June 13, 2006

Last for the Day

And since I'm on a roll, I think this gives a whole new and unpleasant mental image to the term drive-through.

Yes, this is also a warped link. Caveat emptor.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:58 PM | TrackBack

Up in Arms

Apparently Canadian health officials have been ruining fund-raising picnics hosted by little old ladies lately.

I can even get ordering food destroyed when it violates health code. But throwing away the food and then pouring bleach on it? That's excessive, mean-spirited and just plain wrong. The little old ladies ought to do something about this... like putting lunchmeat, eggs, and bleach on and in some health officials' cars.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:57 PM | TrackBack


I would point out that this is an official Warped Link. That said, the first person to correctly analyze this link and determine what NSFA means will win a prize.

Now, I will repeat this warning for those of you who have never been privvy to a warped link: these are things that are not suited for the weak of mind or stomach. If you are easily disturbed or grossed-out, do not click on the above link. Or if you already did, I wish I could say I'm sorry... but I'm not really.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:54 PM | TrackBack

June 07, 2006


This link comes to me from a source who declines to be identified. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have corrected it either.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:01 PM | TrackBack

June 02, 2006

Educating the Slobbering Masses

As noted by Anna here, we got into one of those long discussions about education the other evening that we do from time to time. Without getting into the subject of entitlement of students, the role of teachers and parents in motivating students, and the role of state vs. federal governement in playing with education, I decided that I was simply going to get into the idea of higher standards in education. As a result, I wrote up this pleasant little treatise in advocating higher standards:

In addressing the topic of education, it must be noted that I am somewhat torn on the subject of a "free and public education." On one hand, I do believe that public education has resulted in a betterment of society to the point where even the bottom quartile of the public is quasi-literate and suited for non-menial jobs. On the other hand, the provision of a free and public education is both expensive and somewhat socialistic: the demand that the state administer and provide partially for the rearing, training and disciplining of all children under the age of 18 seems somewhat backwards to me. Then again, having been in the public school system for 13 long years, I must say that there are some children who would be far better in the hands of "the system" than with their parents... and that's saying something.

In short, I could wax eloquent at some length about how the idea of a free and public education offends my libertarian sensibilities, but the fact of the matter is that the odds of the abolition of such a system is relatively low, especially in comparison to the likelihood of changing such a system, if only on a small scale. Now, since time immemorial, there have been two opposing camps in education: education as a vocational tool or education as a developer of individuals... otherwise phrased as education as a means to an end vs. education as an end unto itself.

As a matter of course, it is relatively difficult to distinguish between the two camps throughout much of history and throughout large parts of the educational process as it comes to implementation: especially at a more basic level. For instance: both camps have traditionally taught that it is necessary and proper for a student to have the proper tools of linguistic communication, mathematics, applied sciences, history, governance, etcetera. Likewise, both camps agree that proper thinking and reasoning skills must be learned by students and that students must be effective in listening, processing, distilling and disseminating information. In short, both camps will agree on the mechanics of an education insofar as it produces a well-reasoned, thinking, functional individual within the confines of his (and, of late, her) society.

A schism arises, however, when a subject arises that is not of tangible vocational value. Musical instruction, the arts, literature, higher-level mathematics and the sciences are all areas in which the pragmatist will argue that it is not necessary for all students to have understanding and mastery, merely those for whom these areas will have vocational value. On the other hand, the advocate of the so-called Liberal Education (Liberal Arts colleges being those that teach more than just technical expertise) will argue that education in these areas produces better people with a heightened understanding of the world around them. Beyond the potential of vocational benefit, a broader knowledge base produces citizens who are better thinkers with a greater understanding of the varied and sundry things that may have impact at a later date or may simply be knowledge for the benefit of the individual.

As I should think it has become obvious, I am an advocate of a Liberal Education. Simply put, I think that an enlightened society with a broad background in literature, the sciences, humanities, mathematics and history will be a better society with individuals who are better thinkers. Simply put, if an individual doesn't want learning, I question that individual's value to society and the quality of his upbringing that he should come to a point that he desires less knowledge and understanding rather than more. While I do appreciate that there are some areas of knowledge that come easier than others to most individuals, I find the raising of standards for society to be a good and admirable gesture, regardless of pragmatic outcome.

To paraphrase Alan Dershowitz, I find my position to be defensible across a broad spectrum of ideologies. Just as I defend higher standards from the perspective of an advocate of a Liberal Education, I expect those who favor a more technical or vocationally-oriented education to lend their support on the basis of higher standards promoting better workers.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:51 PM | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

No Updates?

I was about to give Gallagher, Wheeler, Toad, and Paige crap about not updating.... and then I realized that I hadn't posted in two weeks, as evidenced by all of my beautiful long posts dropping off of my blog when I posted my bit of humor this morning.

So where has the Cynic been? Mostly at Wheeler's apartment, watching through the first season of Desperate Housewives. It's rather amusing and a good bit better than I'd suspected it would be. Still probably not up to my standards of "things with lasting cultural and intellectual value", but a good laugh and some fun times with friends.

We've gotten most of the way through the first season and the show, while frequently witty, is not above giving in to cliche. So far I've seen numerous scenes of marital turmoil, threats of extra-marital affairs, the gay young man crisis, depiction of religious leaders as out-of-touch and hopelessly trapped within an antiquated moral framework and several others. That said, I do have to recommend the show on the grounds that it manages to easily balance several dozen plot-lines in such a way that, even in keeping the allegedly-prerequisite ongoing suspense of a serialized drama, it manages to avoid the feeling of unresolved baiting and contrivance that is definitive of shows like 24 by allowing the viewer to have the rare joy of seeing something resolved on a regular basis. Further, just when the viewer feels like a character is going to fall into the trap of being cliche, the story-writers have a way of subtly twisting things to prevent the audience from losing interest. I don't know how long I'll be able to continue to enjoy the show, but for now, I'm still watching.

Ah... you want to know what Wheeler has been up to as well? I'll put the screws in him this evening and make him post. It's what good friends do. That, and help you move while only breaking small amounts of your stuff.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:52 AM | TrackBack

Russian Drivers

I'm rather amused at this little gem that a friend sent my way. Apparently this tunnel runs under a river and, in the right conditions, the road freezes. The video above is from cameras in the tunnel taken over the course of one day.

Now, to their credit, the Russians are dealing with some rather inferior Russian cars. That said, I think Longview drivers would be 10x worse than the Russians, even if we gave the Longview drivers American cars. You just can't compensate for stupidity.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:45 AM | TrackBack