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

Monday, October 22, 2007

Maybe they'll make this blog change its name too

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." - Ernest Hemingway

I found a blog called "one true sentence" about all things Hemingway. It's interesting, but not as interesting as the FAQ located elsewhere on the site that answers a question about Hemingway's alcoholism with the following:

It has been reported that during the last twenty years of his life, Hemingway got himself into the habit of consuming a quart of whiskey a day. To many, such drinking behavior would indicate alcoholism. Hemingway did like to drink and was blessed with the ability to drink great amounts without showing the effects (don't know if this is a blessing, to some I imagine it is). Towards the end of his life when his health began to deteriorate and his doctors told him to lay off the bottle, he did, but only temporarily. Whenever he felt the urge, he would pick up the practice again. It wasn't the alcohol though that killed Hemingway in the end. It was a shotgun blast to the head. Hemingway was passionate about so many things in his life, alcohol just happened to be one of them. He carried this passion with him wherever he went. Alcohol truly was his moveable feast.

He drank a quart of whiskey a day, drank against doctors' warnings "whenever he felt the urge," and eventually ended it all by suck-starting a 12-gauge. That paragraph has to be the only time I've ever seen anyone defend Hemingway's drinking. This really is a fan site.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Farewell music video

Greensboro band Farewell has a new video out:

Can you still call them a Greensboro band once they're touring nationally? They were when I interviewed them, but a lot changes in four months. I'm going to say yes, since it makes Greensboro cooler by proxy.

A school of Big Tunas

Everybody knows that Jim from The Office is nicknamed "Big Tuna" by Andy. Everybody does know that, right?

I was surprised when I heard during the Steelers game tonight that it's also the nickname of NFL coach Bill Parcells.

Andy calls Jim that because Jim ate a tuna sandwich on his first day of work with Andy. Andy is not the brightest cat.

Parcells says he's called the "Big Tuna" because he once responded to a question with something resembling, "Who do you think I am? Charlie the Tuna?" Sports nicknames are also rarely based on some intelligent reason, mostly because people like John Madden come up with them. The "Big" part came in either from Parcells' size or his impact on the game (five current NFL coaches were once his assistant coach). Anyone who can retire three times from the same game has to have a Jordan-like impact on it.

Big Tuna is also an Israeli-made mockumentary from 2004. The largest Blue Fin Tuna ever caught was 1,496 pounds, caught off Nova Scotia in 1979.

Cutest infestation ever

Mitch, you stand corrected:

NEW YORK - Ladybugs, 720,000 of them, have been released in the middle of New York City to help protect one of the city's biggest apartment complexes from pests.

In the next days and weeks, they will crawl into plants, flowers and shrubs in the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village complex in search of insects whose smell attracts them - soft-bodied, leaf-sucking aphids and mites.

Buying the bugs - at US$16.50 for 2,000 - means the complex's owner, Tishman Speyer, can avoid using chemical insecticides.

THAT is the cutest infestation ever.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ain't that a shame

PHILADELPHIA — The city has decided that the Boy Scouts chapter here must pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its city-owned headquarters because it refuses to permit gay Scouts.

The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates. The city owns the land on which the council's 1928 Beaux Arts building sits.

Scouting officials will ask the city solicitor for details on the appraisals that yielded the $200,000 figure, said Jeff Jubelirer, spokesman for the Cradle of Liberty Council.

The higher rent money "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp," Jubelirer said. "It's disappointing, and it's certainly a threat."
Full article

I can't stop laughing about this one, really. I can't wait to rub it in the faces of some of the people back home, either.

"Ain't that a shame. Those politicians are keepin' kids outta camp cuz--"

"Yes, it is a shame that your homophobic group's bigoted policies are having negative consequences on the children you're trying to help. That is certainly a shame. So much so that Boy Scouts should be, in fact, ashamed."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Who's number one?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Before I die, I must see this happen

UNCG with a tan

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The real question is why wouldn't you want to live in Ron Paul's America?

That's why the real thing costs more

Have you ever been to a chorus concert and wondered if you were really able to focus and hear your friend above all the other singers, or if you just thought you could?

You could, and it's called the cocktail party effect.

I write this as my roommate Mark, the same one I tried the wormword-containing Four with, is using my headphones to try a program called I-Doser. The story of this one goes that by listening to these tracks, which play a thing called binaural tones, you can get your brain to mimic the feeling of certain drugs.

Exciting concept, really. You could be sitting in class with your iPod buds in, completely stoned. Mark's trying one called cocaine. I called dibs on ectsasy.

I found the cocktail effect when surfing through, or tumbling into, Wikipedia researching the binaural tones idea. Turns out there's science behind it--though the fact that it was discovered by a mid-19th century German means I won't be putting it in my mind--and the effect is to rearrange your brain waves from the beta ones that usually fill your waking hours to theta or delta ones that usually denote dreaming sleep. Or, in Mark's instance, the higher-frequency gamma ones that happen during something intense, like problem solving or fear.

The practical use of it is really closer to relaxation therapy than tripping on acid, a fact confirmed when Mark walks in and tosses the headphones on our coffee table.

"Well that was some bullshit."

All I needed to hear.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Power of laughter

From the post below I found a clip of Ferguson talking about his recently gone father, which I thought was exceptional. He breaks from the normal late night joke routine, but often when a situation is too important to be funny is when some of the more talented humorists write their best stuff. When Dave Barry lost his own father, or after September 11, he followed those events with two heavy-hearted columns that were two of his best.

Which, in a way, makes perfect sense, because humor is a way of looking at life as being beautiful. There are few situations that can't be laughed at, and when they occur it still isn't time to grieve or mope.

Barry once said, "A sense of humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge."

Even in those two somber columns Dave isn't mournful. The details he picks out, the corny politicians singing a patriotic anthem after the attacks or his father tossing aside his glasses to save young Dave in a pool, certainly evoke emotion, but they make you smile more than they make you sad. A different flavor of tears, I suppose.

I idolize Barry the way some of my friends idolize Edward R. Murrow. Murrow stood for truth and journalistic courage, and it goes without saying that we couldn't have a society without either. I look up to Murrow, too. But I still think a world without booger jokes is a world not worth living in.

Keeping your sense of humor is the most important thing in life. Well, top five. Taking yourself or anything too seriously is the worst thing you can do. Life is so simultaneously ridiculous and transient that you can't take an honest look at it and keep a straight face.

If you're not laughing, you're just not in on the joke. No soap radio.

I should be studying

Best take on addiction I've heard yet:

Sweet, sweet profanity

Now there's a headline I can fucking get behind. I don't agree with all of what they have to say afterward, but at least they followed it up with something--the balls to run it and the smarts to back it up.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lost in the Intertrons

Andrew and I were sitting in the Carolinian office, wasting time talking about how much we had to do and yet were not. I googled "Carolinian" and found that USC has a magazine called the Carolinian. Copycat bastards.

I scrolled down a few more links and found that there's actually a Carolinian language. Now we're getting somewhere.

It's only spoken on the Northern Mariana Islands, and even then only by about two or three thousand people, but I'm going to learn it. Not because it's named after the newspaper I work at (The Carolinian was first before all, if you're wondering) but because the CIA World Factbook says it has the highest female-to-male ratio of any country on Earth: 0.756 male for every female. (The United Arab Emirates has the worst, 2.19 male for every female.) Apparently the Guinness Book of World Records also said that Saipan, one of the country's islands, has "the most equable temperature" in the world. And they would know. They're Guinness.

So, best climate on Earth...most women per capita...tropical drinks....tropical women...and they already use the dollar as currency. I'm sold.

Or at least I was until I saw a country called Christmas Island:

A bare island named after Christmas with nothing but a airstrip on it? I'm coming for you, Santa. We need to have words about my sixth Christmas morning. That's right fat boy, I hold grudges, and 22-year-old Luke owns a lot more bats than 6-year-old Luke did.

Friday, October 05, 2007

This week's staff ed

THE CAROLINIAN -- They call it an "F-bomb" for a reason. When you drop it in some situations, it will create a reaction. The bigger the bomb, naturally, the bigger the boom.

National headlines were recently made when the Colorado University student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, ran a four-word editorial complete with four-letter expletive: "Taser this: F--- Bush." That particular expletive appeared uncensored at the top of a page in huge, bold font. Needless to say, it stuck out.
Full editorial here

Before penning this week's staff ed--which to save you 1,000 words says that the Collegian was wrong on its decision to run the editorial, but there are still times cursing is called for--I took a look at some other college editorials weighing in on the same topic.

Part of me just wanted to see what every other college paper in the nation that seemed to have something to say actually had to say, but another part of me wanted to make sure we weren't just repeating something some student daily had beaten us to. Since we were writing specifically about The Carolinian's occasional tendency to include what I'll call saucy material I wasn't too worried about the latter, and lucky for me I disagreed with almost all of the ones I read, so the former didn't stifle me either.

Editor-in-chief of the OSU paper, The Lantern, got pretty close, though like a lot of people he brings up the advertising budget argument, which if put in the wrong wording can easily be a horrible point to make.

As editor you have the biggest responsibility, and in some cases - like this one - you fall the hardest when the fire is hot. Not to mention the tremendous responsibility you have to your staff. Because of this foolish action businesses have pulled tens of thousands of dollars in ad revenue from the paper, which is how independent papers make their money, and staff members are facing pay cuts because of the loss.

Aside from whatever the hell "you fall the hardest when the fire is hot" means, he's approaching it from the right angle. The paper proved itself to be capable of foolish actions, so advertisers decided to pull their money and the staff had to take a pay cut. This is not, however, an argument against making controversial decisions for the right reasons. Sometimes making the right call will still piss off advertisers, so you can't factor money into a decision like that. It can't be completely ignored that you have to pay your employees, either.

My personal favorite, The Daily Tar Heel, seems to agree with our point that the Collegian wasted their opportunity, even if they included a choice moment of irony with their editorial:

The most ironic thing is that the words used are not at all indicative of the purpose of the right to free speech: to be able to present a dignified argument without fear of persecution.

In fact, it's a type of logical fallacy called an ad hominem, in which the writer, in this case, attacks some irrelevant aspect of the person behind the argument instead of the claims of the argument itself.

Indeed, it would be an ad hominem if a writer attacked some irrelevant and made-up point--how dignified a statement is, for instance--instead of your opponent's actual argument. Calling their argument undignified couldn't get farther from the point, because free speech has nothing to do with being dignified. The courts have defended that fact time and again.

Adding "dignified" to the description of free speech sounds oddly regal for a newspaper. Surely the Tar Heel has run a letter to the editor or two it did not think matched the Queen's English, but was still free speech and therefore printable.

The University of Alabama paper was just all kinds of wrong. In addition to defending the editor's job, they coined this little ditty:

The editorial board thinks McSwane should publish an apology, because in printing the entire word - and not dashing it out - some community standards were violated.

Now, in the context of what the Collegian editorial board claims they were trying to accomplish, how would one go about making a statement on free speech by censoring yourself? The argument is nonsensical.

One thing The Carolinian's staff ed didn't touch on (simply because we didn't discuss it when talking about the editorial) was the big question everyone has been asking, whether the Collegian's editor-in-chief should keep his job or be fired. A board voted last night to let him keep his job, choosing to "admonish" the editor rather than fire him.

Admonish is defined in the BSC Manual as a reminder to the editor of his responsibilities and an encouragement to "modify" his behavior.

The board wagged their collective finger at him. Even if the members of the board thought this was the proper course of action, how can they defend it when also ruling, "It is our judgment that your decision was unprofessional and unethical." If they ruled his decision was unethical, and he still defends that decision, how can they trust him to continue holding the position?

Part of me can't blame the guy for standing his ground. He has the backing of the whole editorial board, and that speaks volumes. Another, larger part of me wonders how a group of people could get behind a decision so stupid and clearly not worth defending.

My cousin who goes to CSU says he supports the paper's decision. Apparently a lot of students up there do. The two areas of fallout that matter now are the paper getting advertisers and the much more important issue of readers trusting them in the future. If my cousin is in the majority, they might be alright.