Thursday, May 25, 2017

Losers in Brief: Losing Our Damn Minds

(part 13 of 12, bonus entry)

Since 1789, 117 men and 2 women have won at least one electoral vote. Of that group, 71 never became President or Vice President. Of them, 31 were a bunch of ambitious losers who tried for the most powerful office in the country and failed. The other 40, you’ll have to read to find out. These are their stories.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (Former Secretary of State, Democrat-IL) Lost to Trump-2016

Clinton had been in the national public eye since her husband ran for president 24 years before. She spent eight years in the White House advising the president. She parlayed her visibility into a successful New York Senate run. After six years serving her state, championing Democratic causes and leading in the Senate after 9/11, the people of her state re-elected her, knowing she intended to run for president two years later. After losing the 2008 primary, she was appointed Secretary of State, where she earned international respect as our chief diplomat. To recap, that's 8 years in an elected office of the legislative branch and 12 years in appointed and unappointed positions in the executive branch. Combined with a JD from Yale, she is basically the walking embodiment of all three branches of the federal government.

So why’d she lose? People fucking HATE her. It's almost absurd, the level of hate, unless you happen to also hate her, in which case is seems perfectly rational. During the election, I tried to refer to her as an expert in foreign policy, and I was told her foreign policy experience doesn't count because Secretary of State isn't an elected office. WHAT!?!?!?!? Obama had Wall Street folks in his cabinet, but apparently getting paid to give speeches made her more corrupt than every other politician who are also getting paid to give speeches to Wall Street. Not to mention her opponent was literally a Wall Street guy, so why the fuck does it matter? It matters because people fucking HATE her.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Numbers Time: I Made a Map!

Oh, this map. It's a thing of beauty. By the way, if you ever want me to write an insanely nerdy blog post, casually mention something to me over dinner, and apparently I will run with it. This time it was a conversation about apportionment of electoral votes. We Californians have a bit of a sore spot about the electoral college. Does Wyoming really deserve three whole electoral votes when their population is less than Milwaukee? Milwaukee doesn't get three of their own electors. Los Angeles County has more people than all but nine states, but we don't get 82 Senators.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Anal-Retentive Binge Guide to The Simpsons

I think we can all agree the best way to watch The Simpsons is 2-4 hour blocks between 3pm and 7pm for the better part of your childhood and most of your young adult life. Not all of us were that lucky. A friend mentioned in passing that she hadn't seen the show but had always sort of wanted to. Since I'm obsessive, I decided to run with it.

The daunting 28 season run can be intimidating. It took my wife and I months to work through 11 seasons of Frasier. Let's get real, most of those 28 seasons are garbage. Okay, maybe not garbage, but if you're trying to watch the cultural juggernaut and maybe see for yourself why people are obsessed with it, you won't find your answers in season 23.

So here are my suggested methods for binge watching The Simpsons. Before you comment, keep in mind (besides the fact that I kind of don't care what you think) I am tailoring this for a specific person. I may be leaving out your favorite episodes, and I may be including episodes you think are terrible.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Flawed Mathematical Model That Makes Sense

I think a lot of people believe they have a balanced view of the world. Our perceptions, however, are always based on our surroundings, not some immeasurable objective truth.

If all your friends read Breitbart, you really do think everyone thinks Obama was a racist and Maxine Waters is insane. You reference it the way we reference a Simpsons episode, without context, as though everyone is in on the joke. In the same way, if all your friends supported Bernie, you think Hillary was the wrong candidate, and she tanked the election, and you think her supporters need to "wake up." It's the same way, if all your friends are Hillary supporters, you think Bernie cut her legs out from under her in the primary, and weakened her going into the general, and his supporters need to shut the fuck up because their lack of support is why she lost. You think these things because you believe, based on your friends, that you are in the majority.

Recently, in the throws of a really (I mean really) petty pissing match with a total stranger on Facebook, I stumbled into a thought experiment I can't let go. It starts with this premise:

Sixty-four million people voted for our current president. Are they all stupid? Yes, dear reader (assuming you exist), this is going to be a fair and balanced approach to politics.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Unexplained List: Felix

8) Trent Lott
7) Trent Easton
6) Trent Fernandez
5) Trent Dilfer
4) Trent
3) Trent Lane
2) Trent Reznor
1) Trent Maddock

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Unexplained List: Wolverine

9) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
8) X3: The Last Stand
7) Apocalypse
6) X-Men
5) The Wolverine
4) First Class
3) X2
2) Logan
1) Days of Future Past

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sigh, I Ranked the Presidents, Again

C-SPAN did a whole new list ranking the presidents and everyone is freaking out that Obama is #12. He's amazing! Wow! Obama is the best president ever! Keep in mind, guys, this list is the Make America Great Again of lists, with an insane bias for the middle of the 20th Century. Eisenhower is #5, higher than Jefferson. Sorry, no. Reagan is top 10? Nixon is higher than Garfield, who died having not be-smirched the office he swore to uphold nor ruined the presidency even to this day?

On the other hand, it's always good to update lists. I'm pretty compulsive. Updating lists keeps me from flipping out at old people who drive 40 in the fast lane (you have four other lanes, you fucking asshole). During the election, I talked to a lot of people about the symbolism of a president, and it gave me a new appreciation for the less concrete aspects of the job. On the flip side,  I have been thinking a lot about Jackson in the age of Trump. Maybe it's maturity that made me finally realize changing the entire political landscape and ushering in a new era in American government doesn't matter much when you've committed genocide.

I still hold to the spirit of the original list, that the actions of a president must be viewed through neutral political eyes. We don't have enough perspective to know the consequences of Reaganomics or Obamacare.

So I laid out my list and compared it to the C-SPAN list to see how different they were. Below is my old list, in comparison to the C-SPAN list. The numbers reflect my position in relation to theirs (Jefferson +3 means I rated him 3 slots higher. Zero means same, and there are some random zeroes in here)

The Old List
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Them Crazy Veeps: Biden My Time

In case anyone cares, I did a proper ranking of Joe Biden on the list. He's #8, just ahead of Al Gore, and just behind John Adams. Here's the link:

And here's a link to the whole list:

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Numbers Time: A Statistical Glint

Well, 2016 sucked. My neighbor is unhappy we refused to put up more Christmas lights than just the crappy piece sign I made out of a hula hoop. Sorry, we just don't have the spirit in us this year. As this dumpster fire burns out and we try to convince ourselves the Times Square ball dropping will magically end the horror, let's at least take some time revel in my favorite part of football: math! I love playoff scenarios, even though has tried to ruin it by posting the playoff picture way too fucking early. As always, let's start with the fully half of the games that don't fucking matter (much like life in general):

NFC (or No Fucking Chance the Tampa thing happens)

Dallas has a firm grip on first place, and no one can knock the Giants from #5. The other four slots are up for grabs, and not everyone is safe.

This game is so fucking exciting, I'm pissed I'll probably miss it. I hope I can make it to a bar before 8:30. The Lions have quietly climbed to the top of the NFC North, only to be knocked from their spot by a suddenly-not-terrible Packers. The winner of this game wins the division, and depending on the outcome of the other games, the loser could be out completely. The Lions could even score a first-round bye with a win.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Numbers Time: 49 and Brown

It's a sad day in Mudville. The 0-12 Cleveland Browns and 1-10 San Francisco 49ers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

UPDATE 12/4/16 - Jags are out too.

UPDATE 12/5/16 - Not a good week to be a shitty team starting with the letter J. The Jets are also out. Fuck the Jets. (sorry Mike, fuck the Jets)

UPDATE 12/11/16 - Lions and Rams and Bears, oh my. Guess which of those three is still in contention. Also, can we talk about how the Lions are the head of their division? Go Detroit.

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