Skip to main content.

Archives

This is the archive for May 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You have to wonder how many Americans realize that the people running the place are simply... Oh, I can't even find a word. If I say "insane", it's likely to elicit a knowing chuckle, but little real understanding. If I say something like "retarded", or "evil", or "out of touch with reality", I'll just get a quick dismissal as a malcontent or worse.

What can I say to express the fact that these people are literally insane, retarded, evil, out of touch with reality, or all of the above? The meanings of those terms are so diluted from overuse - even the term literally doesn't mean literally anymore - that they have no real meaning. Try, just for a moment, to understand that I mean them exactly in the way the dictionaries would have them.

Billy points us to another example for which there is simply no rational explanation. A school district in Detroit built two schools celebrated for their "green" qualities. These schools are hailed as marvels because they use 20% less energy. But they don't serve their purpose, they can't be used as schools, at least not on warm days, and so today they sit empty.

I can build something in the next 5 minutes that uses 100% less energy than any school out there. Like, a pile of rocks. But that wouldn't be a school, now would it? No more than these buildings plopped down in the middle of some Detroit parking lot are schools. Sure, they use less energy, but that's only because they don't do things that require energy, things like keeping the temperature inside livable, that are, by the District's admission, necessary for them to be a functional school.

It's astounding that such complete absence of thought, of principle, integrity, and simple common sense can be out there for everyone to see, yet most people choose not to see them, to put them off to good intentions, bad judgement, or even corruption - as if empty good intentions, bad judgement, and corruption are simply meaningless eccentricities.

It's not a mistake, it's a concious decision to choose form over the function. But if you're going to do that, what is the purpose of making it in the first place, in any form? Is anyone out there capable of judgement anymore?

Hello... Hello... Anyone?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm jealous. Billy has room for all his books. The bulk of mine are packed in those file boxes you can buy for about a buck apiece at Office Max, currently occupying about 150 cubic feet in a storage locker. The remaining hundred or two are stuffed into what little room in my house that isn't occupied by eBay related crap. I lately buy books at the rate of about 5 for every one I have time to read, and probably own at least two or three times what I'll ever be able to read in my lifetime. But nothing beats being able to go into a room and browse for the next one to read.

I recently heard of an acquaintance who lost 30,000 books in a house fire. Short of losing a loved one or an important body part, this is one of the worst tragedies I can imagine. A house can be replaced, but all those books? I tell ya, if there was a fire here, the first, and maybe only things, I'd go back in for would be the data from my computers and the books. And the data can wait. Billy, you got a halon system for that library?

Another interesting tidbit, I used to spend a lot of time doing research in the downtown Chicago library. They had a rule there that the bums that came into the library to get out of the cold and catch a few Z's could not loiter there without actually using the library for it's intended purpose. So what did the bums do? They would take a book to their chairs or tables and snooze with the book in front of them, just for appearances, and often held upside down. Now, me, I have nothing but time and no responsibilities, and I'd be in heaven to be in such a place. But them? To them the books were nothing but props, worthless objects used as a talisman to protect them from being booted. That's why they're bums, and will always be bums.