The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Musings on the End of a Semester...

So, it's almost over... 2 presentations this week and then I'm pretty much finished with this first semester. Over all, not too bad. I had the initial freak-out session early on in the semester (which was to be expected), but now I've gotten into a work groove and it's been going well. Next semester I'll be taking 3 classes, so I may want to kill myself. I hope not.

Grades wise... who cares really? I'm in grad school. I'm sure I did fine.

I should really try to write in this thing more...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Historical Hoaxes

Recently, there's all this hilarious hoopla about a 19th-century robot. "Boilerplate" was designed to replace humans in combat; it took part in Roosevelt's campaign at San Juan Hill, joined the hunt for Pancho Villa, and fought in and, ultimately, disappeared during World War I. Comedian/actor/writer Chris Elliott (Woogy from There's Something About Mary) recently included Boilerplate in his new historical/serial killer spoof novel, The Shroud of the Thwacker... but apparently this zany robot is nothing more than a clever internet hoax created by Paul Guinan who is now seeking legal retribution for Elliott's lifting of a copyrighted character.

The NY Times article can be read here.

Sigh. I love the internet.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I suck

So I realize that I'm not very good at keeping up with this thing. Honestly, my life is not that exciting.
Busy with school stuff... working on a paper for HIST 610 that looks at the biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt and whether or not they talk about the fact that she had a homosexual relationship with her friend Lorena Hickok... it's true, she was bisexual. Planning a project for CLIO that is going to look at William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County... planning on making a big interactive map.
Otherwise, working at CHNM, doing random projects and stuff. Went home last weekend for my nanny's birthday party (I'll post an entry when I get the pictures back on why my family is so cool--you'll see, this wasn't just any old grandma's birthday party).
My roommate Kendall and I have been on a mission to find a really scary movie but it just isn't happening for us. We went to see Cry Wolf and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. We rented Pet Sematary and The Exorcist. They were all unsatisfactory. If you have any scary movie suggestions, give 'em up. We want to be so scared we pee ourselves.
Made this picture tonight while I was bored in a Photoshop tutorial:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Larry Levine Conference

So I just spent an extremely intellectually stimulating day at The State of Cultural History Conference in honor of Larry Levine, a professor here at GMU. It was great to be around such superstar scholars and hear what they're working on and to hear the discussions that real historians have. It was depressing to realize that I have nothing to contribute and probably won't for awhile, but nevertheless, I thought I'd share some choice tidbits from the conference:
"Who owns John Dillinger's dick? Does the Smithsonian own it? Does the FBI own it? Is it out there for public consumption? There's a missing dick in American culture!"

"We write in the age of catastrophe; we write in response to tragedy. There was an immense outpouring of scholarship after that horrible tragedy that devastated the country and the world. You know the one I'm talking about... (whole room nods, thinking Sept. 11th...) ... the 2000 elections."

So, we may be nerds and scholars, but in the ends it all comes down to dick and bush jokes.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kirk Cameron does not want you to go to hell

Be afraid, be very afraid

Bathroom Break

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

I don't make this shit up!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fair Enough

Ugh, why do I fool myself into going home for the Fair every year? I always seem to forget how much it sucks, yet I get excited every September for its return. The York Fair, "America's First Fair," "The Great York Interstate Fair," etc. etc. is just as lame as ever, although I didn't realize how lame it was when I was younger and rode the rides and got out of school early to go. Okay, so it's like a state fair with prized farm animals and big-ass pumpkins; it's a carnival, complete with freakshow and rides; it's like being inside QVC, with people hawking food choppers and special cooking pans; there are Bible thumpers everywhere, giving gospel concerts and trying to pass out their "message"; nascar shirts everywhere, missing teeth, and crying children. And about 10 years ago, some guy got arrested for having sex with a sheep.

The good part about the Fair is the food: cheesesteaks, awesome cinnamon buns, peanut butter milkshakes, elephant ears, baked potatoes, fried veggies, shoo fly pie, and this place that will fry anything--oreos, twinkies and candy bars.

I also saw a sheep pee and a cow take a big dump. That was the highlight of the day. Well, that and my peanut butter milkshake.

A new ridiculous addition to the fair is the "Shoot a Live Target" game, where you can shoot a paintball gun at a "terrorist" who runs around in a tunic and turban. The game is decorated with signs that say "Die Osama!" and "Kill Terrorists!" There's a sign out front that says, "As seen on NBC News"... as if that's a good thing. Here's an article from our local paper: Am I the only one that finds this disgusting and racist?
A choice tidbit:
::"He dresses like a generic Arab," said Terry Kirby of Enola, Cumberland County, who is one of four of the game's creators. "You know, a white cape, and a red and white checkered tablecloth on his head."::
Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and he didn't have a "red and white checkered tablecloth on his head." Stupid, ignorant sonsabitches.

I'm not ashamed of where I come from, but sometimes its hard not to be. Dover School District (where I did not go thank god, but is a rival school) has mandated that "Intelligent Design" must now be taught in science classes because "the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power." i.e. religion is now going to be taught in the school: A few years ago our mayor was indicted for a 1969 murder of a black woman during some race riots:

So, that's my hometown. York, PA... home of the peppermint patty and barbells... and me.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

BlogGate 2005

I thought some of you might find this interesting. It's about Daylin Leach, State Rep. in Philadelphia; my good friend Zach is his assistant. I guess we can see it in a lesson about the power of blogging... I happen to think he's pretty damn funny, but what do I know?

The articles are online here, but you have to sign up to to read them. I pasted the text from the first article in this post, so you can get the gist:

Pa. lawmaker's blog: Funny - or offensive?

By Mario F. Cattabiani

Inquirer Staff Writer

His blog is laced with references to pornography and strip clubs, a lust for whiskey and women, and disdain for President Bush and CĂ©line Dion.

Then there are some politically incorrect quips about Palestinians and "a third-world type" who cleans hotel rooms.

It's not the work of Howard Stern, or even a college kid with too much broadband.

The author of - a collection of humor columns - is State Rep. Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Upper Merion.

It's all meant in good humor from an elected official and self-described frustrated comedian.

Written over the last eight years, the columns - which he signs as Dutch Larooo - touch on everything from the birth of his daughter to his 21/2 years in the statehouse. The title of one: "Legislating while drunk."

It's observational humor, the Montgomery County representative said.

"I respect my constituents and all people enough to think that they are not going to think this is real," said Leach, 44. "It's just a joke. It's like Woody Allen marrying a sheep. I don't think he has an attraction to sheep. It was funny."

Some aren't laughing.

"How did he ever get elected in the first place? He needs help," said Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, an anti-obscenity group. "He's fixated on pornography and strip clubs. It should be a real eye-opener for his constituents."

The writings reveal a little-known side of Leach, who has earned a reputation in Harrisburg as a bright and independent-minded legislator. The blog also vividly illustrates what can happen when you put your thoughts on the Internet for everyone to see.

Many of Leach's writings have some reference to body parts, sex or pornography, or a combination of the three.

"We've all seen porno movies. In fact, we've all seen 5 or 6 porno movies a week since we were young boys growing up in Allentown," one reads.

Leach, a father of two, makes several references to young girls, including this passage about legislation he was backing: "The age of consent would officially be lowered to 'When Poppa ain't around.' "

He also quips about renewing his subscription to Hustler's Barely Legal and about knowing very little Italian.

"I've just learned the very basic things you would need to get by in Rome. I can say 'Hello,' 'Goodbye,' 'Where's the bathroom,' 'Is your sister really twelve?' "

Leach has tried his hand at stand-up and was a member of a comedic troupe years ago. "I don't have a sitcom, so it tells you how good I was," he said in an interview.

He said he started writing humor columns about eight years ago as "an outlet," and e-mails them to about 2,000 friends and acquaintances.

About a year ago, Leach started posting his "vents" online.

"I think we want, in society, to have elected officials who are not all the same all the time. And we should want them to occasionally let their hair down," he said.

"This is my private life. This is something I do. It's not obscene. It's not particularly offensive."

His columns, many written before he took office in January 2003, skewer a broad cross-section of America. He attacks the powerful and famous.

On Bush: "If he can become president of the United States, then there is no reason that the dumbest of you can't become Absolute Omnipotent Dictator of the Universe."

Dion, his most frequent foil, "has a voice like a thousand rabid monkeys trapped in a cement mixer."

He jokes about fictional exchanges with famous folks.

Pat Buchanan got a "little huffy," Leach wrote, "when I asked him if he'd ever been to a transvestite bar called the Bunny Hutch." A comment he made to Kitty Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic Convention - "Let's see the Ta-Tas" - spawned the low-cut sweater craze, he wrote.

He also pokes fun at those without any power. In one entry called "Travel Tips," Leach wrote:

"It may be easy to romanticize sleeping in a teepee, braving the elements and mixing with the dung beetles, but trust me, having a cozy bed and a third-world type who cleans your room and you can call 'Consuela' (regardless of her real name) goes a long way towards helping you forget any pending disbarment proceedings back home."

One column in particular has some Arab Americans fuming.

He wrote this about bachelor parties in different cultures: "The Palestinians like to welcome the bachelor to marital bliss by holding him up in the air and cheering, then strapping several pounds of dynamite to his chest and having him blow up a school bus (the groomsmen all chip in for the dynamite).

"Palestinian women are troubled by their future husband being splattered all over the ground, but grateful that he wasn't exposed to any naked women."

James J. Zogby, founder and president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, called Leach's comments inappropriate and insensitive.

"This is outrageous. We've lowered the standards for our elected officials, but he fits even below those lowered standards," Zogby said.

Leach, who is Jewish, said: "I guess someone could be offended by that. I wrote it well before becoming a legislator. At the time, I had a law partner who was Arabic. It was not meant to be offensive."

His last posting chided the media for sending reporters to Seattle to cover legislators, including himself, as they attended the nation's largest convention for lawmakers last month.

It mentions that a reporter, whom it calls "Mario," would attend, and that knowing that they would be watched, lawmakers were given rules to stay out of trouble. One called for "no using tax dollars to get a haircut, or a tattoo or to get your jimmy pierced."

Such a volume of writings - there are more than 200 "vents" - could smell like red meat for a political opponent in next year's elections.

"In today's world, these are not funny things. Maybe if you are a professional comic on cable TV, you can get away with it. But not when you are in public life," Ken Davis, the Montgomery County GOP chairman, said after reading several entries. "If a candidate, Republican or Democrat, were to run against him, then they certainly would take a good, hard look at these comments."

Soon after joining the House, Leach wondered in a column whether his writings might affect his political future.

"After I was elected to the legislature, I was encouraged to put the Vent on hold for a while, if death threats can be considered encouragement. Some worried I might say something that would speed up the inevitable impeachment process. Others worried I would say something that might slow it down."

Mike Manzo, chief of staff to House Minority Leader H. William DeWeese, said he had read some of the columns and found them "downright hilarious."

"Daylin is one of the most genuinely funny people I've ever met," he said. "A lot of people will criticize him for this. But they just don't get his sense of humor."

Roderick Millwood isn't sure Leach has a future in comedy.

"I didn't see anything comedic there, and I was looking for something funny," said Millwood, general manager of the Laff House, a Philadelphia comedy club, who reviewed the site. "But he's free to come down on the last Wednesday night of the month, when we have open mike night, and give it a try."

A Leach Sampler

These are excerpts from State Rep. Daylin Leach's blog:

On giving

"I have found it rewarding to take time to do things for others. If Britney Spears needs a back rub, I'll give it to her. If Britney needs a big ol' spanking, I'm there."

On himself

"Do you remember how every elementary school has some kid who is so slow and pathetic that all the other kids beat him up. Well, in my school, that kid beat me."

Why we shouldn't execute Osama

"The minute we kill him we are sending him to paradise where 72 virgins await him (or 71 virgins and one girl who went horseback riding a lot)."

The political risks of S&M

"To me, being sat on by a morbidly obese, leather-clad dominatrix is not fun. But it would probably still be a bad idea to be photographed doing it."

Prepping for a marathon

"My training consisted of running through the streets of certain rural neighborhoods near the capital wearing a "Leave the Sheep Alone!" T-shirt. I thought being chased would motivate me to keep running."

A fulfilled life goal

"Get totally stoned on fine Lebanese Hashish with Henry Kissinger. Check."

On strippers

"Whenever Jasmine, Cocoa, Lolita, Puka-Puka or Clitoris (it's amazing how all the women with exotic names wind up working for strip clubs) came near you, you had to tip them to sit, to dance, to stop dancing, to leave, and to never tell you about their plans for medical school again."

On alcohol

"Specifically, I dreamt:... of a world where every Starbucks also served Whiskey - cheap, 24 hours a day - to absolutely anybody."

From "The Lost Poems of Osama Bin Laden"

Once I glimpsed a woman's foot

as I walked by the forge

I had to halt an execution

my loins were so engorged