Upper Left Hand Corner
"I hate it here." -- Spider Jerusalem

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Carville said...

Democrats "should not exaggerate the facts," but merely state and restate them. "They lied to get us in. They don't know how to get us out," he said. "How did they not know the country wasn't divided? How do you commit 150,000 troops with no plan to get out? All we have to do is remind people of that."

... and much more about the coming campaign. Worth a look now that the dems seem to be waking up and fighting back a bit.

posted by greg | 12:54 PM

Wednesday, July 23, 2003  

Ellis' Transmetropolitan

Kind of a side note here: I just finished Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan series.

Enough people have lauded the writing of this jewel -- that's not the point here. I read the trade paper back editions and hunted down the last 12 single issues (49 to 60). So the only thing that slowed down my page turning was access to the works.

Yes, sixty issues. I can not even imagine the agony of getting in on the ground floor of this masterpiece. One painful month at a time, slowly, ever so slowly, 5 years of yearning, hanging onto the damn cliff that Ellis sadistically suspended his readers from.

Here, in this case, the early bird gets "skinned by a bunch of mid-town body purists". And i don't give "two yanks on a dead dog's dick" what you comic book geeks say, you're scum anyway.

Just a reminder:

"when i talk about the doomed, the scum, the people who no longer give a shit, the people who look away from the pain in the streets, the people who don't care about who runs this country...

...when i talk about the filth of the city...

...i'm talking about you.

(all quotes ripped off from Spider)

posted by greg | 8:52 AM

not heard said...

"Hell i don't have anything against single moms. Shoot, i really think they need all the support we can give them. They're raising the next generation. That's not the point! The point is that a lot of people do! I mean, lets face it, single moms are a great scapegoat. Everyone wants to point fingers. Everyone needs someone to disdain, it makes them feel better, superior in some way -- you know. I just give 'em what they want -- it's politics man! What's reason, fairness, and justice got to do with anything? This isn't about doing the right thing, it's all about the numbers. Risk/benefit ratios based on the polls."

"Sheesh! I thought you'd of figured that out by now boy."

... but probably could have been.

posted by greg | 8:10 AM

Friday, July 18, 2003  

Open Letter to My Vet

My cat, Mittie, died this week. She was nineteen years my beloved companion. I have had many vets in that time because i do not seem to stay in any one place for very long. But in the last years of Mittie's life, as her health yeilded to old age, i was lucky enough to have a remarkable vet.

This is an open letter to her as a way for me to do two things; greive, and acknowledge the value i found in this relationship between me, Mittie, and our vet.

Dear (name withheld):

I wanted to thank you for all you have done for Mittie and us through the years of your service. From the very first time we came to see you, I felt at ease and comfortable with your care.

With the loss of Mittie, and subsequent emotions, it occurred to me just how important our relationships with our pets are. These relationships take on an importance that would seem disproportionate upon examination. However the experience of the emotional attachment, and currently the pain of the loss, are very real. I am not sure why this is, and I do not really want to examine it at this point.

I bring this up because you, as a veterinarian, find yourself in the middle of this remarkable relationship between our furry companions and us. I just want to let you know that you have done a remarkable job in fostering this relationship. I could always look to you with trust, and act with confidence when the life of Mittie was in the balance.

Thank you very much for that gift.

Kindest Regards

posted by greg | 11:44 AM

Are there limits to liberty?

Most would agree when your actions cause harm.
But what about the use of the commons -- can appropriation of the commons lead to harm now, or in the future? If so, is that to be imposed as a limit?

If it is, then who is to do the required calculus that would project or declare harm?

Are the world's forests, wildlife, aquifers, rivers, lakes, soils, and air to be considered the commons?

Or is it ok to dump toxins in a place if it is deemed "yours"? How can there be any real ownership of the commons? Who decides? And is it wise to draw boundaries of ownership or control over the land that knows no such things as borders and territorial waters?

Why is the imperative for growth such a dominant world-view? It is insane to think we can grow at 2% per year for very long, unless of course you can't do math, or don't want to.

Why does the struggle to get on, to provide consume our lives? Does this not lead to a self-interested myopia that spells eventual crisis? Does it not detract from the ability to think of, and address bigger things, and bigger problems? Have we given too much power to organizations in the midst of this struggle for fear of not having enough?

Why is it that we build, demand, and gladly purchase ever increasingly complex and feature packed televisions when the programming is getting ever increasingly base. I mean, do we really need a 72 inch, HDTV, surround sound, TIVO enhanced television to watch another season of Fear Factor?

posted by greg | 11:14 AM

Precautionary Principle

The problem appears to be when some participants in the debate become blinded to evidence other than that which supports their agenda (like profit or the desire for a pristine environment) . At this point discussion breaks down and power takes over. And here the democratic process does not help. It is not designed to air ideas in any meaningful way. Quite possibly the best ideas are often the most unpopular. The democratic process advances only those ideas with the most support. And it seems, often enough, that support is generated through the use of various means of power, not reason.

Pundits can harp from the sidelines all they want about clear thinking and what is a reasonable way to proceed. However, like all sidelined players, they are just warming the bench. Nobody is calling on them to intercede. Unless, of course, the advocacy of the pundit supports the agenda)

Full disclosure: this is the bench i occupy most of the time, not that i am a pundit with any credentials. Any foray into the field of debate or substantive issue has unfailingly been met with disappointment.

Disappointment mainly in myself, as i seem to be unable to negotiate dialogue. We, as human beings, seem genuinely unable to have a meaningful exchange of ideas that leads to a consensus understanding of where we stand in our knowledge, both of what we know and what we do not know, on any significant issue facing us in these (and possibly all) times.

David Appell states, ".. for the enormously complex and serious problems that now face the world--global warming, loss of biodiversity, toxins in the environment--science doesn't have all the answers, and traditional risk assessment and management may not be up to the job. Indeed, given the scope of such problems, they may never be." And his focus is shifted away from the social problems of poverty, conflict, hunger and the like. Certainly it could be agreed that many significant problems face us today.

What might not be agreed is the need or urgency to solve them. And again here, we come back to the issue of our apparent inability to have a meaningful and fruitful exchange of ideas. This problem in itself is so huge and overwhelming that i do not know where one would even begin.

posted by greg | 10:21 AM

Wednesday, July 16, 2003  


"Analysts are conditioned to emphasize worst-case scenarios, but something else equally governs such instances. Notice what each involves: an information system that is at the service of the preexisting desires and assumptions of those in authority. Intelligence assessments moving up the chain of command have a way of confirming presuppositions at the top."

By James Carroll, 7/15/2003 Boston Globe

I found this interesting because of the symmetry it has with individual cognition. It led me to wonder about the nature of organizations and the possible fractal implications. However, it is just a bit bigger than i can think right now. So, it is posted here as a reminder to myself. As i work through Bohm again these things keep popping up -- or should i say, selected to fit the "preexisting desires and assumptions of those in authority"?

posted by greg | 1:53 PM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003  

the weight of my own life

not that it is heavier than any other, it's just that i think i bear it more awkwardly. I do not have any doctrines or formulas that explain everything for me -- but i have a driven need for explanation. And never find suitable or lasting answers. Perhaps the wrong questions? Or there are no answers.

Many are those that welcome relief from the burden of their lives -- they have answers, perhaps given answers, or ... no questions.

Oedipus must have been a Pink Floyd fan:

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Hence, i too, may conclude that "all is well". My hope and longing has been stranded among the rocks of the assured meaningless of the great indifference. And there it will remain as testament to my revolt and my passion for a life lived well.

posted by greg | 11:21 AM

Monday, July 14, 2003  

there are shards

And glints of these reveal their presence in the fabric. What once seemed whole and undifferentiated yields up, to the perceptive mind, an illusion.

These words rattled in my mind while contemplating the absurd and the nature of abstraction. At the heart of this non-sequitur is a search for meaning in the face of the absurd. At the same instance it is recognition of the fabrications of thought -- selecting, organizing, and categorizing from a continuum, both from the physical realm as well as the realm of ideas. Ideas crystallize and if they provide some sense of order or peace, then we seize upon them as they glint and reflect back out of the chaos of undifferentiation. Eventually they yeild, and are seen as the illusion that they are.

posted by greg | 11:13 AM

Wednesday, July 09, 2003  

eat the rich

What is it about these Lexus driving, Armani/Gucci wearing, Rolex watching, perfectly coifed shoppers in the upscale boutiques that pisses me off? They walk around sipping their lattes insulated from the reality around them. As if the contents of those cute little bags with the string handles and minimalist logos contain the contentment to completed their lives

How can they commandeer and appropriate tens of city blocks to their pursuits? They can walk around all day from one quaint cafe to another talking on their cell phones, heavy gold bracelets hanging from their skinny bronzed wrists, and never have to deal with the rest of us. Sipping champagne between bites of their bruschetta.

Even the wind is icy in there, like the black glass and brushed stainless steel doors, the polished marble facades, and heavy white table cloths on the sidewalk bistro tables.

Used to be dusty warm and industrial. All gone, turned into million dollar condo lofts, with private gated parking, and mountain views. Halogen track lighting and 15 foot ceilings. Used to have the rich earthy stink of the brewery, now it stinks of designer perfume.

It's visceral contempt. I don't get it. Why should i even care? You know, i really don't get it. Must be hardwired, some belief so deep i can't get to it. It's not like i prefer the junkies that piss in my yard, rattle their shopping carts as they rummage through the garbage at 3 a.m., and pass out in the flower bed on my side of the river.

Hell if i know, maybe i just need something to piss me off, something i can sneer at and let the pleasure of contempt purify with self righteous abandon. Sell myself short, and refuse to see it. Nothing quite so fine and validating as gerrymandered reality to keep you going. Ahhhh, it is good to be human. Keep the facts and theories to yourselves, i don't need 'em.

posted by greg | 12:26 PM

Free interactive commenting by www.SquawkBox.tv - click to sign-up!