Monthly Archives: February 2017

It Is What It Is, Except When It Might Not Be

Despite being a Supreme Court judge, Potter Stewart opined some wise words:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

So it is with many other things, like child abuse:

So we must first acknowledge that the question of what constitutes “child abuse” is culturally derived, and highly contextual. The greatest single problem is both the cause of child abuse, and the aggravation of such abuse through the actions of government. While some things people do are abusive to children, everything the secular state does to children is harmful and abusive. The state is inherently evil.

So the real problem here is the secular state. More to the point, the whole problem of child abuse rests on the mere existence of secular state government. The state is the proximate cause, the primary culprit. Whatever solution we might propose cannot involve the presence of the intrusive state, because the state can do nothing right.

Disassociating one’s self from the left vs right paradigm of American politics and all the mommying a liberal democracy does, can be very liberating. Being a cultural relativist by default releases our hands up from wringing them constantly over the lifestyles of anonymous people half a world away, or even a few towns over. Imagine what you can accomplish in your own life with all that mental energy. It’s something worth experimenting with.

Share this post:

Another Worship Song I Really Like

Its not quite a worship song proper, but I understand the intent of these guys, even though the lyrics only drop hints.

The pain will come with the morning sun
Will the night betray the day?
Blistered skin withered from within
Scratch to shed this shell away

Will you know my name
Or will I hang my head in shame?
Will someone take this tired skin
That I’ve been dying in

Will someone hold me to the light
And if I die tonight
Then take this broken man and wrap me tight within
This brand new skin

Watch me fly
Freedom like wings and I will use them
Freedom like wings and I will spread them wide

Watch me fly
Freedom, my wings
Freedom, my wings
And rise

One day my ashes will return to earthly slumber
Spread far and wide across the desert and the sea
Until then I will live each day in awe and wonder
Look forward to each sunrise

Share this post:

Believe Whatever You Want

One of the longest running gags in my mind staples of what I write here is that human reason is incapable of understanding a lot of what it’s purported to understand. This is exemplified best when we believe we’re being “reasonable” or “rational” concerning large, distant, complex events, involving lots of actors…basically anything seen or read in a news story. We cherry-pick, from filtered information, our bits of data and form our views based on that, but we fill in the many cracks of our reasoning with other things in order to conform to our most-identified-with tribe. We adopt beliefs about such remote events more to maintain social homogeneity than an endless, fairly trivial, “quest for truth.” Scott Adams has some interesting blog posts like this one that touch upon this kind of subject, although he doesn’t approach it from a spiritual perspective.

The two “hard” ways we interact with the material world—the senses and deductive logic—are best used in compartmentalized, localized, easily-identifiable chunks. Think of things like fixing a car or programming a piece of software. As the system with which are interacting with gets larger, we are more prone to error, or, when there are non-inanimate objects involved, like humans, we incorporate other methods of gathering information, like inductive logic, heuristics and pattern-recognition, memory, and sympathy. There comes a point, I don’t know where, where any conclusions we can come up with are really blind guesses, which is where our tribal mental firmware comes heavily into play. The wiser ones among us don’t hold strongly to such conclusions.

Forget about being able to “prove” conclusions to others; you first have to satisfy your own standards. You may be fulfilling a philosophical due diligence in a certain belief, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s your pure intelligence or reasoning skills that lead you to your beliefs—we can thank the last 500 years of Western philosophy for beating that idea into our heads. There’s plenty of other factors that have nothing do to with hard evidence.

I sense I’m going to be mentioning a lot of this idea in the near future, so this is just the beginning of something I’m going to get really obnoxious about.

Share this post:

Recipes: Beef Bone Stock and Paleo Lemon Bars

Apologies for the vulgar housekeeping—posting them on here is the safest and most accessible for me. These are two recpies I refer to often but going to the original sites puts my personal sanity in jeopardy. What is it with cooking blogs? their verbose backstories and floating ads? their endless loading times? The only provision of mercy is the link back to the original recipe. Click at your own risk.



Crust ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup coconut flour (sifted)

Lemon topping ingredients:
3 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 tsps lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tsps coconut flour (sifted)
1/2 cup squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, coat an 8×8 inch pan with coconut oil.

2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the honey, coconut oil and pinch of salt until creamy and well combined. Stir in the coconut flour until a dough forms.

3. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake until just lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.

4. Lower oven to 325 degrees.

5. Once the crust has cooled, gently hand whisk together the eggs, honey and lemon zest in a large bowl. Do not overwhisk.

6. In a separate bowl, continually whisk the coconut flour into the lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time. Pour the lemon juice mixture into the egg mixture, whisking while you pour.

7. Pour the topping over top of the cooled crust and bake for 21-23 minutes.

8. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Cut into vague square shapes.


Beef Bone Broth


2 lbs (approx) of beef bones
2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
2 onions
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 bunch of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Any other herbs/spices

1. Roast bones for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

2. Place the bones in a large stock pot, pour the water and vinegar on them. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water.

3. Except for the parsley and garlic, rough chop and add the vegetables, along with the salt, peppercorns, and other spices.

4. Bring the broth to a boil, then down to a simmer. Skim the impurities that float to the top in the first few hours of simmering, every 20 minutes or so.

5. Simmer for 2 days. During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley.

6. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before removing the solids and storage.

Share this post:

Eldership Announcement

Ed Hurst, the head pastor over at Kiln of the Soul online parish, offered eldership in his operation, and I accepted. I’ll link to Ed’s announcement when he makes it, just to let everyone know I’m not a complete liar. *ding* Your glasses are ready!

You’re not alone in thinking it odd that a church could exist in cyberspace, but it does, somehow. You can order groceries and assassinations off of the Internet, so operating a manner of spiritual gathering and teaching center is as possible and, in general, more ethically preferable than at least one of those two examples.

Ed has a good post on eldership here. I can’t say yet how things will change as far as this blog here goes, but if anything there’ll be more activity than usual. I don’t plan on leaving this operation behind, at least, so the sea of information out there has to deal with this one drop of pollution indefinitely.

Share this post:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Second Viewing Thoughts

See here for first viewing thoughts.

1. I was wrong about Director Orson Krennic as the Very Bad White Male Villain being the one to kill the Spunky Female protagonist’s, Jyn Erso’s, father, Galen Erson…and I’m kind of glad for that. That would’ve been too predictable. Instead, Galen was collateral damage during a Rebel bombing raid; so Galen’s death was directly the result of the group Jyn was (sorta) working for. I mean, sure, Krennic killed Jyn’s mom right in front of her, and he conscripted Galen back into the Empire’s service, so he’s at large responsible for Jyn’s revenge motive…but it’s really all on the Rebellion’s side since they wanted Galen gone in the first place.

2. I’ve taken a liking to Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook as the desperate Vaguely Ethnically Diverse Defector from the Empire. After he gets past his paranoia, he’s a heads-down, get-the-job-done kind of guy.

3. Everyone dies. That didn’t change from the first viewing. It was marketed as a guerrilla war movie, which it was, but it’s still uncomfortable to experience that in a Star Wars setting. You might find a weird coping mechanism in thinking they all somehow deserve it one way or another, but those of us who aren’t suited for extreme cynicism and misanthropy might shrink away from that. Still, though…

Share this post:

A Worship Song I Don’t Hate

That is, I actually like it: music and lyrics. The original is here, but I like the version posted below a little bit better.

Note the lack of the word “I”; it’s only used once. Yes, I (heh) know…David used “I” plenty of times in the Psalms—what, is God’s word not good enough for me? David literally was handpicked by God. He gets to use “I”. Anyone reading this, however, is no such special snowflake. You’re with the rest of us normals.

You are the Lord
The famous One, famous One
Great is Your Name in all the earth
The heavens declare You’re glorious, glorious
Great is Your fame beyond the earth

And for all You’ve done and yet to do
With every breath I’m praising You
Desire of nations and every heart
You alone are God, You alone are God

The morning star is shining through
And every eye is watching You
Revealed by nature and miracles
You are beautiful, You are beautiful

Share this post:

Darksky.net Is My Jam

The past few months saw the software engineer side of me agonize over weather.com’s mortally offensive UX. Ads everywhere, demonic load times, and the weather you’re looking for is somewhere. Please, stop.

Farting around Google lead me to forecast.io, which recently became darksky.net. Loads quick, info that 80-90% of people are looking for is right at the top, no overstimulating visual garbage. And they never bug you to download their app. My only minor qualm is the weather map, just below the current conditions. Unless you’re using a browser’s scrollbar, when you scroll down the page you will automatically start sliding the map instead of continuing down the page. Most people don’t want to slide around the map that much, or at all. I would keep the map visible but overlay a subtle gray along with a message to indicate that it’s disabled. The user would have to tap it to enable sliding.

Enjoy my mobile screenshot:

Share this post:

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: More Big Stuff in the Sky

This doesn’t seem so bad. Looks great, at least. There’s barely any plot exposition in this, and what’s there has no connection to the first game. Too lazy to look up if the credited Japanese devs are working on this one. Aside from the title, the only similarity is the ending shot of weird stuff in the sky, the grassy knoll, and a red swordish weapon. Whether or not this new protag with the jodhpurs is a goody-two shoes androgyne like Shulk, is uncertain; I’m kind of hoping the two meet and the little kid tells him to grow a pair.

Share this post: