Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Post On Gender

I like when women act vulnerable. I want to protect a girl and defend her. I want to tell people they can't mess with her or they'll deal with me. I don't like it when she can do everything herself. I want to help her with life. I want her to be able to help me too. But I don't want her to defend me. I want to defend her!

Also, I don't like the word "confident". It implies some annoying mean tough girl with her hands glued to her hips. The kind who's ALWAYS right, ALWAYS wins, and ALWAYS mocks everything. Most sitcom wives are like this. They call it "sassy", I call it "obnoxious".

If this means I'm part of the Patriarchy, then I'm proud of it.

I wasn't raised around feminine women. Most women and girls I knew acted like guys. I wasn't around femininity at all. Femininity turns me on. It always has and always will. This is why gender roles are not a social construct. I didn't grow up with traditional gender roles. My family was conservative in other ways, but "progressive" in gender. Not everyone fits gender roles and we shouldn't make them fit them. We also shouldn't yell at people who do fit gender roles. Even if I do it sometimes. Most people are like that by nature.

To some hardcore feminists, the only people who can act feminine are gay men. It must suck to be a masculine gay man. Most pro-gay straight people act like all gay men are women in male bodies. Society's homophobic, so if you're a man and you don't act 100% male people think you're gay, which is the Worst Thing Ever. This doesn't happen to women. Stereotypes say all lesbians are supposed to be bisexual, and no gay men are supposed to be bisexual. They're wrong of course. So you get Katy Perry, who released an album called One of the Boys. People know about the fake lesbian song "I Kissed a Girl" already. There's also a song called "Ur So Gay" (LyricWiki link) where she yells at her ex for "gay" things like: listening to Mozart and indie rock, reading Ernest Hemingway, driving an electric car, being thin, etc. None of these are gay or feminine in any way. The song's as homophobic as an American Family Association meeting, but a lot of my gay friends think she's great. Don't ask me why. The end lesson is it's okay for girls to act like guys, but it's not okay for guys to act like girls. Which is the hell we live in.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

If there's one song I wish I liked, it's Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". It's one of the most revered rock songs ever. I've tried to like it so many times. I like a lot of other Led Zeppelin songs. Most people who attack "Stairway to Heaven" attack everything it stands for - long songs, guitar solos, etc. which are all things I like. I don't like the Velvet Underground either, but I'm not a punk/alternative/indie fan so it doesn't cause me problems. "Stairway to Heaven" is my kind of music and I'm supposed to like it, but I don't.

The first part is boring and lasts way too long. There's no hook to the melody. The drums come in too late and too loud. It reminds me of one of Genesis's weaker songs - the early Genesis with Peter Gabriel. Then everybody told me it got REALLY HEAVY at the end - it doesn't. After about five minutes of dull folk-rock it turns into a nice mellow ballad with LOUD DRUMS. There are lots of songs that start quiet and end loud. "Stairway to Heaven" is not one of them. It stays quiet and mellow thruout apart from the LOUD DRUMS. It isn't even heavy for its era or its album. Lots of stuff in 1971 was way heavier. I love Jimmy Page's guitar solo tho. I'm sick of hearing how it turns into this hard rock song because it doesn't.

Plus their drummer John Bonham is overrated. He's a very good drummer but he's the most overrated drummer in rock music. I don't know why people hold him up as the ultimate rock drummer. He never played quiet. After the first album or two he quit using lots of cymbals and I like cymbals and open hi-hats. After a while he played the same on every song. I already hate te drumming on "Stairway to Heaven", but "Kashmir" is another song with drumming that doesn't fit. Most of his drum parts are boring and a lot of them don't fit the music. I like a few of his drum parts, like "When the Levee Breaks", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", and "Communication Breakdown". But most of them don't work. I'd play them very different.

Bonham's still a good drummer. He's better than about 90% of rock drummers. He could play way better than I can. But he's not as good as Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), BJ Wilson (Procol Harum), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Ginger Baker (Cream), or even Keith Moon (The Who). Bonham had a great sense of groove, but he had no sense of dynamics or fitting the music. So a lot of songs have drums that are way too loud or too quiet. Too bad everyone else thinks he's the best ever. If you say John Bonham is overrated, 5,000,000 Led Zeppelin fans attack you for blasphemy. This is why everyone considers him the god of drums when he's not. Nobody is. They don't want Led Zeppelin fans to kill them.

Now that I've pissed everyone off, I say King Crimson's "Starless" takes everything "Stairway to Heaven" does and does it better. Better melody, better lyrics, an awesome quiet-to-loud build-up, and some of the best drumming ever courtesy of Bill Bruford. There's no normal guitar solo, but there is an awesome sax solo and a guitar noise solo during the loud heavy part. And I get way more feeling from "Starless" than I ever did from "Stairway to Heaven".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why I Hate Christmas

I hate Christmas. Not the religious holiday. I like celebrating Jesus' birth. I hate the secular holiday. If I wasn't a Christian I wouldn't celebrate it. Here's why:

The holiday is way too commercialized. This is everyone's problem. But I got more:

I. Hate. Snow. I really hate it on Christmas. I hate how all TV and movies have snow on Christmas. Even in Miami. EVEN IN HAWAII. People get pissed if you trash snow on Christmas. Bing Crosby asks how can you have Christmas without snow. Ask the majority of the world. Ask the southern hemisphere. It was over 100°F/38°C in Perth, Western Australia last Christmas. Countries like Brazil, Australia, South Africa, etc. have hot Christmases because it's near the summer solstice. Here in the US, I live in Mississippi and my family's from other hot places like Florida. Make fun of us all you want, but any snow is a disaster in the Deep South. I don't want a disaster on Christmas. Snow has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. I'm not pagan/Wiccan so I don't care about celebrating the winter solstice. The "white Christmas" shit is the northern US and England shoving their ideal conditions down everyone's throat. It's the idealized Christmas TV sells us so they can sell more products. So I say take your white Christmas and shove it up your ass. I'll take a green (or brown) one any year. People care more about snow than they do about Jesus.

People get pissed if you're not "merry" and "jolly" on Christmas. Peace and love? Bullshit. They turn into assholes if you question a "white" "merry" Christmas. The rest of the year you have to be negative and cynical, which sucks enough already. On Christmas you have to be happy and positive, the only day all year people are allowed to be. And you HAVE to be, no matter your mood. What if you're depressed? You can go kill yourself. Christmas while depressed is what I imagine hell is like: everyone's "merry" and "jolly" except you. If I ever kill myself I'll do it on December 25.

There is no reason to change the culture to the 1950s for a month. I like a lot of things from older cultures. Why not keep those things all year? Why be inconsistent? The media send us mixed messages. Everything's this crass modern culture, then it turns into "Traditional Stuff We Think Your Grandma Liked", then to hell with grandma on the 26th. Grandma doesn't matter once you got presents from her.

I'm sick to death of the damn culture wars! You can't be consistent with the other holidays and say "Happy Christmas" because the "Merry Christmas" crowd gets pissed if you don't say "Merry". Why the hell do we say "merry" instead of "happy"? It's stupid. You can't say "Happy Holidays" and be inclusive or people bitch about it. If you say "Merry Christmas" people still bitch at you. So you have to say "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, etc." or people get pissed at you. Those exact damn words. And they STILL get pissed because you were too inclusive. So much for peace and love. Don't get me wrong, I hate everyone in the culture wars debate. But the "merry Christmas" crowd care more about their Christmas traditions than about Jesus. How about "I pray you make it thru this horrible time of year"? It doesn't work for non-religious people but it's way closer to my mood.

Why lie to kids about Santa Claus? This is one thing only fundamentalists and some atheists get right – if you're a parent and you lie to your kids, you make them not trust you. That's a good lesson in real life, but it's not the lesson most parents want to teach their kids. Lying to kids about Santa is stupid and wrong. It may be "cute" and "innocent" but it's stupid.

I have a few more personal problems. My birthday's in December so that month's even more stressful than it is for most people. I'm red-green colorblind and the color combo hurts my eyes. I've seen some Christmas colors that literally give me a headache. I hate driving in heavy traffic and the traffic gets really bad every Christmas. I don't have much family here so I can't have a "family Christmas" unless I go out of state. However...

The single worst part about Christmas is the "rebellious" crowds, the punks and goths and hipsters, embrace the "traditional" Christmas the media built for us! The rest of the year they complain the media manipulate things to sell us stuff, but during Christmas they forget. They switch to "Fa la la snow hot chocolate presents snow family!" then revert back on the 26th. I thought I could count on them for support... hell no! No surprise, considering I never agree with them on anything.

There are a few things I like about Christmas. I like liturgical churches and it's the one time of the year most people care about liturgy. But you can get that any time at the right church. I'm all for celebrating Jesus' birth. I love a lot of old Christmas carols, like "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "What Child Is This". I like receiving and giving presents as long as it's not the focus of the holiday. I even like a few Christmas movies. Miracle on 34th Street may violate every single thing on this list, but it's pretty deep for a Santa movie. But there's no reason to celebrate Christmas if you're not Christian. I don't celebrate Eid al-Fitr or Passover, but I acknowledge they exist. And people turn into the worst kind of assholes every December. And I hate snow on Christmas.

Bah humbug.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Politics and Personality

I hate stereotypes, but sometimes they're true more often than not.

Most conservative men are jerks. Most conservative women are nice. Liberals are the opposite: Most liberal men are nice, and most liberal women are jerks. There's lots of exceptions but it's true more often than not. I assume people are like this. It's because of ME ME ME ME ME. Most liberals are feminists and most conservatives are for traditional gender roles. People who support themselves sound like jerks. People who support others sound nice.

I wrote before that most observant Christians are conservative and most others are liberal because the stereotypes cancel each other out. Gender throws another wrench into this. They don't come across neutral. They come across the way their gender does. What's sad is there's more jerk exceptions than nice exceptions. You find more jerk conservative women and jerk liberal men than you do nice conservative men or nice liberal women.

Politics play a bigger role than religion in how someone acts. Most left-wing Christians act more like left-wing secular people than conservative Christians. This always holds true. Most left-wing Christians swear and drink as much as their secular counterparts, even with conservative theology. I don't know enough right-wing secular people to know if they act like right-wing Christians. I don't know enough people in other religions to know how they act. From my experience, conservatives act conservative and liberals act liberal regardless of religion.

Once again libertarians don't fit into this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mark Driscoll Sucks

When I was younger I quit going to church because I was mad at God. I didn't like Christ's teachings, but I liked Christians and I identified as one because I wanted to love God again. Eventually I found a church/a church found me and I got back in.

Good thing I didn't know about Mark Driscoll then. If I did I wouldn't have bothered. He's a crazy nutjob preacher who combines the worst parts of fundamentalism with the worst parts of modern culture. He's controlling, sexist, and misunderstands grace like fundamentalism does. He's crass, obscene, and anti-morality like modern culture is. Of course, most evangelicals think he's awesome.

Driscoll claims the church is full of girls and guys who act like girls, and we need Real Men (assholes) in the church. Why do you think the church skews so female? Masculinity is more evil than femininity. Masculine sins include pride, anger, and lust. Think of your image of a Real Man. Is it some hulking, brutal, alpha male who cares about himself only? It is for me. Some sins are more "feminine", like vanity. However, most women have stronger morals because most morals are feminine traits. Likewise, women are more religious than men. Most secular women are tomboys.

Mark Driscoll promotes strict gender roles. He has a narrow view of masculinity. If you're not a Real Man he hates you. He gives people sex tips in his sermons. Why the hell is that in a sermon? He swears in his sermons. I swear too, but there's a time and a place for it. As much as I swear in this blog, if I preached a sermon I would never swear in it. He bashes men who don't drink alcohol. I don't drink because I have a family history of alcoholism, so I choose not to drink. "Holier than thou" people are annoying enough. "Unholier than thou" people are even worse. I don't want to hear a preacher who makes me feel like I'm too good to be a Christian. I'll take a fundamentalist preaching about the evils of the NIV or rock music any day. At least I can laugh at that. Driscoll hates gay people. Not just "love the sinner, hate the sin". Real hate. And if you hate a group you bring as many people into it as possible. So, "effeminate" worship leaders are gay. Anyone who's "gooder" than Driscoll is gay. It's hardly about sexual attraction any more.

Jesus was not a wimp. He was a carpenter and carpenters have to be strong. He spoke boldly. He was homeless. There is nothing wrong with most of masculinity. However, Jesus's teachings appeal more to women and non-alpha males. "Love your enemies" ain't a tough guy thing. Putting others before you ain't a tough guy thing. If Jesus came back today, Mark Driscoll would call Him a pussy.

People say he's a reaction against legalism. I say he's even worse. Legalism is the belief that we need extra works in addition to God's grace. The opposite, antinomianism, is the belief that you can do whatever you want when you're saved. This of course is a load of crap. I'm far from a good Christian but at least I don't defend my sins. It's easy to slip into both of them.

Driscoll's bullshit is especially dangerous because of his theology: he's within orthodox Christian teaching. Most dangerous cults have weird theology. Driscoll's a Calvinist. Fundamentalists are also in orthodox Christian teaching, but the danger's more obvious. Their culture doesn't allow non-KJV Bibles, dancing, beer, rock music, swearing, etc. They rebel against modern culture. Driscoll would call most fundamentalist men "gay" because they rebel against mainstream culture. Driscoll embraces mainstream culture. He thinks you're a wimp if you're a man and you're not a Real Man. This creepy cult leader sneaks by everyone's radar because his theology's fine. There's more to a "cult" than heretical theology. Mormons are heretics but they don't have creeps as famous preachers - and I bet Mark Driscoll thinks they're all gay too.

The worst part is almost nobody complains about him. Some feminists do because he's sexist. A lot of ex-Christians say he makes them glad they left Christianity. I see their point. In at least one case, someone left Christianity altogether because of Driscoll and his near-universal acceptance. Most evangelicals defend him. He's bad for Christianity and he needs to quit being such an asshole. He turns people off Christianity when they were interested before. I sure don't want to be part of his religion, but I am.

This link explains more. I doubt the author would like this blog, but I don't go around trashing women or swearing in sermons.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gender Roles and Feminism

I believe gender roles are real. Gender is not a social construct. There are exceptions but most people fit the rule. We shouldn't force people to fit gender roles they don't fit, but they exist for good reason. Both my parents act very "masculine" and I don't have any sisters. I grew up around rednecks, where men are MEN and women are ALSO MEN. I wasn't around femininity much growing up, but I'm attracted to very feminine women. I like when women are sweet and girly. I'm not interested in tough girls. Some feminists are against all femininity. Some are normal people who realize not all women are the same. Too bad most outspoken feminists are jerks. That's true of all groups, but feminists don't do themselves any favors when they sound like selfish jerks. It's not sexist for me to say this - I hate when guys act like that too. I'm sick of macho men and we don't need macho women too. Some crazy feminists hate me because I'm interested in feminine women. Again, we shouldn't hurt people who don't fit gender roles. But I grew up without normal femininity and I'm attracted to it.

However, I don't look down on women. Women deserve all the same rights as men. They can vote, own property, etc. thanks to feminism. They can do anything men can do unless there's a physical limitation. Even then some women can do it. There is nothing inferior about women. We'll have a female president someday - lots of other countries have. And they do face a lot of prejudice. If feminism is the idea that women are people, then I'm a feminist. But I don't fit into feminism at all.

For one thing, I believe women are morally superior to men. It's my personal experience. Women don't kill people as much as men. They don't cheat on their SOs as much as men. They care about other people more than men. A few feminists say "Don't hold us back! WE can be as evil as the guys!" Why the hell do you want to be? Traditional gender roles have one jerk gender and one nice gender. Thanks to feminism, we have two jerk genders and one nice gender.

Also, I'm sick of the word "patriarchy". Sometimes they have a point. If men have all the power, then it is a patriarchy. Too bad some people call anything they don't like a patriarchy. "WHAT?!?! YOU'RE OUT OF KETCHUP?!?! YOUR RESTAURANT IS A PATRIARCHY!!!!"

Overall, I like most of feminism's political goals. I'm split on social goals. I don't want to hurt women, but the movement attracts a lot of jerk women! Most really nice women are not feminists for the same reason most jerk women are - the ME ME ME ME ME factor. People forget other people aren't like them. It's hard for me to support someone when they piss me off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alphabets and culture

There's a strong connection between language and culture. Everybody knows that. That's why so many countries look down on minority languages. It used to be illegal to speak Sardinian in Italy. Some countries encourage them, like modern Spain. In the US there have been many movements to get rid of foreign languages, but Spanish still holds strong. One reason some people in Québec want to split from Canada is they speak French and the rest of Canada speaks English... except New Brunswick is bilingual English/French and Nunavut speaks Inuktitut.

There's also a strong connection between alphabets and culture. Alphabets correlate with religion a lot. Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic (Russian) alphabets are Christian alphabets. Orthodox Christians used the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets while Catholics and Protestants used the Latin alphabet. All three alphabets share a capital A, E, M, O, and T. Jews used the Hebrew alphabet and Muslims used the Arabic alphabet. Yiddish uses the Hebrew alphabet but it's related to German, not to Hebrew. I don't know enough about any other religions to know other connections.

In modern times alphabets can represent political alliances. During the Cold War the Cyrillic alphabet represented Communism and the Latin alphabet represented the free world. It's not cut and dry in practice - most of Eastern Europe still used Latin. The USSR didn't ban minority languages but they required them to use Cyrillic. The alphabet of the Orthodox Church became the alphabet of oppression.

Writing systems don't mean two languages are related. Chinese and Japanese are not related, but Japanese borrowed a lot of Chinese symbols and added two sets of syllable-signs. English, Greek, Russian, Armenian, Persian, and Hindi are related, but they all use different alphabets. English, Finnish, Turkish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Quechua are not related and they use the same alphabet.

In fact, Turkish used the Arabic alphabet for centuries. They were a Muslim country. The Arabic alphabet doesn't suit Turkish well. Then Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established the secular republic of Turkey in the early 20th century. He wanted to promote literacy and shift Turkey's cultural alliances toward Europe. So he and his linguist buddies switched to the Latin alphabet, which fits Turkish very well. Click here to compare the two alphabets.

To learn more about writing systems, visit Omniglot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Emotion in Music

When I was a teenager I didn't think there was much emotion in music. A few songs stirred feelings in me, but I thought people exaggerated when they said music made them cry. People said some music was emotional, but I either hated "emotional" music or it left me cold. Some music made me feel something, but nobody called it emotional so I didn't see it as emotional.

Then I bought Yes's Close to the Edge, one of the best albums ever. Most people have to warm up to it because it's weird and complex – I loved it the first time. I discovered something new in music. Close to the Edge has a huge scope of emotion, but they don't do it in typical ways. Nothing sounds like power ballads or adult contemporary. The lyrics are weird but they fit the music well. The crazy thing is a lot of people, including some "Yes fans", think their music is all logic and no heart. If you say you're a fan and you don't get any feeling from their music, you're missing a lot. Getting into Yes helped me enjoy other music more.

What triggers my emotions is different from other people. I don't care much about lyrics. I pay attention to lyrics. They can change my opinion of a song. But they come second to the music. To many people songs are lyrics with music attached. Also, blues music leave me cold. It uses the most neutral chord structures. The blues scale sounds neat but it also sounds neutral. I can enjoy blues with my head, but not with my heart. I don't like the DIY punk ethic either. I hate the idea that if you sing well or play well, it makes your music "fake". Bad singing/playing keeps me from getting emotion from music.

What triggers feelings in me? Great songwriting. Beautiful melodies are one of the best ways to get to me, especially with complex/dissonant harmonies. Good arrangements are another way. I like weirdness, but I hate weirdness for the sake of weirdness – it has to be natural weirdness. Great playing can take a good song over the top. I usually like complexity, but not always – some simple music is just as good. Tension and release dynamics are awesome. So is unpredictability. A lot of my favorites are mellower than most of what I like. A lot of my favorites are heavier than most of what I like. I get something from some sad music, but also from happy music, angry music, scary music, energetic music, peaceful music, and a lot of music that's hard to pin down.

Artists who are good at emotion include Yes, King Crimson, Procol Harum, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, (early) Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Dream Theater, Muse, House of Heroes, Eisley, Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno... Good genres for me include progressive rock, some hard rock/metal, some mood music/ambient, and the more complex side of pop. Some classical music works well too, especially the Baroque and Romantic eras.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Racial Segregation

After college, there's two main ways to make friends: churches and bars. If you don't like religion or alcohol, you better like being alone. I'm a church person, so I don't know if bars are like this, but our churches have a huge racial segregation problem. Martin Luther King Jr. said "eleven o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour and Sunday school is still the most segregated school of the week." (source)

My church is almost all-white. We have a few Hispanics but we don't have any black members now. We used to but they moved. Since then we haven't had any new black members. Segregation extends to other things too. Most events I go to are all-white or almost all-white. There's no "whites only" sign on the doors but it turns out that way.

Why? There's a big culture difference. Race has little to do with heritage and lots to do with culture. A good example: My musical taste is very white. I like plenty of musicians of other races, but they all have lots of white fans. Different races go to different social events. They're involved in different clubs. Sometimes they have different hobbies.

That's one reason there aren't a lot of interracial relationships. The ones that work best are the ones with less culture gap. Either the partners are interested in each other's culture or one of them is part of the other race's culture. I'm all for interracial marriage, but sometimes I feel bad for kids who are pulled between two cultures and aren't "white" enough or "black" enough. It extends to other races here: a Samoan friend of mine faces the same issue. There's hardly any Samoans in Mississippi.

Beverly Daniel Tatum wrote a book called Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? It challenged my thoughts on race more than anything else I've read. Here's a summary of the book. It made me think a lot about race and racial identity. It explains a lot of why society's still so segregated. I don't like segregation but I see why it still exists. I don't know if I agree with everything she says but it's worth a read.

Still, it sucks that I never see most of my black Facebook friends any more. It's not like they're less like me than my white friends. They're part of a different culture.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Global Warming

AP: Skeptic finds he now agrees global warming is real

I'm not gonna guess on the causes. I would take global warming deniers seriously, but they always got an agenda. Notice how people who deny global warming always drive SUVs or other gas-guzzlers?

Not that the global warming believers are much better. They got an agenda too. They use global warming to push people around.

Me? I believe the climate's changing. No way around it. The past two years in Mississippi have been crazy. We've had some of our hottest and coldest temperatures in years. I can take people seriously when they say it's a natural change, but I can't take them seriously when they say it's not changing. It is.

Here's a long three-part article, Global Warming Ethics by Jack Marshall. It says everyone's wrong. It's great. Read all three parts. They don't link to each other, so bookmark them all. Or bookmark this page!
Part 1: Convenient Misrepresentations
Part 2: The Offset Illusion
Part 3: Ideology and Bias

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I Love Mississippi

If you live in Mississippi you see news articles all the time about how horrible it is to be here. Here's an example:

NEW YORK (Routers) - A new study shows that a higher percentage of people in Mississippi watch "Jersey Shore" than in any other state. "This proves that Mississippi sucks at everything," said one distinguished scientist. "If you're from Mississippi, kill yourself. You're trapped. Nobody will take you seriously - I know I won't. We had this one scientist here from Mississippi, and we all made fun of him so much that he quit and got a job at McDonald's. Serves him right."

Of course that scientist has never been to Mississippi, but he's an "expert" anyway. We got our share of problems, but I like it here. Would I live somewhere else? Probably, but Mississippi will always be part of me.

I love how we're proud of how uncomfortable summer (May 15-October 15) is. We may panic at an inch of snow, but we're PROUD of our 100-degree summers with high humidity! We can handle it, and YOU can't! Because we have air conditioning everywhere.

I love how green everything is in summer. I'm colorblind and most greens look dull, but not Mississippi summer green. It's so bright it looks like computer animation.

I love our normal winters. Kind of cold but not *too* cold. We think 10 degrees is the coldest temperature known to mankind.

I love how most of the state, with a few exceptions, is down on itself. This ain't Texas. We don't have big egos.

I love how we never do anything halfway. If we're good at something we're THE BEST. If we're bad at something we're THE WORST. No mediocrity in Mississippi.

I love our stupid college rivalry between two schools who usually suck at football. If one's good at football the other one never is. Speaking of which...

I love the fact we got the best college in the world, Ole Miss. Too bad we also got Mississippi State.

I love how even the girliest girls here love football as much as the guys.

I love getting on the freeway and going 5 under the speed limit in the right lane and people are fine with that.

I love the fact people don't get mad if you don't drink.

I love how when every other state picks on us, we pick on... Arkansas. Don't ask me why.

I love that we rejected the Arizona immigration law other states passed. There may be anti-Hispanic prejudice here, but it's less than other parts of the country such as Alabama.

I love that we have more African-American elected officials per capita than any other state - makes sense because we got more African-Americans per capita than any other state.

I love how we remember our history - we've moved past the 1960s because we remember them. A long time ago I read about an Orson Scott Card story where one group had murdered a bunch of people or something else horrible. Their punishment was they had to tell everyone what they did, and their descendents had to say what their ancestors did. This is what goes on here. Some people say it's in the past and we need to forget and move on. We'll never move on if we don't remember our past mistakes and avoid them.

We can stand to change on a lot of things. Our legacy of racism will haunt us forever. We've done a lot to overcome it, but there's still more work to do. We got in the news for blatant homophobia last year. We got a high poverty rate. Our economy is horrible now. But I love Mississippi anyway. If you don't live here you won't understand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Political Correctness

Ever notice how the only people who bitch about political correctness are white? "Political correctness" is supposed to be some vast conspiracy to make people care about other people who are not like them. I don't get it. Nobody says they're politically correct. When people say they're politically incorrect, it's always an excuse to trash people. Listen. There is nothing edgy or rebellious about being "politically incorrect". When you say "I'm not PC! Racial epithet! Racial epithet!" it tells me you're an asshole, definitely white and straight, probably male, Protestant, able-bodied, etc. Do you want to give out that much info about yourself online? I could steal your identity.

Of course, you get the odd person who defends political correctness. Like The Angry Black Woman. She, of course, is black, female, and lesbian, so she benefits a lot from political correctness. It's still a good essay. She says a lot nicer than I would,

I feel that Political Correctness promotes tolerance because it forces people to think about what they say and who they are saying it to. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) that people who rail against Politically Correct speech are those who do not want to have to be polite or civil to folks different from them.

Hallelujah. Most political correctness is about respect. Being in three minority groups at once means you face a ton of prejudice. I'll never know what it's like because I'm in all the majority groups. Most people like me don't care about anyone else. If you care about other people, it makes you too "good", and if you're "gooder" than everyone else, Real Men can hurt you with impunity. This is the hell we live in, folks. As a straight white male Christian etc., I have a special duty to not be an asshole.

My complaint about political correctness is it doesn't go far enough. It only protects people the Democrats like. I've heard "politically correct" people say complete bullshit about Mormons. Conservative blogger Ed Driscoll says poor white people are safe targets because they're white. I've seen people say - seriously - it's okay to hate one group because all their members hate another group. The groups vary. People hate people who are different from them. People hate people who don't fit into their world view.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rolling R's

Some speech sounds are harder to master than others. I've wrestled with Spanish for years and I've never been able to do "rr". Linguists call this an "alveolar trill". It's also in Italian, Russian, and a bunch of other languages. The single "r" is fine but "rr" always gives me problems. Any time I try to do one I get some other sound, more like the "ll" from Welsh. Fortunately, Spanish speakers can understand.

NOT! Do you know how you hear lisps? That's how they hear it. Either they ignore you or they make fun of you. They don't help you. It's a common speech impediment. I don't know if it's genetic or if I'm not used to it. I can make lots of other sounds easily. The French/German "r", a "uvular trill", is real easy for me. I use it when I "speak" Spanish because it sort of sounds like the Spanish "rr". I want to learn the "right" sound someday. Most instructions for learning it make no sense. I may have to accept that I have a Spanish lisp. But I don't know anyone who learned English as a second language who talks like a native. No matter how fluent they are, they sound foreign.

It's ridiculous that I can do the Dutch "g", Welsh "ll", Italian "gli", etc. but not a sound that's common in lots of languages. I don't find any German sounds hard, including their R, their umlaut vowels, or their "ch" sounds. There are other sounds I don't know how to do but they're not in languages I encounter every day.

I read somewhere that most people can do the Spanish/Italian one or the French/German one easily, but not both. I also found out there's a disorder called Ankyloglossia where the tongue is tied to the floor of the mouth. I may have this. I can barely stick my tongue out.

The "th" sounds in English are very hard to learn. (1, 2) They were the last sounds I learned. A lot of foreign speakers use "s" or "f". Some dialects use "s", "f", or "t" for "th". Thankfully, they're rare in other languages.

Linguists call the English "r" an "alveolar approximant". It's only in a few other languages. Here is a list of R sounds in different languages.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One and a Half Cheers for the Southern Poverty Law Center

Southern Poverty Law Center

Sometimes I look around the SPLC web site. Most of their work impresses me. Wikipedia has a long list of civil rights cases they've won. They fight for all kinds of groups. They've made the USA a better place by forcing some places to integrate. They're fighting against the horrible Arizona/Alabama laws that hurt our Hispanic citizens - that law didn't pass in Mississippi. Plus it's fun in a weird way reading their profiles of hate groups and seeing how pathetic they are. They recognize that anybody can be hateful - not all the profiles of racist groups are white racists. There's a few black racists in there too.

But, there's a dark side. They've written before how they think free speech should be restricted. (Link) I'm against hate speech, but outlawing it is a good way to get people interested. That's how human nature works. Plus, the SPLC is liberal to a fault - they think if you don't support Obama, you're a racist sexist homophobe. They think all conservatives, libertarians, etc. are extreme radicals and that liberals can't have any faults. On gay rights, I can understand that position, but they think all Republicans are racist. (Does that make Thomas Sowell, Herman Cain, etc. self-hating black people?)

So, one and a half cheers for the SPLC. I respect them a lot altho I disagree with them some.

EDIT: Sourcewatch has a mostly critical article on the SPLC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Religion and Politics

It doesn't make sense that religious people are more conservative and secular people are more liberal.‭ ‬It makes more sense the other way around.‭ ‬Why are people like that‭? Stereotypes‭‬.

Religious people and liberals have the same stereotypes.‭ ‬They're both motivated by good,‭ ‬holier than thou,‭ ‬hypocritical,‭ ‬ruled by feelings over logic,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬People attack them because they're too‭ "‬good‭"‬.‭ ‬Secular people and conservatives also have the same stereotypes.‭ ‬They're selfish and evil,‭ ‬prejudiced,‭ ‬ruled by logic over feelings,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬People attack them because they're too‭ "‬evil‭"‬.

Of course,‭ ‬these are stereotypes.‭ ‬They are‭ not true‬.

People choose religious views and political views that cancel out stereotypes.‭ ‬If you're very religious and very liberal,‭ ‬people think you're pure good.‭ ‬Sojourners ‬is a great example.‭ ‬I read it sometimes for two reasons:‭ ‬1‭) ‬it's interesting,‭ ‬and‭ ‬2‭) ‬they're gooder than me.‭ ‬Not better,‭ ‬but‭ gooder‬.‭ ‬You know what I mean.‭ ‬I admire them but I don't want to be like them.‭ ‬They care about people a lot,‭ ‬but they sound like wimps who don't know a thing about the real world.‭ ‬In real life,‭ ‬a lot of religious liberals are pretty tough.

If you're non-religious and conservative,‭ ‬people think you're too evil and don't care about them.‭ ‬The people at‭ ‬The Atheist Conservative ‬are harsh and they don't mince words.‭ ‬They're angry and they don't have to look like hypocrites.‭

If you're religious and conservative or secular and liberal,‭ ‬the stereotypes cancel each other out.‭ ‬People judge you on your character.‭ ‬People don't think you're heartless and dangerous.‭ ‬People don't think you're self-righteous and wimpy.‭ ‬They think you're normal like them.‭ ‬It moderates your views so you don't sound like a wimp or a brute.‭ ‬Lots of them sound like wimps or brutes anyway.

Also,‭ ‬gay abortion.

There's other reasons:‭ ‬Secular people are rarely Republican because Republicans weave religious language into everything and exclude them.‭ ‬Non-religious people are a minority group and most minorities are liberals because some conservatives hate minorities.‭ ‬Nobody wants to go where people hate them. This is also why most black people are Democrats regardless of religion - some white Republicans still hate black people. Or some Democrat leaders say Republicans do to get votes.

Frankly,‭ ‬religious liberals and secular conservatives make more sense than the other way around.‭ ‬Why‭? ‬Their arguments don't bore me to tears,‭ ‬and they're both less prejudiced because they're minority groups themselves.‭ ‬I don't know how Jesus or Athe would vote.‭ ‬It makes me sick when I see‭ "‬Support Jesus‭! ‬Support‭ (‬political issue here‭)!" ‬or‭ "‬Jesus was a‭ (‬conservative/liberal/libertarian/anarchist/fascist/socialist‭)"‬.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬I don't know how you can be non-religious and have a positive view of human nature like most liberals do.‭ ‬Still,‭ ‬thank God for secular humanists with a positive view of human nature.‭ ‬I'd rather be around a bunch of them than a bunch of Objectivists.

Sorry libertarians,‭ ‬I left you out.‭ ‬You're not a stereotype group on CNN or Fox News.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Summer and Winter Christians

Read this: Summer and Winter Christians by Richard Beck

It's a great essay. Richard Beck says many people see Christian faith on a one-axis model: if you're Christian, you don't complain, and if you're not, you do. Beck prefers a two-axis model where faith and complaint are different dimensions. He calls high faith with low complaint "Summer Christians", high faith with high complaint "Winter Christians", low faith with high complaint "Spiritual Critics", and low faith with low complaint "Disengaged Believers".

I'm a Winter Christian. Maybe it's me getting older and more bitter. I can't understand Summer Christians at all, but I like being around them. I can understand Spiritual Critics well altho I think some of them use their complaints as an excuse not to go to church. As for Disengaged Believers, I was one once. When I didn't go to church regularly I didn't complain about it.

I can't say anything else he didn't say better, so read his essay.

Real Men's Guide to Ethics

Hate any group you're not part of. Such as gays, women, disabled people, gays, people of other religions (or even denominations), other races/ethnic groups, gays, people with a different first language, vegetarians, and gays. Also people richer than you, people poorer than you, "hippies", "old ladies", women you're not attracted to, and anyone nicer than you. These people hurt you by existing, so they deserve a good thrashing.

If someone is miserable, attack them. Their misery tempts you to be nice and being nice is bad. Your only attitude is pointless anger against people who haven't done a thing to you. Justice is your enemy. Be proud of how "evil" you are because "evil" is good. Identify with the "bad" guy in every movie or TV show.

The victim is always wrong and the aggressor is always right. If someone gets burglarized, it's their fault for 1) owning things the thief might want, 2) having windows the thief can break, and 3) living less than 50 miles from a thief. If the victim complains, they're whining about a situation they could have done something about. For example, they could research every thief in town and find out what thieves want, and make sure not to own things they want. They can also board up all doors and windows so the thief can't get in. They don't need to go whining to the cops!

Corollary: Nothing is your fault. If someone breaks into your house and steals your TV, it's not your fault. It's the locksmiths' fault because they made an inferior lock for your door. It's also the homebuilders' fault, because they made the walls so thick that you couldn't hear the thief, and they made the closet inconvenient so you couldn't grab your gun.

Use the phrase "personal responsibility" a lot, but don't apply it to anyone who really is responsible. Only victims have "personal responsibility" problems. Say you're "conservative" or "libertarian" so it looks like you know what you're talking about. What this really does, however, is make real conservatives and libertarians look bad. Not that you care. You only care about yourself. Support political positions that hurt everybody but you. Attack anyone who disagrees with your political views.

You're only happy if you mock other people. You're better than them so it's okay. That's why they have so many friends and you don't. People realize they aren't worthy of your presence. When you watch TV news, make fun of people who get killed. Nobody else's lives are important. Humor is invalid unless it's gross, obscene, sick, or mocking inferior people.

Swear constantly. A good rate is one swear word for every two non-swear words. People will see you are tough, intelligent, realistic, eloquent, and articulate. If you sound really pissed off, you can scare people into agreeing with you.

Worship yourself. Other people are worthless except for other Real Men like yourself, and even they must bow to your greatness. You are the smartest person in the universe and the entire galaxy revolves around you. You are always right, and if someone disagrees they're stupid. Morality is for inferior people. If you can get away with something that's wrong, do it because it's wrong.

Women are inferior and only exist for your sexual pleasure. Society doesn't require them to be jerks, so they must be inferior. Most women are stupid and have lousy taste in music, movies, and TV. You might run across one who is as much of a jerk as you are; if she's "hot" (see below), then you just found yourself a date.

If a woman fits your standards of physical attractiveness, call her "hot". If a woman doesn't fit your standards, call her "ugly". If another guy doesn't agree with you on "hot" girls, he's "gay" and you should attack him. Your standards of physical attractiveness must be the same as the ones in beer commercials. Do not tolerate ANY deviation.

Sleep with every woman you can, then talk about them behind their backs about how they're "ugly" and worthless and you only did them because you were drunk. Don't mention you secretly think they're hot because anyone who likes an "ugly" woman is "gay". Your complaining is NOT "whining", because it concerns a deep, pressing issue (you hate the way they look).

If you can live up to every one of these, then congratulations, you are a Real Man. Not all Real Men are male. A few are females who hate their gender and want to be male. Most are male because these are the standards people expect for men these days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I'm a language nut but I only speak English. I want to learn more languages someday. I took Spanish in high school and French in college but my Spanish sucks and my French is even worse. I really want to get good at Spanish someday. I could talk to a lot of people who don't speak English. It's one of my favorite languages to listen to. And it's useful here. There ain't much use for anything other than English, Spanish, or Choctaw in Mississippi.

I'd also love to learn Esperanto. Esperanto is a constructed language designed for world use. gives more information and Lernu! offers Esperanto courses. I've looked at Esperanto a bit. While it's nowhere near perfect, it's still better than English for a world language. Sometimes I forget how much privilege I have that my native language is the standard world language.

As always Wikipedia has a good article on Esperanto and other related conlangs such as Ido and Novial.

I have my Facebook in Esperanto right now. Google Chrome keeps flagging the page as either Slovak or Spanish. Makes sense because Esperanto's a mashup of Slavic languages (Slovak, Czech, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian) and Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian, Romanian). Back then the rest of the world wasn't part of the world. I'm learning a few words from Facebook, but I'll forget most of them when I switch it to some other language. I should switch it to Spanish or French for fun. I've also done Welsh, Latin, and a few of the joke ones like Pirate and 1337.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Since I already ripped on libertarians (last post) and liberals (most of the others), here's the conservatives' turn.

Why are so many conservatives so heartless? They think that if you don't have a full-time job, your own place, etc. you aren't trying hard enough. They hate you because of things you can't control. They don't give a shit about poor people or any other people. The economy sucks. If someone can't find a job, it's not their damn fault. Most adults who live with their parents don't want to. They want to work full time but they can't. It's not laziness, it's because they got screwed over. Most teenagers can't find jobs. A lot of my friends with college degrees work in retail or other low-paying part-time jobs any high school drop out could do. They're not lazy, they just can't get anything else.

And even when unemployed people are lazy, it ain't my place to judge. The lazy people ain't gonna get jobs. The way things are now, lots of people don't have jobs. I got a job but I don't work as much as I'd like. I'm still glad to have one. I can be lazy but I won't let myself.

Reminds me of the bastards who blamed Katrina on the victims. No, I am not making this up. (Hint: It's because they were black) reproduces this letter and refutes it. Read it and then lose faith in humanity.

Not all conservatives are like this. Probably most aren't. But a lot of them are, especially angry old white men.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Driving Too Fast Is Driving Me Crazy

Speed limits are high enough already. Most people apart from old ladies think they should be 20-30 MPH higher. I'm sick to death of assholes driving 10 over in the right lane, where I usually drive, and tailgating me when they can pass me in the left lane. I'm also sick to death of the same assholes getting pissed if I go the speed limit in the left lane - at least I go the damn speed limit! I could go way the hell slower in the left lane like a lot of people do, but I don't. I got a right to the road too. I obey the law and you don't. The traffic laws are not based on what you want, it's usually based on safety. There's exceptions: Why is this one road 30 MPH when it should be 40 MPH? I still go 30 and some jerkass in a BIGG REDD TRUKK always tailgates me, but the cops enforce the speed limit.

You know one reason our gas prices are so damn high now? Everyone wants to drive way the hell over the speed limit. People will give up anything before they give up driving way too damn fast and endangering everyone.

Why do people claim slow drivers are more dangerous than fast drivers? It's simple. Speeders can't accept the blame for the accidents they cause. It's dumb to drive really slow, but what if you can't help it? Then you're screwed. Driving too slow *is* dangerous, but driving 65 in the right lane of a 70 zone is fine. At least where I live... thank God I don't live in a big city.

There is one problem with slow drivers: people who go 10-15 under in the left lane. all the time. I stay in the right lane unless I have to turn left or get around someone getting on the freeway, but I drive the speed limit or a little over in the left lane. I almost always drive a few under in the right lane, except during rush hour when I'm right at the speed limit. This is real rebellion - it's not rebellion against the law, it's rebellion against peer pressure. Peer pressure is way more powerful.

This is the main reason I'm not a libertarian or anarchist. If we had a libertarian society with majority rule, we'd have no speed limits and I wouldn't be able to drive anywhere. We'd get a tyranny of the majority. When the majority rules everything the minority gets screwed. We'd only have rights for straight white guys who agree with the dominant opinions of society. One real nice thing about the law is minority rights are protected. Without the law the majority would crush the minority - it happens over and over again.

People suck.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snob Appeal in Computing

I'm one of those holdouts who refuses to use "hacker" for security breakers. The right term according to the Jargon File is cracker. The real meaning of hacker refers to a kind of super-programmer. I'm not a hacker and I never will be - I don't have the personality. But I respect them. It bugs me when people talk about "hackers" breaking into things and causing damage. A hacker may crack your computer but he/she will tell you how to fix the hole. Real hackers don't cause damage. They build things instead, especially on Linux.

This brings me around to another thing: Why do people pronounce Linux "Linnux" (IPA lɪnəks) when that's not how it's spelled? Snob appeal. I pronounced it to rhyme with English "Linus" (IPA lainəks, or laənəks in my Southern accent) for a long time. Then I asked a snobby bookstore cashier about "Lye-nux" books, and he didn't understand me. Then he responded "Oh, you mean Linnux books. We have all kinds of Linnux books... I love Linnux..." Turns out Mr. Snob was wrong too: this link lets you hear OS creator Linus Torvalds himself say it. He says it "Leenooks" (IPA linʊks). Now I say either linʊks or linəks. However, most Linux users are snobs. Same goes with most hackers, including the good kind. If you pronounce something different from how it's spelled, it gives it snob appeal. The snob knows something regular people don't.

Linus Torvalds is Finnish but his name and first language are Swedish. Some people argue "Linnux" is the Anglicized version of "Leenooks", but Swedish has our short "i" vowel. It's rare in most languages, but common in Germanic languages such as English, German, and of course Swedish. If he meant "Linnux", he would have said it. But he didn't.

The same applies to Mac snobs who say "OS Ten" instead of "OS X". In this case I don't care how the Apple people say it. If they wanted people to say "OS Ten" they should have called it "OS 10". As for me I'm waiting for Mac OS Y to come out.

At least people don't say "Wine-doss" for Windows. No wonder non-snobs stick to Windows.

Uncyclopedia, the content-free alternative to Wikipedia, has an enlightening article on Linux.

(I still read "Linux" as Lye-nucks. I have to force myself to say it different.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gay Abortion

I've seen this thing a few places online. "Hey, pro-lifers! What if the baby you save turns out to be gay?" This is the worst pro-choice argument ever.

Abortion and gay marriage are separate issues. Your opinion on one does not determine your opinion on the other. I'm pro-life and pro-gay marriage because both are the best options. And the dumbass argument does say something: gay fetuses are SCREWED.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year

I've come a long way since my days as a left-wing liberal. Still, I read the Sojourners blog sometimes. Here's a great post, Defining "Evangelicals" in an Election Year. I'm sick of people who assume all evangelical Christians are Republicans.

More posts on politics and religion coming soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Religion and Personality

Different churches draw different personalities. There's differences in doctrine, worship style, race, and class. There's also personality differences. This is true for Protestant denominations. Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, etc. draw people with different attitudes and personal habits. If you drink alcohol, you're gonna join the Episcopal or Lutheran churches. If you're dead set against drinking, you're gonna join the Baptists. If some Baptists are intolerant toward alcohol, some Episcopalians are intolerant toward people who don't drink. It also depends on how much you care about the creeds. Many Episcopalians say the Nicene Creed every week but don't believe it. I like the Methodists because they have both the fundamentalist nutcases and the extreme liberal nutcases. I'd rather have both than just one.

Converts go to whatever group attracts their personality. It's more reliable than what is or isn't true. I don't drink or smoke and I'm a semi health nut, so I'm a good target for the Latter Day Saints. On the other hand, I admire Catholic Social Teaching and I like liturgy. Catholics are pretty open to all personalities, but a lot of Catholic converts are a certain type of person. The Young Fogey. The fan of GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, George MacDonald, etc. The medievalist. The history nut. They're in some Protestant churches but they're a dwindling minority. Protestantism has little to do with church history any more. It's sad.

It may work for other religions too. Most Wiccans are bisexual goth women. Not all, but most. I was interested in Orthodox Judaism for a while. I liked the strict rules. I don't know much about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. In the US Buddhism draws the same kind of people who become liberal Christians.

A lot of people deconvert from religion altogether. Most people here are raised in religion so most agnostics and atheists are converts. There's a difference between agnostics and atheists. Atheists are sure there's no God, but agnostics aren't. This is mainly a personality difference. If fundamentalist Christians deconvert they become atheists. If the more tolerant kind deconvert they become agnostics. Agnostics are more laid back than atheists.

The Young Fogey

Almost all subcultures are more shocking than the mainstream. Flappers, hippies, punks, etc. They all shock by being more radical. Young Fogeys shock by being LESS radical. They're young men who dress and act like it's 100 years ago. They love old upper class British culture, smoking pipes, Evelyn Waugh novels, traditional churches, and tweed suits. I used to read a lot of blogs by Catholics and liturgical Protestants. Most of the bloggers were Young Fogeys. A lot of Catholic converts are Young Fogeys. Liturgy and history attract these people. Most Young Fogeys are British, but I've met American ones too. The Chap Magazine's a good tongue-in-cheek look at the Young Fogey.

I'm not a Young Fogey and I never will be. I like rock music and I hate wearing ties. I'm not an Anglophile. But I respect them. Apart from the Amish the Young Fogeys are more subversive than any other subculture. Or they were more subversive. The Young Fogey: an elegy says they died out by 2003. It's not true because I've met a bunch online and a few in real life, but Young Fogeyism isn't what it once was. Too bad we never had a big Young Fogey movement in the US.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness

Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness on TV Tropes

This is a great idea. The scale goes from 1 to 11, of course. Go to the page for more detail, but here's a quick overview:

1. Acoustic rock
2. Slightly lighter rock
3. Average rock
4. Slightly harder rock, lighter punk
5. Hard rock, punk
6. Heavier hard rock, lighter metal
7. Classic metal, power metal, hardcore punk
8. Thrash metal, heavier classic/power metal, metalcore
9. Lighter death/black metal, heavier thrash metal
10. Most death/black metal
11. Extreme death/black metal, grindcore

The page goes into more detail on what makes some songs heavier than others. Distortion, speed, instrumental solos, vocal styles, etc. I don't agree with where they put a lot of songs. Metal fans want to put metal ballads at 1 when they should be 3 or 4. On the other hand, the Beach Boys page claims they get up to 5. And there is no way Muse's "New Born" is heavier than "Stockholm Syndrome". You'll disagree with some of the others. The web site can't agree with itself on some songs. The Mohs Scale main page has Metallica's "Battery" at 8, but it's a 9 on the Metallica page.

They say it's hard to place rock bands who don't use guitars. I don't know where Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode would go, but they're barely rock to begin with. Ben Folds Five and Van der Graaf Generator are two rock bands without guitars and they both get to at least 4. Of course they distort other instruments. Ben Folds Five had distorted bass and VDGG had distorted organ.

I say drumming has a lot to do with it. Songs with loud drums will score higher than bands with quiet drums, drum machines, or no drums. There are exceptions. Some extreme metal bands use drum machines.

It's a useful way to think about rock music. A final warning: TV Tropes will suck you in for hours.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What matters more?

It's funny how people get so angry when they're mad about personal stuff, but they're calm when they're mad about important stuff involving other people.

When someone hurts you: "ARRRGH ***** **** **** * *** *********!!!"
When someone hurts someone else: "That's very sad. We should stop this."

Example: People are all sad and somber about a real injustice - the state of Georgia executing Troy Davis, who may or may not be guilty for murder. But if someone insults their favorite sports team, they get PISSED. Someone got on my case today - they were dead serious - for supporting the wrong college. I haven't seen anyone get that pissed over Troy Davis. What's really more important?

Liberals are the worst at this. They forgive Hitler but not creationists. Conservatives and libertarians are a little better but not much. People never send their rage to the right targets. The world would be a better place if they did.

People are worthless.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kill the Heretic!

It's human nature. If someone disagrees with you, they're evil and you should kill them. You should destroy their writings. You should shut them up at all costs. If you're good enough at it, nobody will know what they stood for in the first place.

One example is the medieval church. I'm a Christian and I'm fine with doctrinal purity, but the church went to extremes in the old days. We only know about a lot of heresies from books arguing against them. People destroyed heretical books. During the Protestant Reformation the church/government killed reformers. For years Christians oppressed Jews, even tho Jesus and His first disciples were all Jewish.

Oppressive governments do the same thing. The Nazis and Communists killed lots of people for disagreeing with the party. Not for doing anything. They killed people for other reasons too. Nazis hated Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and a bunch of other groups. They didn't do anything to the Nazis apart from existing.

We don't kill people or destroy their books any more in the Western world. Now we insult people, call them names, make fun of them, etc. It may not kill people but it hurts their careers. Here's a form of oppression in the music world:

Most rock critics praise genres like rockabilly, garage rock, 70's punk, post-punk, and early alternative. They trash genres like progressive rock and metal that don't fit their narrow view of rock.

When I was younger I didn't like progressive rock apart from Pink Floyd because things I read told me not to. People said it was "pretentious" and "self-indulgent" and it "violated the spirit of rock'n'roll". Then I discovered Procol Harum, who led me to Yes, who got me hooked on other progressive rock like King Crimson, early Genesis, Dream Theater, etc. Now I know rock critics are full of crap because those bands made great music. In the standard history of rock, punk "destroyed" progressive rock, like how grunge "destroyed" glam metal. Progressive rock bands and glam metal bands didn't do anything to offend punk and grunge bands. The rock purists killed the rock heretics in a heroic act to restore standard forms of rock.

Disco had a worse backlash from rock fans in the late 70s. There was a disco record demolition in 1979. That's real oppression.

I'm not the only one who sees a connection. John McFerrin says "I like a lot of punk rock and post-punk, but the punk "revolution" was really an inquisition." Nile Rodgers from disco/funk band Chic compared the anti-disco movement to Nazi book-burning.

The worst part is most rock critics hate religion. They embrace rock music like it's an alternative to religion that lets them do whatever they want. They probably say "religion kills so avoid it" like most anti-religious people do. But they still got the "kill the heretic" instinct because it's human nature.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Most people only care about themselves and people who are like them. On Facebook you can tell a lot about someone by the political pages they like. If somebody likes Human Rights Campaign, they must be gay. 95% of outspoken feminists are women. If somebody has a more obscure issue they support, there's a good chance they're connected to it. If someone says "punish the deed, not the breed" (which I agree with) they probably own a pitbull (which I don't). Disability rights advocates are usually disabled. If someone wants to end discrimination against a group, it's a good chance they're part of that group. Most "bleeding heart" liberals don't care unless you're not white, female, LGBT, disabled, not Christian, or don't speak English as a first language. They only care about other discrimination if it involves them. And like anyone else they hate a lot of people, such as fundamentalists, fat people, "rednecks", etc.

It gets even dumber when you got someone like me who's in every majority group. We turn into your classic bigots and it's the same impulse. Almost everyone who complains about "political correctness" is white. I had people on a message board get mad at me for being a Christian once, but I don't experience discrimination or persecution in real life. There's some hate crimes against white people but not a lot. I take male privilege with a grain of salt because the gender roles are so strict for us - men have to be assholes but women can be whoever they want. But women still get paid less than us and still get treated like second-class citizens, and men don't, plus I've never faced any discrimination from being male. There is no prejudice against straight people, but homophobia is rampant here. Other religions and ideologies do face discrimination, especially Wicca and Islam. As for the language barrier, if you want to piss off a hardcore conservative, greet them en español. There's a reason people like us are rarely "bleeding heart" liberals: we don't get anything out of it. A ton of us are libertarian tho. Also, we're ignorant of prejudice because we never experience it. But experiencing prejudice doesn't make people more tolerant. It only means they care about issues they're connected to.

In short, people suck and I'm better than most of them. But people don't suck completely. There's no reason to hate somebody if you didn't get to know them first.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Most Useless Machine Ever!

From rural Saskatchewan, Canada, land of snow, Tim Hortons, and "eh", comes the Most Useless Machine Ever!

You can do many things with this, such as making two useless machines fight:

The uploader, SaskView, says "this is a metaphor for your hard-earned tax dollars at work". I don't know if it reflects Canada's parliament, but it sure looks like US Congress!

10 Genres of Metal in 3 Minutes

Raz Ben Ari plays 10 genres of heavy metal in 3 minutes. It's very good apart from him calling glam metal "glam rock". You can hear the differences between the styles.

All parents are disappointed in their kids

All parents are a little disappointed in their children. They're disappointed their children didn't turn out like they did.

Some cases are obvious, like when the parents are strict religious conventional types and the kid becomes a pothead atheist punk/goth kid. This happens a lot. Some cases are less obvious, like when the parents are pothead atheist punks/goths and the kid joins the Latter-Day Saints. This happens more than you think.

However, all parents are disappointed their kids didn't turn out like they did. They want their kids to be younger versions of them. They're happy when their kids act like they do and they don't like when their kids are different. They want their children to turn out the way they wanted. They may know someone who they want their kid to be like and they're disappointed their kid didn't live up to it. Whatever it is, parents are mad their kids didn't turn out like they did.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget 9/11/01

A few weeks ago some jerk asked "When's it okay to make September 11 jokes?" I told him it's been 70 years since Pearl Harbor and we still don't joke about it. Some things are off-limits. I like humor and jokes, but you don't joke about losing 3,000 lives. You just don't.

Just For Being Americans by Dave Barry - A rare serious column from Dave Barry. It's incredible.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Racism is not dead

There's a rumor going around about a gas station refusing service to a soldier. Someone from the Middle East owns the gas station. It's probably false, like it was when it hit Corbin, KY and other places around the US. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and people jumped on it and started making jokes about Middle Easterners, talking about how they hate us. I replied that we have Arab-American and Persian-American soldiers, and the gas station guy was a jerk regardless of race. I said "don't blame it on his race or ethnic origin, blame it on him being a jerk".

If it did happen, the gas station attendant will probably get fired. That's what happened in Fort Worth, TX, where a Marine really got refused service.

I figure if somebody comes from Iran or Pakistan to open a business here in the USA, they probably like our country. If they didn't, they wouldn't come here and open businesses. And refusing service to a soldier is plain stupid. No place that refuses business to soldiers can stay open for long.

The "all Arabs hate us Americans" crap reminds me of "all Japanese hate us" or "all Germans hate us" from World War II. Remember the Japanese internment camps. Arabs have gotten off a little easier from 9/11, but lots of people still hate them. This is a bad time to be an Arab-American. Or Persian, or Indian, or Punjabi, or Egyptian. Prejudice is stupid.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TV Weather

People expect weather to be like it is on TV shows. Case in point: Summers in Mississippi last from May to October. This summer's been hot even for us. It broke 100 degrees a lot. The heat index was 120 one day. So people are desperate for relief. A tropical storm came thru at the beginning of September. At the same time as a cold front. Now it's really cold for summer - yesterday's high was 69. This is weird for September in Mississippi. September's summer! It's in the 90s! But it's not to most people here. Most people get their culture info from TV, and in TV land September is fall. Never mind the fact it's gonna heat back up next week, people say "Welcome to fall!" It's the same people who can't believe it stays hot into October every year. People pay more attention to weather patterns in TV land, which is based on weather patterns in the Great Lakes states, than they do to the weather patterns here!

If I wrote for a TV show, I'd set it in the Deep South and I'd give it real Southern weather. Summers would be long and hot. Winters would be mild with one snow event per year - on the same date in January every year. The snow would shut everything down. Spring would have severe storms every day, and fall would be comfortable. Christmas would not have snow and half the characters would whine about the lack of snow - the same characters who whine about snow in January. It would rain every Easter like it does in real life.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Welcome to my new blog, Will of the Majority. The name's ironic: I'm in all the majority groups but I never have majority opinions. This blog doesn't reflect the will of anyone but me. Plus nobody's gonna grab the name for a hate blog.

About me:
1. I'm a Protestant Christian.
2. I'm moderate in politics. I hate the right wing and the left wing equally. I respect libertarians more but I disagree with them a lot.
3. I'm a straight white guy so I don't deal with prejudice much.
4. I live in Mississippi. This alters how I see things.
5. I care about people who are different from me, unlike most of humanity.

Some ground rules:
1. No comments. I don't have the patience to deal with them. I won't change your mind and you won't change mine so there's no point.
2. I post about whatever I want to. I won't post about my personal life.
3. Most of my posts on serious topics are halfway between serious and silly.
4. There will be occasional swearing. If you don't like it, don't read it. I'll avoid anything too bad but anything else is fair game.

Why don't I use my real name? I don't want to. I don't want my real name attached to the blog. A lot of my friends know about the blog already so that's not an issue.

EDIT: I enabled comments. I'm a sellout.