Monday, August 15, 2011

Random Recall: Poison!

When I was thinking about the saying, 'the dose makes the poison,' I ended up remembering a show I didn't pay close attention to, but I was around for the Twilight Zone Twist at the end. I was pretty sure it was a more mundane episode of The Twilight Zone, but I couldn't find it on a list of episode summaries.

A married couple are taking care of an elderly mother (I think it might have been the wife's mother, but I'm not sure), but for money-related reasons like life insurance or expensive medical bills, they decide to kill her, and settle on poisoning her tea for the method. It takes far longer than they expected for her to die, so they increase the dose. After she does finally die, the family doctor makes a comment about her heart condition, and how she needed treatment by a certain drug, commenting on its reputation as a deadly poison, yet for someone with her condition, it's life-saving medicine at the right dose. Naturally, the drug in question was what they were giving her, unintentionally medicating her and extending her life instead of shortening it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Americans Elect

The Colbert Bump got me to visit Americans Elect, a site that's trying to get an idea of voter priorities so we can allegedly influence the two parties by telling them what we really care about, as well as direct people like me to candidates who agree on the issues.

I doubt it'll make much of a dent, but I figure it's better than just grumbling to myself. At least on the questions I've answered so far, I've been at or adjacent to the majority. Of course, the Colbert Bump might be biasing the results for today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quote of the Time Being: Secession

Normally, when someone makes a joke about letting Texas secede from the US, I tend to make a comment along the lines of, "Okay, but give me some warning so I can move out, first." But Vicki provides a good reason to never seriously consider allowing any nutty state to secede:

When you say “let them secede” you’re also saying “let them beat gay people to death, let them imprison women for having miscarriages, let them imprison poor blacks on dubious charges and then use them as slave labor.” They’re doing too much of that already: do you really think an independent, right-wing south wouldn’t be worse? Think about that runaway gay sixteen-year-old: they might manage to hitchhike or pay for a bus ticket to someone whetter, but they’re not going to have a passport to get them to what’s left of the United States.

Cynicism Dump

Politics was never one of my strong suits. There are plenty of areas of nuance and history that I haven't had the time or energy to wrap my head around. There are, however, some topics that seem pretty black and white to me. Take torture for example.

Torturing prisoners for any reason, including interrogation, should be self-evidently wrong, exposed whenever it's suspected, and it should constitute political suicide to be caught associating with, much less condoning, people who engage in torture. Even if something stops torturers from being put on trial, there should be a strong cultural pressure to shun those people and deny them any sort of aid or comfort. They should feel isolated from civilized society because they violated basic principles of conduct and embraced barbarism.

So, why do I feel like I'm in the minority in that attitude? It probably doesn't help that I live in Texas, where nearly anyone I meet could be a landmine of right-wing and/or theocratic insanity. My dad has to tiptoe a lot around work. Thankfully, he found out one of the newer employees is of like mind, so they can talk freely together.

I don't watch the news nearly as much as I probably should, and I keep lapsing on the Daily Show and Colbert report. I hope this is just a perception I inadvertently developed from leaving television behind for so long. If someone in the mainstream media's been trying to drill the administration for its abuses, let me know.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Short Rant: Diet Woo

Why is it that diet woos just automatically assume we're in favor of, or in league with the fast food industry?

Oh, wait, that's right: They're too scared and immature to deal with a complex, nuanced, and uncertain world, thus they make up a black-and-white fantasy world where anyone who isn't for them is against them. "Natural" versus "artificial", "poison" versus "panacea", "Mom & Pop (Inc.)" versus "The corporations", "alternative" versus "conventional", "Republicans" versus "Democrats", and so on.

They're so used to living in that false dichotomy fantasy that they can't grasp that there are often more than two sides to anything. They can't grasp the idea that someone could be in favor of broccoli and other healthful foods and NOT support their quack's crazy diet that just coincidentally happens to include broccoli for mystical, magical reasons.

If you reject vitalistic, naturalistic (fallacy), or astrological reasons to eat broccoli, that means you reject broccoli outright. It never occurs to them that there would be scientific reasons for it being healthful, as well as scientific reasons for avoiding an excess of fast food.

Hell, most of the ones I've met treat the act of splurging on one order of batter-fried food as if it would undo a lifetime of healthy living: Black or white, no grays, no colors, no moderation.