Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just Some Casual FIFA

            “Let’s go out tonight.”
            “I think I’m actually staying in.”
            “Come on…you have to come.”
            “Maybe next time.  I have some work to do.”
            “That’s pretty lame.  This party’s gonna be crazy”
            “Fine.  I’ll come.”
            Sound familiar?  This is a conversation that takes place in many dorm rooms.  Obviously, some people probably have stronger resistance to a change in plans.  Still, I think it’s safe to say that often times, it’s easier to say yes than no.  No one wants to be lame.  No one wants to be a loser.  We’ve been at school for two months now, but many of us are still trying to impress our new friends.
            Everyone’s heard the phrase.  We’ve been told over and over again to battle it.  Our parents and teachers have drilled us with strategies for overcoming it.  This is not a new phenomenon.  We call it peer pressure.
            Peer pressure comes in many forms—some severe, and others not so much.  It is our job to make educated decisions, weighing the pros and cons of each situation.  The problem is that, more times than not, the costs and benefits of our choices are not so clear.
            Say it’s Tuesday night.  We’ve done our homework and it’s pretty early.  Better yet, we don’t have class until tomorrow afternoon.  I’m looking forward to a relaxing night, but my roommate has another idea.
            “Let’s play FIFA tonight.”
            “Sounds good to me.”
            “But let’s make it interesting.”
            “Oy vey…what are you thinking?”
            “Let’s make it into a drinking game.”
Each time you give up a goal, you have to drink.  Just three guys having a little fun.  Doesn’t sound too bad, but when you’re lackluster at FIFA in the first place, and all of a sudden you’ve had a few drinks, things probably aren’t going to end well.  The effects are cumulative.
            Of course this case was not particularly extreme.  No long-term damage was done, and everyone made it to class the next day.  This is a great example, though, of why college students are at such a higher risk than even those in high school.  I know that when I was living at home, and I tried to go out on a Tuesday night, forget about it.  My parents would never let that happen, and I hated them for it.  I always argued that I made good decisions, so they should trust me.  The truth was that sometimes they knew best.
            In college, you’re on your own.  Mom isn’t going to make you stay in and do your homework—or maybe she will, but that’s a problem for another post.  It’s great to take advantage of this new freedom and try new things.  Everybody makes mistakes, and even stupid decisions can teach valuable lessons.  Just beware; when things go wrong, it’s on you.  Maybe your friends convinced you to go out in the first place.  Perhaps you were just doing the same thing as everyone else.  Nevertheless, it was your choice to make.  So make confident decisions—be proud of the choices you make—because they define not only who you are, but also who you will become.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Do People Lie?

Language: the tool that separates humans from all other creatures.  Some animals may have the capacity to communicate through sounds or other means, but people have a unique aptitude for speech.  Their vocal chords enable them to articulate their thoughts in an incredibly specific and often complicated manner.
Language comes in all shapes and sizes.  Language varies by region and heritage; it consists of letters, words, and sometimes, even signs.  Language is both spoken and written.  The alphabet, vocabulary, and syntax used are different throughout all groups of people.
Beyond the basics of language, our understanding is complicated by its constant progression.  New words are introduced, definitions shift, and cultures mix—our rhetoric is always evolving.  It is difficult enough to understand language without any additional obstacles.
Words are a powerful tool.  There’s a saying that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  That statement is false.  Words can bring both joy and despair.  Used carefully, they can help people in need, and further the success of any cause or individual.  Used poorly, they can ruin lives, or put a damper on something that was otherwise beautiful.
The problem is that many people do not know how to use their language properly—they abuse their power to speak.  From insults, to sarcasm, and even libel, there are countless ways to do wrong with words.  Perhaps the most interesting and classic example is lying.
Why do people lie?  There are seemingly a million reasons, but they boil down to a few common themes.  Often, people are simply afraid of the truth, or more importantly, its consequences.  If the truth is incriminating or embarrassing, it can seem disadvantageous to make it known unnecessarily.  If lying can save someone from experiencing something they’d rather not, it is an attractive alternative to telling the truth.  There is also the notion of a selfless lie, or white lie. Many argue that if a lie is doing someone else good, and has no negative consequences, it is okay.
So are there, in fact, situations when lying is okay?  The easiest argument to make is that lies are okay as long as no one is getting hurt; if a lie is only doing good and no bad, then there’s no problem.  This argument is all well and good, except for the fact that it is hardly, or maybe never, true.  Even a white lie conceals facts that might seem unnecessary in the short term, but in the long term might be helpful in fixing a problem, rather than simply covering it up.
A slightly different approach might be to weigh each lie.  If the pros outweigh the cons, then the lie is worthwhile. This method opens a door that forces people to take new factors into account, including perspective, and the subjectivity of what is better.  Should society rely on individuals to decide what is right and wrong, better and worse, for the entire population?
In America, citizens enjoy the liberty of free speech.  It is up to them to use their judgment when they speak and accept the consequences once they’ve been heard.  Whether lying is right or wrong, it exists, and it’s certainly not going away.  It is a phenomenon that people must constantly be wary of.  As the vastly overused Spiderman saying goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  Humans enjoy the blessing of speech and its merits every day—they must also bear the burden of using it in a way that does less harm than good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shit Jake Max Says: Volume III

Title speaks for itself.

"Dude this is the key, you can get cool cords and shit."

"A girl like me would be a terrible specimen."

"I could rock those sunglasses like a hurricane."

"This new Discovery Channel bag is great."

"I'm a quochine."

"I hope I do some molly or something."

"I love the premise of an isolated mystery."

"Don't worry, I have it backed up on the iCloud."

"There are no rules in the flavored ice business."

"I am pretty serious rapage material."

"I'm ready for some conch in my mouth."

"I love being little spoon."

"Cause I'd like to have sex and drink coffee every once in a while."

"I forgot to marshmallow my Mango Bango!"

"It was love at first ball-stuck-in-tits."

"Urine is my friend."

"That is a quality flick."

"I'm really into purchasing music right now because I can."

"It's like...cumming in your own mouth. That good."

"Have I shown you this deodorant? It has a slight coconut tinge."

"I don't think I've met a chip I don't like."

"I didn't want to look at her face, cause I was afraid of how bad it would be."

"I came in ninth in javelin once."

"You know I like investing in my little 'projects'."

"Dude, there's nothing like a ballpark frank."

"No, I just like codes and stuff."

"I don't think she's mean, she just has a problem."

"I'm just securing hella positions."


"I want vegetable stew. Right now."

"Fuck this, I'm the best employee ever."

"He has a quop in the car?"

"Come on, just bump me harder."

"Can you imagine getting murdered to this song?"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


            1997 was a long time ago.  I hadn’t learned to read.  The top grossing film was Titanic.  Bill Clinton was still the President of the United States.  South Park had its debut on Comedy Central.  Manny Machado was in kindergarten.  The Orioles were on their way to their last winning season for the next 15 years.
            The birds went wire-to-wire, finishing 98-64, while maintaining their spot atop the AL east for the entirety of the season.  They became only the seventh team in history to accomplish the feat.  It was their second season in a row making the playoffs.  Orioles Magic was in full flight.  I was 3.
            I grew up in an era when it was sad to be an Orioles fan.  Injuries, trades, and senior citizens in uniforms all contributed to our plight.  We had an owner who wouldn’t do what it takes to win, and managers who couldn’t do anything to stop the landslide.  It only took a few years for my dad to sell the season tickets.
            Besides, it was easy to go to a game.  Just show up; ask for the best seats in the house.  The tickets wouldn’t be expensive.  We still went to a game or two every year, but after a while losing gets old.  We’d go to the Yankees game, and the navy Jeter t-shirts would outnumber their orange counterparts, no fail.
            This was my reality.  We couldn’t win.  We didn’t know how.  Even the years that we started out hot, everyone knew that by August we’d have fallen off the map.  Forget about the playoffs.  Beating the Yankees once or twice in a season was the most we could hope for.
            Then, something finally gave.  After firing yet another manager, the O’s were due for some new leadership.  We brought Buck Showalter on board and he vowed to bring us back to relevance in the league.  We put “Baltimore” back on the away jerseys.  We reincarnated the cartoon bird—instantly raising the value of our flat-brims.  A new season was coming, and we were ready to go.
            I went to the game on my birthday, April 11.  The Orioles were playing the Yankees.  After losing in extra-innings the night before, I liked our chances.  A week into the season and we were still in the running.  I was a happy camper.  The game was a good one, but for the second night in a row, the Yankees got the win in extras—10 innings, 6-4.  It wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for on my birthday, but I’d take it.  After all, I never got much more than a nice night at the ballpark with my friends when I went to see the Orioles.
            That was the last time the Orioles lost an extra innings game this year.  Since then, they’ve won 16 in a row, one away from the all-time record 1949 Cleveland Indians’ streak of 17.  This goes along with their remarkable 27-9 record in one run games.
            So now, with 2 days left in the regular season, the Orioles have clinched a spot in the playoffs.  They’re one game back from the Yankees for the lead in the division.  Orioles Magic is back.
            There are a myriad of possibilities that could await them in the coming week, perhaps even traveling to Oakland for a one game playoff.  That doesn’t matter.
We might not win the World Series.  We might not even last 2 games.  But I don’t even care.  The sensation of winning is so foreign to me that I hardly know how to react.  The Orioles are back in the playoffs, and that’s more than I could have ever dreamed of.