Archives For April 2008

Posted below are ten quotes. read, digest, discuss, repost.

  1. “Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.”
  2. “The Quran teaches that [all Muslims have a mandate to kill Christians and Jews]. Yes, it teaches that very clearly.”
  3. “I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans…. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that…. There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades…. The Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment.”
  4. “The military will have difficultly recruiting healthy and strong heterosexuals for combat purposes. Why? Fighting in combat with a man in your fox hole that has AIDS or is HIV positive is double jeopardy”
  5. “It [Gay marriage] will open the door to incest, to polygamy, and every conceivable marriage arrangement demented minds can possibly conceive. If God does not then punish America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
  6. “It is impossible to call yourself a Christian and defend homosexuality. There is no justification or acceptance of homosexuality…. Homosexuality means the death of society because homosexuals can recruit, but they cannot reproduce.”
  7. “Only a Spirit-filled woman can submit to her husband’s lead. It is the natural desire of a woman to lead through feminine manipulation of the man. …. Fallen women will try to dominate the marriage. The man has the God-given role to be the loving leader of the home”
  8. “I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.”
  9. “Gay sexuality inevitably involves brutal physical abusiveness and the unnatural imposition of alien substances into internal organs, orally and anally, that inevitably suppress the immune system and heighten susceptibility to disease.”
  10. “Only 1 percent of the homosexual population in America will die of old age. The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States of America is 43 years of age. A lesbian can only expect to live to be 45 years of age. Homosexuals represent 2 percent of the population, yet today they’re carrying 60 percent of the known cases of syphilis.”

appalled? if not, then move on now. if you are, sit for a spell. quotes 1 – 7 are from pastor john hagee and rev. rod parsley. why do they matter is more important question. you see as the obama campaign continues to get flack for statements in or out of context by rev. wright, these fine gentlemen are apparently john mccain’s spiritual advisors and theoretically the same rules should apply. right?

i’ve never been big on team sports because fundamentally i’m not a people person. i was also the fat kid for a while so i didn’t get picked for shit. at the onset of puberty i got tall and thin but i’d already been burned so i took up distance running and i like it. you kept your own counsel and you were entirely motivated and driven by yourself. i like it so much i ran and 5k and 10k races, the one thing they don’t tell you about road running is how much it destroys your knees. and that when i stopped besides this long before the ipod when sony walkmen was still ridiculously expensive and the only thing accompanying your run was the sound of your own laboured breathing. this weekend was the country music half and full marathon and i’m seriously considering participating next year. i don’t have anywhere near the body i had in my late teens and early twenties and my knees are likely to hate me for months after, but i’ve never done a half marathon and i don’t have to run all 13 miles. we’ll see.

when i first started this post i was planning on talking about the sports that i watch on television and some how got sidetracked. i am first and foremost a formula one fan. forget nascar, forget irl, this is a good as it gets in motor-racing. i get up early or stay up late to watch races and qualifying, i’ve stuck by my team through thick and thin although during my current fandom, my team has done pretty well. there are two comparisons i like to draw between formula 1 and all other sports particularly in the last year. the first was the patriots got caught and fined for cheating about the same time as mclaren (one of the premiere teams in f1), the patriots fine? $500K and a first round draft pick. construed by most as a slap on the wrist. mclaren’s file? $100M which includes a portion of their tv revenues as well as their race winnings and forfeit of their constructor points for the season (effectively putting them in the worst garage at each event). f1 doesn’t operate in half measures.
the other comparison was the weekend nascar got cancelled in richmond because of rain, f1 was racing in japan, wait for it, in the rain. open wheel racing, 20 odd inches off the ground races in the rain, but stock cars can’t race in the rain, there is a disconnect somewhere.

i am also without shame an oakland raiders fan. i have been for over a decade. i’d never seen a game, i’d never seen a uniform and all my information about the team was based on the writings of hunter s. thompson and i was hooked. i actually watched the superbowl in ’01 i think and wrote about it here (somewhere in the archives, too lazy to look) for the singular reason that they were play. ‘football’ amuses me, because i grew in a country where we play rugby which makes this bunch of well padded athletes look like a bunch of pansy waists, but still i’m fascinated by this team run by a man who marches to the beat of his own drum come hell or high water.

art is subjective

April 18, 2008 — Leave a comment

i despise modern art. i think most of it is onanistic garbage foisted upon the public by failed artist and bitter art major in the form of curators. i believe that art should communicate and enhance a shared experience, anything that requires detailed notes, a press release to explain the artist’s vision or has the word ‘installation’ is problematic. . i’ve been to the tate and the tate modern in london and i believe that the tate modern was a cruel joke that went something like this:

“good grief, we’ve got all this tripe we’re too ashamed to show with the real art. plus it’s costing us an arm and a leg to store it.”

“i know, let’s create a new modern space, put all that crap in there and charge people to want to put their eyes out.”

i started this entry yesterday before the furor about the insemination/abortion art project started up and now that it’s come out to be an elaborate hoax and the press release itself was the project, i have even less respect for project or the ‘artist.’ in fact this ‘event’ sums up why i loathe modern art. i don’t need to be told how i should feel about art, i shouldn’t need to have it explained to me. i suppose i shouldn’t make such a blanket statement, i love photography. i could spend hours at a photo exhibit, looking at light and texture and photography is a modern artform and like any other artform has it’s own pretensions but it doesn’t require a pre-determined set of responses.

think about all the great art you’ve seen – how much of it required some detailed explanation? or did you just see it and appreciate it.

although i have my green card, i can’t vote.

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a friend needs some help with a project. there is a due date on this project of Monday, I know you want to help and I have great faith in your abilities, so step lively. 

the details are below:

I’m doing a project on storytelling. The 3 accompanying photos are to spur your imagination. I need 30 total participants to write short stories between 200-250 words. The stories must contain the following elements.

What happened before the picture was taken?
What is happening in the picture?
What will happen next?

I ask that people write only one story, 5 women/men per. In the comments please let your fellow participants know which picture you chose using the following format: Picture A, B, or C, male or female, participant 1-5. Ex: AM1 or CF5.

To submit your story:
Please e-mail  anonymuncule08_at_ gmail_dot_com with your story in the body (no attachments), your participant number (e.g. BF3), age.

If you are interested in writing a second story, I also need 10 people (5 m/f) to write about photo D. Please use the same participant number and submit both stories at the same time.

Thank you for your assistance.





like a rock

April 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

i used to listen to the ipod on the way to work in the morning but i need to keep track of the traffic so i’ve taken to listening to the radio. this has subjected me to all manner of commercials but the ones that got me thinking are the jewellery stores. and that got me thinking about diamonds.

call me cheap, but i find the thought of paying the equivalent of three months’ salary on a rock more than a little ridiculous. actually the whole concept is kind of ridiculous, especially when you consider that most couples that get caught up in the hype are just starting off their lives together and of all the things they could spend that amount of money on is an over-inflated rock. pause for a moment and ponder on this –  40% of the world’s diamond production is controlled by de beers and approximately 50% of all rough diamonds in the world are processed though dtc ( a de beers subsidiary). so either through production or distribution de beers controls most of the diamonds that make to the retail environment, no matter who you’re buying from.

let’s take a brief look at the history of de beers. the company was founded in 1888 by cecil rhodes and if there was ever a man that turned a profit on the backs of others it was cecil john rhodes. he was an ardent believer in colonialism and before the ayran nation was but a glint in adolf’s eyes purported the superiority of the anglo-saxon race. he made his fortune by controlling south africa’s natural resources through his implementation of african forced labor. currently de beers owns 70% of the diamond mines in africa either outright or with partnerships with various african governments.

a few years ago i was in an airport reading a copy of wired about a company that manufactured synthetic diamonds and how freaked out the industry was by it. the basic premise is that a company in florida can produce what looks like a $10 – $15k yellow diamond for a few hundred dollars that’s good enough to pass muster with a diamond dealer in antwerp. the very concept has the diamond industry in a tizzy, so much so that the dtc has developed a special screen machine. interestingly there is a company called lifegem, that creates high quality diamonds from the carbon of your loved ones. now there’s a thought, when you that family heirloom on her finger it could actually be family. i find that concept a lot less distasteful.

remember items only have value based on demand and availability.

three months, almost to the day since i last posted here. how things have changed, there was once a time where i’d posted twice, sometimes three times a day. i suppose that’s life, when you reveal that much for that long, there will come a time when you really don’t have that much to say any more. 

i think i do still have a contribution to make. there are a lot of things that have been on my mind lately –  there is an election cycle in progress, my experiences with my new job, developments on the home front and of course the elephant in the room – the state of the global economy.

there have been a couple of milestones in the interim, the beginning of the month of march marked my fourth anniversary in the us and the end of the march marked our first anniversary as homeowners. as the subprime mortgage and equity markets continue to implode i watch in fascination. i understand chasing the dream, but to what ends?

when we decided that we were going to buy a house we worked out how much we were paying in rent and utilities, what size home would keep our utility bills in the same relative bracket and what we could afford if one or both of us  were unemployed for a  prolonged period. and there was one other major stipulation, no exotic loans. we wanted a standard 30 year mortgage, with a fixed interest rate.

even without a degree in economics or an accounting background, the details of these loans were insane and based on an assumption that the value of your house was guaranteed to go up. isn’t the concept of value based on demand and availability? basically this collapse was inevitable and like any good pyramid scheme only the people at the top got paid. i’d posted before about the similarities between the housing crisis and the s&l crisis and the inability of the middle class to provide a bailout. i stand by that statement, but based on the bear sterns bailout, i think we’re going to be forced to pay for it, whether we like it or not.

we approached the mortgage company with our info and asked for the magic number. with the number in hand we then started looking in earnest at houses. to most people it appeared as though we found a house in less than a month, but we’d been looking on and off for about six months with my usual degree of obsessive compulsiveness. in the two weeks before we found the house we’re in now, i think we looked at least 10 houses with a variety of flaws; too far, zero lot lines, too many koi ponds – long story, rotting floors, smoky. and at first blush, vic wasn’t sold on the house. it was only when we got a chance to go in that she was sold and it’s a good thing we acted as quickly as we did, we discovered at the closing that someone else put a cash offer about the same time as the fax with our offer was coming in.

our house was a realtor flip and going over the closing documents, by the time the realtors paid their cost and what the owed to the bank the made less than $10k. i don’t know if i’m not looking at the big picture but that seems a really small profit margin and with the markets being what they are now, how much smaller are the margins? how many flips do you have to sell to break even? or does the commission on selling the house help? looking at the nashville market, there has been a slowdown but now as drastic as the rest of the country, however it looks like the majority of houses still being sold are older homes and remodels.

the foreclosures and abandonments are reminiscent of trinidad in the late 80s after the ‘money is no problem’ era ended. in 88-89 just before my grandmother moved to trinidad we started looking for a house and with the market being what it was the banks were more than happy to provide their foreclosure lists. we saw a lot of house that still had furniture in them as people just walked away from mortgages they could no longer afford. all the precursors to the recession then are visible here, now and what’s worse is that in this case it’s going to be global. the mortgage crisis is going to continue to ripple out, food and transportation costs are already rising while wages remain stagnant, the value of a dollar decreases every time the federal reserve tries to shore up the economy. greed put us in this situation and it’s going to be interesting to see how we get out of it.