SNL Characters Breaking

Pretty much the funniest thing in the world to me is when live sketch comedians break character. Jimmy Fallon—in his SNL days—was notorious for this. And then I found this two part series of SNL supercuts, and was glad for the web:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVtziVj2quQ

Chris Farley as Matt Foley just slays. RIP.

Found this one too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwybvgK71so

Thus Ends the Streak

If you’ve been reading here regularly, I’ve been writing a post per day since July 18th of this year, save my company meetup in October. This represents streaks of 86 and 50 days, good for 136 posts in 144 days.

But I’m giving up on posting every day, now. The point was never to post every day; the point was to write regularly, because I can’t be a writer unless I write. The streak is over for two reasons.

Firstly, it just started to feel too pressure-filled. I wasn’t enjoying it. If something is going to fill your time, you should enjoy it some of the time.

Secondly, the requirement to post every day had moved me towards link-blogging rather than, well, writing. I don’t have enough psychic space every day to write an essay, but that’s still what interests me.

I’m going to keep writing, but probably less frequently, and maybe not always here, either. Thanks for joining me in this experiment.

The Wolf at the Door

Climate change is an emergency, but it’s a slow one. The amount of carbon we’ve released—and continue to release—into the atmosphere is wreaking untold changes on our planet. And yet years of prophesied doom has given the warnings a bit of a boy-who-cried wolf aspect. We’re supposed to be in danger, but things seem pretty normal, right?

And then I saw the unprecedented smog in Beijing, and I felt that the sci-fi dystopias of the distant future had suddenly arrived now. From the BBC:

Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted after the Chinese capital was issued with its first ever pollution “red alert”.

At 07:00 local time on Tuesday, the air pollution monitor operated by the US Embassy in Beijing reported that the intensity of the poisonous, tiny particles of PM 2.5 was at 291.

The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms per cubic metre to be a safe level.

The photos could be in Blade Runner. The wolf isn’t at the door, it’s in the house, and we’re hoping it will go away if we keep our eyes screwed tight.

All About ISIS

I’m pretty hesitant to link to anything about ISIS-related, since anything that perpetuates fear plays right into their hands, and into the hands of those who would exploit that fear to get us to agree to all kinds of curtailments of our rights and freedoms in the name of safety.

But, one antidote to fear is knoledge, and I found Vox’s 18 Things about ISIS you need to know quite helpful in that regard. They’re weak, and they’re losing ground.

The Source of Violence

There’s been a lot of violence in the world lately, but most of it hasn’t been in Paris or Colorado Springs or San Bernadino. No group is better at inflicting violence than militaries, since that’s what they’re there for. The best possible outcome of a standing army is the threat of violence, but what good is that threat without exercising it on occasion?

The Dalai Lama has pretty insightful thoughts on the reality of war:

Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.

Strong words that I completely agree with. This bit on the military threat to democracy is also cutting:

There are people with destructive intentions in every society, and the temptation to gain command over an organisation capable of fulfilling their desires can become overwhelming. But no matter how malevolent or evil are the many murderous dictators who can currently oppress their nations and cause international problems, it is obvious that they cannot harm others or destroy countless human lives if they don’t have a military organisation accepted and condoned by society. As long as there are powerful armies there will always be danger of dictatorship. If we really believe dictatorship to be a despicable and destructive form of government, then we must recognize that the existence of a powerful military establishment is one of its main causes.