Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm going to give God a chance to prove to me that he exists

Here's the deal. God can prove to me that he exists by winning the lottery for me three times. I'm going to play Powerball up to three times. The odds of winning a jackpot are 1 in 175 million. If I win the first time I play, that would be very lucky. I'll play again, though, to give God a chance to prove it was him, not blind chance. (If I lose, I'll stop playing, because why throw good money after bad?) If I win the second time (odds of winning twice are 1 in 175 million x 1 in 175 million = 1 in 30,625,000,000,000,000), I'll be agnostic. I'll think, "Maybe that was God." The odds of winning all three times are about one in 5,359,375,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 in 175 million x 1 in 175 million x 1 in 175 million), so if I can do that, I'll consider it a miracle and personal proof of God's existence.

That would convince me that there is a God. Here's my promise: if I win three jackpots in three tries, I will believe in God, tell everyone my story, and put the money to good use (i.e., I won't spend all of it on cars, hair plugs, and sugar babies). If there is a God, let's see if he's willing to step up and prove it. (I won't hold my breath, though.)

Edit: Tried to fix the math.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day, Americans and resident aliens!

Happy Monday, everyone else on this side of the International Dateline!

Here's a music:

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Who should I cosplay? (poll embedded)

Since my stroke, some people on my recovery team have suggested that I need some new hobbies. They think it would be good for my brain to learn some new skills and do something that gets me out around people more. I've been thinking about that, and here's an idea I came up with: cosplay. It seems like a pretty engaging hobby. Since I'd hate to do something like that in a half-assed way, I'd need to do character research and learn how to do costumes, makeup, and props. Then, I could go to cons, which would cover the "people" part.

To do cosplay, the first thing I need is a character. Here are my ideas so far for characters I could cosplay:
  1. Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin's character) from Firefly
  2. Klingon warrior from Star Trek
  3. Zed (Sean Connery's character) from Zardoz
Who should I choose? Of course, there are pros and cons to each of those. Here's a breakdown:

  • Authenticity: Physically, I'm a natural for the part. I'm the same age as Adam Baldwin (we were born 27 days apart) and about the same size (I'm actually a skosh bigger).
  • Simplicity: All I'd need are boots, fingerless gloves, khaki pants, an appropriate T-shirt, maybe a fatigue jacket, a Jayne hat, a big knife, and a couple of big guns. All easily available. I wouldn't have to worry about a hairstyle; I'd just keep the hat on. And I already have the beard, I'd just need to trim it a little differently and darken it.
  • Bonus: The character has his own cool theme song that people might sing to me:

  • Simplicity: It's actually a little too simple. I'd probably end up buying almost everything rather than making it, which would kind of miss the point a little bit.
  • Obscurity: Of course, anyone at a con would probably recognize a Firefly character, but if I were to be Jayne for Halloween or something, only cool nerdy people would even know who I am.

  • It'd be challenging. A good Klingon costume requires extensive makeup, including prostheses for the nose and forehead, a wig, and an elaborate costume. I'd have the opportunity to learn and apply a bunch of new skills. But, do it right and it can look this good.
  • Creativity. I don't have a specific character in mind (just "a Klingon"), so I could invent one, along with a backstory, on my own.
  • Recognizability. Just one glance, and everyone would know what I am. It would be just as good for Halloween as for a con (if not better).
  • In a good costume, I'd make a hella imposing Klingon. I figure I'd be about 6'9" (206 cm) from the soles of my boots to the top of my skull ridges, with girth to match. In fact, I'd probably be a lot like James Worthy:

  • It'd be very challenging. I'd have to learn how to do makeup, how to make facial prostheses, and how to sew. I'm not sure I really want to put in that much time. And it's easy to make the prostheses look bad, like you're just wearing a bumpy helmet or something.
  • It'd be expensive. I'd need a wig, makeup, liquid latex, and a lot of material, including leather (or at least vinyl), which isn't cheap. Plus props.

  • Simplicity. All I'd need is a wig (I could grow the mustache), boots, and some red material to sew. (It's not like I'd need to make a shirt or pants.)
  • Authenticity. I'm a lot like Sean Connery. Middle-aged? Check. Hairy? Check. In decent shape, but nowhere near good enough shape to really rock thigh-high leather boots, bandoleers, and a red bikini? Check.
  • High comedic value. In that costume, I'd be sure to attract a lot of attention and laughter, and I'm all about the laughter.
  • Authenticity. I'm a lot like Sean Connery. Middle-aged? Check. Hairy? Check. In decent shape, but nowhere near good enough shape to really rock thigh-high leather boots, bandoleers, and a red bikini? Check.
  • High comedic value. In that costume, I'd be sure to attract a lot of attention and laughter. Sure, I'm all about the laughter, but I really prefer that people laugh with me, not at me.

Well, that's what I'm thinking. Help me make up my mind by clicking one of these answers, and, if you want, explaining why in a comment.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ever notice what happens when you look at the "Ramones" logo in a mirror?

Here's the famous "Ramones" logo that you see on T-shirts all over the place. I direct your attention to the upside down "Dee Dee" at the bottom.

But here's what happens when you look at the logo in a mirror:

"Dee Dee" is now right-side-up and forward. Trippy.

"So what?" you say? Well, here's a Ramones song for you then.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Beat kuri's Quiz Score: Ambivalent Sexism Inventory

The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory measures two separate but related tendencies:

  • "Hostile sexism," which involves negative feelings toward women
  • "Benevolent sexism," a knight-in-shining armor ideology that offers protection and affection to women who conform to traditional gender roles (e.g., cute girlfriend, obedient wife, etc.)

Scores on each dimension can vary from 0 to 5, and although there is no fixed point that divides sexist and nonsexist people, higher ASI scores are related to greater degrees of sexism. For example, people with high levels of hostile sexism are more likely than others to hold negative stereotypes about career women, and they express attitudes that are more tolerant of sexual harassment and spousal abuse of women.

In contrast, high scores on benevolent sexism are not related to overt measures of hostility toward women. Nevertheless, benevolent sexism can turn ugly when women venture beyond traditional gender roles. For instance, one study found that benevolent sexists were more likely than others to blame a female victim for being raped after she invited a man into her apartment (presumably because the victim's behavior violated norms of female chastity).

My scores? Here you go:

Hostile Sexism Score: 0.09
Benevolent Sexism Score: 2.18

So how do I stack up? Here are the averages of everyone who's taken the test on the website:

Hostile Sexism Score:
     Average male:    2.74
     Average female: 2.05
     Me:                   0.09
Benevolent Sexism Score:
     Average male:    2.74
     Average female: 2.05
     Me:                   2.18

And for the USA (from a study conducted in 2000):

Hostile Sexism Score:
     Average male:    2.24
     Average female: 1.60
     Me:                   0.09
Benevolent Sexism Score:
     Average male:    2.30
     Average female: 2.00
     Me:                   2.18

You can take the test yourself right here. But this time, don't try to "beat" my score. It's not that kind of test. Just answer honestly and see what you find out about yourself.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The three men who taught me how to be a dad: Ward Cleaver, Atticus Finch, and Benjamin Sisko

Growing up, I never had a good fathering role model. My dad was pretty much a disaster as a father. So, I had to look elsewhere for fatherly role models. Like a lot of people in my generation, I found them in popular culture. There were three people who taught me most of what little I know about being a dad: Ward Cleaver, Atticus Finch, and Benjamin Sisko.

I learned two main things from Wally and Beaver Cleaver's dad: Always keep calm, and don't embarrass your kids in front of their friends. Because no matter what shenanigans Wally and Beaver got into, Ward always managed to handle it without yelling and hitting.

And I remember this one episode, when Wally was getting a little older and starting to shave, he borrowed his dad's razor without asking and used his last razor blade. So Ward was really mad, and he bawled out Wally right in front of his friends, including saying, "You don't even need to shave yet, anyway." How humiliating.

Well, Ward felt bad about that, so later in the show he made up for it. Ward and Wally were at a barbershop, and when some of Wally's friends came in, Ward told the barber to give Wally a shave, proving to the friends that he does need to shave, after all.

So, I've tried to stay calm and to avoid getting on my kids in front of their friends. Not sure how well I did at the former, but I think I did pretty well at the latter (to the point where my kids recognized it and sometimes tried to take advantage of it ha-ha-ha).

Atticus Finch was the one fictional father who actually made me envious. After I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was 10, I used to wish I could trade my real dad for him. I loved the way Atticus talked to Jem and Scout. What I learned about parenting from him was this: Children can be treated as intelligent beings who are capable of rational thought and understanding. You can actually explain things to them, instead of just bossing them around.
Sisko is the only one of these three fictional dads that I first encountered after I had already become a father myself. I rather envied the affectionate nature of his relationship with his son. I wished that I could have more hugs and kisses with my kids than I do, but that's just not my way. What he did demonstrate, though, was that a father should support his child's ambitions, not his own ambitions for his child. Sisko hoped that his son, Jake, would follow in his footsteps, enter Starfleet academy, and become an officer like him. But Jake only ever wanted to be a writer. And Sisko was nothing but supportive of his ambition ever after.

The first time I really had to apply that was, somewhat ironically, when my children began to distance themselves from the (Mormon) church in which we were bringing/had brought them up. Although today I'm proud of them for overcoming their lifelong indoctrination at such young ages and recognizing the church for what it really is well before I did, at the time I was still a believer and I found their disbelief somewhat wrenching. But, like Sisko, I recognized that they have to find their own way and their own path in life, and I tried to be supportive and I refrained from placing heavy pressure on them. So their growing disbelief didn't turn into the kind of giant family conflict that so often erupts in such situations.

I imagine that Avery Brooks, who played Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, would probably be pleased to know that his portrayal of Benjamin Sisko as a father had such a positive impact on one family's life.

I should also add that my longtime style probably isn't a coincidence, either (although I could wish that my head was a little shinier).

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Monday, June 03, 2013

Beat kuri's Quiz Score: Test Your Vocabulary

"Your total vocabulary size is estimated to be 40,300 words."

And no, I didn't cheat (because I sincerely wanted to know). I just read a lot. I guess the word-holding part of my brain, at least, is still pretty intact.

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy 420!

I don''t favor recreational drug use, but this is genius:

"The Smoke-Off" by Shel Silverstein (yes, the same guy who wrote The Giving Tree)

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (4/17/2013)

Haven't done one of these for awhile....

Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness.

A Yemeni man live-tweeted a US drone attack on his village. Highlights include: "#USA taught me English 1 day & took my life frm super miserable 2 very promising. 2day, it droned my village. The most divided feeling ever".

The elusive "good war".

"Neurotics are conscientious team members and should be appreciated and used more effectively in organizations." People should hire them.

Amazing self-portraits by a photographer with depression.

Bouncing from link to link in the usual fashion, I ended up on the Tumblr of a magnificent woman who calls herself the Goddamazon. I read some of her "sexcapades" posts (NSFW, of course), and now I kind of feel that my life has been a waste.

Much of my youth was spent listening to songs by people who hated Margaret Thatcher. Here are 21 of them.

Hundreds of Thousands of Rat-Sized, House-Eating Snails Invade Florida.

Ever wonder what you'd get if you crossed a duck with a horse? Or a lion with a guinea pig? Or a killer whale with a penguin? Now you can find out.

"Can someone please Photoshop the Sun between my fingers?" There are a lot of smartasses with Photoshop on the interwebs.

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