Friday, May 30, 2008

Reflections on the Elections in Moscow

During the Congressional primaries last Wednesday, it would have been funny if I had written in the name of an illegal immigrant to oppose Bill Sali. Too bad that I didn't think of it at the time.

International | World |

International | World |

I would recommend reading the "Economist" article above. Iraq is on the verge of civil war, there is genocide in the Sudan, Zimbabwe is falling apart, there are race-related riots in China and South Africa, piracy still occurs in the Mediterranean, terrorism could break out at any moment and, all in all, all does not seem right with the world, and yet the United Nations is devoting itself to a campaign to outlaw paddles. Maybe I am not being fair; I can only assume that they have a team working around the clock on all of the issues mentioned above. But I have very little faith in their ability to produce results in any of these areas. The United Nations may have devoted a great deal of effort to stopping genocide in Darfur, but, ultimately, an organization must be judged by what comes out of its efforts, not what goes into them.

I have no objection to national bodies or alliances. I am not necessarily opposed to the United States' involvement in the United Nations. John Bolton (in my opinion) was a horrible choice for ambassador; if we are going to engage with the United Nations, then we ought to do so meaningfully. Furthermore, international alliances have consistently proved effective enough in the past: think of NAFTA, NATO, the European Union (with qualifications), even (going back to the classical period) the Delphic League had its benefits. But the reason that these organizations work. But the reason that these organizations work, at least to some degree, is that they recognize that, in spite of their difference, they are capable of working toward common purposes. With the United Nations it is the opposite: The nations who compose its membership want to work toward different purposes while, at the same time, doing away with all differences.

The United Nations needs to get its act together and, before attempting to dictate to parents how they should raise their children, concentrate on how to raise itself from the self-parody which it has become.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If There Isn't a Name for This Principle, There Should Be

As people become more dependent on the governmental bureaucracy, the less dependable the governmental bureaucracy becomes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

I decided to add one more post since I'm almost at 100. I don't generally like Linda Ronstadt, but her version of "Tracks of My Tears" is, I think, the definitive version. You should check this out:

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

Clarification on the Last Post

I just realized that the last post was misleading. If anyone is wondering, I wasn't planning on changing my lifestyle over this by any means. I still find time to do my reading between the orders and the customers. (And I still hate cars and have no intention of buying one.)

Feeling Like Woody Harrelson on SNL

I always hated computers and cars; apropos, I was never particularly good with either of them. It is interesting, though, that working in a computer store has begun to make me realize that technology is actually pretty cool. I feel kind of like Woody Harrelson in that Sprockets episode of Saturday Night Live which came out in the wake of the Berlin Wall collapsing. In that classic comedy skit Woody Harrelson plays a devoutly East German socialist philosopher who is finally being interviewed by his progressive western worshippers; much to these people's surprise (and chagrin) their hero has come to reject communism and embrace capitalism. What changed his mind? One round on the gameboy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summer Needing Reading

I haven't really been too engaged in my usual pasttime--reading--for the past week. The reason is that--since I am supposedly an ISI Fellow--I am waiting to see what sort of study or research I have to do to fulfill the responsibilities that this job entails. Also, I suppose, it is because I am at a new job as one of the Bookstore's computer guys, and, even though my manager told me that if I didn't have anything to do he saw no reason why I should stare at my desk so it would look like I was working, I still am slightly nervous that the store's main manager may catch me wtih a book in my hands and say that I might be unnecessary after all. Nonetheless, I have managed to get "The True Believer" done since finishing finals. It's a short book and, as a friend of mine said, it qualifies as real philosophy if, for no other reason, it is a work which has had a profound influence on academic and intellectual thought, but it was not written by an academic. I am also reading a book that Tom D. gave to me. It's one by John Barth called "Chimera". So far, I can't make heads or tails of the book, but Tom told me that the story begins to come together around page 150. That's around where I am now, so I'll wait and see. If it doesn't come together in my perception, it means one of two things: I am a philistine or the book is a fraud. Anyway, cheeriest of wishes to you all and have a good summer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Congratulations Graduates!

Not that anyone reads this blog, but if anyone did, here's what I would say: Congratulations to everyone who graduated during the past week, and especially Tom Banks, Josh Gibbs, Nicole Barrie, Morgan Wintz, Tara Oar, and any of the English majors whom I have forgotten to mention. I am lucky to have known and worked with all of you and hope that this isn't the end but only the prologue.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

About Ten Years Out from "Lock Stock"

Guy Ritchie has not lived up to the promise of being the next Quentin Tarantino. But, then again, neither has Quentin Tarantino lived up to the promise of being the first Quentin Tarantino.