Category Archives: Unsorted

If That’s Not a Bluff, I Don’t Know What Is

Today, North Korea test-launched mid-range missiles. Should you be alarmed? I am definitely not alarmed. In fact, it’s almost laughable.

Not too long ago, Kim Jong Il threatened to launch a nuke if there was any military action from America. Big words. We’ve been worried about their Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, which could theoretically hit the US. Yet after all that tough talk, North Korea launches mid-range missiles. Kim Jong Il is full of shit.

Will my hunch be confirmed? There are reports that North Korea may have attempted to test-fire the Taepodong and it failed.

Everyone’s asking what does Kim Jong Il want. I’ll tell you what he wants: Power. Duh, it’s what every dictator wants.

Personally, I believe North Korea is trying to goad us into attacking first and then will use this as an excuse to invade South Korea. Then, his little missiles will matter because he can use nukes on South Korea and on US troops.

Anyway, there’s bigger news today. More controversy than North Korea! Kobayashi beats his previous world record to win his second consecutive hot dog eating title today, but should he have been disqualified?

The money quote: “Footage captured by ESPN confirms that some hot dog slush did spill through Kobayashi’s fingers and pieces of liquid bun spouted out of his nose, but footage shows time had already expired.”

[Note: This entry was written while listening to the initial reports on this story on Fox News Channel.]


It seems to me that whenever I post about upcoming entries, these entries never materialize. So, I’m not going to write anything of that sort in this entry.

Discourse Update

You may or may not know that I am attempting to write a political discourse this summer. I am finding that as I dig deeper, I am not coming to the conclusions I thought I would come to when I began jotting down notes for this discourse. It is very exciting to be traveling in these new directions. Alas, I am far from completing this tome and so I am reluctant to post any of the results at the moment. Suffice it to say, I believe that my discourse will repudiate certain elements of modern American conservatism.

Spare the Air

I utilized the free BART day to visit SF instead of watching cable news while being incapacitated by the heat.

I was going to make a list, but Daryl sums it up best in a comment on myspace:

BART fare to San Francisco: $0.00
Won-ton dinner…for TWO: $10.75
Miles Davis’ 2-Disc Anthology: $9.00
The Clash’s London Calling: $9.00
Being with The Shawnsy instead of some flakebitch: PRICELESS.

And if you’re not down with that, we got two words for ya:


Today was very cheap and very satisfying.

To Talk About Soon

Tomorrow, I’ll try to read those Election 06 tea leaves and give you my predictions. After that, I want to delve into a topic I haven’t talked about much lately: religion. Then, I’ll move on to analysis of the situation in Iraq and the global war on terror in general.

The Abuse of Satire

It has come to my attention that the word “satire” is under attack. No, it isn’t fundamentalist Christians who think satire is the work of the devil. In the urge to be edgy, incompetents have twisted the word “satire” beyond recognition. Not since Alanis Morissette discovered the word “ironic” have we seen such wholesale mangling of a word.

Unless you count “reality,” that is. At this point, I must digress to discuss the word reality, the abuses of which are even more egregious than my subject. Clear-cut game shows are being called reality TV. Reality TV isn’t even real. It’s disgusting, but I think that’s because our culture has lost all sense of reality, rather than a misdefinition of the word reality. Anyway, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, and so, I will return to discussing “satire.”

The abuse of the word first entered my consciousness when I discovered the April Fool’s issue of my school news-letter. They printed out a lot of fake articles, saving a space in the inside to explain that this was a joke. However, they went too far in their explanation. They managed to waffle on the issue of whether they were funny or not, but they held no qualms about broadly proclaiming this fake edition of the news-letter to be satire.

Excuse me? Apparently, printing anything that could remotely be considered humorous now can be called satire. It’s a sad, sad world for all of us who take satire seriously. Satire is more than just writing something funny. Satire needs to criticize; satire needs to say something.

I really do liken it to Alanis Morissette’s misuse of the word ironic. Irony is a humor based on opposites, on incongruity. If I gave Bill Clinton a “Most Faithful Husband in the World” coffee cup, that would constitute irony. In addition, (to borrow from Family Guy) if I were to have aromatherapy, stress-relieving candles burn down my house, that would also constitute irony. Meeting my cousin Bob, a trout-lover, at the local supermarket in the fish section is not irony. Neither is “rain on your wedding day,” to quote from Alanis’s song.

And so, a satirical novel is any tome with an irreverant tone. Anything that’s funny and doesn’t have a point is suddenly satirical. Any newspaper article that isn’t serious is satire. Jon Stewart (oh yes, I’m going there) playing a clip of a member of the Bush administration and then looking incredulous… that’s cutting-edge satire.

No, it is not satire. From this online article, The Purpose and Method of Satire, we can see that the true “purpose of satire is the correction or deterrence of vice, and its method is to attack hypocrisy through the ironic contrast between values and actions.” To be flabbergasted at the world is not enough. To write something unseriously is not enough. Satire needs to be artful. Irony needs to be truly ironic. Satire should have a target, and it should reveal truth through the incongruity between its target and the truth the reader knows.

I am here to yell stop: Stop the abuse of satire! Don’t let anyone slap the label “satire” on anything they want. Stop them before they ruin satire as they have ruined irony.

The Chalkboard Manifesto is Back!

After bandwidth troubles, after web host troubles, after finals, after packing everything up for a trip from one coast to the other, after all that hullaballoo, the Chalkboard Manifesto is back! Today was the first update in about a month. Please visit 3x a week… more updates to come.

Also, there’s a site redesign in the works. I’ll be figuring out a deadline for myself sometime soon.

Sketch Address Back Up

The Chalkboard Manifesto can also now be found at I’m still in the midst of sorting out all the stuff, but I’m not in too much of a hurry. After all, I stopped updating that website a while back. Finals will take precedence, which means it won’t all be sorted out until May 19th, when I’m back home. Most likely, I won’t be messing with the Agnoiologist template until then either. I might be able to squeeze out a TCM comic tomorrow.

In any case, this weblog is up and The Chalkboard Manifesto is up. That’s what’s important.

Straight from the gut

I urge you to listen to Stephen Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Alternatively, you can read a transcript here. (Don’t spear me! I don’t read Kos. I was just link-following.) It’s flat-out hilarious. Don’t mind the non-laughing prez, press, and co. because that just struck too close to home to be funny.

This had to be the most powerful line: “I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.”

Folks, this is satire that cuts straight to the bone. To tell you the truth, I can’t even laugh at that statement. Scientifically, a component of laughter is a sign that the danger is passed. I can’t laugh because the danger has not passed. We are living in a world of “truthiness” so to speak.

In case you’re behind, “truthiness is the quality by which a person purports to know something emotionally or instinctively, without regard to evidence or to what the person might conclude from intellectual examination” (from Wikipedia). Honestly, when Stephen Colbert coined that word, I think he captured the zeitgeist of America in the 21st century.

It’s all captured in that quote I gave from Colbert’s routine. We are all show and no facts. The media’s complicit in it. I wouldn’t call them sycophants of Bush. I also wouldn’t call the press a monolithic liberal entity (aside from Fox News). The media is just a product of our culture. The American people don’t want the truth; they want sensationalism. We want to be comforted after 9/11, so they give us some nice pictures. Stand proud Bush and comfort us emotionally. Media, do your duty and trumpet the uplifting truthiness to all.

Sensationalism… truthiness… Aren’t those two different things? Am I seeing a link where there isn’t one? Am I guilty of twisting things into one overarching narrative?

Haha, maybe, but if so, I’m a victim of the culture too. Still, I’ll make my case that it’s all one in the same. From the Wikipedia entry on truthiness: ‘Michael Adams, a professor at North Carolina State University who specializes in lexicology, said “truthiness” means “truthy, not facty.” “The national argument right now is, one, who’s got the truth and, two, who’s got the facts,” he said. “Until we can manage to get the two of them back together again, we’re not going make much progress.’

The truth and facts have been separated. Sure, the news media may report “facts” but they only report the flashy facts. We want the whole truth. I think we’re getting tired of all packaging and no substance. I think we’re getting re-Enlightened.

It’s not a right-left, media-government thing. It’s everybody. It’s all the politicians. It’s all the media. We’re sick of all of you, frankly.

Finally, I will leave you with this passage from an earlier weblog entry: “Face it, the news media is failing the American people. I say this not as a lame media-bashing blogger, but as an American citizen. I say this as an American citizen who demands to know more about what’s really important. I want to know what my government has done in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. I want to know why it took so long for the government to respond to Katrina. Instead, all I get is the blame game in the latter story, and a story about an Australian news outlet regarding the former. I want to know, not to play the blame game, and try to attack the Bush administration. I want to know in order to force the government to fix what’s going on. I want to know if the anti-torture bill has had any effect. Believe it or not, public opinion does have some sway on politicians. If the news media did its job, the American people could help fix these things merely by voicing their disgust.”


Anyone seen the new meme being bandied about? Calling Islamofascism by something decidedly less menacing: Islamism. I want to wage war on this word. Islamism doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t tell you anything. Islamofascism describes exactly the ideology of these terrorists. “Ism” shouldn’t be a suffix that just means “bad”.

It’s Newspeak. “Islamism” is the language of people who try to erase the blame of the ideology. They just want to describe this thing and put no judgment on it. Islamism is a very bland, empty term for something that is evil. Of course, maybe “evil” is too strong a word. How about instead of “evil” we all say “wrongism”? No, that’s not good enough. Now look, I’ll probably spend the rest of the day thinking up a good “ism” word for evil.

UPDATE: “Incorrectism”? Or maybe “goodism”? After all, if “Islamism” is a perversion of Islam, then “goodism” is the perversion of good.

This Summer

One of my goals this summer will be to figure out a framework for my own political ideology.

Yet, that goal is too vague. Recently, I have been reading many writings on political philosophy. I have decided that by the end of summer, I should produce my own treatise on government. This weblog will help me with my goal. I will largely steal from it when I produce my final document, and I will make it available on this weblog.

Of course, who am I to attempt this? How can I put myself in the company of Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau? Or perhaps Goldwater?

It is easy enough to read Hobbes and disagree with him. It is easy still to write an essay criticizing the views of Hobbes. I can disagree or agree with any of the philosophers or politicians as I see fit. I can write about it in my weblog. I see no reason why I cannot take this one step further and write a discourse.

It’s easy to scoff and dismiss my project simply because of my age. If I have ideas now, why should I wait until I’m older to express them? It makes no sense. Newton was only in his 20s when he produced his Principia. Several children are prodigies when it comes to music. I won’t mince words: I am brilliant. I see no reason why I cannot apply my intelligence to political thought if other children can be prodigies in other fields.

Painting a Web of Anti-American Alliances

Don’t trust Russia. Yes, I know that the Cold War is over, but something is definitely fishy. If this war on Islamofascism does escalate, don’t be surprised when you see Russia on the side of the Islamofascists.

From the Washington Post: Russia Rejects U.S. Appeal on Iran. Russia’s going to sell air-defense missiles to Iran at a time when it’s pretty damn obvious that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and is flaunting it.

This got my attention: “In addition to refusing to give up the weapons sale, Russia this week rejected a U.S. call to end cooperation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, southern Iran. The Russians say the plant has no relation to any Iranian effort to develop weapons. Iran insists that its entire nuclear program is aimed at producing energy, not arms.”

In fact, when all is said and done, I wouldn’t be suprised if Russia is actually helping Iran develop a nuclear weapon.

Of course, one will say: “How can you make these baseless accusations? You have no proof of anything!” That’s true. However, remember that a Russian spy in Iraq was providing Saddam with information about the US troop movements.

China’s also in cahoots with Russia. I’ll remind you that Russia and China participated together in war games. China is a growing industrializing country and needs oil. Iran’s a great choice for an ally and a great proxy for spewing anti-Americanism and thwarting our efforts in the Middle East. Remember especially that China is NOT a democracy. I would think that spreading democracy anywhere is a threat for them.

The chain doesn’t end there. If you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll also be reminded that Chavez of Venezuela has ties to Iran. Don’t be suprised if Chavez develops ties with Russia or China. We need to remind the world to back the fuck off from the Western Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine is still relevant.

Where will Europe be? Will it fight for the West and democracy, or will it roll over, show its belly, and say, “Please don’t hurt us!”

Anyway, I’m getting too conspiracy minded. Still, be very, very very very very wary of Russia.

The Lie Committee

As much as colleges like to think of themselves as institutions of higher learning, when you get right down to it, they are businesses. It’s all about the $. It’s all about convincing those prospective students to come to your school, not another school, so they can fork over their cash.

When I saw the kids wandering around JHU with their stupid yellow bags, it made me so angry. I jokingly asked tour guides if they were part of “The Lie Committee” (not around the students). You think admissions is going to tell them that our food fucking sucks and students get food poisoning left and right? You think they’re going to tell them that our food is among the worst in the nation? Naw, they’re going to tell them that they have a plan to be in the top ten by some far off year when you will have already graduated. They’re going to provide you lunch in the Glass Pavillion so you don’t know what our dining halls are really like, so they don’t have to eat with dirty forks and spoons.

I am kicking myself now that I didn’t distribute to the prospective students my satirical news article on the grody shower curtains. Give them a sense of how life is really like.

I never visited JHU, but if I had, it wouldn’t have told me shit. What the hell does a tour telling you all about historical inanities have to do with what this school is really like? I almost died in Econ lecture the other day, barely staying awake. Then, our professor puts on a show the day he realizes there are prospective students there. That was pretty slick, I must admit.

The showers in our bathroom are out of order. All three of them. Only one of the showers downstairs has a shower curtain. The other day, they had three guys working on them, and they still are out of order. Of course, they decided to pick a day late in the week so that our showers can stay broken the whole weekend. I’m sure that any problems with the showers aren’t recent, urgent problems. I’m convinced that they postponed work on the showers until after prospective students were here. I’m convinced they could have taken care of this problem earlier so that it wouldn’t be a major inconvenience the entire weekend. I’m convinced they purposely did it this way so we couldn’t go to the housing office and complain, since the place is closed on weekends.

So, on that note, I’d like you to read this article, College editor fights for newspaper. The administration removed the school newspapers from a rack near the admissions office. You know why? Because the lead article was about crime on campus. Like I said, it’s all about the $. Better hide the bad things about your campus.

Honestly, even though I decided not to transfer, I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing at Johns Hopkins. I still don’t like it. I have a little bit of hope for next year, but not much. The only thing I’m looking forward to is my role in the College Republicans. If only I could come up with some good idea, I would gladly give up college in a heartbeat.

Spring Fair Food Fest

Well, Spring Fair is here at JHU. There’s all sorts of stuff out there… entertainment, rides… but what I really care about is the food! I’m just so ecstatic about all the food out there because I hate my meal plan and the shitty food they give us.

It’s really crazy because every time I go out, I just smell the food, and I have to buy some… even if I’m not that hungry. Apparently, one of my schoolmates told me that my predicament reminded her of a test they were doing on lab rats.

There was also a guy with a booth and he was handing out socialist propaganda. Woah.

Anyway, I plan on eating chicken-on-a-stick all weekend. Indeed, I plan to spend the whole weekend eating. Most of today has been spent munching or sipping.

Facebook Status Listlog

Facebook recently added a new feature that allows you to put your “status.” That is, you can leave a note telling people that you are “at home” or “at the library” or “in class”. Or, you can put something custom. At first, I thought this was a rather creepy new feature. I elected to put “none of your goddamned business” as my status. Now, I’m positively enamoured because of all the hilarious things people put. It’s the greatest invention of its kind since the AIM profile. It’s a bizarre little window into a slice of life. It could be what the person is feeling, what they’re doing, or something clever. What makes it great is its brevity. Just one little thing in there, and people can find out what’s happening to you at the moment. They’re so fun to browse. I’m not sure quite how to why I think they’re so great… but in aggregate, they acquire some kind of artistic quality… Facebook pointillism, that’s what it is. So, here’s a sample of what some of my facebook “friends” are doing… and myself at the top:

  • You are waiting for Godot…
  • Daryl is a cute little boy.
  • Ryan is punching killer bees.
  • Andrew is diet pepsi.
  • Kate is pissed off that my internet isn’t working and am hijacking the roomie’s computer without her consent.
  • Clara is in a dryer.
  • Laura is %&*#(*@&*#*&*#!!!!!!
  • Amy is making out with haribo gummibearz.
  • Wade is Trying to avoid homework.
  • Ashley is dreaming in japanese.
  • Ying is agonizing over which shoes to wear: the green flip flops…or the brown flip flops?
  • Lingsheng is going to hurt/kill someone.
  • Paige is workin on a paper <3.
  • Alex is round the way, parlayin’ on the regular.
  • Ashley is weirded out by this new feature.
  • Nicole is mobilizing rebel forces.
  • Matt is Batman.
  • Jude is not going to like this week at all.
  • James is a Native American.
  • Kendra is rolling around on the sidewalk.
  • Michael is making Kool-aid. Oh Yeah.
  • Eric is so good…damn.
  • Heather is internally conflicted.
  • Yessen is fucking some insatiable hopkins whore for almost an hour and she keeps yelling more and more! WTF?
  • Grace is unproductive.
  • Tym is mooing…
  • Gloria is kung fu fighting!!
  • Ryan is indeterminant.
  • Khang is actually just a figment of your imagination.
  • Ben is somewhere you’ll never reach.
  • Daniel is coked out.
  • Vikram is your mom.
  • Jeff is facebook is getting creepy.
  • Marcus is back home :(.
  • Ingrid is …Oh Good God! – it’s 1984 – Big Brother/Facebook. The two are synonymous!
  • Charlie is still breathing!
  • Nick is masturbating.
  • Ethan is At Beta apreciation week.
  • Stevie is your MOM.
  • Ben is with your mom.
  • Nicole is doing victoria.
  • Cassie is in your closet.
  • Jessica is dancing. Duh.

Rousseau Quote

“Born a citizen of a free State, and a member of the sovereign, the right to vote in it is enough to impose on me the duty to learn about public affairs, regardless of how weak might be the influence of my voice on them. Happy, whenever I meditate about Government, always to find in my inquiries new reasons for loving that of my country!” — Jean Jacques Rousseau, Of the Social Contract

Me too!

Centennial of the 1906 Quake

100 years ago, today, there was a hella big earthquake in San Francisco. 100 years ago, they would not have said “hella”. A lot has changed since then. And some things haven’t changed.

Mainly, I want to bring your attention to this article, Bay Area far from ready for the next ‘Big One’, from MSNBC. (I found it via Cosmic Log.) There are lots of problems to be had. I’m all for spending as much money as it takes.

Scary statisic: “About half of the 484 hospital structures in the Bay Area would probably collapse after a major quake, according to projections by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Only about 15 percent would be more or less able to function, it said, and just 1 percent would be fully functional.”

Fires did a lot of damage during the 1906 quake. The news on that is more encouraging: “The gas lines are underground today, and they’re built to flex with the earth during a quake, said McLean of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center. Except for those that lie directly along the major faults, many should remain intact.”

Still, we should really focus on retrofitting our infrastructure. Water could be a potential problem: “So vulnerable is the infrastructure that water-related losses would top $6 billion in a ‘major event’ along the San Andreas Fault, the East Bay consultants projected in 2002.” We really need water for disaster response and more.

After Katrina, I said we should start preparing for an earthquake now. I still stand by that statement.

On a different (but still-earthquake related) note, check out Lloyd’s entry on the 1906 earthquake. Very interesting.

Is this picture real?

Nothing to do with immigration. This is a suicide bomber. However, the picture doesn’t look right. The lighting doesn’t look right on the guy as opposed to the background. And look at his hair! It’s pretty obvious that someone cut him out, not very well, and plopped it in this autumn background. The only question is: Why? Why the hell would someone do that? What does the real picture look like, the one he was cut out of? (Okay, so Why? isn’t the only question.)

On Freedom

Some proto-thoughts on freedom…

Men, in their hearts, want to be free. All men are born with this desire. However, men are not born with the knowledge of how to live free. This, they must learn. By the West, this was deduced by reason, learned through trial and error, and bought with bloodshed over the course of centuries.

Thomas Young Quote

Quote of the day: “Although I have readily fallen in with the idea of assisting you in your learning, yet [there] is in reality very little that a person who is seriously and industriously disposed to improve may not obtain from books with more advantage than from a living instructor… Masters and mistresses are very necessary to compensate for want of inclination and exertion: but whoever would arrive at excellence must be self-taught.” — Thomas Young, letter to his brother, 1798

I agree. My friend Richard disagrees. Anyone else?

Possible Security Problem in Congress?

There’s some stuff being bandied about on Cynthia McKinney, but I don’t really care about people crying about race-baiting. I have some legitimate concerns about security. Here’s the low-down to keep you up to date: AMERICAblog on McKinney: “McKinney waltzes into the Congress the other day, bypasses the security checkpoint (which members of Congress are permitted to do), but she doesn’t identify herself as a member of Congress and isn’t wearing her ID pin that ALL members of Congress are required to wear when at work (for the very reason that there are 535 of them, and it’s not always clear who’s a member). It’s that pin that tells the cops at the metal detector that she’s a member of Congress and not a walking human bomb.”

I wonder how that ID pin works. Is it just a piece of plastic?

Bruce Schneier elaborates on the problem of forged credentials. In this situation, how easy would it be for someone to forge a pin and sneak right into Congress? (And God knows what he or she will do.)

Furthermore, there’s probably no need to even forge an ID pin. Just walk past the security gate like McKinney did and then get a running start over the security officer.

I’m no security expert, but maybe it’s better if we search members of Congress instead of giving them a free pass. It solves the false identification problem and solves the Cynthia McKinney problem. It doesn’t leave this wide gap in their security that’s easy to get around. However, the only problem it creates is the “inconveniences Congress” problem. I think that’s a sacrifice they should be willing to make.

15 Pages Or Less

We have two staplers in the library, in the room where the printers are. There is one for 15-something pages. There is another for 15 or less pages. However, some smart aleck decided to cross out “less” and put “fewer.” Hilarious. Only at JHU.