Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Offended Liberals

It's been a while since I dusted off my old Meme Breaker.  Since I offended or unfriended most of my conservative friends, I've been at a loss of material to run through it.  Still, I need to keep it oiled and working, so I dug up one of the more recent, absurdist, memes.

This popped up a lot after the whole "Southern Racist Mass Murder" thing.  Here's what the Meme Breaker 2000 came up with.

Hm.  The image is all fuzzy.  Maybe I should upgrade to the Meme Breaker 3000.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Mental Man Cave

We shouldn't trust newspapers.  We should trust YouTube videos.

Some background:

On Facebook, a Friend posted how she was disturbed by the photo of a dead, Syrian infant washing up on shore.  One of her Friends (Perhaps he was a friend.  I didn't ask.) replied that the mainstream media was misreporting what was happening : most of the Syrian refugees were men.

I refuted his arguments with witty, incisive remarks.  He posted YouTube video after YouTube video to prove his point.

Then things took "a turn for the jackass."  (That's my new expression.  Feel free to use it.)

I argued YouTube and blogs weren't trustworthy.  He countered that news organizations weren't trustworthy.  How could I trust The New York Times?  They were covering up The Truth!

I don't know about you, but when I can't come up with a good response, I curl up in my mental man cave and brood until I think of one.  It can take months.

Posting on my wall.
Some examples:

To the man who insisted GMO labelling was good because he had "a right to know"
Why?  If you want to avoid GMOs, buy organic. If you're curious, email the company.  The only reason to label GMOs is as a first step to banning them.

To the woman who insisted being compelled to vaccinate based on evidence was like forcing her kids to pig out in a bakery because other parents said it was great (no, really!)
Not inoculating your kids is like driving 100 mph in a school zone because some chucklehead on the internet said car crashes are a fabrication by car companies to sell more brakes.

This is the response I should have given instead of "You fucking racist go fuck yourself you fuck fuck fuckity fuck.":
Should we trust mainstream newspapers?  Of course not.

Newspapers have layers of editors who try to remove bias from articles.  Newspapers fact check.  When they get something wrong, they print retractions.  I see retractions in the New York Times almost every week.  We got this name wrong.  We got this date wrong.  They post every failure.

Remember the Jayson Blair scandal?  The New York Times could have tried to hide their involvement or attack the people who discovered his fabrications.  They didn't.  They owned up to it.  They changed their policies so it wouldn't happen again. 

Why?  Because newspapers are held up to public scrutiny.  Their editors are named.  Their standards are posted.

Should we trust newspapers?  Of course not.  We should always look for their failures. 

YouTubers and bloggers, on the other hand don't...  Well, they just don't.

Don't fact check.

Don't post retractions.

Don't list their standards.

Don't print their names.

Should we trust them?  Of course.  We should trust them to lie to us.

Excuse me while I go skin a mammoth.  If you know what I mean.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Everyone needs to know the answer to the question "How much of a dick am I?"  We've all been called "dick," "jerk," "asshole," and "cunt."
Side Note: I don't quite understand insults towards women.  It sounds strange to call a woman a dick (since they usually don't have any), but no woman-centric insults really work:
·         "Bitch" means aggressive and forceful, which can be a compliment.
·         "Pussy" means weak, which is more often used as an insult towards men.
·         "Cunt" means...  Well, I don't know what it means, but I know it's dangerous to say in the presence of women.
In any case, most of us try to avoid their dickishness, try to become kinder, better people.  Me, I revel in my jackassery.  Hey, why bother trying to improve myself for other people?  Screw other people.

Other people suck.

Being an asshole is fun.

Allow me to present an example of my jerkosity.  I give you the tale of

Matthew and the Itty Bitty Booklight of Love!

Far back in the mists of ancient early 2000s, I read books in the evening.  Paper books.  Those dusty, old things they keep in the library to be read by dusty, old people.

The problem with reading books in the evening is that standard room lights are always too bright.  I bought an Itty Bitty Booklight, a small light that hooked on to the book's cover to make it more like a Kindle.
It's like a book, but it lights itself!
The problem with the Itty Bitty Booklight is the lightbulbs.

You may not remember incandescent bulbs.  They were less expensive than fluorescents, but they didn't cast a weird blue light that made everyone look like rejects from a Goth convention.
What?  Why is everyone staring at me?
Incandescent lights aren't sold much in the US anymore as a single bulb used as much power as a Kiss Concert.  They also burned out.  They burned out a lot.

Light bulbs burning out wasn't a big problem; you could buy more at any store.  The problem was when you needed non-standard bulbs like they used in Itty Bitty Booklights.  They were teensy and nobody sold them in stores.  It took me a while, but I used this new thing called The World Wide Web (or Inter Net) and found a website that sold and shipped them.

When I got to the end of the address page, I found it had a "Gift message for recipient" box.  For a moment I considered sending lightbulbs to all my friends, but decided against it.

You shouldn't have!  Really.
Still, I couldn't just leave the field blank.  I typed "You are an awesome person.  You make the world better every day." and clicked send.

A couple weeks later, my Itty Bitty bulbs arrived.  In the Itty Bitty box was a handwritten note with my exact wording.  I expected a printed receipt with my text at the bottom like Amazon does, but someone had actually taken the time to write out my note.

This is what they used to call "a handwritten note." You used them to keep your place in a dusty, old book.
Months passed, and I burned out my Itty Bitty bulbs.  I needed more Itty Bitty replacements, so I ordered another package from the same site.  Remembering the handwritten note, I decided to see how committed the owners were to personalized service.

In the Gift message box, I typed "I miss the taste of your cock."

A few weeks passed.  The box arrived.  I opened it and found...

A printed receipt with my text at the bottom like Amazon does.  That's right, I made the owners stop writing notes.

That's right, friends.  I'm a cunt.  I have...



Monday, September 7, 2015

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Last week I watched Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. If you don't know Joss Whedon, he's reached the pinnacle of geek-heroism by creating...  Well, just about everything.  Just look at his IMDB page.

He's so.... Shiny.
His version of the play is even better than Kenneth Brannagh's version (no matter how hot Kate Beckinsale is).

I kept expecting her to bite off Don John's head.
While I watched his movie, I found myself wanting what every actor in Hollywood wants: to be invited to one of Joss Whedon's Shakespeare-reading parties.

He has these parties where he invites his friends over and they all read a Shakespeare play to each other.  I know, right?  Sounds like as much fun as having your brother take you into the basement to re-enact The Cask of Amontillado.  

"And you'll play the part of First Commander from Julius Caesar."
Suddenly, being at one of his parties seemed fun.  Then I remembered my own, failed history with Shakespearean readings.  

My downfall was Mrs. Helms' seventh grade English class.  We did a group reading of Romeo and Juliet.  Since there were so many of us, the larger parts were split between multiple students.  I got one of the smaller parts to myself.

I got to be The Friar, a tiny part with one, enormous, soliloquy.  That would be my Big Break.  I sat through the whole play, waiting.  Waiting.  My soliloquy was coming, and it was long.

Like, Ayn Rand long.
I was nervous.  Would the other kids get bored?  Would I run out of breath?  What if there was a fire drill in the middle, and I had to start again from the beginning?!

Finally, the prince told the Friar to speak.  The class turned the page to my soliloquy.  And they saw how long it was.  And they saw it was a recounting of the entire play we'd just read.

Big moan.  From everyone.

"I will be brief!" I started.

Big laugh.  From everyone.

"Matthew," Mrs. Helms said, "Just skip that part."

But... But...  *SIGH*

I'd become Terry Gilliam's Viking with One Line from Monty Python.

And that's when my career as a great Shakespearean actor crumbled.  No Joss Whedon parties for me.

Unless you know him.  In which case, have him call me!!!!! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I'm from 2015. No, Really!

As promised, my piece about a stand-up comic in the sixties telling a crowd about 2015.  Hopefully, less bigoted than before.

Steps out of a cloud of fog wearing a space helmet.

[Robot voice]I am from 2015.

No, really!

[Takes helmet off]

I'm here to tell you that you're wrong about everything in the future!  Don't trust H.G. Welles or Star Trek or Lost in Space.  We don't have jetpacks, laser guns, or flying cars.

We do have self-driving cars.  They're terrible.  They run people over. Drive on sidewalks.  Crash into buildings.  I got one for my teenager.  They still drive better than her.

No robots, either.  Well, we do have them, but they're not very good.  There's one kind that spends all day bumping into walls. [bumps into things] Bump.  Bump.  Turn.  Bump.  It's supposed to be vacuuming your carpet, but we just stare at it and laugh.  Bump.  Bump.  Turn.  Bump.

We do go into space.  Rockets.  Astronauts.

We built a space station!  It fell to down.  We made another one!  It fell back down, too.  We built a third one!  Nobody uses it. 

[Speaks into microphone] Come on, guys, go into the space station.  It's not going to fall down.  No, really, this time we're sure.  No, really!  It won't fall down.  It won't.  Not while you're in it.  It won't fall down when you're in it.  We think. Hello?  You guys still there?  Hello?

We went to the moon!  Yeah, not much there.  Just rocks and...  Um.  Sand.  And, um.... More rocks.  But, hey, we went there!  We planted the American flag and... Left it there.   [makes a gesture like planting the flag at Iwo Jima] Look, we're on the moon!  Yay America!  Everyone come look.  Hello?  Anyone want to see?  [Slumps off, embarrassed]

We built a probe.  We built this probe and filled it with messages of peace and harmony from everyone on Earth.  Then we shot it into space...  Nobody ever found it.  It's still just... Floating out there.  We call it from time to time. 

[Into microphone.] Hey, probe, you still out there?
[robot voice] Affirmative. 
Did anyone find you yet?
[robot] Negative.
How long you been out there? 
[robot] Forty years. 
Well, you just... Keep on going.  Someday, those aliens will find you.
[robot] I'm lonely.

So, space hasn't gone too well, but there have been some great achievements back home.  In the good, old USA.  We elected our first, what you'd call a "colored president."

No, really!  No, really!

Never liked that term, colored.  What color?  Blue?  Orange?  Purple?  How do you explain?  I'm a sallow, pink color.  My wife's a rich tan.  The president is sort of a nice coffee.  What kind of coffee?  Sort of a coffee-with-cream brown.  You mean, like a latte or an espresso?

Yeah, that was stupid.  Now we just call people "people."

No, really!

We made it legal for homosexuals to get married.

No, really!  No, really!

We legalized marijuana.  Yeah, we needed more hippies.  They're fun!  They're like brightly colored chimneys.  They just sit in the corner and smoke until you throw water on them.

Computers!  We do everything with computers.

They're small enough to fit in our pockets.  You got to be careful, though.  [mimes dropping it]  KRSSSSH! Oh, man!  Now I need to buy another computer.  [Mimes dropping it again]  Not again!  You can go through ten, twenty million dollars in a week.

You can play games on them, listen to music.

We watch movies on them.  Why go out?  Yeah, why force yourself to go to a theater with your friends, and make yourself eat popcorn and then have to talk about it afterwards.  Now we just sit down in the dark in our living rooms and BAM!  Movie.  So much better.  Someday, we'll never have to leave our homes, or our bedrooms, or our beds.

We use computers to make phone calls.  Only, you can see each other as well as hear.  So, if your mom calls, you'd better not answer coming out of the shower.
[woman's voice] Hello, Martin? EEEEEK!

We do our work on computers.  And this is where you really got the future wrong.  Computers don't make your work easier.  They make it harder.  No, really!  You know how IBM says we'll go down to a twenty hour work week and only two percent of the world will need jobs? We'd be vacationing all the time?

Ha!  Wow.

Computers make us work longer hours.  And it's not like

[robot voice] We've taken over the world [whip noise] work human!  Work!

No, we do it to ourselves!  Hey, why should I have a life-enriching experience with my friends and families when I could work even harder?  Yeah, that sounds like fun.

Well, thanks all.  You've been a great audience.  I've got to get back to 2015 now.  I left my food in my microwave oven.  If I'm not back in thirty seconds, it'll burn.

No, really!

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.


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.

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


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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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?


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!


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?


Beautiful with bright notes?

Rustic and satisfyingly earthy?


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.