Why Read A Banned Book This Week?

Why Read A Banned Book This Week?

banned_books_weekThe answer here is simple. Because somebody, somewhere, is afraid of it. Because somebody, somewhere, is threatened by it. Because somebody, somewhere, wants you to be ignorant of it. It sounds aggressive when I describe it like that, doesn’t it? I hope so. One of my greatest fears is that I’ll be caught in a position that doesn’t afford me the option to learn and grow from an experience…and books are huge part of this.

Strangely enough though, for the first time, I’m taking a closer look at books that have been banned from schools and libraries in order to understand why exactly we would ever ban books.

What I am quickly finding is that the banned books are more often than not incredibly important and some were even required reading when I was in school. These were the books that provoked us and forced us to weigh in on ourselves morally…and somehow managed to become scapegoats for religious/political agendas. Of course this makes me want to read them even more. Go figure.

Having been a direct target of this kind of censorship, I have always reached instantly for those books that people find offensive so much that they burn them or ban them. What is in there that people fear so much that they would try to restrict and/or destroy it? Even with my proclivities, I don’t even find religious ideologies so repugnant that I would want them banned. I simply feel that it’s too important to have that knowledge available to us, with very little exception. I’ll argue this point even unto the science-fiction critics that complain about accuracy and pseudo-science. Imagination and experience are simply too important for us to narrow the scope of our available content.

I know where this argument takes us though, and I want to point out that I am certainly not saying we should have literature teaching people how to intentionally endanger or hurt one another, but books teaching us why people would want to do this would be incredibly important in my opinion. It seems to me that far too many people have taken it upon themselves to declare war on things they’ve only heard about, rather than relying on their own experience…something our government’s foreign and diplomatic policy could stand to consider as we continue to forcibly alienate more and more countries that are culturally incompatible with us. It’s not good enough that these cultures are oceans away, we must instead keep them so politically and personally hated that our perception of options isn’t to live and let live, but to suppress and eradicate. I simply find the situation strikingly similar to how people get themselves so stirred up over whether or not people have access to a book.

Is my allusion such a stretch?

I’ll try it on a different way. Despite a very crazy, abusive, and oppressive childhood…I managed to grow up into an extraordinarily moral individual. I owe so much of this to a list of books I couldn’t even begin to list out, but I will say this: many of them are on that banned book list. Some were actually required reading in school. I didn’t develop my values from reading only what I was told to…I learned from a whole world of philosophers and teachers, some religious and some not-so-much. I sometimes saw wisdom from despicable and evil people, and sometimes read how incredibly virtuous people could single-handedly sacrifice thousands in political posturing. The crazy, the scary, the imaginative…far too many of them incredibly insightful…restricted at libraries because someone ELSE didn’t like the contents. I learned a very strong sense of self, of right, of wrong, and how easily people deliberately convince themselves something morally horrible is acceptable in the name of a higher power that expressly forbids the act.

It pains me to think that maybe if people read more, they would have less time to convince themselves to act in such extremes, and have more time for the insight and inspiration that inevitably arrives from reading a good book…even one that might offend them.

Links to many of the banned books are below. Enjoy!

-Tony

www.ala.org

www.banned-books.org.uk

www.buzzfeed.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.time.com



Tony’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

m4s0n501

Hi guys, I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to get called out for the ice bucket challenge, but it happened yesterday! An old friend (Joel) called me out. Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is is a progressive degenerative nerve disease that wreaks havoc on those who suffer from it. ALS is something we can all do something about, even if it’s something as silly as dumping a bucket of ice water on our heads.

I will be calling out Aaron from @MOTORPHILIA, Michael from @Thinkmodo, and my good buddy Tyler.

Please donate and dump a bucket of ice on your head for good measure!

http://www.alsa.org/donate/

Thanks go out to Kevin and Ashton for helping cool me off with 5 gallons of ice water…



Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere
by Bullet for my Valentine

It’s so weird. How long ago doesn’t matter now…a few years back, I’d made a hard decision. It was the kind of decision you make when a potential relationship presents itself that looks completely like a fast road to a not-so-quiet grave. So when I said no, it never occurred to me that she saw “us” me as a way to break away from living in a bottle, rather than my impression that it was an invitation to spend the rest of our days looking through tequila-stained glasses. Of course, after pushing away from the relationship, we rarely spoke, and when we did she was harsh. It hurt to end such a long relationship/friendship (we’d met in college), but it hurt even more about a year later, when we’d found out she’d taken her life. Why doesn’t matter. What matters is this ominous feeling that I could have helped more, I could have not been oblivious, I could have not been such a hardass, I could have been the rope she needed to pull herself out of the rut she was in, rather than the rope she’d use to end it.

-T

(more…)



Schrödinger’s Cat jokes might not be funny anymore, or they might be…

schrodinger-catYaknow… Schrödinger’s Cat jokes used to be the type of thing us nerdy types would mention and joke about and see who among us made “the cut.” Now…it’s on memes and tshirts and such.

I mention this because it occurs to me that the demographic that was inclined to know this 20 years ago is in no way shape or form similar to the group of people familiar with the experiment today. Quite the opposite, and despite the fact that information and education are becoming more available exponentially every day, the average IQ globally has been falling, and those of us more inclined and/or dedicated to scholastic endeavors find ourselves surrounded by a demographic that can only be quantified by their ability to Google their data rather than experience it.

Why experiment when someone else has already made a video of it?

To me this is like saying why should I sing when there are so many other people that sing better? In my opinion it’s lazy thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, sensationalizing human intellect has given elevation to those of us that would have had to otherwise either be a successful politician, athlete, or entertainer. It’s given smart people the motivation and self-respect to continue rather than elect to conform or worse…act as if they hadn’t the intellect.

The fist time I saw a Schrödinger’s Cat tshirt I thought it was the most awesome thing since relativity…now, I see kids that don’t even know who Schrodinger was wearing the shirt because they saw it on the Big Bang Theory, and thus I am presented with the irony of the situation and the foundation of tonight’s ponderous issue…

It seems that at least on some level, it’s become more attractive to people to act like a nerd rather than to actually be one, and it makes my arse twitch.

Be better.

-Tony



Hello…you’re waving the wrong flag

flagI have this thing about flags. Specifically, despite all my criticism of our current government policy and leaders, I really hate it I see people protesting here waving another country’s flag. It doesnt matter which other country, it just drives me nuts that people are waving another nations flags in our streets.

Obviously I am not without reason on this, these people feel motivated enough to carry and demonstrate something that symbolizes their goals and/or outrage.

When I see the flags of other nations flying with thousands of people in the streets, I simply get the impression that these people are so effing unhappy or angry that they would raise another coutry’s flag. The impression to me is that they are saying they support another nation over our own…and I suppose this is where I draw the line.

Yes…we’re just talking about symbolism, but to me it’s a very big statement. Not insomuch that people are rallying against the US within it’s own borders, everyone should have that right, but to confront our own people, law enforcement, and/or military waving another country’s flag just makes my arse twitch. Why? Because i’ve always had the impression that that flags symbolism held enough meaning and hope that people would use it as their symbol when they want change or desire greater freedoms. To use another flag suggests a huge lack of confidence in your own country.

This is the impression I get when I see it, and it makes me want to lecture these people on why exactly this isn’t solving their problem/cause as much as it likely to be segregating it from what everyone that isn’t protesting feels.

Anyhow…end small rant. And yes, I am going to be writing lots more…there is simply too much stupid in the world for me not to comment on it. ;)

-Tony



It’s been a while…

It’s funny. Sometimes I wonder where my voice is, and then other times…well..other times it simply seems like there’s too much to scream about. I may a big dork, but this is the stuff of which my brain begins its long long journey.

I still love writing. I’ll never stop really, however I just looked at the site…and I could have sworn I’d published at least a few things in the last few months.

But alas…such is not the case after all.

I managed to stop writing, and this is part of my voice…and incredibly important part. Because I am one of those people that already know…not suspect…I actually know how unforgiving and relentless the internet can be…but I need to vent. That same voice that my friends can hear by only seeing my expression for a couple seconds. That same emotive conscience that bolsters my courage to improve and grow and try and take everyone important to me along for the ride just seemed to take a vacation.

I cant really say that I made any big life changes. My business grew a bit, I’ve gotten busier. I’ve had some hard choices and experiences…but who doesn’t?

Somewhere in there, I re-prioritized my need to talk…to rant…hell…I haven’t even published any recipe’s in ages. So it begs the question…what am I expecting now? My opinions on the state of the human race in general certainly haven’t budged…I let that one ride on its own as a potential revisit of some “No More Stupid” posts.

I’ve found that I am enamored by the people that have the cajones to believe in something other that their own financial prosperity. I still seek that inspiration, and I still wake up every single morning and laugh at all the people that don’t consider it a blessing to be alive.

Maybe thats what it is.

Thus ends my incredibly useless stream of thought in trying to discern the real reason why I haven’t written anything…because we all know I certainly should be putting more *stuff* here. Feel free to complain or rant. I obviously need the activity ;)

Tony



TonyTown.com - Our Deficit is still no good!

Why you should still be worried about our economy.

There is a link floating around on Facebook citing data from the CBO saying that the federal economy’s deficit is on a downward slope. The problem is that 5% of the real findings were taken out of context and if you’d read the whole thing, you’d know why none of the politicians are bragging about it.

Read the whole thing, it will be a quick lesson on economics and math and why you shouldn’t base your political leanings based on FB posts unless they cite real data…say…like the CBO’s findings. Which cooincidentally places blame on ALL of the politicians, not just your trusted party.

To give a sense of how much deficit reduction would be required to reach an illustrative target(not a recommendation!):Suppose that policymakers wanted to reduce debt from is current 73 percent of CDP to its 40-year average of 38 percent, and to make that reduction of 35 percent linearly over 35 years – that is, by 1 percent of GDP per year.

To achieve that goal with policy changes that phased in over time would require changes that save nearly $2 trillion over the coming decade.

Cept for one problem. WERE NOWHERE NEAR THAT AND SHOW NO EVIDENCE OF EVEN MEETING 10% OF THESE GOALS.

Please watch the full presentation HERE at CBO.GOV

So stop pointing the finger at Republican and Democrats, because we’re the ones that voted these guys in and let them ruin what was an economic titan.

-me



Shocking - Tonytown.com

The truth about the U.N. Arms Treaty – RTFM or STFU

Shocking - Tonytown.comSo I’ve been hearing about this off and on for over two years….that the UN Arms Treaty is signing away our right to bear arms. If you want the really short version: not in the least does it restrict U.S. citizens the right to keep and bear arms, it’s that simple.

Now if you need more truth…I’m going to summarize the UN Arms Treaty a bit so we can all rest easy and stop reading all the crazy articles that are telling you our freedoms have just been signed away.

1. In the very first page of the treaty it reads:
“Reaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control
conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or
constitutional system,”

2. Our trade restrictions and regulations for arms trade are already very strict, however the effort is made relatively moot by the existence of international brokers that are able to maneuver around U.S. trade restrictions legally. This treaty effectively obligates US states to participate in adopting trade regulations on par with the U.S. to prevent arms from being traded where member countries dont want them traded internationally, this is a good thing for countries whose citizens already have the right to keep and bear arms…but for the countries that don’t, this will choke the shit out of criminal organizations looking to reload and/or stock up.

3. The treaty places a trading oversight process that is ALREADY in effect in the U.S. but will be far more useful for other countries that are seeing human rights violations due to excessive access to arms. The treaty does not cover individual states commerce with its own people, with the exception of people already about to get their ass hung out for human rights violations.

4. There is a loser in all this. It’s the gun manufacturers, because even if new venues are found by the brokers, it will cost lots more to dodge multiple countries that just the U.S. regulations.

4. I totally understand if you don’t feel my words are enough, so I’ll just link the treaty here and leave you with some very sound words of advice:

RTFM OR STFU.

Oh, and have a GREAT Day

http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/docs/ATT_text_(As_adopted_by_the_GA)-E.pdf



LameTwitterMonkeyJackAss

My Friday…

LameTwitterMonkeyJackAssSoooooooooooooo…at a bout 2:30, I decided I was going to make myself stew in the slow-cooker. FOr anyone normal, this would have given the stew about 4-5 hours to be ready and yummy. But not me…here’s how mine went…

2:30 Got crock pot cleaned and ready.
Chopped Carrots.

2:35 Got sidetracked.

3:00 Got potatoes chopped and ready.
Chopped Green beans.

3:05 Got sidetracked.

3:45 got onion chopped.
Made sausage and crackers for lunch.

4:00 Got sidetracked.

4:30 Remembered I was prepping stew.
Saw Squirrel.

5:00 Remembered stew, chopped up sausage.

5:05 Fucking squirrel.

6:00 Remembered I was prepping a stew, chopped up the garlic.

6:05 Remembered I still had work to do.

7:00 I like my stew spicy, chopped some serrano, added salt n pepper. Back to work.

7:40 Turned the damn crock pot on.

7:45 Realized the damn stew wouldn’t be ready til midnight. Deemed blogable.

No joke…this happened…just another day ;)

-T



TonyTown dot com soups on

A little grocery rant…

TonyTown dot com soups onThis has been bugging me since yesterday. Last evening I went grocery shopping. Now my grocery shopping is pretty static unless there is an ungodly good sale on something. I spent a whopping $44, and walked away with nearly 25lbs of fruits and veggies, and…wait for it…nearly 3 pounds of meat, which accounted for $15 of the bill.

Normally, I would prep about 1.5lbs of these groceries a day for meals & whatever….so yes…give or take a couple days, this is nearly two weeks of food for me. It’s just bothering me that meat is sooo frickin pricey, and this wasn’t even the premium stuff, it was just sausage (which is like the cheapest meat you could ever buy). Maybe at some point I’ll take the drive out to one of the local suppliers and arrange a walkthrough to document the process.

We all know I am a far cry from a vegetarian. But I am pretty picky about my meats. I don’t like processed anything, and sausage is about the only “processed” anything I get nowadays, and thats only because I don’t have the room to make and store my own sausage (it isn’t hard or messy, just not feasible without significant cold storage).

So my question is…why is a meat product that probably costs less than $.50 to produce sold at $5.00 per pound?!

*ugh*