Monday, December 29, 2008

The Hardest I've Laughed In Weeks

You know how verbal laughter, like self-acceptance, is harder to come by when you're by yourself? If you're like me, you're the last bastion of true masculinity, and you also find that you don't laugh out loud nearly as often if you're by yourself. Experiencing something funny with others causes verbal laughter more readily than when you're alone.

Well, the link I'm about to show you made me laugh out loud, repeatedly and painfully, even though I'm 2,300 miles away from anyone important (I'm talking about you, Man-Humping-Bear statue!)

If you're a veteran of DizzoDreams, you know that I'll occasionally refer you to a site called Cracked. Well, I'm gonna do it again. One of their columnists is named Michael Swaim, and in this article, he lists his 8 favorite internet-sketch-comedy-troupes.

GO HERE!

Often times, I'm more likely to skim an article and rarely do I click on video links. I am so glad I didn't make that mistake with this piece. Swaim includes a couple of videos from each troupe he lists and I highly encourage taking the time to watch them.

Personal Favorites:
*The Herpes medication that causes semi-controllable teleportation
*The Kwanzaa rap
*"Fate of the World"
*The One-Liner Service
*"Trickin'-it-to-the-Treats"
*Wolfopocalypse
*"My Super Sweet Funeral"

Please watch this. Especially you, Emerick.

**My apologies to anyone offended by any of the skits, especially the DuckTales parody and the last one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Worst Sports Year Ever



Think I've been exaggerating when I've bemoaned the fates of my favorite sports teams? Well, check out this article from ESPN.com's Jim Caple on the past 12 months in Seattle sports. Then resist the urge to throw yourself in front of an oncoming bus.

Among the lowlights:
*NBA commissioner David Stern carved a rusty hole where his heart used to be by letting Clay Bennett move the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City.

*Mariners GM Bill Bavasi mortgaged the future of the team in exchange for 6 months of poking M's fans in the eyes with tobasco-dipped toothpicks.

* The Washington Huskies lost every game. Every game. Do you know how hard that is to do? They even got to play Wazzu! Seriously, right now, you could blindfold yourself, spin around fifty times, and then walk into the very pits of fiery Hell and come away with at least one college football win.

*The Seahwaks, Seattle's prennial winners of late, are sending their hero-coach, walrus Holmgren, out with a 4-win season. The sunset he thought he was riding off into turned out to be a painted brick wall.

*Bonus Feature: the 'Grey's Anatomy' spoof video in the sidebar.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Really, Disney?

I know that it's kind of played out to make jokes about all the sexual innuendo in Disney movies. So I won't, even though there are like, 1,000 penises in "The Little Mermaid."

I came across this article and would have laughed really hard at it if it didn't heart my heart so much to read it.

Don't get it twisted, I still love Disney -- these movies were among my favorites growing up -- and they do seem to avoid this kind of thing these days, but it's still pretty wild to look back on some of the characters these guys dreamed up, reflecting much of society's views of "the other" at the times the films were made.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lyricism Part II

*BlogSpot is messin' with my fonts right now. My apologies.*

This is the second installment of the Lyricism series, a humble attempt to play tribute to my favorite MCs by posting some of their best flows.


Part I is here.

Today's MCs are Black Thought, Scarface, and Talib Kweli.
As always, I will link to video of the songs after listing the lyrics. Enjoy.

Black Thought (from "The Roots")
"Yeah, it ain't nothin' like I rush I get, in front of the band
On stage wit the planet in the palm of my hand
When a brother transform, from anonymous man
To the force, crush whoever might of thought I was playin
'"
-Don't Say Nuthin'

"If I can't work to make it, I'll rob and take it
Either that or me and my children are starving and naked
Rather be a criminal pro than to follow the matrix
Hey it's me a monster y'all done created
I've been inaugurated
Keep the bright lights out of our faces
You can't shake it, it ain't no way to swallow the hatred
Aim, fire, holla about a dollar, nothin' is sacred"

-False Media

Scarface
"
Dear diary, help me cause I'm frantic
Sometimes I think I'm going schizophrenic
The world's looking dark for instance
Maybe 'cause I'm looking from a distance
But then again I wear a blindfold
Staring at the motherfucking world with my eyes closed
To myself I'm a stranger
Walking in the foot steps of danger
It's a long path ahead of me
I gotta get somewhere cause everybody here is scared of me
I had a job but they fired me
My wife walked out now I'm living in my diary"
-Diary Of A Madman

"
Funny how people can take this shit for granted, right?
But then reality strikes, and changes things overnight
I thank the Lord for watchin' over me, though I'm prone to doin wrong
I repent religiously, hopin' that the weak get strong
when the heat get's on
Hopin' that the weak get strong, when the heat get's on.
"
-Sorry For What?

Talib Kweli
"
Life is a beautiful struggle
People search through the rubble for a suitable hustle
Some people usin' the noodle, some people usin' the muscle
Some people put it all together, make it fit like a puzzle
Come on, say it now."

-I Try

"My words drippin' off the tongue like the wax from a candle wick,
Ill the way I lay down the rap, they can't handle it,
Cats all sappy like romantic flicks, dude, get a clue,
Like Colonel Mustard in the study with a candlestick,
They holdin' hands with these dudes like they goin' steady,
But, one glimpse and I know they ready, you already know,
Slipped her a note like, 'you ready to go?'
We make a getaway plan and we head for the do'!"
-Hot Thing/In The Mood (Sick Music Video!)

Check out these artists if you don't know 'em already. If you do, get to know them better.

Next time: Common, Brother Ali, KRS-One.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Other News...

A very good man lost the Presidential Election to a great man.

Busy Month

Sorry for holding out on this blog for so long. It has been pretty hectic around here lately. Some updates:

Jared and Jenny came to visit for a week. Man, what a blessing that was. It was so good to have a piece of home here, someone who I could slip back into my comfort zone with.

The day J & J left, three old buddies - Brad, Travis, and James - flew in for another week. It was a wild fortnight, to be sure. They were an amazing addition to our condo as they brought hourly entertainment with their party-attitude and ridiculous banter. Another piece of home for me.

Halloween in Waikiki is absurd. The main strip closes down and a mile-long, thousands-of-people big block party ensues. Lindsay and I were 80's aerobics instructors, Celina was a cowgirl, Harrison was a UFC fighter, and Brad/Travis/James were the neon-rock group BonerStorm. And they stole the show on Kalakaua Ave.

About half-way through the Halloween bonanza, some random drunk dude saw fit to punch me in the face three times. I've never been punched in the face, outside of wrestling around with friends and my brother -- I don't recommend it. I wanted to hit back, but the thing about street fights is that you're not just fighting the guy in front of you. You're fighting him, whoever is with him, and whatever they have in their pockets. It's not really about "toughest guy wins" out here. Plus, I had heard lots of stories about fights out here that ended in cheap shots, stabbings, massive injuries, etc. So, since everyone was shoulder to shoulder and I had been separated from the group, I stood there and received three solid punches to my otherwise peaceful visage.

My brother moved back home and I am very sorry to see him go. He was my best friend on the island and our relationship got a lot stronger over the past two months.

Lindsay and I celebrated two years together. We're rad.

Lindsay's birthday is this week as well, so I bought her a new roommate, Mango the bunny. I'm sure she'll post pictures of him on her blog/Facebook as she is now in love with that furry sack of cuteness.

I also bought a computer and got a credit card. I kicked and screamed the entire time I applied for that damn piece of plastic. Oh well, people tell me it's necessary. We'll see.

More to come. Love.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ugh

If you've been following this blog, you're probably aware that I find race-relations in America to be both fascinating and highly influential on society.

This microcosm has been thrown into sharp relief over the last year and a half with the first legitimate black (or any minority, for that matter) candidate for President. For transparency's sake, know that I like Barack Obama. A lot. I will probably vote for him in a month.

I also like John McCain. I couldn't be happier that the next President will be one of these two men. For the most part, the campaigns of these two men have been run pretty fairly, with low blows being limited to usual political fare.

Nonetheless, as Obama begins widening his lead in the national polls, the McCain-Palin candidacy has taken a turn for the ugly. Where racist and inflammatory remarks by supporters used to be immediately disavowed by McCain, he and his running-mate have called off their criticism of such behavior.

Frank Rich just wrote an article in the New York Times about the recent trend at McCain-Palin rallies. It should be noted that Rich's own biases are only thinly disguised in the piece, but despite that, I think that the thrust of the article is startling and important.

I won't be devastated if McCain wins. I think he'd be a good President and a major improvement over our current one. Nonetheless, it's discouraging to see the campaign take an ugly turn like this. Race, like gender, will unfortunately always play a role in the decisions our society makes. It's just disheartening to see one of the campaigns endorse the discrimination by doing nothing about it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spada

I work at an Italian restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Spada (pronounced Spah-dah). My job title is Room Service Attendant. Here's how it works:

I show up wearing all black. I look great. Then, I sit around for three to four hours, waiting for the room-service phone (we deliver food to the adjacent hotel) to ring. In the meantime, I help buss tables and make $1 wagers with co-workers like "I'll bet you a dollar that our dish-washer is less than two hours late today." Coincidentally, our dishwasher, Jair, is a black-belt level master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitzu and my brother's personal fight coach over here.

When the room-service phone finally does ring, I take down the order and then deliver it to their rooms. When I get there, I knock. Invariably, they ask who it is.

Naturally, I look over my right shoulder at my queen and then yell, "This... Is... Spada!" and kick down their door.



I get great tips.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Quick Island Update

Note: More interactive blog-posts forthcoming

We don't yet have internet in Hawaii, so my communication has been sparse thus far. We should be getting it at our condo in less than a week, so updates/communications will improve then. Here's a short rundown of our trip so far:

It took us a week to find a place, as a miscommunication cost us our first choice. Nevertheless, we landed a swell 8th floor condo in downtown Waikiki that is pretty spacious and a mere three blocks from the gorgeous beachfront.

Celina and I recently landed jobs at an Italian restaurant down the road called Spada. It looks trendy and you have to wear all black when you work there. Celina has worked a couple of shifts and I start next week.

Lindsay scored a gig at Seattle's Best Coffee, and she is very excited about it. She's also really attractive (non-sequitor, I know, but worth noting).

Harrison, due largely to the fact that he's only here for a couple months, is having a bit of trouble finding a job so far, as he refuses (like the paragon of virtue that he truly is) to lie about how long he'll be here in job interviews. Anyway, pray for him.

We've been going to this tiny church a few blocks from our place that doesn't have a name or a congregation bigger than your kindergarten class. Seriouly. I counted 20 people there last Sunday and 9 of them were in the preacher's family. My jury is still out on the place (blog re: the church forthcoming), but its a lot of fun and the people there are full of love for each other and their community.

The weather is "88 and sunny" with a cool breeze every day.

Everything here is really pricey. Add 30-50 percent to whatever you're used to paying at home. My mission has been to scout out the deals, as many bars, restaurants, and stores have pretty rad deals if you go at the right times.

Ok, I got to jet. Internet at this cafe is expensive. I'll hook you all up with more info when we get the 'net at the condo. Love.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mahalo

Off I go. I'll be back in May. To everyone who has helped make my time in Bellingham so incredible, "Mahalo!"





Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Wild Weeks

I'm smack in the middle of two+ crazy weeks. Last week was Reclamation of Youth Week, which was a huge daily time commitment (but WELL worth it) and now I'm four days away from moving to Hawaii.

This week is a time for me to say goodbye for now to a bunch of people, as well as tie up any loose ends before leaving. Then... Aloha!

I feel bad that I'm not more nervous about the move. I am truly at peace with the big change, even though we have no house or jobs lined up when we get there. Part of me is glad that I can just let go of the stress and handle the move as it happens, but part of me wonders if that's a sign of irresponsibility.

Anyhow, check back in to see how it all goes. And then come visit!

PS - A belated Happy 32nd Anniversary to my awesome parents, Mick and Beth!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's RYD Time!

My favorite day of the entire year is tomorrow!



Huzzah!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm In Love With Usain Bolt (and not because he has 'USA' in his name)

Alert: The links in this post are worth clicking on.

I love the Olympics. I love the Olympics like I love Ken Griffey Jr. The Opening Ceremonies were unbelievable, Michael Phelps is Herculean, and America gets lots of medals. I love the Olympics for all of those things and more -- the spirit, the pageantry, the chance to see the best in the world be the best in the world.

Side note: the Men's 4x100 Freestyle Swimming Final was as exciting as sports gets.

Even with all of that going on, I fell in love today. His name is Usain Bolt and he's the fastest man in the world. He's so fast, in fact, that he ran... well, I'll get to that in a second.

Usain Bolt is from Jamaica. He broke the World Record in track's most glamorous event, the 100-Meter Dash, by running it in 9.72 seconds a while back. The 100-Meter dash is my favorite Olympic event, by the way.

Anyhow, he won the Gold Medal in that event today. But it's not that he won it that makes me love him, it's how.



As you can see in the picture, he won by a lot. He ran the fastest 100 meters in the history of the world. 9.69 seconds. He's really really fast.

He's so fast that he didn't bother to tie his left shoe (his shoes were gold, by the way). He's so fast that he didn't tuck in his shirt for the race. He's so fast, that he was the second-slowest person off the blocks (pic #2 in slideshow) in the race and still won by the biggest margin in the history of the event.

Usain Bolt is so fast that he stopped sprinting after 70 meters and began high-stepping his way to the finish line, a la Deion Sanders (1:44-2:17 in the video). He did all of this against the 7 other fastest people on the planet!

The combination of athleticism and showmanship was incredible. on the biggest stage in the world, Usain Bolt brought the house down and took my heart with him.



.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Therefore, bite me."

Check out the side-bar to the left of THIS ARTICLE.

Weirdest. School. Board. Meeting. Ever.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lyricism, Part I

I love Hip Hop. I love it for it's beats, love it for it's rhythm, love it for it's roots. I especially love it because of the lyrical freedom the genre employs. The best rappers use this liberty to create the illest in lyrical showmanship. In honor of Hip Hop, I'm starting a series of tributes to my favorite MCs.

Occasionally, I'll do my best to highlight some of the most impressive flows from some of my favorite artists. There's no way I can do them all justice, but this is my humble attempt to pay homage. It might be one line, or a whole verse but hopefully you'll find all of them to be as dope as I do (links to the actual recordings are included whenever possible).

Today's MCs: Nas, Eminem, and Lauryn Hill.

Nas:
"What you call a infinite brawl, eternal souls clashin'
War gets deep, some beef is everlastin
'
Complete with thick scars, brothers knifin' each other

up in prison yards, drama, where does it start?"

-One Mic

"My mic check is life or death, breathin' a sniper's breath
I exhale the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps

Deep like The Shinin', sparkle like a diamond

Sneak a uzi on the island in my army jacket linin'

Hit the Earth like a comet, invasion

Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian, half-man, half-amazin'"

-It Ain't Hard To Tell


Eminem:
"And since birth I've been cursed with this curse to just curse
And just blurt this berserk and bizarre shit that works

And it sells and it helps in itself to relieve

all this tension dispensin' these sentences

Gettin' this stress that's been eatin' me recently off of this chest

and I rest again peacefully"

-The Way I Am

"My thoughts are sporadic, I act like I’m a addict
I rap like I’m addicted to smack like I’m Kim Mathers

But I don’t want to go forth and back in constant battles

The fact is I would rather sit back and bomb some rappers

So this is like a full blown attack I’m launching at them

The track is on some battle, and raps who wants some static

Cause I don’t really think that the fact that I’m Slim matters

A plaque and platinum status is whack if I’m not the baddest"

-Til I Collapse

Lauryn Hill:
"It's funny how money change a situation
Miscommunication leads to complication

My emancipation don't fit your equation

I was on the humble, you - on every station"

-Lost Ones

"I'm about to change the focus
From the richest to the brokest
I wrote this opus
To reverse the hypnosis
Whoever's closest
To the line's gonna win it
You gonna fall tryin' to ball
While my team win the pennant
I'm about to be in it
For a minute
Then run for senate
Make a slum lord be the tenant
Give his money to kids to spend it
And then amend it
Every law that ever prevented"
-Final Hour

If you didn't have any "Oh shit!" moments while listening to these songs, then you weren't paying close enough attention, hahahaha. Hope you enjoyed 'em.

Next time: Black Thought, Scarface, Talib Kweli.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Covenant Of Marriage

It's no secret that divorce today is far more common than it was in the days of our parents' and grandparents' weddings. "Irreconcilable differences" has become a sufficient reason for dissolving a marriage in the eyes of the law and the so-called "sanctity" of marriage has been loosened.

I just read a very interesting article on the nature of, and reasons for, marriages and divorces. It seems as though the cultural perspective on what marriage means has changed dramatically in the last couple of generations; to the chagrin of some and the liberation of others.

Check it out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

La Marseillaise

If you've ever wondered which country has the most bad-ass national anthem, wonder no more. The answer may surprise you at first -- France -- but when you consider that the song was born out of one of the bloodiest revolutions in history, it makes a lot more sense.

The song is called La Marseillaise and, if you're a fan of "Casablanca," you may know it as the song that the French start singing to drown out the words of the Nazi soldiers. It was written by army engineer Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle per request of the mayor of Strasbourg.

And it is awesome.

"Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows

What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny

Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
That they regret taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Ripped out their mothers' wombs

We too shall enlist
When our elders' time has come
To add to the list of deeds
Inscribed upon their tombs
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them

Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Hi, How Are Ya?"

From the Dayton Daily Newspaper:

--------------------------------------------------------

Rockies rookie sees idol Griffey pull off rare feat

By Hal McCoy

Saturday, July 26, 2008

CINCINNATI — Colorado rookie third baseman Ian Stewart thought Ken Griffey Jr. is something special and now he believes Griffey is extra-special.

Stewart grew up in Southern California idolizing Griffey and told a writer before Friday's he'd like to meet Griffey. When the writer relayed the message, Griffey said, "Tell him I'll hit a triple tonight and meet him at third base."

A triple? Yeah, sure.

Well, in the sixth inning Friday Griffey hit a ball into the right field corner that eluded Brad Hawpe. Griffey slid into third and when he popped up out of his slide he said to Stewart, "Hi, how are ya?"

On Saturday, Griffey checked his cell phone and said, "I have 32 text messages and 29 say, 'You hit a triple?' And one says, 'Who died in right field for you to get a triple?' "

Griffey responded quickly when asked when he hit his previous triple: "Last year, in St. Louis. I had a bet with a certain teammate (Norris Hopper) that I'd hit a triple before he hit a home run. I won."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

I FREAKING LOVE THIS GUY!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Congratulations, Dave!

Warning: This post is very awesome and may give you goosebumps.


It's a rough time to be a Mariner fan, but something awesome happened today: Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus got elected to the Hall of Fame. He is the first Mariner ever inducted into Cooperstown and will remain the only one until Edgar and Junior are inducted.

Below are some of Dave's most memorable calls, presented to you radio-style.

*The First Pitch in Mariner's History.

*Gaylord Perry's 300th Career Victory.

*Ken Griffey Jr(!)'s 56th Home Run in 1998.

*Edgar Martinez' Grand Slam in the Playoffs.

*The Greatest Sports Moment of My Life.


Thank you Dave, for raising me as a baseball fan to love and appreciate the game that you' so eloquently describe. You've earned this day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Anthropomorphic Bilingual Godbot

This season sucks. I've intentionally avoided blogging about the Mariners for a while now because this has been, without peer, the most disappointing season in the team's 41 year history.

Nonetheless, I came across an article written about the M's season on LookoutLanding.com, a Mariners Fan Blog. The writer's name is Jeff, and he described how I feel right now better than I can:

"I have seen this team lose on a balk.

I have seen this team lose on a walk.

I have seen this team lose on a home run.

I have seen this team lose on a home run that was taken away.

I have seen this team lose on a caught steal.

I have seen this team lose on an outfield assist.

I have seen this team lose to Pedro Martinez.

I have seen this team lose to Doug Waechter.

I have seen this team lose in almost every way imaginable, and I have seen this team lose in ways I couldn't ever dream up.

I had never seen this team lose on a misplay by Ichiro.

Don't get me wrong, that was far from an easy play to make. Inglett hit the ball hard, and there are few plays more difficult than a line drive headed right in your direction. But Ichiro missed. He judged, he tracked, he leaped, and he missed. He flat-out missed. Although perhaps "missed" conveys the wrong impression. Better to say he fumbled. Ichiro had the ball in his sights, jumped to make a catch we've seen him make a hundred times, and fumbled. And the Blue Jays won.

After this long of a season (only 60 left to go), one can't help but become accustomed to the familiar letdowns. As the losses pile up their impact is diminished, to the point at which they feel like more of a confirmation than a bother. As far as I'm concerned, the Mariners stopped losing a few weeks ago. The Mariners stopped losing and started finishing, and it no longer mattered what took place as long as the game came to an end and gave us something to talk about. Instead of wins and losses, games became data points, and stripped of our emotional investment, we were all rendered rather indifferent little analysts, a group of people who speak earnestly of Felix but discuss outcomes with a vacant, empty expression. This is us. This is what the Mariners have caused us to become.

But tonight felt different. Not because of the loss, but because of how the loss came to happen. For all of this team's failings, Ichiro was supposed to be immune. He was supposed to be the cool, calm bastion of consistency, the reliable superstar who through only the good of his heart allows himself to go slumming every day with our assortment of losers. From Day 1 he's always been held to a higher standard, and he's justified his pedestal by always coming to play and seldom making mistakes. For as long as he's been in the big leagues, it's never been a matter of Ichiro not doing enough for his team; it's been a matter of his team not doing enough for Ichiro.

But tonight felt different. Because tonight, for the first time in as long as I can remember, one of my central tenets of fandom was violated; the tenet that Ichiro is something greater than human. That he's some kind of anthropomorphic bilingual robot sent from the heavens to amuse and entertain. For Ichiro to err is to shake the very foundation upon which our allegiance has been built, and let me tell you - when you're used to brushing these things off like they're no big deal, it's an unpleasant experience. As that line drive bounced off of Ichiro's glove and fell to the ground, I felt a knot in my stomach, the likes of which I hadn't felt in a couple months. The knot of hopeless despair. Pervasive, hopeless despair, despair that manifests itself through every available medium, be it human or anthropomorphic bilingual Godbot.

I hate that knot. Just when you think the team has finally pushed you over the edge into a permanent state of stolid disinterest, it finds a new way to get you, a new way to gnaw away at your insides and remind you that there's always a new way to demonstrate the absence of a floor. There is no floor. There is no floor. Things can always get worse, and if there's anything we can take away from the game tonight, it's that nothing and nobody is safe from the ongoing proof of the most dreary of universal truths.

Touche, cosmos."


Yep, that about covers it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

`



AWESOME.

2008 ESPYs

Every year, ESPN puts on a massive, star-studded awards show for the best in the year of sports. As you can imagine, I love this event.

This year, Justin Timberlake hosted. I like JT, I think his music is cool now, and I think he's a bona fide superstar in a culture of wannabes. But even so, I was very, very impressed with the job he did hosting the ESPYs.

For some reason, BlogSpot won't let me embed the clips. Instead, I have to link to them the old-fashioned way. If you only watch one of the clips, make sure it's the awesome, hilarious, impressive musical performance.

Also, I've linked to the Opening Monologue and the "Best Moments of the Year" montage.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Change In Electoral Strategy?

Came across this today. I hope it ushers in a new era where every candidate feels compelled to create a misspelled, politically-incorrect, self-righteous comic book as part of their campaign strategies.

Note: The above link requires Adobe. If you can't open it, an excerpt is here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The King Of Pop

With all of the trials, weirdness, and dearth of new albums, it's easy to forget just how awesome Michael Jackson was.

Perhaps no single person since Elvis has embodied "cool" the way that MJ did in the 80's and early 90's. He once had an album with seven #1 singles on it. He invented a sound that others haven't even tried to emulate and countless dance moves that serve as the blueprint for many of todays live acts.

This video did a great job of reminding me just how spectacular of a performer Michael was.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Would You Do For $20,000/Hr?

Rush Limbaugh is as divisive of a person as there is in this country. I can't stand to listen to the guy. Two of my co-workers are die-cast Rush maniacs. Therein lies the beauty of Rush Limbaugh.

The reasons I loathe him are the exact same reasons his fans love him. To decide for yourself, click here real quick. As much as I dislike his persona and his way of doing things, I will never disrespect his genius.

Limbaugh took a three-hour radio show and turned it into the most influential conservative empire in this country. The NY Time wrote a long feature article on Limbaugh shortly before he signed an 8-year, $400,000,000(!) contract extension for his show.

The article is fascinating. No matter how you view Rush Limbaugh, you have to admit he's as compelling an American as there is.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Please Make Sure All Of your Moose Have Their Trays In The Upright And Locked Position

Sone of my favorite things, along with words that have the letter 'z" in them, are funny state/local laws that are still in effect.

For example:
*It is still illegal to have pre-marital sex in Virginia.
*In North Carolina, it is illegal to visit relatives' graves after dark
*In Alaska, it is still illegal to push a live moose out of a moving airplane(!).
*In Iowa, kisses may not last for more than five minutes.
*In South Dakota, it is illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory.
*In Texas, it is illegal to carry a concealed ice cream cone.
*In Utah, a drive-by shooting could get you five years in jail and a $5,000 fine, but you could spend 15 years in prison and pay $10,000 for altering the license plate stickers on your car.
*In Tucsan, AZ, it is illegal for women to wear pants.
*In New Britain, CT, fire trucks must drive 25 MPH, even when driving to a fire.
*In Tallahassee, FL, it is still legal to have sex with a porcupine.
*In Baltimore, MD, it illegal to take your lion to the theater.

The full list is here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Follow-Up

This story just broke tonight on The NY Times Website. It is a follow-up to the subject I approached a few posts ago: the torture of prisoners at Guantanemo Bay.

Read it here.

For those who still support the use of inhumane interrogation tactics by American soldiers, I'd love to hear your thoughts now that it's been revealed that the chart outlining American interrogation tactics was copied verbatim from a 1957 chart used by Communist China to extract confessions from American prisoners.

This sucks.

Hooray for... Utah?

When I think of progressive states, Utah is not the first to jump into my brain. In fact, it's not even in the top 42. I may, however, need to rethink that after reading this column.

I'm all for it. I've been advocating four-day work weeks for a while now, and numerous workplace studies have shown increased production and employee morale in businesses that use the four-day model.

On top of that, it has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of fuel used during the weekly commute. Come on, Washington!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Response to MoveOn.org

NY Times opinion writer William Kristol has some pointed criticism of MoveOn.org's latest ad campaign. Though I often agree with what MoveOn is trying to accomplish, I have to acknowledge that Kristol is right on here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Since When Was America Not Better Than This?

I'm pissed. The United States has always prided itself on being a haven for law and human dignity. We've always supposed to be better and more fair than the global standard. I mean, wasn't that the point of the "American Dream?"

Then I read this.

We've all heard it rumored that torture existed in Gitmo, but the most the media had ever reported was that there was possible waterboarding and sleep-deprivation. Neither practice can be condoned, in my mind, but at least then the argument existed that these were excusable discomfort-techniques to extract information valuable to America's security.

Frankly, I think that's bullshit, but I was at least willing to hear that argument out. If what the above article says is true, however, then we are seriously fucking things up as far as human rights go.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More 'Economist'

The 'Economist' is awesome. This particular article touches on two of my favorite issues: race relations in America and hip-hop.

As always, some excerpts:

*"So a columnist approaches the subject of hip-hop (which includes rap) with caution. One cannot hope to capture its sound or fury on the page. Instead, Lexington will ask what it signifies."

*"Mr McWhorter also thinks people take hip-hop far too seriously. Those who disapprove of it vastly overestimate its capacity to corrupt. And those who expect it to foster a political revolution that will dramatically improve the lot of black Americans are going to be disappointed."

*"Earnest hip-hop fans often argue that “commercial” rappers such as Lil Wayne are beside the point. Hip-hop’s revolutionary potential is best expressed by “conscious” rappers who focus on important issues rather than babes, bling and booze."


Would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pinky & The Brain

This is an episode of one of my favorite childhood TV shows, "Pinky & The Brain." My friend Mark and I have recently taken up a custom of watching a cartoon every morning at work and I want to pass the joy on to you.




Enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Step Back

Now that we're a few days removed from the firing of former mariners GM Bill Bavasi, I realize that me glee at the axing caused me to say things a couple of posts ago that I don't necessarily feel. Namely, the "smug, incompetent" part.

Bill Bavasi is not smug.

He did, however, wield executive power over my favorite sports team from a throne built on lies. I did mean that.

Update: The Mariners have finally fired manager John McLaren.

Monday, June 16, 2008

YES!!!

I never use three exclamation points in a row. I consider it superfluous and it reminds me of middle-school instant-messaging. That said, today is one of the happiest days of the year. Here's why:

The Mariners fired Bill Bavasi!!!

The smug, incompetent architect of the worst team in baseball has been removed from his throne that was built on lies. Rejoice Mariners fans, because there is now a bright new hope for the future.

Here's hoping the M's can hire a servicable replacement.

!!!

Three 6 Mafia: 1, Johnny Depp: 0

Saw a cool movie with Terrence Howard in it last night. It reminded me of another awesome movie with Terrence Howard in it:



And yes, the Three 6 Mafia did win an Oscar for this song.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sherman Alexie Rules!

In reading an article about the lawsuit to keep the SuperSonics in Seattle, I came across this fascinating paragraph:

Pechman (the presiding judge) did grant the city one small victory — ruling that author Sherman Alexie can testify as a witness in the June 16 trial. Alexie, winner of the National Book Award, is a Sonics season-ticket holder who is expected to testify on the team's importance to Seattle.

Awesome.

Now go back one post and watch those Griffey videos again.

I Wept... Seriously

If you know me very well at all, you're familiar with my uncomfortably fond admiration for Ken Griffey Jr. Well, today Griffey became the 6th Major League player to hit 600 career home runs. I could probably start up a whole other blog just about Junior, but for now, I'll give you all a highlight-reel of "The Kid"'s remarkable career.

This video takes you from Griffey's first game in Seattle through his 599th homer.


This is the video of historic #600.


And just for fun, an old Nike commercial featuring my hero.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Flobots

I finally figured out how to embed videos in these posts. Apparently I'm still behind the technological wave a bit. Anyhow, this song is called "Handlebars" and it's by the Flobots. This video gave me goosebumps and is one of the rare music videos that perfectly accompanies the song. I hope you all like it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Yes, That Is The Mayor of Cincinnati (Link #4)

If writting a blog has taught me one thing, it's that success has everything to do with appealing to the lowest common denominator. It's the same reason that newspapers are written at a 5th grade level, that Danielle Steel has sold 550 million copies of her books, and that this can be the #1 movie at the box office.

It's clear to me that Roland Fryer doesn't strike a chord the same way Mariah Carey does. Consequently, I present you with more awful ceremonial first pitches.

#1
#2
#3
#4

This post is brought to you by fart jokes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Roland Fryer

I've been reading the Economist lately and I highly recommend that the rest of you do as well. I just read a really interesting article about ghetto-survivor/tenured-Harvard-professor Roland Fryer. I know that these social-issues posts don't generate the same kind of responses that videos of high-heeled debutantes making fools of themselves do, but I hope you all check this article out.

Here it is.

Some highlights:

*Mr Fryer now applies his supple mind to the touchy, tangled issue of racial inequality. Why are African-Americans so much less prosperous than whites? Why do so many black children flounder in school? Why do so many young black men languish behind bars? Why are stories like Mr Fryer's considered so surprising?

*What ails black America? Public debate falls between two poles. Some academics and most civil-rights activists stress the role played by racial discrimination. It may no longer be overt, they argue, but it is still widespread and severe.

*Mr Fryer eschews histrionics in favour of hard data. He is obsessed with education, which he calls “the civil-rights battleground of the 21st century”.

*His most striking contribution to the debate so far has been to show that black students who study hard are accused of “acting white” and are ostracised by their peers.

*A study by Richard Sander of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that when the bar is lowered for black applicants to law school, they are admitted to institutions where they cannot cope. Many who drop out of top-tier colleges might have thrived at slightly less competitive ones.

*In 2000 the average white household in the bottom fifth of income-earners had net assets of $24,000. The figure for blacks was a piffling $57.

*The proportion of black babies born out of wedlock has nearly doubled since 1970, to 69%. And 70% of these births are to mothers who are truly alone, not cohabiting.

Please read the whole article. I hope some of you find it as fascinating as I do. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ahahahahahaha!!!

One of the weird traditions in baseball is having celebrities or other persons of interest throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Some Japanese team decided to have Mariah Carey do it before one of their games. Hilarity ensues.

WATCH!

PS - Mariah, great choice of footwear. Very baseball appropriate. Thanks for helping fight the stereotype about women and sports.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Way

Seriously?

If this is real, it's beautiful.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"See You Soon"



I had to say goodbye to two of my good friends this weekend. One of them is Tim Thorpe, who is leaving to serve in Iraq for the Army. The other is Amy Farris, who is going to grad school at UNC.


I knew that saying goodbye would be tough and had long resigned myself to the fact that these two companions would be leaving. I was prepared for goodbyes and last hurrahs, but after this past weekend I was surprised at just how much had been taken out of me from saying "see ya later."

I've had to say goodbye to many friends over the past couple of years. Brandon, Justin, Ben, KK, Igby, and others have moved to Seattle. Lachlan went to Houston (seriously Lach... Houston?). Mick is serving in the Army in South Korea. GPS is going to Portland. I feel like I should be getting accustomed to this farewell scene, but I'm just not. Maybe that's a good thing.

Tim's was a bit harder for me, since he is going off to war. There is an inherent worry that accompanies his journey, but I also know that if there is anyone I've met who is prepared for adventure, it is Tim. He'll be fine and, hard as it may be to believe, will come back even more of a man than he is now.


Amy is going across the counry, but I've become more accustomed to her departures. I've known her since high school and every year she packs up and goes somewhere crazy, like Senegal, or here. She'll go off to North Carolina and do more great things (like score me some tickets to the UNC-Duke basketball game), but I hope that she'll come back to us, just like she always has.


I'm going to miss you guys, so take care of yourselves, alright?


Love.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Longtime Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren will be retiring after the upcoming season.





In appreciation of his efforts: THIS.




Holmgren, when asked about his post-retirement plans, said the following:
"Fla Pluff Fuff Pa Fluffa Pla Fluff."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Growing Up Rough

Here is one of my favorite Monty Python sketches: "The Four Yorkshiremen."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mutually Exclusive?

An interesting article in the NY Times on the roles of reason and belief in the human existence. The pursuit of understanding the relationship between faith and reason has always been fascinating to me.

Some highlights:

*"Lo and behold, over the past decade, a new group of assertive atheists has done battle with defenders of faith. The two sides have argued about whether it is reasonable to conceive of a soul that survives the death of the body and about whether understanding the brain explains away or merely adds to our appreciation of the entity that created it."

*"Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment. "

*"First, the self is not a fixed entity but a dynamic process of relationships. Second, underneath the patina of different religions, people around the world have common moral intuitions. Third, people are equipped to experience the sacred, to have moments of elevated experience when they transcend boundaries and overflow with love. Fourth, God can best be conceived as the nature one experiences at those moments, the unknowable total of all there is."

Let me know what you think. As always, your comments are appreciated.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Aloha

I'm going to Hawaii in September! At least, that's the plan assuming that we can get enough people to go with us. So far, I'm going with the girl , my brother , and my buddy Casey, all of whom will be sharing in the nine-month adventure.

My life is great here in Bellingham, but I'm stoked to bust out for a little bit and extend myself. And by extend myself, I mean laying out in a hammock on a tropical beach in Waikiki.


Lindsay is too, as she is actually willing to defer her enrollment in grad school to go. We'd love it if more of our friends wanted to go with us, so let us know. Then we can spend nine glorious months together in paradise. We're looking to book the trip in June -- jump on board!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Inconvenience of Principle

Check out this story about a college basketball coach who is out of work for acting on beliefs that he still maintains were the right ones.

Adar Rouse was an assistant coach at Baylor University who lost his job when the head coach was fired for one of the worst cover-up attempts in sporting history.

Rouse has since been labeled a "snitch" by the coaching community and is struggling to find work in basketball. This is an excellent article and I recommend that you guys take a look at it if you get a chance.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wolverine

Watch THIS.

This is my brother, Harrison "Wolverine" Bevens, in his first sanctioned MMA fight. You my boy, Harrison!

Friday, May 2, 2008

18 Months

I have had the privilege of dating this girl for the last year and a half.













How lucky am I?
















Lindsay, you are the best and I'm very happy that you're in my life!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Prominent Is Racism In Our Legal System?

I read an interesting article in the New York Times today about the racial disparities of death sentencing in Houston. Some highlights:

  • "A new study to be published in The Houston Law Review this fall has found two sorts of racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty there, one commonplace and one surprising.
    The unexceptional finding is that defendants who kill whites are more likely to be sentenced to death than those who kill blacks. More than 20 studies around the nation have come to similar conclusions.
    But the new study also detected a more straightforward disparity. It found that the race of the defendant by itself plays a major role in explaining who is sentenced to death."
Also:
  • "Scott Durfee, the general counsel for the Harris County district attorney’s office, rejected Professor Phillips’s conclusions and said that district attorneys there had long taken steps to insulate themselves from knowing the race of defendants and victims as they decided whether to seek the death penalty.
    'To the extent Professor Phillips indicates otherwise, all we can say is that you would have to look at each individual case,” Mr. Durfee said. 'If you do that, I’m fairly sure that you would see that the decision was rational and reasonable.'"
And:
  • "Professor Phillips wrote about percentages and not particular cases, but his data suggest that black defendants were overrepresented in cases involving shootings during robberies, while white defendants were more likely to have committed murders during rapes and kidnappings and to have beaten, stabbed or choked their victims."
There has long been suspicion that the color of one's skin affects the nature of one's sentencing, but it has always been difficult to prove. Is racism still a major factor in America's justice system or have we, by and large, moved beyond that? Furthermore, is this study only indicative of Houston's court system or can it logically be assumed that it is representative of the American court system?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Politics

It's funny to me that the ongoing election has become such a gong-show. Candidates are being persuaded to do ridiculous things that have everything to do with appealing to voters and nothing to do with politics. I get it.

But the absurdity of the race has never been more delightfully bizarre than THIS.

What's extra-great about this, is that I once said, over a year ago, that the best thing Obama can do is adapt the catchphrase "Can you smell what Barack is cooking." I'm like the professional-wrestling-Nostradamus of the political scene.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Busted Digit

I broke my thumb last night. To exacerbate the issue, it was my right thumb and, being right-handed, this has proven to be quite problematic.

You see, I play in a basketball league at the YMCA with some friends and our team is in the playoffs. Last night we were playing particularly well, and found ourselves up by about 25 with eight minutes left. I was guarding my man on the left side of the court, when a pass was sailed to an open opponent coming towards the hoop on the right side. I made a hurried effort to get over there to stop him and, upon realizing I had his shot timed, prepared to attempt The Block of the Century.
Instead of merely deflecting the guy's shot, I jumped as high as I could, swinging my hand in massive arc at the ball. At the peak of my jump, I swatted at the ball. I was successful in my endeavor, but in rejecting the shot, my hand was turned sideways and the force of my maximum-effort arm-swing resulted in the slamming of my thumb against the backboard.

As soon as I landed, I knew something was wrong. Looking at my throbbing hand, I noticed that my thumb no longer extended straight out from my palm. Instead, it darted in towards the rest of my hand before jutting back out away from it. Fortunately, the game was well in hand at that point, so I didn't feel terrible about sitting out the rest of the game.

Gratefully, the YMCA is next door to the Up & Up, and since it was Weekly Wednesday, the logical thing to do after the game was go drink with my friends. I kept hoping that maybe the thumb was just dislocated, but it was becoming clear that it was broken. After downing a couple of beers, I went outside and reset my thumb, nearly biting through the bill of my hat in the process. The good news is that my thumb was a bit straighter afterwards. The bad news is that after resetting it, my thumb ballooned into a bulbous, discolored version of its former self.

This morning I woke up to find that my hand still looked bloated but I was pleased to discover that the pain wasn't unbearable, even after the Ibuprofen had worn off.

Today, my awesome roommates Kyle and Ben devised a splint for me made of gauze and a custom-cut pizza box, which lasted nearly the entire day.

This afternoon I went into my job at SPIE to sign my time-card. My co-worker Chris commented, while we discussed the injury, that our thumbs are important. "They're what separates us from the apes," he said. I cocked my head slightly and looked at him quizzically. he quickly added, "well, they're what separates us from the lizards anyways."

Here's hoping the recovery doesn't last long!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Dalai Lama

Yesterday I got an awesome opportunity: I got to go listen to the man who heads up both the Tibetan government and Buddhism. His name is Tenzin Gyatso and he was identified as the 14th Dalai Lama at 2 years old. He is one of the world's foremost speakers on non-violence and is a tireless advocate for children worldwide.

This week he is in Seattle for the Seeds of Compassion conference, a five-day festival promoting non-violence and unity. My friend Megan was able to procure a ticket for me and I was treated to an hour or so of listening to the Dalai Lama speak. He had much to say about how we can improve the way we treat each other. He was quite funny throughout his speech and I noticed that he stayed mostly away from religion and politics. instead, he focused on what we all can do as individuals to promote compassion. My favorite part was when he spoke about "internal disarmament," or the release of hate, jealousy, and frustration, in order to achieve "external disarmament," the elimination of violence against one another.

I feel lucky to have heard this great man speak and I hope all of you get a chance to to see or hear him at some point. He was a bit difficult to understand at times, but that only caused me to listen closer.

I recommend reading his autobiography in which he elaborates on the amazing life he has lived, from his childhood in a monastery to his exile at the hands of the Chinese government, and all of the international work he has done. He is the recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and a fascinating man.

Humorous side-note: compare the Dalai Lama's voice to that of Yoda. Keep in mind the Buddhist overtones of the Star Wars movies.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beyond Celebrity T-Shirts

One of the trendy causes these days is public decrying of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. I mean, what says, "hey, I care SO much about the world and the people in it!" like wearing a t-shirt with a smug look on your face?

Now, this is not to say that we shouldn't care about Darfur, or any other humanitarian crisis for that matter, but that we ought to take some action if we're going to let people know that we know about the situation. There are some celebs, like uber-stud George Clooney (check out the link to the TIME article) and Matt Damon who are actually taking initiative.

Columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote an article about what our government can do to help the Darfur crisis. I don't know how feasible all of his ideas are, but it's encouraging to think that it's possible to help the situation diplomatically without invading another country.

Now, we don't all have to go over to Africa or join the government to have an impact. There are a bunch of ways we can help, if we feel so inclined. Some organizations I recommend are Compassion International (for sponsoring families affected by the crisis), Save Darfur (which gives you lots of options for activism), and Darfur Genocide (which provides numerous ways to get in touch with government leaders).

Also, calling and e-mailing our elected representatitives does have an impact. Those people are elected to represent their constituencies and by letting them know that we care about the Darfur situation, we can enable them to push for legislative resolutions. I'm not here to say that we all have to take action on this, but it's nice to know that there are options for those who want to do more than just let other people know that we know about the crises in the world.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life and Death

A museum in London sends freelance photgraphers back in time to take pictures of people the day of their deaths. The pictures, once returned to the present and developed, are then put next to pictures of those same people right after they've died. Check out this article.

For a slide-show of the full gallery, click here. The display gets bonus points for putting up the thoughts about death of the people in the pictures.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr.

The leader of the American Civil Rights Movement was shot and killed 40 years ago today. The night before, he gave a speech in Memphis, TN that would prove to be his last. It is among his most powerful and moving speeches and the allusions to his own death are chilling. This country is no doubt better for having had Martin Luther King Jr. in it.

Video of the end of the speech.

The entire transcript.

It's All Good

Got through a rough stretch in the relationship with the girl -- I messed up and she was gracious and willing to try to work through it. I'm crazy about her and when I thought I would lose her, I was miserable. I am so grateful that she is still in my life.

Other high notes:
*North Carolina is in the Final Four (and Tyler Hansbrough won the National Player of the Year)

*My March Madness bracket is in the top 0.1 %

*Baseball season has started

*The Mariners won on Opening Day

*The Youth Council convenes this Sunday to discuss RYD. (Also see: this)

*I just got $1200 worth of elite cigars for only $150.

Life is looking up indeed.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Regret

"I loved her so. And she knew what I did. She knew all the fucking stupid things I'd done. But the love, was stronger than anything you can think of. The goddamn regret. The goddamn regret! Oh, and I'll die. Now I'll die, and I'll tell you what, the biggest regret of my life - I let my love go... And I'm ashamed.
A million years ago, the fucking regret and guilt, these things, don't ever let anyone ever say to you you shouldn't regret anything. Don't do that. Don't! You regret what you fucking want! Use that. Use that."

-Earl Partridge in Magnolia

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Not Down With The Sickness

You know that awful constriction of the throat that you sometimes get? The one that makes swallowing a little bit tougher and you know, you just know that you're going to be sick soon? Well, that hit me Tuesday night. I refused to acknowledge that sickness had arrived on Wednesday morning and proceeded to go to both jobs and then play in a men's league basketball game at the YMCA. As you can imagine, by the time this was over, I felt pretty awful.

Fortunately, the girl knows all about how to treat every illness and has the medication available to do so. She took excellent care of me and gave me everything I needed to get through the last couple of days. Plus, she was just downright compassionate. She's great.

Anyhow, I went to both jobs again yesterday, but after an hour the other baseball coach suggested I go home since I couldn't raise my voice much above a hoarse whisper. Today my players have a double-header so I took the day off from SPIE. I feel better now than I did yesterday, so hopefully it's coming to an end. Nonetheless, I feel bad about taking a day off from SPIE since I've only been there for five weeks.

On a lighter note, UNC continued to roll, blowing Washington State out of the tournament last night. And(!), the Mariners have their first game of the season this Monday. Things are looking up.

Ok, back to re-certifying myself for Basic Health coverage. I just realized that if I don't handle it now, I get cut off from Health Insurance for 12 months! Yikes.


For the kids:
http://www.theindychannel.com/news/15720036/detail.html

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another UNC Profile

If you haven't noticed yet, I really love these guys. Check out this piece on Tar Heels reserve Danny Green. Terrific story -- really makes you cheer for someone like Danny.

Care About Health?

If you're like me, you believe that health-care is important. If you're like me, you only have a vague idea of what health-care in America is all about and you're even less sure about what each presidential candidate is offering.

USA Today offers this article that attempts to clarify each candidate's plan for health-care as well as presenting potential benefits and pitfalls of each (note the bleak side-feature on the future of Medicare and Social Security. Yeesh).

Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Icebox Where His Heart Used To Be

Clearly, my UNC-themed blogs of late have helped spur my Tar Heels through the latter part of this basketball season. They are playing the best basketball in the country right now and have crushed both of there opponents in the tourney.

Now, I'm goin to cheer for my favorite teams through good times and bad but it's always uplifting to know that the guys I'm cheering for are good people as well as good players. I happened across this story about Senior point-guard Quentin Thomas (w/ Omarion look-alike pic).

It's teamwork and camaraderie like this that make my Tar Heels so darn lovable. And the fact that they play really exciting, up-tempo ball.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Misc.

I think that almost everyone in the country has a messed-up bracket after the first weekend of March Madness, but I was happy to find that mine is surviving better than I thought. i currently have a higher score than anyone I know on Facebook, but I don't want to get too excited because that can all change very very quickly.

Random facts about myself (with an assist from the girl, who found the website):

64


29



91%


$4500.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.



33


72%

Friday, March 21, 2008

Madness

The most exciting weekend in sports is upon us: the first and second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Those of us who follow the games are inundated with match-ups that will end the season of one of the teams. The drama is unbelievable.
Many of you have filled out brackets and may even be betting money on the games. We form allegiances on the spot based on who we've bet on, the plucky determination of an underdog, or, in some cases, which school has a funnier name.
Yesterday's games were curiously devoid of excitement, with the exception of Duke's near-gaffe against Belmont. Top seeds won almost every game and the "chalk" as they say, played out.
Today is off to a rollicking start. American University gave the #2 Seeded Tennessee team all they could handle. Stephen Curry scored 40(!) for Davidson to upset Gonzaga. But all of that paled in comparison to the insanely exciting finish between #5 Seeded Drake and #12 Western Kentucky. WOW!
My UNC boys play at 4:10 against enormous underdog Mount St. Mary's. here's hoping that one's not even close.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Grace Under Fire

I wasn't going to write on this, because I didn't know how to tackle it. However, I spoke with my mom about it today and our conversation was so productive that I decided to at least approach the issue...

The topic that is on the front pages of all the newspapers, in the lead for every newscast, and saturating the AM airwaves right now is the controversy raised by Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Rev. Wright recently spoke out about race, politics, and Jesus. His sermon was provocative, to be sure, but it was certainly inflammatory as well. This is not the first time someone has said what Rev. Wright did. The feelings expressed by Rev. Wright have been felt and expressed by many people before him. The things he said are notable, but clearly would not be as newsworthy if he was not so closely affiliated with Barack Obama.
As I noted a few posts ago, the people in candidates' lives are cause for scrutiny. Candidates know this and I respect all who run for office for being willing to be publicly identified with everyone in their lives. This scrutiny is a good thing. The girl and I spoke on the phone about this tonight and she astutely pointed out that we need to be critical of everyone who is involved with the candidates because the candidates are running for one of the most influential offices in the entire world.
This controversy has stirred up a lot of anger and many people are offended. Various polls I've read have shown that people across the political spectrum now view Obama less favorably since hearing Rev. Wright's comments.
Whether or not that sermon makes you angry, it is serving a purpose that I believe is a very good one. For the duration of Democratic primary elections, both Obama's and Clinton's camps have avoided the issue of race. It was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to acknowledge. Neither seemed as though they wanted to risk their campaign on a topic that is still a big hot-button in our culture. Jokes and allusions to the racial element of the Democratic nomination process have been made by various media outlets, but neither candidate has confronted it head-on. Now it's unavoidable.
Decades after Martin Luther King Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement, race is still a major issue in America. Many don't want to acknowledge the role that race and our views of it play in our lives, but I believe that it's undeniable.
I believe that one of the most damaging things that can be done to any civil rights issue (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) is to say that it's no longer an issue. Denying the impact that assumptions about race have only serves to perpetuate the biases that we all have. Race relations need to remain part of an open dialog in this country. Racism and prejudice didn't end when this country stopped legislating it. If you don't believe me, read the dozens of message boards online that refer to Rev. Wright, his sermon, and Barack Obama.
I was deeply saddened, although not surprised, to read lots of messages that include declarative statements about people of certain races. Lots and lots of people are asserting sentiments akin to "Black people are such and such" or "White people are such and such" or "see, this shows that Blacks are all alike" etc, etc.
I've long since come to realize that we're all largely products of our environments and as a result, we all form certain prejudices along the way. Many of us hear "liberal" or "conservative" or "Jew" or "Muslim" or "male" or "female" or "gay" or "lesbian" or a hundred other terms and we have an initial emotional reaction to them. The same is true for racial labels, in this case "Black" and "White."
That we have a reaction to these things is not the issue so much as the effect they have on our behavior is. I have prejudices -- what matters is how much weight I lend them in regards to what I say and do. The second I let racial biases or stereotypes affect the way I talk or behave is the second that I've messed up.
All of these biases lay somewhere below our surfaces. Some of us have them buried closer to the exterior than others and all it takes is an incident like this to uncover them. If we say that we don't have any prejudices, I think we are lying to ourselves and seriously hindering the effort to reduce the impact that arbitrary things like race have on our interactions with each other.
As any politician in his position would, Barack responded to questions about Rev. Wright and the peripheral issues that surround him. His speech was elegant and beautiful. It was honest. It was human.
I will not attempt to sum it up for you, but I have posted the transcript and video below. I hope you all enjoy and I would love to hear your thoughts on the speech and/or anything else discussed in this post!

Here is the transcript of Obama's Speech.

Here is the video.

I've also included an article about the speech from the New York Times