February 28, 2003

dog = wheelbarrow

“The dog is howling again.”

“We should just have it join the band.”

“Yeah. We could have it on stage during our next show.”

“In a cage.”

“And feed it beer.”

“And we’d be known to everyone as that band with the drunk dog.

“Yeah. So, I saw this band last night. Oh yeah, how were they? I don’t remember… but their dog was cool.


“We should get together over the weekend, have a few beers and run some charts.”

“Yeah, and answer the phone all drunk and be like, Hey you, I’m answering the phone all drunk!

“What if your mom called?”

“I’d be all like, Mom, what the hell are you doing calling me today? You know Saturday is my drinking day!

“Drinking Day. Or as we called it around my house, Father’s Day.”



“That’s not funny.”

February 26, 2003

liberate iraq signs!

Support Our Troops!

Get your own yard sign!

Duluth — Friday, Feb. 28th, 4pm – 6pm: Piedmont Plaza, 2818 Piedmont Ave

St. Paul — Saturday, March 1st, Noon – 2pm: Minnesota State Capitol

I’ll pick mine up before driving down to the Cities. I’m gonna be seeing Yonder Mountain String Band and my parents who have been in Hawaii for two weeks and my friend who’s been in Japan for the last four months. If you want a ride over to Piedmont gimme a holler. We’ll make it a party.

And here’s a photo gallery from their last distribution, where they gave away 5,000 signs.

February 25, 2003

the lady in white

Bill Whittle has a new essay: CONFIDENCE.

Take a deep breath. Clear your head. Set aside the next few minutes and read. Feel the stones lifting off your chest? Realize now that the stones had been there so long that you didn’t even notice them anymore?

We can do it. We’re human and we’re free, and that’s enough.

I’m slowly crafting a response in my brain. It will likely involve college, boredom, accomplishment, The Beach Boys and a swagger.


A list of all the U.N. resolutions leading up to the current resolution proposed by the United States that says Iraq has not been in full compliance, has not disarmed, and must now face the consequences. Looks like we’re on number 19. How many more will it take until it’s not a rush to war? How many more last chances does Saddam deserve?

and I turned around.

Mwaaarrrggghhh. I just moved from my computer for the first time in four hours. I’ve been hacking away tirelessly on a webpage for class, and I think it’s finally good enough to go live. Check it out.

It’s not XHTML certified (a div align for the main table makes sure that applying the XHTML Transitional standards causes the poor dear to fall apart) but it’s the closest I’ve ever come to a solid blending of HTML and CSS.The design was inspired by the Flash-based site of Matt Pond PA. Real men don’t Flash.

With a wee bit o’ work I could apply a similar design to things over here at the Bored, but I think I’ll wait until spring before unleashing a springish redux. Nevertheless, I really, really like the way that site looks.

February 24, 2003

how many people wanna kick some ass?

This school is falling apart. All of my classes are systematically being cancelled this week, which is any college student’s dream but is driving me absolutely crazy. You see, I need to keep moving. I need to always be doing something. I’m on a mission from god or something with sunglasses and a suitcase full of cigarettes. I take a cancelled class as a personal affront, as though the world is telling me I’m not cutting the mustard and need a day to regroup. Yo, world? Hello? I will decide when I need a fargin’ break, alright? ALRIGHT?

What’s more, they’re changing over to full-year registration next year. Yessiree, it’s a good thing I’m graduating, because the guy who can’t figure out on Friday what he’s doing for the weekend would never be able to figure out what classes he needs to take A FULL YEAR IN ADVANCE. I mean, seriously. Do they think I could actually plan these things? I changed my major halfway through my sophomore year, which under a full-year system could have resulted in my academic life screwing the pooch until the following spring. Like, are you not thinking? Perhaps they have thought this through, and there are valid arguments for full-year registration, but since my involvement is low and my time is limited, I will most likely revel in my ignorance.

Oh yeah. And there’s the question of a ten quadrillion dollar cut in state funding next year for the University system. I got an email from the school this morning asking that I shut my computer off at night to conserve energy. Tuition got jacked 13.5 percent this year, and that was just to keep up with operating costs, not state cuts. Lord knows what they’re going to do for next year. It reminds me of a comic my friend drew while working at the DRC two summers ago. The state had withdrawn all funding for the national parks and had handed Yellowstone over to the Japanese. The cost of admission was one limb. A guy with a rusty hacksaw waited for at the park entrance.

For all of you that will still be stranded on this sinking ship in the coming years, I extend my heartfelt sorrow. Please watch your limbs, and remember: Just because your leg has been removed from your body doesn’t mean it can’t still kick some ass.

Rant: OFF

categorical narcissus

Emmanuel Kant’s categorical imperative states that moral rules are absolute. While hypothetical imperatives run the form, “If you want to get better at windsurfing you ought to study the mad stylings of Web Pedrick,” or “If you want paint thinner on your car you ought to drink my beer,” categorical imperatives say, “You ought to do such-and-such… period.” “You ought to always tell the truth.” “You ought never to kill.” No explanation. No explanation is needed.



Kant states the categorical imperative as thus: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” If you aren’t willing to let everyone perform your act at every time, you are morally forbidden from performing that act. What’s more, the categorical imperative is based on rational agents, so if your actions are to be rational they are required to follow it.

Fair enough. If lying became a universal you’d never be able to tell when someone was telling the truth, and you would never be able to trust what someone was saying. You could form a group of friends in which you all promised to tell the truth, but look what you did in doing so. You just formed a group that agreed that lying was an undesirable universal. Same thing with murder. A functioning society can’t have every person running around looking for blood, and it is enevitable that people would form sub-societies where people agreed not to murder each other.

But for Kant, these things are never, ever, morally permissable. If a killer shows up on your doorstep and asks if your brother is home, you are required to tell him the truth and avoid lying. If you were to lie (even in this situation) you would acknowledge that you accept lying as a moral universal. However, you can modify the theory to say “Lying in order to save someone’s life is morally permissible,” though Kant was not willing to make such a concession.

Consider this. According to the categorical imperative, I cannot get up during class and blow my nose, because if everyone (at that particular moment or at all possible moments) decided to get up and blow their nose, an absolute chaos of nose-blowing would ensue. You can’t go to the library because, what if everyone went to the library? The streets would be clogged with people in a frenzy to reach the library, but no one would be able to get to the library! It sounds ridiculous, but this is the core of Kant’s theory. Act as though your actions become universals.

Ok, well, what if my situation is different? Can we water Kant down a bit and still have a functioning moral theory? Suppose that any person given my situation (please, visualize) really, really would feel compelled to get up and blow their nose. In this case, blowing my nose would be the moral and rational thing to do. What’s more, it would actually be morally impermissible for me to sit in class sniffling and not get up and blow my nose (a result of the theory that seems quite desirable, eh?). Note: MORALLY IMPERMISSIBLE. Not just a bad choice. There’s no room for gray with moral absolutes.

So. Getting up and blowing my nose is indeed the right thing to do, as anyone given my circumstance would do so. Unfortunately this challeneges the very notion of free will and dissolves rationality. Every person has their own independent perception of reality. This does not imply that there is no such thing as a physical or objective reality (that’s a jump in reasoning reserved only for relativism) but just that… well, it’s pretty damn obvious that we all have our own independent perceptions of reality. The only way our experiences could be exactly similar is if someone shares all of my molecules, all of my sensory perceptions and all my spatial histories. By definition, this person can only be me. Someone could feasibly have piggy-backed on top of all my experiences (birth would have been a nightmare), but then he would have only gotten his own piggy-back experience, not my personal experience.

My entire causal history builds up to this essential point, where I am deciding whether or not to get up and blow my nose, and this becomes a fatal flaw in Kant’s theory. Our first interpretation was, “I cannot get up and blow my nose because my action must be considered a universal, and if it were a universal everyone would get up and chaos would ensue.” Our second, watered down interpretation was, “Anyone given my circumstance would get up and blow their nose, so as a universal my action will work.” The second makes much more sense, but it destroys the idea of moral absolutes and thus the categorical imperative. If I argue that, “Anyone put in my shoes would have done the same thing,” we are reduced to a subjective concept of morality. What’s more is we destroy free will, as everyone is merely being pushed around by their personal categorical imperative. All of your decisions are moral and rational so long as you feel they are moral and rational. Your actions all become the result of inevitable morality. We become morally infallible.

The categorical imperative denies us the ability to make mistakes. Any mistake would end up being the wrong thing to do, and therefore immoral. Because the categorical imperative is a rational proof of morality, whenever I perform an immoral act (as defined by the external categorical imperative, rather than my own subjective interpretation of it) I am not only acting immorally, but irrationally. Whenever I screw something up, misjudge the result of my actions, I am failing at my responsibilities as a creature of reason and morality. I become terminally irrational.

So then, what’s more important? A life ruled by actions and their good or bad consequences, or a life of paralysis due to a overly demanding moral theory?


February 23, 2003

doesn’t feel the heat, feel the time go by

Ok, things are shakin’ up ’round these parts. While I should have been doing homework I upgraded to Movable Type 2.62 this morning and added a search feature to the menu right over there. It works really well. I typed in Frank, and not only did it find the entry where I quoted Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, it found a reference to frankentanks in another entry. So far it only searches the weblog, but one day it may be enhanced to search the entire site and parse out text descriptions of all my photographs and make beer waffles.