I walked out on the rabbi's sermon tonight. I came back in for the last part
of the service, but I got about three quarters of the way through his sermon
before I couldn't stand it and walked out. If any one had asked me I would have said
I felt ill and needed to go to the bathroom. I even hid in the ladies room lounge
for all of five minutes. The rabbi hit too many straw men that came alive. European
newspapers, the campaign for divestituure due to Israel's awful (and it is awful!) human rights record etc... were all compared to Haman. Haman is on a par with
Hitler not folks who oppose Zionism in the press or in their pocketbooks. Come on
rabbi, a sense of proportion would be nice. Also,the Palestinians are monotheists and respect for human life is hardly what it is all about in the Bible. The God
who upholds the sanctity of human life had no problem with sending the Hebrews who were returning from captivity in Egypt in as an invading army who wiped out whole cities, slaughtering women and children as collateral damage. Yes, I've read the Book of Deuteronomy.
Anyway, the rabbi and the speaker we had a couple of weeks ago also talked down
the Babyloninan creation myth which is juicier and more fun than the one in Genesis ever could be. I realized that paganism has a whole lot to recommend it. The only problem is I can't see myself worshiping multiple gods. The Hindus get around this by saying that all the gods are faces or facets of the one great god. I know that some pagan traditions have deities or powerful spirits that deal with the darker aspects of experience. Instead of making them devils, they are part of the family/pantheon. As a spiritualist this makes sense to me. I asked my spiritualist mailing list, Cbaskemail@example.com to send me suggestions for reading matter so I could learn something unbiased about paganism since I don't know squat.
So we need a mast head! We haven't had one in several days and there is no way I'd forget! Here it is. It was WORTH IT to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It was worth it to do as I did, be who I am, and say what I said, though I was politer
than I should have been until they kicked me out. Then I gave them what for. I wish there was a way to give them more. I don't believe in letting go and moving on which is why I have my play pretend Brainstorms which rocks and which beats the pants off the original. Onward and upward with a song in my heart and a lightness in my step. Passion and joy are the rule here rather than irony and whit. Woo-hoo. Shout it out loud and proud!
Well, my Neopets shirts arrived today I have no idea of the weather in Atlanta. I would love to meet other Neopians in the flesh. I am curious what they think of the fact that I have four painted pets and am building the showplace of Neopia. It costs a lot to furnish a house. There are many empty houses in Neopia. There are also very few (Way fewer than you would expect) pets painted with either less expensive brushesor morphing potions. The starry garrl or white grarrl morphing potion are both buyable (under 100,000NP) yet starry grarrls and white ones are exceedingly rare. There are by contrast a fair number of lupes painted fire or fairy or even baby (Yes, that is a color). What gives? There are Neopians wealthy enough to to trade in paint brushes (Just go hang out on the Trades and Auctions board. They monopolize that place.) and to have the lab map 450,000NP. There are also Neopians who can not afford a single low end paint brush or a suite of good quality furniture (which costs about the same if you buy a matching set of the fancy stuff). There is not all that much in between. The Lawrence curve in Neopia is badly bowed.
Is this a good thing? Well one can say it is only pixels, but we all know how valid that statement is. Neopia is also a community, a society, a world and because it is so large, it deserves public scrutiny. Those starting Neopia perhaps wanted to create a fun game and DID NOT set out to build a good societ. As a result, they have a very bad society. Cooperation is difficult. Beyond trading and Neomails, it usually involves sharing accounts which means that the partners can and frequently do stab one another in the back or share with another third party who does a job on them.
Cooperation can also, theoretically involve breaking the Neorules in the worst way, by one party hiring another to work for Neopoints. For example, I can both code html and remotely load images. Player B hires me for a set number of Neopoints to make her a userlookup and mount the images. I do the work, send her the code and mount the images. Then I place a junk item for sale in the trading post at a time when we are both online. She offers my salary plus another junk item and the Neopoints change hands. All Neopets sees is a junk trade for a very good price, or if this kind of a trade raises red flags (and it ought to though maybe it doesn't) the person whom I working for can pay me an expensive item or we can have an expensive item change hands and then come back to me as a gift to make the trade appear proportionate. This all takes way more trust than I have with any one on Neopets. Remember, Neopets number one problem is anomie.
Then we have the fact that Neopets restricts upward mobility in one of the most
basic ways. You can only play the games of skill three times per day. Games of skill are really Neopia's best money maker. They do not make pets sick. The house never wins. You always make a clear profit. The only problem is most people have a handful of games that agree with them. When they are done with these, that is it for making money each day. It is time to go to the bank and keep it from burning a hole in your pocket. Even for an industrious Neopian who resists gambling and idle spending, there is a financial brick wall.
Now if I rememer my Econ 101 (That's macroeconomics folks) there is a good reason for the brick wall. Games of skill create money. They cost nothing to play and pump money out. If players can play them as much as they like all day long, then there will be a lot more money in circulation. Prices will rise as increased money supply fuels demand and soon the money in ciruclation will be worth less. This theory relies on the fact that players will not bank their Neopoints as they save for big ticket items. They don't do it now even with the restriction. Why should they do it when they can make more NP. No one on Neopia has to pay very much to feed their pets and there is no rent or tax so everything one makes, one can save. I don't have to tell you that Neopia's savings rate is not even close to fifty percent.
What would a good online society look like. It would have some means to encourage cooperation and leadership. A help center where Neopians working there are paid in Neopoints might be a good idea. It would have a rule against gouging in stores. Simply set maximum prices for items. There are guilds where there are common accounts for money and precious items, not a personal account shared between parties. Clans/Guilds where there are persistent boards wold also help. More space for personal expression and a better free speech policy as well would ease the drive to get and spend and help Neopians get to know each other better, thus enhancing cooperation rather than endless competition. Also Neopians should be able to play games as often as they want. Most will get bored before doing it too many times but let those who want to work make an honest Neopoint.
Finally, I'd have a jubilee once a month and let any one paint their pets any color that is listed and I'd add half a dozen more just for fun. Alternatively, one could have to earn a jubilee ticket by doing a variety of reasonable community tasks during each month. On Jubilee day one redeems the jubilee ticket for either a paint job or training. The Jubilee ticket would not be something one could trade or sell. Any one willing to do the tasks which would be publicly posted could have a Jubilee ticket.
Ticket tasks might involve donating items, writing to your penpal (You could get a pen pal at the pen pal booth), working in the help center, uploading a graphic to the graphic bank, making suggestions, and other cooperative community building activities. It might work. One never knows. I'd like to try it.
Well here it is 1am and the blog is lopsided again. That is OK. The cyberculture side gets heavy sometimes. Somehow I made it to the end of the week. I taught Biol2285 today and had an interesting topic donated by a student who had been taught in a psychology course by one of my colleagues coming in to do a one class bibliographic instruction workshop. The topic was "female spiders who devour their mates." which ultimately morphed into "canibalism in animls" and "cannibalism AND spiders.&qot;
All the students got to go home with their GALILEO passwords which made them happy. I walked out of that class feeling energized. I think I had a class of actually interested students. That is a small comfort.
Somehow I also found a source for biology book reviews. Actually I should have found it long ago, but I work at Columbus State and not under Polly Miller at Sci Tech at Syracuse. It is the Quarterly Review of Biology. It is old fashioned and fun. I love book reviews written by scientists and physicians. The reviews are full of emotion and fun and the Quarterly Review of Biology is old fashioned. One section of its review area is called "For Tyros and Laics." I knew a tyro was an amateur but I had no idea what a laic is. A laic is a lay person. As a science librarian and interested memeber of the general public, I am a laic. Well it is laics who get big book budgets every now and then. There is now a huge pile of biology book order slips in my office at work. They include everything from biochemistry and molecular biology to evolution to all manner of zoology and botany. I sort of wanted to cover all the bases.
I went to schul tonight and ate way too much from the oneg table. That is the snack table and they had home made vegetarian chopped liver which was delicious. This was not my mother's "milchig chopped liver" which is marinated eggplant spread (Yummy!) this is a concoction of nuts, eggs, canned peas, cracker crumbs and sauteed onioons. It was delicious. I guess it was my dinner.
I want to go to Atlanta tomorrow, but I still have no idea what I will buy or when I'll leave. I am going to look and see if the Eyedrum Gallery still has the exhibit with the shacks for homeless people. I belive the Eyedrum is open on Saturday afternoons. It is near the E2 MARTA stop.
I know I need tea (or will before I can go to Atlanta again.), olives (really good ones), honey roast peanutbutter from the machine, and then it would be nice to have beetroot, winter squash one more time, daikon, blood oranges, uglifruit, and watercress, chard, or fancy bok-choi. You get the idea. I'd also add fingerling potatoes to the list and/or perhaps some fresh oyster mushrooms for making kidney bean and mushroom barley soup.
I also have to tactuflly figureout how to ask a less fortunate neighbor for some
of the money he owes me. I am a soft touch. I can't see not being generous. It is
my money to save, blow, give away etc... I would, however, like to see exactly to whom I gave it and if he has the same moral fiber or lack thereof as the woman he had the misfortune to marry. Madame Mooch, this gentelman's son to be exwife is doing time in the county jail for shoplifting.
Anyway the shack exhibit is still at the Eyedrum so I guess I might go there.