Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Message to the Red States

About 90% of the e-mail forwards that I receive are a complete waste of time. A good friend sent me this one, and it's definitely food for thought:

Dear Red States:

We're pissed off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.
We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share. Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.

We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire. With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you. Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.


Author Unknown in New California.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My Favorite Terrorism Fallacies

Hello! I'm Still Alive.
While the Bush Administration is running around giving each other the Dirty Sanchez or a quick reacharound in celebration of the 1 year anniversary of the end of the transfer of "sovereignty" to the Iraqi people, I continue to tire of news analysts, conservative talkshow hosts, and the general public's lack of ability to think beyond the 1st grade level when it comes to terrorism. In recognition of the occasion and the President's inevitably boring and asinine public news address this evening, I wanted to share my favorite widely held fallacies about terrorism. Take notes as I'm sure the President will spend a good long while reinforcing some of these in his address.
1) The Iraq War is an effective campaign in the War on Terror! Wow. This is probably the most popular load of bullshit that's been heaped on the American public to date. The premise is that Saddam Hussein is somehow connected with the terrorists of Al Quida who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11/01. Despite empirical denial of this fact, Bush and his douche squad continue to promote the idea that the War in Iraq is another front in the war on terrorism. Saddam was a complete piece of shit, and his disregard for human rights DOES make him a terrorist in his own way, but not necessarily connected to THE terrorists we should be pursuing.
2) Reports and research that criticize the Bush Administration's terrorism policies give terrorists ideas on how to carry out further attacks. I was reminded of this today while I was reading this article about the research of two Stanford scientists who postulated the negative effects of terrorists putting botulinum toxin in the milk supply. Instead of sharing the concern of the researchers, Bush Administration and Homeland Security officials renounced the article, saying that it was giving terrorists ideas on US vulnerabilities. If we learned one thing and one thing only from 9/11, please let it be that terrorists are fully aware of our vulnerabilities and don't need the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences to give them ideas. Instead of recognizing the issue as a legitimate terrorism threat and handling it, the Administration would rather attempt to suppress the issue, and hope that terrorists read Teen People.
3) Steps taken by the Bush Administration have made us safer as a country. I saw a poll the other day that showed a trend in public opinion that this ridiculous idea was losing support. Of the three fallacies we have discussed, I think this is potentially the most harmful. Believing that we are safe, when in fact we are most definitely not, is incredibly dangerous. This attitude, combined with the suppression of public discussion of legitimate threats and falsely associating the War in Iraq with Al Quida, makes the actual terrorism more difficult to combat. We have failed to recognize a variety of threats including dams, oil supply lines, power plants, toxins in our food and water supply and numerous others. The only way to prevent another 9/11 is to encourage public discussion of our vulnerabilities and to address those issues, something the Bush Administration has largely avoided.


I'm hungry for a media feeding frenzy!
Those of us who watch the news on TV have been subjected to a prime example of media hype, with the death over the weekend of a Louisiana teenager and the subsequent attack on another teenager yesterday, both in Florida. As per usual, the television media is having a feeding frenzy of their own, making it seem as though we should be shocked and awed by the fact that sharks attack people who swim in their habitat.
I'm no marine biologist, and in fact, I've never even met a marine biologist, come to think of it. Despite that fact, it seems like common sense to me that if you swim in shark infested waters (or fish in the case of the second attack), you might expect to get attacked by a shark. I'm frankly surprised that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. When did we forget that we're still part of the food chain?
The media apparently has. Check out this map, for example. Despite the fact that the caption of the map shows that Florida has only had one death from a shark attack since 2001 (4 years ago for you math majors out there), the seas of the Eastern coast run red with the blood of innocents. Do you know how red the map would be if we used the same coloring strategy for people killed by dogs? Or their husbands? Or their parents? Blood fucking red over the entire US.
And yet, here we are devoting hours of media coverage and at least a thousand words on this page to something tragic, yet not at all surprising. Forget the fact that crude oil prices have spiked the week before the biggest travel weekend of the summer. Ignore the actual problems in this country including a lack of health care, even for children. Sharks may have attacked two people in Florida, but the American people are the ones being eaten alive.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bush is NOT Pro-Life and Neither Are You.

I may be short, but I'm not short enough on functioning brain cells to believe for a second that President Bush actually Pro-Life. Saying that Bush is Pro Life is like saying that Michael Jackson is trying to stop child sex abuse and that oil companies are trying to save the American people money on energy costs.

While in Wichita, Kansas this last weekend, I had a brief and rather intense discussion with a person who was wearing a Pro Bush/Pro Life t-shirt. I asked the lady if the shirt was supposed to be sarcastic, since Bush had executed more people while Governor of Texas than any other Governor in US history since the death penalty was re-legalized in 1977. She pointed out that President Bush is against abortion, which makes him Pro Life.

I asked her why he hadn't banned abortions, if he is against them, and she said that it was because the Democrats had wasted so much time blocking his Social Security reforms, that he didn't have time to ban abortion. I guess with all the war-mongering and uncontrolled spending, Bush hasn't exactly had time to address this critical issue. This is the kind of logic that people used to re-elect Bush as President. Sickening isn't it?

The truth is that President Bush is not Pro Life, and the woman I ran into in Wichita is not the only person that feels that because the President uses phrases like "sanctity of life" and "culture of life", we can all overlook his military decisions that have killed thousands of innocent people and his record on the death penalty as Governor of Texas. We all know that President Clinton was Pro Intern, Reagan was Pro Military Spending, and President Grover Cleveland was Pro All-you-can-eat Mongolian B-B-Q. Those are pretty obvious. How anyone can look at President Bush and say "This guy is all about saving lives." reaches far beyond the capability of my understanding.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sarah Michelle Gellar Takes One Up the Ass

Don't get too excited, I'm just going to tell you about the worst movie I've ever seen, and not some sordid tale of Buffy following in Paris Hilton's or Pamela Anderson's home movie footsteps. If you haven't seen the movie The Grudge, I don't recommend that you do. It's honestly not an exaggeration for me to say that it's simply the worst movie I have ever seen. This piece of donkey crap makes a clunker like Titanic seem like The Usual Suspects.

Here's the premise: there have been a number of attempts lately (The Ring is another example) to remake Japanese Thriller/Horror films with American actors in English. The whole concept of adapting a foreign film or book for an American audience is fraught with problems. Vanilla Sky is another example of what complete shit can result from those attempts. We'll save the whole what happens when you try to adapt a book that is largely existential philosophy into a feature film for another day when I haven't been drinking for several hours already.

My point is that The Grudge is so full of recycled twists that it becomes completely predictable. And when you can predict how much a movie is going to keep on sucking, it takes the misery associated with viewing it to a whole new level. Takashi Shimizu is not one of the programmers whose name you get to see if you beat the Legend of Zelda on the good old Nintendo Entertainment System. He directed The Grudge and I bet people still haven't stopped kicking his ass since it came out.

So much of the "horror" in The Grudge is a copy of The Ring, which wasn't that great of a film to be copying in the first place, and Memento, as shimmies attempted to make the plot occur out of order so that you don't figure out too early that this movie is going to make you wish you were watching geriatric porn instead of suffering through 92 minutes of crap.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Terri Schaivo's Autopsy

Click on the link above to read the news piece about Schaivo's autopsy. Basically, I just wanted to make one point: Schaivo's brain weighed half as much as what a normal person's brain did and the medical examiner described extensive neuronal (brain) death. This is why 90% of Americans believe doctors over faith healers. There was no possible recovery for Schaivo. And more importantly, no evidence of malice on the part of her husband. Case closed.

What this means is that all those idiots protesting for Schaivo's life, while ignoring the massive loss of life occurring among our very young, very much fully-functioning, very much alive US soldiers, had the wool pulled over their eyes. They may as well have been protesting to save the life of a rack of pork spare ribs as I was drizzling it with B-B-Q sauce.

The saddest part for me is that these people who felt they knew better about Schaivo's condition than teams of neurologists and other professionals who were involved in making difficult medical decisions will not learn from this experience. They will continue to inhumanly extend the lives of other Americans, against their wishes in some cases, for their own political gains. The significance of an autopsy supporting the conclusion of irreversible brain death is lost on these poor souls.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Michael Jackson Supporters

The verdict in the Michael Jackson case is probably going to be announced before I can finish typing this posting, but as I was scanning through the coverage that is the media circus, I came across this link on with a picture of Jackson's supporters forming a human chain along the road to the courthouse.

I'm not sure what this chain is supposed to symbolize, aside from the fact that these people obviously don't have real jobs, but it truly pisses me off that adult people behave in this way. Guilty of child molestation or not, Michael Jackson is one fucked up person. He's admitted sleeping with young kids who were not his own, and these people are out there on the highway, trying to show their appreciation? Get a life.

What sort of regard does this show for his victim? I don't care how much you liked the album Bad, or how good you can moonwalk. You're supporting a child molester. If you're standing by a road when most people would be working at their jobs or complaining about you on their blogs while they're supposed to be working at their jobs, what message are you trying to send?

A number of Jackson's supporters have pointed out that Jackson is being targeted because he's famous and African-American (although his ethnicity is debatable at this point in time). The irony of statements like that is that none of these freaks would go to the courthouse to defend any other black person accused of child molestation. Thousands of people each year are accused of sexual assault of some kind, and these people wouldn't bat an eye in protest for any of them.

Regardless of what you think about the 10 counts levied against Jackson, at least have the decency and respect for the alleged victims to honor judicial process and get back to your jobs where you can watch the verdict with the rest of us, who are too obsessed with the media coverage to leave our computers and/or TVs.

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Midget's Guide to Buying Real Estate (Why I Hate Realtors)

As some of you may have noticed, I haven't posted as much lately, and I'm sure the speculation as to the reasons for that is currently a hot topic of discussion on internet message boards in 40 languages. I want to clarify that it is not because of an extended drinking binge or a Dog the Bounty Hunter Marathon on A&E. The ladyfriend I often call my wife and I have been looking at buying a house, and as anyone who has gone through this process can tell you, it's not exactly conducive to having a life outside of looking for a house. It takes every moment of your life.

During this process, we eventually found a great realtor who is currently helping us through negotiations on what will hopefully be our house in a few short weeks. Much like girlfriends, however, you rarely meet the best realtor the first, second or forty-fifth time out. You must wade through a cess pool of greedy, fake assholes to find the right greedy, fake asshole.

Realtors, as a group, are on the same level as used car salesmen and subsequently only one level above those who sexually assault the elderly in my book. Here are some rules I learned from dealing with several different realtors:

1) Every Realtor is a "expert" at the neighborhood or part of the city you're interested in buying in. Even in cases where the realtor has never been in or heard of your neighborhood, expect them to tell you that they sold 50 houses in that zip code since January. It's only when they get lost trying to "lead" you to some potential homes in that neighborhood that you get the idea that maybe the guy was completely full of shit.

2) Realtors that work open houses are losers. This is even more true if the open house in question is for another agent's clients. Our agent that we ended up working with made a good point that if a realtor is worth their salt, particularly during peak sales months, they don't have time to spend a whole afternoon babysitting a house so the whole neighborhood can see the inside of their mysterious neighbors' house. Open houses are a great way to see a lot of houses without much at stake, but beware of the agents that lurk at these events.

3) Don't listen to a realtor's advice when making a bid. Make them show you a market analysis that will help to guide your offer. One agent we talked to said that you should never offer less than 10% of the asking price in an initial offer. Another said 6%. Our agent researched houses that had sold recently with similar square footage and amenities in that neighborhood in the past 6 months and determined that our offer should probably be in the neighborhood of 20% less than the asking price. Beware of agents who tell you to only bid a certain amount less than the asking price, since this strategy would have ended up costing us a lot more on the house we ended up with.

Or you could always sell everything you own and move to Costa Rica so you can live on the beach, get high, and play with spider monkeys all day long.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wedding Anniversary

As difficult as it may be for some people, including my friends and relatives, to believe, my first wedding anniversary is coming up this weekend. I told you guys she wouldn't leave. Mister Bling even owes me $50.

In looking for a gift for my wife, I discovered that each subsequent anniversary has a THEME for the kind of gift you're supposed to get for each other. Who knew? Looking into this issue further, I discovered that the gift ideas were completely lame. No wonder the divorce rate is so damned high. You give me paper for my first anniversary, we're getting a divorce. I got a whole fucking pile of paper on my desk at work. How about these alternatives:

1st Anniversary: (Traditional - Paper): Nothing says I won't have sex with anyone else this year like a Plasma TV. Preferable something more than 42".

2nd Anniversary: (Traditional - Cotton): What, like Q-tips or a flannel bathing suit? Seriously. After two years of marriage, a Home Theatre set-up would go nicely with last year's plasma.

3rd: (Traditional - Leather): Unless you're into bondage or dressing like David Hassellhoff, the leather anniversary needs rethinking. Midgets love go-carts, and I am no exception. Nothing less than 40 horsepower, either.

4th: (Traditional -Fruit/Flowers): Does this seem out of place to anyone else? You manage to make it 4 years with the same vagina, day in and day out, and you get a fruit basket? I suppose you could always throw in a cantelope to have sex with, but I'm thinking 4 years should be the motorcycle anniversary.

5th: (Traditional - Wood): Wow! You beat out the statistical average for length of marriage and I purchased a nice box of toothpicks and a lumberjack costume. How about reinstating blow jobs? That's a gift of wood if I wouldn't mind giving repeatedly.

The list goes on, but let's face it, who really stays married for 5 years anyway? And if you do manage to keep it all together, who needs some Congress of rich assholes to tell you what kind of gift is appropriate? My advice for a happy marriage: avoid children, lots of drinking, and go carts. And you thought Dr. Phil was the relationship master.