Thursday, June 26, 2008

104 "Improved" Hurricane Names

Dear National Weather Service,

While the current practice of assigning human names to hurricanes has no doubt helped hurricane trackers to communicate about storms and government officials to warn the public, the tremendous damages caused by recent storms such as Hurricane Katrina indicate that our nation remains woefully unprepared for large tropical storms. I, as a concerned citizen, believe that this may be in part due to the apparent friendliness of the names assigned to storms. "Katrina," for example, sounds like the name of a person whom you might like to invite to dinner, and not the name of a storm that is likely to blow away your house and kill your family.

In light of this deficiency in the hurricane naming system, I would like to respectfully submit to you a list that I have compiled of one hundred and four "improved" hurricane names (four for each letter of the alphabet). I hope that you consider my suggestion, as we are both in the business of saving lives.

Thank you,

104 Improved Hurricane Names

Hurricane Aliens
Hurricane Attack
Hurricane Ark
Hurricane Arena

Hurricane Bad
Hurricane Boom
Hurricane Baby-Killer
Hurricane Big

Hurricane Crash
Hurricane Crap
Hurricane Concussion
Hurricane Confusion

Hurricane Deadly
Hurricane Doom
Hurricane Dingos
Hurricane Destruction

Hurricane Explosion
Hurricane Error
Hurricane Extermination
Hurricane Evil

Hurricane Flay
Hurricane Fry
Hurricane Fire
Hurricane Flush

Hurricane Grapple
Hurricane Grumpy
Hurricane Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Hurricane Gladiator

Hurricane Hell
Hurricane Hatred
Hurricane Hard
Hurricane Harrowing

Hurricane Idiot
Hurricane Invisible
Hurricane Indescribable
Hurricane Itchy

Hurricane Javelin
Hurricane Justice
Hurricane Jumbo
Hurricane Jacked-Up

Hurricane Kill
Hurricane Kinetic
Hurricane Knife
Hurricane Kraken

Hurricane Laser
Hurricane Large
Hurricane Lizard
Hurricane Lurid

Hurricane Mumps
Hurricane Mother
Hurricane Maximum
Hurricane Manly

Hurricane Nothing
Hurricane Never
Hurricane Nordic
Hurricane Ninja

Hurricane Onslaught
Hurricane Orc
Hurricane Oprah
Hurricane Ownage

Hurricane Pain
Hurricane Punch
Hurricane Pounding
Hurricane Pwnt

Hurricane Quest
Hurricane Quintessential
Hurricane Queues
Hurricane Quit

Hurricane Rage
Hurricane Reorganization
Hurricane Rap
Hurricane RIAA

Hurricane Stab
Hurricane Steam
Hurricane Scary
Hurricane Satanism

Hurricane Tough
Hurricane Trash
Hurricane Tramp
Hurricane Terror

Hurricane Unstoppable
Hurricane Unfathomable
Hurricane Uppercut
Hurricane Uncle

Hurricane Vat
Hurricane Variance
Hurricane Vorpal
Hurricane Very

Hurricane Wet
Hurricane War
Hurricane Weapon
Hurricane WoW

Hurricane Xanadu
Hurricane Xenotroph
Hurricane X
Hurricane X11

Hurricane Yell
Hurricane Year
Hurricane Yeoman
Hurricane Yahoo

Hurricane Zap
Hurricane Zebra Stampede
Hurricane Zelda
Hurricane Zoro

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

To the Da Vinci Academy Middle School Class of 2008, and Others

So, hello Class of 2008!

I've been brought before you today by the Powers that Be (i.e. Ms. Burns) to give a speech. And the subject of that speech that the Powers that Be have brought me here to give to you is that you should all follow your dreams.

I know that's probably one of the cornier things you will hear today, but that doesn't make it any less of a good idea. People say it a lot because it's true. You should set goals for yourselves, and try to achieve them. Some of you might want to be doctors. The best way to become a doctor is to take lots of biology and go to medical school. If you want to become a lawyer, you should take lots of English and go to law school. And if you want to become a clown, study humor and go to clown school. By setting and working towards goals, you can accomplish nearly anything.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to warn you all against the dangers of living a goal-oriented life. It's good to work towards a goal, but if you make one thing—say, becoming a doctor—the focal point of your life, you miss out on the rest of life. When I say, “follow your dreams,” I don't mean that you should slavishly devote your life to accomplishing the one thing you've determined you want. That's probably the worst possible thing you could do: people are bad at knowing what will make them happy. Take my father, for example. When he was getting ready to go to college, he was certain he wanted to be a plasma physicist. Now, many years later, he researches new technologies for water treatment, and he couldn't be happier.

When I say that you should follow your dreams, what I really mean is that you should be a little dreamy. Be spontaneous and out there when the situation calls fort it. Dreams are the antithesis of a plodding, goal-oriented life. When was the last time you had a dream that made logical sense? If you really want to follow your dreams, be random. You'll never know if you absolutely love something, be it model rocketry, or unicycling, or video production, unless you try doing it. You'll never know that you want to be an actor, or a historian, or, yes, even a clown, unless you try being them.

Trying new things and becoming new people is really what high school is all about. Some people will try to tell you high school is about studying, or preparing for college, but it's not. It's about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and what you love. Once you know that, college, learning, and everything else follows.

It is good to have a goal in your life to work towards, but it is vital to remember that goals, plans, and people all change, and that very few things are less fun than living the life and achieving the goals of someone whom you have ceased to be. So, work towards your goals, but follow your dreams. Make friends with people who aren't “your type.” Take classes in things you know nothing about. Join a club you've never heard of. Don't ask yourself “why?”. Ask “why not?”.
I'd like to close with a quote from Randall Munroe, who got a degree in physics in college, spent some time doing work for NASA, and then decided that what he really wanted to do was to write a webcomic full-time. This is what I used as my “senior quote” in my high-school yearbook, and I hope you find it as inspiring as I did:

“Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they're doing. Do things without always knowing how they'll turn out.”

So, I say congratulations to the class of 2008, and wish the best of luck to the class of 2012. Set goals, follow dreams, and live life.

Thank you.