Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Zombie Dog!

I'm not saying I should know all of what's going on in the Pittsburgh area. That'd be ridiculous, and I've got many more things to do than keep my ear to the ground regarding the happenings of the nearest metropolis. I mean, what with learning the effects of Laundry Cart v. Foot, how can one be expected to know even the smallest percentage of what's happening in our fair city. That said, the Safar Center at Pitt should have been sending me some kind of notice regarding their recent success in the ever expanding realm of Zombie Dogs. I just feel like something as cool as the reanimation of puppies is something I should have brought to my attention on the silver platter of knowledge of the Steel City.

Dude. We can make dogs come back to life.

I can't get over how cool that is, in the literal sense that it involves the replacement of blood with a saline solution at 7 degrees C, followed by the replacement of the blood a few hours later.

Anyway, on to more personal, less broad news.

McDonald's sucks at figuring out that only if the schedule you give the managers to let them know who's working and the schedule you give the employee to let them know when they work match can the employee show up. Accordingly, I had to go into work last night after counting on the night off because the scheduler forgot to actually tell me about it. Not that bad, except that I wasn't at home (so that the trip was about doubled) and that I'd made other plans. But, having finished work at 5:30 am today, I've been given tonight off. Which is nice. Kinda.

As an update to a post a while ago, Canada's House has passed Bill C-38 which now moves to their senate and, if it passes there, makes Canada the third nation to fully recognize same-sex marriage. Good for them.

I'm going to go play with the cat.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Special Sauce is People!

I've just finished standing around in what amounts to a low-powered oven for 8 hours, being given a break two hours after arriving in the oven, and so I'm slightly tired. However, my room is the hottest place in the house, and anything that reminds me of a Big Mac right now isn't good. So you, loyal reader, gets some blog.

Looking through the online version of this week's City Paper because I lost the hardcopy, I'm somewhat tempted to, as I am always tempted, lambast them for having a "rant" section, where some dolt writes in weekly to complain about something that isn't that irritating, one good example being office conversation. Yes, small talk isn't sincere, but everyone ever has put up with it just fine, so I don't feel as though I should pay attention to your complaints simply because a weekly paper that doesn't charge for an issue has deemed them printworthy. This week's rant is against people that complain about the heat, so while I sympathize with the stop with the complaining, I'm once again left feeling as though the author could take his own advice and not be complaining via media.

Which is what I'm doing. So it's a big happy circle.

Tomorrow marks the Pirates first trip to RFK, so while I'm encouraged by their splitting of a series today with the help of having taught Abraham Nunez to ignore fundamental baseball principles, I fear that I'll have to duel RJ in some kind of battle where we fling cars at each other. C'est la vie.

Um. I don't know. I like today's Doonesbury which seems oddly relevant considering RJ's most recent input onto the situation concerning people that I can't find a reason why they're famous.

Or at least a valid one.

"Tom Goes To The Mayor" makes me sadder than some kind of sad amalgam of a Betush Away Message written any time that ISN'T right after he wins a bunch of money and Joey Tolomei.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Felis Concolor

We've entered into a new era, ladies and gentlemen. This era has snuck up on us, quietly. Like a cougar in the night. Full Disclosure: I have no clue whether or not cougars sneak with any reasonable ability. I imagine they do, because they're somewhat closely related to leopards and jaguars, and every reasonable depiction of those in sculpture, hood ornament and fantasy art seem to indicate that they can sneak, but cougars, for all I know, could be like a Wampa. Not so much on the stealth thing as with the brute force, while not actually being real. Anyway, we've entered an era this summer, where I'm not content with one form of entertainment at a time. When society has progressed to a point where I am at the same time writing my thoughts on here, talking on AIM AND watching Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein sing a weird little duet on some show that appears to have something to do with Jimmy Kimmel.

To put it simply, we've gone horribly wrong when I am having to be entertained by 3 simultaneous activity.

Furthermore, I'm left stunned trying to figure out why Oprah is on at this hour. No one that watches Oprah is awake. Stop it.

I'm going to go finish my book now while watching the movie I've rented and trying to get away from posting yet again in this infernal blog.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Relatively uneventful so far today. After an hour wandering around with my dog and a book at the high school grounds and wasting some time watching television, I've realized that the thing about working that I'd completely forgotten is what to do when you don't have to be surrounded by grills, computer screens and fatty burgers, but what can you do. Wait impatiently to get to Grad School, I guess.

I visited Ed's grave today. Which makes that the third time since he's died that I've done so (the previous two being the day of his funeral and two days later, taking along Jenna to what turned out to be her first visit to a grave). I'm not sure what I expected in going there, but felt like I should. I think what I wanted to check up on more than anything was whether or not they've been able to put down a headstone. They haven't, but I remember it taking the Cemetery Office forever to get the year down for my great-grandmother's headstone. So I'm sure it's in the works. Without it, his grave is marked only by the still-fresh dirt, covered only by the dying flowers from his funeral. Even though that's quickly dying, I'm glad it's there. Still, even without a headstone, I can't believe what a great lot his burial spot is. It's under a shady tree in a somewhat crowded portion of the graveyard and standing next to it you have a reasonably good view of the surrounding hills. I can't imagine it's condition in a few months when the grass has once again grown over and people will walk thoughtlessly over Ed's body, exactly as I already do for those buried around him. In the entire cemetery, I saw only two other lots with freshly dug earth and only one that is in the same condition as Ed's, covered by the potted plants from a funeral. I saw that only as I was leaving and stopped to see whether the headstone was there, only to see that it was one of those stones that's sold to a couple and that the year of death for the recently deceased was covered by a leaf.

Leaving the cemetery, I saw a sign that read "Dogs must be kept on a Leash", which struck me as odd that anyone should want to walk their dog in the cemetery. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to think of a cemetery as one place of many where my dog shouldn't be relieving himself.

Enough with the morbidity, as this is starting to look like an account of Spring Break 2004 in Paris (Jenna and I frequented the famous resting places of Paris, which was kind of odd).

I'm going to go ahead and watch the game. No score yet. Daryle Ward at the bat.

My arm looks like a battlefield.

As I know the readers of this blog depend exclusively on myself for their news, I'd like to start tonight off with the fact that Edgar Ray Killen was given the maximum possible sentence for his conviction of manslaughter in the deaths of 3 civil rights activists. The presiding judge did say that he took no pleasure in pronouncing the sentence, and he shouldn't only because he should take no pleasure in pronouncing any sentence. Edgar Ray Killen is 80 years old and will die in prison before completeing his sentence (unless he becomes the first person to live to 140), but that is, after all, what he deserved for killing three innocent people that were trying to get the point across that maybe everyone should try treating people like people for a change and the fact that he's had 41 years to do whatever he wanted as a free man does not diminish that.

Along the same line, I'm currently reading this book. There are two things that I'm concerned about while reading this book. The first is that it paints a portrait of the Deep South that may not be true anymore (being written in 1958, it is 47 years old), which makes it more important as a historical work and to remind us of the horrors of the world before the civil rights movement. I'm not sure if that's true. The second problem I have is the presumption that it would take John Howard Griffin, a caucasian reporter, to write this book, rather than a true African-American, who would have had much more experience with the terrible situation of the Deep South before civil rights. His perspective DOES allow for the study of the differences between how whites and blacks were treated by the citizens of the Southern States, so perhaps it was necessary for Griffin to be the author of this specific book. I'll start a thread about this on R&M and stop talking about it here.

Switching gears so violently that I just dropped Austin's transmission, my puppy appears to love the scent of someone who's just put in 7 hours at a burger joint. That makes one of us. Nothing like working a summer job at McDonald's to make you want to get on with your life. That, or he likes seeing me recovering from the wounds I received from Jenna's cat in a knife fight over a red stuffed dog.

I've decided that I'm going to the first of my friend's weddings, which throws into the light my own pending knot-tying ceremony. Rather than speculate on that, I'm going to move along and pretend I have said nothing.

Additionally, the Pirates won today, though by less of a margin than they had when I saw the game briefly on my break at 9:15pm. Whatever. We needed a win. Still, snapping the 12 game losing streak against the Cards isn't enough. The Bucs need this series. Yes, it gets easier after this (save the next Nationals series), but we're not supposed to be content with beating only the teams that we should be beating according to ESPN.

I think I'm going to go to sleep now, comforted by the fact that I don't work tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rory's right. Coming up with the title is the hardest part.

I'm about to go to the Pirates/Nationals game where they'll try to regain some of that momentum they had during the last homestand, though they're only hanging around Pittsburgh until tomorrow's game, after which they head back to St. Louis. There's still hope that they'll be able to finish this series having taken two games and the matchup seems fairly even. Slaw-o may have to watch out for RJ getting hurled on to the field by disgruntled Pirates fans if the Nats start to pull away.

Meanwhile, everyone in the world has gotten a new blog, including Jenna, RJ and Betush. I'm working on getting D$ to get a blog, but sieving dirt is today's activity of the moment. I'll continue the good fight when I get back from the game.

Not too much I can think of to comment on at this moment in the news frontier, other than that Natalee Holloway is now the permanent top story, which confuses the living hell out of me. The family is threatening suit to be able to see the evidence in the case, completely disregarding Aruban law. They've also hired a Texas to continue the search, because they apparently believe that the entire Aruban government and a sizeable bit of the FBI are incompetent. If it were me, I'd be suing whoever keeps throwing the pictures around that show that either the Holloway family needs to find a place that does better red-eye reduction or that Natalee was possessed. The fact that her face has the same pose in every picture and looks like it was just cut and pasted on to bodies is also disconcerting.

The Klansman guy, Edgar Ray Killen, was found guilty of manslaughter for the killing of three civil rights workers exactly 41 years after they occurred. He took swipes at reporters while leaving and faces 3-60 years for the killings. Sentencing will take place Friday at 10, and I can only hope that they don't try to bring the sentence down due to the advanced age of the defendant. Living for 41 years as a free man does not, in my mind, make it ok to reduce his punishment.

MSNBC's new attempt at letting Tucker Carlson have a job is blasted in Slate this week. I thought it was funny, but that's probably just because I'm not a Carlson fan. Whaddya know.

...Nope. Don't have much to comment on about current events, despite what the last three paragraphs indicate. These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along.

Sunday, June 19, 2005



I haven't updated in a few days which, trust me here, was eating at me slowly. It started as a gnawing around my liver, then took my spleen, slowly making its way to my brain, where I was forced against my will to sit down at the computer and type this while the television's on.

Let's go with a review. I'm now employed at the "no real responsibility" job of the summer, working fast food in Harmarville. Aside from the occasional burning, feh, not that bad. Plus, it has officially convinced me that I would have to be out of my goddamn mind to eat anything from McDonalds ever again. And, interestingly enough, "flipping burgers" is now offically not at all what happens. I was unaware.

The Discovery Channel has narrowed the field on who the Greatest American is down to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan. Sadly, we've entered an age where Oprah Winfrey beats out Rosa Parks, and Elvis beats out Thomas Jefferson and JFK. Also, George W. Bush was #6, which I think has to be somewhat akin to Rolling Stone deciding that Eminem should have TWO of the top 500 albums of all time. Just because it's current doesn't mean it's better. Particularly with GWB.

Rick Santorum spoke out again, which gave me an enormous headache and made me hope that the people of Pennsylvania can do what makes sense and get him the hell out of office next year. Unfortunately, I have no control over that, as I'll be in Illinois and think that I can't absentee, as my residence is changing.

The Pirates come back from a 1-5 road trip tomorrow to face the Nationals, which means that RJ is the happiest man alive (as he gets to see his Nats this week). Today's loss against the Red Sox was particularly disgusting, as our Bucs made at least three mistakes that I remember cautioning about in Little League. Precisely because we were 12, and therefore making the mistake of...oh...leaving second completely unguarded while the shortstop and second basemen both go out to cut-off a throw from the center-fielder while there's a runner on first is actually somewhat understandable when you're 12. Not when you're in the Major Leagues.

I'm kind of tired now, so I'm going to go to sleep. Go ahead and comment, dear reader. I'll probably add to this tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

For "E-bone"

So, despite the whole trying to maintain a blog thing, I'm still very, very bad at figuring out what I am thinking in writing. Today, it's more difficult than ever. Almost every paper I've ever written has been for school. These papers...they don't matter much, for the most part. In my case, they were mostly papers about chemistry or german history. So there's little to do but to report what's happening/happened and attempt an objective analysis. Analyses of German Lit demands somewhat more creative input, but it's still relatively easy. Besides, as I'm sure we've all done, you don't have to really invest yourself in these kinds of papers. Put in your ideas, sure, but at the end it's a paper that's going to result somewhat quickly in a grade, followed by forgetting the paper was ever written. With what I'm writing tonight, I don't want to do that. This project is demanding that I actually sit down and think about what I want to say, and say it in a way that 30 years from now I can look back on it and remember having written it. Because that will mean that I remember its subject, which is the entire point of the piece. So what is it? What is it that's proving to be so difficult?

What I'm trying to write tonight is something of a tribute for a good friend. Today, I did something that I thought I was ready for. I wasn't, at least, not really. I attended the wake (or "viewing", if you will) of someone I met sometime around the 9th grade and who graduated one year before I did (though that particular occurrence was a few weeks later than everyone else, due to some deal with a current-events style class that never got made up.) This is a guy that I've spent a night camping in the woods with, gone to concerts with, been shot by (with a plastic bb), and from whom I got my first bucket hat (he gave it to me after deciding olive was a good color for me). Ed Stecz, a friend, passed away Sunday, 10 days after his 23rd birthday. I remember thinking, when I was a junior in high school near the end of the year, "Senior Year is going to be different without Ed here everyday." And I can say that, while I haven't been as in touch with him or anyone from home as I probably should have been, life isn't going to be the same now, without Ed. Perhaps I'm simply romanticizing this because of the shock of his death and funeral, but I can honestly say that Ed probably had a bigger impact on my shedding the shy act than anyone else. He was accepting, if nothing else. So, as this is getting long and I should get to actually completing this tribute to send to James (another friend who's putting a collection together to remember Ed,) I'll just say that, though by no means perfect, Ed was a bright spot in the world.

So here's to you, Edward F. "E-bone" Stecz. You made a difference. You succeeded.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Another round of Plus!Minus!(Riff!Raff!)

I found this interesting mostly because it's almost a game. That, and the vague distraction provided by clicking a point on the grid and watching the sequences go is actually better than what's on television right now, which apears to be how to make marinara sauce.

I, personally, am a fan of the "buy it" school of marinara preparation.

Now, because I feel like doing it, another round of Plus! and Minus!(or Riffs! and Raffs!, as per Rory's suggestion)

Plus! (Riff!)
The American Conservative Union and ACLU for releasing advertisements encouraging the fine people of Pennsylvania to call Arlen "Magic Bullet" Specter to get him to vote against the Patriot Act's expansion. Regardless of what my views on the Patriot Act are, I appreciate that they apparently purposefully left off Rick Santorum. That's how you know you've gone off the deep end on the right of the political spectrum. When the American Conservative Union won't even try to elicit calls to your office, because they know you're a lost cause.

Plus! (Riff!)
My sister, for graduating from High School. Good for her. And good for the "little tiny champagne bottle popper celebration" industry. Who made an approximate $300 from the senior class of one little high school in near-rural Pennsylvania.

Minus! (Raff!)
Mike Tyson is is finally retiring. You're now asking yourself, "Why is this a minus? He resorts to cheap trickery anymore and is a complete psychopath." Because a good sideshow is interesting every now and again. Because even though the man admitted to beating a former wife with a telephone during his "Beyond the Glory", there's nothing quite like watching a man who's clearly lost his mind.

Minus! (Raff!)
Mike Tyson's eventual return. Call it a preemptive strike, but I'm going to say right now that if celebrities are going to retire, they need to learn what "retirement" means and not just take a break.

Minus! (Raff!)
The Freedom High School graduates who showed up to the graduation ceremonies on Friday with Confederate flags one day following an incident in which a Confederate flag and dead deer were found on the school's flagpole. Which is insane in its own right. I know the arguments for considering the confederate flag a part of Southern Heritage rather than a symbol of hate,including that the U.S. Civil War was about many, many things other than slavery. But those students who brought the flags to school know how they're perceived particularly the day after something that looks like a threat out of the 1940's. While I support their right for freedom of expression, and would not seek to criticize them for that, tact comes in to play here. Besides which is the fact that they're in Pennsylvania, which adds to the Southern Pride Confusion.

Plus! (Riff!)
Valid criticism of the mentality that is overjoyed when the Pirates break the .500 mark with 102 games left in the season. Doubly valid in light of the Pirate loss to the Devil Rays today, marking only the fifth time this year the D'Rays have won without being at Tropicana Field.

Plus! (Riff!)
For a salad I had at 7:00 AM this morning, for being surprisingly delicious.

Minus! (Raff!)
For the waitress that filled my coffee cup twice during my hour long stay at the Eat 'n' Park. It seems less free that way and makes me sad.

That's enough of that.

I feel obliged to bring the tone back to normal after that round, so I'm happy to announce that I may, finally, have a shitty summer job until I can get to Chicago.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Break on through.

I'm going for it. Right now, the only way I can hope to get back onto a reasonable sleep schedule is by chasing this thing the whole way around. Just one day of fatigue should make it work so that it doesn't matter what temperature it is, I'll fall asleep tomorrow before sunrise.

I'm also going to check on the Round Three applications, and probably either give in and try to get a job working the graveyard shift for the summer (in which case today's bold struggle against insomnia would be precisely worthless) or resign myself to having to scrape by until Northwestern, at which point I'll commence scraping by in Chicago. However, as I should probably have some money to move out there on, I'll more than likely submit a few more applications today.

So it goes.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Senior Citizens v. Cheap Softcore Porn v. Dehydrated Carrots

One thing you pick up on when you have the sleep schedule I do is the very obvious and very, very strange disconnect between late night talk radio (specifically KDKA) and late night television (specifically advertisments). Wait until 4am, flip through any given set of cable channels and you'll come across either a Girls Gone Wild Goes To The Symphony advertisement OR phone sex lines OR Ronco Food Dehydrators. All of which, I'm reasonably sure of my reasoning here, are targeted at young-ish bachelors. Not bachelors that demand much from their entertainment (75 hours of girls lifting their shirts seems like it would get old), but bachelors nonetheless.

Radio, however, plays like a knitting circle. KDKA's "Undercover Club" caters to the septagenarians among us who are kept awake until 5 am thinking about how to get the grape juice stain out of their Buick. Every other commercial is for funeral services, the remainder filled in by disability services. One caller tonight was permitted to broadcast her opinions on something she got on her pants.

Not that I'm complaining about what she's saying. After all, as the button proclaims "I power Blogger". By "power", ...use. But back to the topic.

Is the belief that people that turn their radio dial are on average 50 years older than people that punch buttons on the remote? Are the elderly the targets of the television advertisements, in which case I'm never going to be able to look at anyone that can remember the 1940's the same way again? Is this filler, because though my readership includes people that happen upon this through my aim profile, I felt compelled to write something tonight?

The world may never know.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


While I like the idea of an online library, I can't envision myself having the patience to sit at the computer for the amount of time it would actually take to finish Ulysses, though that may be because I currently lack the patience to read Ulysses regardles of format.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

T-shirts, ads, and 6-1 victories.

The guy from T-Shirt Hell has reposted his Worse than Hell section after being allegedly poisoned and discussing his decision to take down the more offensive of his shirts with CNN. Good, I say, but only because I can occasionally enjoy some of the offensive humor that Aaron Schwarz sells. I wouldn't blame him for leaving it down after being attacked (though some have called him a coward, I think that's probably more at frustration at being denied entertainment), regardless of the implications that has in the freedom of speech realm. He's still donating "up to" 30% of profits to charities, which is nice. One more millionaire philanthropist doesn't bother me.

They found a Bach Aria written in 1713. Which is cool, particularly for pseudo-culturists like myself and the rest of the senior class whose only real experience of classical and romantic culture is the Beethoven's Symphonies course.

I've been meaning to link to this story, which serves as one of the funniest things I've read in a while that has to do with casual heroin abuse. Ad execs continue to miss the point and illustrate it by linking Janis Joplin's anti-capitalist, anti-materialist lyrics with the very product she's using to illustrate her point.

Incidentally every musician ever has written a song about heroin.

And today marks yet another day of standing around outside a courthouse with nothing new to say. Greta Van Susteren of Gretawire fame explored what on earth it matters what the jury of the Jackson trial is wearing. No one cared.

And to wrap up what's becoming more and more like a "Current Events" blog, which I'll work against later tonight in another post, the Pirates whomped the Orioles, while ESPN did its best not to give a damn.

As I said, I'll be posting later in a less "link-driven" fashion, but as I've got no readers...

Cold Fusion, Star Wars and Jackson

Scientists at UCLA have acheived Cold Fusion, though the process still requires more energy than it actually uses. As this makes for a relatively (read: entirely) inefficient energy production system, they're going to have to tweak it a bit. Still, it's a scientific victory, which, in the tradition of scientific victories, isn't actually useful.

Most news stations are too busy switching between the TOP (which is to say, more unimportant but more watched) stories, involving respectively a whackjob who had decided to stop traffic in LA in the tradition of those that have possession of big white cars, an Alabama woman who may have been kidnapped and killed in Aruba though they haven't actually determined that she was either yet (though investigation seems to point to her actual disappearance...the Aruban government seems to have dropped whatever on earth it was doing to look for this young woman and authorities and the media have been wrong about things like this before). Finally, most of 24 hour news channels is now devoted to staring at a courthouse. It's incredible. Media players, who more recently have decided to play themselves off as not actually in the media (as evidenced by the fact news personalities are grabbing blogs at this moment, have started to talk about how much they don't care about the Jackson trial.


They're filling space that could be spent not discussing the Jackson trial by talking about how much they don't care about the Jackson trial, which presents the viewer/listener with the question of why in the hell they should care about the Jackson trial. Then they laugh because everyone still watches.


So as not to be hyprocritical, let's move on.

Maddox has taken a blowtorch to Episode III, and it's actually quite funny. Though the plot holes he points out aren't, in fact, holes and the entire review is actually much milder than most, prompting me to believe his heart just wasn't in this one, he does make a few good points. On the other end of the spectrum, I've begun to travel even farther into dorkdom by reading over the philosophy in the Star Wars movies. Nothing like reading an essay on whether or not the young Anakin Skywalker is more or less morally ambiguous than Darth Vader to confirm that you are, in fact, a science major. Incidentally, according to Richard H. Dees, whose entire essay involves moral ambiguity at large in the saga, an interesting subject for a series of movies that is so obvious as to include the good and the bad being called "Light" and "Dark" respectively with little to no middle ground, Anakin as a young Jedi is much less morally ambiguous (his actions in slaugtering the people that have killed his mother, while understandable to the audience and perhaps even evoking sympathy considering his recent loss, are indefensible and establish him as an agent of evil) than Darth Vader (who clearly struggles with the moral implications of killing his master in Return of the Jedi, and though the reasoning behind his action, namely to protect a familly member, is nearly identical to his rampage, the result is infinitely more positive).

But enough with that topic.

The "I have one summer before I start going to grad school and just want to make some money at a shitty job" project continues, with three more applications submitted and one faxed all over the goddamn place. Hopefully, this will work itself out soon.

And, lastly, the Pirates were able to scrape together a win against the AL East leader in an impressive come-from-behind victory. Doumit got his first hit in the majors as well as his first start as catcher, and all is right with the world.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hurricane Nate

Today's Doonesbury finshed what last Sunday's started, with a list of soldiers killed in combat during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There has been some blowback from both those that support and those that believe that Trudeau's move is inappropriate, because the list is surrounded by things like Hagar The Horrible, which has somewhat less of a tradition of social commentary and criticism of questionable actions by the government and more of a tradition of "WHOO boy. That Hagar sure does eat." Which is fine. I, for one, think that the tribute is entirely appropriate, especially considering Trudeau's position on the war. As a critic, it shows that he too appreciates the sacrifice of those in the military, which is something I think that hawks sometimes misjudge. Being against the war does not equal being against soldiers.

ANYWAY, the Pirates were able to put together a 5-2 victory over the Braves (today with a nifty Charles Dickens reference), which raises their record to 26-29, or 0.473 in addition to putting them back in third place by half a game (as the Brewers fall to 26-30) and 9.5 games back of the Cards. They're 5-2 this homestand, much better than expected considering the Marlins and Braves are battling it out for first in their division. Tomorrow, we start against the O's, and we'll see how that goes. Additionally, Ryan Doumit has been brought up, with Ty Wigginton sent down in the process.

Good. He certainly didn't pick up any fans in Pittsburgh after whining to the press about being relegated to the bench after playing like he did in april (0.145 AVG), so maybe he'll find someone that will hang out with him in Indiana.

On an interesting note, Wikipedia gives a list of hurricane names to be used in 2005. That's kinda cool.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Plus! and Minus!

Taking a note from TV guide and several local papers, I'm going to start giving some kind of superficial and immeasurably unimportant notation to things that happen that I like and some equally superficial and unimportant, yet different, notation to things I don't like.

Call it "Plus" and "Minus" respectively, because I can't be bothered to come up with something more elaborate. If you think of something, let me know. Also, you should be congratulated for thinking of a suggestion and caring enough to send it in. Unless it's bad. Then, work harder next time, Johnson.

Plus! Soda Constructor which has been around for at least a year but which, until recently, I'd forgotten about. Neat if you can get it to work better than I can without having to resort to spelling things out that float in the air and quiver a little bit.

Plus! Canada for getting what I understand to be moderately close to passing Bill C-38, which legalizes gay marriage in Canada. I understand that people are offended by what they see as a drastic change in what has traditionally been a religious ceremony, but in that case athiests and the non-religious can be excluded. In a nation that does not have an official religion, abolishing the heterosexual requirement on civil marriage (without imposing regulations on churches, that is, if they feel like not marying gays, they don't have to) is the only sensible alternative to abolishing marriage outright.

Plus! Arlen Specter (?!) has become Pennsylvania's voice for federal funding on stem-cell debate. How on earth did that happen? My reason for lauding (in my own small little way) the man who came up with the "magic bullet theory" is that he seems to have partially recovered from his round of "completely freaking insane" to "on the right side of the stem cell debate in the opinion of a guy with a blog". I don't have time to go into the relative merits of the stem-cell topic now, and will probably post on that in the near future. Let's just say, I disagree with Bush on this one. No. Seriously.

Minus! Rick Santorum, because as Pennsylvania's other senator he's taken the opposite side on this debate, though this bash probably extends back to when he called homosexuality the equivalent of incest, child-molestation and bestiality. So, to recap, Pennsylvania's contribution to the Senate is someone who came up with the most improbable theory regarding JFK's assassination ever and a douchebag.

Minus!The Roads of Pittsburgh which, as I've long complained without much to back it up, were rated "poor" or "mediocre" this week by the Road Information Program. Interestingly, Pittsburgh did pretty well, with only 22% of roads rating poor, as compared to Kansas City, which not only has 71% of their roads in the poor category, but also has the Kansas City Royals, who suck.

Plus! The Kansas City Royals for winning today against the Yankees. It appears anything's possible, so tomorrow I'm applying to Harvard.

Plus! The Pirates have somehow been humiliating the Florida Marlins, who have been doing well this year but who I am pretty sure I hate because I don't like the color teal. If you disregard the article's title's reference to poor eighties television, you'll find that Rob Mackowiak achieved his second career grand slam 368 days after his first one and Jack Wilson, who's been struggling lately, went 4-for-4 today with a triple. Additionally, I heard the game while walking my dog, so Plus! for me for getting out of the goddamned house.

By the way, this Plus!-Minus! thing isn't going to be regular. I just couldn't think of how else to write it today.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Handwriting, Intelligent Design and the Value of a Good Steak

People love pseudoscience. I have no clue why.

Having thought for a second about leaving that post at those two sentences, I think I'll continue. It's not as though I'm a complete cynic, but good lord, the spread of pseudoscientific theories in media. Who on earth is continuing to come up with this stuff? Perhaps I should explain. I'm walking upstairs and I come across the remains of today's paper waiting to be taken to the recycling bin. It's open to the Lifestylesorsomething section and featured prominently is an article titled "Woman may never learn to stop worrying about Dr. Strangelove". I pause. I think "Hm. I've never seen Dr. Strangelove. Perhaps it's on soon," immediately being slammed down into the reality that no, this is an article about a woman who's so paranoid about her new significant other that she's mailed a sample of his handwriting (read: private letter) to a graphologist (handwriting analysis). The article continues to produce what is claimed to be a deep psychological profile of this poor gentleman based on the way he makes his "y" and how he crosses "t"'s. Specifically, his high crossbar on t indicates that he has lofty goals and is overly ambitious, but the fact that they're partial (I have no clue what that means. There's one t that doesn't have the line stretching over half of the word) indicates that he's not good at attaining his goals. Furthermore, his y indicates sexual frustration because the loop is triangular.

What the hell. Why is this in the paper? Yes, it's a small local paper and yes, this is technically the same section that is still waiting and hoping that "Mother Goose and Grimm" will eventually be funny, but come on, man. This is a step above phrenology, in that it actually incorporates some kind of creative expression, but has no evidence to back it up. "But graphologists often pick out the right kind of personality". Yes, but many cases involve extreme handwriting (such as, "in blood"). Horoscopes are occasionally right, but that doesn't make it science. Additionally, one has to accept a set of maxims to believe in graphology, including that handwriting cannot be modified without considerable and noticeable effort and that the part of the brain that deals with moving your hand to write correlates to the state of the mind as a whole.

But enough of that. It's not scientific, and it's troubling to think that people may base their life's decisions on what is determined from a triangular y, but it's overall not as bad as other pseudoscientific topics, like Intelligent Design (whose adherents take joy in having derived the theory that "doesn't necessitate the existence of God and is therefore scientific", except that it does necessitate, if not a divine being, a creator being which causes the question to become "Where did that thing come from", which does eventually end with the formation of some divine creature).

But enough of that.

Dr.Barry Beyerstein has an interesting paper on the subject of graphology.

Also, the Pirates won again today. Go Bucs.

And to fill out the title...steak is good.