LinkExchange Member Free Home Pages at GeoCities


About The Webmeister

Know thyself. Nothing in excess.

If you came to check out my mailbox, and aren't interested in the biographical stuff, then either scroll down or click here. Otherwise, read on.

Other features at Voices From The Right:
Serious stuff: The Clinton/Lewinsky "Fornigate" scandal | Why I am Not a New Ager
Fun stuff: Parody of "Make Money Fast" scam | Parody of classic Dave Rhodes style "Make Money Fast" scam | Parody of St. Jude chain letter | Stuff that Sucks | Spoof of Clinton's 4Q98 State of the Union address | The Ruthenians: a people without a holiday
Other stuff: Voices from the Right home page | My REAL résumé: Jobs that Sucked | Introduction to the Internet: be sure you have the latest browser | Brief bio about the Webmeister, and my Mailbox: write me... if you dare

Vital Statistics

Personal Data

Here's my Geek Code:
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
GCS d--(!d)(d+$) s+:+ a- C++ U-- P-- L-- E-- W++ N+ o-- K w++++ O-$ M+$ V$ PS--- PE-- Y+ PGP t--- 5-- X R tv-- b+++ DI++ D+ G e++ h- r++ y+
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

And, here's my Magic Code:
MQB/WI/RU S++ W@ N-- PNO++/CE++/GR++ D A a- C- G- QH+++>++++ 666+ Y+

Criminal Record (Society is to blame for all of the following.)

 [chain (horizontal divider)]

Other items

 [PWA logo]
Member of the Pagan WebCrafters' Association!

I guess this makes me an HTML Heathen.

Please take the time to look closely.
Help find a missing child
Call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you've seen this child
We support the work of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 [chain (horizontal divider)]

Mailbox

Comments? I like getting feedback. It lets me know someone has seen this and is inspired to write. Just a couple of rules... It's best to leave the subject line as is -- Regarding the web page -- because I get a lot of spam and that's one of the things that will distinguish your message from 419 schemes, links to phishing sites, and advertisements for pills that will make my shlong bigger and my wallet lighter. That being said, I reserve the right to print your mail to me here, unless you specifically tell me otherwise. I may correct spelling and grammar at my sole discretion, and I will add my comments. Those who disagree with me respectfully will get respect in return -- rational, civilized debate is a good thing, after all -- but those who come across as sanctimonious twerps will get sawed off at the knees (metaphorically speaking, of course). Be warned that I write satire for fun. If any response is really lame, I reserve the right to send it to /dev/null. Dem's de breaks. Is that unfair? Maybe, but it's MY soap box, not one big touchy-feely encounter group where we have to "affirm" each other.

And, it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. The fact that I included a mailto: link for myself does not give anyone implicit permission to send me unsolicited advertisements of any nature. Some advertisers run programs that scan web pages to look for mail links. Then they'll send "spam" (electronic junk mail), which usually consists of get-rich-quick schemes or porno site ads. This is beyond rude. I expressly deny permission to be added to any mailing list without my explicit consent in writing. I reserve the right to take every legal measure to punish anyone who sends me unsolicited e-mail. For starters, there will be a $500 reading fee for each unsolicited commercial e-mail. (Webmasters -- I encourage you to put a similar notice on your web sites. Maybe the day will come when we can take the spammers to court. It's a long shot, but hey...)


Previous Mail

From:  Shawn M. Leary [smleary <at> mediaone.net]
Subject:  Regarding the web page/resume
Date:  Tue 4/7/98 6:39 PM

Dude, kick ass resume..

Let me know when you "finish" it... rather continue.
Tell me, how long did it take you to write that resume?
So much for one page resumes : )

-- 
| Shawn M. Leary R.T. (R)
| Staff Radiographer
| Memorial Hospital
| Jacksonville, FL
| SPC US ARMY (91P)
| http://www.jacksonville.net/~smleary

Owing to a busy schedule, it may be a couple of weeks before I am able to do much more web authoring. The inspiration bug doesn't always bite predictably. But, I'll drop you a note next time I get the next installment of my wondrous memoirs of corporate stupidity.


 [crybaby] From:  jeff mccandless [mccandless <at> hotmail.com]
Subject:  about your website
Date:  Fri 5/22/98 2:26 PM

It seems to me that you have a little too much time on your hands.  Do 
you have nothing better to do than sit around and bad mouth a wonderful 
industry which has given better, more meaningful lifes to several of us 
which really work the business.  Not every opportunity out there is a 
ridiculus scam, although you are trying to make people think that. Not 
everyone in our business uses spam as a means marketing.  In fact, the 
vast majority of us are very responsible marketers using direct mail as 
well as targeted email.  In case you didn't know, these people are 
interested in seeing our proposals.  When I share my offer with 
individuals, they cannot thank me enough in the short time after they 
begin the program.  I feel, as well as many others in this industry, 
that we are changing the quality of life of those that join us.  What 
are you doing for your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens?  Sounds 
to me like you're just mocking and ridiculing people that really don't 
deserve it.  What is that doing for our society.  If I were a money 
hungrey maggot, as you claim on you page, don't you think I would put in 
a small plug for my program?  Forget it! I would never invite an 
ignorant loser such as yourself.  It may benefit you in the future.  
Thanks for your time--and I think you should reconsider your website.
Angry, Honest Network Marketer.

Why, thank you so much for sharing. I knew I would get flame mail sooner or later. I like that! Wasn't it Nietzsche who said that the scorn of fools is the highest compliment? The atrocious spelling and grammar makes it even cuter. You could have expressed yourself in a reasonable manner, but since you didn't, I'm not going to pull any punches (even if it is rather unchivalrous of me to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent).

Let's see... where to begin... You weren't very specific about which page got your panties all in a bunch. Most likely, it was either my parody about "Make Money Fast" chain letters, but perhaps it was my tale about jobs that sucked. In any event, I can't tell if I ticked you off because you're a chain letter chump, because you're a servant of the Almighty Amway, or because you're into some other type of "network marketing" thing.

So, I guess I have to take this point-by-point. You mention that "the vast majority of us are very responsible marketers using direct mail as well as targeted email. In case you didn't know, these people are interested in seeing our proposals." Pray tell, Jeff, why is it that I've gotten untold dozens of get-rich-quick schemes without having asked for a single one of them? Most claim to involve "network marketing" or "multi-level marketing" -- although "pyramid scheme" is a more precise description for >95% of these. Every time I get yet another piece of trash in my e-mail box, it feels about as good as finding a dead rat in my snail-mail box. And for the last several years, similar scams have been blanketing Usenet like an ineradicable fungus. That's the work of a "vast majority" of "very responsible marketers"? Hello, McFly? I just love being on those "targeted e-mail" lists. Perhaps now you see one reason (of many) why I don't care for network marketing. Every spammer who has sent me that crap ought to be locked in a small room for three days with a loudspeaker continuously playing Michael Jackson hits at 95 decibels.

Now if (as you say) you are not a spammer, and are actually selling a real product, then good for you. Perhaps your anger would be better directed at the spammers who commit blatant fraud disguised as MLM and thereby put all MLM offers in a bad light. There's a subtle distinction you may be missing in my satire. Those who pass along chain letters -- which are illegal because no real product changes hands -- are the greedy maggots; but legitimate MLMers such as all the neighborhood would-be dish detergent tycoons are merely greedy fools.

In any event, I'm certainly not "interested in seeing" those proposals, legitimate or otherwise. I only personally know four people who bought into network marketing. Two tried Mary Kay cosmetics, and discovered that our city has way too many people already selling that, which means the peons at the bottom of the pyramid can't find enough buyers to make a profit. All told, they lost about half of what they put in, which they could ill afford. Then there was an old friend from high school, and his brother-in-law who recruited him into some cockamamie deal involving cable TV production or something. They attempted to get me and another friend of mine to buy into it as well. But, we didn't just fall off of a turnip truck. We're going to give them a lot of teasing for quite some time to come. And I would like to thank you for not putting in "a small plug" for your program. Please don't throw me into that brier patch, Br'er Fox... Yea verily, there's no need to cast your pearls before an "ignorant loser" like me. (Sniff, sniff... If my heart were to bleed any more, I'd turn into Jane Fonda.) Generally, the only way to get filthy rich at MLM is by being near the top of the pyramid, and an exponentially growing sales force will run out of steam sooner or later when demand can't keep pace -- so good luck getting to the top. Don't take my word for it; just wait around a while and you'll see. Invested a lot of time and money already, hmmm? Tried to recruit Mom yet?

You asked me what I'm doing for my friends, neigbors, and fellow citizens. (Golly... If only I had what it takes to be an illustrious Network Marketing Moonie, I could get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize or something.) Well, for starters, I've got a real job as a systems administrator. Some of the work I've done has saved my clients US$300,000, and will probably become more valuable in the future. Since my job involves production and adding value, I prefer it to one which involves filling the little people with hopes about getting rich. I'm glad I'm not so foolish as to let someone put visions into my head of sugarplum fairies who will shower me with their little golden fairy-droppings, if only I sign up and start recruiting people.

Lastly, about the name-calling business, consider that two can play that game, sucker.


From:  Chris Ostergren [ostergren_christophe <at> tandem.com]
Subject:  Regarding the web page
Date:  Wed 8/12/98 1:07 PM

Hello,

This is a totally self-serving message. I've just put up my Web site and
would like some visitors. I thought you might be amused by my Camille
Paglia parody at htttp://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/9472/. Enjoy
Camille expsosing the dark sexuality at the heart of Barney and his
Friends.

I'd be interested in your critique of the Objectivists. It seems to me
that the Ayn Rand crowd is engaged in a wrong-headed attempt to elevate
the capitalist (i.e., bourgeois) into some sort of aristocrat. The
beourgeois spends his  time determining the lowest common denominator,
pandering to it, and raking in the cash. He cares more about what he
owes to the bank than what he owes to his Gloire.

I think Americans are not aware that there is a critique of capitalism
from the right as well as form the left.

Des Esseintes (Chris)

I just checked out your pages -- not bad! Keep up the good work. I'll link to it shortly. I always knew there was a sinister subtext lurking beneath the dopey facade of the Barney show. ;^)

Regarding Objectivism, it's pretty hard to begin to do the subject justice in a brief manner. But since you asked, I'll try to summarize my thoughts on the topic without writing a novel.

First, the good points. I've read quite a bit of Ayn Rand and I admire her dedication to Reason. I may disagree with some of the Objectivists' conclusions, but their clear perspective does them credit. Furthermore, they work out their positions meticulously. Too much of what passes for modern philosophy, and politics for that matter, is loaded with overwrought emotionalism and unwritten assumptions which must not be questioned. Still, there are substantial axioms underpinning Objectivism -- some of which I would dispute -- but Ayn Rand gets a good deal closer to common sense and reality (yes, in my not-so-humble opinion) than, for example, the dyspeptic Derrida or the rotten Fish. And I admire Ayn Rand's disdain for the wishy-washy, ill-considered hedonism which commonly afflicts Liberalism (in both the classical and the modern forms). I just wish she had developed those thoughts further. And last but not least, Objectivist rhetorical style is straightforward, free of obscurantism and pretentiousness.

Now for the bad points. Unfortunately, Objectivism falls victim to a tendency quite common in philosophy, namely that it goes too far in trying to fit everything into its models, and that it regards itself as nearly infallible. First, it absolutely rules out religion from the start. I am religious, not because it was drummed into my head as a child or because I bought into a dogmatic belief system, but because of personal observations and reason. So, I must beg to differ with the notion that all theology is just vain superstition. Furthermore, religion can be a positive influence in people's lives, so long as it's not taken to fanaticism.

Secondly, Objectivism regards the individual as the only social unit of importance, owing hardly any loyalties to anything else. I'm all for self-sufficiency, but people are social animals, and every healthy society observes a proper balance between the interests of the individuals and the community. Relationships based on kinship (family, tribe, nation, and so forth) are vital, they hold societies together for the long duration, and nothing even comes close to taking their place. Most of the problems besetting America -- and Western Europe, to a lesser extent -- are happening because people are increasingly out to please themselves and don't care about the old loyalties based on kinship, or time-tested cultural values. (And a good deal of this, in turn, results from one thing: television.) This may sound like an ambitious assertion, and I would like to expand on it, but I said I wouldn't write a novel. In any event, Objectivism favors a minimal, watchman state and tends to regard anything more than that as tyranny. That is a one-sided view based more on dogmatism than reason or historical perspective. The government often oversteps its authority, but misguided policy is a worse problem, and implementing laissez-faire economics wouldn't solve much. An Objectivist may be alarmed by the results of the present-day cultural upheaval in America -- a 50% divorce rate, rising illegitimacy, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, rampant crime, an increasingly trashy society, just to name a few -- but Objectivism can't offer a real cure since it unwittingly embraces the very hyper-individualism which is fueling these trends. Had Ayn Rand made more of a point of distinguishing between liberty and license, and affirmed the positive role of cultural values and solidarity, then this dilemma could have been avoided. But, since the individual is of such supreme importance in the Objectivist model, that might have required some serious re-working.

Lastly, as you suggested, the Objectivist veneration for the rich is something of an argumentum ad crumenam. I've known quite a few rich people, and most of them are disgustingly overbearing and arrogant. Being the object of fawning adulation and sycophancy, and being able to have one's way all the time, usually has a corrosive effect on the soul. Some people become rich through hard work or talent (which are traits to be admired); but others inherit their wealth (and didn't do anything to earn it); and others get rich and live high on the hog by theft, fraud, extortion, usury, or by otherwise taking advantage of other people. Perhaps Ayn Rand's admiration of the rich extended only to the talented and ambitious, excluding the dishonest and exploitative, but I haven't seen this distinction made explicit in her philosophy. In any event, materialism isn't all there is to life, and personal wealth isn't the ultimate yardstick of a person's virtue; as Muhammad said (may peace be upon him), "Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind."

Regarding critiques of capitalism from the Right, from the above I'm sure you can guess that I don't regard The Market as some sort of panacea. As far as American politics is concerned, Patrick Buchanan was a fairly promising candidate, but he didn't have a chance once the Media sank their teeth into him. It's been years, but I still can't forget Time Magazine's drawing of him on the cover of their fishwrap: beady little eyes, an expression of malevolence and guilt -- might as well have drawn him with horns and a pitchfork. Nor can I forget their one-sided hack journalism. As for my own perspective on capitalism, I regard it as imperfect, but there don't seem to be too many good alternatives. It's too bad they don't make Socialists like Jack London any more.


From:  Les Whitaker (hoofe <at> intecnet.net)

Subject: Regarding the web page
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 19:44:46
Sir: It isn't often that serendipity strikes, but just today, I was spammed by someone wishing to save Bill Clinton's job. The message gave the Starr Report's address, a thing I had determined to ignore, plus other links for the transparent reason, apparently, to attempt to win my sympathy. Among those other links was your website. It now resides on a very short list within the bleak innards of my hard drive. (>6). You shouldn't feel honored or exclusive, I have my reasons. One of those reasons is that it has been a very long time since I've happened upon such a well-read writer. Another is that it has been even longer since I've read anything written by a presumably practicing Pagan (although I must confess that, through ignorance, I cannot envision what a 'practicing pagan' might do). I cannot imagine you dancing about a fire while sacrificing a singularly unlucky animal. While I have no desire other than to twit you, I am driven to suggest that your detestation of spam has circled through the Humours of the Gods to procure for you my humble accolades. (I am aware of the embedded assumptions). Why you should consider putting this overblown exercise in epistemology (I do wish I hadn't come to lean on the spell checker so heavily--it apparently isn't working) on your mail site escapes me, but do so if you wish. I couldn't let the accidental discovery of intelligence and wit go without voicing approval, no matter how pretentious the notion might be construed. On matters of theology, I am a Christian. I suppose that is another reason I felt impelled to post; there is a vanishingly small possibility of increasing my limited understanding; I heretofore had assumed that Pagans and New Agers and what-have-yous were pages out of the same manual. And no, I have not even the faintest desire to convert you. Should you, with your elevated reasoning skills, wish to waste an evening, might I suggest you visit the 'Christian Chat Rooms' on the Undernet. I can promise you, it will be dreary. But you will see many sad coincidences of the three incompatible philosophies embedded in the same brain. I have dribbled on much longer than I had meant. You have a most interesting website; I intend to pursue its unread portions later.

Hey, it's nice to hear from you. Sorry I haven't replied earlier -- it's been pretty hectic for a good while. I don't mind printing your reply on my "letters" page.

I do find it rather odd that you heard about my site from a pro-Clinton spam. I haven't the slightest idea why they would wish to advertise my Fornigate editorial, unless perhaps it was an attempt to illustrate what a mean bunch the President's critics are. Or perhaps they simply copied some links from the goMonica.com "Top 100" page.

As to my own religious practices, running around a fire is quite in character. However, I would never sacrifice animals. That sort of thing is almost almost unheard-of outside of some of the Afro-Caribbean traditions (Voudon and Santeria, as I recall). For most of us, the words from the Charge of the Goddess ("Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the Earth") make this unnecessary.

I'm afraid I'll have to decline the offer to visit the Christian IRC channels. Chances are they wouldn't care too much for my opinion, no matter how well I put it. I respect moderate forms of Christianity, and some Christians may respect my views, but it's still their cyber-turf, and it's quite understandable that they wouldn't care for me butting in on their forum. And for that matter, I stay away from most chatrooms and newsgroups devoted to my own religion. There are many good participants, but the exceptions make it too painful to watch. (There are plenty of kids a few French fries short of a Happy Meal who confuse role-playing games with Paganism: these disturbed youths are amusing, but at the same time embarrassing. Then there are a few dyspeptic fanatics who try to shoehorn their fringe 1960s-vintage radicalism into Paganism. If given the opportunity, they would gleefully slag off Plato and probably poison Socrates all over again.)

More generally speaking, there are some big problems with unmoderated participatory media. First, in most cases they are almost as much of a waste of time as television. Second, spamming and trolling can make them nearly unreadable. Third, the style of debate is atrocious. For example, someone will make a brilliant argument, and then the next guy will put on a mind-reading act and make wild speculations about the other person's motives, another will quote pieces out of context and reply with a dumb "straw man" attack, someone else will stubbornly demand a level of proof no less than articles from peer-reviewed academic journals which have generated little controversy, and yet another will reply with childish obscenities and insults. That's not debate; that's kindergarten. This actually can be quite hilarious, but it's not very useful for serious discussion.

Some time ago, I decided that it would be unproductive to advance my views in an evanescent medium where most people couldn't debate to save their lives. I figured my efforts were better spent at web design. So, I got off my duff and learned HTML, and that's how my website began.


From:  Pavi53 <at> aol.com
Subject:  Regarding the web page
Date:  Thu, 24 Sep 1998 14:13:53 EDT

Lots of insightful and weigthy stuff on your page. Check out the link below,
which makes many of the same points, but perhaps packages them somewhat
differently:

        http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/gipsy/626/

You might even consider setting up a link to it somewhere on your page.

Keep up the good work.

J.P.

P.S. Sideline on Ayn Rand. A lot of the stuff she wrote about in 'Atlas
Shrugged' was true at the time of its writing and continues to be true today. The
amazing thing is that the US has been able to not only survive
but thrive in spite of the decay. Then again, we have to cross the bridge to
the year 1000 (the dark ages) soon, with CLINTON leading the way.

Looks like you're not cutting the Big Creep any slack. I'll put a link to it on my Fornigate page, next time I update it.


From: Paganismus <at> aol.com
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 15:58:35 EDT
Subject: Regarding Your web page on "new agers" (which I've liked so far)

I liked your article on new agers, though I haven't read the whole thing yet 
so far I can really relate to it (being Pagan myself)  I used to read lot's 
of those books such as "to ride a silver broomstick" by Silver Raven Wolf and 
found them to be incredibly shallow reading (not only that but it wasn't even 
well written.) but recently I've started to get into more clasic works,  for 
example the Golden Bough and Bullfinch's Mythology, and even though the 
authors aren't Pagan themselves I've found them so far to be a lot more 
accurate.
Keep up the good work

Hey, glad you like it. Keep up the classical studies. There's lots of great literature out there which, unfortunately, is an undiscovered treasure for many people.


From: sinshan <at> juno.com
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 14:51:47 -0400
Subject: Regarding

Hello,

I just found your website and have been spending a delighted half-hour
reading it.  (It may amuse you to know that I found it by doing a keyword
search on "theological" "perspectives" and "Jonestown".  "Jonestown"
pulled your page up.)

I am a pagan, and I wanted to tell you that it is so pleasant to run
across another pagan who isn't a crystal-wavin', white-light fluffybunny.
 Personally, I have never read Ayn Rand (keep meaning to, haven't gotten
around to her yet) and would unfortunately be a sitting duck in a
philosophical debate, but I couldn't agree with you more that hedonism
and solipsism are worse than useless and should not be the dominant
trends in the pagan "community".  Hey, if you ever put up any articles on
appropriate and inappropriate ways to deal with deities and magic, drop
me a line and let me know.  I suspect you don't subscribe to the
"Dial-a-Goddess" approach and I would be interested to see what you have
to say.

Cheers,

Stacey

First of all, I'd like to apologize for taking so long to write back. It's been a bit hectic lately, and I wanted to send a response worthy (I hope) of the questions you raised. In any event, it's nice to hear from a kindred spirit.

As for Dial-A-Goddess, it's true that I'm not into that. First of all, I don't have Drew Barrymore's phone number. ;^) Seriously, though, the subjects of theology and thaumaturgy -- deities and magic -- are very involved, and it would indeed take a monograph or two to begin doing the subjects justice. But for now, this will have to do.

In regards to the question of deities, I believe that everything originated from a single Source, and that intelligence guided the universe's formation. There are a great number of physical constants and serendipitous "coincidences" without which life as we know it wouldn't be possible, so I would have to say that it takes a great deal more faith to believe that everything happened randomly, rather than in accordance to some sort of divine plan. As the Koran says (2:164): "Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand."

Therefore, life itself is sacred. I feel that it shouldn't be too big a disappointment if Providence doesn't always go our way; on a galactic scale, the earth is like a speck of dust orbiting a little candle flame, and it's not the job of the Gods to micro-manage human affairs. It wouldn't be possible to make all of us equally happy, and an attempt to do so would stifle free will. And isn't life miracle enough?

I believe that very rapidly at the beginning of time, the essence of the universe coalesced into successive stages of increasing density, some of it ending up as matter, and the rest remaining energy (in the proper physics sense of the term) or something subtler. These stages have their various properties and affinities, and each of the deities (the Gnostics might call them "archons") operate in one or more of these spheres. However, the ultimate Source is one. In case you're curious, this is a Qabalistic outlook which (in my informed but less-than-scholarly opinion) had its origins in Neo-Platonism.

The mythology which we attach to the Gods is seldom the literal truth; it's simply a human way of understanding that which is very abstract and often far removed from our experience. (For that matter, many of Them don't understand the human condition very well.) They're sort of like living Jungian archetypes. As for the nature of consciousness that spiritual beings have, or how they perceive and experience their own existence, it's hard to say and I wish I knew. The gist of what I've heard -- for what it's worth -- is that intelligence ranges anywhere from about like a programmable coffee maker (in the case of a simple elemental) to superhuman (in the case of an archangel). And I've also heard the idea -- one which sounds rather plausible -- that "spirits" are really elements of the human unconscious mind. Or perhaps some of them are internal, and others external. This is far from certain.

As for magic, that's a far more difficult subject for me. I would be inclined not to believe in any of it, and write off all reports of magic as the work of over-eager imagination and sometimes outright fraud. Well, that does happen quite a bit, but I've had enough odd experiences to convince me that sometimes it's the real thing. Still, to a large degree I'm at a loss to explain this. The best explanation I've seen, which doesn't contradict or ignore what I know about physics (and I'll admit that I'm not exactly Stephen Hawking) is an article about chaos theory. It's hosted at the excellent Atho's collection of files back from the good old PODS days, before the Internet became what it is now.


 [crybaby] From:  abar <at> 2trom.com
Date:  Mon, 9 Oct 2000 10:43:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:  Regarding the webpage

First of all I would like to say that you are not an "accomplished satirist".  
What you really are, is 
a lonely boy who's looking for attention by yelling from the top of a soap 
box.  You think that if you yell loud enough and long enough, people won't see 
that the box you are on is about as flimsy as can be.

The reason I say this is that you have no real facts to back yourself up.  I 
mean if you actually did have some basis in reality here I wouldn't be doing 
this but you don't.  

Of course, me being Canadian and all might have coloured my opinion against 
your little "Canadians are stupid" rant.  

First of all you said that 

"America has produced the light bulb, the phonograph, the telephone, the steam 
ship, the airplane, penicillin, the polio vaccine, a great deal of computer 
technology from ENIAC on up to the modern PC, the Apollo program (etc., etc., 
etc.,"

Well let's look at this.  Most people would say that the light bulb was 
created by Thomas Edison but that's actually not completely true.  A british 
chemist named Swan came up with an the same idea earlier than Edison.  Edison 
is given the credit becuase his model was better than Swan's.  And after doing 
some more research it has also been shown that Edison bought the patent of the 
lightbulb from two poor Canadians.  Interesting.

Edison also invented the phonograph.  Well, so far you're about 1.25 out of 2.

Now we have the telephone.  Well, let's take a look at Alexander Graham Bell.  
He was born in Scotland and then ... well ... he was a Canadian.  Let's look 
at that one more time, his family moved to Brantford, Ontario, Canada.  Wow.  
He was a Candian.

The airplane was created by the Wright brothers in the US so I'll give him 
that one.  What's the score? 2.25 out of 4.  He's only a little over half right.

Now for the Steam Engine.  I know you said steam ship but the ship was already 
there, all they needed was the engine.  Well, it was first invented by Thomas 
Savery who's English.  That's right, score one for the Brits!

Ah!  Penicillin.  According to you, my small minded friend, it was created by 
an American.  He couldn't have been more wrong.  Penicillin was created by 
Alexander Fleming who was a Scottish Canadian doctor.  Wow.  Another Canadian.  

2.25 out of 6 ... Ah! Not starting to look so good are you?

Now about computer technology.  I'll grant you that some of it was invented by 
Americans.  However, a lot of it was developed by Canadians inside the US.  A 
prime example of this is JAVA.  JAVA was created by James Gosling who is a 
Canadian.  So I'll give you the remaining .75 as a gift.

Now we com to the Apollo space program.  While it was mostly an american 
project I'll tell you about a Canadian invention.  It's called the Canadarm.  
Without that invention we wouldn't be where we are for space exploration.

This comes to a grand total of ... *fanfares*
3.5 out of 8.  Not even 50%.

Not that great an average is it?  I could go on but I'm short on time and 
you're beginning to bore me.  So I'm going to end on this final note.

As good old Samuel L. Clemens once said, "Get your facts first and then 
distort them as much as you please."


Abar
guardian against bigoty

PS  Did you know that there are over 1 000 000 canadian patented inventions.  
If you look real hard in your house I'm sure you'll see a few.

Well, Bubbles, it looks like you're really trying to get my goat. (I knew that sooner or later someone would go ballistic about something on my Stuff That Sucks page. After all, the truth hurts.) But, I can't really come down too hard on a guy who's sticking up for his country, even if it is a dippy place like the People's Republic of Canada. Under most circumstances, patriotism is a good thing. However, it can be overdone. You remind me of Russians who insist that it was A.S. Popov (not Marconi) who invented the radio, and that the Russian translation of Hamlet is superior to the original. Nash lushche. But, there's one important difference: Russia is a great nation, one that I can respect. They certainly have their share of problems now, yet one can't help but admire their genius, culture, and stoicism. If you had asked nicely and convinced me that something I wrote was unfair, I might even have toned down whatever you found to be so objectionable. But since you decided to engage in blustery nit-picking instead, I guess I'll have to answer this point by point.

In conclusion, nothing you wrote changes the fact that the USA, whatever its problems may be, is by far the greater country. But, that wasn't really my main point anyway; just a tangential observation. Well, it's been fun. So as not to leave you with hurt feelings, I've racked my brains and come up with a few good things about your homeland, to-wit:
From:  "Raine Nighswander" <krystal_raine (at) hotmail.com>
Date:  Sun, 26 Nov 2000 06:55:06 -0500
Subject:  Your Site

Okay, I have to admit. I loved hearing about your views on things, and 
agreed with quite a few things. Except one. Canadians. My name is Raine 
Nighswander. I'm not positive about whether or no you had no pet peeve on 
people with wierd names, but if you do, I'm sorry. Now, about Canadians, I 
only have one thing to say, we do NOT speak 'funny'. We have the exact same 
english language as you do. It's about, not aboot, couch, not chesterfield, 
and I pronounce the letter Z, as zee, not zed. Every single Canadian speaks 
differently, and sure a ~few~ say 'eh at the end of a setence in a while, 
but more then 75 percent of us don't.
Not to mention the fact that, why must Canadians get insult for the way they 
speak? We have accents, just as any other country, albeit, we've become the 
sudden mockery of people. None of my friends portray American as a 
gun-wielding continent. We don't insult you, don't insult us,
      Raine~theViXeN

Your name is OK by me. It's rather pretty, actually. As for really weird names, they do make me wonder what the parents were thinking (or perhaps the real issue is what they were smoking), and I also wonder how the kids make it through junior high without going off the deep end because of all the flak they must receive. But, it's not the kids' fault; Dweezil Zappa and his sister Moonunit didn't get to choose what they got called.

Now down to the substance. The fact is, I have heard some rather odd accents from some (though not all) people who hail from the Frozen North. Even the Québecois have a dialect of French that sounds mighty strange to me, since I learned garden variety Parisian. But, to be fair, the way folks from New Joisey twok is somewhat further removed from the American equivalent of received pronunciation. And folks from Trinidad are really hard to understand -- though I suppose they have difficulty figuring out what the rest of us are saying. So it's all relative. In any case, since you feel that it was unreasonable, I'll tone it down on my next revision.

My main gripe with Canada isn't about linguistic traits (or, for that matter, about which country has the greatest inventors). It's about the fact that "political correctness" has been allowed to run amok to the point that it's a criminal offense to articulate certain controversial views which fall outside of liberal orthodoxy. In the words of Thomas Paine (I really couldn't say it any better), "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself."


From:  <HaLoSbOwSNeRoS (at) aol.com>
Date:  Fri, 10 Feb 2006 23:10:36 -0800
Subject:  Regarding your web page
It is apparent that you are very intelligent and have a way with words. It is too bad that you use such a good mind to hurt others. If hurting people was your goal, you've accomplished it. Although I read your forewarning at the beginning of your "stuff that sucks" page, my innate curiosity persuaded me to read on. In hindsight I probably should have heed your warning. I am sure you are probably use to getting hate mail regarding your site from people angry about what you write but that is not my goal here. I am going to try to be as honest in my opinions about what I felt regarding your writings, specifically one in particular that I read that personally offended me. I know you could probably care less about how you make others feel , especially if it is someone you don't even know; you'd most likely dismiss me as another whiney "cry baby", whatever I still want to let you know what I felt. Basically, I was devastated by your article on transsexuality. I am transsexual myself and reading what you wrote on the issue left me in shock as well as tears, if those were your intentions, for an unfortunate Tranny who'd happen to stumble across your page , then Congrats, you've succeeded in your goal. It would have been noble of you to have the decency to at the very least research the issue thoroughly just for the sake of accurately substantiating your argument, before even putting to word such a bigoted and relentlessly hurtful article. You've had the privilege of being comfortable in your gender for a lifetime and the possibility of being born outside that "biological norm" is probably unimaginable to you, In fact it seems it is non-existent to you. If thatís the case could you answer me this. When biology/nature creates the ambiguous genitalia of a hermaphrodite, at the time of birth how can doctors make a determination of what gender role the baby will innately identify as? What should happen if they give a boy a vagina? Should he accept it and live a lifetime of misery? Are you so rigid in thought that you actually believe a body part defines a personís identity? I am assuming youíre male, let say; if for some freak phenomena your penis falls off tomorrow, would that make you a woman? And even in other more likely instances like a child born with Turners Syndrome, who has an XO chromosome, cannot develop gonads, or produce sex hormones...what gender would you say they are? Or what of other anomalies like children born with AIS where there are normal levels of testosterone in an XY chromosome but cells of the body fail to respond to the male hormone. The body then instantaneously feminizing and although the person has male sex genes he/she appears as a "normal" looking girl ; until she hits puberty and does not menstruate because she has no uterus, what would she be considered. Or for that matter, children born with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, where a female fetus releases a steroid like hormone from her adrenal glands that resembles testosterone, causing the child to be born with confusing genitalia that appears somewhat female and somewhat male. In this case when corrective surgery is given to the child so that it will be raised as a male, the person will develop as a normal looking male but sterile and have the XX chromosomes of a female. If the child is corrected to be a girl at birth there is a 50/50 percent that the child will be a lesbian or have crossed gender identity issues. Gender is not something that is black and white, there is a large grey scale; nor is gender a slave to body parts , there can be discrepancies between body and mind. Differences between male and female brains do exist. Transsexuals only seek out corrective surgery to correct a birth defect that cannot be seen. The sole purpose of transsexual surgery is to align the body with its internal wiring, since rewiring of the brain is impossible. I do not endure hurtful comments from people like you, risk my health and life and invest substantial amounts of money on highly evasive surgery for kicks or to live out a fantasy, I do it because I know I am woman, as whole heartedly as you know you're a man.

Since you wrote articulately, I will be nice. Taking it from the beginning, at least 99.9% of my email is spam; of the serious responses, it's about half in favor, half opposed. So I don't check it frequently. In any case, the intent of my writing is really to enlighten. Sometimes that involves political incorrectness and pointing out unpleasant truths. One witty, sarcastic line can say more than a long, dry monograph. Or as Joseph Sobran put it recently, "My old friend Ann Coulter has made the remarkable discovery that when you say obvious things that everyone knows to be true, people listen gratefully. She realizes that polite argument with liberals, couched in timid euphemism, gets you exactly nowhere. Their 'tolerance' extends only to people who accept their dubious and even absurd premises." Be that as it may, I'm not out to hurt your feelings; I'm out to get you to check your premises and think outside of the box.

I have, in fact, done some research on the topic. I do have plenty of anecdotal experience to draw upon, since I did have a transsexual roommate for a while, and I know several others as social acquaintances. If you'd rather read something by a professional (who puts things a lot nicer than I do), see the following, particularly section 3: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/mchugh.htm

On to the substance of your email. Do recall that at the beginning of my discussion of the topic, I stated that I wasn't discussing hermaphrodism, as that is a true medical condition. To put it another way, I would never poke fun at someone who is born missing a leg. But those who chop their legs off for no good reason, I certainly have condemned them, and in harsher terms (see above on that same page). You did mention several genuine medical conditions, and I don't have any bones to pick with those who have them. (Why would I?) In their case, I would say it's probably best to let them grow up with a minimum of medical intervention until they can figure out what they want to do and make an informed decision. Should they choose to get surgery, I don't have a problem with that, since it's reconstructive surgery to correct a physical problem. That is far different than drastically modifying a healthy body for a psychological issue that would be much better addressed by proper therapy. People should respect their bodies.

You asked if I would be a woman if my penis were to fall off tomorrow. No, but I might buy a Hummer to compensate. (I couldn't resist that.) Seriously, though, this is actually the point where you and I start to disagree. The fact that I'm male is written in every cell of my body, and it's the same for you. There's a lot more that goes into biological sex than that. Women tend to be shorter than men, have higher voices, wider hips, breasts, different build and facial structure, etc. That's what makes them so pretty! Most women between adolescence and menopause have periods and can get pregnant. And this isn't all; to a degree, being female tends to come with certain interests and an outlook on life (I know, not always, but you know what I mean). That is the part where transsexuals get the idea that they are the wrong sex, but as I have observed, they don't actually think like women, but merely think they think like women. So a man who loses his penis is still a man, despite the regrettable injury. And a confused man who gets lots of cosmetic surgery to make himself look somewhat female is still a confused man.

From what I've seen, there are far more men who are biologically 100% male but say they "feel like a woman" (and, rarer, women who claim to be men) than there are people with some form of medical intersexuality. Their problem isn't between the legs, it's between the ears. So why do they feel the way they do? Probably the wish to be the opposite sex represents an ideal to them, though not necessarily a well-grounded one that would match what being female means to the average, genuine woman (or masculinity to men, as the case may be). I've observed that most transsexual guys overcompensate toward "being feminine", however they conceive it. For instance, they often choose names that are much more "girly" than the names mothers choose for their daughters. (I'm tempted to provide examples, but in the interests of privacy, I won't.) Some men with self-doubts will put on a hyper-macho persona (most Hummer owners qualify); I would speculate that some others embrace these self-doubts, convince themselves that it's their true identity, and take things to the other extreme. I've also seen that in many cases there's an element of attention-seeking. If one were to delve deeply enough, one would probably find that most of these issues were caused by experiences in childhood.

Those are normally the sorts of things that psychiatrists should be figuring out. Unfortunately, this issue has gotten wrapped up in professional trendiness and identity politics, which really doesn't help anyone. The various support networks take as axiomatic the premise that these aren't confused guys, but instead they have a special kind of identity. Rather than helping people get to the bottom of why they feel the way they do, this just enables and encourages the confusion.

When people claim to be something that they simply don't appear to be, with no evidence to back them up (and feelings aren't evidence), then hard questions will be asked, and not everyone will be convinced. There are people who feel absolutely positive that they are elves (see http://www.rialian.com/elvsnatn.htm) And there's someone who wants to be a tiger so much that he paid $150,000 to look like one and would like to spend another $100,000 (http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Catman.html) These people are absolutely sure that they aren't people, but no amount of believing it or wishing it makes it so. Thanks to the Internet, they can now network with many others like them. But feelings don't prove anything.

To put it another way, if I have a feeling that I'm a unicorn, does that make me a unicorn? If I get a horn implanted into my forehead, will that make me a unicorn?

In your case, if you are seeking to treat a medical condition such as what you named, go for it. But if this is psychological, you really owe it to yourself to find a therapist who is going to take the time to find out what event or events caused you to start feeling this way and help you come to terms with it.


 [crybaby]
From:  <JOSE6ORLAN (at) aol.com>
Date:  Thu, 31 May 2007 12:02:26 -0700
Subject:  Regarding the web page

You must be joking with this lame web site, 
you Dumb Shit! 
Lick a Boot 
Duke

Dear Jose,

I don't have a foot fetish, so please stop projecting. Therefore, kindly lick it yourself, along with whatever else you are accustomed to licking.

ATTN liberals: If you disagree with something on my site, why not at least clue me in to what you disagree with specifically, and why? If you're articulate about it, I might end up rephrasing things more nicely, or possibly even agreeing with you. But if you just pop off with unintelligent insults, then everyone will know you belong on the shortbus.


Other features at Voices From The Right:
Serious stuff: The Clinton/Lewinsky "Fornigate" scandal | Why I am Not a New Ager
Fun stuff: Parody of "Make Money Fast" scam | Parody of classic Dave Rhodes style "Make Money Fast" scam | Parody of St. Jude chain letter | Stuff that Sucks | Spoof of Clinton's 4Q98 State of the Union address | The Ruthenians: a people without a holiday
Other stuff: Voices from the Right home page | My REAL résumé: Jobs that Sucked | Introduction to the Internet: be sure you have the latest browser | Brief bio about the Webmeister, and my Mailbox: write me... if you dare

You are visitor number  [numeric page count] since the page counter started working right. Aren't you excited? 1 1