Jakob E. Wagner, Wisconsin Antigo High School prom shooter, and the Tragedy Troll

Jakob E. Wagner's Instagram Profile
Jakob E. Wagner’s Instagram Profile

Jakob E. Wagner, of Antigo Wisconsin, shot two people at the Antigo High School prom this past Saturday night. His motive is still unknown. Chances are, by the time it is known, the national media will have moved on. After all, a so-called “mass shooting” where the only fatality was the shooter is hardly big news. But, while the news media might have the attention span of a 3 year old on crack, the internet rarely forgets; and its bottom-feeders are usually the last to move on.

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Rise of the professional troll

Jaime Cochran aka @asshurtmacfags
Jaime Cochran, aka @asshurtmacfags, on HuffPost Live in 2012

I’d never heard of professional trolls until I watched a Kali Muscle video on YouTube recently. After his antics ended, YouTube made its usual “you might also like” suggestions. I clicked on one purporting to be about how nobody should take Kali’s exercise advice. But the video wasn’t about that. It was just some twenty-something guy doing a voice-over to a video by the person I’d just watched, talking shit, making a lot of ad hominem remarks, but saying nothing instructive or constructive–basically, a shitty imitation of MST3K  schtick. I’d stumbled upon a professional troll. Continue reading Rise of the professional troll

My Body-for-Life Journal

I’ve decided to keep an online journal documenting my progress during my 12 week Body-for-Life program. Each week’s stats represent my fitness at the start of the week and are mostly based on what my old-school Omron HBF-306 tells me. Notes represent my thoughts at the end of the week. I will update this every week for 12 weeks. Feel free to cheer me on, and share your story so I can cheer you on. Continue reading My Body-for-Life Journal

Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

What makes a good Christian or Muslim or Jew?
What makes a good Xtian/Muslim/Jew?

In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.

It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

Body-for-LIFE: the original 10 champions (Where are they now?)

The original 10 Body-for-LIFE champions with Bill Phillips
The original 10 Body-for-LIFE champions with Bill Phillips

I tried to do the Body-for-LIFE challenge when I was eighteen. I lasted about a month before I went back to binging on beer and pizza. Tried it again a couple times in my twenties with the same result. Each time, I stuck with the program for less than a month.

It’s a strict program. If you go to websites that grade diets and health programs, it is usually near the bottom–mainly because it is so demanding that only a fraction of the people who start actually make it the full three months. Well, I recently decided to do the program one last time. If I fuck it up this time, I guess I’ll just resign myself to being a fat POS forever. Wish me luck.

Anyway, for now, at the start of the program, I’m reading Bill Phillips’ book, watching some of the videos he made, even leafing through some of my old issues of Muscle Media. My favorite of these is the video that documented the very first Body-for-LIFE challenge: Body of Work. It takes you into the lives of the 10 winners of that challenge. And their stories are very inspiring. But, as I wander down EAS memory lain, I keep wondering: Where are they now?

Well, I decided to find out. Continue reading Body-for-LIFE: the original 10 champions (Where are they now?)

Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

Daedalus with Icarus
Daedalus fashioning wings for himself and his son, Íkaros, so they might escape the Labyrinth Daedalus had constructed

In Book VII of Plato’s Politeia, at 540c, Glaucon declares that, with his words, Socrates’ has “made the rulers consummately beautiful (καλόν) men…just like a sculptor.” Earlier in Book VII, at 529e, Socrates refers to the works of Dædalus as worthy of study. As stated in footnote 135 of Sachs’ translation of the Republic, Plato mentions Daedalus (Δαίδαλος) several times in his dialogues: at 97d in Meno and at 11c in Euthyphro. In Texts on Socrates, West also identifies 121a of Alcibiades I (p.55, n.33). In reading these various texts*, I noticed recurring references to Daedalus, and it made me wonder: Are these references random or do they form a logical pattern of some sort?

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Religious spam: Yes, religion is bullshit, and its purveyors are assholes

I like to write about religion. I like to read about religion. I even sometimes enjoy conversing with religious folk. But I am not religious. Religion is bullshit and its purveyors often unabashed assholes.

Religious spam is a case in point. As the administrator of a blog, I get a lot of spam. I even get spam from spammers offering to spam for me. Every day, I delete countless robo messages. Some of them consist of complete sentences hawking this or that product. Most are just random broken phrases stuck together and surrounded by links to who-knows-what website. I’ve come to expect this daily deluge. But here’s something I didn’t expect: religious spam. Continue reading Religious spam: Yes, religion is bullshit, and its purveyors are assholes

The Show Show: The Satanic Perspective

Several years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea for a show called The Show Show. The idea was to create a fictional talk show about other nonexistent shows. Whether the idea was meta or stupid doesn’t much matter since it never got off the ground. But I did write one script for a skit for the first episode. In it, the host interviews a self-proclaimed Satanic priest who wants to develop a TV show to broadcast his beliefs to the unwashed masses.

The Satanic Perspective: S1E1

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The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a project where I collect world history books from various nations and compare their portrayal of the same events. Unfortunately, I don’t really have access to history books from around the globe; and, even if i did, I wouldn’t be able to translate them. So, for now, I’m settling for doing what I’m calling a wiki study: I’m comparing the intro section of a Wikipedia article as it appears in several languages. For my first foray into wikistudies, I’ve chosen the American Revolution. Enjoy.
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