Archive for October, 2011

28
Oct
11

SILVIO BERLUSCONI REALLY IS A FUNNY GUY

When you come across a picture like this you pretty much have to use it whether he’s in the news or not. The really tragic thing about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Il Ladro Genitale Berlusconi is that I don’t think one can find a more complete living embodiment of every unfortunate Italian stereotype there is. And, lucky for me I guess, on any given day he’s likely to be in the news. Not so lucky for the people of Italy, though, who I am sure aren’t looking for this kind of press.

“Silvio Berlusconi lavished millions on a string of showgirls, actresses and female television presenters, bank records revealed Thursday.

The Italian prime minister, 74, gave more than $4 million in cash as gifts to his female admirers and spent an additional $475,000 on jewellery which he handed out as presents, the bank details showed.

The revelations emerged the day after he presented a reform package in Brussels which included plans for the retirement age to be raised to 67.” – MONTREAL GAZETTE

Fare l’amore per il mio petto! Of course he wants to raise the retirement age. He probably figures if he’s still able to bang so much ass at 74 then everyone else can keep working. And, hey, good for him. It gives us all hope that someone at his age can still mettere la carne in forno. Capire? I suppose you want that in a leader. And I should dream of having that kind of energy for sex when I’m his age. I mean I’m sure I’ll still think about it but I foresee my penis eventually just telling me that I’m on my own.

I also hate it when women say a man doesn’t have to be rich to get them into bed. How many guys without billions of dollars have vaginas falling from the sky like that? Getting laid is half the reason most guys even bother going to work in the first place. Go down on a 74-year-old unemployed guy and then I’ll believe money doesn’t matter.

Of course, in all honesty, I probably shouldn’t stand on such a large soapbox. If I ever had that kind of money and political power I’d be a fucking lunatic. I know myself too well. Money for kinky sex? Ha! That’s nothing. Wait until they find my clone soldier factory and my woman farm.

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25
Oct
11

KEEPING OCCUPIED

I was going to post this on Friday but I wasn’t happy with it. Frankly, I thought it was stupid. I spent some more time on it over the weekend. Then I meditated on it for a while on Saturday which is really just code for drinking and barbecuing. Although even with like 14 beers and three quail burgers it was never far from my mind.

The “Occupy” movement has been fueled by something which doesn’t really have words yet. I think these are people who have been repeatedly let down by the very institutions they were raised to trust in. The government. The media. The bank. The workplace. Perhaps this is why it looks so chaotic and unorganized. That’s the point. Another organization or institution is not the answer.

Another striking thing about the movement is an apparent lack of any goals or demands. Everyone is participating in this for their own reasons and in whatever way they can. But, as a whole, there is no coherent aim or strategy yet. And why should there be? It’s a month old. Nothing a month old is coherent.

So, the other day when my landlord was yelling at me about my dog, I started daydreaming about what I would demand. Obviously, this is a very pie in the sky list. But, hey, I’m a very pie in the sky kind of guy. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten something which is why I invite all of you to add your own demands in the comment section. Or you can tell me how stupid this is.

So if someone handed me a magic wand and told me I could have whatever I wanted, after an orgy with the hosts of THE VIEW and the power to give Dick Cheney uncontrollable diarrhea by humming a few bars of the National Anthem, this is what I would ask for:

MY INFORMATION IS MY PROPERTY

Why am I the only one not profiting from my own personal information? There’s an entire industry out there based on personal data making billions each year. I want my info to be my intellectual property. If anyone is going to profit from it then it should be me. Every time my info is bought or sold I should get a check in the mail. My social security number, credit score and medical records should enjoy the same legal protections (and rigorous enforcement) as an episode of TRUE BLOOD or a new LADY GAGA album.

I WANT MY OWN TERMS OF SERVICE AGREEMENT

Everything comes with a contract be it credit cards or bank accounts or cell phone carriers, etc. If you read them you’ll see they basically force you to relinquish most of your legal rights and agree in advance to whatever fees they impose. If they have a right to impose a legal agreement on me for things which are often necessities then why can’t I demand that they agree to my terms as well? If Bank of America “has a right to make a profit” then so do I. There are a few fees of my own I would like to begin charging.

FORGIVE ALL STUDENT LOAN DEBT

Between the wife and I there’s no way we’re ever going to pay this back in full. Certainly not with penalties and interest and certainly not with the job situation we face now and for the foreseeable future. We’ll be carrying this debt around for years if not for good. If you want me to feel better about the future and start spending my money then I need to know that I won’t be crushed by this debt later. What’s more, if we can fork over billions to banks and corporations to stimulate the economy then why can’t we invest in the higher education of America’s workers for the same reasons? Right now there is a resolution in the House of Representatives that would do just that. Pass it.

STOP MAKING EVERYTHING OUT OF PLASTIC

Even if we stopped using oil as a source of energy tomorrow, we’d still have to keep sucking it out of the Earth to keep making plastic. I realize plastics are versatile and inexpensive and even necessary. But, I doubt there is one product on the shelves of Target or WalMart that doesn’t include some form of plastic. Or one toy in my kid’s bedroom. Or one product in my bathroom. And where does all this crap go when we throw it away or wash it down the drain? It goes here.

MORE POLITICAL CHOICES

A third party isn’t the solution but it’s a start. Again, there’s a deep cynicism towards the entire process. I wish more independents would run, unaffiliated with any party or organization. Of course I wish the system was designed to allow people other than the wealthy to run for office. And, as I said, it’s a very pie in the sky list.

21
Oct
11

MUMAR GHADDAFI IS DEAD

Yesterday morning I had a sort of disagreement with my internet provider. I argued, quite eloquently if I may, that the existence or non-existence of money in my bank account should not impact my ability to pay someone by writing a check. They disagreed and although I clearly made a superior argument the fact remained that they still shut off my service. I just got it back up and running now thanks to my one good credit card and moderate grasp of conversational Bengali.

The headache of the experience got me thinking about something I had planned on posting about earlier this week. But, then, all hell broke loose when ousted Libyan dictator and 80’s fashion icon Momar Khaddaffi finally met his end:

“Libya’s ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte, officials say…

…After a day of conflicting reports and rumours, Mr Jibril told the news conference: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

Al-Jazeera TV broadcast footage it says showed Col Gaddafi’s body.

World leaders welcomed the news, urging the NTC to carry through its promise to reform the country.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who had taken a leading role in the Nato intervention, said it was “a day to remember all of Col Gaddafi’s victims”. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it a “historic” moment, but warned: “The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges.” – BBC NEWS

Ghaddafi has always been a favorite subject of mine. He was one of the last real bad guys in this world, a villain of true Blofeld-like proportions. And while there are still a few other A-list baddies on the scene, like Kim Jong-Il or Dick Cheney, global villainy has lost perhaps one of its most brazen and flamboyant characters. His influence on everything from history to pop culture to fashion cannot be marginalized or ignored. Just like my contribution to the gene pool.

But, he’s dead now. So fuck him. Which I know is pretty cold but I think, considering the shit he’s done, he met a pretty predictable and appropriate end. At any rate, this is just the first of two posts I’m doing today to catch up. So it’s kind of like Thursday and Friday rolled into one. Thriday. Fursday. Whatever.

18
Oct
11

DON’T MESS WITH INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS… OR THEY’LL CALL SOMEONE

Personally, I believe in peacekeeping missions. In theory. So much needless war and destruction could be avoided if the adults of this world kept all the children in line. Of course I also believe in a utopian future where beer is free and the phrases “Do I look fat”, “Let’s watch MAD ABOUT YOU”, “Why can’t my mother stay with us” and “No” are no longer part of a woman’s vocabulary. So, you know, yeah.

If you’re going to be in the business of keeping the peace in another country then it only benefits you to actually have the ability and the courage to act. I can tell the idiot next door that country music is bad for his brain and his wife is obese all I want. Unless I am willing and able to kick his door down, throw his fucking stereo out the window and force-lipo his wife then, frankly, I’m no use to anyone. Certainly not society.

“Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo have defied demands by Nato to remove roadblocks, amid tensions over control of border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo. Nato peacekeepers had given the minority Serbs until Tuesday to remove barricades set up at two crossings. But Nato troops sent to the area left without dismantling them in an apparent bid to give the Serbs more time.

The blockades were erected in July when the mainly ethnic Albanian government sought to seize the crossings. Last month, after a two-week stand-off with Nato-led peacekeepers, a deal was reached to allow Nato to control the crossings. But Tuesday’s deadline passed without the roadblocks of rocks, mud and logs being dismantled.

Peacekeepers from Nato’s Kosovo force, K-For, withdrew their convoy of trucks and armoured personnel carriers from one of the crossings, about 100km (60 miles) north of the capital, Pristina.

“We’ve been given orders to go back, as we cannot go through barricades,” a Nato commander in the field told Reuters news agency.” – BBC NEWS

Dude, seriously? Who the hell cares if you’re not allowed? Do it anyway. Get a tractor and push all that shit out of the way. Or use one of your goddamn armored personnel carriers. If the Serbs complain tell them to fuck off. If they get all violent then bomb the shit out of them. That’s how things get done, my friend. If the Serbs don’t want the hurt brought then they should stick to their pioneering work in the field of personal hygiene and leave the barricade building to the experts.

Not that I dig war and conflict. But, if you’re not willing to kick some ass and lay down the law then what the hell is the point of you being there? If you can’t put up a fight then you’re probably not going to be keeping any peace. Just picking up the pieces. Then again, foreign peacekeepers don’t exactly have a great track record in this part of the world:

“On 13 July 1995, Dutchbat troops witnessed definite signs that the Serb soldiers were murdering some of the Bosniak men who had been separated. For example, Corporal Vaasen saw two soldiers take a man behind the “White House”, heard a shot and saw the two soldiers reappear alone. Another Dutchbat officer saw Serb soldiers murder an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the head and heard gunshots 20–40 times an hour throughout the afternoon. When the Dutchbat soldiers told Colonel Joseph Kingori, a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) in the Srebrenica area, that men were being taken behind the “White House” and not coming back, Colonel Kingori went to investigate. He heard gunshots as he approached, but was stopped by Serb soldiers before he could find out what was going on.– WIKIPEDIA

I haven’t seen anything this impotent since I worked in porn or watched that documentary about the Promise Keepers. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic and disgusting. What exactly happens when the Serbs start, you know, killing everyone in sight again? Tell the international community that you would have put a stop to it were it not for some logs and mud? Oh yeah, and rocks too. Rocks are a bitch, I know. Someone could really get hurt if you mess with rocks.

I suppose my view on this topic flies in the face of what we consider civilized. And there is always the principle that it’s not our job to police other countries. Well, you know, principles are cool I guess. So is sitting around being civilized while innocent life is being exterminated.

Actually, I take that back. That makes you a gutless asshole whom the bad guys of the world don’t fear or respect. Never mind.

17
Oct
11

CAPITALISTS ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME

I’ve said it before and, obviously, I’ll say it again: economics is not going to solve the problem. Economics is the problem. But I’ll go further today than my usual bashing of money and math. Today is about the psychology of capitalism and my belief that the business mentality is actually a mental disorder.

This morning I read two pieces that caught my attention. The first one, written by pseudo-intellectual and conservative apologist Ben Stein in THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR is entitled “A LETTER TO THE LAZY” in which he expresses his disagreement with the current Occupy protests now growing all over the world.

“…the overwhelming majority of the people on Wall Street get up early, work an incredibly long, hard honest day, mostly trying to make money for your parents and grandparents and for the endowments of your universities — and for a very few wealthy people who often leave their money to your schools.

To tar all of Wall Street with the same brush is outrageously unfair and false.

Look, many of you have educations. If you want to fight the evil you see in finance and industry, get to work reading the corporate filings, see if there has been fraud, and where you find it, report it to the SEC or write about it or blog about it.

But don’t just whine and beat drums about people you don’t know and don’t mock the best political and economic system there has ever been. Do something specific and constructive, and if you are willing to work as hard as the people on Wall Street, you might just accomplish something.”

Stein, like many in the conservative media, is still completely bewildered by these protests. Why? Because they live in an alternate reality in which they are all wealthy and successful because they worked hard and honestly. That’s cool. I live in an alternate reality where I’m a superhero who gets blowjobs all day. So while I can sympathize with the delusional nature of Stein’s views, I have to express my hope that he finds the mental help he needs because it’s never easy to watch someone slip away into the twilight of the mind. Even if I don’t agree with him. That poor, poor man. My heart goes out to his family.

I’m not going to “get to work reading the corporate filings” because a) they’re written by corporations and I doubt they’re going to be open and honest about the shit they’re doing and b) to do so would require some kind of faith in the system or that a system even exists. Shit, man, I can read the rulebook to DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS all I want. It’s still fucking make-believe.

The other was a piece by Jack Hough who writes about money in the THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (I know, what a pioneer, right? Way to think outside the box, Jack). Hough reveals his own mental disorder with the very title of his piece. During the worst recession in anyone’s lifetime, when most people are struggling just to survive one day to the next and hardly have a penny to their names and are now facing the real possibility of a second wave of economic disaster, he feels that “IT’S TIME TO BUY THAT HOUSE”

“…the math is turning in buyers’ favor. Stock-oriented folks can think of a house’s price/rent ratio as akin to a stock’s price/earnings ratio, in that it compares the cost of an asset with the money the asset is capable of generating. For investors, a lower ratio suggests more income for the price. For prospective homeowners, a lower ratio makes owning more attractive than renting, all else equal.

Nationwide, the ratio of home prices to yearly rents is 11.3, down from 18.5 at the peak of the bubble, according to Moody’s Analytics. The average from 1989 to 2003 was about 10, so valuations aren’t quite back to normal.

But for most home buyers, mortgage rates are a key determinant of their total costs. Rates are so low now that houses in many markets look like bargains, even if price/rent ratios aren’t hitting new lows. The 30-year mortgage rate rose to 4.12% this week from a record low of 3.94% last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. (The rates assume 0.8% in prepaid interest, or “points.”) The latest rate is still less than half the average since 1971…

…A fresh look at the numbers suggests Detroit and Miami are plenty cheap for buyers, with price/rent ratios of 5.6 and 7.7, respectively. New York and San Francisco are more expensive, with ratios of 17.6 and 17.2, respectively. The median ratio for 169 markets is 10.7.”

Sure, you can afford a nice house and live the American dream… if you’re willing to move to Detroit or Miami. And why in the hell are we listening to anything Freddie Mac has to say? Didn’t he and his brother Bernie get us into this mess to begin with? What’s more, exactly who the fuck is Freddie Mac and why is he telling me to buy a goddamn house? Oh yeah. Because they make money by convincing people to spend all of theirs. Got it.

As for the rest of Hough’s piece, well, the numbers and economic terms he uses are pretty flashy and impressive. It’s all gibberish, of course, because none of it is based in reality. But, it sounds great and boy is it a beautiful dream. Kind of like the existence of heaven or the notion that women have sex drives.

14
Oct
11

THE WEEKEND WORD: LAZINESS

I got up extra early this morning to get back in the habit of pouring through the news of the day. As I said in my piece yesterday I’m trying to get back on the horse here and post every day. I’m also trying to get back into the habit of not smoking the resin from my pipe when I run out of pot. Which is kind of funny because the very first story I saw this morning was about pot. Well, to be accurate, it’s about how retarded our government is when it comes to pot.

“A prosecutor is contemplating expanding a federal crackdown on the medical marijuana industry by going after newspapers, radio stations and other outlets that run advertisements for California pot dispensaries, her office told The Associated Press on Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy made the comments initially to California Watch, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Journalism. They come a week after she and three other U.S. attorneys in California vowed to close medical marijuana businesses they deem questionable and single out people who rent buildings or land to the industry.

“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy told California Watch. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate — one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children. It’s against the law.” – CBS NEWS

Frankly, I’m more worried about the message that Miss (Misses?) Duffy is sending to my kids. Specifically, the one in which crystal meth, crack, heroin and abused prescription drugs are laying waste to entire towns and communities and she’s going after pot smokers because she paid a little too much attention to every after school special she saw as a kid. Perhaps also the message that it’s okay to waste billions of dollars in taxpayer money to crack down on something that a majority of Americans now want legalized. Oh yeah, and the belief that the KD Lang hairstyle is still hip. Christ, lady, I’m trying to raise kids here.

Unfortunately for Miss (Misses?) Duffy, actions speak much louder than words and rehearsed facial expressions (seriously, how many hours did she spend in front of the mirror practicing that one?). As I’ve blogged before here and here, most of society long ago accepted marijuana as less problematic than booze or nicotine. But, you know, law enforcement needs a boogeyman to justify their budgets I guess. I thought street gangs and drug cartels would be awesome for that role but, apparently, those guys are too scary and dangerous for today’s police and government attorneys.

Miss (Misses?) Duffy is representative of the main problem currently plaguing federal drug enforcement: laziness. To get a better understanding of what exactly laziness is we must once again turn to the GREELOPEDIA.

“LAZINESS – noun

1) The action of appearing tough or concerned about something (i.e. through the use of public threats and the donning of overly butch haircuts) only to have no intention of actually doing anything about it (See also THE WAR ON TERROR and THE CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE TO THE FINANCIAL CRISIS)

2) Trying to hide your unbelievable failures and complete waste of tax dollars by demonizing a relatively harmless substance and the relatively harmless people who partake in it (See also INCOMPETENCE and THE WAR ON DRUGS)

3) Avoiding contact with actual problem drugs like meth and heroin, as well as the people who make and sell them, because of the risk involved and instead going after hippies, college students and terminally ill people (See also COWARDICE and THE DEA)

4) Distorting, altering or outright falsifying facts about  harmless substances in order to continue receiving an obscene amount of tax dollars to buy cool military shit you have no intention of ever using because  a) you don’t know how and  b) you’d rather sit on your ass all day examining 215 cards (See also “GATEWAY DRUGS” and THE D.A.R.E. PROGRAM)

5) Appealing to people still mentally stuck in the 1930’s who think grass has something to do with voodoo rituals and Negro jazz musicians seducing white women in an effort to rally their support come election time (See also REAGAN, NANCY and THE REPUBLICAN PARTY)”

13
Oct
11

200!

I’ve had a busy few weeks here. As if you couldn’t tell. Between having family visits, taking care of my kids during the day and working at night I’m kind of burning the bong at both, um, ends I guess. Although I’m not sure if that’s even possible. But what the hell, I’ll give it a try. At any rate this is my 200th post on Magnus Greel. And while I just didn’t have the time to come up with something really crazy like I did with my 100th post I did want to mark the occasion. And after I funneled some liquor and tugged it while watching the neighbor lady sunbathe I thought marking the occasion on the actual website would be a good idea too.

I’m also going to be trying (like really trying) to get back to posting every day. It’s not for lack of wanting to either. Trust me. Magnus Greel is more than an alter ego. It’s kind of like that demon from THE EXORCIST. I’m not sure where I’m going with that analogy but not a moment during the day goes by when he doesn’t try so very hard to come out. In most situations it’s best that he doesn’t. The checkout line at the grocery store or paying my water bill at city hall is not the best time or place for a drunken, foul-mouthed, socialist pervert to take center stage.

It sucks too because there’s all this great material in the news the last few weeks. Herman Cain, for example, a guy who sat on his ass in a boardroom running a third rate pizza joint is now the GOP frontrunner. Iran apparently tried to hire a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi Ambassador in the U.S. Why would they do this? Fuck, dude, I don’t know. Probably the same reason Hamas grabbed some jackass from the Israeli Military like five years ago and are only just now letting him go in exchange for the release of like 1,000 Palestinians. That’s math for you.

And of course my personal favorite story: Occupy Wall Street or Anything Remotely Corporate in your Hometown. I’m with these people. I really am. But somehow I don’t think the wealthy really give a shit. Maybe, as I’ve written before, we should stop giving them our money. Then we’ll probably get their attention. But if you ask me (and I’m kind of insulted that you didn’t) there’s something odd about people protesting corporate America in clothes they bought at The Gap and taking pictures with their iPhones.

Then again there’s something odd about a grown man who gets sexually aroused by wearing a giant monkey suit. So, I guess I’m in no position to pontificate about purity. However, if you have a spare chipmunk or otter costume around the house and you’re hard up for some fun there’s plenty of positions that I can definitely be in.