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dark_stranger's Achievements

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  1. It is despicable (but not unexpected) that the LA Times would paint that story in a positive light. That little village seems to be the perfect metaphor for communist countries on the whole: set up an oppressive dictatorship, sustain it by relying on Capitalism, and then praise how wonderful communism is. Stolen concept anyone? The only encouraging bit about that article is that the last paragraph, where it describes Chinese tourists to the village as being horrified and realizing that the village's system is "too far removed from reality." Can we get ARI to buy a B-52 and start leaflet-bombing China?
  2. I have experienced the "don't talk down to me" reaction from time to time. In each case it seems that my claims that Ayn Rand developed an objectively correct moral and political system were unacceptable to them. I guess whenever a person claims to have the objective truth then others get defensive, since most people want to be right. They resent the implication that anyone holds the truth, especially when the truth is contrary to what they believe. In essence, they are subjectivists and moral relativists, and your best bet is probably to avoid them. d_s
  3. Hi Zoso, I felt the same way you do about aesthics, until I read some of the Romantic Manifesto. Once I read some of those essays, I finally understood the purpose of art. It was then that I realized I hadn't seen much art, but rather many horrible things that try to pass for it. I think that is why I didn't have much interest in art before that. Anyway, welcome! d_s
  4. Wow, this is a broad area. I could offer general suggestions, but I can't help but want to probe for more information, even though you say you are clueless. Does your friend generally like softer "fruit-forward" flavors (like Cabernet, Pinot Noir et al.), or drier, spicy wines (such as Zinfandel, Barbera et al.)? Will your friend drink it with any particular meal, or are you willing to let that be determined by the wine? In which state are you? I ask this latter because it will help me know which labels you will have in your "average spirits shop." One last thing... would you consider a sparkling Rose' or strictly non-sparkling reds? Thanks for bringing up a favorite topic! d_s
  5. Thanks for this. I never cared enough to look into this 'holiday' but if it has spread its evil so far and wide as to be on 'Blue's Clues' then I think I'll have to. Any chance you can get your daughter to start watching something else? Maybe we need some children's books and cartoons published and produced by ARI.
  6. That depends on what values you need to sacrifice in order to "comply." If everything I value in my life is taken from me or destroyed, then 1 year or 100 years of life will not be rational. d_s
  7. I would argue that "biological predisposition" to certain drugs will not make one seek out that drug in a vacuum, but rather will help them determine their "drug of choice" once they are committed to substance abuse and evasion. If one is going to use and abuse drugs, one will naturally seek the one that makes one feel the best and provides the most "bang for the buck." This process is almost automatic, just like learning one's favorite foods. d_s
  8. McGroarty has a great idea. No one but an architect will be able to tell you about being an architect. Additionally, were I you, I would try to think about what made me go for the business degree in the first place. What was it about business that appealed to you orginally? If you can mentally lay out the positives in both professions, that should help you decide. d_s
  9. I saw this Thanksgiving morning, and too was disappointed. I have some specific complaints. 1. Aristotle gets little to no mention. I believe there is one scene with Alexander and the Companions as kids having a lesson from him, and then he is paid lip serivce one other time. The remarkable thing about Alexander was that he was said to be a very brilliant strategist both militarily and politically. He owed this to Aristotle's teachings and the Socratic method Alexander used to discuss options with the Companions. There was little to none of this in the film either. 2. The events the movie chose to showcase were poorly chosen. Though some of the more famous and important moments were done rather well (the taming of Bucephalus comes to mind), Alexander's formative years of childhood and the entire conquest of Persia were glossed over. A brief mention in a 20-second sequence tells how he was crowned Pharaoh at Siwah, and then it's on to Gaugamela. Too much lost in that transition. Without better background, Alexander seems unduly arrogant. As another consequence, we also lose Memnon of Rhodes from the story. 3. The sequencing of scenes was a bit odd. I guess the point of showing Philip's death right after Cleitus' death was to give emotional weight to what Alexander had done, but I think it ended up being confusing more than anything. The fact that the flashback encompasses more than Cleitus' and Alexander's first meeting draws away from I can only speculate the point was - to show how long Alexander had known Cleitus and how much trust he should have had in him. Still, this could have been achieved by placing the longer scene in the correct sequence and then referencing it with very short flashbacks. 4. The sexuality was well out of control, as others mentioned. 5. Bad character set-up. It was very difficult to know who any male characters were except Alexander, Cleitus, Parmenion, Hephaestion and Ptolemy. Admittedly there were many companions and characters so this was probably inevitable. So much potential lost... better luck next time I guess. d_s
  10. Thanks AisA... that is what I was trying to say above. You got it right! d_s
  11. Argive - thanks for the thoughtful post. I am not a reader of Silber with any amount of regularity, so I have tried to extract from your post what I think are the important statements. If I have missed something, do not hesitate to revisit the point(s). My knee jerk reaction to America sharing the blame is to say "no way!" It seems from what you wrote that you had the same reaction. I have been stewing on this one, and I think I know why I had that reaction. To say "America contributed to the problem" is a moral equivalency that I am not comfortable with. While bad political decisions based on bad political philosophy may well exacerbate the situation, I would argue that America's only mistake in regards to Muslim states has been to try to indirectly (through dictators and puppet governments) deal with the problem in the first place. In other words, the hatred was there, we just didn't deal with it. This was a mistake inhereted in some measure from the UK. Also, it is important to remember that were the nations we are in conflict with rational to begin with, we would not have any conflict at all. All that said, I have to flatly reject the second statement. The evidence I have seen of the behavior of Muslim states tells me that unless the world were united under theocratic rule of the Crescent Moon, there would be endless bloodshed until one side or the other is utterly annihilated. This is not a recent phenomenon: remember the Moorish invasions, Spain, Constantine, et al. Under such circumstances the U.S. would be unable to remain isolationist. If nothing else, the nuclear wildcard demands we be involved. Anyone who claims "if only we had left them alone they wouldn't hate us" has some other agenda they are smuggling in - usually an attempt to dilute the resolve of America at a very critical moment in history. There is no evidence to support the idea that Muslim nations would peacefully coexist, but there is ample evidence to show that Muslim nations have traditionally been agressive and that collectivist tyrants are never satisfied by appeasement. This brings us to the last point, about whether a rational person should fear the Left or the Right more. I think personally my focus is on both, but more heavily on the Left, for a few reasons. It seems to me that though both sides are full of crazy, contradictory and downright dangerous ideas, those who still have what remains of the once-rational American sense of life from centuries past are more likely to be found on the Right. Another reason is that the Left is very virulent about enacting socialist-altruist policies *now*. Finally, the Left is also the imminent threat as they have a strangle-hold on the Unversities and media - the two greatest vehicles for changing the thought of society as a whole. I think a compelling argument can be made that the resurgence of the Right seems to be a backlash against the power of the Left. As a side note, it was Return of the Primitive that convinced me of the threat of the Left. Though many of the issues that Ayn Rand discusses in those essays are dated, the strategy and overall goal of the Left as she presents it is still very contemporary. I welcome a rebuttal, as this is still very much an open issue for me and I respect your views. d_s
  12. I have heard and read some rumors that Arafat may have died of AIDS/HIV infection. Particularly interesting was this M.D.'s blogged account of the evidence: Code Blue Blog Does anyone have anything more on this? Maybe something closer to original sources? It seems that as Arafat was so deservedly hated, that this sort of rumor is really a tempting one to spread, even without adequate evidence. d_s
  13. May as well add my two cents to the heap: great film. Excellent animation, good story, and very enjoyable over all! d_s
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