December 31, 2007

Back Home Again in Indiana



...where it seems that I can see the gleemingly fleuorescent lights,

still shining bright on the roundball for me...

I spent Friday at the biggest high school gymnasium in the United States - the New Castle Chrysler Fieldhouse, home to the New Castle Spartans and 9,314 seats. Got to see my alma mater win the tourney, taking the victory in the #1 vs #2 matchup in the morning session. Got to hang out with the The Pater Familias and The Sister. Even got to visit the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame for an hour or so.

It was a pretty good day, all in all, in spite of the spitting rain. Heck, the weather was far better than the weather has been during a lot of the other Hall Classics. The only thing missing was a trip to the Hickory Gym to make it an true orgy of Hoosier hysteria.

Indiana high school basketball is something that's legendarily famous, and its history is a pretty amazing thing - in spite of some significant changes that have come along since the move from a single-class system. I have a number of very fond memories of watching basketball in New Albany's gym (seating a then-paltry 4701 Bulldog fans) from the catwalk above the floor or up at the top of the three-story bleachers, supervised by an older family friend.

Basketball in Indiana certainly is something special, the kind of special that most small towns in the midwest are familair with. In Ohio, it might be football that brings the town together, but in Indiana, it's very clearly basketball.

In modern times, it's not quite the world of Hoosiers where the whole town gets together on Friday night, but it's certainly still the case that every varsity basketball game - especially in smaller towns - draws enough of the town that it's usually the big event that night.

Basketball is still king in Indiana, and no matter now many high school basketball games I go to in Ohio, it's just not the same.

During my first year teaching in Ohio, I took The Girl to a boys basketball game at Mount Healthy High School where I was teaching at the time. After my initial interview, the principal commented on how proud of their big gym they were. When we got to the game, The Girl's first side comment to me was a simple "where's the main gym", because Mt Healthy's gym wasn't even half the size of our high school's gym.

I miss Indiana high school ball.


In researching this post, I did stumble on a future road trip idea in the works. Could be kinda cool to see the games in all the Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky gyms. And I don't think it would be all that hard, either.

December 30, 2007

Beatles did these, too

Continuing with the Beatles cover after that short Christmas interlude...

Kids Incorporated "From Me to You" (or Eaton Rode or Fame Academy)


Billy Preston (a Beatles guest, admittedly) "Get Back" (or Ike & Tina again)


Jay Z & Danger Mouse - sort of "Glass Onion"


Neil Diamond "Golden Slumbers" (or TroyTones or some weird stage show)


Earth, Wind, & Fire "Got to Get You Into My Life" (or Chicago or Rockapella)


Joe Cocker "With a Little Help From My Friends" (or Ayo & Jude or John Belushi or Richie Sambora)


Oasis "Help" (or Bananarama)


U2 "Helter Skelter" (or The Killers or Souxsie & the Banshees or Aerosmith)


Richie Havens "Here Comes the Sun" (or Nina Simone or Bon Jovi or Taylor Hicks or George Benson)


Hugh Laurie "Hey Jude" (or Wilson Pickett and the Bee Gees or The Dakotas or Duane Allman & Wilson Pickett or The Punkles or Phantom Planet & Maroon 5)


Langhorn Slim "Honey Pie" (or King's Singers or Olivia Newton-John)


Jim Carey "I Am the Walrus" (or Frank Zappa or Oasis or Styx


I may or may not continue my way through the alphabet of Beatles covers another time, but this is certainly enough for now...

December 29, 2007

The Title of the Blog - Part 12

I know, this should be part eleven, in the string, but I don't seem to have part eleven saved on my home computer. Might have it at school, might just have things mislabeled - who knows. If eleven is at school, I'll post it next week. If this one's really eleven, such is the way of the world.

When today's column was originally published in The Bachelor, it was subtitled as Dusch's manifesto, having come out just after the Unabomber's manifesto was published in the NY Times & the Washington Post. Guess my environmental ideas echoed his in the eyes of The Bachelor's editors.

So be it...
We are being neutered. If you’ve picked up Time or Newsweek or watched the nightly news recently, you knew this, though. Lately scientists have been finding that our better life through chemical living might just lead to an infertile life through lowered sperm counts. In Finland and New York City and France and other places around the world, average sperm counts in males have dropped almost fifty percent in the last few decades. If they drop like that again man will be nearly infertile in thirty years. Those are your sons and mine. No grandkids to expect or even to hope for after that. Ever…and it’s our own faults. Most of those scientists are now thinking that this reduction is due to massive amount of chemicals in our lives, closer living quarters in large cities, and raised aggression levels due to the stress in our lives.

Simple enough then to solve the problem. All we have to do is move back the countries, get rid of our deodorants, pills, and hair sprays, and live happy, peaceful lives. Yeah right, I imagine that’ll happen about as soon as Rush Limbaugh throws a birthday party for Al Franken. And I’m not even suggesting we should try to do any of that. Why give up what we have worked so damn hard to achieve. We have dragged ourselves out from the waters, from the swamps, down form the trees, and in from the cities. Mankind has built the greatest artificial monuments ever seen on this planet. We have created the pyramids and raised the Hoover Dam. But in the process, we also have raped the land, poisoned the air, and killed many of the planet’s other inhabitants.

We are the greatest creation or either some Creator or some creative process, and we are also its greatest failure. Form the words of the Bible through those of Mark Twain, by way of paintings on French caves and from Picasso’s brush, we have forged an intellectual legacy never to be forgotten as long as there are men to read and to look. Through the genocides of Adolf Hitler and wholesale burnings of rainforests, however, we will also leave an inheritance of hatred and murder. Our time has come, and, with a combined effort form ourselves and Mother Nature, it too shall pass.

For the past four or five million years, we, as a species, have ruled the roost. We have been the most dominant animal in a vast web of life on this planet. We have made and massacred gods by the score, and have dared to challenge even Nature herself. But she will not be so easily brought low. Before us She watched the reign of lizards and of fish, both coming to ends by way of disasters to huge to be prepared for. Comets came and darkened the sky, freezing out those who were then masters. Volcanic eruptions covered the planet in lava, warming the very waters in which the rulers did swim. And yet life went on. The slate was beginning to get too crowded, so She came along and wiped it clean, only to see the new creatures write anew. For now we have covered the board until we live on top of one another in our cities, reaching and stretching for every available bit of space and air. It is our time to be washed away.

And we might just be the one doing the washing. We spent much of our time her in small skirmishes, armies marching and tanks rolling along as we killed each other by the thousands. But our numbers continued to grow. And then we found the ability to kill by the millions and then by the hundreds of millions. We tapped the power of the sun, and encased it in shells that we aimed at our own kind. We gave ourselves the ability to end it all, then we grew the anger to do it and, thankfully, the fear not to.

But for more than a generation now, we have pointed these unholy and evil weapons at each other and have bemoaned the fact that we are doing it. Others have fought to end this fatalistic posturing, and perhaps now they have it under control. But we have not been silent and lazy the whole time. We have designed ways to kill the fish and the fowl, the trees and those tramping along below them. In the air we have put chemicals that may slowly be boiling us alive. Into the waters we have dumped oils that poison our foods. Onto the grounds we have buried things that will glow for as long as we have been on this planet. And we have been stupid and blind the whole time.

But now we begin to realize that we will pay for our short-sightedness. And part of me hopes that we do. In mankind I believe the greatest of beauties has been realized. We have made wonderful things, have conquered the tyranny of genes to now let the sick and the lame lead healthy lives, and we have created as none other have ever done. I have to believe this because it s the only way that I can ever justify the rise of our kind. Yet I see the other side, the one that has killed others of our kind, has murdered those we never even got to know, has burned the trees, poisoned the world, and deserved to be cleansed. For these actions sometimes I wish for the destruction of us. Of an end for everything that we ever wrote, drew, or built. We must have wiped away so that someone else can begin anew.

But we must have no fear. Even if we so sicken our world that we can no longer live upon it, something else will be able to. Next, perhaps, will be the time of the rats, or of the cockroaches, or the insects, or the bugs. Out of the very ashes of our cities will rise afresh something that Nature sees every few millennia: the next big thing. She saw the dinosaurs rule for more than a hundred million years, and then they went. So far we have not spent one one-hundredth of that time on Earth as this big thing, and She won’t give a damn about us when we are gone.

So why should we even bother to keep the air clean or to stop killing anything that is less than we are? Roughly ninety-nine percent of the species that have ever existed on our world are now extinct, and we shall join that number some day. So should we not flaunt out moment of glory, grasp the short time that we have the throne, and live our lives as selfishly as we can?

Yes, by all means, we should, and yet I hope we do not. The world is still beautiful, the forests still thick and teaming with lives yet to be explored or lived, the sunsets still draw me to the sea. For these beauties, for your wives yet loved, and for our children unborn, we should protect that in which we find beauty. We must ensure that they will someday be faced with this same choice. Will we – and someday they – pluck flowers from the ground, pave over their fields, and build skyward, or will they cherish, preserve, and enjoy only to give the next generation a chance to choose again?

Only one of those choices allows us to choose again. The other takes the choice away from our children and ensures that Nature will take the choice away from us and us away from our world. Unless we take ourselves away before She has the chance…
I'm not so sure that my ideas found here are very much different from others that I've expressed before. Interesting how little the brain changes sometimes...

December 28, 2007

Christmas reflections

Let's see what I can give you about my holidays...

I'm a little surprised that Elvis has the top selling Christmas album of all time. I would've guessed on one of the Mannheim Steamrollers or the Now collection - which really is outstanding (not quite as good as the older version that I own.

~~~

Somehow a two-week break seems so much longer when I'm putting things off and saying that "I'll do them during break". The break always begins with urgent things that have to be done before Christmas, a bit of time spent putzing around just because I "need a break", realizing that it's just a day before I leave for my parents' house so no time to do anything real and substantive, then heading in for three or so days of Christmas at the 'rents'. Now that we're past those days, the break seems to be almost over - even though I've still got five days or so. I should probably get cracking and do something from my list of things to that I've put off 'til break.

~~~

I've got a bunch of thank you notes to write (because folks seem to be kinda generous 'round Christmastime.) The notes are for...
  • three seasons of Batman Beyond on DVD
  • I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski book
  • a fruit-powered clock that's gonna end up in my classroom when I teach electrochem
  • bacon-flavored mints & a what would bacon do? folder
  • three new Wabash College shirts
  • a couple of Panera gift cards
  • a pretty cool Marvel poster
  • DVD of Absolute Zero that looks absolutely atrocious and hilarious
  • the new One Child laptop (a review is forthcoming)
  • a Spudtrooper
  • gift cards to the Esquire and Dewey's - making for a great night out for me and The Girl
  • bread mixes & a terra cotta bread baker
  • magnetic building blocks
  • Clan Apis
  • a new toilet
  • a new washer and dryer
  • a chocolate acorn filled with chocolate squirrels
I know, I'm a pretty lucky guy, you don't have to remind me, Calen.

~~~

A Christmas Story - the movie with Darren McGavin and that Billingsly kid - is moving toward becoming tiresome to me. For three days around Christmas, it seemed that it was on tv anywhere that I went - BW3s, my parents' house, The Mother-in-law's house, the nursing home, a party. There comes a time when even the finest holiday chestnuts need to be set aside and kept for special occasions, rolled out once a year for everybody to enjoy. Overkill isn't just a river in Egypt.

~~~

I'm having trouble with the wrapping of Christmas presents. You slap some paper on the gifts and then rip the paper right off. I'm guessing that most of the paper - and the bows and ribbon - gets chucked into the trash which is ecologically and fiscally wasteful. I haven't found a solution just yet - other than to maybe buy recycled wrapping paper or put everything in the Sunday comics - the big problem there, however, is that I don't normally buy the paper, so I'd still be buying paper that I don't automatically have around.

Anybody out there do anything that's socially acceptable but involves at least the wasting of fewer resources? Or have any suggestions?

~~~

Went to Kenwood Mall on Thursday to take care of a couple of returns. It was two days after Christmas, and the place was every bit as crowded as it was a month before the holiday. It didn't make sense to me that there would be so many people out and about at two o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. I know that school folks aren't working during the holidays and that some people get holiday time off, but isn't there a down time at that mall? Sheesh...

Long live the season of commerce...

~~~

My dogs seem about as happy with their amazingly simple Christmas gifts - Nutro biscuits, a Nylabone, and a plush, squeeky chicken - as is just about any human that I know. There are a lot of times that I envy the little bags of fur.

December 26, 2007

Skimming what there is to be skimmed

As I do semi-regularly...things are a bit thin this time as many of my favorite blogs have taken the holidays off, but they - like I - will come back strong starting this weekend...see ya then, folks...

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas...and a moment of reflection...


It's an odd thing to celebrate this 1000th post.

I don't know that it's really much of an accomplishment outside of being an act of stuborness and determination, and I know that the 1000th post isn't really all that more special than any other around this number except that we like the look of the nice, round numbers so we celebrate them.

It's also somewhat of a bittersweet number because it means that the next landmarks are a number of years off...
  • 2.5 years = 1000 posts
  • so...7.5 years = 5000 posts
  • 25 years = 10000 posts
...and I don't know that I'll be doing this for the next twenty-plus years. If so, I can't imagine that the blog's going to look the same as it does now. First off, I need to get some sort of graphical header up top. It's an embarrassment that I'm still using the craptacular header that blogger offers up with its ever-so-stylish grey outline box. Plus, I'm thinking that in twenty years, that Googlezon will have found a better way for me to blog than all this manual labor of actually moving plastic pieces with letters painted on them. I'll probably just have a stream of consciousness recording that everybody will be able to download directly into their cerebral cortex from theis feed tube.

By the same token, I'm willing to celebrate whatever the accomplishment is just because I kinda dig talking to you folks in this way. Admittedly, it's not exactly the purest kind of psychiatric couch - it being linked from my school site, as I always point out, kind of limits the topics that I'm willing to cover - but it's an experience both cathartic and connecting to offer up my thoughts and links (wow, can there be anything more frivolous than posting a link to a neat online game and claiming that it's my most significant thought of the day or more hubristic than thinking anybody will give a crap?) to you.

The real joy, however, is in knowing that somebody's been listening, and the comments that you folks leave are what makes this gig truly worthwhile.

Thanks to you, Calen, Katydid, Danecht, Andrew, Craig, ColdNorthGamer, CoachSullivan, Rob, the Transbuddhas, tl, Ame, RuffRyder, Grace, Kyle, Achilles3, CollectedEditions, others who I'm sadly forgetting, and a whole lot more lurkers, some of whom I'm aware of - Rachel, Ashley, Morgan, I'm talking to you - but based on my Google Analytics stats, a number of whom I don't know.

To you loyal readers, I pledge to keep doing what I've been doing for at least a while longer...but better than ever.

Any requests for post topics? Has there been any times when you've thought wonder what chemguy thinks about this?

If so, throw down the topic, and I'll pledge to post about it with reasonable haste.

Oh, and if anybody's in need of some holiday cheer, might I recommend this cartoon.

Thanks for sticking with me...

Countdown to 1000: Are you serious? This is it. The big one...get with it, spudboy, and have a merry christmas...

December 24, 2007

In which our blogging hero is conflicted

Today's post regards a rather scary little story that I happened upon this weekend in The Cincy Enquirer:
Facebook prank turns bad
Taylor honor students file suit after expulsion
I'm all over the place in trying to figure out a response to this little prank.

Thought #1 comes from the teacher side of me. It terrifies me to think that a student could take one of my photos - lovingly posted here, thanks for asking - and prank up a page suggesting what are clearly pretty horrible things and that I'd have no school-based recourse to stop them. Those are the kinds of accusations that once said - even in jest - spread very quickly and head rather quickly into costing somebody their job.

It may be tough for a student person to realize how wrong such a joke can be, how horrible can be the repercussions of such a gag told in passing jest.

Thought #2 is that the interweb - no matter how much I've come to love and care for it dearly - is hugely culpable in this incident. In the past, a note might be written, a gag told in the hallways, a chuckle in the back of the classroom would've been how this gag would've gone. If the words were repeated a few times and spread 'round, there would never have been proof, never have been any tangible permanence to the rumor, and eventually it would have faded away.

With the interwebs' creation, however, that rumor gains electronic permanence and doesn't die nearly as quickly. Plus there's the anonymity of sites like Facebook (and, honestly, Blogger) in which we have no real clue who's behind these posts. Sure, lots of you know who I am, but that's because I've owned up to things offweb. I know lots of bloggers whose deeds I follow without having the foggiest clue as to who they might actually be. As long as I'm just getting a chuckle from their words, from their willingly offered observations, there's no harm, no foul.

Here, however, that anonymity has lead someone into a pretty dangerous place in which the students pretended to be their teacher - no matter how jokingly they intended the ruse. That starts to border on identity theft, and as a society we're going to need to find out how seriously we want to defend these kinds of transgressions before they get to the point where someone's identity means absolutely nothing.

Thought #3 is that it's free speech. I've enjoyed a bunch of parodies in my times - heck, Weird Al's made a career out of them - and I'm sure that some of them were things that I didn't clearly know were parodies on the first look or listen. Where do we draw that line? Where do we say "yes, parodies are okay as long as it's clearly not the original work?" Do we have to include a sticker right across the center of the Mona Lisa Simpson saying that it's not the original work?

We have the right to tell a joke, to adopt a funny voice an mimick a celebrity in the name of humor and to use the defense that "it's funny" without worrying that Big Brother throwing down and locking us up. 'Cause it is funny, you know, because it's happening to a famous person. They asked for it. They're getting rich off of our attention. They should take the joke.

But where do we draw the line?

How do we defend out right to free speech and our right to an identity?

How do we punish the act that might cause someone harm without punishing the act that doesn't cause harm?

How do we protect jokes with the punchline your mom - which are the funniest kinds of jokes, let's be honest - while still making it clear that I didn't really facebook you mom?

Not this week, anyway...

By the way, the pdf of the initial court decision in this case is absolutely fascinating reading. Please take a few minutes and read through it if I've piqued your interest in the least.

Countdown to 1000: One more to go...which would make this some kind of palindromic number, wouldn't it? This post's like the devil's number spun 'round. Could lead to some sort of accidental delivery to the wrong house in a bad comedy movie, eh?

December 23, 2007

Merry Moflinkin' christmas

We close out the Christmas series of videos thusly...

Rza and Craig Feurgeson Decking the Halls


A Muppet Family Christmas - Part 1 (the other parts are linked from here)


Bing & Bowie in a modern classic - "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth"


Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody"


Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas"


I had no idea they did this again in 1989 and 2004


A Scrubs/Charlie Brown Christmas - with a touch of the Beasties for good measure


Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds "Christmas Song"


"Wonderful Christmastime" by the weenie and his wife


Zach Kim accompanying himself on "White Christmas"


U2 "It's Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)"


The King's "Blue Christmas"


"Christmas Rapping" by Kurtis Blow


"Star Wars Holiday Special" (part 1)


Countdown to 1000: Two more posts needed...which puts me right at Christmas and ready to rock the world into quadruple digits. Take that, Christmas!

December 22, 2007

The Mitchell Report - such as it is


Baseball has come out with the Mitchell Report.

If you're not aware of the Mitchell Report, it's the final report of an investigation into steroid (ab)use in major league baseball, the report of an investigation lead by former US Senator George Mitchell.

Mitchell's investigation has lead to a report that MLB is considering as the official and nearly-final word on performance enhancing drug use in baseball during the era from the early-1990's through the early- or mid-2000s. In the report, a number of current- or former-MLB players were implicated as being steroid users - on an occasional or regular basis.

And I don't care.

I don't give the faintest, littlest, tiniest crap about the report in the least.

Owners, players, reporters, fans all looked the other way for a decade or so.

We watched Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa smack record numbers of home runs out of the park for a number of years. We saw more 50-HR seasons in the 1990s (13 of them) than we saw in any previous decade, until the 2000s, which has twelve already with two years to go. And we came up with excuses about better weight training, smaller ballparks, expansion, and weaker pitchers at the bottom end of the bullpen.

And I'm okay with that.

Yes, baseball needs to find a way to get rid of steroids from the game, but baseball needs to do that by moving forward and negotiating with the player's association to start regular, random, effective testing in the game.

But what baseball needs to not do is to look backward and speculate. To not debate about clearing records of those who have been implicated, because we'll never know which homeruns, how many wins, which strikeouts were the results of steroids and which weren't.

A done bun can't be undone.

Let the records stand.

Let the players into the hall of fame because - like it or not - they were the best of this era no matter what.

And move on.

I don't want to ever hear about the Mitchell Report or the players named therin or who might or might not have used in the past. I don't even want to hear about who might or might not be using now - unless there's some sort of evidence to win the argument.

I

don't

care.

Countdown to 1000: Three to go, it's like a real frickin' countdown at this point. We're just about ready to light this candle.

The Title of the Blog - Part 10

I love Wabash like almost no other place that I've ever known. My years at Wabash were amazing, and I do everything that I can to pay Wabash back for those years by recruiting in any way that I can manage.

But Wabash isn't for everybody. It's a tiny, all-male school where the students are pushed to do a lot of original thinking and not so much wrote memorization. It's not an amazing party school, and we don't have a hundred thousand students at the football stadium every weekend in the fall.

In the spring of every Wabash year, we host a bunch of high school students for what we call Honor Scholar Weekend. Most of the high schoolers there are taking written tests to earn big, big scholarships. On Friday and Saturday nights and all-day Sunday, the Honor Scholars get free reign to wander the campus and get to know the various fraternities.

We put our best face forward and try to sell the place as much as we possibly can, because not every one of those honor scholars is going to come to Wabash, so we're still selling the school and our own fraternities.

And The Bachelor didn't even ask me to write a negative column. So I offered it on my own.
Let me caution you, good Honor Scholars, for you are about to take a very grave step… ~ Paraphrasing a fraternity brother of mine

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside…
~ Emerson, Lake, and Palmer – “Karn Evil #9” – first impression, part two

Welcome, welcome, welcome…to the greatest show on earth. This weekend, we present for your approval the greatest circus viewed by any pair of high school eyes. Behind every next curtain lie feats of magic greater than any you could even imagine. Inside each tent awaits a creature previously only seen in sagas and stories, but now ready to be shown to you and you alone – for a small fee, of course. And along the paths lie a multitude of performers willing to astound and amaze you as you travel from tent to tent, from tantalizing trick to terrifying treat…pause a moment., deposit whatever small bit of coinage you may feel required to, and relax…for you are about to see things you never dreamed of…

I think that’s about the best introduction to Honor Scholar weekend that I could ever manage to give you folks. This is the weekend when Wabash spit-shines the bust of old Eli in the library, begs the frat boys to be good for a while, and prays for sunshine, sociability, and silence. We, in turn, clean up the houses and dorms the best we can, try to seem a little more controlled and cultured that we do the rest of the time and try to sell out school, our fraternities, and ourselves to a bunch of high school seniors. You may never get this kind of treatment again in your lives, guys, so enjoy it while you can.

And take it all with a grain of salt. Some of us will lie to you, telling you that every weekend we bus women from Purdue, IU, and Butler to party with us. Others will tell you that we barely miss women around here anyway. We work like dogs all week long and party all weekend long. It’s the best college in the world, and it’s gonna be perfect for you.

And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who will sit down with you and talk for a while. He might be honest, and he might be brutal, but listen to him. In fact, listen to everything that you hear, and make your own decision. This place is not for everyone. This place probably isn’t even for one percent of the people who have ever heard of it. The pressure here can sometimes be enough to break men far better than me. The work load at times is insanely heavy, demanding you to push yourself to – and beyond – limits that you never knew you had. As our recruitment flyers said once if not still, “It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.” What they forgot to add was “for some of you.”

Four years ago, I showed up at Wabash knowing one person, and not even liking him all that much. I stayed in a fraternity that I hoped would like me enough to ask me to join, and I made a friend. Nate was the first student at Wabash I could really talk to. Kenny was a little abrasive, but an okay guy. But Nate was to become a friend of mine. As a sophomore Nate wasn’t too far removed from the troubles that I was going through, and I felt that he could help me make it through, and I felt he could help me make it through because he had. That first semester we spent quite a few late nights talking over problems that one of us was having at the time. And Nate became my best friend in the house.

He snapped late in that semester, never finished taking his finals, and wasn’t back after Christmas break for anything more than a visit. It took Nate a year and a half to realize that Wabash was not the place for him. That what he saw in Wabash wasn’t quite really was in Wabash. The next year we lost a couple more people from my fraternity, and in the years since then, we’ve probably said goodbyes to half a dozen guys who decided that this place wasn’t right for them in some way. Others have been miserable but have stayed because they saw no way out for themselves.

And quite a few of us have complained whined, cherished, and enjoyed this place thoroughly and are now a short time from leaving it forever. We have jumped through every hoop that Wabash has set up for us. We have given as much as $80,000 to kill ourselves with work and stress. We have fallen asleep in lectures and discussions because of too many late nights needed just to keep our heads above water. And we have made great friends who have done it all right along side us the whole time.

Many of you will end up going somewhere else, to DePauw, to Ball State, to Evansville, to Ivy Tech. And for that, I am glad. Because this place is not for you. You are no less for choosing to avoid a place that would cause you four years of misery and heartache, and I wish you the best. Some of you will come here, stay a while, and then will leave. For you I am sorry that we could not have let you see all that we demand before you signed on. And for the rest of you, welcome to a small group of men, bound by a common hell and joy that we call Wabash.

Of the last group, Wabash will ask many things. It will demand your trouble, your time, and your toil. It will demand also your money while you are here and will ask for it when you no longer are around. Your fraternity brothers – or friends – or hall mates – or whatevers – will ask of you your heart and your soul and your help. And you damn well better give it to them, because if any of us had to go through all of this alone, then none of us would make it.

But for now, I ask you very little. Have fun, play volleyball, eat the food that we offer you. Promise nothing in haste – if the Lambda Chi’s want you desperately enough, then they’ll wait until you’re back in the fall. Get to know somebody who seems honest with you, get his phone number, and call him when you have questions. (Mine is 361-7042, if you have any for me.) He might not able to answer them all, but he’ll know someone who can. Above all listen to everything that anyone tells you, and take it all with a grain of salt. We want to be honest with you, but sometimes we try a little harder than we should in order to make ourselves look good. Is that evil? Nah, just little imperfect. Kind of like Wabash itself…
And The Bachelor editors felt it was negative enough that they printed an editorial/opinion piece saying how cool Wabash was just to balance out my column.

PS - It was pointed out to me that I've never actually pointed out why this blog - and the originating column in The Bachelor - is called In Deference to My Idols. I don't know that the story is going to live up to any of the curiosity that you folks might have, but I might as well throw down the brief story.

I'd written my first column for The Bachelor - the column about Jerry Garcia - and JJ told me that I needed a title for my column. The first column was a clear shot across the bow of anybody who was sticking to their old idolization of the sixties icons - Garcia, Dylan, and the rest. And the phrase In Deference to My Idols popped fully-formed into my brain, partially because it wasn't remotely appropriate for the first column and partially because it wasn't anything that I was planning on showing.

I'm not the kind to have idols. I don't want to meet the people who make the music that I love, and I don't want their autographs or anything that touched their person or whatever. So I'm certainly not going to hold a lot of deference for the idols of others, either, or to the idols I don't have.

I do hold certain folks in pretty high regard, and I recognize the influence of certain folks on me. I wouldn't call them idols - not exactly, no - but I do respect a whole bunch of folks.

Deference for my idols?

Not so much, though I do like the turn of phrase.

Countdown to 1000: Four posts to the magic number. That's fewer posts than IU has won national titles. Shouldn't be a challenge.

December 21, 2007

Another top five...five times


My five favorite concert films...
  1. Awesome! I F---ing Shot That
  2. I am Trying to Break Your Heart
  3. The Last Waltz
  4. Rattle & Hum
  5. Purple Rain
My five favorite basketball films (in honor of Semi-Pro)
  1. Hoosiers
  2. Pistol: the birth of a legend (I remember it from television showing as a kid.)
  3. Basketball (It's Matt & Trey, so I'm all in.)
  4. Hoop Dreams
  5. Blue Chips (but mostly for the basketball games)
My favorite films from 1975 (the year I was born)...
  1. The Apple Dumpling Gang
  2. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  3. Jaws
  4. Nashville
  5. Return of the Pink Panther
My favorite films from 2000 (the year I was married)...
  1. O Borther, Where Art Thou?
  2. High Fidelity
  3. Snatch
  4. Traffic
  5. Almost Famous
My favorite films with a Bob Dylan connection...
  1. The Big Lebowski - "The Man in Me"
  2. High Fidelity - "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", "Most of the Time", "Shooting Star"
  3. The Freshman - "Maggie's Farm"
  4. The Royal Tenenbaums - "Wigwam", "Billy - Main Title"
  5. Dazed & Confused - "Hurricane"
  6. And that doesn't even take into account the biggest movie part he's ever had - Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
My favorite films with a Randy Newman scores
  1. Toy Story 2
  2. Toy Story
  3. Pleasantville
  4. The Natural
  5. Monsters, Inv
Countdown to 1000: Five posts left, fittingly enough on a top five post.

December 20, 2007

Who're you listening to?


The question isn't what are you listening to but rather who are you listening to?

On Tuesday, the FCC voted to remove the rule that formerly blocked corporations from owning newspapers and television/radio in the same media market, a rule that has existed for three-plus decades and has guaranteed that there would be at least a few voices in every market.

Currently, ten gigantic corporations own a massive and frightening portion of our media. For example, when you pop open an issue of Time, Life, People, or any DC Comic series; watch the WB, HBO, Cinemax, TBS, or TNT; check a Warner Brothers movie; listen to music on any of forty record labels; or looking at the interwebs via AOL; you're opening up your mouth and getting baby-birded from AOL/Time Warner. And there are nine other massive corporations that have been gobbling up a media left and right, attempting to guarantee that whenever and wherever we turn, we're getting our messages from them.

And the FCC isn't allowing it.

The FCC is encouraging it.

The FCC which has been, throughout its seventy-year history, charged with ensuring that the media of the realm is used to contribute to the good of the people is instead ensuring that our media is instead used for the good of the corporations.

This is in spite of a national tour in which the FCC director himself asked to hear public opinion on the relaxation of media ownership rules, a tour in which he heard almost universal condemnation of further conglomeration.

And the director didn't seem to care in the least.

We need a new director.

We need a new president to appoint that new director.

We need to be angry because we're about to be controlled even further.

We need NPR and PBS and every independent radio and television station, internet streamer, and newspaper publisher possible.

And you need to check out this past week's Bill Moyers Journal to learn more.

And until then, go listen to some Steve Earle and Eric Idle tunes, would ya?

Countdown to 1000: Six posts to go...right at half a dozen...and with five days to Christmas, I'm going to have to double post a day to spot on with the holiday. I'm good with that, though, because I'm not working for the next two weeks.

December 19, 2007

A list of lists - 'cause we're Americans

I am currently down with Time's Fifty Top 10 Lists of 2007.

It's a list of best-of lists.

It's what Americans were made to make.

Somehow it's in our natural culture to make top-ten lists.

We list things the way that the British qeue up...the way Bangladeshis (sp?) put up with monsoons.

We are total beasts at it.

If we can't somehow rank it, we can't possibly enjoy it to the fullest extent.

So we turn this week to Time magazine's Fifty Top Ten Lists of 2007.

In these lists, we get to know that drug-resistance TB was a bigger underreported story than Angola's growing economy. 'Cause we need to know that kind of stuff.

Mit Romney's hunting exageration was a bigger campaign gaffe than John McCain singing "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb...Bomb, Bomb, Iran".

That The Lives of Others is nearly the best film of the year - no matter what Katydid says.

That I have only seen two of the eighteen movies listed as top. Clearly I should be seeing more movies.

I should also be reading more because the entire top ten books list is a blank to me and I really, really want to read The World Without Us, but the only ones I've read is Then We Came to the End - which is, admittedly, awesome - and HP & the Deathly Hallows - which was pretty good, too.

That frickin' Amy Winehouse song has an awesome chorus and sound. Speaking of which, I need to listen to more stuff because the only songs or albums I knew were both by Feist.

And they've got great taste in graphic novels, finally a category with which I'm familiar with #3, #5, and #6 - which has come to grow on me.

In a truly shocking development, global warming seems to be a bit of a bit deal - bigger, even, than a plane crash. Imagine that...

We know that Don't tase me, bro is a better t-shirt slogan than I have a wide stance - a fact about which I would disagree.

And we know that the most awkward moment of 2007 was the Columbia president's intro of Iranian president Ahmadinejad - more so, even, than Rudy-9/11's daughter supporting Barack.

Plus, there are some things on the list that I don't understand at all. Seriously, a mud volcano?!?!

And how does colony collapse disorder not get the #1 most under-reported story?

And that doesn't even begin to deal with Rolling Stone's Forty Reasons We Loved Television in '07.

Oh, the crappiest part of the entire fifty top ten lists is that there's nowhere you can see any of the lists in its entirety at once...which is its #1 shortfall.

Countdown to 1000: Seven posts still to go - seven of the most outstanding things you're gonna read ever...EVER...EVER...

December 18, 2007

Reviews

It's been two weeks or so since No Country for Old Men, and the movie has stuck with me like few of late. It's been getting really strong reviews, and they're totally deserved. It's an outstanding film that doesn't pull any punches whatsoever.

The tale opens with a man finding a couple million dollars and taking it home. No excitement in his world, just a very matter of fact admission to his wife that he's got two million dollars in the case and that she shouldn't ask where it came from.

But no found money that big comes without a trail behind it, and this trail is nothing but death courtesy of Anton Chigurh, an absolute force of nature who simply cannot be stopped. Everyone who steps in Chigurh's way dies. There doesn't have to be a reason, there doesn't have to be hope.

Everyone dies.

That's the movie, and that's the note that the movie leaves us with as Tommy Lee Jones comes to in the end. No one gets out of this life alive. This is no country for old men...

Thankfully the movie is subtle enough to not have a character spout that line anywhere in the film - something that I was constantly worried about, but the Coen Brothers stear clear of any sort of convention or expectation.

This is easily the best film that I've seen this year, full of emptiness and sorrow and action and absolutely gorgeous scenery that plays every bit as huge a part in this film as does Josh Brolin, the lead character.


We got around to finishing up the third and final season of Deadwood - one of Time's 100 Best TV Shows.

There wasn't anything in this season to make me rethink that Deadwood was one of the best series made in the past couple of decades. All it did leave me thinking was that it's a crime the stories weren't able to be wrapped up. Apparently the creators of Deadwood finished up the third season fully expecting to make a fourth season or a movie or two to wrap up the plots, but that never came to pass, and it looks now like it never will.

In this season we get the full realization of the plots that have been coming for two years - Swearengen and Bullock's burgeoning combined leadership of the camp, Hearst's demands on and dislike of the camp, and the coming electrions. The vulgarity and violence so prevelant through the first two seasons may actually be ratcheted up a notch as we get horrific fights going so far as to pluck a man's eyeball out in the muddy street.

Deadwood isn't for the faint of heart, and it's not guaranteed to be 100% historically accurate, but it is was outstanding. Rarely have we seen historical figures brought this brilliantly to life, scripted with lines as impressive and poetic as any that Shakespeare himself ever crafted, bloodying their hands in the much of the Earth and of each other so masterfully.

The end is undeserved and leaves many threads untied, but this is not a show to avoid just because no final resolution was ever told. What we did get was amazing.


Fables spins off with a solo tale of Jack Horner ditching the safety and security of Fabletown in favor of crossing the US doing what he does best - glorifying himself and passing the time by having a bit of fun with the ladies.

In The (Nearly) Great Escape Jack finds himself taken to the Golden Boughs Fables retirement home, a place where the librarians lock up Fables and throw away the keys, allowing the rest of the world to slowly forget about them, a situation which eventually robs the Fables of their power. Jack's appearance shakes the place up as he is unwilling to allow himself to be cowed to the head librarian's wishes, trapping himself in the retirement village. Jack, of course, attempts to break the residents free, plotting with fascinating characters such as Sam and the Pathetic Fallacy - one of the more creative Fable creations in the series.

Willingham's magic spreads succesfully to this series - though some reviewers might disagree - while taking a more light-hearted tact. Where the main series has become a giant, monolithic tale heading toward some kind of massive battle between the Adversary and the displaced Fables, Jack lets Willingham tell a more light-hearted story, lightened without the weight of the need to keep the plot moving, and it's refreshing. Not that I don't enjoy the monolithic tale of Fables, but every now and then it's more fun when the X-Files tell a stand-alone story instead of keeping the plot moving.

The artwork is solid and the story engaging. This is certainly a worthwhile addition to the canon. I look forward to the continuing tale as well as the release of The Good Prince back in main book.


Ultimate Spider-Man continues to impress me, stripping the series of the weight of continuity that has been building up for decades and writing a fresh tale of the teenage Spider-Man. This has allowed the author - Brian Michael Bendis for the entirety of the collected run so far - to take touchstones of the main continuity such as Marvel Knights and Clone Saga in these volumes and redesigning them, keeping some elements but entirely recreating others.

Where the Clone Sage was a disasterous joke in the main continuity but is rewritten in its Ultimate version as a throughly engaging tale of SHIELD and another, more mysterious governmental agency's plans to deal with what could eventually be a renegade Spider-Man. Turns out taht they've taken a sample of Petey's blood and have played with the DNA creating a half dozen different varieties of Spider-Man.

There are a few moments where the tale's flashbacks become a bit wordy - a scene with Pete's dad, comes particularly to mind - but the rest of the tale is very well told, as is the Ultimate version of Marvel Knights in which we get a team-up of Moon Knight, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, and Doctor Strange with the express purpose of exacting a final revenge on the Kingpin.

Daredevil brings the team together in the middle of night to plot the killing of Wilson Fisk, and things get hairy for Spider-Man in particular as he is captured and tortured by Fisk. In the end, however, it's Spider-Man who is the lone voice of heroic reason amidst the darkness that the other Knights appropriately head toward.

The Knights are a group of heroes with street-level fighting powers. Other than Doctor Strange - whose appearance here and with this group seems a very odd and incongruous one - they fight with their knuckles on a level that street thugs can relate to. They aren't, for the most part, flying above the fray taking on cosmic-level threats as the Ultimates and Fantastic Four are, and that gritieness fits beutifully with the Knights tale.

On the sidelines, the relationship triangle of Pete, MJ, and Kitty Pride continues apace following the Pete-MJ reunion at the end of the Clone Saga. I am, admittedly, a little disappointed that the Pete-Kitty relationship doesn't seem to be taking permanent hold as I thought that adjustment from main to Ultimate universe was a great addition. The tale works for the most part, however, so I'm willing to let Bendis wander with this one for a while.

The Ultimate universe continues to be strong, and Ultimate Spider-Man is the rightful flagship of this continuity, one that I enjoy so much more than I do the Marvel-616.


Lest you think that everything in the past few weeks has been outstanding, I turn to Batman: Secrets of the Batcave which has almost no reason to exist. It's a collection of self-contained tales detailing various aspects of the Batcave - the trophys, the intruders, and the origins of the cave.

There is no connecting story, and many of the tales come from the very early Batman stories, tales that I, admittedly, don't much enjoy. We get glimpses of where the giant penny comes from, the time when a young runaway stumbled into the cave, and lots of other minutia that are best relegated to trivia.

For the neophyte Batman fans, this might be a useful collection, but it bored me.


For $10 at my local Target store, I picked up a double disc of Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity.

I've seen both of them and love them to death, but after watching Grosse Point Blank this weekend, I was reminded of how outstanding a film it really it. It's a marvelous character sketch of a man lost in his world, trying to change but knowing that he is who has made himself into.

It's hilarious throughout much of the game, but there are glimpses into the mind of Cusack's main character that allow you to see more of him than almost any other character than Cusack has ever put to film.

Countdown to 1000: 8 still coming...this thing is really gonna happen, folks...stay tuned, ya monkeys...

December 17, 2007

The weekend's white-out

It's not what you might think.

Sure, we got some snow and ice over the weekend - maybe enough but at the wrong time to cancel school, dagnabit - but I'm thinking more about the whiteness inherent in my cultural excursion on Saturday night.

We started off picking up another couple and heading down to Bistro JeanRo - a place that I've mentioned before and that continued to impress the crap out of me (steak frites for the main and dessert of creme carmel, both excellent - though the taste of the pots de creme was awfully tempting).

From there we headed over to Music Hall for the Cincinnati Pops Christmas extravaganza.

They had the Cincinnati Pops orchestra, the School for Creative and Performing Arts sernior and kids choirs, the Cincinnati Studio Cloggers, and Manhattan Transfer. The show was entertaining enough if a bit slow at point for my tastes. The cloggers clogged their hearts out - particularly one tiny clogger on the end. And the Manhattan Transfer folks were decent enough singers - though I didn't know any of their songs. I do remember one that they had a hit with in the 80s, but the group's mostly a blank to me.

What struck me, however, was the absolute whiteness of the crowd. At intermission, I scanned around our balcony - the top level of Music Hall - and saw an Asian family, an Indian family, and - at first glance - no black people. Turned out that they black couple had headed to the restroon and returned a couple of minutes later.

I was amazed to feel like I was attending some kind of white-folks-only cultural event. I know vocal jazz and clogging and caroling aren't exactly things held up as being really street right now, but I live in frickin' Cincinnati, a city that - within its official limits - is dominantly black, and we couldn't manage more than two black people in the place?

It was kinda creepy, honestly. I've gotten used to having African Americans around at school, and it was just creepy to be almost totally without any in the hall.

I don't know that I've ever felt so white.

Countdown to 1000: 9 more to go...they're like ladies dancing...

December 16, 2007

More Christmas merriment

Volume two (of three, in case you were curious) as the December Festivities continue...

Robert Earl Keene's "Merry Christmas from the Family"


Diana Krall "What Are You doing New Year's Eve"


Christina Aguilera "Christmas Time"


How to Fake a Happy Christmas with Craig Ferguson


Phoebe's Christmas Song from Friends


Old school MTv - Billy Squire "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You" with all the early VJs


How to make an Astro-Weenie Christmas Tree


Robbie Williams destroys "White Christmas"


Live Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas" (and if you want to know the background behind the song, check these videos)


A Catherine Zeta-Jones Christmas wish for you


"Christmas at Ground Zero"


Countdown to 1000: 10 more to go, folks 'cause this is 990. Looks like we'll hit the magic some time right around Christmas time. Consider it my little gift to you.

I'm all a-tingle with excitment, I'll be honest.

December 15, 2007

The Title of the Blog - Part 9

I'm not a religious man.

I wasn't raised in a religious family. My parents weren't the kind to get up every Sunday morning - or every Saturday for those of you in the Cathloci or Jewish persuasion - to head to the local house of worship.

We didn't even stop by for Christmas and Easter. The closest I ever came to being a church-going young sort was during summer bible school at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Curch, and that was mostly for the Kool-Aid and cookies.

Nowadays, I claim the simplicity of being an apathesist, but I do tend to be a bit a-religious.

And it tends to bubble forth from time to time, as it appears to have done back then...
A few years ago, a fraternity brother of mine was questioning his faith. He was a pretty religious guy in a conservative, west central Indiana small town. He’d been going to church for all of his life, and sometimes during his high school years, he began to doubt whether everything he’d been hearing all the time was still going down quite right with his thoughts at the time. Doesn’t seem to radical a notion to me.

Well, this fraternity brother of mine – we’ll call him Jimmy Chitwood,, thought that’s not his real name – decided to be open and honest with people about his doubts. He told his parents and his youth pastor about his situation and told them he wasn’t going to be coming to church for a while, just until he could his thoughts straight in his own mind. Until then, he wished them well and tried to go about his way. Little did he know the arsenal that the pastor had at his calling…

The pastor drew Jimmy aside and related to him the following story…

“Jimmy,” she said, “I remember another young man about your age, who was also questioning his faith. He too had decided not to come to church and explore what else was out there. That young man started hanging out with his friends a little more, and even started swearing – just to be cool. It wasn’t any religious problem to him anymore, so he thought it wouldn’t hurt him.

“After that didn’t bring lightning down from the sky on him, Jimmy, the young man tried smoking with his friends too – just to be cool Even though he had learned that it was wrong, some of his friends did it, and he was just exploring anyway. Again, no lightning, so they boy even tried smoking. Nothing big, just tobacco at first. Heck, his friends were doing it and they seemed okay. So he tried it – just to be cool.

“Everything’s going along fine for this boy, Jimmy, and so he tried smoking some other things too. Some illegal drugs. Nothing too heavy, just marijuana here and there – just to be cool. He kind of liked it even, and it wasn’t hurting him.

“Well one day, his friends and he were just hanging out, and somebody suggested that they go up to Lover’s Point. (I made up that name because I can’t remember the real name in their town) and maybe rattle a few cars, maybe shine flashlights in a few window, you know – just to be cool. Sounded good to him Jimmy, so they went.

“They rattled a few doors, shined a few lights, and then one of the guys pulled a girl out of a car and put a bag over her head. You know, just to be cool. That boy started raping the girl and called the young man who was questioning his faith – just like you Jimmy – over and told him to have a go with her. The young man was a little reluctant, but – just to be cool – he went ahead and did it. After all, his friends were doing it.

“Jimmy, the bag fell off the girl’s head, and it was his sister Jimmy. Well I just don’t want to see that happen to you.” The pastor ended the tale then and there.

Now, I am far from condoning sister-raping or anything of that sort. That’s the kind of crime that rates right there with beer-mooching in my book, and it simply shouldn’t be tolerated. Nope, not at all. What I am a bit curious about, however, is what sort of pastor would use a blatant tactic like fear to keep one of his young sheep in the flock. That’s pretty sick, if you ask me. I would hope instead that someone in a position to guide young people, to steer them clear of dangers and the like would instead allow that young person to make up their own mind, would encourage them to explore other avenues in hopes of finding the faith that is right for them.

I would go so far, even, to say that a religion that has to scare people into its beliefs is in a pretty sad state. If the threat of hellfire and damnation is the only reason to follow in your religion, then perhaps you should rethink a bit. In my two psychology classes, we learned that punishment is the least effective means of getting someone to do what you want them to do, but maybe psychologists should take a gander at some of the cults around the world – the Jim Jones, David Koreshes, and Pope John Pauls of the world. Each man claimed to be the chosen one, to be the conveyor of the messages of “Heaven” in some way. They were all infallible, and each has lead his flock into some frightening decisions.

Perhaps Pope John Paul is not the most despicable of the men that have held his office – an elected one, remember. He was not the one who decreed that nations of people should take up arms to reclaim a city deemed holy. He was not the one to call for the inquisition of millions of Europeans in various countries. No, is merely the man most responsible for the failure of a gathering of world leaders in trying to solve the crisis of overpopulation two years ago. He is an old, frail man who leads the single most powerful political force in the world. He is the latest, most successful in a long line of cult leaders.

What would you do if a man came up to you and claimed to have known the son of god? He might have long, black hair, and a fairly short beard, or he might be a black man, or someone from the Middle East. He claims that the man walked on water and was raised from the dead. You have no proof of this other than what the man and his eleven fellow vagrants have said. They look a little shaky and seem to be delirious with their ‘faith.’ Would you cross mountains with them? Would you pledge your life to them? Would you give them a tithe from your wages? How much, and what’s your credit card number…?

December 12, 2007

The problems with dreaming

In doing some semi-regular blog maintanence I noticed that I had a blog post or two that got started but never quite made into anything substantive. Today's lost find dates back to a conversation that I had maybe a year or so ago. I remember with whom I was having the conversation - a regular commenter and blogger in her own right - but I can't for the life of me remember when or where the conversation was had.

I'm a comic book geek - in case you hadn't noticed - and I'm enough of a dreamer/dork that I've had the standard "which super power would I most want to have" conversation a dozen times in my head. It was always flight. I wanted to fly, to be able to simply think about leaving ground - no giant motions, no arm swing, no dorky arm-crooked pose - and to float or zoom into the ether above. To be able to look down on the Grand Canyon and to draft across the meadows of the midwest.

But now, as an adult and science geek, I have a different take on things.

Flying by just thinking about it isn't possible. The physics of instantaneous anti-gravity is pretty darn preposterous and crosses that one off the list. Plus flying - while cool - doesn't solve any of the problems that I have in the world.

Next option as a kid was invisibility. It'd be cool to be able to wander in and out at will, to slip unknown into the corridors or power and see what really goes on there - in the places where we suspect things are constantly happening just out of our earshot, through doors that are always shut to us.

But if you were invisible, light rays couldn't go through your eye's lense, bend toward through your iris and back onto the cornea to be received by your optic nerve and drifted brainward. You'd be blind. Plus no matter how invisible you are, your footsteps would still be heard. You'd still need to sit somewhere and it'd be awkward to be the invisible guy in the seat about to be occupied. There's the issue with people hearing your breathing, with your clothes not being invisible, with the need for invisible puffy coats lest you freeze your invisible jublies off sneaking around. So invisiblity's out.

Super strength never really appealed to me because there's always somebody stronger. And brute force rarely solves problems in what I've seen of the world, after all.

So there's telepathy - but does that mean just receiving or sending, too? And if it's sending, and you're the only one with the power, you're still gonna have to talk to people because they can't send back. If it's receiving, are you receiving at random - just absorbed in the constant static of the thoughts around you. Would things sound like total stream of consciousness, babbling brooks left and right - sun! - bright! - sad... - sex - hot - baseball - Barry Bonds - big head - Todd and the Monsters - that song I can't remember the title of or would thoughts come across as coherent messages as they always seem to in the funny pages?

And if they do come across as coherent thoughts, wouldn't that mean that there would be no secrets? That nobody could surprise you with a gift or a party or a kiss on the cheek? Would you pick up people's dreams? Would you know everybody's deepest, darkest secrets or just their superficial ones? I'm kind of okay being lied to from time to time - I know the shirt doesn't match the pants, and I'm okay with you saying that they kinda work. Thanks...

So how about super speed? Super speed - a la the Flash - requires super intake of calories, something I'm not thrilled with. If you've got to run from here to New York City in under two seconds in order to save the whatever from the whomever happens to have kidnapped the other whomever, then you're gonna need some serious runnin' fuel, and stopping by every McDonalds to empty their coffers is gonna be nearly impossible - wind resistance, the wake caused, the sonic boom, and the issue of just stealing their food kinda sucks, too.

Then there's the issue with friction. Either you have friction - in which case you're gonna catch fire from the air resistance, or you have no friction in which case you're never gonna get started or be able to slow down.

The one that as an adult I would totally choose if I could get it to work would be the ability to stop time. My most frequent wish is to have just a little more time - to catch a nap, to get that other thing done, to do that thing I'd forgotten to even start, to get a hand under the plate before it hit the ground - that time stopping would be perfect.

Except that stopping time is going to require a massive action of stopping molecules moving - a tough enough task. But I don't want all the molecules to stop moving because I still want to be able to breathe, so I need air molecules to still push their way into my lungs. And I don't want to freeze to death, so I need molecules to keep moving so there's temperature. Plus, if I want to get from point A to point B, I'm either going to have to walk or run or drive. If it's walking or running, I'm back to the need to have food made in what seems to the chefs as being an instant. I need to have burgers cooked in the blink of an eye - and I don't want to cook all of them myself, so I need to cooks to still move.

And it's not like I can stop time to catch a movie - one of my wishes is to have more time to see more movies - because somebody has to thread the projector and run the film - which I can't do and enjoy if I'm trying to watch the movie myself. And I'd want the power to let me stop time for everybody except the person/people I wanted to spend time with. Spooning in beside somebody who's frozen and immobile isn't exactly my idea of romance, and propping a friend up to fake playing minigolf isn't as fun as it was in Weekend at Bernies.

There's the blasting of some form of energy from my body - eye beams, lasers, plasma blasts - but the law of conservation of energy means I'm again stuck with the need to hork down massive amounts of fuel, something that I'm gonna just to rob a bank or something to pay for. Not a good option.

Metamorpho could change his body into any element/compound in the blink of an eye - from water vapor to caustic hydrochloric acid gas to gold to fire-fighting foam - in instants. That kind of power transfer - changing elements into other elements - again puts us back into the realm of needing to wat way too much for viaibility. You'd be eating too often to do anythign useful with your power.

How 'bout telekinesis. That'd be pretty cool, admittedly, and I'm not entirely sure that I have a valid scientific argument against it, so telekenesis might be the choice. We have magnets, and they affect objects from distances. You wouldn't have to be significantly stronger than you already are, just able to take your normal force and apply it over a distance.

Plus it'd be fun at parties.

Does anybody have a scientific argument against telekinesis?