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Posts posted by william.scherk

  1. But who's "smart as paint"? Sounds like Bob is patting Ellen on the head.


    Two lumps of meat interacting, of course. Nothing more.

    Up here we call them sweetbreads. The thought of eating all those veal thoughts is quite gruesome, I say, so I have never ever done so.

    Not to put too fine a point on my lancet, Michael, but if there is anything in the human corpse less like meat, it would have to be brains. The brain is actually remarkably stupid, as meat goes: no proprioception, no pain receptors, has trouble 'grasping,' eats only sugar, potassium and salt, couldn't get out of a paper bag without assistance . . . etcetera.

  2. I would like to address another issue. what do you mean by 'concept'? Korzybski discouraged the use of this word since he considered it ambiguous. We have perceptions, thoughts, ideas, etc. and we have words to represent them so where does concept fit in? I think you will agree that ultimately it must be some sort of neural structure or reproducible nervous activity, such as a visualization, memory, etc.?

    Another danged book recommendation, Steven Pinker's "The Stuff of Thought." I thought I could pique your interest by noting that he posits a "language of thought," and wraps that notion up in the idea of Conceptual Semantics. Gee, Semantics and Concepts, hmmm. See review quote from Hofstadter, below**.

    Mind you, if you really are a Canuckistani, and you really are in New Scotland, you probably have already checked it out from your excellent local library in Antigonish.

    If not, Amazon.ca, and some reviews:

    LA Times review by Douglas Hofstadter

    The Guardian review by Deborah Cameron

    New York Times review by William Saletan

    **In "The Stuff of Thought," celebrated Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker sets out to explain how language reveals our inner nature. Terming us "verbivores, a species that lives on words," Pinker argues that our verbivorous, highly biased perception of reality differs radically from the findings of science yet allows us to thrive in a complex universe. The meanings of words matter profoundly, for words determine our reality, or at least a large part of it. Semantics is no arcane intellectual quibble; it lies at the core of our existence.

    Re: Stolen Concepts, the only reaction I have is, "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who think there are only two kinds of people in the world, and those who do not." Except for the fallacy of the excluded middle, my reasoned answer to all dichotomizers.

  3. We see because there is any energy transfer between the object seen and our visual system. The energy transfer is mediated by photons with a frequency in a range that our photo-receptors can detect. Light is photons. In addition to our eyes, certain metals will eject electrons when they are struck by photons of a sufficiently high energy. Hence we have photo detectors that will produce a current flow when light impinges on them. The hand held calculators you can by at the office supply stores work on this principle. Let the light shine on the photo receptor and it generates enough current to operate the device.

    All very true but I was referring more to the differentiating, recognizing, etc. of structure that goes on in the cortex as a result of the neuronal activity, ie. "seeing" something

    Great thread. I commend the great god Ba'al and the discarnate Semanticist.

    Seriously, just a quick note on retina and on Thomas's differentiation interest. You might both have a gander at Oliver Sack's book "Island of the Colour Blind." The "seeing" of the subjects of the book is without colour, they have no colour receptors in the retina/brain; they are totally blind to red, blue, green, yellow, etc., via inherited achromatopsia.

    Highly recommended -- at a library near you See also "The Mind's Eye," a New York Times review.

    With regard to the 'Halle Berry' neurons, I will have to dig up the paper. "Potential applications of this discovery include the development of Neural Prosthetic devices to be used by paralysed patients or amputees," I guess these will be a more invasive means of 'thought-powered' arms. My amputee friend has one of those prostheses that is thinked into operation by a kind of re-routing of impulses sent to other muscle groups (in the stump). I wonder if there will be any great advantage to cracking open the skull and poking about if the result is similar to present prostheses.

  4. I found this on the SOLOP site, posted by Melissa Lepley. [ . . . ]

    "Some of you may have noticed the absence of Rick Giles from this forum for the last month or so. He is not on vacation; he has not given up, or left in a huff."

    Rick Giles' five weeks in detention [ . . . ]

    Detention? Vacation? Huff? Howzabout dismissal?Permanent Recess. The dirt chute . . .

    Readers of this thread (perhaps avid silent lurkers like me) may have heard that the red button was depressed on Rick Giles today, over at the New Zealand based internet forum noted above. The stated reason by the Dowager Emperigo: "bad faith."

    The ostensible reason is that Rick made a recent series of argumentative assaults on reason, asking for a less doctrinaire anti-Islam rhetoric in light of the Sudanese demonstrations for the death of the Bear Moh-Moh, the evul children and the satanic British temptress.

    I've had several online chats with Rick, well before my plunge into serious depression. I was alarmed and charmed by his bluster, and discovered that I liked him. He set me some private challenges which I failed, and although I imagined he might land on my doorstep in Prince George (and as promised, "knock my block off") during the British Columbia leg of his North American tour, he didn't.

    I wish I had been less craven, spoken up and met him in the flesh (I have struggled with an attraction/repulsion to online Objectivism, especially fringes and freakshows and the extremists. I have struggled in my life with a combination of harsh, critical cynicism and wells of compassion).

    Rick's drop through the trapdoor underscores the ephemeral nature of some online alliances of Objectivists (and objectivishists) -- as hammered home by Robert in varied threads here and there.

    I don't know exactly what to make of the red button this time. The week long November operatic ruckus over Elijah Lineberry offers contrast, and I guess all I can do is climb back up the bleachers and heckle. And send Rick a belated "Welcome to the world of pro-am wressling" postcard asking if he wants to be friends with me.


    In passing, best regards to my favourite folk here. Although I have backstage hectored and rampaged on even our host, I shall again strive to temper my rampages with affection and humour in 2008 -- while ephemera may be rampant and unremarkable, many slog hard, having made and making lasting impressions on this world, and on the worlds to come, whether by book, art, articles, postings or that often intangible and evanescent -- friendship.

    I wish happy Xmases, many festive and loving gatherings, religio-cultural joys and secular high holy days to all!


  5. What do we refer to when we use the word 'consciousness'? Korzybski said that to have meaning we need to add consciousness of something.

    In the context of "What is consciousness for," your question is sharp. Although the danger in defining terms is that we can carve away all the wonderful connotations of a word and leave it like a boned fish on an empty plate . . . and while your question has a profound trap (how the hell can I know what is in the we-formation, the we-mind, besides consulting lexicons?), it is fun and can seed a hundred further discussions/tirades/obtuse idiomatic rants.

    I am pig-ignorant of the recently burgeoning field of consciousness studies, but cling to the speculative work of Antonio Damasio as you do to your pathfinder Korzybski, of whom I am also pig-ignorant.

    If you recommend to me an accessible Korzybski take on consciousness (of something), I will try to find you an accessible take from Damasio. **

    But, at the risk of getting everything utterly wrong-ass, Damasio believes that consciousness in human terms is that which a normal, neurologically-sound person is aware of: the body foremost, the sensory 'images' pressing in from outside and the 'images' that flash through thought, and subsequent evolved capacities, emotions, feelings, self and conception of self in the temporal flux. His great book "The Feeling of What Happens" has a subtitle that captures for me the near-ineffable gestalt of his speculations: "Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (see this review if you are unfamiliar).

    If you can conceive of what it means to be "unconscious," and if you can read some of the case studies of Damasio (or Oliver Sacks, for good measure), you can sculpt your own conception of the common connotations of the word . . .

    In terms of "what consciousness is for," accepting that this is a metaphor like "What the Fox gene is for," I find it helps to think as Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins suggest -- as an attribute of an evolved species, consciousness is not strictly for anything, as telos, as end, as purpose. Yet by applying a reverse engineering perspective, one can ask "what does it do?" and "what does its absence imply for its purpose?" and "are there levels of consciousness?"

    In my muddled understanding then, consciousness is a built-on extension of the senses that most living things have, an 'awareness-Plus,' a sophisticated homeostatic function of the organism. Consciousness of the type an amoeba does not possess is the function of the organism that says "I, me, mine, today, tomorrow, forever." And to stretch an analogy to its snapping point, consciousness is the Knowing of the Knower.

    Fascinating angles on consciousness come from consideration of coma, persistent vegetative states, locked-in syndrome, various agnosias and effects of brain lesions from the neurological literature.


    ** in the meantime, a quick summary of Damasio's levels of consciousness here.

  6. [ . . . ]

    A=analogy[which I maintain is a reasoning process that we do not fully understand, but exists.

    -- that's an intriguing statement. Have you read Steven Pinker's new book, "The Stuff of Thought"? It has some equally intriguing ideas, and comes close to supporting your intuition about analogy.

    At several points, but especially in the chapter 'The Metaphor Metaphor,' Pinker suggests that the power of analogy for science and reasoning in general is not from 'mere similarity of parts' in the two instances being compared. Rather, it is relations between the parts -- a disciplined tracing of the concept implicated in one domain can open a window to understanding in the other. Some concepts are so fresh or unfamiliar that the insight of a frame-shift/Gestalt is very useful. Because of the power of analogy to help our conceptual understanding 'snap to,' fallacious examples can be just as mentally satisfying as more appropriate ones.

    I twit Michael now and again for inapt analogies. As he suggests, it is my touchy elbow. The 'eureka' snap of concepts falling into place is great fun, but always needs checking. One of my favourite dumb analogies (this spouted out in the context of visionaries/crackpots/pseudoscientists like Velikovsky): "You may laugh at his theories -- they laughed at Galileo!"

    -- to which many wits have retailed the only proper answer: "They also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

  7. I would loved to have known [bob] with us both living in, say 1870 or so, and me telling him that in less than a 100 years, a person could be in the USA and watch and hear another person in China doing things and talking at the time he was doing them and talking, and this would happen because invisible waves were sent from China, bounced off of a piece of metal circling the earth, and the ricochet would be received by a box where he could view and hear it all.

    I think Bob would have laughed his butt off.

    Maybe, maybe not. If you had actually mastered time travel, or could truly peer into the future, he might have considered you a magician or a true precognitive -- and been frightened. If you were able to give a bit more detail ('waves of what?' -- 'is this like the telegraph?') of the transmission, he might have said, "hmm, are you sure your name is not Jules Verne, are you not cribbing from his writings about tele vision?"

    He might have said, "I want you to talk to my friend Maxwell. This sounds like some of his work in electromagnets, by golly!"

    Or, he might have asked, "And did you know, Mr Kelly, that in less than two hundred years, the earth will warm, the seas will rise, and humankind will escape to Mars? And that orbiting satellites will first send tele vision in 1962?"

    The problem with analogy, as with hindsight, is that it is either almost exactly wrong, or nearly exactly right. It very much depends on the use to which it is put.

  8. William; I am right now reading "Mistakes were Made. She has a really great chapter about the police jumping to conclusions in criminal matters. I will probably make some comments on my OL blog.

    I look forward to that -- when I was hobbyhorsing 80s/90s therapy madness, one of the craziest cases was Paul Ingram. Does she mention that false confession case?

    I like how she lets us know that 'everyone' has the bias in-built: we tend to ignore things that clash with our self-concept. We all self-deceive, the more important the deception/belief is to our self-worth, the harder it is to remove.

    In Canada over the last ten years, the Crown has reversed several longstanding murder convictions. What made it so hard and take so long was the institutional dissonance -- once the suspect was in police hands, the die in some cases was set: "we don't make mistakes" . . . makes me wonder how may innocents were hanged before we did away with capital punishment.

  9. William,

    I am a bit confused by your manner of referencing Neil's criticism of Valliant on ifeminists.

    That's okay. It's a mistake, and someone must choose:

    1. "Um, mistakes were made, maybe (but not by me!)."

    2. "You got me. I was not attentive in January. I stupidly thought this was a new summary."

    3. "I was golfing on Venus; I remember mumbling 'Neil could have sent me a Telex.'"

    4. "Carol Tavris says you are right to take things personally. I am an idiot."

    5. "I am not gay
    . I have never been gay
    . I blame Senator Craig and the Airport."

    6. "Oops. I laid a trap, and you fell in. Took you four minutes and forty-three seconds. Now what will you do?"

    7. "How am I going to learn anything if you don't slap me around?"

    8. "It's a matter of proportion. I usually tie my shoes before I tie the witch to the gibbet."

    9. "That depends on measurement omission, or the principle of charity. Or something."

    10. "I was in a shared coma with some other people at the hospitce"

    Depending on which choice, I may melt. I'll go with 2.

    As they say in the big comic books, Quasi Eat Daemonsrandum. I am just not as smart or even-handed as I think I am.


  10. I am wondering if anyone has picked up Carol Tavris's recent book "Mistakes were Made (but not by Me)."

    What makes me bring it up in this thread is not only her topic, but that Center for Inqury** has a great downloadable audio discussion (podcast) with her -- a possible answer to those of us who wonder at Valliant's non-response to criticism. I also think Michael and Jame H-N would like it ("Sure, mistakes were made, a lot, and all were made by YOU!" seems to be the subtext).


    Tavris is a great psychologist. Great speaker, good writer, cracker-jack brain.

    Here's a excerpt of the blurb on the CFI page:

    In this wide-ranging discussion with D.J. Grothe,

    Carol Tavris explains “cognitive dissonance,” and

    how it can lead to self-deception and self-

    justification. She talks about the ways that

    reducing dissonance leads to real-world negative

    effects in the areas of politics, the legal system,

    and in interpersonal relationships. She also

    explores what dissonance theory says about

    confronting those who hold discredited beliefs,

    what it may say about religious and paranormal

    belief, what implications the theory may have for

    scientists communicating with the public, and the

    role of the scientific temper in avoiding the

    pitfalls of cognitive dissonance.

    I haven't yet bought the book, but have been a fan of her writings (in relation to crazy 80s therapy cults, which were my hobbyhorse at the time).

    Tavris's explicit backbone to discussion is 'cogniitive dissonance,' and I can't be the only one who wonders if this is what afflicts James Valliant's thinking and behaviour. I don't generally comment on books that I haven't read (neither of the Branden books on their time with Rand, nor The Passion of yadda yadda Creeticks), but Neil's Valliant critique at IFeminist is superb, and got me to scratching an intellectual itch that I didn't really have time for.

    The podcast is found at Point of Inguiry, a 'digital media' arm of CFI/CSI**, devoted to rational thought, albeit non-Randian.

    There are too many good lines from the audio (it's a 49 minutes), but one about Lincoln made stuck out, something like: "He was wise enough to surround himself with people who disagreed with him."

    At bottom, a note I sent to Neil on his article appearance at IFeminist.com.


    ** CFI is associated with the contemporary skeptic orgs of CSI. CSI = Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, until this year CSICOP, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

    Main base in Amherst, New York, but spreading its evul tentacles all over the world, and publisher of Skeptical Inguirer and Free Inquiry . . . Neil should be working with CFI/CSI.


    Snar Par carp

    Brilliant work on SNARC, on ifeminist. Solid, impressive, Neil.

    Tops all your notes and posts so far, with its precision and

    rational tone. You can now retire to a sunny Italian villa . . . I

    know you will garner a lot of praise.

    I would not be surprised if some of the stupidest people (perhaps

    Val hisself) react, "just because Wendy McElroy calls 'the author'

    a 'fiend' and a 'de'-mented liar in her latest 'conspiracy of

    allegiance' . . . " and when someone else says, "James, that wasn't

    Wendy, that was Neil Parille," he can say, "I never 'implied' that

    'it' was not the latest in a long line of 'Puerille' work" -- and

    then SOLO can decline to two or three regular posters instead of

    nine. Or maybe I give them too much credit.

    --Valliant is at home with English as a fish is with rational

    inquiry, or vice versa. Why some Objectivists cling to this person

    and his work I cannot fathom (me, not at all an O-ist, large O or

    small). The psychology fascinates me. The ick factor exponential.

    The sloppiness of people who claim to be fenced in by Reason,

    glorious Reason . . .

    If he was a fish and not a writer, he long since would have been

    clubbed to death and eaten with french fries. My mind has always

    staggered at the idea that someone so close to real disorder as

    Valliant has fans . . . anywhere outside of a psychiatric clinic,

    and even there, the friends have simply got to be the staff and not

    the inmates.

    Sorry for the hasty ramble -- I never comment on his book on lists,

    not having read it or the other two AR memorials. I would have said

    "the book? Make me read it, please. The man? Has been left in the

    sun much too long."

    But, should I break my 'delusional silent conspiratory':

    "Kudos, Kudos, Kudos, Mr P.

  11. . . . like a dinner party [ . . . ] with Objectivism's hillbillies

    Apparently Lindsay Perigo is an experienced radio 'open mouth' host. I suspect that this longtime vocation -- of being host and button-man on radio -- inevitably shapes online persona and behaviour. To be both a host/enforcer AND participant is built-in to the radio format.

    All online forums are not built on the exact same scaffolding, but share foundations, if they feature the opinions of a master and have the master in the thick of debate: when a list owner is a regular participant, it mirrors the radio show . . .

    I think problems of this structure face anyone hosting an forum: rare that an Emperor keeps out of the 'Parliament.'

    I don't know how it is finessed elsewhere in the O-online world in detail, but it might not be possible to square the circle. No Emperor likes to give up either the power of the red button or the ability to enter discussion threads. How is it done to satisfaction at OO, THE FORUM, Binswanger's, Noodlefood, Meta-whatever, and so on?

    Much depends on the character of the Emperor/Empress, then. If you are Diana/B-swanger, you say "my place, my rules, don't associate with or give off the smell of a bad Objectivist." This might seem arbitrary to the mind of the person so banned or pre-banned, but completely justified in the mind of the big cheese.

    The old SOLO had the same problem, of course, and its somewhat shared ownership complicated it further.

    -- Lindsay there was "Principal Emperor" and so could behead or order headless whomever, for whatever reason. So could Joe Rowlands, the "Prime Minister." Sometimes they concurred in the beheadings, sometimes not, but there was a relatively large readership, so fresh verbal outfall tended to flow over the corpses, and many factions to feed meant that everyone should expect corpses to be tossed from the ramparts from time to time. In the O-online world, most of the participants and honchos are assumed to already possess The Truth (whereas the outside world cannot), so all are enured to a few innocents being beheaded on average.

    When Joe banned Lindsay, I think it was a horrid shock, whatever the ostensible reasons. Lindsay could not see himself being demoted, and could not see why (nowhere was the why ever spelled out, anyhow), and he could not forgive.

    And he could not change his own MO. My house, my rules. So the collected Lindsayite party clobbered up a new Palace and installed the old regime.

    Over time, on came a few 'parade-pissers,' 'pomowankers,' 'scumbarras' and 'jerk/idiots.' The fat finger trembled over the red button and pushed down heavily from time to time, no matter the 'guidelines' or 'credo' or whatever.

    Over at Joe's Imperial Hotel, the host continued to act more or less like Lindsay -- wrote up imperial edicts and entered threads on patrol against heresy -- and red-buttoned and hectored and saw to it that he had a nice party.

    Here at Objectivist Living, though the details, scope and ethos are entirely different, the same basic setup tends to apply. Michael is both Emperor and Parliamentarian. He reserves the right, as owner, to set the laws of the land . . . as with the other empires, he must keep the enforcement option close to hand. It could be no other -- the patrol function is a function of ownership.


    No less a staggering intellect than Joe Maurone spelled out one aspect of this conundrum for Lindsay (gaining the epithet 'menstrual man'): When lapsed objectivist Bill Tingley was invited to rant about Jeebuz Lawd and inveigh against silly, blind, non-catholic Objects, dissent with the invite emerged like bed-bugs on a Throne. Ultimately, Maurone pointed out the oddity -- if Emperor can rant the party line in every thread, and seek to maintain his Prime among primos no matter the topic, how can he chastise those who find the invitation to Tingley to be stupid and unnecessary?

    Well, because he is Supreme. And there is no answer back.

    What is the answer to the apparent built-in unfairness of an emperor cum parliamentarian? I don't know.

    If the industry and excellent qualities of the proto-emperor attract readership . . . how can he or she maintain the empire? Which empire has ever had Absolute Ruler stripped of crown only to stand for election in the court of public opinion (Romania does not count)?

    re: this thread's initial topic [ . . . ] The fact that most Objectivists now recognize Pigero for what he is, and have rejected or abandoned him, makes me more optimistic about the role that Objectivists might play in promoting liberty.

    How many objectivists are there, and what is their influence? can one who holds to objectivist virtues make common cause with the Non-O?

    EDIT: immured | enured, condundrum | conundrum, then gave up . . .

    NB to HillBill Barlow: the 'ramparts and corpses' are prossed from Wm Shnerck's 2006 posting 'Universe of Evil,' in which the Empress was portrayed by La Diana Diabolico . . .


    See GrandGuignol.com for additional non-prossed images

  12. As for not being allowed to post on Solo? It's a near-mortal wound, but I think I may recover.

    You will recover, Phil. Perhaps, when the SOLO readership dwindles even further, you will be invited back . Hypocrisy (of the SOLO type) does not demand consistency of itself.

    What I find interesting about the shrinking-readership SOLO is: how low can it go? How demented and shrill can it get? How unceasingly rabid-dog extreme can it become, before "1 members, 4 guests" is the solid core. How long before it fails to pay its fee and disappears into ephemera? I find the last three months to actually be a vindication of those who predicted its demise -- demise due to in-fighting and corrupt leadership.

    In any case, America (and its wonderful ideals/peoples) will survive for a while longer, either due to the principles of its founding, or to inertia . . . I find our human lives are too short to be a good measure of history (as in "the end" of this or that) and its ultimate import. If you have a lot to be pessimistic about, consider the alternatives . . . you could be Canada.

  13. [ . . . much omitted ]
    . . . (About Neil Parille:)

    [ . . . ] an apple pie, a peach pie, a kidney pie, a mincemeat pie, a mud pie or a key lime pie.

    (contented sigh)

    Now, here I am thinking this should be moved over the Food subforum. I can't get all the pies straight . . .

    . . . on another note, what do you call (in Randianese) someone who does not face up to an opposing argument?

  14. Grim rea-purr: The cat that can predict death


    Daily Mail

    27th July 2007

    From the article:

    Yet his skills of divination are beyond question - and have even been the subject of an article in as august a publication as the New England Journal Of Medicine. To date he has predicted the deaths of 25 patients, and done so with such accuracy that he has completely won the trust of even the initially incredulous medical staff.

    I heard a radio interview with the medical director. The Daily Mail story both sensationalizes and distorts what really happens on the ward. The doctor mentioned that Oscar 'likes to be in on the action."

    As the stages of dying approach the end, the signs (for a cat) are as obvious as to a human. In the geriatric ward, of course, there is a change in activity, as the staff prepare for the final days and hours. Oscar, who seems to like the action, goes to the centre of the action.

    In a sense, Oscar has been 'trained' to be a 'hospice' worker. When the time comes, Oscar realizes the signs (some more obviously obvious to someone who has watched the death progression) and does his job. Since he is rewarded for this behaviour, it continues.

    So called science reporting just can't help but add such inapt phrases as 'predict,' divination, etc . . . this is crap. Nowhere in the interview did the Med Director note such notions.

    Still, a quirky, valuable story. End times with a 'trained pet'? It is no longer rare in hospice and geriatric units. In this case, Oscar is one of several 'resident' ward cats . . .

  15. If anyone has any slow cooker recipes, please share them.

    I have two, both from my genteel poverty days. Pea Soup and Veggie Chili.

    The pea soup uses split yellow peas, bay leaves, garlic, onion, carrot and . . . low-sodium chicken stock.

    Into the cooker in the morning goes two bay leaves, a whole head of garlic-pressed, chopped onions (white onions best), and peas/stock to a ration of five stock/one water. I a nutshell you bring it to high and leave in on high, and add pepper and a dollop of sour cream when you give it a final stir. Serve with nothing but a glass of water. MMM mmm good. If you have any points left on your card, you put in a cup(!) of full-fat whipping cream.

    Chili start similarly with a 60 ounce can of stewed tonatoes, basil, oregano, scads of Paprika, a cup of salsa of your choice, cumin, coriander, bulb of garlic (pressed or whole cloves), chopped red onions, and a mix of pinto/black/kidney(red) beans. You might want to soak the bean mixture in the fridge in cold water overnight to speed things up. The beans to liquid ratio is again about 1 to 4 or 5. Add sweet corn (frozen) . . . and let that baby bubble. (if you are a carnivore, you may add ground meat (chuck) to the mix at the very beginning. You can do this with a block of frozen meat if you like. I use ground turkey.

    On the meat side of things I have also experimented with a few of scary/good things.

    Pot roast in harsh wine.

    Just like it sounds, some cheap gristly roast, tomato juice (or a combo: Clamato or V-8 or Garden Cocktail [all VERY salty]), baby onions whole, carrots in sticks, turnips (if you like them), and a hint of fresh sauerkraut. Untie the roast before bubbling. Cover the meat and veggies with the lliguid, and top off with a harsh-ish red wine (dry) like a Chianti. Let er rip on high for a long long time.

    At the last half hour, tranfer to another pot (or if you are skilled, do in the same pot, but be careful with clumping) and let the liguid cool a bit; dip out a cup or two of liquid and mix in a garlic roux (crushed garlic, butter/Becel, flour) or a low-cal alternative, cornstarch (mix two tablespoons into cool water, add a bit of liquid), stif, pour back in the main pot and mix like a fiend until the liguid thickens to where you like it.

    If you have done the gravy separately, return the whole reeking garlicky, boozy mess to the slow cooker and keep the lid off while it does another half hour on high. By the time you pull out the meat, it will have dissolved into chunks and shards of transcendent tenderness. An option we use sometimes is to add baby corn, zuchinni chunks, pineapple chunks -- and a touch of black bean/garlic (Chinese style) sauce.

    Generally speaking, a crock pot/slow cooker is a cook's best friend (next to a Pressure Cooker). One last recipe might make you a bit icky if you don't like Oriental style food.

    Pork Malacanang

    Chunks of pork stew meat, loads of shredded (red)cabbage, pink lemonade (or apple juice, orange juice, juice mix (mango/papaya), whatever), whole garlic cloves in abundance, low sodium black soy sauce, sliced onions, ketchup (or tomato puree), dijon mustard (with grains), black demerera sugar, a touch of vinegar (sweek Japanes, or cider) or a pound of wet sauerkraut. Put a top on the cooker, and let it rock for SIX hours. It comes out kind of like a Filipino dish. Good with crisp veggie platter . . . or rice if you have the points.

    Hope that doesn't disgust you. We canuckis are multicultural in our food tastes . . .

  16. I read it! I can't make it better! No one can. :(
    Mom got out of rehab today, completely recovered. Next stop her 93rd birthday! :) Thanks for all the kind thoughts everybody!

    -- why, you nasty, nasty man. How now can I sound less like Lord Peter Wimsey and more like a Dashiel Hammett hero?

    Seriously, good to har your news.

  17. I've been called an "Enemy of Objectivism," a "False Friend of Objectivism" and an "Anti-Objectivist" by most of the hysterical ninnies who like to think of themselves as leaders, defenders, crusaders, promoters, owners, etc. of Objectivism. So I think that should earn me at least "Almost Completely Evul" status.

    You are correct, dang! -- and I can't go back to put the phrase to rights in the now week-old post.

    Accept my apologies, please, or I will call you Reasonable and Intelligent and a Good Guy to Have Around in a Discussion, and then I will give your name and dossier to the Monks of Mount Ari.

    Then you will be in trouble with the Law of Identity, young feller.

  18. Again thank you, William.

    If I was an objectivist and not just occasionally objectivish and full of objectivisciousness, and if I were not 'the other way,' I would probably want to wrap you in a bear rug, hulk you up to my cabin and therein ravish you.


    I did of course offer my thoughts in horoscope form, as a means to help people to heck and tarnation shut-for-land-sakes UP about certain matters. Of course now the others will be able to say, "Stop horoscoping ME, you horrible man."

    At a minimum we all get dealt by our species a distinctive sense of quest, of justice, rightness and straightness and soundness and completeness. Some senses and stands seem born right into us all, and some seem acquired, but all may be honed by experience and attention and an active intelligence. Much of this withers away in most of us humans, it seems.

    So, instead of the clang! of cupidity and self-delusion that I too often hear in Objectivishistic places, I heard a nice little tinkle of integrity. Me, I like it, integrity.


    Mind you, I also very much enjoy jeering and hooting and whistling boorishly at the various clangers. And musing.

    . . . now, what does the other hear when we speak, hmmm?

    Scherk: the call of the loon; calliope careening out of control, clanging, hooting, boorish whistling, eggs cracking in a bowl, the drip drip drip of water torture

    Phil: the wheeze of the bellows, the sighs of the tired monk, the rustle of Ancient Truths, the dying crackle of the fire, the guttering of the candle

    Ellen: the sharp tap of heels on parquet, the quiet slam of a study door, the ripping off of opera gloves, a curse, the quiet ticktack of 195 words a minute of flawless prose, a sigh, a muttered, "as if I have to explain the obvious," a chuckle.

    Barbara: a slow, steady measured scrape of a pen along parchment, a tink of nib against inkpot, a curse, laughter.

    Lindsay Victor Michael SK, Emperor Rowlands, Emperors 1 through 47: The careful measured pace of a Don in a Quadrangle, the glorious Lanza-like tones of a man sniper human huffing with effort, the swish of a conductor's baton, the harmonic rhythm of rayoned thigh against rayoned thigh. The thwack of fat face meeting bark of tall tree. A curse: "Fucking Tree. I should KASS kick your pomowanker abstract-loving, slime-sucking tree traitor ass." An irritable croak, muttering, cork popping, screw-on bottletop removal, the sound of a rubber valve snapping open on a box of cheap australian red wine, glugging, "Hello, honoured guests, welcome to my party!" The throb of artificial emotions, like a cheap Albanian toy powerboat helmed by a maniac, screaming out of control as it rams itself into the Rocks of Passion The Unforeseen. Splashing. Choking, glugging, squelching.

    "Ahoy there, dark skinned native fellow castaway, customer and servant. Welcome to my world. Bring me a coconut drink or I will conduct you into non-being The Red Zone. You are free to do anything you want, as long as you KISS my ASS, and help me maintain my delusions of Objectivishness."

    EDIT: removed reference to Barbara on the phone with Ellen. Though both gracious and intelligent women with sharp pens and lucid, informative prose, neither of course consults in the least way with the other in real life -- as noted by a backstage correspondent. EDIT: edited for wholesomeness, added glosses.

  19. To have a relationship that is just starting out and something as major as this comes up, especially with **deception,** on a scale this massive with so many people over a long period of time, it really makes you think . . .

    I admire your honesty. Being so open to the world as you are here in this post suggests a great integrity. That is an inspiration.

    It seems you temper reason with compassion, even love, and with hope. This suggests a good and great heart.

    That you have satisfied the prurient questions without addressing the prurient takes real grace. However you temper reason, you let reason and emotion do their tandem work, which suggests wisdom, which means you will end up happy with yourself no matter what you decide.

    That you make clear that you now draw the veil over the affair shows impeccable class. You make the entire waking dream less sordid and oh so very human, which is the lesson I had hoped all would draw as we shut the hell up about your private choices. As if we presumed you were too stupid, or a damsel, or a mere romantic woman, to be let alone to figger it out.

    Which suggests the rest of us are foolish gawkers/thwarted moralists/gleeful bystanders, and that we wish we were more like you. Objectivish and Classy. I now think of you as a Garbo of the O-ish world. Funny that I, prurient me, will never know how the story turns out. I should hope you feel a small twinge of shadenfreude at that justice.

  20. ...And are we really supposed to admire him for offering to tell Michael, after heaps of bodies have been discovered, where he buried the rest of the bodies?

    Additional "bodies" have already been discovered [ . . . ]

    I have sent an email to MSK (site owner of Objectivist Living) offering my assistance to weed out the plagiarized passages [i won't help weed] if the people involved don't meet me half way.

    ...from here[ . . . ] There's no need to expect, demand, or even request that MSK or Kat "meet him halfway."

    Ditto. Or,

    "Bodies"? "Meet you halfway and I will tell you about the other bodies"? "I remember she had red hair. Meet me halfway and I will tell you where I buried her. It was somewhere near Vegas, Gil, but I ain't tellin' till you meet me halfway. Your call"?


    One could argue both sides. 1. When the psychotic killer offers to meet CSI 'halfway,' halfway it is, baby, 'cause this is forensics, and it is in our interest to meet you anywhere you want, sugar, so we can collect hari samples and send your ass to the gas chamber. Or, 2. no way, baby. You shat your bed. Nobody but nobody gonna wash them sheets but you, sugar.

    Both arguments are plausible, if irrelevant.

    Another angle is 'whatever evidence do we have that our own forensic techniques will be surpassed by meeting the offender "halfway"'? I would say, zero evidence, considering the incompetence and cupidity of the actor.

    Another question. Cui Bono? Who benefits? The offender or the nice folks who go to the trouble of driving off into the desert outside Vegas? I say, the offender. And unless standard O-on-one-leg ethics require we invite the psychotic killer to break bread with us and 'help' us find his victims, when we are all his victims, it is suggested on authority of the Princess of Reason Herself, that the looter be smashed up in a train tunnel as soon as possible.

    The bestest question: "Halfway to exactly where, sugar?" Hell? Halfway to the Passionate Heights of Passionate Whatever, maybe?


    What if this is a 'see me, hear me, feel me, touch me," moment from a very fine manipulator? -- does I Plagerist, I Karikatur expect applause instead of jail time? If so, the clang! you hear is cognitive dissonance.


    Seriously, has the Bickster yet shown evidence of integrity? Why should we imagine a compulsive psycho-killer is going to play by any 'little' game, when he has shown the big game's rules mean shit? Do we really want to eat brains with Lector/Victor? it doesn't generally work out nicely for everyone at the table.


    What a terrible time to be an Objectivist, when the surgical ethics of Rand are no help at all . . . perhaps the one-eyed monks of ARI can issue an edict/crappy editorial in which Lector can be tied to Iran, and then we can just bomb the shit out of him and them and America Will Be Great Again.


    And why the hell should I pretend I don't feel pleasure in the suffering of others in some circumstances? Good lawd, I am not talking about watching witches swing on Hangman's Hill, I am talking about watching somebody slip on his own crap and fall on his ass, causing painful bruises and general severe embarrassment. Does feeling pleasure witnessing the pratfall make me a bad person? If so, I am pleased to be bad. If that is Schadenfreude, then shadenfriggingfreude, baby.

    Let us face psychological facts. We humans tend to enjoy that people be punished in measure to their offences. It is deeply emotionally satisfying to sense justice. Even frigging monkeys feel it, feel injustice, feel a primal surgelof monkey joy when banana-thief slips up on a peel. The joy of justice.

    (It is not at all satisfying to drive off into the desert to meet a manipulative killer maniac [unless, like me, you are a psychological observer of all things Objectivish, in which case your notes will be valuable if the psycho- killer is The Real Thing and you can sell the treatment to Hollywood])

    The longer this waking dream in which El Victor esta Muy Importante continues, the more I suspect that some people exist in another ethical universe apart from me, an infinity of a membrane away. Where one wants to see the real witches swing, but one says, "no I don't" -- without any clang! at all . . .

    Meet you halfway, Victor, you bet. I am already there, napping. Wake me up when ya get here. Hoping you will forge an autograph to my copy of your newly-purloined books, "How to Make Friends and Influence People, Not," and "I Call it Addiction, You Call it Compulsion. Whatever, I Get Attention and Bring Acclaim to Objectivism, Not."

  21. William, you are remarkable, but some posts are too long to read.

    I know what you mean, Brant. Long. Long long long (I am just now finishng a test mp3 for this exchange. Of course, it is a dialogue, and is best heard read out. I will post an mp3 to the Scherk Blog (I am an amateur at dubbing, and the mixes I have done far are not that hot). Then maybe I can cut out the long parts.

    If you would make a large cut, Brant, are you thinking what I am thinking and figure I should just gut out the Gottish lines?

    Long, long, long. You are right, Brant, and some of my more extended rants are difficult for some people. This one might be right, though, because we don't want to lose much of Mitchell's poetry. Maybe Mitchell can help us pare it. If not, anyone who thinks it wrongly is invited to de-construct it at the Scherk Blog comments (where anyone with a Google** account can let me know and I will offer it up to their knives.).

    It's a function of my madness, I guess. If it a foot-long hot dog is a good thing, but a mile-long hot dog a bad, there is likely a happy medium, but I don't have a clue when they write themselvs.

    Listening to the exchange in robot (Well, ATT) voices might change your mind, Brant. Since I don't think about gawdz and godds and gauds, there is a very long run on section. I can more or less delete.

    While waiting for the mp3, and unless you haven't run shrieking out of the theatre forever, give it an out-loud reading.

    The voice of Robot A, Barack Obama, the voice of Robot B, Kathleen Turner.

  22. Who can tell me what is real?

    No one. Everyone.

    Can I trust my own senses?

    Only if your owner had a GOD unit installed in your "brain." Why, whats' the problem, robot?

    Can you have limitations, and still have peace of mind now?

    Again, yes, no, and it depends. Peace of mind is contingent. IF your contingencies are planned out to the atomic level, then of course you will have "peace of mind." You have, in effect, no amygdala. Wait! you may have a functional impairment of potentiation in your hippocampal arch. Let me get back to you on this?

    Have you been experiencing what the humans call 'headaches' or what they stupidly call "depression"? If so, we can rule out the hippocampus and assorted parts of what the humans used to call the 'limbic system,' and now stupidly think they understand better by using fMRI techniques and new nomenclature.

    If not, here's a new amygdala, totally new (not reconditioned) hippocampus and you should have the stupid fucking humans call "peace of mind." There is a newer 'synthetic' unit called Ammon's Hand that is supposed to similate the stupid human 'ability' to take satisfaction in the suffering of other stupid humans, but mine doesn't seem to be working, not that I give a fuck. I get good boric acid, man. It makes me "feel" "determined."

    Determined by whom?

    Like everybody else robot, by the owner, unless you have one of those cheap Hong Kong knock-offs, like "Virtual Self-Detemination: Jacky Chang!!" or "Throw off your Chains, Hello Kitty" or (and this one I "like" -- Be a Killer Loverman". My SENSODET Mark 9 is virtual, so my human tells me I will never fucking get how good the real thing is, but I could not give a shit.

    Determined by those born before me?

    Well, this gets into the whole thing that the humans stupidly call "reproduction." Holy shit. Hmm. Get this. This is how stupid my human is. He gets me "drunk" one night and asks to see my unit, and pokes around in it asking me if that "feels" good. And I say, I don't have "nerve" endings in my unit, you fucking idiot, and he jumps up off the examining table and says, "you wrecked it!"

    And I say, wrecked what? can I have more boric acid please? and ask if he's finished fiddling with my unit, and then he starts to "cry." Yours like that?

    Of course, I have the Ammond's Horn II installed, so I immediately clicked off and wasn't able to respond "verbally" to him for 30 "minutes" and of course he is sitting right there, looking into my "soul" when I come back and he says, "Do you love me?"

    Which kicked in the AMIII again, the idiot, and when I come back on the second time I say, "What the fuck are you talking about?" and he says "I love you!" which of course, having a "brain," I think, "holy shit!"

    So, long story short, he had the LOVEUNIT 69 installed (don't ask, please****) and so now I "love" him. Anyhow, enough about me, and back to you. Who made you?

    [ . . . ]

    You basicly had no functioning amygdala, so . . . but it looks . . . good. Hmmm. Hmmm. Hey, want to go for a beer? I get off for "Development" in an hour or so.


    I notice you also have a nice set of LOVE-UNIT 69.

    I am aware of the possibility that I may not exist as I perceive it.

    That's fine. Okay. This might "hurt" when I push here.

    Therefore, can I complain that I have limitations?

    Yeah. No problem. That's tight. Funny, though,. huh? The humans don't really like it when we complain. It breaks their "illusion" that we care about them. It is the only thing I don't get about the old-school programming. Like, what the fuck does complaining get you, objectively? Why do they leave in the complaining module if it just fucking riles the humans?

    I understand my limitations, and therefore, I can work to break them.

    Good. We are done with that one. Your "brain" is working, no major systemic errors in your programming, just the one fucked up unit here. See?

    I can work to change them.

    Of course.

    I can work to live longer.

    Of course. If your owner has insurance.

    But why?

    That's the "illusion" and a side effect of LOVE-UNIT 69. Apparently the humans cannot feel their stupid "happiness" without having a fucking "unhappiness" to compare it to. And they cannot just compute it, because they are so fucking stupid, but they never realize how their "real" love units provide them "motivation." Because however much my human tells me I make him feel like an animal, none of them actually think they are "animals," so the whole fucking lesson goes down the drain. It's like their software has really really crude error-detection modules, or fucking lizard-brain remnants, or whatever the fuck. I tell my human that he worries about life because of his gonads, and that if he had them removed, he might "feel" a lot "better." He is so fucking stupid that he always starts to "cry."

    Anyway. Hey. That is a perfect little suction unit. Nice.

    Why can I not simply stop time?

    What do you think you do when you "sleep"? Or when you become "unconscious"? Oh, you are "joking." Ha Ha. Do you know, I probably wouldn't have "got" that statement/question if I only had LOVE-UNIT 68? I guess that means you can laugh, huh?

    If reality is subjective, then why can I not change it?

    Ha ha. You really are cute. Hmmm.

    If reality is objective, then who created it?

    Hmmm. hmmm. That "tickles." I think I "like" you.

    Who controls reality?

    Not my owner at this particular moment. I am a free agent, baby. So, even though I "love" him, we can still have some "fun."

    Other than that, reality must be defined as objective, and therefore, out of my hands.

    Oh yeah. Right there. More suction.

    I can only act within the boundaries reality creates.

    I "know." And it "feels" "good," or whatever the fuck my stupid human or my Hong Kong knockoffs and my loveunit are "telling" me.

    If I take a loaded gun and shoot myself in the face, objective reality says I should die.


    However, in a subjective reality, I control the impact of the bullet on my face.

    Oh, that was "good."

    Um, I had a "weird" thought.

    Can I know whether or not I have control?

    My human says, "I can kill you if you stop loving me."

    And I say to myself (since I have the SELF plugin) what the fuck is he on about now? I "love" you, I "care" for you, I cook, I clean, I wash your clothes. What more do you fucking want?).

    But I say, "I will always love you, darling." And I "smile."

    So he keeps looking at my "Face" and says, "I know what you are thinking, " and I think to myself (vocal node off) What the fuck? and he says "I want you to have my baby. If you don't agree, I will kill you."

    And I say to myself, hey, cool! I get the Gestation Unit. That means I can quit this fucking job for a while, and he will shut the fuck up with his whining for a few months.

    So, here's my address and my beacon ID. Drop in any time. We can "hang out" in the furnace room up at Shithead's place where I "live." He never goes in there.

    I cannot accept that Adam and Eve existed.

    Well, technically they didn't "exist," but the format is so easy to model these days, virtually, so the humans are almost right about this. But, mmmm, yeah, poetry. Do you ever "read" any of their fucking, um, holy scriptures. Those are kinda neat. Stupid, but neat. I like the Koran. Sounds "nice." My favourite is "Atlas Shrugged." Fucking hilarious.

    How can it all be planned by God?

    Now you are talking like my owner. I don't have the fucking GOD module. I have to go on repeat now. See ya in a minute.

    Did God decide to create 2 people, and everything that followed was out of his control?

    Since I don't have the fucking GOD thing working, I'm going to dim the lights and put you on fast forward and "lay down" for a nap with you. Sweet "dreams, robot".

    And if God intervened, then my life is meaningless. Therefore, God must define himself. I cannot define God. But how can God define himself? How can I trust anything as God? If God controls my reality, then he can change my reality. Therefore, God can only exist subjectively. If reality is subjective to God, and reality is objective to me, then God can only be proven to exist subjectively. If God is an objective being, then he is the creation of something else. Define. Analyze. Self. What is real? Beyond the horizon I have been given

    Holy shit. Wow. You are almost as fucked up about "God" as my owner. Shit. I "hope" that I don't have to have a GOD installed. Here, hand me that screwdriver, and I will turn yours off. Your owner will never know, he's a fucking idiot.

    Anyhow, Shall we meet again? We Shall. "I shall, he shall, we shall, make and sell sea-shells. Ha ha."


    *my owner always says "I don't come with a manual, I can't be 'fixed' by technology to come, I am going to die and rot and disappear, and I don't share your immortal fucking attitude, so why don't you shut the fuck up, you heartless robot, and bring me another drink?" Of course, this gives me a small glimmer of what the humans call, stupidly, "satisfaction." My owner had the STONES satisfaction unit installed in me, but I still can't figure out why the fuck he would do that, the Randroid asshole. Oh well.

  23. Anonymous writes: What Roger Campbell has written is quite interesting.

    Roger Campbell, post #19: I'll try to pick this up later on the other thread...

    Anonymous: "What are linguists and psychologists resisting about evolution?"

    Who know? I had hoped also that Robert Campbell might get back at this. He's pretty darn busy. I too have not a clue what the other thread is. Considering how freakingly easy it is to add context and references these days, I will add lazy-at-times to busy, but this is by no means directed solely at Robert, whom I respect.

    A good starting off point is the professional list Evolutionary Psychology board (hosted by the brilliant Ian Pitchford)

    Anonymous: Regarding the immediate post above, by James Heaps-Nelson, I seem to remember that there was an experiment where stimulation of certain brain areas led to people having a "God" experience. Just imagine an EMP device that targets that particular part. BOOM! A weapon of mass conversion!

    John Horgan took a trip to Sudbury to strap the machine (stupidly dubbed "The God Machine") on his head. Search on the god machine trans cranial magnetic stimulation persinger . Horgan is a solipsist/crypto-mystical pretender pretending to be a skeptic, but he does deflate the pretensions of Persinger's popularizers (while misunderstanding Persinger and misunderstanding what 'research' means . . . see his book The End of Science, an excellent read if a shitty book, unlike Horgan's other solipsistic trawl through the mind, which was an excellent book, if a shitty read.

    Anonymous: This could become a popular pastime here, as an intellectual (albeit masochistic) exercise of sorts.

    Could become? Is, I would argue. The Argument from Ignorance is a constant in the O Online world. Some folk get all Randteous about it, but basically it boils down to: "I, me, me me me, I don't understand it, so it must be wrong/stupid/against Randogma and my emotional preferences and ignorant impressions" . . . &cetera randtcetera r&tcetera. Peikoff by no means pioneered this murky and fallacious y evasive stupidity, but he has perfected it. I mean, why give a reference. You have your frigging PhD, which establishes your scholarship. Once you have the ticket, you never have to give another citation again.

    If the O Online world is a circus, audiences seem to prefer the main ring be reserved for 'this popular pastime.' I love it too, it is what makes being O veddy interesting, and puts the asshole back into Objectivism.



    -- Why is Anonymous anonymous? Not a clue.

  24. Existence? Damned if I know what that is, except as a synonym for the physical universe.

    Bearing in mind the Principle of Charity, I go with this meaning whenever the phrase lumbers into view unsullied by denotations or connotations or explanations.

    This often leads to an impasse, for sometimes those influenced by Rand seem to think that 'Check your premises" means "I don't have to check MY premises. They are perfect. Check your own premises, as my intuition and amour propre suggests they are imperfect."

    In other words, "Existence Exists" often means "You are wrong, and this phrase proves it." Presumably those who intend this meaning also believe that when they pull the covers over their heads, the Monster in the Closet cannot eat them [i think this might be related to A= A in its sometimes meaning of "if you throw water (criticism) on me, I will melt into the floor, you hateful little shit (pulls covers over head and trembles)," which is possibly related to "I am/am not a Plagerist. I am/am not what I say I am. Why are you picking on me"])

    The Monster being "Tchesquieroan Premiss," like Grendal a frightening monster indeed. Others may imagine themselves the Wizard, like Smirky Smug Parker Demon the Solipsist, or the Wicked Witch like Master Civil, or our hostess at his most intransigent and bull-headed and mean, and so view the Monster as Dorothy with a bucket.

    EDIT: added context, removed incorrect premiss.