Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I Must Be Insane

So I am just now getting out from under the personal move and a brief bit of craziness at the office, and just agreed to take on two rather intense projects at work- side projects that are now in my lap to attend to...and I couldn't be happier. I am seriously ill.

In any event, I am definitely the sort of person who would rather be overwhelmed than bored. I like lots of stuff going on, the feeling of being in the middle of a whirlwind. Maybe I get nervous when things are too quiet...start to dance in place just to be moving.

Trying to come up with some serious articles to submit (for the creative end of things - not business). I'm trying to put more attention on my writing and freelance opportunities, and of course, the blogs.

In the meantime, I will be staying above the perilous currents and trying to avoid some ass monkey who has been making rude comments on the biz blog. I'm hoping he will get tired of being ignored and go back to throwing rocks at cars or picking his ear or poking dead things with a stick. Why do I need this? Hah.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Intelligent Design Vs Evolution

The New Yorker explains the definition of intelligent design, the counter concept to evolution that's fueling heavy debate:

First of all, intelligent design is not what people often assume it is. For one thing, I.D. is not Biblical literalism. Unlike earlier generations of creationists - the so-called Young Earthers and scientific creationists - proponents of intelligent design do not believe that the universe was created in six days, that Earth is ten thousand years old, or that the fossil record was deposited during Noah's flood. (Indeed, they shun the label "creationism" altogether.) Nor does I.D. flatly reject evolution: adherents freely admit that some evolutionary change occurred during the history of life on Earth. Although the movement is loosely allied with, and heavily funded by, various conservative Christian groups - and although I.D. plainly maintains that life was created - it is generally silent about the identity of the creator.

The movement's main positive claim is that there are things in the world, most notably life, that cannot be accounted for by known natural causes and show features that, in any other context, we would attribute to intelligence. Living organisms are too complex to be explained by any natural - or, more precisely, by any mindless -process. Instead, the design inherent in organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a designer, and one who is very, very smart.

Drawing from this premise, I assume that the underlying prejudice in humans is this: we believe that our intelligence and place in the world is so superior to other life forms that if we cannot know for a fact when and how the world began, there must be some supernatural force, beyond our comprehension, that has "designed" life.

This complexity, I.D.'s defenders argue, lies beyond the abilities of Darwinism to explain. Second, they claim that new mathematical findings cast doubt on the power of natural selection. Selection may play a role in evolution, but it cannot accomplish what biologists suppose it can. more...

This statement backs up my cynicism about the topic. Once again, we assume that we are so sophisticated in our use and understanding of mathematics and science, that there's no way the inconsistencies could simply be our own intellectual limitations and the limitations of human knowledge to date.

Does it even enter into the mind of scientists and think tank participants that maybe we just don't get it yet? That perhaps there are processes in nature that have baffled us, that are as close to being that "supernatural force" we seek in science and religion?

For such a brilliant species, we are made ignorant by the very ego which defines us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Smug Celebrity - The New Nihilism

Everywhere you look there's Paris Hilton in the news, coupled with the onslaught of screaming teenage girls. I happened to catch a brief segment on Paris recently. Upon her arrival in some unknown city, a local teen was asked why she likes Paris so much. The girl replied without pausing, "Because she's so hot and she just doesn't, like, care ... She doesn't care about anything or anyone."

Elsewhere, ongoing talk continues about Lindsay Lohan, touted star of Mean Girls, and her rivalry with Hillary Duff. Mean Girls, by the way, encapsulates the back-stabbing, rivalry of teen girl life in the way that 1980's Heathers did. I confess, I will never watch Mean Girls, but have overheard young gals discussing the movie and the point they seem to be missing is that it isn't good to be a nasty person.

Parents and media continue to focus their righteous censorship rhetoric against acts like Marilyn Manson or other neo-punk bands for their influence over kids, but ignore when their kids are watching Paris and Nicki act like spoiled brats by mucking up the most basic forms of responsibility - suggesting that it's funny and cool to be incompetent.

The underlining values being challenged by 70's/80's punk nihilism was materialism, capitalism, and allegiance to country. The nihilism was rooted in Marxist thinking, taking it to the next level - antisocial behavior as the benchmark for challenging current political and social constructs. Now nihilism has been replaced by simply having enough money and fame to not give a shit.

I'm not suggesting the previous punk ideology, or lack thereof, should be the better of the two; I am simply arguing that Marilyn Manson is only one example of irresponsibility as chic. He's just easier to spot in a crowd.

Bad behavior in and of itself is not what's important for us to examine. What's more intriguing about this blend of bad behavior is that it is coming from those who are supposed to dazzle us - the entertainers of mainstream media (Paris, Lindsey), the pirates of capitalism (Donald, Martha), the "normals."

Of course we expect the fringe scene to embrace odd, antisocial behavior. This has always been the case. I am certain that every generation had its odd mix, the artsy fringe, the controversial folks who threatened the status quo. Parents and media have lived to talk about these people and how they threaten to corrupt our moral fabric.

But what's happening now is the bad behavior, once reserved for only the antic of the rebels and artists, exists in the mainstream celebrity world. And what's worse, there's no real underlying social or political message - They are bad because they can be.

Michael Jackson's ongoing trial is a good example. Whether innocent or guilty, Jackson obviously has lived with the arrogant notion that he is above the rules society follows. Celebrities are, after all, often served by the legal system. Whether dealing with drug, tax evasion or murder charges, most celebrities have a less than harsh sentence. When they do get time, it's not at the big, bad, ugly prisons of notoriety.

But bad behaviour is generally displayed and celebrated in attitude more than in action. The nonchalance of the wealthy or the mean spiritedness of the stars is the typical headline of the day.

Shows that support nasty behavior and rivalry are commonplace (America's Next Top Model, Survivor, etc.) Mean, manipulative behavior is rewarded - Every man/woman for his/her self. But we hate it when our kids listen to rap or punk.

I know most young people are hungry for the bling other people seem to have, and the wealth that forgives everything - even crime. There's an air of "I made it on my own" superiority going on that really makes me want to crank up the Clash.

Perhaps the best lesson we can give our youth is that it is cool to be both driven and socially accountable at the same time. It is possible to work really hard to make it and not lose your ability to give a shit about other people and the world. That the best among us are humbled by success and use wealth and experience to better serve humanity.

And a bit of advice for parents: Don't assume the images, although wrapped in a pretty package, are positive ones.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Chuckle of the Day

Crying while eating. It's truly silly - For one, I cannot imagine crying while eating. I kind of like eating - therefore, it makes me happy. Secondly, there's a huge choke factor that is not being addressed. Have you cried while eating? Discuss.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's Bragging Time

I was asked to contribute to a clever writer's business section two weeks ago; He needed someone to interview for an article idea ...I found out the article was re-printed in a few other papers. And guess how the guy found me? That's right, through the business blog.

Kinda cool. :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Keep your sex to yourself

I'm not a huge advocate of mass censorship - not because I don't appreciate some of the aspects of anti-porn discourse - but I am concerned about just whose morals we'd be upholding and using as the backdrop of censorship. Namely, what wingnut would want to censor legitimate sex ed in schools or outlaw gay and lesbian magazines.

The concept of censorship in the case of how sexually graphic materials are used to market a product, however, is completely within my understanding.

Regina Lynn's 'Put Smut in Its Place' article on Wired is a great exploration of the use of sexually graphic images in our shared space - either through spam, advertising, commercials, etc. The saturation is enough to make even the most sexually liberated say, "Enough!"

Right about now I can sense some First Amendment hackles rising. Let me assure you, this is not about eroding our civil rights. It's about upholding them.

When you live in a community, you have to make some adjustments that aren't required if you live 10 miles from your nearest neighbor. It's rude to let your car alarm blare all day, to play your music at top volume late at night and to send your dog down the street to defecate on someone else's lawn.

Likewise, it's rude to force your sexual expression on folks who don't want to see it. I doubt you would be thrilled if I barged into your house and wallpapered your dining room with Michael Brandon posters without your permission.

Yet that's what it feels like when you drive down a city street and every billboard leers or propositions you. Or when you check your e-mail and you have spam sporting subject lines about incest, bestiality and statutory rape.

Amen, sister. I have been appalled by the virtual shit that shows up in my mailbox, and without the subject line to notify me of what I am about to see. And it isn't just some giant penis or pair of breasts, anymore. Oh no - it's usually illegal or violent. Apparently, we are no longer impressed with plain old sex. Voyeuristic and sexually repressed US-of-A for ya.

Parents have been discussing the topic for a while now, trying to figure out the impossible feat of keeping their kids from getting pornographic materials online, or even being exposed to sexually graphic materials on television, etc. But we as childless adults should also be joining in on the discussion. I am personally tired of the visual assaults. I mean, at least send me a coupon for a free dinner if you want me to look at that!

It's entirely within our power to legislate how the online porn biz operates. There is money in finding ways to monitor it in the same way we pander it. Coming up with basic domains, as Regina suggests, for xxx content is a great start - and really find ways of tracking and penalizing spammers.

Monday, May 16, 2005

On Poetry

This is one of the most eloquent descriptions of poetry I have ever read.

Poetry it seems, transcends temporal political movements, creating a place in a too-tight world, to open up and breath in something new. Poetry is essential to the breathe of a culture, to the psuche/psyche of life. It allows a gap in thought, opening ideas that give new meaning to experiences, new depth to old pains. Poetry is a poesis -a making of something new, moving away from the repetitive patterns of unhealed wounds. It allows the exile to exhale and the prisoner to dream. It is a truth that shapes our experiences and twists them around.

If you have not read Maggie Macary's fascinating blog, Arrows: Myth & Culture, I highly recommend her interesting and important work.

Wow, I think I will go write some...

Terry Loves His Bacon

He even wrote a poem about it...

"oh bacon, fruit of the pig"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Your One Life

Tom Peters asks in the words of the poet, Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Noise of Simultaneous Flushing

Sometimes I just get sick of reading about blogs, be it an article on business or marketing blogs or the politics of the blog roll.

There must be a garden to work in, or a book to read, or a child to teach, or something better to do than wax philosophic about blogging. Yeesh.

Don't get me wrong, I get sucked into talking about blogs, too, as I am obviously discussing them now.

But blogs will be replaced by something better. We will perfect it and move on to newer, more efficient modes of communication.

I want to flush the current discourse and start afresh. Do ya feel me?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Poem inspired

I love talking to people and sharing new ideas....this one came from the conversation mentioned in my previous post....Have a wonderful weekend!


the physicist called last night

gave me the formula for stars
as if the stars could make me sing

the surgeon waited in the wings

appeared half-drunk
boots tucked in his gown - angry
at the sound of his own voice

the physicist promised he'd conspire the secret of life

the surgeon performed a mastectomy on my behalf

neither impressed

last week I got a call from the marathon runner

he lamented that his running no longer gave

he continued because the money was good
and standing still could not appease him

the runner and the surgeon drink
the physicist, a paranoid man, does not

I walk into a bar expecting a punch line
but the men are just men
and I am still reaching


for anyone with an answer
to the riddle
of why cats do not have conscience
why dogs do not weep
why we bleed
and bleed
the veins of

and cannot find peace

A. Sato 5/05

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Time is always of essence

Dave Pollard and Rayne have been engaging me if some powerful dialogue via email. The synergy created from these discussions is simply awesome. I am always humbled by the thoughts and kindness that come from strangers - the important ideas that matter, shuffled aside and lost to whatever the hell Lindsay Lohan is doing.

Dave resists cynicism. Rayne embraces the power of human compassion. Both views validate and interact to form the Crusader archetype that I adore.

The conversations I have with fellow crusaders make me feel hopeful and restless. I crave more time, more freedom to write, read, daydream - but the projects are piled up on the desk as it is. It is exciting to be busy - but sometimes I wish I could take a boat to the nearest island with only some books and paper, and perhaps email since no one needs that much "navigating the brain alone" time.

I'm astounded by the proliferation of some people. I need to figure out how to re-adjust my schedule or my way of doing things so I can complete the book, finish collaborative works, and start fresh...But how?

How do you find balance with projects, relationships, dreams, laughter, work, caretaking?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Past Repeating

The legacy of Agent Orange

Thirty years after hostilities ended between the US and Vietnam, relations remain strained by one of America's most notorious weapons during the war, the chemical Agent Orange.

The Vietnamese believe that the powerful weed killer - the use of which was intended to destroy crops and jungle providing cover for the Vietcong - is responsible for massively high instances of genetic defects in areas that were sprayed. more...

I wonder what chemicals are being used today that are causing and/or will cause physical and developmental harm...Scary. Monsanto and Dow Chemicals walked away from last year's law suit by Vietnamese who were disfigured and faced other disabilities associated with Agent Orange. Monsanto seems to wield a heavy axe.

For more about the realities of war and the effects of chemical warfare, check out Bill Shields. Important and heartbreaking work.

"but when my daughter died from my exposure to Agent Orange
I bought a typewriter & pounded pure fire
out of its keys till it broke
& I bought another one
I thought if I shared blood with a reader
my goddamn hells would be easier to walk thru barefoot
but they aren't"