Friday, September 23, 2011

Count On Science To F*ck Up A Perfectly Good Excuse For Bad Behavior

The following story appeared on MSNBC yesterday. I was intrigued by its premise so I gave it a read. I couldn’t help but chime in and give my two cents (in italics).

Blame it on the alcohol? Maybe not, study suggests

By Andrew Winner

It’s a trap that most of us have fallen into: making a rash or regrettable decision after a few cold Coors Lights. Blame it on the booze, right? A new study out of the University of Missouri College of Arts and Sciences sheds light on how the brain processes mistakes in the presence of alcohol.

After a few Coors Lights? Speak for yourself dude – any drinker worth his salt can down at least a dozen silver bullets without even getting buzzed (that’s why they call it Colorado water). You must be a pussy (with a name like Winner why am I not surprised). I can already tell you have no business writing this story.

In a finding that runs contrary to previous thinking, it turns out we still know we are making mistakes when intoxicated. We just don’t care as much.

Reminds me of the famous line from Office Space: “The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care”. Translated for applicability to this story: “It’s not that I actually find her attractive, it’s that I just don’t care.” Following me, Andy?

“I suppose the main implication is that people shouldn’t assume ‘I was drunk’ is a good excuse for doing things one knows he or she shouldn’t be doing,” wrote the study’s author, Dr. Bruce Bartholow of the University of Missouri, in an e-mail. The study will be published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Doing stupid shit when you’re drunk? What’s abnormal about that?

“It’s not as though people do drunken things because they’re not aware of their behavior, but rather they seem to be less bothered by the implications or consequences of their behavior than they normally would be,” Bartholow added.

Yeah – haven’t you ever heard the phrase “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. Drunks invented that.

Bartholow set out to bring clarity to an area of ambiguity in brain research: Does the strength of the ERN – the error-related negativity “alarm signal” set off in the brain by mistakes – change with the presence of alcohol? Research out of the Netherlands in 2002 had concluded that intoxication reduced the brain’s capacity to detect errors.

Irresponsible drunks everywhere thank you, the Netherlands.

However, Bartholow’s study challenged that assumption by asking if it’s possible that the ability to detect errors actually remained the same – but alcohol changed the brain’s reaction to those errors.

Come on Bruce – that’s just crazy talk.

“I wondered whether alcohol's effects on error processing were less about reducing awareness of errors and more about reducing the distress that normally accompanies errors,” Bartholow said.

Another fine example of curiosity and science f*cking things up.

In the study, a group of 67 people aged 21-35 were split into three groups. While two of the three groups received a placebo alcohol (10-proof vodka-tonics), or just plain tonic, the third (lucky?) group received alcoholic beverages -- 100-proof vodka-tonics. The participants in the alcohol group got to a blood-alcohol level of about .09 percent -- just over the legal driving limit. The other two groups remained at a .00 percent blood-alcohol level throughout the study. All participants were then tasked with completing a challenging computer task.

Would surfing the net for porn be considered a challenging computer task?

Bartholow’s team noted that while all the groups made mistakes, those which had consumed alcohol were less likely to notice their errors. The alcohol drinkers were also less likely to slow down after an error.

Wait, you lost me. Are we talking about drunk sex or challenging computer tasks?

However, in addition to monitoring their performance on the computer, participants also measured the subjects’ mood. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the alcohol group reported feeling less negative. (Hilariously, the group which received the placebo had a more negative mood.) Using these measurements, Bartholow’s team was able to demonstrate a correlation between the mood of the participants and the strength of the ERN. A less negative mood equaled a less severe ERN.

Alcohol = happiness. Now you’re on to something science boy.

For the study author, the findings represent an important step in understanding how alcohol affects the brain – and the mistakes made by people who have had a couple brew-dogs. Further avenues of research could include testing whether drunk people can be sufficiently motivated to care about their mistakes (and if so, would their brain responses be similar to those of sober individuals).

Andrew, did you seriously just refer to beer as brew-dogs? Let me guess: you were head of the chess club in college, spent the better part of your 20’s living with mom & dad (playing World of Warcraft in their basement), didn’t get laid til your 30’s, and to this day secretly prefer wine coolers to beer? Okay, 3 out of 4 then? Delta Bravo city.

Also did you just say it would be a good idea to research whether drunk people can be motivated to care about their mistakes? I’ll save you some time here, Andy: No.

Another possible avenue Bartholow is pursuing is testing whether the error-related brain activity differences observed in the study will produce changes in other parts of the brain as people attempt to correct their mistakes. In what promises to be endless entertainment for the research assistants, Bartholow is pursuing the use of an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging – or scans that measure brain activity) machine to take measurements of the study participants.

Why bother? I say put down the microscope and have a cocktail, Bruce. While you’re stuck in your lab testing out stupid hypotheses no one gives a shit about, and Andrew’s holed up in his parent’s basement writing stupid articles on subject matter way outside of his wheelhouse, the rest of us are out here in the real world boozing it up, making bad decisions, and enjoying every minute of it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Words Behind The Music

I used to listen to music without stopping to think about the meaning of the lyrics. If a song sounded pleasant or inspiring I just enjoyed it at face value and that was that. File it under the “ignorance is bliss” category I guess. Then I met my wife and my perspective changed completely. She’s one of those people who hears the lyrics of a song independent from the music, and can tell you exactly what it means after hearing it just once. My brain on the other hand doesn’t work that way. I have to concentrate like hell when I listen to a song, and in most cases need to listen to it several times before I’m able to decipher the lyrics. Even then I still can’t figure out what a song means most of the time (Are you human or are you dancer? What the f*ck am I supposed to do with that?). That’s why I really appreciate MTV’s “Storytellers” show where artists sing their songs while simultaneously breaking down what each line means. I’m often surprised and never would have grasped the artist’s intended meaning of their songs. I was recently listening to the Adele tune “Someone Like You” and was struck by an epiphany. In an instant I knew exactly what she was singing about, almost like the song was speaking to me. Below I’ve broken down the true meaning of “Someone Like You” section by section. I think you’ll be very surprised by what you’re about to read, especially considering how pleasant the song sounds on the surface.

Adele - "Someone Like You"

I heard that you're settled down
That you found a girl and you're married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you.

Translation: I facebooked stalked you. That was really dumb putting your home address in your profile.

Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain't like you to hold back or hide from the light.

Translation: You look scared (you should be).

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over

Translation: The rope and duct tape are in the trunk. If you don’t come willingly I’m going to smother you with this ether-soaked rag and drag you to my car.

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
"I'll remember", you said,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,

Translation: By someone like you I mean you. After you’ve been locked in a cage in my basement for the next month I’m sure you’ll come around. What? There’s a fine line between love and hurt (it says so in the chorus).

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday it was the time of our lives
We were born and raised
In a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days

Translation: You were into me when I was young and skinny. Unfortunately the years haven’t been so kind. Don’t worry – it’s pretty dark in the basement.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded
That for me it isn't over, yeah.

Translation: This is the part where you try to run away and I stun you with my taser gun.

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
"I'll remember", you said,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.

Translation: Don’t look so panicked – I’m sure your wife will find somebody else after you’ve been missing long enough.

Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

Translation: Bittersweet for you. For me this is actually quite enjoyable, me being a crazy stalker and all.

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
"I remember", you said,
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead.

Translation: Oh shit, is that police sirens?

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
"I'll remember", you said,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.

Translation: Not so tight on those handcuffs. I can’t believe your bitch wife called the cops. “I’ll remember” this asshole. I’m coming after both of you once I break out of the loony bin.

Wow – that’s some pretty disturbing shit, Adele. Who knew?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Charlie Sheen Remix

We all remember the epic Charlie Sheen meltdown from earlier this year. It was stuff of legend. Now he’s back and the new, “mellower” Charlie Sheen is well… dull. In honor of the “winning” Charlie Sheen of old I thought I would post some of his greatest hits for your viewing pleasure. Come on Charlie – coke up or hooker up or do whatever the hell you need to do to freak out again. Bottom line our country’s pretty f*cked up right now and we could all really use the distraction. Plus this new Charlie’s just a bunch of bullshit – own it.

On haters: "Look what I'm dealing with, man. I'm dealing with fools and trolls. I'm dealing with soft targets, and it's just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee … they lay down with their ugly wives and their ugly children and just look at their loser lives and then they look at me and say, 'I can't process it.' Well, no, and you never will! Stop trying! Just sit back and enjoy the show."

On ex-boss Chuck Levine: "I'm tired of being told 'You can't talk about that, you can't talk about that.' Bull S-H-I-T. There's something this side of deplorable that a certain Chaim Levine — yeah, that's Chuck's real name — mistook this rock star for his own selfish exit strategy, bro. Check it: I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his unevolved mind cannot process. Last I checked, Chaim, I spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. And the gratitude I get is this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write. Clearly someone who believes he's above the law."

On his own greatness: "I'm sorry, man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground."

On the making of Major League 3: "Whatever … If they want me in it, it's a smash. If they don't, it's a turd that opens on a tugboat."

On drugs (literally I’m guessing): "If you love with violence and you hate with violence, there's nothing that can be questioned. People say, 'Oh, you'd better work through your resentments.' Yeah, no. I'm gonna hang on to them, and they're gonna fuel my attack. And they're going to fuel the battle cry of my deadly and dangerous and secret and silent soldiers. Because they're all around you. Sorry, you thought you were just messing with one dude. Winning."

On even harder drugs (maybe, probably): "Guys, it's right there in the thing, duh! We work for the Pope, we murder people. We're Vatican assassins. How complicated can it be? What they're not ready for is guys like you and I and Nails and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks. Boom. Print that, people. See where that goes."

On addiction: "It's the work of sissies. The only thing I'm addicted to is winning. This bootleg cult, arrogantly referred to as Alcoholics Anonymous, reports a 5 percent success rate. My success rate is 100 percent. Do the math … another one of their mottoes is 'Don't be special, be one of us.' Newsflash: I am special, and I will never be one of you! I have a disease? Bullshit! I cured it with my brain, with my mind. I cured it, I'm done … you don't look like you're having a lot of fun. I'm gonna hang out with these two smoking hotties and fly privately around the world. It might be lonely up here but I sure like the view!"

On one of our founding fathers: "I'm not Thomas Jefferson. He was a pussy."

Where have you gone manic Charlie Sheen? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. #WINNING!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beware The Celebridouche

Here’s a litmus test for all celebrities out there. If a given behavior would not be deemed acceptable for a member of the general public, then it’s probably not acceptable for you either. Or is it?

Seriously, do celebrities receive a memo once they’ve reached a certain level of wealth and fame stating that the rules of society no longer apply to them? Welcome to the club: commence the debauchery, depravity, and any other selfish perversity that you so desire. It’s not only tolerated, it’s encouraged.

Let’s look at a few examples:

I recently read that Katy Perry doesn’t allow her chauffeur to look at her in the rear view mirror while he’s driving her around town. If I catch you eye f*cking me one more time I swear to God I’ll strangle you to death with this pointy bra.

Apparently Katy Perry and Barbara Streisand are cut from the same cloth, as Babs notoriously makes hotel workers enter and leave her room backwards, so as not to look at her directly. Turn the f*ck around asshole. I don’t care if you’re bumping into shit. I told you not to f*cking look at me.

Justin Timberlake (who seems like a cool ass dude BTW) apparently has a similar regard for hotel personnel as his staff strictly forbids hotel staff from addressing him under ANY circumstances. What the f*ck did you just say to me? I already told you dude, if you have something to say you f*cking say it to the entourage, not me. Got it, genius?

Don’t get me wrong not every celebrity is a celebridouche (I just made that shit up - trending today on Twitter? #celebridouche – one can dream) but here’s a few who are:

While on set Jessica Alba demands that no one look at her, walk near her, or take her picture. She also refuses to let extra’s eat the same food as SAG members. Hey asshole, are you as pretty as me? Damn straight you’re f*cking not, so put down that sandwich and go eat the ugly people food over there.

Mariah Carey insists that her hotel suite be fitted with gold faucets, a new toilet seat must be installed before her arrival, and her own bed linens are delivered in advance. Also both Carey and her dog will only bathe in French mineral water. What the f*ck, this mineral water’s not from France. I explicitly told you I wanted FRENCH mineral water. And while you’re out fetch me two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a large pepperoni pizza, you incompetent assf*ck.

But the biggest celebridouche of them all? That would be zombie-dude marrying Jennifer Lopez, whose hotel suite MUST be painted and furnished completely in white with white lilies and white roses (her favorite flowers). White candles must also be prominently placed, preferably with Paris perfume, “Diptyque.” Her sheets must be of Egyptian cotton with a thread count of at least 250, and the room temperature must be set to EXACTLY 25.5 degrees Celsius. Hey f*cknut, what does that thermostat say? 25.4? And what did I specifically ask for? Say it with me - twenty five point f*cking five. So f*cking fix it asshole… now!

It really goes beyond the quirks and unreasonable demands though. The celebridouche lives a completely different lifestyle than the rest of us, and is able to get away with shit that you and I could never pull off. Hell - they don’t just get away with it, they’re celebrated for it.

For example Jennifer Aniston (who I have a big crush on) has literally nailed every eligible bachelor in Hollywood. In the real world she’d be considered a round-heeled whore. In the celebrity world though she’s America’s sweetheart.

And what about John Mayer sticking it to 17-year old Taylor Swift (I have no idea how old she actually is but she looks 17)? In the real world he’d be condemned as a pedophile. But in the celeb world? A harmless playboy.

Same story with George Clooney. Dude’s banged pretty much everything not nailed to the floor in Hollywood. He’s a serial f*ck-and-chuck’er. In the celeb world? Only the “sexiest man alive”.

And what about Michael Jackson? When he was alive he was literally a child molester (allegedly). In death however he’s been deified by the very industry he helped build. All hail Saint Michael, we forgive you.

It really doesn’t seem fair that fame and wealth give you a flyer on ethics, morality, and a general respect for your fellow man. But somehow it seems they do.

Once I’m rich and famous can you guess what my thing’s going to be? …Midgets of course (what else?). Hotel managers of the world listen up. There better be a midget butler and maid in every f*cking suite I stay in or I swear to God I’ll go diva on your ass and f*cking shit can the place.

Seacrest out.