Cynicism Is An Unpleasant Way of Telling the Truth

Eel Feather writes (Or wrote a few months ago…. Sorry Eel, it got lost in the shuffle):

But I’d like to bring an issue up with you, about that
Hellman quote. I’d never heard of Lillian Hellman, or
noticed that quote on cynicism. It’s a little
embarrassing to admit that I have never paid attention
to it before, but for some reason today, I did. And I
find that I completely disagree with it: cynicism is
_not_ an unpleasant way of telling the truth. It
certainly can be — but then again, it can also be a
perfectly pleasant and kind-hearted way of telling the
truth. So unless Hellman’s quote was taken out of a
greater context that qualifies it with such a caveat,
then it is wrong — or at best, misleading. It does
cynicism a disfavor by labelling it as unpleasant.

G. B. Shaw’s quote — even when standing alone —
seems a far more enlightening and reasonable opinion:
“The power of accurate observation is often called
cynicism by those who have not got it.”

Sure, Shaw’s quote is insightful but try fitting it on a masthead! I disagree with Eel Feather on this although the definition of cynicism has changed a bit since Antisthenes. Cynicism to me has always been about not bothering to sugar coat any opinions. I think I would need an example of somebody using a “pleasant and kind-hearted” way of telling the truth and still have that opinion be viewed as a cynical. Thoughts?

Similar Sounding Songs

A side by side comparison of songs that sound like other songs.

Ever notice a song whose melody sounds remarkably similar to some other song? I seem to be afflicted by a birth defect that makes me notice these songs all the time. So I’ve compiled this list of songs that sound like other songs. In compiling this list, my goal is to present excerpts of the songs in question and leave any other determinations up to you, the listener. I make no claims that anyone here ripped off anyone else, because I (as a songwriter myself) have borrowed ideas and techniques from other artists many times.

Bob Marley got the middle part of Buffalo Soldier from the Banana Splits? (Go to 1:15)

Student arrested for making a map of his school

It’s time to remove “Home of the Brave” from our National Anthem.

A Chinese student was removed from Clements High School in Fort Bend, Texas after parents complained he had re-created the school grounds in a game and uploaded the map for his friends to play. The boy was placed in the district’s alternate education school and later arrested, as the police considered him a “terroristic threat”. The Chinese community and the boy’s mother have rallied behind him, saying the school has acted too harshly in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. No charges were filed, though the boy won’t be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Also from here:

The map the boy designed mimicked Clements High School. And, sources said, it was uploaded either to the boy’s home computer or to a computer server where he and his friends could access and play on it. Two parents apparently learned from their children about the existence of the game, and complained to FBISD administrators, who investigated.

“They arrested him,” Chen said of FBISD police, “and also went to the house to search.” The Lin family consented to the search, and a hammer was found in the boy’s room, which he used to fix his bed, because it wasn’t in good shape, Chen said. He indicated police seized the hammer as a potential weapon.

“They decided he was a terroristic threat,” said one source close to the district’s investigation.


A later report fromt he same site says they confiscated swords and not a hammer.

Police discovered five swords in the bedroom of a Clements High School senior whose home they searched after getting complaints about a 3-D computer “shoot-‘em-up” game map the student designed, which depicted a portion of the school.

That information surfaced in a Fort Bend Independent School District Police Department report released Tuesday, and was confirmed by several district officials who also revealed other details about the case for the first time…

…Two sources close to the case said it’s questionable whether the swords were usable as weapons, indicating they may have been decorative.

German Volunteer Digs For Remains of WWII Soldiers

He’s found over 20,000 so far. From the LA Times:

Hammer, Germany — THE shallow hole widens and a man comes together like a puzzle: hips, fingers, ribs, vertebrae, teeth and crushed skull. A boot surfaces along with a rusted bullet clip. But no dog tags, no wedding ring, nothing to give him a name, so the bones go into a box where they are marked with a number written in white chalk: 1,968.

The one who filled the box is sweaty; his after-shave fades amid the dirt and the dust. His name is Erwin Kowalke. The villagers know him by his determined face and trim graying beard and the way he moves from shovel, spade to hoe. He collects the bones of the fallen from a world war that ended six decades ago, but one that, if you listen, still moans through the forests and across the marshes.

“I once dug a whole plane out of a swamp. The pilot was sitting in the cockpit. His leather jacket was pretty well preserved even after all those years, but he was burned,” said Kowalke, a volunteer who has excavated the remains of 20,000 people, most of them German and Russian soldiers killed in fighting as Berlin collapsed toward defeat in the final days of April 1945.

(via Reddit)

Should Christians Own Cats?

I have no idea if this is a spoof or not. I’ve heard crazier things from religious zealots so it’s difficult sometimes to separate religious fundies from people goofing on them:

Clearly, the Bible – by using this kind of terminology – shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the basic nature of cats, while created perfect by God, has become evil or ‘beastlike’ since the fall of Adam six thousand years ago, and more probably, since the Great Flood of Noah’s time (c2350 B.C.E.). This is a development of the condition borne by the ‘Original Serpent’, the ‘Great Dragon’ Lucifer himself. (Gen. 3:1) Indeed, modern studies of classification of cats, while not necessarily being reliable as they may be based on the discredited ‘theory’ of evolution, strongly associate felines with serpents (despite some external differences in physiology and morphology, which confuse those who do not study these matters deeply).

There are numerous reasons why a loyal dedicated servant of God should use his Bible-trained conscience to arrive at a proper understanding of why cats are not advisable as pets or companions for Christians. Consider, then, the following facts:

Additionally, cats practice many unclean habits not befitting a Christian household: coughing up fur balls, licking inappropriate body areas on their own bodies (inappropriate handling) and even, in some cases, on the bodies of their human owners (wrongful motive?), urination on the floor, vocal and blatant promiscuity (unknown to any other species, all others being endowed with Godly chastity and decorum) and widespread sexual misconduct without the benefit or sanctity of holy matrimony, even orgiastic practices, substance abuse of catnip (an intoxicating herb) which produces conditions akin to drunkenness, stealing food from the table, producing ungodly sounds, excessive playfulness and the employment of devices not known to have been used by Jesus, the conducting of its unholy business under the cover of the darkness of night, and so on. What sort of example does this give our young ones endeavoring to faithfully serve Jehovah? The Bible clearly shows that ‘neither fornicators .. nor thieves .. nor drunkards .. nor revilers .. will inherit the Kingdom.’ (1 Cor. 6:9-11)