Monthly Archives: March 2014

LIONEL PODCAST: My Favorite Biblical Myth of All Time

Better than Gilligan’s Island.

Growing up in Catholic school, before retiring, I was amazed at the straight-faced nuns who’d present some Biblical stories went were beyond absurd on their face. And that analysis was so important in my development — my critical thinking development, that is. While my classmates may have nodded in Pavlovian obeisance, it took all I had not to burst out laughing. The movie Noah has incurred the wrath of many Christian commentators as is their right. And this is still the definitive piece on dissecting the fable Noah and the Ark. At least the “history” of that which it purports to depict. But as far as absolute impossibility, sheer and unmitigated “You’ve got to be kidding me!” myth, nothing comes close to the the Ark. Since I was a kid and I heard the story of how mankind was essentially eliminated 5000 years ago and then sprung back with an incomprehensible level of biodiversity, I’ve marveled at how anyone with two neurons together could think for a moment this was the absolute truth. And disbelieving the fantastic story and obvious parable of Noah in now way disproves God. The two have nothing to do with each other. But fact and religious parable are two different things. Just remember Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria. Science and God can coexist, just never overlap. But Noah and Creationism (while we’re at it) tax credulity. It challenges rational thought. Much like Gilligan’s Island made me wonder how could the Professor make anything with that little bike, anything but a transmitter. How did they bake pies? Why did the Howell’s take so much stuff in suitcases including cash, brandy and keys to their homes, not to mention why they’d waste their time on a three-hour cruise on a garbage scow. But Gilligan wasn’t real but Noah is? Right?

Just the facts, ma’am.

Perhaps one of the more difficult problems proponents of a universal flood have to answer, and one they most often avoid, is how could the eight survivors of the Flood produce the numerous racial types of man that exist upon the earth. A belief of the “Christian” sect known as creationism is that all the world was populated from the descendants of Noah’s three sons. In other words, “all tribes and races came from a common ancestral population.20 Creationists are forced to place this common population, consisting of eight persons, some time after the Flood since they believe in the extinction of all people by a universal Flood. Noah and his family were obviously of one race. The Bible states that Noah was “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9). The word “generations” here is the Hebrew word “T0LEDAH,” and means “descent.” Noah was perfect in his descent from Adam meaning his lineage had not mixed with any other races. Creationist try to tell us that this racially pure family developed (or evolved) into the present day races, but never specifically explain how, when or why this transformation occurred. The concept that all nations and races descended from Noah’s sons did not originate with the early Christian writers. When the famous naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier devised his classification of races in 1790, he listed three types: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid. Soon afterwards many started comparing this classification with Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. As racial distinctions became more evident and debated, the churches and literalists picked up on Cuvier’s classification and molded it into a new religious doctrine. They taught that the Negroid race descended from Ham, the Mongoloid race from Japheth, and the Caucasian race from Shem. This doctrine insults and contradicts both the word of God and science.

Cuvier’s classification of races was just prior to the advent of Egyptology   the studying and discovering of the ruins of ancient Egypt by such men as Jean Francois Champollion in the 1820’s. The ancient Egyptian monuments, tombs, and temples reveal a vast storehouse of ethnographical records in the form of paintings, mummies and sculptures displaying different racial types of man. Certain racial types can be distinguished in paintings and sculptures dating as far back as the 4th millennium B.C., as Prof. Coon explains: “…racial differentiation can be traced back to at least 3,000 B.C., as evidenced in Egyptian records, particularly the artistic representations.”21 In the era just after the Flood (2300 to 2000 B.C.) there appear many clear and well marked racial types in the paintings and sculptures from Egypt as well as Mesopotamia. By 1600 B.C., an even greater diversity of distinct racial types can be found. Each of these types are represented as they appear today showing that they were permanent throughout all history and had never undergone any type of transformation. Creationists would have us believe that eight white people that existed after the Flood, somehow changed into different racial types almost instantaneously. Why is it that this type of drastic evolutionary change has never occurred since? If we can believe that such a racial transformation occurred, then there should be no reason not to believe any manner of evolution occurring over tens of millions of years, for the latter is more believable than the former. It is important to understand the hypocrisy and inconsistency that “creationism” rests upon. Creationists are allowed to do the impossible because they are on God’s side, but evolutionists are not allowed to use the same principles in presenting their ideas. Evolution is evolution whether used by “creationists” or “evolutionists.” Thus if an amphibian could not gradually evolve into a reptile, then a group of white people could not have evolved into Negroes, Indians, Chinese, Polynesians, Pygmies, etc., especially in just a few hundred years time or less.

The racial evidence supplied to us by the ancient paintings and sculptures from Egypt and elsewhere clearly dispels a any foolish notion of a worldwide flood. This evidence of the antiquity and permanence of the races, which is verified by the laws of genetics, proves that all people were not destroyed in a universal Flood. To overcome this problem, some have suggested Noah brought a representative pair of each race on the Ark.22  Peter, in speaking of the Flood, says that only “eight souls were saved” on the Ark (1 Pet. 3:20 & 2 Pet. 2:5). The only way then to get the other races on the Ark is to say that these other races are not regarded as people, but are inferior “beasts” or “living creatures.” The claim that other races were on the Ark is sheer speculation. The science of ethnology and anthropology have shown that every single racial type that existed prior to the Flood existed after it. This proves that the Flood was confined to a specific geographical area. ALL people on earth were not destroyed by the Flood as creationists claim. In Luke 17:26-29, Christ likens the “days of Noah” with the “days of Lot.” In each case the people experienced a catastrophe which “destroyed them all.” Yet everyone acknowledges that “in the days of Lot” all the people on earth were not destroyed, only all the people in Sodom were. Likewise, only all the people in the Flood were destroyed, not all the people on earth. It cannot be supported by any rational or biblical means that all races were destroyed by a flood and then instantaneously reappeared or were formed thereafter. It is infinitely more logical that all races were separately created by God on the planet, and they each survived the Flood, as did numerous other life forms, by being outside its realm and geographical influence. _______________________________________

20 Henry M. Morris. Scientific Creationism, p. 183.

21Carleton Coon, The Origin of the Races, 1962, p. 3

22 The book, The Genesis Flood, pp. 17-20, stressed the point that all mankind was destroyed by the Flood,” and that “Noah and his family were the only ones who escaped the judgment waters.”

And speaking of religion.

In my latest reminder of how open-minded the Vatican is to EBE’s and UFO’s, dig this piece on “Brother Extraterrestrial.” A lot of folks would be surprised at just how progressive and open-minded Il Papa and the gang are. The Church has given the okay as to Darwinian mechanics, natural selection and evolution. In fact JP Deuce may have been the most demonstrative in his support. But, I’ll bet you never knew they were this with the program when it came to ET critters.

In fact, did you hear about this conclave and coven? It was in all the papers.

Are we alone in the universe? The ultimate question of life beyond Earth and the solar system takes center stage in a science conference led by the Vatican Observatory and a University of Arizona this week. Nearly 200 scientists are attending the conference, called “The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignature & Instruments,” which runs from March 16 through 21 in Tucson, Ariz. The Vatican Observatory is co-hosting the conference with the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory. “Finding life beyond Earth is one of the great challenges of modern science and we are excited to have the world leaders in this field together in Tucson,” said event co-chair Daniel Apai, assistant professor of astronomy and planetary sciences at the UA Steward Observatory, in a statement. “But reaching such an ambitious goal takes planning and time. The goal of this meeting is to discuss how we can find life among the stars within the next two decades.” [9 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life]

LIONEL PODCAST: Porn Free and the Dearth and Death of Commercial Filth

 

Topics covered inter alia. Contained herein you will here the following.

  • The proliferation and epidemic of those in charge suffering from the medial term, ahem: Completely full of Scheiße. People in all walks of life entrusted with responsibilities they have no abilities at whatsoever.
  • Intelligence. What is it? And what isn’t it?
  • The role of incredulity and skepticism.
  • The end of porn and how the internet may have killed it. The monetization of free and gratis.
  • The role of the cortex (brain cortex, that is) in sexual ideation and mentation.
  • When virtual porn and CGI obscure the lines of the verboten.
  • The thought police coming soon to an idea near you.

You think the thought police is hyperbole, don’t you? Be honest. Try this on for size.

A note on societal self-respect and protocol. In recent memory, I have never felt the need to address the necessity for manners and etiquette. Until now.

The essence of courtesy and etiquette is most simple. It’s a social contract that we voluntarily and mutually and singularly agree to abide by for no particular reason other than we want to. It also involves the understanding that we’re not necessarily the center of the universe, that we share environments and seek to just get along and not intrude on our co-Earthlings.

Living in New York, compressed and contained in many a tight squeeze, we actually accord each other with many courtesies. Except on subways where the goddamned Sherpa-like and lawn mower size backpack totin’ Boeotian insists on inconveniencing me and my fellow train travelers with their carry-ons. I can’t adequately explicate how I loathe these people. Detest, abhor, name it. They are a waste of flesh and I can’t believe we share DNA.

It’s the same group of folks who storm a train without letting passengers out first. Or dog lovers who insist on bringing their pooch into a bank or a store. And let me say something about dog lovers. I love dogs. Well, maybe not love. I can take them or leave them. But when folks live vicariously through their pets and use them as social lightning rods for conversation, this is a pathology. But I digress.

And nothing potentiates rudeness more than modern gizmos and devices. It’s reconnected hominids within the screen. Within the device itself and apart and away from reality. So if it doesn’t appear on a monitor or handheld device, if doesn’t exist. Period. And whilst we are cavorting in our device worlds we’re untethered and disconnected from others. And that’s why we don’t care the least about others. Or their inconvenience or pain of discomfort.

But fear not. The good part about not caring about others is not caring about others. Which brings us back to where we started.

LIONEL PODCAST: Believe Nothing Until It’s Officially Denied.

Pilger’s Law. Commit it to memory. No idea or thought so succinctly explains my worldview so perfectly and aptly as this. But I’ll go a step further. Never believe the official statement of a government. Ever. It’s per se suspect and not to be believed. It’s never in a country’s or a government’s benefit or interest to tell you the truth. It can’t tell you what it’s doing unless it wants to inspire rioting and tumult.

Imagine incarcerating someone over an idea. Don’t laugh. It’s happening now. What do you think hate crimes are? Think about it. It’s taking a constitutionally permissible thought (hate towards a person or group that doesn’t involve violence) and pairing it with a crime that’s already cognizable at law and aggravating the offense via heightening the punishment because one dared to utter a constitutionally protected form of speech. I scream when I hear folks throw around the word hate crime. And I’m still waiting for a love crime or to have sentence mitigated because a defendant uttered a word or thought of amour whilst pummeling some poor schmo.

And what we’re now hearing more and more is the suggestion that certain ideas that refute “established” doctrine such as anthropomorphic causation models of climate change and global warming might be soon subject to criminal prosecution and incarceration. I shite you not. Add to the mix the words and most scary suggestions of Obama’s onetime regulation czar, Cass Sunstein who’s advanced the now infamous cognitive infiltration. Look him up and read it for yourself. It’s as scary as it sounds.

The more you wear it, the closer you come to implantation. Critical to changing and amending behavior is the phenomenon and doctrine of successive approximation, a Skinnerian theory that allows behavior to be shaped and crafted. Critical even more so to that process is to make a behavior hip, hep, cool and de rigeur. Exhibit A: Google glass, RFID chips, e-tattoos . . . just to name a few.

LIONEL PODCAST: I Will Never Be Labeled!

No rubric exists, no taxonomy applies, no appellation remotely explicates that which I am.

To be labeled is to be pigeonholed and marginalized. It’s the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone who professionally opines. The left-right paradigm is destroying rational thought and clear evaluation of labyrinthine issues. To fall prey to the Manichean, the apodictic, is dangerous. Sadly, though, in the world of the unimaginative being bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber and cookie cutter is comforting to many. It’s the shibboleth that soothes, that insinuates inclusion and membership. Sorry, the world’s too complicated to have a label apply. Not to mention, too many people spend too much time parsing and splitting hairs. ‘Tis a waste of time. Just think. Critically think.

Older = Wiser

This wonderful piece in the New York Times warms my soul. It affirms that which I’ve known my entire life.

Especially in this insanely disposable world that discards people based on earned and learned chronology. Keep in mind the fine gradations of mentation, especially when it comes to judgment and wisdom. Senility and senescence are presumed by the doltish generational newbies who forget that advanced age is a club membership they hope to join.

[R]esearch shows that cognitive functioning slows as people age. But speed isn’t everything. A recent study in Topics in Cognitive Science pointed out that older people have much more information in their brains than younger ones, so retrieving it naturally takes longer. And the quality of the information in the older brain is more nuanced. While younger people were faster in tests of cognitive performance, older people showed “greater sensitivity to fine-grained differences,” the study found.

Fred Phelps: First Amendment Hero and Vile Human Being

This is the despicable Fred Phelps. If you’ve never come across this smiling face, you’re either a Boeotian or have been in a coma. The Washington Post noted that

Phelps rose to fame (or infamy) for his decades-long work of “opposing the homosexual lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth,” according to the church Web site. He expressed that opposition by picketing the funerals of service men and women who in his view had been killed in wartime by a vengeful God punishing the United States for its increasing acceptance of gay rights. Many a grieving family had to put a loved one to rest within view of Phelps and others holding signs saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Thank God for 9/11” and his signature slogan, “God hates fags.”

But here’s the rub, the irony. Pastor Fred did more to solidify First Amendment protections than most people you or I ever knew. Perhaps inadvertently, but he did nonetheless.

In the holding in Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S.Ct. 1207 (2011), Chief Justice Roberts for the majority noted the following.

Our holding today is narrow. We are required in First Amendment cases to carefully review the record, and the reach of our opinion here is limited by the particular facts before us. As we have noted, “the sensitivity and significance of the interests presented in clashes between First Amendment and [state law] rights counsel relying on limited principles that sweep no more broadly than the appropriate context of the instant case.” Florida Star v. B.J. F., 491 U.S. 524, 533, 109 S.Ct. 2603, 105 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989).

Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible. But Westboro addressed matters of public import on public property, in a peaceful manner, in full compliance with the guidance of local officials. The speech was indeed planned to coincide with Matthew Snyder’s funeral, but did not itself disrupt that funeral, and Westboro’s choice to conduct its picketing at that time and place did not alter the nature of its speech.

Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and—as it did here—inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course—to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. That choice requires that we shield Westboro from tort liability for its picketing in this case.

Fred is dead. But the First Amendment lives on. Because despicable people test the protections we count on. Take this character. Do you recognize him?

I’ll give you a hint.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

Yep, this is Ernesto Miranda. The namesake of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), who in 1976 was stabbed to death in a bar fight. A law professor of mine received a letter from his mother with a newspaper clipping indicating the demise of Ernie. She wrote a note: “Poor Ernesto. After all he did for us.”

Ernesto and Fred were wastes of flesh. But the rulings and holdings that their cases inspired make us a better country. They help reaffirm that which we knew and know to be true. If these two hominids enjoy Constitutional rights, we all do.

So, rot in hell, you bastards. And thank you.

LIONEL PODCAST – Conspiracy Theories, Malaysian Airlines Disappearance, Religion, Gawd and Plant-Based Diets

Is this you or someone you know? Don’t tell me the facts. I’m not interested. I think that conspiracy theories, whatever that means, are insane and unhealthy. But I will opine as the day is long about this Malaysian Airlines disappearance. No theory is too farfetched or nuts. Why? Because they’re not American and conspiracy theories only apply to other countries. In fact, I’m not sure what a conspiracy theory really is. And never tell me that what I believe is wrong. I believe in God, my God, the way I like God. All other religions are wrong and atheists are really, really wrong. Eating and diets are for the health crazy. Don’t tell me that I’m killing myself, besides, man was never meant to be plant-based. Is that vegetarian? And vegan? That’s a Star Trek character, right? But whatever it is, that’s nuts, period. Look at our teeth. I’m not sure what that means either but I heard someone say something about our teeth. News is not a favorite subject of mine. I claim to be a news junkie and have no idea what that either means either. To be fair, my news reading is cursory and perfunctory and not at all deep. My world only involves my country. The other countries are backwards, backwater and Podunk. But, Gawd, do I love sports. I love sports and know sports and read sports and if only I could apply my interest level to those things that mattered, maybe I’d know something. But don’t bother me. Thinking hurts. Caring even more so.

Human sexuality is not subject to choice. And once you understand that, all debate as to inclusion and the like is moot.

The Protean Psychology of the Conspiracy Theorist and Proponent

Malaysia Flight 370 vs. The 9/11 Official Story. What an amazing contrast in reaction if you think about it. And I have. For years there have been passels and contingents of folks who absolutely and most vocally eschewed any “conspiracy theories” as to 9/11. Conspiracy theories (Translation: insane and impossible ideations) were sick in view of the country’s horror, especially if the architect and participants of the conspiracy were members of our government. And while I’ve heard my share of actual conspiracy theories wherein alleged conspirators were named, what I’ve gravitated towards is simply that the official story is either wrong or incomplete. And that, in turn, has inspired the knee-jerk reaction, the Pavlovian obeisance to the notion of the official MSM-repeated factual scenario. The official story.

In fact while we’re on the subject of conspiracy theories, there’s a unique argot as to 9/11 and the Truth Movement and so-called Truthers. What you must understand is the bane of the existence of the resistance, the dreaded gatekeepers. I know I’m getting ahead of myself but as you’ll learn, that’s nothing new.

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m a conspiracy analyst.” Gore Vidal

And with all rejection of conspiracy theories, two reasons lie as bases: (1) Most of the time the particular theory you advance the receiver has never heard of and therefore feels embarrassed (s)he someone missed the obvious; and (2) Hidden, recessed and clandestine activities just bother folks. And who could blame them? Dark forces and the bogeyman don’t sit well. We like our evil lain and simple, front and center and from central casting, if at all possible.

Clarification. I’ve been an ardent student of 9/11 since that horrible Tuesday. It was history, our history and I was here in New York, front and center. And in my research and studies and considerable review of every hypothesis and theory advanced along with every suspect causal cabal and coven, I’ve never seen so much as a hint that our government, viz. President Cheney and the other guy, being involved in the slightest. In fact, while reason for scrutiny is in abound, there are no suspects other than the usual suspects that we’ve grown to loathe and abhor. None other than Gore Vidal, whom as you see I quote as much as I admired him, said, “They [the “Bushites”] could never have pulled off 9/11, even if they wanted to. Even if they longed to.” And when Vidal absolves the the Bush consortium, you can’t get a better absolution than that.

Meanwhile, back at the raunch. Some believe and still hold to the notion that the official 9/11 story is the comprehensive story line for what happened on that horrid day and that nothing about the event is today subject to question or debate. It was that story that is the official recorded story and that’s it. Now, keep in mind, there were five separate collision and crash events on that day: The Twin Towers, WTC Building 7, Shanksville (PA) and The Pentagon. Five events with five series of fascinating questions and issues that have been raised by a host of experts and remain anything but resolved. Questions about every aspect of the event, the response, culpability and responsibility, foreknowledge and the like. Yet, so many well-intended and intentioned Americans truly believe all has been answered. You have no idea how untrue that is. And (again, I state almost out of a necessary reflex) this isn’t to suggest that anyone within our government was directly responsible or any government for that matter – that seems to be the main concern, which makes no sense to me because that’s the first area of inquiry I head to. [See Clarification, supra.] ‘Nuff said.

“It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life.” Gore Vidal

The plane! But when it comes to this mysterious Malaysian Airlines disappearance, no theory or hypothesis is too farfetched. No scenario is beyond lucidity or rational thought. And I mean nothing. And here’s a perfect example. When claims were made that passengers aboard planes on 9/11 used cellphones to alert of hijackings, many suggested that such would have been impossible based upon the current technology then. (Or even now, for that matter.) How dare you ask questions! How dare you base your inquiries on observation! Any question as to the impossibility of such was absolutely idiotic and the height of specious thinking, just accept whole cloth the cellphone accounts. After all, it’s the official record. Yet, when the same question was asked as to Malaysian Airlines passengers being able to alert the authorities via cellphone, many who thought this possible before, now reject the notion outright. “Cellphones don’t work at those altitudes! What, are you nuts?” So, what’s the difference? Better, what happened?

Amazing these humans. Now, here’s what I also find fascinating: the mindset. Specifically, the psychology of when conspiracy theories – and I’ll use that term just for the proposes of shortcut – do and don’t make sense and that sees to vary dependent on so many factors. Throw in great memes, e.g. Islamic fanaticism (always a winner), terrorism, foreign types who are always portrayed in the light of backward and technophobic, unsophisticated and such, and you’ve got all the elements of a great story. It’s an extension of American exceptionalism, I would imagine, viz. that we’re the only country capable of and equipped with technologic sophistication. I want to know when our acceptance of alternative theories and hypotheses becomes legit and allowed. I want to know the sociological and psychological mechanism that greases the skids for a theory’s acceptance.

Pilger’s law: ‘If it’s been officially denied, then it’s probably true’

And let me throw into the mix the idea that most Americans who opine and posit the loudest have absolutely no clue or grasp of the facts or at least, the issues. Mention to anyone Operation Northwoods, the template for airline switcheroo and false flag, and you’ll get that look. The look of “You’re insane” that translates into “I haven’t read a word of that and rather than claim I’m ignorant I’ll just discard your absolute historical fact and you as insane.” Again, it’s the psychology, the mindset that’s so interesting to me. When do we embrace the seemingly fantastic and deeply conspiratorial and when don’t we?

Fly the friendly skies, all right. Two chickadees had reportedly been invited inside the cockpit by one the co-pilots aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, Fariq Abdul Hamid, in a previous flight back in 2011. Fly the friendly skies. Now, notice the pile-on of this pilot feller. I mean can you blame thees guys for showing off a little? It’s Frank Abagnale in “Catch Me If You Can.” And the media are going full throttle on throwing everything and anything at and against this guy. Why? It’s our nature.

When compared to the almost military precision of American cockpits it’s easy to see that and why Malaysian high jinks would never have passed U.S. muster.

Let’s get weird. Did you hear about some of the passenger’s family members telling reporters that their missing relative’s cell phones still ring when they call. From the Washington Post:

One of the most eerie rumors came after a few relatives said they were able to call the cellphones of their loved ones or find them on a Chinese instant messenger service called QQ that indicated that their phones were still somehow online.

A migrant worker in the room said that several other workers from his company were on the plane, including his brother-in-law. Among them, the QQ accounts of three still showed that they were online, he said Sunday afternoon.

Adding to the mystery, other relatives in the room said that when they dialed some passengers’ numbers, they seemed to get ringing tones on the other side even though the calls were not picked up.

The phantom calls triggered a new level of desperation and anger for some. They tried repeatedly Sunday and Monday to ask airline and police officials about the ringing calls and QQ accounts. However unlikely it was, many thought the phones might still be on, and that if authorities just tracked them down, their relatives might be found. But they were largely ignored.

Here’s a beaut. Try this one on for size, courtesy of Mike Adams from NaturalNews.com.

Four mind-bending possibilities, none of which seem possible

This brings up the immediate bind-bending question of how electronic devices on a commercial flight that vanished still appear to be connected to the internet. The explanations for this defy everything we think we know about reality:

• Mind-bending possibility #1, the “kidnapped” explanation: The plane somehow landed somewhere without leaving a radar signature of any kind, all the passengers are being held hostage there (and are thus still alive), their mobile devices are somehow within cell tower range and yet for some reason have not been confiscated. (This explanation seems extremely unlikely.)

• Mind-bending possibility #2, the “Stargate” explanation: A teleportation portal of some kind exists in the skies, through which the plane inadvertently flew and was teleported somewhere else. Yet, astonishingly, electromagnetic signals can still make it through the portal, and the two sides of the portal remain in contact across the radio spectrum. (This explanation sounds like pure science fiction and also seems extremely unlikely, yet we must at least acknowledge that modern physics has already demonstrated the instantaneous teleportation of information across apparently infinite space due to the “non-locality” of entangled electrons as described in quantum theory.)

• Mind-bending possibility #3, the “failed search” explanation: This far more mundane explanation supposes that the massive, multi-day search for plane wreckage and debris simply hasn’t stumbled upon the correct location yet. The fact that airplane black boxes broadcast homing signals adds to the skepticism that this explanation holds any water, as it is extremely unlikely that the airplane’s black boxes could have been obliterated. Nevertheless, this explanation still seems far more believable than supernatural explanations.

• Mind-bending possibility #4, the “advanced military weapons” explanation: Some military entity, either human or non-human, was testing an advanced weapon capable of either instantly obliterating large airborne objects or teleporting them to another place (or dimension). This explanation seems incredibly far-fetched, but then again, barely a hundred years ago, so did the idea that machines could ever fly at all. Related to this is the legend of the Philadelphia Experiment which some believe caused a U.S. Navy ship to vanish and reappear.

Now understand, these stories are kinda funky and not that hard to tolerate. Why? That’s my point. Is it because they’re of another country and when untethered by a sense of home filed advantage, we’re more prone and apt to open our minds and more likely to bump into the logical furniture.
Dunno. Either way, it fascinates me. Inter alia.

The Psychotic Parsing of Animal Cruelty and What They “Feel”

What (other) animal would you be if you had to choose? This is my choice. My favorite. Here’s it’s Wikipedia entry.

Anglerfishes are members of the teleost order Lophiiformes /ˌlɒfəˈfɔrmz/. They are bony fishes named for their characteristic mode of predation, in which a fleshy growth from the fish’s head (the esca or illicium) acts as a lure.

Anglerfish are also notable for extreme sexual dimorphism seen in the suborder Ceratioidei, and sexual parasitism of male anglerfish. In these species, males may be hundreds to thousands of times smaller than females.

Anglerfish occur worldwide. Some are pelagic while others are benthic; some live in the deep sea (e.g., Ceratiidae) while others on the continental shelf (e.g., the frogfishes Antennariidae and the monkfish/goosefish Lophiidae). Pelagic forms are most laterally compressed whereas the benthic forms are often extremely dorsoventrally compressed (depressed) often with large upward pointing mouths.

How great is that? Sexual parasitism? Lures fish with a funky tumor doohickey dangling from his noggin’. Sign me up, Sparky. This is the greatest animal on the planet. Period.

The screed.

I’ve got no beef with animals. They’re just as important and special and unique and majestic as I am. And yet I’ve eaten my share of some, worn their hide. Yet oddly respect them. The collective group of they I respect and admire. As I consumed them in a variety of ways. And therein begins the first problem I have in trying to explicate my thoughts on animals, especially as to their cruelty. I, the consummate consuming hypocrite. There’s the anthropomorphic insinuation of what we think animals think. How do we even know that they “think.” How we know what they feel and experience and sense. With the exception of the howling, bleating, screaming yelp of a weasel caught in a trap, we have no idea what they think. Or if they think. Or what level of cognition they enjoy. And let’s leave out the great apes and dolphins and pachyderms and pigs – those animals we’ve dubbed smart through some kind of collective barnyard folklore and mythology. We swear puppies love us because their tails wag. Or that a kitten’s sad because . . . it looks sad. This critter with no expression we see as sad. Paging, Dr. Freud. And we then meet the various incarnations of human on the concern scale. The callous carnivore who snorts and spits and burps and growls and drops “bacon” into any conversation. The Ted Nugent character. Now, Ted’s right in many respects. He eats all of his kill: even offal. The awful offal at that. Sinew, cartilage, jowls, cheeks, trotters, snouts. And that’s supposed to justify the killing of the animal. But I’m not one to quarrel. On a tangential, perhaps desultory note – Have you wondered how Ted’s incisors over the years have through attrition or filing makes the most annoying whistle? Anyhoo. Then there’s the animal nut and loon. The freak. The cat lady. And don’t bring PETA into the equation. I kind of like those folks.  But you know exactly of whom I speak. The Bible of course sanctions not only the killing and consumption of varmints but almost directs it. Genesis 9:3 – “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Well, that settles that. I’ve mentioned this innumerably, I’m a vegan and consume not even an egg or drop of milk. Not a pat of butter or even the occult egg in pasta. Why? Because that makes me superior to you. Ha! How many vegans does it take to change a light bulb? I’m better than you. How do you tell if someone’s a vegan? Don’t worry they’ll tell you. I hate circuses, amusement parks. I hate capturing animals for my amusement. Now, domestication’s another story. Don’t you love exceptions? Cats and dogs are OK. But a giant walrus playing a cardboard banjo with a straw hat is demeaning. Demeaning?! See, now I’m doing it. It violates my own sensibilities. The rules that I just create out of the ether and state emphatically. So here’s to Mayor BDB and Liam Neeson and everyone who this week ads to the paradigm and algorithm and matrix of animal politics.

Video tutorials.

Wanted: Perception Czar

Prolegomenon: Mayor BDB suffered a few missteps during the initial weeks of his term. Errors that caused perception problems. To be fair, everything he said he’d try to accomplish he’s forged ahead with and I’m dumbfounded at why approval polls are indicating dissatisfaction. What did people think he’d do? But what he needs to do first is appoint a perception czar.

WANTED: PERCEPTION CZAR

by

LIONEL

© 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio would do well to consider enlisting the services of a perception czar, someone appointed to step out of the more historically administrative role of stewarding an aspect of urban governance and direct the mayor’s actions accordingly in order to craft and steer the public’s perception of Hizzoner. Perception (as is oft-quoted) is reality. Perception takes into account memes, themes, sentiment and the temperamental mood swings of a constituency hardwired to and in sync with the erratic pulse of social media. And you know when it comes to social media, everything’s magnified and exaggerated by the self-absorbed. Remember: Twitter’s for the exhibitionist; Facebook’s for the narcissist.

The mistakes made in Mr. de Blasio’s initial weeks of mayordom weren’t that of a corrupt administration or even an incompetent one, far from it. But rather one nescient as to perception and image. He seemed clueless, tone deaf, detached and disconnected – he went from one gaffe to another at incredible speed. And this from a man who played image and perception so deftly in his campaign. Indelible memes were deftly bounced to and (Dante’s) fro.

Two of the mayor’s more interesting errata are analyzed herein.

Snowcompetence. (After all, what would any piece be without a pithy neologism and portmanteau?) Even the historian tyro knows full well that if there’s one thing that will incite the pitchfork and torch brigade it’s a mayor who fails to possess minimum standards for snowcompetence, loosely translated as the ability to appear to know what you’re doing especially and particularly after major snow falls. It’s not so much that you actually do anything or have the slightest clue as to what you purport to do, just look like you know. Remember: It’s perception. Two great examples come to mind to counter the Lindsay reference.

First, a word on John Lindsay. There’s nothing worse than having your name word-associated with a less than favorable image. Try it. What comes to mind when I say Betty Ford, Tommy John, Shinola? I think rehab, surgery and an inability to recognize the difference between said bootblack and … well, you know. Now, think John Lindsay. I think of a dearth of snowcompetence. And what the newly minted mayor de Blasio should have done had his perception commissioner been on board and on duty was at the first sign of a snowflake to don an appropriately badged and brightly lettered sanitation jersey (perhaps a Christie fleece) with MAYOR emblazoned prominently and channel Rudy Giuliani and owned it. Look also to the dashing exploits of Newark’s caped crusader Cory Booker, who while mayor braved the snow, charged into a burning building to save its helpless and hapless occupant, all the while Tweeting of his valor nonstop. That’s perception perfection.

Mayor de Blasio missed that one. And what was worse was to have a –gate appended to your controversy. And while Plowgate might be dwarfed by Bridgegate, the perception that postelection retribution might have inspired targeting the Upper East Side would and could have been avoided by a perception czar who would have carefully noted snowplowing targeting and anticipated that complaint head-on.

It’s a beautiful day. February 13, 2014. Snow like we haven’t seen in a long time. Ice Station Zebra snow. Bad. Real bad. For whatever reason, Mayor BDB decides to keep schools open. Incurring the wrath of teachers, parents, students and of all people, Al Roker. Al Roker! And as no one actually said but many thought à la LBJ, when you’ve lost Al Roker, you’ve lost America. Roker’s made a career out of being universally agreeable and jolly but you, Mayor de Blasio, pushed this lovable weatherman over the edge.

And then, it happened. And as they say, you can’t write this stuff. Chancellor Carmen Fariña weighs in with this beaut. “It is absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.” It falls in the category of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” as Dubya remarked to (soon to be ex-) FEMA Administrator Michael Brown after Katrina’s devsatation in 2005.

“It is absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.” Amazing. I remember seeing kids on TV trudging and schlepping and slogging through the ice, slush and frozen road custard, disappearing into ice and snow mounds. And, if you thought it couldn’t get any better, Chancellor Fariña after declaring the beauty of the day cancelled a townhall meeting in Brooklyn . . . due to inclement weather. You can’t make this up. Had the perception commissioner been on board, the good Chancellor would have been ordered to make that meeting even if she had to enlist a team of Iditarod sled dogs.

Now to be fair His Honor never said it was a beautiful day just as he was never the driver during (his other “gate”) Speedgate, but he absorbed and inherited the remark’s fallout. You take credit and fault for your subordinates. Natch. In agency law it’s called respondeat superior. In politics it’s called politics.

Plato said that science was nothing but perception. Let me add: political science.