“Some people can be reasoned into sense, and others must be shocked into it.” ~ Thomas Paine
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have found 10,000 ways that will not work.”~ Thomas Edison
Call me Shoq…
.., and then call me angry. I grew up in an America where it wasn't uncommon to find informed people who discussed real ideas using reasonably reliable sources. I now find myself living in an embattled country where pundits, talk show hosts, and generally talentless noisy political flunkies and insincere rhetorical crap mongers continually pander to the gullible using any lies or disinformation sound bites they can get someone to repeat on Facebook, Twitter, or a down-sized bumper sticker.
Many of these political thugs, charlatans and hooey whores — some of whom work for what David Frum once called the "Conservative Entertainment Complex" — will tell you with the utmost faux-conviction that Fox News is a news organization, America is a Christian Nation, and President Obama’s birth certificate was issued in Kenya. Reality to these partisan ghouls is like a crucifix to a vampire. They recoil from it, but it doesn't actually harm them or their rhetorical bullshit. Ever.
The majority of these operatives have been duped in service by a cynical conservative philosophy that has aggressively opposed almost every liberal social policy or achievements that have advanced America’s power, prestige, or impact on science, education, commerce, or the evolution of modern democracies. Since such forward progress always has a cost, they prefer to advance any and all deceits that push as much of that cost onto the middle class as possible. Some of them are paid to push this selfish agenda, while others just do it because it’s an excuse to rail against everyone and everything that lowers their self-esteem. Pathology politics is now a thing. An absolutely ruinous disease for which there be no cure without some kind to total educational reboot of our entire culture.
If this all sounds dark and pessimistic, it can't be helped. It’s my executive overview of the predicament that I think we all face as a culture; a downward spiraling vortex of socio-political dysfunction that seems to be heading straight into the ground of history. Despite all these feelings, I'm not really a gloom and doomer. I think we can pull out of this cultural swan dive, and I am actively working on a technology that think might at least help. My overall outlook was once neatly summed up this way:
I'm sort of a pessimist about tomorrow and an optimist about the day after tomorrow. Eric Sevareid
I was born and raised in New York, and spent well over a decade of my life living in Manhattan, the only borough many people ever cared about. I still consider that my spiritual home, if not my current place of residence. As of late 2010, I live in South Florida, as a courtesy to my mother, who now lives only a few miles away, and who welcomes the company of her children—periodically. (I have know idea why.). I'm the token heterosexual in a mostly gay enclave called Wilton Manors where I reside in a moderately sized loft apartment that is 1/4 office, 1/4 home, 1/4 inventor's workshop, and 1/4 cat hair.
I've been on Twitter since early 2007. Known for my occasionally pithy tweets, a deep well of interesting facts and quotations, and no small repertoire of snarkiness, I'm fairly well known there. Especially in progressive political circles. Since my work (discussed below) involves information technology and social media, being on Twitter for hours each day isn't really a hobby: it's a semi-career-related thing, although not literally my job.
I have written many Twitter tutorials, tips and suggestions that have influenced Twitter in some small ways, may of which you can find on this site. I created several Twitter acronyms and conventions such as the MT code, and single-handedly forced the adoption of #FF tag to replace the awkward and character-wasting "#FollowFriday" tag (which had annoyed me from the day it first appeared). I also co-developed and heavily promoted the early use and popular definition of the #p2 tag for progressives.
Back in late 2011, I the founded the stoprush.net project, which built the advertiser database that helped make the #StopRush effort one of the most successful consumer campaigns ever launched against that scurrilous talk show host.
I was born an inventor, trained as a product designer, and once taught college-level product development. I founded a clock and housewares company in the 1980s, and was the design director of a major manufacturer of lamps and lighting. In the 1990s. My clocks are on a lot of walls all over the world. A few of my designs are still sold today, and at least one is on permanent collection in a museum of modern art in Germany. Some of my lamps can be seen as props on Star Trek, The Next Generation. My "cheap touchier" floor lamp was the inspiration for about 8 billion knock-offs, many of which still litter dorm rooms, waiting rooms, and one-room apartments all over the world.
In the mid-80s, I left product design and got into computers and information technology mostly because it seemed like the place to be and the thing to do. I have consulted on everything from early video disc projects, to nonprofit information clearinghouses. I worked for many years with the late Alan F. Westin, one of the early pioneers in the field of online privacy, often educating many in the voluntary sector about ways in which online technology was going to bring big change to our nation and our world. Along the way, my marketing and design skills took me in odd, often fun directions, if not always profitable ones. In the 80s, with my company, Flight Brothers, I developed marketing strategies for Steve Snyder's first paraplanes, and with Raven Airships, designed and produced the first practical radio control airships (blimps) that now regularly fly around inside sports stadiums.
Next, I co-developed the first email system for the Democratic National Committee, as well as SCARCNET, one of the first large scale public advocacy efforts to ever go online. I was the founder and co-developer of "Powertools for AOL," which for over 10 years, was the largest selling "add on," widely used by most AOL staff and hundreds of thousands of power users. I also hold the patent for Internet keywords, which were essentially the first URL link shorteners now used all over the world. It would require a very long story about patent law and incompetent lawyering to explain why you're not paying me to use those things every day, so let's skip that and move on. I have.
I am currently developing the world’s first index modeling technology, mostly to provide a good alternative to indexing the human race in case all that semantic web hype falls flat on us. So if you enjoy discussing collaborative indices across heterogeneous networks, I’m your guy. As part of that product, I am also working on a series of data processing tools that can be used in social media spaces like Twitter and Facebook. Since the underlying indexing technology has taken many years to research and code, I am famous among some friends for the world's longest running vaporware project. With a little luck, the first quarter of 2016 will finally see a product launch, and an end to their ceaseless asking of the eternal question: "When?"
Hobbies & Interests
I am just a simple liberal iconoclast trying to survive in a country I once loved, and can now barely recognize without a handbook on media domination, a tip sheet on the Republican noise machine, and a reference manual to all those Pentecostal homilies about Jesus and his Technicolor Bass boat. If you listen to the typical Sean Hannity or Glen Beck listener, I’m one of those worthless, intellectually crippled liberal ideologues that doesn't’t work, or invent stuff that creates wealth or surplus value. Instead, goes their tropes, like most progressives, I live on welfare and any spare change I can make cleaning windshields.
I like to annoy friends on Twitter by watching American Idol. I've always liked talent shows, and watching anything where people aspire to something, whatever that something is. If for no other reason, it kills time between episodes of shoe-hurling at right wing think tank “scholars,” whom I all too often see on Washington Journal, squeezed in between callers “thanking god for C-Span.”
Oh, and for giggles, and maybe with a few professional motivations, I use Twitter a lot. To prove it, try sending me a tweet at http://twitter.com/shoq. No promises, but on a typical day, I'll probably respond in a few short minutes. Please try to not make it a question about the endless amounts of vituperative gossip that gets spewed about me all over the Internet. As anyone in my Twitter stream can tell you, I've been trolled, and retrolled by just about every kind of personal, political and professional enemy there is. (Friends tell me I'm supposed to feel flattered that I would mean so much to these flakes and cranks… but I don't.) Some of it go so bad, I actually had to take legal action. It's an ongoing effort, so, as Forrest Gump famously said, "that's all I got to say about that." When you hear some horrendous act I've allegedly committed, ask for some evidence. Not Twitter, Internet or photoshopped evidence. The real stuff.
Things Every High School Student Should Read
These and many others can be found in my “Progressive Rants and Primers”
- Some Essays Every Progressive Should Read (Compiled by Shoq)
- What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?
- Why The Right Hates Washington, DC
- The Powell Memo — How A Prominent Lawyer’s Attack Memo Changed America. If you read nothing else in your life, read these two documents and consider all that has come to pass in the USA since this document first landed like a bomb and changed everything — for the worse.
- Two Santa Clauses—or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years, by Thom Hartmann
- The Republican Noise Machine—Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, by David Brock
Some Favorite Words (Some Even By Me)
Creating and sharing words are what I do on Twitter, and why most people even know of me. These words are mine, unless otherwise indicated.
"I tweet things to make people think… so I don't have to."
"We should all be proud that we dodged the Romney bullet. But please don't blink, as there's a grenade right behind it."
"Our entire web culture and ecosystem is methodically optimizing itself for the viral propagation of utter bullshit."
"If a Republican fell in the forest, and Fox News wasn't around to pretend it never happened… did it?"
"I love getting together with friends and family to look at our phones". -@thisisjendoll
“Quotes are humanity’s time capsules.”
"A liberal is someone who is willing to forgo something that they might have, so others might have something that they need."
“With Twitter, the whole world can finally talk to each other. The next step? Listening.”
“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
“Let’s just turn all of our basic research over to the #teaparty. Think of how much money we’ll save undiscovering stuff.”
"Thank you for the best string of yesterdays I've ever had." Anne Hathaway #GoldenGlobes
"If PT Barnum had a Twitter account in 1850, "there's a douchebag born every minute" would have been misattributed to him, too."
“#VoteGOP2012 Because America is in a race to the bottom, and only quitters would stop before we get there.”
“I’m designing a social network for sending short 70 character messages about things seen on Twitter. I call it ‘Litter.’”
“Avarice and greed have threatened nations for tens of centuries. I fear that ours will be the first killed by apathy.”
"Soon, none of us will have to work. We'll just output our food & shelter on 3D printers using plans downloaded from the cloud."
“People with no sense of humor make me laugh.”
"The Internet has given a voice to far too many people with absolutely nothing to say."
“The media, left, right and center is a pack of wild lemmings. They chase the lead lemming and we’re towed along for the ride.”
"There is no pain greater than the one we can't find words to express."
“Pretty soon, all the major papers will have paywalls, and people will be totally cut off from their main source of bullshit.”
“Someone asked me how I think up shit that I say. I’m still thinking about how to respond.”
“Scientists say cockroaches will survive global warming. This explains why Republicans seem so unconcerned”
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” Albert Schweitzer
“The potential is huge. But I still feel Occupy Wall Street needs a little more Tiananmen square, and little less Renaissance fair.”
“I believe in the Semantic Web. I just don’t know what that means.”
“Conservatism is less a set of ideas than it is a pathological distemper, a militant anger over the fact that the universe is not closed and life is not static.” ~ Bill Moyers
“We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.” ~ Justice Louis Brandeis (1939)
“You have a really great personalities.”
“The problem with your argument Sir, is that you think you actually have one.” – #ShoqsFakeMovieQuotes
“Great historical figures, like good sex, great food, and eternal love, are always better in our memories.”
“I just unlocked “Fuck Social Network Badges” at ScrewAllThisStupidSocialCrap.com”
“To paraphrase Ezra Pound, ‘Great tweets are simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree’”
“Conservatives vote their fears. Liberals vote their dreams.” ~ Unknown
“Our problems boil down to a few things politicians must change. But making them change those things requires a change in us.”
“Throughout history, the really big ideas weren't’t due to someone’s capital, but merely someone saying “this just sucks.”
“Nice pic, who is it?”
“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” ~ H. L. Mencken
“Ever have days where you feel like all the glowing history you’ve heard about your country since 1st grade was utter bullshit?”
“Conservatism tries to protect a past for the few at the expense of a future for the many.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anaïs Nin
"Don't you just hate it when some clueless casual acquaintance wants to tell you what an awesome person your arch enemy is?
“I don’t brake for Republicans.”
“Only in America, would people making $35k a year, go out and demonstrate so billionaires could enjoy a better life.”
“There’s a helluva distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.” ~ Dorothy Parker
“Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be douchebags.”
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay
“Every time I try to rise above a Republican, I hit my head on the floor.”
“Your enemies will always know that you matter long before you do.” Shoq’s Dad
“We need a national moratorium on stupid.”
“All this technology has really filled our lives with all this technology.”
“If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” Howard Zinn
“Our people with money and power have no passion or ideas, and our people with passion and ideas have no money or power.”
“As for the marshes… and the coasts… and the waters… and the beautiful animals about to perish… I can only think of this…
A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. John Keats”
“If I knew how impossible it was going to be, I never would have done it.”
“Only in America can you find so many angry people claiming to love their country, while hating almost everyone in it.”
“Wish I got a commencement gig. I’d say: ‘You have no idea how much we’ve fucked this planet. And now it’s all yours.’”
“Nothing is far-fetched anymore. Batshit Crazy is the default everything.”
“The older I get, the more I feel that the only people who ever understood everything were Oscar Wilde and Daffy Duck”
“So many critics of the social order, lately. And all are making nice careers for themselves. I’m dubbing it the Critocracy.”
“I am not yet convinced that I am not yet convinced. But I can’t seem to find a way to say it convincingly.”
"Someone is wrong on the Internet." Randall Munroe
“Outright media lies are easy to debunk. It’s the lazy, fact-free, inside baseball analysis that’s killing us.”
"Before the Internet, stupid people were smart enough to keep a lower profile"
People I’d Like To Meet
Doug Englebart (RIP)
Chris L Hayes
Melissa Harris Perry
Joy Ann Reid