Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tragic Magic

Not that I would complain if I ever happened upon one, but genies totally suck. They are complete douches by nature. Yeah, I'm sure it sucks to spend the majority of eternity cramped in a little lamp. I feel for ya, man. And the whole slavery thing; also not cool. But for the love of all that's good, why the hell do you bitch so much when people finally do let you out of your prison? Be glad that you're out in the world for a change. Why is there all this hurry for me to make my wishes if you hate being in the lamp so much? Perfect example of what I'm talking about: Dragonball Z. The dragon balls are created for the sole purpose of summoning dragons to grant you some wishes, but they act so damn annoyed whenever you summon them. What a couple of assholes you are, Porunga and Shenron.

The other prominent issue I have with genies is their love of the loophole. I caught the end of an episode of X-Files once, so I don't really have all the context, but it's not really relevant. Long story short, one of the main characters of the show somehow came across a genie and was granted three wishes. Being the upstanding guy that he is, the first thing he wished for was "world peace", or something along those lines. The obvious interpretation of this wish is something like an end to all wars and conflict, an Earth where all people live in harmony. We know that. The genie totally knew that. But being the tool that he is, guess what? He made everyone on Earth disappear except the guy who made the wish. CONGRATZ GENIE. YOU GOT US. You fulfilled the requirements of the wish, and now no one is happy. Cool. Now the wisher has to waste his second wish to undo your shenanigans, which he does. As for the third, he decides to type it all out to make sure there are no loopholes, but then decides, "Fuck it. This isn't worth it. Humans should just figure this stuff out on our own." He shouldn't have to do that, man. That's why you're around, genie. Do your damn job.

The only cool genie is Robin Williams. Be more like Robin Williams, other genies. Do cool impersonations and make random stuff appear to amuse me. Don't be so god damn spiteful. I don't like when you play The Game.


Conor - We Are All Clever Thieves

These kinds of pictures are so cool. I feel somewhat silly for not having known that they were called mosaics until I was desperately looking for one on google with desperate search suggestions like "tiny pictures make a big picture" and "big pictures made up of tiny pictures." Feeling pretty silly, guys.

I am a burglar.  The good news is so are all of my idols, role models, and pictures of seagulls. So are you.

I know what I like. Be it an attitude, a joke, or the way a melody works, when something really strikes me I deconstruct, analyze and blatantly steal. Who I am today is just a combination of all the things I've run into over the years that I've become smitten with. I love the way Job high fives people on Arrested Development. I love the way my sister-in-law Michelle tells stories. I love the way Stephen Merrit of the Magnetic Fields constantly and successfully toes the line between heartfelt, sentimental confessional songwriting and being apathetic, sarcastic and removed from his own work. I don't want to do exactly what they do. I just want their philosophies. I want the ideas that inform their actions to also inform the way I live.

All of these things accumulate until they are unrecognizable and definable only as me, if that makes any sense. I'm aware and unashamed of all of the tiny pictures that make up my mosaic. Even if I don't see you everyday, even if we don't get to talk as much as we used to, even if we haven't spoken in years, there's a good chance that you've left your mark on me. Here's to these people. Here's to my family, my english teachers, countless Youtube videos that I have stolen phrases from, the people who force me to run when I definitely definitely don't want to run because running is miserable and tiring and stupid, the bands that I envy and worship, the friends who challenge me to keep up with them, the movies that make me think about something from a different angle, and to authors who force me to read, despite my illiterate tendencies.

I am a thief and the coolest things about you are my targets.

So heads up, I guess.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"This was just about the time of that Woodstock festival, which was the sum total of all this bullshit."

 Alternate title: "Well, fuck it. I wish these people would just forget about me. I wanna do something they can't possibly like, they can't relate to."

by Brendan Cavanagh

Well, with finals coming up and the semester wrapping up before summer break, I've had plenty to do.  Over the course of the next week, I'll be writing a couple English papers about William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and James Joyce's "Araby," then a full ten-pager comparing a couple Irish films and how they exemplify themes that have arisen out of the Irish experience, followed by an education philosophy, an epic poem relating my experience shadowing an English teacher earlier this year and a handful other looming projects that I don't seem to have track of right now.

Instead of doing all this I've been exceptionally apathetic, trying to find any reason not to get some much-needed work done.  For instance, yesterday I went to CVS with a friend, came back to my dormitory and immediately got in someone else's car and went to another CVS.  I mean, a guy can only buy so much Kleenex and sweet tea, you know? So to alleviate my pain while attempting to complete the monumental amount of homework I have in store, I've made it a point to keep easy-going music playing on my iPod, in particular focusing heavily on an oft-overlooked period of Bob Dylan's career, from about 1969-1970.

After suffering a debilitating motorcycle crash in 1966, Dylan experienced an epiphany of sorts and realized how much bigger than himself he had become.  Tired of being the poster boy for the generation, he tried to fade into temporary obscurity in order to be with his family and focus on music he liked making at the time.  At this point, Dylan had sort of extricated himself from the cryptic rock n roll he became known for in the late 60s and instead decided to try his hand at country.  In 1969, he released Nashville Skyline, which despite the new, crooning voice he had picked up to match his music's sound, is actually quite good. 

 Nashville Skyline (1969)

Among the thirty-odd minutes of Nashville Skyline stand a few key tracks:

1. "I Threw It All Away"

A bittersweet song about a love he once had, and about how he took his love for granted and subsequently lost her due to carelessness.  Dylan stresses to the listener not to do the same because "love is all there is, it makes the world go 'round."

2. "Lay Lady Lay"

Dylan's big single from Nashville Skyline. As the title suggests, the song is very sexy. Unlike "I Threw It All Away," Dylan actually has a woman of his own here that he loves very much, and he pleads with her to stay the night with him and spoon a little bit. "His clothes are dirty, but his hands are clean," he comfortingly tells her, humbling himself to her beauty. To me, the song is an auditory representation of that feeling you have on a lazy summer morning, when you simply feel good without needing a reason.

The rest of the album follows in the same tradition, featuring a healthy dose of finger-picking and ragtime piano-pounding, with a nice "twang" playing throughout. In a similar fashion, Dylan's 1970 follow-up, Self Portrait, features him crooning his way through a double album of pop and folk covers and identically mellow original creations. The album was heavily lambasted by fans and critics alike (a reviewer for Rolling Stone opened his review with the line "What is this shit?"), and even Dylan has never seemed to express any profound appreciation for it.  Instead, he's argued, he was sick and tired of everyone expecting so much from him, so he scrounged together all the warm-ups and outtakes from Nashville Skyline and the later 1970 release, New Morning, and threw it on a double album ("I mean, if you're gonna put a lot of crap on it, you might as well load it up!"). 

Self Portrait (1970)

However incoherent or sloppy, more than a few tracks really appeal to me because of the down-home, easy-going sound he embraced at the time.  These have been on repeat lately:

1. "Let It Be Me"

A cover of the Everly Brothers classic (or the breath-taking Jerry Butler & Betty Everett cover). Like it does on a number of other songs from Self Portrait, the guitar in this song is smooth beyond belief. The song is so honest- the singer simply wants to be with the woman that makes him happiest.

2. "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know"

The best example of crooning I can provide. Dylan sings somberly about a man who stole away his lover. As time has passed, Dylan's learned to move on and forget her, but the amount of pleasing mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and sexual benefits he's had to forget infinitely surmount what the new guy will ever learn about her. An easy song to relate to- you don't get the girl you want, but you know you're the right one for her, that no one else could ever possibly know about or love her as much as you do.

3. "The Boxer"

An initially laughable, but surprisingly catchy cover of Simon & Garfunkel's hit single. Dylan double-tracks his voice on this song, essentially harmonizing with himself. A must-listen.

A couple songs on Self Portrait have a few women harmonizing the backing vocals, noticeably on "Let It Be Me." Presumably, the same women are featured every now and then on Dylan's subsequent release, New Morning, which followed a more traditional approach to the construction of an album, garnering more tolerable reviews from critics and fans. The album is striking because it is stripped down, with much less fanfare than Dylan's previous albums. Simply boasting some guitar, piano and earthy vocals, it takes some listening to to fully appreciate its simplicity.

New Morning (1970)

Two favorites:

1. "The Man In Me"

Perhaps recognizable to any fans of The Big Lebowski, as it was used several times throughout the film. While the lyrics are humble and show Dylan achingly acknowledging that this one woman is the key to bringing out his true self, one of the strongest portions of the song is when the aforementioned female harmonizers take over at the end and fade out with a repeated "Ahh-ahh-ahh" over a clanging, albeit subtle guitar riff.

2. "Day Of The Locusts"

You see, even if he tries to escape the music of his past, Dylan still contains the same feelings he once had. Instead of ragging on the self-satisfied girl in "Like A Rolling Stone" or "Positively 4th Street," Dylan's vindictive fury is released upon people that try to put him in a box, man. Specifically, when Dylan was presented with an honorary doctorate at Princeton University in June of 1970, he became aggravated by the impositions made of him- like having to wear a cap and gown in order to receive his award- and the implications of his celebrity status- like taking a limousine to the ceremony. Though his severe paranoia may have been induced by the two joints he smoked in the limo on the way there with David Crosby of The Byrds/Crosy, Stills & Nash. Either way, Dylan smartly decided to relate his feelings of being overwhelmed to the 17-year cicada infestation plaguing Princeton at the time, and came up with this song.

A lot of people tend to focus on Bob Dylan's golden period- albums like Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on Blonde- but I think that just because his quieter, country period wasn't as popular at the time doesn't mean it isn't warranted a listen. Anyway, without all those drums and howls and harmonica solos, I find it easier to concentrate on my homework...which I will begin...nowwwwww.

All things NBA

Oh my God if you don't like basketball you'll hate this.

Okay, the playoffs are in full motion. The NBA playoffs are a beautiful but imperfect tournament that provides me with dozens of hours of entertainment every year. I love the NBA playoffs more than I do March Madness. Why? Simple: better basketball. People always talk about the atmosphere in March Madness and how it's so great, when really it's so-so, in terms of fan emotion. March madness does have a greater sense of urgency and player emotion, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that we're watching kids out there. The fans are really watered down from regular season play because the student bodies are not as prevalent due to the neutral locations. Meanwhile, NBA fans pack their local stadiums to watch the best players in the world play the best basketball in the world. Sorry kids, that's unbeatable.

I mentioned earlier, though, that the NBA playoffs aren't perfect; they're not. The first round has so much fail-potential. March Madness is perfect for this reason. There's no way you can watch March Madness and not be entertained. In the NBA, however, there's so many chances for less-than-perfection. More teams make it into the NCAA tournament, but there are more games played in the NBA playoffs (15 series', between 4-7 games per series, as opposed to 67 games). So you get to see the teams more, they're better, the games are just as exciting, but it lacks the key that makes March irresistible: the upsets. The NBA playoffs are characteristically predictable, but that doesn't make them less enjoyable.

People watched in amazement as Connecticut and Butler put on an abysmal showing in the NCAA Championship game, shooting a little for a ton on both counts, and presenting a blowout to fans as the lasting memory of a crappy 2010-11 season. Meanwhile, the NBA irons it out to benefit the later rounds, making sure that the NBA Finals are going to figure out the absolute best basketball team in the world.

Each NBA series though is worthy of interest in some form or another. Here's my breakdown of every matchup. (Sigh, said the person still reading for solidarity.)

1. Chicago Bulls v. 8. Indiana Pacers (CHI leads 2-0)
The lovable hometown favorite. I say "lovable" because I love them and so should you. The Bulls function like your favorite superhero, Batman. They have the will, the talent, the gadgets and the swagger to get the job done, but not by making it look easy. Derrick Rose leads the team against an Indiana Pacers squad that aspires to little more than stub Chicago's toe on their way to the next rounds. The Pacers have been a thorn in Chicago's ass, and it shows, as my brother is a panicky mess, worrying about teams like Orlando and Atlanta, let alone Boston or Miami. But the Bulls are designed to win close games. They had less wins by 10+ points (28) than Miami (33), despite winning 4 more games. The Bulls win because Derrick Rose closes the game out like no one in the league right now, and if I'm Indiana, I expect to play like this against Chicago. If the Pacers get a game in Indianapolis, I remain unworried.
Indiana's version of Joakim Noah — Tyler Hansbrough — is proving utterly hatable to everyone but Pacers fans, and the rest of the Pacers are following his scrappy lead. The only advantage held by the Pacers is at center, where Roy Hibbert is too big for Noah to handle. Luol Deng is a reasonable match for Danny Granger, but the real mismatch is at point guard. Derrick Rose is simply too much for the Pacers, and we'll definitely see Chicago advancing within a week or so.

4. Orlando Magic v. 5. Atlanta Hawks (Series TIED 1-1)
This is one of two candidates for playoff series' that don't matter. Orlando made the NBA Finals in 2009, but got beaten handily by Los Angeles and hasn't had as good of a team since. Atlanta, meanwhile, has been a hilariously pathetic team in the  playoffs, getting swept out of the last two postseasons in the second round each time. I wouldn't mind seeing them suffer a similar fate (and frankly, that's possible), but it remains to be seen if they can beat Orlando. The window is closing for this Magic team, and Dwight Howard might want out sooner rather than later if Orlando can't muster a first round win. Atlanta, meanwhile, has held the same nucleus of guys (minus a Mike Bibby or two) for the last three years and has been pathetic in the postseason each time. There window is also closing. Two good teams. Neither of them great. The NBA doesn't want to see either of these teams make a run, so you shouldn't either.

2. Miami Heat v. 7. Philadelphia 76ers (MIA leads 2-0)
The Heat shook off some jitters in Game 1 to overtake Philly, and then dominated them in Game 2. Philadelphia is overmatched in this series, because Philadelphia sucks. They somehow have managed an over-.500 record in the regular season. There prize is to get whupped by the Heat. They might steal a game at home, but I'd put my money on Miami thwomping them twice and making Philadelphia wonder why it can't put Michael Vick on its basketball team (HELLUVA POINT GUARD).

3. Boston Celtics v. 6. New York Knicks (BOS leads 2-0)
Everyone wants this to be a good series, including these two teams. They want to hate each other. They're Boston and New York, they have to hate each other. New York once again has star power (other than Isiah Thomas thank God) with Carmelo Anthony, who will try to take on a real-functioning basketball team with more than just a clusterfuck of stars as we've seen in New York and Miami. Amare, Carmelo and the gang have pretty much asked Boston to become rivals and Boston has responded by just repeatedly beating them in close games. The NBA equivalent of holding the pipsqueek kid back by his head as he swings pathetically under your arm. I think the Knicks can win two games in this series, maybe three even if they hold serve at home, but I definitely don't see them coming back.

That's the Eastern Conference. Here's the West.

1. San Antonio Spurs v. Memphis Grizzlies (Series TIED 1-1)
In the first major upset game of the postseason, the Grizzlies ousted the Manu Ginobili-less Spurs on their home court. The Grizzlies are wonderful, despite the fact that they're from Memphis. I think, personally, that it wouldn't be farfetched for Memphis to upend San Antonio in the first round. San Antonio's old. They're offensively excellent, but defensively lacking and aging faster than wood (which actually holds its age quite well). The Grizzlies are solid all around, and have been on the cusp of the postseason for a few years now. Don't expect them to go quietly. Fuck it, I'm taking the Grizzlies in 6.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder v. Denver Nuggets (OKC leads 2-0)
Fuck this series. I reeeeally like both of these teams. They rank 1 and 2 in my "teams I'm rooting for if the Bulls die in the playoffs" rankings. Denver is No. 1, and this is all because they traded away Melo. They've got ten guys (Felton, Lawson, Afflalo [get healthy!], Smith, Chandler, Gallinari, Martin, Harrington, Anderson, Nene) who I love to watch playing in their too-deep rotation, and none of them are all that damn good. This results in a bunch of dudes trying to be as awesome as possible, akin to the 2007 Warriors that set my heart ablaze all (four of) those years ago.
Meanwhile, the Thunder have this new hipster fanbase that's going crazy because the state of Oklahoma finally has a professional sports team, they've got Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both of whom are tantalizing scorers with swag to match. They've got the scowl in Kendrick Perkins and Serge "I-blocka" (Ibaka) banging in the low post*, add James Harden's awesome playoff beard/mohawk and you've got an equally supercharged team that lights up the scoreboard and burns tons of highlight tape. This series has gone OKC's way so far, but I'd be shocked if it was over before it got back there. I think Denver can stretch it out, but OKC has the advantage and shouldn't fuck it up. Thunder in 6/7.

2. Los Angeles Lakers v. 7. New Orleans Hornets (Series TIED 1-1)
Get outta here. New Orleans is playing their asses off and still got beat by a sorta-trying LA team. I really like New Orleans' heart, and I think they can take a game on their homecourt, but they don't stand a chance against an LA team that so clearly overmatches them. Chris Paul is fantastic, and when he's on, is as fun as anybody to watch. However, the Lakers have too much size, too many 3-point shooters and too many Kobe Bryant's for the Hornets to feasibly win this series. In a lovely underdog story, the Hornets lose Game 7.

3. Dallas Mavericks v. 6. Portland Trailblazers (DAL leads 2-0)
The winner of the "doesn't matter" award, this series is pretty damn boring. Dallas and Portland have no fun rivalry to draw from, no outstanding star players to duel, and no realistic Finals chances for either team.
So why watch this series?
Well, Dirk shoots one of the prettiest slash ugliest jumpers in the world, and watching him is amazing. The Mavericks also have several high-octane energy guys that can make a game fun to watch. The Blazers will try to out-tough the Mavs, and will probably come up short. Having said that, I think this series goes six games before the Mavs run into the buzzsaw that is the LA Lakers.

So, that's what the first round of the playoffs looks like. I am in the process of loving it, and will continue to do so until a champion is crowned in June. Hell yeah.

As for further predictions (because I'm pretty sure Classic Brian would fire me if I wrote another lengthy sports post like this one), I'm just going to say Lakers over Thunder, Bulls over Celtics, Bulls beat the Lakers in the Finals in six games. Derrick Rose will not be denied.

Anyway it's super late and I only got three hours of sleep in the past 40 hours, so I'm gonna work on that.

Sorry this was late.

--Eliot Sill

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A story- MAdAM

The alarm clock went off at 9am. The boy turned over, hit the snooze button, and fell back asleep. At 9:18 the alarm clock went for the third time and the boy decided he should probably get up. 

In the distance, there was the faint hum of an airplane. When he looked to the other side of the bed, he finally noticed the dead bird his cat brought to him in his sleep. 

Only mildly disgusted, this happened all too often, he left it sitting there as he pulled on whatever outfit was closest at hand. After he dressed he turned to the bird, considered it for a minute or two, and finally went outside to bury it in the yard. He would have to remember to pet his cat later. She would be offended if he didn't thank her properly for her generous gift. Cats are so weird.

He walked downstairs, only to find his cat on the couch. When he went over to pet it, he realized she wasn't moving at all. Checking for a pulse, he found none. Holy shit, he thought to himself. My poor cat must have died trying to teach me how to hunt. He pet his dead kitty. 

Then it sort of hit him. His cat had instinct to teach him how to hunt because she couldn't believe how an animal could survive without this knowledge. He had always thought this amusing and ridiculous. But was it? His tiny little dead kitty could catch a a rabbit half its size for dinner. It could move fast enough to bring down endless birds that had the ability to fly. Flying is so crazy, but that's a different point. He could ever do any of these things. He could never just go into he woods and come out with a caught rabbit. A tiny little rabbit was too much for him. Humans really are useless.

But that would never stop him from trying to hunt a rabbit. He got in his black Chrysler and drove to the nearest forest preserve. He knew what he had to do. Getting out of the car, he walked to the nearest open grassy area. Suddenly it hit him -- there was a rabbit just across the field. He did just as his cat would have -- he got on all fours and started chasing it down. Instinctively he got in the stalking position and slowly moved in on the rabbit. Naturally, with his six foot human frame, he wasn't hidden at all, and the rabbit began to bounce away. He pounced and began his uncoordinated attempt at killing his prey.

The rabbit had soon disappeared and he suddenly was very aware of how he looked crouched down on all fours trying to hide in grass. Grass is a horrible hiding spot. He got up and walked toward the forest trying to figure out any advantage his two-legged stance would give him. He was slower, less agile and much less determined than his little adversaries. A few feet into the trees he stopped and examined his surrounding. No movement. He continued ahead a little further until he finally came across sign that a rabbit might be nearby; a rustling from behind some underbrush. 

He got back into the cat-like position. This time, he aptly hid behind a tree. At the precise moment the rabbit got close enough for him to get a jump on it, he miraculously pounced very far. The rabbit's reflexes served him well, as he quickly scurried off in the opposite direction. The man was learning to use his legs and arms most efficiently in this form. The legs would power him through each motion and the arm would stabilize him. As he was undergoing this realization, the town sheriff was loading darts into his tranquilizing rifle. Perching the rifle onto the hood of his car, he steadied his aim at the man. 

"What the hell is this dumb kid doing?" the sheriff mumbled to himself as he stood on the ledge. The kid looked like a fool down there leaping around like he was playing leap frog in elementary school. "Must be on drugs" was his next thought. The Sheriff pulled out his tranquilizing gun, his weapon of choice when dealing with crazies he did not wish to approach conscious. He steadied the gun on the hood of the car, aiming toward the kid and shot. Right in the back. The kid stumbled for 10 seconds or so until falling into the leaves. "Got 'im".

He awoke in the back of a rape van. No windows, no nothing. The cops had thrown him in the van inside a large tan yard-work bag. Every turn they made resulted in his body being thrown against the walls of the car. Suddenly the car screeched to a halt. The back door was opened frantically, only for more cops to step up to the back holding boxes. They set the boxes down, opened them, and each pulled out a real live panda! We're talking fucking real pandas here. So the cop sped off and took fast turns once again, only to smash his body into pandas, instead of walls. The pandas were getting angry. 

Despite their anger the Pandas did not kill the kid. Soon he became fully conscious once more and began to realize the dire situation he was in: trapped inside a yard-work bag, in the back of a truck filed with renegade cops, surrounded by angry pandas. And that's when he noticed the bomb. The kid suddenly felt more in touch with destiny than he ever had in his life. He knew what he had to do. He reached his hand out of the small opening in the end of the bag and toward the large red "BOOM" button. His hand made contact and he thought of the sea.

RIP young hunter

A story by Mada Larson and Adam Grainawi

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nick - Pop Culture According To Nick Dietrich

Jersey Shore takes place on the beaches of California, where there are lots of frat houses. It's a story about a girl named Snooki and a guy named Situation. Situation wears jerseys all the time, which is how the show got its name. Snooki and Situation throw all the coolest parties together. Snooki is secretly sad that she dropped out of college instead of following her dreams and getting a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Jay Z was a short-lived method of coded communication used by the French in World War II. It was named Jay Z because it used only the letters J through Z of the alphabet, in an attempt to make the code appear more simplistic than it was. The code was legendarily cracked by Italian scientist Dr. Thaddeus Drey less than a month after its implementation.

Tyler the Creator is a musical prodigy. He was given this nickname for the sculptures he made in 4th grade, being incredibly gifted at art due to his high IQ. Recently he released an album of his classical piano talents. He is the youngest person to ever flawlessly play Bach's Fantasy and Fugue. He is only 12 years old.

Angry Birds is a children's cartoon about two birds, Melvin and Manglano, who get up to all sorts of wacky hijinks together. The show's most popular episode featured Melvin and Manglano buying a pet pig, who's affection they competed for. The episode ended when the pig was accidentally blown up in a firework display designed by Manglano to get its attention.

The Miami Heat was a deadly heat wave, taking place in 1972. At least 109 people were killed in the event. The heat wave lasted for 10 days, with temperatures consistently above 100 degrees during the day. The Miami Heat is often referred to angrily because greedy air conditioning company executives refused to keep their repair men working on the weekend of the heat, and are often blamed for many of the deaths.

127 Hours is a documentary, covering the battle between the Roman army against the Galls in modern-day Spain. The Romans, with their superior training, were able to overcome the Gallic forces 127 hours after war was declared, making it the shortest war in history. The documentary focuses on the courage and hopelessness of the Gallic forces as they bravely resisted their Roman conquerors.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in my bubble.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Plants, Pt. 2

--Robert Langellier

Leaves are exploding upwards. First, on the wildflowers and the underbrush. Then shortly, on the smaller redbuds and dogwoods, and then later on the big oaks and the hickories. It's Spring. It's a cool day for spring, but that's just because it's still April and it's threatening to rain. It's warm enough for a t-shirt, though. I meander down Stewart Street, past the coal plant and construction work, across the continuously busy Providence Street, and onto the MKT trail. Ah. Natury. Rooted life of all sorts, littering the ground. Also, a lot of litter. I pick up some of the litter and throw it away. People suck, honestly. I remember telling Joel I'd rather save a puppy from having it's leg ripped off than save a baby from having it's head ripped off. I probably would. I mean, which one would be destined to make the world a better place? Puppies don't litter. I return my attention back to the natury, to the carbon suckers. Trees are the perfect kind of life. They help the environment, they probably love their lives unless they have some tree disease which would be akin to a human having a thousand mosquito bites and no way to itch them, and they generally mind their damn selves. Man, that's some nice bark on that....tree. Oh, and those branches on the tall spindly one to my right — how do they do that? All the trees have tiny leaves on them today. They're finally budding! The leaves on look sharp. That....thing over there has already flowered. It's covered in dazzling purple. I wish I was a tree.

Wait a minute. Besides the tulip tree I had in the front yard of the house I grew up in, I realize that I can't identify a single tree. In the world. That's incredibly stupid of me. I realize that, as far as I know, I think there's a whole lot of people who can't identify more than four kinds of trees. That's super pathetic, I continue to realize. Sure, I didn't grow up in the Appalachian Mountains or on the West Coast, but I feel like everyone could use a little bit more tree in their lives. I never once had a science lesson on identifying trees in grade school or in high school. Yet I think I spent an entire quarter of the 4th grade learning about different kinds of clouds. Or a two-week lesson in the 6th grade learning about which rocks are igneous and which ones are sedimentary and which ones are metamorphic. That's essentially 2.5 kinds of rocks.

Why not trees? Trees seem to be the most poorly underrepresented demographic in modern society. So sit down, LGBTs, my attention is on trees now. Trees are literally all around us, almost everywhere we go, yet the average person knows little more than a) whether or not it's an apple tree, b) it's age if you count all the little ring things, c) that it will die if you strip its bark all around the trunk, and d) it's a plant. I mean, there are a lot of trees around the world that were around when Jesus walked the earth. There are some that were alive when Abraham made those two or three religions. Think of all that untapped wisdom we're ignoring. It's depressing how tree-ignorant we are.

In the days following my realization, I spent, like, two hours researching trees that grow in the Midwest in my ultra official National Audubon Society First Field Guide to Trees. My knowledge and interest in trees has grown eightfold. They've become, essentially, my brothers. Their branches reach out to me with love, and I accept them with open arms. Won't you?

Moist Loaf

The English language is bullshit. It probably has more rules than any other language and they seem to only exist to be broken. It is definitely not user-friendly, so good luck if you're trying to learn it. Let's look at a prime example. This is perhaps my least favorite word in existence: indefatigable. What the fuck, English. The prefix “in” typically means “not”. Ok cool. “De” usually means something along the lines of undoing. “Fatigable” implies able to be fatigued, so able to become tired. “Indefatigable” means not able to become tired. So what's the “de” doing in this word? Why isn't the word just “infatigable”. Shenanigans.

Why do words with ck exist? I wish I lived in a world where everything was spelled how it sounds like it should be spelled. Spell clock “clok”. Sure it looks weird when you read it here, but only because we've always seen it spelled “clock”. And even if the words aren't spelled stupidly, so many of them are soooooo ugly. Warmthy. Heinous. Gogy. Milk. Peeni.

Anyway, I'm watching Space Jam. So...this post is half-assed. And now it's over.