Monday, April 30, 2007

Why Johnny Can't Blog

I have to face facts here. I just don't have the soul of a blogger. I feel as though I'm spending all this time ordering my thoughts for no good reason. Plus, it's all mostly negative. Basically it's me talking about what's wrong with stuff--with a little human interest thrown in here and there. And frankly, I just don't have the stomach for it, comments or no. So there'll probably be very few posts here at all.

I couldn't even imagine doing a humor site--making fun of ugly glasses, for example--so probably, I should hand off that domain to someone with the correct temperament for that. The fact is, that even if I strenuously disagree with someone’s politics--or choice of glasses, which are often one and the same--I actually don't like hurting people's feelings. The kind of joking I like to do--which is considerable--I prefer to do in the company of like-minded friends whose feelings I know I can't hurt in that way.

That being said, perhaps I could run a site that's about something I really like, or that I think is cute, or that I approve of, or that I'm impressed with, or that I feel needs recognition of some sort. Perhaps, there is something like that in the future.

I guess we'll see.

Friday, December 22, 2006

No More Comments!!!!!!!!

I'm turning them off. The effort that is needed for reading them and answering them is too much for me. One aggravating post requires too much of my attention and wastes too much of my time trying to think of how to answer it. Even a thought provoking comment that warrants a deep and thoughtful response causes me to spend much more time than I want to spend. The rewards are few, as far as I can see. And really, since this blog is about what I think, first and foremost, what do I care about comments? I mean duh! Look at this!! This very post is being entered because of comments intruding in my life. Here I am having to take time out of my evening (instead of sleeping) to make this post, and change my settings back to the way they were, as well as removing all comments except for the few that belong here (because I made them, or because they were made by a member of this blog).

Monday, November 13, 2006

More on Atheism

Thing is: It is my opinion that humans are hard-wired for religion. Because of that, an atheist has to be mindful of the “hole” left by no religion, and replace it with something constructive, instead of becoming some kind of secular humanist, commie moonbat. For me, it’s something like man-worship that fills the bill. You’d have to go to the Ayn Rand institute to find out what I mean by that, and I don’t feel like explaining it too much at this point. Suffice it to say that it is quite the opposite of the “love for mankind,” as the doctrine of “altruism” would require. Rather, it is the knowledge that men—individual men—will achieve great things, a belief in the rational if you will. Only the worst sort of category error could confuse the two.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More about the Bike

Some Technical Data on the bike for JoeShmo:

shift ratios

Much was done to this bike to make it like it the way it is. Lots of messing around with gears (chainrings and rear clusters) most of which are found items. The bicycle hobby began during a period of under employment, but during a freelance computer job, a client gave me an old bike. One thing led to another and finally I ended up reformulating this one (pictured in previous posts)

linear gear ratios

It certainly kept me busy, and I know quite a bit about bikes now. Although my knowledge is more of the “bacon grease” variety rather than the “lithium grease” variety, if you get my meaning.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Moonbat Arizona 9/11 Memorial

I just couldn't believe this, but I'm linking to it because I think everyone needs to know about it, provided it's true.

So the State of Arizona decided they wanted to build a memorial for the 9/11 victims. Great idea right? Well this is the result when you have liberals deciding what to put on a memorial: (via Expresso Pundit)

More

I'm from Arizona, and I can't believe a normally conservative state has let something like this happen. It contains all manner of "Blame America First" references, not to mention very little about 9-11 itself or it's victims. It's a disgrace.

Here's another article that links from the above:

Shock and Awe

I visited the 9/11 memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza Tuesday and I was stunned by what I saw.

Here's how the Governor describes the memorial.

According to governor spokeswoman Shilo Mitchell , Napolitano described the memorial as being " unique, bold, educational and unforgettable," she said. " The memorial uses the sun to articulate words and thoughts."

The memorial is an elevated flat ring with phrases cut through the metal. Throughout the day, the sun shines through the ring and phrases become visible on the side walk.

What kind of phrases? Politically correct phrases that bash America. That's what kind of phrases. The memorial looks like a MoveOn.org webpage.

Sure there is the usual timeline of events, but how about this little reminder of American aggression. (The stray Ds

Read more

Judging by the other news about the governor's crooked reelection campaingn, this is probably no surprise.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My reflections on 9/11

Earlier today, my wife told me that a blog she frequents had put out a call for people to write about their experience on that day—a sort of Where was I on 9/ll sort of thing—and asked if I wanted to offer up a contribution myself. My first reaction and indeed the first words out of my mouth were, “I can’t do that!” Obviously, I overcame that initial reaction, but not before a lot of serious consideration.

The truth is I’m not like other people. I have a mild form of Autism known as Asperger Syndrome. Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I am different; I have learned to mitigate it when necessary; but it is true nonetheless. The thoughts I have, and the emotions I experience, are far from the norm. I might feel deep emotion—even be moved to tears—at little more than the memory of a piece of music I love; I might not feel any emotion at all at a moment when every sane and normal person should; and I might find humor in something that hardly anybody finds funny at all. As you might imagine, this causes me a considerable amount of difficulty.

Regarding 9/11, I was so sure that my reactions at the time were not the norm—that they would be incomprehensible, perhaps even hurtful, to those who had lost so much or even to those who had experienced a more normal range of thoughts and emotions. So I firmly told my sweetheart that, while I’d help her with her account, I wouldn’t write one myself. I’m a good proofreader, particularly when it comes to making order out of chaos—another Asperger trait.

In fact my tendency toward pattern recognition is part of what this account is about, but I’m getting ahead of myself. After I got done helping my wife edit her own account and helping her post it, she asked me if she could read me some of the other posts. I said she could, and she began to read them. What I heard was very touching. Some of the writing was quite lovely as well, but pretty much what I expected—the normal range of emotions. So I had been right not to write and post my own account. Still, somewhere between five and ten such accounts, a strange feeling came over me: I started remembering that day in vivid detail and had a desire to write it down. I can’t explain what it was that came over me, but I suddenly thought that I had to get it all out.

I remember that I had been up late the night before writing some music and I was pretty deeply asleep. I recall that my wife came into the bedroom and asked me the strangest question: “If any more planes crash into buildings do you want me to wake you up?” I said no. (I’ll always say no to waking up though if I really have a choice.) Really, I thought I was dreaming anyway. Planes don’t crash into buildings over and over except in movies. A while later, I woke up and went into the living room where the rest of the family were watching the news. Buildings definitely were burning and collapsing. The first words I remember saying were: “So I guess I wasn’t dreaming, then.” I remember that some newscaster was talking about how “no one had any idea what or who” was behind the disaster. That’s when I started laughing. It was so obvious to me, that every time I heard a jet plane roar overhead I started yelling “Aaaahhhlaaahhalalalalalllaaaahhhhh!!!!!!” That was the main part I thought might hurt everyone’s feelings, but as I mentioned earlier, I often see humor in things no one else finds funny. And I thought it was hilarious that these talking heads were so completely clueless as to the very obvious cause. I knew we were under attack. I knew it was Muslim extremists. And I knew that you didn’t have to be the rainman to put that together. Of course as the hours passed, everyone came to realize what I knew in an instant; the talking heads could no longer deny it, even though it seemed like they, as usual, had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward the truth.

That day, I was never sad, angry or afraid. But I was and am an American. And I knew we had to do something serious or many more Americans would die. As time went on, I felt, as I still feel now, very positive about the steps that have been taken; but still, it doesn’t seem like enough. I love America and I don’t want Americans to suffer. I would prefer if it were not necessary to turn the entire Middle East into Glassistan, but I sometimes I fear that may be the only way to protect the civilized world. I also see that America and Americans may have become too civilized to fight this war as aggressively as necessary.

It’s often said that people with Asperger are detached—too detached to see the human cost of such extreme actions. But the truth is that I see these costs only too well—the cost of doing too much, and the infinitely greater cost of doing too little.

Disclaimer: “Teh Lamer Warning, Musicians Ahead”

I said I'd warn you if I posted again and, you know, if I said I'd warn you I'd better do it 'cause words published cannot be ereased. Teh.

I didn't want to detract from the gravity of the following post with a snarky disclaimer. Consider yourself warned.

My Reflections on 9/11

It was like watching the world around me awaken from a long sleep.

I'm a retired musician with a talent for death. I deal with those who are about to die. Not the family, not the long-term hospice patients, I deal with people who are on their way out the "door" and would find some company and comfort in music. Those first few days of 9/11 I was afraid that I was finally watching the death of Western Civilization - without time for music or reflection. I knew that the west couldn't continue to ignore the Islamist threat. Islam had already issued the required calls to convert but no one seemed to notice. They’d provoked us in incredible ways and yet the west kept going back to business as usual. It made me so angry! That morning the planes crashed and crashed, and people died and died, and still some folks didn't connect the dots. The shock was tremendous, not at the event taking place as much as in the complete surprise I saw in others. How could people not know? Hadn't these same terrorists tried to bring down these same buildings once before? Hadn’t they taken control of the embassy in Tehran? What about the USS Cole? For goodness sakes, the nineteen seventies were the decade of hijackings!

It’s no secret: I love Americans. I swore I’d marry one and I did. I love how cocky Americans are. I love the way they jump right in and get things done. I love that most of them still think there is a “right” way of doing things. I educated my daughter in a Lebanese/Armenian elementary school because I wanted her to have a strong, family oriented, and very Pro-American culture, as well as fluency in several languages. Looking at it now, it seems funny that I had to send her to an Armenian school to find an unabashedly pro-American environment in California. Spending several years in close association with the middle eastern branch of the Armenians gave us a front row seat when it came to learning about why they live in America and what the Middle East has to offer Christians and all other Non-Muslim cultures. The Armenians have strong feelings about the Turks! Jihad has been of concern to my family for well over 20 years.

For the first time since I was a child I saw people raising the American flag. They were everywhere! It didn’t matter what political party someone was from – massacring 3000 Americans on our own soil just wasn’t going to fly! Finally, people were asking the right questions: What was the Taliban? Why were the Wahabi Islamist sects blowing up Historical Trust sites and statues of Buddha? Why are we allowing the Saudis to fund schools here without making an issue about the racist, subversive, hateful things they were teaching? Really, they have a right to express their hate filled values, but we have a right to be aware of it, too. In fact, we have a responsibility to be aware of it. The mainstream media was still looking for “common ground” with the “Religion of Peace” but across the web people were educating themselves about Sharia law and reading the Qur’an and Hadith. People began to seek out translations of the media broadcasts from the Middle East and websites were formed to disseminate cultural information.

Maybe of primary importance to me was that I began to see regular people reflecting on the type of Multiculturalism touted on college campuses today. Sacred cows were indeed slaughtered. We, as a culture, began to question the values of those in the “intelligentsia”. They’d really been getting a free ride before. How had we become so self-loathing and soft that others weren’t afraid to challenge us to “convert or die”? The comprachicos—those who would deliberately mutilate the minds of our innocent children—were being exposed. The internet had made it possible for the average person to be informed to a level never before seen in history. It had made it much harder to keep whole populations in ignorance. There would never be another “Winter Soldier” where a few evil people besmirch the honor of a whole generation and leave our soldiers to return home to scorn and loathing -- to steal their reputations as decent men and leave them to pick up the pieces of their lives without the gratitude and support that they deserved.

America was awakening. The people killed in the World Trade Center that day were us: Regular Americans going about our daily lives. They weren’t soldiers but they have each bought and paid for a hero’s memorial with their life’s blood.

So, this is my very personal recollection about my feelings surrounding that fateful event. I have no connections with the people involved. I, like so many others, sat in front of the television set with my family and cried. It is hard to separate the 9/11 tragedy from other things that were happening in my life at that time. It was an unsettling and frightening period for me and I can't reflect on it without conjuring up all of the other feelings of loss and bewilderment that I was experiencing at the time. It was already a time of terrible loss and strong emotion. For that reason I know it will be a hard anniversary for me today. But, thank God, I won’t spend it alone having lost a loved one in that disaster.

I am thankful that my sweetheart is by my side. He provided the stability I needed when I was sure the world had gone mad. Today He will work on refining one of the fugues he is writing and I will be blessed to be able to spend the day here by his side. After many hours of immersion in the sound taking shape, after listening to it being played over and over and over -- the feelings of grief and sadness will ebb. Awash in the harmony and balance, despair will be held at bay - and I will consider, once again, how blessed I am to live here in America where I can choose the people with whom I share my life.

Read more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Teh Cray-zee Disclaimer post

So, I got this message from my daughter who lives across the country from me,

“Whoa, Mom, what’s with the blog?!? Are you channeling Dad? Your word choices sound, um, odd. Are you ok? You really miss having kids at home, huh? We loved helping with the clock project but “Piglet Must Die!!!!” is a bit extreme coming from you. You are the one who wouldn’t let me call someone“snot” as a kid.”

Well, dear child, and other readers of this blog – I have a confession to make. I don’t actually write for this site. I wanted to be able to send sentimental notes to dv8 in the closed comment section. The only way I could seem to do that was to be added to the list of contributors for the site. I am such a Computer-Lamer that I couldn’t figure out how to do it any other way. So, I surprised my sweetheart and hopelessly muddled his blog setup at the same time! If I hit the wrong key I can even re-publish his earlier posts, link to all kinds of odd stuff, and probably bring down a small third-world nation. “I am Lamer, hear me whimper…”

The point is that I will probably not write to this blog again except for the aforementioned sweet notes to dv8. This is the only post of mine unless I get more curious about web works than is good for me. Then I will clearly mark said post with a disclaimer: “Lamer Warning, Musicians Ahead”

P.S. To those who find this site from my blogger profile, I don’t know anything about bicycles. I know a bunch of you are serious bike guys and dv8 uses terms like “Schram gear cluster” here, but it is another vast field of which I have no knowledge. Ask me about madrigals, voice coaching, harps, head injuries and music therapy, or R.A.Heinlien. Or, of course, ask me whether or not Frischface should be teaching in American schools.

P.P.S. Yes, I do miss having you kids at home. I prescribe another trip out here for both of you soon! Sooner!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Piglet Must Die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All this fairly recent flap about whiney Muslims complaining about Piglet coffee cups in England caused me to buy this clock at Goodwill Industries. I had in mind what I wanted to do with the clock face, but alas, I have no artistic talent. Not long ago, Brandy, a talented artist did some much needed modifications with marker pen. Now reassembled, the clock resides in my kitchen.

Before putting the clock back together, I thought I'd scan it in and do a bit more digital doctoring to remove hidden lines that showed through the marker ink, bringing a couple of the numbers forward and a few other things like that. The result is below:

Now, the sword and turban were my idea. But from there, Brandy and her gang of co-conspirators got very creative, adding the black beard and marking Piglet's neck for decapitation!

By the way:

A Muslim goes into this bar, see, and the bartender... the bartender... he goes, um... (this is so great...) he goes: What'll you have? And, and and... the Muslim goes: BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!