Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apologies for the vague announcement of future announcements, but…

I am the sort of person who likes to be very patient about plans coming to fruition, and endeavors leading somewhere, especially when I am highly invested. However, eventually there comes a point we all love to reach (ha), known as “cutting my losses,” cutting back to what’s more doable, and trying something different. Sometimes changes also need to be made simply for the sake of injecting some new energy. After years of doing things in certain ways, the accumulation of history and sense of responsibility to it can get to be a burden. Well, I think I have reached the “cutting my losses” point with a number of efforts I have made over the past several-to-15 years and setups to which I have committed a lot. I have decided to try to see this process of shaking things up strategically and personally as less funereal, and more freeing. After all, attachment to ideas and projects that haven’t worked out as you thought they would also ends up feeling funereal—there’s an air of decay in living for the past. My favorite of all images was always the phoenix, to embrace the idea of starting anew, and I’m going to try to embrace that once again in earnest. No particulars to announce at the present time (and please, no questions about that). What I can say is that I have made some higher-level decisions I have been wrangling over for years, quite literally, and am making new plans and preparing to set them into motion.

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With loud report

Fireworks are awesome.

Fireworks are designed for fun. They are designed to look pretty, and make booms to let you know you’re alive. They are designed to surprise you with what something small, like a rocket, a whizzing bee, or a firecracker, can do. They are designed to make you smile without realizing it, and maybe startle you a bit.

They aren’t designed to start fires, or to blow off your hand, no matter what nanny-statists and media fearmongers say around this time, every year. If someone does these things with them in your neighborhood, believe me, they are more dangerous behind the wheel of a car.

It’s sad that people fear what they don’t understand. Like guns, fireworks are safe to use as long as you act responsibly. From chrysanthemum balls to Roman candles to sparklers to quarter- and half-sticks (not actually made of dynamite, contrary to popular belief!), fireworks were designed to please you, not to explode with maximum force like bombs, nor to set people and things on fire, like napalm.

When I was a kid, I learned about making fireworks (and explosives) as well as setting them off from my father. In the heritage of this country, learning to set off fireworks yourself was normal, like learning how to shoot, and other cool and fun things, like how to handle knives, climb trees, or find your way alone in the woods. Sadly, once kids stop learning how to do things responsibly as they grow up, they grow up to become increasingly risk-averse and credulous about fears. They let other, official people provide the circuses to go with their bread, while they’re told they should just watch, and do as they’re told. That’s not what independence is about.

New York is like this

• Favorite diner now run by immigrants from completely different country from last visit. Colombian dish no longer available. Beautiful and hideous people out window.

• Travel in subway with poor signage. Card readers don’t work. Pushing through crowds, many milling around confused. Source of volcanic heat a mystery. Train operators shout garbled warnings at every stop.

• Passed Mongolian Embassy near Park Avenue. Essential to their work.

• Ambition to attend last weekend of show at Met foiled by long lines.

• Meandered around misty Central Park in warm drizzle instead. Jungle in Wonderland framed by looming penthouse foliage if you look up. After dusk, there remain late ducks, a heron, fat raccoons in trash cans.

• Stylish women pick their way through trash, vomit, and by sprawled drunks. Piles of uncollected trash are smaller than last time, but just as many rats.

• Danced at a dingy club that should have been called Mom’s Evil Basement. $9 drinks in plastic cups. One DJ not bad; Mom should let him have his own room.

• Cabs won’t stop, or won’t pick you up when they find out where you want to go. Cab driver warns another cab driver about locking door and the other calls him a son of a bitch. Drunk men spit at cab driver who won’t pick them up and he calls them white bastards.

• Sleeping on priceless rock hard bed in our wallpapered closet room for the night.

• Excellent brunch at L’Ecole with perfect coffee, the most impressive fruit plate ever, and correctly-made hollandaise on the eggs benedict. Out the window where we are displayed, every tourist is like a beacon in the crowds.

• An hour long wait sweating in the hot sun to enter the Met foiled by a policy against checking large bags. Thousands of legitimate travelers in NYC for the day aside, al Qaeda is itching to blow up the high-priority target which is the Met baggage check, and terrorists always use rollable luggage and would never think of putting a bomb in smaller bag. Patronizing “security” goonette came up to us in line believing she was doing us a favor telling us and could not believe we objected.

• Buying sublime New York bagels at an appetizing store run by Indian men where old Jewish ladies are regulars.

• Uniforms in subway sweatopia stop two guys for muttering something “disrespectful,” shocking crime in New York City. All patronizing goons in uniform are doing you a favor; why aren’t you respectful?

• Food festival—discovered by accident, like many good things—but in too much hurry to stop. Must instead walk and struggle to get cab because subway line we need isn’t running.

• Escape from New York by bus after line confusion. Scenery of skyscraper architecture marred by junk, trash, construction until looking back from New Jersey. Skyline looks composed from afar.

• In two months, less mixed memories inevitable: “Why don’t we go to New York more often?”

May 20, 2011

After some beta versions starting on a University of Chicago server in 1998, yesterday (May 20, 2011) marked 12 years of publishing original philosophy under the name of Prometheanism online at Promethea.org, though the site wasn’t ready to premiere as I wanted it to look until May 20, 2000.

There was a lot of interest in exploring independent ideas and new media on the internet during its frontier days in the 90s. I was exploring and creating a philosophy on my own, but it was also philosophy with a mission and that required reaching an audience. A web site seemed the ideal canvas for experimenting with philosophy and persuasion, communication and community, and bringing ideas and aesthetic design together. I threw myself into learning and doing philosophical, creative and intellectual work, design work, and more tedious labor necessary behind the scenes. I took the name Phoenix as my nom de plume for symbolism and reflecting a desire many had in those days to recreate themselves online.

Promethea pioneered a few firsts on the web and enabled me to experiment with both new presentations of ideas and circulation of new ideas around the world, attracting readers and a revolving cast of well-wishers, supporters, allies and accomplices. 😉

Promethea was followed by Prometheanmovement.org in 2003, which experimented with a different format and approach to content. A useful list of online Promethean writings is available there.

The internet has changed a great deal since, and the next two years will see a transition to a larger proportion of my work appearing in print or other media, but I will continue publishing on Promethea.org also, including a wholly evolved version of The Promethean Manifesto (the first version of which goes back 13 years, and started all of this).

Free Julian Assange! [updated]

Julian Assange was arrested today on one count of consensual rape, and four counts of bullshit with the farce of law.

Julian Assange is now a political prisoner, and the world knows it. His offense was exposing the truth.

WikiLeaks is the most important, innovative bastion of free speech and investigative journalism the internet has ever seen.

No matter what happens, Julian Assange is a hero our time will never forget, and Wikileaks the model for opening conspiratorial regimes.

UPDATE: Denied bail for spurious and suspicious charges despite offers of surety made in court by several individuals, Julian Assange will now be held until his next hearing in a week. I watched the prison van remove him (presumably—you could not see him inside) on the live feed. It’s perfectly absurd to think that any activist who stands out could end up in one of those rolling boxes on any flimsy excuse (such as the crime of a male having a sex life) and be shipped off, perhaps for interrogation by US spooks. Who knows? Be well, Julian.

Draft of a letter to Amazon.com

I would like to continue shopping at Amazon.com, recommending Amazon, and maintaining a website as an Amazon Associate. Like most customers who are evaluating a boycott of Amazon, I am a satisfied and loyal customer, and have spent and saved a great deal of money shopping online at Amazon, and encouraged others to do so as well.

However, it is being reported that Amazon has ceased hosting WikiLeaks.org on the basis of political pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman and possibly others. According to the NYT, “The move to drop WikiLeaks came shortly after members of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee pressed the company to explain its relationship with WikiLeaks.” It is not believable that Amazon’s hosting service could have been unaware of the content served by the high-profile, high-traffic site until it was brought to the company’s attention by congressmen; therefore, it seems likely that threats were made or implied.

If this is true, I am deeply concerned that Amazon would yield immediately to pressure from politicians, and particularly on the basis of a mere inquiry from Joe Lieberman’s staffers, as has been reported. It has alternately been reported that Lieberman may have threatened a boycott, but Amazon now faces an actual boycott of customers, not congressmen.

Amazon should not be in the business of responding to politicians’ requests, or anticipating legal intentions of prosecutors. Amazon should support free speech under the legal process. In the absence of a court order, and without benefit of due process, WikiLeaks should not be judged on the basis of mere political accusation. Amazon should not have shut down the server access WikiLeaks paid for, especially without notification.

Thousands of Amazon customers who are weighing a boycott are only asking for WikiLeaks to be treated like any customer of hosting services, even though we believe WikiLeaks provides an important service, has tremendous value to political free speech, and is an invaluable resource for citizens and journalists.

I am also concerned that Amazon has not properly responded publicly to clarify the issue. I look forward to hearing that Amazon has responded and rectified the situation, so that I may continue to shop at Amazon, and encourage others to do so.

Balkanized types of intelligence

The theory might make sense, but I am always rather surprised, in practice, at how artistic sensitivity can exist in a brain that habitually rejects intellectual nuance. That the mental equivalent of paint-by-numbers or an out-of-tune garage band can come from a painter or musician is a testament to the division of labor in the brain, and a haphazard course of personal development.