Monday, November 26, 2012

Proportional Response

"I laugh at your barbarous ways."
-Un Stéreôtyppe Française
Can we go just one holiday season without any Christmas shopping injuries? Like for real? Yes, I understand that a lot of Black Friday hype is exaggerated by the media, but I don't think it's too much to ask that we have 0 shopping-related fatalities ever. We're not climbing Everest, it's just shopping. Let's all take it down a notch. This is why all of the other countries laugh at us. Countries, I might add, who have never in their history played golf on the moon, single-handedly defeated the Nazis or blown up an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. All things we've totally done. Suck on that, rest of the world.

Here, let me set the scene for you: it's the night before Black Friday, and shoppers in San Antonio Texas are lined up at Sears to buy outdoor furniture and dishwashers at exactly the same price they would pay online but they're doing it at midnight and wearing pajamas because...uh...I don't know, we have screwed up priorities.
"Hey what's up? Huh? Yeah, I'm waiting in line at Sears for the
Black Friday Sale. The inter-wha-? The internet? No, never heard of it..."

-The Guy on his cellphone
"Oh beautiful, for spacious skies..."
Then the unthinkable happened: someone cut in line. Yeah. Look, I'm not being flippant here, that is some serious bullshit. Don't get me wrong, I think these people are all idiots for queuing up at Sears when they should be home drinking, but no one deserves to be cut in line. As Americans, we have our differences: religion, politics, the proper pronunciation of 'often' (the 't' is silent, so knock it off). But the one thing we all have in common is the universal and tacit understanding that you will wait your goddamn turn in line.

Hanes Her Way socks for $8: Worth
dying for? No. Killing for? Absolutely.

So it should come as no surprise that people were upset. There was shouting and name-calling; both appropriate responses to a violation of the social contract. But do you know what Cutsy McGee did then? He punched some guy. What the hell, right? But it gets worse: the guy he punched pulled a gun. Because that's what you do. Weighing the prospect of deep-discounts on name-brand appliances against the possibility of getting shot, the line-cutter and people he cut scattered and no one was hurt but still, wow. And get this, the guy with the gun has a permit to carry a concealed weapon so no charges were filed because Texas.

I know I'm a pretty limp-wristed liberal and all, but does anyone else think it's screwed up that you can wave a gun around a crowded mall as long as you have a license? Yeah, he got punched and that sucks but whatever happened to telling a grown-up? Like, call security or the cops, why is threat of death option #1?
"Take your fucking hands off that Kenmore® top loader."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's lose-lose!

Judge Audrey B. Collins, presumably in a stern mom-voice, has declared that because Atheists and Christians can't get along and share, there will be no holiday displays in Santa Monica's Palisades Park for anyone.
"The other judges and I are very disappointed in all of you."
Welcome to Santa Monica.
Whatever you do, don't blink.
What the hell am I talking about? Click here. No time? Ok, I'll sum it up: For decades, Palisades Park was home to a bunch of Christmas displays every year. Sure, it's a city park, but whatever, it's Christmas. Anyway, last year a group called American Atheists pointed out (correctly) that it was kind of unfair that the Churchy McGodington's got to use public property to advertise Jesus, so the city decided to hold a lottery to decide which groups got to use the display areas.

Get this: the Atheists won like 18 of the 21 spaces. So did they thank the cold, godless void for their good fortune and set up a bunch of Solstice decorations and exhibits featuring prominent Atheists? Nope. They decided instead to be tremendous asshats and use their new found forum to tell religious people how stupid they are and that everything they hold dear is a big load of horseshit. Because they're classy.  
Above: One of the American Atheist's displays.
Take that beliefs! (also pictured: a smug asshole).
Those are cockles? Wow, I've totally
misunderstood that expression.
Well, this year in a stunning act of human decency, the Atheists and the Christians decided to put aside their usual animosity and share the display slots equally. Thus dawns a new day for tolerance and understanding. In other things that totally happened news, Democrats and Republicans have decided to work together for the common good, Donald Trump has added something useful to the national discourse and Peter Jackson has admitted that splitting The Hobbit into three movies is kind of unnecessary. I don't know about you, but my cockles are warmed.

Yes, Christmas is all about Jesus...
also deep, deep discounts at Kohls.
So yeah, I'm just kidding. This year's pissing contest over a bunch of chicken wire boxes in the park was again mired in name calling and comparisons to satan, only this time the city council decided that the lottery would be too expensive, so there just won't be any holiday exhibits in the park at all. The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee sued to get the Council's decision overturned and that's when Judge Audrey B. Collins took everyone's toys away.

Why stop there? Isn't there some
way we can compare them to Hitler?

Oh, and not to be outdone by last year's American Atheists nativity snarkfest, one of the Christians has won this year's coveted Douchebag with Perspective Issues award. Behold:

"It's a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was the same kind of administrator."

-William Becker, lawyer for the Santa Monica
Nativity Scene Committee

Yeah, ok buddy, Christmas is ruined forever and everyone on the Santa Monica City council is basically responsible for the murder of Jesus. Holy shit dude.
With no Christmas scenes in the park, Christianity is certainly
doomed to obscurity and will likely cease to exist by early next year.
"Happy holidays? You say
Merry Christmas you son of a bitch!
But don't celebrate just yet science fans. Sure, it seems like American Atheists has scored a victory for rationalism, but did they really? I mean, all they've done is call people stupid and turned science into some kind of binky-stealing grinch. The hell guys? Don't they realize that Christians love feeling persecuted? Like, nothing gets them riled up like the sense that they're defending Christendom from the heathen. If anything all AA (the Atheist group, not the alcoholics) has done is given Republicans something to put in their mailings. The GOP lives for crap like this.

So the Christians have lost their Christmas decorations and the Atheists have made themselves look like dicks. Everyone loses. Way to go people.
Oh, by the way Atheists, ever heard of a little something called showmanship?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's what the French call 'Le Merde de Bull.'

Well it looks like thanks to France, the human race is doomed. Thanks France, thanks for nothing. Or should I say: Merci France, mercy pour rien?, no I shouldn't.
Above: The architects of our extinction enjoying demitasses of coffee and croissant.
I guess there could be a spaceship under
there...or maybe, I don't know, rock.
Anyway, officials in the french town of Bugarach have declared off-limits a nearby mountain called Pic de Bugarach just in time for the Mayan Apocalypse. The mountain, which some believe (idiots, mainly) conceals an alien spaceship, has become the focal point for the tin-foil hat club as they prepare for the end of the world prophesied by the Mayan calendar. Why that mountain? Well, when the clock strikes b'ak'tun 14, the aliens will emerge and ferry a few lucky new agers to safety while the rest of us are being crushed to death by our collapsing national monuments.

Here's a tip: fucking move.

Pictured: Bullshit.
So what's their boeuf? Why won't they let the hippies ride out the apocalypse on their mountain? Well, if I were a french official I guess I wouldn't want my sleepy mountain town overrun by people who do believe in crystal healing and don't believe in deodorant. Officially it's a matter of public safety, but I suspect they don't want to be responsible for the clean up on the off chance that boarding the mothership involves dixie cups full of strychnine-lased Kool-Aid.

Aliens: Plausible. Aliens who want
to hang out with you: less so.
Look, I'm not trying to be a dick here. I believe in aliens too. It's just I think there's a difference between a rational belief that there are probably aliens out there somewhere and the not-so rational belief that there's a UFO under a mountain in southern France and that they're gonna give you a lift when Quetzalcoatl devours the sun. Leaving aside the tremendous broken logic required to buy into the whole Mayan Apocalypse thing, there's still like, a ton of perfectly reasonable questions here.

Par example:

1) Why did the aliens choose that particular mountain and how did they get under it? Have they always been down there, or did they just burrow under it recently? If so, do you suppose they're getting along with the mole people?

2) Assuming they've been there a while what have they been doing all this time? Hibernating in cryo-tubes? Observing our primitive culture? Catching up on RuPaul's Drag Race? What?

3) If they were inclined to save some humans from our planet's hideous fate, why would they choose the kind of people that believe the Mayan calendar thing when actual Mayans call it bullshit?
"Holy shit everybody, for the last time, it's just a calendar. Calm down."
-Steve, High Priest of the Maya

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's declare War on the Suburbs!

If I were to tell you that President Obama was part of a vast international conspiracy to force the world's population into cities and unite everyone under a communist one-world government as part of his secret War on the Suburbs, you'd call bullshit right? I mean, it's obviously the stuff of tin-foil hat clubs and lizard-people theories...or is it? Yes. Yes it is.
If it's presented in Powerpoint it must be real!
Above: The grim future that awaits us all.
Thanks Obama, thanks for nothing.

But that didn't stop Georgia State Majority Leader Chip Rodgers (might be a porn name, we just can't be sure) from taking it seriously enough to call a meeting of the state GOP to watch his Powerpoint about it. At the heart of paranoia is the U.N.'s Agenda 21: a non-binding, voluntary plan designed to combat poverty, preserve the environment and you know, strengthen the role of women that sort of know, if people feel like it. No pressure, this is, after all, the U.N.

Smelling the stink of cooperation and responsible stewardship of the planet, conservatives have latched on to Agenda 21 as some kind of liberal conspiracy designed to steal all their shinies and usher in a new age of crystal healing, free love and pachouli. Even noted moon colonist and man-whore Newt Gingrich bought a seat on this particular crazy train.
"Free love? Pssch, what are you, socialist? Real men pay someone for that."
-Newt Gingr-what? He probably hires hookers.
Is it any nuttier than a global conspiracy theory?
And The Lord said: "Yea, thou shalt lead thy
people into the land of  Old Navy and
Cheesecake factories." -Exodus 1:13
A Georgian progressive group (yes, they have them there), video-taped part of Chip Rodger's meeting before someone cried "Guards, seize the interloper!" It's pretty amazing if somewhat heard to hear. Skip to the 7:50 mark to check out the part about Obama's 'War on the Suburbs.' You see, because he hates Real America and loves the inner city, Obama is planning to herd everyone (i.e. white people) back into the cities from which our ancestors fled. You see, white flight wasn't so much about racists not wanting black neighbors as it was some kind of Biblical exodus into the suburbs.

I don't know, maybe I'm a victim of the U.N.'s secret mind-control program, but a shining utopia of global cooperation and hover cars (because there would be hover cars) sounds pretty sweet. So like if anyone from the lizard-controlled shadow government is reading this, drop me a line. I'll gladly join your cold-blooded conspiracy in exchange for a place on the 'don't eat' list.
Above: the secret cabal of Lizard people who rule the planet.
Bet you wish you voted for Mitt Romney...

Monday, November 12, 2012


"Ssssupresss the vote? Who, meeee?"
So, ready to suffer a traumatic logic injury? Here, try following this: the Supreme Court is going to hear arguments against the Voting Rights Act. Passed by Congress in 1965, the VRA says that certain states, counties and townships have to clear changes in voting laws with the Federal government. How come? Well, the racism. The states and municipalities affected have a habit of trying to suppress minority votes through things like creative redistricting, intimidation and bullshit ID laws. And no, before you ask Florida is somehow not on the list. Like for real.

"Awww...but we wanna discriminate
against fair."

Ok, so what's the problem? If these states can't be trusted to run fair elections, why not keep an eye on them? Well, the non-profit legal defense fund Project on Fair Representation feels that the law is unconstitutional in that it forces these states to submit to Federal scrutiny every time they want to make changes to their voting laws. If I'm understanding this fully, their argument is that the Voting Rights Act is making it difficult for states to discriminate against minorities. That pressure behind your eyes? That's your brain's logic center about to suffer a core breach.

Who, you may be asking, are these tools? Founded in 2005, the Project on Fair Representation provides legal resources for white victims of racial discrimination because I guess that's a thing. Check out their website. It's like an NAAWP.
Above: Another victim of racism in America. Steve ordered an iPad Mini,
but it won't ship for at least two weeks. Why? Because he's white. 
"A black president? I mean,
what is this, Deep Impact?"
-Edward Blum
Behold this quote from Edward Blum from the ironically named Project on Fair Representation:

"The America that elected and reelected Barack Obama as its first African-American president is far different than when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965. Congress unwisely reauthorized a bill that is stuck in a Jim-Crow-era time warp. It is unconstitutional..."

-Edward Blum, Director of the 
Project on Fair Whatever 

I guess he's suggesting that since a black guy has been elected president twice, America's long-standing problem with race-equality is solved and we no longer need the VRA. Wow. Racism: over. Right?
Suck on it racism!

'What? By using the n-word,
re-appropriating it...for racists.
-Another racist
...uh, well except for this. Oh and this. And what's up with the woman who called the President the n-word and then suggested that he might get assassinated. She said all this on Facebook. Like seriously, congratulations jackass, in addition to being a horrible person and an idiot, you now have a Secret Service file. And here's Huffington Post's countdown of the 2012 Election's most racist moments. So yeah, racism is dead in the same way Freddy Kruger was dead at the end of Nightmare on Elmstreet 1.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The fire in which we burn

And with this, the last lingering thread of my youth has slipped away. What? Really? You're not going to bother to click on the link? Ok. Fine. I'll explain, but first I'm going to put this link here. What's it to? Gee, guess you won't know until you click on it. It's a surprise. Could be kittens, could be porn, the point is you don't know.
Could be both...
Above: Basically me.
Thanks Urban Outfitters.
Anyway, the thing that made me weep tears of imminent mortality today is the revelation that that Urban Outfitters is selling fake Nintendo 64 controllers. Why the hell are the purveyors of hipster clothes, pretension and the abstract concept of Synergy® (Urban Outfitters Inc. All rights reserved) selling N64 controllers? 'Cause they're retro. Retro. The N64 is considered retro and I have game saves older than the kid that cards me at the store when I buy an M-rated game and goddamnit, time really is the fire in which we burn.

Either the graphics sucked or the U.S.S.R.
had a secret army of blocky man-driods.
Leaving aside how old it makes me feel that something from high school is now the stuff of ironic fashion, I'd like to take a moment and complain about Urban Outfitters choice of kitsch. N64 guys? For serious? I don't want to crush any 20-year-old's fuzzy childhood memories, but the N64 was kind of shit. While a necessary step on the road to today's technologically advanced murder simulators, its blurry graphics, dearth of decent games and god-awful (sorry, 'classic') controllers, made it something of an evolutionary dead-end.

Far be it from me to tell the PBR-swilling ukulele players how to decorate their over-priced lofts, but guys, for real, if you simply must have one of these monstrosities in your home, get on your fixie, go down to Gamestop and get a real one. Like, I think they sell them by the pound. Also, the 15-years of Cheeto dust and sweaty finger grime caked between the buttons and seams will only add hipster-cred.
Poorly-designed game controller, or decently-designed sex toy?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ok guys, what have we learned?

I don't know about you, but I liked the part where the President won. It's not that I think he's going to single handedly fix everything wrong in the world and usher in a magic age of wonder and unicorns, it's just that he's actually done a pretty good job.
Above: This was never really on the table.
Pictured: A butterscotch-coiffured
 symbol of all our social ills.
The GOP on the other hand was kind of hoping we didn't notice. They're like that. In fact, the entire Republican strategy seemed to be based on things like rape-analogies and Orc-hatred. Hell, Mitt Romney even asked business owners to threaten people's jobs if they didn't vote for him. Look, I'm not trying to help them out or anything but maybe if they'd stop acting like sanctimonious hate-balls we could all have a civilized discussion about important issues like grown-ups. Grown-ups don't pull shit like this. And this. Oh, and this.

Don't get me wrong, I like the simple choice between two parties. It's much easier than having to think, but they make it too easy. One party wants everyone to have healthcare. The other hates gay people, doesn't trust women and wants to pave the way for the Rapture. Guess who I'm gonna vote for.
"Sorry kids, looks like you'll have to endure the Tribulation.
Your father warned you about talking to gay people. Gotta go!"

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Guy Fawkes Night Day! Let's burn something!

Holy crap, tonight is Guy Fawkes Night and I almost forgot! What the hell is Guy Fawkes Night? Here, read this. No time? I'll sum up. Guy Fawkes was part of an anti-protestant plot to blow up the Parliament building in London along with most of the MP's, the King and a healthy chunk of the city. It was totally made into a historically accurate documentary with Natalie Portman. Go watch it.
Thanks to V for Vendetta, the Guy Fawkes mask has become a symbol of resistance against
corruption. Either that or these kids really want to see the restoration of a Catholic monarch...
James I of England, VI of Scotland.
Known as James the Un-blow-upable.
Anyway, Fawkes was sort of the idiot of the group and ended up getting caught underneath the House of Lords with the 17th century equivalent of an explosive-filled Ryder truck. He and the other conspirators were eventually executed by hanging, vivisection and dismemberment. Because English people are deranged. So now, in celebration of King James I's miraculous survival (and because hey, who doesn't like fire?), British people burn effigies of Fawkes every November 5th. Also they drink. I assume.
It's like a British Burning Man except with colder weather and
anti-Catholic origins instead of 'shrooms and nudity.

Almost over...

Above: Paul Ryan, doin'
some reps for the Lord.
I know a lot of people will be glad when the election is over and that's cool, but really, I'll only be glad if the GOP gets their ass handed to them. Why? Am I some sort of white-guilt-ridden liberal tool who wants to nationalize health care, outlaw guns and apologize for America? Well, yes, obviously, but for real, lookit this thing Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan said:

"...the president has put us on...a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place." 

-Paul Ryan

"This next hymn is about how
you're all going to hell. Enjoy."
He made his comments in a 'tele-town hall meeting' with the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group of open-minded Americans who weren't afraid to ask Ryan the tough quest-oh wait, no, sorry. I must be thinking of something else. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an anti-gay, anti-choice, Tea Party spin-off group focused on cramming as much Church into State as possible. So Ryan wasn't so much making his case as he was preaching to the choir, because after all, Jesus would totally be voting Republican.

That part about Obama compromising those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values? Yeah, that's code for pssst...he's not white. It's their way of reminding the evangelicals that while Mitt Romney is a Mormon and Paul Ryan is Catholic, they're not Muslims like some other Presidents of the United States they could mention. I honestly have no idea how they sleep at night. 
"Verily I sayeth to you that he who believeth in the private sector's
ability to innovate shall have lower health care premiums." 
-Jesus, the sales pitch on the mount

Sink Florida, sink.

How can this still be a problem? It's 20-goddamn-12 and we have been voting here in the U.S. since like the 18th century. So what's up with Florida? Why can these people not get it together and hold an election like grownups?
Above: People in the 1700's voting. These savages had no internet, no antibiotics
and would burn a woman alive at the mere suggestion of witchcraft yet somehow they
managed to accomplish what modern day Floridians can only dream of.
"Yesss...your misery ssssustains me..."
-Governor Rick Scott
Check this out. Last year, Florida Republicans, seeing an opportunity to make people's lives more miserable, reduced the window of early voting in that state from 8 to 14 days. Why would they do such a thing? Because Republicans feed on sadness and pain and fucking with people's right to vote gives them sexual pleasure.* Anyway, the move has unsurprisingly resulted in long lines, wait times in the 5 to 7 hour range and polling places being overwhelmed by demand. So what are they doing about it? you ask. Why, not a damn thing of course.

Wait, wah? Yeah, Florida instituted early voting back in 2004 as a way to avoid another electoral disaster like the 2000 election. It's designed to help people vote who might otherwise not make it to the polls. You know, working people, with jobs and kids...oh, and Democrats, they're mostly Democrats.
Above: The line outside a Miami polling station.
Here's a fun game: Count the number of women, minorities and white dudes with totally gay haircuts and
hipster glasses. Now, try to predict how quickly Governor Scott is going to deal with the problem.
"Governor Scott is simply trying
 to level the playing field...for me."

While votes won't be counted until election day, polls of early voters have President Obama ahead by like 15 points which is way the hell better than the likely voter polls that have the race tied. By allowing the clusterfuck in Florida to continue Governor Rick Scott and the state's GOP are hoping to curb Democratic turnout and help Mitt Romney secure the state's electoral votes without having to go through all the trouble of making their case to the voters. I think it's sort of like affirmative action if it was invented by someone who doesn't really understand the point of affirmative action. After all, did you know that there are exactly zero white Presidents of the United States right now? Zero.

"Hullo there. We hear you're having
trouble with the democratic process."
I think it has become clear that the state is incapable of running its elections and that's fine insofar as I don't give a crap about who their comptroller is, but we are again finding ourselves in a position where the State of Florida's inability to hold an election could seriously screw us all. Why is this allowed to continue? Why are we not parachuting Canadian election inspectors into the Sunshine State right this minute? In addition to ensuring a free and fair election, we can also enjoy their refreshing politeness and adorable accents.

On a side note, whoever wins this election will very likely be choosing Supreme Court justices who will be around for decades, deciding things like gay marriage and robot suffrage. Florida has 29 electoral votes as well as the highest concentration of old people many of whom won't be around for repercussions of their vote. So, not to be a dick, but does anyone else see a problem here? You know? With the old people?
This is Frank. He was born in 1922. He routinely uses terms like 'chinaman' and 'colored fella' and refers to his male nurse as 'that fruit who brings my pills.' Since he lives in Florida, his vote counts more than yours. Welcome to the electoral college.
*No really. I mean that.