Sunday, December 20, 2009


Americans are both blessed and cursed.

It has not always been so throughout our history, of course, but today - and for a very long time now - we have been steeped in a culture that constantly urges us to excel, to rise to the top, to be a "winner", whatever that really means.

It's not just Americans, of course. We have slowly dragged much of the rest of the Western World with us into the endless rat race of one-upmanship and conspicuous consumerism.

If you are a "normal" American, you are in debt. Sometimes scarily so. Gone are the days of the proud self-sufficiency that used to be the hallmark of Traditional America. It would have been unthinkable to Americans only 40 years ago to be heavily mortgaged to the Communist Red Chinese (as we used to call them) and to not even be able to make plastic parts ourselves, much less steel. Perhaps that's an exaggeration, but not so much: as I placed the plastic Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus figures on my front lawn this year, I couldn't help but notice the ubiquitous "Made in China" Americans are now so familiar with. I wonder what the common Chinese workers must think we are like in their minds as they make this stuff?

If it is true that contentment comes from living within yourself and your means, then we are surely the most discontented people on earth. We are especially reminded at this time of year of our rush to consume. We fight to buy things we don't need and, in truth, don't want. All around us we are constantly barraged with advertising. Buy now, pay later. Pay forever.

But we also are about to enter the new year, and with it another opportunity for personal renewal - a chance to mend our ways. It's always a good time to resolve to get one's financial house in order and begin making a plan to return to self-sufficiency.

Living within one's means and actual needs, and resisting the constant urge to consume, is not only a step towards a more sane life, it is an actual triumph in today's world. If you would know contentment, you will first learn to say no to yourself. Coming to practice deferred gratification is perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves in the new year.

This new year, resolve to "simplify". You would be in good company. Take care.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nanoseconds can be important in the right game

You probably already know - or SHOULD know - that computing and the computer you so much take for granted today owe their existence, in large part, to women. Men helped, of course, here and there, but women provided much of the brainpower it took to come up with such a complex contraption.

The first computer programmer, by definition at least, is considered to be Ada Lovelace (1802-1852), the only legitimate child of Lord Byron. She encoded an algorithm (Al Gore rhythm?) in a form to be processed by a machine. She was inspired to do so by Charles Babbage's invention of what was then known as an "Analytical Engine". She also envisioned that someday computers could become much more than simply number crunchers. Even Babbage didn't dream of that.

Women have been a part of the development of the computer and of programming it down through the years ever since. My personal favorite is a lady named Grace Hopper (pictured at the top of this post.) Grace was a rather weirdly wonderful (somewhat eccentric, I mean) brainy lady who rose to the rank of Admiral in the U.S. Navy, and who had a profound influence on early computing. She used to hand out lengths of wire, somewhat short of 12 inches in length to U.S. Naval Academy cadets at Annapolis with an admonition to "remember your nanoseconds" (The wires being the length of space an electromagnetic wave travels in a billionth of a second.) The point was to remind her computer programming students not to waste nanoseconds. Occasionally she would bring in a 1000-foot roll of wire to show them what a microsecond looked like in those terms. Well, I guess you had to be there.

Grace is credited with inventing the early computer programming language COBOL and developed the first compiler. Words and phrases like "subroutines", "formula translation", "relative addressing", linking loader", "code optimization", and "symbolic manipulation", are still fundamental to digital computing and exist in large part because of Graces pioneering in the field. If you've ever had a "bug" in your program, you owe that word to Grace as well because ever since she removed an actual dead moth from her equipment, she referred to corrective programming as "debugging" work. She once claimed she forced computers to learn English because she was too lazy to learn theirs. Not true, of course - she understood their language perfectly well- but many programmers today are thankful they can type programs in (mostly) simple English.

Thank you, as usual, Wikipedia, for helping me fill in specifics.

Rolling on the ground and talking to angels

There seems to be more than the average amount of religious posts and comments lately, as I travel through my short list in the blogosphere. Since most (all?) of my blogger-friends are Liberal through and through, most of theses religious posts/comments are derogative (disparaging), of course. That's ok, since I haven't caught the religion malady myself quite yet, though I consider myself spiritual (I'm just not into organization) :) Like an old violin, I like to be in tune with something.

I guess the thing that stuck out most in my traveling and reading was the conspicuous discrepancy between the Liberal line of "tolerance for all things and all people" - except those who believe in God and creationism. While I have to put myself in the "amazingly skeptical" camp with regard to creationism, I see no reason to belittle or ridicule the tens of millions of Americans who believe it wholeheartedly. To do so seems decidedly unliberal in one's thinking, or at least selectively intolerant (which in itself would seem to demote one to a Liberal Second-Class at best, I would think.)

One comment explained that, while the writer would probably like the atmosphere of living in a small town, he was worried about the religion disease in such areas. "Before you know it, people are playing with snakes and rolling on the ground and talking to angels." It was obvious the writer felt he would then probably catch the disease himself, the contamination being constantly in the air, as it were.

Another VERY articulate and well-educated Liberal personage made a fine (and very interesting) post about Rhode Island's beginnings, and especially the beautiful city of Newport, and it's surroundings. The post was, mostly, about tolerance and Rhode Island's fantastic history in that regard, and rightly so. The writer went on to remind us that Rhode Island was the home of early settlers fleeing religious persecution, and that many religions lived side by side there in harmony. Even Jews, by God, and all were immensely tolerant of each other's beliefs and everyone got along just famously. Then the writer quickly went on to exclude the Puritans from this otherwise-welcoming umbrella of religious tolerance. Ah, well. The Puritans were assholes, you see, who believed their way of doing things was the only right way and everyone else were just stupid heathens who didn't know any better. Worse, the Puritans were proselytizers who also ridiculed and marginalized anyone who didn't believe the "obvious truth" the Puritans believed. Since that's hardly tolerant, the Puritans not only wouldn't fit in in Rhode Island, but were only worth running away from. So the enlightened tolerant folks fled Massachusetts Bay to Rhode Island environs, or some such, and left the know-it-all Puritans to their own uneducated and unenlightened devices to survive in a pre-globally-warmed world as best they could.

That, believe it or not, brings us to scientists in general - and the Gospel of Selective Tolerance.

What is science? Science is more than one thing, but mostly the word is used to describe an area of knowledge which has been studied in depth and organized systematically. Cool. What is a scientist? A scientist is a person who has expert knowledge in one of these systematically organized areas. An expert. I am not sure if any person who is a true expert in any area of natural or physical science is a scientist, but I am sure a scientist is an expert.

As a seeker of truth, a scientist is surely the most unbiased and open-minded person in the world, right? And yet...

Scientists are mostly liberal in their thinking and approach to things; mostly tolerant unless someone dares to challenge their personal beliefs (which have, of course, arisen from a meticulous collection of information which has been properly studied and systematically organized and subjected to a thorough peer review.) And why not? - what dolt would dare challenge the "obvious" truths of Global Warming or Evolution? Sigh.

Indeed. What dolt would dare to intimate that perhaps all the information is not in yet on certain subjects? - that perhaps we don't REALLY know enough more than to simply formulate an educated theory? Maybe (this dolt continues) we should continue to gather facts while prudently acting to protect ourselves in case the scientists are right. After all, one doesn't have to subscribe to the (theory?) of Global Warming in order to want clean air and clean water and have a desire to make those things happen.

The fact that scientists are in the main mostly Liberals (or at least only selectively tolerant) is not their fault. Scientists are highly educated, usually, and all of our institutions of higher learning are awash in Liberal thought. So it stands to reason. (Here I hasten to exclude Bob Jones University and Oral Roberts University and Brigham Young University and one other which at present escapes my memory.) Of course any scientist worth his salt would now be on his feet protesting the pigeonholing of Liberalism; scientists are ruggedly independent free-thinkers, after all.

People, people, people. (As Chill Wills was fond of saying, may he rest in peace.)

Is there a point to this post? There may well be, if I go back and search diligently. Perhaps that point might be a caution against thinking that your way is the only right way and your truth is the only truth. Or perhaps it might mean I (much like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction) am a messenger from God. Who knows. But I want to tell all of you that the writer of THIS post not only doesn't have all the answers, he is less and less sure of the ones he thought he knew last year. Because this is true, I am not a scientist, but I strive for an open mind.

"We have been so cocksure of so many things that just were not true." So said the late Mortimer J. Adler, University of Chicago, editor of the venerable "Great Books of the Western World" from which this dolt scratched out a meager education while working nights in a factory.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Global warming and stuff

They are still in Copenhagen. All of them. All in their wondrous non-carbon-emitting personal jets.

I was watching Dennis Miller tonight and he opined that if they REALLY wanted to reduce their carbon footprints, especially in this day and age, they would have just scheduled a big teleconference. I agree. But algore's ego is much too large for a measly teleconference, and the leader of the free world MUST zoom across the sea on Air Force One.

Did you know it isn't Air Force One if the president isn't aboard? Probably.

Dennis also pointed out the irony of the Copenhagen protesters today being led away by the police in those cute plastic handcuffs. Not biodegradable, those.

Also making my day was a public apology by that smartass "View" loon Joy Behar for calling one of Tiger Woods' "mistresses" a hooker. I know I was shocked at the thought.

December 8th was the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death. He was 40.

Blogging is likely to be sparse until after the holidays when Clarity 2009 will be no more.

Peace and Zuzu's petals to you all. 2010 just HAS to be better.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Al Gore has left the melting icecaps and has. Not died.

Giant Algore face with evil global warming eye spotted over Copenhagen yesterday morning.

With apologies to Soubriquet for stealing the picture he stole. And apologies to those of you who think man can control the climate. I am trying ever so hard to take you seriously, though not as seriously as you take yourself. But I will do my part, just in case. (I am starting by not flying a jet to Copenhagen or living in a huge house like Algore.)

Ok, you know what REALLY bothers me? I've been hiding it. What REALLY bothers me is there are a LOT more polar bears now than there were 10 years ago. Can you imagine how many there would be if they were not as endangered as brother Gore says they are? HOLY HOPPING HARRY. We would be up to our armpits in polar bears!

Peace. Happy Hanukkah.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Erotica vs. Pornography

To me, erotica - whether it be writing, photographs, or illustrations - requires that the reader or viewer have an imagination. By that I mean erotica must draw the reader in and make him an active participant (mentally) in the story. The same is true if the erotic object is a photograph: the photograph should suggest something rather than explain something. The same holds true for an erotic film, or an erotic scene within a film. To be sure, a certain amount must be shown, or described, but it is that which is left to the imagination that makes the piece erotic.

Pornography, on the other hand, does not really require the viewer or reader to have an imagination. He simply has to know how to read or he has to have eyeballs. Pornography is all-inclusive; it explains and illustrates. It stands alone and doesn't require imagination to fulfill it. One doesn’t get “drawn into” pornography. It is simply a show to be watched, like an old John Wayne western on Saturday afternoon at a small town Bijou.There is no reason or need for the viewer to get involved; the viewer is simply a spectator watching a time-tested plot play out. And, like the John Wayne movie, one can probably guess the ending because they are largely all the same.

Erotica is an unfinished work until it gets lodged in the mind of the viewer or reader and becomes intertwined with the reader’s own thought processes, personal memories and secret curiosities. Even the author doesn’t know the twists and turns the fantasy is creating in the reader’s mind. He only knows what it means to himself as he writes it.

Erotica must always leave something to the imagination. That which is described or shown is important, of course, because without it there would be no fuel for the fire. But it is that which is left to the imagination that ignites the flames. Thinks Max.

The word erotica comes from the Greek god of love, Eros. In Roman mythology, Eros was known as Cupid. Eros was the son of Aphrodite. Although she was very beautiful, Aphrodite became jealous of a mortal woman named Psyche, and ordered her son to go to earth and shoot her in the heart with one of his arrows and cause her to fall in love with the world's ugliest man. But when Eros saw Psyche, it was he who fell in love and he carried her away. They enjoyed great love, but only at night because Psyche was not allowed to shine light on Eros. (See... you have to leave something to the imagination, remember?) There's a lot more, but this post needs to end soon. Cesar Planck wrote an opera called Psyche et Eros. (She didn't really; et means "and" in French.)

In the old Playboy magazine, there used to be a monthly feature called “Dear Playboy” or “Ask Playboy” or something like that. Readers would write in questions about sex, fashion, cars, etiquette, and the like. Mostly frat boys I think, looking back, but they seemed pretty mature compared to my high school ignorance on all social issues.
I remember one letter asked what a woman’s most erroneous zone was. I mean erogenous zone. The letter author offered the Playboy Adviser (maybe THAT was the name of the column) several suggestions to choose from. Such as the ear lobe or the neck or one or two other more obvious ones. But the adviser declined all of the writers suggestions and answered simply, “Her brain.” That answer was to help me greatly in years to come.

Let’s hear it for “imagination”.

Listen to Little Arrows

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jaimee Grubbs

I sure don't want anyone to think I am going out of my way to make fun of someone who is in an embarrassing situation. I would never do that. But the news reports on the ongoing saga of this billionaire's self-imposed tribulation is too funny to let go. So...

I will interpret the daily news gleaned from Google for you.

Cocktail Waitress Jaimee Grubbs Claims Tiger Woods Affair

Police Close Probe of Golf Pro's Auto Mishap; Woman Tells US Weekly That She Had Affair With Woods

A Los Angeles cocktail waitress claims she had a nearly three-year fling with golf superstar Tiger Woods, according to US Weekly magazine.

Golf star paid the fine but still faces public scrutiny over a possible affair.

Jaimee Grubbs, 24, told the magazine that she began having an affair with Woods in April 2007 and has since had 20 sexual encounters with the golfer. [Yeah, right. 20.]

The article, published today on the magazine's Web site, said that Grubbs claims to have more than "300 racy texts from Woods" as well as photos. [Whoa. Racy texts. "Hi bby. Lts fk, k?"]

Voicemails allegedly left by Woods on Grubbs' cell phone will be released on the magazine's site Wednesday, according to the report. [At least she is an honorable woman.]

Grubbs recently appeared on VH1's "Tool Academy." [Fitting. She's a tool.]

Messages left for Woods' attorney, Mark NeJame, were not immediately returned. [No shit? Really? Did you tell him your name was Emily Friedman and that you blogged free-lance for Yahoo?]

Woods apparently referenced the allegations of an affair in a statement on his Web site following his one-car accident last week. ["Apparently?"]

The statement praised his wife for "acting courageously" to help him after his accident and denounced "unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me." [Not so unfounded now, eh?]

He also said: "This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect." [You are also an idiot, Tiger. Don't forget that part.]

WATCH: Tiger Woods Won't Show Up for His Own Golf Tourney
Tiger Won't Show His Stripes At Golf Tournament [Oh, so clever, these journalists]
Woods' Reputed Lover: 'Tiger and I Are Not Friends' [Soooo... that's why she is blabbing to all the tabloids, then?]

The Florida Highway Patrol announced today that Tiger Woods was issued a traffic citation for careless driving but will not face criminal charges stemming from last week's car crash. [I hate to be picky, but a traffic citation IS a criminal charge. Just sayin'.]

Woods was "at fault" for the car accident outside his Florida home Friday, said FHP Sgt. Cindy Williams, and faced a $164 fine and a four-point deduction from his license. [Is this the same Cindy Williams who was on LaVern and Shirley? She's cop now?]

Late Tuesday, Woods' lawyer NeJame said that the athlete had paid the fine. [I thought you said the lawyer wouldn't return phone calls. Oh. Just yours.]

"We are please with the outcome," said NeJame. "It's over." [You WISH it were over. Fat chance.]

There was "insufficient evidence" for authorities to subpoena medical records from Woods, according to FHP Sgt. Kim Montes, and so no criminal charges will be filed and the investigation has now concluded. [And I'm sure EVERYONE gets treated this way. Let me get this straight: two back windows broken out of his car and Tiger has a split lip and his wife is standing there with a five-iron in her hand, and there is "insufficient evidence"?]

Montes added that Woods' "celebrity status" did not have any impact on the investigation. [I'm sure everyone believes that. Thank you for pretending we are idiots.]

Earlier today, the lawyer for the neighbor who called 911 late last week after Woods' car crash said that the golf star's injuries appeared to be the result of the accident and not a domestic incident. [How would he know that if he were just standing there in the dark as he claims, while Tiger is lying in the street? Is the neighbor a medical doctor with zoom-vision?]

Cocktail Waitress Jaimee Grubbs Claims Tiger Woods Affair [Max has flashback and envisons the proud parents Grubb standing over their newborn daughter's crib and Dadgrubb says, "Let's name her Jaimeee, honey." "No, Oscar. Two "E"s are plenty."]

Bill Sharpe, the attorney for the family of Linda Adams and her son Jarius, who is believed to be the 911 caller, said that Woods' injuries were "consistent with a car accident" and "inconsistent with being beaten up." [Jarius? What about the golf club and the cussing Norwegian woman?]

"None of his injuries looked like he was beat up with a golf club," said Sharpe. [He had a split lip and facial injuries. What do you think a face looks like after a collision with golf club? You aren't all that Sharpe if you ask me. And why are we listening to you anyway. Why don't the police just do their job?]

The Adams family "comforted Mrs. Woods," who looked "upset," said Sharpe, speaking from his Orlando, Fla., law office. [Why would she be upset? She owns half of Tiger's Billion.]

Tigers appeared "woozy" when the Adams first saw him and instructed the golfer not to move until help arrived, said Sharpe. [The kid "instructed" woozy Tiger? Puhleeze. That's why he was lying in the street? Anyone think to check the golf club for blood and hair? Or would that be too much of an intrusion by the cops?]

Sharpe added that none of the Adams reported seeing any evidence that suggested a domestic dispute and did not hear anything that would suggest otherwise. No evidence of drugs or alcohol were seen on the scene by family either, said Sharpe. [And they don't expect any money from Tiger for saying that, either.]

Woman Linked to Tiger 'Very Lost' After 9/11
WATCH: Tiger Woods' Crash: A 'Private Matter'
Woods Declares Crash 'a Private Matter;' Lawyer Says He Won't Talk With Cops [Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, tell the cops you won't talk with them.]

Adams is believed to have called authorities after Woods plowed his SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree outside his Windermere, Fla., home early last Friday morning. [You "believe" he called 911? He SAYS he did. They have the 911 tapes. Maybe you are right.]

Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, reportedly used a golf club to smash a window of his SUV to get him out. [So why not break out the passenger side window and reach in and unlock the door? Why break out both back windows instead? Vengeance is mine, saith the lord. Lucky she just happened to have a golf club in her hand at the time.]

Sharpe said today that his clients did not see any golf clubs at the scene of the accident. [Yeah? Well his wife says she had one and there are broken windows all over. Don't be stupid.]

But in the wake of the accident, during which Woods has stayed mostly mum about what happened -- even refusing to talk with police about the incident -- rumors have swirled around the possibility that an alleged affair between the athlete and night club hostess Rachel Uchitel may have been the cause for a domestic dispute. [What happened to Jaimeee Grubbb? Can't this guy just keep it in his pants?]

In the days prior to the car accident, Woods' reputed affair with Uchitel was reported first by the National Enquirer. That report spread following the car accident. [That ain't all that spread. Tiger's afraid to go to sleep now.]

Cocktail Waitress Jaimee Grubbs Claims Tiger Woods Affair
Police Close Probe of Golf Pro's Auto Mishap; Woman Tells US Weekly That She Had Affair With Woods

But Uchitel denied any kind of affair with the golf superstar and called the rumors "ridiculous" in an interview with the New York Post today.

WATCH: Questions Surround Tiger's Car Crash
WATCH: Tiger Woods 911 Call
PHOTOS: Tiger Woods Crash Scene

"Not a word of it is true," Uchitel told the Post. "It's the most ridiculous story. It's like they are asking me to comment if there are aliens on Earth."

Uchitel said Woods had been to the New York City club where she worked, and she did escort Woods and his group in and out, but that was the extent of their contact. [We'll revisit these indignant denials in a couple weeks and see if she forgot anything.]

Yesterday, Woods withdrew from the golf tournament that was scheduled to begin today and recused himself of his hosting duties, citing unspecified injuries he suffered from the mysterious crash. [Plus he still can't walk straight. I think you mean "excused". He's not a judge.]

"I am extremely disappointed that I will not be at my tournament this week," Woods said in a statement posted on his Web site. "I am certain it will be an outstanding event, and I'm very sorry I can't be there." [But I just can't bring myself to touch a golf club right now.]


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