Sunday, September 30, 2012

On Religion

I understand that religion draws much of its power from explaining things to people who need things explained. Mostly, these are things like "What is the purpose of life?" and "How do I find meaning in a seemingly cold, finite existence that is but a blink in the eye of the measurable universe?" You know, philosophy.

Then there are people who make me think that if you're going to make the decision to be part of a religion, you'd best pass a test evaluating your competence to comprehend and distinguish things like parables and literalness. Example:

I don't mind having to explain to you that the King James bible is a translation commissioned by the court of King James of England in 1604 in order to further distance the Church of England from the Catholic church, who still performed mass in Latin up until 1965. That's not something you'd be expected to know. Hell, I had to look up the dates while I was typing it just to have something better than a ballpark figure.

I may get a little miffed when I have to explain how the King James Version and the New American, and New International, and Revised editions are all different translations of the four gospels and such, made at different times from mostly the same source material, accounting in newer cases for more accurate descriptions of people and events, as reflected by modern English. The actual differences allude me, so why should you know more than that they are different in subtle ways, but tell the same story in predominantly the same fashion.

I get pissed when I have to take the time to explain to you twice that all Christian bibles will have both the Old and New Testaments.

Listen, I get that you're trying to get your daughter into Sunday School and faith young, but that child is going to have her faith drastically shaken when she turns nine and realizes she's smarter than you. You don't want to risk her getting brainwashed because you didn't know what it was you were teaching her. I have a friend who was taught there were 36 weeks in a year, until I confounded her with math in her early twenties.

If I ever had faith, it would not be in humanity days like this.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Abnormal Force

I always hated the Normal Force in physics.

The idea that there is a force, intrinsic to all things, the moment you set one object down upon the other, thus converting all of the top object's kinetic energy into potential energy. And this force is miraculously exactly equal to the weight of the object, effectively negating gravity's pull and supporting the object by pressing up against it from beneath.


I call bullshit. Grab your mops and brooms, kids, I'm formalizing a declaration of shenanigans.

This "Normal" force is just the structural integrity of any object. It's saying something is "solid" and sturdy enough to support a weight on top of it without snapping in half like a .GIF of a fat person breaking a tiny chair. There is no "structural integrity field." Trust me, I've seen science fiction. It'd be great if there were, but there isn't. "Normal force" is just shoddily designed math to make physics professors happy. Oh, the math balances. Great for you! You know what doesn't balance? Physical structures. They sink. Because the ground doesn't have a magic number holding it up. It has amorfous dirt and bedrock.

Today I met a computer engineer, whose degree was initially in chemistry, though he worked with physics mostly. We got talking about calculus, then Riemann sums and spatial understandings of math and tesseracts, and then I just out and out called bullshit on the Normal Force to his face.

And he agreed with me. He openly admitted that Normal Force is just fudging numbers to make all the forces come out equal on paper. God forbid an object at rest is actually pulled upon by gravity forever and supported by only mostly stable matter beneath it. Fat guys are fat until they break the chair, they don't find a perfect balance and stay in place forever.

So there you have it, Mr. Lopez. You may have been fun in high school physics class, but I just got a scientist to agree with me. Normal Force is bullshit, and you could have just told me so, but you stuck to your guns and just played your smooth jazz.

But now I have an English degree and work in tech support, so who's laughing n–


Friday, September 28, 2012

On Being A Beta

This is going to sound like I'm very bad at disguising when I'm bragging–which is true; I'm very, very lousy when it comes to covering up how highly I regard myself in many respects, but mostly because I fear that if I ever sounded as modestly unmoved as I felt, I would believe it enough I might never convince myself again.

But in other, less depressing news:

I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm in another one of my "I am a sexy beast" stages. You just can't convince me otherwise. I see myself in the mirror at night and I'm more than a little impressed with what I'm seeing. Then I realize I do nothing and have changed nothing about my lifestyle to merrit this, and I love and hate myself a little bit more, wanting to purposefully brag so that others will hate me, because people hating you out of jealousy is the greatest feeling next to starring in a reality show on MTV.

The problem is I'm getting a little intimidated.

Not in an existential way, mind you. I'm not worried about the future, the upkeep on being a sexy person, nor the prospect of being more successful simply by virtue of being more attractive and then having to weigh that success against my own merits, forever wondering if the two are similar in kind enough to satisfy my own standards.

Really, I just catch my reflection in the bathroom and I'm worried that if I look at that guy funny he might beat me up.

I promise you, this is real. I am not making light of even a vague impulse merely to further the comedy routine, I really, truly feel a visceral fear of my own visage, because I'm so used to being easily fucked with and easily startle. Beta is putting in nicely, this is full-on Omega male behavior. If we were a pack of somethings, the females would hump me for dominance.

But now? Man, if I can keep up this B.S. front to you all long enough to really convince myself, my confidence might finally drop like a third, spiritual testicle that never quite descended.

And that could be pretty sweet.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

On Colonoscopies

It occurs to me that if I ever need a colonoscopy, it might be comforting to get a gay male doctor.

I'm sure my regular guy is well versed in the procedure, he might even be technically gifted, but I feel like, at least subconsciously, with a distinct stereotyped bias, the new guy might just be more gentle about the whole procedure.

Scented candles, warmed instruments, maybe some relaxing music, I'm not asking him to take me out for soup and steak, I just think he'd be a little less clinical about the whole experience and understand the position I'm in.

Also, he'd probably take all those accidental innuendos and just run with them. How funny would those jokes be?

"Innuendo? In your endo!" Ah-ha-ha. So good. Thank you, Doctor; that really lightened the mood and set me at ease. I am now ready for the large metal snake to check my internals for signs of ill-health.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Writing

I will tell you a truth about being a writer. No one else will tell you this, because they will say it is too simple, that it generalizes too much and diminishes the role of artists in our culture, but it is true.

There are only three writers.

Either you are talking about The Way Things Are, or Why Things Are What They Are, or you get mad and decide to talk about Something New Entirely.

That's it. That's the big secret.

The First Writer is important. He is a reporter, a chronicler of the Here and Now. She keeps our society from becoming to outwardly focused, keeps us returning to self-evaluation when we get too enthralled by the bread and circuses in our daily lives.

The Second Writer is a very fun person. She sees the relationships between disparate trends, understands the root causes and how A influences B. Second Writer points out what others fail to see and explain our lives in ways we hadn't considered, making us introspective with purpose, instilling the impetus to do good and provide betterment to our world.

And provides nothing.

Noticing connection and discussing philosophy is important, yet changes nothing. They are passive forms of thought. Important, useful, but ultimately not creative.

No, perhaps that is a poor, diminishing word. These modes of expression take effort. They are important, imperative. We must have them to be inventive. They are the long division of empirical thought. Philosophy is descriptive; ethics are an effort, a choice. We are given an understanding of the world, but choose how we will proceed.

When we have teased all the meaning we can out of life, when we can no longer abide comparing Miley Cyrus to Batman and we are tired, and we want truly to affect The Way Things Are, writers give up on description until they find something of their own to describe again.

I enjoyed being a First Writer. I had nothing to say, but a great desire to say much. So I was verbose. I learned a terrible number of adverbs and adopted the semicolon like an orphaned Cambodian child I could feed for pennies a day. I wrote scenes, all emotionally charged and all in which absolutely nothing happened, and what did happened happened without explanation. It was self-indulgent and subconscious, and it accomplished for me nothing.

Being a Second Writer is an incredible pain in my ass. I have so much to say still, but I recite it feeling like I'm retelling the same jokes to my friends. I was openly criticized last week for telling a story about a funny joke I made to someone else, because it wasn't funny as a story. I followed this by commenting on the dead air and implied a friend who had just left would shout from the back door like a prick at a flailing New York comedy club, "…You suck!" This got better laughs, and in telling it now I achieve nothing, because even that story isn't funny on-the-cuff. I have jokes, but no goal for them. I've been told that being a Writer means having to kill your favorite children. So as loath as I am to lose them, my progeny drown slowly in the bathtub.

I'm starting to build my own beliefs. I have ideas for reasons and I'd like to tell you about them, and I'm working to make you listen. I want to make it easy, but I don't want to spoon-feed you. I want to convince you by showing you what I've seen and making my case, so that we can go forward together.

There are things I want to say to you. I hope one of them will feel Entirely New.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Sleep and Vacations

Mila Kunis can do whatever she wants to me while I'm asleep.

The older I get, the more I start to think that being an adult just means never feeling like you get enough sleep. By that logic, the most adult guy I ever met was that wacked out Vietnam Vet with the tinfoil hat.

Get a day off from work? Errands. Second day off? Good luck sleeping late when your body's used to getting up earlier the other six days a week. I used to sleep ten hours a night. Yeah, I was officially unemployed and clinically depressed, but the point it I slept until I couldn't anymore.

Now I wake up at 9 a.m. after going to bed at 3 on my one day off. What's your beef, Circadia?

[Fun fact: apparently, "circadian" comes from the Latin "circa diem," or "about (a) day." Neat!]

That's probably why parents always seem so tired. They've made the poor decision to manage other people's lives on top of their own. And now vacations make sense, because adults just want to avoid responsibility and sleep. Except kids ruin that by wanting to do things.

So I'm going ahead and making the call to take my vacation time wisely: without any children, and in my bed, snoozing for a week straight, until I get bored and go out, then sleep again until I have to go back to work. It's frugal, and exactly what normal people try and fail to get on "real" vacations. Don't call it a "staycation," that's just dumb. Don't call it a comeback, either, because that's just factually inaccurate.

Screw this, I'm gonna go "nap" for about 9 hours. You all have fun being "adults."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Michael J. Fox Worries for Your Immortal Soul

Someone left this at work last week. As expected, the paper was of low quality, as was the logic. Surprisingly, the writing was eloquent, though clearly the proofreader was ignored when (s)he [Let's face it, it was probably a he, as religious leaflet orderers tend towards the … shall we say domestically "traditional." - Ed.] pointed out that the first six entire folds were negated by the final point made in the seventh.

But wait! What's that at the bottom?

Why, it's Marty McFly!

"What are you, in the navy?"

Why does Marty seem so concerned for my Jesusly well being? He never seemed that religious, what with the teenage rebellion in his mid-twenties and the time traveling and fate altering.

Then again, he's got a steady girlfriend he intends to marry, finds temptation to sin but manages to avoid it with some sage advice and a little extra-natural help. Maybe it was a stealth-Christian film.

You know, like anything with Kirk Cameron that isn't overtly Christian.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Northern Liberal Ivy League Grade Schools

I'm not saying we were brainwashed as kids. All I'm saying is I got board easily and felt that drawing a black man getting getting whipped naked in shame was a good way of provocatively starting dialogue.

You just gotta blank out his naughty bits.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Why are the best Chinese places always so racistly named?

When I was a kid, the best local Chinese food came from a little kitchen where the front door was always locked and you had to enter through the back. It is perpetually staffed by a couple little Chinese men, a little girl unagingly appears to be about 4 doing math homework on a counter, and one woman behind the counter you will never hear say any words other than menu items and, "Huna Hou, Ah hep ya?" For those of you not well-versed in reading poorly phoneticized accents, that would be "Hunan House, [may] I help you?"

Except we never called it "Hunan House." Province be damned, Hunan just never caught on. Even now, if you were to look it up in my phone, right under the actual name of the restaurant, there is a business name listed on the 40% chance you went to look it up by the name someone who shall remain nameless ended up dubbing it: "Ching-Chong."

Thaaaat's about one or two levels past Hong Kong Phooey.

At least that one was our twelve year old minds not grasping in totality the connotations of our words, like when we were studying immigration era America in school and I asked my barber if he was a first-generation immigrant because he had an accent. I was just interested in where he came from, not accusing. Alright, Ching-Chong was a little racist even to us, but the comparison holds.

Worse, I now live down the street from a Chinese restaurant I lived down the street from as an even younger child. This place is called "Ming Hing." Worse, it was forcibly shut down in the past for serving an unerringly feline variety of "pork."

How do you do that? How do you make a racist, rhyming name for your business and then set out to fulfill horrible ethnic stereotypes? I couldn't open "Uncle Tom's House of Pigs' Feet and Chitlins" and have all my waiters in black face. "Papa Sheckie's Latke Heaven" couldn't get away with charging a 43% gratuity or giving 1/2 those proceeds to Israel's "Bomb the Fuck Out of Palestine" fund. How do the Chinese businesses get away with it?

Sure, I've been to Asian Cuisine and Asian Fusion, but the formers is over-priced for the quality of the Chinese and hit-or-miss with the sushi, and the latter is more like a P.F. Chang's that converts into a night club after you're done ordering your exorbitantly overpriced steak and lobster tail over brown rice. Not exactly authentic.

I guess it's whatever principle keeps greasy spoon diner's continuously stocked with aging, no-nonsense waitresses named "Maude."


Friday, September 21, 2012

Living the Dream; the Nerdy, Nerdy Dream

Unfortunately, this isn't the dream with Japanese sexbots or
your high school crush in a Princess Leia bikini.

Today I changed my address in the DMV database. It cost me $1.

I then requested a new license with the updated address. This cost $17.50.

I updated my health insurance, but I'm unsure if they spelled the town right, so I have to check up on them. I called my doctor, and they found me within seconds just by name. I called my dentist, but his phone was having issues so I'll call back.

Then I tried to update my bank, so I could change all my billing info everywhere and order new checks, but I can't. I can't access my bank's website. Would you like to know why?

Because Islamic extremist hackers have been attacking my bank's digital landing continuously for the last twenty hours.

Do you understand how awesome that sounds? This isn't about two conflicting ways of life or ideology any more. This is about two groups, divided only by ethnic affiliation but sharing the exact same culture and methods of reprisal, waging digital war because it's a just cause.

Why are they attacking JPMorgan Chase? I haven't the faintest. I imagine Chase is somehow affiliated with another company–possibly Google's YouTube–which in turn is related to the atrocity of film making that is "Innocence of Muslims." Hell, maybe it's just that Chase is a solid figurehead to put atop a tyrannical hierarchy of Western racist colonialism. Whatever the exact cause, it's quite amusing.

This is the kind of thing "we" do to protest corporate lobbying and political chess games designed to stifle individual freedoms and liberties. Also to harass Russian women who murder cats on video. Or underage loudmouths. Or girls who wouldn't sleep with us in high school. Or whoever, really.

But now "Them" are using our own methods. The Other, as Edward Said would say, has proven to be no different from Us, except in his recognition that there is some superficial difference between our heritages. This is the future, cats and kittens, as I'm always so fond of pointing out. Our 'enemy' is exactly like us in every way, except in that we disagree about something important, apparently, and we each think the other has a funny accent.

We're living in a William Gibson cyberpunk story, kids. The Muslim hackers alliance with raid the banking guilds not for profit, but to sew disorder among the ivory towers of the oppressive uppermost class. Alif the Unseen is a bit prescient now, it seems.

Here's hoping next come the Moon base Rastafarians.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Slipping Standards of Subterfuge

Time was, Disney movies were filled with subtle innuendos, blink-and-you-miss-it sexual secrets, even obvious nods to the aforementioned that simply went over children's heads.

Well, today I found this:

That is a sultry pose for a salmon. Typically, Disney's pretty reserved about depicting its least-shirted princess. This is just overtly sexual.

Do you see that blush? The coy glancing back whilst turning away? That kind of look brings in the Bitcoins on I've seen that look before, and it's only ever been in movies, pornography, or pornographic movies.

And etchings.

Right now, Ariel is being drawn naked and her look says, "I'm so glad I rescued you from those icy, frigid waters, Jack Dawson! I'm embarrassed, but as soon as you finish that sketch I'm going to fuck your brains out."


Fish whore.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Crockpots

So I gotta hop on this "crockpot" thing. It's wizardry, right? A magic cauldron?

Listen, you're telling me I put some meat, veggies, and delicious spices into a deceptively simple-looking heat box along with some water before I leave for work, and when I get home someone has mysteriously made me a delicious dinner?


I know about four spells from Harry Potter—one of them forbidden—but accio soup was not one of them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Menu At My Secret Space-Themed Diner

Beside a franchise "Actually A Dollar" Store (where prices are set by state and county to amount exactl $1 after taxes), I have another dream for a failed business to open: a theme diner. Hell yeah.

I want to make terrible space puns in all the foods. All of them. Otherwise it's unfunny and uncommitted.

I want to serve chicken Marsalla, and Jupiturkey Clubs, Neptuna Fish and MerCurie, and serve dessert of Hubble Bubble Tea with Black Donut Holes or Pie in the SkyLab.

Mostly, I just want to be able to have a constant supply of Alan Shepherd's Pie.

"Is important, when you come to Soviet space restaurant, you never order Uranus Soup."

Monday, September 17, 2012

On Confounding Plumbing

So as promised here's something ridiculous for today's entry.

All bathtubs should have that little nubbin to pull!

I couldn't figure out how to take a shower this morning.

I'm serious.

I've had a shower stall for the last 9 years. At college: stall. Off-campus: men used the downstairs stall, lady roommates used the upstairs full bath. I haven't had to work a tub faucet in a decade, save for the occasional hotel and overnight stay at a friend's house.

Now, I'm not incompetent. Even with piping I've some modicum of perception. I got the water on. I got it warming. I found that little toggle that opens/closes the drain that never actually works.

I could not activate the shower head.

I tried everything short of voice activation which—this tub being rather old and quite obviously not Japanese due to the lack of LED lights and plethora of buttons—seemed excessive and foolish at the time.

So I went BA k to my old house with shaving supplies and tool a shower alone in the apartment before work. My Frosted Mini Wheats this morning tasted of shame and confusion.

After a few 'Likes' on a Facebook status about this, my roommate called me up from wherever she was to tell me that she figured it out yesterday.

You have to turn the water on and then TILT THE FAUCET UP.

What the flying French baguette is up with this? Who's the teeter-totter obsessed madman contractor you designed this feature? And what slapdash plumber jonesing for his fix agreed to install such a contraption!?

At least now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

The other half I think is "lather, rinse, repeat."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Apologies

Many apologies, for the Kurt Cobain reference as well as the lack of blog post yesterday. Typically, I get something out unless I'm completely incapacitated in bed.

Well, yesterday I moved 98% of my possessions into my new apartment!

Except I worked myself unconscious last night, and again just now. So I missed a day, but don't worry! Because I have something amazing for you now, and I'll figure out something else also possibly amazing to show you letter today. That's a double dose of amazing!


Anyway, I rented a UHaul for the day, planning on making a couple trips, or at least one of the biggest furniture and a second trip later in the week. Well, when I showed up for my truck, it wasn't there yet. The guy who had it out was late bringing it back, and Moving Truck Guy ("Joe"), felt bad about not calling, so he gave me the truck he did have, the next size up for the same price. Sweet deal, right? Just more to gas it up at the end.

Except the gauge never moved! Plus, as I was driving the truck back to the drop-off location, this happened;

Yup, I rolled over the odometer to 100,000 miles. That was fantastic.

Just don't tell Joe I was snapping photos of his dashboard while driving after not paying the $15 insurance fee. Shhh, Internet. Hush.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Squishing Bugs

Further evidence why I am either a terrible enlightened being or a terrible candidate for doing drugs:

There is a spider on my ceiling and I don't know what to do about it.

(S)He is going to die. As soon as I finish writing this post, in fact. The arachnid has merely as long left as I have verbiage within my heart. Not a great while, but an unknown, much as all life seems to be, though I certainly have a better idea of it than (s)he does.

I feel bad, killing spiders. They're chill. They relax. They eat the bugs I dislike having in my house. Overall, I would prefer this spider to live, and serve our mutual good. However it is directly over my head were I to go to bed without smooshing it, and so it must die.

I tell myself it will not matter, that the spider is not truly alive, only a biological robot acting out its base functionality in a predetermined manner. Put any other spider in the same situation and the same decisions would be made. A meat-bot.

And yet, while that may be true of, say, fruit flies, I've seen spiders stick out a leg inquisitively, then retract it, thinking. Sure, it may be running an Enigma-level punch card system in an Apple A6 world, but that little guy works on the same principles I do. I've looked it up, (s)he has a brain. And a heart, and some truly horrific looking internal bits, but that spider can feel and make decisions.

Truly horrific.

Is it better that I tell myself it would be quick? The complete annihilation of a small, crunchy life so instantaneous that life itself would cease before it realized such? I have heard that when you are shot, you feel the bullet burning through your insides the entire way. You feel the life siphoned out of you. Is this what I condemn another creature to? A reduction of its form to a small puddle of guts and goo and twitching legs in the crumpled ball of some tissue?

I tell myself that I am not snuffing out a life, that evolution will continue on and one day perhaps create a spider smart enough to have its rights protected like a dog or a dolphin or specially educated gorilla or chimp.

Perhaps it will even be smart enough to stay the hell away from Kleenex-toting humans.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Of Amelia and Amélie

Presented without cause or context, because either honestly escaped the confines of my mind long ago:

Beloved children's character Amelia Bedelia + 2001 French romance Amelie = …?

Amélie Bedélie - Quirky, romantic pixie waitress

In theaters probably a week after How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days 2.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Parody Works

I'm thinking of writing a parody book called The 7 Habits of Highly Annoying, Anal Retentive People.

It's just be an exact duplicate of the Highly Effective text, but the title would be infinitely more accurate.

I imagine I would sell $28,000 worth, then be sued for about a bajillion dollars. However many a bajillion is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Bad Books

George Carlin rightly said "there are no bad books. Bad thoughts, bad ideas, and words…." With the possible exception of one word I choose not to say, believing it's social connotations to be the sole usage of the word and a venomous usage at that, I agree. There are no *bad* words. Just words on paper. It is the intent behind them that forces a moral meaning.

Then again, it is the combination of those words, in sequence, which create artistic works, themselves to be taken as a whole and–in text–throughout a period of time, creating a changing, evolving thing.

And that thing can be a bad piece of fetid shit.

I ask authorial intent, I ask if this intent is clear and purposeful, or if raising questions and obfuscating itself was that intent. Is it known, and is that knowledge meaningful? A part of the lesson, or the clockwork behind the machine face?

I watched that first movie and I didn't see one goddam apple.

The other day I had to touch a copy of one of the Twilight books. I grasped it loosely between thumb and second finger, much as I had the dirty diaper I found perched on the handicap stall's safety bar in the men's room several days previous. To my great chagrin, helping a customer forced me to take firm grasp of the book as if its contents and quality did not nauseate me. I did it, but I felt unclean for several minuted after, finding myself wiping my hand on nearby counter tops and my trousers.

The feeling persisted, until finally I applied some anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and I merely felt as though a taint had been irradiated, if not outright scraped off.

Fascinatingly, I do not feel this experience when shelving the Fifty Shades of Gray books, ironic, as Fifty Shades began its existence as Twilight fan-fiction, and continues to bare those birthmarks. For this book to be a #1 Bestseller, lends credulity in the public eye to that off of which it was based. If Fifty Shades is a guilty pleasure send-ff, then Twilight must be an act of literature. That is an SAT English equivalency I am not prepared to accept. Thankfully, there are truly awful fan works associated with every trendy franchise, and invariably some great spinoffs of terrible sagas. And sometimes, yes, popular things with huge followings can be terrible too. I cite all of Pop music since 1974 as an example.

That this book could make Chopin, Bach, Rachmaninov, and Pachelbel
a part of cheap, popular smut without an understanding of their own merits
disheartens me greatly.

However the question of either Twilight or Fifty Shades being literature is beside the point. Holding an English degree, in Writing no less, I can assure you both are awful and neither is "literature." Having read a book, I can tell you both are awful. This is moot.

What I wrestle with is the fact that I can juggle copies of Fifty Shades and not care, literally juggle them, but I am hesitant to touch a year-old copy of it's sire like a former "Fear Factor" contestant coming back for a second challenge, more expectant than not of seeing the bull testicles that stymied him once before.

My best hypothesis as to the cause of this, comes own simply to the quality of the work, and by that I mean the abject industrial quality of the mass-produced, commercialized commodity. Normally, I'd cite Althusser and Scott McCloud, and talk about how the commodification of artwork abstracts the reader from the artist and lines the pockets of merchants and middlemen more than the originator.

However Twilight is literary shit, so fuck Stephanie Meyer sideways on that. Bitch has a million dollars anyway, I don't care if she should be entitled to a higher percentage of millions.

Twilight books are fairly well-made. They are all still available as hard-backs, with fancy embossing and dust jackets. The soft-covers are glossy and surround high-quality paper. Fifty Shades, to the contrary is a thin gloss cover over some seriously paltry pulp. I frequently come across mistaken diecuts, and truncated pages. It feels like a piece of trash in your hand. The textbook you never read all semester, and then were unable to sell back to the draconian librarian at the end of term.

Hardcovers are in the works, but Fifty Shades was, initially, a self-published, print-on-demand title. That's why no one could get a hold of a copy at first; they were literally not made until someone paid in advance. Since, the mass-production started up and any lonely housewife and teacher could get a copy, but they were made to look exactly the same as the originals, I suppose. Hence the terrible quality. (I'm sure printing cheap paperbacks and still raking in profits hand over outstretched hand didn't dissuade Random House, either.)

At least Fifty Shades knows it's trash. It doesn't care. It does it's own thing, and god bless it for making money. Somewhere in England, middle-aged former T.V. exec Erika Leonard is living very happily off her trash romance novels.

But Twilight has the gall to put on the pretense of being a real piece of artwork. It is a book insofar as it has a binding, a bestseller insofar as it was sold for profit, and literature insofar as it is a collection of English words arranged into a series of predominantly sensical phrases and adjective clusters.

Twilight is a fraud of English works. It is the evidence of the descent of Western civilization and cause for the more intelligent among us to become the more brutal as well, that they might stage a bloody uprising an mandate from on-high the purposeful outmoding of faded notions and galvanized mediocrity among the common citizen. If the whole of English literature were to be judged by a single qualified expert, Twilight is the Eliza Doolittle to that expert's Professor Henry Higgins.

I simply hope the desire to fuck a familiar face does not ruin the reputation of the written word as it did that bastard Henry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Political Jokes I Wrote While Falling Asleep

This started as a series of non-partisan "yo mama" style burns, but I am rather obviously partisan and at some early point the disses became more an audition to be a Daily Show writer.

The Republican party's greased so many wheels, the EPA is considering Mitt Romney's hair as an alternate to foreign oils.

Last election a black man refused to disclose his birth certificate, this year a white man won't even show us his printouts from TurboTax. By 2016 we should expect a Tea Party candidate who won't divulge even his name and age, but he'll be very vocal about his stance on gun control.

Speaking of stances, the GOP's position for women and abortion is "first against the wall."

There was a whole long bit about Obama and "trap cards" and legislature being his "manna," but I clearly fell asleep writing it because I started mixing analogies and, worse, nerdy RPG references, and that just cannot be tolerated.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Brempathy - n. Empathy one feels for another bro, in times of brutter turmoil.

Did you hear about about Matty-B? His moms git knocked up by his boy, Zuzzi."
"Madone, yeah. I brempathize with the kid."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Open Letter to Kanye West

Dear Kanye,

We found your glasses at work the other day. Yours or Elvis'. Iy's Blue Ivy or Blue Suede Shoes.

Either way, listen, they're a swag boost. A bitches magnet. They attract the ladies is what I'm saying.

If you would like your magic pimp shades back, please feel free to contact me. Until then, I will be abusing this gift to my wicked heart's content.

Yours truly,


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Literary GPS

When you work in a book store, you start to develop that kind of product GPS any retail experience grants you, but with the wonderful twist of being able to locate recently popular titles you've never even glanced at, simply by horrifically wanting descriptions.

Case in point: the book No Easy Day is a new release that was on the bestseller list before it even came out. Preorders alone put this book in the Number 1 slot, then rushed out the release date a full week. It's just controversial, a 'navy SEAL' claiming to have been a first-hand witness to the assassination of bin Laden contradicting the official report, claiming the death was really more lucky shot than tactical and reasonably provoked. Let's not mince words. We did assassinate the most wanted terrorist walking the Earth. Own that. We're still mad Hitler got to take it in his own time. The government frowns on this, and is suing the author, whose name FOX News leaked within an hour of announcing the title's controversy. This, makes a book very popular before anyone ever reads into its merit.

Today a man asked me the following:

"Hey, where's Osama bin Laden?"

I don't know, dude, rapped in a sheet somewhere on the bottom of the Atlantic?

Eaten by sharks, more likely.

Ooh, wait! He's secretly living in Montana because he was an American double agent since fighting the Ruskies in Rambo IV, alternately leading the triple life of a semi-retired cattle rancher and basketball all-star Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall of the House of Mattel

no one looks good in bangs, not even Barbies.

Barbie gets home from work exhausted. Her oldest little sister Skipper blows past her dismissively, dressed like a trollop and, "off to work." Littlest sister Krissy is playing on floor by the couch.

Stacie, the third oldest, shouts from the kitchen, not bothering to decrease her volume as she attempts to exit past the disheveled Barbie.

"Hey," she speaks without taking a breath, "We're out of napkins so I didn't make dinner I'm going to the mall with Lea bye."

"Hold on there, missy!" Barbie calls out. "What do you mean you didn- is that a tongue ring!? When dud you get a tongue ring??"

Stacie is indignant. She scoffs. "Like you care…."

"You ungrateful little bitch! I work 108* jobs to put food on this table. Do you think dream houses just pay for themselves?? It's not like mom and dad left us anything, we got NOTHING! I have to pay for this house and your food and you go out and spend your money on a tongue ring???"

"Yeah, we'll Ken seems to like it!"


Stacie emits a Frustrated grunt and then storms out the front door. "I hate you!" she exclaims before slamming the door on her way out.

Baby Krissy has stopped playing to watch this. Barbie glances at her and she cowers behind the couch.

End scene.

Moral of the story: having 9 kids will kill you and ruin your kids' futures.

*Actual job count via

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Vicious Revenge Plot You Should Never Employ

I licked an envelope the other day. This … isn't something I do a lot of, what with living in The Future and all.

I was a tad miffed with the person I was mailing. The rule about never upsetting the people who prepare and serve your food applies to any service industry. This includes being short with someone, being contrary, and just generally being a negative pain in the ass. You're requesting something, of someone who does not have to do it simply because you're offering your money up to a corporation.

The point being, when you rely on me, I am in control.

And then I had to lick an envelope for the first time in months. I didn't want my tongue on that. It wasn't even flavored. Not even lousy flavored. Plain flavored. I wouldn't wipe my ass with a plain flavored envelope, but then again I can help it.

So here comes the juicy bit:

If you really hate someone in your office, I mean really despise them to an extent you are willing to risk what is tantamount to physical assault, you could wipe your ass with their envelopes.

At the very least, it's gross and you laugh. Worst case scenario:they actually get pink-eye or some terrible stomach illness from ingesting your fecal residue. If they have an open soar, they could possibly even die of sepsis. Honestly, I'd strongly recommend against this.

If only because I'd be afraid to get a paper cut on my anus.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Visible Bra Lines

I'm not enjoying this trend of visible bra lines under loose-fitting t-shirts. Not at all.

For one thing, it's both provocative, and a boner-killer at the same time. Yeah, it's attention-grabbing, but I'm not going to get to see better than that V-line tonight, am I? No nipple, no side-boob, not even cleavage. At best, if I did get to see what's underneath, the shape's not going to be as pert, full, or rounded as what I'm already seeing, which–as just stated–wasn't all that alluring to begin with. It's not sexy and it's exploitative, but not exploitative enough that I become willing to ignore my higher sensibilities because "boobies."

For another thing, the style just looks terrible on men, and that's not fair and equal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Photoshop Disasters: Badvertising

This is a car magazine. You will notice two things:

Secondarily, the girl does not fit on the hood of that car. Not unless she is a giant with a spine that is not constrained to three special dimensions or is otherwise elongated in such a way as to appear normal from this perspective but would for the side appear diagonally and bulbous.

More importantly, you would notice a sexy woman on the cover of this auto publication.

Why is she even there? Aren't gear heads supposed to already get a woody from photos of a vintage Woodie? Why implement the sex factor at all?

Because cars are boring, even to car nerds.

Do you know what's on the cover of Star Wars Insider? Star Wars characters. They almost never use bikini princess Leia. Because nerds nerd-out over over what they're into. They don't need assurance that they're manly and virile, mostly because they observantly doubt that.

Here's the simple equation:

If there's an attractive person on the cover, there's nothing in the magazine worth paying for.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Like Kids, the Best Pets are Somebody Else's

"Now is the winter of your discontent."
I'm not a dog person, but I love playing with pups so long as they aren't stinky pups.

Cats, same boat as long as I don't have to scoop that poop.

Kids, I mostly just like watching them like kindergarten is a zoo. No interest in touching one, or even really being noticed, just hang back with the pedophiles and angry dads restricted by the refs from getting too close to the soccer field.

I love my cats, but only when my mom was around to feed them. Dogs at my dad's house are a distant second, my cousin's kids and babies at work come in third an astronomical distance behind. Still, I get joy from these things.

Which is why I look forward to my roommate being able to bring her cat when we move into our new place. I love having a cat to pet and love and cuddle, I just hate fish smell and cleaning poop.

Let somebody else worry about sanitation and responsibility.

I'm going to be the "Fun Uncle" to animals everywhere.

Maybe to humans too, one day, but only once they're big enough to be cool.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Hope You All Know A Good Photography Major

Does anybody remember taking rolls of film to be developed at a photo hut in the mall? Or even your local Walmart or pharmacy?

Do you recall paying so much extra for double prints or trying to avoid the watchful stare of the developer, in your shared knowledge that he has already seen photos of your girlfriend naked? Even before you got to see how they came out?

I ask you this, because I realized I don't have photographs in my room. I've have art – pop art prints, a signed-and-framed movie poster, even a few original paintings. All my photos are in albums next to yearbooks and whatnot in my night stand. The last, maybe half of those are just printouts of facebook pics.

Pics. Not photos, but "pics." One or two might even have little neon hearts and dates on them, but a few are just cropped. All are on standard, bleached white printer paper.

I own photo paper, what the hell? I could make a real photograph out of any hi-res image on my drive. Why didn't I? Why don't I?

And I'm in a better predicament than most. Half of my friends don't own a printer. Several don't own a working computer. Several are without cell phones. In 2012.

And that may be the problem. It's 2012. I've seen this movie. We don't grab our digital photo frames. The kids grab their GameBoy 6GS-X's and John Cusack grabs the kids and throws them in his plane. Everything is connected, and everything is in the cloud. Hoarding physical media collections is considered an eccentricity, and I can see why. We have fewer things in physical space, just as we expand our presence out into cyberspace. There's an infinite world a half-dimension away from us, and we're just expanding laterally.

Except none of us have any faces of friends and family on our shelves.

So for everyone with adorable children on the horizon and fantastic adventures in your spyglasses, I encourage you to invest in a stack of high-gloss Kodak paper.

Either that, or make nice with your friends from high school who ended up buying $3000 Canon Rebels, because they're going to be the only ones who'll be able to hook you up with eight-by-tens or know what stop bath is.