Sunday, October 31, 2010

Internationally Renewed Vigor

In honor of Halloween, I've decided to give you all a trick and a treat, which is 100% more than you could expect from any given house in your neighborhood. That is, if any of my readership is young enough that they could go trick or treating. And they most certainly are not. In fact, I wonder if the decline in desire to trick or treat correlates with the realization that they sell candy at the grocery store and you can buy that whenever you want. But I digress. The treat is that I'm giving you an update. The trick is that it is an update about why there are less updates. But there is yet another treat in that it will be more like my normal updates (i.e. long and filled with hilarious digressions)rather than my typical "I should update more" post (which is normally about 75 words, 50 of which were written out of guilt).

It is the worst kept secret in the world that I do not update the English Muffin Power Hour regularly. In fact, with this update, October will be my busiest month of blogging for the year with 3 updates and will be the most updated month since last August. Fortunately, after some thought (read: two minutes between innings of the World Series), I think I've isolated the reasons why the English Muffin Power Hour has been only slightly less neglected than all other Power Hours in the world.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Winning Formula

I am a man of conviction. If my previous loquacious musings had not tipped you off to the fact, now you have it in unambiguous, introductory paragraph style. Once I am convinced of something, I remain it takes a lot to shake that belief. For years, I believed that few things could top the comedic styling of the Muppets. Sure, their hay day has long since passed, but so has Monty Python's and they're still awesome. Incidentally, Monty Python is one of the few things that can top the Muppets, but that's another story. Similarly, I believe that it is very hard to beat both the rock and the roll of Queen. But it never occurred to me that combining Muppets and Queen would result in unadulterated awesomeness.

But that's not all! Someone took the formula one step further by mixing David Bowie, Queen and the Muppets. It's not quite as awesome as the first video, but it also is just a guy with a video camera and a few puppets. Not exactly the same level of sophistication you get from working with the Disney Corporation.

By the way, I just noticed that most of the things I really like were at their peak before I was born. It may seem weird, but if I ever get sent back to 1985, Marty McFly style, I'll have no trouble fitting in.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Extreme Measures

First and foremost, let me apologize for the lengthy, unexpected hiatus from blogging. There have been some trying times these past few weeks because I lost someone very special to me, someone I never expected to lose. I speak, of course, of Triceratops, the coolest non-carnivore dinosaur there is.

Oh Triceratops! You were so young! Why? Why did you have to never exist?

It's just not fair! How can you cease to exist? I have so many fond memories of your fossilized exhibit battling the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Museum of Natural History. Did that never happen either? And then there are the further questions it raises. For example, if the Triceratops never existed, then where did the Blue Ranger get his powers from? Sure he may have been the least popular power ranger, but that's no excuse for Zordon to lie to him! Congratulations, modern paleontology, you've made Zordon a liar. I hope you're happy!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Now, I am a person who has a firm grip on reality. Sure, I may have fevered hallucinations of German Rivers and ways of defending Peyton Manning's honor and I may occasionally pit denominations of currency against each other in a tournament, but I am a pretty down to earth guy. It takes a lot to shake me. But, lo, I was shaken. Troy Polamalu, safety extraordinaire and Madden Curse victim, has his hair insured by Lloyd's of London for... ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

Behold! The hair that is worth more than your house!

How exactly does he collect on that insurance? Will he have to file for damages if someone tackles him by it? Will the barber be held liable if he cuts it too short? How do you quantify the damage to the hair if it is dyed orange by a squad of covert Bengals fans? Little known fact, the Cincinnati Bengals have a spec ops division. Also, if his hair is damaged beyond repair or destroyed, will he have to use the money to get a replacement hairstyle? If so, I strongly recommend growing that hair style if you can. It could be your ticket to a million dollar payday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Timely Post!

Okay, so I did have a crazy explanation worked out for why I haven't posted in nearly seven weeks, but I'll save that for next time. The important thing is I am blogging about something while it is still news. And that something is my former love: the Daily Show. I was a huge Daily Show fan back in 2003-2005, but the show ultimately became a victim of its own success. Specifically, what made the old Daily Show Great was the plethora of talent that would later move on to have very successful careers of their own (Steve Carell, Ed Helms, and Stephen Colbert most notably). On any given night, there would be a number of well written, succinct comedy reports and it made the show the best paced half hour on television. The problem today is the Daily Show could not even retain the meager talents of Rob Corddry and has to rely on Jon Stewart to carry the program more and more. This means that funny ideas have to be stretched further and further and the show had to rely more and more upon ideological preaching rather than comedy. As a result, the Daily Show became less about comedy and more about reinforcing the beliefs of the Huffington Post. But I digress.

The real issue is Murfreesboro made it on the Daily Show last night. For those interested, the Murfreesboro segment begins at the 4:45 mark

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tennessee No Evil

Have you watched it? Good! First things first, I must give them kudos for avoiding stereotypes themselves. It would have been too easy to get a few ignorant man on the street interviews (which, as Leno has shown us, are easy to do in any gathering of people) and run with the angle of "Tennessee is full of illiterate morons". But the rest of the segment leaves much to be desired. There were a few great moments such as "Ahmed, she knows about the training camps! You idiot!" and "The only thing stopping the Muslim takeover of middle Tennessee is the Muslims of middle Tennessee". However, the rest of the jokes are stretched so thinly that it actually turns the segment into a one dimensional object.

First, the interview with the mosque opposition founder abuses jump cuts more than my cats abuse a three legged, overweight mouse. It's not only bad comedy (since you can take most anything out of context), but it is devoid of journalistic integrity. When Stephen Colbert does his interviews, they are always shown in chronological order and you always see Stephen ask the questions. You always have context. Now, before I go on, that does not justify every crazy thing the leader of the group said, but it does raise several legitimate questions such as "Why don't we hear the context of the craziness?", "Shouldn't that only emphasize how much she is overreacting?" and "What was the question again?". You don't even need to look closely to tell it had been substantially re-edited, you just have to listen to what is said. The first words out of her mouth in the video are "your beliefs are...", so clearly she knows that Mandvi is a Muslim by that point (because who else could "you" be). But then it ends with the reporter mentioning his beliefs and she acts like it's some type of big surprise (which I'm sure it was when it happened, but it isn't in the context it's presented). I guess the joke relies on you having a very selective memory that forgets silly little things like jump cuts and the subject of the sentence. The sad part is I think that the entire jump cut fiasco was set up to make the joke about "and pork is not allowed as an entree" at the end of the crazy list. But the joke loses its impact because it was edited to be that way. I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but for all I know the question was "What are some requirements of being a Muslim?". You could answer (and be 100% correct) that "You have to pray five times and pork is not allowed as an entree." By the end of the interview, you can infer that Mandvi must have been extremely condescending when she tells him "we aren't fools". It seems very hostile in the context it's presented, but then again, we almost never hear what the reporter says to her.

Also, I saw the line "Nobody's perfect" got a few laughs, but upon thinking a bit more about it, I don't think she could have given a better answer. Now before I go on, let me clarify what I just said. There are better answers to that question such as "So?" and "What's your point?" and "Good for you". But you have to put yourself in the shoes of the interviewee, who clearly views radical Islam as a prevalent problem in the Muslim community. By her own "numbers", admitting to being Muslim means having a 3 in 10 chance of being a terrorist so she couldn't act like its nothing (because clearly she doesn't feel that way). The worst thing would have been to say nothing and look shocked (which is what Mandvi was hoping for, I'm sure) because there are any number of insults you can run with from there. If she had said something like "I'm not surprised", it would be perceived as racial profiling. If she ended the interview there (if she thought that the interview would consist of loaded questions), she would be skewered for refusing to be interviewed by a Muslim So when I say "best answer", I really mean "Not the worst".

Now, all that defending aside, you really have to question her judgment in agreeing to be interviewed by the Daily Show. I mean really, has she not paid attention to what they've been doing for the past ten years? Did she not think for one moment to check her beloved Google and see that the show airs on Comedy Central and was not drawn to her because of their great respect for the issue?

Next, they jump over and interview the PR department of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Now, what happens next is nothing short of extremely mundane. Of course the head of the public outreach isn't going to conform to the stereotype. That's the entire point of a spokesperson! It would be like going up to RNC chairman Michael Steele and saying "Wait? You're a Republican? You don't look like an old white man to me!" But no one would do that because kissing up to someone IS NOT FUNNY! At this point, Mandvi realizes he is on Comedy Central and better include some jokes. So he rips off Abbot and Costello's "Who's On First" joke. For those of you who have lived in a cave on Mars for the past 73 years and don't know what I'm talking about, here is what you've missed (N.B. The first 1:10 is set up for the joke):

The problem with the way Mandvi does the joke is two-fold. First, he does not properly cite the source of the joke. I don't know why they cut to footage of the Three Stooges. Maybe Mandvi didn't think the joke was written by the Three Stooges and wanted to make a reaction like Moe or Curly, but he couldn't because that would require skill at comedy. It would've been better if they had done the bit and ended with footage of "Who's On First!", "That's what I'm asking you!". The next problem is THE JOKE MAKES NO SENSE! I mean seriously, they are really, really stretching with this one. If they stretched the setup any further, their shoulders would unhinge. Yes, "a mom" sounds a little bit like "imam", but the structure of the sentence makes it completely unravel. First and foremost, you would never say "I am imam" like you would say "I am a mom". You would either call yourself "an imam" or "the imam". Next, the woman describes herself "I am a stay at home mom," which sounds nothing like imam.... and wouldn't make sense if you were to put "imam" in the sentence. Look, the key to this faux-news comedy is that you either have to set up your jokes perfectly or quickly adapt to what the interviewee is saying. You can't just shoe horn jokes in the segment because you feel like it. Also, it's a bit of a stretch to call Middle Tennessee Blvd (the address of the Islamic Center) a "busy road", especially beyond the Church St intersection, but that would require an attention to detail that the Daily Show clearly isn't interested in.

Now I am rapidly approaching 1500 words and I haven't finished this 6 minute segment, so I will wrap things up. I think that approaching Ben Leming is telling about just how little the Daily Show cares. They approached Leming because he is 1. a Democrat (note how Jim Tracy, a Republican who supports the mosque, is completely ignored), 2. served in the military and 3. would say what they wanted to hear and 4. most importantly, direct the expendable money of the Daily Show audience to Ben Leming's coffers. I'm not making this up (coincidentally, my friend Lema likes this post). The problem is that the primaries that Leming ran (and lost) in were nearly three weeks ago. Now I admit I may have been nitpicking when I said every other nearby stretch of road was busier than the "busy road" the Islamic Center, but come on! Could you at least pay close enough attention to figure out if the guy you're interviewing has campaigned at any point in the last three weeks?

In conclusion, the story about the Islamic Center has as much to do with Murfreesboro as it does Toronto. The show clearly couldn't care less about the situation in Murfreesboro and just wanted to make it an example for why there should be a Ground Zero Mosque. More importantly, it spends more time preaching than it does making jokes, which seems to defeat the purpose of comedy news. More and more, it seems that the comedy label is only used to excuse the show of accountability than to account for laughter.

Also, I think we're getting a rare glimpse of how to rebrand an issue. Supporters of the mosque or religious freedom or of offending those affected by 9/11 (take your ideological pick) want to call it the "Park 51 Islamic Community Center". Honestly, I'm sure they wish they could drop the "Islamic" from it and completely chastise the other side. But that is a terrible title. Not for reasons of Political Correctness, but because it tells you nothing about the issue. Before anyone complains, yes, I know the proposed mosque is two blocks away from Ground Zero, but you're missing the pointThe title "Ground Zero Mosque" stuck because it immediately tells you everything you need to know about the issue in the title. To oversimplify a complicated issue, the conflict is basically over the right of Religious Freedom versus Being Sensitive to those Affected 9/11 Terrorist Attack. Most everyone knows what a mosque is and most everyone knows what you mean by Ground Zero. "Park51 Islamic Community Center" does nothing to explain anything. Not many people know what "Park51" is at a glance (my guess would be it's the day care for Area 51). And what does a community center have to do with anything? It's a weak title that is patronizing at best and misleading at worst.

P.S. I have come dangerously to expressing a political opinion. I humbly apologize. If it is any consolation, my next posts have to do with dinosaurs, football, and Halo.

P.P.S. Much love, Lema!

P.P.S. I'm just shy of two thousand words on this one. Wow. I take ranting seriously.

P.P.P.S. I crossed over two thousand words with the last update. I honestly don't expect anyone to finish this update in a timely fashion.

P.P.P.P.S. I also would like to add that there's a difference between using rearranged jump cuts for the entire interview and using it to make a sound bite fit in a story. Most legitimate news stories, called packages in the industry, only run about 90 seconds. As a result, you sometimes have to edit what a person says so that all the relevant information is given to the viewer in a timely fashion. So, editing the chronology of an interview is not bad or lacking in journalistic integrity, but using that technique to make someone look like an idiot is. Especially when that person did not need your help to do so.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

World Cup Predictions

I can't come up with one topic that I want to drone on and on for 500 words about with frequent digressions like I normally do. So I'll just briefly hit up on a few subjects.

World Cup Soccer

It figures that as soon as I hype soccer, the US team fails miserably. We not only got beaten up by Ghana, but the US team really could make no claim to victory. We gave up early goals, took no good shots for the final hour of the game, and only got out goal because of penalty kick. I'm not giving up on the World Cup, but it's undeniably less interesting without a personal stake in the games. So, in a desperate effort not to get bored by the world's sport, here is my take on the quarterfinal matches with only a vague understanding of soccer players, strategy, and history.

Netherlands vs. Brazil

The Flying Dutchmen vs the Fighting Carnavals. Truly a showdown of epic proportions as both teams have a ton of experience being a part of Western Hemisphere empires with ridiculously tiny (and otherwise irrelevant) European counterparts. The Dutch owned interesting parts of the Northeast and Caribbean (lest we forget New Amsterdam) but then they got bored with being historically relevant and let the English run everything. Fun bonus fact: Brazil "won" its independence when Napoleon took over and the king of Portugal fled to Brazil, which his son ran. Once Napoleon was defeated, the king's son said "Yeah, I'm gonna be a sovereign nation now so you have two weeks to get your stuff out of my country". What's the point of all this? That Brazil does whatever it wants, whenever it wants. It doesn't care what European powers think. You like players with last names? Whateva, Brazil does what it wants. They'll play 11 guys with one name, with at least three Ronaldos.

Advantage: Brazil

Uruguay vs Ghana

In accordance with ancient warrior beliefs, by eating the heart of your enemy, you gain his strength. Ghana ate the heart of the American team last week, but little did they know that the American team's heart was clogging by years of fast food and sodium rich products (like the KFC Double Down with extra french fries). I predict the Ghana team will collapse in the second half due to high cholesterol. Also, I have to give Uruguay credit, when critics said that their team was too Guay to succeed, they responded with "we're not Guay, Uruguay" (I immediately regret that pun).

Advantage: Uruguay

Germany vs Argentina

The Fourth Reich vs the Don't Cry for Me. I'm going to warn you right now, I almost understand relevant context to this game. These two teams met in the last World Cup and Germany won on penalty kicks. In response, the Argentine coach viciously mocked the German accent by pronouncing his w's as v's (and I'm not making that up). Equally relevant is the fact that Argentina has finally overtaken Germany for the global lead in "Number of High Ranking Nazis in Country". But I feel what Germany lacks in aging war criminals, they make up for in ruthless efficiency and reliable luxury automobiles. Plus, Germany was my non-patriotic pick to go all the way (which was only reinforced after the curb stomping of the English). My apologies to those across the pond who had to take such a beat down. If its any consolation, I doubt America would've done better.

Advantage: Germany

Spain vs Paraguay

Every fiber of my being will be rooting against Spain in this game. I still haven't forgiven them for ransoming Ricky Rubio and making the Minnesota Timberwolves the laughing stock of the NBA. That title belongs to the New Jersey Nets! How dare those Spanish fiends deny New Jersey yet another "Most Disgraceful _______ In America" Award. Thankfully, the Nets searched deep within themselves and found an entirely new way to suck that the Spanish had never considered. They began sucking on a metaphysical level. What were we talking about again? The World Cup? Oh right.

The thing is the Spanish team is loaded for bear and with bears. They have every great Spaniard on that team. That includes the Spaniard (Maximus from Gladiator, although he should have been called the Iberian), the Spaniard (Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride) and the Spaniard (The Last Boss from Assassin's Creed 2). Those three alone have collectively kicked ass enough to circumnavigate the globe. Which the Spanish did first, or at least, they funded it since Magellan was technically of Portuguese descent. But there's nothing wrong with signing away promising talent to further your own goals. It is the American way! I mean, it is the Spanish way.

Besides, I challenge you to name one person called "The Paraguayan".

Advantage: Spain

Well, I had other things I wanted to discuss tonight, but I've already eclipsed 800 words. So I'll save the rest for another day.

P.S. I was right about Pete Carroll and impending USC sanctions. All I have to say is "SUCK IT, KIFFIN!".

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lightning Post!

So as I start writing this I am a mere 30 minutes away from the start of the US vs Ghana soccer coverage, which will determine once and for all which set of star(s) and stripes is best (spoiler alert: it is America's). Now, normally I don't care much for any game that doesn't involve bats, tackles, or slam dunks designed to humiliate your opposition. I've actually managed to get real excited about soccer. I even have a better understanding of what "offsides" is than most of the referees. FIFA could not have schemed a better way to get Americans to watch soccer.

We begin the world cup against a country we have a long history with and that most Americans can locate on a map. Better yet, America fights England (a top 5 team by some accounts) to a draw (which is somehow acceptable in soccer). So people and media are able to be rightfully optimistic about the chances for Team USA. Everyone loves a winner (and, in this case, tie-ers) so people start caring. Then America nearly gets buried by Slovenia, a country most people think is Slovakia, in the first half. All hope seems lost for American soccer until they mount an unprecedented comeback, being denied victory only due to the blinding incompetence of the Malian Referee and FIFA's refusal to actually use technology in the most important soccer games of the 4 year cycle, but more on that later. The fact the US was denied a goal on offsides was a stroke of brilliance. First, nothing gets people more riled up than being wronged by "the man". Next, people actually had to understand the rules of soccer in order to be properly outraged. The American public actually attempted to learn a rule in soccer beyond "No Hands". Finally, there was a very simple scenario for the Algeria game: Win or Go Home. I don't recall the specifics from 2006, but I do recall we had a very intricate requirement to advance (which we failed on all counts). But it was something like "win by two goals while another team ties while scoring less than three". Those type of complex rules are fair, but bad for getting people involved in the stakes of the game. Nothing is worse than a meaningless victory. Once again, America gets screwed by the referee not understanding the definition of offsides, but this time people didn't have to wait to be outrage. But then, when all hope seems lost in stoppage time, Team USA rallies and scores in the most dramatic fashion soccer can provide (scoring with two minutes in soccer is like scoring with two seconds left in football or 2 outs in baseball; you can't realistically get another scoring shot after that). Finally, Team USA wins their group for the first time in 80 years and gets a relatively easy game against Ghana rather than against Germany.

If the games had occurred in any other order, people would not be as excited as we are now. We would be concerned about and disappointed in the team if the Slovenia game was first. We would've been disappointed by the result if we played England last. We would have been apathetic if the Algerian game was anywhere else. We would've tuned out if we had drawn Germany in the round of 16. Well, I am a mere ten minutes away from the kick off now, so I will save my complaints about the World Cup for another day. For now, I am going to bask in the improbable events that led to this.

One final thought: A win here would be huge for national pride. Think how cool we'll look when we win. We would have one of the top 8 soccer teams in the world and not even act like it's a big deal. We'd just pop on our shades and walk away in slow motion

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Those Limey Fruitcakes!

Well it's that time of four year cycle again when I desperately try to care about soccer known as the World Cup. The World Cup kicks off tomorrow with the two greatest countries on Earth duking it out: Mexico and South Africa. Woo hoo? Then we get the heated rivalry between... Uruguay and France? Yay? It's hard to pinpoint why I can't get more excited about the World Cup. It's not that I hate soccer, as I was once the Grim Reaper of Soccer (which is a blog post for another time). Part of it is undoubtedly that outside of the USA & the countries I hate (I still do not understand how North Korea got into this tournament. Won't the entire team defect at the first opportunity? Barring that, won't a red card result in execution? It seems like a high risk, low reward team, although I guess an extra ration card would be pretty tempting but I digress), I do not really get many of the rivalries. I understand the winner of the match between France and Germany gets Alsace-Lorraine but besides that, very few matches mean anything. Without the bigger picture, its just a bunch of guys running up and down the field for 2 hours, maybe scoring once or twice and flopping wildly every other kick. However, just like in 2006, I will give soccer a chance & will watch as many matches as I can.

However, it is impossible for me to ignore the biggest and best match of the first round: the United States & England. This is a rematch of not only the American Revolution, but also the War of 1812. Sure, it's one thing to be a free and sovereign nation but without having a really good soccer team, what's the point?! Besides, you know, inventing much better sports such as baseball, basketball, and football. But besides that, there is a much more sinister angle to this match.

As everyone with a pulse knows, the worst oil spill in the history of all creation has been going on for the past eternity (at least in terms of news coverage). And who happens to own the oil well that won't stop leaking? British Petroleum! Like every good American, I refuse to acknowledge that there is a difference between Britain and England (Wales can suck it!). Obviously, BP is a co-conspirator with the English National Team. But how does BP destroying the Gulf Coast help the English "football" (or "footie" as they call it across the pond, as told to me by a bonafide limey) team?

"I'm here to kick ass and drink cups of tea... and I'm all out of tea!"

First, the initial oil spill is just now reaching the scenic Gulf coast, ruining the best beaches in America. Since the spill has kept spilling for weeks and weeks, the beaches could be under siege for the duration of the World Cup. This means that the World Cup has one less major competitor in the category of "Stuff to Do in the Summer". Thus, more people will tune into the World Cup. Simultaneously, the American team will be depressed because they know that even if they win the World Cup, they still won't be able to enjoy the Gulf beaches afterward. In their weakened emotional state, the American team will be vulnerable to the relentless dry humor and sarcasm of the English team. Every time we try to pass the ball, an Englishman will say "Oh yes, that seemed well practiced" or "Maybe you'll be on SportsCenter for a few seconds today". Eventually, the American team will fall to the taunting and be humiliated by the Limey Fruitcakes (that's the name of the English National Team). Since the beaches are closed down due to Oil Suffocation, a greater number (read: any) of American households will be exposed to the humiliating taunts of the Limey Fruitcakes. This will cause nationwide depression and leave us vulnerable to invasion by the hated Redcoats!

This could be Murfreesboro!

At least, that's how the English plan things will go. Of course, the United States of America has a proud history of foiling English plans. Remember the Revolutionary War? I think history will repeat itself. That is to say, we'll play hard for the first half but be hopelessly overwhelmed. Then we'll bring in a couple French players to push us over the top!

P.S. I know I said I would talk about Iron Man 2 & Robin Hood. So here are my abridged reviews

Iron Man 2- Don Cheadle is Iron Man too! Good fun, but a bit too much in love with sci-fi. You know it's bad when you're starting to lose three college aged men who love video games with your techno-babble.

Robin Hood- It's just like Gladiator in medieval England. Except for the end, when it becomes Saving Private Ryan in medieval England. Shot for shot, it is the Normandy scene from Saving Private Ryan but with armor & arrows instead of machine guns and grenades. They even have a man get set on fire.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maypocalypse Now

Fact: Over the past two years, I have updated the English Muffin Power Hour at random intervals. Yet none of them ever occurred in the month of May. Why?

First and foremost, May is the shortest month of the year, in terms of the number of letters. You might think that it's a petty and trivial reason, but I've never let that stop me before. It's just impossible to respect a month that refuses to use so much of the alphabet. Second, MTSU does a fantastic job of demanding I write as many papers as possible at the end of the semester so the last thing I want to do. Also, the first half of the month is basically the End of the Days. Between finals, moving out, moving in, unpacking, and fending off wolves with my bare hands (although bear hands would make it easier), I consider myself lucky to have all my limbs intact this time of year. Most importantly, since all of my friends are equally exhausted by this point in the year, it means no one has the energy to leave town for an extended period of time. In my brain trust alone, I will have friends visiting California, Alaska, Belgium, South Africa, and the very center of the Earth starting in June. So I figure it's better to hang out with them before they get carried off to the sea by crabs/tricked by hippies/be appointed Duchess of Waffles/held hostage by the Prawn Aliens/become king of the mole people. In fact, despite my every intention to update this month, this is my third attempt at this post

Unfortunately, it seems as though justifying a lack of content is not quite as entertaining as actual content. So I figure I'll talk a bit about some of the many adventures I have been the last post.

Graduation: It's hard to believe that I'm a college graduate. Maybe I had raised my expectations too high, but I was a bit disappointed by my diploma after I picked it up. It was a very nice sheet of paper and it came with a lovely case/coaster (that reminds me, I need to go frame shopping later). Personally, I expected the diploma to descend from the heavens carried by the most majestic gryphons in the land, illuminated by a single ray of light that parts the gray clouds, lettered in gold on a diploma carved from platinum and a case embroidered with mithril. What else could I have been working towards over the past 18 years of education? The ceremony itself was another story. The events leading up to the ceremony were panicky and chaotic even by my standards.

But first, a little explanation is required. For the second year in a row, the RA on my floor ingloriously abandoned ship with less than six weeks left in the semester, which meant I was responsible for checking out a floor of freshman. Then the Nashville Flood delayed my Monday night exam to Friday night, which meant I was still giving scholarly presentations with 18 hours before graduation. The net result of all this was I had no time to set out an outfit for graduation. I was one well placed packed box away from having an Angus Young look; I had remembered my dress shirt but could not find any dress pants and had to make do with shorts. Fortunately for the integrity of both Graduation and AC/DC, I found a pair of long pants in a box I had in my car and got to graduation a mere half hour after I was supposed to (Depressing Fact: I still was not near the last person to show up).

The actual ceremony itself was another story. The whole thing was delayed by thirty minutes because the earlier graduation didn't get done in a timely fashion. I feel like MTSU's graduation classes are getting big enough that we should really have three graduation ceremonies: Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. Then we wouldn't have to try to get through 2,000 names in an hour and a half. But I digress. There were three types of graduates attending the ceremony: graduates who were listening to their iPods, graduates who were texting, and graduates who were bored not only out of their minds, but out of their souls. My iPod was MIA since March through circumstances that I still do not understand to this very day, and I had left my cell phone in the car (though I don't know if that was intentional or the byproduct of the Pants Frenzy). Thus, I was bored out of my soul. Dr. McPhee gave a good speech about how MTSU is awesome and is continuing to enhance its awesomeness department. However, the commencement speaker was a complete failure. His speech had no purpose beyond "be brief" and it failed in that regard. They say that you will not remember the commencement speech years later but I didn't remember it later that day.

The oddest part was the person who announced the graduates from the College of Liberal Arts. Ominously, she started the list by calling it the "College of Liberial (sic) Arts". Sure, she corrected herself, but I think it’s unacceptable for any professor to not understand how the name of their college is pronounced. Additionally, she could pronounce a name like "Kwame Deshontrius N!xau" but mispronounced Buchanan (she pronounced in Buck-han-an). Maybe she decided she would mix it up to see if anyone was paying attention.

However, despite my myriad of complaints, it was a truly overwhelming experience to see that the educational war had, at long last, come to an end for me. After nearly twenty years of notes, tests, papers, presentations, and exams, it had all come to a glorious end. And I'll be darned if I didn't feel proud of it, gryphons or not.

Next time: Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, and Misadventures in Biking

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mmmm... Roethlis-burgers

So NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has officially suspended Ben "No Means Yes" Roethlisberger for six games, which can be reduced to four if he can show that he'll keep Big Ben safely in the pocket. Now, the dangerous part about this suspension is that "Silence is Consent" Roethlisberger was never actually charged with a crime. The good news is Goodell doesn't really care about "due process" because he can suspend you for character issues. And this is a character issue. Besides the whole consent debacle (I am not opening that can of worms, although the Georgia case was more likely to be assault than the Vegas case), Roethlisberger is committing an even graver crime. He is treading on the Macking Grounds for College Playas. Big Ben is 28 years old, a multi-millionaire, and a Super Bowl winning quarterback. So why is he picking up 20 year olds at clubs? That's the job of the college-aged playa! It disrupts the natural order and is proven, with actual mathematics, to be down right creepy.

That's right, it can be mathematically derived that Big Ben's actions are creepy. I'm now going to combine two of my favorite hobbies: quantifying intangible feelings and stealing things from Wikipedia. Wikipedia teaches us that the standard, non-creepy age disparity in pimpin' is A(H)>(A(P)/2)+7, where A(H) is the Age of the Honey and A(P) is the Age of the Playa. A quick plugging shows us the Roethlisberger numbers:

(28/2) + 7 = 14 + 7 = 21
Clearly, Roethlisberger is breaking the creepiness threshold by hitting on 20 year old honeys. He's also violating the right of Milledgeville playas to mack on fine honeys. I stand in solidarity with my Georgian pimpin' brethren! No NFL Quarterbacks in College Bars (unless they have graduated in the past two years, at which point they are granted tolerance).

WARNING: I start legitimately talking about sports now. If you are a sassy and/or fine honey, please take caution.

Full disclosure, I am a Steelers fan. That said, I still agree with Goodell on this one. I probably wouldn't have included the wishy-washy conditional part of the suspension, but I guess he has to include some way of saying Big Ben has been rehabilitated. The interesting part is that this suspension comes down the day before the draft, which means for the next 24 hours (edit: now it's 5 hours), every NFL fan worth his salt is free to speculate on if the Steelers will trade Roethlisberger. If I had a top ten pick, I would not trade for Big Ben. He gets sacked more often than Rome in the 5th century AD (fact: ladies love classical history jokes) and teams that are bad enough to have a top ten pick are characterized by having a porous line. The only team I could see making a move for Big Ben is Oakland. Why?

  1. They have the #8 pick, which means that they would only give up a reasonably awesome prospect.
  2. JaMarcus Russell is a black hole of failure, and the entire organization is unable to escape the pull of his fail.
  3. Al Davis is genuinely insane, and will want to challenge Roethlisberger to a helmet-less motorcycle race.
  4. Most of Roethlisberger's uniform won't need to be changed. Just replace the gold with silver, the Steelers with Raiders, and the hope for a Hall of Fame career with soul-crushing despair.
I could go on, however, I'm technically finishing this post in Public Finance. What? I can have senioritis too!

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's April?!

Oh man, how can it already be the second week of April? I was going to update this last week, but I was attacked by a Cold from Hell. It was never bad enough that I wanted to go to the doctor, but it never went away (as I write this now, I'm still dealing with a bit of a cough). Tragically, my to-do list this week is about 20 items long and none of them include "Update Blog", "Be Awesome", or "Play lots video games" (N.B. if you are a sassy/fine honey, I meant to write "write poetry while doing 100 situps", I just said the thing about the video games so I could relate to the reader). In retrospect, it might have been a bit much to try juggling 18 hours, graduation, a job hunt, and running an honors society.

However, there is some good news. I am all clear to graduate on May 8th starting at 1 pm. I've also got a really interesting presentation in Econometrics about the determinants of Quarterback pay coming up on Thursday. The downside is that econometrics requires actual math to support my arguments, I actually have to spend time analyzing my data. I will try to update the blog again after that craziness has passed (because once that test is done then I have nothing to do in that class until May 6th except "listen" to other presentations).

However, I suppose it's become the norm for me to include some element of humor to my post. So I will end with easily the trippiest level in any Rock Band game ever. Just watch the background rather than the crazy notes.

I think this is cutting edge acid trip simulation technology. It almost makes the lyrics sensible. And with that, I bid you a fond goo goo g'joob.

P.S. Question: Am I the eggman, the walrus, or both?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Week: In Movie Clip Style

Yes, I'm actually finding time to blog twice this week. In this scene, the role of Hunter Barry is played by Man in Cowboy Hat, Graduation is played by the Truck, Graduation Paperwork is played by the gun-toting drug dealers, and Economics Homework will be played by the dog.

Okay, now that that's explained, allow me to elaborate. I have just finished up roughly a month's worth of getting papers filled out, signed, stamped, and signed again in order to graduate in May (related note: OHMYGODHOWCANIBEGRADUATING?!). In the process of filling out one of the forms, I discover that I am missing a class needed for my Econ degree. I was surprised because I double-checked before this semester started and I knew I had all the advanced courses I need, from Econometrics to the Development of Third World Economies to Another Intimidating Sounding yet Impressive Course Title. It turns out the course I needed was "Intro to Math in Social Sciences". Interestingly enough, despite being an intro course, it's not needed as a prerequisite for any of the courses offered in Economics. Although I suspect that may be more a symptom of the department rather than the class. After all, despite Calculus being required for the degree, it was not a prerequisite for Microeconomic Theory (aka Applied Calculus). And that's how I gained an extensive knowledge of derivatives before opening a calc book. But I digress.

Now, I am a reasonable man, but it appears that the Records Department would not accept that having passed every Upper Division Economics course I needed for a degree was a sufficient "intro". Luckily, after much loophole searching, I discovered I didn't need a math course I was in this semester. So I fill out the course substitution work and sell my advisor on the idea. I take it to the Econ Office, who tells me I need the approval of the Math Department. The Math Department Chair says he can't actually sign it, but he can give his endorsement for the substitution. However, he'll only endorse it if another math professor agrees with it. So we find a math teacher who promptly agrees with me. I go back to the Econ Building and I'm told to get the information systems chair to sign it. However, he's also hesitant and demands a talk with me before signing it, and then goes over to the chair of the Econ Department to sign it. The Econ Chair asks for an explanation and by now, the fourth telling, I had perfected the story. The IS Chair sends me out of the room to talk with the Econ Chair and I ultimately find out it was the Econ chair's call all along and he approved it. The good news is that counted as my exercise for the day!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mark Twain say what?

So I'm reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain these days. Don't mistake that for me actually being able to enjoy reading a book, as MTSU is determined the suck every last moment of my fleeting time here with work (apparently there are legitimate reasons why no one takes 18 hours their last semester. I thought it was just superstition!). I came across an interesting passage in which Mr. Twain discusses how having a freakishly good memory like one that, for instance, was able to recite large portions of Monty Python from memory (bonus story: one day in Medieval History, Dr. Haas challenged me to recite the Spanish Inquisition sketch from memory to prove how few things people have memorized. He immediately regretted that challenge.). But I digress. Twain's exact words were

Such a memory as that is a great misfortune. To it, all occurrences are of the same size. Its possessor cannot distinguish an interesting circumstance from an uninteresting one. As a talker, he is bound to clog his narrative with tiresome details and make himself an insufferable bore.
Oh no, he didn't! Mark Twain has called out my literary go-to technique "But I digress" from 130 years in the past. Well let me tell you something, Mark Twain, if that is your real name, WHICH IT ISN'T, all my details are interesting. Why? Because I sort memories into Awesome and Extra Awesome, based off of their relevance to most conversation. Awesome categories such as the Best Ninja Turtles, the date of the Battle of Fredericksburg, and the Greatest School Computer Game are stored in long term storage, only to be brought up in very specific circumstances (by the way, the answers to those questions are Donatello, December 13th 1862, and DinoPark Tycoon respectively. editor's note: I just realized those answers were all alliterative. My subconscious must be really well organized! Probably just grabbed a bunch of random answers from the "D" file and updated his Facebook with the time he saved.). Extra Awesome details see the light of day a lot more often, such as How Kansas Could Lose in the Second Round, Who I Don't want to Escape the Zombie Horde with, and Who is Most Likely a Hobbit in Disguise (the answer to all three of those questions is Bean. He had Kansas winning it all, which doomed him. I've seen him play Left 4 Dead so he's more likely to run away from the zombies and I can't outrun him; so the zombies would either overwhelm me or catch me first. And finally, he's incredibly reluctant to adventure, can't grow a beard, is about 4 feet tall and lives in a hole in the ground [I may have made that part up].).

But you're not getting off that easily, Mr. Greatest American Humorist of His Age! I've read your book (Life on the Mississippi) and guess what? Most of chapter 2 is just Huck Finn. I don't mean thematically similar, I mean you literally 19th century copied and pasted a chapter from Huck Finn into your book. What's the matter? Was 59 chapters not enough for your book? (bonus fact: Life on the Mississippi was actually published before Huck Finn came out. In a way, it was the world's first viral marketing campaign, which is pretty cool in retrospect. But Twain should have known that the future would become the past and one day mentioning his one book in his other book would cause countless people to have flashbacks to 11th grade English. The horror... the horror...). But I digress. My point is that I may ramble at times, at least I didn't have to steal my name from my workplace!

Did you think just because William Faulkner called you "the father of American literature" that means you can trash-talk whatever blogs you want? Because that right is actually promised by the First Amendment and you don't have to be putting up with Faulkner's crap to do that. Also, there will be retaliation from the blog itself.

P.S. Graduation craziness has died down a bit so I will chat about my adventures in PCB next!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No excuses, only blogging

Okay, I'm busting out of Public Finance to update my blog, which has been on my to-do list for weeks, but usually gets replaced by more rudimentary things like "Not Driving Off a Bridge". But the good news is I got a great bargain for what little sanity I had and got a ton of stuff done. The easiest to share with you is my resume tape. The resume tape is how I plead for the attention of a hiring manager at a news station. The key is the first 90 seconds, where you show off your best stand-ups in a desperate effort to get the manager to not ignore your pleas for employment.

The insiders I've shown have loved it, but what about you, average blogging viewer?!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl- The Only Thing I'll Reliably Talk About

How is it Super Sunday already?! This is what I get for having exciting adventures with crazy results. So I've got about an hour before kickoff. Let's begin the fastest analysis of the Super Bowl on the whole internet.

This is a battle of Goliath vs a different kind of Goliath. Peyton Manning, self-described as a 6' 4 quarterback with a laser rocket arm and an endorsement contract greater than the GDP of several Third World countries, versus Drew Brees, who one man described as "a robot sent from the future, designed to tear apart NFL defenses". So we have the Chosen One, as determined by the American Consumer, versus the pinnacle of the Robot's future technology. We've already seen this fight before, when Neo fought Agent Smith at the end of the Matrix. I'll go ahead and say it, this is the first of many battles between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. The first match-up will be a highly anticipated stalemate that ends with Peyton throwing Brees in front of a subway. Then in the next match-up, Drew Brees will kill Peyton, only to have Peyton rise from the dead and explode Drew Brees by jumping into him. Then the story gets very disappointing and I hate it forever. But I digress:
Advantage: Colts

Running Backs
The Colts have no rushing attack and embrace it. The Saints have a potentially explosive running attack but absolutely no idea how to use it. Still, they have a nonzero chance of guessing how to use it.

Advantage: Saints

The Colts best defensive player is Dwight "K. Schrute" Freeney. The Saints best defensive player is Darren Sharper. Dwight Schrute is my favorite office character, but he also has a bum ankle. However, Darren Sharper may be Sharper than the average NFL player, but is he really the Sharpest? This type of superlative adjective guessing favors the Colts.
Advantage: Colts

Prediction: Colts: Infinity +3 Saints: Infinity

Sunday, January 24, 2010

NFL Madness!

We're finally here! The penultimate football games where we finally determine who gets to go to the Super Bowl and play a football game in between the commercials. Traditionally, I'd have at least one strong rooting interest in the games, whether because I'm a fan of one of the teams and they therefore are a paragon of football (Steelers, Panthers, or Cardinals) or because I dislike one of the teams and they don't deserve better than perpetual agony in defeat (Cowboys, Patriots, or Eagles). However, this year there are no villains. In fact, all the remaining teams are unusually sympathetic.

Indianapolis Colts- They're the closest thing to a villain left in the playoffs, having won their 2nd championship in franchise history in 2006. A brief history of the Colts reads as follows "Johnny Unitas, 25 years of shame and ignominy, Peyton Manning." Since they're led by America's favorite salesman/quarterback, so it's impossible to begrudge him a second championship (not counting his Double Stuff Racing League championship). On an unrelated note, I suddenly feel compelled to buy lots and lots of Oreos.

New York Jets- Ironically, their only championship came at the expense of the Colts. And now their road back to the Super Bowl involves beating up the Colts. Now, I don't mean to suggest that the Colts are to the Jets as Spinach is to Popeye the Sailor... wait a second, yes I do! But I digress. The Jets haven't won a championship in 40 years and are being led by a bunch of rookies. Maybe I'm biased, but I like the idea of employees fresh out of college thriving in their respective industry.

New Orleans Saints- Interesting fact: Before 2006, the Saints never sold all their tickets in a season. Since 2006, they've sold out all their games every year. Bonus Fact: Drew Brees joined the Saints in 2006. Conclusion: Drew Brees earned his paycheck. New Orleans has never been to a Super Bowl and this is only their second conference championship game ever. I could go on about how even the great Drew Brees is a lovable misfit, but I'm running out of time before kick off.

Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings are arguably my favorite team that I never actually root for. I don't have any reason to like that region of the country, but Minnesota has two huge advantages. One, they're the only major sports team named the Vikings that I know of, and I freakin' love Vikings. Two, they wear purple, my favorite color that I have no excuse to ever wear under any circumstance. Three, the last two powerhouse forces to wear purple into battle were the Utah Jazz (my favorite basketball team, on account of the amount of dinosaurs found in Utah) and the Roman Senate (my favorite ancient government). But I digress. The Vikings also have never won a Super Bowl. Oh, also, a Vikings victory would justify the hype we gave Brett Favre this summer.

All right, let's enjoy some football today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Break In Review

As I write this, the forced march known as College is just days away from resuming. I don't exactly hate school, but it's hard to be enthusiastic when winter break seemingly flew by. For most students, MTSU's winter break was a decent length. They finished finals by the 17th of December and don't have so much as a syllabus to worry about until January 14th. However, between New Orleans and housing responsibilities (specifically spring training, but not the fun baseball kind), my break lasted about half as long (December 22nd through January 7th). New Orleans was crazy fun (more on that later, but that story would take too long for me to work out tonight), but it left me with an impossible situation. I had a little more than two weeks to get in the essentials of break. Those essentials are as follows:

  1. Seeing High School Friends
  2. Sleeping
  3. Partying
  4. Purging the Horrors of Last Semester from Your Mind
Now, I've never been a prolific party person, mostly because I come up with random alliteration that no one appreciates in a party setting (unlike a blog, where the brilliance is preserved in glorious HTML for all eternity). It also doesn't help that I'm not a big drinker, which is a requirement for college parties. It's not because of any moral issues I have with alcohol or because I can't control myself. I just can't stand the taste of booze. I believe it's because I have the taste buds of a twelve year old, because I also can't stand the taste of coffee (unless it is significantly more milkshake than coffee). However, this is probably for the best for mankind if you think about it. I'm already louder and more enthusiastic than about 99.5% of the world population, so does society really want to see what would happen if I turned to one of the most potent stimulants? The answer is yes, but only if they want to see me explode. As for alcohol, it is famous for its ability to lower people's inhibitions. For most people, this helps them unwind a bit. Unfortunately, I have precious few inhibitions to begin with (as Bean can attest to if you bring up the "Ear Lobe" incident from High School) so consuming alcohol could result in negative inhibitions. That means I would respond to something before it happened, breaking a fundamental rule of causality and lead to the entire universe collapsing on itself from the subsequent insanity.

In summary, by not drinking, I ensure that the entire universe does not implode.

That sounds much cooler than "Hates the taste" and is equally accurate (probably).

But I digress, the point of all that is while I am not much of a party person in the traditional collegiate sense, I did hang out with a lot of good friends all at once. On a related note, most of them were high school friends who I have kept close contact with during college. At high school graduation, one of the valedictorians said that we would likely not see anyone from high school again after graduation (or something to that effect). To her I say "Suck it!". I can be petty too!

Really, the only aspect in which this break was disappointing was the lack of sleeping until 2 PM and the lack of purging the horrors of how soul-crushingly bad History of American Sports was.

So that was my break in summary. Here are a few final quick thoughts from today's news that I care about:
  • Sarah Palin joined Fox News as a contributor, creating the largest lightning rod of hate the Huffington Post has ever encountered.
  • Pete Carroll leaves sunny USC that brought him fame and fortune for dreary Seattle in a league where he was an average coach at best. This means that the NCAA is about to crack something big on Carroll and USC flagrantly violating recruitment rules. As usual, the NCAA is a day late and a dollar short since everyone involved in the recruiting violation will have already received huge paydays and fled to the safety of the NFL (not that that will stop USC from being hammered down).
  • Mark McGwire admits to using steroids in his record (and bicep) shattering season in 1998. In a related story, the sky admits to being blue.