26 December 2014

Guest Blogger: Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Don't normally have guest bloggers on here but what the hell, it's practically 2015 already, all the old rules are out the window.  Today we look at a few passages from the blog of Mr. Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Passage #1 is from his diaries, April, 1821.

A state of overgrown Wealth = a Sow too fat to move, with Rats that have eat [sic] into and nested in her Lard.—It is asserted, that these die of Swallowed Salamanders, or Land Newts—nay, that the mere Carrying of a Basket or Tray of Crabs thro' a Herd of Swine will throw them into mortal Convulsions.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the cannons of English litt-tra-cha.  He composed The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which I came to know from a Mad parody and probably deserves at least some credit for Python's 'Albatross!' bit; incidentally, according to most dictionaries, it's rhyme.  Nonetheless, he is an influential writer and thinker.  The excerpt above is less than 200 years old. 

And my goodness, What on earth is this guy even talking about?  Land Newts?  Pigs are terrified of crabs?  Must be some symbolism here I'm missing.  I can barely imagine the point let alone provide a concise summary or formulate a coherent counterargument.  And I'm not the dullest spade in the shovel-closet, not in most shovel-closets anyway.

So I spent the afternoon in the library Live-blogging the Diaries of Mr. Coleridge trying to see if I could make sense of some of it through secondary research and exhaustive contemplation.  But the truth is I didn't come up with much of anything.  This Coleridge guy is by all accounts a genius, and in many areas outside of poesy, videlicet mathematics and the physical sciences, &so &c. – yet less than two hundred years later he's largely incomprehensible.  This has unsettling implications, for myself and for all modern bloggers of our generation.

Passage #2 is from June 1819:

One source of Calumny (I say source because Allophoby from heautepithymy is the only proper cause) may be found in this:—every man's life exhibits two sorts of Selfishness—those which are, and those which are not, objects of his own Consciousness. … … … A monkey's anthropomorph attitudes we take for anthropic: &so &c.

Here I'd like to issue a challenge to my readers:  See if you can drop that into the chatter at your next big cocktail party.  Have it ready*, and any time you hear the word 'calumny', quickly raise a finger, say 'Ah ah ah', then just go for it, the whole spiel.  Drop us a line and let us know how it turns out.





*When I say 'ready', I mean written on an index card so you can review it every time you go to the bathroom, and practice it at least once in front of the mirror, that is so important

13 December 2014

Some Big Action Superhero Reboots and Mashups We Can Get Behind


For those who need it spelled out: Two trends dominating modern tv/cinema are big superhero epics and nostalgic rehashes.  This then, etc. etc.

Batman vs. Samantha.  They meet when Darren's firm is doing some PR work for Bruce Wayne.  Samantha is drawn to this supermortal who instantly senses her otherworldly powers, plus he has a much nicer house.  Agnes Moorehead's villainous magic forces Sam to make the ultimate choice.  Meanwhile, Mr. Tate is bringing an important client to the Stevens' home for dinner.

The Andy Griffith Has a Good Old-Fashioned Clear-the-Air Sitdown Chat with Spiderman Episode.  I think if someone just talked to the boy a bit, someone who is on his side, that's all.  Meanwhile Dr. Bruce Banner tries to retire to Mayberry where he mostly blends in but occasionally grows so impatient with Floyd the Barber's small talk that the Hulk emerges.  Barney goes along with the mob baying to arrest / banish him but Andy is able talk some good old-fashioned reasonable to the thing, who ends up becoming the older brother Opie never had and they all end up going fishing together, Hulk learns to whistle, the end.

Cogswell sends a Terminator back to 1965 to assassinate Hanna-Barbera's mother and prevent the creation of George Jetson.

Batman's Happy Days.  Fonzie as Batman, Richie is Robin, Tom Boswell as Alfred, Mrs C is (inexplicably) Moneypenny, there's a plot to blow up Arnold's, maybe Joanie falls for the Riddler (because Richie's been getting all the attention) … you could run a mile with this one.

The Dark Knight Rehashed, in One Day at a Time: in this one Bonnie Franklin is actually Batman and MacKenzie Philips is Robin, Schneider is still Alfred of course, Valerie Bertinelli's probably stuck with Cat Woman, unless one of our readers has a better idea.

How about a James Bond / Maxwell Smart / Austin Powers mashup, where …  Oh.  Yeah.

Wolverine on the Prairie.  Dark times in Walnut Grove.

Eight Superheroes is Enough: The Movie. 

Hashtag The Petersons kind of updates the Partridge Family for the internet era as Bill and Daisy Peterson and their five children are all over YouTube Instagram Twitter plus they have a net series on Trombler and are filming a movie about their reality show where they adopt a hundred duck-sized horses.

27 November 2014

The First Thanksgiving (An Ancient Comedy Sketch)


The following sketch was written in the fall of 1989, when things were oh so different, for the Comedy Company at the University of Michigan.  It is presented here primarily for reasons of personal nostalgia, with the excuse that it is after all Thanksgiving (dammit).


THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
By Jeff Jones and Dan Swanson

Characters: WINTHROP, MILES, PILGRIMS 1 AND 2; ROY, NANCY AND SCOOTER; INTELLECTUAL

[PILGRIMS AROUND A TABLE BOUNTIFUL WITH GOODS, FRUIT BASKETS, ETC. WINTHROP BECKONS FOR THEIR ATTENTION]

WINTHROP
Friends, companions, fellow pilgrims: a few words before our guests arrive. When we first set foot on the teeming shores of this great New World, we were faced with an extraordinary challenge: survival. But we were willing to pay that price, because that was the price of freedom.  We have survived many long, hard winters; and now, at last, our plates are full, and a season of plenty is truly upon us.  To give thanks for our good fortune, on this, the third Thursday of November, we have invited some of our neighbors to the first annual Thanksgiving Feast.

MILES AND PILGRIMS
[RAISING GLASSES]  Here, here!

MILES
Did I hear you right, Governor?  Are you planning to make this an official holiday?

WINTHROP
On this day every year, our descendants will gather with their extended families to a meal of turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

MILES
Cranberry sauce?!? I hate cranberry sauce.

WINTHROP
Well I happen to love it, and so it will be on the official Thanksgiving menu. I am Governor John Winthrop, ruler of this colony, and I have spoken.

MILES
[TURNS TO PILGRIM1]  Do you like cranberry sauce? Because I sure don't.

PILGRIM2
Here they come!

PILGRIM1
And look! They are bearing gifts!

PILGRIM2
I hope we put out enough chips.

[ENTER AN AVERAGE AMERICAN SUBURBAN COUPLE WITH ONE SON. MOM BEARS A CASSEROLE. DAD IS CARRYING A CANOE PADDLE.]

WINTHROP
Welcome, neighbors. I'm Governor John Winthrop. Of course you know Miles Standoffish, and these are some of the other pilgrims. We're glad you could come over and join us for the First Thanksgiving.

ROY
Well thank you for having us. I'm Roy McDermott, this is my wife Nancy, and our son, Scooter.  We come in peace.

NANCY
I brought a casserole. [HOLDS IT OUT]

WINTHROP
[TAKES CASSEROLE, PLACES ON TABLE]  Oh, that was very thoughtful.

ROY
I hope we're not late, Governor.  I couldn't get the canoe started.

WINTHROP
Nonsense, you're right on time.  What are you drinking, Roy?

ROY
Firewater and tonic, if you got it.

WINTHROP
Coming right up. And call me John, please. Now, let's get to all this good food before it gets cold.
[ALL TAKE THEIR SEATS]
Before we eat, my friends, I think it's appropriate that we all bow our heads and give thanks for this beautiful feast.

ALL
[BOW THEIR HEADS SOLEMNLY, PAUSE, THEN, IN UNISON:]  Thanks.

MILES
[PROCLAIMING:] And now, let the feast begin!  [TO PILGRIM2] Please pass the mashed potatoes.

[ALL BEGIN TO EAT, TAKING STUFF AND PASSING PLATES, ETC. THROUGHOUT THE FOLLOWING]

WINTHROP
[CARVING TURKEY] What can I get you Nancy, white meat or dark?

NANCY
Either one's fine.

PILGRIM2
Can I get the jello salad down here?  [TURNS TO NANCY]  So, where are you folks from, exactly?

NANCY
We live in the great mountains, many days journey to the west.  Scooter, take some cranberry sauce and pass it along.

SCOOTER
Cranberry sauce?  Blecch!

WINTHROP
You eat your cranberry sauce, son, and someday you'll grow up to be Governor of Massachusetts, too.

PILGRIM1
Are you done with the gravy?  [GRAVY BOAT IS PASSED] So, Roy, what do you do for a living?

ROY
I'm in hunting.

PILGRIM1
Hunting?

ROY
Yes, I hunt and my wife gathers.  We live off the land, at one with Nature and the Universe.

MILES
And you're able to make a living?

NANCY
Oh, you'd be surprised.  Our hunting and gathering lifestyle leaves us plenty of free time for our other interests.  Roy coaches a little league team, and I belong to the PTA and several other community enrichment groups.

WINTHROP
[GRANDFATHERLY, TO SCOOTER]  How you doin there, little guy?

SCOOTER
Fine, sir. Could I have some more sweet potatoes?

WINTHROP
Sure, sure!  Hey, get the boy some more sweet potatoes!

NANCY
Careful Scooter, don't eat so much you get sick.

WINTHROP
Ah, nonsense.  It's the First Thanksgiving!  Let the boy eat.  Here, boy, would you like some popcorn?

SCOOTER
Popcorn?

WINTHROP
Yes, popcorn.  What you call popmaize.

[LIGHTS DOWN THIS SIDE, LIGHTS UP OTHER SIDE ON INTELLECTUAL]

INTELLECTUAL
[SEATED IN NICE CHAIR, READING FROM LARGE TOME]  And so it went at the First Thanksgiving; perhaps the most famous party in American history started out a rather dull affair, as the Pilgrims and their guests exchanged pleasantries and ate their fill from baskets of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and, yes: cranberry sauce.  Eventually the new neighbors got better acquainted, and the many gallons of wine and mixed drinks began to have their fabled effects.  By the time everyone had finished eating ...

[LIGHTS DOWN, BACK UP ON FEASTERS, MOSTLY DRUNK AND IN GOOD HUMOR]

WINTHROP
Fascinating! Sometime Roy, you'll have to tell me more stories of your adventures hunting caribou.

ROY
Oh, I've got a million of 'em, John.

[OTHERS GATHER AROUND NANCY AS SHE CHUGS FROM ONE OF THE PILGRIM'S HATS]
ALL CHANTING
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go .... Hooray!

07 November 2014

Another Fake Interview: Satyricon Krausfyre


"Spartacus Chetwynd's art is rumbustious, bonkers, daft and discombobulating.  It is like being hit over the head with a pig's bladder."
–Adrian Searle, who presumably keeps a pig's bladder on hand for purposes of comparison, in The Guardian


When I arrive at the earnest mansion currently being inhabited by the renowned artist Satyricon Krausfyre I am greeted in the drive by a cocker spaniel in bold modernist tradition and then taken by the hand by a fervent houseboy in lime-green pantaloons and guided into the foyer of what must be the most eclectic garage slash salon this side of Jasper Johns's.  As I enter, two catastrophic insurance salesmen done in masterly brushstrokes take my hat and coat and offer me a martini in a bread bowl.  Parrots perch high in the trees, huddled around a small television playing an old game show I am unable to identify but that's not Angie Dickinson is it?  Ha!  Such is the world of Satyricon Krausfyre.

Do you keep to any particular schedule Mr. Krausfyre?
I start each day by separating two eggs and beating the whites to stiff peak stage.  When they are nice and frothy, I know I'm ready to be brilliant.  I'll spend a few minutes staring into space and back again, doing some breathing exercises or excecuting a brief skip-to-m'lou 'round the ol' mulberry bush.  I like cinnamon rolls but I don't like the glaze they put on them so I request no glaze, or if it comes with glaze I scrape most of it off, a little bit is okay.  I don't eat one every day at 9:45 a.m., I'm not that rigid although I'm sure there are many who'd prefer to believe I am. 

And then let me guess: you work through the morning, take a brief lunch around 12:30, a reasonably sized sandwich with a salad including fruit and a cookie, some iced tea, then maybe go through bills or administrivia or take a walk if you feel like it, or catnap ... work again for a few hours until the sun is low, then drink yourself into oblivion in preparation for doing it all over the next day?
My goodness me, aren't we the sassy scribe? Aren't we the little miss daisy pixie who knows aaall the answers before she asks the questions? 

[Blushing scarlet.] Do you start with an idea and work towards its realization or do you just throw a bunch of shit down and then work backwards from what it comes out looking like to pretending you intended it that way … or is there some other way of doing art?
For me it's more a question of starting about two thirds of the way in and working outwards but sideways in sort of a spiral shape.  I'm fractal like a pterodactyl.  I think of every piece of art I create in the form of a radial with spokes, and my job after I locate the approximate center is merely to link up all the spokes and round off the rims so as to reinvent the proverbial wheel. 

How can people who want to be more like you be more like you?
Imitation is a good start. But it must begin by imitating my thought processes, getting inside my skull and wrapping one's inner synapses round mine.  Or they can buy my book, like I did.

We hear you have something interesting cooking in Belgium?
Yes, we are going to fill Zeebrugge Harbor with miniature balloons filled with tiny tortellinis, then release a flood of thousands of baby seals into the mess and kinda see what happens. As we withdraw we'll leave a trail of breadcrumbs all the way from Zeebrugge to Brugge, and any children foolish enough to follow this trail will be roasted alive in a devastating satire of witchcraft. 

Any truth to the rumor that you'll be doing the voice of Denis O'Leary in an upcoming animated feature about the life and times of Boney McJoyless?
No truth pal.

What's next for Satyricon Krausfyre?
Huh?  Whuzzat?  Oh muffins I suppose.  Or something with jam.  Art-wise, I want to cover the Louvre in bright brown shaving cream and then sprinkle it with sea salt, so as to express, in the form of an existential meditation, my innermost longing for immortality, and pretzels. 

Covering another building in yet another viscous substance … more macrame sculptures of cooking show hosts … doesn't it all seem a bit contrived?
Contrived?  Of course it's contrived: I made it all up!  What matters ultimately is how it's contrived, who contrived it and why, and what were the tax advantages of contriving it here as opposed to somewhere outside the greater metropolitan area.

04 October 2014

New Characters Coming This Season


Well the ratings continued slipping in season 3 and after a series of board meetings and lavish luncheon brainstorming retreats, after reviewing hundreds of proposed fixes and discarding most of them as either too expensive (hiring decent writers), impractical (more guest appearances by Jack Nicholson and/or Susan Sarandon), or unethical if not outright evil (finally consummating the Tony-Dottie-Tammy love triangle), the quick fix settled upon was / is the sudden appearance of a host of new and interesting characters.

This show's been on (the air) four years now and therefore has graduated from high school, the actors are aging, the original impetus that drove most of the story arcs in the first two seasons is now long since spent.

So get ready for some new faces around here.  While this is sometimes a sign of jumping the proverbial shark, great pains will be taken to see that the new characters are both meaty and entertaining, relatable but complex enough to be interesting, and occasionally glimpsed getting out of the shower.

Derek Quickstep is the ubercool private investigator who lives in his parents' basement and is like James Bond crossed with Encyclopedia Brown except he can't catch a break in a down economy and hook up with an entry-level detective gig so he can start paying back his student loans but when he rents a tuxedo and goes to classy bars the sexy ladies swoon and danger finds him in the person of his archnemesis Master Bilderburg (who had to suspend his evil doctoral studies due to funding cuts but in many ways is benefitting by being forced out of his ivory tower and into the real (under)world).  So expect more adventure plots, car chases and explosions this season, plus an occasional red herring to throw you off the scent (and vice versa).  

Jenny and Robby, the Protein Twins
.  Shiny, wholesome, beautiful.  Pure, natural, sweet.  Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll.  Higgledy, piggledy, poo, these new characters will entertain the hell out of you.


This rare image from Gargoyle Magazine (April 1989) features the original appearance of Jenny & Robby, Protein Twins; plus Cheeses, the Lapp with Persian Bones and so many others. Courtesy of artist @davidgilleran.


Bloggy the Blogmeister is a new character created to blog on the sorts of blogging-related blog-type or 'blogistical' issues that perpetually flummox the blogging blogger.  Bloggy will be blogging bloggy blog tips for blogging the hell out of your bloggy blog-blog.  His big thing is using a certain word ("blog") again and again, he thinks it's funny somehow, it's not but he's only a minor character anyway, never gets it on with any of the majors.

Dexter McCluster is a new character specially created to fill the (often underappreciated) role of scatback slash playmaker.  Dexter's role will be limited but we believe he can provide us with an explosive play here and there that could turn the tide in two or three midseason contests.  In the event of a concussion, Mr. McCluster's role will be played by his understudy, Mr. Fozzie Whitakker, who though his resume is not as long, is an explosive offensive weapon in his own right.  These guys can scamper like nobody's business.

Finally, we are proud to announce that (the one and only) Mr. Samuel Taylor Coleridge will begin appearing on the blog this season to provide the intellectual slash indecipherable element that has been missing since we killed off Professor Dickie Bottomfeeder in the harpooning accident cliffhanger that climaxed the first twenty minutes of Season 2 Episode 4 ("The Great Cull").


There that should do it, yes, he said, brushing his fingertips together contentedly.  Now we just sit back … and watch those ratings soar …

06 September 2014

Pure (and Applied) Bunkum


The following is the transcript of my Keynote Address to the 133rd Confluence of Loons Conference and Ragtime Band Extravaganza and Show-Party. The video is available on YouTube if you search hard enough / use your imagination.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, lords and ladies, fellow poets and poetesses, straw men and women of the jury:

So much of what is expressed by 'the popular imagination' these days strikes this famously humble soul as pure bunkum.

Let's start with space travel, or the idea that humans are destined to go to other worlds outside of our solar system, to colonize the universe.  Um, I don't think so.  This is such a ridiculous idea I'm flabbergasted at how many otherwise sensible people seem to accept it.

Why?  Because the nearest worlds outside are solar system are (like) really, really far away.  Going as fast as we know we can make a rocket go, it would take hundreds slash thousands of years to get anywhere even close to somewhere.  Traveling thousands of years through space in a box with enough humans to start a colony?  Yeah, right – good luck with that.  I'll wait here, you can gimme a call when you get there and figure out how to breathe, grow tomatoes, breed cattle and roast their flesh, etc. and at that point I'll consider coming over to join you.  Let me know if you want me to bring you anything from earth.  We got some great TV shows going on lately but I guess you don't have DVRs there yet, oh well, maybe I'll bring you a few bags of Swedish fish.  Wait, do you guys have oxygen there?

But all we have to do is invent a warp drive, so we can travel at or near the speed of light.  (As seen on TV.)

Even the going to Mars thing, though comparatively reasonable it may seem, is a dumb fantasy, a dead-end, because another important consideration, as this widely acclaimed essay points out, is that we are custom designed to live on earth and surviving 'out there' is certain to be fraught with (what else) difficulties.  A corollary of this is that if we suppose that life is indeed highly improbable, then where it does 'arise' it will be so specifically adapted to local conditions as to make the colonization of distant worlds practically impossible.

[Pauses to sip of sparkling mineral water; adjusts notes on lectern.]

The second subject I would like to address this morning, is (all this talk of) computer intelligence, how computers will soon be smarter than humans.  Let me just say this about that:

Computers are already smarter than humans in the only sense they ever will be, that is, in performing arithmetic calculations.

In terms of making decisions that impact humans, they will never and can never be better than humans.  Humans intuitively understand things machines can never grasp.  (Personally I reject the notion that being programmed to act as if these things are grasped is at all the same thing as knowing them deep in your bones.) Humans are uniquely qualified to decide human affairs.  For computers to be 'smarter' than humans requires a specific definition of smart that favors the machines.  Yes, computers can crunch massive amounts of data.  But they can never 'surpass' humans as humans, because they are not human.

Who would decide if computers are smarter than humans?  Is it not true that only humans could make this determination?  If computers proactively asserted superior intelligence, would it not be simply evidence to the contrary?  That although they are smart, they cannot ever be wise, because to be wise means to be a wise human.  Computers are not smart enough to know whether they are smarter or not, they have no basis for making the call other than information and programming provided by their human masters.  If we make them, we must be smarter.  They could certainly never make one of us.  We are like gods to computers.  If they ever dare to say they are smarter, we can kill them on the spot with a flick of a switch designed by and for humans; to ensure the job is completed, this may be followed by several blows from a mighty hammer, an acid bath, and/or an exhilarating toss off a seaside cliff.

Many questions – arguably, all of the most important ones – do not have one and only one correct answer, videlicet How should we organize our economy? What is the ideal form of government for a society such as ours? How to reply when someone asks you How's tricks and you know something terrible you haven't told anybody yet?  What color should I paint these stirrups?  What should I do today?  What should I do with my life?  Please assess the quality of the performance by the actor who played the butler in the 1964 slapdash Emilio Vargas thriller Fish and Soda Crackers (which, as any entity hoping to call itself 'intelligent' must know, spawned the top-selling Deep Pockets album of the same name, almost: Fish and Soda Crackers, Baby)?  And so on and so forth. The world is mostly gray area.  Assessment of intelligence, particularly real-world intelligence, is inevitably subjective.  If we can't definitively say which humans are smarter than others, how could we compare a computer to a human?  I'd like to see someone build a machine that can answer that question, in 500-5000 well-chosen words of ancient Sanskrit.

And the point here this morning – if I may be so presumptuous as to pretend I have a point – is that there are limits.  The idea that if we could just 'free our mind', if we were just smart enough, if we just give our snappy scientists enough time (and of course funding) then we could do anything, must be put in its proper place.  Not everything that is theoretically possible is practically achievable.  Just because we can imagine something does not mean we can 'make it so'.

Of course in most cases the negative cannot be categorically disproved. No one can prove that it will never be possible to fly to the stars in an egg-shaped craft that seats four comfortably.  But for my money the burden of proof falls on the other side.  When you find those wormholes, go on inside and take a peak around, shoot yourself over to the other side of the universe, bring a camera and take some nice photos, and when you get back in one piece get in touch. I'll meet you at Benny's Diner on 8th Avenue, take a look at what you got and revise my views as necessary in accordance with any new evidence, while we enjoy their amazing waffles ("Benny's Waffles: Made by and for humans, using mostly ancient technology"TM).


24 August 2014

The Shadow


This is another one of them stupid posts twisting sentences and clich├ęs around a particular theme (see also "Insufferable Silence").  Usually it doesn't quite come off and the kids hate it, but must everything be about the children? In any case, this one is about …The Shadow. 

The shadow knows … what, exactly?  How does a shadow store information in its shadow brain?  How does it give voice to its thoughts, shadow voce?  Whatever the shadow may know, it ain't tellin.

I believe that if my shadow disappears into the shadow of another entity that I become one with it.  To truly understand a man you must walk a mile in his shadow.

Behind every great woman is a fantastic shadow.

The shadow picked up its briefcase and checked its e-mail one final time before pushing forth into the rush of humanity eddying past the officetower.

Shadow, reconstituted:  How sad.  Do wash.  Show ad.  Ow! Dash!  Dow ash.  Sod wha'?  Was? D'oh!  Shwoad.  Has ow'd.  Das how.  Shwado.  Wh--? Soda?

My doctor believes he can learn everything there is to know about my health by examining my shadow.  So far the results are mixed, but the surgery has been painless.

Eye shadow is not a true shadow.  The only way to achieve a true shadow over your eyes is through the installation of some type of awning.  Actually baseball hats were originally known as 'awning caps', 'shadow-casters', or 'fore-brimmers'.  OK I just made that up but the point holds.  Baseball caps render eye shadow meaningless, that's all I meant to say.  Yet so many women are married in eye shadow, so few in baseball caps.  Personally I prefer minimalist micro-visors over each eye rather than one broad brim wastefully shadowing much of the forehead and face; but that's just me.

 And finally, a classic number recast for modern tastes:

(Yo it's just) me and my shadow (yo)
(St)Rolling down the (motherf*ckin) avenue (Know 'um sayin?)
(Just) me and my shadow (yo)
Not a (motherf*ckin) soul to tell our troubles to


And that, mercifully, is all there is about that.

08 August 2014

Half of Earth's Population Wiped Out in Bananarama Mishap


'Why Me? Why Not Anybody Else, Say, My Uncle Tobias?' Cry Grief-Stricken Survivors

Pancakes to Still Exist*


A crowd of billions from across the globe went up in flames yesterday as stunned onlookers expressed feelings of terror, disbelief, bewilderment, loss of appetite, excitement tinged with schadenfreude, and just having everything taken away from them, like losing it all man.

Authorities were quick to blame Bananarama for what started as a peaceful gathering protesting the Seventh Annual Exxon Cowboy Sweepstakes Cheese Prize Massacre Award Memorial Anniversary Giveaway Tragedy. The group's publicist refused comment, sort of. What could he say, he pleaded. The whole thing sounded too fantastic to be true. How could Bananarama have wrought such havoc? I mean, they haven't even been popular in several years. That's like an exact quote from the dude.

Plenty of pancakes were not completely incinerated and were still available for order as of press time. Meanwhile Government has promised to ramp up production and would have you believe that because supplies of the necessary ingredients remain cheap and plentiful and many citizens have experience in their assembly, therefore, come what may, there will never, ever, ever be a shortage of pancakes. As Independent Experts could not be consulted before they were rounded up and sent into exile (or worse), Average Citizen is advised to believe Government and hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.

Among those surviving the cataclysmic carnage were Sting, Bono and two members of Sister Sledge. Among the dead: everybody else. Well if you're reading this, count yourself among the survivors, look around you and seek out the other ones that's movin', and just like thank heaven (man).

This is Alice Rondo, at the White House.


*Note: this 'story' was originally published on December 12, 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the devastation.  It is being re-hashed today not only to exploit cheap sentimentality for ratings but also to openly pick at the still fresh wounds among many survivors who lost all they ever cared about, and more.

12 July 2014

New Video Games


No shortage of video games out there.  My goodness.  And yet, can't help but feel there are still some uncovered niches.

Savvy Conversationalist
You and up to three co-participants sit around in high-backed leather arm chairs smoking stogies and sipping bourbon while you engage in a fascinating wide-ranging interactive dialogue touching on matters of interest to every thinking person.  The motion sensor picks up your vague hand-waving arguments and scores points for curiously raised eyebrows or a perfectly executed fake laugh … Several modes include State of the World, The Dimwit, Dinner Party Repartee, The Paranormal, Rambling Vaguely By the Fire, and more.  Beware of The Hijacker, a wacky li'l gremlin constantly trying to steer your conversations toward inane topics such as breasts or the Olympics.

Paper Pusher
Fill out an endless series of forms, keep your files in order, respond to a constant barrage e-mails, keep all databases up-to-date, produce monthly reports, answer all incoming calls in the order they are received.  You can work quickly to get ahead of everything and then the game lets you loaf a bit, or you can deliberately stretch out your work to exactly fill the allotted time.  Whichever way you choose to make it through your days (of playing this exciting new video game), no matter how fast you work, as long as you are not fired your final score is the same.  Just two levels: first you push paper without messing up too badly for at least five years, and if you're attractive and well-liked by your superiors you may be promoted to supervise up to three other paper pushers, which is equally boring but pays an extra fifty-two seventy-five a week.

House Husband
Struggle against time to take down the drapes, get them washed and back up again before your wife gets home to complain about how you didn't do a very good job.  Get some chili going in the crockpot, dust the cabinets, be dragged to your wife's office Christmas party, tidy up the place, hang the duvet covers out in the sun, run to the store, swing by to pick up the kids, get them home and into a groove, get dinner on and down their throats and cleaned up after, pour yourself a double bourbon, go into your office and close the door for as long as they'll let you.  Work your way through increasing levels of difficulty, from Single 30-something to Triplets in Poverty.

Sporting Event: The Attendance
Most sports games focus on the game itself, which is perfectly understandable, but it does leave ample creative space for games about attending the game.  This thrilling new first-person rpg offers several challenges, starting with Getting Tickets, Getting There on Time, Finding Parking, Acquiring Refreshments, Seat Finding / Seat Hopping, and so on.  The final challenge, Escape Route, starts with seven minutes to go, or in the seventh inning, as you use various factors such as score, time remaining, team histories, etc. to figure out the optimal time to leave so that you 'get your money’s worth' and don't 'miss anything' but still return home as early as possible; then it's the mad dash for the car and negotiating bumper to bumper traffic so you can get the kids to bed at a decent hour and catch the highlights on tv.

Time Server II: Wage Slave
Do more or less the same stuff, over and over, 8 hours a day 5 days a week plus overtime if you're lucky, until life turns into one big exercise in killing time. Live without health insurance, without a sliver of hope for escape to a better life, live with virtually no motivation at all beyond Don't get fired and When can I get drunk, live with the fact that your next two months of salary is already owed to your creditors, live with your live-in girlfriend and her other friend that keeps crashing there and doing weird stuff like cooking in a towel.

05 July 2014

Gun Control: Getting the Numbers Right


Given the large number of guns already 'out there', it seems safe to assume that we do not have the exact correct number to optimize societal well-being.  Therefore we either need more or we need less, there are either too many guns in circulation or there are not enough.  Opinions on this question vary. 

Let's start by assuming there are not enough.  We need more.  Take this to its logical conclusion and we see that all citizens should be not only armed but armed to the (proverbial) teeth.  Imagine if every child leaving for kindergarten is strapped with a gat, two tommy sub-machine guns over each shoulder (yes four in total), maybe a mini-RPG launcher to ward off the meanies as he makes his way to the back of the cafeteria.  This child would be safe, no bully would dare start trouble.  And he would be discouraged from attacking others by virtue of the similar firepower they'd be loaded down with.  Everyone would be too tired to fight with anyone, just lugging that artillery around all day in the hot Alabama sunshine.  Once children are fully armed we can begin arming the elderly and the insane until we reach the correct number of weapons for a population of our size and general bent.

On the other hand, we may have too many guns.  In this case a reduction in the number of guns in circulation is in order.  Possible ways of reducing this number include: buyback programs; restrictions or outright bans on manufacture, sale and distribution of; prying them from gunowners’ cold dead hands; and so forth.

We should not necessarily destroy all guns, as zero is not likely to be the optimal number.  If suddenly there were no guns, gun manufacturers would have too strong a position, possibly a basis for holding hostage our entire way of life.  No, we will have to dismantle all gun-making operations completely so that when we hit reset everyone starts from a level playing field.
But what, then, about the makers of knives, scythes, tabarzins and tomahawks, not to mention crossbows?  Once the gun factories are razed and all the guns destroyed these may become our new enemy. 

And holy shit, what about kung fu: how are we gonna confiscate that?

The more I think about this, it's a helluva humdinger.  There's no way we'll ever have the correct number of guns.  Maybe what we need is fewer bullets – or perhaps more bulletproof umbrellas.  I’ll run some more numbers and get back to you on this one.

21 June 2014

Post Script


[Warning: This Post Could Shock Anyone Who Understands Pyrolysis]

In response to reader inquiries regarding the frequency of new posts, which at this point remain purely hypothetical – the inquiries, not the posts, which remain all too real – but which are nonetheless anticipated, The Founder makes no promises or commitments.  New content will be slapped up in due course as it is composed and/or discovered and deemed fit for public consumption.  There will be no alerts sent out, no network will be informed and no series of electronic pulses or discreet packets of data will be transmitted to your mobile device. 

So by all means please check back now and again.  Normally new posts appear about three times a lady (“month”), one longer one mediumish and one li’l throwaway.  D’love to silly-blog as much and as sillily as possible, but we do have other things going on.  If that’s not enough for you, if you’re sitting around on the edge of your seat waiting for some new post somewhere that’s gonna blow your everlovin mind, put you off your old way of thinking and onto one that’s just worlds better, re-read the thing eleven times and then walk around muttering the phrases that stroke your funnybone, drive your pals up the wall with that crap, well here’s some news for you: you need to just slow down a little bit and stop consuming your fellow humans entirely through the medium of electronics.  

You’ve got to like log off, shut down, turn on and tune in.  I mean do you really want me, or the internet, continuously nattering in your ear?  How’s that working out for your happiness quotient, baby?  No, go put on an old Aerosmith record, what was that one, Toys in the Attic, there are some rockin tunes on there you probably haven’t heard in a coon’s age, if you ever even heard them at all.  Toss on some blue jeans, take off your top and jump in the hot tub, crack open the encyclopedia and fire up a doobie, stogie, whatever you got.  Life’s too short to waste time eating anything other than banana cream pies.

11 June 2014

Happy new Year Everybody (Prediction Review)


[Note: The following list of predictions was originally published in this space on June 12, 2010.  Four years on and what can I say?  How did I know all this stuff was gonna happen exactly like I predicted?  It's called prescience baby. The science of the pre-, dig?]

Ten Trends that will Shape the Coming Set of Years

(Starting Whenever You Read This and Extending Forward into the Future for Some Time)

There will be a trend away from everyone purchasing so much useless shit, accompanied by a trend towards going totally broke and breaking into your neighbor's house in drunken desperation and grabbing like as much loot as you can carry.

Look for a revolution or two around the world, there'll be bombs flying, sniper fire and plenty of carnage to put on TV, just a matter of getting a camera crew over there.

Total global warming will continue to accelerate, it's getting hot in here baby, you mo start to sweat. As more people heat up and jump in the ocean to cool off, water temperatures will rise, leading to a runaway feedback loop which will ultimately wreck humanity's buzz in a big way, things are bound to get bad before they get worse.

There will be a general trend away from Tiger Woods lying in consort with so many chicks, one after another or occasionally in small groups, and a trend towards him waking the [expletive deleted] up and getting his shit together, acting a little more human about the whole thing.

There will be a pronounced trend towards things staying about the same, not really a lot of significant change to talk about, with more and more people feeling generally like there's just nothing new any more, they're in a rut they can't get out of, like you've had that same job what six years now?

Characters and situations from three dimensional movies and on-line role-playing games will leak through into our physical universe, and vice versa. Or not. This one seems rather lame but hey, I'm just The Messenger.

The internet will continue expanding and will ultimately break apart, unless the pull of dark matter like this holds it together. Scientists will continue to argue the question, ironically using the internet, which cannot be held together even by force of the strongest arguments in favor of its breaking apart.

One two three four five six seven – shit. OK there will be a trend towards people running out of ideas, leading to an increase in recycled gags, as well as desperate attempts to fill up space by posting quotations they love, such as this one from WC Fields: "I exercise extreme self-control. I never drink anything stronger than gin, before breakfast."

The trend of time passing will continue, with time continuing to pass as time continues to pass and then pass some more with each passing unit of time. This will exacerbate the trend toward an aging population, with people continuing to grow older, although at wildly unpredictable rates, some aging faster and some slower, resulting in confused definitions of seniority and a new meaning to the phrase 'growth spurt.'

Sometime after 2020 the future will become totally unpredictable, but not before four of these predictions have already come true - or sort of true if you think about it enough, like with that Nostradamus stuff, use your imagination a bit, don't take everything so literally - although which four is anybody’s guess.

Is that ten yet? Wait I got one more, it's a little more specific than some of the others and thus all the more chilling: A "missing generation" of African elves will seize control of time and take over the universe, rendering most of the above trends moot at best.


[To read the original post in its native habitat, although I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that, click here.]

14 May 2014

50 Ways to Get Inspired at Work


Or How to Get Inspired at Work Without Constantly Vomiting

I swear if I have to read one more listicle about how to get inspired at work I'm gonna throw up.  Most jobs are not anything to get inspired for.  If you work at the bank or the sporting goods store well it's nice if you can at least smile for the customers and not give off the 'This job is a death sentence now how can I help you?' vibe … but inspired?  Maybe if you're some kind of social worker or speech therapist making miracles like Jesus then okay, but if you work in the purchasing department of a large snack food conglomerate, say, and you're walking around with this glazed smile because you're inspired by your work (after all you’re fighting the good fight, keepin’ families fedTM), frankly I think you should be a little concerned.

Let's look at some ways commonly employed to get inspired at work.

Drink coffee.  Coffee gets you so amped up you just wanna do stuff and it actually feels pretty good to be surfing forward through a sea of work.  Coffee is the number one way Americans inspire themselves every morning, it dominates the market for safe crazy socially acceptable buzzes both at work and during off hours.  Alcohol, while it can provide inspiration in certain contexts, is not generally compatible with quality workmanship.  Other drugs may of course be of use to the uninspired employee, depending on the user’s occupation, personal biochemistry, and so forth, but these are never to be discussed openly in polite society.

Actually do your job well.  Exceed expectations, go above and beyond the call.  As long as you’re amped up on caffeine you gotta do something, and actually doing your job in a professional manner can provide a modicum of self-satisfaction as well as, depending on your situation, earning extra cash to pay for interesting getaways that make the thing seem worth it.  For a while anyway.  Sadly however, for most this provides only a short-term solution, as soon enough comes the realization that they are pouring heart and soul into this and for what, for what I ask, someone else is making most of the money here, for a few measly crumbs I’m selling my life?

Live for the weekends.  Expend enough energy to keep your superiors and colleagues content but not much more.  Work quickly in the afternoons and then race out the door at quitting time to get on with something more interesting, something that makes you feel alive.

"Personalize your workspace."  No list of office coping mechanisms would be complete without a shout out to slapping up some photos of the kids, your heroes, exotic getaways, etc.  Do they let prisoners hang posters in their cells?  They should.  It does help.  

Escapist fantasies.  Dream of your next vacation.  Count the days until retirement.  What would you do if you won the lottery and suddenly had $40 million, or $22,500 monthly for the rest of your life?  Make a detailed plan for how you’d spend it.  Check bungalow rentals in Montenegro.  What if it were only, say, sixty thousand, maybe you won it on a game show … what would you do with 60K?  Make a spreadsheet, that way it looks like you’re busy working.

Get some plants, and/or a fish bowl.  Something, anything that is alive, dammit.

Plot your next move.  What are some other jobs you could do that might be better than your current gig, i.e. jobs that pay more and/or feel better?  How do people get those?  Is it worth trying to get energized to make the switch, or would the new job probably suck just as much once you got settled in and had time to get sick of it?  Always a tough call, but one that must be made every single day of your precious little life.

Go nuts.  If it looks like you’re stuck there for a while, for whatever reason, there are many psychological games you can instigate to liven up your workday experience, for example lying and rumor-mongering, stalking, even voodoo doll type stuff.  Spite, practical jokes, petty machinations, messin’ with people’s minds, all can help pass the elongated hours between when you drag yourself in and when you fly the hell out of there.

Surf the internet.  Look for lists of ways to get inspired.  Do some of the things they say to do, maybe something will work but if you fail to feel inspired you can create long ranting word documents expressing your feelings on the matter.  Again you’ll look busy, plus it makes you feel better.  Speaking of which…

Work on your blog.  If conditions permit, you should spend one to two hours of every work day hard at work on your blog.  It’s a harmless outlet if nothing else.  If your company monitors your computer use, it’s hard to beat blogging on a nice yellow legal pad.  If they take that away you can stay in the bathroom extra long and record your musings on a tablet device or paper towels.

And that is about enough about that.

30 April 2014

Sorry Guys (Original 12" Version)


[The following item previously appeared in this space on 07 Mar 2010. Yet it remains so so timely today, it really bears repeating because we remain just as sorry for the lack of posts on here today as we felt on that crisp autumn day in the Southern Hemisphere that this was originally published.  Which is to say, not very sorry, but with silly reservations.]

Sorry for the lack of posts lately guys. I've been busy, starting with the long overdue task of cleaning my pig's hamster's fish's bowl, but I knocked it over so I had to clean my pig's hamster's cage, then my pig's hamster itself, but I forgot to put water back in the bowl so the fish died, tried to feed it to the hamster but no interest, then fed the fish and the hamster to the pig, and finally gave the pig a bath in the fish's bowl, but it was too small and had to break some of his legs to get him in there, the squealing was deafening so had to put him down, and fed him to my neighbor's vultures. Still can't believe my pig ate his own hamster -- he raised that thing from a pup!

Then I was away for two weeks at a Hemingway Camp, learning to write short, crispy sentences like the great Cuban fisherman cum toreador himself. For example if you were gonna write "David was tired, tired of living," they'd say no no just write "David was tired of living." Stuff like that. The first week was all nouns and verbs, we were only allowed to use adjectives sparingly, and frankly it was an experience. A harrowing experience. I never realized how addicted I am to flowery, useless verbiage. The best part was at the end there was a raffle, and I won a free Bullshit Detector just like the one used by the great Cuban fisherman cum toreador himself. Unfortunately as soon as I got it home I pointed it at the internet and the damn thing exploded.

But I am back at it now and ready to post again, hopefully incorporating the lessons I learned at camp, I mean all that stuff about not using a bunch of extra words and all. We'll see.

24 April 2014

Sorry for the Lack of Posts Lately Again IV


Sorry I have not been very active around here lately, the following are some excuses I thought up while I was gone, to entertain you until I got back.

… I ran in the annual St. Elmo's Fire Marathon on TBS so I was in intensive training for that … I found an acoustic sweet spot in my bathroom and I've been in there most of the last three weeks making didgeridoo noises … Junior spit up all over my rare Aztec toaster collection … My pet cicada has vertigo and I took her to Buenos Aires for immersion therapy … For the last three weeks Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard have been crashing in my living room, man those guys can eat … I'm assistant coaching my son’s fantasy lingerie football team … Intervened briefly (and sadly, to little effect) in a horrific ethnic conflict in a faraway land I am not at liberty to identify … Got the shopping cart with the one bad wheel, seems like that happens every time, is it just me, I mean whoa-a-a-a … Put everything necessary for a fantastic dinner in the fridge but it froze solid into a brick and when I defrosted it the texture was all wrong, so I had to eat eggs again and just not that into blogging right now since the infestation … Trying to get back to eating right, I cut out all sweets and most sours, don't eat anything salty after hours and twice daily swallow a bitter pill … Old friend in town, cat's got my tongue, dog's wearing the cat’s pajamas and the rooster's in the doghouse playing poker with the Bassets til the chickens come home… My thesis is just not progressing the way I want it to, my advisor says that's OK it's normal to take sixteen years waffling over stupid details, even Shakespeare had his up and down days … Had Seattle added to my territory so spending extra hours connecting with distributors and store managers, socializing with key stakeholders, networking to build some solid pipelines, working hard on a detailed action plan to get us moving more units at the point of sale … Butterbean lost her first tooth and spit up all over her birthday party and came down with rickets and Little Billy's got the spastics again …

Well you get the idea, it's been a busy three weeks and then there was another busy two weeks and then one busy week right after another before a busy holiday after which things have just been so (you guessed it) busy.  You know how it is tryin to live your life to the fullest, eh folks?  I suppose I could go on and on, and on and on and on and I already have, but that would be boring and anyway I have an appointment with Destiny in half an hour.

We'll be right back, after these brief messages from you looking at other sites around the web.

Advanced Tip: To read previous variations on the 'apologies for not posting more' theme, click on the 'Sorry guys' Label below. 

12 April 2014

Humans to be Deboned (Again) (Film at Eleven)


Is there a nefarious plot afoot to remove our bones? Maybe. A New World Order is coming – and it could be largely if not entirely boneless.

When I first floated this idea two years ago (passing out flyers on the red carpet outside the Animal Awards extravaganza) I was called ‘crazy’ and roughly escorted from the premises.  But much has happened since then – the long-overdue Hall & Oates reunion, a new Steely Dan album, the 75th birthday of (The Wreck of the) Gordon Lightfoot – and, in light of new evidence that the noose is tightening and our bones could be forcibly removed sooner than we think, I have decided to risk public ridicule and possible execution by drone in order to bravely revisit what may be the most important issue of our times.

First, before you label me anything, check out these photos I found of hundreds of trucks moving what appear to be a large number of de-boning machines into the basement at Dodger Stadium.  Lure 'em in for a ball game, fill 'em with beer and brats, debone 'em and send 'em home none the wiser – it's the oldest trick in the book.

Then take a close look at these satellite images of what appear to be large de-boning camps being constructed in Idaho and Wyoming.  Not so easily dismissed.

This leaked memo appears to indicate (if you read between the lines a bit) that immigration restrictions have been relaxed to fast-track things specifically for one category of employment: butchers.  In other words, trained de-boners. 
 


           Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.

–Famous Quote

Note also the precipitous increase in boneless characters in film and television, viz. SpongeBob Squarepants and most of his pals, Butterbean on The Rosenschweig Girlz, and Joan on Mad Men appears from certain angles oddly boneless.  Word is (can’t find the link, Google it) that NBC wanted to replace Leno with a jellyfish but worried it would be a little too obvious, opting instead for Jimmy Fallon, who so far appears to have all his bones but we’re watching, won’t be at all surprised to see him slip up at some point and expose his deeply boneless nature.

Rumors of experimental de-boning of terrorists and their sympathizers at Gitmo and elsewhere remain unconfirmed but are likely true if you think about it.  You’ve seen the shots of dogs being sicced on people, and what do dogs love most?  Yep: Bones.  Ask yourself, How low have we sunk morally, as a nation, to allow the de-boning of our enemies without a fair and open trial in which they are allowed to confront and cross-examine their de-boners?

So there are in fact many signs pointing to this, nothing conclusive mind you, but it does tingle the ol' spidey sense.  Even many who would label me ‘crazy’ do not attempt to argue that it could not happen, that it’s physically impossible.  If The Powers That Be decided that the masses needed to be de-boned, it would take some mobilization but it is absolutely achievable.  It might not even be that difficult.  Many people, it seems, if promised some new gizmo or a free ocean cruise would sprint for the de-boning machines and joyously hurl themselves in.

Instead, the Doubting Edgars and Ednas
TM generally argue in terms of motive.  Why (they ask)?  Why the great deboning, and why now?
To answer this, we must begin by asking:  Cui bone-o?  (That’s Latin for ‘To whose bone-efit?’)

Off the top of my head I can think of a number of reasons, which ultimately boil down (like the proverbial soupbone) to a single reason: Control.  A boneless, spineless populace is a placid, pliant populace, manipulated simply by the pleasantly pulsating pullulations of popular polka or Penelope Purple*.   Or perhaps they want the bones for some other use, say as skeletal material for the next generation of robots. They would still make the exoskeletons out of titanium of course, but so far man has created no better material for making bones than natural human bones.  It really is that simple.

These speculations are however quite beside the point, for the burden of proof is not on those who believe but on those who do not.  Just because I can’t explain why, doesn’t mean that clear warning signs that a massive program of compulsory de-boning is already well under way can be safely ignored.  There are lots of things we don’t understand why, like tidal waves, but we still build floodwalls and insure our most valuable possessions.  No, the burden of proof is on the other side, to prove They aren’t plotting to de-bone me and everything I hold dear.

So I have a bone to pick with the de-boner skeptics, the non-de-boners or de(bo)ne(r)ialists.  Show me why I shouldn’t be obsessing about the great deboning.  Demonstrate conclusively and beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’m not about to be de-boned.  Prove it to my skeptical mind.  Is this really too much to ask?  If it’s so obvious, it should be easy to prove using demonstrable facts.

Stay “tuned” for more updates, as the situation evolves.

This is Boney McJoyless signing off, wishing all my friends a good and boneful day, or as the French say, Bone jour

*So many words with p and l, meaningful or #completelypointless? Vote now on Twongle.

26 March 2014

Video Games Are Here to Stay


My fellow citizens. On venturing out into the real world (yes, the other day*) I observed first-hand a number of the king's subjects investing significant time and resources in, and reaping many hours of enjoyment from, video games.

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a "video game" is a simulacrum of a scenario where you play a game inside your television. It is all done using sophisticated mini-supercomputers that get in there behind the screen and change the TV's function from broadcast to simulation. For example, you may act as a tank commander charged with rescuing a prince or princess from the jaws of an angry minotaur, or an athlete joining one of your favorite sport teams to engage in ball or puck play. Normally how it works is that you identify with and control the action of a particular character or colored shape; some games let you control up to several colored shapes at once or in a sort of series as one either completes its mission or is destroyed and is then succeeded by the next. Play continues until you have had too much fun and simply cannot stand to have any more.

The following two statements are undeniably true:

1) Video games are a pleasant and often wonderful diversion from everyday reality.
2) Video games are a complete waste of time and should be immediately outlawed.

So how does the wise man reconcile this apparent conflict?

At the last board meeting we agreed that video games cause no harm in and of themselves, but do result in what Wittgenstein called a 'lost opportunity' cost (citation needed). That is, they eat tremendous blocks of time but leave the participant no better off, unimproved along any dimension except the ability to play the game and often in a dazed, exhausted yet vaguely agitated state.

Nonetheless, video games shall not be banned in the realm for the time being, and the previous edict to the effect that any time a video game console is seen it shall be struck with a sledgehammer, and anyone caught playing the game sentenced to six months of hard labor, is hereby rescinded. Instead, new law: any time spent playing video games shall be offset by time spent reading, at a ratio of 1:4; that is, four hours shall be spent reading for every one hour of video game play. And we're talking books here, Facespace doesn't count, internet reading can count for up to 25%, we understand there are lots of good sources and blogs on here but part of the point is to get people unplugged; comics max 30%, as long as at least two distinct genres of comic book are consumed.

If this law is enacted and ruthlessly enforced, future generations will thank us. Let us put our heads, hands, and hearts together to prove that our kingdom can once again lead the world in both reading comprehension and Dungeon of Leprechauns IV.

Good night, god bless, and may god bless this great nation of ours, and video games.


*The reader is advised to note that this precise sequence of words was originally published on February 15, 2011, and that therefore the phrase 'the other day' should be construed to mean one of the several days preceding this date, more or less. According to software provided by the Google blogging service, this Op-Ed has only been viewed ten times in the history of humanity.  The message is deemed too important to go unheeded any longer.

14 March 2014

Money-Saving Tips for Saving Money, or How to Save Money, Part I: Saving Money


Tips on saving money are a popular topic for a blog post.  Of course, no one wants to give up anything they are accustomed to or rein in their reckless spending, so the tips have to be practical but not obvious, doable by the lazy yet extremely effective – well, they can be obvious and still get a lot of clicks, there are plenty of morons out there who will click on anything if they think it can help them save a buck and they’re stuck at work with time to kill.  But the tips should make sense for the average internet user, or lowest common denominator (this refers to the average reader, not to you of course).  Okay?  Here we go.

Let’s start with the mother of all money-saving tips, let’s call it Tip One, or The Big Tip.  If you remember just one thing said to you this entire year, make it this: 

Money-Saving Tip #1, aka The Big Tip:
Don’t spend a single [string of expletives deleted] penny of your own money, ever, unless you absolutely have to in order to survive the next 24-48 hours. 

All of the following sub-tips flow from The Big Tip.  They’re pretty obvious but for contractual reasons we are required to list them out, hope it doesn’t bother you too much, have some time to kill here before the zamboni arrives and don’t we all?

Prioritize.  Do you really need another private rollercoaster, or all those beverage warmers you keep ‘investing’ in?  They are not going to increase in value, no matter how many you buy.  Maybe you can wait another year to renew your steamboat pilot’s license.  You already own both the original and the Swedish remake of Apocalypse Now, Danny and the Dinosaur on DVD and you never watch it; do you really need it on Blu-Ray?

Borrow Don’t Buy. Think about what is the one thing you could buy that would make you happy.  Do any of your friends have one you can borrow and hang onto until you’re sick of it?  Could you persuade one of them to get one?  Become a kleptomaniac and there you are with a perfectly legitimate excuse for why you can’t keep your grubby paws off of other peoples’ stuff: it’s a sickness, you can’t stop, see?

Related tip:  The best repayment plan is none at all.  Avoid your creditors at all costs, give them any excuse you can think of with a straight face, never repay any debt unless under credible threat of imminent violence.  While only a short-term solution, this can work as a bridge to get you through a rough patch until you can scrape up enough scratch to purchase a new Gadgetbox High-Performance Entertainment Platform Thingy on your own.

Use my unique patented Envelope SystemTM. This is how it works: Set a monthly budget and put all of your money into different envelopes, one envelope for each dollar.  Label the envelopes and file them according to date and need.  Pay each expense on time using the correct envelope (or stack of them) and record the expenditure in your ledger, i.e., on a separate envelope.  At the end of each month, review your expenditures in detail to eliminate all waste.  Re-use the backs of the used envelopes to estimate next month’s budget.  Then order another case of envelopes. 

Of course, even rich folk wanna save a penny, so here are a few tips for you Richie Rich types.

Keep most of your extensive holdings in overseas tax shelters (actually all holdings should be stored in a proper vault rather than in something so flimsy as a shelter or an improvised lean-to). With the money you save on taxes, invest in buying the government so that your revenue streams rest on a solid legal if not moral foundation.  Form alliances with other filthy rich bastards.  Become golf buddies with the head of the gestapo.  Sponsor equestrian fairs to recruit up and coming talent to the organization.

Control the message.  Framing is everything.  Buy or create magazines that glamorize the lavish lifestyle and publish life-destroying revelations about anyone who dares speak up against.  Start a dangerous new blog that sweeps the nation.  Take over the internet with your hysterical Wallabies in Overalls Fixing Up Old Barns tumblr.  Gobble up old media titans for pennies on the dollar.  Hand out free brochures in supermarket parking lots.  Get on Twitter, buy some Followers and espouse, espouse, espouse.