better late than never/my latest obsession/the university of YouTube

Where to begin? I’ve arranged my life in such a way that I have a ton of time, the majority of my work day, to watch/listen to videos/documentaries/speeches/you get the idea. I work from home, and my job is not, let’s say, mentally taxing, so I can type away happily listening to/watching my phone (just upgraded to an iPhone 6 Plus, woo hoo for the bigger screen but a hearty fuck you to the power button on the side!) and I fill my days with an ever-expanding wealth of knowledge. I switch topics and go on benders of specific topics for days or weeks or hours, whatever I feel like. I am in heaven.

I am a huge fan of documentaries. I also love a good debate, presentation, lecture, congressional hearing, whatevs. If there’s something to be learned/absorbed, I’m all about it. I have the luxury of watching 5 to 8 hour long presentations, and I sometimes do. Often when my work day ends, as my daughter walks in the door after school, I have a hard time pulling myself away from what I’m watching if it’s really good!

So that’s just a little background leading up to my latest obsession: Frank Zappa. I’m 40 fucking years old, how did I not know how amazing this guy was? Here’s how I got to where I am. I watched this:

(edit: the original video is gone from YouTube, but here’s a clip)

I had no idea Steve Allen was an author, I barely know of him as more than a media personality of anther era, I couldn’t tell you anything specific about him. So I searched for him after watching that video, and one of the videos that came up was an interview by Steve Allen of Frank Zappa. I didn’t watch it, but I did watch, of course, Frank Zappa exposing the Illuminati, when I saw that in the search results.

It ended up not being about the Illuminati at all, but a series of extremely interesting statements  and laments by Zappa about the music industry, politics, and popular culture. I had no idea he was so fucking awesome. All I knew about Frank Zappa was that he made weird music, that I don’t know if I had ever even heard a bit of, and that he had testified in front of congress back when the issue of labeling music was being discussed. After that first video I went on a Zappa tear. I watched this this this this this this most of this, and I plan on watching this tomorrow. The best video by far was this gem…

Finally at the end of the day, I ended up back at the original video that started it all. Steve Allen and Frank Zappa. Amazing.

I sometimes say that I go to the University of YouTube. I know that sounds fucking corny and stupid, and most people think it’s mostly cats using the toilet and a billion music videos, but there is so much more than that. I liken it to sitting in a lecture hall in a top university. Only it’s free. Well, the cost of internet access and a computer, I guess. The reason I feel comfortable comparing watching YouTube to going to Yale is because guess what? You can watch lectures from Yale for free online. And MIT. And many other colleges and universities.

Of course, I’m just as likely to watch a lecture by Michael Cremo as I am by a Yale professor. And I make no apologies for that. If it weren’t for YouTube, I would probably not have been exposed to Manly P. Hall, Terrance McKenna, Anthony Sutton, Carroll Quigley, John Taylor Gato, just to name a few. I also would not have developed one of my other obsessions, Joe Rogan’s podcast. Joe Rogan has become like my own personal fact-checker. It’s kinda fucked up how many times I find myself researching something or someone and they come up as a guest on the podcast, or he discusses things I’m looking into. It’s awesome. I was randomly watching videos about leptin resistance because I saw a short video in my Facebook feed, and I am, well, getting fat, so in an attempt to not be so fat, I watched this video

It was pretty cool, and I would have bought his coffee, but it’s fucking $80, so yeah, not gonna happen. Then I was laying in bed that night and I remembered Joe Rogan mentioning that he was drinking coffee with grass-fed butter or something, so I literally googled Joe Rogan grass-fed butter coffee, and this came up…

It was actually a kinda negative commentary about the whole thing that I was kinda up on, but I was able to then watch Joe Rogan’s original interview with the guy. There’s a second interview, but I had didn’t need to watch it. I had enough info to go on, and I felt better informed about the whole thing because Joe Rogan had already gone down the path I was on. He’s actually a distributor of Dave Asprey’s products, but he had some issues/questions that he was voicing, and it was helpful and relevant to my life.

I could go on for days about Joe Rogan’s podcast. I didn’t even know he had a podcast, or how incredibly popular podcasts are right now, until I was searching for ever more videos of Sam Harris, an older, on-going obsession, and I came across Joe Rogan interviewing him. I knew Joe Rogan from News Radio, and I had watched Fear Factor many years ago, but I had no idea he was such a fucking cool guy, and he has this awesome podcast. He’s actually interviewed Sam Harris three times, I think, and I have so much more to say about those discussions, but that will have to be another time. I’m a huge Harris fangirl, but I think what I appreciate most about listening to him is that on the occasions where I might disagree with him, or see something differently than he does, it always spawns some very interesting thoughts and ideas in me, and I love it.

It’s thanks to Joe Rogan that I know about Graham Hancock and it was in that interview that I learned about John Anthony West, and Oh My God did I then watch approximately 8 hours straight of this awesomeness…

Joe Rogan even interviewed Stefan Molyneux, another guy I randomly found on YouTube a few years ago. I also need to expand on that whole nonsense between Stefan and Ana Kasparian and Adam Corolla. I love that shit, that back and forth between passionate people. But that will have to wait for another day.

snarky science

Okay, so I was scrolling thru my feed on Facebook the other day, and I came across this…

alien

I didn’t have time to follow the link, but I made a mental note to go back and see what the what this was about.

Today I backtracked thru the I Fucking Love Science site and found the article. Turns out this is the long-dead corpse of a legit 6 inch human being. How cool is that? And it’s not a baby, it’s a six to eight year old female child.

ata1

The article ends with this…

While we do know that Ata was human and most definitely not an extraterrestrial (no matter what the “documentary” Sirius has to say), that’s about the extent of what can be said for sure. More thorough genetic testing is still ongoing and researchers are trying to reconcile the base pairs that did not match up with the human reference. The only information that has been released so far has been preliminary, though the researchers have pledged that further results will go through the appropriate peer-review channels and be published in an accredited scientific journal.
I would just like to thank IFLS for mentioning the documentary Sirius, which I obviously immediately watched.

It’s actually really good. It runs the gamut from government corruption to forbidden knowledge, and tons more info on the tiny person. I’m left to wonder if the IFLS people dropped a mention of it in there to publicly ridicule it or draw attention to it? I mean, why would you bother referencing something you have such utter disregard for? Why even mention the alien angle at all? Possibly because there are still so many unanswered questions regarding the test results that instead of simply acknowledging that heaven forbid scientists don’t know something, you have to fill that void with preemptive mockery and snarky commentary. Maybe they’re just trying too hard to be “cool,” because snark is definitely in right now, and it’s ever-present in my Facebook feed. Very often from IFLS, but also from other sites. I have to make a conscious effort to read through the snark to get to the good stuff sometimes. I can imagine that some people are put off by the tone of some of these otherwise entertaining and informative feeds, because they make no pretense of being open to other points of view and freely mock anyone they deem unworthy of being taken seriously.

I actually think it’s getting to a point where it’s creating and feeding a societal acceptance of using snark and belittling of others’ views to cut off valid debate. Think about it…how often do you hear actual debate anymore? Two sides with opposing views willing to defend their view and listen as others do the same and then have a rigorous, honest debate. Other than on actual debate programs, which I’m probably one of the only people watching, you are not going to see it in the mainstream media. Mainly because of the format of “news” programs, to be honest. There isn’t the time for debate in a segment on CNN or Fox. Also, because so-called experts in the fields that we should be having the most public debate about just simply aren’t willing to publicly debate-willingly acknowledging they are intending to delegitamize the opposing view.  After all, if you accept that your opponent’s view is worthy of debate by having a debate, you’re ceding ground that you don’t have to if you simply move the starting point of the discussion in your favor. If everyone around you simply accepts the premise that your arbitrary starting point is legitimate, you’ve just saved yourself from having to answer potentially uncomfortable questions. Think: Al Gore. This guy’s out on a limb so far that he can’t possibly survive even a cursory search into whether what he’s claiming is actually true. Did you know Al Gore was sued in the UK over his movie being shown to impressionable young kids and presented as fact…

A British High Court judge this week exposed nine inaccuracies in former U.S. vicepresident Al Gore’s award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, labelling it “a political film” and calling many of its claims about climate change “alarmist” and “exaggerated.”

Justice Michael Burton had been asked to rule on whether the showing of the Oscar-winning film in British classrooms amounted to education or indoctrination.

He’s just one obvious example, though. What I do to counter the lack of debate is seek out opposing viewpoints. Anything I’m curious about, I’m going to look into it from all angles and then decide for myself. Take one part Al Gore, add a pinch of Bjorn Lomborg and a dash of Joe Bastardi and what do you get? The knowledge necessary to develop a well-informed opinion. Tada!

Sometimes you see a picture and it stays with you forever. Like this one of a young girl in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. I will never forget that little face peeking out of a burka. It makes me think of my little daughter and how it would make her feel to live without an identity. Just a shape covered in cloth.

PAKISTAN_(F)_0317_-_Swat_valley_sharia

Or this image from a documentary I watched about Saudi Arabia. In a sign of real progress, women are allowed to practice medicine now. That’s huge. It’s a public proclamation, validation of the fact that women are not just “allowed” but capable.

The only catch is that you have to basically wear a bag over your head.

saudi doc

In an interview, the female doctor pictured above says, “Before, the idea of a girl working in a mixed environment was totally rejected. Now it is welcome for a woman to work alongside a man. And this is a great thing.”

That simple statement along with the image of her, performing her duties as a physician with only her eyes exposed, really had an impact on me. Their society is transitioning from a time when women were not allowed to be doctors to a time where they are. The part of society that controls gender-specific dictates has not evolved to catch up to that same point yet, obviously.

But instead of feeling ashamed of having to do her job as a highly educated doctor without the dignity of a human face, she accepts the fact that she is entering into a grand bargain of sorts where she doesn’t rock the boat of the old guard and she can take advantage of the new opportunities being afforded to women.

 

in defense of marriage

I meant to post this back in June, when the profile pics on Facebook were updated to various and sundry rainbow accessories as well as brief yet self-important sounding statements in support of gay marriage notifying me that it must be some sort of official month of public support of the gays.

Personally, I view gay marriage the same way I view straight marriage. Or polygamy. Or whatever other form of marriage people choose.

Marriage is, after all, simply a legal agreement. Religious people will disagree, of course. But in modern times, in our modern world, that is what marriage is. In that light, consenting adults should legally be able to marry in whatever form they choose and society and “the system” will just need to catch up.

I can already hear the people who will rush right out with some nonsense about how people will want to marry goats or dudes will start marrying little girls, but this argument is just a distraction and an attempt to keep the status quo by making any alternative form of marriage automatically perverse. And it is based entirely on the belief that the historic tradition of marriage is the only legitimate one. Because it’s the only one they choose to accept. Well, they are stuck in the past and in complete denial that times have changed. And to these people I would pose one question: if marriage is such a wonderful institution, one which benefits families and children and society, why wouldn’t you encourage more of it, and not less?

I get that the answer will be that marriage under their narrow criteria is the only way it’s good for families, but that is ridiculous. If it’s a positive force for heterosexual families, how could it be somehow not good for other forms of families.

The truth is, it is good for all families. And that’s not even the argument. The argument against gay marriage is always framed as either a) traditional marriage is the only legit form of marriage because of religion or b) the slippery slope argument… letting two dudes or two chicks get married leads to letting three dudes and one chick or four chicks and two dudes which leads to some guy marrying his daughter and finally a woman marries a hat.  Or maybe a bunny.

girl-bunny-3

Honestly, this isn’t a topic I spend a lot of time dwelling on. I guess I have that luxury because I’m in a state-sanctioned heterosexual stereotypical socially acceptable legal spouse-pairing, aka marriage. And while I completely understand why this is an important issue with real-world implications, from adoption and parenting issues to spousal rights and support, and much more, I think the way to get more accomplished is to maybe take a different approach sometimes to get through to the people who are actively working against marriage equality.

Because I think the pop culture war has been largely won. It’s not the average person on the street who is actively fighting against gay marriage, although I guess it has been disallowed by some public referendums. But mainly, it’s politicians who pander to religious people who refuse to accept that the legal definition of marriage needs an update.

I  think it’s important and necessary sometimes to stop and appreciate the great strides that have been made in a relatively short period of time, because that is quite an accomplishment.

And if you are gay, be glad you don’t live in Russia.

I hate you, abc mouse dot com

I have a visceral hatred for abcmouse.com commercials. I actually use them to teach my daughter about how commercials are nothing but propaganda, and how you should never believe the shit you see on t.v.

The absolute worst award goes to “Shea.”

His mom is worried that he’s gonna become a t.v. kid. As she puts it, “a kid that just sits there and watches t.v.” Holy fuck, I sure wish there was some magical parenting tool that could keep 3 year olds from just spontaneously becoming “t.v. kids!” Like, oh, I don’t know, a mom who turns the fucking t.v. off once in a while. I apologize for the potty mouth, but I seriously hate this shit.

This bullshit website peddles their wares to kids as young as 18 months, and tries to convince parents and grandparents that their kids are going to be literally transformed into lovers of knowledge and learning if they simply expose their kids to this by-subscription-only website.

There are countless apps and website people can access for free. For free, people. This website might actually be a great website, I don’t even care at this point. I hate them for their shameless targeting of such young kids and obvious over-promising.

They marginalize the role of parents as teachers and show parents as utterly hapless in our natural abilities to teach our kids. It’s one thing to feel like you aren’t capable of teaching your child a particular topic, like math or something. But that’s not what you’re “teaching” your kids when they’re 18 months old! You’re teaching them life skills, mostly just by example, and hopefully providing them a safe place to spend their time – that’s plenty good enough.

This one gets a dishonorable mention for its use of sad pictures of a poor baby in the hospital. Somebody get that baby a laptop, stat!

I’d rather be an American idiot than a useful idiot

I have to admit that a certain amount of cognitive dissonance is required to maintain my love of America. Don’t get me wrong, there is nowhere else I would rather live, but that’s mostly because I’ve never lived anywhere else, and I don’t know of any other country where I could obtain a comparable lifestyle.

The more I learn about American history, the more I find I have to remind myself that America is literally just a set of geographical borders, a constitution, and a set of laws. What we do with it, as Americans, is up to us. And sometimes people have done some stuff that’s not so admirable. Often from potions of power.

But I refuse to acquiesce that that somehow negates or delegitimatizes the high ideals of our founding documents and the successes we have achieved as a free people. Instead, it makes me feel indignant, and inspired to do two things: expose it and shine a light so we can all acknowledge bad shit happened and move on, and also keep that light shining bright so we can keep bad shit from happening in the future. I don’t see any other way to deal with systemic corruption and the existence of evil.

One of my pet peeves is when people ask the question “how can this happen in America?” in reference to some bad thing happening. It isn’t as if America is some sort of perfect place where bad things can’t or don’t happen, but rather it is a place where we are expected to live up to a certain standard. And that is impossible if we aren’t all in.

There will always be people who benefit from the goodness, but in no way contribute; people who take it completely for granted and deny it’s even true; but there are lots of people who buy in and live good, decent lives afforded by our abundant freedoms and opportunities. But there are no guarantees. No guarantees that we all succeed to the same degree, and no guarantee that you aren’t born into shit circumstances-even in America.

It’s actually pretty amazing that America still exists, relatively intact, in the face of attacks on so many fronts. When I stumbled upon this video of a talk given by a former KGB agent defector back in 1983, I was blown away. What he says is relevant to this very day.

After I watched this I found a cool interview with him as well…