Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Drives Me Nuts...

I think Stop and Shop should make people take a test before allowing them to use the self-checkout. Honestly, people approach these things and it's like their brain just shuts off. Yesterday I watched as the person in front of me stood dumbfounded, absolutely unable to to work the machine. That's why there are normal checkouts.

But then again, I think the machines are more of a hassle anyways. They waste more time than they save. People throw their entire cart and a half of groceries onto them and take at least three times as long organizing and bagging the items. I've often wished the self checkouts were express only and used for those of us with two or three things in our hands who want to run in and out quickly. Those of you doing your weeks shopping will end up saving time and anxiety by allowing someone else to ring your order up for you.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You Mean Jumping?

I have to say, I love the ingenuity of this invention. It really highlights the something from nothing society that we have. I can't way to see the late night informercials advertising it as the newest fitness sensation.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pulp Week

I really dug Slate's Pulp Fiction week. It's always nice to see a site recommending books. Of course I think my favorite thus far has been their new pulp covers for old classics. If only they could convince publishers to put out these covers, the books would certainly garner new interest.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back into Religion...

I've never been much all that interested in religion since my Bar Mitzvah. I've read from the Toarh, studied it, and thought I understood it. There was no need to look at it again.

Except my interest in the Torah has been renewed thanks to the Blogging the Bible project by David Plotz. Aside from the fascinating stories that I've missed in the bible, I really enjoy Plotz' concise language and tone. He is never overly critical, but posits questions from his readings. Rather than attempt to attach meaning to stories, Plotz asks meaningful questions, seeking answers in a scholarly way. Go check it out and see what you think.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

House Memory

I know I usually don't go this far, but last night's episode of House was by far the best dramatic television I've seen in a long time. The episode would have been good without an interesting premise, but the producers chose to wallop us over the head with a nice (albeit obvious) surprise at the end.

Big ol' Spoiler ahead.

Revealing at the end that the whole episode is a House hallucination makes the episode akin to a Tennesee Williams' play. Everything needs to be reviewed because it's all coming from House's psyche and his feelings. So rather than the events being actual, they are emotions in House's mind. I nearly lost it when House apologized to the shooter, wherein he is essentially realizing in his mind that his attitude has been wrong all along. That's truly spiritual healing coming from the self.

Hopefully they wont take it quite that far next season though...

Monday, May 22, 2006

In Case You Were Wondering...

I woke up this morning feeling relatively normal for the first time in about a week. This means that I didn't aimlessly walk around my apartment coughing on my cats. I actually showered and prepared for work. So I'm tentatively saying I'm back, although I'm still a bit off center.

It's been a bizarre week for me. I spent most of it locked away, trying to pretend like I wasn't actually sick. It didn't help that one doctor told me that it was mainly my allergies bothering me. For a little while I kept telling myself to suck it up and deal with it. The morning I woke up dizzy and completely disoriented, I knew something else was up. So I saw another doctor who was alarmed at my first diagnosis. He told me that I had severe asthmatic bronchitis, wrote me a note and told me to go home and crash. He also put me on an inhaler, which makes me feel instantly better. It feels like warm drizzle running down my lungs.

Yesterday afternoon there was a crazy thunderstorm followed by momentous sun that came pouring out from the black sky. It was, perhaps, the most radiant sunlight I had ever seen. That's kind of where I am right now, in that place of contrast where I still remember the thunder and heavy sky, but am staring up at the rays.

So how are you?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Strange Cold

Yes, I've been sick, which has kept me from writing much lately. Initially I thought I had a sinus infection, but my doctor told me that I probably was just suffering from my allergies. He listened to my chest and confidently sent me off with a nasal spray.

There's a reason why I try not to waste money on doctors.

The bad news is that I almost certainly have something other than allergy issues. I know the difference. The good news is that this morning my fever broke and my cough has been good. This morning it cleaned the apartment, fed the cats and took out the trash. What a productive cough I have.

I also love the way in which cold medication has the tendency to give me some of the strangest dreams imaginable. Last night I had a dream that I was best buds with Ann Coulter. We settled our differences and took a new bipartisan agenda across the country. I was even telling other people how nice she was.

I can only imagine that was the Guaifenesin talking.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm Beginning to Feel Like Zeena Frome

Today I came down with a rather bad sinus infection, which has me sheltered at home watching the rain splash against the windows with my cats. This has been a week of a series of health setbacks for me. Yes, I have always dealt with my health issues in my own way. Recently my psoriasis finally seemed to be under control and I had found a combination of creams that generally work. The unfortunate things is that other weird things were happening to my body. I was getting intense stomach aches, my head hurt a lot and my sinuses seemed worse than ever.

So last week I checked out the creams I was taking. I searched online, found the most prevalent, and nearly recoiled in surprise. The cream I had been putting on my hands and probably injesting by accident caused most of these issues. My health issues could be traced back to when I began taking the cream.

I suppose I should be angry at my dermatologist, but really I'm just relieved to know that my problems can easily be fixed. All I need to do is stop taking the cream. Unfortunately that means my psoriasis will come back in full force, which I can handle. It's all just an amazing balancing act.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Could these people be any cooler? What I really like is the way that they bring interesting events to the normal routine of a city. Nothing ever seems malicious, just good fun and lots of laughs.

My favorites are the cell-phone symphony and the taxi ride of love.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Space Race

I'm almost positive Wile E. Coyote tried this. It didn't work all that well for him.

Singing in the Webcam

Initially I felt bad for this guy, until I noticed the guy uploaded the video himself:

But then I remembered something Dee once told me. He said our culture doesn't sing together often enough. His hypothesis was that mutual singing brings us together as a society, and I agree with him entirely. So maybe Shane is just reaching out to all of us with his "open arms."

Also, the idea that this could totally have been me makes me incredibly thankful that I don't own a webcam.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I was so set to hate Coke Blak. It sounded to me like Coca-Cola had just run out of good ideas and decided to throw some coffee into their product. I love coke, I love coffee and I could only imagine what merging the two would be like. When it was handed to me today, I smelled it with extreme trepidation. Despite my best attempts at distaste, the thing smelled like maple syrup. The inviting aroma forced me to take a sip, and I thought of drinking a nice glass of coffee with maple syrup and caramel.

Damn, it is way too good.

Monday, May 08, 2006

News, News, News

As I have expressed before, I despise TV news. Most American news is designed for sensationalist purposes that leave much to actual news. One local news channel was doing a report on the best mp3 downloads for cell phones and promoting the segment as if it was some genius thing. Other news programs set up stings to catch MySpace stalkers, which leads me to wonder when news programs began actually creating news rather than reporting it.

I also despise how the news constantly makes me feel worse about the world. Every single bit of the news is designed to inform just how screwed up and dangerous society really is. I am not thrilled in seeing the seedy underbelly of our culture.

Which is why I used to really adore CBS Sunday Morning. Everything about it highlighted what was wonderful about the world. They used to do inspiring portraits of artists, highlights of cool things that were happening in the world, and segments that would make me laugh. What a great idea, news that was uplifting and started off a Sunday morning in a positive way. Especially considering the amount of "politicians screaming at each other" shows on afterwards.

But recently, CBS Sunday Morning has veered drastically towards the format of other news magazines. They still have the artsy segments, but intermingled are stories such as how your doctor misdiagnosing you may be fatal. The segment several weeks ago on Opus Dei* was so ridiculous (as well as being bad journalism) that it skewed my opinion of Sunday Morning. They used to find unique news. Now they report on the upcoming buzz of the summer box office.

Every other news magazine sticks to stories designed as gossip or ways to frighten the viewer. Sunday Morning should do what it's done best and educate the viewer while making them feel good. That is a combination that truly works.

*Has anyone bothered to tell these news magazines that are doing studies of "the truth behind The DaVinci Code that the book is FICTION? I mean, telling Dan Brown that he got things wrong in his FICTIONAL book is like telling Dr. Seuss that Whoville isn't really as great as he portrayed it to be.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Delicious Unfortunate Names

What is with ice cream companies keeping things creepy names? First, Dairy Queen comes out with the MooLatte, which is still on the market. It is a mix of hazelnut coffee and soft-serve ice cream, which evokes a terrible racial stereotype, especially considering its physical similarity to the word.

Then there was the Ben and Jerry's Black and Tan, which provoked some ire. Ben and Jerry's gets a pass because they decided that it was best to pull this product off the market. They also make some of the bes ice cream out there.

I almost choked on my coffee this morning when reading about Wendy's new name for their Frosties. Frosty is a fine name, which provides imagery of cooling off on a hot summer day. But the name Soquid (which is a mix of solid and liquid) is really head scratching. It's actually downright weird and kind of gross. I love calamari, and eat it with great zeal, but I do not wish to be reminded of it when eating ice cream. Thank you Wendy's, but I'd rather not eat this product with a "fpoon."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Apples to Oil

I love how Ann Coulter gives me fuel for my blogging. Honestly, could this comparison be any more ridiculous? Ann attempts to suggest that we should really be analyzing the rising costs of college tuition instead of gas prices. I don't want to say her argument is stupid, but...okay I really just want to say her argument is stupid. Here's why:

Ann seems to be making the argument that college is a bastion of liberal thought headed by the outspoken Ward Churchill. Apparently American children are being "taught that America is the worst country on Earth and that the American bond traders who were murdered on 9/11 deserved it." This argument is an interesting rhetorical syllogism which follows ignorant logic. Here's how to map it:

A. All college professors think alike.
B. Ward Churchill is a college professor.
C. All college professors think just like Ward Churchill.

If we all used logic in this manner, our country would indeed be the worst in the world. Thankfully, college is a diverse, unique and overly pluralistic environment. On any given college campus a student can find many different viewpoints and learn different things.

By saying that all college professors deliver the same product, Ann is trying to suggest that its just like gas. You get one mediocre product that you need. But in college I had many different opportunities for learning. Last time I went to the pump, I had three options. I went with the cheapest one.

Her comparison that college tuition mirrors gas prices is all too wrong. The difference is, as I drive down the road, I don't see a lot of change in price between gas stations. However, college tuition is wildly different from school to school. The state schools (those Ann is moaning about being subsidized by the government to spread liberal thought) average roughly 12,000 dollars a year for on-campus students and 5000 dollars a year for off-campus students. However, private schools average 27,000 dollars for on-campus students and 22,000 for off-campus students. I can't quite tell if Shell or Mobil will cost me 15,000 dollars less per year.

My favorite comparison, and one which she make my college professor friends smile, is when she compares college professors to oil executives. I almost lost it when I read"How about investigating the "shameful display of greed" by college professors?" Those damn academics and their slothful ways. How dare they attempt to give themselves a decent standard of living.

Truthfully, college professors make, on average, roughly 80,000 dollars a year. This number may seem high, and it is far above the average salary in the United States. But college professors almost always have doctorates and if you look at the average salary of a person who has taken the time and money to get their doctorate, professors' pay is relatively low. Oil executives make roughly 30 million dollars per year in bonuses and stock options. Is greed in college professors really the issue here?

I can't express how thankful I am that as time progresses, Ms. Coulter's arguments become stranger and more nonsensical. She really is proving to be quite unhinged and ridiculous, which is good for me. It gives me lots to write about.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I've never been much of a fan of Superman. Yes, I realize he is supposed to be the great American hero, but he seems too invincible to me. The reason why I love Batman is that he's vulnerable, makes mistakes and has deep issues about being a superhero. I never saw that with Superman (barring several good moments in the second movie). So I wasn't too excited about the movie, even when I saw the first teaser trailer.

But then this trailer comes out and completely changes my viewpoint. I knew that Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-men films, would do a good job with the Superman mythos. I'm happy that he understands that a superhero isn't a perfect being, but should have issues that we can relate to. That final shot, where Superman grabs onto the wing of a crashing plane and tears it off, is perfect.

Now where's that Watchmen movie we've all been waiting for DC?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hands Please!

My students have been noticing that I've been clapping my hands a great deal in class lately. Yes, I have been clapping a whole lot. The reason-because I finally can.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Emotional Food

I've been thinking a lot about comfort food. When I was younger, I remember my mother pouring me a chocolate drink that she said was from her childhood. She told me that my father and she had loved it and she hoped I would to. I don't remember what that drink was (it wasn't any of the normal brands) but I remember enjoying it a lot. That wasn't what interested me though. My father walked by and I offered him a sip of the drink. His reaction is burned into my memory.

He politely lifted the glass, smiled at me, and took a sip. His face ticked and he cupped the glass tightly. He drank the entire chocolate drink, ecstasy dancing on his face. My father, a very composed and stoic person, had a moment of pure joy. He thanked me, hugged my mother, and walked off to his office. My mother and I stared at each other. She smirked and told me that my dad had liked that drink a lot when he was a child.

So when all the diet pundits and nutrition addicts talk about how bad it is to tie food to emotions, I think of my father. If a small drink that reminded him of his childhood could give him so much pleasure, could it really be so bad?