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June 25, 2007

Yet Another Rhetorical Question « Rhetorical Questions »

Is anyone actually reading this blog anymore?

Besides me, I mean.

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posted by Nathan on 12:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2007

Rhetorical Questions « Rhetorical Questions »

Will this flurry of posting continue?

Dunno. But while it lasts, it is nice to enjoy blogging again. I hope any readers who still come here also enjoy it, or former readers may notice the update notification in the blogroll and start enjoying coming here again.

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posted by Nathan on 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 17, 2005

Help Me Out, Here « Rhetorical Questions »

Why do I tend to get the words "latent" and "lingering" confused when I'm trying to describe things?

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posted by Nathan on 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
Courtesy « Rhetorical Questions »

Why must people pull out in front of you if they have no desire whatsoever to go any faster than five miles below the limit?

You know, in good driving conditions, driving below the speed limit isn't all that safe.

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posted by Nathan on 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2005

Don'tcha Think? « Rhetorical Questions »

Isn't Beauty and the Beast just about the most egregious case of Stockholm Syndrome that you've ever heard of?

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posted by Nathan on 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2005

Think About It (UPDATED TWICE) « Rhetorical Questions »

Did anyone actually ever listen to the Boomtown Rats?

UPDATE: I mean, on purpose.

UPDATE II: Related.

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posted by Nathan on 12:17 PM | Comments (3)

February 04, 2005

Musings (UPDATED) « Rhetorical Questions »

If I could meet an earlier self, the 18-year-old romantic with starry eyes and star-crossed soul, what could I tell me about life and love?

I would tell me that my view of love is wrong. That, yes, love is created through deliberate effort and caring and placing others' needs above your own; but you need something to work with, and sexual attraction is not enough.

I would tell me to take more time before making any decisions. Anyone is nice and caring when the love is new, for a short time. But the true person shows in glimpses and moments over long periods of time.

I would tell me to pay most attention to character. Someone who loves attention and parties and fun isn't someone to build a quiet life with. Someone who lies to their parents to avoid trouble will lie to you.

I would tell me that although I can talk myself out of trouble with facile words, it is better to admit error and apologize. Anyone who can't understand doesn't match with you; anyone who won't try to understand doesn't love you; and anyone who won't forgive isn't worth spending time with. To avoid finding this out after a serious commitment, revisit the second point once again.

I would tell me that it is better to have the right person than to have a person, and so by corollary it is better to remain alone than have the wrong person.

Would I listen?

Read More "Musings (UPDATED)" »

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posted by Nathan on 07:26 AM | Comments (5)

January 23, 2005

Is It Just Me... « Rhetorical Questions »

...or is Jared starting to get a little heavy again? Is he sticking to his Subway diet, or is he sneaking in some chips and non-diet drinks...?

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posted by Nathan on 06:17 PM | Comments (1)

December 28, 2004

So What, Exactly, is a Culture Blog? « Rhetorical Questions »

Because the three of them that are cited here all seem to have lots of socio-political commentary and even an essay or two, as well. Not to mention isolated cases of war-blogging.

I mentioned some movies I like and some problems with potty-training my daughter. Does that make this a culture blog?

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posted by Nathan on 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

December 01, 2004

Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii. « Rhetorical Questions »

I'm really starting to look forward to moving there next year.

Am I nuts?*

Or am I nuts for thinking I might be nuts because I'm looking forward to moving there?

Read More "Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii." »

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posted by Nathan on 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
Choices and Values and Priorities (UPDATED) « Rhetorical Questions »

Yesterday, I nearly told someone that if they found a cure for AIDS, my opinion of homosexuality would probably change somewhat.

I didn’t say anything, though, because I needed time to consider the ramifications of that idea.

You see, I realize that the HIV/AIDS issue is only tangentially connected to homosexuality. On the one hand, HIV/AIDS afflicts a wider population than just homosexuals, even in the United States. On the other hand, female homosexuals don’t really face a significant threat from HIV/AIDS.

But this morning I had a flash of insight that helped me understand my own reaction to the impact of a cure for AIDS.

It was related to the previous post on judgment. Before, I might have said I question the judgment of someone who would consider sexual intercourse important enough to risk their own health and life, and even more importantly, consider their own sexual satisfaction more important than their partner’s health and life. But with the idea that it really is foolish and unfair to question someone’s judgment, I had to try to understand it a different way.

If you have been reading me for very long, you’ve probably encountered some of my feelings about “Choice”. Remember, to me, “Choice” means “opportunity”, not “control”. And one other thing I believe but perhaps haven’t articulated: you can determine someone’s priorities by the choices and decisions they make. A corollary to that is you can determine someone’s priorities by the sacrifices they make. In other words, very few goals are impossible if you are willing to make the sacrifices to achieve those goals.

And so, if you turn this around to the original question, what does it say about a person’s priorities and values if they are willing die or kill for the sake of a certain type of sexual satisfaction? What does it say about the priorities and values of a person who, faced with an urge that is condemned by society and tradition, seeks to change society and tradition rather than change their own urge? What does it say about someone who places their own romantic desires above the needs and/or well-being of every other person in the nation? Are we, as a society, making a mistake by showing tacit (and not-so-tacit) approval for the immaturity of Romeo and Juliet (and Tony and Maria)?*

I’m not going to get into my own answers to these questions right now, and I don’t expect you to, either. In fact, I’m closing comments on this thread. I would like you to consider the questions for yourself, and most importantly, what this philosophical approach might mean in your life, regardless of your sexual orientation, because while the issue is coached in sexuality, the idea that your values are clearly demonstrated by what you choose, what you sacrifice, and what you risk applies to every aspect of your life. If you have something to say, you can email me at the address found in the sidebar about 3 inches above the little guy with wings. I’ll respond to civil comments and questions.**

Choices, values, and priorities, indeed.

Read More "Choices and Values and Priorities (UPDATED)" »
posted by Nathan on 08:28 AM

November 19, 2004

Huh. Who Knew? « Rhetorical Questions »

Did you know that Volkswagon used to make pickups?

I didn't.

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posted by Nathan on 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2004

Yet Another Thought « Rhetorical Questions » it just me, or is Susan Estrich demonstrating a major amount of willpower in successfully resisting the LSD-inspired impulse to brush imaginary cobwebs off her face?*

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posted by Nathan on 07:59 PM | Comments (0)
Another Thought « Rhetorical Questions » it just me, or does Tom Brokaw Peter Jennings sound relatively inebriated?

..relative to me, that is. Which would be "substantially" under normal circumstances, you see.

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posted by Nathan on 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

October 21, 2004

So I Was Wondering... « Rhetorical Questions »

...what do you say now when you really are planning to drop off actual chlidren off at an actual swimming pool?

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posted by Nathan on 09:25 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2004

So do you think untold masses of Democrat-voting women look at liberal candidates and think, "Mm-mm-mm! I'd like to abort his baby!"...?*

Read More "Hmmm..." »

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posted by Nathan on 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

Absolutely Positively the Last Definitive Post Regarding the 1st Debate Between President George Bush and Senator John F. Kerry « Rhetorical Questions »

Was it just me, or was anyone else half-expecting that George Bush would end one of his painfully long pauses by saying,

Read More "Absolutely Positively the Last Definitive Post Regarding the 1st Debate Between President George Bush and Senator John F. Kerry" »

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posted by Nathan on 04:00 PM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2004

More Controversial History « Rhetorical Questions »

Did you know that "Our glorious partners in Democracy" (Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang) brutally slaughtered 20-30,000 Taiwanese who objected to having their island taken over? And they didn't allow the native Taiwanese to participate in elections until 1996?

Inconvenient facts of history get glossed over to fit the script people want to believe.

Here's an interesting question: How many times has China been the initiator of military conflict over the last 500 years? How about 1000 years? How many times have they been invaded in that same time span?

At what point are the territorial boundaries of a nation "set"? For some reason, it seems to be "1955", but I'm curious about that attitude.

Who has to agree to allow a "re-setting" of national boundaries?

Why did the United States refuse to lend its weight to restoring territory stolen from China in the 1800s after China fought on the US-UK-France side in WWI? When we took away Germany's colonies in Asia, why did we give them to Japan rather than restoring them to China and Korea?

Do you know when the Viet Nam war started? How about right after WWII when the Western powers refused to listen to a delagation of Vietnamese who wanted their nation back? Maybe we could have avoided most of Asia turning to Communism if we had enforced the end of Colonialism at the end of WWII instead of turning a blind eye to the continued exploitation there by UK and France.

Why is it okay to declare war to seize territories in 1898, but not in 1951? What is Great Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands? Heck, what actually is the basis of United States claim to everything west of the Appalachians? (Hint: it begins with "Con-" and ends with "-quest". Will the United States ever give Hawaii back to the natives, since its annexation was pretty much a scam from the beginning?

Obviously there were some objections to the establishment of Israel...who got to decide that? Was it a majority of nations, or just the strongest?*

Does anyone know why the Soviets hated the United States so much? There was a pretty decent reason, you know...

Now, I'm not saying that cruel, oppressive behavior should be excused. Not at all. I am saying that every nation has its moments it shouldn't be proud of, and that refusing to recognize your own nation's mistakes is a good way to make sure they get repeated. I am wondering what standards people apply to the actions of other nations...when is it okay to "move on"? When is it okay to dismiss or ignore mistakes? If it tends to be self-serving (Well, it's okay when the US makes a mistake because our hearts are pure, but the filthy Chinese are Godless Heathens who shouldn't be forgiven for centuries, if ever), I want to know why. What is the standard for allowing a nation to rehabilitate its reputation? Only if it embraces democracy? What form of democracy? Aren't high tax and crime rates a form of oppression? A government rules only through the consent of its an extent. To what extent is a nation allowed to quell dissent within its borders? Was the violence at the Branch Davidian compound acceptable, or was it the sign of oppression (since they could have served the warrant against David Koresh on his weekly trip to Wal-Mart)? How about Ruby Ridge? Would a car bomb in Beijing styled after the Murrah Federal Building explosion be acceptable because it was directed against the Evil Communist Overlords?

Heck, why do we focus so much on 2-decade old sins of a China that is "Communist" in name only, and ignore the continuing sins of an actual Communist regime to its South (Viet Nam)? Why don't more people talk about the totalitarian military dictatorship in Rangoon (Burma)?

I've studied Asian history extensively, but perhaps someone else can point out some hypocrisies, double-standards, and controversies in other parts of the world? Say, Africa or Eastern Europe?

Read More "More Controversial History" »

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posted by Nathan on 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Further Evidence Most People Are Stupid « Rhetorical Questions »

Any time some group I'm associated with has a pizza party, I ask for Sausage and Mushrooms. Most of the time, I'm refused. "Nobody likes that," I'm told. "No one else ordered anything like that," they say. "We asked around and no one else said they would eat it," they insist. So most of the time, we're stuck with endless iterations of Pepperoni, Supreme, Meat Lovers, and Ham & Pineapple. The Usual.

About 10% of the time the expected order is large enough that I can convince them to go ahead and get one pizza with my favorite two toppings.

And you know what?

I often don't even get one piece, and it invariably is the first pizza finished. And the next time the same group has another pizza party, I have to make the same arguments over again.

Anecdotal evidence says Sausage and Mushroom is the darkhorse favorite, or the favorite no one wants to admit. I'm the one that suffers from the general unwillingness to recognize the superiorty of the Sausage and Mushroom pizza. People are stupid.

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posted by Nathan on 04:38 PM | Comments (8)

August 15, 2004

This Is So Wrong « Rhetorical Questions »

What am I talking about, you ask?

Check out the title of this article. I actually looked at it like three times before it hit me what was bothering me...

Read More "This Is So Wrong" »

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posted by Nathan on 07:31 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2004 should I just drop the puns? Does anyone hate them?

(a deeper, darker question: have I gotten so far into puns that I'm skirting the line of insanity?)

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posted by Nathan on 08:52 AM | Comments (10)

July 18, 2004

Intuition « Rhetorical Questions »

I've been washing dishes since I was old enough to reach the sink by standing on a chair...about age four, I think.

When I was about 8 or 9, I remember having a choice of a dish to use to make a sandwich: a wet one from the dishrack that I could dry with a towel, or a dry one from the cabinet. I took the dish from the cabinet.

I remember I was slightly puzzled by my own behavior. With my years of experience, I knew that the cleansing was in the washing. Drying was a natural occurrence, but nothing would make any real difference in just drying, right? So wiping it off with a dish towel would be the same thing, wouldn't it? Just sitting in the cabinet for a few hours doesn't make a plate more clean, right? But I still took the dish from the cabinet.

It wasn't until later, after the lessons of biology class sunk in that I realized that air-drying does make a difference, since there are all sorts of microscopic beasties that can live on moist surfaces, but few can survive drought. Thus, air-drying gave time for all these germs/bacteria/microbes/whatever to die off before you used the plate. Sure, washing got rid of most of those, and I probably would have been safe using the just-washed, still-wet dish.

I find it extremely interesting, however, that my first gut-reaction was accurate, despite having no knowledge of how it could be...

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posted by Nathan on 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

June 20, 2004

Hey, Wait a Second! « Rhetorical Questions »

The Clintons live in Chappaqua, right? And Teddy's waterloo was at Chappaquiddick, no?

...if I were Mrs. Clinton, I might start feeling nervous about roads near bodies of water...

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posted by Nathan on 07:42 AM | Comments (1)
Clinton Visibly Wasting Readers' Time « Rhetorical Questions »
Mr. Clinton confesses that his affair with Monica Lewinsky was "immoral and foolish," but he spends far more space excoriating his nemesis, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, and the press. He writes at length about his awareness that terrorism was a growing threat, but does not grapple with the unintended consequences of his administration's decisions to pressure Sudan to expel Osama bin Laden in 1996 (driving sent the al Qaeda leader to Afghanistan, where he was harder to track) or to launch cruise missile attacks against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan in retaliation for the embassy bombings in 1998 (an act that some terrorism experts believe fueled terrorists' conviction that the United States was an ineffectual giant that relied on low-risk high technology).

Part of the problem, of course, is that Mr. Clinton is concerned, here, with cementing — or establishing — his legacy, while at the same time boosting (or at least not undermining) the political career of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. He does a persuasive job of explicating his more successful initiatives like welfare reform and deficit reduction, but the failure of his health care initiative, overseen by Mrs. Clinton, is quickly glossed over, as is the subsequent focus of his administration on such small-bore initiatives as school uniforms and teenage smoking.

You can find this at The Drudge Report, too, if it requires a subscription., exactly, does Dan Rather justify giving the book 5 Stars?

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posted by Nathan on 07:32 AM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2004

Question for the Ages « Rhetorical Questions » why does Darby even have a cat, if he appreciates them so little?

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posted by Nathan on 10:44 PM | Comments (0)