Friday, August 18, 2006

Full Contact Concert

Full Contact Concert:

"Two performers are equipped with microphones. One microphone, connected to a stethoscope underneath the scapula of the performer’s back, records the repercussion of the beats hitting his chest. The other microphone, glued to the performer’s chin, records his breath."

Finally, an instrument I don't want...

The Washington Monthly

The Washington Monthly:

"Sometimes, you see, even the most outlandish conspiracy theories turn out to be true."

I'm on a couple of conspiracy theory mailing lists...
and often the media lags it about 4-6 months.
Many of the stories I read on the list contain
the germs of real news - facts being uncovered -
even if they aren't being put together in
completely conventional ways...

listen to the man in the tin-foil hat!

meanwhile...the skies turn red

birds just falling out of trees
two in our yard
one down the street
tom calls the city
they say
"we need to test their brains
but they need to be fresh
so get one as soon as they fall
out of the tree and put it
in a ziplock in the freezer
and call us back."
and we'll just hope
whatever made them
fall out of the tree
isn't something you can
catch from picking them
up and putting them
in a ziplock bag in your freezer.
pretty sure I don't want
mysterious dead bird
next to my frozen pizzas...
maybe in a styrofoam cooler,
on the porch.

Daily Kos: The Right Not to Pray In School

Daily Kos: The Right Not to Pray In School:
"But how far does the right not to pray go, and what does it require? Is the onus upon the students choosing not to participate? If the voluntary, student-led prayer is allowed, then the non-participating students have two options: stay and just don't listen, or leave the room until the prayer is finished. I know from experience that neither option is all that comfortable for the non-participating students, in part because both options make them stand out for their non-participation. And the second option almost seems like the classroom, and the even the school itself, belongs less to them than it does to the religious majority.

Should they have to leave the room or sit there and 'not listen'? The only other option would be not to allow the prayer at all, and that would likely incense the religious majority, which could mean more negative consequences for those in the religious minority, if they are identified as such and associated with the prohibition in the minds of the religious minority. You only have to look at the what happened to the Dobrich to see that.

In a way, the stories of both families are kind of a reflection of the situation faced by religious minorities (including the non-religious) right about now. Just like with the school situation, if America is a 'Christian nation,' what's the status of non-christians and non-believers? To what degree is this our country too? Or does it primarily belong to the religious majority? And does that mean that in order to keep some semblance of peace, the rest of us must 'not look' and 'not listen'? And as religion becomes more and more a part of public life, and increasingly informs policy, what does that mean for the citizenship of the non-religious and religious minorities?"

It means as a humanist parent you teach kids to why you are a humanist and what that means. You make sure they understand they have freedom of belief and action.
You explain that when people pray around you it doesn't bother you, but you don't pretend to participate. You quietly go about your business and let them pray. You can listen. Listening to a prayer and saying a prayer are two different things. When someone leads a prayer if you are praying with them it is as if you are saying those words too. Just listening to someone say a prayer is not praying. If it is appropriate to have kids singing songs about Jesus, it is certainly appropriate to teach them agnosticism, atheism, or humanism.

We had just a few Jehovah's Witnesses in our school system growing up. They never had a problem not saying the pledge, or not participating in holiday parties, at least no problem that they showed. They knew and understood what they believed,
and what they believed didn't seem any crazier to me than any other story that starts with a virgin birth and ends with a resurrection.

Anyway, what I'd have to say is that non-Christian kids just have to toughen up - there is no excuse for what happened in this case. Nobody should be thrown out of a public school activity because they won't pray. But kids who don't wanna pray or pray a different way should just do their thing knowing that living your beliefs is important.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Austin Chronicle Music: The B-Side

The Austin Chronicle Music: The B-Side:

"'We've gotten a tremendously great response from audiences – ones who are very familiar with Daniel's stuff and ones who didn't know who he was when they walked in the door,' Nodler says. 'And Daniel just loves it. After he saw it the first time … one of the company members walked up to him and said, 'What did you think, Daniel?' And he said, 'That was great! I loved it! We should make a video tape of it and sell it, so we can remember it forever.'' There's hope for an Austin production of the original opera sometime next year, but for now the play shows Thursday through Saturday, 8pm, through Sept. 2. 'This is a departure for me,' Nodler adds. 'It's the most uplifting thing that I've ever worked on. Everyone is having this reaction to the show. It's like vitamins for the soul.' For tickets, call 713/522-8443."

have you made yr reservation yet?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Grotowski Statement of Principles

Grotowski Statement of Principles:


An actor can only be guided and inspired by someone who is whole-hearted in his creative activity. The producer, while guiding and inspiring the actor, must at the same time allow himself to be guided and inspired by him- it is a question of freedom, partnership, and this does not imply a lack of discipline but a respect for the autonomy of others. Respect for the actor's autonomy does not mean lawlessness, lack of demands, never ending discussions and the replacement of action by continuous streams of words. On the contrary, respect for autonomy means enormous demands, the expectation of a maximum creative effort and the most personal revelation. Understood thus, solicitude for the actor's freedom can only be born from the plenitude of the guide and not from his lack of plenitude. Such a lack implies imposition, dictatorship, superficial dressage."

yeah, what he said.

What is Left? What is Right?

What is Left? What is Right?:
"Skeptical conservatives—one of the Right’s less celebrated subcultures—are conservatives because of their skepticism, not in spite of it. They ground their ideas in rational thinking and (nonreligious) moral argument. And the conservative movement is crippling itself by leaning too heavily on religion to the exclusion of these temperamentally compatible allies."

I know there is a lot of talk of getting the Godfolk on the left more active and organized, but I'd be a lot more comfortable if the humanists on the right would stand up and get involved too...
then maybe we could look across the aisle and have a rational discussion with folks we disagree with...

Original moon landing film lost�-�World�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Original moon landing film lost�-�World�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:
" The footage could transform our view of the moon landings, offering images far sharper than the blurred, grainy video shown around the world. It also could lay to rest the conspiracy theory that the landings were faked on a Hollywood soundstage. "

or it could give ammo to the conspiracy theorists,
or it might show the alien structures on the surface of the moon...
lost? how about hidden... � Human Echolocation � Human Echolocation:
"Scientists have discovered that in the brains of the blind, the visual cortex has not become useless, as they once believed. When blind people use another sense — touch or hearing, for example — to substitute for sight, the brain’s visual cortex becomes active, even though no images reach it from the optic nerve. Echolocation creates its own images."

If this is true why aren't there more blind lawyer/vigilantes?

Jessa Crispin Goes Bookstore Speed-Dating

Jessa Crispin Goes Bookstore Speed-Dating:
"Another gentleman said he was reading Catcher in the Rye at the moment. “Oh, that’s a good book,” I told him. “Have you read it before?”

“I heard the guy that shot Ronald Reagan was carrying it on him and had to check it out!” says he. “It's a crazy book!'

This event was not going to help readers meet readers. It was going to cause women who read to go home, take a bubble bath, and contemplate running off to a nunnery."

The New Atlantis - The Age of Female Computers - David Skinner

The New Atlantis - The Age of Female Computers - David Skinner:
"In the history of computing, the humbler levels of scientific work were open, even welcoming, to women. Indeed, by the early twentieth century computing was thought of as women’s work and computers were assumed to be female. Respected mathematicians would blithely approximate the problem-solving horsepower of computing machines in “girl-years” and describe a unit of machine labor as equal to one “kilo-girl.” In this light, one can surely understand the desire to correct past orthodoxies about the female mind with new ones. But even as we rightly decry a past when even the most talented women were prevented from pursuing math and science in the most prestigious posts, we should remember—and honor—the crucial role of women in advancing mathematical and scientific knowledge one detailed calculation at a time."

A view of the truth: Spinoza's faith in reason - Print Version - International Herald Tribune

A view of the truth: Spinoza's faith in reason - Print Version - International Herald Tribune:
"The exact reasons for the excommunication of the 23-year-old Spinoza remain murky, but the reasons he came to be vilified throughout all of Europe are not. Spinoza argued that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the creator's partiality to its beliefs and ways. After the excommunication, he spent the rest of his life - he died in 1677 at the age of 44 - studying the varieties of religious intolerance. The conclusions he drew are still of dismaying relevance."

Apparently I should've payed more attention to Spinoza back when I was in school...
Fanatic agnosticism is the answer!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

all kinds of stuff: Milt Gray on cartoon timing past and present

all kinds of stuff: Milt Gray on cartoon timing past and present:
"Instead of simply cutting from one scene to the next, Bob would
sometimes move the characters and the props around, at the same time
as doing an iris wipe from one scene to the next, all with a very
specific rhythm, sometimes to suggest increasing tension in the
plot. Bob told me that on occasion, when he had a specific
syncopated rhythm in mind that didn't adhere strictly to a regular
beat, he would run blank film through a movieola at full (normal)
film speed, and tap on the film with a grease pencil the syncopated
rhythm he had in mind, and then take the film off the movieola and
count the frames between the marks. He would time his actions to
those numbers of frames, and then give that information to Carl
Stalling, who would compose music to fit that timing. I should have
asked Bob which films he did that in, but I didn't so I can only
guess, but a very likely candidate is the scene in Wagon Heels, about
5 minutes and 15 seconds into the cartoon:

Injun Joe has just fired (out of his mouth) a giant gun shell at the
circled wagon train, which blows everything off the screen (including
distant mountains). Then, in rapid succession, the wagon train's
wheels fall down to the ground, then the wagon train itself, then a
large foreground cactus, then the distant mountains, then there is a
quick iris wipe to the next scene (which is almost just empty
ground), then a white settler zips into scene, then Injun Joe zips
into scene to confront the settler, all in the space of about five
seconds. This is just a 'quick transition' from one scene to the
next, but the timing and sense of energy is thrilling."

the ghost in yr genes - the martian manhunter #1

� The Ghost In Your Genes

� The Ghost In Your Genes:

"At the heart of this new field is a simple but contentious idea – that genes have a ‘memory’. That the lives of your grandparents – the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they saw – can directly affect you, decades later, despite your never experiencing these things yourself. And that what you do in your lifetime could in turn affect your grandchildren."