Monday, March 28, 2011

The Day That God's Plumbing Backed Up.

Today started when I woke up. Today started five minutes later. As I rolled in my bed, regretting the eventual early rise to my first school day in ten days, I heard a pitter patter on the roof. It was not long until my ears registered the pitter as rain and the patter as more rain. There was also an undertone of putter, which the sort of rain that puddles, and petter and potter, which are those annoying rain drops which hit you and stick, like leeches.
Under eight times the force of gravity, I stood and prepared for a terrible day. The weight of water above made me feel waterlogged. I bet the feeling I had when I stepped out into that torrent was something akin to the feeling one who lives in a submarine feels when he realizes “oh yeah, I’m underwater.” I swam to my car, opened the door, got in, and proceeded to bail water for the next five minutes. Once I got out of the improvised lake my driveway became, the drive out of the subdivision made me remember exactly why I disliked rain. I felt safe enough to worry about the world around me, and I noticed I couldn’t. The windshield was covered in a solid wall of water at least an inch thick. My wipers at the supersonic setting couldn’t break the water barrier, apparently.
As was such, I drove for a very long time fifteen miles below the speed limit. Oddly, nobody raised much of a fuss. In a state which is know for people running to the front of an ending lane and cutting in ten feet before the end, this came as a shock.
The other cars were going at the speed I was going at, which, at one point, was float. Synchronized automobile floating wasn’t too popular a sport, and nobody had much experience. Two people were DQ’d by curb, though everyone else narrowly avoided such a fate. Anticlimactically, the excitement of three-ton bumper cars ended very fast, for the stretch only lasted several hundred feet.
This would have been the perfect time for someone to start calling the end of the earth, though I doubt anybody would have seen through the curtains of rain. Then again, there might have been somebody. I guess we’ll never know.
<Insert distasteful joke about Japanese tsunamis in Georgia here>
To be honest, even alluding to a joke about the tsunami is distasteful.
The rest of the drive followed suit with the forty days and nights of Noah. I got to school, and I’ll be nothing if it wasn’t a half bad day at school. (Though, as i looked up at the end of the day, i saw the sky was still filled with holy sewage.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011


As my father and I drove to North Carolina for my toures de college, I noticed, and pointed out, many, many people flicking small, sticklike objects which burned through the air. At first, I thought they were just doing that trick where you light a match by standing it on the matchbox grind and flicking it. I asked my father if I could join in on the pyromania and he gave me quite an interesting face. Half of his face showed the sort of horror you usually show if an alien bursts out of your friend’s ribcage. The other half was sure I had no idea what I was talking about. This combination of denial and trepidation showed bright on his face, and in the confusion of facial expressions which took place as both me and my father tried to agree on an expression to react to the other with, he narrowly avoided avoiding a rather adorable squirrel.
After hysterically laughing at the rodent’s fortune, my father told me the darker truth. As a man much disillusioned about the nature of man (a mindset which can only be attained after murdering several rabbits in his Graduate school), he went on to give me the most biased opinion he could give, while maintaining a nihilistic approach to the fixing of the social injustice.
Apparently, the roadsides are public ashtrays. They look almost as disgusting as fresh roadkill, or a fresh smoker’s lungs (or heart, trachea, mouth, etc.), or a boring college tour. I take that back, I’d rather take one college’s dispassionate tour for the rest of my life than see those roadsides.
My father and I spent nearly half the trip from Atlanta to Charlotte on this topic.
One thing my father told me was the most important: never tell a smoker the risks of smoking. They’ll just puff harder, deeper, so they can compost faster. Just like the common Freudian, Squirrel, Atheist, Religious, <insert ethnic group here(including the white folk)>, Nudist, and Atom, if you tell them they’re wrong, they’ll just say “no, buzz off” and then explode when you get 26 kilograms of—wait, that’s just the Atom. Never mind…
While I’m saying this, it’s nice to not be nihilistic about this.
(If you smoke and read this blog, then close this page, find me, and tell me any part of this post is wrong. Hopefully I won’t be in a Freudian, Atheistic, Religious, Nudistic, or Atomic mood.)
Smoking in your own house-fine. I won’t go there willingly without a HAZMAT suit on. Unfortunately, while HAZMATs are all the rage in all fifty states, it’s insanely difficult to do more than waddle around in them. Increasingly difficult actions are, say, eating through the glass dome, driving through two inches of insulation, and walking into most buildings and opening doors through mascot-sized gloves. I understand you’re hopelessly addicted to your addiction, but kill yourself in your own area. I don’t mean your area of the restaurant; I mean your house.
Smokers get five to fifteen minutes of every working hour as a smoke break. I have peers online who, every few minutes, must get up and chug some dynamite sticks to stay functional. I don’t mean to be rude, or truthful, but doesn’t that come across as a bit wasteful? Just a bit? This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the person who went to get the smoke comes back three minutes later with a scent so strong I could smell it through my speakers. Also, what about the non-smokers? Obviously, since we don’t have a narcotic addiction, we can’t expect to have time off like the addicts.
Excuse me; I have to take a water break. I’ll be right back. Give me three minutes, tops. “Please man, I gotta have my H2O. ya don’t understand, boss, I get all jittery when I don’t have my agua. For cryin’ out loud, you give Jim fifteen minutes for his addiction! Give me my three!” says the water addict. Later, he cries that his serious physical dependency isn’t taken seriously.
In other sub-topics of the same underlying rant, the roadsides. Next to the beer bottles, broken glass, gratuitous shredded tires, and lost hopes and dreams I see a hundred cigarettes here, a hundred cigarettes there. I wonder who picks them up after they’ve accumulated to the point where they are a post-mortem threat to humanity. Obviously, somebody has to. It’s not a rare sight to see people toss the cancer lances on the ground. After a while, the pile up. And who else will do the profitless job of picking them up?
-pause for dramatic effect-
If you guessed the government, GM, or the UN, you’re completely right! Anyone who cares not for small things like profits and worthwhile occupations finds glee in paying someone to do an unnecessary service.
And you wonder, why do my cigs cost five dollars a pack? That’s a misappropriated tax. You see, what the government does with all that insane taxes, like with oil, is funnel it towards the welfare system, which goes back to the people who buy the cigarettes and, somewhere down the now-clean roadsides, money is lost by the bucket-load. The money should be funneled toward Medicaid and Medicare, two government systems which never pull down the economy, which easily pay for themselves. Yes, your Roman Candles don’t just cause a high; they can hurt you!
My father used to work in the medical records for several hospitals, and can attest to the much higher rate of nicotine-related illness, including cancer, black lung, something to do with throat growths, other growths, skinniness, —(and did I forget the physical dependency?), than non-smokers. People who smoke visit the hospital much more often than people who abstain.
Now, if you are a smoker and have not heeded my warning to close this window, then you probably are trying to figure out how you can sue me for forcing you to throw your chair through you computer screen. I will now defend you.
Smokers are not a beast to take criticism lightly. I have had people look offended when I bring up the subject. I have seen other people try the blow horn approach, which involves running to street corners and, in the kindest way possible, tell each and every one of the citizens there tat they are going to burn in hell for eternity. In much the same way, smokers brush these perfectly nonsensical people off. Neither will giving them a handout telling them how to become healthier help them. They’d likely roll the pamphlet up with some chew and smoke that.
What you have to do is make them uncomfortable. I tell my friends “my dad loves the business you give him”, to which they inevitably inquire further. I tell them my dad worked with hospital records and the larger the base, the more work he has to pretend to do.  Other things is just say “thanks for smoking”, “I wonder what an ashtray tastes like. Can I have a taste?”
Okay, so I’ve never used that last one, to which I am thankful.
Sadly, nothing’s done about this. The government sure as prohibition can’t stop this. They tried to outlaw alcohol, and that just backfired. They tried to stop smoking, and largely they still failed. The reason is its popularity. Both alcohol and smoking are popular, despite the studies, the tests, and the statistics. It’s just too ingrained in society. Back in the 1920’s and the 1930’s, America banned the sale of alcohol. This was seen as the first greatest mistake since the dawn of man—instead of, say, squirrels, or cats. The result was a hilarious backfire. People kept making alcohol—they were just sneaky. The president broke the law himself, keeping a stocked cellar in the White House A much more disgruntled, not-drunk Congress, needed something extremely heavy after fourteen years of being officially dry, passed the twenty-first amendment, which let people get wasted again.
The smoking campaign worked in many ways. Restaurants are now, for the most part, smoke-free. The reason for this was, not a legal action, but a populous action. Successful campaigning made it unpopular enough to smoke that most restaurants felt okay to prohibit the action. Blue storm clouds no longer asphyxiated customers at the Steak n’ Shakes, McDonalds’, any sit-down restaurants, and Five Guys’ of the United States.
The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act of 1975 was the first grand step in the journey towards this goal, and now, to my knowledge, all fifty states share the general premise.
It’s a good first step.
Okay, now a word from a long-dead guy of some importance:

"A custome loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmeful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomeless."- King James I of England

Friday, March 25, 2011

Universities and Passwords

I wasn't posting for a while. This is caused by something called "MDS", which stands for "Memory Deficiency syndrome" one of the symptoms is forgetting things like passwords. 
While I was focusing on doing nothing for three of my five Spring Break days, I thought about too many things to remember (see above), but I’ll do my best:
So many colleges to check out, so little time... my father loves making fun of colleges. 
"See all that construction? Keep in mind this is in an economic depression", and other things of the nature would come out of his lips commonly. He was talking about the construction going on at UNC Charlotte, a smallish college that, to my experience coming from a high school of four hundred, was gigantic in every way. I could see what he meant. During the tour, the tour guide spoke of the school's intent to start building a stadium in the coming summer, with plans to finish construction by 2013.
My school planned to build a stadium, poured almost twelve years of money into the project, and our bleachers aren't even padded. They don't even have cup holders. With four million dollars, you'd think they'd do more with it. Maybe it's the money. They say money doesn't go as far anymore in today's economy. I'd say someone took our money and broke its knees. Ever since, it's been paraplegic.
Back to the university. Its crosswalk poles both beep and vibrate. I want to ram home the point that they vibrate. Upon asking the tour guide, he happily stated they were for blind folk. I kept my mouth firmly shut to keep from suggesting that (since the tour guide also told us we should never walk alone through the university grounds) a blind person walking alone across a street would be showing less sense than a sighted person dodging a squirrel. My father then expressed a nugget of truth, “how many of these kids do you think are blind, and how many of those do you think are walking around alone?”
This is only to say I love universities, because all of this excess spending leads to excess opportunities for me to leech off of their system for four years. I find myself afflicted with junioritis (a word which insists on being autocorrected to “uniformities), which, paired with the MDS, causes problems.
By the way, UNC Charlotte and Duke’s campuses are BEAUTIFUL. Prime real estate, both of which cultivate a sizeable population of squirrels, which aren’t all that afraid of humanity (for better or for worse)
More random thoughts to come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Freud the Destroyer

Today, I turn my Eye of Sauron against a certain sex addict, born most likely as a mistake of God’s, as a human who wasn’t quite cooked properly before being served. This addict has driven my loving English teacher to kill a once wonderful play in our eyes (which we will be scarred for life, should we ever think of it again), and make people debate a needless topic for hundreds of years.
If you weren’t tipped off by the “mistake of God’s” part, then here’s a hint: He destroyed Hamlet, the way freezing water can break a road apart. Still confused? He thinks you love your mother…if you know what I mean (if you don’t, then you can probably just close this blog and never return), and also conjectures that you want to kill your father because he did your mom, making you.
If you haven’t already hit up Google, then I’ll just save you the ultra-fast search: I speak of Dr. Sigmund Freud. He conjectures of a self-unconscious, deep down inside you that serve the instincts of sex, hunting, gathering, eating, etc. As I said before, he also conjectures that, deep down inside, you want to get deep down inside your mother. Furthermore, he hypothesizes that, since you obviously are addicted to your mother, you want to off your father to get at her.
Now, don’t start throwing your chair through your screen just yet, it gets much better.
The story he bases all of this off of is the fictional story of Oedipus Rex. The shortened and bias version of this story goes as follows: Oedipus is born to the king and queen of city-state A, but his parents are foretold a prophecy that their newborn baby will kill the daddy and make love to the mommy, making horrific monstrosities. In an attempt to avoid the prophecy, they pack the kid up and Fedex him over to a far away land, where he grows up as prince of city-state B, oblivious to his true parents’ identity.
 One day, a much older Oedipus goes to the Oracle, hears the prophecy, freaks out, doesn’t tell anybody, but beats a hasty retreat from city-state B, catching a taxi to city-state A. on the way, he gets in a fight with a stranger who had a large guard. Getting angry, he somehow manages to destroy them all. On arriving in city-state A, he find the kingdom without a king, steps up, marries the widowed queen, and stays in power for a very long time. One day, he learns, with horror and disgust, that the man he killed was NOT ONLY king of city-state A, and the woman he married was NOT ONLY the queen, but they were his PARENTS. Upon realizing this, our Freudian hero then follows exactly to Freud’s letter and gouges his eyes out in agony, swearing to never see another thing in the world.
Sigmund, from this obviously sexual story, rationally conjectures that hey, since this guy killed his dad and married his mom, that means that there has to be something within us all that wants to murder our dads and make children with our moms. But c’mon Oedipus, you’re doing it all wrong. You don’t gouge your eyes out… I mean, you’ve scored what, three kids with her? Naw, that’s nothing! People down south have been doing that for YEARS!...
To those who I stopped from throwing their chairs through their monitors, I suggest you do so now.

Now, if your monitor is still intact, let me go through a Freudian psychologist’s wet dream:
“Okay JBlancs, tell me about your mother”
“Well, she’s nice, and kind, she’s really sweet. I love her”
“Well, what about your father?”
“Oh, he’s a complete egghead. Worthless, I wish he were gone!”
“Okay JBlancs, here’s a shiv. Make sure to wash it when you’re done.”
“You mean my mother or the shiv?”
Both high five each other and laugh. Two years go by, and JBlancs comes back to Dr. Freudian…
“Wow, that really worked. Thanks, Doc!”
“What can I say, that Freud is one smart, rational guy!”
Both turn and smile to the camera, the set freezes, and the credits roll as elevator music plays in the background

Don’t worry; I’ve got a taste of reality:
“Okay JBlancs, tell me about your mother.”
“Uh, okay… uh… she’s, uh, tall, and has an awesome not-afro. Uh… she made me… anything else I need to say? I mean, she’s my mom, I love her…”
“Well, what about your father?”
“Oh, he’s awesome. I could go on and on about that guy. Best part of my life. My idol”
“Are you entirely sure? Forget that question; let’s talk more on your mother. Do you really love her?”
“Um, yes… she’s my mother…”
“would you—you know…”
“…whaaaaaa? Wait, why’re you pulling out that shiv?”
An awkward moment of silence occurs as a brief stare-down ensues. Dr. Freudian starts crying into his arms.
“… Doctor, I have two questions: What do I pay you for, and can I get a refund?”

Obviously, there will be legitimate doctors who’d destroy every element of this dramatization. To those, I have two caveats. One, this is an exaggeration, an overrepresentation of a subtle truth. Two, I’d like to see some doctors that still call themselves Freudian. I’d also like to watch them defend themselves; it would be most entertaining.
The problem with debunking Freud’s theories if that, at this point in time, you can’t prove the negative. You can’t prove that Freud’s theories don’t exist. On the other hand, you can prove that anyone loves anyone. It’s one of those “to those that said no: how do you know?”
I find religious people use this often, not in the controversial way as does Freud, but in a much more silent way. Just as you can’t prove the non-existence of God, Ghosts, and liberal republicans, you cannot prove the non-existence of Freudianism. It lies in the realms of the mind, which Freud did well to explain so abstractly as to make any acknowledgement impossible.
Good job Freud, you will continue to destroy good books and people minds for generations. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Zero Sum

       I am sure you’ve seen the advertisements, namely by the D Geller and Son Jewelers (on the radio) and by Burger King (on the idiot tube), of how their product is head-and-shoulders better and larger than the competition’s. A few years ago, companies such as these would spend more time laughing at other competitors’ products than describing their own.
      D Geller would spend over twenty seconds of their thirty second ads chastising Shane’s boring voice, belittling an entire Jeweler’s magnificence simply because its successful namesake happens to have a dull voice. They would then quickly go through an exact copy of what Shane’s ads tell: largest gallerias, largest selection, and largest stones.
      Burger King, for some strange reason, changed their amazing French fry recipe, replacing it with… orange-tinted shreds of something. About this same time, they launched a massive campaign based solely on their Macs. The Whopper and the Whopper Jr. These ads depicted two men, one in a Whopper costume (the dad), and the other in a Whopper Jr. costume (the rebellious youth). The youth and the father would have a large fight about who tasted better (which was just worthless; they both taste like blended, burned, and highly processed cow), always ending in the youth storming out of the room, berating his father’s oppressiveness.
      The other advertisements of BK, on the other hand, enraged me. One such ad showed the Whopper Jr. yelling at the storefront of a Subway, yelling things like, “Where’s your burger?” and “You’re nothin’! you got no flavor!” while pacing the parking lot. The people inside the store were blankly staring, since, obviously, management hadn’t explained that, when a raging burger from another company starts insulting yours, you should take out a shotgun and make burger pâté. The scene cuts after a repetition of “you’re nothin’”, and a giant burger fills the screen, with one big word in red: BIGGER.
      This is my least favorite thing about advertisement: when they get nasty. The tactics used above are just the work of Satan.  Specifically, this tactic is called “Zero Sum”, which by all means a person should avoid. It works off the basis that, by knocking somebody else down one, you can build yourself up one. I’ll build myself up standing on the ashes of your demise. The problem with this theory is the moral math: one plus negative one equals… ZERO?!?
      “But, Jblancs, that can’t be right. Humanity’s based on the zero sums… the victors build themselves up on the ashes of someone else.”
      Not necessarily. That was the way the Middle Ages ran things (but it really didn’t run it; nobody did). Nobody truly wins in a zero sum. Well, people do win per say, but inside, people don’t win. It’s a deeply moral issue. If you like the image of angry Whoppers representing a large chain of cut-rate fries, then be my guest eating there; I’d rather walk an extra mile than eat there. 

Search This Blog