2.28.2011

Introsepctive Reading

This is a video about Ian's love/hate relationship with reading as a child.


2.27.2011

4000th Visitor Tribute: Jared "Thunderbird" Anderson

There are points in world history you can always look back, and remember that moment in explicit detail. You remember where you were, who you were with, the smell in the air, what you had for lunch, every intimate detail of your life carved in stone. On Wednesday February 23rd, the day was just being reared from the cold night sky, Jared Anderson made one curious visit that would forever change his life, as the numbers 4-0-0-0 came into the screen.


This documents the wild ride to stardom as a regular everyday car salesman, Jared Anderson, changed his life with one simple swipe of his finger.


Below is the video of Jared winning his prize:





The second video is the congratulatory phone call featuring Ian from construxnunchux.com





The final video is a follow up over 24 hours after the contest, and how it has changed his life:


2.26.2011

CXNX Caturdays!

Keepin it light this Saturday, so you'll be primed for this...





Tonight at 8 Eastern. Tree House is an awesome No-Kill shelter in Chicago. As I understand, their Tats for Cats event at Insight Studios, mentioned in a previous post, is featured. So, there will be a full hour, between the show and commercials for cat-related products of cats doing unbelievable acts! O, alrite... here's one video:




Thanks to Biscotti and Adora!

2.24.2011

1/2- Arts and Crafts (Parade Of Accidents)

In our prideful, endless pursuit of ego, no doubt due to the onslaught of atrocities we either commit, suffer or observe, we often feel the need to communicate with each other in a codified manner, to confide in near anonymity, hiding behind created characters or adhering to countless trials and tropes, using the very same to qualitatively evaluate--often to invalidate--another's attempt at connection and establish an objective standard for observation and discussion. Out of this regrettably facile justification for/explanation of existence has arisen the horrendously overused and misunderstood term, Art. It is the aim of the following discussion to clarify, fortify and specify the idea this word would most effectively express. In turn, that may allow those in assent to do the same with their aims of subjective sacrifices and off-hand offerings.

For those familiar with my personal background, the knowledge already exists that I've embarked on several misadventures involving candid conversations with many who consider themselves artists. For those unfamiliar, it's certainly no surprise that I'm an easily targeted prey (always pretending to be a predator, of course) for this particular, and particularly roguish sub-set. Of course, these invariably have only ended in bitterness, building into a woodpile supply that fuels these incessant bemoaning abominations. This particular idea, however, I can claim was conceived during a happier and hopeful time.

The first mistake made often in the use of the word is actually in an incorrect specification is that of application solely to the still arts--painting, sculpture, photography--some of the genera of this set themselves suspect under the following derived/contrived definition. Art is a broad classification, designating not a medium, but intent and execution, as we'll explore below.

As seems to be the consistent structure of these exercises, we've begun by at least partly defining our term (Art) by negation, by what it is not. We will arrive shortly at an agreeable definition to fill that vacuum by synthesis. Art is the infusion of Craft with Philosophy. As can be expected, neither term is intended to retain its colloquial usage for our purposes.

Craft directly fulfills the demands inherent in life. It applies invention, innovation and construction. The most obvious form of craft is that which provides for everyday needs. Craft feeds a pre-existing purpose and while it may not always be based in absolute necessity, it still eases or accessorizes life in an efficient manner that enables us to be more productive or more advanced, at very least satiated.

Craft does not encourage analysis--not of an object or product itself nor of the world around it. Craft is simply useful for the moment or specific task that requires it and can be replaced or discarded after use. Craft relates to the fleeting, the temporary and the temporal. Craft enables us to live. A second mistake in the usage of the word Art is that it's often applied to craft humorously or ironically, as in the phrase "has it down to an art." As will be explored further, craft is not quite art. The largest omission keeping craft from inhabiting the same space is that it lacks the ability to provoke emotion or thought. One may argue that a great meal or that a well designed building can inspire us, but it inspires not to think on expansive ideals, but only about the meal or the building itself. It's solely self-referential and any craft that attempts to suffice more than an immediate purpose--food to eat or a house to live in--is evidence of a glutted, stagnant and wasteful society.

Philosophy, however, does maintain for the most part its casual definition as the compilation of distantly observed, scientifically measured and factually offered ruminations on the reasons we exist as we do and how, if at all possible, to improve it. Philosophy by its nature arises in a culture that provides excess time for some to contemplate and cull their arguments and justifications. Most if not all philosophies become self perpetuating, building a dense wall of jargon and nearly mathematical proofing. Therefore, Philosophy is generally inaccessible and requires academic study. Philosophy is everything Craft is not. It pertains to the distant and the nonexistent. It is impossible to philosophize in or for a moment.

An artist combines both Craft and Philosophy, whether consciously or not. An artist is a medium between the tangible and intangible. Without Philosophy, Craft cannot assist us in our self-important quest for immortality or at least posterity and without Craft, Philosophy exists in a vacuum, inapplicable and forgettable, dense and completely isolated, pure pretention. Philosophy is inelegant, Craft is insubstantial. Art marries, hybridizes and communicates them. An artist takes an idea without a form and gives it one, and the other way around as well.

An artist embeds Philosophy into Craft, into a memorable, aphoristic, striking moment that lingers and grows and enables us to cohabitate without desire to destroy. Art creates a common language, be it in the obvious sense of a commonly used phrase or in the more obtuse notion of common experience captured in a widely understood moment. This creates a very narrow definition of what an artist is and what art is as well. But we must ask, is Art useful? Most art requires a specialized tradesperson, referred to herein and elsewhere as a performer, which clouds the idea of the usefulness of Art and someone undermines the basis for the thesis of this discussion.

I've endured heartfelt, though most likely well-rehearsed, defenses that acting and musicianship are high, unassailable forms of art. Expression, maybe. Performance, certainly. But one is mere recitation of lines coupled with regurgitation of emotion leeched off of others and the other is simple muslce memory and fine tuning, both repeated so many times as to insult the very idea of authentic connection with another person. Performers--actors, musicians, dancers and models--are conduits for artists--writers, composers, choreographers and painters--who can claim no true authorship to the final product. At best, they exercise an influence over the reception/perception of the actual substance of a work. This doesn't mean that actual artists cannot be the performer and interpreter of their own works and as we know, this happens often. Oddly though, this is given a special designation as an auteur or singer-songwriter or self-portrait or one-man-show, as if it's exceptional to want to present an undiluted or poorly interpreted version of their consciously connective paeans.

This doesn't mean that it doesn't require strength or a certain talent to hold a position for hours or master the fingering of an instrument. Certainly, there's a level of elite skill required, which is often possessed, I will argue, by the artist who provided the core concept, thus doubling back to the previous point. If we take away a piece created by an artist and we have performers on a stage, what do we have? We're left with what is loving called today improvisation. The fact of the matter remains, though, that all structures for all subconscious or spontaneous performance come from an initial creator or collaboration or at the most reductive point from a common origin which negates the need for an artist, and therefore for a performer. The people are their own artists at the genesis of culture (valid if barring the glaringly obvious observation that they fulfill all of their own requirements). It isn't skill that communicates to another human, that eases suffering or invigorates a hidden sense of purpose. In fact, an excess of training in any particular form of performance has a doubly opposite effect--it first becomes the vehicle for performers to preen excessively while secondly building an unnecessary barrier by adding a more complex layer of distance between the initial statement and the audience.

Yet arguments still persist to aggrandize performance, which at best can be called a type of craft, its practical implementation being entertainment and diversion, to the level of art. The foremost reason this is ridiculous is that art itself is not mythical sublimation of human experience at the hand of a demi-deity. Art is a parade of accidents--accidental creation through a series of events or chemical flux that creates an artist, that creates an idea for that artist, that completes that idea, that the idea's actually seen (the last being the most important qualifier). So first the concept of the artist needs to be deflated and grounded. Secondly, I will acknowledge that it's the actual performance of art, what is seen (again the most important part), which holds the immediate impact to connect. But any emotional connection, whether it is through the conduit or a direct result of the source, is also accidental, based on accidental sympathy or empathy through accidentally similar experience. It can be acknowledged that one performance, more skillful than another, can imbue the substance, the content with unexpected or previously unnoticed idiosynchracies. It is truly a symbiotic relationship and in the end this is all sophistry born out of thousands of years of reduplication.

The more artful or artistic a particular creation is, by definition the less practical it is. At best, art can only be half-practical (as it is Half-Craft). It is, at its most useful, a presentation of ideas that can be converted or invested into immediately applicable action for the purpose of strengthening a society. Art that is of a lesser consideration usually fulfills this role

Of course Art that leans too far toward pure craft, whether it's soulless technical execution or an attempt at mass appeal, "giving the people what they want", loses the effect of Philosophy and exists as no more than momentary distraction. This isn't too say that danger isn't present in excess in the opposite direction, perhaps moreso. When one encounters pure didacticism, presented inelegantly, it often shocks or repulses a prospective student or convert. It is necessary to appeal commonly held conceits in order to relate any new or even strong idea. Additionally, any art that is too solipsistic in its presentation as to appear enigmatic without any self-contained cipher cannot be understood. Art cannot be art if it is not communicated or if it lacks communicative skill. This hints at the concept of subjectivity, an easy word for self-proclaimed artists to hide behind and defend poorly crafted art with, but the truth is that for Art to be Good, it must relate to a greater percentage of people without prior empathy than those with. This poses us for the next discussion.

(Dedicated to the Groundskeeper at the AIU in Pittsburgh, the self-proclaimed "Picasso of Peat Moss)

2.23.2011

The REAL Rip Talyor #11: The Unfinished Blockbuster

The year was 1996, scriptwriter Larry Karaszewski, fresh off his critically acclaimed "The People vs. Larry Flint", began to pen scripts in tribute to his two heroes Andy Kaufman, and the incomparable Rip Taylor. Larry shopped the two newly finished scripts around the industry, selling the Kaufman script to Universal Pictures and the Rip story to Miramax. The studios contacted Rip and told him about the project. Uncharacteristically, Rip admonished the idea, stating that the details of his personal life should not be made public. It wasn't until David Fincher approached Rip in Las Vegas backstage after a performance and convinced him that his story needed to be told. Fincher and Rip reportedly discussed the collective vision they had for the movie over a steak dinner and came to mutual agreement. The movie was scheduled to start filming immediately.

Rip ending a scene.
David Fincher worked his crew double duty, filming Fight Club and the then-titled "It Ain't All Confetti", as both films were being shot in the same studio. The movie took a difficult 18 months to film as the famously uncooperative Rip stalled scenes with knock-knock jokes and throwing confetti at co stars Ben Kingsley while shrieking "Ghandi!" It wasn't until late 1999 that the film wrapped in post production.

The movie told the dark tale of Rip's childhood and his slow and steady rise into the public eye. It touched upon the taboo subject of the abuse he endured in the foster home programs in the metro D.C. area, with a powerful performance (some claimed Oscar worthy) by Sir Kingsley as the headmaster.


The story progresses to Rip in the U.S. Senate busing tables and attending pageboy school, including a disturbing scene of an adolescent Rip strangling a boy to death in the senate kitchen.

The plot moves forward to his time in the army, and the effect that taking 4 lives has on the human mind. The war scenes were described as the most realistic dipictions of wartime depravity and brutality ever, as a young Rip played by Titannic star Leonardo Dicaprio mercifully kills one of his own wounded soldiers with a rock.

We then flash forward to Rip's hedonistic time working the show circuit in Atlantic City. It was during this time that the scene Rip most opposed was depicted, a threesome included a then-unknown Jake Gylenhaal and a young Busy Phillips. The scene between the underage actors is what ended up ultimately causing the movie the most problems with the censors and the suits.

The movie ends with Rip's historic time frequenting game shows like Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, and other famous appearances.

Those kids where what?!
The movie was set to be released in the summer of 2001, with a heavy media campaign supporting the film. It wasn't until the overwhelming test audience reactions paired with the MPAA threatening the ban of the film in the United States, where Fincher and Rip's vision was in jeopardy of never making it to the big screen. Universal's attorney claimed that the sex scene involving the underage actors included no penetration therefore technically not pornographic. The case threatened to hold up the release for the foreseeable future and the project was abandoned by Universal leaving the film one of the biggest black eyes in the studio's illustrious history.


Rip fondly recalls his time with Fincher and claims it was very cathartic to have his life out there for the world to see. He does not regret the film ever being released as his artistic integrity was never compromised. In 2005 the court ruling upheld and "It Ain't All Confetti" was banned in the us, and halted for international distribution pending each countries decency laws. Rip borrowed not only the unmade movie's title for his superb 2010 one-man show, but also took generously from the plot and storytelling style that American "decency" laws had robbed us of for nearly a decade.

The only remaining evidence that remains is a hard copy of the movie poster promoting the film. We won that poster from eBay for 19.99 and now we bring it to you.






2.22.2011

Top NES Games

There is no doubt that Nintendo has been a gigantic part of our lives. We would spend countless hours in front of the TV playing a game from sun up to sun down. There would be nothing more exciting that going to Network Video (in Plum PA) or Iggle Video and picking out a Nintendo game. We would manically read the poorly Xeroxed instruction booklet over, and over during the car ride home. Once we pulled in the driveway we would call dibs on who got to play first, with me pulling seniority most of the time, and our weekend was set. Here are some games we invested countless hours into, and in return received these wonderful memories behind them,

These are listed in no particular order:

1. Battletoads - I don't really recall how we came across this game, although I can count on it being featured in Nintendo Power or something. This game was great for a couple of reasons, first and foremost, it was a two player co-op game. It also combined humor, and violence something even at a younger age we had such a passion for. I can also recall this game being close to impossible. The difficulty level even for today's standards if off the charts. Ian and I would play this game to where we had every move and enemy pattern memorized to where completing the first 3 levels was like breathing to us. What was amazing is that the levels we did complete, were all unique and fun to play. Even with the assistance of the Game Genie, I still don't think we ever completed the game. One level I remember particularly was the jetbike stage (level 3?) where you had to simultaneously time all the jumps, and movements so precisely that you wold think it was a military training exercise.



2. River City Ransom - There were so few games as cool as River City Ransom. Technos at the time had a bunch of games that used the same little characters, and animations - they were all amazing. This game was also two player co-op which meant Ian and I got to play together for hours at a time. The game was like an RPG mixed with a button mashing street fighting game. You could beat the piss out of strangers, and collect money to buy food, clothes, books, and other strange things that would help you get stronger throughout the game. I remember Ian, and I spending almost the entire day on the first stage to earn enough money to buy all the special moves early on so that the rest of the game would be cake. We would give silly commentary when beating up the guys, and try innovative ways to cure the boredom of beating up dozens of guys named "Blade". I remember this game so fondly due to the fact that Ian, and I got to play together while satisfying our need to violence.



3. TMNT II The Arcade Game:  There were very few other games I remember being more excited about being released for Nintendo. The arcade game was out a few years before the release of this game, and it was stunning. The graphics were so amazing, you could play all 4 turtles at the same time, and there was so much button mashing joy involved. I remember Ian and I standing in front of the unattended arcade cabinet, and watching the free play demo over and over at Hills or Nesbit Lanes (it was an extremely rare occurrence we would be allowed a quarter to play). When the game was in Nintendo Power I could barely contain myself. Although I did somewhat understand the limitations of the Nintendo system, it was no where near the arcade quality I was looking for. It did have 2 players which made it fun, and of course Ian and I played it endlessly.

I expected this ...
Kinda got this ...



4. BaseBall Stars:  What really can be said about one of the best baseball games of all time? We played this game so much I'm surprised it's still in working condition today. What set this aside from all other games, was the ability to edit and rename your teams, and the fact that it saved your accumulative stats throughout a "season". We renamed teams everything from different X-men, classic rock icons, to video game characters. We always had a "straight pitch rule" where we would always throw a hittable ball to each other to keep the game interesting. We would spend all day editing a team and about 10 minutes actually playing a game, before dismantling our team just to rename them again. You could also jump, slide, and steal bases at will which made things extra fun, as we would catch balls with maximum style as you caught a homerun at the wall. Since Baseball Stars, no other baseball game really measured up, and will always hold a special place in my heart.



5. Double Dragon II : It was tough to pick between the first Double Dragon and this one, but this one was such an improvement over the first one graphically I'm pretty sure Ian, and I played this one more over the previous one. This one had all the right things 2 player co-op, violence, and it seemed like we enjoyed the beat 'em up style games over most. This game was a consistent renter since we were not allowed to own this game due to the "violence" in it. We would always play this game when our parents were pre-occupied  and us playing was not the center of attention. This game was incredibly fun, and we played this one the whole way through. This game was far from a button masher though, you needed to employ s good mix of moves to move forward, or just cyclone kick the shit out of everyone. It was another great game you can work together to beat up strangers, and get "revenge".



6. Maniac Mansion: This might be one of the few 1 player games we both shared without too much fighting. This game was basically a video game version of a choose your own adventure book. There was so much creativity, and humor involved in playing this game. As I remember as well, is that there was more than one way to finish the game with 5 unique people that all have their own special abilities. We had to have finished this game in every possible way with all characters. I remember having so much fun trying new and stupid things to interact with.  I was not sure how we came across this game, or even how we owned this, but this is something that holds a place in my hall of fame.



7. Super Mario Bros. 3: There was such a mania surrounding this game. In a world before pre-ordering our parents in a rare act of kindness scoured the greater Pittsburgh area for this game. We pulled together our limited money, and let our parents bite, scratch, and claw through hordes of shoppers to find this game. I remember the call from a payphone telling us they found a copy, and the dance filled celebration that followed. The game was everything it was hyped to be. We read about it, drew pictures of it, and talked about it at school this game was weaved into our being for years.  We gladly took turns and probably was the only game allowed in our Nintendo for ages. This is a no brainer for the fact of the unusual kindness our parent exhibited to get it, and the excitement of actually getting it.



8. World Cup Soccer: This game was basically River City Ransom with soccer. It was another co-op game, but its wasn't usual soccer. You could tackle and kick your opponents, do special kicks to score automatically, and play on ice/rocky ground/ ect.. Ian and I used to play this game to death, where we would win the World Cup, run up the score, or try to injure all of the players on the opposite team. Winning the Cup would take an entire afternoon, and then we would fire up the game again to play with different imposed rules.






9. Castlevania: Simon's Quest: This and Double Dragon II were ones we rented all the time, and never owned. I know it's cool to hate this game, but this game had some sort of magic power over us to where we played it obsessively. The game was impossible, and I don't even recall even progressing anywhere in the game, due to impossible secrets involved to move forward. I just remember reading about it in How to Win at Nintendo about crouching at a certain spot and a tornado would warp you away, and I would beg to go back to Iggle Video to rent the game again. I don't remember any game we played more with such little reward, but it does hold fond memories with me.




10. Megaman 2: Megaman 2 was one of the first games we ever owned on the Nintendo. When the Nintendo was brand new our parents were very involved with us playing, interested in the games, and actually played when we went to bed. Megaman 2 was incredibly difficult, as all of those games were in the series. I remember the morning I woke up to learn that my dad beat Airman, and earned his tornado cannon, I actually looked up to him for a hot second or two. It wasn't until the purchase of the NES Advantage where the field was leveled in our favor. It was cool to use the different powers you got for beating the robots, and figuring out what worked against who to beat the game. One memory I recall was jumping onto one character long blocks in Dr. Wily's castle and concentrating real hard, when a huge robot dragon burst onto the screen scaring me out of the room. I was then yelled at for the outburst.



2.21.2011

Nostalgia - Breaking the Switchplate

This is a story about mindlessly destroying a light switch in our parent's house, and the surprising lack of consequences behind it.

2.19.2011

Construx Caturdays 2/19

Unfortunately, everything in the cat universe is not all yarn and grass. On occasion, cats end up turning on themselves, and commit feline on feline assaults. This sad state of affairs when this happens and one can only pray that the cats someday figure out a peaceful resolution to this problem.







2.18.2011

Ask a Clemente 2/18/11

Kris F., Pittsburgh PA asks: 1. "If you could be any muppet who would you be or who would you combine?"


Borkeep!

Paul: I would combine the Swedish Chef and Beeker. The Swedish Chef has the killer instinct, dexterous hands, and knowledge of knives. Beaker is the ultimate right hand man, he does what you ask him to, and is seemingly impervious to damage. Together they would make the perfect killing machine, plus the sounds they would make would be unreal.



Ian: At first, I was going to request to combine Fozzie and Woody Allen into my DNA, perhaps imbuing me with the gift of quick timing and sharp wit I try so desperately to exude, but somebody told me Woody Allen isn't a Muppet. While I doubt the validity of that objection, I still want to provide a completely bullet proof, air tight response. I would choose to be the conflation or transmogrification of Statler and Waldorf, thus making me the oldest crustiest, bitterest and wittiest Hater in the entire universe.






Lisa C., Frewsburg NY asks - "What really makes you tick?"

Paul: Eating clocks. No seriously. Here is a detailed chart:





Ian: What makes me tick is cities with made up names like "Frewsburg".



George C., Osan Kyongii-Do, Korea asks - "What kind of inside deal can I get on a Camry?"

Ian: My my my, you'd think people would learn by now to conduct themselves... ahem! conduct themselves, comport themselves with some discretion, y'know, on the up n up, as it were.

But, if you insist...

one for no, two for yes--



I can get you a three of a kind inside this deal on this camry. That's about all I can do for you. If you don't believe me, ask this man...







Sean H., Crafton PA asks: " can u define the term "Boosh?"

Paul: The Term was adapted from the Adult Swim show Frisky Dingo, where it can be used in a variety of ways.

Please take notice of the following video:


As you can tell BOOSH can be used as an interjection. EX: So John was walking in the parking lot and slipped on ice, Boosh! After using BOOSH comfortably it should become a phrase exemplifying Happiness, Excitement, or Success.





BOOSH can also be used as an adjective. EX: So I told the store clerk 4 quarters do make a dollar! The I was like, Boosh!

BOOSH is also used as an immediate additive to a suggestive phrase or story. It has quickly replaced the phrase "That's what she said" although it can follow the aforementioned phrase functioning as a suffix. EX: Yeah, she said she needs something long to fit in the rear. (to follow immediatly) Boosh. or "Yeah, she said she needs something long to fit in the rear." "That's what she said" "Boosh" Also BOOSH can be used to describe something being humiliated, defiled, or destroyed.



BOOSH!

Now that you know how, and when to use the word BOOSH, please feel free to use it when it feels natural. It will make you a better person in society, I promise.


Ian: Once again, Paul has egg all over his post. He's failed to do his research, showing a blatant lack of respect for our noble Chux Chasers. Please allow me to clarify this glaring error of omission, as it's my mission.

The word boosh can be traced back to a misappropriation of the Old Norse term book (pron. əɔ˞儿ɻ), an almost perfect past tense conjugation of blrkrk meaning, roughly, "roughly." Sorry, but the exact meaning gets lost in translation. Of course, cunning linguists often dispute this story of origin, and it's alternately been traced back to latinate roots, as a conflation, or portmantau, of the words ambustio and scruta, meaning in the parlance of the plebians, "You got burned sucka!"

The modern definition is somewhat varied depending on what region you hold a conversation. And of course in India, boosh means the total opposite of what it does in America. Here are some additional theories to support this argument.

2.17.2011

An N word

Bullies, you need to begin targeting nerds again. In the past decade, we've seen a decline in successful and intentional nerd-bashing which is due to several factors, including diffusion of target demographics, with splinter groups such as the sexually ambiguous, the comically corpulent and the perpetually apprehensive growing in numbers, or at least in recognition. Another major factor has been the acceptance, or at least perceived acceptance of nerd culture as mainstream culture, which is probably the largest as well as the most offensive component of the nerd movement. As a bully, a clear definition and plan of attack may become a difficult gray area to comprehend and compose, especially for someone so mentally impaired as to rely on reactionary brutality as a primary implement for persuasion, so the following discussion is aimed at clarifying what a nerd exactly is, why it isn't cool to be a nerd, and why nerds, as defined below, should be pummelled with out question or guilt.

Nerd culture is undoubtedly a global phenomenon, but seems to me, perhaps as a result of my geographic, technological and logical limitations, to be punctuated by a caucasian suburban culture. Those with few problems, paradoxically as a result of an abundance of money (rather access to an abundance of money without any of the responsibilities--bank accounts sans accountability)and therefore lacking the need to develop a true philosophy and relying simply on easily and widely accessible pop culture without forming a true identity. More simply and clearly stated, a nerd comes from a culture where the devaluation of stance, be it political or environmental/social, has left a vacuum filled by was until recent years considered disposable entertainments. This culture developed largely in the suburbs and is still comprised largely of white, neo-liberals devoid of devotion to anything other than what reminds them of their own idyllic childhoods, focused on that to the point of obsession. I'm no socialogical theorist and I don't deal in numbers as their manipulation renders their implementation pointless. So, while this demarcation may seem drastic and over-analytical, nerds themselves provide the evidence by advocacy of their particular and by defining, even comically, what one is, the implicit acknowledgement of what one chooses not to be is made. A willful disengagement through dismissal, mockery and adaptation occurs wherein one is not culpable for one's own opinions and the opinions one embraces are selected as to be unassailable on the basis that the uninitiated don't understand.

Nerds are not the ostricized, maligned minority of outcasts who desire, deserve and pursue their own redemption that formulaic popular media. Nerds are the result of privileged youths with vague differences of opinion and few responsibilities as well as a generally hostile society (hostility pointed in every direction) that inflate these characteristics to riotously self-righteous proportions, truly a modern product. Nerds embody exclusivity and elitism, avoiding and rejecting common practices as beneath them instead of developing physically or mentally and maturing spiritually or emotionally in order to handle the fact that the world is mobile and rapid and as a direct result of the constantly changing and coflicting subjective truths, frictional.
I'd say nerds are worse than hipsters, but here we encounter difficulty. Through the contemporary adoption and posturing by hipsters (and normal people) of the phrase and terminology, an elusive, evasive, frustrating definition has formed. The idea of nerdiness as an ironic or even proud character trait has mitigated the offense the term carries, perhaps the first time successfully that a slur has been fully reclaimed as a seemingly positive attribution. Both nerds and hipsters (still, thankfully a dirty word) pick waveringly and without discipline from a world rife with culture and roots the most transient and bland aspects, ones that purport the most familiarity, ones that require the least imagination and principled firmness--readymade worlds of escapism are fast held as substitutes and keen social comment. Where the two groups differ is whereas the hipster (still a dirty creature) aims to dismantle meaning from the grave and sincere, nerds imbue the pointless and disposable with a sense of heroic grandeur.

A nerd is no longer one who possesses a wealth of intelligence and no atheletic skills, as has been a common misconception for decades prior. A Nerd replaces true knowledge with mere trivia. The importance has been shifted to facts, formless, insubstantial packets of useless information. And the world in all its clamoring rapidity embraces the expedience of facts without research. This has made it easy for nerds to reduce the overwhelming intagible greatness of life and the weight of seemingly endless possibility into finite compartments of finely filed dead ends, plausibility and probability. The world as a whole with all its superiority to an individual is too much for these weak-minded individuals, so they continue to protect themselves with self-referential and self-aggrandizing (even while often simultaneously self-effacing) systems of information. Ideas become artificial and superficial for fear of revealing too much about one's inner monologue and being reviled. Nerds are so focused on validating themselves through prefabricated knowledge of cultural by-products for so long that they become convinced their interests speak innately to universal human experience, creating ad hoc arguments for their cause.

So, a smart person is not automatically a nerd, and a nerd no longer needs to be genuinely smart, or even physically inept. The difference is that a nerd is a useless member of society, concerned primarily, or solely, with establishment and protection of a singular ego through imaginary, and therefore it's assumed unassailable, means. The knowledge that a smart person pursues may be repurposed for the expansion of that initial education for public benefit. In essence, while a nerd and a smart person may study in the same field, the intention of the study is really the defining factor. Is it being studied only to be memorized and flaunted by rote in a demonstration of feigned intelligence or is it actually an attempt at cultural betterment or investigation of the human condition? Does a given presentation of this information center on or include long overtures of nonsensical jargon which requires copius background information? Is this necessary background provided within the context? I'm neither a nerd nor a smart person, so, like a substantial (though quickly diminishing) portion of the population, I'm exempt for this categorization.

It pains me to see otherwise sensible people, be they smart or not, refer to themselves as nerds. In the modern age where clear definitions are regarded as archaic restrictions, the word becomes confused, conflated or merely inflated with an idea of passion or devotion. Even fleetingly, or singularly, the word can be used in reference to a specific aspect of an individuals interests or activites. But a nerd quite assuredly has no passion for any subject or object. A nerd proceeds through life feeding off of others' work, attaching to it like lampreys, and building an insulated, isolated sub-or-super-terranean individual metaverse wherein each reigns supreme. These are the lookers, not the leapers, to borrow shamelessly from the cliched world, too nervous and self-important to ever immerse themselves head first into the cold, confusing world, knowing they'll be bruised. So be passionate, be devoted, be exciteable, and even geek out about anything the world has to offer, but not at the exclusion of reason and connectivity, which is what a nerd does. The word is as bad as any other slanderous tag. Nerd was created as an indictment of impotence (in all senses) and so to reclaim the word means nothing while maintaining the purposeless persona. Don't change how you perceive the word or what it means to you, but change who you are. When normal people call themselves nerds, it sends a mixed message that it might in fact be okay to use the world and all the beauty and quirk it has to offer for separatist, elitist and solely selfish gains. As an example, for myself, words and language intensely interest me, but I would never call myself a word nerd (even though it rhymes), I would simply say, "Words interest me. Thanks."

Nerds are not a pitiable, prospectless minority. Nerds, in fact, hold a number of the highest paying jobs and determine who under them is qualified to join their ranks, choosing in all but the most indefensible cases, other nerds. what at one point existed as a sneering subculture designed to console those in self-exile has grown, sneakily under the guise of downtrodden benignity lacking in dignity, in to a method to oppress those incorrectly identified as persecutory simply for living their lives. useless members of society, contributing nothing, existing simply to absorb and critique, to leech from active participants, embracing only a solipsistic image, defending a hyperactive ego, and justifying an ineffectual existence. Nerds are the ultimate haters, resisting and refusing, with a false sense of superiority born out of a perceived larger social neglect--itself being nothing more than laziness, self-absorption, amplified by self-pity--an inherent responsibility to their environment. If this preceding is not enough to cinvince anyone, if the subversion and subjegation has permeated too too far, then I understand there's little else to be done, however, anyone calling me a nerd within earshot will be summarily and expediently dispatched.

2.16.2011

The REAL Rip Taylor #10: Favorite Foods

We had the chance to sit down with Rip last week and ask him a few questions, but we slept in and missed the interview. We want to begin by extending our apologies to Rip and his PR men who set up the rendez-vous at one of Rip's favorite local eateries, the Hobo Terrace. We'll be sure to catch up with you soon enough.




Passers-by, lookers-on, and plain old autograph hounds have flooded us with sightings and observations on how Rip patiently passed the time at window-side table. We thought we'd construct out of the loose odds and ends a somewhat useful portrait. Though he tried to stay incognito but he was noticed and swarmed almost instantly. Rip took his seat and was immediately served his usual appetizer, the Hobo Platter (broiled pig snouts over chocolate stroopwaffels). Even with a mouthful of Chef Garry's world famous gizzard chili, Rip was laying on the charm as he wooed ladies sitting in the vacated seat across from him till they melted like snowflake soup.

It quickly became apparent that the only way Rip would get rid of his fans was by throwing them a bone of performance. He broke out with some bits cut from his universally lauded one-man-show It Ain't All Confetti. While requests echoed from the back room for a brief sampling of Rip's inimitable impressions and inventive one-liners, but Rip quickly produced his signature deck of cards, seemingly from thin air, and gave a rare exhibition of his unparalleled magic act from "The Early Days". A large hush fell over the crowd as a small sheet fell over Rip's hand, whence he fabricated a live street urchin holding an exotic bouquet of birds of paradise. Just as quickly, the illusion vanished. He was quoted as uttering, "Now if I only I could make myself disappear."

Assured CXNX would be footing the bill, Rip began his second course with the Cheez Whiz Stuffed Holy Mackarel, commenting, "The real Wiz is the guy who created this stuff! I love it!" Rip's selected side's included Deep-Fried Applesauce Balls and Steamed Arugula ("I can't stand that s!@*%t, but it's so fun to say. Arugula!", Rip explained, leaving behind the entire steaming pile.) As Rip noticed the next wave of gawkers around the corner, he hastily ordered his dessert, a hefty slice of Rubber Treebark pie topped with a scoop of pre-sumptuous Cheddar Bacon ice cream.

The meal was abruptly interrupted by a phone call from Rip's agent. We at CXNX can confidently confirm that Rip was negotiating a 7 figure deal to promote a new energy drink. Anyone for some Riptide??

2.15.2011

You're on the list: Westboro Baptist Church

Yesterday, February 14, in Jamestown NY was the funeral of marine Aaron Swanson who was killed in action from a roadside explosive. The funeral was a big deal as all military funerals tend to be, with several dozen people besides family looking to pay their respects to the fallen soldier.

It was Sunday morning when I saw this posted on Facebook ---> Westboro Baptist Church in Jamestown.

Thank you?
For those who are lazy and hate reading it is a planned protest of the funeral of this poor kid by the disgusting group called the Westboro Baptist Church. They claim that military funerals have become "pagan orgies of
idolatrous blasphemy" and that GOD is doing this because we accept homosexuals as human beings.

What they essentially do is stand obscenely close to the funeral and show offensive signs like "GOD HATES FAGS" and "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS" and claim that this is our fault that they have to protest these funerals. They sign hymns and yell horrible things to the family to intentionally upset the family.  Below is a video of thier disgusting behavior:




Now I am all about free speech, and I am fiercely middle of the road about most topics, and I love the fact I can write this blog, and say whatever I want. I've posted something that some would consider offensive towards Christianity with my Jesus killing dinosaurs, and poking fun at the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  I can explain it as entertainment, it's in poor taste, but it's entertainment. My end result of what I do is happiness. 

This man clearly has all the answers.
The Westboro Baptist Church's intention is to harm, hurt, and spew hatred. You can believe what you want, but if your intention is to hurt someone, and your end result is not happiness then no have no reason/right to do what you are doing. They attack when people are at their most vulnerable and yell nonsense at them.

They have no collective goal. They are not trying to teach a lesson, preach a belief, support a cause, or even eliminate homosexuality - its to hurt. They hide under the 1st amendment which its intention to empower the common man, and make sure that everyone has a right to be heard. 

Do NOT bring me into this
Now a question I came up with myself is what makes the Westboro Baptist Church different than someone who just like to shock like Marilyn Manson? Manson has done some pretty "offensive" things and has been very open to mock Christianity. What if the Westboro Baptist Church is just there to shock people, almost like performance "art". What makes them different than anything else we may not agree with?

The difference is that you can ignore Marilyn Manson. You can't deny that he exists, you can not buy his music, you can turn him off on the TV, and you don't have to go to his performances. The Westboro Baptist Church comes to YOU. You can agree, disagree, but no matter they come to you, and shove their beliefs in your face in the most disgusting way they can. That is what I have a problem with.

I am still a staunch believer of anyone can believe what they want, even these people. You can worship aliens, satan, or anything else, but to force it on someone is horrible. In life no one is right. No one has the right answer. The point is whether you want to look for it or not. You can find strength in it, you can lean on it when you feel weak, or you can live by it if you think it makes you a better person, but your beliefs are your own. As much as you'd like to believe that your system of beliefs is the ultimate right answer, just remember its the right answer for YOU. If your goal is to be a source of happiness for someone then believe whatever you want.

Big UPs J-town
To sum up, I am not usually someone to really take a black and white stance on anything really, but this is something that really hit a nerve with me. I am very happy that people showed up in Jamestown, not to confront these people, but to let the family mourn in peace. I am happy people saw something that they didn't believe in and did something about it - the right way.

I personally came a little late to the party since my wife was at school and I had to watch Vinny. I came around noon, and the police blocked off the whole parameter, and the group was confirmed to have never came. I heard a rumor that no local hotel would let them stay the night in the area, and I also heard that they were there at one point, but was escorted away before they became noticeable by the public.

Good on ya' Jamestown!

2.14.2011

Introspection: Skill Sets

This video is another introspective detailing the wisdom NOT bestowed upon us by our father. Our dad was a very skilled person. He built furniture, made amplifiers, played guitar, was a very good artist, taught himself Russian, and could speak conversational Klingon. All this knowledge he never passed down or shared his world with us, leaving us unprepared for the real world. Looking back it was very selfish of him to keep his world to himself in my opinion, but .... there is no but, I guess.


2.12.2011

Construx Caturdays!!

This weeks cat video's document the cat and it's natural enemy - water. Most cats hate water, but these brave kitties confront their fears, and take on the aquatic opponent head on.






2.11.2011

Ask A Clemente 2/11

Mike R Chicago IL where the hell have you gotten off to?
Sweet Sexy Africa


Paul: A very personal question, but when my wife is gone and there is not suitable pornography available to me. I do pull out the old globe (pre-russian liberation), and spend some time with its glorious display of the beautiful, sexy planet we live on. Although my tastes change as often as my underwear, I do like to start with Africa because it looks the most like boobs at an angle.

Usually that does the job for me, if not I usually finish off with some Australia. One time I was distracted and I saw a full frontal depiction of Florida. I don't know what that means, but I'll leave it up to me just being curious.





Kelly S.
Lakewood NY - "who keeps assholes in check? "

Paul : The job of keeping assholes in check has been passed down since the recognition of the word "asshole" was recognized in 1933 as a derogatory statement.


Not my problem
The first person to recognize the need to keep assholes in check was realized by Al Capone. He primarily used his people, and influence to keep people who he thought were assholes away from him and his dealings. His system of intimidation and extortion worked well for several years until he got distracted with his won business and let an asshole go unchecked. In 1939 Hitler invaded Poland, and it became considered the largest case of letting an asshole go unchecked. Capone was relieved of his duties shortly after. Capone stated that international assholism was not a part of his original duties, and that maybe he was unclear of his role when he took it.



Scheisse!
In 1939 Hitler was runnin'wild, and something drastic needed to be done. Professional crime fighter Batman took the job of keeping assholes in check. He immediately went to Germany to straighten out the world's problems. Batman was not known for being a polite diplomat used tactics not unlike his predecessor to intimidate Hitler into "being in check". Batman not only made a political impact during the war, he fought in the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Brittan on the BatWing. In 1945 the war was considered over, and a battle weary Batman retired from keeping assholes in check.



So, you fancy yourself an asshole?

In 1945 the first international asshole checker was crowned in Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill cleaned up the political nightmare Batman left behind. He mediated several asshole uprisings, and prevented a asshole extinction level event at one occasion. Although, the asshole checker previously was dealt with high profile problems, Churchill kept his job low key and maintained a passive role asshole checking. Churchill was paramount in building international asshole relations setting up the first asshole checker web of intelligence between the US and England. In 1955 Winston suffered his most severe of his strokes limiting his ability to regulate assholes at a capacity he wanted to.


In 1955 the clear choice was Calvin Klein (aka Marty McFly) with his extensive knowledge of the future, and undeniable charisma. He was truly an asshole checker for the people. The assholes he did let through Calvin claimed were essential to the future, and how it was shaped. Calvin's reign as asshole checker was considered the most lackadaisical out of bunch chosen the previous 3. Calvin kept a passive asshole checking rule, rarely getting his hands dirty, and limiting his interactions with assholes by scaring them with Walk-men. Calvin left his post in 1963 to pursue his musical career, as a rock n roll pioneer.




The post of asshole checker was forcibly taken by singer/actor Frank Sinatra. Him and his group "The Rat Pack" Frank claimed that him and his group of angry white men can keep assholes in check like no one before him, stating that Calvin Klein was soft, and that assholes needed to be dealt with extreme prejudice. Frank and his crew dealt with assholes aggressively, and efficiently for years until Frank's retirement in 1970.






Frightening Assholes
Since China was modernizing at an alarming rate in the 70's they felt it was important to have someone as internationally adept as Churchill, and as intimidating as Batman. Bruce Lee took over the role in 1970
improving the US/China asshole relations. Bruce was arguably the most efficient asshole checker in history. Through his teachings in Jeet Kune Do, and his powerful kicks he kept the US free of Chinese assholes. Bruce was a fair, and firm asshole checker. Contrary to the previous asshole checkers, Bruce's outside interests in film only helped his asshole checking image. In China he was portrayed as a pioneer in China's anti asshole movement. It was estimated that the US asshole population dipped below the 10% mark for the first time at 8.8%. Bruce balanced his job as a movie star, and asshole checker for years until his untimely death in 1973.


Saigon 1975.


In 1973 they knew something drastic needed to happen, and that's when Ziggy Stardust was enlisted as asshole checker in a small intimate ceremony in London. Ziggy and his Spiders from Mars went to work immediately in the Vietnam, ending the war with a precise and deadly spider attack. The most immediate asshole threat was neutralized in 1975 when the Viet Kong surrendered under a swarm of inter-galactic spiders most presumably from Mars. After the war, Ziggy took the asshole checking duties literally, and left dozens a victim of his sexual promiscuity, and empty promises. We cannot forget Ziggy's contribution in Vietnam, but he was taken out of office as quickly as he was sworn in.




JAWS (above) sharing in the grief of the Kent State tragedy.
After years of bridging the gap between the US, China, England, and Mars they felt the need to branch out further still to encompass all assholian threats to our existence. Young upstart and actor JAWS was employed officially in an underwater contract signing. JAWS was an advocate for the animal kingdom, and kept assholes in check with threats of consumption. JAWS inability to go onto land was never a handicap until 1979 where we came 1 hour late to the horrific events in Kent State. JAWS was visibly shaken and some questioned his ability as a leader after that (those people were eaten). JAWS kept assholes into check all the way into the 80's, until his film career took up alot of his time compromising his effectiveness as an asshole checker.



Wait a sec, is that an asshole back there?!
It was decided that the asshole checking business needed a charismatic leader to distance themselves from the bad public image JAWS had left with them. Mr. T was the obvious choice. Mr. T was the shot in the arm that the asshole checking business needed as Mr. T came into the public spotlight. He used his celebrity to spread the word to prevent chronic assholism, and made it accessible to children by changing the word to "fools". Mr. T singlehandedly brought the pediatric asshole rate to an astonishing 5% (down 12% from 1973). Mr. T did the unthinkable, making it a nationwide trend to not be an asshole. His on screen roles only helped magnify his asshole crushing image bringing the asshole population to the lowest in recorded history at a 7% rate. Mr. T continued inspiring and anti-asshole movement successfully until he thought he could leave his position in the best possible standing. Mr. T left his position to further his acting career in 1987, leaving the next person a world with the most manageable level of assholism since it's recognition in the 30's.




Vous etes bienvenue


The asshole checking business coming off it's most successful campaign since its inception looked to branch out further. France was in the midst of the biggest asshole epidemic since the rule of Napoleon. Andre the Giant was commisioned in Europe to keep assholes in check. His huge stature alone kept assholes in check. The European Asshole Rights League (EARL) tried harsh lobbying even trying to keep Andre out of France all together to protect their "right to be an asshole". Andre axe smashed all lobbyist outside France's Senate building after a demonstration. Andre's focus remained on European assholism as Mr. T paved the way to keep the US maintained at a reasonable asshole level. Andre passed away in 1993 leaving Europe a little better and the position unfilled.



Dude ...
1993 was a tough time to keep assholes in check with the rise of the "generation-X's" group of jaded youth. No one seemed up to the job, as the position remained unfilled for 8 months, the longest assholes have ever been unchecked. The asshole population rose to a staggering 16%, and an asshole state of emergency was declared. Batman took control of the situation, and swore himself into the position. He took on the problem with aggression and cool gadgets. He was almost too late as assholation became a part of the US culture in the 90's. Batman knew something drastic had to happen, something that didn't involve batterangs. He worked tirelessly to create something to monitor and correct asshole autonomously without the need of constant vigilante justice. That's when Batman created the internet.




With the invention of the internet, and world wide web Batman set up various programs, and surveillance to control the ebb and flow of assholism. To present day this regulates, and keeps assholes "in check".
These labels never stick right ...



Ian: It's funny you bring this question up, because I've often pondered this one myself. It's certainly a head scratcher, because it should be easy, right? A no-brainer. It's something we all do on a daily basis, often without even noticing it. But... It's. Not. Easy. I think back to seemingly carefree days when this was a primary concern, and I find myself getting frustrated often at the lack of appreciation we have these days when so many of us can't... Oh! Oh, sorry... you said check! My mistake...

In that case, I nominate this man...







Beth C
Jamestown NY asks: Why do you always NOT finish the rest of your hotdog?

Ian: Simple! I don't finish it, because I'm leaving room for a Danish! Ha!!! Seriously, though, there's spiders in the butt ends of hot dogs.




Ian C.'s Subconscious, Astral Plane-- Final Question: What nationality are the Dunk brothers listed as?


The Dunk Brothers getting ready for a dunk.
Paul C: There are a few sets of Dunk brothers that I know of, but I will assume you mean the famous Dunk brothers from Japan. Although all five of them were born in China, they were raised and trained in the Toyko University of the Arts. They acknowledge their Chinese heritage, they consider themselves to be Japanese citizens, in fact they were given that honor in 2003 becoming official honorary citizen's of Japan. When they are not performing Yugi, and Yoshi maintain a residence outside of Shanghai's residential district, as the others all live in different properties in urban Tokyo.



Ian: [Blank stare]. Um, well this is obviously a trick question. We all know that the Dunk Bros. are listed incorrectly on the back of the trading card as hailing from Ontario, thus listing them as Canadian. Of course, their true nationality is revealed in Paul's response. Perhaps you should spend less time threatening my masculinity and more time keeping assholes in check.