Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our King's Disguise

"Pieces of Eight" is a song written by Dennis DeYoung, and recorded by the band Styx, of which DeYoung was once a member. The song itself was on the album of the same name, released in 1978.

Here is a link to the words of the song, from a lyric site that will spare you the obnoxious popup ads that most of them subject web surfers to:
http://www.elyricsworld.com/pieces_of_eight_lyrics_styx.html

Written many years ago, the words of the song seem out of date. The lyrical format is classic seventies rock, but rather than an excuse for sub-par quality, that particular distinction is a label worthy of praise. The ethos of the time may have included the often-cited sex-and-drugs excess we've all been taught to associate with the 1970's, but in comparison, the song lyrics of today tend to lean too much toward the shallow and jaded.

What are the words of the song speaking about? Basically, they're addressing the materialistic path we've taken as a society (western civilization in general, I would assume). DeYoung's experience is as an American who has visited abroad enough to appreciate the different ways people view money and material possessions.

The fact that DeYoung was extremely successful and became wealthy by virtue of his career with Styx, is easier to put aside, when one ponders the general stance of most of his lyrics. He would have written the same words for his songs, regardless of material success... to call him to the carpet because he sings of the evils of greed is not hypocritical. There's a huge difference between an artist who makes good, and a CEO who manipulates the retirement funds of his hapless employees.

Back to the song.

It's possible that some who have listened to the song may have missed the most important line in it. The line is, "I'm just a prisoner in a king's disguise."

While most of the song deals with someone's literal workaday events and somber ruminations regarding the absurdities of our materialistic 'rat-race,' the line I quoted pretty much sums up the crux of the problem DeYoung addresses in the song:

We think we're conquering the world with every additional crown of acquisition and fleshly achievement, but in fact, the more we devote ourselves to such materialistic and shallow pursuits, the darker the spiritual cell we're incarcerated in becomes.

We've spent so much time deceiving ourselves with our "king's disguise," we've arrived at a place in our hearts and minds where spirituality has acquired a reputation as a worthless philosophical crutch of the weak and foolish.

How else could you explain so much justified greed and theft? We think no one is watching our hands dip into someone else's cookie jar, and modern wisdom dictates that if we're not caught stealing, we're the smart ones. There's no answer to that prepossession, other than to continue attempting to 'do the right thing,' and suffer the laughter that ensues.

Why are aspects of the world so dark? Stop pointing fingers and look in the mirror.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Typical Misdirection

My wife sent me an article from her favorite online newspaper, the New York Times. The August 25th, 2011, article was entitled, "Dr. King Weeps From His Grave." It was an op-ed contributed by Cornel West, and she (my wife) relayed to me a passage from Herman Melville that West quoted.

Here's a link to the original op-ed:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/26/opinion/martin-luther-king-jr-would-want-a-revolution-not-a-memorial.html

I read the article, and immediately emailed my wife the following:


I agreed with the majority of what the writer was saying, but even in his mostly accurate appraisal of our "sick society," there is interpretative propaganda sprinkled throughout:

"... a morally bankrupt policy of ... lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned"

"Arbitrary uses of the law - in the name of the "war" on drugs - have produced ... a new Jim Crow of mass incarceration."

"... right-wing populists ... seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption ... This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King's four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans."

"As the talk show host Tavis Smiley and I have said in our national tour against poverty" and "... this means support for progressive politicians like Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Mark Ridley-Thomas"

Let's see what Wikipedia says about each of these three people:

"Tavis Smiley is a ... liberal political commentator"

"Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist".

"Ridley-Thomas has been criticized ... for his proposal and personal defense of plans to remodel his office through the spending of $707,000 in discretionary funds. "

Last, but certainly not least, is Wikipedia's report on Cornel West (the author of the op-ed) himself:

"Cornel Ronald West ... is ... [a] prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America."

So, in conclusion, "Dr. King Weeps From His Grave" is just another example of legitimate emotional appeals delivered for the more furtive purpose of hidden agenda promotion via misdirection.


I highlighted the snippets to make the specific point that propaganda is often best delivered under the guise of appealing to the average individual's anger about identifiable injustice. In this way, an illogical connection can seem logical; especially to a reader who shares Mr. West's political sensibilities.

However, I would like to state officially for the record that this kind of clever misdirection is perpetrated by all political squawking heads, be they liberal socialists, like Cornel West, or the right-wing populists whose "catastrophic responses" West attempts to steer us away from.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DRM analogy

I've concocted a simple analogy for all those DRM cheerleaders out there in the web-o-sphere, who can't see the forest for the trees.

Let's suppose there is a car manufacturer out there (we'll choose GMC, due to their incredible track record of inane company decisions). Now let's suppose that GMC decided to release all their pending new car models with a special kind of theft security, called DRM (instead of Digital Rights Management, we'll use Richard Stallman's interpretation, and call it Digital Restrictions Management).

This DRM is a computerized form of theft control that is installed in the automobile's electronic assembly, in such a way that trying to defeat it or remove it only results in the car being unable to run. It works by using wireless network communication between it and either satellites or cell phone towers, whichever are more available. As long as the online server successfully "handshakes" with your little electronic chip, all is well.

This DRM is marketed as the safest, most effective, and most "non-invasive" DRM you can have installed in a car. You don't have to worry about key fobs or any other hardware, you simply have to speak a quick code-word into a voice-recognition module mounted on the dashboard.

Now comes the good part, for all you ding dongs who still view DRM as tolerable...

One fine day, you go out to use your car. It really doesn't matter what you're using it for in this analogy, just that it's pretty important to you that you get in and go.

You get in, press the button to start the car, speak the code word...

...and nothing happens.

Now, it doesn't matter to you how easy and invisible the DRM is purported to be, all you know is you just want the car to start and take you where you want to go. Thus you're not entirely thrilled about the spider web of online FAQs, forums and community support pages you must navigate through on the dashboard display in order to troubleshoot the problem.

In this sort of situation, there is no contingency plan X, Y or even Z for starting the car. It doesn't matter to the company who designed the DRM, or the company that bought and implemented the DRM (in this simulated case, GMC) that it may be very important for you to drive your car right now. At one point, you find a page that informs you to call a cab, the police, fire department or an ambulance if you absolutely must go somewhere and the car refuses to respond.

As you endlessly tap at the dash buttons, trying to find an answer to this dilemma, your anger builds as the ugly truth presents itself:

  • You paid thousands of dollars for this car, and should not have to play help-desk bingo just to use it.
  • You begin to realize that although you paid for the car in full, and it sits in your driveway, and you pay for all its gas, insurance and upkeep, you don't actually own it.
  • You start to hate the company that created this car, because you realize they're only in the business of creating users instead of owners. You're like a cow that's being milked with the illusion that your stall is the entire world, or better yet, a hapless drug addict who keeps the drug dealers living in palatial mansions.

So my question to you, reader, is this:

Even though the DRM car is new and looks "really cool", just how long do you think a car company like that would stay in business, when car companies B, C and D still use "archaic technology" like a metal key to start the car?

Answer:

Not very long.

So why would you embrace equivalent DRM technologies in your software?

Still not okay...

As I am the sort of "computer person" who isn't known for giving up, I finally discovered the so-called problem with Steam. I needed to temporarily turn off my anti-virus (only for the tiny update, not for any other network communication between my computer and Steam), which isn't that hard to understand, but it is inappropriate, when faced with the fact that I never had to do this before, through many previous logins and updates from Steam in the past.

As Duke Nukem Forever loaded, and I played for a few minutes to verify its stability, I felt that particular sort of relief that washes over you when you solve an aggravating computer-related issue.

However, a moment later, I again frowned about the process, and the original point I was making, which is still just as valid:

Being at the mercy of a 3rd party, when all I want to do is play the game that was legally payed for, is disturbing, annoying... and just plain wrong.

It truly drives home the message that so many EULAs (End User License Agreement) relish trumpeting (paraphrase provided):

"This game (software) is not owned by you, even though you paid full price to a retailer and hold the disk in your hand. It is merely on loan to you, and if we decide you no longer have a right to access the content, we can revoke that right immediately and permanently."

Hey, game publishers: way to show respect to the people who make it possible for you to continue creating software for a living! It's not like the game publishers' controlling behavior is motivated by something selfish and loathsome, right? All hail the mantra of the corporate vultures disguised as 21st century game publishers:

"The bottom line is all that matters."

The Evil That Steam Does

After spending two hours post midnight fighting Steam's own little brand of draconian DRM, I went to bed. Later the same day (today) when I woke up, I figured, hey, it's sunny outside... perhaps Steam just had some temporary problems with their network. I'll give it another go.

Long story short, it was another bust. Kept getting the same messages, etc. So, in utter frustration and resignation, I uninstalled Steam, thinking that perhaps a clean installation would end these problems.

Wrong-o, my friends.

I had four legally purchased games installed on my computer: Duke Nukem Forever (DNF), Left 4 Dead 2, Counter-Strike: Source and Counter-Strike: Source Beta. DNF alone takes over six gigabytes of space. Not to mention all the Orange Box games, which I previously installed (again, retail disks) but hadn't played in a long time.

Guess what? When you uninstall Steam (an online verification system), you also uninstall EVERYTHING else that goes with it. This means if you have an intractable problem, such as the problem I was having, and you decide to uninstall Steam, you are penalized for this decision by losing all the data on your own computer that pertains to the games that you are forced to use Steam in order to play.

Furthermore, to make matters more insidious, when I performed the re-installation of Steam (which of course magically experienced none of the previous "network" problems), I am greeted by the ugly reality that I must re-download ALL of the games I had already installed, configured and was successfully playing before all this crap began.

Doesn't anyone else out there see the problem here? Two of these games were bought as retail disks, installed as such, connected to Steam to verify their authenticity, and were played for X hours apiece. Then, because of some unexpected error by Steam's own software, I am forced to re-install them.

How can any customer have confidence that this will not happen again and again?

One of the most disturbing aspects of this debacle is that when I reinstalled Steam, I had to enter a special code, which was sent to my email address. This code was necessary, I am told, because I'm trying to use my account an a different computer. This happened not once, but twice!

This is the same computer I've been using the entire time! No new parts, no new network configurations, nada.

Clearly, I am suffering the consequences of Steam's mistake: they have overshot their own ability to provide proper service, because they have simply grown too large for their resources to successfully address all the myriad problems their service has eventually produced.

I ask you: is it "good and right" that an online company, which can fail not only by network problems at their end, but also by their own poorly planned software, be allowed to decide that I can't play a game on my own computer, that I installed on my own computer, and that I legally purchased from a retail outlet?

Every one of you game publishers who have granted Steam so much power, have no right to complain when it continues to generate unhappy customers. And if your bottom line is good enough for you to not be concerned, then shame on you.

The Evil That Game Publishers Do

I just spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling with Steam, in order just to play Duke Nukem Forever (DNF). I'm not talking multiplayer, I'm talking singleplayer.

I've heard both sides of the online verification argument. Yes, it's less "invasive" than some of the highly questionable DRM's (Digital "Rights" Management) such as Securom and StarForce, and when all you need is a single online activation (such as with a Windows OS), this sort of DRM doesn't seem all that bad.

However, the wisdom of forcing paying customers to put up with the unreasonable requirement of having to verify online every single time you want to play is also highly questionable.

Steam offers many "features." Some of these are somewhat fun, such as having a gaming friends list and being able to chat with said friends. But let's not be under any illusions here. All the content Steam offers is worth nothing if the game you purchased can't even be played.

Yes, this evening, I had some time set aside, and all I wanted to do was play DNF. Was it a wise decision for 2K and Gearbox to rely on Steam for their copy protection scheme? I think not, as witnessed by tonight's ultimately squashed attempts by me to play the game.

First, I was informed by Steam popup windows that DNF wasn't currently "available" when I attempted to start the game from an icon on my computer, that is linked to a legally purchased game that is installed on my computer. I then went on an odyssey of searching Steam forums for advice to get the game to work.

The next of many less-than-welcome messages:

"Incomplete installation of Duke Nukem Forever (55)"

I'm told by Steam's "support" page that:

"This issue can also occur on computers with Avast installed. You will need to configure Avast to ignore Steam itself and all Steam game files. Some users have had to uninstall Avast to resolve the issue."

No dice on this one, sorry. So they happen to include their secondary option, which is probably the most common:

"This may also indicate a Steam Service failure. Please try enabling the Steam Service:"

The steps to enable the Steam service are of course not applicable, because all attempts were failures (I have a professional IT background, so it's not likely user error; typing commands in the Run box are not exactly rocket science).

This led to several things, like trying to update the game, verifying integrity of game cache, updating again (this time automatically, with no help from me), then more than one reboot of Steam. After doing these things, upon a reboot of Steam, I get another popup window (normally reserved for their annoying and endless sales pitches for other games I have zero interest in), but this one informs me that DNF is now officially updated.

But, like the rest of this sad joke on me, and everyone else who legally purchased DNF, when I attempted to start it again, I get a popup that tells me:

"Preparing to launch Duke Nukem Forever..."

Then it freezes permanently at the following progress report:

"Completing installation ... 1%"

After two hours of this needless nonsense, and the feeling that I've been robbed somehow, I gave up and wrote this essay.

So there you have it. My wife purchased the game (new) at Amazon.com, I installed the game on my computer, previously I was able to play it, I've made no changes to my Steam or DNF configuration... and I'm out of luck.

Good job Steam, by pulling a Bill Gates and convincing the world that you will be the standard for game DRM. Nice job with your DRM choice, 2K and Gearbox. Smart attitude, all you clueless, spineless wonders who sit back and babble about how you don't mind online activation every time you start a game, even in singleplayer.

Somewhere in all this, there is genuine evil, but we're all too sophisticated to recognize it anymore. All in all, I'd say we deserve the theft of our freedoms via the disgustingly lazy complicity we practice every day. Hey, someone got rich during the process, right? That's a nice cup of hemlock for a philosophy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The truth about Duke Nukem Forever

Once upon a time, there was an empirically gifted trio of musicians from Canada who called themselves Rush. Despite the undying loyalty of millions of fans who swooned over Rush's technical excellence and conceptual acumen, there was a cabal of well-placed, cliquish curmudgeons who took a twisted joy from denying Rush their proper recognition. These self-appointed arbiters of taste, most prominently the fop rag known as The Rolling Stone, had consistently blocked the world from officially regaling Rush with appropriate honors.

Why?

You see, if you want to be a genuine rock star, where every exercise of poor personal judgement is seen as a profound and revolutionary statement, then you must be either alcoholic, strung out, dissolute, controversial, crazy, or just plain bad. If you're an exceptionally talented musician who prefers to maintain a "normal" personal life, and have no interest in nefarious activity or political activism, well then... you're simply not cool enough for the Hall of Fame.

Much like the cynical grinches who refuse to induct Rush into the Hall of Fame, the "journalists" who have gathered themselves together to burn Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) at the stake are entirely in love with their own biased arrays of creative defamation. I was going to take them all on one by one, but the huge list isn't worth my time. If you're seeking the most even-handed and honest review out there, the only one you need to read is the PC Gamer review by Dan Stapleton:

http://www.pcgamer.com/review/duke-nukem-forever-review/

In the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I am a Duke Nukem "fanboy." I have not only played Duke Nukem 3D off and on with some frequency since about 1998 (I discovered FPS fun two years after Duke Nukem 3D's release), but I've played several ports, and I have collected thousands of user-made maps. I was crushed by the news back in May of 2009 about the lawsuit by Take-Two Interactive, and the subsequent dissolving of the DNF development team. Then a year and a half later, I was ecstatic beyond measure when on September 3, 2010, Gearbox Software made their totally unexpected announcement to release DNF.

But these facts about my personal love of one of the gaming world's most iconic characters are beside the point. The reason I wrote this essay is because I'm quite tired of agenda-ridden poppycock passing itself off as legitimate journalism.

For years, up until the release of DNF, Gamespot was my most trusted source for PC game reviews. This is sadly no longer the case. Kevin VanOrd of Gamespot gave DNF a rating of 3.5 out of 10. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, no matter how accurate or erroneous, and although plenty of VanOrd dittos will line up and throw rocks at anyone who disagrees... well, objectively speaking, VanOrd's review is largely inaccurate, and misguided as well. Seriously, he should know better.

What the 3.5 rating is saying, without qualification, is that according to past Gamespot reviews of other PC games, that DNF is worse than the following games:


  • Beachhead 2000 (3.9 rating)

  • Torrente (4.3 rating)

  • Mall Tycoon (4.6 rating)

  • Purge (5.1 rating)

  • Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza (5.7 rating)

  • Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3 (5.9 rating)



Something tells me the actual list of crappy games considered by Gamespot to be better than DNF is much, much larger than this. I listed these particular games because I've actually played them, thus I am qualified to make a somewhat objective comparison, regardless of my love of Duke Nukem.

Each of those six games I listed is clearly inferior to DNF in a multitude of ways, which include user interface, user controls, gameplay, graphics, sound, and fun factor. I challenge anyone who doesn't begin with a biased hatred of Duke Nukem to come forward and attempt to convince the reasonable gamers out here that these games are all better than DNF. They won't even try, because the effort would be futile.

I could go on with this essay far too long, picking apart the absurdly sissy-pants rubbish that Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica penned, or the endless whining of Jim Sterling at Destructoid, who should remain forever wrapped in the womb of the Pathetic Excuse For FPS Play, also known as the console. In fact, there are so many of these overly-eager-to-rape-The-Duke faux journalists that have left themselves open to honest criticism by going too far, I could spend the next six months burning them all at the stake.

But what's the point? I would not only be wasting my time (and yours!), I would also being performing that cliché reaction of the hypocrite: lowering myself to their standards.

The most compelling reason for me to post this reaction to their collective witch-burning is my empathy for the developers who sacrificed so much to bring this game to fruition. While Gearbox committed the last-second slam dunk, it is actually the nine brave individuals at Triptych Games who carried the vision over the land mines known as Broussard's never-ending search for perfection and Take-Two's impatient ploy to swipe the DNF intellectual property for their own financial windfall.

Triptych Games is comprised of former employees of 3D Realms who worked on DNF all those years, since it was first announced on April 28th, 1997. When Take-Two attempted their resource-grab back in May of 2009, and 3D Realms laid off the entire DNF team in a stubborn expression of defiance, guess what happened?

These nine brave souls continued to work on DNF in secret, without pay! For over a year! And furthermore, they continued what could have only been a labor of love born from pure passion for the Duke, with absolutely NO promise of any compensation. Just the undying belief that Duke was worth keeping alive for themselves, and for all those out here who love him.

Sure, I get it. The passion of a developer is not enough to give a video game a higher rating than it deserves; with that I agree. But... the disgusting lack of respect these stalwart and talented developers have received from the "official" game critics on the Internet is indeed pathetic. For certain, regardless of whether or not you like The Duke, DNF is nowhere near a 3.5 or a 2.0, or whatever worthless rating these ding dongs dared to ascribe to an entirely better-than-adequate game.

For those out there who would like to put some names and Internet entities with these comments I've been making, go here:

http://www.xentax.com/?p=303

This is an EXCELLENT exposé of these journalistic hacks, complete with charts, stats, names, ratings given, and web sites these reviews appear on. Not all of the objectionable critics made the list, because some serendipitously avoided inclusion due to the non-numeric rating system of their site, such as Ars Technica's rating of "Skip," and Game Revolution's "D+" grade.

One last thing... unlike the majority of the politically correct mosquitoes who played for five minutes and merely parroted the feminist and new-game-whore party line, or endlessly whined about how long DNF took to be released, I've actually played the game.

And Dan Stapleton was one hundred percent accurate.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Noah’s Ark is slick!

A news story out of Hebron, Kentucky today reported that a group is rebuilding Noah's Ark to biblical specifications. As usual, the atheist killjoys disguised as activists-who-are-only-looking-out-for-your-constitutional-rights have decided this is one more example of the "religious people" of the world attempting to completely dismantle the entire edifice of modern science, and send us all ignorantly and happily back to caves with flint-head spears and poor hygiene.

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_18710712

I've asked this question countless times in my mind, but now I'll ask it aloud of atheist activists, because it begs to be asked:

"What are you so afraid of?"

Answers in Genesis ministries is the group that has decided to take on such an ambitious project as rebuilding the mighty seafaring vessel which is supposed to have carried the majority of the world's existing land-dwelling species during a world-wide flood that covered the entire earth. This supposedly happened at a time when the skies rained for forty days and nights continuously, and the "fountains of the great deep" also sprang forth with apparently deluge-like flows. (This is according to the biblical account, specifically Genesis 7, verses 11 and 12, for those of you who are curious where these statistics come from).

Nonsense? Well, the beauty of human subjectivity is you can believe what you wish. Make no mistake however; no one who was there back then is here to speak, so making assumptions about the past is a sucker's bet. However, I digress... so back to the focus of the essay.

This time around, the atheists are using the separation of church and state as their angle of attack, due to the project being approved for $40 million in taxpayer-funded incentives. The ark is only part of an entire theme park, which is estimated to cost around $155 million (the article's picture caption says $170 million).

The activists are squawking because they don't think public tax dollars should be used to fund a religious enterprise. This would have been a viable argument, except there's an extenuating circumstance that comes into play: 900 jobs. State officials approved the $40 million on the contingency that the park achieves its projected attendance (1.6 million visitors during its first year).

There will be hundreds of people working on the ark project, including a team of Amish builders and Patrick Marsh, who helped construct various Universal Studios attractions. They're even building it the "old world" way, with wooden pegs instead of nails, and by straight-sawing the timber. They're going to include lots of animals in the finished ark; some live, but most will be stuffed or mechanical.

The ark project manager is quoted in the article as saying, "There's a lot of doubt: 'Could Noah have built a boat this big, could he have put all the animals on the boat?' Those are questions people all over the country ask."

He also said, "When you get to walk through the boat and see how big this thing really was, and how many cages were there, and how much room there was for food and water ... our hope is people start seeing that this is plausible, that the account could be believed."

So, into all this visionary effort, walks the intellectually smug exclusionist, also known as the Talking Head Atheist.

This time one of the more prominent players is one Mr. Edwin Kagin, a ex-Christian who now devotes his J.D. assignment to less jurisprudence and more activism. Some of his efforts are an anti-God printed gem called "Baubles of Blasphemy," and a camp for "protecting" the children of atheists from such horrendous summer activities as contemplating the glory of God's beautiful creation, also known as Nature.

He's a longtime critic of the ark-building group, and he says the public attraction will convert people to creationism by challenging scientific findings about the world's history.

Excuse me... but just how is building a huge boat, and demonstrating that it could carry and sustain many animals a challenge to science? I don't recall learning anything in science class about the impossibility of building a ship large enough to carry several thousand species of non-aquatic creatures.

And if some former skeptics experience the ark for themselves, and come to the conclusion that the premise is at least possible, how does that produce the earth-shaking and science-destroying revolution he and his kind apparently fear?

God will never leave the imaginations of human beings, and this so-called "debate" has been raging for millennia... it wasn't sprung on the human race suddenly by Darwin, as some would have you believe. Understand that fact and move on to other more fruitful activities... all the venom spewed by the vocally aggressive atheists is so much wasted energy and talent. They need to get lives and leave others to their own thoughts for a change.

I digressed again, oops. Back to the essay proper.

Another quote from Kagin (italics mine):

"Many think that since creationism is so irrational and so unscientific that nobody really could believe it, but that's not so." He says that the new park will be "so slick and so well done, you can get people to believe in anything. Creationism, when you're ready to believe anything."

Let us not ignore the deliberate use of the adjective "slick." I will take the high road and assume he meant the professional quality of work that's designed to lure tourists, and not the more petty possibility that he's attempting to make the visionaries involved in this project look like shysters out to hijack your independent thought with smoke and mirrors.

The ark article also mentioned another gadfly atheist association, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). This is an organization that has, since 1947, performed the prestidigitation of claiming to protect your religious freedom, while simultaneously making sure not one American student will ever be exposed to such an objectionable idea as the possible existence of a creator god. Again, a wonderfully productive expenditure of one's time and resources, similar to the "Abimelech Society." The AS "freethinkers" are those clever loose cannons that attempt to make the world a better place by tossing any bibles found in motel or hotel nightstands summarily into the trash.

Regardless, the AU seems convinced the theme park will be beaten to a pulp by constitutional law. However, Kagin says the case would be a loser, due to the way tax incentives are structured for organizations that seek to increase tourism in Kentucky.

In a chuckle-worthy moment of schoolyard logic, the AU actually said in a public statement:

"Noah didn't get government help when he built the first ark, and the fundamentalist ministry behind the Kentucky replica shouldn't either."

This essay has run on long enough, so I'll leave the easy job of ripping that last statement apart to you, reader.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Poor" Believers

I will likely go to my grave as a mere sweaty-brow pawn who made The Man richer... but if the God of the scriptures exists, there's an excellent chance that the eye of the needle will be a bit too small for the camels of indulgence.

One of the supremely confident, generation-whatever agnostics at work informed me that she "didn't believe in magic"... to her, evolution made more sense than just "poof, and some people appeared."

I told her that's all very fine and dandy, but her initial premise was convenient nonsense, because in fact she *does* believe in magic. She said, "How is that?"

I asked her, for example, when she turns on her television set and all those moving two dimensional images and sounds stream into her living room as though they were the most natural thing in the world, could she actually explain how the technology works? Of course her answer has to be "no," since her background does not even vaguely resemble anything speculative.

So, I told her, she therefore believes in something she doesn't understand, yet still has faith it will continue to do what it does.

Then I quoted Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

And of course, being a proudly tattooed and debauched product of the 21st century, she couldn't (or wouldn't) connect the dots.

Bah... why do I bother... I look forward to the moment I'm finally scraping out a living in front of my own home computer, instead of weathering daily disappointment in the smug and vacuous.