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Ten years ago today, I posted this picture and started a flashmob (fleshmob). That was a crazy, wonderful time and I'm delighted to still have some friends from that chaos. So Preved Medved to all the krovavchegi! And greetings to my wonderful friends!
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If I was as brilliant in foresight as I am in hindsight, I could have told you how this world wide web / social media thing would work out. Back the late 80s I was in a "band" called Pavlov's Industrial Sarong (I've written about it before, here). We were an odd band that played odd music but, oddly, we played several shows, occasionally to appreciative people.

But there was this one show ... It was a basement party in Carbondale, IL--somewhere on Beverage Street, I think. I'm fairly sure having a band at the party at all was an afterthought so we just set up in a corner and played some stuff while most of the people went right on partying; paying us no mind. Being young, idealistic types, we had at some point hatched the idea of having audience members participate in the band. In theory (and possibly stoned), this seemed like a nifty idea--at worst cacophonous, at best some exploration of the innate musicality in everyone. It didn't go quite as expected.

We announce this over the PA and invite people to come up and play our instruments. And right away we've got volunteers. However, instead of the sheepish but curious people we naively expected, we got several stultified rock stars--cocky guys who had probably been thinking, "I'm better than these schmucks!" and, "I bet I could get laid if I was in a band."--strutting up; eager for their opportunity to wow the crowd. Of course, chaos immediately ensued. We've got four or five front-men all trying to corral the others into following them. They're all trying to play whatever rock tune they'd half-assed learned to cover. No one remotely interested in listening or cooperating. It was painfully hilarious.

The problem, of course, was that we believed people would be interested in creating an enjoyable experience for everyone, and I'm sure there were people there who would have. But they would never have a chance because the people who always grab the microphone first are the narcissists, the attention seekers; the sort of people who were only interested in showing off and/or wowing some chicks.

So now we have the internet, the web, social media, etc. And essentially it's the same as the professional media saying, "Hey, c'mon up and play our instruments!" And, while there's a lot more instruments to play and a lot more people participating, it is still the egotists and manipulators that crowd the front and yell the loudest. We always have hopes for the voice of the people to be heard. But even if you rid yourself of the great dictators, the petty ones are waiting in the wings.
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I wonder how long, and how horrible a thing it will take, before we understand social media.
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If you find it hard to forgive those around you, look more closely at yourself. If you find it hard to forgive yourself, look more closely at those around you.
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I'm a bit confused by people's complaints about the media. I hear a lot of unhappiness with the mainstream media being run essentially as an entertainment vehicle rather than a journalistic one. And I agree that especially the 24 hour TV news channels aim more for the sensational than the educational. Investigative journalism has been largely replaced with the speculation of pundits and shoving a microphone in random citizens' faces for commentary.

But then I hear this other complaint, "the media is ignoring _______." Occasionally, the media really is ignoring something, but most of the time, by "ignoring," people mean it isn't getting the "entertainment" coverage. The media is covering the story, just not over-hyping it. It's weird. We hate the superficial, sensational news coverage, but we complain when the stories we think are important don't get it.

Personally, I'm quite happy those stories don't get that kind of coverage. I think there's a lot of things, terrorism is an obvious one, that are made much worse by sensationalism. It is rare that a large-scale emotional reaction to a news story is better than a low-key reasoned one. Unfortunately, I think I'm in a shrinking group with that thinking. We've come to see over-the-top emotion as the proper response to "threats" in the news. Reasoned analysis seems, well, like ignoring something.
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If the reports are correct, it seems things are going from bad to worse economically in Russia and the Ukraine and Vladimir Vladimirovich is being backed even further into a corner. I hope my friends over there and their families and friends have some shelter from what may be a bad storm. Though I mostly hope that Putin comes to his senses and does right for the country and the region rather than only himself and his cronies. I assume it is all more complicated than it's portrayed in the US media, so I don't really now what the chances are for the region.


Jun. 16th, 2014 04:28 pm
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I'm not, generally, unsympathetic to at least parts of some conservative ideas. I'm also, to some extent, understanding of why many conservatives feel the way they do. But there is one thing I just can't abide: Iraq.
The idea of invading Iraq was pointless, useless, futile, careless, hubristic, ignorant, foolish, etc. Its execution was rushed, and deeply flawed. Its aftermath predictably unpredictable and destabilizing.

We were sold lies for the personal vendetta of some in the administration. And for that we lost many lives and much money, destroyed more lives, an entire country and disrupted the future of a region. We increased our debt; provided profit to cronies, shady characters and groups, and even left billions unaccounted for. We abandoned allies, and created in that country the very enemies we were told we were fighting to free the country from. And we created the rippling effects the country, region, and we are feeling right now.

And we killed a dictator.

It takes an amazingly skewed calculus to work that out to some sort of worthwhile endeavor. Unless, of course, you're one of the people who profited from the affair.

So, I have pretty much no sympathy for those who would lay blame for the Iraq war or the repercussions therefrom at anyone's feet but those who insisted on that war and those who supported them.

It is true those in power today might deal with the aftermath in a better or worse way and such efforts are open to criticism. But no one. NO ONE, who dreamed up, pushed for, administered, or supported that war has any standing whatsoever to criticize others for dealing with the fallout from that conflict. They have not only abdicated any moral standing to criticize, but have proved their judgement deeply flawed, and worse, their powers of rationalization and deafness to hypocrisy seemingly infinite.
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Why does Livejournal make it so difficult to log in as a Livejournal user?
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Someone on facebook linked to the following article:

It's an interesting article with alluring ideas.

However, I am, in general, not a fan of the "we must do like country X" idea that seems very popular in America. We are not country X and cultures are not made up of discrete units that can be pulled apart like Legos to get the pieces you want--to try and just get the "good" parts.

I think some of the problems in "American parenting," or at least its popular portrayal, are a result of previous attempts to change parenting based on "neat sounding ideas" from elsewhere.

Certainly we need to examine whether the outcomes of our parenting methods and ideas are actually what we expect and desire. And I don't disagree that many of the ideas currently in vogue in parenting in America are probably backwards or at least misguided. I think many parents (and teachers) would very much like to hear that doing "less" might produce "more." And I'm not of the opinion we can't learn from other cultures, but that learning must be put in the context of our own culture to achieve the greatest (or sometimes even non-negative) effect. I think we might even re-examine that bathwater we threw out in the 50s, 60s, and 70s to see if there might have been some baby in it--letting kids take risks isn't exactly new in this country.
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Happy International Women's Day!
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The difference between a bully and a hero often lies in how we judge their victim.
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It is wearying to be misunderstood.

By others.

By yourself.
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С Новым годом!

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I expect the people in tomorrow to let me know how the world ends...
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It seems that advertisers have discovered my LJ identity. Shortly after searching for something on Google, I was spammed with related comment-ads on my LJ. There is no privacy online.
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Vladimir Putin reminds me of Charlie Brown. Except that Charlie Brown has a personality.
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I could use some help translating the following:


Some words aren't translating for me. It may be that I'm not getting all the letters right as it's a little hard to read.

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I find it surprising (though I suppose I shouldn't) that at 48 there's still things I never questioned.

March 2016

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