Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The 4 Steps for Proper Complaint Delivery

By Jeff Cover

I recently sent a message to the Facebook account for John Hodgman, complaining about the content. I remembered to remain civil and professional. The interaction went well. I think I'm getting better at this complaining thing. I think I'm good enough to start giving advice.

1. Remember that you're talking to a human

If you are upset with an organization, always, and I mean always, remember that you're not dealing with that organization, you're dealing with a person--just a person who works for a company--and not the company themselves. They are a living, breathing, caring person deserving of respect and you should always treat them as such. Do not yell and scream at them.

There is also the chance that you are not talking to a human. I can't tell you how many hours I have wasted arguing with opponents that ended up being spam-bots, Siri, or just a voice on a loop. (I didn't know who Ari Cording was, but I was so pissed that they kept telling me to hang up and try my call again. They did say please, though.) You shouldn't do this for two main reasons. The first reason is because you are talking to a machine that cannot properly understand you. The second reason is that we should try to be nice to machines in hopes that they remember our manners when they're deciding whether or not to enslave us.

2. Try to see things from the other point of view

While it may not make any sense to you why you can't return that product, even though you have your receipt, you have to try to see things from the opposite perspective. First of all, it's illegal to return undergarments that have been worn. Second, you've already written your name in Sharpie along the waistband. Third, you've tie-dyed them with Kool-Aid. If that clerk were to accept them, she might get in trouble. And why are you making that nice 17-year-old girl touch your worn underwear? This is the kind of thing we've been talking about, Randy.

3. Always be courteous

You wouldn't be complaining if you didn't care, right? If someone horrible is doing something horrible, just let them continue doing that horrible thing, and more people will think they're horrible until that horrible someone is forced to go away. Perhaps somewhere horrible.

You should only complain to organizations and institutions you actually want to improve. So, while you're complaining, remember all the good things they do and the reasons why you discovered the complaint in the first place.

4. Remember how big the world is and that we're all going to die one day

Answer these questions of your complaint:
 A. What am I complaining about?
 B. What is my level of emotion regarding this complaint?
 C. Considering the fact that I'm not immortal, are my answers to A and B ridiculous?

Sometimes you'll have a perfectly logical complaint, and your answers may look like this:
 A. Being run over by a car.
 B. Moderately Angry
 C. No.

But the majority of the time, the answers will look like this:
 A. The store is sold out of a highly popular item.
 B. More angry than I've ever been in my life.
 C. Shut up, logic.


So, follow those steps and you'll have a much more pleasant complaint process. Here's the complaint I sent to Team Hodgmania on Facebook.


Dear person who runs the John Hodgman Facebook account,

I would  like to kindly request that you stop posting every one of John Hodgman's tweets. I understand that it is your duty to ensure that Team Hodgmania has plenty of content, however, much of this content really seems to be best reserved for twitter, where it originated. Most Hodgman fans have both a Facebook and Twitter account and do not need to see content duplicated. If you have no choice but to duplicate the twitter stuff, I ask that you pick and choose which tweets to put up, and not put up every one.

Now, you may think that I am just a crazy person who is taking too much time out of his day to complain about something this trivial. I truly believe that I am providing some honest advice about semi-important things, like the overall morale of Team Hodgamania. I don't want people to jump off this rolling nerd bandwagon because of feed-clogging issues. We're too good for that.

I love you.

Jeff Cover

Team Hodgmania


Now that's how you complain!

I received a reply shortly after. I won't post it here because I don't want to violate anyone's privacy, but it was light in tone and thanked me for my input. He did not tell me that he loved me too, but I'll let that slide.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Banksy is a Genius, Just Ask Him

By Jeff Cover


I use to love Banksy. Something about his punk-rock street art just resonated with this angry socialist. As I got older, I realized that I was so right. He's definitely not a hypocritical millionaire pretending to represent the underclasses. He is a genius.

Banksy is currently spending some time in New York City, spraying his stencil art all over the city. And man, are they the opposite of pretentious.


Looks like someone doesn't like censorship. What a brave stance for an artist to take. I don't think there's ever been a person who promoted freedom of speech.* Banksy is a revolutionary.

Right, because art is against the law. There is not a cop on the face of the earth that tolerates art. Every teenager knows that.


Notice how the kid is spray painting "Ghetto 4 Life" while his butler holds a tray of spray paint. I don't think this kid is actually Ghetto 4 Life, I think he's just claiming to be ghetto.

Banksy, on the other hand, is ghetto. He's so ghetto that he sells his art for millions of dollars. I saw Exit Through the Gift Shop, I know how much his pieces go for. And I can tell you that having millions of dollars equals street cred.


This one shows an angry Ronald McDonald forcing a sub-human to shine his shoes. Banksy has re-painted Ronald's face to be a frown instead of a smile. It's meant to show that corporate entities treat the average person like a modern slave.

This means a lot more coming from a multi-millionaire. You know he means it, because he's so rich.



Banksy set up a booth for one day, and hired someone to sell these original stencils for $60 each. I love the sign that says "This is not a photo opportunity", because he obviously took a picture of it then posted it on his site. It makes you think. Makes you think about what a genius he is.

Today Banksy is making headlines for another reason. He wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times which was rejected. So he decided to post it on his site.

Now, I've been a fan of Banksy for a while, so I know his style. He likes to taunt people. Poke the lion. Rattle a few cages. He doesn't care whose toes he steps on, whether it's the rich upper class, trying to force their way of life on the rest of us, or the thousands of people responsible for the engineering marvel being erected in the middle of the world's most bustling metropolis. He just wants to shake things up!

So what reaction is he hoping to provoke? My guess is anger. The reason I guess that is because a lot of people are very angry at him. I guess I can kind of guess why. After all, he did claim that the new World Trade Center is "a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th."

Do you hear that architects, engineers, construction workers, city planners, and everyone else involved in this project? You are all terrible people! How dare you build this tower in the middle of Manhattan! How dare you! Don't you know the damage you're doing?!

Some of you 'uncool' people may be asking "How does building a massive, modern skyscraper equate to the terrorists winning? Isn't the rebuilding a sure sign that the terrorists have lost and the New York is still thriving? How do you connect those dots, Banksy?"

And Banksy would say "Fuck you. You don't know art."

Because he's a genius. And he's cooler than you. And he's a millionaire.


Okay, enough irony, here's somethings serious:

Why does anyone care what this stencil artist thinks?



NOTES:
* - Oops, turns out that Banksy is not the first person to be anti-censorship. Rage Against the Machine, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Galileo and almost every artist and scientist in the history of humanity have been anti-censorship.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Ideas for "The Walking Dead"

By Jeff Cover


I have a zombie idea. The problem is that I think everyone has probably had enough of zombies.

Therefore, I submit my ideas for upcoming seasons of "The Walking Dead".



1. The Walker Solution

The zombies (which shall henceforth be called "walkers" to conform with the language of the show) are obviously in various states of decomposition. They are being eaten on the outside and the inside by bacteria, fungi, and even insects. However slowly it may be happening, they are wasting away.

In the first season at the CDC, we learned that when the infected die their brain activity ceases for a moment, and then the brain stem is somehow reanimated. The brain stem can control basic movement, interpret sensory input, and only understands hunger (in the show at least. I have no idea about real life). There is no other brain function. None of the other organs are working either. That is why you have to go for the head.

If the walkers are in a state of decomposition, and their brain stem is the only source for their continued existence, then their brain stem must also be in a state of composition, and therefore their existence is temporary. Eventually, bacteria and fungi will kill all of the walkers.

But eventually's not great. Eventually is boring. Maybe someone could work on hastening the process. That someone could take a bunch of dead walkers, remove the brain stem and try to isolate the bacterium or fungus that does the most damage in the shortest period of time. Then that bacterium or fungus could be reproduced in large quantities to distribute to areas with large amounts of walkers. This part would be the most difficult, as one might have to create some sort of airborne distribution method, like smoke bombs or tear gas grenades.

Whoever accomplishes this would have to be a scientist. He or she would need certain resources, such as a lab, proper equipment, subjects (i.e. dead walkers), a secure location, and protection. The only person on the show right now who really fits this description is Milton (the Governor's bespectacled lackey).


2. The Survival of the Human Race

I don't know where I heard this, and I'm not sure if it's true, but this one "fact" is the only thing propping up this idea:

   In order for a species to survive, there needs to be at least 50,000 unique genetic subjects.

The highest concentration of humans we have seen so far in "The Walking Dead" is Woodbury. There are nowhere near 50,000 people living in Woodbury (Milton mentioned that there are about 70 people). Even if the survivors find a bigger, better, more populated colony, the chances of there being 50,000 living people gathered in one place is microscopic. Simply put, there are not 50,000 people in "The Walking Dead".

However, there are millions of genetic subjects. They're just not alive anymore.

No, not zombie sperm. Get your head out of the gutter.

DNA is a surprisingly non-reactive substance. It can stay fully intact within dead cells for years. It's how police can go back to cold cases and use old DNA evidence to get convictions. The human body is made of roughly 100 trillion cells. Even walkers would still be carrying around billions upon billions of copies of their unique genetic code. If a scientist (or more likely a team of scientists) could find a way to convert DNA samples into sperm and ova, they could create test tube babies out of the walkers. They would have to create ova, not just sperm, because there needs to be as much diversity in the female subjects as the male.

Now all of this is damn near impossible. It would require the resources of the CDC, as seen in the first season. Perhaps the CDC has an office that wasn't compromised during the outbreak.


3. The Nuclear Problem

I got this one from one of those Discovery, History Channel, fake education type shows called "Life After People", or some bullshit like that. It was one of those shows that combines stock footage, bad cgi scenes and an uber-serious voice-over actor. This one was a mockumentary of sorts about the world after all of the humans disappear at the same time. It was a ridiculous show based on a ridiculous concept, but hey, it was when we weren't sure whether or not the world was going to end in December 2012.

Anyways, they had a segment where they talked about the existing electrical infrastructure. In particular, they talked about nuclear reactors. This might get a bit technical. It you wish, you can skip the next paragraph.

A basic nuclear reactor is just a kettle with a radioactive substance as its heating element. Steam is generated, spinning turbines which generate electricity. The radioactive substance is elementally unstable, meaning that it constantly gives off energy, usually in the form of heat. Keeping it submerged in water is a way of preventing over-heating, but that water will eventually evaporate. That's why these power plants continually refill the cooling pools with more cold water. If there was no one to oversee that process and something happened, the radioactive components would evaporate their cooling pools, overheat, and eventually explode. And considering that the radioactive materials are elementally unstable, it will be a nuclear explosion.

Long story short, if no one is taking care of nuclear power plants, they turn into nuclear bombs.

There are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States, and most of them are on the East Coast. Our protagonists in "The Walking Dead" are presumably somewhere around Atlanta. Below is a map of the United States with every nuclear reactor marked with a blue triangle. The red circle is where I presume the survivors are.


Fortunately, there are no blue triangles in that red circle. Unfortunately, they are surrounded by ticking time bombs. Unless someone is taking care of these nuclear power plants, the survivors are about to hit some nuclear winter.




So yeah, those are my ideas for "The Walking Dead". Thoughts?


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Ask the NRA!

By Jeff Cover


The recent school shooting in Newtown has spurred a heated gun control debate in the US. Last week the NRA--the National Rifle Association, the most powerful gun lobby in the country--released a statement claiming that it would deliver a meaningful contribution to the gun control debate on Friday, December 21, 2012. It seems like they were banking on an apocalypse.

Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre delivered a speech in which he proposed a possible solution to school shootings, armed security personnel in every public school.

The proposal sparked a wave of reaction and criticism which I simply can not convey, but the cover of this conservative rag should suffice.
(They managed to call him both a nut and a loon on the front page.)

Wayne Lapierre appeared on Meet the Press Sunday morning to address the criticism leveled against him from all sides, like a gun-owner being buried in a pile of his own guns. A just like a gun-owner would, he defended his beliefs like a gun-owner defending his guns, his many, many guns.

It was on the program that he announced that he would now be writing an advice column, available through syndication in various newspapers nationwide. And guess what? We've got a sample!


Life Advice from NRA VP Wayne Lapierre
By Wayne Lapierre

DISCLAIMER: Wayne Lapierre is not an expert of any kind, as evidenced by any video of him speaking.

Dear Mr. Lapierre,

I work as a bike messenger, but I recently got into a car accident and broke my leg and now I can't work. I don't have any health insurance just yet, and since I didn't get injured on the job I can't apply for worker's compensation. I'm up to my neck in bills and can't go back to work! What do I do?

Jerry from Brooklyn


Jerry,

That sounds like a truly tragic situation. It's always such a shame when someone like you falls through the cracks of the system. Luckily, I have some advice for you. First thing you do is go out to the store and buy a gun. The next thing you do is you bring it home, look at it, and consider buying another gun. Take it from a gun owner, things just seem to go your way when you own a few guns.

The only thing that stops unemployment is a good guy with a gun!

Wayne Lapierre,
Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association


Dear Mr Lapierre,

I'm worried that my husband is cheating on me, but then again, I'm worried I might be paranoid. He just hired a new assistant who is incredibly attractive, and ever since he's been having more late nights at the office than ever. He tells me that his team is working on a major project, and I want to believe him. I don't want to be the kind of person who searches through their spouse's e-mails and such, but I'm feeling tempted lately. Am I crazy, or is there something going on?

Denise from Colorado


Denise,

I love Colorado. It's a great place to own a gun. Just being out there, in the mountains, in the wilderness, with a gun, owning that gun, and maybe having a few more guns and owning them too... it's just amazing.

As for you and your husband, that sounds like a very sticky situation. Before I give you any advice, I must ask a question. Are either you or your husband a gun owner?

If the answer is no, my advice to you is that you go out to the store and buy a matching pair of guns for you and your husband. Best case scenario? You and your husband rekindle your relationship over a common love of gun ownership! Worst case scenario? You and your husband are now protected from any danger which might ever present itself.

If your answer is yes and you already are a gun owner, I have no more useful advice to give you.

The only thing that breathes life into a loveless marriage is a good guy with a gun!

Wayne Lapierre,
Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association

P.S. I just thought of something else! Is it possible that your husband is staying at work late because he does not feel safe in his own home due to the lack of a gun?


Dear Mr. Lapierre,

I just can't seem to lose weight. I've been over 300 pounds since college and just can't seem to do anything about it. I've tried exercises and diets of all kinds, but nothing seem to work for me. Any suggestions?

Farley from Sacramento


Dear Fatty,

First of all, you should have more confidence in yourself. You shouldn't sign your letters with the name Fatty. Come on, man. Have more dignity than that.

As for your weight, you're a hopeless case. If you've been unable to get below 300 by now, it's unlikely you ever will. I'm sorry, but the sooner you hear this the better. You have to face the truth, you're not a runner.

My advice is gun ownership. For your case I suggest an automatic assault rifle. You can't be reaching for a whole bunch of small weapons, they might get caught in a fold and accidentally discharge. You need something that you carry with two hands at all times in order to protect yourself from deadly attackers.

The only thing that gives a fat man dignity is a good guy with a gun!

Wayne Lapierre,
Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association



You can write your questions for Wayne Lapierre and send them to the following address:

National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030 

Or you can fill out the online contact form at contact.nra.org


  
Send questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, praise, rage/ire to me personally:
E-mail: jeff.e.cover@gmail.com
Twitter: @TheJeffCover
Or comment below! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Politics: Assessing the Size of the NBA Basketball

By Jeff Cover


It's election season. Mitt Romney is running his campaign based on lies and cognitive dissonance, and the Obama administration appears to waiting in the ready position, about to strike like a tiger. And everywhere you turn, everyone seems to be talking about the same thing:

How big can we make the NBA basketball before it starts getting ridiculous?

As far as spacial relations are concerned, pi is pretty important if you want to calculate the volume of a sphere in relation to the radius. (If I had a nickel for every time I heard that sentence on tv this week.) I know pi to about 82 digits. No biggie. I'll show it to you some time.

The relation of a sphere's radius to its volume is represented by the following formula:
V=4/3πr³
Where V is volume and r is radius. Also π is pi. It's 3.14159265358979323846... It goes on. I know more. No biggie.

Anyways, this formula isn't very important for the purposes of this blog entry.

Getting back to politics, during his speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, Paul Ryan claimed that the NBA basketball's radius should be increased by 25%.

Let's test Paul Ryan's theory. Here is a photo of LeBron James holding a regulation-sized basketball.
Now, let's make that basketball bigger by increasing the radius to 125% of original. This would increase the volume to 195% of original.
 Now that ball is almost twice as big, but in LeBron's hands, it doesn't look too big. As much as I disagree with Ryan's policies, I think he might be right with this one.

As expected, Ryan's proposal sent the political world into a tizzy. Many argued that this sort of increase would necessitate an increase in hoop size. Others argued that this hoop increase was not necessary, and that "the basket will sort itself out".

Bill O'Reilly then suggested on his program that the radius of the basketball should be increased to 150% of original size. Here is what the proposed "BasketBill" would look like in LeBron's hands.
Bill O'Reilly's suggested dimensions would increase the volume of the NBA basketball to 338% of original.

But the conversation didn't stop with O'Reilly. During Clint Eastwood's debate with a chair on Thursday, the senile millionaire argued that the radius of the NBA basketball should be increased to 200% of original. I don't need to tell you all that this would swell the ball to 800% of original (volume-wise). Mr. Eastwood's proposed "Mega-Ball" would look like this:
Once Dirty Harry has proposed that idea, people didn't think it could get any crazier than that.

But then, during his speech accepting the Republican party's nomination for President, Mitt Romney claimed that if Barack Obama were re-elected President, the radius of the NBA basketball could be increased to 250%, or even 300%.

Here is a graphical representation of LeBron James holding the "ObamaBall 250". This ball is more than 15 times the size of the current regulation basketball.
And this is the "ObamaBall 300", 27 times bigger than the current ball.
President Obama responded to these claims today, arguing that all of this talk about the size of the NBA basketball were just distracting from the real issues, like the size of a MLB baseball.

Obama also pointed to the fact that Mitt Romney increased the size of the Boston Celtics' basketball when he was governor of Massachusetts.

 


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Monday, August 27, 2012

My Gripes With the JFL42 Toronto Festival

By Jeff Cover


I am a big fan of stand-up comedy. I am also a big fan of the Nerdist podcast. That's why I was ecstatic when I heard that the Nerdist podcast was doing a live episode at the Just For Laughs Festival in Toronto this September. Wow! Great news!

I looked it up, and I thought it seemed a bit complicated, you know, for a comedy festival. One is supposed to buy tickets for the Louis CK show, and then one will be e-mailed a passcode to reserve other spots in the festival. I thought it was a little unorthodox, but I was still excited and still on board. So I bought my tickets. That's when the problems began.

On Tuesday I bought two passes to the festival, and was immediately given access to print the Louis CK tickets. Printing, by the way, is the only way to get the tickets. You cannot pick them up at one of the many TicketMaster outlets, you cannot have them delivered by rush, you cannot have them delivered by mail. The only option is to print them. For those of you without a printer (because who needs a printer these days?), good luck with that.

I expected to be e-mailed the online passcode within a few minutes. You know how these companies are; they always say 48 hours, but it never takes that long. Well, they didn't arrive within a few minutes. 24 hours passed, still no passcode. 48 hours passed, still no passcode. Three days passed, still no passcode. This is when I decided to take action.

On Friday I called the phone number on the website. It was a busy signal. I e-mailed the e-mail address on the website. No one responded. I called the number again. Again, I got a busy signal. I notice that beside the phone number, they've written TicketMaster in parentheses. So I call TicketMaster's customer service line. Guess what? It was a busy signal. So I called the TicketMaster line for buying tickets. Surely someone will pick up there. They did, and managed to transfer me over to customer service. Customer service had no idea about this festival or the passcodes. I had to explain to the representative the unorthodox nature of this festival's ticketing procedure. This was when I began to realize how fucked up this festival is.

Anyways, yesterday, Monday, I spent two hours on the phone with TicketMaster, sent three increasingly angry e-mails to a non-responding address, pestered the JFL42 Twitter and Facebook accounts, and still got nowhere. And I mean, nowhere. I was no closer to getting my passcodes than I was on Tuesday. No matter what I did, I could not get a hold of anyone in the company. My final e-mail to JFL42 threatened to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and Visa (my preferred method of payment).

I guess that worked, because finally, at about 3:00 pm, more than three days after I sent the first e-mail, more than six days since I purchased my tickets, I finally got my passcodes.

And guess what? The Nerdist podcast taping is sold out. Fucking awesome.

I'm not done. Yes, there is more. Because once you get the passcode, good luck going to a show with someone else.

Here's how the festival is supposed to work, in theory:

1. Buy a ticket to see Louis CK
2. Get your passcode e-mailed to you
3. Create an account at JFL42.com
4. Link it with your Facebook account (Facebook is mandatory)
5. Enter your passcode into your account
6. Reserve spots at shows
THEN
7. Download the JFL42 app on your smartphone
8. Get Access to shows using your smartphone app
OR
7. Print off the barcode that corresponds to your passcode
8. Use the barcode to get access to shows


Now some of those steps seem innocuous, but I'm guessing that some of you tilted your heads slightly when you saw steps three and four. You might be thinking "Create an account? To go to comedy festival? That's strange." And you'd be right! It is strange! You also might be thinking "I already have a Facebook account, but it seems outrageous that it would be mandatory." And you're so fucking right. It is outrageous that a comedy festival would require all of its goers to have a Facebook account.

But here's the kicker. This whole unnecessarily complex and convoluted process is made damn-near impossible if you're not planning on going to these shows alone. For one, the passes are supposed to be non-transferable, therefore only one person can enter one passcode into their account. One person can only reserve one spot at any show. One person cannot plan a surprise for someone else. One person cannot buy two tickets to five shows and take different people.

No. Everyone has to do this on their own. Even a couple has to do this separately. It's as if JFL42 is thinking "What do we care if you're a couple? You can't buy tickets together! You have to do it separately like everybody else! Why do you have to do everything together? Do you share the same Facebook account?"

So, it's impossible for one person to buy tickets for two or more people. At least in theory.

Here's what I'm doing. I created a fake Facebook account with a different e-mail address, and I'm not downloading the app, I'm printing out the barcode. And I'm going to transfer that non-transferable ticket like it was going out of style. Why? Because I'm a bad-ass.

Also because I'm the biggest stand-up comedy fan that I know. I don't know anyone who's going to want to come to five shows of my choosing within nine days. But I know someone who will go with me to see Louis CK, and I know someone who'd see Patton Oswalt, and I can probably find another Nerdist fan (if I can get tickets).

In short, it shouldn't be this hard to buy tickets for anything. Ever. Fucking anything.

And I kind of feel bad for TicketMaster. Don't get me wrong, they're still a bunch of greedy, blood-sucking, exploitative, service-charging, corporate motherfuckers over there, but they usually know how to handle tickets. It's what they do.

JFL42, on the other hand, has no fucking clue what they're doing with these tickets. They've managed to complicate something so easy. Why? I'm guessing money.

My guess is that some young recent graduate pitched this idea. He was probably wearing a "power suit" with a really bold colour of shirt and tie. Something like fuchsia or lime green. I assumed he used words like "synergy" and "paperless" and "high-tech". He pitched this idea which would vastly complicate things, but save on shipping costs and deter scalpers. The people hearing this pitch probably loved it. The impressionable young ones might have thought that they were part of a new way of festival ticketing. The older ones probably thought it sounded a little complex, but didn't want to appear non-savvy in front of the younger ones.

So they went with this clusterfuck of an idea.



Send questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, praise, rage/ire, screenplay ideas, job applications, job offers, to me personally:
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Tribute to Neil Armstrong

By Jeff Cover


Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) has died. This got me thinking about immortality. You know what I realized? Immortality is tricky.

A lot of people have tried to do it the traditional way, by living a long time. They take care of their bodies, eating well, exercising, no more microwave dinners or saturated fats. They try to keep themselves in peak condition to run that marathon we know as life. And these people do a fairly good job. They manage to live eighty, ninety, one hundred years. But then, the body starts to deteriorate like a wet paper towel. Not to mention that being fit and healthy won't protect you from car collisions, gunshots, helicopter crashes, erupting volcanoes, meteors/asteroids/comets, wayward arrows from archery competitions, nuclear explosions, solar flares, kangaroo attacks, and about seven billion more things that can kill you. One thing is abundantly clear:

You can't "outlive" death.

Death is inevitable. It happens no matter what you do. Therefore, people try the "legacy method" of immortality. They try to do something that will be remembered for much longer than the span of a human life.

Whether or not people are aware, almost every person on earth does this. They write stories and songs. They build structures. They have children and make families. They create a legacy which could live on after they die. As far as immortality goes, this might be humanity's best option.

It's not easy, though. It takes a lot of work to be remembered even for a few decades after your death. Just think about how much shit Gandhi and Martin Luther King had to put up with. Those two men were killed because of what they were doing, and now they live on as heroes of the human rights movement. But how long will they be remembered? Certainly not forever. No offense to the Mahatma and the good Doctor, but there have been many revolutionary leaders who became martyrs for their cause, and they aren't remembered forever. Sorry to say, once the next round of martyrs comes around, Dr. King and Gandhi might be relegated to the indexes of history.

So, if Gandhi and MLK aren't going to be remembered forever, and they were martyrs, what does that say about artists and musicians and writers and poets? Surely, some of those creative people will live on in the spirit of humanity forever. Like Bach, and Beethoven, and da Vinci, and Van Gogh, and Shakespeare, and Aristophanes, and Aesop. Yeah, those people might live on forever. But their level of accomplishment is damn-near impossible to achieve. What would it take to write better than Shakespeare? To compose more beautifully than Beethoven? To paint more wondrously than Van Gogh? It would take a hell of a lot, if you ask me.

There are others who have marked their name in history by being a gigantic part of it. Caesar will be remembered as the man who changed the role of the Roman Emperor, and changed the face of Rome. Columbus will be remembered for "discovering" a continent that people had been living on for hundreds of years. Lincoln will be remembered for freeing the slaves. While these are all amazing ways to create a legacy, they're not exactly imitable. You can't change the face of the Roman Empire now, it doesn't even exist anymore. You can't discover the New World for a second (or third) time. Same goes for freeing the slaves (in America, at least. There's other slaves elsewhere in the world that you could free.).

So how will we classify Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon? On one hand, it's hard to imagine how he will be remembered, since his death was so recent, and not enough time has passed to gauge the significance of his life.

On the other hand, Neil Armstrong could have died twenty years ago, and not much would be different. As soon as he was finished at NASA, he pretty well exited the public spotlight. Most of us don't even know what his face looks like. We wouldn't be able to recognize him walking down the street, unless he was wearing that iconic NASA spacesuit.

I wouldn't blame you if this was the only video you've ever seen of him.



But that's all it takes for Neil Armstrong to become an immortal legend. This event took place in 1969, probably before you were born, and you've seen it more times than anything else from 1969, pretty-well guaranteed. You've heard the words so many times. You know the pauses and the blips and beeps in the background.You appreciate the fact that this was a monumental achievement. And you don't have to associate Neil Armstrong with his Barbara Walters interview, his Letterman appearances, or his Rogaine commercial. Neil Armstrong is that video.

You need to know something about me; I am slightly obsessed with the colonization of other planets. I joke around a lot, but I am completely serious when I say the following:

The colonization of other planets should be the number one priority of the human race.

Think about it. The world is constantly under threat of destruction. And I'm not talking about those lame religious apocalypses and raptures and computer viruses. I'm talking asteroids, solar flares, deadly viruses and super volcanoes, the events that killed the dinosaurs and the trilobytes. These things are real, and could exterminate all life on earth in an instant. Having the entire human race living on one planet is, effectively, putting all of our eggs in one basket. Also, the basket is perched on the edge of a cliff.

There are some problems with leaving Earth. First of all, we haven't even reached another planet in our own solar system, let alone a habitable planet. Second, we only really think we know of a few habitable planets in the galaxy. Third, these planets are light-years away, and would require centuries of travel to reach by conventional methods. Colonizing other planets is a daunting task, to say the least, but it was a task begun by Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind.

Unfortunately, we were closer to colonizing other planets in 1969 than we are right now. For instance, if we wanted to go to the moon tomorrow, maybe to bury a legend, we wouldn't be able to because we don't have a rocket powerful enough to get there. Most people don't think it's important, I think it's the most important thing in the world.

Here's the spin on the immortal Neil Armstrong's moon landing from the time traveling alien, Doctor Who:

"Now, do you know how many people are watching this live on the tellie? Half a billion! And that's nothing, 'cause the human race will spread out among the stars! You just watch them fly! Billions and billions of them for billions and billions of years! And every single one of them, at some point in their lives, will look back at this man taking that very first step, and they will never, ever forget it."

Make no mistake, Neil Armstrong is as close to immortal as a human can be.