Saturday, August 29, 2015

Are You a Racist?

I've seen this clip posted on social media three times as an example of unfair journalism.

If you don't have the time or the inclination to watch it, lemmie give you a quick precis:

In 1996, there was a rally in California protesting Prop187, which made it harder for undocumented workers to use public services.  In the video, two supporters of 187 are interviewed, one injured by the protesters.  A Latina interviewer asks the man if he's okay, then starts the interview.
Reporter: Are you a racist?
White Guy: Why is it that people who stand up for America and want to protect our own borders, why are we always being backed up with the racist thing?
It's a pretty good answer, but then he goes off the rails.
White Guy: I'm standing here with a black man.  How can I be a racist?
You read that right.  He goes full on "I have a black friend."  The aforementioned black friend then jumps in with all the calm eloquence of a rabid yak dancing in an active volcano.
Black Friend: That's a dumb question to ask.  You ask that so you can put it on your program to make him look like a racist.  Why don't you ask me if I'm racist?  Because I'm black.  Right? You're a racist for asking him that question.  You're only doing it because he's white, and that's what you're going to show on your report tonight.  You shouldn't play that kind of game.  That's a dumb question.
Yeah, yelling at a reporter makes you look less like a racist than just answering the question.  He eventually makes a point.
Black Friend: You're in America, taking advantages of all America has to offer, and your only comment is "Are you a racist?"  That doesn't make any sense.
Let's ignore the falsehood there, and move on to his final comment, which I call the "coup de jackass."
Black Friend: Are you here legally?
Niiiice.  A little surprised he didn't ask her to make him a taco or test to see how wet her back is.

Anyway, there are things about this video I'd like to point out.

"Are you a racist?" is what reporters call a softball question.
The scene from "The Insider" where the terrorist doesn't get mad at Mike Wallace for this question.
You should be able to answer "Are you a racist?" as easily as "Have you ever killed anyone?" or "Do you love your mother?"  If you can't, if you've never thought about it, maybe you are.

In any case, a question is just a question.  You can answer it calmly, deflect, refuse to answer, or totally lose your shit.  Guess what these guys chose.

The best interviewers give you enough rope for you to hang yourself.  This reporter nods as he ties a noose around his neck and dives off a cliff.

Marketers call this a missed opportunity.
Everyone wants to believe their opponents are stupid and evil.  The reporter was asking for those who saw this man and his friends as enemies.  Instead of showing them he was a caring, thoughtful opponent, he reinforced their views by freaking out.

He gave them the evil stupidity they expected.

Are you a racist?

Asking someone if they're a racist is a challenge.

It means, show us your reasons for attacking a minority group.  Show us you've examined your own motives.  Show us why we should trust you.  Convince us you're not a bigot.

Are we racist?
Here's the short answer.
Humans tend to form groups and alienate the other groups.  We're normal, so they're different.  We're good, so they're evil.  We're wealthy, so they're lazy.  We've got the majority in congress, so we have the right to make rules that oppress others.

It's impossible to completely resist that pull, but if you don't try, if you don't constantly re-examine your motives and attitudes, you're a racist.

Or a homophobe.

Or a misogynist.

Or whatever.

Am I a racist?
I posted this joke last week.
Omfg. Guy at next table: "My wife told me to get rid of anything I haven't used in a year and doesn't give me joy. So I divorced her."
There was no guy at the next table, but I was afraid I'd be (rightfully) condemned for reducing women to their sexual function.  Still, it was funny.  Bigotry is always funny to the bigot.

Afterwards, I wrote a piece about the reaction people from the sixties would have to our society.  I figured they'd react with bigotry, so I wrote the bigotry into it.

Yes, it's funny.

No, I won't post it.

Yet.

I'm going to keep working on it.  Throwing it out would be too easy.  Posting it as is with a caveat would be too easy.  Working on it makes me confront my own bigotry.

I grew up in a time where movies used beating homosexuals and wives as comic relief.  I grew up in a time when minorities were portrayed as criminals.  I grew up in a time when rape was a punchline.

I'm always swimming against the bigotry of my past.  Sometimes I make progress.  Sometimes I fall behind.

Are you a racist?

That's a softball question.  The answer is "I try not to be."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Cure for Two Epidemics

We have an obesity epidemic in this country.  You all know about it.

The average American weight has trended up since the sixties.  Nobody's exactly sure why.  It could be our focus on low-fat diets or the increased consumption of sugars (they're in everything nowadays) or our increasing consumption of fast foods.

Or it could be how little we exercise.

You'd think, with the endorphin rush you get after a workout, personal trainers would be rich.

Maybe they spend it all on equipment.
We have a drug addiction epidemic in this country.  You all know about it.

The amount Americans spend on drugs has trended up since the seventies.  Nobody's exactly sure why.  It could be the new prevalence of marijuana or the way mass media portrays drug use.

Or it could be because drugs make us feel good.

You'd think, with so many people taking drugs, drug dealers would be rich.

Maybe they spend it all on equipment.
I came up with a solution.  You all need to know about it.
Step One: Legalize recreational drugs but require all drug dealers be licensed personal trainers.
That way, we give drug dealers an alternate profession so they can move out of their parent's basements and give personal trainers extra income so they can also move out of their parent's basements.

Yeah, drugs are harmful to your health, but we can fix that with...

Step Two: Make all drug purchases require one hour of fitness training before use.
That way, you have to get fit to balance out the damage the drugs are doing to your system.  Addicts can't get stoned more than once a day, because they'd pass out from exertion first.
Then their trainers get their drugs.


I should head the DEA.  Now you know about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Few Things I Found On My Camera

I have a tendency to take pictures of things I find amusing in my daily life.  Turns out you can find anything funny if you try.  (For example, death.  Ha!  Suckers!)  Here's a few amusing things from my sad life... I mean, things I found humorous.

Elsa and Anna
Disney is selling a Frozen cereal.  Not an ice cream, a cereal; let that sink in.

Anyway, while looking at the cereal box for my kids (not for myself I'd never eat something like that it's for myself go away stop touching me), I noticed one of the characters doing something odd.

No, it's not that Elsa's eyes are half the size of her head.
  Didn't see it?  Try again.
No, it's not Elsa's magical, floating bangs.  Jeez, look at the circle I drew!
It's the infamous two finger insult.  


Remember the famous penis castle from the cover of The Little Mermaid?  It seems the artist working on the Frozen cereal was angry.  He assumed Americans wouldn't notice they were being insulted.

Sriracha Powder
I just found this at the supermarket.

OMFG!
You can make your own Sriracha?  You can make your own Sriracha.  YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN SRIRACHA!!

Did Julia Child know about this?

Firefighters Memorial
Found this at my local park last week.

Wow!  It's concrete.  In the ground!!
It's this time capsule thingy.  You know, they take ordinary stuff and bury it in the ground.  You're supposed to dig it out hundreds of years later.
Or a whole fifty years later!!!
Not sure what they'd find important enough to bury that we wouldn't have today.  8-track tapes?  Polyester?  Typewriters?  Free love?

Anyway, it was the smaller plaque that caught my eye.

You think the Republicans complain about how the firefighters union ruins the economy along with the teachers unions, labor unions, and public sector unions?
That's right, the firefighters paid money to contribute bronze plaques for the time capsule.  They get a plaque for paying for the plaque.

And lo, corporate sponsorship was born.

Selfie Sticks
I found one of the signs of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelations:
Rev 23:8-10:
And lo, the vain were condemned to the ninth circle.  There, upon the racks of torture they 'force-ed the damned to choose the hue and color of their selfie sticks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

All I Know About Minecraft


This is all I know about Minecraft.

Minecraft is a video game.

A video game is like a board game, but there are far more people screaming about how video games ruin children's lives.  Video games are more fun for that same reason.

Minecraft has two modes: survival and creative.

Survival Mode is played like most video games.  You mine for materials and build things with them to defend yourself from mobs.  Mobs are monsters.  They're named after the Black Friday crowds at WalMart.
Spot the differences in these two pictures.  Hint: there aren't any.
Grownups like Survival Mode.  While your kid is digging in the dirt or trying to ride a donkey or stacking TNT on top of each other, you protect them from hordes of zombie pigmen, build them a house, grow their food, train their pets, and provide them with tools they need to survive.  Survival Mode is also called Parenting Just Like in Real Life Mode.

Creative Mode is like a box of Lego; you can build whatever you like.  The difference between Minecraft and Lego is that one costs $250.
You think I'm kidding?  This is the project my son is working on.
Kids like Creative Mode.  They get to build giant, flaming penises on the top of mountains.
You think I'm kidding?  This is the project my son is working on.
While your son trains to be a urologist, you build a replica of the giant castle you fantasized about in Junior High.  Just as you're figuring out where all the secret passages go, your kid blows it up with a stack of TNT.  While you repair your castle, he builds a giant tower right in front of it.  When you explain he built his tower where the stables should be, he'll call you a brat and stomp off to his room.  Then you blow his tower up with a stack of TNT while he's in his room.  Only he was secretly watching you from the kitchen and bursts into tears.  Then your wife comes home, and you end up sleeping in the guest room with the cats.

Or so I've heard.

Minecraft was made (almost) entirely by a man named Markus Persson, also known as Notch.

One day, someone on the internet said Notch would only sell Minecraft "for two billion dollars."  Microsoft bought Minecraft the next day for two billion dollars.  This day is called "The Day of Great Sorrow" by my children.  The anniversary of The Day of Great Sorrow is marked by tantrums and fits of crying followed by bribes of candy, ice cream, screen time, and going to bed late.  The Day of Great Sorrow has become a daily event in our household.

Since Microsoft bought Minecraft, the biggest change they've made is to replace the one, continuing, unending, relentless, looping background song.  There are now several continuing, unending, relentless, looping background songs.  There is no room in a house far enough away from Minecraft to keep you from hearing the songs until they're stuck in your head.  Later, your children will hum the songs continuously, unendingly, and relentlessly.  You can't turn the volume down on your children, no matter how many buttons you push.

Your children will play Minecraft and only Minecraft.

They'll try Terraria if you tell them "It's just like Minecraft!"  They'll play Halo if you tell them "It's an M-rated game.  Don't tell mom."  After a few days, however, they'll be building giant, flaming penises on the tops of mountains.

There are many videos on YouTube about things people made in Minecraft.

Some of them are quite clever (like a working PacMan game).  Most of them, however, show you how to build giant, flaming penises on the tops of mountains or teach your children swear words to shout at your parents when they make you stop building giant, flaming penises on the tops of mountains.

Minecraft runs on several platforms.

It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  It runs on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  It runs on Playstation 3 and 4.  It runs on iOS and Android mobile devices.  It even runs on Windows Phone, even though people don't run on Windows Phone.

Each platform is slightly different.  When you buy the game for Xbox, your child will want it on Android, to take on trips.  When you buy your game for Android, he will want it on PC, to get the latest improvements.  When you buy it on PC, he will insist the game is "too laggy" and want it on Xbox.

In the end, you'll spend $136 on Minecraft.  It's still cheaper than Lego.
Also, you never step on lost pieces of Minecraft in the night and scream like a cheerleader at a homecoming game.
The PC version of Minecraft allows for user-created modifications known as mods.

Mods add gameplay or make basic player actions (such as building a giant, flaming penis on the top of a mountain) more easily. 

You must never download mods.  Ever.

Here's why:  Your child wants you download the Traincraft mod.  Traincraft can't be installed without the Forge mod. Forge can't be installed even after you try for hours.  You email the creators.  The creators insist nothing is wrong and suggest you check for viruses.  You install an antivirus program and find eight dozen.  By downloading mods, you (or your children) infected your computer with more viruses than a Kardashian on spring break in Barbados.  Meanwhile, all your friends ask why you've sent them mail about how penis enlargement drugs changed your life.

Or so I've heard.

And that's all I know about Minecraft.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Click

The dream was strange, stranger than normal.

We're fixing a woman's apartment, perhaps her dorm room.  It looks like a tornado whipped through.  We straighten mirrors, throw away food wrappers.  Vacuum.  Windex.  We replace her old, broken things with new ones.  A radio.  A television.  Then we sneak out.  She'll never know who we were.

A grocery store, next.  One of those stores where all the produce is stacked in wooden crates to give it a farmer's market feel.  The line is slow and we're late.  In front of us, the cashier weighs a roast chicken.  He smiles apologetically and shrugs as if to say "These things take time."  Then he takes the chicken apart and weighs each piece separately.

We get back to campus late.  We've missed orientation and the ice cream social they have for new students.  The campus is overwhelming.  Sure, we know which dorms we've been assigned, but we've forgotten the room numbers.  They wouldn't tape our names to our doors, would they?

The uncertainty makes it exciting.  The night is fresh and cool around us.  The world is endless and full of possibilities.

I wake up knowing I'll never get back to sleep.  It's four am.  Anything I do will wake you, or the kid, or the dog.  I slide the wooden drawers open with a grinding noise that makes me wince, and gather my clothes, my keys, my phone and headset; I'll need to call if I get hurt.

I step outside into the cool air and run.  I run like the evil robot from Terminator 2, with large steps, windmilling hands, and a grim determination.  I run like Inspector Gadget, with springing limbs far too long.  It's night.  Nobody can see me.

I hit the end of the neighborhood.  This is where I turn, making a mile-long rectangle before I return home.  I don't want that.  I need to be uncomfortable, scared.  I keep going straight, down the long street towards the rest of the dark city.

I want a coffee.  I didn't bring my wallet, but have the Starbucks app on my phone.  I slip the earpiece on, and it reassures me with a cheerful series of notes.  I click it, set it to text, and speak into the air.

I hope you turned off notifications.  I have to talk.

I'm winded now.  If I get hurt, how will you find me?  I click again.

I'm running down.  Shoot.  I can never remember the street names.

I pass a church.  Click.

I'm on the street with the church.  Not the one with the big cross.  This one has a

It's got something like the Washington Monument in front.

It's the one with the big penis.

Headlights in the distance.  I look down at the road to avoid being blinded.  The light grows beneath me.  If the car decides to run me over now, how would I know?  Would the light on the ground change?  Would I notice in time?

Click.

I'm going to go to Starbucks.  The one in the mall by the uh Panda Express.  I have the app on my phone so I can pay.

It's been months since I exercised.  This week I did two, one-mile runs.  My thighs are cramping in protest.  Fuck them.  We run with the legs we have, not the legs we wish we had.

Click.

I want a donut.

I text my personal trainer.  Click.

If I'm tired and sore tomorrow, it's because I'm running in the middle of the night, not because I'm a slacker.

I switch my phone back to my wife.  Click.

Do you think my trainer likes me or just pretends?  How would I ever know?

I see light inside a house.  I stop.  Is there someone inside unable to sleep like me?

It's beautiful, the home of a tasteful, wealthy family.  Dark red, velvet chairs.  A painting.  Leather couches.  No people. It's empty, staged so a realtor can show it off.

I think of the people sleeping in my dark home.  My wife.  My daughter.

She's not going to be ready for college.  I've never taken her to concerts, games, poetry readings.  How is she going to talk to other kids, make friends?  How's she going to get laid?

I sure never did.  Click.

She needs a better life than mine.  She should go out into that first night and know that there's something new; her last chance to start over.

Click.

I mean okay everyone starts over but it's the first one that counts.

Click.

She needs to learn how to talk about what movies she likes her favorite video game.  She should know how to dance.

I'm at the strip mall.  There's an old, battered, blue pickup truck driving in a circle through the empty lot.  I see someone get out and do something in the back where a lawnmower is tied down.  He gets back in and drives on, his tires squealing a little as he drives off.

He could run me over. 

I'm at the place where our dentist used to be.  There's a Chinese dentist there now.  The sign is half in Mandarin says Great Care Deal.  No. Great Care Dental.  Great Care Deal sounds better.

I turn the corner by the Panera Bread and the smell of cinnamon is everywhere.  I can see men working inside.  Wish they were open.  Wish something was open.

The Starbucks is closed.  Guess I'll to go to the one downtown.

That's quite a distance.  Good.  I haven't hurt myself enough yet.

She needs to exercise every day.  Get used to the idea.  Make it a habit.

Running faster now.

I pass the Holiday Inn Express.  They're playing music out their front doors, but there's nobody to hear it.  They're playing music to the empty night.

Another car.  Click.

Why are people up right now?  It's the middle of the night!

I hit a street light and press the walk button.  There aren't any cars, but I wait.  I'm hungry and sore and winded.  Ah, forget going to Starbucks.  I don't need coffee.  I need to go home.

Green.  A little white man with a floating head like in The Legend of Sleepy Hallow beckons.  Run.

I pass by that terrible Italian restaurant my parents like.  We should try them again.

A carpet store.  They're going out of business.  Why is every carpet store going out of business?

There's that tiny coffee shop with no windows.  Why haven't we ever gone there?

That tiny barber shop with the red and white striped pole in front.

Why do we always go to the same restaurants barbers coffee shops? Shouldn't we go out into the night?  Try new places?

There's a full parking lot, but no people, no apartment.

A car audio place.

A Pete's Coffee with nobody inside.

Pete's!  Okay, it's not a Starbucks.  Their coffee tastes like... Well, coffee.  Still, I slow to a walk and turn towards their door.  I don't have any money.  Pretty sure they won't accept the Starbucks app.

Running.

I never went to a big school where you could get lost.  Mine was only a few blocks long.  Why didn't I go someplace scary?

College would have been so much easier if you had been there.  Fun.  Knowing I screwed up that first night makes it worse.

I remember that time when a friend invited me to her veterinary hospital.  They were tending a baby bear.  You could play with it.  You held up your hand and it would slap it.  I told her I'd stop by in a couple days.

That night, I met someone at a bar where they play movies.  2001: A Space Odyssey.  We kept glancing sideways at each other.

Afterwards, the owner of the bar got on stage and talked about how science fiction films had declined.  Why weren't they making anything about defying authority, about breaking away from the bonds of society?

"Babylon 5!" the woman and I shouted simultaneously. We had something in common. We agreed to meet the next night at a coffee shop.

But I was visiting my parents.  My mother wanted to go out with me.  I blew her off.

That night, I waited at the coffee place for hours, then tracked down her hotel.  I got them to give me her room number, saw the light under her door, and knocked.  Nothing.

Click.

Am I creepy?

The next morning I skipped playing with the baby bear so I wouldn't upset my mother again.  I thought "I'll never get a chance to play slap hands with a bear again."

Doors close every day.

I remember a girl in college.  I saw her crying on bleachers by the little tennis court by my dorm.  Blonde.  A nose too squashed to call her gorgeous, but who wasn't beautiful in college? She said she was homesick.  Everything was so alien in college.  Hard.

I made her laugh.  Introduced her to the freaks I hung out with.  I saw her from time to time, but it was always awkward.  Click.

Seriously, am I creepy?

Click.

The sun is coming up.

I can't run anymore.  I turn back towards my neighborhood.

And he walked back to his safe little home in a safe little neighborhood in a safe little world.  The end. 

There's something soft under my feet.  It's a grey rag.  No, it's something else.

Squirrel!  Dead.  Dead squirrel!

Click.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I like my coffee like I like my...


I haven't been able to think of much that's funny these days.  Sure, there are twice as many GOP candidates as there are Friday the 13th movies and the anti-vax, anti-GMO, anti-evolution, anti-abortion, and anti-global warming evidence groups are still funny.

It's just that I've done those to death.  It's just that I couldn't think of a fresh topic anymore.

Note to self: rip off Hot Topic by starting another store full of crummily-made, pre-teen crap called "Fresh Topic."

Anyway, I was despondent about writing this blog and then... Something struck me like a gold brick hitting a bowl of jello perched atop Donald Trump's hair.

(Just try and get that image out of your head now.)

Coffee.  I was struck by coffee.  Actually, I was struck by the labels on coffee.

Bear with me here.  Watch this video.
Of course we'd never joke about child sexuality today, but it made me think of how difficult it is to find a mate online.  Women are so besieged by men, they have a hard time filtering out the ones they don't like.

Anyway, look at these:



So, here's my idea for a dating filter.  Ask women (or gay man) what kind of coffee they like and apply it to find the right guy.  Do you like them:

Intense, bold, and full bodied?

With a hint of dark chocolate?

Rich and nutty?

Intense and smoky?

Balanced?

Beautiful with bright notes?

Rustic and satisfyingly earthy?

Vigorous?


Buttery and fragrant?
Yeah, okay, the analogy only goes so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Liberal Movies for Conservative Audiences 2

It must be tough to be a conservative looking for a movie to watch.  Nearly all of them ooze liberalness.  Liberality?  Whatever.

The point is, Hollywood films are written by liberals, produced by liberals, and performed by liberals.  In films, villains are driven by greed, heroes gather strength from defying corporate bullies, and bombs explode while animated monsters fly through the air.

Okay, conservatives like that last one, too.  Anyway, my point is there aren't many Hollywood movies that feed conservative values.
At least until Mel Gibson finishes the sequel.
What we (and by "we" I mean not me) need is someone to re-edit popular Hollywood movies to release them for conservative audiences.  Here's a few suggestions:


Mad Max: Fury Road
As in the original movie, Max and Furiosa defeat Immortan Joe, take over his stronghold, and release all the water to the poor masses.  In the conservative version, the masses continue to take more and more water until they become fat and lazy and refuse to work.  Then the water runs out and everyone dies.


The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Thorin Oakenshield, defeats the dragon (by pulling himself up by his bootstraps) and is attacked by the lazy unions of Laketown, who demand he pay taxes on his wealth.  The unions brings the tree hugging elves (who tried to imprison Thorin's people for enjoying a national park) to fight.  Thorin retaliates by summoning goblins, his own family, and finally giant American eagles.


The Great Gatsby
Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, but doesn't feel he's good enough for her.  He decides to prove himself by fighting the scourge of Prohibition.  Under the guise of selling medicine, he provides whiskey under the table to customers.  When Daisy finally arrives at one of his parties, she realizes he's a better man than her husband and leaves him.  They all live happily ever after.


The Minion Movie
Actually, you don't have to do anything about this one.  It's already about blindly following the orders of villains.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sepia Banner


Today's post is for you those who've been told you're "part of the problem" at one time or another.

Have you been:

  • Called a "sheeple?"
  • Told you don't understand, no matter how qualified you are or how much research you've done??
  • Insulted by a coward who uses the anonymity of the internet to criticize you???
  • Ridiculed for a position contrary to others in your political party????
  • Threatened for denying dogma?????
  • Condemned for picking science over superstition, pseudoscience, or folklore??????
  • Ignored by those who cling to outmoded ideals????????
  • Unable to use any more question marks????????????????

I made this banner because I've been told I'm part of the problem for supporting the evidence that GMOs are safe, for understanding there's a balance between safety and freedom, for voting for a controversial ballot measure, for thinking.

Yes, I'm part of the problem, if you define "problem" as "writing my opinions on the internet in a forum that literally gets about forty hits a week (fewer since I've stopped posting "See [model/actress] Nude!" to boost my numbers)."

This banner is for all you problems out there.

Well, okay, I made the banner because I couldn't think of a topic and haven't made a new banner in a few years.  What did you want?  Humor?  Insightful writing?  A cute animal picture?

Oh.  Okay, fine.



Friday, July 3, 2015

My Coke Rewards

We are all victims of the Cola Wars.  Maybe you're too young to remember, but my generation -- the greatest generation -- lost a lot of good people.

We still have nightmares.  Max Headroom.  The Pepsi Challenge.  New Coke.  Pepsi Stuff.

We thought we were in the clear.  Specifically Pepsi Clear.  Or, well, Crystal Pepsi.

See what I did there?  Never mind, the joke worked better in my head.  The point is, people actually gave a damn about which brown, carbonated, sugar drink was gnawing away at their teeth.  It was part of their identity.  You chose Coke if you were into nostalgia.  You chose Pepsi if you were into...

Actually, I'm not sure what makes people choose Pepsi.  They probably chose it because the Coke machine was a few feet farther away.  We were pretty fat during the Cola Wars.

The point is, there's no real difference between them.  If one company bought the other but kept selling both brands, nobody would know.

Maybe this has already happened.
Next stop, a soda fountain IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
I never gave a crap about which one I drank until I started wearing Nikes.

No, it makes sense.  Bear with me.
Not that kind of bear.  Not that other kind, either, pervert.
Different shoes have different numbers for each size.  In Nike shoes, I'm a size "ten."  In Reeboks and Adidas I'm a size "Fuck if I know."  It'd take too much time to figure out.  I'd have to call for a shoe guy, stand on a cold Brannock device, try on a dozen types of shoes while my wife shook her head disapprovingly, and so on.

Hey, I'm a veteran of the Cola Wars!  Just standing up is a victory.

Nike also has these cool shoes called Nike ID.  They're customizable.  You can pick different colors and add words to the sides or fronts.

There are restrictions, of course.  You can't write "FUCK FACE" on them.  Not that I'd try.  Unfortunately, you can't add "JOY STICK" either.

Nike hates gamers.  And joy.  And sticks.  And fuck faces.

I really love designing my own Nikes, but they're expensive.  Like "why the hell would you spend that much on a stupid shoe that's as dumb as caring if you drink Coke or Pepsi" expensive.

However, there are My Coke Rewards.

On ever can, bottle, and case of Coke is a unique ID code.  You enter those codes into their website and accumulated points to get rewards.  Towels, movie tickets...

Nike gift cards.

It took thousands of points to get a $50 Nike gift card.  I started buying Coke.  I started buying a lot of Coke.  I got my friends to buy Coke and give me the codes.  I snuck into my neighbor's recycling bin at night and stole their codes.

Hi.  My name is Matthew.  I'm a My Coke Rewards Addict.  Now give me my shoes!
I got enough points to buy new shoes.  They wore out.  I spent a year collecting points.  I got new shoes.  They wore out.  I realized how silly the cycle of consumerism was.  I stopped spending my time and money on useless consumer crap and left it all behind, spending my days in personal fulfillment and acts of kindness.  I spent another year collecting points.

Just as I got enough points for a Nike gift card, the cost went up.  Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Things change.  Just as I got enough points for a Nike gift card, the cost went up.

Again.

And then again.

And then the website changed.  Now not only do you collect points, but you also need "status."  You start with bronze status.  If you want the $50 Nike gift card, you had to have enough points and gold status.  That's right.  Coke is saying "Your money is no good here" after issuing the fucking money.

But, hey, maybe status isn't that hard.  I've been a loyal Coke user ever since I realized I was too lazy to measure my feet.  How do you get status?  You post Coke promotions on your Twitter account.

That's right.  You want to use your points?  You do free advertising for Coke.  I wrote and told them I didn't have a Twitter account.  They wrote and told me how to go fuck myself.

So, I have decided to get a new Twitter account, a Twitter account I use just to post Coke Rewards ads.  I call it:

@CokeTastesLikeRhinoButtSweat

Well, it was going to be that, but Twitter said it was too long, so I got:

@CokeIsRhinoButtSweat

Nope.  How about:

@CokeRhinoButtSweat

No?  Damn it!


Ta daa!

You can find out how Coke is the official drink of American Sportsmanship or Coke's dedication to quenching your thirst or all the fabulous things you can buy with My Coke Rewards points if you have gold status.

Now give me my fucking shoes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Things You Learn When Your Child Is in the Hospital

The first time your child is in the hospital, you learn
Where the bathrooms are, where the cafeteria is, which outlets you can use, how to order what the dietitian allows, which is the closest elevator, how to get the IV stand into the bathroom, and that free parking is pointless since the parking lot is built for compacts and filled with SUVs.

Doctors really are as hot as they look on television, but the nurses aren't.  You can see the physical therapist's thong when she bends over.

Your house didn't burn down while you were away.

There are lots of camps, clubs, and activities to keep your other kid busy.

You have friends you never knew you had.

The second time your child is in the hospital, you learn
There are no good places to scream and cry, but you can hit the walls of the elevator pretty hard without making a dent.

It's easy to make doctors laugh.  The paramedics who ride helicopters look like action stars.  That the best person to put in a difficult IV is a little old Mexican woman named Rosalina (but everyone just calls her "mother").

Dishes can fill the sink, dirty clothes can pile up, and flowers can wilt.  None of it's important.

Your other kid will hit you, swear, and call you the worst names he can think of.  He's just as scared as you are.

Your friends are willing, even enthusiastic to help you.


The third time your child is in the hospital, you learn
If you hit the walls of the elevator hard enough, you can hear the bones in your hand creak, which is very satisfying, but typing will hurt for a few hours.

Doctors aren't bothered by people who stare at them angrily.  That sometimes you have to remind them of things they forgot.  That sometimes you have to make sure they don't give the wrong medications.

You never liked the cats.  All they do is shit on the floor, beg for food, and sleep.  Wouldn't it be great to be a cat, and never have to think again?

Your other kid will die someday, too.

That you can't close some wounds, you can't gather some shards, and some voids will never fill up again.

That telling someone you're sending prayers or good thoughts is an insipid, meaningless thing to do.

That any god who could help should have done it by now.

That if nothing in the whole world can help your child then what good is the whole world?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Useless Photos

I'm writing this week about all the pictures I was compelled to take because I thought they were funny enough to write a blog post about.

Then I found out they weren't.
This note some mother left in her kid's lunch via napkin.  I suppose the kid dropped it while running.

Blog a picture you can't explain.

A group of magic pendant collection for sale.  Jews stop earthquakes the way pirates stop global warming.
This is what happens when you use a copper bottomed pan too long.  You get AWESOME!

A water bottle we got from our school.  Turns out it's not dishwasher safe, but it's a great metaphor for what the district did to my school.

All markers are secretly made by Microsoft.

I love pierogies, but not that much.  Nobody loves them that much.  Nobody does.

You can't see, but all of these have the same ingredients.  I doubt the effectiveness of these products.

A space shuttle trainer just rolled by one day.  I missed the shuttle flyover, but this is a good second place.
What the hell is cream soda made from?  My life has no meaning until I found out!

My driver's license picture hasn't changed in years.  When the police pull me over, they'll wonder why an old man stole my driver's license.

The destruction of a great piece of urban art called Defenestration.

Any team except Warner Brothers.

GDC 2015: Why is Nike at the Game Developer's Conference? I worry about those shoes.

Can ANYONE eat with a hex key?

My book was taken off the shelf of the bookstore.  The sadest picture.  Well, other than dead kids.  Other than starving children.  Oh, fine, never mind.

I bought this collection of Jamestown Colony settlers.

The next day, the tube was empty.  HAHAHAHA!  Oh, wait, that was Roanoke Colony.  Never mind.

A conventionally grown sweet potato on top of organic ones.  Notice the difference?

This sign warns you not to use 30 year old cell phones.

The picture didn't come through, but it shows a gay popcorn machine.  I guess it comes out in rainbow colors.

I don't know why I took this picture, but DAMN Hillary Duff is hot.

If your kid gets sad when balloons deflate, just tie beach balls to wires.

I guess Tuesday is going to be the long-awaited start to my football career.  I intend to follow the lead of Refrigerator Perry.

French.  Translates to "Come in Greece." It has a picture of a penis on it.

Condoms for small men.

"Dump Cakes" has to be the least appetizing name for a dessert.  Well, other than cat poop cookies.

One sign of the apocalypse is the inability to do even simple tasks.

A crank in a hospital that does nothing.  Perhaps it's to occupy people with OCD.

A computer named after my son.

A store on Oahu that stocks diapers next to condoms.  Best advertising ever.  Bonus humor: lollipop condoms.

A carpet on Oahu with native designs.  The Hawaiians obviously invented DNA a hundred years ago.  Well, they got it a little wrong...