Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Your Metaphysics Show Through Your Grammar

Last week, R.A. and I spent a lot of time watching Heroes on NetFlix InstaView. We just finished the first season, in fact, and watched episode one of the second season last night. That show is addictive. I enjoy it a lot, a lot more than Lost, in fact, even though I have some serious problems with the show's depiction of "evolution." (Science gives us magic powers! Hooray!)

And, of course, my favorite character is Hiro, the cute little time-traveling Japanese dude. The other day, R.A. had a very good point about Hiro and his companion, Ando: She said that all of the new "bro-mances" that are hitting the theatres these days ought to take a look at the relationship between these two characters (at least during the first season) and study what it is that makes an audience actually care about one another.

We're a little late to submit our essays for Heroes and Philosophy (Blackwell is publishing it this August.) But there are a lot of topics in this show, especially around the story of Hiro and his Quixotic quest. (The Driving Force of Narrative, Can Faith Ever Be Rewarded?, it looks like there'll be a chapter in Blackwell's book on Hiro, Nietzsche, and the Eternal Return of the Same,* etc.) So it is in this spirit that I want to talk about Hiro and time travel, and what the show's presentation of time travel tells us about our culture.

A little background: The basic premise of Heroes is that a select few humans scattered across the global have "evolved" different superpowers, and some of them are using these powers for good, others for evil, and others somewhere in between. (This is the same MacGuffin that is used in the X-Men films.) These powers vary from flight to super strength to mind reading, etc. Hiro Nakamura, of Tokyo, has the power to "bend space and time," meaning that he can teleport, slow time down or freeze it entirely, and travel both backwards and forwards in time.

Obviously, Hiro is not the first (nor the most famous) time-traveling super-hero. There's H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine" (1895) in which Wells coins the term "time machine," and of which the 1960 film adaptation gave me crazy Morlock-related nightmares as a kid. There's also Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1889), which of course was immortalized in the 2001 film adaptation, Black Knight.

Pictured: Culture

More recently, we've had the Back to the Future trilogy and the Terminator films and TV show. So the point is that time travel has, for at least one hundred years, been an accepted part of popular culture. And that doesn't even take into account the ancient traditions of prophecy, revelation, and the Oracle. (Which also have an interesting role to play in Heroes.)

So we shouldn't be surprised when we encounter yet another time-traveler on television, or at the movies, or in books.** But what boggles my mind is the ease and readiness with which an audience, myself included, is able to suspend disbelief and accept that yes, this character or characters can travel backwards and/or forwards in time, whether it's through the use of a machine, magic, mutant powers, or whatever. It's part of the storyline and, for that sake, I'm willing to go along with the artist(s) on this one.

Now, there's one issue here about the physical possibilities of time travel. I'm no physicist, but everything that I've been taught says that time-travel, in the way that it is depicted "at the movies," is impossible. Now, the theory of relativity says that the faster I move, the slower that time moves in relation to where I am in space. So, in the sense, if I could get going really, really fast, (i.e., approaching the speed of light), I could slow time down for me, and then, when I return to normal speed, I would have "traveled" forward in time relative to all of you schmucks back on Earth. There are technological limitations to this kind of time travel, and so the debate about whether or not it is "possible," I think, remains open. But this isn't the kind of time travel that's in the movies. Writers are not obliged to give the scientific explanations behind their plot devices. It's magic. It's a worm-hole. Skynet invented/ discovered a new technology. Fine. That's the writer's prerogative, and I have no problem with that. My problem is more with the grammar of time-travel, fictional or non-fictional, how we understand (or think we understand) it, and how we talk about it.

Let's say, for a moment, that you meet me on the street later today, and ask me what I've been up to. I say, "I traveled back in time and prevented the nuclear destruction of Manhattan." Now, you can call me a liar.*** But you can't say that you don't understand me. I'm not speaking in tongues, I'm not simply stringing together a series of words in English ("Cat how is up.") I'm not inventing new or unusual uses for words ("Green ideas sleep furiously.") I'm reporting what I did, or believe that I did, today, and you can understand (or think you understand) me perfectly well.

I find this all fascinating because I think that the fact that most people are so willing and able to believe in this fantastic vision of time travel because it reflects, maybe even validates, how we see ourselves as active agents participating in our world. We decide, we choose, we regret, we make mistakes. All of these kinds of actions - so essential to our everyday lives - appear to carry with them the implication that the world could also be other than the way it is. And if we only had some way to "get back"**** there, whether it be a DeLorean, a genetic mutation, or the Holy Spirit, we could set things right. Of course, to actually do so is impossible, not in the sense that a man being able to fly or a woman having super-strength is impossible, but impossible in the sense that a gallon jug holding five quarts of milk is impossible.

As you can probably bet, this notion - that the world could be different than it is, has caused a whole host of problems in the silly history of Western Philosophy. It caused Leibniz to declare that this world is the best of all possible worlds, because God is a loving God, which in turn caused Voltaire to write Candide. More recently, this funny disposition of ours has led 20th Century philosophers to distinguish between names and descriptions, and to claim that some traits are essential and others contingent.*****

In On Certainty, Wittgenstein, while talking about whether or not we can ever truly know if 12 x 12 does indeed equal 144, he says, as almost a kind of aside: "Forget this transcendent certainty, which is connected with your concept of spirit." I'm taking this saying totally out of context, but this is how I feel about our willingness to suspend in disbelief in time travel. This idea of having the ability to right past wrongs - or to avert future disaster - is an extension and justification of our cultural beliefs that there is a concrete and knowable right and wrong, that I can over-come my past mistakes, that I never have to own or claim authorship of these mistakes, that I can erase or write over those things that I regret the most, that there is always and always will be a means for salvation.

Which leads us right back to the Eternal Return of the Same.

*Which is precisely the frustrating point of the PCP books. I mean, yes, there is an interesting connection between Heroes and the Eternal Return of the Same, but, on the other hand, Nietzsche's "theory" is one of the most maddening, complicated, and mysterious ideas in the history of Western Philosophy, one that many brilliant scholars have spent entire careers studying (Heidegger, Foucault, etc.), and here you have a 15-page essay "dealing" with it, written by a T.A. at Berkeley. You can see how this might rub some people the wrong way. Of course, I think that anyone who actually believes this is missing the raison d'etre for these books in the first place.

**Personally, I still have a fond place in my heart for The Time Traveler's Wife, even if it is severely lacking in murderous cyborgs and nuclear holocausts.

***Although, interestingly, you wouldn't have a means to prove to me that I was lying.

****Writing this just reminded me of Aymara, the language of a South American indigenous tribe. To the Aymara, the past is in front of us, and the future behind, because we have knowledge (we can see) the past, but the future is unknown. Here's the posting of the Science Now magazine article that I put up on my old blog three years ago.

*****If you're not into long philosophy quotes, skip this note.

The following is from Saul Kripke's incredibly influential essay, "Naming and Necessity," (1972) which illustrates both the awesomeness and ridiculousness of analytic philosophy:

Let's call something a 'rigid designator' if in every possible world it designates the same object, a 'nonrigid' or 'accidental designator' if that is not the case. Of course we don't require that the objects exist in all possible worlds. Certainly Nixon might not have existed if his parents had not gotten married, in the normal course of things. When we think of a property as essential to an object we usually mean that it is true of that object in any case where it would have existed. A rigid designator of a necessary existent can be called 'strongly rigid.'

One of the intuitive theses I will maintain in these talks is that names are rigid designators. Certainly they seem to satisfy the intuitive test mentioned above: although someone other than the U.S. President in 1970 might have been the U.S. President in 1970 (e.g. Humphrey might have), no other than Nixon might have been Nixon. In the same way, a designator rigidly designates a certain object if it designates that object wherever the object exists; if, in addition, the object is a necessary existent, the designator can be called 'strongly rigid.' For example, "the President of the U.S. in 1970" designates a certain man, Nixon; but someone else (e.g., Humphrey) might have been the President in 1970, and Nixon might not have; so this designator is not rigid.
There may be an infinite number of possible worlds, but there's only one Nixon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 1 2 Thoughts on a Thursday

1) If you're wondering what to get me for my birthday - and I know that you are - you might want to track down a copy of Logicomix, the graphic novel that tells the "epic story of the quest for the Foundations of Mathematics." Now, I don't know how supportive I can be about any story that picks Bertrand Russell as its protagonist, but the truth is that it's an awesome story to tell, and that the artwork looks great.

This one of those things that makes me really like academic philosophy and philosophers....

2) ... Unfortunately, I found it through a link on the blog Philosophers Anonymous, which doesn't make me miss academic philosophy at all. It is a blog run by a total dick of a philosophy professor (something he proudly admits to on his profile) and is filled with the kind of attitudes which completely turns people off of philosophy. (Which, I bet, he thinks is a good thing.) He also absolutely hates the PCP series, something which is not uncommon among professors. But there are good reasons to dislike these books (some of the essays are really bad) and then there are bad reasons to dislike them, such as:

The past several weeks have brought an incredible number of "calls for abstracts" for volumes in the various "pop culture and philosophy" series. As I've argued previously on this blog, these books are an embarrassment to our profession and should be boycotted. The enterprise reached a new low, however, this morning with the announcement of a volume on Spider-Man and Philosophy.

Yes, at first the idea of such a volume seems no more stupid and useless than the others. But wait. As is typical, the "call for abstracts" includes a rather long and random list of silly suggested paper topics. In addition to the obvious suggestions-- which involve nothing more than taking a perennial philosophical question and inserting Spider-Man into it (e.g., "Spider-Man and the problem of evil"; "Spider-Man and personal identity")-- there is the suggestion that one might write a paper on "Just how does Spidey-sense work?"

Finally the series becomes aware of itself: An open invitation to utter bullshit.
I'm pretty sure Blackwell's doing Spider-Man. (Good for them!) But seriously, fuck this guy. He has a good following of snarky philosophy geeks, one of whom makes a very good point:

god, who even reads those books?

And yet, someone must-- walk into any B+N bookstore and the shelves are crammed with pop fluff wankery.

Whilst the Hegels gather dust and yellow...

Other ways that this guy gets under my skin:

So when she asked me what she should do, I told her that the answer was simple: stop reading your evaluations. Ignore them. Seriously: Has anyone has learned a damn thing of value from student evaluations?

Sometimes it's helpful to scan the Conference Alerts webpage. But most of the time it's little more than an occasion for confronting DOOM. Here's a prime example. No, I'm not making this up....

M(o)ther Trouble is a two-day international conference on the maternal, psychoanalysis and feminism. It is linked to an exhibition of artworks by Bracha Ettinger at the Freud Museum. Keynote speakers: Bracha Ettinger and Adriana Cavarero.

M(o)ther Trouble? Are they kidding? Assuming they're trying to play on "mother" and "other" (and, yes, there's a rat in Socrates, too), don't they mean (M)other? What's a "mther"?
And (this is him citing, approvingly, someone else):

Our department just released the results from its graduate logic exam and as usual half of the students did not pass. Every year the unsuccessful students react by grumbling about the pointlessness of having a logic requirement in the first place.
I suck at logic. But if this guy's failing half of his class as usual, then it's not the students who are at fault.

Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Perks of the Job

Is it just me

or was the only reason why Obama

Barack Obama

ever wanted to be President in the first place

President Barack Obama is presented with a team jersey by coach Roy Williams as he honored the 2009 NCAA basketball champions University of North Carolina Tar Heels, Monday, May 11, 2009, in front of the South Portico of White House in Washington.

was because of all the free swag he would get?


(I bet Michelle has to keep him from wearing his White Sox jersey around the White House, sometimes.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

5 Thoughts On A Thursday

1) Every morning when I ride the train into work, I feel the desire to whistle the tune from "The Bridge Over the River Kwai." And then, on the way home, I feel the need to monologue about commodity fetishization and the necessary alienation of labor.

2) Of course, this morning, I was distracted from my whistling by the true crime novel that one gentleman was reading on the Red Line. Looking over his shoulder, I read the following:
Quinn then met the notorious Eastern European drug trafficker, "Joel", who told him that the only difference between the two of them was a respect of the law. "You choose to obey the law," "Joel" told him, "but I have no choice but to disobey it."
I am comforted by the thought that, out there somewhere, is an Eastern European version of myself who is both a drug lord and a very harsh political realist philosopher.

3) Do you know when you encounter something on the Internet that is just so awesome, it pains you to think that some one came up with it before you did? I had one of those moments today, when I found this: 10 Supervillains Who Need New Catchphrases.

Really, I just want to find out how I can become a member of the International Society of Supervillains. It seems custom-made for me.

4) Honestly, I came across this blog post while doing research for Open Court Book's upcoming title, "Supervillains and Philosophy" - which gives me an excellent opportunity for some shameless self-promotion:

In June, Open Court will be releasing Stephen Colbert and Philosophy:

But if you can't wait for your PCP fix until then (um... wait a minute....) you can purchase right now either Transformers and Philosophy:

or Jimmy Buffett and Philosophy:

Oh boy! So many options, so little time!!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Found Objects of Awesomeness

"Ancient Figurine of Voluptuous Woman Is Found" -

A tiny ivory statue of a woman was discovered in Germany last fall.

The voluptuous woman depicted is, to say the least, earthier, with huge, projecting breasts and sexually explicit genitalia. Nicholas J. Conard, an archaeologist at Tubingen University in Germany, who found the small carving in a cave last year, says it is at least 35,000 years old, “one of the oldest known examples of figurative art” in the world.... Another archaeologist, Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge in England, agrees and goes on to remark on the obvious. By modern standards, he says, the figurine’s blatant sexuality “could be seen as bordering on the pornographic.”

My favorite line, however, comes later in the article:

Scholars speculate that these Venus figurines, as they are known, were associated with fertility beliefs or shamanistic rituals.

Riiiiight. Fertility beliefs and shamanistic rituals. That's why some German caveman made this doll. No other reason. (Isn't this a violation of Ockham's Razor?)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

10:34 a.m. - Tried to retrieve FedEx mailing labels from top shelf. Decided against it just before entire stack of envelopes fell on to my head. Walked away singing gently to myself, "Shorty Gonna Be a Thug."

2:05 p.m. - R- from IT and I are on the same pee schedule today. It is super awkward. (R from I T and I R on the same P schedule? WTF?)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Schadenfreude

So it's Monday, and our only day to recuperate between Kentucky Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo. Might as well spend it refreshing ourselves in the misery of our fellow human beings...

1) Lost in the buzz about LeBron James' winning of the MVP award is the story that this year's NBA executive of the year is the Denver Nuggets VP Mark Warkentien. The article on SI.com explains why:
Warkentien was the architect of the biggest deal in the NBA this season, trading Allen Iverson and his big contract for Chauncey Billups. The move sparked Denver's franchise-tying 54-win regular season and the Nuggets' first playoff series win in 15 years.
How does that taste AI? They will actually give someone an award for trading you! Bwahahahaa!! Sounds like it's time for you to go home and cry into your millions of dollars!

2) And you know who else I don't feel sorry for? A-Rod. I mean, nobody deserves to have their lives ruthlessly picked apart by the tabloid media. Except for A-Rod.

Some of my favorite zingers have been:

According to the material leaked from Selena Roberts' new book, A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez, he is not merely a liar, a fraud and an egoist, but a cheater of the first degree, whose remorseful "confession" during spring training was little more than a well-choreographed one-man interpretation of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River. Turns out A-Rod might have been using steroids since high school, and that he was involved with HGH after becoming a Yankee. In other words, like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds before him, the glowing awe that once accompanied Rodriguez has -- poof! -- vanished. - Jeff Pearlman
So if Girardi were the Czar of the Written Word, we would never read about how the personal lives of presidents influence their decision-making. Great. Or, in the case of Rodriguez, what influences shaped the most famous baseball player in the world to be so reckless, insecure, self-destructive and egomaniacal -- by the way, all elements that impact the atmosphere of Girardi's team. - Joel Sherman
Alex Rodriguez was an insecure prima donna who made a clubhouse attendant load his toothbrush with toothpaste after every game in his three seasons with the Texas Rangers, a new book charges... His Bomber teammates regarded A-Rod as a phony and a hypocrite because he tried to project an All-American public image while pursuing a swinger's lifestyle. - Teri Thompson and Micheal O'Keefe

Ah, yes. Mocking A-Rod for being a womanly, phony, image-obsessed, insecure prima donna.* It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Which is why we do it.

3) So you've just been laid from your job as Secretary of State. Your party has been thoroughly trounced in the last two elections, and now the new president has started doing some very unnerving things, like releasing formerly confidential memoranda, that have you thinking not only about job security, but also about not-being-in-jail security. What do you do?

Join the academy, of course.

So it is with Condoleeza Rice, as she prepares to re-join the faculty at Stanford University as a poli-sci professor. Hopefully you've read Maureen Dowd's column on this, which describes Rice's attempt - and failure - to defend her position on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in front of a college freshmen. Watch her squirm:

Sorry, Condi - nothing makes you look worse, or more frightened and desperate, than browbeating an undergrad about how he cannot possibly understand the pressures that you faced after 9/11. MauDow may have the best observation, though:

The student pressed again about whether waterboarding was torture. “By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
And while I am glad that some students were able to hold Rice's feet to the fire, albeit metaphorically, I was hoping that they would be able to muster up a little more passion, or at least an understanding of the power of spectacle. Where's the sit-in? Where are the buckets of red food-dye? Where are the naked protesters?

Why is this woman not being bombarded with shoes wherever she goes?

* He plays ball like a girl, too.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

Hurray! Hurray! The first of May!
Outdoor fucking begins today!

Or it would, if it weren't cold and raining outside. Nonetheless, Spring is springing and, barring one last freak snowstorm or annual mid-May freeze, it's time for the celebrations and fertility rites to begin. And that means one thing: Drinking!

Yes, we may imbibe during the winter to dull the dark pain of existence (a la Russe), but come May we drink in order so that we can stand one another's presence long enough to [insert euphemism of choice here] and turn the great wheel of life once more. It's a Freudian thing.* Or, as Svedka Vodka puts it in what has been my least favorite advertising campaign of the year, you drink to "improve your pickup game."


All punning and robot-based pornography aside, the point is that the season for social drinking is upon us. And this weekend seems to be the starting line for an entire Summer of debauchery, with the Kentucky Derby tomorrow and Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday.

This, however, does not make me happy. As I have said before, no one should ever need a reason - that is, an excuse - to drink. But the bars do need an excuse to get as many people as possible on the stools, which means meaningless drink specials and parties, ("Celebrate the Mexican holiday with $3 Corona bottles!" Ole!) and the newspapers and magazines need an excuse to sell advertising space to the pubs to publicize said specials and events. And as one holiday after another gets commodified in this way, they all start to lose their flavor, all bland and meaningless, like an Egg McMuffin.
The embodiment of meaninglessness.

I do, however, have a plan to fix this. What we nee
d is some kind of system that rotates the holidays in and out of the calendar. So we can celebrate say, St. Patrick's Day for four or five years, until it gets too "massive and drunken," and then we can suspend it, put it on the bench, so to speak, and rotate in an alternate holiday to get drunk at, and so on, and so forth.

To this end, I would like to submit a list of six holidays that I think are ready to be retired, given a rest, put on the bench, given a sabbatical to finish that book on Proust.** I will follow-up this list with six holidays that I think we could rotate into the line-up, at least until they become stale and flavorless, and then we could force them into early retirement by declaring bankruptcy and freezing their 401(k)s.

6 Most Overrated Drinking Holidays:

6) Independence Day (July 4): Don't get me wrong - I love the Fourth of July as much as the next godless, intellectual, liberal Francophile. But I also like to believe that I have a healthy fear of fire and all fire-related products. According to this report, in 2004 there were 9,600 firework related injuries in the U.S. 6,600 of those occurred over the Fourth of July weekend. Explosives and alcohol: As American as mom, apple pie, and union busting.

5) Cinco de Mayo (May 5): Other than the fact that I don't really like Coronas, my main problem with Cinco de Mayo is that it's not a Mexican holiday. In fact, the battle against the French that did take place on May 5 happened 40 years after Mexico gained independence from Spain, and is only recognized as a regional and military holiday in Mexico. The actual Mexican Independence Day is September 16.

4) Super Bowl (January or February): My fondest Super Bowl memories tend to revolve around the food (seven-layer nachos!) rather than the drinking. My criticism of the event is also safety based. Like many, I was raised with the belief that instances of domestic violence spiked during the Super Bowl. Apparently, this is not the case. According to a 2003 University of Indiana study, "the number of cases [on Super Sunday] was relatively small compared to those reported on holidays such as Christmas or Memorial Day." So that can be seen as a glass half-full or half-empty, I guess. On the other hand, instances of DUIs and car-related deaths rises 27 percent during the Super Bowl. So there's that, then.

3) Mardi Gras (February) - One of the things on my Do Before I Die list is to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. But if you're not in New Orleans, or Argentina, or Switzerland, or any other place that actually has a reason for throwing a party on Fat Tuesday, don't bother.

2) New Year's Eve (December 31) - New Year's Eve is, in many ways, like a combination of all of the above holidays. The fireworks of 4th of July, the icy roads of the Super Bowl, the feeling that you're obliged to violate some legal/moral code because, well, you're going to repent tomorrow. Plus, as Wikipedia says:

In several areas of the U.S., particularly major urban areas, New Year celebrations are punctuated by random celebratory gunfire which could potentially cause injuries and/or deaths.

What? You don't mark your holidays through random celebratory gunfire?

1) St. Patrick's Day (March 17) - You're not Irish, bro.

6 Most Underrated Drinking Holidays:

6) The Kentucky Derby (May) - This one I'm fearing will soon be douchebaggified through over-use and commodification. However, I still believe in the classy power of white linen suits, mint juleps, and bocce ball.

5) Thanksgiving (November) - Now, I'm guessing that there are more instances of domestic abuse, child abuse, elderly abuse, pet abuse, any kind of familial-based violence on Thanksgiving than on any other holiday. But that's what Thanksgiving is there for, I mean, not to actually commit violent and heinous crimes, but to get a chance to come together, get drunk as a family, and hopefully end the night with some form of the phrase "You've really loved me at all." And Thanksgiving doesn't try to hide what it's about, like those other holidays that are just about havin' a good time, but someone alway ends up in tears by the end. No, this day wears its heart on its sleeve.

Plus the food is really good.

4) Columbus Day (October) - Jason Webley has been trying to get Columbus Day to be a bigger thing for a while, saying that it is a sorely under-represented holiday. He even has a song about it:

Also, from some guy's blog:

Columbus Day is coming up, and there has been a call to celebrate it. Remember that not only is it a profane and unwholesome day to celebrate, but it is also rarely regarded. Here's the official ceremony, as described by the minstrel Jason Webley: One night prior, bake some cookies. Or brownies. And perhaps prepare something to drink, like delicious almond milk. Make a lot; you'll be giving them out. Visit your local post office. When someone approaches with a package to mail, hide yourself in the bushes. Observe their confusion as to why the Post Office is closed on a Monday. They may well ask aloud, "Why, in God's Name, is this Post Office closed today?" At this moment, spring out from the bushes, loudly declaring: Happy Columbus Day!!!

And then offer them milk and cookies as a consolation prize.
Milk and cookies and like, hard apple cider.

3) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15)- So you know how Irish-Americans were considered second-class citizens for generations, and were stuck more or less in neighborhoods with high unemployment and crime rates, and then Kennedy was elected president, and now there's this holiday that's a huge commercial boon to the community where everyone gets very drunk and pretends that their Irish?

I'm just saying.

2) St. Augustine's Day (August 28) - The patron saint of theologians, printers, and brewers. It makes way more sense to get smashed in honor of Augustine than Patrick. This man knew how to party: Although raised a Catholic, he practiced Manicheanism and was a drunk and a womanizer. He re-converted to Christianity when he was 32, and in his autobiography Confessions, he wrote about "rejoicing in that sort of inebriation in which the world so often forgets thee, its Creator, and falls in love with thy creature instead of thee--the inebriation of that invisible wine of a perverted will which turns and bows down to infamy." And since he was a philosopher, this holiday would give all us philosophy nerds a chance to show the world what drinking really is about.

Also, when I was Googling "drunk st augustine," this headline came up: "Man Ticketed for Drunk Horseback Riding." Could we somehow incorporate this into the St. Augustine's Day festivities?

1) May Day (May 1) - You know what I was saying about how nobody should need to have an excuse to drink? Well, in case you still felt like you did, here you go. Happy May Day, Comrades!

So comrades come rally, and the last fight let us face!
The Internationale unites the human race!

*Eros and Thanatos. The original odd couple!
**Just in case the sports metaphors weren't doing it for you.