Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've Become What I Hate, But It's Not So Bad

Up until this point I thought I could only hate someone who ever agreed with this person:

But that is where I find myself today: In agreeance with Paris Hilton.

You see, the thing is that I hate dumb. I hate it in the general. If someone says or does something dumb then I hate that (this leads to a lot of self-loathing on my part, by the way). Now, Paris Hilton is clearly dumb (or stupid or silly, whichever you think is best), but a group of Australians attacked her for something asinine that far outweighs her general dumbness, and so for once in her life the smart tables have turned in her direction. For those of you too lazy to click on the link, and I know you are many, I offer a synopsis: Hilton was in Sydney to host a New Year's Eve party (she is being paid $100,000) and she went on a shopping spree where she dropped about $3,500 in 45 minutes. She was immediately critizcised by local charities who accused her of calous excess in desperate times.

Paris, God bless her, turned around on they asses and made the irrefutable point that she is performing a charitable and benevolent act by dispensing some of her considerable capital to help out the Australian economy. If more people with the means acted more like Paris then we'd all be a lot better off, financially speaking.

What's really going on here is that it is easy to bag on Paris Hilton (as I have demonstrated above) and so some dimwitted Australians decided they'd get their cuties in, they'd get their licks in and make hay while the sun shines--well guess what? Paris gave it right back to them with a sticker on it and set them spinning at such a pace that they couldn't find it with three hands and a searchlight. And do you know why Paris was able to do that? Because "You never open your mouth unless you know what the shot is," to quote my main man Pacino. That's right, even if it looks like easy pickins, low hanging fruit, cream off the top you don't do it unless you have a justifiable reason.

But what these people did was wait on pins and needles until Paris got to town and then pounced on the first thing that she did so they could get a little attention. That was their plan for the last three months no matter what the first thing she did. The first thing Paris could have done was go to the local leper colony and they would have found a way to spin that nefarious. Nice try guys, maybe that plays pretty well Ausie-side, but it don't play so good state-side.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughts on 2008; A Retrospective: Remembrance of Things Past--Looking Forward to Looking Beyond: A Post-historical bi-annual anti-memoir

As I reflect upon this year I feel tired. It's not anything about the year that makes me feel this way, it is more owing to the large lunch I had before sitting down on my break to clack this missive out.

I learned so many intimate and important details about myself, my faith, and my country. Actually, I wish I had even more 2008 because there is so much more I'm sure I could learn, but what's done is done. I learned that I really, really can't stand the sound of chewing noises that anyone besides myself make. I used to hate the noises my little brother would make at the table, but I thought that was just because I was a jerk older brother so everything my kid-brother did had to annoy me. Turns out it's not true: the irritation I experience whilst the halfwit next to me chomps his Gold & Delicious has clearly worsened with age. You can tell because apparently now I am making intelligence judgements about the chewers around me. Though I know people cannot help the noises, I am still experiencing increasing irrational anger directed towards the offenders, and the feeling is portending towards an ominous 2009 for those eaters around me.

I also learned that I have a file with the CIA. But I've been asked in several anonymous (except for the call ID saying "US Govt"), late night phone calls to not say anything about it. Nuff said.

I learned that dreams do come true if there was a clairvoyant within the last five generations of your bloodline (thanks Hamzen Kefauveur!).

2008 was a year of transition and change. It was a year when some people said "ah, screw it," while others said "c'mon, lets do it." The die has been cast, we have made our 2008 decisions; if anything needs to be rectified before the year is officially set in stone you've only got two days, so get cracking.

I have some hopes for the year of our Lord, 2009: I hope all my favorite directors come out with new movies that please me. I hope I make large sums of money off of relatively little work. I hope everyone starts thinking just a little more like me. I hope Ipod's become dirt cheap. I hope the Pacific ocean is as blue as it is in my dreams.

Actually, nevermind about that last one. I forgot that one isn't mine, it was one of Morgan Freeman's hopes at the end of The Shawshank Redemption. Sorry.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Reason For God

There are a lot of good reasons to believe in God, but this reason I'm about to unfold is, I think, the best one. There are also a lot of good reasons to doubt God, but clearly I'm a person who has not given those reasons ultimate sway. I think the fact that people with power get away with murder and worse, and sometimes young children die of cancer and starve and get beaten should give people pause. But ultimately that should probably drive you to a hope that there is a God.

But making an argument for the vague idea of "God" is not very useful. In this country 94%-plus people believe in God, but what that means to them is as varied as cocktail recipes. A deistic God may as well not be there; a new age, "positive" God is really just you with your own personal style of halo...No, I lobby for a triumphant God with standards that may not necessarily match up with yours or mine. This God also reserves the right to pronounce a final judgment when you're all said and done. Yes, I've chosen to take the Bible at its word, and if you would like to engage me in fisticuffs over that then I am certainly willing, but I don't think that's necessary. I wish to engage your mind rather than your emotions or sense of guilt.

That God of the Bible is somewhat controversial, and that is why I am relying on an atheist to make my point. I don't know for sure if Joseph Heller is an atheist, but nihilists usually are. Anyway, he makes this case for God (even though he doesn't know that's what he is doing), and the appeal is very similar to that of the book of Ecclesiastes, which is disenchanted with almost everything (it is in the Bible so it's automatic that it will be for at least one Thing). Here is your life-changing paragraph:

"The chaplain had sinned, and it was good. Common sense told him that telling lies and defecting from duty were sins. On the other hand, everyone knew that sin was evil and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvelous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character."

This is the world that you live in. A world where the only truth is the question of whose will shall triumph over whose. Of course it is exhilarating to wake up in the morning and think that everything is negotiable, but you'll quickly tire from the knowledge that sooner or later everyone is bullshitting you, including yourself. To say that you define your own truth, that everything is negotiable and we blaze our own trail, is the same thing as saying that everything is meaningless. If your truth is simply your truth and others are free to contradict and disagree, then that and 5 cents will get you a decent cup of coffee--and that's about it. If there is no fixed morality then questions of right and wrong are only yet another expedient to whatever a person desires. No ultimate reality means that all questions, ALL questions--Hitler, abortion, suicide, genocide, matricide and shoplifting--are questions of personal taste.


What this quote accentuates is the fact that we all lie (rationalization usually equals lie), and we do it well, and we do it often. It's a depiction of the common human experience, though when most read it they claim to somehow be an outsider to the human race: "Yeah, those lying, cheating bastards," the outsider will say. It's "those people," over there. The world is composed of six billion souls who consider themselves the exception to the rule.

Do you know what the ultimate picture is of someone who has fully actualized themselves and created and embraced their own truth? A person who has gone insane.

After viewing the world through the lens that Heller and the Bible provide, I would think you would hope there was a God to pull you out of that morass, that awful, meaningless grind. But alas, I know that most won't. Submitting yourself to a higher authority suggests a loss of autonomy and the ability to do what one wishes--even though we spend ourselves chasing after the wind. The child insists on their own way and we are all thankful that a parent is there constantly saving the child's life--that is our relationship to God, writ large.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Could have Seen This Coming 8 Miles Down the Pike

All I needed was one glimpse of this guy's face to know he was a real asshole:

The state of Illinois could have saved themselves a lot of time, money and heartache if they just would have asked me what I thought of the guy first.
And give me a break with that name, Blagojevitch?! Yeah right...you see, the whole thing just never added up from the beginning. That mug, that bullcrap name...I don't think so, baby. I bet the state of Illinois would elect Tony Montana (that's Scareface to the unfamiliar) if given one hot New York Minute and a coupon for a free Dunkin' Donut.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Distpatch from Battle Christmas! 2008

I do this thing for the Seattle Times where they send me, and a bunch of wannabe pundits like myself, a question and then they post our answers on their website, and if you're really lucky, they print some of the responses in the paper.

Last week they asked us about the atheist sign that was put up in our state's capitol, Olympia. Check out the story, but the sign, put up by a private citizen and sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, read in part:

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

There is also a nativity scene set up there at the capitol, so they asked us our opinion, if we thought the state should be allowing these displays or not. Here is the link to the Times' entry on the subject, but I will cut and paste my response here so you don't have to go fishing for it--plus I try to be honest with myself so I know that you'd never do it in a million years anyway:

"There shouldn't be a ban on religious displays because I don't think it would be constitutional, but I think the whole endeavor is pretty silly. It seems a bizarre notion from any religious/atheistic persuasion that you need to take time out of your day to setup a display on governmental property so you and the people who agree with you can feel good about themselves. Isn't that what we have our own property for, to do with it what we wish?

The whole thing smacks of ego-stroking much more than it does of the "holiday spirit." I say a pox on all of those more concerned with ramming their symbolism down people's throats than they are with having meaningful interaction with differing viewpoints--but I grudgingly support their right to do it.

As a Christian I respect people's God given right to think that Santa Claus is lame or that Jesus was a fraud. I'm not interested in having someone falsely genuflect because in our culture that is just the polite thing to do. In this Christmas season I'd rather have a beer and good conversation with an atheist than shoot him a snide look when he says "religion is a myth," instead of "Merry Christmas."

Hopefully my combination of acrid commentary and magnanimous gesticulating will piss at least someone people off and you'll respond so I'll feel my life has been worth it.

The only other thing I wanted to say, and I know about 0.5 of you will get the reference (it's what the science nerd on the Simpson's calls "The Dennis Miller Factor"), but yeah, the only other thing I wanted to say is that I think there is some sort of weird magnetism between Pastor Ken Hutcherson and television cameras. You might want to get that looked at, there, Hutcherson. His checklist: Marriage rally with Dobson in '04 (how is that constitutional amendment coming along?), boycott Microsoft for their personal decision to extend benefits to gay partners (yeah, that will be effective, and I'm sure you're still leading the boycott, right?), go out to a local high school because the gay students decided to stage some type of protest--you're getting your face all over the place, good for you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Personality Suppression and Its Effects

I frequently suffer a crisis of confidence and therefor subdue key parts of who I am, what I like, and what I do for the sake of perceived social lubrication/cohesion/solidarity. In the name of keeping things copacetic I will like what you like, hate what you hate, and coo at what you coo at.

Peer pressure and the need to fit in is stronger than you would like to admit.

Here is what will happen: for the sake of convenience and in the name of not wanting to embarrass myself I will suppress the fact that I love country music. I'll be in a gathering of hip 20-somethings who go to clubs and own Volkswagens and I just won't want to screw around with it. And the next thing I know some black guy will talk about how much he loves country music and he'll sing a few verses or something. He just comes out and owns country music, no apologies. The truth is no one really cares all that much after all, and he gets points for being brave, unique and different. Now I look like a chump because if I reveal my like minded affinity then I'm just jumping on the bandwagon, or it becomes obvious that I'm a candyass weakling who allowed himself to be cowed by the majority.

Same goes for politics. I frequently find I'm the only conservative in the room, and lately I have taken to just shutting up (thanks a lot George W. Bush—don't play that game, I know you can hear me) when it comes to politics. Even if I think of something good to say—a zing, if you will–I will be too afraid to say it, just in case I could be wrong or off the mark. But then I'll hear someone smart say the thing I thought of, a columnist or a pundit, and I'll curse myself and tear my clothing because if I would just have a little testicular fortitude then I could be the one to say the thought provoking thing in the face of adversity.

But then again, in the past I've been the guy who says whatever he thinks, come what may, and I came off as a brash, arrogant loudmouth whom his friends didn't want to talk to.

A brother just can't win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Other Blog

I'm going to do something that I don't know has ever been done on the Internet. In fact, I'm afraid that it might make the Internet blink out of existence, but I'm an essentially selfish person so I'm not too afraid that I won't actually try it.

On my blog here I am going to link to another blog that I wrote for another website. Linking one of my blogs to another one of my blogs seems crazy and impossible, but I think it is going to work. Anyway, check it out, and let me know if it worked or not. If the Internet has disappeared then I'll know that I screwed up.

http://taprootchurch.org/blog/2008/11/26/impromptu-apologetics/

p.s. A ton of people have been asking me why in the hell I think the Internet could possibly disappear. Just so you know it is not something that I came up with on my own so don't blame me. I am drawing on a film that I saw where Doc was running the very real possibility of creating a paradox and subsequent rippage in the space-time continuum if he happened to see himself when he went back in time. Marty also ran the same risk later in the film and it is a very real possibility that people need to take seriously.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rethinking Democracy

The other day I was weaving in and out of what can only be best described as a minefield of crap. I mean, technically it was described as a "blogs comment page," but honestly you really couldn't tell the difference. My frustration with the prurient and banal nature of 95 percent of the comments sent me careening into tittering self-induced pseudo-seizures. After emerging from the morass thoughts began to bubble to the surface, many of which are recorded below:

It is on the Internet that the worst aspects of democracy are on full display. The Internet suffers from the fact that any two brain cells that are able to connect themselves to a keyboard are given an equal playing field among all the others.

This leads to a lot of wasted time on my part. Much of my hard to come by free time is lost to morons posing as people with something intelligent to say. Usually it only takes less than a minute, but sometimes much longer, to realize that I'm better off reading the crap-patterns of a grizzly bear than this guy's opinion on Protestantism. And it's not always obvious. People, sometimes regardless of their intelligence level, are persuasive, so sometimes it takes a day or two for their crap to wear off. I'll be about my tasks the next day and it will hit me, "Oh, that's why that guy was completely full of crap."

Despite the insistence of the brainless popular notion, there are stupid questions, there are stupid answers and there are stupid people.

I'm a case in point, there is no reason why i should be listened to. My words are probably a waste of time for many; I'm not altogether convinced they're not a waste of time for myself, but I'm still here and queer (except I'm not, see earlier post) so I just say "screw it, lets rock and roll."

The sad fact is that it shouldn't be any other way. It is temporarily unfortunate that anyone can say anything, but long term I regretfully state publicly that I wouldn't want it any other way.

Now, that's not what I'll state privately. Privately I will berate the general human mind to such a degree that you'll think me a misanthrope. Privately I'll rant endlessly about how we should all have to get licenses in order to issue a valid opinion and this license should be reevaluated bi-monthly by myself or a group of my like minded peers. Behind closed doors I drop to one knee, place my head in my hands and just openly weep for a sustained period of time. Then I spend some time longing for government censorship as long as it senors out only the crap and leaves all the good stuff.

But publicly I think democracy is great.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Nonsense Has To Stop

You know what, I'm calling bullcrap on this kind of stuff:

Japanese Are Irked by U.S. Interest in Pitcher
Sam Yeh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Excuse me, the Japanese are irked by American interest?! I could roll out the obvious, and, actually, I think I will. Japanese, you would be nothing if it wasn't for big brother America and our hankering for kindness, restraint and nation building. Secondly, the Japanese being annoyed by Major League interest is like high school players telling big league agents to bug off—it would never happen in a million years. And I know what they're thinking. They're generally a timid people, but they wanted to get in while the gettings good because we're a little down and away, to borrow a phrase. Yep, everyone loves to pile on when the big dog is down, so Japan thought they'd get a few good kicks in when they figured no one was looking. America is in a recession, America is bogged down by two wars...Well not so fast.

I guess they weren't counting on me. Japan, I call on you to renounce your ill-selected arrogance. Is this whole thing about Ichiro? If so you can have him, he's just about dried up as it is, but we appreciated it while it lasted.

Ok. I'm sorry. I didn't really mean that last paragraph, I just let my anger get the best of me. I actually have a an Ichiro bobblehead doll, so of course I don't mean it. Just ease up, would ya, Japan?

Anyway, in the end I guess I'm willing to call the whole thing a draw in light of the fact that they did give us Domo:


http://technabob.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/domo_kun.jpg

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pieces of Bits

I just found out a startling fact today: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the number one most downloaded song on iTunes. Immediately upon learning this my initial action was to think, "Don't stop believing" in a sing songy voice in my head. Then the first thing I did when I got home was download the song.

Then I got to thinking. What if this is just some kind of self-perpetuating kind of a deal? What if every dumbass out there did exactly what I did when they heard, "Hey, you know that Journey song?" "Yeah." "Well it's the number one download on iTunes." "Holy crap." And the rest is history. What if the song was never the number one song, but some genius just started telling everyone that it was and the money began to flood in?

And what's bullcrap about the whole thing is that I don't even like the song. I assumed I would like it, and I like that part where they say "Don't Stop Believing," but other than that it's lamesville. They don't even say those three words, which are the best part of the song, until the last fifth of the song—what the hell is that all about? Bottom line, if you want a quirky 80's song then I think "Goodbye Stranger" by Supertramp is a way better bang for your buck; in fact, it's the number one download on iTunes.

In other news, I want to invite you to take a dangerous peek into the very heart and guts of American democracy. I'm speaking, of course, about the voting ballot. I found this awesome website that has actual pictures of challenged ballots. If stupidity can make you sick then you should probably stay away. Note to self: Don't write in "lizard people" if you've also cast a vote for an actual candidate. Also, when they say choose one candidate they're apparently not kidding.

Also, there was this author that I was interested in getting into until I found out he looks like this:


http://www.messiah.edu/offices/publications/the_bridge/summer07/feature_yancey/yancey.jpg

I mean, I know this makes me a jerkwad and everything, but can I get an anonymous amen? As the saying goes, he's a got a face for radio, and I think I really will be putting his books on the back burner. Then again, when I first started listening to Phil Hendrie I pictured a sexy guy in his late 30's, and when I saw this I almost quit listening to him, but that would have been a mistake because I would have had 60 percent less funny in my life for the last four years.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Precious FAQs

I get quite a few FAQs (that's Frequently Asked Questions to the layperson) here at We Need the Eggs, but I've never shared those with you. There are a few reasons why I haven't. First of all, for a long time I've had a moral issue with the term FAQ. I know that it isn't technically "wrong," but I feel insulted every time someone says it to me. And if there happens to be a child in the trailor then I usually instinctively cover their ears.

Despite my initial objections, I spent three an a half days of nonstop pondering on this issue, and in the end I decided to share my FAQs with you. You may find them enlightening, intriguing and/or helpful, and if that's the case then you probably find this picture quite wonderful. Why? Because you get me, and I thank you for that.

Here are the questions, in a coded order of importance:

1. I really like how journalists refer to their schooling as "J-School." Why don't doctors and lawyers do that?

That's a good question. It really is a mystery that sociologists have tried to explain for years. It just sounds so cool, why wouldn't more professions want to get in on that? One theory is that "M" and "L-School" just don't sound as good as the euphonious "J." I tend towards liking that explanation. I also think there is some professional snobbery going on. Doctors would never settle for referring to their school as a letter because they want to be able to namedrop the prestigious school they went to. Obviously the same goes for lawyers.

2. What is the best picture on the internet?

This one:

http://www.itescapee.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/gay-peter-pan.jpg

3. "This one is a two parter," they usually say. A) How many Americans, as a percentage of the population, have danced in the rain?, and B) How many of them do it because of various songs in multiple genres that reference the act?

Now, the numbers for this answer are quite interesting. 70 percent of Americans report that at some point in their life they have danced, or at least "shuffled" in the rain. The strange thing about that figure is that it breaks along gender lines disproportionately. 20 percent of the 70 are women, and 80 percent are men! What this means is one of an infinite amount of things. One possibility is that we have a lot of female dance-sluts in this country, in which case the parents of America will need to take a long hard look in the mirror. The other, and I think more likely answer, is that we have a whole lot of men dancing, alone, in the rain. This answer flies in the face of a lot of preconceived notions about men and their level of emotional sensitivity, but when faced with facts it is better to embrace them than to flee from them.

The answer to part B of the question is that a staggering 100 percent of people who have danced in the rain said they did it because they got the idea from a song (Note: all respondents who said they danced in the rain for "religious reasons" were stricken from the record because a requirement invalidates free will; if they would have been counted the numbers would have shifted to only 68 percent dancing in the rain because of a song). That means that if the myriad songs out there had not made that obnoxious reference we wouldn't have to deal with this indulgent and insufferable practice.

4. Have you ever danced in the rain?

Yes I have. Next question.

5. Is smoking bad for your health?

No. People smoke every day and it does not age them one bit. What people try to say is that it give you wrinkles and it rots your teeth and your organs, but do you know what else does that? Time. So if time, sorry time, has the same exact side effects as smoking...wouldn't you agree there is something they are not telling us? The truth is that if you smoke a cigarette, or even a pack, you will look exactly the same as if you didn't smoke it. You will only age 24 hours no matter how many cigarettes are smoked in one day. But I know you won't believe me, so I have photographic, documentary evidence. Observe these boys, they're smoking and yet they are in perfect health, their looks still betray their true age, and they are happy. Immediately the defender will want to go to the time argument, but I have already invalidated that, so case closed.

6. Is it a good idea to have these guys at the front line of border security?

No. I don't know why people keep asking that and I don't know why it would occur to them that that might be a good idea.

7. Is the Bible's depiction of Adam and Eve and the fall meant to be taken literally, or is it just a story?

Does this answer your question?

Well, I've already said a lot. There are tons more questions, like seriously four dozen, so maybe I'll do some more somewhere down the line.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Money To Stop Being Printed

******From the Pienman Newswire******** (and just to be clear, you understand that I am the Pienman Newswire, correct? I mean, I figured it was clear, but I just wanted to make sure.)

Washington DC--Never has there been a worse thing to happen to Mother America than what has just taken place in the nation's official capitol: It has now become more expensive to print money than money is actually worth.

"This is something that we've worried about for decades, and now it has finally come to pass," said a well known economist who only wanted to be identified as "Hambone." Economists refer to this doomsday scenario as Zero-Sum Cash Balloon Syndrome, (ZSCBS). In this situation printing U.S. Treasury notes is effectively pointless because a net debt would be created by even trying to undertake the transaction.

"Do you understand what this means?" asked Hambone to the general American public. "It means that Uncle Sam would actually have to take money from your account to make more."

No one knows how much time is left. The average shelf life for U.S. American dollars is three and a half weeks, and then they are taken from circulation and sent to Africa where the cash is used for toilet paper and bubblegum wrappers.

From this point the pictures becomes even gloomer. No plan has ever been devised to deal with a situation such as this.

"Well, the thing is, we just figured we'd all be radiated into turnips, or our heads would be on sticks or something at this point," said a nervous president Bush.

Trying to find a straight answer to who is responsible for resolving the issue is next to impossible. The Treasury Department says that it is the State Department's job to figure out what we do next. They argue that, in a post-9/11 world it is now a matter of national security how we create our money.

But the State Dept. says the Treasury Dept. can blow it out their ass because they know the Treasury Dept. is being lazy and they just don’t want to come up with a solution, “as usual,” they said.

So we find ourselves in a stalemate, with no conceivable way forward.

President-elect Barack Obama was quoted as saying, “I don’t know, maybe it means we go back to a barter and trade situation for awhile, maybe that will work.” This scenario, though, does not seem likely as it would require the loosening of child labor laws, which is damn near impossible with this congress.

But a sign now hangs in the window of the White House, which is perhaps a metaphorical manifestation of the psychological distress that grips the capitol, or maybe it's for real: "If anyone has a good idea of how to save ourselves from ourselves, please email it to us."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On Being a Nerd

Sometimes I read something so good that I'm filled with an insatiable need to plaster it all over the cities walls and email it to better than half the email addresses that I've collected since the advent of the Internet.

The universal reaction is that of a sigh, yawn or raise of the eyebrows. Nobody gives crap one, but interestingly this has no deterrent effect on me whatsoever. I still want to proclaim the religious/political/social insight from the busiest street corner. This pathology to share these bits of wisdom definitely qualifies me for nerd status. All I can say in my defense is at least it is not animae, World of Warcraft, Gandolf, hobbit affairs, Nascar, weird insider comics or porn.

All that to share with you this:

Thomas Freidman, columnist for the New York Times, is wicked smart and he wrote an awesome-ass rebuke of the morons who run the U.S. auto industries here. But the best part was his last paragraph:

"Lastly, somebody ought to call Steve Jobs, who doesn’t need to be bribed to do innovation, and ask him if he’d like to do national service and run a car company for a year. I’d bet it wouldn’t take him much longer than that to come up with the G.M. iCar."

How insightful and righteous is that?! Friedman, layin' it down, tellin' it like it is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mix & Match: Gays and Mistaken Emails

Wow. I just spent the last 45 minutes composing a missive on gay marriage and I'm probably not even halfway done. I was talking about how Christians are so narrow-minded and bigoted when it comes to the issue. Now keep in mind that I am a Christian. Now keep in mind that I oppose same-sex marriage. It's not as bad as you think, I said things like "We're all bigoted," and all of that, but it just...got...so...long! And I couldn't take it anymore! And I thought, "No sane American is going to want to read this toilet-paper-roll-long screed about one man's humble opinion on this contentious subject." And I think I was right. But on the off chance that I'm wrong then the potential post can be revived, but only by popular demand—and it has to be decisive, none of that year 2000 happy crappy. And, as a bonus, if the post is resurected by popular demand then I will pen the remainder of it in the nude, because that is how strongly I beleive the public doesn't have the stomach to take my meanderings on the subject. (No, it will not be web-cammed. My wife and dog may wander in and out of the room as I clack, but that is the most anyone is getting.)

I'm going to hit one other subject before I bang out of here: Question?

Do you ever finish composing an email, say, maybe late one Friday nite? Sorry, I shouldn't have ended that sentence there, it isn't quite complete (I mean technically it's a complete sentence, but it isn't the idea exactly as I wanted it expressed).

To rephrase: Have you ever finished typing a heated, passionate email, stopped to review it, and then moved y0ur mouse ever so slowly down to the delete button, because you would basically die if you accidentally sent the thing? That happens to me fairly frequently. Combine that with the fact that I have definitely misfired a few emails from time to time, as in accidently hit the send button, and it can all get pretty scary. I thank the God of my parents choice that these have never been socially sensitive emails, but I fear one day it will happen. I wonder what the worst instance of that has ever been? I wonder if the president ever started to compose a joke email to another world leader on a sensitive issue, and the next thing you know, oops. We're lucky our president is a dry drunk, it's so much less possible for something like that to happen when you're not benefiting yourself with alcohol.

Please tell me if you have ever misfired an email that ended up being embarassing or hurtful. I'll try to remember if I have ever done it, and if I come up with one then I will post it as a comment to this post, so stay posted.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What Obama Can Do To Earn My Support

I have a confession to make. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a conservative. And because I'm a conservative, I'm not exactly excited that Obama won. I know that in some parts of the country saying that can get me killed, but I am morally bound to spit the truth.

While I am not happy about an Obama win, neither do I want to be a crabby-apple sour poose who has to make everyone and his analyst miserable for the next four to eight years. Since I have intellectual standards, I can't just give in and support Obama. So I decided to put together a list. If he is able to achieve all or at least 83% of the following then I think it will be reasonable for us conservatives to gaze upon his visage in a favorable way:

  1. He needs to become a Republican (keep in mind he doesn't have to achieve all of these things, only at least 83%, and I know this ones a long shot, so he can skip this one if he wants to).
  2. He needs to consider others more highly than he considers himself. If the Republicans seem to have a good idea, then he needs to defer to them.
  3. He needs to ride a horse on a semi-regular basis. I understand that this is a very strange and seemingly arbitrary request. Let me explain. For better or worse we've elected our first black president. This is uncharted territory for all of us and we're left unsure about how we should feel towards him. We just have no past with which to base how we treat a black president. We don't know what black American presidents do. But if he were to ride a horse once in awhile, it would help to make him more comprehensible to every day Americans. Our presidents have been diverse (besides being white or secretly Jewish), but the one common thread that seems to tie them all together is that they've spent their fair share of time on a horse. Obama could go a long way in making himself accessible to us in this manner.
  4. He needs to find Osama bin Laden. Bush has given him an eight year head start—if Obama is not able to find him with all of the help that Bush has so graciously provided then he will go down in history as one of the most incompetent buffoons we've ever had kick up his dogs on the desk of the oval office.
  5. He needs to erase the national debt. I can't remember what it's up to, something like 9 trillion. I'm sure that McCain would have had a plan to get rid of it within two to four years because he is a fiscal conservative. If Obama wants to show the world that he can be taken seriously then he will eliminate our debt to the nations of the world.
  6. He needs to convert to a more moderate form of Christianity. Most Americans like their Jesus subdued and orderly. I know that I can't assume everything the dishonorable Reverend Wright said Obama believes, but some of us are skeptical because he sat under that, or a form of that, for 20 years. Obama would do well to become a Presbyterian, or an Episcopalian, and only sit under pastors that can barely get it up past a low whisper.
  7. Obama needs to homeschool his children. Look, there are a lot of whites out there in a lot of denim jumpers that need to be convinced that Obama is the real deal. If he wants a shot at identifying with a large part of the American electorate then he will take several hours out of his day to teach Sasha and Malia their reading, writing and arithmetic. To put his children in an actual school will be taken as an act of unabashed elitism—it's just not a move he can afford to make.
  8. Obama needs to put up or shut up. I don't quite know what that means in this context, but if he's wise he'll figure it out, fast.
  9. Obama needs to use it or lose it. Again, refer to the second sentence of number 8.
  10. Obama needs to change his own oil on the presidential limo. He is the first northern liberal to be elected in the last 70 or so years. Most Americans think of northern liberals as femmy, tepid milquetoasts that would get their asses kicked in a bar fight by their own daughters. If Obama wants to identify with mainstream American, then he is going to have to get his hands dirty. He needs to change the oil, plunge the toilet, mow the lawn, all that stuff.
I also decided that if he achieves 100% of my list then I will start capitalizing the pronouns that are used in reference to him. For example, "Did you hear about Obama? Well, it turns out He is a lot better than we thought." Typically this type of grammatical reverence is only reserved for those held in the highest regard, so he should feel honored.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Will Obama Supporters Do?

America's finest news source hits it on the head, again. The only problem with the onion, like the Simpsons, is that you can't laugh for too long, because pretty soon it is your candidate or your religion that they are coming after.


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A New Worldview for You To Consider

I will now commence with getting philosophical on or all over you. I live my life through a "We're here, we're queer" paradigm, and I think it would be best if you did as well.

Now, first of all, that takes some explaining. There is no truth in the words themselves. I am neither here (as in inside the Internet), nor queer (in the common parlance of our times, but certainly otherwise). But the "We're here, we're queer" (henceforth referred to as WHWQ) statement is indicative of the open-minded mentality that says, "Ok, let's just do it."

I believe it started in high school. I know I first heard it from Sean. And he probably got it from his dad, who was apt to utter strange and generally crude but funny adages ("American Honky Tonk Bar of Masturbation," for you Garth Brooks fans, "Do I have a sign that says ef with me on my forehead?" for you frustrated drivers). At some point I noticed that it had become a general war cry for the way that we were floating through life.

To embrace a WHWQ mentality means that you accept whatever life hands you. You don't do a lot of bitching and complaining about where you find yourself on any given day. Instead you say, "You know what, WHWQ, why don't we just do it?" Yeah, this may not have been my first choice, but what the hell, I can't change the present, now, can I?

It can also be a motivator. "You know what, we came all the way out here, WHWQ, let's do it!" I think it reminds us that we are generally small creatures composed of a plethora of mostly inconsequential choices. Knowing that, why don't we just jump into the vast stream of humanity and stop wasting our time? It is a shortcut to taking stock of your situation before you make your decision. WHWQ, what else do we really have going on?

I really do find that it is a tool that allows me more freedom in my life. At the same time, truly living out the WHWQ lifestyle can be difficult. The truth is that we all feel like slowing down and complaining about the lot we've been handed. It can give us a strange feeling of comfort, to be able to tell it like it is and feel sorry for ourselves. But once you grab a hold of WHWQ, that part of you is dead to the world now. When you say, "WHWQ", and you actually understand what it is that you're saying, you realize that you've given up all rights to pity yourself. "Yeah, some people got it better, some people got it worse, but I'm here and I'm queer, so what have I got to lose?"

Another advantage that many people appreciate is the communal, community-building nature of the WHWQ phenomenon. Most of the time it is WE are here, WE are queer (as opposed to I am here...). It's lumping all of ourselves together in common purpose, pursuing a common destiny. We are all sharing a trait (being queer, except that we're not), that makes us feel more like one organism with many parts, rather than a clump of separate people.

I suppose the only disadvantage would be that, if you're gay, you might not want to embrace WHWQ because you'll just end up confusing people all the time. "Ok, he just said it, is some sort of gay act now going to flow from this situation, or was he being philosophical?" But maybe it's worth a shot, you have to decide that for yourself, Travis.

Please let me know how WHWQ works for you. I'd love the feedback. Maybe you find that it works a bit differently for you. Don't be shy, I want to hear about it.

An Ode to Caffeine

I thank God that he didn't make me a Mormon. Now, even saying that brings up a whole host of theological issues that I just wasn't planning on addressing at this time. It could even be construed as offensive, me saying such a thing. So if you're a MoMo, then cool out, I wasn't trying to dog your pseudo religion.

No, but there is a serious point to be made. A sage at my work says: "Before profits, caffeine." I think there is a lot of truth to that. I don't think that you can find it in the pages of Proverbs, but you can certainly make a case for the idea of grafting it in and pretending like it was always there. Truth is what it is, and if it's true now then it was true when Solomon was tooling around and doing the things that grabbed him a page in the history books.

I've reached a point where I don't think I can achieve anything meaningful in my life without the aid of caffeine, and its necessary vehicle, coffee. If I were a Mormon, and therefore couldn't imbibe the stated benefits of the wonderdrug, then I would be capable of nothing. Caffeine sharpens my senses; I can feel it make my brain function on a higher plane. Before profits, caffeine. Yes. I think the Mormon's need a reformation, just like Christianity had. They need to go back to Smith, or Gabriel, Meroni or upstate New York, and do a little revision. I want you guys to know the joy that I know. I want you guys to be more productive, and therefore benefit me economically. I want you to caffinate and know thyself, and live in the truth that Greg who sits next to me at work has made clear: Before profits, caffeine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Constantly In Touch With My Nadir*

I deal in despair. I deal with despair. I despair quite frequently over my, relatively speaking, excellent circumstances. And the truth is that I hate to belabor the point, but I am the apotheosis of one who lives in despair. I've got money in my bank account, a beautiful wife, a college education, and if my religion turns out to be right then I'm going to heaven—but don't forget that I'm an America, the necessary corollary being I take all that for granted and generally envy everyone else. The quotidian is such a given, but still we (the royal we, as in "we Americans") think we're too good for it. Even to be mordant about it is still a form of sheltering yourself from the truth.

I know that man at large would readily enjoin a prescription for my woes: Take delight in your day to day and count your blessings. Of course, technically they are right, but life is so much more difficult than following platitudes. The truth is that I suffer in thralldom to my discouragement. I've become inured to doubting my every threat of possibility.

I think I am in irredentist in the sense that I believe we should still have duels. You know, with the guns and the paces and the honor? I love the idea of the whole turgid affair; the crepuscular machinations, the no nonsense, realpolitik liaison. I advocate on behalf of it because it would occlude so much of the hot air that is expelled in our culture. "Oh really, you think you're better than me, that's it, let's duel." If it were truly to be effective then it would have to be sanctioned by law or else it would be so uncommon as to be irrelevant. The matter should be put to a plebiscite; would the solipsistic cowards win out? Probably. Of course I fear a bullet, but I don't run from it. I try to abnegate myself when the world is looking. Now what I do in the dark, thankfully no one else sees that. Does this make me essentially protean? Aren't all of us? Show me a man who is the same around his mother and his brother and his coke dealer and I will show you a clarion-call liar. Anyone who offers me any disputation on this point is exactly the selfsame as I am describing, and if not then a simulacrum of said liar.

The truth is that I advocate dueling because I am an old hand at jumping to conclusions. "May we get the damn thing over with," would be another way of expressing it. I don't want to say that I make an effort to extirpate the details, but I'm at a loss to find a better way to put it. Of course I could launch into a casuistry wherein I show you that up is really down and that dispensing with the details is really the highest form of genius. Oh, it would be glorious, and I could truly pull it off. The peroration would begin with over two dozen allusions to Shakespeare and his ilk. For my part, to take such action would be to suborn a favorable reaction from you, dear reader. Once you came to your senses you'd cry, "imposture!" and you'd be right. You'd throw all kinds of obloquy my way, and after initial, lackluster protestations I would probably join you in your disapprobation.

The truth is that I get most of what I want through lapidary means, but, come to think of it, that really is neither here nor there.

*It should be noted that all of the above words that I linked for your enlightenment were words that I highlighted during my reading this past week because I did not know them. They were all from Christopher Hitchens' book, "Letters to a Young Contrarian," which was, needless to say, excellent. Nay, a freshet of gnomic delight.

p.s. I know you don't nadir, and of course I wasn't clear on it either, and you can't do links in your title, hence the link in the p.s.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Dismal Christian Response to Gay Marriage

Shooting down Christian arguments against gay marriage is as easy as murdering the fish in the proverbial barrel. The arguments are almost uniformly condemned as narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted, and that's because they are.

This November California will vote on Proposition 8, a measure that, if passed, would rewrite the California constitution to define marriage as between a male man and a female woman (yes, these days you do need to make the distinction). The argument in favor of the proposition is mostly being advanced on a false point of outrage: That the will of the people has been overturned by radical, unelected officials. I once was manipulated by conservative pundits to be outraged by "judicial activism," but I now see the superfluity of it. The charges of activism and overruling the people are defunct in light of the fact that the judiciary is exercising their constitutional requirement of interpretation. And no amount of ire and heavy breathing will make a dent in someone fulling their duties as commanded by law. Now, we may disagree with their interpretation, but that's a different issue requiring different vehicles of attack now, isn't it?

In consideration of these facts, when we actually do the math and roll the numbers out we find that all of that phony outrage equates to this retarded statement: I'm outraged at you because you disagree with me. Well pardon me if I'm not interested in wasting my precious breath on such puerile twaddle. ("Geez Jason, don't pat yourself on the back or anything," said the collective readership. I'm sorry, you're right. When you reflect on this entry in hindsight please tone down my self-righteousness by half to make up for my oversight. Thank you.)

Unfortunately what we find is that the veneer of outrage is quickly stripped away to reveal that Christians don't want gay marriage because of religious considerations they have made for themselves. They think that being gay is immoral, so it shouldn't have the blessing of government. The Christian's first sin is their inconsistency. They don't seem to mind that the U.S. government frequently rewards the greedy, the lazy, and the hoarder of wealth (an action condemned by the New Testament).

The Christian's second sin is their...bigotry. Yes, their bigotry (keep in mind that I am one of these Christians who believes what the Bible says, and therefore what God says, about homosexuality). Their bigotry is expressed in their feeling that in a democracy their religion should be followed, should have a knee bent towards it from the non-believers, but everyone else's religion should be paid no mind. The Christian would laugh in the face of the Mormon or the Muslim who said that we should outlaw alcohol and caffeine because God forbids it. "But I don't believe that." Wouldn't that be the response? "Who are you to inflict your religion on me?" It is problematic indeed.

And it can go on like this forever. In the end we find that Christians are wrong to advocate for laws against gay marriage on religious grounds. God himself does not want someone following his rules who aren't following them in their hearts. God gets no glory in compulsion. If the Christian is successful in using the force of law to compel an individual away from marrying within their sex God has not been glorified.

"So where do you stand, Jason? Have you gone all liberal on us? Have you given in to the pull of the society?" Me? Oh, thank you for asking. I'm against same-sex marriage. But I take what I believe to be the only valid line of reasoning, one of which many gays and liberals agree with.

God's laws are not arbitrary. God laid down his rules because they have practical, real world implications. He did not make his laws to give you something to follow. He made his laws to protect you. U.S. law does not need to consciously reference the 10 Commandments because the bulk of them are self-evident. God has made it so that we can talk about His truths without having to point to the rulebook.

All research tells us, and our experience and gut feelings support the idea, that the best situation for a child is a mother and a father in the home. We're just talking about the ideal, here. Of course many children are not fortunate enough to have this, and of course plenty of children turn out great who do not have this. But it is in the government's best interest to see as many children as possible grow up in a home with a mother and a father in it. To say that any other relationship is worthy of marriage is to be institutionally cruel to children. It would be irresponsible of the government to say that a child is as well off with no mother, or with no father. But that is exactly what it would be doing by legalizing same-sex marriage.

That's the argument, in a nutshell. You don't have to agree with it, but I don't think you can call it bigoted. The only trick for me is making sure that it's true, that I really believe it, and I'm not just pretending this is the best argument in order to cover for my latent homophobia. It's certainly possible, but I don't think that it is the case.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vote McCain or Don't Vote

No, it isn't a joke, I mean it. If you're not voting for John McCain then I really rather you not vote. I'm not saying I'm going to do anything, I'm not necessarily saying that I'll do something to try and disrupt the process, but I haven't ruled that out, yet. I understand that this is not the greatest thing to say. I know this is a bit of a desperate measure, and on some levels I apologize for that.

Look, I'll acknowledge my bias right up front: I really want McCain to win this election. It's not personal, it's business. I don't think that he necessarily deserves to win, I don't think he's run that great of a campaign, nonetheless it is his kisser I'd like to be staring at for the next eight years rather than Obama's. And if it's all just the same to you anyway, or if you don't feel as passionate about is as I do, then please just sit home on election day. You might wonder, "Well, do I have as much passion as this guy does?" Let me ask you, have you written a blog urging people to not vote? So no, you don't have as much passion as I do.

It's tricky when you do something like this. Yes, absolutely, some of the sheep out there will listen to me and I will have helped out McCain at least a little. But then there are the other ones. A lot of people will want to be contrary, rebelious, and I could end up doing more harm than good. A measure like this might even drive more people to the polls because they feel this is an act of persecution. To those people I say this: That's so predictable. That's just so, so typical that you would have a reaction like that. But you should, you should go out and vote now, just to prove how mediocre and ridiculous you really are. Loser.

I'm now going to say a bunch of things that I don't believe, but if it helps, I guess it's worth a shot: Obama is a Muslim. Obama will codle our enemies and use the American flag for a bath towel. Barack Obama hates your guts and wishes that you would have to forclose on your house. Obama once thought about being gay, but then thought better of it and finished his meatball sandwhich. Obama doesn't just pal around with terrorists, he plays squash with them. If Barack Obama gets elected president every black person in this country will get a $100,000 raise, and any white person who complains will receive a 3.5% pay decrease for each infraction.

I've done all that I can do. Now I can only pray.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nickelodeon Poll Tells the Real Truth

I have great news for all of my fellow conservatives out there, the race is much closer than you think. Here is the proof:

A Nickelodeon Presidential vote found that Obama won 51 to 49 over McCain. We're talking 2.3 million kids that voted!

Why Jason? Why is this such great news? Fine, I'll tell you: the traditional polls are telling us that Obama is up 5.2 percent, and that's at least. As in, he's at least up by that much, but probably more. And when the news, when the liberal media, when the pinko, commi media, when the guerrilla leftist barking dog media—sorry, I'm just kidding, I don't really mean all that. Anyway, so when the media do a poll they ask about 1,100 people who they are voting for.

But there is no greater indicator of what adults are thinking than what their children are thinking. Think about it, there is no possible way that a child can take a cold-eyed look at the issues and the candidates and then make a decision as to who they wish to support. They pick it up by osmosis. All of us become little versions of our parents until we begin to make our own way in the world, and even then the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Someone find me a 9-year-old that has serious disagreements with their parents on judicial activism and campaign finance reform and I'll show you a kid that needs to be put in a CIA lockbox and lets see how this raw talant can be exploited.

In the first grade I voted for Dukakis on the chalkboard. Yet my parents were voting for Bush. Do you know why I did that? Peer pressure, baby. I actually went home and appologized to my mom, I think I might have even cried. She understood, I mean, I didn't get any dinner that night, but I think she understood. Anyway, this is also good news. Not only do the the children tell us what the parents are thinking, peer pressure also causes kids to say a certain thing. And there is not one who likes to guilt and peer-pressure like a self-righteous liberal.

So if Nickelodeon, a poll of 2,000 times the normal amount of people, and peer pressure leaves us with a race of 51 to 49—according to my calculations McCain is sitting very pretty.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Nielsen Family I Never Knew

I just learned the craziest thing tonight: I know a Nielsen family. You know what the Nielsen rating is, don't you? It's the system by which the government or whoever decides which shows will remain on the air and which ones won't. They put their special boxes in several thousands homes across the country and they report what those people are watching and that is how shows get their ratings.

Anyway, I've known these people for awhile now, but I only tonight learned about their coveted Nielsen status. How can something like that happen? How can you know someone but not know some of the most important things about that person that make up who they are? I don't want to say that I feel cheated...more just, I don't know, hornswoggled, I guess.

The truth is when I was a kid I would really only pray for two things: That God would let me fly at least once (like a bird, not in a plane), and that He would let be a Nielsen boy so that I could help determine what America would watch. And, so, yeah, I guess it just kind of hurts that He would make good on the first one and put the second one so tantalyzingly close, and yet not within reach.

Is it possible for me to just be happy for these people even though they've basically ripped my dream from my proverbial womb, as one untimely born? I guess the coming months and years will give me my answer.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Building The Case To Vote For Obama

I know, this is going to be bad. Jason, you're turning on everything that you've ever stood for (at least for the last six years). No, it isn't that bad...you'll see. I didn't even want to commit this to the internet, but after talking it out with my wife she said I have no choice.

I'm experiencing slight buyer's remorse. I've been sure of my vote for McCain since I cast my vote for him in the primary (at that time I thought I would vote for Huckabee, but by that time we were seeing just how much ass The Surge was kicking and I almost shed a patriotic tear as I filled out the ballot). But then the last six month happened. Let me take you through my process.

Intellectuality:

Obama comes across as a very intellectual guy. But more importantly, he comes across as intellectually generous. He seems always willing to meet the other guy where he is at and give credit where credit is due. I really admire that in a man. McCain has been much more stingy in giving credit where credit is due, and much more apt to criticize Obama on a technicality than vice versa. After the first debate conserservatives were trying to say that McCain won and pointed to the fact that very often Obama said, "You're right," to McCain. I was a little baffled because I thought that spoke much more well of Obama and his fair-mindedness than it proved that McCain had won the debate.

Running of the Campaign:

My favorite conservative commentator, Michael Medved, says that the way a person runs their campaign is an excellent indicator of whether or not they will be a good president. Well that advice may come around to backfire on him because it seems to me fairly obvious that Obama has run the better campaign. This whole business of McCain "suspending" his campaign to give attention to the financial crisis was embarassing, erratic and untrue (he continued to run his ads during the "suspension"). He can't seem to decide on his theme or tactics; he stated that Reverend Wright was off the table, but then he went after the tenuous connection to Bill Ayers—and Obama rightly spanked McCain on the fact that he wasn't man enough to say it to his face. On the other hand Obama has run an excellent campaign, and he has never cracked under the pressure (when Biden starting looking like a real sorry pick, when McCain surged in the polls). The guy has been as cool as a cucumber, and clearly he is the more even-tempered of the two men (perception being all I have, perception being everything).

Faith of Our Fathers:

Honestly, Obama speaks more eloquently about his faith than McCain does. It is not a prerequisite for me that my candidate be a Christian, but I am intrigued by his Christianity. No doubt he and I would have disagreements about how our shared faith should be administered, but he is a much more convincing Christian, it seems to me, than John McCain is.

Being the President of the United States:

There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama comes across as much more "presidential" than McCain. Obama pointed out that he doesn't, "Look like all those other guys on the dollar bills," but with his oratory skills, the way he carries himself and his magnanimous disposition he could have fooled me. Now, coming across as presidential is not the most important thing in my my mind, not by a longshot. But perhaps it deserves a little more importance than I give it credit for. When I think about how our next president would react to an emergency situation I feel much more at ease when I think about president Obama than I do about president McCain. Like I said, he is intellectually generous, intellectually agile and seems more apt to do what needs to be done rather than be bound and gagged by his ideology (kind of like Bill Clinton). Look, I know that is going to just kill a lot of conservatives, but the last time I checked our leaders don't speak from Sinai and our beliefs weren't handed to us on stone tablets etched out by the finger of God (unless you have hard evidence in demonstration to the contrary in whichcase I would love to see it).

Conclusion:

If I were voting strictly on the issues there is no doubt that I would vote for McCain (though I would pay less in taxes under Obama, but that is solely selfish reasoning). If I were voting strictly on the man, on his temperament and on his ability to lead and his effectiveness as a leader, I think at this time I'd be leaning more towards Obama.

But the Big But: In the end much of the criticism about Obama is true and difficult to get away from. He doesn't have executive experience, he's never taken on his own party, he hasn't even finished a whole term as a senator, those are no small facts. McCain has a long and sometimes unfortunate history of reaching across the isle to make things happen. His Maverick status is not self-inflicted—the media loved him when he was frequently at odds with the Bush administration. And, at the end of the day you really only have to say one thing to bring me running back home to John McCain: Supreme Court Nominees. I want people who believe in truth that is real, not the truth of the moment, or the truth that has evolved, but the truth that is everlasting and not up for debate.

So at this point, on October 12, 2008, I still pull the lever for John McCain, but I have my doubts.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Few Things That Are Scary

In preparation for Halloween I thought I would share a few scary ideas:

Do you ever finish composing an email, say, maybe late one Friday nite? Sorry, I shouldn't have ended that sentence there, it isn't quite complete (I mean technically it's a complete sentence, but it isn't the idea exactly as I wanted it expressed).

To rephrase: Have you ever finished typing a heated, passionate email, stopped to review it, and then moved your mouse ever so slowly down to the delete button, because you would basically have died if you accidentally sent the thing? That happens to me fairly frequently. Combine that with the fact that I have definitely misfired a few emails from time to time, as in accidentally hit the send button, and it can all get pretty scary. I thank the God of my parents choice that these have never been socially sensitive emails, but I fear one day it will happen.

It's just a funny moment, when you realize your life would significantly shift if this email went out, and your senses heighten, and the only thing that matters in the whole world is that you calmly, deftly make sure you don't hit send.

You know how when you're walking down a hall, and then you see someone coming the other way, and you begin to prepare how you will make your pass? And you get it all lined up, but then they end up dodging the same way you do, and then again, and you're doing this very awkward shuffle and trying to chuckle it off while the pressure mounts for one of you to do something different. Well, all I wanted to say about that is that, theoretically, that can go on forever. It can. There is nothing stopping you both from each making the same decision over and over and over again. Now, it never does, but the Mariners never win the World Series, but that doesn't mean they can't.

Yesterday I got scared because I thought I had an affliction. To preface: rabies is a disease that gives you an uncontrollable desire to bite people. My friend got it once and I still have the scars to prove it (that's a lie, but it would be a good story if it were true). Well, yesterday I thought I had rabies, but not the form where you feel like biting people; I had this uncontrollable urge to push people over. I was walking through a restaurant, I saw a waiter, and I just wanted to put my hands on his chest and send him to the floor (thank God it wasn't a woman, I wouldn't want to have to explain that to God and man and my wife). Then I saw some people sitting at a table and I wanted to go push them over, too. But this would have been a bad idea for two reasons: a) they're in a sitting position so when I went to push them they would have just slumped to the side a little, which would have been anticlimactic in the worst possible way, and 3) this couple at the table were a different color than me and I did not want them thinking this was a racial thing BECAUSE IT WASN'T!, it's a disorder and it's not my fault. Luckily I apparently only received a mild form of this affliction, because I didn't actually go through with it, but I was scared.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sorry, Just Unfunny Political Observations

In this political season I find myself frustrated. I like to think that I am only beholden to truth (which I am not), and that I don't allow my political affiliations/preferences to sway over my judgment (which I do). Many people who support Obama spin and lie about McCain's record; many people who support McCain spin and lie about Obama's record: who should a fair-minded person listen to?

I'd like to go down a self-righteous path and say, "a pox on both your houses—I'm voting Libertarian," but I can't do that—I said I'm frustrated, not insane.

There is a man on the radio, Phil Hendrie, that I respect very much, and he said this thing last night that I feel is equally as true for me in the opposite direction:

"I'm a supporter of Barack Obama...but the people that support him, by and large, I wouldn't hang out with those people if they were the last human beings on earth. I mean I'm telling you right now, I will vote for that man, but as far as me having anything in common with any of the other douche bags that I hear supporting him—if I was the lonliest man on earth I wouldn't go down the street to borrow a cup of sugar. These people have done more damage to that man's campaign...Do you wanna know why this thing is so tight? Becuase the Move-on's and the Kos's and every other ideologic douche-and-a-half is weighin' in with their hateful hateful diatribes. It's done nothing to help that guy. Nothing."

I've got nothing in common with the ignorant xenophobes that would like to slam the border shut and then "round up" all of the illegal aliens (a categorical impossibility) and ship 'em back to wherever they came from. I've got nothing in common with Jerome Corsi or any person that would accord him an iota of respect. I've got nothing in common with Christians that think it is their God-given duty to vote Republican. I've got nothing in common with Christians who focus disproportionately and unhealthily on homosexuality and the prospect of gay marriage. I don't support gay marriage just like Biden and Obama don't, but a) I wouldn't be too surprised to see it become reality, and b) It will have little to no effect on my life, so I'm not too bugged about it.

I think that McCain has to run for president and that is an awful thing. He thinks he has to engage in adhominym garbage and allow his staff to produce ridiculous, pathetic ads like the "Lipstick on a pig," ad. And maybe that's what it does take to win the presidency right now in our country; I just wish I didn't feel like I have to take a shower after watching some political back and forth on cable news (not that anyone should ever be watching cable news).

Despite my frustration I remain a Republican because I have basic philosphical assumptions that I can't get past. More freedom is better than less freedom. The more goverment grows, the less freedom I have. We all have to be willing to sacrifice some freedom, and I certainly am, but the goverment, because it is composed of flawed humans, is insdious and greedy. Now, so is the free market, because it is composed of flawed humans, but the free market cannot compel me to do anything, the government can, and therein lies the danger. I also don't know when life begins, but it seems to me there is no place that makes more sense than at conception. But even if that is not the case it is always better to err on the side of life until further information comes to light. To generalize, abortion seems to be born more out of personal convenience than a conviction that life is not being ended, and that doesn't strike me as wise or prudent or valid.

All of those things will keep me a Republican, even when we fall desperately short of our stated goals. Where else would I turn? Estonia? Sure they have a flat tax, but my social networking possiblities would be decidedly lacking, and I have no personal motivation to learn Estonian.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Paragon of Cool

If I want to feel cool, and I mean like really cool, I have this foolproof trick. First, it helps if I’m in a fairly cool surrounding. It doesn’t have to be expressly awesome, but it adds to the overall high and that heady excitement if I’m downtown or in a mid-priced restaurant (average entrĂ©e >$13) I tend to get the best results.

Anyway, here’s the move: I’m walking normally, then I start to turn my head to the side, but as I’m turning my head to the side I pretend that everything is going into slow motion: I slow my walk down, I slow my turning neck down, I slow my eyeballs down. The high that I experience is exacerbated if I’m listening to a song that cooks on my Ipod, but if not I just play a song in my head and it achieves a similar if not tantamount effect.

When I do this I feel like I’m in a movie, a really cool movie, a hip movie, and for the briefest of moments my life becomes much better than it really is. Now if I was a smoker, and I could actually have a cigarette hanging from the corner of my mouth when I did this...lets just say I don’t think my wife would allow it—she might have been born at night but it wasn’t last night. The kind of swarm that I’d be looking at, the kind of chick swell that would result would be more than a normal man could sustain, and I’m not willing to take that chance.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jason Live Blogs the First Presidential Election!

So far Mccain the aggressor, Obama a little fumbly...

I hereby resolve myself to the following: If I hear one more damn politician say "Wall Street" and "Main Street" in the same sentence I'm going to puke on the spot. Everybody's saying it, "the government helps those on Wall Street but you're not doing so good on Main Street." I no longer care if it is even a legitimate point (which it isn't)–I just don't want to hear it. It's populist nonsense that should be outlawed by an activist supreme court, somehow.

Obviously Obama is a superior speaker, but I think McCain is coming across as much more knowledgeable. If McCain could come across just a tad bit more human he'd be flying.

McCain is being loud and clear and incredibly consistent: Obama is a rookie with terrible judgment. Obama is very subdued and, in same ways, underlining Mccain's point by not being as knowledgeable. I'm curious as to why Obama is not being more aggressive, don't you want to win?

***NEWS FLASH!*** I think I'm the first one to break this news, but you'll be hearing all about it soon: Obama is throwing spitballs at McCain when Obama is off camera. You may have noticed McCain getting agitated a few times, it's because they're hitting him in the leg and throwing off his rhythm. As the camera pans from Obama to McCain you can see Obama duck over to make the throw, watch closely and you'll see. I just have to say that, Republican or Democrat, I think we can all agree that this is a cheap thing to do. Mr Obama, sir, please clean up your act.

My wife and I are having a disagreement: She doesn't like how "mean" McCain is being. I'm sorry honey but this is just further proof of what I'm always trying to tell you: you're not cut out for a future in politics. McCain is simply pointing to the facts, and if that hurts then so be it. Babe, if you run for governor or mayor or even city council, I just fear that you will not be able to take the heat.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thank God for Free Speech (otherwise I'd be in jail)

You know I once considered becoming a journalist, but now that that word is on par with other words/terms like "user-car salesman," "schiester," and "Child molester," I feel pretty good about pursuing a career in Accounts Receivable. Does it pay well? Does it put to use my degree? Is it fulfilling? The answer to all of those is no, but it beats being mistaken for a child molester.

Anyway, I found this example of awful journalism that I thought you might be interested in:

"In the interest of full disclosure I want to note at the outset of this interview that you, in fact, are a Jew. And, if you wouldn't mind, I would appreciate it if you would mention what you think are the three worst sins and/or mistakes of the Jewish people, and if the name of Jesus is not mentioned I will be very surprised." —Interview with Rabbi Schmooly from the New York Times

No, of course I made that up, but it would be pretty funny if it were true. In fact, I wish we could just all agree that it is ok to make fun of someone's race or religion—as long as we are only kidding—and none of us will be offended. Racial/religious humor is some of the funniest stuff I know of, but the moment I realize that someone actually means it, I get sick to my stomach.

For instance, take this black joke: What does a black kid get for his birthday? My bike.

Now that was funny when I heard it on the playground, but if it had been told by the white trash kid, and then after the punch line he just stared at you like he just made a good point, and instead of laughing I should be pissed and ready to riot, well, that's when there is a problem.

So, can I agree to laugh with gusto when Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and the Kings of Comedy make fun of my crazy white ass, and then I get to tell a few harmless, meaningless black jokes? And then the Jew can jump in and ridicule my Gentile ass, but then I get to throw a few schnoz and money jokes his way. That would be great.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Should Have Been A Spy (all men wish they were spies)

When I was up at Western for my bachelor's degree (when someone says that it implies that they have more degrees beyond that one, and that's not true for me, but I get the benefit anyway) I took an Irish Literature class. I can sum up everything I want to say about this class in one sentence: Instead of reading actual Irish literature, like James Joyce or Yeats, we read Mauve Binchy. For those of you not familiar, my teacher had us read V.C. Andrews in lieu of Shakespeare.

As you might expect from a brain surgeon such as this, it soon seemed to me that she wasn't even reading our papers. Keep in mind this is a four-year accredited university (!) that I spent $30,000 bleeping dollars to attend ($30,000 looks roughly like this to a guy like me). So I decided to test her, and for my next paper I wrote like this for six pages:

It is now time for me to write an illustrious paper about a subject that I, heretofore, have not known too much about. It is now time for me to write a paper on the subject of what is commonly referred to as Irish literature. But not only am I talking about that subject in general, I am actually talking about a particular book in particular. I am but talking about a book written by uber-famous Irish author, Mauve Binchy. Now before I can talk about this there are a number of initial declarative statements that I must issue before continuing on in the current vein that I am now progessing through as I try to articulate the important issues that I shall opine upon. I am have had much to say about what subject I'm about to unfold upon in grand fashion with extra strength and personal power over under where I'm went. Beer was half off tomorrow, Irish wit goes forth banking full and brew was good when with the proper anecdote.

Yes, I produced a literal six pages of nothing, and what grade do you think I got? You got it, Click Here to See What Jason Got. No, not really, but it was either an A or a very high B. Not bad for babbling like a disconnected child. And of course I had to suck. I had conducted this great sting operation, I could go to the dean of the school and expose the lazy lit teacher for the fraud that she was, but I think Miami Vice or Cops came on and after it was over I just rolled on my side, scratched some unmentionables, and never thought about the whole thing again.

I hate sucking. That might have been my big break; maybe it could have landed me an interview on Hannity & Combs or something ("Student takes down Marxist-Leninist Professor establishment with one on-purpose-crappy essay"). Yeah, maybe, but more likely it would have been a large nothing. The dean would have said, "Oh, thank you, we're going to get on this right away," and then she would have roasted the essay over the spit they provided her after completing six months of successful deanship.

Whatever.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

First Day Jitters

I'm on the cusp of a new thing, and I should be excited, but the questions they swirl. Will I puke my first day on the job, like I've done so many other first days? Will my coworkers like me, or will they kick over my desk and rub Tabasco sauce in my eyes, the way it happens in my dreams? My default disposition is to assume that people don't like me, that they wish I would shut up, and it takes some doing to convince me otherwise.

But sometimes I'm more optimistic. Sometimes I wonder if the boss will recognize me for what I am, and maybe I'll be vice president of something by the end of the week. As a child I used to fantasize about being a soldier, killing Saddam Hussein, and saving the world; now I fantasize about rapid promotion and stable economic growth. I imagine turning a mountain of paperwork into a molehill within 48 to 72 hours and watching my supervisor weep for joy in spite of herself.

When I start a new job I like to play it cool the first few months and disclose little or no personality characteristics. I have a lot in my arsenal, I can do quiet and withdrawn, but I can do gregarious as well, so I like to get the feel for what will be most effective. There is nothing worse than pushing a coworker out of their chair and watching their stone-faced reaction. That joke kills in so many office settings, and yet it can backfire. I have a tendency to miscalculate when it comes to people, their likes and dislikes, what they think is funny or offensive and so on. Actually, while we're on the subject—racial humor just doesn't get the mileage that it used to get on the playground. I always test that maxim and end up wishing that I wouldn't have. I will forever contend that racial humor can be done right, but it requires a very difficult series of moves that must be perfected before stepping onto the floor. I know that, for me personally, if someone makes fun of white people, but doesn't do it right, I'm ready to turn into a tornado made of teeth and fingernails.

Anyway, whenever I start a new job the training and learning curve cause me to doubt every good thing in my life and drive me to spend more than a few hours in the fetal position in an appropriate bathroom (which may or may not be the one at my new work, like I said, appropriate). At the end of day one I am ready to crawl back to the place that makes sense and just get away from the things that scare me. The fact that I already know this is the drill does not help me remember that perhaps I am exaggerating. I hope I don't quit after one day of overwhelming lostness and ruin my embryonic family (Jessica, Jason and Gretel underneath a cardboard lean-to in the driving Seattle rain is a spine-chilling image), but I cannot guarantee the chain of events that will be set in motion tomorrow, I can only pray for the ability to endure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Systematic Insanity

G.K. Chesterton is someone you should get to know, and this is something great that he said: "Original sin...is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved," because you can see it in the street. And a quick theology lesson: The doctrine of Original sin is that most reviled doctrine which provides you the comfort of knowing that everyone around you is an asshole, but then has the audacity to tell you that you're included.

Chesterton told us we can see it in the streets, but I think it is no more uniquely and beautifully distilled, like a tarantula pinned down in a display case, than in the American presidential election cycle. I don't know, it could be as bad in other countries, I've just never had the pleasure of being present in another country during an election. But let's compare notes, you foreigners: Do your country partisans accuse the other side of the most vile untruths that most felons would be ashamed to utter? Here are a list of about 70 awful untruths or distortions that have been published about Sarah Palin. It also turns out that the right-wingers (of which I am a proud one, as long as I don't have to be ascribed everything that has ever been uttered by one of my bretheren) are equally foul in the garbage they spew about Obama. So you could say that the lie machines are good proof that our tortured souls are bent in the wrong direction, but I want to pull back the curtain a bit further.

What I find highly suspicious, highly telling, highly convicting—is the way that you and I react to these peices of filth. You and I are very quick to dismiss an attack against our candidate, and very credulous when our opponent is smeared. I think the concept that we're not even being fair never crosses our mind. And the thing is, even if you're not sure if these things are true, you want them to be true. I wanted it to be true that Obama had called Palin a pig, it filled me with glee because I figured there would be no way he could recover. And of course he didn't, and that is clear to any fair-minded person, but don't ever accuse the bulk of us of being fair-minded.

So many of us are rabid in our love for our team and our hate for the other side. The mindset and behavior is so entrenched that we just refer to it as "politics." No, it isn't politics, it is unpleasantness that resides in your soul that you'd rather not acknowledge. We stand proud with our team and point our fingers at the other side, how nasty and divisive they're being, how they're making up lies—we're all pointing into a mirror that's reflecting our opposite that is our equal.

The candidates are not the problem. The media is not the problem. The bloggers and "smear-merchents" are not the problem. Our goverment, our media, our society is all made up of just a bunch of me and you's.

You and I are the problem.

All except for those noble, angelic political independents. Apparently you were unscathed by the Fall, always acute in your political judgements and apt to consider others more highly than yourselves. Go to hell you self-righteous bastards. (My wife would want me to tell you that was a joke, but I feel you should have gotten it, that it was obvious, so I'm not going to say anything.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Ultimate Question

I've heard a lot of great questions in my day (What is the meaning of life?, Can morality only ultimately be objective?), but this one is sure to top them all. I thought it up this afternoon during lunch and immediately bounced it off of my wife (just spent 5 precious minutes trying to think of a joke playing off of the "bounce off" that wasn't corny and punny but finally concluded it couldn't be done).

Her immediate response was not a good one, "I hate these kind of questions," I believe was the exact response. But going against my better interests I am not going to take her advice and am going to pass the question onto you:

You're holding two entities over the edge of a cliff. In your left hand is Gretel (or insert you beloved pet, preferably a dog), and in your right hand is Hitler. If you save Hitler the result will be that he will then go on trial for his crimes and then either be excuted or locked up for life, but there is no chance that he will get away.

So which one do you drop?

I think it's an incredibly ingenious question that will reveal to you who you really are. If you want your veneer stripped away, if you want to gaze into the mirror that shows you what you really are, and not just your reflection, then answer the question. I won't tell you what the right answer is, but please post a comment and let me know what you think the right answer is.

I will then decide wether or not we will continue to be friends.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jason Live Blogs the 2008 Republican Natl. Convention

Chris Mathews:

Chris Mathews really thinks that windswept look is working for him. He's the only commentator with hair openly flapping in the wind, and it makes him look like a small little boy in the worst way possible. I see that Mathews has sobered up for this convention, I'm not sure that was a wise move on MSNBC's part. I don't know if they were dumping some Johnny Walker Black in his mug unbeknownst to him or if they were slipping him a $20 and telling him to skip himself off to the liquor store—I just don't have access to that kind of information—but I think it's a big gamble, and I'm not sure it's going to pay off. Chris Mathews sober is pompous, slow-witted, overbearing, vain and patronizing. Mathews drunk is still all of those things, but with a silly grin on his face and a kinf of lascivious glint in his eye; somehow it's that subtle shift in his persona that makes him bearable.

The Daily Show:

The real clever genius' (RCG's) over there at the Daily Show put up a billboard in St. Paul saying: "Welcome Rich White Oligarchs!" Zing. Except not. Not at all. When has it ever been different...for Republicans? A better question: When has it ever been different for Democrats? When has it ever been different...in American politics? Not for a long, long, very long time. The fact of the matter is that if you're going to get elected to a national office you have to be rich, you've got to have some major cheese, flow, fish in the dish or what have you. But because Jon Stewart happens to like liberals he'll take a cheap shot at Republicans because, well, it feels good.

Joe Lieberman:

I understand that Lieberman is giving a speech and that he may well be saying interesting things. I know that it's kind of cool to see a Democrat at a Republican convention, the guy that was the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee 8 years ago, actually. And I'm watching his mouth move on my TV screen and everything, but I just can't bring myself to unclick the mute button. The thing is that I have a serious aversion to boredom, which makes Lieberman my natural enemy. And I want to like him so bad. He's a Jew, I love Jews. He has a tremendous pair on him that allwed him to hold strong on the war in the face of a party that excoriated him and all but banished him from the country. But he drives even babies to tears with that slow, monotone drawl that has been considered for use as a weapon of torture.