Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Classic Video Games and the Everyday Skills They Taught Us

Fucking bitch.
  • Tetris - Stacking and packing of oddly shaped objects in a finite, rectangular space (shelves, car, etc.).

  • Space Invaders - Don't shoot at where they are, shoot at where they're going to be.
  • Frogger - How to jaywalk safely.
  • Starfox - How to tuck and roll.
  • Mario - Never get your hopes up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

T-Shirt Slogans I Found on a Post-It Note

Technically, it was scrap paper, but that title didn't sound as awesome.

  • "My other shirt is in the wash."
  • "I hate every band you like."
  • "My other shirt also has a unicorn." And then there's a silhouette of a unicorn.
  • "I met Tommy Lee and all I got was hepatitis." (Substitute any more current celebrity and disease as they become relevant.)
  • "Some days you're Schrödinger's cat and you aren't."
  • "I divided by zero at [college name] and all I got was Ø."
Another idea simply reads "Ragin' Reagan." I have no idea what I was thinking. My guess is it was based off of "Reagan smash" from The Family Guy, but I vaguely recall it being more artistic and interesting somehow. Maybe a Cold War-era Soviet propaganda poster design? Oh well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Light is Subtractive | A Dating Application for Nerds

I was out to dinner with family a few weeks ago, when I noticed the light fixtures toward the back of the restaurant in which we sat were arranged in rows of three, with the farthest most lamps colored blue, red, and green.

The families seated in booths beneath each were swathed in the relevant hue, however I noticed that the rest of the establishment's patrons were safely removed from coloration alteration.

It's because, unlike paint, light is color subtractive. The three types of cones in a human eye differentiate red, blue, and green, and when shone in equal measure, these three lights will cancel out into pure white light. So the rest of us got a nice little ambiance and even lighting at the same time.

I snickered at this, but no one in my family found this amusing.

I am reminded of Prof. Frink lecturing a classroom of The Simpsons kindergartners about the physics of a popcorn push toy, saying, "You couldn't possibly enjoy it on as many levels as I can."

Ladies, if you found this at all amusing, please, do not hesitate to contact me for the purposes of laughing at other humorous scientific phenomena. Men, try something similar to find your dreamy nerd girls.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Muppets Jokes Kids Won't Get


This post contains no spoilers. Just beautiful easter eggs you may otherwise miss. Go ahead and enjoy the film.

1. Being a Muppet is apparently a genetic condition roughly akin to congenital dwarfism. Not exactly a news flash for anyone who's seen Steve Martin go toe-to-toe with a felt frog like it happened every day, but this movie specifically introduces a fleece-based life form ostensibly born to human parents and sharing a human brother. Of course, adoption is a possible solution, but this neglects the initial issue of where a Muppet comes from.
1A. Muppets are massive. Interaction with humans seems to indicate Muppets are only actually represented by felt and are in reality biological creatures of meat and heft.

1B. Jim Parsons may in fact be part Muppet. Brief cameo, very perfect, though.
2. Dave Grohl as an Animal impersonator. Look for it. Also look for Sarah Silverman, John Krazinski, Rashida Jones, and NPH, along with a few others I'll leave a surprise for plot purposes.

3. Gonzo references a certain previous film shedding light on his origins.

4. The stoned hippie.
(Towards the beginning. Easy to miss.)

5. Kermit is a depressed, emotionally closed-off shell of a being. Basically, Rick from Casablanca.

As a personal note, the first half of the film is basically a self-referential production of, "Would anyone really watch a Muppets show these days?"Then they do it with aplomb anyway, because someone is willing to pay for them to try. It's pretty sweet.

Also, the ending makes me think Jason Segel might be a weird sort of genius. There's a life lesson there that says a lot about the economy and public sentiment and I hope or not maybe children.

Final review: 4.5 stars out of 5. Basically, all the best parts of my childhood, and I didn't even watch The Muppet Show as a kid.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jokes for Crazy Cat Ladies

You ever notice how grilled cat food always looks shredded, shredded cat food always looks diced, and diced always looks like it's grilled, but classic always looks like spam and spam ends up looking like cat food? What's the deal with that? Am I right?

My cat was behind on his rent but then he came into some money, so he paid three months before it was even dewclaw.

My neighbor has a new Persian rug. It's used to be her husband's favorite sweater.

Sometimes, I spray urine on my own couch just to remind myself who's boss.

I tell people the scratch marks on my back of from a new man in my life. I found him in a dumpster out back.

Somehow I sleep alone at night and still have to fight for the covers.

I told my cat to get off the sofa, so he just looked at me with contempt and malice for 40 minutes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tiny Wings Redux

Apologies for the near-lack of a Friday post; I was busy eating a lot of food and trading stories with my drunk extended family. Best compliment: "It's exactly like 'Always Sunny!'" [re: my friends and our, er … adventures.]

However, I totally made a new high score in Tiny Wings while I was doing that.

Trounced my last high score by a full 21,000!

That stood until earlier tonight, when I launched off a huge jump and through a boost right at the exact moment night fell and my game should have ended. Then I was launched into … I can only surmise it was outer space. My bird left the ground behind in ever-decreasing scales as his trajectory veered asymptotically towards the vertical, into the inky black depths on the game, my distance and score still increasing as "Day Over" still flashed across the screen.

Eventually, my bird must have reached Moon Base Alpha, or died of asphyxia or something, because my score finally topped out at 278,866.

You will note, however, that only my original score and rank were recorded.

Basically, my Tiny Wings got a massive power-up and flew my not just off my little island, but forty thousand points directly up. That's an additional 230 meters or so. Pretty sure a plane would hae stalled out. That bird is baller, yo.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Remembrance

The word "hero" gets thrown around a lot these days, but I'm pretty sure pulling over to the side of the road at 3 a.m. because you rightly think the dark blob that in the last hundred yards resolved into a person was actually your friend you had lost track of that evening attempting to walk several miles home alone and with his coat in your back seat, and just then getting stopped by the cops for a possible public intoxication charge the night before Thanksgiving … I think that qualifies me for at least a blowie on Veteran's Day.

Happy Thanksgiving (U.S. edition), everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wicked Wednesday | Black Friday is old hat

This picture seems to indicate "African American Slave Revolt Reenactment" Day.
Black Friday is passe and just a little bit racist sounding these days. Now there's something on Small-Business Saturday and internet days and even Black Friday Preview Night on Thursday for people who can stay up late but like sleeping in.

Screw that. You know what the only other important sales day is this week?

It's Wicked Wednesday.

That's the day 200 million assholes come into stores, ask 1800 questions about a product, fiddle with and break the demos, steal all the fliers and pamphlets, and then walk out without buying a damned thing because they've decided to "come back tomorrow."

Where they will fight tooth and nail, miss out on what they really wanted, and pay more online to get it in a week when they could have had it yesterday for less after shipping.

Papa's buying a book when he gets off work and is hiding in a cave.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Masonry Masturbatorial Materials

Years ago I found a copy of Playgirl rolled up and wedged rather poorly behind a toilet in a book store men's room. Moderately amusing. In fact, moderately more amusing that had it been the expected Playboy. (Statistically, I'd imagine this accounts for approximately one in ten rolled up spank mags wedged behind toilets in men's rooms.)

Recently, I found a copy of Home Decor.

You sick fucks. I'm sorry, I try to be as open-minded as the next guy, but houses? I mean, Jesus Christ, guys, there's a limit. Don't get me wrong, I find gazebos as threateningly attractive as the next dude, but looking at all those houses with their reupholstered living rooms and bare floors … that's just so exploitative. I mean most of those houses have kids rooms.

True, some have a double-wide garage, but now we're just starting to make excuses for a perpetually biased and degrading industry.

For shame, sickos. For shame.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The AMAs | I have never heard any of these songs before

"Nutcracker, I have prepared my body."
I watched about 30 seconds of the AMAs tonight. It was the opening too. Nicki Minaj was a sexy robot with some TRON dudes on stilts, which was pretty cool. The Queen Latifah came out to present the first award, "Favorite Pop/Rock Artist/Duo/Group." And Maroon 5 won.

First off, the category should have been "Favorite Pop-Rock…" because none of the nominees were rock bands. They were pop-rock at best.

Secondly, "Favorite" implies neither best-selling, nor even most popular. It implies the best liked, admittedly by the most people voting, but my favorite movie is Star Wars. That doesn't mean I think Star Wars is the best movie ever–I'm not even sure I consider it the best Star Wars movie–nor do I watch it more than all other movies at this point in my life. It's just a favorite for personal reasons.

Lastly, no one likes Maroon 5.

For anything. Ever.

Even the guy from Maroon 5 tries to work as much without Maroon 5. The guy's like Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. Hell, they might be the same bands. They're each a random noun followed by a small numeral, with about 4 catchy songs each and way too much airtime.

Who the fuck would vote for Maroon 5 for anything other than "Most Hated Band That's Not Nickelback?"

Clear indication the awards are rigged.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Thought

I wonder if @MayorEmanuel ever says, "Rahm wasn't built in a day."

Because I feel like that account was. In, like, an hour or two, tops. Especially since–if I'm to believe The Social Network–facebook took, like, one night and some drunken anger issues to get coded.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Logo Literacy | Our children love Crystal Pepsi

According to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader (via a friend; I only ever read Wikipedia in the bathroom, thank you), a second grader can recognize up to 200 different name brands by logo alone.

This seems horrible. Coco-Cola and Mickey Mouse and Apple are more recognizable than, say, the word "theatrical." It makes perfect sense to me, though.

Chinese and Japanese are traditionally difficult written languages to learn, as are really any other non-phonetic language. I believe the classic number quoted is one needs to recognize something like 200,000 pictographs in order to be considered fluent in Chinese. An "illiterate" farmer may only comprehend up to 2,000 symbols.

Is it really so horrible to say our children are corporate whores by the time they're seven? Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that while you were failing to teach your children to be baby Einsteins fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, and Norwegian Standard Sign Language, they also managed to pick up a measly 200 words in a form of modern hieroglyphs still mostly representational of either initials, mascot characters, or brand-specific action images?

Hell, if anything it just shows that whoever designed those logos did their jobs masterfully and achieved successful brand recognition.

And if you want to argue with me, I'll be happy to sit down and discuss it over a New Coke and a McBMT.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Carl Sagan | Best video game system ever

My Carl Sagan impression is oddly similar to a Dr. Evil.

However, since in order to perform any Carl Sagan impression from scratch, I first had to invent the universe, I'm not too disappointed.

This is all I have to say on the matter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Michio Kaku | How disappointed are his Japanese parents?

Seriously, this guy got a Ph.D in physics and he still only talks about death stars and space lasers.

"Michio! Why you not moderately successful dentist of no repute like your cousin Kensuke? Kensuke not talk about Star Trek all day! Writes for journals. About teeth."

Up-shot: he's totally making awesome science accessible to average people and children, even if he presents highly simplified views of many discussions when he gives interviews. I'm sure his professional studies are much more rigorous.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jenny McCarthy | Porn-addled, but still so trusting of her art department

Saw this today. Something made me take a close look and make sure they pulled off the parody they were going for with aplomb and style.

They did not.

They really almost did, though. Let's zoom in here.

Goddam it, no. Not there. The hand, assbutt.

Yup, she's ignoring her Lothario for an iPhone, and that iPhone is upside-down. It's not just the case on upside-down, or artistic license. I sharpened the image as best I could, but check it on a physical book jacket and you'll see the same thing: the phone's "top" has a giant speaker.

At least it's got Siri, though.

Nope, it's an iPhone 3GS. But it's gold. So there's that, ladykiller.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THANK YOU… | Japan decides we live in future, invent laser holograms

Well it's about damned time.

We've been promised this stuff since Princess Leia bent over for Kenny Baker in 1977.

… That might have come out wrong.

Next step is full-body digitalization a la TRON, right? Ah screw it. We'll probably just end up with something like this:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Everything | How the establishment SHOULD be combating dissent

I went to make this image, and lo and behold it already exists.
I just read a BBC news report that police forces are preparing to move in on Occupy Portland protestors.

Portland, guys? Really?

What are they upset about? Being the 99% of the population who goes dumpster diving because shopping local-vore bakeries has become too trendy? Or the gross inequality between profits at Budweiser and PBR?

And yet the media covers the protests. International looks on it in the same light as all the other globe-wide protests against government standards, albeit less interesting than those fighting oppressive, totalitarian regimes. And local media paints them as fewer, more ignorant, and just as misguided, dooming the country, just the same as Tehran or Tripoli.

That's not the way to fight a movement. We should have learned this long ago. I honestly thought we did, what with the whole "infiltrate, coopt the message, replace it with our own" politics we've seen the last decade.

Let's get some "Occupy Occupancy" shirts going. I want to see some jackasses on the street opposite "OWS" signs with more placards reading "Occupy Occupy Wall Street." Let's take the rather clear message of wide-range economic distress and make it completely incomprehensible. Let's put some pawns in there, muddy the waters with insanity and straw men, and just make everything so utterly pathetic that anyone even remotely concerned with doing the right thing steers clear of the "misbegotten" miscreants and financially backs another fucking bailout instead.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Get Your F@cking Facts Straight (Comics Edition) | Kitty Pryde

"Oh, these arrows? I didn't even notice them."
I had nothing to blog about tonight. Someone told me I should write about Kitty Pryde of the X-Men and neutrinos, because she just learned what neutrinos were, at least in a "now I get it" sort of way.

What the hell, man?

It has long been established that Kitty's, or "Shadowcat," 'phasing' ability is the result of vibrating her molecules through the spaces between 'solid' matter. That aside, let's look at some reasons why neutrinos are a piss-poor answer to Kitty's abilities.

1. Neutrinos are a different subatomic particle
  • Neutrinos interact only slightly with other matter because they are for all purposes essentially massless, and have no electrical charge. Think a completely neutral electron. They are bound only slightly by the physics of wacking into another piece of matter, or enough of them to be slowed down. (Generally about 3km of solid led of so.)
    • Kitty is still affected by gravity while phasing (her ability to not sink directly to the center of the planet is typically explained as either solidifying a very thin layer of her molecules or charging them electrically and 'levitating' off matter/air beneath her).
    • Kitty disrupts electrical fields when she passes through technology, and is suceptible to electromagnetic attacks in her phased state.
  • Kitty does not travel at the speed of light.
"I am gonna make fanboys feel so awkward they're gonna
April O'Neill their under-roos!"
    2. Kitty is solid, affected by gravity, and possessing of mass in her un-phased state, therefore not made of neutrinos at this time. Converting her entire form from ordinary matter to neutrinos every time she phases would
      A) require impossible physics even for a mutant, and B) be like setting off a tiny supernova inside a building.
    3. Neutrinos spray all willy-nilly from energetic sources. They don't exactly form complex arrangements like atoms or, say, people.

    She is also an adorable, perpetually young hipster goddess.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    How Blues Traveler Writes a Song | John Popper is a pretty cool guy

    On the brilliant advice of a friend I posted this past week my old college paper likening Blues Traveler's "The Hook" to a Shakespearean sonnet (#55, for reference). I also tweeted it @Blues Traveler since John Popper had expressed an interest in it. My friend thought he might retweet it and get me some page views. It was a smart move.

    Well, John actually got back to me with some fascinating thoughts strung out over the course of ten consecutive tweets, which I've decided to dump for you here so everyone else can get a little insight into how a BT song comes together.

    [Note: I've adjusted for tweet separation and spelling errors, but not grammar or style. That's all Popper, baby.]

    Wow... I did not know a lot of that!... Intuition led a lot of my feel for respecting & rejecting traditional form intermittently but my desecration of Pachebel was my first aim.

    Actually the song was built on the premise of my older brother mentioning that I use too many words in a verse... So my aim was to do the first two verses "normal" & cram way too many into the "3rd" verse (which became the break down).

    But the subdivision of rhyme scan into rhyme within a "rhyme" while not perhaps Shakespear's brand of gin, is a practice as old as the hills... Especially with lymrics or iembic scans...actually rap does it alot... But I'd wager most devises have been effected by the Bard... & certainly his ability to take what had come before & innovate is a trademark of every innovater I aspire to...Bob Marley didn't do alot of the "reggae" things we now associate with a genre we give him credit for inventing. Likewise Hendrix broke many of his own rules of the new guitar style he himself was establishing... I expect no less from arguably the greatest master of the english language ever.. But I was really impressed with that report & must now track down sonnet #55... Thanx for that... ;)

    For the record, that is two winky faces John Popper has tweeted me.

    Your move, Everyone Else Trying to Feel Cool.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    A Two State Solution

    AT&T sent me a form email a few days ago, just to notify me of basic service changes. I figure it was just because we briefly added tethering to one of our data plans for work and then switched it back. No biggie, as you can see here:

    You may notice something askew with the bullet points. They are in Hebrew.

    Aleph. Bet. Gimel. Dalet.

    It's like my cell phone plan is suddenly playing a game of dreidel with me for the holidays, and if I win, I don't get charged hidden fees for another month.

    On the other hand, there are two ways to read this that would each be valid. The first would simply be as lettered bullet points, aleph, bet, gimel, and delet being the first four letters of the Hebrew alphabet, equivalent to A, B, G, and D [think Greek ordering].

    Or they're numbers, as Hebrew plays double duty as both an alphabet and a numerical system, though Arabic numerals are the standard resultant of international usage. Letters or numbers, either way it's still Hebrew.

    Which, I'm pretty sure, is the only two-state solution Israel has any intention of agreeing to.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Herman Cain | Sensationalist Media

    Here's the cover of yesterday's New York Post, as I saw it in a local bagel shop:

    Okay, that's pretty funny. I will never buy this paper, I will never read the article, but thank you, New York Post, you made me giggle. 'Herm warfare.' What cutups you are. You must be a sensation at office parties. I bet you also loved Chris Kattan's "Makin' Copies' Guy on SNL back in the day.

    For comparison, here's the New York Times front page covering the same story:

    Yeah, that's would be the story right there on the left. The one with no picture, starting just above the fold. The 4.2 paragraphs before a jump.

    The one titled "Cain Again Denies Accusations As Second Woman Goes Public." That one. That takes up less space than the full-color Louis Vuitton ad.

    Bit lengthier. Also less catchy.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I know which one is going to make more people laugh, and I know which one is going to be purchased and read exclusively by people already possessing subscriptions. I also know which one is in a dying industry considered a quaint, niche market by anyone who can access the internet.

    Hint: it's both of them.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Shakespeare? Sonnets? Nah, Man. Blues Traveler.

    One of the greatest birthday presents I'm giving to myself today (hint hint) is the right to completely brag about Blues Traveler @ing me on Twitter a couple days ago.

    A friend of mine commented that his favorite song was "Run Around." I responded that back in college I had actually written a 5-page paper citing the similarities between Blues Traveler's "The Hook" and Shakespearean sonnets in iambic pentameter with a little ABBA Petrarchan bent at the end. And I got an A on it. That friend asked if I was kidding or being serious. I informed him this actually happened, and honestly thought that was it for the discussion.

    And it was, for a week or so. Then Blues Traveler tweeted back at me, saying it was an honor. Baller. So, on the advice of my oldest friend on this joyous occasion, I present the most relevant portions of said college paper:

    When I first sought a song written in the form of a sonnet, I began with my favorite music and songs that had recently caught my ear. Sadly, it turned out that all of my preferred music was based on syncopated, unrhymed lyrics.

    After three days of analyzing everything I could, I threw in the towel on my way to class and queued up some just generally fun music for my own enjoyment–a playlist where every song is based off of the chord progression from Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

    Three steps out the door I was struck by the musical equivalent of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55: “Hook,” by Blues Traveler. By form, it is comprised almost entirely of sonnets; by rhyme, it covers multiple sonnet forms; by theme it is Shakespearean. This is why John Popper sings. “The hook will bring you back.”

    The English Sonnet is often referred to as the Shakespearean sonnet, not just because Shakespeare became the most famous poet to utilize the form, but also in that, while earlier English poets had mostly translated and built off Italian originals, Shakespeare was truly innovative in his use of the sonnet, breaking traditions and striving to surpass them.

    Of the several rhyme schemes used in English Sonnets, Shakespeare favored the format of three quatrains, rhyming a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, and  e-f-e-f, followed by a rhyming couplet, g-g. This is the exact pattern by which “Hook” opens. Taken in blocks, the first verse-and-chorus and the second verse-and-chorus are rhymed in this very precise manner.

    However, as any drunken undergrad in front of a beer pong table, angrily shouting for someone to put on Four can tell you, “Hook” is most memorable for it’s ludicrously fast second half. While this section does not fit into the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, taking the time to space out the lines by rhyme and rhythm reveals something both fascinating and amusing to the educated listener:

    Just as the sonnet has multiple rhyme schemes, so does “Hook.” Throughout what I will call the 'breakdown' in “Hook,” one finds the major sonnet rhyme schemes of a-b-a-b, a-b-b-a, and even a-a-a-a, as well as multiple couplets:
    Suck it in suck it in suck it in
    If you're Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn
    Make a desperate move or else you'll win
    And then begin
                    to see
    What you're doing to me
    This MTV is not for free
    It's so PC it's killing me
    So desperately I sing to thee
    of love. Sure but also rage and hate
    and pain and fear of self.
    And I can't keep these feelings on the shelf
    I tried, well no in fact I lied
    Could be financial suicide
    but I've got too much pride inside
    To hide or slide
    I'll do as I'll decide
    and let it ride until I've died
    And only then shall I abide this tide
    Of catchy little tunes
    Of hip three minute ditties
    I wanna bust all your balloons
    I wanna burn all of your cities
                                     to the ground
    I've found I will not mess around
    Unless I play, then hey
    I will go on all day. Hear what I say.
    I have a prayer to pray
    That's really all this was.
    When I'm feeling stuck and need a buck
    I don't rely on luck
    because the hook brings you back…
    Why would Blues Traveler make such a break from the Shakespearean sonnet form? For this, one must examine the lyrical and thematic content of both “Hook” and Sonnet 55.

    Shakespeare’s Sonnets, as stated, were made famous not just because he himself became famous, but because they were vastly more innovative than what what had come before. Originally, English Sonnets were merely translations of Italian Sonnets, expressly the Petrarchan Sonnets. 'Original' English works up until Shakespeare's time followed along with the major goal of the Renaissance, that is, to mirror Classical works.

    In light of this, early English sonnets were flowery and full of classical imagery, likening lovers unto famous figures and generally producing the 17th Century equivalent of that which is currently read by nineteen year olds in itchy sweaters and horn-rimmed glasses, as they strum sadly on their guitars in Starbuckses across the country.

    What Shakespeare did with the sonnet I can only describe as “ballsy,” taking the form as-is while professing his own works and subjects to build off classical models and actually surpass them. In Sonnet 55 Shakespeare describes “the gilded monuments of princes,” marble, statues and edifices as being great, yes, but bound to the death and decay of time. Invoking the classical figure, Shakespeare claims even Mars’ sword and the fires of war will not destroy this sonnet. As Shakespeare says, his lover shall live eternally in the poem, and the poem itself shall last until the very end of time at Judgement Day. To reject the accepted model for an art is one matter, but to openly use it to compare itself poorly with your own work is a powerful statement, and it takes great talent to defend.

    This is in fact the message in “Hook.” As Popper sings in the opening stanza:
    It doesn’t matter what I say,
    so long as I speak with inflection
    That makes you feel I’ll convey,
    some inner truth or vast reflection.
    Yet I've said nothing so far,
    And I can keep it up for as long as it takes.
    And it don't matter who you are,
    If I’m doing my job then it’s your resolve that breaks,
    (Because the hook brings you back.)
    The verse comprises the first two stanzas of the opening 'sonnet,' while the subsequent chorus completes a couplet. These lines expressly state that it is the job of the singer (John Popper) to say something, but what that something is doesn’t particularly matter as it is the hook of a song–the catchy, repetitive musical bit–that will draw listeners back in.

    Furthering their rejection of musical tradition, Blues Traveler invokes in the second “sonnet” the literary opposite of “Hook,” and of course say they are doing exactly that. “To confuse the issue,” they say, “I’ll refer/to familiar heroes of long ago/No matter how much Peter loved her/what made the pan refuse to grow.” Again, the band expressly states that the summoning of beloved heroes is merely a tactic by which to obscure the superfluous nature of everything beyond “the hook.”

    Interestingly, this line drives directly into the second verse, which completes the second “sonnet” of the song. Yet by this reading the sentence reads “What made the Pan refuse to grow was that the hook brings you back.” Not a question, but rather a declaration. Pan could face the personification of growing old and cynical, Hook, but he could not admit these realities implied by the notion of the hook itself.

    Running into the “breakdown” section, Blues Traveler cements its position against the music of convention. Popper demands the listener, everyone from Rin Tin Tin and Anne Boleyn, ingest the song and understand it, to see what empty copies of the same song over and over do to a truly creative person, the singer and the artist.

    The singer condemns MTV and political correctness, willing to sing of love so long as he can sing of “rage and hate and pain and fear of self” as well, the entire human condition. The singer says he has tried to keep silent, but that he no longer can, and though it might be his financial ruin as a popular musician, he must refuse to play “catchy little tunes” and hollow “hip three-minute ditties.”

    Popper laments that he may in fact be kidding, and that his tirade was at worst a rant, and at best a prayer to the tastes of his audience. Ultimately, when Popper is “feeling stuck and need[s] a buck” it’s not luck that he turns to but the hook, implying that while Blues Traveler might be better than mere utilizers of the hook and convention, they still depend on these features for the foundations of their livelihood.

    Many mornings, I wake up with a song stuck in my head. Usually it’s something I recently listened to, but sometimes not. Often I wake up with “Suck it in, suck it in, suck it in...” in the back of my head, likely because the firsts few sounds I heard while waking fit that quick repetitive pattern. That’s catchy. That's a hook.

    I like “Hook” because of the rhyme scheme. I like it because of the enjambment–now that I know the word for it–in the breakdown–and I like the anti-pop mentality, but I wake up singing songs like this because of the hook.

    By rhyme, theme, and form “Hook” is the 20th Century descendant of Shakespeare’s more self-touting sonnets, namely Sonnet 55. Matching modern lyrics for bounce and innovation, perhaps this explains the morning where half asleep I find myself reciting “To be, or not to be” over and over in the shower. Shakespeare has his own hooks.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    The Best Thing I've Eaten In Months

    Today I was a good person. I was helpful and bonded with another human being by helping her. The result was she insisted I take a homemade cake pop.

    I meant to take a second photo, showing a cross-section of this masterpiece, but–in all honestly–it was so delicious that I consumed the entire thing before I had any thought unrelated to devouring this morsel more quickly.

    That said, here's a breakdown:

    Under the hand-wrapping is a chocolate-covered sphere of the darkest, most moist chocolate cake I have ever had the pleasure of savoring. This is not hyperbolic by any means. It was literally the greatest piece of cake I have ever had. This has its moisture sealed in by a near-perfectly round chocolate shell, topped in its last moments of molten life my a cascade of mini-M&Ms. As promised, it was delicious cold, with a nice hard shell yet still gooey cake inside.

    I don't normally do this, but there's no joke here. This woman, Andrea Sommers, was lovely and her confection was utterly astounding. She bakes professionally, on a very small scale. Her business card is simply her name and phone number, and the phrase, "Homemade Macaroons; Wrapped and shipped for all occasions."

    All orders are placed by word-of-mouth, and she has no website for me to plug. For those interested in the local area, I will provide you with her contact number if you would like to place an order. (I do not know how far she would ship. It probably depends on the specific baked good.) For my local friends, I included it in the link from my personal facebook.

    I hope someone calls her and orders some amazing desserts, because this was, in absolute honesty, the best thing I have ever eaten in months.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    On Dreams XIV: Nobody Likes You, Everybody Hates You

    Man, last night was nothing but annoying, aggravating dreams.

    I dreamt of going shopping in a giant, unfamiliar mall with my mother, aunt, and grandmother, my aunt already lagging behind and my grandmother weighing down my mom and angrily bitching about some thing out of anyone's control.

    I turned around to tell her that if she slowed me down, if she separated my mother from our mutual tasks, or if she interrupted me even once to complain about anything else, I would continue walking and leave her to do my own thing.

    And she fucking interrupted me.

    Then I dream about getting trapped in a mall, one hour late for work already due to Daylight Savings shifts, the escalators are an elaborate labyrinth designed to madden and infuriate, and only one random friend has any sympathy for me, but all I can think about is asking him about stir-fry. (Kessel's the man, actually.)

    Finally, I wake up with a massive headache and a stiff neck, still feeling tired, and find out I have to make time to load my grandmother's old and new computers into her car so she can get her computer repair man to transfer all her old files and settings to the new machine, because she doesn't want to inconvenience me since I work so much. Yup. That grandma, too.

    I swear to the technogods, I'm shooting for a hell of a good time at work today, because otherwise I might really start going Black Friday and trampling old people a a little early this year.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Further Party Advice from a Drunken Near-Genius

    1. Being drunk during the Daylight Savings Time shift is like being in the DeLorean with Doc Brown.

    2. It is one thing to know a friend is going to drive drunk and there is nothing you can do about it. It is quite another to give him $2 to bring back a double cheeseburger. It i a third matter to worry that, should he die, you will be out that $2.

    3. If others only can remember you as "Hey, Drunk Guy!" or "Gary's friend! (Who's Gary?)" You have not been memorable enough. If people you have never met or do not recall meeting know you're full name as a matter of public record, you have done something right.

    4. If some dudes start talking about Star Wars unabashedly, go ahead and brag about your nerd credentials. If they make fun of you, just beat them up and call them nerds. No-lose.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Endangering the Wellfare of Minors

    Every party should have a 15 year old.

    Half the time it keeps you responsible, the other half it reminds you to be irresponsible and teach them.

    It is also beneficial to have at least one off-duty police officer, two bisexuals, three iTunes accounts, and at least one dog.

    Mix and match as you see fit.

    Friday, November 4, 2011


    Here are the only things I will say about BieberBabyGate, as I firmly believe talking about this at all gives more power to Bieber and the mainstream media by and large, bother things I would normally discourage.

    1. Who is thinking of poor Selina Gomez through all this?

    Seriously, that girl is 19, patiently and chastely waiting for her beau to come legal, and here this bitch comes in and makes her the youngest step-milf on Waverly Place.

    2. The age of consent in California is 18. When they supposedly boinked, Bieber was 16. This girl, Mariah Yeater, had just turned 19.

    Based on California state penal code and previous legal precedent, this was technically statutory rape.

    Thankfully, someone has agreed to look into that angle if it pans out. Because if a teen heart-throb should ever knock up a groupie in the bathroom backstage at one of his concerts, we should at least have the decency to shun her, call her fat, and force her to have the baby in a low-security state penitentiary.

    Thank god it's just a misdemeanor. Maybe they'll let her off with a restraining order and fine. So she really better be right about this, or she's not going to be able to recoup that loss with any sweet, sweet child support.

    Whatever. "Undisclosed settlement," here we come. 15 years from now there'll be another mop-headed blond ingenue (or male equivalent), and I still won't give a shit.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Childlike Wonder, Lousy At Math

    I saw a child in the book store today saddle up to customer service and, when prompted repeatedly, pull his attention out of the book in his hand to inquire as to it's price. It was $18.

    Perhaps five minutes later I encountered the same child, pouty and a bit loud at the refusal of his mother to pay $18 for said book. She very pleasantly asked if he'd like this other book she was making a fuss over, ostensibly because it cost less than $18. (I'm just going to keep saying "$18.")

    Par for the course, so far.

    Another five minutes later, I pass by the family yet again, and as I'm walking out, I hear the most adorable attempt at negotiations ever:

    "Mommy, do you have an $18 bill?"

    "Give me back my $18!" came up in a search for '$18.' Nice.

    That kid knew where he had to start if he wanted to prove he could have that book if only his mom caved. Granted, he didn't yet know what denominations money comes in, but damn it if he wasn't going to try anyway.

    Which makes me think we should at least give this kid something for his gumption, logicalness, and initiative. Even just treating him to a junior-sized ice cream for a dollar at McDonald's and the explanation that, while we know he really likes it right now, we know he's going to be bored with that book very quickly and $18 isn't worth the limitted fun we know he'll get out of it, and that this refusal to purchase is more about teaching him to do without every single thing he likes in order to appreciate what he does have in life all the more.

    But he's fucking four, lady. Just throw the kid a laugh and a hug and maybe that ice cream, He'll be a Hollywood agent by 2028.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    30 Rock's Kenneth Parcell | The Cure for Aging?

    It surprises some, and infuriates several, that I do not actively watch NBC's 30 Rock. If it's on and I've got nothing better to do, sure, I'll watch an episode, and I find the characters to be healthy doses of self-serving pessimism and woefully optimistic. Except one.

    Kenneth Parcell might just be a living Buddha. Sure, he sees the world through Muppet-tinted glasses, but what I find most compelling about him isn't that or his folksy, down-home advice of questionable bias and utterly uselessness, it's that he seems to be at least 140 years old.

    Oh, ha-ha, the jokes the jokes, but click the "Kenneth's Age" heading in the article above, and you'll find that other old-timers seem to remember him just the same. He truly appears to be ageless.

    Thus, I have come up with some theories as to how Ken seems to manage this.

    "Human" Possibilities:
    • Decent genes - First possibility, Ken might just be pretty lucky. Maybe clean living was enough for him.
    Related theories:

    • He's a mutant. Still technically human, in the same way Neanderthal and H. erectus were both human.
    • He is a postmortal. Good genes, magic potion, fortuitous cocktail, whatever it was, his aging might just be turned off. Gene expressions, hormone cycles, everything might just have stopped progressing when he reached physical maturity.

    • Kenneth is at least the third in a line of perfectly identical male Parcells. It is possible that his grandfather was also named "Kenneth" and Ken III is often mistaken by others for him. The autographed picture of his dated 1947 could be for that Kenneth, passed down to him in a long line of family history. Kenneth's recognition of old celebrities and places? Family lore. "You are the Kenneth now, son! Where that name proudly!" "Yes, Pa!" *Father expires*

      It could work for some of it.
    • Kenneth is a Highlander.
    • Clones - Kenneth is actually the latest in a family line of clones, secretly created since at least the first World War. Why? Haven't the foggiest. Maybe as a replenishable supply of hard-working and intensely loyal company clerks. Once the war ended, the clones could have been repurposed for civilian/corporate usage by the military industrial complex.
    For a few of these, shared memory and "brain transplant" could account for Ken's 'personal' memories of decades past.

    Hell, maybe like The Man From Earth, he's simply a genetic freak who's been alive since the dawn of modern man.
    • Ken's a wizard. As with all magical creatures, wizards are long-lived. They have access to else-worldly powers and the alchemic arts. Surely a mage as powerful as the Grand Ken could halt his aging.

      Might also explain his tremendous luck and that whole obliviousness angle he puts on. He'd know secrets.

    Nonhuman Possibilities:
    • Some sort of old servant god.

      Like Hermes or Vulcan, he'd be something akin to a god's god, the same way Stephen Fry would be considered the ultimate gentleman's gentleman. Yeah, he's a complete servant, but he's still got godly powers all his own.
    • A robot powered by hamsters.

      Pretty self-explanatory here.

    • A Force of Nature.

      A universal law? A personification of an aspect of all creation? He has intimated that he's been around "forever." At east he seemed concerned someone else might have said that.

      Let's start checking 15th century tapestries for little blue jackets.
    •  A dhampire.

      Like Blade, or Vampire Hunter D, or even I think Rayne, dhampires are the half-breed children of true vampires, granted some of their powers but few of their parents' weaknesses.

      I.E. Why Kenneth can go out in the daytime and has (at least some manner of) reflection.

  •  A Non-Player Character from Jumanji.

    Lost in the real world, since no one has yet won a game (Since young Robin Williams and his girlfriend threw away the box and some poor kid found it), Kenneth has since given up being a hunter or savage, or whatever he was originally in order to, you know, eat.

    As the cartoon said when they tossed the hunter Van Pelt into a bottomless chasm, thus removing him from play without 'killing' and allowing him to regenerate, causing his personality to superimpose itself over I think Peter, slowly turning him into a new Van Pelt. "There must always be a Van Pelt."

    "There must always be a Kenneth.

    • Kenneth is a golem, created by Lorn Michaels to serve him at NBC.

      I don't know if he's the famous Golem of Prague or an earlier model, possibly even the original, once-sinless Adam now roaming the Earth in a self-induced innocent stupor, maddened by his induction or Original Sin. Or maybe Lorn just molded him from the remnants of Chris Farley he found lying around only half-dead. I would, of course, include in that list David Spade's career and haircut. Also, he's got wooden teeth, so why not make the rest of him out of clay?
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Happy All Hallows Day!

    They're not Deathly, but they're all dead, certainly.

    Welcome to one of the happiest days of the year, kiddies. Happy because today I get to go out and buy like four solid bags of Snickers and Milky Way bars for a dollar.

    Oh, and I didn't have to sit outside in the cold last night, what with working for money and all. Granted, I didn't get to wear a costume, but here's the gist of it, minus the appropriate white shirt, tan khakis and fedora-wearing co-host who might at any minute spontaneously combust.

    Good times.