Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya, Gadhafi, revolution, drugs, & NRI's

This from CNN:

"Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi blames the violence in his country on young people, who he said are taking some sort of pills and being exploited by Osama bin Laden."

Frankly it sorta sounds like something my mom would say if she were an intolerant dictator. Well, now that I think about it, it sounds like my mom.

Honestly, I can't make up anything funnier about this Gadhafi quote... but I'm gonna give it a go (insert applause here).

I wonder where one gets these protest drugs? Seriously, what if Gadhafi was right? What if people were generally okay with his rule but somehow some crazies got a hold of drugs and they were ruining the country for everyone?

I think it is our duty to try and sort out what drugs there people are on. Now there's only one problem, I don't live in Libya, I don't know anyone who does, and I don't really want to go there for the sake of hard hitting investigative journalism.

Well, I suppose we can work at it through a process of elimination.

1) Stimulant or Depressant?
Okay so if you're taking a drug that makes you want to go out and fight for your right to have basic social services, jobs, freedom of speech, and the right to vote there's a very good chance that you're not on downers

Downers may make you angry, but you're highly likely to sit at home and club a baby seal versus organizing friends, family, sympathizers to protest the government

I'll take stimulants for $500 Alex.

2) Which Stimulant?
Alright Watson, let's do a quick rundown of the common stimulants and see which fits the bill. According to Wikipedia there 9 types of stimulants: Caffeine, Nicotine, Amphetamines, Ecstasy (MDMA), Coke, NRI's and NDRI's, Modafinal & Adrafinal & Armodafinil, Ampakines, and Yohimbine

I could research more but it's just too much work to hit "next page" on the Google search pages. Only Page 1 searches for me. Remember the olden days when you would routinely look at like 10 to 15 pages of search results on Yahoo until you found something mildly relevant to your to search topics? Have we become that impatient in only a 10 year span? But I digress.

To the cloud!...

a. Caffeine
Well it's the most widely available and common stimulant which makes it an interesting drug. The problem is that I'm pretty sure the people of Libya have had access to soda for a few years and it didn't exactly excite them to do anything before. I'm not sure why that fact pattern would change now, unless Pepsi Max is really that amazing (and yes I did just put the link to the Pepsi Max twitter page which for some reason has over 8,000 followers)

b. Nicotine
Have you seen people in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East before? These people have smoked like chimneys for centuries. Ain't no revolution goin' down because of Camel Turkish Blends.

c. Amphetamines
Well they give elevated mood swings and cause euphoria but then have an after effect of depression and anxiety. Hmm... well in Libya you have a scene of protests and excitement along with elements of violence when people are just frustrated (or hooligans). This seems to be an interesting fact pattern where amphetamines could explain that full range of behavior. This makes the short list.

d. Ecstasy
Listen, I don't exactly know what the scene in Libya is like from a first hand perspective, nor have I ever been there before. But I do know this, it's not exactly like a rave is taking place on the streets as far as I can tell. There may be music, but there ain't no dancing. If were on E there would be a lot more protesters wearing pacifiers. Look at this picture, I don't see any pacifiers. Next!

e. Cocaine
This is Libya, it ain't Hollywood. Next.

f. NRI's and NDRI's
This is weird because Wikipedia's list now starts to include categories and drugs I've never even heard of before. When I saw "NRI's" my first thought was Non Resident Indians the term for Indian citizens who no longer live in India - like my parents were when they first came to America like 40 years ago. The funny thing is that if someone told me that a bunch of awkward Indians were causing confusion in Libya I'd probably believe them. It's a pretty solid fact pattern. But alas these are a different sort of NRI's. A drug sort.

Well NRI drugs are used by people for a variety of reasons rangings from depression and fatigue to bedwetting and obesity. Hmm. An oppressed people suddenly coming alive and potentially peeing everywhere? We could have a winner. Let's put these on the short-list.

g. Modafinal & Adrafinal & Armodafinil
Ummm this sounds trio sounds like a terrible law firm. Well basically they're used to treat sleep disorders. Let's see... a sleeping body politic who are now awaking the the 21st century with Modadinal!... This sounds like a stretch. If anything Libyans would be happy and mellow if they were abusing Modafinal and getting a good night's rest for once. Why protest? Next.

h. Ampakines
Say what? This is a new one for me... but according to Wiki it's helpful for alertness without nasty side effects like massive addiction and post-high depression. It's big in Russia. Hmmm this may explain why people are marching in the streets, but not why they're being violent. If people had a sorta constant happy buzz you'd think they would just go to the park and play ultimate frisbee instead of bringing down a decades-old dictatorship.

i. Yohimbine
Contrary to popular belief, this is not the 2nd largest suburb outside of Tokyo. Apparently it's used as a treatment for both sexual dysfunction and Type 2 diabetes. In animals (and humans). Hmm, there's a cheap and pathetic joke waiting to be maid here... made. Wait for it... wait for it...

I'm pretty sure Libyans aren't having problems mating with sheep. Ah, there it is! Next!

3) The Short List
Well that pretty much leaves us with Amphetamines and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (NRI's). I don't really have a good way of determining which is the winner other than perhaps checking what the availability would be like in Libya.

Ideally you'd need a drugs which is available now but wasn't available before. This would fit Gadhafi's foolproof theory perfectly. After all it would be odd if the cause of the violence was a drug that was always available to the masses before that suddenly and inexplicable surged in popularity.

Okay, so let's do this scientifically:
- when I Google "amphetamines + Libya" I get 491,000 results
- when I Google "Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors + Libya" I get a paltry 14,500 results.

NRI's sounds new to me based on the fact that it doesn't have a lot of connections made between it and Libya on the ol' Googlebox.

Now sure most of these search results in both cases don't have anything to do with drug use in Libya, but that's besides the point. When it comes to humor never let the facts get in the way of the punchline.

4) The Winner: NRI's
Congrats NRI's! You win! Through the use of the process of elimination and the science method we can why it is the drug that Gadhafi is surely targetting. Let's summarize our results.

Gadhafi's Thesis: Drugs are causing people to protest in the streets

- High excitment: Surely do to a stimulant drug
- Violence seems to follow excitment: Indicative of a drug that has a "downer" period post "high"
- Relatively new drug: Some drug which wasn't on the scene before but is not playing a part

Cause: NRI

See! Science and Gadhafi can be fun!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why are escalators always broken?

I don't ask for very much, I really don't. Give me a TV with cable and you've pretty much satisfied all my nightlife and entertainment needs for the better part of 3 days to 6 months.

But the thing I don't get is why are there escalators that are seemingly always broken? During my morning commute it seems like over the past 10 year, at least 1 of the 3 escalators is perpetually in need of repair. Why?

I mean it's not rocket science, heck we have placed people on the moon. Why can't we get moving walkways to work?

I suppose someone is gonna now that I should just use stairs, because those never break. Well you know what, you're an ass for even mentioning that.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Chick Corea - scientologist

It's funny how sometimes many random life events seem to interact out of nowhere and weird connections are made. This sorta thing used to happen all the time in college and now...well... let's just say I'm generally happy when random things don't interact in my brain.

Several weeks ago I went to see jazz pianist great Chick Corea in concert. Now I could lie and tell you I knew about him and his place in history, etc etc etc... but I didn't.

I got free tickets and so I went. Simple. Now as it turns out Chick is a big deal. The performance was being presented by Wynton Marsalis and everything*

*I'm not quite sure what more "everything" implies. But it fits.

It was a lovely performance, mostly of old works that I had never heard with allusions to old I scantly knew. Weird highlights included Chick Corea's wife, or as I call her Corea's chick, making an appearance to sing one of the numbers.

Well so when the show ended I thought that was the end of my run-in with Mr. Corea. Well that's where I was wrong. Last week's edition of the New Yorker had a random article about scientology and the general ridiculousness of it. Good stuff, really. Well in the meat of the article it went through the origins of Scientology and its run-ins with the law.

WELL I was shocked to hear a story about some random court case in Portland where Scientologists gathered to protest some case....and in the middle of it, a concert by Scientologist Chick Corea! Whooooooa Nelly. Chick and probably his "angel wife" were crazies in the head!

Chick Corea is a Scientologist!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

the F-bomb on 60 Minutes

During last night's epsiode of 60 Minutes there was a feature that Anderson Cooper did on Lady Gaga. During portion which showed footage from her live show, this frame appeared....

Okay, just a guy dancing, right? Nothing crazy... unless you look at the sign behind the dancer. which lights up to say "What the fuck have you done?"

Well, there it is, in bright lights. Nothing like seeing the f-word associated with Gaga followed up by Andy Rooney talking about being old.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chuck Person & Kermit the Frog

One of the funnier things about cartoon characters and/or muppets is that many of them have the type of animal they are as a part of their name. For example their Yogi Bear and Woody the Woodpecker and Porky Pig. This of course doesn't mention the fact that nearly every muppet has their animal type in their name: Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy (her first name of course is never revealed)*.

So I started thinking that it would be pretty funny if humans were like that. You know, having friends called Billy the Human or Becky the Human.

But than it struck me, we have a few such people in the world. Former Indiana Pacers forward, Chuck Person. In fact even Danny Manning is close too. Hell, Mario Van Peebles is pretty damn close.

So that's my thoughts on that issue.

*notable exceptions to this rule include Gonzo.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mother Nature is a wanker

This pretty much sums up English weather at all times throughout the history...and in the future.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Do they...

... have $5 foot longs at Subway locations outside of America? Or are they constrained by the metric system?

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Friday, February 4, 2011

"Employment needed to assure economic recovery" ... no shit Sherlock

So I was sitting at work when this headline crossed through the wires (the top story in the picture below), "Bernanke Says Faster Employment Gains Needed to Assure Economic Recovery."

How is this considered breaking news? Isn't that kinda obvious.. if not redundant? It's sorta like saying "warm weather needed to end cold spell" or "wins are needed to end losing streak"

Why does someone need to tell me that employment is needed to assure recovery? What else is there in a recovery? For most people increased employment is what determines economic recovery. So basically he said that you need employment in order to have employment recovery.

Way to go Bernie

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt in Crisis (tm)

I know how to tell when something is history making.

I don't need political scientists to tell me.
I don't need news commentators to tell me.
I don't need friends and loved one to tell me.

I know something is history making when it is deemed worthy by news stations to have its own logo and graphic.

Today Egypt has earned it's stripes. Egypt, a land in the cradle of human civilization, is now ready for Prime Time. The Crisis in Egypt has received the honor of getting an on-screen logo.

CNN we salute you for saluting Egypt.

The simple but sharp logo incorporates elements of Egypt's flag, standard CNN-issue block font for "Egypt" and the cracked "crisis" font. When you see the cracked font, you know something is serious. It symbolizes tension, angst, danger...something which Arial font can't quite capture.

It's even something the old font stalwart Times New Roman can't even touch.

Over the coming days we shall chart other Egypt logos as other networks grant historic legitimacy to the events transpiring in the Middle East.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

downtown Manhattan tonight

from my living room...

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big Rolex or Target wall clock?

So I was watching the Aussie Open Final this weekend and a few things struck me:

1) When did Andy Murray switch from being sponsored by Fred Perry (God Save the Queen!) to Adidas (silly Germans)?
2) When was Murray's last haircut?
3) What's the deal with the Rolex clock in the background?

Now the first two are pretty straightforward. It's hard hitting straight forward analysis. The last one is a bit of a jokey joke... because everyone understands why there's a clock there.

Tennis events like all sporting events have sponsors for every little thing (the official car, the official tire, the official soda, etc. etc) and Rolex is of course the official timer of the Australian Open.

So far you're probably reading this wishing you could get get the last 15 seconds of your life back. Nothing groundbreaking so far. But this is the question:

Is it a real Rolex clock?

Seriously, is it a very big version of a proper Rolex watch with all the inner workings and gears and whatnot that people pay so much for to grace on their wrist? OR more weirdly, is it just some weird random generic clock that's Made in China which just has a Rolex-like dial and says Rolex?

Think about it, Rolex probably paid millions of dollars to be featured so prominently in every game and on every TV screen, so it's not some random product placement.

If Rolex just put some phony bologna watch isn't that pretty disingenuous? Like wouldn't Rolex want to properly represent themselves with a real clock?

What would happen if the fake big clock, probably bought at an Aussie version of Bed, Bath, & Beyond - which un-ironically is actually a Bed, Bath, & Beyond - breaks? Does Rolex want to stake their reputation on this? On the other hand, do they really make super big watches? I doubt it.

Anyways, I was thinking about this a lot and then Andy Murray lost in straight sets so I changed the channel to QVC and moved on with life.

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