4.30.2008

You stay classy, Rochester.

In response to an article in TIME™ about Ben Stein's new pro-Intelligent Design movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:

If you accept the theory of evolution, you accept that our genetic makeup, physical appearance and brain capacity are all related to our endeavor to survive and reproduce. Plants did not need legs to survive, and fish did not need hands. Humans, on the other hand, have a sophisticated brain that far exceeds what they need to survive and reproduce. I would like to see scientists research the brain capacity that various species need. If humans alone have evolved with capacities that far exceed what they essentially need, then intelligent design needs to be part of the story for us humans.
-Allen A. Platt, ROCHESTER, N.Y.


No matter how often I see and hear this shit it still pisses me off. What, is there some perfect evolutionary balance point where an organism can just barely survive, but not thrive, that humans have violated? Umm, its called survival of the fittest, not survival of the mediocre, for a reason assbutt.

Hello, Ego.

Excerpt from The Badger Herald online ShoutOuts page (it didn't make it into the print edition today):


Sorry girls, it's here to stay.

4.28.2008

Randomized

1. I can play, to one degree or another, the following instruments: bassoon, violin, tuba, flute, harp, recorder, saxophone, bass guitar, clarinet, and oboe. Also, I was in a band in high school. We called ourselves Emanon

2. My first bike was a dark purple Huffy, known around the neighborhood as the Purple Piss Pot.

3. I own 46 pairs of pants (2 are in a pile of clothes to get rid of, so soon it will be 44).

4. Earwigs are the only animal that really freak me out. I just did an image search for them. I wish I hadn't. OK, snakes that can swim freak me out also. Land snakes are fine.

5. I've had a thing for subway systems ever since I started taking SEPTA to school in the 5th grade. In 6th grade I decided I wanted to see every station on the line I took to and from school. So one day I got on the local, rode to one end of the line, then rode to the other end of the line, then back to my normal stop. And then still had to wait for a bus to get me home. I didn't get there until close to 9:00. My parents were upset with me.

6. I'm unsure whether I love my watch-tan so much because I can't stand not wearing a watch, or I always have to wear a watch because I love my watch-tan so much.

Editorializing

Screw you William Kristol. I get it that you're supposed to be the Right Wing Guy at the Times, the Anit-Dowd if you will. You get paid to bait liberals just like she gets paid to make up insulting names for conservatives. And you're great at it, even while passive-aggressively electioneering for one of the Democratic candidates. So thank you William for continuing to embiggen the political debate with little gems like this:

But we also see the liberal media failing to give Hillary Clinton the respect she deserves. So, since we conservatives believe in giving credit where credit is due, it falls to us to praise Hillary.

Douche.

4.26.2008

Rescheduling

I think I do a fair amount of flying in my life. Certainly not Epic amounts, but enough so that I'm quite confident in my flight planning/ticket buying skillz. There was of course the small AM vs. PM mistake back on New Year's 2006, but that was a fluke. At least I'd like to think so.

I got a text from my brother this afternoon asking if I was going to be back in Philly for Slav Saturday, currently scheduled for May 18th. There are 3 things you need to know about this statement:
1. Slav Saturday is the latest E(thnic) E(ating) E(vent) planned for the B(arnebey) B(eer) G(arden) & G(rille), i.e. The B2G2 or my parents side yard.
2. There is a Barnebey Brothers & Friends Memorial Day Weekend retreat planned, over Memorial Day Weekend, for which I will be returning to Philadelphia.
3. May 18th is a Sunday, not a Saturday.

May 18th seemed really early to me. Weeks before Memorial Day Weekend even. Because that's always the last weekend in May... Except really, it's the last Monday in May. And that means it's on the 26th this year, not the 2nd of June. A fact I did not correctly account for when I booked a flight for May 28th.

In my defense, I had rectified this situation within 10 minutes of it being brought to my attention.

4.25.2008

Sometimes I make a good impression.

Ah, the thrill of the hunt. Or the thrill of just barely not getting kicked out of school. I live for it. There is of course the infamous 'Bagpipe Episode of 2004' which nearly cost me $20,000 in tuition and all of my friends. And the incomplete I still have from the fall of 2006, for which I have officially been on probation for a year and a half. This week though there was more excitment.

i. On Monday I informed the Linguistics Department that I would not be applying for a TAship next year. I've TAed LING 101 for 3 years now and besides getting sort of bored with it, I figured the department would want to give some of the other grad students a chance to do it as well. More importantly, I thought I would only be paying tuition as a dissertator in the fall, which is really cheap, as opposed to out-of-state tuition, which is really expensive. On Tuesday I found out that I wasn't accounting for the classes I still need to take to finish my minor, which are extra if you're a dissertator. And expensive also. On Wednesday I worried about how I was going to pay for school next year. And drank some beers outside to calm my nerves. On Thursday I got a call from my advisor. She had just come from a department meeting in which I had been discussed. The concensus, the department really wants me to TA again. I graciously accepted. On Friday I applied to be a TA for LING 101 next year. Crises averted.

ii. Last Sunday night I got an email from a professor I am doing an independant study with. We hadn't meet in a few weeks and she was wondering what was going on there. We decide to meet Firday afternoon; I promise that I've got some stuff to talk about. Friday looms in my future. Wednesday I drink some beers, to calm my nerves. Thursday night I remember I still have a section worth of problem sets to grade for Friday morning. This was prime prepare-to-meet-with-professor time. Friday morning I go row at 5:30 AM, go to breakfast at 7:15 AM, and the library at 9:30 AM. At 12:05 I begin handing back problem sets, feeling woefully ill-prepared for my meeting at 1:00. At 1:00 we meet, we talk, we discuss. I smile some. We plan for the future. We (finally) sign the form needed for me to add this class officially. By Monday I should no longer have a credit underload and risk being classified as a part time student. Crises averted.

Karma, are you out there? I don't want to lose anything this weekend because of what happened today.

4.24.2008

Sweater Recycling

Sometimes the recycling just has to go out. It doesn't matter if it's raining out or if you're wearing a sweater; you've just got to do it.

4.21.2008

4.19.2008

Vomit in the Morning

Last night I was talking to Jobonga about her toothpaste selection when I heard someone puking outside my apartment. It sounded close, like right outside my window. That's disgusting, but also sort of funny. I wanted a picture, but couldn't see anything out the window. So I went outside with my flashlight and my camera to find me some regurgitate. Always risk adverse, Jobonga worried it was a ruse to lure me outside so someone could hit me over the head. That didn't happen, but I couldn't find my prize either. Until this morning:


Turns out it wasn't nearly as close to my window as I thought. I guess I was (mistakenly) assuming it was happening behind a bush, or in a corner, or somewhere not right on the sidewalk. Also, it happened twice. Classy.

In the midst of documenting this I noticed we have gotten a new "Flags Over Dane County" flag pot. I'm not sure how long it's actually been there, but there was already only 1 flag left. And that was on the other side of the street. I generally think this is a stupid idea, but I do look forward to watching people cross Monroe Street carrying a flag aloft while sitting at my desk. There will probably be pictures as I'm fairly certain that the intersection of the set of people who use flags to cross streets and the set of people who should be featured on You Shouldn't Wear That is pretty inclusive. Also, they probably find the following advice from the Dane County Safe Communities website helpful:

Tips for assertive but safe pedestrians

1. Point to the other side of the street with the flag high, while standing with at least one foot in the street (the legal trigger for drivers to yield). Look assertive!! If there's an empty parked car that can protect you, cross the parking lane in front of it so you are more visible to drivers.

2. Gauge the traffic in the lane nearest you, and make and maintain eye contact with the first driver who has time make a gradual stop (Cars take a long time to stop; at 25 mph allow 75 feet or about five car lengths, up to double that if you're doing this for the first time, if you're a slow walker, for speeders, or for bad weather conditions). Let cars who are too close to stop go on by.

3. Maintain eye contact with your selected driver; step out into his lane only when you are sure the driver is going to stop.

4. Safely cross the lane in front of the stopped car while looking for the first car in the next lane whose driver can easily stop. Then maintain eye contact with that driver. Move carefully in front of the new car across the lane as it stops. Repeat lane by lane until you have crossed all traffic lanes.

5. IMPORTANT: Whenever you can (without being distracted) give drivers a smile, a wave, or "Thanks!" to demonstrate to drivers that pedestrians appreciate their courtesy!

Remember that the flag is a helpful tool, but you still have to use normal caution. Don't ever step into the path of a car when you are not sure the driver will stop.


I'm sorry, but if you don't know how to cross a street without reading the instructions, you really shouldn't be doing it. Also, I'm not really sorry.

4.17.2008

Yes Timmy, it's a sweater.

Today's sweater is presented from the view of a typical LING 101 student sitting in the back of my class. As we all know, this is where the cool kids are supposed to sit. The kid who usually sits here is decidedly not cool. I don't know what he thinks he's doing back there.

Anyway, this is a great little grey cashmere number. It really is too classy for these kids, but as has been mentioned before, I'm running out of options. I dressed it down with light-wash jeans and my sherbet flavored Nikes. I dressed it up with a mustache.

4.15.2008

Hello, my name is Whitney, and I'm a Scrabaholic.

Darcy may have recently beat me for the first time, but I have done something even better. The allusive 500 pt. mark is mine! Key plays included:

MONKIER - 72
OVATIONS - 72
RECOUPLE - 78
QI - 64

This latest victory has brought my Scrabulous ranking up to an impressive 1657. If I hit 1700 I'm going to buy myself a new pair of shoes. So I can do a little dance.

4.10.2008

It's Raining Again

Won't you be my Googlegänger?

Oh NY Times how I love thee. Today we learn that there are people running around out there with our names, and we sort of like to know about them. Of course by 'we' I mean not me. Because I don't have any Googlegängers, male or female. There aren't even any Whitney Barnebys or Barnabys as far as I can tell. But here's the thing I found really interesting:

In studies involving Internet telephone directories, Social Security death index records and clinical experiments, Brett Pelham, a social psychologist, and colleagues have found in the past six years that Johnsons are more likely to wed Johnsons, women named Virginia are more likely to live in (and move to) Virginia, and people whose surname is Lane tend to have addresses that include the word “lane,” not “street.”

During the 2000 presidential campaign, people whose surnames began with B were more likely to contribute to George Bush, while those whose surnames began with G were more likely to contribute to Al Gore.

WHAT‽ People named Lane are actually more likely to live on a lane? And the letter of your last name is somehow intertwined with your political donations? The Times doesn't deign to give us the source of these data, or the actual numbers, or tell us who this Brett Pelham is who conducted these studies, but we do get this:
For each of the studies Dr. Pelham and colleagues conducted showing a connection between names and behavior, they compared their results with random chance. The number of Virginias who move to Virginia, for example, is 36 percent higher than could be expected by chance.

36% higher!

And even freakier is this:
Of the 40 Angela Sheltons that Ms. Shelton, the writer, met with in researching her book, many of them were nurses. Only one voted for George W. Bush. Seventy percent, she said, reported they had been raped, sexually assaulted or abused. (Ms. Shelton’s book, subtitled “The True Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Sexual Abuse,” was based on a documentary she made in 2001.)

I don't know what the combined rate of rape, sexual assault, and abuse is in the general female population but I assume it's significantly less that 70%. So sexual offenders are out there just looking for Angela Sheltons to attack. Scary.

4.09.2008

Joanna and I, as usual, are involved in a game of Scrabulous at the moment (I'm winning). Just before playing GAVEL she made this comment:


To which I hypothesized that she might have been stuck with 'esoVagus' instead of 'esophagus'. She replied:

4.08.2008

O.C.D.

Jobonga's outdated latest sent me scurrying off to the O.E.D. to see what I could learn about sny. Turns out that the only thing of note is that all of our definitions are more interesting than the lexicographers'.

Fortunately I also noticed the entry directly preceding 'sny'.

What a nice little word. Of particular interest I suspect will be meaning #2. I personally wouldn't mind a little cat-snuzzling right about now. WARNING: while included in SOWPODS, 'snuzzle' is not valid in a TWL game of Scrabble or Scabulous. Even if you do have a blank to make that extra Z.

Interestingly (to me), the O.E.D. doesn't come out and say that 'snuzzle' is a portmanteau of 'snout' and 'nuzzle', which seems fairly possible. Instead, etymologically speaking, they give it as a (possible) variant of 'nuzzle' and suggest comparing it to 'snoozle'. Okay, I will.

Not very useful really since we're just sent off to compare something else, but at least I know I'll be dreaming of "... pigs snoozling in the straw" next time I'm back in snoozledom. I can't wait. And since 'snoozle' is in the TWL, you should be expecting it to appear on my Scrabulous Bingo list in the near future. Beware.

4.05.2008

There's something I feel I should tell you...

I've recently reached a major milestone in my iMusical life. And I'm not talking about crossing into the land of 13,000 songs either. I did that a few weeks ago, thanks for asking. No, today I would like to talk about my Play Count. I knew this day was coming, but I didn't realize I had actually entered into this new frontier until this morning when I decided to take a gander at my Top 50 Most Played playlist. And there it was staring back at me, the number 202. "No One" by Alicia Keys* had officially become my first song to hit the 200 plays mark. (WHYY, with 275 plays, isn't a song, it's a stream of the Philadelphia NPR station that I listen to pretty much every morning. So that doesn't count. Plus, its Play Count got reset in December when I accidently deleted it from my library. Otherwise it would probably be getting towards the 1,000 mark.)

So, without further ado, here are all of my songs (33 in all) which have attained the distinction of 40 or more plays:


Some of these are obvious. Of course Bon Jovi was going to be on there (twice actually), Rihanna happily sneaks in with the rising star "Breakin' Dishes" which I've had for less than 4 months, and there's certainly been a lot of MIKA played in the last year (or 11 months, exactly). Other's, well, I'm less sure about. There's no reason "Okayalright" should have been played 107 times, and while I like Gillian Welch I'm always a little taken aback how far up this list she has managed to get. The Play Count never lies though, and I refuse to hide my music listening habits any longer. In short I've decided that the 14.16 hours of my life I've spent listening to Alicia Keys so far is nothing to be embarrassed about.


*This may not be the most exciting music video but shit does Alicia look good. Possibly her best ever. But maybe that's just the hair influencing me. God that mane is hot.

4.03.2008

(Woven) Ticket to Ride

In homage to the snow being gone, and the old guy at the bike shop that hammered my chainring back into shape, I present a sweater on a bike:

This is a great sweater for a cool spring day or a cool summer night. Unfortunately I seem to be running low on spring sweaters just as they become ever more important to the future of Sweater Thursday. I realize now that there was not nearly enough forethought put into my sweater lineup through out the winter months. Now I'm left with a pile of heavy winter sweaters that I haven't worn yet, and steadily rising temperatures. This could prove to be my downfall yet.