Category Archives: posts by adam

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Don’t Matter

When I was in the 11th grade, my English class read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  For those of you who don’t know, the book details, somewhat nonfictionally, the trials and tribulations of Jurgis, a Slavic immigrant struggling to survive while supporting his family in the meat-packing district of 1900’s Chicago.  The book’s grisly descriptions of what constituted hot dogs, while then outdated by the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 that it helped inspire, also had the unintended effect of inspiring 4 of the 16 girls in my class to vegetarianism.  At least one of them remains so to this day.  As an ardent supporter of the deliciousness of hot dogs, I argued ad nauseum that knowing what was (or rather, what formerly was) in hot dogs made them no less toothsome.

Hot Dog

You tryin' to tell me you wouldn't eat that? Sheeeeit.

Now, as a former (albeit briefly serving) service member, it seems there is a similar issue at hand – the impending repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”   Service members at every level of every branch are throwing up their hands in panic, collectively saying, “We’ll gladly stand in the line of fire, but showering with homos scares the bejeezus out of us!”

And now, the top level of the braintrust that is the DoD has apparently released a thirty-two-plus page survey (PDF) asking service members such important questions as, “Have you been assigned to share bath facilities with an open bay shower that is also used by a Service member you believed to be homosexual?” and “If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed, how easy or difficult do you think it will be for leadership to enforce good order and discipline?”

what the fuck

I think Redman feels the same way as I do.

Okay, first things first:  the answer to #1 is “yes.”  Outright, plain as day, yes.  In boot camp, you share a berthing and a shower with 70 people of your same sex – for up to 13 weeks, depending on your branch of choice.  Simple math on the estimate that 4% of people are homosexual tells me that I definitely showered with at least one dude who was gay and we all knew and 1.8 others who kept it hidden better.

And you know what?  Our morale never suffered because any of us feared getting anally accosted, or catching gayness.  We grew together, and matured together, and realized that if it came down to brass tacks, it didn’t matter if 2.8 of us liked to make out with guys, because we’d get the job done.  That’s not going to change if DADT is repealed – no person in their right mind is going to try to “surprise” one of his squadmates in the shower in front of a dozen other people, or try and dance the YMCA while they’re trying to return enemy fire.

Gay Marine

His name was "Jones," but we called him "Corporal Punishment."

Now onto the second question, to which the only suitable reply I’ve been able to conjure is something along the lines of “Fuck You,” only meaner.  I’m not gay, nor have I ever been.  Christ, I couldn’t even look my doctor in the face after she put one finger in my ass.  But to think that somehow repealing DADT would incite bedlam in the ranks infuriates me to the point of wanting to reenlist, put “Faggotry” down as my religion, and strip naked just to wag my junk at my base’s Commanding Officer.  Are they serious?

All repealing DADT is going to do is make 4% of patriots more comfortable with themselves, and the idea that a nation is behind them (not like that); while having the somewhat more desirable effect of keeping ignorant bigots away from guns and assumed power because they can’t stomach the idea of serving next to an open homosexual.

Because if we’re being honest, those are the kind of people I don’t want in my Army.  The ones who’ll shoot any “A-rab” ’cause he’s a “dirty towelhead”, who’ll condescend any black man because he’s a “lazy nigger,” and think that every “queer” is gonna try to “rape his asshole” just because he’s allowed to be gay in the military.

Maybe we shouldn’t repeal DADT at all – just change all references to homosexuals against morons – but we have to do one or the other soon.

America is ruining the world…

… and not just in the way you might think:

That’s right, I went there. †

This time it’s not just the military’s fault, as many things titled that often are.  Although they are involved.  Back in 1945, an American scientist named Vannevar Bush (no relation the other Bush) created a way to link microfiche films together.  After years of intensive extrapolation, his work yielded two progenies:  one military, and one civilian.  Ironically, the civilian project was spearheaded by a Brit at a little place in the Swiss hills called CERN.  Unfortunately, heir project was called “World Wide Web,” and although it seemed innocuous enough at the time, the United States came along in about 1992 and well, “jacked their ass like a looter in a riot,” which is to say, they set up a web server at Stanford University.

At this point, the only top-level domains available were the nation-wide (.uk, .fr, .ch, et al.) domains, and .edu, until we privately annexed .com (commercial), .net (network), .org (organization, commonly non-profit), .mil (Who needs a fucking top-level domain for their military? We do, so piss off), and .gov (because apparently just using “.us” was too much to ask).  Over a course of about 4 years, they went about commercially deploying and distributing this new “world wide web” technology at a merciless pace over a network of private computers.  Other countries soon followed suit, but let’s look at it like this:  we’re definitely the only country with on the list of top 10 GDP/capita with more than 16.4 million people.

There are only 301,000 Icelanders, but because of geothermal power,
each one of them can party down on your ass all night long.‡

Adam, get to the point already, you say?  Faithful reader, my point is this:  The American Internet is has supersaturated the solution.  Although we make up only 4.5% of the world’s population, we control 35 of the internet’s 50 most visited sites.  It’s safe to say we do most of the visiting, too.  As a result, we’re becoming more and more comfortable with interjecting what can be called, “internet shorthand” into our daily lives.  When this carryover occurs over a period of time, it winds up in scary, important places, like the dictionaries and regional vernaculars – and that’s scary shit!

As what can be seen as the monopolistic purveyors of these newest types of media, we are the torch-bearers for the closest thing there can be to a world-wide language.  Because of this, we have an obligation to the rest of the world not to go and fuck it up.  Sure, I’m fine with languages melding together.  That’s where all languages come from.  What I mean is that if I’m alive to see reputable news sources world-wide “ROFLing,” or “your” becoming a Webster’s-sanctioned replacement for “you’re,” I’m going to do something dramatic, along the lines of eating someone’s pet dog.


6:  Dog Meat
serving size, 3.5 oz.   260 calories, 20.2g fat, 19g protein

In closing, I’d only like to add one thing:  it’s not that hard to misplace a semicolon here or there.  I’m not talking about that – punctuation is confusing as shit.  And I don’t care who does and doesn’t know what a gerund is.  I’ve never once needed that tidbit of information, despite years of competing on the bar trivia circuit.  What I’m talking about, is letting what we’ve got going on continue at it’s kudzu-esque pace.  Also, maybe a constitutional amendment.  What, couldn’t hurt, right?  Then maybe my grandkids won’t need an English-to-Lolspeak dictionary in order to read it.  Is that too much to ask?

___________

†:  I’ve  never actually been “there.” ††

††:  “there” is Tehran.

‡:  The sun doesn’t even come up in December.  Bitch.

Ruminations About Meat

Yeah, yeah, I haven’t written anything in a while.  I’ve been doing stuff.  No foolin’.  I really wanted to write about this rocket show I went to over Independence Day weekend, but when it comes down to it, I really don’t know much about model rocketry other than “rockets = awesome.”

For reference, that man is not a gnome.
That man is a man, and that man is not fucking around.

So, I said to myself, “Self, just stick to what you know!  Tell stories about stuff you like!”  Thus was born Ruminations About Meat:

1:  Venison serving size, 3 0z.  130 calories, 2g fat, 26g protein

Ah, deer meat.  Venison always makes me think of the Sportsman’s Lake lodge.  My grandpa – a cow-testicle eating meat badass – always used to drag us brothers there during some days we visited over the summers.  Once, we got bored of fishing, and went rifling through the cabinets and the refrigerator in the kitchen.  My grandpa found us, yelled at us, probably beat the shit out of us, and made us sit in the back of his truck until he finished playing cards.  Canasta, most likely.  Later in my childhood, we would return to this very lodge for a venison pot-luck, where we sampled home-made dishes ranging from spaghetti with venison meatballs to steaks to deer tacos.  ¡Magnifico!

2:  Swordfishserving size, 3.75 oz.   164 calories, 5.4g fat, 27g protein

When I was 19, I lived for free as the assistant manager of an apartment complex.  Sweet deal while it lasted, but one day, a 30-something resident caught me on my way home from work (no easy feat, since my total trek was about 60 yards) and asked me if I could help him move some things out of his apartment.  I figured “Hey, why not,” but before I could comply, he offered to grill some swordfish so it wouldn’t spoil in his move.  He fired up his charcoal grill, we hauled some boxes from his apartment to a trailer, and before I knew it, I was eating the juiciest, most flavorful grilled fish steak I’ve ever put in my mouth.  If only I’d had some squash.  The lesson here is, while candy is under no circumstances acceptable to take from strangers, swordfish is A-OK!

Swordfish, The Last Boy Scout, The Flinstones,
pretty much anything with Halle Berry.

3:  Bacon serving size, 1 oz.   251 calories, 28g fat, 0g protein

Oh, bacon, how you’ve saved me so many mornings.  I know it’s trendy to love bacon right now, but why shouldn’t the pinnacle of pork products always be celebrated?  The best bacon I’ve ever had in my entire life spent two days marinating in black peppercorn dressing while wrapped around a ribeye steak.  Then, it was cooked on top of the steak on a Foreman grill.  The resultant bacon was literally ineffable.  It was crispy, and tender, and it tasted like I was making out with God.  It was one of the few times I’ve had steak that had been wrapped in bacon, and come away saying, “The steak was also good.”

4:  Salmon serving size, 3.5 oz.   140 calories, 6.5g fat, 19g protein

I prefer my salmon a just a pinch rarer than my steaks, which is to say, raw.  Sure, you can cook salmon, whatever.  But why bother?  Salmon is like nature’s version of convenience food! I once watched Bear Grylls fish a salmon out of a river in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska with a spear, scale it, cut the meat out, and commence enjoying delicious fish.  It literally took him less time than it would for you to get up, walk down the hall, put 75 cents into a vending machine, and decide between the Rice Krispie Treat and the Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles.  Then again, he almost died of hypothermia on that trip, so … you know, pick your battles.  As an aside, yes, I envision the majority of you are reading this while you’re supposed to be working.  🙂

Fact:  Being a bear is fucking awesome.

I hope I’ve quenched everyone’s thirst for tombloggery.  It’s like, tomfoolery, but with bloggi – you know what, forget it.  Either you get it, or you don’t.  I’m not going to stand here and explain it to you.

PS:  The Patagonian Toothfish used to sell at local markets in southern South America for roughly $2 per 20-lb fish, and it wouldn’t even sell in America due to its lowly status.  Since fishmongers started calling it the “Chilean Sea Bass,” we’ve started paying nearly $25 per pound in some places.  Let’s hear it for fish marketing!

You know what today is?

I watching that 90’s movie the other day.  You know the one with the guy – wears those shirts?  He’s like, this cool, rebellious teenager.  And his family moves to the midwest from the west coast, and he’s all, “Whoa,” and the plain old townsfolk are all, “Huh? What?”  And hilarity ensues?  Well, I realized something today.  That story is not only applicable to the United States as we know it, but we’re actually on both sides of the coin.  Still with me?  Rock on.

This used to buy two orgies with the senate, with enough change for a leg of pork.

On one side of the coin (we’ll call it heads), there’s the US and Texas.  When we bought Louisiana in 1801, we wanted Texas, but Texas didn’t want us.  Then in 1821, it became part of Mexico.  Then, in 1835, when Texas was fighting for it’s indepence, and we tried to help, you know what they said?  “No, thanks, we got this.  Nobody messes with Texas.”  Then, in 1845, we annexed them anyway.  America, the cool new kid in town comes guns a’blazin, and sets that giant midwestern town straight.  We’re awesome.

Ever since, they, more than any other state, has asserted their uniqueness from the other 49 children.   My guess is, what with recent talk of secession by everyone from current Governor Rick Perry to professional facemelter Chuck Norris, that they may not really want to be a state.  Sure, Texas is 2nd in population among the states with 24 million people and has 3 of our 10 most populous cities.  You know how it ranks in population density?  26th, with about the same average as the whole US.  You know what that little disparity there says?  Two things: vast, and wasteland.  Basically, it has ~1/3 the population of Germany spread out across twice the space.

The only state more populous is the flip side of this argument.  Back in the 1820’s, when all them gold diggers went to California all a’hootin’ and a’prospectin’, that was the lesson that their kids took to bed every night.  And then their kids, and then their kids, who became so fixated on power and money that they elected not one, but two movie stars governor.  The only baffling part is that they were both republicans, and Cali hasn’t really been a beacon for the right wing all too often historically (except that gap in the 70’s and 80’s).

To them, we as Americans are a a firm, nubile farm girl, who practically creams herself every time our young action hero blows up a helicopter for fun and profit.  And since a majority of Californians still think that popularity is analagous to political competence, they put him in charge. Ever since the he took office, he got old, never really shed his strange accent, and now all we can do is cry after every time he screws us.

Why wouldn’t you look at me … during?

Back in the day, it too was part of Mexico, and like Texas, it also wanted to be an independent republic, but during the Mexican-American war, in all our Manifestly Destined brilliance, we decided it would look nice as a state, and it became one in 1850.  Ever since, it’s grown to house 33 million people, and it has a Gross State Product that’s higher than all but 7 countries. In fact, Texas is #2 on the list, and between the two of them, they’re responsible for ~2.5 trillion dollars in annual revenue, or roughly 18% of the US economy.  This is mostly due to A: the fact that we’ve been stuffing business down in Texas since the Industrial Revolution paved roads into it, and B: Steven Spielberg.

So, what am I getting at with all this?  Basically, it’s time to just let ’em go.  Now, like every situation, this has it’s pros and cons.  Let’s examine them:

Pro: This doesn’t really upset the balance of power in the political arena all that much.  California has 55 EV, and Texas 34.  It would maybe even look bipartisan-ish of Obama to give up part of that historically built-in 52-vote handicap (along with NY’s 31) the Republicans have to overcome every 4 years.  Sure, we’d have to get rid of our Speaker of the House, but … oh, no?  It’s not like there aren’t 12 or 15 people in those chambers just as or more qualified than the one we have now.  Nothing personal, just simple probability.  They’d only have to preside over 350 Representatives, anyway.

Con:  Sure, there’s a lot of history.  That’s how it is with any break-up.  They have a good portion of our business, and we still have all of their movies & tv (Ca.) and Tom Landry & sand (Tx.) to remember them by.  And of course, there’d be acrimony and people would suffer, both in their business and personal lives.  But again, like any break-up, we’ll start to see each other in the halls after a couple of weeks, and wonder how the other is doing, and eventually one of us will go over and talk, and everything will be fine.

Pro:  In this age of “global economic downturn,” California’s not only most vulnerable in that its main exports are culture and … airplane parts(?!), but that it hasn’t passed a feasible budget basically since the last ice age.  As a result of these two things, and the fact that the US has been handing out money hand over fist lately to failing businesses, a dangerous precedent has been set.  If we don’t bail out them out now, there’s no way it won’t backfire.  However, if we were to just suddenly to encourage our little teenager to grow up, get a job, and move out of the house, maybe it would learn the responsibility it somehow missed while we were trying to raise it right.  Or, maybe it will look to it’s responsible big brother Texas for guidance.   Texas definitely has its shit together financially.

Just because I knew you didn’t want to see it.

Con:  I’m a big fan of symmetry, so I like having 50 stars.  Of course, 48 wouldn’t look bad on a flag, but if you really want the world to know that we’re still the land-conquering badass we used to be, all we’d have to is grant statehood to two of the nine territories we already hold, and voila.  Also, did you know that in addition to being the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry was a bomber pilot in Germany during World War II, who later earned a degree in Industrial Engineering?  I suppose that doesn’t really have anything to do with the argument, does it?

Pro:  We still get to play sports games against the Cowboys and the Lakers just the same as we play the Oilers (Edm) and the Blue Jays (Tor).  In fact, it makes our so-called “World Series” claim that much more valid.  On top of that, we can deny Kobe’s visa every year when the Lakers make the playoffs.  Just because he’s a dick.

Obviously, there’s far more to it than I’m suggesting, and obviously, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime.  I merely wanted to start a discussion about the possibility of a better world.  A world where we can let California sink slowly and quietly into the ocean, and where Chuck Norris is able to run for President of Texas. What say you?

Thank goodness it’s over.

Just one long week since Carl finished finals, I’ve finally come to the end of my own gauntlet as well – and not a moment too soon.  Sure, I still have two finals to take on Thursday, but History of American Tech has kept me interested enough that the high points should come back easily, and Discrete Math is basically my bitch.  Programming was a tough cookie this quarter, but I’m all done with that, and basically, all that stands between my and summer is four hours of scrutiny.  Thank goodness it’s over.  Maybe I should rephrase that.  It’s not that I didn’t have fun – I did.  It should come as no surprise to any of our readers that I’m fairly fond of learning.  What I’m not fond of is being a full-time student, and full-time worker, all without a car.  Carl can attest to this on some level as well – it sucks. What made it even more sucktastic was my college town’s winter. In fact, I have a spectacular visual representation of our winters right here:

Bob Sapp Piledrives Rodrigo NoguieraI’m in the black trunks.  Winter’s in white.

Ah, but now … now it’s my time.  The NWS says technically spring ends at the summer solstice, but I disagree.  Today, the low was 37, and the high was 75, and it’s like this every day for the next 5 months.  So, spring basically lasts until around 11AM, when it gives way to summer, which lasts until autumn at dusk, and goes right back into winter until dawn … only without the snow.  Which I suppose I’m cool with (you see what I did there?).  I mean, it doesn’t really matter to me, because now that there’s no classes to drag me out of bed, it’s not like I’ll be waking up before noon any damn way.  That’s for the birds.  Literally.  Specifically roosters.

Oh, you’re getting out of bed.  And I’ll be damned if you’re having eggs.

So, what plans have I for summer, you ask?  Well, it’s quite simple, actually.  Instead of taking the summer off like a normal college kid, I’ll be jumping directly back into the books.  Yay!  I was the recipient of a 10-week research grant, during which time I’m going to spend 30 hours a week in my kitchen (which is roughly large enough to have either the refrigerator or the oven open) trying to identify all the quantifiable data therein, and find ways to automate its measurement.  (Speaking of which, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments.)

Even better than that, I know I’ll be seeing more than one of you at the Festival of the Bluegrass (only 3 weeks left!!), the one week out of the year where it’s okay for me to wear a cowboy hat and try to turn myself into a living intoxicant disposal.  Oh, and there’s bluegrass music, too – that definitely doesn’t suck.  I can’t really say I’m a huge bluegrass fan the way some of my cooler, transnational friends are, but I can safely say that wandering around from campsite to campsite by moonlight, drinking moonshine and listening to banjos, mandolins, and fiddles getting burned up gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Moonshine – the fuzzymaker!

I really can’t stress enough how happy I am about this summer.  Thanks for keeping the faith through our finals season, dear readers, and I’ll see (many of) you very soon!

Easter Egg Hunt!

Happy first day not given some seemingly arbitrary religious moniker for about a week.    Now, it’s Monday.  Lent’s over.  No more no-meat Fridays, no-heroin Saturdays, and whatever other self-inflicted chastity there was.  No more Easter Egg hunts where 8 children meticulously comb over the front yard for 32 man-hours, and still manage to miss roughly 60% of the eggs it took a grown man 45 seconds to hide.

But more importantly (and perhaps more secularly), no more Winter. It’s becoming increasingly evident that Spring is upon us, and with that comes a short post about a long weekend that comes once a year.  Bonus for tie-in purposes:  The post has an easter egg of its’ own.  See if you can find it:

posteriiisample

At any rate, that’s not an official design so I slapped a watermark on it  – so you can’t go printing it and handing it out to all your friends just yet, but I’ll make a high-res 11 by 17 version available whenever that becomes appropriate.  Damn, I love spring.  See you in June, Lexington.

1000 reasons lists rule, or, yay recursion!

Hello?  Blog readers?  Are you still there?

I know we’ve alienated a few (read:  most) of you with our last couple of posts – some incoherent rambling about space, and then a completely unrelatable “superblog” about genius that flopped about as hard as Chris Cornell’s supergroup “Temple of the Dog.”  So, I’m here to try and salvage what little readership we’ve managed not to scare off, and I was wondering … well, how?

Now, I just want to warn you, I’m not above posting porn here – but while I strongly feel that a couple triple-X videos of Melissa Midwest would solve our low readership woes, I fear that it would only exacerbate the level of confusion in those we’ve managed to attract, and that’s clearly not what we want.

Melissa Midwest couch bra panties jeansThen again, who wouldn’t want to exacerbate to this picture?

Then, though, I had an epiphany.  What’s something everyone can relate to?  Music!  Well, at least everyone who wasn’t born deaf.  So, I decided, since I love music, and I love lists, and I’ve already wasted 200 words, this is a perfect opportunity to present to you, in no particular order … drum roll … my current top 5 bands! 

(So-called because this list is subject to change as soon as tomorrow.)

5:  Alkaline Trio
This is a good one with which to kick off the list, if for no other reason than grinding, guitar-driven punk rock played by Chicagoan Satanists is omitted from too many other lists.  Yeah, it’s the music that got me through the break-ups, the shake-ups, and the i-don’t-wanna-wake-ups, but it’s also noteworthy for being some of the best dark music ever played in major keys.  Between Matt Skiba’s cold, ironic sense of humor, and the searing, frenetic, and frequently technical instrumentals, the result is a tornado that will leave you wrecked like an Alabama trailer park.

If you’re already a fan, you might like:  Hot Water Music, Face To Face, Satan.

4:  The Beatles
Yeah, yeah, it’s a top-bands list requisite.  They’re arguably the most celebrated, imaginative, innovative quartet in rock history, so let’s try to take an alternate route – I’ll list things I hate about them, instead.  John Lennon?  A petty asshole, an undeserving martyr, and bad taste in women.  Their first 4 albums?  Not worth the wax they wasted (with the sole exception of “I Saw Her Standing There” – that shit still kills).  Hey Jude?  Repetitive, unimaginative, mind-numbing, and awful to the point that it makes me almost resent the key of F.   And now Ringo Starr is too busy to return fan mail?  Ringo?  Hahaha, yeah, me, too.  Sacks and sacks.

If you’re already a fan, you might like:  Music.

3:  Jay-Z
If you thought this list was gonna go down without Hov’ on it, simply put, you’re stupid.  One of the great musical minds of our (and maybe all) time, this man can play with words like Shakespeare, only the Bard didn’t have Kanye and Timbaland to write his beats.  (Maybe that’s why none of his plays were musicals?)  His albums have more energy than the Hoover Dam, and any rapper that can sample the Doors, reference Sinatra, and perform on stage with McCartney gets my vote easily.

If you’re already a fan, you might like:  Common, Atmosphere, gold chains.

2:  The Hold Steady
Hooooly cow.  Talk about someone who can write a story.  Craig Finn and company have put out 4 albums so far, whose lyrics intertwine like the Harry Potter novels, weaving in and out of blue-collar storylines and plot points like a slalom at 100 beats per minute.  Couple that with imagery that Mark Twain couldn’t top on a good day, guitars that make Slash look like a fingerless bitch, and an ability to relate to their audience that seems almost inbred (you see what I did there?), and then slap a global recession on top of it?  This Twin Cities juggernaut might just take over rock and roll if they’re not careful.

If you’re already a fan, you might like:  7 Seconds, Bruce Springsteen’s punchier stuff, beer.

1:  Weezer
As though there was any doubt.  From the first minute of the first track from the first album, I was stuck to this band like bubble gum in a perm.  Then again, I am a sucker for waltzes.  Of all the bands I’ve ever rocked out to, bonded over, seen live, or fallen asleep listening to, not one comes close in the quality and quantity of the mighty Weez.  Only time will tell if they’re as generational as I think they might be, but if there’s one musical act from our time that I would want my kids named after listening to, it’s this one.  That’s right – fuck you, Miley Cyrus.

If you’re already a fan, you might like:  Mates of State, Hey Mercedes, math class.

And so ends the list.  Questions?  Comments?  This one was much more fun to read, wasn’t it?