Monday, July 31, 2006

Can we change NASA back in 2008?

Bush ruins everything he touches. That will be his legacy. It would have been his legacy if we wasn't President. It's too bad a few idiots in a few minor states voted him in. (though I'm not convinced that actually happened; how could that many people be that stupid?)

NASA mulls mothballing space station research
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) -- NASA is considering shutting down all the research programs it conducts aboard the international space station for at least a year to fill a projected budget shortfall of up to $100 million, a top station manager said on Thursday.

NASA changed its focus after President George W. Bush decided in January 2004 to direct the country's human space program back to lunar exploration, with the intention of eventual missions to Mars.

The MOON and MARS. Yeah, that's a good idea. Lots of useful stuff there. Way to go, Bushy.

What an ass.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Which one of these does not belong?

UPDATE: So I'm at the party, and all of the women head into the kitchen to talk about things they talk about in the kitchen. Before this point, another guy showed up. He seemed nice enough. We chatted for a little bit. Now, it's not that guys don't chat; they do. However, some of the questions were a little strange... especially regarding how I knew the other people there. The thought of me coming with one of them (as a date) didn't seem to occur to him, but that's okay.

Later on I find out that while in the kitchen the person I came with was informed that he was gay. Okay, so that explains that. :)

I had a good time. There was very little man hating to worry about. :) I was a little disappointed I didn't have something more fun to blog about in this update. Oh, well . . .

Tonight I'm going to a dinner "party."

All of the guests are lesbians.

Except for one bisexual female.

And me (a straight male).

I'm not completely sure how this happened. I'm thinking about wearing a dress. Maybe that will distract them from the fact that I am one of those of whom they hate.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Stamina all over the place!

I can now do shoulder flexion, scaption, and abduction all without pain. Additionally, I can do the upright internal and external rotations without any pain! Isn't that exciting? I'm HEALING!

And I feel like I have a lot more energy now... and am feeling much more positive. What's up with that?

Unfortunately, the spot where the tendon is now anchored in my left humerus still gets a little sore on the bench press. I feel like I could press a lot more, but there's just too much pain in the arm, so I'm sort of upset about that. However, if I can do those other things now, I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be able to do more.

So I'm optimistic. Things are looking up!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Chasing Cars" (Grey's Anatomy Version)

I just posted about how I thought "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol shouldn't be NPR's song of the day.

In a comment on that post, nomadjf pointed out that Snow Patrol just released a new video for the song that is made up almost entirely of Grey's Anatomy scenes from both seasons.

The video is on YouTube, and if you're a Grey's Anatomy fan, you'll love it.

Chasing Cars (Grey's Anatomy Version)

Check it out.

Zombie Lurch Columbus 2006

Zombie Lurch 2006 (see also)

People dress like zombies and march through the August gallery hop protesting for zombie rights.

Isn't that cute?

[thanks, Annette]

"Chasing Cars" should NOT be a song of the day!

Today, NPR's Song of the Day is "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol.

The Slow Build to a Crashing Finish by Allison Stewart
  • Song: "Chasing Cars"
  • Artist: Snow Patrol
  • CD: Eyes Open
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

Like Snow Patrol's ubiquitous ballad "Run," "Chasing Cars" is formulaic and obvious and utterly irresistible, built to play in trailers for romantic movies, and on soundtracks to Zach Braff movies.

Yes, it's built to play in those, and IT HAS.

I would suggest that you stream the song from the link above, but you might as well just listen to it ON THE RADIO or turn on ANY POPULAR TELEVISION SHOW and listen for about 5 minutes. (this includes about five Grey's Anatomy episodes, I'm sure, and at least one What About Brian?, and (even though I've never watched it) I'm sure a few The OC)

This song, however catchy, simply does not fit as a song of the day. If you don't remember, I was skeptical of Stewart's last pick, but I ended up giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Now I'm utterly sure that this person should not be writing about music. She should plant herself firmly behind her steering wheel listening to the Top 40 that has made her head bob since high school.

She does say something cute about "Chasing Cars":
Perhaps more than anything, it demonstrates how good Snow Patrol is at musical shorthand, at conveying great emotion with lyrical economy. "Chasing Cars" contains roughly a few dozen words, total, and its signature line ("Let's waste time / chasing cars / around our heads") suggests it might be a love song for dogs.

However, not only is this not very insightful and pretty obvious, but she ruins it when she shows off her bitterness about another similar band:
That's something Coldplay might want to consider, if Chris Martin and company ever get tired of writing songs about Gwyneth Paltrow.

Yeah, Chris Martin and company are the ones with the real problem, right Allison?

Allison, what do you think of the person you see in the mirror every morning? Or are you too distracted by your alarm clock's rendition of "Round Here" by Counting Crows?

No, you're not allowed to talk about foreskin

This happened a few weeks ago, but it's been bothering me ever since, so I feel I need to blog about it to get it off my mind.

A few weeks ago, I was at dinner with two friends, both who happened to be women. For some reason, one of them brought up circumcision. It wasn't so much to discuss circumcision, but to take a stand behind a particular view. You see, she thought the whole idea (circumcision) was stupid. She assured me that there is no reason for the procedure. People who keep their skin live the exact same lives as people who don't keep their skin. Thus, the procedure is pointless.

The other woman agreed.

Now, this really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm hoping that men reading this will feel the same way. If you're a woman, imagine that this conversation was unfolding between two of your male friends right in front of you:

Man A: It's really stupid that women are taught to wipe in one direction. There's absolutely no need for it. There's no benefit for women. They should stop taking the time pointlessly teaching them to be afraid of wiping back-to-front.

Man B: Yeah, I totally agree.

Women, wouldn't that annoy you?

Here's the thing, I'm guessing that between the two of these women who were discussing circumcision, they probably have SEEN more live penises than I have. They certainly have handled more live penises than I have. However, if that makes them penis experts, then I'm "vagina Yoda."

The fact is, I know men who haven't been circumcised, and I know about the extra hygiene they have to go through because of it. (stuff gets caught up there) Additionally, I know that there is a HUGE amount of skin that is harvested for grafting from baby foreskin, and that skin does a TREMENDOUS social good to burn victims and other people who need grafts. Additionally, regardless of how these two women seem to be appalled by the idea, the people I know who still have their skin have found that many women are not so excited about the idea when it is thrust in front of them. Just when the guy is feeling pretty good about himself, his lovely lady freaks out and makes him feel like a freak.

Oh, and let's not forget where most of the nerve endings on the unit are. This way they're exposed (which may make sex, on average, too 'easy' for men, and that's a legitimate complaint) and yet still there's plenty of skin to avoid direct contact with those. It seems like a good compromise. (and I'm not even going to discuss the "scooping" effect that has been documented in recent evolutionary studies of penis size, but I think there is some relation to this discussion too)

Anyway, I managed to end the conversation when I mentioned that there actually is a procedure that allows a man to reverse the operation. The skin is pulled forward, tacked forward, and gradually over time stays in the new position. This idea apparently grossed at least one of them out, and the conversation stopped. This too made me feel like these two were completely underqualified to criticize this common procedure.

I understand that women are packaged with the most complicated piece of reproductive hardware in the known universe, and I respect that. However, that particular unit doesn't eclipse the male version; it simply has no relation to it. It's like apples and oranges. Regardless of how simple the male unit is, it's just too different, and I'd appreciate it if it received a little more respect.

Now I have to figure out what to tag this entry. Hm.

Unspeakable Obscenity

So I have a few jokes that I tell that have a lot of build up to some pretty poor punch lines. What's funny is that the build up at the moment doesn't really matter that much, so I tend to improvise a bit. The only people who really "enjoy" my improvisations are people who have heard me say the joke before, because they like to see how I change things every time I tell the joke again (and again and again).

Well, tonight HBO was showing The Aristocrats, and I was inspired. This joke and how it is told is genius. There are some other jokes I especially liked (like the one about the piano player) that are similarly wonderful.

I think I need to add this sort of additional dimension of vulgarity and obscenity to these improvisations. I think it would really make the jokes a lot better. It would make the AWFUL punch lines even more wonderful too, I think.

Tomorrow I get to meet some more of the new girlfriend's friends (there is an interview process). I'm going to try to resist trying out my jokes (especially in their new form) with them. (well, maybe I'll tell the duck joke... everyone loves the duke joke... and there's no NEED for obscenity there)

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MUCH cooler than Jesus . . .

You can walk on water? That's lame. Can you do this?

"about the size of a backyard kiddie pool"

Yeah. I didn't think so. Sit down, God boy.

Device uses waves to “print” on water surface
The device, called AMOEBA (Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin), consists of 50 water wave generators encircling a cylindrical tank 1.6 meters in diameter and 30 cm deep (about the size of a backyard kiddie pool). The wave generators move up and down in controlled motions to simultaneously produce a number of cylindrical waves that act as pixels. The pixels, which measure 10 cm in diameter and 4 cm in height, are combined to form lines and shapes. AMOEBA is capable of spelling out the entire roman alphabet, as well as some simple kanji characters. Each letter or picture remains on the water surface only for a moment, but they can be produced in succession on the surface every 3 seconds.

The newly developed technology uses improved calculation methods for controlling the wave generators, relying on formulas known as Bessel functions. In addition to being able to draw letters consisting of straight lines, the input time has been drastically reduced to between 15 and 30 seconds for each letter.

Akishima Laboratories expects the technology to be incorporated into amusement devices that combine acoustics, lighting and fountain technology, which they hope to see installed at theme parks and hotels.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Honk If You're Lonely Tonight

I love Silver Jews.

"Honk If You're Lonely Tonight" was once included on a V-Day mix tape by Whitney Matheson of USA Today in her "Pop Candy" column. Affixed to the song was the note:
7. Honk if You're Lonely, Silver Jews. This one used to be taped to the dashboard until I realized it was depressing my passengers.

The "This one" used to be linked to the lyrics for the song; however, that link is broken. In fact, I can't find the lyrics anywhere anymore.

So here I go again... Bringing (obscure?) lyrics to the world yet another time.

"Honk If You're Lonely" by Silver Jews
Radio's On
Feelin' alright
Cruisin' the strip on a Saturday night
Smile and I wave, and I hide all my pain,
but the sign on my bumper gives me away.

Honk if you're lonely tonight
If you need a friend
To get through the night
Toot on your horn
Flash on your brights
Honk if you're lonely tonight

I know a honky tonk
Where we can go
A booth in the bank
With the lights way down low
Juke box is playing
A sad melody
For heart broken lovers
Just like you and me

We'll laugh and we'll flirt
And we'll dance every dance
And before the night's over
We'll make romance
Mornin' will find us
With a smile on our face
And we'll be together
In a lovers' embrace

Honk if you're lonely tonight
If you need a friend
To get through the night
Toot on your horn
Flash on your brights
Honk if you're lonely tonight

(instrumental section)

I know it seems sad
To be so damn blue
But there's always a chance
That you'll meet someone new
I know that somewhere
Waitin' for me
Is a sad lonely lover
With a bumper that reads

Honk if you're lonely tonight
If you need a friend
To get through the night
Toot on your horn
Flash on your brights
Honk if you're lonely tonight

[I am so]

Honk if you're lonely tonight

Honk if you're lonely tonight

<honk honk>

Monday, July 24, 2006

She ain't heavy, she's just pregnant . . .

Read this on one of my RSS feeds today... I thought it was pretty funny.

What I Love in Dallas
Yesterday (see also, Does Anything NOT Go With Alcohol?) we discovered a new game: pretending like you are drinking to celebrate a pregnancy. For example, if the waiter asks (as if you need an excuse to be double fisting tequila) just tell him you're celebrating because Double Fisting Girl is knocked up. It's awesome. Note: this joke works best when DFG is model skinny and would never be accused (even by my ninth graders) of being pregnant for real.

I told Jenn about it, who responded that she bummed a cigarette off of someone at a bar the other night -- it was the first grit she's had in a long time. Sam, the guy she was with, responded, "She can't! She's pregnant! What about the baby?!"

I thought Sam was funny.

Then Jenn proceeded to make fun of me for going to a state school. This from the girl who needs help on her microeconomics take home final. (yeah, I said it)

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Sleeping with women makes men stupid

Hey guys, ever look over at your partner and be really jealous of how soundly she's sleeping? Apparently that's not just you being unnecessarily bitter. Sleeping with women, regardless of whether or not sex is involved, impairs the mental abilities of men the day after. It's official.

A partner in bed makes men dull

Lack of sleep saps men's brain power

Sleeping with your Partner equals bad nights sleep
A recent study has found that men suffer temporary mental setbacks if they share their bed because their sleep is always disturbed whether they make love to their partners or not.

After each night's sleep, scientists checked the stress hormone levels of both the men and the women, and then asked them to take simple cognitive tests.

While most men reported a better night's sleep with their partner, their test results were better on nights they slept alone.

Well, I'm glad there's finally a study to confirm what we all already knew.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take a nap.

Men Who Sleep With A Partner Are Dumber

Tie your shoes FASTER!

YouTube: TIE YOUR SHOES FASTER!


Cool. That'll get you chicks.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

At Stauf's . . .

Visit me.

Please.

Really.

Please.

I'm by the phone booth near the counter. I'll probably be here until midnight.

I'm lonely.

Like, I was completely falling for this . . .

(this post is a follow up)

Referring to that movie that made them so upset about the male gender . . .

"Like, I was completely falling for this make believe guy. Like, he was nice and other stuff . . ."

Oh, earlier in the conversation they spent LOTS of time talking about how many kids they would one day have. I think between the two of them, they'll be pushing out seven kids (something like 5 (or 6) girls and 2 (or 1) boys). They said they felt sorry for the boys. Yes, I do too.

Must leave Panera... It's so quiet in here aside from them though! Maybe I should just move . . .

Please make them stop . . .

I'm sitting at Panera on Grandview Ave. right now. The idea was that I'd go to Stauf's, but I was hungry, so I stopped by here to get something to eat. I figured it would be silly to leave here immediately after eating, so I started working.

(on another note, there is a man about my age sitting across from me. He too is wearing a tee shirt, shorts, and flip flops. He's reading a document printed out in portrait with a staple in the upper left hand corner. Periodically he writes (using a black retractable pen) in a yellow letter-sized legal pad. I'm pretty sure he's a law student working on case briefs, but I could be wrong. I like trying to peg people like this. I don't know why. Just one of those things, I guess. Anyway, for some strange reason I feel a camaraderie with him)

While I was eating my meal, two attractive (if I was TEN YEARS younger) young high school girls sat down in the booth behind me and began to talk to each other non-stop. I just couldn't help but overhear these two talking. Every time a "new" subject would come up with them, I would bite my teeth and make fists with my hands to prevent from blogging about it. There were some times when I had to choke off a laugh and even leave the table to get more iced tea (unsweetened, of course).

I don't want to list too many details. They talk about boys. How much they hate boys. How that movie they just watched made them hate boys even more. Still more boys. Lots more about boys. Boys boys boys. Boys. More boys. Boys. Boys. Boys. Boys. Curfew. Movies they aren't allowed to see. Finding people who can drive. Amusement parks. Boys. Eating food very slowly (they TALK about this; they don't just do it, they make a plan to do it and obsess about it). More details than that (like quotes, even though they're SO WONDERFUL) just seems mean, but I needed to say something.

Things that amaze me . . .
  • How clueless high schoolers are
  • How they don't realize how clueless they are
  • How easy things are for high schoolers
  • How I'm starting to understand why parents are such assholes
  • How shallow high schoolers are; they really have no depth... nothing to contribute... nothing useful... nothing new... they haven't thought about anything...
  • How they don't realize this
So it's been quite a treat sitting here.

I should probably get up and go to Stauf's. I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. I probably shouldn't tag this "high school girls" as I'm going to get lots of perverts finding this page. Oh, well... Come and get it, perverts.

Jazz cover of Prince's "Darling Nikki"

Does anyone else have a problem with someone listing a completely instrumental piece of work as a "song" of the day? I guess it's a cover of a song...

NPR's Friday Song of the Day: A Jazzy Look at Prince's Dirty Side by John Murph
  • Song: "Darling Nikki"
  • Artist: Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
  • CD: MTO Volume 1
  • Genre: Jazz

Many jazz artists have mined Prince's songbook, but few explore the seedier side of his repertoire. Leave it to slide trumpeter and bandleader Steven Bernstein to offer a jazz take on "Darling Nikki," the infamous '80s track about a woman who, among other things, pleasures herself in a hotel lobby. Given that Bernstein is best known for leading the avant-garde jazz ensemble Sex Mob, it's surprising that he didn't use that group to interpret the song.

Instead, Bernstein chose his Millennial Territory Orchestra, which re-imagines jazz from the '20s and '30s for modern times. Initially, the MTO's version sounds frictionless, as violinist Charlie Burnham quietly plucks out the melody, then embellishes it alongside Ben Allison's prowling bass and Matthew Munisteri's guitar improvisation.

Thankfully, the intensity rises by way of smarmy horn harmonies and pounding drums, until the tune evokes the humidity and kinetic energy of the original, albeit without the lyric. As jazz risks getting confined to stuffy concert halls, Bernstein and company provide a playful and stirring reminder that it still works in less posh places, too.

It really builds and gets exciting. Take a listen. (audio streaming is available at the link)

COMPLETING The Original Star Trek Series


Star Trek Fan Films Live Long and Prosper (listen or read this story at the link)
In a tiny town in rural upstate New York, sci-fi fans are correcting what they see as one of the great blunders in television -- NBC's decision to cancel the original Star Trek series.

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Port Henry, N.Y., James Cawley works on what looks like a Hollywood set. His life-sized replica of the USS Enterprise bridge sits in what used to be a used car dealership on the outskirts of town.

For now, all the Star Trek: New Voyages episodes from Port Henry are available online, free of charge.

Here's the official site. Here's where you can watch the new episodes.

ABACAD!!!

This is a follow-up to Things to do (soon?)...

I saw Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control, and it was pretty cool. It was recommended to me by someone who thought it would resonate with me because of the connections that I exploit in my search for new knowledge in graduate school. It's true that it certainly is similar, but that actually made it less interesting. It's like having an art critic watch an "Intro to Art" video. It's just not that fun. (however, it wasn't EXACTLY like that, so this movie definitely was fun) I think someone (who is not me) would really like this movie, so see it. :)

When I was in an improv troop in high school, one of our warm-up exercises was to call out "Abacad! Efigy! Hijee-He-Hijee-Ho! Mecka-Lecka-Hi-Mecky-Hi-Nee-Hay! . . . " and it kept going. Get it? It's like words made out of sequential sounds from the alphabet. I can't really recall the whole thing though, and I haven't been able to find anyone else who remembers either. BUT SLAY WOULD REMEMBER! AND I JUST SAW SLAY AT STAUF'S!

So now I'm primed and ready. "Abacad?" I'll ask from a shadowy corner behind Slay. "Efigy!" He'll respond... And that'll be great.

Or that'll be really gay.

Damn.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Things to do (soon?) . . .

  • See Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control
  • See Human Nature all the way through
  • See the comedian Zach Galifianakis
  • Actually talk to Slay (SLAY? IS THAT REALLY SLAY?!!) the next time I see him in Stauf's

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh, Mango! You came and you blended so smoothly . . .

So today I cut open my first mango ever. I had been assured that the mango would be "delic" but I should be careful of the strangely shaped pit. Well, the pit was very strange, but I dealt with it.

The fruit... I wasn't so excited about. It was okay. It was a lot of effort to cut open and prepare. If it was easier to take apart, I think I would have enjoyed the fruit more.

So then I realized I had lots of other fruit in the apartment. I also realized I had a blender, milk, ice, and some protein. Well, jackpot!

So I made a mango+strawberry+blueberry+banana+choco_protein+ice+water milkshake! I was a little scared, but it turned out GREAT. In fact, I'm a little afraid because I'm fullish now and have to eat dinner with someone at 6:30.

I don't often make milkshakes (the milk probably wasn't necessary). I'm very happy this turned out so well. I'll have to do this more often.

(another note: Way to go, Floyd!)

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Dybdahl is a cool name

I like NPR's Song of the Day today. I like the spirit of this particular song. It's a neat idea, and I think it's delivered pretty well.

And it's easy to get into a Thomas Dybdahl mood. I think you'll recognize some of his influences. I think he improves upon them in some important ways. (note: English is Dybdahl's second language. His main fan base is in Norway. However, he does a very good job writing English lyrics. I'm impressed)

New Love's Dizzying Days by Christopher Porter
"A Lovestory" opens slowly, with Thomas Dybdahl singing, "Honey, I told you / that these things never last," portending a sad song about a breakup. But it's a feint: The track celebrates the beginning of a relationship, not the end. After Dybdahl croons, "One of these days now / you'll start dreaming of the past," the music speeds up and he switches to memories about the dizzying days of a new coupling.

Dybdahl is a talented lyricist, too, writing detail-rich songs in English, his second language. "A Lovestory" offers several perfect lines that capture the intense feelings of nouvel amour, recalling an "endless summer without a fall" and "Sunday mornings that never ended / and hangovers that never mended / A love story at its peak." Like so many relationships, "A Lovestory" ends awkwardly -- no big chord resolution or rhythmic crash, just a quick fading away, leaving only memories.

Huh, where did this Christopher Porter come from? He writes well, and he made a decent pick today. Nice job, Christopher.

Stay away from the Kiwano

So, I bought one of these tonight. I was curious, and I thought I heard good things about it. (though I think what I actually heard about was an Ugli fruit, not this, which is a Kiwano)

As I was purchasing this $3.99 fruit from Kroger, the cashier got CUT by its spikes and had to warn the bagger to be careful when handling it. This was probably a sign that I had made the wrong choice in purchasing this fruit. (maybe the $3.99 was the first sign that I missed)

So I got home... and I really wasn't sure what to do with this thing. I'm sure the skin wasn't edible. So I figured I'd look it up. I found this:

fruit reviews - kiwano horned melon

This is exactly what I wanted. And the first quarter of the page got me really excited!

it's so perfect, it makes you want to believe in god.

Then I kept reading. The next the quarters of the page are the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

to reassure myself after the fact, i found a page all about the damn thing, which gave me the following useful information:

[bitter, nonvolatile compounds] are present in [the kiwano], making it extremely bitter. These compounds are very toxic to mammals, however as they are the most bitter substances known they are also feeding deterrents and very rarely eaten by mammals.

"very toxic to mammals"? heh, well, that's alright then!

And you know what? This review is 100% SPOT ON! I had the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE when I tried to eat mine. However, I didn't force myself to finish mine. I threw it away. It was just too much.

Anyway, definitely check out the review. Hilarious. Funny stuff. And it's short! Very quick read!

Never buy a Kiwano. Just stay away. In fact, I've heard good things about New Zealand, but after experiencing this thing, I'm starting to think about abandoning any future plans to visit there. Just too scary.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Today's Rocketboom was pretty interesting.

  • Check out those Canadian accents up front. "PrOject" and "aboot" are particularly fun.

  • Check out that nifty architecture. Yay Frank Gehry.

  • And most importantly, laugh and point at Andrew Baron. I always get a kick out of watching or listening to interviews by young interviewers. Ira Glass once did a story about this on This American Life where he played an AWFUL set of interviews he had with the cast of M.A.S.H. when he was still an intern. It's EXCRUCIATING. SHUT UP AND ASK A QUESTION. STOP TALKING. REALLY, STOP TALKING. OH MY GOD, THIS IS NOT AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU. STOP TALKING. STOP. ZIP IT. STOP. AHH! IS THERE A QUESTION IN HERE SOMEWHERE?
Fun stuff.

Is that a xylophone? The chicken? Who knows?

At first when I saw that NPR's song of the day was featuring a Psapp track, I was a little disappointed. Psapp's "Cosy in the Rocket" is the opening theme song for Grey's Anatomy, and that's brought them a lot of attention. However, after I thought about it, Psapp really isn't very well-known yet, and so I'm okay with this selection.

Wielding Cuteness as a Weapon by Allison Stewart (what's she doing writing SotD?!)
  • Song: "Hi"
  • Artist: Psapp
  • CD: The Only Thing I Ever Wanted
  • Genre: Electro-Folk

Toys and mechanical chickens are used as effects, as are kitchen utensils and a pot-bellied oud. There's a weird fascination with cats. In the unlikely event that Dido were to mate with Bjork, Psapp (the "P" is silent) is the likely result.

"Hi" is the disc's most easily digestible song, a shimmery mix of the things Psapp does best: gently insistent, vaguely Brazilian melodies layered over offbeat percussion. (Is that a xylophone? The chicken? Who knows?) Airy and deft, it's the album's most bewitching track, never even threatening to bend under the weight of its own whimsy.

I got a little kick out of that last paragraph too.

The song is available for streaming from the site. Give it a few seconds. It'll go from being weird to being refreshing.

New Hybrid Vehicle for UPS

UPS to Test Hybrid Vehicle in Detroit
The United Parcel Service, in conjunction with the EPA, has developed a new type of hybrid vehicle. Using a hydraulic system that stores up energy when the truck brakes, engineers have reduced fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. This summer, UPS will test the vehicle in Detroit. Kevin Niedermier of member station WKSU reports.

(the audio for this story is available for streaming on-line)

The story is also available from The Trucker.

Brown goes green: UPS rolls out hybrid technology on package trucks
WASHINGTON — On the outside, it looks like another big brown delivery box making its daily rounds, but — thanks to a federal government project — it could be the world’s most fuel-efficient and cost-effective truck, and it could be coming soon to a business district or neighborhood near you.

In the series hydraulic hybrid diesel, a high-efficiency diesel engine is combined with a unique hydraulic propulsion system, replacing the conventional drivetrain and transmission. The vehicle uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to store energy, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles. Fuel economy is increased in three ways: vehicle braking energy is recovered that normally is wasted; the engine is operated more efficiently; and the engine can be shut off when stopped or decelerating.

That's pretty cool. Store up your braking energy MECHANICALLY (crazy!) and then use over and over again.

Of course, this should be great for stop-and-go driving, like the typical UPS driving.

And this also will help qualify UPS for a tax credit.

I believe the technology was developed in Cleveland by Eaton Corporation. Yay Ohio.

Winnebago winners in reverse

Funny offbeat stuff:

Winnebago Winners in Reverse
Pop in your hearing aids and pack up your meds. Just three days are left before this year's Winnebago Itasca Travelers Grand National Rally. The event draws thousands of motor home owners each year to Forest City, Iowa. The highlight is an obstacle course where contestants drive their RV's in reverse, blindfolded, and guided only by a voice on the radio.

The very very short audio is currently available.

_Wordplay_ is great; see it!

I saw the documentary Wordplay tonight. It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.

It was funny. It was interesting. It was great. Really.

The movie is about the NYTimes crossword puzzle and the annual crossword puzzle competition held in Stamford. They interview puzzle makers, puzzle players, and famous people like Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, and Bob Dole. Very entertaining.

So go see it. :)

I (have never been to) NY

Alternate title: I'm such a dick.

Today was another "I (have never been to) NY" day. This shirt always gets comments. I'm pretty proud of it.

I stopped by campus today to pick up Chidlren at Risk from Mary Allison. Her door was locked, so I stopped by Caldwell to take care of some things in my office, and I ran into Jim, the janitor. He was a fan of the shirt. We talked about some stuff for a while. I took care of my office stuff. Then I returned to Mary Allison's office.

Mary Allison (MA) is a nice 24-year-old woman with a full-time job managing the GK-12 program. I think I've talked to her in person four or five times. She's very polite. She's smart. She's attractive. She's clean cut. She's science-y. And she wears a very large rock on the ring finger of her left hand. (I don't think she's taken a different last name though, so she's either engaged or married and progressive; I get the feeling it's the former) When I noticed this last thing (probably at the second or maybe third meeting) I was a little disappointed, but these things are starting to happen more often now, so I'm starting to get used to it.

MA was alone in the office. I stopped by, picked up the book, thanked her kindly, and was about to leave, when she read the shirt aloud and talked to me about it. I explained that I really hadn't been to NY. We talked a little more about that. Then I started heading out again. At that point she asked how things have been going. I told her briefly how work was going this week and reciprocated with asking her the same question. She explained that her officemate had recently left, so she's been all alone in that cold office. I was the first person she had seen that day. Evidently, when I came around the first time, she was out running and errand and about to get some lunch hoping to run into someone ot keep her company on lunch, but she failed. I asked her if she had had lunch. She pointed to a V8 and said she had. (this was a very sad scene) So I realized that this poor person has had a very lonely day and needed a little company, so I stayed and chatted a little longer. (don't worry, I'm getting to the "I'm a dick" part here in a second)

Apparently she's getting an MBA while she's here at OSU and had just started taking classes. She also pointed out that she had just started reading a statistics textbook (that looked like it was written in 1942) and was just fingering through the table of contents now. Apparently that wasn't for class; it was for GK-12 data analysis. I knew she was sorta science-y, so I was a little surprised she wasn't a big stats fiend. I made some content about engineers and probability and not statistics and so that all being foreign land to me. I don't think she got it... I wished I hadn't brought it up... The probability vs. stats subject was a little nuanced; not a light conversational topic.

Anyway, yada yada, after a while I left. She thanked me for talking to her. I told her to get out of her office more -- she doesn't need to hang around. She thought that was a good idea.

Now, walking from the office, I felt like I had done my good deed for the day. You see, this is where the "I'm a dick" comes into play. I kept an engaged woman company. My gut reaction to this was that it was a cheritable act. I had nothing to gain from this. It didn't matter that she's attractive, smart, and delightful to talk to. Thus, I was being altruistic. And I felt like a good person for this.

This was a really stupid thing for me to feel. For one, MA is a nice person! There were lots of plusses to having conversation with her. I certainly would rather sit and talk to her for a long time than sitting and talking to Jim, from Caldwell, for a long time. Plus, she's a part of this science-y circle of people that I seem to really enjoy being around. It would be GREAT to expand the friend circle into this group. I think I'd really like that. I really really would.

But no, I didn't think of that at the time. At the time, I was just doing my "good deed" for the day. At the time, I was being an idiot.

Oh, well . . . Eventually I have to return Children at Risk. Maybe I'll be less of an idiot that day. I'll just have to wear another clever shirt then.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Funnier than sliced bread

Remember that bad translation of Star Wars that was HILARIOUS?

Well, I think this is similar. Read below the menu, then look at the menu to verify . . .

In favor of traditional characters

That's right. F*** a bullfrog.

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A whole new Last.fm!!

Check out what they've done over at Last.fm. They have a whole new interface and LOTS of new features.

They also have something new called Recommendation Radio. Last.fm has always provided recommendations based on the music that you listen to and the social network it has built, and you've always been able to preview those songs in that recommended list. However, now you can actually play a radio station that is built entirely with recommendations.

NOT ONLY THAT but you can customize that radio station. It gives you a bunch of check boxes showing all of the artists that will be played on that station. Select the ones you want. Unselect the ones you don't.

AND you can set your level of obscurity. Want to hear popular artists? Set the obscurity filter to "popular." Want to hear something new? Set the obscurity filter to "obscure."

It's pretty cool. I love that Pandora and Last.fm exist. They both have their own pros and cons. They complement each other, really, and now I feel like they're competing, so they're each getting better. It's FANTASTIC.

ON AN UNRELATED NOTE, I notice that the newest version of Limewire will automatically augment files with a number if you have another download of the same name. That feature should have been there a long time ago.

I'm excited. Yay music.

Spirited Stauf's Staff

Why does it seem like it would be so fun to work at Stauf's?

They call me, "The Shoulder"

Now Playing:
"There's A Line In The Sand. Are You Afraid To Cross It?"
(preview) (lyrics)
by Some By Sea off Get Off the Ground If You're Scared
(circa 2004)
(for a number of nuanced, snobby, and snooty reasons, this song deserves a mention; additionally, Some By Sea is a great group -- check them out)

So today I had another meeting with Tony, my physical therapist. For those new to the story, I had shoulder surgery on May 1 ("biceps tenodesis"). This is a problem I've been working on for about a year. I actually had another surgery back in February that didn't fix the problem. I'm Tony's longest case and also Tony's probably least athletic case. :) What can I say? I'm special.

Anyway, the last few sessions have been spaced apart by two weeks, which is a sign that things have been going pretty well. Lately I've been more ambitious and have been inventing my own exercises (lots of rotator cuff, back, shoulder, and some very specific peck stuff). Tony was really happy with the extra work I've been doing, and he gave me a few extra exercises, but said that I've built up a really good program, and there really was no reason for me to come back unless I had a lot of problems. So he's going to leave my case open for a month, and if I don't call him back, then he'll close it. He says I shouldn't fear any activity. Just avoid pain, but start getting back into the normal workout. Start lifting heavier and heavier weight. Get back to normal. (I'm THRILLED to hear this)

Over this past year, I've learned a lot about how the upper body works. I've learned a crap load about the shoulders and back and arms. I'm surprised to hear some of these words coming out of my mouth. A sample conversation from today . . .
Tony: So how have things been going?

Ted: Well, I have some bearable pain with the I's and Y's, but even unloaded I still have some pain in my upper arm with the abduction.

Tony: That's okay. There's not a lot of functional movement out there anyway. If you get pain, just move things inward a little and gradually work out until you're all the way there.

Ted: Okay, so if I keep working on the scaption, you think the abduction will start getting easier?

Tony: Oh, yeah, definitely. It'll just take some time. How have the curls been going?

Ted: Well, I've been doing 3 sets of 20 8-pound bicep curls and hammer curls, but I also added some supinated curls.

Tony: That's great. It sounds like you can start moving up the weight.

Ted: Good.

Tony: So today let's add some triceps work . . .

Ted: Well, I've actually been doing some triceps extensions with the bands.

Tony: Oh, good, that sounds great. Well, keep doing those. In that case, let's add some 1-2 3-4 crossovers. You can use the bands to do these.

Ted: Well, I have access to a cable column. Would that be better?

Tony: Yeah, just experiment with the weight and work from there.

Ted: I've also been doing push-ups when there's no pain. I've been trying to add an inclined push-up on the Swiss ball when I'm feeling good.

Tony: Oh? Good. Well, then also do some walkouts on the ball with a decline push up.

Ted: Okay.

Tony: And let's add some step ups.

Ted: Can I use anything about that height?

Tony: Yeah, shoot for around 6-8 inches.

Ted: What about a box walk?

Tony: Actually, yeah, once the step ups are pretty easy, add a box walk.

Ted: I've also got an 8 pound exercise ball. It's not as squishy as a medicine ball. It's like a basketball filled with sand. Should I progress toward doing walks with it? Just to work on stability?

Tony: That sounds excellent.

Ted: And I've got a Spri disc too. I've been adding push-ups with one hand on the disc.

Tony: Yeah, whenever anything gets easy, try to add a stability component. That'll work very well. It really sounds like you've got a good program going. Just keep doing exactly what you're doing and I think you'll be in good shape.

Ted: Great. :)

ABDUCTION? FLEXION? SCAPTION?

And we also talked about some new catch-and-release exercises to work on shoulder endurance. During that talk I mentioned that I had added some shoulder shrugs; he said those would definitely be good as well. Then I asked him about some internal and external rotations I was doing and some pain I was getting during the vertical external rotations. He said that made a lot of sense and said it would come with time. Ahem, INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ROTATIONS?

So I've learned A LOT. I used to work way too much on my chest and arms, and I think it was pushing me toward posture problems. Now I think I have really improved posture and I'm excited about shaping my back and shoulders. I have natural broad shoulders; I need to embrace that. And this shoulder problem has taught me how to do that. I'm thrilled. This is exciting.

(and for some strange reason I just love the feel of a burning hot rotator cuff after lots of loaded external rotations on my side; it's a great feeling)

So yeah... Yay for me. :) I'm proud.

(oh, and of course, thanks to Tony for teaching me :) )

Monday, July 17, 2006

"The New Damien Rice"

NPR's Song of the Day (as usual, audio is available for streaming from the article): Out of Nowhere, a Bold Statement by Rita Houston
  • Song: "State of the Union"
  • Artist: David Ford
  • CD: I Sincerely Apologise for All the Trouble I've Caused
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

It's hard not to describe up-and-coming British singer-songwriter David Ford as "The New Damien Rice": From his expressive vocal style to his deliberate sense of pacing, Ford brushes past a lot of Rice's signifiers on his debut CD. They even share a creative way with the F-bomb, but it's not that simple. Ford's influences clearly reach beyond Rice to a long line of honest, outspoken songwriters: Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Cat Power, Jackson Browne, Kurt Cobain, and on and on.

"State of the Union" finds Ford at his crankiest and most distinct, as he crafts a bitter, paranoid screed -- "With friends like these, well, who needs politicians?" -- that still mixes the personal and political while still sounding strangely lovely. There's something compelling about a new artist who shows up with nothing to lose: singing for his life and carving out an identity while using the platform he's been given to say the things he's always wanted to say.

Many singer-songwriters come and go in a hurry, but for those who manage to come back and stick, it's got to be hard to maintain that level of intensity and vulnerability day after day -- having to create and re-create a raw, personal moment as if it were new, time and time again. It's hard not to worry about David Ford, and that's a high compliment.

The sh*t heard round the world

Bush caught off-guard in chat with Blair
President: 'They need ... to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s___'

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (CNN) -- An open microphone caught President Bush in an unguarded moment Monday as the escalating crisis in the Middle East prompted him to use an expletive in a conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Watch the video. It's fun. It's neat to be privy to this private talk of powerful people.

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Ever feel like your life is like a David Lynch film?

If that's the case, then you really need to seek mental help immediately. You're certifiable.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

No Myth

Last night was one of the few times I have listened to the radio in the last couple months. I turned on CD101, and they were playing a cover of "No Myth" by Michael Penn, who is Sean Penn's brother. (note: Michael Penn has recently done some collaborations with Aimee Mann; otherwise, you probably haven't heard much from him)

"No Myth" was one of my favorite songs back when I was 8. In fact, I was particularly fond of the music video, which actually ended up winning the 1990 MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. This was also one of the first songs by a white man that included a (small) section of rapping.

So I was happy to hear the song.

Additionally, I have this tendency to pretend like my life is a musical. "No Myth" fits in pretty well right now, I think.

So here they are, the lyrics to "No Myth" by Michael Penn . . .
So, she says it's time she goes
but wanted to be sure I know
she hopes we can be friends

I think, yeah, I guess we can say I
but didn't think to ask her why
she blocked her eyes and drew the curtains
with knots I've got yet to untie

what if I were Romeo in black jeans
what if I was Heathcliff, it's no myth
maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with

See, it was just too soon to tell
and looking for some parallel
can be an endless game

We said goodbye before hello
my secrets she will never know
and if I dig a hole to China
I'll catch the first junk to Soho

what if I were Romeo in black jeans
what if I was Heathcliff, it's no myth
maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with

Sometime from now you'll bow to pressure
some things in life you cannot measure by degrees
I'm between the poles and the equator
don't send no private investigator to find me please
'less he speaks Chinese
and can dance like Astaire overseas

what if I were Romeo in black jeans
what if I was Heathcliff, it's no myth
maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Don't Know What I Can Save You From

The iTunes party shuffle has done an especially good job in the last few minutes . . .
  • "I Love You Mary Jane" (feat. Sonic Youth) -- Cypress Hill (Unreleased Assassins)

  • "Union Square" -- Tom Waits (Rain Dogs)

  • "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From" -- Kings of Convenience (Quiet Is the New Loud)

  • "Jesus, etc." -- Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)

  • "Samson" -- Regina Spektor (Begin to Hope)

  • "All I Need" -- Air (Felicity)

  • "Happy Frappy" -- Guster (Parachute)

  • "Black Swan" -- Thom Yorke (The Eraser)

  • "Take the Fifth" -- Spoon (Girls Can Tell)
And it just KEEPS ON GOING! I really dig all of these choices so far. I'm excited.

While I'm on a Kings of Convenience kick, let me point out that "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From" is an excellent song. It's pretty. It's slow but still danceable. And the lyrics are pretty nifty . . .
You called me after midnight,
it must have been three years since we last spoke.
I slowly tried to bring back
the image of your face from the memories so old.
I tried so hard to follow,
but didn't catch a half of what had gone wrong,
said "I don't know what I can save you from. "
I don't know what I can save you from.
I asked you to come over,
and within half an hour,
you were at my door.
I had never really known you,
but I realized that the one you were before,
had changed into somebody for whom
I wouldn't mind to put the kettle on.
Still I don't know what I can save you from.
I don't know what I can save you from.(4 times)
Great stuff. Check it out.

Plain Yogurt SUCKS

I'm not going to make that mistake again!

Of course, I once thought grapefruit juice (and grapefruit in general) sucked. After a week or two drinking it (this goes for tomato juice too), I warmed up to it. So maybe the same thing will happen with plain yogurt. In the meanwhile, I'm going to have to keep stocked with fruit (especially giant blackberries) to get through this AWFUL plain yogurt. Blech.

Also, raspberries don't keep NEARLY long enough. Or are they supposed to look DISGUSTING after a couple of days? How do I keep them from doing that? Should I rinse them immediately and store them in some special way?

Someone help me . . .

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

z is for zaftig . . .

From an away message . . .
Adventures of Anna: The Whitest Girl on Earth

(Actual Exchange at Bar)
Guy: Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn your ass is BIG!
Anna: (upset) Oh god! I'm sorry! I work out a ton but it just won't...
Guy: No no no... girl, it's SICK!
Anna: Oh god... I'll go away. I'm sorry.
Guy: Baby, come back!

Pooma: An animal of its own

So, tonight I went out with a few conflicting feelings, which unfortunately didn't seem to get any less conflicted through the night... However, then I ran into this band Pooma playing in this little hole-in-the-wall bar, and there was nothing conflicting about how I felt about this band.

These four guys are all pretty young; however, they easily kick any other jazz band their age all over around the playground. They're just that good.

I was especially impressed with the guitar and trombone solos. These guys were a lot of fun. They're all very talented. I'm glad to have been introduced to them.

So Columbus/ATHENS/Ohio folk... If you ever see that Pooma is playing near you, give them a shot. I'm told they have a great cover of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" that combines Britney Spears with Coltrane, and it's something you just can't miss.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One Fast Girl

Let me start out by saying that people need to stop putting MUSE songs in their MySpace profiles, specifically "Supermassive Black." If everyone thinks that MUSE is their own personal secret, then MUSE can't be that much of a secret, can it? We get it... MUSE is catchy. Get over it.

Tonight I met yet another friend of Anna's--Rhiannon, like the song. For lots of reasons, she's alright, but she's more of George's type than mine. She's tiny. She's into racing sports bikes (professionally). She's a model.

The thing that really got to me though was... She's 29 (despite what it says on MySpace). She certainly doesn't look 29, but she is, and everything about how she holds herself says, "I'm 29, bitch." (though, for some reason, I think that Jenn could eat her alive, despite her youth)

It was bad enough a couple nights ago when out with Phil, Owen, and Christina that I felt like the young boy of the group (despite me being older than two of the other women). This put me back in an uncomfortable place that I thought went the way of acne years ago. However, just being in the same room with this "Rhiannon" (and note: I was in a "Prose before Hos" tee (picture of Shakespeare on it) with plaid shorts and sandals) made me feel less like a young 25 and more like a feeble 12 (pass the Stridex, please!).

As we were leaving the bar, she got a call from a Russian friend who apparently digs her. After hanging up, she was complaining to Anna's mom that she thinks she likes him, but he's 26 and she's having trouble dealing with the classic 26-year-old naivety. Her mom explained that she was just older and more experienced and was just going to have to deal with these sorts of things.

I'm 25. This whole conversation made me feel worthless. Earlier in the week, Whitney and I went to Scully's, and I found out that she thought I was 28. I was a little insulted by this then... I wasn't that old, and surely I didn't look it. Well, tonight 25 didn't feel so old, and I prayed that I looked at least 27.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

"I Admit" that Har Mar Superstar is Har Mar Super

Har Mar Superstar is genius. He really is.

Today, we're going to feature, "I Admit," one of his goofier songs. I especially like this song because it feels a lot like, "Take My Breath Away," which makes me think of Tom Cruse and Kelly McGillis (in nothing but a guy's button down shirt) getting it on. Oh, Top Gun, how can you have such a disproportionate influence on my life? And why do you have to be based on the early life of Randy "Duke" Cunningham? WHY?!!

"I Admit" lyrics ("Guy" = Har Mar):
Guy:
I admit I had a lot to drink last night.
Uh huh.
And I didn't see that same pretty face
In the daylight.

Gal:
Since we're getting honest, I've got to let you know
Ooo ooo
Everything I know about you I learned
From digging in your garbage and peeping in your window.

Gal:
I admit I skipped my pill last month
Ooo ooo
So I could secretly steal Har Mar's first
Born son.

Guy:
I admit I didn't trust you.
That's why I went ahead and snipped those tubes:
A vasectomy!
Ain't no babies coming out of me!

Chorus (together):
We can come together
And love each other.
Two little words give us peace.
Look up to the heavens and sing,
"I admit!"

Gal:
I admit I tampered with your brake line
Oh ohhh
When I saw you look into another girl's eyes.
Ooo ooo

Guy:
That's okay 'cause that car already got sold
To the man
Who slipped advanced promos of my new jams
To bootleggers and fans.

Chorus (mostly together):
We can come together
And love each other.
Two little words give us peace.
Guy: Look up to the heavens and sing,
Gal: "I admit it . . ."
Guy: "I admit!"

_Freakonomics_: The Textbook?

So here I am, sitting at the cafe, and I look at the window and see this . . .


See those two guys at the table? They're both reading hard cover copies of Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. It looks like they've both just recently started the book. Every once in a while one of them will grin at some of the amusing text.


Now, I have no problem with this. It's a good book. In fact, it's a great book, and it makes some very interesting points. Plus, it's very entertaining.

However, there's no way they BOTH are reading this voluntarily, is there? Would two guys like this just randomly get together at the Cop O' Joe to read together? Could they both be in a book club? Do you think they'll get together later in the night to discuss what they've read?

It's more likely that Freakonomics is a text for a class that they're taking. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. Apparently there's some instructor out there who was tickled so much by this book (either positively or negatively) that she's built at least one lesson on the text. I suppose there's no problem with this. More power to her. Lots of classes study new books (even books like this, which were published in January of 2006). For some reason this just takes something away from the book.

Before, if you ran into someone who read Freakonomics, you could make some assumptions about that person. That person probably heard of the book in particular ways that way something about her. That person probably had a certain desire to read the book that also says something about her. That person wouldn't have read the book if she wasn't interested, so she would be very willing to discuss it or give an opinion...

However, now that this is a class text, there is going to be an army of people who say they've read the book just like high schoolers say that they've read Romeo and Juliet. So now it's necessary to ask, "Oh, did you read it for a class?" If the answer is yes, then the conversation can stop.

Oh, well... At least it's getting more exposure. Have to focus on the good.

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In case you didn't know about the FSM . . .

So I was talking to Jenn today, and it occurred to me that there still might be quite a few people were not familiar with the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).
From the Wikipedia page:
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a deity of a parody religion founded by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design creationism as an alternative to biological evolution. In an open letter on his website, Henderson professes belief in a supernatural Creator entity that resembles spaghetti and meatballs called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and calls for Pastafarianism to be taught in science classrooms, essentially invoking a reductio ad absurdum argument against the teaching of Intelligent Design.

The followers of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) call themselves Pastafarians, a play on Rastafarians.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Their story on global warming:
Pirates and global warming