Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Google Can Do 4 U

What's the best way to summarize the needs of mankind? The desires of the weak? The questions that we all want to ask?

Thankfully, Google has the ability to predict these questions for us. Google knows best.

What are the most used intros to questions? Well, don't worry, because I know. They are:

1.) How to ______________?

2.) Where can I find ______________?

3.) What is the best ______________?

4.) How do I spell ______________?

5.) Where is the best place to ____________?

6.) Who is _________________?

7.) Why does ________________?

8.) What is _________________?

9.) Is it unhealthy to ________?

10.) Is ______________?

Haha, ok this is going to be so good. We're going to tackle these one at a time... Google shall do all the work for me, I will just type "How To" or "Who is" into the search bar and I will get a list of the top questions that begin with that phrase prompted to me. I will copy them down so we can, in turn, ponder them. And laugh. We are about to learn A LOT about society.

1.) How to ______________
How to sew on a button
How to tie a tie
How to kiss
How to get pregnant
How to lose weight fast
How to cook a turkey
How to solve a rubix cube
How to write a resume
How to make a website
How to lose weight

2.) Where can I find _____________?
Where can I find zhu zhu pets?
Where can I find Chuck Norris?
Where can I find Erin Andrews video?
Where can I find my IP address?
Where can I find Erin Andrews peephole video?
Where can I find a job?
Where can I find cheap airline tickets?
Where can I find a notary?

3.) What is the best _______________?
What is the best cell phone?
What is the best laptop?
What is the best antivirus software?
What is the best way to lose weight?
What is the best dog food?
What is the best way to lose fat?
What is the best digital camera?
What is the best blackberry?
What is the best mattress?

4.) How do I spell ________________?
How do I spell numbers?
How do I spell resume?
How do I spell hors d'oeuvres?
How do I spell sounds?
How do I spell cancelled?
How do I spell hieroglyfics?
How do I spell my name phonetically?

5.) Where is the best place to __________________?
Where is the best place to live?
Where is the best place to live in Florida?
Where is the best place to get a tattoo?
Where is the best place to buy a TV?
Where is the best place to shoot a deer?
Where is the best place to download free music?
Where is the best place to mine thorium?
Where is the best place to exchange currency?

6.) Who is ___________________?
Who is my congressman?
Who is Lady Gaga?
Who is Big Poppa?
Who is John Galt?
Who is on the dime?
Who is the richest man in the world?

7.) Why does ___________________?
Why does my vag smell?
Why does my eye twitch?
Why does poop float?
Why does my dog eat poop?
Why does ice float?
Why does hair turn gray?
Why does milk appear white?
Why does Kim Zolciak where a wig?
Why does it rain?
Why do men have nipples?
Why do men cheat?
Why do cats knead?

8.) What are ______________?

What are the symptoms of the swine flu?
What are the 7 deadly sins?
What are the 7 wonders of the world?
What are capers?
What are prime #s?
What are carbs?
What are the 7 continents?
What is labor day?
What is love?
What is twitter?
What is mystery google?

9.) Is it unhealthy to _____________?
Is it unhealthy to not ejaculate?
Is it unhealthy to eat boogers?
Is it unhealthy to swallow?
Is it unhealthy to sleep too much?
Is it unhealthy to ejaculate too often?
Is it unhealthy to wash your hair everyday?
Is it unhealthy to not have a period?
Is it unhealthy to not wear your underwear?
Is it unhealthy to be a vegetarian?
Is it unhealthy to eat late?

10.) Is _______?
Is Lady Gaga a man?
Is Lady Gaga a hermaphrodite?
Is the world going to end in 2012?
Is Santa real?
Is bronchitis contagious?
Is Khloe Kardashian pregnant?
Is pneumonia contagious?
Is Wal-mart open on Christmas 09?
Is Wendy Williams a man?
Is limewire illegal?

So what is it that we learned? I'm not certain. The only thing I'm certain of is this:

If you are trying to find the Erin Andrew's peep hole video and you realize that a.) you need to lose weight fast and b.) you don't know how to make a turkey, you must be able to whip out a cell phone with text capabilities to ask your friend what the proper hors d'ouevers(sp?) are and find the best background music for Christmas dinner. In the meantime, surf the net to catch up on all the latest Pop News, such as how to mine thorium or the story of Kim Zolciak's wig, and you do all of this why? To avoid being stuck alone in front of a mirror wondering if your vag smells. Only then will you begin to understand the mystery google. And why men have nipples. But seriously, is Wal-mart open on Christmas?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Ritual Killing

Setup: In the summer of 2007 I spent a term in Kenya studying community wildlife management. With any foreign country comes a foreign culture, and in my part of Kenya this happened to be the nomadic Maasai, a culture in which cattle and children are the terms of wealth, and a culture I had always revered from home... I imagined them standing high over the plain, trailing the lions that stalked his herd. An image soon to be confirmed.

At our research station, I befriended one of the Maasai guards named Fred Kipoit, whose job was to protect our camp against rogue wildlife and rogue people. He did this with a machete, a wooden mace, and a high-powered flashlight. My encounters with him consisted of patrolling the perimeter with him at night, listening to stories of him battling lions, and as I'll detail here, butchering the goat for our team's final feast. This butchering occurred in the acacia forest behind our buildings, out of sight and hearing of all the students, the students who would later eat the product.

The experience was a fascinating one, both for the actions and the company. It was no ordinary butchering, it was a Maasai one... and what came with that was a wholly unique process... highlighted by their aversion to eyeballs. So. This shall be a sectional poem of sorts... though I dislike the word poem, so I'll chalk it up as Xtreme detail. Interspersed throughout will be photos and a video! yay, of the goings on.

Ritual Killing

The goat was strangled with a nylon cord
With no resistance. On the muddy path
That splits the bush, by an electric fence
Its body stiffened in a final gasp.

Fred Kipoit was hired as a guard
To peer into the night tar-skinned and slender,
He carries a thin rod made of tamarind
That I hold now as he collects the tinder.

A nesting pair of bare-faced go-away birds
Scold me like the bleating of a sheep,
I hollow out and rinse the ripped intestine
As the golden films of shit pile in a heap.

To pay respect for animals that die,
Plucked from cattle dips or subtle dens,
Custom of the Maasai is to spare
Their eyes from seeing juice upon our chin.

The knife dissevers membranes of white matter
Like the cells of a sweet grapefruit; at last
The eyes are torn, tossed onto the ground
Like bulbs uprooted, reddening the grass.

Stripped of skin and braced on wooden prongs
The muscles sear under a smoky hood
By orange gleams that quiver in the breeze
Of savannas lying far from coastal woods.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Death Threats and The Silver Bullet Train

At 6:30 a.m. the phone calls start. I listen to and decline a few job offers, floating in and out of consciousness, lying on my stomach, the phone pressed between me and the mattress. Vibrate. Vibrate. I think back to the day before... impossibly small humans... asking me if if they can put their heads in the trashcan... tugging on my knee, asking Mr. Alan, can we use your shoes as pillows?

7:00. Another call. Awake. Middle school Math. I can do that. I get up, completely relying on routine and muscle memory to get me through the mindless morning sequence. Wash. Eat. Dress. Pack. Drive. Bump Drake.

And so it begins...

I'm in the classroom.

The lesson plans are simple enough. Pass out a worksheet with some complex word problems on them, and do this for every class. One of the problems reads as such:

Two cubes and two screws weigh as much as one cube and ten nails. One cube weighs as much as one screw and one nail. How many nails weigh as much as one cube?

Oh my God. Talk about an obnoxious question. Now I have to listen to the sighs and complaints about it all day. I will have to continually threaten them by telling them that it will be collected and graded. By the way, the answer is 4.

But. Never despair. What I've learned as I trawl classroom after classroom in search of amusement is this: that the most priceless gems never have anything to do with the schoolwork. Today's no different. Here are the highlights:

One extremely "enthusiastic" boy feels the need to share all of his favorite jokes with me.

Him: Did you hear the joke about the speeding bullet train?

Me: No.

Him: Too bad. You missed it!

Me: Wow that's funny.

Him: What's the difference between Jimmy and an onion?

Me: I don't know.

Him: You don't cry when you chop Jimmy up.

He keeps on going. And going. Wow. But I get distracted by a little girl who is bragging to her neighbor that she can burp the ABC's. So cliche, I think. But then again, she is about 40 pounds so I have to see if it is true. I put her to the test. She then gets red in the face and says she can't do it all at once. I have called her bluff. I turn my back on her and start heading back to my desk. But then, from behind me, from deep down in her recesses, comes the eruption. A. B. C. D. I stay completely still so as not to distract her...all the way until X. Y. Z.

She did it! Yay!

Completely enthused with my first class, I think the day can't get much better. That is until a shaking young lad comes up to me and says someone is threatening to kill him. Mhmmm.... Unexpected!!! I stay calm and ask him: Who? How do you know?

He hands me a folded piece of paper. He tells me he found it in his locker.

I can't tell whether he is actually frightened by this or not. Either he is an excellent actor or he is petrified. Regardless, I tell him that there is nothing to worry about. That I will take care of it. That he is safe. Lolololol.

The rest of the day passes by calmly. A new kid comes and eats lunch in my classroom. We debate his homework, and whether 4 never-ending lines can have only 2 points of intersection.

After lunch, I give the class a challenge. The kid who answers the domino riddle first wins a prize. This is the riddle:

So far, no one in any of the classes had answered it correctly - a perfect opportunity for some excitement. And...?

And..? I have never seen students work so feverishly. And...? As always, the motivation of winning a prize drives someone to succeed. And...? Someone solves it! I hand the girl an ice cold Coca-Cola can just like in the commercials, and just like in the commercials it lights up her face.

I tell her to dispose of the can afterward, for I'm sure that it is against school policy to down soft drinks in class. She says NO. I'M KEEPING IT AS A MEMENTO. I say whatever.