Sunday, September 24, 2006

Drink More, Earn More?

In more recent sex-and-stimulant-related social science, A Study has shown that people who drink earn 10 to 14 percent more than people who don't.

Read further and you find out that the social drinkers earn more, not the people who go straight home and break out the Jack Daniels or sit in a corner in a dark bar and pickle their liver in gloomy solitude.

People who socialize tend to get further than people who don't. You could go to the bar with the social crowd and fail to make the inner circle. Would one more drink have made you suddenly bright, entertaining and accepted? If you are a geek, dork or nerd, you need to find a peer group with whom to network, or accept your lower financial status. If you're painfully shy or a crusty grouch, a lower pay check is probably a small price to pay for your privacy.

That being said, it's still a good excuse to hit the bars. Don't do it to dull the pain. Don't do it to duck your responsibilities. Don't do it to troll for easy sex. Do it for your career.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Democrat Sex

Another reason for Republicans' higher level of sexual satisfaction could stem from their conservatism. Democrats are notoriously horny, whereas Republicans are traditionally uptight. In fact, Republican research facilities are working on ways to make the male climax actually painful, so that the noble act of procreation will be as unpleasant as possible.

Actually I made that part up.

Satisfaction is not an absolute measurement. If you get less, but want less, less is enough. If you always want more, when do you have enough?

Ask Republicans when they think they're rich enough. Waaaa hahahahahaha!

Republicans More Satisfied with Their Sex Lives

According to a recent ABC news poll, Republicans are more satisfied with their sex lives than Democrats.

Of course they are. They're fucking all of us.

Damn, this is too easy.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What do you mean, "Life isn't fair?"

Life is generally remarkably fair, or at least impartial. It's humans that aren't fair. They hide behind some of life's unfortunate bad breaks to excuse their own injustices.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why the Bastards Have an Edge

Or: How One Greedhead Can Ruin a Bunch of People's Day

People who care about the effect they have on the environment and other people, even people who haven't been born yet, are automatically more sensitive than callous pricks who want what they want as soon as they can possibly get it.

It is much harder to prevent a mistake than to make one. Prevention gets even harder when interested parties can't wait to profit in some way from the mistake, and the mistakenness of the mistake is not immediately obvious. Most people would rather avoid the frustration and lengthy argument needed to prevent the mistake, preferring to let it happen and try to clean up afterwards. One could even argue that trying to prevent a mistake is a vain attempt to play God, and that the mistake and its consequences are either a) the real God's grand plan for humanity, b) the tough breaks of impersonal evolutionary forces or c) God's grand evolutionary forces. In any case, we are fools to try to divert it, since human history is mostly a long list of mistakes anyway.

Generally when we did something right it was by accident. We were usually trying to do something shortsighted and greedy when it blew up in our faces and led to something beneficial. Or we'll do something that seems beneficial, like cure syphilis or develop a birth control pill, only to have a seismic convulsion of unintended consequences. Even reducing infant mortality means more kids survive to devour resources, crank out excrement and eventually need jobs and housing.

With only a fraction of this in mind, sensitive types organize themselves into groups trying to advance the causes of environmental and social justice. Since this no longer involves pulling together an army and hacking away on an actual field of battle, the conflicts go on much longer, and the two sides remain numerically fairly even. But one determined selfish person can send several sensitive types to their hiding places or their therapists simply by going after his destructive goal with the relentlessness of aggressive cancer.

If you want to protect a peaceful environment, rural quiet, and places where you can spend a lot of time renewing your spirit and revitalizing your body, you can easily get drawn into such endless work that you never get to do any of those things. And you could lose the battle in the bargain. Small wonder that depression runs rampant among environmentalists.

Some people believe we are in the last days of Earth. Yet many of these same people have children. That seems so wrong in so many ways. But this is what we're up against, trying to promote a lifestyle that will last for generations when many people producing those generations don't think we'll be here for one more. Add their numbers to the people who think we aren't doing any damage and the ones who think we are, but don't care. It's a formidable bloc of ignorance, greed, hypocrisy and superstition. Those are all fine hobbies, but give the rest of us a break.

We'll keep arguing over it, for no better reason than that we might prevail before it's too late.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Just Beginning the Calculations

How much does it cost to exist? We have put a cash value on everything. How much does each breath cost you? No one has put the answer in a prominently visible place, assuming anyone has calculated it.

Just hacking together some numbers crudely estimated from quick research and accumulated experience, I figure adult existence in this country costs roughly three cents per minute. That includes a car payment on a 48-month note for $14000 at 4.9% interest, gas for that car, a median average rent of $500 a month, $60 a week for food, $80 a month for utilities (gas, electric, phone), and a paltry $250 a year for clothing.

This collection of figures dodges back and forth between a fairly comfortable life in a passable apartment, in a car that cost five figures, but does not include entertainment, health insurance, actual health care. The lump sums added up to $16,610. So $16,610 is your ante, the amount you plunk down just to be in the game. That's net. You really need to get paid more than that if you intend to declare it to the government and pay taxes on it.

You need to clear $8.30 per hour, working 40-hour weeks with two weeks of unpaid vacation each year to be a basically functioning element of society.

People get by on less, but they either have to draw from the money of others or find a place to hide out from the constantly-running taxi meter of modern life. Subsistence farming homesteaders might produce a lot of what they need from their land, directly drawing the resources rather than purchasing the raw materials, processed ingredients or finished products. Dumpster-diving urban hermits might exploit a resource-stream outside the direct commercial channels without laying claim to large acreage. You could say they are feeding off the commercial transactions of others, however, because they need to find processed or manufactured items.

Get rid of the car and you get rid of both the car payment and the fuel costs. But then you have to have alternative means of transportation, public or private. Your percentage of the cost of that needs to be charged against your existence account. You yourself may not be paying a huge amount for that commuter rail line or bus service, but someone is. Or if you own a bike you have costs that go with it. These go beyond purchase and maintenance to time you lose or gain by transporting yourself that way.

Every hour costs about $1.89. Realistically, it probably already costs you more. Every hour of every day for all the years of your relatively trouble-free life between the time you leave school at whatever level you leave it and the onset of the medical problems of advanced age, every hour costs you as much as a nice ballpoint pen. Say you get 30 good years. That's 262,800 ballpoint pens. Now you know what to ask for as graduation presents. But I'd suggest cash.

Monday, September 11, 2006


That day was warmer than this one, but pretty, with lots of sunshine. What a day for millions of people to face a brand new view of the world. A whole self-indulgent nation reeled at the belated realization that troubles in far parts of the globe could mean much more to them than fluctuating prices at the gas pump.

It was more unreal than any drug experience or any hangover the day after a drug experience. It was weirder than The Twilight Zone. We had to wonder not only what our attackers might have in mind next, but how the emotional reaction of the attacked nation might cause a violent sickness far more extensive than the loss of lives, buildings, and airplanes. Those were horribly bad enough. But the political and religious aspects of the attacks brought them out of the daily reality of living and dying and injected them with all sorts of energy from immense, immeasurable concepts.

The physical threat can't be measured the way an opposing nation in a conventional war can be measured. From very early in the response, the rhetoric of war and the desire to strike a counter-blow -- as if this had ever been a clean, simple, stand-up fight -- complicated what should, then and now, be conducted as a massive, international criminal investigation. And because the conflict involves ideas without borders, it also should be considered as a group therapy session of unprecedented magnitude.

No one was ready to listen to such a measured response back then. Maybe more people are now. Let's hope, because we have enough other problems to sort out rather urgently as well. Even if you accept that the present conflict might well reduce the human population to a level which will reduce our environmental impact to sustainable levels, do you really want to let that option play out?

I hoped, decades ago as I came into adulthood, that we could just ease off the throttle a little and let humanity settle gently into those sustainable rhythms. Apparently, not many people agreed with me. So here we are. We still might do it. It still sounds better to me. But either way, problem solved.

Feelings are more important than things. Things or the lack of them can produce feelings, but the reaction, the feelings, the ideas, the philosophies are what get people to act. One deprived, disenchanted person might simply try working harder or longer, or moving to a new place. Another will join the revolution or the jihad. The mere description of their original circumstances might sound substantially identical. Their interpretation guides them into different actions. Unfortunately, our industrial approach to war-making has given a lot more leverage to those who would act destructively. They need not be in the majority. The negotiator is in the room with the bomber and the hostages.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hope in Africa

Check out this blog from a young woman working in Africa. She used to ride with the local mountain biking group and raced on the nordic ski team at St. Lawrence University. One adventure at a time she has moved beyond sport.

They keep telling us this...

I'll do a finished version of this, but I wanted to get it out there while it's still fresh.
"How did you track down Bin Laden's number two?"
"Just followed the flies, sir."

Al Quaeda's number one just keeps evaporating before we get there. Posted by Picasa

Double Jeopardy

"I'll take 'Things that Leak' for $1500, Alex"

"Very well. The clue: One of these stinks up your driveway and the other floods your basement."

"What are the gas tank on my wife's car, and the hot water heater?"

"Very good. You owe $1500. Select again."

"I guess I'll skip 'Prostate Exam.'"

Monday, September 04, 2006

Marmota Monax in the Toolshed

We have a groundhog in the toolshed. Actually, it lives under the toolshed, whence it ventures forth to plunder our pitiful garden.

As a manly male, I have formuated plans for its destruction. These range from shooting it as it scurries for cover like flying, fur-covered Jello (trust me, you'd know what I mean if you'd ever seen a groundhog run) to napalming it in its burrow. I was encouraged in this bloodthirstiness by my wife, who is the chief gardener. She feels the loss of her tender charges very keenly. Indeed, she howled for the marmot's blood sooner and louder than I did.

By the time I had launched a few half-hearted BB barrages at the beast, Laurie had developed a softer attitude. She'd complain bitterly at every raid on the lettuce, but stop me from going out to meet the foe on the field of battle.

We're going to try appeasement.

In an attempt to bribe the crop raider, Laurie has started to feed it. Tender bits like broccoli leaves and carrot tops, which would have gone into the slimy compost bucket and then into the mixed morass of the compost pile itself are now laid out beside some rabbit chow we bought during the brief residence of a rescued squirrel who has since moved on to a private campus tailored to meet its needs.

The woodchuck accepts our offerings. The little bastard is actually cute. Since we no longer have any garden plants to protect, we don't know if the payola would really shortstop the vandalism. And if we continue to buy special food for a garden pest, that must be charged to the garden account, increasing the cost of whatever produce we enjoy. If, on the other hand, we can lay scraps in its path to stop it from coming into the garden at all, and those scraps are things we would discard anyway, we will have achieved a balance of power, a sustainable peace.

If it doesn't work, he'll be good and fat for the table.

Actual Brain Lint

What do you find in a manic-depressive's photo album?


What's half of 69?