Why would anyone ever trust their eyes...or their brains  


When things like this exist?


Clearly our brains can be tricked into interpreting data incorrectly, and yet we take this unwavering pride in them, as though they are infallible.

[it's not letting me embed the picture directly...i'll try again later. EDIT: I was able to embed a still of the .gif, but click on the link to see the actual motion]

Carson Seacrest  


I haven't really followed Late Night television since college, but the Late Night Wars have caught my interest. And by caught my interest, I of course mean that I am obsessed and will read any and all articles on the subject. Color me surprised, then, when I learned that David Letterman was poking fun at Carson Daly and his 1:30 AM show. First, I didn't know even know there was a 1:30 AM show. More importantly, though, was the fact that the articles were portraying Carson Daly as a whipping boy of Late Night and not to be taken seriously. I wondered how this could be possible, considering how successful a career he had had since hosting American Idol.

It wasn't until listening Stern review the New Year Eve's shows that I started to put the pieces together. After bashing Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve*, with Ryan Seacrest, he then went into Carson Daly being apart of a different broadcast. Suddenly I was transported into the last scene of Usual Suspects where the detective realizes that the witness was Keyer Soze. Except in this case, my horrifying discovery was that Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly were two people.

Did you know that Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly are not the same person? Because I didn't. I mean, not really. I've heard of both names, of course, but for some reason I combined them into one super[annoying] celebrity. I pictured a career path where a no-talent hack started on TRL, and then moved onto American Idol, where he continued to lack talent. And because he excelled at saying "Welcome to American Idol", this Carson Seacrest fellow branched out into many other lucrative gigs.

The world is twice as annoying now that there are two Carson Seacrests walking around. These people are rewarded for mediocrity. They do not have talent, and are slowly taking over all of television. They are dangerous, and they are multiplying!

*[sidenote: Dick Clack does the exact same shtick every year for New Years. Dick teases Ryan for not having to endure bad weather, then says the EXACT same lines about wishing everyone a happy new year from the bottom of his heart. You can't really appreciate how unoriginal it is until you hear clips from the past three years all in a row]

Conan vs. Leno  

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Well, if Howard isn't God, then I guess neither am I  

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Attempting to give advice to JD, Howard recently explained a situation where he was awaken in the middle of the night by a wrong number calling. The old Howard, he said, would have been unable to go back to sleep and been furious at his situation. The new Howard, however, realizes that the human experience is filled with situations where you are faced with these "unfortunate" situations, and it's absurd to be angered by them. In fact, getting upset by them is an indication that the person has a God complex and thinks that bad things shouldn't happen to them.

This really hit home for me. Lots of little things bother me....a lot. The subtitle of this blog is about having a "furious anger and murderous rage"! And really, there's only been about two or three really bad things that have happened in my life. Mostly, it's the inconsequential stuff that bothers me.

And maybe it is the result of a God complex. That I sit around and think "life would be fine as long as nothing bad every happened to me...ever.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman bumped into me as I was walking, and as I tried to regain my balance, the wire to my headphones got caught in the door. Ultimately, my headphones broke, and while this was inconvenient (they were pretty good headphones and replacing them was going to take an effort), my rage was disproportionate to my actual inconvenience. It felt like the end of the world, just like it does if/when I spill something on a shirt I like.

I'm not one for New Year Resolutions normally (though, I am rushing through this post so I can submit it before midnight, to keep with my ONE NYR this year), but being able to better tolerate these little bumps in the road is definitely up there for 2010. So, my headphones are broken. Big deal. Buy a new pair, and move on.

Thanks Howard!


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Graham Nash should be kicked out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  

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I'm finally getting around to watching HBO's presentation of the Hall of Fame concert from MSG, and Graham Nash is ruining the experience. I knew I was in for some uncomfortable awkwardness when he came out barefoot. I'm still haunted by Keller Williams doing the same thing in the first ever concert I attended live. How is someone supposed to enjoy music when the image of bare feet on a dirty stage is so overwhelming?

But let me backtrack. I appreciate music from that era as much as anyone. And CSN are legends. But let's not pretend that they are still cool. When Jerry Lee Lewis kicked off the show, he knew his role. He played Great Balls of Fire, and then humorously kicked the piano bench away. He wasn't trying to rock, he was having a little fun with the fact that he's an old man that used to rock.

But Nash looked delusional out there. An old man in fancy clothes but barefoot. How edgy! And then his singing was the most melodramatic overacting I've ever seen. Eyes closed, over the top hand gestures, and swaying. You really need to check it out to get the visual. Juxapossed against Crosby's stoic presence, it's truly a sight to behold.

After about the third song, I stopped feeling sorry for him and started to feel really uncomfortable. This guy is completely unaware. And he's ruining the music for me. Put some shoes on, and open your eyes when you sing.

Twenty > Two Thousand. End of story.  

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[the above article, which explains why we should be saying "twenty-ten" led to this email]

Ms. Asimov:

You just made my day, weekend, and year! I've been interested in this topic for the better part of the decade. In the 20th century, discussing the future (whether in movies, news, etc), people always referred to it as "Twenty-_____". However, they failed to consider the impact of the year 2000; people had to say "Two Thousand". And "Two Thousand and One" obviously comes after Two Thousand.

I waited with bated breath to see how 2010 would turn out. I wondered out-loud to friends who, if anyone, from our society was powerful enough to switch back to Twenty. Would it be entertainers on TV? Newscasters (dear God, anyone but Fox News)? Or maybe this was the change President Obama had in mind.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed the Grammar Police would be leading the revolution! Before even finishing, I forwarded your article to all of my friends, telling them that our long nightmare was finally over. Thus, I'm sure you can appreciate my panic when I finally got to the paragraph titled "Maybe not". Was all my excitement premature? Was this article going to leave more questions than answers? I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that your inclusion of Professor Lakoff's so-called "expert" opinion only hurt the oppositions' creditability. I heartily laughed as you brought the Linguistic professor to his knees using his own words against him.

Nevertheless, Lakoff predicted, " 'Twenty-ten' is gonna take over. It's shortest. It's easiest to understand." (emphasis added). I'm 'gonna' take Lakoff's opinion with a huge grain of salt!

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you again for your fantastic article. It might be a little premature, but you may have already written the most informative piece of the decade. The bar has definitely been raised for the "Twenty-Tens".


My first lie of 2010...(500) more by this Summer  

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This is just between you and me, so don't tell Netflix, but I hated (500) Days of Summer. I hated almost everything about it, and yet, I felt the need to lie to Netflix and give it 3 stars. First day of the new year, and I found myself facing a great moral dilemma. I'm still not sure if I made the right decision, and may live to regret it, but it had to be done.

Netflix's 5-Star system is inadequate in terms of capturing the many shades of grey I can feel towards a movie. 1 star (hated it) and 5 stars (loved it) are fine, and even 4 stars (really liked it) is really just "5 stars, but with flaws". But there's a whole spectrum between 2 and 3 stars.

Where does "I watched the movie, and don't regret watching it, but I don't recommend it, and didn't really like it" fit? (The Taking of Pelham 123, Taken)

Or "Wow, this movie was bad, and I know this because I've watched it on HBO three times this month"? (Sex and the City)

Or "Hmm, I think I really loved this movie, but I could see why someone else might hate it" (Funny People)

Or "This movie is so enragingly bad, that I'm going to get out of bed and email my friends insisting that they too watch it so I can have company in my misery" (Bride Wars)

Or "Ugh, This movie is so bad that I actually had to turn it off, BUT, I appreciate the effort and wish I did like it" (Slackers)

Like I said, I hated (500) Days of Summer and hated almost everything about it. I hated how they crowbarred hip music (Pixies, The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian) to mask the fact that they were telling the same old cliched story of unrequited-love. I hated how their attempt at humor involved a 10 year old girl being the "voice of wisdom" for her older brother. I hated the Momento-like gimmick of telling the story in non-chronological order. I hated the cheesy "50's Health Class Video" voiceover. But there was this great scene where the guy checks out his reflection and sees Han Solo wink back at him...

Sounds like a 2-Star rating, right? Wrong. Because if I squint, this movie can look a lot like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a movie I really liked. My fear is that Netflix won't be able to understand why I hated the former, but liked the latter. And I'm pretty confident that they won't be able to because I can't do it myself. Nick and Norah was too hip for it's own good, telling a cliched story with an ultra-hip soundtrack. So why one and not the other?

Where's my "disliked the movie, but don't read anything into that" rating? The "failed to execute, but let's not write off movies like that" star? So, Netflix, because I don't think you can handle the truth, I'm forced to lie to you. I'm sorry, but that's the way it's gotta be.