By Way of Introduction

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him vote. They would have to modify the booth to accommodate his horse shape.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bullsh*t Overdrive

Well, the gun debate is finally over. Bruce Willis himself has come out in favor of unabridged access to nuclear weapons.

"I think that you can't start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it's all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn't they take all your rights away from you?"

So I think we can all go back to wondering why Fox thinks that Germany is sunnier than America. That's like saying that if you can't hate homosexuals then you can't hate murder or bestiality either, as Supreme Court Justice Scalia claims.

But seriously, if John McClane had not had firearms aplenty at his disposal, the line "Yippi ki yay, (expletive deleted)" would not have had the same effect, thereby rendering Die Hard just another completely forgettable action movie.

Does Stallone's top billing make his opinion more valid than Bruce's?
Such a ban would have halted this franchise dead in its tracks, where Charlton Heston could then have pried the dull butter knife out of its corpse-y, no guns allowed hands. Plus, think of all the disasters we've averted thanks to McClane and his heroic antics. And it's all delivered with (sometimes) snappy one-liners - justice AND entertainment!

Imagine my surprise when during the course of research (googling The Expendables) I discovered that Sly Stallone actually supports reinstating the assault weapons ban. There is no context for the previous remark, I just found it interesting, in a dichotomous sort of way.

Here's the thing: I enjoy target shooting. I am not a hunter, but I respect the hunter. I would hunt if I needed to. I do not believe the government has the right to take my legal firearms from me. However, I am not in favor of assault weapons. They are weapons made for war and for SWAT teams. If the idea is that we've got to be able to protect ourselves from out own government, then why can't I buy a damn tank? Or an assault helicopter? You have to draw the line somewhere, and I think that on the cautious side of the weapon built to cut down waves of soldiers is the right place to draw it. You can disagree with me, but I've yet to see a reasonable explanation of what one might need a machine gun for. If it turns out that someone actually does have a good reason, they should be able to apply for a special license. Perhaps we license them to firing ranges so that people can still go and enjoy shooting them. The firing range makes out, the taxpayer makes out, and the guns are still there in case of that zombie apocalypse. 

I believe that the mentally ill and convicted felons should not be allowed to own guns. I am in favor of background checks. I believe our laws should reflect these things. Just because people will break the laws does not mean we should abolish them. That's idiotic. Does the same apply to murder, or anything else we  currently have laws against, just because people will do them regardless? Or is it that if something is illegal then it makes it less likely to happen? Of course it is. Therefore, making murder legal would necessarily increase the rate of homicide, just as removing seat-belt requirements would increase traffic injuries and fatalities.

Just quit acting like regulating firearms is the same thing as taking them away. It isn't. Period. FYI - the same day that the shooting took place at Sandy Hook some nut job in China injured 22 people at an elementary school there. He used a knife, and there were no fatalities.

Today's Divine Wisdom: Don't be stupid.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heiroglyphics LOL :)

So, usually I do my most interesting thinking when my mind is not working quite right. I've no doubt that this post will elucidate that concept.

We now use acronyms for a lot of our communication. The most recent variety came into popular usage due to that glorious invention that keeps me from having to verbally communicate with people if I don't want to: the text message. Let me start by saying that I am an English snob to a certain degree, and so one might think that I would abhor these recent bastardizations of my beloved language. Not so. In fact, I welcome them with open arms and open mind - one figuratively and one literally. Now, I'm not saying that these shortcuts are good for classic styles of literature. It's much too early to tell what the long-term effects of all this lol-ing will be for the traditional written word. Rather I am excited about it because I believe it represents a huge leap forward for the human race in terms of evolution. Or at least it is a harbinger of that impending leap.

Think about it: we can now compress entire thoughts into a simple 3-5 letter acronym, and almost everyone can actually decipher what the hell we're saying. Better yet, we can do much the same thing with emoticons - the modern heiroglyph. That is just the type of thing that has never been possible on this planet, at least not to our knowledge. The omnipresence of the internet and social media, and to a lesser extent, reality television, have made this widespread alteration in our means of communicating possible. We make the changes and society either adopts them or rejects them on an almost daily basis, until we have at our disposal an entirely new lexicon, and one that is more efficient than the one that took us thousands of years to arrive at. Mind you, there are great limitations to this "language." It imparts nearly no subtlety or emotion, and it is as yet too broad to be used for anything more than phrases or simple sayings. "You only live once." "In my opinion." "By the way." "Rolling on the floor laughing." Really? I doubt it. This is why I am not worried about the future of the language itself. And yet...

So many minds all converging on the same point is grounds for giant breakthroughs in many areas. The think tank now consists of billions of minds instead of a handful. Yes, there are plenty of morons contaminating the pool, but they've always been there, and they're easy to identify and quarantine, like the Baby Ruth bar in Caddyshack. Twitter managed to help start a regional revolution in the Middle East a couple of years back. That's a big deal. Some video gamers helped decode an HIV protein that had stymied researchers for 15 years... in 3 weeks. I could cite more examples, but I'm not here to offer a treatise on the effectiveness of modern technology in solving age-old problems. Maybe I'll do that in an upcoming post.

The caveat is that right now society is in danger of becoming a parody of itself, as its main source of knowledge and learning is the garbage that society itself cranks out. I see no value in learning that your famous   fill in the blank   is on the menu this evening, or that you broke this morning's fast yet again with your hubby, who it is your pleasure to announce that you love dearly. But once we get all that stuff sorted out and we figure out how to separate the wheat from the chaff... look out! Because we are capable of great things. Really great things. Things we have heretofore not even bothered thinking about due to their seeming impossibility.

Thanks for indulging me. (insert favorite sign-off acronym here) and/or (cliché post-ending zinger to bring the whole thing together in one tidy little package)