surprisingly quiet



From a website for Spartan Digital Electronics, a company invented by the Government Accountability Office for a covert test of the Energy Star rating-approval and monitoring procedure. Of twenty imaginary products submitted, fifteen were approved, including the one below; in its March report, the GAO concluded that the program is “for the most part a self certification program vulnerable to fraud and abuse.”

Spartan Digital Electronics is proud to announce its latest line of home electronics. The gas-powered Black Gold model clock radio is sleek, durable, easy on your electric bill, and surprisingly quiet. The newly Energy Star – qualified product is safe for indoor use and easy on the environment. This product approximates the size of a small portable generator for increased ease while traveling.

As quoted in Harpers Magazine July 2010

Civics, the rest of us, Uncategorized

bipartisan sleazery

“An analysis of 20 years of politicians’ sex scandals reveals that Republicans have slightly more of them – 34 since 1990, compared with 27 for Democrats. Republicans have had more scandals that involved prostitutes, politicians claiming to stand for ‘family values,’ and underage boys; Democrats’ scandals are more likely to involve female staffers, sexual harassment, and underage girls.”

It seems Republicans are kinkier, gayer and more hypocritical and Democrats are, quite frankly, less interesting in their extra-marital screwing-abouts.


eyes and fingers

“The Indian government is trying to give each of its 1.2 billion citizens a ‘universal identity number’ that will have biometric markers, such as an iris scan. Fingerprint markers may not work because many Indians’ fingerprints are worn off by years of manual labor.”
The Week
quoting The Economist

Imagine being identifiable to your government with an iris scan.

Then imagine working so hard you no longer have fingerprints.

Civics, television, the rest of us, Uncategorized

generations and freedoms

“Every generation brings more freedoms.
Every freedom brings generations of problems.
That’s what makes life interesting.”

A truer truth has never been uttered. Okay, maybe it has, but this is pretty damn true. And where does it all end? Certainly we temper ourselves over time; the orgies of the sixties didn’t take long to look rather self-indulgent, so let’s follow that sex bit a bit.

As a kid growing up in the 1970s a naked woman was something to be mostly wondered about and occasionally glimpsed in National Geographic magazine or, in utterly sublime moments, a father’s Playboy. But it really was a glimpse, personally cut short by our sense of propriety (20 percent) and fear of being caught (80 percent). But it was the limited exposure that gave it its magic. Had I been put in a room with a twelve foot high stack of Playboys, Penthouses and Oui magazines back when I was 10 or 12 without a chance of being caught, I’m not sure how I would have handled it, but I do know that whatever magic I glimpsed in the former scenario, this full-on, uncensored immersion in it all would have been certainly unsettling and quite frankly, magic-killing.

That’s what it must be like for kids today growing up in the age of the Internet. They’re always just a couple of clicks away from the most unseemly copulation by a still shocking number of people who are willing to film themselves having sex, thinking about sex, fondling themselves or simply looking naked and stupid. It’s one thing to have a population of exhibitionists* among us and quite another to give them this border crossing, ever-present, technicolor stage to exhibit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of relatively open sexuality.** To this day I’m shocked at how much our particular country is willing to put up with a constant fire hose of violence, murder, shots, cuts, rapes, beheadings, molestations and so on on television, but if a woman’s breast slips from her blouse, we cry bloody murder. It seems most European countries have a much better balance on that particular front.

Hopefully this new-found instant access to smut won’t have a huge affect on young people and it appears that it hasn’t, at least to date. These strange and explicit freedoms seem to have been mostly welcomed with a big yawn. The kids aren’t all crazed sexophiles. Instead, teenage pregnancy has gone down. I suppose they are like I was and not particularly impressed by sex en mass, but instead recognize that there is sex and sexuality and then there’s this parody of it all we find on the web (in magazines, television and other media).

One need only replace sex with chocolate (some would gladly, by the way) and you get the idea.

* I dub thee the copulation population…just have to.

**To wit, this relatively innocent and earnest college paper written as a mythology of Prince.