Friday, March 20, 2009

Colbert Raps and Michael Steele Rap

Michael Steele said he wanted to bring it to the urban, inner city hip-hop crowd and so Colbert invited him to a rap battle. Steele has never come on the show but Colbert brings it rather hard in this clip.

He raps, people. He freakin' raps.

And then Michael Steele raps.

Seriously. It's ridic.

But the video won't embed correctly. Comedy Central uses some html tags blogger won't support. So go to this link and watch it there.

Do it.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

This time it's Kelly's fault

I can't stay away from lists, and she was doing a list she stole from someone else. Apparently you just write down thirteen things you did today, because it's "Thirteen Thursday," or some such nonsense.

1. I wondered about how easy it would be to hit someone in the bike lane on Washington just East of Mill because at night (tonight, in fact) you can't see them in your review mirror when you're at the light and start to turn right on Scottsdale/Rural. There were two of them. Thankfully I had this thought 50 feet before the light.
2. I slew the president of Mozambique with a chainsaw. I couldn't find a samurai sword.
3. I went to Starbucks and got free Starbucks because a guy I had a class with two years ago works at Starbucks.
4. I thought about going back to Starbucks later to get some more free Starbucks from the guy who works at Starbucks.
5. I didn't go back to Starbucks.
6. I considered staying on campus after class to listen to a speech by a philosophy professor from Princeton, but I got hungry instead.
7. I tried to go to Jon's choir concert tonight, but I swear he said "turn on Mill," and after spending ten minutes looking around Mill and it's offshoots, and since Jon was already in it (I was late) and couldn't respond to texts, I went to Borders instead and bought a David Foster Wallace book for an egregious 16 fuckin' dollars.
8. I vented to nobody in particular about the ridiculous fuckin' prices for a new paperback book nowadays. 16 dollars? Really? And a 57 page book of poetry by an old professor who works at ASU is also 16 dollars? Unreal.
9. I wrote a very facetious one page response/thought/thingy for a lit class and I'm a little afraid that my teacher might actually seek me out for the purpose of securing reparations for having had to read the response.
10. I wrote a blog before this one.
11. I read some stuff from the April issue of Harper's Magazine, because I somehow convinced my mom to buy me a subscription, and it came today.
12. I thought about how much of an asshole snob I am for having a subscription to both Harper's Magazine and the Sunday Edition of The New York Times.
13. I listened, throughout the day, to a lot of Dr. Dre. The Chronic and 2001 are, ahem, bombass muthafuckin' albums, biotch. Suck deeeeez nuts!


Some things I've overheard around campus lately

Well, first, these two education majors in one of my lit classes are talking about where they want to student teach and, apparently, it's quite popular nowadays to go overseas, particularly to places like Costa Rica, and teach there. From what I know of education majors (and there are significant disaporas in all of my lit classes) I'm afraid for the denizens of places like Costa Rica.

But that's not what's important. What's important is that the following bit of dialogue took place:

"Oh cool. What are the other two."

"Nicaragua and Chile."


They both nod knowingly.

"Where is Nicaragua?"

"I don't know."

- childish laughter -

"I was thinking it was in Africa, but that must be wrong," She pauses. "Right?"

"Year, or well, I don't know."

I had to say something.

"It's south of Mexico."

"Oh, cool. Thanks."

"Yeah, great help."

Alright, so I don't much care that they didn't know that Nicaragua was south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica, but they should have at least known (1) it's NOT in Africa and (2) it's south of Mexico. Or, hell, South America would have been acceptable.

Here's the other thing I overheard, and, really, I hear this a lot. So many times around campus I hear the following sentence in almost the exact same form: "I like to read, I just don't have time for it."

Really? You don't have 30 mins a day? I mean, if you don't want to read, cool, fuck it, I don't give a shit. Really, I don't. But please don't say you like to read but don't have time. Unless you're a triple-job working single mother of three, I'm pretty sure you have 30 mins a day.


Monday, March 16, 2009

It's All Andrew's Fault

Andrew linked an article about gay marriage to me, so the entirety of this post, including the motivation, is clearly all his fault. He's wholly responsible and should be, obviously, destroyed.

The article he linked me was this one and it got me thinking about just what the hell anyone ought to do about the whole thing.

Now, I've got an idea that wouldn't work: make marriage available to any combination of two human beings (man/man, woman/woman, man/woman, or any other transgender fun you can imagine). It wouldn't work,, because people would just lose it over such a liberalization of something so sacred [sic] and wonderful [sic] as marriage, something that's timeless [sic] and totally great [sic] and has always [sic] led to great [sic] and wondrous [sic] joy [sic].

Andrew's article discussed an idea by two lawyers on opposite sides of the California mess arguing that marriage should not be governed by the government, only by the churches. What they would like to see (really just to compromise and bring an end to the whole thing) is the government grant civil unions to anyone and then allow whatever religious organizations out there that have the desire to grant any kind of supplementary title like "marriage."

But why sacrifice the word "marriage?" I think that would just piss everyone off even more. And it seems a little strange to more or less guarantee that marriage is then a religious thing. A lot of people, religious and otherwise, would be pretty upset about that inevitable label.

I say we just try to force through my original plan: making marriage available to any combination of two human beings. It would take money, time, and a fair amount of violence, but hey, what are things like equality and justice for if not to fight and die for?

This always makes me wonder about bigamy. Is it really a bad thing? Andrew, Philippi, Fillman, and I had a chat about this a few weeks ago and I think the general conclusion we came to (at least I think it was "we"; it might have just been me, I guess) is still significant: that the follies of marrying multiple people are the result of the person and not the situation. That is, the reason so many bigamist marriages are fucked up and evil and wives get beat up or abused or not taken care of is because people are messed up, not the marriage itself.

And really is there is anything different that occurs in a bigamist marriage not in a regular ole' man/woman marriage? Surely domestic violence happens in both and surely bad shit in general happens in both. It may be that more bad shit happens with bigamist marriages, but that's probably due to the type of people that try to live bigamously, which is illegal. I can't imagine all men and women who want to marry multiple people are awful, turrrble, and just all-around shitty human beings.

It's worth a thought, I suppose.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lakers and Boats and Stuff

I realize this sort of effusion is not what everyone likes to hear but I just watched the game and I had to say something, even if it's just to the vast Intar-Web-Net.

The Lakers had a casual, 15 point lead on the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter about an hour ago and then, in typical 2008-2009 Lakers fashion, they let it slip away and by the middle of the fourth quarter, they were down by six - at home, against the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas, btw, is the same team that gives lots of minutes to people like Brandon Bass and James Singleton.

So there's the big negative against the 2008-2009 Lakers: they get casual, all the time, and let games get away from them. A positive, though, something Keith and Jon have heard me say so many times they probably wish I would just die, is that the Lakers, when they shed their casual attitudes, are the deadliest, most wicked team in the NBA. And they shed it in the middle of the fourth, just like I hoped they would, and won by seven.

But it's that type of casual attitude that gets them in trouble, the same attitude that made them lose 13 times this season instead of only 6 or 7. They're not worlds better than Cleveland or Boston, but when they're on, they're better than anyone (except maybe Detroit when Dtown actually plays zone defense; Zone D kills the Lakers and you'd think more teams would employ it against Gasol and Odom and Bynum and Bryant and just about everyone the team).

So today's game showed the best and worst of the Lakers: the casual attitude that loses big leads and puts them in three possession holes, and the intensity and brilliant skills that allow them to overcome those same holes.

And, uh, enjoy this:


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The acidity of anger and why it blows

They say anger is corrosive and it's fucking true. It just eats away, rotting your insides like cancer. It just blows ass. I was really mad at a friend earlier, and maybe I still am - I have no idea - and it was awful, because being mad just really devours any sense of pleasure or happiness, so you just walk around being all terribly depressed and then further anger is spawned towards that depression and you just spiral into this abyss of rage from whence it's fucking difficult to get out.

So it's no surprise, then, that I have a huge problem (is it a problem?) staying angry right now because (1) anger eats me up and I feel awful about harboring such strongly antipathic thoughts (it makes me sick, basically, and I start feeling psychologically screwed up) and (2) it's directed towards a friend, a person whom is surely displeased/annoyed/pissed off at innumerable things I've done, so my anger justification erodes significantly in the face of my own obvious asshole-ness.

Driving home tonight, I was going over and over and around and around in my head about it all and I started feeling totally lost, this ultimate despair that nothing made sense, because I think I was justified in being angry but then I started questioning all that and finding reasons for not being angry, which made me wonder: is there a time where anger is not only justifiable but preferable? Are there events that elicit anger rightfully? Or should we disregard and try to suppress most of the irascibility we find welling up inside? I started wondering about choleric feelings and about how they just don't sit with me anymore like they used, and that maybe I was morphing into some giant vagina, or that I was becoming more sensitive or something - and I don't know if that's bad or good or neutral or what. I had the radio off purposely to induce a thinking atmosphere and so there I was driving down Hayden, the only sound that of other cars and my own tires on the pavement and my head is going fucking nuts. I'm going around in circles, I'm experiencing this awful mixture of anger, remorse, confusion, and some serious existential "wtf?" shit. Making it home was a little more difficult than it probably should have been.

But still, what the fuck? I'm no longer angry, I think, but I'm confused, utterly. I'm still convinced my anger was originally justified but I don't know if I had good enough reason to sustain it, or if it even mattered considering how much I must piss off my friend, or how much I must piss off everyone. I mean, I'm loud, I'm obnoxious, I latch onto something and repeat it over and over and over because I derive much pleasure from it - but I know other people wish I would just shut the hell up - and I'm arrogant, hubristic, not as smart as I wish I would be/think I am, and I just basically run everyone's nerves up the wall to the point where I'm not even sure why I have friends or why people put up with me. So do I have any right to be angry? Or still be angry? Or even be angry initially? Obviously without details of the specific incident you can't answer those questions in the particular, but the general bothers me quite a bit. It's fucking with my brain and I can't sleep.


Friday, March 6, 2009

This is not good all

I have a deep, serious, and terrifyingly frightening problem, one with potential existential implications:

I feel intellectually isolated in the most severe way at Arizona State University...

...and it fucking blows.

A "potential existential implication" is that it's mind-fucking me to the point where I love school (because I do and stuff) and I hate school (because it's like a goddamn wasteland of washboard stomachs and pure vapidness to an extreme degree). The insipidness of overweight people who look like life used to mean something but it doesn't anymore and the awful and vast "ugh!" I feel every time I see someone wearing clothes that would probably prefer a nightclub setting - this and more makes me want to scream, in the way that guy is screaming in that famous painting called "The Scream" where his face is all contorted and he looks like he just saw the one thing that would make him, specifically him, have the worst kind of heart attack, the worst kind of desire to just die0.

And it's not just the normal shit a lot of people complain about - the party aspect, the dumb people, & c. - but it's also (and more importantly) the complete lack of desire for anything school related that just surrounds you like this fucking sludge that you can't escape, you can't elude, and you're just in it and the whole time you feel like dying or getting away or screaming or doing something potentially violent and/or absurd in that I've-just-realized-that-all-there-is-is-nothingness-and-I-don't-know-what-to-do kind of way. Imagine being caught in a tornado: it's just whirling debris and vertiginous shit everywhere and you have no control and can't do anything and it's not at all what you expected or wanted or hoped for and you wonder why they hell you even thought it would be any of those things in the first place - and what the hell do you do?

I have no idea. No one seems to care about anything at school. No one seems to have that deep passion for learning that makes life worth living, that uncompromising desire to learn and to think and to be wrong and love it and to get right answers and to want to know so bad it hurts. No one, no one is like that. I'm sinking in this wasteland of cornucopian drudgery, but what do I do? Do I suffer it for another year and graduate and then hope grad school offers better prospects? At this point, if grad school doesn't offer a number of people in close proximity with the above outlined passion, the kind of desire that kicks you in the ass if you get in its way, then what the hell is everyone doing with their lives? Why are they living? Why are they even getting up in the morning?

And why am I even here to see this, recognize it, and despair so urgently, desperately, so profoundly? What the fuck?


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

YouTube Videos! Yay!

A "travel" in the NBA, in the general sense (there's some confusion with the technical aspects of it) is when a player takes more than two steps after picking up the ball or before dribbling, or if he establishes a pivot foot and then moves it. Watch the following and try not to die:

Here's that same one in game. It won the game, by the way - it was the final bucket that gave Cleveland a road playoff win. Look how close the ref is.

Here's some crossovers that are pretty sweet. Nothing to do with traveling but I found them in my YouTube browsing.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"The First Half is Safe, Philippi" a.ka. "Street Preachers Part Two"

(My answers to Ben's questions are at the end of this. I thought, in the interest of keeping Philippi involved, I'd put the more accessible stuff at the beginning, which doesn't require any sort of foreknowledge of the other post.)

Ben posted an interesting response to that "Street Preachers" post I had a week ago and I thought I'd respond more fully in a post, rather than cram a bunch of words into a comment section. Besides, I'd rather bore everyone with this sort of talk rather than just those unlucky victims who wander into the comment section of an old post.

I suppose it's worth regurgitating the stuff I talked about in that old post, but I'd rather not. It's right there if you want it.

Why I’m Interested in Religion et al.

I think I can truly say I’ve never had any serious rumblings about God existing or whether the whole thing might be true in some fashion. I’m not sure why I say this in the beginning except to direct this explanation towards other people as opposed to myself and maybe that’s wrong. But I’m not sure.

It’s true, though, that I’ve never sat down and prayed or seriously imagined that God was real – any god, mind you, any deity or supernatural entity. It all seemed so fantastic, so other-worldly, and not the least bit true.

But as to my deep fascination with religion and the potential existence of any deity(ies): I think it has more to do with my deep desire to understand the way other people think and operate. I find the belief systems of other people so terribly fascinating, not necessarily why they do certain things but why they believe certain things. (Why they believe is more important than why they do stuff, I think, because belief, to a large extent, informs action.)

Like why people believe supply-side economics is a great way to run financial systems when they know nothing about it. Now, if they were economists or had some training/background and had a grasp of the science, that’s a different story. But so many people feel supply-side economics is the way to go without understanding the technical aspect of it one bit – and that’s fascinating. I myself only understand the science to what I would deem is a passable extent, but even that might be not nearly enough to hold a claim. Maybe it's all about belief in authorities, maybe we can't ever know a lot of stuff and so we have to put our belief in someone we think does.

This is the large reason I find belief in religion fascinating, because so much of it is predicated on very little knowledge or substance of the religion and its logical implications. So much is based on very little information given out at church or at home and yet people believe it, readily, and without much awareness of their lack of knowledge.

And that’s fascinating! I can understand why a trained missionary with a sufficient background in theology and the philosophical implications of such would believe in a God/religion. They have reasons and the reasons make sense them. But for most people, it boggles my mind. They just believe, without much care and without much to base it on. And it’s not like they’ve read the whole bible: they’ve read a few books, maybe, been told a bunch of stuff, and God just seems like an okay dude.

Perhaps it’s fear, fear that the people predicating belief on so little have the ability to affect my life in tremendous ways. I’m less afraid of the missionaries with lots of training than of the proportionately greater number of people who just believe, because if they justify belief on so little, then what else? Hating gays? Blacks? Supply-side economics? Voting for the guy who talks better? Becoming an extremist? Of worse: getting passable knowledge informed by liberal views and then hating all conservatives. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

That’s what interests me so much, that’s what drives me. If I can understand why people believe in God/religion with so little to go on, then maybe I can understand why people believe other things in the same manner. Of course, why not study someone’s largely unfounded belief in supply-side economics instead of their belief in God? I focus on the religious belief because we can only have so much to go on in that realm, whereas in economics we have graphs, charts, years of study and data, and lots of experts who really know what they’re talking about. Whereas with God/religion, we have a bunch of thought, some of it logical and rational, being spewed by various people claiming authority – there’s much less solid ground to stand on. Certainly economics is not infalliable, and it certainly has errors, mistakes and such (because it's an evolving science) but there's much more to rest my life on than with religion.

I’ve always wondered, too, about how to approach those who say they feel God, or it all just feels right. I’m never sure if I can just toss this thinking into the “psychological not mystical” trash heap or if it means something. I suppose it’s necessarily the most convoluted and misunderstood reason for believing because it’s so personal – only you can know, no one else can experience it. Every time I think about it, I dismiss it with the thought that if it’s so personal then I can’t possibly be involved in it and nor can anyone else. If I experience it, I experience it. If they do, they do. What can I say? I sometimes feel that my belief in God's nonexistence is visceral in the same way: it just feels right, sometimes, like it can't possibly be wrong. What can I say?

And by the way, I should talk about the background that missionaries receive, at least to my knowledge. Jon and I had various encounters with a pair of Mormon missionaries a few years ago, when they came to our house every Wednesday for a chat and what not. I’m not sure why we obliged them at first, but after a while, when our interest was clearly waning, they kept coming and that was kind of annoying. But whatever, they came. I had always heard they were schooled in basic religious philosophy – the logic behind their beliefs – but I never noticed this. I asked them some questions along logically-related paths and the answers were either vague or so far removed from logic as to appear irrelevant to my question. Now, I can’t say anything with regard to Catholic missionaries, but at least for this hapless pair of Mormon missionaries, that was my experience.

So, to encapsulate the above peripatetic thinking: I’m interested in God/religion because the reasons people believe fascinate – and infuriate – me. If they believe with such little evidence (including those well versed in the arguments) then what else will they believe?

Reading over this, I’m beginning to realize, Ben, that you’re revelation (no pun intended) of why you had such a strong interest in God/religion is turning out to be much more powerful than mine, which is based largely on why other people believe rather than why I don’t believe. Harumph – that’s sad.

Does this mean the elimination of desire begets perfection?

Nah, I’m not Buddhist. To want is to lack, and to lack is be imperfect. In other words, to not have something, whether that be strength, some sort of object, or an intangible thought for the way the world ought to work, is to lack something. And if one does not have everything, then one is imperfect. It’s an odd claim, and certainly to say that God can’t desire makes for an interesting Christian worldview.

Does this mean perfection in its entirety is an emotional state of being?

Nah, as well. I would actually think that to be perfect would be to lack an emotional state of being, for to have emotions is to be in a state in which you might lack something. Of course, to not have emotions means God can’t love (but to say God can’t want is to say as much, I suppose).

I guess this really just speaks to the incomprehensibility of God’s supposed perfection. It’s so complicated and full of potential (and actual) paradoxes and contradictions that it’s either A) horribly inconceivable both in our minds and in reality or B) something real that is, however, beyond our comprehensibility and thus we should just stop worrying about it. The latter claim is often employed to say that we can’t know God in the same way we know our neighbor Bob and so we shouldn’t try to understand him up to a certain point. Of course, this begets the question: why should I care about him at all?

Does one have to have the capacity to want without having the want to achieve perfection?

An interesting question. In some muddled form of perfection (they’re all muddled, really) it would seem that this could be the case, especially if we ascribe omnipotence as a quality of perfection. Speaking of omnipotence, I had an interesting question about it that came to me once while reading something for a philosophy of religion class: Has God done everything, committed every conceivable and inconceivable action?

If I recall correctly (and I very well may not), the logic went like this: if God is omnipotent then he has to be able to say anything and mean it – he has to have the ability to say anything and make it true. So God then would have to be able to say “I have done everything (like, say, kill babies).” And if he has to be able to say this and it’s true, then that means God has done everything (like, say, kill babies).

I remember spending days thinking about this and I never worked up the courage to ask my professor, because I was always (and still am) too insecure to approach a question I might be completely wrong about. I was always afraid (and still am) that I would be so off base I might as well quit life. I also thought I might have been on to something, which was scary.

As to my apparent equivocation of want: you might be on to something. I’m thinking, though, about your example of wanting a woman to love you and a woman loving you (alongside that want). So you’re saying that while the woman is loving you (it seems odd to say) you want a woman to love you? Hmm. I’m imaging a constant action of a woman loving you (emotionally, now, mind all those perverts out there – [that would be me]) and you desiring that a woman love you. It seems that at some point your desire would be fulfilled. I’m having a hard time reconciling the notion of you wanting something that is currently being had by you. But again, my confusion may lay in my conception of desire (hence the supposed equivocation).


Monday, March 2, 2009

My Teacher the Role Model

Now, I'm not going to mention this professor's name nor the class he/she teaches (that would give it away, silly!), but I have to put this somewhere. It's too delicious a quote not to be put somewhere. Hell, maybe I'll write an article about it and other similar quotes. But honestly, feast your eyes. It really needs to contextual preface:

"I lived in a one-room studio apartment, which at 23 was pretty cool. I needed the one room, though, because I didn't want stupid roommates stealing my food and my dope."

Yes, he/she said this, in a class. Delicious. I realize that extraneous talking and things that aren't necessarily appropriate have a place in the classroom, and indeed, should thrive in that environment, but something about this particular one seemed extra-awesome. Usually, teachers talk about cannabis abuse in passing, as something "from way back when." But this guy/girl, he/she made it sound as if he/she hasn't stopped - which is kinda cool, I guess, though I myself don't dabble in the stuff (but as Jerry and George would say: "Not that there's anything wroooong with that!").