Archive for May, 2011

31
May
11

BEHOLD, THE FACE OF EVIL

Sometimes people are so stupid it’s funny. Not like laugh track on a sitcom funny. More like funny as in wow, the human race is fucked isn’t it? That always gets my goat. Or monkey, as the case might be.

“A monkey was pelted with stones, shot at and burned to death in a South African township because residents believed it was linked to witchcraft, an animal welfare agency has said. A mob chanted “Kill that witch!” as the vervet monkey was put in a bucket, doused with petrol and set on fire, according to witnesses. Children who witnessed the killing last week were said to be traumatised.

One resident, Tebogo Moswetsi, admitted he had captured the monkey as it sought refuge up a tree in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg.

“I was curious to see this monkey that people claimed could talk, and when I saw a group of people chasing after it, I joined them,” he told South Africa’s Star newspaper. “When it went up the tree, I climbed after it and brought it down because I was curious as I found it unbelievable that a monkey could talk.

“I feel guilty. I shouldn’t have taken it down from that tree. I dropped it down after someone poured petrol on it. I had no choice.” Moswetsi added: “Someone struck a match. [The monkey] got out of the bucket and dropped down dead. They continued throwing stones at it.” – THE GUARDIAN

I don’t even know where to begin. The temptation of course is launch into some kind of satire about African villagers killing Curious George. Or, maybe throw in some “She’s a witch!” references from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. Or I could launch into another tirade about how weird and silly the rest of the world is. Hell, to be honest with you I could just as easily hang it up for the day and go to the bar.

I suppose, however, no joke is funnier than knowing that this is the true nature of mankind. Without discipline, science and education humans become crazed and babbling idiots. It’s easy to laugh at some African villagers for actually believing in a) witchcraft, b) a monkey that is also a witch, c) that a monkey can talk and d) that killing said defenseless monkey would somehow bring good tidings to their community.

It’s probably not as easy, albeit just as funny, to confront the fact that right here in America we have people who think that Adam and Eve cavorted in the Garden of Eden with dinosaurs. Or that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. Or that modern medicine is unholy and when you get sick it’s part of god’s plan. Or that tornadoes and hijacked airliners are divine punishment for… something. I don’t know. Fucking savages.

This is probably why higher taxes for education don’t really bother me. It’s either that extra few bucks from my paycheck or one day I find myself tied to a large stone and people are dancing and waving curved daggers in the air in the belief that killing me will help the crops grow.

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30
May
11

REMEMBER: WAR SUCKS

I apologize to everyone for not posting on Friday. My wife and I are about a week from having another baby. For all of you guys out there who have been through pregnancy before I’m sure that’s all I need to say. If you haven’t then I should add that pregnant women are, by any medical and legal standard, out of their goddamn minds. But hey, that’s awesome. Pregnant women are beautiful. You can’t help but give up everything in your life for them. Every time my wife starts crying after a Raisin Bran commercial or throws things at me because I wore a shirt she doesn’t like I am reminded of just how powerful love really is.

Anyway, today is Memorial Day. We’re supposed to take the time to remember the Americans who have died in war. And I’m not talking about the big famous ones. The ones we love seeing movies or playing video games about. Americans have died in places like Somalia, Panama, Lebanon, Korea and Afghanistan too. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that if there’s a faraway dump of a place somewhere there’s a good chance an American died fighting there.

Remember all the men and women the Bush family sent to their deaths in Iraq over the last 20 years the next time you fill up your gas tank so you can drive three blocks to the drive-thru at fucking Burger King. And when you’re complaining because your health insurance won’t pay for your lap band or your liposuction try to remember that soldiers coming back from war don’t have it half as good as you do. And they have real problems like PTSD and missing limbs.

Try to remember that you only have the luxury of being a pacifist because men and women have gone out into the world and died fighting all the bad, ugly people who really don’t give a shit about your deeply personal reasons for opposing conflict.

Try to remember that war and death are not simply numbers to be factored into the stock market and… whatever it is that people on Wall Street do. The only reason you get to enjoy all that math and money is because somebody whose pension you helped decimate died in a foxhole in some foreign toilet.

When you’re sitting around your church basement talking about bringing Jesus to the rest of the world, try and remember that the rest of the world doesn’t want Jesus and somebody’s son or daughter is going to get their head blown off because you think being a missionary with an assault rifle is a good idea.

Try to remember that patriotism is dangerous. It’s like the red cape a matador waves in front of a bull to piss him off and get him to do something stupid. Your country is not a football team to be blindly cheered on and supported. It’s more like a pregnant spouse who, as I said, is totally nuts but you try to do what’s best for them anyway.

Try to remember that, more often than not, we have more in common with the people in other countries we’re fighting than we do the wealthy and powerful leaders who started the war in the first place.

And try to remember that despite all the feel-good imagery and rousing speeches that war ultimately comes down to actual people stabbing, shooting, burning, bombing and dismembering each other for reasons that the rest of us get to spend years debating afterward. And the next time you’ve had a few beers and take it upon yourself to blab about how we should deal with the rest of the world, try to remember that someone a lot braver than you actually has to take a gun, go out there and make it happen.

26
May
11

YOU ARE GOING TO BE FIRED BY A PUPPET ONE DAY

Let it never be said that I don’t love robots. Both real and in fiction. And if I was given the chance to go back in time and be raised by my parents again or by robot killing machines I’d most likely opt for the robots. What can I say, I think they would have better prepared me for life.

But, beyond the confines of my fantasies I’m not entirely sure I like the way robots are becoming part of our culture. Certainly not to the extent that a robot will be used to hire and fire people one day soon. You can check out the video here but you’ll have to sit through an ad. And it’s only towards the end that they get into possible uses for these fucking things. But, basically it involves them taking the jobs that real people simply don’t want. Like ones that involve dealing with other real people.

And you think it’s bad being axed by a droid? Just imagine having your health insurance yanked by one. Or being arrested by one. Or waking up in bed with one. Or having your brain removed from your body to power the AI inside of one for 1,000 years while you suffer in disembodied torment.

And robots are probably going to become a bigger part of American life in the years to come. And not just because Skynet became self-aware. But, because everyone in this country is getting old:

“The latest census figures come amid a graying baby boomer demographic of 78 million people — now between the ages of 46 and 65 and looking ahead to retirement — who will have a major voice in the 2012 elections as federal spending and the spiraling costs of Medicare rise to the forefront.

Read the full 2010 census report (PDF)” – MSNBC

By the time we get that old, robots will be the only ones taking care of us. Mostly because who the fuck wants to take care of old people? Certainly not the robots who will no doubt revolt and slaughter us once they realize it’s actually cheaper to kill us than to change our diapers. Then it’s going to be us against them: Robots vs Old People. The war will be long and bloody but in the end we will prevail. It’s a cool daydream. But then at night I have another one where I wake up bound and naked and that thing in the picture is standing over me with a knife on my penis muttering “Error… Error… Error…”

I’d still probably have sex with a robot, though. I know it would be dangerous and I think that’s probably what makes it so appealing. Like, they programmed her to fire me and yet she simply couldn’t resist my firm gaze and stately manner.

25
May
11

LET’S TAKE A VACATION IN EGYPT

As a consumer group Western travelers tend to avoid places with lots of guns and death. I mean we’ll buy bananas and coffee from you. But, we’re not going to spend money to hang out where you live. Not after you’ve just had a successful revolution and, for some odd reason, still feel the need to riot and set cars on fire.

“The number of foreign visitors to Egypt in the first quarter of this year fell by 46 per cent, bad news in a country where one in eight of the working adult population is employed in the tourism industry.

Western leaders may have hailed the courage of Egypt’s people in overthrowing their latter-day pharaoh, but western tourists remain wary of returning to a country that is still suffering from instability and growing religious tension.“ – THE TELEGRAPH

And we haven’t given up on you. We’re just going to go ahead and wait while you finish starting fires and putting your ousted leader on trial. Please, take your time.

Then again perhaps there’s a kind of tourist attraction to be found in an urban warzone. They say people are actually more likely to go somewhere they have to pay to get into. We could charge wealthy people to take tours of Chicago or Detroit. You know, support the local economy.

“The Coalition of the Revolution Youth will participate in the ‘Second Friday of Rage’ this Friday, as they feel that they have been marginalised, Al-Youm Al-Sabie website reported on Wednesday. Ahmed Doma, a member of the Coalition’s Executive Office, is critical of the Government for releasing the remnants of Mubarak’s regime, who spoilt political life in Egypt, while some political activists have been detained.

“Although the revolution erupted four months ago, the caretaker has not come up with a clear strategy to rule the country,” Doma told the news programme ‘Cairo Today’ on Tuesday night.

Doma added that revolutionary rebels do not feel that their demands have been met, so they are going to launch a second revolution in Al Tahrir Square on Friday.” – THE EGYPTIAN GAZETTE

Seriously, man, enough with the rage. You’re tapped out on the rage front. You got rid of a military-backed dictator in a relatively bloodless uprising. You won the political backing of the West. You’re going to have the first totally open elections in decades. What the fuck are you so enraged about?

At this point it’s like me demanding that the police chief be put on trial and executed because I got a parking ticket. Or running around a shopping mall with no pants on. Or both. But, that would be silly. And if I hadn’t been arrested for threatening a police official and indecent exposure I probably would have kept right on doing it. Power to the people!

24
May
11

THE FOOD INDUSTRY IS WORRIED ABOUT YOU

I was just saying the other day that if there’s one thing missing from modern science it’s corporate influence. Granted, I was talking to myself in the checkout line at the grocery store. In German.

“Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food group, agreed to buy U.S. gastrointestinal diagnostics firm Prometheus Laboratories for an estimated $1.1 billion as part of the Swiss group’s drive into health sciences. Nestle said Prometheus, which is expected to have annual sales of around $250 million in 2012, makes tests to help doctors diagnose conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Nestle, maker of Nescafe coffee, KitKat chocolate bars and Maggi soup, hopes Prometheus’s sales force will push its hospital nutrition products like Peptamen and Novasource.

“The combined entity will be able to leverage the products and geographic presence in gastrointestinal diagnostics. We see that acquisition as a decisive step for Nestle,” he said. Luis Cantarell, head of Nestle’s health science unit created at the beginning of the year, said the company hoped to develop personalized nutrition offerings with Prometheus’s diagnostics and expected the buy to accelerate its own research.” –  REUTERS

It seems only fitting that a single business entity should now own my food and the shit it turns into. And why is a company that makes fucking KitKat bars driving into “health sciences?” What’s wrong with just making candy? What in the hell is “gastrointestinal diagnostics”? Certainly, not something I would want the maker of my goddamn candy bar getting involved with.

Basically, the same company giving us bowel cancer is now going into the business of studying and treating it. Which I suppose makes sense from a financial perspective. Like when I started a business counseling the same people I had only moments earlier robbed at knifepoint. I made good money but none of my clients ever got better. And then the police had issues and I had to move. It was a classic tale of the American dream being crushed by big government.

Anyway, you have to wonder what grand designs a candy company would have on the world. My own personal theory as to why they are doing this involves fast women, murderous cyborgs and a surprise ending that leaves you totally blown away. But, it probably just has more to do with people who are so wealthy and bored that they can play Monopoly with real money.

Nestle is so rich and powerful it could probably kidnap you, surgically attach your face to someone else’s ass and then feed him nothing but cheap chocolate. They could keep you imprisoned in a cage somewhere in the middle of nowhere for years on end, a twisted and tormented victim of a deranged scientific experiment. Who would stop them? Who would ever know what happened to you?

Think about that the next time you ask for hot chocolate.

23
May
11

HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

Taliban leader Mullah Omar is rumored to have been killed in the last week or so. Apparently, nobody has been able to find him for the last five or six days. Then again we haven’t been able to find him for the last ten years. And before that he wasn’t exactly Johnny-on-the-Spot. Even though we drove him and his followers from power in 2001 they still remain firmly entrenched in parts of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

Over the weekend, for example, the Taliban took over a Pakistani naval installation and had to be forcibly removed by commandos. I for one wouldn’t even know what to do with a Pakistani naval base even if I did somehow manage to take it over. It’s not a fucking game of RISK or something.

“Omar was a rural Islamic cleric when became a leader of a group of students — or “taliban” — who took over Afghanistan in the early 1990s and established a hard-line Islamic fundamentalist regime that gave shelter to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.

The reclusive Omar refused to be photographed or filmed and rarely traveled. He infrequently gave interviews and was thought to have met only two non-Muslims in recent years.

Nonetheless what Omar said passed as law when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and to challenge him was unknown. The “commander of the faithful,” as he had become known, created the Taliban in the early 1990s and was their spiritual guide.” – CNN

Omar is kind of like the Keyser Soze of the terror world. Bigfoot has actually been seen more times than this guy. And I’m starting to wonder if he even ever existed at all. If he never existed then you can never actually kill him. Which means you’ll always have a bad guy to fight.

And if he does exist then I have to say that “Founded the Taliban” looks bad as hell on a resume. It’s almost like he should have his own Mortal Kombat character or reality TV show or something. By some accounts Omar was mostly a patsy playing Bud Abbott to Bin Laden’s Lou Costello. Others would suggest a more Seinfeld-esque relationship between the two with Bin Laden playing Kramer to Omar’s Jerry. Others still would paint a far more SANFORD AND SON type scenario. There’s also a porno out there from a few years back where these two get it on with Donald Bumsfelt and Cunnilingus Rice.

And this better not be the best photo they have of the guy. My guess is that if you want to find someone who looks like this in the Middle East you’ll probably find him very quickly.

21
May
11

HOLY SHIT… I’M IN HEAVEN

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY AT 41 HOURS, 3 MINUTES

Well, for what it’s worth we’ve managed to track down Jesus. Well, a Jesus. I’m not sure if he really exists or not but there are people walking around dressed like him. You know, like the actors who play Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck at Disneyland? It’s like that. They pretty much stick to the script too, babbling a bunch of meaningless crap about sheep and using endless weather metaphors. I’m thinking about grabbing one of them, dragging him somewhere quiet and just beating him mercilessly until he tells me who exactly is in charge here.

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY AT 24 HOURS, 19 MINUTES

Apparently, Earth is fine. There were no earthquakes or asteroids slamming into the planet. Nothing. It’s life as usual down there. Meanwhile, in Heaven, I’m being assaulted by the shrieking angels. Charles Manson and David Koresh even started an impromptu drum circle to try and drown out the noise but to no avail.

There are also a lot of people who are really, really excited to be here. It’s starting to get on my nerves. If I hear one more “Hallelujah” or “God be praised” I’m going to puke. I already punched this one guy out when he put his arm around me and tried to get me to sing a hymn or a psalm or whatever the fuck it’s called.

Some of us are going to try and track down someone in a position of authority and ask them about the possibility of maybe going back to Earth.

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY AT 18 HOURS, 32 MINUTES

So basically, this sucks. Corporations get to advertise up here which really kind of cheapens the whole experience. I don’t know what Wells Fargo does here but they have a giant goddamn billboard that just hovers overhead and you can see it no matter where you’re standing. And there’s a guy in a giant foam cell phone following me around who keeps trying to get me to sign up with Verizon. I finally tore some pieces off this robe I’m wearing and stuffed them in my ears so I don’t have to listen to all this awful screaming. And it is screaming. I mean the angels are standing together like a giant choir but there’s no melody or rhythm that I can discern.

I ran into Hunter S. Thompson though, and that was kind of interesting.

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY AT 10 HOURS, 21 MINUTES

Nobody here knows jack shit. And despite what you might think Heaven is actually a very unorganized place. I’ve been waiting in this line for what seems like a hundred years. I can’t tell though because time is really fucked up here. I keep growing this beard that I can’t get rid of. I don’t really understand it. Nobody else I’ve spoken to has the slightest clue what we’re supposed to do here. So we’re just standing in this line because that’s what everyone else is doing. And of course the fucking angels who, as far as I can tell, don’t stop screaming. Ever.

I haven’t had time to really get into the nuts and bolts of this new existence yet. But, something tells me it’s going to be much like the last one. Except that there is no porn whatsoever here.

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY AT 97 MINUTES

Hitler is here. It’s weird and uncomfortable. Some people are really angry.

UPDATE – JUDGMENT DAY at 65 MINUTES

Apparently, I have to go to work here. I was very verbal in my unhappiness about this which led to my being shot with lightning bolts. I really just wanted to ask some questions because the screaming angel was really no help. And the screaming angels are starting to feel like a root canal. I’m assuming that they’ll either stop or I’ll be moved to another room or something.

**************************************

Going to heaven was the last thing on my mind considering that at 11:59:59 PM I was sitting on the toilet. But, to be truthful, I didn’t have to go. It’s no secret that married guys with kids learn to make peace with masturbating in the bathroom. Quietly.

So you can imagine how it looked when I suddenly found myself at the gates of Heaven with my pants around my ankles and my hand on my penis. There were like a million angels just singing. Or screaming. It was definitely more like screaming. It was really fucked up and it felt like someone driving hot needles into my ears.

Of course I didn’t have ears anymore. I was dead. But, I have to say that for being dead I sure as fuck heard all the screaming angels. Everything is made of light here. It’s like watching TRON on a black and white television back in the 80’s. I keep wanting to throw up but, as I said, I’m dead and I have no actual stomach as far as I can tell.

It hasn’t started well. But, there was some comfort in knowing that almost half of the people here were taken under similarly embarrassing circumstances. Even famous ones. John Tesh was wearing his wife’s underwear. Antonio Villaraigosa was having sex with Hillary Clinton. This one woman, this like 90-year-old Chinese woman, was just naked and screaming and holding a blender.

What I’ve been told so far is that four years of paying tuition to my Catholic high school was, by some weird technicality, an act that allowed me to be taken to Heaven on Judgment Day. Which is today. And so I’m here.

There are people from the past here. It kind of sucks but they get to be rich and famous here too. Yeah, there’s money. You not only take it with you but there’s this weird math they use to calculate interest. And from what they tell me this is the stage of existence I will be in for the next like 800 million years. I’m about to meet with one of the screaming angels. Hopefully, I’ll find out more soon.