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10.31.2007

Quote of the Month: October '07


"Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

-Martin Luther

Happy Reformation Day all ye Protestants. Happy Halloween to the rest.

10.30.2007

Select a Candidate

My dad informed me of a great online poll that is supposed to match your political views with those of '08 Presidential hopefuls. I think it's a really smart and well-formatted quiz. Definitely worth a look. Try it here.

My top 5 results according to the survey:
  1. Tom Tancredo (14.0)
  2. Duncan Hunter (12.0)
  3. John McCain (12.0)
  4. Ron Paul (12.0)
  5. Fred Thompson (12.0)
So apparently, I'm for Tancredo. Figures my politics would most closely align with someone who has no chance. Though the top five results are all Republican candidates, I would like to point out that I am not one. I am disgusted with the two-party system, but that is another post entirely...
If I had to define myself politically (I hate to affiliate with any one system) I might tell you that I'm an independent conservative constitutionalist capitalist libertarian with a side of fries and a large Mountain Dew. Or you can believe certain other online quizzes and just call me an anarchist.

10.25.2007

Myanmar, Sect. II

The U.N., in its eternal omnipresent benevolence, decided to not sanction Myanmar for human rights abuses. Ask yourself this: is the best way to stop a government from mistreating its citizens to cut off aid to that country?

I don't think so. By doing this, the situation simply becomes worse. We would be starving the very people we should be helping (if we do in fact care about democracy). To me, this is more and more vindicating my position that we don't really care about democracy, we care about our own interests.

Iraq should be free. Iran, heck, let's bomb them, possibly starting World War III. Myan-what? Where the heck is that? Next to Thailand? Never heard of it. Meanwhile, people die....

10.22.2007

Can I Has a Program?

Speaking of language (no pun intended), there is apparently a programming language being developed called "LOLCODE". It is based on internet slang, particularly lolcats. I know we've got at least one programmer among the readership so I thought I'd post this.

Some of the syntax:
  • HAI - introduces a program
  • KTHXBYE - ends the program
  • CAN HAS - asks for a library file
  • I HAS A [variable] - declares a variable
  • I AM IN YR [label] - starts a loop

Bad Language

NOTE: This post may be quite controversial. Understand that I am in no way condoning the use of bad language. I am merely attempting to define it and to explore the topic of words and their meanings. I encourage you to read on with an open mind and draw your own conclusions.

Why do we consider some words “bad”? Bad language is really an odd concept when you get right down to it. Or, at least, it is odd how people deal with it. One word may be considered “bad”, but there is always an “acceptable” substitute. You can say “darn” or “dang” without objection, but not the other word. You can say “heck”, but not you-know-what. Why?

When someone says “darn it” or “what the heck,” is it any different in essential meaning from openly using what is considered bad language?

Is there something wrong with the audible sound of a bad word that makes it inherently offensive? Of course not.

What’s my point? Seriously folks, I’ve got one!

The point is that words are containers of meaning and we give them that meaning. An insult is an insult whether it contains bad language or not and there is no essential difference in meaning between a “clean” insult and a “dirty” one—the same offense is meant.

We have “bad” language because we are taught to think certain words are taboo. In doing so, we have set-up a rule that never need have existed. Certainly there are subjects that need not be mentioned in civil conversation, but are those subjects even connected with the bad language that originally represented them? In most cases, no.

A couple of friends and I once spoke with a group of guys who frequently used bad language. During the course of the conversation one of my friends asked them why they used bad language. They thought about it for a moment and generally agreed that they used it as a means to let off steam, kind of like punching a pillow when angry. Others use bad language for humor.

So it would seem the real problem with bad language is not the use itself, but the reasons for using it. Maybe the user has anger issues; maybe they are rebellious and only use the words because it breaks a social standard. If that is the case, then the heart issue needs to be dealt with. Treat the problem, not the symptoms, right?

Of course, many people now use bad language simply because they have absorbed it into their vocabularies through osmosis. Taboo or not, it is all over the place. Television, movies, music, school.

We have to remember that language, especially English, is changing constantly whether we like it or not. Words have come and gone; meanings have changed. Each generation interprets the language a little differently. It may be that in subsequent generations bad language as we know it will disappear. The more commonplace it gets the less potent, the less meaningful, and the less offensive. That’s the way language works: through use.

I believe there is bad language and that it is a real problem. But it is not a list of a finite number of words that people “shouldn’t” say. It is any word that is filled with bad intent. It has to do with the tone of one’s voice as much as the word itself.

Yes, bad language is a problem. However, it is a problem that stems from a lack of civility, not from one’s vocabulary.

10.07.2007

iCar


Cnet has a pretty funny editorial about what exactly it would look like if Apple decided to make a car. It would basically be a car, with the iPod's proprietrariness and expensiveness. One thing the article fails to note, however, is that the iCar would have no FM radio. No radio, period.

10.06.2007

Andrew Osenga


Andrew Osenga of the band Caedmon's Call (formally of the Normals) has a very good blog post on his thoughts about politics which can be read here. I thought it was interesting that he shared many of my concerns about the current political system. He is also a Ron Paul supporter, which should be of interest to Josh.

Whether you read the post or not, I'd encourage you to check out his music. His album, the Morning, can be steamed in its entirety on his website. Even better, he has an entirely free six song acoustic EP which you can download here. If you poke around further, you can find a few other free downloadables.
I can't really recommend Andy "for fans of..." because, like most of the artists I enjoy listening to, he is capable of many kinds of music. I guess he is closest to modern folk rock. Anyways, it's free music. Just give it a shot. Delete it if you don't like it.