Friday, May 30, 2008

Smarm Alarm

Amanda, I thought, once posted an entry entitled "Smarm Alarm," but I can't find it for the life of me (if you're reading this, help me out!). It was my first exposure to the word "smarm," so naturally it came to mind today when a certain downtown character I haven't seen in a while waltzed into a coffee shop that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent. It's no skin off my back, but sometimes it gets under my skin when older, hairy, greasy, shady, overtly smarmy men get copious and enthusiastically positive attention - and often bizarrely from representatives from both genders. It's not that I'm starved of attention (far from it!), it's just that it's an ungood, untruthful, unbeautiful situation and just souls are justified in being miffed. In fact, God Himself is miffed. Amen? Anybody? Steve? Ay Steve?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

OAD on "Punk"

In light of recent discussions concerning 20th century musical movements with my new friend Christopher Scott Thielen (of Mon Marie fame), I thought this was funny:
punk |pə ng k|
     1 informal a worthless person (often used as a general term of abuse).
          • a criminal or hoodlum.
          • derogatory (in prison slang) a passive male homosexual.
          • an inexperienced young person; a novice.
     2 (also punk rock) a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
          • (also punk rocker) an admirer or player of such music, typically characterized by colored spiked hair and clothing decorated with safety pins or zippers.
     3 soft, crumbly wood that has been attacked by fungus, sometimes used as tinder.

     1 informal in poor or bad condition : I felt too punk to eat.
     2 of or relating to punk rock and its associated subculture : a punk band | a punk haircut.

     punkish |ˈpəŋkɪʃ| adjective
     punky |ˈpəŋki| adjective

ORIGIN late 17th cent. (sense 3) : perhaps, in some senses, related to archaic punk [prostitute,] also to spunk .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What the Brits Have to Say: Gun Control

I am interested in what any of you have to say on the matter, but can't help but pitch in these two cents: the fact of the matter is that there are very few who would earnestly advocate a complete lack of regulation with respect to all types of arms. Ask yourself whether you truly believe that there ought to be zero laws addressing matters related to arms within the ilk of ICBM's. So if you at least admit that much, you already believe in drawing a controlling line with respect to arms.

Similarly, it would be absurd to place a federal, bar-none ban on all arms. If this is your position you are in the negligible minority, but I am yet interested in your argument.

Anyway now that most of us are all on the same page (namely, in favor of "Gun Control" generally), we can argue about where to draw that line. But please, don't beat me over the head with something as overly simplistic, vague, and unhelpful as "gun control is unconstitutional" (whatever that means).

As a side note, I found this second amendment commentary pretty interesting - both informational and insightful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2 Misc. Insights from Adler's "How to Read a Book"

While reading Mortimer Adler's classic work "How to Read a Book," which treats a topic that might be more appropriately named something like "How to Properly Assimilate and Analyze Information as a Human Being," I came across a multiplicity of insights, two of which I happened to jot down on a sticky note. This morning, while cleaning out my sticky notes, I came across these two insights and decided to post them here.

• "There are no stupid questions" gives way somewhere during the course of one's education to the question "what are the right questions?"

• Higher Education is often more about unlearning than learning.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hume & Chesterton on the Philosophy of Science

It seems appropriate to offer introduction and annotation in critical commentary, but I will curb my intuitions to let the texts speak for themselves.

I hope the juxtaposition of these two citations incites curiosity, romance, and rigorous intellectual effort.
For all inferences from experience suppose as their foundation that the future will resemble the past and that similar powers will be conjoined with similar qualities. If there is any suspicion that the course of nature may change, and that the past may be no rule for the future, all experience becomes useless and can give rise to no inference of conclusion. It is impossible, therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of the past to the future, since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance. Let the course of things be allowed up to now ever so regular, that alone, without some new argument of inference, does not prove that for the future it will continue so. In vain do you pretend to have learned the nature of bodies from your past experience. Their secret nature and, consequently, all their effects and influence may change without any change in their sensible qualities. This happens sometimes and with regard to some objects. Why may it not happen always and with regard to all objects? What logic, what process of argument secures you against this supposition? My practice, you say, refutes my doubts. But you mistake the purport of my question. As an agent, I am quite satisfied in the point, but as a philosopher who has some share of curiosity--I will not say skepticism--I want to learn the foundation of this inference. No reading, no inquiry has yet been able to remove my difficulty or give me satisfaction in a matter of such importance.

- David Hume. An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section IV: Part II.

The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.

- G. K. Chesterton. Orthodoxy, Chapter 4: The Ethics of Elfland.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Irony: A Case Study

David and I drove out to Post Falls today to work at a coffee shop called Thomas Hammer.

The barista had a Che Guevara t-shirt on.


If the Cross was to natives in South America in the 14th century, if the Swastika was to our grandparents, if the Hammer and Sickle was to our parents, if the Crescent is to many within our generation, then yes, Che Guevara's visage is offensive to Americans.

Funny thing is, this Capitalistic mania over Che would cause that Marxist tool to roll over in his grave.