Feb 99

forced words

rob never did relax
but then cars rust
milk goes bitter on a spring day
hot wax leaves skin red & aching
and he recalls weak moments
when he could only run away
using a shadowy road
crushed by his god

Feb 99


evolution’s a strange theory. how an educated, wealthy white british subject could possibly think to be descended from apes is beyond me. of course, he was right, but how he could have gotten to the root of evolutionary theory from his perspective is the most amazing thing sbout darwin’s work.

evolution, and its opponents – though to say someone is an opponent of evolution sounds like i am suggesting they don’t want to breed – are a particular passion of mine. those people who feel threatened by what, after all is said and done, is only a theory, make no sense at all in their assertions that evolution does not, cannot, will not ever happen.

they think it discounts their belief in god, or whatever diety they personally believe in, to think that the world is a changeable place. in a logical sense, no, evolution does not imply that there is no god. logic has plenty of proofs of that without bringing up evolution. of course, if people could think logically for themselves, then they wouldn’t be so vocal about their religious beliefs.

i put it to them this way: does a son resemble his father? does a child inherit traits from his parents that are not learned?

if the mother had chosen another man over the child’s father with whom to copulate, then the child would be different, right? more like the father that the mother chose?

so, if a man has some trait that women find undesirable, and he never fathers shildren, then that trait will not get passed on, where the attractive man will have more children, and so his traits will be passed on.

repeat that a million times, for a million generations, and you have a species that is made up of only attractive traits, and unattractive, unsuccessful traits will have disappeared. the human race of today.

except it’s not that easy with humans. intelligence evolved in humans because monkeys needed to be smarter than the tigers that would otherwise eat them. smart monkeys lived long enough to have smart babies. but what do we do now that there are no tigers?

intelligence is more of a burden to us, in evolutionary terms anyway, then a boon. since it seems that the intelligent ones among us have fewer children. in fact, the trend seems to be toward the poorer, less intelligent, less evolutionarily sound individuals that have more children.

whole litters sometimes. and why? because they can. it takes no money and little effort to get a woman pregnant who is fertile and willing. and any 12 year old boy can father a child – it was an advantage for men when the average lifespan was 30. since of the invention of contraception, though, women have been able to pick which of their mates even has the possibility of impregnating them. but then, that’s only the women that are smart enough to use contraception, who can afford it, and who know, and can anticipate the consequences of having a child.

those that don’t see the consequences, or just don’t care, are the ones forcing the trand of our evolution away from breeding for intelligence.

next time: enforced contraception and the plow

Feb 99


well, the site is slowly coming together. our first few rants are in the archives, and our first guest ranter – mark – has come on board. expect to see more of his philosophical rambling soon.

also, the rantback system is starting to work. so far, if you leave a rantback message, it shows up on the main page. i’m working out how to have the same happen with archived rants/rantbacks.

anyone who stumbles on this site, and feels like sponsoring a banner ad or two, please email mentalhygiene@mindspring.com (i know – a mail exchange is coming soon, so i will have @mentalhygiene.com email soon for all the guest ranters)

any suggestions or comments -even tirades of your own- are welcome either in rantbacks or in email.

Feb 99


some people, when seeking out human contact, get a haircut.

it’s primal, even monkeys do it. the manual stimulation of the scalp actually releases brain chemicals giving pleasurable and calming sensations.

seeing as i was looking a little shaggy, i decided to get a hiarcut today. in my youth, i had good experiences with barbers – they knew my name, and i could go to the barber and know that i would get the same man to cut my hair every time. they even knew that, when i walked in, i was waiting on him, and not the next available.

in the good old days, i used to get my hair cut, a good conversation, asked about my family and friends, caught up with the barber’s family, and a generally relaxing experience. even the customers waiting in the lobby would chat and catch up – seeing as we tended to go to the barber at the same time each week or so and meet the same folks every now and then.

personal relationships with customers, male customers anyhow, are not as easy to come by these days. it took years to find and cultivate a good relationship with a good barber. these days it’s damned near impossible.

anyhow, i strolled into the starbucks of barbers, great clips, and stated my name and phone number. despite the fact that they have my name, credit card, and other vital information in their national database, they still have to ask me how i want my hair cut. this is probably due to the fact thet i never see the same person twice in there. it’s like they rotate the beauty college dropouts every few weeks for a fresh batch. or else they drop off due to poor working conditions and inhaling too many toxic fumes. how do i want it cut, they ask?

just like it is now, but shorter.

i’m not a coffee drinker, but i know a few hardcore addicts, and from what i gather, the coffee at starbucks can’t hold a candle to a cup-a-joe’s or jittery java, or some other hole in the wall where they roast, grind, and spit in the coffee personally. in a mass-produced, production line coffeehaus, employing college students for minimum wage plus tips, they can’t compete at the product level with the owner operated, low budget beatnik cafe, who employs the caffiene hounds, punks, rude boys, and goths that any respectable employer turns down.

and so it is with great clips

so they only charge ten bucks for a haircut, but what shoddy merchandise! and how do they train their stylists – because god forbid you think they’re just barbers anymore, they have to have a degree. some kind of license to practise upon the human head with chemicals and implements of torture.

i ask for a simple haircut, short on the sides and back, only a little longer on top, because, frankly, i suspect it’s getting a little thin up there. it’s sort of a u.s. marines, retired, look. i have to know the number of the clipper guard they use on the sides, or else i look like a fool.

you know those fleshy things sticking out the side of my head, miss? yes. my ears. please try not to lop them off while you’re grinding the clipper into my head.

and when i ask for the top a little flatter, so as not to look like a conehead, she has to call over another, more experienced, minimum wage plus tips colleague to do ‘this flat top thing’

so i don’t bother to ask her to straighten out my sideburns, because last time i did that, the girl tried to shave them off instead of trimming them. so now i look like some psychopath, with a bad, uneven johnny unitas haircut and joe namath sideburns.

and she expects a tip?

Feb 99

does it matter?

so i was writing this really short story about victor timothy. i tend to do that sometimes. in this one he’s a character whose job is to sit in the middle of a room. that’s it. and the room’s size, and even existance, seems to change sometimes. and his thoughts develop, and evolve, and wander, and move in different directions, often contradicting other thoughts and killing them off before they develop further. kind of like the way the world is. in fact, it got into my mind once i’d written it that maybe that is the world. and everything in our individual basis of reality is just a thought coming from somewhere else. this would include ourselves, but still, everything we think of is its own reality. therefore, branches of the previous thought. in this case, every thought would create a reality, in which there’s an infinate number of thoughts, creating an infinite number of realities, like a dome that starts from the top and follows a parabolic curve into infinity. but thinking of a past creates that past, and a thought of the future from that past creates a future, therefor making a gigantic loop, or meshwork, of thought. we all create eachother every moment by thinking of eachother, for at the root of it all everything is one thought. and since all is thought, other than The Thought there is no matter.

i could be wrong, and i am, but i’m also right.

think about it.

there. proved me right.


Feb 99


the separation of church and state, at least in this country, is a myth.

granted, it’s a great goal to work toward – the complete non-reliance of the governing, legislating bodies on any single religious, moral code.

governing shouldn’t be about morality or any kind of philosophical pandering anyhow, it should be about protecting the state from harm – whether that harm comes from within or without. to that end, legislation should protect people from one another, and protect the rights of individuals from being infringed upon, and no more.

individuals must be able to make up their own minds as to what is right and wrong for themselves. only if a person’s action infringe upon the freedoms of another, or causes harm to someone else, then those acts should be punished in a manner befitting the crime.

my macchiavellian babbling aside, the most apt example of how religion and the state are still inexorably linked is in the institute of marriage.

marriage is no longer about love. if it were, then two people could make vows to one another to be forever faithful and caring of one another, and leave it at that.

and it’s not about procreation anymore either. the idea that, to have children, one must first be married, is not only out of date, it’s out of touch with reality.

so, what is marriage about? it’s about money. taxes, particularly.

if you ask the u.s. government, anyway, that’s all that matters. marriage is the institution where two people come together and pool their assets, talents, and dependencies, and file a joint tax return. there are other benefits, too – insurance, health care, etc. but mostly, marriage means two people can be treated as one. simplify. simplify, simplify.

so, why are marriages still held at churches? why are they usually overseen by ordained clergy of one faith or another? because the church has this crazy idea that marriage is an institute created by God, ordained in the bible.

of course, marriage has been around in many forms since well before the bible was written, and in cultures who have never even heard the Word. men have coupled with women, typically one to one, typically until one of them dies, and typically in order to be sure that the one is the father of the other’s children. the judeo-christian corporate conglomerate that thinks they rule the western world also thinks they have some kind of stake in marriage.

and that’s why it’s still not recognized by law when two men decide to love one another forever, monogamously. or two women. or any combination of threes and fours. because the church think that marriage is still about the coupling of one man and one woman in order to ensure identity in reproduction

and what of married couples who are unable or unwilling to reproduce? should they not get married? should they not be allowed? what if they indeed love one another, but won’t sign a piece of paper to attest to the fact?

the disparity is obvious. if marriage is only the joining of two bank accounts and tax returns, the only way it can really be recognized by the government, then any two people should be allowed to marry. much like any group of people can now become incorporated, and treat themselves as an individual – a corporation. but if marriage is a solemn, moral vow of fidelity between two people for the single purpose of having children, then the government should have no dominion, or legislation, over marriage.

but then, what would become of all the paperwork?

Feb 99

preemptive guilt

why is it that, the week before you are scheduled to go to the dentist, your teeth start hurting. you have those weird nightmares where your molars crack like chalky pepto bismol tablets in your mouth, and your gums start to bleed.

knowing somehow that you’ll have a bad checkup, your mind starts to play tricks. what yesterday was simply an unexplored ripple in your bicuspid is now a gaping cavity – or so it feels as you run your tongue over the spot. and wasn’t that twinge as you sipped your coffee this morning some kind of warning that there may be root canals in your future?

a little extra anxiety drives you to floss for the first time in five months – the last time was a few weeks after your last appointment, with the honest and sincere intention of flossing every day, dammit. suddenly the toothbrush you stopped bringing to work is back in your briefcase, and brushing after lunch makes so much more sense.

so, bleeding gums and all, you sit down in the reclining, surprisingly comfortable, torturous dentist’s chair. though latex clad fingers and cold metal instruments make it difficult to meditate on the holes in the ceiling tiles in a zen-like state of semiconsciousness, nonetheless you try to avoid the thoughts of decay and bacterial infestation that loom in your primitive brain – the part that thinks in grunts and pain and fight or flight responses. after what feels like hours of prodding and poking with sharp metal hooks and scraping by tiny rasping files – no wonder your gums bleed – the real cleaning begins.

these days it’s either a scaled down industrial sandblaster, filled with salt and baking soda – and what’s that about anyway? did someone stumble onto that perfect dental cleansing recipe when baking a cake? – or else it’s a tiny rubber squeegee, rotating at a few hundred rpm, coated with an abrasive paste.

the paste can be either cinnamon, mint, cherry, or just plain crap flavor. they all taste the same after they’ve been scorched by the heat of friction on tooth enamel.

and when the dentist finally arrives, sweeping in and kicking out the obsequios hygienist lackey, he sits down to a pristine mouth. if i were to be a dentist, and be forced to reach into the gaping pieholes of strangers day after day, picking out the bits that need to be drilled out, spackled in, and polished, i think i’d like to be the guy whose name is on the door. if you’re that guy, you never see a nasty mouth – they’re all purged of plaque and tartar and heavy-on-the-garlic pizza with everything leftovers by the time you see them.

and it’s this purging that makes all the difference. you could go six months without so much as thinking about your teeth, doing the cursory brush every morning, and when you feel like it before bed. then, the week before your next appointment, the day that postcard arrives with a happy tooth on the front, or a dancing brush, or some other insipid cartoon, saying you’d that, ‘to tell the tooth, it’s time for your next cleaning!’

so for a week, your mind races, wondering what if you haven’t flossed enough – or at all – wondering if the sticky sweet candies, at least a handful every day, haven’t pulled every filling loose, rotted new holes in the pitted landscape of your mouth, wondering if maybe, just maybe, brushing five or six times just before going to the dentist will make up for the weeks of neglect, and forcing a waxed piece of string between your teeth for the first time in months, cutting deep into already swollen and abused gums, will maybe save you the scornful glare of the hygienist between stories about her terminally cute children.

and maybe it does.

maybe the week of preemptive guilt, of anticipating the worst, makes some kind of difference. your checkup typically goes well, with no new cavities, maybe a harsh word about the gums, but in general, a good day of dentistry. one week every six months of fretting over those things you’ve neglected serves to remind you that, in the cosmic sense, you really don’t need to give a damn about some things. a little attention once in a while, to be sure that the universe is still working the way it always did, is sometimes plenty.

after all, you’ve got better things to worry about.

Feb 99

mh news

site is slowly coming together.

adding in a few new things about every day, graphics, comics for the banner, looking into advertisers, sponsors.

finally put in a link to my email address – so anyone who stumbles onto the site at this point can mail me – suggestions only at this point, content will come later.

specs on the server, bandwidth, etc, will go on an ‘about us’ page

who ‘us’ is is anyone’s guess :)

webmaster & chief mental hygienist

Feb 99

random stuff


now netcloak’s playing nice with lasso, and everything’s starting to come together.

you’ll notice the comic strip above today’s article is different each time you load the page. spiff. that will eventually be banner ads

also, you’ll notice the apple plug at the bottom of this page. i like to give my support to the people that make the macs that this site is served from, created on, and edited with. there are some things you can’t beat a mac for.

as for other things, you can beat it with a big stick, a 486, and linux.