Category Archives: INTERNETS!!!!!

A Friendly Reminder For Today

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Drinking Poison

Another shooting.  Another hate crime.  Another day of watching popular blogs push up their click-through traffic with a photo of an odd-looking man-child on their front page.  Glamorizing the words Spree Killer!  Racist!  Murderer!  Another day of watching my facebook wall explode into a digital lynch mob.  Watching fingers pointed at one another, at society, at the law.  Watching people repost imperfect analogies to rage/shame support to their belief.  I watch the world fall apart in anger, rage, and misery.  I watch the name and face of a man-child become burned into my laptop screen simply because there is no way to escape his face, his name, his instant celebrity.

I’m not going to post a photo, or speak his name, I won’t give him that power.  I’m not going to write about race.  I won’t write about what should or should not be done about the law.  I’m not going to feign authority on gun violence by using a story from my past.

I’m going to introduce you to a man whose story changed my thoughts on how we process grief, Hector Black.

I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Black perform this story at a Moth event at UCLA, and how he forgave the man who murdered his adopted daughter.

He expresses, with a voice thinned by age and and years of struggle, what forgiveness means or CAN mean to a person forgiven.  And more importantly, to the person who grants forgiveness.  I felt that those years of struggle on stage with Mr. Black through his retelling of his story, and I saw that same struggle today in the eyes of families who had just needlessly lost those closest to them.

I’m not posting this as an analogue to the events splashed across the media, both popular and underground, I’m posting it as a thought experiment about how we CAN behave in the wake of tragedy.  Perhaps as an alternative to the digital lynch mob that has occupied our collective consciousness since the dawn of social media.

Hector illuminates how the unseen fingers of emotional debt can strangle those who have been wronged, choking the spark of life from the eyes of the living for the rest of their days.  He also illustrates beautifully how difficult forgiveness can be to understand, even to the person granting it, and how forgiving is never synonymous with forgetting.

Unfortunately the performance I witnessed, one that had all eighteen hundred seats Royce Hall at UCLA breathlessly silent for nearly twenty minutes, is not available.  So I’m posting two other retellings of his tale.  I’m posting two, because each has elements of the story he told to us.  To me. Different Moth Event, and RadioLab Interview.

I highly recommend you listen to them both.

In all of his harrowing tale, one line always sticks out for me, and I’m trying my damnedest to hold it close to both my heart and my head.  “When you hate, you drink poison and expect the other person to die.”

I don’t know that I could ever have Hector’s compassion in the same situation, and I certainly don’t ever want to find out. But knowing that there are men and women alive like Hector and the families I saw today gives me hope for myself, and for each of us, the righteous and villainous alike.

I wish Hector, and all families brutalized by inexcusable violence, everlasting peace.

Photo by Eli Goldstein. Used without permission. I hope Eli forgives me.

Photo by Eli Goldstein.  Used without permission.
 I hope Eli forgives me.

VSH-PSA: Parking Brake

Don't make our mistakes.  The empire you save, just might be your own.

Don’t make our mistakes. The empire you save, just might be your own.

Gender Stereotypes

What are they?  Are they dangerous?  Are they simply the brain’s way of collapsing data into quick to process nuggets for the fight/flight reflex?  Can they be overcome once the stereotype nugget has passed through the fight/flight barrier and made contact with the higher brain function?   Let’s do an experiment, shall we?

The Science Werks, in an effort to understand how stereotypes affect the brain and where exactly a stereotype becomes detrimental to human progress, have worked up this test:

Look at the images of an excessively hairy man with a pink mohawk, and then answer the questions below, keeping tally of your answers.

IMG_3658-3 IMG_3656-3 IMG_3653-2 IMG_3645-2 IMG_3643-2

QUESTIONS:

1: Do you find the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk’s poses to be gender appropriate?

           1 – Strongly Agree                                                             10 – Strongly Disagree

2: Do you find the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk’s poses to be offensive?

1 – Strongly Agree                                                             10 – Strongly Disagree

3: Do you feel the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk has no business posing like a 1940’s pinup girl?

1 – Strongly Agree                                                             10 – Strongly Disagree

4: Look at the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk.  After allowing initial gender stereotypes to pass into the logic centers of the brain, do you find the photos appealing on any level (alluring, comedic, zany), or offensive?

1 – Appealing                                                                    10- Offensive

5: Look at the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk.  Look at his legs.  Do you find his legs appealing or offensive?

1 – Appealing                                                                    10 – Offensive

6: Look at yourself.  Do you feel the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk is judging you the way you judged him?

1 – Yes                                                                               10 – No

7: Look at yourself again.  Have you accepted the excessively hairy man with a pink mohawk doing 40’s pinup poses into your heart?

1 – Yes                                                                               10 – No

8: Look at the excessively hairy man with the pink mohawk doing 40’s pinup poses, and gauge your opinion to the following statement:   “That dude is hella rad and cute as a button.”

1 – Strongly Agree                                                             10 – Strongly Disagree

Okay, add up your points and consult the chart below.

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Well crap.  Okay.  How about instead we throw away the other questions and just focus on your answer to number 8?

If you scored a 1-3, congratulations, you can look past little brain nuggets and experience a life not ruled by stereotypes and you have impeccable taste.

If you scored a 4-6, you are grappling with some internal issues, but likely will come out for the better for it and ultimately help shepherd others.  We have faith in you.

If you scored a 7-10, you can just go eat a Costco-sized bucket of unwashed wieners.

What have we learned here?  Well, I don’t know that we really learned anything, but I do know that I’m hella cute as a button.

Washington Redskins

We’re not really following this whole Washington Redskins trademark thing other than the outrage from people on our facebook walls who 1: don’t live in Washington and 2: aren’t Native Americans.  BUT, we do like any opportunity to possibly rename a sports franchise.  So we’d like to formally propose to you the perfect mascot to carry the mighty Washington team into this next evolution:

Football just got wet and furry

Football just got wet and furry

Why Simpson/Hemstead Never Gets Elected: 06/13/14

Here is where I’ll muse over the 13 year failure that has been the Simpson/Hemstead campaign, starting on Friday the 13th, 2014.

I tried entering “boomoy” into my phone, and the predictive text changed it to “vomit.”

Even after I had it learn the word “boomoy.”

"My smartphone might be trying to smarten me."

“My smartphone might be trying to smarten me.”

Simpson/Hemstead’s List of Words That Are Fun to Say Like Sean Connery

It’s no secret we’re big fans of Scotland’s single greatest non-alcoholic export, so to start your weekend off right, here’s a list of 34 words we love to say like Sean Connery.  You can picture young and studly Sean Connery, or old and grandpa-ish Sean Connery if you like, the subtle nuance changes between young and old add a nice flavor.  However, I prefer to think of the smily grandpa Connery.  This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good start.  So pour yourself a glass of Scotland’s other greatest export and say them along with us.

  • Asbestos
  • Gubernatorial
  • Macaroon
  • Creamed Corn
  • Dianetics
  • Rapscallion
  • Cuneiform
  • Biz Markie
  • Synergy
  • Escargot
  • Susan G. Komen
  • Plutocracy
  • Rectify
  • Street Tacos
  • Sassafras  
  • Space X
  • Buccaneer
  • Sandalwood
  • Intestinal Buffer
  • Slim Shady
  • Dinosaur
  • Epilepsy
  • Sig Sauer
  • Buzzfeed
  • Justin Timberlake’s Myspace
  • Casserole
  • Ziccardi
  • Shag
  • Sea Shanty
  • Bruce
  • Spicy Burrito
  • Sexual Healing
  • Bromance
  • Gluteus Maximus

From the entire team here at Simpson/Hemstead, have a safe and silly weekend, and rememeber:

"Shtay Clashy, Shan Diegough."

“Shtay Clashy, Shan Diegough.”

Do You Know Who You Look Like?

It’s a question I get a lot.  I’m guessing it is because I have a relatively generic, not-unappealing face.  Add to this that I’ve also had weight fluctuations in excess of 70 pounds, so my looks have been somewhat… flexible over the years.  I tend to blend in to crowds easily.  I’ve sometimes compared it to the quality that is described to Matt Damon in Ocean’s 11, “You have to be likable and instantly forgettable.”

I concede that this isn’t the best quality when one is running for high office, which might account for our 10 year campaign for political relevance that still only yields 50-80 hits a day.*  But this quality does offer up a pretty great bounty when presented with the question, “Do you know who you look like?”  I’m often quite surprised at some of the epiphanies folk’ll reach in this regard.  Folk’ll have their opinions, and who am I to argue what pings a person?  Basically each time I get a new person, I’m given more ammunition to believe I’m possibly the most generic person on the planet.  The proverbial everyman, at least in terms of appearance.  I might very well be Darkman.

This all comes back to the surface because someone who reads the blog came across the article about resembling Harvey Keitel and took umbrage at the thought.  They actually wanted to debate me as to who I looked like, and felt I was out of my mind.  I wasn’t sure the end game in this debate of personal perception, but I happily unpacked a number of people I’ve been compared to, both flattering and boggling.  I figured it would validate my position of having no position in the matter.  But sadly the opposite happened.  By the end of this parade of characters my argumentative friend wished to debate all the options.

So I figured, what the hell.  So I sat down with the ScienceWerks and had them make a quick graphic of some folk I’ve been compared to since I was sixteen.  Keep in mind, I’m neither bragging nor lamenting any of these, nor  am I taking ownership of any comparison.   Each comparison was made in earnest, supported with descriptions, often fevered over fear of having insulted me, of features that sparked the resemblance.  None of the comparisons were made based on clothing or costume to the best of my knowledge, and dealt exclusively with my physical appearance at some point in my life.   It’s not comprehensive, but shows a pretty decent range.

 

Celebrities2

What ScienceWerks concluded was that I match the basic phenotype for white male with dark hair.  Possibly bearded, with an outside chance of a beak or a nose that might light Santa’s way.

So there you go.  Who did I miss?   Or better yet?  Who do you look like?   Can you beat the range of characters here?

 

*Vote Simpson/Hemstead realizes that Simpson’s generic look is not the sole reason behind their lack of political success.  The reasons behind their fevered mediocrity are many, including but not limited to: lack of a campaign platform, lack of initiative, lack of capitalization on Hemstead’s stroke sympathy, wanton ignorance of important issues, lack of public speaking skills, outright refusal to speak in public, obsession with Muppets, “unsavory snarky attitude”, refusal to pander, awkward social skills, “hygiene”, occasional unexplained flatulence, overuse of the phrase “hug it out” in official speeches, obsession with the phrase “hopes and dreams”, infrequency of website update, honest garbage sold in online store, referring to opponents as “dirty hippies”, lack of funds to effectively compete in a plutocracy, inability to spell plutacra- plutocris- plootacr- plutocracy without looking it up online.

Facebook Today

The Almighty Facebok desperately wants me to be friends with all the Kardashians today.  Facebok is going to lose this battle, methinks.

THE ALMIGHTY FACEBOK COMMANDS YOU!

THE ALMIGHTY FACEBOK COMMANDS YOU!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Southern California awoke to a 4.4m earthquake this morning to start off St. Patrick’s Day with some wobbly legs.  The quake was centered 7km north/northwest of Westwood (Home of the Bruins) and lasted about 10-15 seconds.  Very little damage has been reported at this time, mostly just knocked over brooms and pictures falling off walls.  CalTech has shown the shake map as follows:

intensityAs earthquakes go, not so bad.

We’ve had the ScienceWerks pouring over the shake data from Cal Tech all morning to discern a possible cause for this temblor.  While it’s too early to draw any conclusions as of yet, one ScienceWerksineer was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity, “Look it’s St. Patrick’s Day.  Personally I think this is just California celebrating our nation’s long and racist history of posting ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ signs by trying to shake the little drunken leprechauns off her back while they’re tipsy.”*

All of the Irish we’ve interviewed since the temblor have unanimously said, “Earth-what now?  Didn’t feel it.”

leprechaun-2-09

 

Happy St.  Patrick’s Day to the Irish and Non-Irish alike from Simpson/Hemstead.  Have fun, and above all be safe.

To learn more about the small recent California Earthquake, visit the USGS website.

To learn more about the history of St. Patrick visit Wikipedia.

To learn more about the U.S.’s muddy history of Irish tolerance visit this blog on Historical Myths.

*The views toward the Irish expressed by the unnamed ScienceWerksineer  do not necessarily reflect the views of Simpson/Hemstead, the United States of Adamerica, or good and decent folk around the world.

 

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