Welcome! (I guess...)

For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Subterfuge - Part XVI

As I took a break from watching one of my DVDs the other day, I came across this truly disturbing story. Apparently the Baby Einstein videos and DVDs are completely ineffective in producing the little geniuses that many parents had hoped they would create. It seems that studies have shown that children under the age of two should not be watching any television because it ruins their attention spans. Fascinating. And so I reacted just as you would expect any mature adult to do; I immediately took my Baby Einstein DVD out of the DVD player, marched straight outside, and tossed the DVD into oncoming traffic.

But then I got to thinking. I had realized that if these videos and DVDs truly turned babies into geniuses, people for whom you need a stopwatch to measure their attention spans even before you do any more damage to them by planting them in front of the virtual babysitters that televisions have become, what could they do for me? And the answer is: lots! The evidence is undeniable. The Baby Einstein DVDs did work for me because, and I do not like to boast, I am considerably smarter than your average child under the age of two. Obviously since we have known for years that the quality of education in the US has been on the decline, the source of my clear advantage over toddlers in mental acuity must not be formal education. And so Baby Einstein has made me brilliant, but what should be done about children under the age of two who should not be watching television? I have the solution; children under the age of two need to spend more time learning from me, a genius…or at least more of a genius than most two-year olds.

So it’s quite simple, I’ll be releasing my schedule soon and anytime that it appears that I might be available, you can check with me to see if I actually am available and I’ll come over to your place (or more likely tell you that you have to bring your baby over to my place) and impart words of wisdom and encouragement to your bundle of joy. I cannot promise that the lessons I teach will be based on the lessons I learned while watching Baby Einstein, but I can certainly guarantee that the considerable amount of money that I force you to pay me will more than cover the amount of money I shelled out for the Baby Einstein DVDs.

Not convinced yet? Well, here’s an exclusive preview of one of the new Baby Cabral Lessons.

Hey there little [guy/girl]! How are you?! You doing all right? Do you have any teeth yet? Have you moved on to eating solid foods? Okay, let’s get to the business at hand. Your parents brought you to me because they’re afraid that you’re falling behind. Most [insert age in months or years] are probably eating dryer lint right now, and maybe you’ve been known to partake of it as well, but your parents want you to be a little bit more than what the average [insert age in months or years] is. So how do you get there? You get there by listening to and paying attention to me. I’ll provide lessons of wisdom, such as: get smarter, do the math better, and don’t eat dryer lint. And you’ll also get to watch me watch TV, watch me play video games, and maybe even watch me pummel purple dinosaurs. I’ll have you on your way to becoming a Baby Genius in no time!

Disclaimer: Baby Cabral Lessons is a registered trademark of Baby Cabral Industries and we make no claims that by engaging in the Baby Cabral indoctrination that your baby will ever become a genius. Your baby just may not be that smart, or your baby may have already consumed far too much lint. Baby Cabral Lessons will likely result in the lowering of your baby’s self-esteem, aversion by your baby to everything education-related, and a desire by your baby to murder all purple dinosaur-like creatures. All Baby Cabral Lessons are available on DVD at a 3% discount.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Subterfuge - Part XV


Galactic City, Coruscant - In what is believed to be the first ever occurrence of such an action, the Jedi Council has decided to posthumously demote a Jedi member. The Jedi Council ruled yesterday that Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn will be demoted to the rank of Jedi Knight based on circumstances surrounding the Trade Federation’s invasion of the planet Naboo. A thorough examination of the Jedi Archives reveals no such precedent for this action.

A year ago, in an alleged attempt to settle disputes related to the taxation of trade routes, Viceroy Nute Gunray authorized the Trade Federation’s droid army to attack the planet Naboo – an attack that was ultimately thwarted by a combined Naboo and Gungan force. The former Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was one of two Jedi that aided in the defense of Naboo.

Following week-long closed-door meetings, sources familiar with the Council’s deliberations, commenting on the condition of anonymity, have stated that it was deemed that Jedi Jinn displayed perception skills “significantly lacking in one considered a Master of the Order.”

The sources went on to say that Jedi Jinn’s failure to recognize the difference between the queen of Naboo and her decoy was “inexcusable and something that even a Gungan would recognize.” It should be noted that no sources who were involved in the events of the battle on Naboo can identify any Gungan that did in fact recognize the deception. It should also be noted that no evidence has ever been found to suggest that Gungans are very smart and sources secretly indicate that it would be a horrible mistake to ever elect a Gungan as a Galactic representative or a Galactic senator.

Jedi Masters Yoda and Mace Windu were both reached for on the record comments for this story. Said Master Yoda, “Unable to see through the deception, Master Qui-Gon Jinn was. Disappointed in his lack of vision, the Council is. A failure Master Qui-Gon Jinn was. A failure his master, Count Dooku, is.” When questioned about whether he too is a failure, having been Master Dooku’s master, Master Yoda indicated that he had trained Jedi for nearly 900 years and that he should know which Jedi were failures and which were not and indicated that he was not a failure. It should be noted that his words were not put in this order.

Master Windu was less diplomatic in his misgivings about Jedi Jinn’s perceived shortcoming. “The reason that Master Qui-Gon Jinn was unable to detect the deception and the reason he was demoted is because he wasn’t a bad enough muthaf-… I’m sorry, I momentarily let my anger get the better of me, and anger is part of the path to the Dark Side.” When asked whether he saw through the deception or if given the chance would have, Master Windu replied angrily, if not hatefully, “Of course I would have! One of them is four inches taller than the other one! That’s why Master Jinn wasn’t on the Council; he wasn’t a bad enough muthaf-…” Master Windu ended the interview at this point.

Attempts to contact Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn for this story were unsuccessful as Jedi Jinn is dead and no one on staff is able to communicate with the Jedi Astral Plane.


Naboo System, Mid Rim - After a lengthy investigation, Coruscanti officials have released the findings from last year’s battle over Naboo. It was alleged by the Trade Federation that the Naboo force led by Queen Amidala had been highly negligent and reckless in allowing a young boy, not identified in this story because of his minor status, to leave the planet’s surface and venture into harm’s way. After an extensive interview with Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, the only surviving Jedi from that battle, the investigators were assured that the boy was never in harm’s way, that the boy was never aboard the ship, and that the boy had remained in the garage hangar the entire time. The investigators were also told that they could move along. No charges will be brought against Queen Amidala, the Naboo, or the Jedi.


In related news, new studies suggest that Jedi mind tricks are not as effective as commonly believed by the Jedi Order. In studies conducted on 807 anonymous adults of various species, it was found that 83% of the total adults interviewed and 80% of all species tested reported being immune to Jedi mind tricks. A clear majority of those interviewed reported pretending to be tricked so as to avoid death by lightsaber. It should be noted, however, that conclusive evidence suggests that Gungans are always fooled by Jedi mind tricks as none interviewed ever seemed to be able to identify an instance in which such a trick was attempted on him/her. The full results of the study will be released next week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Subterfuge - Part XIV

People who know me very well know in what high regard I hold the television program NewsRadio. The NBC program that ran from the mid to late 90s was truly a brilliant comedy, NBC’s best of the 90s as far as I’m concerned.

One of my favorite episodes from the series is one from the fourth season named “Security Door.” As you might imagine (or perhaps you might not imagine this and I’m giving you a little too much credit), the episode focused on the problems that arise among the employees when a new security door is installed in radio station WNYX. Now I’m not going to provide a synopsis of the episode, but I would direct you instead to treat yourself and watch it at your leisure…or while at work, whatever works best for you.

What brings this episode to mind is the fact that I sit very close to such a security door, within eyeshot of it in fact, and I do enjoy the hilarity of observing the frustration of others when dealing with it. Ordinarily the door works just fine. A person uses his/her badge on the card reader, a beep sounds, which is followed by the sound of the magnetic door lock being released shortly after, then allowing for that person to pull the door open. When a person desires to leave the secured area, a motion sensor detects the movement of the person as he/she approaches and releases the lock allowing for exit.

Occasionally though, things don’t go this smoothly. In some instances, and it appears to be happening with ever greater frequency, the timing is a bit off, whereby the lock releases, but then reengages almost immediately (if such an idea has any meaning), preventing the person from entering/leaving. And this is when the fun begins.If someone is trying to enter the door, after the first failed attempted pull, there is a little confusion. After the second failed attempted pull, the frustration starts to build. The door pulls begin to get a little harder, more violent. And after about the fourth or fifth attempt, pure anger sets in as, though muted to some degree by the door, I can hear the yelling and screaming. Oh so fun to watch.

But significantly more fun comes when a person attempts to leave and is thwarted. Admittedly I am no mind reader (though this would be a very useful talent to have), but based on reading the emotions of people as they struggle to get beyond the door, I think I can fairly accurately quote the monologue taking place in each person’s head.

The door fails for the first time. First there is bewilderment. The person presses the red “exit” button, but is still unable to leave. True fear sets in now. “No, no, no… I have to get out of here! They’re never going to let me leave! I feel like crying… Wait, I can’t cry right now and let everyone see me. I have to try again…” The person attempts to leave again by waving their hand or something they are carrying in front of the motion sensor. The door again disengages, but the person is too slow to exit before it once again reengages. Then comes the anger. “You son of a b----! You let me out this instant! I will not let you keep me here!” Honestly, I think much of this is actually audible. What are also audible are the noises caused by the violent pushing and banging on the door that occurs at this stage.

And then after this comes the hate. There is the hate experienced by the person who fears and is angry that he/she will never be able to leave. This person hates the door and is willing to demonstrate this hate. And in demonstrating this hatred for the door, the person is willing to dish out some suffering to the door. This fearful, angry, hateful person grabs hammers, books, shoes, calendars demonstrating the truly dubious artistic talents of the children of the employee’s coworkers, anything to exact revenge on the door. I know that you don’t believe that doors have feelings, but trust me, I can feel the door’s pain as it is repeatedly tortured…

Let’s see, we have fear, anger, hate, suffering… I think we all know where this is leading…

Journal Entry: It’s leading to the Dark Side of course! And if you know me very well, you understand now my pure delight in watching people struggle with the door. I enjoy watching others descend inexorably toward the Dark Side. I enjoy leading people inexorably toward the Dark Side. The reason? The Sith have always been much cooler than the Jedi. Now I’m not saying that this door is evil or an instrument of the Dark Side. And I’m also not saying that it isn’t evil nor an instrument of the Dark Side. What I am saying is: People, please be smarter than the door. Actually, don’t be smarter than the door because that would ruin my enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Subterfuge - Part XIII

It would be tempting to describe an event that took place on this date nineteen years ago as a simple miscarriage of justice. But a closer inspection of the facts surrounding the event will show it to be at once both far less and so much more. (Try wrapping your heads around that sentence.) While I abhor raising the happenings in the world of sports to too high a level of importance as well as the hero-worshipping of big time athletes, there are rare occasions when important life lessons can be gleaned from the world of sports. For example, it is sometimes good not to wear thousands of dollars in jewelry into the club so that you don’t have to carry your unlicensed concealed weapon inside the waist of your pants, and you don’t accidently shoot yourself in the leg and end up getting sentenced to two years in prison. I know it might be tough to figure out when one of these cases might be because a person has to wear his, or her, bling, but I’m sure such a case does exist. Keep searching…

But there I’ve gone and lost my train of thought for a moment. My apologies. Some of you may possess exceptional memories and then again, some of you out of curiosity may have already searched to find out what happened on this date nineteen years ago, but for those of you to whom neither applies, I will tell you that today is the nineteenth anniversary of a college football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Colorado Buffalos known as the Fifth Down Game.

The Fifth Down Game is termed thusly because near the end of the game, in fact on the very last timed play of the game, Colorado was inexplicably awarded a fifth down on which they scored a touchdown, which may or may not have been a real touchdown since it was questionable whether the Colorado player even got into the end zone (it apparently took the officials nearly twenty minutes to decide whether the Colorado player had broken the plane of the goal line with the ball), and in the course was awarded a victory, 33-31, that the team clearly did not deserve.

Now this sort of win by cheating would not be such a big deal if this was the type of Colorado Buffaloes team that we all have come to know and love, the kind of team that needs to cheat in order to have any chance at all to win. No, believe it or not, Colorado was actually once a respectable football team. With the “win” in the Fifth Down Game, Colorado would improve its record to 3-1-1 (but really only 2-2-1) and would go on to finish 11-1-1 (really only 10-2-1, and if you ask some Notre Dame fans, it really should have only been 9-3-1) and somehow gained a share of the mythical national championship even though Georgia Tech finished a legitimate 11-0-1. Let’s recap; Georgia Tech finished undefeated at 11-0-1 and Colorado finished 11-1-1 but it was clear that they should have finished no better than 10-2-1. And yet somehow Colorado gained a share of the national championship. Such a sham.

But something has happened since then. Many of you will have noticed that since that time, with a very few exceptions, Colorado has been a terrible football team. Colorado lacked integrity back then, and that lack of integrity has cursed them from that point forward. If Colorado wanted to know how a team with integrity should behave, they only needed to have looked fifty years before their fateful game with Missouri.

In 1940, an epic game took place between the Big Green of Dartmouth and the Big Red of Cornell in Hanover, New Hampshire. Cornell was a powerhouse team, coming in ranked second in the Associated Press poll and sporting an eighteen game winning streak. Well, Cornell trailed late in the game 3-0, but given a fifth down, they were able to score a touchdown and with the extra point appeared to win the game 7-3. However, the Cornell Big Red, being a team of integrity and not being cheaters, reviewed what had taken place in the game and decided that since they were unfairly given a fifth down, they would forfeit the game to Dartmouth. That is precisely what a team with integrity would do.

Integrity is something that should be valued above all else. Separated by a span of fifty years, we have two examples of opportunities in which two college football teams had the chance to denounce cheating and behave as programs of integrity. Cornell chose to behave as such a team of integrity; Colorado chose to behave like cheaters.Here we now are about a third of the way through this year’s college football season and it is clear that each of these teams has been justly rewarded for the legacies of their actions surrounding their Fifth Down Games. Cornell sits at 2-1 with a very good chance of finishing in the top five of the hallowed Ivy League, but they do face a tough matchup this coming Saturday against the powerful two-time-defending-Ivy-League-champion Harvard Crimson. Colorado sits at 1-3 with a very good chance of finishing outside the top five…of the Big 12…North Division…out of six teams. Integrity matters.

Journal Entry: I’d like to thank the very good people at the Wikipedia for doing the research for me about the Fifth Down Games. Other than that, I forgot what I was originally going to say here, so I’ll just blast Colorado a bit more. I know just about everyone reading this will agree with me that giving Colorado even a share of the national title after by all rights finishing 10-2-1 while another team finished 11-0-1 is a bit of a joke. This is irrespective of Colorado having “played a more difficult schedule.” They lost a game and almost certainly should have lost two. Georgia Tech had zero losses. Zero. How pollsters can overlook the Colorado loss and highly suspicious “win” against Missouri is mystifying. Ordinarily I believe that the Coaches’ poll is a complete charade in college football, but on this occasion, I would have to side with the coaches and not the AP in the national championship poll results.