The views and opinions expressed in O'Keefe's Briefs(tm) are not necessarily those of The Management. In fact, they are very likely not even the views and opinions of the writer, the typeface designer, god or the President of the United States. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who shares the extraordinary worldview expressed below, and should you, run. Far and fast. The Management would also like to point out that any references or similarities to any persons living, dead, or undead are entirely coincidental since we all know there are no such things as zombies anyhow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Cryptozoology?

Most people who know me probably think I'm fairly level-headed. A man of science; hard facts. And they are right. I love science. I may not understand some of it (I flatter myself that I understand more than most), but I love it. From quantum theory, strings, particles, biology, chemistry (kind of), and physics. I love how smart our species of great ape is; how cleverly we've begun to investigate the world around us, and all of the various tacks we've used to try to understand it. I love thinking about science on a macro scale, how it all fits together in a big, beautiful, and seamless ratatouille of reality. How all of the various disciplines are just different points of view aimed at the same focus.

They may also know that one of my pet peeves is the classic logical fallacy of reasoning from ignorance1. Cue irony...

Those who know me very well, however, also know that I will believe in anything remotely2 plausible: ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, Nessie, The Jersey Devil3, el chupacabra, what have you. So, what's the deal with this hypocrisy? For one thing, I like to keep an open mind. I mean where would we be if Copernicus didn't think "Hey! Like, what if we aren't located at the center of everything, man. Woah" (or something like that.) The point is, sometimes the most ground-breaking innovations come from bucking the status quo, going against conventional thought4.

This is one instance, for me, where asking "why not?" instead is far more gratifying. As we make more and more scientific advances, we will be able to rule out a lot of the kookier stuff like midichlorians, etc..; however, at the same time, new questions will arise - new loopholes and gray areas.  We don't even know what we don't know. The sheer majestic scope of mankind's ignorance is dumbfoundingly beautiful. And that my friends, is something I believe in more firmly than anything else. I may be swayed on many topics with a good argument, but that is one of my foundational beliefs. All people, of all races, religions, creeds, and cub scout packs, are ignorant, stupid apes.

Cryptozoology then, is for me a sort of mental exercise, if you will. What if? How can that be? When you stop questioning the world around you, you've given up.  When you deliberately stop using that evolutionary anomaly we call your brain, you are nothing more than a big meaty waste of food and oxygen (and you smell like cheese; FYI).  Too many people have given up, and that makes me a little sad and quite a lot more angry - willful ignorance drives me bat-shit insane sometimes.

Besides choosing to believe is fun.
1 - Many atheists use as an argument against religion. I happen to enjoy metaphysics. I mean, where's all of that scientific curiosity, the skepticism? We know that we can't even see a small fraction of light; what else could our limited means of experiencing and perceiving the world be missing?
2 - And by remote I don't mean South Pole remote, I mean Hoth remote.
3 - I grew up in New Jersey, and let me tell you: The Jersey Devil. It's real, lives in the Pine Barrens and will eat your fucking face.
4 - That goes for you too, Dr. Tyson.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New York Comic Con: Afterbirth

As I sit here reflecting on the Great New York City Nerd Herding of 2012, I can't help but think about the astounding public health issues involved in such a gathering. I had a sore throat for a week afterwards, and while I'm proud that my body was healthy enough to fight off the Nerd Flu1 (mostly), I really wouldn't have minded a day or two of superfluous snot in exchange for a day off of work2. That is to say, if I'm going to be sick, at least let me be sick enough to stay home. Ultimately, I prefer to be healthy.

To that end, "Free High Five"-sign people: I am not going to argue the point that high fives are awesome. They are. In moderation - as with everything else. However, do you really want to touch hands, however enthusiastically, with people who skip the sink on their way out of the crapper? Every time I see a high five at a con, I can practically see the poop and Nerd Flu spreading. Hand to hand to hand. I'm not even a germaphobe.

While it's laudable that showering was included on New York Comic Con's list of ways to survive Comic Con, they overlooked hand-washing. And further, why the hell does an Events company even need to tell you to shower at all, my fellow nerds? I mean, you're not doing the rest of us a favor by ignoring basic hygiene. Don't be a stereotype.

Which leads me to... "Free Hugs!" No. I don't want to hug you. First, all of the same concerns as the "High Fivers" still apply. Add to that the likelihood that your stench of desperation will come off on me, and no. Just no. I mean, I'm not sure Fabreeze is powerful enough to get that special basement-bred miasma off. Go back home or to your hotel room. Shower. Do something to make yourself feel less needy3, then come back and enjoy the con. Seriously. Standing in a passage for four hours shouting "Free Hugs!" is sad. You may want to reconsider some of your life choices.

And speaking of choices... complaining about the food at the Javits Center is like complaining about the lack of beverages in a bar bathroom stall. You are in New York City for the love of all that is pure and good in Odin's beard! You can't spit without hitting a decent restaurant. Go outside, get something delicious to eat, and go back in. 

This is not to say I don't thoroughly enjoy Comic Con and all of the wonders it has to offer, but come on people! It can be better; we can be better. It just takes a little hygiene and self-esteem.

1 - That the term "Nerd Flu" even exists is telling in and of itself.
2 - Hey! I have comics that need to be read, and that video game isn't going to play itself.
3 - Jerk off. Call your mom. Both. At the same time, if that's your thing. Eat a whole cake by yourself. WHATEVER IT TAKES.