12.30.2008

Santa isn't real

An honest conversation with my friend's kid.

Me: So, Nate, what the heck is on your Christmas list this year? A Hannah Montana sleeping bag, the new Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Light Up Designer Studio? The Hannah Montana Holiday Singing Doll or the Hannah "I'm frickin’ everywhere" Montana Pink Folding Vinyl Umbrella? Or perhaps, you’d like the new Jonas Brothers cd?
Nate: No way! All that is for girls!
Me: Well, your mom actually wanted a girl, so maybe you should put one of those items on your list. It would make her feel better about spending 72 hours in labor with you.
Nate: Labor?
Me: We’ll talk about the birds and the bees another time.
Nate: I want Santa to bring me the Eyeclops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles and LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship.
Me: Santa? There is no Santa.
Nate: Huh?
Me: The Santa Claus tradition is a secularized substitute for the real meaning of Christmas, don't you know? Which is causing more secularization and even more mass consumerism. Furthermore, the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is contrary to the Gospel. For Santa involves the willing suspension of disbelief, in which the hearers of the story know and understand the story to be merely a story, whereas in the practice of the modern-day Santa Claus tradition children are being led to believe the story is true, and thus are being intentionally deceived by a deliberate falsehood. That is, they are being lied to, which is wrong.
Nate: What does all that mean?
Me: I have no idea, I read it somewhere. Jesus killed Santa. That's all you need to know.
Nate: My parents have been lying to me?
Me: Your parents, your friends, your friends’ parents, television, the internet, all of them are liars. Just like with the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. It’s not a coincidence Santa is Satan spelled backwards.
Nate: (tears) The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny aren't real either?
Me: Don’t cry, learning the truth about this is a milestone towards your adulthood. Just don’t tell your mom I told you. If you do, you won’t get anymore presents.

12.03.2008

Call Center #5

This should be the last in the series. I "quit" shortly after.

DSBS6

11.12.2008

Pet Peeve #3: Female Sideline Reporters

As seen on Diary of Fools.

If there’s one thing I dislike about watching football, it’s the female sideline reporters. The only female sideline reporters that don't make me completely denounce feminism are the ladies that actually played sports.

These types of reporters provide as much value to the game as white rappers do to rap and Vanna does to “Wheel of Fortune.” There’s the awkward interview with a coach who won’t be revealing anything important until after the game, "We'll be running a splitback formation on every play in the second half. They will never see it coming!" And there’s the injury update that is already circulating through the press box. Most of these women are articulate and knowledgeable but lets be honest, they’re really only there because of boobies.

Someone forgot to send network executives the memo stating not all boobies increase ratings, just the hot ones. The people deciding who’s attractive are the same people who think Kelly Ripa is sexy. Despite what a drunken Joe Namath may think, something about a Botoxed face under five layers of makeup and airbrushing just doesn’t do it for me.

Sports have altered the way our society views people on television. Regardless of how short a man is, how much hair he has, or how big his beer belly is, he still has the potential of making it on our screens. The same rules seem to apply to the female sideline reporters. Would Andrea “Big Eyes” Kramer and Michele “Man Hands” Tafoya been hired if HDTV was invented back then?

If she’s not eye-candy she should at least be able to ask appropriate questions and have a clear knowledge of the game and the players. It’s not exactly the most difficult job. When a player is injured and starts heading towards the locker room, do they really need to ask Suzy Kolber for feedback when she is just going to say, “He is injured and is heading towards the locker room, back to you in the booth, the nice… warm… booth.” Isn’t Suzy way more talented than that?

Sideline ReporterWhile interviewing Mike Singletary at the 49ers/Seahawk game, Danyelle Sargent mistakenly attributed Bill Walsh as Singletary’s mentor. Then Sargent went on saying that Bill Walsh was one of the first phone calls that Mike made when he got the job. First off, Bill Walsh was not Singletary’s mentor. Second, Bill Walsh is dead. Other questions Sargent meant to ask Mike included: "Are you going to start Joe Montana or Steve Young?" "What’s the significance of the cross necklace thingy that some of the players are wearing?" And finally, "do these jeans make my butt look big?"

Don't get me wrong, bad broadcasting is bad broadcasting. There is a plethora of horrible male sports reporters. Tony Siragusa comes to mind.

At what point did hiring female sports reporters stop being a “breakthrough” and start being an annoyance? The very fact that the female sports reporter only receives about 20-30 seconds of air time and can only be found on the sideline is enough proof that it is merely a token gesture. Is this network executives’ sorry excuse of an attempt at luring female viewers? I don’t see tampon ads being added to the commercial line-up any time soon. Save these reporters from embarrassment.

It's true there are great ladies on the sidelines. I call them cheerleaders. They don't talk or ask questions. They don’t keep score. Their job is to bounce and look pretty.

Ideally, the female sideline reporter would know the difference between a nickel defense and 30-stack. She would look hot in a bikini, listen to ESPN Radio Primetime and be able to hold a conversation with Bill Parcells. Take Suzy Kolber’s brain and put it in Melanie Collins’ body and you have the perfect sideline reporter... In your dreams.

10.28.2008

SWF seeks interlectual equivalent SWM

A large portion of my day is spent eavesdropping. This is partly to do with the placement of my office in relation to the water cooler. It is also because of the level of entertainment it provides me during my workday.

The most recent ongoing discussion topic is the relationship status of a coworker. She’s “lonely” and, after only 3 hours of being broken up with her latest boyfriend, is ready to meet her “soul mate” and “settle down” and “have lots of co-worker “babies”. This sounds like an excellent time to submit an anonymous personal ad to eHarmony on her behalf. Since the words "settling down" and “lots of babies” don’t necessarily appeal to men right away, I’ll do a little rewording.

SWF seeks interlectual equivalent SWM.
I like to have fun and want to meet someone else who likes to have fun too. I’m looking for a relationship with a man who enjoys having opinions and views forced upon him. Yet, I haven’t had an original interest or thought in over a decade. I am a die-hard Liberal tool and staunchly oppose Conservative hordes who vote against me. Communication skills are a plus so you must also enjoy listening to me ramble on about various medical conditions I think I have but don’t really.

I’m a vegetarian and will enjoy cooking you healthy meals which you will pretend to like just so you don’t piss me off. We’ll spend lots of time watching musicals and high estrogen-level TV series on DVD (Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, Project Runway, etc.). You’ll also become my new yoga partner.

Things will be going pretty good for a while. Then, one night you forget your phone at a friend’s house over the weekend, which forces me into an incoherent and irrational panic. Ten unreturned voice mails and 15 text messages later, I’ll be lead to believe you are cheating on me. To confirm my suspicions, I’ll immediately log into your email accounts, work computer and other personal accounts, whose passwords I’ve been secretly collecting over time. I’ll find some insignificant message from a friend living six states away, saying “I missed you” in your MySpace Comments section and freak out even more. Then, learning that there is also a new hire at your job, and knowing from her Facebook page (which I spent 4 hours searching for) that she is single, will drive by her house one night, just to see if your car is there. It’s not there, but I circle the block a dozen times anyways.

Unable to reach her or you, I will scramble to my car, drive barefoot and half naked to your house where I will drive up on the curb knocking over a bird house and several potted plants. The commotion will no doubt wake you; direct you to your bedroom window, just in time to see me plow into your beloved brand new Nissan Altima.

This is about the same time you’ll call me a “crazy bitch” and I’ll call you a “cheating bastard liar.” We’ll breakup and then you’ll unknowingly start flirting with my fake eHarmony personal ad I posted just to “get back at you.”

Hop to here from you soon!

10.15.2008

Pet Peeve #2: The Standing-O

As seen on Diary of Fools.

Standing OvationStanding ovations. What do they mean? Standing ovations were meant to be given in honor of an exceptional performance or speech. They were saved for the best of the best. Lately, though, anyone with a pulse that performs adequately in front of an audience will likely receive a standing ovation. People these days are leaping to their feet at the end of everything like a junior high drama student on a class trip to "High School Musical 2.”

I worry that we stand because we’ve lost our ability to think critically and individually. We stand because we’ve been entertained, without carefully considering the quality of the entertainment. Or is it just political politeness, if you follow like lemmings no one will get their feelings hurt. Shit, with the right kind of crowd psychology you could get Sarah Palin standing and applauding at a PETA conference.

Americans have a unique ability to get enthusiastic over stupid things, like squirrels waterskiing and ineffective politicians. When addressing the US Congress, Tony Blair received 19 standing ovations during his 32 minute speech. After the first standing-o, he joked: "This is more than I deserve and more than I'm used too, frankly." Tony received the biggest applause after giving America praises for “upholding freedom.”

I get tired of standing and clapping. I can’t remember the last time I went to a concert where there wasn’t an encore preceding an obligatory standing ovation. It’s a joke when the band walks off stage fully knowing they will be walking back on moments later. At what point does it become a self-indulgent act by the artist? You’re left standing there for 20 minutes, yawning and just sort-of clapping. In the meantime, the band is playing a quick game of scrabble.

You should only be allowed a few standing ovations in your lifetime. Think twice before you stand during your kid’s class production of The King and I. Anyone can play a triangle and I’ve seen your kid, not that cute. Nor is it appropriate for politicians as a matter of course instead of a special honor. Especially for those who can’t pronounce nucular nuclear. But when you do stand and clap, it means you’ve seen something that moved you, something remarkable and memorable.

On the other hand, there simply isn’t enough booing. Whatever happened to a good old boo when you’re displeased by a performance, like when the 90 year old on The Price is Right can’t spin the Showcase Showdown Wheel around at least one time. I boo all the time. I throw shit too. You don’t have to throw something to hurt them. A urine filled beer bottle to the face is harmless.

Sometimes not clapping is too mild of a reaction. We pay good money and should expect good entertainment back. If we don't get it, booing should be justified. Or is that the very height of douchebaggery - to cause such humiliation on someone? Naw. If athletes and comedians can deal with it, sissy actors and musicians should too. It should come with the territory.

Just think, if politicians, actors and musicians had the same kind of feedback that The Jerry Springer Show audience gives, booing and withholding standing ovations, imagine the hard work they’d put into their next performance or speech. And that’s when you’ll stand.

9.30.2008

Pet Peeve #1: Exodus 20:7

The following is my very first posting as a new contributor for Diary of Fools, the second coolest blog ever.

The reader must be warned. The following may contain offensive material. I’m assuming that I’m dealing with a very mature audience who will understand the purposefulness that I bring to this post.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." It seems like a rather severe judgment for one who simply says "my god," don’t you think?

But I ask you, do you really, way down in the farthest depths of your soul, truly believe that God, Creator of all things, including Southpark and Hustler Magazine, really gets pissed off over something like that? If he’s cool with violent criminals repenting, allowing them passage through his pearly gates, then I think he could let “God Dammit asshole, let me pass!” or “Jesus Bloody Christ, the speed limit is 60!” or even, “God is watching you motherfucker!” slip by, right? Because, that’s just my morning commute.

And what about sex? One of the main points Jesus makes in his teachings is the importance of love, and he wasn’t talking about hugs. Believe me. And unless God is totally gay, I wouldn’t think he’d mind it so much hearing “oh god, oh god, oh god!” during an orgasmic spree of lovemaking. On a personal note, I’ve resorted to, “Oh scientific method, oh scientific method, oh scientific method, ooohh!”

First, let's assume that the traditional view is correct and you are not allowed to use God's name to curse. This leads to creative alternatives, such as "Gosh darn", "Geez" and "Jiminy Cricket". If you’re opposed to saying, “Jesus Christ” or “Oh, my God” as expletives, shouldn’t you also be opposed to the shortened versions? By saying “Oh my Gosh”, aren’t you, in a sense, promoting the very saying “Oh my god!” They mean the same thing, right? It’s like your fake Louis Vuitton designer handbag. You want to make people believe you’re fashionable or rich, just like you want to make people think you’re religiously pure. But really, you’ve just bought a shitty handbag from a sweatshop in China and you haven’t attended a church service in over two years. So, by trying not to be religiously offensive, you actually are. A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet. Ya hear.

And am I supposed to believe that by rewording something God will let you get away with it? If he’s like most guys, he’s not listening to you anyways.


Besides, God isn’t even his real name. That’s, like, saying my name is Person or Girl. Wasn't the original context of this verse a restriction on saying the name "Yahweh"?

Cursing is a gift to the English language, a gift that we have in far greater complexity than any other species on this planet. A gift most people take for granted. Cursing isn’t supposed to be a thought process. It is raw and tense emotion - allowing swearing to invoke deep and unavoidable emotional connections, whether good or bad. If you need to take the time to change “Oh my God”, to “Oh my gosh”, you really should work on finding more meaningful, less offensive words.

The third commandment is meant to restrict actions more so than words. It is broken in more ways than just a bunch of Pagans and dirty hippies screaming "God Damn it!" or "Jesus H. Christ!" Our society worships money, beauty, and power. WE say that God says this is wrong and this is right. We elect officials who profess God's name but do not live answerably to it, worshiping with their tongue and not their heart (or brain). They think they are placed there by some higher power and then they make the decision to go to war and screw the poor. I think that every time we are acting with prejudice, we are taking Yahweh’s name in vain.

9.15.2008

Biochemical warfare

My co-worker crawled into work this morning coughing and sneezing. Her pale and withered zombie-like body crept through the hallways, her germs filling every nook and cranny of the office, like bacteria spreading on a Petri dish. She opened the door to the refrigerator, the bathroom, her office, my office, her nose dripping like a sieve. She said, “It’s just allergies.” Bullshit. I heard that line a thousand times. Fast forward to the next day, allergies are gone, now she decides that she is, in fact, sick but “not contagious”. Bullshit again. Fast forward to the next day, she calls in sick with the flu. As did all the people she had meetings with, the FedEx guy and the cleaning lady.

Some say she’s just a hard worker and dedicated to her job. I prefer inconsiderate douchebag. Soon the sickly germs will spread, making half the office sick or paranoid about getting sick. No one dares to question who got them sick in the first place because they’re too busy trying to convince people…”it’s just allergies.”

Why not call in sick? For some people, no work means no money. That has to change - the Employers need to start weighing the costs of good medical care against the potential for on-the-job productivity losses. For others, not using your sick days means an extra vacation day. Or, maybe they plan to play hookie - calling in sick when they really just want to sleep in or enjoy a three day weekend. Or, they’ll hold on to their allotted sick days in case they are sick later in the year. I don’t care if you’re Mother Teresa or Gandhi, I don’t care how important your job is or how no one else has the training to cover what you do. You’re not as important as you think you are. People who come to work sick should be locked up - general population.

Employer groups refer to this as “presenteeism.” Presenteeism discusses the problems faced when employees come to work even though they are sick. This has negative repercussions on a business performance level. Wikipedia says, “presenteeism can have catastrophic effects on a company's output and present hidden long-term costs and wider social problems beyond the enterprise. An employee who arrives at work despite illness may only operate at a fraction of his or her normal capacity despite requiring the same expenditure in wages, social contributions and taxes as an employee operating at 100%. They may also be more prone to mistakes, and in the case of contagious diseases (e.g. Influenza), they may transmit the illness to fellow employees, causing a larger fallout in work efficiency.”

I’m not asking a lot. Just quit getting ME sick. I’m tired of applying hand sanitizer every five minutes. I'm tired of being paranoid. I'm tired of listening to people blow chunks into their snot rags, coughing and wheezing up a storm. No one’s going to look at you and say, “Wow, I really respect you for coming into work when you’re sick, risking the health of every person you come in contact with. You’re such a trooper, we should promote you!”

Go home, dammit. Take some Nyquil and pass out. It’s not like you do anything anyways, except drink coffee and talk about American Idol.

9.08.2008

English Please

English Please

That's what it says. I started this one on the ferry ride back from the San Juan Islands last week. I like it.

9.04.2008

The car that cried burglar

Car alarms. The morning wake up call goes something like this: a harsh crescendo of Bee-oop bee-oop bee-oop bee-oop. Followed by a descending high pitched Beeboobeeboo beeboobeeboo beeboobeeboo. Then, a long upward boooOOO boooOOO boooOOO boooOOO and a staccato of beep beep beep beep beep. Continued with a HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! and finally, a repetition of ‘Please step away from the vehicle.’

There is no evidence that car alarms work. They only create a false sense of security. According to my friends that steal cars, thieves will even intentionally trip the car alarm to mask the sound of breaking glass. My friends can disable them in seconds.

Once people started figuring out that the car alarm could just as easily go off from a speck of dust that came within a micrometer too close as it would a burglar, they stopped caring. Eventually, becoming more annoyed than anything. And at this point, people are more willing to assist the burglar than alert the owner of the vehicle. In fact, a recent poll revealed that your upstairs neighbor is 100% more likely to key the word “douchebag” on the hood of your car if your alarm goes off again at 4:30 am! Dude. Not cool. They’ve become so ubiquitous that we’ve become used to the sound, they are no longer effective. It has become the quintessential Boy Who Cried Wolf story.

The insurance industry says they don’t prevent car theft but they do increase noise pollution. I propose a World ban of obnoxious car alarms. Now silent, inexpensive anti-theft devices are available, like Car Alarm Pagers, Keyless Entry Systems, Vehicle Ignition Kill Switches, the LoJack System and Steering Wheel and Brake Locks. And if you’re not too lazy, you can always detach the Face Stereo Dash that your lazy ass keeps forgetting to do.

8.28.2008

Gangs 101

My friends often seek my advice when it comes to raising their kids. This is me educating my friend's kid, Nate.


ME: It's time to get serious about forming a gang, kid.
Nate: Cool. How?

ME: Get a pen and paper... Let's start from the very beginning.

Nate: OK!

ME: First, you need a color to set yourself apart from all the other gangs.

Nate: How comes?

ME: So everyone knows who to shoot. Duh. Now what’s your favorite color?

Nate: Blue.

ME: Unfortunately, that one is taken.

Nate: Red?

Me: Here’s an idea: Teal. Subtle, yet powerful at the same time. And regarding outfits, I just have one note: gang bangers usually wear only one simple, strategically placed bandanna—not t-ball uniforms with their last names on the back. Jeez Nathan, the point is to make it harder for the cops to identify you when you’re running from them.
ME: Now what do you and your friends call yourselves?
Nate: Homerun Hitters
ME: Lame. That’s not intimidating enough. For example: Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Mara Salvatrucha - all frickin' badass. I know you’re creative, Nate. Remember when you took your mom’s stash of one dollar bills and added the letter 'B' and 'R' before and after the ‘
ONE’, spelling 'Boner'....?

Nate: But, that was your…

ME: Use that great imagination of yours and come up with a name that's just a bit more menacing.
Nate: What about "the Jedi Ninjas?"
ME: It could work. Just keep your light sabers at home. They won’t earn you any street credibility. You're going to have to start wearing baggy pants so you can hide your weapon of choice. I suggest sticking with the baseball bat.

ME: So, do you have a gang sign yet?
Nate: Yep. See.
ME: We're going to have to work on that. The middle finger is too generic. Gangsters like to flash "hand signs" to each other to identify themselves. Usually, these signs are a few fingers on each hand held in various vogue finger poses. Not a lone middle finger raised every time they see a Steelers fan. Are you getting all this down?

Nate: Yep

ME: Thus far, you and the other Jedi Ninjas have been flying straight and low key. But it’s time to look at the big picture, Nate. What if the Crips had been content stealing garden gnomes and smearing dog poo on your neighbors’ doors. Or what if, instead of inventing the drive-by shooting or gang initiations, they remained content flinging rocks at squirrels. Where would America's crack epidemic be then, Nate? Who would fill our prisons? It's time to get organized. I think this could be the year your larcenies get upgraded from petty to grand.

Nate: But how?

ME: Gang power is simple economics. Find out what people want, sell it to them, then, just like that, you're controlling the subdivision before you hit the sixth grade. However, for this to work, you've got to know your market. Get rich or die tryin', N-Unit. Ya hear?...

Nate: Word.

ME: Nice!

Nate: Nothing exceeds like excess!

ME: And?

Nate: Don't get high on your own supply.

ME: Right. And what is capitalism?

Nate: Getting fucked!!

ME: You learn fast grasshoppah.

Nate: I think I hear mom... quick, put Shrek on!

8.25.2008

Insert Key

Do you ever wish bodily harm upon someone? I’d like to meet the inventor of the Insert Key. I’d ask, is this some weird keyboard inventor joke? Did you put it there purposefully, just for a good laugh? If it’s not a joke, haven't we evolved enough from the DOS word processors from the 1980s to finally stop producing keyboards with your stupid invention? I've been using a computer since my inception and I've never found a use for it.

At work, while I’m typing up report summaries at record breaking speed and endeavoring to complete my days’ tasks, I’m stopped dead in my tracks. Upon review, the OVR button is highlighted! My text is overwritten, Pac-Man style! I can't recall actually pressing Insert intentionally. I assumed, at first, it was my own ineptitude, or even my sausage-like fingers. Perhaps it happened whilst doing a full hand-slam for the backspace key. Insert key, you irritate me so.

I’d like to propose a new location. Move directly to the right of F12, have those black and yellow stripes and a transparent cover that lifts. Similar to those that stop people from inadvertently firing missiles or nuclear weapons. When lifted, it should trigger a flashing red light and a klaxon. Or, it would be very beneficial to me, if it were replaced with a smiley face key. Then I wouldn't have to use a crescent wrench to remove it and stick it up the inventor's ass.

I know I’m not alone in this matter. Here are steps on disabling the Insert button in Microsoft Word. 1) Right click on the toolbar and select Customize from the context menu. 2) Click the Keyboard button. 3) Scroll down and select All Commands in the left drop down. 4) Scroll down the right list and select Overtype. 5) Select Insert in the Current Keys list. 6) Click Remove. 7) Click OK. Now, all you mac users can kiss my ass.

8.20.2008

Yard Sale signs gone wild

Yard Sale SignThis just in, having good, readable yard sale signs really can help direct people to your yard sale. Shocking, I know. One study even shows that signs are an important part of advertising. Creating successful signs can be quick, easy and inexpensive. Yet, there is an epidemic. Billions of people have garage and yard sales every year, yet nearly all of them have crappy signage.

Seriously people, how hard is it to make a decent looking garage or yard sale sign? In a recent poll, 100% of the people polled (me) said they wouldn't go to your yard sale just because your sign looks like a monkey made it - a wild monkey, not even the trained ones. Not only is it unattractive, no one can read the location of the sale to find the place.

Just because you think your 4 year old can color between the lines doesn’t make them an advertising executive and doesn’t qualify them to make the yard sale sign for you. “Oh, your 4 year old didn’t do that sign, you did? That’s some handwriting you have there.”

Some tips for those who aren't getting this. These signs shouldn’t be written on legal size computer paper. #2 Pencils do not work well with cardboard, nor do crayons. Rulers are your friend. Fine Point Sharpie pens are not viewable at 40 mph. I suggest upgrading to a 5 or 6mm line width black pen. Don’t forget the arrow. Glitter and fringes don’t provide any navigational or functional assistance, but they are cute and might just provide that extra bit of motivation if your target audience is a 13 year old girl. Don’t use Post-It Notes.

Just remember these four things: arrow, date, location, and the word “
Sale”. That’s really all you need. And most importantly, take the sign down once you’re done. Or you can face up to a year in prison (general population).

8.16.2008

Rentonopoly

Here's a Monopoly version I made of Renton WA, my home town.

Rentonopoly Final

8.11.2008

5 strikes and you're out

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced to baseball fans and players back in 2005: You're outta here! And just like that, both baseball and softball were kicked out of the Olympics, unwanted by international sports officials who felt they were “too American for the world sports stage.” The decision is effective for the 2012 London Games. The Beijing games will be the fifth and final appearance for baseball and softball as an official Olympic sport.

What I don’t understand is why people are so upset about this rejection. Baseball is really only useful when expressing how far you got with your girlfriend.

Fine, maybe there’s more to it. But when I look up at the TV, nothing is happening, but when I look down for 30 seconds and then look back at the screen, still nothing's happening. Besides, if you can stand in place and swing a bat, you're not an Olympic athlete. You just have good hand/eye coordination.

It’s not like gymnastics where the little squirts grow up dreaming of an Olympic gold medal. For little leaguers there's more attention made to making it in the major leagues and making millions of dollars (while looking fat in tight cotton/poly jumpsuits).

The IOC gets nothing out of a competition where the best baseball players in the world don't even want to take part. And, of course, MLB doesn't get enough of a financial kick to shut down in the middle of its season. It’s all about the Benjamin's and not the love of the game when it comes to the major leagues. I mean, if Barry Bonds got paid minimum wage he wouldn’t even be a baseball player, he’d be a bouncer at a club.

So those who are receiving most blame are the owners of the professional leagues who refuse to free up their ballplayers to compete. But the truth of the matter is, US will not be able to send a team to the Olympics anyways, since doing so means passing drug tests. We're basically screwed whether or not the sport is official.

Now, if only, the Japanese and Korean leagues, and the North and South American teams would find a way to have a real World Series every 4 years, just like rugby, football and cricket do. I'd no doubt watch them.

Sources: They'rrre out! Olympics drop baseball, softball, Major League Baseball and the Olympics just don't need each other

8.06.2008

Text Language 101

A text message conversation between me and my friend Russell.

Russ: wat up
Me: Nothing much, you?
Russ: i wuz jus t @ my cuzzins house
Me: Cool, what did you do there?
Russ: we playd some halo, den we went outsid 2 plya sum b ball. we had a lto of fnu lol
Me: I have no idea what you just said.
Russ: no wya!! lolZ @ dat!
Me: Just one exclamation point would have been fine.
Russ: ???
Me: Just one question mark would have worked there too.
Russ: LoLz, TAht Iz ZO Fuunneh! I LUvz it@! LA0ol!
Me: What the hell are you texting? Are you drunk?
Russ: LoLZ N0 B! U Gey 2X!1 Im spekkin ShrtHAnd!
Me: It isn’t shorthand if you don’t know how to spell the words in the first place.
Russ: O Snap! NOeZ! Tis Iz ShrtNd! Iz wat it iz. lol
Me: Is this conversation really laugh out loud worthy? I think not.
Russ: YUB so criticul
Me: Bcuz, it is one thing if text message shorthand starts seeping into formal usage. It’s another thing to never learn formal usage in the first place and then pretend you’re some genius with quick thumbs thinking you are short-handing when, really, you just don’t know how to spell.
Russ: huh? YUB h8ting on txt language.
Me: I’m not h8ing. I understand, texting is spawning a language of its own. blah blah blah. It’s making it more compatible with a write-faster society. I’m just saying, your texting shorthand isn’t shorthand at all. There are several if not all fragments and errors, let alone random punctuation marks.
Russ: i just funetisizin 2 u
Me: When people started saying ‘why’ more often than ‘wherefore’, there were no doubt people arguing against. It's the same with the word ‘You’, I say we should keep it three letters.
Russ: u dnt understand txt
Me: i undrstnd clErly. its quik, invNtiv & utilitarEN, its a minimaLst form of the language th@ sum linguists call irelevNt & mNE tEchers sA is N insult 2 its muthR tung. but w/ mor thN 1 triLEN txt msgs sNt evry yEr, showering da world w/ confeti of tiny missives, its imposibL 2 ignor. F8alists sA ther is no kEping txt msging from insinu8ing itself in2 da language @ lRge. Txting is pure comunication, pragm@ic & ters, a facsimile of da sounds of english cut loose from da roots & history of da language. its producd its own vocabulrE of acronims, homonims & abbrvs, thngs lIk LOL & CUL8R th@ have, in thur own contxt, bcum nu english words. its a language drivN by da yung, a generatn w/ da mos agile thums in human historE, wipping acros da kEbord as thA txt. da vocabulry of txt msging realizes N old lexicografical dream & da reaLIment of speling w/ sound. no mor rough, trough, thought, through - just ruf, trof, thot, thru. Nu conventions n spelling have emerged!
Russ: OK! CUL!!

8.05.2008

4 Hour Workday

I’d like to remind people that by celebrating Labor Day next month, you are, in a sense, celebrating the fact we have to work 8-bloody-hours-a-day! I’d like to propose a new movement which advocates 4 hours for work, 10 hours for recreation and 10 hours for rest. We’ll call this day Laborless Day and everyone will be required to wear white shoes.

Before I was hired at my current job, I had no idea how long 8 hours actually was. I went through life never questioning the workday. The phrase "9 to 5" was just a metaphor for people with real jobs. Now that I have entered this world of suits and scheduling, reality hits. Eight hours is an eternity!

Granted, for most of my co-workers "eight hours of work," doesn’t really mean eight hours. There's the five minutes they show up late, the time it takes to take off their coats and say hello to everyone. There's walking from the desk to the water cooler. There’s the three runs to the coffee shop and at least seven or eight bathroom breaks a day. And we mustn't forget sustenance. Shit, when you think about it, they really only work a good three hours and 54 and a half minutes, give or take.

Allz I’m trying to say here is that eight hours is a long ass time. Imagine devoting those eight hours completely to origami. To jazzercise. To learning. You'd be the smartest, jazziest paper folder this world has ever seen. I guess I'm ignoring part of the equation here, and that is, as human beings, we are not capable of concentrating on anything longer than…. Oh look, a bird!...

There are limitations on the human mind and body that must be addressed. How often do you find yourself working or playing anything for a consecutive 8 hours? If everyone did, this society would be much farther ahead than it is. We should have flying cars and talking robot maids. We should have a creative and well-funded education system. We should have universal health care! But no, you reach a point of low energy and there is no way to recharge because the 8 hour work day requires the appearance of constant productivity. The result is millions of unproductive workers trapped at their desks pretending to work hard.

Dammit! If a person needs a Minesweeper break every hour on the hour, then, by God, it's about time for the next game.

Or, we could shorten the work day and remain productive the full time. It’s been almost 100 years since we’ve seen a reduction in hours of the workday despite improvements in technology, machinery and efficiency. When we get home we can play Minesweeper, check MySpace, use the bathroom, etc. Parents could eat dinner with their kids each night! We could actually visit a doctor without taking a vacation day to do so.

The funny thing is, Americans work more hours and use the money they make to pay for the things they can’t do because they are working.

Now excuse me while I cash in another bathroom break.

8.03.2008

Call Center #3

Whenever there was a customer I didn't want to deal with.
DS BS 3

7.30.2008

Babies look like aliens

It’s no doubt they do considering what they’ve just gone through. Still, who would think they’d come out looking like an old man, all scrunched up and wrinkly-like. And who, in their right mind, would think anyone would want to look at hundreds of pictures of their ugly little alien creature?

First, it’s the cat lady filling up my inbox with pictures of her cats wearing bibs and booties, next its friends popping out monsters and filling up my inbox with pictures of babies wearing bibs and booties. My friend’s most recent creation is especially fugly, I’m afraid. But, she’ll go on thinking he/she (I can’t really tell) is the most adorable baby in the world and all her friends will pretend he is too. Because really, who wants to piss off a new mommy.

Wrinkled fat faces, bobble eyed, drooling and dripping from all orifices. When your baby starts talking and stops leaking, he or she will turn adorable, but before then they’re pretty much just a blob of lard that screams and produces unspeakable amounts of fecal matter.

Don’t get me wrong, if you were to post photos of your baby doing awesome things like riding the family dog like a bull or driving a car, I wouldn’t mind so much. But buying a bib with frogs on it is not a reason for sending me a dozen more photos.

Not only are they ugly but they’re boring too. They can’t catch a football or help me throw rocks at cars. They don’t play video games, text message or give me money. All it does is sit there like a sack of potatoes. It’s not that your baby is boring, it’s that all babies are boring. When/if I have a baby, it will be boring too.

Are any of my friends going to a cool concert or sporting event? I don’t know, because your fat baby is in the way. Have any of my friends commented on my photos or profile on MySpace or Facebook? I don’t know, because you dressed your baby in a hat and uploaded 90 photos of it. Are my friends reading my blog? No, because it's not that good... wait, that's not where I was going with this.

Anyways, please don’t think that I hate children. I have a lot of respect for people who won’t make fun of me for thinking peanut butter sandwiches and otter pops are a complete meal or giving me shit for leaving the lights on or building forts out of couch cushions. Just don’t ask me to babysit them.

7.29.2008

The Jo Bro Horoscope


Astrology is based on the idea that human behavior and feelings are influenced by the planets and stars. These same behaviors and feelings are also influenced by pop music lyrics. For example, I am moved every time I hear lyrics to a Jonas Brother’s song. I’m usually moved to another room but that’s beside the point. So, whilst the Moon, Mercury and Venus are all aligned together with Kevin’s tall and strategically placed hair, Joe’s cosmic aura, and Nick’s celestial tight pants, a profound philosophical understanding of Jo Bro lyrics is reached. A nirvana, if you will. It has inspired the Jo Bros Horoscope.
Aries – Don't want ya for a weekend. Don't want ya for a night. I'm only interested if I can have you for life (Yeah). I know I sound serious and baby I am. You're a fine piece of real estate. And I'm gonna get me some land.
Taurus - Love showed up at your door yesterday. It might sound cheesy, but you wanted her to stay. You fell in love with the pizza girl. Now you eat pizza every day.
Gemini –Open the fridge. Eat a chicken. Wassup! Oooh. 7/11 might be down the street. Beatboxin' with my two feet. When I was born I walked out of the room, I was like "ptchh brrrrrup." My mom was like "Yo that's crazy." And I was like "Yeah, I'm a baby."
Cancer – You daydream through freshman math. She fills out her college apps. You’ll show her a world where you belong. But she’ll have to drive you to the prom.
Leo – Yo! I'm so hot just like a tamale. So destructive just like a tsunami. Every time I'm near the Red Cross is there. 'Cause that's how I be doin' things.
Virgo - One day when you came home at lunchtime, you heard a funny noise. Went out to the back yard to find out if it was one of those rowdy boys. Stood there with your neighbor Cow Peter, and a Flux Capacitor. You've been to the year 3000. Not much has changed but they lived under water.
Libra – Young hearts. I believe you are not far from becoming who you truly are. Love is on its way. Dreamers you see everything in color while the world is getting darker. Love is on its way. So hold on another day. Whoo. Whoo. Boppity bop.
Scorpio - Don’t forget to hold back your thoughts and live like robots.
Sagittarius - Why do I feel like a freak? Maybe cause you are a such a geek. Come Now Come now. Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme u suck cause i rule i act like you are cool but u drool. you make love with a toilet filled with drugs. u suck oh, poo poo.
Capricorn - American Dragon, American Dragon, American Dragon. YOW!!!!
Aquarius - I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. A hippopotamus is all i want. I don't want a dog or rhinoceros. All i want for Christmas is a hippopotamus. And a hippopotamus wants me too.
Pisces – There’s a man dying on the side of the road. He won’t make it home tonight.

7.28.2008

Cat People

I'll probably be starting a fight with all the cat lovers that read my blog. All one of you. I don’t quite understand this fascination people have with cats. All cats really do is sleep, eat, shit and attack things. I asked my friend why she likes cats, “because they are independent, intelligent and free spirits.” “Free spirits my ass,” I wanted to say back. If free spirit means ignoring you, then I guess so."Intelligent my ass,” I also wanted to say, “you’re biased in assessing the intelligence of cats since you are not a cat yourself. But if your cat happens to discover a new element and has Catnip added to the periodic table, by all means let me know.” She adds that, “cats are cleaner than dogs.” I won’t argue this, but if a dog spent 90% of its day licking itself, it would probably stay pretty clean too. “Cats are nice and quiet.” And to that I say, “yeah, they are like quiet but bitchy roommates that don’t pay rent. Might I add, just because you like to pet your cat doesn’t mean they are willing participants.”

I’ve also come to notice that there are far more people telling cat stories than there are audiences who give a damn. We all work with one. There is a lady who seems to make an unusual amount of trips to the water cooler, where unsuspecting victims face the wrath of her fascinating stories about how her cat likes to hurl itself at the TV when clips of dogs are shown on America's Funniest Home Videos. Then she sends cat pictures to all staff of her cat dressed in mittens, booties and a bonnet. Since all cats really do is sleep, eat, shit and attack things there are only 4 or 5 possible permutations of a cat story, and I guarantee I’ve heard them all a million-freaking-times! I hate to tell you this, but your cats are neither unique nor interesting.

Cat people and other assorted loners, like my friend and annoying co-worker, have long argued that dog lovers are weak-minded dupes. They don’t think a dog's devotion counts for much. A dog's love for its owner is entirely instinctual, indiscriminate and often unearned; you are not loved for yourself but for the role you assume in the dog's life. Therefore, dog owners must be sooo incredibly desperate for love as to be nearly undeserving of it. And the willingness of dogs to learn tricks must be a result not of their intelligence but of their dopey eagerness to please.

I start to wave a cat toy in the air. My friend’s cat just sits there and stares, then stares some more, jumps, then stares again. Then it walks away. I become slightly amused. Yet, I’m still baffled by the cat person’s affection for an animal that provides such little active amusement. Dog people think cat people are suckers for doting on sneaky, selfish creatures that only pretend to like people in order to get food and that will never jump into a raging, flood-swollen river to rescue a small child at the risk of their own lives, as the faithful canine will.

If I want an animal that walks around in it's own waste, kills birds and mice and leaves them under my bed, needs me to pick up and dispose of it's shit, kills plant life directly with it's waste, will not make a sound when a stranger approaches my property, only loves me as long as I'm feeding it, cannot guide or assist the disabled, cannot pick me up when I'm down, holds a grudge, cannot be trusted or does not want to accompany me when I take a walk outside or a trip in the car, regurgitates balls of grossness onto my carpet, makes death sounds when in heat and kills babies by smothering them then I guess I'll get a cat.

I'm not one to argue whether or not dogs are better than cats. It's a fact: dogs are better than cats.

7.23.2008

Call Center #2

I had to get creative in between calls.

DSBS 2

7.22.2008

My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter

Bumper stickers. Sometimes I wonder what a person is thinking when they decide to put a bumper sticker on their car. During my commute home yesterday, a Volvo with a “Free Tibet” and "Visualize World Peace" sticker cut off an old lady and subsequently flipped her off when it appeared as though old lady was preventing her from changing lanes in front of her. My first thought: they probably can’t point to Tibet on a world map and they went to a liberal arts college.

Promoting or opposing political positions doesn’t make you any more popular. Have fun trying to get your John Kerry for Prezident stickers off. Or, you can leave them on for-freaking-ever! But don’t fret, you won’t have to worry about taking your “No Iraq War” sticker off. That was a wise investment. Funnily enough, the gas used to fuel the car is probably doing more to keep the war going than that sticker is doing to stop the war. You might want to start scraping off your “Impeach Bush” sticker now so it is gone come November. It seems, the increased chance of vandalism to your car due to your expressed opinion is more costly than the benefit of being semi-unique.

Jesus won’t save you for having a “Jesus Saves” sticker on your car. Or maybe he will. “Stop Eating Meat” or “Go Vegan” won’t stop me from eating tacos or wearing my Jonathan Kelsey silver metallic leather pumps. As the hippie runs over a baby raccoon. Stop telling me what to do anyways.

And the stickers that are sentences long only cause cars behind them to inch up closer and closer to read, “If you can read this, you’re driving too close.”

According to studies by scientists, drivers with bumper stickers tend to have more road rage than those who do not. They tend to be more territorial. Researchers have long known that drivers who have a strong sense of personal space while in their vehicle are more likely to have road rage, and the more someone clutters their vehicle with “My child is an Honor Roll Student” bumper stickers and “Baby on Board” decals the more territorial they feel about the space inside.

It makes sense. My only suggestion is to stay away from the guy with the bumper sticker that reads, “Keep Honking While I Reload.”

Source: Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage

7.21.2008

Call Center #1

My first job out of college was at an art store working in the call center.

dsbs 2

7.20.2008

Eyebrows: to keep or not to keep

Waxing regularly - $23,000 spent over a lifetime

Using hair removal services - $10,000 over your lifetime

Seeing someone forget to draw on their eyebrow - priceless

What do you say to someone with a zipper down, has food stuck in their teeth or a booger hanging from their nose? Those receive typical responses of “your zipper is down,” “you have a little something (and point to your nose),” or, “did you have spinach for lunch?” Or you can simply ignore it.

What do you say then when someone forgets an eyebrow? I was in line at the grocery store and the checkout clerk had one missing eyebrow. A child in front of me was pulling on her mom’s shirt, whispering “mom, she only has one eyebrow, what’s wrong with her?” The mom shushed her. The checkout clerk was too busy scanning to notice.

What prompts women to remove so much hair from their brow anyways? Does the need to conform to today’s beauty standard create some weird brow disorder, making women pluck until they can’t pluck no more? Plucking or waxing until they reach pencil brow eternity. It's a well-known fact that repeated waxing and plucking will eventually cause hair growth to lessen, as it will do damage to the root of the hair over a period of time. All those women who plucked in the early 90s, back when thin was in, are now buying products to make their eyebrows grow back. What’s fashionable now may not be in 5 years so why make such permanent changes.

Eyebrows are people too. They prevent moisture from flowing into the eye. They shade your eye from the sun. They prevent debris, like dandruff, from entering the eye. They provide a sense for detecting objects near the eye. They are also important for communication and facial expressions.

If you need help stopping plucking or waxing your brows then stop being influenced by women’s magazines, TV shows and entertainment news programs. Stop letting Hollywood shape your culture and define what being a women is. Even that penciled line of hair above your eye carries with you the standard of beauty you believe in, broadcasting your feminist values.

Grooming is fine but nobody likes a brow that smears when it rains.

7.17.2008

The Revolution Will Be Televised

It didn’t seem that long ago I was sharing mixed tapes with my friends. I remember our little VHS rewinder machine thingy, it saves your VCR from having to rewind it. And it wasn’t so little. The most songs you could carry around with you are however many you can fit on a cd. Instead of downloading music, I copied songs from the radio by holding a tape recorder to the speaker. I’d stop and start the song so I could write the lyrics down. I was pretty proud the day I got “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by REM all written down and memorized. That was back when radio stations played music. And MTV played videos. Keeping a CD collection is like our parents keeping their LP collection - ancient.

This was back when parents told us what to buy, not the other way around. Our text messages were more like origami, neatly folded paper handed to your BFF, with hopes that the teacher would not intercept. I learned cursive, made friendship bracelets and played outside. I’ve seen the inside of a library. I had to get up to change the channel!

I drove through my old neighborhood not too long ago. Looks the same except a million more people and a million less trees. I remember forests where that mall stands today. We used to jump in the river before the ‘No Swimming’ signs went up. Before the water was too polluted. I remember when hairspray was the biggest reason for the ozone depletion. We drank from the hose on hot days, not from fancy plastic water bottles filled with pristine spring mineral water. That was back when there was only one flavor of water - water. And the revolution will be televised.

The Flintstones are to us what The Jetsons are to you. And Freddy Kruger was the scariest thing in the world. Hair was crimped and permed and defied gravity. Getting your hair highlighted meant sticking it in Kool-Aid for 20 minutes. Thundercats and Voltron episodes were new, reruns non existent and movie sequels were a thing of the future. Afterschool specials were about cigarettes. Michael Jackson was black, PeeWee wasn’t a pervert and Madonna didn’t have a British accent. The revolution will be televised.

Grocery stores were smaller and everybody knew my name. I tight-rolled my jeans and spandex wasn’t just for cyclers. I know what the truffle shuffle is. Sidewalk chalk and a little imagination was enough fun for the whole neighborhood. Prince was not the artist formerly known as and the song “1999” was soooo far away. There was no war and kids didn’t bring guns to school. Things were simple then. And carefree.

From Generation x to y to Generation wtf. Suddenly, everything seems so chaotic and fast-paced. It can be overwhelming and I see why parents have a hard time keeping up with their kids. Your neighbors are strangers and the way to make friends is through online social networks. Kids are pumped full of Ritalin, seeking instant gratification and taking things for granted. You’re not completely safe anywhere anymore. Schools are more concerned about serving healthy foods to obese children rather than teaching them physical fitness. Everyone is suing each other. TV is polluted with trash and child abusers are as close to you as your computer. Texting is the new talking. Movies are the new books. China is taking over. There are now killer bees, killer diseases, killer tomatoes. Anything new gets old real fast. Anything old is vintage, and anything vintage is fashion. People will do anything for money, power or fame – Reality TV. And more people vote for their favorite American Idol than their Elected Officials. There is a constant bombardment of change and even less sense of homogeneity. There is no social security and the kids are not alright. And the revolution will be televised.

7.11.2008

Missing: Pronoun

I’m not sure where my hatred for the word Y’all came from. Perhaps it's from the misrepresentation of Southern folk in movies and television, writers exaggerating their accent for purposes of ridicule. Or maybe I grew tired of hearing it overused by Britney Spears. Whatever it is, it’s enough for me to cringe whenever I hear it, especially coming from a Yankee.

One Yank in particular, is a co-worker of mine and has frequent meetings with me during the week. I tend to lose focus when she says it, 3 per meeting average. Maybe if she were from the South, it would be cute. But, she’s from Minnesota. Oofta!

I understand the purpose of the word seeing as we have no distinction in the second person; “you” is both singular and plural. We have singular and plural first person pronouns (“I” and “we”) and third person pronouns (“he”/”she” and “they”). The distinction between the French "tu" (singular) and "vous" (plural) doesn't exist in English. It did until a few centuries ago: "thou" was singular, "you" plural. But by the time the American colonies won their independence, "thou" had practically disappeared and "you" was serving a double function. It's almost as if we're missing a pronoun and "y’all" conveniently fills the second person plural position.

Despite it’s functionality, it still drives me crazy, especially hearing it in a professional environment.

Sources: Another History Blog by David Parker, Urban Dictionary, Languagehat, Wikipedia

7.08.2008

Privacy down the YouTube

In 2007, multi-media giant Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and its YouTube subsidiary alleging massive copyright infringement. Viacom alleges that uploaded copyrighted material caused a decrease in revenue for Viacom and a gain for YouTube.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Louis L. Stanton ruled that Google had to hand over video-viewing records (login ID, time video was watched, IP address of user’s computer and the identification of the video) to Viacom, which alleges that YouTube encourages individuals to upload videos to their site for immediate viewing free of charge. Viacom seeks at least $1 billion in damages.

The ruling will require Google to provide its viewing log --12 terabytes’ (1 terabyte equals 1000 gigabytes) worth of data. Viacom also demanded access to the search source code behind Google and YouTube’s operations, which Judge Stanton quickly rejected. This search code is the product of 50,000 hours of work and millions of dollars in development and research, in the wrong hands, could cause irreparable damage. Viacom claims “defendants have purposefully designed or modified the tool to facilitate the location of infringing content.” That is mere speculation and leads me to believe there is a second motive to their claim.

Viacom says it won't make any use of this viewing data outside this lawsuit. What they say and what they do is one thing, I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable trusting them with my IP or login information. What happened to user privacy? I think YouTube users should be given some guarantee that their user information will be deleted once the review process is over. Not all users have broken the law. If I were Google I’d send Viacom the 12 terabytes on floppy disc.

Although YouTube posts what is legal and not legal to upload there are so many videos being uploaded at any one time they cannot review every one of them. YouTube is responsible for the material.

In 2007, Viacom used a video without permission on a commercial television show on VH1, and then sued the creator of the video for posting the video they stole from him on YouTube. Even though I agree with Stanton's ruling, companies thinking about following Viacom's lead should carefully weigh the risks of potentially alienating consumers and to choose their battles wisely.

Here are the brands that Viacom owns that I am personally avoiding, not because they're owned by Viacom, just because they suck:

Atom Entertainment, AddictingGames, Shockwave, Atom.com, BET Networks, BET, BET J, BET Gospel, BET Hip Hop, BET Event Productions, BET Pictures, BET, On Blast, BET Mobile, BET International, CMT, CMT Pure Country, CMT Loaded, CMT Mobile, CMT Radio, CMT On Demand, GameTrailers, GT Marketplace, GoCityKids, Harmonix, Logo, AfterElton.com, 365gay.com, MTV Networks, MTV, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, MTV Books, MTV Tr3s, MTV2, MTVN International, TMF (The Music Factory), Game One, Flux, VIVA, QOOB, MTV OVERDRIVE, Lazona.com, MTV Boombox, MTV Revolution, mtvU, mtvU.com, College Media Networks, RateMyProfessors.com, Neopets, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., Noggin, Nickelodeon, Nick GAS, Nicktoons Network, Nickelodeon Consumer Products, Nick Arcade, ParentsConnect, Quizilla, Rhapsody, Spike TV, Spike Filmed Entertainment, The N, The Click, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, VHUno, Vspot, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Hills, Virtual Laguna Beach, Virtual Pimp My Ride, LogoWorld, Xfire, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies


Privacy down the YouTube is stolen mostly from Viacom Intl Inc. vs. YouTube,
Court Invites Viacom to Violate YouTube Viewers' Privacy By Rob Pegoraro, Viacom Wikipedia, Viacom won't soon shed image as corporate bully by Greg Sandoval, Judge Orders YouTube to Give All User Histories to Viacom by Ryan Singel

6.30.2008

Reap what you sow

A douchebag conservative tavern owner in Georgia made news by selling apparently racist t-shirts depicting the cartoon monkey Curious George eating a banana with the words “Obama in ’08” written underneath. Now, similar shirts are being sold online, with Obama’s face eating a banana, creating anger amongst liberal readers.

I’d just like to remind those angry liberals that you opened the door on this one. Maybe comparing George Bush to a monkey all this time wasn’t the best idea. “But it’s different, Bush isn’t black,” cries an angry liberal. "Well, neither is Curious George," says the douchebag conservative, "I just think he looks like a monkey." Taking offense at this t-shirt only legitimizes and emboldens those who would use it to further their objectives. "Get over it you babies, we all know who's going to win. Besides, free advertisement! (high-five)" That's what Obama would say.

6.27.2008

Pick a lane and stick to it

I often ask myself why drivers change lanes so often? I think of Samir Nagheenanajar changing lanes in one of the opening scenes of Office Space. I have to admit I get some satisfaction seeing people swerving in and out of traffic and still ending up behind me. Changing lanes in congested traffic doesn’t get you to your destination any faster. Instead, it makes your commute more dangerous. It seems as though drivers are fooled in thinking that the other lane is moving faster, when it is merely a “perceptual illusion.”

Is the lane next to me moving any faster? The answer is no according to scientists Redelmeier and Tibshirani who have found that cars in congested traffic spend more time being overtaken by other cars than they did passing them. Both lanes move at the same average speed, but it doesn’t seem like that to the driver.

Another cause of the illusion is lane envy, Redelmeier and Tibshirani say. Drivers tend to feel as if they’re always stuck in the slow lane. People tend to glance at the next lane over more often when they’re moving slowly, which can make their situation seem worse than it really is. Also, since drivers face forward, the cars they pass disappear quickly behind them while those that overtake them remain annoyingly visible. “During any trip, there’ll be far fewer moments of pleasure when you’re passing and far more moments of pain when you’re being overtaken,” Redelmeier says.

Mathematician Dawson and Riggs discovered that if you’re driving in the slow lane, you will only rarely pass another car, but you’ll see cars streaming by in the passing lane. “This will give you the misimpression that more people are driving fast and fewer people are driving slow,” Riggs says. Drivers also miscalculate the actual speed of traffic, another illusion that’s liable to make him want to change lanes.

According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, men driving on interstates and highways make 12 percent more lane changes than women and almost 40 percent more at speeds between 45 and 55 miles per hour. Men are more than twice as likely to die in car accidents. Aside from the time you're losing when making unnecessary lane changes, studies list several ways you're also putting your passengers and other drivers at risk.

For one, while you're in the act of changing lanes, you're vulnerable to two lanes of traffic at once. Second, it complicates an already complicated activity by forcing the driver to judge how much room they have for the maneuver. Third, every car has a blind spot, and when you're moving from one lane to another, it's harder for you to keep an eye on drivers who might be coming up on your car's blind spot. Another thing to remember when changing lanes is the effect it has on other drivers, when you hit your breaks so does everyone behind you. Lane changes alter the flow of traffic for the other cars and means that they have to make adjustments too.


Pick a lane and stick to it is stolen mostly from: Does Changing Lanes Get You There Faster? By Jonathan Silverstein, The Physics of Changing Lanes by Joshua Foer