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2003-11-09 6:32 p.m.


So... word out on the street is, Howie and his posse aren't actually cockroaches. They look more like crickets, and can jump pretty far when they want to, even if the vast majority of the time they are content to merely scuttle. But I've never heard a peep out of any of them. They have these cute little antennae that they're always waving around, as if probing for transmissions from space. Mommy asked me if I wanted to ruthlessly slaughter one with a shoe, but I declined. I just don't like killing things.

Though don't fuck with me, or I'll make an exception for you, ese.

And remember, in the immortal words of David Sedaris's brother, "Certain motherfuckers think they can fuck with my shit, but you can't kill the Rooster. You might can fuck him up sometimes, but, bitch, nobody kills the motherfucking Rooster."


Moving on...

I found a link to some stuff Reagan's son said about the whole Reagan miniseries debacle. I read this stuff, and I wonder how this country can ever come together when the two sides of the argument consistently demonize each other like this. They're constantly totally misrepresenting the other side's views and goals; they really seem to hate each other. Both sides are guilty; is this vitriol really going to solve anything? I suppose I'm guilty of it myself. I wonder if they put Michael Reagan's article there as a companion to the political cartoons because it's almost a caricature of the views it supports? Anyway...

Had another vague argument with Junko today, where she reported to me on some New Agey thing she had "learned" about how different organs digest different emotions, and I shot it down in cold blood. Then she's upset because she feels dumb, and it seems like I'm always right, and she feels a little threatened by how thoroughly and remorselessly I crush her arguments. This happens periodically.

She says to me, "Don't you ever feel anything?" And danged iffn I didn't almost hang up on her right there. How can you ask me that, after over two years of dating?

She later claimed she didn't mean it that way, just that she feels one should judge things based on whether it feels right, whereas I, of course, totally reject that and insist on judging reality by available evidence. It just "doesn't feel right" to me to do anything less.

I mean, don't get me wrong, feelings are important. If something feels right or feels wrong, you need to take that into account when making decisions on things, or else you're likely to end up unhappy. I mean, the only reason I'm so dead set on France is that something inside me just feels that I need to. However, you need to keep in mind that emotions don't concern themselves with whether something is true or false, and tend to be very short-sighted in judging what's best for you, to boot. Emotions are very valuable in determining a course of action, even more so in deciding whether you "like" something or not, but they aren't so reliable for separating fact from fiction.

Relying on your feelings to determine truth sets you up to be fanatically devoted to bullshit, not to mention likely to be easily manipulated by people who know how to pander to the emotions. As I told Junko, this is the kind of mindset that allows for the existence of Nazis and their ilk, wherever they happen to lie along the spectrum of good and evil.

Junko has told me on several occasions that her father's biggest worry about her coming to America was that her gullibility would get her in trouble. She's the first to admit that she's easily duped. While her simple and straight-forward nature is one of the things I love most about her, I tend to feel I have a duty to help her upgrade her internal bullshit detector. I'd like to think that it's not a lost cause.

Oh- and here's Greyarea's advice for winning arguments: Dislike arguing, and avoid joining argumentative discussions or even making declarative statements of fact unless you're at least 99% sure, objectively speaking here now, that you're right (meaning, you are fully prepared to back it up). You'll win almost every time, but there really shouldn't be too many times...

Most of the time when people try to draw me into an argument, I usually back out and say, "Hey, I'm not really sure about this, myself. I'm not going to argue it." I may give them a few things to think about in an attempt to get them to understand the other side of the issue, or sometimes to get them to understand that there even IS another side of the issue, but I rarely pick one side and defend it with devotion as "right," with the other side being "wrong." Which, oddly enough, seems to be more effective in getting people to re-evaluate their viewpoints than insisting, "You are wrong, and I am right."

Hand in hand with this, let me say that I value skepticism immensely, even, perhaps especially, skepticism of your own views. I tend to be uncomfortable around and even disturbed by people who are unshakably confident in their opinions. Such people are rarely willing to change their opinions when new evidence comes to light that refutes them, and that's dangerous.

Alright. Enough on that. Let's have some thoughts on music and movies, and call it good for today.

About Queens of the Stone Age. I think their album is perfect for when you just want something that straight-up rocks, without the peacock arrogance or manufactured agony of so much other "hard" rock. I love their little blurbs between songs- it's like, "We use the irony that sounds more like everyone else- than anyone else."

Speaking of hard rock and metal, I've been listening to some old school Metallica lately. And I really like that stuff. All the songs are five to ten minutes long, with these intricate interlocking guitar parts flying all over the place. The lyrics are a lot more politically oriented too, I think. Starting with the Black Album, I guess, Metallica sold a lot more records and arguably made "better" music when they started streamlining the songs, repeatedly pounding on memorable hooks for brief intervals instead of the long, drawn out development of melodic ideas, toning done the screaming guitar solos (only guitar players care about guitar solos), and making the lyrics at once easier to make out and more oblique in meaning. The older stuff's just harder to connect to. But, take it or leave it, there's a certain purity and sincerity to the old stuff that's just not there in the Black Album and beyond, even though I may never have started listening to Metallica in the first place if not for that album.

The Hulk- Didn't care for it, as much as I do care for Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. But then, I didn't so much like Sense and Sensibility, either, so the dude's hardly infallible. Anyway, I realized towards the end that a lot of the crap they were doing cinematically was intended to give it a comic book feel. But it just felt crude and dated. Not to mention the film just didn't make any damn sense at all. 1 star

Daddy Day Care- It was actually really funny, and the kids were really cute. I liked how they gave each one a distinct and interesting personality. It was obscenely predictable, though, and shamelessly sentimental at the end. 2 stars

The Matrix: Revolutions- For the longest time I just knew that the Matrix sequels just weren't nearly as good as the original, but I just couldn't put my finger on exactly why. But this article hit it right on the head. The movie was still spectacular eye candy, though, so I'll still give it 4 stars.

[sniffs haughtily] As much as I enjoy our little chats, I think I really must get back to writing my novel.

it's not a party if it happens every night,