Friday, October 26, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Band Name Generator Algorithm

Here is a homework task for you all. Find two words that, when "Googled", don't have Wikipedia show up on the first page of hits. My friend Brian discovered the fact that this is suprisingly difficult, and since then we have each taken the challenge many times...

I have concluded that whatever two words pass the challenge will end up making a pretty darned good band name. Here are my results so far:

Detroit aardvark
Book fart
Justice Amnesia
pascal's drummer
Young Tater
Sandman Junky
shark snark
Boojum Salad

To complete the challenge, make a new wikipedia page for your new band.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Now Herbie Hancock, that is a poet.
The fucker makes notes on the piano rhyme.
Like a stupid-eyed tourist I
wandered through his music for a while,
but the damn notes kept bouncing off my heavy head.

But then, something happened.

I hear Jesus knocked Saul off his horse
with the word of God, and like that
the words started pouring over me
as he ran up the scale and
down in fourths.

The form, the voice, all became apparent;
I wandered blindly, mouth open
like a gaijin who could hear
but not speak.

A perfect night

We met on top of a Cosmic Ridge
where fog poured slowly over the bridge
until the lake was full.
My face turned up to meet the sky and
you had nearly passed me by
when I came back to say goodbye
that night was wonderful.

The silky form of the Milky Way
was a path worn out of the simple way
our ridge had touched the sky;
as you pulled up with your bottle of wine
what touched your lips will soon touch mine
as we succumb to a night divine
on top of a Cosmic ridge.

I've never seen your face in light,
just carved by fire or starry night,
which makes me think that I just might
see you again someday.
For you cannot just be a dream--
for all the crazy ways we seem to meet
I know I'll always now you

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A reluctant, and hopefully wrong, prediction

Recently, China has warned the U.S. against hanging out with the Dalai Lama, with the threatening promise of serious repercussions. That's the most ridiculous thing ever.

It adds to the growing mountain of observational evidence (which started with "W" being "elected") for my personal political theory, cockamamie though it may be:

World War III will commence within the next five years and will feature, in one corner, weighing in at a combined weight of one million bazillion pounds, the world heavyweight champion, the "defender of democracy", the "separator of church & state", the "self-proclaimed benevolent superpower", "purveyor of Truth Justice and the American Way":

GI Joe (United States & England, Israel and maybe Germany, Spain, "Iraq", "Afghanistan", India, Japan, Tibet and maybe even Saudi Arabia)

And in the other corner, with a combined weight of just under one million bazillion pounds…the "master of disaster", the "rouge nations", the "divine rulers", the "Axis of Evil":

Cobra (Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, Russia, Turkey and maybe France &Pakistan).

By the end of the war, the United States will galvanize, with the south joining GI Joe, and the north will join Cobra.

I hope I'm wrong. Perhaps only the Red Sox can save us. What do you think?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Power of Eyebrows

One of the more important, if less appreciated, aspects of being a high school physics teacher is drawing sweet diagrams on the board and on tests. It is a medium that few artists have really explored, but it is one that I took very seriously. One lesson that I learned through this exploration was that eyebrows are everything.

Let me demonstrate. Here is a problem that involves a man riding his motorcycle over a cliff. Notice the effect of the direction of the eyebrows. In figure 1, the man is smiling and his eyebrows are up. This implies that the man is uncomfortable with the situation at hand, and may not make it through.

figure 1

A simple switching of the eyebrows can change everything. Compare with figure 2, where the man is still smiling, but his eyebrows are down. This implies that he is a slightly crazy kung fu master, intent on living life by tasting death. He may not make the jump, and therefore succumb to the alligators with African killer bees in their mouths that reside in the pit of unending fire, doom, and despair. But he doesn’t care.

figure 2

I suppose the correct usage of the eyebrows would be to start the man with eyebrows down at the beginning of the jump. Then, if the calculations say that he doesn’t make it, the students could answer by filling in the eyebrows. If he doesn’t make it, the correct solution would be:

Figure 3

If he does make it, the eyebrows could be one up one down, indicating surprise and slight pain in the crotchital area:

figure 4

Nearly the whole range of human emotions can be captured by simply permutating eyebrows, smiles, and frowns. See figure 5 below:

Figure 5

This palette of stick-figure emotion has served me very well in grad school so far. I have found that the answers to most of my physics problems turn out to be a combination of all the possibilities:

Figure 6

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The kidnapping of a flock of birds

I’m going to relate to you a true story of a small but ridiculous nature. It involves the inadvertent kidnapping of a small flock of birds. Or rather, a flock of small birds. It happened at a Seven-Eleven, of all places, the significance of the name of which still eludes scholars. But I digress. One peaceful morning that was almost too quiet, I walked out under the open sky through the streets of D.C. looking for sustenance. There are lots of folks who partake in a similar venture each day, on a more serious level. My search for food had the purpose of sopping up the Jack Daniels that had settled in my stomach, rather than the daily hunger that haunted my bones, but once again I digress. I went in to a local convenience store, got a muffin and a coffee, and stood there underneath the blue sky and its white cloudy freckles. I devoured my muffin in such a way that the crumbs littered the ground, wastefully. I felt bad, but the fight against a hangover is a fight against time, so I persisted. However, the crumbs did not go to waste. Each bite I took, with the rain of manna that it cast upon the ground, was succeeded by the descent of a flock of small birds who hid in a bush nearby. They would descend, and eat, and leave all before the turn of a head or the sip of a hot coffee. These birds were small and meek, cartoon-like in stature. I’m not unconvinced that they weren’t the birds that spontaneously appear to fly around your head after strong contusions. Perhaps they were on a lunch break. Regardless, they took to me like water does a towel. I started to walk away, and they followed. They kept their distance, for sure, but with each bite they would approach and eat the crumbs then recede to a place safely out of reach. I was perplexed, so I even tested this out a few times—I stepped and ate, stepped and ate. They followed and followed. Now came a dilemma. I have to leave. So, do I leave the muffin so the birds can eat in the comfort of their own neighborhood, or do I go on my way and let them go hungry? I decide to leave with the muffin, because Jack Daniels is very persuasive. I thought I had hurt the birds in doing so. However, they just followed me right down the street, eating and retreating, eating and retreating. My own little lamprey eel, in the form of a flock of birds. A symbiotic relationship on the streets of D.C. Bluebirds on my shoulder. I walked all the way to Jeremy’s house, and they followed me nearly all the way. They dispersed with one block to go, flying off in every direction. “My God,” I thought. “I’m doing the same thing to my friends.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A brilliant Tom Robbins quote...

The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens -- but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it's love and love alone that really matters. --Tom Robbins
this is from a fascinating article on writing a children's book about beer. check it out!