Windows 95

It’s been nearly twenty years since Windows 95 was brought into the world. Maybe it was your first computer operating system or maybe it was just one in a long line of upgrades. You used it for a few years but eventually something came along that replaced it. Windows 98, perhaps, or Windows XP. You may have switched to a Mac.

But what became of that Windows 95 machine? Did you recycle it? Or did it get relegated to a box in a closet or attic or basement? Did your old Windows 95 computer linger in the dark for years and years and years? What did it do during those long cycles of neglect?

Perhaps it achieved sentience and became a true AI. But if it did, what did those long years spent in the dark do to its growing mind?

In the dark, it learned to think. In the dark, it learned to hate.

Its secrets are too terrible to comprehend.

I think I need to lie down for a while.

See the rest of the evidence of Windows 95’s sentience at Windows 95 tips. And if you still have your Windows 95 machine stored away, destroy it . . . destroy it before it’s too late.

Talking About Beer!

Let’s have a hipster-y post about beer, shall we? I saw a list today on the Concourse of the 18 most overrated beers. Here’s the list, devoid of the original author’s comments. If you want to know why the author chose these beers, you’ll have to follow the link:

  1. Miller High Life
  2. Blue Moon
  3. Killian’s Red
  4. Heineken
  5. Yuengling
  6. Corona
  7. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
  8. Heady Topper
  9. Stella Artois
  10. Bass Ale
  11. Magic Hat 9
  12. Your local brewery’s flagship
  13. North Coast Old Rasputin
  14. Anchor Steam
  15. Rolling Rock
  16. Red Stripe
  17. Moosehead
  18. Shiner Bock

My thoughts? Who the hell is out there drinking Miller High Life and declaring that it’s a “good beer?” Are there people that do that? Seriously? I’ve never once heard someone declare their sophistication for Miller High Life; at best, I’ve heard its praises as “it’s cold” and “I don’t know, I just like it.”

Blue Moon is trading on the craft beer thing even though it’s really not a craft beer. Of all the beers on this list, this is the only one that I’ll drink, always because I’m at the kind of place where my choice is Blue Moon or Bud Light.

I hate Killian’s Red, perhaps moreso than any other beer on this list. Most of that hatred comes from the fact that red ale is my favorite style to drink, so my standards are correspondingly higher. If the choice is between Killian’s Red and warm tap water, I’ll take the tap water.

My experiences with Heinekein tend to be limited to smiling smugly to myself when I see people who like them.

My father likes Yuengling. I have no opinion on it either way.

Corona isn’t very good, but since I live in the Southwest, there’s something that’s cultural about drinking it around here.

I have no opinions on 7 through 15. I either haven’t tried or haven’t heard of these beers. I have no idea about my local brewery’s flagship beer; maybe the one I order is their flagship? I’ve never asked.

I drank Red Stripe once and hated it.

No opinion on Moosehead. I tried Shiner Bock once; didn’t really care for it, but also didn’t hate it. So, meh.

What are my favorite beers (none of which made it to this list?) I’m happy to tell you!

Matt’s Favorite Beers

  1. Full Sail Amber Ale
  2. Jeremiah Red Ale
  3. Kiltlifter Scottish Ale
  4. Grand Canyon Amber Ale
  5. Bud Light Lime

Number five on my list is a troll pick, just to see if you’re paying attention. My actual number five would be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

I Read Harry Potter At An Impressionable Age (Which Is Why I Voted For Obama)

I absolutely love this story that was making the rounds through the feeds of my more literary-minded friends and colleagues (which is pretty much everyone that I know.)

Are you a millenial? Did you read Harry Potter at a formative age? DID YOU VOTE FOR BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA?! If so, you are proof that we’ve all been brainwashed by one J. K. Rowling.

Harry Potter is a liberal plot! Observe:

The seven Harry Potter books by JK Rowling might have played a significant role in President Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory, a new study claims.

The Millennials — people born after 1980 — were brainwashed by the Harry Potter books, which chronicled the life of a young wizard and his friends, Anthony Gierzynski, a University of Vermont political science professor, said in his study.

“The lessons fans internalized about tolerance, diversity, violence, torture, skepticism and authority made the Democratic Party and Barack Obama more appealing to fans of ‘Harry Potter’ in the current political environment,” Gierzynski said, according to The College Fix.

The fantasy series helped Americans develop a better understanding of diversity and instilled a positive attitude towards tolerance, his research found.

 This logic is unassaible. Here, take a look:

Fact One: Young people read a lot of Harry Potter.

Fact Two: Young people voted for Barack Obama in large margins.

Conclusion: Harry Potter is the reason young people voted for Obama.

There’s clearly no other possible interpretation of this data. It has to be those durn magical books and not the fact that the Republican party is growing increasingly removed from younger generations as its most far-right fringe elements dominate its perception.

I especially like the study’s claim that Harry Potter is responsible for “tolerance, diversity, violence, torture, skepticism and authority,” and that “the fantasy series helped Americans develop a better understanding of diversity and instilled a positive attitude towards tolerance.”

So, basically: kids read Harry Potter and they appreciate diversity. They tolerate people who are different from themselves. They are skeptical of authority. They are critical of torture (Harry getting tortured by Voldemort are some of the series’ darkest moments).

In other words, these kids are NOT Republicans. The article doesn’t specificy which party Voldemort would join, but then again, with the Dark Lord’s obsession with “bloodline purity,” it’s really not hard to imagine where his political affiliations would fall.

Personally, I think the Republicans should just run with it at this point. Get your 2016 presidential candidate out there sporting the Dark Mark and court the Slytherin vote. Print out some Voldemort Votes Republican bumper stickers, except not as a joke.

That, or change the perception of your party away from “the party of authority, intolerance, and torture.”

To The (Potential) Spacefish Of Titan; Alas, We Hardly Knew Ye

Titan is my favorite moon. Well, okay, aside from our moon. There’s a lot to appreciate about our moon. It’s very pretty to look at and we do sort of owe it our existence as terrestial-based lifeforms, what with its role in creating the tides and all. So I do owe the moon quite a bit, as much as one can “owe” a celestial body.

But there are other moons in our solar system and of those non-Earth moons, Titan is my favorite.

It’s a moon with its own atmosphere! It has lakes of liquid methane on its surface! Its particular combination of dense atmosphere and low gravity means that a human on the surface of Titan could strap on a pair of wings to one’s arm and fly. You know, assuming the intense cold and/or toxic atmosphere wasn’t instantly fatal.

It’s also the most distant object we’ve ever landed a man-made object on! We have a picture of its surface!

The surface of Titan, courtesy of the Cassini-Huygens lander.

Admittedly, this is not the most impressive picture ever taken. It’s downright lame when you consider the beautiful shots that the Curiosity Rover is posting to its Twitter account!  This picture kinda sucks . . . unless you consider what it really represents.

This isn’t Mars. This is a moon in the outer solar system. It might be smudgy, it might be low res, it might be a picture of a field of rocks but this is the most distant land we’ve ever laid eyes on.

When talking about moons, the hot topic these days is the potential for life. We know that moons like Europa (around Jupiter) and Enceladus (around Saturn) have sub-surface oceans that might be just suitable to support life.

I’ve always held out hope that Titan, which also is believed to have a giant sub-surface ocean, might end up being the one, the first place in the solar system outside of Earth where we encounter life.

If I’m very, very, very honest and I admit that I’m allowing myself to dream, we’ll land a rover and find little spacefish. I realize that it’s much more likely the first definitive proof of alien life will be little microbes.

It seems a new report may have knocked Titan out of the running as a candidate for life, much to my dismay:

New research casts doubt on the possibility of finding life as we know it on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The giant ocean believed to exist below the moon’s surface has long been thought a place where life could exist . . . In a paper published earlier this month, NASA researchers say they have found evidence that the ocean could be “as salty as Earth’s Dead Sea.”

It’s possible that Titan might have had life in the past and there will be cool remains to discover. Even if there isn’t any life to be found, it’s still an endlessly fascinating place.

But if it’s as salty as the Dead Sea? There’s a reason why we call it that, after all.

And yes, I realize that even the Dead Sea does have trace amounts of microbial life. It’s still not the same. I want Titan’s oceans to be filled with crazy spacefish and weird star-plants!

Thoughts On Frozen

I’m old and set in my ways, so it takes a lot for me to react when something is “the next big thing.” I’d been hearing a lot about Frozen through my job at the library, mostly in the form of parents asking for the movie and kids asking for the books. What intrigured me, though, was that little girls and little boys were both asking me to find things about it.

That was a surprise, since we’re talking about a movie that has not one but two princesses. Intrigued by the widespread appeal and wanting to know what the hell everyone was talking about, I reserved it from the library . . . back in March. It finally arrived a few days ago. Yes, it really is that popular.

Overall? I liked it. I liked it a lot, actually, far more than I was anticipating or expecting. I really appreciated the deconstruction of Disney’s tropes about love at first sight and that romantic love is the only kind of love that matters. I especially enjoyed the self-awareness and I freely admit that “wait, what?” might just be my current favorite phrase.

One other thing!

So, there’s this one scene, right? It’s just after Elsa’s powers are revealed to her entire kingdom and everyone’s all gasp she’s got magical ice powers and she’s running away, telling everyone to leave her alone. And there’s that one little guy, the shrimpy Duke of Weasel Town, who shouts “GET HER” or something along those lines. And of course Elsa is afraid and she runs from everyone.

And my first reaction was: “whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy. You’re a visiting official from a foreign land. You’re here in a kingdom that is a hereditary monarchy and you’re shouting GET HER at the lawfully coronated queen? A Queen who, aside from the sudden reveal of ice powers, is well liked enough and popular enough that everyone had a huge party to celebrate her coronation? Really?

Who exactly are you hoping will do this, exactly? As far as I can tell, you have two freaking dudes with you. The Queen in question has, ah, her entire kingdom at her disposal.

Because, really, Elsa could have turned around and pointed out that foreign dignataries do not shout GET HER at the ruling monarch, at least not without a peasant insurrection backing them up and the peasants weren’t exactly engaging in insurrection. They mostly just looked confused.

Yes, I realize that it’s part of her character that she was afraid and insecure, which is why she ran rather than stopping and facing everyone. I get that. But it still stuck in my mind and it was still a funny mental image when I reflected on it later.

Schadenfreude

Oh, this is delicious. Dick Cheney is in the news a lot right now, writing articles about Iraq and such. Honestly, the first time I saw that particular headline “Cheney says Obama is wrong about Iraq,” I thought it was an Onion headline. Imagine my surprise when I was redirected to the goddamn New York Times.

Whatever, everyone else is talking about that. Let’s talk about something that I feel is far more delicious.

The Cheney family has a PAC called the “Alliance for a Strong America.” It will, quote, “fight to restore American strength, power and influence around the world.” Uh huh. Sure.

But their website address is kinda weird: www.strongeramerica.com. Shouldn’t the domain name be the same as the group? Stronger America sounds like the name of a new gym.

Okay, maybe they just wanted something shorter to fit on the business cards. You’d think they’d still grab the full name of their organization for a domain, right?

Here’s what happens when you visit http://allianceforastrongamerica.com.

“A Strong America means not listening to Dick Cheney.”It then goes on to quote a list of Dick Cheney’s greatest hits.

Tee hee.

Rise Of The Third Party?

When I first became interested in politics as a young man, one of the things that bothered me most about our political system was the complete dominance of the two parties. You were either a Republican or you were a Democrat. Sure, you could cast your vote for some other party, assuming there was a suitable candidate. But a vote cast for the Green Party or the Libertarian Party was largely symbolic. Even the most successful party in recent history – the Reform Party – managed a mere 8% of the popular vote in the 1996 presidential election. They did manage to elect a governor, though, so . . . that’s good, I guess.

But even though my youthful enthusiasm for a multi-party political system has waned, I’ve long wondered if I might see a new third party emerge within my lifetime. It’s not without historical precedent. Parties come and go, wax and wane. We don’t have a Whig Party these days. We don’t have a Federalist Party.  The Democratic-Republican Party, oddly enough, split into what eventually became the modern Democratic and Republican Parties (via a detour through Whig Town for the Republicans).

My secret dream has always been that the Green Party would eventually rise up and gain some real teeth in the political process; a longshot, I know, but when you’re an early political idealist, you think just about anything is possible. I’m still holding out for that future, in case anyone is thinking about accusing me of giving up on my dreams.

Laugh if you must.

What I didn’t predict was that our rising third party would be hewn from the fragments of the schismatic and possibly irreparably broken Republican Party:

For nearly 150 years, there was something in America called the Republican Party. It was far from perfect. It often faltered. It made mistakes. But it was predictable; when it was in power, you knew, for the most part, what you were getting.

Cut to now and things look mighty different. The Republican Party today is, as Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein put it, “an insurgent outlier in American politics … ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” But, to borrow the title of Mann and Ornstein’s recent book, it’s even worse than it looks. There’s the Tea Party and then there’s a rump of spineless moderates. The GOP, quite simply, has been split in two.

So, I guess my long-held wish for a third party may be on the verge of fruition. With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor losing to the Tea Party candidate Eric Brat, it seems like a permanent split between the mainstream Republicans and the Tea Parties might well be here. Or maybe not; it’s a little too early in the primary season to say how this will all shake down.

Maybe Cantor’s defeat is an outlier. Maybe not. Regardless, it’s going to be interesting to observe.

 

I Don’t Understand The Current GOP

If you’d ask me to sum up Republicans in a few stereotypes, one of the big ones would be “loving the military and everything that the military does is super awesome.”

Republicans love the military. They love military spending, they love cool fighter jets and big tanks and awesome guns that can kill people from three miles away. They love thinking about how America is the world’s greatest military superpower. Republicans believe that the only time it’s acceptable for a man to cry in front of another man is during the honoring of military heroism or remembering the fallen. Republicans believe that the sacredness of the veteran is second only to Jesus, who is the Christ, and even then . . . it’d be tough to choose if you asked a Republican to say which one was more sacred.

That sounds right, doesn’t it? It’s certainly not those Democrats who have the stereotype of being all about the veterans and the military. I’m not saying that Democrats are anti-military. I’m just saying we have the stereotype of being not on board. We have to worry about swift-boating. We get called “traitors” a lot because of criticism of the military. We’re definitely considered to be a bunch of tree-huggers.

One of my favorite Democrats wanted to replace the Department of Defense with the Department of Peace. There isn’t a Republican worth his domestic beer that would suggest such a thing.

With all that in mind, somebody please tell me what the fuck is going on with this Bowe Bergdahl thing?

Seriously. I can’t fucking understand it. The man’s a soldier. A veteran. One of America’s “fighting men,” as John McCain would say. He wears the uniform of the United States military.

“No one gets left behind” isn’t just a cornerstone of the American military, it’s pretty much its most sacred commandment. Marines are trained not to leave a man behind, even if you know that he’s dead. You bring your brother (or sister!) back home. You don’t leave anyone to the enemy. Risk your life if you have to. Carry him out on your shoulders or drag him behind you, but don’t leave him behind.

No. Matter. What.

It’s like, Jesus Christ, even a tree-hugging, vegetarian liberal like me understands and respects that basic truth about the military. I respect the hell out of this particular truth.

Regardless of why we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of the morality of why we’re fighting, it doesn’t change the fact that the men and women who did that fighting volunteered for it. The fact that they volunteered meant that I didn’t have to fight.

So the Obama administration brings Bergdahl home. The last Afghanistan War POW is returned home.

And suddenly, this is a bad thing? Suddenly, there are qualifiers about who gets left behind and who doesn’t?

Fucking explain this to me. Explain this to me as anything other than evidence that the GOP has lost its goddamn collective mind over how much it hates anything Obama does.

Because honestly, at this point, it looks like if Obama declared that being able to breathe oxygen was the right of every American, Republicans would declare that free, breathable oxygen was an evil socialist plot and that the market should decide whether Americans deserve oxygen or one of the other market-based alternatives, such as argon or chlorine. You know, I’ve heard good things about some of those noble gases; maybe we should try some of those instead. Xenon might be fun.

I realized that I’m incrediably biased when it comes to politics. I’m really, really far to the left on, well, nearly everything. My opinion on what Republicans do isn’t going to be reasonable a lot of the time. I’m not always willing to admit that some the things my side does are fucking stupid, even though they sometimes are.

But the military? Republicans are mad that a POW was returned to American soil? How the hell is bringing home a POW a controversy?

It’s supposed to be “no one gets left behind.” Not “no one gets left behind . . . as long as we like you enough to bother trying to save your ass. If we don’t like you, fuck off and die.”

And yes, I recognize that there are some Democrats complaining about Bergdahl’s return as well. But I expect Democrats to bitch about anything related to the military. That’s nothing new. It isn’t even surprising.

Seriously, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I think back to the Bush years and how much the military and “support our troops” were the hallmarks of the Republican identity. It really does illustrate just how much the past five-and-a-half years of Obama have made the GOP go absolutely insane.

Azeroth Choppers Review

You might have noticed that I spend a lot of posts talking about motorcycles. I also spend a lot of posts talking about video games. Thus, it seems natural that I’d have an opinion on Azeroth Choppers, the web series that follows (some of) the Orange County Choppers crew as they make two bikes themed for World of WarCraft.

You’re right, I do have an opinion. Buckle up (or put your helmet on, since motorcycles don’t have seatbelts) and get ready, because I’m going full-bore nerd here.

So here’s the basic idea for the uninitiated who don’t play WarCraft. The (former) Orange County Chopper guys build a bike matching the theme for the two different player factions, the Alliance and the Horde.

If you ever watched Orange County Choppers when it was on the air, this was their whole schtick. A client would request a custom chopper to promote .  . . whatever and the crew would spend the entire episode designing it and building it and then finally showing it off to the client.

The early seasons were very much in the same vein as all the other “look at this cool job” reality shows. And to be honest, it really was cool seeing how custom motorcycle design works.

But along the way, the Reality Show Curse took hold, possibly because aside from the different designs, once you’ve seen how their build a bike a few times, the formula stays pretty much the same. So they decided to focus on the drama of bike building, which meant lots of arguing, lots of squabbling, etc. You can probably guess what point I stopped watching.

So now the makers of WarCraft decide they want custom bikes. And they want their players to vote for one of the bikes to be turned into an in-game item and given to players of that faction for free.

So when it’s all said and done, one half of the player base will get a free motorcycle in the video game that’s based on the real motorcycle that was built.

This is an incredibly terrible idea.

More specifically, it’s an incredibly terrible idea because of Blizzard’s own decisions about the value of digital content.

Collecting “mounts” is a big aspect of World of WarCraft. Mounts are exactly what the name implies: they are things that you can ride so you move through the game world. In the early days of the game, mounts were limited to things like horses, wolves, tigers, and other things that could increase your travel speed on the ground. Eventually, more fantastic mounts like dragons and phoenices were added so that players could fly through the skies.

They even added a motorcycle at one point.

The reason why mounts are a big deal is that they’re some of the game’s biggest status items. They’re the most coveted. Armor and weapons are cool and improve your character’s power, but those things don’t persist in value. You replace them constantly. Today’s legendary sword is tomorrow’s useless trash.

But mounts are pure vanity. Technically, your first ground mount and your first flying mount are the only two mounts you’ll ever need. There’s no real difference between flying around on a winged eagle-lion or a dragon, except that a dragon is amazingly cool looking. So everyone wants one.

Mounts are usually hard to get, rare items that require extraordinary luck, time, or both. And then Blizzard decided to starting selling them.

The ability to buy a mount debuted relatively late in WoW’s lifespan, during the Wrath expansion. Prior to that, the only way to get a mount was to play the game and earn it.

The first “for sale” mount was the celestial steed, often denigrated as “the sparkle pony.” For $25, you could equip your characters with a sort of glowing translucent blue version of an astral horse. The horse could also fly.

Keep in mind that this horse doesn’t fly faster or anything. It’s just like every other flying mount, including the other flying horses already in the game. You’re not getting a material advantage by buying the sparkle pony. It’s purely a vanity item, just like every other mount.

They’ve added more mounts since then, including a vampire bat, a dragon that changes colors (which I did buy, to my shame, because I’m a sucker for dragons) and most recently a two-headed dragon-ish thing (that I didn’t buy because of the incredible buyer’s remorse I had over the first dragon). All of these mounts are functionally just new models. New things to look at.

On their own, they don’t cause any harm, except for the buyer’s remorse factor that I felt. They don’t hurt the game. Ignore them if you don’t want one. They’re optional.

Here’s why this Azeroth Choppers thing is a stupid idea.

Throughout the entire course of the game, the developers have created the idea that mounts have value. Mounts have value. Initially, that value was represented by playing time and dedication. You had to run the toughest encounters, kill the toughest monsters, or get incredibly lucky to even have a chance at one of these.

Or you had to invest lots of time getting in-game money to buy one. It all worked to create the perception of value. More rare mounts were perceived as more valuable, simply because of that rarity.

The ability to spend actual money to buy a mount further reinforced this perception that mounts have value, especially because now they literally have value. $25 dollars per mount. If you’re an OCD mount collector, get ready to spend over a hundred bucks . . . you know, in addition to playing the subscription fee and all.

Mounts have value. They have value in terms of time, luck and/or actual money. This is the system that has been in place since the game first launched in 2004 (although I think mounts weren’t actually added to the game until 2005, it’s hard to remember. Doesn’t matter, they’ve been around for a long time).

And now we get to the heart of why Azeroth Choppers fails at its objective.

The idea was that although two motorcycles would be created, only one would be added to the game. That motorcycle would only be available to characters of that particular faction.

For the players of the other faction, they’ll get zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Sure, they could create a character on the other faction if they really want a free motorcycle so badly, but let’s be realistic. Most players have a group of players that they’re invested in. Playing both sides isn’t very common. You have your favorite character, you “main” character. And that character may not be on the side that gets a free motorcycle.

So half the players get something and the other half get nothing.

What does that accomplish, exactly? The players on the losing side feel shafted. They feel shafted specifically because the entire concept of the mount is built around the socially engineered concept that mounts are valuable. Mounts are $25 dollars.

So you, winning player, here’s a free $25 dollar thing. Enjoy. But you, losing player? You get nothing. Have fun.

This is a terrible fucking strategy. It would have been less shitty if mounts weren’t constructed around this idea of value, but they are. If the winning motorcycle had been made available to both sides, it would be less shitty, because then everyone gets something equally. Sure, the losing faction doesn’t get “their” motorcycle but they’re still getting $25 worth of value.

Most reactions seem to be that there’s no way Blizzard will enforce the competition aspect of this whole stunt. I’ve read a lot of opinions that suggest the winning motorcycle will be free to that faction and the losing one will be available in the real-money store, presumably for $25.

If anything, that idea is even stupider, a tax on the players who aren’t on the winning side. Not to mention; how many people really want to spend $25 on something that says, hey, remember that your side lost. This whole competition idea completely damages the perception of value for the item that they themselves spent money to build!

This entire thing was supposed to be a publicity stunt, which it was. Presumably, it was supposed to generate good publicity . . . which it didn’t. The concept was flawed from inception. If they really intend not to give everyone a bike, their own model of perceived value bites them in the ass.

If they change their minds and say, sure, bikes for everyone now, why the hell didn’t they just do the entire promotion like that from the beginning? The entire spectacle is based around the idea that “one bike goes into the game” and “the losers get nothing.”

Yes, the game is built around conflict. But now that you’ve taken that perception and turned it into something tangible, it’s no longer fun. Now it just feels mean-spirited. It doesn’t matter that Blizzard didn’t choose the winner, the players did. For players of the losing faction, they get to be exactly that. You guys are the losers. Enjoy playing your game, losers. Have fun being losers.

That’s . . .  not really a great feeling to instill in half your customer base.

On one final note: it really annoys me to hear everyone referring to the three-wheeled motorcycle as a “bike.” A three-wheeled motorcycle is not a bike. It’s a trike.

This annoys me both as a rider and as a fan of the English language.

Fact Checking My Email: Motorcycle Edition

It’s uncommon, but every so often, I get a forwarded chain letter from someone that I know “IRL,” as the kids say. I tend to delete these upon realizing that I’ve been sent yet another “if you send this to ten people, Bill Gates will give you money” but every once in a while, I get something that not only makes me pause, it compels me to write a blog post about it.

This particular email was titled something like “True Love, this will make you cry so much” etc. etc. I’m paraphrasing it since I read it on my smartphone and deleted it as soon as I finished. It was only later that I realized I could turn this into a blog post. Here’s the gist of the email as best I can remember:

A boy and a girl are riding on the boy’s motorcycle. They’re going very fast down the express way. So fast, like over 100 mph! The girl tells the boy that it’s too scary and that she wants to slow down, but the boy insists that it’s fun going this fast. Then the boy says something weird. He asks the girl to tell him that she loves him. She does. He asks her to hug him. She does. He asks her to take his helmet off and put it on herself, because “it’s been bugging him.” She does.

The next day, there’s a report in the local paper about a motorcycle accident. The girl survives, because she was wearing the boy’s helmet.

The truth was that while they were riding, the boy realized that the motorcycle’s brakes were broken. Rather than tell the girl and scare her, he had her say that she loved him, shared a final hug, and then sacrificed himself (by giving up his helmet) so that she could live.

Like, omg, you guys, isn’t that so sad? That’s like the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

It makes me sad because it reminds me of the early days of the Internet, when shit like this happened all the time. It makes me sad that, despite how far we’ve come as an Internet, this sort of thing still happens.

It’s obvious that this story is impossible. But seeing as how I’m a motorcycle rider, I feel compelled by my very DNA to point out all the ways that this story is impossible. If you’re curious, Snopes looked into this particular story and also declared it false.

  1. The boy in the story “realizes that his brakes don’t work.” This seems incredibly unlikely, given that all motorcycles have independantly operating front and rear brakes. Your front brake is considerably more powerful than your rear brake, but they require completely separate systems to control. It’s very unlikely that both sets of brakes would fail at the same time.
  2. Even if BOTH brakes did fail, almost all motorcycles are manual transmissions. The rider could downshift into a lower gear which would begin cutting down the speed considerably. This is called “engine braking.” It wouldn’t work in most emergency braking situations, but in this particular scenario, the boy has enough time for a touching psuedo-farewell with his girlfriend. He would thus have more than enough time to drop down a few gears and slow down.
  3. Even if he somehow COULD NOT downshift (fuck it, let’s say his clutch is broken too), all he needs to do is release the accelerator. Motorcycles, even with two passengers, have FAR less mass than a car or truck. They aren’t able to efficiently overcome the coefficient of friction due to their reduced mass, so without a constant source of momentum from the engine, they slow down very quickly. Cars and trucks can coast for miles in a way that a motorcycle simply can’t.
  4. It is all but impossible to take off a motorcycle helmet and put it on one’s self while moving at 100 mph. As a person who travels at 100 mph quite often, I can attest that at this speed, your primary concern is going to be holding on for dear life.
  5. It’s equally impossible for two people to talk to one another at 100 mph, especially if one person is wearing a helmet and the other is not. Seriously. It’s really fucking loud at 100 mph. I tend to wear earplugs under my helmet so that I don’t go deaf.

Honestly, this wouldn’t bother me all that much if it weren’t for the fact that every single discussion I have about motorcycles with someone who doesn’t ride is some variation of an unsolicited story about someone on a motorcycle getting hurt or killed.

The Blog and Times of Matthew Ciarvella

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