Monday, January 19, 2009

From the Latin, sarcasmus

Tomorrow is the inauguration of Barack Obama as The United States of America’s 44th President. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that, the whole deal hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity. The poor guy is taking office tomorrow, swearing on a Bible to uphold the constitution and it’s like no one has even noticed.

The press, usually so gung-ho to find a story and beat it to death, hasn’t muttered a single word about the day. I’ve yet to see a single commemorative item to mark the occasion. It’s like the election back in November never even happened.

It’s kind of sad really. Here this guy ran such a great campaign and won the presidency and now that’s he’s on the cusp of taking over, he’s being completely ignored. If only there were some kind of historical precedence being set here! If only Obama was the first left-handed president, or the first president from Illinois, but alas, Obama is as plain as unbuttered toast. Absolutely nothing sets him apart from all the others who have held the position.

And Obama’s constituents are the very definition of apathetic. He could wear bells all over his suit tomorrow and walk out there blowing a shrill whistle and I doubt anyone would take notice. It’s like the guy is invisible.

What’s worse is that we know nothing of what he’s been up to since the election. For all we know he could have been building a giant replica of himself using an old Lego set or catching flies with chopsticks. No one has said a word about what he’s been up to!

At least the guy doesn’t have any expectations following him into the job. I mean, he could take a four-year nap and no one would really notice. The country is in the best shape it’s ever been in and things are so good that no matter what he does things will be okay.

I just feel bad for the guy. Would it really kill us to come together and show the guy some love? Would it kill the great and powerful celebrities of our nation to make a fuss over him and help the guy out with a little self-esteem boost? Would it kill the newspapers, magazines and television shows to give the guy some props?

I, for one, happen to think that the inauguration of a new President is a big deal and would like to see just a bit of coverage. I wish they could find just one unique thing about him to help make the occasion a little more special. I wish people would just pay a little attention to what’s going on!

Sadly, I just don’t think we have it in us. We’re so broken up about the departure of President Bush that we’ve hardly even noticed the new guy. We’re so content with the pure awesomeness of the state of our union that we can’t find it in ourselves to get worked up over a change in leadership. Our economy is so stable; our foreign relations so tight, our domestic safety so complete that its hard to have much emotion regarding a new guy because there really isn’t anything for him to do.

Well, the mainstream press may not cover the inauguration and you’ll probably go the entire day without someone mentioning it to you, but as always, you can count on me to be here, ready to point the way to events you should be keeping your eyes on. So, take a moment tomorrow and enjoy the swearing in of our next President. Find something about the occasion worth getting excited about—even if you have to completely manufacture it. These things only happen every four years, so enjoy it while you can.
Here’s to inauguration day and to President Elect Barack Obama. You may be completely uninteresting and not newsworthy in any way, you may lack any kind of remarkability at all sir, but I am standing up and taking notice of the fact that you become President tomorrow, even if I, like the cheese, stand alone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Application for Serial Killer Murder Victim

Application for Serial Killer Murder Victim

Name: Christina Raines
Age: 23
Marital Status: Engaged to be married
Children: 2
Are your children available for murder as well: yes

Preferred Serial Killer: Drew Peterson
&nb sp;
Qualifications: (please list)

I.Q. of 0
Willingness to sleep with and marry killer
Desperate need to be famous
Complete lack of welfare for my children
Likes “bad boys”
Willing to alienate parents, family and friends
Abi lity to look at naked creepy old guys without gagging
Enjoys long hot baths in ankle deep water
Dependably unreliable, including going missing for long periods of time

Please explain why you should be selected: I’m like totally hot and young and dumber than a box of retarded hair, so I think I’d make the perfect wife and future victim for Mr. Peterson. I’ll do as I’m told at first until the media attention subsides, at which time I’ll start acting up so Mr. Peterson can take a few swats at me before losing all patience and killing me in some totally cool and gruesome way like they do on C.S.I. which is like my favorite show in the whole world. I have kids, which I realize might crimp Mr. Peterson’s style a little bit, but as an added bonus, when he kills me, he could totally bring his number of victims up by 3 instead of just one when he gets tired of me!

In closing, I think I’d make the perfect bride/victim for Mr. Peterson and willing to do anything to prove it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

George W. Bush gave his final press conference today as President of the United States of America and I, for one (and I could be alone here), will miss him. For someone who enjoys writing as much I do, with a humorous spin whenever possible, Bush has been a godsend that won’t easily be replaced. It makes for a good time to look back upon his Presidency though, and to look forward to what lies ahead for our next President.

From the point of view of a humorist, Bush’s many faux pas and foibles have been vitamin rich in opportunities to ridicule and torment. Rarely has a week gone by in the past 5 or 6 years when he hasn’t done something worthy of a jab or a dig. From his mispronounifications of words to his goofy grins and expressions, Bush has provided a continuous and ever-present butt for any and all jokers.

From the point of a political analy st, the loss is equally as significant. Right or wrong, regardless of which side of any particular issue you may have come down on, Bush has provided lots of fodder for debate, discussion and in many cases, blatant outrage. His policies and procedures have been in almost constant question since he took office. He has been at the center of political and social debate for eight long years now and it’s been a full eight years with a seemingly nonstop train of issues and consequences.

What I’ll miss the most about him though is the ignorance. Not his ignorance, but the absolute and blissful ignorance the American public, and the world at large for that matter, had regarding his decisions, actions and politics. I think that Bush, unlike anyone before and as no one in the foreseeable future has been the president of perception.

To many, he has been a clown prince and political buffoon. He has been the scapegoat for many things that have happened which were far beyond his control. To many, any decision he has ever made has been completely and unquestionably indefensible. His detractors are many and they almost uniformly fail to find a single good thing to say about him, or point out a single good thing he’s ever done.

This, of course, is ridiculous. Not liking a president is one thing, not agreeing with him more often than not is certainly understandable, but President Bush has been vilified to an alarming and unbelievable extent. There are actual people who side against certain issues just because Bush favors them—regardless of the facts. I can’t think of a single idea that more fervently betrays democracy than that one.

I happen to believe that history will much kinder to Bush than we have been. I imagine he’ll be long gone before anyone will care to look at his presidency objectively, but an objective eye is going to see that the past eight years have been a failing of the governed, far more than they have been a failure of the government.

I don’t mean to come off as a defender of President Bush. I’m afraid that his second term has been a disaster and that much of the criticism he’s gotten has been warranted. The idea that everything he’s done has been bad, that he’s a bad person, that he’s evil, that he’s manipulated the people and the government for personal gain and personal reasons is simply foolish. How quickly and conveniently we forget that there are three branches to government. How quickly and conveniently we forget that we elect the officials who preside over that government.

The most glaring part of the past eight years is the absolute lack of culpability the American people have felt. Some will point out the disputed results of the 2004 election without giving a thought to the fact that had things gone the other way, those results would have been as justly disputed as they stand now. They use that election as a get out of jail free card for all that has happened since, pointing out that their ability to affect change was stolen from them, making it convenient to give up entirely on the political process.

And that, in a nutshell is the problem. Democracy is founded on the principle of a fighting people, a people so hungry for freedom and justice that they would stop at nothing to see to it that those ideals were consistently perpetrated. We are a lazy people though and find it much easier to whine than to do when things go against what we want.

Over the past eight years, ignorance has reigned, not in the seat of the Presidency, but in the minds of the people. The most common ignorant idea is that the war in Iraq is entirely about oil, yet while every and any anti-Bush propagandist uses this as a staple of their beliefs, I’ve yet to find a single person who can explain to me the actual benefit or gain that Bush hoped to achieve in this Oil War. I’ve yet to find an adequate explanation as to why the vote to go to war in Iraq was so lopsided? The Senate, working from the same false intelligence that Bush did voted overwhelmingly to go to war, and have escaped any and all culpability for that action.

Again, it is not my intention to let Bush off, but I have to wonder why he alone faces the consequences of that decision? I have to wonder why he takes the blame for poor intelligence? I have to wonder why he alone takes the blame for the poor military strategy we took? The indictment should have reached into our military, our intelligence community, the two other branches of executive government and to the citizenry, but it never has and until a far removed historian is able to look back at the times, probably never will.

In the end, the same things that made him such a convenient target to humorists made him an easy scapegoat for all that went wrong. Our forefathers specifically created a government where one person could not rule as the monarchs of Europe once did, but that never stopped us from lopping every imaginable blame for any possible problem in the lap of one man.

Worse, we now assign the task of making everything all better in the lap of our next President. We don’t want to participate, we want someone to wave a wand and make it all better. The expectations and hopes for President Elect Obama are so incredibly unfair that it’s staggering. His election has many crying out against some of his ideas that lean towards Socialism, but what we should all be worrying about is the very real threat and reality that we are so unappreciative of our liberties that we are willing to allow them to be taken from us.

Say, for instance that Obama works miracles and turns things around quickly. Say that he leads us to four and then eight years of prosperity. Say that the country is happy and fat and content under his Presidency. Say that older generations die and younger generations replace them and the day comes when a choice is given to us about the possibility of allowing a president a 3rd term because we are so happy with him—then even a 4th.

Such a short step it would be to absolute p ower, to dictatorship, to monarch rule. If we are so willing to place blame on one man as our scapegoat, surely we are equally willing to place glory at the feet of another as our savior. The precipice at which we stand is a precarious one. We fail to remember our history—a history of scapegoats, appeasement and absolute power that led to genocide as recently as World War II—and one false step could leave us doomed to repeat it.
Say what you will about George W. Bush as our President. Say what you will about Barack Obama as our next. But please, understand that no one person could ever screw it all up, or put it all back together again. If you believe either of those things is possible, you are a fool, you are ignorant, you the problem. Our government allows only one finger to every be justly pointed in blame, and that is our thumb—opposable, supposed proof of evolution, and yet curiously absent in this discussio n, as are the lessons of history, begging the question, just how evolved are we really?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Softdrinks Lose Validity

So, I was in McDonalds for lunch yesterday and it was one of those ones where you fill your own drink (because it takes entirely too much effort for the McPloyee behind the counter to do it). I filled my drink up and sat down eat my McNuggets and read and didn’t give it another thought, until I went to get a refill on my way out. It was only then that I noticed this sign.


Now defines the word valid as such: 1. sound; just; well founded 2. producing the desired result; effective 3. having force, weight or cogency; authoritative 4. legally sound, effective or binding 5. logic so constructed that if the premesis are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction 6. archaic. Robust; well; healthy

Fortunately, I knew the definition of the word valid before I looked it up though, so as I stood there at the soda fountain, I pondered what the sign was trying to tell me.

If I refilled my drink and left would my drink lose it’s reason? Would it stop producing the result of refreshing me? Would it lose it’s authority to refresh me? Would my drink become illegal?

Surely not! I didn’t think my Diet Coke was an existentialist soft drink. If I refilled it and walked outside, I was fairly certain it wasn’t going to say to me, “Al, why am I here?” And if it had, after pissing myself from freight, I would have simply said, “shut up and get in mah belly!”

I can’t imagine the physical properties of the drink changing so that it was no longer refreshing to me once outside the confines of the McDonalds and I know for a fact that it’s within my legal right to drink a soft drink in public.

Hmmm. And why is it that refills lose their validity after the duration of stay, but no such warning is given about prefills? Are prefills somehow able to counteract the effects that make refills invalid outside the premesis? I may be a smart guy, but I had to admit defeat in this case. A brighter mind than my own was needed in order to solve this conundrum, after all, I had just refilled my drink and intended to take it outside, the duration of my stay was at an end and I certainly didn’t want to be drinking an invalid Diet Coke out in public where it might harm myself or others.

So, I decided to go to the source of knowledge I frequently turn to when life’s greater mysteries have me stumped, to the sage of our time, the wisest of the wise. Of course, I’m talking about the shift manager at the McDonalds. I asked for her at the counter and the McPloyee fetched her for me.

I explained to her that I was worried about my drink. I had just refilled it when I noticed the sign that says it loses its validity when the duration of my stay was completed. My stay, tragically, was at an end though. I needed to get back to work. So, I asked her what would happen to the drink once I took it outside. She said that I couldn’t do that. I asked why not? She said it was against the rules and pointed at the sign.

I told her that I didn’t see a rule, I saw a statement of fact and it was the fact about which I was inquiring. She insisted it was a rule though. So, I took a step back and asked her to explain to me about the change in validity of the drink outside of her beautiful restaurant (though I didn’t call it beautiful to her face because I thought that might be a bit condescending). She simply replied that I couldn’t take a refill outside, which did nothing to help me discover anything about the drink losing its validity.

I tried another tactic. I asked her if I hadn’t refilled my drink and I was still drinking my original drink, would that drink still be valid after the duration of my stay? She replied that it would be.

I followed up by asking why a prefill should have validity in the outside world but not a refill seeing as they have the same physical properties and all. At this point, I could tell she was getting a little agitated with me (it can’t be easy running such a glorious eating establishment, especially one in which the laws of physics and reason don’t always seem to apply). She told me that if I left with a refill that I would be stealing.

But I paid for the drink, I insisted! It came as a part of my Value Meal! Surely it could not be stolen if I paid for it! She told me though, that I paid for the original drink, the refill was stolen. So, I asked if all refills were stolen and she said that no, refills that were consumed while I was still on the premesis were okay.

So, I asked if it was only illegal for me to take my refill outside? YES, she exasperatedly replied. What happens to people who go outside with refills, I asked? And she told me that they call the police on them.

Finally, she asked me to leave when I responded by asking if the police had a machine that could check to see if the drink was a valid prefill or an invalid refill. I was a bit upset that she was upset with me for simply asking questions, but an even greater problem loomed. I was holding a refill that would become invalid and illegal the moment I walked out that door. I told her so.

She just pointed at the door and told me to take it with me. I’ll be honest, I was a bit scared. Here I was, about the cross the threshold of soft drink validity—whatever that might be with an apparently stolen softdrink! And to make matters worse, there was a cop car in the drive thru line! I was doomed! But the big, mean lady with four inch long hot pink nails said I had to go and she had told me to take the drink with me!

I have to tell you, I just don’t get as much exercise as I used to, but as the saying goes, I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once, as I ever was. Well it’s true! I’m not fast anymore, but I was FAST yesterday. Usain Bolt couldn’t have kept up with me as I scampered to the car, fired her up and peeled out of there. I didn’t want there to be any injuries to innocent bystanders when my drink lost it’s validity and I definitely didn’t want to be arrested by the cop in the drive thru for Grand Theft Soft Drink!

My heart raced! I was sweating like crazy. I gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles and drove like Matt Damon in a Bourne movie (which is to say that I hit like 7 cars but always fortuitously bounced away to safety). I made it back to work in record time. It appreared I had evaded the police! I was in the clear!!!

Only one thing remained. Regardless of the potential outcome, I had to test the validity of my stolen drink. I knew that the consequences could be disasterous. The sign’s warning was clear, but my insatiable hunger for knowledge would not be assuaged. I braced myself, took a breath, put the straw to my lips and I sucked.

I gave it a moment. I wanted to by hypersensitive to any change that may have occurred in the drinks validity, but after my harrowing flight from the authorities, I was panting and thirsty and the first thing I noticed was that my invalid drink was really, really, really refreshing! If I have to be honest, it seemed even more valid now that the duration of my stay at McDonalds had come to an end. When I was there, sure it was nice to wash down a stray bit of McNugget with my drink, but now…now I was parched from my escape and the bubbly goodness of the drink felt SOOOOOO GOOOOD going down my throat!

It turned out that the drink wasn’t invalid at all! Those McDonalds people must have been lying to me! It sure as hell produced the desired result when I sipped it! First, I was panting and parched and now I wasn’t! Woo hoo!

So, my friends, the moral of the story is this: Never trust the validity of a sign hung on a soda fountain at McDonalds. I’ve decided that those people aren’t as smart as we all give them credit for being!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dear Facebook Moms

One of the best parts about the whole Facebook breastfeeding controversy is that its one of the rare occasions when boobs are in the news for something other than having cancer and we’re all free to talk about them for a while without coming off as too pervy. To that end, I’m going to stay on topic for another day and pose a question to the mothers who are posting these pictures of themselves nursing their babies.

I’m still not taking sides here. I still don’t care if you plaster pics of yourselves breastfeeding all over the place, but just how grossed out is your kid going to be in 16 years when he comes across that picture? Seeing pictures of yourself as a baby breastfeeding make those naked toddler in a bathtub with the neighbor kid pictures like a Disney cartoon.

Forget for a moment that it’s this beautiful thing that mothers and babies share. And forget how much you may love these pictures. Start thinking about the little Oedipal Serial Killer you’re raising and how many women who look like you are going to have to get their boobs chopped off by your psycho son after the trauma he experiences of seeing himself doing to you, what he’s been desperately trying to get his teenage girlfriend to let him do for months!

I don’t know what it would be like for a girl. Probably strange, but I know that no guy ever wants to be exposed to that kind of thing. I can guarantee you that one person out there is going to side with Facebook on this one, labeling your breastfeeding photo as obscene: that’s right…it’s the cute little baby in that picture you love so much moms!

Its one thing for a kid to know that he nursed. He can process that information and get on with the rest of his life with only minor side effects, such as speaking to women’s breasts like they were microphones, or spending inordinate amounts of time in titty bars and be happily ignorant of any Oedipal origins that might cause that behavior, but when you give him the imagery to go with it, you’re essentially lighting the fuse on a trauma bomb. He may never be able to happily gaze at a boob again! You could be ruining his entire life! Sure, if you subtract boob-watching from his daily schedule, he’s going to have a LOT more time on his hands, but the consequences will be disastrous!

If you make boobs creepy for your son, there just isn’t any reason for him to ever find a nice girl and get married. Once boobs are out of the picture, guys aren’t going to put up with women! We’re not going to be late for parties because you can’t get your hair right. When you ask if a piece of clothing makes you look fat, we’ll be honest because we really don’t care about the consequences, and you can bet your asses that we won’t ever talk about our feelings! In fact, without boobs, there just isn’t any reason at all for any guy to be in a relationship. Your kid is going to give up, buy a blow up doll and spend his time the way he really wants to, watching SportsCenter in holey underwear, scratching himself, farting and burping to his heart’s content.

But by all means, show your pictures! I mean, it’s only the internet; it’s not like he could ever come across them. Even if you don’t directly show them to him, I’m sure there won’t be any accidents where he finds them. He won’t ever drive his bio-friendly hovercraft over to your house when he’s 30 to help you with your new computer, see a file called Baby Pictures, open it and become hopelessly impotent. It’s all good. Right?

Wrong! Have a heart Facebook moms! And make your choice while you’re at it. His psychologist is going to blame you for everything anyway, but do you really want the doc to be right? Freud is rolling over in his grave! For the love of God, put ‘em away ladies and leave the camera on the shelf until that fateful day when your kid takes a bath with your best friend’s kid and it’s just too cute to not photograph. That picture alone is enough trauma for us to overcome. Don’t add to it. Okay?

Monday, January 5, 2009


I’m absolutely loving the controversy on Facebook over the obscenity or lack thereof, when it comes to women showing pictures of themselves breastfeeding their babies. I’ll be upfront at the outset, I don’t really care about the issue itself, but I just can’t help but sit back, laugh and enjoy the ride when political correctness collides with political correctness. There’s just something very satisfying about it.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, breastfeeding photos have become something of an in vogue art form. And it’s hard to argue with the idea of there being a more maternal image out there than a baby suckling. The problem is that a lot of mothers are having pictures of themselves breastfeeding and posting them on their Facebook pages.

When you sign up for Facebook, you agree not to post any objectionable or obscene images. With Facebook being as huge as it is, they can’t monitor every single picture uploaded, so they must rely on users reporting objectionable material and when a picture is reported, a Facebook staff member looks it over to see if it violates their policy.

Living, as we do, in an age where making objective, reasonable decisions is an obsolete skill, Facebook has to have certain rules so that their staffers will know what is obscene and what isn’t obscene. Women’s nipples fall into the no-no category. It’s an automatic response. Nipples = violation = removal of the picture from the site.

Well as you might imagine, the mommies are a little upset over the fact that pictures of them breastfeedin g are being termed obscene. Facebook is stuck though, because even if they agree that the act of breastfeeding isn’t obscene, if there is a nipple showing, then the staff viewing the picture would be forced to make a judgment as to each photo’s obscenity level and we’re long past the days when people were capable of actual reason and thought. If rules weren’t laid out with zero tolerance guidelines…well, that would just be anarchy! Personal interpretation of rules and laws, well that’s just so antiquated!

And so, what we’re left with is political correctness vs. political correctness! When political correctness collides with common sense, the winner is always, of course political correctness, but what will happen when different factions of political correctness go to war? The best part is that it seems to be splitting apart people who usually play for the same team! It’s sister vs. sister in the Facebook Civil War!

The idea that the image of a woman breastfeeding is a beautiful, healthy image that is appropriate for anyone of any age to see has feminist origins. The idea that women are exploited on the internet and that nude photos of women are obscene also has feminist roots. It’s hard not to sit back and enjoy the gee golly whiz to heck out of this battle!

Now, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that by no means do I think feminism is a bad thing. It’s just the example at hand where political correctness is always part of the issue. It could be a story about race, religion or any number of things where this happened and of course, equality between the sexes, races and religions are all extremely important and valid pursuits, but in this instance, the line of what is politically correct and what isn’t is very blurry and many different women=2 0have many different opinions on the matter. In short, it’s not a black and white subject. It’s a shade of gray subject and our society has seen to it that we are completely unprepared for such circumstances.

Facebook has followed the mandates of society and set black and white rules up as to what is and isn’t allowed on their site so that the robots they employ don’t need to factor in any critical thinking to do their jobs. If (a) is true, then action is (b). If (a) is false, then action is (c). There’s no room for interpretation. In this case, a nipple is a nipple is a nipple and while that nipple may be nourishing a child in an act of motherly love, it’s still a nipple and nipples are bad, evil, exploitative; showing them demeans women and offends the sensibilities of God-fearing folk (never mind that He put em there for a reason).

It’s a beautifully constructed and inescapable Catch-22. The situation is a thing of absolute and undeniable beauty! The idea that an image of a woman breastfeeding is obscene is offensive! The idea that an image of a nipple can be shown freely and openly on a site frequented by kids is offensive! Everyone is offended! Woo hoo!

As is often the case with polarized views, each side thinks that they are right and poor robotic Facebook is caught in the middle. They have to stick to their rules or people will have to…*shudder*…think! Because once you allow a nipple to be seen during breastfeeding, you open the door to those who think that a nipple shown artistically is just as beautiful. I mean, you can’t allow a mother to show her nipple and not allow a woman without child to do the same can you? Of course not, all things must be fair and equal! Surely nursing isn’t the only time a nipple is non-pornographic right?
Oh, I hope this fight continues! I hope MySpace publically supports and allows breastfeeding pictures so that Facebook has to make a business decision about allowing them or not. After all, money does talk. Wouldn’t it be great if companies had to blur the line between what is and isn’t allowed? If their employees had to make judgment calls? And won’t it be wonderful when others who want to display loving acts question those judgment calls? Where is the line? Who is to say what is love and what is porn? What is art and what is exploitation? There are armies of rock throwers in forts made of glass lining up for a fight. Sometimes, you just can’t help but love the hoops we make our society jump through as we defy the commandment to judge not, lest we be judged ourselves. It’ll be a fun ride for sure. Enjoy!