Sunday, September 7, 2008

Convention Recap

With both conventions over, I thought it would be a good moment to reflect on some of the memories of the past two weeks.

Obama bursts into a rage when he is told that his 60 foot tall statue will not be ready in time to be part of the backdrop for his acceptance speech.

The Palin/Whats-his-name ticket rides a wave of support from newly energized Republicans.

Joe Lieberman vows to speak at the Libertarian convention in 2012 and possibly the Green Party convention the following cycle if he is still in politics.

Confirming many physicist's belief in the idea of matter/antimatter, Fox News and MSNBC are instantly annihilated after bumping into one another.

Joe Biden tells the compelling story of his family's tragic auto accident, his son's tour in Iraq, riding the train everyday to work, losing a leg in Korea, and curing polio.

Confirming what Democrats have long claimed, McCain rips off his mask to reveal he has actually been Bush all along.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

There is always an excuse. There is always a reason to say, "I will do this when..." That is essentially the same as saying, "I will never do it."

People can always find time for the things that are important. Unless you are working 14 hour days, there is time. The amount of hours we spend watching TV or browsing the internet is shocking.

I procrastinate. We all do. I'm just tired of people talking about things they are planning to do. If you are not actively working towards your goal, keep your excuses to your own ego.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ad Nauseam

The allure of advertising is astonishing. People devote their entire lives into tricking us to love their products. I am helpless against this kind of awesome power. Why try to fight it. In the end I will still end up as a mindless, salivating fool dialing frantically before the deal ends.

For now, I am safe. My limited budget prevents me from purchasing anything but the essential items. I have found my self awestruck from time to time by new products on television before realizing they have no value in my life.

"Wow, that mini pancake maker is so amazing. I won't ever have to spend time stressing over my mini pancakes. Wait, I've never even wanted to make mini pancakes before."

I don't know if I had money to throw around whether I would spend it on frivolous items. All I am saying is I can sympathize with those who do, even if I disagree with the choice. You can't fight the power of thousands of mind control specialists and a quick and efficient onion cutter.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Destroyed by the Bell

Much of life is spent dealing with stress. When happiness is so closely related to stress, we can't help but strive to reduce it. It seems, however, that people today are conditioned to move themselves towards these stressful situations.

I find the easiest way to manage the problem is to write out everything I need to do. When it's swirling around my head it tends to engulf me in a vortex of hopeless tasks. When I see it in a neat organized layout I can't help but laugh.

Brush my teeth? Take out the trash? These were adding to my stress?

Usually only one task on the list is actually important. The rest just add padding to make it looked bulkier.

The old days are always thought of as a simpler time. I don't know if that's true. I can imagine that the stress of feeding your family or letting them starve was fairly overwhelming.

Life is like a bell curve. It's difficult to get downtime because hard working people out there are getting A's and screwing up the curve. We are pushed towards worrisome all-nighters just to squeak by with a C.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How to Get Involved in Politics

It's that time of the year, and its more heated than ever. Don't get left behind to wonder where you were during this historic moment. Here are some tips on getting started in the political world.

Pick a Side - You have to decide if you want to be a bleed-you-dry liberal, or a warmongering conservative. That or a nut job independent, but in that case you might as well not get involved.

Get a Bumper Sticker - Make sure it is the only one on your car. Your message of unwavering support should not be tarnished by the "I'm Going Nuckin Futs" sticker beside it.

Attract Supporters - Convince people they are wrong and dumb and you are more correct about the world. If this works, then they really are most likely dumb.

Keep Up on Current Events - This way you can say things like, "Did you hear about what was going on in Kyshashstan. Only has a definitive plan to deal with the ongoing situation."

Donate - Every dollar makes a difference towards the goal of most money ever wasted on advertising.

Argue, Argue, Argue - When your rival gets out of hand, cut off their mic. If you don't have your own talk show, simply drown out the other party with insults and loudness. It works just as well.

Vote - P. Diddy demands it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hawaii No-Go

Humans are conditioned to their environments for good or bad. If someone hates their job at Astonishing Solutions Inc, they quit and get a job across the street at Incredible Software Corp. Few decisions in life toss us out of our comfort zone. Why are risks and changes such a dreaded part of life?

I could pack up today, take out my savings, and fly to Hawaii, where I spend the rest of my days bartending and surfing. Sure there is a risk, but if it all fails, I could fly back home and pick up where I left off. I could go live a simple, low-stress life, but there are too many things holding me back. I just learned the layout of the new Sam's Club.

Life does not have to be as complicated as we make it. We hold ourselves down with meaningless restraints.

So will I move to Hawaii? No, I have family and friends that I would not want to leave, and they are too cowardly to take the journey with me. Without them though, I would definitely start a new life in a far away land...or maybe just a few towns over. All my clothes are for this climate. I wouldn't want to have to get an entirely new wardrobe.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Better With Age

First job, graduation, kids, laughing at Jay Leno. There are certain moments that define our aging. There are a few less talked about moments when I realized I was getting older.

When I found myself staring at advanced alien rocket equations on the white board. It was the moment when all those lectures from the movies were put into perspective. The weird symbols made sense and half the time Ben Stein was literally teaching the class.

When I stopped being ordered around and starting having conversations. Instead of "go move that box to the front", it was "do you think you should move that box to the front?" That way, weaseling out of situations required less excuses and more big words. "I think that it would be harder to calibrate in that situation. We better just leave it where it is."

When food began costing money. "Wait one second. You're telling me I have to pay for this bologna sandwich? I thought those things were always just hanging out in the refrigerator."

The amazing qualities of youth are often overemphasized. With the vitality, you also carry awkwardness, insecurity, and ignorance. Every age has it's benefit. I've often wished I could be back at a certain time or place, but I've never wished to be my old self.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Calorie Crazy

It is so hard to stay healthy in America. The system is unintentionally designed to keep us fat. Many factors contribute to this.

The first problem is that health is not easy. Small neighborhood markets no longer exist. You have to push your way through a giant store to get to produce that will go bad in three days. If you just buy frozen food instead, you won't have to repeat the nightmare again for another month.

Another issue is price. My healthy side says to get a salad when I'm out. My good shopper side says that if I use the dollar menu, I can get a bag of burgers for cheaper.

The final issue is obviously the deliciousness of fatty foods. I can't help it. A bucket of grease on a wad of meat is the best thing in the world.

I don't even want to get into working out. Talk about a hassle.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Political Yahtzee

Politics these days really is amazing. It is no longer about a decent person coming forward to lead the country. It is more like a game of chess between two ad agencies where each move is crucial.

In the old days it was possible to make mistakes. A candidate could get up on stage and accidentally threaten the pope, and it may not even be reported on. Now everything is being taped. A presidential candidate cannot play Yahtzee with his family without it ending up on youTube.

Instead of it being about a single person, it is about the dozens of people sitting in a room figuring out a strategy to take down their opponent through subtle hints and downright attacks.

Everyone knew in advance what McCain's move would be yesterday. It still worked like a charm. It was like Obama's speech never existed. Now the ball is in Obama's court. Let's see if all this basketball he's been practicing will pay off.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Funny Bone

Humor is an integral part of human life. We all strive to laugh and enjoy ourselves, but there is a lot involved.

The great thing about humor is the risk that is required. When you make a statement like "South Africa is really going through hard times", there is no risk. When you add "that's because you can't get much harder than diamonds", you put yourself out there to face ridicule, and even worse, silence. Make jokes like that too many times and you will end up without friends.

Everyone's sense of humor is different. By telling a joke, you may end up insulting someone. I've never understood how insulted some people can get by comedy. They are trying to make you laugh, not attacking your kids with a bat. No need to burst into flames.

Comedians are some of the bravest people on Earth. If you boo a bad band, you are a jerk. If you boo a bad comedian, you are just part of the crowd.

Refusing to be funny, on the other hand, labels you as boring. Damn us complex humans. It's all just a giant balance act.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Each Their Own

One of the things that makes the world interesting is how different people are from one another. For all of our similarities, there is a distinctive uniqueness in each of our personalities.

The proof comes in the form of television documentaries. We all know there are medical experts and political experts, but when it comes to more obscure topics, you can still find that expert you need. The Discovery Channel is doing a documentary on frogs and they need a frog saliva expert for one of their segments? No problem. Somebody out there has devoted their life to this topic.

An expert on staplers? Pez dispensers? Cuisine in 1568? Aquaman? I'm sure these people exist, and would be willing to speak to a camera about what they know.

If anyone needs an expert on MS Paint, I'm your guy to come to. I may not be particularly proud of the ability I picked up years ago, but if The Science Channel came to me, I would be willing to explain all about the airbrush.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Like the rest of the media, I was unsure about how Clinton's speech would go over. Would she unite the party? Would see speak positively of Obama? To my horror the answer to these was "yes". I had no way of knowing a politician like Hillary would do this. Honestly, I made a huge mistake. I wrote my blog last night before the speech started, and have learned to never make assumptions again. I have no time today to make revisions, so I apologize for the inaccuracies in my "recollection" of events.

The second I saw Senator Clinton walk onto the stage I knew the night would be a disaster. Her "Clinton-Clinton '08" shirt was completely inappropriate. Calling Obama's change equivalent to the change brought on by an outbreak of Ebola was just downright mean.

The real shocker was when McCain took the stage and high-fived Hillary. That just has no place at a Democratic convention.

Just when I thought the worst was over, violence erupted on the floor. Hillary yelled to her supporters to attack anyone wearing an Obama shirt. Delegates clashed with each other, thrusting their signs and ripping off pins. The one positive moment was Clinton's quote, "You'll need universal health care when I'm done with you". I thought it was brilliant tie-in.

Why this year, with so much on the line, did the Democrats not come together? Why wasn't Hillary's speech unifying? Why Hillary, why?

Once again, I apologize for my mistake. Clinton made huge strides to unify the Democrats. I am just as shocked as all the commentators were. I'm still waiting for Bill's speech though. We all know he's a loose canon and could say anything about Barack.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

List O' Shame

Awkwardness is a part of life, and I have had my share of uncomfortable situations. I would like to painfully reflect on some of the levels of awkwardness.

-A failed high five. The weird miss/half slap that makes both parties feel lame.

-An elevator ride with someone from work you barely know. Trapped in a box of tension.

-The "not sure what your level of comfort is" embrace. Not as bad when you embrace the same way, but very uncomfortable when one goes in for a handshake while the other tries for a hug.

-The "I used to know you but never very well" ignore. When you recognize someone but don't want to talk to them. It takes a lot of concentration to pretend like you never noticed them, but you both know.

-The "I used to know you but never very well" embrace. It goes very well for the first minute, but quickly turns horrific when you realize there is no easy way to leave the conversation. "Well, I'll see you again someday maybe..."

-Accidentally responding to something not directed at you. "Oh you were waving to the person behind me. Excuse me while I crawl into a ball in the corner."

I would like to say that all failures make us stronger, but thinking back to every embarrassing situation is like a kick in the stomach. Much better to just block them out of my memory. Excuse me while I go make a fool out of myself.

Monday, August 25, 2008

School of Rock

Our schools are failing and it will have dire consequences for our future. A country with a good education system can overcome economic hardships because the workforce has useful skills that will be needed again in time. A country with poor education could end up getting lost in the world. What is the problem?

Unlike almost every other job in America, teachers pay is based on the amount of time employed, not on skill or effort. That means that the old grungy woman complaining about her husband is earning more money than the young exuberant professional trying to make a difference for her students. That's not to say experience does not play a part. I had some wonderful teachers who were older and knew exactly what they were doing. The issue is that some did not care anymore. One teacher I had would read the class a long article in the newspaper every morning in a tone that would put a cokehead to sleep. I would wake up drowned in a puddle of drool.

Another problem is the system is easily manipulated. The most handy thing I ever learned was how to pass a class without ever reading or paying attention. It helped me to get by later on and never actually learn useful skills, but pretend like I did. This is a tricky situation. Kids are a lot smarter than you think. It may look like they are daydreaming, but really they are thinking of ways to overthrow the system.

Money is not the problem. There are situations where materials are old and falling apart that it would be nice to get a few more books, but if kids in other countries can learn calculus with a rock and a piece of bark, then a few ripped pages is not the issue. The problem is the culture. It is cool to be stupid and nice looking books cannot do anything about that.

This is a difficult problem to solve, but it is essential for the future. The education system is like a failing business, and the only way to turn it around is to get in new ideas and completely reinvent everything.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Confessions of a Tenuous Blogger

Writing a blog is an interesting experience. I didn't put much thought into it before I started. I figured I enjoyed writing and it would come more naturally as I progressed.

I never realized how short my list of interesting thoughts was.

I do not want to talk about my life. It's hard enough to listen to people I know complain about their problems. When I stumble across someone online I've never met complaining about their life, my fingers abort before my brain can even process what just happened.

I do not want to spend all my time commenting on things I've read online. Fark has links to much more interesting articles than I could ever find.

So I'm left with issues such as society, politics, entertainment, and everyday things I hope people relate to. It hasn't been too difficult to maintain so far, but I can feel repeats and contradictions coming on. Hopefully it helps me organize all these things swirling around in my head.

Now on to topics more people can relate to.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An Ensemble of Issues

I think of a lot of things that are amusing as a short mention, but have little appeal in long narratives. Combined, however, they are a strong team.

-I don't know if the mythical "correctly aligned shopping cart" exists, but I have never run across it. As I walk through the grocery store, I spend more energy keeping my cart from veering left into the canned foods than I do picking out what I need. In my opinion, One-Legged Larry the shopping cart tester needs to find a new occupation.

-Searching for a cheaper gas station is one of the most asinine topics commonly discussed in public. The prices vary so little that when you haul your SUV an extra mile to save 3 cents you have spent more money in the process. Opportunity cost! It's taught in every high school in America, yet no one was awake.

-If a news site promotes an article with an image, the link should take you to an article with that image. When I see a tiny picture of two girls barely holding onto a rope in the middle of a hurricane, I want a larger image, not a picture of blowing trees. That's misleading the public.

-The chips per bag in vending machines has drastically decreased over the years. Now I'm spending money on a bag pumped with air and 4 and a half chips throw inside.

I thought of many more topics, but I forget to write them down, so they are gone forever, or at least until it happens to me again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The American Slug

We live in a society that promotes the idea that no one can be bound to a certain life by their birth. Everyone has the opportunity to rise up and be great. It would be wonderful if hard work was the determining factor in success, but genetics always weasel their way into the picture.

The kid in the back of the class chewing on his notebook will probably never be an astronaut, despite his undaunted determination. Astronauts are required to know advanced math and to avoid chewing on the expensive equipment.

I played basketball for most of my life and had big dreams, but when I realized I had stopped growing and was a slow runner, I could see the writing on the wall. No matter how long I practiced my shot I would never make it in the basketball world. Look up J.J. Redick for my best case scenario.

Usain Bolt, the fastest runner in the world, was just destined for greatness. For the first few races I thought his nickname was just "The Jamaican Bolt". No, his actual name is Bolt. How could anyone ever compete against that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to Survive the Tough Economy

It was recently reported by one of the top economists in the country that the worst is yet to come in the mortgage crisis, and that a major US bank will fail in the coming months. I want to offer some advice to anyone out there worried about your money.

A small initial investment of an electric fence will yield big results when debt collectors come around.

Cancel your expensive HD sports package...I'm just kidding, try making your kids pay rent.

Sell your Beanie Babies for scraps.

Vote for the candidate who has real answers for our economy...Jim Cramer.

Take your money out of stocks and bonds and invest in lottery tickets.

Learn a useful skill, like sucking up to the Chinese.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Habits of Highly Abnormal People

How similar are my bathroom habits to the rest of the human race? It's a solo experience. I've never read a book on it. How would I know if the proper etiquette was to fold toilet paper into a little swan before usage?

I was blissfully unaware that I was holding my kitchen utensils wrong until an embarrassingly older age. I had been using the shovel grip, as I found it to be the most efficient way for scooping huge portions of food into my mouth. Maybe I'm less perceptive than most, but I never noticed I was eating differently.

I also never realized that I drink bottles with the side of my mouth. No one informed me for years that it looked like I either had a mouth injury, or was European.

The thing that usually gives me comfort is the feeling that given a certain situation, almost everyone will respond the same way. Call it instinct, or the shared human experience, but I figure my thoughts and actions are the same as others all around the world. That's why I'm sure that like me, most people tie their pants around their heads in the bathroom to avoid any mess.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Deciding something is "pointless" is all a matter of perception. I saw two things yesterday that were absurd to me at the time. One was a town that created the largest Dairy Queen Blizzard of all time. The other was a man who has devoted his life to creating art out of old gum.

Why do I think these people are so ridiculous? I'm laying on my bed watching TV in my underwear and these people are outside mixing 40 tons of ice cream. At least they are getting exercise. We tend to think of stamp collectors and Trekkies as losers. If they had just devoted their time to bouncing a ball on their foot instead of learning Vulcan they would be admired by people everywhere.

If you throw a basketball into a hoop for hours on end you are hard-working and dedicated. If you replace that basketball with a whiffle ball, you are considered special. The standards are pretty tight.

The Olympics have really highlighted the differences in what cultures see as important. Who would have thought that being really good in badminton or table tennis would get you anywhere in life? Maybe the Chinese felt the same way about swimming.

If making a giant Blizzard is what make someone happy, why should they feel weird about it? I say keep it up. If you want to flood downtown Denver with ice cream, just make sure you mixed in some Butterfinger chunks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Critical Thinking

There are times when it's really quiet and I can really start to think that I feel like a stunning idea is about to cross my mind. Like I'm just one neuron away from revolutionizing mankind.

It's a long shot. What could I possibly think of that billions of people over thousands of years missed. Socrates and Nietzsche
could sit and think for hours. I have a the attention span of a infant squirrel.

Still, what if I have one odd brain cell that helps me understand spacetime like nobody else. An extra little push to compose a breathtaking song. I just sit and think.

Then I begin to hum a song from a commercial I saw earlier. Apparently I'm just bored

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Road To Ruin

Pursuit of happiness is an ugly phrase. Jefferson made a mistake when he included it in the founding of our country. There is no pursuit of happiness. There is no magic road to travel down towards bliss.

Over the years, people have tried to quantify happiness so that others could pursue this goal given to them by their glorious nation. With advertising it turned into: happiness is a car, or toaster, or gym membership. When individuals reach this mythical goal of being able to have anything, they realize they aren't any happier than before. They either set a new goal, fame or power, or sink into an empty feeling.

Jefferson should have wrote about the pursuit of health, stability, safety, or jets big enough to play 9 holes of golf on. If happiness was a quest, Americans would be laughing and skipping around. Happiness is not a pursuit, it is a state of mind.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

It took me a while to get my head around the Georgia/Russian conflict, but I finally did enough research to understand (I ran across the Wikipedia article). I will try to explain it in simple terms.

Georgia is me, Russia is a guy named Bob, and South Ossentia is a bologna sandwich. I own a bologna sandwich, but Bob tells me I am not allowed to touch it. One day, I am really hungry and I take a bite out of it. Bob beats me until I am unconscious.

Was the sandwich really the issue? Was Bob pissed off because I was doing well and he hadn't been cool since the '80s? Was he mad that I was building a pipeline that bypassed him when shipping oil from Azerbaijan to the West? No one knows for sure.

People in the Caucasus really need to start mingling with one another. At least start hanging out at the same malls.

If people in Milwaukee looked different, spoke another language, and were living off of radishes, then they would probably attempt to break free from the vicious rule of Wisconsin.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fully Developed

A "Developing Country" is a nation that actually has to use its workforce to make useful items. A "Developed Country" is a nation that uses its workforce to discuss and pass around the items that other countries have made.

Money is now just digits in a database. We have invented a genius system where someone gives us a bunch of things we need, and in return we give them a couple numbers on the computer. The United States imports far more than it exports. That's like giving someone a yo-yo, getting a Wii in return, and calling it a fair trade.

If the whole system were to collapse, who would actually be useful?

Bankers would obviously be gone, along with anyone working with the stock market, finances, investment firms, or insurance.

No more salesmen, advertisers, or marketers. All of them just move around other country's products.

Goodbye to the huge portion of the software industry that deals with banks and insurance.

After all the other related jobs are gone, we are left with small pockets of resistance. The few independent bakers and butchers left. Farmers in the midwest. The small yo-yo manufacturers. Wait, all yo-yos are now made in Taiwan. I take it back, they just give us the Wii and yo-yo for free.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Seven Forgotten Virtues

Our civilization has almost completely disregarded all virtues that were once held holy. How far have we really wavered from our moral paths?

Chastity: A practice long commended by celebrities right up until they turn 18 and enter a new sexy phase. When popular movies are treating chastity like a curse we know that sins and virtues have been flipped and we are living in an upside down world.

Liberality: The phrase "donate to charity" has not been uttered without mentioning "tax write-off" in years. Trying to change the world has already been done. Go back to the 60's you hippie.

Temperance: If God did not want me to eat so much that I threw up, then why did he allow all-you-can-eat buffets to exist. The seven virtues were created previous to the invention of the buffalo wing.

Kindness: When abandoned puppy commercials are more sad than starving African children, we know we are digging our way to a new moral low.

Diligence: Replaced with a wonderland of procrastination known as the internet. We try to make time for work in between reading news stories and watching funny videos.

Humility: The last music video where the performer wore less than 2 million dollars in accessories was in 1992. Our heroes wear diamond shoelaces and drive million dollar cars. I wonder how much the Batmobile or an actual lunar rover would cost to buy.

Patience: Have you ever stood in the returns line at Wal-Mart? Forget it, I'll just keep the broken iPhone.

Our morals have been flipped around. Here's where I wrote about the sins a few months ago:
The Seven Essential Sins

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Conspiracy Nuts and Bolts

The internet empowers the stupidest amongst us to raise up and be heard. The idiot revolution is starting to gain momentum, and we need to put down before it's too late.

Idiots are no longer confined to their homes, complaining to anyone within earshot about how the government has just approved a plan to put tracking devices in every person's head. They have a platform to spread their ideas to the world.

Whenever I watch a documentary online about global conspiracies I'm usually very intrigued. Everyone wants to solve a mystery, and what's better than a worldwide mystery.

After the documentary is over I usually do a quick fact check, and find that I have completely wasted two hours of my life. They had to have stumbled across a complete contradiction to their claims somewhere along the line. It's like these online conspiracy nuts are blindfolded and swinging randomly at a pinata that does not exist.

I don't want my government removed because there is a fear they are really lizard people. Even if they turn out to be lizard people I don't really mind. Lizards are notoriously skilled at economics.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Legends

Blockbuster movies can make millions, and bands can sell out stadiums, but they are no more legendary than the serial novelists who outsold Ernest Hemingway. Few masterpieces break through the centuries like Beethoven and da Vinci, but those that do are a window into a certain time period. I don't want my time to be marked only by politics and war. I want future generations to see the creative passion of my time.

What happened to our legends? Were the Bob Dylans and John Lennons born from some perfect melding of post-war establishment rebellion and LSD induced creativity? Is today's society, run by former hippies, which encourages free expression and questioning authority, actually hampering the rise of a new generation of icons?

Did the paparazzi kill them? Was the mythology behind Hendrix due to the fact that there was still mystery and every move he made wasn't captured by a horde of photographers?

Is the market oversaturated? Recording used to be expensive, but can now be done by any twelve-year-old with a computer. If every laptop could start printing out gold bars, even a mountain of gold wouldn't look that impressive.

Has everything been done? Has popular music run its course? Is even the most innovative music just taking old songs and dressing them up in new ways?

Maybe my kids will look at today's stars and wished they had lived now so they could see them play. Maybe it just takes time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Cost of Fame: $0

Today's celebrity: All the isolation and lack of privacy as stars of the past with none of that pesky admiration or respect.

At an age where hundreds of channels, movies, and websites are touting new celebrities daily, fame is not hard to come by, but the benefits of that fame are rapidly diminishing.

The reason celebrities are not as rich and beautiful as before is because beauty and achievement are no longer requirements of stardom. Long ago, when celebrities stopped doing important things, their publicity would stop. They would have to demolish a town on elephant back, or hijack a train full of pandas to get a mention in the press again. Now, going to a pet supermarket constitutes breaking news.

I don't expect the public to idolize the most talented authors or artists. Anyone with passion, dedication, or creativity will do just fine. Too bad apathy and stupidity are in season.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

China Rising

When Bush said it would be easier if the US was a dictatorship he had a good point. China had a much easier time putting together the Olympics than most other countries. China may not be a dictatorship, but lets just say it can be dictatorshipish.

When citizens can't petition the government because you encased the entire poor part of town in concrete, there are few obstacles in planning. China did not need to go through a hearing about why 30,000 fireworks were bought with taxpayer money. If the Chinese government wants 30,000 fireworks, the Chinese government gets 30,000 fireworks.

It works well on the nationwide scale, but not so much on the individual basis. I very much enjoy making sarcastic comments about my leaders, and I would fight to protect that right.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How to Look Environmentally Friendly

It is becoming cool to be environmentally concious. It is a great thing, because real change has to occur with a society, not just with the government or media. Not everyone has gotten rid of their gasoline powered refrigerators yet, and I don't want anyone to feel left out, so here are some ways to appear in the know:

Make things you already do in your daily life about the environment - "I really try to use less paper by emailing instead of writing out notes and sending them via carrier pidgeon."

Research facts to appear well informed - "Did you realize that Apple is switching to all flourecent light bulbs. It's just great how companies are moving towards more green solutions."

Throw out guilt trips - "You should consider installing solar panels. It really helps reduce your footprint."

Add "It's not the solution, but every little bit helps" to the end of every sentence about the environment or energy.

Complain your way out of embarrasment -
"Oh, you drive a pick up truck..."
"I know it's just ridiculous. These automobile manufacturers make no attempt to help our environment. Then are in it with the big oil companies. I need a big truck to get around and they make me choose between a gas guzzler and a tiny hybrid."

Now go out there and look green.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Good Times Are Killing Me

We are caught in an unavoidable trap of romanticized recollection of the past and optimistic hopes for the future. An onslaught of songs have told us to enjoy the day. We were not made to live in the present. We live in the past and future.

It's almost impossible to compete with other times. Real life can never live up to our selective memories. When I think back to high school I don't usually remember sitting in calculus class for two hours, slowly bobbing my head as the teacher droned on about integrals. I remember shooting water balloons at the gym class and getting caught sneaking off campus. Overall it feels like high school was just one extremely fun filled week. In reality it was a four year stay at a cesspool of insecurity and boredom.

The future is just as bad. I see all these dreams off in the distance and say, "Just wait until I get there, then everything will be great". When I get there, I will take a look from where I came and wish I had never left.

I do have fun and I'm happy with the time I'm in, but I always have to fight off my past and future selves, mocking me while I sit at work on another long day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Get Rich or Die Trying

The internet is an extremely interesting prospect for all the dreamers in the world who want to get rich quick. For the first time it is possible to start a successful company without any risk.

In the past, dreams of success required at least a little initiative. If you wanted to make millions selling delicious ice cream, you would need to go buy some milk, sugar, and rock salt, open up a stand, and wait around. The internet dream is like drawing a picture of an ice cream cone and hoping the cash will start flowing in.

Facebook is a testament to the new age of business. Mark Zuckerberg probably created other websites before Facebook, and would have probably created others if it had not been such a hit. When a business fails, the owner can go bankrupt. When a website fails, the user makes his way around forums to promote his next work of genius.

"I have a created an amazing new website. It's called It's fun and 90% of every dollar goes to getting me a freakin' X-Box 360."

A sure failure, but no worries. Just move on and create another waste of cyberspace.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's Going On

I thought I would summarize some of the events of the past week for those of you who have been on vacation or just hate to be informed about the world.

McCain comes up with ad idea mocking Obama's celebrity status using Dorothy Gish and Fay Wray. Realizing neither actress is still alive, McCain's aids secretly edit Paris Hilton into the commercial.

Obama throws out the race card, unaware that McCain was holding the "here he goes bring up race" card. It's +2 to blocking and +4 to irritation from suburban families. Very effective.

Morgan Freeman narrates his entire car accident and following emergency response, going so far as to drive his paramedics to tears with beautiful dialogue about the tragedies of life.

As athletes begin to arrive in China, concerns are raised about human rights, air pollution, and awakening ancient dragons.

A suspect in the anthrax case commits suicide. Good enough for us. Case closed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

You Say You Want a Revolution

It is in the human spirit to revolt. The youth have always looked for any way to take down the establishment. There is simply angst in human nature, and throwing rocks and flipping over cars is a way to release that anger.

The pre-Vietnam War-protesting hippies really showed that humans are hard to satisfy.

"Hey, join the family business, you will be able to buy a house, raise a family, and do whatever you want," the parents said.

"I'm tired of your oppression!" the kids yelled back, "I'm going to drop some acid and make mud angels to show you how I feel about your stupid 'job'."

It makes you wonder where the protesters are today. There is no lack of reasons to get involved.

Are the youth of today too drugged up on energy drinks and Halo to take a stand? It is a lot easier to take your aggression out on a gooey alien as opposed to the government. It doesn't require being gassed, arrested, or standing up.

I'm not asking for the streets to be filled with demonstrations. I enjoy being able to drive to work without "accidentally" running over people in my way. I just wonder where all that angst went.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Glass Case of Emotion

There are things we do that defy logic. Sometimes we move forward solely based on our emotions. Yesterday, as I was trapped in a epic struggle with a puzzle, stubbornness and frustration flowed through the air, suffocating anyone foolish enough to walk by.

When I was handed a cube with interlocking pieces and told to take it apart, no one was aware that my life was about to take a dramatic turn. My new goal, one that trumped all others, was to reassemble the cube. I could not rest until there were no loose pieces.

It's easy to watch from a distance and say, "it's just a stupid puzzle, just throw that thing away, I don't care". I realized the ridiculousness of my situation. The cube had no impact on my life whatsoever and I had more important things to do. It did not matter.

When I finally completed the puzzle much later, it was not a moment of triumph, more of a snap back into a reality. I felt I had wasted my time and had nothing to show for it. I don't know why I cared so much. I wasn't trying to prove anyone wrong. I wasn't even trying to prove myself wrong. I knew I could do it with enough time.

Thus is humanity, we may have foolish goals, but we are sure tenacious and stubborn. In the end, there really is no logic, only our emotional drives and some damn cubes that need assembling.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Television Blues

Congratulations everyone, we have finally done it. There is no longer anything on the airwaves that requires any thought. It was a long process, but we got rid of those stupid documentaries and annoying news reports.

When History Channel finally removed their last historical program and added on "Shockwave" I let out a cry of joy. At last, my dream of watching things explode on 6 channels simultaneously was achieved.

It was a matter of time before they connected with today's society. The ultimate sign of awesomeness was when the History Channel played a marathon of Monster Quest on memorial day. Nothing gives a huge middle finger to our fallen soldiers like a day of men claiming a 30 foot tall wolf is sending them hidden messages.

Viewers find pundits and special reports are far more interesting than journalists and news stories. The TV executives have finally given the public what they want.

Forget channel specific programming. No one wants music on MTV or history on The History Channel. I want Spike to be indistinguishable from PBS. Someone hand Jim Lehrer fireworks or something, I'm falling asleep over here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

King of Ramenia

The bar has been raised higher for each consecutive generation. Thousands of years ago, if you made it through the day without being eaten by a tiger you could call it a success. If you came home with some meat or fruit there was a celebration in store.

We have exploded past our survival days. Excluding cars, mortgage payments, and laser tag sessions, if you make $10 an hour you can keep yourself fed for a month after one day of work. If you told a farmer a few hundred years ago he could live a year off of 2 weeks of work, he would have burned you at the stake.

For any other time there were two options if you didn't want to work hard. You could be king, or you could be dead. Considering the fact that most kings who just sat around and ate all day ended up dead anyways, there was really only one option.

I've never plowed a field or haul giant bricks up a mountain. I make money without having to stand up. It is really quite ridiculous.

The world is not at the point where everyone can have 3 meals a day, but I think it is tiptoeing in a positive direction. Each new ramen factory brings us one step closer to ending world hunger.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another One Down the Tube

America is a democracy where we elect people like us to represent us. It is why voters choose someone they would enjoy having a beer with over a candidate who is out of touch. Explain then how 75% of Americans use the internet, yet an embarrassingly large number of leaders don't know the difference between an ethernet port and a DVD player.

I don't expect a senator to walk around holding an iPhone and talking on his BlueTooth, but I would like him to be able to know that the internet is more than "a series of tubes".

30 years ago, I would have expected my senators to at least be able to use a typewriter instead of scribbling things down with a quill pen. Everyone knew the internet would change the world over ten years ago. Five years ago you were either using the internet or living in a tree fort.

Here is a little instruction guide for getting online. Click the power button then click the little blue 'e' twice with the mouse.. No no, don't worry Ted Stevens, you won't break the internet.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama's Summer Vacation

We have all seen the clips over and over again of Obama's recent trip to the Middle East and Europe. The media picks 5 videos and replays them again and again. As a change, I have briefly highlighted some of the lesser known, but equally important moments of the Obama vacation:

Feeling left out, Fox News correspondents sneak aboard Obama's plane in the baggage compartment.

Jesse Jackson, disgusied as an Iraqi foreign minister, makes a lunge for Obama's nuts.

After 160 failed attempts, Lucas Film's CGI department steps in to help Obama hit a 3.

Obama fist pumps an Iraqi civilian, who is immediately arrested and taken to Guantanamo Bay.

McCain sees Bigfoot, but has no camera around to record the sighting.

Obama introduces Prime Minister Maliki as 'King of Arabia', makes a Hitler joke in his Berlin speech, and forgets to wear pants when visiting the Wailing Wall, confirming many pundit's fears that he is too inexperienced to be president.

In a last ditch effort, McCain challenges Obama to visit Paraguay before making comments on their new estate tax.

To no one's surprise, Obama rides home on a rainbow, showering Europe with gold as he flies away.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Determination is a Counting Clock

Procrastination is an unavoidable human trait. We like to think of procrastination primarily as applying to school, but its effects span much further.

PC entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could see the computer revolution coming with or without them, and knew their time was short. The ambitious young stock broker can feel his youth slipping away, so he yells "SELL, SELL" a little louder while jumping higher and waving his papers more frantically (imagery based on Trading Places). Old people who had no sense of urgency before will suddenly realize they are almost out of time and try to quickly glue something together. It almost never works and will inevitably fall apart.

If scientists could isolate and alter the 'sense of urgency' gene, we would all be working 13 hour days.

Clocks only have one job in life, so when one slaps me and says I'm running out of time, I listen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stupid Mayans...

The earth feels like a powder keg right now, and dozens of different individuals are holding matches. It's not just people either. I can just sense a rogue asteroid on it's way to destroy us. Too bad Bruce Willis isn't around to stop it again. Then there's the black holes, the super volcanoes, and the tiny evil viruses set free by mad scientists.

Maybe I'm paranoid, or maybe I'm just super paranoid, but I feel like things are getting really bad.

I wonder if it's in human nature to believe we are getting close to the end. We can see evidence that civilizations throughout the ages have believed they would see the end of days. There have been false accusations of the Antichrist cast at Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Ronald Regan, every single pope, Dan Marino, and each leader since the word was created.

I accept no blame for my paranoia. I am a product of the news, amature websites, and thousands of years of human nature. I think I need a lot more life insurance.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fact: Koolaid Causes Anxiety

Few things bother me as much as the media. I rarely make it through the day without slamming my head on the desk. Sometimes I feel like I'm the crazy one. Like I'm at a rally yelling, "can none of you see through his lies!", while the crowd stares at me in an uncomfortable silence.

One of the tricks reporters use is to skew the facts and statistics to unfairly support their story. Sure, most school shooters may play violent video games, but you can't stop at that fact. Frogger is long gone. A teenage boy is either playing GTA or Jigglypuff's Flowerland Adventure, and you would rather they own the former.

That kind of thing always annoyed me in school. I had consistently been told that it's a statistical fact that students who sit up front get better grades:
Sit In Back --> Bad Grades

There is a much easier reality to the statistics that doesn't require any kind of complicated theory:
Sit In Back <-- Don't Care --> Bad Grades

I'm not sure if reporting has ever been honest. There is always a romanticized notion that everything was better in the past. News has changed drastically though. The local newspaper or nightly news is no longer the only source of information. With so many reports bombarding us through cable news and the internet, it's hard to tell who's lying anymore.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Non Jackass Syndrome

I'm not a daredevil. A side of danger is nowhere in my personality. It's not that I'm scared of danger, it's that I'm an unfamiliar face to danger. As you learn in business, the new employees are always the first to go.

It is never the 20 year veteran sky diver who falls to his death. It's always the fearful first timer who was convinced to participate by his friends. I don't know whether its luck, or experience, but "It was such a freak accident, they swapped the parachute with a hello kitty backup," is more likely than, "he parachuted over a thousand times, it was inevitable."

Johnny Knoxville flips a flaming car into a pond of angry alligators and swims out with a bruised toe. A teen rides a skateboard into a lake and breaks his arm. Pain does not scare me into being plain. "Blogger dies in freak tricycle accident" does.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Flashbrella

The intelligence of our society is consistently challenged by the continued existence of infomercials. The fact that the inventors of infomercial products become millionaires is simply mind boggling.

I have never bought anything off the television, but from time to time the commercials catch me in their tractor beam. I have to grip onto the sofa before I'm sucked towards the phone. Someone tapes two bike wheels to a slinky and rolls around awkwardly on the floor as they claim that they can already feel their abs popping out.

I know the product doesn't work, and even if it did, I have no use for it, but the time in the corner is counting down. What if I change my mind and miss the opportunity? It really is a deal, they said I'll be saving $456. Tractor beam initiated.

As we speak, an inventor is soldering a flashlight to an umbrella, days away from taking a dive into money.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boycotting Logic

If a chef notices a cockroach on the floor of his restaurant, the last thing he should do is run around yelling to his customers to ignore the roach.

Its amazing to me the degree to which some people do not understand how the world works. The media absolutely loves protesting. Holding a protest against a product is much better than organizing a rally for it. We have seen this time and time again with radical books, risque music, and bloody video games.

I don't know what some people hope to accomplish by canceling an appearance from an outspoken guest. You have just successfully done the equivalent of coating the book in gold and crack.

I guess its just overwhelming anger that causes this reaction. If there were any logic involved, the participants would take a look into the past and say, "hey, has this ever worked?" The answer is yes, it is a wonderful promotion. Congratulations, you have turned an unknown author into a New York Times bestseller.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Diego Magic

Children's shows have always been filled with life lessons, positive stories, and underlying messages. There are explosions and insults, but the overall theme is good for kids. The message still exists today, with many of the same stories I grew up with remade, the same way they had been remade for me.

I have observed, however, things I see as problems in our society leaking into the programming. For every lesson of patients or sharing, there is a message of how important new phones are, or how glamorous popular airhead girls live their life.

Kid's channels compete for ratings the sames as news channels. If Nickelodeon has success with a program about an elephant performing magic tricks, Disney channel will put on a live action show with an entire zoo filled with wizards.

As our society becomes better consumers, we transfer the values to our children. A new generation of spoiled brats.

I understand the absurdity of thinking an entire generation will be tainted by TV shows. I grew up bombarded by food and toy commercials and I turned out well rounded. More on that after I throw away my old iPhone and take a trip to Best Buy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Olympic Flames

Every four years I go out and buy a mini American flag, cook up some popcorn, and plant myself in front of the television. Sports on 8 different channels played by people from all around the world, its truly a modern day miracle.

The buildup to the Olympics has started. An inspirational credit card commercial here, a heart-wrenching sports drink commercial there. By the time the first fireworks go off in the opening ceremony I'm salivating so hard that I have to put a bucket at my feet. Then it all starts and I remembered why every 4 years I ask the question, "Is that Olympic stuff still going on?"

I do enjoy many moments of the Olympics. Every once in a while I will catch an exciting basketball game, or a cool looking soccer goal. The other 95% of the time, I watch runners slowly trudge along on mile 125 of their 420 mile journey. As I observe nothing happening, I hear the same story over and over again about how the athlete overcame growing up in a wheel chair and eating rats to become their nation's greatest hero. Its a great story, it really is, but I can only watch it for so long before I start feeling bad about myself for wasting all the opportunities I have been giving by watching others succeed on TV while eating popcorn.

A few javelin throws and spinning dives later and I'm wondering where all the cool sports went. Why are those events I've never seen before only shown on 10 second replays aired at 3 AM? After an hour of a man lining up his crossbow I switch the channel.

Three years later, I forget everything, and get prepared for the Olympics once again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black and White Fight

Whenever I see old propaganda films, I can't help but think how ridiculous some ideas were and how oblivious the population could be. Then I remember how propaganda is as strong as ever and I begin to band my head against the wall.

I'm not striving to view the world through some Nihilistic lens, where there is no good or evil. There are bad people out there. I just think we get brainwashed a little.

Years ago, after hearing the same words over and over again on the news shows, radio programs, and hidden in Dennis Miller rants, I began to believe that Muslim extremists drank blood, flew with bat wings, and had uranium in their veins

To say that "Muslim fighters in Iraq have no goals, but to create chaos, kill innocents, and destroy democracy," is propaganda. It dehumanizes our human enemies, and turns a very colorful world black and white.

You can be pro war or anti war, but always remember that it is a strength to see the world through an opponent's eyes and a weakness to simply believe what you are told.

I apologize for such a serious topic that I found impossible to inject humor into, so I decided to include a joke. Two Muslims walk into a bar, then are imprisoned under Shria law for drinking alcohol. See, not funny.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beware the Maroon Kryptonite

Competition is the driving force of our lives, especially in our capitalist society. Everyone loves money; at least to a small degree, but what happens when money is not a big enough incentive? You end up eating a box of Cheez-Its on the couch and watching Judge Judy. I believe that revenge is a much stronger motivation than acceptance.

The greatness of a super hero is directly proportional to the power of the super-villains he battles. If Lex Luther had become a mortgage broker, Clarke Kent would have been a mediocre reporter with a bizarre fear of colored rocks.

This is why I am starting a business where people can rent out a nemesis. It would be no different than the idea of hiring a maid or a personal trainer. This nemesis-for-hire will play off a customer's frustrations and jealousies.

When the customer gets an email with the subject, "At least one of us can afford a vacation", with attached pictures of a trip to the Bahamas, he will finish his project and ask for a promotion, in hopes of someday sending the reply, "At least one of us can afford to live in Beverly Hills". A change of incentives is all some people need.

The idea would definitely work, but I don't think it's going to catch on. Most people wouldn't be able to afford a full time enemy, especially considering the crack down on illegal immigration.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day Tripper

Are peace and love for me? Would I have enjoyed being part of the hippy movement? I love the idea of the 60's. A cultural awakening, mass protests, and extraordinary music all peak my interest. It seems like it would have been fun to live in that time, but if I examine it closely, its not for me.

The pinnacle of that era would have to be Woodstock. I think every music lover would give anything to have been there, but once I sold my soul to hear Hendrix, would I be happy? Judging from my experience with music festivals, my anxiety when trapped between thousands of people, and my love of fresh water, food, and accessible restrooms, I would say no.

The LSD is always more colorful on the other side, as they say. I would say I'm satisfied with the time I'm in. It might be more fun to play the Playstation 5, but that would also involve wearing an air conditioned suit, and possibly battling renegade robots. I am happy with 2008.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Impedeial Intelligence

The theory of multiple intelligences has been around for a few decades now. It started with body, verbal, logical, natural, spatial, inter and intrapersonal, and musical. Many psychologists have included other intelligences. I am here to propose an additional one.

Impedeial Intelligence - The understanding of where you are in accordance to others, and the recognition of the difficulty for individuals to continue towards their current destination while avoiding collision with you.

Under this expanded theory, people who stop their car in the middle of a neighborhood street to wait for a friend while traffic piles up behind them have very low impedeial intelligence. Those who can sense a giant tray of h'ordeurves approaching from the back and duck behind a plant to make way have very high impedeial intelligence.

I am aware that there could be multiple problems with my theory. It may fall into the category of interpersonal, meaning that they know what they are doing, but don't have much compassion for others. It may also fall under a mixture of bodily-kinesthetic, logical, and spatial intelligences, but that's just too complicated.

My theory is dependent on the idea that some people who are kind and intelligent in other respects, have no idea they are blocking the way for others. So thank you ladies chatting in front of the elevator, forcing me to walk ten feet around you, you have just affected the field of psychology.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Avoid the Small Stuff

One thing I've learned from my life is that people who work especially hard to shield themselves from a certain problem usually have to confront it in the future to a greater degree.

I understand that sanitation is very important in our society and is directly related to a longer lifespan. Hospital workers should wash their hands and chefs should fully cook their meat. My only concern is what seems like the growing number of people who apply hand sanitizer every time before eating, after touching a door knob, and before watching TV. The growing number of people drinking only soy milk and avoiding any tomatoes not grown in the backyard.

If there is an outbreak of Ebola, you have my full support to bathe in distilled mineral water and eat nothing but tofu and cauliflower, but otherwise I think it is a waste of time and can actually be adverse to health.

This is just a small gripe within the larger problem of trying to seek protection from every single one of life's problems. While trying to shield ourselves and our kids, we are overstressing and destroying many of the great aspects of life.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ghosts of the Past

The belief that a change in views signals that the leader is either weak or has bad judgment is a huge mistake in our electoral process. Nowhere else is this true but in politics.

In a static world, sure, leaders could stick to one case without any problem. In the real world, however, a politician may support children eating asparagus one week, and then find out asparagus causes brain tumors the next.

If the public was rational, they could explain, "I had no idea that asparagus was dangerous. Before last week, there were only benefits", and they would understand. This is not the case, so politicians are forced to say things like, "As far as I can see, there is unsubstantial evidence in this asparagus controversy. I stand by my remarks and urge kids to eat more."

Could you imagine the types of problems this would bring up in normal life?

"You said you were going to take that art class. You must be a horrible person for deciding otherwise."

Despite the implications it may have for my political future by displaying my poor judgment, I rebuke my statement from years ago that Chumbawamba is "super awesome".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How to be Hated

Sometimes you may get tired of the "nice guy" routine. You may really want to have at least one person who just despises you. Here is a beginners guide to making enemies.

Be Obnoxious - Note actions that really get on people's nerves and continuously repeat them. Maybe you want to bring up things that happened only minutes earlier. Perhaps you know all the lines from a great movie? Use that to your advantage and keep others from enjoying the classics.

Have Opposite Viewpoints - If your associate loves the Yankees, proclaim your devotion to the Red Sox. If they support Obama, tell them you think that he's really a Muslim.

Come Off as Arrogant - Even if you have nothing to be particularly proud of, find something in your life to talk about for a long period of time. Try to always come off as working to impress others.

Have Horrible Taste - Tell everyone your favorite movie is Transporter 2 and you think Air Supply is possibly the greatest band in history.

Lie - Attempt to make up stories that are obviously untrue. Work on things that can be proven untrue, or are so unbelievable that after several different lies people think you are either a mix between Richard Branson and Batman, or are completely full of it.

Have "That Look" - Some people are just born with it, but others have to work at it. Gel back your hair and wear white sunglasses. Perhaps grow a pony-tail, or constantly go out shirtless.

Be Yourself - Even if you are the nicest person in the world, someone will find a reason to hate you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Operation Ceasar Salad

Shopping for me is like a military operation. Get in, grab the peanut butter, and get out before anyone knows what hit them. I always write out everything I need, number it by location, and rewrite it for maximum speed shopping. If I have time, I write out a map and use GPS to insure I'm meeting my objectives.

It's stereotypical to say, "Guys hate shopping". I don't hate shopping. I usually approach the situation optimistically, but after searching through racks of clothes for my size, I begin to develop a twitch. If a fitting room is involved, that twitch will develop into anxiety, dizziness, and, if it's shoe shopping, blackouts.

I don't know what it is about shopping that makes me queasy. It might be the florescent lights burning through my skin, or the strange smell coming from that one isle no one ever goes down. Until a doctor checks this problem out, I better take good care of my wardrobe.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Liar Liar Turban on Fire

We hear the same thing everyday on the news. Idealistic promises from the candidates and changes in rhetoric based on location and current events. There are many things to look out for when a candidate is not telling the truth.

Ending Taxes - Pretending the government doesn't need money. Would be an effective promise if not for the wars, social programs, infrastructure improvements, and millions of other ways the bureaucracy knows how to use up money. Hell, they need all the money they can get right now. Anyone have any loose change?
Phrases to look for: "This year's on us."

Fighting Poverty - Really needs to be done with an improved economy, but allowable in a kung fu context.
Phrases to look for: "When elected, I will implement an empty cans for gold program."

Total Peace in Iraq - They can't even stop drug wars two blocks from their offices. Iraqis have guns, and many times they will shoot anything in sight that's not holding a Quran.
Phrases to look for: "I swear, they're almost out of bullets."

Better Education - Good luck competing against youTube. A snowboarding squirrel beats a well paid teacher every time.
Phrases to look for: "Kids want to study, but their algebra books are a little wrinkled."

Experience to be President - An effective argument for Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush. Voting on bills doesn't count as training to command the most powerful military.
Phrases to look for: "I took a tour of the Oval Office, it doesn't look too hard to manage."

As a matter of fact, pretty much everything they say is a lie. They will really only sign a few "give children a better future" bills into law, and answer a lot of question about why so many people hate them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Laziness is almost like an illness. It prevents you from enjoying your day, can spread to others, and is a weak excuse for not helping a friend move.

If you don't get out of bed within the first hour of waking up, consider your day over. A relaxing weekend can easily turn into a food and boredom marathon. You'll roll over at 1 AM with a giant belly and Cheetos stains, and wonder where the day went. It can take an hour and a half just to work up the energy to get the mail.

There is a fine line between relaxation and laziness. I want to retire as early as possible, best case, tomorrow morning, but I know how easy it is to fall into a lifestyle of boredom. I will always try to make sure I have an active life. I will know I've hit rock bottom when it's struggle to brush my teeth.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Ancient Art of Geopolitics

If China is planning world domination, they are on the right track. In this new age of globalization, nations have begun to entirely rely on imports for some crucial products. China is on the leading edge of exporting, and as their cheap products come in, our homemade expensive products wave goodbye.

If China gets enough influence eventually, other countries will be powerless. "Really, you don't want us to invade Taiwan? Let me ask you this, do you enjoy bread?"

I'm not an opponent of globalization, but I am a little weary. When you control a country's Pop Tarts, do you not in turn control that country.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Department of Defense

I've wanted so much to hate Wal-Mart. It must be the small rebel side in me that desires to be anti-establishment. In the end though, I walk into another grocery store, see Easy Mac for $1.50, and scream, "you can go to hell with those prices!". It's 33¢ for generic Easy Mac at Wal-Mart.

You have to cut down trees to make cardboard, print labels onto the box, create noodles, create cheese-like powder, package everything, ship it in a giant Wal-Mart barge, and still have a profit margin when selling it for 33¢. That's not just good business. There's a wizard involved in the process somewhere.

I've seen documentaries on how evil Wal-Mart is. Low wages in China? If it's not forced labor, then obviously the workers are making more than other available jobs. Bad on the environment? How about the fact that the lumber I need is in the same place as new tennis shoes, ice cream sandwiches, and pool toys. No need to waste gas traveling between stores. That is, if I don't eat at the McDonald's by the front entrance first and use a motorized cart to get around.

The world has fought countless wars over resources. If I can feed myself for a month with $20 and Wal-Mart does not have to invade a country, I consider it a victory for everyone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

I forgot my cellphone at home today, and prayed that my car would make it to work and back. Years ago, I would have been fine. I knew phone numbers by heart, and I could either walk to a pay phone or someone would stop and help. These days, I would watch helplessly as cars zoomed by, probably splashing mud in my face for dramatic effect.

The sense of community has almost completely broken down. The average American assumes that someone in need already has help arriving from elsewhere, and does not need to intervene. This is a result of technology, government intervention, and frankly, pure laziness. There is a name for this "someone else probably called the cops already" kind of mob mentality, but I can't remember it.

I was pumping gas the other day, and realized that someone in a panda costume could mug me with a sword at that moment, in broad daylight with people all around, and nobody would make eye contact. This may or may not be true, but either way I would not be shocked, and it would be a great story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Casper Quest

My eyes stayed transfixed on the television as the camera slowly looked around. The thermal infrared camera picked up varying patches of heat around the room! A sure sign of ghosts! Then the hunters played back audio from a cassette they had left on the bed. Someone definitely said "Get out now". That or "My name is Emily", or maybe it was a cough. All in all, the proof of paranormal was overwhelming.

I am a true believer in ghosts. I have even taken pictures that contain ghost orbs. Sure, some people may say its just the camera's flash bouncing off dust, but aren't ghost orbs a much more believable explanation than that crackpot science.

Electronic voice phenomenon is just more proof. It may sound like static and be interpreted a million ways, but I'm pretty sure the one that fits the storyline is the right analysis.

Luckily the ghost hunters have an amazing ability to scare away ghosts when they turn the camera on, never to be seen on film. I respect the ghost hunters for the great service they are doing for our planet. Without them, spirits would be roaming the streets.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Election Fatigue

I don't know whether it's because it is a dull point in the election season, or because I have just burnt myself out, but I'm not very interested in politics at the moment.

In the heat of the primary campaigns I was glued to 24 hour news networks. I constantly checked various internet news sites for any updates. "Oh my goodness, Obama just ate an english muffin, I better check and see what everyone has to say about it."

Now I hear about someone promising to bomb somewhere or using a bunch of money on something and instead of reading about it, I go and check how much money Hancock made over the weekend.

Maybe one of the candidates could promise to invade Finland. I'd watch a news story about that. Hopefully the conventions and debates renew the excitement in me. I enjoy politics, but apparently I'm a fairweather fan.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Diamond-Encrusted Coffee Straw

Does money corrupt, or do corrupt people have the easiest time making money? I've never understood the amount of excess in the country. It may be naive of me to say, but I will never need a gold toilet.

There is a cap on the amount of money I want to have. This amount is enough for me to live a middle-class life off of the interest, spending the free time from work to do whatever I want. The problem with millionaires and billionaires might be that they have no preexisting goal. They just live aimlessly, pursuing their ambition of having more money.

The problem is also from the people they surround themselves with. Competition can drive consumerism. If someone buys a giant flat-screen TV, their neighbor wants a giant flat-screen HDTV. In that same scenario with someone who has money to blow, they would buy an HDTV that possibly goes around and devours all lesser TVs. Technology like that is not even out of Japan yet. It would cost thousands to bring to America.

So the trick for staying down to earth is to set goals, have poor friends, and defending your television from Japanese robots.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gladiator For Sale: Great Condition

The lifecycle of any fad is:
Underground -> Trendy -> Excessive Media Coverage On the Trendiness -> Assault by Greedy Entrepreneurs -> Withering Away

Back in the 60's, the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco was the Mecca of grooviness. Hippies developed a new culture there that was unlike anything before. The media discovered this strange place, and in the great tradition of parading abnormality, extensively covered the city. Drug dealers and con-men soon moved in and ruined the area.

This formula applies to websites. If you really try to think back, Myspace wasn't always a cesspool of advertising, viruses, and frustration. Before CNN stumbled across it while looking for pictures of OJ it was new and interesting. Before I knew it, my inbox was full of friend requests from girls like "Joy" and "Alexis" who wanted to show me pictures of themselves. I went through 4 computers until I figured out I wasn't as popular as I had thought.

If you even look far back in history you can see this trend. Rome started out as a new, hip city with a lot going for it. As word spread (mostly through sharp or fiery means), barbarians saw a chance to make really fast money. As people entered the city with job opportunities ranging from looter to violent looter, interest in the city quickly fell through.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Passion of the Chrysler

There are certain things that people are extremely passionate about that I have never gotten into myself. Whenever someone approaches me about them, I always have to pretend like I am really interested, while hiding that I know nothing about the topic.

One of these passions is cars. I have never caught the automobile bug. I don't want my car to look like a coal plant from the 1920's, rusted out and spewing smoke, but I don't care if it sounds like a lion or not when I turn it on.

Another one is fireworks. Watching firework displays is great. I've seen some fantastic shows. Buying fireworks is not so great. If I'm going to spend a few thousand dollars on something that only has a lifespan of seconds, I would much rather buy a used car and smash it with a hammer.

Some people go all out with fireworks. I thank them for the entertainment, but it was free for me and very costly for them. I would not give up new laptop kind of money so that I could be the one who holds the lighter.

I'm sure there are a lot of passions I have that others do not, but at least mine don't cost me countless paychecks. They just prevent me from having time to sleep.

Friday, July 4, 2008

America's Dominion Day

Today is Independence Day for all us Americans. A day when we celebrate how we outlasted a group of soldiers in bright red coats who traveled thousands of miles in a rickety boat to stand in a straight line during battles.

I will be using my 4th of July to reflect on all the wonderful hot dogs and hamburgers this country has given me. Also, potato salad as long as there is no celery.

We may not be perfect, we have started a few wars, thrown people off their land, and every once in a while poured water on a few prisoners, but we stopped Hitler and Stalin, invented the car, light bulb, and internet, created Baywatch, and could probably beat any other country in a tug-of-war. That includes you Albania.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Information Implosion

The internet can be extremely frustrating. I am at a point where I expect all information in the universe to be at my fingertips, and when something is unavailable I feel scared and vulnerable.

I don't personally ever do things for the greater online good like update Wikipedia, but I commend those who do. It's great to think, "what's that one guy from the band...the guy who sang that one song about mountains...", and end up with the right name. It's like playing word association with Ken Jennings. (I couldn't remember his name. I had to type in "Jeopardy Winner"). The internet makes anyone a master of references.

I always forget about limitations of the internet, however. Searches like, "that kid from my third grade class with the red hair", rarely result in correct information. I'm still waiting for all information to be available. Don't get me wrong, I believe in privacy, just not when it affects things I want to know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Debate Crashers

One of the worst things someone could ever do to you is take your side in an argument when they are completely uniformed. I would rather the person insult me and kick my chair over. At least that way I'm not prescribed Prozac when I tackle them to the ground.

"The new highway plan is a horrible idea."
"Yeah, it's all just so the government can make more money. The more homes the governor destroys with this highway, the more millions of dollars he makes. I know he's tied in with the oil companies."
"Okay...well I really just meant the noise would be a bother."

With little effort, that person took my credibility from Brian Williams to Geraldo Rivera in under 20 seconds. Argument over, the insane side loses. Usually anything over a 1 on 1 argument is bad news. There is no consistency in the argument, just multiple confusing views. I'm sure commentators on TV feel the same way.

I think a more effective argument style is just to take sides with the opposing view, tie in a few 9/11 conspiracy theories, and feel proud that I ruined the day of someone I don't like.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Motivation is a Warm Cup

I am not lazy, but my motivation does come at inopportune times. I feel like running a triathlon when I have a broken leg, or I want to write music when a marathon of The Office is on television.

I'd assume that most of my motivation is natural and would be a consistent trait if television didn't pound it into submission every night. A chart of television affordability vs. American innovation would probably be inversely proportional. Its hard to invent an amazing product when American Idol is on.

It is no coincidence that some of the richest people started out dirt poor. Cable is expensive. A screw driver and a Diet Coke are cheap.

The most obvious problem with motivation is the tiredness factor. After a full day of work which involved a 3:00 skittles and coffee binge, I turn from a coked up stock broker to a Buddhist monk.

"I'm tired, so why concern myself with becoming successful? What is important is my happiness NOW. Also, Mad Max just came on."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Alert: New Danger TBA

Driving today, I played a game of mental connect-the-dots. Somehow I ended up thinking about the issue of the elderly and driver's licenses. It's an old issue that was extensively covered 2 year ago. It was a hot topic being talked about in 24-hour cable debates, TV headlines, and internet articles. Then, it all died away. Was it that the elderly stopped getting into accidents? I find it hard to believe that there were tons of incidences involving seniors crashing into circus tents full of disabled children one week, and then the next week everything was safe and sound.

This brought to mind all the hullabaloo about contaminated Chinese products coming to America last summer. Though there is still a little discussion, the fad seems to have died away. It started out serious, with lead paint on children's toys. By the time the story began dying away, newscasters were pulling out anything they could get their hands on.

The media is like a class of cheating students back in school. There must be some smart journalist who is getting the new scoops, and all the other networks watch and change some of the answers so its not obvious they copied.

News stations don't currently seem to be clawing too hard for a new topic. The elections are keeping them busy. There are all kinds of scoops, from the candidates' favorite pastas to least favorite Michael Bolton songs. Piles and piles of useless news are just lying around, waiting for another dry spell.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Lasso Made of Words

Ensnaring people in a conversation is an art form. I have neither the knowhow or the energy to capture an individual with my words. Some people can keep you trapped for an hour. I commend them for their talent, but also fear for my life when they pass by.

I have already been trapped in two long conversations this morning. I don't know what it is about today, but I must look eager to have a heart-to-heart. When I'm talking, I always give the listener a chance to abandon ship. After five minutes of solo speaking, unless there is a crowd gathering around, your listener is daydreaming about all the productive things they could be doing instead of hearing your story.

The fact that most humans would prefer hear their own voice is one of those huge shames in life. If you really want your listener to care, you better have something really good to talk about.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Keeping track of my passwords is getting more and more difficult. I have about 10 separate passwords. I have one for my home computer, work computer, email, punch-card page, and two for online banking. Those are just the ones I go on daily. I have many additional assorted ones. The worst part is most of those have to be changed consistently, so that no one can secretly read my emails while punching me out for an hour lunch break.

The problem with a desire for a universal password is that every site seems to have a different requirement for passwords. My main password has no numbers. Some sites require at least one or two. Some sites make you put in a capital letter. Others require you to have at least one Bob Dylan reference in your password.

Until I figure out a password that contains letters, numbers, symbols, at least one Waynes brother, is less than 6 characters, and is more than 7 characters, I'm out of luck.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Freshman Friday

I wonder how the process of easing a new individual into the presidency works. The election portion is well covered through television, radio, newspapers, flyers, water-cooler discussions, cereal boxes, action figures, etc., but there is not as much discussion of the first few days in office. When does he get to learn all the dirty little secrets.

One method of getting the new president up to date would be to throw out all the information at once. It would be a lot of unsettling news, but it would avert many uncomfortable situation. "Mr. President, may I introduce Jimmy Hoffa. Oh really...I could have sworn we told you. Must have slipped my mind." I actually bet that I would be let down from what I learned. There was probably a lone gunman, no UFO cover up, and a real moon landing.

Easing a president into the information would probably be safer, but makes you question who really runs the government.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Same Show, New Washed Up Celebrities

It's amazing to me that shows like American Idol don't update. It would be easy to change the format in exciting ways while the show is still successful. Instead, they ride the show until it nosedives into a flaming pile of overused reality TV gags. By the time the producers realize they should have a Celebrity American Idol, an amazing new sitcom about people in their late 20's trying to find love in a big city will be spanking it in the ratings.

Shows that end in their prime always impress me. Seinfeld managed to recognize that Kramer sliding into the room would only be funny for 200 episodes or so. It was the late 90's, and people's tastes were becoming more refined. Observational humor was out, soon to be replaced by immunity challenges and scorpion eating.

The part that stings the most is that I guarantee the creativity/success connection is a very, very loose one. We want to believe that the most creative people get ahead, but that is not the case. If that were so, then explain Law and Order: Angry Spouse Adventures, or 98 Degrees. I think I'm still just angry because Arrested Development never caught on. The 1.3% of the population that watched, you are cool with me. To those other know what you did. Quick, The Big Bang Theory is coming on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Change We Are Afraid to Believe In

In history books, certain technological breakthroughs are described as explosions that dramatically change a society. Reading about the industrial revolution gives the impression that one day everyone was plowing their fields with an ox and two sticks, and they woke up the next morning on the 12th story of a New York high rise with a hangover from a night of swing dancing.

The world around the time of the new millennium is progressing much faster than it ever has before. History books centuries from now will make it seem like we were dialing our friends on a rotary phone and marveling at calculators one day, and then we woke up plugged into the world with information and communication at our finger tips.

Technology progresses in such a smooth way that we don't notice how rapidly we are really moving. When I first saw Mario 64 at Toys 'R' Us ten years ago, I fell to my knees and cried, "What sorcery has God cast onto this world!" Now it looks like a drunken developer from EA had access to a computer one Friday night.

I'm still frightened at the idea of where technology is taking us, but if you look at it from an historical perspective, future generations usually see old technology as having brought positive progress, and new technology as being scary and confusing. I don't want to own a cotton plantation or train to become a tailor. I want to press my fingers down a few times and get a t-shirt delivered to my door a week later. I thank Eli Whitney and Steve Jobs for that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Christmas Card City

China scares me. There's something frightening about a country that has grown out of nothing to become a world superpower, or a country that can have a city devoted entirely to making deodorant. There's something even more frightening about a country that can bring its Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest. The closest America had to that accomplishment was recovering the torch at a pawnshop after getting mugged on the way through Detroit.

Americans don't like the idea of another nation taking the lead in the world. It's like the idea of choosing driving over flying even though it's more dangerous. People feel better with control over a situation. We like to know that we have a .00000078% say in one of two people that will decide which countries we are mad at.

I would like to congratulate China though. They had some tough teen years, but then really seem to be studying hard in community college. I only hope that they don't become snobby during grad school.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Different Strokes

Humans have a wide range of determination levels. The lowest is the 45-year-old man eating Bagel Bites on his mom's couch while watching the Powerpuff Girls. The highest is the man who can throw a dime into a shot glass from 50 yards away.

I don't know what possesses people to pursue obscure talents. Is it some existential appifany where the person quits trying to strike it rich and famous and thinks, "oh what does it matter, I'll just become extremely good at bouncing a raquetball on my head"? Without a clear outline of their goals, I can't imagine a person looking back on the past 20 years of their life and being proud.

This is not to say I'm not extremely impressed by perfection in any form, I just learn more towards Bagel Bites than thousands of hours pursing a neat trick. If I were to throw 11 strikes in a row in bowling, I know I would slip and smash my face into the hard wood as I watched my 12 throw roll into the gutter 2 lanes over. That is if I didn't have a stroke while waiting for my ball to return. It is just not worth the pain.

So to everyone learning to throw playing cards or fire a crossbow, I commend you. I will be watching Cartoon Network if you need me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Juicy Rumor and Political Humor

I like to think that Washington DC is extemely important because it's the place where policies are decided that will have an impact on the entire world. Reporters there are so much more informed and professional then the reporters in Hollywood that spew out stories of celebrity pregnancies and breakups while chasing after stars and leaving behind trails of drool.

This little schema of the news has slowly been shattered over the past few months as I've witnessed the world of politics in its 21st century form. The utter destruction has come in stages, but the real clincher was the week Clinton conceded.

When reporters found out Obama was not on the plane he had scheduled to fly in, it was like a teenager had just smashed a wasp nest with a baseball bat. Journalists buzzed out in a million directions looking for a target to swarm on. Who did Obama think he was, Brad Pitt?

It was at that moment that I realized all you had to do was replace the name Obama with John Mayer and Clinton with Jessica Simpson, and you had gossip worthy of a small picture in the corner of Star Magazine below a giant spread on Tom Cruise claiming he could fly.

Reporters and photographers are the same everywhere. They want the story, and will cause a stampede down any major street if they spot someone that looks important.