Monday, May 23, 2011

Like Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain

I am hereby announcing my candidacy. Not for the Republican presidential nomination, but for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy!

Like Newt Gingrich's, my announcement is perhaps somewhat premature; today I turned in my last paper for my incomplete seminar, which must be graded and reported to the various administrative authorities before the official form can be signed. However, the part of this that is up to me is officially over, and I rejoice in my newfound liberty!

I have decided to celebrate with a stuffy nose and a headache. If this celebration turns out not to be properly cheerful, I may adjust to painkillers and tea, followed by pub trivia and booze. I think the latter will do nicely.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Advertising v. science

So I've been seeing this commercial for some energy drink or other that might be Jamba or maybe Java or something like that; I don't pay close attention to insignificant details like the name of the product being advertised.

What I do pay attention to is bullshit—which is to say, everything in every commercial except for (and in some casing including) the name of the product being advertised.

The particular species of bullshit in this one is that it claims to give you "energy without chemistry."

Now, I know I didn't take chemistry in...ever, but I did take biology and I have an unfortunate fact to share with the energy drink people:

energy is made entirely out of chemistry. Seriously. Chemistry is what allows us to turn carbonated sugar water into anything that is not carbonated sugar water. Like energy. Or urine.

Now I'm all for food-based ingredients in foods, but saying "natural caffeine" and then listing a bunch of scary chemical names that are in other drinks does not make your drink any less crap.

Carry on with your Friday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hello, my blog!

It's been a while, hasn't it?

This is just a quick before bedtime post to say that tomorrow I will finish my last seminar paper from my incomplete seminar from last spring. It is within one page of being done but I am too tired to keep writing tonight, so here's how tomorrow looks:

Wake up at 7, have breakfast (real bagel!)

Therapy at 9, then straight to the gym to slowly climb endless invisible mountains while staring at my blurry reflection in the mirror (I take off my glasses on the treadmill; it helps them not slide off on an oleaginous cushion of my sweat [TMI?])

Home by 12, where I will shower and write the last damn page of the last damn paper of the last damn seminar of last damn year. It's about "Stormy Weather," and it's all outlined already and it shouldn't take more than an hour, including the shower.

Then it's glorious free time until a friend arrives from LA (5-ish) to hang out/present at a conference! Then we go to another friend's birthday party (9-ish) at a bar that serves delicious bourbon which I will not spill on my tux shirt this time because I will not be wearing a tux.

Next up: adventures in Lancaster, PA, better known as Amish country...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How can you sing when my children are drowning?

If you know me, you know I am not a religious person. It's pretty obvious pretty quickly, once you meet me. However, I always celebrate Passover. It's an important holiday for me, and not just because of matzo ball soup (although that is a wonderful thing). The most moving part of the ceremony, for me, has always been the part of the story where God closes the waters and drowns the Egyptians. In our family Haggadah, purchased by my parents at a yard sale long ago, the story says that when this happened "the angels began to sing in praise of God," and he stops their song and asks, "How can you sing when my children are drowning?"

The Egyptians are the "bad guys" in that story. They kept the Hebrews as slaves, beat them, killed their children. And yet, God mourned their deaths because death is never a cause for celebration. Death can be the best option, or the only option. It can be a relief from pain. Some would say it can even be a just punishment for a terrible crime, though I am not part of that some.

Deliberately killing a human being is not a reason for a party.

I will have more to say when I have had time to think and am not typing on my tiny ipod screen in bed. But the too-jubilant news of Osama bin Laden's assassination has made me so physically nauseated that I couldn't just fall asleep without saying something. This is what came to mind first.