Monthly Archives: November 2005

Hate Literature

Since it's hard for me to get good books in Mexico (not just the lack of English bookstores in La Paz, but also issues of shipping ordered books there), we went book shopping this afternoon. While the selection is robust, I'm really surprised at how hate and anger and fear driven the market is… There's very little in the way of legitimate poltical science and analysis of current events, but there is a whole lot of partisan ranting… Maybe it's just a publishing scam. Write a book accusing Republicans of some evil, and sell a million copies to Liberals and Europeans. Flip the accusation and blame Liberals, and sell another million to Right Wingers.


Here's a license plate holder I took a photo of on the way there. The picture's not the greatest so I'll tell you that it says “I'D RATHER BE KILLING TERRORISTS”. The Jeb'08 bumper sticker says “Keep America Strong”. Yeah, dumbass, buying a foreign car and voting for unionbusters is a just super way to keep America strong. Hey, I've got a good idea, after you've finished voting to ensure your own poverty, why don't you try and blame it on the gays!

Anyway, lest that sound too negative, we're off now this evening to experience some of the “the-grass-is-always-greener” aspects of this nation, and I think to do some business as well. Here's a picture of Rachel enjoying fried macaroni. It was dark so the picture is kind of blurry.

Santa Cruz

Just a few pictures from our early evening drive…

The first and last pictures are the ones that turned out best I think.

It sure is green here…

It's pretty weird being here in Silicon Valley… It's really lush and pretty, the roads are gigantic, the wealth is obvious, and the consumerism is over the top. We stopped at a couple of stores and it's amazing how many different things you can buy and how little it all costs. The computer I recently bought in Mexico for editing video projects could have been picked up here for well under half what I paid for it down there. Seriously, stuff is cheap enough that if you live in Central or South America it would actually cost less to buy a plane ticket and fly here to pick up the computer.

We ate lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Los Gatos. Sitting on each side of us (and I'm guessing at every seat in the place) were the sort of successful-yet-pathetic liberals (not the funny kind) that Ann Coulter spews hatred at. On one side was a couple sitting with an eighty year old guy expressing how sad they were that when he was in the military there weren't enough chaplains, so he and his comrades weren't able to get enough front line “blessings”. He tried to explain to them that it really wasn't his main concern at the time but I don't think they got it at all.

As if praying does any good anyway… Outside of the obvious atheist arguments as to its idiocy, it should be pointed out that one of the core concepts of Christianity is that of “free will”. That is, god doesn't interfere in this world. So you can't pray for God to smite anyone, or keep you from being smote (or smitten). After all, as soon as you start believing that god takes a hands on role in this world, you are only a very small step away from coming to the realization that god is responsible for all of the evil and suffering in this world.

The ironic truth of course is that God doesn't exist, yet is still responsible for a vast percentage of the evil and suffering in this world.

Now served via Tijuana Time


Just posted a quick update of about 1,600 new pictures in the public galleries. Members update will follow tomorrow or Thursday. Thank you to all the contributors and to slaughterkittie (that's a brand new account if you're wondering why I'm linking to something that's not set up) from Austria for the cover shot.

Anyway, we're in Los Gatos (ie. Santa Cruz) right now… Today is a US election day (no, it's not time to get rid of the madman and the dark lord yet), so I wanted to comment on how Denver has just legalized marijuana and some folks are insisting that state laws be used to do the arrests. I agree with Mason Tvert that this makes a disturbing comment on democracy — if the will of the people is that marijuana be legalized, at what point do you accept that you're not living in a democracy when the will of the people is ignored?

I finished off Freakonomics this morning (a brilliant and highly recommended book)… It points out a variety of things, such as talking about how the real reason that crime dropped in the 90's wasn't policing or the economy or anything like that, but Roe v. Wade — the flow of unwanted children that allowing abortion caused to cease would have aged to teen criminal during that period… and since they didn't exist, crime dropped (dummy interpretation).

The core statement being made (in my opinion) is that people who have happy lives contribute to the health of society. Thus government has to protect people's rights to lead the lives they choose to lead, while also ensuring that these decisions don't extend so far as to impede negatively on other people's lives… but if you look at the various ballot measures out there like gay marriage and even redistributing, anti-teacher policies, and so on, it feels like people are seeking out laws where they can spy on and attack the happiness of those around them, rather than simply seeking out joy for themselves.

Sad state of affairs when people care more about making sure that their neighbor can't be in love with and marry the person of their dreams, or ensuring that their neighbor isn't consuming a substance that makes them happy or viewing a (porn) movie that offends them, rather than just trying to be happy themselves. Schadenfreude nation? Or maybe “fear” nation would be a better name? One of the other points that Freakonomics makes is that when presented with the choice of investing a trillion dollars to fight a war on terrorism, and investing it to fight a war on heart disease, the latter option, which really would save and improve millions of lives, is ignored… Humans appear driven far more by fear and hatred than by logic and love, and the ballot questions asked in these elections sadly illustrate that.

But really, it's not like people care about elections anyway.

S.J. to .S.J.

It's time now to go pick up my formerly lost Mexican ID (I think I lost it at the beach) and get on an airplane with Rachel. Other than the obvious trepidation that comes before megasurgery, it should be a nice week and I'm looking forward to spending time with Rachel and others.

And when I get back at the end of the week my Manta should be ready… then after playing with it for a few days it's off to for bodywork and a paintjob, a revamp of the interior, and then I'm wiring it with a diagnostic port as well (I'm putting a USB port on the dash that reads all the vital stats of the car).