Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stupid Sayings

There are a lot of cliche sayings and quotes out there. I guess some of them are decent and promote good things, but some of them are just so damn stupid that I can’t even wrap my head around it. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of things you constantly see on the Facebook “write something about yourself” boxes and “favorite quote” profile supplements and on AIM or iChat away messages. They’re things you’ve seen in print and heard over and over again, for years. Every time I hear one of these now I just begin to overanalyze them, and I think about how absurd some of them truly are. I’ve kept my opinion on these things to myself for a long time, because I’ve been hesitant to offend anyone that buys into many of them and publishes them all over the Internet (as I’m about to do) and on their fucking trapper keepers (mine says Love Conquers All!). I guess, though, I didn’t have much else to write about tonight, and felt that I’d share a few of my least favorite cliched sayings with you.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Who the fuck ever came up with this saying? It really makes absolutely no sense, not even metaphorically. My parents never got me a cake on or around my birthday and been like, “Here you go Scott. This cake is yours. You have it, but you cannot fucking eat it, do you understand me?” Isn’t the only point of having a cake to eat it (unless you’re on Cake Wars)? There is absolutely no point in having something if you can’t use it for what it was made for. Otherwise, it’s a huge waste. You don’t buy a hoagie and just stare at it until it gets moldy, and you don’t buy a television and then never watch it. I can kind of get what people are trying to say with this one, which is something like “You can’t always have things your way,” or something along those lines. Which is probably just exactly what they should be saying in the first place. Delicious baked goods have no place in such a philosophical conversation as “You can’t have a wife and be banging her sister in law” (Brodeur) or “You can’t drink 15 beers everyday and remain at your fighting weight for the rest of your life.” If you have a cake and you’re not going to eat it, don’t waste it. Give it to a homeless person or someone else that’s going to appreciate it. Do the same thing if you buy some shoes you’re not going to wear, too.

“From the bottom of my heart” Where I come from, when you really want something to resonate, you say it came from the top. But, for some reason, when people are talking about the heart, they use extra emphasis by saying the feelings spewing from the heart are coming from the bottom, which makes no sense to me. If somebody tells me they love me from the bottom of their heart, then wouldn’t that mean that the love they feel for me is probably toward the bottom of the standings, underneath that other guy, eating cake, new episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Ugg boots? If I’m metaphorically storing the strongest kind of love in my heart, then I’m probably going to stow it somewhere toward the top, where it won’t get lost or clouded over by other things, like Johnnie Walker Red or burritos from Qdoba.

“Love is all you need” No, it really isn’t. I don’t get this one, either. I mean, love is a pretty good thing to have. It’s an overwhelming and sometimes frightening emotion, and it has a huge place in both our psyches and within society as a whole. (Without love, we wouldn’t have all those ridiculous VH1 shows with Ray J and Flavor Flave and shit.) But, it’s not all that you need. In fact, I’m sure there are certain people who have gone through their entire lives without ever feeling love, people like Adolph Hitler and Ted Bundy. I’m not recommending living without love, but I’m saying it could be done. Also, if you’re in love or you love something, that’s not really all you need at all. Love isn’t even in that magical equation of three that people used to always tell me I needed growing up. I know that food and shelter were the first two, and I can’t remember if it was water or clothing that rounded out the list. I don’t know if water is included in the food category, but if not it’s definitely more important than clothing. People live in nudist colonies and never wear fucking clothes, and they’re probably having a great time. I think this saying is actually very damaging, because people listen to it and spend a very significant amount of time and energy avidly looking for love. That’s not something you can look for, it’s got to find you, I think. I could be wrong.

“Cheaters never win and winners never cheat” If you’re a baseball enthusiast, I encourage you to compare the amount of games you’ve won with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi or anyone else who has used steroids (see: the entire fucking league). They’ve won. A lot. And they’ve made a lot of money winning, even if their testicles were shrinking. This can also translate over to real life. How many kids do you know that have cheated on a test and done better than you, even though you were being honest? You might feel like a winner, but I’d like to see you go into a job interview and be like, “Well my GPA isn’t as good as some peoples’ because I didn’t cheat ever!” How many people do you know that have gotten a job because they knew someone who worked at the company, even though they may not have been qualified as other people that applied? That’s a form of cheating, but those people ultimately win, no matter what you tell yourself.

“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game” I heard this all the time as soon as I started playing competitive sports, and even then I knew it was a bunch of bullshit, because the vast majority of people that play sports on an officially assembled team play because they like the sport and want to win. I couldn’t then, and still can’t now, comprehend how nobody, in all of the years this saying has been in existence, spoke up and said “Well, isn’t the way that you play the game probably the biggest factor as to whether or not you’re going to win or lose?” It seemed pretty obvious to me.

Now, I know that sometimes this is supposed to tell people that if they’re losing in the final thirty seconds they shouldn’t chop block the opposition or karate chop them in the neck, but why don’t they just tell people not to be pussies, suck up the fact that they lost, and not be a sore loser? Normally, when you lose it’s yours/your team’s fault. Why would you begrudge another team that did what you were supposed to do, only better?

But it is all about winning and losing, pretty much. Because that’s why games exist. If there was no way to crown a winner at the end of a football game, do you think we’d pay a bunch of idiots millions of dollars to just fuck around on a field for three hours? Would baseball players pump themselves full of physically and mentally damaging performance enhancing drugs if they weren’t trying to win?

“The pen is mightier than the sword” No, it isn’t. Say somebody that believes, from the bottom of their heart, that a person really cannot have their cake and eat it too, and they get really pissed at me for chastising their beliefs, so they come up to me on campus and gut me with a saber on Monday morning. I can’t stop a sword with my pen, no matter how smoothly it rolls across pages, and if I get knifed down, my words aren’t really going to be worth that much afterward anyway. People will only look back and say that I antagonized someone that really dug cake.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body” This is often used by the armed forces, a group of people I respect and would not want to fuck with, but I really don’t agree with this saying. Pain is pain. It fucking hurts, and it’s not because your weakness is exiting your being. It’s because muscles and bones and body tissue have nerves that respond to things that inflict pain. The nerves send these messages to your brain that say stuff like, “Why is this fucking guy doing 30 chin-ups?” or “Does this dude not know not to put icy hot anywhere near his genitalia?” or “Why doesn’t he stop punching walls when his girlfriend talks to other guys?” I mean, if you’re working out and you’re sore following that, then I guess the lactic acid could be construed as weakness leaving the body as you get stronger, but that’s about it.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is a really popular one, and it was really fucking easy for Gandhi to say something like this, because people loved him. He could actually promote change. Most people are not capable or able to do these things. The kinds of changes people want to see in the world are on such a broader scale than what one individual can accomplish. Take me, for instance. I think one of the biggest changes I’d like to see in the world (besides more fast food restaurants offering breakfast all day like Jack in the Box or Bar Rafaeli falling in love with 22-year-old poor white dudes that write blogs) would be for some of those crazies over there in the middle east to get their damn minds right and stop thinking other countries are the devil, and to stop blowing up their own fucking bodies and killing innocent people just to prove some point that they probably don’t even fully understand. (Seriously, they tell these guys they’re going to get to have sex with 72 virgins in their version of heaven because they fucking blew themselves up. How idiotic is that? It doesn’t even begin to make any sense, but that’s religion for you, sometimes.) They’re pretty set in their ways, and I cannot be the person to change that. It is literally impossible.

“Nothing is impossible.” Okay. I’m not even going to provide an example or explanation here, because anyone with the cognitive abilities to read that bold print has already thought of something that would be completely impossible for them to do.

“If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." This one is so extremely popular with the ladies it’s disgusting. Basically, all this quote is good for is to give certain girls the mindset that they are allowed to act like raging bitches around their significant others, simply because when they’re at their best they are just so great and irresistible. What the hell is that shit? If you’re a girl and you’re reading this, then take heed. Do not use this quote anywhere that it can be linked to you. Just don’t do it. And don’t listen to it and think that the way of thinking that could accompany belief in a quote like that is moral or justified, and don’t think that any guy worth his salt would agree with it. It’s not that, if you’re going to be with someone in a romantic way, you won’t ever see their worst. I’m sure that’s part of it (from my experience), if you’re around that person long enough. But don’t embrace the fact that somebody might be a little bitch and let you push them around when you’re ”at your worst.“ It shouldn’t be about handling you, unless you’re a one person trainwreck. It should be about them trying to help you out a little bit and make you feel better.

If you’re not going to take my advice on this, that’s fine. I don’t care. You’ll end up with someone like Spencer Pratt or something. Just keep in mind that this quote originally came from Marilyn Monroe, a woman who was married and divorced three times before the age of 35. She also killed herself by overdosing on barbituates. Probably not the best person to be taking advice from on such matters. It didn’t really work out for her.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Thoughts: January

Sorry this is a little late this month. I’ve been really busy trying to figure out a way that I could turn having a blog that’s pretty much about nothing consequential into a job opportunity (I’ve had no success). I’ve also been trying to figure out other ways a kid can get a job with benefits if he’s a journalism major (I’ve had no success). And I’ve been really working hard on growing my hair out.

--To start things off, let’s talk about some rap music. I’ve been listening to rap a great deal lately, because I’m trying to expand my cultural prowess and I really respect how seriously amazing some of these guys are with words--especially if you factor in the amount of marijuana their lyrics tell us they indulge in, which isn’t really good for the brain I’ve been told. One artist I’ve been listening to (partly because he single-handedly saved that awful new Rihanna song about hardness that I was complaining about last month) is Young Jeezy. Quite frankly, that man confuses the shit out of me. I mean, he’s a pretty good wordsmith, but he’s a one trick pony. If you’re familiar with any of his work, then you know basically the only thing he talks about (with the exception of hoes and cars) is cocaine and dealing it. He likes to give the impression that, even though he’s worth millions of dollars because of his rhyming skills, he still deals heavily in the trafficking of cocaine. I suspect this isn’t true, and unless he’s one of the dumbest motherfuckers in the world, it isn’t (because he’s rich without it and draws about as much attention to himself concerning yay as Bob Marley did concerning smoking weed). So, I don’t get why he keeps fucking talking about it. It’s kind of annoying. I get that he definitely dealt in the coke trade when he was a young man, but why can’t he just let the past go? (I get that a lot of artists, most notably Notorious BIG, talked a lot about dealing coke, but it was always in the past tense. My problem is that Young Jeezy still likes to talk about being something that he clearly no longer is. It’d be like Dennis Rodman talking about how he’s still the greatest rebounder around, even though he hasn’t stepped foot on a court in years.) I used to piss the bed, but I don’t write blogs saying I still do, and you probably won’t see the ShamWow guy doing infomercials talking about beating up hookers or Roman Polanski making a movie about having sex with minors. Whenever you do something that’s not so admirable, you should not draw attention to it. So, I guess Young Jeezy feels it’s admirable to be a coke dealer, which I don’t understand at all.

--Do you guys remember when Sean Combs changed his name from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy? This was when he was dating Jennifer Lopez and had just been acquitted of murder charges. Apparently it was because he wanted to clean up his image, which is basically impossible to do after you’re put on trial for murder and are a celebrity (unless you’re Snoop Dogg, but more on that in a second). Just ask anybody that doesn’t live in Baltimore to say the first three words that come to mind whenever you say Ray Lewis. Murderer will be mentioned just as often as linebacker. I can’t say I understand Diddy’s move. I mean, think about it. Puff Daddy obviously implies that he likes to smoke a lot of weed (and I mean a lot, because you really have to enjoy something to make it your stage name I think, which is why my rapping name would be Orange Pop), a substance that is known worldwide to make people lazy, unmotivated and peaceful. I’m not really sure, but I don’t think people feel much aggression when they’re using that particular type of drug. So, if he would’ve just stayed with Puff Daddy, people would’ve just been like “Oh, that dude is high all the time. I don’t think he shot anybody. Frankly, I’m surprised he found the motivation to actually make it to that nightclub in the first place, and the only reason he fled the scene was because he heard gunshots and got even more paranoid than a sober person like you or I would!”

Snoop Dogg pretty much proves this. Nobody seems to remember at all that he was on trial for murder. Probably because he is so extremely public about his marijuana abuse. See what I mean when I was talking about these guys being good even though they’ve gotta be huge burnouts?

--Lil’ Wayne’s going to jail for a year because he had a ton of guns (machine guns!) on his tour bus that he didn’t have a license for. This just further adds to the whole laziness and paranoia thing that marijuana brings on. Apparently, Weezy is high as a kite like all day everyday, and I guess this made him too lazy to get a license to carry these firearms (or to join the NRA). He also had to have been paranoid as shit to have machine guns on his tour bus. I mean, it seems like every single person I know loves the shit out of that guy. I don’t know who on earth would want to shoot him except for like Toby Keith or something.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t smoke pot, unless you want people to think you’re not a murderer. And, if you do, don’t buy machine guns. Because that’ll put some seriously conflicting notions in people’s heads.

And that’s all I have to say about rap.

--I rip on Lady Gaga a lot, and some people get kind of pissed and don’t initially understand why I don’t dig her. I mean, I respect that she makes some seriously popular music and is apparently a very talented musician and that she should be recognized for these qualities. And she really hasn’t yet. She was snubbed in awards season quite frequently by Taylor Swift, which I disagree with. If you look at it objectively, which people should, Lady Gaga had four #1 hits in 2009. The last band to do that was The Jackson Five. How does a girl that writes songs about people being in love at the age of 15 or comparing two people to Romeo and Juliet--who fucking killed themselves--beat you out for Female Artist of the Year, especially when you’re writing songs about faking orgasms and not picking up your cell phone because you’re trying to get down at the club? (Two notions I can definitely empathize with.)

So, Lady Gaga is good, but I don’t like the way she dresses. I feel it is unnecessary, and girls fucking hate when I say that. I say it’s gimmicky. I actually put up a Facebook status when I saw what she wore to a recent awards show (I think it was the Grammys or something but I could be wrong) that said “Alright, enough Lady Gaga,” just to see the reaction I got. It was not very favorable on the female side.

Yesterday, I was finally able to come upon a male comparison for her when I was watching Pardon the Interruption, a sports talk show on ESPN. They were talking about US Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, who is hands-down one of the most flamboyant men in the public eye today (he’s akin to a skinny, talented version of Perez Hilton). They were discussing the ridiculous outfit he wore in his previous night’s performance, and it definitely resembled a slightly-more-male version of something Lady Gaga would wear to the grocery store. My boy Mike Wilbon said Weir’s outfit was “undermining” because “when you have talent like that, it should simply speak for itself.”

And, with that, he took the words I want to say every time I see Lady Gaga performing right out of my mouth, except he is more eloquent.

--Technology is killing people’s intellects. I mean, people can get on blogs and write total non-sense right now and distribute it so a number of people will read it. I mean, you probably won’t really become smarter from reading what I’m writing this very instant. You could, though, be sitting down in a chair reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell or some other journalist who writes very interesting and also entertaining things. Instead of sitting down for six hours at a stretch pretending to kill people with the new Call of Duty game, you could be watching the news or a History Channel show about evolution, or even about the bible, whichever way you swing.

Until recently, I’d always taken solace in the fact that there were still people out there who didn’t rely on technology to the point that it was taking over their lives. The kind of people who still prefer actual physical books or newspapers to reading off of a computer screen. You know, my people (and I’m biased, because I want a job). This solace was dashed quite suddenly on the first day of this semester, when I was sitting in my first class. This class is based completely on reading short fiction stories, and classic ones. We have two anthology books for the class, and our professor gave out our first assignment with the syllabus during the class. It was to read a short story by Anton Chekhov (one of the most famous writers to ever live). A girl raised her hand and informed the professor that she hadn’t bought the books for the class yet, and that she might not be able to for a couple of days. She asked if there was anywhere she could find the story, and this began a debate that lasted about thirty seconds and included my teacher and a number of students over whether or not the book could be found on the Internet. I had to raise my hand, wait for them to quit talking and be called on. When I was, my teacher (who has got to be in like his 70’s and someone I figured would dig on books and not the Internet) my teacher actually seemed vaguely surprised when I said “I bet you could find it in the library.” Said library is located literally across the street from our classroom.

--Guys named Jack who make it into the public eye are often extremely successful. there’s Jack Daniels, Jack Kennedy (better known as John F.), Jack the Ripper, Jack Bauer, from 24, Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock and Jack Dawson from The Titanic, Jack Shepherd from LOST and Jack Mehoff from childhood jokes.

I know that all but two of those dudes are fictional characters, and that Jack Dawson wasn’t very successful if you measure success by living for a long time, but he did find true love. Also, I guess nobody really knows if Bauer or Shepherd are going to be successful since their shows are still going on, but people do know them by their television names more than their true names (Keither Sutherland and Matthew Fox).

Yeah, I don’t know where I was going there. These are random thoughts, after all.

--How do people not recognize superheroes in movies? This is something that has been bothering me for quite some time. I mean, in the Batman movies, he doesn’t even cover up his whole damn face. All he does is cover up half of it, and then lowers his voice about eighty-five octaves. And Bruce Wayne is one of the most well-known people in Gotham. I love superhero movies probably more than the average guy, but that’s just ridiculous.

--Have you guys seen any of those PETA advertisements where all these famous women get naked and show their asses and stuff? I have, and I’ve paid close attention to them. They all have to do with treating animals nicely and not doing cruel shit to them. Somebody should tell these ladies that they really don’t need to get naked to do these things, because the vast majority of people in the world aren’t cruel to animals just because they’re sensible and not sadistic. It kind of makes you wonder if these ladies are doing this kind of thing for recognition, which apparently happens more than you think.

Tiger Woods, Y'all

Since Tiger Woods, world’s best golfer and amateur pornstar, is giving a press conference tomorrow to address his recent absence from golf and his stint in rehab for sex addiction (I think he went the sex route instead of the drugs/alcohol route because he wanted to stay in shape), I figured I’d post this little article I wrote a few weeks ago. It was published in Penn State New Ken’s student newspaper simply because my brother is the sports editor. I’ve been working on my networking skills. Some of it was changed for the print edition, though. (One of these changes I’m told was the 86ing of “sex-addicted Ambien freak”)


I’m sure everyone remembers the first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, when Tiger Woods was getting so much media coverage that I can’t even remember any of the news events that were transpiring at that time that actually mattered.

He was, of course, getting all of this attention because he’d cheated on his wife with a very impressive amount of women. Actually, he was getting something like 10 times the amount of attention for being an unfaithful husband who was beaten with a golf club by his spouse than he did when he won the 2001 Masters and became the first golfer ever to hold all four major titles at one time (which solidified him as probably the greatest golfer to ever live).

The thing was, though, that I didn’t care at all whether Woods was faithful to his wife or was coupling with more women than I’ve even hugged in my entire lifetime, because that’s not the reason I know who the man is. That reason is golf (and Buick commercials).

This might make me seem like I’m very insensitive to the problem of cheating, but I assure you I’m not, and would never condone such behavior. I’m just insensitive to whether or not Tiger Woods is cheating, because it’s not even remotely my business, and the lack of marital bliss in his life has no effect on me whatsoever. The man doesn’t make millions of dollars to be a poster child for a happy marriage.

Think about it: If I was married and went and nailed 15 women, I wouldn’t even get an article written about me in any publication, and I know people will argue that this is because I’m not famous, which means I’m not really a role model on any large scale. This is true. This is also exactly why Woods shouldn’t get coverage for being a sex-addicted Ambien freak. We see all of the news about him cheating on his wife, and it doesn’t make us want to cheat on ours, but the media and the public must keep in mind that there are little kids who look up to their favorite athletes and strive to do the things they do (and I’m no exception, when I was in the sixth grade I wanted to get corn rows because I had a severe man-crush on Allen Iverson). This is why these things should be kept quiet.

By devoting so much copy and airtime to these athletes who make bad social/legal/familial decisions, the media effectively reverses some of the principles that have been pounded into today’s youths’ heads since they were extremely young: It’s not okay to cheat on your wife, but the best golf player in the world has done it. It’s not okay to cheat on your wife with your best friend and teammate, impregnate her and then have an abortion, but one of the best soccer players in the world has done it. (I’m speaking of John Terry of Chelsea and the England National Team. When news of his affair broke earlier this week, it came to light that a judge in England had actually given Terry an injunction to kill the story so it wouldn’t become a public spectacle, which is a ridiculous strike against free speech, but maybe a good idea. Obviously this injunction was overturned, or I wouldn’t know about these happenings.) It’s not okay to leave your wife for Madonna and eventually Kate Hudson—though this is arguable—but Alex Rodriguez, one of the best living baseball players and a winner of the2009 World Series, did. And it’s certainly not okay to smoke marijuana, because it apparently makes you stupid and will have negative affects on whatever you’d like to do with your life, but the greatest swimmer (and maybe Olympian) to ever live did.

Knowing these things about some of the world’s best athletes doesn’t benefit anyone, really. All it does is damage their reputation, and any sensible adult shouldn’t be worried about what an athlete’s personal life’s shortcomings entail. They should watch them play sports, and realize that they’re paid absurdly high amounts of money to do only that and nothing else, whether it’s fair or not. I can almost guarantee there has never been a sports contract that included a penalty for cheating on one’s spouse. If they do something wrong, it should be treated like it would be if a normal person did something wrong, which is to say it would get no attention. I realize the media is a watchdog and ambassador of truth and everything, but these kinds of unimportant things should stay under wraps. You know, for the kids.

And I guess I just spent this entire article giving them even more attention, so maybe I should practice what I preach.