Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trolled by the State Department

Looks like I've gotten into a bit of a trollfest, over at Barbara's Buddhism blog. Since now someone's impersonating not only Tassja (I checked) but also me and possibly others, I'll keep a list of comments that I've made here, as well as any comments from fake Petteri that I happen to catch. If it's not on this list, assume it's fake Petteri.

Real Petteri

  • July 31, 2011 at 8:00 am
  • July 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm
  • July 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Fake Petteri

  • July 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Note on the identity of the troll

In a comment dated July 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm, Barbara O'Brien posted the originating domain of fake Tassja's and fake Petteri's comments (the same for both):
The fake Tassja and fake Peter are the same individual, and according to a WHOIS search this person is in the Washington, DC, area and using a ISP host.
That's a US Department of State server. Stupid Hillary, you'd've thunk she's got better things to do than troll Buddhist blogs.

Added August 1, 9:15 am CET

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stuff I Learned About Beestings

I've learned a quite a lot about beestings in the last day or two.

If you're out cycling on a windy day in an area with lots of flowering fields and apiculture, you're likely to get stung.

You should get the sting out as soon as possible. It keeps pumping in venom even after the dying bee has fallen off. Also, the longer it's in, the bigger the risk of a secondary infection.

If stung in the head, see a doctor. You can get secondary infections from beestings. If the infection is in the head, there are all kinds of ways bacteria can make their way inside the skull, which is really bad news. Antibiotics are good against those. You can even get tetanus from a beesting, so it's good to keep that particular shot up to date!

You might be allergic, but you'll only know when you get stung a second time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

About that Men's Rights thing

Sydney is one of the world's leading gay cities
As a side-effect of the Oslo tragedy, I've encountered the so-called Men's Rights Movement. It seems Anders Breivik shared many of their ideas.

I had previously only encountered one of their claims. It pops up in the media from time to time. They allege that fathers are treated unfairly in divorce courts, especially with regards to child support and custody of children. They claim that courts tend to favor mothers in custody cases, and impose heavier child-support payments on fathers, all else being equal. This seems to be a recurrent theme and one of their main beefs.

I haven't checked out the data, so I don't know if it's true. However, it does sound perfectly plausible to me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Memory, Rebirth, and Past Lives

A comment on Dangerous Harvests, Nathan's blog, got me thinking about rebirth again. For some reason, it irritates the bejeezus out of me every time some convert Tibetan blithely declares whichever Dharma gate he happens to be knocking on to be the end-all, be-all, indisputable Truth of Buddhism, and those times usually involve hell-beings, god-beings, pretas, and rebirth.

But it gets me thinking, so it can't be all bad.

On the other hand, I've been browsing some stuff by Theravadin monks with Western backgrounds lately, and the more I see of them, the more I'm impressed. They're direct, to the point, understandable, sensible, and refreshingly free of supernaturalism—and they manage to explain really complex stuff in comprehensible ways. I've been especially impressed by talks by the monks of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. If you don't care for video (I don't, generally speaking), check out Ven. Shravasti Dhammika's explanation of karma, for example. Going by the results, Theravada seems to be working out a lot better for Westerners than Vajrayana!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Somewhere Else

We're on vacation. Naturally, we went Somewhere Else.

We just took a little vacation from our vacation, to go Somewhere Else from Somewhere Else.

We stayed at a maison d'hôtes that was rather unusual. It had an Oriental garden, complete with koi pond and aviary with a flock of rather sullen cockatiels. Each of the rooms had a theme. Ours was Mexico. It was fuchsia and blue and brickword and had a sombrero, a lamp shaped like a cactus, and colorful tiles. Bali was next door, just past the Buddha. The others were Morocco and Caribbean. I hear Morocco is particularly sumptious.

So you could go Somewhere Else, from Somewhere Else, from Somewhere Else. In your imagination at least.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The Modulor, Marseilles, 2011

Privilege has broken into the mainstream. Until now, it's been confined to the margins. It's something that pops up in specific corners, among groups that have coalesced specifically around questions of privilege. Feminists. Gay rights activists. Race activists. The rest of us have been able to happily ignore it.

That, in fact, is one of the things that define privilege—the ability of the privileged to be unaware of it. That it is now being shoved in our faces is, in itself, an indication that it is eroding.

I've been following three unrelated but concurrent discussions of privilege lately. One was sparked by the True Finn electoral victory in Finland. Another is the Elevatorgate flap in the atheist blogosphere. A third is the firestorm in the Buddhoblogosphere started by the response to a post by one Tassja, describing how she—a Sinhalese Buddhist born to the identity—perceives Buddhists in the West.

National privilege. Male privilege. White privilege. Religious privilege. Straight privilege. Good.