Sunday, April 30, 2006

More sociology fun

And I thought my journalism degree was worthless. Sociologists, thanks for making me feel slightly better.
Today, we're going to consider the five crucial decisions a bystander must make before assisting in an emergency, courtesy of sociology.
1. First, the bystander must notice the emergency. That's right. This is the first step. If the bystander doesn't notice the emergency, he can't help. Do do do do, just strolling along, minding my own business. Wait, is that man on fire?
2. Second, the situation must be interpreted as an emergency. That man probably doesn't want to be on fire, right? (Places cell phone call to find out if being on fire is bad.) Yes, we are dealing with an emergency here.
3. Third, responsibility must be assumed. I am the only one here. Maybe I should put out that fire.
4. Fourth, the appropriate form of help must be chosen. Maybe I should dump my Big Gulp on the man. Or perhaps urinate on him. Maybe use my phone to call 911.
5. Finally, the form chosen must be implemented. I will pour my Big Gulp on him. Oh god, why is he still on fire?

Isn't this five-step process self-evident common sense understood by anyone over the age of four? Why does it need to be spelled out and taught to college students, particularly step one? Maybe if we apply this process to something less life-threatening the ridiculous obviousness of it all will become more apparent.

The five crucial decisions one must make before eating a taco
1. The taco must be noticed. Whoo! I just noticed these items on a plate!
2. The taco must be recognized as a taco. What are these things? Cell phones? Footballs? Tacos? (places first taco up to ear and attempts to place call. Taco filling falls out on the floor. Kicks second taco across the room. Shell breaks, filling is scattered across the room.) These must be tacos!
3. Responsibility must be assumed. It is up to me, and only me, to eat the remaining tacos!
4. The appropriate form of taco dispensal must be chosen. I know, I will hold the taco in my hand, bring it up to my mouth, and then chew and swallow. That is the proper course of action.
5. Implement the choice. (bites down on taco) These tacos are delicious!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lessons learned

Text courtesy of a sociology textbook I'm proofreading, drawings and word balloons courtesy of Dr. Mystery. I don't think I'll give you any context for the sociology quote. It's better that way. Click on drawing to enlarge.Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Collage #9

"Druggist Drugs Druggist" Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Taken verbatim from another sociology textbook

I was proofreading more sociology today. I stopped to read a few paragraphs when I got bored. I swear to god I did not make this up:


"Dude" is used to indicate a "cool solidarity," an effortless interaction with other men. The many uses of dude include:
a greeting -- What's up, dude?
an exclamation -- Dude!
to one-up someone -- That's lame, dude.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Collage #8

Collage #8: "Insatiable Gratification of Desires" Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ric Flair goes apeshit

Maybe some of you out there are tired of these professional wrestling posts. I wish I was tired of them. However, as long as new Ric Flair footage continues to be posted on You Tube, I will be unable to refrain from sharing them with the people. Okay, I will spare you his pro-George W. Bush speech, but I have to pass along yet another Ric Flair interview masterpiece. Unfortunately, there are no trademark "Whooos," but you do get to see him cry, scream obscenities, and generally go into a fugue state of maniacal intensity.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

April caption contest winner

I want to thank all eight contestants in the first Can-Smashing Robot caption contest. The winner has been drawn out of a hat at random, and, coincidentally, is the only contestant I've never met. Cloudhurler, you are the winner! Congratulations. A compilation CD will be made and shipped out in the next couple of days. Cloudhurler is also the only contestant whose address I don't have written down somewhere. So, Cloudhurler, as soon as you read this, email me at robotlord(at)hotmail(dot)com and let me know where to send your CD. And don't worry, contest losers. There will be a contest every single month. Brothers and sisters, your credentials are unlimited.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Ric Flair

Battle of the wooooos

Pro wrestling is so gloriously stupid. Why don't I watch it any more?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Most of the Von Erichs are dead

I loved professional wrestling as a child. I watched it as often as possible. Though I have no interest in the cult of celebrity, I am obsessed with celebrity death, particularly cause of death. I even subscribe to an Internet service that e-mails me whenever a celebrity dies. And, for the past six years, I have lived in Texas. These disparate strands of Dr. Mystery's life converge at a demonic crossroads known as the Von Erich family. If Shakespeare were forced to write a tragedy about a family of Texas professional wrestlers, he would have invented the Von Erichs. Denton County wrestling legend Fritz Von Erich and his wife Doris had six sons: Jack, Kevin, Kerry, David, Mike, and Chris. Kevin is the only one left. Jack was electrocuted, David died from an intestinal disorder, and Mike, Chris, and Kerry committed suicide. Later, Fritz and Doris divorced. Then they died. Thanks to the glory of You Tube, my search for a Jean-Luc Godard short film somehow led me to a seven-part history/parody of the Von Erich family's tragic story (don't forget publicity gimmick/fake "cousin" Lance Von Erich), and I was reminded of the many years spent watching the Von Erichs on World Class Wrestling when I was a kid. Here are all seven links to this idiosyncratic, tragic, hilarious, sometimes cringingly tasteless film (complete with hilariously fabricated quotes from the dead brothers and father). Here's to you, Von Erichs. Heaven needed a champion.

P.S. Tomorrow is the final day to enter the caption contest. Winner will be announced Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Geraldo at Large shocker! Some college textbooks are poorly written!

I was proofreading this sociology textbook about juvenile delinquency today, and it was not good. How could it be? Unfortunately, it wasn't even up to the standards of retarded competency that most freshmen-year textbooks meet. Let's consider two captions. The first was under the famous Kent State photo of the girl crying over the body of one of the assassinated student protesters. The caption repeated the common misconception that the girl was a Kent State student. Actually, she was a teenage runaway who happened to be on campus that eventful day. This factual error has been repeated in countless sources reprinting the photo, but this book is for college students. Shouldn't research and accuracy be emphasized, especially in a textbook for freshmen students? It's a minor error, but it sends the message that something is true if it is repeated often enough, regardless of its validity. On second thought, our current president's every action relies on this message, and I work in a basement for little pay. Another fine caption depicts a white supremacy rally in rural Texas. The caption reads, "A white supremacist with a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on his back sells books at a neo-Nazi rally..." Unfortunately for everyone, the racist idiot has a tattoo of two men on his back, neither of whom are Hitler, and he is selling t-shirts, not books. I could make a crack about white supremacists being unable to read, but I think I will stick to the facts and point out that the moron is selling his wares without a shirt. The worst caption of all may actually be the best in that it made me laugh out loud. The caption showed a Converse magazine ad featuring a muscled, shirtless black man dunking a basketball in the center of the advertisement and a muscled, shirtless white man dunking another basketball in the upper left corner. Centered across the top are the words "This ain't no playground." The caption reads: "Multicultural macho advertisements appeal to young males concerned with showing toughness through masculinity. This billboard suggests that Converse sneakers are not for kids' playgrounds."

Sociology textbooks, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Robot Town

I'm not a fan of nostalgia. I think it is one of the most debilitating of all human weaknesses, and too much of it can prevent a person from living a satisfying life. The ideal life, to me, is one lived almost exclusively in the present. However, it's hard to live by any ethical code, especially one's own, so let's call this post an appreciation of history and not a maudlin wallow in nostalgia. Besides, I'm still friends with the former citizens of Robot Town and in regular contact with them, and there's nothing nostalgic about that. In fact, one of them is married to the sister of my wife. Guess which one and win a peanut jar filled with Ernest Borgnine's urine. On to the post:

For the entirety of my junior year and portions of the first of my two senior years of college, I lived in a filthy, dilapidated house in the Russian Bottoms a few blocks away from the Midwestern university I attended. My roommates were Teenage Fashion Show, Professor Romance, and a revolving door of people who don't have blogs. (You know we are former roommates because we all use the same template.) While much of that time was spent feeling lonely, depressed, unsatisfied, angry, broke, hungry, drunk, stupid, smug, or unappreciated, living in the place was by no means routine. It was the last time in my life where I really had no idea what was going to happen on any given day. Oh, the adventures we had. Permit me to indulge in some masturbatory college memories. Please ignore the sentimentality, and if you don't like it, read something else. I suggest any volume of the "Sweet Valley High" series, or perhaps a column by George Will.
1) When we moved out of the house, I found a frog skeleton underneath my drum set.
2) I lived in the basement. It was infested with crickets. Eventually, I became adept at decapitating the insects with a pair of scissors. It was much cleaner than squashing them. A cricket would saunter by. I would grab the scissors and, with one smooth motion, lop off its head. I would grab a napkin, pick up the head and body, and drop it in the wastebasket. I got four in a row in four seconds once.
3) In the summer, a small crack in Professor Romance's window led to an infestation of snakes. One night, drunk at 3 a.m., I threw on a CD and got ready for bed. The CD stopped after one song. I got up and hit the play button several times. Nothing happened. I hit the open button. The five-disc changer popped out, and a baby snake was slithering around all over it. It slithered onto my floor. I wacked it with a drumstick for a few seconds, but this proved highly ineffective. I picked up the snake with an old t-shirt and threw it outside. (This anecdote is soon to be a Paramount motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson entitled "Snakes in a Stereo." The line, "Get these motherfucking snakes out of this motherfucking stereo" is expected to take on cult status.)
4) One Christmas, I received a pair of thick blue socks that were so ridiculous, I could only wear them at home. One of them mysteriously disappeared at the laundromat. At the time, I was on a strictly fast-food diet. One Hardee's Monsterburger too many, and I was dropping an incredibly greasy shit. I unfortunately had failed to check the toilet paper situation before sitting down on the toilet (bathroom pictured above). We were completely out. I couldn't even find any newspaper. I decided to use the blue sock. It was so thick. It took care of business. I'll leave it at that. Business completed, how to dispose of this blue sock? In my haste to find a suitable toilet paper substitute, my common sense had been momentarily displaced. For whatever reason, I did not throw the shit-smeared sock into the Dumpster. What did I do? I put it in a plastic bag and threw it in the neighbor's backyard.
5) Shane was a guy I knew from the dormitories, and he also knew each of my roommates, unbeknownst to us all. Coincidentally, he dated one of the girls who lived in the next house I moved into. Yes, I ended that last sentence with a preposition. Shane was a musclebound, athletic, tall, blonde guy who would have embodied Hitler's Aryan superman ideal to a T if it hadn't been for a handful of exceptions: he liked every person he met, had a bottomless appetite for drugs, had an unhealthy obsession with snakes, had a prosthetic leg (which was either due to cancer or a boating accident, he told different people different stories), and was completely, totally, and entirely one hundred percent motherfucking crazy as shit. It had been nearly a year since any of my roommates and I had seen him, but one Friday night, he showed up at our door with a Russian woman in extraordinarily tight and short shorts, a Turkish man, and an Iranian man and asked if we wanted to play some music. We went down to the basement, where all our instruments were set up, and he proceeded to play noodly, Tangerine Dream-esque New Age keyboard solos for about two hours straight. Then he pulls out a huge bag of pot and says he wants to make pot brownies. I go to the Save-Mart with him and his international entourage to buy some brownies at 2 in the morning. There is only one woman working the counter. He puts the brownie mix on the counter and yells out, "Whoo! Brownies! All right! I love them!", then proceeds to take off his prosthetic leg and pump it in the air above his head. The cashier flinches and looks like she is about to burst into tears. He hops around with his prosthetic leg hoisted in the air for about three or four minutes. We get back to the house ten minutes later, and he says, "I'm too tired to make brownies." Then he proceeds to have sex with the Russian woman on our couch, while we play some more music downstairs. Shane leaves the next morning, and I haven't seen him since. We avoid the couch for the remainder of our months at the house.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Reader participation time

Hey everybody! Remember when this blog had a Robot of the Week contest? Remember how much fun that was? Remember how I sent the Robot of the Month winner an envelope full of trash? It used to be about the community. The Internet community. Somewhere along the way, though, Dr. Mystery lost sight of the altruistic community-building the robot contest engendered. Instead, he abandoned the contest so he could spend more time working on his bizarre and selfish rants. Me, me, me. That's all this jerk cared about. Information superhighway? More like an information super-my-way. Dr. Mystery forgot his roots. He forgot the people that helped make him the failure he is today. But, c'mon gang, it's never too late to change. Or change back. So I, Dr. Mystery, am instigating a new contest. This is a caption contest. I will put a random photo up on the blog, and you, my lovely readers, if you choose to enter, will write a caption for the photo. I will keep the contest open for ten days. Unlike the last contest, this contest's winners will be decided not on merit, but by being drawn out of a hat at the end of the ten-day period. Dr. Mystery has moved beyond the concept of good and bad, better and best, pro and con. He knows that in the real world, success is achieved mostly by way of a lucky break, and the contest will reflect this reality. Also, everyone gets a chance to win this way. The random winner of each month's contest will win a homemade compilation CD created by Dr. Mystery himself. Not too shabby, am I right? I guess that depends on your taste. Contact info will be announced when the winner is revealed. Remember, you have to play to win. Without further ado, here is the first photo in our caption contest. To enter, leave your caption as a comment to this post. Whoo!

Working for a living is a stupid farce

I was sitting through a long meeting at work today in which empty jargon was bandied about and debated incessantly and people in love with the sound of their own voices made sure to say the same things repeatedly, slightly varying the sentences each time, and I had the opposite of an out-of-body experience (my mind was sucked somewhere into my lower intestine and nestled gently there for about an hour) while neon signs only I could see flashed the words: "THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. GET OUT. GET OUT NOW." There is something I'm supposed to be doing with my life, but somehow my mind and body aren't getting the message. I need to find some work that is meaningful and enjoyable. If I don't accomplish this goal, I will never be happy. Ever. You know what was great? As stressful and financially miserable as it was, unemployment was the best thing ever. I learned how to cook. I stayed up until 4 or 5 a.m. I woke up at noon. I read a million books. I listened to tons of music. I ate when I was hungry. I cursed the heavens when I was angered. I took thirty-minute showers. Fuck this working bullshit. It brings a man down. It is undignified to work in an office. My college diploma = a two-ply square of toilet tissue. I want to be a living man! I want to bite into the earth like it was a tasty sandwich, featuring all the meats, cheeses, condiments, vegetables, and breads known to humankind! Why is, has, and ever shall be my working day so repulsively insulting to the life I live outside of work? Is it because my parents aren't rich? Is it because I don't know the right people? Is it because I find ambition unseemly and dangerous? Take all jobs and shove them!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Collage #7

Collage #7: "The Moderately Upscale Restaurant across the Street from My Cubicle Has Been Patronized by Linda Evans, Laura Bush, and Fabio" Posted by Picasa