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The Law of Diminishing Opinions

Would you PLEASE stop talking about YASNS/gay marriage/(insert topic of the day here)?

I propose the following:

The Law of Diminishing Opinion

For each additional blog/op-ed/statement produced about a subject, less and less interesting material will be produced such that eventually no more arguments of value will be made.

What I mean is that only so many useful opinions can be made about a subject. Everyone else just piggybacks off those ideas, and people off those ideas, and eventually nobody says anything new anymore. The value of the next opinion is less than that of the previous one due to this repetition/lack of originality, and eventually you hit a point of zero-gain opinion addition.

You’ve probably experienced this in your daily events… You have an argument with someone and eventually neither of you has a new opinion to offer so you end at an impasse. There’s a group discussion and everyone keeps repeating the same sentiment but phrasing it differently. All of the news channels run the same stories and provide the same information and you think to yourself, “Why have I been watching this for the last three hours when the same news is reported every half hour?”

Remember the Internet ideal of a voice for everybody? Well, it backfired. Big time. LiveJournal claimes to have over a million active blogs. I won’t even hazard a guess at message board/IRC/other interactive service user numbers. People want their opinions to be heard, and fuck are they ever doing it. I’ll come back to this in a little bit.

This Law also raises the issue of what I call the “Information Problem” — what most other people consider “Information Overload.” Overstated, it means that more information exists than you can possibly hope to absorb in a lifetime, so why try to keep up with it all? Tools can only help so much. I’m conscious only 16 or so hours a day and I have more important tasks than getting the latest blog postings (such as watching The Simpsons). I still do want to know what they wrote, but I have more interests to keep up with than time needed to keep up with them.

This leads me back to a point that I made in some earlier blathering and noted above. We only have so much time, and opinions are a many varied lot so only a few rise above the noise of the fray. (I dare anyone to read EVERY updated LiveJournal on a regular basis. For that matter, try to keep up with more than 30 regularly updated sites every day.) This is a good thing for the Law of Diminishing Opinion — the fewer opinions that you read, the less likely they repeat. Likewise, you probably pick those few opinions because they seem interesting or original. You can only hope that the noise is repetition or useless ideas, but you never know when a voice trapped down there should be broadcast because it’s actually interesting and is not being heard.

That’s the price we pay for our limited time and attention spans. This partially explains the music industry. What if the most popular bloggers suddenly turned expressing their opinions into a pay service? Would you pay money to read their blogs? Similarly, would you pay money to listen to music? I bet you already have…

But there I go digressing again… The limited time/limited resources problem leads to many other troubles. I believe more interest (hence $$$) lies in creation and retrieval tools rather than updating and (oh please someday) deletion tools. Think about it — It’s much easier to post to a web log (create) or search on a search engine (retrieve) than it is to go back and proofread your spelling errors (update) or get rid of old posts (delete). I shouldn’t say easier — again, it’s a matter of interest. I would rather spend my time adding new stuff and learning new information than changing old stuff.

Because we have a create-but-not-delete inclination, the Information Problem will only get worse. Opinions will proliferate but not differ, and the Law of Diminishing Opinions will be proven time and time again. I know we all feel the impetus to express our thoughts, but can’t you please keep it to yourself every so often?

The Law of Diminishing Opinion does have a corollary, but that’s the subject of yet another rant…

Overthrow Everquest (or your MMORPG of choice)

I have a +3 Vorpal Sword of Civil Disobedience and a +5 in Nonviolent Protest

I have many friends who play MMORPGs — Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games — and have always wondered what it is about them that turns my friends into computer gaming addicts. Is it the way that the games allow you to interact with so many other people in a computer generated fantasy realm? Maybe its the fetish for leveling up, twinking, and creating the greatest character ever. Perhaps these people just want to get the most for their monthly fees.

But tonight I don’t seek to explain the behaviors of these people. Instead, I want to focus on what makes an online world and how to overthrow Everquest. For those of you out of the loop, Everquest is one of many online role playing games where you play the part of a character in a fantasy realm, complete with cities and magic and other players. You fight monsters and complete quests and work on your abilities, earning experience and money and items in an effort to become the best whatever-you-choose-to-be. The game ends once Sony decides to shut it down or until you stop paying your bill, whichever comes first.

Back to the issue at hand. How much of the game comes from the players themselves? Sure, you pay $10 a month to play the game, but you go on missions with your friends and have a clan and enjoy the group aspects of the game more than roaming on your own. Without you and the interaction of your fellow players, the game would be no fun at all.

You make the game.

So why not take it back?

Let’s overthrow Everquest. I’ve got a few ideas for how we can do this…

  • Make an emulator:

    Even though Sony’s terms of service prohibit reverse engineering and emulator creation, it’s still well within your rights to create a system that recreates the Everquest server. This task will be time consuming and difficult, but well worth it once you don’t have to pay your monthly fee any more.

  • Strike:

    Get as many people as you can online at once, find a nice spot in the world, and bring everyone to that spot. Then do nothing. For a very long time. Keep your connection up for as long as possible to waste the server bandwidth. Make Sony waste their money supporting the servers while and use their processing power and bandwidth to the fullest. Furthermore, you’ll bring all other activity on the server to a standstill. Hopefully this will teach them some lessons.

  • Go do something else:

    You’re a nerd. Leave the game. Find something else to do like play another game, find online porn or music, or start a web site to do your own blathering. At the very least, go outside every so often. The sunlight will do you good. Plus you can spend your extra $10 a month on a movie or sunscreen lotion.

So it’s not an amazing list, but you get the point. This leads to the next question — what do you do once you have your own virtual world? I’ll answer the question with a question — what do you do in your world now? Can a virtual world designed for fantasy role playing evolve to support people with jobs, bars with healthy attendance, religious organizations, law enforcement, fast food restaurants, governments, and all the other aspects of life that we’ve come to expect day to day?

Yeah, there’s already Second Life and similar wanna-be reality games out there (The Sims anyone?). Do these games really model reality? How much of it? How much of the world do you have to program to satisfy an individual’s perception of reality?

These games prove two things to me. First, reality is relative, so these worlds are as real as there are hundred of thousands of participants worldwide using them and individuals known for their role playing characters’ exploits rather than their own. And second, the corollary, people are very willing to suspend their perception of reality when they’re paying $10 a month to use a computer generated fantasy world, no matter how much their real life suffers as a result (and no matter how much that virtual world is total crap).

Once again I’m not going to delve into the psychology of the individual who wants to spend all of his or her time playing these games. If someone can find their emotional and mental well being through a computer, who am I to complain?

Ok, I’ll complain. But I’ll save that for another evening.


Give me 100 megabytes and I’ll give you a piece of my mind.

I would like to make it perfectly clear that this web site is not a blog. Somehow people get confused that just because I core dump all over this web page it’s suddenly a blog.

This is my rant space. This is not a diary. This is not a catalog of my daily events. I am not begging for compliments, looking for pity, or asking for anything in return for doing this. I am not pining, whining, or offering constructive criticism. I do not want your questions, comments, or snide remarks. I may digress from time to time, but do not confuse that with anything of positive value.

Some people are obsessed with recording every moment of their lives on a web page for everybody to see. These people are disturbed. Somehow, real life is not providing them enough stimulation or social interaction so they feel obliged to share their internal monologue with the world.

And I have found no way to make them stop.

For some reason, the Internet has turned into a giant psychiatrist’s office. Web forums, IRC, instant messaging, WebMD, GroupHug, and others beg this kind of activity. People you never have seen in real life confide in you, revealing their secrets, all through their web site. The Internet has grown a mentality of “get it all out,” furthered by the cover of anonymity that the Internet provides.

If a blog has personal revelations from a person, at what point does the person end and the blog begin? If I stumble upon my friend’s blog that reveals their deep, personal thoughts about me, should I ignore it or confront them? Is that an invasion of their privacy? Why would you put something like that on the web in the first place? Should I believe everything on a person’s blog or is it all bullshit or maybe something in between? Better yet, what if your parents or siblings stumble onto your blog? Do you want them reading those details of your life?

My rants are just that — rants. They’re angry, pointed, and exaggerated. Is there a message in them? If there are, I don’t inject it consciously. I’m not going to put something up here that I don’t want other people to read, especially my deepest and most heartfelt thoughts that might harm the feelings of my friends, family, or random strangers stumbling across this text.

But above all, blogging does not empower you with a voice. Just because the text is there doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it. So before you go off and get yourself a web journal, ask yourself if what you have to say is something you want someone else to hear.

Speaking of being heard, I always wonder why it is certain blogs are more read than others. How does one person’s opinions gain more value than another? A blatant hypocrisy is at work here — the Internet idealizes democracy because everyone has a voice, yet few individuals have a voice loud enough to be heard over the noise. Is this what we want to construct? Is blogging a culprit rather than a solution? Or is there something entirely different at work here?

I will have more to say in the future about blogging. In the mean time, give serious thought to the nature of blogging with respect to the Internet as a whole.

Bang! Zoom! To the moon!

Ralph Kramden joins NASA, uppercuts astronauts into orbit.

I find the history of space endlessly fascinating. If you’re interested, find a book about the history of western science. Suffice to say, many ideas about the nature of space and the universe were proposed. For the history books, please remember that Copernicus was part of a religious sect that believed that the sun was the embodiment of God and, therefore, the center of the universe.

But tonight’s digression is a little more modern. A friend of mine loves space and satellites. He told me the reason he got interested in space was Star Trek. He also told me the history of satellites. Apparently Arthur C. Clarke, writer of the famous 2001 series of books, wrote an essay basically describing the modern satellite. The only different between his description and the eventual reality was that Clarke envisioned people living in the satellites replacing the vacuum tubes as they burned out. Then again, the Greeks believed that the Earth was at the center of the universe. I suppose we can’t always be correct.

Still, an overriding goal throughout the history of mankind was to find a way to send humans into space. The curiosity of humans drives us to explore places that we cannot otherwise reach. And so, in the tension formed after World War II, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. found themselves showing off their nuclear delivery technology by strapping people in a cockpit where a warhead would normally go. This dual nature of the space program is often forgotten; instead the triumphs (and certainly the calamities) are remembered in the history textbooks as triumphs are much more in line with the human spirit, rather than the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Today, manned space flight is in serious trouble. The returns on investment are pitiful, and having people in space no longer carries the same meaning as it once did. Suddenly George Bush, readying his 2004 election campaign, uses NASA as leverage to further his base of support. A trip to Mars? A base on the moon? And with a price tag of only $800 million, it’s a deal you can’t refuse!

Man was not meant to be in outer space. If we had, then our bodies wouldn’t need absurd amounts of protection to survive in the lack of atmosphere. Even worse, we don’t have the technology to protect the passengers on a trip to Mars from the deadly radiation astronauts would be exposed to over the 6+ month, possibly several year, journey. But for the rest of this argument, let’s assume that we do have the technology, and that the technology won’t fail like the last few Mars rover missions have.

So first, let’s get the facts straight. Neither teflon, velcro, nor Tang were the results of space flight. Each was invented before astronauts took to the skies. In general, most innovations that made it to the space program were not invented for the space program. For that matter, many of them were not made by Americans either. The developments from manned space flight are questionable at best. I can’t name anything that came from a space shuttle trip that has affected my life.

And the costs… Remember that $800 million is only for planning and preliminary research. I don’t know the numbers, but I would estimate the cost of a manned space flight is many (hundreds?) times greater than an unmanned flight. Go back to Clarke’s satellites — think of how much it would cost to keep a person alive in a satellite, including food, pay, entertainment (after all, it does get boring in space alone), and eventually getting that person back from space. That’s to say the least of a satellite much larger (5-10 times larger), much more expensive, and much more prone to problems than an unmanned satellite. If you don’t believe me, do some research on the budget overruns of the International Space Station.

So we went to the moon, but for some reason it was decided to keep going back to space. I suppose we needed to keep paying all our scientists to stop them from going to one of the communist countries. Another reason was to further the dreams of Americans, but somehow space lost its romance after we went to the moon. Today, a space shuttle getting destroyed is a tragedy worthy of weeks of news coverage, but another space flight is a 20 second news item on the 6 o’clock news.

And so NASA is set to receive some $14 billion this year. This may be adjusted because the Bush administration has little affinity for the ISS — deciding to scale back the station in the face of budget shortfalls in the rest of the government. I couldn’t be happier. Putting a person in space was a noble act but largely brought upon by tensions between the U.S.S.R. and the United States (in short, one-upsmanship).

The ultimate failure here is that the goals of manned space flight are not in line with any other goals of the space program or even goals of Americans as a whole. People live in many uninhabitable environments: Antarctica, under the ocean, and in trees, and we don’t care about those people at all. Likewise, we don’t care about the space shuttle. We don’t care about the ISS. We won’t care about a base on the moon. We might care about man on Mars, but getting there is infeasible currently. Perhaps the best way to state this case is to ask yourself which you would rather have: $800 million spent on the planning stages of a moon base and Mars trip or $800 million spent on education?

If money was abundant, I would be more than willing to revisit this argument. Given the state of things, I can only hope Bush gets ridiculed mercilessly until he pulls the plan. Bush already had to take that plan out of the State of the Union speech after being pressured by his fellow Republicans, afraid that it would be fiscally irresponsible to propose such a plan given the current economic conditions. No shit — I can spell “political suicide” even if Bush can’t.

So what should we do in space? Satellites are fine. Maybe people up there would be nice eventually. I feel that the time and money spent on manned space flight could have been better spent making huge strides in technology for unmanned space devices.

But above all, why the hell should we keep going to space when we can’t even get things right on Earth? Maybe the people in government and at NASA know something we don’t — that we must go to space because we’ve royally fucked things up on Earth past the point of repair. The first resident of the new moon base will be George Bush, and he’ll have a front row seat to the destruction of the earth a few hundred thousand miles away. I can see the advertisements now: Watch the Earth crumble under the rule of humans from your own suite in the GWB Moon Base! Act now and get your own lunar rover!

But I digress. Be very sceptical of the space program. The way I see it, we should only allow people in space, underwater, and other places only if I can afford it. That means you might have to wait until I die to get back to space. For that matter, you might have to wait a while to travel by plane. I hope you’re patient.


On the cookies for this site.

So I now use a cookie on this site. It stores the following information:

  • Your choice of stylesheet (that you can select from the menu)

And that’s all. In no way will I ever collect information from you without getting permission first.

How to throw an election

Overthrowing the government through democratic power.

With electronic voting machine fiascoes tallying up quickly, I feel it’s appropriate to say a couple of words that may put me in the camp of felon or saboteur of the government.

I am completely in favor of using these electronic voting machines to throw an election. With little or no public source code reviews, known defects (like counting -16,022 votes for Al Gore in the 2000 election), and no audit trail, these machines are rife for hacking.

To be perfectly clear, I am suggesting that we get an electronic voting machine, reverse engineer it, then publicly announce an easily exploitable security flaw hoping that other people will abuse it on election day. I would love to see the looks on the election officials’ faces when one candidate gets ten million votes in a single precinct. If you invalidate enough precincts and choose those precincts well, you can selectively decide any election in this nation.

We need to do this at a critical point in time — the 2004 national elections. This way we maximize the publicity of the event and throw even more dirt in the faces of the government workers who thought this would fix the problems from Florida in the 2000 elections. At the very least, we can raise the question about how bad these machines are for democracy. At best, we can invalidate a national election. Quite frankly, I would be happy with either outcome.

This argument presupposes that these machines are bad. If you search the net for Diebold’s leaked emails and for analyses of their leaked software, you’ll see the serious nature of the problems with these electronic voting machines. The potential for electoral fraud has never been greater. Compared to electronic voting machines, dimpled and hanging chads are a good thing.

Also, the companies who make these machines have questionable ties to government. The C.E.O. of Diebold is quoted as saying he will deliver Ohio to George Bush in 2004. A senator is a major stockholder in an electronic voting machine company where those machines were used to elect him to office. Former government officials often work for these companies in a blatant conflict of interests.

To put yourself over the edge, you should seek out the leaked Diebold emails. If any of the other companies treat this exercise in democracy in the same way as Diebold, their abhorrent behavior alone should be enough to put them out of business.

For those of you interested in committing a major act of fraud against the single strongest embodiment of democracy — the act of voting — let me suggest the following. As a side note, this is extremely illegal and will likely get you and your conspirators thrown in prison. No amount of civil disobedience protections will save your ass here…

  • Get a voting machine

    Do whatever it takes. Pose as an election official for a county. Pay off a poll worker or electronic voting system company employee. Steal it. None of this works if you don’t have a machine to play with.

  • Get a dedicated team of workers

    You’ll need lots of people and lots of time to get this done. They will need to be smart, computer savvy, and they have to be able to keep a secret. Trust is the key word here. You don’t need a snitch in your group.

  • Hack the box

    Do whatever it takes. Find the hole.

  • Wait to announce your results

    You need to wait until about two to three weeks before the election. That way they can’t postpone the vote, they won’t be able to produce alternate ballots in time, and people who may be willing to commit the fraud still have time to register to vote.

Australia uses electronic voting, but the software is publicly available for scrutiny. Their method for verifying the software’s security is significantly better than any of the methods used in the U.S. (most of which are unknown or scripted (not using real people)). The problem, however, is in the very nature of electronic voting, not the method of doing it.

In Canada, they use pen and paper. Funny how we have to spend millions of dollars on electronic voting systems when millions of others worldwide have no problem writing down their votes.

That reminds me of a story… In the U.S. space program, we developed a space pen suitable for writing upside down and in zero-G environments. In the U.S.S.R., they just used a pencil. Sometimes the most appropriate tool for the job is the least technical one.

But I digress. What I am suggesting is the single greatest act of hacktivism ever conceived. This will make Y2K look like Christmas. Credit fraud? No way — stealing money is easy. In the past, stealing an election was much more difficult. Now, thanks to technology, stealing an election can be as easy as popping a smart card into a slot and touching the screen.

I just hope it never has to come to this…


Fuck the environment, or something like that.

I’m not a die-hard green freak, but I do have minimal respect for the environment. My thought is that since we’re all here on Earth together, the least we can do is try to be civil during our lives on this planet — put our garbage in garbage cans, bury our toxic waste far away from any sensitive environments, try mass transportation over cars, etc.

However, I have a problem with anyone who says that the shoddy evidence about global warming is reason alone to stop pollution reduction. In their support, I offer these two facts about global warming. First, any weather data collected previous to 1950 (or so, I don’t exactly remember the date) is inherently suspect. We rely on this data to do our climate modeling. The questionable data is due to the inaccuracy and the lack of calibration for the thermometers and barometers at the time. You could argue that the errors are evenly distributed over the time, but a two degree standard deviation when tracking a trend of one-tenth of a degree per year does not yield good results (you statistics people know what I mean). Second, all models of climate change are exactly that — models. Modeling is limited by two things: the inaccurate measurements described above and the smallest area of land used in the model. Specifically, models can’t predict the temperature at every point on Earth, so you instead model temperatures over larger spaces — say, the size of a medium U.S. state. Climate, like weather, has a large variability, and things like one acre of land can make a big difference (a.k.a. the butterfly effect, chaos theory).

These two limitations of accurate climate modeling are being chipped away. Air samples trapped in ice cores provide can give excellent data about climate conditions in the past. Also, more computing means climate modeling can improve.

However, none of this matters for the point I’m trying to make.

My point is that we should always err on the side of caution when dealing with something like the only known planet that sustains our life. For a long time, people were afraid that we (humans) were going to blow ourselves off the face of the Earth with nuclear weapons. This is still a possiblility, but it’s voluntary; someone has to fire the missle and start the cataclysmic chain reaction of nuclear war. Destruction of the environment is a bit less voluntary. For example, you can easily tell the person with his finger on the button not to fire the missle and he (hopefully) won’t. You can tell several billion people to stop driving their cars to work, to reduce factory emissions, and to help clean polluted areas. Unfortunately, the logistics of sending such a message nearly impossible, and they probably won’t listen to you either.

On the more pragmatic side, getting companies to clean up their factories’ pollution is a near impossibility without legislation. I cite the case of seat belts in my defense. Back in the 60’s (70’s? again, facts elude me…), the government was considering legislation requiring all cars to have seat belts installed on future models. The chairman of General Motors at the time testified to Congress under oath that the costs of installing seat belts are so overwhelming that it would bankrupt GM, making thousands of workers unemployed and ending one of the country’s largest corporations (probably the largest at the time). Congress told GM to screw off and passed the legislation anyway. GM is still with us today (though not exactly in the U.S.) proving that companies don’t always want to do what’s right and that sometimes the government really does act in favor of it’s citizens despite corporate interests. Likewise, the government can tell polluters to screw off and lay the smackdown of tough pollution controls on their asses.

Unfortunately, this round of environmental sellout goes to President George W. Bush. He proclaims publicly that there is no conclusive evidence that global warming really exists. He has faith in God, but for some reason he doesn’t have faith in global warming. I claim it takes much less faith (but more intelligence?) to believe in climate change than it does a Deity, but then again, I’m not George. All the environment decisions he’s made – arsenic levels in water, ANWR oil reserves, reports of air quality in NYC following 9/11, no increase in automobile fuel efficiency requirements – have reflected corporate interests rather than public interests. Maybe having faith in the environment is more difficult than faith in religion; Bush “knows” there’s a God, but somehow believing in the environment takes a greater amount of proof.

Environmentalism hasn’t become a large enough issues to get the attention of all the peple in the world. I think the popularity of Hummers is evidence of this. Without commercial interests taking an active part in sustaining the environment, this is a hopeless task. Likewise, a social revolution will need to take place so people understand that caring for the environment is a daily requirement. I’m not going to hold my breath until this starts. For now, I’ll just put on an extra layer of sunblock and catch some rays until it catches on.


Ranting is a talent.

This is an edit of my rant on ranting taken from a previous version of this web site.

I rant alot. I probably rant more than you care to read them. I really don’t care what you think about it, but I feel I should defend myself with respect to why I do it and my personal ranting style.

Why I do it is because the Internet has empowered everyone with a voice and I fully intend to use it. I’m fairly certain that this site will never reach huge levels of popularity, but that’s still not going to stop me from speaking (or rather writing) my mind.

I rant about alot of things. Usually I rant about one subject – it’s easier to keep focused on one topic and digress on all the nuances of that one subject. It adds cohesion to the rant and keeps me from straying too wildly on lots of non-sensical or depressing subjects. Those kinds of depressing and confusing rants are usually the ones where people digress from topic to topic, lose track of where they started, and finish with no point except to be more depressed than when they started.

I never intend to have a point that I’m writing towards, but often I lead up to one after a while of weaving through a topic. Writing down a thought helps me home into the way I really feel about something, and the “point” that I get to is often my most true opinion on that topic.

I look to humorists for the best inspiration on ranting. My favorites are George Carlin and Dennis Miller. Carlin is the master at pointing out human eccentricities in our language and behavior. Carlin’s observations are usually simple things like “why do we drive in a parkway and park on a driveway?” Most of us are to preoccupied doing human things like working and shopping that we don’t pay attention to the stupid small shit that occupies our mundane lives, and Carlin is more than ready to point those things out to us.

Miller is quite different than Carlin. I highly suggest you watch the opening rant on his TV show if you get the chance – mine is a more direct relative of his style than anything else. He picks a topic, rants on it, fills it with references that only he understands, and comes to a poignantly humourous point that may be exaggerated but is usually well taken. He expounds on broader topics than Carlin – power, drugs, sports – but the similarity is there.

And if you take those two, you’ll see a little better where I’m coming from. Unfortunately, some people choose to fill their web pages with senseless thoughts or things that are more personal than what they should be putting on the internet. Shame on them – they waste my time and precious net bandwidth with stupid shit that I don’t care about. On one hand, I’m reading lots of stuff that has no point and is only a collection of meaningless sentences. On the other hand people present trivialities and private thoughts that I don’t care to read about. I’ve got my own problems and nuances to deal with and I don’t care about yours.

The point of ranting is to have a point. You can rant about lots of things in a rant, but you can’t have ten points and expect someone to absorb all of those when they’re done with it. Likewise, you can’t have no point and expect people to remember it. There’s a fine line between a rant and bullshit, and I try hard to walk the line because I know that alot of what I say here is my own shit spewing everywhere.

Of course, you can fully expect that any point I make here will have no socially redeeming value or will be something you won’t agree with because I really am out to piss everyone off with this site. At this time, I want to thank Calamarco.com, my site host, for turning a blind eye to what would otherwise be a banned site on any other server for what could be deemed offensive content.

This is my promise to you: I will only make rants of the highest quality. Screened by me and edited by me, I will hand craft each rant to the peak of sarcasm, wit, and offensiveness, so that you, the reader, will be flabbergasted at the crudeness and crassness that I exude in this text.

A trick is no longer a trick once you know how it’s done.


It’s the most annoying time of the year.

I had a few rants about Christmas and other holidays. I decided to consolidate them into a single rant, capturing my feelings about holidays.

It’s Christmas time again. Lights adorn houses and apartment balconies. Stockings and tinsel line the walls of houses and restaurants. Stores proudly display signs of “Happy Holidays” and “50% Off” in their windows.

Ramadan, Christmas, and Hanukkah all occur this time of year. Christians and Jews often forget Hanukkah is a very minor holiday that has been blown out of proportion because of its proximity to Christmas. And what about Kwanzaa and the winter solstice? I don’t hear much fuss about those celebrations. How many people do you know that hang lights on their house celebrating Ramadan?

And so the phrase “the spirit of the holidays” has little meaning for me when all that I see are Christmas lights and the occasional “Happy Hanukkah” signs. What makes this time of year so special except that it occurs near the time of the supposed birth of Christ? If that’s the only reason I get a week of vacation next week, then you can take it back.

Also, why is it only during this time of year do people feel inclined to “get into the spirit of the season?” Why can’t they feel like that all year long? Why don’t those Salvation Army bell ringers stay outside all year long? I bet their donations increase ten-fold during the month of December, if not more. But if people were constantly reminded of the plight of others, maybe they wouldn’t feel so giving any more. Plus that ringing noise is REALLY annoying – I don’t think anyone wants to hear that all year long.

A friend gave me an Easter gift once that I really appreciated – these little pieces of paper with silly fake Easter pictures on them. One had Jesus hopping like a rabbit with an Easter basket and the text “Happy Easter.” The other had the same text but had a picture of an Easter bunny crucified. I liked that one best of all. Apparently these are from The Onion, so props to them…


Hop, hop, hop.


Ain’t he cute?

I’m going to make my own Christmas pictures – Jesus crucified to a Christmas tree. Maybe even Santa crucified too… Here’s we go: Jesus is sitting in Santa’s sleigh, but the sleigh is broken and heavily damaged. The reindeer are all slaughtered, full of bullet holes, painting the snow red with their dripping blood. One of the reindeer is roasting over an open fire. Santa is dead, nailed to a cross, with a halo of christmas lights wrapped around his hat. Oh yeah, Jesus has a smoking machine gun in one hand and a blunt in the other. That’s my Christmas vision.

People all too often forget the symbolism behind the objects of the holidays. The Christmas tree was adopted from pagan holidays then given extra symbolism, wood for crucifiction, green for life and rebirth. I hope all you non-Christians who have a Christmas tree realise this before you put one in your house – they are more than simple symbols of the holiday.

At work, they’ve put a Christmas tree in the lobby, lights on the front door, and wooden reindeer in the lawn. My idea is to make wooden wolves to attack the wood reindeer then add some red paint for blood. I have friends who would help me with my idea if I asked, but I know if I did that, someone would take it too seriously and scream for blood from whoever did that. Oh well…

merry fuckin’ Christmas everyone