high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Powdered wigs are a sign of masculine superiority

Christmas is "over," and now we have one week of work before New Year's Day arrives.  On Friday, Jordan and I will be trekking south to Cincinnati to see the Xavier Musketeers face the Florida Gators in a game of basketball.  I've always appreciated the fact that Ohio State has a unique mascot in Brutus Buckeye, and so Xavier has long appealed to me given its cool mascot name of "Musketeers" combined with the fact that the name "Xavier" is cool in its own right.  It occurred to me tonight that the Xavier Musketeer (the one who dresses up for games) probably has a name, just as Brutus is the name of Ohio State's Buckeye-mascot.  The names Athos and Porthos quickly came to mind as suitable names, but I expected the Xavier athletic department (or whatever body makes these decisions) had gone with something less sophisticated (that is, less cool) like "Musky."  Thus, I was pleasantly surprised upon discovering that the Xavier Musketeer is named D'Artagnan!  Nice choice Xavier.  My approval almost reversed course when I went on to learn that Xavier has a second mascot called The Blue Blob, which appears to be Grover's neckless cousin, but my benevolence was retained as soon as I read the following anecdotal...

Perhaps one of the greatest memories of the Blob occurred when it was tackled by Theo Nelson following his made half-court shot to win one million dollars at the 2001 Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout. Nelson and the Blue Blob were even featured onSportsCenter that evening following the game.

...and saw this picture...

The Blue Blob is not three feet tall, so it's clear that in this picture he's crouching down, which makes it look like he's about to tackle D'Artagnan, which kind of makes it a great picture considering the tackling story above.  

Oh Blue Blob, you always did get the ladies.

But not like D'Artagnan does!

Is it great to be a mascot because all the girls love you, or does it suck because they really just love the mascot costume, not you?  I would have to guess it is more of the former, but at some point it must hurt your self-esteem to think "Hmm, I can't get any girls on my own....but as soon as I put on this costume of a blue blob...!"

Christmas with family in Austintown was great, not to mention quite relaxing.  Despite the pleasant weekend, there was one gift I was hoping for that Santa did not deliver.  That hoped-for-but-not-delivered gift was a new rotator cuff for my right shoulder.  I would have even been happy with a gift card for the local surgeon, but no luck.  My rotator cuff has not been right for years now, probably due to a bench press or shoulder press injury sustained in college that was never allowed to heal.  The reason my rotator cuff is at the forefront of my mind now is because it has started hurting again since I've gotten back into a little weight lifting.

Now, I don't care that much about bench pressing or shoulder pressing these days, and have no problem giving up those two exercises in my weight lifting plan.  But a fully functioning rotator cuff does have some practical value.  Case in point: Last summer I made a trip up to East Lansing to see Eric, and he had kindly arranged for us to go to a local shooting range with a friend to shoot bows.  This would have been all fine and dandy if it was like old-school, Lord of the Flies stick-with-string bows, but we were shooting real compound bows, which can be difficult to pull back.  Between the three of us we were using two bows - one small bow and one big bow.  The big bow was the harder of the two to pull back, and overall more powerful, so of course I wanted to shoot the big bow.  I pulled back on the string for the first time and immediately felt the ol' rotator cuff protesting.  Actually, the protesting was more of a blunt refusal, and so I immediately got the sinking feeling that I was defeated.  I got the string pulled back that first time, but the collateral result was that my second, third, and fourth attempts were all failures, and I was relegated to using the small bow the remainder of the afternoon.  Shame!

If it seems that shooting a compound bow does not have much practical value in my everyday life, then you're missing the point.  The practical value does not lie in the surface act of using the compound bow, but rather in the test of manliness that the compound bow represents.  The injured rotator cuff set up a catch-22 in this situation.  In any test of manliness, you either succeed or fail.  There is no in-between area.  It would have been unacceptable to say "Oh, hey guys, the reason I can't use the big bow is because of my injured rotator cuff."  If I had said that, then I would have been "making excuses."  So although the rotator cuff was the real reason, and there was a desire to share this important piece of information, actually sharing the information becomes a failure just as much as failing to pull back the bow.  You see the dilemma here?  If you don't successfully pull back the big bow, then you fail.  If you share the reason you can't pull back the big bow, then you're making excuses and you fail.  In short, thanks Santa.  This angers me so much that I would put an arrow right into Rudolph in mid-flight, if only I could pull back the string on the compound bow.

One thing that's nice about being at Mom and Dad's in Austintown over Christmas is that Mom always has Christmas music playing.  As a gift, Mom and Dad bought me a Bose Wave Music System, so now Nate and I can enjoy the same musical experience in the comfort of our own home in Columbus!  This is an especially timely gift, because WOSU in Columbus just recently started a new radio station.  Previously, they had one station that played classical music in the middle of the day and NPR in the morning and early evening.  Now they have one station dedicated to NPR and a separate station dedicated just to classical music.  This is a great setup in my opinion, and a positive move by WOSU.  Turns out that donation paid off!  

The classical radio station DJ is a rare breed.  Like all radio hosts, their voices do not match their real-life image, but more than with other radio DJ's you get the feeling that you could outline the life of a classical DJ outside the studio.  It would go something like this:
  • Wake up and drink a cup of coffee
  • Listen to a classical music CD on the way to work (obviously there is no radio until they get into the studio)
  • Pick up Panera for breakfast on the way in
    • (Working...Working...Working...)
  • Order Panera for lunch
    • (Working...Working...Working...)
  • Stop in at Panera for a cup of coffee for the drive home
  • Listen to classical radio on the way home (the evening host has now taken over)
  • Cook a dinner of soup and butternut squash (or perhaps butternut squash soup)
  • Settle down for the evening with a cup of tea and a classical music CD
This is of course an absurd and unfair description of the life of a classical music DJ.  On some evenings they may do something like go to an art gallery, and on weekends they would dine-in at Panera rather than getting it "to go."  Also, this description downplays the significance of the classical music DJ in society.  While a regular person like myself may enjoy the classical music queued up by the classical DJ, others listening to classical music on the radio are influenced in a more important way.  Namely, the classical music serves as a preventative measure against idiots committing car vengeance.  

Car vengeance is a pointless act, because nothing is accomplished.  Don't confuse car vengeance with road rage, because in road rage you actually accomplish something.  With road rage your accomplishment may consist of smashing a window, running into another car, getting in a fight, or any manner of other activities that could land you in jail, but at least you're getting something done.  In car vengeance, you just use your car to "make a point."  The most obvious example is blowing your horn.  Someone cuts you off, you get mad, and you blow your horn.  This accomplishes nothing, other than perhaps annoying the other drivers around you.  What are you expecting to happen when you blow your horn?  Do you want the other driver to stop and apologize?  Do you want everyone to go back to their positions and have a do-over?  No.  If you say "It's a satisfying feeling just to express my displeasure," then I respond by saying "Go stand over there with the people who think it's okay to make excuses when engaging in a test of manliness."

A prime example of car vengeance occurred recently when I was driving through an intersection in Grandview.  There was a stoplight, and it was changing from red to green for the main road.  A car from the secondary road was turning right onto the main road, and they just got through at the tail-end of their yellow light.  The first car in line on the main road saw this happening, so as soon as their light turned green they lurched forward, accelerating quickly to get right up behind the turning car while flipping on their high beams.  I'm not the most skilled lip-reader, but I think the driver may have been shouting "I'm expressing my displeasure!"  Please.  This accomplished nothing.  Nothing!  At best, the driver could have engaged in some legitimate road rage by speeding alongside the turning car and then ramming into the side of the car, trying to force it off the road.  Instead, the vengeful driver opened up the potential for a worst-case scenario in which he accidentally accelerates too quickly and slams into the back of the turning car, thus costing himself money and creating the need for an awkward explanation to the police about why he ran into the back of the car.

The reason car vengeance can be prevented by classical music is because classical music has a calming effect.  Rather than desiring to flash your high beams and speed up to get on the tail of the offending driver, you calmly think to yourself "Hmm, that fellow's in a bit of a hurry, now isn't he?  Mmm, yes, he better have a good Handel on his Viv-Aldi!  Mmm, yes, mmm.  Better take care that he doesn't accidentally Bach into someone!  Oh ho ho, mmm, yes.  Ah well, no sense Strauss-ing out now, is there?  Mmm, no.  Mmmm.  Oh look, Panera!"  

Are you kidding?  I would slash your tires in a heartbeat.

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