About Zachary

Hello my name is Zach. In my spare time I like to work out, cheer for Philadelphia sports teams, and hang out with my friends. I have an obsession with football and like a challenge.

11/02/2015

90s Nostalgia Explained

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Pictures like this have become a trend dubbed 90s nostalgia. Even though there's overlap between 90s and 00s nostalgia, they chose 90s.  Some pictures are painfully accurate like this one and others were more optimistic about the past. On an unrelated point, when I was a kid I remember there being a huge outrage about headphones causing hearing loss from the media despite the fact that we grew up with VHS tapes that literally tried to destroy our ear drums. In retrospect, that discussion seems silly. Going back to the topic, some of the more optimistic things 90s nostalgia asserts is having to record events on VHS tapes was better than a DVR. Before I explain that, I should explain what a VHS is.

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This is a VHS tape. It's big, bulky and uses a tape that wears out over time. Before DVR, you had to put one of these in a VCR, or the equivalent of a DVD player, and use it to record things. You had to hit a button when the program started and you couldn't change the channel until you were done. In addition, if you accidentally put in a tape that already had things recorded on it, those things disappears. There was no trash bin where you could just click recover and get back, it was gone until it was on TV again. Oh and while we are on the topic, your TV couldn't tell you what was on. You needed a paper copy (the internet wasn't mainstream back then) from a newspaper or magazine. If you didn't live through this time, I can already see the horror on your face. I know it's bad but it's okay. Here's a video of cats to calm you down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2H5YVfZVFw Better? Okay good. Somehow, in someone's mind, this is better than hitting a button and forgetting you did it. 90s nostalgia has a lot of things like this like missing portable CD players you couldn't fit into the pocket of your denim jackets and denim jackets. No idea how we decided to wear our pants over our shirts, but that is a thing that happened that, for reasons unbeknownst to me, people miss.

Some 90s nostalgia I can get behind.

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This brings back many good memories. It reminds me when books were commonplace and going to the library after school was the norm. I am one of those people who are vehemently against e-books. There is no logic I can give you for why, I just have a lot of feelings (points if you got the reference). Something about having physical pages I turn makes me feel better about my life. Maybe it is nostalgia at work, but a physical book just feels right. Sadly, at some point in my life, these bound pieces of paper I have on my shelves will become relics my grandchildren mock, just as anything we use paper for today will. This movement from paper to digital explains why 90s nostalgia is a thing.

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Many critics of the 90s nostalgia movement argue we haven't been alive for long enough to wax poetically about the long lost past. However, if we compare the rate of technological change in these generations, we will understand both sides. Over the course of twenty some years of their life, change was slow. They saw TVs changing size, maybe even cell phones were invented. The progression was slower than the first Internet Explorer. Shudders That'll give me nightmares. Meanwhile, when I was born, the internet was completely unknown to me. I have used computers with no internet access. Now the internet is literally everywhere. It's on people's cell phones, computers and now even their TVs. By the way, when I grew up the cell phones didn't have internet they had snake.

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This rate of change has left us feeling older than we actually are. We've seen such rapid change that the not-so-olden days of Furbies (more nightmares, you're welcome) and Gameboys seem like the distant past. Some try to argue over 90s nostalgia like it's a good or bad thing. It's just memories people are fond of, whether it be because they were simpler times with less responsibility or because they miss physical books.

05/08/2015

This T-Shirt Is a Lie!

My Sad Attempt

Okay so this isn't what the t-shirt looks like but I couldn't find a picture. Believe me, I tried. I ran around the campus searching bulletin boards but to could not, so I attempted to recreate it with a t-shirt generator. You see why I didn't choose a career in fashion. Anyways the point of my sad recreation of the t-shirt is its statement that USciences football is undefeated since 1821. This a lie. Yes, a lie. Many people believe that because we don't currently have a football team, we never did. Most people are wrong. Soak in the beauty of the 1901 Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP) football team:

PCP Football 1901

Look! They exist! And how was our team? Well, it depends on what year you look at. Like most teams, we had highs and lows. Our 1900 team "held up their honor" according to the yearbook posting a 5-1-1 record that year despite limited practice. I would qualify this as a high.  According to alumni, in one undefeated season we didn't allow a single point but old yearbooks are not easily accessible so I have yet to find record of it. Regarding this, it should be noted football was much different before WWI than it is today. The forward pass only became legal in 1906 and that was because 18 people died playing football in 1905. Points were harder to come by, but this still would have been an impressive feat. Perhaps our lowest moment came in 1912 when this was written of the team in the yearbook: "It is impossible to have a picture of the team in this issue due either to the don’t care feeling which has existed throughout the season or because they are ashamed to have it known that they were members of the team."  Ouch. So when was our last loss? I haven't seen all the yearbooks so I can't say this definitively. As far as I can gather our last loss was in 1912, but I am still researching.  Adjust your t-shirts accordingly. I'd use duct tape.

**This is meant to be humorous. If anyone who made the t-shirts were offended I apologize.**

03/18/2015

Selma 50 Years (and a few weeks) Later: Where Are We Now?

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Selma, I think we should look at where the racial divide is today. In my opinion, this look won’t be pretty but let’s start with the positives.  Our president is African-American which certainly indicates there has been progress since the original march through Selma. Also, water fountains are no longer designated for race.  However, and perhaps this is due to how the media displays things, I see many negatives.  According to thinkprogress.com, admittedly a biased website, only 1.2% of fortune 500 CEOs are African-Americans.  CNN supports this disparity stating “The United States government has a black chief executive. But 99% of the nation's largest businesses do not”.  Putting bias and grammatical errors aside, there is clearly a disparity of who holds power.  In the 113th congress, also known as the congress before mid-term elections, 8.3% of the members were African-American according to senate.gov.  Now I know I’m starting to sound like a research paper and not a fun-loving blogger, but I think these facts are important. So important, in fact, that I’m ignoring runaway llamas and an abnormally controversial dress (I see white and gold).  Now I could go on with statistics but as both Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain will both tell you “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  So let’s look at the actions which speak louder than words and, presumably, lies.  It’s no secret there has been mass misunderstanding between police and African-American civilians, but I’m not even going to focus on that. I’m going to focus on what happened in Oklahoma this weekend, where a fraternity chanted racist remarks in public.  During a weekend that commemorated a vital point in civil rights history (a history we are still writing) people were chanting racism.  Why?  Why do people still feel like color is a personality trait instead of a physical characteristic? Although we have made progress, this key question has yet to be answered.  So where are we? Looking at society, I’d have to say still nowhere close to fixing this divide.

02/04/2015

Super Bowl Summary

So another year, and another Super Bowl champion.  I like to issue my congratulations to Missy Eliot for winning the MVP of the Super Bowl. Have fun in Disney World.  What? She didn't win? Well then who did? Oh I know...

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Alright, alright he didn't win. No wonder he looks so sad.  It's hard to believe that was supposed Katy Perry's halftime show.  Congratulations to the Patriots on the victory.  Now what you're going to talk about depends on what you focus.  Some focused on the halftime show and now want a mechanical lion or whatever it is.  Others switched over to FX and watched part of How to Train Your Dragon instead of the halftime show. By some, I mean probably just me. 

Others will focus on the commercials.  Highlights (that I saw) included an unusually depressing nationwide commercial, a Chevy commercial inviting you to go into your truck and watch the game in it (because it has wifi and apparently your house does not), and the "Like a Girl" commercial from Always which I though was pretty awesome. The most notable commercial, to me anyways, was a Toyota commercial featuring a snowboarder named Amy Purder. For my exercise minor program, I am taking a special topics course on disability and we had studied her that week.  Obviously my professor planned all of this and secretly makes commercials.

Then there are the people who focused on the actual football.  This seems to be a shrinking population, but all of us would love to know why you throw the ball inside the one yard line instead of handing it off to the number one back in the NFL.  My take is a little different. I certainly don't place all of the blame on Pete Carrol.  Sure he had some say, but the offensive coordinator made the call and Russell Wilson threw the pass.  Make no mistake, Malcom Butler made a phenomenal play after being beat by the flukiest catch since David Tyree's helmet catch (against the Patriots also in Arizona).  The odds are that the pass would be incomplete, but why would you want to take the chance. Overall the game was great, by far more enjoyable that last year.

Now talking about the football likely made some you people react like this cat (bonus point if you know what commercial the cat is from):

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But you still watched the game. Why? Because to some people it's about commercials. To others it's about dancing sharks that remind me of the Amanda show at halftime.  This is why the Super Bowl is so successful. It offers entertainment to people who aren't even interested in football.  That's why the day after the Super Bowl probably should be a holiday.  Just saying.

04/23/2014

Creativity: Pros and Cons

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Being creative is an interesting experience. I believe that all people are creative, but some have had it suppressed to the point they can no longer access it. In some respects, they are lucky.  When they read a question on an exam they can focus on finding an answer.  I, on the other hand, will sometimes be distracted by an idea for a short story the problem inspired. Don't get me wrong, creativity is fun, but sadly society doesn't pay fun.  So, since that wasn't my only passion, I decided to go to school for the passion with a bigger paycheck, since I can enjoy that and being creative in my free time. 

However, creativity doesn't know schedules.  Or, if it does, it takes joy in being defiant. It's probably the latter, as most good creative works question the status quo.  Anyways, it can be distracting at times, because as the picture states, there's 2,875 freaking tabs open in your mind. They don't have a sleep mode. Actually, when you sleep, these tabs create a show also known as dreams.  My feeling is that the dream we remember is a mashed up compilation of bits and pieces of each of the 2,875 shows the tabs put on. That's why they're confusing.

My point is this: creativity shouldn't be suppressed. Creativity isn't something that should be frowned on in school. Doodling is a wonderful thing. Albert Einstein once said "Creativity is just intelligence having fun." Why shouldn't schoolchildren be free to be creative in a country based on freedom? That's only one example. Does creativity has its setbacks? Sure. Society does not survive on art alone. We need healthcare, science, economics, etc. to have a functional society. But if you're not allowed to be creative, then what's the point?

 

 

04/17/2014

Olbermann is Added to the List of People Who Don't Like Philly

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So, as the video showed, Olbermann doesn't think I can read based on the evidence that I'm a Flyers fan. How obsevant.  Do you know who Olbermann is? I didn't until this popped up into my Twitter feed so I don't blame you but he's some sports analyst who was born and raised in New York.  With the Philly New York playoff series coming up, one could see the motivation behind poking the Flyers fan base. Someone must have forgotten to tell him: we're insane.

So, enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame, Olbermann.  You might to read your own fan base's tweets before you call us illiterate. I've seen some truly horrific attempts at speaking English out of some Rangers fans trying to chirp at me.

So there you have it Keith Olbermann: tonight's worst person in the sports world! *Throws papers at camera and misses, then get confused when I figure out the table isn't an organ*

04/08/2014

Theory≠Fact

A theory, as defined by livescience.com, is a summary of "a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing." This is not a fact.  By this principle, a theory can never become truth, it can just be a theory with extremely strong support. It can approach truth but never reach it, much like an asymptote (for all my calculus lovers out there).  Recently, I have seen prominent scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson (whom I love and am upset I must criticize) say things like "Gravity is just a theory. Feel free to jump out the window and test it out." in response to religion.

Because of my love for science, I must object to this. This claim is making these theories equivalent to fact because we have yet to see an unexplained incident that contradicts these theories. In other words, we are assuming that these exceptions don't exist because we haven't seen them, albeit in a very long time. This is a childlike mistake. To illustrate this, I introduce to you the concept of object permanence. This is the knowledge that an object is permanently present. A very young child would generally lack this. So, this child would think a teddy bear no longer exists if it were hid behind my back because they no longer see it, much as my beloved scientists are assuming the exceptions don't exist because they can't see them. You know what they say about assumptions.

So scientists, please stop making these childish mistakes.

04/03/2014

Fort Hood

First of all, I would like to extend my prayers and support to all those affected by this tragic event.  No family should ever have to receive a phone call about a loved one being killed. But alas, this is the world we live in today.  Not to be insensitive, but I feel as though the media handles this situations in the wrong way.

Think about this: who does the news direct all the attention to? The shooter/bomber/whatever violent act-er. Many times with these situations, after watching all of the coverage all you know about the victims is how many there were.  You don't know their names and you don't hear why this is wrong. All you hear is "I wonder what made this man commit such an act."  To a mentally unstable person who was simply dealt bad cards in life, this is considered good publicity.

So, when depressed and disturbed individuals see this at home, many times they think "I want to be famous" or even "I want to be noticed". Sometimes all the person really wants is attention.  I would like to point out that oftentimes these people were just given crummy lives to live.  Eventually they just snap, and seeing things like this on the news because seeing it being talked about for hours upon hours and days upon days isn't helping their mental stability.

Is this post somewhat hypocytical? Yes. I have focused mostly on the shooter as well, but I am trying to help you understand how all of this coverage, particularly coverage that gives the shooter all the attention he wanted and more, isn't helping to decrease these tragedies. In fact, it's doing the opposite.

So news networks everywhere, please at least stop focusing on the shooter. I'd prefer you stop covering it altogether, but at the very least focus on the victims. Or just mention that it happened and say you can read about it online. The kids don't need to hear it, people going through hard times don't need to hear it, and most importantly the victims' families don't need to have that added to their grief. Again, my prayers and support to all those affected. Stay strong.

03/29/2014

The Beauty of the Human Spirit

You hear the stories all the time "so and so overcome this", "this person overcome this."  Hearing it so frequently can numb us to the beauty that is being shown by these kind of stories. How resilient is the spirit of man (and woman, I just wanted it to sound old-english-y). 

When the human spirit truly wants something, it will not be beaten. These stories are proof of that, but perhaps the more important lesson here is that we all have this. I know sometimes with school, relationships, work, etc., it may not feel like it, but it's there within all of us. We just have to wake it up. The only way to do that is to chase something you truly love.

03/22/2014

Madness! AHHHH!!!

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So it's March and there's much madness. The first round is over and brackets everywhere are being rushed to the ICU. Warren Buffet had offered $1 billion to anyone who could have a perfect bracket, but according to ESPN none of those exist. We only just finished the first round. But don't feel bad because it is extremely unlikely you could make a perfect bracket. According to ESPN, there aree 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible outcomes. In words, that's 9.2 quintillion. There's 6 commas there. No that's not a typo.

This means the odds of you picking the perfect bracket is 1.084x10-21 %. It's very likely that Warren Buffet can do this for the rest of his life and will be able to hold on to his billion dollars.

That being said, brackets are still fun. I'm 21-11 so far. All things considered, that isn't that bad. My elite eight is still intact, so I'm not too upset. Who do I have winning it? Nova nation.

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