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.


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.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Righteous Indignation

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin from a Social Conservative:

It is with much anger and hostility that I write to you about this situation with your Whore of Babylon daughter. You clearly took your parenting lessons from Satan, and I just want to know why you didn't reject the invitation to the vice presidency and instead go flog yourself in front of a group of your peers? Why is it that you didn't teach your daughter to wait until she was married and ready to have a child until embarking on "bedroom affairs?" You "claim" to be a Christian (a claim now discredited by this revelation), but don't you know that us Christians are perfect? Did you not get the memo? Anything other than perfection is an offense to Jesus.

Because your daughter committed a sin the whole world will not believe in the truth and power of Christianity. If you had known all of this would you have still let your daughter commit the grievous sin of fornication? You know, now that I think of it, you have probably let her commit other sins, haven't you? Tell the truth, have you let her lie, gossip, or think impure thoughts? You know what, don't even answer that—your word cannot be trusted.

Don't believe the lies, Sarah Palin. There will be some people who tell you that God is a God of forgiveness. There will be some people who tell you that even Christians are still bent in the wrong direction, and it is not surprising that they sin. Some believe that we are loved by God even though we don't deserve it, and that all sinners are equally guilty—don't be decieved! These are the purveyors of cheap grace, and their views are not allowed in the reductionist media caricature that "Conservative Christianity" has become.

Be afraid, be very afraid. We will protest your daughter's shotgun wedding. We will hound you out of office to preserve the purity of our moral superiority over the rest of the fallen world. Hear us, for we are many.

We need a leader who has true Christian morals. We need a leader who would never let their child sin, and preferably they will not have comitted any sins for the last five years or so. We will find this leader who is worthy of our people, and they shall restore our name. A fool suggested to me that it would be a great Christian show of charity if we embraced you and your daughter, though she sinned so horribly. I'm sorry, but there is no time for weakness in these dire times; neither on your part nor mine.