I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

May 07, 2013 - 1:30 p.m.

Gotta Be the Shoes

There is a way to make Word not push you around and have the default style be to not skip a line when you hit return. It makes you pay for that though by switching your default font to Calibri when you do. So you then have to switch it back to whatever you had set yourself. Does anyone use Calibri as their default? Do you? Do you recognize my font? It's Book Antiqua. I picked that fairly early in my computing days. First I used Bookman Old Style but Book Antiqua is a bit more compact. I've also done Baskerville Old Face but the howling of the hound was distracting.

I forgot the personal think I wanted to write about today that I knew people would be interested in. So now I have to fill the space with other things. I'll start with something keep forgetting to write about. I figured out that the best way to get to school was taking the Q to the 1 and switching at Times Square. First time I did it when I walked across the station I heard great old time music. I said to myself, "That sounds like the Ebony Hillbillies!" and it was "The Ebony Hillbillies! They are there most Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I make the transfer. They weren't there today; I was disappointed. But that made me remember to write about them. The first place I ever saw them was Penn Station. I love the Music Underground program.

Mondays is my therapy day. That doesn't just mean that I go to my shrink. I devote the day to making myself happy. That usually translates into getting fun food. I decided on getting a special treat yesterday a shake from Stand. I went there and it was dark inside. The doors were locked. There was no sign saying why. I hoped it was something temporary. Today I checked online and it isn't. It's closed for good. No more marshmallow shakes. No more peanut butter cup shakes. They make, no made, the best shakes in this or any universe. This is exceedingly sad. I then had the difficult duty of telling Ethan. I knew he'd cry.

I spent most of yesterday writing practice finals. That's hard work. Now I have to write the real things. I'm going to have to take the precalculus practice final first. I think it might be too long. It is certainly too long for me to grade. I'll tell them to prepare to answer all the questions but I might not ask them all. Then again I might. One of the things I try to impress on them is that it's important to be able to not only do things but to do them quickly. This school prepares people for technical jobs so time equals money is one of he equations they have to memorize.

I have developed methods or producing problems of many types that make the answers turn out nice. I wonder if there is a market for a book marketed to teachers on how to do that. The teachers that know there math can do this but unfortunately many don't. They can't come up with a rational equation where you have to reject an answer. I listen to some of the other faculty talk and they might have problem solving the equations.

Why do I "like" American Atheists on FB? I think Pat Robertson pays them to show that atheists are as big a jerk as he is. Amanda Berry is rescued after being kidnapped for ten years and they feel it necessary to castigate her for thanking god she was rescued. Yes there are flaws in her logic, so what? Thinking that doing that somehow advances the cause of atheism is more absurd. They do that kind of thing all the time.

They put this up during Festivus.

Think that accomplished any more than to make people dislike atheism? These are clearly not aimed at changing people's mind but firing up the base but it makes me wish they didn't use the word "atheist" I don't want to be associated with them. I'm sure it's the way many Christians feel about Pat Robertson and his ilk.

So let me get on to what I planned on writing about; New York's stop and frisk policy. 700,000 were stopped and frisked in New York City in 2011. Most of them were young black men. They found nothing criminal on the vast majority of them. The courts have found the practice illegal and the City has curtailed it by about a third but Mayor Bloomberg is still vigorously defended it. After the curtailment the murder rate continued to fall so clearly it is not a vital element in stopping crime by getting guns off the street. What I want to talk about is not the practice but Bloomberg. I've never voted for him but I dont think he's a bad guy. I don't think he's has anything against blacks. When he came in he got rid of many of the abuses that Guiliani had instituted. The first thing he did was get rid of the systematic abuse of the homeless. So why would a decent person defend such an obviously abusive practice? Because it isn't obvious. How many people that he associates with have gone through the indignity of being stopped and frisked? What he sees is not all the innocent people demeaned but the few guns that are taken off the street and thinks that it's worth the price because he doesn't realize how great the price is. I'm sure some of My Gentle Readers don't either. If you live in the wrong neighborhood and are a young black male this has happened to everyone you know. It's a different world that many people never see.

Does it happen to me? No it doesn't. And while it might happen to some people I know, I plan to ask now, it doesn't come up in conversation. I did take part in it once. Some kids sold crack to my friend who I was trying to keep clean till she got in rehab. I told them that if they did I'd call the cops on them. I did. I drove around in the patrol car till we found them and the cops stopped and frisked them. I was torn. I wanted them at least intimidated because they DID commit a crime and I warned them this would happen. But part of me thought that if I were black and they were white the cops would not have been so quick to take my word for it. As it stand it was legal, they had reason to be suspicious of them, and I know those suspicions were in fact true. But still, the cops didn't know that.

As for the program, the facts are not in dispute. The thought of stopping someone for "furtive motion" or "a suspicious bulge" and frisking him disgusts me. It's just something about the way my mind works. I know it doesn't work that way for many people. They need to directly experience something to feel it. Think of the Republican Senator whose son is gay so he no supports gay marriage. Think of all your friends that are sensitive about an issue because it happened to them. Perhaps think of yourself. Try and make an effort to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Much of the racism that exists isn't caused by hate. It isn't even caused by prejudice. It's caused by living in different worlds. There's a column in the times today on How Social Networks Drive Black Unemployment. It isn't discriminating against blacks, it's just on people in power hiring their friends and relatives and they tend to be white. Read it.

It's soft racism. It isn't done by "bad people." That doesn't make its effects less bad. It takes a conscious effort to overcome it.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile May 07, 2013
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