:::this is the way the world ends:::

Month: July 2007

The Hollow Simpsons

Please forgive me — I had some time to kill in Tucson. I’m not all together happy with these but there are limited options.  (Ned looks too mean, Shotts looks too relaxed and Toby doesn’t look devious enough.)  If you are unhappy with your Simpsons avatar then I suggest you make your own.

Hollow Simpsons

Participate if you want…

We are all 1st years at Hogwarts School of Wichcraft and Wizardry. Taking turns sitting on the stool, wearing the Sorting Hat, we are all Sorted into our halls. I suspect I would be in Ravenclaw. For those willing to share, where do you think you might end up?

Reviving a Dead Horse and Kidder Quotes

With the HP fervor going around, perhaps there is no one out there to read this anyway. I have been haunted by a few things from a discussion we had on this blog months ago now, especially after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains. The first was Peters statement that everyting we do, we do to serve our own needs, and the second was Liz’s statement that we are basically selfish. In all fairness, I’m not exactly sure what Liz means with her statement. Finally, J.E.’s statement that genocide and benevolence are both evolutionary means to advance a group.

The thing that has made me uncomfortable about Peters statement is that it seems that every action can be defended as serving a need.

The thing that I have been wrestling over with Liz’s statement is that it can be taken to imply a sort of determinism that denies freewill, which I’m not sure I’m ready to give up yet.

J.E.’s statement may explain why I would make sacrifices for friends and family, but it explains nothing about a character such as Mother Teresa, Paul Farmer, or Simone Veil. I also think that IF genocide can be argued as an evolutionary process, I would in turn then suggest that evolutionary processes, at such times, should be resisted. This thinking is what led some of the Nazi ideas of Eugenics to take hold in the United States during the forties.

I want to make myself clear. This is in no way to be seen as an attempt to convince anyone of anything. It is merely my attempt to try to understand things more fully.

At any rate, I’ll be dipping into the Moral Animal after the Berger book. My sister Kathleen heard Dawkins speak at K.U. a while back and we had a good discussion about his book, I think it’s called The Selfish Gene. I have not read it, but may yet. Though admittedly, I have other things to do.

I feel that Paul Farmer has had thoughts about these kinds of things from quotes of his in the Kidder book. I originally said I wasn’t going to quote the blasted book, but who am I kidding. No one is planning on reading the book any time soon and no one responded to Farmer’s article I posted a link to a while back. So here’s the quotes.

“‘If you’re making sacrifices, unless you’re automatically following some rule, it stands to reason that you’re trying to lessen some psychic discomfort. So, for example, if I took steps to be a doctor for those who don’t have medical care, it could be regarded as a sacrifice, but it could also be regarded as a way to deal with ambivalence.’ He went on, and his voice changed a little. He didn’t bristle, but his tone had an edge: ‘I feel ambivalent about selling my services in a world where some can’t afford to buy them. You CAN feel ambivalent about that, because you should feel ambivalent. COMMA.’

This was for me one of the first of many encounters with Farmer’s use of the word COMMA, placed at the end of a sentence. It stood for the word that would follow the comma, which was asshole. I understood he wasn’t calling me one – he would never do that; he was almost invariably courteous. Comma was always directed at third parties, at those who felt comfortable with the current distrubution of money and medicine in the world. And the implication, of course, was that you weren’t one of those. Were you?”

And then this, perhaps most challenging from Farmer:

“‘When others write about people who live on the edge, who challenge their comfortable lives – as it has happened to me – they usually do it in a way that allows the reader a way out. You could render generosity into pathology, commitment into obsession.That’s all in the repertory of someone who wants to put the reader at ease rather than conveying the truth in a compelling manner.'”


I’m reading “King” by John Berger – a story told from the perspective of a dog (with considerable liberties) about a homeless couple living near a freeway in Italy. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the slim volume, far enough to confirm my opinion that Berger is one of my favorite living authors. His oeuvre is wide and diverse, and I have yet to read something that is not at least a little challenging and a little innovative.

Liz, you wouldn’t like his style, as it is so compact it often borders on poetry, but perhaps you might get into some of his non-fiction writing on art and culture. He has donated all of his proceeds from two books and his Booker prize to various causes.

Petrochina and Sinopec

I spent the better part of last Thursday and Friday (when I should of been painting my illustrations) digging into my State of WI retirement fund to change where my money is being invested. I recently learned that Fidelity Mutual Funds Company is a heavy investor in the two chinese oil companies Sinopec and Petrochina. These companies are pouring money into the Sudanese goverment mainly responsible for conditions in Darfur. As it turns out, I had very little of my very little money going to this company which has now been diverted to another fund. I’m sure my dollars will have little impact in the 3.2 trillion dollar investments of Fidelity. But now I can sleep well. I would encourage those of you who have pension investments or other accounts to look into this, as many socially responsible investment lists do not include oil companies as socially irresponsible.

For more information, visit this website: http://fidelityoutofsudan.googlepages.com/

Potter 1-6 Spoiler Alert!

I forbid any discussion on the cultural significance of the Potter phenomenon.  If you want to discuss that, start another post.

Okay any last minute predictions?

Here are my odds:

Chance that Harry will die: 60%

Chance that Voldemort will not die:  20%

Chance that Snape will die: 90%

Chance that Snape is evil: 10%

Chance that Ron will die: 10%

Chance that Hermione will die: 10%

Chance that Neville will die:  40%

Chance that Wormtail assists Harry: 90%

Chance that Sirius communicates with Harry: 100%

I’ll try to provide support for these odds as I have time today.  In the meantime, do we all agree that Snape is good?  Why?

My Head Sounds Like That

So I owe you many YouTube Fridays. I know.

Here is one I’ve been saving up for a while. As I’ve been running around for the last month trying to remember everything I’ve forgotten I’ve often thought of this film. “Copy Shop” was shot and edited on standard 35mm but then each frame was individually photocopied and then reshot frame by frame. Hypercool.

I present to you “Copy Shop” parts one and two.

The Brief History, NVC, and other crap.

I finished a Brief History of the Dead. I won’t say too much, as I understand that Toby is reading it. I will say that I appreciated how the blind man became an important character, as I thought he was one of the more complex.

On a humorous note, I’m curious why Shotts, upon cracking open the Harry Potter books receives a, well played ol’ bean; whereas after reading the NVC book, I got…

I also wanted to say that, although much fun was made of the Prius running out of gas on the way to MN, I am glad to see Peters have acted out on their needs to feel as though they are taking steps to alleviate environmental detriment.

I did find the NVC book extremely helpful, especially in my family and home life. Though, I didn’t like the way the book was designed and set up like a mass appeal self-help book, I found some of the ideas challenging and helpful, and I will do my best to put some of them to practice.

I intend to re-visit discussion about this book, but I just got word that the deadline for my illustrations has been moved up a month.

After the Explosions

I hope everyone had a great, safe, and relaxing Fourth of July.  And I hope at least one of us of won a prize in the Boat Parade.

I’m sharing the mix that is assisting me as I try to get back into the weekday grind.  I hope you enjoy.


01 Emma Pollock | Adrenaline
02 Von Südenfed | The Rhinohead
03 Scout Niblett | Dinosour Egg
04 The Early Years | Say What I Want To
05 Battles | Ddiamondd
06 Yeasayer | 2080
07 James Yorkston | Woozy With Cider
08 The Ponys | Double Vision
09 The Fall | Coach and Horses
10 Mumm-Ra | Out of the Question
11 White Rabbits | Dinner Party
12 Air Traffic | An End to All Our Problems
13 Minipop | Like I Do
14 The Polyphonic Spree | The Fragile Army
15 Laura Viers | Saltbreakers
16 Spoon | The Underdog
17 Voxtrot | Blood Red Blood
18 The Clientele | Isn’t Life Strange?
19 Trembling Blue Stars | Idyllwild
20 Bob Dylan | Huck’s Theme
21 Soulsavers | Spiritual
22 Editors | Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
23 The New Pornographers | My Rights Versus Yours
24 Vampire Weekend | Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
25 Map of Africa | Bone
26 Oi Va Voi | Dissident
27 Okkervil River | Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
28 The Twilight Sad | Cold Days From the Birdhouse
29 Art Brut | I Will Survive
30 The National | Start a War

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