Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh My God, We're Back Again, Brothers Sisters Everybody Sing, Gonna Bring the Flavor, Show You How, Gotta Question for Ya Better Answer Butt

I think I have been too generally upset with the weather to really get around to blogging, but I have decided my only chance to influence the meteorological ass is perhaps blogging about it explicitly. Being a person who at least tries to understand the beauty in well done versions of anything, I can agree that there are different types of beautiful weather. I understand the occasionally get the really hot beautiful dessert like days and who doesn’t love a spring evening or brisk fall morning. But the winter is really what its about--those mornings where everything is still glistening white, the nights where the limited visibility of the rapidly falling snow makes it seem like you are alone in the world, but in a brilliant and peaceful rather than lonely/desperate sort of way. I had one of those last Thursday, when I went to buy Katie a book late at night. Just watching the snow come down, driving those empty roads nice and slowly, enjoying, rather than worrying, the predictable ways a car slides and balances on the snow. I just love it.

Here is my point. It’s supposed to snow in the winter. That doesn’t mean that it has to come down in buckets killing our power and stranding us in our homes, but the ground needs to be white. There need to be nights where you can stand outside just amazed by the simple beauty of snowflakes in the streetlight. 50 degrees is not beautiful in December. I can get the beauty of a 50 degree sunny day in January or February, as a little reprieve from the snowy cold. But I have a damn hard time enjoying the delightful Bing Crosby and/or Frank Sinatra versions of Winter Wonderland when it feels like mid September.

Katie and I went out with some friends of hers from class tonight. There was some discussion of a class on pr0n that some woman was taking and this woman also used the word “wiener.” I don’t mean that she dropped a wiener-bomb once as a hilarious joke, but she like used the word as her default expression for male genitals. Two things on this subject. First one, serious. I find it really odd when people have default terms for such things which lie outside of the ones I typically encounter. It is notable that this person had no problem using explicit terms, it was just that her default here was not explicit. It was especially odd because it had the effect of sounding more obscene than my version, which would regularly be considered much more obscene. I’m a lingusitc variance dork. Second, is simply the fact that using wiener as such is awesome. She seriously had like the exact disposition which made it work. Very impressed by her coordination of attitude and wiener.

Hippo is more impressed by the coordination of chow and bowl, so I should probably get to that.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Butt

The fall finale (damn do I love that concept) of One Tree Hill is on at the moment, so I do not have to pay too much attention to the show to follow what’s going on. As a result I’ve been sucked down a fairly intense wiki-hole that lead me from the Invisible Pink Unicorn, through sex toys, Douglas Adams’ characters and ultimately to what my question concerns. Specifically, these two descriptions of religious experiences in relation to psychedelic mushrooms. The first of those links includes this sentence: “Almost all of the members of the experimental group reported experiencing profound religious experiences, providing empirical support for the notion that psychedelic drugs can facilitate religious experiences.”

Since I was reading this while basking in the glow of ANTM’s second ever successful finale and “watching” One Tree Hill, I didn’t read it carefully enough first time through and thought that it said something more along the lines of “this provides empirical support for the notion of religious experience.” My thoughts in response to that were a) “dude, are you really lacking support for the existence of religious experience, just head over to, you know, a church” and b) if I was giving them a little more credit “I think people getting lit up for God doesn’t have quite the demonstrative force Wikipedia is suggesting.”

My further reading clarified this fact, but actually led me to a somewhat prior question. That is, does the fact that hallucinogenic drugs seem to be causally related to religious experience act as proof for or contradiction of the religious thesis itself? I’ve only been thinking this through for the past hour or so, but my dueling thoughts so far.

First, this could suggest that all religious experience is analogous or identical to hallucinatory experience. I suppose this somewhat depends on making the assumption that the religious experience on psychedelics is analogous to the experience of watching an interview with Mark McGuire in the filter of your cigarette on psychedelics. Since religious experience is often considered to be defined by faith and faith is often defined by the exclusion or even direct contradiction of logic—the fact that you know that its not real doesn’t influence your experience.

At the same time, of course, hallucinations aren’t random incarnations with no connection to anything. One could make a pretty good argument that they have some connection to either mystical or natural experience, or at least to some level of consciousness which is not limited by logical experience. It seems a bit like that may be short circuiting the argument, but I’m not sure.

In psychosis as per the Freudian/Lacanian tradition, one of the aspects of hallucinations concerns address. That is, the subject may not be able to say what the hallucination means or why it appears that way, but they can say for certain that it is a SIGN and that it is ADDRESSED to them. When the hallucination is the result of foreclosure or a mental structure, this is not surprising, but what about when it occurs via an external substance? It seems that the best argument (which I have no intention of addressing or exploring at this point) would be that the fact of address guarantees an external subject and since in the drug is only interacting with one person’s consciousness, that address must be metaphysical.

Hippo thinks that my idea in writing this must have been inspired by stealing a pinch of her catnip, but I assure her I was sober. Some chow should convince her.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No One You Can Save That Can't Be Saved, Nothing You Can Do, But You Can Learn How to Be In Time, Its Easy, All You Need is Butt

I don’t like to constantly go after the bulleted or numbered points theme, but sometimes its just easier to keep things in brief un-related paragraphs. I didn’t use numbers in my last writing, so I will go with the gimmicky thing for today. In no particular order:

1) Department store Santas need to suck it up and grow a beard. I mean, I get that you aren’t going to necessarily have a foot long Z.Z. Topp style Kris Kringle thing going on, but you at least need the dedication to stop shaving post Halloween so it’s not a complete sham. In today’s globalized hyper-competitive market place a cheap beard with a head strap is not gonna cut it. I remember the Santa we went to when I was a kid at the Minnesota Zoo. Not only did we have donuts and hot cocoa with him, but he came with reindeer. That is Santa dedication, but I suppose it should be attributed more to the Zoo having reindeer than this d00d’s personal dedication. Still, he had a real beard. You could tug it if you wanted. I had full faith (and credit) that my request for Fireball Island would be satisfied come the 25th.

2) I defended my doctoral dissertation last Thursday. I do not actually have my degree in hand or anything, but I have a PhD. If nothing else goes well in my life, I got married, got a doctorate and have a Persian cat. That’s better than most people can say. Also, I have season tickets to the Packers. And a hawt TV. And my couch has recliners. More relevantly, I have some good leads and advice about turning this into a book manuscript. I’m actually pretty excited to begin that process.

3) The John Carroll tournament, this past weekend, in Cleveland, had its ups and downs. The significant downs: we did not advance very far in outrounds (i.e. our only victory was a walkover), we did not clear some of the teams we expected to clear and arguably more importantly, John Carroll no longer has the soda fountain in the judges lounge. Apparently Pepsi no longer makes those big metal cylinders of soda-juice and I am sad. They did at least have plenty of cold Diet Pepsi on hand. The ups included having some great kids who haven’t debated together for a little while clear and some food related comments, for instance: there was a Chocolate fountain!! That’s right, I got to dip pretzels, bananas, apples, and DOUBLE STUF OREOS (the little things, like the decision to have Double-Stuf Oreos rather than the regular Oreos, is a sure sign that the people in charge think the right way) in a beautiful stream of chocolate. I could even load up a bunch of them and head back to my debates. I also got a van full of kids to join me for the CRAVE. ♦, who is an awesome kid who is simply better known by a symbol than he is by his actual name, actually went so far as to actually purchase a Crave Case. That meant that even through the Lake Effect blizzard and the Bills home game traffic, we had slyders to help us make the way back to the Roc.

I am not satisfied with a three item list and feel bad for having wasted such a delightful mechanism with so few numbers. I guess I will have to try and update regularly for a little while so I can get access back. Hippo suggests that I label all my next bullet points “meow,” but she does not understand how difficult it can be for humans to understand the subtle differences in print.