"You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point." (from "All About Eve," 20th Century Fox, 1950)

(I Dream of) Jingle Bells in June ♫

By Cyberquill 12/19/201410 Comments

Once again, it’s the time of year to dust off and post my homemade Yuletide carol.

May Santa forgive me.

Available on iTunes.

Thought Experiment

By Cyberquill 12/19/2014Leave a Comment

Ethnicities

You are single, and you’re given a trial membership for a dating site, whose members are organized into several categories, including race.

You are allowed to select your target sex and age range, but unless you upgrade for a fee, which you don’t intend to pay for the time being, you are restricted to browsing and contacting members of one ethnicity only:

Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native … Read More →

Of Goats and Men

By Cyberquill 12/09/2014Leave a Comment

Goat

Who’s more valuable, a human or a goat?

The answer seems obvious—but why?

Superficial features aside, both are made up of the same components. Both have eyes, ears, limbs, a brain, a spine, a nervous system, and a heartbeat. Both will feel … Read More →

Do Black Lives Really Matter?

By Cyberquill 12/08/2014Leave a Comment

Black Lives Matter

When Rudy Giuliani took the reins in New York City, the murder rate there plummeted to unprecedented lows.

Since blacks killed by other blacks form the lion share of murder victims, this reduction in black-on-black violence meant that black lives were saved at an unprecedented level.

Giuliani, of course, is being roundly assailed, including by the Big Apple’s present hizzoner, as an insensitive … Read More →

The Cosby Raped Me Show

By Cyberquill 12/03/2014Leave a Comment

Bill Cosby

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson terms “lazy brain” the practice of either accepting or discounting claims on their face. “What you should do is inquire,” he says.

But how do we inquire without our personal biases and preferred outcomes skewing our inquiry? … Read More →

The White Take on Ferguson

By Cyberquill 11/25/2014Leave a Comment

Ferguson

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Scanning the headlines on the latest developments in the wake of the grand jury’s failure to indict officer Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, I came across one that asked why it was so difficult for white people to understand Ferguson.

I didn’t read the article, so I haven’t prepped myself as to what those reasons are according to that piece, but … Read More →

Let’s Talk About Nothing

By Cyberquill 11/20/20149 Comments

Test card

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded—a storied event a.k.a. the Big Bang.

But how do you define “nothing”?

In the olden days, before it became de rigueur for television networks to air programming 24/7, flipping on the tube in the dead of night you might have seen a … Read More →

Between You and I: It’s Me!

By Cyberquill 11/11/20144 Comments

Grapo

The other day, CNN’s early morning weatherman explained that a particular meteorological metric (some wind speed or precipitation amount or whatever, I forget the context) “may not seem that much to you or I, but …”

I submit that he never would have said “may not seem that much to I or you,” not only to avoid coming across as an ill-mannered born-in-a-barn churl that likes to put himself first, but primarily because his linguistic sensibilities would … Read More →

Tire Tracks in the Sand

By Cyberquill 11/07/20149 Comments

Tire Tracks

Where there is life, there is death.

Not a day goes by that we aren’t flooded with tidings of lives having ended for one reason or another, many untimely. Scores killed in a suicide blast over here, a jetliner blown out of the sky over there, a bus full of children that plowed through a guardrail somewhere, school shootings, famines, Ebola, celebrity deaths, and on and on.

Too many to contemplate each one individually.

Add to the list the Grim Reaper’s ever-growing toll from within our own circle of relatives, friends, and … Read More →

Who “Wants” to Die?

By Cyberquill 11/05/2014Leave a Comment

Brittany Maynard

Some years ago, a distant in-law relative of mine, having just been informed by his physician that his cancer had recurred and briefed on the various treatment modalities available at this stage, declared that he didn’t wish to go on living “under these circumstances,” drew one final breath, and … Read More →

We the People’s Taxes

By Cyberquill 11/04/20142 Comments

A very good measure of how democratic a society is is to ask about the attitude towards taxes. I mean, if you had a free functioning democratic society, April 15th, when you pay your taxes, that would be a day of celebration: Here we are, getting together, to fund the policies that we decided on. That’s great. That’s what we wanna do. [But h]ere it’s a day of mourning. It’s not a government of, by, and for the people. You know, that itself is a sign of the serious decline of the functioning of the democratic system.”

Compelling and attractive as the above argument may sound at first blush, it appears to rest on a fanciful notion of “we” and “the people” as a monolithic entity, whose … Read More →

Catcalls, Evolution, and Online Anonymity

By Cyberquill 10/30/20144 Comments

Pounding the New York City pavement while tailing her undercover DP for ten hours, a callipygian young lady named Shoshana, garbed in formfitting black T&Jeans, reportedly scored a total of 108 catcalls (“This doesn’t include the countless winks, whistles, etc.”) from male strangers she encountered during her marathon stroll.

In general, catcalls are perceived as an unwelcome annoyance, but in this particular case they obviously were desired, the more the merrier, for the purpose of producing … Read More →

Why Forewords Belong in the Back

By Cyberquill 10/28/20142 Comments

Call me Ishmael.

American literature connoisseurs, whale aficionados, and those unable to disremember random factoids they picked up in high school or on Jeopardy!, will recognize the above request to be addressed in a certain manner as the opening line of a famous work of fiction.

That’s how the novel begins, and that’s how any book that says “Moby Dick” and “Herman Melville” on its front cover ought to begin.

Immediately following the obligatory front matter (publisher’s name and logo, copyright notice, if-you-purchased-this-book-without-a-cover disclaimer, etc.) the reader should encounter, without further ado, the first line of the material advertised on the cover, be it of the first chapter, or of some preface or … Read More →

The Fearsome Amphibrach

By Cyberquill 10/20/20142 Comments

Ebola

Describing the inadvertent albeit colonialization-facilitating import of infectious diseases to the Americas by the European invaders in the wake of the New World’s official discovery by Christopher Columbus, a 2002 article in The Atlantic, titled 1491, provides this somewhat disquieting observation in light of the current Ebola situation:

Brought to Mexico apparently by a single sick Spaniard, [smallpox] swept south and eliminated more than half the population of the Incan empire.”

So is karma being a bitch by having brought … Read More →

Blaming the Victim (Pt. 2)

By Cyberquill 10/18/2014Leave a Comment

Blaming the Victim

Suppose a woman asked you whether there was anything she can do to lower her chances of experiencing sexual assault—what would you say?

Would you tell her that the odds of her falling prey to some creep with impulse control issues are always 100% the same, regardless of her surroundings, behavior, physical appearance, or intoxication levels?

Or would you list one or the other factor within her control that might indeed skew the risk matrix toward … Read More →

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