Sex-volution: L'homme Fatal

⊆ 6:49 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , . | ˜ 8 comments »

A lot of articles are floating around there written by women about men.  A lot.  When things are going slow --and let's face it, we're on a six-week break here-- sometimes I like to skim through one or two and just meditate what They have to say about Us.  


It seems like I'm sneaking across the front lines in the dead of night every time I do, though.  The conviction!  Sometimes it almost feels like women think men get together and convene about what the next salvo of jerks we're going to send their way will be like.

This article I found today has me convinced that somewhere out there women have a two-word nomenclature for men.  It's probably in feminese or chicklish or some language every man wants to learn.  I just have to look a little harder, I guess.

The Homme Fatale (or grammatically correct, L'homme Fatal) is apparently manhood's answer to the age-old Femme Fatale stereotype.  The writer describes L'homme Fatal as just the opposite to its fatal female counterpart: intellectual, not necessarily attractive, self-effacing, but somehow still confident.  L'homme Fatal plays the emotional game, and rarely pushes for physical relationships, which, coupled with their typically boyish features and voice, makes them seem innocent. Once they're in, they wait a few months and then bail without a word.

The result?  A woman-devastating marvel with effectiveness somewhere between Russia's new conventional "father of all bombs" and a full-on T-850 series Terminator.

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These new operatives in The Battle of the Sexes are reportedly very hard to detect.  They are normally flanked by a posse of women that would otherwise be out of their league, which can be mistaken for almost anything.  A relative, a gay friend, a boss, or even a sugar daddy.

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You know, I don't think this is anything new.  We skinny runts have been around for ages.  I hate to say it, but women are finally just catching on.  First to go was the spousal abuser, and we can all agree that was for the better.  Then they went after the one-night stander.  And now the average dude looking for a pretty lady is under the gun.  [Enemy code name: emosogynist]

For L'homme, it is all looking very fatal.  Who knows?  Maybe one-night stands will be fairy tales for our grandchildren, which isn't a bad thing, only a sign of the times.

Yes, very fatal.


Thoughts: This Fella is the Man

⊆ 4:57 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

I am not one to divulge my blogspace to spreading Internet videos, but this one ... this one is a doozy.  I'm not entirely sure I frown upon what this man did, and the question comes up, "What would I do?"

The video explains it all.


To bad it was only a size 10.


Just Saying: And the Deity Dundee this year goes too...

⊆ 10:36 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

Shiva?

Since I've added the Newser app to my Google homepage, I've had the pleasure reading some of the most appalling headlines of 2008.  The nine-year-old who landed a movie deal for his book, How to Talk to Girls; kids indicted for Kick-a-Ginger day; death by spray deodorant; studies showing intelligent men have more virulent sperm.  The works.

But one this morning got me to thinking of an alarming trend.  The story tells of a 70-year-old Indian woman having her first child.  It says it fulfills the woman's dream of having a child she's had for a half a century.  

What's alarming is that this story doesn't surprise me one bit.  In fact, I call it mild.

An Indian man was highlighted on ABC some time ago for having a rare condition known as fetus in fetu, where a person develops in the womb alongside their twin.  But when the twin fails to form, it becomes absorbed into the other twin.  The result is a tumor-like growth these "hosts" carry with them until surgically removed.  The twin's fetus grows but never develops vital organs.  Believe it?

Google Image Search List:
1. fetus in fetu
2. 8 limbs
3. vishnu
4. two heads
5. wolverine (5th picture)

Sadly, on August 28 of this year, a baby Bangladeshi boy died three days after being born.  What's debatable was whether one boy or two boys died, as the child had two heads.

On a lighter note, a little Indian girl seems to be a happy kid --with her extra set of arms and legs.  Little word has come out recently about Lakshmi Tatma, the girl born with eight limbs, but from a 2007 article, things seem to be going well and she's all smiles.  I would be too, if I were considered the reincarnate of the Vishnu.  

These are all without including the countless children born with tails, of course.  One such case is this 2004-born Cambodian girl, whose tail has lifted her family out of poverty.  By charging roughly 50 cents to see her wondrous tail, the little girl has become the family's main breadwinner.  Her mother reportedly had a dream of an old man bringing her a baby monkey while she was pregnant with this "deity."

So the next question is, "What the hell is going on in Southeast Asia?"

To that, I have my well-constructed answer: "Nothing; we Americans just know how to keep our X-Men under wraps."


Just Saying: Huh...loud sounds

⊆ 7:42 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

Rue in Europe, woes in China (not to mention things getting worse), and everybody's blaming the stars and stripes.  Many seem to think the United States has plunged the world into economic limbo and catastrophe.

Haha ... oops.

It seems like by letting housing market run rampant, the U.S. has played the role of the jerk who threw the bottle rockets in the bon fire.  That minute where they brandish the fireworks and verbal mull the idea over?   Yeah, that's effectively called "Bush's second term."  That nerve-wracking couple of seconds everybody watches for the proverbial shit to hit the fan?  We'll call that 2008.

Pursuing the metaphor a little further, all huddled around a campfire, the thrower  is the only one that really knew how far he or she or it threw that bottle rocket.

Which, of course, inherently knew how bad the big ka-boom was going to be, not to mention the first one to know to run away.

I'm liking this model.  Next quarter, I'm running this by my macroecon professor.

And you know for some reason the U.S. is that tone-deaf douchebag with the taped-up acoustic guitar.  Now —playing devil's advocate here— what if some that were seated at this G-20-style campfire, spoke out about old America's numb-nutted renditions of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and "Smoke on the Water" and "Seven Nation Army?"  Let's get really out there.  What if everybody else was playing "Wonderful Tonight" and "Stairway to Heaven?"

So with reports of the last month's big bailout working, it looks like as the world is falling to pieces, the Yanks are, yep, once again emerging out on top.

Haha ... oops.


Politics: O Come, O Come Emanuel

⊆ 10:17 AM by A. Liebendorfer | ˜ 0 comments »

When Obama took Pennsylvania, I started the Obama Administration conversation.  Everybody thought I was jumping the gun and the conversation died.  Looks like I was right.


Remember, remember the fourth of November.   That night the changers cheered and McCain's strangers jeered (and untactly booed).  History had been made, Oprah tears had been shed, and the entire world except Americans conservatives celebrated.

Word came out this week that the first member of the Obama Administration would be the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.  Surprise, surprise I thought reading his name in a headline, a hispanic.  Obama was going to make the beltway look like an elementary school social studies textbook.  You know, the ones that throw out demographic populations and make the u.s. seem one part white, one part black, one part latin american, one part asian, and one part native american.  And surprise, surprise, Emanuel is a young'n from Illinois.

Sitting here, donating plasma, I took the time to check out this new mysterious figure.  After Sarah Palin, the informed American has learned to always do his or her research.

And what I found was the Biden Effect: inspiringly devoted to a party but competent, a rhetorical artist, and ready to stir things up.  On YouTube I fell in love with Biden when at a democratic debate he simply  answered "Yes," to if he could curb his verbosity on the campaign trail.


Election '08: Adam the Soothsayer

⊆ 4:57 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

I swore twice I'd never talk about it ever again.

From the bottom of Morton Hill, I could hear the latest voter peddling.  Gone are the "Are you registered to vote in Athens?"  Now we're haggled about early voting.

I walked back from the board of elections office last week feeling relieved.  I hadn't forgotten to vote; I had earned my hindsight.  And in this hindsight I'm seeing things about this election we have on our hands.

There's definitely a few things I would've done differently.

The first time I heard of Joe the Plumber was during that last debate.  Both candidates referred to him and even addressed him.  At first I thought he was a numb-nutted American allegory.

Then Joe the Plumber hit the media.  He's kind of a big, dumb ape from everything I've seen.

But, he's riding the wave.

Old Joe (who's from Toledo; only in Ohio right?) might be just as inspiring as Obama's rhetorical skills.  Think, one loser makes a story for himself and speaks out like a Yahtzee-playing idiot at the Athens Lunatics Asylum and he's famous.  The story's not even necessarily true.

All this has me thinking.  I'm a loudmouth, you know?  I could tell people what I thought.  What's more, I could trump Joe the Plumber and back it up if I needed to.  Why not try to get some media attention?

After all, I've got a face for television.


Just Saying: "...and I approve this message."

⊆ 9:51 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , . | ˜ 11 comments »

Presidential front-runner Barack Obama has made history again.  Go figure.


The Illinois junior senator simply mauled his previous monthly election fundraising record by almost three-fold.  In February 2008, with the Democratic nomination shifting to his favor, Obama decided to know no longer use public funds for his campaign.  By August he had set the fundraising record as $62 million, only to be eclipsed the following month by $150 in fundraising efforts putting him at $600 million raised.  McCain, who has only raised $84 million, perched from a conservative vantage point at FOX News and questioned the accuracy of this astronomical figure.  And being down nine points in the Gallup Poll, who could blame him?

A graphic attached to a recent article by The Post tries to put in perspective what a $700 billion bail-out really means.  The figures range from 11,667 Baker University Centers and 208 Oprah Winfreys.

$600 million dollars in campaign financing.  At first blush it seems like people are throwing their money at something maybe not entirely necessary.  Whether or not that's the case is debatablt.  Americans have NEVER thrown their money away on things.  But what happens when Obama wins by a landslide?  I doubt any of that leftover of $600 million (which there probably won't be) will be donated to help the Obama administration we're planning for alleviate economic concerns.

We should possibly look into helping and relying on our banks.  I'm not saying donating to a candidate is undemocratic; that's ludicrous.  But democracy is relative.  I'd say the bad karma from people who have already run to the banks and their good karma of getting involved and donating to a campaign even out.

So I end with three quotes from FDR, a rather appropriate voice in our time, I think.

Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance.  Without them it cannot live.

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.  Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

If we can boondoggle ourselves out of this depressions, that word is going to be enshrined in the hearts of the American people for years to come.


Tech: It's Like Apples and Apples

⊆ 10:25 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

So, ah, the new MacBooks came out.  There was fanfares in the streets; the pope sanctioned the day as a holiday.  Figures, right when I get mine and am content with it, they come out with the Next Generation.


To the armadas of college kids out there who flip open their MacBooks and MacBook Pros (Even you, you black MacBook owners.  Why you'd fork out an extra hundred or so dollars to get a black MacBook is beside me.), the new fleet of Apple laptops don't seem like anything special.

Let's start with aesthetics.  I think they look like crap.  Then again, I'm a purist, so take that bias into account.  I like the astronaut, 2001: Space Odyssey look of what I guess are the "old" MacBooks now.  Don't worry though, they've kept my "old" 13-inch whitey still around, I think a little bit cheaper.

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Notice its black keys and black screen.  The video gave me a migraine just looking at the thing.  Though I will say, the video sells it very well.  Set to what should be The Greatest Hits of Britpop (Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor," and U2's "City of Blinding Lights" namely), three of Apple's higher up's in the design department talk about how making a computer as one unit is better and as always, throwing in how environmentally-friendly the new laptops are.  

Aside from the shoddy improvements in the regular MacBook, the ones in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are just as marginal.  The only thing I saw at first glance was the new, ugly design for the 15-inch Pros, the old cool one for the 17-inch, and higher-end graphics cards.  

Positives:
-pretty sweet touchpad, clicky, sleek, one piece
-better displays
-"environmentally-friendly"

Negatives:
-not necessarily a price drop
-new designs look like butt
-not any real, performance innovation

I don't even want to talk about Macbook Airs.  If you own one without stealing it, shame on you.  They either got a graphics card or improved the one that was in it.  Also, the hard drives are now bigger than those of most mp3's players.

Yes, yass, I know I'm being a Negative Nancy here; let's look at the positives.  I'm jealous Apple improved the touch pad.  Now you can apparently use a four-finger combo to toggle Exposé which is nifty.  Thats the only reason I want a Mighty Mouse right now.  The displays have improved too, now using glass and LED backlights.


Bottom Line:
The regular MacBook line has been upgraded, given an aluminum body, and the had price increased so now it's comparable to the "old" MacBook Pros.  The MacBook Pros have gotten a little better graphics card and the MacBook Airs are on the fast-track to being worth their price: graphics upgrade, improved, now-mediocre hard-drive space, same price.


Just Saying: The Mean Gene

⊆ 10:40 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

Maybe only Ben Folds can get a crowded auditorium of people scream an expletive in unison:

Y'all don't know what it's like
Being male, middle-class and white
Y'all don't know what it's like
Being male, middle-class and white
Y'all don't know what it's like
Being male, middle-class and whiteIt gets me real pissed off and it makes me wanna say
FUCK!
-"Rockin' the Suburbs," Ben Folds

In a brief, paltry sketch of myself, I hail from a relatively small town.  East Palestine is almost the stereotypical 99% white small town except it's only 98.47% white.  Aside from that, it's the quintessential northern, semi-rural village.  Not surprisingly, college was a culture shock.

Which has got me thinking about race.  Since we're all suddenly talking about politics and that's the one thing you're not supposed to talk about, we move onto what is trying become a less touchy subject: the racial divide.

Having seen the real world that every small towner dreams of, I can't help but get a kick of this "racial thing."  Be it by God or Hippocrates,  I think it's ironic when I hear the stories of how we whites used to try to prove that we were superior, when in fact if you look at it, we're histories most despicable race.

Geneticists are becoming the go-to men and women for divine answers.  They've already supposedly found the blue genes that may trigger depression; in fact, some think everybody has blue genes but only a few slip them on.

We can argue it, but look at our track record.  Whites as we know them --caucasians-- have taken at least the top half dozen spots in the worst atrocities of mankind.  I elaborate without ranking them: The Holocaust, The Holodomor, extinction of the Neanderthals, two world wars, the enslavement and near-extermination of American Indians.

Makes you wonder, where is "The Mean Gene"?


Impressions: Sticks and Stones

⊆ 6:47 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , . | ˜ 4 comments »

My bucket list has been growing since I got down to Athens:

-kill a bear with my bare hands
-be a centaur for Halloween
-drink a gallon of milk in one city
-run a marathon
-make a documentary that I'd watch

Unlike musicals, I used to like documentaries, but like musicals, now I don't.  This doesn't mean that documentaries were my passion and one day they failed me; I just liked to watch them from time to time.  What burst it for me was the one we watched in Journalism 101 about the elections.  It was very well-done, but between dozing off and the slant it was trying to hide, I had the worst neck ache.  I'm not sure what it is, but now that I have a journalism major cap to put on, I've found myself very critical of them.  

Namely the one we watched tonight at our weekly SPJ meeting.  It was called The Fifth Estate: Sticks and Stones.  It's from the Canadian Broadcasting Company and, though I tried being as objective as possible, it faintly echoed the arrogant, American wannabe stereotype to me.

The entire idea was just stupid, rubbish --it was to illustrate how the apparent great partisan divide in American politics and media is tearing our country apart.  Near the beginning, they had some American say that there hasn't been this kind of partisanship since the Civil War era.  How they hell would he know?

And who the hell do they think they are?  I'm not trying to sound elitist, but they're Canada.  We don't go around bashing their media (which evidently sucks if this garbage was on their national cable).  I guess our all-terrible pundits are too sinister to go into a friendly neighboring country and trash-talk their media.

It all feels like a neighborhood alley fight.

The most prominent figure to me that they had was Phil Donahue, if that says anything.  

Some of the material had merit.  I always enjoy a Bill O'Reilly burst and Ann Coulter really is the antichrist.  Entertainment.  Those people really should be publicly embarrassed, maybe even tried for heresy.

Near the end they showed that the American press --ahem, my profession-- sometimes take things just fill space.  The example they used were the two or three brief comments about George W. Bush's new Cadillac he rode to his second inauguration.  The CBC seems to think that's trivial, and they're entirely right.  But what else are we going to listen to while we wait for the speech?  Commercials?

This is coming from a country that doesn't even have a president.

For your viewing displeasure:


Fall Quarter '08: Nostalgia

⊆ 6:35 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

"I know what you're thinking ... a twelve-by-twelve area isn't that much to work with, but what a lot of students do something called 'lofting;' that's where they make their bed a bunk-bed and put stuff under it.  It's like putting your bed on stilts..."


"And now we're coming into East Green."
"I'm sorry, which one?"
"East."
___________________________________________________

These are two of the several lines I've heard lately spewing from the mouths of tour guides as they take their groups through the safari of college life.

High schoolers shuffle around behind their guide with their parents; their eyes strafe the faces they pass.  Few of them have anything to say.  Every once in a while I'll spot one like me, with his or her college-app-filling, greedy little high school eyes daydreaming how they're going to conquer OU.  I guess you could say it's a change of times, but I don't see many like those.

A close friend of mine and I were reminiscing about junior year.  That was my favorite in high school and hers too.  As ages go though, I've heard a line about growing up that says "17 is a test."  This underrates 18 by far, I think.  Senior year, prom, graduation, being a "leader," responsibility.  That was all before the summer; then came work, college planning, shopping.  Then comes "Kristallnacht," that night every soon-t0-be Bobcat has when they good-bye to their best friends as they wait another two weeks for school to start.

Do we need to get into adjusting to the college?

Wait --change of times?

It was a year ago that I was learning about lofting.  A year ago I never thought I'd have my greens down, much less know what a green actually was.

I feel like polling visiting students to see if they're in the same kind of awe that I was in just a year ago.  (Just a year?  Did I really look that lost a year ago?)  What did they want out of college?  Where else are they looking?  How the hell is high school?

Having gotten this off my chest has put me in that same feeling that I get when I linger around to watch the tour groups leave.  I sigh, shrug my shoulders, think about my truncated high school years, and write it off as just feeling old.


Music: Dig Out Your Soul

⊆ 1:26 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

I finally got my RSS feeds to start working again this morning and my music source had stories about the launch of Oasis's latest, Dig Out Your Soul.  Being loyal to the band, I felt ashamed I missed the first day of the release, I kept to my Limewire devotions and didn't pay for it nonetheless.


An article in The Washington Post describes an "evolution gene" that made humans' brains so big and let them adapt and reason.  One thing 2008 (Viva La Vida and now Dig Out Your Soul) has taught us that Britpop has this gene and isn't going to die any time soon.

Something about this album reminds me of Led Zeppelin.  Most of the songs have that Charlie Chaplin stomping beat --an odd analogy, but listen to "Waiting for the Rapture" and you'll see it-- but some carry a ballad feel.


Courtesy of YouTube user trancemaster66

The first track ("Bag It Up") scared me.  The generic pentatonic riff almost signaled what I thought was beginning of the end of Oasis, but the bridge put me back at ease.  It has a new southern modern rock thing going on, which shows Oasis is still willing to compete and change.

Limewire List:
[Track 2] - The Turning
[Track 4] - The Shock of the Lightning (Jagz Kooner remix)
[Track 7] - Falling Down (Chemical Brothers remix)

Bottom line:
Seeing where Oasis has gone after 2005's Don't Believe the Truth, it's easy to look back and see that Don't Believe the Truth was made up of moments.  Dig Out Your Soul is definitely a regrouping album and shows Oasis is gearing up for great things to come.  It might be worth getting a ticket when they come to New York or Detroit December.

The Turning

Courtesy of YouTube user tururu23

Shock of the Lightning (Jagz Kooner remix)

Courtesy of YouTube user OasisILove

Falling Down (Chemical Brothers remix)

Courtesy of YouTube user missliabum


Just Saying: Nobel Peace Prize

⊆ 2:35 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 4 comments »

It was announced early today that Martti Ahtisaari of Finland was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.  Ahtisaari's role as mediator was pivotal in several international disputes, Yugoslavia and Ireland to name a few.  An undoubtedly passionate and competent man, the former Finnish president has stated that he plans on using the prize money to further the spread of mediating conflict areas.


Ahtisaari beat out jailed Chinese activist Hu Jia for the prize.  Some reports said Jia was "favored" for the prize.   If the inevitable conspiracies of helping fellow Scandinavians turn out to be true, that wouldn't be the only thing a little off with the prizes.  In its history, the foundation has actually brought into thought awarding peace prizes to what I call the Big Badguys of History Class (Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini).  The consideration lasted a week or two at best, but then look at the people who didn't win: Gandhi, César Chávez, Pope John Paul II.  

I'm not questioning what weight the Nobel prizes has; rather, I'm wondering how much weight it should have?  Is it facetious to point out that the inventor of dynamite started a foundation that is the authority on who promotes peace best?


Fall Quarter '08: 13 Stewart Street

⊆ 1:40 AM by A. Liebendorfer | ˜ 2 comments »

When I gulp, I gulp loudly, like they do in movies.


I actually circled the block before arriving; the front door of 13 Stewart Street was in the back.  Ahead of me were a few concrete steps, a well-kept garden and a sign above the door reading something to effect of "MSA Islamic Center of Athens."

Why I was standing there was a culmination of things this week.  First we had an assignment in our learning community seminar.  I ended up enjoying it: we took personality tests and had to respond to them.  According to Jungian typology, I'm an "Inspirer" borderline with "Adventurer/Thrill-Seeker."  Being typed like this really makes you look at the world through tinted glasses.  Couple that with giving a speech in Public Speaking --maybe the biggest adrenaline buzz I've ever got-- and I was on the prowl all week for something nuts to do.

Then two young men spoke at my Religion, Gender, and Sexuality about Islam.  They said where their mosque was and that everybody's welcome to come and learn.  Their day of prayer was Friday and they said that would be a good day to stop by.  No question.

Their "mosque" is nothing more than a house that's been cleared out to accommodate muslim worship.  I knew exactly where they were talking about since it's literally next door to my dorm building.  I'd seen children playing outside.  

Though being so close, it still carried that continents-away feeling.  What was in there?  The night before, when I elected to give it a try, I rehearsed every possible outcome.  I couldn't manage to find a worst-case scenario; each thought kept getting worse and worse.  Actually the best-scenario was that a wall of hookah smoke would hit me and they'd slam the door in my face.

I gulped.  I'd seen people taxiing in and out of its big green front door.  For this reason, I traipsed in without knocking or really thinking about it.

I walked in and the smell inside immediately brought me back to visions of musty old parishes and spaghetti dinners.  I could do this, I thought.

The sign above in the foyer said to take off your shoes, so I did.  To my left was a library, my right stairs, and ahead of me an open room with striped carpet.  From the room emanated rolling Arabic so I went there.  In one corner of the room a man was praying which is much harder to describe when you witness it than you might think.  It's a very powerful prostration; I'll leave it at that for fear of failing with words.

A man was sitting and flipping through forms with another.  They were the source of the talking.  The man glanced at me inquisitively a couple times and his companion didn't notice me at all.  I went back to the foyer and went upstairs.

I was greeted by a "alaykum" from a face down the hall.  A room's worth of young muslim men turned to greet me.  They were confused seeing me but once I told them what I was out to do, two sprang up and said we should go down to the library.  The other two would come down later, after they were done with homework.

And so began my education of Islam.  Mohammed, a kuwaiti and the taller of the two, began by asking me what I knew.  Relatively nothing, I told him, it was similar to Christianity.  

"That's very true," he said.  Then he went into the Five Pillars of Islam.  By the end of the lesson, it seemed odd to me that we even have different religions at all.  You aren't considered a muslim, he told me, if you don't adhere to the teachings of the Old Testament and Jesus.  It all seemed like sweet talk, but Mohammed soon outlined the compromise: Muslims pray directly to God, not even to Jesus, just God.  Maybe this is a shift in my "convictions" but that idea appealed to me.

The other, Rahiif, was an Indian with more broken English but had several good points, especially when it came to Sunnis versus Shii'as.  Sunnis predominantly outnumber Shii'as I learned, probably 90% to 10% according to Rahiif.  The difference, he told me, was purely political: same Qu'ran, same language, same prophet ["bless his name"].

After a while, I let them go and started back for the door.  The told me to come back.  The other two from upstairs came down and were disappointed to see me leave.  I promised them I'd come back and they slapped me on the back.


Impressions: The Douchebag

⊆ 5:51 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 4 comments »

If the bluesy guitarist-turned-ladykiller John Mayer feels pressed to find a mark he's made on the world aside from his hit lament "Gravity," he need not look further than a simple Google search.  The inquiry "douchebag john mayer" generates an even 50,000 hits.  Many of us would never see this as a positive thing but --is blogging old enough to say this?-- Mayer's blog post about douchiness has set the proverbial blogging "world on fire."


It's a masterful blog, one to study.  First, Mayer calls to attention a common 21st-century archetype that's floating around, the Douchebag.  Being such a new term, I doubt there's a direct style on how to write it, but I'm sticking with the one-word nomenclature here.  Using the technically incorrect way to write it differentiates it from the now well-known piece of feminine hygiene.  (Truth Three: The Media brings everything from the fringes of society inward.)  He skillfully presents the definition of douchebag in its own inflaming, douchey form.

I hadn't realized how much the idea of writing about douches has taken off until I came across Joe Donatelli's blog.  Donatelli is an OU alum from the mid-90's whom I found while researching a story for a publication I'm involved in.  In his post, he offers more insight on the Douche (an abbreviated but just as stinging for of douchebag) as Mayer's blog emerged when douchedom was relatively a new thing.

We ask, Where has the Douchebag come from?  From what hole in the ground has he sprung?

Different theories arise.  The one I subscribe to is that douchebags have evolved from the "village idiot" stereotype of old.  At the core, the two groups are essentially the same and treated similarly.

The self-esteem phenomenon is what has kept the village idiot alive all this time.  In fact, it's brought him to the town center.  What infuses the village idiot and makes him a pure douchebag is his or her sense of numb-nutted confidence.  The douchebag thrusts himself or herself into the center of attention and is routinely not able to deliver.  They live, bask, bathe in shock value.

Watch out, douchebags aren't just the douches you graduated with.  You'll find them: in bars, chilling as hillbillies, at dances, even as girls!

Expect a follow-up on this.  We're not done with the douches.




Sex-volution: Uprising in Chile

⊆ 1:27 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

In Tangle of Young Lips, a Sex Rebellion in Chile

-Alexei Barrionuevo
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/13/world/americas/13chile.html

Chile's Sexual Awakening
-photos by Tomas Munita
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/09/09/world/20080913CHILE_index.html?ref=americas

____________________________________________________________________

For me, this article echoes memories of Craig.  "Craig" was the name we had given to the Chilean exchange student our senior year, for what reason, I'm not sure.  He just looked like a Craig, though I argued Kenneth.

Before Craig's suave, misogynist aura offended his first host family the last time, the predominately-female household ate him up.  He was everything a small-town Ohio girl would want from a South American exchange student: ever-bronze skin, good eyes, kind of tall, aloof most of the time.  Him and I had grown close and he confided that his father back home owned a perfume store so he always smelled as some put it "scrumptious."

For an exchange student, Craig was a young gun.  If I remember, we took him out for wings for his birthday, and I'm pretty sure he turned 17 then.

His age wasn't flushed out until he started talking to my alumnus friend Mara.  At the time Mara was 19 and took Craig to be like the rest of the exchange students and out of high school already.

Craig thought he was really bad:

She walked away.  "I've got her in ...  hmm ... how is said ... ah, bolsillo?"

"Pocket, Craig?" I asked.

"Yeeah.  I've got her in my pahkett," and he punctuated with a smirk.

"You like how that sounds, huh?"

"Yeeah," he belched.

He went with her after whatever function it was we were at and I let him go.  In the week that followed, I had to cover for Craig because his family had a grudge with Mara and wouldn't let their supposed young love blossom.

Then by the next weekend Mara had some words for me.  Craig was starting to creep her out and "court" her.  Yes, she used "court."  He would kiss her hand and try numb-nuttedly to smooch her.  She wasn't very happy about not mentioning how young he was.

Reading this article and looking at those pictures, I can't help but wonder where Craig is and what kind of obscene shock he's gone through.  It wouldn't take much to get ahold him --just a few clicks and a Facebook message-- but I can't help but wonder what he would say if I said I wanted to visit sometime. 

I can see the response now, just like the one my Bolivian friend's already given me, "You need to get your butt down here.  I can get you all the girls and ... you can't believe it, man!"


Impressions: Right Thing to Wear at the Wrong End of the Gun

⊆ 6:59 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/world/americas/06mexico.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


Call Colombian Miguel Caballero (miguelcaballero.com) an entrepreneur.  His trendy fashion line appeals to most upper class people around the world.  Sorry ladies, he mostly focuses on men's clothing, but there are some for you in his American Gold Collection and everything is custom-tailored.  And his website is just supremely cool: It's flash-based with quick access to all of his clothing lines and a ribbon of smoke snaking across the background that evokes fantasies of Amsterdam discotheques.

The clothes on his website look promising --at least enough so look at the features and start rooting for prices.  Right down the list: Tailor-made, Thermo-regulating, Flexible, Thin, Lightweight.  Still no price.  It must be so expensive you have to inquire.  The last thing is on the far right of the screen, a table of handguns in ascending "protection levels."

Call Miguel Caballero an entrepreneur; he is the world's leading designer in bulletproof styles.

The clothing, which boasts a trendy European line and a cheesy, rough 'n tumbler American line, is crafted to protect its wearer from most small-arms fire at point-blank.  In spite of what you would think, the clothes look extremely comfortable.  

Don't believe it?


Courtesy of YouTube user VBSdotTV

Don't expect to go out and buy one any time soon.  Price tags for Miguel Caballero clothing can range up to $7,000.  The likely customers?  Presidents, ambassadors, celebrities.  According the New York Times, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Colombian president Álvaro Uribe have already bought.


Fall Quarter '08: Midnight

⊆ 12:39 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

There are interesting phenomena among college freshmen.  The first is how easy they are to spot the first week: traveling in herds, visible lanyards, copious college apparel.  The second is how they disappear in the second week.  Suddenly the most straight-laced of freshmen emerge with body piercing and some start tattoo tableaus on their backs.


I got out of my shift at The Post tonight at midnight.  I can't put my finger on it but there's something whimsical about midnight walks home.  Only the Asians walk the streets that late at night, skirting back from their midnight classes.  It's an inherently reflective time of day.

I couldn't help but ponder all this self-reinvention going on, and I couldn't help but feeling I'm squandering this opportunity.  It's amazing how I'm with the same friends in different skins.  I still eat more than I should, not exercise enough, not read enough.

I opened the door to my musty room.  "This is the base of operations" was what came to my mind.

Now the question.  What am I going to change?


Fall Quarter '08: Voseo

⊆ 10:28 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 3 comments »

I'm trying to think of a euphemism.  I had a lofty opinion of myself in high school Spanish class, especially the last year.  So much that I wasn't surprised in the least to learn I tested into Spanish 341.  I was kind of cocky about it, really.  I still am.


But every Tuesday and Friday, Professor Porter tears me a new one in Gordy Hall.  I consulted my old friend and Spanish teacher this summer, and she said to expect what I now call The Rapture.  But thus my latent fuego for Spanish has been rekindled.

The voseo was a ghost in my Spanish studies.  To make it brief, many European languages deal with their verbs by sticking on suffixes on roots to show who's doing what and when they're doing it.  This goes without saying that it's much --MUCH-- more complicated.  Well, Spanish has a dialect in Latin America that uses another word instead of the normal "tú" for you, and that is "vos."  What's so weird about it is that how it's used changes from country to country but it still has its own rules.  I spent a week searching for the rules to get a straight answer and still nothing.

Then one day last week, I was sitting at the end of a test.  I was exhausted and irritated.  I had studied until wee hours for that test and I knew the best I could hope for would be a low A.  I did what I always do and started flipping through pages.  Then, de repente, there it was.  A full two pages on el voseo right there in the text book.

A NOTE FOR ANY INTERESTED: The conjugation of the pronoun "vos" varies from country to country, but mostly it is conjugated like Spain's "vosotros" just without the "i."  This is different in Chile and Venezuela mostly.  In Chile, -ar verbs take of the "s" on the end of the vosotros form and -er and -ir verbs only have "ís."  Venezuelan Spanish is faux-Castillian.  Vosotros isn't used but vos is conjugated like it.  All other tenses are conjugated the same way (but subjunctive uses the opposite vos) and direct and indirect object pronouns are "te."

So while the professor was up there, turning my head upside down about preterit and imperfect, I kept day dreaming about saying "vos."  Ok, that's a little extreme, but really, Spanish is bottomless.  And my basic understanding of past tenses in Spanish just got thrown into the creek.

So, what's next week?

Who will ever read this and get as much of a kick I would if I had read this, I don't know.


Election '08: '08, Oh God...

⊆ 9:14 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , . | ˜ 3 comments »

I'm partisan!


"Can I call you Joe?" Washington Hall echoed with derision.  I took this as maybe the only chance I'll have in the next hour and a half to refill my water bottle.  Walking down the hall, every room had the debates on and it seemed like Palin's thick, gerund-decapitating accent seemed to seep through the walls.  People had been practicing their impersonations of her all week; by last night they were getting good.

I heard our next cue: "I thing a good barometer here is we try to figure is this a good time or a bad in our economy is go to your kid's soccer game..."

Watching her --not a hard thing to do-- she was bleeding youth.  She fidgeted a little behind her podium, stumbled on her words.  Don't get me wrong.  Biden had his hiccups, namely struggling through pronouncing I think it was "characterized" and dancing around the Alaskan governor a little too much.  I love Sarah Palin.  She's got the image of who should be president.  It's just... she doesn't even know the NATO commander for Afghanistan.  

"Governor Palin," we hoped the moderator would've said, "is there any way you could be more vague?"  I heard talks of drinking games going on where people would chug or what have you when either of the candidates said their lame signature lines.  There were a lot of sirens last night.  I figured them to be Team Palin suffering from alcohol poisoning.

With all the pundits declaring Palin won by not losing, I can't help but disagree.  I'm with everybody else in the middle class that's completely enamored with Sarah, but she just needs time.  She shifted up too many gears too quickly.  Not to mention, you win by winning.

I think it was McLellan-McKiernan mix-up that ruined my view in balanced commentary.  I realized that I really have specific things I want out this election.  Looking at work abroad, the chair of the senate foreign relations committee just appeals to me.  And that's that.

So with a heavy heart, I end this commentary series.  Punditry has no place anywhere, especially on my blog.

Good thing veep debates barely matter.


The Monthly Washingtonian, Vol. I

⊆ 1:27 AM by A. Liebendorfer | ˜ 0 comments »

Hopefully this will be the first in many photo essays depicting life in and around Washington Hall.  First is a picture of when a fire alarm tripped across the street at Read.  The rest are of mattress jousting.  Don't ask for names.  I promise the photojournalism will improve for later editions.

__________________________

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Fall Quarter '08: Extemporaneity

⊆ 6:03 PM by A. Liebendorfer | ˜ 2 comments »

The litany of every walk to anywhere on campus:
"Excuse me.  Are you registered to vote in Athens?"

I really hate public speaking, but Public Speaking is starting to grow on me.

Tammy our professor makes it a point to call the depressing state of the country to our attention every class period.  There are one or two of us that I spy texting or having that glazed over look, but every time she makes her case the room gets a little grave.

Yesterday we watched famous speeches and she wanted us to take note of things.  These are my favorite classes periods, ones where you can sit back, marvel and analyze.

The first was Peter Peterson addressing the House of Representatives about the economy.  Who Peter Peterson is and why they named him twice, I have no idea, but I do know that he started the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and has floated above the rest of the economic know-it-all's and is as articulate as he is passionate about everything America.  

His somber numbers and figures were (something I'm determined to make a cliche) like out of a movie.  The people behind him moved little and moved concertedly.  This set the stage for the RFK speech.

I had never seen RFK's announcement of Martin Luther King's assassination; it put me in awe. I'll leave you to the YouTube video.  Everything in the speech from the Aeschylus quote to quipping that both JFK and MLK were killed by white men were incredible to me.  And all of it impromptu.

It makes you wonder where old-school orators have gone.  My first thought was that pundits kill our chances to witness these great moments in history.  But listening to him, it's really flawless.  I don't think even punditry could dissect this on-the-spot address, a hallmark to the public virtuoso of the Kennedy's.  

I've witnessed dozens of responses to the Athens voting question.  Some people have cut them off, asking if they have registered to vote in Athens; most or cordial to the last; I have a little wave that I've got down.

But now, it's hard not to want a share in this helter-skelter world we're inheriting.



Election '08: The Man's an Idiot pt. 2 pt. 2

⊆ 10:19 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

Anyway, Obama's an idiot.


Barring all Goonies-era verbiage, an Obama-Clinton ticket would've been a real double whammy.

The family image in a dual-gender ticket makes its case on Democrat side too.  Let's beat the dead horse for a minute here and restate that times are tough.  Nobody wants to be lead by parents who are at odds with each other.

Though nothing says family values like this:


courtesy YouTube user: VoteMcCainPalin

Near the end of my senior year we were driving to Law Day of all things and we got stuck behind a car going to our county seat.  On the back so eloquently was written, "Clinton '08: Vote for the B****."

That's how people like Hilary Clinton.  If you talk to a Clinton supporter, not one of them will give an epithet describing how approachable she is.  It's her --forgive me-- ideas that drew people to her.  Though some argue that she's the Antichrist, Hilary's all business, and when businesses start failing, all business sounds handy.

Don't get me wrong, after Edwards said he'd decline being on the ticket, Joey the Shark is second-best.  Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a strong choice for Obama's assertive platform abroad.

And who can't love a guy that does this?


courtesy of YouTube user: rthuffma

But come on Barack, sign on the b****.

Biden's doing minimal work in filling the gaps in Obama's ticket.  Go to their campaign website.  The outline of the foreign policy plan is shoddy at best and gives next to no details on McCain's stand and sparse ones of his own.  If there were a prequel to 1984, Big Brother's campaign website would probably have more specifics than Obama.com.

Word on the street is that Biden might be stepping down from the spot early this month.  If that's the case, Hil better get back into the picture.  That doesn't mean she has to be president.  Actually, the best way to make sure she isn't president to take her in as veep.  You don't see many vice-presidents throwing out their old running mates.

Besides, if we just had that Dream Ticket, we wouldn't be all worried about a close race...


Election '08: The Man's an Idiot pt. 2 pt.1

⊆ 10:03 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

Headaches were abound yesterday at my Religion, Gender, and Sexuality class.  The class is structured around about an hour of review of the reading or expounding beyond the reading followed by a forty-five minute group discussion session.


We finally crossed the no-no border yesterday.  In a class that's aimed at making you comfortable talking about your beliefs, yesterday was the first time we touched on politics.  I elected to take the current presidential race (and what about the congressional one?) philosophically, which proved much more interesting.

Though Sarah's paling in the media, she symbolizes something intriguing on a deeper level.  All this time it was the stereotype that the Democrats would be the first a woman in the Oval Office.  They put the first Catholic there, the first paralytic, and the first man the moon.  Hilary seemed like a shoe-in, but no, we decided to put the first black man this time instead.

Maybe for another blog, McCain's veep pick makes a lot of sense when looking at Republican values.  I've never once heard a liberal stand in front of a crowd and preach about the importance of close families, which is probably Palin's strong point.

The philosophical conclusion I came to while the rest of my group were butting heads and misconstruing each others words yesterday was that McCain is going to be America's dad, and Palin America's hockey mom.  The dual-gender ticket was aimed at making America feeling they were in good hands, Republican style.  McCain didn't only pick Palin to get the woman vote, but also for the imagery and symbolism.  Mom and Dad are going to put a band-aid on the country.

Nothing says American mom more than a mother of five with serviceman for a son, one pregnant daughter, two other daughters, and a son with Down syndrome.  They really are a type of core sample of what the American family is up against these days.

Did it work?  An young, under-qualified governor from one of the country's most corrupt states wasn't the best move.  But wow --I'm not leaning any which way this election--, as a conservative symbol, pure genius.


Thoughts: Pizza Politics

⊆ 9:19 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 6 comments »

The life cycle is as follows: We are born, we grow throughout childhood to support ourselves; we marry and have children and launch some kind of career; then we die.  The OU life cycle works much the same way, only with the grease from cheap Athens food oiling the machine.  The synergy is uncanny.


As the first month of college wraps up and the Big Bang of the rest of our lives starts to cool, there are a lot things I would've done these past couple weeks in hindsight.  One of which would be to keep running track of every time I was offered free food.

During the welcoming ceremony for the College of Communication free food had to have been mentioned a dozen times to the audience.  If the thought had occurred to me, I would have put on the J-School Renaissance Man mask and crashed all these first meetings.  More swipes on my meal card.

(Which brings me to another point.  It's a real shame that the Regular-10 meal plan is being discontinued at the end of the year.  It's a full five hundred dollars cheaper than my Super-14 and 10 swipes is really all I need.  They need a "Super-10" so cold cut lovers like me can go and get their weekly loaf of bread and lunchmeat and waste minimal time going to a dining hall.  I find myself swiping stuff on my Super-14 that I don't really need, just to have it.  We have four rolls of paper towels and we're almost through the first half of our first.)

Back to this pizza --since it's pizza that's offered most of the time.  Very few meetings I've gone to actually have this pizza they broadcast.  I'm in training sessions for The Post but I've seriously given some thought to Backdrop.  Aside from the fact that Backdrop is technically my field, I've heard they deliver (good pun, no?) on their promises of food.  That's pure rumor mill material, but I'd be willing to turn a blind eye to the lowly, pseudo-pledging status of freshmen --another thing I've heard via grapevine-- if Backdrop was willing to cover our core needs.  It wouldn't be so bad if these meetings weren't scheduled in marathons that spanned the dining hall hours.

What we need to do is unionize.  I know full well that activities, especially journalism ones, are hard-pressed for members, really... action needs to be taken.

The time is now.


Thoughts: Making Lemonade on The Wall

⊆ 6:45 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »


I hope an enterprising IT major finds this.

To state the obvious, Facebook has taken the world by storm.  Once frequented by impulsive college kids, the website has ballooned to over 100 million.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the New York Times lately and on more than one occasion Facebook has wiggled into the headlines.  Years from now, people will be looking at Facebook the same way we look at flagpole sitting, the Macarena, and Tomagotchi pets.

If Facebook has become synonymous with college procrastination, college websites have become tokens of unkempt, unwieldy web space.  I searched on the OU site my first weekend here for the welcome weekend schedule.  I found a schedule and went to where a parade was supposed to start.  The parking lot was empty, but three years ago, a parade started on that first Saturday.

Is my train of thought obvious yet, or is eight years of twenty-first century thinking still not enough?

Why doesn’t someone get with Facebook and find a way to mandate Facebook accounts and use that as a way to disseminate information to college students.  You could have applications where you log in and find assignments and track your grades.  Or you could just model a non-profit private network to allow professors answer questions via the infamous Wall –or something like it— and post syllabi and all that good stuff that keeps the college money machine churning.

All it would take would be one talented upperclassman, an independent study, school administrators, some money flowing, and there you go –the world’s changed again.

A world that’s a little smaller, yeah?



Stories: Longshot-6 Sniper, Long Night

⊆ 3:50 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , . | ˜ 1 comments »

Note to self:  When in dire need, never, under any circumstances, go to the hospital.


Like most good college stories, this one begins a little after the clock struck midnight.  I was in my room, taking apart my Nerf gun (modifying the Longshot-6 Sniper into a real sniper) with my friend, Mitchell.  The gun comes in two parts and I was cutting one part to supe it up to give it to him.

Then, as fate had it, I cut my hand.

I very accurately tell people that it looked like it was from the movie 300.  Blood fountained from my finger and it took all I had to not get any on the floor getting to the bathroom across the hall.  It was there I found Dan brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed.  He whistled at the blood I was putting into the sink and I told him that it really didn't hurt that bad.  And it didn't --I felt next to nothing unless the water pushed away the raw skin.

I looked down and it looked like hell.  For the first time in my life I saw my own bone tissue.  I looked away and kept running under the sink, but every five or ten seconds that vision pulsed back to me: that spongey matter, that blood coming from nowhere, that exposed bone.

Dan seemed to pick up on how I was starting to feel, full seconds before I mentioned it to him.  I sat on my bed and watched the world fade in and out, cursing and focusing to not "go."  I was clutching my hand so tightly to stop the circulation that my other hand was cramping.  Mitchell ran up to his room to get some supplies and Dan got a rubber band I asked him for.

Push comes to shove, I was in our hallway and an R.A. I had never met before was looking at my hand.  Adrenaline seeped into my stomach and it lurched just thinking about what my purple finger looked like.  I had to sit down and the R.A. called for campus police to take us to the hospital.  Looked like I might need stitches, he said.

Then Bri called.  I must have had that starry-eyed look wounded soldiers get when the nurse comes around.  I wish I hadn't told her I was going to the hospital since it worried her so much, but I promised to call her when I got back.

Then, a twenty minute wait for the official ride to come.  It was nice waiting there.  I'm an Eagle Scout, and Dan and I later found out the R.A. were too, and Mitchell was a Life, one rank away.  I felt in good hands.

The driver was late but he was so cool Mitchell wrote him a positive comment in the hospital suggestion box.  We sat around for a while and a nurse gave me some things and told me to check in.  The check in girl was nice enough and made it painless.

But then we sat there for about forty-five minutes to an hour, just watching other people go into the main hospital area.  Bri called again, assuming we were out, but no, I hadn't been seen yet.  I renewed my promise that I would call her when I got out.  Other than that, we spent most of the time in the waiting room swapping stories until the nurse called me back.

I would've never known it was 2:15, I felt so awake and relieved to finally get things under way.  The nurse was forthright about it all; she told me to sit on a gurney while she got things ready to look at me.  I smiled and swung my feet appreciatively.

I texted Dan in the waiting room to get a cruiser ready to pick us up.  Twenty minutes later, I texted him to scratch that idea.  I had to hold my phone at arm's length above my head for a couple minutes to collect enough service to send a text.  Twenty minutes after that, I got two messages from Dan saying a cop was on her way in fifteen minutes, then a more recent one saying she had some business and wouldn't be there for another half-hour.  I went to text him back and say to call it off, but lo and behold, no more service.

All the while I sat there on a gurney, just chillin'.  A myriad of thoughts came to my mind.  Good God, they're getting the operating room ready.  I'm finally getting my first stitches!  How I'd kill for one bar of service, one call: to Dan, to Mitchell, to Bri, anybody.

Very slowly, everything began to become irritating.  I was starting to get a migraine from the incessant beeping of random hospital equipment; I caught myself muttering to myself when the nurses would talk to each other:

"I'm glad only another hour for the graveyard shift.  I just want to get out of here."

I hear ya.

"A lot of teenagers tonight, wonder why?  It's Homecoming weekend, I guess."

Yes, and it's Athens, Ohio.  Let's be honest here.

"Aww, Jim looks tired.  You should go off the clock early and get your rest."

Yeah?

One snippet that I caught was the nurses talking about patient statuses.  A girl, they said, was finally coming to from alcohol poisoning.  I'd later learn that she lived very close to me and I'd seen her countless times before.  I saw her but didn't recognize her on her own gurney.  She was a lot worse off than I was, and it was these little bytes of sympathy that really kept me sane.

Then the nurses at the desk mentioned a "young man with a laceration on his hand."  I, never one to be pushy, contemplated and chose not to say anything in case there was somebody else with a real problem with their hand.  I could swear I heard something like, "Yeah, Connie got 'im."

Not soon after --I'd say around 3:15 or so-- Mitchell came in with a policewoman.  He asked about me and I hollered from around the corner that I was still there, still chillin'.  Without waiting for any pretense, I marched up to the desk and asked if I could just go.  "Nuh-huh," the policewoman said, "You're not going anywhere until you've had clearance."

So I turned to the closest nurse and said in the most curt I've been in months that all I need was peroxide.  She looked at my like peroxide was an old wife's tale and said she'd get around to me shortly.  When we were finally coming home, Mitchell said I looked pissed.

I took back my well-worn place on the gurney and she brought a sponge in a packet and let it sit there for about twenty more minutes.  Fermenting, I have no idea.  I offered to take it out and help her speed things along, but she gave me another hospital minute.   The doctor came and tried to smooth everything over with friendliness, but I had to repeat myself when he asked what happened I was grumbling so much.

The nurse scrubbed my hand and rinsed it with come equivalent of peroxide.  Minus the neosporin that you can't see, this is what two-plus hours at the hospital showed for itself:

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Uh-huh.

I laughed.  I was derisive about it, openly.  I went back into the waiting room and poor Dan got a kick out of it.  When Mitchell got out of the bathroom, he was speechless.  They asked about stitches but nope, no stitches.

The cop that was supposed to take us back had a call so another one who just happened to be there gave us a lift.  Nice guy; my only complaints were the seats weren't comfortable and he wouldn't let me sit shotgun since there was no room.

I got back and finally met up with my roommate Van.  By the sounds of it, he had just as an enthralling night as I did.

Current time: 4:30 a.m.
Sunday September 28, 2008


Election '08: Not Another Debate Analysis

⊆ 12:09 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

This isn't punditry.  A college freshman offering political punditry is almost as absurd as punditry taking over mainstream media.  Knowing well that the debates we're on last night, I was cringing at the thought of waking up and seeing armies of self-proclaimed bloggers-turned-news hubs give their thoughts on how the debates went.  So far, it has been kept to a minimum (I was relieved to see a series on pro wrestling) but just to clarify, I am NOT going to play scoreboard in presidential politics.


The impressions that I got from watching the debates this morning, however, took me aback.   If you didn't have a chance to devote the hour or so Friday night (I call that weekly block of time "kick-off"), I suggest finding it on YouTube.  During the day, more and more posts became more accessible.

In some advanced wisdom, I remember taking the 2004 debates seriously.  They didn't make a lick of difference to me as a high school freshman, but they seemed noteworthy.  I even remember staying up a little later to see one or two in 2000.

It was watching these discolored videos on YouTube that made me realize how grave things are getting on a national level.  While , a few of us Scripps freshmen were sitting on College Green lamenting about the future of our majors.  "It's depressing to hear the professors talk," was said, and I remember saying, "It's like we're getting bachelors in Unemployment, minoring in Useless."

I was taught that debates were about more than just content and regurgitating figures and slamming people, but the candidates themselves.  The debate videos had piqued my curiosity; I took a glance at videos from past debates.

Then it occurred to me: There's a reason plastic caricature masks of Kerry and Bush were so trendy for Halloween 2004.  Amidst the typical "actually, my words were..." and "my opponent's plan..." were a lot of Bush's thoughtful pauses and Kerry's "my fellow Americans"'s.  Politicians were politicians and life was good.

In last night's debate, two people stood behind two podiums and relayed their thoughts.  Watch the videos again.  You can feel the weight of the world squeezing the politics out of them.  Suddenly McCain really was old, and Obama really was young and impulsive.  McCain lectured a little bit and, if you listened closely, Obama snorted into the microphone once or twice.  

Both men scrambled to fit and defend details of their plans into the allotted time.  Moderator Jim Lehrer pointed out that though time was being swapped between them pretty equally, both candidates were using much more than their five minutes.

By the ease and eloquence in their speech, I don't think the slow pace was tactic.  Rather, it showed that we now have people who connect with Americans and care.  

I'm no more optimistic about the state of our country.  I'm still not used to personal candidates, and it worries me, but in the same token, come January, there's going to be a little more work be done on Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, to parody Eliot:
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but passionate politicians


Music: "Another Way to Die"

⊆ 10:24 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , . | ˜ 3 comments »

Changes are abundant in the James Bond community these days.


With the casting of Daniel Craig, the sixth briton to dawn the tuxedo and grab the Walther PPK, in 2006's Casino Royale, the Bond franchise caught a second wind.  Younger people were drawn into the good ol' fashion, suave, "shoot 'em, blow 'em up" formula that has kept 007 in commission.  Young audiences were taken in by a trendy change of pace that puts Bond in the center of an internal struggle as well as dealing with supervillains.

The 2006 action-flick --where Bond was finally portrayed as a feeling young agent with a rich story-- was budgeted for the then-highest in the franchise, $150 million.  November's next installment, Quantum of Solace, looks to eclipse it, budgeted at $230 million.

From the trailer, we can see some fun things ahead, namely some European chase scenes, planes, and what looks like a hefty sequence around a harbor.  With location shooting officially done in June, we watch the rest of the parts of Quantum of Solace unfold.

Bond chick? Check.  Olga Kurylenko -Ukranian model/actress.  Doubtful to disappoint.

                     

Post-production special effects?  In the works/wrapping up.

Testosterone-pumping, sexy theme song?  Finally leaked on the Internet.

On par with the rest of the "New Bond"'s taste for shaking things up, Quantum of Solace employs the talents of two unlikelies for the 22nd theme song in the franchise, "A New Way to Die."  The White Stripes' Jack Black and R&B singer Alicia Keys have teamed up for the song, a first-ever duet for a Bond film.

Below I have a Coca Cola commercial that has an instrumental in the background.  A leak that was recently taken off YouTube had a full demo of the song.

I say demo only because that's what I hope it was.  When I first heard the leak, I've got to say, I was disappointed.  That classic White Stripes minimalism really bled through the leak.  Jack White himself are on the drums, which is probably a good call.  God bless Meg White --I hope she's doing better after the tour cancellation,-- but her drumming is a little underbred for a spy flick.  

Thankfully, the Coke commercial sounds a lot cleaner.  Offhand, I think the demo was missing a few filler instruments or they weren't completely figured out.  It's exciting to hear what White can do given the resources.  He also brings another first to 007 music -distinctive, belting, rock vocals.  It goes well with Keys (and match her pitch most of the time) not to mention gives a new look at the psyche of a double-oh agent.

Quantum of Solace hits theaters November 14.


(Both from YouTube)
Official Quantum of Solace HD Trailer:



Coca Cola Commercial:



Notice! Guerilla Warfare Impressions

⊆ 12:12 AM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 0 comments »

For those of you from J101 who are following.  I was messing around with layout and got the wrong blog posted in the RSS feed.  The real one's up now.  Enjoy, it's my pride and joy.


Impressions: Guerilla Warfare

⊆ 10:32 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 2 comments »

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Translated: "He gave us his example!"


Where have all the riots gone
As your city's motto get pulverized?
What's in love is now in debt
On your birth certificate
So strike the ******* match to light the fuse!
-"Letterbomb," Green Day


Ay Nicaragua, Nicaragüita
La flor más linda de mi querrer
Abonada de la bendita, Nicaragüita
Sangre de Diarangen.
Ay Nicaragua, sos más dulcita
Qué la mielita de Tamagas
Pero ahora que sos libre, Nicaragüita
Yo te quiero mucho más
Pero ahora que sos libre Nicaragüita
Yo te quiero mucho más
-"Nicaragua, Nicaragüita," Carlos Mejía Godoy


"[The guerilla fighter] will also make use of what he learns as the months or years of the war strengthen his revolutionary convictions, making him more radical as the potency of arms is demonstrated, as the outlook of the inhabitants becomes a part of his spirit and of his own life..."
-Guerilla Warfare, Ernesto "Che" Guevara


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Translated: "The weapons of revolution and socialism don't come without combat."


I've seen kids walking around campus lately wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.  Right there, superimposed on solid red, that infamous face.  After finally seeing The Motorcycle Diaries, I questioned one of the students what they thought about the movie or if they'd read the book.  The gist of the reply was, "No.  Uhh, what's that?  Oh, no.  Che's just a cool dude."

A cool dude, I could go with that I guess.  It struck me odd that so many people were so ignorant about what they were so openly celebrating, but that happens.

The truth is, things are a lot different from Che's time.  The Latin American revolutionary hero has since faded away.  There are no ideological revolutions and upheavals, only a few diagnosed terrorist groups, just as many unhappy people as there were before, and millions more Che Guevara t-shirts.

Che's political reform was a kind of militant humanism which took every man into account and used them as tools for common good.

Compare that to FARC, the biggest thorn in the side of Colombia's government and probably the largest terrorist group in the Spanish-speaking world.  FARC was once the military wing of the Colombian communist party, but then turned to ransom and drug trafficking to fund themselves among other ways.  

Nowadays, FARC has very little political if any.  They resort to car bombing and kidnappings to flex their muscle.  One of the most interesting things I found in Guerilla Warfare is that Che wasn't in favor of terrorism and thought armed uprisings were last resorts.  He writes early in the book: "It is necessary to distinguish between sabotage, a revolutionary and highly effective method of warfare, and terrorism, a measure that is generally ineffective and indiscriminate in its results, since it often makes victims of innocent people and destroys a large number of lives that would be valuable to the revolution."


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Translated: "The principles are not negotiable. -Fidel"


Most of the book isn't written like this.  The majority of it is tried and true ways to start a guerilla unit, not anything page-turning.  What's more interesting is the fact he sounds like a broken record, which shows how common sense combat was to him.  He was a pure revolutionary.

So what I want to know is, how did Guevara's armed humanism get perverted into terrorism and drug trafficking?


Election '08: The Man's an Idiot pt. 1

⊆ 8:02 PM by A. Liebendorfer | , , , , , , , , , . | ˜ 2 comments »

The second part in this series will focus on the Obama, the man that was too good to pick a woman as a running mate; but now, let's take a look at McCain, the man that pulled a beauty queen with a pockmarked reputation out of his you-know-where.


The killjoy to any good Young Republican rant is the Obama supporter's infamous factoid: Though John McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, he was 894th out of 899 people in his class, not to mention he lost five jets while in the military.

It's hard to dispute something like this when you take a look at select parts of his energy plan, namely the clause about nuclear power.

John McCain Will Put His Administration On Track To Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants. Nuclear power is a proven, zero-emission source of energy, and it is time we recommit to advancing our use of nuclear power. Currently, nuclear power produces 20% of our power, but the U.S. has not started construction on a new nuclear power plant in over 30 years. China, India and Russia have goals of building a combined total of over 100 new plants and we should be able to do the same. It is also critical that the U.S. be able to build the components for these plants and reactors within our country so that we are not dependent on foreign suppliers with long wait times to move forward with our nuclear plans. 

JohnMcCain.com

I'm sorry, I was doubled up on floor after I read this.  By the time I was back on the chair soundly, I felt insulted.  Let's break this down.  Hammer Time.

Skipping the horribly capitalized title, nuclear power is, in fact, not zero-emission.  Nor is any way of making electricity.  Don't get me wrong.  The actual process of making nuclear power is far more eco-friendly than the other ways.  According to the Energy Information Administration, nuclear power generates 3.1 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour while hydroelectric power produces 11 grams, 600 grams for natural gas, 900 grams for oil, and 950 grams for coal burning.

What this doesn't consider is the CO2 it takes to do all the behind the scenes things.  Nuclear plants are made of very big pieces of machinery and a lot of large-scale transportation, not to mention mining and enriching the fuels.  Don't worry it's still lower than most, but not by nearly as much as you'd think.  Leading chemist Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen says that the whole nuclear process could emit from 80 to 480 grams per kilowatt-hour, up to almost 160 times what many think.

That myth disproved, let's move on.

The countries mentioned all have something in common.  They are all rapidly expanding and two of them are providing electricity to some areas for the first time.  The United States already has an energy infrastructure to work off of.  China and India each both have more than three times the population of the U.S.  McCain's website makes it sound like we're running behind in the nuclear industry, but actually, we're still the world's largest producer of nuclear power.  No.  No we shouldn't be able to do the same.

Now it's time for the chuckle.

Forty-five new plants by 2030.  Considering there are 66 plants operating as of the beginning of 2008, the eventual goal of 100 new plants sounds like a a good idea.  That would make nuclear energy the main way the U.S. would get its power.

However, comma...

Unless the price tag for nuclear power plants, this solution from the McCain campaign is an outright fairy tale.  As a reference, the Olkiluoto power plant that is slated to go online in Finland next year, is priced at roughly $5.5 billion.  This is top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art, something a McCain administration would argue America deserved.  Keep in mind here: 100 of these in the next thirty years.

A little work on Wikipedia goes a long way.


Sources:
"Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Generation of Electric Power in the United States." CO2 Emission Report. July 2000. Energy Information Administration. 23 Sept. 2008 .

Van Leeuwen, Jan Willem Storm, and Philip Smith. "The CO2 Emission of the Nuclear Life-cycle."Nuclear Power: The Energy Balance. 2005.

A note:
Sorry about the shoddy MLA sources.  I thought better few and bad than none.