CWA Notes 2017

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 12:21 am
flwyd: (Trevor glowing grad macky auditorium)
I made it to eight panels at this year's Conference on World Affairs at CU. Back in college, I would skip most of my classes during CWA week and listen to at least 20, but recently I just pop in for a few interesting talks. Some interesting notes:
Hurricanes! )
Refugees: Crisis? )
Ambassador to Vietnam )
From China with climate data )
Politics, comedy, and lady parts )
Revelations of Art and Symbolism )
Equal opportunity Internet access )

Wow, that took a long time. I typed notes on a tablet during the conference, but it would've been hard to interpret. Retranscribing and contextualizing involved a lot more time-consuming typing than I expected.

LOLgeography

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 09:13 am
flwyd: (1895 USA map)
This is the funniest thing I've seen in weeks. From [livejournal.com profile] vsmallarray, the charts and graph project of Dorothy Gambrel, artist for [livejournal.com profile] catandgirl and [livejournal.com profile] donationderby.

Update February, 2011: Somehow this post has become the most popular one on my journal for comment spam, so I've disabled comments.

Queen Takes Bishop

Saturday, February 28th, 2009 11:48 pm
flwyd: (inner maiden animated no words)
I have nothing against drag queens, but I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one. My son, on the other hand...

Bad Physics Jokes

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 11:51 am
flwyd: (mathnet - to cogitate and to solve)
coworker: what time zone is our Jira server in?
me: EST
coworker: as long as I know that Lawrin is not submitting bugs in the future
me: She is, but you can fix them in the future too!
me: And while you're in the future, bring back some fresh maple syrup
coworker: I'm afraid I don't get that one
me: The server's in the future in Maine, so while you're fixing bugs in the future in Maine, you can get some New England maple syrup
coworker: oh...I thought it was a time joke
me: it's a space-time joke
coworker: what could be funnier!
me: a joke tying gangsters to the universal gravitation constant?
coworker: let me know when you come up with it
coworker: so far all you've got is a chuckle, but I'll withhold judgement
me: Notorious = B/I * G * Eminem / R^2 Kelley, the strangely attractive nerdcore compilation!
flwyd: (farts sign - Norway)
LOCATION: The music counter at Black & Read, a store selling used books, movies, CDs, vinyl, board games, and porn. Stacks of jewel cases line the counters. Several signs hang in the store advertising a 15%(?) off sale for used RPG books and board games until mid-January. The need for this sale is demonstrated by several stacks of books on the floor next to the RPG shelves. Taped to the back of the cash register screen are a Westword Best of Denver clipping and a post from an Internet review board complaining about the store's customer service.

MANAGER is in his early thirties, wearing a sport jacket, drinking a margarita (or maybe just mountain dew with ice cubes) from an imitation ornate goblet. EMPLOYEE is in his late 30s, hasn't shaved recently, and is wearing a black T-shirt with an old band logo. EMPLOYEE is digging through the CD drawers to find a customer's selection. (When customers select a stack of jewel cases, there's about a 50% chance the clerks won't be able to find one of the discs.) DUSTIN's name has been changed because I don't remember the actual name.

PHONE: *ring*
MANAGER: Black & Read...
MANAGER: Maybe, can I tell him who's speaking?
MANAGER: Do you want to speak to a Dustin?
EMPLOYEE: Not really.
MANAGER: Okay.
EMPLOYEE: He calls and asks if we have hip hop records.
MANAGER: All our employees are hung over so we don't have anyone else working on the CD side right now. Could you call back in, say, two hours?

Shortly thereafter, a CUSTOMER asks to look at a book of porn star portraits. CUSTOMER says he might buy it later when he has more money. MANAGER praises the book, saying it's great entertainment if you have drunk roommates. Several CUSTOMERS comment that the book looks interesting. MANAGER speculates that the book hasn't yet sold due to "the dick factor," theorizing that many prospective buyers don't want to own a picture of a few naked men even though they presumably watch hetero porn.
flwyd: (mathnet - to cogitate and to solve)
[livejournal.com profile] mackys asks
What is a reasonable estimate for the ACTUAL value of the mortgage-backed "junk" securities that $810 billion of my tax dollars bought?
The answer to that question has fluctuated every few days recently, so note that everything I say could be wrong soon.

First, a timeline.
  1. US Financial System: OMG! We paid way too much for all these mortgages and nobody wants to buy them from us! O noes!
  2. US Treasury Secretary: You guys are too big to fail. I'll save you!
  3. Lehman Brothers: Save us, Henry!
  4. US Treasury Secretary: Wait, not you, Lehman.
  5. Lehman Brothers: <is dead>
  6. US Financial System: OMG! Did you see what just happened to Lehman, guys?!? I'm not going to give you any of the money I don't have in case you're the next Lehman.
  7. US Treasury Secretary: Ruh roh.
  8. US Treasury Secretary: I has a 3-page plan; let me show you it! Let me offer you a $700 billion "bailout" by buying all your "toxic waste." No oversight, no accountability. Sounds great, huh fellas?
  9. US Taxpayers: WTF?!? You're bailing out a bunch of bankers by buying toxic waste?
  10. Karl Rove: What happened to the Bush administrations public relations team after I left? That's the worst sales job ever.
  11. Senate Banking Chairman: Hey, I've got an 8-page better idea. The government should buy shares in banks. They'll get a liquidity injection and the government will make money when the banks do.
  12. US Financial System: <flail wildly>
  13. John McCain: In my many years in Warshington, I've fought wasteful government spending. And as president... Wait. For the next two days, I don't want to be president. I need to rush off to help the government hastily approve $700 billion in spending.
  14. Political Pundits: You're not a maverick. You're a loony.
  15. US President, US Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Chairman, Speaker of the House, Committee Heads, Attention Whores Presidential Candidates: Buying $700 billion of toxic assets sounds great. Here's a 100-page proposal.
  16. House Representatives in Tight Races: O noes! Our constituents found our phone numbers! Halp! I want to get reelected, screw this bailout.
  17. US Financial System: Well shiiiiiit.
  18. Emergency Conference Meeting: You know what people think is tasty? Bacon. Let's add 350 pages of pork.
  19. Somebody In The Meeting: *psst* Let's slip the stock purchase option back in there.
  20. US Senate: Tastes great, we're willing!
  21. US House of Representatives: Okay, I guess...
  22. Financial Commentators: So... the government is going to invent a price for a bunch of stuff which has no market value because nobody wants to buy it.
  23. Economists (some): Something must be done. This is something, therefore, it must be done.
  24. Economists (others): This is a terrible idea.
  25. Economists (still others): This might work, but I've got a better idea.
  26. US Financial System: I'm going to drink heavily for a week and then turn on MTV and the radio at the same time.
  27. US Treasury Secretary: I know I said there might not be an economy by Monday, but I'll need five weeks and some Wall Street executives on staff before I can do anything.
  28. Germany: Scheise! Now our banks are in trouble. Immediate action! Your money is safe in German banks!
  29. Europeans: Hey, now we have to guarantee our banks!
  30. Economists: Hey... that sock purchase plan is in the bailout plan. Let's try that.
  31. United Kingdom: Bollocks! Now our banks are in trouble. Immediate action! We'll take major shares in you chaps. kthxbai.
  32. World Financial System: Whoa... I think I'm still drunk.
  33. World's Major Central Banks: All together now: lower interest rates! That usually works!
  34. World Financial System: Crap! I mean Great! I mean... maybe?
  35. Iceland: We're melting! And not just because of global warming.
  36. US Treasury Secretary: World leader huddle!
  37. World Financial Leaders: Okay... we're not making progress running straight into the line. Let's run the option.
  38. US Treasury Secretary: But I hate the option. My fans always boo.
  39. World Financial Leaders: Henry... you can run the option or you can lose the game.
  40. US Treasury Secretary: Fine! I'll run the stupid option.
  41. World Financial Leaders: Okay, everybody. I know we've all trumpeted the wonders of the free market system for years. But the free market is having trouble, so we need to save it. Our plan is often called "nationalization." We're going to become part owners of major banks so they'll have money they can use to lube the wheels of the economy.
  42. Financial Commentators: Wow. The best option is socialism.
  43. John McCain: I'm gonna go ahead and NOT mention that in my campaign.
  44. US Financial System: Well... okay... I guess. But I won't move until everybody else moves too.
  45. US Treasury Secretary: Dear diary... the last month has sucked ass. But I think we're going somewhere.
So... what's the value of what taxpayers are buying? Like most questions in finance, the answer is "That depends on the future market." What are the pieces?

Henry Paulson (Secretary of the Treasury) wanted to solve the problem by spending $700 billion to buy mortgage-backed assets. (Essentially, that's a bunch of assets tossed in a pile. Except then somebody pulled pieces out of each mortgage and stuck them into other piles. It's like everybody in a neighborhood having spaghetti, but each noodle is really long and is on everybody's plate.) What would the value of these assets be? In some approaches to value, something is worth exactly what someone else is willing to pay. So in a sense, we'd be buying $700 billion of mortgage assets because we're willing to pay $700 billion. But then they'd be immediately worth much less because nobody else wants to pay $700 billion for them. In fact, nobody wants to pay much of anything for them. Part of the problem is that, under mark-to-market accounting rules, if nobody wants to buy a bank's piles of mortgages, banks can't pretend they have a bunch of money instead. And if they can't pretend they have a bunch of money, they have problems doing their normal bank activities like borrowing and lending money.

Under other approaches to value, the piles of mortgages are worth significantly more than nothing. Some percentage of the people who mortgaged their homes are making monthly payments, so the piles of mortgages are earning income. But investors don't think they can make a good guess about how many people will keep paying their mortgages, so they aren't willing to gamble on invest in them. If the U.S. government owned them, they wouldn't have to worry as much about accounting rules. The government would get the money that homeowners pay each month, meaning they'd have some real value. After a few years, once the economy settled down and investors felt like buying stuff again, the government would sell the piles of mortgages back and recover some of the taxpayer's money. In the mean time, the federal government would be the country's biggest landlord and end up owning a bunch of houses. I'll come back into that in a bit.

The main problem with the Paulson plan (aside from the world's worst marketing job) is that it put the government in the role of a really dumb investor. One of the main goals of the "OMG, save the banking system!" plans is to inject liquidity (i.e., money that's easy to spend) into financial system. If the government drove a hard bargain (what a private investor would do), they'd get a bunch of really cheap mortgages (great for the budget when the market improves later!), but banks wouldn't get much money they could spend. If they paid enough to get the money flowing (what a government would do), they'd probably end up losing a bunch of money in the end. The government has some smart people working out some rules for a reverse auction The federal government is good at losing money (call it an Investment Portfolio to Nowhere), but a lot of economists looked into the proposal and thought it wasn't very good.

Finally, Paulson bit the bullet and followed the European lead to the government buying major shares in banks. Some key things to note:
  • The government gets "preferred stock." That means that the government gets company profits (from dividends or sale of assets in case of a collapse) before normal shareholders.
  • The Treasury has said, on their honor, that they won't use the shares to influence the decisions of the bank.
  • This provides an immediate infusion of liquid cash (technically it's electronic, which is kind of like liquid... there's electrons flowing through wire instead of water flowing through pipes...)
  • Nobody has to make up a price for the piles of mortgages. The government's buying shares which currently have a market value.
  • If the banks get better, the government makes money when they sell the shares.
  • If the banks fail, the government gets a chunk of their assets.
  • This guy thinks there are some devilish details the banks can twist to connive with the sudden infusion of taxpayer money. (He lists "rotisserie baseball" as an interest. I hope that doesn't involve hitting a chicken with a stick.) Listen to the Planet Money podcast for his points. (As usual, Adam Davidson does a better job than I do at explaining this stuff.)
  • I think Treasury is still planning to buy "toxic assets," but their total available cash for toxic waste and bank stock is around $350 billion and the latter will take about $200 billion.
So what's the real value of the mortgage-backed securities taxpayers are buying? Hard to say. But we aren't spending $700 billion on them. What's the value of the bank stock we're spending $200 billion on? Hard to say, but if things get better the value should be more than $200 billion. The bankers don't really like the stock plan, but their collective overvaluing of the market got us into this mess, so tough cookies.


A caricature of the Soviet economic system is that everybody gets an identical place to live (owned by the government) and gives most of their money to the State. America, these caricaturists say, is better because we let each person decide what house to buy with their own money. But in the end, everybody ended up buying a house that looked just like all the other houses in their subdivision. And under the Paulson plan, the government would've owned a bunch of them and everybody would've paid their mortgages to the State. Under socialism, government men start with a plan to exploit their fellow men. Under capitalism, it just ends up that way.

Part of me thinks it would be really interesting for the government to own a whole bunch of suburban real estate. They could embark on projects to create local centers of employment and commerce, reducing the distance people would have to drive and thereby reducing dependence on foreign oil. They could turn vacant McMansions (in Denver lingo "Prairie Palaces") into housing cooperatives. The other part of me thinks housing cooperatives and local community development must grow bottom-up to have a chance of success. The federal government is good at doing big things like running national parks. A half-dozen hippies are good at doing small things like organizing a house inhabited by a half-dozen hippies. But I think there's a chance that the anonymous sprawl suburbs will become the new ghettos while former industrial buildings (aka lofts) become the hip expensive places to live. Centennial will be a really swank ghetto, but it'll still be a ghetto. Maybe we'll be listening to rap songs entitled "Straight Outa Rancho Cucamonga."


I've come to understand some interesting things about macroeconomics in the last few years, but hard-core capitalism still bothers me. At its root, it's a bunch of people doing stuff in exchange for imaginary pieces of paper. The main advantages of money are that you can do math with it and it can be exchanged multiple times. If you give me $10, I can later give the $10 to somebody else. Or I can divide it in half and give $5 to two people. But money isn't the only thing that can be exchanged. Much of the time, it stands in for time, effort, or information. If I give you an afternoon of my time and energy moving all your stuff from one apartment to another, you can't necessarily give that afternoon to somebody else. If you and I have sex for ten minutes, it has no (necessary) impact on your ability to have sex with somebody else for ten minutes... or two other people for five minutes. If I tell you a funny story and you want to tell it to two other people, there's no need to tell each only half the story.

Money is a tool to enable zero-sum games. But a very effective path to success is for multiple individuals to team up and play a game that's not zero-sum. Maybe that's why society gets so skittish about prostitution: it tries to mix a zero-sum game (paying money) with a non-zero-sum game (two people helping each other have an orgasm).

Remember that investing is essentially gambling with two important differences: Nobody's quite sure what the odds are and the house doesn't always win in the long run. When you invest money, you might get more of it back or you might get less of it back. When you invest time (hanging out with friends, playing games, having sex, relaxing in the sun on the porch) you know that hour of time won't come back, but you also know it won't suddenly turn into just half an hour. Remember that money isn't the only thing in the world worth exchanging with another person.


So that's all the economics questions I was asked on my original post. If I didn't bore you to tears and you didn't learn what you want to know from Planet Money, ask more questions!
flwyd: (1895 USA map)
North, South Carolina is in the center of the state, south of Columbia.
West, Mississippi is in the center of the state, just east of I-55.
West, Texas is in east Texas, between Dallas and Waco. Note that "West Texas" (no comma) is frequently used to describe the area of the state near El Paso.

Edit 2/3/2009: Northwest, North Carolina is in the southeast part of the state, up the railroad from Wilmington.

Fortunately, they're all small and insignificant. Just like Podunk, VT, Podunk, CT, Podunk, MI and the other Podunk, MI.
flwyd: (step to the moon be careful)
For all passport questions or if you have an appointment please the blonde lady at the front counter (at the far right)

Sign on a door in the US Post Office for ZIP code 80228 (office is in the Federal Center).
flwyd: (java logo)
From Section 1.3.4 of GATE's manual:
After several hours struggling with badly written documentation, Fatima manages to compile the stubs and create a JAR file containing the new resources... She saves this and the version that she ran GATE on into her Oracle datastore (set up for her by the Herculean efforts of the Cyberdyne technical support team, who like GATE because it enables them to claim lots of overtime)...
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
My new phone message. Call 303-980-5148 to be amused... or just to laugh at me.

Picture yourself on a phone with a Trevor
With tangerine rings and marmalade cats
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A boy with kaleidoscope hats

Telephone callers of yellow and green
Cell tower over your head
Look for the boy with the sun in his heart
And he's not home

Lucy on the phone leave a message...
flwyd: (mathnet - to cogitate and to solve)
One of my company's products is appraisal software for county assessor offices. One of our systems analysts just passed the examination to be a certified appraiser so that we know he's qualified to advise us and our clients on how to build and use the system. The director of the tax division announced a gathering to celebrate this. Here's my response:

Hello. I’d like to have a little celebration for Chris’s successful Appraisal license tomorrow afternoon at 4:30! We shall toast him, and test him on his valuation methods!

Market: Compare the actual sale prices of several bottles of Wild Turkey to determine the price per fluid ounce in a particular economic area. When someone complains about the tax on their bottle of Wild Turkey, show them three other bottles of Wild Turkey of slightly different age and size. Point out that their friend's bottle of Wild Turkey purchased in Olathe is not comparable.

Cost: Look up the distillery date of a bottle of Wild Turkey on a factor table. Calculate the instantaneous RCNLD as the bottle is consumed.

Income: Determine the price of one shot of Wild Turkey, then calculate the potential income from selling the whole bottle a shot at a time, subtracting the value of the bottle itself (five cents in many states, ten cents in Michigan).

flwyd: (spam lite)
Bacon Flash Drive. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] mythicsagefire!
flwyd: (smoochie sunset)
northern hemisphere cat flushes counterclockwise

Even though it's not true, it's good enough science for LOLcats. Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] lolscience.
flwyd: (mathnet - to cogitate and to solve)
[Poll #1061616]
flwyd: (what would escher do)
Everybody Loves Eric Raymond: Referential Integrity

I recently added a bunch of comics from the Tapestry Comics feed list. You can see all the comics I read via LJ on my comics friends page. The one above is Everybody Loves Eric Raymond, [livejournal.com profile] lovesraymond. It's only likely to be funny to people who are into open source software, but most of the comics have links explaining the references.

I created [livejournal.com profile] aproposomething which changes the captions on old superhero comics (among other blog postings). Their RSS feed was pretty long, so about half of the page linked above is that backlog.

Other comics I'd like to highlight:
[livejournal.com profile] sfhamlet Stick Figure Hamlet (they're currently wrapping up the play-within-a-play scene)
[livejournal.com profile] catandgirl Cat and Girl
[livejournal.com profile] wondermark_rss Wondermark
[livejournal.com profile] dieselsweet Diesel Sweeties (web version and print version)
[livejournal.com profile] xkcd_rss XKCD
[livejournal.com profile] redmeat_rss Red Meat

Cat and Girl: What We Do is Secret
flwyd: (daemon tux hexley)
This language was developed at the Marin County Center for T'ai Chi, Mellowness and Computer Programming (now defunct), as an alternative to the more intense atmosphere in nearby Silicon Valley.

The center was ideal for programmers who liked to soak in hot tubs while they worked. Unfortunately few programmers could survive there because the center outlawed Pizza and Coca-Cola in favor of Tofu and Perrier.

Many mourn the demise of LAIDBACK because of its reputation as a gentle and non-threatening language since all error messages are in lower case. For example, LAIDBACK responded to syntax errors with the message:
"i hate to bother you, but i just can't relate to that. can you find the time to try it again?"

Phish and Chips

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 07:02 pm
flwyd: (spam lite)
Blogging randomly generated spam is passe, but this hand crafted spam is enjoyable.

Headers )Good day,


This is an email from Rac Plc in United Kingdom; also know as Great Britain,
We would like to know if you would be interested to work for us, as a
part-time job, which would not disturb your current job or your current
position?


We have our company here in United Kingdom and we deal on Car Buying, Car
care, Insurance, Training on how to drive, Loans and leasing, Motorcycle
services and so many more, we have few client from the USA/CANADA,
California, Florida, New York, Ontario, Quebec and so many other states in
the USA/CANADA, but we have been having problems with most of our clients
from USA/CANADA, because some would prefer to pay by Cashiers Check or
Money Orders, which we can not cash here, but it is easy to cash over in
the USA/CANADA, so we are looking forward to get representatives around the
USA/CANADA that can be working for us as a part-time job, which we are
willing to pay 10% of every money you receive from our clients, so you
would just need to help us get the payment and get it cashed directly from
your bank and send the money to us down here in United Kingdom or to any of
our local offices worldwide via Money Gram outlet or western union.Read more... )
Let's play "What's wrong with this picture?"
  • The domain rac.co.uk is legit, and some details (like the company number) match the whois registry. But what company has held their own domain since before 1996, but receives email at myway.com? And what British company would send mail from a *.pl (Poland) address?
  • Business with this company includes buying cars, auto insurance, and learning to drive. We can deduce from the email that they supposedly lack a U.S. branch. How much business can they do selling cars to people on the other side of an ocean? Who would learn how to drive remotely... from a teacher who drives on the other side of the road? And if they have to process cashier's checks through random guys they meet on the Internet, how painful do you think it would be to get reimbursed for an insurance claim?
  • Why would they require "details of where you work and your position in your work place" if this is a "part-time job, which would not disturb your current job or your current position?"
  • Official correspondence from British companies typically goes through people who spent many years in British schools getting into fights learning the rules of the English language. The sentence "Send to us: 1800.00USD and you pay the cost of sending from the $1800.00 or from the money left with you after deducting your income" doesn't sound like any of the Brits I know. The Brits I know also don't use paragraph-long run-on sentences.

On the plus side, they realize that "the cost of coming to the States to get the payment and go to cash it our self, will be lot more stressful." A transatlantic flight to pick up a cashier's check at a PO Box, exchange it for currency, and then fly back (with airport money exchange rates no less) would be quite stressful. The plane tickets would probably take a big bite out of the $2000.00USD transaction.

In summary, if someone in Poland ever sends you an email on behalf of a British company and asks you to send a cashier's check to a random dude in USA/CANADA or, if you prefer, "Money Gram or western union," I suggest you reconsider your provider for leased cars and motorcycle services.

flwyd: (what would escher do)
Every blog post, ever. If you're nerdy like me, you'll find almost every strip of this comic funny and/or a sad reflection of your life. Subscribe to [livejournal.com profile] xkcd_rss

Holiday

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006 08:42 am
flwyd: (glowing grad macky auditorium)
Happy International Talk Like a Landlubber Day! Be a lubber, not a fighter.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Paraphrase of a conversation between [livejournal.com profile] flwyd and [livejournal.com profile] tamheals:

T: ... that's because you don't have a blind spot in the area of money.
F: Yeah. I just have a blind spot in the area of the fridge. And time.
T: Yeah, you don't have a relationship with time.
F: Yes I do. I have a polyamorous relationship with time.
T: Haha. You and time have an alternative relationship.
F: Some people don't think it's right, but time and I live our relationship the way we want. We have a sub relationship.
T: A sub relationship?
F: Yeah. Whereas you and I have a dom/sub relationship, time and I have a sub/sub relationship. I don't boss time around and time doesn't boss me around. We just do stuff quietly and notice that time has passed.
T: You're like "Oh... the Body Works exhibit was today... My brother was supposed to call..."
F: "Hey, it's noon. Time and I spent the whole morning in bed..."
flwyd: (black titan)
[Tank]I knew you could buy digital cameras and even household appliances from "Earth's largest bookstore." But I didn't know you could drop 20 grand on a tank. Go update your wish list or wedding registry!

From the reviews:
I'll admit it. Shopping for a personal tank can be a bit daunting. Many times in the past I've purchased overpriced, so-called "battle tanks", then driven them into battle only to be wrecked in ten minutes by the first blow off of some insurgents home-made morter.

But not this baby, no way.


Fun fact: the pictures were taken on the Playa in the Black Rock Desert, the same place that is home to Burning Man, Kevin Rubio's hilarious send up of COPS, Troops, and the world land speed record.
flwyd: (big animated moon cycle)
From an off-topic email on the Dragonfest discussion group.

See... the Wiccan Rede isn't actually a guide for living your life. It says "If you don't hurt anything, do whatever you want." There are two main problems with this rule.

(a) It doesn't give you any suggestions. Eating Cheetoes on the couch watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver is following the Wiccan Rede to the letter.

(b) It doesn't give any guidance on how to behave when harm is involved. There's nothing in the Rede about joining the Army. There's nothing in the Rede that prohibits punching your best friend. The Rede doesn't even address the Trolley Problem. And really, what's the point of an ethic that can't be used on an out-of-control trolley?

Now I'm the sort of eclectic frood who uses philosophy to provide moral and ethical direction and religion to provide experiential and metaphorical direction, so a loosey-goosey religion like Neo-Paganism is just the thing for me. But for people who are looking for direction in their lives, the Wiccan Rede provides little more than a Magic 8 Ball.
flwyd: (spam lite)
[Poll #689094]
flwyd: (Default)

Last week (4/8-4/12) was my absolute favorite week of the year. I laughed much more than usual. My brain got stimulated in unusual directions. I got up before 9 am for five days straight. What provoked this? The 54th Annual Conference on World Affairs. This brain dump is somewhat after the fact, because I put off everything that could be put off last week, so had a major crunch the past four days. What follows is a collection of notes (some to myself), insights, humorous or thought-provoking one-liners, and stories from memory. As a reward for reading through the whole thing, you get to learn second-hand about lots of details in Mulholland Drive.

Separate for your convenience )

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