Quote of the Day

People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows, newspapers, YouTube videos and the Internet. And it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains.

It’s also equally ludicrous to believe that — at the very least — this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient for the people who are in charge.

Charlie Kaufman

Long Legs

Sunrise 2014/01/25


The Regal Ringneck Snake


As a whole, snakes are among the most colorful of animals, but some of these slithering reptiles elevate this characteristic to an entirely new level.  Allow me to present Diadophis punctatus regalis, the regal ringneck snake.  Indigenous to the desert southwest of North America, this snake is a more magnificently colored subspecies of the widely distributed ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus).  The regal ringneck snake is a charming shade of shiny blue-gray with a yellow clergyman’s collar and a jet black head—a color palette which would certainly get a person noticed at Delmonico’s but which hardly seems exceptional in an order of animals which includes parti-color beauties like the coral snake, the milk snake, and the paradise tree snake.  But initial appearances can be deceptive!  If the regal ringneck coral snake is threatened, it will roll over on its back and expose a belly which comes from the…

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Sister Mary Catherine and Mother Superior are driving down the street in Belfast when a car full of rowdy drunks pulls up next to them at a red light.
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Sunset, pier, Pond Cypress

Sunset, pier, Pond Cypress by digtlzen
Sunset, pier, Pond Cypress, a photo by digtlzen on Flickr.

It’s So Easy To Imagine That We’re Superior

If we can’t learn to work together on the things about which we are able to reach some agreement, we are fucked. That does seem more and more to be the case.

Despite that, I believe in compassion and doing what can be done to alleviate suffering, right here, right now. That’s why negative, non-constructive bullshit annoys me so much. It’s exactly the frame of mind that is going to destroy the human race. Don’t try, whine. It’s hopeless, don’t bother. That’s useless, don’t spend the money on it. They don’t deserve it, I do. I got mine, to hell with you. Roll over and play dead.

Oh, but look at those idiots! Look how fucked up they are! Boy, I’m glad I’m not like that. Let’s make fun of them (and maybe we’ll feel OK for a few minutes).

Apart from its inherent unattractiveness, the problem with that way of thinking is that it carries over to the issues we’re discussing. It breeds intolerance, and inability to see the good in people with whom we disagree. The habit of feeling superior can’t be turned on and off. It has to be unlearned. It can’t be unlearned without avoiding the kind of thinking that naturally leads to more of it.

That’s why I don’t look at sites like Walmart People, or tell or pass on ethnic jokes. Not because I worry that anyone will think I intend to be small-minded and mean, but because it is small-minded and mean, whether we want to think so or not. I spent roughly half a century thinking that way, then I realized that I didn’t like that person, so I’m trying to change. I try not to judge or make fun of individuals, I have too many issues of my own. As a society, however, we need a serious mental and emotional makeover.

It’s disheartening, and profoundly disappointing. But it’s no reason to stop trying.