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Subject:A diagram
Time:03:19 am
A diagram I made a week or two ago, to help clarify some of my political thinking:


Some political thoughts explained further...Collapse )

It's getting late, ended up writing up only about one third of what I planned. Will complete this in a future post, with possibly one more diagram.
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Subject:Scans Daily, and the strife of the classes
Time:10:10 pm
I was actually was about to write a post about how the impermancy of the Internet is depressing: my main instigation for this feeling, was that I was no longer able to locate what's probably my all-time favourite fanvid, "Higher than Hope" by Freddo, which beautifully chronicles Willow's magical, psychological and romantic arcs in seasons 4, 5, and 6. (I have it saved in my hard disk, but I can no longer locate it on the Internet)

Then just so as to make my thoughts even more relevant, Scans_daily is now taken down, after Peter David notified Marvel about copyright violations of its "property".

My comment in Peter David's blogCollapse )
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Subject:Post-election thoughts.
Time:03:13 am
Post election thoughtsCollapse )
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Subject:final thoughts before election
Time:10:36 pm
I have detailed commentary on the "Prince Caspian" movie which has been a few paragraphs away from posting for the past half month... but honestly now is not the time, just before the US elections.

Random thoughts about the election:

- Obviously I support Obama. Not because I'm certain he'll be a good president (nobody can be sure of that about any candidate), but because I am quite certain McCain/Palin would be horrid ones (and that's something one can be reasonably sure about -- certainly Palin at least seems to WANT me to consider her a terrible candidate).

- I expect many exit polls to wildly screw-up at the beginning: Too much early voting done by Democrats. I'm guessing some exit polls will hand states to the Republicans (e.g. North Carolina) that may very well go to the Democrats once the actual votes are counted. So, please, nobody panic if some exit polls show a much closer election than it's likely to be.

- I like reading conspiracy theories. My favorite one this time around was not the "Obama's birth certificate is a forgery, he was really born in Kenya, and thus is ineligible to run for president", (which is a rather lame conspiracy theory as conspiracy theories go) but rather the "Obama is actually the son of Malcolm X, and his mother married Obama Sr. as a mere ruse to hide that fact" which has it all: secret romance, hidden bloodlines, political drama, etc. Not to mention that it cancels out the importance of the former conspiracy theory (as the child of two citizens is a natural-born citizen no matter where it was born). It's fun when conspiracy theories cancel each other out. :-)

- Recently Adam Cadre posted an article which pretty much epitomizes the reasons I read his articles -- when he makes observations that combine psychology/sociology/mythology/current, medieval and ancient politics and elucidates points of history in a unique way. http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/12682.html One minor point I'm not certain I agree with (Medicine as a "Mercurial" profession? Mythologically that doesn't make much sense to me - Asclepius was the son of Apollo) but on the large: YES.

This essay provided datapoints which support my position and which I wish I knew about when a few months back I was arguing with my brother about the role of Jewish communities in America and Russia. (My brother was basically arguing for a religion-related POV which claimed that Protestantism and its focus on the Old Testament was one of the reasons the Jewish community prospered in America.

This was making less than zero sense of me. It was making NEGATIVE sense. I was making the class-related argument instead: it's very reasonable for a highly educated class of people to thrive in a new land which didn't deny them opportunities -- same as it was reasonable for such a class to strive in Russia for the overthrow of the old older which had them as perpetual 2nd-class citizens.)

But I lacked datapoints to further support my view -- this essay provides them, by referencing similar success stories by the Indians in East Africa, the Lebanese in South America, the Chinese in Southeastern Asia, the Armenians -- and framing them with the Apollonian/Mercurial division of professions -- which once upon a time were divided between the insiders of the community and the outsiders.

- Which reminds me also this -- how the older Olympians seem like forces of nature (Zeus - sky and lightning, Poseidon - sea, Hades - death, Demeter - earth and the circle of seasons) while the younger Olympians seem more related to professions and human behavior: Ares for the warriors, Dionysus for drunkenness and maniacal destruction, Apollo for sober toil, Hermes for services. Hephaestus for the smiths, Athena for all craftsmen.

The article I linked to notes the decline of the Apollonian professions, and their replacement by Mercurial ones as the backbone of current society. But it seems to me that as the Apollonian professions declined with industralization, most Mercurial ones will also inevitably decline with sufficient computerization. What will remain then?

Perhaps:
Athena - for the scientists and teachers (and programmers :-)
Hercules - for the athletes
The Muses - for the artists
Aphrodite - for the sex workers and supermodels.

- Which brings me back to the topic of the current elections. I bet a small amount of money in Intrade -- it's one of the longshots, Obama winning Georgia, so I fully expect to lose it, but that's okay, I didn't bet much. But in retrospect, as I turned it around in my head, I didn't much like it either way. It's not wealth-creating toil, it's not artistry, it's not craftmanship. It's not even a Mercurial "service" in the sense of actually helping someone out, it's Mercurial in the sense of "god of thieves and gamblers". I still hope I'll win the bet, of course, but it feels distasteful even as a principle.

So the main thing I learned? Though I have nothing against Hermes, I'm definitely not his. I still belong to Athena.
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Subject:VP debate
Time:05:53 am
Stayed up late to see the VP debate.

Up to now I hadn't seen Palin speak. As such I had thought that the SNL/Tina Fey sketch was a caricature of her. But no, the caricature is actually nicer and more intelligent than her actual self. When she started with the "doggone it" and such stupidities, I couldn't believe my ears.

I hope I'm not totally off-base but I think Obama/Biden just secured the victory -- not because of the Palin-stupidity thing: half the American population seems to have a great fondness for stupidity after all (they elected Bush not despite it, but because of it). But rather because the whole "liberal are so aloof and can't connect" thing was the Republicans' sole remaining card on the table, after they chose to ditch the "experience" thing.

And in this debate, you get Palin being almost contemptuous towards Biden and Obama while performing some sort of elaborate comedy sketch, while on the other hand you get Biden choking up in memory of his own dead family. I'm sure it'll make Palin look like a complete ass in retrospect -- and even she seemed to figure it out since her behavior in the remainder seemed to me to be slightly more serious afterwards, less comedy routine-like.

Anyway, enjoy:
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Subject:Hopeful
Time:10:43 am
Barack Obama's win in Iowa makes me more hopeful of American politics than I've been in a long while.

On the Republican side, I'd have probably marginally preferred McCain, but at least it wasn't one of the more openly pro-torture politicians (like Romney or Guilliani) that came in first.
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Subject:tidbits
Time:08:24 pm
Gotten myself a new pair of glasses last week -- the frames on the old ones had finally given out with one of the small pieces that supported the nose breaking off entirely. It'd been many years since I'd been in an ophthalmologist's anyway -- my sight has worsened slightly: it used to be 4.5 astigmatism on the one eye, and 2.5/2.5 astigmatism and myopia on the other. Now the astigmatism has gone up to 5.0 on the one eye, and myopia/astigmatism has gone 3.0/2.75 on the other.

But I like my new glasses well enough; the frame is even lighter than the old one, I think. Perhaps in a few months I'll even try out for contact lenses and be done with the glasses' annoyance in its entirety (to be replaced with a new annoyance ofcourse :-)

---

On other matters, has anyone reading this played World of Warcraft? I got the game 10 days ago or so, and yeah I have to sa that I *like* it.

If anyone's played, let me know the server/realm you are on. I have a character already in "Darkspear", but in a few days I may choose to create another one elsewhere and start from scratch. So it'd be cool to know some people already there. :-)

---

Back to politics -- we have a democratic revolution in *Hungary* of all places. And one that's actually of a *rare* kind I think: one that pushes the concept of democratic governance forward, rather than merely seek to drive out an obvious tyranny, like e.g the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Which was a lot more significant, but not quite as original.

It's a muddled concept I'm trying to describe, I think. But the Orange Revolution was like successfully helping rescuscitate a drowned person. Such rescuscitations are *vast* in importance, lifes are saved, but they have been done *before* -- dictatorships have collapsed before before the face of public opposition.

The current Hungarian Revolution on the other hand seems to me like an attempt to cure a disease that has not yet been cured anywhere at all in the world; namely the arrogance of every country's political elite who think that they can even pretend to hold any sort of democratic mandate when they lied to get it.

Even if Hungary's disease is minor comparatively to the death-and-life struggle that Ukraine faced... it's still a *new* cure that's attempted, and so a new dimension of glory, with possibly global repercussion. I hope the protesters succeed in overthrowing that government.

---

I've downloaded the Windows Vista RC1 operating system, the release candidate that Microsoft's offering for free so that they get a pool of testers.

Now I'm debating with myself whether to actually *install* it on my computer. On the one hand I tend to hold that curiosity regretted is better than curiosity unsated. On the other hand, it's a brand new computer and I'd hate to mess it up. :-)
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[icon] Aris Katsaris
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