Friday, April 18, 2014

Thoughts on the Cross

This being Good Friday, it got me thinking about what Jesus, whether you're a believer or not, would be thinking during his crucifixion.

What? Like you didn't know that Easter falls on 4/20. Source
Now, I understand what you may be thinking, "but I'm a part of one of the many sects of Christianity and that sounds like it could get sacrilegious real quick." That makes sense, I respect your reservations and your faith. But shouldn't we be able to laugh at our own beliefs sometimes? Surely if you believe in something so devoutly, nothing can shake that faith, right?

Okay, imaginary person I'm conversing with in my brain, I understand that even though your faith is strong, you still wouldn't enjoy someone poking fun at something that makes up a big part of your life and personal identity. It's like when people make fun of the tall and gangly to my face, like suggesting it's okay to recline a seat on an airline with no concern of the knees of the person behind you (be kind, don't recline). 
I get it. I'll see you next time, devout Christians. 


There, are we alone now, people who think it's okay to joke around about...Hold on, there's still some devout Christians reading this who are still unsure whether or not this is going to be offensive or not. What are you still doing here, devout Christians who are still unsure whether or not this is going to be offensive or not? If you're looking for offense, you're going to find it. I could get offended by Thomas the Tank Engine if I wanted to.
Here, watch: "If Thomas the Tank Engine is an anthropomorphic train, that chimney is expelling what is fueling Thomas. In other words, the chimney is Thomas's butt hole! And that butt hole is exposed for the world to see! It's nudist propaganda, I tells ya!" (Didn't mean to go all old timey prospector at the end there.)
See, it eats in the back and then poops out steam. Image source

See, offense is wherever you seek. But again, I get it. It may not be your cup of tea. Please, I urge you, stop reading. 

Could anything I write be more offensive than making Jesus balloon art?
Image source
What are you still doing here? Is this hate-reading at this point? Is this the same impulse that drives people to read articles about reality television stars? Is this the reptilian part of our brain that demands we identify all threats to us and ours? This is the same compulsion that drives Cubs fans to still watch baseball. Do yourself a psychological favor, and stop doing this to yourself.
Trust me, this will do no good for anyone.


Oh, my goodness gracious, you're still reading this, anxious to get offended. Ah, screw it. How about you invent in your head the supposedly horrible things I was going to say. I'll be back in a few days. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rescue Child

I would like to propose we do away with "adoption". No, not the practice of an infertile couple taking in a prom-bathroom-baby and deceiving the creature into believing it is wanted by society, or a hyper-wealthy couple with fears of vaginal irreconcilability who instead opt to collect foreign children, or even people with altruistic ideals (There, are you happy, people who don't understand the concept of hyperbolically abhorrent nomenclature used for satirical purposes?), but the word "adopt" and "adoption" themselves must be not only abolished but obliterated from our lexicon.
Adoption itself comes with a massive sense of smug self-satisfaction, but even taking in and caring for organic human refuse in the form of an orphan does not compare to the overwhelming masturbatory exercise and communal bukkake we all suffer at the hands of people with "rescue pets". 

Why should people looking for a bargain on owning a living companion get to feel like heroes more than couples slobberingly desperate to arrogantly believe they ought to guide a human through their jaundiced prism of an adequate upbringing? Sure, they could have simply spent enough money to purchase some street urchin with bound feet, but instead, this couple went through legitimate channels, filled out paperwork, presumably talked to a trained official who ensured they weren't recruiting a roster of infants for their underground toddler-fighting gambling ring. (In this "hypothetical" scenario, they'd tie a razor blade to the end of their pacifiers and throw a spiked rattler in the middle of the ring. What? The first rule of Toddler Fighting Club is "Gimme my bah-bah." The second rule is "please god, stop referencing that old-ass movie.")
Stupid baby, never drop your left or you leave yourself vulnerable. Image source
Instead of extending the luxury of verbal heroism upon animal purchasers, why not allow people-adopters to use that same verbiage and call their hominid mongrel a "rescue child"? What does it take for the parent(s) of a rescue child to receive the same semantic respect as some lonely spinster who stumbles into a dog shelter and drunkenly points at the cutest inbred pup wallowing in its own feces?

Perhaps, while the perspective parental approximations are in the process of signing the papers, we need some elaborate Rube Goldberg maiming device bearing down on the infant, some sort of 60's Batman villain death trap requiring the soon-to-be-parents to sign faster. Then would we feel comfortable with calling the kid a "rescue child"? Or would it at least shame pet owners who just bought a cheap, discarded bastard, from using the term "rescue"?

After spending time with my family, I wish I was, and still hope to be, a rescue child.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Proper Expression of Discontent

Today marks my eighth straight day of work, the last few of which were spent working with the general public in a retail capacity. As anyone who has ever worked in retail knows, being on the service end of a transaction is where you will see the the worst elements of humanity. 
image source
This onslaught of stupidity, this blitzkrieg of self-absorbency has me a bit on edge, and thus, my commute has become a cavalcade of aggression, or a merry-go-round of exasperated hostility (either one a good name for any news outlet).
As a result, I have given and been the recipient of a number of middle finger salutes.

What I have learned is that not everyone knows how to properly express "f-u" or "go f-yourself" in universal sign language. Despite its simplicity, too many among us overcomplicate it. Many only understand the basics, that to administer a flip-off: one extends the middle finger pointed up, palm toward one's self, fingernail pointed toward the sky, all other fingers tucked into the palm, indicates a hearty "you done goofed, dummy" to other commuters.

If Malcolm Gladwell is right, I am an expert at expressing my discontent with fellow commuters because I have spent more than 10,000 cumulative hours flipping people off. Young, old, families, nuns, all races, all colors, all nationalities, all creeds, my hand has had enough training letting other people know how poorly they are doing sharing the road with me. And I'd like to put this experience to use, helping others know how to properly administer a rude gesture. 

If you're a person who keeps proximal interphalangeal knuckles extended during f-u expression, this is incorrect. For example, two days ago, I was flipped off and the flipper-offer, chose to only bend ancillary fingers at the proximal phalanges rather than the full carpals. Rather than transferring aggression as intended, the excess of finger extended leaves the intended recipient with a feeling of pity for the shooter. Like attempting to assassinate someone with a bee-bee gun and barely grazing the fatty part of the target's thigh.

Even worse is when someone keeps the thumb extended. That's closer to a "hang loose" than "f-u". I'd be more offended if someone gave me a thumb's up than a middle-finger-with-thumb-fully-extended.
Close, Czech artist David Cerny, you got maximum extension, but tuck that thumb in. Image courtesy of the AP.
This isn't a regionalism thing, it's not like the soda/pop debate. There is a proper way to flip-off someone and that is with all other fingers tucked in as much as possible, thumb holding in those tucked-in fingers, and middle finger at full extension. It should look like all other fingers have been amputated. 
Thank you, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, THAT is how you sculpt a middle finger. By the way, this statue is in Milano's financial district. It is meant to symbolize how the 1% feels about the 99%. 
If this is a concept you can't imagine or achieve (perhaps due to arthritis) try a different gesture such as brushing your fingers from neck to chin or the penis sucking motion. But do not insult the purity of the flip-off by doing it improperly. Thank you and happy frustrated commuting.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Take All the Comments

Starting yesterday I'll be working 12 hour days all through the weekend. This means I'll be unable to visit and soak up all the insanity I've grown accustomed to on your blogs. I genuinely enjoy going to your blogs and reading the clever and insightful and emotionally vulnerable things all of you vomit into the abyss. More selfishly, I enjoy what your writing inspires in me, what it invokes, and I don't want to miss out on that for work. Alas, though, there are only so many hours in the day and I gots to make that skrilla, homie.
Much like heroin, I know that if I don't comment with regularity, some will go through withdrawals. In order to prevent the delirium tremens that comes from my not being able to comment on every pearl of wisdom and every bon mot you flush into the black hole of ones-and-zeroes, below are some comments you can cut and paste onto your blog posts. Feel free to take the comment that seems most applicable to your posts and use them to show other people that you and your writing are not ignored, that you matter, that other people love you and what you do. Allow these generic comments to validate you. 

  • Ha! That's great. But seriously, it's not possible to fit an entire flounder in there. It's just not. Don't ask me how I know, just trust me. Learn from the mistakes of others. Also, rethink that tattoo of naked Jesus you're talking about. 
  • I'm so sorry to hear about that. All of my best to you and your family. My thoughts are with you.
  • Wow, that's amazing. I don't even know how you managed to capture all those colors. You truly have a talent. My career as a fartist (where I give myself a paint enema and then flatulate the paint back out onto a canvas) never really took off, so I'm always impressed by an artist who is good at their craft.
  • Hmmm, while I don't necessarily agree with you, I can understand where you're coming from. But I probably shouldn't be even commenting here after you obviously courted the attention of the authorities after the threats you made. What did DJ Qualls ever do to you?
    That's DJ Qualls, lest you were unaware. 
  • As hard as it sounds right now, this too shall pass. Hang in there. Try yoga, but not Bikram or Hot Yoga, that's for massive perverts and DJ Qualls. 
  • Sounds fun, I'm jealous. Maybe I'll drink a gallon of rum to replicate the experience. Maybe I'll drink a gallon of rum just as my usual Tuesday ritual. Who knows where the week will take me?
  • Good luck. Change is hard but exciting. This sounds like a move for the better, so I'm excited for you. Hopefully it all works out like you plan. But seriously, don't marry him. DJ Qualls is not marriage material. He's fine to date, but don't make that leap until you've lived with him for a while. 
  • Huh, good suggestion, I'll have to check that out. 
There, that should cover just about every scenario. Feel free to take a quote out of your own post to insert into whichever comment you choose. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Funeral Pyre for Youth Worship

We all need to collectively stop lamenting our ages. It seems that once someone reaches the age of 23, the mourning of youth begins.
Rather than being proud of collecting experience and knowledge, we apparently covet the completely ignorant and impulse-driven youth.

There's this repugnant youth-worship that's seen everywhere. There are 20-somethings who ceaselessly chant "I'm so old" at every opportunity because they no longer watch Saturday morning cartoons (are there still Saturday morning cartoons?).

That about encapsulates today's post.
Screw you, person who just graduated college. Just because you have some responsibilities now and don't care as much about pop culture, doesn't make you "old".

I get that everyone wants to feel or be perceived as "cool" but why is anyone seeking that sort of validation from people who can't buy alcohol or from college students who can't afford anything outside of persistent, misguided moral outrage.

We do it because aging is difficult: hair is lost, metabolism slows, parts ache, stress is enhanced and endured.

Rather than lament aging, let us celebrate the good parts of the inevitable march of time. Like not feeling massive anxiety over not attending a party because you "totally missed out." Conversations with drunk people are an anomaly rather than an inevitability.
You don't have to answer "what are you going to do with your life" because you're old enough to know that nobody has a legitimate answer to that question. You also get a mental health professional to validate that your parents ruined your life instead of just screaming that and slamming a door.

Getting older and wiser means that you don't have to wonder if sex with somebody or something is going to be good because you either know how to make even a bad experience pleasurable or you're well acquainted with disappointment.

Did any of us know who we are as youths? No, but we lie and cover a lack of personal insight with knowledge of obscure bands. I'm old enough now to know I don't know who I am and I'm comfortable with that. 

Experience hopefully leads to knowledge which is why impulsiveness and blindly id-driven-youth is annoying. Be proud of your age and ashamed of everything you did and were in your youth. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nerd Corner: Star Trek Edition

Turn on your Tardis, feed your Mr. Fusion, take the red pill, and recite the three laws of robotics, let's dissect the Tauntaun of pop culture and crawl inside, it's time once again for Nerd Corner. 
'cause phaser shells are bad fo' yo' health. Image Source

Today I want to question one of the sacred cows of nerddom, Star Trek. I am not as well-versed in Trekkiedom as others, but I've seen the seminal episodes and a handful of the movies both classic, Next Generation, and the recent reboots. 

There are some things that utterly perplex me about the basic premise of the show. In the very opening credits of the O.G. show, they tell us that the USS Enterprise is on a five-year exploratory mission deep in the recesses of space. That means they're carrying all the supplies and people they need to stay adrift for five years. They aren't replenishing any of it. 

The first question that leads me to is, how do they have enough staff to be able to indulge Captain Kirk's messiah complex? They are supposed to explore and observe, not fight and f*ck. Yet every time Kirk sees even the hint of the potential of something he can drop his Lil' Tiberius into, the Enterprise makes a pitstop, a group beams down, and a red-shirt gets killed. 
Scotty, beam back Spock and me, don't worry about the carcasses, they didn't have family or anything.
Do they have so many expendable crew that they can afford to keep beaming into crappy situations and losing a worker? Who knows, maybe the job descriptions for red-shirts is "cannon fodder"? Okay, they are "Security Personnel" but that means the Enterprise mall and food court has devolved into straight up anarchy.

But speaking of personnel, why don't we ever see the night shift? Why don't we ever get to see who takes over for Captain Kirk and crew when they need to sleep? 
Or do they just put the Enterprise in neutral for eight hours for a normal human sleep cycle? Or maybe they're all working under extreme sleep deprivation. Maybe that's the entire subtext of the show. Maybe they aren't traveling at all and this is just Bones's psychotic episode.

The only thing that makes sense is Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy having a break from reality due to a manic insomnia. He has some self-esteem issues, that's why he isn't the center of his own delusions. "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not mentally stable member of the workforce otherwise I wouldn't be so insecure to feel the need to keep reminding you I'm a doctor."

A five year mission is insane. To put it in context, imagine a five year submarine ride where the captain who never sleeps insisted on pulling over every time a manatee with a pretty mouth drifted near the periscope and as a result two torpedo operators died. That's the reality of the Federation's directive.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This is Not an Essay, It's a Simulation of an Essay

Have you heard about "Simulation Theory"? It's an idea created by people who don't understand the difference between "hypothesis" and "theory" that confuses the Holographic Principle (an aspect of String Theory) with The Matrix. Those who don't understand theoretical physics would have you believe that a mathematical proof that helps further the consistency of string theory somehow lends credence to the idea that we live in a hologram.
Welcome, to your misunderstanding of theoretical physics. Not as fun as flying around with Keanu, is it?
Image source, but don't go to it.
Bet you didn't think I would drop some physics talk on here, did you? (Please don't ask me to explain any aspect of any theoretical physics. I have no idea what  Schrodinger's Cat is all about.)

Sorry, Simulation Hypothesis believers, aka Simulation Hypothesisors (Hypothesisters would be a great name for a Roller Derby team, while Hypothescissors would be a good name for a wig maker), but we don't live in a hologram and if you believed that for even a second, you're never allowed to make fun of Scientology ever again for having "wacky ideas."

No, Keanu, read the whole article, not just the headline.
The very idea that we live in a grander simulation, while not true on a macro level, can be made true in your own life. If you really want to live in a simulation of reality, you can do it, and in fact, you may not realize it, but much of our lives are already a simulation.

Many of our paychecks are based on typing up something on a computer while never producing anything tangible. And most of us probably don't get a physical paycheck. That virtual paycheck is virtually direct deposited into our accounts. Stock brokers push virtual money around all day. I've spent days filling out online forms that lead to nothing, often not even a response. The experiences we have with coworkers are often false expressions of generalized emotion with no substance. I simulate pleasantry toward my coworkers every day. The height of a simulated conversation is when a coworker whose name I barely know tells me about a dream while I feign interest. Sometimes I'll print something just to simulate productivity. To truly complete the entire work hologram, I could pretend to work from home and simply recreate a commute by playing a driving video game.

I don't know about you, but I've lived my life according to this cycle. I have a model of what an acceptable person in society is, pretend to be that, get results both good or bad, look at those results, and adjust what I think it is to be human.
I've taken drugs to simulate the normal patterns and chemical secretions of a healthy human mind. There are menus of drugs that will simulate all sorts of different emotions and experiences. That extra glass of wine sitting home alone on a Tuesday is just another way of simulating life free of anxiety.

Sex can be replicated by field of latex partner-simulators. Men or women, there things available that can do as good if not better than a sweaty, hair-shedding flesh heap, heaving in your ear and demanding awkward conversation later. Some people even simulate interest in their partner during the act.
The sex scene from Demolition Man was still more real and intimate than most politicians' marriages.  
It's not a knock on reality, reality is pretty good, but humanity has just been living with reality for so long that humanity has gotten better at improving on reality. We don't need a "Great Machine" to conjure a counterfeit reality, we're pretty good at doing it for ourselves.