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
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?