Trading Places

24 December 2008

Dan keeps bugging me to write.  The end of the semester and exam week really did me in — I’m tired, irritable, and more than a bit burned out.  I’ve been doing nothing but playing Left 4 Dead and Castle Crashers for an entire week, bugging the living shit out of my friends (I don’t own an XBox 360).  I’m like the Tyrone Biggums of video game consoles.

I want some Castle Crashers.

Joe Rogan, this is not the first time I've tasted penis for some Castle Crashers.

Alright, so enough of this shit and onto today’s topic.  When I’m in the car, I listen to whatever contemporary pop Hip-Hop station I can find.  I do this for the chuckles — there’s nothing a Hip-Hop singer won’t sing about soulfully (clubs, bitches, getting head, not finding any seeds in your sack of weed, the list goes on).  Not to mention, I like to keep up on the most recent slang. 

Recently I heard the song “Trading Places” by Usher.

Apparently, it’s a red-letter day in the Usher household.  Why, you ask?  Is it an anniversary?  Did his girlfriend get a promotion?  Did Usher just beat Left 4 Dead on expert-mode?

Nope.  Tonight, Usher’s girlfriend is going to fuck him from the top.  That’s what the song is about.  That’s what “trading places” refers to.  She’s going to fuck him on top, and this is such a rare occurrence that he must commemorate its passing with song.  

That’s not where the ridiculousness of the song stops, however.  Apparently men and women don’t act the way they do because of genes or some stupid shit like culture and society.  They act the way they do based on who fucks who on top, according to Usher.

Once his woman does him from the top, let’s examine his resulting behavior:

I’ll be waking u up to a cup of Folgers 
Pancakes and eggs I owe ya breakfast in bed, oh baby 
And your orange juice sitting on the coaster 
Toast on the side baby strawberry and grape jelly 
You finished let me get that drink, 
Pull the curtain from the window 
Time to get up baby let me make this bed up 
Today we going shopping blow 30 on me 
Make it 60, spend it like u really love me 
Skip dinner and we gon rent a movie 
You order chinese food right before u do me 
You coming on strong baby let me wash me hands 
She said hurry up then get your ass to bed 

We get the point.  Usher’s doing the things his girlfriend normally does.  However, there are a few questionable things about this passage.  First of all, if you needed any more evidence that Usher is gay, he’s putting the orange juice on the coaster.  I mean, I understand that he’s supposed to be acting like the woman in this song, but keep in mind he sat down and wrote (or read) the lyrics at some point.  

Second of all, Usher is giving his woman Folgers.  FOLGERS.  Come on man, you’re USHER.  Cough up $20 and get a fucking grinder for crying out loud.  Folgers?  Folgers!?

(yeah) Wash the car 
(yeah) I’m gonna walk the dog 
(yeah) Take out the trash 
(yeah) With nothing but your t-shirt on 
(yeah) I’m gonna press your shirt 

This shit is just beyond the pale.  Keep in mind he’s not doing these things for his woman because he loves her, but because of their particular spatio-temporal relations during sexual intercourse.  

I understand that a white guy commenting on Hip Hop is at best stupid and at worst inappropriate.  But then again — I have ears, don’t I?


Happy Taliban Week

21 December 2008

This evening, millions of Jews will start celebrating Chanukkah.  Many people think that Chanukkah is a major holiday, but in fact it is one of the most minor on the Jewish calendar.  Why, then, is it so widely observed, especially by relatively secular Jews?  Jealousy.  The celebration of Chanukkah as we know it is mainly an American phenomenon; Jewish immigrants saw what great fun Christians had on Christmas (which is mostly a ripoff of pagan traditions, but that’s another story) and wanted in on the action, so they devised their own version.

There’s a common perception among non-Jews that Chanukkah is a sweet holiday, perhaps even better than Christmas: eight nights of presents, exotic food, and games of dreidel.  The fact is that Chanukkah doesn’t hold a candle to Christmas, if you’ll pardon the pun.  Sure, you get eight presents, but they’re usually cheap and lame; parents often use them as an excuse to give you things they were going to buy you anyway, like socks.  Whereas on Christmas you eat awesome food like ham and goose, on Chanukkah you eat Jewish cuisine, which is usually as unappetizing as it sounds.  Take gefilte fish, for example; I’d rather eat an aborted orangutan fetus.  Finally, dreidel has to be the shittiest game ever invented; it’s basically the equivalent of taking turns flipping a coin.

What the fuck?

What the fuck?

The most pathetic thing about Chanukkah, however, is the fact that few Jews even know what they’re celebrating.   The true story of Chanukkah (not the revisionist popular version) is that of a civil war that took place between Jews living under Syrian rule during the Hellenistic period.   On one side were those who had largely assimilated into Greek culture and adoped a modern, liberal value system.  On the other side were the Maccabees, a band of fundamentalists who took issue with the lifestyle of their brethren.  The Maccabees revolted and scored a victory by brutally murdering and forcibly converting their enemies.  Sound familiar?  It should; the Maccabees were basically the Taliban of their time.  Tonight, Jews across the world will unwittingly celebrate these violent, ignorant assholes.  What a disgrace.

But hey, at least it’s not completely made up.

Fun With Search

19 December 2008

WordPress allows you to see the search strings that led people to your blog. I’ve seen quite a few strange and funny ones thus far, but this one takes the cake:

“christmas gay cock or fucking or sucking or blowjob”

I’m baffled. What could possibly possess someone to type that into a search engine? What could he have been looking for? Why did he type the word “or” not once, not twice, but thrice?  And how did he end up here?  I typed this into google and Moral Hazard was not among the hits.

If you’re out there, Mr. Searcher, please explain via an anonymous comment. Thanks, and good luck finding that christmas gay cock site.

Edit 22-12-08: new search: “fuck me chess.”  What the hell is wrong with people?

I Wanted a Meal, Not a Math Problem

18 December 2008

Hola amigos.  I know I haven’t rapped at ya much recently, but I’ve been busy with finals and whatnot.  I’m all done for now, so I’ll be able to drop science on you more consistently.  Let’s get right to it: last Friday some classmates and I went out to a local tavern to celebrate the end of classes.  As soon as we had had our fill of wings and beer and merrymaking, we were collectively bitch-slapped back to reality by the bane of all American diners: the check.  There were eight of us, and we each had to spend several minutes scrutinizing the bill, trying to figure out what we had ordered and how much we needed to chip in.   Predictably, despite our best intentions and effort, our cash pile was well short.

Why does dining out require a Ph.D. in astrophysics?  Well, for starters, there’s the obnoxious institution of tipping.

Mr. Pink makes a good point: why does society deem waiting tables, and not other jobs, worthy of a substantial tip?  More importantly, how do employers get away with paying waiters and waitresses (side note: when and why did they become “servers?”  I refuse to use that term) far less than the minimum wage?  They should be salaried or paid a legal hourly wage just like all other employees, and service should be included in the price of the food.  No calculation required, and no conflict because people have different ideas of what constitutes an appropriate tip.  I anticipate objections to the effect that the consumer will lose power and get inferior service.  I claim that the consumer already has little choice in the matter, since tipping at least 15% is obligatory unless the service is particularly bad.  In such cases, a customer could complain to the management and have his bill reduced.  Besides, why do people consider it a right and a pleasure to lord over those whose job it is to serve them?

The tip is not the only hidden cost of dining out; there are also taxes to worry about.  Because tax is added after the subtotal, it’s difficult to know what fraction of the tax you owe.  To make matters worse, Pittsburgh levies an additional 10% tax on all alcohol purchases.  Why can’t tax simply be included?  I see no reason why merchants should be allowed to advertise a price that is lower than what you’ll actually have to pay.  This goes for all purchases, by the way, not just those made at restaurants.  How nice would it be to know exactly what you’ll owe before placing your order?  This would also have the advantage of simplifying transactions.  As it is now, when something is listed at $1.99 (does this gimmick really still fool anyone, by the way?  Just price it at $2, for fuck’s sake), it will actually cost $2.09 in a state with 5% sales tax.  Unless you happen to carry around lots of coins, you’ll get stuck with 91 cents in change.  This is not a mere inconvenience; making all this change represents a nontrivial cost to the economy (scroll down to the fourth section).

Lastly, there’s the fact that separate checks are not the default.  When a group of people dine together, why is it assumed that one person will pick up the check?  This is not the case most of the time, and the diners have to do the work of figuring out who had what, which can be difficult due to the cryptic nature of restaurant checks (“who had the Chx Frs x 2?”).  Making split checks the default would clear up this confusion and make everything go much more smoothly.  I suppose it would be a little bit more work to enter each customer separately, but waiters would also save time by having to explain the bill far less often.

There you have it: three simple suggestions that would make dining out a more pleasant experience for all parties.  Get on it, legislators.

Phone Phollies

10 December 2008

Question: Why is it that every time I reach someone’s voicemail I have to hear this?

Computer Bitch: “You have reached the voice mailbox of five…one…zero…six…eight…one…four…three…seven…three.  To leave a voice message, begin speaking after the tone.  When you are finished recording, you may hang up, or press one for more options.  To leave a callback number, press three.”

Man…FUNK DAT! Gee, thanks Computer Bitch, I would never have known how to leave a message without your thorough instructions.  What the fuck?  It’s 2008; even the Bushmen of the Kalahari know how to leave a goddamn voicemail.  And has anyone ever left a “callback number?”  I don’t even know what that is.  Beep, talk, hang up.  There don’t need to be any other options, and there’s certainly no need to waste my time explaining them.

This wouldn’t be so irritating if there were an easy way to bypass it, but each phone network uses a different button for that purpose.  I have Verizon, which uses “star.”  It also sucks gigantic elephant cock, but that’s a post for another day.  Often I’ll call someone and try to skip the preamble by pressing “star,” but on that person’s network “star” takes you into the voice mailbox, and there’s no way out.  I have to hang up, call back, sit through 45 seconds of instructions, and finally leave a message, including an explanation that I’m not an idiot, I just called twice in a row because I wanted to skip the voicemail instructions but your network uses a different bypass code than mine and I wound up in your mailbox so I had to hang up and call again.

This pisses me off to no end.

What have you done with the real Busta?

3 December 2008

Busta Rhymes was a great rapper.  I feel bad saying it.  I really wish I could say that he is.

Listening to a white boy talk about what rap is good and what rap isn’t is sort of like listening to a blind man discuss van Gogh.  However, any idiot could make the observations I’m about to — they’re universal across culture, race, time, and space.  Even a Chinese railroad worker from the 19th century would agree with me on this shit.

Here’s some classic Busta:

This stuff is excellent and if you disagree you’re wrong.  If you want to skip the little “before the song” song, hop ahead to 1:30 in the video (where “Break Ya Neck” actually starts).  Busta’s technique is great.  Entertaining lyrics and great technique — even though he raps fast you can understand what he’s saying; he fully enunciates each word.  

Not to mention, he was wild.


Busta probably needed to switch to decaf.

Busta probably needed to switch to decaf.

I could go on, but there’s no reason to when you could just watch the above video.

That being said — I heard a song on the radio recently called “We Gettin’ Arab Money.”  It’s a song about getting so much money that it’s as if you were a sheik selling oil or some shit.  Anyway I looked it up on youtube when I got home just because I was in complete disbelief such a shitty song existed.

The first hits returned Busta’s name, and at first I skipped those links because I didn’t believe it could actually be Busta.  I ignored the search results and searched for like five minutes before I ended up giving in and seeing if it was him.  Much to my dismay, it is.  Here it is:

This video is a fucking disaster.  It’s nothing.  It’s worse than nothing.  Busta would have done much better to just stay the fuck home on this one.

First of all, he looks like a fucking dad.  He seriously reminds me of some of my friends’ parents in high school.  Second of all, the song is absolute garbage.  This needs no explanation.  And finally: why the fuck is the video for this song a party with an average crew of office workers?  It boggles the mind.  He’s doing a shitty, uninspired dance with office workers.   Office workers.   Fuck.

I have nothing more to say about this.  Somebody get him back on speed, on the double.

The Following Things Are Overrated

3 December 2008

1. The Doors.

Any “overrated” list must start with The Doors, the ultimate example of a no-talent band that made it big because they were in the right place at the right time.  Sure, they were influential, but listening to their repetitive, dissonant, atonal music is worse than getting a root canal from Dr. Mengele.  I defy you to listen to the following song all the way through without stabbing yourself in the brain with a pencil:

One of the reasons The Doors are so overrated is that Jim Morrison is often described as a great poet, and not just by that chunky melancholic girl we all knew in high school.  These people must be higher than Jim Morrison himself; I could eat a copy of King Lear and shit better poetry than that hack’s.  “Come on baby light my fire/Come on baby light my fire/Try to set the night on fire.”  Brilliant.  Nice touch, rhyming “fire” with “fire.”  Pure genius.

2. Allen Iverson.

When people who are knowledgeable about sports hear the word “overrated,” the first player that usually springs to mind is Derek Jeter.  Sure, Jeter’s overrated, but at least he’s a good player; excellent, in fact.  The same is true of Kobe Bryant.  What sets Allen Iverson apart is that throughout his career he’s been slightly above average at best and considerably below average at worst.  People overrate him because of his high scoring totals, which are merely a function of how many shots he takes each game.  The dude’s career field goal percentage is .425 overall and .314 for three-pointers.  To put that in perspective, Steve Nash, a good player, shoots .486/.432.  That’s a huge difference.  Furthermore, AI contributes little beyond scoring; he dishes out some assists, but he’s a zero on the boards and turns the ball over constantly.  Iverson won the MVP in 2001; according to the sophisticated evaluation system presented by Berri, Schmidt and Brook in The Wages of Wins, Iverson was the 160th best player in the NBA that year.  According to the same system, Iverson was only once the best player on his team (in 1997).  As much as I’d like to root for a guy who at 6’0 is a midget in the NBA, Allen Iverson just plain sucks.

On a related note, why do pro athletes who make millions of dollars have tattoos that look like they were done by a blind inmate in cellblock D?

On a related note, why do pro athletes who make millions of dollars have tattoos that look like they were done by a blind inmate in cellblock D?

3. Star Wars.

I know I’m going to make a lot of nerds angry with this one, but it has to be said: the Star Wars movies just aren’t all that.  I’m not saying they’re bad; they’re reasonably entertaining.  I just can’t figure out why every guy who wouldn’t know breasts from a football because he never touched either has such a raging boner for them.  The special effects, while great for their time, are pathetic by today’s standards.  The plot is nothing special, and the villain sounds like he’s on a respirator.  Are the light sabers really that exciting?  I guess they are to some…

4. Diversity.

“Diversity.”  The very word reeks of bullshit.  Why do people nowadays think that diversity is desirable in and of itself?  Multiculturalism has promoted the idea that if we surround ourselves with people of different races, we’ll be exposed to so many new perspectives that we’ll all be more productive, expand our horizons and sing songs under a rainbow.

Excuse me while I vomit.

Excuse me while I vomit.

Has anyone ever actually experienced this?  I doubt it.  Besides, why should we assume that people with different skin colors must think differently?

Humans are clannish and xenophobic by nature; it’s only relatively recently that people of different backgrounds have come to live among one another.  This is part of the reason why racism has persisted throughout history and remains ubiquitous throughout the world.  As modern, enlightened humans, we should learn to respect and tolerate our differences (or, better yet, ignore them).  But celebrate them?  What a crock of shit.

5. Los Angeles.

Anyone who’s ever been to L.A. knows that it sucks ass through a straw; those who haven’t, however, tend to consider it a glamorous and sexy place.  If you’re one of those people, allow me to disabuse you of that notion right now.  Have you ever seen the movie Mad Max? L.A. is like that, except worse, since Mel Gibson actually lives there.

By far the worst thing about L.A. is its infrastructure, or lack thereof.  Because the city experienced most of its growth during the automobile age, it’s more a sprawling conglomeration of suburbs than a true city.  Because of this, L.A. is basically one giant traffic jam, and there’s no way to avoid it since driving is the only way to get anywhere.

Look at the size of this hellhole!

Just look at the size of this hellhole!

And where is there to go?  Aside from the beaches, which are always crowded with assholes, there’s nothing but strip malls.  I guess if you’re up for a thrill you can take a ride through some of America’s worst ghettos.  The climate is pleasant year-round, but that’s outweighed out by the constant smog and droughts.  Finally, L.A. is full of phonies who think they’re going to make it in Hollywood, but usually wind up bussing tables or doing gangbangs for blow.

Most of California is wonderful, especially the Bay Area, but L.A. is a complete wasteland.  Avoid it at all costs.