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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Everyone's Got One

In most cases, your opinion doesn't matter to anyone but yourself.

Repeat after me. "Your opinion doesn't matter to anyone but yourself."

I direct this at all the people (example) who don't think President Obama "deserved" to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Are you on the Nobel Peace Prize committee? No? Then who cares what your opinion is?

Seriously.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, and everyone's got one, but not every opinion matters.

I say this as a guy who writes his opinions with some regularity on his blog. Yes, I have an opinion. But I'm under no illusions that my opinions actually matter. They don't!

Now if I was on the Nobel Peace Prize committee...

Updated: Ha! Even the recipient, Mr. Obama himself, doesn't think he deserves it. Yet another opinion that doesn't count!
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Geico

Did you know that you can download that stupid song from the Geico commercials for free? You can.

Which is great, because when that commercial comes on, I'm always inclined to sing, "Somebody's watching me."

Goonies and Loonies

In the movie The Goonies, Mikey hands the clutzy Chunk a framed treasure map, knowing it would only be a matter of seconds before Chunk broke it. He starts counting 1, 2, 3, 4 and -predictably- Chunk drops the frame. Glass breaks, the map is retrieved, and the adventure begins.

In the same spirit, I'm going to give this to the right-wingers and I'm counting my fingers until they completely freak out.

1, 2, 3...

Bitching About Republicans Again

My right-wing aunt in Texas sent me this picture.

Of course when I saw that, my response was to blow a big raspberry and say, "Fuck no."

I don't miss Bush. I don't miss Cheney. I don't miss Condoleeza Rice. I don't miss any of those people.

You know what I miss? Intelligent Republicans.

I mean, look at this:
Gubernatorial hopeful Josh Penry vowed this week to repeal the vehicle registration fee hike put in place this summer.

Once the economy begins rebounding — and the state's general fund expands with it — Penry said, he would begin setting aside hundreds of millions in new money to replace the $250 million generated for Colorado's roads and bridges by the new fees and fines dubbed "FASTER."
Follow me here:

Josh Penry is a Republican.

Thanks to the anti-tax Republican platform, it's next to impossible to pass a tax increase in this state...even one designed to balance the budget.

These late fees were implemented because the State was running out of money and they couldn't raise taxes to make up the shortfall.

I paid these late fees a couple weeks ago when I registered my truck. (Yes, I was late. I don't have a drivers license. I had to get my Mommy to take me. Thanks a bunch, Nixonian "Law and Order" Nanny State!) The fees tripled the cost of my registration. Tripled.

Now, Josh Penry, a Republican, is going to use these fees to portray himself as a protector of citizens getting screwed over by the government.

And yet...and yet...

If his fellow Republicans weren't hostile to every little tax increase, the State would not have implemented the fees. The cost of my registration would not have tripled. The budget would be well on its way to being balanced.

And Josh Penry wouldn't be able to use it as a campaign issue to get himself elected.

Memo to Republicans: If this is your idea of helping me, stop trying to help me.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

9-Volt Battery Slowly Drainer

This Mitch Hedburg joke is for my Mom.
"I got a fire alarm at home. But really it's more like a 9 volt battery slowly drainer. If you want to slowly get rid of your 9 volt batteries, then buy this circle."

Lying to Your Face

This morning, a recording lied to me. It said, "Your call is important to us. Please wait for the next available representative."

The second part was most definitely true, as I was forced to sit on hold and wait.

The first part...well, that was the lie. My call wasn't important to them. If it was, someone would have picked up the phone. But no, my call was so unimportant they sent me to an IVR, and presumably a hold queue. There I waited until some poor Tier I person (which is a fancy way of saying low-man-on-the-totem-pole) picked up and took my call. Of course, he couldn't help me. He could only send my issue to Tier II. And if it got really complicated, Tier III would get involved.

Thankfully, my company doesn't operate that way. The bosses have an aversion to IVRs, so we don't have one. You call our number and someone picks it up. A live person, who you can interact with, who you don't have to wait to be routed to. We also don't have any tiers.

I'm The Man, the one-stop-shop. You need something, I got it.

And you won't hear me saying, "Your call is important to us. Please hold for the next available representative."

Inhale/Exhale

A thousand years ago, I heard a song that changed my life. It's not the best song in the world, but it no less profound.

The conceit is that it's a kind of meditation where you "inhale" positive, helpful things and "exhale" negative, destructive, or petty things.
Inhale resolve
Exhale ambition
Inhale all I need
Exhale all I want
Inhale love of life
Exhale fear of death
Inhale power
Exhale force

I have all I need
I can live without

Inhale tolerance
Exhale judgement
Inhale what I am
Exhale what I think I am

Inhale fact
Exhale assumption
Inhale what I want to be
Exhale how I want to be seen
I love that last one. Love it!

More Guns

Remember: Guns don't kill people. People kill people.
Meleanie Hain, the pistol-carrying Lebanon mom who received national attention for taking a loaded gun to her daughter’s soccer game, was shot to death Wednesday night with her husband in an apparent murder-suicide, police said.
No word on who was the suicide and who was the murderer.

But I can tell you this...the murderer was probably the one with the gun.

Stop Being Polite and Start Being Real

I've been thinking about buying a gun and getting a concealed carry permit.

Not because I need it for protection. I'm certainly not going to hunt with it. I don't intend on turning it into a fetish, either, lovingly stroking the cold steel hidden under my clothes.

I'm going to use it so I don't have to be polite. So I can conduct myself in an intimidating, threatening manner and if anyone has a problem with it, I've got 10 pounds of deadly force richere for ya.

I wish I was joking. I'm not.

I'm just being honest. That's why I want a gun.

And that's why I won't be getting one anytime soon.

The Mooch

I wish I was more sensitive to the needs and feelings of panhandlers, but truth be told: I can't stand them. It's a contempt that runs so deep that I often have trouble being polite to them.

The other day, I was standing there at the bus stop, listening to my MP3 player, minding my own business, and out of the corner of my eye I see this kid looking at me with all this desperate need in his eyes. I proceeded to ignore him.

He proceeded to go down the line, asking everyone (and I mean everyone) at the bus stop for change or cigarettes or crack or whatever it is he wanted. Then he walked around the corner and hit up that bus stop too.

I was relieved. He didn't ask me for anything and he was gone.

But he came back. And this time he approached me, tempted by the Marlboro Light smoldering in my fingers apparently. He asked me something I didn't hear because...well, headphones.

So I yanked them out and gave him my most annoyed, "What?"

"Do you have an extra cigarette?"

"No, dude, forget it," I said, the disgust rising up so quickly I could taste it in the back of my throat. He started to splutter something, but I just waved him away. "No. Just go away. Go away."

Thankfully, he did.

I saw him the next day, posted in front of the 7-11, hitting up all those in need of 7-11's convenience. From across the street, I kept my eye on him, sending him psychic entreaties. "Yeah, stay over there, buddy. You come over here, I might kick your ass."

He stayed there and I didn't have to kick any ass.

Tonight, he showed up again, doing his usual schtick. He walks by and asks the haggard group of potential bus-riders, "Anyone got a cigarette?"

My response: "You know better than to ask me." Because I don't have anything for the Mooch besides a closed fist.

Overly hostile? Perhaps. But here's the thing that really pisses me off.

If you want cigarettes, go buy them. That 7-11 you were standing outside of? They sell them there.

If you want money, here's an idea. Get yourself a job.

I'm not standing here at this bus stop so I can hand out cigarettes to the lazy mooches who can't --or won't-- buy their own. I'm standing here to go to my job that pays me so that I can buy my own cigarettes.

And yeah, I know jobs can be hard to find. Especially if you're a lazy fuck. But not only are we in view of a 7-11 that sells cigarettes to anyone of age to buy them, there's a goddamn day-labor place right there.

You can wander around all night, hitting up bus-riders for smokes and spare change, which would make you a no-good mooch unworthy of respect.

Or you can go camp out on the sidewalk there, and in the morning, be the first one in line for a job.

You know who I'd give a cigarette to? The second guy.

The first guy is on his own.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ruling and Rolling

Look who made it onto the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Daniel Graham of the Broncos.

I'll be reading this on the bus later.

Prediction

If the zebras don't throw a "roughing the passer" flag every time Elvis Dumervill sacks Tom Brady...

The Broncos will go 5-0.

On Income Inequality and Pettiness

While Jon McNaughton is complaining about...well, silliness, I think this chart illustrates the type of people who get my ire up.

That's right. Self-absorbed CEOs who make more money than God.

This chart compares the highest paid CEOs with the lowest paid workers and lo and behold, finds the CEOs pay themselves thousands of times more than they pay the "little people."

My only gripe about this chart is that they should have made one comparing the CEOs to the median wage rather than the minimum wage.

We are a heartless society that really doesn't give a shit about minimum wage earners. When we think of minimum wage earners, we think, "Thank God that's not me." But when we think of median wage earners, we think, "Holy Shit! That's me!"

And here's the thing: CEOs make thousands of times the median wage, too.

I once gamed it out for a guy named Angelo Mozilo. (You remember him, right?) My math may be wrong, but it's worthy of review:
Countrywide's CEO is a guy named Angelo R. Mozilo, and last year he made almost $50 million according to the SEC. (Actual number: $48,133,155) In other words, a lot of fucking money.

A little perspective: A man earning the National Average Salary (approximately $36,764 as of 2002) would have to work for 1309 years to make what Mozilo made in 2006.

Yes, 1309 years! That's a long time.
The working man doesn't even have a chance.

To that, I'd add...if you think the big villains in this world are college professors, the commercial artists of Hollywood, or reporters, but you're okay with the Angelo Mozillos and Bob Igers of the world making thousands of times more than the employees under them, then you should seriously re-orient your moral compass.

Not just a little. Duct tape won't work. Might as well take that shit back to the garage and get it fully rebuilt.

Must Be the Money

After watching Brandon Marshall's spectacular game-winning touchdown, I knew...I knew...that Deion Sanders would say something about money in the highlights. Sure enough, watch the highlights on NFL.com and you'll hear the latest variation of Neon Deion's favorite song: "Pay the man!"

I have no disagreement that Brandon Marshall might, if he keeps playing well and smartens up in a big way, might be deserving of a more lucrative contract.

But I think Deon's fixation on money is a bit on the vulgar side. And yeah, yeah, I know he's a big follower of T.D. Jakes and his "prosperity gospel," but that doesn't make it right.

In fact, 1st Timothy kind of states the opposite:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(And yes, I'm aware of the irony of an atheist quoting scripture. I do it to point out the equally ironic way self-described Christians ignore it.)

Good Art, Dumb Politics

I've seen a lot of ridicule of this painting by Jon McNaughton and my first instinct was to jump on the bandwagon and start slamming away.

But after some reflection, I decided that wouldn't be appropriate. It would be like challenging a retarded person to a Sudoku match. It just wouldn't be fair.

Subject matter and intended meaning aside, McNaughton's painting is actually quite good from a technical standpoint. I find it quite easy to dismiss the political leanings of Rage Against the Machine and Ted Nugent long enough to enjoy listening to People of the Sun or Cat Scratch Fever, so I should be able to do the same with a painting.

But one thing I will say about McNaughton's ideology, as opposed to his composition technique (which is spot-on), is that it's incredibly naive. And not in a "Kids say the darnedest things" kind of way.

On the extreme right side of the painting, there is the image of Satan and huddled around him, all the no-good nefarious America-ruiners under the influence of evil.

They are, by McNaughton's own description, the following:

The Lawyer who "is lovingly counting his hundred dollar bills."

Liberal New Reporter, "biased towards the left and try to shape the thinking and actions of Americans in that direction."

Mr. Hollywood, with his "liberal slant" and hatred of conflicted judges and pregnant women. (Whuh?)

The Professor, who "represents the liberal left's control of our educational system."

The Politician, who's "more concerned about his political ambitions than what is in the best interests of the country."

You know, the usual suspects: greedy lawyers, liberal reporters, liberal Hollywood types, liberal professors, self-interested politicians.

But here's the thing that I don't get. Isn't it obvious to this guy that these things are only a problem for a very small, very insular segment of our population?

I mean, the folks who are concerned about the liberal media? Do they not have remote controls? Are they forced to read the New York Times? Did anyone pin their eyes open and make them watch a Michael Moore double feature?

Of course not!

These days, the "liberal media" complaint just has no merit. What, you never heard of Fox News? You can't go to Drudge Report and get a helping of a more palatable bias?

Yes, there are left-wing reporters. Just like there are right-wing reporters. Pick one and shut the fuck up. Not only do you have the Freedom of Choice, bucko, but the rest of us have Freedom of Speech. Deal with it.

And the evil liberal Hollywood types? Give me a break. I'd buy this complaint more if the folks making it weren't such big consumers of the product they supposedly find so inferior.

Watch fewer films!

I'm serious! You think leftist liberals are the only ones who watch movies? Bullshit.

Hollywood believes in one thing: Making money.

Hollywood appeals to one thing: As wide an audience as possible.

As for the Professor and his leftist bent? I'm from the state that Ward Churchill calls home, so I know this is possible. But I'm also pretty sure there are other professors who are as equally biased to the right. Ever hear of Victor Davis Hanson?

He's as right wing as they come, and until recently, he was a professor of Classics at Fresno State. (Which is in the liberal oasis of California, in case you were wondering.)

Besides...If America's colleges churn out nothing but assembly-line liberals, where do all these college-educated conservatives come from? Fresno State?