Friday, February 20, 2015

an agenda

Abstract: Through the lens of both climate change believers and climate change deniers, we will examine how personal political beliefs are formed, by relating the general agendas of both sides to science, and reality. Spoiler alert: look at the person next to you, there's a chance he or she believes some crazy shit.

In chatting with Heckyeahwoman the other night, she mentioned one of her upcoming talks, referencing the Doomsday Clock, and how it recently got bumped up a couple minutes. The two main reasons mentioned for the uppage bumpage were climate change and global nuclear armament. Warning: we're not really going to argue one way or another for either.

Not sure if you noticed, but I just mentioned climate change, queue the freakouts. My stock answer about the subject generally revolves somewhere around, "I don't know - I'm not a climate scientist". Notably it is without an exclamation point - to signal apathy, and the qualifier on the end hopefully lets you know that I likely don't value your opinion. Though if I am engaged in a sick convo with somebody having extreme views towards either side, yo, I'ma be the dickhead contrarian.

I get why a liberal might think I'm wrong on the issue(even something as benign as admitting to not knowing lol): I'm not religious about it and I don't subscribe to their OMG-blame-white-people cult. That's fine. Obviously to your average leftist or rightist there isn't a whole lot of room for humility...or empathy, reason, logic, science, anything really that fair people might revere.

You know, that weird stuff that super dogmatic people usually eschew, or bastardize.

Same thing with your typical right winger, and their catch-all disdaining of all who are poor, or maybe more accurately, not rich. Believe me, when the time comes to seriously monetize climate change activism, you can be sure there will be a sea change in the views on the subject.

We're not here to bash liberals and leftists, or Republicans, but we still will, so I apologize for that well written and thoughtful tangent.

But how can I have an opinion, as apathetic as it may be, on something I (admittedly) don't know a whole lot about?  I could pull climate change reports and read them furiously, but that sounds like reading. I could blow through abstracts and try to glean knowledge hopefully helping in the formation of something resembling an opinion. But how do I know what is good science? Or like most people, I could turn to some form of media (presumably with an axe to grind), read, form an opinion, think I know everything, and write a blog about it.

OR, I could do the latter, look at the source, consider past behavior, and then generalize a prediction for future behavior, in terms of writing about controversial issues. That's scientific right? Crude, but let's go ahead and break 'er down:


The source: what can generally be described as liberals, scientists, and liberal scientists.

Past behavior: making stuff up, making policy based on made up stuff (sound like Republicans at all?!), basing education and further science on made up stuff, doing horrible shit (look at some of those last names OMG!), making up more stuff, still making stuff up, fingering her own sister, and acting all smarmy and better than you.

Prediction: I don't have graphs and stuff, but I think a thorough, yet rough and cherry picked track record of bad stuff might lead to future actions of bad stuff. That said, my prediction is: agenda-focused scientific findings!

I'm not saying they're wrong, but can you at least understand my skepticism?

But what about climate change deniers!? Those crazy fucks aren't off the hook!

Check this out: they and their views have been pretty well covered in the media, and some views common to that group might include: the world is 6,000 years old, being gay can be "cured" with electroshock therapy, evolution is not for real, war is good but abortion is bad, NASCAR is cool, wolves are bad and should be shot, I could go on.

Bottom line: Sorry dawgs, but you ain't my dawgs either.

Misanthropy leads me to believe that humanity wants to, or would, however directly or indirectly, destroy the world (and each other) for temporary gain, it also leads me to wonder exactly how successful we are at it. Either way, the older I get, the more disgusted I am by the horrible things we do to the environment.

Also lightly discussed that night was nuclear armament, and I promise this will tie in somehow with something, somewhere. Regarding nukes and war, I tend to source my news and info from places that push a certain agenda, generally: "war is bad, quit fucking with people so they leave us alone." I think that translates quite nicely into real life too. Anyway, the general consensus among these crazy radical peace-loving folks is that all those boogeymen (sorry, boogeypeople) that the media reports want to kill you, either 1) actually don't want to kill you; 2) don't have or won't have nukes, and probably can't kill you; or 3) both 1 and 2.

In summary, there are a couple principles that guide my reading of news, politics, and science. Maybe they're unreasonable, maybe not.

1. If you stop being a dick all the time, I bet your life will get a little better.
2. Open minded science, then policy.
3. Feelings are going to get hurt, people are shitheads, life is hard.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

insult to injury

The Packers lost the NFC Championship game in horrifying fashion: a total meltdown. It's been talked about on sports outlets, been picked apart, dissected, good, great, done. But what has been neglected is the complete and utter stupidity that followed.

See, the minute the clocked ticked down to zero, and the Seahawks were official NFC champions, something very strange happened. Russell Wilson had a meltdown of his own, thanking God for the victory. Happens all the time, athletes thanking god, an absurd notion to be sure. But to clarify, Mr. Wilson might actually believes that God is actually one entity, and not a collective misnomer for a bunch of schmucks dressed in green and gold over on the other sideline.

No shit though, Mr. Wilson thinks his four interceptions were God's doing. He thinks the victory, and all events that lead up to it are up to God.

And this:

Look at that fucked up looking cryface.

It gets worse. After Mr. Wilson's inexplicable tangent about God and sports, the camera cut to a bunch of other Seahawks celebrating in a tear-fueled, prayer-circle jerk. These assholes actually think that a dude up in the sky gives a shit about the outcome of a football game. Worse, they truly believe that this nonentity, even if real, would be anything but a Packers fan.

Green Bay Packers, you made some bonehead calls, some bonehead plays, and squandered a double digit lead to a(n) historically all time great defense. But very little trumps losing to a bunch of Bible-thumping fucktard thug shitheads. Seriously, they are the poster-boys for religious cop outs. Acting like an asshole 99% of the time, and then at the end of the day, professing your faith, should not a pious man make. At the very least, take a page out of the Mormon playbook (c wut I did there?), and earn that salvation, son.

I am looking forward to Tom Brady blowing his devil-load all over their faces, and then going home, win or lose, to his supermodel wife.

More Super Bowl-related stuff to look forward to: Julian Edelman fist-fighting somebody he's related to, Rob Gronkowski accidentally using up the worlds Rohypnol supply on himself, and Darrell Revis scowling so hard he adds another wrinkle to his forehead.

Monday, December 15, 2014

christians for michele bachmann

You may have seen the hilarious facebook page, Christians for Michele Bachmann. If not, click that supermega hyperlinked hotlink, like the page, and let the LOLs wash over you. No two ways around it, the folks behind the C4MB page are hilarious.

What's immediately apparent is that it comes across as a partisan skewering of right wing idiocy. With their rants and clever "artwork" raging against Homogays, injecting the marijuanas, libtards, athetards, and any traditionally, if not blindly, liberally championed cause, it comes off as a caricature of the GOP and tea partiers. The viewpoints, the bad grammar, the poor spelling, with the latter two (hopefully) intentional, are so over the top, you can't help but literally laugh out loud at work when reading.

And if you can read their roughly weekly, "this week in creation science" postings, and manage to not even crack a slight smirk, there is something wrong with you.

But where I think they get really clever, is their subtle mocking of the over the top, ironic, and completely hypocritical nature of the modern left. Like I mentioned above, at the surface, it's total GOP nutjob lampooning, and not delving any deeper than that, it's really goddamn funny. 

But beneath the surface, the page furiously spoofs those that blindly worship at the altar of science, for the sake of science, rather than truth. Their fictional studies about the horrors of injecting bindles of the marijuanas are cartoon-like reflections of the work of authors such as Gould, or modern sociology practitioners.

I don't know, I can't stand traditional Democrats or Republicans, and I find the page absolutely, mindbogglingly hilarious. My guess is that the page admins might be Libertarians, fed up with both sides, and the mainstream media's coverage of them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

azul tequila, a review

Recently talking about local Mexican fare with one of my friends, an actual foodie with actual good taste, he suggested I try local Mexican restaurant, Azul Tequila. Having eaten there once previously, and not ever having plans to go back, I was indeed shocked. People that actually appreciate food don't often suggest what I thought was a churched up, sit down, version of Taco Bell; dude knows his food, so a second chance was in order.

He even kindly went so far as to post on my facebook, two different dishes to try, with a friendly reminder to try the hot sauce. I replied, letting him know I would go this weekend. You probably didn't need to know that I replied to his fb posting. But now you do, so whatever. Anyway, lucky us, this weekend apparently came on Thursday, as Heckyeahwoman and I ate there last night.

We went with both of my friend's suggestions: I, the Carne al Chipotle, Heckyeahwoman, the Fajita Poblana. Probably a more accurate description would be me: most of both dishes, Heckyeahwoman: small parts of both. The waiter wasn't sure about the house hot sauce, so he brought a red (actually brownish) one. Bonus points for having a cucumber margarita on the menu. Minus a couple though for it tasting mainly like sugar.

My dish was tasty, but I think that might have been more due to it being covered in a creamy, rich, often cheesy sauce. It was ribeye cut into chunks, cooked with squash, served with a side of standard Mexican-seasoned rice. Enjoyable, yeah, but not in the way I was hoping, instead in the way I have experienced many times over, at every other Americanized Mexican restaurant - natural flavor obfuscated by sauce. (Naturally) fatty meat covered in a delicious cheesy sauce is probably going to be pleasing to the palette no matter what.

The Fajitas Poblana came out smelling delicious, though I think that is true for every fajita ever. Here's the thing about fajitas, and a lot of other things in life: true flavor and quality get masked, and often misrepresented, by accompaniments and garnishes. In this case, the fajita fixings are just a part of whatever you roll with it into a tortilla. These fajitas were made with pork, specifically carnitas, possibly my favorite meat of all time.

The million dollar question: did Azul manage to fuck up the carnitas here, and if so, will it be quite as epic a fuck up as what Shitcun's/Crapcun's/Cancun's passes off as carnitas? Answer: a stuttering "no". The bland, relatively flavorless pork meat was truly the definition of "meh", but not the soggy shitshow that Cancun's presented. So in case you couldn't read what I didn't type, the fajitas, as a whole, and as expected, were really good.

Overall, while this review probably comes across as pretty brutal, I think "meh to decent" is the best way to describe the visit. Note that I am a known and confirmed asshole and really like Mexican food. And "meh to decent" quality Mexican food is actually equivalent to nine out of ten stars for anything else, so I definitely left happy.

So Mr. fancy-pants food expert Heckyeahman, if this place is so shitty, exactly where in the hell do you recommend we eat Mexican in the greater Eau Claire metro area? First, it's not shitty, it was just meh. But easy: Tacos Juanita. And after a year of eating there every goddamn day, throw Taqueria La Poblanita into the mix. And then don't forget La Misma Luna. Those three places are my personal trifecta of good eatin' in Eau Claire.

Friend who will remain unnamed in this blog, if you're out there, and reading this, keep the suggestions coming!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

funny joke

Have you heard the joke about the liberal and the science forum?

Yeah, so a typical liberal walks into an online science forum, makes a childish comment about Fox News, then in the very next post, tells a renowned theoretical physicist that he* is wrong.

And then, wait for it.

Wait for it.

Really, wait for it.

Then gets owned hard.

LOLx1000000000000! Sometimes I just crack myself up.

Guess being closed-minded manifests itself in other places beyond homophobes and racists. Huh, whodathunkit?

*Bonus feminist points for pointing out that the theoretical physicist is indeed the one who is wrong, actually #double-wrong - for being not just a dude, but presumably white! Zing!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

favorite albums of 2014

Alright friends, it is that time of year again: I will once again prove my superiority to you through my taste in music. This year I am just posting a personal "best of the year", with no order.

Self Defense Family - Try Me

This is my favorite album of the year. I hate to pick a favorite, but I am an unabashed fanboy of lead singer Patrick Kindlon, and will likely jock anything he creates. Here, Try Me has the band sounding the same, while sounding wildly different. Kindlon's vocals get a bit more melodic, and the songs can at times be a bit more meandering, but one's attention should never be lost. In my opinion, Kindlon is the best lyricist ever. I imagine he and the band would be dismayed to see this album announced as a (my) year-end favorite, only to be in roughly the same company as the next one, Bane, below, ha.

Bane - Don't Wait Up

2014 brought us a new Bane album, and I imagine that if you're familiar with Bane, you probably know what this new jam sounds like. Fittingly titled, Don't Wait Up, this is Bane's last album, as they will tour extensively, and then call it a day. Where does this one fit in their catalog? Depending on your personal preferences for catchy, modernized throwback hardcore, anywhere, ha. Highlights include Calling Hours with a bunch of guest vocalists, and the tradition of ending the record with generic hardcore platitude gang vocals, but I don't know, I like that stuff.

Emptiness - Nothing but the Whole

Discomforting, atmospheric death/black metal done impeccably well. While this is not usually my cup of tea, this album is far too interesting and compelling to not listen repeatedly. And I find the cover art to be awesome too. Each listen brings something new, as the myriad influences these Belgians employ seem to sneak through in subtle ways. Shoot, I even read one review that mentioned goth rock, and sure as turds, the next listen bought to my ears a goth rock influence in some songs.
Jazz June - After the Earthquake

So what happens when a seminal 90's and early aughts emo band breaks up, then reforms over ten years later? An awesome reunion album happens. While I found the music of their first go-round to be generally faster paced, and bordering on aggressive - well, aggressive for 90's poppy emo standards - here, they have mellowed considerably. The once scratchy vocals have grown more melodious, pairing well with the indie-styled/sugary pop, but still 90's emo sound. Embrace the emo revival, fellow 30+ year olds.
Black Map - ...and Then We Explode

Speaking of 90s influenced jams, ever have a hankering for a totally dated 90's alt-rock sound, in the year 2014? Yeah? Then look no further than Black Map's debut full length LP. When most people refer to something as "dated",  it's usually slanderous, but there is no way I'm going to disparage this album. Nah, here, "dated" means the comfortable, familiar jams of my childhood and teenage years. If you're going to listen to one new-in-2014 batch of 90's sounding alt-rock songs, this best be your choice. Also, if you like rock, you'll surely find something to furiously enjoy.

Lagwagon - Hang 

This new Lagwagon smokes. Even though some of the lyrics come across as written by an angry high school student in 2002, Joey Cape sings the crap out of them. From acoustic, to classic 90's punk, to heavy metal, and everything in between, this album hold its own with anything else the band has put out. I guess the five or so year drought in new material really lit a fire under the band's ass. The cover art is kinda cool too.

Cold World - How the Gods Chill

Dog, a new Cold World album dropped and it sounds just like the last two, kinda like what Bane just did, ha. Sad that the eponymous song isn't even on the album, and is better than any song on the actual album. Still, badass album. 90's kinda hip hop and Biohazard influenced hardcore that isn't as hard as Biohazard, but hard in a growing-up-poor-in-the-PA-sticks sort of way.
Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Have you ever been to The Fest? I have and I think Joyce Manor could be considered a "Fest band". They have the sound, one of two official Fest-approved looks (the bearded plaid shirt PBR look; or the skinny, unhealthy, super annoying look); it's the latter for those keeping score. But when you put out a catchy poppy punk album this awesome, it doesn't matter how insufferable your appearance makes you look. Buy this, and sing along furiously the next time they come to your town, and after the show try to talk to you about used wool sweaters and books you'll never want to read. Bonus: the album comes with a CD of the album - a step above the usual download code! Bonus 2: album kicks off with the lyrics, "looking at your face in the dark, you don't even look that smart".
Jason Cruz and Howl - Good Man's Ruin

Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz goes semi-solo, then adds a backing band, and then puts out a fantastic album of country influenced, Americana-rock. Similar to the new Mariachi el Bronx album below, in that it's successful punk rockers making much more accessible music. I don't believe the goal was to be more commercially viable, though it is, but I think the goal was to make album(s) of awesome songs in a different style. Mission accomplished.
Benighted - Carnivore Sublime

Last time I cared about Benighted, they had just released Icon in 2007 I think, and now a couple albums later, we have Carnivore Sublime. What's the difference here? Benighted no longer gives a shit what you think. Maybe they never did. Their schizophrenic death-grind is ultra catchy, and they have no qualms about throwing in weird singing, the lurking potential to break into a dad-hating nu-metal groove, a rapped verse, or a couple breakdowns into an album full of Napalm Death-y death metal. From the artwork to the music, this album is sick.
Mariachi el Bronx - III 

It's 2014, almost 2015 OMG, and Mariachi el Bronx is not your second favorite band, behind Self Defense Family? Lol, get real. It's awesome, ridiculously catchy Mariachi music made by dudes in a punk band. Obviously the Mariachi music is a highlight, if not the defining characteristic here, but for me, Matt Caughtran's vocals are the highlight, the reason d'etre. His lyrics are fantastic, and his singing of them is spot on. 10/10.

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes - Are We Not Men?

The problem I've had with Me First is that often times their albums will contain songs with which I am not familiar. Petty, I know; they do a bang up job every time. On their most recent here, full of hit songs by "divas", there were only a few unknown tunes. What we have is an album of 10/10 cover songs in a catchy, 90's punk rock style, though some of the songs are quite creatively covered. Lead singer Spike Slawson can actually carry a tune, making this a potential favorite of your parents too.

2013 albums I'm super pissed I slept on:

Twitching Tongues - In Love There Is No Law

Dude. I've been rocking this album probably more than anything else in 2014. Yeah, I snoozed, but I've surely made up for that. Very melodic hardcore with fantastic sung vocals. The lyrics can be kind of over the top, but whatever.

Crusades - Perhaps You Deliver This Judgement With Greater Fear Than I Receive It.

An album of grown ass men singing about how they're "mad at religion". Sounds horrible, but when it is set to the sweet sweet sounds of modern punk rock with some sort of "post-something" influence, it's fine with me.

Pity Sex - Feast Of Love

Ann Arbor fuzzed out indie pop rock. Stupid catchy music made by hipsters that look like people that I can't stand. My wife said she likes this, so she either does, or she was lying to me, could go either way.

Did you have something not on this list that you think I "like, totally have to hear"? Throw it in the comments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

what it means to be wholly unnecessary

Don't know about you, but my facebook has been a-blowin' up with Michael Brown stuff. Got a bunch of people that are suddenly law experts, posting and sharing inflammatory and borderline illiterate collections of words, skewering "white people", and police officers.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin incident, and now with the Michael Brown thing, I may or may not have made a comment to my wife, that the world will be fine without Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Michael Brown, and/or Darren Wilson. Their absence from this world means, or would mean, nothing outside of grief for their family.

In short: the universe doesn't care. 

Anyway, my wife replied with something along the lines of, "Trayvon could have grown up to be a scientist that ends up curing cancer". After cleaning up the milk that I spit in unexpected laughter all over our sick 8 million inch LED flat screen, I just nodded my head in semi-agreement so as not to cause a row. I'm not sure but picking fights with Hispanics, uttering slurs about white people, stealing cigars, beating up older Asian store owners, and rapping about killing and hating while people is hardly the way you prep to become the future scientist that could potentially cure cancer.

I'm not going to deny that Darren Wilson is an asshole, and Georgie Z is scum. I think most reasonable people would agree that this is true. In fact, I'd take it a step further, and list them as unnecessary. Where we might diverge is on the opinions of Brown and Martin. I believe them both to be, as people, wholly unnecessary too. An unreasonable person might insist that is due completely to skin color: mine is white and theirs is black. Obviously that's not the case, as a dude's skin color is pretty low on the totem pole of things that make my hair turn grey/gray. But that's just me.

I don't believe that the world would miss any of the four previously mentioned people. But what about the rioters? I actually would prefer that subsection of sub-humanity to up and vanish. Destroying the community in which you live, which belongs to your family and friends, their livelihoods, in the name of perverted justice, well that's just downright fucked up. Raging and destroying are one thing, a shitty thing, but stealing too? Horrible.

But it's deeper than just rioting and stealing and assaulting and destroying. Uh, no it's not. That's exactly what is happening. It may be part of a bigger problem, or actually part of many. But it's still a problem, not normal, and not OK. Basically this whole chain of events is not OK - from Wilson harassing Brown and Brown possibly looking to brawl with a po, to Wilson shooting him. I think it's pretty clear there is a population in Ferguson that does not want white police officers anywhere near them. If I were the Ferguson police chief, I'd be more than happy to oblige. Refund them a percentage of their taxes every year and let them prosper.

What you may have not heard is that a young African American teenager beat up an older Asian man. Obviously that doesn't sell advertising, so that horribly racist and ageist action goes by without a peep. Michael Brown's hatred for Asian people, and those older than him is a cosmically-sized injustice that I refuse to let go unreported.

In a perfect world, crap like this doesn't happen. But to have good, you must have bad, and I think at least the one thing we can all agree on is that everything related to the Ferguson situation is bad. While the president and democrats are championing this cause as some sort of weird rallying cry to unite and strengthen the democratic base, some mother still lost her son, and Darren Wilson, while not guilty, probably shouldn't be a cop. That, and Ferguson as a political talking point is further dividing the country, nice job.

And then we have the human versions of bowel movements, with actually the same intellectual value as bowel movements, penning exactly what you would expect: shit like this. Want a summary? Blame white people, for anything, every single time. Most black people I know don't feel that way, it's sad that this type of garbage is what gets pushed.