Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

... Child Abuse?

I recently finally finished reading "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins, after stalling on the last few chapters. Overall, the book is fantastic, surprisingly funny, and ultimately a massive relief for me. It was the first time I read something that articulated my skepticism and doubt so well.

I do not come from a religious background. For me as a child, religion was obviously true, because everyone believed in it. I can only remember one event from my childhood that exposed me to the idea of non-belief (once, a friend's mother was upset with my family for taking her child to church without her permission -- it took me a while to realize my family was clearly in the wrong) .

Once I began working through my doubts, eventually arriving at atheism in high school, I mentally relegated myself to being a minority and an outsider. Not only was it doubtful many people agreed with me, but it would be far too impolite to ever express what I really thought.

I have held onto this aversion to rocking the (religious) boat. This was one of the reasons why the penultimate chapter of "The God Delusion," which focuses on vocalizing opposition to parents passing on their religion to their children, was difficult for me to swallow. What right do you have to have any opinion on what religion someone else's child is brought up within??

Religious indoctrination, Dawkins argues, is a form of mental child abuse.

"Geez," I thought as I read Dawkin's argument, "no wonder everyone hates atheists."

But then I started to think about it. At its root, what is religion? A pleasant answer to that question is that religion is a foundation for morals and judgment on which our human world revolves. But honestly, that answer gives religion way too much credit. We have morals and judgment because, without them, humans would have become extinct thousands and thousands of years ago. To survive, we evolved into increasingly complex social creatures, capable of empathy and stumbled into our own morality.

Ultimately, religion and belief is a prism through which someone can view the world. It is immensely powerful, but it is still merely a perspective. Religion describes the world and the people in it on its own terms, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

And surely, something that is "merely a perspective" is harmless to pass onto an impressionable child, right?

I felt ambivalent about that question. That is, until watching the following video:

The video, uploaded by a young Christian girl, Molly, shows her and her friend in their effort to convert a young Hindu girl, Saraa. Thank god, they are unsuccessful.

On the surface, the video is hilariously stupid. Molly and her friend can't comprehend how someone with a darker complexion, clearly of Indian descent, comes from Asia instead of Africa. But making it through the entire 10 minutes reveals the video to be tragic.
"Okay," Molly heavily sighs, "it's really frustrating. I don't -- okay -- like I know it's not your fault that you're Hindu, but I can't -- I don't know if I can be around that type of presence, like someone who can't let Jesus in--"

"I know. It's like -- it's hard," chimes in her Christian cohort.

"Like, you're not a bad person, but -- It's just --"

"If you just try --"

"You're going down the wrong path. Okay," Molly sighs again, recognizing her defeat, "I can talk to you, but I don't know if we can be, like, friends."

Fed up with the backhanded insults, Saraa departs.
Okay, I know the girls are stupid. Deplorably stupid. But they are also young. And clearly, Molly's only perspective stems from her religion. Incapable of seeing anything of value outside her Christian prism, Molly is handicapped.

Can children handle the seriously flawed system of belief that is religion? Maybe if there was a chapter in the New Testament about critical thinking I would feel far less ... critical. At least adults can be expected to understand the archaic nature of most religions and also have the worthwhile capacity to pick and choose. But (most) kids can't pick and choose. They have what they are told. And if the parents pass on an identity of Christian or Muslim or Jew, who is the child to argue?

Should not children be given a pass, at least until given the tools of critical thinking, to be tagged with a religion? Maybe instead of asking, "what right do you have to have any opinion on what religion someone else's child is brought up within?" I should be asking "what right do you have to categorize your child's belief system before s/he is even given a chance to weigh in on the subject?"

Maybe if Molly's parents asked themselves this question, their daughter would not be down a friend.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bless Her Heart

Oh Sarah Palin...

(While checking out Yahoo news this morning)

God bless the fact check.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The quick brown fox actually jumps over the lazy dog!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Nicest Music Video Ever Made

I saw this music video on another blog and had to post it up here. It was created entirely through webcam starring the musician's fans from around the world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Know This Shouldn't Be Funny...

... But the smoke shop appearing to have caught on fire?

God has a sense of humor.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Big Day

If you rely on exclusively conservative sources for your news (ie: Fox News, Drudge Report), you are missing a huge story that came out today. And I doubt that the mainstream media will cover this story very much either.

The "Torture Memos" have been released.

... This is huge. Essentially, they are the legal opinions crafted under the Bush administration twisting the legality and definitions of certain forms of torture into a confusing pretzel of permission to commit war crimes. They are part of the damning case that is making it legally treacherous for certain people, from John Yoo to Alberto Gonzalez to our former president and vice-president, to travel to other countries (read: Canada and Spain) out of fear of being arrested for war crimes.

And people really need to get over this false idea that just because America and our president do something illegal that somehow it is still okay. Torture is illegal and has been illegal for decades. Our laws on this issue did not fall alongside the twin towers.

Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorite bloggers, covers the topic of torture voraciously. I highly recommend his blog ( Here's a paragraph he wrote this afternoon as he reads through the torture memos:

"Perhaps you are reading these documents alongside me. I've only read the Bybee
memo, as chilling an artefact as you are ever likely to read in a democratic
society, the work clearly not of a lawyer assessing torture techniques in good
faith, but of an administration official tasked with finding how torture
techniques already decided upon can be parsed in exquisitely disingenuous ways
to fit the law, even when they clearly do not. This is what Hannah Arendt wrote
of when she talked of the banality of evil. To read a bureaucrat finding ways to
describe and parse away the clear infliction of torture on a terror suspect well
outside any "ticking time bomb" scenario is to realize what so many of us feared
and sensed from the shards of information we have been piecing together for
years. It is all true."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Signs You Are A Dork #28

You can fill up the trunk of your car with your board game collection.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carrows Restaurant

Now serving shitting pancakes

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, March 13, 2009

Church Sign Fail

One of my favorite things is the variety of messages on those signs outside of churches. They are usually very witty and clever (well, relatively speaking), and I can just imagine some priest or pastor sitting with a pad of paper in his quiet office exclaiming "OH! Good one Jesus!" when they come up with a new one (because surely all of these messages are coming directly from Jesus Christ).

I pass by a church on my way to work that always has the most entertaining signage, usually tinged with just the right amount of social commentary. Here is their current sign:

If you can't read the photo from my iPhone, the sign reads:

First of all, it is too bad these signs do not come with a spell-check.

Secondly, are you sure about that, West Los Angeles Christian Center? I get a feeling after the pastor comes up with these quirky quips, s/he does not spend much time thinking about what they really say. The play on words is fun, but empty.

In my humble opinion, rising coastlines; millions and millions of displaces people; more severe extreme weather disasters; changes in agricultural capabilities (ie: having to plant corn in North Dakota instead of Iowa), and skirmishes and wars over those new capabilities; the famine and refugees that accompany said wars -- all that is slightly more important than people sleeping in Sunday mornings.

Their previous sign was too rich:


Clearly in reference to their assumed anti-gay stance (those pesky "activist judges" upholding our state's constitution!), it does not take long to recognize the utter BS of this sign. Just taking the statement at face value, "NO COURT CAN OVERTURN YOUR CONVICTIONS" ... umm... is that not one of the exact purposes of our judicial system?? Enforcing and overturning convictions per a jury or judge's prerogative?? Am I missing something?

I will be keeping an eye on the West Los Angeles Christian Center. Talk about entertainment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Okay, No... This Is Some Funny Shit

I take back what I said in my previous post.  This is the funniest thing I've ever seen:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That Is Some Funny Shit

I have seen people roll their eyes when mention is made of America's Funniest Home Videos.  I say to hell to those people.  AFV is hands down the funniest show on television.  

Okay, so the hosts over the years have been... awkward.  

But the videos?  There is something beautifully universal about seeing a kid run into a screen door, or some octogenarian crash and burn dancing at a wedding.  It is the perfectly pitched combination of Murphy's Law and schadenfreuder.  Pure and basic hilarity.  

I just watched their 300th episode tonight (which is already airing in syndication), and I cannot remember a time I laughed so hard.  The show has been on the air almost as long as I have been alive, and they were showing some of the most fantastic clips.   Here is a two minute segment had me in tears.  

I want this television show to outlive me.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why Daylight Saving Rules

I'm leaving work and the sun is still out... No reflective armband for me for my bike ride home!!

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank You Brasa In Culver City

This is the best plantain I have ever eaten ... Crispy on the outside, soft and hot on the inside, brown sugar coating ... Mmmmmm.

(click image for larger, more delicious version)

Posted by ShoZu


I just came across this news.

To sum it up: Obama wrote a letter to the people running the "No on 8" campaign last summer, saying how much he supported them and how much he opposed Proposition 8:

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the
California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or
those of other states. ..."

That is what Barack Obama wrote to us, months before the election.

Obama won California by 24 points. Proposition 8 won by four points. Day's before the election, I received this flyer in the mail:

Yet still, Obama's letter sat on the desk of some high paid consultant throughout the campaign, gathering dust.

"I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution..." Can you imagine that important sentence from Obama's letter being used in nearly every TV commercial and in nearly every mailer ad for "No on 8"? If there is one state that loves Obama, California loves Obama. The proposition would have been crushed!

I gave hundreds of dollars to "No on 8" and volunteered at phone banks (or at least tried to volunteer -- when I was stood up for volunteering in Santa Monica, I didn't go back). The incompetence is infuriating.

We had that letter -- a golden ticket -- to use against the manipulation and lies being hurled from the other side. And the letter sat there, doing nothing. Un-fucking-believable.

When the California Supreme Court chooses not to overturn Prop 8 in the coming months (which is what is going to happen), and we start gearing up for a new ballot initiative for 2010 or 2012, I demand that all of the dimwits who fucked up the last campaign be as far away from California as possible. Send them on some nice long vacation where their horrible decisions no longer effect my civil rights. Otherwise, count me out. I won't waste my time and money on those people again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Big Teeth You Have

Today, I had the joy of a nearly 2 hour dentist appointment to fill four cavities and have a follow-up cleaning. Aside from my extremely awkward dental hygienist who wants to be an actress, hitting up her patients for leads on casting directors, the entire experience was very manageable.

The coolest part happened when the dentist showed me the x-rays of my wisdom teeth. "Look," he exclaimed, "you have a second wisdom tooth!" He was oddly excited about it. I don't think he sees this very often.

And sure enough, about a third the size of one of my massive wisdom teeth, another smaller wisdom tooth is hanging out, crammed into his larger colleague, somewhere in the back of my jaw.

So I have to get my wisdom teeth removed. All 5 of them. That can not be enjoyable.

I wonder if they will charge for the extra tooth, or maybe they can throw it in as a freebie. I think they should let me keep it. The tooth fairy would pay good money for a freak tooth like that, right?

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Haiku For Carla From Top Chef

So you did not win.
You're the Top Chef of my heart.
Hootie Hoo, girlfriend!

Monday, February 23, 2009

An Oscar Blog Post, One Last Addendum


An Oscar Blog Post, Addendum

So I sucked it up on my Oscar picks below. I totally ripped off Nate Silver's picks for the major categories, which was not the best idea. He totally pegged the election with his fancy computer models this year on his amazing blog,, so I thought he would successfully mathmatecize his way through the Oscars.


But I thought the Oscars were great this year. Hugh Jackman was wonderful. The set-up of the stage, with all the great actors crammed to the front semi-circling the main podium, somehow made the entire thing more intimate. I was impressed and hope they keep it up.

And lastly, I should note that contrary to my previous post, Kate Winslet was nominated (and won) for The Reader and not Revolutionary Road. Pardon me while I go wipe this mud off my face.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An Oscar Blog Post... Yeah Yeah, I Know

I used to make it a rule to see all of the Best Picture nominees before the Oscar telecast.  This year, I am 3 for 5 (sorry Frost/Nixon and The Reader).  So take my Oscar predictions below with the finest grain of salt...

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Actress: Kate Winslett, Revolutionary Road
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Taraji P. Henson, Benjamin Button
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Editing: Dark Knight
Best Art Direction: Benjamin Button
Best Costume Design: Duchess
Best Make-Up: Benjamin Button
Best Original Score: Wall-E
Best Song: "Jai Ho", Slumdog Millionaire
Best Sound: Wall-E
Best Sound Editing: Dark Knight
Best Visual Effects: Benjamin Button
Best Animated Film: Wall-E
Best Foreign Film: Waltz With Bashir
Best Documentary: Man On Wire
Best Documentary Short: The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306
Best Animated Short: Presto
Best Live Action Short: Spieleugland

I feel entirely unsure about 85% of my picks, but it is not like anyone really has any idea.  There will always be some sort of unexpected win (or at least I hope so -- Hugh Jackman can only make the show as un-boring as one man can do).  

Of course, there is a very easy way to make the Oscars un-boring.  Drinking game!  If you want to play along, here are possible rules: 

Every time music plays during an acceptance speech: 1 drink
If the winner keeps talking, and they cut to a super-wide shot so they can shoo the winner(s) off stage: 2 drinks
If the person tells the orchestra to stop playing over their speech: 3 drinks, cause that shit is just rude.  

If a winner thanks the Academy: 1 drink
If a winner thanks God: 2 drinks
If a winner thanks God, but not the Academy: 3 drinks, cause that shit is just rude, too.  

If someone mentions anything vaguely political: 1 drink
If someone mentions something vaguely political, and they cut to a reaction shot of an African-American, because somehow it's related (did you know we have a Black president now???): 2 drinks
If someone happens to mention something pro-gay marriage: toast them, and have 3 drinks.  

Of, if you just want to get totally blitzed, start drinking once a winner is announced, and do not stop until they reach the mic.  You will not make it through the awards for the short films without slipping into a coma.  Seriously, they may as well stick those people on the Mezzanine and just throw their Oscars up to them once they win.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

To The Guy In Front Of Me At The Annuals Concert Tonight...

Were you shitting your pants the entire time?

Seriously, I understand if you let a fart or two escape -- you may be thinking it won't smell, people won't notice, I can get away with it. But at some point during nearly every song tonight, you literally smelled like shit.
It was annoying enough that you kept leaving and coming back, leaving and coming back. Every time I was hoping you would be going to go relieve yourself, but then you'd come back, shove yourself past me with another drink for your friends, or a Corona for yourself. And then you'd start dancing, your greasy hair flopping around in front of my face, and sure enough, a silent and invisible odor would permeate behind you.

I know it was you. When you left for another beer mid-fart, the stench trailed behind you, wafting into the nostrils of everyone you passed. I was not the only one that smelled it.

Perhaps you have a medical condition? Did you need to change your man diapers? Maybe your long intestine is diseased? Anal leakage? I'd rather not ponder the malfunctions of your lower GI, but lord knows I could not pay attention to the concert. And it was my favorite band, asshole.

So please, for the sake of the poor, unsuspecting schmuck who happens to stand behind you at your next concert, or at the store, or who shares a car with you, don't forget to take regular dumps. Maybe treat yourself to a colonic. I hear they are very refreshing. 

I am just glad this photo of you is not scratch-and-sniff.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Have You Ever Wanted To See a 7-Year-Old Tripping Balls?

This is David, after the dentist:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


... feels different than yesterday.  Aside from all the hope and inspiration of a new president, I have a surprising feeling I was no expecting:  


Friday, January 16, 2009

I Had No Idea This Tuesday Is Invitation Only...

Got this in the mail last week.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's Your Number?

I am not someone one who is nervous or afraid of technology. When I think about computers or the Internet, my mind does not automatically drift towards pictures like this...

... or this ... 

What I am more worried about are the simple things that go away with the more technology we have.  

I got a new phone last week, and by extension, a new phone number.  On one hand, the tasks around getting a new number are much easier.  I send out a mass email or create a facebook group, and ta-da, my job is done, and everyone is informed.  But on the other hand, when was the last time you remembered someone's phone number?  And I am not talking about a Tommy Tutone song.  I mean, actually remembered a 10- or 7-digit phone number.  If you were to name your five closest friends, could you tell me their phone numbers?  Without looking in your phone?  

Hopefully you can do better than me.  I can't even name one.  

Maybe this is not a big deal.  But what if (god forbid) your cell phone battery runs out?  What if you have to call someone collect on a pay phone?  You remember pay phones, right?

Aside from paranoid situations like that, there is something lost in no longer being forced to memorize someone's number.  I remember a time when, if you made a new friend, you had to put effort into remembering their digits.  If you knew someone's phone number, they were a part of your life.  If you did not know someone's number, there was probably a reason why.  

I had a friend recently who bragged about how many phone numbers he had stored on his blackberry.  Thousands, he exclaimed, as if proof of his likeability.  But how many of those numbers do you know, I wanted to ask.  Or, more importantly, how many of those thousands know your number?  

Maybe phone numbers have simply become obsolete: placeholders alongside your name in someone's cell, alphabetized in between the names and numbers of two strangers.  

Ironically enough, I set up the Passcode for my new iPhone the other day.  I guess it prevents strangers or nosy friends from getting into your phone.  But what are the four digits I chose for my Passcode?  The last four digits from my phone number growing up.  Because I knew those were four numbers I would never forget.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things That Qualify You As A Douchebag

# 92: Trying to high-five someone who is blind.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You (Do Not) Complete Me

The Daily Beast, a monthly publication I had never heard about before today, published a list of their "50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2008." I am already a total nerd when it comes to lists, but this list is good. I recommend the whole thing. But for example:

20. Joe the Plumber

Charges: The Che Guevara of bald, pissed off white men. In a lot of ways, Samuel Wurzelbacher really does represent the average American—basing economic opinions on unrealistic expectations of personal future success, blaming his failure to meet those expectations on minorities and old people, complaining about deadbeats getting his taxes when he isn’t actually paying his taxes, and advertising his own rudimentary historical and mathematical ignorance by warning of creeping socialism in a country whose highest income tax rate has dropped by half in thirty years. “Joe” indeed symbolizes the true American dream—to become undeservedly rich and famous through a dizzyingly improbable stroke of luck. As American folk heroes go, Wurzelbacher ranks somewhere between Hulk Hogan and Bernie Goetz.

Exhibit A: "Social Security is a security I've never believed in, don't like it. I hate that it's forced on me."

Sentence: After blowing his fifteen minutes and all his money on coke and Thai hookers, an infirm, elderly Joe finds that social security actually is a joke, and is
finally forced to snake toilets for a living.

Ouch. And the list does not discriminate. Keith Olbermann, Barack Obama, Brett Favre and Sean Hannity all get ripped a new one. My personal favorite loathsome person of last year:

43. You

Charges: You think it’s your patriotic duty to spend money you don’t have on crap you don’t need. You think Hillary lost because of sexism, when it’s actually because she’s just a bad liar. You think Iraq is better off now than before we invaded, and don’t understand why they’re so ungrateful. You think Tim Russert was a great journalist. You’re hopping mad about an auto industry bailout that cost a squirt of piss compared to a Wall Street heist of galactic dimensions, due to a housing crash you somehow have blamed on minorities. It took you six years to figure out what a tool Bush is, but you think Obama will make it all better. You deem it hunky dory that we conduct national policy debates via 8-second clips from “The View.” You think God zapped humans into existence a few thousand years ago, although your appendix and wisdom teeth disagree. You like watching vicious assholes insult each other on TV. You support gun rights, because firing one gives you a chubby. You cuddle falsehoods and resent enlightenment. You think the fact that 43% of whites could stomach voting for an incredibly charismatic and eloquent light-skinned black guy who was raised by white people means racism is over. You think progressive taxation is socialism. 1 in 100 of you are in jail, and you think it should be more. You are shallow, inconsiderate, afraid, brand-conscious, sedentary, and totally self-obsessed. You are American.

Exhibit A: You’re more upset by Miley Cyrus’s glamour shots than the fact that you are a grown adult who is upset about Miley Cyrus.

Sentence: Invaded and occupied by Canada; all military units busy overseas without enough fuel to get back.

But there is one person on the list who should definitely not be up there. And I have a feeling I am alone on this one:

40. Free Credit guy

Charges: OK, he’s actually French-Canadian, but he invades America’s headspace every day. It’s bad enough that we have to see this albino smurf lip-sync some ad man’s grating jingles of financial woe fifty times a day. It’s bad enough that these ditties, as calculatedly infectious as bio-weapons, bounce around our skulls like a .22 caliber bullet. But the kicker is that this culture parasite and his “band” are hawking a scam. That’s right; isn’t free—in fact, it’s 15 bucks a month after the week-long “trial period.”

Exhibit A: There is a website where you can get a free credit report: It’s called, and it was created in compliance with an act of Congress by the three big credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Then Experian set up, and their suicide-encouraging commercials, to cultivate and benefit from public confusion.

Sentence: Powering Ween’s tour bus with a stationary bicycle.

I have never met anyone who actually agrees with me on this, but that FreeCreditReport guy is kind of... cute.

They could not have cast someone who looks more like a loser, so I don't know why I cannot get enough of his commercials. And at least that's not his singing voice in the commercials -- god that voice is annoying.

But I just can't help it. All I want is to pinch his cheeks and tussle his hair and watch as he pretends to play the guitar. I can't loathe that!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blogging outside!

I have officially entered a new and exciting technological world. I am now the proud owner of a brand-spanking new iPhone. I am oozing cool.

Best part? I can blog from anywhere!

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Longest Joke In The World

In high school, I did a lot of work with the Anti-Defamation League, largely around issues of discrimination and prejudice, and they have helped positively shape my view of the world. One project I helped organize with a bunch of other high schoolers was a big Passover Seder for a bunch of other high school students. As a theme, we came up with what we believed to be about a dozen words that best characterized what we saw to be important in the world -- words like strength, understanding, and love. For each word we found corresponding quotes from people like Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein and T.S. Elliot. This was all thrown together for a (really bad) video I had made to introduce the Seder.

I was thinking about all this recently, and I had an odd realization about one of the quotes. The quote in question was for the word "faith," and was written by someone named Ambrose Bierce:
"Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel."
I am not sure why I so clearly remember this one particular quote for "faith," while having to go back and re-watch the video to merely remember some of the other words we came up with. I think this quote was the only one I did not fully comprehend, so I stored it away in my subconscious, slowly toiling over its meaning.

It has been ten years since the Passover Seder, and I think I just figured it out. I think this quote is a joke.

Actually, I am pretty sure it is a joke. The quote is taken from a satirical book published in 1911 called The Devil's Dictionary, a large collection of quirky definitions making fun of the world. For instance, the definition for "congratulations"?
"The civility of envy."
And the definition for "love"?
"A temporary insanity curable by marriage."
See? Really funny stuff. So funny, I think it has taken me a decade to get one of the punch-lines.

When it comes to Bierce's definition of "faith," the joke is the emphasis on ignorance:
"Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel."
The quote sure sounds nice though, doesn't it? The repetition of the word "without", the iambic-ish rhythm to the words. It is not hard to see why some high school junior doing a google search for "faith quote" thought it was a good idea.

But take away the poetics, and the definition says that faith is the belief of someone trying to deal with shit way above their pay grade.

If that is true, should we really consider faith to be a virtue? I do not mean "faith" as a synonym for hope or trust (which are two things of which I am a big fan), but "faith" as certainty of the unknowable. The world around us is going to keep going and we are going to keep figuring things out. And uncertainty about the unknowable is our fuel.

I am not saying that having faith is incompatible with intellectual curiosity and progress, but it does not help. That sounds harsh, but think about it.

Faith is a belief that no amount of proof or data or learned knowledge could ever shake. It is a "belief without evidence." So once again I ask, is that really a virtue?

A few days ago, scientists picked up a noise six times louder than any noise they have ever heard from deep space. It is a fascinating story. So far, no one has any idea what it is. They are clueless. And yet, you do not have astrologers and astrophysicists coming up with random ideas about what is this noise, and then when asked for proof, responding with, "I have no proof, I have faith."

But still, the word faith, essentially meaning a lack of a plausible explanation, is revered. Maybe I'm ignorant, but that makes no sense. What is positive in admitting complacency to ignorance?

Maybe this is something I need to accept that I will not understand. Maybe I should just have faith that faith is a good thing. That would solve my problem, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It Will All Be Over Soon

I wish I had the ability to hibernate. If I did, I would plan my hibernation around Ann Coulter's book release schedule so that I would never have to see her hacking her book across the mainstream media.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pipe Dreams of Tomorrow

I love the start of a new year. Just because a digit changes in the date, we are presented with an annual opportunity to take a breath and begin anew. It is a time when you can be unabashedly hopeful and not feel like a deluded fool. So, knowing that, here is what I hope 2009 has in store:
  • Wasps decide not to build big hives in the awnings of my apartment building.
  • Former Pastor Tedd Haggard comes out of the closet, divorces his wife, and becomes a forceful yet humble spokesgay for the LGBT community.
  • Transformers 2 fails at the box office.
  • The U.S. develops a power chemical weapon that causes selective memory loss. Said weapon is used in Pakistan, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Somalia and Zimbabwe, making everyone forget why they hate each other.
  • Sham-Wow commercials suddenly cease appearing on television.
  • The oil companies apologize for constantly messing with the price of crude and offer to pay for a massive high speed passenger rail system from coast to coast.
  • Uwe Boll decides to take up a career as a dental assistant.
  • Obama does not disappoint anyone.
  • A Fazoli's restaurant opens near my apartment.

I am not going to hold my breath.

My Top 5 Viral Videos of 2008

Oh, 2008, how you entertained me so. A year when a bunch of big Hollywood movies were actually really good, and reality television could not hold a candle to the soap opera-driven presidential race. Even the Internet seemed to me to be better than average as it seems destined to do to television what television did to the radio. With that, I want to countdown my favorite viral videos from 2008 because making lists makes me feel important.

5) "Girl Talk - Feed the Animals" -- 21-year-old Chris Beckman describes what he does as "recycling culture." Whatever he calls it, I find it awesomely addicting. Creating music video mash-ups from any and every genre of music, he creates a jumbled symphony where The Beach Boys, Snoop Dog, Salt N Peppa and Nirvana all play their role. Best part, you can download his entire album for any amount (even for free) here. Or just check it out on youtube. Here is my favorite track:

4) "People in Order" -- The most fascinating count from 1 to 100 you will ever see.

3) "Font Conference" -- There are a lot of really lame viral video sites out there, but some of's original videos are better than stuff on prime time. Great writing and production quality set their work a part from a vast wasteland of junk. Here's my favorite from last year:

2) "Yes We Can" -- Al Gore may have invented the Internet, but 2008 was the year when then Internet was finally utilized as a tool to democratize our democracy. At the center of this revolution stands Obama, a man who is going to be the most powerful person in the world precisely because of the Internet (do you really think he would have beaten Hillary Clinton or John McCain if all we had were 60 Minutes and The New York Times?). Anyone who does not understand Obama's massive appeal only see a rehashing of a political stump speech when they watch this:

1) "Where the Hell is Matt (2008)" -- First off, if you have not yet heard of Dancing Matt, watch his first video. Matt (aka: the luckiest guy in the world) is sponsored by Stride Gum to travel around the world to videotape himself dancing (poorly). This is the third video Matt has made and it beautifully shows that despite wars and borders and poverty, wherever you find other humans, you will find humanity.

Very Honorable Mention: Simply titled, "My dogs greeting me after returning from 14 months in Iraq." This video almost makes me cry, and it would be in the top 5 if it weren't for the Green Day song in the background: