Saturday, December 2, 2006

Santa is a Booty Bitch

In the spirit of the holidays, the Shelton Brothers is being denied permission to sell Santa's Butt Winter Ale because they are depicting an image of Santa enjoying a frosty mug. They have taken their case to federal court. Last year, they had trouble selling Seriously Bad Elf Ale, so I suppose there is precedent.
NEWS FLASH: Santa is a fictional character and beer is not allowed to be sold or consumed by minors. Let's get a life and, while you're at it, a sense of humor.
I know what you're asking. "What does a semi-hip, moderately intelligent individual do on a Saturday night?" Other than blogging, and wishing that he was at an office Christmas party, of course...He watches TV - sometimes in rapt amazement of what he is seeing. For instance:

Over on the Home Shopping Channel, there's superstar game show host Chuck Woolery hawking hats with little LED lights in them. "They're perfect stocking stuffers!" he proclaims, and the host cheerily agrees. Could you even get a hat in a stocking? I'm inclined to agree with the late Mitch Hedberg, who said that "a severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer."

The Game Show Network is running old Who Wants to be a Millionaire shows. I can't believe I used to be completely addicted to that show. The first step toward recovery is admission of a problem. I had a problem.

On Versus, a couple of guys are punching and kneeing each other in the groinal area. Not family men, I presume.

There's the Morris Cerullo Help Line, on one of those religious stations. Some guy presumably regained his "power of sight" through prayer. OK, good for him, but if that's the case, then I guess every other blind person who ever prayed for their sight must be a heathen, because his God listened. Meanwhile, Morris is standing in front of a bank of telephones, which, I presume are equipped to take your donations. After all, we can't expect the guy to pray for you without compensation. Prayer is hard work.

Morris has a Help Line Orchestra (why, I have no idea) and special guests like Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr - as though anyone younger than Santa knows who they are. He says, "It doesn't matter what religion you are." Wow. What a perfect world, Morris. I wanted to call and tell him I was praying for a really powerful orgasm, but I wasn't all that anxious to poke fun at the "Most Inspirational 60 Minutes on Television". Especially since I was inspired to turn off the TV by watching Morris Cerullo - so I guess he is right.

Then, there's "Elf" over on the USA Network, where Will Ferrell is approaching the role of one of Santa's elves with all the reverence of a religious experience, while he sees fit to mock real-life NASCAR drivers in his Ricky Bobby movie. He's a "cotton-headed nitty-muggins". Oy. Cash the check, Will. At least he isn't a Booty Buttcrack.

J. Peterman is hosting Family Fued now. They do a lot of clapping on that show. He's doing better than Kramer, so maybe I shouldn't mock.
Then, I got started watching "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" on Turner Movie Classics, and couldn't stop. It's one of these Frank Capra fairy tales about a doofus who gets appointed U.S. Senator from "home state", goes all wild-eyed to Washington thinking he will make the world a better place. Doofus gets mixed up in a corruption scandal and holds the federal government hostage for a couple of days filibustering while he waits for a bunch of kids to deliver newspapers. In the meantime, his rival Senator has an attack of conscience and confesses to the world that he is a crook and should not be a Senator.
The world has surely changed since 1939 - if it was ever that way to begin with.

Believe it or not, one of our local weather people is named Amy Freeze. Really. I'm not sure if that's her given name or her married name, but it's pretty neat. She has a real B.S. in Meteororolgy, but I suppose your career path is mapped out ahead of time if your name is Freeze. You're either going to be a meteorologist or Batman's arch enemy.
They like to use the word "snow", and she's telling us that there's the possibility of snow for Sunday night. It's good for ratings, and even if it's just flurries, they say snow. I could live without it ... Which reminds me.

I'm going back over to Morris and ask him to pray.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Have Yourself a Heathen Little Christmas

Wow - all that emotional soul-searching over the past week ... I need a break ... and maybe you do, too. What I really need is a vacation. Maybe soon.

Meanwhile, 'tis the season for arguing about religion, and what better center of controversy than Christmas. There's another of these Falwell things going on. I thought he faded from view - but like a case of herpes, he returns.

And, this:

Two weeks ago, the Marine Reserves Toys for Tots program in Los Angeles overcame concerns about accepting a donation of 4,000 talking Jesus dolls that quote Bible verses by promising to make sure the dolls reach Christian children.
Sure. Nothing like preaching to the choir, as it were. So, do the kids have to fill out an application, or do their parents vouch for their kids' Christian beliefs? Would you rather your child run around repeating "booty bitch" or spouting Bible verses? I think booty bitch is way more entertaining, especially at the holidays!
"Pass the cranberry sauce."
"Get it yourself, booty bitch!"
Ah ... the choices! Unless, of course, they're little Christian Nazis:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German chain of shops has removed miniature wooden Santa Claus figures from its shelves and destroyed them after customers complained it looked like they were giving the stiff-armed Hitler salute that is outlawed.

Never mind that most people, including the merchant, said that the Santa statue was merely pointing at the sky. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective. Here are some other great issues confronting American society. For the full stories, click on the blue thing:

A Christmas controversy is brewing in Hillsboro after a church was kicked out of the upcoming community-wide celebration. It all has to do with a pastor's plan to read "The Night Before Christmas" along with a Bible passage.

DENVER - In a town in scenic southwestern Colorado homeowners are battling over whether a Christmas wreath that includes a peace sign is an anti-Iraq war protest or even a promotion of Satan. “We have had three or four complaints. Some people have kids in Iraq and they are sensitive,” said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He also said some believe it is a symbol of Satan.

Southfield, Michigan officials hope the city's diverse groups will be comfortable with a municipal display that includes a menorah, a nativity scene and other symbols "reasonably related" to the holidays.

CHICAGO, Ill - A Nativity display has a spot at this year's holiday celebrations in Daley Plaza. So does an Islamic crescent and a Jewish menorah. But clips from a film celebrating the birth of baby Jesus are too much for the Christkindlmarket, a Christmas festival held at the plaza for more than 10 years. Stung by criticism that the film's maker was dropped as a sponsor to ensure the event appealed to all faiths, city officials said Tuesday they objected to "The Nativity Story" because it was too commercial.

Too commercial? Christmas? WTF is Christmas for if not to drum up holiday retail sales? That's the pot calling the kettle black.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Nothing stirs up the Christian/Secular war like Christmas. It strikes me as odd, since Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity, but it somehow got bought out by the church so many years ago that even history is blurred. I suppose it helps them raise money, since all of these so-called Christian groups have a Donate spot on their web site somewhere.

It's surprising to me that the cynical nature of the general public hasn't caught up with these nut-jobs. We are bombarded on all fronts by people asking for money for whatever charity is the most recently needy among them. The church has figured out that the guilt angle works quite well in these cases. The tithing rules that are foist upon their parishoners (a.k.a. sources of funding) give them cause to fight their guilty feelings by pledging ten or fifteen percent of their salary to a church that does little but inflict guilt and raise Hell. Or, as they would say, putting the money to God's use.

Not to mention (but I will anyway) that the church is so insecure that they feel like they have to fight the rest of society over displays and such nonsense as whether people say "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas". If they are so insecure about their flock straying over a holiday, maybe Christmas isn't their biggest problem. But, God forbid, they lose a source of funding.

Piss them off and give some money to one of these AIDS charities, the ONE organization, The Nature Conservancy or your local Public Broadcasting Station. Put your money toward something that can make our lives better, not something that only creates havoc and controversy.
Something tells me that if we hit religion in the pocketbook, they might decide to shut up for five minutes and allow the rest of us to enjoy a holiday.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beauty is in the Eye of the Blogger

"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it ... like my heart's going to cave in."
- Ricky Fitts (American Beauty)

We spend almost as much money on making ourselves look beautiful as we spend on anything else. Hair products, makeup, clothing, skin care and so many other things that we believe contribute to making ourselves more attractive. Generally, we do it for the opposite sex. Men don't care if their buddies shave or wear nice clothes, just don't stink up the place. Soap is cheap.

Single people are especially sensitive to their outward appearance. We are constantly on the prowl, and we pretend that if we look our best and smell nice then those we are trying to attract will think that we are better than we really are. It's the game that we've been playing for as long as we've been playing. The rules change over time. Powdered wigs were replaced by fancy haircuts and mousse. Soap and running water must have made the world smell a lot better. Whenever I see a movie about the old West, I think, "Those people must really stink." Strange, I know, but true. Chances are, they didn't mind much, though. Everybody stank, and you probably stood out if you were freshly bathed.
It's probably why so many people got shot in those days.

We are told (mostly through advertising) that there are only a few truly beautiful people in the world. Fashion models, movie stars and game show hosts. Magazines make up lists of "The Most Eligible Bachelors", which is a thinly veiled way of saying "The Most Beautiful Single People With a Lot of Money". They have fooled us into thinking that beauty is what they tell us it is. But it isn't, really. Beauty is what we tell us it is. Mostly, it isn't even based on how we look.

The blogging experience has taught me a lot. Besides honing my writing skills and giving me something to do, it has given me insight into what people think. The anonymity of the blog gives us the ability to write things that we may not be willing to say out loud. It is cathartic in its way, and good for the mind, body and soul.

Few of us are secure in our looks, and sometimes even the most beautiful among us can be unsure of themselves. Outer beauty has as its limit, the potential for others to fail to see ones inner beauty. However, the opposite is also true. Inner beauty is often blocked by an outer appearance that is not classically beautiful. Only when we get to know the person is either condition resolved, for better or worse.

Here, on the blogs, we get a first-hand look at the inner beauty that our blogger buddies possess. They write of their life experiences, their feelings and their thoughts about issues facing them, either political or personal. The bonus comes when we are able to see them, and we find that the inner beauty is the compliment of their outer beauty. The best part of that realization is that we have come to love them for who they are first, and when the combination of all of those things manifests itself, we get a little glow because our faith in our judgment is realized. We can love people for both who they are and what they are.

Beauty, we find, truly does come from the inside, and work its way out. I've never considered it until now, but maybe this is a form of eroticism. If, as they say, our brain is our true sexual organ, then maybe the words work on us in such a way that we feel an emotional tie that can encourage other feelings. After all, many of us write things here that we have never expressed to even our closest friends. In some ways, we know more about each other than our spouses, friends or relatives.

There is beauty in expression, and the best part is, it doesn't need makeup or mousse to make it beautiful.

When our mind's eye sees
before the ones in our head,
we see true beauty.

The Blame Game

Fix the problem, not the blame.
- Japanese proverb

If we can find out who is to blame for our lot in life, then maybe our lot in life isn't our fault.

We are fat because we eat foods rich in trans fats, we get lung cancer because the tobacco companies sell us cigarettes, alcoholism is a disease and our kids are on drugs because they watch too much violence on television. Our lives are someone else's responsibility, and if we can find someone to sue for it, then more's the better.

Smoking is a horrible habit, and lately, smoking has become social anathema. Smokers are forced outside to consume their devil weed, lest they infect the rest of us who have chosen to lead a healthy life - in a bar drinking or in a restaurant eating fatty foods full of creamy sauces. Smoking is bad, and you'll do it outside.
Millions of dollars in lawsuits are filed every year against tobacco companies because smokers die from lung cancer. It was not the smokers' fault, it was the fault of the tobacco company for selling them the cigarettes. The blame goes where the money is.

If alcoholism is a disease, why do people yell at you for having it? I've never been told I was stupid because I caught a cold or had an ear infection. If I check into rehab, I'm a horrible person, and I have blamed alcohol for my wretched state.

Five years ago, who knew what a trans fat was? If you had asked me then, I would have guessed it was a really wide subway car or a ZZ Top song. Now, the scourge of the earth is trans fats, and companies like McDonald's are spending millions to remove the fat (and presumably, the taste) from their foods, lest we get fat from eating Big Mac's and fries. It's the trans fats, stupid.

Our children are overly violent because the television programs they watch contain too much violence. Never mind that most of us grew up watching the Coyote try to blow up the Road Runner 50 times in ten minutes, or that Moe slapped Curly silly every five seconds; the TV is to blame because kids are either stupid, violent or can't pay attention to anything for longer than it takes to read this post. It's impossible that your kids are violent or stupid because they're violent and stupid - the TV made them that way. Here's a news break: Kids have been violent and stupid for as long as there have been kids. If someone does something rotten in your neighborhood, who's responsible? The elderly?

Taking responsibility for our own actions is a fate worse than death. We find more things to blame our lives on and more ways to sue the people we feel are responsible, that if we took the time we spent fixing blame and fixed our lives, we would all be happier. At least, I think so.
It's cleansing, and when you find the fault in your own behavior, rather than the random acts of people you do not know, you are able to look inside yourself and figure out where the blame really lies.
Your life is your responsibility. It is not the responsibility of R.J. Reynolds, Anheuser-Busch, Wendy's or even Fox News.

Finagle's Eighth Rule:
Teamwork is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.

It is comforting, if not hugely profitable, to fix blame on others for our reckless behavior. A bad education, advertising, the entertainment industry or the Internet all conspire to ruin our lives, and they will eventually be made to pay. The fact is that people have been fat, dumb and reckless forever, and merely because there is new technology or new products doesn't make the products faulty.

Free will is perhaps our greatest freedom and our worst enemy. When we realize that what we do is a direct result of our own wants, needs and desires; we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

So sue me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

When the Going Gets Tough...

The gym is a great place. Full of interesting characters doing interesting things. One of the interesting things about the workout experience is the ability to observe people in their underwear doing strange things with machines that may be better used as Medieval torture devices.

One man's adversity is another man's lazy-ass behavior. Watching peopl
e do 20-pound leg extensions qualifies as "lazy-ass" in my book. My inner personal trainer wants to yell, "Put some weight on the Goddamned thing! Your shoes weigh 3 pounds!" But, the outer Politeness Man looks away, and figures that they will be gone in a few months - frustrated at not making any progress. Muscles grow in response to adversity - some people shrink.
On Monday night, the 20-pounders were at work, when I heard one of them exclaim, "This is hard!" Oy - mother of God - give me the strength to keep quiet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say that he appreciated the gym because the weights never lied. A 45-pound plate is always 45 pounds. It is only us that changes. That's the charm of the place. We are bound only by our own limits. Gravity and mass never change. On the other hand, you'll never make any progress if you do no
t test your limits. Lifting light weights does little more than keep you from doing something else that would be more personally satisfying. It is our aversion to adversity that keeps us from finding our limits. It is hard, and it's supposed to be. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Put some weight on the Goddamned thing, and stop complaining.

While driving home last night, I ran into traffic. In New Jerse
y, this is becoming a more common occurrance. This traffic, however, was unexpected. I was forced to deal with adversity that was not of my making. I didn't set up the three-car accident, nor did I have a great desire to deal with it. Nevertheless, there it was. I wanted it to be 20 pounds, but it was 150. Forced to deal with adversity ... and, I had to pee.

Adversity, however, is relative. My traffic jam or 150-pound leg extension may be viewed differently by someone who may not own a car or even c
are that gyms exist. The guy next to me in traffic or in the gym may see these as huge problems, but to others, they are ridiculous issues of the priviledged. Their concern is finding a meal or pushing a shopping cart full of their worldly belongings from one corner to the next. Or, perhaps their biggest priority is making sure they make it through another day without getting blown up. What doesn't kill us is supposed to make us stronger, but maybe it just makes us appreciate what we have to deal with compared to what others do.

And while I'm at it, I'm sick of hearing about the challenges faced by athletes and celebrities who feel like they are "going to war", when in fact, they are playing a sport for our entertainment:

Through injury, instant replay and an investigation, Oklahoma is one step away from turning a season of adversity into a championship year.
Penn State women shine in face of adversity. A year filled with emotion and doubts, injuries and angst, came crashing down like a window on the fingertips as Notre Dame blanked Penn State 4-0 in the NCAA soccer quarterfinals.

Try living on food stamps or in a tent in the desert and tell me about adversity.

The next time you have to deal with something that you perceive to be difficult, think about the people who cannot imagine having such mundane problems as finding a really good cup of coffee, a fresh croissant, shoes that fit, a computer that works or a really good doctor.

Put some weight on the Goddamned thing and deal with it. You're better off than most people in the world.

Adversity is relative.

Members of the Army honor guard stand at attention next to the flag draped casket of Sgt. 1st Class Schuyler B. Haynes during his wake at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006 in New York. Haynes died Nov. 15 in Baquba, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Favorite Hipster Doofus

For some real topical humor, turn to the folks at National Lampoon. Click here for a swell tribute to the Seinfeld show and our newest, bestest buddy - Kramer - a.k.a. Michael Richards.

Thanks to Daniel Rubin over at Blinq for the link. For a taste of Philly, stop by.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Six is the Limit

Kimmyk - How do I begin to thank you?
She's all about this tagging ritual, for whom we have Ch'i to blame. She wants those of us who have been tagged to reveal 6 weird things about ourselves, which I suppose will either open us up to public ridicule or allow our mind to get itself around the strangeness and make us whole. I think I did this before, but God knows there are so many more.
Geez. Mental health is so overrated.
According to the rules…
Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things about you”. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1 - Hot food hot. Cold food cold. If food is served hot, leftovers cannot be eaten cold. The ex used to eat cold pizza for breakfast. You know how that relationship ended.

2 - Blankets on the bed. I can't sleep without blankets. Doesn't matter how hot it is, there has to be something covering me.

3 - Neckwear. I need to be wearing something around my neck (that isn't a necktie).

4 - I don't drink alcohol when there are children present. Kids don't need to see me drunk. Adults don't either, but they have their personal traumas sorted out by now.

5 - I've never had coffee, and I refuse to try it. OK, so I'm running out of weird things.

6 - I buy movies and don't watch them. I have a rack full of DVDs that I haven't watched. The Red Violin, Traffic, Pollock, 21 Grams, Swimming Pool, Ronin, Ocean's Eleven and Spaceballs (just kidding, Carmen). Never seen 'em.

Whew! That was exhausting. So, play along if you want. I won't be Canadian about it and not invite people. It will be left to your free will (with which Americans were embodied) as to whether or not you choose to participate.
Look at it as an easy way to fill up a day's post. I apologize in advance.

Domestic Goddess

Fear This

If Franklin Roosevelt was right when he said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", then we have a lot to be afraid of.

It was easy for him to say, sitting in the White House, drawing a nice salary during the Depression and being in charge of the free world and all. The wheelchair notwithstanding, the level of fear he may have felt paled in comparison to the level being felt by people who couldn't rustle up three cents to buy bread.

That was 73 years ago, and we are still in fear. Granted, the fear is different than the fear we feel now, but if "fear itself" is the enemy, then perhaps the specifics don't matter? Fear itself can also be a great motivator, so we shouldn't underestimate its value. Fear can be a useless emotion (closely related to guilt) or it can be the fuel that feeds the ego. Whatever it is, it may be, in addition to desire, the single biggest influence on our lives - both negatively and positively.

If we can make fear work to our advantage, then the feeling can be useful, but if we allow it to control our lives it can be limiting to the point that our lives will continue on, uninterrupted by happenstance. We allow ourselves no other road than the one we travel day after day, for fear of getting lost or wandering into a circumstance that we cannot control. We feel as though we need control over our lives, and losing it makes us think, and we don't like to think.

"Take a chance", people tell us. Our response is generally the negative, "what if it doesn't work out?" What we should be thinking is, "what if it does?" But then, our fear would be unfounded and we would have to deal with the possible side-effects of happiness which would include not having fear and trusting our emotions and our instincts. Emotions and instincts are the natural enemies of fear. If we continued to trust our emotions and instincts, fear would be a minor consideration, because our lives would be controlled not by fear, but by the rationalization of our thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes I think we are happy being miserable, as long as things don't change too much.

I am not saying that we should ignore fear altogether. Certain fears are warranted and even useful at times. We should fear people with weapons (when we have none) and our bosses, who at their whim, hold our future in their hands. However, the fears that may be useless or baseless are the fears that are based in complacency. Our job stinks, but we are afraid to find another one. Our relationship stinks, but we are afraid to get out. We are afraid to tell people how we really feel, because they may not feel the same way. We don't discipline our children for fear that they will think we are rotten people.

Use fear to release your emotions and take a chance in life once in a while. Chances are that you are either smart enough or good enough that whatever fear you had will be resolved as the situation comes to a conclusion. If you face your fears, the upside is that you will be happy. The downside is that you will feel no worse than you already feel.

Find someone you feel strongly about and tell them you love them. Quit your job and find something that will make you happy. Take a different path in life and face fear. You will be happier and there will be one less thing with control over your life.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
- Dorothy Thompson

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

NBC, in cahoots with the NFL, has instituted a flexible schedule for Sunday night, where they can arbitrarily move a game that was originally scheduled for the afternoon and have it played at night on national TV. Nevermind that it may inconvenience fans who travel to see the game or have to get up for work, the almighty Television is a master who must be served.

A few weeks ago, they re-scheduled tonight's Eagles-Colts game. Along the way, the Colts lost (ruining their undefeated season), the Eagles played like crap in losing to Tennessee and Jacksonville and quarterback Donovan McNabb suffered a season-ending injury last week. The once marquee match-up turned into a game that had to be sold rather than sell itself.
Television, in their attempt to manufacture history, has found that history cannot be manipulated, no matter how much money they throw at it.

Few things make me happier than seeing corporate America screwed over. Televisions across America are being tuned out as the Eagles are down 17 points going into the fourth quarter, and it's a little past 10 o'clock EST, while Al Michaels grasps at straws to try to keep fans interested.

Maybe now, they can work on the weather?

Tis the Season

Tis the season for conforming.
Perhaps nothing better defines the issue of conformity than the so-called holy season of Christmas. Brace yourselves, Druids, because some of the things I say here may shock and offend your religious beliefs. For the rest of you, go ahead and read. Christmas has nothing to do with organized religion.

My favorite superhero has mused on the subject of guilt. Part of the reason we feel guilt is that we think we must conform to society's belief system, and the bigger the group, the more pressure there is on us to conform. Smaller groups can do it, too, but they have to consist of people with perceived power over us, like our boss or an IRS auditor. Few things in our lives personify conformity like the Christmas season.

"What did you get?" is the biggest question that most of us will face when we return to work or school after the holiday. No one asks "What did you give?", or if they do, they are asking it after the first question, in a comparitive way. We spend half our time comparing what we are going to give someone with what they are going to give us. We don't want to either (a) make the other person uncomfortable or (b) spend too much money on something that may not be enough or may be too much of a gift. It's the spirit of the holidays.

The guilt comes in when we either forget or neglect to buy something for the other person. "Oh, I didn't get you anything!" - the common refrain of the guilt-ridden person. The prepared Druids among us have sexually neutral gifts pre-wrapped in a room or the trunk of their car for just such emergencies. Once, I got a Hershey's kiss as big as my head from a friend for whom I bought a gift. Feeling a bit uneasy, she disappeared for a few minutes and returned with the box. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a giant hunk of solid chocolate.

She wasn't about to feel guilty because I bought her something and didn't give me anything, so her feelings of Christmas-inspired guilt were salved by the huge novelty gift. It did little for me, but my feelings were not the paramount concern here. She felt a twinge of guilt, and the giant chocolate mound served its intended purpose.

If we felt no guilt and no need to conform, such small gestures would be unnecessary. The common refrain would change to "Too bad!" and the guilt would be replaced by joy. We got something and didn't have to do anything in return. Perfect. But society tries to tell us that the spirit of the holiday is in giving, which is where the conflict comes in. We feel guilty for wanting things because society makes us think that the feelings are bad. Of course we want things. It's at the base of our belief system. Look around. Our homes are filled with junk we wanted. Much of it we now may feel guilty for buying because we satisfied the desire to have something, and reacted to the guilt inflicted by society for being such terrible consumers.

If we conformed, we wouldn't feel guilt. If we didn't desire, we wouldn't conform. But, we're not all the same. The Druids dance under their tree, the Romans celebrate Saturnalia and the rest of us play the shopping game until we either drop from exhaustion or run out of money. Either way, the conflict doesn't end until the 26th. The sad part is that we put ourselves through it year after year, until the wise among us figure out what society is doing to us and make it stop.

Guilt and conformity are the biggest marketing tools that they have to use against us, and they don't have to spend a dime on advertising. We do it to ourselves.

We spent $8.96 billion on Friday in an effort to conform and satisfy our desires. We'll make sure we have more stuff under our heathen tree than the heathens next door. The sad part is, that it never stops. We spent more this year than last, and we'll spend more next year.

Just like everyone else.