Tuesday, March 29, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Lincoln–Douglas redux

I don't think it would come as any surprise to any of the half dozen or so readers of this blog that Blogger Great and Lord of Independence Xavier Onassis and I have had our political and philosophical differences.

It's all been pretty well mannered, and any ribbing has been for the most part good natured. At least I think it has. Especially by Internet standards.

But at the urging of three-balled The D, we agreed to meet in person to hash out some issued and find a common understanding. As a disinterested third (balled) party, The D even offered to host the Mass Debate in his kitchen.

Well, unbeknown st to either XO or myself, The D recorded the exchange for Internet consumption. And since the cat is out of the bag, well, I thought I might as well post it here as well so you all can benefit from our intellectual discourse.

I know we use some pretty big words, but try to follow along.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Basketball jones

My sword-wielding friend Xavier Onassis is a huge college basketball fan... not1.

I only mildly disagree with the point, though the form betrays lack of gravitas that tends to undermine the very point being made.

I guess one could argue that college basketball (and other college sports) provides a funding mechanism to educate thousands of student athletes who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford an education. So XO's statement above essentially puts a value of zero on education. Which is a shame. I personally think education is one of the more important investments we can make in our own futures.

But actually, when I hear/read people make statements like "nothing is less important than…" or "nothing is worse than…" I really just think that those people suffer from a lack of imagination.

I mean, I suspect that without too much effort I could come up with at least five things that are less important than college basketball2.


Let's see, let me start with… that bunch of cackling mother hens on The View, Lady Gaga, autotune, any autotuned song, the British Royal Family, any wedding among and/or within the British Royal Family, Renaissance Festivals, those weirdos who dress up for Renaissance Festivals, hippie drum circles, poetry slams, comedy jams, fashion week, fashion models, fashion magazines and anything even remotely associated with the fashion industry, steampunks and their steampunk accouterments, Dancing with the Stars Hasbeens, that lame-ass Thor God of Thunder (puhleeze!) movie, my stock options, foodies and the sport they make of eating, 99.9999999999999999 percent of the content of Twitter…

Whew… I guess I got a little carried away there.

1) Hello 1990s vernacular!

2) Of course I realize that this precariously places one upon a nihilistic slippery slope. I mean, if we accept XO's position that people are just semi-intelligent animals and that human life has no particular meaning, then how can we say that anything within life is any more or less meaningful or important than anything else. Just sayin...

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Monday, March 14, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: The Delicate Sound of Pi

I know it's a day early for YouTube Tuesday, but it's a special occasion. As you know, or will soon become aware, today is 3.14… Pi Day in the United States*.

To commemorate this special day, here's a special Pi Day song. I hope you'll all singe along.

*Europe, of course, doesn't have a Pi Day because they mess up their date notations by putting the day before the month, thus 14.3. However, according to my inside sources 143 is the sum of 3 consecutive primes (43+47+53), and also of 5 consecutive primes (11+13+17+19+23+29+31). So I guess it's Prime Day in Europe.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Best of 3 A.M.: No more wedgies

Editor's Note: I'm pulling up some items from the archive, just for the hell of it. This one was originally posted in March of 2007. Follow the link to read more of The Best of 3A.M.

I may have mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating.

The "wedge salad" is the most ridiculous culinary fraud ever perpetrated upon the American dining public.

I mean come on people! This isn't a salad! It's a chunk of lettuce with possibly some peppers thrown in for color. Have we become so lazy that we can't chop up the lettuce? Are we so lacking in creativity that we can't toss on a couple of cherry tomatoes or cucumbers? This is like giving someone a loaf of bread and calling it a sandwich.

How have we let our democracy get to the point where a quarter-head of lettuce is considered a salad. That's not the America I know.

Hell, that's not even Mexico.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Go to the Mardi Gras

Okay people, put on your beads, masks and zydeco music. Let's have a good time, but be safe. And say hello to the Zulu King for me...

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Friday, March 04, 2011

My next million dollar idea: Continental Golf

A few weeks ago I posted a few random items from my fictional bucket list. Some of those things I've already done. Some I'm still working on.

One in particular, I'm completing today.

I had this idea of creating a sport, in part, to gain a small measure of immortality (perhaps due to an aforementioned existential dilemma) . Consider James Naismith, who invented basketball while working in New England. Sure, you'll hear KU fans say he invented basketball at KU, but I think it's pretty well established how delusional KU fans are.

Anyway, to back to the story, the working name for my new sport is Continental Golf. Let me esplain...

You see, there's a sport played all over the country called golf. Essentially, you hit a small ball with a long club in an effort to make it land in a hole some distance away. Score is kept by tallying the number of hits — or strokes — it takes a player get the ball into the hole. The goal being to get as low a score as possible over the course of 18 holes.

My adaptation of this is similar, except that instead of 90 to 500 yards separating the start and finish of a hole, it could be 100 to 600 miles or more.

You see, I envision each hole taking the length of an entire state. One would tee off, for example, in Leavenworth, Kan., and play west to finish by putting into a hole near Horace, Kan.

View Larger Map

So you would end your first hole, then continue into Colorado, teeing off in, say, Cheyenne Wells, and finishing in, maybe, Dove Creek. You would continue, so on and so forth, until you had played the entire course, which obviously would be composed of up to 18 different states.

Obviously, this is a more extreme version of traditional golf. But hey, I enjoy the challenge.

As with conventional golf, we'd have to establish a "par" for each hole, and I'm thinking we might rely on the sport's pioneering players to help with this. We might find it necessary to count every 10 hits as a stoke, and then use a decimal system for scoring. Kansas, for example, might have a par of 440.0 which would be roughly 4,400 in conventional golf strokes (if you're a big hitter).

Colorado, though shorter, has a pretty big bunker in the form of the Rocky Mountains, so you'd need to account for that in the par rating. But you get the idea.

As for equipment, I see us using pretty much the same items as regular golf as far as balls, clubs, gloves etc. Although we should consider trading in the battery powered golf cart for a diesel powered Hummer. Or maybe a good quarter horse if you're a sport purist.

Now, the beauty of this sport is that while it may not be practical for your average Joe to take a few weeks off every year to go play a hole of Continental Golf, I'm thinking ahead to the digital spin off.

Imagine the appeal of taking my new game, putting it on an Xbox or even a Wii, juicing it up with some Google Earth mojo and launching an online Continental Golf league. You get to multiply the appeal of golf by the joy of travel and tourism, and I get to take a tasty little cut out of every purchase.

So, who wants to be in my first foursome. I'm thinking we tee off in late April?

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Who wants to live forever?

A few months ago, I caught this interesting tidbit on The Slate and stuck it in the "to blog" file in the back of my mind.

But in the way that thought gives way to thought and day give way to day, I just sort of left it on the mental back burner. And frankly, this whole blog has been on the mental back burner for a couple of weeks, so I figured now's a good time to dust off this topic and see if it has any legs left.

The story from The Slate was about how human life expectancy is getting much longer. It's happening not just in developed countries, but all over the globe. People are living longer, significantly longer. In fact according to the article, when we turn 50 most of us will still have more years ahead of us than our grandparents had when they turned 40.

This development comes with an argyle sock full of difficult socio-economic problems that someone will have to deal with: How do you feed all these old geezers? How can an already broke-ass Social Security system handle our additional years of geezerhood? Is Larry More really going to live long enough for me to have to watch him as a 3-D hologram?

I can't really answer these questions. Probably something for the upcoming young people to deal with the way my generation had to deal with cleaning up the Grunge music mess.

But when I first read the article I happened to be going through a bit of an existential funk, thinking about how quickly the first few decades of my life seem to have gone by and how even 100 years doesn't seem like nearly enough time to do everything that you want to do.

I know, I can hear what some of you are thinking. "Who wants to live to be 100, anyway?" And to be completely honest, I probably said idiotic shit like that back when I was young and stupid myself. Of course the answer to "Who would want to live to be 100?" is "Anybody who's 99."

As I've "matured" I've found that I love life. Sure it's crappy sometimes. There's always some jerk with an Apple logo sticker on his rear windshield who speeds up in rush hour traffic to block you from making a lane change. There are still people in the checkout line at the supermarket who insist on taking 15 minutes to write out a check (that's 15 minutes that I'll never get back, btw). The world, our culture and everything is pretty much going down the toilet.

But dammit, I really want to be around to enjoy this crappy world for a long, long time.

I love my family and I want to spend lots of time with them. I love seeing my kids grow up, even as I'm saddened to see them pass through the various stages of getting older. For every a-hole that doesn't hold the elevator for you, there's a glorious sunny spring morning, there are beautiful and priceless interstitial moments with your Supermodel Wife, there's your daughter with a death grip on your finger as she learns to walk, rather than crawl, down the stairs.

Everything just seems to be happening so fast. When I consider my own mortality, I think about how sad it will be to get to the end of the road and look back to see how short of a journey it was after all. Maybe life has a way of wearing you down as you age to the point that, by the time you get to the end, you're ready for it. But that hasn't happened to me yet. So when I read about increased longevity, I say bring it on.

It seem at this point that I would need 300 or 400 years to really absorb everything life has to offer, do everything I want to do, suck all the joyful marrow out of life's cold, cracked bones. Even that's just a guess. I'm sure that when I reached 399, I'd be thinking another 150 years or so would be nice.

I'm kind of just rambling on now, just freeforming this thing (that's what happens when you get old). I know I'm not alone and these are hardly original thoughts. Poems, songs, books, hell entire religions have been built around this subject. One could argue that the contemplation or our own mortality is central to what it means to be human.

So let me put it to you. Am I just stuck in a mid-life funk here? Can it even be considered mid-life given the longer lifespans? How long do you want to live, and more importantly, how long should Larry More be allowed to geezer up the airwaves?

Note: If you're reading this from an RSS reader, you might want to click through to the page to participate in the embedded poll question, if you can figure it out, ya old coot!

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Das Beer Boot

Some of my closer confidants and minions know that, in an effort to drop a few ell-bees, I've cut back my alcohol consumption to a fraction of what it was a couple of months ago.

But I still have a great appreciate the making and especially the marketing of adult beverages. And if I'm any judge at all, this is probably the best beer advertisement — nay, the best advertisement of any kind — for 2011.

The only thing that could make it better is a cameo by Bull E. Vard, but I'm sure some enterprising local video hacker can make that happen pretty quickly.

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