My bro (AKA the Comment Killer) has just published an article entitled, “American Democracy will Fail its Midterms” on the Safe Democracy Foundation website. The views expressed in the article are not necessarily those of the members of his family or of his family as a whole.
Monthly Archives: October 2006
This week’s Economist has a very interesting article on whether the Illinois Senator, Barak Obama, should run for the office of the US presidency in 2008. I am not very familiar with the Democrat senator’s policies or voting record, so I am not qualified to support his candidacy. Nevertheless, Obama has already won points with me by distinguishing himself from the Clinton camp when he said, “When I was a kid, I inhaled. That was the point.” Even if Americans were gullible enough to believe that Clinton actually did not inhale, then what was he doing? Trying to look cool in front of his friends? The last thing the US needs is another poser or incoherent simpleton like its present and former chief executives respectively. Obama, are you up to the race?
I have had enough of silly clichés that everyone takes for granted. For example, the other day I saw someone on MSN Messenger with the subtitle “It is what you DO that is important”. Frankly, I do not think that is accurate at all, neither in reality nor in the evolution of the psyche.
Just as there has been physical evolution of the species, there has also been psychological evolution that can be reflected linguistically, socially, and even in religion. In terms of psychological evolution, as I understand it, there was a time in history, probably about 500 years before the birth of Christ and around the advent of Guatama Buddha, when humans began to understand themselves as being responsible for more than just their actions. Prior to this point, humans were generally only accountable to God or to themselves for their actions alone. Thereafter, as especially prevalent in Christianity, man is directly accountable for the sins of desire or the sins of the mind. Permit me to continue:
I have been working for FON since the beginning of January 2006, and in theory I have been a Fonero ever since. But, in reality, I just installed my FON Social Router, the La Fonera, on Monday. Why had I waited? I didn’t have broadband at home, and without broadband, you do not have WiFi to share with the FON Community. In any event, I installed my La Fonera (which took only a few minutes and was easy), and now I am sharing WiFi like the BAD ASS Mo-Fo-Nero that I am! I evaluated the possibility of going au natural as a RastaFonero, but I decided that as a real Bad Ass, I would do better as a Mo-Fo-Nero. So, go ahead, connect to my FON Access Point, make my day. Alien Punk!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a major reggae fan as an early teenager. My father introduced me to Bob Marley’s music, and he became one of my heros (along with Bruce Lee). As a kid, I would have done anything to get my hands on Bob Marley videos and interviews, and were I a kid today, I would have loved all of the Internet resources available. Yesterday, for example, I did a search in YouTube and discovered a bunch of Marley interviews. Unfortunately, after watching an interview or two, I was incredibly disappointed in my childhood hero. I found Marley to be completely mislead by promoting the fraility of the human mind and almost comical.
In response to two questions, in particular, Marley was wrong by underestimating the strength of the human mind and its ability to control its surroundings without the use of external catalysts, be them natural or synthetic. His solution is for the weak. The questions dealt with (i) how he justified his Rastafarian worship for Haile Selassie who was the totalitarian dictator of an empoverished African nation, and (ii) why the use of marijuana was fundamental to his religion and daily life. Neither of his answers were satisfactory to me, and here is why:
A few weeks back, I was thinking about Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Budhhist monk whose writings my mother introduced me to some time in the early 90s. I had wanted to mention something about him here but had not had the chance. Nevertheless, I have just finished Amos Oz’s fascinating novel Black Box (which for reasons I have yet to explore reminds me of JM Coetzee’s Disgrace), recommended to me by my friend Joaquín. I read the following lines in the story:
A man minds his own private business as long as he has business and as long as he has privacy. In their absence, for fear of the emptiness of his life, he turns feverishly to other people’s business. To straighten them out. To chastise them. To enlighten every fool and crush every deviant. To bestow favors on others or to persecute them savagely. Between the altruistic zealot and the murderous zealot there is of course a difference of moral degree, but there is no difference in kind. Murderousness and self-sacrifice are simply two sides of the same coin. Domination and benevolence, agression and devotion, repression and self-repression, saving the souls of those who are different from you and annihilating them: these are not pairs of opposites but merely different expressions of man’s emptiness and worthlessness. “His insufficiency to himself,” in the phrase of Pascal (who was infected himself).
and was immediately reminded of what I had wanted to write in reference to Thich Nhat Hahn. Here is what I was thinking:
En un principio se podría dividir el mundo entre tres tipos de personas que usan WiFi: (i) los Linus que comparten su WiFi a cambio de recibir WiFi en todas partes; (ii) los Bill que comparten su WiFi a cambio de una modesta compensación; y (iii) los Aliens que no comparten pero cuando quieren WiFi lo pagan a unos precios muy razonables.
Pero pensándolo mejor, me he dado cuenta que hay otras posibilidades. Por ejemplo, hay gente que se enfada porque no le funciona el WiFi, no le da señal, o simplemente está harta de cosas artificiales en el mundo. Pues si yo fuera una de estas personas que no soporta el cautiverio en un mundo tecnológico a las orillas de Babilonia, me haría RastaFonero. Desenchufaría mi router ADSL y me conectaría a otro WiFi más natural: el WiFi natural del RastaFonero. No me funciona el señal WiFi y no pasa nada: “no problem, man! Soy RastaFonero.”
También entran otras posibilidades. Por ejemplo, él que le gusta lo sintético, pues creamos el TecnoFonero para estar conectado toda la noche. Y si a uno quiere WiFi pero no le gustan las antenas, genial. Tendremos el LesboFonero. En el mundo WiFi hay gente pa tó.
(como es de imaginar, estas ideas no representan las opiniones oficiales de FON.)
A few nights ago, I read “Toni Takitani” from Haruki Murakami’s Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. I enjoyed the story, but was a bit disturbed by its first sentence: “Toni Takitani’s name was indeed that: Toni Takitani.” It is incredbily similar to the first lines of a story that I myself have been working on recently. My story (as it presently stands) begins, “Jimmy Castro was often as absurd as his name was ridiculous,” and continues,
“Jimmy’s real and official name was just Jimmy. Worst of all, no one in his family could pronounce an English ‘j’, so he would ever be referred to by others and by himself as ‘Yimmy’.
Other than that similarity, though, the stories are completely different. In any event, I have also just discovered that “Toni Takitani” was made into a film and released in the States last year. Here is the trailer:
I love how music can transport you to different times and places in an instant. You just need to be careful not to listen too much to songs or you will lose their association with the past and they will become cluttered in the present (unless that is precisely what you want). About a year ago, I wrote a short story entitled “Time after Time” which I may one day either try to publish or post here. In any event, “Time after Time” in part deals with the way music affects how we handle situations and conditions our lives. In the story, I reference these videos by Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Ritchie, and Phil Collins (as well as mention Chet Baker’s version of the jazz standard “Time after Time“).
Cyndi Lauper: Time After Time
Amarsi un po’