Jan 172011
 

If you join an anarchist group... you kind of defeat the purpose.

January 17, 2011

It’s been a heavy week, what with talks of violent rhetoric and other goings on around the world, so let’s talk about something light.

Anarchy.

Yes, you too can be a founding member of the new generation that destroys Western civilization as we know it!

Well, not quite.

See, to say that something or someone is “anarchist” is a bit like saying you can make pizza. Are we talking Chicago-style pizza or New York-style pizza? Do you make it from scratch or do you use biscuits to make mini-pizzas like I do? Most anarchists say they want a world without government, without an overlord-like power telling everyone what to do and what’s acceptable. That’s the one constant.

The problem, though, is that the ways to go about reaching this world differ.


we want anarchy not chaos by ~Swoboda on deviantART

Much like La Raza, anarchy is a goal that lies far in the future. That’s not to say there are not anarchists now. There are. I’m one of them. I believe an ideal world is one in which every person is free to do as he or she chooses. This is a world in which we no longer need governments. It’s a world where personal freedom and accountability are held up there with life, liberty, and the rest of Superman’s motto.

The problem, though, is people.

Let me put it this way. Anarchy is the belief that the people have the final say and can govern themselves. Okay, fine… have you met the “average” person? Churchill once said that a few minutes with the average citizen are the greatest argument against democracy.

And he’s right.

We’re dumb. We really are. Think of the average person. Now think about the fact that half the population is dumber than that. And if you don’t understand that last sentence, you fall under the “lower than average” category. Sorry.


Ode to American Gothic by *Quasimanga on deviantART

I don’t talk about education and art just because it’s something I do or like to do. Art and education, the appreciation of things not essential to survival and the ability to absorb knowledge are the keys to a fully anarchic society, one in which we move beyond progressivism and conservatism and simply evolve into a world of personal choice and freedom. The ability to learn and adapt is falling away from us. Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re in a world that embraces anti-intellectualism. Science is shunned as something evil or some conspiracy to control. Art is seen as some sort of freaky endeavor that only the crazy or slightly mad pursue.

Art and education are the key to our future.

I have friends who, despite being life-long conservatives, pursed a higher education and, through their studies and their acceptance of new ideas, realized that choice and freedom were the way to go. Art has, for many of my friends, spoken to them of themes and messages language just can’t handle or is too verbose to communicate.

The ability to think not just of the world but the world of art and reading “between the lines” is what stands between us a true anarchism.

And anarchy is not a negative term. It’s just used as such by people who don’t know better.


anarchy by ~myfriendjoshua on deviantART

Anarchy is freedom. It doesn’t mean total chaos. It means choice, but also the ability to take responsibility for those choices. And that’s why an informed population is essential. That’s why education and art are, I truly believe in my heart and mind, the key to a free society.

I want anarchy. I want a world where movies are not rated. I want a world where information flows. I want a world where we hold people accountable for their actions. I want a world where fear of the unknown is replaced by healthy curiosity for new possibilities.

I want controlled demolition of everything around me.


Anarchy by ~xMusicXcisuMx on deviantART

And now that we’ve dealt with the imminent FBI investigation, time for the links.

  • I know this is old, but Richard Dawkins explains, in the most straight-forward way possible, why adherence to old ways is so prevalent and a hindrance to progress.
  • In case you still need a little Arizona shooting talk, Rachel Maddow blows away the myth that guns at the shooting would have made it safer. There WERE guns there. Other people were almost shot.
  • You know all those bird deaths were the little guys just sort of fell from the sky. Apparently the gays did it. Not making this up. It seems that God is sending us signs.
  • And finally, showing why an understanding of the scientific process, or taking in as much data as possible, is important, here’s a Saturday morning Breakfast Cereal comic showing why the proper interpretation of data is important. Don’t forget to check the poll on the upper right, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!


Aug 232010
 

School boards, voodoo, hexes... Oh I missed writing these...

We’re back!

And by “we,” I mean “me.”

Anyway, it’s been a VERY eventful series of weeks. Randomology.org will return with articles three times a week, and Charcoal Streets, for anyone who misses demons, angels, and ghosts, will now run Mondays starting next week. Also, note the redesigned logo.

In the meantime, let’s talk about Texas and why voodoo nearly destroyed a local school board meeting.

Yeah, it’s good to be back…

The story’s actually a month old, but it was too good not to talk about. You can read the full text here, but here’s the section at the very end that really made me do a double-take.

Nothing to say but, "Huh?"

At the start of Tuesday’s special called meeting, trustee John Peter Montalvo raised eyebrows when he sat in the audience instead of his designated chair on the dais. When asked why he didn’t sit in his chair, Montalvo said he had been told that a woman dressed in black had put something in his seat.

“I already put some holy water (on it),” Montalvo said. “I know people who were here before that would probably like to do things of that nature and work with the devil.”

He added that: “I don’t believe in voodoo and the devil’s workshop. It is hard to know what’s happening, and I don’t mind losing an election or whatever the right way with votes, but this is not the right way because none of u would like to (have) any type of election problems with voodoos and dealings with the devil.”

Everyone on board with this?

An elected official does not want people using “voodoo” to influence elections or the educational process. Other than the Boy Scout-level knot that is that paragraph, I had no idea what else he was saying, but I get the general idea.

This was a local meeting, but it does lend more evidence to my eventual thesis, “Why Texas Needs to Go Away.” Not that I’m going for secession. I wrote about how stupid that idea is, but the mentality down here is frightening. Even worse, Moltavo needs to get schooled in religion.


voodoo by ~paintisthenewdope on deviantART

Voodoo is a religion that can be split into three major sects. You’ve got Haitan Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo, and Vodun. I really don’t want to get into it, but the version he was probably referring to was the combination of Catholicism and African mysticism associated with Louisiana Voodoo.

Vodun is the original set of beliefs that started everything. It’s practiced in many West African Nations. One of its chief tenets is that there are vodun, spirits that govern the Earth. Ancestor worship is also prevalent. Unlike the stereotypical portrayals in movies, Vodun is not an evil faith. While there are sorcerers and sorceresses who claim to call upon spirits to curse others, the majority of practitioners do not use their faith to hurt others.

Haitan Vodou is the Vodun that came to North America in Colonial times. It’s most identifiable features are a belief in spirits called Loa that serve a deity named Bondyé. While this is the tradition associated with zombies and voodoo dolls, these are as much a part of their religion as… actually I can’t think of a good metaphor. Suffice to say, these things don’t happen.

We all know it’s evil military-industrial complex projects that create zombies.


Umbrella Corp by ~MajorDisaster on deviantART

The last variety, Louisiana Voodoo, is the version that came to the United States. Like Haitan Vodou, it contains elements of Catholic mysticism. However, Louisiana Voodoo, also called New Orleans Voodoo, has a strong emphasis on a gris-gris, a small talisman that is said to protect the wearer from evil. True voodoo practitioners went underground in the 1930’s because of the commercialization of the faith.

Of course, there’s also Santería, which is a mixture of West African faith, Catholicism, and Native American traditions. The result is something I grew up seeing and hearing about. It’s practiced in many Latin American countries. Like some voodoo practitioners, what later became Santería followers had to disguise their faith as Catholicism. The term “Santería” was originally a derisive term meant to mock the African slaves’ apparent devotion to the saints instead of God.

What the colonials didn’t realize was that the slaves were secretly practicing their faith, not Christianity, and disguised their rituals as Catholic rituals.

In yo face, Colonial authority!


Hidden Faith by ~Fable-Of-Joy on deviantART

I’m guessing Mister Montalvo was referring to Santería when he felt someone had palced a curse on him. Of course, it’s not an uncommon practice. Various types of folk magic, many I’m sure based around Santería, are common in many Mexican households. I know a few.

He could also have been thinking of followers of La Santa Muerte… but that’s another story for another article.

Still, it’d be nice he’d made the effort to call it the right name.

Or at least admit that he thought someone was trying to curse him. Now I kind of want to go to one of these meetings with a set of voodoo dolls and see what happens…

Check out the new poll on the left and keep scrolling for more links!

  • Folks, we need to start a movement to require newspapers and other news outlets use these warning stickers. My favorite one has to be the one warning that the reporter has no idea what he or she is talking about.
  • Are you a lady? Are you on the pill? Good news! Not only do you not have to worry about unwanted human worm babies, but you’re also making yourself smarter. New research suggests that being on birth control pills enlarges certain areas of your brain. Now you can be sexually liberated while growing that sexy, sexy mind…
  • Out of every movie, television show, and game of the last firty years, I’ve joked about Hollywood getting so desperate it adapts the board game Battleship into a movie. And I was joking… until I read they were ACTUALLY doing it! And check out this cast list: Tom Arnold and Rhianna. Really? That’s your A-list to sell this cinematic turd?
  • We’re one step closer to the robot apocalypse. Scientists have created robots with emotions. They’re designed to help children with autism… but I can’t help but think we’re one step closer to rallying around John Connor.
  • How much revenue would legalizing marijuana create? Check out this handy chart.
  • I’ve never been too much into cars, but DAMN if I don’t want this beauty of a car… I think even blind people get aroused when they have these images put in front of them.
  • If you love horror, you have to love Hammer, the studio that made Christopher Lee an icon of the genre. Well guess what? They’re back and working on a new series of movies! And Christopher Lee is in the first one! They’re also releasing horror-themed beer! Oh, Merry Christmas!
  • It’s now five days until Glenn beck’s spiritual revival/ Tea Party rally/ promotional event/ desecration of the memory of Doctor Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His 8-28 Rally is either going to cap off a year and a half of crazy or it will bomb when only a few thousand people show up. Either way, Beck’s selling the event as the second coming of Christ. He’s slowly turned from shock jock to faux journalist and is now well on his way to becoming a televangelist.
  • And to end on a light note, I love science fiction and am lucky enough to have been gifted a rare collection of short stories edited by Ray Bradbury (thanks, Dad!), but I don’t think I’ve ever LOVED a science fiction author. This girl? She makes Twilight fans look sane…

Jul 012010
 

Even if it's jibberish, work with it.

July 1, 2010

I recently talked with a friend over FB chat. Over various subjects including gaming, and a reminder that while my job may induce headaches it also makes a difference, he said he wished he could make something creative. He just didn’t have the time.

A legitimate concern… And so I gave some advice I’d like to share with those readers with a similar concerns.

“I’m not creative enough.”

“I can’t write.”

“I don’t have time.”

Poppycock, I say!


writer’s block by ~sfalco on deviantART

Buy a notebook, something small you can carry around in a backpack, purse, or on your person. I own a Moleskine notebook with no lines that’s perfect for doodles and random notes at any angle. Not only does the book have pockets and a band to keep the whole thing closed, but it’s very durable. They’re made with acid-free paper. As someone who spent the better part of his college life working in university and church archives, let me tell you that acid-free paper is a must if you want to keep things around for a very long time.

Plus, you’ll feel all nice and pretentious with a Moleskine. Try it!

Buy a set of pens. I prefer gel pens since I don’t have to press too hard on the paper to actually write, and when you get inspiration and just want to keep going, a gel-pen is salvation in plastic. Fine tips are best so the ink doesn’t run everywhere. Treat your tools well, folks.

I always keep at least two pens on me. And don’t lend pens. People tend to keep them. And I loves my pens… Loves them, I say!


Pens by ~heroleon on deviantART

And finally, perhaps the most important part of all…

Listen to people. Some of the best lines I’ve ever heard have come from people just talking and trying to think fast. I write these choice quotes in my notebook and often look to them for inspiration or at least a chuckle.

A few choice quotes:

“Kennedy’s not dead. He’s in Cuba with Tupac.”

“I’m too Mexican to be vegan.”

“Where are you going?”
“South Carolina.”
“…Why there?”

“You are so full of beans and your nose is growing.”

“She’s going to come in and growl! Like an angry mother seahorse!”

To a Homeland Security employee: “Is that bacon? I smell a pork-based product.”

“How did you sneak in here!?”
“I’m wearing sneakers. So I can sneak.”

“Fuck you, rainbow-cake!”

“I did some morally reprehensible things on Friday… but I enjoyed them.”

“You are a broken cloud.”

“The strip club reminded me you can’t buy happiness.”

“It’s important to talk about sex, religion, and politics, just not before you put on a condom.”

Any one of these lines could be the basis for a character, a story, maybe a drawing, a poem, anything.

I remember working in DC and having one of the legislative assistants lament that, despite how much he enjoyed his job, he wished he could create something. If you really want to make something, even if it’s just haiku, devote some time each day, even ten minutes. Build up. Break it down. Rework it until you’re satisfied.

Perhaps most critically, have an ego about it. You can’t try to make something and think it will be horrible. That’s for editing or revisions. As you work, listen to inspirational music or music appropriate to whatever you’re making. Keep telling yourself it will be incredible. Force yourself to finish it.

You can create art. All of you. It’s just a matter of the right tools and mentality. Now get to work.

Here linky, linky, linky…

  • Model Larissa Riquelme has said that if Paraguay wins the World Cup, she will run through the streets naked in nothing more than paint. If you weren’t excited about the world cup now, GET EXCITED!
  • Great news in sex, folks. Scientists are just two or three years away from releasing the male birth control pill. You only need to take one pill every three months and human trials start next year.
  • Did you know that if you have more than one earring per ear you are a DIRTY, DIRTY WHORE?! Me neither…
  • Wizards of the Coast released an article detailing the pitfalls of playing a “villainous” race like drow or gnolls. It’s quite funny in a lot of areas, including the apparent lack of respect the company’s D&D products have for gnolls. How many other player races get beaten up every over cover or drawing?
  • Christina Hendricks, patron saint of hawt redheads, gave an interview where she talks about self-esteem and body image among other things. Part of me wonders if she’s serious about being so shocked people think she’s hot because she’s curvy, but it’s nice to see that we’re moving away from the stick-figure ideal and going back to women with curves. Go, curvy women!
  • And finally, this may be the funniest commercial I’ve seen all week. So, who has a man that’s cooked a gourmet cake in a kitchen he built?