MSU v Penn State

To DG: I apologize in advance for the fact that Penn State is going down tomorrow. Final score, MSU 23 Penn State 17.

Snippet

A section from this story I’m writing:

I was hammering away at the keys copying the text when I saw a pink bike being fastened to the bike rack outside. I remember thinking that if my life was a movie that a pink bike for a little girl would not survive the script. It was hackneyed and cliché, a more reasonable replacement would be demanded by the props man or director, yet there it was in my peripheral, fastened into the bike rack with a cheap chain and a standard lock. A plain old girl’s pink bike with worn out tires.

I quietly unlocked the door and sat back down at my computer desk resuming my typing in a conspicuously loud manner. If Lydia barged in again we were going to have it out. I anticipated this would come to pass but to my surprise I heard three taps from small knuckles on my door. I simply called “Come in� as if this was what I expected all along.

She entered shaking off a blue backpack that she let fall on the ground. She started as if to say something but raised an index finger to forestall and finished typing out the sentence I had formulated in my mind. If it’s one thing I hate it’s unfinished thoughts. It’s quite possibly the only neurosis it’s the only one that I will claim. That said, I finished typing then I turned to Lydia so she could speak.

“I took your advice and went to the library like you said. I even had my mom go with me so I could get a library card but I had to pretend it was for school to even get her out of the house.�

I started to say something about the ethics of using untruths but she seemed excited to go on so I didn’t dare stop her lest her mood be spoiled. She reached into the bag producing a hardbound book that she held to me in triumph.

“I got something to study like you said.�

The Unlocked Secrets of the Tarot Card was embossed in golden text on dark green binding. It was an odd combination of colors, and just as odd as seeing something that belonged in the medieval past right here in my living room next to where I sat typing at an iMac.

“That’s not exactly what I meant by studying. You are aware that’s not a textbook, right?�

“I know it’s not what you study but it’s study all the same. And since it’s something that you probably don’t read up on this time I can teach you some things.�

Again I wanted to protest but I didn’t have the heart to puncture this balloon, this thirst for knowledge I had helped to awaken, by criticizing her subject of choice. Perhaps I’d humor her through this then try to redirect her interests for the next book that she sought. Or we could discuss the tarot from a scholarly point of view, as something that had its place in history as a reflection of the belief systems of that time from a people who did not have our advantage of the knowledge of the natural sciences. Again I held my peace and decided I’d let her prattle on.

“I’m going to need a deck of cards�, she said and looked at me with expectation as if she knew for a fact without a doubt that I would produce a deck. I did in fact have such a deck and, having packed my things away just a month before I knew exactly where they were. It somewhat miffed me yet and still because had she asked me when I was still at the other house I would have been been dumbfounded about if and where I had a deck of cards.

I produced them and Lydia promptly began removing the face cards from the pack. She systematically referred to the tarot book, discarding some and arranging others in the deck like some medieval periodical table of elements. It was a sight that didn’t fail to amuse although I kept a poker face lest she catch on to the fact that I took this less than seriously. I’d tell her later on, of course, after persuading her to check out other books how tarot cards had no power to foretell the future, nor were they (as some would claim) a link to communing with the demon world that lurked beneath the spiritual aspiring of man. No, much like the futility of trying to find a pattern in the lottery, this was all just so much spinning of mental wheels in the mud.

Presently she had the cards arranged. She systematically referred to the tarot book, discarding some and arranging others in the deck like some medieval periodical table of elements. It was a sight that didn’t fail to amuse although I kept a straight face lest she catch on to the fact that I took this less than seriously. After she had them all arranged set the deck down on the table and proceeded to draw a diagram of something on a sheet of paper.

“What you do now is, without looking at the cards, take some out and arrange them on the table the way I’m showing you on this paper. After you set them up I’ll look at them and tell you what it means.”

I followed her directions, pulling cards from the deck from random spots and laying them on the table according to the diagram. I tried to pull the cards from everywhere in the deck so that there could not have been a pattern from the way the deck had originally been set up. When I was done she turned the cards over one-by-one and began consulting her reference book and writing in her notebook. This is the part where I’m supposed to say that I was spooked but, as I mentioned before, I’m a rational person and had never believed in things like this at all. At some point Lydia stopped writing and a look of consternation crossed her face.

“That can’t be right at all.”

“What did I do, pull the death card?” I joked.

“Let me see your hand”, she demanded.

I held my right hand out and she grabbed my fingers turning my hand palm up. She inspected the lines of my hand which made me feel a bit uneasy as I’ve never liked being inspected, so to speak. After looking closely she finally breathed what I took to be a sigh of relief.

“Ok, your life-line isn’t short at all so something so the tarot can’t be right. You must have pulled the wrong card.”

“Are you serious I pulled the death card? On the first try? Man I’m pretty good!”

“It was the wrong card”, she said, looking serious as if we were discussing math.

“What do you mean wrong card? This is all just nonsense anyway, you can’t learn anything from cards.”

“How do you know that?�

“Because it doesn’t make any sense. How could the cards be affected in any way by reality? Or how could reality be affected by the cards? How could information pass back in forth between the reality and the cards? Explain that to me.�

“I don’t know. But just because I can’t explain doesn’t mean it can’t be so.�

The object balls spins causing the adjacent ball to spin in the opposite direction. The result is that the adjacent ball is “thrown� into the corner pocket in a fashion that’s counter-intuitive.

But this was just ridiculous, in the one case we were talking about physics. In this one we’re talking about-

“Mysticism a proper subject for history, not for science. Discussing tarot cards is just about as useless as believing in unicorns, leprechauns, or life after death. They’re fanciful stories but it’s all stuff that’s simply not true.”

“And you know this because you’ve died before?�

“Of course not!�

“Well then you don’t actually know there’s no life after death. You’ll never know until you see.�

That’s the concept of experiential knowledge. But this was totally different.

News

I don’t care about Kanye West or his mom.  I’m not saying that she deserved to die.  People die all the time, that’s just something that just is.  All I’m saying is that every time I hear Kanye West all I can think of is the no-class jackass who interrupts awards ceremonies when he doesn’t win and makes a gigantic embarassment of himself for not having any class whatsoever.  This speaks directly to upbringing so that means Kanye’s mom raised him to have no class.  Now she’s dead which is neither here nor there.  This story means even less to me than who Linsay Lohan is giving pussy to at the rehab centers.  I don’t even care enough to link to the original news article.  Run a story about rampaging monkeys in India or something.

Fucking idiot. If you view the above video check it out from about the one minute mark.

Mortality and Self-Awareness

When my son Jordon was about three or four I remember pontificating about humankind’s ability to be aware of of our own mortality and also about the human tendency to repress such thoughts.  I then wondered if my son was in fact too young for such thoughts ever to have ocurred to him so I asked him (as we were walking to wherever it was that we were going):

Me:  Jordon, are you gonna die some day?

Jordon:  (big smile and affirmative nod) Yes!

 Me:  (a little stunned that he answered thus)  When are you gonna die?

 Jordon:  (another big smile and nod)  Wednesday!

Best Idea Ever

I don’t see how this could possibly go wrong!

I Did This One

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Behind the Time

Stupid old Time Magazine already made the arguments I ended up making on R’s blog regarding Pakistan, divided loyalties, and nukes so now I don’t look original at all because their article came out first. But I swear I didn’t read the article until this morning. Dammit!

Anyway, Time knows what time it is regarding Pakistan’s sympathy towards the Taliban:

Currently, the Pakistani army is conflicted over its orders to battle jihadists, says Husain Haqqani, a former senior Pakistani diplomat and political operative who is now a professor at Boston University. “These large numbers of troops who are virtually surrendering themselves to the insurgents in Waziristan without putting up a fight would not have done so if they were not conflicted within themselves,” he told a congressional panel recently. “That conflict comes from a belief system after years of having been told that the jihadists represent a force for good. And now that they are being told to fight them, some of them are not able to make that transition as quickly as General Musharraf was able to make after 9/11 with a phone call from Washington, D.C.”

That was my point about Musharraf actually being best case scenario for the US which would make it unwise to unseat him.

Stereoscopic Vision, Dogs, and Dreams

According to Steven Pinker, human beings have evolved with finely attuned stereoscopic vision because we evolved from tree dwelling animals for whom the ability to judge distance and depth perception is a primary. Any monkey that can’t tell how far the next branch is isn’t going to last long in the monkey world. The ability to judge distances farther than ancient man could travel has never had any biological advantage. That’s why to ancient man the moon probably looked to be about 200 miles away (and that’s how far it looks to me). We suck at gigantic distance estimation but our minds are equipped with innate algorithms and are excellent at being able to gauge the reality in which we live. Dogs, by contrast, don’t necessarily need to be really smart when it comes to distance. They get to where they’re going when their olfactory senses lead them there.

This isn’t to say that humans don’t have any use for the sense of smell. While people can’t identify nearly as many smells as dogs, we still have the ability to detect when meat is rotting, when people have less than stellar hygiene, and our sense of smell is also key in helping the brain to associate and intensify certain memories. To this day, when I smell a bushel of onions, I am reminded of being three years old and playing in the rich black soil of the migrant fields in Stockbridge Michigan while my mother picked onions.

Sometimes I wonder how much our atavistic instincts kick in on a day to day basis and I think it’s lots. I remember the time my younger brother Joshua was being chased down by a raging pit bull in Texas. He bolted through an elementary school playground with no relief in sight and I thought he was Purina until I saw him raise his hand and then shoot straight up into the air. It turns out he had run directly underneath a chin-up bar and when he grabbed the bar his momentum took him upward in a perfect arc leaving him safely on top of the chin-up bar looking down at the raging pit bull. When people are in danger from canines, we instinctively look for something to climb.

Then there was the dream I had where I was arrested for some trumped up reason by the cops who sought to off me in a discreet manner (I often have paranoid dreams). The cops cuffed me and then put me ON TOP of the paddy wagon in what appeared to be an attempt to have me die by falling off the truck and into traffic (FYI dreams don’t have to be realistic and I don’t have the option of firing the script-writer so bear with me). Anyway as the truck made harsh turns down the street and I was hanging on for dear life I came close to a fence at one point and I reached out and snagged onto it leaving me safe and alive as the truck continued on it’s way. I then scrambled head first down the fence like a squirrel (my hands were still cuffed) and I attempted to climb my way toward the crowd at a baseball game where I was going to lose myself in anonymity.

This dream proves to me that some semblance of climbing as a defense mechanism remains in the human psyche and cops in dreams cannot be trusted. Either that or paranoia is a virtue. Or keep your dog on a damn leash. Or Mexicans smell like onions. Take from this blog entry whatever suits your purposes.

Updated Entry

It has come to my attention that Melissa dey Hasbrook does actually stand up for violence against males too, not just women, so I’m taking off all that other stuff I said earlier because right is right. I still don’t like rallies or hippies but I’m against violence against humans (excepting midgets and Puerto Ricans of course). Also, even though as general rule I don’t delete comments I’ve taken all the earlier ones off this topic because without the post there the comments weren’t relevant anymore.

Halloween

The waitress at my bar asked me why I wasn’t dressed up for Halloween. I said I was. She asked what I was supposed to be. I said I was “some Puerto Rican guy”. Then I started eating food out of the trash to prove I was Puerto Rican. I got kicked out of the bar.

That story is a lie in its entirety.