Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Isaac Asimov on Mysticism

"I wonder how many people go for these mystical, nonsensical things simply because they must go for something, and this is the only thing available.

The same thing bothers me about mysticism that would bother me about con men. It doesn't seem to me to be right to sell a person phony stuff, and take money for it. And this is what mystics are doing. They're selling people phony knowledge, and taking money for it.

Even if people feel good about it; I can well imagine that a person who really believes in astrology is going to have a feeling of security because he knows that this is a bad day, so to stay at home.

But nevertheless, a guy who's got phony stock may look at it, it's nice and shiny, and has scrolls and all gold lettering and stuff, and as long as he doesn't have to do anything with it, he feels real rich looking at it. But that's no excuse; he still has phony stock.

And the person who buys mysticism still has phony knowledge."

(Isaac Asimov)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Downers Grove" (Emo Phillips)

Lyrics to Emo Phillips' song, "Downers Grove"


I like to shop in downtown Downers Grove

It doesn't take big bucks, and everyone there really is nice

I went to the bakery just the other day

I said to the girl, "Do you have a zwieback?"

She said, "I always slouch this way"

I went to the pet shop, said, "I want a parrot"

The Guy said, "How 'bout a cockatoo?"

I said, "No thanks, just a bird"

I went into the clothing store and I made up my mind

I wasn't going to let any pushy salesman pressure me into buying

something I didn't need...

So after I bought the kilts

I went to the hardware shop

I said, "This riding lawnmower's stupid"

They said, "Next time, you get on top"

I went to the gas station, said, "Fill 'er up, Harry"

The guy said "Regular?"

I said, "No, put on a gorilla suit

And dance like a fairy"

I went into Gus' Artificial Organ and Taco Stand

Said, "Give me a bladder, por favor"

The guy said, "Is that to go?"

I said, "Well, what else would I want it for?"

I was walking down the street

something caught my eye

and dragged it fifteen feet

That's why I like to shop in downtown Downers Grove!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Class Warfare and a Shrinking Economic Pie

"If there has been class warfare, My class won" (Warren Buffet)

I disagree with his conclusion. Buffet's class got more than its share
of the pie, but the overall size of the pie is shrinking. In absolute
terms, both classes are losing; Buffet's class is just losing at a
slower rate than ours.

Also, the entire pie is shrinking precisely because the rich class
has been preying on the rest of us for the past three decades. Like
termites, they've eaten away at America's economic foundation to the
point where the whole economy is at risk of collapse.

Children and superstition

"You say you're worried about children; I'm not worried about children, I'm worried about 'grown-ups'.

"These are the ones who vote. These are the ones who tell you, 'the world is coming to an end in 2012!' Kids don't say that, grown-ups do.

"Grown-ups say 'read me my horoscope and tell me when I'll find money tomorrow!' Grown-ups say this, not children. Children do not read horoscopes. Children are perfectly happy counting through the number 13. Children aren't afraid to walk under ladders. They see a black cat cross their path and they say 'look! kitty, kitty' and want to pet it, not run in the other direction.

"Children are not the problem here!"

(Neil deGrasse Tyson)