Thursday, March 31, 2005

Gaiety on the Web

Often when I am away from my computer and cannot blog, a plethora of blogworthy inspirations come to me. Recently, two subjects that have garnered much philosophical insight from me are comedy and sexuality (though not a combination of the two, just so you're aware). I will have to post about these topics at some other time, but for now, let me share with you a post from another blog that does combine these two issues. The ironic title is utter comic genius. Please enjoy!

Click here for a thought-provoking good laugh

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Fairies and Bunnies and Eggs – Oh My!

Growing up, my family never told tales of the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. I knew these to be fictional entities, created and perpetuated for the sake of entertainment. When I lost a tooth, I did not put it under my pillow, hoping the Tooth Fairy would exchange it for some bona fide U.S. currency. Rather, I would likely leave it in a cup and wait for my parents to trade it in for some quarters, sometime when I wasn’t looking. They knew that I knew that it was them, but it was part of the fun not to be present when the exchange occurred. Similarly, on Easter morning, we had to wait for our parents to hide the Easter eggs and other trinkets before we could begin our search. The origin of these eggs and treats were never in question.

As an adult, this tradition (or lack thereof) has carried over into my own attitudes toward Easter and the losing of teeth. I have no interest whatsoever in promoting the existence of the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy with my own children (when I finally have them). Some might think this is a harsh denial of an innocent child’s fantasy, but I simply view these things as pointless. I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything by not believing in them. And to be honest, as bias an opinion as this may be, I just don’t see the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy being all that meaningful to a kid. I much prefer the human quality of Santa Claus. At least he blatantly symbolizes something to a child, namely what it means to be a loving and a charitable person. The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny seem like cartoon frivolities in comparison.

Somehow, despite my awareness that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were not real, I never managed to question the existence of Santa Claus. And, wouldn’t you know it, I most certainly intend to carry on the tradition of Santa Claus with my kids. Does that make me a hypocrite? Do my readers feel I am somehow missing the boat when it comes to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Am I doing my kids a horrible injustice to forgo what seems to me a ridiculous pastime? It’s not that I’m anti-Tooth Fairy or anti-Easter Bunny when it comes to decorations, stories, and other such paraphernalia. But to actually promote them as real? I just don’t see a point…

(Happy Easter everyone! Let us not forget the real reason for this day!)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Another Dose of Vitamin C

Knock, Knock.
Who's there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange Theology, Benny K's fantastic new blog. It's more serious, but every bit as nutritious and delicious! Check it out today!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Cheesy Cyberspace Innovations

At the risk of venturing further into nerd-dom, I ordered pizza online today. This was a first for me, and I admit it was slightly cooler than I expected. Chances are it wouldn’t have happened if not for the fact that I haven’t gone grocery shopping for a few weeks and didn’t much feel like Ramen Noodles. Anyway, I always figured ordering pizza online was extremely pointless, especially if you have a dial-up connection (which, fortunately, I do not). It seems it would take just as long to sign-in and click through all the screens as it would to make an old-fashioned phone call, perhaps even longer. I still hold to this fact, but little did I know there are a couple of minor perks to the cyber version of Pizza Hut. For starters, if you do not have any coupons, they abound on the website, and you need not print them off to use them. On the other hand, for those of us who devote an entire kitchen drawer to the last six months of pizza ads that have come to our mailbox, we can now free up a lot of space. A second benefit is that, if you are fairly consistent in your pizza pie preferences, you can quickly and easily order the same thing you ordered last time, without punching it all in again (so the site claims). But perhaps the most innovative aspect of cyberpizza is that you can place your orders up to seven days ahead of time, including the approximate time you want the food delivered. While this may not be the most utilized feature, it could be cool, say, for those planning a pizza party. Or, in the rare instance that you have Internet access but not a cellular phone, you could order a pizza to be delivered (or picked-up) three hours from now, then go out and run a bunch of errands, knowing your pizza will be ready when you are. Perhaps this is something you could do by phone as well, but for those who appreciate the society-dissolving anonymity and silence of the Internet, as well as the heightened prospect of carpal tunnel and blindness, you can now order a high-fat, high-carb pizza without lifting your buttocks from the confines of your cushy swivel chair. Mmm mmm good!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Spring Broken

Just so people know I'm alive, I thought I would post while I have a brief moment. Being Spring Break, I thought I would post more than usual, but as it turns out, I have been quite detained. As most of you know, this is because of the new additions to Melanie's family -- both a nephew and an estranged, Spanish-speaking brother. Despite the joyous occasions, I've been in a good deal of pain thanks to a wigged-out leg. For some reason, I woke up about a week ago with pain in my left leg, reaching all the way up into my lower back. I think it's gotten slightly better, but I'm still crippled. Whether I've been standing for a while or sitting for a while, it hurts to change from one position to the other. I can't stand up completely straight without giving my back time to adjust. So, mostly, I limp around hunched over like Quasimodo. I usually feel best in the mornings, perhaps because of resting the leg, but when I'm going to sleep, my calf aches like mad. I'm hoping with all hope that I'll be back to normal by Monday so I can walk around campus with my both my pride and my comfort. As to why it's taken a week to get better in the first place, I have no idea...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Politically Incorrect

I don't care much for politics. This fact often makes me feel stigmatized, like I'm somehow failing in my responsibilities as an intellectually endowed human being. The truth is, I don't really have much faith that the world (or, to be more egocentrical, my life) will change all that much based on who gets voted into office. Once in a while, a certain proposition comes up that I feel strongly about, but most of the time the very thought of politics bores me.

The subject of politics recently came up while I was having lunch with some friends. I didn't have anything to offer, and I feel that I was somewhat frowned upon for that fact. But, in all honesty, listening to people going on about politics always sounds so pseudo-intellectual to me anyway. It always sounds like a bunch of regurgitated clich├ęs: "good luck getting anywhere with the current administration!", "the problem is this: (summarizes whatever he heard on NPR that morning)", blah blah blah. I could probably have fabricated some vague complaints, never really saying anything but coming off okay, but I didn't want to be a phony. And so I ask, is this really who I have to be to be welcome at the lunch table?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Quid Dicis, Homo?

This has been the most emotionally exhaustive semester of my life. It’s not necessarily more demanding, but I’ve never felt so incompetent and, subsequently, depressed. I feel like I hardly know anything about Greek. I’m slipping in Latin because I give priority to all the other subjects I’m stressing out about. My Deductive Logic homework drives me nuts. I’ll literally spend an hour or so on one problem, slapping my head and absolutely baffled, only to have a sudden epiphany that enables me to solve it in two seconds. While it may be obvious that “either it is not the case that both ‘b’ is a cube and ‘b = c’, or it is the case that ‘c’ is a cube,” it can be quite grueling trying to prove it with the language and rules given (first-order language, etc.). Is it any wonder I have no mental energy left to do my other homework once I’ve done hours of Greek and Deductive Logic? Talk about a language barrier….

If you’ve read the very first post I ever did on this blog, you know I have spent much of the last few years debating what direction I’d take in graduate school. The one positive thing I can say about all this language stress is that I now know I would go insane to do a graduate degree in classics. God bless those who do, but it would probably bring me to suicide. So I think it’s a health issue, really. The one thing I will still consider doing is the master’s program in Early Christian Studies at Notre Dame. While this technically falls under the classics department, the fact that I’d be dealing with religious texts could make it worthwhile. After all, I really do want to maintain (and, dare I say, improve?) my classical language skills, but I don’t want those to be my primary focus. I figure there will be plenty of opportunity to utilize both Greek and Latin in my religious philosophical studies regardless, so what I am worried about? I don’t know why my deductive logic abilities didn’t figure this out months ago, but thank goodness I know it now.

Like a dog returning to his vomit, let me now announce that I am strongly considering adding German to my repertoire this fall. The exciting thing is, I may have enough credit to take just those three classes—Greek, Latin, and German—without hurting my plans to graduate with a classics degree in Spring ’06. Either this fall or next spring, I’ll have to take a “capstone course” in classics, but aside from that, I think I’ve done everything. So that’s pretty cool. I took two years of German in high school, back when I didn’t care and wasn’t really trying that hard. I hardly learned anything back then, but it will probably still give me the tiniest edge now, and that’s nice to know. I’ve been eager to learn a language that’s actually spoken today, and most graduate programs require some competency in a modern foreign language. In other words, I’m not just trying to torture myself. I hope to have things settled within the next couple of weeks, so I’ll let you know. Until then…

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Why Ask Why?

The world is full of baffling mysteries. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in our own social practices and habits. May I now present to you, my faithful reader, a host of enigmatic quandaries that have left me scratching my head as of lately. Enjoy!

Inspired by recent trips to movie theaters:
  • Why is being in a movie theater an automatic license to litter? There is no logical basis to this. You don't (hopefully) go to fast food restaurants and just leave burger wrappers and empty fry boxes on the floor, so why do you do it at a movie theater? You think the employees of the theater honestly don't care, or that the garbage cans just outside the theater are there for decoration? Rudeness!
  • Why do people sit right next to you even when there are plenty of available seats elsewhere? Yeah, we've all had this bad experience, but it just keeps happening! How can people really be this ignorant?
  • Why do some guys feel it necessary to flush an unflushed urinal when they go to use it? I have often witnessed a man flushing a urinal just before he unzips his pants and relieves himself, but even if the urinal was unflushed by its previous user, what is the point of flushing it before you pee in it yourself? You don’t want to get your pee dirty or something? And unless you have an even bigger problem, it's not like the previous person's pee is going to splash all over you while you're urinating! It just seems pointless to me!
Inspired by the road:
  • Why is the "road narrows" sign constantly used to mean "merge"? When I was in driver's ed, they taught us that "road narrows" means the lanes get closer together, not that they become one. And, if you look at the actual "road narrows" sign (click here to see an unusual version of the sign which should refresh your memory), the picture is not of two lanes becoming one, but simply of a lane getting even closer to another lane. The problem is, the "road narrows" sign is used for both purposes, so you never really know what to expect! This is yet another example of how semi-exclusive knowledge can lead to very irritating pet peeves!
  • Why can't people tell the difference between crosswalks and stop signs? Sadly, there are lots of locations where crosswalks actually appear several feet after a stop sign. This means other drivers often believe the crosswalk to be a second stop line. This is not the case! So, either you get people driving in front of you who needlessly stop twice, or you get angry drivers who think you've ran a stop sign (this is a common problem at four-way stops, for example). If there are not pedestrians, a white line does not automatically mean you have to stop, people!
  • Why can't we pretty much always "left turn yield on green"? I know it makes sense on busy or visually obstructed roads not to allow a left-turner to always turn left on a green light, but it seems like there are so many times when it is unnecessary to just be sitting there when it's obvious you could be going. Annoying!
Miscellaneous:
  • Why are fast-food restaurants refusing to fill their beverages to capacity nowadays? In the last few months, it's become common to receive a drink at the drive-thru window that literally has two or three inches of cup left empty. It must be because they are trying to be quick and not waiting for the foam to settle, but this has become a recent phenomenon at several places. I honestly sent one back once and told them to please fill it. Am I super sizing for nothing here?!?
  • Why does Peter Gallagher keep getting acting jobs??? He's horrible!
  • Why do they have tip jars at sandwich shops (such as Subway)? Really, do you deserve special monetary recognition just because you do more than grab a wrapped burger from underneath a heat lamp and put it in a bag? Coffee shops, haircuts, etc., all expecting a tip! These people (as far as I know) aren't making $2.00 an hour like the waitress at Village Inn. It seems ridiculous!
  • Why isn't it illegal to leave advertisements (e.g., flyers) on cars and doorknobs? I see no difference between this and littering! There is a big difference between junk mail left at your door or on your car and junk mail actually delivered to your mailbox. For starters, I pick up mail from my mailbox anyway. Even though I have to dispose of the junk, I'm not going out of my way to collect the junk. Ads left on my doorknob or windshield, however, are extra work to pick up. And yet if I don't pick them up, and let them just fly about or fall to the ground, am I the one who is littering?!? If this form of advertising is legal, then I'm going to start taking my filled garbage bags to businesses and leave them at the door with a note that reads, "Garbage For Sale! Enjoy this free sample bag! Call Benny K for more details!" Seeing as how I'd gladly sell my garbage to these people, no one can accuse me of false advertising!
Thank you for listening to me gripe. I'm very interested in knowing what sort of "why" questions YOU have. Please comment and make your voice known. Disagree with anything I've said here? By all means, spout off. Why not?