Saturday, December 31, 2005 · posted at 11:32 PM
I'm ideologically promiscuous.
         ~Louis, "Munich"

Morality is like the English language - for every rule there is most certainly an exception to that rule.

People draw and redraw their right/wrong lines all the time. They come up with all kinds of excuses or justifications for their beliefs, attitudes and actions.

To kill another person is wrong, unless they're in a Middle Eastern country and you're wearing fatigues. Drugs are bad, unless they're in your coffee mug or shot glass. Thou shalt not steal, but if it's "owed" to you, that's another story. Homosexuality is disgusting, unless it involves two lesbians and a pillow fight.

But truly no issue is purely black and white. For each situation pertaining to that issue, you may have a line dividing right and wrong, but will that line be drawn in the exact same place for another situation where a few variables are changed? Should it be?

Borderline personality disorder, for instance, is characterized by dichotomous thinking. Something is either all good or all bad with no inbetween. I've seen a woman go from screaming at me, threatening to sue, and basically epitomizing me as all that is evil to singing my praises and declaring me the best thing since sliced bread (and anyone who's seen my social skills in action knows it's not because of my charm). Zero to 180 in two seconds flat.

So maybe it's good to have a cliched gray area. Eventually all our lines of right and wrong form a composite continuum with light and dark areas. So instead of "do you think fighting is wrong?" the question we should ask is "where are your shades of gray?"

And your mother said promiscuity was a bad thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 · posted at 1:46 PM
Ply Wars: Why is 2-ply paper softer than 1-ply?

When I moved out, my old roommate expressed concern over her new roommate working out. "What if doesn't use 2-ply toilet paper and gets the cheap stuff from Costco??" she fretted.

I am a 2-ply girl. There's just something about using 1-ply that rubs me the wrong way (pun intended). Especially in the home; if I wanted to be uncomfortable in the bathroom, I'd use a public toilet!

But is it the "ply" part that makes "2-ply" superior? Ply is defined as "A layer, as of doubled-over cloth or of paperboard." But if you double, triple, or quadruple-up on 1-ply, does it really create a pillowsoft, 2-ply Charmin-esque feel?

No, instead you merely end up with a wad of prison-grade toilet paper that feels like a brick and is just as difficult to flush.

Perhaps "ply" is really a misnomer for underlying factor Z that influences toilet paper softness, but is associated with the ply variable Y (I may not be writing my social and behavioral determinants paper right now, but hey I'm practicing the theory)...

Why not introduce another measure to describe toilet paper, similar to the use of thread count for linens? Or different grades such as the number of sheets needed to cushion a shot glass in an overstuffed travel suitcase?

Oh yeah... because it's toilet paper, and at the end of the day, it's really only good for one thing...

Friday, December 09, 2005 · posted at 1:09 AM
Walden dreams, part II.

I was at the public library recently using the computer library catalog. After 2 minutes on it, this other customer barks at me, "Are you going to be on that much longer? You know there's a 10 minute limit." There were two open computers next to me! I finished my search, closed the window, and got off the computer.

Vulture woman immediately snatched up the computer and promptly called the library attendant over. "How do I do this?" she demanded. "I can't get it to work. It was working 5 seconds ago (loudly and with a death glare in my direction)."

Lady, you've gotta open up the Internet browser if you want to use the internet! It's not like it's hidden in the program menu or inaccessible. There is a large-ass icon sitting right on the Desktop labeled "Internet"... what more do you want? A gala invitation with raised lettering and a watermark?

The humanity...

Thursday, December 08, 2005 · posted at 12:49 AM
Walden dreams. People bug me some time.

Everyone is so trigger happy to point a blaming finger. I was at the post office and a guy happened to be the upteenth person to put his package in the self-service drop mailbox and the drawer jammed. Too bad you couldn't use those odds to win the lotto. Well, chaos insued as the people behind him became irate and were prompt to throw a "you belong on leprosy island" look at him when complaining to the staff.

Obviously, the man didn't intend to jam the box. If it wasn't him, it would have been the next person, or the next... The point is that it was a structural system problem at fault (drop mailbox was full) rather than the consequence of his individual behavior. Yet everyone was so quick to assign fault and blame to the victim.

A person is a tangible thing that you can see, touch, feel, and conceptulize, in contrast to these system problems that are underlying and out of sight. And everyone knows it's a lot easier to put a photograph rather than an invisible object on a dartboard.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 · posted at 12:49 PM
There must be some Toros in the atmosphere. My first New York snow! It snowed about 2 inches this morning. The Christmas trees on the street are actually frosted with real powder, not the spray from a can stuff you need in California.

I wonder how long before the novelty wears off..

It's getting colder out, which means layers of winter coats, mittens, scarves, and double socks. It made me think: Does anyone get it on when it's freezing outside? I don't mean the "roll over, flannel pajama" sex... I mean the fiery, passionate, "bumping into furniture, tearing each others' pants off" sex.

Because I imagine it'd be a bit of a damper to rip off clothes for five minutes only to find thermal long johns (tapered, mind you) up to your ribcage...

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