Month: December 2007

Google SketchUp – Home

Google SketchUp – Home

Another tool from the Google toolbox, which seems to just keep on giving. A free gadget that let’s you produce basic drawings and other renderings. Reading the review, it seems to be akin to Visio. I’ve downloaded it and will play around with it shortly.


I just watched a speech by the Heritage Foundation. It’s interesting to see those so solidly committed to conservatism speak. They seem quite disconnected from me. One of the more interesting statements was the reiteration of their committment to the free market as well as traditional values (i.e.: the importance of family) without any sense of irony. Are they blind to the corrosive affect of the free market on family? Do they completely ignore the late 18th and early 20th centuries? Unfettered markets are destructive, they devalue the human existance and exacerbate suffering.

There are several places I find myself aligned with conservative ideas. For instance, I’m no fan of welfare. However, it’s not out of any sense of rage that there are people gaining subsistence without adequate effort. My concern is one of human dignity. The way most US welfare systems were constructed did not provide for getting oneself off the dole. The system actually resisted efforts to improve one’s marketability and find more then simple employment but a career. I didn’t, and still don’t, see that as a failure of the individual but of the system.

Perhaps the most central place I depart from most conservatives is in the notion of the "ideal" human. Classic liberal thinking has the individual as the natural or ideal state of humanity. I disagree. People have a need for society. Humans in isolation die (in extremes, and suffer egregious mental damage in lesser doses). I see humanity existing on a social continuum. There are times we need others, and times we need isolation. We all exist in a tension between social influences and individual directives.

Another piece I find interesting is how they don’t see how most Americans have a distrust for Capital. Much of conservatism is viewed as simple justification for the rich continuing exploitation. They don’t see that many believe that there is a tyranny by the rich, that we of more modest means are inherently disempowered, that the only way to have influence is with money. The rich are viewed as having undue favor, quite corrosive to social cohesion.

I have nothing against a strong defence, however that is quite different that bullying the rest of the world. We may ramble on about bringing freedom to the rest of the world, but a good many of the rest of the world sees our international (extra-national?) activities as being in our narrow self interest. It’s important to note that a it doesn’t take a deep dive into the US history to see solid examples. Not very many people see our actions in Iraq, for instance, as the efforts to depose a dangerous dictator. Instead, our actions have been viewed as an attempt to secure our grip on the world’s most valuable commodity.

Though I’ve grown weary over the past few years of this need to define oneself in such polar terms, and in ways that really misuse the classic definitions of "conservative" and "liberal", I still exist in this system. I thus find myself more "liberal" in this context. Perhaps, someday, I’ll be able to define myself in more valuable detail, such as saying I’m a "progressive traditionalist". Perhaps. And, perhaps, the thing I grow the most weary is the currency of rage that both extremes spend with glee.

Responding to tirades

Yesterday I read about Michael Savages' ignorant tirade against Islam. I realise I don't have much bandwidth left to deal with this. They don't deserve my attention or energy. It's time to stop giving these people justification by reacting. Ideally, we'd just shake off their speech for the petty and childish behaviour it is. Not ignored, just acknowledge quietly for what it is, and then the discussion returning to a dialog amongst adults.
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Official Gmail Blog: Gmail + chat + AIM = crazy delicious

Official Gmail Blog: Gmail + chat + AIM = crazy delicious

An interesting development. However, it seems pretty one-sided. You can log into AIM from Gtalk, but can you talk with your Gtalk chums from AIM? Not that it matters that much to me. I have a few friends that I regularly chat with in Gtalk, and even more occasionally in Yahoo. As someone who doesn’t live in a chat client (well, I use a variant of MS Messenger at work, but that’s integrated with the network…blah blah), this isn’t too impactful. At one time, though, this would have been huge news.


A goodly amount of blog posts are written in a stream of conciousness style., which may help with the discounting of the medium. I am a great offender in this area. However, I happen to value this way of writing. That might also explain why I enjoy reading blogs so much, too.
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6 Reasons why you should think before you speak

These were emailed to me over the weekend. Some are new, some are
"oldies but goodies", but all are amusing. Enjoy!

Here are six reasons why you should think before you speak – the last
one is great! Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately
take the words back…Or that you could crawl into a hole? Here are the
Testimonials of a few people who did….

FIRST TESTIMONY: I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three
kids in tow, and asked loudly, 'How much do you charge for a shampoo and
a blow job? I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My
husband didn't say a word…He knew better.

SECOND TESTIMONY: I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of
golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After
browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the
good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help
me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, I think I like playing
with men's balls.

THIRD TESTIMONY: My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store
that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display
case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied,
"No, I'm just looking at your nuts". My sister started to laugh
hysterically. The boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To
this day, my sister has never let me forget.

FOURTH TESTIMONY: While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler
decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able
to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgustAnd annoyance from
other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving right now
she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said
in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I
will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!"
The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the
tellers stopped what they were doing. I mustered up the last of my
dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last
thing I heard when the door closed behind me, were screams of laughter.

FIFTH TESTIMONY: Have you ever asked your child a question too many
times?My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty trainingAnd
I was on him constantly.One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick
lunch in between errands.It was very busy, with a full dining room while
enjoying my taco,I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my
seven-month-old daughter, she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had
not asked to go potty in a while.I asked him if he needed to go, and he
said 'No'.I kept thinking'Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I
don't have any clothes with me.'Then I said, Danny, are you SURE you
didn't have an accident? "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have
had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked
one more time,'Danny, did you have an accident? This time he jumped up,
Yanked down his pants, bent over, spread his cheeks and yelled "SEE MOM,
IT'S JUST FARTS!!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos
laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made
me feel better, thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST TESTIMONY: This had most of the state of Michigan
laughing for 2 days, and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will,
in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you
predict snow but don't get any! We had a female news anchor that, the
day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the
weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me
last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew
did too they were laughing so hard!