June 30, 2009
So, in order to try and promote my coffee-table book, "Why Every President Sucked: America's Undying Pursuit for a King," I have decided to write a satirical song for each president detailing the historically true, sucky action I cover in the book. Here we go.
#1. George Washington
Lyrics can be found on the YouTube page itself.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:29 AM
June 29, 2009
This documentary film from 2005 chronicles the lives of several troubled black boys from the projects of Baltimore as they are swept to Kenya for a year of personalized education. The movie is fascinating, and also ends up being a huge PSA for charter schooling in this country.
One of the many poignant moments in the film for me was when one of the children was proudly touting his strength, struggled to remember a name, and then likened his strength to that of Frederick Douglass.
Growing up, I remember learning about a whopping total of three men each year during Black History month. One was Frederick Douglass. One had a dream. And the other farmed peanuts.
With the election of Barack Obama, the expectations for children like these in Baltimore just skyrocketed. Praise the Lord.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:48 AM
June 25, 2009
A few years ago, my 6'7" tall friend Matt was visiting and got a headache. He asked for some Tylenol. I gave him two. He looked at me and said, "Dude, I'm 250 pounds. Give me four."
I had never thought about that before. I just had "Take 2 Tylenol" ingrained in my head ever since I was a kid.
My wife and I are currently on the same antihistamine for our allergies, and I remembered that story this morning. So, I ran to check the bottles, and sure enough, each of us are getting 180 mg each.
So, the question remains: Is she getting twice the proper dosage, or am I getting half?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 11:00 AM
June 24, 2009
My wife and I typically try every new soda flavor and candy concoction that comes out. I know that sounds disgustingly obese, but they're actually quite rare occasions. More than half of our taste tests end up being new flavors of Mountain Dew, which have been testing each summer for the last decade or so.
Yesterday was Dew-Day.
Now, Mountain Dew has arguably tried more new flavors in the last 10 years than every other major soda company put together. And the only one that has really stuck for me has been Mountain Dew LiveWire (orange) released in 2003. That has become a summer staple at our house. Mountain Dew Pitch Black (grape) was good too, but due to unpopularity (and likely brand cannibalism) is no longer made.
The only other one you non-dew connoisseurs may be familiar with is Mountain Dew Code Red (cotton candy-mediciney). Nearly half of the new flavors in the past decade have been cherry as well. The only thing I can think of is that they know how creepy Code Red tastes, and are trying to find a replacement. None have worked so far.
Then last year, Mountain Dew released three flavors charged with ginseng, and in true dewmocratic form, let the nation pick the winner. The nation did right, choosing Mountain Dew Voltage (blue-raspberry), the best one of the three, but it's still not good enough to buy.
So, yesterday, I'm walking down the aisles of my local Wal....independent organic grocer, and shreik with glee as I see two new Mountain Dew flavors.
The taste test was held last night. Mountain Dew Fuel Horde Red, ANOTHER cherry mediciney version. What's the deal? The second was Mountain Dew Fuel Alliance Blue, a wildberry concoction that is pretty close to Voltage, and unnecessary.
So stick to Dew in its green and orange forms. And now you now the rest of the story.
June 23, 2009
I'm taking it a step further than last week, and claiming that movies are inherently greater than books.
I know what you're thinking. Books allow you to imagine. Well, movies can too. It's just that the director too often uses the visual dimension to give stuff away, and make it easier for us. But, they don't have to. What if they could do what great books do, but by using a whole new realm of visual communication, too?
Shakespeare wrote his plays to be acted. Cadence. Delivery. Eyebrows. Movement. All adding up to more than the words alone.
And movies can go even further. The narrator now has the control of your eye. Giving you new perspectives, clues.
Video is simply a broader medium than the written word. There's more that can be done. I've seen glimpses of it already. And as directors get better about using it, it's going to be amazing.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:32 AM
June 22, 2009
A man voices his opinions on economics, public policy and freedom. And when they don't agree, we hear, "He's fat, was mean to Michael J. Fox and was addicted to pain pills!"
Is the idea here that if I can prove the evilness of the man himself, then that proves the inherent wrongness of his ideas? Because Karl Marx was an anti-Semite, and according to some historians, an adulterer.
Does that dismiss socialism as a valid economic concept as well?
If the character of the believer disqualifies the content of the belief, I'm not sure we're left with anything.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:41 AM
June 19, 2009
Staying on topic for this week...
Let's say an 18-year old guy goes off to college, and cheats on his 17-year old girlfriend? You know what the best revenge for the girl would be?
Press charges against him for child molestation.
I'm actually surprised that's not more common.
June 18, 2009
I once played drums for a college youth group in Peoria. One day, the married youth pastor gave a sermonette on how great sex was, and how much we should all look forward to having it.
A great message to Christian teens trying to control their celibacy until marriage, which was likely 5-10 more years away.
Perhaps he was intentionally trying to preach against the stigma that all churches think sex is bad. But, I think we need to be very careful not to promote sex as the ultimate human experience, either.
I mean, c'mon, an animal can do it.
I have never been in the midst of an amazing spiritual experience, and thought, "boy I'd really like to have sex right now." Nor have I ever been in the midst of an intense musical experience, or an act of charity or a deep conversation and had that desire either.
You know the story of Jesus and the woman at the well? After having this transforming encounter with her, the disciples came back from buying food and tried to get him to eat something, knowing that he must be as tired and hungry from the journey as they were. But he replied, "I have food you do not know about."
There is a spiritual reality that satiates all lesser desires. And that is the ultimate we should all be shooting for.
Sex is good. But, it's comparatively overrated.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:20 AM
June 17, 2009
June 16, 2009
Every Flight. Baby Free.
I'm sort of surprised an airline hasn't tried this yet. Being stuck within 15 rows of a screaming infant on a flight is just about the most torturous experience we face in our lives. And when it's the preamble or the conclusion of a vacation, it's unbelievably annoying.
I'm sure an airline would be scared of alienating new families, who then could become used to using another carrier, once past the infant stage. But, if I could know that there would be 0% chance of me hitting the baby lottery on my next flight...I feel like an airline could gain a lot more than they'd be losing. And I think those very families who would have to fly Southwest for a couple years would come back, too.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 10:52 AM
June 15, 2009
Why would we be impressed with ourselves if the United states nationalized health care? As if it were some giant point of enlightenment in our country's history? Ooh, look, we made a law that makes it illegal not to fund our single-payer health care system.
That's not impressive. That's simply coercion.
Now, if a group of people got together, formed a not-for-profit and sought private donations in order to pay for the medical bills of the disadvantaged... I would be impressed by that.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:40 AM
June 12, 2009
I have noticed a direct inverse correlation between the happiness of musicians and the greatness of their music.
As my rock idols enter out of dangerous relationships and into successful marriages (Ben Harper) and out of drug-induced bondage into clean and sober living (Jeff Tweedy of Wilco), their music suffers.
The angst is gone. Where music used to serve as an outlet, a necessity to work out inner-turmoil, instead, they are just out enjoying life.
And we all have to suffer because of it.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:15 AM
June 11, 2009
I take an allergy pill every morning. An antihistamine called Fexofenadine (an Allegra knockoff). And I have the hardest time remembering whether or not I took it. So, I often take another when I can't remember, because I'd rather overdose than get a day-long headache that prevents me from doing any work.
I'm not exactly sure what the consequences of OD'ing on antihistamines are, but I can't imagine two is going to kill me.
But, what if you're an old senile person on heart medication. How often do these guys kill themselves through prescribed medicine?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:27 AM
June 10, 2009
Some men look back at their adolescent years with regret, wishing they had sowed more wild oats before settling down.
Let's break that logic today. The only reason this idea works is that once you experience "it", "settling down" looks a whole lot better. It's not like "it" is some ecstasy experience you partake of once and then, like a monk, selflessly resign yourself over to a life of estheticism. No one would do that. The only reason getting "it" out of your system works is that you realize how crappy "it" really is.
And we can see that even without experiencing it ourselves, due to the fact that so few men choose to reside in that state of life permanently. You don't need to experience AIDS for yourself to realize it sucks. Learn from other's mistakes.
June 09, 2009
June 08, 2009
...for damage caused by carts.
I have seen this sign up in several grocery store parking lots. Really? I don't think just putting up a sign abstains you from legitimate legal action.
Because if it does, next time I'm walking into that store with a "I am not responsible for theft." t-shirt.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:06 AM
June 04, 2009
I bought these sunglasses online, and received the package in the mail yesterday. When I opened it, and saw the black carrying purse that came with them, I knew something was wrong.
As always, I fought the fact that I might be in error, and tried to force these sunglasses to be uni-sex. Unable to convince myself, I went to the store to exchange them. As I was trying on new frames, the teenage girl sales clerk said, "Wait, did you buy these for yourself!!??" Then, when her manager came to help her put the return in the computer, she felt the need to explain the entire situation to him.
My question is, what in that picture would tip you off to the fact that they're lady-frames?
Posted by Eric Olsen at 7:29 AM
June 03, 2009
What are teenagers going to do this summer?
I'm not sure there are going to be any jobs our there for them. So, let's play a Freakonomics-inspired game of predicting some economic results that will stem from this.
I'll start. With more and more teenagers looking to self-entertain themselves this summer, I predict that more will experiment with sex than usual. And with less personal economic resources and with parents with less economic resources, I predict that this summer will likely result in one of the highest abortion rates ever.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:38 AM
June 02, 2009
Let's say you're Iceland. When international laws are created, e.g. making it illegal to poach an animal close to falling on the endangered species list, you feel much pressure to obey it. Even if the hunting of this animal is a sizable industry for your country, other countries can respond by imposing trade sanctions on you, etc. to the point where it simply isn't worth it to fight them.
But, if you're bigger than the country who could impose the sanction on you, they would be afraid to do anything in fear of any economic retaliation.
Yes, you know what I'm hinting at. It's time to take Canada.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 8:13 AM
June 01, 2009
Every time I use my credit card, the business has to pay a 3% fee on the total purchase to the credit card company.
The only reason I use my credit card is because I get 1% cash back through my dividends credit card. So, what if I was given a different incentive? Let's say my local Chinese restaurant offers me a 1.5% discount on my purchase if I use my debit card?
I still don't have to carry cash, which I hate. He cuts his transaction costs in half (with a debit card, the retailer usually pays a nominal $0.10 fee per transaction). And I get 50% more cash back on every purchase.
Posted by Eric Olsen at 9:42 AM