Balloonland

stuff gets examined.

In the Future #4

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OOF.

Thanks to inattention on my part, there’s a boondoggle on the direction of “spiffyb.com” that takes viewers here instead of the actual current version of Balloonland. I’m posting In the Future #4 here so my fan and regular reader can see it anyhow, until the kerfuffle is fixed.

Click on the picture below if you want to see the whole thing.  navigate away from this page as quickly as possible if you don’t want to get involved.

Written by balloonhed

October 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

In the Future #2

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Clicking on the strip will give you the opportunity to see it in a larger format.

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July 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Entropy in Action

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Our family car is so full of reusable grocery bags, we have trouble putting anything in it.

Written by balloonhed

July 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

In the Future #1

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In the FutureIn the Future

All Life is Precious

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“Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts!”

Kurt Weill, “What Keeps Mankind Alive?”

The Girl (our two-year old blonde and super precocious daughter) and I usually take the bus to daycare. We often sit at the front of  the bus, where she makes lots of friends, unless the front is inhabited by the grumpy variety of old person. Today it wasn’t looking good, so we went directly to the back, where the Bad Kids sit.

Imagine our dismay (my dismay, really, she says “Hi” and “Bye” to everyone without bias) when the back also filled up with grumpy old people, including one who commented on her cuteness and immediately related it to his wrist ban (right next to the “Livestrong” band) that said “All Life is Precious,” with a little pair of baby foorprints, which he connected to the Girl’s feet with his finger.  I didn’t debate the point – we’re on the back of the bus having a (for me) casual conversation, I had a toddler on my lap, and he’s going to be dead soon – but I did have to suppress one burning question – “If all Life is Precious, why do you just have a pair of human baby feet on there? Where are the chick feet, calf and piglet  hoofs? Fish fins? And while we’re at it, what about humans who don’t fit into your preferred social/racial/economic/sexual stereotype? How can we represent them?”

I’m not sure why he drew the connection between the Girl and the wrist thing. I suspect that he was suggesting that, but for cruel abortion, there’d be a whole army of precious little blonde girls sitting on the bus.

 Pragmatic Practices

Human cultures function usually thanks to a bunch of  pragmatic and often harsh decisions that were made in the past and formalized into Tradition, Good Business Practice, Cultural Stereotypes and so on. In North America, most of us our lucky because our particular consumerized culture tries to protect us and lie to us about the ugly pragmatic stuff that has to happen every minute to keep us in the manner we’re accustomed. Animals are mistreated and brutally killed, employees are underpaid and disrespected, governments make far-reaching decisions to answer immediate and fleeting situations and please their supporters, the earth is further polluted and  messed up, and third world people are made to live in work in horrible conditions. Many of these pragmatic decisions-made-practice involve controlling and using human nature to the advantage of whatever power base is making the decisions. One of the biggest aspects of human nature is the urge to mate – arguably, it’s the reason we’re all here. Mating has always been useful to empires and popes since it brings more bodies into the army, factory, or tithe lineup, so we have all sorts of rules about it – The pope tells starving third worlders not to use birth control, the British Empire made it illegal to sell birth control at certain points in history, mating with someone of the same gender is bad because it places emphasis on the pleasure aspect which takes everyone off on a bad tangent if they think about it too much.

 Individual Sexuality

Due to all these rules around mating, and the lingering effect of these rules and the absolute thinking they required, we’re still screwed up over the it. But it needs to be looked with what seems to be a simmering possibility in human cultural evolution, that the needs of the individual can be emphasized and co-exist peacefully with a general set of rules that look to the needs of the group. Mating and sexuality should not be looked at as tools of the church or state, but a fundamental component of each individual’s being, and dealt with in a manner that best suits the individual, according to circumstances. Abortion is not the best, but this is a complicated world with weird stuff happening, everyone makes mistakes. It’s not good to make a whole series of additional mistakes just trying to satisfy some dogma regarding the first one.

I also think the Animal Rights community should really take advantage of the excellent traction the “All Life is Precious” motto has and print up some with the additional footprints.

Written by balloonhed

June 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

Stupid Facebook

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I’ve realized I’m having trouble blogging because I dissipate my outrage and intellectualizing in Facebook status lines. Phooey!

Written by balloonhed

June 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

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Hanging out with Intravenous Drug Users

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I used to hang out with intravenous drug users, due to an association belonging to my roommate at the time.  Mostly cocaine, but sometimes other stuff that i had or had never ever heard of.

There were two types of dealers in this netherworld – those that did do their own product, and those that did not. The ones that did their own product usually had you come to their place to purchase, which was usually a squalid apartment furnished with lawn chairs and an unusual number of second-hand mattresses. They dressed like, and usually were welfare recipients – Giant Tiger track pants and t-shirts with weird and dated logos on them. They took the bus or rode their bike if they were meeting you away from home.

The ones that did not do their own product usually met you at some 24-hour restaurant in Vanier, a rather shady part of Ottawa. They wore sharp suits or fashionable sportswear with lots of gold jewellery.  They usually had very, very fancy cars. I don’t know if any of them were on welfare or had other jobs.

The dealers that did their own product were usually living just on the edge of being in trouble with their upstream providers – they always had a tinge of desperation about them. They were generally happy to advance you some if you were broke and they knew you, especially if you were going to hang around on their mattresses and share.  I suppose the willingness to sell on credit was some sort of lazy putting off obligation till another day – a sale has been made and money will come. Some of them would also accept payment “in trade” or valuable objects. If you didn’t pay them in a timely fashion, they would get increasingly more desperate and angry, and would eventually fly into a rage and beat the crap out of you if they found you insufficiently accompanied by friendlies.  They’d take anything you had, books and CDs if they got into your place, even if it had no real sale value.

Users of their own product were usually vastly suspicious of my presence, a friend who didn’t use, hanging around.

Dealers that didn’t do their own product never sold on credit to regular users. If they knew you very well, and you had a stellar reputation, they might advance you a small amount. I’m not familiar with what happened if you didn’t pay back in a timely manner in such a case. If you managed to convince them you were a possible franchisee, they’d lay a goodly quantity on you with partial payment or on credit.  I was a secondary witness to and heard of several other occasions where the recipient messed up and used or lost the merchandise without getting an appropriate amount of money for it – it usually involved guys in balaclavas kicking in the door of debtor’s apartment and smashing the place and the occupants up. The actual dealer involved could be reliably found in his usual haunt while this happened.  Non-using dealers never accepted CD players and the like in payment.

Non-using dealers always congratulated me on the fact I wasn’t using.  They’d buy me drinks, confidentially wonder why I was hanging around with such losers, and give me rides places in their fancy cars (more than once as a trustworthy go-between to pick up some cash for someone). And eventually each and every one would get around to offering me a free sample or a limited-time-only reduced price selection of products.

I think of this little period in my life every time I think of current purveyors of products – The Execs at Blizzard Entertainment who don’t play World of Warcraft, fit and healthy directors at junk food and cigarette companies, builders of  tiny overpriced yuppie-hutch “exclusive executive lofts” who live in sprawling one-of-a-kind country chalets or century homes.  So much of the modern world depends on the appealing, addictive qualities of products and the common person’s inability to moderate or properly value things, which is reinforced by the constant demands of making enough money to buy critical consumer crap and then deal with less important needs like rent and food.

Written by balloonhed

May 11, 2011 at 10:37 am