A little history: for most of 2006, my company paid me a ton of money to basically attend meetings. In this time, I have reached the end of the internet and I’ve made some observations. The content on the internet is basically normally distributed in terms of the usefulness and talent of said content, excepting pornography of course which is mostly all good much like pizza is good in that bad pizza still really does the job for the most part, not that I ever viewed porngraphy or ate pizza at work (except that one time when I meant to download Python, a programming language, and went to the wrong site (Please don’t click that link if you’re offended by naked people)).

Given that normal distribution of content on the web, one would expect to occasionally run across horrid sites that were 2 or more standard deviations beyond the mean and to also occasionally run across content that is substantially better than the mean in the same way. It’s rare, it takes time and effort but it is possible, I promise you.

The bad stuff can usually be easily avoided but when you run across one of those rare sites that almost entirely strikes you as genius, it’s impossible to ignore and in fact, you may spend a significant portion of your miserably short life reading or watching all the content you can mainline into your system.

The point of this entire post is two-fold: 1. I should start drinking much earlier in the day as I can then believe I am invincible and a good dancer much earlier and 2. The ZeFrank Show will suck you in like a small child to a culvert after a 48 hour rain, only to emerge at the end of the tunnel, bruised, battered and quite possibly dead. That, dear reader, is a man of genius. Like all genius, he’s not always right (even Einstein made a ridiculous comment about God and dice-everyone knows God plays Baccarat) but more often than not, you will find that The Show is worth risking your job for as you hold one earphone of your set up to your ear, trying not to cry in joy at finding such talent on the web.

As a starter, begin here and then just slowly, 4 or 5 shows a day, work your way through the archive. Or start at the beginning and move through the entire progression of the show, experiencing it as if you were present at the conception. But do go watch it. Talent deserves to be recognized.

Gov. Perry Signs No Retreat Law

Great news for Texas citizens.  Gov. Perry signed the law that allows Texas citizens to defend themselves without first trying to retreat in their homes, cars or jobs.  In theory, this law was already in place as no grand juries in Texas would ever choose to indict a homeowner who defended himself but it’s nice to see it in writing.

The Police and Ticketmaster

So we bought tickets for The Police reunion tour this summer.  We did that on Ticketmaster because, well, they’re the only game in town really.  Paid a couple of lattes per ticket for the privilege.  Now, in my email today, I get a message from said monopoly telling me that if I can’t go to the concert, I should sell my tickets on TicketExchange.  Which is owned by said monopoly.  Probably for another couple of lattes per ticket.

That is a racket that rivals insurance.

Parental Responsibility

Seems to me that if you choose to be a parent, you should do it for mostly unselfish reasons.  Of course, we all know this isn’t true but still, as an ideal, that’s probably how it should work.  Once that path is chosen, you certainly have responsibilities.  Responsibilities like not giving toddlers pot, not letting toddlers roam busy highways, and other things that really ought to be common sense.

More importantly, don’t let your insane compulsions affect crucial parenting decisions like naming your children after college football head coaches.  I can see naming a family pet after a truly legendary coach, say calling your German Shepard “Bear Bryant”.  But naming your child after Nick Saban shows once again that if we have to have a license to drive, we damn well ought to have a licence to procreate since some people just can’t be trusted with such important things.

Props: EDSBS who explains the situation far better and with much more humor than I ever could.

Reddit and Mob Rule

This really deserves a longer, well-thought out piece but I have to comment on something I’ve noticed lately.  I reallly like Reddit, a site where people submit things from the web that are then voted on by the members.  It was created by a couple of programmer geeks so the range of articles is typically good.  When you submit articles that people like, the site tracks your karma and then future articles you submit are ranked higher.  All in all, a good site.

However, there are two topics guaranteed to be successful and those are anything involving the conspiracies the Bush organization has foisted on Amerika and atheism.  I find the latter amusing, I remember being 22 and atheist, looking to pick a fight with any religious person I could on the web.  It was fun and all but really just a pursuit of youth.

The former though is starting to manifest itself as some sort of psychological disease.  Case in point: read the comments here.  Ranging from Katrina to 9/11, it’s all one big conspiracy against the poor, black, dark or just general Americans.  At first I thought that line of comments was a great parody but in the end, it’s apparent they truly believe such things.  Providing counter examples to their rather obvious insanity is pointless as they are “The Convinced”.  These people really believe Bush is one step away from invoking martial law and nothing can be brought to up sway them.

Is that the state we’re in today, that large portions of an otherwise intelligent sub-population believe an American president knew about 9/11 beforehand, willfully let the people of New Orleans die because they aren’t white and now is ready to invoke martial law in one of the longest running democracies of the world?  Really?  It’s impossible to argue with these people but it makes me angry that anyone can believe that.  Trust me, I think the Bush organization has stumbled mightily lately.  But these people seem to concurrently hold two absolutely contrary positions without the slightest bit of cognitive dissonance: Bush and his administration are conniving, horrible Hitler like people and Bush and his administration are idiots.

This sort of insanity troubles me because I can’t possibly work out a solution in my head to explain it.  And that scares me.

Random Update

Not much motivation to write of late, I’ve been brutally ill with some sort of super virus immune to dose and a half Dayquil treatments.  I did manage to eke out a fair amount of yard work this weekend in my condition which is probably one reason why it lingers on today.

Lots of interesting things going on in the world though: Bong Hits 4 Jesus (Say it with me, it’s fun!) hits the Supreme Court.  If you bother to read most of the comments at that link, you’ll see it’s a rather interesting case.  If you don’t, take my word for it.  Plus, Bong Hits 4 Jesus!  Good fun.  Jesus would approve I’m sure.

The Airbus A380 makes its debut flight.  K says the wings are floppy which makes for a more turbulent flight.  I get nervous when I look out my window and see what I think is a rivet loose so I’m guessing floppy winged airplanes probably aren’t for me.  That’s ok since it looks like Airbus might not ever deliver one.

I’m still reading Graham’s Intelligent Investor and definitely enjoying it as well as learning from it.  The lessons on disipline and identifying your own personal investing ability are worth the price of the book.

I’m in the running for the March Madness pool which makes up for the fact that baseball starts in like 10 days or something.  That’s enough to make someone slash their wrists.

And that’s about it I guess.

God Missed a Commandment

11.  Thou shalt not do jumping jacks in your tightie-whities in the dressing area at the gym.

I appreciate the complete disdain for societal norms but seriously, Mr. Weirdo, for the love of God please do not ever do that again lest I have to throw you down and beat the jumping jacks right out of you.

It truly amazes me that people seem to mis-understand how they should act in the locker room at the gym.  Walking around with no towel, sitting butt-ass naked on the benches (whether you’ve just taken a shower or not, your ass still disgusts me) and doing tightie-whitie jumping jacks are all against the rules.  Idiots.

The Key to Greatness

Yeah, I don’t really have a quick answer for that but it seems to revolve around concentration. This includes making 2750 free throws in a row. Concentration is something I find I lack. Part of this comes from my addiction to technology. But part of it is deeper and relates to the negative affect the modern world has on our evolutionary instincts. In the past, things that grabbed our attention kept us alive. Hmmm, is that a saber-tooth tiger or a palm frond? Let’s run like fuck, just in case. And hopefully, I’m faster than you. Which I am. But that’s a different story.

Today, things that grab our attention do just that, steal attention away from the important things. It’s all around us. It’s a sick addiction, one that some of us happily wrap a big rubber band around our arm for and ask for more. But it makes us smaller, less interesting, less great, like all addicts. Funny thing is, it’s damn difficult to counteract. It’s hard to over come evolution, even if it’s killing us now.

I think that’s why I find writing so difficult now. Even in my journal (which I haven’t written in for 3 weeks or so-ack), after 15 minutes, I’m dying, mentally itching to be distracted or find another task that takes less time and much less attention. This is a fucking stream-of-consciousness-journal-about-my-boring-ass-life for god’s sake. How much less attention can something take? Well, there’s always the internet. Or unloading the dishwasher. Or having another drink. None of which is anything I’d ever want to have written in my fucking obituary.

I read an article once about life that said it (life) should be made up entirely of things you’d want written in your obit. But those things take attention. They absolutely completely fucking command it. And yet, we’ve overdrawn our attention account and can’t write the attention check to manage 15 minutes in a journal. How do you make yourself attention rich? Beats the living hell out of me but if you find out, let me know. Technology makes life easier and better but it also makes it cheaper and not in a “Everything’s cheaper on the Interweb” sorta way. It makes it cheaper by increasing the things that demand our attention, yours and mine, and steals it away, divides it into tiny little meaningless increments that add up to a life no one in their right mind (or left brain) could ever write an obit about.

That makes me sick. And yet, like any addict, I feel almost powerless to change it. Trust me, if there was an attention methodone pill, I’d be down at the clinic every day at the crack of dawn begging for it. But there isn’t. The only thing you can do is remove things that demand attention until the only ones left are important. Do you understand how impossible that is to do today? Can you fathom not having a cell phone? Internet at work? Jangly, shiny things at Wal-Mart? No, you can’t fathom it. Because it scares you. And it scares me.

That’s what addiction does, it makes you think you can’t survive without it. It steals time away from what makes up life and turns it into worry and fear. Addiction allievates your fear of committment. It takes strength to live life unaddicted. More strength than most of us have these days. When was the last time you spent more than 30 minutes doing something that required your full and utmost attention? I’d wager this is a bigger epidemic than obesity (and that’s saying something these days).

The amount of addiction in your life is inversely related to the amount of attention in your life. Which side of the scale is heavier for you?