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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gun Legislation for Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun Activists

Whether you're a hard-core gun control or gun freedoms person, you're no doubt concerned about whether or not current legislation is going to challenge your view of building a safer society. Here's a link to an article I wrote on the current Senate legislation that will make activists on both sides get moving:


Monday, September 26, 2011

How Not to Start a New Blog


I starteded a new blog about an old project I been aworkin' on!

I believe that should be a pretty fair demonstration of how not to start a new blog.  If you would like to fail at starting a new blog, of course you must never tell your reader the actual topic of the blog.  Instead, you must rely on their blind loyalty to you, and assume that simply because you, the omnipotently wonderful author, have written said blog, they should see it.

If you would like to fail at advertising a new blog, you could also come right out as a blatant money-hog.  Yes, I said money-hog.  Like that little piggy bank you never put pennies in, so it remained empty and hungry, crying out in plastic or ceramic silence for jingling sustenance.  "Ads!  Ads to click on at !  I need money, and you have it!  So click on some ads!"

Don't ever do that.  It will cause google to remove you from their adsense program and quite possibly shut down your blog.

See how I'm waiting until the very end to tell you what the new project is?  See how by now you don't really care and may already have left the page?  That's how not to start a new blog.

I have, for several years, wondered what sounds define our world, for if music is merely sounds the mind interprets in numeric patterns--well, our entire earth's natural cycles and physics systems and even our history proceeds in patterns and repeats.  If you could live outside of that whole world and possibly comprehend all the patterns and repeats, and actually listen to the entire scene from the beginning until the end of time, would you hear music?  If I wanted to make a snapshot of that music, what sounds ought I include?

And so began the Most Important Sounds project.  I have asked people all over the world what sounds they consider the most important.  I have only recently begun to include celebrities, and to compile the data given to me by all the citizens of the world.  I have realized that when you begin asking this sound question of people, you begin to feel their hearts.  You begin to want to ask more sound questions.  You begin to know yourself.

And so I'm launching this new/old project to share with you all.  I want to brighten your day, one question and answer at a time, and put us that much closer to peaceful understanding of one another through sound.
Be there.  It's a blog about you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Not To Share Your Feelings With Your Reader

I realize that I was once so poignant, so profound and beautiful.

Perhaps that's inappropriate arrogance, but I really don't think so.  I was reading over an old blog post where I simply poured out my poor, sad soul, and I find it much more attractive to read than all these academic articles and all the information that actually benefits you all. 

The weird thing--the weird thing dangles around me, but I generally ignore it.  Today I pluck it out of the air, off the string of thought that begins with checking my blog stats.  I pluck out that weird thing, and see that it is this:

You, who read this, know so much more about me than I know about you.  I know you are from Russia, and you use Firefox and Chrome, and sometimes those weird alternative webbrowsers that make you look so hipster.  I know that when you come from the US, you come to me searching for strange things like blog trampling or bike forum information.  What are you?  I know that once in a while, one of you will google my name. 

I wonder things about you.  I wonder if anything I write actually helps you or convinces you.  I wonder if you're only here to plaigerize academic papers.  I wonder if you're only here to creep out on me, if one day you'll strangle me in my sleep.  I don't worry.  My husband and I can keep you incapacitated until the cops arrive.  But I do wonder.

I wonder, because a large number of you google ""  What are you?  Are you robots?  Or do you just not know how to type that into the URL bar?  Are you a kindly eighty year old who prays for me every day?  Are you a hater?

Most of all, I wonder if I can actually do anything to help you.  I wish, I hope that I can, in some small way, write something that brings light to your day and fire to your heart.  But I suppose that's not my job.  I can write, but the light and the fire...

Well, they burst from the dying Prometheus.

Review of Bastiat's "The Law": If Only This Were Written Today

Some problems hang, like a dim light suspended in time, dangling over the sea of history to cast dreary reflection on every epoch. Frederic Bastiat's "The Law" addresses one such timeless problem.

The question of good government and the paradoxes of its involvement in the private sector have boggled politicians and philosophers for ages. In an era much like ours--an era of technologically-empowered government surveillance, complex social struggle, decreased personal privacy, and rising cries for government economic intervention--Bastiat attributes all policy problems to a common root. The timeless problem, he says, is a misinterpretation of the place of the Law in the lives of the citizens.

Unlike his more famous contemporaries, Bastiat insists that the only place of law is to uphold justice, protecting people, their liberty, and their property. Injustice and tyranny keep the people down: as long as the Law prevents injustice, people can manage social engineering, religion, welfare, education, or labor on their own.

Heartless? Not really. Despite his stunning sarcasm, Bastiat displays remarkable charity towards his opponents, even arguing that all his opponents have philanthropic aims at heart. Long passages, in context, from his opponents comprise nearly half of his book. Granted, he uses those quotes to expose the arrogant view of man that ultimately leads to tyranny and government micromanagement--nevertheless, his open-hearted attitude towards disagreement shines.

Bastiat's argument against "the white man's burden" and his critique of classical elitism alone makes him a must read. He quips that if the legislators spent nearly as much time trying to improve themselves as they spent reorganizing other cultures, they would find the task difficult enough to keep them busy. No legislator has the right to force improvement on someone else. Despite his insipid argument against universal suffrage--that in a perfect society, no rights would be infringed upon so no disadvantaged would need to vote--Bastiat ranks foremost among the progressives.

I did not want to jump on the bandwagon of hype surrounding Bastiat's nearly libertarian dissertation. I actually avoided reading the book because I didn't want to join his intellectual groupies; reading through it caught me on a river of livid prose that washed into an ocean of happiness and confidence in thought and soul. I, too, want liberty, and in an era filled with clamor for government to get out of our lives, you could not find a more timely or beautiful work than Bastiat's to translate the reasoning behind those cries.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I don't normally post stuff that doesn't belong to me, but this is just too awesome.  You need to look at this.  SEE IT LOOK IT'S DOWN THERE LOOK LOOK

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Almighty (almost) Hedgehog: Introducing My New Pet

"Touch me, and I will impale you so hard your grandchildren will perforate!"

It's morbid, but you might hear that if the puffing white pin-cushion could talk instead of hiss. The defensive "huffing" isn't just show: this spiny tank bleeds with immunity to snake venom, and devours any animal smaller than itself.

"In the wild, they kill cobras," the pet store worker tells me.

While the African pygmy hedgehog I poked probably never saw "the wild," varying species of hedgehog range free everywhere in the Old World continents, including the famous home of the cobra, India. In 2009 hedgehogs in Hebrides devastated the island bird populations, attracting animal control specialists armed with lethal injections. The British Hedgehog Protection Society reports today that hedgehogs thrive even in urban habitats; the Society promotes "hedgehog-friendly" gardening information to encourage this survival. Whether a menace or an attraction, free-roaming hedgehogs rule their habitats with fierce spunk.

The up-for-adoption African pygmy hedgehog I met at the pet store had suffered six months of neglect, making him more fierce than spunky. Hedgehogs are natural loners--even a male/female pair should never be housed together without supervision--but they warm up, I was told. Taken with the urchin and unable to resist the challenge, I bought the neglected animal. A t-shirt in the cage became my scented diplomacy, and within a few weeks the hedgehog became comfortable with my smell. Eventually, he began to play with me and eat from my hand.

Even now, my hedgehog huffs every now and then just to show his impressive spines, reminding me that underneath the cuteness pumps a heart full of poison resistant blood. This fist-sized animal demands respect--something not a lot of pets get these days.

And while his ferocity is humorous, respect is definitely something hedgehogs deserve.

How not to Update Regularly, Part 2 long has it been?  A month?
Well over that.  I'm getting good at this "how not to" business.  I went to the beach, got a new job writing in DC, worked on my book, failed at working on my book, and so on and so forth.
But you don't care about that.  Point being...this is just a papers blog, so I'm under no pressure to update.  Ha!
I guess that also means I'm under no pressure to succeed. =(