Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Afternoon Movie.

8:03 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Last night was a pleasant little affair. I sat for four hours listening to Rogers and Hammerstein--which I am hardly nuts about--in tones so flat that I could almost swear that the bulldog painted on the wall behind me started baying. Out came Jonathan; a dazzling bright spot complete with rich and room filling voice. Jonathan and his charming Lisle, however, quickly faded away to allow more time for the weak male lead and the painfully gay and tonedeaf max; poor max, who had no sense of comedic timing.

I still keep going back to the one energetic and acceptably well acted scene of the whole performance; that made the whole thing worth it. Casanova the Hun did a masterful job.

(Nine or ten hours elapse)

I had a fantastic morning, which included me discovering a baby that really likes me, a beautiful service complete with insightful sermon that confirms that Holiness can read my mind (will have to concentrate on throwing up walls), and lunch with excellent company.

The plans for that afternoon were simple; just drop me off to watch Das Weisse Band, for which act I am to receive extra credit. The first bright spot came with the knowledge that it was only going to cost me $3. The second came upon seeing my classmate, Brian, seated in the auditorium; at least I would have company. That was the last bright spot.

The movie was well directed, well acted, well written, well shot, and positively terrible. I asked Brian for his first thoughts on the movie. He responded that he thought the movie was depraved, which was interesting because Winston had described it with that exact same word. The word fits. They did not have to show a lot of the ugliness that was present in that movie. Instead, they alluded to things in such a way that it was infinitely more graphic than just seeing the depravity. It was there, but cloaked in the very darkest shrouds which imagination can devise when it has the help of morbidly sick suggestion.

Would I recommend this movie to others? No. I could appreciate the skill, but after watching this film I felt like I needed chocolate and a hot shower. The film leaves you with no resolution to the crisis, only questions and some hints that would point to really disturbing answers. By the end you hate all of the characters, excepting two, and get this vague idea that you have only seen the very surface of much greater underlying problems.

Why did it have to be a rainy day?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yikes.

4:13 PM Posted by Patrick 3 comments
So. I was at the library today, helping some good comrades with their prep for our upcoming Bartky exam. While doing this, a rather loud pair sat right behind me. I used my incredible hearing (which functions even better when you are speaking in full voice five feet from my ear) and ability to split focus, and I listened shamelessly to a conversation between the chick with a cool accent and the guy that appeared to be the epitome of stupid in Abercrombie.

The word that caught my ear was Pushkin. Not something college students are likely to talk about. For the few the few brief minutes that I listened it was rather painful. She turned out to be a Russian. She was asking him questions and trying to find if he knew anything about Russian culture or history.

He, working his very hardest to shame the American peoples, admitted to never having heard of, Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Trotsky, and apparently he thought Lenin was a member of the Beatles. He was also under the impression that the evils perpetrated by the government of the USSR were myth, which impression she was quick to correct.

I was appalled. Thankfully our study group broke up shortly thereafter and I was released from further motivation to turn around and slap him.

He was at least my age. What on earth was he doing with his life to this point???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Slippery Slope and Bandwagon Appeal.

7:36 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
In my com class there have been a couple things I have disagreed...make that many, but none rubbed me quite like these two. The claim that slippery slope and bandwagon appeal are not valid reasoning tools is ridiculous. Sure, no argument can stand on these alone, but to say that they are not a valid part of one's repertoire is absurd.

The slippery slope is the single most prominent pattern in history. The order in which governments come and go in Socrates and Aristotle is just a progression of slippery slopes, one after the other. Every time it is a case of one event setting off a whole slide of them. The slippery slope has a huge place in the Socratic method and is used throughout the republic.

Patterns are powerful predictive tools, so why would you rule out the most regular pattern in history as a legitimate tool?

And what is bandwagon appeal if it is not social acceptability? Since when does the approval of society count for nothing in the actions and beliefs of the individual? She keeps telling us how much of what we find to be right or wrong is influenced by society. So why is the opinion of society not a valid tool in argument?

The above are not flat errors like false causality. One is a pattern. The other is a measure of what is acceptable to one's peoples. To brand them as fallacy is idiotic. Thrasymachus has an opening through which he could have turned Socrates counterargument to his claim that justice was the advantage of the stronger. To win, Thrasymachus would have needed to denounce Greek societal values and embraced hedonism, but he cannot because he is a politician and must hold to "bandwagon appeal" if he is to maintain standing. His argument was curbed by the same technique which I am told has no place in argument today.

Slippery slope, as a little historian, bugs me more. There is always a slippery slope.

Habituation and The Legal Limit.

"You don't remember the best times of your life because the best times of your life happen while you are drunk."

Those are the last words a young man said to me. He did not die--no, worse--he was arrested for rape two days after he said that to me. He destroyed another life and made an animal of himself. Apparently, from those who had seen him earlier that night, he was--hold your breath--drunk.

I am working through research on alcohol consumption amongst minors and the disasters it breeds. The little academics and I have some slight differences in opinion on the way it needs to be handled. They all realize that there will always be underage drinking; this is no surprise. The vast majority, however, still think that protection is the way to go and that the best thing parents can do to stop their children from drinking themselves to death is give them sex talk: special alcohol addition.

These jejune philosophers think that a small contingent of words, and an even smaller contingent of police, are going to keep minors--who are under incredible peer pressure--from drinking. Clearly they have forgotten their days as minors. No. It is too little, and it comes much too late.

A dancer, when he preform, does not think about each individual muscle movement. This in contrast with a novice, who has none of the same grace and cannot perform the dance. The fluid movements of the dancer are habituated. They are the result of years of careful practice and learning under the eyes of a master.

With time the dancer is not only graceful out of habit, but his body rebels against that which is wrong. He feels the mistakes more acutely than the untrained body.

Good habits are needed in every single discipline. Education is about habituation to good. How does one form good habits when practice is forbidden?

In withholding alcohol, you take a simple beverage with lightly poisonous qualities and transform it into a taboo. Suddenly it takes on a new and almost ritualistic status; it is novel, adult, powerful, and sexy. It becomes a part of the "transition into the adult world."

Small wonder that the vast majority of alcohol related deaths are in younger age groups. Instead of parents teaching and habituating their children to responsible and tasteful alcohol use, the children go to their peers--fellow minors--who know all about alcohol...and projectile vomit.

I sat in com today and I listened as my classmates told some of their drunk driving stories. These are minors all. They know any drinking game you might have heard of, but I would bet not a single one of them knows the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon. They know a hundred ways to get wasted fast, but not how to match a drink to fit a meal. I find that a little sad. They were not raised to be civilized, tasteful, or moderate. They raised to follow the fold and were left in the charge of their fellow nit wits as they searched for "the best times" of their lives.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Muse of the Morning

9:24 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Do you ever notice that the people who claim to have received bounty from God because they gave to so-and-so televangelist often receive this bounty through, gambling, the lottery, etc?

Just a thought. ;-p

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is it worth?

What are you willing to give up for security?

Of nation?

Of health?

Of finances?

National security is a restrictive thing. They listen to phonecalls without warrants; that hasn't changed. They use special machines to examine your naked body before you board a plane. They require incredible amounts in tax. They call certain behavior risky and place people who act in that manner on watch lists. There are, however, lengths that we do not allow, yet. In my opinion we give up a little too much for security, but it is an area provided for in the constitution.

Imagine National healthcare with the same "common sense" restrictions and rules. If your health is the business of the state, then they have every reason to regulate your diet and exercise; to order you to quit smoking; to govern what kind of car you drive, choosing the safer and environmentally friendly car; to examine you when they see fit. All of those things have a huge impact on health, and if your health is the business of government, so is your lifestyle. When someone is paying for the maintenance of your body you are--whether you like it or no--to some extent theirs.

Let's turn our eyes to the financial world. If you want the government to save your house from foreclosure, be prepared to be told what kind of house to buy. If you want the government to protect your nest egg, be prepared to take dictation on what you are to invest in. And if you want the government to provide you with a stipend, be prepared to follow their rules like a good employee. An employee who wants their pay does what they are told, you are not the boss anymore, government is.

My advice--hah, advice from a whelp--is to consider everything that you want carefully, and what you will owe when you get it. TANSTAAFL does not mean that someone else foots the whole tab; it just means that you are signing an indenture. The government pays your way through troubled times, but you belong to them. I say, from me, if you ask for something from government that goes beyond what the constitution calls for, do not ever whine to the rest of us about the government impinging on freedoms; that freedom is not yours anymore.

The master of the house sets the rules for those who want to eat at his table.

We could debate endlessly whether government is even effective in these areas, but the whole point of this post is...

Do not ask for anything unless you are willing to pay the price.

Kahtleydie.

Sitting around home has left me an unusually long span of time to devise idiocies. One of which I will be presenting at great personal risk. Today, I will share with you the discovery I made concerning a certain demigoddess under our roof.

It all began when I saw her young (french nosed) servant entering the domicile. I was about to ask this strange young priest--for so he was!--from whence he came and why he came, but something about his manner checked me. At first, I thought he was arguing with himself. It was not until I questioned the young priest that I discovered that he had been brought to my hovel by an extremely powerful and not always reasonable witch, and he was out of sorts because she had recently been finding fault with him.

I was about to laugh at the fellow, to tell him to be off, when she swept in. Her wrath was terrible to behold and she uttered such shrieks as no mortal man could withstand. Before my very eyes she eviscerated the disobedient servant, thrice cursed for his transgression, and the more, for he had dared to profane her name in front of mortals. Slowly, the servant began to reassemble his strewn members and finally managed to stomp his way up the stairs, where he sat in the dark to nurture his wounded pride. I sat in petrified silence as this unknown unknown began to make herself at home and instruct me that I would be joining the ranks of her priests. Having seen the fate of the young priest, I was quick to acquiesce .

It was some short time before I realized she was a demigoddess, but there were a few oddities that hinted at her true nature. First, she demanded an endless train of sacrifice, enough to keep three priests constantly busy with their procurement. Second, the incredible high level of command she had over her servants. Third, the terror of her wrath and ability to freeze disobedient servants to stone with a mere glance. Fourth, and most markedly, her uncanny ability to control beasts, namely, cats.

At first I humored this apparition. "It could not," I said to myself, "last long."

That time is to me nothing more than a faint and distant memory. It was not long before the house was in the eternal grip of Kahtleydie, for so she was named. Escape was futile. She instated guardians to watch us for her. There was no thought of freedom as long as the ginger furred nameless was standing sentinel. Only the young (french nosed) priest is yet to realize the futility of resistance. It seems a daily ritual now for him to refuse orders and wind up with his viscera decorating the azaleas.

So we oppressed few trudge on, our anguish occasionally assuaged by promises of cake and grief counseling, but with almost no hope for this tyranny to end. Almost.

For it is said that she awaits the arrival of an appropriate suitor to return to the nether, which gives hope, for she is beautiful beyond words and learned in all things.

So we poor few wait, slaves now, but with promises that yoke will be lifted from us shortly; that soon we shall see our promised land. I do not know if I have been wise to scribe this; if for this I will face a fate like Prometheus...but I could not rest until I wrote this down; the truth about my lost condition as a slave in the house of Kahtleydie.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Little More Time for You Sir?

6:52 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
The last few days have been worth more to me than any in a long time. Even in the midst of a cold, the recent sunlight and warmth make me feel like a different man. I am more cheerful. I have no ill-temper. Sitting in the sun with a good book made for a very good day today.

There is the knowledge that I will be returning to work shortly, but hundreds of pages of--simply worded dreck--are not so bad if I can read them outside...that is, without freezing my keister off.

Between the whole disease thing and the sunshine I have been reading a huge amount recently. Good development.

I need to see if I can take Bartky's test on a computer. I really don't need another painful slog like that last one.

I have some stuff I want to blog, but it is all so terribly long and in depth...I keep telling myself to sit down and write some of it out...but I really can't be bothered. Maybe next time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring-Breakness!!!

3:44 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Freedom, life, fresh air, springyness!

IPFW was ready for spring. My classes were almost empty, my professors were in a genial mood, the student body wasn't nearly so banal, and I actually received a smile for each that I gave out.

History was history. I cannot agree with many of Erickson's views, but there is no denying that she is an excellent teacher and that she has the style to keep things interesting. The surprise came at the end when I figured out that I wouldn't be receiving my paper back immediately...at least, not if I consented to her to making copies of it. I picked it up this afternoon, and was not surprised to see that it was an A. Encouraging.

My MC&F exam was easy; it does not really deserve more mention.

Frau Schulz was in a glowing good mood. She spoke animatedly about the various draconian punishments which should be administered to the lazy bums who weren't there today. All this time she was sporting a massive grin. I averted any ire over missing yesterday because today I demonstrated that I spent yesterday learning almost all the vocab perfectly...on top of that my pronunciation was stellar today.

On the not so happy side, I am reasonably sure that certain classmates are now long dead and never to be seen again. So sad.

Oh well.

Cake and grief counseling will be available, I am quite sure.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Say Instead...

10:16 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
The entire theory of my Communication text-book is that the self is impermanent and infinitely malleable, and a function of action and circumstance.

The self, the ego. There is no mistaking the term they are using; the word is soul. Effectively, doing it quietly, this book flies right in the face of foundational western philosophy. The reason found in the Greeks for pursuing reason is because it is the good of soul. They are the same word, which word I would write if blogger allowed Greek characters.


Self is the immortal part of man, the part closest to the gods. It is because the self is immortal that reason--the good of the soul--is considered the highest pursuit. In reason man comes closest to immortality.

I need hardly say that Jewish and Christian thought hold the self to be immortal.

So I, though it may mean little, cannot really countenance saying that the self is a process. Personality is a process, but the self is not wholly our own. I tend to take that "you are mine" rather seriously.