Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Final Frontier

"Space is not the final frontier. The final frontier is the human soul."
David Gerrold. Photo is the Orion Nebula.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It's been awhile between blog housekeeping and philosophy reports, so here goes.

Google Adsense informs me that it's instituting something called "interest based advertising" which I don't totally understand, but since the email advises me to "revise your privacy policy" I'm assuming it means visitors to this site would be followed home by some sort of spy who gauges interests by what other sites they visit. I don't know if that's actually how it works, but until I do understand it--and I'm sure I am not giving visitors here something they didn't bargain on getting, I am taking down the Google Adsense ads. They're gone already from this blog, and I'll remove them from my others by the time this new policy takes effect.

I haven't made many cents on them anyway. I'm keeping the Amazon slideshow, even though I haven't made much on that either (if you click on it and go to Amazon, and perchance even buy something, I get a cut), I like how it looks and there's no intrusion I know of.

Otherwise, I should apologize for my general ineptness--combined with a specific lack of interest--in twists and turns on the Internets that might make it easier for people to get here, like through feeds etc. Someday I may pursue such matters. But maybe not. My interest remains saying what I want to say in the form I want to say it, and while I'd like some more format choices (like the ability to size photographs on the page) I am not spending a lot of time--make that any time-- on social or other networking, or seeking ways to attract more "clicks." I'd appreciate readers, but I somehow don't pine for clicks. I get my clicks on Route 66.

Speaking of clicks, three of my blogs seem to be vying for the most in a given month: this one, Soul of Star Trek and Stage Matters. Stage Matters has come a long way, and right now it is getting far more attention than any others. But I assume that's because it's spring, and college freshmen and high schoolers apparently around the world are doing their papers on To Kill A Mockingbird, and they are following googled photos to my site. Go figure. Still, it does seem to have actual readers, and some of them actually on the North Coast. Not that the newspaper that prints my Stage Matters column includes it in the blogs their robot follows and links to. (Don't know about robots? Don't worry.)

Anyway, over to the left is a running notion of what's on my other blogs, which I think is pretty cool, and more fun than putting everything here. Although when I look at some other folks' blogs, like The Bitten Apple, I do get depressed. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels yakking on about what everybody else yaks on about, while Indie (and others) get to the individual crux.

I'm getting less interested in the blogosphere in general, especially the political sites I habitually visit. The level at Daily Kos seems about age 14 now, Huffington Post's headlines are just as sensationalistic and misleading as the print newspapers it supposedly supplants, and everyone is becoming so obsessed with texting and twittering--two new names for what is still properly called gossipping--that I'm feeling bereft.

But then I'm a crank, and becoming more comfortable in my crankitude. Not that I necessarily have actually had the choice, but I happily surrender known influence and "clicks" as it has meant an absence of psychotic commenting. I know this doesn't qualify as the same kind of outrage as genocide or CIA torture and the other stuff that makes you wonder whether this species has any business existing, but the psychotic and obsessive violence and delusional discourse that seems inevitable once you get ten or more comments on a blog, does not inspire faith in the future.

Maybe I should do that--combine everything into one blog, and call it The Daily Crank. What do you think? Any non-psychotic comments?

One more I further violate the blogcommandment of extreme brevity, and only one thought per post. I am so far from the mainstream, in which blog posts are eternal the way they were first typed (so even those very well paid bloggers at TIME routinely misspell or use "effect" when they mean "affect," but they won't ever correct it; however, if they are forced to correct a fact, they duly note that they changed it, or that would be in violation of...something). Because I continue to revise each post, and so might re-post the same post 12 times in quick succession.

But even weirder than that, I go back and read posts days, weeks, months later, and if I can improve them, I do. I just added a few lines to a memorial for John Updike. And I didn't explain it! I just, you know, made it better. How strange is that?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Last Scud of Day

"The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk."
--Walt Whitman

Monday, March 16, 2009


What were they thinking? AIG and the $165 million in bonuses to the division of the company most responsible for their disastrous, catastrophic decisions. On the Sunday shows, and in news reports over the weekend, it seemed that the new prez of the company had convinced Treasury people and administration financial advisors that (a) he didn't want to give out the bonuses but he was contractually bound to do so, and (b) the government couldn't stop them either.

But that didn't survive past Monday morning, when President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and other members of Congress got into it, as well as the Attorney General of New York. Now the Administration is restructuring payments to make sure it isn't government money, remedies under existing law are being sought by Treasury and others as ordered by the President, several bills are being introduced in Congress that deal with it in different ways.

Besides the bonuses, there were additional statements by the new AIG prez indicating they were necessary to retain "the best and the brightest" in the company. Which led to further outrage, and Rep. Barney Frank pointing out that the U.S. is an 80% owner of AIG, and ought to be firing some people rather than retaining them.

So if anybody is still wondering why it is dangerous in a democracy to have a very small group of people who pay themselves tons of money, while the vast majority has vastly less, this is a case in point. It's the Culture of Greed, a mindset, a consciousness, as well as an actual subculture: people who know only other people who don't get it.

Given the fact that a share of AIG and a buck will buy you a cup of coffee (though not quite a latte), it's hard not to also believe that what's really going on is gold collar looting. They're going to get as much as they can while they can still get anything. Because this company--and this world--is never going to be the same. Let's hope.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"Eternity is in love with the productions of time."
--William Blake