Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New discovery

If you're like me and enjoy assiduously avoiding work in the most entertaining way possible, then why not browse on over to conservapedia?

Yeah, it's everything you think it would be, plus oh-so-much more. My favorite articles thus far would be (in order) the one arguing that it can be scientifically proven that unicorns did indeed exist at one point in time ("scientific" because they're apparently mentioned in the Bible) and another arguing that humans and dinosaurs existed coterminously, with an ever-so-appropriate picture of Jesus riding a dinosaur, as we can only assume he did on multiple occasions.

If I weren't so piled under work right now, I'd be inclined to go on at length about the depths of our unique brand of American stupidity, but instead I'll just say go check it out before it becomes a parody website completely overrun by Colbert types. Because as of right now, it's dead serious and dead hilarious.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Proud Poppa

Oh, the anticipation

I've owned very few cars in my life. 2 to be exact. While my previous car was purchased for $10 over the blue book value of $90, my current car started life with me as a baby-sitting job while my brother was overseas, but eventually just became my car. So I guess it was cheaper than my previous 1989 Ford Festiva, but it's probably worth a little bit more.

Of the many significant features that set this 1995 Nissan apart from my little Festiva (such as working seat belts, working heat, and a 5th gear, amongst others) probably the biggest is that when it came to me, it was under 100,000 miles.

But not anymore. For I have finally surpassed that milestone that every child dreams of and piloted the car long enough and patched it together enough times to see it mature from an insignificant 80,000 or so miles to the big 1-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. From this day forward, I no longer drive like a little boy; I drive like a man.

What a feeling.

A new dawn is on the horizon

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More brilliance from the U.S. Armed Forces...

As I've noted before, the United States military has had a bit of a problem with selling weapons stupidly.

But I think we've hit a new high. Or low, depending on how you look at it.

It was recently broken that the Air Force has been selling fighter-jet parts to Iran. Now to be fair, they weren't selling them directly to Iran. Rather, they were selling them to disreputable arms dealers and then not paying any attention to where they went after that.

So anyway, when we lose a couple thousand young people in a needless war in Iran, at least we can take comfort in knowing that they'll be killed by U.S. parts.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Growing up sucks

Like most members of my generation, although I’m in my mid-20s, I really don’t feel like anything close to an adult. At best, I feel like I’m still stuck in some sort of arrested adolescence, only with more bills and no one to do my laundry. This stands in pretty sharp contrast to even my parents generation, many of whom were married and had children by now. While I’m certainly not clamoring for that to happen to me anytime soon, I can’t help but feel a little young for my age.

So instances when I’m forced to recognize the fact that I’m expected to be an adult fully participating in the world always hit a bit harder, I think.

Like right now for instance. As I write this, I’m feeling pretty sick. Not anything major; probably just a 24-hour flu at the most. But it couldn’t have come at a worse time. I’m in the middle of grading 50 tests, writing a paper due this Friday, working on a lit review for one project, and on top of everything trying to finalize a paper to send out for publication by the end of the week. Needless to say, I don’t have the time to be sick.

And isn’t that the sick irony of it all. Only a few scant years ago when I was in high school, I loved to get sick. Sure, you might feel kind of bad, but being sick meant you got to stay home from school, watch the Price is Right, and sleep all day in your jammies. But now that I’m an “adult” being sick only means that I have to do everything I was doing anyway, just now I have to do it with a sore throat and a headache.

It sucks, and I want my mommy. I’m only in my mid-20s and I’m already sick of being a grown up.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fuck the Chicago Bears!

Oh the shame--for all these years I thought the Super Bowl Shuffle was the sports-championship-themed-poorly-recorded novelty rap.

How wrong I was.

With big ups to Stinky, the man who keeps my up to my ears in obscure baseball knowledge, I'm now aware of Senor Smoke's championship rap, the Berenguer Boogie

This masterpiece of a song puts the SBS to such shame in so many ways that I cannot even list them all. Suffice to say the following:

1) The entire 1984 Chicago Bears team could not muster any attractive women, while Pancho Villa alone can produce dozens at the snap of a finger
2) Juan's fantastic dancing, especially his attempt to match his incredibly awkward pitching motion to the terrible sound effect
3) The inexplicable trench coat

and most importantly...

4) Recorded at Paisley Park.

Nothing else need be said.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Winter girth and professional sports

Pardon me for recycling posts, but I developed this out of a comment I left on a friends post, and realized it was so long, I may as well post it to my won blog

Between watching my Top Chef and hitting the gym less this winter, I've been thinking about weight a bit lately. But a recent discussion on the ruling in Spain that models must have at least x amount of body fat to be allowed to walk the runway has gotten me thinking about the opposite end of that spectrum, especially in sports. The roomie and I have had a good deal of conversations about the need to institute a maximum weight in professional football, or at least the college game.

I suppose with the pros you can at least make the argument that they're paid a minimum of 6 figures (and that minimum becomes in the 7 figures pretty quickly) and they're adults, so they can do whatever they want to get that kind of money. Of course, their life expectancy drops to 55, but that's the risk you take, I suppose.

But college players earn no money, which makes it harder to accept them putting themselves in such dangerously unhealthy body types. For example, at the 1-AA (a/k/a Championship subdivision) University of Northern Iowa, the linemen are just as big as any at major school, but they have a significantly less likely chance of earning those millions. After all, obscure regional universities in Iowa can only produce so many 2-time NFL and Super Bowl MVPs.

But unlike the old days when linemen were my size (nowadays kickers outweigh me, a college lineman has put himself in the way of so many obesity-related body problems, they have all of the risks of the pros, but none of the financial benefits.

Or perhaps they're all just putting on winter weight, too...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who's opinion matters most to you?

Ever since reading the Wrong Side of the Tracks book, I've been in a very contemplative mood, especially in terms of the people who have helped me rise above my station in life. After a short but thoroughly entertaining discussion with old pal, bandmate, and co-conspirator Widda T, I was reminded of how nice it is to have someone in your life who shares you exact sense of humor. Well, I once sent him an e-mail explaining how much his opinion meant to me, and while cleaning out the ol' sent-mail folder, I found it and figured I should share it with the world. While he maybe hasn't helped me achieve anything useful, it's typically the people you can get crazy with and simultaneously just sit and enjoy great conversation that help you the most in getting through life. Anyway, here's what I once wrote about how much I respect his opinion in all matters of hilarity (in the context of having him review a play I wrote):

Dearest Timothy,
Here's the updated version of the play. This is pretty much the final version (except for minor cosmetic changes as I see fit) unless you have any substantiative feedback. And I seriously would like any feedback you have, because there's only one person whose opinion on comedy I hold in higher esteem, and that is Humorous McTellsjokes the 4th, King of Funnytown. Now, that is one comedy-spewing monarch. Even though he's essentially powerless, due to the fact that Funnytown is a constitutional monarchy. His position is really cosmetic, as the kings and queens of Funnytown haven't held any real power since the fall of the McWe'rereallyfunnyandsuch clan, circa 1765. The humorless peasantry of Funnytown stormed the Hilaricastle and demanded that King Ivan Illeuch "The Hammer" McWe'rereallyfunnyandsuch the XVIIIth abdicate his throne in favor of decisions based on sound public policy, rather than those which were best when viewed with a humorous "broioioioioing!" noise added in. Still, though, most of Funnytown regards King McTellsjokes with high esteem, though there are some rumblings in the country side that he does nothing but provide fodder for the tabloids, but these people are an isolated sentiment. Anyway, that's why you're opinion is second.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Why are you so loud?

“Growing up in working-class neighborhoods unfettered by Victorian notions of proper forms of speaking, we competed with others in our class to be heard. A sure-fire formula for success was volume, frequency, and ostentatiousness in speech. In the middle-class environment of the university, such tactics are frowned upon as wholly inappropriate. Consequently, we both daily struggle with conforming our voices to the dictates of appropriate speech while at the same time holding true to our backgrounds.”
--Stephen Muzzatti and Vincent Samarco “Reflections From the Wrong Side of the Tracks: Class, Identity, and the Working-Class Experience in Academe

“Why are you so loud?”

While you might think the question has always been asked of me, I was never aware of the fact that I spoke too loudly until I came to college. Entering graduate school has only increased the frequency with which I am asked this question.

Until recently, I had always tried to answer this question in the individualistic, medicalized, and hegmonically bourgeois acceptable form that I so despise being offered in response to any other question.

The story actually fits the individualistic mode quite well—I was born temporarily deaf and have had problems with my ears all my life, notably when I was 8 and a bad sinus infection left my left ear drum shattered and destroyed my eustachian tube, which makes it very difficult for me to hear myself. Not to mention a long career in the louder musics, which while it may not have done a great deal of damage, has certainly not helped my hearing situation.

However, only upon reading my old friend Muzzatti’s account of growing up in a working-class neighborhood (and the education system you enter because of your neighborhood) did I finally apply the sociological training I'm wasting my life on to my own situation. While I'm sure my individual medical history helps explain my high-volume speech, it doesn't explain my "aggressive" speaking style.

Of course, "aggressive" is again the label applied by those educated in nicer schools, where everyone politely waits their turn to be called on, and you don't have to have the windows open with traffic and construction going on 15 feet away because you have air conditioning to deal with the heat, and you don't have to deal with the cacophony of students being constantly disciplined, etc.

So I guess one could argue I'm just a product of an upbringing that not many folks in higher academia share. Or I'm just a boorish ass. They're both plausible.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins, R.I.P.

The reports of Molly Ivin's death are sadly not greatly exaggerated.

With the usual caveat that I don't really agree with her on everything she says (she always had way too much faith in the Democratic party), it was always fun to open the newspaper once a week to see what she had to say. Growing up in a very conservative small town, it was difficult to wade through all of the Robert Novak and Pat Buchanan op-ed pieces (yes, the Fort Dodge Messenger, in addition to poor spelling and grammar, regularly ran articles penned by the Great White Hope) and still have faith in humanity, but Molly always had something interesting and fun to say. On top of that, she proved that not everyone from Texas was...well, the kind of person you'd expect to be from Texas.

She died of cancer this morning at only 62 and will be sorely missed.