Monthly Archives: September 2003

Out of Context Awards: September 2003

I think I may have forgotten some quotes, but, oh well, these should do:

Honorable mention: “Python! Cobra! Snakes! ssssss…” Verbal parts from a song we’re doing in band.

Another honorable mention: “No, we’re using pink… Check out this pretty color: aloe… Use black for death, no wait, use brushfire [an orange-ish color]…” – Some of my suggestions for colors to use on our chart representing how different factors relate to each other concerning poverty in Haiti. Only honorable mention since I can’t really pin it down to one quote.

Third place: “It’s LA versus California.” – Jason. A little verbal gaffe there caused by a temporary Las Vegas, Los Angeles kind of mix-up.

Second place: “Don’t worry, I won’t look in your window while you’re doing your homework and go ‘A-ha!'” Said by Mr. Fryman, regarding the usage of graphing calculators.

Winner: “If I were a bird, I’d so do you.” – Lizzie. During a football game, I was doing this whistle thing with cupped hands, with a flutter tongue, and it sounds a bit like a bird.

List of TV Shows I Like

Yeah, I’ve been kind of having trouble thinking of topics lately, so I’ll try out the list idea Lloyd mentioned. So, a list of TV shows that I currently like (not all of them currently airing). Note: They are not in any particular order.

  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus (my favorite)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 (what a great concept)
  • Whose Line is it Anyway?
  • The Drew Carey Show
  • All in the Family (great interaction between characters)
  • Three’s Company (yeah, I like it, but it’s a show best watched in moderation)
  • Cheers (geeze, I have a penchant for some old sitcoms, but I like this one because of the great personalities of the variety of characters)
  • FLCL (my favorite anime)
  • Cowboy Bebop (just about tied with FLCL, I have trouble deciding which is my favorite)
  • Trigun
  • Blue Gender (on the low end of my favorites list, but still good)
  • Lupin III
  • InuYasha
  • South Park (still good, even the later episodes)
  • Family Guy (funniest show after Monty Python)
  • Futurama
  • The Simpsons (I like it, but I’ve never actually watched it all too much)
  • Bewitched (Hm, who is the better Darren?)
  • Gilligan’s Island (the classic, and the basis of many comedic formulas)
  • I Love Lucy (another classic, but doesn’t rank very very high on my list)
  • Home Movies (a nice original cartoon, pretty good)
  • Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (off-the-wall humor, great)
  • Reno 911! (new show on Comedy Central)
  • Mail Call (on the History Channel, that guy has a great job)
  • Unsolved History (this one’s actually on the Discover Channel)
  • Family Feud (the old ones)
  • Jeopardy
  • Wheel of Fortune (ever noticed that the biggest dork on the show always wins it?)
  • Iron Chef (oh yeah)

I think that’s about it. There may have been more that I forgot to put. I didn’t realize I liked that many shows, although many of them I haven’t watched in a while. So, let’s see what this says about me. There’s a lot of comedy shows there. People say that TV is bad because you don’t have to think. That’s exactly my purpose when I watch. It’s an escape. Naturally, comedy is a great escape. I’ve got a few game shows and one cooking show. Then again, the cooking show is a bit funny because of the format they use. Still, game shows are fun escapes.

I’ve got an interest in history and science, but usually, I just watch any show that’s on; I don’t watch regularly. So, every once in a while, I’ll actually learn something while watching television.

Finally, you can see my semi-recent obsession with anime. I don’t know when I started watching anime, exactly, but I’ve come to love it. The dubbing for the shows on adultswim on Cartoon Network are superb. I like anime because of the focus on plot, and because I actually care what will happen next episode. It’s different and cool.

Humankind’s Most Selfish Goal: The Perfect Society

In a perfect society, no one would harm anyone else. That means no one would harm you. Human beings entered into “social contracts” to form governments. We trade freedoms for security. The most basic level of this is: “I won’t kill you if you won’t kill me.” It’s all about our own safety.

So, one could argue that humans formed societies to benefit themselves. Then, if a society is based on selfish goals, shouldn’t a perfect society be the result of the ultimate selfishness? Without perfection, there is uncertainty. Anyone can get you. Only when everyone is truly happy, will no one harm you.

There’s truly a great irony in this, if it indeed stems from selfishness. It is that in order for you to be perfectly happy, you must make everyone else perfectly happy. Yet, it is our own selfishness that prevents us from making everyone else happy. Quite the dilemma.

Recall! Debate

If I was to only put one comment here, it would be that, in my opinion, Huffington is a joke. She kept making personal digs at everyone. Then, with multiple questions, she kept digressing to “fighting the Bush administration,” and how the “two-party system is broken.” I don’t think she really contributed anything positive.

I didn’t watch enough to have any decent comments about Camejo, but I figure he has no chance of winning anyway.

Schwarzenegger didn’t do all that bad; he held his own. However, based on the parts I saw, more of what he said was rooted in ideals rather than facts. McClintock seemed more down to Earth, and to have actual goals.

I don’t really know what to say about Bustamante except when he was speaking, he really exuded “politician.” It didn’t seem like he really engaged in conflict, whereas some others did.

I’m still sticking by my original guess that the recall won’t pass (barely). If it does, I think McClintock may actually win it. Based on the polls, he’s the only one gaining momentum in the race. And when people think he’s got a chance, more will flock to him, because that was what was inhibiting them from wanting to vote for McClintock.

Knowledge Diffusion

I don’t learn by normal methods… I operate on the principle of Knowlege Diffusion. The information contained in a book is a high pressure area, a source. My brain doesn’t have that information. It is a low pressure area, a sink. So, I just read a book, or listen to the teacher, and I just absorb the information. Then, when it comes time for a test, Knowledge Diffusion prevails again. The test paper is a sink, and my brain is the source. So, I just let the knowledge diffuse out onto the paper. It’s very simple.

The opposite of diffusion is active transport (as I learned in AP Bio… bad memories). Active transport involves energy. I don’t like using up energy. It makes me tired, and it burns me out. And then, I have to make sure the knowledge doesn’t diffuse out when it’s not supposed to, meaning I have to work hard to remember.

For me, that energy used in active transport often comes in units of worry. Worrying is useless because it doesn’t change anything. Stress is another unit. Stress is not good for the mind or the body. Knowledge Diffusion does not involve stress or worry. I just know the information.

Tomorrow: Commentary on the recall debate that I actually watched parts of, this time. Still to come: More on prayer.

One Skeptic’s View on Prayer

To a skeptic like me, I see the purpose of prayer is to make people feel better. Do they actually know what’s going to happen? No. They just feel as if everything is going to be all right.

Prayer helps ease their minds. The conditions on which they pray about are usually out of their control. It gives them the illusion of having some degree of control. They can invoke their deity to help them in this helpless situation. Does it actually do anything? Hm. Let’s say someone is going to die. If they live, they attribute it to the grace and power of their deity. If they don’t, they say “it was their time,” and that their deity meant for it to happen, and they just don’t understand it. Anything conclusive there?

Let’s say someone’s going in for an operation, and there’s a possibility of death. Someone uses prayer to invoke their deity. The person lives. The person who said the prayer attributes it to the deity. But wait? Where did the deity come into play? Who actually did the work? The doctors! The nurses! Perhaps credit should be given to modern medicine. Religion has been around for millenia. Modern medicine has on been around for a few centuries. Which has measurably saved the most lives?

If someone were ever to do a scientific study to see if prayer actually did anything, well, I doubt there would be any conclusive evidence for the power of prayer.

People pray for larger things, like world peace. Anyone know the exact words of that one quote which says something about one pair of hands doing work do more than a thousand hands clasped in prayer? These goals are really in the hands of the persons involved, which would actually mean everyone, if it’s world peace. Just as prophecies can be self-fulfulling, prayers can be self-fulfilling.

Tomorrow: Contradictions and the nature of prayer.

Questioning and Criticizing = Disrepecting?

Why is it considered “disrepectful” when I question someone else’s religious intentions? Somehow, I’m supposed to be “tolerant” of others’ beliefs. If they question their own religion, it’s okay. It’s okay to have doubts about your own religion. Then, why can’t I have doubts about your religion?

If a well-known writer uses biting satire to criticize religion, it’s genius, it’s cool. But if I say similar out-loud, I’m a smart-ass. I’m disrespectful. This isn’t right.

Why can’t I question directly, aggressively? Why can’t I question your beliefs? Does it make you uncomfortable? Maybe you should address the questions instead of avoiding them, instead of saying I’m being disrespectful.

It’s hard for me to be tolerant when I can’t understand the mindset of the other people. I can learn all I want about religion, but I can’t understand what the people are thinking. I can’t understand how people can just believe in something without any evidence.

In one of the songs used during Mass today at school (I go to a Catholic school), it mentions people being the sheep of god’s flock or something. I don’t know, but I find the usage of the word “sheep” amusing. Like, they’re just followers with no mind of their own. If they use sheep to describe themselves, it’s good. I can’t use the word. That’s disrespectful.

Note: When I use the term “You,” I’m usually not speaking directly to “you” the reader. Just imagine this imaginary person, maybe. And yeah, I’m making some generalizations. That’s how humans understand big things. You have to generalize to analyze large trends in human behavior.

I’m probably going to be writing a bit more about religion over the next few days.

Math Homework — What’s the point?

I’m supposed to be taught the topic during class. The homework is supposed to be practice. I don’t need this “practice.” I can get A’s on tests just fine without doing the homework. I can learn the material perfectly well without homework. So, tell me, what’s the point of doing it? Just because it’s graded? That shouldn’t be my motivation. Because math homework is useless to me, I don’t feel that I should have to do it, and I don’t feel that I’m unreasonable.

The Catcher in the Rye review part 2

[EDIT: 08/01/04 – Yeah, this really sucks. I suggest you scroll to the bottom and click the link to the real review.]

[continued from part 1]

You’d think that since I’m so cynical, I would’ve liked the book, but no, I don’t. I didn’t think it was great that the kid was so negative, I thought it was annoying. Damn, kid, shut up and stop your whining.

The narrative style isn’t really that original. Check out Huckleberry Finn. Hell, I could write a book just like The Catcher in the Rye, easy. It didn’t exactly make any earth-shattering observations. All I have to do is write about a bunch of isolated incidents and then criticize everything. None of the events have to influence each other.

So, overall, I thought the book was boring and a waste of time. I have no idea how anyone got the idea that it was some classic novel.

And I just repeated what I said in part 1. I probably could write a better review, but I’m not up to it. Whatever.

[EDIT: 10/20/03 – I finally decided I was up to it, so read this entry, and disregard what you just read.]


So much news coverage, so much. And won’t it all be for naught if the recall doesn’t even pass in the first place? It looks like that’s the direction where things are headed. People assumed Davis was dead. They underestimated him, and he can be one mean dirty politician. I mean, that’s how he won the last election.

That doesn’t mean I like Davis, far from it. I do think the Californian government needs some rehauling, to cut down on spending. And, I think Davis’ complete incompetence, especially during the energy crisis, justifies the recall. However, I wonder how much good anyone can do in the governor’s seat at this point in time. Oh well, I haven’t been following it too closely because I don’t think the recall is going to pass, and I don’t want all my attention to be spent for naught.

Bustamante would’ve had a real good chance of winning if he had just gone for it. Not this “no on recall, yes on bustamante” cumbersome crap. That would’ve been interested if he’d said “Yes on recall.”

With all this media attention, you’d think Schwarzenegger could’ve had a decent chance. But what has he done lately? Does anyone know what he’s really about? No definition, and I guess people will say, no vote. Moreover, some people are concerned he’s just a puppet for Wilson and Riordan.

McClintock just may have a chance. He has the ability to get a lot of the conservative vote because that’s what he is, conservative. He managed to differentiate himself during the debate (which I didn’t watch).

So, we’ll see what happens. But again, I’m predicting the recall won’t pass.

Controversy Breeds Controversy

About what I wrote the other day: I was just thinking about it. I wasn’t actually going to do anything, like plan out the best way to hurt people. Sometimes, though, I scare myself. Going on to something new…

I got a lot of comments posted for that particular entry, and by a lot, I mean 3. When issues are more controversial, people are more likely to be involved. This conclusion comes as a result of the observation, I wasn’t testing this conclusion beforehand using that entry.

Controversial issues provoke more participation. When people strongly disagree with something, they are more likely to say that they disagree. See, if someone said s/he likes ice cream, everyone would say “Good for you.” If that person says s/he likes war in general, well, then that person has managed to turn some heads.

For some reason, people feel more compelled to provide their own commentary when they disagree more. I think this stems from people feeling like if they let it go, then more people could be swayed by an idea that some would find undesirable. If they let it go, then that person wins the argument by default. So, they say something. And since many people are sheep, and they already feel compelled to say something, once they see someone else, they have to provide their own input, even if they’re just rewording what the last person said. Then, the opposition of that group decides to join the fray, to defend the original speaker. So on, and so forth.

Swordplay of the Soul

People engage in sparring on multiple levels. Weaponry of all sorts have been used in combatic events between one human and another. Interaction between two swords — thrusting, parrying, riposting — can take on the beauty of an artform. Guns bring their own type of brute elegance. Hand to hand combat tests persons to the limit, using only what they have with them. When fighting, training can win or lose a battle.

There’s also the sparring of the mind. Friendly rivals can exchange witty insults, in a contest of one-ups-manship, with no real results. Rivals in intellect can test each other’s limits of intelligence and problem solving. Hard-fought debates can take place, with no clear winner.

But there’s one particular contest that intrigues the most, my inner evil mind. It’s a contest meant to wound as much as one can, to the point of torture, even. It’s actually easy to kill with a sword, but type of swordplay has less moves that can be successful. You see, it’s a matter of saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. The intervals are small, and the words are few, out of many, but when done correctly, it oh so deliciously wounds. The proper words can strike a person right through the soul, wounding them to the very core of their being. It will make them question themself, question you. And in the end, with the correctly applied finishing maneuver, they know you’ll have won, for they feel both sadness and anger like they have never felt before. Yet no matter what they try to do, the wounds still sting. This type of swordplay isn’t temporary, unlike any spar. Even the condition of dying is temporary, for soon thereafter comes death. No, this is like poison. Poison for the soul, poison on the barb you used to wound them. This poison lingers, making them feel the effects forever. The barb is what makes you the winner, but the poison is what keeps you the winner. That is the kind of swordplay that most intrigues me. The kind that takes a lot to execute, yet when done, wounds the most of any kind.

Any of ya out there who understand what I’m talking about? Me either. Good night.