Who Said It? Part XIII

Who said it?

On rats:

“You have Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg — two billionaires — telling people why they can’t have health care. Listen to this! Two billionaires telling everyday Americans why we can’t afford for them and their families to have decent health care.

“That’s bankrupt. They’re going to be laughed out of the race for that.”


Who Said It? Part XII

Who said it?

On a living wage:

“I’ve had some pretty intense arguments with wealthy people about a living wage, and I’m like you’re out of your fucking mind if you think someone should be working for less than 15 dollars FOR AN HOUR of their time.
“So I’m telling you a guy’s going to go in your back yard; he’s going to dig a fucking hole for an hour. You want to give him five dollars?
“How much do you want to give him? You want to give him seven dollars?
“Fuck you.”

“I don’t care if he’s 12 years old. I don’t care if it’s a 12-year old. A 12-year-old digs for an hour? Give him 20 bucks.”

Guns in America Part III (Fuck You, Marco Rubio)

“If someone has decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they will find a way to get the gun to do it.”

– US Senator “Little” Marco Rubio


Gun deaths in the US, annually: over 30,000 (Link)
Gun deaths in Japan, annually: like 10 (Link)

Wow! Only 10 or so people in Japan decided they wanted to shoot someone with a gun.

Clearly 3,000 times as many violent people live in America. Well, adjust for accidents and multiple-victim shootings: say a generous 1,500 times as many violent folks. How about we even go per capita and just call it 500? That’s rounding in the US’s favor each time we calculate and with the original figures.

Americans are at the very least 500 times more likely to decide, “I’m going to commit this crime.” That’s what Marco says.

So, then America has just WAY MORE KILLERS than all these other countries.
So why don’t we let the country with the most killers have the MOST GUNS!

Or maybe for some reason, some of the Japanese people who would otherwise have liked to kill someone with a gun… didn’t… find a way to get one?


Or maybe Marco means if an American decides, “I’m going to commit this crime,” they’ll find a way to get the gun to do it.

That’s because…

That’s right, folks:

“Gun control won’t work here, because we don’t have gun control now, and people still get shot.”

– US Senator Marco Rubio, paraphrased


I wonder what he drives.

Evolved Taste

This is about as nutty a post as I will ever write, but waaaaait for it…

I am a scientist.

PART I: Pew Research

Pew Research is an American organization that self-describes as, “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.” They, “conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research,” and, “do not take policy positions.”

To try to put it simply, Pew aims to measure and document various aspects of global society.

So when they published a study in 2009 that detailed the proportional representation of Americans who do not believe in evolution and those who do believe in evolution (with the subcategories of evolution as a result of a natural process and evolution guided by a god), Pew was not trying to make a statement about the legitimacy of either category or either subcategory of those who believe in evolution.



I am.

PART II: Teach the Controversy

“Teach the Controversy” is a movement that exerts political influence to try to force American schools to brainwash children with the idea that evolution is a theory, which the movement’s patrons intentionally conflate with speculation, and that equal or greater weight should be given to the idea that a big salacious dick lurks over his toy planet and moves his little action figures (us) around as he sees fit, predicated of course on how well we behave.

They want to throw the cumulative data of all human observation — from the discovery of fire to the age of landing rockets on barges after launching them into space more than once — into the ring with ghost stories written more than 500 years before humanity really started getting close to possessing the technology to make glass windows a reality, and then let people who think Africa is a country in South America figure out which of the “controversial” “theories” is true.

One is a theory and is true; the other is folklore and is false.

PART III: The Science of Evolution (in the form of common sense)

The science of evolution does not require leaps of faith (“I see God all around me.”), and it does not require circular reasoning (“Then explain why in Genesis it says…) or feelings-as-proof reasoning (“If you find a wristwatch on a sandy beach…”) in order to be believed. It requires a simple conversation about sex and shit.

As is typically the case in this blog, when I say “shit”, I mean feces.

Below are two examples of natural selection.


Or more specifically, sexual reproduction…

Perfectly normal. We’re all products of it. Settle down.

Reproduction allows for the passing of genetic material to subsequent generations. The catch, though, is that a genetic code is not passed exactly as it exists one parent. Obviously, that is because it is combined in sexual reproduction to create offspring that posses some genes from each parent.

With the understanding that every child has genetic material from each parent, it must be accepted that no child is an exact copy of either parent.

That doesn’t mean anything on its own, though. This combination of genetic material could be imagined to just recycle a finite gallery of traits. The real kicker is selective breeding, a key element of natural selection and driving force of evolution.

Natural selection, in 2018 human terms, could be crudely explained by saying, “The most attractive (not necessarily physically) people get to reproduce the most.”

In prehistoric and ancient times — and even modern times in the cases of perhaps all other animals — attractiveness could be likened to physical superiority. That’s the meaning of the term “survival of the fittest”.

If there is a group of prehistoric primates walking around, and one of the males is a foot shorter, slower, and weaker than all the others, the female primates are more likely to chose the other males for sex, which would make it harder for his genetic material to survive.

Undesirable traits (not to as significant an extent in civilized human society in 2018) negatively affect the chance of reproducing.

But it’s not just lack of game that removes your genes from the pool; lack of fitness for environment stops your line too.

Long story short: reproducing beings can and do reproduce in a way that eliminates features, and though it happens unfathomably gradually, the incomprehensible longevity of humanity and botany among other realms allows microscopic changes to be stretched and stretched into small changes.


We don’t eat shit because it smells bad, right?

Right. And eating shit makes you sick, so thank god it doesn’t smell like churros!

Or what if we find the smell unpleasant because eating shit makes you sick?

Suppose there was a male primate who found the rank heat of another specimen’s dead lunch to be the choicest spice, and couldn’t keep his hands off. Do you think he dodges E. coli long enough to have children?

If there was a trait available in the human genome that allowed for the birth of folks who crumbled at the aroma of a Filet of Squish, do you think it would ever survive a generation?

Now, if 10,000 years ago half of all homo sapiens were genetically pre-disposed to swoon at the scent of stool, do you think that particular characteristic would have made it to the 21st century? Even with all the pestilences we’ve faced and the level of disease in our discharge? No way.

Nobody is making it to adolescence with a diet that includes scat, let alone finding a mate. But how, Steve, does this prove evolution?

Obviously it doesn’t. But it is an imaginary illustration of how a trait could be removed from a species. There may never have been a case of people who loved to eat poo, and I don’t even know if olfactory preferences are hereditary, but the simple principle — unaffected by the question in the prior clause of this sentence — is that if there are traits that cause the specimen carrying them to be more likely to die of illness or unfitness, the traits are less likely to be passed on. Replace love of log with fragile femurs and repeat the train of thought above.

It’s a cruel world, and disadvantageous characteristics or predispositions can make specimens unfit. And if you ain’t fit…

Humanity is, in some ways, beyond this due to our intelligence — the intelligence we posess because due to physical inferiority to predators, only the smartest survived.

To wrap up this odd section, if certain specimens are undesirable, they are less likely to pass on their genetic material, as are those whose genetic material leads to unsuitability for their environment. It doesn’t have to be eating poo; it could also be not having the hand strength to open the shell of your primary food source.

If you can’t survive or you can’t breed, your genes will have a hard time moving forward, and the future of the human race will look less like you. It will evolve away from you, if you’ll excuse the cloudy over-simplicity.


According to Pew’s study, only 32% of the American public believed in evolution by natural process (like natural selection). Thankfully a further 22% aren’t completely blind, but they do see a divine hand in evolution. 31% of respondents believed that evolution doesn’t happen, or more specifically, “Humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

Almost a third of Americans (as of 9 years ago) believed that if no woman on Earth ever mated with a man under seven feet tall again, the normal range of human height would continue unchanged.

So if you believe the statement, “Evolution is just a theory,” exposes a lack of verification, or if you believe we should, “teach the controversy…”

why don’t you go eat some shit?


Fuck You, Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan says, “We’re going to take on welfare reform, which is another big entitlement program*, where we’re basically paying people — able-bodied people — not to work**, and we’re depriving them with all these disincentives from going into the workforce.”

*Learn to speak.
** The assumption is that all people on welfare are ready to work, but because they are receiving money, they won’t. That frames the problem as the enterprise and spirit of these Americans rather than the difficulty of actually finding work or the fact that a single parent working full-time for minimum wage will not earn enough to reach the poverty line.

So Paul, let me get this straight. We have a group of people who are capable of working, but can’t be bothered? We are paying them? That takes away their incentive? WAIT; that applies to everyone on unemployment benefits?

So just humoring you in regard to your assertion that all these people can actually work, which surely some of them can…
Is the disincentive the financial support itself?
Or is the disincentive the fact that even if these people do go out and work, they will never make much money and won’t see an increase in standard of living?

You think the answer is cutting out the safety net and dangling people by their dark blue collars over the cliff that is the prospect of having zero money.

Paul Ryan might say, “Why maintain a system to assist people when you could just fundamentally alter their human nature?”

I think the answer might be to leave that safety net in place for those who truly need it, then instead of threatening desolation, dangle the carrot of more money, purchasing power, and financial liberty in front of those who could theoretically join or rejoin the workforce.

Leaving the minimum wage argument aside for now, I will conclude this rant with a translation from Ryanese to simple English of what Paul “Penis” Ryan was really telling the American public.

  1. “take on welfare reform” – work to end support for the unemployed
  2. “big entitlement program” – system we as a community installed to guarantee a standard of living for all citizens
  3. “able-bodied people” – candidates for work
  4. “depriving (people)” – turning work candidates into non-candidates
  5. “disincentives (to) work” – similar reward with no effort or downside

Republican legislators will work to cripple or destroy the support measures we Americans created as a country to guarantee a standard of living for all of our people, because it costs money. None of these people really need it anyway, and actually, they’d be better off without it.

-Paul Ryan (translated and paraphrased)

Fuck you, Champ.


On Net Neutrality

I don’t think I’m needed for this one, but…

FUCK Ajit V. Pai.

There will be a fight on the grounds that these proposed actions are an attack on three of the freedoms granted by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. If that process fails, it’s all over; get out of Dodge, because the fire will have jumped the river and reached town.


Why aren’t people this hot about health care?

The Night before Game 7

My maternal grandfather William was a brave soldier and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officer. He went to Cathedral High School, which stands to this day, but has a new next door neighbor: Dodger Stadium.

My paternal grandfather Edward was also a brave solider who stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day. He was from Massachusetts, and lived for the Boston Red Sox. He was born in the spring of 1918, the last year his Sox won the World Series (he was too young to remember at age 0), and he passed away in 2000, having lived over 80 years without really seeing his Sox win it all. They did Papa the favor in 2004, less than five years later.

I loved and respected both of my grandfathers, and as I grow up and learn more and more about them from candid conversations, I love and respect them even more. However, I do not want to carry on the legacy of my father’s father, at least not by taking a grenade to the ass for the people or never celebrating my team winning the World Series.

Sometime in the late 80s: Something happened and my parents were happy. They came to pick us up at the home of Grandpa (William, LA guy) and Grandma (Barbara, LA gal). I was happy too, but not really sure what was going on.

Also in the late 80s: I got an autograph from Mike Marshall, framed with his picture and a message. I kept it around for a long time, despite not really remembering the guy.

Late 80s: I went to my first games at the stadium. I started playing T-ball, or at least playing catch in the back yard.

1990ish: I was collecting baseball cards, and I started finding the periodic Ted Williams. Not knowing they were valueless, I saved them for my grandfather Ed, because Ted was his guy. This may have been the first selfless or considerate habit I developed. When Ted Williams came up, I tucked him away for the next time I saw Papa.

Early 90s: I was definitely playing T-ball, and probably already afraid of the ball, an affliction that ended my career prematurely.

Early 90s: I started remembering the lineup and the names and positions of players; I never really cared much about jersey numbers.

Early 90s: The event about which I spoke in my co-best man speech at my brother’s wedding took place. We watched a game from the stands, and I bugged my family relentlessly by talking, prodding, and whining, I’m sure. Dad took the boys to the bathroom, came back down to Mom and said, “We have to go. Jim hit Steve.” The guy behind our seats asked, “Which one is Steve?” My dad said, “The little one.” The man said, “Good.”

Early 90s: I started planning for Halloween a month or so in advance. My number one idea was “Mikey P.” That’s Mike Piazza.

1995: I was obsessed with Hideo Nomo and his weird name, interesting look, and wild delivery. By this time I was a fanatic about a Dodger winning Rookie of the Year every year for the rest of time.

Sometime in the 1990s: Joel, Jim, and I finish throwing the ball around and come in to watch the game. Some sort of altercation occurs, and my mom threatens to turn off the game. Somehow holding the power, I stubbornly refuse to budge, and sacrifice the afternoon’s entertainment for my pride. We watch SportsCenter later and find out that immediately after the game was shut off, the Dodgers turned a rare triple play.

September, 1996: We’re going to the playoffs, but shit, I don’t want to play the Braves. All the Dodgers have to do is take one of three from the Padres, and the Dads will have to lay on the tracks as the flaming hot Atlanta club comes rolling through. Needless to say, Trevor Hoffman got the save in all three, and the Braves ran over Dodgers in a sweep. Still no playoff wins since 1988.

July 23, 1998: The Dodgers score 6 in the top of the first. My mom asks me and Sean if we want to go to Chilli’s. I think it was just the three of us. Maybe Jim was there too. My dad and Erin were camping on Catalina. Chilli’s sounded so good, and the Dodgers were stomping their opponent, so I said, “What the hell, there’s no school tomorrow,” so we turned off the game and went for beans and stuff. The Houston Astros sealed their legacy in my mind forever by scoring a run in the third, 5 in the eighth, and two in the tenth to win 8-6, after the Dodgers led 6-0 through one. I have never forgotten that, and it has always been one of my go-to examples of Dodger futility.

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back solo home runs to tie a game in the 9th, another home run to win in the 10th. I immediately called all my best Dodger fan friends and we screamed to each other over the phone. I was watching at the bar at Linbrook Lanes in Anaheim.
I was present for the first playoff win in nearly 25 years, watching the late Jose Lima shut down one of the best lineups in ages for an almost perfect game.
I was present for Alex Cora’s 18-pitch at bat that ended with a home run.
I was present for a Russel Martin walk-off 10th-inning grand slam.
I was there with Joel (huge Braves fan) when Mark Teixeira broke up Hiroki Kuroda’s perfect game in the 8th (he shut down the next six Braves in order).

I was there when Juan Uribe brought us back to life against the Braves just a few years ago.

I was there for Todd Helton’s final at bat. He was not a Dodger, but it was a moment.

I have gone to games solo, eating peanuts and keeping score.

I have had a beer on opening day at 5:00 a.m. before work because I lived in Japan.

I have a Delino DeShields jersey t-shirt.

I took my girlfriend to her first game (on her first in-season visit to the US) this year, and we watched Kyle Farmer slap a walk-off hit against the hated Giants in his first career plate appearance.

I want to say I have watched the team in person at the ravine 100 times, but I’m sure it’s closer to 50. I’ve definitely eaten 100 Dodger Dogs.

I fucking bleed Dodger Blue and every time someone says, “Yay, sports! Woo,” in an attempt to make me feel bad about it or at the very least express their own opinion while neglecting an inadvertent attack at my identity as just collateral damage, I think to myself, “I am a Dodger fan.”

I don’t just like the Dodgers. I don’t just love the Dodgers.

There have been times when I really tried to believe in a God, but there was never a time when I tried to change my baseball allegiance. I have never thought about it for even a moment.

My beef-solid view of the meaning of life is far more fluid than my baseball devotion.
There was one time I rooted for a player to hit a home run against the Dodgers, but it was because I was at the stadium with a cute girl, and I didn’t want the night to end.

I have never known life without the Dodgers. My family loves the Dodgers. I grew up in a Dodger house. The pace of baseball is not relevant. The idea of athletics as a recreation of strictly physical glory that takes the place of raping and pillaging an enemy, a benevolent yet brute representation of all that is primal and nonintellectual about mankind is not relevant.

Every time someone smart brings me down for watching baseball, I imagine them appraising a Renoir and me walking up behind them and screaming, “Look at all the pretty colors! Oooooooo. How profound! Look at you looking at it! Oooooooooh. The paint is so dry!”

I didn’t watch a Dodger game and think, “Oh this is cool! Who are these guys? I like that shade of blue. That was fun!”

I slowly gained cognitive awareness and agency in a Blue house amid a Blue world. I came into being around my fandom, not the other way around.

I am as much a Dodger fan as I am a man.

I know they’re going to lose tomorrow, but for the first time since I became aware, the Dodgers are taking the field with the intent of bringing home the trophy.

Tomorrow will be one of the most memorable days of my life, no matter what happens. I have been waiting thirty years for this.

I’m not going to work. Da ba dee, da ba die.

Noise Logic

“Part of the problem with Obamacare is that it was pushed through by one party.”

– Senator Jeff Flake (R, Arizona), 2017

“Part of the problem with vegetables is that my parents didn’t even ask me if I like them.”

– Steve Corbett (I, California), 1993