Friday, August 31, 2012

Stuff I Found Awesome This Week

Here's some things I saw this week I just had to take pictures of.

Best Parents Ever?
At the Valley Fair Shopping Center in Santa Clara, California is a "family restroom."  The hallway leading to the restroom is decorated with tiles, hand-painted by young children.  In the midst of pictures of trees and environmental warnings, I found this tile.
"have you seen my ztapler?"
Kurt (Kunt?), your parents deserve an award.

I walk around in my house wearing socks (and nothing else).  The other day, I stepped on something sharp.  When I finally found it in the carpet, I thought it was a sharp seed pod.  However, on closer examination, it revealed itself to be a tiny dragon skull.
Dragons live among us, and they're teensy!
If the dragons are that small, how small are fairies?

Half a Man
I woke one morning to a day warm and sunny enough to open the front door and let the breeze flow through the house.  I was greeted by the sight of the head and shoulders of a man, someone had inconsiderately left on my front walk.
"Um, Dad, do I have to clean that up?"
Upon closer examination, it was just some guy digging a hole in my front yard for no readily apparent reason.
I found this more disturbing than my original assumption.
We Have the Most Tolerant Cats
I really don't have much to say here that isn't covered by the title.
Moments later, she mauled my child.
ColdStone Tells It Like It Is
You know how those old kid's cereal ads used to say "It's part of this balanced breakfast!" and show you a picture of a complete meal that would be healthier without the cereal?
"Nutritional supplements are BS!"
Yeah, I wish all companies that sold supplements were this honest.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Presidential Candidate Contract

As with any election year, I’m grumpy most of the time.  Political races are painful to me, because they’re more hand waving than substance.  Here’s a contract I wish all presidential candidates would sign.

I am expected to run on wedge issues instead of my ability to serve, but I will not stoop that low.  Here is what I’m promise.  If elected, I will not:

·         Become involved in the wedge issues that divide our country.

·         Introduce legislation that has no chance of passing for the sole purpose of riling up my base.

·         Fail to act even if it might cost me re-election.

·         Pick nominees to the Supreme Court based on their political leanings.  I will choose them based on their experience.

·         Belittle any Americans for any reason, especially their political leanings, career choices, gender, race, orientation, religious beliefs, economic class, education, country of origin, or choices in entertainment.  We’re all “real Americans.”

·         Pander to extremists of any stripe.

·         Forget that most of my job is to work with people who hate my guts.

If elected I will:

·         Govern the country to the best of my ability.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dumbest Arguments from Gun-Rights Advocates

After the massacre in Aurora, I was tempted to write a long, angry piece about how big a problem guns are in our country.  However, tons of other people jumped into the fray with their own, half-assed opinions, so I decided to hang back.  Instead, I decided to make fun of those opinions.  Here’s a sampling, with my responses.

If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.
In the United States, we have something called “laws.”  You may like laws or hate them, but it’s hard to find anyone who thinks laws do nothing.  We outlawed murder, rape, theft and, because we had those laws, those crimes diminished.  If we make rape, theft, and murder legal, people would commit them more.
Also, look up ballistic knives.  A ballistic knife is a spring-loaded blade that can shoot out from the handle.  A while ago, the United States made ballistic knives illegal.  Do you see a lot of outlaws committing crimes with ballistic knives?  No.  Why?  Because we made them illegal.

If nobody had guns, we’d all kill each other with knives or sticks or rocks.
This point is true.  If guns all magically flew off into space, and we had a gun-free world, murders would all be committed without guns.  However, there’d be a huge drop in the murder rate.  Killing someone with a rock is a long, difficult process.  A killer wouldn’t be able to murder an entire movie theater full of people with a rock.

It’s my right to bear arms in the Second Amendment.
When the Constitution was written, a gun was a flintlock rifle, not a device that can fire a hundred bullets in a second.  If you want to own a bajillion flintlocks, I have no problem with that.  You can still hunt or defend your home with a single, preloaded blunderbuss without being able to massacre an entire shopping mall.  There’s no need to have as much firepower as a small regiment to go kill a deer or scare off some moron who wants your microwave.

Gun owners defend the people against government tyranny.

This is the US Army.  You really think a few disgruntled citizens with pistols can slow this down? 

This is an F-18.  How can a man (or even ten men) with an assault rifle defend his home against it?
Face it, the United States has the best-trained, best-armed military in the world.  If you think you can last half a second against our military, go talk to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

I need to defend my home from intruders.
In 1986, a man named Arthur Kellerman got a grant from the CDC to study the effects of gun violence in the United States.  He found having a gun in your house made you less safe.  He did a new study in 1988 to compare cities with and without firearm restrictions, finding the restrictions saved lives.  In 1993, he refined his first study to respond to charges of anti-gun bias by trying to remove the bias; he got the same result.

When you have a gun in your home, it is almost three times more likely that someone will use it against you than you will use it to protect yourself.

Gun control didn’t work in Chicago/Switzerland gives everyone an assault rifle.
I would rate these arguments as the “least stupid” of all the ones I list, because they cite actual evidence.  Yes, Chicago banned gun sales and ownership for a couple decades and the homicide rate didn’t go down.  Yes, every man in Switzerland is given an assault rifle and that country has a much lower crime there than we have here.

The problem is the Chicago ban only covered small areas.  If you can drive ten minutes to skirt a ban, how effective is it?  The problem with the Switzerland comment is that Swiss gun ownership comes with mandatory military service (and the knowledge how to safely use and store a gun), and even Switzerland stopped giving out ammunition with those guns.  That’s right, even the country that gives out assault weapons like candy doesn’t want anyone to actually use them.

Cars kill tons of people, why don’t you outlaw them?
This is the argument I would rate “dumbest.”  While cars are involved in a great number of deaths in our country, cars do something other than kill.  Cars are also constantly being modified to make them safer, not only for the driver but for anyone who might be hit by a car.  What are we doing to make sure guns don’t kill the people we shoot at?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dukan Diet Side Effects

I’m writing this entry on my humor blog even though it’s not a humor piece.  You need to know the truth about the popular Dukan Diet that has been a fad since Kate Middleton went on it before marrying a prince.  Since then, the diet has been wreaking havoc on countless lives, including mine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fun With Freecycle: Gutter Thingies


I know how much you love cleaning out your gutters.  Who doesn’t love cleaning gutters?  It’s all so much fun: the rickety ladder swaying under your feet, the feel of the hot sun burning the back of your neck, the sheer joy of reaching your hands into a pile of decomposing leaves and dead snail shells, the surprise of getting poked with old pine needles.  Cleaning out the gutters of your house is one of the great joys of summertime (or, in my case, summertime, springtime, falltime, and wintertime).

However, there are some strange weirdos who don’t enjoy a monthly gutter mucking as much as the rest of us.  These anti-gutterites, or ungutterers, walk among us like normal people while secretly harboring a dislike of gutter cleaning.  Sometimes a contra-gutterling will hold off a cleaning until his or her gutters become so clogged with gunk, that they break off from their homes and fly into space, eventually becoming a problem for our moon colony. 

No, seriously, that happens all the time.  Try ignoring your gutters for a few months if you don’t believe me.

I found a product that might help these gutterpervs.  It’s called RainFilter.  RainFilters are triangular foam strips that you stick in the gutters of your house.  Only water can go through them, so the leaves and detritus don’t get caught inside.  I don’t know why anyone would want a product like this, but I just happen to have half a box (about 15 linear feet) lying around if someone wants to try them out.

You know, one of those weirdos who hates gutter cleanings.  Freaks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three Disturbing Things I Saw Yesterday

Yesterday was a disturbing day.  Well, it was a more disturbing day than most of mine are.  I encountered three Disturbing Things.  The first:
It's an old man sleeping at McDonalds.  My apologies for the quality of the picture, but it's hard to take a picture of an old man passed out in a public place without people getting mad at you.  I kept trying to sneak a pic of him before people started throwing things at me, but this is the best I could do.

My hope was I could make a recurring meme out of it.  You know, something like:
Sleeping old man at McDonalds says: Toshiba Laptops are my Sominex!
Yeah, doesn't really work with a blurry pic, does it?

The next two Disturbing Things were at Target.  The first was this bookshelf:

Yes, that's right.  It's a Target porn rack.  First they started selling the Fifty Shades books, now look what's underneath:

Target has moved up to the A.N. Roquelaire novels, which are about what would have happened to Sleeping Beauty if Prince Charming had been a rapist from a kingdom of rapists and...  Never mind, you really don't want to know.

I thought Target couldn't sink any lower, and then I saw this:
That's right, the Hulk SUV.  I never thought I'd see something stupider than the Spider Man ATV, but there it is.  I'll let Sleeping Old Man express my disgust:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Khaled Hosseini

In the early 2000s, I had lost my job, moved to a new city, and changed medical providers.  I usually preferred quack doctors: ones who smoked, whose hands trembled, who used the slightest excuse to shave my chest and attach sticky tabs and alligator clips to my skin.

No, I’m not making any of that up.

When I joined Kaiser Permanente, I was assigned a new doctor.  He was young, well-shaven, and wore a tie.  My doctor gently shook my hand and quietly told me his name was Dr. Hosseini.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My GOP Candidacy

Dear Republican National Committee,

As honored as I am by receiving your nomination for Republican Candidate for President of the United States of America, I can’t help but feel a trifle confused.
A trifle, confused
Not only have I never held any political office before, but I’m also not a Republican.  For a while, I thought you might have meant to send your letter to my wife the usability engineer (who would make all the government’s websites look fabulous and so easy to use), but she assures me she’s a woman and, therefore, completely incompatible with Republican ideals.  Eventually, I realized your party’s selection process involves picking the candidate with the best teeth, and it all became clear.
My Credentials
I do have a fabulous mouth, although I have some bunching on my lower incisors.  I worry the bunching would cause me trouble later in the election.  I figure I can only release my last two years of dental records, and the problem should go away.  You know the Democrats would never make a big deal about anything like that.

So, I am pleased to accept your offer, but only if you accept my conditions.  They are:
  • My running mate has to be a sexy woman with little intellectual power.  Throughout the campaign, she will spout incoherent, homespun wisdom to distract voters from my failings.  In private, she will give me massages in a bikini and black leather mask.
  • My campaign slogan must be either “The Poor Can Suck It!” or “If Everyone Had a Nucular Bomb, Our Streets Would Be Safe From Crime!”
  • My first act as president will be to eliminate all income taxes, import/export taxes, and sales taxes.  The government’s revenue will come entirely from capital gains taxes, which will go up to 99%.  We’ll have to cut wasteful spending by eliminating the military, police, firefighters, the Department of Education and Homeland Security, but those departments are merely entitlements for the moocher class who can’t fire a gun, hold a water hose, homeschool, or investigate other countries.
I look forward to your reply.  Long live the GOP!


The I Can Write Funny Guy

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Ooglieloves's Marketing Visionary

We went to the circus on Sunday.  Before the loud music started, before the tigers tried to eat their trainer (but only managed to break his stick in half), before the dwarf in the silly outfit acted like a child for pitying laughs, something happened that was…  Odd.

A man in a spangly outfit came out with four dancers.  He yelled to the crowd:

“All the kids stand up!  I’m going to teach you the Oogieloves dance!”

I looked around the brightly-lit auditorium.  Of the thousands of people in attendance, I didn’t see one kid stand up.  Two parents held their babies in the air, but that may have been to stop them from vomiting on them.

“Grown ups stand up if you’re still kids at heart!”

Again, no takers in the room.  Wow, tough crowd.

The man in the spangles and the four women dancers sang and danced.  I commented to my friend that it was an awfully complicated dance for kids to remember.  Without warning, the singers and dancers all cheered and left the stage.  Then I found something on my chair that was even more… Odd.

It’s an ad for a movie called The Oogieloves.  It’s a bit hard to read, but the top of the ad says:

From the marketing visionary who introduced us to TELETUBBIES, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, and ELOISE.

I found that a bit mind blowing.  Is that the best they could do to convince my kids to want to see this creepy looking movie?  “Hey Daddy!  Oogieloves’s marketing is done by the same guy who did the marketing for those other kid’s shows!  I love marketing!  And I loved that loser and his dancers who did that pathetic song and dance thing at the beginning of the show!”

Okay, kids.  You know I can’t say no when you put it that way.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Distract Your Teacher

I’m going to call him The Viking, because he said he was in the Navy.  Perhaps I should call him The Fruit Bat because he always wore sunglasses, even though the class was inside, at night, and I dimmed the lights to show my slides (he said he wore them to foil facial recognition software).  Maybe I’ll call him Idle because he never stopped talking; throughout every class he muttered agreements, comments, questions and unintelligible grunts.  He was The Guy in the Front Seat Who Always Had His Hand Up.  He was The Only Game Student I Ever Had Who Openly Hated Games.

I’ll admit he pushed the boundaries of my patience.

In last night’s class, he told me that he stopped doing homework because he was failing and the administration wouldn’t let him drop the class.  He continued to show up because “I ain’t stupid.”  I’m guessing there was some penalty worse than failing for incomplete attendance.

The class began with a visit from my boss, who gave what he calls his “Fear of God Speech.”  In a nutshell: work hard because you’re going into a competitve field. I always felt the speech was unnecessary (who doesn’t know you have to work hard?), but Bat Viking said he wished he had heard in on the first day of class.

So I started going through my class on writing stories and creating solid characters.  I got to the part where I warned against throwing a bunch of traits together to make a character.

Idle went crazy.  He threw his pen down and wondered aloud why he had to know about characters.  He was a programmer; he’d never write.

I explained that story development was integral to games, he’d have to work with stories in the game industry, and I wasn’t teaching a programming class.

He railed on, complaining about the first homework assignment (weeks ago) I had graded him poorly on.  It was a biography assignment, and he had listed a bunch of random achievements instead of writing, well, a biography.  I said I’d be happy to talk about his homework after class time.

“Fine,” he said.  “Go on.”

That’s where I snapped a bit.  Maybe it was because he interrupted me when I was speaking.  Maybe it was him telling me what to do.  I usually crumble when anyone, especially students, attack me verbally.  This time I didn’t.

“No,” I said.  “I don’t take orders from you.”

Fruit Viking kept talking.  Kept muttering.  The man just wouldn’t shut up.

“Just go on,” he said again.

I snapped further.

“Get out,” I said.  “Just get out.”

He grabbed his things and stormed out, all the while raging he was had planned to go to all my classes and that there was no need to throw him out.

Needless to say, I was “off my game” for the rest of class.  Needless to say I looked around very carefully on my way to my car afterwards.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cat Poop Wisdom

Last night I spent a while scraping dried cat poop off the floor.  Making matters worse, the cats had moved a paper groceries bag over the poop and someone had stepped on it, making it into a hard, brown smear.  After I castigated the cats (which would make a great band name, by the way) I went to get disinfectant.  When I returned I found the cats had put a new, plastic bag over the poop.

At first, I was angry at them, but then I realized the wisdom in what they had done.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just put bags over everything that’s shit?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Shirts Aren't Working Anymore

I used to be proud of my shirts, at their power over human emotion.  I had shirts that made men angry, shirts that made women smile, shirts that made children run away in fear.
(Actually, that’s what kids do when I don’t wear a shirt.  I really should get that looked at by a doctor or an exorcist.)

Last night, I went to fill my wife’s car up with gas (one of the many services I provide her, along with raising her kids, and beating off potential suitors with a frying pan).  In front of me was a taxi driver, filling up his yellow Ford.

“What is that, a Celica?” he said.
“It’s a Matrix.”

He asked how old it was.  He asked how it handled.  He complained about his car.  He asked how long I’d lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Then things got weird.

“You know what a trust is?” he said.
It seems his parents were living in his house in Illinois, which was his by trust fund.  They wouldn’t leave.  He was concerned about some kind of fraud, but his parents wouldn’t forward his mail.

“That’s how they get you!” he said, his eyes taking on a mad gleam.  Luckily, the Toyota Matrix doesn’t have a big tank, and might be psychic; it chose that moment to stop accepting gas.  I beat a hasty retreat.

Man this shirt is totally not working!  Nor is this face.
"You read my t-shirt.  That's enough social interaction for one day."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kids These Days

Nostalgia is a terrible thing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Twelve Step Program

My name is Matthew and I’m an addict.  It’s cost me a lot of money, hurt my family, my finances, my friends, and my mental health.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun With Freecycle: Artistic Masterpiece Train Table

I know what you're wondering about the picture above:
  • Is that a beautiful landscape on a table?
    No.  It's a child's table for trains.  It's just so beautifully painted (by a machine!) that it looks like the works of Thomas Cole.
  • Why is it inside and yet on grass?
    That's a green carpet.  It's just so beautifully woven (by a machine that works for Ikea!) that it looks like grass.
  • What's that brush-shaped thingy in the upper-left?
    It's my cat's tail.  We gave her a lion cut because we secretly want her to be embarrassed around her friends.
  • I must have it.  Is it for sale?
    My cat?  No!  My wife would never forgive me.  Well, we could pretend she ran away when I opened the door. 
  • No, not the cat!
    You sure?  I'd let her go for cheap.  What if I throw in a green rug from Ikea?
  • No, I want the train table!  I must have it.
    Oh, that.  Yeah, sure.  You can have it for free.  Less if you take the carpet and the cat.
  • Can I see it from other angles?
    The carpet?  It kinda looks the same from any direction.
  • No, the table!
    Oh!  Fine.
3/4 view
Close up on the pockets to hold toys.

So, yeah, you can have it for free.  Just think about what I said about the cat.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Greatest Moments in a Man's Life

Yesterday I posted a set of delightfully Victorian pictures depicting that the greatest moments in a woman's life were almost entirely based around getting married.  They're absurd, but it's an attitude that's still around.  At one wedding I remarked how silly it was that we put so much emphasis on weddings and the server told me (very firmly) that the wedding is the greatest moment in a woman's life.

Anyway, I figured I should follow up with my proposed suggestions for the greatest moments in a man's life.

His First Car

The Back Seat of His First Car

His First Job

His First Job from His Mistress

His Midlife Crisis

His Happy Retirement
See?  I covered men and women.  Let no one accuse me of being sexist.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why I Don't Have Girls

 I like to think I'm a fairly liberal parent.  I don't spank my children. I accept whatever religious views they spout (although, at 4 and 8, their religion is whichever gives them the most presents).  I try to support them in whatever interests and careers they are curious about.

Unfortunately, both my boys are into Lisa's Tea Treasures.  Lisa's Tea Treasures is a little shop where they serve a British High Tea complete with doilies, lemon curd, tea cozies, and enough estrogen to make King Kong wear a tutu.
Whatchoo lookin' at?!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bad Superhero Marketing Ideas

As I have posted before, Spider-Man doesn't drive a car, or ride a motorcycle, or own an ATV.
The existence of the Spider-Man Vespa (which I thought I just made up, but was quickly disappointed) is entirely the result of marketing people smoking medical marijuana.  Normally, I'd expect that their doctors would cut them off after seeing the Spider-Man unicycle (which I just made... Oh, crap, that one's taken too?), but it seems I was wrong.  They've been at the Roman Red again.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Politically Incorrect Costumes

I was in my local party store looking for props for my next birthday experiment (here's the first, second, and third), and was delighted to see that racism is back in vogue. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Things That Keep Me Up at Night

Cut here
This is Lactose.  It's a chemical present in milk that, if you aren't Lactose intolerant, your body splits in half to make into two digestable chemicals.

Eye of a Needle

This post is mostly for Christians, but I think it's useful exercise for others as well.

I want you to do three things for me.
  1. Decide how many rich people you think there are in the world.
    Work it out to a percentage.  Is it 30%? 10%? 5%?  Pick a number.
  2. Go to this website and enter in your own information.
    Are you within the percentage you decided in step 1?
  3. Read Matthew 19:24.
Now tell me:
You think you're going to Hell when you die?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Western Medicine

I've known a lot of people who rebel against what they call "western medicine" and what I call "evidence-based medicine."  I have friends who go to chiropractors and Christian Scientists to cure diseases.  I've known many who give themselves detoxification enemas to cure... Well, I'm not sure what they were suffering, but it must be awful if they're willing to give themselves enemas.
Once, I saw a woman in graduate school making her own herbal pills to combat seizures.  She told me she figured she could either take one western medicine pill a week or ten herbal supplements a day, and that she'd rather take something natural.  I didn't know her long enough to find out if they worked or not.