Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

Wow, it's been a crazy few days. Travelling to Hotlanta (er, I mean Atlanta, GA) to debate at Emory University was quite the experience. (If anyone cares, I made finals in Student Congress, which I think is quite good.) So was meeting Bob Barr, the 2008 Liberatarian Presidential Candidate. That was interesting.

And now, in the midst of the crazy sprint to the finish for finals... a short moment of peace, as a blanket of snow has covered my Pennsylvanian town, and granted us a day of rest before the insanity of finals sets in tomorrow.

It's been a while since I've had a real snow day, and I'd almost forgotten how great it was. Waking up to the elation of discovering you have no school, and the gratefulness at being able to sleep until 11 in the morning after waking up at 5:30am. And then wearing pajamas all day, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, and doing nothing all day because obviously it's too snowy outside to do anything productive. (Although I did study a bit.)

Oh snow day. I do love thee.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Below is the music video for Coldplay's new single, Life in Technicolour ii. Quite the good song, in my opinion. But this music video is just crazy good.

Let me put it this way. It has puppets. And explosions. Just trust me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Well, it's official: Barack Obama is now our nation's 44th President. It's been quite a day: Full of festivities, fun, and most of all, hope. This really does represent a turning point in America's history: The beginning of a new era. Americans joined together in celebration today as we inaugurated a new President. We can only hope that he will serve us to the best of his abilities, and send us in a new, better direction.

One thing that really struck me about the inauguration, actually, was a performance conducted right before Obama's swearing-in: The performance of a new orchestral piece by John Williams called Air and Simple Gifts. It was performed by a star-studded quartet that included Itzhak Perlman on violin and Yo-Yo Ma on cello (in addition to a clarinetist and a pianist whose names escape me.) It was really quite magical. Watch:

In addition, if you haven't already, check out Mr. Obama's Inauguration Address. It's really a great speech.

A New Era Begins

Today marks the day that President Barack Obama will officially be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Let's hope he does a better job than the last one. And I honestly think he will.
Now that this day is finally here, here's a little To-Do List for our new President:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford!

If only all of our nation had watched Saturday Night Live... We might not have an economic crisis. Oh well.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The American legal system is a very... perverse thing. Or perhaps it's not the legal system itself, it's the American mentality that enjoys abusing it. Whatever the reason, the American tort system has allowed its inhabitants to permanently shirk its responsibilities. The mentality now seems to be that "it is never my fault; it must be the fault of someone else, and therefore they should pay for my shortcomings."

It's really a shame, but it's true. Just look at malpractice lawsuits: Countless innocent doctors are sued by patients, often for millions of dollars, simply because of the appearance of a scar after surgery, or a result that wasn't precisely to their liking. There have been reports of patients who have undegone life-saving surgery for cancer that have won huge settlements for unsightly blemishes from surgery. Of course, they cannot accept responsibility. Someone must always be to blame.

George Will wrote an interesting take on this in an article entitled
Liberate America from Lawsuit Lunacy. I suggest you all give it a read:


Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to Fail AP English

A friend of mine recently gained infamy for an essay written for AP English, simply entitled "Your Mom". To quote him:

I submitted it to my AP English teacher and she flipped. She said it
was one of the most inappropriate things ever. She even called me out of PreCalc
to talk about it. Hah.

'It's not even an essay. The entire second page is basically just a wave of
obscenities hitting me in the face'

Here is the essay's full text. Enjoy:

“Your Mom”

In recent decades, it has become customary to use more abstract methods of insult rather than simply attacking the opponent directly. To this end, western society has come up with an intriguing route, that of attacking the mother. The interesting factor here is the deterioration of the opponent’s filial piety in a mocking fashion. There are many manifestations of the “your mother” jest which will be explored individually.

One of the most common forms of a “your mother” joke is the double entendre. For example, let’s say Person A said, “I want to give you something” to Person B. In typical joking fashion, Person B may reply with, “That’s what your mom said to me last night!” Alternatively, Person A could ask something to the effect of, “What is your dad doing over there?” and Person B could appropriately respond, “Your mom!” Finally, in another instance, Person A might casually ask, “What do you want to do next?” and Person B, given this prompt, could easily answer, “Your mom, of course!”

In addition to the aforementioned simple innuendo manifestations, “your mother” jokes also present themselves in generic formulas, such as, “Your mother is so X, she’s Y!” Typical substitutions for “X” include, but are not limited to; “fat,” “stupid” and “ugly.” For example, a typical insult could be, “Your mother is so fat, she has her own zip code!” The implication is that the mother is so large she has been classified as a separate territory and has subsequently been given a location code. Another formula often used is the simile form, i.e. the extremely sexual and vulgar: “Your mother’s like a bowling ball: she gets fingered, chucked in the gutter and still comes back for more!”

Lastly, there are the nonsensical examples, also called non sequitur “your mother” jokes. It follows as Person A exclaims, “I told you to knock before you enter my room!” Person B, may respond with a nonsensical, “Your mom!” In this example the reason is disregarded and the tense scenario is instead turned into a bad joke, quickly brushed off by making an irrelevant statement.

While these jokes have been in popular use more recently, there is also evidence of their employment in casual conversation centuries past. Archaic “your mother” jokes occur in classical literature. For instance, William Shakespeare wrote in Act I, Scene I of the play, Timon of Athens, “Painter: ‘Y'are a dog,’” to which the character Apemantus responded, “‘Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog?’”[fixed your quotations] Such a literary device is also employed in the play, Titus Andronicus, in Act IV, Scene II, where Aaron mocks his lover’s sons:

“Demetrius: ‘Villain, what hast thou done?’

Aaron: ‘That which thou canst not undo.’

Chiron: ‘Thou hast undone our mother.’

Aaron: ‘Villain, I have done thy mother.’”

Both of these examples illustrate earlier historical usage of what would otherwise be contemporary jesting.These “your mother” jokes illustrate how contemporary society and even society from past centuries can be grotesque in its humor. It also demonstrates that, often, the source of ridicule is not a defining characteristic of the opponent, but rather the origin of the opponent, and thus an indirect generalization.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The REAL Situation in Gaza

By now, plenty of you have probably heard about the situation in Gaza. The Hamas terrorist organization and Israel are locked in a war that has claimed several hundred lives, much to the dismay of the the citizens of Gaza and the outside world. Much of the world has found some sympathy in their hearts and sided with Hamas, citing the dozens of civilian deaths caused by Israel.

Unfortunately, the world seems lack a real sense of morals. Or a brain. I highly suggest that you read this article:

Israel, Hamas, and Moral Idiocy

The Christian Science Monitor can put it a bit better than me, but, in a nutshell:

Hamas's stated purpose is to DESTROY ISRAEL. They have fired over 2,000 rockets into Israel since 2001, (with the purpose of causing as much death as possible) killing dozens of innocent civilians, and have engaged in unlawful warfare tactics such as firing these rockets from densely populated areas so that Israel cannot retaliate without killing massive amounts of civilians. (And thus, they haven't.)

Israel, on the other hand, is lawfully defending itself against a stated threat that broke the terms of a ceasefire. Hamas is a group of fanatics that are willing, and devoted to, causing widespread death and destruction to an established culture and its people. They brought this upon themselves, and they deserve the retaliation that they have provoked.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, it's been a loooong 2008. A very, very long 2008. Filled with plenty of drama, excitement, and pretty much everything else. It's been a wild ride. Who would've thought, on January 1, 2008, that we'd be where we are today?

Among the things that happened...

The phraes "downward spiral" became the new hot phrase for a while as America tumbled into an economic crisis, dragging the rest of the world down with it. With the fall of Lehman Brothers in September, all hell broke loose, as countless banks found themselves billions in debt, the marekts seized up, and the new "credit crunch" (hey, another fun phrase!) became all the rage. When the Fed stepped in to buy Fannie and Freddie, AIG, etc., we knew that this was for real. Especially when markets in other countries started to fail. Go us!

All was not lost at home, however, as the buzzword "change" found itself the most popular kid on the block. Barack Obama's dazzling victory in the US presidential election was as inspiring a story as people have heard in their lifetimes, uniting a troubled populace and smashing racial barriers left and right. If there's anyone that helped give the world hope for the coming year, it is he.

In the meantime, John McCain fought a good fight, and Sarah Palin singlehandedly taught America how to stop thinking and embrace their inner fanatic. To Katie Couric's smug amusement.

Abroad, the world found its fair share of conflicts. The world will remember the Mumbai attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds, and took a city hostage for three days, all at the hands of ten men. And let's not forget the growing spread of terrorism everywhere: While they may not have claimed quite as many lives, hundreds of other attacks claimed the lives of countless innocents. Frankly, that just shows what a sorry state this world is in.

Oh, and Somalian pirates took over the waters near the horn of Africa. At least this means that global warming is finally slowly down.

Meanwhile, Russia waged war against Georgia over Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Who started it: No one knows. What it means for the world: The Russian bear is stretching its legs. And Putin's still in power, by the way.

Iraq got somewhat better... and Afghanistan got a lot worse. Funny the way the world works, eh?

Oh, and Fidel Castro stepped down, among the hundreds of other interesting things that happened that I didn't manage to mention. Didn't you hear?

The Beijing Olympics united the world in peace and harmony for a few weeks this summer... except for the whole Russia-waging-war thing. Still, it was a fun show, especially when Michael Phelps let his inner dolphin show. Such an amazing, talented, and sexy young man... Erm. Moving on.

The iPhone and iPod continued to conquer the world... I suggest you all keep a hammer handy. Apple may decide to proceed to Phase 2 of their iWorldDomination Scheme soon. Wouldn't want to have those lasers firing out of your iDevices hitting your eyes...

And the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, based in Geneva, Switzerland, did not create a black hole and kill us all. That was Jeremiah Wright, and luckily, his dastardly plot was foiled by a media slipup that probably ended his career. And no, Barack is not "cool" with you anymore, Jeremiah.

Heath Ledger won my heart with the release of Batman: The Dark Knight, which despite the criticism of countless critics, still remains my favorite movie of 2008. Why so serious? Beacause your performance was so flipping amazing, Heath. That's why.

Rafael Nadal unseated Roger Federer as the king of tennis in what may have been the greatest tennis match of all time. And the Phillies, yes, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series.

And some crazy blogger decided to start up a blog called Defenestrate!, which is read by an average of two to three people daily. If that. Who knows? Maybe by 2010, ten people will have read this post. That, my friends, is the miraculous wonder that is the internet.

Here's to a happy, healthy, prosperous, and significantly amusing 2009. Can't hope for more than that.

(Note: If you're still craving to reminisce on the year that was, check out The 2008 List of Lists. If you read slowly enough, it'll keep you occupied until 2010.)