Archive for December, 2010

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Better New Year’s Hangovers Through Science

[ Comments Off ]Posted on December 31, 2010 by admin in Health & Wellness

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Tired of all those mamby-pamby guides telling you that drinking water and taking aspirin will prevent your hangover? Get real, with our no-holds-barred, drink your brains out guide. Prepared by a retired top professional in the field.

Go ahead and drink yourself silly.
Just don’t be a baby about it.

If you don’t feel like drinking a lot tonight, we already suggested some excellent New Year’s Eve movies. But if you DO decide to drink a lot tonight, do me a couple favors: First, don’t drive. And second, don’t complain about your hangover tomorrow. Drinking to excess is all fine and dandy, but man up and do it right, or don’t do it at all. Although I kicked the habit a few years ago, I actually have considerable experience in this arena, so you can trust my expertise. I estimate that in the more productive period of my illustrious drinking career, I easily consumed over a thousand gallons of vodka. Which is my first tip. If you’re going to funnel poisons into your body for an evening, be scientific about it. Anything other than straight vodka may be tasty and enable a lot of highbrow banter about palates, noses, and finishes, but is frought with peril. Wine, beer, and whiskey are variously chock full of fungus and mold, cogeners, and fusel oils. It should be telling enough that the smoky and fiery character of bourbons are derived from something that in German means bad liquor. Some of us have understood this vodka trick for years, and now science has finally validated the idea.Speaking of science, I bet you didn’t know that there’s an enzyme in our systems specifically for breaking down alcohol. Well there is. So while you’re drinking the most-distilled vodka you can get your hands on to ensure that it’s almost entirely simple ethanol, EAT SOMETHING for chrissake. Russians have understood this for ages; they do a little shot, have a little Zakuski, do a little shot, have a little Zakuski… wipe, rinse hands, repeat. Until you’re grabbing everyone within reach (your reach will dwindle as you slump under the table) by the neck to kiss them and tell them how much you love them, goddammit. Oh, and have a glass of water now and then. This isn’t rocket science; it’s just science. And one trick I’ve never heard or read about but I swear worked flawlessly for me for years: eat a couple of eggs right before bed. And by “right before bed” I mean as you’re passing out on the way to it. And aspirin? Whatever. If you’re drunk enough that you’re already anticipating a brain-splitting hangover, your body is so busy detoxing already I doubt it’s going to notice you slipped it a couple puny aspirin. No, the end of a hard night of drinking is hardly the time to start taking medicine, unless of course by “medicine” you mean copious amounts of recreational drugs. In which case, have at it. I never understood the idea of ingesting intoxicants and then not ingesting ALL THE INTOXICANTS AVAILABLE. I mean, the objective here is intoxication, right? No sense mucking things up by trying to figure out ways to not be intoxicated. I mean, if you don’t want to be intoxicated, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DRINKING? And that leads to our last little tip, which is dealing with the hangover if you fail to prevent it. Not to be insensitive or anything, but this part is pretty simple too. Either get up, have a bloody mary, and go on about your day, preferably engaging in difficult manual labor, or lay in bed swearing you’ll “NEVER DRINK AGAIN OH DEAR GOD I SWEAR IF YOU JUST MAKE THIS STOP“. If you choose the latter, take a cue from the movie Trainspotting, in which the character Renton shares a list that very nearly matches exactly what you’ll need to feel better: “one mattress; tomato soup, ten tins of; mushroom soup, eight tins of, for consumption cold; ice cream, vanilla, one large tub of; Magnesia, Milk of, one bottle; paracetamol; mouth wash; vitamins; mineral water; Lucozade; pornography; one bucket for urine, one for feces, and one for vomitus; one television; and one bottle of Valium“. Hopefully you won’t actually need the first and second buckets, but otherwise this list is just about right for a hangover. In reality, I in fact hope you’re smart and responsible enough to not get blithering drunk tonight, but if you must, do it with dignity, and tomorrow, accept the fact that bacchanalian revelry is in fact a pretty freakin’ stupid way to start the year. Whatever you do tonight, just don’t hurt anybody else. And truly, I wish you and yours and all of us on Earth a Happy New Year.

Should Drunk Driving Ads Be Funny?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on December 30, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Personally, I think humor can be more effective in designated driver commercials than horrific statistics and images, but does anyone really think a talking urinal cake will prevent drunk driving?

Years ago, before the idea of designated drivers was familiar in the US, my friends would often choose me as the driver at the end of a night of clubbing, because I had a miraculous ability to appear sober with ten or fifteen cocktails in me. When the concept of designated drivers was popularized in the late 80′s, my friends would actually joke about how my job finally had an official name. We thought this was pretty funny for a long time. That is, until the first of our friends died in a drunk driving accident. I’ve personally lost three friends to drunk driving, and even more to drug addiction, so I don’t take the topic lightly. But I feel there’s a reason you kind of have to if you want to drive real change on the issue, and here it is: This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes. That’s one every 50 minutes. But probably more shocking than numbers like that is the fact that organizations like MADD seem to think that scaring the general populace with these kinds of numbers will somehow stop people from drinking and driving. In my opinion, it won’t. We’ve pointed out before that studies have determined that telling people to stop smoking won’t work, and may even make them smoke. And the fact is, drinking and driving is based on a similar problem. Any sentient human with a driver’s license in America in 2010 knows that drinking and driving will not only get you in serious legal trouble, but may actually kill someone. The real problem is that this sentient human we’re talking about no longer exists when they walk out of a bar after a hard night’s drinking and get in a car. There’s no point in aiming an ad campaign at a person who doesn’t exist, and for all practical purposes, that drunk person never saw the shocking ad about the results of drunk driving, and might even laugh it off if they did. In my opinion, there are only two¬† approaches to this deeply-embedded social problem that might prove effective. One would be to legislate sentencing so stern that no-one would ever think of driving after drinking, i.e.: a life sentence for first-time offenders. There are two obvious problems with that notion. One is that our already overcrowded prisons couldn’t handle the load of the several years of sentences that would be required to make the law work. The other is that – as evident in the old joke about Ted Kennedy saying “we’ll drive off that bridge when we get to it” when asked to make a final decision on a piece of legislation – the legislation itself would bog down for years. Another possible – and I think more effective – approach is using humor to table a topic that otherwise generates a tremendous conscious resistance on the part of those who need to hear the message most, i.e.: problem drinkers. It is with some discomfort that I say that I think one of the best campaigns I’ve seen in a while is the Wanna Go Home With Me Tonight? campaign created by Anheuser Busch. Although some take issue with the fact that it plays on jokes about being drunk and relies on sexual overtones, the people who get up in arms about those otherwise legitimate criticisms aren’t the people we need to reach, and behind the adolescent teaser of the campaign, they do direct users to more content and social networking tools that can spread the message. Admittedly, they fall short on useful detail in their “Great Party Guide”, but if you’re throwing a party and serving liquor, hopefully you’re not looking to a global beer conglomerate for hosting guidance. So this all reminds me, I meant to ask. Who are YOU going home with New Year’s Eve? Whoever they are, I hope they’re sober if they’re driving. For a little more drunk driving humor, check out the video clips below. We also included our own little sobriety test at the end. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashionable Fear-Mongering: World War III With China

[ Comments Off ]Posted on December 29, 2010 by admin in Politics

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Now that the TSA’s relentless breast and crotch groping has saved us from the threat of radical Islamic underwear bombers, we can focus on new irrational fears. Like war with China.

I surrender.

How’s your Mandarin? Do you like Chinese food? These are good questions, because if you’re tired of the same old fear-mongering about radical Islamic terrorists, we have an even more terrifying thought for you. What if suddenly you couldn’t afford a new cell phone or flat-screen TV because China started restricting their exports of rare earth metals? Now there’s something the average American would go to war over. And the idea of war with China isn’t so preposterous; we’re already at war, and have been for a while now. So far we’ve been just fighting about who’s state-controlled capitalism is better for the world. Their brand, in which they cleverly make the Japanese buy dollars by buying Yen to manipulate currency? Or our brand, in which Ben Bernanke just prints more money to manipulate currency? Some think China is flipping off America with their strategies, while others take a more balanced view, pointing out that we need China to do this. And still others take a longer view and suggest we need to turn this “financial cold war” into a new game of Mutual Assured Destruction, only this time based on economics. But it’s not really just the sanctity of our electronic gadgets or the once almighty dollar we have to worry about, because China’s defense minister said yesterday that China is preparing for armed conflict ‘in every direction’. So what would war with China look like for the US? Pretty grim, according to a RAND study published a few months ago. Not only do they have submarines that can pop out of nowhere and a missile that can take out an aircraft carrier, but if you believe the stats on this page, China has twice as many people fit for military service as there are people in the United States. I’ll just be signing up for that Mandarin class now, so I can welcome our new overlords with a hearty Ni Hao! By the way, if you don’t understand why Ben Bernanke likes the money printing solution, see the video below. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Of 2010

[ Comments Off ]Posted on December 28, 2010 by admin in Best of 2010

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

By including the best list of the Best of 2010 lists, can we bring you the best list of Best of 2010 lists? Probably not, but we can bring you the best of Dissociated Press in 2010. What do YOU think was the best of 2010?

One reason I’m looking forward to the end of 2010 is because it will mean the end of the depraved and senseless orgy of “Best of 2010″ lists. Which is why we thought it was time to wrap things up neatly with the best Best of 2010 list. Which is ironic, because we’re always bitching about how stupid lists like this are. So how is it that we can lay claim to the best list? Well, arguably the best collection of 2010 lists otherwise is over at Fimoculous, so by including their list in our list, we supersede their “bestness”. See how that works? Unless they create some kind of “best of” Hasselhoffian recursion by including our list in theirs, we’ve kind of cinched it. But in reality, this is part two of the best of Dissociated Press (part one was back in July), which will by default include at least our best of the year, covering topics like Clean & Green, Lifestyle & Culture, Music, Politics, Pop Media, and Technology. Which is mostly a good way to dig deeper into our site if you haven’t before. We’ve been serving up fresh linkage and unsolicited commentary since June 2008, and even if you don’t enjoy it, a year end review serves two purposes for us; it lets us review content so that our information-damaged brains don’t repeat material next year, and it provides excellent filler content on a day when we really have nothing of interest to say. On a side note, we’re not joking about the “information damaged brains”; there’s only one of we, and it’s me. Something we hope to rectify in the coming year, so I can stop talking like I’m the freakin’ Queen of England or something. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts for some of the best of 2010. It’s been a fun year, with all the oil and information spills and fascism and whatnot. With any luck, things’ll be even oilier, leakier, and more oppressive in 2011! Read the rest of this entry »

Who The Hell Still Runs XP?

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on December 27, 2010 by admin in Technology

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Well, um, that would be me. And after a holiday data tragedy, I re-installed it. With a thumb drive.

If you’re a regular visitor of Dissociated Press, you may have noticed that for the first time since June 2008, we missed a day without announcing it. That’s because we were busy having a Merry Crashmas. Yes, while all of you were sitting around in your jammies Sunday playing with all the fun gifts we suggested for the holidays, we were unwrapping our little gift, a major system crash. Is it just me, or do hard drives always fail right after an extended period of hard work during which you keep telling yourself “I really should do a backup. Yeah. I’ll do it tomorrow for sure” and then dig back into your work at 5am on the Sunday after Christmas? Okay, it doesn’t always happen at 5am on the Sunday after Christmas. But when it does, you find out interesting things. Like, “Best Buy sucks”, and “wow I didn’t know ATA DVD drives were so rare these days”, and “wow, I didn’t know a DVD drive problem could cause a hard drive failure”. Actually they probably can’t. Our IT department (that would be me) has a hunch that it was a power surge, but whatever. An experience like this teaches you a lot of things. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, you learn that your nerdy friend who says callous things like “WHO THE HELL STILL RUNS XP?” to you when you’re in the middle of a data tragedy isn’t really all that smart, because apparently 74% of businesses still do . You also learn that if you installed XP with a new disc in 2007, you will have at least 89 Windows updates to make. And you learn that your Mac laptop and your thumb drive are your friends. And that you can probably live without the 60 gigabytes of music you didn’t have backed up. We pointed out a while back that you don’t have time to listen to it anyway. You also learn that installing XP from a thumb drive takes approximately 164 minutes. That must be why guides like this put you through the rigmarole that they do. I just copied the XP disc to a thumb drive using my Mac laptop, set my windows machine to boot from a flash drive, ran a couple of simple command prompts, and waited. And waited. It took a long time, but I had plenty, since I had a week’s worth of work to recreate. We’ll be back tomorrow, after we finish sobbing over lost data. In the meantime, we highly recommend this incredibly cheap Samsung DVD drive and this equally insanely cheap Seagate 1 Terabyte external drive. Yes, that’s a TERABYTE for a hundred bucks. Think of the tragedy you might prevent for the price of a good bottle of Scotch or a few nights at the movies. UPDATE: After a solid one year run, we’re doing it again. This time without the thumb drive. And we’re bringing this machine into the 21st century with a GIGABYTE GeForce 6200 GV-N62-512L Video Card and a G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit

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