Happy New Year

Happy new year to all of those who believe in that wacky solar calendar thing.

Happy Tuesday to Tony.


Embracing the Horror: Introduction

The bitter truth about informal logic and argument is that it’s a game played with no referees. Like high school tennis where you have to just trust your opponent to call the balls you hit in bounds when in fact they are. There are two problems here. First, the guy’s honest perception of where the ball landed is probably at least a little off. In the game of argument, even more or less reasonable and fair people like Tony, Kevin and me will often want to challenge a call and at least talk it over with the other guy until we can both agree on where the ball hit. The second problem is that many people are obnoxious jackasses who care more about racking up imaginary “wins” than playing the game, and in fact don’t even really know how to play the game except to just call everything out of bounds.

David Wong wrote John Dies at the End. He’s also an editor at Cracked and runs a website called Pointless Waste of Time. His interests include sociology, gaming and penis jokes. He is my hands-down pick for Revised Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2007 because virtually everything he writes is in its very own dimension of amazing.

I have my favorites: “7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making you Miserable,” “Inside the Monkeysphere,” “Do-It-Yourself Crotch Bulges,” “A World of Warcraft World.” But when I read this, I knew Mr. Wong was truly a man after my own heart. In the words of Maddox, “Readjust your face, because it’s about to get rocked off.”

So what just happened?

This has happened. David Wong has asserted the following: “If you hold to a radical scientific materialism that determines your entire worldview then you are no longer permitted not to live in a hellish moral netherworld, because all value judgements are devoid of factual meaning.”

“So, what, he’s saying that all atheists are stupid and are basically walking contradictions?” Not at all. It only pertains to a certain type of a certain subtype of atheist, the majority of which, coincidently, tends to chirp to the tune of “ALL CHRISTIANS ARE RETARDED LOL!!!!!”

Anyway, I’m dedicating a whole series of articles to this article of his. I’m not going to argue it’s soundness. I’ve studied enough philosophy to know two things: the Wong article’s soundness is airtight and its argument is basically immaculate, and very few people actually care whether or not an argument is sound or valid.

What I’m going to do is unpack the horror. It is not enough to “ride the horror like a dolphin at Seaworld” or to “embrace the horror.” I am going to ride the horror like your mother after I get three Long Islands in her. I am going to have sex with the horror, and not figuratively either. It is not enough to see through the windshield, through the road, until we see nothing at all. We must get so accustomed to not seeing anything that we forget what sight ever was. David Wong has killed the Beached Whale of Sweet Naivity; I am going to blow up its corpse.

So I’m going to follow with an analysis of free will and determinism. We will learn that they can both be maintained… but at what cost?

Heck, All They Want To Do Is Copy Europe…

“When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it … This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not.”

It’s nice to see that environmentalists continue to say what they really mean. Democracy? Feh! If we don’t get the laws that people like Hillman want, then it’s obviously a flaw of democracy. I mean, what’s the use of representative government if you don’t get your way and you actually have to contend with those…things…who don’t hang off of your every word and follow whatever hairbrained scheme you’ve cooked up lately? They have it so much better in Europe, where the European Commission is slowly but surely taking control of all facets of government and there’s no problem regarding silly things like democracy (i.e., the unwashed masses who oppose Hillman’s brilliant schemes) getting in the way since they’re all unelected bureaucrats, most of whom probably agree with Hillman’s policy prescriptions and the rest of whom see it as a way of getting even more control and power.

Plague Imminent

I am currently in phase 1 of my yearly case of the plague:  sneezing every five minutes and sniveling like a small child.  This has affected my ability to do much of anything other than read This Week In Milford and play Madden.

In Madden, I decided to start a new franchise because my old one was going too well—I hadn’t lost in about 3 seasons and became unstoppable everywhere.  In my new one, I’m going to limit myself by not taking advantage of stupid draft pick trading AI.  In every version of Madden since 2004,  you have been able to trade your (inevitably bad) first round pick for pretty much any opponent’s 1st, 2nd, and either 3rd or 4th.  Because of this and a couple of other facts, it is possible to get two of the top 5 picks, a good second rounder, and a couple of mid-round picks (4th or 5th) each year, and if you can’t go undefeated doing that, you just aren’t trying hard enough.  In the process of this, I tweaked a few Bills, with the major tweak being Trent Edwards.  I made him a good bit more accurate (86), but at the cost of arm strength, which I dropped to an 83.  I should have realized that this was getting into Chad Pennington territory, but Edwards has trouble throwing out routes and can’t loft a ball further than about 20 yards.  Yikes.  On the other hand, he’s still performed better than JP Losman, and thus I made Edwards the official starter after a week 5 loss to the Cowboys.  In addition, I snagged Chris Cooley and a 4th & 5th for my first round pick, and am very happy for it.  Cooley gives me two quality receivers and when you have a west coast style of passer, it’s a nice thing to have a really good tight end rather than Robert Royal (74) and Kevin Everett (69)…  My defense, though, needs help…  I am 5-1 despite this, having bested two teams by a field goal apiece.  Huzzah for special teams!

Blood Libel: The Next Generation

The Power Line guys have a nice post on the modern blood libel. This time, instead of eating Catholic babies, it’s shooting Palestinian babies.

The entire al Dura story started out fishy and just turned disgusting. A man who was injured by Palestinians and whose arm was surgically repaired by an Israeli doctor then murders his son in a scheme to make it look like Israelis did it. During the murder, a French crew tapes this, removes the parts showing the father to be the murderer, and airs the shortened piece, giving the second Intifada a young boy to rally around.

There’s not much more to say except that this is total barbarism. Naturally, it must be the fault of the Jews…

Javy Lopez Back With The Braves

Well, Javy Lopez is a Brave again. He signed a minor league deal and might be the backup catcher.

All in all, I would say that it is not a bad risk for Atlanta. In the worst case scenario, they either dump him before the season begins and go with another backup or he struggles for a bit as a backup catcher, hitting roughly like what Clint Sammons would do. In the best case scenario, he turns out to still have something left against left-handers and becomes a decent bench option and somebody who is not a total waste of 3 AB once or twice a week.

I do have to wonder, though: if Javy Lopez really has lost his offensive ability, does this mean that people will think that he’s become a good defensive catcher?