Monday, September 29, 2008


Well, back from Yale. Debated quite a bit, made it to semifinals (and almost finals), and had a nice time. I also went to the famous Sally's Pizza, which is not only famous for its fantastic pizza, but also for its amazingly long waits. (3 hours. Urrrrgh.)

In addition, I'd like to wish everyone a happy new year. Yes, that's what Rosh Hashannah is. Shame on you if you didn't know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Well, tomorrow I'm leaving for a debate tournament up at Yale - won't back until late late Sunday, so you won't here from me for a little while. Considering the amount of work I've put in (countless hours and counting), one would hope that I can at least make finals in my event. Or so I'd hope.

For kicks, topics that I will be debating include... Plug-in hybrids, offshore drilling, tightening Myanmar sanctions, privatizing Fannie (Mae) and Freddie (Mac), World Bank/IMF reform, eliminating water subsidies to agribusiness, the FairTax act, Georgia (the country), and FEMA reform.

Exciting. I know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Hate Economics

My head hurts. So badly. I need to write a speech on why it's bad if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac tank (and therefore why they should stay nationalized), and why/why not the US should cut funding to the World Bank and IMF. Also, once done, I need large amounts of research on Ntl. Sales Tax, Disaster Relief, and Georgia. (The country)

I am busy. I am tired. I am going to Yale on Friday. Grah.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Well, I've a debate tournament to go to at Yale on Friday, and I have until Thursday to write between 6-10 speeches, with research on four more. Curse my accursed to desire to succeed. It's always wreaking havoc with my free time.

Always amusing to find a proposed bill to legalize marijuana, though. If there's one thing you can bet on debating at around half of all forensics tournaments, it's pot. Because we really want our pot, don't we.

I also happen to have a really, really strong, 4-point affirmative speech prepared on it, that ranges from topics of medical benefits to economic benefits to deterrance of crime. I am set.

It's funny, too, because as not-serious of a topic it is, there really are a lot of arguments for legalizing marijuana. It really isn't as bad as it's made out to be. The problem is that stupid people always end up abusing it and throwing their lives away to get cash for it. The actual physical detriments are pretty slim - the main thing is that you're liable to do stupid things when under its influence. But the same can be said of Valium, and it is much more legal. In all truth, prescription pot makes perfect sense. It's just a matter of cleaning up the messy undeground use.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Friday night was one of the more profound musical experiences of my life thus far. Me 'n a friend decided to have a jam session, him on the acoustic gui-tar (which he rocks at), and me jamming on piano along with him.

Conclusion: Acoustic guitar and a grand piano do not rock very hard together.

Conclusion: Acoustic guitar and cello gel extremely well together.

After a bit of experimenting (including a semi-failed attempt to play a cello guitar-style), we finally realized that acoustic-cello improv sounds awesome.

If you hear of a band called the "Kaetan-Jon Connection" or "The G String" or something like that that involves a really talented guitarist and some random cellist improving, it's probably us. Go check us out, future people.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Is it a bad thing to say that you actually want to go faster in a class? Because, right now, I actually want all of my classes to get harder and start getting challenging. In all of my three major courses (AP Calc, Honors chem, Spanish III), I've essentially learned nothing new. Calc, it's all about limits, which I already knew about. Chem is as interesting as a coma (dimensional analysis is so stupid.) and Spanish, well, nothing new yet.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but someone please throw something hard at me! Make me do derivitives, solve crazy chem equations, and teach me how to say "the world will end on the day that the Flying Spaghetti Monster descends from the heavens" or something like that in Spanish. (Not true, but nonetheless, you get the point.)

Of course, I probably won't be saying that tomorrow afternoon, when I'll have to write something like ten 3-minute speeches before Friday. But for now, I'm bored.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chocolate Rain

Well, I was recently approached with the weird idea of our school chorus singing a version of "Chocolate Rain" at their spring pops concert. One issue: They need a keyboardist to play the crazy accompaniment. (If it actually ends up happening, anyway.) Suggested keyboard expert: Me.

I am actually about to go learn Chocolate Rain for the piano. That's just a little creepy. Oh well. It's an 8-measure phrase repeated endlessly, with verrry minor variation. I'm sure my crazy improv skills can take care of that.

Oh, and if you've never seen it before, here you go. It's quite insightful, and also very funny. (Hint: Replace the phrase 'chocolate rain' with 'racism'. Gasp!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Well, this marks my first ever attempt at mobile blogging from my iPod touch. Granted, it's not as fast, convenient, or feature-filled as using a good old computer, but it seems to work just fine. Plus I've included a stylish drawing that I made myself. So very stylish. Oh, wait, no, Blogger isn't good enough to do even that. Hm. This post is somewhat lacking. Oh well.

Oh, and Michael Phelps is a great swimmer and all, but seriously, stick to swimming, Mike. Acting just isn't your forte. (See: SNL, 9.13.08)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sleep is Bliss

One of my favorite songs, Rebellion by Arcade Fire, starts with the lyric "sleeping in is giving in." If that's the case, than giving in is bliss. For someone who gets an average of about 6-6.5 hours of sleep a night and rises at 5:30am, sleeping for nearly 11 hours until 10:30am is like... So, so, so very good. I love sleep.

In other news, the LHC Rap (Large Hadron Collider) has taken the internet by storm. Watch and be educated, amused, and slightly embaressed by the sheer amount of nerdiness. Also, just be thankful we haven't been turned into seventh-dimensional spaghetti or something.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spreading the Gospel of Pastafarianism

I'd like to announce that I have become a follower of the Pastafarian movement. For those of you unfamiliar with the movement, we Pastafarians believe that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He and his Noodly Appendages are responsible to all that you experience about you. There are many of us; millions of supporters, in fact, and, no, I assure you, I am not joking. To all skeptics: He is invisible, of course, and that's why you've never seen him. Have you ever seen the Christian or Jewish God?

A little background: In 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to require the teaching of intelligent design. In response, one Bobby Henderson sent this letter (which I strongly encourage you to read) to the School Board in response. Two years later, the decision was repealed. No, the Church of the FSM does not necessarily require that you believe in its deity, but rather the principles behind it: The opposition of the intelligent design movement, the defense of science, the opposition of religious fundamentalism, and the support of a fully secular government. Religion should be fully separate from politics, although this is clearly not the case today.

Remember, the majority support of a theory does not justify it. For all its support, intelligent design cannot be taught as a scientific theory in schools, simply because there is no evidence supporting it. One could argue that there is no way to disprove it; this is a weak and overall stupid argument. If the theory that an omniscient, all-powerful, Judeo-Christian-Islam God created all we know can be taught in schools, but is impossible to prove scientifically, then it only makes sense that other beliefs should be taught as well. You cannot disprove the belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created all that we know.

Many people that would advocate such a "ridiculous" theory as this would be marked as crazy, even heretics. Apparently, one need not have justification for a theory to be taught, only have it described in ancient books, taught as a sacred truth on Sundays, and instilled into the minds of children in school for it to become acceptable.

I encourage you to check out the Church's website. It's one of the more sensible beliefs out there today. And no, this is not an athiest/agnostic manifesto. I continue my Jewish faith: I only consider myself a Pastafarian because I reject mindless worship, and fully support a secular govenment.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Well, this is going to be an exciting week for Apple. The uber-famous electronics company is holding an event this Tuesday with the title "Rock On". Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has gotten some near-404s with the sudden influx of Apple fanboys and girls drooling all over their keyboards in anticipation for the next generation of iPods.

Nonetheless, there is, actually, a 99.999999% chance that Apple will, in fact, update the iPod line. Rumors point to an updated, slimmer, taller, and bigger-screened iPod nano, and an iPod touch with... something new that no one seems to know yet. iTunes 8, with cool new features, is also in the mix.

In other news, I downloaded a $9 album from Apple, which iTunes now says I'm not allowed to download. It refuses to tell me why. Hopefully, Apple will answer my email and solve my problem before this Tuesday. Or else I might just have to angrily crash the event and eat Steve Jobs.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

If R.E.M. Was Right...

This is apparently a simulation of what would happen to the Earth if a giant flaming meteor the size of Texas hit us. Somewhat unlikely, yes, but we might want to think about ways of avoiding this. This would bring whole new meaning to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

In other news, I've started school. That means homework, lack of free time, and stress, stress, and more stress. Though it is nice to see the friends again.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Assault on Reason

I recently started reading Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. It's a really fascinating book, which takes on the notion of an emerging trend in U.S. politics toward ignoring facts and analysis when making policy decisions. He argues for a free, open "marketplace of ideas" that has not been fully present since TV and radio replaced print as the dominant medium. Also, he heavily criticizes the Bush administration throughout.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have disagreed with the GWB administration on quite a few things. Just for starters, the war in Iraq, massive tax cuts to the wealthy, fueling an unprecedented national debt, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the Guantanamo Bay incident, just to name a few. No, I don't like him, but that doesn't mean I hate him as the rest of the public seems to. But if half of what Gore writes has some inkling of truth to it, then I've got reason to worry.

Gore asserts that the Bush administration has been knowingly and willingly subverting the truth, spreading false doctrines and propaganda to the public, and ignoring blatant truths and then making decisions based on their ignorance. He argues that Bush enforces an extreme right-wing agenda, and will go to any means to advance that agenda. Case and point being Iraq: Gore asserts that Bush was looking for ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq well before the September 11th attacks, and used falsified evidence to "prove" that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons (which was soon proved by the United Nations).

He also says that Bush is not, as the public portrayal goes, stupid. This, I can agree with. Still, reading stuff like this makes me worried about the state of our country. Read The Assault on Reason. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Don LaFontaine (1940-2008)

We've all heard it before: That chilling, deep voice that comes on in the beginning of a movie trailer to announce that we're "In a world where..." and so on. Unfortunately, a great legend in the business has died: On September 1, Don LaFontaine, probably the greatest voiceover guy who ever lived, met his end at 68 of a blood clot in the lungs.

We may not have known your face well, Mr. LaFontaine, but my thoughts are with you and your family. I will never hear another voiceover again without thinking of this great man.

Now, for your enjoyment, a video tribute to the legend.

Monday, September 1, 2008

G.O.P. VP a BP: Bad Pick

Until very recently, I was undecided on who to support in the upcoming presidential election. Strictly speaking about the candidates themselves, although I was favoring Obama somewhat for his policies, I was planning on waiting until the debates to make a real choice. However, recent rumblings in the McCain campaign have pushed me far, far away from the GOP as I can get. That rumbling's name is Sarah Palin.

I can see Joe Biden in the Oval Office. He's a respected man with a long list of legislative accomplishments, a good set of positions, and a nice foreign policy agenda.

I cannot see Sarah Palin in the Oval Office. She has never held a real legislative position, and has no experience except two years as governor of a state that has a total population one quarter than that of Brooklyn. She essentially strikes me as a hockey mom that ascended into local government, as she put it, from her beginnings as a member of the PTA. Now I hear that her 17-year old daughter Bristol has been pregnant for 5 months. In other words, the child of a very conservative mother who advocates strong Christian values had not the morals to stop herself from becoming pregnant in high school.

This is totally aside from the actual socio-econo-litical issues in the election. To me, Sarah Palin is far too conservative for my taste, and puts too much stock in her Christian background. I see religion as something personal. It should not be used, or at the very least advertised as the guiding principle behind one's policies. But stuff like this worries me. I am simply unwilling to entrust a strictly conservative, right-wing person with virtually no experience and questionable judgment with the massive amount of power that the Vice President wields. Don't forget: Especially in John McCain's campaign, the competence of a VP as a potential POTUS is important. And the McCain/Palin 08 is seriously lacking here.

Also, just as a by the way, her childrens' names, are Trig, Piper, Willow, Bristol, and Track. If you're going to run the country, at least give your kids some decent names. Seriously.

Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you've managed to convince me that Barack Obama is the right man for the job.