Friday, July 01, 2005

Filling out a Survey (part I): A Father and Son project

Geoff and I were on the phone last night and we filled out this Scientology questionare together. I can't honestly say which of us came up with what part, and there is a second section I'll post tomorrow.

• Have you ever used criminality as a means of control of a population?
Is it a crime to fart in Howard Johnsons? If so, then yes.

• Have you ever made sanity appear to be psychotic?
Its one of the things I do best.

• Have you ever been a psychiatrist?
No, but why do people keep asking me that?

• Have you ever depopulated an area?
Yes, once in a Howard Johnsons.

• Have you ever deprived another of a livelihood?
Well, I wouldn’t call it her livelihood but I did once turn the fire hoses onto the stage of a lesbian poetry slam, which pretty much shut down the young poet rapping about her “clam”. I was cheered.

• Have you ever given God a bad name?
Only when I make prank calls in his name

• Have you ever been a corrupt priest?
I’m a minister, not a priest.

• Have you ever given spirits an evil reputation?
Yes, but no one seems to stop paying up, so its all good.

• Have you ever been an evil spirit?
Evil genius, yes, evil spirit … well… I have to say no although I do spread a “stench of evil” (as the Amish have taken to calling it). I don’t think that counts though.

• Have you ever sought to convince others that things were evil?
Yes, such things include: Pauly Shore movies, and Scientology

• Have you ever taught others that nothing can be done?
No, but I lead by example, hopefully someone will catch on.

• Have you ever tried to convince others that knowing is bad? That perceiving is bad? That sensation is bad?
Yes, usually when I give them bad news, I always end it with “now would be better off not knowing this?”

• Have you ever deliberately caused a sane person to be committed to a mental institution?
Oh Mom, stop telling the nurses that or it’s more ECT for you!

• Have you ever performed unnecessary surgery on someone's body?
Yes, but just to get to the candy center.

• Have you ever tried to convince others that things are bad? That there are bad beingnesses? That it is bad to do things?
beingesses? Isn’t that Gollum’s name for the Baggins clan? I don’t need to teach them things are bad, I have a much subtler trick. I teach them to read.

• Have you ever mocked another's ability?
I’d hardly call “being the best powerpoint deck maker in FSG” an “ability” so much as a cause for deep, deep shame.

• Have you ever mocked another's knowingness?
Knowingness?? Where the hell are you getting these words? Keep in mind stupidity can’t be copyrighted.

• Have you ever mocked another's creativeness?
Do you mean creativity? You should maybe increase your wordknowingness, or maybe your proofreadingness.

• Have you ever applied a hot iron to another person's body?
Only for money. And that one time for a donut.

• Have you ever tortured another with electrical, or electronic, devices?
MP3 of Shatner singing “Rocketman”, does that count?

• Have you ever attacked others for causing effects that you secretly knew were beneficial, or helpful?
I work for Microsoft, that’s in my job description.

• Have you ever deliberately caused others to feel less responsible?
No, usually I’m the cause for more responsibility

• Have you ever starved anyone to death?
No, I usually fatten them up, then send hungry dogs after them.

• Have you ever left anyone to die of thirst?
No he had water, now if only he had the will to unbury the rest of his body to get it.

• Have you ever misestimated an effort?
Misestimated??? Holy shit, do you have your own language or something over there? Yes, I have. I am filled with misestimatedness.

• Have you ever misjudged another?
My judgements are always correct regardless of the turnout.

• Have you ever failed to save someone from drowning?
Technically, when there is that much vomit involved, it’s suffocation.

• Have you ever knowingly sponsored a swindle?
Umm.. Microsoft, remember?

• Have you ever failed another?
another what? Are you asking me if I am imbued with failedness?

• Have you ever retreated from an area where you should have stayed, or advanced?
I was once chased from a Howard Johnsons by a bunch of angry Amish on “All You Can Eat Chili Day”. That was a kind of retreat because I was still hungry.

• Have you ever made nothing of a worthy person? Of a group? Of a universe? Of a spirit?
It’s impossible to make nothing.

• Have you ever broken someone's body on a wheel?
Not on a wheel, no, but under several wheels, yes. With Aquatreads™.

• Have you ever stretched another's body on a rack?
No, but I did try to stretch some silly putty on a spice rack once, does that count?

• Have you ever put a criminal in a position of trust?
No, I vote generally for democrats.

• Have you ever sold people on the idea that people are basically wicked?
Yes, we meet every Friday.

• Have you ever boiled someone's living body in oil?
Yes, and with viniger! She was an epilleptic and we were tryiing to make somethign called "Seizure Salad". I don't think we got it right though...

• Have you ever exterminated a species?
Yes, ever heard of the Giraffeabear? Thought not, you know why…yo.

• Have you ever let your past triumphs discourage you about your future?
no I use them to enforce the fact that I am incredibly awesome.

• Have you ever flayed anyone alive?
No, all my flayings have been on dead people

• Have you ever been a professional executioner?
Its more of a side-business, but I dabble.

• Have you ever done a bad thing to win approval?
Only from the cool kids.

• Have you ever been a dishonest policeman?
maybe in a past life, which would explain why I’m so good at beating people with a nightstick

• Have you ever run a brothel?
Run? No. Play landlord to, yes!

• Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it?
I did, but I dumped it in the river shortly after finding out.

• Have you ever produced a bastard?
Is a "bastard" a kind of fart? If so, then yes, probably.

• Have you employed poison gas against life forms?
I am not allowed to return to any Howard Johnson’s in North America for the rest of my natural life or my bail monies would be forfeit. And besides, the chili there wasn’t *that* good.
• Have you ever taught that it was bad for people to have things?
Yes, especially when I want them to give them to me.

• Have you ever made a body disappear?
Depends, you need one to?

• Have you ever desecrated burial places?
No, better play it safe in case the zombies rise and attack.

• Have you ever denied anyone a desired beingness?
Oh here we go again with the made up words…

• Have you ever caused another being to create against his own wishes or interests?
Well there is that sweatshop I own, but if they didn’t want to be there, then why are they chained to the tables?

• Have you ever created an affect for which there was no apparent cause?
Every single one of my effects have cause

• Have you ever interiorized a being into a machine?
I called him Sir Jeeves, and he was my butler. Before that he was a construction worker or something

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Chase Haley, Master Astronomer

I am in awe of the comedic talent that is Jay Pinkerton.

This is fucking brilliant*.

*disclaimer: I may, in fact, be quite drunk and tomorrow this may or may not actually meet the full bore definition of "fucking brilliant", although I assume it will, most assuredly, meet the definition of "brilliant" or at least "quite clever really".

i demand that you blog toothpaste for dinner.

and because we're all about the customer suppoer here at TirionGFX, I obey.

It' really very amsuing in a Steven Wright kind of way.

Persuasion, Spot On

Orin Kerr at Volokh posts an excellent article on tone and persuasion (one that I ought to keep in mind from time to time). The art of persuasion is often a subtle one and people who are really good at it are more often in the mode of diplomats than that of preachers. Unfortunately it's easier to preach to the converted than to persuade the undecided.

Finally, I think lots of people interpret a dismissive tone as a sign of weakness. It's a variation of the old lawyer's joke that if the law is against you, pound the facts; if the facts are against you, pound the law; and if the law and facts are against you, pound the table. When readers see a blogger pounding the table, many are likely to assume that there must not be a very good argument to be made in support of that view. "If it's so obvious that you're right," the thinking goes, "Why not just explain why?"

As my friends know, my opinons are subject to periodic re-evaluation and occasional change, which I think is typical of most people who can think for themselves. An argument which recognizes and deals with this is more effective than one which is merely threatening or insulting. I'm adding Orin's article into my book research.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Just What Would Jesus Do Exactly?

If confronted with the business end of this?

I'll have to ask a preist.

The Pope's Message From Hell

If you're not a Cathloic, but a Christinan, this would be a valid viewpoint. Aslo, you would have to be nucking fut.

John Paul II assured his followers that Hell isn’t nearly as bad as he frequently preached it to be. “First, I strongly encourage you to stop fawning all over me or those plaster busts of my head, as though I was some sort of ‘idol,’” the Pope’s message said. “I learned the hard way that my countless prayers to Mary and the various saints (particularly Anthony, to help me find all those keys my shaking hands kept dropping) really irritated God, who was apparently serious about those prohibitions on idolatry in the Old Testament. And Jesus, who testified at my brief trial at the Pearly Gates, was obviously not happy that his mother got so much deferential attention from my millions of followers.

Too Cheap to Measure

Fusion is only 20 years away... and has been for my entire lifetime. Although now the French are on the case so it will be electricity everywhere or at least wine too cheap to measure.

Robot Chicken

Mentioned over on SciFi Weekly

Robot Chicken is a quarter-hour series consisting of brief, animated satiric vignettes, many voiced by well-known actors such as Meyer. Meyer and Green worked together in both Josie and the Pussycats and Can't Hardly Wait, which were co-directed by Meyer's wife, Deborah Kaplan. Green and Meyer were also in Rat Race, where Green discovered Meyer's wry sense of humor. Meyer is joining the writing team of Robot Chicken in its second season. "The show doesn't have a robot or a chicken, but we're having a great time making fun of everything we can make fun of," Meyer said. "We're getting away with a lot."

Robot Chicken spoofs supervillains and washed-up TV personalities and pokes fun at everything from Quentin Tarantino movies to Star Trek. Meyer is a common voice on the show, having appeared in half a dozen episodes. Guest voices have included Macaulay Culkin, Burt Reynolds, Mark Hamill, Scarlett Johannson, Ryan Seacrest, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard and Ming-Na.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Robot Dick To Appear At Con

From this week's SciFi Weekly

An interactive android embodiment of SF author Philip K. Dick will be demonstrated at Wired magazine's upcoming NextFest in Chicago June 25-27, organizers announced. The robot, based on the late author of the works which inspired the films Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall and the upcoming A Scanner Darkly, was created as a joint collaboration between Hanson Robotics, the FedEx Institute of Technology's Institute for Intelligent Systems and the Automation and Robotics Research Institute. The designers worked closely with Paul Williams, a close friend and former literary executor of the author, to create a lifelike robotic portrait that will be a powerful memorial to Dick and his work, which often featured themes of artificial intelligence and robots with human characteristics. Programmed to portray Dick in both form and intellect, the robot will be featured in a booth designed as a 1970s apartment where the public can enter and interact with it. It is designed to automatically generate dialogue specifically tailored to the current conversation. Through cameras in its eyes, the robot will be able to track faces, perceive facial expressions, and recognize specific people in the crowd. Detailed information about the PKD project and the upcoming installation is available on Hanson Robotics' Web site.

Why? What did you think it meant?

The Hawking Conjecture

A mish-mash article over at the NYT mostly misses the point about time travel. It's a sort of "kitchen sink" catch up of terms modern physicists use loosely strung together by linking verbs. Not impressive.

Had Dennis Overbye wanted to impress, he might have written a little about Chaos theory, time travel and the very distrubing implication that there is actually no free will, only our ignorance of which particular timeline we are in to keep us from going insane.

Most of us anyway.

Not Just the Army

An interesting Op-Ed piece on the middle class of the Army and why they seem to be struggling. Well, to be honest, it only explains it if you buy the premise that the current Army is like the one in 1969, which, I kind of don't. It' an opinion piece so the bar for supporting facts is low, but I have to say I don' t know that it meets even that. On the other hand, there is a pretty good quote I like:

The mistake the Army made then is the same mistake it is making now: how can you educate a group of handpicked students at one of the best universities in the world and then treat them as if they are too stupid to know when they have been told a lie?

which, I submit, applies not only to the members of West Point, but to the rest of us as well.