June 28, 2007

Lyric of the Week

Filed under: Music — Bob Gifford @ 9:17 pm

Eleven Months in the Bath of Dirty Spirits and Clean by Peter Himmelman from the album Skin

I’ve awakened in a strange room,
I’ve become a 43 year-old-black woman
And all the memories that comprised
what I thought was my identity are gone
And I’m thinking ’bout a child I never bore
I feel him suckling at these breasts I never had
And I’m singing him a song
I’ve never sung before

This must be the place where you learn
what you would not learn on earth
This must be the place where you learn
what you would not learn on earth

I’m standing in a coliseum where
500 million angels are laughing at me
And on a screen as big as the sky
the details of my life unfold
I swear I’d gladly have the skin ripped off my back
Than to spend another minute in the presence
of this life I have sadly thrown away

This must be the place where you learn
what you would not learn on earth
This must be the place where you learn
what you would not learn on earth

11 months in the bath of dirty spirits
If you wanna feel all grown up,
well I tell you brother you’re in luck
11 months in the bath of dirty spirits
We’re gonna have to clean the slate,
you can never come a bit too late
11 months in the bath of dirty spirits
We’re gonna take away the rust,
why don’t you come along with us…

Ooh can you hear the thunder
Up and down and back and forth and…
Ooh don’t it hurt to remember
Left and right and to and fro and…
Ooh hear the trumpets blowin’…
Jump and stand and kneel and pray

11 months in the bath of dirty spirits
If you wanna feel all grown up,
well I tell you brother you’re in luck…

* * *

devoid of any trace of tarnish
spotlessly correct
in whispers of sanctity
no illusions to project
No inhibitions, no defenses up
No need to rattle or to rule
I’m clean for the first time

beyond imagination
like the core of the blazing sun
distant from no one
consummately one
There’s no deception, no distortion here
Not a shade of something criminal or cruel
I’m clean for the first time

Clean for the first time
Clean for the first time

June 23, 2007

I'm Up

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:29 am



*rubbing eyes* How long have I been asleep?

Three months.

Anything happen?

Lindsey and Britney are in rehab. Paris is in jail.

Bush still President?


We’re still in Iraq?


Still torture, rendition, suspension of habeas corpus, warrantless wiretaps, signing statements and other assaults on the Constitution and the laws of the United States?



I’m going back to sleep.

June 22, 2007

Friday Night Dog Blogging

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:01 pm

In honor of the ancient blogging tradition, I give you Molly, staring at the object of her affections, her obsession, her reason for living: the tennis ball. Somehow the apparent scale of the tennis ball seems appropriate, at least as seen through Molly’s eyes. (Photo credit: Eric Gifford, my 13 year-old son)

June 19, 2007

Economic Analysis of Toilet Seats: Up or Down?

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:44 pm

From The Social Norm of Leaving the Toilet Seat Down: A Game Theoretic Analysis by Hammad Siddiqi:

If a female finds the toilet seat in a wrong position then she will most probably yell at the male involved. This yelling inflicts a cost on the male. Based on this omission, women may argue that the analysis in [prior] papers is suspect.

In this paper, we internalize the cost of yelling and model the conflict as a non-cooperative game between two species, males and females.We find that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat down is inefficient. However, to our dismay, we also find that the social norm of always leaving the toilet seat down after use is not only a Nash equilibrium in pure strategies but is also trembling-hand perfect. So, we can complain all we like, but this norm is not likely to go away.


(h/t Andrew Sullivan)

June 18, 2007

Lyric of the Week

Filed under: Music — Bob Gifford @ 6:36 pm

When I Was a Boy, by Dar Williams:

I won’t forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand
I said I was a boy; I’m glad he didn’t check.
I learned to fly, I learned to fight
I lived a whole life in one night
We saved each other’s lives out on the pirate’s deck.

And I remember that night
When I’m leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me it’s not safe,
someone should help me
I need to find a nice man to walk me home.

When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom,
Climbed what I could climb upon
And I don’t know how I survived,
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew.

And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too.

I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw.
My neighbor come outside to say, “Get your shirt,”
I said “No way, it’s the last time I’m not breaking any law.”

And now I’m in this clothing store, and the signs say less is more
More that’s tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me
That can help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat

When I was a boy, See that picture? That was me
Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
And I know things have gotta change,
They got pills to sell, they’ve got implants to put in,
they’ve got implants to remove

But I am not forgetting…that I was a boy too

And like the woods where I would creep, it’s a secret I can keep
Except when I’m tired, ‘cept when I’m being caught off guard
And I’ve had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way
To catching fire-flies out in the backyard.

And so I tell the man I’m with about the other life I lived
And I say now you’re top gun, I have lost and you have won
And he says, “Oh no, no, can’t you see

When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked.
And I could always cry, now even when I’m alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too.
And you were just like me, and I was just like you


June 16, 2007

Welcome to the New Digs

Filed under: Blog Housekeeping,Philosophy — Bob Gifford @ 2:36 pm

After blogging at Digital Business Strategy for awhile, I’ve decided to start up this, a more personal, blog. So the first question, of course, was picking a name.

The best blog names are clever without being pretentious. I couldn’t come up with anything clever, so I went for pretentious instead.

Latin is always good for pretentiousness, although not as good as Greek. Sanskrit is beyond pretentious, but a lot harder to come by. I settled for Latin.

Rene Descartes famously said “Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum”, meaning “I doubt therefore I think; I think therefore I am.” And I guess that’s fine as far as it goes, but it has always seemed a bit backwards to me. For me, the thinking comes first, and if I think long enough, doubt inevitably follows. By this I don’t mean an existential doubt like Descartes, or self-doubt or insecurity, but an appreciation of the ambiguity inherent in the world. If we are honest, we must admit that all of our opinions and conclusions in life must be provisional, awaiting another bit of data, experience or enlightenment to turn them upside down.

One reaction to this doubt is a kind of jaundiced cynicism, a belief that since nothing is certain, any sincerely held belief is merely naive. Well, I have many sincerely held religious and political beliefs, and I don’t intend to abandon any of them to cynicism.

Another reaction to doubt is to attempt to eliminate it. Since “cogito ergo dubito”, the elimination of doubt requires a refusal to think, or at least to think too hard about our cherished beliefs. But this kind of certainty is an illusion, and eventually the dikes will break and the water of doubt will come crashing in.

Instead, I embrace doubt and ambiguity, I surrender to it. Not that I won’t argue for my viewpoints as though they are irrefutable and certain, but it’s a good thing for the name of the blog to remind both blogger and reader that the opinions expressed here should be greeted with, first, critical thought, and second, doubt.

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