Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

People who write checks have too much time on their hands

Those of you who know me and probably some of you who don't really know me have come to realize that I get pissed off pretty easily. However, if there is one singular thing that completely makes me want to donkey punch someone in the line at the grocery store, it HAS to be people who persist in writing checks. Did you know that there is groundbreaking technology, developed by scientists and used by millions of people every day, that will allow you to take money out of your checking account without having to spend 15 minutes filling out a useless piece of paper? BEHOLD!

Hopefully, you've all heard of this. There is no longer a single excuse for writing a check in a retail store where you could complete your transaction in 1/1000th of the time it takes you to scrawl your John Hancock on a piece of paper with your favorite fucking Mary Englebright cartoons on it.

For one thing, you have to pay the bank to use checks. Yes, you can get free checks, but 99% of the people who annoy me in retail settings have the patriotic eagle checks or the kittens in soft focus checks or the serial killers of the Midwest checks. That means these ass fucks are purchasing these checks, which they KNOW will eventually waste their time. It's like paying someone to knock you down several times a day.

I am sure there are those of you who are concerned about identity theft. Checks MUST be a safer way to prevent identity theft. Anyone can use your Visa of Mastercard check card and buy billions of dollars worth of Mexican donkey porn. This argument is lame because someone can now do the same thing with a copy of a personal check. Also, have you ever heard of check washing? Nice try, wasters 'o my time.

I've also heard people say that they want to have a record of the transaction, but I guess these people never noticed that receipt thingy you get at the very end of any transaction you have anywhere. I'm surprised you don't get a receipt for taking a dump in a public restroom these days. NEXT.

The final and least defensible retort I have heard while heckling these two-toed sloth-like individuals is that writing checks is the way they've done it for so long, that they don't want to change. You know what I say to that crap? We used to ride horses everywhere, lynch black people, and routinely amputate limbs as medical treatment too, but you don't hear hordes of morons standing around in check-out lines saying "I'm just so used to burning black people in effigy, I just can't imagine doing things any other way." Adapt people!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Brett Favre needs to quit whining and retire already

Brett Favre is regarded by some, particularly those who live in Wisconsin, to be one of the greatest NFL Quarterbacks of all time. I suppose if your sister is the prettiest girl you've ever seen and your dad is the smartest guy you've ever met, I can see how someone could believe that. Otherwise, holding such an opinion puts you in the same category as all those people in Alabama who think NASCAR is a sport. You want an idea for an impossible scavenger hunt? Load up a group of friends and head for Lambeau Field in Green Bay or Taladega Raceway in Alabama and see who can find a person with a full set of teeth.

Lately, Favre has been Mr. Mysterious about whether or not he will retire. You see, getting paid millions of dollars to play football is really tough, particularly when in the previous year, you set career marks for interceptions and losses as Favre did last season. I can't imagine sports talk radio in Wisconsin has gotten off the topic since Favre's last game, January 1st in Green Bay. Those poor cheese chuggers won't know what to do if Favre retires.

What I am tired of is Favre acting like his decision about whether or not to come back and play next year is so damned critical in the grand scheme of things. Farve's obviously been listening to way too many of those Wisconsin talk radio programs and is having delusions about the value of what he does. Aside from setting off waves of domestic violence across Packerland every time he loses a game, what Farve decides to do as far as his career has a miniscule impact on the lives of the average American. Brett is acting like he has to decide whether to wake up tomorrow and cure cancer, when really whether he comes back and sucks or whether the Packers have a new quarterback that might suck a little more or a little less is pretty irrelevant to the grand scheme of things.

Someone should remind Favre that outside of Wisconsin, people have real problems. Millions of people don't have jobs at all. Do you think they care if Favre comes back to play football? I know if I didn't have a job, that would be about the last thing on my mind. How about all those soldiers in Iraq, fighting for their lives? They might be dead the next time Favre takes a snap, so something tells me that they couldn't give two shits if that old, Vicodin-addicted douchebag decides to come back to play another year.

Favre should be happy he's had the talent and the opportunity, and that he's not taking bullets in the ass for Bush over in Iraq or living in a shack, jobless, banging his sister, like so many generations of Favres before him.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kung-Fu Mid-Life Crisis

I'm about to have another birthday very soon. Not a big deal. In fact, I'd rather people not mention it to me, cuz then I have to be all nice and say, "Thank you," and then they expect me to say it to them when they have theirs, as if we're part of some special club or something. We're not unique and individual snowflakes. Everyone has them. As for me, I'm about to have my 31st. After 25, when your car insurance gets cheaper, there really isn't another important one until 40. Some think 30 is a big one, and I can see why it could be, but personally, it was just another day. I was ready to be out of my 20's long before, because having an office job by 25 took a lot of the party lust out of me. Or maybe it was because I moved away from the Angry Midget. Ryan, if you're reading this, you owe me a new liver. Thanks to you, I lost mine in the tunnels underneath the University of Northern Colorado. And I don't want your liver, motherfucker. You're a doctor. Fine me one that hasn't been playing 'Whiskey Sponge.'

But all of that is neither here nor there. The reason I bring up age is because someone brought it up to me yesterday. First, some background. I studied a form of kung-fu called Wing Chun for about a year and a half, but my teacher was certified to teach both Wing Chun as well as an old form of Kali called Pekiti Tersia, and he decided to quit WC and focus on Pekiti. I felt abandoned, but I couldn't blame him for his decision. Martial arts is truly a journey, and his took him down a different path. Needless to say, other than a two-month try at a form of Praying Mantis, I've been out-of-practice for about two years now. But I've been feeling the internal itch once again, and a different itch from the one I get every few months or so.

So, I went to observe a Shaolin Long-Fist class this past Sunday morning. I've always been interested in the different Shaolin styles, and supposedly, Long Fist is great for tall people. I'm 6'3'' and lanky, so I thought it would be a good place to start. I e-mailed the master at a school not far from me, and asked if I could observe the 11:00 class, and he said, 'Absolutely. Wear a white t-shirt, loose pants, and comfortable shoes. First class is free.' So I showed up, and I see the master, and four children, all around ages 8-12. Yeah, the 11:00 class was a kid's class. That's not what the schedule on his website said, and he didn't mention that in his e-mail. So there's strike one.

Then, he talked to me for a few minutes during a break. 'How old are you?' I said, 'I'm about to be 31.' He paused. 'Ohhhhhh. Yeah. Shaolin style has a lot of jumping and fast movements in it. I don't usually teach anyone 40 or older, since the reaction times are slower, and the flexibility isn't what it used to be.' Puzzled, I repeated myself. 'I'm about to be 31.' He responded with, 'Yes, and you're not too old right now, but Shaolin is better to learn and practice when you're younger.'

He then proceeded to mention two other styles that are taught at his school. One is a lot like Wing Chun, and if I wanted to learn more Wing Chun, I have other places I could be going to learn it. I'm ready to try something different. I told him that long before he mentioned the similar alternative. The other style is Tai Chi. Now, if someone told me 'Hey man, Tai Chi is actually a good martial art. It can be used for relaxation and breathing control, and if you speed it up, it's a solid style that can hold its own with other forms of kung-fu,' then I'd have been a little more jazzed. But after telling me that I'm too old for Shaolin kung-fu, I took it as a bit of an insult. Granted, this guy was in his mid-50's, so it's not like he was being ageist, but I saw the people leaving the Tai Chi class before the Kid's Shaolin started, and the average age in there was late 40's.

When I turned 30, I didn't buy a Corvette, or jump out of an airplane, or start playing paintball. It was just another day. And yet, I didn't feel old until I walked out of that dojo. Was I really too old to practice a 'physical' martial art?

Fuck that guy. Just because I'm not going to become a grand-master of a style doesn't mean I shouldn't study it. I'm not trying to make a sequel to 'Hero' in my back yard; I just want to learn a martial art. If all he wants is a room full of children that he can play 'Catholic Priest' with, or to slap them upside the head and say things like 'Don't think! FEEL!', then he won't be getting my time or my money.

I'm gonna find someone who is willing to teach this not-even-middle-aged dog some new tricks. Stay tuned...

The Angry Midget Diet

Dr. Phil thinks you're too fat because you're crazy.
Nowadays, it seems like every jackass with a one hour syndicated TV show has a diet. Obesity is, after all, a huge problem, no pun intended. So there are fists full of dollars to be made promoting one's particular approach to shedding pounds. Dr. Phil realized this, and published his book The Ultimate Weight Solution: 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom When you consider how much this book is going to completely change your fucking life, the $9.75 price tag seems a paltry sum. Additionally, most programs take 12 steps, Dr. Phil is going to kick your lardy ass into shape in SEVEN. Take that Alcoholics Anonymous.

Before I get a flood of emails with "HOW DOES DR. PHIL FUCKING DO IT?" or "ONLY SEVEN STEPS?" in the subject line, let me lay this out for you, because it's so simple, even the 69% of 56 year-olds that are obese in this country could figure it out. Dr. Phil is not doing anything revolutionary here. If you've read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Porn Stars or 50 Ways to Love Your Liver, you'll see this one coming a mile away. If not, welcome to the world of self-help.

Dr. Phil is not telling you only to eat carbs or not to eat any carbs at all. He's not telling you to lose weight by snorting coke off a hooker's ass (although you will lose a whole lot of weight if you attempt this). Dr. Phil's book addresses the PSYCHOLOGY behind weight loss. You know why South Beach didn't work for you, aside from the fact that you eat a tube of cookie dough before crying yourself to sleep at night? Fat people are crazy. They need psychological help. It's not as simple as eating and excercise, fat people are mentally ill, at least that's the premise of Dr. Phil's diet book.

As an aside, I personally think fat people are wonderful. Without the morbidly obese, there would be no Sumo wrestling, airplane seats would be much narrower, and Mister Bling and I would have been virgins until we were 25. God Bless you all!

Dr. Phil, however, views obesity as pathological, almost like an addiction. How does Dr. Phil know this? Probably because by current standards, standing at 6'4" and weighing in around 240 makes Dr. Phil overweight. Dr. Phil knows how you feel because he is also losing the battle of the bulge. I think rule numero uno of weight loss books is never follow the plan of the guy who is overweight. If this isn't the case, I think Tommy Lasorda and Meatloaf need to come out with diet books. Or Lemmy from Motorhead. Or Ted Nugent. Something tells me Ted's diet would involve meat.

I have a diet plan also, that I think you might enjoy. I don't think if you're overweight you're fat. I think you probably eat too much and don't excercise enough. So here's the deal:

1) There are no bad foods. - I totally stole this one from Weight Watchers, but what the hell. What you need to do is add chili to as many food items as you can. The resulting diarrhea and gastrointestinal swelling will prevent absorbtion of food, and you will lose lots of weight.

2) Drink at every meal. - Did you see Nicholas Cage in the movie, Leaving Las Vegas? That dude was in shape. I will grant you that he died at the end of the movie from drinking too much, but he got to shag Elizabeth Shue on the way, so in my book, that's a draw. We're all going to die, and unless you're on the Elvis Presley diet plan, drinking regularly will help to keep those pounds off.

3) Rent the Faces of Death movies - If you have not seen these movies and you want to lose weight, head to your locally-owned, independentm, mom and pop video store. Like Schindler's Fist or Can I Get Some Tube Steak, Mister Bling can explain why Blockbuster doesn't carry these titles. If you pop one in during dinner, you'll lose weight the same way high school cheerleaders do in half the time.
See how easy that would be?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Convention Survival 101

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't post anything for the last week. Mister Bling kept the fun rolling with several kick ass posts, as always. The rumors that I had diarrhea and couldn't leave the bathroom or that Leptodactylus and I were in Miami strangling prostitutes are not true at least that's what our lawyers told us to say.

For the last week, Leptodactylus and I were in Minneapolis for a convention which is where CowboyLaw lives. And we're happy to report that the city is still standing and any pregnant cheerleaders, even the entire squad that happened to be staying on the same floor of our hotel, would be purely coincidental. Seriously.

The convention Lepto and I attended is one of the largest in our industry. Manufacturers have huge parties with open bar to reward us for our loyalty and unethical behavior. Here are some wonderful tips that can help you to survive your next convention:

1) Don't attend ANY seminars/discussions/presentations- Attending these events takes time away from what you should be doing at a convention, which is drinking free hootch and sleeping it off. "Borrow" a fellow attendee's continuing education sheet, if you need to prove that you were there to your employer.

2) Watch out for Convention Cougars - You know these ladies. A good friend from Canada introduced me to the term "Cougar", as it refers to a woman over 35 who preys on younger men. Suburban soccer moms, bored to tears with driving their minivans in concentric circles around their gated communities 362 days a year. The other three days a year they're at conventions hitting the open bars just like the rest of us. As the night progresses, they get rascally, and there aren't enough tranquilizer guns in the neighboring counties to keep these ladies' hands to themselves. When they spot a midget, things can get very very ugly.

3) Play the Leptodactylus/Ryan the Angry Midget Convention Contest Game with Fellow Attendees - Here's how it works- most conventions require you to calculate the number hours of continuing education a person gets while attending, at least every one I've ever been to. To make sure that everyone, even that loser Diane in Accounting, is getting the most out of the convention, you institute the following scoring system in order to calculate the winner:
a) Take your total continuing education hours - (1.5 CEUs, just for example)
b) Divide that number by the average hours of sleep per night of the convention (3 hours, only an example, really)
c) Give 3 bonus points for each of the following-
-Each 8:00 am presentation/meeting attended
-If someone spontaneously reports that your breath smells like alcohol (another 3 points if this occurs before 10 am).
-Winning ANY award at the conference.
-Get arrested (Another 3 points if you don't get fired for it)

Whomever has the highest point total at the end of the convention gets a case of beer from all other participants. The game rewards people who not only go to courses and presentations, but also those who push themselves to the limits of human endurance.

Just as an aside, I was tired of getting posts in comments about how to make my cock get bigger or where I can access free porn starring the Golden Girls, so I turned on word verification to reduce comment spam. Sorry if this is hard for anyone.

Does God really speak through Pat Robertson?

I'm not a religious person. In fact, I'm what one would call a 'heathen.' You can believe whatever you want to believe, and that's fine, as long as I can believe what I want to believe. So what do I believe?

I believe that Pat Robertson is fucking insane.

Asking a woman about her sex life cured her asthma? Like Tom Cruise, apparently Pat Robertson knows the history of psychiatry.

If the media is so liberal, why do they keep talking to this dipshit? For the unintentional laughs? True enough, the man has provided some of the most absurd quotes in the history of the English language. They'd be funny, except that there are actually people who watch The 700 Club for reasons other than comedic value. There are those who believe that God speaks through Herr Robertson. Yes, this is the world we live in. According to Pat, God has had some major revelations over the years.

He doesn't think there's anything in the Constitution about the separation of church and state. Maybe he doesn't count the amendments. That's too bad, cuz I kinda like that first one.

He calls for the assassination of political leaders. Apparently, Venezuela is a hotbed of Communist sympathizers and Muslim extremists. The last time the surveillance experts checked, their government is a federal republic, and 96% of their population are Roman Catholic. Oh, and there's that whole 'Thou Shall Not Kill' thing. You'd think God would stick to his own commandments. Or are they like the Constitutional amendments?

He says that Spongebob Squarepants is gay, but where was God all those times when Bugs Bunny dressed in drag, or when he tried to marry Elmer Fudd? They've been re-running those cartoons for decades now.

He says that Tinky-Winky from the Teletubbies is gay, but ...

Okay, he can have that one. The target demographic for the Teletubbies doesn't even know the clinical term for the pee-pee, let alone where God wants them to put it, but I digress.

So I guess God cares a LOT about 'buttsecks.' I'd like him/her/it to start paying attention to some more pertinent issues. Darfur, for instance. How about the countless lives lost over a piece of holy land? Or maybe even Iraq? These problems were created by man, but man seems ill-equipped to solve them. If God really loved all creatures on the Earth, you'd think he'd start working on some of the Earth's biggest problems. Aren't we due for some divine intervention? Maybe God needs to stop competing with the current U.S. President on who can take more vacation time. Or are we all doomed to lie in the bed that our leaders continue to shit in?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Video Game Rage (aka The Fine Art of Controller Abuse)

Hi, my name is Mister Bling, and I'm a 'thrower.' I'm in recovery, and have gone almost a full year without throwing a controller. Well, there was a recent incident when I 'intentionally dropped' my Guitar Hero controller, but that was not a malicious 'throw.' So I'm saying technically, I've had one relapse. Before that, I'd had a streak of four or five years, but I played God of War last summer, and spent almost an hour trying to get past the spinning blade columns in Hades. Got to where I could see the top of the second cliff, and then fell all the way down. Five seconds later, my cats scattered out of the bedroom as pieces of black Sony plastic flew in twenty different directions. I screamed to the heavens, "GODDAMN YOU, DAVID JAFFE! RIDE THOSE SPINNAS UP YOUR ASS!" After coming to my senses, I finished the game, and even found the strength to defeat all ten Challenges of the Gods. And WOW, was the last one tough. Took me about three hours. I know how long it took, because I taped it. But I did not throw again after that. I screamed until I'd almost lost my voice, but no throwing.

Before that, the last time I 'threw' was after college, and I was playing Gameday 98 on the PS1. Last game of the season. I was the Broncos, playing the Oilers. Undefeated season so far, 15-0. Then as time expires, Warren "Wife-Beater" Moon airs out an 80-yard load of bullshit and connects to a WR who was triple-covered in the end zone. Other than no cats to scurry away from the debris, the results were similar. I remember when I moved out of that house, and found the triangle button.

Then there was Street Fighter II Turbo:

Yup, the guy on the right was me. I think there is still a controller-sized hole in the wall at my dad's house. Fortunately, SNES controllers were about as sturdy as the NES ones. They made more 'rattling' noise after a couple of throws, as the internal plastic casing seemed to break apart easier, but I never had a button pop out, and I still own my two original SNES controllers, and they still work fine.

But one of my favorite controller abuse stories came from a roommate right after college. He had the day off of work, and I had my old NES set up in the living room (we used to make Arch Rivals and Track & Field into video drinking games). He spent the whole day playing Rygar. When I came home from work that night, he was in his room, and the TV was off, so I'd assumed that he beat it. Jealous of all the quality gaming time I'd missed, I decided to play a little. When I picked up the controller, I noticed that there were small indentations on a corner of it. Upon further examination, I saw that they were in the shape of a semi-circle. Then I flipped it over, and saw the same thing on the opposite corner. I yelled out, "HEY! What the hell are these marks on the controller?!?" He came out of his room and said guiltily, "Uhhh, yeah. Those are teeth marks. I hate that FUCKING clowd castle level."

Some are throwers. That day, I learned that others are biters.

Laura Bush is at my work today

When I arrived at work this morning, after a weekend of yard work and the Rollergirls marathon on A&E, there was an email in my inbox with the subject line: Laura Bush visit. I opened the message, purely because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't get shot by the Secret Service while driving through the parking lot in my car with the Bush Cheats 2000 sticker on the back. The facility where I work serves children, so it's quite a good photo op for the first lady or anyone looking for an opporuntity to appear as though they care about the nation's children.

The part of the email that made me laugh was the following:

Due to security restrictions, we have been informed that only 50 employees from ****** may attend today’s event with First Lady Laura Bush at *******.

Therefore, if you would like to attend today’s event and your manager has approved your absence, please email (slave to upper management) and submit your name to her. She will then compile a list of names according to the time she receives your email. Given the limited number of spaces available, we are sorry that we cannot guarantee that all who request will be able to attend. Everyone must be seated by 3:30 pm and must present their ID for admission.

I am sure you're all waiting for the funny part, but let me give you some background that may assist you in finding the humor in this. Despite the fact that I live in one of the reddest of the Red States (Nebraska), my place of employment is decidedly blue. I think you would be more likely to find 50 people who work here on the FBI watchlist, than 50 people who would want to see Laura Bush talk, even if the subject matter was limited to "What my daughters do in the shower." I am trying to get an answer as to how many people actually responded to the email without trying to seem like a security threat, and if I find out I will post it here. The over/under at this point is 24.

I must say that I do respect Laura Bush a little bit more than I respect her husband. Laura was apparently a teacher, which in my opinion, is the most underappreciated job in the world. It didn't positively affect her husband's ability to form a sound education policy, but at least it's possible that she's done some good in her life. She also had to put up with that Cowboy Asshole that we call George during "The Tequila Years" (officially 1977 - 2000) before he found Jesus.

Unfortunately, I have more important things to do at 3:30 today, like write on this website and throw darts at coworkers, or I would be available to hear Laura talk about whatever she's going to talk about. We'll see if it makes the 6:00 news.