Thursday, September 23, 2004

mojo jojo: more than just a super intelligent monkey

I consider myself a very practical person. I don’t put any faith in horoscopes. I think nothing of black cats, broken mirrors or ladders set in my path. There is no such thing as curses, hexes or voodoo. However, despite all this, I have become a firm believer in the power of “mojo”.
Mojo, simply put, is a force that you utilize to indirectly influence events around you. It can be to bring success to those you favor, or can attempt to sour the efforts of those opposed to you. Quite often, mojo works in such obscure ways, the rational mind tells you that is an impossibility that you can influence events so spuriously. Can one fan, wearing his lucky shirt and sitting in his lucky chair, will a player to hit a walk off home run? Of course not. But a million fans, all willing and hoping on their own, all doing their own rituals have an influence? A million people, simultaneously all willing at the same moment for the same thing? Maybe. I am a strong purveyor of mojo in all its forms, and I try to practice it even on a small scale. Do I think it brings me success? Not necessarily, but I’d rather hedge my bets and continue doing it anyway.
Mojo can take many forms, and if you are honest, I’ll bet you’ve participated in bringing good mojo at some point. Standing up to watch a pivotal play, whether at the stadium or in your own home. Having a certain kind of beer you drink when you watch the game. It’s all the same, whether it be the mundane, or the more obsessive. Early in the 2003 MLB Postseason, I realized that during a pivotal out the Sox bullpen needed I had sat through it as still as a statue. They got the out, and I vowed that whenever that big out was needed, I would do my part by continuing to remain as still as possible. I wouldn’t drink, or shift in my seat, just remain perfectly quiet, as if my calm would project onto the field and in turn calm our pitcher. The only time I didn’t get the chance to do it was for Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the ALCS. So naturally, I freely take my share of the responsibility for the loss. Mojo doesn’t have to be so, shall we say, ridiculous. Here are some of the more common ones, as well as the ones I like the most:

· Never talk about a no-hitter as its happening: This one goes right up to the big leagues. It’s an unwritten rule in baseball, and it just goes to show how mojo is even recognized on the big stage.
· Hot Chick Mojo: Also known as “Not Safe For Work” mojo. Always a powerful, as well as a popular form of mojo, especially on internet message boards. It has plenty of varieties – French/Italian, Spanish, British, or my personal favorite, Hometown Girls.
· Playoff Beard Mojo: Helping the team? Or just an excuse to be lazy… probably a bit of both.
· Hyperbolic Away Message Mojo: I use it before every Ultimate game. Finding new and interesting ways to describe playing Ultimate in the most ridiculous fashion imaginable always manages to get me excited to get out on the field.

For those of you who still have your doubts, I present to you a hands on account: unnecessary man-crush mojo. Since my previous posting stating my fondness for Mr. Orlando Cabrera, the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, he has had key hits in not one but two late rallies in Sox wins: One was the game-tying hit off of uber-closer Mariano Rivera on 09/17, the other was a walk-off home run on 09/22 in the twelfth inning against the Orioles. Schoolgirl crush mojo is very powerful indeed, and is to be only used sparingly. Besides, too much mojo of that sort can be.... creepy.

Of course, Frisbee Sectionals will soon be upon us, and I will be in attendance in support of my local Gentlemen. The question is which is more powerful: white-guy afro mojo? Or consummate professional mojo?

-- Hawaii out

Monday, September 13, 2004

hurrican't

It’s Hurricane Season again. Being lucky enough to live far north of the equator, I only need to concern myself with making sure any disastrous storms don’t blow the little umbrella out of my drink, and whether or not I should take the snow chains off my car so they stop chewing up the pavement. I do have friends and family who unfortunately do live in the path of these storms (they know who they are), and short of brightening their day with one of my trademark witty remarks, there is little I can do to help them. It served as a comfort when I learned that people were not only working on ways to better prepare for hurricanes, but actually were trying to find a method of lessening the power of these storms. At least, it did comfort me, until I realized that these people were idiots. Several ideas have been proposed, and I will tackle them in order of ridiculousness.

The most thought out plan appears to involve flying a Boeing 747 into a hurricane and dropping tons of super-absorbent goop into the storm, thus removing much of its power. The linked article points out the biggest problem with this theory, mainly that hurricanes are so friggen ginormous that flying in enough of this chemical (it estimates it would need thousands of tons) is at best: unrealistic, at worst: so unbelievably stupid that whoever suggested the idea should be catapulted into a volcano. However, I propose another problem to this plan not realized by its shortsighted founders. The devisor of this brilliant plan is optimistic that his scheme could reduce a storm by one or two categories. So, for example, if this plan was enacted for Ivan, a current category 5 hurricane headed for Cuba, the storm would become at best a less destructive category 3. Of course, what he fails to realize is that instead of a category 3 storm throwing about wind, rain, and debris, you now have a storm throwing wind, rain, debris, and a super-absorbent, environment altering synthetic goop. I’m sure this wonder-goop will be especially helpful to rescue workers and those trying to dig out from the storm when it is coating everything in sight with a filmy residue. It would be like throwing Cuba into a washing machine that has a faulty rinse cycle.

Another plan is to coat the ocean in olive oil. Just think about that for a moment. Coating the entire Caribbean in olive oil. Granted, it would be a dream come true for dolphin guidos, but how can someone propose this idea and not realize that it’s a) unfeasible b) unlikely to work and c) more likely to kill off untold amounts of plant and animal life than it is to prevent a hurricane. My bet is that the Greeks had something to do with this.

How about towing an iceberg down from the Arctic to cool off the ocean? First, I will ignore the fact that it is a ridiculous assumption that we could even tow an iceberg anywhere. Secondly, assuming we could just hook up a bunch of tugboats and give her a go, I’ll ignore the glaring logistical problems that this would create. The real problem here is that this is like attempting to cool off the water in your heated pool by dropping in an ice cube. Icebergs are very big, but oceans are much much bigger. People who think this is a good idea are the same people who buy 50 lottery tickets because it makes them more likely to win.

Possibly my favorite plan: constructing very large fans on the shorelines to blow away approaching storms. That sentence was physically painful to write. There are so many things that are wrong about this idea that I can not even begin to approach it logically. If for even a moment you think that this idea has some merit, there is a simple science experiment that you can do at home that can prove why it doesn’t. All you need is a household fan, and a plastic bag. Put the fan in the window and turn it on high. Aim the fan at an opposing wall across the room. Then put the plastic bag over your head, and cinch it tight around your neck. Make sure it’s really tight. When you start to see spots and black out, that’s when you know the experiment is working.

Perhaps the most well thought out idea where those that propose it obviously have given its consequences the most thought is to use a nuclear warhead to “blow the hurricane out of the water”. That’s what I love about this country: you know what will fix that? Nuking it. We should use our nuclear warhead surplus to start solving more of our country’s problems: Iraq, earthquakes, the homeless, France, endangered species, the sluggish economy... is there nothing we couldn’t solve by nuking it? My favorite part of the “nuke the hurricane” plan is that there is no plan. The plan is we just throw a nuke in there, and suddenly there is no more hurricane. Of course, there is no way to predict how a nuke would affect a storm. Maybe it wouldn’t affect it at all, save for making it a dangerous and deadly storm that now has radioactive fallout. Destroys your home, floods your city, and gives you cancer, all in one full swoop. Or, isn’t it just as likely that the energy from a nuclear detonation merely adds itself to the force of the storm. 300 mph winds, 100 ft. ocean swells, and a bunch of scientists that can do nothing but look sheepish and say “it was Will’s idea, I wanted to go with the giant fan thing”.
As long as we are proposing unrealistic, high cost/low success rate plans for averting hurricanes, I would like to submit a few of my own.

1. Shooting it with a laser from space.
2. Getting a "shitload of boats" and have them sail in a clockwise direction directly beneath the storm, thus canceling it’s spin and dissipating the storm.
3. Giving the hurricane a stern talking to.
4. Colonizing the moon where the atmosphere is much thinner and storm free. Flipping off the Earth whenever we see a hurricane.
5. Towing the hurricane to Canada. Let the Canucks deal with it.
6. Free beer for everyone living in Florida. It won’t get rid of the hurricane, but it should make everyone feel a lot better about living in front of them.

In fact, change that last one so “Florida” reads as “New England”. And so “beer” reads as “beer and porn”. Yeah, I like that proposal much better. It may not help out Florida as much as the first one, but the way I see it: Fuck Florida.

On an unrelated topic (because I’ve never felt the need to actually maintain a coherent narrative before), my commitment to this year’s edition of the Boston Red Sox is becoming much deeper than previously expected. Granted, I have been a Sox fan as long as I can cognitively remember, and this is a fact that is unlikely to change. There have, however, been some new wrinkles in my devotion to the Old Towne Team which gives me pause. The most prominent of which is the development of my new “man-crush” on the Sox’s new shortstop Orlando Cabrera. He may not be the best hitter on the team. He may not even be sixth best. But I watch that man play defense and I find myself sighing a sigh of content, as if I was drinking a rich hazelnut coffee and remembering Jean-Luc, the waiter from Austria. Now, this new found affection for Mr. Orlando “Magic” Cabrera is hardly a sexual one (as Jerry Seinfeld would say: “not that there’s anything wrong with that”), I would more equate it that of a 12 year-old girl infatuated with Corey Haim following his turn in The Lost Boys in 1987.

If this is not enough of a testimony for you, I present the following anecdote. On my friend Marissa’s suggestion, I spent last Friday night at Mark’s Showplace in Bedford, a local strip club. We were sitting at a table, watching as not twenty feet from us two gorgeous, nubile young girls were naked in a shower making out and groping each other. While everyone else’s eyes were glued to the lurid scene before them, my attention was diverted over my shoulder to the TV over the bar broadcasting the Sox game. While the room cheered for the two sex kittens toying with each other under the hot water, I was fist pumping as Jason Varitek hit an RBI single. The two faux-lesbians enchanted the crowd before them, except for me, whose thoughts were “why doesn’t Dave Roberts know how to take the bat off of his shoulder with two strikes, two outs and the bases loaded?”. Following the tawdry display of sexual antics, Marissa noticed my distraction and told me she thought I was ridiculous for paying any attention to the game. With all seriousness, I told her matter of factly that it was a pennant race, and thought I would have paid more attention to the two alluring vixens had the Sox not been rallying, but with the Sox threatening to score they didn’t have much chance of tearing me completely away. With my attitude the way it was, you would think it was the hot, wet girl on girl action that happened six times a week. And sadly, unlike many tales told on this here site, this story has not been embellished at all. I saw only half of a naughty girl-girl show because I was in danger of missing one half inning of Red Sox baseball.

Of course, the half of the show I did see did make me forget about Orlando Cabrera. Well, at least for a little while.
--Hawaii out