is it a force for good in the world?

this was a discussion last night. i argue that it is, if only because i find it unpleasant to walk on sidewalks which have recently been urinated on. what neighborhood couldn’t be improved by removing the stench of urine?

a strident mozilla employee responded, “because poor people are unsightly, aren’t they? that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?”

that’s not exactly true. i don’t care how unsightly they may or may not be. my problem is with their sense of entitlement. when a poor person gets pushed out of his trendy up-and-coming neighborhood due to increased rent, two people benefit from his loss: the landlord and the new tenant. any reason we should protect his interest in remaining in his neighborhood over the interests of the two others? i mean, other than the extremely patronizing argument about how the poor are responsible for the “local flavor” that made the neighborhood appealing in the first place.

pros: less crime, less urine, more businesses, (more interesting) businesses, better landscaping, better lighting, cleaner streets, fewer hoodlums.

cons: all the nasties mentioned in the pros list have to go somewhere, i suppose.


dear non-math people,

please stop using the word “real” — you don’t know what it means. The Real World? i filter potential friends based on their usage of this word. it’s merely a matter of convenience and more of a courtesy to them than snobbery on my part. i wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making fun of someone who routinely uses the word “real” to describe other people or themselves. i have a problem with commonly used words which are content-free, and this is a prime example.

whenever someone says something like “it’s beginning to feel so real,” i’m forcefully reminded of lensless glasses labeled “see the world in 3D.”

commonly used by:

people who think they’re “gangsta”
women who can’t leave the house without makeup
men seeking women who don’t mind that they’re broke
men seeking women who will have casual sex with them
people with poor imaginations*

there are probably more, but i don’t care enough to list them. imaginary things are clearly superior. unless you need to have physical contact with them, like food or oxygen or warm beds. i guess i disagree with descartes. my imaginary friends couldn’t be improved by becoming real.

next time you think about using the word “real” to describe something which isn’t a number, try explaining your sentiment with a phrase instead. who knows, you might even find it fun to be more exact!

* seriously, if you have a decent imagination, reality can never compare.

No apology necessary

After appearing on a show and saying “I don’t necessarily want to have a retard baby”, Margaret Cho issued an apology on her blog. I’m not sure why she did this, but my question to everyone is, who wants to have an impaired child? She is not saying there is anything wrong with retard babies, but even the most ardent lovers of retard babies will admit that they are more work than neuro-typical babies. What’s the problem here?

This isn’t any better or worse than saying “I don’t want steak for dinner tonight.” It’s not a judgement on people who eat steak or on steak itself. It’s a personal preference.

I don’t want retard babies either. To me, that’s the best use case for abortion. Others may disagree and choose to keep their impaired babies. Some women even choose to carry anencehpalic children to full term. Good for them. I’m actually glad that religious people tend to choose this course of action because it means there are fewer religious people (capable of reproducing) than there otherwise would be.

This isn’t to say that I would personally abort an anencephalic fetus. That would depend on whether I would be allowed to keep its corpse in a jar of formaldehyde. I think it’d be a great filter for whether or not I would get along with a new acquaintance — what she thinks of my baby.

Name meanings*

When I first learned about the Civil War**, I decided I sided with the South. Not for any good reason (I was 8 years old), but because their general’s last name was “Lee” and I thought that meant he was Chinese. “They can’t be all that racist if they let a Chinese guy run their army.” I have since been informed that Lee is a popular white person name in the South.

The English apparently have (or had) something for naming their children after various sorts of meadows. The name “Lee” derives from Old English and means meadow, as does a variety of names that end in “ley” such as the following:

Ashley – ash meadow
Bentley – bent grass meadow
Bradley – broad meadow
Hadley – heather meadow
Harley – eagle meadow
Hayley – hay meadow
Shelley – sloped meadow
Shirley – bright meadow
Whitley – white meadow

Given all this, I had rather hoped that “Dolly” or, I guess, “Dolley” would be some kind of meadow. Like “creepy meadow filled with dolls”.

Unfortunately and ironically, the name Dolly actually means “gift of god.”

* All research done in a highly scientific manner by looking on
** I still have a fondness of calling it “The War of Northern Aggression” — but mostly because it seems to anger people and only secondarily because it’s more accurate.

Fun on Valentine’s Day

Dress ups

Is nothing sacred to a troll? Of course not. Not love, and especially not Valentine’s Day. Now you don’t have to  let it be about smug couples and overpriced chocolates. Or about that yawning abyss of loneliness. Here’s what you do:

1. Find something saucy to wear. My favorite is that “burlesque corset” you see above.

2. Prance around in it on Valentine’s Day in a busy romantic/restaurant district near dinner time.

3. Watch in glee as one half of every couple gawks at your gorgeousness and the other half throws a hissy fit.

My wildest fantasy

Yes, I thought I’d share it with you for Valentine’s Day, gentle reader. Or at least this story about it. I was once asked by a significant other what my wildest fantasy was. I responded, “It’s that I have a dragon! And I fly all over on his back, and when someone displeases me, he sets them on fire!”

We were in a hottub at the time, in mixed company and my answer elicited uproarious laughter from everyone present. “No, Dolly. Sexual fantasy…” someone finally said. I hadn’t answered that way to be coy; that really was my wildest fantasy back then. The question about sexual fantasies was completely uninteresting to me, and I explained to them, “There’s nothing fantastical about sexual acts. All you have to do is ask the person next to you, or something. In my case, who can I ask to make my fantasy come true?”

If, this Valentine’s Day, the impossibility of your love or the intractability of your wildest sexual fantasy is giving you anxiety, remember me. I have a far less probable fantasy than yours. Remember me and how there’s nothing I can do about mine. But for you, there’s hope! After all, if you never ask, you’ll never know.

All my love,