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Date:2009-01-27 10:41
Subject:Can we talk semantics here?
Mood: thoughtful

se·man·tics:  (noun plural but singular or plural in construction)
1: the study of meanings: the historical and psychological study and the classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development
2: general semantics:  a doctrine and educational discipline intended to improve habits of response of human beings to their environment and one another especially by training in the more critical use of words and other symbols
3 a: the meaning or relationship of meanings of a sign or set of signs ; especially : connotative meaning b: the language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience especially through the use of words with novel or dual meanings

I don't really care for bacon--except the lean part, but it still bugs me when they label foodstuffs "something-or-other bacon". Must be the Iowan in me (hog:person = 6:1). Knowing what I know about where bacon is butchered from the pig, the idea of its bird-equivalent is even more disgusting. Maybe I need to train my mind to think of "tasty breakfast meat" as "bacon", like a "facial tissue" is a "kleenex".

And then there's this whole thing with giving government officials the title of "Czar".  There is no place in a Republic for a title that was used by Imperialist Russians, and was derived from Imperial Rome. No place at all. It dishonors and disrespects the sacrifices and ideals upn which our participatory, representative style government is built.  (See definitionh 3 above).

I know it's just a word, but words have power and specific meaning, and the way this word "Czar" gets used just pisses me off. I try to roll with life and adapt to what comes my way, but this seems to be one of my "buttons".

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Date:2008-10-31 11:22

My biggest concern about Obama's policies is his wealth redistribution. It is an issue that I am utterly opposed to, and I really resent that the Republicans have created this lashback. I think Americans are intelligent, compassionate, caring people that would help others and spend wisely if we had a fair and reasonable financial system. The last eight years have seen an unprecedented concentration of resources under the control of a small, hyper-rich elite. There is no need for a government to redistribute wealth if its policies don't concentrate that wealth in the first place. Under W we have seen the largest concentration of wealth in the history of civilization, and thus the lashback with Obama of this Socialist concept of wealth redistribution. I don't agree with it, but I certainly understand why its happening: if you step on a rake, it will smack you in the head.

And once again I find myslef committed to being a Libertarian and not one of the other parties that have policies that slowly drive us toward Socialism. Its like a see-saw of stupidity: Republican concentrate wealth, then Democrats redistribute it. The concept of Private Property is fundamental to the American lifestyle. Socialism undermines and destroys the centuries of economic endeavor that has created the institutes that protect Private Property. I wasn't a real big fan of Clinton, but at least he stayed the hell out of the way of free enterprise and didn't foster a situation that reminds me more and more of the last days of the Romanov Empire before the Bolsheviks took over. Thanks W, you f'ing dickhead.

The transition to socialism, in the sense of an almost subconscious, sleep-walking sort of "maximax" strategy by the state, both to augment its potential discretionary power and actually to realize the greatest possible part of the potential thus created, is likely to be peaceful, dull, and unobtrusive. This is its low-risk high-reward approach. Far from being any noisy “battle of democracy … to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the state”; far from involving some heroic revolutionary break with continuity; far from calling for the violent putting down of the propertied minority, the transition to socialism would probably be the more certain the more it relied on the slow atrophy of initially independent, self-regulating subsystems of society. As their free functioning was constrained, the declining vitality of successive chunks of the “mixed economy” would eventually lead to a passive acceptance of a step-by-step extension of public ownership, if not to a clamour for it.

— Anthony de Jasay, The State [1985]

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Date:2008-10-30 09:52

When will the rhetorical questions all end?

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Date:2008-10-30 09:37
Subject:Self fulfilling prophecy

This if from the author of the Wailing List at

The Psychic

I paid her to tell
me the future. Then she said,
"You will feel cheated."

You get what you are expecting.

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Date:2008-10-14 17:58
Subject:Odd Synchronicity

The Hubble Telescope shutdown two weeks ago because some circuitry failed.  Now its being revived on its Side B circuitry.

Hugh Hefner's 28 year old girl friend Holly is moving on to other things.  His new girl friends are 18 year old twins.


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Date:2008-09-27 21:50

Words from politicians are like incantations. You’re not supposed to ask exactly how an alleged government solution will work. You’re just supposed to feel reassured. The well-meaning politicians and their experts have things under control. No need to worry. Nothing to see here. Move along.

— Sheldon Richman

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Date:2008-09-22 14:46
Subject:yes/no meme

A meme from ivyluna.  Answer only yes or no, with no explanation unless asked.

1. Taken a picture naked? Yes
2. Made money illegally? No
3. Had a one night stand? No
4. Been in a fist fight? Yes
5. Slept with your best friend? No
6. Had sex in a public place? No
7. Ditched work to have sex? No
8. Slept with a member of the same sex? No
9. Seen someone die? No
10. Ran from the police? Yes
11. Woke up somewhere and not remember how you got there? No
12. Worn your partners unmentionables? No
13. Fallen asleep at work? Yes
14. Used toys in the bedroom? Yes
15. Ran a red light? Yes
16. Been fired? No
17. Been in a car accident? Yes
18. Pole danced or done a striptease? No
19. Loved someone you shouldn't? No
20. Sang karaoke? No
21. Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Yes
22. Laughed so hard you peed your pants? No
23. Caught someone having sex? No
24. Kissed a perfect stranger? No
25. Shaved your partner? No
26. Given your private parts a nickname? No
27. Ever gone in public without underwear? Yes
28. Had sex on a roof top? No
29. Played chicken? No
30. Mooned/flashed someone? Yes
31. Do you sleep naked? Yes
32. Blacked out from drinking? Yes
33. Felt like killing someone? Yes
34. Had sex more than 5 times in one day? No
35. Been with someone because they were in a band? No
36. Taken 10 shots of liquor in a day? Yes
37. Shot a gun? Yes
38. Gone outside naked? Yes

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Date:2008-09-17 10:20

I got on Facebook a few weeks ago, and its been a really interesting journey reconnecting to friends from the college I attended. I haven't been in touch with any of them for nearly twenty years, and its been a trip sharing the courses that our lives have taken

Reconnecting after all this time feels a bit like the "fresh start" in college that we all got without all the BS and baggage from high school. Some of the most driven, career oriented folks are living quiet, family oriented lives. One friend who was all about being a poet and artist is a community organizer for And several of us got sucked into the IT world regardless of where we thought we were headed back then.

I think the most exciting part is getting back in touch with the local fraternity that I helped create when I was at Central College. I guess I should have expected this, but I've been addressed as "Father Mick" since I was one of the founders. That is weird. The first time I read an email addressed to me with that salutation, I almost choked on my coffee.

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Date:2008-09-02 17:07

I did a meme where you put foods you've eaten in bold and foods you would never eat in strike-through.  For fun, I put the foods I had to look up on wikipedia in italics.  There were more things in italics (with or without a strike-through) than in bold.  I'm such an Iowan.

Yesterday my friend Doug joked about butter sculptures at the Iowa State Fair, and his wife looked at me for confirmation.  I just shrugged and said, "Sure, of course."  She started laughing so hard I thought her Dr. Pepper was going to come out of her nose.

What else is there to do there while the corn is growing? Its boring, and so is the food.  Gimme PBJ's with a side of S'mores any day.

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Date:2008-09-02 10:44

I should do some work (since that's where I'm at) rather than goof off on LJ.  But I'm not feeling really motivated.  Wishing I was at home with my wife getting more done with the staining project on the kitchen island.  But I do have Big Wigs coming in to town this afternoon/tomorrow, so I should go make things look spiffy in the data center.  And put up vinyl signs left behind by the Marketing guy.

I've seen several of my duties get dispersed to other people because the new outfit has a much more "structured" organization for managing tasks.  I'd call it beuracracy, but you know, potato/puh-TAH-toe.  Its a little frustrating when I want to be taking on more responsibility so I can make more money and not get bored with the same old routine.  Fortunately, I finally got a review (three years after starting), and my boss had a good suggestion for what position I could work my way into that would be more appealing.

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Date:2008-09-02 10:18
Subject:In a world without voice-overs...

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Date:2008-06-20 17:22
Subject:"With the exception of the cross-burning episode ..." Um, Big Exception!!

Apparently he's a great guy.  Unless you believe in rationality.

Lately I've been thinking about what its going to be like to have children of my own someday.  And then I read this and think about how I would react to someone leaving a mark on my child.  I have a hard time thinking I wouldn't go find this guy and leave a few marks of my own.

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Date:2008-06-12 15:38

My acupuncturist has me drinking this tea twice a day to strengthen my liver function.  She said "its not going to taste very good."

Not taste very good?

I've puked and had it taste better.


Reese's peanut butter cups really clears the palate, but they're probably part of the reason I need to drink the tea. 

Do I hear the Universe laughing at me?

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Date:2008-06-12 14:13

A meme from IvyLuna

1. First Name: 
Robert.  Rob to my friends.  Various dimminutive forms of the name to family members.  I used my last name at one of my past jobs that already had a Robert and a Rob.  (I haven't used any other variation on my name since 7th grade.)

2. Age: 
38 in thirty-eight days.

3. Location:
My office in downtown Austin where I am goofing off rather than some minor tasks in the data center that I am avoiding.

4. Occupation:
"Data Center Maintenance Technician" according to my new business cards.  Formerly, "Senior Site Technician".  But I am the only employee in Austin, and I do a little bit (or in some cases a lot) of everything, so "Manager" isn't a totally unwarranted title.

5. Partner?:
Beloved wife known on LJ as MetaphorQueen.  We were matched on eHarmony in 2004 and married in 2007.

6. Kids:
Not yet.

7. Brothers/Sisters:
Older (by 9 years) half-brother who lives on 50 acres near Smithville in Bastrop County.  Two younger sisters adopted from Korea (they aren't biologically related).  One is four years younger and she is a 911 Operator in Boulder, CO with a husband who emmigrated from Mexico (he's legal now) and three kids.  The other is eight years younger and is moving to Dallas this summer with her two daughters and husband who is an entrepreneur running a body shop in IA and a roofing business in TX.  My mom had a second child after me, but he was still-born.

8. Pets:
Now that we are in a house, we are debating what kind of dog we want. Boxer? Rescue of some kind? Pound Mutt? I like cats, but don't like litterboxes, so we may just become very friendly with the neighborhood felines. Our back gate goes into Walnut Creek Park, so an outdoor cat may adopt us.  A bird would be nice, but not in a house with a cat.

9. List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:

1) Settling into a new house.

2) Getting the condo into shape to sell.

3) Plotting our course toward starting a family now that we have the room.

4) Waiting on my employer to get far enough along in the business integration process (Dataside was purchased by ViaWest) that decisions can be made on my status and the expansion of facilities in Austin.

5) Visualizing the re-establishment of mountain biking and a Tai Chi/meditation practice after a long winter and spring of supporting my wife through her surgeries and the year-long house buying process.

10. Where and for what did you go to school for?:
Two years at Central College (aka Central University of Iowa) right out of high school studying Anthropology and Religion.  SW School of Electronics tech school in Austin in 1994/1995.  I took Microsoft CBT courses on computer networking in 1998 which led to my job at a small telecomm company that provided mucho OJT.  I am enrolled but not currently actively taking classes at Austin Community College; original intention was nutrition, but feeling more drawn to study history.

11. Parents?
My mom died of cancer in 1995 after her pill-rolling physician exploited her hypochondria to prescribe every drug he could get away with. My Dad moved out to the country in Iowa a few years later.  He remarried in 2003, and now they have a winter home out in Bastrop county in a development that borders on my brother's 50 acres.

12) Who are some of your closest friends?:
My wife.  My brother.  Penn and Al.  Several VOYAGers.

I wish: I had more control over my finances and the credit card companies had less :-(.  Meh.

I wish: Those fuckers that just cut down Shady Grove on Barton Springs Rd for their condo hi-rise would kicked in the nuts every day until the trees they "promised" to replant are as big as the ones they just cut down.

I wish: We could vote for really good candidates, and not just the least bad one.

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Date:2008-05-21 10:58
Subject:I HATE that f-ing metermaid!!

Saw this on a truck parked behind the AT&T switch building downtown.  Ever wonder why our phone bills are high?  Parking Tickets!!!

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Date:2008-05-21 10:36
Subject:Gratitude to the Troops

I think this is awesome.  It can feel weird--for you and the service person--when you thank them for what they do.  This is a great way to get around that.

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Date:2008-04-25 12:06

The German people were manipulated throughout the 1930s by propogandists that would look like bumbling fools by todays standards of mass-media and Internet savvy.  It makes me wonder what mad genius(es) may lie hidden behind our current political leaders pulling our strings.  Then I come across the quote from below, and I remember that line from Die Hard when they are talking about how the cops are being led by the nose by Hans Gruber:  "The FBI has the International Terrorist Handbook, and they're following it, step by step!"

Naturally the common people don’t want war.... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism.

— Hermann Goering

The Neo-Conservatives have the Historical Nazi Totalitarian Facsist Playbook, and they're following it, step by step.  The difference now, is that we're all pretty Internet and mass-media savvy, too.  And after the Nazi Final Solution, I think that most people are willing to accept that any government can committ atrocities if its citizens let it.

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Date:2008-04-09 13:46

I just found something very odd through mapquest.  I was getting directions for a trip to Houston, and noticed that all the buildings were showing the same aspect.  I thought, "I wonder how much the angle changes if you go farther North."  So I zoomed in on downtown Chicago and things got really weird.  It look like different buildings are photographed from different angles, and then they got pasted in based on which building is taller.  It makes it look like some buildings are leaning one way, and other lean a different direction.  Very Weird.  It made me think of that movie Dark City where the aliens were constantly reshaping the human city.

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Date:2008-04-04 09:12

I just used the Avaaz website to send an email to Bush about the China/Tibet situation. )
I've also been doing some research on the history of this conflict, and I can't say that the Tibetans are totally blameless.  Both sides have contributed to a historical animosity.  Tibet has exploited Chinese weakness, and helped Mongol invaders administrate parts of Western China.  When the communists took control and started killing and evicting the Bhuddist priests, there seems to be credible evidence of abuse of power by some of the Priesthood.  But still, the Red Chinese abuses have gone far beyond what is necessary to restore a balanced relationship between the two parties.  I think its ironic and somewhat humorous that Beijing has been using the Olympics as a springboard for their international influence, and now its being used by their opponents to bring attention to the issues that the Communists are most wanting to gloss over.

Situations like this make me appreciate the American tendancy to be short-sighted to history.  A lot of this Tibetan/Chinese conflict goes back to a period when Europe was still dragging itself back toward Civilization after the fall of Rome, and the idea of America was centuries in the future.  So now we don't carry around this burden of conflict that stretches back centuries (or millenia) and keeps us gridlocked in unresolved animosities.  History always matters, but as Americans we don't make day-to-day decisions based on visceral reactions to grieveances that are centuries in the past.

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Date:2008-03-31 21:20

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.

— Robert Houghwout Jackson, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Judge at the War-Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg

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