Tag Archives: Random

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

I’ve seen too many collections of ‘Pictures that Rocked the World’ for them to really do much world rocking. The pictures lose so much meaning when they’re dragged out at very chance just to sell another Life pictorial collection. I like looking through the collections, but I usually end up flipping through them rather quickly.

Not long ago, I came across this photo collections. Many of them are too overused to be of any great impact. How many times have you seen the picture of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square? When you last saw it, What did you think about? Did you think about the incredible excitement that everyone felt that day, knowing that the years of death and destruction were over? Sadly, even the picture of a Vietnamese monk burning himself to death doesn’t arouse much emotion. Through over-exposure and commercialization these have all but completely lost their meaning and their power. Still, there were two in that collection that really struck me.

First, the lone student defying the tanks in Tiananmen Square caught me. Maybe it did because two separate but very similar shots of the event were shown, giving me an immediate second look. I stared at the images for quite a while. Continue reading

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The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.

A few years back I quit smoking cigarettes.  It was a good thing.  It was the smart thing to do.  I had already slowed to the pace of the occasional smoker, only with friends and only a night or two a week.  So when my wife to be asked me to cut the habit for good, I was fine with it.  It wasn’t the first time I had quit.  The college I went to had anti-smoking policies, so during the semesters I was nicotine free.  I’ve never had what I would consider an addiction: the hardest part of not smoking was feeling a bit awkward when hanging out with my still-smoking friends.  It was the fidgeting of my fingers that just felt empty, not a nervous need for a smoke.

I distinctly remember one of the times that I quit (don’t judge, most quit at least twice).  I had over half a pack left, but I had decided to drop it, at least for the time being.  I walked out of a grocery store and lit up my “last” one.  I looked down in the pack and saw all those lovely white sticks, those eleven or twelve perfectly recessed filters and wonderfully scripted blue type elegantly letting the reader know that the bit of heaven they are about to enjoy is a Parliament.

Now being the cheap person that I am, I couldn’t throw them away.  That had been my intention, but now that the moment of truth was upon me, the trashcan at my right hand, I couldn’t do it.  I know you’re probably thinking that I was just having second thoughts about quitting, but that really wasn’t it.  I couldn’t just throw them away.  I spent four bucks on that pack, and I wasn’t about to chuck it in the trash.
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Philip Morris: Winning the war on Alzheimer’s since 1847.

My wife, Anna, is amazing. She is everything I could have hoped for, and we’re very happy. The thing is, though, we are completely different. I know the whole “opposites attract” thing, and I’m not complaining. Really it’s not annoying; it’s usually kind of funny.

One of our biggest differences is how we look at food. She is very healthy, thinking some light steamed vegetables over a bed of brown rice with a small side of chicken breast is the perfect meal. I happen to think most foods can be considerably improved with the addition of gravy. This isn’t the only difference, but its fairly indicative of our two schools of thought.

Every once in a while I read an article or come across a new medical study that, finally, supports something I do as being healthy. Not long ago, a study surfaced showing that by drinking four or more cups of coffee a day will help prevent colon cancer. Victory! Never mind the fact that the study also shoed increased stomach problems due to the volume of the caffeinated brew, you have to focus when reading these things.
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When you’re right, you’re right. This is not one of those times.

I just read an article over at Lutonaut about going to the movies. Here’s a little tidbit:

i haven’t been inside a movie theater in a while so i don’t know the prices. let’s just say that it costs $8 dollars to see a movie. $8 dollars. $8 f*****g dollars to see one movie once. what are paying for that $8 dollars, aside from the socializing?

* to see it on a big screen.
* to see it when it comes out.

I completely disagree. What are you paying for? You are paying to see a work of art in the way the artist designed it to be seen. It’s the difference between seeing seeing The Last Supper in person versus seeing a photograph of the mural in a book. Can you enjoy both? Yes certainly. Is it the same looking at the actual painting and the book? No in the least.

Are all films great works of art? No, that’s definitely not what I’m saying. Not all movies are worth the price of a ticket, but that’s why we have reviews and film critics. I actually see very few movies in the theater.
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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Today is the day of The Bomb. That’s right, sixty-three years ago, outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was detonated. It was a day that drastically shaped the course of modern history. It was a day that proved just how much man could do. It was a day that gave birth to the end of World War II and to the beginning of the Cold War. It was a truly original event.

I didn’t realize today’s significance until I read a post over at Boing Boing. After witnessing the blast, Robert Oppenheimer, the Father of the Atomic Bomb, quoted the Bhagavad Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.” I’ve been thinking about that for the last few hours.

I’m not trying to make a statement as to the morality or correctness of atomic warfare. I simply think it’s worth taking a moment to consider the ramifications of the event that happened sixty-three years ago.

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Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell.

So if you’d like to know something strange about me here you go:

I commute to work on the train. I prefer it to driving as it gives me a bit of a walk in the mornings, to and from the station, but more so because I get to spend an extra hour a day reading. This is not the strange part.

I work in Burbank, but live in Santa Clarita, meaning that part of my daily ride takes me through a mile and a half long tunnel. There are no lights in the tunnel, and at the speed the train usually travels on that length of track, it takes over two minutes to come out the other end.

It is daylight when the train enters the tunnel and suddenly everything is pitch black outside the windows. If you look hard enough, you can just barely see the tunnel walls less than a foot from the windows. Because the walls are so close, a heavy, but somewhat muted rushing noise can be heard.

After a few seconds in the tunnel, I begin to feel strange. It’s hard to explain, but I get the feeling that all of us on that train are never going to get off, that we’re going to be riding in that car forever through the dark. It’s a heavy, but not overwhelming sadness; it’s a dull ache, not a stabbing pain.

No one talks, no music is playing, and everyone looks pale and tired under the blue fluorescent lights. I can’t read when I’m in the tunnel. I try, but I keep re-reading the same page over and over with nothing sticking in my mind.

The car rocks slightly as it moves, and every once in a while someone will look around. No one smiles. Somehow I can’t get it out of my head; the tunnel will never end. I’m not claustrophobic, and I’m not afraid. The feeling is one of sadness, of resignation, as if we’ve already been there too long to be afraid anymore. It’s a very odd sensation: knowing that you’ve accepted this fate. It’s more than just a daydream, at least at the time.

Then the train breaks out into the light again, and I’m back. The sun is usually setting at this point, broadcasting golden light that makes everything in the car seem instantly transformed.

I didn’t fully realize all of this until just last night, but I know my mind has been working on this a while. I just thought I’d share.

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Our best thoughts come from others. aka The Links Vol. 1

So here’s a list of a few websites I am a fan of. Check ‘em out.

LibraryThing.com – A great place for book lovers. Catalog you library, discuss books, network with other bibliophiles.
Gutenberg.org – I’m sure most people know about this one already, but if you don’t, this is the place to find free public domain e-books. The have a great catalog.
Librivox.org – Similar to Project Gutenberg but for audio books. You can even volunteer to read for some if you’re so inclined.
Garyc.mooo.com:3232/sketch – This one’s just kind of fun. Draw a sketch and swap it with another user from somewhere in the world.
freealbums.blogsome.com – This is a blog that posts links to free, legal music. All links are for full albums.
CigarMonster.com – This one is probably only going to be interesting to people who enjoy a good cigar. They only sell one box of cigars a day, but the deals are great. Think Woot for cigars.

Enjoy.

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