Murphy's Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any Fool Can Make A Rule and Any Fool Will Mind It. –H.D. Thoreau

Learning to Play, Playing to Learn

Posted by PintofStout on March 11th, 2014

When my friend told me “The best part of having kids are the toys,” I couldn’t believe it. My life had drifted far away from such frivilous things as toys and playing and silliness. I was concerned with more serious matters like the economy, politics, and how some systemic injustice was causing all of my unhappiness. For a while, A__ and I were the couple from the beginning of Idiocracy (and while that film didn’t push us to have children, I won’t say it never crossed our minds – as narcissistic as that is). It didn’t take long after having our first child to figure out that a sizeable majority of interaction with kids is through play. (Was I hoping for conversation?) Along with reading, it’s this interaction that helps development, learning, and bonding with your kids.Play Club

My child’s requests of me are typically to play cars or trains or puzzles or games. It could involve building a track for the trains to run, or stacking as many Legos as possible to make a giant tower…er, doghouse for a tiny Lego dog to reside in, or building any number of word or cartoon puzzles, or even just chasing one another around the center of the house from room to room. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by PintofStout on February 20th, 2014

(Not sure what happened here. Posted from my phone and it looks normal in draft.)

(Found it! Missing quotation mark in the link tag.)

When trying to sort through the new feelings and fears of having children as a mature[ish] adult, it never occurred to me that much of that fear and pressure came from an unlikely event. First, your status has changed from someone’s kid to someone’s parent. This status change comes with a sudden sense of empathy and camaraderie with your parents that was impossible before. Second, and this comes later on as the infant grows up some, you are now revered by someone. Based on my experience with reverence, this isn’t going to end well.

Whether it’s fate, destiny, a foregone conclusion, or whatever, reverence for real things can’t end well. Reverence usually comes from an unrealistic view or opinion with little basis in the whole reality. As the whole reality is revealed, the reverence fades and sometimes swings into disgust based on the prior high opinion. My fear of my children’s future fallen high opinion of me I covered in Reflections Upon a Coffee Mug II. My other experiences with reverence were pretty much institutions. Maybe, maybe, there was reverence for government or at least parts of it. This whole site may indicate how that ended. Religion fell to the next institution (sort of) I once revered. The institution of higher education was once a beacon of purity and truth in my mind. Today I heard the marketing for a university that spoke the rhetoric of a revered institution and not the fulcrum of a giant, planet-moving lever of social engineering and money laundering juggernaut and I shook my head and started writing.

All of these once-revered things, as all non-ethereal objects of reverence must, at the very least crashed back to reality and in the case of institutions crashed and burned. Institutions never end up even in the neutral on the revere/disgust scale. As a parent who has unearned reverence thrust upon them by fate, the pressure comes in holding onto it as long as possible, and earning it eventually is the grand prize. This is both inspiring and scary as hell.

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Introspection, Philosophy | 2 Comments »

Hang Yourself on the Cross

Posted by PintofStout on December 23rd, 2013

Considering the origins of Christianity, it’s not surprising that they have a deep-seated persecution complex. The same origin – and the entire history that followed – also belies an incredible denial of history. I have tried to mostly ignore the drummed up “War on Christmas” for as long as possible, but I am beset on all sides, whilst trying in vain to pass peacefully by, with badgering cries to stop persecuting their beliefs. Just try to get away, I dare you. I have the same non-existent qualms about saying “Merry Christmas” as I do saying “Nice Chrysler.” Technically, Jesus would also be the reason for the vehicle, too, right?

The history of Christianity is full of conquest; Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Retarded Hyperbole | Comments Off

Weaponized Relationships

Posted by PintofStout on July 15th, 2013

Black powder burns really, really fast, but doesn’t explode unless confined (see link below). It isn’t until this release of energy is confined, like a bullet casing, that things start exploding. People interacting are like black powder: sometimes things flare up and stuff goes wrong, but things are much more dangerous when confined, by systems of oppression, for example, or circumstance.  So even without the usual mechanisms for confinement and control that come with authoritarian relationships, circumstance can trigger a result of the occasional explosion from these flare-ups. But to support a society where these circumstances are institutionalized is to create a weapon, a fully automatic machine gun that is driven by strife and conflict.

Burning Black Powder

The institutionalization of control and power that has manifested itself in everything from our government to state-sanctioned commerce acts to restrict people’s’ options and freedom and exercise control to subjugate them for exploitation. Restricting everything from one’s livelihood: how they can work, for how much they can work, how much of that alloted earnings they can keep, how they can spend the remainder, and who they can work for; to their lifestyle: where they can live, how they can live, and who they can live with, not only adds fire to the keg of powder each of us becomes as our freedom is continually frustrated, but limits options so that we powder kegs feel confined with no suitable outlet. The whole situation adds up to explosions. Many of us find little outlets and means of dealing with the frustration, either out of a need to not harm others or not to harm ourselves, thus avoiding disastrous explosions. Still others can’t avoid the explosions forever. We call them terrorists or mentally ill, but what if their actions are a sane reaction to the conditions they have been subjected to? What if, instead of training ourselves to take the abuse and exploitation more passively and calling it “healthy”, we look at the structure of our society and our desire to fit into it without disruption “sick”?

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Atheism, Discordianism, Left Libertarian | No Comments »

Institutional Multiplier

Posted by PintofStout on March 19th, 2013

This weekend, two boys were convicted of raping a drugged girl at a series of high school parties. The details of the case are disturbing, as are the details of any rape case. In fact, it was reported that she was digitally raped, which somehow doesn’t seem as bad as more violent rapes (not saying it is better). The part of this story of this Steubenville Rape Case that elevates it a few levels is the conspiracy to brush the whole thing under the rug by a shocking number of adults in this town, and how this sort of thing is pretty much institutionalized into the community around their football team.I’m not going to rehash the details of this case as there are plenty of other better sources, but I do want to use this story to demonstrate how institutions work. As Butler Shaffer wrote about in his book “Calculated Chaos,” institutions become less about the purpose for which it was formed or organized and becomes about protecting its very existence.

Football has become an institution willing to sacrifice education and morality to further the institution in Steubenville. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Discordianism, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Sports, Youngstown | 1 Comment »

Forgetting More Than I Know

Posted by PintofStout on February 26th, 2013

There may not be a person alive that has been able to honestly look back upon their life and not found embarrassment over some event or action or thought. This is all a part of growing and maturing. I talked of this a bit in Extreme Moderation way back in 2008, but focused more on how I jumped into ideas with radical fervor and then mellowed, as if I had to go full Anikan Skywalker and destroy all the existing beliefs totally before I could be comfortable wavering from the new-found ideas. Now, as I look back, I see lots of changes in my thinking.

I feel I could write rebuttals to my old posts. Not all of the rebuttals would be drastic and likely contain no 180-degree shifts, but mostly there would be subtle changes that make, what I currently feel, important distinctions. So maybe they wouldn’t be rebuttals so much as added nuance.  As I occasionally indulge my ego and randomly read from the archives, some of the things that stick out are my attitude toward things or the manner in which I had written it. Perhaps I just didn’t communicate the thoughts well enough; I probably got lazy or lost track of the thought before I could finish and simply tied an awkward bow on it and hit publish to be done with it. Not to mention just the overall quality of the writing itself, which I’ll leave for judgement as harsh as necessary.

Awkward bow: Anyway, I could have written this is a tweet: @pintofstout I have been blogging long enough that I could write rebuttals to my own old posts. #progress. Sukghrghaougaoivbmi

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Posted in Blogfood, Introspection, Philosophy & Politics, Retarded Hyperbole, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Too Much of a Good Thing

Posted by PintofStout on November 13th, 2012

I’m a podcast junkie. They’re like talk radio without the hackneyed character personalities, without the trite politics, without the over-analysis of sports, and without a single mode or format or subject or…constraints of any kind. Some can be like radio plays, old radio programs centered around music and lovingly assembled by the host disk jockey and not just overplayed corporate playlists, educational programs, funny and informative interviews, straight comedy, or interviews more like deep meaningful conversations. The availability and the lack of constraints of podcasts are a major benefit, but I’ve been noticing some constraints forming in my consumption of podcasts.

First, what is the ideal length for a podcast? The size of the file is hardly of any consequence anymore, so it really is about the listener. Alfred Hitchcock said “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder”. Exceptions can be made when the story needs to be told, but intermissions are the exception, not the norm. As demands on my schedule have increased, my movie consumption has dropped dramatically. Movies aren’t portable, but I take podcasts on my phone and listen at work, in my car, and whenever I’m able to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Blogfood, Reviews | No Comments »

Best of Voting Posts

Posted by PintofStout on November 6th, 2012

I was going to start posting select quotes and links to individual posts in the comments of a link to the category I put on Facebook, but I’ll just make a new post instead. So here are some of the greatest hits from the “Voting” category, listed chronologically form newest to oldest.

Political FootballIn our elections, our two-party system breaks down not into Democrats and Republicans – who the mindful observer can tell you are nearly the same party – but offense and defense.

Sacred Cow Tipping – From the last time Big Bird was the hunted:  Any cut in budget is going to get a rise out of whoever is losing that money, whether it be your local zoo’s librarian or the in-house commando employed by your local kindergarten. On the Queen Mary scale of things, these cuts are mere shouted farewells to the pier that aspire to be deck chairs. Yes, they are simply rhetoric, but effective rhetoric.

Ghosts in the MachineOur ideological armor, while making us feel nigh-invulnerable to inconvenient slings and arrows of paradox, mainly only gives us tunnel vision and greatly slows any progression toward our perceived destination.

 Chorus of Conformity If an actor is reading from a script they didn’t write, their voice wasn’t heard, even thought they were physically speaking.  So how does an election actually equate to voices being heard?  And whose voices?

We’ve Come So Far? – The institution of oppression is the same; changing the face, color, or gender of the institution won’t change its nature.

The Second Coming of Ron Paul - It would be a third coming now (the man is insatiable!): A more general answer is the focus of many mainstream libertarians recently on fiscal and entitlement policy; which, if the eyes are squinted just right, looks sort of, maybe, like the Republican Party – or their supposed platform, anyway.  Mr. Paul’s governing philosophy is refreshing (compared to other choices) in certain (not all) areas of policy-making to libertarians (like hanging out with ugly and dumb people to make one’s self look better or feel smarter by comparison), but does this deserve the reverence and fanaticism some of his followers are overcome with; fanaticism strong enough for previously avowed anarchists to attempt to confiscate the non-believing heretics’ libertarian credential cards?

No Votes for Non-Believers - From the first time Mitt ran. I had some fun with it: Opposition to non-belief drops off in the electorate with the Easter Bunny and further still for the Tooth Fairy (much to the disappointment of the P4PP).

Meanwhile, Down at the Crossroads…Strangely enough, the devil doing the dealing is always virtuous and honorable, if not deceitfully cunning, in that the contract is always enforced to the letter.In that regard, America would be better off dealing with the devil than voting in the coming year.

Stale as Office CoffeeOffice coffee smells like coffee in the little pre-measured pouch, aromatic and enticing, even hopeful.  It looks legitimately like coffee when it brews.  It even taste a little like coffee in the first few seconds of its existence.  But all hope is quickly dashed after having more than a taste, and all that remains is the weak bitterness of dashed hopes and the stale shame of being fooled again.  It reminds me of election years.

Of Other People, By Other People, For Other People – I must have been ticked off when I wrote this one:  Theoretically, a democracy would have the many owning the government and its actions, but in reality we own nothing.The only thing voters and citizens have control of is the curtain hiding the folks at the controls.

Liberal Descent or Open-Minded Liberals Have No Room for Dissent - A fun little parable or something: About the time I started paying attention, I hear A___ comment that she doesn’t really vote anyway and that I’m a conscientious non-voter.The Stranger stepped into the light at the corner of the bar and opened his Holy Book of Bad Arguments and prepared to quote prodigiously.

Tearing Down the Wall Between Church and State - All these assumptions he makes regarding the nature of atheists are like Humpty Dumpty sitting on top of the imaginary wall built between church and state, dangling his feet over one side and completely ignoring what lies behind him.

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Atheism, Blogfood, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Retarded Hyperbole, Voting | No Comments »

BLOG: I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Posted by PintofStout on October 26th, 2012

The word “blog”, in the context of language, is still a newborn. It has undergone changes in its short life, though, in my estimation. What was once a web log, posting short updates several times throughout the day, ahem, logging what was going on - so much so that the hyperbole of posting the mundane details of meals and other daily routines was permanently and pejoratively attached to the word “blog” itself - became a place for individuals to post thoughts, essays, pictures, etc. as an individual. So in most cases I know personally, blogs are now repositories for personal thoughts and essays with some actual blogging thrown in for good measure. Some of the distinction between a true blog – as in web log – and a personal website is frequency of postings; logging something requires frequent updates. Of course, an event benefitting from a log is likely to be a finite event that comes to an end (in most cases, not all).  Events continuing in perpetuity suffer from infrequent updates or fading into the mundane. A personal site continues and doesn’t follow any particular events, solely, though some events may be temporarily tracked in blog-like fashion. The personal website is still saddled with the name “blog” even when they aren’t really a true blog. There are reasons why this is so, and reasons to want to get out from under the word “blog” altogether.

“Blog” has become an umbrella term to encompass many things for several reasons, most of them stemming from software. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Blogfood, Discordianism, Left Libertarian, Media & State | No Comments »

The Comforts of Booze

Posted by PintofStout on October 15th, 2012

I find myself saying today, “Man, I’d like a drink right about now.” I say this fairly often while having a trying day at work. Yet, when I leave work and go home where I’m free to have a glass of Scotch or a beer, I often don’t. At first, I thought it was because I didn’t feel comfortable having a drink for therapy like that; it just seemed seedy and sad. Today, though, I think it may just be the atmosphere where one is free to imbibe that I long for, that atmosphere being the polar opposite of being in a stressful work environment. So, when I get home, seeing A__ and the kids decompresses me enough that the desire for that escape is already diminished. It was never about being drunk anyway, but just being in a place where one could imbibe and relax, chill out, and laugh about what a shitty, shitty day everyone had.

So I’ll go home tonight and feel refreshed. Maybe I’ll have a drink. At that point, it doesn’t really matter. Cheers.

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Posted in Beer, Introspection | No Comments »

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