Thursday, November 29, 2007

caught red-handed shaving Schroedinger's cat

Political Scientists Introduce Theory of Quantum Politics

by mikaydee, additional research by PM

Political Scientists have recently developed a revolutionary new theory explaining the behavior of political bodies. Known as "Quantum Politics," the theory was developed after political scientists made several puzzling observations.

"It started with a study published by some colleagues at the USC Center for International Studies," explains Dr. Nina Lavinskaya, credited with the first formulation of the theory. "They couldn't quite figure out whether Taiwan was a country or not. Sometimes they would look at it, and it seemed just like a country, with a flag and a government and missiles and everything. And then, they would look at it again in a different light, and see a province of China. It just didn't make any sense." The same was true when Taiwan interacted with the countries around it. "If you tested for diplomatic relations, you'd find a province of China. If you tested for trade, you'd find a separate country."

Lavinskaya was struck by the similarities to her work on Pakistan. "One minute, I see an ally in the War on Terror, and the next, I observe the declaration of martial law and the jailing of dissidents. That's not how an ally is supposed to behave."

At the same time, researchers at Northwestern University began charting the position of a body known as "Mitt Romney," and found that he constantly changed depending on who was looking at him. The same was found to be true of similar bodies known as "Rudy Giuliani" and "Hillary Clinton," prompting the observation by Dr. Lavinskaya that "you can never tell where they stand until you look at them, and by looking at them, you change them." This soon became known as the Reuters Uncertainty Principle, a cornerstone of Quantum Politics. "All we can know for sure about them at any given moment is that they exist, and are negative," says Lavinskaya.

Quantum Politics promises to shed light on a number of puzzling phenomena that have baffled political scientists for years. For example, experts have long argued over whether illegal immigrants behave more like a dangerously volatile wave or an individual hard-working nanny or gardener. Equally confusing was why they didn't seem to exist until they ran up against barriers. Lavinskaya is confident. "With the tools of Quantum Politics, we will now be able to effectively analyze behavior that has heretofore seemed to transgress all basic rules of both logic and decency."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

in which i roll 1d6 against a +4 social construct, to no avail

Sometimes I wonder when or if ever I will be able to do adult things and have them just be "things" without the telling modifier. Like going to tea or brunch at some expensive place without feeling like an undercover, voyeuristic interloper, all well-mannered and please-and-thank-you and do-pass-the-bellini, while my internal monologue is going "OMG, don't let on that you are still hungover from your night of Bud Light, Jello shots, Nintendo, and Dungeons & Dragons, or the maitre d' will make you wear a dunce cap and put you at the plastic kiddie table in the corner." I still refer to my big work purse as my "mom purse" because it is big enough to hold things like a hairbrush and handiwipes and extra shoes, and smells like leather (because it IS leather), and I realize, MY GOD, at the age of twenty-blah with two graduate degrees, I still associate the smell of a big leather purse with the place from which I used to retrieve my baggie of Cheerios during the boring, non-singing part of church (aka the sermon).

Then, my inner graduate student* takes hold of my insecure, adultlescent yuppie shoulders and shakes me like you're not supposed to shake a baby, declaring self-righteously, "listen, square, the childhood/adulthood dichotomy is, like, this bourgeois invention for, like, selling Barbies and breeding Organization Men," and then she slaps me across the face and I am about to shiv her because I have been empowered by years of watching Buffy and Alias, but then I say "eff it" and we do a mental Jello shot.

*Some people have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I have an intellectually indignant, antinomian, armchair revolutionary on one shoulder and a frugal, civicly engaged, easily shamed, midwestern schoolmarm on the other. Sometimes they cuddle while listening to NPR. It's hot.

Speaking of civic engagement and transgressing maturity paradigms....

RM and I use our respective talents and interests to enrich the spiritual life of the community:

RM: i made us a cyber santa to protect the house
mikaydee: i don't know what that means, but i really like the sound of it
mikaydee: oh!
mikaydee: lego cyber santa?
RM: yes
mikaydee: yay!
RM: he has a glock
mikaydee: i will build him an altar
mikaydee: we will have a party for him on december 6
RM: and now he has a dagger
mikaydee: blood sacrifice to saint nicolas!

Monday, November 26, 2007

a series of unrelated lists, because prose is so two weeks ago

I. Actual news headlines that sound like Onion headlines, but aren’t, and so are that much scarier:
(1) Former Press Secretary’s New Tell-All Has No Comment
(2) Army Adds “Fix Army” To Petraeus’ To-Do List
(3) I Was Homeless Once

II. Fun with grammar, inspired by my new TV obsession and a vat of chocolate pudding:
(1) "Eat shit and die!" - An enraged yet wistful imperative, paradoxically evocative of either menacing, godlike omnipotence ("You'll do as I say, worm!"), or whiny, ineffectual weakness (because gods may rely on people punishing themselves, but sissies must).
(2) "Eat, shit, and die." - A Sisyphan, almost Nihilistic musing on the futile transience of the physical life, on par with Hamlet ("To be or not to be?") and the Bible ("'All is vanity!' sayeth Koheleth.").
(3) "Eat; shit and DIE!" - Terrifying. And not in that good old-fashioned, paranoid 1950s, the-amorphous-Other-is-coming-to-eat-your-girlfriend way, but in that millenial, painfully self-aware, you-may-think-it's-me-killing-you-but-it's-really-you/society-killing-you way.

III. Highlights from mikaydee’s family Thanksgiving:
(1) “My brothers cut their own goddamn mangoes!”
(2) “Well, the subject came up while we were thinking of funny things to write on the baby’s forehead.”
"Ah, okay."
(3) “Spreading holiday cheer is a lot more fun with someone who takes it as seriously as I do.”
(4) "It never hurts to be too careful."
"Yes, it does! That's what the 'too' signifies!"
(5) “We’ve both been trying to make mom’s noodles from the recipe she gave us, but it never turns out the same. He thinks the missing ingredient is love.”
“…I was gonna say criticism.”
“…Does mom know the difference?”
"I dunno. Do you?"
(6) “Sage and garlic do NOT count as vegetables.”
(7) “Do you think the baby would get mad if we dressed her up as Kuato from TOTAL RECALL?”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

mutually assured deliciousness

Ich bin ein Frankfurter
mikaydee: that hot dog saved my life last night
mikaydee: how many people can say that?
PM: it was the perfect solution
mikaydee: perfect and DELICIOUS
mikaydee: more solutions need to be both effective and delicious
PM: if congress served cocktail weenies with the bills they brought to vote they'd actually get something done
mikaydee: haha
PM: cocktail weenies are bi-partisan
mikaydee: i'm working on a middle east peace plan that involves flooding jerusalem with fudge
PM: see! effective AND delicious!
PM: you have to appeal to the tastes of the people!!
PM: now THAT'S a campaign slogan
mikaydee: hahaha
PM: "your slogan harkens to a grass roots style politics..."
PM: "actually, i mean that literally. appeal to the ACTUAL tastes of the people. like chocolate. everyone likes chocolate. lets make bus tickets out of chocolate."
mikaydee: haha!
mikaydee: instead of death by chocolate
mikaydee: detente by chocolate
PM: haha
PM: i think we're tapping into a golden idea here
mikaydee: nobel peace prize 2008, you and me!
PM: also, on an equally prestigious note, a zagat culinary arts award!
mikaydee: hahaha
PM: the double-banger
PM: take THAT, mahatma gandhi
mikaydee: ha!
PM: i don't see him winning any culinary awards anytime soon
mikaydee: nope, ascetics aren't really known for their epicuran skills
mikaydee: and hunger striking is sooooo 50 years ago
PM: when food wasn't really anything to write home about anyway
mikaydee: haha, yep
PM: i'd like to see them try that in the world of double-doubles with animal sauce
mikaydee: hahaha
PM: (haha... when you say it like that, it seems to fly in the face of every religious belief they hold)
mikaydee: LOL
PM: probably won't be any in-and-out chains opening in new delhi
mikaydee: hmm, yes, we'll have to tweak the strategy for India/Pakistan, considering that a sandwich with beef and cheese will likely piss them BOTH off
PM: and then you add animal sauce to it... they're BOUND to ask questions
mikaydee: hah
PM: then again, this is the same place that serves tiger penis puree as an aphrodisiac... or is that aparitif?
PM: either way, i ain't eating it
PM: if it's used for excrement... and isn't a colon... then it's not going in my mouth!!
mikaydee: ....i fully intend to quote you on that
PM: my mother don't raise no fool!
mikaydee: no, but she did raise someone who inexplicably draws the line between penis and colon
PM: ... and chooses colon
PM: it's silly that that's part of the body that we readily eat
mikaydee: hahaha
mikaydee: yep
mikaydee: we probably ate it yesterday
mikaydee: (i love when the conversation comes back around)
PM: that colon stuffed with pig parts saved my life last night
PM: (i think we just had a conversation out of a one act play...)
mikaydee: haha! totally
mikaydee: add to our nobel and zagat a pulitzer!
PM: solving the world's joke at a time
mikaydee: *high five*
mikaydee: (curtain)

Friday, November 9, 2007

because it takes a village

An Open Letter to My Cousin AJ, Who, at the Age of Two, is Already an Emotionally Manipulative Alpha Girl
Dear AJ,
I called your dad yesterday to wish him a happy birthday. When the conversation turned to you, as it inevitably does, I sensed a weariness come over his voice, but a weariness tinged with gratitude, like that of a self-flagellating monk, gratuitously suffering in the service of the highest cause. He sounded, in short, like a man under the thumb of an emotionally manipulative alpha girl. To which I say to you: brava, Wunderkind, brava.
So permit me, if you will, to impart to you the following advice, which I wish someone had told me when I first discovered my near super-human powers of getting people to do what I want by attacking the soul rather than the body:
- You seem to have already mastered the art of offensive withholding: telling your dad you don't love him because he was at our grandfather's wake and therefore didn't tuck you in like he usually does, telling your mom you wanted to live with your Nana when she tried to make you take a nap. That's all well and good, but the next step is learning to parry using the Defensive I-Love-You. This can be applied pre-emptively, such as before you ask your dad (and later, significant other) for something far too expensive for what it actually is, like a purse dog or a private college education. It can also be applied retroactively, like after your dad bails you out for your first stimulant-related misdemeanor. Measured application of both techniques is the best way to keep your opponents off-balance and vulnerable.
- In the next 8 to 11 years, you will probably hit the slippery patch of pre-adolescent ice known as "the awkward phase." If you're LUCKY, this will involve gangliness and possibly braces and acne; if you're unlucky, it will involve fat. Either way, this will be a time to milk your dad for all he's worth; having more expensive things than everyone else is the only way to keep your iron grip of power during these few years between cuteness and hotness, so be prepared. (You may want to think about pushing your dad toward the private sector pretty soon.)
- It is ESSENTIAL that you peak sophomore year of college and NOT sophomore year of high school. Just trust me.
Yours Ever,

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

since i have nothing interesting to say, but others do (also known as an M.A. degree)

A Few of My Favorite Things:

- Who puts Marx in for Wittgenstein? A guy who thinks that faith
alone saves*, that's who.

- The Uruk-hai need to autoethnographize their own subjectivities in
order to avoid becoming complicit in their own oppression.

- The vending machine in the basement of Fiske used to be like this
(typical lefty-pinko media building).

*My sister and I once came up with this great t-shirt we wanted to make saying: "I fought a counter-reformation and all I got were these Third World countries." I still think this t-shirt should exist....Maybe, come Christmas time, it WILL exist, in a box, under the tree, with my sister's name on it....Or her BABY'S NAME! (mikaydee: best or worst godmother ever? Discuss.)