Remember, remember the 8th of November

I’ve been MIA for pretty much all this year, I know. New house, job insecurities, deaths, weddings, honeymoons, and a new bike have taken precedent. I will get around to posting about our absolutely incredible two week trip to Iceland, and about my new two-wheeled steed, but for now, I just want to post an article.

I just shared it on Facebook as well, and stated it’s the last thing I’m going to share/post/say about the election until November because of all the reasons stated within said article. It sums up everything I want to say, only much more eloquently than I ever could.

Original article can be found here: GQ

trump-drew-09-21

Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold uncovered yet another Donald Trump scam job, in which he used over $250,000 in charitable donations to help pay off his legal bills. And, because this is Trump, that sordid (and almost certainly illegal) bit of money laundering is just ONE despicable detail of the story. There are many more, including Trump’s club trying to welch on a $1 million hole-in-one payout (out of all of Trump’s bad qualities, his steadfast refusal to pay people what he owes them, while bragging about it, is the most enraging), along with the old bit about Trump blithely ignoring local ordinances so he could put a big, dipshit flagpole up at the Mar-A-Lago club, with his lawyers stating—with a straight face—that a smaller flag “would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump’s . . . patriotism” (NOTE: Until recently, Trump didn’t know what the stripes on the flag symbolized).

 

None of this is surprising, of course. Trump is a liar and a crook, and he commits abominable acts at such a frenetic pace that they get lost in the fury surrounding whatever horrible thing he does next. Keith Olbermann needed over 17 minutes on this site just to list a fraction of the atrocities Trump has staged during election season, and he’s gonna need 17 more minutes to cover what happens between now and Election Day. Remember when Trump said he would get rid of food regulations? That was Thursday.

 

Regardless, in the end, people are still gonna vote for this man. Maybe not enough to get him elected, but still: it’ll be in the tens of millions. (Note to the people causing the polls to fluctuate: What the fuck is wrong with you? I gotta meet the five percent of people who saw Hillary come down with pneumonia and were like, “Forget her, gimme the dictator with dryer lint hair.”) Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

 

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

 

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

 

You know what? No, she’s not. She’s fine. I lived through one Clinton, and I can live through another. My reasons for hating Trump are better than your reasons for hating Hillary. Show me all the arguments against her you like. You guys don’t give a shit about facts and research when it comes to Trump, so I’m not gonna give a shit about whatever clumsy meme you cook up to explain why she did Benghazi. Nope. Sorry. Fuck your arguments, and fuck you. Trump has shown no respect for anyone, so I don’t see why you deserve any either. Whatever mildly frustrating centrist liberal bureaucracy that Hillary presides over will be fine compared to the spray tan mushroom cloud that would arise all because YOU thought Trump was such a brave, un-PC dickhead to everyone within shouting distance.

 

Trump is human waste. He is the worst of America stuffed into a nacho cheese casing, and he is emblematic of the kind of arrogant, flag-waving, trashy, racist moron that the rest of us have to DRAG kicking and screaming into the 21st century: Cliven Bundy, Sean Hannity, Kim Davis, and on and on and on. Trump voters are the people who have spent the past decade or so voting insipid obstructionists into office, sending death threats to anyone who even mentions the idea of gun control, demanding 100% tax cuts on millions of dollars they can only daydream about making, and getting suckered in by any Oil Party candidate waving a NO GAYS flag. Fuck them. These are needy hillbilly loons who are just as starved for attention as Trump himself. And voting for Trump is their way of emulating him, of saying FUCK YOU to everyone else as a mission statement, with no regard for the fallout.

 

The old saw is that people get the politicians they deserve, and I’ll be crestfallen if Trump wins and proves this to be true once more. If you vote for him, you’re not making America great again. You are killing it. You are telling the world that America isn’t worth it. You are telling the world that all of our big talk about freedom and unity and ideals is just a load of shit, and that you would prefer a smoldering dystopia where freedom is just a flimsy cover for evildoing, led by a man who believes that strength is measured only in killing people. You are handing the most important job on Earth to Napoleon from Animal Farm. And you are revealing your breathtaking ignorance to everyone except for yourself. I can’t believe you can’t see this. I want you to see this. I wanna shine a big fucking light in your face and scream at you that Trump isn’t even qualified to be human, much less President. How are you gonna change the system if you elect some corrupt idiot who has no clue how to DO IT, huh? Can’t you see this? Haven’t you heard this asshole talk? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

 

But I already know that’s a futile effort. So fuck you, and fuck the GOP leaders who are too chickenshit to stand up to you. I’m not gonna wish deportation or imprisonment or some kind of fantastical hyperbolic death upon you. I’m not gonna ask for a wall to be built on the Mason-Dixon line. No no, I think you people deserve the EXACT same fate as Trump himself, and that is to lose, badly. That’s what should happen to you. You and your hamburger puppet leader deserve to live the rest of your days arm-in-arm in disgrace, branded as losers for the rest of your lives. Because that’s what you are.

Advertisements

Let’s talk about this outfit from Banana Republic’s website

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 2.10.22 PMNo socks with dress shoes.

Ankle pants?

A T-shirt under a blazer.

The blazer’s sleeves are rolled up.

Is this stylish? Is this style? Companies like Banana Republic and J Crew certainly think so. I think it looks absurd. My internal thesaurus is failing me; I can’t even think of a word to describe how dumb it looks. Are those pants from when he was 15? Was his internal dialogue this morning “Hey the waist still fits – but they’re a little short since I’ve grown 6″ since then. Oh well, let’s do lunch!” 

Now I know this isn’t a real person and the store dressed this model to showcase some of its clothes, but, this is clearly staged as a full outfit. If this is how people in style are supposed to be dressing I’m glad I apparently have no style.

Where exactly are you going dressed like this? I certainly wouldn’t go to work sporting man-capris and no socks. Nor a plain t-shirt. Do you put it on to go to Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods (using these examples because only dumb hipsters would dress this way, and these are well known hipster destinations). You’re certainly not going to Denny’s dressed like that. Maybe a nice restaurant? I doubt it (the no socks thing). Probably not just tooling around town on errands, either. This must be exclusively for hanging out at independent coffee shops with other hipsters. I can’t think of anything else.

In summation, I think this animated GIF best expresses my feelings on this whole subject:
3934yu85yu4

 

Houston’s Toyota Center will take you for everything you’ve got before you even get your tickets.

I love music, and I love concerts. I understand some artists and bands command a higher price ticket than others – and I’m usually OK with that. I mean, I paid $94 in 2001 for a decent 100 level seat towards the back of the Carrier Dome to see Billy Joel & Elton John blow my mind. Worth every penny. I’ve paid roughly $40-60 to see Dave Matthews Band roughly 23 times since the late 90’s. Hell, I saw Peter Frampton in an incredibly small venue for almost $90 a ticket. Again, worth it.

What I’m sick of is the extra fees and bullshit that brokers like Ticketmaster tacks on to the cost of a ticket. “Convenience fees” can nail you anywhere from $5-25 per ticket. I still don’t know what that even means. I’d think it’s actually easier, and most cost effective to have the tickets ordered through the self-sustaining online system – this way there are no phone operators to hold things up (or pay), or people in box offices doing much the same. Oh, and don’t forget another $5 for “order processing.” Again, bullshit because a computer did it. Whatever. Just suck the money out of me.

We all hate it. But we’ve paid it, bitching about it all the way.

BUT WAIT. IT GOT WORSE.

So I wanted to go see Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – because they rock your face off – here at the Toyota Center in Houston. We’ve seen them twice before and damn it’s always a kick ass show. So I went through the motions online to buy tickets and the below picture is what I was faced with:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 6.15.40 PM

So let me get this straight…
If I want to have my tickets mailed to me – you know, like normal – I have to pay an additional $25? WTF. Same goes for picking them up at the venue at the Will Call window. $25? Seriously? The only free option is this Flash Seats nonsense – which is apparently an app they are forcing you to download to your smartphone and use to display your tickets to the ushers at the venue. What if you don’t have a smartphone? I didn’t until last month. And even so, what if I don’t want to put some random garbage application on it? I want my tickets mailed to me. For free – or a small nominal fee it sometimes was.

So now, for me and the wife to see Tom Petty, it’s cost $160 for mediocre seats? Seriously – look – section 423? C’mon. Here’s the seating chart:
Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.28.17 PMWhat’s even more annoying, is this is specific to the Toyota Center. I went onto Live Nation to check out a different stop on the tour: Darien Lake PAC in New York State. I went through the motions of buying tickets, and here’s what I found:
Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.31.21 PMAside from them also trying to get you to download a completely different app on your smartphone for free access to your tickets, if you just want them mailed to you it’s only $3.50. That’s at least reasonable. Though, if you think about it, this whole situation is basically just the ticket brokers holding onto your tickets until you pay a ransom to have them released to you.

You’re probably sitting there, reading this, ready to say “Dan. Just download the app. So what?” And to that I say: I shouldn’t have to. Nor do I want to put some random app I’ve never heard of on my phone just because some crappy system a stadium uses is forcing me to.

Anyway, needless to say we haven’t yet purchased tickets to go see Tom Petty.

Why soccer will never get a chance to become popular in the US

Every four years the World Cup comes around and a handful of Americans who enjoy soccer get to enjoy the immensity of the intensely awesome few weeks of fantastic matches. I love it. Much like the Olympics, the World Cup is a chance for people around the world to come together and support their country. Not in the sense of ‘hey, make sure you vote!’ but in the strongest sense of pride and image.

It’s no secret that soccer isn’t big in the US. Only a handful of cities have ‘professional’ teams, and without doing any research I bet it’s safe to say attendance719px-WC-2014-Brasil.svg at those games doesn’t hold a candle to the weekly football games in the fall. And that’s too bad, because despite it’s simplicity soccer requires an insane amount of athleticism.

First off, the pitch is huge. It’s roughly the same length as a football field (endzones includes), and about 20 yards wider. Secondly, the players are constantly in motion – for 45 minutes at a time. In all other US sports there are constant breaks or downtime. Think about it. In a baseball game, there’s probably about 3 minutes worth of actual action and running over the course of 9 innings. Everyone on the field is doing nothing until someone hits the ball. And even then the play could be over in less than 5 seconds. In football, play stops after every down, and every time possession changes. And plays often only extend around 10 yards on average I bet – then you stop again. The only sport that comes close would be basketball. But again, constant time-outs, foul shots, etc, cause everything to halt. But soccer players are running the whole time. Play rarely ceases for injuries or penalties, and the clock continues to run and then they play additional time after time has expired. Rugby is much the same, but again, it’s another sport that has a hard time catching on here even though it’s probably the most badass sport there is.

But that’s just a reason why soccer should be respected more than it is. The reason it won’t catch on in the US as much as it should is correlated: it won’t ever find a place on TV. Why? Because of commercials.

You may not have noticed but while you’ve been enjoying the hell out of some awesome matches these past two weeks there haven’t been any breaks for commercials until half-time. ESPN has been awesome and has not cut away from the coverage to show commercials. Every other sport you watch on TV has constant commercials – because of all the breaks in play. If you’ve ever attended a football game, they actually have something called a ‘TV-Timeout,’ where play is delayed for longer just so commercials can be shown on TV. It’s the most obnoxious, momentum killing thing in sports. While a no-interruption broadcast of the game may fly for a once-every-four-years event being shown on a subscription only cable network, it will never, ever, fly on regular network television. Which is exactly where it needs to be to get more exposure.

USASevens_LogoRugby 7s is starting to gain ground here in the US, mostly because it’s going to be in the summer Olympics in two years. But it’s only aired on NBC. And even though rugby is much like soccer in that play is continuous NBC just had to break away every few minutes for commercials, making viewers actually miss parts of the game. Hell, how many commercials are there during the Olympics? Soccer will never gain footing on TV for the same exact reason. Heaven-forbid we go a whole 45 minutes without showing commercials. Oh blah blah blah I know it’s how networks gain revenue but spare me that drivel. There are plenty of hours not during the game to show your damn commercials – and it’s not like they’re hurting for money anyway. Yes, I know soccer is shown on TV from time to time. But not like baseball, or basketball, or football, and not on regular broadcast networks.

So there you have it. I’d love to be wrong, but something tells me I’m partially right. Sure, it may never gain traction simply because too many redneck idiots think it’s stupid and ‘football’ is way better. Whatever. But in the end, large scale exposure largely depends on broadcasting.

FOX News says: ‘BEWARE The LEGO Movie!!!’ Seriously, How are these people on TV?

Time and time again, clips from various news programs on the FOX News channel pop up on Youtube or other news sites proving, time and time again, beyond a reasonable doubt, they are the absolute worst people in the “news” industry – and overall just terrible human beings. I don’t understand who possibly buys into their garbage, but the scary part is so many people do.

This time, it’s The LEGO Movie.

Parents, everyone, beware! The LEGO Movie is indoctrinating your kids to hate capitalism and big business! No, really! It’s LEGO and Hollywood’s hidden agenda: to make 7 year olds come out of the movie thinking “I’m against freedom, capitalism, and monopolies! Down with CEOs!” Here’s the clip:

HOW ARE THESE PEOPLE ON TV

I don’t get it. Millions of qualified people are having trouble finding employment in dozens of different fields of work, while these morons are on television, making assloads of money, and influencing people.

By the way, I’m pretty sure the only thing your kids are coming out of The LEGO Movie thinking is:

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!

The Evolution vs. Creationism Debate

As many of you know, Ken Ham invited Bill Nye to a little debate the other night about the merits of evolution and creationism. Here’s the video of it if you didn’t catch it:

Now, I’m not going into depth about the specifics of the debate because we could be here for hours, but needless to say it has once again brought to the forefront the argument of science vs. religion – and more specifically evolution vs. creationism.

Buzzfeed, everyone’s favorite website for lists of things, featured this list yesterday, and I want to take a minute to respond to some of them (you should click the link to see the whole list). I am not religious and believe in evolution, and while I [mostly] respect other’s rights to believe in their own stuff it frightens me when people have such incredibly absurd beliefs about the nature of the world around them, and are passing these beliefs on to their children.

Yes. It is. Rings are evidence of growth. Growth is evidence of time. Why create trees with a mechanism that shows growth over time and a way of measuring the tree’s age if it had none to begin with because it just magically appeared? I won’t even get into plate tectonics, and layering of sedimentary rocks and fossils.

Ahh. Trying to use science to disprove science. I bet you $100 you don’t even know what the 2nd law of thermodynamics is, and why it could possibly disprove evolution. You just heard someone say it and now you say it too – just like when people said Obama was a Socialist and couldn’t actually give any reasons why. Now I won’t pretend to understand thermodynamics but from what I do understand according to entropy, the universe and all the molecules in it are moving from order to disorder. The reason Creationists believe this disproves evolution is because they believe evolution means increasing biological complexity. The reason this does not disprove evolution is because evolution does not necessarily mean biologically we are getting more complex. Evolution is adaptation to one’s environment. Survival of the fittest means the organisms that evolve and adapt the best to their changing environment will be the most fit to reproduce. It does not mean your genetic makeup gets exponentially complex. The majority of the current human genome is almost identical to the mapped genome of Neanderthals and chimpanzees, the only differences are the slight mutations in the DNA that allowed this offspring to survive better in it’s new environment, and then reproduce sharing this new adaptation, while the others died out. Entropy & thermodynamics have nothing to do with evolution.

Ok.
I literally didn’t know what to type here because what the hell?
First, obviously God cares not for proper grammar. Secondly, a sunset occurs when the rotation of the Earth causes the sun to fall behind the horizon from your perspective location on the Earth’s surface. The colors are a result of light interacting with the atmosphere (that’s a simple, easy explanation). I don’t understand where the disconnect is here? Even if you believed the Earth was still at the center of the solar system, and the Sun revolved around it, there would still be sunsets. This makes no sense.

Oh alright. I give up. We all know sunsets are made by the little Indian girl program in The Matrix.

I’ll assume you’re referring to the idea of intelligence and consciousness since that’s the closest thing I could find when I googled the word ‘noetics’ because no one knows what that is (nice job, that degree in philosophy is already paying off!). To answer the question: What about it? Humans aren’t the only organisms with consciousness. How did we all get it? I don’t know for sure – because I don’t think anyone does – but I’d be willing to wager it has something to do with how the brain developed and uses all them fancy chemicals and neurotransmitters and other words that doctors use. Also, remember, consciousness isn’t limited to humans. Try to disprove that next time you’re hanging out with your dog or cat. And are you also suggesting that Lucy or Neanderthals weren’t self-aware and had no consciousness?

Uh, yes.

Who believes this?  Oh yeah, this guy:

Science is not a theory – science is an encompassing field of study. Apparently this lady has decided to completely ignore the scientific method – you know, that series of steps that tests, observes, and attempts to repeat results of occurrences in nature. What this lady wrote makes no sense. And I object to it being taught in school because science taught in school is factual science based on the scientific method, not the Bible.

So my entire life’s purpose is to put all my eggs in the God basket hoping that I am worthy enough in my faith that he will rescue me from the putrid, festering, cesspool of evil that apparently the Earth is? That sounds like a pretty crappy existence. Who says you have to have a purpose? You exist because your parents had sex and the birds and the bees happened and then you grew up into an adult. Life is life. Some people feel like they have a purpose and they do things like run charities and join Doctors Without Borders or something. That’s awesome. Me, I prefer to watch Star Trek and laugh at cat videos. Does that mean my life has no purpose? Does that mean I have absolutely no reason for existing? My entire life is worthless and useless? Not sure about that.

You can’t see it, but I’m shaking my head in disbelief.
The more simple answer is it all depends on how the organism, be it a plant, insect, or proto-human, is preserved at the time of it’s death. This answer doesn’t even require science, just common freaking sense.

It’s the same reason we haven’t found millions of dinosaur fossils, or why the Grand Canyon exists: they degrade, erode, disintegrate, decompose. If rocks can be weathered away – then certainly an organisms body and skeleton can. Lucy was remarkably preserved – we got lucky. Today, we entomb bodies in coffins, and still they deteriorate over time. I don’t think Lucy’s people had a habit of leaving their dead in airtight coffins for future scientists to find. They could have been left where they died, and the bones could have been spread around for miles by scavengers.

Oh, also, Lucy wasn’t found by herself. We have found plenty of partial skeletons of Lucy’s friends, and other levels of evolutionary neanderthals. Try again.

I hate this argument. Hate it.
Ok, first, we didn’t come from monkeys. More accurately, we came from apes. But the short, easy answer is there are many different species of apes, monkeys and chimps, and humans derived from that one particular one that happened to have the right genetic mutation at the right time and survived and adapted. The other species continued on in their own versions. Evolution doesn’t mean you just replace your entire species or group of organisms.

So there you have it folks. These people are out there, and they’re serious. It’s frightening.

The State of [education in] the Union

Last night, President Obama, just like W before him, stood in front of the nation and reaffirmed to educators across the country that we are screwed – still.

Let’s take a look at what he said – as little as it was – about education.

Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test.

Hmm. That last sentence. Something doesn’t seem right. I’m pretty sure Race to the Top uses copious amounts of testing. And hilariously enough, those tests don’t measure how well our students think. In fact they don’t measure anything at all. Common Core has stripped all the thinking and discovery from the classroom. No, these tests very much ‘measure’ how well student can fill in a bubble. CCSS and RTTT aren’t more challenging curriculums, they are a set misguided objectives.

But it’s worth it – and it’s working.

Oh, you must mean in a parallel dimension where RTTT didn’t fail, and didn’t hand out vouchers giving states a pass for not meeting the expected requirements for the absurdly testing-heavy program. Did thousands of parents opt their students out of the tests in that parallel dimension where RTTT succeeded? Because that happened here, in reality.

The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.

You’re reaching plenty of kids – it’s just that the programs the government has implemented have succeeded in widening the achievement gap between rich white kids in gated communities, and the impoverished. Oh, and all those high-achieving rich white kids are cozy in schools laden with technology and nifty amenities, while inner city schools and lower-performing areas still have their funding cut.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait.

‘High quality Pre-K’…let’s hope he actually means high quality, and not high stakes. Because of RTTT, Kindergarten students are being tested and evaluated now. I’m sorry but there are fundamental development issues here. This is the age where discovery learning is how kids function. Testing them is just plain wrong.

So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children.

Uh oh. Partnerships with states? You mean politicians and businessmen getting together and shaking hands with other politicians and businessmen and wondering how much money they can make off public education?

And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high quality pre-K they need.

So, still no educators then. Gotcha. Nice. Thanks.