Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Little Sympathy, please...

I'm sitting here at work, listening to the instrumental MUZAK version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Is there any more pointless song to play without vocals?

What's next, the instrumental version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"?

Help me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't waste your time reading this.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans will spend nearly 10 hours a day watching television, surfing the Internet, reading books, newspapers and magazines and listening to music this year, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Friday.

In its "Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007" released on Friday, the agency also noted that Americans drink about a gallon of soda a week, along with a half gallon each of milk, bottled water, coffee and beer.
All of which may help explain another figure in the pages of the 1,300-page book of tables and statistics: About two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including one-third of whom are obese.

I wonder where these numbers come from? Let's do a little mathematics - very little, since I know you want to get back to your Internet activities.

Six hours sleep. I know we're supposed to say eight, but...really... and 10 ... That's 16 hours, plus at least 8 hours at work leaves us zero. I realize that some of those activities can be done together, but sleep and work are separate, unless you work in our federal government or at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
Not everyone works, but it does say "Americans", so I have to believe it's some sort of composite.

What did we do with all that free time before we had the Internet to surf? Maybe we were out doing things like exercise or anything that doesn't involve sitting on our asses.
Over 90 million obese Americans. That's a lot of people, and since they're really fat, they take up almost twice as much space, too, so it's almost like 180 million.

I guess, we don't do much else. As for me, I've been sitting here for 3 hours, and now I have to get up to go watch the TV.

Of course, this is the same government who tells us the gas mileage that our cars get, so I suppose we should apply the phrase "for what it's worth" to the figures.

And, if you feel that 10 hours just isn't enough, here is a list of the Fifteen Best Places to Waste Time on the Web. My blog is not listed. Perhaps it's number 16?

Feeling a little stressed from holiday shopping?
Cocteau Twins
"Carolyn's Fingers"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keep Your Bicycle Securely Locked at All Times

Our Federal Government is just now finding out that automobile drivers encounter traffic, run their air-conditioners and frequently drive faster than 60mph.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which only now - for model year 2008 - is changing the way it tests mileage for the first time since 1984. The new procedures announced this week will consider a variety of factors collectively known as reality.

These overdue improvements will reduce the average vehicle's estimated mileage - the one that appears on window stickers in the showroom - by 12% for city driving and 8% for highway driving. And, as you could guess, auto makers are not happy about the change. Why? Because it may mean that people will start buying less profitable small cars, instead of house-sized bohemoths; whose drivers actually brag about their car getting 15 miles per gallon.

The beautiful combination of bureaucratic sloth and special interest politics have finally given way to consumer complaints and fact. Geez -- it only took 22 years. Now we know why my 2005 Ford Focus, advertised at 27 city, 32 highway; gets 27.5 miles per gallon on my mostly-highway drive to and from work - without the air conditioning or traffic. I feel so used.

In other stupid news...

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A high school choir was asked to stop singing Christmas carols during an ice skating show featuring Olympic medalist Sasha Cohen, out of concern the skater would be offended because she's Jewish.
A city staff member, accompanied by a police officer, approached the Rubidoux High School Madrigals at the Riverside Outdoor Ice Skating Rink just as they launched into "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and requested that the troupe stop singing, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Thursday. Mayor Ron Loveridge called the incident "unfortunate." To her credit, Cohen did not request the singers to stop.

This is another case of over-sensitive zealots making life difficult for people. Every day, we see another news story about someone somewhere getting irritated that there's a Nativity scene, or a store employee saying "Merry Christmas" to shoppers. Why don't we just cancel Christmas altogether, if it's going to irritate people so much? If you love somebody, give them a gift. Who needs a phony religious holiday to justify the act? "Happy Holidays" and politically correct songs are a half-assed attempt to make everybody happy, and we know that it isn't possible. If people can't sing a song without aiming to piss off people in government, then what's the point?

The High School rests on tax-exempt property, the carolers were singing for free and the city employees are paid from tax dollars. Anybody see a problem here?

I wanna go...

An artist's rendering provided by Grand Canyon West shows the Hualapai Indian Tribe's Skywalk, a glass-bottom observation deck 4,000 feet above the Colorado River hanging over the western edge of the Grand Canyon. Hualapai Indian tribe is hoping to change its fortunes by building the Skywalk as a tourist attraction. But the $30 million Skywalk, set to open in March 2007, has also ignited a debate among Hualapai elders who question whether the prospect of riches is worth disturbing sacred ground.

Sacred, schmacred. I just wanna drop a coyote off it and watch him open that little umbrella and wave goodbye before he crashes to the ground in a little cloud of dust.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat?

My teeth are clean. I just thought you might like to know. I had my six-month dental check-up (the official check-up-from-the-neck-up) and I was pronounced "Good for another six months." So, those of you who may be planning on doing something with me after June 13th ... I really can't commit to anything right now.
That really screws with the trip to Wakarusa I was planning this summer. One day at a time, I guess.
I made another appointment for June 27th, so I guess the joke is on them!

While I was in the dental chair, they allowed me to watch the TV. There was a minor earthquake just outside of Reading, PA; in Berks County. The local Action News reporter was there, on the scene. He chose to interview a guy who was in the area at the time.
REPORTER: So, you were here at the time of the earthqake?
GUY: Yes, I was working here from noon till now, today.
REPORTER: Did you feel the earthquake?
GUY: Nope. I didn't see or feel anything.

Breaking news, folks. Now, we're interviewing people who had no knowledge of the event and have no first-hand account to relay. Two minutes of prime local news time devoted to a guy who admittedly didn't see or hear anything. Nice job. Did you see it? Nope. Back to the studio.


In addition to (or perhaps in spite of) clean teeth, I also may be turning gay. Whatsthatyousay? Yes, gay. It seems my daily diet of soy milk and cereal is playing Hell with my testosterone level, and apparently, any day now, I will begin speaking with a lisp and develop an inate skill at home decorating. So, it may not be all bad, because my place could use some sprucing up.

This article says that those little beans are "tearing apart our culture", which flies in the face of all that "good for you" junk that scientists and health professionals say. The article goes on to say that
if you're a grownup, you're already developed, and you're able to fight off some of the damaging effects of soy. It's obvious that this guy knows nothing about how developed I am. I've got news for you pal, I'm growing new shit every day, but I ain't saying where it is.

He also says that
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. Sexual confusion? Tell me what I can eat that will convince me that sex isn't confusing, and I'm all in. Apparently this guy hasn't tried buying a condom lately. Latex, sensitive, lubricated, polyethelyne, spermicidal ... I'm confused, and I'm not even using them. Really, I'm not.

Then, in a fit of intellectual peak, he says...
Research in 2000 showed that a soy-based diet at any age can lead to a weak thyroid, which commonly produces heart problems and excess fat. Could this explain the dramatic increase in obesity today?
Well, let me think...obesity in America...yeah, it must be the soy. It can't possibly be the billions and billions of cheeseburgers that McDonald's sells to kids every day, or the Super Size everything, or the thousands of gallons of sweetwater (a.k.a. Coke or Pepsi) that we consume every day. It must be the soy beans.

So, if you suddenly find that my posts are leaning toward what color sunglasses go best with my skin tone, or I start asking if my hips are too wide, or I suddenly become obsessed with moving to San Francisco ... post a comment and tell me to lay off the soy until my penis returns to its normal size and my estrogen level decreases. After all, I don't want to miss Wakarusa or that new Rocky movie.

Because they are just too precious!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You Sure Ask a Lot of Questions for Someone from New Jersey

I ask myself many questions. I don’t get many answers, but that doesn’t keep me from asking. One I asked myself today was, “Would it be considered ‘justifiable homicide’ if I killed the guy who installed our MUZAK system at work?” I asked myself this after hearing Andy Williams sing “Happy Holidays” for the six-billionth time.

Maybe I don't want to kill him as much as I just want to smack him in the back of the head and tell him how he has contributed to the destruction of thousands of brain cells. Don’t turn your back on me, Mr. MUZAK installation guy.

How many different times can I hear “Jingle Bells” or “Frosty the Snowman” before it starts to work on my subconscious, and I am no longer responsible for my actions? Apparently, the music industry (and the MUZAK industry) feels as though we need one more version of “The Little Drummer Boy” – reggae mix, jazz mix, punk mix, pizzicato string mix or Bowie and Bing mix – but here it is, merely the 12th of December, and I’m all parum-pa-pum-pum’ed out.


There's a line from the movie "Cool Hand Luke" that goes, "What we have here is failure to communicate. Some folks, you just can't reach.” Some of my Blogger buddies have them, and I had one of those moments at the lunch table today.

A co-worker was bemoaning the fact that Christmas (the holiest of all holidays) falls on a Monday. The moaning came when he said that he'd like to have the day after Christmas off, in addition to the day itself.

I looked at him quizzically (as I often do) and replied with my own question.

"So, what do you do on July 5th, or the day after Memorial Day? Don't you have picnics and parties on the holidays? Why doesn't it bother you that you don't have the day after those days off?"

He failed to see my logic, and could only reply with, "Christmas is different", which isn't an argument, it's just a statement. Of course, it's different, but why is it different? He couldn't articulate his point or answer my question, so we moved on.

Maybe I’m just not a big Christmas guy, since I really don’t get it. I didn’t want to get into an argument with the guy, since it was just an opinion, but I failed to see the point. Tell me, dear readers … Is it different? If so, why? If not, why not?


You have one day left to make a bet with your friends that I am sure you will win. What’s the bet? I’m glad you asked. I get tired of asking all the questions around here.

The bet is that Rocky will die in the latest Rocky movie. What is it, Rocky Six Billion? Whatever. He’s going down, and he’s going down hard. He’ll die right in front of his kid in that fight that they’re showing on the TV commercials.
I’m not spoiling the ending because I don’t know the ending, I’m merely speculating. Maybe it’s a gut feeling or maybe it’s wishful thinking.

The movie premieres in Hollywood next Wednesday, so get your bets down.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Be Yourself. As Long as You're Like Me

All this talk about bliss and its consequences has stirred up quite a little firestorm in this little corner of the Blogosphere. A post here, another one there and even one over here someplace that may or may not be the spark of the whole thing. Whatever it is, it is free thinking, and nothing irritates the More-moral-than-thou bunch than individuality and free thinking. Deep down inside, they would like us all to be the same. The sames would stay with the sames, and the differents would ... well, they would be ostracized to some island where they couldn't influence the sames and make them realize that they were cheap imitations of themselves.

Ostracized is an interesting word. Without doing research (something I gave up after I graduated college) I would say that it has its roots in the Ostrich, who reacts to the different by sticking its head in the ground. The sames would probably do that, if they could get their head out of their ass long enough to put it in the ground.

Free thinking is the enemy of many things, religion among them. After all, if God had meant us to think for ourselves, he would have given us free will and a brain...

So, the sames go along, trying as hard as they can to be like themselves. It gets harder every day, because the differents are so interesting that the sames can't help but watch. Sort of like a rail crash or a really good movie sex scene. They are disgusted by it, yet they cannot turn away. The part of them that wants to watch is the part that they would like to ostracize. They do, by making the differents feel like they should be ashamed of their behavior. This empowers the sames and makes them do their little superior dance, where they spin in circles and spout their same-old tired blather about how God will punish the differents and make them burn in Hellfire until their eye sockets melt like that guy in the Indiana Jones movie who looked at the Ark of the Covenant.

It's an odd thing, though, to say that you preach peace and love while you go around making people feel like they are wrong for believing what they believe and acting in an independent fashion. It is contradictory, and I for one, have no time for anyone who wants to tell me how to feel, act or spin in a circle - if that's what I want to do.

The other thing they preach is that whole "turn the other cheek" jazz. It is supposed to be one of their main beliefs, but they cannot turn the other cheek when one of the differents is acting different. Instead, the differents turn a cheek to the sames and allow them to go about their little holier-than-thou ritual. Ironic, isn't it? The same people who are supposed to be forgiving and tolerant turn out to be the people who want to tell us how to live and what to think.

I choose to turn the other cheek.

50 Ways to Love Your Lever

Girls ... girls ... girls ... please.

A seemingly innocent post about a news story about some Indian men and their difficulties with prophylactics has started a mini-Bloggerstorm of comments, questions and concerns over the size of our junk. Katie asked a question in my comments box (no pun intended), Pam added Kerosene to the fire by answering her and Kimmyk put up an entire post asking about the average size. Penis this, penis that ... penis, penis, penis. Holy shit, Hannah.

Geez, girls - get a grip. Let's talk about shopping.

'Tis the season ... Or so it seems. I guess the season we think it is depends upon our upbringing.

Every time the Christmas (excuse me, the holiday) shopping season comes around, it makes me think about the variances in our lives and how those variances interact with those of us who get in the way.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we are all forced to drive someplace. Driving is one of those social skills that not all of us posses, but all of us must do. It puts the lesser skilled at a disadvantage when they are forced to interact with those who have a skill. Because everyone is forced to drive, they make it difficult on those of us who have the necessary skills. We deal with them because we have no choice. There are no alternatives, so we blow our car horns, point and gesture. It doesn't help them, but it makes us feel better. "Dumbass! Get off the road!" Now, I feel better.

Shopping at this time of year is a similar experience. Regardless of whether or not they want to be there, the shoppers are out. Many of them only venture to the shopping mall once or twice a year. The other time may be for a birthday gift or some special occasion, but holiday shopping is universal, and the unskilled are out and about, harassing us. They have no choice but to be there, and their cluelessness is our misery.

These are the same people who wait until the end of the checkout to start writing the check (please ... the ATM card!) or stand at the counter packing up the remaining belongings of their purse/wallet while the rest of us wait. Tedium. Buy your shit and get out of the way.

In case you don't know, I am a man (with a penis) who is well aware of the vagaries of shopping. So much so, that I am easily irritated by the clowns who venture out at the holiday season (got it right that time) to buy a gift, regardless of their institutional knowledge of the process.

And so, my trip to the local mall on Saturday was bound by the once-a-year shoppers, seemingly unaware of my existence. They were left to bump into me, brush against my arm and otherwise make my shopping experience miserable. I could see the blank looks on their faces and the clueless wander of their gait as they meandered around, unaware that there were other people or other stores available than the ones they had focused upon.

I tried to be understanding of their plight. They may spend three hours in a shopping mall in a year, and their clueless expression would bear that out. Part of me wanted to help them. "What are you looking for?" I would ask. The other, bigger part of me wanted them to get the Hell out of my way, and the obvious choice would be for them to get a computer and buy it on-line. Some of us are trying to get to the food court, and your aimless wandering in search of the Yankee Candle store is in no way helping me. I'm tired and hungry.

It's almost over, this annual clueless-man shopping trip. Soon, the mall will be mine again. Mine, and the rest of my mall brethren who are amply experienced in the ways of shopping that allow us no mercy for the clueless shoppers who step on our feet, bump into us and generally contribute to the mess that is the Christmas (holiday - damn!) shopping season.

As far as the size of their penises, I really have no clue nor interest. It's tough enough carrying this stuff around without the constant worry of whether or not my girth is adequate. First things first. Let me get a date and I'll have my girlfriend post a comment about how many girth units I am and where I stand in the vast realm of men and their peni.

In the meantime, I'll be at the mall, buying her an expensive gift that will make all discussion of penis size, girth or any other such units irrelevant.

Besides, I don't think I heard anybody mention anything about tongue size.