Friday, April 11, 2008

Snow on April 11th

All I have is an acronym: WTF. So much for global warming. I am ready to welcome it with open arms. Seriously. Winter's grasp is so strong it has killed spring so far. Killed it. It was snowing last night and this morning with random flurries throughout the day. I want heat. Bring on a new medieval warm period like during the Renaissance! I want sunshine. I want to be able to cook eggs on the asphalt. I want more UV and sun cancer! Bring on the sun. We need more flatulent cows, more diesel fumes! Let's accelerate this thing!

Good bye Semester!

Relief. Euphoria. Exhaustion. Gladness. A bittersweet farewell. Well, mostly sweet. These are a few of my favorite things at the end of a semester. Just a few short hours ago I finished a paper. The paper was not all that well-written mind you, but I got it done. That's what matters. That, and there are no more papers until next fall. But, while I live in peace for this moment, finals looms on the horizon like those deep purple and black storm clouds that stroll in uninvited on a beautifully sunny spring day. I think some of you, if not all might be able to relate. But, why must it be so bittersweet? I mean I should be able to clap my hands together and sing Hallelujah and do back flips (I'm working on the back flips...maybe for graduation, if that ever happens). The semester is done! Shout from the bell tower! Run around Notre Dame with Quasimodo! Victory!

Ah, but then we miss our new friends, our old friends, and perhaps on occasion, even a teacher (cough). We miss the monotony of hours of class and going in and out of consciousness in class, or checking facebook during an important lecture. We miss the soothing ring of that bell when we get into class just in the nick of time. We miss those people in the front row who always know the answer and contribute such wonderfully pertinent things to class like their trip to Maui last winter and how much their cat barfed the night before. We miss it all. Oh the memories. Let us revel. Thank you for letting my parents spent thousands of dollars on this wonderfully life-altering and mind-numbing education. I am so looking forward to Grad school.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wazzup Dude? How are you?

The ways we communicate are many and intricate. From town to town, county to county, state to state, or nation to nation there are variations in inflection, nasality, dialect, and language. For the purpose of this post I'd like to address a some what common trend. You may see it as a bad thing, or a good thing, or you may not care either way.

The simple fact is, wherever you go in the United States, you run into a preponderance of colloquialisms, slang, and mumbling. Personally I find myself more drawn to the mumbling (It is the perfect way to say something offensive without anyone really perceiving it except your closest mumble-translating friends). But, the far greater concern is not the mumblers, although perhaps we should enunciate more clearly.

The real problem is everyone who overuses the following words: stuff, things, dude, yeah, sweet, cool, crap, ya know, like, etc. Rarely, if ever does anyone truly use any of those words correctly in day-to-day speech. What it could represent is a dumbing down of the American-english vulgate. Or, perhaps the spread of MTV and surfer culture has made a massive juggernaut movement. I happen to be part of the surfer culture, but, contrary to what you might think, not all are sun-crisped air heads. In fact most are not. But, even though they may have MBAs or be CEOs and lawyers...they still love to use the words brah, dude, whoa, wazzup, gnarly and the like. This lingo has its proper time and place in my opinion. On the beach, at the board shop, on a surf trip, in the ocean, at the X games, etc. But, this language has made its way into Universities and the workplace and places that one might have thought could be safe, or even immune.

However, what helps it gain momentum is instant messenging, text messaging, and the ever-growing need to be cool and maintain a "I'm smart, but I don't need to use good grammar or complicated language to communicate." With the information age, it becomes easier to talk to one another in a variety of ways, but we also tend to communicate in the most base and easy way. Why? It's less time consuming. It's much easier to send a text that says "Wazup bro? R U goin 2nite to that thing?" than "Hey Tom, how are you? Are you going to the Maroon 5 concert?" And, some might think the second form makes you sound like a pompous dork. Why should we need to punctuate? Who cares about grammar? I got the point across didn't I? Yes. Yes you did, but I can't say I could vote for you for public office, or feel comfortable about sending my kids to a school where you teach. I doubt there is much we can do about the trend...unless we decide that we want to take the time to speak and write well without being ashamed of it.

The cool kids with the sweet lingo don't get the important jobs that go places or change the world. The stubborn people who like books, reading, writing, and public speaking get them. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm famous!

Everybody these days is famous in the blogosphere. Wow, just writing the word blogosphere makes me feel like some cultish cyber-weirdo (well, maybe I am). Some of you may never know. And, then again, some of you are probably just nodding your heads in agreement.

So, back to the point. With the advent of blogs, podcasts, social networking sites and the like, people who otherwise would have slid under the proverbial rug, are running the world. Some people, and occasionally I find myself falling into this category, prefer to get their news from blogs rather than CNN or MSNBC. It's almost like a total system upheaval...and, I kinda like it. But that being said, with the good blogs come the bad/mediocre/crap blogs.

Now, as much as I would like to think that there are lots of good ones, the truth is that most probably suck and are poorly edited (Some of you are thinking, "Yeah like this one"), but believe me, there are worse. And, I really don't think I need to give to a list of them, they're easy enough to find. But, even though people now publish through RSS feeds everything from their baby's first poopy diaper to diatribes about the weather, they aren't really published columnists. Much less authors. And, although some are, rarely are they even AP contributors. Often they are computer savvy college kids, bored teenagers, soccer moms or the unemployed. But, even though everyone chips in their two cents, the colorful myriad of poetry, satire, ramblings and photo journals is enough to cause one to be ecstatic. Or crazy. Or both. I am not some amazing author. Clearly. I have fun with it. But I guess we just need to be more discerning, because, most people can't write for beans (or any other food-like substance). Just because I have a blog, you have a blog and my friend's dog has a blog doesn't mean we're awesome...well, if you're the dog, maybe it does.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Useless Facebook groups: Boycotting Oil Companies

Here is the link to a facebook group, that, like so many others is trying to solve a complex problem with an over-simplified solution. The problem, as is deemed by the creator of the group is that gas prices are way up, and the only way to bring them down is to boycott the largest supplier of gasoline in the US, Exxon/Mobil. I could go into much more detail about how the dollar is still sliding, inflation is up, and the FED is doing a terrible job trying to keep a weakening economy afloat....but let's just keep to the basics. Here is what I posted when I added this group:

"Ok, I only joined [this group] because the logic is flawed and I'd like to tell you all to WAKE UP! Exxon/Mobil sets its prices based on the price per barrel they pay to OPEC. Therefore, the real problem is what the Saudis, the Venezuelans and the Iranians are charging, not our American companies. You want cheaper gas?! Allow drilling in ANWR, and allow us to use our own resources so we're not so dependent on OPEC."

So, to bring this to a hopefully more hopeful conclusion, perhaps I should make a group that pushes for more development of our domestic resources, green energy and more hardline negotiations with the countries that make up the cartel that is OPEC. But, more than likely people would find that group too complex, and settle for the useless boycott. It never has anything to do with what is the best way to get things done; people just like to do whatever sounds cooler. That says a lot about America. And people in general. Maybe I should just play some Bob Marley and get stoned and forget about life for a while. At least then I could wake up happy and talk about Sheriffs, love, and not rocking my boat instead of facebook oil boycotts.