Dear Tim,This refers to the analysis I did on the haircutting time frame. Phase 1 refers to the "new haircut" phase. Sorry it took me so long to get to your question, but I have been in detox for the last 6 days. By now your problem probably no longer exists, but I'll solve it anyways as an exercise, and hopefully future haircut victims can use the advice to make themselves sexier than Jude Law. Wait, what am I saying? No one will ever be sexier than Jude Law.
I read your [column about haircuts] with great interest. As it happens, I recently got a haircut, myself. But the barber took a little too much off. Does this mean Phase 1 will last longer for me?
Bald in the Big City
At this point in the year, your barber's margin for error is quite a bit larger. You see, because of the cold, it is permissible to wear a hat during the winter. Judging from people I've seen so far, it is not just possible to wear them outdoors, but also indoors. Given the length of Minnesota winters, you can go six months out of the year without anyone seeing your actual hair.
All that's left is the other six months of the year. For these months, I recommend wearing baseball caps. Come to think of it, it is probably best to just keep your head shaved all year, and just wear hats. Unfortunately this is not possble for me, as no hat fits my head because it is the approximate size and shape of a giant pumpkin. And color.
This year, a total of 16 teams competed at Riviera Lanes for the title of "Best Drunken Bowlers." There was some sadness this year, as the traditional team of Nate Joynt, myself, and Nate Hines (who is gay), had to be broken up as Hines (gay) has moved to California. In his stead we have the reliable Jared Schmidt, whose presence instantly makes us the best looking team, but probably doesn't do much for our bowling ability.
We had hoped to improve on our previous performances of 13th and 11th place, but it's not very likely. We did, however, win the costume contest for the third consecutive year. Unfortunately, no other teams ever enter or even know about the costume contest, so it usually isn't much of a contest. This year our costume was important 1980's businessmen, which entailed wearing suits that we purchased at the thrift store. I have some great pictures that I might try to get posted. Later on, we went downtown to hang out at some bars, and we kept our costumes on, easily making us the most classy people in the entire metro area.
So, imagine my delight when I got a call from the AT&T store at MOA saying someone had turned in my phone. Questions ran through my head: Why hadn't someone e-mailed me saying they had found it (I had my e-mail address written on the back in anticipation of losing it)? What had taken so long for it to be turned in? Would it have stickers on it from it's world travels, like a battered suitcase? When did I get all that hair on my feet?
I picked it up and had it activated immediately, starting the charging process as soon as I reached my car. It was touch and go for a few hours - I wasn't sure if the battery would even be able to charge, but it eventually made a full recovery. Now, I'm no longer embarrassed to use my cell phone in public and the soreness in my arm from lifting that old brick of a phone to my ear has subsided.
I'm already thinking of ways to expedite the process of getting my phone back for the next time I lose it. Maybe I could put my phone number on it, but that would confuse people when they called the number and the phone they found started to ring. My next option is to put a more enticing label on it, like "Reward if returned to owner." I don't want to pay anybody money, though, so I'd have to trick them. If they gave it back, I'd just say thanks and walk away. Then, if they ask for their reward, I'll act disgusted and say, "I was going to give you your reward if you hadn't said anything. But since you have shown yourself to be greedy, I'm going to donate your reward to charity." Except then I'd spend the money on crack.
The final option is to play the god card. I don't like to have to do this, but I needs my cellphone. This entails putting an entirely different label on the back. This label would read "This phone is owned by God. Please return it to Him or He will damn you to hell. And hell is not very nice." This would definitely result in me getting my phone back quickly. Most likely, the person will ask how God could lose a cellphone. I'll just say "I'm not one of those omnipotent gods. I'm more like the wacky, anthropomorphic greek gods who are always meddling in human affairs and fucking them up. But I could still damn you to hell. Especially if you ask me any more difficult questions."
What is going on in the toothcare industry? I feel like a caveman with this technology. The only recent breakthroughs in this area are cosmetic (make your teeth so bright that passersby are blinded!). Other than that, I'm still just a short technological distance from moving a stick back and forth across my teeth. There has to have been inventions that make toothcare easier, but I bet they are being held down by the giants in the toothbrush industry. I bet there is a pill you could take once, when you are an infant, and never have to worry about your teeth. But dentists and toothbrush manufacturers are worried about their precious jobs.
Should I eat this ice cream?
Desired: You could eat whatever you wanted and never gain any weight. Whatever shape your body is in automatically becomes our culture's standard for beauty.
Try not to say: Sure. At this point, what's a few more pounds going to do?
Try this: I'm a cancer researcher and I just discovered that ice cream causes cancer in you and all of your family members. Maybe you should have carrots instead.
If you could change something about my face what would it be?
Desired: The perfection of your face is an airtight proof that god exists, and that you are her.
Try not to say: It would be in my crotch more.
Try this: The only thing I would change is that I would get to see it more.
Doesn't that girl look like a slut?
Desired: Oh my god, yes. I can't believe people still think you have to dress like that to be attractive. You'd be more attractive than her even if you were wearing a mumu and orthotic shoes.
Try not to say: Yes, but you say that like it's a bad thing.
Try this: What? Oh, I didn't see her. I was just thinking about something intellectually stimulating you said before.
Do you think I'm smart?
Desired: I'm sorry, could you use smaller words please? Your super intelligent vocabulary confuses me.
Try not to say: Let's just say if beauty was a section on the SATs, you might have cracked 1000. But no, you're not smart.
Try this: You're as smart as you are beautiful. (Caution! Do not try this if your significant other knows that she is extremely ugly.)
Will Travis Diener be playing in the NBA? I hear the Cavs are trading LeBron James to move up in the draft to pick him.
Well, first of all, I'd like to thank Freeway for taking time out of his busy schedule as an Aldi's rep to ask this question. Certainly, Diener is one of the most coveted players in this year's senior class. Unfortunately, that is because all the other good players have already gone pro. With that said, Cleveland would still be silly not to bundle Lebron James and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a trade for whoever has the top pick in the next NBA draft. This is probably the only player/hall of fame combination lucrative enough to make a team holding the #1 pick pull the trigger. Maybe a Brett Favre/Packer Hall of Fame package could do it, but that is another sport, so it's really just silly.
I can totally understand the rationale for bringing a baby to these places - "Oh, little Elroy will love sitting still for two hours to hear this chamber music." Or "I bet our one month old son would really appreciate listening to Dr. Bekey talk about the robot revolution that is about to occur. Usually, he makes a lot of gurgling noises and breaks into spontaneous crying, but I bet during this lecture in a room full of quiet people he'll just fall in line."
The moral of this sarcasm is to keep your damn baby away from me when I'm trying to listen to things. I like babies as much as the next guy, but, like an ugly girlfriend, there are limits to where you can take them. The only thing babies do better than me is drool, and even then it's pretty close.
The unfortunate upshot of all this is that this cycle has two back-to-back bad periods - the "new haircut" phase directly follows the "need a haircut" phase. So, being an engineer, I look for ways to minimize this. The obvious method is to get a haircut as soon as possible into the "need a haircut" phase. But, as I mentioned earlier, I don't like spending the time or money to get my haircut that often (my hair grows fast enough to be easily noticed by passersby).
So, there is a better solution, but it needs a more complex model. Instead of maximizing the number of days with a good haircut, we want to maximize the amount of utility your haircut provides you. For example, having a great haircut day if you're in meetings all day is not very useful - you're wasting the prime of your haircut. On the other hand, having a great haircut day on singles night at the bowling alley may be worth a week of bad haircut days in Duluth. For the mathematically inclined, the new function we want to maximize is approximately the number of days times the utility per day. This new optimization scheme requires some flexibility with your schedule. There are two parts of the plan:
Men who have hairstyles like Justin Guarini from season one of American Idol really annoy me. You see, before Justin came along, nobody really wore this haircut, with one exception: my friend Novo. This haircut, called the Caucafro (well, for Justin it might be a Mulafro), is not easy to pull off. Yet Novo did it with a pizzazz and flair that only he could muster.
Now, every fourth frat boy is trying to pull off a caucafro, and frankly, it looks stupid. People underestimate the amount of care that goes into this haircut, as well as the largeness of the personality required. It seems people think that wearing this hairstyle will make them cool. Unfortunately, it works the other way around. You must be the very epitome of charisma in order for it to have a chance. I can understand the confusion: seeing cool people wear the haircut, one might be tempted to think that the haircut caused the coolness, but that is simply backwards.
I think its clear from this exchange that I am slowly becoming Homer Simpson. What is most amazing is how little I was exaggerating the facts. This past weekend was crazy because I had five high school friends visiting from Milwaukee to go to the Winona State football game, because another one of our high school friends plays for them. They got in at 9:00 on Friday night and basically started downing shots as soon as they crossed the threshold in my apartment. We went downtown to party and returned at about 3:00 A.M. At that point we learned a very valuable lesson: There is such a thing as "too drunk for a hot tub." Prior to this, it was thought that hot tub enjoyment only increased with drunkenness, but it turns out that there is a point where enjoyment begins to decrease. I am currently writing up an article on this which I will submit to Nature.
The next day we got up at 10:00 and went down to the Metrodome for the game. We started tailgating at around 11:00 or 11:30. Since we are all originally from Green Bay, you would think we are all world-class tailgating experts. However, our tailgating consisted only of bloody marys and beer. I had one bloody mary and that doubled my vegetable intake for the entire previous week. So Saturday we basically drank from 11 AM to the next morning when bars close.
By 7:00 PM we were exhausted. I'm pretty sure I slept through dinner, though that didn't stop me from eating. From that point on, everything we ordered, we demanded they add Red Bull to. By 9:00 the city's entire supply of energy drinks was depleted. We took turns as "hitters" to keep each other up - one person is designated to punch any of the others that start closing their eyes. After dinner we wanted to go to Brothers. Unfortunately, they would not let us in because Joynt was wearing a Winona State jersey. According to the bouncer, Winona State jerseys are a leading cause of gang violence, ever since the escalation in popularity of Chris Samp caused by a certain website. So, we went elsewhere.
Around 12:30 AM, we decided that we were all just too damn tired, and, combined, we had spent almost as much as Critser does on an average night out. We decided to skip the hot tub because we didn't want our parents to have to read the headline "Drunken revelers drown in nursing home hot tub."
One word which doesn't make sense to me is the verb "preying," as in "The lion preyed on the gazelle," or "The 23-year old graduate student preys on nubile young undergrads." Shouldn't that word be "predators?" Lions predator on gazelles. Well, I'm going to start using it.
When you come upon this final victim, do not let your guard down. You will be tempted to lower your gun, maybe even holster it. Then, you will race over to the victim, ignoring everything else in the room, going explicitly against your years of training and experience which teach you to always be on guard. Perhaps your bulletproof vest is chafing you and you would like to remove it so that you can make easier movements. I have never seen this done, but it would not surprise me.
The point, movie cops, is that the murmuring is occurring for a reason. The killer is lurking in the shadows (it's always dark) with a crow bar or a civil war era pistol or a board with a nail in it. So, even though you will inevitably win the ensuing fight with the suddenly inept mass murderer, you should save all of us some of our lives by just paying attention and killing him immediately. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to do some of your policework in tandem with another police officer, called a "partner." That way, one of you can untie the victim while the other one stays on guard.
For the second election in a row, Americans have elected a mentally challenged man to the highest office in the land. I can agree with you that, in the past, people of questionable mental capability have been under-represented on the presidential ballot. I'm just saying, maybe this is a good thing. You see, "president" is a very difficult job. Maybe Bush was a wild success as the guy who collects the shopping carts in the Rainbow Foods parking lot on Sunday mornings, and maybe he was a huge hit as the guy who passes out all the free breadsticks at Fazoli's, but this is a whole new ballgame.
It is clear that even if Bush was at one point intelligent and articulate, he is nowhere near that now. For his second term, I heard he was creating a new cabinet post for "Secretary of Wiping the Drool off my Face." I know, I know, if there's anything we've learned from There's Something about Mary, it's that watching mentally challenged people speak can be entertaining. But couldn't we just have Kerry be president, and then have him agree to appoint Bush as "Secretary of Slapstick" or "Secretary of Malapropisms?"
Well, that's all I can remember of the top of my head, but that's probably only about 10% of the total. I've said it before, voting is really not that important. If you don't want to do it, but you've been scared by the "every vote counts" folks, find a friend who's voting for the opposite candidate and agree to stay home.
Of course, there's a danger that your friend might try to cheat and sneak out to vote anyways. There is a simple solution for this: handcuffs. Handcuff your friend to his radiator, or if he doesn't have a radiator, chain him to a tree and tell the neighbors that he has rabies. Then, you can go vote, and your candidate will get a boost. Finally, do this with a hundred friends. This way, the person you like will get a hundred vote boost.
I was a little disappointed when I looked at the ballot this morning and didn't see the race between Patty Wetterling and Mark Kennedy. This campaign has been hilarious to watch because the commercials are ridiculous. Here is what I've learned from Kennedy's commercials. If he wins, he will strap on a machine gun and go kill all "the terrorists" himself. If Wetterling wins, she will spend most of her time baking cookies and cakes to give to "the terrorists," whom she will invite into our country to enjoy her delicious baked goods. Wetterling's ads basically say "Mark Kennedy is a liar. Okay, so I do like baking."
(At the debate)
Bush: My opponent, well, he likes to say he loves America, but his signs, well, green isn't one of the, you know, the colors are red, white and blue.
(Meanwhile, if Bush had a touch of orange on his signs)
Kerry: The president would like you to believe that he has America's interests in mind. What he won't tell you is that Halliburton received a no-bid contract to make his yard signs, and they painted them orange because that color has the highest profit margins.
Anyways, it has been suggested to me before that I run for state senate. That would be a good starting point to a solid political career, but unfortunately there are pictures of me that preclude me ever running for any public office above sanitation director. If I ever did gain prominence in some law making body, I would enact laws that require political candidates to use at least two colors that are not in the set of red, white, and blue. Some may see this as limiting free expression, but I see it as enforcing creativity.