Friday, March 30, 2012

Employers Invading Privacy? or (Big Brother is Poking You)




   (That weird Dun dun music from Law and Order) July 2nd, 1996.




    I sat quietly in the conference room at the local supermarket waiting for the manager to enter.  After about five minute's she entered the room and sat down.
  "Hello."  she said and offered me her hand.
    I shook her hand trying to remember all the things you were supposed to do during a job interview.  I think I may have curtsied too.  "I am pleased and humbled to make your acquaintance your majesty"  Ok, I wasn't that dumb.  But I was trying to be super polite in every way I knew how.
    She looked over my application which didn't take too long seeing as I had pretty much zero job experience.  I had maybe two references, which were either teachers or friends that I may have helped move.  "Ok," she said finally.  "First thing I want to know is are you willing to shave and cut your hair?"
   I sat for a moment.  This wasn't what they taught us about job interviews.  What about 'what's your biggest weakness?'  to which I reply 'I work too hard'  or 'When can you start?'  'NOW!'.  I sat for a second. My hair was long yes.  But it was tied back.  I have had my beard ever since the first grade.  I just looked silly without it.  Just like how some people look weird without their glasses.  "Well, I am willing to shave yes."  I thought it was a sacrifice worth making for a job.  "But my hair can be tied back or maybe I could wear a hairnet."
    "Well," she said.  "I don't see any point in asking you any more questions." she said.  Smiling.  "We'll call you if anything comes up."  She pointed me towards the door.  I slowly walked out still dumbfounded.
  I pondered this for the next few days.  "How dare she judge me by my my hair."  Song lyrics began to swim through my head.  "And the sign says 'long haired freaky people, need not apply, so I tucked my hair up under my hat and went in to ask him why."
   I felt discriminated against.  What if my hair was part of my religion?  They would be discriminating against my religion.  Them stupid, work Nazi's!!!  "No job for you!"
   I have mellowed since then.  Looking back I realized two things.

  1. The request wasn't that outrageous.
  2. I was a stupid kid.
 For all I knew, she may have considered me for a job working around some machine that has been known to suck guys in by their pony tails.  It may have come down to one man, being slowly pulled in by his pony tail and still refusing scissors choosing death first. Come to think of it, I think she may have actually saved my life.
     Of course employers are going to ask things you don't expect.  It's part of their job to find the absolute best of the best.

 What exactly is the best of the best?
 I'm glad you asked.  I have compiled a list of what I would look for if I was an employer. This is in order of importance.



  1. An employee may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. An employee must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. An employee must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
  Ok, that' was actually Isaac Asimov's Three laws of robotics with the word "Robot" replaced by the word "Employee".   I think it still works here however.

   Why are you bringing all this employee stuff up?
I'm glad you asked narrative segue. A loyal reader has brought this article to my attention.  What it basically says is they shot down an amendment that would ban employers from asking their employees to hand over their Facebook passwords.  Ok, let's read that again.  Some employers have asked that their employees give them the password to their Facebook account in order to be hired or to keep their job.  I have never even heard of this being a thing.  I have never been asked for the password to anything.  Here is one of the problems. According to this article here as of 2008 61% of internet users had the same password for everything.  Heck, they may as well be asking for your bank information as well.  The problem is, there is nothing illegal in asking a question.  Not really.  You as an american citizen have the right to answer in any way you see fit.
   I live in Illinois, which is a Right to Work state.  You can be fired or refused a job without even a reason.  Yes, I have been in a situation just like that.  I was fired from a retail chain by a manager that just didn't really like me.  No other reason was given or even had to be given.  I only take mild satisfaction in knowing that he was later fired for stealing about a thousand dollars worth of stuff.  I say mild because it didn't really give me my job back.
     Why would an Employer care about your Facebook?
  I'm sure a quick Google search can dig up a ton of stories about a social network related firing.  There was this thing with teachers at a Los Angeles School (Not for the feint of heart).  Mark Berndt a 61 year old teacher in Los Angeles was fired and is held on $23 million bail for lewd acts with pupils (Eye sex? No, pupils means students).   A second teacher Martin Springer has also been arrested from the same freakin' school for allegedly fondling 14 year old girls. If you were a parent of a child in that school I'm sure you would feel a lot better knowing they intend to open with a new staff.
     Were these children saved because of access to Facebook?  Probably.  Then again. They could have also been saved by randomly searching their computers.  I'm sure no one is going to agree to that.  Facebook or any social network is basically that.  A "social" network.  That's like hanging out at a social bar or restaurant.  If you suddenly started taking pictures of underage kids at a Denny's.  I'm sure someone would notice.  I don't think you need someone's password to Facebook or whatever to find things like that out.  Back in the old days, it took a concerned student to come forward to another adult.
    This brings another point.  Adding your boss or your company as a friend.  It's kind of like that boss that wants to hang out and be your friend.
   "Hey, Bob.  Going out for some drinks with the boys.  Mind if I tag along?"  He might say with a smile.
   "Uh, well sure.  Let me just finish up this quick text so the guys can save you an extra chair."  You say nervously while simultaneously texting "Boss is coming,  Cancel the hookers."
   "Great." He says clapping you on the back and probably dislocating your shoulder.
   *BEEP BEEP* comes the next text.  "Too late, but the Candy and Cherry have been paid a little extra to pose as our sisters."
    "Sweet!" I exclaimed.  "Uh, our sisters are going to be joining us as well."

   Should employers require you to add them as a friend?  I don't think so, but a good employer shouldn't have to require you to do anything.  A business relationship should run pretty smoothly.
     I hope this trend doesn't catch on.  Here's something to consider though.  If you are ever refused employment because you refuse to handover your password to your Facebook or Google+ or your Myspace(Remember them?) account ask yourself this question.   "Would you really want to work for those dicks anyway?"
Maybe the answer is "Yes."   With the way the economy is now, finding a good job is hard enough as it is.  Do we really need this crap?
       What are your thoughts on this?  Maybe it's not a big enough thing yet.  It is something to make us question the meaning of privacy.  Please leave your comments and thoughts on this subject.  I am interested in hearing arguments for both sides.




 








References:
http://articles.cnn.com/2012-02-08/justice/justice_california-school-case_1_lewd-acts-miramonte-elementary-school-teacher?_s=PM:JUSTICE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Organic vs. Inorganic or (Some Things Just Cantaloupe.)

"Imma gon' destroy dis berry!"




     The warm season is here.  It's time for fresh produce.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, green beans, and...and...adsf;dsajfds.  Sorry, I've just salivated on my keyboard.  One minute.
   The point is, there is nothing better than fresh produce.  It's easier to come by, it's cheaper, and it tastes better.  What's better on a nice summer day than a good old fashioned BLT (Bacon, lettuce, and tomato).
      Support your local farmers buy produce and anoth- (RING)  Ok, that's weird my phone is ringing inside of my blog.  I must resist the urge of an over used Inception joke. "Phone Ception!"  Damn it. (RING) Ok, one second.  I have to take this call.
     (45 minutes later)
Wow, time sure does fly in blog world.   I just got off of the phone with a concerned reader.  They explained to me that we should screw the local farmers and other companies and buy organic (Not their exact words). (RING)(RI---)  I'm sorry, let me turn this off.
     Harmful Pesticides and other Chemicals hurts us and the environment.  
       Let me start by saying "Yes, organic doesn't use harmful chemicals or pesticides compared to conventional farming.  What's wrong with that?  Let me tell you, the world is full of bugs, rabbits, and other things that just love to eat produce.  How are they keeping them away?  No, playing Justin Bieber CD's won't work (I apologize for the meme jokes today).  Keeping the crop from being eaten by critters is a great challenge.   The truth is, that about half of the crop is what they would consider good enough to sell.  Therefore to keep up with demand they need to plant twice as much in order to keep with the demand.  This of course requires twice as much land, twice as much water (Twice as many Bieber jokes).  This of course explains why organic is much more expensive.  They need to pay the water bills, the land, and the extra employees it takes to manage all of this.  That's the price one pays for pesticide free food.  With that said, the pesticides that are conventionally used to protect the produce are heavily regulated by the government.  Any pesticides are tested, retested, signed for, and then approved.  If these pesticides weren't safe we'd of  have a much smaller population today and I would be able to find a decent parking spot Wal-Mart.  I'm not saying you should drink pesticides (unless you're a member of the Taliban).  You should always wash your vegetables.
       "Ah Ha!!!"  A scream shouts from the distance.  "Organics don't use pesticides therefore you won't have to worry about washing your fruit and wasting all that water!!!"
     To which I reply.  "Shut up!  This is my blog!"  How much water does it take to wash a tomato anyway?  The point is, you should ALWAYS wash your fruits and vegetables organic or not.  Why?  Animal poop.  You heard me.   Stuff grows in the ground.  Animals poop on the ground (I once saw a goat use a toilette at a fair, but he still didn't wipe).  Water runoff travels through this and carries poop through these crops.  This poop carries E. Coli which is bad for your health despite sounding like the name of some pretentious author (Coming soon:  Love and War, and Fecal Liaisons.  By E. Coli)  So, wash your fruits and vegetables unless you want to be apart of the next viral video (2 Girls 1 (unwashed)Tomato).
       What's this about screwing local farmers?
Isn't organic farming done by the little guy?  Not unless you mean the CEO of one of these major corporations is short (I don't think he is.  He wears gold plated platform shoes)  The truth is a lot of these organic brands are owned by major companies.  Quick, think of something healthy and organic.  Back to Nature which has cookies, and chips, and other things made from organic things and maybe recycled newspaper (the box.)   Look at the Boca burger.  Yummy, all natural soy protien and vitamins.  Both Back to Nature and Boca Burger is owned by  Kraft.  Have you heard of Kraft?  That's because it's a major corporation.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing.  I'm just saying that it's not a reason to pay three dollars for a crappy tomato!
   Sorry.  Where was I?  Oh yeah.  So what do we have?  Organic food is more expensive to produce which is why it costs more.  If any local farmers are selling organic products they are still being overrun by the major companies. What else is there?
   Nutrition and Taste.
    The verdict is still out on this one.  There still hasn't been any conclusive evidence that proves the nutrition is any different between organic and regular vegetables.  As far as taste goes.  I suspect that has more to do with psychology than anything else.  Not just because the word "Organic" is in there.  But the price has something to do with it as well.  If something is more expensive you may expect it to be a bit better.  Even if it isn't.I think it's best summed up by an experiment.  Just look at this wine experiment.  When they were told they were drinking really expensive wine they believed it tasted better.  Even though all wine tastes pretty much the same unless it's loaded with enough sugar to make an Ant diabetic.  Here is another experiment done by Penn & Teller.  They cut a banana in half and told people that the first half was organic and the other half wasn't.  Guess which half tasted better?
     You guessed it.  The chocolate milkshake.  I mean the part they thought was organic.  There have been a few tests that show some organic food actually might taste a bit sweeter but it's up to the buyer to decide if it's worth the extra coin.  What do you think?  Do you eat organic food simply because you believe it's better for you?  Take a step back and look at those grapes.   Please leave your comments and thoughts below.

  P.S. Here is a recipe for a BLT:

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 leaves lettuce
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Arrange the cooked bacon, lettuce, and tomato slices on one slice of bread. Spread one side of remaining bread slice with the mayonnaise. Bring the two pieces together to make a sandwich.

  Recipe Source:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blt/
References:




Sunday, March 25, 2012

Innocent Vengence or (Guns don't kill people, Hoodies do)

     February 26th, 2012  Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman.  The captain of the neighborhood watch.  Why?  I think fear was to blame.  Fear leads to many irrational choices.  I'm not saying that George was justified in what he did.  He claims it was in self defense.  Perhaps it was.  We don't know.  That's the problem.  There was no arrest.  In spite of my cynical nature I still do believe that one is innocent until proven guilty.  However, George has not gotten that chance. I can understand the outrage of Mikhail Muhammid of the "New" Black Panthers, who has offered $10,000 for the capture of George Zimmerman.   I'm sure his heart is in the right place.  A man has been shot and his killer is getting away with it.  This may be a bit too drastic.   murderers there are out there with actual warrants.  I'm talking about killers that have actually murdered with purpose and fled.  I think they are a bit more dangerous than George Zimmerman. 
Should George Zimmerman be arrested.  Yes. He SHOT someone.  They should at least investigate what happened.  He was Captain of the neighborhood watch. The last time I checked the neighborhood watch was a committee set up between concerned neighbors who decided to watch the neighborhood, and if something suspicious cropped up they called 911 (Hello? 911? Yes I caught the newspaper thief. It was a Raccoon.  I just shot him.)
     Does that mean he's guilty.  Who knows.  Perhaps Trayvon approached George and threatened him with a box of skittles.  In spite of my cynical nature I still believe that one is innocent until proven guilty.  Wether he is guilty or not, he still deserves a chance to be proven guilty or cleared.  This is a sensitive subject.  Someone was murdered and there is plenty of controversy.  The problem is, it shouldn't be a sensitive subject.  Stuff like this happens every day in every corner of the world (Except Antarctica.  Penguins are pretty chill.  Get it? Hahaha)
     Geraldo Rivera.  The mustachioed avenger of truth.  (That sounded better in my head)  Made a comment about the hoodie being at fault.  Sort of like saying, "The girl wore loose clothing and invited the rapist to rape her.  (Little Timmy invited that pedophile by being eight years old.)  This of course has outraged many people.  I don't think it should be such a big deal.   I can understand his point.  A persons choice in fashion can sometimes be at fault. (I have been tempted to shoot anyone wearing socks with sandals.)  I don't think a hoodie is one of them.  Unless he had a ski mask under the hoodie.  What Rivera had said was "Trayvon's hoodie was as much to blame for his death as his George Zimmerman was."  If you think about it, he wasn't blaming Trayvon for his death.  His hoodie may have been what sparked George to react out of fear.  Yes, it seems stupid and irrational.  That's what fear does.  Perhaps Rivera should have added, "The hoodie and George were both misguided."
"What should we do?" I can hear several people ask out loud. 
It's not up to me, but I'm glad you asked.  I do agree that Zimmerman should be arrested.  Not hunted down.   He should go through the same legal process as anyone else who has committed a murder, be it in self defense, anger, or by accident.  The hate groups such as the New Panthers should spend their energy helping the victims familys, on both sides.  Maybe selling baked goods to raise money. (maybe they could sell hoodies).  Prayer sessions or anything else other than offering money to hunt someone down which I'm sure will result in another murder and an arrest and more pissed off people.  You don't have to take my word for it.  History is filled with this sort of thing.  Just Google Martin Luther King Jr. or Rodney King which lead to the Reginald Denny incident. 
     The way of violence has no mind.  Only raw emotion.  Blind anger and retaliation.  While it seems like a good idea to cut off diseased limbs perhaps it is better to wrap them with a warm rag and care for them until a proper healing can begin.  I will end todays post with a quote from the Tao Te Ching.
  
"Gentleness is sure to be victorious even in battle, and firmly to
maintain its ground. Heaven will save its possessor, by his (very)
gentleness protecting him."  -Lao Tzu  (Tao Te Ching v. 67 line 4)

References:
www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/os-trayvon-martin-new-black-panthers-protest-20120324,0,1231157.story
www.nydailynews.com/news/national/geraldo-rivera-son-ashamed-father-remarks-trayvon-martin-hoodie-article-1.1050268

Image Source:
http://patdollard.com/2012/03/mika-brzezinski-blames-rush-limbaugh-for-trayvon-martin-shooting/


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Religion and Soda Pop

(Originally Published April 18th, 2008 http://thisibelieve.org/essay/43566/)

There are many ways to define religion. Many see religion as something that can not be defined in words but as something that is felt. The simplest and probably the most practical way to define religion is the dictionary. The basic definition of religion is a way of life that is governed by a specific set of beliefs. This unfortunately has led to many problems throughout history. It turns out that not everyone has the same taste in religion. Some like a formal rigid form of worship complete with uniforms, hats, and traditional ceremonies. Others are more comfortable worshipping God from their living room while watching football, shouting things like “Thank God Hallelujah!” and raising the ceremonial beer can to the God of touchdowns before burping the national anthem out of respect.
Through out history wars have been fought based on what is believed to be the correct way to worship God. God on the other hand didn’t really notice. He was busy watching the football game. The important thing to remember is there is no wrong way to practice religion. Any moral code or set of beliefs that motivates a person to do something good and treat others with respect is doing something right. For example, a man decides it is wrong to mug an old woman because God says it is wrong. The woman therefore does not get mugged. On the other hand, the woman not being mugged decides to give her money to charity because the Potato King that lives under her sink commanded her to. Two acts of kindness from two different religions. Is there a difference when viewed from the outside? No, not really. A difference that produces no difference is not really a difference. To put things in better perspective, look at this simple math equation: ten times two divided by six. The first way to solve this is to break out the trusty pencil and paper and start writing numbers down and solving the equation. The other way is to break out the trusty calculator and start punching at the keys. Think of each method as a form of religion. The same answer is achieved in both methods. The third method of course is to just read the answer at the end of this sentence “3.33333333”. Wasn’t that easy? The fourth option would be to just ignore the problem completely. Math is never used in any real life situations anyway. The math teachers are just false prophets with smart looking mustaches and wacky colored ties.
Religion comes in many different brands and flavors. This is a good thing because the human race is made up of a multitude of diverse and unique tastes. Imagine going to the grocery store and finding only one brand of ice cream. If it’s vanilla and that happens to be a favorite that is great. However, as luck would have it, the only brand of ice cream might be something like garlic and anchovies. Sure, there may be that one guy that likes garlic and anchovy ice cream. It’s just not for everyone. On the other hand religion is more like soda pop. There are those who follow Coke and the ones with slightly more damaged taste buds that prefer Pepsi. God of course prefers Gatorade, because it has electrolytes. In most cases when they are interchangeable. It is a lot like going to the drive through and ordering a Coke only to be informed that only Pepsi products are available. “That’s fine” the customer might say. Here is a typical scenario at a drive thru fast food joint.
  • Man: “Hi, I’d like a burger and fries, and a large coke please.”
  • Monkey with Speaker: “Uh, we only serve Pepsi products sir.”
  • Man: “Oh, ok then. I’ll have a medium Coke then.”
  • Monkey with Speaker: “That’s still a Coke product.”
  • Man: “Oh, fine just go ahead and give me the large one then.”
  • Monkey with Speaker: “Uh, ok please drive forward.”
The man pulls forward and receives his order and may not even notice any difference about his drink. Even though the employee thought it would be a good idea to fill it with left over French fry grease instead. The point is the public does not usually have a problem with alternative fizzy beverages. The case with religion however is treated a bit differently. The attitude is a bit different when dealing with faith. A church may not have the exact same brand of holy water one needs. It is possible to worship whatever God one happens to believe in from any church. God is everywhere, remember? That means that God is in every church in every city in every state in every country and not to mention all the Wal-Mart’s (God loves a good bargain). Following this logic it is safe to say that even if the church does not carry the exact same revised edition of the bible, God will still be there listening to any prayers that may be flying his way; unless he happens to be at a drive-thru ordering a burger.
As stated before there is no wrong way to worship God. God does not share the same prejudices against faiths that the human race seems to have. If God was truly angered by something another faith does, God would most likely take care of it. If God really wanted a group of people dead, there will most likely be some sort of giant sized meteor the size of Africa ready to crash into the Earth directly over the church of the offending faith. This may have already happened and no one noticed. Perhaps God saw the dinosaurs as a small threat and needed to get rid of them to make way for the people. If God saw fit, he might just decide that the dinosaurs were much easier to deal with and start over. It raises an important question. Why does God with infinite power need the human race to carry out his work? Maybe this was just an idea concocted by humans to support their own arrogance. Maybe God in his infinite wisdom already has everything solved. The human race just exists as another animal albeit a little bit smarter than a dolphin and with opposable thumbs. The human race is nothing more than smart sheep that have been trained to master simple tasks such as writing, thinking, and arithmetic. At least most of them are.
In the end, everyone will be in for a surprise. The afterlife may not be anything that has been written or dreamed of by man. It could be a cocktail party with a small band and maybe a trained monkey doing tricks. Whatever it is, Gods plan has already been set in motion and can not be changed by anything done on Earth. Blowing up a few buildings, hijacking some planes, or even telling the neighbor he is destined to go to hell if he doesn’t stop looking at pornography involving clowns and pineapples. Nothing man can do will ever change what God has planned. It is this arrogant thinking that leads to so many problems in the world. It is completely insane to think that this small insignificant flock of mortals can interfere with Gods plan in some way. If man was made in Gods image then God must share man’s passion for humor, joy, and love. God understands what it is like be human and will most likely laugh at any jokes he may tell. God also understands love and the activities used to express love (even if it involves pineapples and clowns). God is described as a huge positive force of all that is good and holy; to destroy and murder in his name only tarnishes his reputation. God would much rather look down on Earth and see killing and murdering in the name of greed. At least he doesn’t get stuck in the middle of it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Michael Bay and Ninja Turtles or (Ow! My Shell hurts!)

      Michael Bay said in a statement that he was going to direct a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
   "Hooray!!"  Many fans may have personally wet themselves with joy. Michael Bay had also said he planned on making the turtles into Aliens (stunned silence).  The sky begins to grow dark.  The faces of these fans are bathed in a red glow. 
"There will be blood tonight!!!"  they scream.
  It appears that this simple plot tweak has upset a lot of people.  Including Robbie Rist
    "Who's that?"  I hear someone shouting at their monitor.  You didn't know I could hear you did you? 
    Robbie Rist is the voice actor of Michelangelo from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie in the 90's.  "He (Michael Bay) is sodomizing the whole turtles franchise."  He stated in an interview.  Wow, that's a pretty harsh statement. 
   Me:  Mr.  Rist.   What do you think about the new Dr.  Pepper Ten?
   Robbie Rist:  How dare they rape my doctor pepper.  They are personally pissing into my mouth with this new-
   Unfortunately his eyes rolled back into his head and he passed out from a burst neck vein before he finished his statement. 
    It seems many have forgotten what happens anytime a childhood cartoon gets translated into film.  Scooby Doo was fine, until they made Scrappy Doo the villain.  It was still watchable.  Yogi Bear...Uh, I'm not touching that one.  The Smurfs...Next please.  Alvin and the Chip...ENOUGH!!!  Ok, where was I?  Oh yeah. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Admittedly it is next to impossible to please everyone.  You almost have to make the movie exactly like the series (which is what everyone fell in love with)  The problem with that is, sometimes the things that work in a series is too silly to work into a film.  Example,  Professor Xavier's wheelchair in X-Men.  In the cartoon it hovered. It freaking hovered.  That is bad ass right there.  But it didn't fit in with the environment of the movie.  So they gave him wheels.   That was fine.
  "What are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?" You ask.
  To which I reply "What?  Are you kidding me?  You're halfway through this blog and you're asking me this now?"  Ok, a little history.
      In 1984 friend Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird premiered a comic book called "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." It was sort of meant as a parody of the popular comics at the time (and probably still today).  New Mutants and Daredevil (which are still pretty well known today).  Probably lesser known are Cerebus (Dave Sims) and Ronin (Frank Miller).  The comic book was a bit darker and edgier.  In 1987 it became an animated series.  I remember watching this series as a kid and loving every minute of it.  Every day after school I would race home to watch cartoons.  The turtles were one of the ones I followed.  My friends and I would have long discussions about the episodes the next day.  Deep thought provoking philosophical debates (Why did the foot soldiers explode when Leonardo kicked them?)  I remember the cartoons fondly.  Unfortunately I did make the mistake of watching an old episode.  I cringed at how silly and uncool it seems now.  Maybe my tastes of changed, maybe society has changed.  Not to say that the cartoon still isn't entertaining.  It just didn't make my eyes explode with awesomeness (I wear glasses today).
    I remember when they made the live action movie in 1990.  I was psyched.  Within the first five minutes one of the turtles uttered the word "Damn!"  Wow, a turtle just said a mild swear word.  This is some hardcore stuff right here.  Ok, it wasn't exactly like the cartoon.  It did however have some great martial arts fighting scenes which I'm sure took a lot of talent to pull off from inside of a green foam suit.  The turtles themselves have actually gone through quite a few changes over there years. The image sometimes needs to be updated.  Changing a turtle from a "mutant" to an "alien" could be a major change.   However, if the story that backs this up is really good it may be a necessary evil.  Seeing that he plans to have the movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman.  The guy that did Battle Los Angeles (I admit it wasn't a bad movie but not known for it's plot).  This may not be the case. 
    Michael Bay has since told fans that they need to chill out.  I somewhat agree with him.  But on the other hand,  their criticism may not be unjust.  After all, they are the customers.  The first rule of making money is to appeal to the customers.  I may not be the first in line when the movie hits the theaters  but I will be keeping an eye out for the reviews.
      I don't think the movie will ruin the franchise as many fans claim.   The movie will do either two things. It will either kick ass or suck monkey nuts.  If it sucks, that's easy.  Just don't watch it and do something else (read my blog over and over until jelly leaks out of your eyes)  If it rocks, then well watch it.  The world will still spin.  I'm leaning towards "Sucks monkey nuts" but with a sprinkling of fireworks fueled eye candy.
  In the meantime, just wait and see.  Perhaps the movie will suck so much it will inspire other artists to create better stories that may even exceed that of Hollywood.  Wow, an independent movie that's better than something from Hollywood?  Preposterous.  Here is a list of independent movies that are way better than Hollywood.

-Mary and Max
-Ink
-Run Lola Run
-Mad Max
-El Mariachi

References:
www.tmz.com/2012/03/20/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-michael-bay-michaelangelo-sodomizing/
www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/michael-bay-ninja-turtles-movie-aliens_n_1364828.html
www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/michael-bay-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-aliens-robbie-rist-302060

Artwork by Melissa Clark 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Houston, We Have a Problem or (How I quit worrying and loved my sibling)

     "What a beautiful day."  I said to myself enjoying the cool breeze and sunshine coming through my open window.  Evil squirrel was silently plotting from the trees across the street and polishing his spiked acorn shirukens.  
  *BEEP BEEP* 
     The sound of an incoming text breaks me away from this calm scene.  "Bobbi is dating her adopted brother"  the text shouted at me with insane glee.
     "What?  Who is...what are you talking about?"  My thumbs stumbled their way across the tiny keyboard of my phone. 
     "Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston's daughter is dating her adopted brother Nick Gordon."  the text snapped back almost immediately after I sent mine.
I started to text back "Wait, Bobbi?  Whitney had a daughter named Bobbi, after being married to Bobby Bro-"
     "Yes, try and keep up."  the incoming text cut me off. 
     "Wait," I started another text.  "How are you even do-"
     "I'm just good," the text shot back before I even processed the words in my head. "Listen, there's no time.  You need to blog about this.  The world hangs in the balance."
      I nonchalantly ducked as a silver spiked acorn sailed over my head and lodged itself into the back of my chair.  "Ok,"  I texted back.  "Challenge--" 
      "Accepted."  The text came back.  How the hell is she doing that?
     The acorn began to emit a foul smelling green smoke.  "Ah, you've upgraded I see." I said quietly looking across the street.  "But not today my friend.  I've got a blog to write."

  *Theme music that sounds somewhat like Batman, but isn't the theme from Batman due to copyright laws...but still sounds awfully close and brings up images of the caped crusader*
 
    Okay, let's just do a quick google search and- Holy mother of God.  Where do I even begin.  

    Let's begin with a little history.

     When Nick Gordon was twelve his father was sent to prison and his mother couldn't afford to raise him alone.   A very tragic thing.  Whitney Houston took him in and raised him as her own child.  Though he was never officially adopted, he was raised as a member of the family.  This is where things get a bit fuzzy.
     One could say, "They are not even related, biologically or lawfully."  And you would be correct.  After all just because you've known someone since you were kids doesn't mean you can't date or marry them.  Isn't that how a lot of romantic stories start?  "We were friends since kindergarten and-" the rest dissolves into a gooey sweet sickening mess of words.  My point is,  I think the timing is just wrong.  Whitney passed away on February 11th 2012.  I'm sure it's a very emotional time for both of them.  When emotions take over, common sense and logic take a back seat.  After all, emotions take place on the right side of the brain, logic is in a completely different hemisphere.  Physically and metaphorically. 
If this had taken place a year later or a year earlier it may not have been a big deal.  Perhaps Whitney would have been all for it.  Of course Nick and Bobbi have both denied the rumors despite showing up in photos and videos holding hands, kissing, and wearing an engagement ring.  Is it really any one's business but their own?  What does Grandma have to say?  Cissy Houston is against the whole thing.  Which also lends a bit of truth to the rumors.  If Nick and Bobbi weren't romantically involved she'd have nothing to be against.  Anyway, she says even though they are not related what they are doing still counts as incest.  She feels that Nick is taking advantage of Bobbi and perhaps that is true.  But how else are guys supposed to hook up?  If you can't use a death in the family as an excuse to get some, then I don't know what you can use.  I'm kidding of course (The best excuse is to claim you have cancer.)
     I think emotions are running high for both of these kids.  Nick was probably going through a traumatic time when he was twelve.  Here is this woman, Whitney Houston who took him in.  She looked out for him.  If you had someone who took care of you since you were twelve and they passed away I'm pretty sure you would feel something.  You may not be aware of it. It may be repressed, or just lying below the surface of your psyche.  But it's there.

Final Thoughts:
     In a way they are probably both using each other.  They have two major things working against them.  An emotional death in the family.  They are still young kids.  It does seem they are moving way too fast.  But who am I to judge?  Oh yeah, the guy writing the blog.  My judgement is to allow for a period of time for proper grieving.  And you should probably date for about four years before getting married.  Why make decisions when emotions are out of whack and hormones are running high?   I don't really see anything wrong with them getting married in any other circumstance.  I mean as long as they aren't weird with it, it should be fine.  This is all I really have to say on the matter for my attention span is limited.  Anything longer and I would forget to breathe. 

  What do you think?
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this weird story.  Please comment below or email me.

References:
www.nydailynews.com/gossip/bobbi-kristina-nick-gordon-shocked-friends-announcement-dating-report-article-1.1041736

www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2116099/Bobbi-Kristina-set-marry-Nick-Gordon-despite-grandmother-Cissy-Houston-branding-relationship-incestuous.html


Saturday, March 17, 2012

What is St. Patricks Day or (Irish I Were Making this Up)

  Happy Saint Patrick's day.  Today is a day of celebration and feasting.  It's the one day of year where we wear green, get drunk, and binge on corned beef and cabbage.  Why?  Because it's Saint Patrick's day that's why. 
  "Yeah, but what does that have to do with wearing stupid plastic hats and beer?"  you might ask.
  "It's an Irish thing, they drink and eat."  I might say back. 
  "Isn't that racial stereotype?"  You might ask again.
  *BURP*  I might respond before passing out into my bowl of corned beef and cabbage.

    After I regained consciousness I began to think about my fictitious conversation.  What exactly is St. Patrick's day?  You are in luck.  I have done a little research on the matter.  What comes to mind when you think of Saint Patrick's day?

    Ireland:  Saint Patrick did have something to do with Ireland.  But not in the way you might think.  He was actually born in Roman Britain (Like regular Britain but with Togas I think) around the fourth century.  At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders (and you thought slavery was something that only happened in America, but that's another blog).  That night Patrick (He wasn't a saint yet) had a dream.  God told him to flee his captors.  I'm not sure if I needed God to tell me I needed to get the hell out of dodge.  He fled.  Then in the year 432 God told him to go back.  "Really?"  said Patrick.  "I gotta go back?  There is no way in he.." *THUNDER CLAP* "-I am going back without my toothbrush." He finished with an added nervous chuckle.  So he returned to Ireland as a Bishop.  He came to do two things, convert the Pagans and chew bubble gum (and bubble gum hasn't been invented yet).

Four Leaf Clovers:  Ok, normally clovers have three leaves.  Only the mutants have a fourth leaf.  It's like the X-Men, but clover style.  I'm still waiting for a clover with metal claws.   Some stories tell how Bishop Patrick used the clover to explain the Holy Trinity (that chick from the Matrix after she got shot). No, I mean the son, the father and the holy spirit.

Getting Drunk:  Ok, take an average American.  Tell him that today is a holiday such as Christmas, New Years eve, Thanksgiving, or Presidents day.  What is he or she going to do?  Drink.  Alcohol has been a way of celebrating for thousands of years.  I think the reason beer is so popular on St. Patricks day has more to do with clever marketing. Sort of like Valentines day cards.  Turn on the radio, open a newspaper, or drive by a bar and you'll see suggestive advertising that makes St. Patrick's day and beer go together like corned beef and cabbage.

Wearing Green:  Originally blue was the celebratory color.  Over the centuries it became green.  The wearing of green usually refers to wearing a shamrock (clover).  In Ireland not many people wear green.   Again Americans say things like "Hey, what do we know of Ireland?"  and they answer with "Uh, there's green in their flag, the grass is green, and money is green. "

Corned Beef and Cabbage:  As much as it pains me to say, corned beef and cabbage is actually American.  It doesn't mean you have to stop eating it. It's delicious.  However, I did find a traditional St. Patrick's meal from Ireland and it looks equally as delicious.  Irish Bacon and Cabbage.  What is Irish bacon you ask?  It's bacon that God personally created to show that he loves us.  Ok, it's a thick cut bacon that comes from the juicy back of the pig.   Unlike regular bacon that comes from the belly, Irish bacon isn't meant to be crisped but used more like Canadian bacon. 

  Recipe: Irish Bacon and Cabbage
Ingredients:
2 Pounds of Irish Streaky bacon
1 Fresh white cabbage
1 onion
black pepper
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
½ tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:  Soak the bacon in cold water for 12 hours. Place in saucepan and cover well with fresh cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours. You know it is cooked when the bone slides out easily. Leave the bacon in the water to set.

Cut cabbage into quarters wash well and remove the tough stalks. Place cabbage into a pan of boiling water. (If you place a skinned onion in the pan as well it will counteract the smell of the cabbage) boil fast for 5 minutes. Add 2-3 cupfuls of the water that you boiled the bacon in. this will salt the cabbage and give it a lovely bacon flavor. Cook until cabbage is tender. Drain well and season with black pepper.

Skin the bacon and cover with the breadcrumbs and stud with the cloves. Brown in the oven and serve sliced on a bed of cabbage. Serve with potatoes boiled in their skins.
Source: www.yourirish.com/irish-bacon-cabbage-recipe
  If you try this recipe please invite me over.  I am a big fan of eating. 

What if I Fast or Stop Eating Meat During Lent?
The Pope says that's ok.  Since it's in celebration of a patron saint, meat can be enjoyed if St. Patricks day falls on a Friday.  (It's good to be the pope)

  There you have it.  Yeeeah!!!  You just got learned!   I'm not saying you have to change the way you celebrate St. Patricks day. You don't need to start wearing blue plastic hats or attend church services.  Just think about why you're celebrating it.  Just like Easter or Christmas, St. Patricks day is a holiday( Holy Day).  It celebrates the life of a Patron Saint.   St. Patrick died in 461 AD on Marth 17th.  While there have been many successful evangelical missionaries in Ireland, St. Patrick is one of the most well known survivors.  Perhaps he deserves a bit more respect than passing out in our own vomit while wearing a stupid plastic hat.   How do you celebrate St. Patricks day?  I am interested in hearing your stories.  Please comment or Email me.

P.S.  Here is a picture of a mutant clover.

References: 
http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=19043
http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick's_Day
http://www.yourirish.com/irish-bacon-cabbage-recipe

Fractal Art by Vicky Brago-Mitchell


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stop Cooking your Dogs

     As the temperature gauge goes up, I start to notice the signs of summer.  College girls in short shorts, people with convertibles, college girls in short shorts, motorcyclists, and college girls in short shorts.  Another thing I've noticed is how fast a car heats up in the sun.  Cars are nothing more than green houses with wheels and an engine.  The light and other bits of radiation enters through the windshield or the side windows (depending where you park) and hits the inside of your car which turns into heat.  This heat then rises but can't figure out how to travel through glass.  So it sits in your car and and bounces around.  This can heat up your car pretty freakin' fast.
     The reason I bring this up, I still see cars with small dogs sitting in the front seat panting their little hearts out. 
     "But I was only gonna be in the store for a few minutes."  The owner might say.
     "That's all it takes for the car to turn into a pizza oven."  I would say back after beating them with a rolled up newspaper.  Adding "Bad human!" for good measure. 
     Here is a list of other excuses one might hear:
    -I left the window cracked:
It's still pretty hot.  I know I would be roasting and I am not covered in fur (not as much fur). Plus that cracked window makes it easy for a carjacker to steal your dog and your car.
    -I couldn't leave him at home he gets scared:
Better scared then cooked.   Besides, he's still being left alone, just without AC and cable TV.
    -I only left the dog to watch over the baby in the back seat:
*Censored*  DIE HUMAN!!!  DIIIIIIE!!! *Censored* *Censored* *Not sure what he said, but Censored just in case*
    -You can't tell me how to take care of my dog:
I h...You're only half right.  I most certainly CAN tell you.  You don't have to listen to me of course which makes you even more of a douche-bag.  However,in some states you could get a hefty $250 fine.  animalcare.lacounty.gov/lawsordinances.asp  The government loves money.  I"m pretty sure this will catch on everywhere else.   

     You don't have to agree with me.  Maybe there are times it is okay to leave a pet in a vehicle.  If it were a cooler day it may be fine.  But use your judgement.  If it's 80 degrees outside it's going to be 110 degrees in the car.  If you have the money for gas maybe leave the car running with the AC on.  Dogs are not things.  They are living creatures.  I would be interested to know how my readers keep their dogs or cats cool during the hot summer months.  I would also like to know if any of you leave your dogs or cats in the car.  Please send me your name and address.  I have a rolled up newspaper with your name on it.

References:
animalcare.lacounty.gov/lawsordinances.asp
askville.amazon.com/hot-inside-car-cool-day/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=4524696

Photo: Dog in car window
by Nate Christenson  source: www.flickr.com/photos/natechristenson/3446947540/in/faves-schill/


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Rest My Case in Peace

(Originally Published May 8th, 2008)
               It was a particularly cold Monday morning.  I had to get up early to leave for the courthouse and I made sure to bring my coat with me.  Naturally the courthouse is packed on such a morning and the parking spots are just as easy to find as an honest lawyer.  That is just my opinion anyway.  I parked on the side that happened to be on the opposite side of the entrance.  I suddenly remembered how cold it was and how I wish I hadn't left my jacket in the car as I walked around to the front of the building feeling the cold nip at my arms.  I was greeted by a myriad of voices and two officers standing in front of a metal detector as I entered.   I began to put my metal objects into the dish to my left as the officer looked at my cell phone.

               "I'm sorry; your phone has to stay in your car.  They aren't allowed in the court building."  He announced with as much enthusiasm as a dead ferret on valium.

               "Would I need to leave my keys in my car as well?" I asked thinking they might be viewed as some sort of lethal weapon that could be used in close combat.

               "Nah, your keys are fine."  He said looking away into the main lobby of the courthouse.

               I walked back around braving the blistering cold so I could leave my cell phone in my car.  At least I had the opportunity to grab my coat I thought.  By the time I walked back around to the front of the courthouse again minus my cell phone there was a line formed just outside the metal detector.  I somehow imagined people walking through carrying guns, knives, long swords, and weapons of mass destruction; of course the two ladies ahead of me were immediately stopped because they had cell phones.  As I entered I felt safer in the knowledge that I wasn't going to be stabbed to death by a cell phone; at least not today anyway.

               A lady behind a card table with a box full of folders sat just outside the actual court room.  Along the hallway were about twenty to thirty other people waiting on benches, folding chairs, tables, and even on some poor old man that happened to fall asleep.  I told the lady my name and she dug a folder out of the mysterious box of fun.  That's what I called it anyway because it would make this part seem more interesting. 

               "Ok, just go into the courtroom and have a seat."  She said turning back to her laptop (Probably to try and beat solitaire once and for all).

               I smiled and turned to walk into the courtroom.  I suddenly realized why the hallway was so packed as I cracked the doors opened and met with some resistance owing to the fact that the room was packed fuller than something that is packed really full (use your imagination).  I was resigned to wait in the hall with everyone else.  I sat patiently and watched the women across from me play with her children.  She had a little girl that had a smile that seemed out of place in a court house.  It seemed to brighten everything around her.  People would walk in looking gloomy having just been dragged out of bed on a bitter Monday morning.  That all seemed to melt away as they stopped to smile at the small girl laughing and having a good ol' time at the courthouse.

               "It's all a matter of perspective." I thought to myself.  I may be sitting here a while so I might as well as make the best of it.  I decided to strike up a conversation with the lady next to me.

               "How are you?" I said excitedly and grinning from ear to ear. 

               "Fine." She responded shyly as she scooted down the bench a few feet from me while at the same time checking to make sure she still had her mace in her purse.

               "That went well." I said to myself turning back away.  A few people shuffled out of the courtroom.  I took this opportunity to go in and wait in the actual courtroom.  At least I would have something to watch while I waited for my turn.   

               The courtroom was still packed but there were a few open seats near the front of the room.  I took my seat as a young woman was called up to the front for her case.  She was a petite woman looking to be about eighteen or nineteen years of age.  Her dark hair was tied back more out of necessity rather than style.

               "You have been charged with possession of marijuana and PCP also known as angel dust with a minimum fine of one thousand dollars and a minimum of one year in jail."  The judge spoke without looking up.  "How do you plea?"

               "Guilty." The young woman replied.  Her voice seemed to crack a little bit. 

She shifted her wait nervously as the judge read off the rights that she would be waiving by pleading guilty.  I began to wonder if I was in the right courtroom.  I was just here for a simple traffic violation.  Yet this young woman was facing a huge fine and jail time.  I continued watching the girl as she heard the judge rattle off the rights and terms of her sentencing as if it were a recipe for cookies.

               "Season lightly with a fine of one thousand dollars and bake in jail for one year." I thought I heard him say.   The woman was escorted out of the court room looking slightly shaken.  I thought I noticed a tear running down her cheek.  It made me wonder what it took for this poor girl to make such a bad decision.  Perhaps she could learn something from the little girl I saw earlier, laughing and smiling.  Maybe jail time wouldn't be so bad.  It would be a bit like summer camp.  All the inmates laughing and playing together and learning new crafts and skills. 

               I was pulled back into reality with the next case being called up.  This was a much older woman; she looked like she could have been my aunt.  She wore a knit sweater that had flowers on it I think.

               The judge again read out of a folder without looking up.  "You have been charged with the obstruction of a police officer and interfering with arrest.  How do you plea?"

               "Guilty." said the woman. 

"Alright, you face a minimum fine of a thousand dollars and a mandatory forty eight hours in jail." The judge stated nonchalantly.

The woman seemed to be a bit taken back by this.  A fine would be one thing, but spending time in jail did not seem to sit well with her. 

The judge of course did not notice because he hadn't bothered to look up.  He continued reading the memorized speech.  "Are you pleading guilty of your own choice?"

"Yes." The woman stated.  "Is there something else I can have besides the jail time though?"  she asked nervously.

"It's possible if you change your plea."  He said looking up at her for the first time.

"I can't." she said.  "I have to plead guilty because my nursing license is being reviewed.

For the first time the judge actually showed a little compassion.  "It seems that your guilty plea is actually being forced considering your circumstances."  He looked through her folder and tore up a piece of paper.  "I'm sorry but I can not allow you to plead guilty.  We will schedule another hearing for an appeal.  Please see the gentlemen across the hall." 

The woman was at the point of tears.  I couldn't help but feel sorry for her.  Here is another person that has made a bad choice.  I later found out she crossed traffic in order to stop a police officer from arresting a friend.  It made me a little sad to think how little humanity there is left in the world.  She was being punished for standing up for someone she believed to be innocent.  Now she was facing jail time and possibly losing her nursing license and her job.

I began to wonder again if I was in the right court.  I waited another hour as case after case was presented; each one making a change in someone's life.  There was a teenage boy charged with reckless driving.  He got off easy.  One year of court supervision with a hundred and fifty dollar fine.  His parents probably took him out for ice cream afterwards for being such a responsible adult going to court.

Finally it was my turn to go up and present myself.  I had an entire speech memorized by then.  I was going to defend myself to the death.  I rehearsed the speech quickly in my mind as I walked up to the bench.  "Your honor," I began.  "You can not define a man by one choice alone.  We have all made bad choices in our lifetime at one point or another.  I admit I have made a few bad choices in my life and I regret them. I really do.  The idea is to make more good choices than bad ones.  That's what life is all about.  If you can find it in your heart to overlook this one bad choice, as I have already made a few changes in my life. I will be forever in your debt and I will repay it by making regular contributions to society."  This speech swam around in my head and I imagined a large applause from the room followed by a full pardon from the tearful judge.

"Ok, it says here you were driving without proof of insurance do you have an insurance card to show me now?" he said rather quickly with his nose buried in a yellow folder.

Suddenly my entire speech faded away like some distant dream that I couldn't quite remember at the moment.  "Yes" I replied.  "I do have insurance but it started the day after my ticket."  I was trying to find the speech in my mind again when the judge broke my concentration.

               "Right, your fine is set at five hundred and one dollars, will you be paying that today?" he asked closing my folder and put it off to the side.

               "uh," I stammered. "Well, it might take me a few days to get that together." I started thinking about ways to make quick money.  Unfortunately nothing came to mind.

               "Right," the judge said grabbing another folder. "You need to take a hearing with the payment officer then.  Just wait across the hall for your name to be called."

               I walked out in a semi daze, the words 'five hundred and one dollars' still danced inside my mind.  "Was it over already?" I thought to myself as I took my seat on one of the benches out in the hall waiting to see what would happen next.

I occupied myself by filling out a nice form someone handed to me.  It was full of questions about my assets and how much money I had.  I chuckled at the question towards the bottom.  "How much cash do you have with you currently?" It asked in bright cheerful letters.  That was an easy one I thought marking down my answer of two dollars. 

Time went by and things started to really drag .. I finished filling out the questionnaire.  I began to feel a little bored, and hungry.  I haven't had breakfast yet and already it's approaching lunch time.   I decided to take my chances that I wasn't going to be called within the next five minutes and went to investigate the vending machines at the end of the hall.  My choices were limited to water, juice, and a variety of chips.  I had used up my two dollars.  I made a mental note to change my answer on the form I filled out.  When I got back people were still being called into the courtroom.  The woman with the little girl was finally called in.  She was there in place of her boyfriend.  Unfortunately the court wouldn't let her show in his place.  It was all a big waste of time.  I was a little saddened thinking about how the smiling little girls face contrasted with her mothers.  I almost felt like giving her a big hug as she left but that might not go over too well I decided.

Another hour passed and I began to find ways to amuse myself.  I watched the other people waiting for the same thing I was waiting for.  One man in particular with a cap and long shirt and his jeans down around his ankles kept me quite entertained.

"I'm gonna walk right in there and tell them I ain't giving them no more money." He chanted like a mantra.  "What are they gonna do, arrest me?"

Another woman was cursing up a storm about the pig that gave her a ticket and she shouldn't even be here.  She left for a smoke to calm her nerves she announced to no one in general.

As I sat there I noticed a very old and frail looking woman.  This lady looked like she just came from a church function, either that or an all you can eat buffet where she would hide leftovers in her purse.  She sat down on an empty bench with her ticket in her hand.  I started to wonder what she could have possibly done to warrant a fine.  She just simply didn't seem to move fast enough to be a speeder, or strong enough to commit anything that would be noticed by anyone.  I imagined her tearing down the road with her stereo blazing and half a bottle of Jack Daniels sitting next to her, laughing and wheezing at the same time.

The cursing lady came back from her smoke break.  She did seem a bit calmer; she sat down and busied her self by cleaning the mud off of her shoes on the office chair that had been set out to accommodate more people.  I chuckled quietly.  This woman was a free spirit that didn't take crap from anybody.  I bet she would be one of those funny drunk people that are fun to laugh at.

It was finally my turn to enter the office and set up a payment schedule.  It turns out that on top of the five hundred and one dollars, I also owed an additional four hundred dollars in court costs. 

"Excuse me." I said still in a slight stupor, did you just say that it cost me an additional four hundred dollars just to have some man tell me I owe the first five hundred?

"Yes," the man said.  "I agree it is a bit like highway robbery."  He handed me some papers to sign.

I suddenly regretted spending my two dollars on some measly chips and a drink, I suddenly had no appetite.  I walked out of the office feeling a bit numb.  I was sure I would feel it once the shock wore off.

As I walked to my car in the cold I started thinking about all the people I saw today and their different stories and the changes they were facing.  I didn't feel judgmental really; I didn't see anyone as good or bad.  Life really is a series of choices, some are good and some are bad.  The hard part is deciding what a good choice actually is.  Is it something that affects only the decision maker, or is it a part of a larger scheme of things.  Perhaps one needs to make a few bad choices in order to understand it all and to start making really good choices.  A few days later I went back to the courthouse to pay my fine.  I had some emergency money saved up for such things.  I admit a new set of tires would have been nice but at least I can now put all of this behind me and I can now think about the things that I have yet to experience and hopefully, just hopefully I can start making good choices; at least ones that won't cost nine hundred dollars.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Melpew? Just Lookin'

"Some kids are getting into your car."  Bob said.
"What?  You're kidding."  I looked at Bob trying to detect a smile or eye twitch.
"Why would I kid about that?"  He said.  The seriousness was evident.
Immediately I shot up out of my chair and ran down two flights of stairs and sprinted out to my car.  Of course there was no one to be seen.  I quickly thrust the drivers side door open and did a quick visual inspection. 
    -Radio, Check
    -Steering Wheel, Check
    -Cell Phone Charger, Check
    -Empty Subway cups, Check
    -Giant stuffed plush Banana, Check
        It was Mise en Place. (French for Everything in it's place).  After the quick check.  I sprinted down the hill towards the school looking for any suspicious looking kids.  It didn't even occur to me that I had no idea what they looked like.  I had no idea if they were even armed.  I had no idea which direction they actually headed.  I ran back inside.
    "Bob," I said.  "Did you happen to see if the guys looked big and scary?"
     "Well," Bob scratched his head.  "Looked like a couple of college kids.  They just got in your car, then got out and headed up the hill." 
     "UP!!!"  I screamed and then leaped out of the window back onto the street and headed up the hill toward the park.  I didn't even think to ask if they were armed.  I just wanted to scare them.  Let them know that someone knew they were scum.  Someone was after them, someone was going to, well...I wasn't sure. It wasn't going to be pretty that's for sure.  My heart raced.   I strained my eyes against the deep darkness.   One thought bouncing around inside of my head.  "I just want to look them in the eye.  I want to let them know that I am not afraid.  I want to-"
"Shit."  I thought.  "What am I doing?  They didn't take anything.  For all I know they could be armed.  Do I really want to chase them down so they can mug me at gun point?" 
Defeated,  I turned around.  I slowly walked back home.     From the trees a pair of glowing read eyes studied my form. 
    "Not now Evil squirrel."  I shouted.
   The red eyes dimmed and made a disappointed sigh. 
    I was still full of adrenaline.  I thought about calling the police but what would I tell them.  "Some guys got in my car.  I didn't see them, and they didn't take anything."  What a waste of time.   I did warn any of the neighbors I happened to see to keep a look out for anyone suspicious walking around. 
   "Besides me." I added.  I went back inside picking some of the broken glass out of my backside.  "I really should pay for that broken window." 
"Nah, " I thought. "Bob's cool."  
 
I went to bed that night. Vengeance unfulfilled but somehow felt ok with it.  No one got hurt, nothing was missing.  I was given a free lesson in precaution.   Meanwhile, a dark evil force waited patiently in the trees.   His eyes full of rage, his black hea-
"Not now, Evil Squirrel!"  I shouted then pulled the covers over my head.  I drifted off to sleep.  I had more important things to worry about.  Like, uh getting dressed in the morning. 

Have you ever experienced something like this?  A close encounter with a thief?  (Lawyers don't count)  Please comment.  Want to know what Melpew means?  Check out this link.  http://www.urbandictionary.com/products.php?term=Melpew&defid=1904044
    

    P.S. If the guys who broke into my car and possibly stole my laptop. I just have one thing to say to you. "Holy Shit. You can read?" Just kidding. What I meant was "You are frickin' douche-bags and no one will ever truly love you. And your girlfriends are probably unfulfilled."


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nuclear War (On the Chess Floor)

     I studied the board. I looked at the pieces. I had no where to move. "This is hopeless" I thought. "Why did I even think I had a chance?" Then suddenly I saw something. A glimmer of hope perhaps. "No way" a nagging voice in the back of my head said. "This person is more experienced than you. I'm sure he already has a plan for that." The nagging voice continued.
     "Shut up!" I shouted at the voice. Everyone stared at me. "Uh, sorry." I apologized.
     "He's right you know?" another voice said. It was the knight on the board. "I don't see anything good for you from my square."
     "Yeah, but you're just a little plastic horse What do you know about it?" I said sardonically.
     "I've been in some pretty tough scrapes and I just have a feeling." The Knight responded dryly.
     "I don't see nothin' wrong with it." said one of the pawns.
     "Shut up pawn!" The Knight and I both shouted in unison.
     "Shhh!" hissed the tournament director.
     "Sorry." I apologized again. "I'm gonna go for it. What have I got to lose?" I whispered to the Knight.
     "Uh, me?" the Knight whispered back.
    I went for it. I picked up the Knight. He struggled slightly in my fingers but settled down when I tightened my grip on his snout. I moved the Knight towards the pawn in question. I picked up the pawn and placed the Knight in it's spot. My opponents eyes shot over to the other side of the board and looked at my Knight. He seemed puzzled at first then slowly realized he could not capture the Knight legally. I had done it. It was the one move that gave me the edge. The Knight smiled sheepishly at me. The pawn began to applaud me from the side of the board.
     Even the Rook who was busy hitting on the Queen stopped to see what the commotion was all about. "Oh, we're winning now? Good show." the Rook smiled. Then went back to flexing his turrets.
     "I might actually have a chance. I just might." I thought. "I mustn't get to excited. I will fu## this up if I do." The game continued and I was able to get enough of an edge to formulate a plan. I was on fire. I was on cloud five through nine.
     I had to empty my bladder.
     Returning to the chessboard the wayward Knight was still there. Blocking up all of his pawns and sheltering my attackers as they funneled their way into the enemy territory. Finally I ended up with what is known as a passed pawn. This is a pawn that once advanced to the final square becomes a new Queen.
     Having removed the last obstacle and with a new Queen about to join the battle. My opponent smiled at me, shook my hand and said "Good game." It was over.
     I won. How did I win? I don't know. I can't think. "Thank you." I said. I didn't know what else to say. My pieces celebrated on the sidelines. The King was choking the Rook. The Queen looked on as she finished her Martini.

    The above story was based on true events. Chess is an extremely hard game to master. It takes only one bad move to undo all fifty of your good moves. On the other hand, one good move can make you literally lose your crap. Chess has seen grown men cry, go insane, and fight. Here is a link to chess related violence. http://www.chessville.com/BillWall/ChessViolenceandCrime.htm

P.S.  FU** YOU KNIGHT!!!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yes, We Have No Manners. We Have No Manners Today

    

     The younger age group (age 15 to 17) has gotten a bad image as of late.  Why?  Because of one or two assholes that ruin it for everyone. What?  You've never met an asshole in your age group?  Guess what?  You're him.  That's not necessarily a bad thing though. Sometimes you have to be an asshole in self defence when passive aggressive measures just won't do.  I bring this up because I don't think the younger age group is a bad thing.  It just has some bad ambassadors. 
     Here is an example.  I was at a restaurant the other day when two young girls came in with their own food and sat down at a booth.  They were about 16.  Well within the target age.  Bringing your own food to a restaurant is one thing.  I assumed maybe they were waiting for someone who worked at the restaurant.  And they just had food from somewhere else because, let's be honest.  If you've been working at a restaurant all day the last thing you want for dinner is the food you've been serving all day.  However, they just seemed to be giggling and making comments.  Things like, "Look at that dude, he's like that...etc" Now I was the only dude there that  know of.  Unless they thought the word 'dude' referred to a mole on her neck but that's just silly.  Being polite, I decided to ignore them.  Until they started getting louder and more giggly.  I'd look up and they would laugh.  They made rude oinking sounds.  Which I assumed was their native language (zing!).  So here is where it helped to dabble in a little assholery of my own (assholery? I think I just invented a new word.  Call the Oxford Dictionary).  I just held my phone at arms length and pretended to take their picture.  This of course got their attention.  This is another thing I don't understand.  These same girls that probably have thousands of duck lipped pictures of themselves on Facebook were offended that I took their picture.  They began to start a dialogue with me ( I love dialogue)
     "You take our picture?" One of them asked?      "Yes." I said.  "A friend of mine wanted to see the horrors produced by inbreeding." 
     "-the fu##?" one of them exclaimed.  "What's that supposed to mean?"
     I sort of smiled to myself and pretended to get a response to my photo.  I could have actually taken their photo, but why waste the free space on my SD card? 
     "You better not had taken our picture, you'll have a broken phone if you did."  One girl threatened (not sure which, they both looked alike)
     I resisted the urge to respond to that last statement with "Oh, you're not that ugly."  I should have though.   By that point the manager emerged from the kitchen to ask the two troublesome teens to leave.  I heard one of them respond with "Well, he's taking pictures...you gonna do somethin' 'bout that?"  I'm not sure if he responded with "Yeah, I'm kicking you out."  But they both left with the phrase "Pshaw!"  I assume meant "Pshaw"  Which is something you say when you can't think of anything intelligent.  So that's basically it.  Dinner resumed and all was right with the world.
     I remember being a teenager and I don't think I was ever that rude.  Perhaps I was and my perception was different.  The human brain isn't fully formed until about age 25 (Seriously, that's true.  I wouldn't joke about that.  Ok I would but here look at this  http://knowledgeisnecessity.blogspot.com/2012/02/cortical-factor-developing-optimum.html) . So technically we should treat anyone under the age of 25 as someone with a mental handicap, an invalid.   I'm just kidding (Sort of). This would be a good example of that.  On the other hand, I think I feared my elders rather than respected them.  I was polite for fear of the consequences.  Nowadays people are afraid to do anything to someone younger for  fear of criminal action.  That's why it is up to the parents to beat the ever loving snot out of their kids.  That is all I have say.  What do you think?  Do you my loyal readers have interesting ways to handle rude kids within the law?  Personally I think the only thing we grownups have left is to just annoy them.  Please leave your comments or Email me.

P.S.   I have added 'Assholery' to my spell checker.  Pshaw has been permanently removed from my consciousness.
Here is a picture of an ipad.

References:  http://knowledgeisnecessity.blogspot.com/2012/02/cortical-factor-developing-optimum.html


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