Do they serve an orthopedic function?

I was never one of the cool kids in grade school. My mother made certain that we lived in a good neighborhood with good schools, but we never had much money left over after the basics. I rarely had the latest clothes or shoes. My red hair already made fitting in with the cool kids that much harder, so without the hip fashion, I spent my academic years as one of the smart kids, instead.

I’m not complaining. I’ve achieved enough through my intelligence that I can now afford all of those hip fashions, if I want. But I’m not complaining because, as much now as then, I don’t want those finer things. I’m content with t-shirts, shorts, and a pair of Chucks. It might be hip, I don’t know, but the whole bit costs maybe $60. Living in the D.C. area, I know people who spend more than that on their left sleeve. It’s insanity. Happily, because I’m still the old man I was at thirteen, I don’t feel bad about it. I think I’m adjusted enough to just accept that people are different, with different tastes, wants, and needs. Yay, me!

So why am I so pleased when I see one of the fashionable cool kids in D.C. getting into his Saturn?

I get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.

I can’t read and article about the impact of rising gas prices on poorer families without highlighting this nugget:

Morales and a cousin who lives next door are saving gas money by working together to cut trips. Maria Puicon, 28, a single mother of three, works in the office of a local hospital. If one of them is out, that one checks with the other to see if she needs anything.

They also gather at home on Friday nights instead of going out, and their kids play in the backyard.

“We cannot go anywhere because of the gas,” Puicon says.

Right, so now you know that my sense-of-humor tends toward the four-year-old mentality.

Shut your mouth, funny guy, and make it.

I’ve taken on the potentially misguided task of refuting liberal media bias claims by partisan hacks over the past few months. I’ve tried to make it clear that I can accept bias in individual media outlets, but for every liberal bias, there’s a corresponding conservative bias. My argument, even when poorly stated, is that bias is bad, regardless of its blue or red tint. The facts are what matters. Anyone who claims otherwise isn’t interested in learning, just propagandizing.

Perusing through the Internets (I’m making the Ha Ha there, people) this morning, I stumbled upon an interesting article relating to the perpetual nonsense that is the media bias argument. Consider:

Pardon me for being either ignorant or naive, but isn’t a reporter’s first responsibility the finding–and publishing–of the truth? And isn’t it at least possible that this drive “to make the world better” is at the core of the media’s current malaise? My point here is that if one goes into a job with a zeal to transform the world, instead of a zeal to tell the world’s stories, isn’t it more likely that one would search for and “find” those stories that serve to support and reinforce one’s own prejudices?

I’m not abandoning my underlying assumption that bad news sells (“if it bleeds, it leads”), but yeah, I think that paragraph highlights a contributing factor. Report on facts with a view of how the world “needs” to be and the reporting will slant to a bias. That’s as true for conservative media outlets as it is for liberal media outlets. Any journalistic notion disappears when facts become soapbox-support.

I may be reaching here, but I consider myself sufficiently intelligent to understand what’s going on. I don’t care about non-stories. Blather on about how America is run by imperialistic, capitalist pigs and I’ll turn away from your news. Shock me with the latest missing pretty blonde and I’ll turn away from your news. Give me the facts because that’s what I want. Then, because media is a business, sell me an extension (news) product, such as interviews, features, or even something radical with a blogging mentality. Give me a reason to stay tuned. Call-in radio shows succeed for more reasons than just the opportunity for listeners to shout “Baba Booey” over the phone.

However, make certain that there’s a difference between the two. The first, I can get anywhere, or better stated, elsewhere. The rest is the part that gets my brain going and makes me a (semi-) participant in the process. Treat me as though I’m intelligent and I might not hate media outlets. Educate me without pandering to a lowest common denominator mentality, or what some blow-hard thinks I should think, I might even stay tuned.

(Hat tip: Donklephant)

There’s this chick… there’s these two chicks… they’re triplets, man.

In a recent mailbag column, Bill Simmons fielded this question:

Q: In your “Midseason Form” column, you write about how your wife hates Mariah Carey and that most women do. Try this: Tell your wife that you find Jennifer Love Hewitt attractive and you enjoy her acting. You may even be able to squeeze a whole column out of her reaction and the pure bile that women spit when hearing her name. Ask any sisters, sisters-in-law, other female friends; they all hate her universally, and it is unexplainable.
–Jack, Cleveland

SG: Just for the record, I tried this with the Sports Gal this week … she reacted like George Brett in the Pine Tar Game. Highest of high comedy. Somebody needs to film the pilot, “Everybody Hates Jennifer.”

I encountered this very topic Saturday when flipping through the new issue of Entertainment Weekly. Encountering an underwear ad featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt, I made some random comment about it to Danielle and tilted the magazine so she could see. A look of scorn quickly pierced the magazine’s flimsy paper, followed by a “She can’t act and that photo is so airbrushed.” Hmmm… interesting.

I agreed, of course, but not just because it was the manhood-saving correct response. I don’t give Jennifer Love Hewitt much thought, other than my inability to turn the channel if I land on an airing of Can’t Hardly Wait, but that’s really little more than my enjoyment of the Preston Meyers character. Or maybe it’s just my inexplicable man-crush on teen comedies. Regardless, I don’t get the Jennifer Love Hewitt hatred, but it obviously exists and seems universal. Fascinating.

Perhaps I should draw horns and facial hair on the picture and leave it on top of the trash, just to be safe.

Will it perform a lobotomy on you?

Overheard in PETsMART last night:

Woman: Did you buy the equipment?

Man: Yes.

Woman: But it cost like $450. You paid for it?

Man: I didn’t pay for it; the U.S. government paid for it.

Hey, guy, guess what? You did pay for it. So did I, which is not cool. You may think that passing it onto the government is a convenient way to “avoid” the burden yourself, but if you haven’t noticed, there’s a rather ginormous national debt that’s going nowhere but up. That debt didn’t just appear because the U.S. government bought one too many bullets 75 years ago. So, on behalf of everyone who will never get to use your machine, allow me to tell you to stop being a leech.

P.S. You owe me $0.0000018. I accept PayPal. Thank you.

13 nanoseconds exerted for humanity

I’m seeing a word popping up around the blogosphere and I want to state my opinion. I’ve seen it here, here, and many other places. Just google the word and countless other examples appear. The word is “reax”, short for reactions. Here’s my opinion demand, voiced to all bloggers who use “reax”: Stop.

If you can’t be bothered to type the extra five letters in “reactions”, you shouldn’t have a blog. Maybe you think you’re one of the cool kids because you use a slang word, but you’re not. You’re lazy. Stop being lazy.

I will, of course, continue writing “the Internets”. File this entry under “Hypocritical but correct.”

At the end of the drive the lawmen arrive

I don’t get e-mails, because I think I’d have to put my e-mail address on this site, but I do get Google searches. Here’s a jaunt through some of my most recent unexpected visitors. Enjoy.

“dale murphy” – Rock!

“santa and jesus” – I can only assume someone meant to type “South Park” and it came out as “santa and jesus”. At least, that’s what I hope happened. Otherwise, someone has some serious explaining to do.

“finger paint” – “I’m eight years old, if I want to finger paint, then I’m gonna finger paint.” Eric Cartman is always solid.

“borrowing wifi against the law” – Right, so if it’s against the law, that means it’s stealing, not borrowing.

“a crushed heart” – Wow. I don’t even know what to say to that. I’m sorry?

“prince and apollonia kissing” – I know what to say to that. Just say no. I’ve seen Purple Rain; you should spare yourself the pain. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“obsessed with her legs” – I’m intrigued. You’re not interested in any legs, but hers specifically. Who is “her”? What’s so special about her legs? Share with the Internets.

“doughnut porn” – Oh, I guess now I know how those chocolate doughnuts get covered in that sugary glaze.

Put it back, Mr. Thomson. The King will remain a tyrant.

A distinct change has taken over America in the last few years (I’ll round it to 4&#189 years, just as a “random” estimation). This change affects how we interact with each other and what we believe is permissible. What really fascinates me, though, is that it affects how we enforce what is permissible. Gone are the days when we called our local sheriff to complain about a neighbor participating in “impropriety”. Today, we call the FBI or our Congressman. This solution might not be as quick as the sheriff, or even appropriate for the determined offense, but it is much more helpful to society as a whole because it’ll impact more than just our own neighborhood. We can save our brother in Cedar Rapids the effort of dealing with his local version of the incorrigible town malcontent. Our best friend’s mother-in-law won’t have to worry about undesirable behavior next to her duplex in New York City. The positive benefits are endless. We all know America is better for this. We are realizing the Utopia of National Conformity Unity.

Since I want to continue our progress, I have an idea. This idea, while appearing quite strange and radical at first glance, will revolutionize the way government happens in America. Society will benefit. America will be stronger. Gridlock will vanish. Creativity will soar. America will drive the new Golden Age of civilization. It will be beautiful.

Before I reveal my idea, I must confess that I don’t think it took as much of an imaginative leap as it might at first seem. It feels more like an extension of our present path. All I’ve done is wipe away the extraneous. But it’s a good cleanse, I think. So, what’s my idea? Are you sitting down? If not, you should; this idea is so stunning and new and spectacular that you just might faint. Have you taken my advice? Are you ready? Good, I’m going to tell it to you now. Beginning in 2008, each presidential candidate must propose, alongside his or her platform, an updated United States Constitution with which he or she plans to govern for the next presidential term.

I know, you can’t believe what you’ve just read. Brilliant, isn’t it? Especially because it’s so simple. And obvious. It really modernizes government, doesn’t it? And humanity, really. I can think of no flaws. None. And I’ve thought about this for at least five minutes.

Even though I know you know it’s brilliant, I’m sure you have questions about how this will work. Since you’ve grasped that the “why” is self-evident, I’ll skip ahead to your question. Each candidate must lay out a framework of the basic principles for the next administration. It can be a modified version of the sitting president’s constitution, or it can be a new version intended to scrap and reverse the old. Either way, the country gets to live under revitalized governance with current thinking injected every four years to shake off the cobwebs of the quaint past.

In this Information Age, time is almost meaningless as a measure of change. Our old methods sustained us when society encountered evolutionary adaptations and growth. Now our growth is revolutionary, with an idea life-cycle so short as to be beyond meaningless. Under this plan, it’s much more practical than to change based on our current election cycle than to rely on a constitution as old as our existing document. Every four years is better than every two centuries (or more). Who could disagree?

I do suspect that proposed constitutions will not differ for the candidate from the sitting president’s party, but that’s just a guess. Regardless, there will still be a variety of ideas proposed every four years. This can’t be bad.

Again, no restrictions would be placed on the proposed constitution because we want the law of the land to be responsive to ever-changing needs. That’s a good thing. And the proposed constitutions could be debated throughout the election campaign. Glaring inconsistencies or omissions could be rectified. Each candidate can clarify why the most important aspects of the new constitution may not be what seemed obvious. This all leads to election day, when the president-elect’s constitution is ratified according to his or her popular vote. If it makes it easier, think of each presidential candidate’s proposed constitution as his or her second running-mate.

Think about it. It’s a perfect solution. You think marriage should be only between a man and a woman? Vote for that constitution. You think Congress shouldn’t be able to prohibit flag desecration? Vote for that constitution. You think only socialist health care should be available? Vote for that constitution. You think only 14″-wide books should be allowed for novels or that only Toshiba televisions should be allowed for watching cartoons? Vote for that constitution. You think the judiciary is too activist? That worry is gone, too, because you can vote for the constitution that says only Punxsutawney Phil determines whether new laws satisfy the new strictures of the new constitution. How much simpler, not to mention the impartiality, can you get?

Hell, think bigger. Just imagine a world in which an official at publicly-funded buildings is required to read a Curious George book at 4:13 p.m. every day. You don’t think that would win votes? You haven’t thought hard enough, let me assure you. Or think how much the economy could soar with the need to print new constitutions every four years. Timber companies would grow. Or what about the financial benefit from the requirement that all public-school teachers wear a different puffed-paint headband for every lesson. I’m already counting the trickle-down riches, and they’re not just monetary.

Our children and grandchildren will no longer curse or mock us. They can choose their own society when they turn eighteen, unburdened by our antiquated choices. Wow.

If we act today, the magic can begin. Election 2008 is three short years away.

Artificial intelligence is dumb

To add a little levity to yesterday’s anti-flag desecration amendment entry, while searching for sources, I encountered an interesting ad. Clearly, whoever coded the logic didn’t bother with context. Consider:

Need Flag Burning? Find Flag Burning products and suppliers? Who even knew that there were 650,000 manufacturers of flag burning supplies? And they’re all online? Who knew?

Now, imagine if Congress passes the amendment and it eventually passes thirty-eight state legislatures. Our government will be responsible for putting 650,000 manufacturers out of business. That should sell well at re-election time.