What is Whale Wars, you may ask. Well, I'm glad you asked me that.
It's a show on the Animal Planet about a group of quasi-pirate, definite moron, hippies from around the world who want to stop the Japanese from killing whales in Antarctic Water. The Japanese claim they are conducting scientific research while the Sea Shepherds (that's what these Rhodes Scholars call themselves) claim they are on solid legal ground in trying to stop the Japanese from whaling. They invited cameras aboard the ship to document the whole thing.
A little background, first. The founder of the anti-whaling group, Paul Watson, is a co-founder of Green Peace. But he was kicked out because, get this, he was too radical for Green Peace. Isn't that like the Republicans kicking out George W because he's too conservative? Maybe a better analogy is that he's the Malcolm X of the eco-terrorism, err, I mean, eco-defense world.
The name of the ship is the Steve Irwin. I'm sure he would have loved to be associated with this group of degenerates. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not in favor of whales becoming extinct. I just think that when people are willing to die to save a whale, it's a bit much for my tastes. When Captain Watson is asked about people risking their lives for whales, his response is that he doesn't see what's so unusual about that. How is that an answer? I'm sure lots of drugs are on board the vessel, but, come on, that makes no logical sense. If I don't see what's so unusual about something, that doesn't make it legal, or safe. For example, if a person says fighting a bear is not that unusual, that doesn't mean it's right. It means that person is a moron. But anyway.
Also on board are a few life long Sea Shepherds. Many of them have been to sea before and could even be called sailors. The rest of the crew are, from what I can tell, volunteer vagabonds from across the globe. Now, if there is anyone I'd like to sail to Antarctica with, it would be this group. Never mind that if anyone fell in the water, they would freeze to death before they could be rescued. Never mind that they want to attack Japanese whaling ships in international water. What could possibly go wrong?
Their plan is to throw stink bombs at the Japanese ships so that the whales that are already on board can't be eaten or used for scientific research. The Japanese, in an effort not to waste the already killed whales, eat the meat from the whales after they conduct their research. That's their claim, anyway. I'm not going to weigh in on that one at this time. But, back to our Sea Shepherds. They throw these stink bombs on board so that the whale meat cannot be eaten. So, in order to do more research, more whales need to be killed. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of stopping whales from being killed? Am I missing something?
I've only seen one episode, but in talking to Will McMillan and GW, they come up with a genius plan for some of the volunteer vagabonds to somehow climb aboard one of the Japanese ships and claim to be kidnapped. The end result will be the Australian government coming to their rescue. Apparently, the Aussies are willing to start an international incident over two morons who got on board a ship and then claimed to be kidnapped, all at the behest of a guy who was too radical for Green Peace.
Enjoy the photos. Let me apologize for the formatting, I'm still relatively new to this. Yes, I know if I call tech support I'm likely to speak with somebody I know. Let me save you from having to make that joke.
On to the photos. Starting from the top left, that is Leighton "Spaghetti Sauce" Schubert, mere moments before I pelted him with a snowball the size of a watermelon. The top right photo is, well, it's pretty clear as to what that is. The bottom left is the the snow falling, as seen from the balcony. Enjoy!
So, it actually DID snow in Houston tonight. Granted, it was not a blizzard in the traditional sense of the word, but it was enough for us to have a snowball fight. I've never been in one before. Let me tell you, it was epic. I knocked on Leighton's door, he answered it, and I PELTED him in the chest with a monster snow ball. Great fun. Three of us ran around for what seemed like an hour (probably only fifteen minutes) throwing snow around and having a great time. Let me tell you what ruins a great time. A hoodie full of snow. That is then turned on your head. That's when the snowball fight ended.
It's not a lot of snow, but it's sticking to cars and rooftops. It's a clean white. Beautiful. Cars are covered. People are going crazy. Having a good time, throwing snow at friends and neighbors. I have to say, its great. At the same time, I'm glad this is Houston and it will be 65 tomorrow.
You know what really grinds my gears? People in the 19th century. Why don't they get with the freakin program? It's called an automobile, folks. It's much faster than a horse!
Ok, on to the list.
1. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Ok, not only is this show a total rip off of Anthony Bourdain's show but it's gross, and it sucks. Bizarre does not mean gross. Ok, let's see if I have this right. Andrew goes to different countries and cities and eats the local foods. He makes "clever" "jokes" from time to time. Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, Bourdain. He does the same thing, except his problem is that he philosophizes too much. Ole Baldy McIdiot eats penis in every country he visits. No, not that. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But he eats some animals testicles on a stick or some animal's penis in a soup on every show. That is gross. I'll just move on.
2. People in the library who tell me to be quiet. Look, hoss, I'm a 3L. And, most importantly, I'm loud. I'm going to talk. And I'm going to talk loudly. Sorry. If you have a problem with it, go to the quiet floor. Or complain about the 1L's on their phones, or the morons who talk with their doors open. I at least close the door. Some of these rocket scientists leave the door open and talk to their buddies. Complain about them. Some people go from room to room, talking to all their friends on the 5th floor (you know who you are, people). So, don't barge into my room and smash my knee against the door and tell me to be quiet. You know I don't deal well with people telling me to be quiet. If you really want to see fireworks, ask Shae to be quiet. She's graduating in December. Tell her to keep it down, and you'll be sorry. I just hope I'm there to see it.
3. The dude who soaked a bunch of paper towels, ripped them up, made tiny spit wads out of them, and left them all over the men's room flooron the 5th floor of the library on Monday. I don't think I need to add to that, the title pretty much summed it up.
4. The Coke (bottle, not can) machine. Ok, who's idea is it to stock the machine at 11:30am. That's right before lunch, professor. If you put the bottles in the machine at 11:30, they won't be cold, or even remotely cool, by lunch time. Can this not be solved? It's not long division. We can figure it out. Let's put bottles in earlier than 11:30. I think, and I haven't doen any research on it, that if we put the bottles in the machine around 10:00 or even 10:30, they'll be cold at lunch time. That makes some sense to me. We can do this, folks. Yes we can!
5. People who wear stupid hats. Even if it's cold, for Houston, you don't need to wear a hat with ear flaps. You're not scaling Everest, Sir Edmund. It's 50 degrees. Stupid hats would also include people who wear caps sideways, or crooked, or whatever the kids call it these days. Wear it forwards, or, if you absolutely must, backwards. But not crooked. You look like a moron. Further, while admittedly I'm not the most fashion-knowledgeable person there is, trucker hats are over. That tragic era in fashion has come and gone. You're not Ashton Kutcher. Get a new hat, stud.
Yes, I made that joke. It's tired, it's weak, it's predicable. Deal with it.
On to the problem. It's cold in Houston today. 35 degrees. There is even the possibility of snow.
Now, ordinarily, when the temperature drops below 65 degrees, Houstonians lose their collective minds. You see dusters, mittens, snow hats (I refuse to call them "toboggans" -- while I've never been on a toboggan, I know it's more or less a sled and not something you put on your head. I don't care what you tell me, it's a snow hat). You should see these people, it's absolutely insane. People start up the fire place, drink cocoa, wear four layers of clothes. It's just silly. Especially since they leave their windows open those days. Those who don't open the windows keep the A/C on. So it's not exactly cold. You could even say it's cool. You're still wearing flip-flops, for God's sake!!
When it actually drops below 50, people really go ape. They start stocking up on dry goods. It's not Armageddon, chief, you won't need a crate of canned carrots or creamed corn (nice alliteration there, huh? Even if I do say so myself!!).
When it rains in Houston, people (most of whom [insert your own group here, I'm staying above the fray] can't drive worth a darn anyway) lose any ability to drive. There is a major pile up on some freeway anytime it rains. When it ices, which happens once every 9 years, it's a disaster. Houston has two (2) trucks that they can use to de-ice the roads. Two (2)!!! You know how many roads there are in Houston? It would take two (2) trucks till the next ice storm to get all the roads. I can't imagine what would happen if there was snow.
Which brings me to my point. Yesterday, it was 75 degrees. It was getting cold at night, no doubt. But this morning, it was 35 when I left my apartment. It's going to be in the 60s by Friday. But that doesn't mean people can't lose their minds. No way.
The headline on the Chronicle was about snow. People were in an uproar. Every radio station was talking about snow. People were talking about snow. The Internet was talking about snow (can the Internet talk? I'll ask Mr. Gore and get back to you on that one).
The last time it "snowed" in Houston was in 2006. I was grilling. It was Christmas eve. I had no idea what was falling from the sky. No clue. Christmas day came, and there was snow stuck to the roofs of houses. It was actually quite beautiful. It was, however, 75 degrees later that week, but that's not the point.
If it really snows in Houston, the city will cease to function. Nobody will be able to go anywhere. Nothing will get done. Chaos will ensue. That's why I'm back home. Away from the library. In case it snows, I don't want to be stranded. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
It's been pretty busy lately, what with finals and all going on right now. People aren't getting enough sleep and are saying ridiculous things. In honor of that, I'll be memorializing some of them. Only the family friendly ones. Because, let's face it, a lot of it is simply not printable here. Let's get to it.
Me: I don't want to be any kind of cat. Leighton: Chester the cat was pretty cool. Me: Chester? Leighton: From that cartoon. Chester the cat. Me: Which cartoon is that? I don't remember any Chester the cat. Leighton: Uhh, I think Alice in Wonderland. Me: You mean a Cheshire cat? Leighton: I'm an idiot.
Well, sir, the Texans played on Monday Night Football (and thumped the Jaguars!!!) this evening for the first time. So, in honor of that occasion, I decided to talk about the hometown squad. (Note: this is not going to be an in-depth analysis of the team, or even X's and O's, but a discussion about fan-dom [If that's not a word, I just made it up. Is it too soon to "coin" the term, Jennifer? Too late? Let me know, kindly] and what that means to me (so, by proxy, if you agree with me you're correct and if not, well then you're wrong. You're either with us or against us. Haven't we heard that somewhere before? I forget. Finals are upon us and my brain isn't what it once was. Forgive me.).
So, I'm a Houston guy. You know that. I always figured, you should be proud of where you're from. And I am. Just ask me, I'll tell you. The Texans are from Houston, so they're my team. The Oilers (who I never liked, those traitorous dogs ["dogs" being a family-friendly word, while I had a few others in mind]) left Houston and the Texans opened up shop in 2002. The Texans represent Houston. There is it, that's my team. Seems simple, right?
Well, it's not as easy as it sounds. The Texans have never had a winning season. They've been close, twice. Last year they finished 8-8 and in 2004 they were 7-9. Andre Johnson is all world. Mario Williams (more on this later) and DeMecoRyans are close. Steve Slaton and Jacoby Jones are as promising as they are fast. The Texans beat the hated Cowboys in their inaugural game, 19-10. Is it sad if the first game, back in 2002, is the highlight of the franchise?
There have been a lot (and I'm being generous here) of bad (again, generosity, as this should read utterly worthless, gut-wrenching, and personally embarrassing) moments. The Vince Young (more on him later, too) game where local hero ran in the winning score minutes after I predicted such an ending. Even this year, the Sage-copter game, the Jacksonville melt down, the sheer lack of aggression (is "pedestrian" degrading enough?) from the defense this year, the season opening beat down at the hands of the Steelers, the whole David (no joke required) Carr, all those wasted picks, stupid trades (Phyllis Buchanan!!!) and foolish free agent signings, and on and on and on. It's been rough. Damned rough. Yeah, they were an expansion team. Yeah, they had different rules than when the Jaguars and Panthers came into the league in 1996. Look it up: no cap, extra picks, and on.
(I know I left some good moments out and some bad moments out. Feel free to mention them.)
But, fans I (and we) remain. I've been to games. I watch nearly every game (even when I lived in NOLA and New Haven, I found places to watch the games). I buy jerseys. I talk about the team. I defend them (Nate). I watch the draft. Hell, I've even been to practices. Outside. In August. Did I mention in Houston?
Why do I (and we) remain? Because it's the right thing to do? No, that's not it. Plenty of people could care less about football (I call them communists, but that's not the point here, folks). Plenty of people can claim to like the top teams in every league. People could have a new favorite team every year, if that team is winning. I know people like that. I won't names, but you know who you are. It's not me, but this person's name may or may not rhyme with mine.
There are a number of reasons why I (we) remain. Sure, part of the reason is that it's the Houston Texans. You have to like the hometown team. That stadium sure is beautiful. There are no morons or knuckleheads on this team shooting themselves in the thigh, beating their wives (no, that's not another shot at Lugo. On second thought, let's make it a shot at Julio "I slammed my wife's head off of the hood of our car in the parking lot of the stadium hours before a game" Lugo) or acting like jerks. Signs point to improvement at some point, hopefully sooner than later. I think the biggest reason is the expected (it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen) emotional payoff when the Texans finally win something. The division, a playoff game, the Super Bowl (we can dream, can't we?). That payoff will be huge. Way better than the shame of losing, of being very near exact replicas of losers, of being the laughing stock.
The payoff will be bigger than the pleasure of seeing Mario go for 3 sacks on MNF after being taken controversially as the top pick in the draft over Reggie (That house isn't free) Bush and local god Vincent Paul Young (I'm man enough to admit I still have a man crush at that man [no homo]). We don't need to go down that road again. I think it's clear Mario is super (yup, I went there). I also think its equally clear Reggie Bush has been good when healthy, but not a franchise back. Further, and this may be seen as heresy by some people, Vince took a team to the playoffs but was benched in favor of Kerry ("is it happy hour yet?") Collins. Objectively, that's not a good sign. I'm not saying anything about anything else VY may have done at bars without his shirt on and surrounded by dudes, with a suicide counselor, not being able to throw in the NFL, getting a 5 on the Wunderlick, etc. The Texans made the right call after being lambasted all across the country. They were right. Wow, that feels good to say.
(The Red Sox won two World Series [and their fans all turned to hated, bitter, obnoxious jerks] so anything is possible.)
That payoff, whenever it happens, will be worth it. That's why I'm a fan. That's why we're fans. I (we) may be entirely too emotionally invested in something we have no and cannot have any control over, but that's why we're fans.