Friday, October 31, 2008

Sailin' and Snugglin'

After a very stressful week, I was delighted to partake is some recreational activities. This Halloween season has been pretty glorious:
- my roommate and I made a pirate ship out of a cookie cake
- I AM The Snuggler.

Zach Galifianakis as The Snuggler has always been a personal inspiration of this young lady. If someone was in trouble or hurt, who wouldn't want a slightly chubby, slightly effeminate, bearded man to come snuggle you back to health? It seems, however, that most normal citizens do not share my views. To each his own, I guess. I can't believe how hard it was to get hold of a plain, yellow polo shirt! What's the world coming to? Also: I'm a bit disturbed that I can don a beard and horrible k-mart cut-off x-tra rugged men's jeans so convincingly. . .

The cookie pirate ship was for our Friendly Faculty Fellow in Residence's daughter's cookie decorating contest. Cookies were judged based on appearance, taste, and "ability to explain what you were going for." Since I've been obsessed with Moby Dick and sea chanteys and pirates and sailing, this kind of scene was perfect. My sister had sent me a "zombie cookie" recipe, so we decided to make zombie pirates with missing, bloody appendages. Look at the detail!

Our scrumption scene was a depiction of the rarely told legend of the Good Ship Venus. On their way to the Canary Islands to retrieve some rum, the boys hit a terrible storm. To keep the boat from sinking they would have had to throw all of the large barrels of rum into the water. Aself-respecting pirate would rather die than waste perfectly fine spirits. Unfortunately, they all fell overboard and sharks mangled their bodies. The pirates are now bound to their ship for all of eternity, haunting any passers-by around the waters surrounding the Canaries.

We did not win, but we were definitely the most creative and had the "liveliest explanation."

Here are some photos:

Thought you all would enjoy that.
If you have no idea who The Snuggler is, shame on you. However, I will present you with this link to correct yourself:

Friday, October 24, 2008

If I live too long, I'm afraid I'll dieeeee

(Thoughts from sometime in September and just recently completed)

Pretty heavy, I know. But I'm watching The Darjeeling Limited right now, as a reward for my busy weekend and pounding out a five-page education paper about topics I've previously discussed right here on this blog. Within less than 24 hours I went to dinner with my friend and her father, saw a Broadway play, went backstage, went to a party, went on my first Seaport Museum training sail, attended the PhiloStream Planetarium event, and gave a speech at the second annual Broome Street Residential College Convocation. I'm. . . pooped.

I must say that the soundtrack for DL is probably my favorite movie soundtrack to date. In fact, it's the first soundtrack I've purchased since Clueless came out. I'm not afraid to admit that Clueless still might be in my top 10 favorite movies of all time and I'm even less afraid to admit - perhaps even a bit proud - that I can recite most of the dialogue unprovoked. I'm also still a bit depressed to find out with every viewing that my "man Christian is a cake-boy."

I chose this particular lyric from "Strangers" by The Kinks because it proves to be a bit ominous, and I think the topics discussed in the following paragraphs are, too. For my Conversations of the West class I am required to read a few books of the Old Testament. Tonight I dove deep into Genesis and discovered a thought lodged deep in my brain that I had never found before.

We all know the story of Noah and his ark. Here’s the abridged “Leave Your Keys in the Bowl Version” if you’re a little fuzzy:

God thinks that the world has gone to shit. The humans are stinking up the earth. God decided to drown everyone except Noah and his family. He also makes Noah round up some of every "crawling thing" that roams the land so they can procreate after the whole ordeal is over. God, in the parlance of our time, "makes it rain" for 40 days and nights, killing every living thing except those in the ark. Then, the rain stops and Noah and his family and all the animals have a big orgy and repopulate the earth.

God never touches the sea creatures. In fact, he gives them more living space. I know that the humans were the problem, but perhaps the sea creatures have something to do with evil coming back to the earth. Maybe they influenced us to be bad again, after we had just undergone a horrible, horrible punishment - mass drowning. While God was busy with all the land animals, the sea creatures were deviously rubbing their fins together, plotting their evil plans to corrupt humans. We do eat them, after all. Maybe the sea is full of mysterious evil or some other kind of even more powerful force and that's why humans are so fascinated by it. The sea has such a strange and sublime hold on humanity, and no one can quite put their flipper on it.

Also, have you seen these creepy-ass satanic-looking creatures:

I will admit, though, that some of these odd little guys are kinda cute (but then again, I've always been known to love the weird, uncanny type):

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cossack stooge!

This is the testimony of AK, student at New York University, under questioning by the newly re-instituted Un-American Activities Committee. The Committee was reinstated in late September of 2008, when the United States economy plummeted to an all-time low since The Great Depression of 1929. Being a very important election year, the frazzled federal government went into an intellectual “lock-down” of sorts, hoping to quell any anti-American sentiments from spreading further. The political and social atmosphere proved ominous, and fear of possible revolution, rebellion, and assassination following the election was foremost in certain political leaders’ minds. The Un-American Activities Committee was brought back to keep a watchful eye over various aspects of American life, including the hazardously influential world of academia.


(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)
Mr. MCCONNEL. Miss K, will you give your full name?
Miss K. I am __________.
Mr. MCCONNEL. And your address?
Miss K. Broome Street, New York City during the academic year. Rensselaer, NY the rest of the time until I graduate from university.
The CHAIRMAN. And what university is that?
Miss K. That would be New York University, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I see... We will get to your academic proposal in just a bit. But first, we would like to ask you a few routine questions.
Mr. MCCONNELL. Yes, Miss Kannes, how old are you and what year are you at New York University?
Miss K. I am 19 years old as of June 22nd, and I am currently in my junior year.
Mr. MCCONNEL. Where are you from originally and what kind of high school did you go to?
Miss K. I am originally from Rensselaer, New York, right across the river from Albany. I went to a small Catholic high school in Troy, New York named Catholic Central High School.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you a Christian, Miss Kannes?
Miss K. Well, no, sir. But I don’t believe that has anything to do with my proposal.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that we will be the judges of what does or does not have to do with our decision, Miss Kannes. So you attended Catholic schooling, but do not conform to the beliefs?
Miss K. Right, I do not.
Mr. MCCONNEL. And would you mind sharing with the Committee why you feel this way?
Miss K. Umm, well... I do not refute all of the beliefs; I believe that their New Testament doctrine of love could be a good thing. However, I think that one must not passively go through their lives. I believe that one must constantly question and challenge what one is taught to get to a greater truth. It is unfortunate that this religion, and most others, does not believe this. I once asked one of my theology teachers –
The CHAIRMAN. Is this relevant, Miss Kannes?
Miss K. You asked me for my reason and I was simply giving it.
The CHAIRMAN. Alright, proceed.
Miss K. I asked one of my theology teachers how it could be possible for all humans to have free will if God already knows everything we are going to do before we do it. He answered, “For those who believe, no answer is necessary. For those who do not, no answer is possible.” Ever since then I have not been a Catholic and have been a firm supporter of the use of reason over blind, submissive faith in anything. Intellectual inquiry and reason –
Mr. MCCONNEL. Next question. Do you or any members of your family have any official political ties or allegiances?
Miss K. Gentleman, I really do not understand what this has to do with the paper I want to write.
Mr. MCCONNEL. We would just like to find where your loyalties lie, nothing more. You opinions will indubitably come through in your academic labor, and it is our duty to find out just what kind of labor we may or may not be allowing to take place.
The CHAIRMAN. This information is of great interest and importance to us, Miss Kannes.
Miss K. I have a strange inkling that although we are in the land of freedom of political beliefs I may be penalized for a “wrong” answer, and I am not sure how American this Committee is turning out to be. You think you would have learned from before tha –
(The CHAIRMAN bangs gavel.)
Miss K. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Mr. MCCONNEL. Will you please answer the question? How were you raised politically and what is your status today?
The CHAIRMAN. We must know or we cannot let you pursue your paper.
Miss K. Fine. You’d love my parents. Blind, unquestioning Republicans through and through. My mother even has a job cleaning the Republican majority in the New York State Senate. Depending on how the election goes, she may not have this job for long. My father is a fan of McCain’s without really knowing anything about him. Your favorite type of voter, I’m sure.
The CHAIRMAN. I would be careful with your words, Miss Kannes. Your biases scream with every syllable. Please continue.
Miss K. Everyone has biases. In academia, it’s just a matter of working through them. I am, obviously, more liberal than my parents. Especially once I started going to school in New York City. I am not affiliated with any political party, however. I do not like to make commitments of that nature. I believe in the use of government to ensure freedoms. I believe that there are unnecessary laws in place that waste time, energy, and money of the government. Our system of courts is sometimes glorious, and sometimes too politically charged and bureaucratic to be fair. My father was incarcerated for seven years for a non-violent crime after such a trial, so I have strong feelings about this part of our nation’s notion of “justice.”
Mr. MCCONNEL. Fascinating.
The CHAIRMAN. It says here that you would like to research and report on the use of communism during the Federal Theater Project. Have you ever been involved in any communist or theatrical endeavors?
Miss K. What a poorly worded question. Is this some kind of trap? Have you guys ever cracked open a history book? It’s not going to work on me, sirs.
The CHAIRMAN. Alright, let me restate them as separate questions then. Have you ever been involved in any kind of theater or performing arts?
Miss K. Yes. I performed in plays all throughout high school, wrote a play that was performed by one of the classes, and once directed a children’s play. Currently I do stand-up comedy when I have time. I started doing stand-up when I was 14 years old, which led to a job seating guests and hosting the late shows at an upstate New York comedy club. I am very much a performer at heart and hope to be somehow involved in the entertainment industry at some point in my life.
Mr. MCCONNEL. Do you have any *political* material?
Miss K. Not on purpose.
The CHAIRMAN. Hmm... What is your view of communism within the Federal Theater Project?
Miss K. I have only done limited reading thus far on the subject, but I do believe that there were communists involved in the project. I am of the opinion that the political nature of the project definitely produced some passionate theater. I hope to research this matter further and report on my findings.
Mr. MCCONNEL. So you think it was alright for communists to be infiltrating our nation’s works?
Miss K. I said it made for passionate theater. I did not say I supported the communist party. That’s not what I said at all. Everyone knows that theater with a cause is always more complex and interesting and more electrically charged than a show with no heart behind it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we’ve heard enough. We will now adjourn to deliberate on our decision about whether or not we will let you pursue your academic endeavor.
Miss K. Wait just a minute, please, Mr. Chairman. You have not let me finish my proposal. There’s more. I know you are judging me on my experiences and thoughts, but I would not be a true historian if I did not know how to set these aside.
Mr. MCCONNEL. Well, then, you think you are a true historian, then? Prove it to the Committee.
The CHAIRMAN. You can say that you will set aside your prejudices, but how can we know that you really will?
Miss K. I think of research and writing as a conversation. In order to have a fully successful and worthwhile conversation, you have to be willing and open to having your mind changed by the end of it. Sometimes it can be just as interesting to try and disprove your own opinion. And usually, through this kind of work, you can make your own argument stronger because you will catch all of its weak spots. Looking at information and documents from different angles is the only way to get everything out of them. My training as a stand-up comedian has taught me to look at situations from different perspectives. It would be unethical to prevent me from pursuing this topic just because you think I might “side” with the people you think of as “the enemies.” I cannot guarantee you what side my argument will prove, if any. I will not know what my argument is until I’ve done extensive research. And this, Mr. Chairman, is what I am seeking permission to do.
Mr. MCCONNEL. Anything else?
Miss K. That covers it, gentleman. I hope that you will consider my proposal for academic study with impartial minds and understand that it is not in my desires to disrupt what is left of our nation’s order. I sincerely think that intense studies of the past can shed more light onto the future. Thank you.
Mr. CHAIRMAN. Alright, Miss Kannes. We will see about this after lunch.
Miss K. When and how will I know of your decision?
The CHAIRMAN. We will let you know of our decision via the great United States Postal Service within 4-6 business days.
Miss K. (under her breath) Did I just order my decision from I bet I have to pay for shipping...

It was later found out that A, not Barack Obama, had been the one palin' around with terrorists as Governor Palin warned.