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Category Archives: News/Commentary

The Next Big Thing – Emailing Your Stuff

Hula hoopToday the WordPress daily prompt is, What will the next technological innovation be? Since they use the phrase, “The Next Big Thing” I am assuming they mean something that’s going to be new and then omnipresent, like wheels and soap and smartphones.

Emailing your stuff. That’s clearly what’s next. You don’t drag your suitcase to the airport anymore, you pack it, scan it in, and then you use a 3-D printer somewhere at your destination to make a you a copy of that.

3-D printers aren’t quite there yet, I know – but this guy has one that prints clothing. And this guy can print you a gun. And this guy is building a house with them.

But 3-D printers are just technology, and technology always improves until it looks like magic. I’m sure the Wright Brothers would be shocked at the flying hotels we buzz around in now. Charlie Chaplin, meet James Cameron. It’s inevitable, like pushing a boulder a few inches and then wondering if you could push it to Cleveland.

Of course you can. It’s just a bunch of inches.

The price will go down, and the quality will go up. Radio waves, vacuum tubes, VHS players, CDs, BluRay – 3D Printers will be no different until pretty soon, we’ll all have a decent one, and that’s where we’ll keep a lot of our stuff.

It’ll be cool, too. Want to go on a trip? Pull up your laptop, click the bathroom file, and copies of all of your typical bathroom accessories are uploaded to your Virtual Suitcase. Click on some outfits, a bathing suit, maybe your freaking bicycle. Enter your destination, click send and then you’re off to the airport, step on the plane with no luggage.

Once you get to your hotel, all of your stuff has been 3D printed from the Virtual Suitcase you sent along with your reservation and payment method, and it’s sitting there in your room waiting for you. If you spill anything on your favorite dress – no problem. They can print you one downstairs, and you just hand the old one back in and it gets recycled into the Printer Substance Buffer.

Like everything, at first it will be very expensive and a sort of novelty – you’ll have to put up with imperfections, like people will start to notice that their hair dryers stop working a few months after they’ve been printed. Maybe you’ll print a whole suitcase, and six months later the handle falls off. It won’t matter though, you just print yourself a new hair dryer and a new suitcase. A mere nuisance til you get back to the house.

ReplicatorIt will be irritating magic, that’s all – like everything around us. Argh – why is this microwave taking so long?

What’s the matter, Sam? Oh, nothing Bill. I just had my jacket teleported here and it smells like cheese for no reason. They’re printing me a new one, but I’m going to be ten minutes later to dinner now!

In the end, I’m not talking about the Next Big Thing so much as the Last Big Thing. The Next Big Thing will be the end of Things as we know them – the complete, free access to whatever Things we want, whenever we want them.

 
 

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Welcome To Crazy Town

Driving around outside of Columbus without satellite radio, without any recorded books, with zero CDs and I mean zero, the way I listen to the radio is I hit the scan button and then wait for a reason to stop scanning. Sometimes it’s a song in the general vein I like, and that might mean good news for twenty miles or so. Sometimes it’s somebody British, saying British things.

This time it was a conservative religious talk show, and the three second-snippet which caused me to stop the scanner included the phrase “homo marriage.”

Chet From Weird Science Making EggsI’m pretty sure the woman who used the term – especially since she proceeded to use it repeatedly for the next half hour – believed that it was the proper term for gay marriage. Because if you’re using terms which would seem normal coming out of Chet from Weird Science, then you can pretty much bet the farm your lingo is legit.

Welcome to Crazy Town, is what I assume the show was called, though the key word there is “assume.” In truth, I can’t tell you who these people were or even what station they were on, but that’s where they were broadcasting from, and I’m pretty sure one of them was the Mayor.

The first thing they were doing was hammering down the following point: Teaching evolution in school without also teaching that Maybe It Was Magic, well that’s not teaching science, that’s indoctrinating students into a non-Christian philosophy, just basically cramming the Opposite of The Bible down their throats and then stamping the word “Science” on it.

“The Word of God predates science!”  One of them complained. He’s the one I think was the Mayor, sounding like Pat Robertson thirty years younger with a couple of solid martinis in him.

They all cracked up at how obvious that was, and then to demonstrate how much it was obviously a bad idea to teach Science without the Word of God, the woman – I’ll call her the Reverse Terminator, because she sounded like she had maybe come forward in time a hundred years, and like she knew nothing about technology of any kind, and was perhaps even unaware I could hear her in my car – pointed out that a recent study had shown NINETY PERCENT of young people now believed in Homo Marriage.

Hell in a handbasket, they all agreed. And then suddenly they were talking about the Bill of Rights, unaware of the irony, since it’s the reason you can’t teach Christianity in schools.

Saul GoodmanThey had a special guy on there and again, I was driving a car, didn’t catch his name. Let’s call him Fast Eddie, because he sounded like a grifter and wanted me to go to his website and get his free pamphlet which would teach me the Bill of Rights.

Hmm, I thought. Why don’t I just consult my own copy of the Bill of Rights, if I’m feeling like I need a refresher? Or perhaps I could google it. Me and George W. Bush – we LOVE to do the google.

Fast Eddie wanted to remind us of various agencies which were buying a bunch of hollow point bullets. All of these agencies seemed like weird agencies to be buying bullets, but if you just do the google the way Me-n-W like to do it, you can easily learn that most large government agencies, even the Social Security Administration, have hundreds of special agents who work in connection with law enforcement to investigate various types of crimes. All of these agencies get trained, all of them carry guns, and hollow point bullets are standard issue.

Fast Eddie, the Reverse Terminator, and The Mayor all wanted to talk about hollow point bullets for a while. They called them Killer Bullets, and were very outraged because I guess if you’re going to allow a federal agent to shoot someone in the line of duty, you want him to do so gently.

Hey, is it okay if Zeke from Tractor Supply picks up a few thousand Killer Bullets? Damn Right! It’s the Second Amendment!

But not the government, and certainly not any government agency which doesn’t intuitively sound like they might need them. They didn’t even want the Department of Homeland Security having hollow point bullets.

I mean, what do they need them for? Did anything about the recent gun debate lead them to believe that there were millions of nutcases in America absolutely slobbering for guns, bullets, and something to shoot?

Gun Show

After all, The Mayor reminded me. Obama is now literally a hitman.

Those are two real words he used together. Literally, hitman.

“He’s killing American citizens with these drones!” The Mayor announced, and no, he’s not. Eric Holder just said that it was technically possible – see this previous post about it.

“These drones are going to have scanners,” the Mayor continued. “They’ll be able to see through the walls of your house.”

“Well what are you doing in your house that you don’t want them to see?” Asked the Reverse Terminator instinctively, cracking me up because telling you what you can do in your own house is something these folks generally like to do.

“Well, anything,” said the Mayor. “You could be fixing dinner, chopping up vegetables, facing your wife and then a SWAT team piles through your door thinking you’re threatening her.”

FlandersSo let’s all reflect on what a grasp it takes on law enforcement budgets if we think SWAT teams are going to be called in every time the X-Ray Drones see a knife. And let’s also reflect on how creepy it is that the Mayor went there first – What if the drones think I’m threatening my wife at knifepoint?

Good question, Mayor of Crazy Town. What if the flying robot thinks that, and then the SWAT guys all turn into incompetent bufoons who would do whatever the flying robot says? Say, would you like to talk to some SWAT guys about whether or not they are drooling morons?

Anywho, if that’s what you conservatives are listening to all day, no wonder you’re all losing your minds. And if you’re wondering why no one is as outraged as you about Benghazi, Chicken Little, it’s because absolutely EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS is an Obama conspiracy when you’re broadcasting from Crazy Town.

A nice place to visit though. I imagine one could get a pretty tasty slice of apple pie there, yes sir. But I don’t think I’ll be visiting the local real estate office. And also I think someone should go check on The Mayor’s wife.

 

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The Introspective Double Standard Double Standard Post

MobRemember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut, and we all marched up to his eerie, mountaintop castle with pitchforks and torches for a while? Good times, I know. I have a little scrap-book.

The defense that conservatives unified behind – and which in a way, lost the election for them – was to declare that The Liberals Have A Double Standard. After all, Bill Maher calls women “sluts” sometimes, and you aren’t yelling at him.

It may have lost the election for them because it avoided the topic. They suddenly wanted to talk about Bill Maher instead of addressing the fact that it wasn’t just Rush who was the problem. There was an element of the whole party being perceived as out of touch or indifferent to women at best, hostile at worst.

Here’s how they always sounded – “Yes, Rush shouldn’t have said that. But Bill Maher says that, and you aren’t mad at him. The Liberals Have A Double Standard.”

Then shockingly, they would add “I still don’t see why I should have to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.”

I mean, forget that if that’s the definition of paying for something, then you very clearly want Sandra Fluke to pay for your babies, or rather for your lack of birth control. Forget that saying such a thing suggests that you have no understanding at all of how insurance works.

ZappIt’s a little sandwich of disrespect, starting with a very token acknowledgment that Rush Is Bad, a change of subject suggesting it’s bad but everybody does it so no big deal, then a REPEATED VERSION OF RUSH’S SHITTY LOGIC!

I don’t think the ladies liked that very much.

However, the real reason Republicans unified around the defense was that it was accurate. Liberals very definitely have a double standard. If you are standing around espousing liberal views, supporting a liberal cause, and then occasionally you’re a sexist prick, we’re going to yell at you.

But not nearly like we would if you are normally standing around espousing sexist views, supporting a sexist cause, and then you say something not only sexist, but demonstrably false and damaging to women.

Of course, not all liberals are the same. Certain factions of liberals hate Bill Maher 24/7. Certain factions get mad really easily, certain factions don’t give a shit. I’m sure conservatives are the same way.

ChappelleAnd to be fair, the reason no one was going after Bill Maher in the way they went after Rush Limbaugh was that folks already went after him in that manner, after 9/11. He lost his show because people didn’t like something he said, they raised a stink, threatened boycotts and his advertisers freaked. He had to go to a subscription service, where people pay for content that’s for the most part unaffected by sponsors.

But it’s true, liberals have a double standard. So do conservatives. It’s pretty inevitable. Sarah Silverman can crack jokes about Jewish people. Mel Gibson ought to steer clear. It’s a double standard, but we’re going to go ahead, I think, as a society, and keep it.

I suppose we could sit here for a few hours, make a list of relevant distinctions between Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh, between Sarah Silverman and Mel Gibson, show that they aren’t truly analogous. But political discussions don’t move like that. No one has the patience for a microscope. It’s better to just concede the double standard.

And right about now, it would be nice if conservatives would also concede the double standard.

warAdmit, for instance, that there were identical questions surrounding 9/11 to those surrounding Benghazi. If you think that we should have been as mad at Maher as we were at Limbaugh, then I think you should be 750 times as mad about 9/11 as you are about Benghazi, but quite the opposite, conservatives were appalled that anyone would question the Commander In Chief on the heels of such heinous terrorist attacks. It emboldens the enemy, we were told.

Suddenly the President runs the IRS. Suddenly it’s his responsibility, because he’s the boss. But when it’s Abu Graib, shit – that wasn’t Bush’s fault. He can’t be everywhere. And he can spend money we don’t have, while Obama gets his travel expenses audited. Hundreds of billions of dollars we don’t have on a WMD-less War? Coolsville. Hundreds of billions of dollars trying to fix the economy Bush crashed into the ground? You can’t spend money we don’t have, Obama!

Constant, pervasive double standards.

Which is cool, we all have them. What they really are is irrelevant. Either you’ve got a valid argument or you don’t. Doesn’t matter rhetorically whether or not you used it last year.

What the double standard brings into question is your motives. Why are you outraged now but you weren’t then? The most likely possibility is, you aren’t outraged. You are just affecting your outrage for other purposes. Or, you’ve purchased the outrage from your television, believing it to be real.

A time for us all to look inward, I suppose.

 

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How Alpha Moms Go To Disney World

BruiserIt’s a little known secret that you can pretty much take your pet wherever you want, depending on how shameless you are. What you do is, you simply claim the pet is a support animal, that it detects upcoming seizures or something. Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, no restaurant or bar or anything really, is allowed to stop you from coming in with your support animal.

And of course they aren’t allowed to make you prove it. Have you ever seen anyone try to make a blind person prove he or she is blind, before allowing the dog?

So I guess that’s why this story from the New York Post makes sense, entitled Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World.

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Disney – in their ongoing campaign to pretend to have a soul – allows families with a handicapped member to head straight to the front of the line.

But what if no one in your incredibly wealthy Manhattan family is in a wheelchair? Do you have to stand around with the wretched Morlock people, all hunched over and sweaty, waiting for hours as if you are poor? Where’s YOUR bailout??

Don’t worry. Manhattan has plenty of secretive, high-end escort services. Most of them are for Wall Street players and government officials who like hookers. But at least one of them is for rich people who would like to rent a wheelchair-bound tour guide to take along to Disney World with them, for about a thousand bucks a day.

Burns At DisneyNow, Disney World already has express service you can pay for to shorten your wait. You can get VIP passes for a chunk of change. But then you still have to walk around all over the place like a bunch of zombies. What you need is a big, handy motorized cart which seats six of you and has a Handicapped sign on the side. Park anywhere you want – you’re Kanye West, baby, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even have room on board for your Rented Human Being!

For a fee, I’m sure they’ll ride on some sort of exterior sled, so they don’t freak your precious kids out or depress anybody. Right? You soulless, shape-shifting reptile people? Heh? Am I right or am I right?

Say, do you think if you pay an extra thousand dollars, they’ll affix a steamroller to the front of it so you don’t have to wait for middle classers to get the hell out of your way? Ask ’em!

This is happening. This is real. Handicapped tour guides are all the rage – in fact according to the article, you’re kind of looked down on at the Billionaire Club if you’re walking around Disney World without your Paid Escort On Wheels.

And yes, they’re proud of it, squares. Don’t get mad at them just because you didn’t think of it, or because you don’t have an extra thousand dollars a day, or because you have an actually handicapped family member.

“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.

“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

Mmmm. Yes. I wonder what the poooooor people are doing today.

Death Becomes HerHow do you hook yourself up with one of these guides, you ask? Craiglist, you’re guessing?

No. It’s very insidery, like when they figure out immortality or time travel. They’re not just going to get online and scream, “Good news, everybody’s immortal now!”

There’s not enough room for that shit, man. There have to be people standing around miserable or it’s not worth it to be the special princess with the special tour guide, who doesn’t have to.

Apparently you have to know someone to even speak to the “black market tour guide” service. They’ll ask who referred you before they tell you a thing. One of those awful women from the Coldcreek Manor commercials has to give you the number, and then you speak her name into the telephone, and her name is power in their ears, like Lucifer or Beetlejuice.

“It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” said social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin, who caught wind of the underground network while doing research for her upcoming book “Primates of Park Avenue.”

“Who wants a speed pass when you can use your black-market handicapped guide to circumvent the lines all together?” she said.

Yes, it’s like on television commercials, when one family can only record four television shows at a time, but your family can record thirty, and so the other family gets to hang their heads in shame while you dance around with your eyes rolled back, chanting and humming and praying to dark, forgotten gods and whatnot. However you got so awesome, I don’t know.

And we can’t get mad at Disney, because what are they supposed to do? Start verifying physical disabilities? Lie Detector Tests for little Johnny?

Richie Rich 2We can’t even use the Evil Detector, because it’s Disney World. The thing would explode before you got it into the parking lot.

So it seems the One Percenters have won again, and all we can do is salute them for their vast riches, their utterly shameless sense of entitlement, and their uncanny ability to find everyone’s price tag and then pay it with a cold, reptilian smile. What a precious memory for their children, full of magic and greed and the sociopathic rental of human beings.

Do you believe in Hired Handicapped Companions, blogoshpere? Tinkerbell does, and so do I! So do I!

And now, off to be sick.

 
 

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Local Church Bangs Head Against Wall To No Avail

EinsteinSupposedly, Albert Einstein (pictured to the left, rocking my own personal haircut) once defined insanity as something like “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” For example – and again, sorry to keep bringing up McDonald’s – but getting a McMuffin, taking a nasty, gristle-paste bite of it, spitting it out and swearing to God you’ll never eat one again. Then six months later, hmmm – those McMuffins used to be pretty good, I think I’ll swing through there and grab one.

Crazy Town. If you want a McMuffin in 2013, you need to go to an organic market and buy the ingredients and make it yourself, or take the ingredients to your Mom’s house and ask her to make it over and over til she does, even if you’re 41.

Science and Church, of course, don’t always get along so well, and as such I was amused and not particularly surprised to see this article: Copper Thieves Rip Off Church For The Fifth Time.

This hits pretty close to home for me, because not only did I live in Grove City for three soul-crushing years, I believe that’s the church where my War On Ash Wednesday post took place. I am not sure about that – I have to admit that churches sort of blur together to me. You remember how on the OSU campus there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell all rolled into one? Called it the Kentaco Hut?

Well I do, and that’s pretty much church to me. Mosques I can distinguish because they’re round and look like space churches. Otherwise, they are basically a series of tall, pointy buildings where several times a year fish fries are held.

And I shouldn’t bag on Grove City like that. It’s really not that bad anymore. In fact, if I were mayor of Grove City, that’s what it would say on the signs when you entered the city: Grove City – It’s Really Not That Bad Anymore!

HamburglarAnyway, here’s the situation. Copper thieves keep rolling up to the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and taking their copper spouts. You might be thinking, say Tom, I know that city like the back of my hand, and that church is three blocks away from the Grove City Police Headquarters. That’s odd.

Yes, and as crackerjack as the Grove City Police really are, I can think of an even more compelling question. Why don’t the copper thieves burst into flames like Nazis prying open the Ark of the Covenant? Why aren’t they wiped clean by the Wrath of God?

I don’t know. Mysterious ways, and whatnot. Free will. The Almighty doesn’t go around micromanaging anything except sexual orientation and tithing and how long He can allow women to be held captive by crazy men and then still get credit for their freedom (ten to twelve years, depending on local zoning codes). Everything else is a barrel-o-monkeys. Go ahead and knock it, but The System Works!

At least that’s my understanding. But religion aside, it does strike me as sort of funny that thieves keep a-stealing the copper, and the church keeps a-buying more, and putting it back. That seems a lot like banging one’s face against a wall over and over.

“The trouble with this last time was I replaced everything and one week later, they took it all again,” said Michael Esposito, whose title is not disclosed, so I guess he’s not the Pope or anything. I imagine he’s the guy in charge of maintenance at the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and it sounds like he could use a little input here.

Five times seems like a lot. Die Hard learned that, on their fifth one, hopefully. Five robberies is Too Many.

Die Hard 5Right now it’s like a berry patch, the gang just plucks all the copper berries, goes back to the hideout for some copperberry pie, and then waits for the berries to grow back. And four times in a row, the solution has been, well, let’s put the same stuff right back where it was with no changes to our security whatsoever, we’ll just pray that the copper thieves get tired of all the free copper and leave us be.

I’m all for prayer, don’t get me wrong, but back in college, I used to shoot pool with Bigfoot and the Tooth Fairy and God and Randy Butler. I learned quite a bit, let me tell you. For example, in terms of defense, you want to leave the cue ball up against the rail if you know you don’t have a shot and Bigfoot’s up next. Drives him crazy. And the Tooth Fairy can’t make a straight-in shot if you put Cher on the jukebox – that’s foolproof.

And the other thing I learned is, for clarity’s sake, God wants you to pray. He sure does. But when you’re finished praying, He wants you to get up and do something, preferably something to facilitate what you’re praying for. He’s the Almighty, not your intern. Paddle the boat, all right?

Slowly but surely, the gang over at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is internalizing the mysterious lessons the copper thieves are teaching them. For example, according to the article, the damage is “usually a little over $3,000” so “the church is considering putting video surveillance in the parking lot.”

Yep, that’s usually my assessment when someone clips me for three thousand dollars, five times in a row using the same, exact method and means. Hmmm. Maybe we should tighten up security around here. Or at least consider it, which according to the article is all they are currently doing.

There does, however, seem to be something ironic about needing video surveillance to watch a Church. I’m not going to mention any names, but I thought Somebody was Everywhere and Knew When We Were Sleeping, and When We Were Stealing Copper Spouts.

But I guess I might have Somebody confused with Santa Claus. How on Earth could I have done that?

Bad Santa

 

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Lions And Tacos And Farms

Holy. Shit. Did you know there are Lion Farmers?

Meaning, there are dudes who raise lions like cows or something, and then they slaughter them and sell them for meat. Who in the world is up for a little lion meat, you ask? Where are these guys selling their lion chops?

Florida. According to CNN, a Florida Restaurant Sells Lion Tacos.

Sliders 2Are we on Sliders? Is this a parallel universe? I guess I’m baffled – if you’re allowed to eat lion around here, then why hasn’t everyone been chomping down lion for the last few decades? You’d think we’d be breeding big, fat lions and packing them eyeless and toothless into warehouses with retractable roofs. Feeding them dead chickens from the factory egg farms. Something classy, the way we usually roll.

And if we’re not allowed to eat lions, then why is this restaurant selling lion tacos?

The answer – which I thought would be shocking but was instead presented rather blithely – is that yes, you sure can sell lion. And okay, that answers that, go ahead and sell it, go ahead and eat it. I’m not going to start freaking out til I’ve thought it through.

But my knee-jerk reaction is, you’re sort of a dick if you want to eat a lion taco. Let’s test my hypothesis against the rest of the article.

Well, they’re $35. So I think we all know that if Charlie is willing to pay $35 for a taco, then Charlie is sort of a dick. Especially if the basic reason that the taco is $35, is that we’re running out of the animal in it.

See, they are listed as “threatened” and not “endangered.” That’s why it’s cool to make tacos out of them. Ah – the system works, yes?

Ron SwansonI don’t know why it bugs me so much. We eat a lot of animals up in here, yes we do. And pigs are smart, for example – see Charlotte’s Web – and we eat them like they’re made of bacon. Why am I cool with eating pigs and not cool with eating lions?

Good question. I’m going to drink this beer and blog about it for a bit, and then maybe I’ll be able to tell you.

But apparently there’s an animal rights organization called Born Free USA which “embarked on an undercover investigation into the lion meat trade in 2011.” They’re pretty freaking sure you shouldn’t be eating lions

Ugh. That description I belted out a few paragraphs ago about how we’d handle legalized lion meat? Sounds like I was on the money. Here’s the day-ruining link for you. Born Free is currently engaged in talking the government into reclassifying lions as “endangered,” at which point you will no longer be allowed to eat lion tacos.

CNN interviews a guy who’s just eaten a lion taco, and sure enough, as I predicted, his name suggests he’s kind of a dick, just as much as his taco selection:

“I thought the lion was good,” said patron Lee Weiner. “It didn’t taste too gamey to me, similar to steak.”

Lion KingYeah. Not too gamey. Hey, that’s great. Every time I see one of these majestic creatures, that’s what I think. Proud, strong, graceful, deadly, probably not too gamey to eat on a taco.

By the way, would you like to know what else you can have on a taco that’s similar to steak, and costs a lot less? If you send me $35, Mister Weiner, I will be happy to tell you. Depending on how many tacos you eat, the information could easily pay for itself in a single day. Give me a ring-ding.

But again, time to look in the mirror. Let me just type as many animals as I can think of in one minute, that I’ve eaten over the years in non-survival situations:

Cow, lamb, goat, chicken, pheasant, turtle, pig, fish, lobster, deer, elk, bear, crawfish, alligator, bison, duck, quail, ostrich, rattlesnake, oyster, squirrel, rabbit

For crying out loud. I think I’ve lost my whole train of thought here. What was I talking about? Climbing up this total stranger’s ass because he ate an animal that wasn’t on my list?

Well, he did spend $35 on it, and his name is “Weiner,” so I’m not going to beat myself up all day. But yes, I wonder what possible moral criteria I might be using to determine which animals are okay to enslave and then eat. The answer appears to be, whichever ones cross my path.

The JerkHuh. So, I’m kind of a dick and the only reason I’m not eating a lion taco is because I’m a cheapskate and I’m not in Florida. I really thought this blog post was heading somewhere else, I’ll be honest with you. How bout that?

Anyway, it seems clear that the only way you’re going to get jackasses like me and Mister Weiner to not eat lion meat is to assist Born Free in their attempt to get lions officially reclassified as “endangered.”

How can you do that, you ask? By eating as many lions as possible. The problem is that they aren’t endangered enough yet. We need to really go to town on them, knock those numbers down.

No, not really. That’s dumb. Don’t listen to me, listen to Born Free. Here’s their link, in case you’d like to help them in their cause.

 

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Huffpost Blogger Blogs About Non-Issue, Local Blogger Blogs About It

Right off the bat, let’s just say McDonald’s is a disgusting company which sells disgusting food and even as a guy who doesn’t mind eating disgusting food, McDonald’s is dead to me. It turns my stomach to even look at the sign, and every six months or so when I start to forget that, I buy an awful, soul-crushing breakfast sandwich and it makes me whimper. Although, yes, their chemical-riffic fries are tasty and I can’t stay mad at them.

But I guess I’m equally disgusted with our media, disgusted every time a horrible story breaks like the one coming out of Cleveland now, in which three women, kidnapped as teenagers, appear to have been held captive for ten years before escaping. I can’t imagine I need to recap it for you, but here’s CNN’s latest, and all you need to do is point your face practically anywhere to learn about Charles Ramsey, the man who helped them escape.

We don’t know very much about the story except that the women are alive, that one of them has a child born six years ago, and that they’d really like some privacy now to be with their families. And we of course know that the media would not like their privacy quite so much. Here’s everybody respecting the shit out of the three women’s privacy now:

respecting privacy

Yes, and since they’re focusing more on the health and well-being of the women and the child rescued, the investigation hasn’t yet revealed very much about the details of the awful crime, so we’re back to reporting any rumor or tidbit anyone will cough up. It’s a lot like the story is a deer, and the reporters are simply ripping it apart like jackals. Well, it’s their job, right?

Anyone who will offer the slightest crumb gets an interview. Umm, seems to me the guy had a cat a few years ago, but not anymore. CLEVELAND KIDNAPPER MAY HAVE HAD CAT, POSSIBLY EATEN IT, screams the news.

I was just getting over the general nausea, though, when I saw this blog post: Did McDonald’s Cross The Line In Tweet About Ohio Kidnapping Case?

It’s from the Associate Blog Editor at The Huffington Post, which is the sort of thing that makes me glad I have an actual job. Take a look at the tweet which Mr. Seamus McKiernan believes may have crossed “the line”:

McDonalds Tweet

What’s the problem here? What line did they cross? Well, McKiernan takes the scenic route to that point, presumably because there’s no straight line to it. It’s like watching Doctor Frankenstein maniacally try to animate a lifeless corpse, but instead of a lifeless corpse, it’s a complete and utter non-issue, and instead of maniacally, he does it in an unconvincing, long-winded manner.

Right from the article:

“Nothing much to look at here, right? Just a company recognizing the courage of the kidnap victims, and praising a local hero who also happens to be its customer. Actually, on first read, the tweet comes across as well-intentioned.”

FletchHuh. Well, we’d better dig deep into this two-sentence tweet then, right? Rather than settle for a cursory, First Read? Because no, sir, that doesn’t look like much to look at. These first two sentences strike me as a pretty thorough analysis of the two-sentence tweet. But I guess that’s why I’m not the Associate Blog Editor at The Huffington Post, because we’re about to roll up our sleeves and dig through this thing like a shark autopsy.

Not that Mr. McKiernan doesn’t seem to have a vague feeling that this is a non-issue. “Maybe we should leave the story about McDonald’s here,” he muses, and yes, dude. Maybe we should, since it’s a two-sentence story.

Naw, he decides, and he’s going to walk us through the tweet, since it’s not easy for non-Huffpost Associate Blog Editors to understand this stuff:

“Let’s look at the tweet. The first sentence is, “We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy.” This doesn’t raise any flags. For better or worse, it’s become common for corporations to comment on news stories, particularly tragedies, via their social media accounts. McDonald’s in this regard is no different from other organizations and people who tweeted about the story. But what caught my eye was the second part of the tweet: “Way to go Charles Ramsey- we’ll be in touch.” Suddenly, I wondered how much the first part of the tweet existed to usher in the second.”

Well, my goodness. The more he rereads the tweet, the more sinister it becomes. Although, if one sits around rereading the same two sentences over and over, one is very likely to start to feel a little funny about them.

But what cracks me up is, THE FIRST SENTENCE IS OKAY WITH HIM!

So he’s got an issue with “Way to go Charles Ramsey – we’ll be in touch.”

Because it’s a mini-commercial, he decides in an incredibly convoluted manner. And he’s shocked and outraged by it.

Sure. I mean technically, every McDonald’s tweet is a commercial. They didn’t start a Twitter account so you could keep up with their post-graduate trip to Europe. They tweet for PR, and they tweet because you’re crazy not to, if you’re a business in 2013. Can anyone think of any PR issues surrounding the Cleveland case that might make McDonald’s want to say a few words?

Ah, yes, it’s the fact that their name is all over the story. Charles Ramsey mentioned McDonald’s. Ramsey was coming back from McDonald’s, the kidnapper was arrested at McDonald’s, the kidnapper frequently brought way more McDonald’s back to his house than a single man ought to require. All of these are things floating around the news, and I don’t even know which ones are true. But McDonald’s became associated with this horrific story, and I’m sure they weren’t crazy about it.

So, do you think McDonald’s, with perhaps one of the most gargantuan, globe-spanning marketing juggernauts in the history of the planet at its disposal, figured this tweet would drum up some much-needed business? Do you think from a marketing standpoint, this will generate a fart in a hurricane’s worth of cheeseburger sales? Or do you think they were deflecting bad publicity they didn’t ask for, and that they were deflecting it in an uncharacteristically positive way?

Charles RamseySay, they must have thought. You know one thing about the story everybody loves? Charles Ramsey. And you know what Charles Ramsey loves? McDonald’s. Maybe we ought to associate ourselves with him, congratulate his heroism, and imply that maybe we’ll be sending him a load of McDonald’s cards, since it’s the least we can do.

Yes, that’s real, sinister X-FIles shit, there, Scoop. In particular, I love McKiernan’s appropriately low confidence level. “Maybe I’m misreading this,” he admits in his conclusion, but then insists “we should acknowledge that the McDonald’s tweet is inappropriate at best and, at worst, it capitalizes on the sensation of a tragic story.”

Actually, at best it’s McDonald’s deflecting some horrific PR by genuinely, sincerely praising a hero. That would be “at best.” I mean, can you think of anyone besides McDonald’s who might be capitalizing on the sensation of a tragic story? The entire media, perhaps? You, Mr. Seamus McKiernan?

Here’s what I think – you couldn’t think of anything to blog about, so you obsessed over a McDonald’s tweet. Me? I don’t have to think of anything to blog about – I got you, buddy.

 

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