My dad is turning 68 today. In honor of his birthday, I wish to present the following. I call it:
James Everett: a shocking true story.
My father is a big man with an even bigger beard and a surprisingly lopsided prefrontal cortex. At age 10 he was born in a log cabin that he built with his hands tied behind his back. My father is very industrious and pepper-y but he makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Shaking hands with my dad feels like squeezing toothpaste out of a dead fish. Shake hands with him and you’ll immediately rush to the shower to scrub off the icky sensation. But it won’t work–nothing ever could.
The following article is a satirical take on the way that modern scholars write about medieval and ancient history.
“US’s Founding: Separating Fact from Fable”
by Dr. IhaveaPhD Whichmakesmesmarterthanyou
July 4th, 3010
Across the country millions of classics-aficionados will be celebrating the 1,234th anniversary of US’s founding today. But although most understand that the significance of July 4th, 1776 is purely fictional, they struggle to understand just where to draw the line between fact and fable. Drawing from the most up-to-date scholarship, I will sort out the facts of US’s founding.
According to American mythology, US was originally made up of colonies under the British crown. Although historians are certain that the British Empire had some colonies around the world at that time, there is severe doubt that any ships ever made trans-Atlantic voyages before 1812.  As the story goes, colonists led by a mythical group of tribal elders called the “Founding Fathers” revolted against the crown and seceded from the British Empire. They then won their victory after a long war (an impossible task given the immense military might of the British Empire) and became an independent confederation of sovereign states (also impossible, considering that US is one state with a strong, central government). The date for this independence is traditionally given as 1776, although some sources state that US did not begin until 1789, as this was the inauguration year of the first president, George Washington. 
This was my final project for CHI 443, Modern Chinese Culture Through Film. It didn’t turn out nearly as well as I would have hoped, but I think it would be a waste to not share it. Video after the jump.
Original version: Super Mario Bros., released on 1985/09/13 for Nintendo Famicom
Recommended version: Super Mario Bros., released on 1986/02/21 for Nintendo Famicom Disk System
I’m pretty sure you already heard that music in your head before playing the audio file. It is burned into all our brains! The impact that Super Mario Bros. has had on modern culture is astounding. And why shouldn’t it be? SMB defined the platformer genre and inspired generations of games. Although not the first platformer, it stands in history as the iconic grandfather of modern platformers and is the earliest memory I have from my childhood. Before I could even speak full sentences I was already defeating Bowser.
UPDATE: I have selected the essay winner! From a staggeringly large pool of 1 (one) entrant, I have chosen John Everett as the winner! John submitted an essay that was only two words long (“The End”), but since there were no other contestants, this essay was by far the best. John will be spending his $100 prize money on a self-congratulatory party with cake and ice cream.
Do you want to win some prize money? Of course you do! With $100 you could buy almost 400 chicken McNuggets. All you have to do is write a brief essay. No, don’t run away! It’s MUCH easier than it sounds. All you have to do is write a 500-word essay (that’s less than one page!) on a short book I wrote. The book is available from Amazon for cheap, it’s only 100 pages long, and the essay topic requires imagination more than it does research (and you have three months to write the essay). Think about this: most people who see this post won’t even think about entering the contest because they’ll be afraid of writing less than a page about a short book. The odds are already in your favor if you’re still reading this.
Imagine that you made a bet with someone. It doesn’t matter what the bet is over–it may be the outcome of a football game or the toss of the dice. But whichever game, and for whatever reason aside, you and a rival enter into a wager. The stakes are as follows: The loser’s house will be burned to the ground. Now, assuming that you take the bet, you are aware that you are entering a wager where someone’s house will be burned down. To such a bettor, the desired outcome is a house burning down. Of course, you will surely wish that it shan’t be your house, but you will wish that a house burn down. You’ll just wish it’s the house of your rival. Notice I have said nothing of intentions or motives. Morally speaking, it does not matter why you are taking the bet. Maybe you need the winnings for emergency surgery or to make your car payment. But the reason does not matter. No matter what the outcome, someone’s property will be destroyed for the benefit of a short-term gain by the winning party.
It is despicable to take a bet where you know that no matter what, someone’s house will be destroyed. What would be more despicable still would be to delude yourself into thinking that your rival will be better off, and/or that the destruction of his house is either secretly benefiting him or the charred rubble is just an illusion. Of course, if you were the loser you would not fall for this assurance; you would recognize the lie for what it is and you would want your house back. If this situation seems absurd, it is only because I have substituted the words “house” and “wager” for “liberty” and “vote.”
When I typed in the title of this post, I immediately thought about how if I were still a minor, some authority figure would find this post, misconstrue its title to mean that I’m suicidal, and then there would be a big hullabaloo about it. I feel an odd mixture of relief that no one cares because I’m an adult, and sadness that no one cares because I’m an adult. Anyway, when I do eventually kick the bucket, this is what I want my funeral to be like.
I wanted to save this for a rainy day, and I guess that today qualifies for that. Here’s a short paper I wrote one day in high school, just for fun. That should tell you something about how exciting my life is….
The idea of exactly what beauty is or what nature it has is a topic beloved by philosopher and poet alike. Is beauty an entity unto itself, or is it a part of a greater whole? This is the topic of an essay I recently wrote based on a two poems by Shakespeare and William Butler Yeats. Read more after the jump!