Thursday, March 30, 2006

Who Says You're Too Old to Go to the Prom???

If you live in Omaha, Nebraska, you're never too old to go to prom...not if it's the annual Groundhog Prom, that is. I know, I know, you're all furrowing your brows in puzzlement.

"The Groundhog Prom? What the hell is that? Some kind of heartland hoedown or something" Any east- or west-coasters are especially thinking that. Don't lie.

Well, let me educate you, if you aren't already hip to the Knights of the Groundhog and their annual soiree (that's French for "late night shindig"). First, you're all aware of what a debutante ball is, right? That's one of those fancy dances put on by Wealthy, High-society, Influential, Tight-assed, Elitist (W.H.I.T.E) people in large communities to show off their daughters and announce to the world that they were ready for politically advantagous marriages to W.H.I.T.E. boys.

Seems like these days, organizations that have these balls like to attach things like philanthropy or civic responsibility to their missions as a smokescreen to cover up what is really going on--and don't get me wrong, some of them really raise money that goes to noble causes--but I think it's still just a case of "a rose by any other name".

Here in Nebraska, it was 1895 when the Knights of Ak-sar-ben (that's Nebraska spelled backwards, if you hadn't figured it out) were formed with the goal of "building a more prosperous Heartland..." A fine cause, if I begrudgingly admit so myself. Well, the Knights also began a tradition of an annual Coronation Ball (read debutante ball) to formally introduce their daughters to society, and, if you were good at math in high school, you'll realize that they've had 107 of the darn things now.

"But what," you're asking, "has this got to do with this goofy Groundhog Prom thing? This Lepto-whatever guy sure is verbose!"

I'm getting to that. Just hold your horses. As the story goes, about 25 years or so ago, a group of social workers and other left wing types decided to hold a small dance as sort of a little satire to the Ak-sar-ben Coronation Ball, which they had bemusedly watched for years and never had the connections to get an invitation (or something like that). Rumor also has it that some of them were geeks who never got to go to their own high school proms, either, but that's probably just some right-wing propaganda. These prom pioneers held their get together in one of the nastiest months in the mid-west, which happened to also contain groundhog day. Thus were born the Knights of the Groundhog. The first few years, the prom was a simple affair with a few score people wearing tacky bridesmaid's dresses or other goofy outfit probably intended to satirize (read "poke fun at") the Coronation Ball. As simple ideas sometimes do, however, the Groundhog Prom eventually took on a life of it's own. Word of the event spread--don't ask me how--and the number of attendees continued to grow. The Prom outgrew one venue after the next. But even more amazing than the size of the event was the flavor. Yes, the Groundhog Prom somehow mutated into some wierd combination of Mardi Gras and Halloween where the wilder, more shocking, or more clever the costume, the better. In fact, the Queen is traditionally chosen from amongst those with the most bizarre (or most revealing) getup.

I began attending "The Prom" in 1996, and I just recently made an appearance at the most recent, my 8th. If you've never been, you really must put it on your list of things to do before you die. I will warn you that the crowd tends to have liberal political leanings (or at least a liberal amount of them do), but with the spirit of camaraderie present, there is a sense of everyone present being "of one people". Although fatigue prevented me from shutting the event down this year, I daresay that this prom was probably like those of the past, where "a good time was had by all". The pictures attached to this posting are actual photos taken of the event. I'm not kidding. So, next year, as Groundhog Day starts to roll around, let your mind run wild about how you'd like to dress up and go cut a rug with the Knights of the Groundhog and their freaky followers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Legislative Aides are Giant Douchebags (The Angry Midget Returns from Washington DC)

The trip to Washington, DC was great. I stayed in a great hotel and the weather wasn't too terrible. The downside was meetings from dawn until night each day and my trip to Capitol Hill to visit my Congressmen on Friday. I met with three different Legislative Aides (LA), two for Republicans (Hagel and Terry) and one for a Democrat (Nelson). I made some observations that I think will be helpful if you should decide to make similar efforts.

1) LAs egos are inversely proportional to how intelligent they are- One of the minimum requirements to be an LA has to be a test where they put you in a room with a puppy for 30 minutes. Congressmen must only hire people who at some point during that 30 minutes kicked the puppy across the room. If you think Congressmen are scary, try to have a conversation about IDEA funding with a 23 year-old kid whose single accomplishment in life is having parents who are campaign donors and a full set of adult teeth. The great thing about being in that position is that these jackasses have absolutely no perspective on the greater world around them, yet they are responsible for summarizing the information you provide to your Congressmen.

2) Ever wonder what happened to your high school debate team? - Probably not. But, one of two possibilities, they are either huge stars in the porn industry (like CowboyLaw and myself) or they are an LA for your Congressmen.

3) Want a glimpse of what the future of congress will be, call your LA: Not surprsingly, most of these ding dongs have aspirations that include running for public office at some point. These guys are just as WASPy as the rest of my state, which is frightening. If Congress doesn't work out, there's always opportunity for these individuals as hair sweeper at Great Clips, which has thousands of locations for potential employment.

All in all, it was a productive trip.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Angry Midget Goes to Washington

You all know by now how much I love politics. So you can imagine that I am very pleased to be heading to our nation's capital tomorrow to meet with Nebraska Congressional Delegation (All Republicans except Ben Nelson, who is a fake Democrat). Part of my job is lobbying for causes related to what I do for a living, and over the next few days, I get a chance to stick it to the man. One of the downsides of this being a job related trip is that I can't let my personal politics run the show, but fortunately, it's not like I work for an oil company and what I'm doing is completely counter to everything that I believe. I will send an update to let you all know how things go, and hopefully there won't be any major events while I am there.

During one of my previous trips to Washington, a guy named Timothy McVeigh exploded the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At the time, they weren't sure if it was an Islamic terrorist group or part of some larger terrorist plot, so the entire city shut down, and I didn't get a chance to do much of anything while I was there. Remember, back when crazy conservatives like Eric Rudolf and Timothy McVeigh used to be the source of domestic terrorism? Those were the good old days.

At any rate, have a great weekend, enjoy the NCAA Sweet 16, and watch for updates from DC.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Snow Day!

What's 17 inches and white? The pile of snow that's supposed to be accumulating in my backyard by tomorrow morning, you dirty-minded bastards. Omaha is about to get slammed with some pretty substantial snowfall. Check this out. When the radar map looks as white as Robert Downey Jr.'s coffee table, you know you're in for it.

Mister Bling wrote a few months ago about people in Dallas freaking out about and ice storm. After this weekend, I can tell you that people in Omaha are no more equipped to handle the threat of "severe" weather. The news showed people stocking up on food at local stores, as if somehow one of the undocumented side effects of snowfall is uncontrollable hunger. All one has to do is look at the 5 day outlook, and you realize that by Thursday, temperatures will be in the 50s. I hope people don't starve because of the snow storm.

What's worse is that people drive like blind morons. If I see another Jeep Cherokee or Ford Explorer fly by me, only to end up stuck in the median, I might have to start a seperate website just for those pictures. The only thing having an SUV will do for you is increase the likelihood of global warming and decrease the availability of fossil fuels for the rest of us. Your 2-ton symbol of our dependence on the Middle East for oil is no more safe on snow and ice than a semi-truck full of explosives running into a fireworks stand near a nuclear power plant.

And for what? We'll probably end up getting just over 8" of snow, and it will all be gone in two days because it's March, and snow doesn't hang around in March. If I'm wrong, great, but I still have a 50% chance of being more accurate than the local weather people.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Angry Midget

Angry Midget wedding pics or St. Patrick's Day Celebration

It's that time of year again. Time for what The Onion refers to as the Reinforcing O' the Stereotypes. So dust off your bagpipes, get out your penny whistle, and get ready to get so wasted that you would beat up your own grandma.

I was reading something this morning from some pretentious blogger who was saying that St. Patrick's Day is a holiday for the REAL Irish people. I hate assholes like that. This is a holiday for anyone with a mouth and a functioning liver, and to be honest, I'm not sure you even need the second one, although it greatly improves a person's chances of survival on this great day. I don't care if you're Polynesian, Chilean, Sudanese, or Argentinian get your ass out there and drink some green beers!

St. Patrick's Day embodies what is severely lacking in other holidays. Most of us work really hard at our jobs, day in and day out, slaving for the "man". We need more holidays where people can rent a bus to drive them around to various drinking establishments, drink excessively, and celebrate as a community, regardless of religion, race, sexual preferences, or political party affiliations. If we had about 52 more holidays a year like this, we would be going to war, because no one would want to miss out on the great party that was coming up the next week. We'll call this new holiday Saturday.

Unfortunately, having a community drunk fest every Saturday does have it's drawbacks, including liver and/or kidney failure, loss of spouse, frequent urination, morning episodes of dry mouth, skanks in bed syndrome (for you singletons out there), loss of car keys, loss in income to the Taco Bell drive-through, and memory loss.

Whatever you find yourself doing today in celebration, be safe, rent a bus or hire a cab, and may the luck of the Irish be with you every day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Cleveland Steamer for Insurance Companies

Check yesterday's post to see what a Cleveland Steamer is, if this is not yet clear to you.

Health care in the US is like a drunk, schizophrenic uncle. You don't want people to know how bad things are, let alone that you're somehow related. But like 10 million children without adequate health insurance, drunk, mentally unstable relatives are hard to hide, particularly when the US is always waving the flag and bragging about what a damn good country we are.

I think the US is great, don't get me wrong. But as CowboyLaw has pointed out so eloquently before, it's very important to have a mature and realistic patriotism which takes into account the good and bad of American goverment, as opposed to the Lee Greenwood-esque, real patriots don't question the President-style of patriotism that seems to pervade the right-wing these days. One of the biggest challenges we face is that we do a piss poor job of caring for the children in this country.

For a country that has the wealth and resources of the US, we have no excuse for our half-assed approach to insuring children. I personally feel that everyone should have access to basic health care, but even the most psychotic conservative would agree that children, who can't get jobs or pick who their parents are, should have access to care. When Howard Dean suggested universal healthcare for children during the 2004 Presidential Campaign, he was maligned and called a Socialist.

Critics of universal health care use Canada as the example of why government health insurance won't work. They cite substandard care and long waits for services that characterize the Canadian system. The problem with the US making those kind of statements is that it's like Charlie Sheen calling someone a sex-crazed coke-head: hypocritical. People don't have to wait for care or worry about the quality of care in the US, because a good portion of our population gets no care at all or gets substandard care because they can't afford it.

So before you start singing "And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today," you might want to take a deep breath and decide how truly proud you are that we can't get our shit together on health care. The costs to cover only the children in this country per year would be about $5 billion. That's what we're spending every three weeks in Iraq alone. And things just keep getting better in Iraq every single day. Money well spent.

Aside from the fact that people have to hold bake sales and spagetti dinners to pay for chemotherapy for their 8 year-old, the fact that people don't have adequate care means that people who do have insurance have to pay more for care since hospitals are forced to shift costs to those who can afford to pay, just to keep their doors open. Having worked for a number of hospitals, both private and not-for-profit, I can attest that most hospitals operate deep in the red and absorb significant costs for patients either not covered or with inadequate coverage.

I can already see the email someone is typing to me: Ryan, all you do is complain! Do you have any solutions to this problem? Actually, for once I do have a solution. Every American gets access to basic health care services like primary care, immunizations, prescriptions etc. Kids get everything paid for until they're 18 years old, and yes, Pope Benedict, even birth control. If you are an adult and want more than just the basic level of care, you purchase a supplemental policy from a private insurance company. This allows the government to purchase drugs in bulk, like the VA does currently, and cuts costs significantly.

Another thing - if you decide to smoke cigarettes, you are not eligible for basic government health care. People can smoke all they want, but you should forfeit your rights to government health care if you choose to smoke, because I don't want to pay for your habit, any more than you would want to pay for my liver transplant because I favor single malt scotch.

This plan works because private insurance companies can still provide supplemental policies, but the government handles all the high-volume services and prescriptions, which should make the insurance industry that much more profitable. Insurance companies are filthy rich, kids are healthy, we all win.

The problem? This will never happen. The insurance industry profits immensely from the current situation. They want to blame doctors or lawyers or patients who abuse the system, but the fact of the matter is that the private insurance lobby in Washington has ridiculous amounts of money, and will destroy any piece of legislation that might cut into their multi-million dollar profits before it even gets out of committee.

Eventually, things will have to change. Until then, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and don't let anyone talk you into doing something they read about in the Urban Encyclopedia.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Define your world.

Don't you hate it when you hear a phrase or an abbreviation, and you don't know what it means? I know I did, until someone showed me Urban Dictionary. No matter how vulgar, hateful, or just plain nasty, it's on there. Now you don't have to sit through that scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and wonder what an 'alligator fuckhouse' is, because someone who knew posted a definition.

Here are a few of my recent favorites:

frosty penguin

Walmart pussy

sack inch

cherry danish

Viper piss


Cleveland Steamer

The Angry Midget knows about this one:
Three-legged surprise

And my personal favorite:
Michael J Foxing

Surf the site, and post some of your favorites in the Comments section! Because like drunk sorority women, some things in life are meant to be shared.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Nebraska is #1

Is there anything Nebraskans like more than unprotected sex with random partners? Apparently not. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that does reproductive health research, Nebraska ranks dead last among states in preventing unplanned pregnancies. However, a panacea for this unfortunate problem is only a week away. On March 20th, Wal-Mart will begin selling the “the plan B pill” nationwide.
This is more than likely the only time I will ever applaud Wal-Mart. This is an extremely important pill. However it is extremely misunderstood. This is in large part due to the pro-life segment of our population mislabeling it “the abortion pill.” In reality, it is “the anti-abortion pill.” The pill works only in the first 72 hours after unprotected sex — before pregnancy exists and thus before there’s anything to abort. Specifically the pill prevents ovulation and fertilization. What it does not do is terminate an existing pregnancy.
I have little doubt bible thumpers (although the bible never once mentions birth control) across the nation will soon be filled with murderous rage. They should realize that this pill will ultimately reduce the number of abortions. I am well versed in catholic doctrine having attended 12 years of catholic school, and I know that regardless of how this pill works Catholics will still be pissed off. This is due to their belief that sex for the sake of enjoyment only is immoral because reproducing is the sole legitimate goal of sex. It is this unfortunate belief that makes this issue so heated. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

All you need is Blogs

I was searching for a job as a pirate the other day, and by entering pluder into a search engine, I found this blog. Essentially, it's a blog that offers investment advice from a woman in Los Angeles. Now, we're all intimately aware of blogs where people share their misguided opinions, dreams, and sexual fantasies (last one probably NSFW, unless you work for the VA or something).

Let me start by saying that I am hardly Warren Buffett. Despite the fact that we're white and both reside in Omaha, NE, the similarities end there. I am short and intoxicated. He is wise and wealthy. Even though I am not Warren Buffett, I can tell you that I would not take investment advice from someone's blog. I'm still on the fence about whether or not I would take someone's advice about where to eat from a blog, let alone what to do with my retirement. It doesn't help my confidence that this person has only posted three times, one of which includes a disclaimer that essentially amounts to "Don't sue me if you lose all your money following my advice." If you would buy into investment advice from a blog, CowboyLaw and I have some land for sale south of New Orleans. Real cheap.

This got me thinking about what sorts of blogs are out there. Here's one from a guy with no self-esteem who really likes Jesus a whole lot (for those of you who miss the old site, you could start going here to get all nostalgic). There are blogs for right-wing pirates, gay christians, and even Israeli animal rights activists. There's truly something for everyone.

Here are some of my favorites that I found:
Gaytona - a website for Gay NASCAR fans
The Wikipedia entry for NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association)
The National Black Republican Association
The Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club
Hate Mail to the Author of a website called People Eating Tasty Animals

If you find some other great ones, put 'em in the comments.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hate Mail - O- Rama!

When I started writing here over a year ago, it seemed like a got a fair amount of email from individuals who didn't agree with my opinions on things. Anymore, it's a rare occasion that I get anything that isn't either spam from someone else telling me to check out their blog or involving penis enlargment options. Therefore, I don't check nearly as often as I used to. When I did check the my email this week, however, I got a TREAT of an message from someone who definitely doesn't share my views or those of my co-conspirators on this website. You might want to put the kids to bed before you read this one out loud ( I didn't correct the grammatical or punctuation errors):

Ryan (Asshole),
I stumbled across your blog by hitting the Next Blog button on the toolbar at the top of the screen. I've never been more sorry about doing something in all my life. I can tell that you and your friends think you're a bunch of comedians. You think you're so damned smart and enlightened with how you criticize conservatives or Oprah or whatever is pissing you off.

The fact is that you and your posse are all going to rot in hell. You're commentary shows how little you know about life and about politics and how things work in the world. When you criticize the Presdient, you put yourselves in the same category as those ragheads that killed thousands at the World Trade Center. We need to be a united front against terrorists, and people like you only seek to divide our country with lies and liberal bullshit.

If I passed you burning by the side of the road, I wouldn't piss on you to put it out. While people like you kill unborn children by supporting abortion and terrorists, you should realize that real Amercans support President Bush and the troops and don't just spread lies. You should get your friends together and go to church. You might learn a thing or two.

Stop spreading hate and lies on your website. You will pay for your sins.

Name removed

I think it really speaks for itself in terms of quality and logic. I wonder what I will have to do to become a real "Amercan", as he so eloquently put it. I looked up what an Amercan is on MSN Encarta and Google, and I couldn't find what it was, but apparently whatever an Amercan is must be quite desirable for conservatives. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar / UFC follow-up

I promised an update on my weekend today, so for my six loyal readers, here it is.

Oscar -- I got Best Picture wrong, but so did a lot of others. Every other pick was correct (although it was a pretty easy year, methinks). I also won the office pool, and by just one point. I got 19 out of 24 correct. I'm pretty sure that I won only because I picked 'It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp' to win Best Song, not because I thought it would win, but because I thought it was the Best Song. I also am pretty sure that I'm the only one in my office who picked it to win, although I'll find out tomorrow morning ... when I collect my winnings!

Vegas / UFC 58 -- Speaking of winnings, I wish I would've had some in Vegas this past weekend. Lost about $150 on craps and a dash of slots. Got food poisoning from McDonalds (in fact, I think that it was called the 'Food Poisoning Breakfast Combo'), so I've now added them to the short list of fast-food joints that I've sworn off. But none of that matters, because we had great seats for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and we got to get into an after-party hosted by Dana White, the president of the UFC. Pics posted below. And yes, that is a shit-eating grin on my face in both of them.

Dana White and me (he's the bald one, I'm the drunk one)

me and Matt Hughes, the UFC welterweight champion

Both of them were genuinely nice, and tolerated my drunken geeky fan-boy schtick (although I'm sure they're used to it by now).

As for my UFC picks, I got one wrong there too, and it was the Upset Special. Loiseau got owned in all five rounds. He couldn't take Franklin down, and Franklin lit him up. They stayed standing for all but seven of the 25 minutes of the bout, and even though it was very one-sided, it was incredible to watch. Loiseau absorbed more punishment than I've seen anyone take in quite some time.

And if you're new to the UFC, take a look at this link for some history, and a bit of a look forward. Having been a fan since the third UFC came out on VHS, I can attest to the growth that the writer speaks of. It went from a sideshow, to a legitimate event, to a real sanctioned sport.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it

Not since Bilbo Baggins gave Frodo the ring has there been a more important transporter. You see, my mother works in a department store, and I had her pick me up an Xbox 360. My mother performed admirably and got me the 360 immediately after it arrived on their dock. The problem is I live in a different city, so I own an Xbox 360, but it is not in my possession. Enter the angry midget. Ryan will be traveling to Lincoln for work and he will be acting as my personal UPS man. Now I trust Ryan to deliver my Xbox about as much as I would trust Charlie Sheen to deliver me a limo full of coke and whores (I contend all would be used before he got them to me) but I see little other way to get what I want. I have a general distrust of the angry midget that stems mostly from his megalomania and his self destructive nature, however, little people have historically been very good at delivering things. I suspect I will get my Xbox not so inconspicuously repackaged (having been played all night) and I will be alright with it. I will reward the midget with burritos and salsa, and we will play until our thumbs fall off. I suspect that at some point Ryan will receive a phone call from my sister(his wife) asking why he has not returned home. I have little doubt the midget already has a good cover story devised.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ryan, this one's for you.

I'll let the Midget comment on this one. I'm just gonna leave it alone .... kinda like Stan and Kyle when Jimmy and Timmy joined the Crips.

Scott Stapp comments on leaked sex tape.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

KKK Members are Their Own Worst Advertising

Continuing my habit of taking on really unpopular stances and taking on beloved public figures, I'm going to dedicate this post to criticizing the KKK. I watched a relatively comprehensive history of the KKK on some random cable station in the high 100s yesterday, and I was struck by the irony of part-time small engine repairmen trumpeting the superiority of their race. Listening to them talk made me wonder if English was not their primary language until I remembered that none of them had the mental faculty to learn more than one language.

Watching the show raised another question in my mind: are Southerners generally unaware that they lost that war? It seems to me that, when you fight a war and just get the general crap beaten out of you, the flag you charged to defeat under would just be another grim and depressing reminder of how you got your ass handed to you. Japan certainly understood that---you don't see this flying anymore. And yet, illiterate, inbred Southerners just can't seem to get enough of the good ol' Stars & Bars. Once again, there is little I can offer by way of denigrating this Southern Rebel idea that The Onion hasn't already said, and said better.

Having written such a pithy, scathing Blog post, I would ordinarily be a bit nervous that we would receive a bunch of hate mail interspersed with random death threats. I would be, that is, except that the people I'm talking about are neither literate nor web-savvy. This site loads very slowly over a 5200 Baud dialup connection from the crawlspace under your Uncle Granddad's single-wide.

EW thinks I'm smart (and random UFC ramblings)

If you scroll down the page on this site, you'll see a post called 'Early Oscar Predictions.' The day the Oscar nominations were announced, I made some off-the-cuff picks for all of the major categories (because really, who gives half a fuck about Best Animated Short?). We'll find out how I did on these this weekend, but regardless, Entertainment Weekly should be calling me to write for them, as their picks for the major categories mirror mine exactly. Just thought I'd brag a little, while I still have a chance to brag about something, as I'm sure I won't hit every single one of those picks on Sunday night.

Speaking of Sunday night, I probably won't be watching the ceremony. Not that I have a problem with Jon Stewart, but I'll be in Vegas, still sobering up from the Ultimate Fighting Championship that takes place the night before. The guy who sometimes posts comments under the name 'Viking' got two free ringside tickets to UFC 58, and invited me to go. There was no question. I haven't been to a UFC since number Six in Casper, Wyoming. That was where Tank Abbott debuted, and knocked the living shit out of John Matua, in what the UFC has deemed to be an 'Ultimate Knockout.' Ahhh, the memories.

I'll post some Vegas pictures on Monday night, and hopefully I won't be fuming over a bunch of missed Oscar picks. Speaking of picks, I'm taking Georges St. 'Lucky' Pierre over B.J. Penn, the blazing fists of Mike 'Quick' Swick will be too much for Steve Vigneault , and in my 'Upset Special,' I'm taking David Loiseau over Rich Franklin. Picking against Franklin is never easy, but Loiseau's cheese-grater elbows will be too much for him if it gets to the ground. Also, for some made-up reason, they've removed Diego 'Dirty' Sanchez's fight off of the card. I'm assuming they found out that I was bringing a backpack full of D-batteries to throw at his head.