Wednesday, December 19, 2007

From Buyer to Seller...

I haven't been too active on the site lately, but there's a good reason for it: I decided to make a career change. After more than eight years as a product buyer, I applied for a sales position with a video game company, and they offered it to me in November. I started last week, and have been pretty busy trying to learn the ropes, so to speak. Anyway, don't worry yourselves too much. Next week, I'll have a good bit of down time, so I'll get back to posting YouTube links to incredibly awful videos (if I can pull myself away from Call of Duty 4 or Mass Effect long enough).

Until then, I wish you all a merry Kwanzaa, and I leave you with an early Christmas gift ... a wallpaper that I think you'll all appreciate.

Monday, December 17, 2007

White Trash Economics 101

Stupidity is alive and well in Omaha. For those of you who don't follow college sports like some cult religion, Omaha has a contract with the NCAA to host the College World Series (CWS) each year at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. Any sane human being who has been to a game at Rosenblatt will tell you that it's not only a pretty marginal stadium with a serious lack of capacity for an event like the CWS, but the traffic getting in and out makes Dodger Stadium in L.A. look like the Autobahn.

Because of the obvious disadvantages that Rosenblatt has over many modern stadiums, the NCAA told the group that organizes the CWS for the city, that either Rosenblatt needs to be improved or a new stadium needs to be built in order to keep the CWS in Omaha on a long-term basis. Considering that the 2 week long event each June brings in millions of dollars to the local economy, you would think that the fine folks of Omaha would be doing everything they could to meet whatever demands the NCAA makes. After the CWS, the next biggest event in Omaha is the North American Stained Glass Convention, and that actually costs the city money because of all the broken windows.

Based on the request from the NCAA, the cost of improvements to Rosenblatt was estimated on the far side of $25 million. Plans for a brand new downtown stadium came in at $30 million. Personally, I don't care what the city decides, as long as the objective is to keep the CWS in Omaha. An amazing number of people have signed and online petition, put signs in their yard, and taken the time to write annoying letters to the editor of the Omaha World Herald. Their message Save Rosenblatt.

Instead of putting a sign in their yard that says "Do whatever the fuck the NCAA tells us to do to keep the CWS in Omaha", these folks love their stadium so much, they don't care what the NCAA says. I hope they like watching the Omaha Royals, because I won't be the least bit surprised if the NCAA moves the series, if more improvements are made to the outdated stadium.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Cheats Lose (Again)

I'll be the first to admit it's been a rough year for my Denver Broncos. Our defense has played as though we've been starting deceased CB Darrent Williams despite his death. Jay Cutler's been more inconsistent than sex for married people. The Broncos will likely miss the playoffs barring a significant collapse by one of the team's ahead of them in the next four weeks. But on this Monday morning, I'm smiling. Why? Because no matter how bad this season was, the Broncos still managed to beat the KC Chiefs both times they played them, and considering how the game went yesterday beat is an understatement. ESPN chose the word crush to describe what the Broncos did to the Chiefs.

Watch for the following excuses from Cheats fans that you might encounter:

Inexperienced QB - Didn't seem to keep the Broncos from throwing 6 TD passes in the two meetings this year. I thought I was going to miss Trent Green, but I don't.

The Chiefs have been decimated by injuries - Two Broncos were killed in the off-season.

Herm Edwards is a shitty coach - I'll give you that one. I've been saying that since he was with the Jets.

Because both the Broncos and the Chiefs are all but mathmatically eliminated from the playoffs, the Chiefs will have to wait until next year to experience this level of humiliation at the hands of the Mile High marauders again. And I can't wait.

Werewolf is boys .... naked.

Viking sent me this .... and afterwards, I actually considered not posting it here. Then, I thought about the people who view this website ... and realized that I had no choice.

I used to think poetry slams were lame, until now.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Heismen Highlights

I know how much you all care about who will win the Heisman Trophy tomorrow, so I wanted to give you some highlights of the top 3 candidates to help you with your pick.

First, Tim Tebow, Florida QB-

Next, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden

Finally, check out this clip of Missouri's QB Chase Daniel.

new Wii game for The Midget

Streets 12/25!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Angry Midget buys last Wii system in Nebraska, sets random emo kid on murder rampage

Ryan, you may say that you feel no guilt for buying that Wii system, but at some point you will have to accept responsibility for your actions.

THIS guy:

... wanted to buy a Wii. The Midge had but one response for him:

You ruined Christmas for all the kids in Nebraska, and now this kid ruined Christmas for ALL of Nebraska. Are you happy now?

P.S. Any connection between the above post and the truth are wholly coincidental.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


You can't handle the truth

We've all been there. You need to get drunk, and you only have 5 bucks. How do you make a decision between all of the different stomach-cancer inducing liquors out there? The innovative folks at McCormick Vodka have it all figured out. A handle of vodka from this fine distillery is usually a whopping $9.99. A liter bottle? No, a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka. Ten dollars. Don't worry about the warning label that guarantees that you will bleed to death internally if you take a single aspirin with this vodka. It's 10 dollars for almost two liters. Cheaper than gas in Switzerland, and safer to drink to boot.

As if that wasn't enough, McCormick is offering a $3 mail in rebate at my local grocery store, making the total purchase price for two liters of vodka $6. Now that's cheaper than gas in Nebraska, but what do you think the redemption rate is on a vodka rebate. Keep in mind that for normal rebates on things like computers, big screen TVs and washing machines, the average redemption rate (number of people who actually send everything in) hovers below 25%. What do you think it is for vodka, considering that if you drink a bottle of this gut rot, that you probably won't remember where you live, let alone to keep your receipt, label from the bottle, and rebate form. McCormick knows that their clientele are the people who don't remember not to park their car on the lawn, so this promotion should work perfectly.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Holidays!

An oldie, but a goodie.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trapped in Wyoming

That banner may say 'I Fly Casper,' but right now, I ain't flyin' shit. My trip home got cancelled due to 'maintenance issues'.

One United employee actually said, 'The plane's broke.' Needless to say, I've had my fill of local 'flavor'. But hey, the Casper airport has free Wi-Fi, which is more than I can say for Minneapolis, and it moves really fast, which is more than I can say for Denver. Then again, I'm one of only three people using the Wi-Fi here right now, so that might be the main reason why it's hauling so much ass.

Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, there IS some local flavor that I like. 90 Schilling would be one of them. I can't get it down in Texas, unless I order it from Arctic Liquor. They do a great job, by the way, so if you're looking for a certain kind of beer that you can't get wherever you live, try that site.

The other local flavor I like here is Taco Motherfucking John's.

The only places in Texas that have them are Air Force bases, and the closest one to me is two hours away. I like Taco John's a lot, but not THAT much. I got to have it for lunch today, so that was nice. Potato Oles are the greatest side in the history of fast-food. In fact, they're so great, you can even make a full meal out of them. I just learned that an order of Super Potato Oles has over 1000 calories, and over 60 grams of fat. Mmmmm. Fat.

So yeah, I'm trapped in Casper. I get to spend another day with my dad, which is cool, but otherwise, I'm pretty much ready to go home. I have a lot of virtual homocide that I'm missing out on right now:

By the way, major props to Warm Machine for keeping an eye on my cats for an extra night.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wii are the Champions

I have a funny story to share with you about an experience I had yesterday. As we all know, yesterday was the most evil shopping day of the year. My car needed new tires badly, and Sears had tires on sale. I got off work at 6:30 am and went to Sears, at which point they told me it would be 6 HOURS to get new tires on my car. My wife is out of town, and I don't have any friends who are awake that early to give me a ride, so I decided to browse around some of the stores nearby.

At around 6:55 am, I ended up outside my local EB Games store. While the lines at Best Buy, Target and other stores were miles long, there were five people waiting in line at EB Games. I looked at the sign on the door, and they were scheduled to open at 7 am. So I got in line, thinking that I would check out what they had. I was only in line for a few seconds when I realized why all these people were in line: this store had Nintendo Wii for sale. I was the 6th person in line, but I didn't know how many they would actually have in stock.

When the store opened, the manager announced that they had 10 Nintendo Wii consoles. I knew what I had to do. So for the actual retail price of $249, I purchased a Nintendo Wii, not realizing until later why this was a big deal. Soon after my purchase, I was informed that I had ruined Christmas for every single child in Omaha. Why? Because I purchased a Wii on a whim without any special planning or effort. Some poor child will wake up on Christmas morning without a Wii, while I probably didn't even appreciate what I had.

To anyone who has children, I have a simple message for you: eat shit if you think for one minute that I feel bad about my purchase. Maybe you should be teaching your kids something more than rampant consumeristic greed? Maybe if their parents weren't such whores for capitalism, they'd understand that Christmas isn't about how much crap you get, but family and peace, and all that other shit that the Bush Administration makes it easy to forget.

I am thoroughly enjoying playing with my Wii. And guilt is not part of the equation.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back to Wyoming

I'm heading back to Wyoming for Thanksgiving weekend .... I don't suppose any of you will be around? If so, post in the comments section.

P.S. The picture above is from Busted Tees. You can buy a shirt of it HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barroid Bobblehead indicted

Okay guys. I have but one question: Will his home run record get taken off the books, will it get an asterisk (like his 756th homerun ball, thanks to Mark Ecko), or will it be left alone?

And CowboyLaw, what are the odds that he'll do time for this? I know you're not a criminal lawyer, but since you live in that neck of the woods, I'm assuming you've had some interesting water cooler chats...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Husker Fan Feedback

Meet Katy. Dedicated Husker fan.

Sportsfan Redemption

Grimace was very angry this weekend
This weekend finally provided a little relief for what has been a very disappointing fall for sports. As Lord Bling pointed out in his post (with pictures), the Broncos owned the Chiefs at Arrowhead. This is significant, because as CowboyLaw pointed out, the Broncos are not exactly having their best year ever. But we still managed to beat the Cheats. Brings a smile to my face.

I was also present for Nebraska's complete thrashing of Kansas State. No doubt the Huskers are having one of their worst years in recent memory. The important information here is that Kansas State's quarterback initialy committed to Nebraska, only to back out at the last minute. His name is Josh Freeman, and our defense, which has been the worst in the country this season, pwned him. And their primary team color is purple.

Before the game, Kansas State fans were pouring it on, trashing the Huskers for the year we're having. Funny, I didn't see them after we torched their defense for 73 points and 700 yards. Feels good when that happens.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bush fights the 'bad guys' in Baghdad!

Nice photo op. Doesn't he know that video games are bad for you?

I wonder what game they were playing. I'm guessing it was Call of Duty 4.

This game has cost me a lot of sleep lately. The single-player campaign is really good. It makes you feel like you're starring in an action movie, and the graphics have to be seen to be believed. But for as good as the single-player is, the multi-player mode is downright phenomenal.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who made who?

Or should I say, 'Who paid off who?'

Is Robertson aware that Giuliani is pro-choice and pro-gay-marriage? And if so, is he just betting on who he thinks will win the nomination, and is making an attempt to gain some favor with him?


Wednesday, November 07, 2007


So, one of the reasons I've been a bit less active on the Blog as of late is that I've been more involved in Yelp. There's no real reason for me to explain what Yelp is. You either know about it, or you can educate yourself by cruising through the website. I like the concept, and I've found Yelp to be very useful, esp. in SF. The Midge will probably find it less helpful in Omaha, because its utility depends entirely on how many people there are in a given city actively contributing. Anyway, I've added a blog feature in the left margin so you can access my most recent pithy comments with just a click. Thus you can experience the blending of my two great web passions. Other than porn. And Mexican wang drugs.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A pic of my brother

Wow. Just, wow.

When my brother came to pick me up at the airport yesterday, I thought it was Matisyahu preparing for the next BumFights DVD. So I had to take a pic and give it the special text treatment:

The Blog is Three Today

Happy 3rd Birthday Douchebag!

It's a celebration bitches! The blog is three years old today. I can't believe that three years ago today, it was the eve of the 2004 Presidential Election. I was living in Seattle, and hoping we wouldn't elect a moron as our President. A lot has changed in three years, but I still wish we wouldn't have elected that shitbag as President. At least now, we only have a year left.

Sportsfan Hell

As CowboyLaw so delicately pointed out, the month of October was perhaps the worst month of my life as a sports fan. Let me summarize:

Let me start with the least painful. I am not a big fan of MLB. You will not be surprised that I like $1 beer night (Thirsty Thursday, for those of you in Omaha) for the AAA Omaha Royals. If you can imagine how bad the MLB Royals are, the Omaha Royals are their minor league team and equally shitty at all things baseball. But, the games are fun or at least an excuse to drink $1 Miller High Life in cans. I was cheering for the Rockies because 1) I used to live in Colorado and 2) I hate the Red Sox. Do I need to elaborate on why the World Series was not enjoyable for me? For the record, Boston sports teams can lick my asshole roughly 12 hours after I eat Indian food. People, like CowboyLaw, who cheer for Boston sports teams having never lived there, can take sloppy seconds.

My Broncos are having a very very mediocre year. We get crushed by the Colts and San Diego, and then turn around and dominate the Steelers. The Broncos schedule is very soft, including 2 games against CowboyLaw's KC Chiefs (another team he cheers for in a city/state where he's never lived). The only thing worse than losing a World Series to Boston is getting beat by the Packers and their painkiller poppin' QB. We could lose every other game this season, but if we can beat the Cheats. It would make being a Bronco fan worth living. Stay tuned.

And now, the really bad news. Going into October, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were 4-1, the only loss to Southern California with one of the top rated recruiting classes in the country. Not to say that September was all puppy dogs and ice cream. We nearly lost to Testicle, I mean Ball State and Wake Forest. The signs were there, but at 4-1, who cares right? October brought not only 4 straight losses, but 3 complete ass-whoopings. Nebraska will be incredibly lucky to win another game this season. We fired our Athletic Director, and it looks like our coaching staff (along with some of their top recruits) will be gone the day after Thanksgiving.

Needless to say, I stick with my teams. The downside to this approach to being a sports fan, is that you have periods of time (like my entire childhood as a Bronco fan and as a Wyoming Cowboys fan) where your teams can't win the big one. Being a fairweather fan like Cowboylaw has the advantage of being able to drop your team like a stolen car with a dead hooker in the trunk if they don't win the Super Bowl. The disadvantage, of course, is that people like me will always be there to remind them that they didn't always like the Red Sux or that the KC Chiefs will never win a Super Bowl while we are alive.

These are dark times for my teams, but the best thing about sports is that there's always next season, and Nebraska will have a new coach, the Broncos will have a great first round draft pick, and the Rockies will have the experience that only a first rate ass kicking can give you.

On the Road

And no, not Jack Kerouac. I had a death in the family, so I've gone back home to be with them. Fortunately, I bought a laptop about a month ago, and my parents have wi-fi, so I'm not as out of touch as I usually am. I'll probably post more at some point this weekend, but I thought right now that I'd take a minute and give you an idea of just how small my hometown is.

This is the entrance to the airport:


Oh, and in a text message this morning, Miles reminded me that it's Caturday, so Happy Caturday, motherfuckers.

Monday, October 29, 2007



In short, and to sum it up: Bad coupla weeks for sports fans in Denver and Nebraska.

Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

I did get to spend most of the World Series (what little of it there was) deep in the heart of Red Sox Nation (Rhode Island). Those people are more than a little terrifying. But, I'm a closet Sox fan (since I hate the Yankees, it comes naturally to root for the Sox), so it was all good.

P.S.: They close the bars in Rhode Island at 1:00 a.m. What kind of pussified state closes bars at 1:00 a.m.?

P.P.S.: You know you're doing well when you go to a bar for only the second time, and the bartender looks at you and your group and says "Oh shit, they're back."





Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Angry Midget is MIA

The three people who read this blog regularly have probably noticed that it's been pretty devoid of novel material for the last couple of months, particularly from the namesake of the blog: Ryan.

Since all three of you who read the blog know that I recently started my PhD program, I don't have to explain to you why I don't have any free time to post my thoughts here. But, that's going to change.

We're coming up on three years of fatanstic crap on this site, and I'm not about to throw in the towel because I'm spending 5 hours a day on statistics homework. No sir. I promise to be better, and you can stop sending me garbage email about my whereabouts or that I am throwing in the towel. You wish.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Want a free Radiohead CD? Sure you do.

So I guess I was out of the loop on this one until yesterday, but Radiohead just released their new album (called In Rainbows) on the internet, and if you want, it's free. Just go HERE and sign up, and then you have to 'purchase' it, but you can put in zeroes and it'll work. And it's not a glitch.

Man, it must be nice to have that kind of money, to be able to do something like this and not even flinch.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

That 'L' stands for 'Lose'

This article pretty much sums up my feelings about the Chicago Cubs right now.

So, now there's just football (my Broncos are lucky they're not 0-4) and hockey (the Avalanche's goaltending is too inconsistent for them to make a serious run at the Cup). Which means I'll be on Xbox Live a LOT in the next six months. Here's a screenshot I took from a Halo 3 game last night:

Yes, that red corpse about 50 feet off the ground was me.

Not only does Halo 3 allow you to watch video of all of the games you've played, from any vantage point, but you can take screenshots and upload them directly to Bungie's website from your Xbox 360.

Here's me running over some noob:

Here's one more, with apologies to NIN in advance. However, it makes for great desktop wallpaper!

I said I was gonna drop a teabag on you, and I'm a man of my word.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Zoning Laws: Serious Business

"Y'all have put me under. ... I'm out of here."

This is why the 'CNN TV' service is worthless. Do they have footage of this event? Of course not. Oh well. I guess I'll just watch the Budd Dwyer video again.

And on another note, yes, I know, my Cubs suck. Not exactly a news flash.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Contracting and the War

I want to make two separate, yet related, points in this post. So bear with me.

1. The Rise of Government/Private Contracting

It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that, during the Bush Administration, the government has increased private contracting by 85%, a massive number. The same official government statistics indicate that the Bush Administration has increased private, noncompetitive contracts by 115%. And we're absolutely not just talking about the war, here. We're talking about the systematic turnover of government duties to private contractors. In short, what was once done by government employees is now being done by private contractors.

Why? Very simple: Republican Reverse Robin Hood---the Republicans are taking from the poor and middle class (by way of imbalanced income and capital gains tax systems), and giving to the rich, which is to say, the people who own these private contractors. Consider, for a moment, the important implication every time the government issues a private contract: that contractor is going to make a profit. Which means the contractor can do the job for less than it bid. If the contractor can do the job for less, why can't the government do the job for less? Reagan (whom I'm not a big fan of) at least gave lip service to making the government run more efficiently. Bush II appears to have abandoned any attempt to make the government more efficient, and has decided instead to outsource as much government as he possibly can.

Once again, why? Because neo-cons, who essentially run this administration (I'm looking at you, Cheney), hate the very concept of taxation, and aren't that big a fan of government, either. The neo-con god Grover Nordquist famously said that he wants to shrink the federal government down to the size where he can drown it in a bathtub. Private contracting is a two-fer: you can simultaneously shrink the government and give back those tax dollars to the rich business owners who donate to your campaign.

2. The Myth of a Clean War

Bling's post, and Blackwater's general troubles, inspired this post, and certainly motivated my rant against government contractors. However, I don't mean to criticize Blackwater's performance in Iraq, and I won't join in any piling-on in criticizing Blackwater for potentially killing civilians. Let me explain why, starting with a parallel example.

At this very moment, the military is prosecuting Marine Staff Sargent Frank Wuterich for murder based on the shooting of several Iraqis in the immediate aftermath of a roadside ambush on Wuterich's squad. The military initially charged every member of Sgt. Wuterich's squad with murder, but has dismissed those charges one by one, until now only Sgt. Wuterich (who was in command of the squad) is still facing charges.

To briefly summarize the events which led to these charges (a full explanation can be found here): Wuterich's squad was driving down the road when a roadside bomb took out one Humvee, killing one member of Wuterich's squad and injuring others. The squad observed a group of Iraqis nearby in a car, and it is common for the people who detonate these bombs to do so from a nearby car. So, the squad ordered the Iraqis out of the car. Upon exiting the car, the Iraqis started running away, so the squad opened fire and killed them. Immediately thereafter, the squad came under fire from a nearby cluster of houses. The squad identified the house where the fire appeared to be coming from, surrounded the house, and rolled several grenades inside, killing the occupants. The squad then came under fire from another nearby house, and stormed the house, killing those occupants. Here's the problem: the Iraqis in the car were found to be unarmed, without a detonator, and thus were merely innocent bystanders. The first house that the squad attacked was inhabited mostly by women and children, with no arms anywhere in the house. Ditto the second house. So, at the end of the day, the squad killed a number of innocent civilians, which is indisputably a tragedy.

Now, let me tell you why the prosecution of any of these Marines is a total farce. And, since I've never seen combat, let me use the words of someone who saw a whole lot of combat: "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it...." Gen. William Sherman. And Sherman's words are as true today as they were in 1864. In every war ever fought, there have been civilian casualties. That's simply part of the bargain. In World War II, generally considered by Americans as a good and just war, Allied bombers firebombed Dresden, Germany, resulting in tens of thousands of civilian deaths. Let's just say it plainly: in war, civilians die. Always have, always will.

The problem is, the Administration doesn't want to, and in some ways can't afford to, admit that to the American people. The Administration needs us to believe that this is a "clean" war, where we are killing only insurgents and winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. We all know that, in reality, this is total bullshit. But we must also recognize that this cannot be done, even in theory. The history of war proves otherwise. Indeed, the history of war suggests that military commanders are no more than passingly concerned with civilian casualties, so long as a strategic goal is met. The atom bombs dropped on Japan are convincing proof of this.

As Americans, we need to understand that every time our military flexes its muscles, the inevitable result is civilian casualties. Understanding this, we must always ask ourselves: is it worth it? It can be argued, and I would be willing to argue, that the civilian casualties in World War II, which probably topped ten million when counted world wide (Russian alone suffered several million), were worth it, given what was at stake. I think it is equally clear that, in Iraq, they are not worth it. Others may disagree, but we all need to understand that the debate cannot based on the theory that war can be conducted cleanly. If we believe in what we are doing in Iraq, we should be willing to tolerate civilian casualties. If civilian casualties bother us, and the government's treatment of Sgt. Wuterich and Blackwater suggest that the government is indeed bothered, we should take that as a sign that perhaps we no longer believe the hype. And when we recognize that, we must recognize that it is time to withdraw.


THIS reminds me of a joke I heard once:

'What were the redneck's last words?
'Watch this!''

I'm not sure if any of you saw highlights of Erik Prince's testimony to Congress yesterday, but he didn't make a very compelling case. The fact of the matter is, if Bush and Rumsfeld had listened to General Shinseki, there wouldn't be a need for these overpriced mercenaries.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cubs win! Cubs win!

Lou Pinella did it. He turned a last-place team into winners. Granted, the Cubs were in the worst division in baseball, but just getting to the playoffs is a huge accomplishment. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but with 99 straight years of futility, I can't get too excited this soon. Playoffs start Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Pirates don't do it for me. I'm a ninja guy. Just ask my girlfriend. When we watched The Last Samurai in a theater, ninjas showed up about half-way through it, and I was surprised and ecstatic to the point of my yelling out, 'NINJAS!' She quickly shushed me, but it didn't damper my enthusiasm. I LOVE NINJAS. Not as much as this guy, but he's the ultimate fanboy.

I never understood the appeal that pirates have with some people. They wear frilly shirts and like to sword fight. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but still. To me, it's no competition. Ninjas are stealthy, they use stuff like smoke bombs and ninja stars, and they kill people. That's their job. Killing. How can there even be a question of who's cooler? Now, maybe if more pirates looked like this:

... instead of like this:

Having said all of that, I know Ryan pretty well. He is a full-fledged pirate, and he needs to have his day in the sun. So, today is his day:

Now if you'll excuse me, I have ta be gettin' back to swabbin' the deck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Religion vs. logic vs. rhetoric

Right off the bat, you need to read this. Okay? I know most of you have a lot of spare time as it is. So, invest some of it in reading the linked web page, and understand that it will really help your understanding of this post. And, it's fucking hilarious, so it's worth your time anyway. Go, read. I'll be waiting right here. Talking about the Apple Lisa. Remember the Lisa? I bet you don't. Not a great product. Really expensive. None of you owned one, right? Because none of your parents were rich. Same problem here.

Okay, you back? Let's get this started. Brief recap, just to get everyone on the same page. The illustrious linked website makes the following argument. (1) God has promised that He will answer all of our prayers. (2) There is a long history of God supposedly answering the prayers of other people. (3) God has never answered the prayer of an amputee to have his/her amputated limbs spontaneously regenerated. (4) Therefore, God is either a liar (not likely) or God doesn't exist. QED, in the mind of the website author(s). Now, all of you are free to have your own religious beliefs. I happen to believe that some sort of higher power exists, although I believe that none of us has any ability to comprehend the designs and wishes of that power. That's why I try to live my life by some simple principles that appear to form the core of just about every significant religion on the planet: (1) be nice to people, (2) help people when you can, and (3) try to be happy. BUT my critique here has nothing to do with whether or not a Judeo-Christian God exists. Rather, my critique focuses on the huge, gaping holes in the logic and rhetoric of the website. Ready? Let's do this.

1. The entire argument proceeds from an overly literal interpretation of the Bible.

The foundation of the entire argument is that God has promised to answer all our prayers. Well, folks, if that was true, I'd have my own Porsche and that slut I was interested in back in High School would have slept with me, rather than just the entire show choir. But that didn't happen. So it's not just amputees who aren't having their prayers answered. I hate to go out on a limb here, but maybe (just maybe) God didn't promise to be a bottomless pit of wish fulfillment for every human on Earth. Indeed, the rules of logic suggest this must be true, because oftentimes the wishes of different humans will be in opposition. Thus, for example, if she had known she was in danger, the slut I was interested in during High School would surely have prayed for deliverance from a fate as horrible as having to sleep with me. So, how would God have sorted out these conflicting prayers? More intelligent Christian philosophers have concluded that God is bound by the rules of logic. That being the case, it's easy to see that often, God would be forced not to grant certain prayers, since they would be diametrically opposed to other prayers.

The better interpretation is that God envisioned prayers as a vehicle for internal, rather than external, intervention. Put more bluntly, prayer is a vehicle through which individuals commit themselves to the task of fulfilling the prayer, rather than asking God to do it for them. For example, when we pray to be better people, the power of the prayer (if you think it has any power at all) is in its implicit commitment to personal effort towards that goal, rather than in the hope of external assistance.

Lord Bling's world provides an excellent analogy here. Anyone who has ever played video games seriously knows that the Intarwebs offer a host of secret cheat codes which, if used, will allow the gamer to instantly deal total death to his or her opponents and crush the game with little effort. Anyone who has ever employed these cheat codes in order to beat a game has also come to the realization that it makes the game much less satisfying than if you had beat the game on your own. I differentiate here between true cheat codes and assistance like FAQs and walkthroughs, which provide advice, but still rely on your skill to reach the game's end. If life was nothing more than a game with an obvious cheat code (pray for whatever you want and you get it), it would be wholly unfulfilling for any of us. We would learn nothing from our lives. There would be no struggle, no defeat, no self-examination. Just an endless litany of prayer to overcome all obstacles in our way. Ultimately, an unrewarding life. If, instead, you see life as an endless opportunity to learn things about yourself and others, then it makes sense that prayer would not serve as an avenue for instant gratification, but rather as a vehicle through which you commit yourself to a goal. Which, ultimately, is a lot more satisfying.

2. The world is NOT full of examples of prayers being granted.

The second major fallacy of the argument is the contention that there appears to be ample evidence of prayers being granted all around us. Put simply, bullshit. Isaac Asimov once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. By corollary, anytime modern science is unable to account for a certain result, some people will attribute it to a miracle, or to prayer. But that doesn't make it so. Particularly in the field of medical "miracles," professionals are quick to admit that modern science does not begin to comprehend the full complexity of the functioning of the human body. On a daily basis across the world, cancers disappear, fevers go away, some people even apparently beat the AIDS virus (Magic Johnson ain't just a show in Tijuana). But the fact that we can't explain a certain medical phenomenon doesn't mean it's the hand of God at work. It may be God or it may be Man; lack of proof one way or another does not constitute proof of one way rather than the other.

3. God's failure to regenerate amputated limbs does not prove His nonexistence.

Finally, forget all of the above. We can disprove this point on one basis alone. Let's assume you believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God (and there are many reasons to have different beliefs). Let's assume you believe God has both the power and the inclination to become involved in the day-to-day minutiae of the lives of humans (and there are many reasons to have different beliefs). Let's assume you believe that God in fact grants the prayers of many of His subjects (and there are many reasons to have different beliefs). You could still believe that the plight of amputees is part of "God's Plan" (a phrase I hate so much it makes me itch, but let's continue) for that particular person. Perhaps God believes that that particular person needs to learn a lesson which only life as an amputee might teach. If God is indeed all-knowing (a necessary assumption for this model), who are we to argue with His plan? Each of us has room for personal and spiritual growth. There are a host of potentially enriching lessons to be learned as an amputee (patience, forgiveness, humility, and dignity come immediately to mind). Some of us might be able to learn those lessons easily. Others might need substantial assistance to learn these virtues. Perhaps God has identified these persons and intentionally planned for an amputation in other to assist them in acquiring these virtues. Jesus said "if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you: for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." Matthew 5:27-30. This clearly anticipates the need to sacrifice the functionality of a portion of your body, that you may learn an appropriate spiritual lesson.

4. Conclusion

Look, I don't pretend to have any answers here. At the end of the day, it is clear that God (if God exists) has chosen to leave us scant proof of his or her existence. The very nature of faith is the acceptance of and belief in that which cannot be proven. A cynic or skeptic can find ample evidence of the non-existence of God merely by surveying the world around us. Daily, thousands of people die in unnecessary and unjust wars around the globe, commenced by despicable despots, occasionally abetted by ill-informed and misled bodies public. Similarly, a believer finds proof of God's existence in the daily miracle which is life. One must be right, but neither can prove they are right. What bothers me is when True Believers from one side or the other pretend that the rules of logic prove their point for them. They don't. Anytime you believe you have established the existence or non-existence of God through the use of rhetoric, be assured all you have done is created a rhetoric full of holes. And such is the case here. The authors of this website may well be right---there may be no God---but they sure haven't proven it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Students suspended for the Shocker

Two local high schools have suspended football players for displaying the Shocker in their team football photos this Fall. The sad part is that none of the articles in the local papers explain what the Shocker is, merely saying that its connotation is "sexual in nature". That's one way of putting it. The gesture essentially offers a person a way to use one hand to penetrate two female orifaces simultaneously. Try it sometime, but don't be sneaky about.

There's a funny twist to this story, however. In both cases, the pictures were taken, printed and distributed before an authority figure noticed (perhaps recognized would be a more appropriate term) the gesture. The untold backstory here is that in order to discipline the students, someone in a position of authority had to recognize the gesture and its sexual connotation, and explain the gesture to colleagues. Which raises the question: How did these people know what the gesture was and what it indicated?

The Shocker is obviously not a rural Iowa sex trick, as evidenced by the fact that in both cases the pictures went through production and distribution prior to raising someone's eyebrows. I would have loved to have been there for that discussion.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Religious Education (Oil) and Academic Freedom (Water)

Creighton University recently cancelled a speaking engagement for author Anne Lamott after university officials (priests) read her work and realized that she wrote in one particular instance about helping someone who was terminally ill commit suicide. Creighton is a Jesuit University, which basically means that the priests that run Creighton are among the most progressive and educated priests in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, these particular Jesuit priests are not educated or progressive enough to give people credit for having their own opinions and thoughts.

The situation with Creighton's reaction and cancellation of a speaker that in my mind is not all that controversial is a prime example of why religious education and academic freedom cannot co-exist. The priests at Creighton have said that they feel they shouldn't endorse ideas that are in conflict with Catholic doctrine, as if there is no other acceptable worldview aside from what a bunch of incredibly conservative individuals whose current pope was a member of the Hitler Youth as a child believe in.

The entire point of education is to develop your own views and opinions on matters, not just what the guys in black shirts and collars want you to have access to. If you're one of the students paying $20k a credit hour to attend Creighton, you should ask for a refund, because what the University has done in this situation is the antithesis of education.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sleeper hold is so rad, dude.

This video cracks my shit up.

Brain damage is so rad, dude.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This news article sucks.

How does this pass as a 'news article?' Don't they know the rules? 'Pics or it didn't happen.'

If we don't get to see pictures of a bear chomping down on some drunks, the internet is of very little use to me. Google Image Search only brings up some random guro...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sea of Red

The Real Deal

Since I moved back to Nebraska from Seattle, I have acclimatized to the attitude I get from non-Nebraskans about the state where I reside. I'm a big boy, so I can handle the crap, but at times I feel obliged to give back. This is one of those times.

No matter where you are in the world, you will not find more loyal, intense or crazed football fans than in Nebraska. There exist no greater fans in all of college sports than Nebraska fans. Do you want proof? Check out this article from the Kansas City star about the upcoming Nebraska at Missouri football game in October.

It's one thing for a team to sell out 282 consecuctive home games when their stadium seats 80,000 people. Nebraska has done this year after year. On game day, Memorial Stadium is larger than every other city in Nebraska except Omaha and Lincoln. It's larger than any city in the entire state of Wyoming. Love the Huskers or hate the Huskers, that's pretty damned impressive. People can say it's because we have nothing better to do out here, but I will remind you that as long as you have a mom and a sister, I will have something to do.

What's more impressive, and what the above cited article refers to specifically, is the experience that many teams have had when Nebraska comes to town. Notre Dame in 2000. USC in 2006. Major teams with giant fan bases and home games against Nebraska who are nearly outnumbered in their home stadiums! No other team can pull this sort of thing off. It makes me proud that our team forces opposing fans to take drastic steps to prevent us from turning their home stadium into a Nebraska annex. That is top shelf.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Men are pigs....

... and I say, 'Oink oink.'

Attack of the Show keeps getting better and better.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fair Doesn't Mean Equal Doesn't Mean Identical

My favorite metasite,, served me this little article today. For those of you too lazy to actually click over, let me sum it up for you. A single dad writes in to an advice column to state that his single, 30 year old female neighbor often sunbathes topless, although face down. Not a problem, except dad's 14 year old twin boys play baseball in their backyard and occasionally hit a foul ball into her backyard, and when they go to retrieve it, they see her naked back, and maybe some side-boob action. Plus, one time, the woman asked one of the kids to rub some lotion on her back. Dad asks, do I need to put a stop to this? Female advice columnist says absolutely.

The comments from Fark readers contain much of what you'd expect. However, one argument was launched there which bears some analysis. A Farker, defending the advice columnist, said "If this was a 14 year old girl and a 30 year old man, no one would think this was okay. Ergo, it's not okay, our gender biases are just getting in the way of seeing the truth."

I encounter this kind of argument all the time, and the biggest problem is it has a thick patina of credibility. A high truthiness quotient, if you will. The argument is a total sham, and I want to equip all of you with the tools to shove this down the throat of the next person who launches this BS on you.

The whole argument proceeds from the false premise that, in order to treat 2 people fairly, we must treat them identically, i.e., in the case above, because we would condemn lotion rubbing between a 30 year old man and a 14 year old girl, we must/should also condemn lotion rubbing between a 30 year old woman and a 14 year old boy. This false premise ignores the fact that there are almost always logical reasons why you would treat different people differently. For example, assume you run a food shelf and, in an effort to be "fair," your rules are that each person who comes into the store gets 2 cups of rice and beans each day. Single guys and gals will do just fine under this rule, but people with families are now screwed, unless you parade the whole family in. The better rule would be 2 cups of rice and beans per day per household member.

Perennial presidential candidate loser Steve Forbes was best known for his Flat Tax proposal, which also proceeded from this same premise. His idea to tax everyone at the same rate presumed that doing so was the only way to be fair. The problem, of course, is that when you make $20,000, giving 20% of it back to the government leaves you with $16,000, which is not much to live on. When you make $200,000, it leaves you with $160,000, which is more than enough. Even though the process is equal, the results are unfair.

This carries forward into the realm of employment. All employees have strengths and weaknesses. A good boss finds ways to assign work that plays to his or her employees' strengths, so that in the end, everyone is a more-or-less equal contributor (this is the GOAL, mind you, not how it necessarily turns out, because some people are slacker assholes). In assigning different work to different employees, the boss is not (hopefully) playing favorites, but rather tailoring the work done by each employee to that employee's strengths.

So, the next time someone whips out this "treating everyone the same is the only way to be fair" BS, wallop them a good one. Dumbasses need to be scared away from their weak rhetorical tools.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

R Kelly trial set to begin in mid-September

I'm sure that CowboyLaw will have an educated opinion on the R. Kelly trial that starts next month, so I thought I'd go the other direction:

R. Kelly - Piss On You (Remix)

"Yeah. 40 oz. of malt liquor make me want to tell you somethin'.

Rollin round, sittin on dubs.
Countin the urs,
Was high on shrubs.
Coolin in my Escalade.
Man I'm paid, I got it made!
Take me to your special place.
Close your eyes,
Show me your face.
I'm gonna piss on it.

Haters wanna hate,
Lovers wanna love.
I don't even want none of the above.
I want to piss on you.
Yes I do. I'll piss on you;
I'll pee on you.

Now your body, your body
Is a Porta-Potty.
And my pee I'd kick;
Like it know's karate. (knows karate)
And you'll never feel quite the same
Once u take a whiff of my Hershey stains.
I want to poop on u too.
I want to pee in your food.
Only thing that make my life complete
Is when I turn your face into a toilet seat.
I'm gonna piss on you.

Haters wanna hate,
Lovers wanna love.
I don't even want none of the above.
I want to piss on you.
Yes I do. I'll piss on you;
I'll pee on you.

Before we start, I'm gonna fart.
I'm gonna fart on you."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

'God can't help us now.'

It's now been told that some of Pat Tillman's last words were 'God can't help us now.' Wow. I wonder how those at Fox News will spin this, although they'll probably just ignore it, or hide it deep on their website.

Religious beliefs aside, the man did what he felt was right, and at great personal cost to himself. He gave up millions of dollars. How many people can say that? And what did our government do for him in return? They used him as a marketing tool, and then they lied about the cause of his death. Regardless of your political leanings, there is no excuse for how it was handled.

I've been against this war from day one, but that doesn't keep me from supporting our men and women who are over there. They may have signed up for service, but there's a certain amount of trust they should be able to feel about their commander-in-chief, that they won't be put in harm's way without a good reason for doing so. And for once, I'd like Fox News to stop showing footage of troops on camera saying how they agree with the president. That's PR spin. If you don't want to get fired (or in their cases, dishonorably discharged), you don't talk shit about your boss in public.

But I digress. I just want our men and women over there to not have to continually get maimed or killed for no good reason, and I want our government to stop lying to us. Lofty hopes, I know. But it shouldn't be that way. If this is a democracy, and a majority of Americans want the war to be over, why isn't it over yet?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Absolut NASA

Party at zero gravity
A report from a panel appointed to investigate NASA's policies related to astronauts was released this week. Basically, astronauts are not only crazy, as evidenced by Lisa Nowak's cross country diaper run to kill the hypotenuse in her love triangle with another astronaut in February, but they also like the hit the sauce before they fly the space shuttle.

We shouldn't really be surprised by all this drinking and carrying on really. At this very moment, many of you are likely making plans for how you're going to chemically dispose of your work week with alcohol and other substances. However, I doubt very much you're doing this while you're at work. If you are, send me the number for your Human Resources Department ASAP.

I wouldn't expect astronauts to behave any better than I tend to behave. Particularly given that before flights, they are often sequestered for long periods of time. But, I also don't fly a million dollar piece of equipment paid for with tax payer money that is so fragile that I think the wings are actually made out of the same foam as the cooler you keep fishing bait or dead hooker parts in when you go to the lake.

The drinking might explain, however, how an astronaut could stare this woman in the face and think about sex

So here's a toast to you NASA. May all of your spacewalks be drunken spacewalks and may you never drive cross country in diapers to kill your boyfriend's mistress only to be arrested and publicly humliated on this blog.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Didn't Start the Fire

Did I just quote a Billy Joel song? Yeah, I guess I did.

I got asked by at least four people yesterday if I started the fire in Dallas that led to explosions at some industrial chemical plant. I like shit done blowed up real good as much as the next red-blooded American, but for the record, 'No, I was at my desk, slaving over spreadsheets.' I didn't even make it to the other side of the building, where I'm told people had a great view of it. But hey, that's what YouTube is for:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Silver Ring Thing

A court in England ruled this week that a little girl couldn't wear her silver ring that signifies that she will be waiting until marriage to have sex in school. This ruling no doubt disappointed her male classmates, who were likely setting up a pool to prognoticate how many STDs this lass has by the time she leaves primary school. Really, you say? Shouldn't all 8 year-old kids promise their vaginas to Jesus until they walk down the aisle?

And as our 95% posting from last December points out, the vast majority of people do not wait until they meet that special someone that they have a 50% probability of divorcing before taking the skin boat to tuna town.

The only thing scientific that we can say about viginity pledges is that they do not keep people from having premarital sex. The 95% figure has been stable for a very, very long time. Rather, the only thing that virginity pledges accomplish is to make it more likely for those idealistic little bastards to engage in high risk sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex, oral sex or anal sex, since we all know that a lady is still considered a virgin by Jesus, no matter how many times she's taken a spicy beef injection up the backroad. If you think I'm kidding, click here to see the study that came out in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2005.

Now, I am not bagging on people who want to wait to have sex until they are married. I feel sorry for people who wait, because I think sex is a healthy thing that you should have when you're ready. Hopefully once we get all these fundies out of the White House, people will stop trying to treat premarital sex like vaginal terrorism, and realize that we all need to lighten up and get laid.