Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back in Texas...

And it's HOT!

I'd forgotten about this. My mind hadn't forgotten, but the rest of me had. In NC, I never sweat. When everybody else is just drenched, I haven't perspired a drop, and I'd just begun to think of myself as a guy who doesn't sweat much.

Bull-freakin'-shit. My body just doesn't sweat until it gets REAL heat!

Another great thing about Texas - jalapenos. I had sushi yesterday. Guess what? Three different sushi rolls had jalapenos in them!

Only in Texas.

Today I'm hanging with my friend Katie. Life is good. There should be food and alcohol and perhaps a bit of commiserating about messed up relationships. That's what friends are for.

Talk to you all later!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I miss the wonder of it all...

I grew up in the fading light cast by the glory of the moon landings.

I grew up hearing about the astronauts landing on the moon. Walking, actually walking on an alien surface!

I grew up reading Heinlein's "Rocket Ship Galileo," Arthur C. Clarke's "Space Odyssey" and Asimov's "Foundation" series. I grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars, and I knew that as physics-defying nonsense-filled as they were, it was a tale of exploration - and we were explorers, and we were out there exploring!

And then I grew up.

It is the nature of Man that, in every society, you expand and progress, or you stagnate and decay.

We haven't landed on the moon in over 35 years. We've sent robots places, but Mankind has been stuck in low earth orbit ever since 1972. We beat the Russians, and lost interest. The "giant leap for mankind" never resulted in us learning to run; we sat back down and never tried even walking again. Instead of advancing - we stagnated. We decayed.

A few years ago, Bush instituted a new vision in NASA intended to put men on the Moon, and on Mars. It was a grand plan, a wondrous idea, a beautiful and majestic vision. Only problem; this vision didn't come with any money. And how could it? We've bankrupted ourselves with our pyramid schemes of entitlements, with our congressional-military-industrial complex, with our sheer greed. But Dr. Mike Griffin, the head of NASA, did his best to plan this vision anyway, and expand NASA's role in the future of real space exploration.

Then came 2008. All three major presidential candidates have signed on to the idea of reducing NASA, instead of expanding it. Once the Space Shuttle retires, we won't even have a way to send anybody into low earth orbit until 2014 at the earliest, which is more likely to be 2016, or later. The reaction to this in congress is shock, horror, demands that NASA do something about it... And decreased funding.

Now, the libertarian in me doesn't believe that NASA is any more deserving of funding than welfare. You can certainly make a point with that. And it certainly hasn't done that much grand and inspiring work in decades. But if you're going to cut things, I'd put that last on the list. First get rid of the Department of Education, which has done more damage to the very concept of learning than any one entity should! First get rid of the institutionalized health care mandates, and welfare, and overseas empire... Yeah, NASA would be one of the last things I'd cut. Still, I can understand why a true libertarian would want to. But as we watch the Chinese and Russians and Japanese and the EU ramp up their space programs, aiming for the Moon, aiming for Mars...

I miss the wonder. I miss feeling like we, as Americans, were headed there in the pioneer tradition that built this nation. I miss feeling like we were headed towards a brighter future in space.

I hope that this changes. I hope we retake the lead in true space exploration. It is truly the future. If we don't, we honestly have as good as forfeited our place in that future, because it will happen, whether we're a part of it or not. Maybe we'll do it through private enterprise, doing it despite the government instead of through them. Maybe not. I just don't know. But for now, I'm going to crack open a classic 50s SciFi book and read about how American Ingenuity will put colonies in space (most likely with giant computers and atomic power!)...

And I'm going to recapture a little of that wonder.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No, it doesn't.

I've just been having an online chat with an Army guy who keeps saying that the fact that we're arguing means we're free.

I've heard this argument before, usually from military guys (perhaps there's no correlation there), that because we're free to express our opinions, that's proof we're free, living in the freest country one earth, filled with freedom-loving patriots.

Okay. Can't you express your complaints in prison, too? Doesn't mean you're free.

The government owns your land. If you don't believe this, try not paying them your rent... I mean, taxes.

The government owns your personal life. If you don't believe this, try having any illegal drugs in your house when the government decides to search it (for which they no longer need a warrant, if they're smart enough to do it right).

The government owns your children. If you don't believe this, ask the FLDS members in Texas.

The government owns your communications. If you don't believe this, just ask Bush, or his flavor of the week attorney general.

The government owns your work. If you don't believe this, try not paying your income tax.

What do you own? The right to complain.

I'm feeling rather free right now. How about you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Favorite Font...

It's no secret to anybody that knows me that my favorite font is Times New Roman. Elegant, easy to read, compact... It's like a classy lady that manages to be hot at the same time.

Arial is usually the default font on most programs I've encountered. I've never liked Arial. Sprawling, crude, ungainly. I've never understood why people use it voluntarily. It's like dating the ugly girl when the cute one is right there beside her... *sigh*

Alas, I noticed that it's freakin' hard to read on this blog when I use Times New Roman. For whatever reason, it just doesn't show too well. And guess what font does? Arial.


Bonus points if you know where that quote is actually from!

While I'm rambling, let me throw out a tip for anybody coming to a dueling pianos show. If you ask us to do a song, and we tell you we don't know it, we DON'T KNOW IT.

1) Insisting that we DO know it, that we HAVE to know it, that EVERYBODY knows it will not make us change our mind and say "Oh, well now that you mention it, I really DO know it! Glad you persisted."

2) Yelling out the name of the song at every (relatively) quiet moment will also not annoy us into magically producing the song right out of our collective asses.

3) Telling us how important it is that you hear it does not enable us to magically download it into the iPod we had surgically implanted in our brains.

4) Offering to sing it to us really doesn't help, either. First of all, we usually don't let people sing onstage anyway, as we are not karaoke. Second of all, alcohol makes you sing in a monotone. Really, it does. Tape yourself if you don't believe me. Third, even if you sing it, WE STILL DON'T KNOW THE SONG.

Okay, I realize that absolutely nobody will be prevented from this behavior by my blog. But damn, it felt good to say!


Monday, May 12, 2008

To all you Patriots; DON'T VOTE!

Okay, my headline is perhaps a bit misleading. Voting is important, and a great deal of what should be deciding the direction of this country. But here's my issue; most people believe it their patriotic duty to vote, regardless of their knowledge of politics, of history, of economics, even of what issues are at stake.

I've said it before, but let me say it again. Voting does NOT equal freedom. The right to vote does NOT mean you live in a free country. In most dictatorships, the citizens are given the right to vote; the ruling party merely decides ahead of time who you will be allowed to vote for. Anyone with a touch of cynicism will have a hard time finding that different from our current system. Anyone without a touch of cynicism is either inhaling some really exotic drugs, or not yet old enough to write their name in cursive letters.

The right to vote does NOT in any shape, form, or fashion mean that you are free. Contrary to what you have been told (or are likely to tell me), in the history of this country, very few people died to give you the right to vote. Many thousands died to give you freedom, a freedom most people are actively throwing away with every ballot cast. You CAN vote for freedom. But most people do not. Most don't even know how. (I'll give you a hint - it's not by voting for the candidate who promises you the most free stuff, or even for this guy, though at least he's honest)

Most people have a decided lack of interest in politics. I more than understand this; I sympathize, perhaps even admire this. I can't break away, myself. But at times, I sure wish I could. But yet these same people believe they have a patriotic obligation to vote. In essence, they are actively participating in a system they neither understand nor wish to be engaged in.

Voting is not an inalienable right, nor was it ever intended to be. But we have pushed ever harder for universal suffrage as a means to promote... Something or other. Fairness, I guess. But competence is more fundamental to true progress than this false sense of equality. You wouldn't say the best way to solve the medical crisis would be to declare everybody a doctor, would you? Admittedly, it would make prescriptions really fun. In medicine, you want a certain level of competence. And yet, isn't deciding the fate of a country as important as being a doctor?

Most people base their vote on feelings, party lines, and the oratory of the candidates. This is about as effective as betting on BasketBall Teams based on who has the best smiles in the starting line-up.

I think rather than making it easier to vote, we ought to make it much, much harder. Yes, this would mean far fewer votes would be cast. But it would also mean only the competent people who actually care would be making these decisions. Open to anyone, but you have to pass the following tests:

1. Speak English - I hate the English language, but it is the primary language of this country, and should remain so. If you can't read it, learn to.
2. Know basic economic principles - if you've never studied Austrian Economics, you might be suckered in by the governmental sleight-of-hand approach increasingly used for the last seventy years or so. And chances are you were taught the Keynesian Bullshit in college.
3. Know the voting record of every candidate you vote for. Don't know what Barack Obama voted for? (hint - he voted to fund the Iraq war every time it came up) That should be a problem. If the candidate is an incumbent, it should have say, 10 major votes that he/she cast in the last term. If you get 8 of 10 right, your vote for him/her counts. Otherwise, you're effectively voting in the best haircut, which is not really the best method. Well, not always.
4. Have read the Constitution. If you don't know what's in it, and what is most certainly not, then you have no real basis for knowing whether the president is doing his job (he's not), or whether congress is doing their jobs (they're not), or whether the government has grown beyond its intended scope (think Rosie O'Donnell in a size 2 dress).
5. Know some basic history. If you don't know shit about the Roman Empire (watching "Gladiator" doesn't count!), if you can't name any founding fathers not appearing on our currency, if you don't know why we fought the civil war (not about slavery), why we got into WWI and WWII, why Korea and Vietnam and Iraq I and II were unconstitutional, if you don't know what the Federal Reserve is or does... You really should be looking these things up before you vote.

Is this really too much to ask? I know, most of you will say it is. Relax. I'm not in charge. And if I were, I would totally go with a dictatorship anyway. Rather than appeal to intelligence, decency, and freedom, I'd probably have a different platform, largely based on eliminating Reality TV.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mandatory Weekend Watching!

It's Friday again, and that means we've got some clips to watch. Or don't. Be that way. Spoilsport.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Speaking of double standards...

Rachel Lucas already went after this one and tore it to shreds.

Here's the original article published in Men's Health. It's the 8 things your girlfriend hates about you. Talk about something to make bile rise up in your throat. Well, before I had time to cogitate over the best way to look at this one, here's what the incredible Miss Lucas did with it:

How about 8 things he hates about you?

Brilliant. This is why she's become one of my favorite bloggers. Her bullshit tolerance is set pretty damned close to zero.

It just ain't funny...

Dr. Helen pointed out a disturbing trend I've noticed:

People are so indoctrinated to believe that violence against men is okay, especially if perpetrated by women, that they find the whole thing a joke. How empathetic.

Now, that's a general truth, conveyed by every facet of our society. And I think it's just something that everybody should consider. But I'd like to focus on one specific aspect of this that is to me the most glaring example of this problem.

The balls. More precisely, getting hit in them.

For the last 18 years or so, every week on America's Funniest Home Videos, we see guys getting hit in the balls, curling up and falling over. This is accompanied by funny sound effects and canned laughter, occasionally panning over the audience to see all the women howling with laughter, and the men struggling to look like they're enjoying the scene.

Guys hate not appreciating the joke. Almost any time you hear somebody say "That's not funny!" it's a girl getting pissed. In my job, it's a well-known fact - you can pick on guys and call them names and do whatever the hell you want. No guy wants to admit he doesn't think it's funny! Even if we think it's the most tasteless, inappropriate gag ever, guys will always laugh along if everybody is having a good time.

But get them alone, and I have as yet to ever meet a guy who thinks getting racked is funny. Not one. I'm not saying there isn't one, but in my entire life I haven't met him.

Girls cannot comprehend this. I've explained this to my female friends. I've explained it to girls I've dated. It does not compute. I was texting a girl the other day who I've expressed this opinion to over and over again. She's not a violent girl. She's a very empathic person, actually. But when I texted one of my sarcastically chauvinistic opinions, she texted back "I ought to kick you where it hurts." (She meant in my testicles, for all you slow readers)

To all females out there - think how creepy this would be to hear from a guy:

"I ought to punch you in the kidneys until you cough up blood."
"I ought to choke you until your windpipe is bruised and you can't breathe normally."
"I ought to kick you in your ovaries until you suffer debilitating pain."

Freaky, huh? Wouldn't that creep you out and make you never want to talk to that guy again? Wouldn't that make you consider calling the police? It's not funny. There's nothing even slightly humorous about those statement.

Now, take that and think about it before the next time you mention kicking or hitting a guy in the balls for whatever reason. It's just not funny. Sure, the guy may laugh at the time. We feel compelled to laugh at any joke. But if you ask him in a serious moment whether getting racked is funny, I bet he'll say it's not.

I know, every comedy movie has at least one scene with it. I know, every TV show has to play it once a season (minimum) for laughs. I know every single part of society is telling girls it's funny. But it's just not.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to respond with one of the above phrases every time a girl mentions kicking or hitting me in the balls. It'll ruin the conversation, of course. It may even get the authorities called on me. And she'll tell all her friends that I'm a creepy psycho that they should stay away from. But if every guy did this, maybe we could finally, finally get through to women.

It ain't funny.

Nerd Osmosis...

So I went to see Iron Man the other night. The girl I was with was clueless about comics in general and Iron Man in particular. So I was explaining background, inside jokes, who was what, where it followed the original comic book story, where it deviated, and that's when I realized...

I've never read an Iron Man comic. In my entire life, I've only picked up a few dozen comics.

So how the hell do I know Iron Man's back story? For that matter, I'm also familiar with a ridiculous number of other Marvel and DC comic book characters. I was going to list them, but when I topped 20 in the "A"s, I decided not to.

There are two obvious answers;

1) Aliens abducted me, and used their infinitely superior technology to cram my brain full of comic-book character trivia.

2) Nerd Osmosis.

I hang around a lot of nerds - I always have. Their vocabularies rock, and they tend to have a better sense of priorities (and fun, for that matter) than most non-nerds. Due to my encyclopedic knowledge of useless shit, I'm always accepted as one of their own.

Now, I don't really recall ever discussing comics with any of them other than my friend Caleb. And then, it's usually after seeing the latest comic book movie. But I realized - what if I'm absorbing the Nerds comic-book knowledge by merely being in their presence?

This would also explain my afore-mentioned encyclopedic knowledge of trivial factoids. Ask anybody who knows me, and they'll all tell you I know ridiculous amounts of info about a very, very broad range of topics. I've always assumed this is because I read several hours a day. But what if I'm actually absorbing all the useless learning that everybody I come into contact with has acquired over their lifetimes?

It all starts to make sense, doesn't it? I'm in fact a Super-Hero of my own - I'm the great Knowledge Absorber! Call me Sponge-Jess! (I could even get some square pants, if necessary).

Get ready, cause once I get a cape, it's on! I'll be traveling around, curing ignorance one worthless fact at a time! Save lives? Ha! Save the Universe? No. Save damsels in distress? Not likely. Save the day? I don't see it. Save unused brain cells? Absolutely!


P.S. I'd better hit the gym more if I'm going to start wearing tights...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Beans, beans, the wonderful fruit

I've never understood people who can't stop eating sugar.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy sweets. But they're bad for you in excess, and as Americans, we do everything in excess. I know very few people who can go without eating massive amounts of sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) every single day. And the sad thing is, most of them think they are healthy!

Then again, most people think they're smarter than average, too. And better looking than average. And funny. (In my case, it happens to be true, of course. Right? Right? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?)

But I gained a bit more sympathy for those addicted to sweet things when I realized my dietary kryptonite. I can say no to sugar. I can say no to fat. But beans... Mmmm...

Now, some of you are going "beans? Those are healthy!", and indeed they are. Very healthy. For me. Not so much for the people around me. Now, thankfully, I live alone. So when I'm by myself, I can enjoy my bean and cheese tacos... My Ranch Style Beans (side note - outside of Texas, those are called "Texas Style Beans")... My beef and bean burritos... My chalupas...

Of course, you don't want to visit my house after I've enjoyed such a delightful meal.

Should I ever have a family, that's going to be tough. Can I go without beans forever after that? My thought is that I should secretly remove their olfactory senses while they sleep. Who really needs to go around sniffing, anyway?

Another option would be to force everybody else to eat beans, and then blame them for the resulting fragrance. I'm not sure how that would work, but it might be worth a shot.

At work is always interesting. I'm by myself onstage, and I'm very good at sneaking them out. But I guarantee, the second I let loose with a foul miasma, the hottest girl in the room is going to walk up to me with a song request. Every single time. And all I can do is smile and pretend to be oblivious.

So, we now have Saccharine. Aspartame. Splenda. Neotame. Stevia. They're releasing new artificial sweeteners all the time, it seems.

Any work being done on stinkless beans? Please, scientists - this is urgent!


P.S. Isn't it amazing how I managed to write this whole thing without once using the words fart, poot, air biscuit, anal exhale, backdoor trumpet, barking spider, blinking brown-eye, bottom burp, bunghole buzzer, chanel No. 2, colon cologne, cushion creeper, rectum roar, rump ripper, or wind breakage? That's because I'm sophisticated and refined.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mandatory Weekend Watching!

I'm thinking every Friday there should be clips on here. If you have any good ones, email me over the week, and I'll put them all on every Friday. Let's see how this goes...

Archie Bunker on Democrats...

The youngest Beatle...

What REALLY goes on from the conducting podium...

Have a great weekend, everybody!


Britney Spears' Underwear (or lack thereof).

Now, it's no secret that I'm not and never have been a Britney Spears fan. I never found her particularly attractive, never liked her singing, dancing, song selection, onstage persona, offstage persona, or pretty much anything else. I thought (and still think) she was an entirely Industry Created star.

Having said that...

I watch a lot of CNN and other news channels, largely because I'm highly enjoying this farcical show that the media is pretending is a presidential election. And it seems that every few days, they have to give a report on Britney Spears' condition. Apparently, she's recovering. Great.

But here's what gets me; in EVERY SINGLE REPORT, they always bring up ONE subject - whether or not she's wearing underwear. Apparently, having her genitalia photographed because she went commando is the most horrifying thing any commenter can imagine.

Don't get me wrong - if she were still trying to promote a pure, wholesome image, it'd make it laughable. But to the best of my knowledge, she isn't trying for that anymore.

But of all the things she did, that's the one every newsperson refers to as either a sign she was troubled, or in the fervent hopes that she's learned her lesson and will always wear underwear.

Okay, during her fun and exciting trip into la-la-land, where would you rank the following events? (I've arranged them in no particular order)

1. a 55 hour marriage, entered into while completely high

2. Walking into a random hair salon and SHAVING HER FREAKING HEAD BALD in front of the horrified customers

3. Attacking paparrazzi with an umbrella (actually, I kinda like that one)

4. Beating the shit out of some stranger's car just to show off for the paparazzi

5. Having an affair with a member of the afore-mentioned paparrazzi, complaining about their presence in her life the whole time

6. Driving around with her kid in her arms instead of belted in

7. Trying publicly to get pregnant immediately after losing custody of her kids

8. Giving the most dispirited performance of her life during her "comeback" bid

9. Checking in and out of rehab for a few hours each time while in a custody battle

10. Going in public with no underwear

Personally - the underwear thing really doesn't seem to fit for me. It seems so minor and trivial a thing. Perhaps this is because I know a lot of girls who have done the same (though it was not while accompanying Paris Hilton, and there were no photographers). So why is this the one thing nobody can let go? I just don't get it.

Now, if Obama, McCain and Hillary all get photographed wearing short skirts with no underwear, I'll... Well, to be honest, my opinion of them can't get any lower, so it wouldn't change a damn thing for me.