Is posting a Monday funny ok with everyone? I haven’t posted in so long, words… um…. you get the idea.
I can’t even get this video to embed. But it’s worth the click.
I really need to stop watching TV. I had a post loaded up and ready to go about a prayer keychain that was sent my way that had the following message:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, Amen.
I was prepared to talk about how God seemed to be the wrong subject to beg for any of the aforementioned qualities, but now, after another night in front of the idiot box, I find I may need to invoke that prayer to save me from the TV. Or rather to save the TV from being thrown out into oncoming traffic by me. (NOTE: TIW will have a live video feed if this ever happens).
The program — from a reputable TV institution watched by millions — that the idiot box spit out last night was about scary prophecies and the end of the world–which has been coming for some time. If there is one thing you can count on, it is that the world is coming to an end. At the forefront of the scary prophecies of doom and gloom, were the Mayans and their deadline of winter solstice 2012, AKA the “2012 Problem.” I was prepared to listen, because aside from being stunning astronomers, the Mayans have always had style. So sitting there on 184.108.40.206.16(Mayan Long Count) at approximately 9PM I was surprised to see the shows focus switch to the internet and something called “The Bot Project.”
Claiming to tap into the collective unconscious of the universe, this “bot” scours the internet for particular “end of days” keywords and attempts to make predictions. And it is coming back with an alarming number of scary prophecies. It used to make stock predictions and apparently when it got so accurate on that, they decided to turn the microscope inward to figure out how much longer we had until the hellfire engulfed us and perfectly respectful bloggers ran the streets throwing TV sets into oncoming traffic. In summer of 2001 it foretold that a major calamitous event would take place in the next 60-90 days. Out from the digital array of common words on the screen (marzipan, stock, TV, Britney Spears) the following 3 words are singled out in contrast: New York, wahabi, Fire in the sky…and there’s your 9/11 link.
At this point I nearly swallowed my tongue and Mrs. Skarpowsky had to restrain me from doing physical harm to both myself and the TV. I immediately went to my notebook and scribbled down: Marzipan.
How idiotic is this? Almost as idiotic as my blogging about it. But to take as your dataset, the Internet, and work it around into some sort of doomsday hypothesis is the epitome of begging the question. The internet is, after all, a creation of man: as much as the Bible, the Stock Market, or the Mayan Long Count. It would be lovely to see what sort of logic and parsing the bot had to do to predict 9/11 when our own government was unable to do so. The inaction of the bot to warn us adequately is another discussion. And the lack of loose Nigerian women in financial need showing up at my door with erection pills and fake Rolexes should be enough to disprove this bunk. At any rate, you should be scared, because…
Now the bot is lining up on the Mayan’s side, predicting a worldwide calamity in 2012–the alignment of ancient and modern technology. Nevermind the fact that it is in dispute that the Mayan event of 2012 is considered an impending disaster and moreso a coming of a new era. What does this have to do with Marzipan you may ask? Everything and nothing. Because for my money, it is as logical to pick that word out of the bot’s matrix, while we all sit huddled around our broken TV sets and waiting for the great unravelling.
The Washington Post reports: Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective.
Despite the demise of bands like Warrant and Poison, teens like getting it on, no matter who they promise they won’t — and they’re not always safe about it:
The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a “virginity pledge,” but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.
I’ve known for a long time that the only way to make abstinence work is to lock the teenager in your basement. Which reminds me, this will have to be a short piece as I have to take more Papa John’s and Fanta down to the basement. (Teens also eat a lot!)
Some other gems from the article:
“Previous studies would compare a mixture of apples and oranges,” Rosenbaum said. “I tried to pull out the apples and compare only the apples to other apples.”
Well, Dr Rosenbaum, we all know the kind of trouble that apples have been credited with starting.
This somewhat good news, that it may take more than a simple pledge to keep teens in the know about sex and its consequences received a befuddling reaction from the National Abstinence Education Association:
“Abstinence education programs provide accurate information on the level of protection offered through the typical use of condoms and contraception,” she [Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association ] said. “Students understand that while condoms may reduce the risk of infection and/or pregnancy, they do not remove the risk.”
The message here would seem to be that abstinence is best prevention, because if you can’t start the car, you can’t crash it. But if you’re going to drive, fuck the seatbelts because they’re not 100% foolproof.
Long ago I promised you a piece on the similar stylings of Brett Favre and John McCain. Out of deference to Favre I had to wait until the NFL season finished and Favre’s blimp of a career set the horizon on fire in Hindenberg fashion — although my inner football fan wanted to write this piece weeks ago, as early as the election. As I stated in an earlier comment: Favre is to football what McCain is to politics.
Both men, it is now known, went down in defeat this year, likely final defeat, served up by opponents that can rightly be described as “up and coming.” For McCain, the rising star of Barack Obama; for Favre, the Lazarus-like Miami Dolphins. In each case, their character and hubris was the key factor in their fall.
Both can be characterized as “old soldiers.” McCain in the literal sense, Favre in the way that Americans laud the leaders of their football squads. The images of McCain’s POW days, his fiery temper, his penchant for reform and “maverick-ness” juxtapose nicely with the images of the grizzled, unshaven Favre, breathing steam in the cold, playing hurt, and never saying die. A broken body wouldn’t make McCain give up or Favre come out of the game. Both were unquestionably heroes, even to those who opposed and hated them. McCain for being the firebrand who would run counter to prevailing Congressional wisdom, Favre for being the gutty leader who, as a fan, you could tolerate losing to.
For reasons entirely within their control, however, memories of both will have a different tinge than bronze-bust-ready, Hall of Fame-Commemorative Stamp one described above. If a high water mark or defining moment in the downward slide of these two had to be picked, I suppose one could throw a dart somewhere around the Spring of 2006 when Favre first hemmed and hawed about his plans for the next year and when McCain made a trip to Liberty University to preside over the graduation ceremony of those he had previously criticized as “agents of ignorance.” Favre appeared to have nothing left in the tank and McCain appeared to be falling in with the conservative bedfellows he eschewed. Thus commenced the wearing thin.
And it was a wearing thin indeed — the final unraveling took time. McCain’s political career survived and Favre’s passing career stayed alive. McCain’s enough to push him to the front of the Republican heap in no time and allow a cakewalk to the nomination; Favre’s season impressive enough to stir up talk that the MVP caliber Favre had returned. The final blow to these halcyon commanders likely came sometime this past summer-again throw a dart in August. Favre who had retired, held the nation and Green Bay Packers hostage in a multi-week soap opera, petitioning for his return, that ended in the severing of ties with Green Bay and a trade to New York-not a likely destination for a southern boy who preferred wood chopping to wine. About this time, the number of McCain’s residences became national news, he picked a running mate that hearkened more to conservative culture than to Maverick and as days wore on McCain had to throw more traditional conservative (read divisive) hay makers to try to sway the polling. Favre could at least throw touchdowns, for a few more weeks.
Ultimately we know how McCain’s tactics played out, and on Election Night, some of the grace of McCain appeared to have returned. And now we know how it turned out for Favre. Two “Stevie Wonder” quality interceptions in a must win game; no offseason; talk of being mentally fatigued and his body aching. Favre’s past mistakes were always excused by his lust for winning: He’s just having fun, he just wants to win, he just wants to compete. And perhaps in time McCain’s nastiness and desperation during the campaign will be regarded in a similar light. But for now, we’ve seen two swan songs. It’s time for the two old soldiers to fade away.
An apt title I suppose since some of you have no doubt been wondering: Where is Brain Skarpowsky? Did Yeiser take him out? Is he being vetted by the Obama cabinet selection team? Has he indeed fallen off the edge of the universe…an update then….
Post election, I suffered something akin to burnout/withdrawal; media deprivation based delirium tremens. Ty has fared much better, but his tolerance has no doubt been built up by dealing with the lingering “Gulf War Syndrome” that will some day haunt his dreams. This coincided in a very rough way with Mrs. Skarpowsky asexually budding for a second time, bringing total chaos to the Skarpowsky “household.” My brain has simply not been able to function in a manner consistent with logging into a computer, opening a browser, and taking in information. Let alone, spitting information back. In between fits of sleep, I rock gently in the corner, hoping that the magical TV box will light up with Sarah Palin’s cackling image (where has the MILF media coverage gone to? Back to Angelina supposedly).
By the dim light of my iPhone, I have been able to keep up with some transmissions of news of the outside. But as great as the screen is, the most I can muster is an arched eyebrow or two before I squint, cry a little, and eventually fall back asleep. Thoughts are like familiar faces passed in haste on a crowded subway–they look familiar, but for the life of me, I could not possibly put a name to a face or even make sure the subject went before the verb.
But then tonight, what comes on the TV: Journey to the Edge of the Universe. An HD show, displaying all sorts of nooks and crannies of the outer reaches of our universe (is it really ours?). Awe inspiring, navel-gaze-inducing scenes of this thing, this universe. The pictures are cool, but the narration is only something that could be swallowed whole by a mouth breather. First off, the narrator, if it isn’t actually him, certainly sounds like Alec Baldwin. Worse he sounds like the guy who did Alex Baldwin’s voice in Team America: World Police. This is an indictment in and of itself. The Democrats/Obama has/have won. Alec (or his sound-alike), go fall off the edge of the universe — your voice is not needed.
In between talking about how gases combine and stars are born or collapse, Alec goes on to tell us that, not only is the universe scientific, but it is actually an artist. I almost elbowed Mrs. Skarpowsky in the ribs, but she was asleep and doesn’t get enough chances for that these days. I decided to spit my coffee out and run to the computer instead. The universe is an artist???? Sentimentally this is an attractive thought and it makes you want to go pull the bong out of the garage and see if you can synch up Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” to the show. But it is an utter fucking crap thought (Megan, your comments of late have inspired this one). Well if the universe is an artist… who is the artist? Is it a he/she? Does he know the watchmaker? Did it design intelligently? Maybe it is just artistic design, instead of intelligent design. (A slightly more appealing thought, but no more intellectually rigorous). If only Douglas Adams had been around to proof the script. The universe? What can you say about it? It simply is. Scientists can tell us where the hydrogen and dairy creamer is, how deep it could appear to be, which way it’s shrinking or growing, make educated guesses about where the matter is. But in no way can you in good conscience try to pass off the overlaying of poetry and science as fact in a show that purports to be scientific. It is a bad and dare I say dangerous thinking. Because once you’ve seen another little Skarpowsky come squiggling wet, screaming, and naked out of the womb, you really can’t claim to have any answers as to the artistic structure of the universe.
Is this terribly important? Well, No. But you get back on the horse one step at a time.
The Supreme Court is debating the f-word. You know–that one. No, not “flag”. No, not “founding fathers.” No, not “freedom” either. Yeah. That one. And since they couldn’t say it, I won’t say it either… not until the next parapraph.
The problem at hand is the use of swear words as “fleeting expletives” — that is, the utterance of words that are graphic or sexual but used in a way that is devoid of their meaning. An example of this type of language came from Bono’s 2003 Golden Globe acceptance speech in which he said it was “fucking brilliant.” The court wondered if that sort of usage might lead to a character from a children’s program (for literary sake let’s say Elmo) describing how he might “fuck the shit out of someone” (for example, Abby Cadabby.) (more…)
Check out the Moral Sense Test, courtesy of Harvard U. and a boom in Experimental Philosophy — that is, Philosophy grounded in real life research, or at least more concerned with real life happenings than say“the thing in itself.“
I took it. I don’t know what to say other than the situations are a bit of a bitch — but then, it is designed to probe one’s morality. It’s the same sort of questioning one would expect to see in an introductory ethics textbook– the “should I kill one person to save 5″ type scenario. (more…)