Monthly Archives: August 2002

What's all goofy today?

It's a holiday up here today officially, but I'm going to work on a few more image upload solutions; ones that'll allow larger uploads, as well as ones that'll do things like automatically patch together four webcam images into a collage for you (for those people who are not computer proficient I guess). Anyway, some stories that were in the news today:

  • ZAP! You're Jewish!*
    This totally bizarre report tells the story of ninety Indians from the mountains of Peru, converted to Judaism in Lima in two weeks and then flown to the West Bank to man Israeli settlements there. I don't know about you, but don't tactics like this take away from the religious neccessity of the Zionist drive, and turn it into a political (rather than theological) land battle?
  • Tonkin incident didn't occur
    For those that don't know, this is about the incident 38 years ago in the Gulf of Tonkin where the North Vietnamese were claimed to have attacked US warships. This event launched the Vietnam war, killing over a million Vietnamese and over 50,000 US troops, as well as doing irreperable damage to both nations. Turns out now that it's looking like the US made up the attack, in order to launch a war to destabilize the country, which was starting to gain foreign investment which could threaten US corporations. Yeah, big surprise…
  • Kid's 2-inch gun seized
    A British child passing through US customs in LA had a little GI Joe guy with him (in its box still). Security officials opened the box and confiscated the tiny plastic replica Armalite assault rifle! After doing that, they actually interrogated the boy's grandmother to find out if there were any toy grenades as well (which would be what, a third of an inch across?). It sounds like a joke, but it's not…

Should pierced students be expelled?

There's a pile of debate right now in the whatever forum regarding dress code in schools and quality of education. The overwhelming (and I think shocking) attitude seems to be that it's ok to have a dress code if it's linked to a good education which “prepares you for the real world”. I think this is an incredibly short sighted and potentially disastrous stance. Let me propose:

  • The way a student looks is unrelated to their ability to learn.

Secondly, I'd like to add to that, since it's the most common argument for banning piercings in school is that it “distracts” the other students, thereby harming their education:

  • The way a student looks is unrelated to the ability of their peers to learn. If a student is unable to learn because they can't stop staring at a student with an odd style of dress, then this student has bigger problems that would preclude their ability to learn anyway.

I think it's clear that banning styles of dress, including piercing, will not affect the academic education of the student. However, it is sending a message. Most people interpret this as “training for the real world” since many employers will discriminate against students as well. However, let's put the “message” it sends a little more concisely. The messages sent are:

  • It is more important that you look “normal” than to receive an education.
  • If you don't follow the orders of “the man” then you have no right to enjoy the benefits of civilization, including employment and education.


I don't know about you, but it makes me sick to think that my tax dollars are going to support this type of thing. It makes me even sicker that my mother, a teacher, argues to make sure that piercings are kept out of schools.

Another argument is the hygeine argument; also ludicrous. If we were that hygeine crazy, should we ban all menstruating female students and teachers as well? Should be ban anyone with a cold from coming to school, and perhaps expell anyone who is sick more often than average? I don't think I even need to make a smart ass comment about this, it's such a stupid reason.

Now let's look at the truly vile argument that “it prepares you for the real world” — worded differently, here's the message we send with that:

  • Yes, the world is unjust. You can never fight or change this injustice; if you do, you will be exiled. You must adapt to the wrongs that are forced on you and accept them.


Finally, a lot of people someone justify it with “well I had to do it, and I turned out fine” and similar excuses. We can excuse any crime with statements like that:

  • “I was raped, and I got over it.” – Does that make rape OK?
  • “I was abused as a child, and look at me now! I'm a stock broker and I have a big house!” – Does that make child abuse OK?

Obviously I could go on and on. It really disturbs me that people don't place any real value on personal freedom and the right of free expression (and yes, I know that's not legally a right, but it is morally as far as I'm concerned). The banning of piercings in schools, and all related acts is a symptom of the scariest side-effects of large-scale civilization: the domination by political force of one group over another.

We will never come to an agreement as to what the “perfect lifestyle” is. Schools must teach one simple idiom to their students if we are to live happily in this 21st century full of communications tools that force us to live in a wild mix of beautiful individuals and overlapping cultures:

Live and let live.

* This link may not work past Monday, as it's not date-tagged, sorry.

Refugees from a gorilla love-in?

So I've been totally drooling over eBay's section on custom bikes… Too bad I don't live in the states, and that most of these vehicles can't be imported; there's even some real nice trikes (here and here) at good prices. Not that I can afford them right now, but goddamn that would make a nice donation to BME, right?

I think a lot about the scene at the start of Easy Rider where Wyatt and Billy stop at the horse ranch to repair the flat on Wyatt's bike. The farmer doesn't question their outlandish appearance (for the time), complements them on their bikes, and then they are invited in (well, it's an outdoor table actually) for dinner with the farmer's overflowing Mexican-American family. Wyatt appreciates what the farmer has found (and I think wants it himself, even if he doesn't know how to find it himself) for his life — simple and self sufficient. He says to him,

You've got a nice place. It's not every man that can live off the land, you know. You do your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.

The emphasis on that quote is my own… but it's hopefully what we're all looking for. I have a relative here in Toronto that recently got her MD and has fallen into the general ER surgery path — the highest stress and lowest paying medical career you can find. She's realized now that it's not fun, but because she is going to be in debt until she's in her mid thirties at least, she has to either declare bankruptcy or stay an indentured servant (slave) for most of her life. Then she'll have to go another ten years to save up enough money to open the little restaurant she really wants as a career.

The average person carries a debt load most of their life, even though they absolutely don't need it. This 100% eliminates the freedom to do “your own thing in your own time”. I wanted to give a brief update on what's going on with Project Drop Out, Tune In (yes, it's still alive). We're refocussed on closer land (north of Belleville, Ontario, near Tweed, for those that want to look it up on a map) which is also more immediately farmable. We are building up a small handful of trustworthy people, and, because many have children (that's often the motivation; many people don't want to poison their children in the city), it's looking like we have two experienced teachers potentially on board to help with homeschooling.

It doesn't make any difference what city. All cities are alike. That's why I'm out here now…cause I'm from the city, a long way from the city – and that's where I want to be right now.

Anyway, just wanted to say that everything is still on target and slowly rolling ahead…

Here's your war

Want to know why America is “at war”?
It's good business (if you're buddies with the right people).

I'm off now to write some quick hacks so that the new data that's being collected on image submissions can be properly harvested by my build programs so that indexes get displayed properly…


When I got up this morning my email was full of messages from my father. He'd changed his address, so my filters weren't blocking his typically psychotic and hurtful messages — for a while he'd taken to sending me copies of his will, which were basically just him insulting me from beyond the grave.

I know the missiles cannot be recalled...

Well this is the best i can do. DUCK.

[the rest of you - warn SDL - while he is the most able he is also at the most risk]


before you die I hope you again feel the simple
pleasure of breathing

in and out

in and out