Tuesday, May 30, 2006

U2's "Are You Going To Wait Forever?"

You cannot understand society until you appreciate eating alone. Sitting by yourself with only food to keep you company is where you discover if you like yourself or not. If you cannot survive eating alone, you will never be happy. You will waste your life at dinner parties avoiding yourself.

It is all about yourself. You cannot live for other people. You cannot live for society. You have to live for yourself. You have to want to live. You have to want.

I am not saying there is no such thing as love. I am not saying material possessions do not matter. But you have to want someone or something before they have meaning.

Many people go through life never wanting. They react. They do what they are supposed to do. They rarely eat alone.

(Yes, I am reading Rand's The Fountainhead.)

"The Sun Came Up With No Conclusions"*

I went home this weekend. I worked at the grocery store. I filled the produce and beer. It emptied. I filled it again. There is no better feeling in the world.

I told a colleague. He said, "Yeah, mindless work is good every now and then."

It was not mindless. Writing this blog is mindless. Studying for meaningless exams is mindless. Doing what everyone else is doing is mindless. Honest work is never mindless.

My father told me he was disappointed I went to graduate school. I knew he was, but he never told me. It bothers him he cannot understand what I am doing. It bothers him I have produced nothing. It bothers me too.

*from Bright Eyes' "Road to Joy"

Monday, May 29, 2006

"What Is Seen And What Is Not Seen"

The following is my response to an article ML's sister sent to her. The article by Michael Ventura gave statistics and asked if America was still number one.

This article discusses what is. I do not care if the statistics are correct. Statistics cannot determine what should be. God does not care about statistics. He does not need to guess.

One cannot look at statistics and decide the way a country should be governed. The founding fathers had no statistics. They did a fine job building a country around ideals not emotional reactions to leading statistics. Statistics provide information, but they must be examined critically.

The most important thing economics teaches is there are two parties to every transaction. The trade and debt statistics the article cites means very little. Everything must equal zero in the end. China is not giving the US cheap goods for free. They are investing in the US. They think these investments are going to pay off. Who are we to disagree with them? The same can be said about private debt. The credit card companies expect the money to be paid back. Nobody makes loans without expecting to get paid back. Both debtors and their creditors think these loans are worth it. Don't you think the individuals involved in the transaction know the worthiness of these loans better than we do?

Here is the choice the world has to make:

We can either reject or champion individual liberty.

The U.S. has championed individual liberty for hundreds of years. The US has no national healthcare, because national healthcare rejects individual liberty. It makes people conform. The healthy subsidizes the sick. A non-smoker pays the same fees as a smoker. A doctor studies for ten years and has his income limited by the state. The incentives for new medicines and procedures are determined by the state. People wait in line. People die while they are waiting. National healthcare contradicts Americans' ideals.

Individual liberty requires people to make decisions for themselves. Some decisions are tough. Some families forfeit health care in favor of food and shelter. But it is their decision. Their lives are not put in the hands of some bureaucrat like ourselves.

The major flaw of the article is it accepts the myth of regional economics. Countries cannot compete. The US is not competing with Europe. Individual citizens compete. Some Americans (like ourselves) are moving up the social scale. Some are not. Do we spend all our money, time, and effort on those who are not? Or, do we get out of the way of those who are?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days

Because I am a petty asshole I feel the need to reiterate my criticism of Thank You For Smoking. Rand's quote from the last post captured what I thought about Thank You For Smoking. It was good trash. But it was still trash.

Tonight I saw Sophie Scholl - The Final Days. It captured everything a movie should be. (I cried. I have never cried at a movie in my life.) It was about people who refused to let what is stand in the way of what should be. It was about people who saw through spin and decided to fight against it. People who refused to accept bullshit.

I dare anyone to watch Sophie Scholl - The Final Days and say Thank You For Smoking was a good movie.

A Quote From Ms. Rand

"Its enormous headlines, glaring pictures, and oversimplified text hit the senses and entered men's consciousness without any necessity for an intermediary process of reason, like food shot through the rectum, requiring no digestion." from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

This quote sums up what separates good art from bad art. Anyone can make porn. It takes someone special to make something good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What I Want To Do

I want to show indifference matters. Indifferent people recognize only individuals act. They do not worry about others. They do not get in others' way. America's greatness stems from Americans being indifferent to one another. Americans get out of each others' way.

I want to make a movie entitled Michael and Me. It will parody Roger and Me. The premise will be myself searching for Michael Moore. I will lampoon him like he lampooned Roger Smith, Phil Knight, Charlton Heston, and G.W. Bush. I will show Michael Moore has no ideals. I will show Michael Moore stands for nothing. I will show laughter by itself does not mean anything.

I want to read books and listen to music.

I want to eat tons of dark chocolate.

I want to avoid work as long as possible.

I want to create.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Movie Review

Thank You For Smoking is superficial. It does not deeply examine anything. It bitches and complains without suggestion. It is like me.

It refuses ideals in favor of in-betweens.

Smoking, drinking, guns, and causal sex can be bad for you. Limiting personal freedom is also dangerous.

What is the answer? Thank You For Smoking does not care. Answers do not matter. Answers prevent complaining and suggests action. Complaining makes us happy. Action reminds us of work. Discovering answers is hard work.

Thank You For Smoking encompasses everything wrong with America. Yes, it is funny. But in the end it makes one sad.

I give it a 31.342.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Economics

Input Payments

1. Land receives rent.
2. Capital receives interest.
3. Labor receives wages.
4. Entrepreneurship receives profit.

(Perfect) Competition

Principles Concept
Perfect competition requires output revenue equaling input cost. It does not require zero profit. It requires the sum of rent, interest, wages, and profit to equal zero. Using this framework, the operating system market could be in perfect competition. The profit Bill Gates receives could be required for his entrepreneurship.

Intermediate Concept
Perfect competition has no bearing on society. It is an abstraction that can be applied to every market. It teaches competition can secure an outcome where laborers, stockholders, and landowners, and entrepreneurs are paid their market value. It says nothing about "fairness."

Competition creates market values. What these market values mean is debatable.

Advanced Concept
Market values are fair values. Laborers, stockholders, landowners and entrepreneurs are paid their worth. Individuals not happy with their allotment can change. Laborers can move to different jobs or become stockholders or landowners. Individuals make their own decisions. Individuals making their own decisions is proper.

But perfect competition only occurs in a society free of government intrusion...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Mr. Natural! What Does It All Mean? Don't Mean Sheeit..."

I had one of those conversations today. One where you realize your lack of intelligence. One where you see other people have thought as long and hard as you but came to different conclusions. At first it is depressing. You come back to Earth with a crash. But then it puts life in perspective.

I am insignificant. If I die tonight, the world would neither be a better nor worse place. I am the falling tree in the forest no one hears. I do not matter. Very few do.

I am not saying I have no responsibility. I am not saying I should go on a murderous rampage. I cannot ignore problems, but I have to look for solutions with the foresight I will probably not find them.

I keep coming back to the same issues.

"The best thing you have ever done for me is to help me to take my life seriously."~Indigo Girls' "Closer to Fine"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gordon, Jennifer, And Kevin

A selection from Gordon Lightfoot's "Apology"

"I remember all those lines
Givin' me direction
Gather not your gold on earth
It will not pass inspection

And still I think when I'm alone
Away from all night splendor
If gold could buy one night with her
I wish I had some to send her"

I watched Rumor Has It Tuesday night. I did not sleep during the movie. I laughed. I was separated from my sorrows for two hours. As my father says, it was entertainment.

But I could not leave it alone. I had to think about the movie, even though the movie did not ask for thought.

The movie was about the struggle between doing right and doing wrong. It was about flawed characters who did wrong and the people who allowed them to do wrong. The message was as long as you repent, all sins should be forgiven. Humans cannot act rationally and that is okay.

Of course I do not agree with any of the movie's premises, but I recognize the struggle.

So there is two things I got from the movie. First it was not a bad movie. Second I have to learn how to keep my mouth shut and stop bothering people with my interpretations of mediocre movies.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Inability To Finish

I cannot finish. I am good at starting. I am good at getting half-way through. But I cannot finish.

I have not finished cleaning my office. It was too great a task to do everything I wanted to do, but I started and failed to finish.

I started cleaning my apartment. I have not finished. I will probably finish tonight but only because I have to.
ML told me a story about her nephew wanting to quit once he was losing a board game. His father would not let him. My father would not let me. But I hit reset on the Nintendo more than once when he was not looking.

It is about want. I do not want to finish. I thought I wanted a clean office, but I do not. I thought I wanted a PhD in economics, but I do not.

Sometimes finishing means quitting. Sometimes finishing means getting the hell out of Dodge. (With apologies to Rand) sometimes it means compromise.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Tears Will Not Come

I remember the horror movie
I remember being scared
I remember being paralyzed
But I was a dumb kid

Nightmares mean very little
But the daytime is frightening
The computer screen
The office
The possibility of failure
Scare me
Like I was a dumb kid

My stomach twists
My mind warps
My idea disappears

Ignorance cannot comfort

I look for love
All I find is me

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Economics In Strange Places

"Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak. That is all that can be said for them. They are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account."

No this quote did not come from Hayek. It came from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (104). Wilde puts it better than Hayek. Good intentions pave the road to hell. Good intentions are lies bureaucrats like myself and my colleagues tell ourselves to justify our plunder.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

"The One Charm Of The Past Is That It Is The Past"*

I have spent three days acting like I wanted to clean my office. It is a bigger mess now than it was before I started.

I have too many meaningless books.

My dream has always been a beach house with a massive library. I would sit on the beach reading books. Every now and then I would write down an idea. But mostly I would read.

I am tired of worrying. I am going to stop.

"The one charm of the past is that it is the past."

*Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thank You Ms. Rand And Mr. Mises

Suddenly it became clear
No more fear
In himself,
He held the all the power needed

He could sit
He could sleep
He could act

All those walls he was so intent on tearing down

He was finally able to hope
Finally see a light
Even if he did not recognize the tunnel

To Spalding Gray

Went to church looking for Truth
All I found was a congregation

Went to university looking for reason
All I found were obstacles

Went to a woman looking for spirituality
All I found was tension

Went to a hospital looking for healing
All I found was greed

Went to the river looking for a sliver of hope
And I found it

The waters flowed without care
Did not give a damn about fair
Or the lack of hair,
Or money,
Or churches,
Or schools,
Or women,
Or hospitals

If it flooded
People scurried

If it dried
People cried

It always won

I jumped in because of hope
But when I emerged my sins still perspired from my soul

I knew I was not the river
I felt empty
I wanted to run
I wanted to hide

But all I could do
Was "wholeheartedly accept the struggle"

And again it began
Longing for something not there

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Calming Down

Lately I have been wondering about my calling in life. What am I supposed to be doing?

On my chalkboard I have written, "While you are figuring life out, you have to do something." I wrote it a month ago. I wrote it because I was not doing anything. I have not done anything since I wrote it.

When I start thinking this way I go through my idea folder. Today I was looking for something I wrote about the philosophy of science. I could not find it , but I said something like "the philosophy of science cannot be discussed until the question of the public classroom is addressed."

I did find this:

The individual is a perfectionist. He is an idealist with a clear vision.
But once the individual develops colleagues, once he forms his cartel, his regression begins. He tries to make decisions in the best interest of the group. His new vision is murky. He quickly becomes a "realist."
Public goods are a myth. There is "no best interest of the group." There is only my interest.
This does not answer my original question, but I thought it was relevant.
A blog is an online idea folder.
While I am figuring life out, I have to do something.
I am going to study.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

"You Gotta Make A Decision. You Leave Tonight Or Live And Die This Way."*

Last night I convinced myself this summer would be great. I would make it great, the summer of WB.

This morning I knew the summer will not be great.

I am still young, dumb, and full of cum. I still have no idea of what I am doing. I cannot find the courage to pass a test. I cannot find the courage to quit playing children's games. I cannot find the courage to make a decision.

But when you are old past summers always seem great. Time has a way of erasing the bad and highlighting the good. If this manipulation is good, bad, or meaningless, I do not know. But when I am 35 and have to really work, this summer will be great.

For some strange reason I take solace in this fact.

*From Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Cheap toilet paper should be banned. I know this complaint goes against my libertarian ethic (and I do not really believe it), but cheap toilet paper is inefficient, ineffective, and makes your ass hurt.

Conversation at the campus bus stop at 12:15AM:

Asian girl: "Did you just come from class?"

Me: "No, I am a graduate student studying for an exam. Did you come from class?"

Asian girl: "No, I was just making a pass."

She might have said "guess," but "pass" is a better story.

A drunk English major told who wanted to get a PhD and write a novel said his favorite author was John Grisham. I immediately went on a tirade about my Rules of Reading. (I cannot wait to read his novel.)

Three words for Ultimate Frisbee: two point play. I can only imagine the excitement that would bring after touchdowns.