taking it out now? I don't recall seeing that the CIA was going to track down every copy of 55,000+ documents that were already accidentally released. They're out now, and in the day of the Internet - any of the released materials could be anywhere on the globe by now, in uncountable numbers. After 6 years of an administration public ally flouting laws and re-writing the rules in their favor this latest scandal comes as no big shock, like I said before. However there is a hidden lesson in all this - and that is that history cannot be denied. Maybe you can cover your tracks now to get what you want in the short term, but in the long run people will know the truth and the archives will serve their purpose... to document this truth and make it available to anyone who wants it.
Apr/12
2006
Internet hunting. Yes, that's right - in Texas you could remotely shoot at live animals with the click of a mouse from the "privacy of your own home". Astronomically retarded. Enough said.
Apr/12
2006

In Fear of Fear

Self-censorship is probably one of the things that your average person does not practice as well as one would hope. But then again - why practice it at all? If you've got something to say, then say it. I've always tried to follow that motto. Indeed, things just come tumbling out of my mouth before I have a chance to stop myself. And why do I try to stop myself? Well, ok - for the most part, we bite our tongues in order not to offend those around us. But what if what is offensive is the truth? Do we then duck behind anonymity and hope that no one finds out that we were the one who had the audacity to say what was really on our mind? Case in point - my web presence spans 10 years. Anyone with some gumption can prolly trace my web trail back to one of my first postings to Usenet or even my first home page. Whatever. I don't care. Or do I? In the past year or so I've been tracked down by an ex-girlfriend and had my online journal thingamajig pulled into an RSS feed by a co-worker, and then watched regularly by another co-worker. Yeah - well - that's my fault for maintaining some sort of trendy community driven web page. Honestly, it's just so I can keep in touch with some of my various online friends across the country - not so that I can expose myself to the world. It's also nice to have a convenient place where you can write what you think without the annoyance of maintaining a web page. There comes a time with personal blogs or whatever, where you just say what's on your mind. And damnit - people may not like it. I can't really apologize for that. But I often stop myself from saying anything, because it's not like my most private thoughts need to be posted to the Internet. Just like I'm doing now. You folks really don't give a shit, and I know it. So what's the big deal? Well here you go. Despite the fact that some people (i.e. people from work - Omi doesn't count because I know he doesn't care one way or the other) are reading my stuff and gaining a personal insight that I really don't want them to have, but there's always the possibility that what I post may get back to the various managers around the office... as in my managers. So I try, at the very least, to not talk about work in my entries. Here's an example as to why... I'm in my cube, as usual, minding my own business, when in comes a co-worker. We hang out on a site in particular and often make posts to the site. My co-worker informed me that the time stamps of our posts were being tracked within the office to make sure we're not wasting work time making those posts. I can see the need to keep employees productive, but it's also a little creepy. So if we're being watched on one site, then why not others? Why not this one? As I said, it's pretty easy to track me down through some simple google searches. And I don't feel like switching nicks. I've had this one for a long time, and really - it's me. People I *want* to know can find me with it. So comes the downside of being recognizable - that those whom I'd rather not be all up in my business are doing just that. Getting up in my business. And now I've probably gone and offended someone. Well, whatever. If I've somehow ticked someone off over something so simple as being honest, then they need to grow some skin and get over it. Would you rather have me lie to you? And since this is a web site devoted to bitching, ranting, and talking about what sucks, here's some more truth in response to the "things co-workers do that annoy the piss out of you" post. At my office I have co-workers who...
  • Talk with their mouths full of food.
  • Bealch as they stand over your shoulder, without thought to the noxious smelling breath that they're blowing in your face
  • Plant their fingers on my monitor, leaving fingerprints all over it. There is no reason for touching a monitor. Just point at the screen, don't stab it.
  • Read over your shoulder as you type away on your computer or even still, must take an active inventory of whatever it is that's up on your computer screen the moment they walk into your cube.
  • Ceaselessly complain about treatment from other co-workers or gossip about "what's going on" in the company at any given moment, but make no steps to adjust their situation or right what they see is wrong. Do something about, coz I sure can't help you.
  • Insist on sitting for 30 minutes in my cube talking about nothing that I'm interested in. Just because you have nothing to do doesn't mean that I have to entertain you.
  • Take forever to get to the point, but can't seem to let someone finish their thought, even though we've patiently waited for them to finish their sentence
  • Hack up a lung regularly from smoking
  • Freak out if you don't do things their specific way
  • Cry foul on others mistakes, yet gloss over things when they make the same screw up
Over all I like my office, my co-workers, and how we do things. Though I paint a horrific picture - these are just the things that, after 7 years, have slowly worked their way under my fingernails like so much hot bamboo.
Apr/11
2006
Well I may not like visiting Maine except to shop there on rare occasions, but I have to give them credit for instituting a law that makes sense the moment you hear it. It's even easy to explain: the law provides protection for pets in cases of domestic violence. That's it. It's fantastic for a number of reasons: because abusers often target their partners pets as a means to hurt them, because if an individual will abuse their partner they certainly won't hold back against a pet, because it assists victims in getting out of a bad relationship if they know their pets will be provided for. There is evidence that pets are often victims in cases of domestic abuse. By providing for pets in protective orders you not only save the animal, but you also provide peace of mind for someone who needs it most. I love and dote on my pets, I know there are people who would be willing to put their pets before themselves if it meant saving them from harm. This law breaks that lock by removing an advantage from abusers and enabling victims to leave with peace of mind for something they love.
Apr/10
2006
The Times has an article on El Salvador entitled Pro-Life Nation. It describes how in an environment where all abortions are banned in the name of religon and the sanctity of life, women pay the highest prices. They can be jailed for up to 50 years for having an abortion. They can be forced to undergo vaginal examinations for evidence of abortion. In the case of a severe condition that requires hysterectomy their uterus can be used as evidence against them. In the case of ectopic pregnancies (where the fetus implants outside the womb) the doctors MUST wait until either the fetus dies or the women's tubes rupture. This is what the "pro-life" people want - read about it.
Apr/10
2006
It would be nice to have a salary in the 6 digits, but why think small? Hell "top" executives now get salaries in the double digit millions. How do they get them? Well a few things usually count, like the performance of the company they're running. I guess that's the theory. In the case of the CEO for Verizon the stock actually dropped 26% and investors lost money, but the firm that recommends his salary to the board said that the CEO did such a fucking spectacular job he deserved 19.4 million in compensation. Hoh. I really can't even picture what that means. And yeah that was just for that year. In the past 4 years he didn't earn that much, only 13.1, 12.8, 9.5 (02' must have been a bad year) and 13.4 .... million. So in a total of 5 years Ivan Seidenburg made over 60 million. I still can't imagine what it means to have that much money. So if stock performance isn't proportional to the salaries of a top executive, then what formula is used to decide how many wheelbarrows worth of cash these guys should get? Well, the companies don't determine this for themselves - although one might think that they'd be in the best position to judge. They hire consultants of course. And (you see where this is going don't you?) who determines the consultants? Well the CEO's of course. Qu'elle surprise. Oh they don't just pick a buddy and say here - this guy will tell you that I'm so great that I need multi-millions in compensation. No they'll say 'Hey, hire these guys to deal with ALL our employee investments, pension plans, benefits, trust me they're worth paying a half a billion to.' I would have to say that the people on the boards that approve these astro-fucking-nomical salaries must be so thoroughly insulated from 99% of the world that they think this is ok. Actually I know they think it's ok because in the case of Verizon, the board that determines his salary is made entirely of CEO's and former CEO's (where in at least one Mr.Seidenberg helped determine the board members compensation). 19.4 million. 19.4 million? Hello? Doesn't that ring any bells? You're giving that much money to ONE MAN, not a state, not an impoverished nation, not to clean up an oil spill, not to invent medicines for medical break-troughs, not to support a hospital in a a dirt-poor area, not to send thousands of kids to college, not to relieve drought in a stricken area... fuck, I could go on forever. I suppose on the other end you have to wonder what kind of asshole actually accepts that kind of money with a straight face. And then goes back to the pot to grab more. Honestly, if I had to wager a guess I'd say 4 or 5 million is about the limit of what an 'executive' should get. The only other people who I believe should get more are athletes, essentially because they -can't- earn that kind of money their whole lives. If they get injured then poof goes the money. They only have a limited window in which to cash in AND it's directly and visibly related to performance. 19.4 million. Wow Mr.Ivan Seidenberg. You must need a fucking bowling bag to carry your balls around in, to accept that much money for lame company performance.
Apr/07
2006
Well the latest fashion trend among the city-hip are "Grillz". Essentially orthodontics made of precious or semi-precious metals often studded with gems. Yes, it obviously promotes tooth decay. And yes there's probably not a more retarded way to flaunt your wealth then to have it snapped, capped or glued to your teeth. I suppose it would be a pretty hardcore sight to have someone grinning with a mouthful of gold and diamonds with a bit of parsley sticking out. On the other hand if you have your money glued to your teeth it's damn hard to have someone steal it, much less fence it. True, there's always the option of knocking someone's teeth out, but still - you pretty much can't just rob someone at gunpoint for it, then sell it easily. Further, while it's definitely a financial asset, it's not one easily accessible by the owner. The police are finding this out when they try and confiscate wealth from criminals. If they're not the snap-on type then basically you have to send these people to jail with money in their mouths. I understand the concept of "Tribal" beauty, I've had anthropology classes and seen movies on lip plates and scarification. I also remember that gold caps used to be a dental standard, and flashing a gold-toothed smile was a slightly debonair image amongst artists and musicians. But the over the top, gluing of glitter and metal to your teeth must be pretty damn disgusting when you're eating. I can't imagine that it must feel very good to kiss or be kissed by. I used think the stupid, ugly, heavy gold jewelry was flamboyant enough, apparently there was a way to up the standard. So, what's next? Diamond embedded skin grafts? Gold skull insets? Apparently wearing your wealth in a removable fashion isn't enough, having it implanted into your body is the next step up.
Apr/07
2006

Uncontrollable Urges

Have you ever had someone with a personal habit so totally infuriating that you physically have to restrain yourself from throttling them? I think most people have. Further I would venture that the individuals that meet this criteria have the same effect on virtually everyone not destined for sainthood. I work in an office that, very thankfully, has doors. About two or three times a day an individual will walk by with a habit that literally makes me want to scream. I'm very certain he doesn't know he does it, further, not a single friend of his has seen fit to say anything (as I would certainly do if he were my friend). I realize that this insanely annoying habit he has is probably the result of some medical condition, however after being subjected to it for several years I could care less. I just want him to stop, or go away. Forever. Basically, he goes around snorking. What is snorking? Snorking is when you suck the snot out of the back of your sinuses and swallow it. It's virtually impossible to do quietly (not that I've made much of a study of the art) and results in these startlingly loud, explosive sounds, that could gently be described as a cross between oinking and upchucking. Most humans only do this when they're very sick and can't breathe as a desperate attempt to clear blocked passageways. It's essentially never done in polite or professional society. Yes you're supposed to have tolerance for other people, and actually the person in question is both nice enough and technically proficient that there's little else to fault him with. However every time I'm subjected to the snorking doppler effect as he passes my office (or Gods forbid goes to talk to someone in a nearby office) I'm driven to the brink of sanity, white knuckled clutching the desk for fear of grabbing a blunt instrument and charging into battle to eliminate the source of my pain. Would that there were a way to gather other people who also feel my angst and confront the person and get them to cease the behavior or relegate him to some far-away location. We're a democratic society, why isn't there a socially acceptable way to deal with people like this?
Apr/06
2006
Immigration, to me this means the orderly and documented way by which people of other nations transfer their home, working ability, investments and loyalty to a new nation. Read that last line again carefully, I picked all those words for a reason. Home. If you're immigrating to a new country, it's not a temporary thing. The difference is you want to make your home, have your kids, grow old, die and be buried to the country you moved to. If your intent is to move to another country long enough to make money, send it back to whence you came and then retire on that money then you're not an immigrant - you're a "guest worker". You don't get to vote. You shouldn't benefit from the free services offered to legitimate citizens. You're here to make money. If you lose your ability to make money or no one wants your skills go back to the country you came from. Working ability. Picking up from the paragraph above, if you don't plan on coming to a new nation for any reason other than money, you'd better have either a desirable skill, or a work ethic. Understand this, if you're just coming to freeload off medical, social benefits because your nation doesn't supply them then fuck off. Investments. If you make your money here, then you should be spending it here, putting back into the system. The whole "making money to send back home" doesn't wash with me. If you made it here successfully, and your family means that much to you - then sponsor them to join you. People who are doing this aren't going to be loyal or interested in supporting the nation that's giving them the opportunity to work for a decent wage and protect them with laws for health and safety. To me it's exploiting the system again, though to a slightly lesser extent because at least you should be paying taxes even if you're not contributing to any other businesses. Loyalty. Here's the big one. There was an article about the backlash generated by people rallying for immigration but carrying flags for another nation. How fucking stupid can you possibly be? I mean that. If you're a minority and your professed goal is to fit into the majority then you DON'T advertise your differences. It's the equivalent of dressing in orange on St.Patricks day. It's simple, you can't make the point about wanting to join a nation if you're going to go around saying how dedicated you are to the place you came from. I can't find another way to express this. Yes, nations are diverse, yes people do have a "heritage" or place they came from, but once they join a new nation they express that as a portion of their new culture. It's something they can ADD to their new nation, new foods, new flavors, new colors, new music. You left that place, take your culture now and add it to your new one. People like to reference the 'old days' and how America was a nation of immigrants. How it welcomed the poor and hungry and tired, and how today we're forgetting those values. Well I'd like to point out that it's now past the year 2000 not 1800. Things have changed. Back then you didn't have social benefits and protections. You didn't have Medicare. You didn't have Social Security. You didn't have Welfare. What you had were the clothes you came in with and a desire to find a job and make a home. Immigrants today aren't necessarily coming to America to "take the jobs Americans won't have". In the case of high-tech you have Indians coming to take jobs Americans DO want but can't take at sub-standard wages. In the case of blue collar you have Mexicans coming to take jobs that employers again, want to circumvent rules and regulations for decent and humane treatment. It's NOT the same situation. America was built by those original immigrants into a land of plenty, and that's not something that should be just given away.
Apr/06
2006
Certain actions on a recent date, resembled scenes from the 80's flick "Turner and Hooch". Guys, if you want a lady to feel anything but grossed out, don't try this at home . . . During a recent date, we were starting to get to know each other better (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). I was proceeding to manually "take care of business". Thing must have been a bit too dry for him, because without warning, he grabs my hand and licks it. Yes, licks it. Then he placed my hand back on him. I blinked in shock and continued. After the third lick, shall we say I was no longer in the mood for what he wanted - I wanted a shower . . . ALONE. Before you think I am over reacting, this lick was not your garden variety lick. We are talking more spit than I thought the human mouth was capable of holding. It was just plain GROSS. So guys, moist - good, sloppy wet - bad.
Apr/05
2006

Special treatment?

Link: http://www-tech.mit.edu/V126/N15/RIAA1506.html

So, here we have a case that has become typical in recent years. A young student in college got nabbed by the RIAA for sharing music. Same sad story, same evil villian. Now, upon being caught and notified, said student decided to call on over to the negotiation settlement line and tried to determine how to bail herself out of this mess. Apparently a nice little sum of $3750 will take care of the 'damages' just fine. You guys know my feelings on that scum sucking organization, so I won't bother to reiterate them here. Just assume that that 'damage' is batshit crazy. At this point, my pity for the student must sadly go the way of the dodo. You see, at that point, she tries to beg plead and cry to get some form of leniency; either a reduction or a delay on the fine because she's a poor college student. The operator flatly refuses anything along those lines and in fact suggests that the student drop out of college to pay the debt. Then she goes off into a little tangent about how she discovered that file sharing isn't a victimless crime, because she's the victim! Oy vey. OK, there are two things here that bother me. First up, it amuses me that she would expect something merciful from one of the most blood thirsty, evil, nasty idiotic and despicable organizations in the world. To be honest, the settlement line IS their merciful side. This way you can settle without having to go through court fees and such things. Of course, it's also an attempt to soften their image with a public that reacted poorly to grandmothers being hauled off into court, but let's just take the mercy for what it's worth. It's all you're going to get from this organization. Even at my most spiteful, I realize its main purpose is to make money, and their fear mongering campaign is an attempt to maintain that income. Still, under no circumstances would I expect mercy, and I can't really respect this student for expecting more than she got. Blood thirsty… HEEELLO. Second up is the apparent belief that somehow, they shouldn’t suggest she drop out. Here’s my little life lesson from me to her: Punishment sucks. That’s kinda the point. I share files. I have no problem fucking the RIAA over just to get some kicks. However, at no point do I delude myself into believing it’s not a crime. And like all crimes, if you get caught, you get punished. Sometimes that punishment is community service. Sometimes it’s pound-me-in-the-ass federal penitentiary. Sometimes it’s a slap-on-the-wrist fine. Sometimes it’s a big-life-altering-major fine. In this case, the fine is large enough that you can’t afford to pay it and maintain your college life. Well, thems the breaks. You gets your money and you take your chances. You lost. You gambled they wouldn’t catch you. Sorry you didn’t win that one. Sorry if that means your MIT life is going to have to take a break. But really, come on. Under what circumstances would ‘I’m in college’ fly with a real judge? Damn near never, right? Well why do you expect any less here? Edit: It should also be noted that this is a settlement amount determined by the RIAA. If she took it in front of a judge the fine (if found guilty, which she probably would be), could be far greater or far less. It's a gamble.
Apr/03
2006
On the surface it would appear that the rise in childhood obesity is a bad thing, but first glances aren't always what they seem. Yes a whopping 23% of 2 to 5 year olds are over weight. I fell over that statistic when I was reading an article about kiddie car seat manufacturers. Apparently it's a problem for parents trying to shoehorn their little meatballs into car seats designed for normal, healthy kids. Apparently they don't think anything of having a 2 year old that weighs over 40 lbs. At no point does the alarm bell go off that their kid is a little lump of lard that needs help - even I'm sure when the pediatrician says so. Think about it however, it's a medical fact that kids that are obese grow up to be obese. It's a further fact that obese people die early due to a variety of health complications. For a social and retirement system such as we have, that means that chances are these people won't be living to retirement age. They can pay into it while they're in their 20's and 30's and help support the GenX'ers who suffered under the crushing burden of the boomers. But when they reach their 40's and 50's - WHAM - they'll be poppin off and keeling over reducing the burden for the next generation. I suppose it's a sort of Darwinism at work - society being so soft and plush. Don't walk, don't climb stairs, and ffs don't think of exercising. Sit on your couch, stuff your hole with sweet and fatty snacks. It's all you can eat! It's Supersized! It's ok to be fat, look at everyone else who is. Yes, our society has to accommodate them right now with bigger chairs, wider doors, more handicapped spots and doctors benches that are structurally sound for a Ford half ton truck, but that's only temporary. The good news for the future is that for the parents and kids that reject the marketed overindulgence, they get to have a financed retirement thanks to peers who ate fast and died young.
Mar/31
2006
I've had a few bizarre incidents involving Jewish people and phones in my life. The one that stands out the most was when I was at college. It was a Friday, late afternoon, and I was in a suite belonging to another student who was semi-orthodox Jewish. I say semi because while he and his roommates lived by the letter of the law, they clearly didn't think much of it's spirit imho. In a nutshell the suite housed 6 people - 5 semi-orthodox Jews and an Indian guy. At first I thought this was a more or less just random arrangement, with the 6th person just having been assigned there. When the phone rang I found out otherwise. It seems that while they were religious enough to subscribe to the prohibition against using electrical devices after sundown on Friday, there were not against keeping someone there to do it for them. When the phone rang, someone yelled for the Indian guy who immediately scuttled over and put it on a speaker phone for them so they could use it. Same deal with turning on the lights, opening the fridge, driving a car. Anyway, seems that the idea of "kosher" has gone now to cell phones. What's a kosher phone? Well it's a phone that's been approved by a rabbinical society as meeting the appropriate social constraints. This means that there's no camera, no text messaging and no, repeat NO way to upgrade the firmware or hardware. Finally it would censor the user from dialing into any prOn or chat lines. Well ok, so the idea is they want the freedom of a wireless phone to use anywhere any time - but at the same time they also want to enforce "moral values". These phone are currently available in Israel, and being considered for marketing here in the US. I don't get it. It goes back to the Indian guy with the phone. On the one hand people want to embrace their religion and follow it's rules to be reminded of what their ancestors thought, felt and decreed as spiritually uplifting. On the other hand they want what their ancestors never had, the latest technological toys and the freedoms offered by a modern society.... but only the freedoms that someone else with religious authority has approved based on strictures that never anticipated advances modern technology. If you're not going to movies, and not playing DVD's, why exactly should you need a cell phone? To me it sounds like a case of having your pastrami and eating it too....