Saturday, January 31, 2009

Logically Illogical

We all have a tendency to be deliberately illogical. However, we pass it off as logical. I'm sure you can think of many instances in your life where this is true. Let me give one of mine.
So I went to a hamburger place with some friends after a basketball game. After looking at the menu thoroughly, I made the most unhealthful decision possible and got a burger with word "X-treme" in it. It involved a lot of meat and toppings (and I did it one handed). But, the initial choice was not the one that was REALLY illogical. After I ordered this enormous slab of beef and vegetable garden in between two buns, I decided to get a root beer float. I guess the logic would be, "Well I got a friggin huge sandwich that will probably clog my arteries and stop my heart, so I might as well get something equally unhealthy and deliciously fattening to wash it down." This type of thinking makes no sense when we step back, but at the time it makes perfect sense.
It's like saying while I'm up on the edge of this precipice overlooking a lake, "I might as well jump...and jump without shoes." Or it's like saying, "Well I already chipped my tooth playing this game, so I might as well keep playing it, because that tooth's not coming back." Or, "I already have a stain on my shirt, so I might as well go mud wrestling."
(Remember what happened when Old Blue went mud wrestling?)

These actions seem plenty logical. But, strangely enough they are not. There really are a lot of great examples I could give, but I'd rather you give me a couple. Tell your best story in the comments.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Release!

Harmonix and Neversoft, the video game developing crews that brought us the wildly popular Guitar Hero series, is at it again! From Guitar Hero to Guitar Hero II to Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock to Guitar Hero World Tour, this lesser-known game development crew has grown to a status of immeasurable fame and teen-influence. Most hard-core GH fans already know about the expansions, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica, but what’s coming next is really going to blow people’s minds. Activision, the publisher for the Guitar Hero games, told us during a sneak-peek interview that they were looking for a way to get even more teens excited about pretending to play music.
“The little plastic guitars with colorful buttons really made the instrument seem a lot less intimidating. Now we want to take that idea to accommodate everyone—not just those who like guitar music. We want everyone to be a hero!”

That’s right, folks, it’s finally here: Didgeridoo Hero! The didgeridoo is a wind instrument of the Aborigines of northern Australia, now available in your living room and compatible with XBOX 360 and Playstation 3. Didgeridoos are traditionally made from living Eucalyptus trees, which have had their interiors hollowed out by termites, but the controllers for Didgeridoo Hero are actually just large plastic tubes with a sensor on one end to breath into. The didgeridoo is a one-note instrument, and notes vary with instruments of different length. When we asked Activision what songs we could expect to see in the game they told us the classics “Dingo” and “the Kookaburra” were sure to be there. We’re expecting this game title to be an exhale-ent time! Activision said that Didgeridoo Hero is just one of many expansions to follow up their original fake-instrument game model. Also on the docket for this next coming year are Glockenspiel and Bagpipe Hero. The main spokesperson said of this new expansion-pack explosion, “It’s almost like playing real instruments, and even more almost like being a real hero!”

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Tonsils, Appendix, and Wisdom Teeth Conspiracy

I am a proud owner of both a set of tonsils, and one appendix. Unfortunately "they" took my wisdom teeth. This in part explains why my IQ has dropped from when I was a child. However, I am sure to be an anomaly. Many people have no tonsils, no appendices, and no wisdom teeth. And, given that the appendix is an organ that used to help us fly, and tonsils are remnants of a second set of teeth like in the Alien movies, and wisdom teeth used to activate previously unknown parts of the human brain, "they" are winning. 
But who are "they"? Some might have us believe that "they" are a clan of ninjas. Others might have us believe that "they" are black market organ/body part cartels. And still others might like us to think that "they" are the government. I'm inclined to think that's what "they" want us to think. The truth is probably much darker. Perhaps they are a black market ninja cartel that traffics useless organs and body parts and is propped up by the government. Which government you ask? Does it matter? Well, possibly. And it's probably the Venezuelans, ie: Chavez.
You might be asking yourself, "Why do I care about wisdom teeth, appendices, and tonsils?" Or perhaps you think that your doctor just took them out to save your life, all the while making an easy grand off your teeth, appendix or tonsils, making you dumber, less likely to ever fly on your own, and preventing you from taking over planet earth as an alien. Well I hate to say it, but it matters, and this issue is more pressing than you know.

I will cite some examples. My room mate had his appendix removed the first day of this semester. Then a friend of his thought she had to have her appendix removed too. It was like a virus. When I had my wisdom teeth removed my freshman year of college before I went to Brazil, the dentist said only one could have possibly caused trouble for me, but he took three. Then all of my other friends got their wisdom teeth out about the same time, with similar stories. Of course the dentist's cover is that he just wanted more money, which is true, but the dentists are making even more money on top of the money they charge per tooth. And who pays that money to them? "They". 
And, when the dentist said one of my wisdom teeth could have caused trouble, what did he mean? Was it trouble for me? Or trouble for "they"? You see, if I had kept my wisdom teeth I could probably have found out the master plan of "they". But "they" got to me first. Just like they got to my room mate, and to anyone else who gets their appendix removed. Did "they" think that we would mobilize an army of flying genius aliens and monopolize all the Citgo stations? Maybe. Maybe. 

At any rate, we're onto you Chavez.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stop the Bailouts!

Yes, it is true, the economy is not in good shape. However, I am appalled and disgusted by the public's apathy toward the piss poor government solution of bailing out and buying up the private sector. The American public seems to have given the democrat-controlled congress and President Obama a blank check. Well, not entirely blank. The check looks to be to the tune of one trillion dollars. A trillion dollars! That's not petty cash. That is $300 billion more than the $700 billion that was already pumped into the market under TARP, and puts us down a path of spiraling monetary value, and endless debt.
(Government solution)
We are entering an age pervaded by a horribly defeatist philosophy of bailouts. And, what bothers me more than anything else is that the market now looks to Washington for help, instead of innovating and reinventing. But this was Washington's plan all along. It has fostered a cycle of dependency for years. On one hand it promises government backing for the likes of Freddie and Fannie, encouraging predatory lending, and then turns around and reprimands those same companies for practices it encouraged. How can we expect a problem that was in large part instigated and then exacerbated by the government to be solved by the government? If we continue to allow congress, the treasury, and Obama to buy up toxic assets and attempt to recapitalize the market, all we are doing is pumping the market with more instability. We are allowing the government to reward failures and cover its own backside when it has already failed royally.

There should be more outrage. I understand many are hurting, many are out of a job, but that is no reason to allow the government to spend, spend, spend. The effects are disastrous. The best one can hope for with such a strategy is a temporary rebound or a slight boost in morale, but the long term effects are irremediable. In no uncertain terms, what I am saying is the long term costs far outweigh the supposed short term benefits. Here is what all of this spending means:

1. The federal government, already submerged in massive debt, will go deeper into the abyss than ever. They are printing money with nothing but good will to back it. The dollar's value will plummet in the next months and years because of all the bailouts.

2. The federal government, despite its almost limitless debt, will position itself to control a huge part of the private market. It will be the biggest government expansion since the New Deal. It will create a new toxic asset bank, and numerous other bureaucratic arms that will supposedly maintain transparency and accountability but in reality will only further their own interests and limit investment opportunities, and market flexibility.

3. With government's part ownership of certain companies (namely the now state-controlled banks), and its demand for high prices for its involvement and money (taking preferred shares, and forcing companies to spend money the way that it deems most appropriate), investors will not help re-capitalize the banking industry and the financial sector. The government will have taken all the attractive parts of investment. Without private interest and investment, these state-controlled entities will stagnate or decline, and will end up needing even more bailouts to stay functioning.
4. The burden of all these bailouts does not fall on some mystical government entity that has endless supplies of cash. It falls on the taxpayer. The cost of this crisis from TARP to the trillions in infusions by the FED, to the latest Obama-Pelosi stimulus has reached stratospheric proportions. When all is said and done the government may well have spend upwards of 6 trillion dollars. That is nearly half the US GDP. And it also means that taxpayer will be saddled with these massive financial commitments for years to come.

5. If it were not bad enough that our dollar will be worth next to nothing, we will be digging ourselves deeper into debt, and the government will in large part be taking over the private sector and no new investment will be coming our way, the stimulus package proposed will throw money at terribly wasteful items. Some notorious examples are the mob museum in Las Vegas and Pelosi's birth control stimulus. Those are only the more notable worthless projects. Others involve vineyards and train rides and amusement parks in Alabama. 

I implore you. I exhort you. Stand up against this wasteful stimulus. It will not bring us back. The New Deal didn't work, and neither will this. The only thing all this spending accomplishes is building an ever-growing, less competent Leviathan. The government will tighten its stranglehold on the private sector, and its centralizing power will eventually consume every aspect of our lives (You might think that I'm exaggerating, but I'm not). This is the soft despotism that Tocqueville warned about. Call your congressmen and senators. Tell them to stop the bailouts. Tell them to come up with real solutions. Perhaps instead of bailing out and buying up, we could compromise. Half of that trillion in tax cuts, and half in bailouts. Let's see which strategy works better and gets the economy moving. 

Here the numbers for all of the US Senators:

Jeff Sessions (R) - 202-224-4124
Richard Shelby (R) - 202-224-5744

ALASKA (202-224-6665)
Lisa Murkowski (R)
Ted Stevens (R) - 202-224-3004

John McCain (R) - 202-224-2235
Jon Kyl (R) - 202-224-4521

Blanche Lincoln (D) - 202-224-4843
Mark Pryor (D) - 202-224-2353

Barbara Boxer (D) - 202-224-3553
Dianne Feinstein (D) - 202-224-2841

Wayne Allard (R) - 202-224-5941
Ken Salazar (D) - 202-224-5852

Joseph Lieberman (I) - 202-224-4041
Christopher Dodd (D) - 202-224-2823

Joseph Biden (D) - 202-224-4041*
Thomas Carper (D) - 202-224-2441

Mel Martinez (R) - 202-224-3041
Bill Nelson (D) - 202-224-5274

Saxby Chambliss (R) - 202-224-3521
Johnny Isakson (R) - 202-224-3643

Daniel Akaka (D) - 202-224-6361
Daniel Inouye (D) - 202-224-3934

Larry Craig (R) - 202-224-2752
Michael Crapo (R) - 202-224-6142

Richard Durbin (D) - 202-224-2152
Roland Burris

Evan Bayh (D) - 202-224-5623
Richard Lugar (R) - 202-224-4814

Charles Grassley (R) - 202-224-3744
Tom Harkin (D) - 202-224-3254

Sam Brownback (R) - 202-224-6521
Pat Roberts (R) - 202-224-4774

Jim Bunning (R) - 202-224-4343
Mitch McConnell (R) - 202-224-2541

Mary Landrieu (D) - 202-224-5824
David Vitter (R) - 202-224-4623

Susan Collins (R) - 202-224-2523
Olympia Snowe (R) - 202-224-5344

Benjamin Cardin (D) - 202-224-4524
Barbara Mikulski (D) - 202-224-4654

Edward Kennedy (D) - 202-224-4543
John Kerry (D) - 202-224-2742

Carl Levin (D) - 202-224-6221
Debbie Stabenow (D) - 202-224-4822

Norm Coleman (R) - 202-224-5641*
Amy Klobuchar (D) - 202-224-3244

Thad Cochran (R) - 202-224-5054
Roger Wicker (R) - 202-224-6253

Kit Bond (R) - 202-224-5721
Claire McCaskill (D) - 202-224-6154

Max Baucus (D) - 202-224-2651
Jon Tester (D) - 202-224-2644

Chuck Hagel (R) - 202-224-4224
Ben Nelson (D) - 202-224-6551

Harry Reid (D) - 202-224-3542
John Ensign (R) - 202-224-6244

Judd Gregg (R) - 202-224-3324
John Sununu (R) -202-224-2841*

Robert Menendez (D) - 202-224-4744
Frank Lautenberg (D) - 202-224-3224

Jeff Bingaman (D) - 202-224-5521
Pete Domenici (R) - 202-224-6621

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Charles Schumer (D) - 202-224-6542

Richard Burr (R) - 202-224-3154
Elizabeth Dole (R) - 202-224-6342*

Kent Conrad (D) - 202-224-2043
Byron Dorgan (D) - 202-224-2551

Sherrod Brown (D) - 202-224-2315
George Voinovich (R) - 202-224-3353

Tom Coburn (R) - 202-224-5754
James Inhofe (R) - 202-224-4721

Ron Wyden (D) - 202-224-5244
Gordon Smith (R) - 202-224-3753

Robert Casey (D) - 202-224-6324
Arlen Specter (R) - 202-224-4254

Jack Reed (D) - 202-224-4642
Sheldon Whitehouse (D) - 202-224-2921

James DeMint (R) - 202-224-6121
Lindsey Graham (R) - 202-224-5972

Tim Johnson (D) - 202-224-5842
John Thune (R) - 202-224-2321

Lamar Alexander (R) - 202-224-4944
Bob Corker (R) - 202-224-3344

John Cornyn (R) - 202-224-2934
Kay Hutchison (R) - 202-224-5922

Robert Bennett (R) - 202-224-5444
Orrin Hatch (R) - 202-224-5251

Frank Lautenberg (D) - 856-338-8922
Bernie Sanders (I) - 802-862-0697

John Warner (R) - 202-224-2023
James Webb (D) - 202-224-4024

Maria Cantwell (D) - 202-224-3441
Patty Murray (D) - 202-224-2621

Robert Byrd (D) - 202-224-3954
John Rockefeller (D) - 202-224-6472

Rusell Feingold (D) - 202-224-5323
Herb Kohl (D) - 202-224-5653

John Barrasso (R) - 202-224-6441
Michael Enzi (R) - 202-224-3424

*Some of these Senators are no longer in office. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fake food, is it worth it?

It's a simple question. 

Why do people purchase fake food?

Wax pears, bananas, lemons, strawberries, bread, and the list goes on. Do they do it to taunt those of us who are hungry and often come to the kitchen in search of food? Do they relish in the vain attempts of children trying to eat plastic apples? What kind of sickos are these people?
I suppose there are situations where it could begin to make sense. Perhaps one of these fake food purchasers has built a new home they would like to sell. They rent out furniture, rugs, silverware, and towels so that it has a "lived in" feel. They do it to help people who have no imagination. People who need to see possibilities to realize that they have them. So, along with the rented imagination, they purchase fake fruit baskets, cornucopias, and empty bottles that look full. But to what end? Is it to show people looking at the house that not only can they put furniture in the house and decorate it, but that they can also eat in it? And, I know this is a stretch, but perhaps it is to help them believe that they could even live in it. Wow. Fake food is so empowering.

But, then you always hear the sad story of someone's favorite pet, a little Scotty dog, choking to death on a fake T-bone. Or a Tabby cat that gets run over by a rogue bowl of plastic fruit. Or the little kid who chips his tooth on a glass orange. These are all sad stories we know too well. If only there were some way to prevent these tragedies from occurring. 

But, wait! There is a way. People can buy REAL food. Real fruit, real cheese, full bottles of beverage! Entire meals! Pantries full of delicious soups and pastries! In other words, people can eat real food, live real lives, and have real imaginations. What a world.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Casts: Boon or Curse?

No one wants to have deformed limbs, fingers, or facial features, because the doctor did not set their bones correctly, subsequently giving them a poorly made cast or none at all. However, at the same time no one wants to have an immobile, stinky appendage that costs them their independence and dignity. There are few reasons why people are able to put up with it. For one, they know it's necessary. Another reason is that they know it is only temporary. And, the third, which can both provide enjoyment and guilt, is the sympathy and occasional empathy you might receive from people in the form of gifts, doing chores for you, dressing you, and feeding you grapes while singing to you.
However, as an independent-minded person, a "go it aloner" or as a radically autonomous individual, you might also enjoy some other strategies. 

1. If you have a long term cast or splint, it can get irremediably smelly. Or so you thought. You can actually fairly effectively nullify the stench with a spray or two of cologne every other day. Armani, Hugo Boss, and Givenchy are all options, but if you like other stuff that's fine. For instance, I would not expect a woman to spray her leg with cologne. That's just odd.

2. If you have a hand cast or splint with some fingers exposed, you can still use them. Of course, you should be careful, especially if the fingers exposed effect the position and subsequent healing of the fingers that are in the cast. But, it is indeed liberating to be able to put on pants with one hand and a thumb, or type with one hand and your ring finger. Your newfound abilities will impress friends (you might even try cutting stake with a few fingers).

3. Refuse help regularly. If people offer to open jars, bottles, packages, or carry things for you, brush them off. First off, you can do it, and second, if it takes you a while and looks ridiculously awkward, you tend to get more sympathy. You become thence empowered from within and without. People will become amazed by your coping abilities, and you will feel somewhat fulfilled in being able to do what were before minor tasks.

Well, those are my tips for you. But the best tip I can provide is to not break things (I speak specifically of bones). Just don't do really risky things if you can help it...or just don't do a lot of them with great frequency. And, if you don't heed my advice about breaking stuff, at least you have a good approach for what to do when you're broken.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tribute to Hook

I'm going to share with you one of my favorite movies to quote. Hook. It starred Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, and Maggie Smith. Here are some good quotes:

Peter Pan: Thank you for believing! (whispering creepily as he flies away from Neverland)

Before descending the stairs from his ship's galley to the poop deck to accuse one of his crew of betting against him:

Captain Hook: Where's the carpet, Smee?

Rufio and Peter have a classic verbal sparring duel at the Lost Boy's imaginary dinner:

Rufio: Boil-dripping, beef, fart-sniffing bubble butt!
Kids: Bangarang, Rufio!
Peter Banning: Someone has a severe ca-ca mouth, you know that?
Rufio: You are fart factory, Slug-slimed, sack-of-rat-guts-in-cat-vomit, cheesy, scab-picked, pimple-squeezing finger bandage. A week old maggot burger with everything on it and flies on the side!
Kids: [in unison] Ugh!
Peter Banning: Substitute chemistry teacher.
Lost Boy: Come on, Rufio, hit him back.
Rufio: Mung tongue.
Peter Banning: Math tutor. 
Rufio: Pinhead.
Peter Banning: Prison barber.
Rufio: Mother lover.
Peter Banning: Nearsighted gynecologist.
Rufio: In your face, camel cake!
Peter Banning: In your rear, cow derrière.
Rufio: Lying, crying, spying, prying ultra-pig.
Peter Banning: You lewd, crude, rude, bag of pre-chewed food dude.
Thud Butt: [with the rest of the Lost Boys] Bangarang, Peter!
Rufio: You... you man! Stupid, stupid man! Peter Banning: Rufio, if I'm a maggot burger why don't you eat me! You two-toned zebra-headed, slime-coated, pimple-farmin' paramecium brain, munchin' on your own mucus, suffering from Peter Pan envy!
Don't Ask: What's a paramecium brain?
Peter Banning: I'll tell you what a paramecium is! That's the paramecium! It's a one-celled critter with no brain, that can't fly! Don't mess with me man, I'm a lawyer!
Kids: [chanting] Banning, Banning, Banning is bangerang.
Rufio: Rufio! Rufio!
Peter Banning: Oh, Rufio, why don't you just go suck on a dead dog's nose.
While Peter and his family is visiting Grandma Wendy in London:

[Toodles is searching for something on the floor]
Toodles: Lost, lost, lost.
Peter Banning: Lost what?
Toodles: I've lost my marbles.

Held captive by Hook, Maggie, (Peter's youngest daughter who refuses to be indoctrinated by Hook) decides to sing one night:

Maggie: [singing] The stars are all my friends / Till the nighttime ends / So I know I'm not alone / When I'm here, on my own. / Isn't that a wonder? / When you're alone / You're not alone / Not really alone

As Captain Hook and Smee settle down for the evening (Smee stuffing his face with food), they brood over their options:

Smee: I've just had an apostrophe.
Captain Hook: I think you mean an epiphany.
Smee: [gestures his fingers to his head] Lightning has just struck my brain.
Captain Hook: Well, that must hurt.

After hearing a ringing sound and finding his cell phone that the dog had buried outside of Wendy's home, Peter answers:

Peter Banning: [unearthing his cell phone] Wow. Brad, hi! You been holding this long? Uh huh. I'm incredible. Yeah, Neverland. Uh-huh. Lost Boys. Jim Hook, duel to the death. I'll fill you in later. Listen, I'd love to chat, but I gotta climb a drain pipe right now. Why? Because I ran out of fairy dust, if not I would've flown up.
[surprised he asks]
Peter Banning: Why?

Peter, sitting next to his son Jack on the plane on route to England:

Peter Banning: Jack, my word is my bond.
Jack: Yeah, junk bonds!
[he hits the ceiling door in the plane with his ball, and causes the oxygen masks to drop down and scare Peter half to death]
Peter Banning: What in the hell's the matter with you? When are you gonna stop acting like a child?
Jack: [laughs] I am a child.
Peter Banning: Grow up.

Peter, while in his room on a long distance business:

Peter Banning: [while the children are running around making a noise, shouting into the phone] Wait a minute. You're telling me a 10-inch owl has a 50-mile mating radius? Why don't they just fornicate someplace else? What, a five billion dollar deal falling apart because of this? Why doesn't somebody just shoot me in the head?
Jack: [making a gun gesture with his hands] Bang, bang!
Peter Banning: [abandoning call, shouts] Will everybody just shut up!
Jack: [backing away in fright] I'm sorry.
Peter Banning: And leave me alone for one moment! Moira, get 'em outta here, will you? I'm on the phone call of my life!
Moira Banning: [exits Maggie and Jack] Come on, Jack, come on. Out, out out.

At Jack's contrived baseball game in Neverland:

[holding up a sign reading "Run Home Jack"]
Pirates: Run home, Jack! Run home, Jack!
Jack: "Run home, Jack."
Captain Hook: Smee, no, no, no! They've got it backwards! Tell them to turn it around!
Jack: Maggie?
Smee: Switch!
[the pirates fix the sign to read "Home Run Jack." They read it]
Pirates: Home run, Jack! Home run, Jack! Home run, Jack!

Captain Hook and Smee try to re-educate Jack and Maggie while they hold them captive:

Captain Hook: You, the cute little urchin in the front row, won't you share your thoughts with the whole class?
Maggie: Yes, I said mommy reads to us every night, because she loves us very much.
Captain Hook: Loves you? Isn't that the, uh, the...
Smee: The L word, Captain.
Captain Hook: Ooh, yes. No, child, mother wants to read to you every night in order to stupefy to sleep, so that she and daddy could sit down for three measly minutes without you. And you mindless, inexhaustible, unstoppable, repetitive, and nagging demands: He took my toy! She hit my bear! I want a potty! I want a cookie! I want to stay up! I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now!
[inhales deeply]

Peter speaking to his wife on the plane:

Peter Banning: [flying to England on a plane in turbulence] I'm not gonna make it to my next birthday.
Moira Banning: You're not gonna die without a phone and fax machine.
Peter Banning: I'm halfway there. I got the phone in my briefcase.
Captain Hook: Can't you understand, child? They tell you stories to shut you up.
Smee: And conk you out.
Maggie: That's not true, Jack!
[to Hook]
Maggie: You're a liar!
Captain Hook: [laughs] Lie? Me? Never.
[inhales deeply again]
Captain Hook: The truth is far too much fun.