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Archive for June, 2009

Dog update

OK… so Cat was already adopted. But I will meet my new dog soon. I had my home inspection yesterday, and should be able to pick out a doggie of my very own on Saturday.

However, since it’s the 4th of July, I’m thinking that I won’t bring her home with me on Saturday…. there will be fireworks and loud sounds and I don’t want the dog to be scared on the first day in a new home.

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A dog named Kat

I am thinking about getting a dog. The breed that I’m most interested in (based on my research about their temperament) is a Greyhound. They are big couch potatoes inside the home, but love to run and play outside.

Specifically, I’m interested in this dog named Kat

A dog named Kat

I love the idea of a rescue ex-racing greyhound because it fits into my philosophy. I believe in giving animals a second chance. Almost every animal I’ve ever adopted was from a shelter (Rainman was a special exception). So I put in my application in to a local Rescue Greyhound group and am looking forward to speaking with the adoption folks.

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Dixieland? Really? For Ice Cream?

Walking down the street today, I heard the ice cream truck driving around my very white, very suburban, California neighborhood. The song that the little ice cream truck was playing was Dixie. The Southern anthem. Bizarre… really, really bizarre.

Many people are mildly aware of one version of the song which goes: “I wish I was in the land of cotton. Old times there are not forgotten. Look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.” But historians (which is my training) and radical Southerners (not me) are also aware of the Southern secessionist anthem version: Dixie To Arms! I found a version on YouTube, in case you’ve never heard it. Here’s the link:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPhq6StlV94]

So I have lots of questions. Can ice cream truck drivers put together their own playlists? Is the ice cream truck driver a radical Southerner? Does the ice cream truck driver even recognize the song? How does this song go over in the south? Is this really a good song for selling ice cream in San Diego? Just wondering.

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Nobody’s worthless, they can always serve as a bad example

Obama makes a plea to men to be better fathers than their own.

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My Answers to Great Questions: If a tree falls…

If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

My answer: No.

Why? Because humans live in language. Humans have this word that humans invented that we call “sound.” And what we humans are referring to when we use the word “sound” is the vibrational interpretation of a brain based on what comes into an ear. So if no ear is there to pick up the vibration and interpret it into language (using a brain) then it doesn’t count as a sound. There’s a lot of stuff happening in that forest; it’s just not interpreted by a human in language. You can put recording equipment in the forest to record the event… and that’s great. The nanosecond that a human ear/brain combo interprets the vibrations, it counts as sound. But not before.

To reiterate: the word “sound” is a human-invented word to describe the experience of a specific set of natural phenomena. So “sound” doesn’t happen unless there’s a human around to hear, describe, witness, and/or interpret it.

The phenomena that happens outside of human language really happens… I’m not trying to suggest that it doesn’t. I am, however, saying that humans have language to describe anything to one another. In fact, we can’t get outside of language. Ever.

Furthermore, I would argue that language is absolutely fundamental to being a functional human. Think of how completely powerless human babies are until they instinctively employ some version of language. There are different kinds of human languages: French, German, American Sign, body language, artistic languages, the language of music, the language of math…. but all of those categories of language are shared human languages that developed over time.

If you disagree with me, post your viewpoint to your blog… or email me and I may post it. I used to have comments on my blog, but I had a bad experience, so I don’t have comments anymore.

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Holocaust Museum Shooter

For those of you who don’t know, I used to work at the Holocaust Museum in DC (USHMM). To preemptively answer the inevitable next question: no, I am not Jewish. My first MA was in European History with an emphasis on Holocaust history.

In order to work at the Holocaust Museum, I had to become inured to death, depravity, and radicalism. To do so, I accepted it at a very academic level: it was not personal, or present-tense. But then again… I didn’t have to address it in any personal way. I am not a member of a despised minority group. Furthermore, I specialized in history, not modern politics. I suspect that there are others like me who are currently working at the museum. And the shooting surely changed their world-view. Regardless, I truly feel empathy for everyone who works at the museum, because their work just got a lot tougher, a lot more personal, a lot less historical.

P.S.: Did anyone else notice that James von Brunn wrote screeds about blacks and Jews; then proceeded to kill one black man in a Jewish museum? Shockingly lucid action for a crazy man.

P.P.S: And another thing… why is it that all of these guys look so obviously nutty? I mean… if you put von Brunn’s photo in front of me, I’d immediately classify him as either a racist or a child molester. Probably both. I am very hesitant to suggest that you really can judge a book by its cover… but you have to admit that you’d probably grab your kid if this guy offered a piece of candy.

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