Simpsons Conventional Wisdom

Rewatching two decade old episodes of The Simpsons means I am privy to the culture of the mid nineties. And it is still amazing how little the world changes.

In this slice of wisdom, Bart’s elephant Stampy visits the RNC and the DNC.


I feel that way still. I’ve never felt comfortable under the tent of either party. Since coming of age during the Bush Junior presidency, his failed economics and watching the Ailes and religious culture warriors hijacked the Republican Party has sent me furthest from their camp.

Democrats have become who I side with by default. Though they definitely are not my natural inclination, at least they are the party of inclusion. Supporting the 19th Amendment (women), the 1st Amendment (speech and secularity), the 4th Amendment (due process), the 2nd Amendment (bear arms), the Civil Rights Acts, etc. Though I’ll be the first to admit that Obama’s administration has fallen ridiculously short on the 4th. And I was plenty offended by the bullshit vote at the convention injecting God into the platform without a two-thirds majority. Yet still, I’ll take people who work with facts and reality and are willing to make a bargain.

The Democrats’ willingness to bargain and compromise and include all views does bite them in the ass, hence the inability to govern effectively. I know, because that’s how I try to operate. Everyone should have a say, everyone can get a little something from the deal. Trying to deal with those who reject science, reject compromise, reject a difference of opinion being allowed to exist. Failure is almost inevitable.

Let us never forget that our dear nation and home was built upon shitty, shitty compromises. A lot of them. At every turn. And still, here we are. Better off and further forward than we dreamed 30, 50, 100 years ago.

Of course, all this is really just an exaggerated form of my original caption to these:


Quick Thoughts

First, from my daughter’s brain:


Emily wanted to write a letter to her friend Elizabeth. The top is her attempt to sound out the name. Then she asked me to write out the name below, so I did to give her an example. Last, she copied it herself. She turns 4 next week. Kinda cool there.

Some links:

Emily’s schoolwork. She’s big into cartography. And posing.


Rest Easy, Mr Jobs

I heard the news of Steve Jobs’ passing as soon as I opened a web browser last Tuesday night. There was no way to miss it. A dozen Facebook posts and Twitter essentially blew up. News travels fast in this world. A world made incredible mobile and easy to read thanks to him. Whether an Apple user or not, the landscape of technology was indelibly affected by him.

My life as an Apple user was not quick to come. I didn’t switch over until I got my first laptop, a PowerBook G4. That computer is probably still running somewhere, particularly with its strong OS, the thing that won me over in the first place. My feelings got stronger the more I used it and other computers like it. I’ve developed into an almost strictly Mac technician now. I don’t know that I would have if I was stuck with Microsoft-based systems. Maybe I would have gone to Linux, I don’t know.

I’ve been reading lovely eulogies and memories in general of the man and the environment and tools he created. While he didn’t code every bit of the systems he ran, his touch of refinement and the big ideas of their interconnection were his. He had a vision for what the world could be like that was not defined or limited by the way things are currently. We all could use a perspective like that.

The worst of it is that he was only 56. So young, so much time could have been left. He never put off what he knew he wanted to do, that much is obvious. And we should all be thankful for that fact. Still, I don’t think there is a person who can fathom the future he saw and probably was going to make in the next 25 years.

There’s not much I can really say, so I’ll pass on some links to a few of the things people have said and remembered about Steve Jobs. This man is and will long be remembered as someone of a caliber towards Edison, Franklin, and even Da Vinci.

  • One of my favorite stories about a 12-year-old Steve Jobs calling up a technology founder by the name of William Hewlett.

  • President Obama released a statement about the man. I think this says things well:

    Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

    The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

  • Though not really related to Mr Jobs the man, but a poignant comic about what killed him. 56 is too young. He was in his prime.

  • Stephen Colbert was the first to nearly draw a tear to my eye.

And for a final farewell, I think it’s best to end with an edit of an Apple ad, read by Steve Jobs himself.

Rest easy, Mr Jobs. And thank you for all you contributed.

Outfoxing News

How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory | Rolling Stone Politics:

The result of this concerted campaign of disinformation is a viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world. According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship. In fact, a study by the University of Maryland reveals, ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in providing people with information, or even a balanced range of perspectives. Like his political mentor, Richard Nixon, Ailes traffics in the emotions of victimization.

“What Nixon did, and what Ailes does today in the age of Obama, is unravel and rewire one of the most powerful of human emotions: shame,” says Perlstein, the author of Nixonland. He takes the shame of people who feel that they are being looked down on, and he mobilizes it for political purposes. Roger Ailes is a direct link between the Nixonian politics of resentment and Sarah Palin’s politics of resentment. He’s the golden thread.

You have to read all 13 pages. Nothing like being dangerously enlightened to what we all have known for years.

Happy Holly Daze

This and tomorrow evening are spent at kids’ school functions. On top of a busy routine, blizzards, and needing to put up decorations (I have shamefully not even put up a tree yet) have necessitated that I take care of myself to unwind. This usually involves reading, beer or wine, and killing old-school head crab zombies. Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like.

So in light of my delving into the world of video games, here is a meme going around to make geeks’ heads explode. Enjoy.