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38 years in the making, I present Asymmetric. I have sections for movie, book and television reviews; moderate political commentary; Catholicism and religion; Cuban music; tech reviews; military stuff; and some things I think are funny. Enjoy
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life on Prager
2010-12-22 09:44:00 2-21 Prager H3_ Ultimate Issues Hour_ A Darwin ian Universe.mp3Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life : How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew by Steve Stewart-Williams Both participants do a good job of coming to logical conclusions based on their starting premise: If there's no God, our lives are only meaningful to the extent that we care about them (why we care about them in the way rats don't is another issue). There's no "morality" outside of our opinion. At one point, the professor said that the only reason a human life is more valuable than an animal's is because humans have a greater capacity to suffer, an obvious rationalization. If the person dies quickly, it's OK then? No, according to professor Stewart: His family would suffer the loss. This, according to Stewart, is also the reason why one should save a drowning man rather than a drowning dog. I would have taken the hypothetical one step further by ...
The Manichean Asymmetric
2010-12-22 09:25:00
Three kinds of people don't have to worry about upsetting others: the rich, the powerful, and the outcasts who have nothing to lose. One may argue that they'll pay in the ultimate sense or that they'll miss out on the joy of niceness, but those punishments are debatable and much harder to quantify. Anyways, I belong to neither group. I haven't had too much trouble- a journalism unit I was going to join saw the page and said it wasn't suitable for an officer- but I don't necessarily want people to know where I stand on every issue before they even meet me. On the other hand, I think (hope?) I have some interesting things to say on serious issues. Therefore, when I decided to start writing again, I also elected to de-emphasize the political and religious part of my blog, while keeping it accessible to those searching for it. Therefore, if you go to the sidebar and click on "controversies," you'll be assaulted, in a polite way, with my opinion on subjects over which people...
More About: Internet , Asymmetric , Blogging
Secretly lame... not so much
2010-12-22 08:33:00
My friend has a new blog called Secretly Lame, which got me to thinking. There are four kinds of blog names. From right to left: 1. Exaggerations. A seemingly nice lady with good taste in burgers called Denise (the lady not the burgers) has a blog called Denise's Best Blog Ever. I don't know if Susan has many blogs and is just most proud of DBBE or thinks that DBBE is indeed the best blog ever but had to include her name in the title because somebody already took the domain ""...somebody who sucked so bad at blogging that he's selling what was certainly the best thing about it. 2. The next type of name is descriptive. This one's pretty obvious. The Hot Dog Spot is a blog dedicated to finding the best hot dog in Los Angeles, a city where falafels are more popular than Yankee tube steak. Despite it's non-association with LA, Stephen Worth found enough hot dog places to keep the blog going for three years (from the picture, I'm guessing he drove). Had he don...
More About: Internet , Blogging
Pay what you want for Battery bar
2010-12-08 19:40:00
A little more color than the usual taskbar icon. I remove the standard XP icon because it's redundant. I just got a new-old laptop, the Dell D430, and, as I usually do when I make a tech change, I've nerded out a little, fixing up the new device like a mother preparing her daughter for school picture day. Besides the usual new computer stuff, I visit forums and try new software. One of the new programs I tried was something called Battery Bar. It's pretty nice. Nothing revolutionary, but it does two things I find useful. One, it tells me the status of my battery (6% degraded- pretty good for a used laptop) and it saves me a few clicks changing power profiles. It doesn't seem to have any negative effects. No performance hit. I only wish that there were an option not to have it startup automatically (yes, I know I can use msconfig). The great thing about it is that the makers have a promotion where you can pay whatever you want for the pro version. You can pay zero. I, being a...
More About: Utilities
H.P. Lovecraft: The Rats in the Wall
2010-10-27 22:09:00
I have a group of friends who love H.P. Lovecraft. I've read two of his short stories- "Call of Cthulhu" and now, "Rats in the Wall ." My impression of the Rat one: Poe-like in it's complete lack of humor and the fact that the guy goes insane ("Tell-tale Heart," "The Black Cat") The writing style is turn-of-the century formal, which I don't mind (Poe-like, again). No dialog, which gives it that rushed, insane horror feeling. Unlike Poe, who mostly deals with the psychological, Lovecraft adds a supernatural element. I think this is its appeal amongst some: the creation of an alternative "world" with a metaphysical reality. This might appeal to those who don't believe in the non-physical in this world. I can also see how this turns off others. One contrast to Poe is that the person's insanity has a "real" cause, the existence of the Cthulhu deities. The two Lovecraft plots I've experienced aren't really plots: There's an interesting setup and then the guy goes insane u...
More About: Fiction
Why government funding matters for NPR?
2010-10-26 21:33:00
The Queen and Archbishop of Canterbury.What's in taxpayer support? Would same-sex love be less blissful? Would NPR not as pleasantly drone? Would not the NEA-funded piss surrounding a crucifix smell as sweet? Government sanction is important. It legitimizes. People sue over crosses in the desert and Christmas carols in school plays. Why? There's no money involved. It doesn't hurt anybody. The only reason people squabble over religious symbolism on public property is because they don't want their government supporting something they don't like. Likewise, people don't support same-sex marriage for practical reasons- they just want something official to say that same-sex relationships are as good or useful to society as opposite-sex one. So, when NPR declares Juan Williams beyond the pale, it does so as the official news service and arbiter of decency in public discourse. "Do not distinguish Muslims from other Americans. We have spoken." Powered by b2evolution.
More About: Funding
Obama urges Latinos to crush their enemies
2010-10-26 17:58:00
Woops, wrong clip. Here it is: Original post blogged on b2evolution.
More About: Obama , Enemies
Double Dip recession
2010-08-25 19:07:00
People who know about this stuff say that the biggest weakness in left-leaning economics is that leftists fail to factor for adjustments to economic incentives. Or, they think that raising taxes ten per cent will yield the same percentage of revenue, taxing payrolls won't affect employment, and people will just work out of habit or patriotic duty. Here Powered by b2evolution.
More About: Double
The A-Team gets a good grade for fun
2010-08-25 06:20:00
I grew up with many examples of shows preying upon boomer nostalgia. I liked them. I listened to the oldies station, KRTH, watched Happy Days, and greatly enjoyed the Dick Clark specials. It never occurred to me that one day people would plot ways to exploit my own emotional attachments to my youth. The A-Team was one of my favorite shows (along with the White Shadow, St. Elsewhere, Buck Rogers, and the Bionic Man and B-Woman). My friends Brian, Tom, Javier and I called ourselves "The A-Team," each of us assuming a character. The A-Team recycled the same situation every week, but that situation was wrapped within a great premise: elite fugitives with hearts of gold roaming the nation saving distressed damsels and presented through fun, archetypal characters: Face, a cool ladies man; Murdock, a crazy pilot; B.A., a cross between MacGyver, Jim Brown, and Little John; and Hannibal, the brilliant tactician and natural leader. The 2010 version remains loyal to what was best about the...
More About: Good
Pac-man Fever
2010-08-23 21:51:00 -fever.mp3**update** The first video game I ever saw was pong. We had it in our house, for some mysterious reason since we were always the last people on the block to have anything. I think my dad purchased his first VCR in 1993. The second was Pac-Man at the old Shakey's on Rosemead in Pico Rivera. I was in Meller Jr. High School and the school received some funds for a youth group or whatever and the people running it took us to eat pizza. The year the past. Shakey's had the table version of Pac-Man, the one where two people could sit on opposite sides and play against one another. The vice-principal told the group dude something like, "Oh, this is the new game everybody's playing." I must have said something scary because the group only lasted for three sessions. Pac-Man lived on, however. Behind Richie Valens and Desi Arnaz, the greatest Latino contributor to American music was Garcia of Buckner and Garcia. Together,...
Who are you?
2010-08-23 21:51:00 e_You.mp3 - Original post blogged on b2evolution.
Asymmetric thoughts on Mel Gibson
2010-08-23 21:50:00
Mel Gibson seems like a disturbed man. His statements give many examples of bad values. He mentions race and negative behaviors together, as if they're necessarily linked. He commits violence against women, almost certainly not out of self-defense. He feels that his money entitles him to certain considerations he wouldn't warrant otherwise. Some thoughts: 1. Sometimes people slip into a sin spiral where they perform progressively immoral acts. Some people can climb back up while others continue to their death. Money and fame can delay the point at which a person stops his decent. 2. Nonetheless, until death, regeneration is always possible. 3. Mel Gibson claims to be a Christian. Nothing in his behavior is Christian starting with his abandonment of a licit marriage. Had he stubbornly followed Christian teaching, fighting his baser desires, he wouldn't be in this position. 4. Assessing the reaction to Polanski, Jackson, and Gibson, Hollywood career can survive sex with und...
More About: Mel Gibson , Asymmetric , Thoughts
Review: Fall 86 by Craig Amshel
2010-08-23 21:50:00
A couple of years ago, one of my fraternity brothers mentioned that Frater Craig Amshel wrote a book about his Teke experience. Craig is a pledge brother of mine, one of an elite ten. I remember him as a cool guy, which is why I was sorry that I lost touch with him. I always thought it was because he felt embarrassed that he was just a renowned surgeon while I had my own blog, but my brothers told me that he lived in Florida and had to do a bunch of operations or whatever. I was anxious to hear from him again, even if it was only in print. Also, chronicling my college years had intrigued me at one time (I abandoned the idea when I realized that a story alternating between progressively more impressive sexual and intellectual conquests lacked drama.), and I wanted to see how Craig did it. I quit my job, said goodbye to my wife and children, and spent the next two years combing through used bookstores from Maine to California in search of that rare tome, before somebody told me a...
More About: Non-Fiction , Review
Review: Final Lost Episode
2010-08-23 21:46:00
Overall, excellent. I don't think anybody could have hoped for more and putting a bow on this irregular, beastly package of a show was an artistic accomplishment in itself. Did it answer questions? Did everything make sense after all? I don't know. I'm not sure the writers know. Everybody's dead, and they're happy because they're together. That explains...I don't know. I simply don't know. Emotionally, however, the Lost finale was very satisfying. More than any other episode, the finale cements the central theme of Lost as being Love. Every significant character loved a deep, spiritual love. If you notice, none of the drama in the show had to do with people on the island "hooking up" or cheating on each other. The characters sincerely, nobly, sacrificially loved- their mates (and each pair was capable of mating- some were even married) and one another. The mildest of surprises came when Sawyer ended up with Juliet. It could have been "Freckles." Kate and Jack ended up lov...
More About: Episode , Review , Final
I hope they hold the next G20 in Texas
2010-08-23 21:45:00
Perhaps we can avoid this truly asinine, pointless behavior. Violence is pointless, isn't it? Let me check the lefty condemnations, although I see some comments on police strategy. Hmm. Maybe not all violence is stupid. Maybe we shouldn't coexist... with capitalists. I'm sure theses people would be as non-judgmental if it were Tea Partiers who burned cars. I have an idea: Declare that everybody caught rioting would be kicked out of grad school or at least have their financial aid or unemployment reduced. Or, hold the G20 in Texas next time. Powered by b2evolution.
More About: Hope
It's Tuesday: Fathers, do you know where your daughter is?
2010-08-23 21:40:00
If she's not right next to you, chances are she's watching Elipse, the new Twilight movie. I was actually going to go with her to share this moment with her. I promised not to play sword fights with the boys or talk to her friends. Negotiations continued, but after sitting 4 rows apart and not acknowleging her presence didn't satisfy her, I gave up and returned my tickets. I have to work tomorrow anyways. She's safe. My wife seems to like these movies as much as Samantha does and went with her. What's the worst that can happen, anyways: a riot between Team Jacob and Team Edward? The line at the Pico Rivera Krikorian went around the whole fence. Twilight [Blu-ray] The Twilight Saga: New Moon [Blu-ray] Original post blogged on b2evolution.
More About: Fathers
Spain outlaws bullfights, allows abortion
2010-08-23 21:39:00
This is a very interesting moral view. It's cruel to kill bulls, but not babies. Also curious, the defense of bull fighting doesn't make the case that animals don't need the level of dignity nor protection that people do: They argued that Catalonia would lose tourism. Powered by b2evolution.
More About: Spain , Abortion , Outlaws
Interview with Gridlock author Randal O'Toole
2010-08-23 21:37:00 ckmedved.mp3Gridlock author Randal O'Toole Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It by Randal O'Toole Cato institute book talk here. Original post blogged on b2evolution.
More About: Interview , Author
Review Iron Man 2: time for the scrap heap?
2010-08-02 18:23:00
Tony Stark is a play/bad-boy billionaire industrialist whose powerful invention, a battle suit, is coveted and eventually copied by his enemies. Tony Stark must battle the Iron Man copies to save the city. Hey! Wait a minute. Isn't that the plot of the first Iron Man? Yes, except IM1 has the best superhero origin yet depicted on screen and this one doesn't. What's going on here?: Tony's father hurt some Russian's feelings and the Russian's son, Ivan Vanko, constructs a fighting suit to punish the sins of the father. (Does anybody else think it strange that two people on earth know how to build the ultimate weapon, powered by a limitless, pollution-free power source in a cave using only spare parts and a blow torch?) Although everybody knows that Stark is Iron Man and Stark is powerless without his suit, Vanko fails to kill Stark and the authorities imprison Vanko. (Young supervillains take note: always choose efficiency over theatrics when rubbing out your arch-rival...
More About: Time , Review , Scrap
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Marc Mezvinsky
2010-08-01 23:07:00
Congratulations to the former Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky! I hope they have a blessed life together. That the marriage was such a big deal got me thinking about marriage a bit. Why do people celebrate marriages? They don't celebrate going steady. I think people do for a couple of reasons. One is the permanent exclusivity of their love and the the other is the justification for the former: the expectation that they'll become a semi-independent, dedicated unit that will contribute to our collective future by populating it. Which got me thinking again about a great book I read called Children on Men by P. D. James. In the book, mankind has lost the capacity to have children. The book, written in the early nineties makes the observation that because of this worldwide malady, people have taken to marrying the same sex (!) or have abandoned marriage altogether. I wonder if people would still celebrate marriage if such a fate were to befall man or even bother with marriage at a...
ebook reader review: Sony PRS-300, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Kindle 3
2010-08-01 22:53:00
Time to redecorate Why ebooks? The computer and the cell phone are two high-tech devices that have become essential for people living in developed societies. The third one might turn out to be the ereader. The ability to acquire hundreds of books cheaply and carry them around on something that fits in your briefcase (next to your laptop and phone) is leaps and bounds more convenient than paper books. The non-obvious advantages over paper books are the lack of page-caused shadow while reading, far less raw material use, and automatic and manual bookmarking. People who read often will save money. Everything before 1923 and many things after are free and ebooks are cheaper to purchase. Local public libraries now let you "borrow" Adobe DRM (DRM=Digital Rights Management=copy protection) ebooks for free without actually going there, saving more gas and time. The library books stop working after two or three weeks. Reading PDFs is useful. I can see putting Army manuals on it. The ...
More About: Review , Sony , Reader , Ebook
Portable media players: Micca Slim and Argosy HV256T-00502 Media Player
2010-08-01 17:44:00
Some tech is fun. In that category, I'd place my portable mp3 player, my son's Playstation. Some tech is useful. Here, my flash drive. Some are both: Laptops, smart phones. My portable media player is such a hybrid device. It's fun because it holds hours of entertainment and allows me to summon that digital pleasure on strange TVs without a computer. That can mean the TV in hotel rooms or the one at my brother-in-law's in Mexico, where my wife saw 10 episodes of Legend of the Seeker from my little media wonder. It's essential for two reasons: First, it backs stuff up. No explanation necessary. Second, I'm a teacher when I'm not dispensing wisdom on the internet and teachers sometimes show movies. Instead of carrying bunch of DVDs or having to connect my laptop to a projector or TV (My computer doesn't have S-Video out so I'd have to buy a converter anyways.), I carry everything I need (Holes, Hatchet, Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Huck Finn, etc.) on my portable media...
More About: Media Player , Media , Players , Portable Media , Portable
On Anne Rice's re-reversion
2010-08-01 01:10:00
A couple of months ago, I was browsing the LA library ebook site, came across, and began reading Anne Rice's book detailing her reversion back to the Catholic Church, Called Out of Darkness. It was OK, although I didn't get too far into it, but it seems that she wanted to climb above the nihilism atheism demands. I was disappointed to see that she fell away again. It's always a boost when a person converts to one's faith and a morale buster when they fall away. “For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian ... It's simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” Reviewing her statement, it doesn't seem that she had a bad experience at Church. I don't count people arguing as a serious reason. Any members within a group who care about the group will ...
Happy Birthday America
2010-07-04 21:18:00
Here's to 234 more. Powered by b2evolution.
More About: America , Happy , Birthday
Starbucks and free wifi: Example of the market in action
2010-06-14 23:22:00
Under a socialist system, a law would have been passed requiring businesses to offer free wifi or lawmakers would have offered state-sponsored wifi coffeetoriums. Under the free enterprise system, wifi is now so cheap and consumers have such a preference for drinking coffee while surfing the web, that the market had to respond and offer the service for free. I think it's free at Borders as well. There are a couple Starbucks by my house. I will be to the Pico Rivera Starbucks as Norm was to Cheers. Original post blogged on b2evolution.
More About: Action , Market , Free , Wifi
Isn't Marxism an old dogma already
2010-06-08 18:22:00
There is no greater time than now to build the YCL - with so many young people turning their backs old dogmas and ideology and fervently searching for answers to the problems we face. The door is wide open for a mass, broad and strong YCL - if we are willing to open it. So I charge everyone here at the Convention, to open the door, step through, and join me and others in building the future of the Party through building and growing the Young Communist League. From the Communist Party convention. Powered by b2evolution.
Vatican says bishop-murderer was mentally unstable
2010-06-04 19:54:00
“We should not blame it on Turkey or on the Turks,” the Pope told us as he came to the back of the plane at the start of the trip. “It’s clear that it’s not a political-religious assassination.” I wonder why the murderer chose to kill a Catholic bishop and not a fellow Turk. Surely, it'd be easier to find a Turk in Turkey. Original post blogged on b2evolution.
More About: Vatican
I wonder what would happen if Israel sends "aid" to Cyprus
2010-06-04 19:52:00
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974. I wonder what would happen if non-occupied Cyprus sent rockets into the occupied side. What if a peace flotilla tried to get on that side? Powered by b2evolution.
More About: Israel
The affair Galarraga
2010-06-04 19:45:00
Here A couple of things to say about the Galarraga incident: 1. In today's more emotional (as opposed to rule-based society), it's refreshing that Bud Selig let the call stand rather than cave in to the mood of the moment. Bud Selig's decision maintained the integrity of the game. 2. I've always said that Hispanics suffer from bad public relations which in turn affects the immigration debate. When Americans who care about the future of their country think a population group is more crime-prone, poorer, and less educated, they naturally lack enthusiasm about that group increasing its numbers. If Hispanics had the reputation of, say, Asians, other Americans would be begging for more Hispanics. Gracious people like Armando Galarraga do more for Hispanics than 1000 resolutions from the Los Angeles City council. In fact, the L.A.C.C.'s whining exacerbates the problem. Why do Americans want a bunch of crybabies? How about winning a spelling bee? In other words, Hispanics need...
The Vatican and Israel
2010-06-03 06:04:00
The United States is the greatest (only?) supporter of Israel for three reasons: There are many prominent Jews in the United States, Evangelicals feel that Israel will feature prominently in the "end times," and the United States is the only Western country with a significant percentage of non-leftists, leftists having a penchant for choosing the greater evil (conservative Europeans, especially those who base their morality on Christianity have a clearer view). The Catholic view is that the the Jewish people have played their role in salvation history and are now no more significant than any other nation or people (I'm generally not interested in Revelation interpretation, but you can get a little primer on the subject here). That isn't to say that Israel doesn't deserve the fervent support of Catholics. Indeed, anybody able to discern just from unjust should rally around essentially decent (especially compared to its neighbors) Israel. Therefore, although it's not an outrig...
More About: Vatican
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