Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Illusion of expertise

This is a remarkable clip, truly one of the most bizarre youtube videos that has ever been. It's Karl Rove first proclaiming (on CSPAN2, no less) that he enjoys "Biting the heads of small animals" and "Stamp Collecting" (I hope at least one of those is a joke, but seriously- what kind of joke is that?) And then the guys from Who's Line is it Anyway do a song about it and Karl Rove fucking jumps around and dances and shouts "I'm MC Rove." This is just jaw dropping- if you've seen the clip without the short interview section watch the one I linked above- also not to be missed.

It made me think of one of scariest and most important truths I came to realize around the time I entered the workforce: the people in positions of authority are often weirdos and screw-ups. Not more than the rest of us, maybe, but not really any less either. Maybe I knew this before on some level, but I don't think I ever really understood that (for instance) the doctor who reviews my X-rays probably searches for Internet Porn. Or that your youngish High School teacher is dropping X that Friday, and so on.

Okay big whoop right- I saw the Doc wash his hands and teachers have a right to do what they want, but that's not even the half of it. The Judge who's deciding whether you should have custody of your child just caught her husband with the cleaning guy and you look like him. Okay, these aren't the best examples, I know. The biggest shock is that once I met School Teachers, Corporate Controllers, presidents of Banks, and Registered Nurses it suddenly seemed shocking to me that I always used to imagine them as omniscient authority figures who could do no wrong, and didn't have bad days which colored their judgment, or weren't searching the next hospital bed for extra Dilaudid that a dying old man forgot to take.

I'm gonna wrap this up, because I'm rambling but here's what I'm getting at: I used to always assume that no matter how fucked up the world was, there were some rational men behind the curtain who were doing everything to make it right. Not because they were good people but because it's in nobody's real interest to have a nuclear holocaust or a Robocop style- Global Warming/Ozone meltdown. But once you look into it, and you get it, the world just doesn't work like that. It's often run by fucked up people who joke about killing small animals (by biting their heads off, no less) on national TV, and care more about short-term profit interests than averting Nuclear Holocaust.

If you're reading this at work on Firefox you should consider downloading this add-on, which ingeniously creates a hotkey that kills your internet applications and brings up a google search "Increasing Workplace Productivity." Genius.

Friday, March 23, 2007

odds and ends

Point A.
The movie Brick utterly rules. I thought it was a joke at first- "why are they talking like that?"- then it clicked. Brick effing rules. What made me think about it? Well let's mosey on down to...

Point 2.
I'm not always crazy about internet lists, like the ones dines out on but I wholeheartedly recommend this list of the top male role models for males of my age-group and anyone who wants to understand us. Sample recipients are Bugs Bunny, Zach Morris, and Tyler Durden which are basically my top three (Do you remember how badass Bugs Bunny was? Motherfucker was unflappable.) Admittedly, the top 10 is utterly worthless (maybe Han Solo belongs on the list somewhere, but...) Nevertheless, there are some true gems in the rest of the list. The fact that there are so many non-obvious choices on there, but that they all ring so true is a testament to the effort and creativity involved in its creation.

Point D.

For a short minute, John McCain saw the light and came out in support of Gay Marriage, "especially between passionate females."

Point XXIX.
Typical day for The Onion, I know, but their new video series doesn't disappoint. There's more truth in this clip about immigration than you'll read in the New York Times (thanks other Matt.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The (barely) Forgotten

When I was in college I had a collection of "funny" videos downloaded to my computer from BearShare, including "Kid gets nailed by Basketball", "Karate-Bear Salmon Commercial", and "Monkey drinks his own pee". The advent of youtube has been bittersweet for me because it seems like every viral video involves dancing and/or singing now, oh nevermind. I realized how silly it is to be a purist nostalgic for the days when we watched Monkeys sniff their own butts before they fell out of a tree instead of some idiot's evolution of dance.

Anyway here are a few awesome clips that flew under the radar as far as I can tell, but you still may have seen them. The first is a cable access clip of a concerned citizen speaking about issues close to his heart (by which I mean a crazy person ranting at a city council meeting.) Some say that "Lemon-headed cowards" is the best part but it's hard to beat the tone of matter-of-fact rationality this guy adopts when he enumerates his four points "3. solar hot water panels on it and 4. put ice in the arena."

This 'un here is a german TV interview, in which the interview has a rather odd vocal affectation. Supposedly this is real and the interviewer was apparently fired. It was a show on a condition that causes radical changes in your voice, according to what I've read. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spirtual Decontamination

I was excited to hear that George W. was visiting Guatemala as I was just there a couple weeks ago. It was such a wonderful experience that I figured it would certainly have a positive impact on George. After all, I'm sure the CIA-supported overthrow of a democratically-elected socialist government in 1954 is on the top of George's mind. Maybe this will help him better understand the impact of US foreign policy in Central America.

It turns out that Bush's visit to the Mayan Ruins was one of the highlights of his presidency and his third visit to Mayan Ruins in the past year. For Mayan officials, the visit meant a lot of cleanup. Because of Bush's visit, the ruins now have to be cleansed of negative energy.

"We will burn incense, place flowers and water in the area where Bush has walked to clean out the bad energy," said Jorge Morales Toj, a Guatamalan youth leader.

In related news.. a protester in Guatemala City was holding this sign:

Friday, March 9, 2007

Breaking news from Apple Insider

Unlike Matt, I happen to be an "Apple person". I grew up with PCs and Apples, and I currently own two PCs and one Apple. Although, I am ditching one of my PCs to make room on my desk for my new Apple Macbook. I am a fan of innovation and Apple has led the pack for a long time. Rarely will you find (personal experience reference here- not a scientific study) somebody who has extensive experience with Apple OSX, Windows, and Linux who prefers Windows to either Apple or Linux. I have used Windows far more than Apple or Linux (Red Hat) but I still highly prefer Apple. I think it is substantially better and well worth the extra cost.

The "Apple cult" has been around for nearly two decades and being a member is an added perk of owning an Apple. I have at least a dozen or so Apple stickers in a shoebox somewhere and I read on a regular basis.

Wednesday was a very special day in the Apple world... Apparently somebody snapped a photograph of Steve Jobs where he is using an Apple iPhone in public! Now, I don't doubt that Steve Jobs may use the Apple iPhone in public.. he is the CEO of Apple and the iPhone release is just a few months away. But can anybody see an effing iPhone in that photograph?! (and if you could, would you care?) Apparently white headphones are now associated exclusively with the Apple iPhone. This is one of those situations, aka "confringement", where somebody on my side (the Apple junkie side) went a little overboard with their Apple enthusiasm and I am now forced to step back towards the middle. I think I'm going to use my Dell for a couple hours.

"Doesn't mean cause I go here [that] I'm a genius... I am very smart."

Whoever names the movie that the (significantly less-hilarious when written) title line comes from wins a prize.

There's some controversy about whether (Montana's own) Chris Langan is the world's smartest man, but he won the "World's smarmiest douchebag" contest hands down. There are too many hilarious moments in this video to provide a true greatest hits (especially since 3/4ths of the funniest parts are just the various looks he gives.) However, I do absolutely love when he says "I am closer to absolute truth than any man has been before me, [but] do I think that makes me better than everybody else? No." You owe it to yourself to at least watch this until the point where he responds to the interviewer's question "[your IQ score] seems very, very high"- the look Langan gives when he answers is worth a platinum ring. This guy is real by the way (you could be forgiven for assuming that he's a sketch comedy bit.)

In sadder news, Jake Plummer retired and he was a huge favorite of mine. The guy did incredible work for charity (not the just the typical "start a little foundation" bullshit that most athletes feel compelled to do), he came out against the Iraq War, and he was winning-est quarterback in broncos history, percentage wise. Now he's gonna join the peace corp? Plummer is a badass.

You can apparently get super-zoomed camera angles for some places using a trick in google maps- story here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

And here's the part where I take down 9/11 conspiracy theories

Let me just come right out and tell you where I stand on one of the most controversial issues in this modern world: I'm a PC guy. It's not because I think it's better, it's just that I regard the choice in the same way that I regard questions of Auto Transmission vs. Manual Transmission. The only difference is that the Manual Transmission-makers (Apple) use a marketing technique aimed at convincing you that giving money to their international corporation is progressive, counter-culture, maybe even Bright.

Rather than arouse controversy though, I'd like to simply provide a simple (and devastating, I think) critique of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. I'm not "sympathetic" to 9/11 conspiracy theories because that would imply that they are convincing, which they are not. However, I am sympathetic to some of the people involved because I happen to know a few smart people with their hearts in the right place who are swayed by this stuff. I think the fact that some people find such an argument convincing is not a result of intellectual failings so much as a desire to to see the world in "Lord of the Rings" terms, in which the people you oppose (the Bush administration, in this case) are just irredeemably evil Sauron-types wantonly killing their own in order to take over the world (moo haha!) Of course I should mention that people who have that point of view on the right wing are called... well... right wingers.

Okay, so what's my big argument? The common thread I detect in most, if not all, conspiracy theories is this kind of cui bono/"look how good 9/11 was for Bush" implications. I agree, incidentally that 9/11 was "good" for Bush as seems obvious in the political sense. However, 9/11 was especially good for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda who saw their cause elevated to global status and saw their wildest dreams of a great cultural war come leaps and bounds closer to reality. So let's grant the (in all honesty unbelievable) point that the foreseeable benefit of 9/11 was roughly the same for the Bush admin. and Al Qaeda, and then ask ourselves, what would we have expected to see? Bin Laden's well-known interests were served by having Saudis on the plane, as he'd love to see a rift between Saudi Arabia and the US. But Bush? No way he lets the Saudi image take such a massive hit with unpredictable consequences. Furthermore, since we all agree that a planned invasion of Iraq was the biggest immediate prize, then why the fuck wouldn't they have had Iraqis on the 9/11 flights? This sticks out at me as the simplest reason to abandon such theories- in the rare cases of actual historical conspiracy the proponents always made damn sure to frame the right people. If the 9/11 conspiracy theories were true then Iraqis should have been on the plane.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to confringe on our comments section, and we will defend the position tirelessly.

Any Kings of Leon fans reading this? Download the new (badass) single here. Called "On Call."

Sunday, March 4, 2007

You heard it here first

Apparently Britney Spears is actually crazy (an allegation i made earlier whilst joking.)

Memorable quote: "she terrified staff by writing the number of the beast on her head and running around the clinic screaming, 'I am the anti-christ!'"

She also tried to hang herself with a bedsheet.

I might note that this is quite possible not true. But given that we're your source for all things Britney, it was worth covering.

Of course, the real reason for this post is that Wilco's new album has leaked and this I highly recommend. Better download it quick before it gets taken down!