Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


More than fifty surprising things that I believe

  1. Affirmative action is counter-productive.
  2. So is the minimum wage.
  3. And minimum standards of education.
  4. Technology is uninteresting.
  5. Well over 90% of science fiction is crap.
  6. Checked exceptions are stupid.
  7. I am afraid that pubic hair will go the way of under-arm hair.
  8. C# is better than Java.
  9. There is not enough testing in schools.
  10. Tipping is deeply uncivilized.
  11. Charities should be taxed.
  12. Valentine’s Day is silly.
  13. The minimum drinking age should be abolished.
  14. I subscribe to over a dozen conservative blogs but no liberal blogs.
  15. It’s OK for children to see naked bodies.
  16. Different races probably have different abilities.
  17. Ditto for sexes.
  18. Christianity is a good thing.
  19. Catching Exception is OK.
  20. Thanking your wife when you receive your Oscar or Nobel Prize is unnecessary.
  21. Star Wars was not very good.
  22. Education, health care, civil liberties etc etc etc should be left to the states.
  23. I’d rather time travel to the past than to the future.
  24. It doesn’t matter that there are so few women in the software industry.
  25. Attempts to design a balanced curriculum are harmful.
  26. I don’t find babies to be cute.
  27. There is nothing wrong with public fields.
  28. I deeply resent the secularization of Christmas.
  29. There should be no tax deductions.
  30. Especially not for charities.
  31. I find the Pledge of Allegiance disturbing.
  32. I don’t see the point of cats.
  33. America is in my top five countries.
  34. So is France.
  35. If you want a successful life, nurture helps but not as much as nature.
  36. Or luck.
  37. Roe versus Wade was wrongly decided.
  38. I love reading bible stories and singing Christmas carols.
  39. Open source software terrifies and confuses me.
  40. The federal government should receive funding from the states, not individuals.
  41. Extreme Programming Explained changed my life. For the worse.
  42. The initiative process and referendums in general are populist nonsense.
  43. So are term limits.
  44. The mis-perception that chimpanzees are monkeys bothers the hell out of me.
  45. As does the inappropriate pluralization of offside.
  46. And the incorrect use of momentarily.
  47. Downloading music/movies/games is stealing.
  48. Most people would be better off if they did not go to college.
  49. Most would be better off starting work at 16.
  50. I am ambivalent about gay marriage.
  51. All income  (salary, profits, dividends, inheritance etc) should be taxed equally.
  52. Schools should be ‘streamed’ by academic ability.
  53. Military service deserves no more honour than teaching, nursing, road-sweeping or a host of other professions.
  54. The ability to spell is not that important.
  55. Bad spelling infuriates me. Especially when I do it.
  56. The Star Spangled Banner is my second favourite anthem.

Seven things about my more than fifty surprising things

  1. Details available on request.
  2. This post was inspired by a question on StackOverflow – what’s your most controversial programming opinion – but the first 20-something answers are positively mainstream. I thought I could do better.
  3. If you know me well, you will be unsurprised by many of my surprising things.
  4. If you don’t know me well, you will be unsurprised by many of my surprising things.
  5. If you don’t know me at all, some of my surprising things might make you angry.
  6. I tried to avoid obvious – or simply minority – things.
  7. I censored some of my things out of cowardice.

It’s traditional when you make a list like this to tag 14 of your friends and they have to repeat the exercise. I find that tradition to be crass. If you made it this far, consider yourself tagged. Or not. Whatever.

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16 responses to More than fifty surprising things that I believe

Matt May 8, 2009

One of these surprised me.

      Matt April 23, 2022

      The one about xp. I see you explained it in another comment.

Julio May 9, 2009

Though some surprised me, some even shocked me, I’m truly impressed by your openeness. What a great lesson to me. I’m proud to count you as a friend.

Cats are awesome though. Maybe when I grow a spine (and balls) I’ll put together my own list.

Jeffrey Fredrick May 9, 2009

“Extreme Programming Explained changed my life. For the worse.”


Kevin May 9, 2009

I spent half my career wondering if there was a better way to write software. XPE showed me that there was. I am spending the second half of my career dreaming of the way I should be writing software. I was better off not knowing.

Kevin May 14, 2009

My point about military service was a narrow one. I certainly didn’t mean to cause offense and I’ll try to explain myself.

I’ll start by saying that society doesn’t do nearly enough to honour and support wounded veterans – but I wasn’t thinking of wounded veterans when I wrote my post.

People choose careers and do difficult jobs for all kinds of reasons and motivations that don’t appeal to me. I didn’t join the military for reasons of honour and I don’t think I deserve it any more than nurses, teachers etc who do difficult jobs.

I hope that made some sense – and if it didn’t, I at least hope that it caused no offense.

Bruce Oksol May 14, 2009

“Military service deserves no more honour than teaching, nursing, road-sweeping or a host of other professions.”

I challenge you to come down to San Antonio, Ft Sam Houston, medical center, where all the soldiers who have lost one, two, three, or four limbs in Iraq are getting their prosthetics and tell them that to their face.

Or tell that to the faces of the parents who have lost their children in that same war.

If you are one of those victims, a former soldier who has lost a limb or two or three or four, then you have a bit of credibility. But I would still disagree.

I’m not a big ambivalent about same-sex marriage (fine with me, except I would prefer to call them civil unions) and I am not a bit ambivalent about my feelings for soldiers and marines, seamen and airmen, who have faced death.

dan June 5, 2009

just stumbling through. what people believe always surprises me because of the amount of ideas that seem to conflict in my mind. much of what you believe is the same as me. only one point of confusion on my side: open source software confuses and terrifies you? i also find it disquieting how readily people accept the idea of more taxes. i don’t make that much, but i work for more than three months out of the year before i am making money for myself, paying for $400 hammers and the like. good post.

    Ragged Clown September 2, 2017

    open source software confuses and terrifies you?

    There’s a market for Very Expensive Software but I’m not very good at that. There’s a market for free software with expensive consulting but I’m not very good at that either.

    Selling useful software at a reasonable price used to be an honourable profession but has been wiped out by open-source. I’m not sure what my place is in this world.

Ragged Clown September 2, 2017

Message from the future: I no longer believe two of these things. Maybe three.

    Janet April 25, 2022

    Which two? And in the past five years have you changed your mind about any others?

      Ragged Clown April 25, 2022

      There doesn’t seem to be any downside to same-sex marriage and it gives a lot of people an opportunity for happiness that was previously denied them.

      My current company is majority female. It’s just nicer having women around and we make better decisions as a result.

      Affirmative action as it is currently practised in America is counter-productive but there needs to be a better way to create equality of opportunity.

Ragged Clown September 2, 2017

And here are a couple bonus things:

57. Parliamentary systems of government are better than presidential systems.

58. Separation of powers is stupid.

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