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Monthly Archives: February 2011

What’s Your Charlie Sheen Number?

Two and a Half Men is the most popular show on television, so I don’t think there would be much point in arguing about whether it’s any good or not.  Personally, I’m not going to sit around and watch a show with a laugh track, here in 2011 – I’m just a pretentious bastard that way.  Every time I see some of it by accident, it feels like a Simpsons bit come to life.

Really – how many jokes can there be in this premise?  Charlie has many sexual partners – ahahahahhaha.  Charlie’s pal or brother or whoever that other guy is, he doesn’t have nearly so many sexual partners – ahahahahahhahhaha.  Their ex-wives are bitchy and unreasonable – ahahahahahhaha.  The housekeeper’s like their mom – ahahahhahahahah.

I mean, okay – I’m the one watching dinosaur shows and Doctor Who and Cake Boss.  I’m not here to judge you. 

What fascinates me about Charlie Sheen’s recent, hilarious, crack-addled antics is that they gave us a chance to find out series creator Chuck Lorre’s Charlie Sheen Number – it’s 250 million.

In case your name is Rebecah and you need a recap here, Charlie Sheen is apparently on crack.  What he likes to do is get loads of crack and some porn stars and a hotel room, and then he likes to light up the crack and see what happens.  Sometimes, I assume, nothing does. 

They don’t put it in the news when nothing happens, though.  They only put him in the news when he gets the cops called on him or goes to the ER or someone “steals” his car and drives it off a cliff.  Then suddenly everybody’s Judge Judy.

Here’s my favorite Charlie Sheen quote – “I don’t recommend crack cocaine to anyone unless you can manage it socially.”

Yep.  Contingent on an enormous, pulsating, eerily-glowing “unless,” that sounds about right.  Some people probably could manage it socially, like Jesus or Superman or the ghost of Steve McQueen.  So Charlie makes an excellent point.

Now, since I don’t watch the show, it of course doesn’t concern me for a second whether or not they ever film another episode again, but I’ve been nothing but fascinated by the story.  Like the other day, when Charlie Sheen went off on the series creator on a radio show, and also said that if he didn’t have to work with the current batch of “losers” he was working with, he could be “making movies with superstars.”

I don’t quite know everything that Mr. Sheen said, but it was eventually enough for Chuck Lorre to call off the whole show.  And that decision from a gross earning standpoint, will cost the network and Chuck Lorre approximately 250 million dollars – that’s Two and a Half Hundred Million Dollars, if you’re scoring at home (heh). 

A thirty-second commercial spot goes for about $200,000 right now, and they were booked all the way through the end of the season, and who knows where else the money comes from?  It’s not a figure I pulled out of my butt or anything.

So Lorre had to make a decision.  He had to say to himself, man, I don’t like taking a bunch of public crap from this literal Brat Packer on Crack.  Is 250 million dollars enough money to keep kissing his ass, or should I just say screw it, and shut the whole thing down.

He shut it down, so that means his Charlie Sheen Number is 250 million.  That’s awfully good. 

I have to tell you, for even one percent of that money, Charlie Sheen could throw turds at me on national television an hour a week for a full year, saying anything he wanted to, smoking all the crack he wanted to, and I’d just stand there smiling, shaking my head, going, “Oh, Charlie.  You are such a rascal!”

Chuck Lorre’s got a pretty high Charlie Sheen Number, if you ask me – especially for a television producer.  I mean, did you know that Pamela Anderson had a television show called Stacked, in which she played a librarian with large breasts?  The idea was, she walked around with her cleavage showing, and people would then ask a question about stacks of books or racks of magazines, and then she would mistake their questions as being directed at her boobs.  And despite the constant confusion on the matter, she would never, ever put her breasts away.

God bless you, television.  God bless your digital soul.

So anyway, you don’t think whoever produced that show had to kiss Pamela Anderson’s ass?  You figure she was probably really easy to work with, full of energy and professionalism? 

Certainly there was no show without her.  And since that show didn’t make much money, you have to think that the producer’s Charlie Sheen Number was probably what, a hundred grand?  Definitely closer to my ballpark. 

That’s all Chuck Lorre has to do, you know, is kiss Charlie Sheen’s ass.  He just needs to say, “Charlie I was wrong and I need you, please film more episodes.  I’m stupid and you’re smart.” 

I really can’t believe it matters what level of quality Charlie brings to the formulaic, laugh track-driven premise.  All you have to do, Chuck, is kiss Charlie Sheen’s ass and you get more money than the rest of us will ever see in our lives. 

We all have a Charlie Sheen number.  That’s what jobs typically are, right?  How much money would you need to roll in here and kiss somebody’s ass who doesn’t deserve it? 

I think 250 million is a pretty high Charlie Sheen number.  Mine’s about eight hundred bucks or so – bloggers are awful, shameless, horrible people and we cannot manage our crack cocaine socially, that. Is. For.  Sure.

Lie, cheat, blow stuff up, kill spies – you drop down to eight hundred bucks and I’m probably out, but anything above that, well – I’m listening.  Nothing sexual though – you’d have to find out what my wife’s Charlie Sheen Number is, for that, though I don’t think it’s much higher than mine.  Go ahead and break her off an email – I’m kind of curious myself. 

So anyway, when I see a Charlie Sheen Number way up in the nine-digit range, I’m nothing but impressed.  That’s an awfully big can of Screw You Charlie Sheen, you’ve got there, sir.  Very impressive.

What do you think, blogosphere?  What’s your Charlie Sheen number?

 

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Wrath Of Ellen

When long-term substitute Mr. Smith (not his real name even though he’s gone now) handed Ellen a detention for having the wrong kind of late pass, she knew that like any other student, there was nothing she could do about it.  Rules are rules, and just because he had informally relaxed them for the last sixty days straight, that didn’t mean he couldn’t suddenly start enforcing them to the letter.  Nobody’s above the law, Ellen realized.  Guess this is just the way it is.

Yeah.  Not so much.  A couple hours later she blasted open the door to the office, clicked her cheek and pointed at the receptionist as she rocked on by her, and darkened the Vice Principal’s doorway.  I’m pretty sure he sighed heavily before looking up and saying, “Yes, Ellen?”

Then she put on a little Power Point presentation about the various types of late passes, where and how they are issued, who is authorized to issue them, and to what degree the relevant rules on the subject had been enforced thus far. 

Somewhere unspoken in the air between them was her academic standing, something perhaps best described as “freakish.”  She doesn’t merely have all A’s, she has straight A+’s.  Hilarious three-digit numbers in some cases like 112%.

And in Math – which is the class with the long-term sub who hadn’t really stopped to consider exactly who the bleep he was writing a detention for – she has a solid 100%.  And that’s because there is no extra credit in that class.  Not a single extra point.

So let’s all stop in mid-blog here and reflect on that.  A 100% in a class with no extra credit means exactly what it sounds like it means.  The girl has not missed a single question the entire quarter, and yes, she’s a little cocky about it.

“You might describe a grade like that,” she points out.  “As perfect.  Mightn’t you?”

Yes.  And since she rarely requires any academic supervision at all – in fact she’s tutoring three other students, taking one of them from a solid F to an A in just a month – it’s really easy to just let her handle everything at school however she wants to handle it. 

In this case, she broke me off a text as she was leaving the office.  “He’s waiving the detention, but he says he needs something to put in the file.  Pretty much anything.  Can you write a note when I get home if I tell you what it needs to say?”

Absolutely.  Can it be around 800 words?

No, she says.  You’re just going to point out that being late is your fault.

Aha.  Gotcha.  No problem – what do I care?  Just tell me what you need the piece of paper to say, there, Ferris Buehler. 

So I write the note and it’s difficult, because what I want to say is, listen, I’ve been dropping my honor student off at the same time every single day.  I don’t know if Mr. Smith is upset about his long-term gig ending, or what, but this really is coming out of the clear blue sky.  If she’s late today, why wasn’t she late for the last three months?

You’re missing the point, she tells me.  It’s all over, detention waived.  The guy needs something to drop in a file, not a blog post.  Just settle down and tell him you’ll bring me to school earlier.

Fine.  Dear Sir.  I’ll bring my honor student to school earlier.  Love, Future Tom.

And that’s it.  I don’t think I ever got away with going over any teachers’ heads when I was in school, but this tiny little blonde-haired genius I’ve got here – I’m not surprised she gets straight A’s.  You give her anything else, and all that means is she’ll be haunting your desk all day battling over each individual point. 

You want to quit being so picky, or you want to stand around all day watching my daughter’s Power Point presentations?

All right then.  She brings home a report card – zero detentions, and nothing below a clearly marked A+.  There’s not much you can say to that except, “Damn.  I don’t really have any questions for you, little sister.”

So anyway, from then on, I start getting her to school earlier.  Say, Dad, can we roll through Starbucks for a Caramel Frappuccino with extra Caramel?  Yes, I think we can do that.   They know her name there – Whattup, Ellen?  And then they upsize her for free and give her a comical amount of caramel and sprinkles.  How is she a regular at the coffee shop?

Oh, well.  Could be worse, I’m sure. 

The day after the soon-to-be-expunged detention Ellen passes Mr. Smith on the way into school.  What’s up, Mr. Smith?  Then on into the office where she smacks down her letter and cracks a few jokes with the administrators, and then when Mr. Smith arrives in his own classroom, there’s Ellen.  The first one there, sitting in the darkened room.

Hello, Mr. Smith, she says flatly, like a secret agent waiting in your hotel room.  This early enough for you, Stretch?  You think you can live with this, or do you think the Three Digit Percentage Girl needs a detention for coming in too early?

Hello, Ellen, he says, and then one day later, he’s gone.

Makes you wonder if Ellen went down to the office and pulled some strings.  Flipped some paperwork around.  Oh, Mr. Smith got re-assigned all the way across town!  Bye, Mr. Smith!

Listen, folks, we’re trying to be as reasonable as we can be here, but Ellen’s getting straight A’s.  Like it or not, one way or the other, hard or easy.  Straight A’s, or you’re just going to make her angry.

Who knows what could happen then?  It’s a crazy, dangerous world out there.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Parenting/Family

 

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Why Melissa Should Let Me Use Her Van Today

As the Emergency Broadcast System has hopefully already alerted you, my washing machine died yesterday, and no it was not a drill.  It’s an actual emergency, that’s why the signal you just heard was followed by specific instructions, etc.

Since I’m a square-jawed American who plays by his own rules, I sprang right into action once a replacement set of equipment was located – I went to Facebook and said, who’s got a truck for old Tommy C.?

And guess who showed up?  Mrs. Steve Spangler Herself.

That’s right – it seems like it was just last week she was chasing me off her front porch with a rolling pin when I brought Spang home two days later than the hour and a half or so we’d indicated earlier.  She was going all Andy Capp’s Wife on us – “You two goodfernothings!  You spent my butter and egg money!”

Thank God I had my pogo stick – she could have killed me.

Anyway, she pipes up like she’s forgotten all about the dozen and a half blowgun darts her Amish Furniture Store employees shot into my butt cheeks while I was pogo sticking away.  You should have seen the look on the pilot’s face when I came up over the hill.

Yes, and I do apologize, but for copyright reasons I had to digitally remove the pogo stick.

She says to me – get this – she says I have a moving van, but you asked for a truck.  So long, sucker!

And I said you stay right here I’m going to go blog the hell out of this and then you’ll be powerless.  Behold,  SIX reasons why Spang’s Wife Melissa should help me pick up my washer and dryer:

1.  Because if you send me and Spang we’ll just end up in a bar.  A serious matter calls for some Wife Chaperoning, and I know that Mrs. Spangler-Gilmore-Picard wouldn’t set foot in a bar.  She has her reputation to think of, thank you very much.  So, that’s the best reason:  You can’t watch your van and your husband all day long unless he’s sitting in the van.  And if you don’t help me out, I’ll come get one and then the other, and pretty soon the mystic cycle begins again.

2.  Because I Am A Celebrity.  Like Marge Simpson’s high school boyfriend, and I am SO RESPECTED, that if I don’t get my washer and dryer today, it would damage the town.  

3.  Because You’re A Girl And Girls Don’t Know Anything About Moving.  Moving heavy objects is Man’s Work – you wouldn’t understand.  I’m frankly surprised that the van salesman let you drive a real moving van off the lot – what did you put it in Spang’s name or something?

In any case, Moving Van decisions are best left to the Men who understand them.  That’s why you’re thinking, no, I’m drunk and I don’t feel like helping old Tommy C move stuff – it’s cause you don’t know what you’re talking about, you poor thing.

Just don’t worry your pretty little head about it, missie.  I’ll do the deciding for you.  All you need to do is clear off your afternoon and maybe get some gloves and a two-wheeler, and also your husband – I have a bad back and don’t really care for physical labor.  I find it crass and boorish.

4.  Your Mother-In-Law would dig it.  Very true, you must consider that.  Your stock would go through the ROOF.  I happen to have it on good authority that you’ve already been booted out of the will – this could be your ticket back in.  Don’t do it for me, Melissa – do it for yourself.

5.  I am Amish.  So, it’s kind of like we’re in the same gang.  If any fools ever step to you, I will without hesitation whip out my jammy and flat blast them, in keeping with Amish Customs As I Understand Them.  That goes for degrading ice cream cone attacks, too.  As you know, the Amish Murder Code is very clear – I’m willing to put some suckers on ice for disrespecting you, so it’s considered obligatory at that point that if you have a van you drive me around in it.  And Massey’s Pizza – the Amish are very specific about that, you’re supposed to bring a Massey’s Pizza with you since it’s right there down the road from you. 

Let’s flip a coin to see who’s buying.  I’m going to say tails.

It’s tails!  YES!  In your face, Melissa.  See you in half an hour.  No pineapple, for crying out loud.

6.  I’m Handicapped, You Monster.  I’m sure you think my physical disability is reeeeaaaallll funny, but I can assure you, anosmia is no laughing matter.  It’s in fact one reason why I should never be without a washing machine.  As a matter of fact, in fairness to me and my nap schedule, what you ought to do is just bring me your washer and dryer (I voted for Obama and he said I could have it) and then I’ll give you directions to where the other ones are, which you can then just pick up, take to the next place, swap out for another set, take that set home, and hook them up. 

Easy Peasy.  Zip Zam Zoom.  I’m going to get my shoes on and then start texting you every six minutes until you’re here.

Oh, I need some detergent, too, and some dryer sheets and a gallon of your second least expensive tequila.  Hurry up, too, I don’t have all day.

There.  Now that ought to do it.

 
 

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The Hypersensitive Blogosphere

I doubt that it will surprise you to learn that it’s pretty easy to offend people here on the blogosphere, and that much like the real world, however any given person likes to do things is normally the way that person believes things objectively, fundamentally ought to be done.

Take this post for example – Are you well-versed in comment etiquette?

It’s by Erica Johnson, and about a thousand other bloggers have clicked like, which means her views on comment etiquette are pretty widespread.  And since she’s an editorial producer for WordPress, it would be awfully hard to argue with her, and I wouldn’t want to.  As far as I’m concerned, if that’s what a WordPress editorial producer says comment etiquette is all about, then okeedokee.  That’s comment etiquette.

But the thing is, I’m not really into etiquette. 

For example, depending on the kind of restaurant I’m in, you are probably going to find my elbows on the table.  That’s bad etiquette, but I don’t really care because that’s how I’m comfortable and I’m usually not there to impress anybody.  So if you were to, for example, tap me on the shoulder at Red Lobster and remind me of table etiquette, I would probably bite you and growl until you left.

Sitting there in Red Lobster, my policy is you worry about your elbows and I’ll worry about mine.  And that part’s key – I don’t care even a little, tiny bit what you do with your elbows.

Take for example Erica’s second point, that you should never include a link to your own blog when you comment.  Certainly I knew that a lot of people didn’t like it – apparently it’s considered spam – but I have absolutely no problem with it here. 

If you are out there, and you’d like to comment and say practically nothing except “Hey, I blogged about the same thing,” and then drop your link in there, I’m all for it.  As a matter of fact, I’m not even really concerned about whether nor not it’s actually about the same thing.

It’s not like there’s a finite amount of space, and it’s not like you’re selling something.  As long as it’s just a blog post from a real, live blogger, then go, my friend. 

Sometimes I even locate the link myself and then go into edit comment mode, and put it in there for you.  I want you to post your link.  Seriously.  Go ahead.

Because if you go over to Erica’s (fine, awesome, well-written, Tom doesn’t want any trouble with you, sister) post, you’ll find several hundred comments in which most people say something like, “Wow, couldn’t agree more, I hate link droppers.”

And again, I don’t know what to say except I don’t.

Because then much more troubling, Erica goes on to tell us that a more effective way to get people to visit your blog is to NOT drop the link.  To instead work on building a new relationship with the blogger, by engaging their blog or topic in a positive way. 

And then all the commenters agree with that, too – no doubt you can get someone to visit your blog that way.  Many of them actually say out loud, “I love how it’s like You Visit My Blog And I’ll Visit Yours.”

And you know what?  I don’t love that.  

Maybe I’m cynical, or maybe I’m idealistic, but I want people to come and read my blog because of my writing, and not because of any perceived obligation they feel, after I commented on theirs.  I know that sometimes when people start commenting on my blog a few times, and then I comment on theirs, sometimes I can feel their sense of obligation.

And really, blogosphere, maybe I’m just the opposite of uptight about it, but please – I won’t get mad at you or judge you or anything.  Just come by and read when you feel like it.  Comment when you have something to say.  But don’t feel like you have to be here and say something nice, just because I commented on your blog. 

I’m trying to attract readers with my content.  It’s hard to relax and read a post if you’re worried about thinking of something to say in exchange for whatever I said on yours. 

I’m not looking to build Page Hit Trade Agreements.  Sometimes I go off on a flurry of Other Blog Commentary, sometimes I get busy in the real world and it’s all I can do to keep my blog posts up and reply to the comments that are here.  Sometimes I can’t even do that.

It’s okay, fellow bloggers – at least around here it is.  You will never get the high hat or even a guilt trip from me about it, and if I’ve ever been around and commented on your blog, I’m probably coming back, unless I’m not.  Future Tom is a rolling stone, you know?

As for dropping links on other people’s blogs – I’ve definitely done that.  I don’t do it all the time, but sometimes I’ve got a specific post that I just really believe is relevant, and I know that Erica pointed out that just clicking my name will get you to my blog.

But I have over three hundred posts over here.  Clicking my name won’t get you to the one I’m talking about.

And besides – every blogger gets to decide whether or not to post a comment.  In fact you can even edit them.  You could go in, clip off my link, and post the comment without it, if you’re really that convinced that links are bad.

Here’s the thing – every single one of us is blogging because we want other people to read what we write.  Following Erica’s sound and popular advice seems to me tantamount to pretending otherwise.  To actually, in many cases, posture as if you care about a blog post when you really don’t – all in order to trick people into clicking your blog.

I’d prefer everyone be straight with me and drop links, as opposed to showing up every day intentionally trying to create an obligation in my mind that I should show up on yours and do the same.  I can assure you, there’s only one blog I’m going to be visiting every single day and it’s this one.

And by the same token, as I said – I really don’t want anyone feeling that way toward me.  I don’t want to go around gladhanding other bloggers in order to get them to reciprocate.  I don’t want gladhanded, so why would I?

I’d prefer you read my posts and then honestly ask yourself if you’d like to read more.  If you would, there will always be more for you to read.  If you don’t really care for it, hey – go in peace, Fellow Blogger.  There’s plenty of room for both of us.

Erica and I, I’m sure, would get along fabulously, and I’m certainly not here to knock her, but I can’t help tell everyone – most of her rules do not apply here. 

Stay on topic?  Eh.  No restrictions.  You can talk about bunny rabbits down there in my comment boxes if you want to, no problem.

Be nice?  Well, to some extent.  If I’m being a jerk (frequently) you’re welcome to be a jerk right back, but it’s hard to win an argument against someone who can edit your comments.  Heh.  Just kidding.  But really, you don’t have to be nice and I don’t have to publish your comment, so we can get along on that one, too.

Keep it brief?  No way – knock yourself out.  I thnk if I recall, John Moonlord (who just recently resurfaced, to great celebration and fanfare) used to drop blog post-sized comments on my LOST stuff.  Have at it.  Just don’t get offended if you get a short answer – I have tomorrow’s post to work on.

And then that leads me to what I really wanted to post about, which is some other bloggers I’ve been reading who I think you ought to check out.  They are listed here and keep in mind – just because you don’t have to follow Erica’s rules here doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow them elsewhere.  Telling them Future Tom said it was okay probably isn’t going to do you any good.

Babblesbybex:  This is a blog in the more traditional sense.  It’s a log on the web – she simply tells you what she did that day.  That might be boring if she wasn’t a talented writer who is traveling the world, but she’s both.  She’s in China right now (I think).  Click on that, go.  Scoot.

Momsomniac:  A fellow adoptive parent who frequently can’t sleep, Momsomniac blogs about both of those things.  Also faith and family and what it means when you don’t eat her cooking (it means you don’t love her, so eat what she puts in front of you, all right?)

Aquatom:  That’s right, he’s either a colleague or an archenemy of Future Tom, perhaps some sort of evil (or good) Mirror Universe Twin.  He even lives in Aquatom Mansion, but as you know, most bloggers have several mansions.  You want to keep your eye on this guy.

The Canada Cheese Man:  If you don’t like cheese then I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave.  The Canada Cheese man devotes each post to a different kind of gourmet Super Cheese.  I didn’t know anyone had it in them, blogging about cheese all the time.  But is it worth it – well he says yes, and so do I.  Sometimes I lick the screen – sorry to have to tell you that.  Get over there.

The Magnificent Minimalist:  The Magnificent Minimalist is both of those things.  She uses few words and usually single frame, cartoon-like drawings to get her point across, every single day.  Words are too cumbersome to describe the Minimalist; you must look upon her mighty works for yourself.  Click.  Click.  Click.

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Until tomorrow, blogosphere.  Erica, if you’re here, please feel free to holler at me or drop a link or talk about zombie movies, or pretty much whatever you like.  Make yourself at home.

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Earlier:   There Is No Wrong Way To Facebook

And:  Squaring Off Over Literally Nothing

Then later:  The Accidental Spammer

 

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Attention Surplus Disorder: Get The Facts

Alert readers have probably noticed that I’ve figured out how to stick photographs into my blog, and that I’ve been doing it A LOT.  For most people, this is a good way to get through the tedious process of reading someone’s crappy blog – you can take a break every minute or two and look at Megan Fox or a stack of cinder blocks or Cartoon Mr. T.

But that’s because here in 2011, we don’t have terribly long attention spans.  Why would we?  There is way too much going on these days to sit around focusing on things.  Meditation is for suckers.  One hand doesn’t make any sound clapping, especially if it’s in the forest and there’s no one around except the guy whose hand it is.  And he’s deaf, stupid.

Hold on, look at this puppy dog:

He’s a big, sleepy puppy, isn’t he?  Anyway, what was I talking about?  Was it cake?

No, it was attention spans, and how short they normally are now, and so what I’m doing is I’m trying to raise awareness in the general population, regarding an affliction which affects just 1-3% of the population, and it’s a pretty serious, big deal, so you should pay attention for as long as you can, even if you have to keep jabbing yourself in the thigh with a fork. 

It’s called Attention Surplus Disorder.  I know, it’s a long three words and it’s easy to find yourself thinking about the new X-Men movie while you’re plowing through them, but just keep backing up and then throwing yourself against the fence.  You’ll get ’em.

My good friend Rebecah has ASD.  She’s always emailing me and telling me which words I spelled wrong, and I always wrinkle my forehead and give the screen a troubled expression.  You know – like I’m realizing that Rebecah never has a second cup of coffee at home. 

It’s like, Rebecah, spelling correctly all the time makes you look like a square.  I would totally lose my blogging cred if I went around doing that.  The bloggers would lose all respect – you got the South American Blogging Cartels, the Hell’s Bloggers, the Blog Bangers. 

I’m talking about survival, dawg!   

These are some cupcakes a friend of mine made last month – really good.  There were chocolate chips in these suckers, if I recall. 

Anyway, that’s part of ASD – always noticing stuff that’s wrong because of all that attention you’re paying.  It’s actually considered a form of paralysis.  I mean – get this – guess what Rebecah does when she wants bread?  She bakes it!

That’s way too much attention paid to bread, right there.  Here in modern society, we all know that the best thing to do is let giant factories churn out a white, edible-but-nutrionally-empty paste, let them flavor it with Bread Oxide Flavoring or something, bake it and then drive it around in a truck for a while, so we can spend ten seconds thinking about it while we strike a balance between which lumps are on sale and which lumps have the prettiest, brownest, old-timiest wrappers.

And that’s reminds me – Rebecah had the nerve to tell me that sometimes I’m putting so many big, hilarious, bright, distracting pictures all over my blog that it’s hard to read it, and it makes her head hurt, and that if she lived near me she’d probably strangle me, at least until I passed out.

So I’m like first of all, that’s way too much focus.  Strangling is one of the most focused forms of violence there is – and I know, because people try to strangle me A LOT.

Have you seen these cute little singing critters by the way?

Actually, she didn’t really tell me about my blog pictures, she emailed me and I didn’t know what she was talking about – it was a long email and I only skimmed it.  Bloggers are busy, you know. 

Later, I had my personal assistant and three of my attorneys (I forget their names, I just call them all Gonzo) give me the gist of it while I was blasting golf balls into Boston Harbor from the deck of my Blogging Yacht.  The middle Gonzo said, “She taunts us, Master.  She constructively criticizes our blog.   Ssssssssssssssssssssss….”

I said, “Greeno! Take a letter.”  But hell, he wasn’t even there.  I hadn’t seen him in months – what day was it?  What was a “letter?”  Where were my pants?

Hell with it, I said, tossing my five iron into the Bay.  I’ll deal with this old-fashioned Blog Style.

Look, Rebecah.  Every picture I put in my blog is directly related to what I’m typing.  I have a zero tolerance policy in that regard.  It’s a long, technical, tedious process – it can take up to nine hours to add a single image – so you know I’m not just grabbing them at random and slapping them on there like big, silly stickers.

Blogging is very hard so don’t judge until you’ve blogged in someone else’s shoes.  You don’t see me telling you how to bake homemade bread or proofread blogs, do you?

Yeah, like anyone can just log onto WordPress and then start blogging.  Some people don’t have computers or even hands, you know.  Maybe while you’re checking my spelling and counting my pictures, you could think about them for once.  Eh?  EH??

She’s probably going to need some ice for that burn.  Let’s give her a second. 

Okay.  Here’s a picture of Rebecah explaining to me how much of an idiot I am for misspelling things all the time and using too many extemporaneous images and not baking my own organic bread.  As you can see, it really affected her, and I’m pretty concerned about it. Except the alert reader will notice that for insurance reasons, both Rebecah and myself are being played by actors.

Listen:  If you know someone who has ASD, the best thing to do is Intervention-style drag them kicking and screaming into your own psychological mindset.  If it’s someone you work near all day, try making a series of impossible-to-outlaw-but-really-distracting noises all day, like sniffling or clicking your tongue or quoting Coen Brothers movies every ten minutes or so, until they snap.

And not surprisingly, this issue doesn’t get a lot of funding, so you want to click on that book over there and buy it.  I mean, if there’s nothing you can do about ASD, you might as well kick back with a book – and there’s not a single picture in the thing, so it will help you to understand your afflicted loved ones.

Yep.  And here’s a monkey wearing a hat – he thinks he’s people.

 

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The Shining Leprechaun Of Neighborly Spite

On a much lighter note (heh) meet Lauren Craig, my new hero and mystical spirit guide, a champion of year-round Christmas lights, and possibly the greatest American to walk the Earth since Wyatt Earp Himself.

As Fox News has no doubt made you aware by now, there is a War on Christmas in this country.  Every year, retailers and government offices and communist book clubs and pods of hissing, vampiric organic farmers fail to block off the entire month of December for a Christian-Only Don’t Mention Any Other Religion Cavalcade of Supreme Christmas Domination, and yes as you might have guessed, it really cracks me up.

But Lauren Craig trumps Fox News, by fighting the War For Christmas all the way into February and beyond.

Actually, she has nothing to do with Fox News, except both of them love Christmas and both of them do battle with Christmas Foes in all their slithering, blasphemous incarnations.  Is the enemy of Lauren’s enemy her friend?  Or her enemy?

That’s either from The Art of War by Sun Tzu or it’s what the mean hybrid vampire told Blade in Blade II, right before Blade kicked the shit out of him.  Whichever one it is, it’s clear that Christmas Warrior Lauren Craig is a student of both timeless works, because by her own testimony, she believes that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

She also believes, like me and NASA and Harvard University and probably the mighty Mr. T, that Christmas lights are so pretty, there’s really no point in ever taking them down.  So she didn’t take them down.  (There’s an article about her here, but this one’s better and longer and you’re already reading it, so what would be the point?)

She lives in Amhearst, Massachusetts, and I’ve seen nothing to indicate that she has a Homeowner’s Association, so unless there’s a local ordinance about when you’re allowed to clip lights to your house (seems unlikely) then she’s well within her rights.

But that didn’t stop one of her neighbors from anonymously posting a note on her door.  By the time that happened, it was late February, so naturally, Lauren had hilariously added a Leprechaun to the display.  I had the guys from Ghost Hunters roll by there with an Electromagnetic Comedy Detector and the thing went completely apeshit.  It practically exploded.

So you might not think it’s funny, but you’re arguing with science, my friend, and you’re kind of embarrassing yourself.

Her neighbor was doing both of those things, too.  I’m reading the scrawled note off the image from the article, and here’s what it says, with my comments in italicized bold lettering for your information and enjoyment:

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“Dear (whatever house number),  I noticed that you still seem to have your Christmas lights up.  (Well done, Adrian Monk)  I am not sure you realize that Christmas is over. (Well then why would Lauren add the leprechaun?  Duh.)

Now let me ask (Okay, but if you want an answer, maybe knock on the door instead of posting anonymous letters and scuttling away) why you would have Christmas decorations up with a Leprechaun on your door? (Jeez, you already answered that yourself – because Christmas is over.  These are clearly St. Patrick’s Day decorations with reindeer in the yard, and she’s doing that because reindeer like to drink, too.)

In any case, the addition of the decorations is causing (And here I can’t read the handwriting, but I don’t think it’s joy) among your neighbors.  Something needs to be done! (Pumpkins?)

You have 3 days!! (Huh?)

 

It’s the last two sentences that really catch my eye.  Does that sound like a threat posted on someone’s door next to an Easter Leprechaun to you?  I’d know that sound anywhere – that’s sure what it sounds like to me.

That’s what it sounded like to Lauren Craig, too, but since she’d spent most of January reading Sun Tzo’s The Art of War and watching every Wesley Snipes movie she could get her hands on, she wasn’t particularly worried about it.  She said something along the lines of, howza about you come on over here and make me, Secret Bitchy Neighbor?  How’s that sound?

And then she blasted as many Christmas lights and Leprechauns all over her house and yard as she could possibly find.  According to my friend Charlie up in the International Space Station, it woke him up out of a dead, vodka-fueled sleep and just in time, too.  If not for Lauren Craig, the Space Station would have “almost certainly crashed into the Moon.”

Lauren didn’t know that, though, because she was busy calling CNN and planning a big late-February Christmas Bash, which I then caught on the news, where Lauren was certainly not quoted as saying “Anyone else comes around here posting a note on my door about Christmas decorations is going to find themselves wearing their asses for hats.”

But I’m pretty sure that’s what she meant.

This was followed by a fascinating new CNN “news technique” in which they basically read their Facebook page to you.  That’s just in case you haven’t had enough Facebook, see. 

Right there on national television, I got to hear from several people with varying takes on Christmas lights (which, again, that’s not even what they are anymore, people, they’re St. Patrick’s Day lights, and at the time they were President’s Day lights.)

So while the Middle East was exploding with historic riots and American citizens in Wisconsin and Ohio struggled to stop Darth Vader from completing the Death Star, I was sitting there watching a national newscaster tell me that Bill from Kentucky thought Christmas lights were cool, and screw that busybody.  And Busybody Glenda from Boston thought, Christmas lights are crass and what other people staple to their houses is naturally some of my business.

And then they took some callers – the news from all sides, yes? – and one showstopper said, Hey, my husband’s coming home from Afghanistan and hasn’t been home for Christmas in six years, so we’re not taking the lights down until he gets here, you got that? 

Oh, we got it, replied veteran reporter Chaz Dixon or whatever that zombified suit-wearing mannequin’s name was – he sure had shiny teeth.

To be clear, me and Chaz and Lauren and Mr. T and Wesley Snipes all agree, if you’ve been in Afghanistan for six years, your wife can pretty much do whatever she pleases and it’s okay with us.  Nobody wants any trouble, no sir.

Well, Lauren Craig might want a little trouble, if you’ve got some kind of a problem with her National Popcorn Week Lights, or whatever kind of lights they are now.  And if you’ve got a problem with Lauren Craig, my friends – you have a problem with Future Tom.

Lauren Craig – you and your family are truly, definitely, without any sarcasm at all, my heroes.  I have had countless neighbors like yours and one of my favorite things in the entire world is to moon them through my front window while they’re frowning at me.  You are an inspiration, a decorative Samurai warrior, and I’ll bet your kids spend every waking second happy and cracking up.

If you ever roll through Columbus, Ohio, you and your husband have an icy cold beer coming to you, and your kids have some Coldstone on deck, and if you have a dog I’ll make him a bacon cheeseburger.

You’ve all earned it, and so much more – it’s the very least I can do.  I am humbly at your service.

 

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Rein In Your Idiots, Please

As you may know, I’ve been making a real effort to keep an open mind regarding partisan politics, and I’ve found that on several issues (gun control, for example) I agree with conservatives on considerably more than I ever would have thought.

And as you also may know, I’ve not been shy about speaking up when I feel that my fellow liberals are being out of line.  The Arizona shootings are a good example – remember that?  I don’t think it’s a good idea to blame anyone for a bullet unless he or she is the one who fired it, so I spoke up.  Maybe I made a difference, maybe not, but I spoke up. 

However, it’s really hard to remain patient while the First Lady is baselessly attacked by several of your nasty, chortling talking heads.   

It’s a really obvious issue, and it seems to me that you’re either with them or against them, but in case you don’t think it’s obvious, I’ll go ahead and walk you through it, because it truly isn’t that hard.  It’s just slightly harder than sound bites, that’s all.

The First Lady Is Not Telling You What To Eat. 

In a literal sense, she is not “telling you” anything.  In her capacity as the First Lady, she is addressing the entire nation.  You don’t have to take it as a set of personal instructions.  That would be what a crazy person would do, upon hearing something on television.

Now if she were your mother-in-law, and she came into your house and said, “You don’t eat right.  Start eating this.”  Well, then that would be someone telling you what to eat.  And you don’t have to listen to your mother-in-law or the First Lady, whether they’re telling you anything or not.  You can eat whatever you like.

Remember when Nancy Reagan took on drugs?  It seems to me that when she coined and championed the phrase “Just Say No” she was a lot closer to telling you what to do than Michelle Obama is.

And how about when Barbara Bush decided to help fight illiteracy?  Did you feel that she was telling you what to read?   Telling you what to do with your spare time?  Did you feel that she didn’t trust you to raise your children properly, that she didn’t trust you to put books in their hands?

I suppose if someone approaches you and delivers unto you some information about whether or not the house is on fire (it is, in this scenario), well I think it does follow that the person is trying to get you to get out of the house.  Depending on what sort of person you are, you might call that the delivery of helpful information, or you might say they are sort of bossing you around. 

Again, I can’t stress this enough – if you don’t like getting bossed around, you are of course welcome to sit there defiantly in the burning house.  If I’m following your logic, that would be because you are so down-to-earth and intelligent, yes?

Much like that person is not quite telling you what to do, but more accurately is telling you what to do in order to avoid a horrible death in your burning house, Michelle Obama is merely telling you generally what you ought to eat, if you wish to avoid the health problems obesity will cause for you and your children.

Maybe you don’t care, maybe you think she should keep her mouth shut.  And you don’t have to do the first one, but she doesn’t have to do the second one, either.

If you think Michelle Obama is telling you what to do, then you cannot possibly deny that Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan were both also telling you what to do.  I don’t see how any of them were – they were all simply using their positions to advocate causes which they all believed strongly were good for America.

Is that only okay for Republican First Ladies, or is it only okay for white First Ladies?  What exactly is your goddamn problem?

What The First Lady Is Saying Is Demonstrably TRUE.

It’s just accurate information, after all.  Do you really think it’s not?  Really?

You don’t think there’s an obesity epidemic in America?  That’s weird, the American Medical Association does (right here), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention does (right here) and the American Public Health Association does (right here).  And so did Laura Bush (right here), just four years ago. 

She was helping to launch a campaign against obesity in America.  Why was Laura Bush telling you what to eat, Rush?  Did she hate freedom, was that it? 

Doesn’t it matter that Michelle Obama is correct about obesity in America?  And then doesn’t it follow that a significant number of people in our country do not have the information she is offering – not forcing on them, but offering – and that maybe some of them want the information?  That maybe some of them could use it?

Please, tell me how we gather accurate information about the health of our country’s population, if it’s not from any of those sources up there.  And if you’re willing to agree that okay, she’s right, there is a serious obesity problem in our country, then understand that what you want her to do is stop spreading true, helpful information about the health of our citizens.

That is a baffling thing to demand of the First Lady.

Is Michelle Obama a hypocrite? 

“Hypocrite” is always treated like such a sexy word, but its logical meaning is actually very weak.  Merriam-Webster defines it as a person who “puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion” or who “acts in contradiction with his or her stated feelings.” 

The virtue we are discussing is healthy eating, and a single meal is not how you measure such a thing, in the same way that looking out your window in January is not how you measure the temperature of the Earth.  By the same token, her meal does not contradict her stated feelings.  Therefore, at least as far as rib dinners and obesity are concerned, Michelle Obama is not a hypocrite.

This is a popular kind of conservative strategy, a nasty little soundbite followed by chortling or eye-rolling.  Rush Limbaugh even notes that Michelle Obama does not look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model – an ironic ad hominem attack (see below) from a man who is practically begging for an ad hominem attack.

I forget, Rush – did Laura Bush look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model?  Does your doctor look like that, when she’s breaking off painkiller prescriptions for you?

That swimsuit remark was when he called her a hypocrite for eating ribs for dinner the other night, and it’s not hard getting Ditto Heads to whack their flippers together and repeat what he said.  Just bring up the topic and watch them go ARP! ARP! ARP!

But in fact, she would only be a hypocrite in this scenario if she had said “Never eat ribs.”  If you are speaking more generally – she says eat healthy and ribs are generally not healthy – then you are not familiar with her message.  Let me help you out.

Here’s an article from three weeks ago in which she explains this very clearly.  Here’s her website.  Click on either of them and you will find that her message is absolutely, perfectly, without question, FULLY CONSISTENT WITH OCCASIONALLY EATING RIBS.

Now, is it perfectly consistent with out-of-context soundbites and paraphrased strawman arguments?  Probably not, but if that’s what you think rational discourse is, then that problem is your own.

Also, as my friend Bridget put it, it’s not like she went to Damon’s and strapped on a bib and cranked down a full rack with fries on the side and an onion loaf.  She was at Kelly Liken, a very high-end restaurant, where she was eating tiny portions of bison short ribs.  And salad and kale. 

Wow, who would have guessed that Michelle Obama does not eat ribs the way you or I eat ribs? 

Listen – What if Barbara Bush watched a television show?  Do you think she ever did that?  Did it undermine her stance on illiteracy at all?  Why wasn’t she reading a book?  She was a hypocrite, wasn’t she?

No, of course she wasn’t.  She never said “No one must ever do anything but read a book again.” 

What she said was more along the lines of, “As a nation, let’s make sure everyone can read.  As a nation, let’s read more.”

Now Michelle Obama is saying, “As a nation, let’s be healthier with our diets.  As a nation, let’s eat more healthy things.”

Two ideas which two First Ladies campaigned for, two genuinely good, positive campaigns.  I guess I’m supposed to assume that’s a coincidence, that the white Republican was seldom if ever attacked on her signature issue, while Michelle Obama gets crap thrown at her every day for hers.

Although Michelle Obama is certainly not a hypocrite, it wouldn’t matter if she were. 

From a logical standpoint, calling someone a hypocrite is actually a fallacy so common it has a name – an ad hominem.  That is where you attack the arguer instead of his or her argument. 

Sometimes it seems perfectly logical.  For example, what if Jeffrey Dahmer tells you that you shouldn’t eat people – he’d definitely be a hypocrite, wouldn’t he?

But it doesn’t mean you should eat people, does it, genius?  That’s because he’s not his argument.  His argument is his argument.  That hypocrite was correct about whether or not you should eat people, wasn’t he? 

If what she is saying is so wrong, then attack what she is saying instead of attacking her.     

Of Course You Are Attacking Michelle Obama.  

This ad hominem approach does reveal exactly what is going on with the attacks on Michelle Obama.  It’s very clear that what she’s saying is true, that it’s an appropriate campaign for the FLOTUS, and that you don’t have to listen to her.  So why are people attacking her again?

It’s very clearly because they don’t care if she’s right or wrong.  All they know is that a positive image of Michelle Obama is bad for their party, and so they attack her viciously, every single day.  Forget that she’s correct, forget that her message is positive, peaceful, and medically sound, forget that it’s appropriate and forget that your last First Lady did the EXACT SAME THING.

If you’re attacking her, it’s either because you know that every Anti-Obama oar in the water helps your cause, or because you’re a moron, who has bought a load of crap from the guy in the first half of this sentence. 

I’ll tell you what, I’ll lay off the ad hominems right when you do.

In closing, let me say that I do apologize to most of you out there, because this is a vocal minority I’m talking about, not the norm.   But I’m afraid I’ve completely lost my patience with this crap.  We are talking about the First Lady of the United States.  People need to have some respect for her.  Folks who do not will get none from me.

And if you are just a normal Republican who doesn’t resort to cheap, transparent attacks like these, then please, go in peace, but do yourself and your party a favor.  Rein in your idiots.  They’re making you all look bad.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Michelle Obama, News/Commentary

 

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