A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Does anyone even watch SNL anymore?

So video evidence that SNL uses canned applause and laughter is floating about the net, which seems to violate everything about SNL being live. This doesn't really bother me. It's TV, and TV is lies.

What bothers me is that SNL is still on the air. No one, not a single person I know, still watches the show. I've asked around. I called people. Nobody.

At what point does Lorne say, "Well, we had a good run. Time to call it a night."? Can we go ahead and shoot this old yellow dog?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Art I can get behind

Most art is beyond me. I'm referring to the traditional definition of the word: painting, sculpture, etc. If it's visual and not on film, odds are I don't get it.

But this, this is cool. Destructive, explosive, random, and beautiful. I dig it.

Oh that's cute... let's eat it

A little while ago we were sitting in the CA office, we being the three CAs in my dorm (PV, Lake, yours truly), discussing why it is that the cuter the animal is, the better it will taste. Our basic example was that cow is good, but veal -- poor, tortured baby cows -- are delicious. It only stands to reason that while chicken is tasty, eating baby chicks would be heavenly. Lake, the resident vegan, was just thrilled with our opinions.

We ventured guesses about what cute animals would taste the best -- I have a theory that the reason I like tuna so much is the trace amounts of dolphin in it -- but PV topped the conversation off with, "I guess we won't be able to settle this until one of us eats a panda."

In that context, you'll understand why I found this especially hilarious.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A poet you should meet

This is Rives. He's a poet who specializes in slam poetry, poems written to be performed. I think you should meet him. Watch these:

Now go here, scroll down, and click on the video titled "COMPLIMENT." The sound isn't great, but you can still hear him. The first line, which is especially hard understand, is "I remember the first time you named me 'good morning'."

Do all of that. If you aren't hooked, then I just don't know what to do with you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Failure to Communicate: Arnold Scwarzenegger, rape, and the problem of being transgender

The Carolinian -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, my favorite former actor turned Republican Governor of California to date, signed a law at the end of September which limits the "gay panic" defense. This defense is becoming popular, or infamous, in cases of attacks on people who are transgender.

The scenario goes - as it did in the murder of Gwen Araujo, for whom the law was named - that a transgender person, we'll say one that was born a man, is living as a woman. That person then has sexual relations with a straight male. The straight male later finds out that the person he was with is not a woman. Then there is violence.

There is another crime here that is not discussed very openly, as it is usually overshadowed by the horrible details of these attacks. After being outed as a man, Gwen Araujo was beaten and then strangled to death by three men - previous lovers - who then attempted to bury Araujo in a California desert. No one outside of evangelical Christian clergy would defend these three monsters, who have since been convicted of their crime. There is, however, an uncomfortable point that needs to be made here.

Gwen Araujo was "living as a woman." This is how they phrase it. Living as a woman. But Araujo was living as a woman in the sense that if I put on a hook and get a parrot, I'm living as a pirate.

Full column

I foresee this column getting more hate mail than anything I've written so far (or at least so far this semester), so I should clarify a couple things. I'll be referring to male gender reassignment here, since it's the more common and more effectively done surgery. "Sex change" is a poor term for this procedure, since one can never change their sex. Gender and sex are different things.

First, I am not stating it to be my opinion that a man cannot change into a woman. It is a fact. A man can not ever change into a biological woman. He can be altered to appear to be one, but he will never be one.

Second, this surgery does not give a man a vagina. It changes his penis into something that looks like a vagina. This is just genital origami, it only looks like it's something else.

EDIT: So I was right about getting a lot of feedback from this column, though it's not nearly as hateful as expected. Or, at least from strangers it's generally positive. I've got friends from other colleges calling me up to argue, which is fun.

On a positive note, a friend of mine studying law at Wake Forest told me that just a few days ago in one of his classes the professor brought up the Gwen Araujo case while discussing the nature of rape. Apparently I'm not that far off.

And, most importantly, people love the final line. Eat that, Kathryn.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why do I do this to myself?

I'm now hopelessly behind on my reading. Just a few days after buying the complete Sherlock Holmes, I get the complete Edgar Allan Poe. I've always bought books faster than I could read them, but never in such sheer volume. Sometimes I can impress even me.

This 800-page collection of tiny print and disastrous words only ran me 8 bucks, which I have to admit is the real reason it was bought. A Poe fan I am, but a broke man I am as well. But I'm also happy with the literary timing of my purchase. I posed the question, where should I start with my Sherlock Holmes collection? After buying this one, it occurred to me that I wasn't asking deep enough.

It's not uncommon knowledge that Poe invented the fictional detective, making him the grandfather to Holmes, of sorts. I know this. I do not, however, have any damn idea what it means. So, before cracking open any Holmes case, I have some investigating to do. Cheerio.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

a softer world highlights

Some of my favorites. Blogger is a bitch, click on them to see full size.

I love the running theme of destruction as a form of creation. Makes vandalism much more romantic. It's also part of the reason I like Chuck Palahniuk so much, with his constant assertion that destroying part of yourself is the best way to create something much better.

But really, it's just fun to set shit on fire.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

One step closer

I have it. It's mine. Every Sherlock Holmes tale that Doyle put on paper is sitting leather-bound on the corner of my bed. It even has the ribbon coming out of the spine I can use to mark my place, something I associate with the Bible or encyclopedias -- books you should read in the sense that it contains neccesary information.

It's comforting and threatening at the same time. I have them all, but now I have to read them all. 1100 pages of elementary, my dear Watson. Where do I start? Cherry-pick or forge from the beginning?

It's rare that I can commit to any book for long. Only Sedaris or Palahniuk have been able to capture me sufficiently. Yesterday I spent an hour reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland after I realized I was halfway through it; Alice has just met up with the Cheshire Cat. Then I got distracted and attacked The Stranger by Camus, which has the details in all the wrong places. I'm 50 pages into Atonement, and it is now sitting atop half a dozen other books I've given the same amount of attention.

This one will look good on my bookshelf at least. Hopefully it won't end up being just used for aesthetic purposes.

Failure to Communicate: Alcoholism - The new way to say you're sorry

It's not that odd, to a person who even casually watches the nightly news, to see our brightest stars and celebrities fall to drug addiction. The stresses of Hollywood, sudden rise from nothing to rich and famous - certainly these people have as many reasons as they have dollars. These actors and musicians are rarely looked down on. They're getting help for a problem, and that's a good thing.

Twice recently we've seen national figures admit themselves to rehab: Mel Gibson after his drunken racist rant, and former congressman Mark Foley after his supposedly drunken messages to a young male Congressional page.

Let's contrast these two with two public figures that I have a much easier time stomaching. This past August, Robin Williams entered rehab for alcohol abuse. His publicist released the statement, "After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family. He asks that you respect his and his family's privacy during this time." There was no traumatic public event leading up to his decision. No embarrassing mugshot, no horrific online conversations released to the press. Williams just made the smart decision, and I respect him all the more for it.

The same applies for fellow comedian, and one of my idols, George Carlin. At the end of 2004 Carlin moved himself into rehab because of alcohol and pain killer abuse.

The important difference here is the reasoning behind these men's decision to undergo treatment. On the one hand, we have two that made the decision themselves.

On the other we have an actor who only accepted treatment after he proved himself to be a public menace and a politician who, after facing a ruined career and FBI investigation, claimed he was drunk when sending the messages.

Full column

Monday, October 16, 2006

Of course you know, this means war

I'm sitting idly in my room, flipping between a few choice Eminem and Jack Johnson tracks, when I hear a knock at the door. "It's open," I answer without looking up from the computer screen.


The first thud is echoed by rampant footsteps retreating down the hall. Thinking someone had kicked my door, I get up to inspect the damage, if any. I open it, look down, rub my eyes and close the door back. I had found this...

...and I wasn't sure what to make of it. Someone pranked their own CA. That's shaving cream you see, and it splatted much more than I could capture on camera. There was a good 7 foot splatter pattern going up the wall and down the hallway.

Here's how they did it, or how they explained it to me (and "they" will go unnamed because I'm not writing them up and neither is anyone else). They took a large manilla envelope and filled it to the brim with shaving cream. Then they placed it at the the crack at the bottom of my door, knocked, and stomped. The goal was to shoot shaving cream into my room, scaring another viscous substance out of me. Luckily the crack is too slim and it didn't go as planned.

But oh, the plot thickens. This was planned for at least 24 hours, because I found out my fellow CA, Lake, was the one that gave them the envelope, last night. She also scoped out the entrance to my room earlier today to make sure there was nothing expensive that could have been damaged. She's a sneaky one, so I showed her how easy it is to hide a palmful of shaving cream.

That picture was taken just before I coated the other side of her face as well.

And now it's on.

Splat painting

This is just fun. I used to want a Zen Garden, one of those little boxes of sand with a couple rocks in that you rake into little designs. Incredibly calming. For now, this will do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Faux News is back

The Carolinian - World Can't Wait! disbands, admits world can probably wait a while

The World Can't Wait!, a nation-wide activist group formed in 2005 with the purpose of driving out "the Bush regime," officially disbanded on Thursday, admitting that the world would probably have to wait a couple years to get rid of Bush.

"We've had about half a dozen protests in the past year and a half, and Bush is still around. I'm not saying that the world can wait, but, it already is," said group president Ryan Reed. "So yeah, it can apparently."

Last Thursday, World Can't Wait! staged a national walkout to protest President Bush. At UNCG it included about 50 demonstrators, some of whom dressed in orange, posing as Guantanamo Bay prisoners being kicked by a demonstrator dressed as President Bush.

One protester said it wasn't the group's constant failure that led her away.

"For me, it's not really even that I realized college students playing dress-up wasn't going to take down a president," said former group member Amanda Brandon. "It's more that I'm graduating in a couple months. I've got to get a job."

"I think we proved our point," claimed Reed. "The point is that through protesting and demonstrating for a cause, you can really make something tangible happen. We really did a lot of good. For instance, we gave a lot of students a reason to skip class last week."

Some former WCW members said they would be moving on to activist groups where they could actually make a difference.

"I'm thinking about joining S.T.A.N.D [Students Taking Action Now - Darfur].," said UNCG freshman Jamie Rose. "If there's anything that will stop a genocide in Africa that the UN won't even act against, it's a weekly meeting in the EUC."

This one's short enough that I can just post it here. But Faux News is back. Yay.

My favorite response to this one so far: "Wow. You just called everyone in that group a dick."

Like I said, Faux News is back.

Failure to Communicate: What it means to be Republican

The Carolinian - Our two-party system comes with a seemingly endless list of disappointments. I have yet to see a single electoral race, at any level of government, where I completely agreed with any candidate. The solutions don't seem possible. More third party candidates would be great, and an electoral system that actually let them compete would be even better, but, in America, them's the breaks.

Voting in this environment isn't easy. It's generally hard to participate in politics without feeling like you need a shower afterward; in a choice between the lesser of two evils, you still pick evil. We are voting for politicians, after all.

But there is an important difference between voting for a candidate and supporting a political party. In an election you are generally forced into one of three options: Democrat, Republican, or not voting. While voting for either a Dem or a Rep can be a painful process, it's better than not voting. Usually.

Full column

That makes four of us

Tucker Max, Smokey Robinson, me, and now Barbara Streisand all agree on one thing.

If you can't take a joke, then shut the fuck up.

My new favorite webcomic

It was this one that hooked me though. Sometimes it's just plain fun being atheist.

Newish Cheap Eats - Indian food

So this came out last Thursday... I'm slow.

GO TRIAD - It wasn't until somewhat recently that I fell madly in love with Indian food. Its charms are multiple: bold flavors, foods I can't identify, names I can barely pronounce and the opportunity to say "I had goat for lunch." Still, it was the spice that won my heart.

Indian spice isn't simply hot. It's a splash of taste followed by a wave of heat. It waters the eyes, gives you goose bumps and makes sure you're sitting down for the next round.

Like any activity worth pursuing, there's a certain amount of danger to it. I get an adrenaline rush anytime I order something and the waiter gives me a second look.

"Are you sure you want that? It's pretty spicy."

Full column

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Olbermann does it again

God I love that guy.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

(sound of me breathing)

Yes, I'm alive, and here's some John Mayer to prove it.