Page 1 of 1
Pavilion Digest: October 2008
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:21 pm
The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of October 2008.
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:21 pm
The last 12 hours over on the other board have been filled with engaging discourse in hard science, and we're all learning so much over there. We should share the stage with those few here who normally don't visit the board:
Just the other day I saw a damn intriguing PBS documentary, which featured a complex study of the tribal and violently hierarchical nature of baboons; of all the lower primates, the baboons, it seems, shares more with human nature than any others.
A researcher studied baboons for years. He found that, as with humans, social status affects their stress level. It is true for all primates, humans included. But the dominant male baboons ("alpha males") in particular seem to assert their status - to the point of deadly suppression - far more than, say chimps, apes, and certainly orangutans. Yet, the dominant males holding highest rank are far less likely to exhibit stress than their subordinate troop-mates, which was evidenced by the increased presence of stress hormones in the subordinates' blood.
Then a startling and fortuitous discovery: The troop's alpha males all died of tuberculosis, which they got from tainted meat in a dumpster belonging to a nearby nature lodge (note that ONLY the dominant males were "permitted" access to the food; all others sat outside the area) - the remaining males did something unheard of: they were nice. More to the point, they weren't aggressive toward subordinates; suddenly, being a subordinate didn't feel worse than being dominant. The troop as a whole became more harmonious; as rank became less related to quality of life, the baboons who were lower on the totem pole were able, simply put, to chill.
The model really struck me. How do WE survive human hierarchy? From economic status (and apathy) to political power, each of us respond with proportionate resistance to these specific pressures; whether we are responding emotionally or by calculation, we know we must in order to survive the codes of our society.
This seems to be one of the most fundamental territorial mechanisms inherited from our primate ancestors. Yet, oddly, as we evolved into hunter-gatherers, our tendency would be to plunder and tear from the environment everything we could rather than merely apportion for survival. I think this is what evolved into the modern concept of human greed; I think this greed is a distinct factor in the daily stress modes many of us experience; and I think this "stress mode" determines how we, in turn, act toward those of lesser means.
It's a feature that makes us deadly and contemptible as a species.
Now, let us have a look at this behavioral trait in a lab test:
Here we have Steve Barber. A wealthy Wall Street investor who very much wants the corporate bail-out to go thru, even though he was otherwise against government welfare for those less fortunate. The years have been good to him and he hasn't time to worry about anyone else.
I, myself, hold the humble rank of the unemployed. Drowned in bills, evicted from my apartment, and deprived of hand-outs wherever I may walk. It's just another bad day, and so many foot taps before I finally seek out the tallest building in the area.
Frank volunteered to play the role of a Cliff Clavenesque mama's boy living at home, with no bankable skills to speak of, since he's never had to work, and hasn't a cent in his pocket because his parents aren't rich. He simply has a roof over his head, with no real obligations to face each day. For HIM, one day is like the next. Adventure or sleep is his invariable option.
So...while Steve stokes my anger and resentment by supporting the system for his own interests at MY expense, I, in turn, have finally found someone I consider my hierarchical inferior. Thus, for my own sense of dominance, by what we've come to define as HUMAN, I lash out at Frank to make him feel inferior and ashamed of what he is. I ABUSE him so that I can feel better about myself. And, indeed, for my own purposes it seems to work.
Then, one day, a mysterious plague descends from the sky removing ALL power brokers from the earth. No longer do they dictate the order of things. With this element entirely removed, my guess is we would see the same social phenomenon in the human race as we saw in that tribe of baboons.
My hypothesis: the control for power is not so instinctual as it is instilled by social condition.
The problem: we've no such "miraculous" plague at our disposal.
Conclusion: We will either have to endure ourselves or ultimately perish as the uber-destructive species that we are.
...You've no idea how depressed that makes me feel.
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:28 pm
um...that is, "the BABOON (society), it seems, shares more with human nature"
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:07 am
R.I.P. Oliver Crawford - writer
Rob: Power structures are all over the animal kingdom and definitely not "instilled by social condition". Glad I missed one more of your "engaging discourses in hard science" over in the forums. Also glad you don't have plagues at your disposal to test your theories. If you're depressed try some chocolate.
Houses as investments
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:13 am
KEITH: Unless you find yourself in a situation where you have to sell your house and the market is suddenly fucked up and you end up barely selling your home (even though it had recently been remodeled outside and in) before moving, ending up with, say, $3000 in profit.
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:21 am
Jan Schroeder Source:
Dennis wrote: "There are signs up in neighbors' yards about 'saving the family'. I'm open to suggestions about what to do about them."
Get your own sign. There are some already designed at http://signs.cafepress.com/prop-8_outdoor-signs
(along with some that probably already appear in your neighborhood) or you can upload your own design. If I were in CA, I'd ask Steve Barber if I could borrow his "Finding love in this world is cause for celebration, not legislation." and plaster it all over the place.
Harlan Story Mentioned on BBC Radio
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:21 am
Rob Ewen Source:
One of our national treasures, Jonathan Ross, made a passing reference to DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND on his BBC radio show last Saturday.
In referring to the concept of computer data storage, he waxed lyrical on THE OUTER LIMITS, the story of DEMON and the appearance of Robert Culp. Admittedly, Ross was slightly skewiff on the plot details, but least he gave the show a mention. You can find it at 1 hr 51 mins in at the following website until Saturday am:
And if anyone wants to thank JR for his reference, his email is as follows:
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:23 am
The handwriting was on the wall I suppose. They had been having financial problems and had closed one of their stores last year but it was still a shock to find out this morning that venerable independent Washington bookstore chain Olssons has closed up shop.
I certainly feel sad for the owners and employess. Not a good time or an economy in which to be unemployed. But if a little selfishness is permitted I feel sad for the readers in this area too. The world is a little dumber and bleaker than it was yesterday. All we are left with are the supermarkets.
1972 - 2008
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:32 am
Theres always Amazon (and their cute little toy Kindle)
But of course if anything these days involves clicking more than twice to get ANYwhere...the average American won't know about it (nor care, most times)
I hear Borders is in trouble as well(perhaps if they'd join the rest of the world and offer discounts on books they could stretch out their fate)
But yeah, the "unseen" who want to keep all of us "dumbed down" sure seem to be winning
Makes me wonder sometimes why I am still trying to be a full time writer
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:02 am
Name: Jeff R.
I don't know where you live, but, here in Philadelphia, Borders has quite a few discount programs going at all times. Also, if you special order an in-print title from them and it dosen't arrive within seven days, it's FREE(!!!) when it does finally come in. I got a fifty dollar title absolutely gratis that way, thanks to that wonderful promotion of theirs.
homos, sweet homos
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:25 am
Name: David Loftus
Save the family . . . don't squeeze into the same narrow template.
Save the family . . . one size doesn't fit all.
Save the family . . . vote for love, not regulation.
Save the family . . . take care of your own.
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:13 am
Boy did you miss the freight on THAT one! I mean on EVERY level.
Prop 8 = Manson Family Values
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:27 am
Name: Keith Cramer
Sucks about Prop 8. It's the same tactic Karl Rove used in 2004 to get the Theocrats out to vote for Bush. People who are going to come out for this, are going to pull the lever for McCain/Palin.
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:31 am
Name: Steve Barber
KEITH - I feel your pain. My own retirement is down some $10K in the last two weeks. (I'm partly shielded by virtue of having been financially nuked twice previously -- Tech Meltdown 200 and Bernie Ebbers 2003.)
I may end up not retiring until after even Harlan does.
SUSAN - Apologies, but would you mind posting the website for the group doing the Ellison Collection Poster Auction?
This is why I love Obama and why he is reviled by the Fundamnetalist crowd:
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."
Polls are indicating Obama is extending his lead nationally. This is too volatile an election to "call it", but the trend is a good one for the country IMHO.
Too many people have lowered the expectations for Palin in tomorrow night's debate for her not to do better than expected.
Given what has now been released as the format -- no interaction, simple 90 second sound bite answers -- she will hold her own unless she tries to "explain" something. The format is expressly non-confrontational, so she won't get rattled.
Saw another "Yes on 8" commercial last night. Less loathsome than Dobson's, but still remarkably narrowminded.
Geno-erotophobic homophobia anyone?
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:28 am
Can't say I am surprised by the death of Olsson's. Their Arlington/Court House store, once a block long and at least that wide, was recently chopped in half and is now only slightly larger than an airport bookstore. So there was some writing on the wall, so to speak.
Doesn't make me any less sad, though.