Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hocus Locus

Never has there been a man so blessed as he who wanders far,
and makes his mark and throws his legacy upon the stars.
Who worries not and has no needs for fortune has seen fit
to provide for board and friends and food as if by holy writ.

The man who sits upon his ass and fails to make a dent
because his only concerns are having cash and paying rent
is failing to leave a legacy, either rich or poor,
and the only lasting mark on earth made by this shallow boor
will be the pain he caused his mother at his birth
and the relentless way for 70 years he improved his gross net worth.

So too, the man who wanders far, but falls onto bad times,
who struggles hard but vainly 'til the Black Bell sends his chimes.
In us he evokes pity but of course 'twas not his goal,
and only old blind fate decides that he should take the fall.
No matter meek or mighty, men are subject to the clockery
which locks and ticks and tocks and clicks, makes free will into mockery.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Snack attack

I walked into the restroom at work today only to behold this supernatant image.

While I was unable unwilling to determine if the bag was empty or full gelatinous contents or member to a grey area of partially consumed, the following questions immediately came to mind.

Who would throw trash in a toilet when there is an empty waste bin two feet away?
Who takes food into a public restroom?
Who eats food in a public restroom?
Why would somebody throw away an entire bag of gummy snacks?
What was somebody doing in which they placed the gummy snacks on their lap and then couldn't catch them as they accidentally slipped into the toilet?

Why did I feel that this was a good reason to use a camera in a bathroom?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The prettiest girl

Actual conversation between me and the wife:

(driving home from buying groceries, and passing Wild Billy's Bar and Grill, the trashy neighborhood sports bar)

Wife: I think I want to go to Wild Bill's Bar sometime.

Me: You mean Wild Billy's Bar and Grill?

Wife: Yeah, whatever it is.

Me: Why?

Wife: Because I want to be the prettiest girl in there.

Me: What?

Wife: Girls like going to places where they're the prettiest girl there.

Me: Oh.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mini Moral Stories By My Inner 10 Year-Old, Episode 2

The Little Boy Who Tried To Be Balanced

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a little boy, his siblings, and his parents.  They were not obscenely rich, but they were certainly not in want.  The little boy's parents were generous, but practical, and taught him to work for what he wanted, though he was never in need.

Once the little boy began to go to public school, he was not the popular kid, but he had plenty of friends, and good friends at that.  They always had fun, and rarely got into trouble.  Any trouble they did get into was harmless and, as that word implies, they never harmed anyone with their hijinks and shenanigans.  The little boy's parents knew this, and liked his friends.

The little boy's parents believed strongly in being the kind of person who possessed a certain quality which they called "balance".  When the little boy ate, they told him to be balanced, so he ate some vegetables with his burger.  When he played outside with his siblings, they told him to be balanced, so he played "cops and robbers" with his brother, and "tea party" with his sister.  Then he balanced his playing outside with reading, and his reading was balanced between science, history, and more fantastic tales of talking animals and far-off lands.  He saw value in the idea of balance, and he strove for it.

One day the little boy spent the night at a friends house.  He had a lot of fun playing video games, learning songs, and discussing which girls at school were cute (though obviously they were still filled with cooties).  The next day, another of his friends called, and wanted to know if we would go see a movie with them.  The little boy had done his chores for the day, he had read and played outside, and he was feeling quite balanced.  But when he asked his parents for permission to go, they said no!  Confused, the little boy asked why, "why can't I go? I have finished my chores, and I have nothing else to do tonight!"  "You went out last night." They said to him, "You need to strike a balance, you can't go out every night."

The little boy was confused.  He sat in his room that night and tried to read but was distracted.  His parents' reasoning seemed faulty, but he just wasn't sure how, and the thoughts of how much he wanted to see the movie were distracting him.  He thought about what it meant to be balanced.  Did it mean preventing yourself from taking opportunities, simply because you had had similar opportunities recently?  That was the only thing he could take away from the event.  He did want to be balanced though, so he decided that that was what he must do.

He began taking only every other opportunity to see his friends.  He sat with them at lunch less often (though he wasn't quite able to stay away as often as it seemed he should), played with them at recess less often, and sat next to them in class less often.  Soon it became easier, because they sought him out less, played with him less, sat next to him less.  But rather than settling on a balance, the trend continued!  When his friends stopped trying to see him at all, the little boy reached out to them more, but he found that if he reached out to them, and they reciprocated, he would have to turn them down, and they stopped accepting his invitations.

He still tried to make friends, but none stuck around for long with someone who seemed so aloof and calculated.  By the time he reached college age, he had no friends at all, and was continually "off-balance" because of it.  One day, while walking idly on a curb, he lost his balance for the last time, fell into traffic, and never had to worry about friends ever again.

Sometimes it's okay to not be balanced, as long as you fall on the right side of the curb.

It's a goddamn shame...

I'm sure you're all aware of the recent hacking of Attention Boors this past month. They deleted our most recent and most thought provoking of posts, not to mention they released all of my nude photos to the public.  For my own sake, I'll not reveal their location to you, but if it's any consolation to you they were entirely depraved.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Mini Moral Stories By My Inner 10 Year-Old, Episode 1

The Little Boy Who Cleaned His Room

                Once upon a time there lived a kind, unassuming little boy.  He lived in the woods with his mother and father.  As he grew up, he went to school and did all of the things little boys like to do.  He would often play outside, pretending to be a cowboy or astronaut or dinosaur.  When he was out in the forest, he also enjoyed making friends with the animals, and caring for the plants.  He loved the earth and everything on it. 

                Not all was sunshine and fun in the little boy’s life.  You see, the little boy’s mother was very insistent that he keep his room clean.  This was very hard for the little boy, who was often daydreaming and playing instead of searching for chores to do.  When he went to bed at night, he left his clothes on the floor right where he took them off.  When he read a book, or drew a picture, he put it next to his bed or on a table where he could easily reach it when he wanted it.  The little boy’s room was always cluttered, filled with the things he used and wore, none of it organized, but all of it accessible.  When he was forced to clean his room, he tended to lose things, and even the greater freedom of movement could not compensate for the sterile gloom that engulfed him as he sat in a room that looked un-lived in and unfriendly.

                When the little boy’s mother cleaned, she used big, loud vacuum cleaners and sharp-smelling, brightly-colored chemicals.  She scrubbed everything, and even the wooden floors and furniture supported an artificial glow, reflecting the beams of light from lamps unencumbered by dust.  Meanwhile, in the little boy’s room, dust bunnies scampered beneath the bed, cliffs of books towered over sweeping savannahs of jeans and t-shirts, and the most efficient pathways from door to closet to bed to bookshelf cut river-valleys of clear floor through the landscape. 

                As the little boy grew older, his mother complained more and more about his room, so he cleaned more and more.  He picked up his clothes, toys and books.  He used the vacuum and the chemicals.  The cliffs and valleys disappeared, the landscape became flat and uninteresting, the dust bunnies died off.  The more the boy’s room was cleaned, the more energy, vacuuming, and chemicals were needed to hold back the entropy, which until the boy began cleaning had been kept in a natural equilibrium with the environment.

                Outside of their little home, power plants and factories sprang up in greater numbers to provide the chemicals and vacuums, and the electricity to power them.  They mined the earth for resources, leveling the cliffs and filling in the valleys.  They dumped the byproducts from creating the vacuums and chemicals into the rivers.  The landscape became flat and uninteresting, the animals died off.  As the little boy and his mother increasingly forced order on the inside of their home, the outside world which the little boy loved so much became forced into order in an effort to sustain the supply of cleaning products. 

                One day the boy went outside and looked around.  He wanted to go explore the forest, but it was gone.  His animal friends had all left or were dead, killed by the pollution.  The small plants were also gone or dead.  And even the wooden stumps and rivers supported an artificial glow, reflecting the beams of light from a sun encumbered by smog.  

He later died of lung cancer and sadness.

Don’t clean your room.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cheap Kalashnikov Rifles WHOLESALE PRICES!!!

Although Kyle is thrilled that we're getting such attention from overseas countries (thanks for the metrics!), I can't help but think it may have to do with something with the title of our most read post containing the phrase "armies for hire."

From now on, for the sake of our metric-fueled egos, we will be catering all of our posts' titles to our global,  warmongering readers.

My Late Rantsby

The thing about being lazy busy and not having time to blog is that you collect a lot of great ideas just to see them fulfilled by more determined not-busy people.

As such, I should’ve written this post BEFORE the new Great Gatsby movie hit the theaters (I like to remind readers that it’s the new film because Robert Redford version release date eked by a slim 39 years before the new Baz Lurhmann version). Regardless, I think I’m Gatsbied out. I think I felt this way before the movie even came out. Hell, I think I felt this way when I had to reread the novel in sophomore year of my undergraduate studies—and I have a degree in English. I’m tired of the fawning hipster masses and their urges to go to upscale vintage boutiques and buy flapper dresses and pipes and Google what’s in an Old Fashioned and throw a 1920s themed parties where maybe 1 in 20 partiers have heard of This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night, or The Love of the Last Tycoon.

How most people remembered The Great Gatsby before  that guy from that movie about that famous shipwreck made it relevant.

(I’m feeling now that this blog is going to shotgun a handful of gripes I have had lately, so I recommend you stop reading now.)

I don’t know if it’s the familiarity with the obscure (if literature can be obscure in this day) that brings people together to think that they’re all part of a cool group of people who liked or read or saw or heard something before the rest of their friends or society.

I don’t know if it’s the consumer culture of Mad Men and that inspired us to part with our sparse green during a recession that is coming round again like a plague of insatiable locusts now that prospects are looking up.

It’s escapist because even if there is a moral to the book—I mean movie—or a greater meaning, it’s lost in the grandeur of lavish party scenes, indulgent revelers, and a hit playlist. Maybe it’s more than escapist in that it inspires some of us to attempt to live a life we are unable to sustain.

Like that line in the book that I’m sure I’m not remembering correctly because I, like the other 99 percent, haven’t read the book in years, I feel like I’m watching moths drawn to a flame. I guess that makes it sound like I’m judging a lot of people right now… which is good. Because I am. And I will stodgily pelt these passing bandwagons of “culture” with my critical slingshot from the comfort of my own hypocritical and self assuring hidey-hole.

Anyways, I’ll be seeing the movie this weekend with my wife. I’ll let you know how it is.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time and the Dragonfly

The other day, while sitting wrapped in my own thoughts, their comforting, numbing shroud buffering me from the world, I began to think about time.  Einstein tells us that time is relative, “When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it feels like two hours. But, when you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it feels like two minutes. That's relativity!” He also showed us that the faster an object moves through space, the more slowly it moves through time. An excellent example of this is the phenomenon which happens to the clocks aboard satellites. Because they are moving much faster than the objects they are measuring on earth the clocks lose approximately 7 microseconds per day, but space-time curves less the further one is from a gravity source (especially one as large as our planet), and clocks in areas with less-curved space-time appear to tick faster, so the clocks on satellites are approximately 38 microseconds faster per day than their counterparts on earth. Okay, maybe that was a bad example after all, but the point is, if the curvature of space-time is equal for two objects, the object which moves faster through space moves more slowly through time. Einstein was hella smart.

If Einstein's body was the equivalent of his brain.

As I thought of time, ensconced in my mind, I thought first of the dragonfly.  Fleet, shimmering warrior of the skies, we seem to lumber as he flits by.  The dragonfly is an excellent example of something which must experience time differently than we do. That is, in order to move and act in the way it does, the dragonfly's reaction time and information processing speed must be far greater than ours.  Now, this is a slightly different point than I was making up there on the less sexy side of Einstein.  There I was discussing the interaction of time with physical objects, and now I'm discussing the perception of time by physical objects.  It seems to me that they cannot be the same.  Sure, the dragonfly is very fast (moving at speeds of up to 38 mph), but relative to the speed of light (670,616,629 mph), there is almost no difference between the speed of a dragonfly and the speed of a human.  This means that the movement through time of a dragonfly and a human are nearly equal, even if the dragonfly is moving at top speed, and the human is doing what humans tend to do, sit around and stare into a glowing screen while absentmindedly scratching its butt.  So the physical effect of time on the physical object does not account for the difference in time perception.  

Perhaps you are thinking "Whoa, you haven't established that dragonflies experience time differently than us, if they experience anything at all!" Fine, Jesus Christ, be all picky about it.
Oh I'm sorry, what was that? Were you taking my name in vain?

First of all, I'm going to establish a philosophical "floor" so that I don't have to argue my way up from epistemology just to write a damn post about dragonflies' time perception.  I'm going to assume that you, like me, think that dragonflies really exist, that we can observe them and know things about them, that they are entirely physical entities in a physical universe, that they experience stimuli, and that seriously shut up so I can write this post.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing"

As you might know, we have something called "reaction time". This is the speed at which we are able to sense, process, and respond to a given stimulus. Usually this term is used to describe the speed of one's reflexes, which are unconscious reactions, such as blinking and/or raising one's hands to shield one's eyes when something quickly approaches one's face. I don't think I need to make an argument for the fact that these types of reactions are generally much quicker than an action which we have to consciously process, so I won't. There is a physical limit to the speed at which neurons can pass along a signal, and the more neurons a signal must pass through the longer the signal will take to reach its destination. One of the reasons that reflex actions take a much shorter time between detection of the stimulus and action is that many times the signals bypass the brain entirely. For example, a study was done in the early, barbarous days of Psychology, back when men were men, women were men, and children were men, in which the scientists severed a dog's spinal column at the neck in order to see if reflex actions depended on the brain. Amazingly, despite the fact that no neural signal could reach the brain from the body, when the dog's foot was pricked with a pin it lifted the foot to avoid the negative stimulus. So, analogously, when you accidentally place your hand on a hot stove and immediately pull it back, you are able to do that with no input from your brain. Only your spinal column is involved, and unless I misremember my psych. education, the signal which causes you to be consciously aware of the fact that the stove is hot arrives after your hand receives the signal to move. This will be a post for another time, but it's interesting to think about what that implies for consciousness and free will.

So I hope to have loosely established so far that reflex actions are faster than conscious decisions because they depend on fewer neural connections, and also that reflex actions are independent from conscious decisions. Now, we already know that simplicity can give rise to complexity, especially in light of chaos theory (read Chaos by James Gleick. Seriously. Do it.) and that there aren't enough neurons in the human brain for each to represent a unique stimulus, concept, function, etc. So the functions which our brains perform seem to rely on there being enough neurons to form complex enough neural networks to handle those functions. This seems to be how our particular brand of consciousness arises. Importantly, these networks seem necessary and sufficient for those functions, so without them the dragonfly does not perform the "higher" functions we do. Now, we clearly are able to perform certain functions that dragonflies cannot (problem solving, tool use, self-recognition, long-term memory, although interestingly they seem to be one of the few other animals which demonstrate selective attention), which implies that we have a much larger set of neurons. We also have much larger bodies, so signals sent to our limbs will take longer.

Day 3 of "Operation Lift Sandwich to Mouth"

So, given that dragonflies are teeny-tiny compared to us, and since they have far fewer neurons to deal with, it seems reasonable to say that they must be getting input from their senses more quickly and since they literally have less processing capability, the processing they do is faster. If they process stimuli faster, then they can process more stimuli per second. To me, an animal which has evolved those features probably experiences our motions through space as "slow". Our time experience is relative, and seems to depend on how much we are processing at any given time. The more we are dealing with, the faster time seems to go, hence the eternal struggle between wanting to not have work to do, but knowing that if there is work to do the day will go by more quickly. For dragonflies, a day must seem much longer than it does for us. Fortunately for them, we haven't noticed self-reflective capabilities indicative of being capable of boredom.

I'm not exactly sure how this became a post about establishing how a dragonfly experiences time but there you go...Eventually I'll write about what I think time itself is, because honestly that's what this was supposed to be. As it stands, I'll just release this onto the world and I hope you all got some good thinkin' time out of it! Please write in to tell me why I'm wrong/what needs better established/etc.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Will Kucinski: Man, Myth, Married.

From the land of the upright, thin cylinder his ancestors arrived
Full of tales of their time in the city of the series of battles and serrated wood-cutting tools.
Dressed to the square of threes, looking like the main character from the Jim Adhesive-Synonym movies,
He stood proudly with his horse-handling adult boys to his left, awaiting his new wife.
Then, she appeared, her father at her side, walking with confident, radiant, nervous joy down the small, four-wheeled vehicle kept as a companion.
Her beauty unrivaled, her last name like the negative assertion of the presence of an abbreviated floor-cleaning apparatus.
On that day, with the exchange of the onomatopeaic sound of bells, Will and Casey stepped over a kind of grip associated with a method of separating grain from its stalk, and into a new life together.
If I ever see the expression of an agent's desire to enact a certain change again, I'm sure I will find him a happy man.
Until then, leafy green vegetable related to cabbage wait and hope that someday, somehow, someway, he will rotate a second time to this portmanteau of blow and jog.  And, if indeed he truly exists, he will place upon it a piece of a fence which supports the rails.
To my forest-dwelling ungulate friend, may you have many happy years together, you grasping arm-bound appendage general term for not all but not none devil you!

The beautiful bride with surprise wedding guest Justin Long!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Self-Deprecating Rap

Get ready for some beats so sick they make my asthma look tame.
I'm gonna lay waste to your senses like I'm wasting my brain.
If you want me to step up, well I can't cause I'm lame.
If you don't get the picture it's cause my face broke the frame.

My friendships are so non-sexual Plato asks me for advice,
and I get so little pussy I've been overrun with mice.
You know I ain't living large, all I've got's a home-slice,
when bitches sight my site it incites sighs and then invites slights.

Spending money on science like all I've got are carbon credits.
I'm just lookin' to spread it, ain't got no chick who can spend it.
And I'd spread her like butter if my dough was impressive,
but my bread's only crumbs, my cheese is all that is shredded.

Sure I can take a hit and give a shit and roll with the punches,
but my life's a fist-grape fruit basket, the hits come in bunches.
Mostly filler in this killer like I'm made of school lunches.
The peanut-butter jelly sandwiches of black-tie brunches.

If you think that you can follow this I ain't gonna fight you.
My glass-like raps will shatter fast, my lyrics clearly are see-through.
And I'm a giant boring chicken, call me Ennui the Emu.
Shoulda stopped it before it started like T-1000 tried to.
But it could always be worse...

Thursday, March 28, 2013


This post is not humorous in any way, but feel free to find it humorous if you like.
My cousin asked me why the universe is here if I didn't believe in the "Big-Bang Big-Crunch" theory of cosmology, so I wrote the following back to him:

I've only been working on my cosmology for a year or so, so bear with me.  It takes a little bit to get going.

I'm partial to a self-invented version of the Chaotic Inflationary hypothesis.  It allows for (or perhaps requires) a multiverse, and works like this:  The universe as we know it consists essentially of information, or, if you prefer, a series of "x is the case" or "x is not the case" bits of information.  Basically binary, relying on what may simply be a brute fact "There is something."  There seems to be no purpose to the universe, and I don't think we have any evidence to assert that there must be a reason for its existence, so we'll have to settle for "It is the case that the universe exists." for now.

In order to have causality, happenings, and time, we need "if-then" states of affairs.  From a relatively homogenous chaos of nonsensical pieces of information, which generate spontaneously (and on this point I may simply need to bite the bullet and say it is a brute fact that nowhere is there true nothingness, but because it is the case that something exists, wherever there might be true nothingness, there is instead some bit of information, which may or may not relate to anything else.)  At some point a piece of information generated which would have contained the statement "if x is the case, then y is the case".  There happened to be at that time a piece of information "if there would otherwise be nothing here, there is x."

Since the state of affairs known as "the universe", which is essentially the set of all states of affairs (think Wittgenstein's "The world is all that is the case."), contained both the information "x is the case" and the information "if x is the case then y is also the case", the universe then also included the information "y".  There could be many bits of information also that said "if x is the case, and y is not the case, then z is the case." In that case, z would never exist in the universe, because x would never occur without y also occurring. To get away from the letters, there may be a piece of information saying "If it is true that there are triangular things, and it is not true that triangular things can only have angles which add up to 180 degrees, then there can be square triangles."  However, we do have a state of affairs in which triangles can only have angles which add up to 180 degrees, so we never have square triangles.

From this generated a set of comprehensive and co-dependent logical laws, though this does not mean that they are the only possible logical laws, and I grant that some other 'verse which has arisen from the chaos may rely on completely different laws.

Those bits of information which best copy themselves, or are frequent byproducts of commonly occurring "if-then" interactions are the bits of information there are the most of.  The Big Bang may be the result of a state of affairs in which the right bit of information was generated (and it may be a very complicated bit..."if a state of affairs in which a, b, c, and d are the case exists, then it will be the case that bits of information with properties p, q, and s will exist." and if a bit existed that said "If there is any bit of information with properties p,q, and s, then for every bit of information with properties p, q, and s, there will be 100 bits of information with property r").  Or, on a different note, "if the universe is such that a bit with property t generated in place x, and property t made that bit change its location properties in order to be nearer or farther from another bit of information with property t, then that bit also acquires the property of "moving at speed m" "moving in direction h" and "being in spatial location___(wherever it is as it moves)".  And hence, Physics!

A quark is one of the smallest, most basic subatomic particles we know of, and it comes in at least 6 "flavors".  Up quarks and down quarks are all that make up protons and neutrons, with 2 up and a down making protons, and 1 up quark and 2 down quarks making neutrons.  Though it may be an oversimplification, let's say that an up quark is a bit of information with the properties "If this bit is within .0002 picometers of a bit of information with properties [whatever makes a down quark a down quark] and another bit with the same properties as itself, that set of properties creates a state of affairs with the properties [whatever makes a proton a proton]. There is fact about the universe, which we call the "strong nuclear force" that says that when objects (I'm going to call the information bits "objects" now because it's more intuitive, but they are still, essentially, collections of properties, or "if-then" information bits) with the properties [protons] and the properties [neutrons] are within a certain distance from each other, they gain a new property, which is "only able to be separated by x amount of energy".  So they stick together and, because one of the properties of protons is having an electrical charge of +1 (or, "if object p has the properties [proton], it will attract all objects with property [attracted by {proton}] and repel all objects with property [repelled by {proton}]") the object created by the sticking together of the protons and neutron will have a positive electrical charge equal to the number of protons the object contains.

This is the root of chemistry. Chemistry is the root of biology. Biology is the root of Neurology. Neurology is the root of Psychology. Psychology allows for Philosophy, and here I am today trying to bore you to death with my Cosmology.

Based on what I've read, the properties of the universe are such that eventually they will either become inert, that is, run out of objects with properties that allow for "work" to be done (energy) as they continue to drift away from each other, or there is some as-yet-unknown property of the universe which, when some state of affairs is reached, will cause something else entirely to happen.  Since we have, and can have, no evidence of this extra property, Occam's Razor tells us to not complicate our theories with extraneous hypotheses which are not required to explain what we observe.
Um. Ta-da?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


We have a monthly "All Hands" meeting where I work. They usually open with a fun question, like, "what is your favorite wintertime activity?" This month's All Hands was extra special. Employees could pick between either answering "What is one thing on your bucket list?" or "What is the best pickup line you've ever used." Being the overachiever that I am, I decided to answer both. I answered the latter former and actually referenced my bestie's "Are you stalking me?" line. Apparently it works. It got laughs.

Then I answered the bucket list question with, "I want to crash a really expensive car."

Dead. Fucking. Silence.

Mind you this is a company that deals with the field of safety for one of the country's leading put-things-into-space-agency. 

Anyways, I just fucking had a liberated as hell day. And I want to tell you it felt fucking great. I advise you let your inner Animal out of the cage this week... one day... at least one day. Today rocked. It was a shitty day, don't get me wrong, but man, cutting loose... does. fucking. wonders. 

Doesn't give a fuck about fuck-all.

Grab a scothc. And spell scothc fucking wrong for once.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

The 4 Types of Students Every Professor Hates (my attempt at a list-style humor article)

The Four Types of Students Every Professor Hates

                I have a confession to make right off the bat: I’m not a professor.  However, before you jump to the conclusion that my writing of this article is as logical as a priest giving marriage counseling or Aunt Jemima recommending lubricants, I’ll have you know that I spent two years as a Teaching Assistant while in grad school. Why am I not a professor now? These students.

1.       The Sage- We all know this asshole.  The kid who can’t seem to put their hand down like they shot their arm full of Viagra and your class material is the most arousing thing they’ve seen since they walked in on their cousin showering.  The only way to get rid of their throbbing arm-rection is to call on them, and that’s when the trouble really starts.  The Sage doesn’t just give answers and make comments, the Sage dispenses wisdom and makes pronouncements.  From their Tower of Truth, the Sage looks down upon us mere mortals and, taking pity on us, tells us how it really is.  Meanwhile, the sheer volume of bullshit spewing out of their locked-open maw could choke a sarlaac.  Don’t get me wrong though, the Sage can be a very useful individual.  I helped teach philosophy classes, so on those less-than-rare occasions that I walked into the classroom without having recently read the material I was about to cover, I could let this perpetual-speaking machine carry the entire 50 minute period.  Plus, no professor wants to face a hostile class, and nothing draws the sullen masses’ ire away from you like the kid who won’t just shut the fuck up.
4 out of 5 students in this class recommend shutting up before your lips are stapled together.

2.       The Exasperator- Much like a freshly neutered dog chasing a rocket-powered nut-sack, this poor bastard knows he or she  is missing something vital and desperately but futilely pursues it.  I don’t want to say this person is dumb, because not every Exasperator I’ve taught was dumb.  They just give off the subtle impression that one day you might find them crying outside the classroom because they forgot how to open the door.  Every new concept is pure torture for this student, and that means torture for the professor.  Painstakingly dissecting minor points in front of the class with this person is bad enough, but that party is only 50 minutes long.  The real fun happens during that long, dark waterboarding of the soul known as office hours.  I’ve often found that Exasperators are those kids who are really good at memorizing facts, but really bad at connecting those facts to other facts or understanding them as part of larger concepts.  The only thing to do with them is treat them like the glorified zip drive that they are.  Make sure they know exactly what to say, and they’ll spit it back out on the tests. They'll always get points off for not developing their own opinion on it, but this is the real world damnit, even if they had their own opinion no one would care.
"Excuse me sir, I think this is job is impeding my natural right to self-determination...Yessir, I'll get back to work."

3.       The Crusader- This student is basically The Sage, but angrier and more specific.  If I were to compare them to a dog who kicks his leg when you scratch that one spot on his belly, this person’s belly is their brain, the scratching is the mere mentioning of a certain topic, and the leg kicking is them hulking out in rage.  So…not really much like a dog at all.  More like a person with a steam burn stepping into hot shower, and then trying to argue the shower into submission because the shower got water on their burn.  Analogies are hard.  Harder than a priest at a playground…nailed it.  Anyway, The Crusader may sit silently in class for the whole semester, and then on the last day, when you walk in and say “’Sup, cats and kittens?  Who’s ready for Winter Break?” they suddenly have a mass grave’s worth of bones to pick with you about why winter break is counter-productive, the various civilizations destroyed by winter break, and the way in which you, as a professor, are a terrible person for mentioning it.  

Winter Break at Bergen-Belsen, 1942

      I once had a student who almost never came to class, but one day he showed up and argued furiously for the whole class period because he thought that Existentialism didn’t have a satisfactory method of establishing moral limits.  This despite the fact that he clearly didn’t quite know what he was talking about.  Finally, as I imagined round-house kicking his face in slow motion, I explained that he didn’t have to like it, but it would be on the exam so he should probably try to understand it.  He didn’t.

4.       The Lost Puppy/Best Friend- I am a magnet for these poor souls.  I know that most of you picture me as an enormously-muscled, tiger-wrestling, hyphen-abusing man-mountain with features so rugged you could use them as a blueprint for the most effective snow tires ever, but as it turns out I’m rather non-threatening and approachable, with features so rugged I am routinely out-intimidated by kittens.  In a University environment in which the students are new (this was especially true of my intro classes), and in a subject like philosophy, which can be intimidating and difficult, some students try to attach themselves to anyone who seems both knowing and nice.  Being as intimidating as legless baby rabbit, I collected my fair share of hangers-on, some of whom weren’t even my students!  One girl actually told me that she came to my office hours instead of her assigned TA because I was less intimidating.  My inner bad-ass wept, which doesn’t say much for my inner bad-ass, and kind of proves her point.  That was a mild case, however.  The troubling students were those who tried to develop and maintain a relationship with you outside of class.  I was invited fishing, invited out to lunch, and invited to meet with students to discuss other classes they were in.  Some of those things sounded nice, but I could also get my small, non-threatening ass sued for doing that shit, so they were turned down.  On the other hand, if I ever go back to teaching in a university I’m going to use those powers for good and get all the free shit and hook-ups I can.  I meant good for me…
"As it so happens, I also need tutoring in anatomy..."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't worry it's a short one...

For those of you who don’t already know—I had been victim to defenestration and it’s had me down for the past two weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for those who sent flowers, get well cards, and much needed recovery funds! You’re the reason I’m back and up and blogging again.

Having my first beer out of body cast right now—I think the most appropriate (the ONLY appropriate) things to say is, “Bottoms up!”

When your perspective changes drastically, it’s hard not to reevaluate and take stock of what you have… and who you have: a co-blogger who has upped his post frequency to make up for the time I’ve been down.

Expect regular posts in the coming days.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Irony, Thy Name Is Attention Boors

This post is about irony, comics, and man-crushes.

While considering ideas for a new post, I decided I wanted to write about my very favorite webcomic, ________. Don't worry, I'll tell you the name later, but other things are afoot.  

This thing, for example.

As soon as I settled on that topic, I experienced a crisis of relativity. What was I, a freshly-minted, devilishly almost-handsome, and recalcitrantly polemical budding blogger with a limited but rabidly loyal  fan-base (um, right?) doing promoting  what is quite possibly the cleverest, most followedest, bestest webcomic ever?  It seems more likely that anyone reading this blog has already heard of the comic.  Maybe they should be promoting me...Anyway, I just found it ironic that our small blog might try flexing its ability to advertise other web produce rather than trying to garner attention onto itself.

AND NOW! The big reveal! The webcomic which I love best, and I bet you will soon as well, IS...........

Written and illustrated by Zachary Weinersmith (A.K.A. Zach Weiner), this brilliant comic delves into science, philosophy, mathematics, and sometimes it just has funny jokes.  There is also a series of skits by him and his friends called SMBC Theater.  Friends, I hope you'll join me in supporting the fine gentlemen and ladies who produce these wonderful works and visit the link I gave above and any of their many youtube videos, such as this one (Video contains strong language, viewer discretion is advised):

The guy playing Thomas Jefferson is Zach.  He holds the dubious honor of being the one man who rivals current Kyle's Man-Crush champion Tim Minchin.  Neither of them is Brad Pitt, I grant you, but they arouse my intellect like few other humans.  The reason for this is that they are able to convey complicated concepts (and make them look ridiculous, often because they are) with mediums that appeal to everyone.  I love philosophy, but philosophy sometimes has the tendency of intentionally making itself inaccessible to people not trained in philosophy.  Convoluted language, terms that only trained philosophers can understand, and, though most people do this, the habit of viewing the world only through the lens of their own experience while discounting all others.  As the behavioral biologist Robert Sapolsky would say, they "get stuck in their own bucket."  Fortunately, we have people like Zach, who reach into many different buckets and hold their contents up to the critical light of comedy, where their pretenses are stripped away, leaving only the core idea.  Sometimes, we find that the core is rather silly, even though it's a widely held belief.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have disagreed with a few (very few) of his assessments.  Perhaps through no fault of his own, not being a trained philosopher, I've seen (two, I think) misunderstandings of a philosophical position. As I explained before, misunderstandings like these are often the fault of the philosophers' tendency to work within their own buckets to the point where they cannot divorce the concept itself from the specific language they've been trained to describe it in.

Anyway, I just thought I'd draw the magical creations of this man to your collective attention.  Have fun exploring the mind of Zach Weiner, and remember to check back here to see if we've rustled up anything else interesting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hey...Will....Hey Will...Hey Will?

Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, and a lone lonely loner should be thrown a bone.

Thus begins the greatest poem I'll never write...I envision it as a kind of dark but vaguely hopeful Dr. Seuss.  Okay, darker.  Let's be honest, some of Dr. Seuss is scary shit. Have you read The Cat in the Hat? He terrorizes children worse than the Kool-Aid Man.  Sure he cleans up the mess before the parents get home, but if that little boy doesn't end up with some stress disorder because of this damn cat, I'll be very surprised.

Warning: Rampaging Asshole

Oh! The Places You'll Go has some scary stuff too.  But enough about one of my favorite authors.  

So what IS this post about? Is it about my pregnant ghost shrimp? No, but it should be.  Yeah, I thought it was a dude too, big whoop, wanna fight about it?  

The best way to determine this shrimp's gender is clear...

This post is actually about my co-blogger, Will (please, enough with the "ghost shrimp/tiny pale penis" jokes).  Perhaps, like me, you've noticed his lack of posts and horrid stench.  Perhaps just the stench.  Regardless, I hope you'll join me in lighting a fire under his shapely, but tragically un-firm, buns.  If you know Will, and can stand talking to him, tell him you want some productivity so Kyle doesn't have to work so hard, slaving away at entertaining an international audience of high-class and fancy-free male and female Homo Sapiens Sapiens.  We salute you, you crazy monkey-spawn, now let's go tell Will what we really think of him!

There he is, get him!...Oh wait, that's Justin Long...

Probably Will. If you see this man, punch him and tell him I sent you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Office Banana Bread: A Review

Today I entered my office to discover a piece of banana bread, in a ziploc bag, on my desk.  Fearing a plot by my office mates to fatten me up and eat me, I left it alone at first.  I told my brother about the mysterious bread, but he had no explanation for it.  However, the culprit made herself known when my coworker presented herself and told me that she had made it (though I still don't know why it was given to me...).  In order to thank her properly I wrote a review of the bread and sent it to her.  Here it is:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:22am
Subject: Banana Bread- a review

Bouquet: Warm, subtle, earthy tones provide a subtext to the dominant banana scent, hints of sweetness, not overpowering, but firm.

Texture: Dense without being hard, soft without being mushy, delightful melting quality accentuated by the numerous chocolate and cranberry bits.  Nuts provide a nice textural counterpoint, balancing the bread's mouthfeel without distracting from it.

Taste: Precocious but not overbearing, the traditional banana-bread taste playfully interwoven with the tart cranberries, earthy nuts, and exotic chocolate tastes.  Undertones of bread provide a stable platform for displaying the less-common additions.  First strikes the tongue with a tasty but simple banana bread experience, followed quickly by the veritable explosion of the chocolate melting onto the taste-buds, and, as it is chewed, the sweetness is immediately cut by the cranberries.  The salivary perk given by the cranberries mellows smoothly into a creamy, strongly banana-tasting finish, which lingers, still suggesting chocolate to the mid-tongue region.

First Prize.

Happy Darwin Day!

Darwin's much-loved "Shut the fuck up while I'm explaining this tree-thing" face.  

In honor of Darwin Day, I've posted my favorite picture of Darwin and one of my favorite quotes.

-Charles Darwin

Monday, February 11, 2013

As the Protagonists Look On...

Ghost shrimp.  The name conjures up images of ethereal, wall-penetrating shrimp and very tiny, spooky spirits.  But what are they really? The least filling party food? The ghosts that always get picked last in ghostketball?  Sadly no, because ghostketball doesn't exist...

But they're learning...dear god, they're learning!

Ghost shrimp are actually a species of freshwater shrimp that have see-through bodies!  This adaptation undoubtedly is an excellent camouflage against predators, because the shrimp currently watching me write this are only visible by their eyes and the food in their stomachs.  "The food in their stomachs?!" You are undoubtedly screaming at your computer screen right now.  Yes indeed folks, one of the most entertaining reasons to have these li'l buggers is the joy of watching them eat.  My shrimp are currently existing on betta fish pellets, which are orange.  When they eat, they hold the orange pellet in front of their face, and this pellet gets smaller and smaller as they eat it (however they do that...tiny forks? mouth-straws?).  As the pellet gets smaller, an orange ball can be seen growing right behind their eyes.  If you look carefully you can see this ball pulsating as the stomach muscles (I guess) move the food around.  Pretty interesting stuff.  They also swim around, walk along the bottom, perch on plants, groom moss balls, and generally clean up around the place. 

They make excellent pets as long as you like easily maintained but difficult to see animals.  I currently have 2 in my tank, or possibly 3, since Pierre's disappearance can neither be confirmed nor denied.  What I can tell you is that right before I typed this sentence, Guy swam to the surface and grabbed a pellet! This is cool because until this point I've only seen them take food that had sank to the bottom.  Anyway, if you already have a freshwater tank, consider adding these interesting little cleaners!  

Hey man, your "ghost shrimp" is showing.

Kyle's Page of Perfidious Poetry

Sometimes, when left to my own devices, I write poems.  Now, I'm no Robert Frost or Snoop Lion, but I'll add poems here whenever they float across my cerebrum.

Tale of the Work-Crow

"I'm bored! I'm bored!" croaks out the crow,
and flies o'er fields beswept with snow.
His work to do is tedium,
a raging current of hum-drum.
Alighting near an icy brook,
he spends some time on his facebook,
then checks his e-mail, changes tunes,
depressed to see it's only noon.
Resolving soon to go to lunch,
He restlessly peers out from his branch
and claims for the third time today
"I'll start to work after this break!"

Advice for Your Court Date

If you wish to win your case
first you must put on your face.
Of course good arguments they'll seek
but no one likes an ugly freak.

So paint your lips!
Paint your eyes!
Mask yourself,
wear a disguise.
The things you say will get a pass
if all eyes are glued to your ass.

It works for prostitutes and boors,
it works for waitresses and whores.
It can also work for us,
let's try to maximize that bust!

So curl your lashes!
Curl your hair!
Make them pant,
and make them stare.
Your case will never hit a rut
When you look like a little slut.

If perhaps there is an afterlife
ours surely will be filled with strife
Yet comparatively we will do well
when we're the hottest chicks in Hell.

The star that burns the brightest..

I wish Lumosity had a hangover button you could click so they wouldn't drop your score so low.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Do this or die:

Open this

And then play this.

Random Thought Droppings

Right. So here's the thing, and the thing is this:

My job is a bit of a stop-n'-start venture, so every so often I get a long stretch of waiting.  Such has been the case today, and in lieu of forcing work on myself, I've decided to save my strength for the next big work push (which will be tomorrow, as it turns out) and read online articles instead.

I'd like to share with you some of the more interesting stories (numbered, but in no particular order) I found today:

1.  The White South's Last Defeat
      by Michael Lind

This article takes a look at our current political situation and comes to an interesting, though not mind-boggling conclusion.  As the article states, rather than attribute the differences in political views to Right and Left, the author thinks the crux of the difference is North vs. South.  He supports this view with references to historical military/social accomplishments and demographic shifts, as well as analogous examples in other regions of the country.  I think he has a plausible, but (obviously) not comprehensive theory that deserves further examination.

2.  The Quantum Physics Sequence
     by Eliezer Yudkowski

Actually a series of articles, this is a fascinating, nearly-understandable-to-the-layperson explanation of Quantum Mechanics.  I struggled with the formulas he uses as examples, but because he also provides illustrations and is a fairly clear writer I think I understand most of what he is saying.  I highly recommend trying to wrap your head around these articles.  Don't you want to know how reality works? Well, DON'T YOU?

3. Elves, Aliens, Angels, and Ayahuasca
    by Graham Hancock

This is a talk given by Mr. Hancock in which he explains his theory about why elves, aliens, etc. are actually all part of the same phenomenon.  Essentially he relies on the testimony (both personal and otherwise) of people who have taken hallucinogenic drugs, and he compares this to historical art (cave paintings, medieval paintings) and modern works by people who have taken hallucinogens.  The strange part is that his conclusion is not "Drugs make you see crazy shit!" Instead, he thinks that the particular class of drugs which includes ayahuasca, ibogaine, and psylocibin actually allow the users to look into other dimensions, where these strange beings depicted in ancient art and described by "abductees" actually live.  It's very interesting, though rather implausible.  I recommend watching it just because it's unique, it's interesting, and his passion for this view is compelling.  I wish it were true, but I'm pretty sure it's not.

I'll add more articles here from time to time, so check back now and again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kyle's fish died today.

This was posted on behalf of Kyle, who is forbidden to use the space key according to the mourning customs of his religion.

In Memoriam


Epitaph for a Fish

For in that sleep of death what watery dreams may come.
Dearest, dearest fish,
A beta in life, an alpha in the aether.

Kyokushin (20?? to 2013)

                                                Graham Chapman (1941 to 1989)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Miniature Terrors: Armies for Hire

    Ah, winter time.  The earth slumbers snugly beneath a blanket of snow, and God keeps jerking that blanket away and putting it back, undoubtedly in an attempt to piss off dear Terra.  Based on my normal response when someone disturbs my sleep, I'm expecting volcanoes any day now.  But these warm spells are more than just God's bedtime hijinks, they are tangible sprinklings of hope.  Opportunities to dream of spring time.  And throughout the world, spring time means just one thing: Brutal, insect-on-everything-else violence.

This weeks nightmares brought to you by Mother Nature, Ltd...

Segue complete!  And now, like a disco dancing CEO, let's get down to business.  

I was the prime architect and care-giver of a garden this summer, and, like the good little nature-elf that I am, I decided to grow this garden pesticide-free.  We here at Attention Boors are friends of the earth, and I, not wishing to hasten our own demise nor earn Will's eternal and slightly bothersome scorn, opted to fight fire ants with fire ants (so to speak).  Yes indeed, friends, I decided that the best way to rid my garden of any possible produce pilfering pests was to bring in my own miniature army. However, I am a man of modest means, so unlike Donald Trump, who has a team of scientists creating tiny humans with machine guns to fight crime in his garden (Lies, 1), I had to find my soldiers the natural way.  To this end, research was commenced and subsequently led to several trips to local greenhouses.  Money was exchanged, awkward over-the-cash-register banter was experienced, and I returned to my field of tiny, green ground-leechers with the homes of their future protectors.  I'll be discussing these various plants, my adventure, and the wee beasties who assisted me in growing some kick-ass veggies periodically on this blog.  As a taste of things to come, I leave you with this.

   Observe the noble soldier beetle:

Hello there.

    According to the University of Kentucky entemology website, these killer whales of the garden eat "caterpillars, eggs, aphids, and other soft-bodied insects." Personally, I've seen the benefits of soldier beetles in my garden and I highly recommend putting in a little effort to attract them.  There was a bank of lemon balm near my garden and it was an excellent attractor of soldier beetles.  I've also heard that goldenrod is good for that, too. If you try this at home, and use lemon balm, be sure to keep it in a pot or separated from the rest of the garden somehow, because lemon balm is kind of an asshole and likes to take over everything. However, it is quite effective, so plant it right and it will work wonders for you.  I had a 3'x5' patch, which is perhaps an unrealistice amount for most small gardens, but I'm sure even a solid 2'x2' plot would be fine.  It is a tall plant, but does fine in the shade (in my experience), so behind the tomato plants (if you have any of those) would be just fine.  Here is what it looks like:

Ooh! Pretty and it smells good?! I'll take it!

    So there you have it.  Look forward to my next bugs n' gardening post which probably will feature one of my favorite garden defenders, the long-legged fly!