Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Brewers stuff, and tips for effective bologna-detection

Ho-lee-shit do I have a case of Brewer-Fever. I just got back from the Brewers-Astros game and boy oh boy was that some fun baseball (my Brewer-fever is making me use childish sayings from the first half of the 20th century like "boy oh boy"). The Crew got off to an early lead with a two-run dinger by rookie-phenom/Robert-Downey-Jr.-look-alike Ryan Braun. The 'stros battled back and, heading into the bottom of the 6th, had a 4-2 lead on the Crew. But in the bottom of the 6th, the Crew opened up an inflation-fighter-sized can of wup-ass. Rickie Weeks drove in three runs with a tripple. Then, aging mediocre veteran Tony Graffanino added a two-run homer. But the crew was not done with the 6th inning yet. Johnny [Carne] Estrada added another 4 runs with a grand slam. Nice work Johnny. The Crew won 11 to 5. The Cubs also won so the Crew remains 7.5 games ahead in the NL Central.

This weekend, I will be following my Crew to Chicago to watch them battle the Cubs at Wrigley field. I hope I don't get beat up. But more than that, I hope the Brewers stomp the Cubs.


Speaking of not wanting to get beat up by guys that root for a different baseball team than I root for, I've been thinking about being argumentative a lot lately. As I stated in my first post on this here blog, I'm trying to stop talking about religion, politics or any other issue that people "feel strongly" about. You see, one of my biggest faults is that what I see as a "discussion," others often see as an "argument." I've only recently come to this realization. I will often be discussing a topic with a friend or acquaintance, and finding the discussion interesting and informative (or totally boring), and also be completely oblivious to the fact that the other party wants to rip my balls off. I'm not sure quite why this is.

For instance, the other day this guy on my Frisbee team was telling me that Alexander Flemming's father saved Winston Churchill from drowning, and in return, Winston Churchill's father put Alexander Flemming through medical school, enabling him to discover penicillin and that later, penicillin saved Winston Churchill's life. He told this story in a group and everyone else seemed to just eat it up. I was extremely skeptical. To me, this was a situation in which we should all discuss the story and try to determine whether or not it was true. So I said, "where did you hear that, in a forwarded email?" He didn't directly answer but assured me it was true--he had heard it from a reliable source and he had a history major and didn't have any reason to doubt it. I knew it was not true. It's not that I knew details of the lives of Churchill or Flemming that conflicted with the story. In fact, all I did know about either of them that might be relevant is that they did live at about the same time in about the same part of the world. But I have a finely tuned bologna-detector, and I thought it would be benficial for all of us present to know for sure whether or not the story was true. If you'd like to tune your bologna-detector, here is a rule of thumb for all of you to follow:

If somebody tells you a story that involves an extreme coincidence that could be used to underscore some sort of life lesson (i.e. "what goes around, comes around") the story is almost certainly bullshit.

Luckily, (or so I thought) I had my blackberry on me so we could determine whether or not Frisbee team-mate's story was true. I quickly pulled up Snopes.com and determined that the story was indeed a load of garbage. [By the way, how sweet is the internet? A decade ago we would have had to leave the issue unresolved. Of course, since I'm almost sure he heard the story via the internet, maybe bullshit was less pervasive a decade ago too.] I thought I was doing the Frisbee team-mate, and the group a favor by making sure they did not walk away from this round of beers with a bullshit "fact" in their heads. To me it was a discussion. It was finding and discussing information. But Frisbee team-mate seemed almost upset. And I don't understand why. Does that story lose something if you preface it with "I read this bullshit email forward that said..."? Does it matter who was right as long as we eventually found out what the right answer was? Anyway, having a functioning bologna-detector is both a blessing and a curse.


Anonymous said...

Maybe he got Alexander Flemming confused with Ian Flemming. Wasn't that guy also a Chemist who invented something really important?

Was it a dick move? Absolutely. However, it was also a very respectable call-out. No easy baskets, that's what I say.

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Ian Flemming wrote the James Bond nevels. But I suppose he might have saved Winston Churchill from drowning too.

See, I don't think it was a dick move. We all learned something. And knowing is half the battle or something.