Saturday, December 5, 2015

Please Stop Hacking

There's an unfortunate tendency on the internet lately.*

*To be fair, there's an argument to be made that the internet is made up entirely of unfortunate tendencies, but this one stands out at the moment.

I refer of course to the unfortunate groundswell of vaguely interesting ideas being described as 'Life Hacks'

At this point any even moderately interesting new use of... let's say a dust pan for examples' sake... is getting tossed out in some endless parade of clickbait articles titled something along the lines of 'Genius Life Hacks That Will CHANGE YOUR WORLD!'

At first this was moderately amusing turn of phrase, but at this point one thing needs to be made abundantly clear to the earnest young bloggers out there...


That needed to be said.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

See, Adam Baldwin, This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

For the past week or so my Internet search bar has sat on the top of my screen looking like this-

Now, at first glance this might seem like sort of an odd question, since it's probably reasonable to assume that either you're already aware of why you don't like Adam Baldwin, or you don't don't like Adam Baldwin and don't particularly care about why others do don't.

To understand how I got to the point where I had to ask the question, it's important to understand a fairly fundamental point-

I tend to be completely oblivious about a lot of things going on in the world that other people seem to care a lot about*

*Seriously... I only just this last week discovered Archer.

So, the first Thing I Wasn't Aware Of-


I expect there are a lot of us out there who were unaware of the existence of MovieBob until fairly recently*

*I also expect that there is a much larger group of people who still are completely unaware of MovieBob's existence for that matter

For those who are still unfamiliar, the short version is - MovieBob is the guy that did that online review of the movie Pixels that everyone was passing around on Facebook a few weeks ago.

The longer version - MovieBob (real name Bob Chipman) is one of the many people making their living these days reviewing movies (and other things) online. Until recently he worked producing fairly amusing video reviews for a specific online 'culture' site which I will not name here.*

*Mostly because I don't yet know how rude I'm going to be about them and don't want to get sued, but also partially because they appear to have treated Bob pretty unfairly.

The review of the movie Pixels (If you haven't listened to it) is a delightful profane rant about the recent Adam Sandler movie that uses a zesty mix of invective and reference to biological fluids in a way that I simply have never heard before. It's well worth seven minutes of your time if you aren't bothered by that sort of thing.

Having listened to this, I started tracking down other of his reviews to listen to, because I liked his style and enjoy listening to that sort of 'cultural critique' thing. In one of his other pieces he made the observation that he felt like Joss Whedon was the right person to direct The Avengers because at the end of the day The Avengers was going to be about the group/found family dynamic and that is clearly the sort of thing that Joss Whedon does Very Very well. The way Bob phrased this was that Joss Whedon was so good at this sort of thing that at one point he had even made 'Sentient piece of Human Garbage Adam Baldwin likeable for like a minute'*

*Not an exact quote, but pretty darn close.

The Second Thing I wasn't aware of-

Apparently We Don't Like Adam Baldwin...?

Prior to hearing this, my knowledge of Adam Baldwin was -

  1. He played Jayne on Firefly, which was awesome
  2. He was some guy on the last season of Angel, which was pretty good but not as good as Gina Torres had been on that show the previous year.
  3. The second act of Full Metal Jacket has always felt a little formless to me (although I think that might be kind of the point).  Oh, and..
  4.  He once lost a fight with a manatee

So hearing him referred to as a sentient piece of human garbage by a man who's opinion I was coming to respect in a, 'Hey, you've said a lot of stuff online that I broadly agree with' kind of way gave me a moment of pause. And so I did what any sensible person would do in the circumstances and googled it.

The Third Thing I wasn't aware of-


To be fair, I was vaguely aware that this was a thing.  My sum total of my knowledge about it was pretty much summed up by, 'A bunch of anonymous guys on the Internet found an excuse to justify* threatening women with violent rape while distributing said women's personal information.' It's all done in the name of 'ethics', apparently.

*Justify to themselves, obviously.

It turns out that any research about why we don't like Adam Baldwin is irrevocably linked with Gamergate, which has unfortunately led me to having to learn more about the whole thing. For example, I eventually googled 'SJW', as I had no idea what it meant and people kept insisting on using it in sentences.  (It turns out it means 'Social Justice Warrior(s)', and appears to be a catchall phrase for 'Shut up, I don't want to think about that.') The reason that the whole thing is so intertwined with Adam Baldwin is...

The Fourth Thing I wasn't aware of - 

Adam Baldwin Coined the Phrase 'Gamergate' (allegedly)

No, I'm not going to put the hashtag on it.  This whole thing is dangerously searchable enough as it is, and while there's very little that Gamergate enthusiasts could do to my credit score that I haven't done myself already there's no reason to push it.

Not only did he (allegedly) coin the term, but he seems to spend a lot of time and effort using it as a hashtag on twitter. Which sort of brings us to -

One Thing that We All Already Knew 
Joss Whedon is a Better Person Than You.

Or me. Or anyone else not named Joss Whedon.*

*There's a case to be made for Jane Espenson...

There's an easily findable interview with Our Joss in which he addresses the Adam Baldwin question. Essentially, the question he was asked was - 'Is working with Adam Baldwin weird since the whole gamergate thing?' to which he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'You know, Adam is a hardworking, decent guy that always came to work ready to work hard and do his best. That's the Adam I like to think about, not the Adam who sometimes shouts down me or Felicia Day on Twitter'

That there is pretty much the definition of a classy answer, and it goes some way toward again confirming why Joss is so beloved not just by his fans but also by just about everyone who's ever worked with him.*

*Although am I the only one who gets the feeling that there's some sort of weird vibe between him and Sarah Michelle Gellar?

This, in a big circular way, eventually led me to the answer to the question I was ostensibly researching in the first place.

One Thing We ALL Should Know Instinctively

It Is Not - EVER - OK to Attack Felicia Day

Not even verbally.

Not even on Twitter.

Not cool, Adam Baldwin.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Grapefruit is Coming For Your Family

So for the last few weeks I've been taking a ridiculous number of pills.*

*Some backstory - NOT enjoyable ones. Turns out I had a bacterial infection in my stomach which needed antibiotics to kill it. Unfortunately, most antibiotics also kill me. Which means they have to give me low level alternative antibiotics in large quantities. So I've ended up having to take 18 pills a day for the last few weeks. Fun side effects - constant nausea, light-headedness, and the tendency to get winded standing up or crossing a room.  It's been awesome.

In that there have been many days when the most I'm physically capable of is laying on the couch watching TV and not enjoying a lovely cocktail*, I've pretty much spent the majority of September irritatingly sober, pukey, and watching television**

* It turns out that alcohol magnifies the whole 'nausea' thing by about 5000%. Not a mistake you make more than once.

** Plus side - I finally got around to checking out Bob's Burgers and Archer***. 

*** Seriously, how had I missed Archer?

Now, it turns out that if you're watching a lot of TV and are sober (which I do not recommend) you become irritatingly aware of the commercials. And of course, in that meds were the cause of my current state, I became even more aware of the commercials for dodgy medications.

You know the ones - Handsome and/or lovely young commercial actor standing on a windswept beach and unable to poop/sustain an erection. You know, like you do. Finally the name of some new miracle cure for whatever the problem is is referenced at which point the handsome/lovely actor in question begins running through a field of flowers (presumably on their way to pop a squat or hold a trapper keeper awkwardly in front of their bulging trousers. This then leads to some soft lit nature shots while a voiceover lists the many horrible things that the medication will ALSO do to you*

*Why is anal leakage always on this list?  Is there any man-made pharmaceutical that does NOT immediately cause anal leakage? 

This then segues to some polite-but-firm legally mandated warnings about what not to do while taking the medication*

*And yet for some reason 'Don't wear white pants' never seems to be on this list.

The other night I was watching one of these, and the 'Don't do what Donny Don't Do Does' list began as usual - While using this product, don't drive, don't operate heavy machinery, don't vote in any national elections, etc., etc..  Then in the middle of this list they threw in, 'Don't eat grapefruit.'

Now, is it just me, or is that a curiously specific instruction?  Not citrus, specifically grapefruit.

I choose to believe that someone writing copy for that ad had been hanging out with a buddy who sold grapefruit the night before who had completely pissed him off somehow. (Perhaps he ate the last potato skin, who can say with fruit-sellers). Still stewing over the argument, he throws the grapefruit thing into the 'Don't' list with a profound sense of 'THAT'll show him.'

In my mind, that's how the world of advertising works.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


For those too young to remember, back in the 1980s there was a videogame called...

Wait, hold that thought.  Let's clarify.

Back in the 1980s, videogames were something that you had to actually leave your house to play.

I know.  Take a minute with that. It's a bit of a culture shock.  Breathe through it.  Better?  OK.

So.  In the day, videogames all lived in a store space in the local mall called an 'Arcade'. These videogames were large stand up contraptions roughly the size and shape of a telephone booth...


OK, roughly the size and shape of one of those streetside things you can buy newspapers out o...

Oh for crap sake.

Um... Photo booths?  Do we still have photo booths? No? What about voting booths...?  We still do that, right...?

OK.  They were about the size and shape of a voting booth*

*People of Florida, you're just going to have to google it.

Anyway, an arcade was a darkish room full of neon signs and these large stand up videogame machines that you had to put quarters into to play.  They were about six hundred times larger than a video game station you might see today, only played one game each, and almost never involved scoring points for raping prostitutes. Also there was Skeeball.  Which was awesome.

One game that we particularly awesome was called Dig-Dug. In it you were a pudgy little guy relentlessly digging himself further and further down while trying to avoid attention from the other people around you.  If one came to close you had a special tube you stuck in them and pumped until they exploded.

Which brings me of course to Josh Duggar

To establish my cred on this issue up front, I was WAY ahead of the curve on the whole 'Hating the Duggars' thing.  I've despised them from back when their show was called Two Kids and We're Planning on Having a Couple Baseball Teams' Worth More Because We're Too Stupid to Understand Birth Control. They represent everything wrong in modern culture with their smug hypocritical stupidity, simple expecting to be handed everything they could ever want simply by shouting louder and louder how Jesus only loves people like them because apparently the fundamentalist bunch just eats that shit up. They contribute absolutely nothing to the world except bigotry, hypocrisy and a steady workforce for Matt Staver's secret camp for manufacturing knock off wallets for export

Whew.  As I said.  I despise the Duggars and everything they stand for.

So, Josh Duggar then.  Assuming that you live in a yurt, let me bring you up to speed.  After spending many, many years on TV telling us all how Jesus hand carved their family out of the purest ivory and they are always perfect, it came to light that they had to add the caveat 'Except that time we totally let our oldest son repeatedly molest four of his younger sisters without ever facing any consequences'

According to their press release, they found out about it, told Jesus about it, and Jesus looked back at them and said, 'Aw, you guys.  I could never stay mad at you. We're totally good.  You tell him I said go ahead and molest away.'

Now this story has more or less faded by this point, except for one unfortunate thing. The Ashley Madison website (That's the one that exists solely to provide people a forum to cheat on their spouses) got hacked, and it turned out that our boy Josh had a couple of accounts with them. Now, there's no actual evidence that he hooked up with anybody, but he did prepay for the 'Guaranteed Affair within three months package'* and did not request a refund

*A real thing btw

 So, that's Women and Children crossed off of Josh's 'Things I'd like to have sex with' list. At this point I'm enthusiastically looking forward to the almost inevitable announcement that he's been caught having anonymous gay sex in a public restroom. Not because I enjoy watching bad things happen to the Duggars (although I certainly do!) but because he's this close to pulling off the hat trick and it would be a shame if he didn't make it.

It's the same reason we rooted for American Pharoah at Belmont.

Friday, July 17, 2015

In Retrospect, I Kind of Blame the People of the Mountain

So many years ago, back in the halcyon age before the Internet (and computers for that matter...) I had a grade school teacher who was a bit of a hippie. 

Regularly at school assemblies he would bring his guitar and we would all sing songs along the line of 'If I Had a Hammer', and 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', with the lyrics written on huge sheets of white paper in the front of the school gymnasium. 

One of Mr. Case (for that was his name)'s standards was 'One Tin Soldier'. For those unfamiliar with the song in question, you can review it here*

*As presented in The Legend of Billy Jack**

**I'm not going to even attempt to explain The Legend of Billy Jack

Now, the song is a pretty straightforward 70s peace anthem swaddled in vaguely Tolkien-esque middle-ages village imagery*

*If you could fit the entire 70s into a giant stock pot and let it boil for a very long time, it would eventually reduce to something not unlike the song 'One Tin Soldier'

So the basic story is this - We have the Mountain people who supposedly have a 'treasure'. We also have the Valley people who live next door and would very much like to swing by and borrow a cup of treasure. The Valley people send a polite note requesting the treasure, the mountain people send a deliberately vague note back, and so the valley people slaughter the mountain people and discover that the treasure is, in actual point of fact, the words 'Peace on Earth', which are for some reason know only to the mountain people hidden under a rock.

Now, as a kid I readily accepted that this was a story about bad valley people who killed their neighbors, but looking back on it now I can't help but think that the Mountain people have to take at least some of the blame for the whole situation. I mean, I don't want to blame the victim here, but let's take a look at how easily the whole situation could have been cleared up by having the following simple conversation-

 Hey, we've heard you have a bunch of treasure. 
The 411 is that it's tons of gold. We'd like you to give it to us.
 FYI, we're totes willing to kill for it.

I'm sorry, what?  We couldn't hear you over our enormous beards

Your tons of golden treasure.  Please give it to us. 

Oh... I totally see where the miscommunication here is.  
We don't actually have literal treasure like gold or silver or anything like that.  
When we say treasure we're talking about a 
metaphoric representation of peaceful coexistence.  

You what now?

 We wrote the words 'Peace on Earth' under a rock. See?  Look, you can totally see it.

Why would you even do that?

It's ... like.. a metaphor.

Why did you put it under a rock?

Because shut up, that's why.

Why are we even a part of this conversation?

Oh CHRIST, not them again.  Screw this, we're going home.

See?  Totally cleared the situation up and nobody had to get slaughtered even a little bit.

Honestly, it's like the Mountain People wanted to get wiped out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


A bit of backstory -

For the last couple of months I've had an ongoing issue of some kind going on in my guts.  I'm still not sure what's going on exactly, but my current theory is that an alien is going to erupt from my sternum at any moment.

As part of the ongoing quest to figure out what exactly is going on I've been going through a series of medical tests. First the simple stuff - bloodwork, etc. That showed nothing wrong. Then the 'poo samples' saga (which has already had far too much discussion here)  This also came back and showed nothing wrong. Then we progressed to the ultrasound to check organ function - this was notable for including the following exchange-


I suppose this is where most people make the obvious joke 
about finding out if it's a boy or a girl.

(In a voice of unspeakable weariness) 

... yes.

Once the ultrasound came back showing nothing wrong we moved on to something called a radioactive injection test*.

*Because apparently the name 'Fiendish Death Ray Test was already taken, but they still wanted to sound really sinister.

As tests go it was fairly non-threatening (despite the ominous name). The basic upshot of it is that they put an IV in your arm and fill your veins with radioactive goo. Then they mount you on an enormous metal sandwich board  and scan your organs for traces of radiation. The practical upshot of this is that you can watch on the conveniently placed monitor as your liver, gall bladder and small intestine all light up in dayglow colors as radioactive goo gets processed through them.

Now the answer to the two obvious questions -

Yes, the test came back showing nothing wrong, 


No, I do not appear to have been turned into the Incredible Hulk

I confess to being disappointed on both counts.

While I had to wait to hear back from the clinic for the first answer, I ascertained the second on my own through the simple expediency of recruiting a colleague at work to attempt to make me mad and see if it caused me to transform into a giant green* rage monster**

*possibly grey 

** Arguably not the world's most controlled experiment...

One slight procedural hitch - I don't really get angry very often, which caused a little difficulty. So in practice the experiment ran more like -


Did you hear?  You're not going to be allowed to have a teacup pig at work in the new offices


Oooooh.  <Sad Noise>


No, you're not supposed to get sad.  You're supposed to get angry!


But that's really sad news!


If you don't get angry how are you going to turn into the Hulk?


Well... maybe some Hulks aren't triggered by rage.  Maybe some Hulks are triggered by other emotions.  Maybe I'm Sad Hulk.


Sad Hulk would be Awesome! Sad Hulk would say things like "Sad Hulk wrote you poem. You probably won't like."


"Sad Hulk Eat whole tub of ice cream.  No one ever love anyway..."


"Sad Hulk lay down until DIE."

Please begin submitting your own quotes from Sad Hulk with the hashtag #SadHulk.  My debilitating stomach pain will totally be worth it if this ends up on the Nerdist.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Subtleties of Poo Transfer

A few years back now I was diagnosed with an H. Pylori infection. For those fortunate enough not to be familiar with the microscopic bastards in question, they're bacteria that have found a way to live in stomach acid. As tiny parasites, alone they're irrelevant, but when they gather in large numbers they can cause discomfort and nausea. Much like the Tea Party.

Typically this is a simple infection to clear up with a shout of antibiotics.  Unfortunately, two things prohibit this for me -

1: I'm allergic to pretty much all of the effective antibiotics

2: I'd just as soon not have my throat swell shut and die.

I ended up having to spend three weeks taking seventeen lesser antibiotics every single friggin' day - by the end of which I was actively hoping to be killed by falling airplane waste.

So as you might imagine, I was less than thrilled to discover recently that chronic stomach issues might be a recurrence of the same thing.*

*The other options are Ulcer, Gall Bladder failure, and imminent Alien protrusion.  It's a crap shoot at this point.

First they sent me in for an ultrasound, which appears to have eliminated both gall bladder and Alien (although not definitively). To determine the presence of H. Pylori required some labwork. Which meant delivering unto them a sample.  Of poo.

Friends, there is no casual way to hand a stranger a small vile of your own poo.

It simply cannot be done.

Even amongst the closet of friends such an exchange can be difficult. For example, apparently such a thing is not an appropriate Christmas gift...

Here then, because I am super helpful, are some suggestions for making your poo handoff come out just a little more smoothly.

-The 'Drop and Run'.
A variation of 'Look, what's that on fire over there', followed by dropping your kids off at the pool and running for dear life - the most crucial part of successfully achieving this one is to have your sample clearly labelled.  Otherwise you don't get any credit for it and end up having to do the whole thing overt again.

-The 'High Five'
What clinic receptionist wouldn't be pleasantly surprised to get a perky morning High Five?  Sure, He (or she) might be a little disconcerted by discovering a sample of fecal matter left in their hand afterwards, but I bet they'd be so amused by the whole thing that they'd totally just laugh it off. 

For bonus points you could try the 'Up High. Down Low. Straight Through. Here's Poo'

-The 'Really Cool Bartender'
This requires that the receptionist has a really log (and relatively slick) counter and that they are sitting at one end of it.  Careful not to overshoot, or you'll again have to start over. The bonus part however is that if you pull it off correctly you never have to get particularly close to them, and how often can you say that about someone holding your feces?

-The 'Owning It'
 Walk in and calmly announce in a loud and confident voice, 'I am here to drop off a sample of my own feces. Which I have personally collected within the requested time frame and secured in the provided container. Take my feces, and do what tests you will. For I am comfortable with this, our interaction.'

That look she will give you?  That look is respect.

You're Welcome.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Suicide - 1 A.D.

I should stress at the outset - This is in no way a cry for help, I'm not particularly depressed*, and there's absolutely no reason for anyone to see this column as a cause for concern.  No, you may not have my record collection.  Just wanted to make that perfectly clear before we begin.

*Although I would not turn down a cookie. 

Almost exactly a year ago a good friend of mine killed himself.

It still feels weird typing that, although the whole thing has reached that curious level of simultaneously feeling like it only happened a day or so ago and no longer being able to remember a time before it happened.

I don't think, generally speaking, that any of our mutual friends were aware that we were particularly close. Most of our conversation was done through texting since we were rarely in the same place at the same time. That said, we chatted via text most days.  About a lot of serious stuff. At the time he died he probably knew more personal information about me than anyone else on the planet. I like to think that I'd had the same level of confidence from him, but I couldn't say for sure.

Something strange happened after he died. While he was alive I never gave a thought as to whether or not anyone else knew that we were as good of friends as we were. It just never crossed my mind. After he shot himself I realized I was developing a strange resentment of how no one knew. Our friendship had always been in Stealth Mode, and now that it was gone I became obsessed with the fact that no one had known about it. I had a recurring urge to try to force the fact into any conversation I could.  (I think I managed to resist the urge most of the time, although probably not as well as I'd like to tell myself.)

Without sugar-coating it, I had a strong drive to try to make his death about me.*

*I'm making a concerted effort to not delete that sentence, as it's not a comfortable thing to admit to myself. I suspect that it's probably a pretty normal response to the situation, psychologically speaking. Normally I would ask my friend Carol, who's a trained psychologist. Or psychiatrist. Now I think about it I'm not actually sure which. I'd like to be able to ask her that as well. Unfortunately, that's not possible.

Carol died of her cancer a few days ago.

As I posted to my Facebook wall (how did we do public grief before the internet? Does anyone even remember?) I had a similar feeling.  I posted something along the lines of 'My friend has passed away from cancer', and moments after posting it I thought to myself, 'What are you doing?  You're Facebook friends with her husband.  He'll see that.  This is his loss, don't try to make it about you.'

I think at the end of the day that the problem is just that we as a culture (generally) and I as a person (specifically) just don't handle death particularly well.  We lack the vocabulary to talk about it openly, and so it turns into a non stop game of 'Is it OK for me to be feeling this about that.'  Meanwhile, Reality TV has spawned an entire sub-culture of people who do take every situation and make it entirely about themselves, and for god sake we don't want to be like them.

So what is that? What do we do about it? Why can't we just say, 'Dave was my friend. Carol was my friend. And it super sucks for me that they're gone.'  Sure, It also sucks for other people. It sucks more for some other people. That doesn't make it suck less for me.

Maybe at the end of the day, all we really want is some sort of affirmation that even though our friend is gone, our friendship with them still mattered. Regardless of who did or didn't know about it at the time.

And here's a cute video of penguins who love each other having adventures, because Carol would have liked it and I could use such a thing right now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Too Hot for Science Friday

I was listening to public radio on my drive in to work the other day (Pretentious Dog Alert) and happened to catch a regular feature they do called 'Science Friday'*

*Because it's on Fridays.  And about science.  It's hosted by Ira Flatow, who once upon a time hosted the TV show Newton's Apple. This is mostly notable because it was given a shout out on an episode of Archer, which means that Ira is officially cooler than you or me.

There were a few stories being discussed on this particular day.  The first of them was a little piece about medical problems in the Koala population in Australia.  Specifically; research has determined that over 50% of the Koalas in Australia have Chlamydia.

Feel free to take a moment at this point to say to yourself, 'What the HELL is going on in Australia??'

Now, Ira went on the specify that this is not the same strain of Chlamydia that humans are capable of getting, but it does still reinforce the need to discuss past partners every time you want to get intimate with a koala.  It also explains the Australian folk saying, 'Hey, get your whore Koala off of my lawn!'

Tomorrow:  Science Friday Continues

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tom Brady's Balls

First off, let me say hello to those of you who ended up here via a Google search looking for something entirely different.  I apologize for the confusion and wish you luck in your quest for certain photos.  Might I suggest using image search to help speed up results.*

*Probably not a great idea if you're at work however...

For those who haven't been paying attention to the story by virtue of not being American or having standards in what you consider 'newsworthy', the US has currently been embroiled in something that the media insists on calling 'Deflategate'*.

*They call it this because people are inherently stupid and seem Hell bent on believing that 'gate' is a suffix meaning 'Scandal' as opposed to just being part of the name of a hotel. I've already gone on about it at some length here, if you're at all interested.

The basic upshot of this particular scandal is this -

American Football (which can be loosely described as playing rugby while dressed as a robot) has a regular season of seventeen weeks during which each team plays sixteen games.*

*Each team is allotted one week out of those seventeen to not play. They call this a 'bye' week for reasons I don't understand and can't be bothered to Google.

After the end of the regular season the league picks the teams that had the best records in their respective divisions, two other teams referred to as 'wild cards' and one team that doesn't stand a chance in Hell but everybody feels sorry for, and those teams play a series of postseason games to determine which two teams will play the Superbowl*

*A sporting event notable for the fact that the vast percentage of people watching it on television are only doing do to see the commercials, Janet Jackson's nipple, or both**

**Ms. Jackson's*** right nipple is currently a spokesnipple for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Their ads are surprisingly tasteful.

*** Because I'm nasty.

Now, relevant to this story - the franchise team out of Boston is called The New England Patriots. I don't know why they identify themselves as being from New England instead of Boston, but I assume that it's to distance themselves from the accent.  Like any group referring to themselves as 'Patriots', they spend the vast bulk of their time attempting to be as large a bag of dicks as they possibly can. (more on that phenomena here... but be aware, I accidentally spoil the end of Goldfinger somewhere around the last paragraph)   

The Quarterback for the NEP is a man named Tom Brady. (For the foreign among you - the Quarterback is the one in the middle with the good hair.) And according to information that came to light after the fact, he apparently had one of the equipment boys adjust his balls before this year's championship game.

<I'm going to take a moment to savor that last sentence>

More specifically, (and less like a twelve year old) he had someone take all of the game footballs into a quiet room and let a bunch of air out of them because that apparently make them easier to catch. The Patriots went on to win that game, and then to win the Superbowl the following week, and then back to their regular schedule of Narcissism and dutch ruddering*. Eventually a commission looked into the whole thing and released a statement that while they were pretty sure he had tampered with the footballs they were absolutely certain that he was kind of a prick, and so they suspended him for four games, fined the team a bit of money, and went back to their regular schedule of resolutely ignoring spousal abuse.

*definitely turn off the image search before looking that one up.

I hope that this has explained the situation.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Run, Forrest! Preferably, Directly into a Combine Thresher!

In case the title doesn't make it clear, let me state one thing unambiguously.

I HATE the film Forrest Gump.*

*But only because it's a worthless, trite, hack-job, piece of shit that only exists to take away two and a half hours of your life that you might otherwise do something productive with.

I've gone so far in the past as to state unequivocally that every single person involved in the making of the movie should be beaten to death with a VHS copy just for having inflicted it on the world.*

*With the exception of Gary Sinise.  He's suffered enough

So, earlier today I was taking one of those online quizzes that seem to be one of the three reasons that Facebook exists.  The quiz was: How many of these 100 important books have you read.  Now, I'm down with literacy, and I get that this kind of lists is fairly subjective (but seriously... Bridget Jones' Diary...?  No.  Just No.)

I was nearing the end of the quiz when I came across entry 98 - John Kennedy Toole's* steaming excremental tome, A Confederacy of Dunces.

*Yes, I know he committed suicide years before it was published and his mother pushed to get it published posthumously and blah blah blah.  That's all very sad.  The book still sucks.

This caused me to publicly make a pissy comment* about the quiz in question, in which I referred to A Confederacy as the Forrest Gump of literature**

*One of the other two reasons Facebook exists.

** Yes, I know it was also a book.

I should clarify what I mean by that.  When I refer to anything as being the Forrest Gump of its Oeuvre, what I mean to say is that it is relentlessly shit, and yet people insist on pretending like it's not only not shit, but somehow an amazing breakthrough in whatever medium it's infesting.

So, in the interest of clearing this up - Here are the reasons why Forrest Gump is utterly, relentlessly, Shit.

1: The moral of the story is pretty much 'Go ahead and pity-f*ck the developmentally disabled guy who has a crush on you because you never know when you might accidentally die of AIDS in the early 80s and have to dump your kid on him'

2: It substitutes - at EVERY turn - crass sentimental nostalgia for character development, theme, plot, symbolism and storytelling.  We're not supposed to be following a character's journey (which is good, because Forrest clearly doesn't take one - he's 100% unchanged by each and every event of the film.  But we're not supposed to notice that.  We're supposed to spend the entire movie going, 'Aww...remember John Lennon?  Remember that shit happens T-shirt? Remember when films were supposed to be about plot or character development?'  Neither does Robert Zemeckis.)

3: And this is my real problem with the movie-


It's not my fault as a viewer that you completely forgot to tell a story before that point, and it's too late to try to do so now. Particularly when the story you cram into those last 45 minutes is so relentlessly condescending, trite and noxious.

Honestly, I would rather spend two hours and twenty-five minutes helping someone control their gastro-intestinal bleed than sit through this again. At least the guy with the GI bleed would KNOW that he was pouring shit all over me, and might even be apologetic about it.

I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Feel Strongly About Ambivalence, and So Should You. Or Not. Whatever.

Longtime readers might remember last year's epic saga in which I engaged in a Wagnerian struggle against a mighty and evil foe for the very heart and soul of all that is good and evil.

I refer of course to the Battle of the Parking Space.*

*The full story of which can be found Here, Here, Here, and HereAlso a brief followup here.  No, not obsessive about it at all.  No sir.  Oh, and Here.

Sadly, one of the few negative results of my having traded in my sporty Mitsubishi Gallant* for a 2001 Ford F150 Pickup named Lucille is that I had to give up parking in my beloved parking spot, as there's no way in God's green Earth that I'd ever be able to fit Lucille between those two concrete pillars**.

*Said no one, ever

**She's a big girl

And so for the last three or four months I've been parking Lucille toward the back of the same level in the parking ramp, where there are usually more empty spaces, thus reducing my risk of accidentally running Lucille into things by forgetting how wide she is***.

***She's a big girl!

One fun knock-on effect of my in no way psychotic attempts to dissuade others from using my spot through the bewildering application of coinage is that still, with the spot having stood completely empty for over three months now, the driver of the gray sedan continues to park in a less convenient spot.  I'm calling that a win. Also, I'm making a concerted effort to park Lucille in a different spot every single day in an effort to prevent myself from getting attached again- which is probably emotionally healthier.

That however is not the point of my story.

Every day, having parked Lucille**** in a spot toward the back of the parking ramp I walk through a lot of other vehicles to get to the elevator bay.  And every day I pass a large black SUV with a bumper sticker on the back that reads 'I       Skating'.

Now, I acknowledge that the most likely scenario is that it once said 'I "Heart" Skating', with a big red heart where the blank space now is.  Red ink- for reasons best known by folks in the printing biz - tends to fade faster than black ink*, and so what probably happened is that the heart slowly faded until it was gone completely, leaving only the cold black shell indicating the space where it once was.**

*This is also true in the world of finance

**You know - like what happens to us all in our forties.

 I, however, choose to believe that it always read just as it currently reads.  'I am here,' the owner of the black SUV announces to the world, 'And I have no discernible feelings about skating.  Skate.  Don't skate. Whatever. Don't make much of a shit to me.*'

*If I might quote my Great-Grandmother.

So what are we to make of all of this.

Personally, I like to think the whole thing boils down to one simple lesson:

Life's a Hell of a lot easier when you just don't give much of a crap.

Someone please cross stitch that onto a throw pillow.

**** She's a big girl.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Just Hope Oz has Some Sort of Universal Healthcare Coverage...

If you are only familiar with the story of The Wizard of Oz from the 1939 film, it's well worth your time to track down a copy of the book (titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in May of 1900).

There are a number of differences between the book and the film, mostly involving a great deal of the material from the book not making it to the screen*

*Which is fair enough, that's what film adaptations of books are supposed to do.

For starters, the slippers are silver*, not Ruby Red (The movie was in technicolor, so they changed it to take advantage of the technology).

*For those who enjoy literary metaphor - they represented the silver standard, the yellow brick road represented the gold standard.  The emerald city to which they were traveling represented cash currency and in the book is revealed to be a fake (they made all the visitors wear green colored glasses). L. Frank Baum - neither subtle with a metaphor nor a huge fan of turn of the century economic theory.

Another change from the book is that the Munchkins were just one of the four quadrants of Oz. (The others being the Winkies, the Quadlings, and Gillikins, in case you were interested.) We get to meet the Munchkins, Winkies and Quadlings.  The impression is that the Gillikins can go screw themselves. They live in the North - which is also where Glinda the supposedly 'good' witch hangs out.  Perhaps she had them too busy making counterfeit wallets for export to participate in the story.  Who can say.

The important point here is that when we DO get to meet the Quadlings, they live in a magnificent underground city.  Dorothy asks them how there is light to see, and is told that the Quadlings have discovered a wonderful material called 'Radium' that gives off a glow, so they've coated every single inch of their city with it.

Which means that in about 10-15 years ALL of the Quadlings are going to die a horrible death from an exciting variety of cancers. 

Somehow they avoid mentioning that in the movie...

Afternote - I was somewhat disappointed to realize earlier that I had misremembered this, and that it was the Quadlings who used the radium and not in fact the Winkies.

This has disappointingly prevented me from being able to work the phrase 'Dramatic rise in the incidence of Winkie Cancer' into the discussion.

For that I am truly sorry.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stanley: The World's Cuddliest ATM

This is Stanley

Stanley is a 2 year old Lab/German Shepherd mix who weighs just over 100 lbs. And as you can see in the photo, also doesn't appear to have bones of any kind.

One of Stanley's favorite things in the entire universe is eating paper. Any kind of paper. Most of the time this is relatively harmless.*

*Except when he tries to eat paper towels, which can really clog up a dogs digestive tract and cause serious medical issues.  Important safety tip, pet owners.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where certain specific pieces of paper have some value attached to them. We call these pieces of paper 'money'.*

*Stanley calls them 'delicious'.

This was inadvertently discovered a few weeks ago when Stanley's Mom and her gentleman friend* decided to order in Chinese food for dinner and left a twenty and a five sitting on the counter in anticipation of paying for said food upon its arrival.

*Someone really needs to start a band called 'Stanley's Mom and Her Gentleman Friend', because I would totally go see a band called that.  I would probably even buy a t-shirt.

When the food arrived the Twenty five dollars had mysteriously disappeared and there was a guilty looking Labherd with Andrew Jackson on his breath.

Now, without being too indelicate about it, this was something of a temporary problem since - as they say in times of trouble - this too shall pass. And indeed, a week or so later while picking up the poop in Stanley's back yard, cash did indeed present itself.  There's a photo below, but it's really not for the faint of heart.

Being a practical sort, Stanley's mom took the cash laden turd in question to the basement sink and washed it down to see whether or not the bills were still viable. She was somewhat surprised however when it turned out that the turd did not, in actual fact, contain a twenty and a five.

It contained three twenties.

Now, we're left with several different possible explanations as to how this occurred;

1: Stanley's colon is magic.

Feed him cold hard cash and somehow his magical digestive system nearly triples your investment. Now, it's difficult to say whether or not this is really what's happening, but it's probably worth throwing him a five spot just on the off chance.

2: Stanley is roaming the streets at night mugging people and hiding the cash in the only manner available to him

He doesn't have pockets, after all.

3: Stanley is some sort of mule for a Mexican drug cartel.

While he would totally be capable of pulling this off, I have to believe that Stanley is too good a citizen to be involved in this sort of thing.   

Without further testing it's impossible to say which - if any - of these is the real answer. All we can say for certain is that Stanley is currently literally pooping money - thus achieving the dream of pretty much every single person on wall street.

Well played, Labherd.  Well played.

Photo evidence of the cash retrieval process below.  You've been warned


Monday, March 30, 2015

Well, That Would Explain the Volcano Lair...

Interesting news report out today for those who follow the world of electric cars.

Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, announced via Twitter today that they would have a major new product announcement in the near future (spoiler- he kind of already told everybody that it's going to a battery for your home)

Now, Tesla's all electric automobiles are both A: Pretty cool and B: Roughly the price of purchasing the sun, and there's no reason to think that this home battery thing won't follow the same pattern.

No, the real takeaway is this-

Tesla's CEO is named Elon Musk


They might as well release a photo of him sitting in a large ominous chair stroking a white cat while he gives orders to Lotte Lenya, because he is clearly a James Bond villain.

You've been warned. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

This is Why Most New Religions Fail Within the First Year

First of all - Happy St. Urho's Day to those Finns among you.

So - This conversation happened today via E-mail.  For the sake of reference, Lucille is a 2001 Ford F150.


From: Me
To: Several people who aren't me
Subject:  Work today

Morning, all -  Lucille needs to have her brakes fixed this morning, so I’m going to take advantage of having figured out how to log in remotely and work from home.

I’m reachable by e-mail, text, phone, and earnest prayer.


From: Not Me
To: Me
Subject: RE: Work Today

I will attempt the earnest prayer first.


From: Me
To: Not Me
Subject: RE: RE: Work Today

I have heard your prayer. And the answer is, ‘Yes – but not until sometime next week.  Maybe Wednesday-ish’ 

Now somebody make with the burnt goats

From: Not Me
To: Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

At first I thought that said “make out with the burnt goats” and I thought WOW, he really is taking on the role of cruel God wholeheartedly.


From: Me
To: Not Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

I'd like to think of myself as tough but fair.


From: Not Me
To: Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

Okay, so let me get this straight:

  • ·        Making people burn the goats in your honor is tough but fair
  • ·        Having people make out with the goats is where the line is crossed.


From: Me
To: Not Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today


That is correct.


From: Not Me
To: Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

I’m glad we had that established before I made out with a burnt goat.


From: Me
To: Not Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

Don’t make me smite you.


From: Not Me
To: Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

I’m fairly certain you will find good reason to smite me for something sooner or later anyway.



From: Me
To: Not Me
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Work Today

See, now that’s the kind of pessimism that leads to being smote.  Smitten.  Smited...?

Dangit, this is why no one goes to church anymore.