Thursday, December 21, 2006

They just take and take and take



So this past weekend, my friend Sheryl, who needs constant reminders to lock the door when she exits the car and yet often forgets anyway, forgot to lock the passenger side door after exiting my car.

Well, some opportunistic folks helped themselves to my car stereo whilst I slept. Now don't get me wrong, I don't really care about the shitty car stereo, but they also took the cupholders.

The fucking cupholders!

What are they going to do with my cupholders?!? Were they in the process of taking the cd player (which they honestly couldn't re-sell for more than $5--I'm sure of it) and all of sudden they thought about how thirsty petty theft makes them? Or in addition to the vast number of CDs they have but have nothing in which to play them, they similarly have a great number of drinks but no place to set them?

The irony, of course, is that the cupholders were poorly designed, so if you actually put a drink in them, it would bump into the buttons on the stereo and randomly change songs and setting whenever you hit a bump. So being the eternal wide-eyed optimist that I am, my first thought was "Well, they took my stereo, but at least now I can use my cupholders without them being annoying and messing with my music."

And that was when I noticed they were gone, and a single tear rolled down my cheek.

Of course, in tribute to both my eclectic musical tastes and the current age of internet downloads, the 2 dozen CDs sitting in the back seat were untouched, but at least they were nice enough to tear out my glove box as well, so that I found a bunch of old cool stuff I had tucked down in the bottom of it that I may never have found had they not been so nice as to do that for me.

And fortunately, this all happened but a few days before I have a nice 4.5 hour drive home for the holidays. Oh, and the drivers-side seat in the car is broken so that if you lean any weight on it, it just falls over. I guess what I'm saying, is that it's a traditional Wozniak Christmas this year.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quality down-home video production

Two great friends of the blog have recently finished a couple of great video shorts and got them up on youtube. I know the ol' tube has gotten a great deal less fun now that they've removed all of the copy-righted materials from the site, but this is the original reason it was invented anyway: for friends to show off their ridiculous video projects to those who live far away. Enjoy the finest Iowa has to offer below. I would suggest viewing the Ritz if you only have a moment, but even though Meatsloaf is about 9 minutes long, they will most likely be 9 of the best minutes of your day.

Enjoy!

The Ritz:


Meatsloaf:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Students say the darndest things...

I tried posting this before, but I've found that one of the new and improved features of the stupid new beta blogger that they made me upgrade to is that it no longer works on Macs, which is very convenient when all you have at home is a Mac. Yep, it's definitely a huge upgrade. Why is it that people can never leave well enough alone? Why are we constantly getting pointless upgrades that serve only to make life more of a hassle? Ah, but before I sound like too much of an elderly curmudgeon, on with the post I originally wrote at home and then was published as a blank entry.

I recently finished grading somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 term papers, which was not a task I looked forward to, for many reasons. There's the obvious reason that I don't particularly enjoy spending a solid week doing basically nothing but reading student papers. But more so than that, I was scared of the papers themselves. I've graded papers before, both as an undergrad and a grad student, so I was long ago disabused of the notion that college students can write. For example, in the short essays on their midterm, this was a popular response:

Question: Define the term "secret deviance"

Answer: Secret deviance is deviance that is secret.

Brilliant! You know, when you read things like this, it's almost insulting. I mean, did they really think a response like this would garner them many points? Well, everything garners some points, because I'm a softie, but not very many. It kind of blows the mind. What was the thought process? Were students sitting their thinking "All right, I wrote the word down again and added two more words and made a sentence out of it. I nailed it!"?

Well, it turns out the term papers were much, much better. Though I'm sure some sort of ethics code prevents me from reprinting any portion of them here, I wish I could, as they were some pretty amazing essays. The assignment was to write about your own deviant career over the years and do the obligatory sociological explanation of it all. But what these folks wrote about was pretty amazing. Many of the students in the class have been through so much more than I'll ever see, and they seem to have come out of it pretty well.

So I guess that's the trade-off for academia--spending all weekend grading papers instead of having fun, but ending up with much more faith in humanity. I guess I'll take that.

Help stop military recruiters in the Twin Cities



Those plucky young Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) kids are back at it again. This time, they're making a concerted effort to get military recruiters out of their high schools, or at least to limited their currently unfettered access to students.

But they can't do it alone! That's where you come in.

Central High students have been campaigning for over a year now to get military recruiters out of their school, but recruiters have no far only stepped up their presence. That's why the Central High chapter of Youth Against War and Racism is making the following demands on the principal, school board, and superintendent:

1) Restrict military recruiters to the Career Resource Center and prevent any unsupervised contact with students.
2) Stop military recruiters coming to Central more often than any other post-secondary or job recruiting program actually comes.
3) Ensure that YAWR gets seven days notice before recruiters can enter school grounds.

Central High students presented these demands to the last meeting of the St.
Paul Board of Education, and what we're asking you to do is to join with us to hold the Board accountable to address our demands at the next school board meeting on December 19th. Here's what YOU can do:

1) Show up to the meeting at 6:30 pm on December 19th and show your support. The meeting is located in the District Administration Building at 360 Colborne Street in St. Paul.
2) Send out an announcement to your friends asking others to come show support.
3) Write the school board, principal, and superintendent a letter expressing your endorsement of these demands and send us a copy at against.war@gmail.com so we're aware of it.

Here is the contact information for the various officials:

Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen
Administration Building, 360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN 55102
supt.carstarphen@spps.org

Principal Mary Mackbee
Central Senior High School, 275 Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul, MN 55104
mary.mackbee@spps.org

Board of Education (and all members)
360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN 55102

Individual board members' e-mails:

Elona Street-Stewart, Chair - elona.street-stewart@spps.org
Tom Conlon, Clerk - thomas.conlon@spps.org
Anne Carroll, Director - anne.carroll@spps.org
Al Oertwig, Director - al.oertwig@spps.org
Kazoua Kong-Thao, Vice-Chair - kazoua.kong-thao@spps.org
John Brodrick, Treasurer - john.brodrick@spps.org
Tom Goldstein, Director - tom.goldstein@spps.org

To contact Central High YAWR, call Shane Davis at 651-587-6923 or e-mail shane89@gmail.com

Friday, December 08, 2006

Am I the luckiest man alive?

Last night after a good rowdy couple of hours of socialism, the comrades and I headed to the bar as per tradition. And while there's always bar trivia going on, I've always just been content to shout out the answers at random, thereby either helping those who didn't know it, or hurting those who did and were hoping that others didn't. Or, on the rare occasion when I was wrong, doing the exact opposite. Regardless, I'm sure it just served to annoy everyone, and I'm cool witht hat.

But last night, I thought it was time to put my hat in the ring and prove that I could play more than the spoiler. And wouldn't you know it, me and 3 comrades, also known as Team Totally Tubular Radical...to the Max (the first round of questions were 80s themed), took home the championship amongst some stiff competition.

The prize? A Miller High Life t-shirt. Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't drink High Life if you paid me, just because I've neevr typically enjoyed horse piss. And I certainley don't want to wear some stupid dude-bro-esque beer shirt, but this one I will wear with pride, for it marks me as champion of trivial knowledge.


The Miller High Life girl raises her glass to the champions of trivia

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The healthiest state in the Union

The United Health Foundation has just ranked Minnesota the healthiest state in the Union for the fourth year in a row.

We were discussing this today in class when Uggen made the point that Minnesota continually ranks so high because we are one the best states at insuring everyone, although we’re still far behind where we should be.

I’m not a Minnesotan by birth, though I’ve got plenty of connections and now live here. And even though I’m not typically one to be very rah-rah about anything a government does at pretty much any point (I know, I know…so cynical at such a young age), but I must share the Gunnar Nelson Look-Alike contest winner’s opinion that it does fill one with a fair amount of pride in their little corner of the earth to have such distinctions heaped upon them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It’s not a unicorn…

It’s a horse with a sword on his head and he protects my hopes and dreams


Although I actually have a fondness for unicorns (my moonshine is labeled “Uncle Jesse’s Unicorn Shine”…and I still sleep with a stuffed unicorn I’ve had since childhood…and, well that’s enough about my unicorns), I too have felt the sting of having one’s fragile masculinity attacked for keeping a journal.

But all that aside, lately I’ve been wondering what my journal says about me. I mean, I lead a fairly interesting life. I’m not exactly climbing mountains, but it’s not a too rare occurrence for the FBI to wake me up in the morning, and I always seem to end up in the oddest situations. Which I understand doesn’t necessarily mean I have a very interesting life, but I think it’s fair to say that semi-interesting stuff happens to me on semi-regular occasion.

Anyhoo, the point is that none of this is reflected in my journal. Leafing through it out of boredom the other day, I realized I have basically nothing in there except for women-related things. Like if I’m having girl troubles, or I run into an ex, or some such thing. Like that’s all that happens in my life.

So I got to thinking: what does this say about me? Reading it I just had the most horrible feeling about myself, like I’m an over-weight secretary with a hunky firemen calendar up on my cubicle wall that goes home every night and cries herself to sleep with a carton of ChunkyMonkey and wishes she wasn’t always just a bridesmate.

Well, ok, maybe I’m not quite that bad, but I do need to get out of the house more often…

Friday, December 01, 2006

Peace: 42, Giant Evil Weapons Manufacturer : 0

Very short court day yesterday, as all charges were dropped before we even got in front of a judge. But the victory was much larger than that.

As for the background of the story, Alliant Tek Systems, headqurtered inEdina (of course, very little manufacturing actually goes on there, it's just a nice tax-haven location), is the world's leading producer of illegal weaponry. For instance, they were the clever folks who "discovered" how deadly depleted uranium was and began using it in weapons that vaporize the enemy and leave their nation poisoned for the rest of existence (DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years). Up until this, people had been foolishly throwing it away. Silly idiots.

But that's just one of many weapons they produce. But the one great point of consistency in their productions is that every weapon they produce is illegal under international law. Every single one. And we're the criminals...but that's another story.

Anyway, over 13 months ago (so much for a speedy trial), myself and 41 other people who are part of AlliantAction showed up at the corporate headquarters to ask the board of directors to stop breaking the law and to tell the employees that they are all facing conviction under the Geneva code (remember, since the 40s you can't just say you're following orders anymore). Needless to say, they weren't too happy with us being there and removed us from the parking lot (we couldn't actually get inside the building, of course).

Now, in a bit of local history, up until this point, the offense had been an aggravated misdemeanor, which meant you could get a jury trial if you so well pleased. Now the problem with that is that hippies tend to be good orators (it's about all we can do), and juries have a pesky problem of being swayed by "logic" and "compassion for fellow human beings." So Alliant, along with the city council, changed the ordinance to be a simple misdemeanor, meaning we could now only have a bench trial. Judges aren't really as easily swayed, since they're on the payroll of the city, which is on the payroll of Alliant.

Well, since they were playing hardball, so were we. Usually in a situation like this, people such as us will stipulate to the facts, which essentially means we admit we broke the law, but we're arguing that we're justified in doing so. Well, this time we refused and said they'd have to subpoena every employee who saw us tresspass and every officer who made an arrest to come in and identify us. Well, seeing as they would have to pay 20-some officers overtime for what looked like a trial that could stretch several weeks, they cited monetary constraints (although they probably just didn't have a good case) and dropped the charges.

Not ones to give up, we have now set up a page on the group's website where we'll print the testimony we would have given, and the city prosecutor has agreed to take our concerns to Alliant and urge them to come to a city council meeting where we air our greivances.

Now, I know this will change very little, but you can do radical pacifist peace work your entire life and never get the city prosecutor of a wealthy suburb to (begrudgingly) agree to put the screws on the most powerful corporation in town. As far as I'm concerned, this is probably the biggest victory I'll ever see in my lifetime of activism, so I'm feeling pretty damned good right now.

So, hey, cheer up my friends. If we can win this, certainly you can win just as much, if not more.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The only way to defeat our robot over-lords

With this perfect paradox:

P1: The statement is only funny if said by Sinbad.

P2: Nothing Sinbad says is funny.

Q: If the statement is said, will it be funny?

Man, their fucking logical robot brains would explode with the implications of even attempting to answer that question

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My life at the kiddie table

Another Thanksgiving come and gone, and I've yet to sit at the big people table, but I get ahead of myself. You see, Thanksgiving has always been celebrated on my mother's side of the family. My father was the oldest of the three boys, and only one of them had a child, and he has since passed away (God rest his soul), and the other is a bit of a recluse, only available to you when he wants to be available. As such, it would have been a rather cozy affair.

My mother, on the other hand, was the youngest of 9 children, almost all of whom had children of their own. I, being her youngest child, am the youngest of the whole lot. Hell I have cousins who have children who are only a few years younger than me. These second cousins, or cousins twice removed, or whatever they are are even starting to have their own children, so these third cousins twice removed (does anyone know how they actually figure out these labels?), these gradnchildren of my cousins, are already coming. So I'm not the youngest person present, but young by my family's standards.

As such, I've yet to make it to the big people's table. At 24 years old, I'm still stuck sitting in a plastic half-chair, awkwardly eating my turkey at a table my knees don't fit under, with the sparkling conversation only infants and their angry young parents can provide.

Now my brother is only 2.5 years older than me, but he avoids all of this mess because he's married, which grants him some level of maturity, so gets big people table access. Even his wife, who I would like to point out is younger than me, also gets big peopple table love.

Now, as I've posted many times before, I was dangerously close to getting married at one point in time, and I as I contorted my body to fit on the oddly shapped couch that was by bed in my aunt's basement while my brother and his wife slept comfortably in a bed upstairs in the part fo the house that the central heat hits, I pondered how different my life would be if that had happened.

Would I be conferred all the legitimacy of an elder if I only had the social marker of marriage to do the work for me? I highly doubt I'd actually be any more mature. In fact, I could probably argue pretty effectively that marrying your college sweetheart serves only to stunt your emotional growth, but it seems like regardless of your age, married people are just assumed to be more mature and well-adjusted people. After all, they got someone to agree to spend their life with them didn't they?

So, anyway, I do't know if it would have made any difference, or if it would have even gotten me to the big people table, but you do start to wish you hadn't screwed up the one good relationship you've ever had, if for no other reason that it means you get off of the couch and into a real bed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let's Hear it for the Boy



Yesterday, the Baseball Writers Association of America named Canada's finest export, Justin Morneau, the Most Valuable Player of the American League, in what's sure to be one of the most controversial votes in a while, if not for the fact that it was given to a player on a team that's *gasp* not on the coast, then because Joe Buck's Boyfriend, a mildly talented player on a very expensive team, was denied his lifetime-acheivement MVP.

Now I don't need to point out that the good Doctor was the singular ofensive spark on the team with by-far the best record in baseball after June 8th, or that I'm sure that somewhere in the city right now Joe is taking him out for some congratulatory Jimmy Johns, because these are things everyone knows.

A lesser known story goes that when Justin met Larry Walker (the only other Canadian-born player to win an MVP) this year at the World Baseball Classic, Larry autographed a bat for him reading "To Justin: Make Canada proud." Justin lists as one of the greatest moments of his life. Perhaps someday soon, a young Canadian will be fondly remembering the time he got to meet the best Canadian player in Baseball, and the long line of cuddly-looking Canadian baseball players will be unbroken.

So to recap the Twins' season:

2 Silver Sluggers
1 Gold Glover
Batting champ
Pitching triple crown winner
Cy Young winner
MVP
Division title

Not a bad season for a team that was left for dead after May and whose entire payroll is outearned by over 20 individual players in the league. Now let's just hope we can get some starting pitching nailed down for next year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Our boy on the Daily Show

Minnesota's newly-minted congressman Keith Ellison was recently on the Daily Show in one of the funnier clips I've seen in a long time. The clip is actually of an interview that Ellison had with CNN's Glenn Beck, in which Beck (presumably a liberal, becuase CNN is the leader of the liberal media) challenges Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, to prove that he isn't a terrorist.

To his credit, Ellison handles it well, with a brief response and a "did-he-really-just-fucking-say-that?" look on his face, but it can't help but make you feel a little depressed about the state of our nation when it is actually seen as legitimate journalism to make a U.S. Representative prove he's not a terrorist simply because of his religion.

I'd like to come up with some sort of snappy joke about it, but as usual, Mr. Stewart does a much better job than I could in the clip below:

Humorous random image

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Immy-grants and me

I've never been one to bash un-documented immigrants, for the thousands of reasons anyone using "logic" can come up with. But over the past 8 months, I've gained an even deeper appreciation for why folks who want to come to our fair nation would be inclined to bypass the official process.

The word Kafka-esque is thrown around a lot these days (isn't it?), but if you have ever dealt with immigration in any way, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, watch Brazil, and then you'll begin to understand what it's like dealing with the INS.

To put it all in context, my brother came back from Thailand last spring with a fiance. Since he works a real job and can't always be shuttling her back and forth to the immigration office, (conveniently located in Burnsville, because we all know how common it is for recent immigrants to own dependable vehicles) this fell upon me. Highlights include the day they canceled the application process because they forgot to send her a letter telling her about her next appointment, which she then didn't show up for for some reason (probably because she didn't know about it), and then sent her files to storage in D.C., even though they are not supposed to do that until 2 months after closing the file. So who do you think was responsible for paying the $150 fee to retrieve the files that shouldn't have been sent off in the first place, and even if they were supposed to be sent off, should not have been sent for at least another 45 days? At least, in their defense, we also got an extended stern lecture about how their mistake was somehow entirely our fault.

I could tell many more such ridiculous stories, but it would take years to document them. All told, it took my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and myself (total number of college degrees held between us: 12) two years and well over $2,000 to complete the application process for a greencard.

But it all came to culmination today as Nok finally received her 2-yr. green card, not more than 15 minutes ago.

Of course, that means that in 2 years we have to start the process all over again, but for now, we can at least breathe a sigh of relief and relax for a minute.

But do me a favor, will you? The next time you hear someone complain about "illegal" immigrants, punch them in the face for me, please.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I know what you're trying to do, you bastards



In google's contuining attempt to own the entire damn internet, they have even infected my humble li'l blogging site. In logging in, I was informed that I could now enhance my blog with all these cool and easy to use features (presumably, slicing and dicing a variety of fruits, vegetables, leather shoes, and exhaust pipes while staying razor sharp is included), and the only requirement is that I "log in with [my] google account."

Well you know what, motherfuckers, I ain't got a google account. So don't go acting all normal like I don't suspect that what you hide as an innocent assumption is really a brilliantly devious way to get me to sign up for yet another account I don't want/need.

No thank you, google jerks. I'll continue using the shitty, hard-to-use, featureless version to blog, thank you very much.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Making football more (or less) interesting



In my continuing efforts to be "with it" and understand what all the damn kids are talking about these days, I finally joined a fantasy football league this year, making me possibly the last person in America to do so.

Now, I was already a big football fan. I usually take less credit hours in the fall because I know I'm not going to get anything done on the weekends, despite my best efforts. If there' football on the t.v., I'm just going to be watching it. It's a sad truth. Though, at least I haven't started spending friday nights watching high-school game telecasts on pblic access...yet.

But fantasy football makes you a fan in weird, unpredictable ways. I've found that the attention on single-player performances instead of teams has this weird double effect. In one way, it makes the game so much more exciting. Take last night for instance, in a game I could not care too much less about (seeing as if the Vikings get anywhere near the playoffs this year, it won't be in the form of catching the Bears and winning the division), I was ecstatic seeing Devin Hester tie Nathan Vasher's record for the longest TD in NFL history. Why? Because in my league, special teams TDs count as defensive points, and my normally stout Bears D had given up too many points this week. Especially in light of how I sat out Chad Johnson on the best damn day any receiver is ver going to have because he had been underperforming lately.

So as you can see, fantasy sports makes the other 14 games that don't feature your team more exciting. But the it hit me when my mother (an avid Packers fan) called to brag about the local game. I realized I had absolutely no clue how bad the Vikings were this year. A team without a marketable superstar is useless to fantasy owners, and so I had been paying the amount of attention they deserved: none.

This from a guy who used to be able to name both starters and first-string backups for both sides of the ball, and now I don't even know their record.

It's an interesting paradox, but one that I think will be resolved by the fact that the high scoring 612 Murda Squad is very likely to make the playoffs and put a big ol' payout in my pocket, whereas the hapless Vikings will be lucky to stumble backwards into a first-round playoff loss.

Meanwhile, the countdown to July 27th has officially begun...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Which old witch? The wicked witch!

I know this doesn't change anything at all, but he's finally gone, and damned if it doesn't feel good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Feelin' on your duty

You can vote today, probably. And if you can, you probably should.

Just remember that voting is such a miniscule part of the political process that it should largely be viewed as a formality one does during breaks in trying to make actual change.

Today would also be the anniversary of the day when two Caroline Panthers cheerleaders were caught (allegedly) making out and fighting in a bathroom stall.

I'm not too sure how to connect these two phenomena, but they seem to go together in some odd way...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The "hard" sciences ruin everything



We in the "social" sciences are often looked upon as not real scientists. We're told that wat we do is play around with social settings, not cold, hard, "real" science. Now, obviously anybody with critical thinking skills (which would exclude most of those in the "hard" sciences) knows that this is simply not true. We can test social "reality" (if such a thing exists) just as well as physicists can test physical "reality" (again, if such a thing exists).

Think about it: design a test to prove gravity exists. I mean, we all know gravity exists, but can you prove it? No, you can't. You're probably thinking you can just pick something up and let it go a bunch of times and be done with it. But that doesn't prove gravity exists, it just suggests that for some reason that object is attracted to the ground. For the record, physicists still doesn't even know whay gravity works like it does (my personal favorite idea is string theory, and not just for its trippy, scientist-hippy implications).

The point is, you can no more criticise sociologists for saying that the effects of class are real even though we can't technically prove that classes exist or how they're reproduced (though we have some damn good ideas) any more than you can say gravity doesn't exists beause physicists can't technically prove it does or figure out why it works (though they too have some good ideas on the subject).

So, to recap: the "social" sciences are no less of a persuit than the "hard" sciences.

In fact, I'd like to suggest they're better. Take the case of vampires. You ask a sociologist about vampires, and we'll give you a great tale perhaps of the functions the notion of the existance of vampires might serve, or a reading of the cultural schemas that give birth to ideas of vampires, or possibly a meditation on the social forces that lead people to still give such power to the idea of vampires. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure other sociologists would give many other explanations and stories I can't even begin to think of.

But you ask a "hard" scientist about vampires, and you get some lame-ass description of how they'remathematically impossible.

Now where the hell is the fun in that?

Monday, October 30, 2006

R.I.P. Red Auerbach

Amidst all the hagiography surrounding the death of Red Auerbach these past couple days, there's one fact that no matter how much it's said (and it hasn't been said very much) really seems to be underplayed.

We all know the story of how Branch Rickey broke the baseball color barrier by hiring Jackie Robinson. There's been at least two movies made about it that I can think of off the top of my head, and I bet you'd be hard-pressed ot find a high-school history book that doesn't mention it.

But Red did so much more than that. Red hired the first black basektball player, fielded the first-ever all-black starting five, and hired the first black head coach. On top of that, he did this all in Boston, a town which hasn't exactly had the best history in terms of race relations. Baseball currently is about 17% black (the figure drops to 8% if you're only counting American-born) while basketball is roughly 77% black.

So why is it that a sport which has only a tiny fraction of black players still celebrates at every turn the breaking of their color barrier, while a sport that is overwhelmingly populated by black players makes almost no mention of when and where their color barrier was broken?

I've been pondering this quite a bit lately, but I can't seem to figure it out. Could it be that baseball is still "America's game" and as such, it's a bigger deal? Or could it be due to the fact that basketball has come to be seen as a "black" sport, so breaking the color barrier there doesn't seem as momentous?

What do you think?

Wozniaks playing poker?

Had a coulpe of rounds of low-stakes poker with friends last night and when the chips were all counted and the beers all drank and the smack all talked, my sister-in-law and myself had walked away with all of the money, making it a clean Wozniak sweep.

While this may not sound like much to the casual observer, as far as I can tell, this marks the first time that Wozniaks have won anything ever.

As such, I feel as if we should both pull a Jim Brown and retire form the world of barely-competitive poker while we are on the top.

Not that that's going to happen, but I just think it should be on the record that I was strongly considering it when I come home next week with no money at all.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Politics, politics, politics

For those in the Minneapolis area...

There's this war going on. If you still think it's a good idea, you are either A) someone who has experienced a massive head trauma, or 2) are George W. Bush.

You don't want to be either of those things.


So come on out tommorow to the state capitol in St. Paul at 1:00 for a huge rally against the war. If you're so inclined, you can hang around afterwards to attend a civil-disobediance training, put on by Youth Against War and Racism.

What else do you have going on on a saturday afternoon? There's nothing stopping you. Besides, it's going to be a beautiful fall day, so you may as well come out and enjoy the weather.

Plus this way, years from now when this is seen as a more idiotic debacle than Vietnam, you won't have to shuffle ackwardly and stare at your feet when your children ask you why you didn't do anything to stop it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The screaming 13 year-old girl to their Beatles



Why is it that whenever you're in the presence of someone you truly respect, it is so very hard not to reduce whatever you have to say to the kinds of fawning questions a prepubescent girl would shout at a pop star?

Case in point, I went to a book-discussion/signing of "Destined for Destiny," the new George W. Bush autobiography, written with help from Scott Rikkers, Editor-in-Chief of the Onion and creative force behind weeklyradioaddress.com. It was a good and very entertaining presentation and a nice insight into what's undoubtedly the best printed satire of our time, the Onion.

However, when it came to the quesiton and answer session, I (as always) completely lost the ability to make an intelligent point. For example, one could have probed their decision to add a sports section, which like all good parody, requires a fairly deep understanding of the subject matter. Given that the Onion is read primarily by hipsters, punks, and bourgeois intellectuals (all of whom disdain sports), it seems like a pretty risky venture. But it's clearly done quite well by a writing staff that obviously pays a great deal of attention to developments in the sporting world. It'd be really interesting to hear the impetus for such a creation.

But instead, the best I could muster was some variation of "Man, you guys are so funny. How come you're so funny?" or something like that, to which he could only ackwardly mumble something and move on to the next person.

Sigh...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh Day of Days!



Happy Mole Day to one and all. Of course, those of you in the know have probably already had your celebrations, as the day officially starts at 6:02 in the morning.

For those who don't know, the mole is a unit of international measurement equaling roughly 6.02x10^23 molecules, a number which has become the base of most chemical measuring in the Western world. The number was discovered by the happy-looking gentleman, Amedeo Avagadro. Of course, you also know him as the man who hypothesized that equal volumes of gases at the same temperature and pressure have the same number of molecules, a quite revolutionary notion for his time.



The National Mole Day Foundation was founded 15 years ago in nearby Prarie-Du-Chien Wisconsin, by a highschool chemistry teacher and has since blossomed nation-wide. Growing up the son of a chemist, this was always a big holiday in the Wozniak household (sadly, I'm not joking). So make sure to have some mole-ases cookies (a joke that never gets old, apparently) and to hug a chemist, on this, their most important of days.



For more information and more hilarious pictures of the official Mole Day mascot, Burrow D. Mole, go to the official Mole Day website, moleday.org.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Handy party drink mixes

The Farmer's Breakfast
Ingredients:
Generous Helping of Jack Daniels
1 Egg
1 Unsuspecting West Coaster

Directions:
Pour half a glass of JD. Crack raw egg into it. Mix Thoroughly. Convince friend that it's a Midwestern delicacy that every drinks. Laugh heartily as he drinks it.

The Nation Sweeper
Ingredients
Jack Daniels
Bailey's Irish Cream
Kalua
International Coffee, French Sunset flavor
Grenadine
Whipped Cream
Chpped Nuts
1 Cherry (skinless)
The skin of the cherry, zested
Tangerine-Orange Listerene

Directions:
Mix JD, Bailey's, Kalua, Coffee powder, and Grenadine. Top with whipped cream and nuts, and a slice of cherry (using a whole cherry will overpower the flavor of the drink). Add cherry zest to the top. Serve with a shot of the Listerine as a chaser.

The Terrorist Sweep
Same as the nation-sweeper, but you sink the Listerene shot into it and slam it all at once.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Today's inspirational quote found scribbled in an old notebook

Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward--and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner

--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Best Quotes from No Shame Weekend

--So I saw that new Bruce Willis movie 'Ho Stage' and there were no dancing prostitutes in it!
--It's called 'Hostage!'
--Seems to me you see a movie called 'Ho Stage' there oughtta be some Ho's dancing on a stage somewhere in it.


And then at my highly excellent party, Susan Fauldi comes up to me and says 'Hey Brett Deckers, isn't this just some macho fantasy in which business acumen is conflated with sexual prowess?' and I said 'Fuck no...darling' and then we fucked. But when Brett Deckers fucks you, he doesn't fuck you in the normal holes. No, he fucks you in a special hole only Brett Deckers knows about...


Your supposed Department of Mexicology is nothing but a fun house mirror. You hold up your distored view of Mexico and say 'this is Mexico.' Well for all of your fancy degrees and titles, you know nothing of Mexico. Mexico...is a woman.


I heard Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison had a suicide pact, but Johnny didn't keep up his end of the pact.


Dude, I heard the Tea bags there are about 100% THC...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cover your breasts with something nice, like crumbled Oreo cookies, and your vagina with something not-so-nice, like rattle snakes



Just got back from BOBONS, the Best of the Best Of No Shame Theatre, and it was a damn good evening. Well, two evenings.

For those who don't know, No Shame Theatre started on the back of a pick up truck 20 years ago in the parking lot of the University of Iowa Theatre building and has since spread to over a dozen cities with a couple of international chapters. The only rules to No Shame are that all pieces performed must be original, under 5 minutes, and not damage the space or any of its inhabitants.

I came up through the much-less celebrated Cedar Falls chapter, but I think myself and fellow shamer Luke Pingel repped the CF pretty well. I would like to point out that the CF No Shame is now in its seventh season and going strong even though the 5 of us who started it are all long gone.

No Shame will always hold the most special of places in my heart. At the height of its run (for me at least) we played to packed houses of over 200 people a night, with kids in the aisles and sitting on the floor just to watch. Then the entire group would relocate to a college-y type party house to drink and regale one another with their humorous anecdotes. It reminded me of what I've heard Saturday Night Live was like during its prime.

The point is, No Shame will be the thing I look back upon most fondly when I'm an overwight middle-aged man who hates his life and desperately tries to re-live his best years. It was great to experience it again, as grad school leaves very little time for non-academic writing, and it's hard to find a venue like No Shame that lets anyone perform (with the exception of Open Mic nights, but let's all hope I never get that desperate).

All that said, though, there are underground rumblings of a Minneapolis chapter in the works, so keep your eyes open...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Big ups to the wounded harmoninja



A big shout-out to a good buddy, Ninja Master Sean (pictured above rocking out with Broken Arms, the world's premire political rock band), who just got back from Iraq via the intensive care ward somewhere in Germany and then Walter Reed out in dee cee. The big ol' welcome home party for him even got some good press, although it's funny to note they didn't deem it fit to publish his opinion of the war. Unless you count "mixed feelings" as his actual opinion of "it was a mistake from the start and we should never have been there."

But either way, after some scary weeks of only knowing that his humvee had been blown up and he was in intensive care somewhere, it sure is damn good to see him home and doing relatively well.

I'm reminded of what he told me once as we walked across a busy highway at 1 in the morning on a saturday night. I, being sober and quite scared, thought we should perhaps wait until traffic cleared. Sean, being a ninja master, merely replied "You go against the grain, Wozniak, and that's your problem. You see, some people go with the grain, and their life is meaningless. Some people go against the grain, and find meaning. But to truly live, you must realize you are the grain. For when you realize that, you become one with the universe. And if you are the universe, what can destroy you?"

Well, they ain't destroyed you yet buddy, but the universe sure got knicked up there for awhile.


Take care of yourself man.

Alternative Careers in Sociology, Vol. I

With apologies to Howzi, from whom I ripped off the idea

Last night I caught the Show Veronica Mars for the first time, a show that as far as I can figure out is about some spunky young lady who solves mysteries, ala Nancy Drew, but is bit more cynical and shows more skin than I ever remember Mz. Drew doing. Anyway, in last night's episode, there was a powerful guest spot from Dan "Homer Simpson" Castellaneta as a...wait for it...sociology professor. Now, for the record, he did not wear a leather jacket with tweed elbow patches on it, only to find out that it's supposed to be a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, thereby ruining a perfectly good jacket (correction, two perfectly good jackets!).

In the episode, the hard-assed sociology prof tempted his students into spending a weekend recreating the Zimbardo prison experiment (well, they didn't call it that, but 'taint to many people who did that exact study) with promises of not having to do the final paper. This got me thinking about two interesting ideas for teaching. The first would be submitting students to studies that would never pass the IRB instead of making them do papers I have to grade.

But the other thought was about how you rarely see sociology profs portrayed on television, or hear about sociologists in general. As Uggen recently pointed out, there are many famous sociology majors floating out there, form Dr. King, to Joe Theisman, to Regis, to Pete Seeger, and even the Gipper himself, Ronnie Reagan. While every list you can find wih a quick and easy google search turns up the same list of names compiled by the ASA a few years back, surely there must be famous sociology majors missed by that one list. It has now become my mission to find those people, and out them for the sociologists that they are.

The sad thing is, I'm legitmately kind of excited about this. Sigh...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Just a li'l more baseball

The magical season in 3 minutes.

Yet another homoerotic tribute

I know there have been 50,000,000 (roughly) posts about how miraculous the Twins season has turned out to be, and that I personally have already written several. Sorry, it's just been a damn amazing season. After we lost Puck this past spring, it was a huge blow to Minnesota. He was everything we value here in the Midwest: happy, content, loyal, and hard-working. Hell, he even had the short stature and imposing gut so common amongst the simple folks out here.

The only other guy who comes close to that is Brad Radke. He may not get the acolades of Puck, but he's been an amazing man over his career. You'll never see him in the Hall of Fame, and his jersey wont get retired. Hell, in 5 years, no one outside of Minnesota will remember him. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been great. He won 20 games way back in 1997 when the Twins won only 68 games all year long. Only if you're a devoted baseball fan can you understand how fucking impossible that is. It means that he won just under 30% of the Twins games that season. I'm no baseball historian, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone else who's ever accomplished that kind of feat.

But he, possibly even more than Kirby, is emblamatic of everything that is the Minnesota Twins. He's not a name most people recognize. He's not over powering. He just gets the job done. But most of all, he's the grittiest player in any sport alive today. The man has been throwing on a torn ligament in his pitching arm and a stress-frature in his piching shoulder all season long. Has he complained once? No. Like a true Midwesterner, he simply goes out every fifth day in the rotation and pitches a damn good game, and then spends the rest of the week unable to lift his kids or even shampoo his hair because his arm won't raise, no matter what he does.

But on game day, he does it again.

He's gone after this season. He possibly may not even pitch in the postseason. But again, it's in true Midwestern fashion: to pitch again he would have to have extensive surgery, and it just isn't worth it to him. He's said that he's on his way out, and if his arm falls off, than it falls off, but he's got a job to do on the field. Not to name names, but can you see Randy Johnson, Curt Shilling, Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, or any of the much, much more celebrated pitchers even comtemplating saying something like that? No, no you couldn't.

Possibly one of the most important games of this entire season was the third game of a 3-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit with Brad on the mound. A day after we heard that Franchise was out for the season (and as such, would not get Rookie of the Year, even though he still deserves it. Quick: name a better rookie. You can't. Case closed.), Brad went out and pitched a gem of 7 innings against the best team in all of baseball. I think the most telling was after he walked off the mound in the 7th, Mauer came out and gave him a huge hug. Not the manly, half-handshake-half-hug kind of thing, but a genuine thank you to the cagey old man who's literally giving his arm to the Twins.

It was hard not to get misty-eyed watching Brad pitch last night. Sure, it was the Royals. But it was a huge game we absolutely could not lose, and Radke made sure we didn't.

So he may never get the awards or the accolades that he would have gotten if he pitched like this for New York or Boston, but his worth will be measured by the fact that for generations to come, everyone who pitches or even plays in Minnesota will have their toughness and dedication measured against Bradke.

And if you ask me, I'm pretty sure he'd be just fine with that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good, but not good enough



Torii finally breaks number 30 (firt time ever for him, first time we've had two of 'em there since '87), Justincredible/the Good Doctor knocks in another monster one, and the Chairman gets his average back up to .349.

And we're officially in.

For the 4th time in 5 years (I suppose it's time to begin contraction talks again).

Now, let's make the best stretch of baseball ever played even better by just going ahead and winning the division as well.



If you're in Detroit, that sound you hear is the footstpes of the Twins coming up behind you

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

Though I be sure that ye already know, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So...uh...don't ye forget to talk like a pirate today, me hearties!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sports, sports, sports, sports

So I've been blogging a good deal about sports lately (even thought I know they detract badly needed funding from the arts and sciences), but I suppose it's just a function of the time of year. The playoff race is heating up (poor Liriano looks like he's back to the DL), football has started, and more importantly, school has started, meaning nothing interesting happens to me, so I'm struggling to find things to write about.

But I found this little gem online today. Apparently the back-up punter (who knew such people existed) for Northern Colorado stabbed the starting punter in the leg in an attempt to win the starting spot.

Now that's the kind of Can-Do! attitude that I think we should be encouraging more of in our collegiate athletes these days. It prepares them not just for the game of football, but for their future career in the world of corporate leg-stabbing.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why you've gotta love independent leagues

I was really not a big fan of sports outside of the pros. College is ok, high school recalls too many beatings, and amateur leagues are just that. You always have to kind of figure that if these people were really good at the game, they'd be getting paid for it.

But my opinion has been gradually changing over the past summer as I've been exposed to more minor league and independent league sports than I could shake a stick at. There's something quaint and homey about the indy leagues, and it is refreshing in a way to watch guys play for peanuts just because they love the game. Of course, this isn't to say that they wouldn't jump at a chance to play in the bigs, but unlike so many professional players, they continue to play despite making rather humble money for professional athletes.

And, again unlike the bigs, minor leagues and indy leagues really cater to fans. Tickets are reasonable prices, and understanding that the game (especially the game of baseball) can get rather boring without the story arcs of overexposed professional athletes, they do much more to keep the games exciting. While some people decry the Donut Burger and promos such as vasectomy night as cheap gimmicks that hurt the game, I'm sure the average fan appreciates the inherent humor of them.

But for me, it really comes back to the players. The guys are pretty universally just people who weren't good enough to make/last in the bigs and bring a kind of blue-collar ethic to the game. Case in point: last night, players from both the Saint Paul Saints and the Fort Worth Cats were arrested for brawling at a bar in St. Paul after the Cats beat the hometown Saints for the American Association League championship.

Can you even imagine pro players all going to a bar together after the game, let alone both teams going out together? And then, can you imagine them doing that after the world series? And then can you even begin to imagine them being so into the game that they get into a fist fight after the game?

Nah, me neither. Guess those guys who can't play quite as well may be the more entertaining players after all.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just in case you've forgotten

Donald Rumsfeld discussing the possibility of invading Iraq in November, 2002:

"I can't say if the use of force would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."


Some congressional reps are moving to a vote of no confidence in Rumsfeld. If you want to sign a petition to encourage them to do so, you can go here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Found quote in an old theory notebook

"After all these years of letting it roam free and unfettered in the wild, we can all rest easy knowing that we've finally domestictaed violence"

Friday, August 25, 2006

A confidential note to Bert Blyleven

It's pronounced per-ron-nah.

The T is silent.

The storm before the calm before the storm (the last storm is figurative)

OR...

"I like my beers cold, my cars fast, and my lips fa-laming!"

OR...

"First Homer Simpson steals my pig, then Cypress Hill steals my orchestra, and now Sonic Youth are in my cooler...get out of there, you kids!"




Yes, Sonic Youth opening for the Flaming Lips at the Minnesota State Fair.

I'll give you a moment to do a double-take, rub your eyes, and then snuff out the joint. For yes, these two bastions of alt/noise/psychedlia rock were in full force at the MN State Fair, even despite the torrential downpour that preceeded the show.

And it was a damn good show, indeed. Even my grizzled, rock-show vet older brother was amazed at how tight Sonic Youth sounded. Looks like in their older years these kids have put in a bit more rehearsal time. Even though Kim's voice sounded terrible (she must have a cold or something, because I've never heard her sound that bad), the group sounded pretty damn tight for what is ostensibly a noise band at many points. And in her defense, she's still pretty energetic (and foxy) for a woman of her age.

Highlight: Thurston and the guitarist who isn't Thurston (I'm obviously not that big of a Youth fan) playing their guitars by slamming their fretboards into each other and then rubbing their guitars wildly against one another.

It was just as sexual as it sounds.

Poor Magic Numbers. When it was announced that their equipment was "saturated" from the rain and that they would not be playing, the crowd errupted in cheers. Poor kids. But eventually, the Lips let them play two songs during their set, which actually probably gave them much more exposure than playing a full set to those few of us dedicated/bored enough to show up that early.

As far as the Flaming Lips show goes, it's hard for me not to sound like a fawning pre-teen girl at a Beatles/Backstreet Boys/currently-overinflated-talentless-pop-act show when talking about it. Their live show has been so hyped by now that I thought there was no way I wasn't going to be dissapointed by it when it inevitably failed to live up to expectations.

But I was quite wrong. The Flaming Lips stage show really does deserve all of the ridiculous hype it receives. Wayne is the consumate showman, and I can't believe how much time it must have took to plan it all out.

Though one beef I had is that setting up the show takes approximately 19 times as long as the actual show itself.

Higlight: The Lips seem to be really humble folk. During Sonic Youth's set, they simply stood stage side in full view, clearly enjoying a good band doing a good show. They gave up a portion of their show so that the opening act could get some stage time. And most shockingly of all, the Lips were right there setting up all of their equipment next to the roadies, lugging amps and heavy equipment that stars of half their stature would refuse to touch.

The only downside to it was the fact that every time Wayne stepped near the microphone, people thought the show was going to start, despite the fact most of the instruments weren't even on stage. The very loud cheers for no reason started to get rather annoying. But at least there was a humorous moment when one (hopefully) drunk fan yelled at them to "turn that shit up" when a roadie was doing a sound check on the bass.

All-in-all, I think the night was best summed up in the many times Wayne just stood at the mic, looked around, laughed to himself in amazement, and said "You know, there were never shows like this at the state fair when I was growing up."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

2 Skinnee J's to the rescue!

Well, the science-huggers have finally succeded in stripping our tiniest and most loveable planet of its planet-hood. Mnemonics everywhere will have to be changed. Disney promotional tie-ins will suffer. But most of all, it is the children who will be hurt.

Fortunately, many years ago (well, okay, 1998) the band 2 Skinnee J's had already tackled this problem with their ground-breaking anthem Pluto:

With depravity,
I break lots of gravity
Blast past the atmosphere
To the last frontier
I go boldly through space and time
The sky's the limit,
But the limit isn't the sky
I break orbit by habit,
I ignite satellites and leave rings round the planets
A flying ace like that beagle,
Nevertheless this alien remains illegal
Cause their discovery don't cover me
The immigrants been left in the cold
To grow old
And disintegrate
Discriminate
Against the distant and disclaimers,
Cause small minds can't see past uranus
When i shun their race
Cause that's just a phase
And my odyssey runs in 2001 ways
And i can see clearly now like hubbell
Shoved off the shuttle,
Here's my rebuttal
It's a planet.

Who do you represent?
I represent the smallest planet
A tourney in this journey
Versus those who tried to ban it.


If you don't agree
Go see interplanet janet cause
The sun is star like
Pluto
Is planet.
So lend me all ears
And let me state my case,
About all the types of satellites we must embrace
Cause like parents'
Great-grandparents,
This planet was an immigrant,
To deport it's an offense.
It's an upstanding member of the solar system
Abide the laws of earth and make it a victim.
Of proposition
107,
When pluto spawns a moon it will apply to the heavens.
A dandy like judas of a chariot
If you demote this boat
Remote to a goat
It's like taking et's custody from elliot,
Support yours
Clearly put cause,
Simply put

Pluto is a planet. pluto!
Pluto is a planet. pluto!
Pluto is a planet. pluto!
Pluto is a planet. pluto!

Do it
For the
Children,
If not for yourself.
Pluto
Is a
Planet!


Please, won't someone think about the children?

Monday, August 21, 2006

There's a lot of crazy stuff on that internet these days

So I have this friend/improv director/math prof/"kinda" Jew (he totally eats cheeseburgers) who maintains a very quality website. Anyway, on this website is a message board, and as a favor to a friend, he put up a section of the message board solely reserved for "Discussion of dinosaur-related topics, including their extinction." Seeing as how no one had written on it at the time I first viewed it, I felt it was my civic duty to contribute to the nascent conversation.

Well, in one of many fits of boredom/real-life avoidance, I was perusing said dinosaur-related message board and found this post I had made low these many years ago. It was mildly amusing.



So I went to high school with a girl who was convinced dinosaurs did not exist. Her reasoning? No, she wasn't a creation scientist, and she wasn't an anti-scientite. Rather, she believed dinosaurs were a myth created by our government to make money through museums. When I pointed out that many dinosaur bones are in museums that are free, or require only a "suggested" donation, she was unfazed. In fact, several of our class mates jumped to her defense, and I was put to shame. Why? sell, it was most likely due to the fact she was very sexually attractive, and they (all men) presumably wanted to engage in various acts of sexual intercourse and/or heavy petting with her. However, by the time of our senior year of high school, she had become very fat and homely, but much like in a bad teen after-school special, had rethought her idiotic and vacuous earlier positions and had become quite an intellgent and engaging woman. She was no longer popular, though, but since she was so interesting to talk to, she and I actually became fairly close friends. Not like best friends or anything, but you know, school buddies. The kind that will sit by each other in class, or talk in the hallway, but not the kind that are going to call each other and hang out on the weekend. Long story short, this is why I'm offended by "No fat chicks" bumper stickers.


True story.


Except for the part about "No fat chicks" bumper stickers. Those things are hi-larious!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Best motherfucking movie ever motherfucking made!




Passion. Romance. Suspense. Action. Comedy.

And...

Snakes. On a motherfucking plane.


Oh, and Kenan Thompson (that fat kid who used to be on SNick. Rememeber SNick? That's ok, no one does).

Now, I don't use the term "best-movie-ever-made-about-anything-ever," but in this case, I'm willing to make an exception.

It has everything you could ever want, even gender equality. How is this you ask? Well, in predictable horror/suspense fashion, the first to die were two horny teenagers. But in especially comical fashion, the first woman to die dies from a deadly snake bite directly on her exposed nipple. But not to appear sexist, a slimy gentleman is later killed when he is urinating, and a snake comes up out of the toilet to bite him, yes, directly on his penis.

I don't want to go further into it and spoil it for people, but all I can say is go see this movie. Right. Now.

When Sam Jackson finally utters his famous words about tiring of matron-fornicating reptiles on an aircraft to which the same hyphenated adjective applies, it is an extremely magical moment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why does Netflix think I'm an asshole?

Haven't blogged for a couple of days now--turns out I had a bit too much fun at my birthday. Or so I'm told, for I remember shockingly little of the night. Not in one of those bragging oh-dude-I-got-so-wasted type of ways, but in a more concerned, I-need-to-stop-doing-that way.

Highlight of the night (or so I'm told): there was apparently one point in which a pantsless Jesse had to be tackled by his older brother because he kept trying to bite someone he felt had wronged him.

Hmmm...when you write it in the third person, it doesn't sound as bad. But that's not the point of all of this.

The point is that Netflix thinks I'm an idiot.

I don't know how many of you use Netflix, but I recommend it if you're a movie-watcher. I usually don't shill for things, but I've really come to enjoy it. It has a huge selection, and doesn't garner most of its profits from murdering people like G.E.-owned Blockbuster does. Plus, you can be really lazy and only have to go to your mailbox to get movies.

My only problem with Netflix is that on its welcome page it recommends movies you might like. It actually does this in two columns. In one column, it tells you that others who have watched a certain movie also liked these other movies. For example, because my roomate put Syriana (which is a pretty good flick, all told) on the list, Netflix recommended Munich. Or because of Lost in Translation, it recommended Broken Flowers, because they're the same movie. These make sense--they are similar movies, and if you like one, chances are fairly good you'll like the other. Thank you Netflix, this is certainley a helpful feature when I'm looking for new movies to watch.

However, there's another generic column simply titled "Other Movies You Might Enjoy." Now, I suppose they should emphasize might, because I have no fucking clue how they came up with these. For example, they list The Notebook, a shitty fucking movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Incidentally, if you don't know who Nichoas Sparks is (because you aren't a pre-teen girl or an over-weight house wife), you really should check out his stuff. It's hilarious in the way he takes trite sentimentality to an art form. But that's beside the point.

Why would it recommend this to me? Have I done somehting seriously wrong and my karma is being balanced out in the form on Netflix suggestions? Is it because I enjoyed the movie The Believer in which hunky young Ryan Gosling turns in an impeccably understated performance as a Jewish neo-nazi? Did they confuse my love of good cinema with a love of an actor who occassionally has to eat and therefore do terrible movies? Why, netflix?!? Why do you do this to me?

And if you think this is a fluke, please read the full list of movies Netflix thinks I would enjoy: The Corpse Bride, Just Like Heaven (starring that delightful Reese Witherspoon!), Flight Plan, Raising Helen, Scary Movie 2 (this one is possibly more offensive that The Notebook), Elizabethtown, and Wild Things.

How emberassing...

Friday, August 11, 2006

I was born at half-past 10, almost 'leven in the morning

As always, 5 dollars american for whomever can identify the random, yet applicable song quote without google



So, it is indeed my birthday. With a nod to Uggs for the nudge in the right lyrical direction:

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What a difference an unbelievably amazing winning streak can make!

Oh, the Twins.

Could it really be only 2 short months ago I was subtly mocking them in a Minnesota-nice type of way by celebrating the fact that they had finally hit .500? And could it be only a month ago that they were still 10 games out of the wild card, so I was celebrating the fact that they had finally officially outscored their opponents on the year?

My, my, how things change.

Now we're not only playing the best ball I've seen any team play in a long time, we're doing it without Shannon Stewart, without Lew Ford, without Torii for a great deal of it, with a rotating cast of outfielders that would make any soap opera jealous, and now we don't have Liriano for awhile (though somehow, don't you just know we'll be able to carry on?).

Now after taking 2 out of 3 from Detroit in Detroit, we're finally where we belong.

And now that everyone in Minnesota is finally on board and acting like they've loved the Twins all along (though I don't recall seeing them at the dome when we were 8 games below .500), I think we can all agree that the wild card isn't enough. Let's keep this ridiculous streak alive and just take the Central crown. Ok?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gone fishing...

...is all the marquee says now.



It turns out the rumors of the Vikings demise have not been greatly exaggerated.

The first place I ever whetted my whistle in Minneapolis, a scant 20 feet from my back door, with the best music you'll find in town, is now closed.

And suddenly the world is just a little less cooler than it was before.

Friday, August 04, 2006

End of Summer Depression--Vol. 1: Have I Passed My Best?


My very first-ever marquee...how cute

At the end of every summer, I start to get a little depressed. It's not just the impending school year (which I just realized I will have hanging over me every summer until I retire...sigh), and it's not the convenience of turning one year older at the end of every summer (only 6 shopping days left!), it's so much more. I think it's hereditary (more on this at some future date).

Anyway, I get depressed about all of the things I was going to do with my freetime that don't happen because of many things, but usually because of television and sleep. On my death bed, I'll be well rested and able to quote from a ridiculously large score of shows, but I don't think that will make me too happy.

Amongst other things, I didn't lose the weight I planned on losing, I didn't learn a single word of spanish, I didn't master either the mandolin or the dulcimer, and I've recorded exactly 0 songs. I wrote one half of a play, but I didn't think it was very good.



And then I have so many reminders thrown in my face. Liriano will probably win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, and he's fucking younger than me. Marx had written the Communist Manifesto and had it translated into seven languages by this time in his life. And I ain't done shit.

But at one point, I was in a band with dreams of global dominance, I was leading a movement we all thought was going to end the war, I was a regular feature performer in seevral theaters, and if you notice in the picture below, I had a ring on a certain finger that holds special signifigance in Western culture.



Has my life already peaked, with me not even quite 24 years old yet? Am I destined to forever look back and think that those were the days? Am I already the overweight middle-manager who hates what his life has become? Or am I rediculous for thinking these things at this point in my life? Sigh...I hate youth/young adulthood/quarter-life crises.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Not my research, but good reading

From the ever-irrepressible BillMon

"Until civilians -- frankly, I'm not sure how many of them are actually just innocent little civilians running around versus active Hezbo types, particularly the men -- but until those civilians start paying a price for propping up these kinds of regimes, it's not going to end, folks. What do you mean, civilians start paying a price? I just ask you to consult history for the answer to that.”

Rush Limbaugh
On the Qana Massacre
July 31, 2006


"We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal . . . As for what you asked regarding the American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and in other places."

Osama bin Laden
On His Fatwa Against America
March 1997


Well, we know who Rush agrees with. Who do you agree with?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Only 10 shopping days until my birthday...

A random google images search for August 11 turns up the following:











This all leads to the following conclusions:

A) Google image searches are fun

2) Drawings of weird futuristic-looking alien lizards are really nerdy

iii) Something about a gerbil in a kitchen utensil of some kind makes me smile

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Do the Zombie Dance!



Nothing like coming home from a nice vacation to find your good buddy is being held on $30,000 bail for "simulated weapons of mass destruction", by which, of course, is meant he had a radio in his back pack.

I'm sure the arrest had nothing to do with the fact that he and his friends were tyring to make an anti-materialistic statement by disrupting people's shopping experiences in trendy Nicollet Mall.

Sigh...it's good to be back in the "liberal" big city.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Why I Love the Big City, No. 376,843" or "Like Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer (Only Less Homoerotic)"

Last monday night it was me an' Arturo's weekly trek to Bunker's for an evening of music, and on rare ocassion, pretty girls. Arturo's good people, and after he has long been the Val Kilmer to my Tom Cruise (or the Iceman to my Maverick, if you will), I decided it was time to switch up and play a supporting role by being his wing man.

So as he swoops into a decent-looking girl (it was pretty late in the evening by then), I made my move toward the corpulent friend in an attempt to engage her long enough to free the object of his desire. But as I turned to speak to her, I realized someone had already taken the wing-man position for me.

But it wasn't just any someone, it was National Football League Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller.

Yes, I had been usurped at the position of wing man by a Hall of Fame member of the Purple People Eaters.

It was even crazier than that time I found out that Alan Page was a male stripper.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An animation for our times

With all due credit to the brilliant Dr. Douglas James Shaw and his Clubhouse for Ladies and Gentlemen, a picture for our times:




Lack of internet skeelz prevents me from putting up the animation, but you can find it by this conveniently placed link right here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I love my neighborhood

A short play, and by "play" I mean "exact transcript of what happened"

To set the scene, I have just returned from seeing the Combo at Bunker's, a monday night tradition of myself and strib cover-boy Artuto. Then there is a loud knock at the door...

(Offstage): "Open Up...Police!"

Gutter: "I'll go see who it actually is"

Woz: "Why do your friends think they're so funny?"

(Incomprehensible muttering)

Gutter: "Hey Woz, can you come down here?"

Woz: "Sure...what's the matter?"

Police: "Are you sure this is the only other person in here? No one else ran in here?"

Gutter: "No, it's just us"

(Police run off with big dog in what appears to be hot persuit of someone)


Let me tell you, this is very funny when you're drunk. Speaking of which, I apologize for all for the spelling and gerammer errors I can only assume I've made in this post.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The best thing an artist can often do is nothing

So driving home last night at 4 a.m. after watching Fear and Loathing, I was in an artistic and introspective mood. And as I struggled to stay awake and on the road, the Current was playing some weird Eurotrash techno that gave way to Beck and I caught myself doing this weird, arsty internal monologue about how I know Beck is a musical genius and all that, but his is the kind of music that leads one to insanity when they're in the altered state of mind that only sleep deprivation can bring on.

And for a minute I thought "Hey, that's pretty fucking eloquent. I should write that down. In fact, I should get back into creative writing. I haven't wirtten anything good for months now. This is the kind of shit I should be doing...you know, like jotting down wry observations of the madness of everyday life"

But then, as always, you wake up in the morning and realize it was just really, really hackneyed crap that every other person vainly trying to make their way in the world of creative work comes up with and it's never entertaining, no matter who writes it.

So I didn't write it down. You can thank me later.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Another Twins milestone

Here's the problem with the Twins this year: they had a really shitty April. I mean, really, really shitty. The exact numbers escape me right now, but they weren't good by any measure. Well, I guess they were good if you're the Royals, but for a professional team, they were not that good.

But they've started winning a whole bunch now (13 of their last 15) and they've safely placed themselves a hearty 4 games above .500 and a scant 10 games back in the wild card race.

But their biggest problems is that the two teams ahead of them not only have the numbers 1 and 2 best records in all of the majors; they also never fucking lose! While the Twins are 9-1 in their last 10 games, so are both Detroit and Chicago. Meaning, of course, that even though the Twinkies have been on a ridiculous win streak as of late (at one point winning 8 straight), they're still 11 games behind in their division, even though in any other division they would be only 4 games back, max. Sigh.

So, as a Twins fan, you start to learn how to appreciate the little things. That's what makes today so huge. With their 8-1 win over the hapless Cubs today, the Twins have finally reached a point in the season in which they have scored more runs than their opponents on the year. That's right, it now stands at:

Twins:352
Twins Opponents:348

And the season just keeps getting better...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Class Warfare?

A group of over 200 wealthy Minnesotans has taken out a full page ad in the strib today, arguing that the state needs more money and they can afford to pay it in the form of higher taxes.

Marxism if it comes from me; bold, visionary leadership if it comes from them.

Has it truly gotten so bad that the rich have to beg us to take their money from them? What does this say about our prioirties as a state? As a people? Sigh...


"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."--Dom Helder Camara

Monday, June 19, 2006

The funny thing is that I've seen pictures of her, and ironically, I want Rick Springfield's girl



As per Dr.'s orders, I finally broke down and purchased a new set of running shoes. To celebrate, I took the new fellas out for a nice little spin today.

The Vital Statistics:

Weather: 75 degrees
Playlist: Black Flag--Damaged
Brother Ali--Shadows on the Sun
Justin Timberlake--Justified
dead prez--(RBG)Revolutionary But Gangsta
Mileage: Just shy of double digits
People with in-line cross-country skis: Ridiculous
Puppies: Cute
Shoes: Very Shiny
Mood: Quietly ecstatic

Quite a good day, indeed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A sweet, sweet day for all!



Can mine eyes truly believe what they're seeing? Could this all be a beautiful, wonderful mirage?

Or are the Twins finally at an even keel this year?

Sure, it may mean precious little to those of you with baseball teams that win at regular intervals, but this is pretty huge. Who cares that we're 10 games back from first place?

Let the celebrations begin!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Put some pants on, it's the Feds



What do you want more than anything in the morning? Coffee? Orange Juice? A nice bagel?

I'm sure there are many things you want. But even more than things you want, there are many,many things you don't want. Amongst them is a visit from the Federal Bereau of Investigation's Joint Anti-Terror Task Force. But let's start at the start.

Had a late night last night out with some friends. So I roll out of bed at 11 and I'm watching Trinidad and Tobago play a hell of a game against those damn Limeys when there's a knock at the door. Not thinking about anything, I answer the door in my boxers, with my contacts out and incriminating tattoos in full view. And what is there to greet me other than a badge in my face and lovely visage of Detective Swanson of the U of M police and FBI-JATTF.

And while I'm pretty stupid, I know more than enough not to comment on what was said, but I can report that they were more concerned about who I might know that about me per se, at least from what they asked. (Confidentially to the FBI member reading this blog--this is correct, right? Those questions weren't just some kind of smokescreen to keep tabs on me, were they? Come on, you can tell me.).

So I'm doing fine and fancy free for now, but you might want to think twice before you give me a call anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The World Cup and male objectification



It's clear I've been spending too much time with foreigners, because I've been watching "futbol" (soccer to civilized human beings) religiously during this Cup. Incidentally, I've realized that everyone I ever cheer for loses. Not having a team, because I've never watched soccer before, I chose to cheer on the countrymen of my forefathers in Poland, and they lose 2-nil. Then I figure I should root for American, and they lose 3-nil. So I've decided I will cheer for no one in general.

Anyway, comments following a recent post in a friend's blog on the creepy objectification of girls in dance recitals got me thinking about the subject of sports and male objectification. While it's definately not the same as women's objectification (men are wanted for powerful bodies for pulvarizing oppenents, instead of turning people on) and I would argue it's not nearly as bad (men's objectification leads them to be heroes (Jordan, Elway, Ruth, etc.), while women's objectification often leads them to be denigrated as unintelligent objects who offer nothing but looks), it really is a strong cultural phenomenon.

A great example is going on right now. As I'm sure most of my readers pay absolutely no attention to sports, Ben Roethlisberger, Super-Bowl winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was in a motorcycle accident the other day and was in serious condition for a day or so (kids, always wear your helmets). Anyway, he's now in "fair" condition, but all of the updates on his condition during the Cup games focused on how his injuries will or will not hamper his ability to play football. Very little attention is giving to how he as a human being is doing, but there have already been several updates covering the fact that his precious knees are ok to play, so we needn't worry too much. I mean, who cares about a mouth full of broken teeth, a broken nose, and a 9-inch laceration on the back of his head? You don't need a nose or teeth to throw a ball. But this further raises the point that perhaps I'm not right in assuming men's objectification affords them status and respect, as no matter how many Super Bowls rings Big Ben wins, we still only want to know if he'll be able to win another one, not if he's going to live a healthy and happy life.



This motorcycle accident is not covered on t.v. because this person assumably cannot throw a football with a very good spiral
Oh, and just for the record, this is actually a sculpture, so don't be too grossed out

Monday, June 12, 2006

Uneventful weekend



Not too much going on this weekend...the folks came up, we went to a ballgame, got my Bradke bobblehead (complete with painted-on stubble) and the Twins actually won, which makes me 4-1 in games I go watch. I think that gives me a pretty compelling case for a free set of season tickets, don't you? That was pretty much it. Nothing new to report. No snarky comments about politicians, pop stars, or ugly babies, even though I saw a really ugly baby this weekend. Hopefully something very exciting will happen to me this evening, and then I'll have something to write about tommorow. So...uh...come back tommorow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Don't you hate pants?

I had a lengthy discussion once with a friend of mine about how amazing Google is. Not only has it indexed all the information in the world, but in a only a few short years, it has transformed itself from a noun into a verb. To look something up online is now to "google" it, and it doesn't seem as if that's going to change very soon. So pretty much everyone has googled themselves at one point in time, and it's a natural part of one's sexual growth.

I've googled myself on numerous occassions, and have found that not only am I me (I'm the first Jesse Wozniak that comes up in the search--take that posers), but I'm also an ATV racer and parts salesman whose house burned down once, and a celebrity photographer. In a weird nexus of the universe type instance, I found a photo were Jesse Wozniak the photographer seems to have photographed Jesse Wozniak the ATV racer, and now Jesse Wozniak the blogger is writing about it, making it even crazier.

But I had never googled myself for images. But I finally did last night due to the coolest website I've ever found. Stalkerati.com has made cyber stalking your ex girlfriends so rediculously easy it should be illegal. It automatically scans friendster, facebook, google, google image, myspace, and the blogosphere for names that match the name you've enetered. Now you no longer even need go through the work of hiding in the bushes outside Chef Boyardee's house. You can simply sit in the comfort of your own house and stalk away.

So I learned many great things using this service, but the part that makes this relevant is that it lead me to finally see what comes up when you google me for images. This is the fist picture you'll see:



Yep, the first thing you'll see is me with no pants on. That outta make Ma proud. God bless the internet.