Sunday, March 27, 2011

To the Deliberately Different Folk

To anyone who refuses to use Google, iTunes or Apple products, YouTube, or Facebook stemming from a distinct attempt to simply be "different", I applaud your behavior. I experience similar angst whenever I use my iPhone (right now as I write this blog with it in fact!). There is something to be said about the way people flaunt their mass-market, populist devices. And whatever is to be said, I don't want to be part of it. I think it's the connoisseur in me, the film-noir fanatic, the intentionally anti-triple-A video game and blockbuster film gene in my blood that makes me want, at every opportunity, no matter the cost, to be unique, and unlike the ghastly "mass market", or plain Jane "least common denominator". I am someone who can't appreciate life's joys without analyzing them. I can't possibly bear to follow the crowd. But despite this, I sometimes do. Moreso out of necessity to 'get with the times', but I do nonetheless.

To all of those who use 35mm as opposed to digital, I understand. To all of those who have purchased Zunes, and not iPods, I'm here with you. To all of those who actively forced themselves to type in "" to try it out, rather than the ever-ubiquitous "", for which is now a verb and all you have to do to get there because you've visited it so much is type in the letter "G", high-five. And to myself, who has given up Facebook for Lent, great choice, and why don't we keep this rolling for as long as it will last, because we all know scouting people's Homecoming pictures, and copping to the fact that you "stalk" people is lame, and let's be frank about this, no one listens to what you have to say anyway, which is why I come here, my pedestal, where my words bear meaning. So much so that I got an entire sports team up in arms. The power of words is mighty.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why I am Becoming Less Impressed with THE Google

Google search is infinitely ubiquitous for its usability, efficiency, and... well, it's lack of accuracy. But I have found many problems with it.

The single problem that screams most prominently is Google's own ad service in which invariably ads will clog up any hope you had at finding any information regarding your query other than its Wikipedia page, and If that's what you want, then why not set your homepage to ""?! Google seems to truly have stooped rather low in order to garner support from the world of least common denominators out there. Which brings me to my second grievance; AutoComplete. AutoComplete is likely the single feature in technology that has made me lose faith in humanity. It is the most embarrassing display of the average human's lack of intelligence by some of the extremely lame-brained that have been voiced, and has convinced me of how sexually-obsessed and entertainment-hungry society is. It is a shame, but what can you expect from the world's least common denominators and their tendencies to be attracted to violent or otherwise inappropriate forms of media.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Attire of Scumbags: Black Shirt + White Tie

Why is it that scumbags insist on making themselves so easily identifiable? With their formal attire of choice invariably a black flannel button-down with a white tie.

Weddings, wakes, funerals, birthdays, whatever it be, you can spot these Mafia-wannabes a mile away. And for this do they rarely fit in.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Nature of My Blogging

I have received countless remarks of acclaim, as well as criticism for my blogging style and the topics I cover. I can't help but sense I'm restricted at every opportunity to be raw and truthful with my readers in favor of a soft, plausible fallacy that both comforts people and makes them think they know the way I feel. I think this is too conventional. I don't like convention. So I decided to break away from this.

Thus, I am now, without restraint, going to tell you exactly how I feel at this very moment: like a caged animal. Furious. Irritated. Uneasy. I am furious that my truth is being oppressed. I am irritated that irritated that people take offense with my words, knowing that I am being as frank and honest with my readers as possible. And I am uneasy contemplating the number of times I will likely be sent to the dean's office for my sister's tattle-tailing tendencies.

I'm also not a fan of façades, or of people behaving in a fashion that is inauthentic and not true to themselves.

An interesting facet of my psyche is that I could never cope with being merely "average". So rather than being "strange", I have attempted to be "extraordinary". Whether this intent has worked or not, it has certainly worked in my favor somehow, no one will ever make the mistake of deeming me as "average".

Ignatius Internet

When a $13,000+ tuition affords you as crappy of an internet service as Ignatius' you have to ask yourself, what went wrong? For starters, this year Ignatius added several new laptops to its inventory, further overwhelming the already sufficiently 'whelmed school bandwidth. The small bandwidth was clearly implemented as a cost-savings measure some time ago, presumably when we didn't measure memory in terms of gigabytes, or now, terabytes.

The internet is so slow in fact that to sign in to this page, I was forced to wait five minutes. Despite this sounding inconsequential and knit-picky this can seem ages, especially when we as students have very limited time as it is, balancing school, sports, extra-circulars, and whatnot, our relatively little time spent during free periods is valuable, and need not be wasted.

Consider fiber optic, Ignatius.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is it possible to be as Popular as Ashton Kutcher or Justin Bieber?

An interesting website called records the total number of followers, updates, and the number of those being followed by the most popular Twitter users. Topping the list are none other than Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears at third. Recently it has been proved by the Freakonomics Radio podcast that Twitter's users don't necessarily act by the rules of reciprocity; meaning, you don't have to follow in order to be followed. For example, country/pop singer, Taylor Swift has over 5.5 million followers, while she follows a measly 53 other users.

If you scour the site, you'll soon notice that the overwhelming majority of the microblogging site's most popular users have reputations to maintain and PR agents breathing down their necks. No ordinary person would be so obsessed to deal with their fans on such a superficial, indirect, and impersonal level as the site's users inevitably stoop down to. After a quick scan of the "loved" tweeters, the self-obsession bleeds right through the monitor. There's the obvious "I had this for breakfast" routine, but then there's also the whole show-boating aspect of it all, pimping any new products you happen to be advertising, any films you happen to be in, and music you happen to be releasing, etc. There are also feeble attempts at saving the world via Red Cross text message funds. (See Katy Perry, also!5781182/did-your-donation-really-reach-japan-probably-not)

Ashton Kutcher used World Malaria Day as a way to garner followers, whether it was disingenuous and merely a publicity stunt is debatable. So if I, virtually a nobody to anyone outside of my school, community, parish, family, and friends were to stand up to the Lady Gagas of the world, the Kim Kardashian-bigshots, the Parish Hilton-owners of the universe, I first, would likely fail to do so, but not fail to make a contribution to a "good" cause, but rather, fail to gain nearly as a substantial following those mentioned. Although, considering how patently useless someone like Paris Hilton has been to all of mankind, and how undeserved all of her fame and wealth are, I may actually stand a chance.

In short, and not to get the reputation of a mad UFO witness, the world would be a [slightly] better place without Twitter. People would think in complete thought and sentences, would abide by the rules of grammar, children wouldn't be fooled by false hopes of someday becoming famous through Twitter, and no one would ever be cut off because of a 140 character cap.

Don't expect to see a "FlammenHund" account on Twitter any time soon.

Quick Question: Do Laws of Morality Apply Online and On the Road?

Here's a question to rattle your intellects; do laws of Christian, if not, other religious standards of morality apply to our behaviors online or while driving on public roads? Most would say yes, but to add another layer of complexity to the query, think of how minimally [or possibly maximally] our behaviors in both worlds may yield results; cutting someone off equals a middle finger to be drawn, while blowing a red light may cause an accident, ultimately costing someone his or her life, likewise, negative status updates, tweets, or other net-based contributions may have someone feel unhappy for moments afterward, or in some cases, force the one being ridiculed to commit suicide as we commonly see with teenage girls on Facebook or other popular social networking sites.

Monday, March 7, 2011


We have to live with imperfection and interruption. Distraction and disenchantment. Urges and obligations that prevent us from doing what we love most, or hope to do most, or build on and progress with most.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My "Gift to the World"

YOU KNOW WHAT? Believe it or not, blogging is my gift to the world. Whether I have evidence to back up the claims found in my posts is debatable, but just because my style of blogging is controversial or gets people up in arms doesn't mean this hobby is invalid or should seize to continue. In fact, I have a right to voice my opinions, no matter how hair-brained they may be, or however hair-brained you may perceive them to be.

No doubt I have a lot of things against America, like its drivers, its people, its government, but if I didn't tell you what I thought was wrong with it, I'd just be lying! The worst possible thing any journalist can do, amateur or professional, is tell a lie. Bias often creeps in to our newspapers, magazines, and websites in the form of advertisement pressure, "moneyhats", "SWAG", etc. (SWAG denoting "Stuff We All Get", rather than a rapper's version of Austin Power's "Mojo"). But my transparency, my honest-to-goodness clarity and self-criticism are what make my blog posts so unique and uncannily unbiased.

So if you disagree with my writing, that's quite a shame. Because I'm not going anywhere, and don't intend to any time soon. I have an opinion on almost any issue, and as the common adage goes, 'I have a right to voice it'.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I Said What I Did

With the dust from my controversial post now somewhat fallen, I will take this opportunity to give you what went through my head before I published the post, after the post, and following the apology.

Last week, several lacrosse players with whom I knew and shared many laughs and smiles with were now deeply saddened due to the loss of a meaningful coach. Being the sympathetically numb and brash person that I can be, I grew sick of their grieving behavior. All I truly wanted was for them to cheer up, so that week could again, share many laughs and smiles, just like the "good ol' days".

But this feeling of grief only persisted. Days would pass, and their dispositions remained all the same. The happy-go-lucky air many of the players once boasted looked distant and impossible. I soon grew even more tired and impatient.

I wrote a piece in Google Docs, and was sure to not share it with anyone. It exemplified my angst, which was a result from the seeming depression expressed by the players' faces.

Meaning to temper this sharp, and downright cruel writing, I unfortunately never got around to it. Whether this would have ever improved the perception of such a post is questionable. Whether it would have made me feel better is certain.

Friday morning -- Religion class, (which was essentially a free period due to the Genetics conference) after finishing an Astronomy project, I open the Google Doc, very unsure as to whether or not to post it to my blog, I gave my laptop to a friend, who, now I know is possibly one of the world's worst editors. After giving the laptop to him, I could see his smile grow. Naturally, I thought this would be a good thing, and maybe the lacrosse players themselves wouldn't take it as seriously as they ultimately did.

I copied and pasted it. Still uneasy of its perception. Then the one I asked to "edit" (for which all he did in the long run, was read it, laugh, and nod, saying 'Definitely posit it'), had told the two sitting at his table. They visited this very blog to read it, and one of them told me that he was planning to tell all of the lacrosse players themselves. How nice.

The day would go on, and the facial expressions of the players in the hallway would progressively turn from disheartened to furious. I was met with glares, confrontations, and less than friendly interactions. I became even less confident than after I posted it.

The day ended, and I had to wait for the buses for a Friday night track meet, which meant I had three hours to do God knows what. I took some friends out to what one may call a second lunch. And upon our return to the school parking lot, what do you know, some lacrosse players were waiting in the parking lot for me. As we exited the car, the five or so players all stared at me, many of them my friends. As we walked, me much more coyly than my friends, one of them, a friend talked to me. He said he didn't read the post, and didn't intend for our conversation to be a confrontation. He explained to me quite thoroughly, how much the coach meant to everyone, how I should not have said what I did at such a painful time, and what I was feeling that sparked posting such opinions. He consoled me, told me to make up for what I had done, and he has been instrumental in this PR nightmare; the earnest apology, and the attempt to mitigate the damages that have already unfortunately struck those who felt it most.

We then headed to the track meet. I wrote the apology with my iPhone on the way to the University of Chicago indoor track. Intermittently, I would receive Facebook push notifications from my iPhone, signaling the deep-seated hatred and pent up stress from the players. I would also occasionally receive friend requests from players with whom I have never spoken, and clearly just wanted to partake in the internet dogpile. Despite having a life philosophy that means being open to as many people as possible, no matter what they may say, do, or represent (race, age, gender, etc.), I did not give in to what may either have been chances for people to attack me or for friendships to be born. But from the one friend request that I did in fact accept, I witnessed an utterly prideful and narcissistic status that highlighted the fact that I was a manager for the soccer team. This almost made me reconsider the apology post. Then I thought of all the friendships I had that would be damaged and the acquaintances that would be shrunk, as well as the Ignatius school community that deserved a proper formal apology for the brash and unfounded remarks that I had made.

I then posted the apology post, urging everyone I knew who was offended to trust my words, and to read it. I notified people via Facebook private messages and status updates. I repeatedly asked people to read it. I however, didn't beg people to forgive me. I plan to give them a hefty load of time for that, and I expect this wound to heal sometime in the foreseeable future.

After all of this unnecessary controversy that could have been well prevented without a friend's Schadenfreude, or the 'pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others', I realize I should have shied away from making remarks about the coach, and could have instead been more optimistic and sympathetic, less condemning, and proactively encouraged the team more explicitly to perform well with their new coach.

If you have been tolerant enough to read this far, be aware, that I do not hate anyone on the lacrosse team. I do not want to be confronted on the issue, and I do in fact want this issue, this silly, unnecessary problem that has arisen not in any way, shape or form, interrupt in the lacrosse team's season going forward. I, with all my heart, hope that we can all forget this, my irrational, and incorrect comments, and we don't exactly have to be friends, but not be so hostile to one another. Please have sympathy for me. I had said something that I didn't intend. We all do it sometimes. I know it hurts. I now have sympathy for you, and all the lacrosse team. Please be brave, as I have tried to be in publishing the apology post. Don't demonize me. I said things I clearly shouldn't have. But all that I ever wanted to communicate through that post was for the players on the lacrosse team to cheer up, and have a successful season in spite of this tremendous loss. It is not imperative that you forgive me. It is, on the other hand, imperative that you respect me for you have no idea how pain-ridden, and regretful I feel for hurting you all so deeply without restraint nor mercy.

Please Ignatius community, forgive me for what I have done. This is my only request.

- Michael Lenoch

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lax Bros, Please Forgive Me

I would like to offer a formal apology to any and all lacrosse players who took offense with my earlier post.

The reason I am presenting this apology is because a good friend of mine told me how much this coach meant to everyone. In fact, he said the coach acted as a father to one player who lost his father a year ago. I never truly understood the seriousness behind this firing until this was explicitly revealed to me.

I am not saying sorry however, in order to somehow regain the respect of lacrosse players for I realize it cannot be earned so easily, especially considering that I blatantly offended an individual so close to so many. For this, I apologize.

Just know that I was much too quick to jump to conclusions, and made far too many assumptions. I am sorry for this as well.

I am also sorry for voicing irrational and unfounded opinions that, despite being funny for possibly a moment, were only offensive and rude in the long run.

Whether you forgive me or not, please know that I am infinitely sorry for what I have said and no longer think in such a way. I am sorry to strike at such an inopportune moment as well, when the Ignatius community was at such an all-time low. I apologize for my lack of sympathy and imprudent words.

You can forgive me if you wish. I just want you to know how earnestly and truthfully I present this apology.

- Michael Lenoch

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear American Drivers

WHETHER you fall under the category of a "poor" or "incompetent" driver or not, it is still worth noting that from my experience, which is admittedly limited, American drivers are notoriously the worst. Disobeying traffic laws, forgetting how to drive when a puddle appears, being so distracted by radios, phones, and passengers as to cause some of the most brain-dead driving accidents are only a few of the plethora of issues with driving on American roads.

First and foremost, I must address that not all American drivers are poor ones. In fact, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you, yes you, the one reading my words as I type them, are not [inherently] a poor driver! (If I didn't add that qualifier, "inherently", well now, I'd just be lying!) But nonetheless, most sure seem to be!

It seems the problem of drivers' general incompetence stems from the relatively poor driving instruction that is available to the public; either via public high schools, or special learning centers. And especially with regards to the driving tests that are given by the DMV centers throughout these 'States. Sure, they are intended to appeal, and thus, function for the least-common denominator of this nation, but I mean what the hell? How low are this nation's standards? Especially considering that the language found in the tests is intended for individuals with whom English is their second language.

Now I don't intend to outright bash immigrants for things that they cannot change and had no part. But instead, the organizations behind what is now this driving shenanigans in the US, for making all of their tests in English. To play devil's advocate, certainly road signs are in English, and it would make sense for the tests to be as well. But by dumbing down the general populace simply in order to accommodate a growing contingency is wrong to me. Why don't they take an alternate path, and accommodate the increasing number of immigrants in a different way, like providing alternate language tests so that ultimately, the complexity of the language found in the test and the courses could be increased dramatically?

Also, after writing the above paragraph, I realize this has already turned into more of a diatribe than a productive means for me to spread ideas, so I apologize. Ahem.

Driving in the US has its problems, as any nation anywhere in the world does, but driving in the US is quite peculiar. People love to drive fast, myself included. But there is a palpable obsession with being privy to monitor one's speed, and to maximize it whenever possible, whether strictly legal or not. A common example is when a speed limit sign on an interstate highway is posted at "55 MPH", yet the average person is likely to well exceed that at 80 miles per hour, if not, only slightly less. And individuals stopped on the highway are commonly only stopped as a means for example, or in other words, "fear tactics".

"Fear tactics" are applied by police officers in Chicago quite excessively (I can't quite speak for the other sectors of the US), and as I find, rather than to promote safety, produce paranoia, and heightened irrational fears in drivers. So, without getting bogged down, in order to fully optimize safety and security on the roads, education of new, incoming drivers should have the highest possible quality, as the tests should be increased in rigorousness ten-fold. As from what I've heard, European driving exams are unimaginably difficult, and thus, produce significantly more capable, confident, safe, and secure drivers who are not afraid nor unable to drive at high speeds, ultimately, reducing the demand for police officers, and finally, reducing paranoia within the consciousness of drivers.

A perfect example of the responsibility that the government in Germany hands over to the driving public in rewarding them for earning their drivers' licenses is the Autobahn and other various unlimited-speed streets and highways found throughout Europe. In the US, it seems, people simply couldn't handle having no speed limits. By either this nation's historical immaturity, or immaturity within people specifically, people tend to behave more immaturely as well, which is why it seems the government isn't yet, and will not be ready to hand over to use unlimited-speed highways and public roads.