Friday, April 30, 2010

Expose: The KFC DoubleDown

I know it it is disgusting and awful and bad for my heart. I understand that it is symbolic of the age of excess that we live in, a virtual caricature of itself. I know that to reference it at a party or the water cooler is to possibly hasten your own demise; so red do the eyes glow of the healthy, green people of my generation.

I know that it has more calories than a human leg, the sodium it contains could fill a tube sock, and the grease it brings could soak a sumo wrestler's beach towel.

And I know that, perhaps worst of all, it will taste like garbage.

I know all that; what I don't know, and what I want the answer to is: Why do I still want one so bad?

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Sleeping Anthony

I work my underlings too hard.

Anthony, if you ever find my blog, please don't kill me. But at the same time, I would understand if you do.

~Sent From My Cool Phone

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Movie Review: Cold Souls

My review only needs one line: Only Charlie Kaufman should do Charlie Kaufman movies.

Two out of four stars.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"We're Democrats!"

These two gentlemen were setup outside of the post office in Southcenter this afternoon. I had seen the "Hitler Obama" picture from far off and I had immediately began to shake. The thing is, whenever I see someone advertising massive stupidity, I feel the need to say something to them. I don't know why I'm this way. There is nothing particularly good or noble about it. Someone who is willing to be that publicly flamboyant and ridiculous is never the person who is looking for an intellectually honest exchange of ideas. But I was particularly upset because one of the things I hate the most in this world is a stupid Republican. The reason being is that if you get a few drinks in me, I'll occasionally admit to being a Republican, but "Obama is a Communist" and "Obama is Hitler" signs and sentiments from Republicans set me back more drinks than my religion will allow.

The shaking always sets in because I know I'm going to have to talk to the stupid person, and that's never fun or easy. My game plan was to let them know they brought shame to the Republican name, and then point out that they hated it when liberals called Bush Hitler, so how did it feel to become the thing they hated?

So I started by taking the above picture (I asked them if they would like to smile, but they declined), and then I asked: "So are you guys Republicans?"

Imagine my surprise and relief when one of them said, "No, we're Democrats!"

I know at this point everyone to the left of George W. Bush will say I'm lying, but I swear it's true.

"Thank God," I said. They chuckled, not yet understanding what they were in for. Then I explained how I was going to tell them they were bringing shame to Republicans, but that that was now out the window.

After that I asked, "Do you really believe Obama wants to kill 6 million Americans?"

"Yeah, he already signed the healthcare bill that will kill 100,000 Americans."

"No, it won't," I said. And that's when I saw it.

I was looking at their table of pamphlets and saw his name, and that's when my main emotion changed from anger to pity. The name? Lyndon LaRouche. He's a perennial runner for president. I'm not going to get into it, but I think it's safe to say that most people who have any experience with a Larouche-ite put them on the same shelf of crazy as alien abductees and flat-earthers. Anyway, more on that later.

I tried to explain that they can have no credibility when they are espousing such a ridiculous belief.

"Wait, you're a Republican and you like Obama?" asked one of them.

"No, but I don't think he's Hitler." Then I tried to reiterate one last time that they didn't really believe that. One of them literally said, "We don't have to defend ourselves against you." And the other said, "Yeah, your academic BS..." And that was it, an unfinished musing on the nature of argument. What could I respond with?

Moral of the story: Democrats are dangerous. Clearly these boys are the offspring of Democratic ideology. They don't even go with the more socially acceptable "Progressive," it's all Democrats for them. This is the ultimate logical conclusion of believing in Democratic (note the big D) values: standing outside a post office with Obama is Hitler signs.

No, now that's ridiculous. But no more ridiculous than saying that a crazy Tea Partier represents what Republican's stand for. Being a nutbar knows no ideology. I used to believe that liberals/progressives/Democrats were more susceptible to being nuttish, but that was a belief I had to jettison shortly after Obama took office.

No, the net result is that it's just sad. Someone got ahold of their young brains and polluted can't hold the boys responsible, but they're anything but innocent. They're like telemarketers on their first or second day: They still actually believe in their product and think it's a worthwhile investment that everyone should have.

Same thing happened to me, only it was worse: In 2000 I was so twisted, mixed up and confused that I cast my vote for—Ralph Nader.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Here is a list of movies I'm glad that I'll never have to sit through, I'll never have to endure, and I'll never have to have them stain the soil of my psyche:

1. The Good German
2. Reign Over Me
3. Anything Monty Python

Wow, this is a lot harder than I thought. I'm going to have to regroup and come up with some more and then get back to you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting Intimate With You

We've known each other for awhile now: I think it's time to take our relationship to the next level.

I want to show you who I am, I want to bare my naked soul before you; that's right—I want to share with you the list of all the books that I can ever remember having read.

No, I'm not just going to recall them for memory. The reason for this blog is quite mundane, actually...I have been keeping a running list for several years now, but the problem is that it has been on PAPER, which is inherently unstable and dangerous. I need to keep an electronic copy of of the list, for my sanity at the very least, and therefore the world's. Anyway, since I idolize books to an unhealthy degree I feel like I'm sharing a giant chunk of myself with you. Some people will think I'm shallow, some will think it's not enough, yet others will think it's way too many. Some will be disturbed by the lack of picture books, but that's just because I make friends with dumb people to make myself feel better.

As an added bonus I think I'll hyperlink any of the ones that I think you must read before you die or I might not forgive you (and you probably shouldn't forgive yourself):

Oh Wait! The other thing that you must understand is that these are not in order according to how much I enjoyed them or how good they are (I didn't even enjoy/like/understand Slaughterhouse-Five).
  1. Slaughterhouse-Five
  2. Catcher in the Rye
  3. What’s so Great About America?
  4. Letters to a Young Conservative
  5. Choke
  6. Fight Club
  7. Survivor
  8. Lullabye
  9. Invisible Monsters
  10. About a Boy
  11. How to be Good
  12. Holes
  13. Of Mice and Men
  14. High Fidelity
  15. The Pearl
  16. The Chocolate War
  17. Bias
  18. Affluenza
  19. The Things They Carried
  20. The Education of Little Tree
  21. On Writing
  22. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  23. My Point...And I do Have One
  24. Couplehood
  25. Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man
  26. The Road Less Traveled
  27. To Kill A Mockingbird
  28. Life 101
  29. Lord of the Flies
  30. Tuesday’s With Morrie
  31. Your Erroneous Zones
  32. Culture Jam
  33. I am the Cheese
  34. Andy Kaufman—Revealed!
  35. The Sun Also Rises
  36. Birdy
  37. Dreamcatcher
  38. The Shining
  39. The Dark Tower Series: The Gunslinger
  40. The Dark Tower Series: The Drawing of the Three
  41. The Dark Tower Series: The Wastelands
  42. The Dark Tower Series: Wizard and Glass
  43. The Dark Tower Series: Wolves of the Calla
  44. The Dark Tower Series: Song of Susannah
  45. The Dark Tower Series: The Dark Tower
  46. Cujo
  47. The Regulators
  48. Desperation
  49. Writing Down the Bones
  50. The New Testament
  51. The Old Testament (yes, I counted the Bible as two!)
  52. Tunes for Bears to Dance To
  53. There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom
  54. Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes
  55. Farenheight 451
  56. The Hobbit
  57. Quality of Life
  58. Elements of Style
  59. The Eyes of Kid Midas
  60. If Life is a Game, These Are The Rules
  61. The Stand
  62. 1984
  63. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  64. Seinlanguage
  65. Carrie
  66. Celestine Prophecy
  67. In a Sunburned Country (moment of truth, didn’t quite finish it)
  68. The Four Agreements
  69. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  70. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  71. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  72. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  73. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  74. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  75. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  76. The Restaurant at the end of the Universe
  77. The Letterman Wit
  78. Eyes of the Dragon
  79. Brave New World
  80. The Talisman
  81. Journal of Nick Twisp: Youth In Revolt
  82. Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo
  83. The Woman Warrior
  84. Chemical Pink
  85. Hollywood v.s. America
  86. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
  87. Let Freedom Ring
  88. Ishamael
  89. The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America
  90. The Partner
  91. A Walk Across America
  92. Mere Christianity
  93. The Screwtape Letters
  94. Hearts In Atlantis
  95. Green Mile
  96. Bag of Bones
  97. From a Buick 8
  98. If only he Knew
  99. Ovid: Metamorphoses
  100. Pay It Forward
  101. Casino Gambling for the Winner
  102. The God Who Was There
  103. Insomnia
  104. The House of the Scorpian
  105. Salem’s Lot
  106. Poker Nation
  107. Speak
  108. Smack
  109. Breathing Underwater
  110. Crazy Jack
  111. Hard Love
  112. Bronx Masquarade
  113. The Outsiders
  114. The Body of Chris Creed
  115. Silver Kiss
  116. Black House
  117. Circle of Friends
  118. Scarlet Feather
  119. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
  120. A Star Called Henry
  121. Out of the Silent Planet
  122. Poker Wisdom of a Champion
  123. Pure Drivel
  124. Radical Reformation
  125. Goat
  126. Cry, The Beloved Country
  127. Treason
  128. Beyond the Chocolate War
  129. The Giver
  130. When Character Was King
  131. Conscience of a Conservative
  132. Age, Guile and Wisdom beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut
  133. Right Turns
  134. The Fountainhead
  135. Case for a Creator
  136. The Know It All
  137. Tale of Two Cites
  138. 100 People Screwing Up America
  139. Blink
  140. Crime and Punishment
  141. The Brothers Karimazov
  142. In Cold Blood
  143. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  144. A Confederacy of Dunces
  145. Freakonomics
  146. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
  147. Cell
  148. Federalist Papers
  149. Alexander Hamilton
  150. The Castle
  151. A Hart Breaking Word of Staggering Genius
  152. The Way of All Flesh
  153. The Da Vinci Code
  154. The Ragamuffin Gospel
  155. Lolita
  156. Letter to a Christian Nation
  157. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  158. Schmucks
  159. How Should We Then Live?
  160. Confessions of a Reformation Rev
  161. From God to Us
  162. Love God With All Your Mind
  163. Amusing Ourselves To Death
  164. The Culturally Savvy Christian
  165. Predictably Irrational
  166. The Kingdom Triangle
  167. Anna Karenina
  168. Humility: True Greatness
  169. Picture of Dorian Gray
  170. Do I Know God?
  171. Respectable Sins
  172. The Great Gatsby
  173. Orthodoxy
  174. Irresistible Revolution
  175. The Shack
  176. Leading With a Limp
  177. Traveling Mercies
  178. Letters to a Young Contrarian
  179. And Then We Came to the End
  180. Lisey’s Story
  181. The Reason For God
  182. The Abolition of Man
  183. Catch-22
  184. Prodigal God
  185. A Long Way Down
  186. Counterfeit Gods
  187. Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Going There: Can I Convert You?

Alright, I've got a problem—and therefore, by extension, you have a problem, but more on that in a minute.

My problem is that one of the central tenets of my religion is that I try to convert people--really the whole world, if I can pull it off--to my religion. I know that sounds really scary, but really it isn't. We're not allowed to do it by force (or even guilt), and The Book even tells us it's not actually us who are doing it, but Him. And yet we are asked. I have no ability to convert you, ultimately conversion is a transaction between a person and God, but somehow I'm brought along for the ride. To make it worse, I have no idea how conversion words. Beyond the statement "God does it," I have no idea what causes a person to believe. I used to think that it was based on argument and understanding. If I could argue you to a place where you have the correct understanding, then bingo you would believe. I don't believe that anymore. Argument doesn't seem to help...too much, anyway.

Now. I would just like to ignore the imperative, and most of the time I do. Of course it isn't that simple. I don't ignore it, I just find ever more creative ways of mitigating the commandment. And that would be all fine and well and good, except for it isn't. I take God seriously, I have put all of my spiritual/religious eggs in the Father, Son, and Spirit basket. What that means is that I can't ignore all of the instruction I've been given. I can't ignore it because I think it's Truth. That means that even if I don't like it (and since I don't want to be struck down by lightning I can't actually say "I don't like it" to God, which is why I will only heavily imply such a notion), I still must abide by it, because no one can rationally turn from Truth, now, can they?

So one of my jobs is to do the one thing that you do not do in our culture: Tell someone they're wrong. I mean, you can do it, but you'll be relegated to circus freak status in short order. And of course that's only shorthand for what I'm trying to say. I would never say to someone "I'm right, you're wrong, end of discussion." But we must understand that it what we're saying, out loud or otherwise, whenever you have a belief (God exists) that disagrees with someone else's (God does not exist); unless you don't believe in the possibility of contradiction, and if that's you then I think we're done here, thank you very much.

Can I just say that trying to share the gospel with people is awkward and strange. I don't like doing it, and I don't like making people uncomfortable.

Anyway, all of this is a long introduction to the bright idea I need to lay on you: What if I had you come to me? Here's the thing: Despite the fact that there is a taboo on conversion, a lot of people are interested in discussing spiritual matters. I am just such one of these people. Now that I've shown my true colors—that I like to talk religion, that I want to convert you—all of you people that are interested in such things can come to me. Hell, you know that I'M interested in the discussion, so that should help with some of the tension.

It's a different way of going at things. It's a bit of the turning of the tables. Instead of me going out into the world, I'm having the world come to me. You need to know that I'm just as willing to have you convert me. What bums people out is that attempting conversion is so often a monologue, but I am firmly committed to dialogue (not diatribe). I'm committed to truth, and so if I'm in error in some way, I am open and willing for correction. As the Scriptures say, come, let us reason together...

If it helps, I know that this is all silly. I understand that I will get no takers, that I will, in fact, need to supplement by making a proactive instead of reactive effort. But the writing down of it all helps express some of the frustration, so I guess my objective was achieved.