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Hyperion March 4, 2003

The Hyperion Chronicles
“Is it just me, or are all redheads crazy?”

#102 Potpourri, Volume XIV

Phat Tuesday Idea
Hope you’re all enjoying your Mardi Gras. I was talking to my friend Rayne today, and I told him that this is the only day where someone can do something nominal, like take out the trash or find their car keys, and you can proclaim, “Let there be drunken revelry and celebrations in New Orleans in your honor!” and get away with it. This is a time-sensitive joke, much like telling someone on January 1st you haven’t seen them since last year, so please use it with abandon for as long as you can (‘till tomorrow).

I’m also glad to see the Terror Alert Status got lowered. Whereas before we were on: DEFCON: OPRAH, we now are on DEFCON: JUDGE JUDY. Which means it’s still annoying, but the inconvenience isn’t nearly as big.

License to Drive will always rule!
I heard it suggested a few weeks ago that we mythologize the heroes of our youth, when we come of age. At first I balked at this, since I personally would do back flips to meet Genghis Kahn and I’d take Bette Davis to the prom if she were alive today, at 94 years old. (Yes, I bet me and “Ole’ Strokey” would be the hit of the night) However, upon more mature consideration, I think this idea has merit. Many of my readers think that Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer of all time, while I maintain that Mike Tyson—in his prime—would have wiped the floor with Ali. Similarly, I go on and on about the deepness of the lyrics of Eminem, but can’t get as excited about Elvis. Well-rounded people like to look at all of history, but maybe there will always be a soft spot in our hearts for the people making an impact when we first became aware of the wide world. God bless you, Corey Haim, and Corey Feldman!

An Xmas Wish
Okay, this might not work in real life, but is it possible that we could add one digit to phone numbers, so they go from 10 to 11? The reason is that when I dial on a touchtone phone, I could bang out the first line from Jingle Bells. Is that so much to ask?

I’d hate to see who got cut…
My friend Afkat told me this great story about playing basketball in the 7th Grade. Apparently, the coach was so enamored with the starters (and the rest of them were so bad) that the first five were the only ones who played. The second string felt useless, and mockingly named themselves The Pylons, after traffic cones, because all they did was sit there and do nothing. The third string, not to be outdone, named themselves The Pylon’s Replacements. Now, be honest: who of you out there has ever felt like The Pylon’s Replacement?

Hyperion Interrupted
I might have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: in a conversation, do you listen, or wait to talk? The next time you’re talking to someone, take stock of what you’re doing. If you find yourself forming your next sentence, or often cutting the other person off, the chances are you’re not listening, but only waiting (and sometimes badly at that, might I add) to talk.

The Obligatory Serious Section
Someone asked me what I thought of Megan’s Law. For me, it’s complicated, for it breaks down two different ways. First off, I think the penalties for rapists are way too light. If someone is a rapist and it can be proven and there is a pattern, I’m in favor of execution, instead of the current method of trying to come up with loopholes in the law, like having psychiatrists say rapists are mentally ill and have to be kept incarcerated. I appreciate the creativity of prosecutors but that’s a slippery slope. You give the government the power to incarcerate someone for what they think, and the government will find all sorts of uses for it (see Communist Russia). Ultimately, that way lies ruin. Change the law; get longer sentences, or execute them, because a rapist or molester isn’t just ruining the life of the person he hurts, but is likely dooming the future children of that person, and their children, and so on. In many ways, raping and molesting is far worse than murder. I admit that most molesters have been molested, but they don’t all do it, and I have to hold someone accountable. To me, there is not a justifiable excuse for these crimes (like there could be for murder; for example to protect someone), and if anyone deserves to be executed, they do. That being said, the current trend—registering sex offenders—seems wrong to me. In theory, when a man gets out of prison, he’s paid his debt to society. To put a Scarlet “R” on his chest is akin to punishing him again. Compounding the wrongs isn’t to lead to a right, and if you’re concerned about these people living in your neighborhoods, change the law so they never get out of prison; one way or another.

Voted Paragraph most likely to be laughed at
I was talking to this waitress at a local diner the other day. She’d obviously seen better days but she regaled me with stories about what a beauty she was in her youth. She told me that in her high school, she was voted, “Girl we’d most likely rob a bank for.” I’ve heart of pretty, but I’d have liked to have seen that.

So nobody’s perfect
I found out the other day that the word “cigarette” is short for “cigar.” Did anyone else know this?

Law of Gravitational Politics
My experience with the mail regarding my columns on Iraq has taught me this: people can be open-minded, but for the most part, they tend to be persuaded by what they already believe, and discount as garbage what they don’t. But, I would like to thank everyone who wrote, and so would Kevin. He told me that being persecuted for his beliefs gives him a new sense of accomplishment. Way to go, everyone! Just what he needed, a bigger head.

Alligators in the sewers
I want to talk for a second about Internet Hoaxes. Fooling people has been around for centuries; in fact, this is the basis for most governments, relationships, and religions. Urban Legends have a time-honored past, too. With the Internet and email, though, it’s gone to a ridiculous level. People get into the habit of forwarding what comes to them, and the more salacious the better. The thing is, most of these hoaxes don’t even pass the Cereal Test for believability. And the ones that sound plausible are easy to check too. is a good place to start. Just type in the subject, and often they can give you the proof one way or another. What bothers me is that sending these forwarded emails out ends up deceiving all your friends. Now, you may say that you don’t know it’s untrue, but not taking the time to find out either means you’re lazy or enjoy making people suffer. What’s worse, when I do the research and point it out, most people refuse to write a retraction. That’s why I’d like to give a shout-out to my grandmother. She’s the only person I know who has ever made things right on this. Now she sends me the story first, and I’m happy to check it out for her, before she foists it on the unsuspecting public. Way to go, G!

If you don’t read this, you’re a sinner
And while I’m on the subject, let me pull out the box of Tide and say this: I hate Hate HATE emails that tell me I have to forward them to 20 people if I want good luck. Especially galling are the ones that tell me if I love Jesus I will forward this within ten minutes or something equally grotesque. Well, I’m sending out a message right now: if you love Jesus, you don’t send ultimatum emails!

Cereal Killers
And while I’m thinking about it, let me explain what I meant a couple of paragraphs earlier about the Cereal Test. Years ago, I had a sister—who shall remain nameless to protect her anonymity—who was eating some cereal in violation of a command from my father. (It was almost dinnertime) He asked her sternly if she had been eating cereal, and she mumbled, “No!” while bits of Cheerios fell out of her mouth. So, when I say something doesn’t pass the Cereal Test, I mean it’s bad.

End of the column, end of the column, where for art thou…
I’m currently writing a column on Musicals (now you’re excited, I just know it), and something occurred to me. One of the qualities that makes musicals fun, the ridiculousness of them, also exists in Romances. Think about it: we like Romance a whole lot more when it makes completely no sense. They met on a boat, from two different worlds; they knew each other for two days. Meanwhile, the boat is sinking and 1500 people are dying. No matter: we want to know what happens to Jack and Rose (Titanic). In fact, all romances seem to share this trait, whether the back drop is the harsh life in Siberia with war breaking out (Dr. Zhivago), he’s a rich hockey player and she’s the dying girl from the wrong end of the tracks (Love Story), or they’re two kids, in rival Puerto Rican gangs, dreaming of a better life (Ben Hur).

Really, they all are variations of that greatest—and therefore stupidest—of love stories, Romeo and Juliet. You know the story. He’s 15 and madly in love with Rosalyn. Then Romeo sees Juliet (either through a fish tank, or some other way), and it’s “Rosalyn who?” But, it turns out this 13 year old enchantress is from the archenemy’s family, so their love is doomed, but all the more poignant. The star-crossed lovers do what they can to kindle their love and live in their so-called-life, but usually it doesn’t work out. This actually helps matters, because it’s hard to keep great romances afloat when mortgages come due and his mother won’t stop criticizing your lasagna. Anyway, often one dies heroically to save the other, or they both die, or somebody dies, but the audience (read: women and men who like Zima) are left feeling shaken to their core, but sure love still exists somewhere.

I guess that’s why they make sequels.

Until we get the Montagues and Capulets rising from the dead (and hopefully breaking into song), in part II: R&J, the Revenge,

March 4, 2003

Thanks to Laureate for being a sounding board
Thanks to Afkat for being bad at basketball
Thanks to Dominique for harassing me into writing
Thanks to G, for being the greatest grandma in the world
Thanks to Tufloi, for editing


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