|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
When I said "Jesus," I meant Reds pitcher Jesus Sanchez
I was compelled to read a pretty interesting speech by Mimi Smartypants (who compelled me to read the speech, not the author of said text) on the topic of raising a child with secular/atheist beliefs in a religious world.
92% interesting. There's quite a bit of this that is articulately preaching to the choir, considering I too am an atheist, generally a "liberal," and am humbled and astounded by the vast and undiscovered complexity of nature and the universe. But stop already with the fucking "blue state/red state" / "Kerry voters are smart and Bush voters are apple cheeked rubes whose turnip trucks have long since skeetered out of town." Plenty of smart people voted for Bush. Plenty of people who would not list this nebulous idea of "moral values" anywhere on their list of reasons they chose a candidate voted for Bush.
Put down the election rhetoric and back away from the podium.
Yes, as an atheist it is disturbing to me that the Bush administration wants to equate "Christian values" with "moral values," as if I am completely incapable of understanding basic right/wrong and good/bad without Jesus as my compass. I find it ironic that the Republican platform's economic/government services policy is basically one that (compared to the Democratic strategy) keeps the Federal government out of your hair... until, of course, it is time to tell you what's decent or appropriate for society, then Federal legislation and Constitutional amendments are necessary.
I've got no problem when an atheist with a platform wants to discuss this fact. However, when the topic of the speech is "Why I'm Making a Good Decision Raising My Daughter as an Atheist," this sort of political rhetoric comes off as blowhard bullshit. Especially the constant complaining from the liberal faction about the Kerry loss. Trust me guys, we didn't lose a JFK presidency here. As much as I couldn't in my right mind find a justification (due largely to the Patriot Act and the pandering to Christians) to vote for Bush, I felt that the Kerry campaign was pandering in a vague and aimless way, trying to get to that first Tuesday in November without getting too specific about any sort of economic plan. I guess keeping the liberal base angry over Bush is more important than helping America understand what it is you're going to do to make things right on more than just the war.
Yeah, I voted Libertarian.
There are a few reasons why I rarely like to discuss (in person, this place is different) being an atheist. One of the big ones is that when the media (or even a biased mouthpiece for the secular left like the site from where this speech was linked) trots out atheists, they are invariably in an adversarial stance against Christianity, and become examples of how this supposed separation of church and state is being taken just too darn literally by the Loony Liberals. I'm about to paraphrase the comedian Bill Hicks here, and would look up the exact quote were I not at work right now, but just once I want to see a story about atheists that doesn't devolve into some sort of challenge to Christian dogma that puts us in a bad light. I want to see a positive story on the six o'clock news...
Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather.I don't know if that's verbatim, but you get the idea.
"I have been a comedian for a long time, so forgive me if I plaster on a fake smile and plough through this shit one more time."
Just playing around with some more quotes from Bill Hicks, pulled from a Wikipedia Quote Page I stumbled across online.
Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired, go back to bed America, your government is in control again. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do what we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!Man, I loved American Gladiators. That was some seriously stupid bullshit. Once or twice a month in high school a few of us would head out to the Chi Chi's restaurant nearby for $5 Taco Bar on Saturday, and watch Gladiators while sipping on non-alkie daiquiris and shoving tacos down our gullets. All you can eat America.
And all I'm left wondering at this point is if Iron Chef is just Gladiators for those of us for whom college was a realistic option.
What do atheists scream when they come?I don't know that I have a good answer for that. It's been so long that my guess is I wouldn't be screaming, I'd be weeping tears of joy and proposing marriage to the next girl willing to let me rut with her within twelve seconds of climax. Ladies?
One of my big fears in life is that I'm gonna die, you know, and my parents are gonna come to clean out my apartment, find that porno wing I've been adding onto.I'm going to level with you America... there have been times, for absolute shits and giggles only, I have wandered a little "off the beaten path" while clicking links online. No, I don't get aroused by women fellating goats, and I don't think there's anything remotely erotic about watching a woman "brought to orgasm" by some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption built out of a recombinant b... (shit, "recombinant" means "produced by genetic engineering," I'm looking for...) ...out of a recumbent bicycle, an enormous phallus, and a Wankel rotary engine. But I have this fear that I'm going to see something so goddamn evil and funny that I'm going to laugh. And I'm going to laugh so hard my mozzarella-clogged arteries are going to constrict and close, making my heart stop, and knocking me dead over my keyboard while the MPEG cycles through the ugly chick stuffing her fifth KY coated racquetball (of nine) where the sun don't shine.
Pop! Pop! Pop pop pop pop pop! Pop pop!
At least my pants won't be around my ankles, right?
I was talking about blowjobs and a woman in the audience shouted "You ever tried it?" I said, "Yeah. Almost broke my back..."I'm better at giving myself a handjob than any woman has ever been. Ever. Their angle is all wrong, and they just don't do as good a job as I can do on my own. I would wager that there isn't a man out there that disagrees with me. Were men able to bend to such an angle as to fellate themselves, would we be making the same comparison for bee-jays? Would we swap war stories with our buddies at the bar? "You know, she was okay... but man, I was all alone last Thursday?! Dang! Best one I ever gave myself. That gag reflex we've been talking about? I finally got all nine inches down without choking! I've really turned a corner!"
Here is my final point. About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography and smoking and everything else. What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?Important distinction. I guess it boils down to the age-old truism: If I put the plastic bag around my own head, it's okay. If I put it on the hooker's, then we have a problem.
Is that a shillelagh in your pants...
Well, you can certainly see what kind of mood I'm in today, right?
Why? Well, I did find out this morning that my assumption that my hot neighbor is sleeping with some dude was completely wrong, and I now continue to kick my own ass over and over and over again because I absolutely should have went out for a drink at her invitation on Friday.
I'm a dumbass.
And yes, I know, you don't have to leave it in the comments...
Still think she's out of my league (well out of my league) anyway. I mean, I do have some things going for me. For instance, I'm an excellent Trivial Pursuit partner. I'm also good company at a bad movie, especially if you can run the gamut recognizing under-my-breath movie quotes from Fletch to Seabiscuit. I can order off the menu like a motherfucker, and can surprise and confound expectations of people I've never met through cooking and conversation.
Then again, I'm slightly tubby with bad hair and cheap shoes. I think if I were to place a personals ad that reflected reality, it might look something like this:
SWM, 30, pale with spare tire and psoriasis, seeks fun loving girl C+ cup who won't make fun of me when I run away from bees, jokingly make fun of Puerto Ricans, and fail to assemble simple furniture. No patchouli. Box 334.I think that just about covers it.
I bought $7 worth of food at the cafeteria downstairs for lunch. Turned out that less than half that much would have sated me. Instead of having a good amount of choice, they feature one entrée, one sandwich, and three soups on a daily basis. Fortunately, what they do they do well. So today I had lobster bisque, and also bought a corned beef on rye. Haven't touched the sandwich, but the soup was goooooood... Curious though. Why corned beef today? They're featuring pasta bar tomorrow, and nothing remotely Irish otherwise. Corned beef is a 3/17 meal, not a 3/16. Either way it's tasty.
Overheard over the wall just now...
GUY: It's like Martha Stewart said, turning lemons into lemonade.I wish I had more time to write today... Dang.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Overheard over the cube wall just now...
GUY: "His car's in the shop, he got hit by a deer."Okay, I really dig these guys over the wall. They're giving me some excellent stuff to write about. Anyway, the GUY alludes to a mysterious flying deer that is "hurtling" through the air towards the poor dude's car, and OTHER GUY'S first question is not "how did the deer become airborne?" Especially considering it isn't the "the car in front of him hit a deer" story, ruling the most likely of the flying deer solutions out of the equation.
Then my phone rang, and I by the time I was finished, they had moved on to other topics. I leave how the deer became airborne deer to your imagination.
Another quickie. I'm eating lunch today (Quizno's, not that you asked) and the guy in the cube next to me pops his head in. Now, he had been out all week with some medical thing, and comes in with a lidded paper cup in a plastic bag and the opener, "Not to ruin your appetite or anything, but do you want to take a peek?"
Um, no... I'm guessing with that preface whatever is in that to-go cup is absolutely not something I want to see whilst stuffing my face... "No, thank you. What is it?"
"It's my stone."
OK, so here's something I've got to promise myself not to get mad about... There's a website from which I got a linked hit yesterday called Poker Junkie (it's a dot com, eff the link). This is some jackass' (or jackasses') attempt to create a poker portal replete with links. Anyway, I reside under the "Poker Journal" category in the directory.
Now, unless you're just stumbling here for the very first time from one of the poker-focused blogs elsewhere on the web, you know that while I play poker, I really don't spend a lot of my time writing about it. This is not a poker journal. It's a lot of things, including a poker journal, but it's not solely a poker journal.
I think that goes without saying.
Anyway, this site has something like 48 blogs linked, many of which you've seen and heard of before. Of the 48 linked, I'm one of the 30 that's "reviewed."
If by "reviewed," you mean "visited by some asshole who probably took a two minute glance, said "why is this guy considered a poker blogger?" and gave me a one on a scale of one-to-ten, then yeah... I was "reviewed." (By the way, Iggy only gets a 6, which is a full two points under some newbie site under the blogspot domain called dietpoker, to which I refuse to link on principle).
I work too goddamn hard on this site to deserve the worst rating possible, regardless as to what criteria you're using to evaluate. So, Poker Junkie jackasses, please do take my wishes that you should absolutely go fuck yourselves to heart.
By the way, Pauly has dubbed me "The Bobby Flay of Poker Bloggers," which amuses the ever living shit out of me. I guess if I can dub Al "America's Wingman," and call Pauly "America's Favorite Amateur Pharmacist," then I guess I'm fair game too. Anyway, I'd like to think the Bobby Flay comment refers to my ability to take a topic and spin it, like Bobby takes Southwestern cuisine and flops it on its ear. Actually, it probably just comes because I enjoy food an awful, awful lot.
Either way, I'll take it.
Since we're just rambling this morning, I want to touch on a few things. First off, I read today that VOIP technology is likely to be as assaulted by SPAM (which, in a moment lacking genius, they've dubbed SPIT) as email accounts. As a brand-new Vonage user, I've got to say I never saw this coming. SPITters, using the same technology with which they send SPAM, can fill my voicemail box with fucking Viagra pitches and come-ons to porno sites.
I guarantee you that there isn't the same ability to filter voicemails on Vonage the way you filter emails. I really, really hope someone can do something about this before it becomes a major problem. Because it will.
On a happier note, I found my Kentucky Derby horse this weekend. The Louisiana Derby wasn't the most well-stocked of the prep races, but the race run by HIGH LIMIT was still pretty astounding. No horse had won this race wire-to-wire in fourteen years, and High Limit not only did that, but set a stakes record in the process. The best part was that in the final sixteenth, jockey Ramon Dominguez found an extra gear and torched the field by about four. That kick down the stretch is one of the most crucial elements to possess when you're talking about finding a way to beat seventeen other horses on a crowded track. If High Limit can run a second solid prep race (I don't know to where he's pointing right now, but he'll run one more time before the Derby), and avoid drawing a post outside of the 2-10 holes in Louisville, then he's my early pick.
The thing about the Kentucky Derby is that you're really talking about a bunch of possibly talented, but woefully inexperienced horses trying to blossom at exactly the right time. Let's put it this way... if you wanted to equate the Kentucky Derby to the Super Bowl, you'd have the two best high school teams in the nation facing off in the biggest game of the year at the end of January. These prep races become vitally important then, because you're looking for those subtle lightbulb moments, the little things that tell you whether or not a horse with talent really "gets it." High Limit, for instance, ran the race precisely how the jockey had mapped it out. Slow early fractions, keep the pace manageable, and turn it on down the stretch. You want to see that. It's a strong sign that the horse is willing to accept his training, and in my book that's going to beat raw talent any day of the week in a race like the Derby.
You know, it's insane that people only give a crap about horse racing for three weekends a year. Well, let's amend that. It's insane that people only give a crap about three year olds racing for three weekends a year. With all the horses that hit their (much higher than Funny Cide or Smarty Jones) peak as a four or five year old, racing actually gets more interesting on Breeders' Cup Day than it does for the Derby.
Maybe it's the pageantry, maybe it's just the mint juleps. I dunno.
Speaking of "maybe," I was thinking that girl who plays "Maeby" on "Arrested Development" is awfully cute. So I clicked in to her IMDB bio to see what side of nineteen she was on, and she hasn't even turned sixteen yet. Totally had her pegged as older. Who'd have thought... a kid playing a kid on TV. Novel idea.
This (as I gesture wildly at the paragraphs above) is what you get from me on a busy Monday. I mean, what do you want, a weekend recap? Okay, here goes - I got really fucking baked on Friday night and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up with a start at about 11PM and realized I had to get the dog outside before I went to bed. Still stoned, by the way. So the hot neighbor happened to be shoveling the driveway when I went out there.
Here are two sentences, either of which I could start with the qualifier, "Like an idiot..."
I offered to finish whatever portion of the driveway she wanted to leave me the following morning (turned out to be 99.9%, I caught her too early).
I turned down an opportunity to go grab a drink with her.
What do you want? I was wasted and had just awoke from a pot coma. Screw you, she's sleeping with some dude who's been over every night anyway.
On Saturday I went to a committee meeting for the local theatre group, then watched the Louisiana Derby. I also started kicking ass with the $10 I was gifted on Pacific Poker. I'm at $55 now, purely from $2 and $5 SNGs.
Sunday I bought coffee beans, unclogged my bathtub drain (yeah!), and took sixty-somethingth in the HORSE tourney. Slept uncomfortably after downing too much caffeine in an attempt to make sure I could stay up should I have actually been capable of playing farther than sixty-somethingth.
Welcome to Monday.
The Long Walk
In order to go from my cube to the bathroom now, I have a hike past quite a few people who absolutely must notice that the same guy has been in and out of the can three times this morning already, and it's not yet 9AM.
I don't like being conspicuous.
Actually, my choice of college had a lot to do with that last sentence. I'm a fairly smart kid. I mean, I wasn't going to be splitting atoms or getting anywhere near Poet Laureate status, but I had nearly a 4.0 GPA in high school with a solid smattering of the high level and AP classes in there for good measure.
Problem is, I used to stand out in class. It was born of boredom, more than anything. I'd hear the teacher dangle one of those lines in his lecture where he would obviously be looking for someone to jump in and say, "The Magna Carta," or "Pi R Squared" or something, and I couldn't resist filling in the blank. It really wasn't so much "proving" that I knew or trying to rub anyone's face in "how smart" I was, but really much more an effort just to keep the fucking class moving.
God, there's nothing I hate more than sitting through a lecture or a lesson that's aimed at the lowest common denominator. It's absolutely painful for me to sit on my hands, close my mouth, and hope someone says "General Stonewall Jackson" before the silence becomes truly uncomfortable.
You do this filling-in-the-blanks thing through September and October, and the teacher starts to misread you as an eager participant, and starts to lean on you, singling you out when there's a blank that needs filling.
So I got pegged as not only a "smart kid," but also as a brown-noser. This really was galling to me, because I felt as if I was almost completely in the opposite direction from that. In some cases, I really just held the teacher's style (not their knowledge, their style - important distinction) in such contempt that brown nosing would have been degrading at best in my own head. I mean, I understand that a teacher has three dozen kids with completely different learning styles along for the ride, but when she's holding the hands of the non-participative morons and gingerly urging them along, you're damn right the other 33 in the class are going to be distracted, bored, or just flat out irritated.
Put me in the latter group.
So, my attitude was such that if I could save myself from five minutes per hour of "Anyone... anyone... come on guys, we talked about this yesterday..." well, then I would.
Most of the other kids just hated me. I mean, I re-read the above and I hate me too. So I picked Michigan State, the biggest goddamn college I could find, in order to just... disappear.
I just want to fucking go take a leak without anyone talking about me under their breath. And do it quickly at that.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Looking for input...
Let's say I were looking at getting a portable MP3 player. I really don't desire any sort of subscription music service. I just want to be able to yank MP3s from my CD collection and have at least four hours of music, and ideally ten hours or more, on the MP3 player for my enjoyment.
What should I be looking at for a solution? Is it easy to rip MP3s from CDs? Do I need special software for that? What's this all going to cost?
Any help, emailed or in comments, is appreciated. Thanks y'all...
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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