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Archive for February, 2013

Zombie Cowgirl Killers

Sup? So, I’m just gonna say it because I’m not afraid: the whole gluten-free thing is overdone people. I don’t doubt that there are folks who have trouble digesting wheat but the rest of you are just trying to assuage guilt for the Snickers problem you’re in denial about. Also, quinoa. Don’t get it. It’s expensive and kind of gross. And apparently the harvest of it has some rather unfortunate unintended consequences, which is just like us. So green, so concerned about what we put in our bodies we’re willing to destroy an economy to feel good about ourselves as we’re downing that late-night cheeseburger. Because Monday we’re having a quinoa salad! Bah. Just eat a cheeseburger with a nice Mediterranean salad instead of fries sometimes. Don’t have seconds, eat three squares and try not to snack. And go for a run. It’s really not that hard. Also, quit obsessing. It makes you look kind of vain. Just sayin’.

Speaking of food, I had a dream about the pasta salad my mom and my neighborhood moms made every summer and I had to call my mom this morning to get the recipe because, while I’ve made it before, I’d forgotten the ingredients. Let’s just say it involves this and especially this, and is the best pasta salad evah! I think I’ll make it for Corey’s bday party Saturday. My guess is it will compliment Chick-Fil-A nuggets pretty well…

Also on the issue of food, I’m gonna have to get on this one before things start to warm up outside and it becomes too heavy. Because Holy Christ that looks delicious.

Finally, from Charles, with a note:

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 4.18.18 PM

Since I haven’t written since the Oscars aired I’m going to indulge myself and say the following: Seth McFarlane wasn’t the worst host but, much like I don’t rank him at the top of creators of genius social satire cartoons, he certainly wasn’t the best. Also, cynicism isn’t really all that funny after a while. I mean, it’s a pretty thinly-veiled fact that Family Guy is just a rendering of the personalities living inside McFarlane’s head. I mean, Lois, Brian, Stewie, they are all McFarlane. And the show is less about outward -looking social statements a la South Park, and more about McFarlane working out his demons. Obviously, I have no room to criticize that formula but it’s not as brilliant as people want to believe it is. But Brian’s funny as hell. Anyway, good on you Argo. Still haven’t enjoyed you but I plan to remedy that this weekend. Here’s a nice piece on the germ of the idea for the film. And it’s nice to see some Kentucky sass shaking up the bubble-dwellers in Hollywood:

I see so much of myself in this girl...

I see so much of myself in this girl…

Finally, a friend of mine said the following:

It’s pretty clear that if you’re up for an Oscar tonight and have creepy hair, you’re going to win. #oscars #academyawards

I think that sums things up.

Random: Sometimes when I start getting all melodramatic about life’s latest “tragedy,” I remember this scene from Blades of Glory, beginning at the :52 second mark. It puts things into perspective and cracks me up. Win.

I heard about this guy today, which reminded me of a very cool little video that pretty well illustrates why these people are special. They have seen things man. Wonderful things. I’m not so sure the Overview Effect isn’t exactly what makes me dismiss atheism out of pocket.

This was truly beautiful and heart-warming. A rarity anymore. And, as Charles mentioned when I sent it to him, some of those people in Texas probably went outside of what they may actually personally believe to defend people against a jerk. Because f*ck you mean waitress. That’s courage and light people. We do it right in the South. And the MLK quote brought the tears man.

Coolness! While the construction is annoying, and the cost is prohibitive, can’t say it’s a bad thing. Maybe it’ll make people feel proud of their country again.

The Trotter has a pretty good, succinct post on the Obama (c)(4). Incredible gif man…

It’s in the kindle.

This is just effing brilliant. A look at the Obama administration through the lens of the gamer. Just read it.

My friend Sparkles’ fiance is an illustrator and designer and this is a photo of the two of them one Halloween that he filtered and ‘shopped and put on a shirt. Groovy stuff. It might be my go-to Halloween thread. Because I know them!

Woke up singing this. It made me happy. Hope it does the same for you.

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Yo. Sitting here enjoying some Pho 14 before getting ready to go smoke some cigars and drink scotch for a favorite person’s birthday and, well, something’s nagging at me. And how do I work that out? I write about it of course…

So, first let me qualify and set the stage by admitting that I’ve been in a TERRIBLE mood for the last week. Normally I wouldn’t admit that because I don’t relish giving the people who put me in that mood the satisfaction of knowing that their talents at sucking are quite developed. Some may say they have a gift. But I think in this case it’s a necessary admission because the bad mood made me quick to call something stupid and I think I may have been…sit down…wrong.

So, because of the aforementioned mood (related to breaking a promise to myself to never, EVER, let anyone EVER AGAIN put me in front of unkind people to be held up to ridicule, and I broke that promise to myself my friends. As an aside, I’m starting to feel comfortable in the assertion that the people I’m talking about are actually, in fact, unkind. Because if, as a friend of mine says, you treat the waiter like a jerk, you’re a jerk. Period. No matter how you treat other people. And this is why I can’t be around mean people. They bum me out and make me say and do stupid stuff. Anyway, that’s the genesis of the mood…), when I came across this story, I called the guy not smart and a tool. And I mean I can’t tell you how badly that’s been nagging at me. To the degree that I looked the dude up and found out he’s not only good at what he does, he’s great at it. So, the not smart name-calling was not smart on my part.

Second, because it was bugging me, when I talked to my Pops today, I asked him his opinion and he took me to task. “Quantum physics is arcane stuff, ” Pops said. “I’m sure he knows that these mushy-headed kids’ eyes start to glaze over so he was doing something to wake them up. And I think that’s necessary. And he has a right to do what he needs to do in his classroom.”

And so I have to apologize for being grumpy and saying something stupid. It happens sometimes. As I’ve said before, I’m in need of forgiveness almost daily. So sorry dude. Carry on. Hope you are able to solidify some of the mush.

That said, I still have two small problems with his strategy: 1) I gotta believe there are images just as awe-inspiring, shocking, and confounding that aren’t tied to dictators and violence and death and destruction that may have done the job just as well. Perhaps not, but sometimes I worry that if you start the study of a discipline with that kind of stuff in mind, it definitely equates that discipline with the stuff you’ve implanted in heads, day 1. And frankly, I didn’t really like The Misfits skull being linked to Saddam Hussein and Hitler. So that was likely where the “tool” aspersion came from. Don’t ruin my music with dictators, man. And 2) I know you’re a physicist and not a performance artist. But that could have been done better. Talk to some of the theater majors next year. They’ll help you out. I know this makes me an art snob but I have a thing with haphazard theatrical production. If you’re gonna do it, do it right.

Okay, nerd out. Going to Shelly’s and then to a place that apparently smells like feet. I’ve been a few times and never noticed the feet smell. But it’s certainly a Chinatown dive…Exactly what I need I think…

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Dancing calls…

“Settle down there, Douchey McDouchenozzle. Douche Nozzleton the Third. Douchecanoe and Tyler too.”

Just your funny for the day. It is apparently the result of a particularly nasty opponent during a basketball game. And Douche Nozzleton the Third is just so highbrow…

Anyway, hey y’all! I’m wicked tired — work is taking it all out of me at the moment. I’m actually awaiting the Big Boss to go live on Huffington Post so I thought I might check in with you kids and give you some fun things to click on, think about, etc.

Also, I’m fighting the urge to apologize for something that I’m pretty sure I don’t need to apologize for but I’m like an addict in just wanting the feeling of fighting to end. Hazard of being a peacemaker. But Charles tells me that that Dr. Phil told him that it really comes down to whether or not you want to be happy or right. Here’s the thing — being happy, when I choose that door and apologize against my principles, is pretty fleeting. It’s an immediate wash of relief but it lasts like a day. Choosing the right prize delays the happiness. But when it comes, it tends to stay. So…I think I have to go with being right this time. Even though I’m sure I have things to apologize for, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some apologies stockpiled and I can just let those speak for me this time.

Alright, here’s some stuff and things…

Mama likes.

Brother Dan, you should do this.

“The study also revealed something counter intuitive: The people most knowledgeable about science and who had the best grasp of math and numbers were the ones least concerned with climate change.” Heh. Not counter intuitive at all in fact…

Dear Lord it never ends… Here’s the thing about Nate Silver: his models were flawless because his data was flawless. Not because he’s the second coming of … I don’t know, a famous statistician. He had great data. The question is, why…?

This is a good piece. My Pops is an engineer and they get the reputation of being the sort of car mechanics to the rocket scientists of programming. But their genius is stunning — often more so because it’s not theoretical. You design a faulty highway people can die. Your Twitter feed breaks and there might be some whining, but very little blood.

Not all people who make their living in mathematics are smart. Just sayin’. What an absolute tool this guy is.

My cousin Anna posted this. I laughed for a full minute. Because a) my family shares a ridiculous sense of humor, and b) I have heard this one before.

stopme

Totally sure I’ll be watching this. Because Vince Vaughan is my intellectual doppelganger.

Peace out. Going dancing…

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“Hey man, we’ve all had friends that wanted to align themselves with sexually inappropriate, borderline eugenicists who rely on others to supply their personalities and believe every silly philosophy the communitards are pushing, no matter how stupid or despicable it is. It’s a thing. But if that’s their dream, you gotta let em live it. And — what’s that phrase you like? — always keep your slam face on.”

Best advice I’ve gotten in a while.

On the topic of believing silly things (and very nearly on the topic of eugenics), this was an interesting read. Money quote:

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
– William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)

I know the type. “How dare you say I didn’t come to these ideas through my own brilliant powers of deduction? Just because everyone I know thinks basically the same stuff, and we reject anyone who disagrees, does not mean that we’re indoctrinated! *spittle flying* I can have my own thoughts, and they can run counter to what the group thinks. I just…don’t…happen to…”

Ahem. Right.

The most egregious of these children — the weakest of intellect and character — tend to also behave as traitors to their own emotions and internal senses of right and wrong, clawing the eyes out of anyone who questions their precepts. And not because it’s what they want to do, necessarily. But because it’s what the group wants and expects. And demands, truth be told. And hell on earth is to be ejected from the group. All security and sense of self disappears should that happen. Daily affirmation brought to you by irony. Kipling nailed it:

The men of my own stock
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to.
They are used to the lies I tell,
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy and sell.

~Rudyard Kipling, The Stranger

Anyway, I must admit that I’m starting to understand their need to reject the contrarian. Because it gets exhausting listening to their grand delusions and vicious attacks should one have the temerity to offer an opposing opinion. I often want to just turn to them and say this:

But…maybe that’s the key. Never giving in to the exhaustion and just submitting to the will of the group over one’s own moral compass dictating the rights and wrongs of human interaction. Always making room for the opposing opinion. It’s just too damn bad that it is so often accompanied by vitriol and insecurity of the type that seeks to destroy and harm, rather than unify and find common ground.

Which is why it’s so remarkable to have the opportunity to see a gentleman perform who writes this kind of music. His show is a lot higher energy than what you see in the video below, but this song has a great deal of meaning for me at the moment and so I post the “stripped down” version. Great show, highly recommended. Oh yeah, my cousin got to touch the guy. Nice.

ginnajoepug

Anyway, the Screwtape Letters, Chapter 10, seems to be something to meditate on a little. Re-reading it, I feel better about some things already…

X

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

I was delighted to hear from Triptweeze that your patient has made some very desirable new acquaintances and that you seem to have used this event in a really promising manner. I gather that the middle-aged married couple who called at his office are just the sort of people we want him to know – rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly sceptical about everything in the world. I gather they are even vaguely pacifist, not on moral grounds but from an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men and from a dash of purely fashionable and literary communism. This is excellent. And you seem to have made good use of all his social, sexual, and intellectual vanity. Tell me more. Did he commit himself deeply? I don’t mean in words. There is a subtle play of looks and tones and laughs by which a Mortal can imply that he is of the same party of those to whom he is speaking. That is the kind of betrayal you should specially encourage, because the man does not fully realise it himself; and by the time he does you will have made withdrawal difficult.

No doubt he must very soon realise that his own faith is in direct opposition to the assumptions on which all the conversation of his new friends is based. I don’t think that matters much provided that you can persuade him to postpone any open acknowledgment of the fact, and this, with the aid of shame, pride, modesty and vanity, will be easy to do. As long as the postponement lasts he will be in a false position. He will be silent when he ought to speak and laugh when he ought to be silent. He will assume, at first only by his manner, but presently by his words, all sorts of cynical and sceptical attitudes which are not really his. But if you play him well, they may become his. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be. This is elementary. The real question is how to prepare for the Enemy’s counter attack.

The first thing is to delay as long as possible the moment at which he realises this new pleasure as a temptation. Since the Enemy’s servants have been preaching about “the World” as one of the great standard temptations for two thousand years, this might seem difficult to do. But fortunately they have said very little about it for the last few decades. In modern Christian writings, though I see much (indeed more than I like) about Mammon, I see few of the old warnings about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time. All that, your patient would probably classify as “Puritanism” – and may I remark in passing that the value we have given to that word is one of the really solid triumphs of the last hundred years? By it we rescue annually thousands of humans from temperance, chastity, and sobriety of life.

Sooner or later, however, the real nature of his new friends must become clear to him, and then your tactics must depend on the patient’s intelligence. If he is a big enough fool you can get him to realise the character of the friends only while they are absent; their presence can be made to sweep away all criticism. If this succeeds, he can be induced to live, as I have known many humans live, for quite long periods, two parallel lives; he will not only appear to be, but actually be, a different man in each of the circles he frequents. Failing this, there is a subtler and more entertaining method. He can be made to take a positive pleasure in the perception that the two sides of his life are inconsistent. This is done by exploiting his vanity. He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited on Saturday evening; and contrariwise, to enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more because he is aware of a “deeper”, “spiritual” world within him which they cannot understand. You see the idea – the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction. Finally, if all else fails, you can persuade him, in defiance of conscience, to continue the new acquaintance on the ground that he is, in some unspecified way, doing these people “good” by the mere fact of drinking their cocktails and laughing at their jokes, and that to cease to do so would be “priggish”, “intolerant”, and (of course) “Puritanical”.

Meanwhile you will of course take the obvious precaution of seeing that this new development induces him to spend more than he can afford and to neglect his work and his mother. Her jealousy, and alarm, and his increasing evasiveness or rudeness, will be invaluable for the aggravation of the domestic tension,

Your affectionate uncle

SCREWTAPE

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The asteroid is coming! While I suspect this won’t be a Deep Impact kind of situation, the meteorite that popped Russia is an interesting harbinger. This is why we need a Death Star President Obama — only half joking there. But the one hilarious result is the absolute lack of awareness by the DCist. See, it was a joke. Because of this. Maybe you should read the news so you don’t look foolish…Just a thought. Anyway, as an interesting aside, here’s a nice Google map of meteor impact sites for all you geeks out there. I know I played around with it for a bit…

On the topic of the kind of, um, misunderstanding that the CNN anchor displayed, if you’re curious, you can give this a read. It’ll explain some of what’s happening out there. And, if you need it explained in a way slightly more digestible, just read about JournoList. Money quote: “”In other words, members of Journolist 2.0 were debating whether to collectively respond to a Daily Caller story alleging—inaccurately, in their minds—that members of Journolist 1.0 (the same people, of course) made collective decisions about what to write”. I know someone who thinks almost all the big names that were on JournoList are FANTASTIC journalists and writers. Maybe so. But they seem to only be able to work by committee. And I don’t find that all that impressive personally.

So I don’t have too much to say today but I did want to post the Valentine’s picture I think sums up love better than any I’ve seen lately:

469831_4646810246742_2140444383_o(1)

It’s nice to see something real. Too much in this town I see a lot of shallow and selfish, superficial and willfully ignorant. And the above is just solid and authentic. Good stuff.

So one of my new favorite sites is Popehat. Because when they posted this piece, they accompanied the post with this question:

We aren’t fans of the “so-and-so should lose his job over this” school of criticism, but in this case the question demands to be asked: Should John Broder of the New York Times lose his job over this?

I mean, it’s very troubling when you’ve been raised to try to love and forgive people for giving into their worst impulses (and we all do it, yours truly included of course. Don’t know where I’d be if people didn’t forgive me every. single. day.) but you just find yourself rolling your eyes over this kind of thing. But my Pops puts it this way: “Ignorance is you don’t understand. Stupidity is you can’t understand. Ignorance can be fixed.”

And maybe there’s reason to believe that it’s working itself out. Charles tells me that Bill Maher was recently on Conan and wasn’t a raging lunatic, actually advocating for reasonable gun ownership. But only, it appears, because it’s something that personally affects him in as much as he likes to own guns. Which makes me think that these kinds of people — those with a decided lack of empathy — really do only understand these issues if they themselves are personally affected. So, I guess the strategy is to personalize this stuff. Pops thinks that’s taking care of itself, i.e. when people have trouble paying the bills or feeding their families or not getting the raises they are CERTAIN they DESERVE these things become real quick enough. I’d just like for things not get so bad that we can’t pull ourselves out.

Alright, just a few fun videos and, of course, the best lasagna recipe ever. I’ll be trying it this weekend. Will let you know how it comes out.

Sort of digging this band.

Why am I just now hearing about this? Holy God this is fantastic…(Mom, language…)

Carlin on my favorite word. (Mom, seriously, language…)

From Charles, with a note: “I had no idea this was a thing. I haven’t laughed so hard in a while.”

Finally, take note nerdy white guys.

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Before the fast

Bonjour! In the spirit of the day, and since I’ll be wearing ashes all day on my head tomorrow and giving up something I like, I’m going to head out to the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade later (Bayou Bakery then Whitlow’s if you want to drop by…) and have a few cocktails with friends and just be Catholic and Southern for the evening. Of course, to do that, I have to miss what is sure to be a remarkably average speech I’ve never heard before (like at the Inauguration) in the form of the State of the Union Address. But I suppose I’ll live. I do look forward to reading Rubio’s response while nursing a hangover tomorrow though…

Anyway, here’s my contribution to the holiday. It’s all I have until I get back from lunch and I can write a little more. It’s not exactly Mardi Gras but it’s close enough, and is under my sweater and close to my heart.

honeybadger

For now, I’ll just point you to a fantastic speech by a pretty remarkable man, who made this point on a radio show:

“When it comes to wanting things, people don’t really care about the national debt,” Carson said. “They don’t really care about the future; they just care about, ‘Give me my check so I can eat next week.’

“That’s understandable, but we have not created the right kinds of expectations — and we really need to start doing that or we will face a similar fate.”

That part about expectations was profound. Because the kids today, thanks to social media apps (seriously, adults that “compete” on Foursquare may as well be competing at coloring. And that’s just how I feel about it. Sorry I’m not sorry.) that awards them badges telling them they’ve served by marching down to the National Mall and listening to a hollow, divisive speech and thinking they’ve just heard something beautiful that matters, speaks to what we are currently teaching folks about expectations. A friend of mine who SERVES in the JAG Corps liked when I posted my confusion about this to Facebook. Not hard to imagine why.

Okay, satiate yourself with the thought of this until I can write more this afternoon. I’ll be making mine this weekend after I find some cool container at Target to hold it…

BACK! Other small things:

Sometimes I buy myself $5 presents from the junk shop down the street from the office.

His name is Gianni the Eurotrash Chicken and he and I will have adventures.

His name is Gianni the Eurotrash Chicken and he and I will have adventures.

This thing I have some experience with. Back when I worked in IT, one of the many jobs I had with that organization had me down working amongst the help desk. And there was one particular guy — very young, very angry, VERY socially inept. And not in that charming way but more in the Dexter, proud serial killer way. Anyway, he decided it would be funny to put one of these in the ceiling tile above my desk. It chirped intermittently for about a day, at which point, because there was a sprinkler system up there, too, I called a maintenance guy, who discovered it and said there was a wiseass in the building who was pulling my pigtails. Hilarity!. Anyway, dude, read this. Because it was written by a guy that I think I remember you liking so maybe it’ll sink in. Then, go talk to someone about being a raging prick to someone who never spoke two unkind words to you. Because the world will thank you.

Hey now, this is a positive.

It is why I always get back together with Wired. Until they do something tragically hip again.

Oooh mama. My kind of suit and tie…

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Hey! How’s yourmomenem? I need to get a post up because I’ve been HOARDING links and I need them out of my kitchen. WARNING: like the true wanna-be polymath I am, the following paragraphs will jump around at a dizzying pace. But y’all knew that already…

First and foremost, buying denim that already has holes in it is the dumbest thing in the world. Seriously people. Distressed is one thing. Ripped and shredded is a DIY task and if you pay for that look people shouldn’t let you drive. Because your IQ is in question.

I have an attorney friend who recently said to me, “If you’re married to a lawyer, you really shouldn’t cheat on them. You’ll lose.” In the same way, you really shouldn’t try to hide things from a former reporter. Good advice.

Speaking of reporting, my friend Shana — former reporter, current attorney. Synchronicity! — reports that Nashville has jumped on the Taqueria del Sol train (heh. Soul Train). You won’t regret it Nashville. Their fish tacos are serious.

Wired loses me sometimes. I appreciate the things they choose to cover, but their coverage is so ridiculous sometimes it’s almost laughable. Take this piece, a very emotional, flowery-rhetoric-laden breakdown of the potential lost due to gun deaths. I postulated to Charles that abortion data may be just as arresting; except the entire graph would be gray. And I’m not even advocating a side here on abortion — although I have some pretty strong feelings about it — just that the high-minded sanctimony of loss of potential [“We chose to illustrate the vibrancy of their lives as bright orange and yellow arcs, reminiscent of flames in the darkness,” he says. “When that person is killed, we create an alternate life for them, a ghost life — a life that may have happened if they hadn’t been shot and killed. This alternate arc is shown in gray, reminiscent of ash. The idea of using arcs is to harken to the nature of life — a birth, growth, an apex, a diminishment, and finally death.”] would NEVER be discussed in terms of children never being born at all. And I just wonder why that is…

But when they stick to fun stuff, they’re alright. And then they turn around and are astounded that chaos maybe doesn’t reign supreme in the universe. Duh. I thought you people were supposed to be smartypants and stuff. Money quote: “Scientists have yet to develop an intuitive understanding of why this particular random-yet-regular pattern, and not some other pattern, emerges for complex systems.” How in hell do you “develop” an INTUITIVE understanding. Come on man. Get it together.

On a kind of related note, since they’re talking about finally potentially solving the mystery of the distribution of the primes in the Wired piece above, here’s this. Cool, but posted mainly for the comments. “Insensitive?” cracked me up.

Okay, a pretty break. I may actually do this one:

red dress

The first paragraph in this piece is priceless. So…because they suck at Democracy, that means, logically of course, that they know a little about how it should be implemented. Nice try DCist. Come on man. Get it together. Weakest argument I’ve heard in a while. Reminded me of this:

Jennifer Lawrence seems like my kind of friend. Of course you call John Stamos Uncle Jesse if you ever meet him at a party. And on a related note, my sister told me about this. A few months old but fascinating.

Sirach is my favorite book in the bible. It’s part of the Apocrypha, so the Protestants may not know it, but I’ve been reading it again and, if you can get over some of the Old Testament stuff about women, it has some excellent advice. Chapter 26 in particular.

I’m told it’s a must read. Have it downloaded to the Kindle and it’s in the queue.

What kind of angel on earth thought to put roma tomatoes on top? It shall be made…Because if I make it dance class again Saturday I bet it compliments the ravenousness perfectly. And if, instead, I meet up with some boys for brunch, it’ll make a nice hangover cure Sunday. Boom.

Finally, playing with drinkify’s fun. Seriously, how do they know…

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