April 07, 2010

Grokking Babies

So, imagine you're a computer science guy and that the things that happen to you are supposed to be a logical (or at least, predictable) result of the things that you do and the things that you observe others doing. This carries the most weight in the land of computer programming, where you write programs and they do what you tell them to. Of course, in real-world dividends there are good examples as well... such as the stork whom, if you pay him a certain sum of money he will, having been correctly bribed, deliver a baby roughly 9 months later. In the same fashion, computer programs, properly fashioned, will do what you have told them to do. And, unlike storks, if they don't do what you expected them to, there are error logs and outputs that explain what you actually told them to do and how they faithfully carried out your erroneous instructions.

On the other hand, you have babies. I should point out at this stage that I have no doubt that there are a great number of varied inputs into my poor little daughter's brain between me and my wife and her own internal processes of "I'm hungry", "my butt is wet", "my tummy hurts because I have to fart and nobody will smack me on the back to work it out" and "that big ugly man is nice and warm and I want him to hold me to make me warm." Oops, I almost forgot, "those mean people are taking away my warm, well-padded diaper and exposing my butt to the cold air! I hate that!"

The problem is that while the inputs are many and various, her output is somewhat binary: either she's crying or she's not. Well, that's not exactly fair... she can be crying, screaming bloody murder, crying while making sucking motions with her tongue out, sitting quietly with her eyes open or sleeping. The problem is that the outputs don't map directly to the inputs... in fact, I'm beginning to suspect that even an indirect mapping would be something more happenstance than reality.

Now, I know that some of you are going to point out that as a member of the fairer sex, I shouldn't be demanding logical correlation and causal relationships between inputs and outputs ... and you'd be right. But at least, however unreasonable, grown women can send mixed signals that don't send chills up my spine (usually) and consist of more than screaming, crying and making faces.

Others will correctly point out that given the neurological and physiological development of my daughter, I would be somewhat unreasonable to demand reason and/or cogent communication... and I suppose I have to agree. The problem, gentle reader, is that though I may agree that my daughter, while an excellent specimen of 2-week-old baby should not be required to transcend her already excellent developmental accomplishments, it still doesn't do anything for my state of mind that she can't seem to correlate inputs to outputs in a manner that I can understand.

Come on Grace, write it to a log so Daddy can analyze it. Actually... when you put it in that context, I think I'm looking at this all wrong. I blame the test tools for failing to properly analyze the baby output. This is all the fault of my co-workers for not programming proper baby output analysis.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:59 AM | TrackBack

February 25, 2010

On Insurance

So I hate the whole debate about health insurance for about a billion reasons. But first, I want to explain the concept of insurance so that I can stop yelling at the radio.

Conceptually, insurance is basically splitting up a risk cost into small, regular payments over a period of time. So let's say your house would cost you $120,000 to replace if it burned down and there's a 100% likelihood that it will burn down once every 10 years. Your insurance company would be justified in charging you $1000 a month in insurance, plus some sort of fee for saving you from the inconvenience of paying out $120,000 every 10 years. Also, it's hard to budget for $120,000 sometime in the next 10 years, whereas it's very easy to budget for $1000 a month.

Now, let's take it one step further and say that there's a 100% risk that one and only one $120,000 house on your block will burn down in the next 10 years and you have 9 neighbors plus yourself, all with an equal likelihood of losing a house (and nobody can move away.) Then, each of you only has to pay $100 a month plus fees because the insurance company has amortized its risk across multiple houses.

Obviously, health insurance is a good deal more complicated than this in terms of the actual numbers... but let's take mobile homes because they're a lot like individual health. Let's say instead of 10 houses, there were 10 mobile homes, each in various degrees of age and disrepair. Now, let's say that I have the newest $120,000 mobile home and it is a sweet mobile home (for $120,000 it had better be) with a state-of-the-art sprinkler system and 2 nasty dogs to run off would-be burglars. Because of that and because I own my home free and clear, I opt not to have home-owner's insurance. So, now 9 owners have to split the $120,000 ... and that makes an ugly number that is more that $100 a month.

But it gets worse... because Bob has a 25-year-old mobile home with exposed aluminum wiring and a gasoline-soaked cloth roof. His house is pretty likely to burn, so he pays $1000 a month. In fact, Bob's house is so crappy that when it burns, the insurance company refuses to pay on account that Bob claimed he had a no-gasoline-soaked-roof house on the application form when he signed up for his insurance. So he gets nothing and is still out all of his premiums or, if he's lucky, they send his premiums back.

So, Bob buys another house, and this time he complains to his Congressman that it's not fair that he pays a higher premium just because he owns a crappy house and the Congressman is up for re-election in a "mostly gas-soaked rag house" district, so he agrees. He passes legislation that makes everyone pay equally for insurance, regardless of if his or her house has a roof made of gas-soaked rags. So now all of Bob's neighbors hate Bob because the insurance company isn't going to just eat the cost of replacing Bob's house and now everyone pays $900 a month. Yeah, the cost for Bob and his ilk went down $100 a month... but all of the people in good mobile homes (and even good houses) now pay a lot more.

So now everyone on my block starts looking at my sweet mobile home and realizing that I pay $0 a month and am saving all of that money to move out of my mobile home and into a nice house. And they're thinking, "If we could get him to pay insurance, all of us would pay a WHOLE LOT LESS." And they're right... but I don't want to pay for insurance. Unfortunately, they have the Congressman on their side and the Insurance Company promises to charge them all $400 less a month if they can get every owner of a sweet mobile home like mine (or an actual house) to pay in.

But here's where it gets interesting for the benefits of buying insurance. Because Flammable House Insurance Company has a policy with every house in the state, it's in their best interest to get the cheapest rates on gasoline-soaked rag roof trailer homes. So instead of a replacement cost of $120,000 , they can get me that trailer at $80,000 brand new. So in that sense, it makes more sense for me to go to FHIC, assuming I'm forced to buy insurance.

And the best part of all of this is that I'm just scratching the surface of the notion of insurance... there's still the jerks who manage to make it so I can only buy their brand of windows for my gasoline-soaked rag roof trailer home and the people that sue the builders of gasoline-soaked rag roof trailer homes and drive the cost of a new trailer home by an unknowable amount. Oh, and then there are the builders themselves who are required to build a house for anyone, even if they can't afford it and then get the money back from the government. The list goes on.

And the problem is that the system is complicated. And everyone on all sides is convinced of his or her correctness. The one side doesn't like seeing people living on the streets and the other side is convinced that the government can't afford all of these houses and screw the people living on the street. Me? I just want people to have an honest and straightforward conversation. But these are politicians and talking heads and NONE of them wants that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:13 PM | TrackBack

February 16, 2010

Hotbed for Spam

I understand that spamming has relatively little to do with the targeted site and far more to do with the notion of increasing the number of links to a given place. That said, I am constantly amused by the sort of spam that manages to find its way to my little corner of the internet.

Viagra spam: I have to say that this is by far and away the most pervasive. If I didn't know better, I would have to say that I think that the spammers are trying to insult me. Or perhaps my (admittedly paltry) readership. I don't know... all I know is that the sheer quantity of Viagra spam that I've been getting in comments would be enough to service the entire state of Arizona. My only conclusion is that the targeting algorithm that these spammers use is a little bit crappy.

Gold-buyer spam: I must not have ever gone off on this particular disease for the worthless crock of crap that it is. Seriously... it's like an online pawn-shop without the having to drive through the seedier parts of town to visit it. Well, that last bit isn't exactly true, but it's at least the seedier parts of the internet. And hey, what you do with your spare time on the internet is your business and I don't even WANT to know.

Actually... there's probably a great number of additional categories, but I'm tired of writing about spam and not altogether enthused at encouraging additional groups like porn spammers, random drug spammers and ... well, I take that back. There's one more group I'd like to hit on:

Mail-Order Bride Spammers: Yes, that's right. Apparently my readership is all too short on female companionship but stacked with money and a desire to seek love beyond the America's shores. So our plan is to take those readers with stacks of money and no shot at love in America and purchase passage for a woman from a more exotic locale. At least, I think Russia still qualifies as exotic... I'm not so sure anymore. That said, I don't think that we're discriminating between Russia and, say, Nigeria or Zimbabwe. After all, it's not "Russian Mail-Order Brides" in this modern era. That would be too provincial.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:45 AM | TrackBack

January 14, 2010

Steal from the Banks and Give to GM!

I find it rather remarkable that the Obama White House feels that the best way to repay the unpaid portion of the TARP funds is through taxing the banks. Well, I suppose it isn't that remarkable when you consider that the banks are widely blamed for the financial crisis nor is it remarkable that they are loathed by the American people. Well, and when you realize that the American people bailed out the US Banking Industry and they've returned the favor by ... well, there's really no nice way to explain what they've done to the American people. So to say that cynical politicians would choose to tax an unpopular (and, quite frankly, reviled) group of people to fill a hole in the budget is rather unremarkable.

What is remarkable is that the banks aren't really the ones at fault for the shortfall in repaying TARP. This isn't to say that the banks aren't at fault for any one of a dozen different reason or that they aren't scum or that they aren't setting themselves and us up for a repeat performance of the "Great Recession" again in the near future, but let's be fair: they DID repay the money that we loaned their worthless, thieving, child-molesting, murderous, incestuous, lying selves.

And yet, it appears that of the 5 companies that are unlikely to repay TARP: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, AIG, Chrysler and GM ... only ONE of those is on the hook for this tax. Granted, AIG is one of the biggest sources of the financial collapse, but why are we letting Freddie, Fannie, Chrysler and GM off of the hook? It's not like any of these four companies was exactly acting with fiscal responsibility or good business acumen.

Oh... wait, Freddie and Fannie are actually popular pseudo-governmental entities staffed by lots of former political activists, appointees and partisan hacks. In fact, Congress seems pathologically incapable of dealing responsibly with Freddie and Fannie... perhaps it has something to do with all of the bribes.

And really, this is giving unwarranted forgiveness, mercy and kindness to the US Automotive Sector. Yes, the same companies who have been selling us substandard cars at exorbitant prices and ruining their business. Yeah, the same Chrysler and GM that you and I bailed out. We definitely CAN'T tax those guys. I would make a cheap crack about Democrats, US Car Companies, the UAW and Michigan... but everyone knows that I'm morally above cheap cracks.

Of course, this is where the bankers start foaming at the mouth about fairness. And I can't say that I disagree with that at some point or another... it DOES seem admittedly stupid that the same sector that is being encouraged to loan more money is supposed to be doing so while paying more taxes and divert that money from the bonuses that it pays its managers who make it the money rather than diverting it from its customers. Yeah, those same customers that it's already screwing over with wanton abandon. I guess my point is that I have no particular issue with screwing the banks over right back, but I think we're missing out on the pleasures of screwing over GM, Chrysler, Freddie and Fannie.

And we're idiots if we think that in a pissing contest between Congressmen and Banking CEOs that the Congressmen could ever hope to win.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:51 PM | TrackBack

December 15, 2009

Healthcare for Dummies

Is it possible to appreciate what someone is doing while simultaneously despise them for why they're doing it? Take Joe Lieberman: he's against a taxpayer-subsidized public healthcare plan... and as a Libertarian, I can respect that. But he's against it because he's a total shill for the US Health Insurance Companies and thus I loathe him.

And really, I suspect that if you drilled down to it, I would probably loathe most, if not all of the members of the US Congress for being total shills to some organization. Which is, of course, why I enjoy watching Jon Stewart skewer members of Congress for their utter corruption.

At the same time, who is really to blame if not the people who elected them? Which is another way of saying that the American people get exactly who they deserve to govern them. I was reminded of this again the other morning when I was listening to a thoughtful piece on Afghanistan on NPR and then they switched over to something about Tiger Woods. Yes, Tiger Woods... ON NPR ... and no, they weren't talking about anything newsworthy.

And of course, let's not even mention Fox News, whose entire journalistic credibility could be balanced upon the tip of a needle, whilst still leaving room for a rather healthy angel conga line.

I guess my point is that I'm rather disgusted with the state of US news coverage these days and every time the healthcare reform bill comes back up, I want to stab myself in the ears. Because really, are we even talking about the issue of healthcare reform anymore or are we simply generating noise?

And while I'm at the subject of nonsense, is the Republican party helping by all but guaranteeing a filibuster? Of course not. I suppose it could be argued that they're giving moderate Democrats more traction ... but they're also giving liberal Democrats far more sway than if the party of "limited government" and "fiscal responsibility" (*cough* *cough* bull#$@&) would actually engage the issue of healthcare reform. But that party is far too scared that Fox News would accuse them of buddying up with the Democrats. And so we have an admittedly-broken healthcare system that will be "fixed" almost exclusively by more government because the Republicans refuse to be a part of the solution. And the American public will mouth-breathe their way through this and somehow, my broke self will end up paying for it.

Maybe Toad is right... maybe we SHOULD hate all of the involved parties.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:53 PM | TrackBack

October 17, 2009

Set Up For Failure

"We've been set up for failure."

I hear that expression from time to time, mostly from engineers... especially from burned-out engineers to whom things are looking exceptionally dim. The first time I heard it, it took me aback a little bit, though I'm sure by now I've said it myself or something pretty similar at least once to describe a project that I was on when I was feeling especially in need of a vacation.

I was talking with a manager about this sort of thing the other day when one of those overly-simplistic statements joined up with this one in my head. We were talking and he said, "You know, you engineers tend to lose sight of the fact that nobody on this project really wants it to fail." And I guess it took me aback because, with the exception of some really rare Machiavellian schemers, I can't think of a single reason why someone working on a project and investing time, effort and reputation in it would ever want the project to fail.

Of course, that doesn't mean that people will agree on how to make it succeed or even that someone won't make a decision even with the knowledge that certain experts predict that such a decision will lead to failure. But the point is, generally, everyone wants a successful outcome. Also, the road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Of course, nowhere is this more evident than in lowest-cost bidding. Imagine, if you will, that you're trying to solicit bids for the cheapest airplane. Company 1 quotes you a price of $50,000. Company 2 says "oh yeah, well if we make the airplane so that it's exempt from FAA regulations, we could do it for $25,000." Company 1 returns and says, "oh, if those are the rules, we could also go back to fly-by-wire and use some older avionics and get you down to $20,000." And before you know it, your airplane is a bunch of canvas and some bamboo with a cement-mixer motor tied on there with prop attached to the front.

Obviously, there are things that a customer won't accept, but you've just put together a bid to do the bare minimum that someone figured could be done. And the someone who bid it probably just told procurement that they could find parts that don't yet exist for cheaper than the ones that currently do, told the designers to cut their costs in half and told the engineers that historical indices are crap. The guy who bid this didn't want to bid a crappy product, but he wanted to win the contract and in so doing, set himself and his people up for failure.

I'm not quite sure what you do about a scenario like this. Obviously, if you're the buyer, you have to be very careful about not creating scenarios where you end up with MacGuyver's Getaway Plane instead of a 747. As to what to do if you've been set up for failure, I've asked older and wiser heads and availed no answers. Any thoughts?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:46 AM | TrackBack

September 04, 2009

The Right to Healthcare

Because I hate myself, I'm going to go ahead and try to figure out how we need to reform healthcare. Yeah... this should go really well.

Before I do that though, I have a question that I think we need to answer: Is there such a thing as a "Right to Heathcare" ? I'm not sure that I have a right answer for this one.
There are two camps on this. It's pretty hard to advocate for the group that says 'no' on the basis that it doesn't sound very compassionate. At the same time, this sounds like the group that's doing the most thinking on the subject and realizing that there's such a thing as scarcity of resources and the fact that it's impossible to provide every existing healthcare option to every patient. Also, this group tends to be strict Constitutional literalists who don't see "the right to healthcare" written anywhere in the Constitution as guaranteed and thus, there's no such thing.

Before defending its logical basis, the second group would like to point out that a "right to healthcare" is something of a Universal Moral Imperative, regardless of how much it costs. That said, on the logical and Constitutional front, they would like to point out that when the Declaration of Independence advocates for "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", it's pretty tricky to live or pursue happiness if you're dying of cancer. Also, for those of you who didn't have the benefit of memorizing the preamble to the Constitution, I'd like to print it out for you and see what jumps out. I'll even toss you a bone and highlight the relevant section

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

So basically, on one side of the debate we have the logical stance, albeit heartless and on the other side we have impracticality and compassion... but they really do have at least some leg to stand on in the realm of Constitutionality and "the will of the Founding Fathers."

Here's the problem: nobody on the anti-reform side of this is ever going to come out and say "guys, the problem here is scarcity... we can't afford to give healthcare to everyone." Sure, they'll say things approaching that and things in that general neighborhood... but there's no way to say "stop, we can't do that" without sounding like an asshole. That's just the way it is.

On the other side, you have the pro-reform side, and they're never going to explain how exactly we're going to pay for this. Because the other side is right... scarcity is a problem and you can't give everyone the option of all non-elective medicine without it costing you something. The numbers I've been hearing price it at somewhere around $1 trillion over 10 years for a really cut-rate plan and some estimates north of $2 trillion for the plans currently on the table.

And that's the part about this debate that really drives me ape. Because neither side will admit to the inherent issues of their debate, people are arguing past each other. And then Sarah Palin showed up along with the lynch mobs.

Actually, let's forget Sarah Palin for a minute* and focus on these morons screaming at the "town hall meetings"? Seriously? Is this the best we can do for a reasoned response? And the people supporting this nonsense want me to vote for them next year? Let's just take a pass on "un-American" as far as the screaming at politicians in town-hall meetings goes (though, really, I expect better from the 'Party of Lincoln') and go straight to "mouth-breathing, rabid moron with an IQ surpassed by some of the goo growing on the floor of a public rest-room." Have I sufficiently communicated my contempt? Good.

The thing that infuriates me the most about this whole "debate" is that the only people interested in having an honest and forthright discussion about health-care are the academics. The "loyal opposition" is far too busy talking about "pulling the plug on grandma," "death panels" and attempting to defend the patriotism of the aforementioned restroom stains. And, of course, the advocates of health-care reform want to breeze over the exponential expansion in the annual federal budget and do some magic hand-waving to explain away legitimate concerns about the costs.

Now, it actually appears that I've run out of space... so I'm just going to call this a rant and go back to the drawing-board, content that I've defined the beginnings of this debate, if only for myself.

*Because, really, she's an idiot... can we all just agree that she's an idiot and ignore her forever? Let's just pretend that John McCain found someone with a 3-digit IQ to be his VP Candidate and forget this ever happened. Is it honestly that hard to forget a VP Candidate who lost?)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:08 AM | TrackBack

August 18, 2009

No Constitutional Protection Of Innocence

According to Justice Antonin Scalia, there is no Constitutional basis for saving wrongfully convicted criminals from execution.

To quote the man himself, "This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent."

This contrasts even with conservative former Chief Justice William Rehnquist's remarks in Herrera v. Collins, where he observed, "we may assume, for the sake of argument in deciding this case, that in a capital case a truly persuasive demonstration of ‘actual innocence’ made after trial would render the execution of a defendant unconstitutional and warrant federal habeas relief.”

Unfortunately, the matter has never been settled as a case of Constitutional law. Perhaps that will change in the near future, much to Justice Scalia's chagrin. And mayhaps this time the conservative media will bemoan that Justices Scalia and Thomas are attempting to act as activist judges and ignoring the clear intent of the framers that innocent men not be executed. But I doubt it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:12 PM | TrackBack

June 21, 2009

Iran: Diplomacy Escapes the Republican Party

I find this whole business of the Republican criticism of the president rather remarkable. It's almost as if Senator Graham and others are completely oblivious to the impact of US political influence inside of Iran. Or, really, the niceties of diplomacy in general.

I'm not sure if this is sheer political gamesmanship (I hope) in the sense of "Oh look... President Obama isn't advocating liberty in Iran: something that everyone in the free world wants. Let's accuse him of being soft on dictators." Or (I fear) maybe the Republicans truly and honestly believe the George W. Bush school of diplomacy and dictating terms to the rest of the world is the only way to, in the words of Senator Graham "lead from the front."

So, what I'm saying is that, as I see things, the Republican Party's stance on Iran is either disingenuous or idiotic. And this is the party that, according to commentators, operates better as a minority party? I suppose it's fair to say that the party is having a crisis of leadership and is attempting to return to what it's good at... but if what it's good at is responding to a nuanced approach to diplomacy with a shrill appeal to the base fears of the masses, I'm afraid I'm not buying.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:02 PM | TrackBack

May 21, 2009

Where to Put the Prisoners

Alright, this argument has just gotten about as stupid as it could possibly get. Because seriously, are there any politicians currently in office who want to put forth the argument that due process is a bad thing? John Boeher... anyone else? Shut up Ted Stevens, you're not in office anymore.

So what we have now is a series of insipid straw-man arguments designed to be a political hot-potato. It's ridiculous, it's insulting and it behooves the president (who promised to end this sort of partisan idiocy) to do just that.

Did the head of the FBI honestly say that he's afraid of what radical Islamists would do to the Federal Supermax prison population? Seriously? Does he know what the ADX facility is like?

Honestly, are we that afraid of due process? And if we are, why aren't we talking judicial reform rather than "oh no, a terrorist in my back-yard!" And seriously, if I hear one more moronic republican tell me that President Obama is going to set Al-Qaeda operatives loose in my town, I may just forswear the whole party on principle. Especially the orange one.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:56 PM | TrackBack

September 06, 2008

Dear Major Political Parties

What if I don't like the arguments for Palin or Biden?

Seriously... do some digging around on Biden. He's really not anything at all like the image that Obama would prefer to be projecting. That's largely why they've kept him shut up.

And Palin? Please.

How does the governing party run on a change platform? Palin is different because she was up in the middle of the frozen tundra while Bush was ruining things? Ok... I'll grant that. And really, to look at Palin's reactions to Ted Stevens and the earmarks sent her way, I'll even entertain the argument that she's an alternative to the 2000-2006 Republican Trifecta. But let's get back to the bigger problem: she's only the Candidate for Vice President.

Honestly, if she were running for President, I'd probably be able to reconcile her candidacy with the message she's running with. She's an outsider, she's already stood up to the party big-shots and the biggest argument against her is the same argument against Obama: no experience. But she's running with McCain, who used to be the party outsider. Yeah... before he sold out sometime back in 2003 in a bid to help Bush get re-elected and, presumably, in order to get the party to approve him in 2008.

So right now, I've got two unfortunate options:
1) Obama/Biden
2) McCain/Palin

It's enough to make me want to vote Libertarian. Again.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:29 AM | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

Drive-by Download

"The number of poisoned web sites is increasing. 1 in 1000 web pages are infected with malicious drive-by downloads (source IDG News)." - the AVG install scaretext.

A drive-by download?! Yeah... because comparing software viruses to the most callous and indiscriminant of murderous gangland attacks is REALLY appropriate.

It's just stupid... and yet, that's how anti-virus is marketed. Still, I'd like to find the moron who started that naming convention and throttle him.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:11 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2008


Really? Are you kidding me?

Look... I'm not saying that I've even come close to making my mind up about November... which is good, given that the field isn't set yet... but I'm with Jon Stewart on this one: I want an elitist president.

Honestly, I think that the talking heads and the 24-hour news networks are so desperate for something, anything to keep this campaign going that they're really the ones attempting to turn this thing into an issue. And Hillary? Of COURSE she's playing this... this is her lifeline and even if it turns out to be an anaconda, it's better to try holding on to this than end up drowning without anything to hold her afloat.

As for McCain... well, I'll address his issues later, because as a life-long Republican, I'd like to address that at a good bit more length. But suffice it to say that I really think that everyone has something better to be paying attention to... like, I don't know, the real issues in play. If we're arguing over which candidate is the most elitist, I think we're missing something.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:24 PM | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

The Metro Buffet Sucks

You would think that a Chinese Buffet staffed by those of obvious Chinese descent (who spoke something that I was pretty sure was some sort of Chinese) would represent a marked improvement over the sort in East Texas, located out in the middle of nowhere and staffed by individuals of a Hispanic descent. You would think that... but in this case, you'd be WRONG.

The Metro Buffet on Blairs Ferry Rd in Hiawatha (Cedar Rapids) has to be one of the worst buffets, if not the worst that I've ever been to. Some would criticize and say that my tastes are not acclimated to "authentic Chinese cuisine." And that might be true to a certain extent... but the staff of the Metro Buffet wouldn't know authentic Chinese if it lit the restaurant on fire on account of being far too busy yelling at each other in shrill voices across the restaurant.

In fact, let's take a minute to discuss the food. The crab rangoon was the worst I've ever had... it tasted strongly of salt and old fish and I could barely gag one down. The sesame chicken was actually "white sesame chicken" and it was basically fried chicken soaked in an orange sauce that tasted suspiciously like sweet and sour. The peppers in the pepper steak and the General Tsao's Chicken were wilted and off-color and the broccoli was brown... really, the only vegetable that wasn't screwed up was the onion, and that was nearly raw. All in all, the only thing that tasted like it was supposed to that I was willing to try was a chinese donut.

And for the pleasure of partaking of this exquisite fine dining experience as overseen by the paramount staff, I got to pay $12.50. Now, to be fair, there were options as far as sub-rate sushi and snow crab legs were concerned... but considering the quality of the other faire of which I HAD partaken, I wasn't about to risk my ass on food poisoning.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:45 PM | TrackBack

September 17, 2007

War on U-Haul

This is a slightly altered version of a bit of "customer response" that I sent to U-Haul. Really, the only alteration is the removal of salient bits of contractual and financial information. Well... and the addition of some more colorful commentary.

To say that my experiences with U-Haul have been negative fail to fully describe the nature of my ordeal. The problems with the rental began before my arrival on the scene, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll stick with the problems relevant to me, which began after I became involved.
My friend Jared Wheeler rented a moving truck with which to conduct a 1-way move from Longview, TX to Waco, TX and due to complications involving his drivers' license (read: "crap... my drivers' license expires today so they won't let me drive"), it became necessary that someone else drive the truck, and I volunteered (read: "I was the only schmuck along who had a valid drivers' license). At the time, I was asked for my driver's license and a secondary form of identification, for which I used my MasterCard. At that point in time, I made sure to ask the man at the desk two or three times if my credit card would be charged under any circumstances and I was assured repeatedly that under no circumstances would my card be charged. (Seriously, this guy didn't look like much of a winner in the 'Brains' Department, so I kept asking to pound this point in... apparently, it didn't take.)
Of course, as would be necessitated by my irritation, my credit card was charged. As soon as I received my credit card statement and noticed the errant charge, I called the Cubby Hole where the rental was started (the one on 259 near my old apartment) and they were pleasantly helpful. I was promised a call for the next day by the manager, which I received first thing in the morning after he had researched my case. He apologized and told me that my name was not, in fact, listed as the driver and that somehow my credit card had simply been amended to the file due to an employee mistake. He also noted that he was sadly unable to resolve the issue in-store and would be forced to escalate me to the corporate offices. (Note: he would be the second and last intelligent employee with whom I would speak. Also notable was that he and the first lady with whom I spoke actually had brains and customer service skills and didn't work for U-Haul; the next 5 employees fit none of these criterion.)
Uhaul Corporate is worthless. Well, the receptionist is helpful enough, but the actual call-center failed to accomplish a single thing beyond wasting my time and exposing me to impressive lengths of heretofore unexperienced elevator-type hold music. I had to call on three separate occasions, being assured the first two times that I would be called within 48 hours and the third time (5 days later), I was only helped after I insisted that I speak to someone who could actually do something for me, at which time I was transferred to a regional office. Unfortunately, the manager who was required in order to rectify things for me was not in and I would have to hope for a call back.
I was pleasantly surprised that the manager from the regional office actually called back as promised. At least, that is, until after he got my information and went about his way, he became impossible to contact. In fact, after a week of trying to get ahold of him without so much as a peep, I finally decided to do what I should have done a week and a half earlier: call my credit card company and dispute the charge. Oddly enough, your company has managed to attempt to turn me from a non-party into a customer and in so doing has made me loathe to even associate with it, much less patronize it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:43 PM | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

Ideal Locales

Since Jared seems to have a burr in his ass about my criticisms of his ideal locations to erect a domicile, I figured I would come up with a vague list of criterion for good places for the SC to move to. As always, I would encourage all takers to hop in and advocate their favorite points and maybe we can all agree to move somewhere... or something.


I think that we can all agree that we want to end up in an area rich with culture and with access to the finer things in life. And while that doesn't necessitate living within a large city, it does necessitate living at least within striking distance of a large city... and speaking from practical experience in Longview, 2 hours, while workable, is probably further than is profitable... so let's say 1 hour from a major (at least 1 million people) city. It should be noted that, for the time being, I'm reserving judgments on individual cities... with the exception of Cleveland and Newark. Cleveland sucks and yet is heaven by comparison to Newark. Beyond that though, we'll have to come up with some way of discussing the cultural merits of the city of choice.

Level of Freedom

While there is a certain correlation to freedoms accorded to those who live in a state where police activity and federal authority are severely curtailed, I'm afraid that there are members of the SC who don't want to go turning our social organization into a drug cartel... much more's the pity, but there it is. That said, while a certain level of anarchy is charming, we're going to want to end up in a place where the police presence is available and reassuring, but not overbearing. And yes, Wheeler, while London is a wonderful place on a lot of levels, I'm not such a big fan of the Orwellian schtick that they've been playing to in the last 10 years. This includes thousands of monitored cameras in London alone, tracking all vehicle traffick in and out of London, the acquisition of flying spy drones, and God only knows what else... sorry, just say no to totalitarian levels of police monitoring.


To limit ourselves to areas of the world that only speak English would be foolish, insular, and downright detrimental. I mean, after all, if we can't have the option of leaving the US for other places, that would be terrible. At the same time, ending up in an area where five languages are spoken and none of them English would leave us rather high and dry. Thus, while ending up somewhere like Spain where English isn't the primary means of communication would be less than ideal for some of our members, there is enough English spoken for even the meanest gringo to get by initially, and I would expect that the same is true for many of our more ideal destinations.


And lastly, where would we be without stability: both financial and governmental. To put a point on it, governmental coups suck... as do financial crashes. Thus, I refuse to put my ass in harm's way in a country where the economy and the government aren't at least moderately stable. While I'm not demanding exclusively First-World destinations, I am probably excluding (between this and other conditions) most Third-World locations by this demand. And yes, while I'm very sad that I'll probably never get to live in the Sahara as a result of this, I value my bullet-free self a bit more than a nice safari. Ah well... such are the sacrifices we make.

What Now?

Where does this leave us? Well, I would like to think that there are a number of candidates in Europe, North America, and the Tropics that are fair game. There might be a location or two in the countries of South America (read: Brazil and Argentina) and maybe some outliers like Qatar and a couple in East Asia... but for the most part, we ARE talking about First-World Western locations, at least as I read it.

That said, while I may be the most vocal member of the Council, I wouldn't presume to speak for all of it. So I'd love to hear additional considerations and pleadings... but please, leave individual cities out of this for now unless they're so unique that they bear special consideration on their own merits.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:23 PM | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

Students' Rights

I've always found it perplexing (and more than a little upsetting) that non-adult citizens have severely limited civil rights. As a high school student, this disdain was established in me as a member of the student newspaper when I discovered that Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier had established that our publication's first amendment protections were subordinated to the will of the school district.

The issue of the lesser rights of high school students is currently being argued further in the Supreme Court, specifically a variety of free speech cases, chief among those being infamous "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case.

To make a long story short (and I'm planning on getting into this at greater length later), I find it suspect that school districts are able to exercise curbs on free speech except as directly relates to free speech disrupting education. While I certainly appreciate the need to remove glaring distractions from the educational experience, I am perhaps more disturbed by the willingness of school districts to run roughshod over students' rights for "educational reasons." If someone could explain to me how publishing a story on teenaged pregnancy in the student newspaper or how holding up a seemingly-controversial but meaningless sign on a public roadside not even on school property significantly interfere with education, please let me know.

Yes, I know, I'm ranting. In the end it comes down to this... we don't let the federal government interfere with the free speech of public citizens at state colleges, government agencies, or pretty much any other public forum... except public primary and secondary schools, which can more or less limit the rights of students at their discretion. Maybe it's just my experience with the public school system, but I sure as hell don't trust them... do you? Surely, they're not all bad, and high schoolers are by no means qualified as adults... but I would prefer to err on the side of civil rights than the opposite... but that's just me. My wife would apparently prefer to subordinate EVERYONE'S Civil Rights to the educational process.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:45 PM | TrackBack

March 13, 2007


Several things. First off, I would like to note that Texas (at least Gregg County) pays $6 for waiting in the jury pool from 9am to 12 pm. Yep, $6 for 3 hours. That said, you are given the options of donating the $6 to charity, collecting it, or donating it back to the county. Yes, donating the money to the county... because the taxes aren't enough... the county needs charity.

Secondly, it has been inferred by some that my post yesterday asserts that all jurors are chumps. This isn't true, as I clearly note that there is a category of individuals who get paid for jury duty time who are not chumps. That said, these individuals, being intelligent and well-educated, are also typically the first to get tossed off of juries. Go figure

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:32 PM | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

The Problem of Jury Duty

Being as that my wife was selected in the jury pool today for a trial tomorrow, I figured I would take a quick stab at my issues with jury duty in America, in general. Take as a caveat that I've never been on a jury, nor have I even made the selection pool.

First off, in Texas, jurors are paid $40 a day for jury duty. To an 18-year-old college student, that might sound like a sweet deal, but it should be noted that $40/day is less than minimum wage for an 8-hour day, which is an insult to just about anyone who isn't on Welfare who gets a jury summons. Oh... and they don't pay you blow your Monday morning in the selection process, regardless of if you're picked or not.

Secondly, in most states, businesses aren't compelled to pay you for missed time, they're just forbidden to fire you. Look, I understand the capitalistic basis of the American economy as well as anyone... but if the system argues that the time of a worker is worth money and an employer shouldn't have to pay employees for time that they don't work, it stands to follow that the legal system should see at least some value in a juror's time and pay said juror accordingly.

However, being as that the above enumerated problems have not yet been addressed, anyone who makes a decent wage at work is going to have real issues missing work just to go sit on a jury. Patriotism is a good and fine thing, but it really doesn't buy one's groceries. Thus, anyone with a brain and a job who isn't going to pay him for lost time does his level best to avoid jury duty. And who remains? Individuals who have never been on juries before (and thus are clueless as to how to avoid jury duty), people who want the $40, those without the cynicism to avoid jury duty, and those who can either afford to miss work or have a nice enough job that they're already being paid for jury duty.

Allow me to address these groups one at a time and point to the fact that the best candidates for the jury pool are the ones you've eliminated already. First, people who have never been in a jury pool don't realize that they have the means to get out of it and thusly they may (or may not) make good jurors... it's a crap-shoot. Second are the people who actually want the $40, and no offense, but that particular subset is largely limited to those who are either too young, too inexperienced, or too indigent to get a job. Thirdly (and I'm working out of order), we have those with the education and/or experience to have a job that will grant time off for jury duty... which is to say a white-collar, mid to high-end job. Which is good that it usually indicates life experience, thinking skills and a logical mind and bad in that one of the two lawyers involved will spend his or her time sniping all of these individuals out of the jury pool. Oh, and lastly, we have our guileless Polyannas who think that they should bend over backwards for the judicial system. I'm not going to criticize them at length except for to note that whenever you find yourself in a situation where you're doing the government a favor, it defies logic. It's like donating money to the government... what the hell are you thinking?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:48 PM | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

A Question of Motives

Is human papillomavirus a Bad Thing? That is inarguable. Should it be eliminated along with the likes of polio, smallpox, measles, mumps and rubella? With certainty. Should legislators be mandating the Gardasil vaccine which is the only FDA-approved HPV vaccine for all women while at the same time taking money from Merck? Merck, the makers of Gardasil, who stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars off of this legislature and who is actively campaigning to legislate that their drug (a $360, 3-shot regimen) be given to all girls by age 11 or 12. To say that I find their motives impure is probably an understatement.

That said, I find the arguments against the drug to be hallow and, quite frankly, idiotic. To those who dislike vaccines in general... that's great for you and all, but I think that you'd be hard-pressed to find a real doctor who feels that the country is worse off for vaccines against many of the major medical demons of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Not to mention that HPV causes cancer... and cancer is bad. Granted, HPV is an STD... but some parents act as if a vaccine against HPV is a blank check to go have sex with everyone in sight. As if there weren't still Herpes, Syphilis, AIDS, Chlamydia, Hepatitis, Gonorrhea, and more to contend with. As if the only way to get HPV was through unprotected sex and as if people who may screw up once down the road don't deserve to be protected.

Look... I'm not saying I have a corner on the answers... but I think that having a problem with the ethics of legislators in requiring Gardasil is a whole lot more sensible than any of the other objections that I've heard. I'd be more than happy to hear from opponents of Gardasil for other reasons though, or from people who actually know more about biology or about Rick Perry than I do.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:06 PM | TrackBack

October 11, 2006

Cynic at War

I haven't declared war on an idiot in a long time. It hasn't been strictly necessary... until today. You see, in Texas there is a Senatorial seat up in November. The incumbent, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) has served two terms, and while I'm not a huge fan (she voted against Net Neutrality and for funding Ted Stevens' infamous Bridge to Nowhere), I am developing a loathing for her chief opponent Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D).

I was reading through the issues comparison page on Radnofsky's campaign site (which, incidentally, is in this annoying pdf form) when I stumbled on this gem. (Note: formatting is mine.)

Constitution and Bill of Rights

Radnofsky: Supports U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Hutchison: Segregation and a Full Plate: Too busy to sponsor an anti-lynching resolution

[Radnofsky Will] Renew the Voting Rights Act

Opponent sought to exclude hurricane survivors from schools and segregate them, suspending the McKinney-Vento Act which prohibits segregation of homeless children.

Radnofsky opposes lynching and would co-sponsor the anti-lynching resolution without hesitation.

When asked why opponent had not yet joined 83 of her colleagues in cosponsoring the U.S. Senate's resolution against lynching, Sen. Hutchison’s spokesman strangely replied, “For her, lynching is something that is very present. This is something she knows very personally.” Then he added, “But as a member of the Senate leadership, you just can't co-sponsor everything."

Apparently, though, you can, as opponent managed to co-sponsor at least 186 resolutions since 1999, including recognition of the anniversary of the founding of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, congratulations to Lance Armstrong in 2003, and calling for a 4-H postage stamp. Responding only to public outcry, she later grudgingly co-sponsored the anti-lynching resolution.

[Radnofsky Will] Oppose the KKK’s message of domestic hate and terrorism.

Opponent refused to denounce the Ku Klux Klan.

In case you hadn't noted... every point gets worse than the point before, but the last takes the cake. The best part about the last point is the supporting text that whichever political flunky compiled this included in the relevant footnote:

San Angelo Standard-Times, August 5, 2006. “Radnofsky denounced the clan and called on her senate opponent, incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison to do likewise. No one answered the phones in Hutchison’s Washington or Abilene offices to issue such a denunciation.”

Wait... a newspaper can't get ahold of someone with the authority to issue a denunciation and thus Kay Bailey Hutchison refuses to issue one? Now, I'm sure that a dozen other politicians have thousands of such bullshit lines on their position lists, but this one offends me. This is like my picking up a phone right now and calling Radnofsky's offices, failing to get an answer and then announcing "Barbara Ann Radnofsky refuses to renounce NAMBLA and Hitler... Kay Bailey Hutchison, on the other hand, is not a fan of either." So... without further adieu.

The Cynic Declares War on: Barbara Ann Radnofsky

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:01 PM | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Alright, most of you use AOL Instant Messenger, or aim to communicate, right? Good... and that means that most of those (maybe even all) know that one can put up away messages to indicate one's status as not present and to then expound and give details about one's whereabouts and when one is expected to return. Some, like myself, tend to be a bit lax in noting locale... but considering that I don't get to return to my abode at various points throughout the day, I think we can excuse myself along with the other working members of the SC. That said, my away message does typically convey when I am abed or at work... as do most of ours. Alright, so Ardith's always says 'asleep', Anna's laptop just logs her off when she goes to bed, and I'm not sure that Leatherwood even has AIM... but the point stands!

On the other hand, away messages on campus are getting unruly to the point of approaching utter uselessness. For the first part, could someone make Jared and Randy actually log on? That would be awesome... as I don't even have a way to leave them messages if they don't ever bother to log on or even to make contact with my appointed message-bearers. Beyond those two delinquents... would someone please tell Barbour that if you're going to post a whole poem/song/paragraph/chapter in your away message, it would be really nice to know where the crap you are. And Sharpton, the whole song, complete with repetition and chorus notations, isn't really necessary... just excerpt a couple of lines... or maybe even a paragraph. Come on people, get ahold of yourselves... I want to know vaguely where you are, maybe even specifically. I like the poignant stuff in the away messages... but 25 lines is probably too long.

Oh... note to Uncle Doug, the Old Testament is feeling left out.

If anyone is wondering who the people to model after are, I would go with Martinez if you feel like being witty and posting long-ish stuff in your away message, Wilson if you're feeling a little witty but very terse, and Ma Hoyt if you want up-to-the-minute updates with only a slightly canned feel to them.

That's all for now. Keep those away messages in line or you will be hearing from me. Don't make me come down there with a club, Wheeler.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:21 AM | TrackBack

July 15, 2005


This news story is not something I would suggest reading to the faint of heart or people with a weak stomach. It outlines a rather grotesque element of American society: mentally unstable people. In this case, a mentally unstable homophobe who ended up killing his own three-year-old son in an attempt to protect him from "becoming gay."

Normally, I'm a pretty firm opponent of government agencies like the Child Protection Services. That said, every time I see one of these incidents, I can see why other countries name all children wards of the state and allow parents to continue raising their children on a provisional basis. I mean, the government really shouldn't have to do this, but on the other hand, there are a lot of little children like Ronnie Parris III who would be alive and well today if it weren't for the pathetic ink-stains in the historical record like 21-year-old Ronnie Parris Jr. If the government isn't going to save them who is?

As a libertarian, I object to government interference in my personal life. I don't like the idea that I should have to pass some sort of government test to be allowed to father a child if I should want to (not that I do, but just if I wanted to), nor should I be forced to submit to scrutiny of some outside organization, government or otherwise, to tell me how to run my life. That said, these children have rights too, and the right to not be smacked around by some worthless waste of oxygen, cigarettes and welfare stamps ranks pretty high on my list.

So I guess my question is, where does one balance the rights of those who cannot protect those rights with the libertarian ideals of the private, unharassed life?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:45 PM | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

College Guys

Maybe it's a sign that I'm finally starting to get a tad too old for this place that I'm finally becoming exhausted with the petty neanderthal activity that passes for amusement amongst many college guys. I'm not going to begin to claim that I'm immune to such activity, nor especially that I haven't participated in it in the past, but the inconsiderate immaturity around here is really starting to get on my last nerve.

The particular object of my ire today is the segment of campus known as 2A, not because they are the only perpetrators, but because they are reliably the worst. Today was the annual Senior Awards chapel. I must say that at least this year they managed to have the decency not to have floor members walk up to the stage in a motorcycle helmet to receive awards, so at least there is some improvement from last year. That said, whenever a member of the floor (or their sister floor) had his or her name read, the entirety of the floor would shout loudly and prolongedly and then begin to make catcalls for the next 30 to 40 seconds. The overall effect was like unto a crowd at a football game after their team scores. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be congratulatory when their friends are recognized, but there is definitely a line between congratulatory and racous. In my mind, that line is crossed far too often at LeTourneau by the guys I go to school with. Maybe this is a problem the world over, but I can't say as that it pleases me to have to tolerate such immaturity.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:43 PM | TrackBack

February 04, 2005

Bad Names

You want to see the signs that there are evil people in the world today? Look no further than here. All I can say is there are all sorts of words that wouldn't even begin to describe the mount of animousity I feel towards that woman....

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:03 PM | TrackBack

February 02, 2005


Today marks the official beginning of the Jihad against Inanity in Digital Communication. The chief object of my ire is the idiom "lol" which I have taken to be an indicator of a flighty, pre-pubescant mindset.

Geoff Barbour is public enemy #1. He has been kind enough to confess to me (under methods consistent with the Geneva Convention, I assure you) that Paige, Sharpton (AKA "The Reverend Al", "Sharptor", "Adam West", "Adam West-erano" "Sharptiano" and "Conan") and Melby (AKA "Stud") are also enemies of the intelligent electronic expression of thought.

If you happen to communicate with these or any other parties and they use retarded AOL-speak or just pre-teen babble, be kind enough to grouch at them for the sake of our language.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:15 PM | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Illegal Immigration

This afternoon, I was reading this article about problems with the Social Security Administration not following up on evidence of identity theft on Social Security numbers and on potential illegal situations regarding the use of spurious numbers. As I was reading, this quote really, REALLY bothered me:

MSNBC.com research and government reports suggest hundreds of thousands of American citizens are in the same spot -- unknowingly lending their identity to illegal immigrants so they can work... It's a thorny problem that cuts to the heart of America's undocumented worker issue. Immigration opponents say it's another reason to shut the borders tight; immigrant rights groups point out that identity theft is an inevitable outcome of unfair labor laws that push foreign visitors deeper into the shadows. Either way, immigrant imposters with the least nefarious of intentions -- simply a desire to work -- often unknowingly victimize the rightful Social Security number holders.

Does this sound crazy to anyone else? Since when did illegal aliens become "foreign visitors" and victims of "unfair labor laws" who are "unknowingly victimizing" citizens by defrauding the government? And while we're at it, who gave illegal aliens rights to begin with?

All of this leads into the Cynic's plan to stop illegal immigration. First, let's define the problem: We have hundreds of thousands if not millions of illegal immigrants dwelling in the United States today, fleeing the poverty of Mexico to work in the U.S... illegally. The current penalty for crossing the border illegally is a one-night stay in a federal prison and deportation... or "go back and try again." Oh yeah, and attempting to help in an illegal immigration is a misdemeanor offense. This all amounts to an essentially unregulated, unprotected border with an unstable country known for its tendancy towards despotic anarchy. Can anyone say "national security issue?"

My solution is threefold:

  1. Assistance in illegal immigration needs to be a felony, punishable by stiff fines and jail time. If you are here on some sort of legal naturalization program, this should be grounds to revoke your papers and send you packing to your country of origin.

  2. Prison work programs, similar to those used for POW's and the like. The leaky border with Mexico is a national security problem, so those crossing the border are potential terrorists and must be contained. Thus, we get two years of work out of them and in exchange they get a bed and 3 square meals a day. At the end of two years, they are deported to Mexico after being carefully identified and entered into the computer system. Second offense is 5 years encarceration. Third offense is 20 years. After that, it's prison for life.

  3. Every Mexican citizen caught attempting to illegally cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. represents a problem with Mexican border control as much as American border control. Thus, repeated failures of Mexican border control should result in some sort of repurcussions. Set a maximum number of failures per year, something like 5,000, and after that, Mexico loses $10,000US in foreign aid per verified illegal entry. This ought to give the Mexican government incentive to control the border. Oh, and give them a $100,000US incentive for every one under 5,000 they are, so that they can have more aid to improve their country and border guard.

I know it sounds uncaring and unsympathetic, but I really believe that if we are going to have laws about immigration, we need to stick to them. Illegal immigrants should be given 3-6 months warning to get out of the country when these laws take effect, and after that, it's open season on them. Heck, even offer a bounty for undocumented illegal foreign nationals.

With laws like these in place and a lid on illegal immigration, legal immigration can be boosted and deserving foreign nationals can get into the U.S. And then maybe we can fix our warped policy on Cuba.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:40 PM | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Judicial Reform

Stupid people should not be allowed to participate in the legal system... especially not in civil suits. It's because of people like this that the legal system is glutted with frivolous lawsuits and other nonsensical crap. Thusly, I propose a new facet to the American Judiciary, as originally advanced by my friend Mark: Discretionary Compensational Maiming.
In essence, Discretionary Compensational Maiming would allow the judge to decide that they lawsuit in question was too foolish to be allowed anywhere near a court. In addition to being thrown out, all involved plaintiffs (lawyers included) will be subjected to corporal punishment as directed by the bailiff. In short, if you sue McDonald's for making you fat, the bailiff gets to beat you down.
This applies to class-action lawsuits as well. If a bunch of environmental wackos (PETA) try to sue a fur coat manufacturer for violating the rights of the animals in question, PETA gets a bunch of broken arms... and while we're at it, why don't we make the punishment apply doubly for the lawyers?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:55 PM | TrackBack

October 20, 2004

The Principal Sin

Since many of you are Intoverts and fail to understand the intricacies, I am going to explain to you what I term to be "The Principal Sin."

The philosophy goes something like this: to the mind of an extrovert, there are few things in the world more energizing than spending time with a group of people. There doesn't necessarily have to be something interesting going on, merely the act of spending time with people that I like is enough to energize and envigorate me. Granted, I will always take a choice to add more interesting people to the group and the option of doing something fascinating with that group... but failing that, I'm just a big fan of chatting with a group of my friends... who I already consider a very entertaining group of people.

By the same token, I tend to find time alone by myself to be very draining. It does tend to be very productive in terms of self-growth and all of that nonsense, but at the same time it is very stressful for me to be engaged in that sort of activity. I would much rather be with some friends... and after a time I become downright miserable if I am forced to spend long periods of time alone by myself.

Granted, there are rare exceptions when I really feel overwhelmed by people and need to get away, but those exceptions are so few and far between that I tend to simply wedge them in my spare time which, though limited, suffices almost all of the time to leave me with a sense of longing to be back with my friends again.

In light of all of this, the Principal Sin that I can commit against my friends is leaving them out. Granted, sometimes we will engage in an activity that some will not want to be involved in, but I pride myself in going to great efforts to attempt ensure that everyone can get in who wants in. By that same token, I expect similar efforts to be undertaken by my friends on my behalf. After all, if I'm willing to undergo the wrath of the entire group to wait for you to show up so you don't get left behind, I would appreciate at least a phone call to tell me when something interesting is happening. After all, I may have been sitting around with nothing to do, and the only reason I had a miserable evening is because you, my friend, didn't see fit to come get me.

Yes, I understand this post is kind of ranting and weaving around... I guess that's because this subject is one of those things that I just take for granted until I realize time and again that some of my friends don't share the same understanding of the topic.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:40 PM | TrackBack

July 05, 2004

Your Town Sucks

So on our long trek back from Lake City, we had an idea as we hit the DFW area. Actually, it started when we got turned around on one of those damned Ft. Worth roads and Eric stated in frustration, "I need to send the mayor of Fort Worth a post card that says 'I hate your town.'"

This started the wheels of my mind turning and I have come to this conclusion: we should pick 25 or 50 towns that we think suck and figure out who we should send post-cards to that say something like "Your town is the most worthless place in the world." We also need to put a return address on them so that we can get a response, and then we wait and see what happens. I'm more than willing to go in with others, if we can get some more participants. But right now, I need towns.

Here's what we have so far: (note: not all of these were suggested by me)

Longview, TX
Newark, NJ
Arroyo Seco, NM
Fort Worth, TX
Mount Enterprise, TX
Marshall, TX
Jonesville, NY
Hamilton, OH
Miamisburg, OH
Oxnard, CA
El Paso, TX
Mobile, AL
Baton Rouge, LA
Wheeling, WV

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:16 AM | TrackBack

May 10, 2004

The Official Days of Hatred

For the record:

The 7th day of every month is "I hate Texas" day.
The 9th day of every month is "I hate Longview" day.
The 10th day of every month is "Texans Can't Drive" day.

Please take note. I will be doing something special to commemorate each of these days as they come up as well as explaining why they are celebrated.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:49 PM | TrackBack

April 22, 2004

Have a Miserable Earth Day

I used to be ambivalent about Earth Day. I just can't say that I cared much one way or another... mostly due to the fact that while I respect the Earth and don't want it to become a rotted-out apple core upon which we live, I am a fairly firm believer in the ability of natural processes to rebound from just about anything mankind can do. That said, until the advent of a series of liberals and obnoxious Science teachers, I was just of the opinion that Earth Day was an occasion for variety in the announcements over the PA in school.

...And then I ran afoul of some morons who believed that the Earth was a purpose and an end in and unto itself. "Save the earth! Blow up buildings and save the earth! Sacrifice yourself to stop deforestation!" These were the cries of the idiots who felt the paramount cause was that of conservation. Humanity was inferior for its inability to live within their paradigm of naturalism. And then I decided that I would deal with the problem of Mother Earth at some later date... and spite these morons while I still could.

Thus, I pronounce it a Miserable Earth Day. It is today that I litter, light fire to things, and destroy the habitats of Eco-terrorists and rabid animals alike!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:38 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

On the Business of Chapel...

Call me crazy, but I really didn't enjoy chapel today. It all started with praise and worship. Granted, I'm fairly obnoxious regarding my likes and dislikes of praise and worship... that said, I'd like to be able to understand what's going on. If we're singing in Spanish, I really don't have much of a clue. We could be singing in Swahili or even "Made-Up Space Language" for all I care. Yes, I know we're being "diverse" and "multi-cultural," but the simple fact of the matter is that if I don't understand what I'm singing, there isn't much point. The traditional argument is that there is a significant population of Spanish-speakers at LeTourneau... and that's fine with me. I would just like to point out that there is a significantly larger population of people who don't understand Spanish, and the fact of the matter is that it's required that one speak English to end up at LU in the first place. So yeah... I'm having serious issues with praise and worship that might as well have been in "Made-Up Space Language."

That rousing praise and worship chapel just really put me in a wonderful mood for the message. That said, the message didn't start out half bad... essentially Corey correlated Simon of Cyrene's carrying of Christ's cross with a Christian's carrying of each other's burdens. And then it got weird... because "carrying burdens" all of a sudden meant rebuking others in love when they needed it... and by others, it means just about anyone you feel like rebuking whom you suspect might be a Christian. I've heard that sentiment several times before, and usually it ends up with overzealous Christian teens going around and making general asses out of themselves. And what's worse, Corey encouraged this sort of nonsense by telling people not to worry about feeling silly or stupid in confronting their friends and acquiantances.

Look, I'm not saying that this sort of thing doesn't have a place, and indeed there is quite the biblical precedent for confronting a sinner in love... but that said, I would like to look at the example of Christ and the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42. I really don't want to do an in-depth exegesis, I just want to point out that before Jesus confronted the Samaritan woman's extensive sin problem, he established a rapport and earned a right to say something. I would like to take this as an example rather than people who walk up and start condemning people.

Oh yeah... and I really wish people would lay proper logical framework for chapel messages. I know they typically have something valid to say, but I really dislike the fact that an unacceptably large number of chapel speakers don't have the logic of a hill of beans. If I'm made to listen to these people, at least they could do me the favor of spending some time on their talks.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:37 PM | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Warped News

Links I only wish were April Fools Jokes:

Kid charged for child pornography for own pictures.
Iraqis dragging corpses through streets.
Bike Ride through Chernobyl
Christ-inspired murder.

Yep... the world is still screwed up. Suck.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:28 AM | TrackBack

February 26, 2004


So yesterday, we got to hear from Eric Buehrer, a guest speaker who is apparently the president of Gateways to Better Education. His organization exists to further the teaching of Judeo-Christian beliefs and values in the public arena, especially public schools. Incidentally, before I get into a criticism of his talk, I will note two things:
1) Dr. Jimmy Ames (the education prof who introduced Mr. Buehrer) put the entire audience to sleep in the 30 second introduction and thus things got off to a rough start with a cold crowd.
2) Apparently Eric Buehrer is on a first name basis with Mel Gibson, with whom he watched The Passion about a month ago. We gather this from "I saw [The Passion] about a month ago. Me and Mel... Mel was there. Me and about 500 other pastors."

His reasons why Christianity could and should be taught broke down into four arguments, namely: Christiantity is culturally appropriate, academically legitimate, legally permitted, and morally imperative. While I would agree with all of these points and agree that Christianity can and should be taught in the public schools, his support was absolutely abysmal.

Before I can even get to his main arguments, we have the problem of dealing with his absolutely awful prelimilary remarks and straw men. At the beginning, he spoke of a stupid argument about the words "Under God" being in the Pledge of Allegiance and noted that they weren't in the original and discredited arguments for returning to the original by saying "it took 50 years to get it right." After this, he moved to an example where a teacher re-wrote a class production of The Sound of Music without mention of nuns and a abbey in order to take religion out of it and how a parent successfully fought her on that. Another example is a child being forced to wash a cross off of her hand that she had drawn on it so that she wouldn't upset other students. Can we say "straw men?"

Here are his arguments, in chronological order, organized under the categories in which Buehrer placed them:

Christianity is Culturally Relevant
First, we have our suspect statistics:
"85% of Americans claim Christianity?"
"40-44% of Americans attend church in a given week"
"61% of African-Americans describe themselves as attending church weekly"
"39% of Americans referred to themeselves as 'committed born-again Christians'"
And then we have a reference to a Newsweek article:
(date 7/16/2001) - Newsweek "Christian music is now the hottest genre in the entire music industry"
The article also mentioned Left Behind, Veggie Tales as selling well and having cultural significance. And from that, he drew this conclusion and moved on:
"It is reasonable that American schools teach American students about american culture and Christianity is deeply-rooted in American culture."

Christianity is Academically Legitimate
Here we started out with another straw man of a teacher agreeing to allow a student to do a report and presentation on Psalm 23 but refusing to allow the student to read Psalm 23 in his presentation.
He branched from this to the legality, noting that the Department of Education has given students the right to incorporate their faith into their schoolwork.
After this, his only justification for reading the Bible alound (aside from when you've been allowed to do a report on a particular Biblical passage) is because it's a thing of "literary beauty."
From here he jumped to the Texas State curriculum and noted that religious awareness education is present in many different places in the curriculum and that it shouldn't be irrelevant in Texas schools in light of its educational standards (that's all well and good in a conservative state like TX, try NY for a different perspective.)
And finally, Buehrer noted that it is proper and allowable to present religious holidays in light of their historical and ongoing religious significance, such as with Easter and Christmas. Granted, this only works sometimes in more conservative settings, but it's something.

Christianity is Legally Permitted
Buehrer first noted that the 1963 case Abbington vs. Shemp invalidated the requirement of religious ceremony and reading in school. However, the courts explicitly stated that a study of the Bible was a academically legitimate one in the light of a study of comparative religions and in light of its historical impact. He then pointed out that even the ACLU noted that objective teaching of religious impact in schools. And that was essentially that

Christianity is Morally Imperative
Buehrer asserted that modern children are morally aimless due to a lack of religious roots. He then made the more or less syllogistic assertion that if people follow Christianity and stick to the morals it teaches, they will be moral.

If you look up and read the main talking points, you may wonder why this bothered me so much. And I can't even really give the man justice by typing the talk out. The fact is that I happen to have been in public school for 13 long years and nobody agrees that the place needs Christianity more than I. That said, there wasn't one of his arguments that I either couldn't find fault with or couldn't point out the obvious straw-man that he was using to build his case. It's people like this who bother me to no end because I look up at them and I see them destroying something that I find valuable by their ineptitude and inability to find real talent to do the job that they are botching. Thanks for another quality chapel!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:24 PM | TrackBack

January 18, 2004

Buying a Car

This article on Edmunds.com. If you are ever in the market for a car, this is a really good read. Actually, this is a really good read for anyone who expects to be interacting with salespeople in the future.

Throughout high school and college, I've had a lot of friends with sales jobs and even had one or two myself. Let me tell you from experience, any salesman who claims to have your best interest at heart is probably lying to you. Almost without exception, salesmen will lie, cheat and swindle you to get their commission and sales numbers up. In case you weren't cynical of salesmen before... the above article ought to help reinforce that notion.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:34 PM | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

Abuse of Power

As much as I generally approve of having Bush in office, as opposed to the alternatives, I really don't like his power-grabbing nonsense. This is just ridiculous. Does Bush mean to tell us that he can all of a sudden use war-time powers to relieve American citizens of their rights at any point in time? Does this scare anyone else?

When you boil it down, the checks and balances present in the US Constitution are to prevent a single individual (especially the Chief Executive) from abusing the system to the detriment of individual citizens and the country as a whole. How can depriving a citizen of rights without a trial be construed as a good thing. I want my Constitutionally-guaranteed rights and I want them NOW!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:24 AM | TrackBack

January 07, 2004


So I called American up and told them about my situation. And I told them that I wasn't getting up at the crack of dawn this morning just so that I could fly to Longview and get my stuff. And they told me that was fine, but I would have to pick it up at the airport in Longview.

Why can't we just get the airlines to man up when they make a mistake and have them fix it? Look, I understand that the airline industry is in the middle of a financial crisis and that they are liable to take a lot of heat for stuff that is completely outside of their control. That said, there are some things that are the fault of airlines:

For instance, there is no reason that there should be overbooking of flights. This is a multi-million dollar industry, yet you are using antiquated and outdated computer systems, rather than modern databases and softwaree. With the amount of information at your fingertips, you should be able to determine exactly what passenger is where, what flight they're on, and what flights they can and can't make. There is no reason that I should have sat on a tarmac for 10 minutes last night while these imbeciles tried to find an open gate... they should know where their planes are and where their terminals are.

And on the topic of customer service: if my flight is late, and it's your fault, you should be willing to help me out on this. Granted, nobody can account for mother nature 100%, but maintenance issues and delays due to gate-scheduling snafus are definately the fault of the airline. And leaving a person stranded in an airport overnight is not an acceptable solution, you idiots.

Now while we're at the issue of customer service, I shouldn't be able to determine that there will be a delay before you tell me. At least have the courtesy of keeping your passengers informed. Yes, they'll be a bit pissed... but at least they can get about the process of making plans a bit earlier.

Oh yeah... and about boarding planes. Let's make this really easy. Start with the very back row and work forward... not the other way around. That way, the whole line doesn't get held up by the stupid lady in the 5th row who brought a carry-on that has no prayer of following the laws of physics and being crammed in that overhead bin. And pre-board the families and the people in wheelchairs more than 2 minutes before everyone else. Yes, I know it's inconvenient... but they're slow, and they make everything else slower. Not that I resent them for that, I was once the one of those stupid little kids that kept getting in the way... but you need to make accomodations for that. Oh yeah, and the flight attendants need to start carrying muzzles and tranquilizer darts...

Don't even get me started on the people employed by the flight industry and the TSA people... this is enough of a rant for one day.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:42 AM | TrackBack

December 29, 2003

Commenting is down... again. Between

Commenting is down... again. Between Blogger and Enetation, it's a miracle that I manage to get this thing to work at all. I guess it goes without saying that I need to get real hosting and MT.

Yet again I am reminded of just what a bizarre and eclectic fellow I really am.
Thoughts for today:

You know, the restaurant industry in general is very poorly run and since my mind is on coffee shops of late, we will focus there. You need to understand your target demographic. If you are looking for teens and yuppies who want to feel a bit snobby, the best way to do this is NOT to monopolize half of your store with gaudy-looking crap for sale with your logo on it. The key here is a layed-back atmoshpere: mellow and subdued are the key. Kill the lighting, figure out a way to get rid of that menu monstrousity on the wall behind you, and get rid of the metallic art-deco furniture in favor of padded chairs and wooden tables. Also try to find some classy people to work at your store. If you're going to charge $5 for coffee, make it look like the place is worth it. Another thing, get some wireless internet and some subtle power outlets by the tables for laptops. Maybe even a terminal or two in an out-of-the-way spot. Don't charge for the internet (maybe charge for use of the computer) and watch the nerds flock. And they'll be much more likely to buy more coffee if you keep them sticking around.

Why is it so hard to find the places that need workers? I was out helping my little brother find a job today and we drove by all manner of stores and restaurants, grabbing applications. And literally 95% of the places that were hiring had no indicator of it. There has to be a better way for this. It's not like the companies don't want employees and it's not like the people who are in need of work don't want to get a job... but there is really no better way of a teenager finding a job then walking into a place cold and asking for an application. What gives with that?

Now that I'm home and away from the people I want to be around and the mental engagement of school, I finally get my head to clear and start thinking straight again. I mean, I haven't had this much spare mental energy since about week 2 of the semester. Why is it that we never have the time or resources to get things done when we're all at school together and it's only all by ourselves that we start getting really creative? And why is it that I forget all of the truly interesting thoughts somewhere between the car and the computer? I need to get something to record my brain waves, because I even have thoughts slip my mind in the several seconds it takes to fish the notepad and pen out of my pocket. Sad, isn't it?

I am very bad at trying to resist reading the books that I buy. Granted, I also borrow a lot of books from my friends to keep me in the money, but since I've been home I've read: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, Dragons of Spring Dawning, The Case for Israel, The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, Slander, Treason, Bias, Why I am not a Muslim, Unveiling Islam. I'm currently working my way through the Space Trilogy and then I'll
probably read some other stuff. Bear in mind that I've read a lot of these
before, but one makes due with what one must.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:11 AM

November 30, 2003

The Politics of Iraq

Most days I like politics... the process, the deal-making, the smoke-filled rooms... it just appeals to a certain part of me that revels in intricacy. Wilson and I have a great deal of fun talking about it... frequently dragging the Guatemalan into discussions and just enjoying the great political theories that we come up with. Of late however, I have not been enjoying politics, and most of that is due to the fact that I can't find anyone whose foreign policy I can support.

The ditto-heads and Republican Party faithful out there will tell me that I should stick with Bush because he's doing the right thing. My problem with that is the war on Iraq was NOT JUSTIFIED, at least... not like Bush justified it. If we ever find WMD's, I will be very surprised (thanks for the link, Wilson.) If we even find good evidence of them, it will be a good deal more than we have
now. The fact of the matter is that justifying this war on the basis that Iraq was an international threat is bullshit. North Korea is a threat, China is an international threat, Iran is an international threat.... hell, our allies like Israel are more of an international threat than Iraq was.

What it all boils down to is that while there might be good reasons to justify the invasion of Iraq, they weren't the reasons employed for invading Iraq. What's worse is the outcome of these arguments. "Potential support of terrorism?" Great, so now we're fighting pre-emptive wars? "Human rights?" This one is even better because if we're all of a sudden fighting wars to free the denizens of countries from Human Rights opression, we're going to be doing a lot of fighting, including against allies such as Saudi Arabia and China.

My general concern is this: either the Bush administration actually believed that
there were WMD's in Iraq or they didn't. If they did, and they were there, then we have a good bit of digging to do and all of our intelligence right now is wrong. If the WMD's weren't there, then our pre-war intel. has a lot of explaining to do. If our pre-war intel. said that there weren't WMD's and we went in anyways, then we have some sort of unterior motivation that isn't being addressed and the president is lying to the world and the American people. Any of these ways, I'm at least slightly annoyed and assuming that there aren't still undiscovered WMD's out there, I'm downright irritated.

But in the end, what am I going to do? Vote for Dean? I'd rather move to France.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:20 AM

November 29, 2003


I've been fiddling with some homework as well as a D&D campaign that I'm working up for next semester and I've been mulling over the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing, especially in the light of those conservatives who claim it is strictly demonic. After all, my parents (especially my father) are given to the notion that the whole thing is bad. Granted, they're only working on what they've been told be hyperconservatives (bear in mind, when D&D was in the news bigtime, some mentally unstable people committed suicide over it and at the time my parents were at a church with some very conservative Bob Jones alums) and my father really isn't into the fantastical anyways, but it's still frustrating that I more or less lie to my parents rather than hash this out with them.

Going over things in my head, my points essentially boil down to this:
1) D&D is just like reading fantasy, it isn't real... just imagination.
2) Consequently, the only real moral value it has is what you make of it.
3) D&D is NOT a guide to witchcraft and sorcery (check this out for a humorous commentary on the matter; thanks Gallagher)
4) While D&D might be used to draw people into the occult, so could things like the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings...

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that D&D is not intrinsically evil, it has just been used to evil ends. The same could be said for any number of things, including well-meaning Christians. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there are probably more drawn away from God by overzealous Christians who venture out of God's plan than by any D&D book.

That said, I recognize that people tend to be uncomfortable with the notion and that D&D is one of the fringe elements of nerd-dom that gets the furthest away from the norm. Therefore, as a policy, I try not to invite anyone to come and play with us who hasn't asked. We don't make it a secret that we play as a rule (there are exceptions) but we also try not to beat people over the head and drag them in. If anyone wants to play, we welcome them.

So there... not sure why I went off on that topic... but to quote a favorite movie line:

"Well.... there it is"

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:39 AM

October 08, 2003

Have Some Patience?

I think I might have finally hit a bit of oil again...

It's one of those things that whenever you get hit with a really great idea, you're never in the right place at the right time to jot it down and remember it for posterity. Fortunately for me, mine (not necessarily great, but an idea nonetheless) happened to rebound again this evening, after blessing me on the way to Digital earlier today. The profound thought is namely this: why should administration be requesting patience and understanding when they so rarely bless us with the same? I know, I know... the golden rule and all of that. But I just figured I'd take the time to point out the hypocrisy in this.

The last Bud chapel (I think last Wednesday) he alluded to the fact that the "summer project" is just now coming to an end and is indeed, still not done. However, he admonished us that we should be glad that this is going on and noted that this delayed termination date is typical of many large projects and that things should be done shortly. Furthering this line of thought, we have the ever-present security dilemma and the cameras which Bud alluded to sometime last year (aside: we really should probably go through and find the actual date he made reference to those and quote him for posterity.) They're still not here, we have no closed-circuit tv and the budget for security seems to be much less than it should be. Cars are broken into regularly and this whole situation is something of an ongoing debacle. Yet Bud admonishes us that we live in an insecure area of the world and that we really are quite safe and ought to count our blessings and be wise. This is all well and good, and I think these are reasonable requests.

The problem comes out when administration turns around and refuses to make any concessions or hold anything back with regards to its own students. My favorite example, and I will hold this until I leave, is the legend of the 37 chapel credits. For those of you who have never benefitted from this story, here we go...

My old RA Aaron ran things on my floor, quite smoothly all freshman year. We even had the occasional room check, nobody did anything really dumb on his watch and largely things went quite well, especially as a guys' floor goes... well over par. Aaron had a fatal weakness, and that was that he never could seem to go to chapel and thusly ran deficient and had to do makeups. It was the same fall and spring semester... Aaron got behind, Aaron did makeups. But alas, during spring semester his memory slipped a cog and rather than do makeups to sum things up to 38, he only got to 37. And so in August, administration comes calling. It would seem that 37 chapel credits is 1 short and that due to this unfortunate circumstance, Aaron would no longer be allowed to be RA. No matter the fact that he had an impeccable service record, the love and respect of the floor, and had really gone to a lot of effort to make chapel credits up and had just fallen one short... this wasn't good enough for LeTourneau Standards.

I'm really at a loss on this one, because on one hand, I don't think I've held up the standard all of the time myself and I'm not one who deserves the right to judge. But on the other hand, you've got to see that something isn't right here and that this is more the rule than the exception: admin demands and does not reciprocate. If you were God, would you want these guys building a "temple" at LU in your name? I sure wouldn't.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:40 AM

September 14, 2003

Cynicism is Back!

It's funny... I don't post anything all week and then it all comes to a head as I sit in the lab and attempt to convince myself that I really ought to be doing something productive. Well, I have an ethical objection to homework, so I guess that leaves blogging. Not that that's really productive per se, but at least it leaves a mark somewhere that at some time on Sunday afternoon, the Cynic might have been thinking (or at the very least, his fingers jumped to productivity without the leave of his brain and this is what we have to show for it.)

I really miss cynicism on one hand and on the other hand I really don't. The rest of you don't even know what it means whether you like it or hate it, and that mildly annoys me and makes me really wish I could whole-heartedly advocate it like I should.

"So what is cynicism then?" the ingrates intone, as they attempt to salvage some dignity in the futile hopes that I really can't substanciate my assertions of being mentally superior inasmuch as I at least understand my terms. Sadly, Webster hops in a circle on this, but if you spend the necessary effort you can piece together a workable definition.

cynic (n) : 2 : a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest
cynical (adj) : 2 : having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic; especially : contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives
cynicism (n) : 2 : cynical character, attitude, or quality; also : an expression of such quality

You'll note that each is the secondary definition, due to the fact that cynicism derives from a philosophy of the same name started by the Greek philosopher Diogenes. The general gist of this being the primary tenet of cynicism is the contemptuous distrust of human nature and motives inasmuch suspecting that that all of these are tied up entirely in self-interest. I fully believe all of this... the problem is the contemptuous part and the attempts of some to extend this cynicism to God and a failure to account for the changing power of God in the lives of Christians. That isn't to say that Christians are above base motives, but neither does it excuse one from expecting Godly motives from one's Christian brothers rather than lording their former sinful nature and base motives over their heads. And of course, it's very difficult to be generally contemptuous when one is happily involved in a relationship, but that's neither here nor there. The long and short is that while some will accuse me of abandoning my philosophical basis, I will just say that mine is still cynicism, just slightly modified to include a Biblical worldview. The wide-ranging distrust of human motives, especially among non-Christians, is as strong as ever. Oh, and those who decry cynicism are back on the food chain.

Oh yeah... and welcome to my world

note: I'm sorry I killed your comment Morgan

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:19 AM

September 08, 2003

Justice Department

As I sit here and read up on the news of the world, this disturbs me more than a little. I've been a staunch opponent of the Patriot Act since it first came out for the simple reason that I don't believe that the American judicial system is capable of functioning properly in secrecy. Without the check and balance of public information of some sort, there is no prevention of corruption.

Do you trust the Justice Department to police themselves? I certainly don't... nor do I think that secret courts will be any better. Classification of criminal matters and stripping the rights of US Citizens without due process on the claim of "national security" seems to be a cop-out. Sure, there should probably be a special court designated with privileges to classify some evidence and prevent it from entering public record, but there should also be intense scrutiny of any time where the federal government attempts to conduct any business outside of the public eye, much less the most important business of potentially stripping someone of their liberty or even life.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:36 AM

August 31, 2003

Pine Crest Bible Church

I'm always amused when I get the chance to go to a new church and muse upon the differences between their way of doing things and the way that I'm used to (along with all of the different ways that I've already run into.) This week, we had the joy of going to Pine Crest Bible Church and boy was it a fun time...

We rolled in a couple of minutes after the service had actually started and thus missed introduction. After what came later, I'm fairly grateful for that stroke of fortune. The singing selection was interesting and conservative (read: hymns), but hey, to each his own. After this, the real fun began as the pastor proceeded to preach from Revelation 18. For the first 20 minutes, I was exposed to this message: "Babylon is materialistic and materialism is bad... materialism is bad... materialism is bad... Babylon is materialistic... materialists will mourn Babylon... materialism is bad."

A fairly sound message, not very well preached and certainly not very deep, but fairly sound nonetheless. Then things got interesting as he proceeded to tell us about the evil demons and evil demonic birds that infested Babylon and went to this passage:
He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all {other} seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
Mat 13:31-32 (NASB)

He then asserted that this passage was referring to the "Mystery Kingdom" which exists between Christ's first and second coming. Ever heard of the Mystery Kindgom? If so, enlighten me, because this was a new and special reference. He then further asserted that the birds were clearly demons living in the time of the Mystery Kindgom. Anybody out there willing to take a hack at this?

While this was easily the most aggregious of the bad exegetics on display today, there were other interesting observations from the sermon, such as "modern pop cultural music" being evil and some more yammering about the demonic birds. I will leave others to review other aspects, but will close in saying that the constant advertising for the evening service on giving was a bit unsettling, especially in the face of this sermon on materialism. That pretty much breaks my cardinal rule on discussing titheing in sermons and the whole guilt-tripping bit and even moreso with the heavy lines about materialism... and encourages me to take myself to a pew elsewhere as if everything else hadn't.

I guess I should have refrained from using the name of the church... but then again, I want you to be warned if you decide that you should go yourself. For a different perspective, Wilson already has a review and I'm suspecting that some of the others with whom I went will as well... sooner or later.

Incidentally, here's the church doctrinal statement (I dug it out of the webpage, the actual provided link is broken.) Would you expect such a train wreck from such an innocent statement?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:20 AM

August 18, 2003


I am thinking that while I still have the edge left in me, I might want to say something with regards the IMPACT system and whatnot: generally reviewing it and seeing what makes it as defunct as it seems to be. If you have an opinion, feel free to email me or (preferably) leave a comment.

And I'm also working on the list of "101 Questions/Actions to piss off an IMPACT Leader"

1) Aren't you Peer Advisors payed over $1000 a year to be our friends?
2) Don't you have something better to do than try to be my mother?
3) So is it that Chaplains and Themelios don't matter that they don't get payed?
4) Why is Senate IMPACT at all?
5) Why are Themelios second-rate PA's?
6) Why are Senators forced to be second-rate Themelios during orientation?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:30 AM

August 05, 2003


I've been cranking away all morning at moving things up to home. Now all I really need to do is move the computer, some odds and ends and some clothes and then I'll be all moved in. Funny how it's so much easier and more enjoyable to move in then move out. Maybe it's because I'm moving back to where I've really wanted to be for the past 3 months.

On a varied note, I'm kind of working on a disclaimer and this is what I've cooked up thus far:

"Warning! As you should have noted by the name of the blogger, this page purports, nay preaches the tenets and virtues of cynicism. Ignorance and idiocy are decried at every corner and if you are foolish enough to respond with your fallacious ass-babble, you might be flayed for all to see.

Oh yes, and I am prone to using "strong language" (terminology courtesy of Shem) and offending everyone whom I can get my hands on. This especially includes liberals, feminazis, queers, foreigners and pacifists althought that list is nowhere near all-inclusive. If you feel I've been neglecting your particular sect, let me know and I'll see if
I can work you into the rotation.

And if you happen to be a member of some governmental agency or an administrator at a University which I hold near and dear to my heart, I would like to state for the record that anything posted here which might indicate some conflict between myself and a statute and guideline which I am required to uphold is either a misinterpretation, an error or a result of fictional prose on my part. I would never disobey the law... ever."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:32 PM

August 03, 2003

O'Hare Sucks

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: O'hare International Airport

Well.... I'm back. I got in yesterday more or less on time, no thanks to American. My flight from Dayton left late enough that they bumped me off of the connecting flight from O'hare to Dallas, even though I made it to the gate with a minute or two left to spare. Bastards... leaving me in freaking O'hare like that. The worst part was that the delay was due to a new traffic regulation system that they have for flying into O'hare so that they won't have congestion. We sat for 20 minutes on the ground after a 10-minute delay, waiting for the air traffic control clowns to clear us.

This would be twice now that I have had problems flying through O'hare, although as my single-serving friend on the flight from O'hare to Dallas pointed out, any problem that merely results in a delayed arrival in the same day is just a minor problem. Any problem that just results in inconvenience of having to hurry though airports (which is what happened to me) is merely that, an inconvenience. The fun stuff is when you get delayed overnight or they lose your luggage or temporarily misplace it for a week or two.

Anyways, all that said, it is much better to be in Longview and not flying around the entire country. Although, I'm doing more of that flying around stuff later this week... but I really don't think it'll be so bad seeing as that I won't be going through O'hare.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Get Paid to use Bad Software

Days Until I'm Gone Again: 3
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 35 (and sadly, counting again)
Days Until Summer is Over: 20
Days Since it Last Rained : ??

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:42 AM

August 01, 2003

On Food Service...

On analyzing the long string of bad waiter/waitress performances that I've been the unhappy victim of during the past two weeks, I have these thoughts about being involved in the personalized customer service end of food services (otherwise known as being a waiter.)

1) Be good at details. Memorize details in your head, take notes, do whatever the hell you have to... but I am not impressed when I order a mountain dew and get a water. I am notably less impressed when I order a steak and get a burger.

2) Be there. If I am out of a drink, you're already not doing your job. Now granted, I'm an oddball and anyone who's ever gone out to eat with me will note that if I'm thirsty, it's not uncommon for me to knock out the first 3 or 4 drinks within the first 30 seconds I have them. I'm willing to cut slack on this sort of thing, but if I've got less than a half a glass after leaving this kind of
carnage behind me, someone should have the sense to get me another. I'm thirsty and I'm paying $2 for something that's costing the restaurant maybe $.10 ... get the hell on the ball, Junior.

3) Be happy. I know, I know, I'm the first person in the world to tell you that being happy all the time gnaws at me. But I'm depressive and pissed off enough for the entire world, I don't need the person who's supposed to be getting my food to help feed that. Plus, I (like most other people) tip better when they're happy... not when they're feeding off of your lack of happiness and enthusiasm.

4) Tell us what the hell is going on. If you don't have our food because that cook in the back is a jackass, we'll roll with that. Hell, we'll probably even forgive the offense and tip you better because you were straight with us and took the time to come by and mention what was up. Communication is a good thing.

5) Fast is good. The more of it you have, the happier we will be. If I order a drink and it's there before I can blink, we will be amazed and you will get a pat on the back. The reverse is also true though... if it takes you 30 minutes to get anything done, you will be hated.

The above are essential. If you don't do these, you will get the shaft. I am usually a generous tipper when my server is decent... 20% for even mediocre service. But when you start ignoring us and refill my drink 2 or 3 times in the hour that I'm there, or you drag things out to 2 hours due to slow service and ineptitude, I start getting vindictive. And when that happens, your tip starts to drop like a rock. I will leave a 25 cent tip to tell the waiter that, "No, I didn't forget your tip and yes I do tip, but you are such a worthless server that your service is worth about that much to me."

Now... advice for getting better tips.

6) Amuse me. If you have a sense of humor or have crazy talents, put them to play. I had a waitress once reduce our table to tears we were laughing so hard. She was there, she was on it, and she was hillarious. She got an absurd tip as I recall... something like $5 on a $10 tab. Look, we know you're whoring out for money... and we appreciate it.

7) Be on top of things. If we have some guy who keeps downing drinks, bring out 2 drinks for him and tell him that you're moving the tap to the table or something. Again, impress us that you know what's going on and you're looking out for us.

8) Give us stuff for free. I know some places you need to be around for a while or be in good to do this, but I guarantee you that if you don't charge us for the sodas, your tip will go up that much more... even if your service completely sucks.

Anyways, those are my pointers. Feel free to comment in your own.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:28 AM

July 28, 2003

Gay School?

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: The New York City School Board

I can't believe this. A school for all gays?!? Someone has gone off their rocker and into the deep end. So now if you're gay you get better treatment than the other children in the school district? I've been down in this part of the world, and the schools suck. So now they have a gay magnet school so they can have some good PR for successful gay students? This is ridiculous.

And just on a side note, it would appear that blogger's date/time system is all jacked up.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Beer for the Homeless

Days Until I'm Back at School: 4
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 26
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:46 PM

Stuff That's Been Bugging Me...

Of late I've been guilty of merely providing a running commentary on the occurences in my life, so I will take a brief break and provide a small commentary on what I've been pondering on of late.

Losing people in your life sucks. If that's just that you move away from them for a couple of months (summer break), for an indefinite period (graduation, withdrawl from school and the like) or for a decidedly longer period (death) it is still a rather tragic occurence especially in the case of a good friend. This is one of the biggest problems with a specialized microcosm like a university. Undoubtedly you will meet many people, some of whom will become your friends. Every year, a group of these people moves away to possibly never be seen again this side of eternity. Every summer, you are separated from many of your friends for several months. And it would seem that nearly every break we have someone die. Granted, there are at least as many meetings as partings in the course of an education, but it would seem that the partings are more memorable because they're more traumatic.

Of course, a place like LeTourneau exacerbates this problem even more than a normal institution. With Bud perennially running the tuition up 5%, people start to be unable to afford the place. Add to that the environment where grace is all but absent in administrative interactions with students and a difficult academic setting that probably admits more students than it should, and you have a recipe for attrition. Not to say I have any grandiose solutions for this problem... I'm just saying it sucks.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:16 PM

July 25, 2003

NFL "Diversity"

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: The NFL and their "Diversity"

Take a look at this and tell me that something isn't screwed up in the NFL. There is an unofficial decision made to interview at least one minority applicant for a coaching position (lip service)
and then a team is fined for failing to keep up appearances and pay their lip service to diversity. What kind of crap is that?

Look, I will freely admit that there would seem to be a disparity in minority coaches in the NFL. It's the good old boy network to the extreme and it's going to take time. But there is one solution that won't do anything: make all owners try and keep up appearances by interviewing people and then claim that this is an honest attempt at diversity. Either make an honest attempt or at least have the decency to man up and put some real subterfuge to work. Because this is utterly ridiculous...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Best Cuban Raft Ever

Days Until I'm Back at School: 7
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 29
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:14 AM

July 14, 2003


I would like to post in solidarity with Randy on the topic of NASCAR. For my part, I must admit with a smug grin that I am a yankee in good-standing and as such don't have family (that I will claim) that have an inclination to watch this retarded "sport." Granted, everyone can claim from a perspective that most sporting events are lacking in entertainment value, skill requirement, physical exertion and the like, but NASCAR really takes the cake.

Physical exertion? Even the roughest driving conditions imaginable aren't that physically exerting. There is definitely a mental level here, but if that's your only claim to fame, go drag chess into the ring. At least there is a good deal of skill required here, so I can give them credit... this doesn't make it a sport persay, but at least I can allow that they are competing. The biggest beef I have with NASCAR, besides the fact that it isn't any more of a sport by any definition that I can figure than mowing the lawn, is that it's SO BORING. Some of you would say the same about baseball, and you're entitled to your opinion... but come on, 300 laps on the same course with only the occasional wreck to liven things up? That's ridiculous.

Anyways, that's my take on NASCAR. Indy-car, stock-car and other-car are more or less the same. I'll tolerate drag-racing, because it's a quarter mile and around about the time I get bored, they're done.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:19 AM

July 11, 2003

Wench Management Course

To clarify, there are two separate things involving Wench Management that I am supporting:

1) Course-work at LU corresponding with a semester with Phys Plant Custodial
2) Wench Training Consulting

The former would be, of course, part of the normal LU course-work for wenches. The latter, on the other hand, is a specialized business in which I am involved in order to propogate the occurence of well-trained young ladies within society. You will note that your typical LU wench is not a lady and a good number of your run-of-the-mill wenches outside of the bubble aren't either. My training program can change all of that.

Rates are available on demand and take into account the current state and skillset of the wench in question. Talk to me for LU student discount and referral bonuses.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:47 AM

July 09, 2003

Wench Training Consulting

I have a new idea for LU to better prepare students for life.

Upon arrival at LU, all wenches must spend 10 hours a week for one semester working with the Physical Plant custodial crew. This will enable them to be better women.

Think about it... custodial crew teaches many of the valuable things that a wench needs to know how to do: cleaning windows, scrubbing floors, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, washing sinks, cleaning up after people... this job is the one of the best wench-training tools ever. If every LU wench worked there for at least one semester they could gain many of the skills necessary for doing woman's work. Granted, many will still need to learn cooking, gardening and the art of caring for her man, but that's what specialized Wench Training Consultants are here for... assuming that a man can't train his wench himself.

Incidentally, the Cynic is a specialized Wench Training Consultant with a great resume, exceptional skill, and affordable prices. Please don't hesitate to call...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:15 AM

July 03, 2003


It's the morning, I'm tired and all of that. Much as I would have liked to get that shot yesterday, it still looms big in my forecast today. Thinking back, I don't think I can remember but one or two shots that I didn't loathe entirely: some Hepatitus B shots that I had to get back in junior high. The rest of them have been miserable events to say the least.

I can still remember the first shot I had to get in conscious memory. I don't remember why it was such a traumatic ordeal (other than that they were poking me with a needle) to start with, but my father was teasing me about it for about a year prior to it and my brothers caught on. I seem to remember them making up some stupid little ditty with which to torment me in reference to this event. And they wonder why shots bug me. After they stuck me with the needle, they had to give me smelling salts to prevent me from fainting.

Next event on record (as best as I can figure) would be somewhere around age 10 or 12 I had to get a cholesterol test. This isn't as bad as a shot, it's worse. Especially when the pathetic nurse pricked my thumb with a lancet and was trying to milk a thimbleful of blood out of it. This process took at least a minute and it was sickening me quickly to watch her nurse my blood out of my arm. I started getting queasy and warned her that I was going to throw up. She didn't listen and kept milking and sure enough boom! all over the stupid nurse. She deserved it. On the other hand, come to think of it, it may be bad karma from this even that keeps getting me barfed on. Anyways... suffice to say it wasn't a pretty sight.

Now, I've never been overseas to the point that I needed extra vaccination, and I've never needed allergy shots. I think if either were true of me, I'd probably have gone crazy. Beyond these events, there was the Hepatitus B shot where the nurse left the needle sitting in my arm for an extra 5 seconds and I nearly killed her or the anesthesia IV that kept falling out as I was prepped for having my wisdom teeth removed... so suffice to say I've got a wonderful track record with needles. Sounds like lots of fun and games in store for today, let me tell you what...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:33 AM

July 01, 2003

Cops On Hand at 5AM

I was rudely awakened at 5 AM to the sound of banging on the door. The worst part is that while this was an annoyance to me, it was nothing compared to the wonderful news that the cop had for Sam and Dunny that their cars had been broken into.

For those in administration who keep telling us that fences discourage an open community, I have this challenge. Come park alongside us and do what you would encourage us to. Let's see just how long your attitude stays this way when your car is broken into, your friend's is stolen and your roommate's is vandalized. What does it say when nearly every laundry change machine on campus has been stolen at some point or another. It tells me that open community is for the birds. I want guard towers with armed guards. Give security a handgun and a shotgun and let's weed out the local ingrates. At the very least, electrify the fence... what's left of it anyways.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:33 AM

June 29, 2003

Idiot Termination Plan

Have you looked around you and seen nothing but ignorance and idiocy and been driven to anger? Do you worry that in the over-crowding of the earth, all of the intelligent people are being crowded out like a good flower in a patch of weeds? These are concerns of mine as well, and I have a solution:


It works something like this. At birth, every person will be fitted with a black box that traces where they go and records any sound around them. This data is aggregated along with information from all places of employment, schools, etcetera. At age 18, all of this data is analyzed to determine whether or not someone is an idiot... assuming that they don't do something previous to this to merit instant termination. If they are an idiot, someone worthy gets to kill them.

Right now I'm appointing myself to this task for at least the first 1000 idiots. I'm figuring that there will be two categories of idiots: harmless and painful. Harmless idiots get a bullet to the head. Painful idiots caused undue suffering to the intelligent people around them and thusly are handed over to a worthy individual who has volunteered for the job of killing them.

Support and suggestions are encouraged...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:56 AM

June 28, 2003

Happy People...

Before I spew nails, I would like to point out that Stu is a good friend of mine whom I would only hurt if he came down the hall after me naked and walking on his

That said, Stu has seen fit to incur my wrath by posting his insights which go something to the effect of "The Cynic is a happy person."

Actually, I'm not really mad at Stu, but it felt good to say that. Stu has just chosen to take the words that I use and apply a fundamentally different definition. In his mind, a happy person is merely a person who is fun to have around and generally tends to make you feel better by having them around. I think I'll take that as a compliment. That said, this is hardly my definition of a happy person. Also, to further denote the difference between my rather unconventional definition and the usual, I define my variety of moron as a "Happy People*."

Happy Person (Stu's Definition): A person who tends to make you happy.
Happy Person (average definition): A person of a generally positive demeanor, tending to be jovial
HAPPY PEOPLE*: Someone who chooses to be happy with regards to the world around them and maintains this false happiness by ignoring all negative aspects of said world.

So thanks for the compliment Stu. But call me a Happy People* and I'll stab you with a dull knife, rip your intestines out and manually castrate you with them.

*said, as always, with as much disdain as you can muster. You really ought to hear me do this, I occasionally impress myself with how much disdain I can muster.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:01 PM

June 17, 2003

I hate Hillary

I really hate Hillary Clinton. Thus, any wonderful news about her book sucking or general criticisms tend to make me giddy. Hence, the amusement when Rush and Ann Coulter both layed into the former first lady and liberals on a larger scale.

Mmm... nothing like reading about Hillary sucking on my computer that's now working as I contemplate revenge to end off a good break.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:59 AM

June 12, 2003


Have you ever hated someone's presence? You just wish with every bone in your body that they would stand up and go away but they won't. I have a couple of those. I really just wish they would leave and never come back. Some have, most haven't and more come in every year.

I hope I'm not like that to anyone and am just oblivious to the fact that my presence is painful. I know that I pride myself in making sure that people that I hate being around have a strong negative vibe. I would hope that I'm not that oblivious if someone were to want me to get the hell away.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:06 AM

June 07, 2003

Make Better Cars

As much as I love to hate yuppie organizations, I have to admit that the Sierra Club has a point with this advertisement. That said, I fully respect your right to drive a gas-guzzler if you feel like it. The point is just that someone realy ought to be trying harder to make more fuel-efficient SUV's along with cars. Screw the environmental issues, I'm concerned more about the economics and the dependence on the Middle East that a giant national oil need engenders.

Screwy link of the day: Bicepmania

Days Since Last Fire Alarm: 4
Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 31
Days Until Summer is Over: 76

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:38 AM

Got Photo ID?

Looks like that nutty convert to Islam from Florida has to take off her veil for the camera to get her driver's license back. Am I the only one out here who thinks the case for this was completely absurd? Think about the sheer number of people whom I could impersonate if the only thing we had on our photo ID's was a pair of eyes. Not to mention those of you who are of normal stature. What good is a photo id if the photo serves no purpose. Hell, why not sue them for the right to put your pet's photo on the ID while you're at it?

I can almost see a shred of validity in not wanting to get the picture taken on religious grounds, if you weren't already toting around a criminal record. If child welfare workers have deemed you unfit to raise children and have taken yours from you, that is a problem. Even bigger than this (though the ACLU adamantly denies this is a valid concern) is the fact that this ruling sets a precedent. Thankfully, it sets a good one rather than allowing one to essentially not have a picture on a valid picture id. Hey Wilson, wanna play identity swap?

Incidentally, here's a list of ID rules in several Muslim countries relating to driver's licenses:

Saudi Arabia: Women aren`t allowed to drive
Iran: Women wear a traditional chador, which does not cover the face.
Egypt: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
United Arab Emirates: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Oman: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Kuwait: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Qatar: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Bahrain: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Jordan: Women can drive if their faces are covered but do not cover their face in I.D. pictures

Short of the Saudi Arabian solution, I'm guessing we're not exactly breaking with any Muslim countries. Not that I wouldn't accept the Saudi solution, mind you...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:12 AM

June 05, 2003

Anti-Terror Legislation

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Attempts to Create a Police State

Alright, I love John Ashcroft as much or more than the next guy. That said, this disturbs me more than a little.

The Patriot Act's vacating of significant safeguards against the government's abuse of private citizens disturbed me enough. Now they want to allow indefinite imprisonment and the ability to pursue the death penalty for "acts of terrorism?" Does anyone else smell a New York City Sewer Rat the size of a school bus?

I share the mindset of most Americans in the desire not to be terrorized. However, I think that desire extends to my government. If Congress passes this garbage and the Supremes sit idly by, we could be in for some real trouble.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:40 AM

May 30, 2003

On Cynicism and Happy People...

Since it would appear that there are a number of ignorant Happy People* out there who are developing misinformed and foolish notions and spreading them, I guess it comes time to do a little work on defining semantics and clarifying things.

cynic: noun
a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest

cynical: adjective
having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic; especially: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives

Now that I've got the definition of those words cleared up...

I've heard the accusation that cynicism is counterproductive and destructive. From a Christian perspective I see no other alternative. Humanity is fallen, period, end of story. Anyone want to argue on that one?

So if we can pretty much assume that people are depraved and sinful, why should we trust their motives or believe that they act from altruism?

Now that we've got that out of the way, we have to address the issue of Happy People*. Simply put, Happy People* are those who have decided that their perspective has no correlation with circumstances. In short, their method of coping with life is, "so what if life sucks? It's not bothering me... let's all be happy." Happiness is not an outlook, lest you be fooled, it is an emotion. Some of you might be referencing joy, but that's a completely different thing, especially from a Christian mindset. Long story short, if you can be happy while people are suffering and being treated horribly, you've got some issues. Either that, or you chose to ignore the plight of yourself and those around you in an attempt to remain happy*, and then you are among the most despicable of individuals because you care for nothing but your own delusions. You are the reason for my cynicism.

*note: Happy People and Happy are to be pronounced with every bit of disdain possible.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:40 PM

On Cynicism and Happy People...

Since it would appear that there are a number of ignorant Happy People* out there who are developing misinformed and foolish notions and spreading them, I guess it comes time to do a little work on defining semantics and clarifying things.

cynic: noun
a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest

cynical: adjective
having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic; especially: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives

Now that I've got the definition of those words cleared up...

I've heard the accusation that cynicism is counterproductive and destructive. From a Christian perspective I see no other alternative. Humanity is fallen, period, end of story. Anyone want to argue on that one?

So if we can pretty much assume that people are depraved and sinful, why should we trust their motives or believe that they act from altruism?

Now that we've got that out of the way, we have to address the issue of Happy People*. Simply put, Happy People* are those who have decided that their perspective has no correlation with circumstances. In short, their method of coping with life is, "so what if life sucks? It's not bothering me... let's all be happy." Happiness is not an outlook, lest you be fooled, it is an emotion. Some of you might be referencing joy, but that's a completely different thing, especially from a Christian mindset. Long story short, if you can be happy while people are suffering and being treated horribly, you've got some issues. Either that, or you chose to ignore the plight of yourself and those around you in an attempt to remain happy*, and then you are among the most despicable of individuals because you care for nothing but your own delusions. You are the reason for my cynicism.

*note: Happy People and Happy are to be pronounced with every bit of disdain possible.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:40 PM

May 19, 2003

Holy Jihad Upon Gadzooks

The Cynic Declares Holy Jihad Upon Gadzooks

Editor's Note: Sadly, I never had the good sense to copy down the inflammatory pictures Gadzooks was using in their advertising campaign and now the pictures are no longer available.

Apparently Gadzooks has decided that the trick to good marketing is discrimination against men. It's a damned shame that if any men's wear store tried this they'd get blacklisted and sued by all of the goddamned feminists out there.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:17 AM

May 14, 2003

War Upon the NOW!

The Cynic Declares War Upon The National Organization for Women

I have found a group whose political and sociological idealogy cannot be resolved with mine. Not only will I destroy them, but I will exact Holy Vengeance upon them.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:59 PM

Feminists are Hypocrites!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Double Standards.

Apparently some people are getting fed up with the whole political correctness of male-bashing. This article on FoxNews was interesting. I can't say it really bugs me except that it's a double-standard. Why is it that it's ok to bash on white men and actually discriminate against us? Affirmative action, can you say discrimination that everyone says is ok?

Can you imagine what would happen to a political activist if he started telling jokes about stupid women? But yet, the NOW and other such groups manage to get away with male-bashing and funneling money away from anything male-related on a daily basis. How come nobody gives a shit if there are female-only schools and work-out clubs and political dinners but yet Augusta National is now being
boycotted and protested against by feminists. Foolish feminists and their double-standards. And shame on anyone for actually believing that it's okay to treat one group of people differently than the others and hold them to some other standard.

"But white men have been discriminating against everyone else for years," some will cry. Does this make discriminating against them right? Will it somehow fix anything?

Personally, I think in the end the system will rectify itself given the oppurtunity. Reinstate libertarian capitalism and forget socialistic policies like welfare and social security. Social Darwinianism will take its course and eventually things will come out right.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:53 PM

May 09, 2003

Leaving and Taking the Furniture With Me

In the vein of trying to impose some uniform standard on this counter, as of right now I am counting Monday, May 5 at 11 AM (CST) as the beginning of Day 1 of living in the John Thomas Hall and am counting Thursday, August 21 at 11 AM as the end of summer. At some point in the future I will be given a new move-out date from this hell-hole and at that point I will update accordingly.

I would also like to note for Randy among others that my frame of reference for residence halls is Tyler East. The rooms here are the same size and of more fragile construction than Tyler East. That means there's LOTS more space than a Trinity room or a Quad room with a bathroom somewhere between the two. The furniture moves and the layout lends itself to interesting configurations. That said, the walls ARE sheet-rock and feel like they're going to crack if I bellow "WEED" too loudly. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the ID cards are annoying as hell. But all in all, if I was a Trinity or a Quad person, I would seriously consider moving over here if I could find some way to get around the water pressure issue. As far as Tyler goes though, this shitty, cut-rate hotel building can go to hell. I want my dorm back. And as for the furniture, we're taking the damned couches with us at the end of the summer. 41 and the John 1 floors can come over and fight combined Tyler for them...

Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 4
Days Until Summer is Over: 105

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:47 AM

May 06, 2003

Res Life Policy Sucks

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Summer Res Life Policy

I live in the John Thomass Hall now, and it sucks. We're not allowed to hang anything on the walls at all even though we're going to be here for an effective entire semester. Oh yeah, and I have to scan the damned ID card to get anywhere. Did I mention that while there is no food service, we have 1 oven to go around for everyone? And there's that bit about the showers sucking, or to put it in the words of an RD, "It feels like someone's peeing on you."

I miss my Tyler bathroom, my Tyler loft, my Tyler walls with posters on them, and the fact that I didn't have to clean up after myself. After all, that's what we pay all of that money for room and board for. And now we don't even get food out of the deal.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:56 AM

April 12, 2003

April Edge Dinner

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Admissions and other Administrators

So I sat down to my nasty dinner of sorry macaroni and cheese and a half-way passable barbeque sandwich. It sucked and the macaroni was disgusting, but such is the state of many Friday meals at Saga, so I learn to not get my hopes up. I noticed a "Team 1" sign at my table and that Stu and Jeanette had sat down with a bunch of the Previewers or Edgers or whatever they're called, but I thought nothing of it.

Enter Admissions Nazi 1: "We're kinda using these tables for our admissions activities, you're going to need to move in like 15 minutes. I'm sorry if I'm being a bit of a jerk, but that's my job tonight" She was pretty nice about it, so I told her that I would move when I was done and was fairly nice in return.

Enter Admissions Nazi 2: "I think we're going to need these tables if we don't have enough space for the Edgers." She then asks Stu who tells her that things will be fine. She too was pretty nice about it, so I told her that I would move when I was done and was fairly nice in return.

Enter Admissions Nazi 3: "I need you to move now. Can't you see that these tables are reserved for April Edge?" "I'll move when I'm done; I'll be gone in 5 minutes." "We'll be starting soon, you need to move now." It's times like these when I wish Toad wasn't sitting next to me to make me behave and that I was more of an ass than I am. I let her go with a smartass remark about not being able to eat at my own cafeteria... I should have told her where to get off and that if I'm going to pay however much room and board that I will sit wherever the hell I feel like sitting.

The fact of the matter is that admissions doesn't give two shits about my life as long as I don't tell their previewers too much of the dark truth and stay out of their nice happy photos. I'm wondering when it was that I stopped being a real asshole to this kind of moron and why I don't start again. Conclusion is that I need to start again because there's no good excuse for running me out of my table and being rude about it. Give me respect and I'll give you the same. Walk up to me and try to treat me like I'm some sort of pre-schooler who should listen to you because you've got a LeTourneau University shirt on and you're liable to get a "fuck you and have a nice day." I've about had it with this presumption that students can be treated however by employees of the school. This applies more to administrative people than faculty or other staff. Sadly enough, the people who don't make policy or decisions are the only people that usually treat students as they should. The "empowered people" appear to be empowered to be callous, uncaring assholes.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:15 AM

April 10, 2003

The Peace Corps?

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Ask for Advice and Ignore it

Since when do I give advice? I try to avoid it... because then when people take it and it backfires, I'm to blame. You'll rarely find my giving advice short of what road to turn on to get where we're going. I really prefer not to incriminate

So when I end up giving advice, I do it only under a great deal of duress. If someone wants my advice, they're going to have to pester me about it... especially if the situation is highly volatile. And as can be expected, when I give this advice, it had better at least be considered. And if I'm going to the effort of giving it and you don't like it, tell me about it. After all, you've spent all of the time talking me into giving advice, I'd at least like to know why I'm wrong.

So when you tell me that you're having problems and ignore my advice and join the Peace Corps instead, that tends to piss me off. Especially if all I get is a freaking postcard to tell me what ended up happening.

I'm going to kick someone's ass when they get home... and she knows who she is. I might have to break my rules on hitting women, but this is a valid exception. Either that or I'll have someone else do it for me...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:39 PM

April 03, 2003

Journals are Effort and Thus, Suck

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Effort

I hate doing lots of work. It's a pain and I don't like it. You will often hear me say something to the effect of, "that sounds like effort, and you know how I feel about that."

Anyways, I have 18 Biblical Literature Journals due tomorrow, a 10 page paper due a week from Monday, and various tests and quizzes over the next month, including one tomorrow. Come to think of it... the entire month of April just generally sucks at LU. Between tests, quizzes, papers and studying for finals, there just isn't any time. Which sucks considering that you're not going to be seeing most of the people you're around until the end of the summer, if then.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:42 AM

April 02, 2003


The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: The Registrar

What if you had a job that required you to do real work less than 20% of the school year? What if you really didn't even have to help the people whom it's your job to help during that 20% of the time because you could just be an idiot and make them do most of the work for you? Why, you'd be in the office of the LeTourneau Registrar.

Why can't someone get transfer documents from the registrar without legal threats? How about a transcript or financial aid info transferred to another school? Is there any good reason why when we don't use a "LeTourneau Sanctioned Form" to select courses or forget one of the 2 unique id codes for a class, they return it to us? Can they not do a little bit of work for us or cross-reference one code from the other? Has anyone ever wondered why we have to take our course registration forms to the room registration after the registrar processes them? Wouldn't it just be easier for the registrar to publish a list of people who have already registered for classes and payed the deposit and give it to the RD's on room registration days? The examples of laziness roll on...

And why can't they just hold on to your course registration form and send you a note in your CPO telling you to submit your $100 deposit when you forget? Instead you have to resubmit the registration form after tearing off the stupid piece of paper that they staple unto it and highlight. Again, an example of the registrar being lazy. It's a shame when your job only requires real effort 20% of the time and it's a bigger shame when you're not even willing to go the distance when the effort is required.

Way to go Registrar and Company.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:12 AM

March 31, 2003

Wear Clothes That Fit!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Wear Clothes That Are Too Small

Look... I've about had it with crazy redneck ladies who are 300 pounds and wearing tube tops. To quote Dunny: "I feel like I need an enema for my brain." Wear clothes that fit. Tube tops work great for some and not for others. Look, I'm a big guy, I know this as well as anyone... little clothes don't look good on big people. It's damned scary and disgusting. So if you're one of the guilty people, stop it. Or else the Vengeance is coming.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:01 AM

March 14, 2003

Amos in Modern Times

Let me paraphrase what's below and do a bit of modern paralleling if you will allow...

Amos is preaching against Israel and telling her that the news is bad. Times suck and Amos is telling them how wicked they are and that God's gonna drop the hammer on them. The priest doesn't like it and tells the king on him and then tells Amos to get the hell out. Amos tells the priest to shove it and tells him more of what God wants them to hear.

This next part may offend some of you... consider why it offends you before you respond, but I always welcome dissenting viewpoints. Email me or comment if you disagree, or if you agree, or if you have comments.

Shem shows up on campus. Shem starts telling people how it is and doesn't sugar-coat things. People don't like that and start telling him to shut up and then whine to administration. Administration tells him to shut up. Shem finds more unbiblical things with every passing day.

The question now is, what will LU do about it? Will we keep going on and getting more screwed up as the days go by? Or will someone in MSC-2 finally own up and say, "Look, there are some seriously wrong things that we do around here and it needs to change. Our attitudes toward our students, toward the faculty, and toward the relationship between God and the campus community need to change."

I'm still waiting to see.

And students, wake the hell up! Shem is just the most recent casualty of students whose ideas don't mesh with administration who happen to be in IMPACT positions. Are you going to stand by and let the school go the way of Old Testament Israel? Or are you going to stand up and be counted, screw what happens to your happy little IMPACT position?

And one last thing. Since when did Bud, Chaplain Carl, Doug, and Dean start picking God's emissaries to His children on campus? Isn't that one of His prerogatives?

As an afterthought for some clarification: I'm not saying that I know God's will for the campus. I'm not saying I know who He picks to be His emmissaries in this place. I just have a hard time believing that all of the politics around here glorify Him and I think some of the stuff around here that administration is a part of isn't Godly and it isn't right. That's just my take... feel free to respond with yours.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:07 AM

March 04, 2003

Straight White Protestant Male History Month

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Whoever Made this Women's History Month

What the hell? Last month was Black History Month, this is Women's History Month. Next month will be something like Queer Appreciation Month I bet. When will it be Straight White Protestant Male History Month?

I love all of the minorities and all, but I think it's a bit screwed up that we devote a whole month to each of them. Did anyone even notice Presidents' Day shoot by as we were focusing on black history?

Screw it all... this is the Manly Month of March. And whoever says otherwise can take it up with Gecko and I. Crackhead, you'll be happy to know that I just signed on in a move that I'll probably regret later.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:22 AM

March 02, 2003

LU Ads Lie!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: False Advertisers

It strikes me as I sit here reading my last post that in my laughing attempt to sound like a sell-out, I sound strangely like an LU advertisement:
"Even though we're really good at Engineering, let's push Liberal Arts because that will get us more people. Wait, now let's push the fact that we have women and minorities even though we DON'T. But we can claim to be diverse with 1 woman : 4 guys and a percentage of minorities so small that one can hardly find them at all. But that's not important, come to LeTourneau. Pretty girls, pretty school, happy students, good Liberal Arts!"

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:29 AM

February 23, 2003

LU Can't Debate

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Can't Debate Intelligently

Welcome to LeTourneau, home of technical majors from all over the world and some of the worst forensics I've ever seen. Yes, forensics... go look it up. Few LUsers could argue their way out of a cardboard box... and we're talking a drunk box here.

Go look at the forums and read the discussions that go on on some of the different blogs. War vs. pacifism and Confederacy vs. the Union. People let themselves be walked over by the only person present with debating skills. And usually that person is hardly even trying.

How is it that for all of our mathematical prowess and practical skills we can't even engage in an intelligent debate? Because nobody bothers to learn it or teach it. Think about it, do you even know what a logical fallacy is? Or is it just another one of those pointless exercises accompanying a video in one of Dr. Batts' classes?

Seriously, do you know how to construct a logical argument or how to avoid wrenching a statement out of context or avoid abusing statistics (flagrantly)? You're writing papers for college and you can't even support your own thesis? How did you get this far? The lack of debating skill on this campus scares me more than a little, because it belies a deeper issue of a lack of solid logic. And without that, how are we going to even begin to debate the relevance of Jesus with the world around us? We can't... we're just going to get shot down until we learn.

So go pick up a book on rhetoric and forensics... it'll do you a lot of good and you might even manage to pass the English Proficiency Exam with your newfound writtingck skelzz. And then maybe I won't have to listen to you sound like an idiot whenever you try and argue with me... or maybe you'll even become informed enough to where you'll agree with me. Nah... this is LeTourneau, what am I thinking?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:49 AM

February 20, 2003

Good Morning!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Happy People

You know the type that I'm talking about. It's not that they're just pleasant to be around, it's that they're intolerably happy all of the time. Whenever you see them, they have to say something nice... it's like a burning need within them. If you try and walk around looking depressed, they'll come harass you with some form of cheeriness or another. Being kind is okay, being so happy that it is an annoyance is not.

A good example: the other evening I was talking with one of my friends after my Tuesday night class. I was telling him about how I enjoyed my Chauvinist Satire and how it amused me to no end that people couldn't figure out whether or not I actually believed it. This line of thought upset him visibly, as he couldn't understand how anyone could want to think thoughts that weren't contagiously

My only take on this matter is that ignorance must be bliss, but only in a dangerous sort of way. You run the risk that any enlightenment at all will shatter your little world and drive you to the brink of insanity. Personally... I'd rather just roll with the punches and avoid being so bubbly that I draw the ire and disdain of my fellow man.

And by the way... the next person that says good morning to me is going to die! This means you Didlake and Taylor!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:25 AM

February 19, 2003

Test Battery 1

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Profs Who Test and Don't Teach

Here we go again... another lovely block of tests for the student body. The same thing as every semester: there's a nice two-week block every month or so where EVERYONE wants to give a test. At least this year I don't have 4 or 5 professors that want to give tests on the same day. Instead I had two Hummel tests last week (wouldn't have been too bad if I hadn't lummoxed things on my own) and then a happy lineup of I&M on Tuesday, Eng. Graphics on Wednesday, Computer Architecture on Thursday, and Circuits 2 on Friday. Sounds like fun to you? Me too...

The best part about taking 18 hours is that you're sure to have at least one professor that doesn't teach much of anything that you're tested over. I&M is a joke and a waste of my time, and anyone who's had Dr. Anazia knows exactly how much I'm getting out of those lectures. As if it wasn't bad enough that he wastes my time every week, the test covered stuff that I'd never seen in a lecture and had a hard time finding at all in the book. Our special blue book of death where if you don't need it, you'll have 3 or 4 pages devoted to solving the equations related to it and if you need to know it, there will be vague references with no equations at all. And while we're on the subject of Anazia (who I pray won't be coming back, as per the rumors) let's not forget the fact that the man is prone to errors in his grading and making of tests. And that wouldn't be so bad, we're all human and I CERTAINLY don't make 100's or even A's on every test... but he won't ever admit he's wrong. We spent 5 minutes in a lab arguing with him that a piece of equipment was broken and that we couldn't get the results he wanted with it... but the man wouldn't budge. He kept trying to explain how to use the piece of equipment, arrogantly assuming that we were just morons and hadn't read... of course, the equipment that he'd tested could never have broken. If you really want to test reading, that's fine. I just want some written expectations and a bit of review in class as to what's going to be tested over. Is it honestly that hard to just communicate with your students, dammit? We're paying for this nonsense.

Anyways... back on track. The fact of the matter is that if you're going to test something, you need to at least pretend to teach it. If you're going to make us show up for this shit, remember... we're paying your salary, and we're paying you to teach us. It does me absolutely no good to sit in a class and learn nothing and be tested over stuff that I wasn't taught. NO GOOD AT ALL!!!! This means you, Dr. King and your Computer Architecture test that's over the reading and over almost none of the 3 hours a week for the past month that you've been wasting my time at 8 AM in the morning. Am I paying $12k a year for this? You've got to be kidding me.

And if they bring Anazia back... there's going to be HELL to pay somewhere!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:13 AM

February 18, 2003

LeTourneau's Technology

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: IP Communications, LeTourneau IT, and the LU Board

The internet at LU sucks. This is relatively old news, as the internet at LU has sucked for time immemorial. You hear about the cutting edge? We're at the ass end of the knife... we don't even end up on the blade most days. Our technology around here is so behind every other university it's attrocious, especially when you realize we're supposed to be a technically-oriented school. When we don't even measure up to other Christian Liberal Arts schools, you know we have issues. And that was before IP up and screwed us over.

For those of you who are technically literate, we had two ISP's, IP Communications and KMC Digital. IP was providing us 2 T-1's and KMC had our other 1. They were being routed together with some load balancing so that essentially all were being used and everyone got optimal (for LU) speed. And then at the beginning of February IP informed us that they were going belly-up and were stopping service to Texas. What this means essentially is that we're working at 1/3 power as of today and will continue to be doing so until the end of the week. And it blows.

It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that LU really shouldn't be using these cut-rate ISP's that we keep turning to. And IT should really just go tell the board that we need a real internet connection like a T3 for the size and technical nature of the student body. But instead, we listen to the old-ass board members tell us that we should be grateful that we have a T-1 at all and IT tells us to shut up when they shut off our ports because we use the wrong first name according to their information. If our IT was a real ISP, we would ditch them, tell them to go to hell, and get a real ISP. Instead, we pay for this shit and HAVE to use their service because using a dial-up is forbidden, as is getting any other form of ISP. So, if you're a full-time student at LU and you don't have the option of moving off-campus, you're forced to take the shitty internet connection along with all of the other crap on campus like the mandatory 20-meal plan if you don't live in the apartments. Is LU all about giving us the shaft? You'd better believe it. And to top it off, they censor the damned student newspaper. I love LeTourneau... and I'd love it more if the Board all resigned and got competent replacements, if Bud left, and if IT started caring about more than their own power trips. Good luck there...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:06 AM

February 17, 2003

Racial Bias...

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Whoever Decided that We Shouldn't Get President's Day Off

MLK Jr. Day but not Presidents' Day? WTF? How PC-minded are we?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:08 AM

February 15, 2003

The Still Don't Understand Satire

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Don't Understand Satire

I've made my apologies and said my peace and there are still people who don't get it. Makes no sense to me... someone make them read a copy of A Modest Proposal. Swift advocates eating babies to solve starvation. Now if that doesn't tell you the nature of the beast, I don't know what does. But apparently, LUsers don't learn this sort of stuff, and so I get nonsensical ad hominem attacks and hateful vitriol directed my way as a result. Get back to me when I actually say something worth hating me for.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:18 AM

February 14, 2003

On Satire and the Dangers Thereof

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Can't Take Jokes

For those of you familiar with the LU Forums, you will note that there is a restricted HNRS2111: Contemporary Political Issues forum. In there, those of us in that particular class discuss a given political issue, changing by week, in conjection with the class and the book. Issues are usually good for discussion: ranging from direct democracy vs. republic to gun control to economic idealogy. It's a lot of fun for those who like politics and the forum has been of particular amusement to me.

I am a lover of satire in addition to being a cynic and have been known to employ it from time to time. At the beginning of the class, a couple of friends and I took up the idea that an armed coup could take over the US and make conditions so bad that a reform would return to a Constitutional government, ridden of the demons of apathy. The plan gets rather in-depth and in subsequent weeks it was expanded to include the topics we covered such as what to do with gun control and the specific working of the government's economy. The satire got old and worn-out, and so this week I saw the oppurtunity to develop a new parody. It went something like this:

"Being as that the Shadow Council more or less runs itself these days, I have decided that I will be pursuing other things in addition, so that I don't get slow or dull on my rhetoric.

The idea of returning to the halcyon days of yore when men ruled the land as they should and women held their tongues has always appealed to me. Recently, I have begun to explore the feasibility of making such a change and it occurred to me that even should I control the government in an autocracy, I would need something more. Just because women are relegated to their proper state as second-class citizens doesn't mean that they won't continue to stir up dissension and create problems for my regime.

And then, as is with all problems, the solution came to me. The control of all forms of media would be my tool. Primarily, the constant barrage of the news media and entertainment would reinforce my message of truth. Feminist literature and the like would be banned and burned. As a cautionary measure, women would be forbidden to read, but this would take some time to implement. In the meanwhile the state-run media would pervade all of life. I honestly don't think it would take much to return peoples' minds to the proper frame of reference with the use of that media...."

And then things got a little nuts. One person in particular took things so badly that she dragged her entire floor into it. And there was much talk of lynching me and the mob was very angsty. And so now, it would appear that my satire is going to get me in trouble... oh joy. When you read satire, or something that appears to be satire... check with the author before you kill him. Next time I'm just making a modest proposal...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:54 AM

February 13, 2003

Test Week Sucks!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Whomever decided that this was test week

It would seem that in modern academia, there are weeks that have been designated "test week." You know how it is, you're floating along fine, no tests for a couple of weeks, nothing is due, and life is feeling good. (No Becky and Ricky, not talking to you... talking to those of us with 18 hours or less... }:->) And all of a sudden.... WHAM! and within a matter of hours you realize that you have 5 tests next week within the span of 36 hours. If you're lucky, you might get 72 hours to have them all in.

We hate those weeks... and this is one of them.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:25 AM

February 11, 2003

On Alarm Clocks...

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Makers of Alarm Clocks

You know the fool things quite well... most of us awaken to their shrill cry at the dawn of every day. They keep us on a cruel schedule and ennable the completion of our sleep-deprived lives. Without them, we would never commit such attrocities against our sleeping habits. I mean, who really wakes up after 5 hours of sleep on their own.

And then the double curse of the malfunctioning alarm clock. This morning I wasn't awakened for my I&M Lab because the thing just didn't go off. I'm thinking it might be getting old and defective, so we're going to do the whole redundant alarm tomorrow... but still. What do you do when the things go wrong? If it wasn't bad enough that you had to be awakened from your sleep to deal with life, now you have to mistrust the thing and set multiple alarms so as to not miss that which you've been forced to deal with. Damn, I hate alarm clocks... and the 8:00 classes they awaken me for. Spartus, your company made mine... and when I go postal against the makers of the alarms, you're going down first.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:18 AM

February 10, 2003

Quit Whining and Be Grateful!

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Whine

I keep hearing all of this garbage about, "change your template, it's too wide" and people whining about not getting linked and that sort of crap. My page, my ideas, my monitor. Moral of the story, I don't care. Well... maybe I do. At least enough to get you all to shut up. Because, damnit, it's annoying me.

So I came over to Quad 3 and updated the width on Barry's computer with a crappier video settings and a smaller monitor. So now if you can't read it, your computer just sucks. And I don't have the time, money, or patience to help you any further than this. So I guess I'm really going to be doing something like...

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: People Who Make Me Put Forth Effort

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:05 AM

Conversations with Retarded Monkeys

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: High School Freshman Females

All throughout my primary and secondary education I would comment to varied and sundry individuals something to the effect of the following, "I hate stupid people... I wish they would all just die.""

Of course, these remarks were usually uttered with a mix of profanity (varying by what age you caught me at) and a great vehemence. If you knew me well, you knew that I probably wouldn't be the trigger-man. but you never really knew with that 100% certainty. And as life goes on that percentage of certainty that I have that tomorrow won't be that day keeps going down. I mean, just how long can I take the steady barrage of morons questioning my intelligence and challenging my every response? Sooner or later I'm going to have to vent... and God help us all if you actually do something more than questioning. I have great faith that if any of the winners of the Stellas were to have been sueing me or were introduced to me, it would be all that I could do to shoot them as opposed to beating them bloody with a Louisville Slugger first.

Have I been dealing with too many morons lately? You'd better believe it. And a lot of them keep running into me online. Here's a snippet of conversation that I wasted precious seconds of my life contributing to:

(names have been changed to prevent said idiots from teaming up with the sadists among you)
idiotgirl: Jonny (my little brother) said you could help me with my Latin
Vengeful Cynic: really?
idiotgirl: yeah... he said you took Latin and you're a college student in Texas
Vengeful Cynic: yeah...and?
idiotgirl: is that school you go to in Dallas?
VC: no, we wish it was in a city... but it's just in Longview
idiotgirl: but Longview is in California...
VC: that would be Long Beach
idiotgirl: oh... I have a friend that lives in Long Beach... her name is Nicky... do you know her?
VC: Why am I talking to you again?
idiotgirl: because your brother told me that you could help me with my Latin
VC: right... tell him I charge money to do his pimping for him

As you can tell... the Vengeful Cynic does not appreciate random conversations with semi-sentient females. That may sound redundant, but freshman girls in high school are 20x worse than the average wench. So no more harassment by high school freshman chicks. And if you give out my contact info to said chicks... well let's just say I'm going to send you to that special place in hell that they've got reserved for you.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:04 AM

February 06, 2003


I love how out of one mouth (Dr. Carl) the University encourages community and praises floor unity, out of another it despises floor unity (Matlock-Hoetzle) and in actual practice they enact policies which cannot do anything to help student unity. Have you seen our "student center"? It's a beat-down basement of our administration building. I think it says something that our student center is buried and has administration sitting right above it. It certainly has good symbolic value to it. Interestingly enough, we actually have money allocated for the rennovation of MSC-1, but admin is throwing up roadblocks all over the place for the people supposed to be using that money. God bless LU, because without that we're so damned to failure it's not even funny. Asked under what condition he would come back, a certain professor no longer with us (names removed to protect the intelligent) said, "Drop Bud... I can't teach in a place where the administration has so little respect for the faculty." Interestingly enough, the Bible department knows whom they want to lead the department and have prayed about it, but they're awaiting Admin's decision. They won't come out and say it directly, but the Bible people are afraid that Admin is looking for a spineless individual whom they can brow-beat into submission.

Anyways, enough LU-bashing for the time-being. I am apparently known, among other things, as Midnight Destroyer and Respected Mastermind according to the Wu-Name Generator. Midnight Destroyer... mmm... I like that. And even more, I love how my former roommate is Shrieking Bastard. It's amusing to me... alright?! I gave you your rant for the day... go home happy.

On a side note, the new quote/thought of the week goes up Friday, so if you have any good ones, email me or just post a comment on here or one of the original posts to that effect. Winner still gets a dew, and I doubt that I'll be having to come up with my own this week. Which is good, because I hate work far more than I hate judging the relative lack of quality of yours.

Finally, new link to Bonner, who I hit ON the head with the Mace of Justice last week when I was playing "Whack-a-Mole" with the heads of the deserving. Sorry that this post isn't particularly angsty, insightful, or informative... but even genius has off days.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:49 PM

February 02, 2003

Thrashings All Around!

This has been the unique weekend... the weekend that happens like once every 10 years. And I just happened to be in freaking East Texas when it happened. And where was I when the shuttle broke apart and the sonic boom could be heard all across Lonvgview? In bed. Do I have any pieces of said shuttle? No. Did I EVEN GO LOOKING?!? No. And a freaking shame that is. As illegal and probably dangerous as it is, I can't help but musing how cool it would be to have a part of the space shuttle. And how did I find out? My dad called me at 8 in the damned morning and then kept calling back every half hour in hopes that I'd heard something. At 10 the phone went off the hook.

And as if yesterday wasn't freaky enough, today the hot water wasn't working. That's right, someone/something managed to mess up the everfull, invincible Tyler East Boilers which have been providing all of the hot water anyone could want for as long as anyone can remember. Not even Lurch or Dr. Roden could recall a time when the Tyler East boilers weren't doing their thing... and that's a lot of freaking time. But NO... it had to be this morning that the boilers decided to act up, and so I trudged over to Tyler West and shower with the guys over there. And all because I got conned into going to church by someone who ended up not going this morning. Lesson to self: if you're going to do something, and it goes wrong, make sure that the scapegoat gets a good firm thrashing. And I expect that both my evil twin and the geeks at NASA who screwed up (or whomever it was that did) will get good firm thrashings.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:42 AM

January 26, 2003

Ingenuity vs. Intelligence

I love how at LU we can have so many people who come to a University where we are supposed to be brimming with ingenuity and yet can't think for jack shit. At the risk of sounding trite, I'm going to go wander over to Webster Online and look it up so I'm not talking out of my ass...

Here we go, ingenuity is the noun form of the adjective ingenious. So, for the Engineers out there: if you are described as ingenious, you display ingenuity. That aside, here's a definition:

1 obsolete : showing or calling for intelligence, aptitude, or discernment
2 : marked by especial aptitude at discovering, inventing, or contriving
3 : marked by originality, resourcefulness, and cleverness in conception or execution (an ingenious contraption)

synonym see CLEVER

Aha! It makes so much more sense now. Ingenuity is no longer a marked intelligence, but just a marked ability at making things work. It makes so much more sense now, and I'd even be willing to bet that we're the one's that took the intelligence out of ingenuity. God bless LeTourneau, where we go to chapel because we have to (although to be fair, the quality isn't exactly begging for voluntary attendance), have our opinions given to us by our professors and peers, and we try to conform to the norm. Just last night as I was out and about, I was informed that my appearance scares people and that they stay away from me because of that. My response? "Good, I really don't want to be dealing with someone stupid enough to let that drive them away anyways." Is that the best response? Nah, I should probably try and be outgoing towards everyone so as to drive off the myopic social idiocy that runs rampant in this place, but the fact of the matter is that I don't have the time, energy, or impetus to go righting all of the wrongs around this place. Frankly, there are too many of them.

So... maybe we should go find us a better word than ingenuity. I'd go for intellectual ass-kicking sets us apart, but something tells me that the board wouldn't go for it. Other suggestions?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:40 AM

January 20, 2003

The Joys of MLK Day

Ah... the joys of a Monday where I can get up at 1 PM and not feel the least bit guilty about having missed classes. Isn't Martin Luther King Jr. Day great? Wait... we got a holiday off, what's up with that? No Veteran's Day, no Labor Day, but we DO get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off. Not to do the man any disrespect, but I should think that holidays commemorating everyone who has ever fought for this country and everyone who has worked hard to make this country great should carry a little bit more water than a holiday to commemorate a man who died getting a segment of the population more rights. And he didn't get them the right to vote, or the right to be citizens, and slavery was abolished almost 100 years previous to his attempts.

Is this to say that we should belittle Martin Luther King Jr? By no means. But I think this is another classic case of LeTourneau bowing to the pressure of being politically correct. After all, we were founded on a military hospital, we can get away with just paying a cursory nod to the US Veterans, right? And we all work, so we can just celebrate Labor Day amongst ourselves, right? But woe to ye who ignoreth Martin Luther King Jr. day for ye shall be hunted down and harried by Civil Rights Activists until the end of time. And so at LeTourneau we ignore our veterans and those who work to make this country great and we bow to the pressure of some unseen outside spectre that causes us to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. God bless LeTourneau... hopefully with a dose of some sense sometime soon.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:17 AM

January 18, 2003

On D&D...

It's 4:30 in the morning, I've gotten 2 hours of sleep in the past 48... and I feel like blogging. Damn, it's like a creativity lightning bolt hit me. Thanks Shem, you broke my knees and made me try this out and damned if I don't love it.

Spent the last 10 hours playing the devil game (Dungeons & Dragons for the uninitiated) and enjoyed myself immensely. Anyone else play? And who of you have been told by a Christian that Dungeons and Dragons is a horrible thing?

Probably my favorite pet peeve, and one of the reasons that I get along with people like Shem so well, is that I can't STAND when people condemn something without understanding. So Dungeons & Dragons has magic in it? It's a FANTASY universe. CS Lewis had magic in his Chronicles of Narnia and most sane people didn't give HIM shit about it. And of course there are the famous incidents of suicide related to D&D from the 70's. Let's not bring up the fact that the guys involved were psychologically and emotionally messed up and quite possibly clinically depressed, the fact of the matter was that the catalyst was Dungeons & Dragons, so we're going to condemn it. Even moreso because we don't understand it. I mean, if we don't understand it, that can't be a good thing can it?

Just some food for thought...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:30 AM

January 17, 2003

First Things First...

Now, on to the first order of business... It has been brought to my attention that the vast lot of you are supposedly of an intellectually superior stock (at least the variety that blogs and read blogs), so I have a question for the masses. What is to be done about the state of affairs around here, if anything? Is anyone else dissatisfied with the censorship and stifling of any dissent on campus, the coverup of the administration of any unpopular information, and the wanton abuse of students who don't fit into the "mold", while at the same time blowing sunshine and happy thoughts in the ears of those students who fit the "Ideal LeTourneau Student"?

Can we really do anything at all, or is it all just a big happy thought? Can we do anything about the school giving away our money to fund Impact dinners at Olive Garden and The Outback Steakhouse while at the same time telling us that they don't have the money to finance basic costs of many extracurriculars.

Oh yes, and what to do about Senate....

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:22 AM