Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smoking and Advertising

There is such a thing as bad publicity, as evidence Sony's recent debacle should be evidence enough. However when you sell a product that is designed to kill, like cigarettes, then what is considered negative becomes vastly skewed from what would be expected from a normal product. Strangely, since Heart Disease is the number one killer of both men and women, that obvious cardio killers are not looked upon in the same villainous light.

It turns out that teens who see the anti-smoking ads are more likely to smoke. Maybe they can see through the haze of BS that comes from ridiculous attempts at using mass media for social engineering. If you want kids to quit smoking come up with a decent transference mechanism. Something that meets all the needs that are currently being fulfilled (or in non-smokers being unfulfilled.) As Personal Philosophers (some call them psychologists) would bring up is the problem with unfulfilled desires and what happens to the beings in which these desire reside.

I think ultimately the smoking numbers went down as people pretended to be oblivious to the idea that smoking was dangerous. Now that the pretend naivete has gone, people have taken the habit back up, and the younger generation is following suit. The best quote is this:

"Even parents who are smokers can make it clear and communicate to their child that they wished they hadn’t started smoking, because the majority of smokers do feel that way."

As if any person exists outside of the social spectrum, as recent studies have shown people are outnumbered by televisions in homes. This means that the average person is bombarded by images and some take them to regret their life and others realise, importantly, that TV is FAKE. Tell your kid not to smoke if you want but remember when they get to be 18 they will do pretty much whatever they want.

Oh and quit with the mass social engineering, people get enough of it in public (and private) school.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Viva La Easy Cheese

I was at the grocery store tonight and noticed that Cheez-it has introduced a line of pasteurized cheese snack. Not only have they dared to challenge the authority of Easy Cheese there brand is more expensive, like 50 cents or so. This leads me to one important question: Who the hell does Cheez-it think they are?

They have now signaled the end of days as the beast shall rise and the only ones saved will be those who used Easy Cheese. Into the fire shall all those who even dared to nibble, nay even smelled the Cheez-it brand. For as the beast arises those and those loyal to Easy Cheese shall be sparred this fate and shall spend eternity with a Ritz box and bottle of cheese spread that never shall be empty. Mammalian lactose and apidae regurgitation is the old ideal, in this promise land the contents of the cracker jar shall be what is overflowing.

I could see if a competing company came in and wanted to dethrone Kraft and their canned cheese empire by offering their product at a lower price. It is ridiculous to bring this C level game to the arena (B level would be the generics with the same product only cheaper), you don't come into EC's (Easy Cheese) house and try charging more for your new product. But the Cheez-it brand has a blue container and blue is coooool. No it isn't, and why don't you ask Cheez-it why it went with blue when all it's other products are in bright red boxes? No answer Cheez-it? That's what I thought, get out of here while you still have some dignity, and next time you come you either bring your A game or don't waste my time.

I am not saying I would never blaspheme and try the Cheez-it brand, but I will wait until the product line has failed and it is like 50 cents a can.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Riddle - Five for Fighting

There is something universal about music, and certainly nothing I could say that hasn't been written or spoken about before. Certainly the muse concentration must be greater in music than in another form of inspiration. Something about the ability of the mind to instinctively connect music with memories and the ability to relate those through the song. There is nothing better than a song that something attached to it, something so powerful that it becomes impossible to do anything else while the song is playing.

Slightly below those kinds of songs that portray such detail and emotion that you don't need to have been personally involved. Someone else's story is related in such a manner that it literally pulls on your being, you are there in every sense. Currently that song on my play list The Riddle from Five for Fighting. The song was catchy at the first time I heard it, and after 100 Years and Superman (It's Not Easy) they deserved a listen in the first place. As it came up again and again I began to pick up more and more of the words and finally I stopped what I was doing and listened to it over and over again to fill in the blanks.

Sometimes it seems as though music has lost it's place in relating the human experience. To some extent this is true, anything that is mass produced loses value, that is capitalism (and that is how it should be.) Sometimes a song comes and it is so beautiful that there is nothing you can do but consider its rarity and your appreciation is increased. It would be like buying the one XBOX (or PS3) that was put together so perfectly at every step of the way, everything fell into place properly, that it lasts 10 years with no problems. This is particularly relevant to me since I have had to send mine in 3 times, costs of a disposable society.

The ideas are so amazing that you wonder how no one has thought of them before, they are so perfect that they should be written in stone for all generations. 'Proud to be a H.sapiens' is all I can think of when I hear something in this league.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Psychology and Disorders

Recently I came across this link and it brought to mind all the problems with psychology. First off, don’t confuse psychology with psychiatry, the latter is a Medical Doctor and the former has completed a Doctoral Program. WebMD has a very fluffy article explaining the difference being careful not to offend anyone. When my health is involved, offend someone, the entire article should be summarized in one sentence, ‘One is a Physician the other is not.’ Some states have recently started allowing psychologist to prescribe medication after consultation with a psychologist, this simple idea should be all you need to hear to determine the value of a psychologist. I think the best way to illustrate it is with a script of how it would play out. I only posted the link to the script because it was too long to include (I tried but it looked ridiculous.)

I am finished writing about psychologists. I think the idea is great for thought but actual application on people is a farce to science. It is called a ‘soft science’ for a reason. Also psychology recognized homosexuality as a Mental Disorder until 1973.

Going back to the original article, it lays out some common “disorders” and gives a brief characterization of them. The problem is that unless taken to the absolute maximum the traits they refer to are what I look for in people I enjoy spending time with. In what kind of Brave New World do you want everyone in the middle on every issue, this assertion is absolutely asinine logic. Good friends should have anywhere from 50 to 95% of the 'symptoms' listed.

Summary: Everyone around you has sinister motives, can't form close relationships, over confident, things have hidden meanings, and carry long grudges.

I thought they taught people to always be aware of their surroundings in crime prevention, what the statement is really saying is everyone is a potential attacker, rapist, murder keep your guard up. Close relationships are over-rated, you can have too many close friends, you need to keep that number down and enjoy time with close acquaintances anyway. Maybe the number one fiction book of all time (behind the bible) is The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, so what comes across from the list is that if you aren't famous and have conspiracy theories then you have a problem. Again Oliver Stone lucks out.

Summary: Avoid relationships, don't want to be popular, look for jobs with little social contact, no need for attention and acceptance, "loner"

This is one might the strangest diagnosis for creating freethinking people. "Prefer to be alone and do not secretly with for popularity," might be the most egregious statement in the entire document. Why is it considered a disorder if someone doesn't want the entire world (or even their town, city, metropolis) knowing every detail of their life such an oddity. I may start actively looking for people like this since I know I won't see them some stupid reality show the next day. Then again they probably aren't looking for any new friends, damn Catch-22.

Summary: Odd forms of thinking and perceiving, isolation, unrelated events relate to them in important way, lack of concentrating.

Isn't this almost the definition of a toddler? Also I guess we need to get help for anyone studying chaos theory. "Doctor my son is having trouble concentrating and prefers to watch cartoons to playing outside with other children, do you think he has the ADhD?," she says. "No ma'am clearly he is exhibiting classic symptoms of schizotypal personality. Yep, he is clearly schizo'. You should put him in a hospital or something."

Summary: lack of conscience, lie and steal, careless with money, aggressive.

Well anecdotaly I would point to, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, et al. But that is far easier than I like. No people who would fall into this category make the economy move, make deals happen, and make sure that things get bought and sold. It isn't tough to imagine a disinterested sales person who simple states features and doesn't care if you buy the product or spontaneously combust right there in from of him. Antisocial people also tend to be the 'life of the party.'


Summary: Poor self image, cause themselves injury, black and white outlook, suicidal threats and actions, quick to anger when expectations are not met.

The first problem is the black and white outlook, while people tend to take all arguments into consideration it ultimately comes down to one deciding factor, most people are ultimately black and white thinkers. Look at two very important areas, politics and religion. With politics (assuming knowledge of the candidates) it will come down to party or issue. Do I want to help people like Michael J. Fox or am I a religious fundamentalist, then pick candidate based on stem cell stance. I know that last sentence was the definition of a biased question ('so when did you stop beating your wife,') but it covered both examples at once. So I went with it, ultimately it came down to do I want to type out two separate examples or take the lazy way, you can see which path was taken. As for the suicidal threats, obviously their genetic survival machine isn't working properly and they should seek help or make sure they succeed.


Summary: Attention seekers, braggart, slutty, 'Brad' from I Heart Huckabees, manipulative.

Everything here sounds like fun. Maybe not the attention seekers, I get enough of that standing in line at the grocery store and looking at the popular culture tabloids. The rest of the list is the makings of a great party and an even better story the next day. I think if you got twenty or so people with these characteristics together and let them compete for attention then you would have a great video for YouTube.


Summary: Attention seekers, braggart, only 'worthy friends,' no long-term relationship, uninterested in feelings of others.

Sometimes it seems like the psychologists just copy and paste definitions. The one that interests me is the no long-term relationships. This would be great, you could make friends with someone, have a good time for a couple of months and move on. Then you would have some new stories to share with your real friends, and maybe the accompanying photos for emphasis. I guess my inner narcissus is poking out his head.


Summary: Social anxiety, little contact, fear being rejected, exaggerate difficulties about new situations, create fantasy worlds to substitute for real one, yearn for relationships but think unattainable, depressed

Seriously this is a disorder? I know there are people who cannot handle social situations without physical symptoms presenting. As for fear of being rejected, anyone who has been rejected knows that it hurts, hurts more than any physical pain can. There is no disorder for people who are afraid of physical pain, but emotional pain is apparently a joke to psychologists (the friend you pay to listen to you.) Certainly with the success of the World of Warcraft it might be the people writing this who thing fantasy worlds are a problem, maybe they come from such an uncreative background that they fear anything outside the box.


Summary: Need to be taken care of, clingy, suicidal break-up, move from relationship to relationship, remain in abusive relationship, overly sensitive, depressed.

First off how can you move from relationship to relationship if you have committed suicide. I think they are mutually exclusive definitions, and if you have them together you are illogical and should be booted out of science. Either you kill yourself or you move on. Doesn't seem like much of a condition. All-in-all these might be the only people that I wouldn't get along with, I like people who have their own thoughts and reasons, they can agree or disagree with me as long they have well thought out reasons. Agreeing with people because you are friends, lovers or spouse is ridiculous.


Summary: Focused on orderliness and perfection, need to do everything "right" [sic], caught up in details, unreasonably high standards, don't work on teams, generous with money, difficulty expressing emotion.

What a racket, you make definitions that are completely subjective and that everyone falls into. If you are careless with money, as stated earlier, you are antisocial and if you are generous you are obsessive-compulsive so anyway you chose to spend your money outside of what a psychologist determines 'acceptable' you have a disorder. Also who determines the reasonableness of standards? If that Kevin Federline went to a psychologist and told them he wouldn't get married unless it was to an actress or pop singer would that have been considered unreasonably high standards. There are so many stories of people who had unreasonably high standards and achieved them that the entire thought of a standard being unreasonable is ridiculous.

Taxonomy is an important science, the classification of creatures based on observable, defined, and across the board traits is essential to all science. Trying to create a psychological taxonomy based on subjective observations is at the least absurd and at the most dangerous. Unless you are harming someone else (who didn't ask you to,) then who am I to try and label your actions a "disorder." So you like the attention, good for you; you don't like the attention, great have a nice life - if you want to change then it should be your decision, and not based on arbitrary assertions of what a "good person" should act like. Also I am not addressing the issue of Psychiatry, there are people who have imbalances and certainly need a Medical Doctor to help them, true mental disorders exist and psychiatrist should be investigating them. Also I am not against psychologist practicing, I am against the claim they 'treat' anything. They should be reclassified as a sub-division of what they really are, philosophers. If they were moved into that area I would praise their work on Human Thought Theory.

The entire profession can be summed up in a quote from the site 'Guide to Psychology,' "The practice of good clinical psychology involves something—call it comfort—which does not mean sympathy or soothing, and it certainly doesn't mean to have your pain “taken away.” It really means to be urged on to take up the cup of your destiny, with courage and honesty." The entire profession comes down to telling people to 'suck it up.'

Friday, November 10, 2006


In a completely digital world can there be such a thing as an original? If something can be copied perfectly, can it be considered special? While the work can no doubt inspire, does the lack of individualism devalue it as a whole? If every person can have the same picture at the same level of quality is it worth anything?

Does mass production and mass distribution make something drastically, even exponentially shorter lived. If one could take a picture, capture on memory card, something that summarized the entire human experience does it change anything if everyone has complete and total access to recreate the image anytime they want. Art - be it music, painting, photography, et al - derives much of its value from not only the quality, but in part from its rarity. You have to travel to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, even though you can go online and look at a copy anytime you want. If there is an original that cannot be copied it makes the desire for the original stronger.

Because of this will we see the value of canvas, live theater, and other original forms increase in value? This argument include the assertion of quality, obviously bad theater will always be around, and disappoint generations to come.

This is not to say that the artist or creator won’t (or shouldn’t) become wealthy for their talents. I am not discussing this at an individual, or even momentary level, I am talking about the effects to come. No what I am postulating is more on society as a whole. Using popular music might be the most apropos example to illustrate this. It would seem that an individual song is worth approximately $0.99 on the free market. It would also seem that music has moved into the realm of mass production, becoming a streamlined process giving musicians access to their audience quicker and more efficiently than in the past, and making everyone involved richer. The musicians, record companies, marketers, venues, et al gain financially and the fans gain (hopefully) spiritually (if that can be used in a nonreligious manner) and emotionally.

What this brings me to is could there ever be another Beatles, or Elvis? Bands or Artists (not just musicians) so memorable that they become part of the collective conscience, known or unknown. Will a large percentage of my child’s friends know any artist that was popular when I was younger or even as I became older. If someone like Nickelback has a reunion tour (assuming they break up) or is still touring when I am 60 (I am 25 now) and I went to the show would it all be people who were young adults in the 90s and early part of the millennium? Will there be anyone under the age of 30 at the show?

This is not to say that change is bad and should be resisted. By and large change is good. No, this is more of an interior monologue assessing and preparing for the major changes that are sure to come. Regardless of how much the RIAA and MPAA fight it, there is a major change coming that will differ so vastly from what the generations before knew that the past will have to explained at length for the future to understand how it was.

Back to the original point. Anything that is created in a digital medium is necessarily not an original. That does not mean the creator does not have rights over what has been created, it means that if something can be copied with 100% accuracy the word copy cannot be used. That is the easy part, the more important part is the effect of this notion on society as a whole. If a song is created or a digital photograph taken and duplicates of the original file sold to every person in the world (price is irrelevant.) Lets say our theoretical photo is the height of human achievement, summarizes a single emotion at every level. The ability to produce this photo is sold to every person in the world what becomes of it, is it marveled at for ages to come or, more likely, does it become a phenomena for a month and is then forgotten. Resigned to a VH-1 special about the decade in which it was popular, future failed and B-level celebrities and comedians waxing nostalgic about what they were doing when it was vogue. The important thought left is this: Can anything be great and eternal in a digital world?

Primum Putandum Multa

Everything contained herein has been rendered from my Moleskin. While the site recommends the squared version for use with "geometric tasks" I find that it is the closes to college ruled. I could be wrong on this, when I picked up my first one during the holidays last year (2005.) I only gave the notebook a cursory glance as I thought there would be occasion in which rudimentary drawings would be done. That was a pocket Moleskin, and while I liked the design I found it to small to write in, since I tend to go on and on.

I finally got around to picking up another one and this time I went with the medium size. Well it is considered the large size but the cardboard bound Moleskins are larger. I think, I really don't worry too much about the notebook as I have found it amazingly reliable. Well as reliable as a notebook can be, I certainly wouldn't expect it to throw me a rope as I was being pulled into quicksand, but reliable that the pages hold together well and it handles the abuse I bathe it in. I am not sure you can use 'bathe' in such a abstract sense.

It is clearly not the most efficient process and I should pick one or the other. I refuse, there is a kind of beauty about the written word (in this case actually written, not typed.) I could get my handwriting converted to a font but that is not the same, I can tell what I was feeling or in some cases doing when the idea was conceived. Spacing, angles, and pressure are only a few of the more noticeable aspects apparent in my writing. When I look back over what has been documented in the past I can remember not only the point of what I was saying but in some cases what I was actually feeling when the original was penned.

By using both the paper and the computer to keep a record of my thoughts it gives me a chance to look at them twice. Some days I am more articulate than others and keeping track of both, twice enables me to further refine thoughts that were written on a particularly illiterate day, and marvel at my thoughts from a brilliant day. The whole process is very introspective, and falls directly opposite of the processes used when writing about The Boy. That is a case where I want him to know exactly what I was thinking when I wrote about the experience or time in the article/story.

I may be the least talented Moleskin user.