Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Saw That Dildo, Bud Light

I'm surprised someone hasn't brought this up already.  I googled "bud light commercial dildo" and didn't see anything in the first five or so results, so I'm going to go ahead and officially take credit for this.  I'm sure you've seen this commercial, in which three aliens that look like hot chicks come to "shmeplicate" with human males in exchange for Bud Light.

I don't know about you, but every time I see this commercial, all I can think is that the girl on the right is holding a huge dildo. 

 Save us, FCC! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Late Afternoon on the Wissahickon

I woke up at about 9:45 AM to silence.  No alarm clock.  I had off from work; other than laundry and a run to the bank, I didn't have much to do.  I let my dog into the yard to go to the bathroom and put a bagel in the toaster.  It was nice, not having to rush my breakfast.  Rufus, my dog, peed quickly then ran back to the door wanting to escape the early December cold.  He ate his breakfast as quickly and as noisily as he always does.  He was endearingly goofy.  I let him back in the house, buttered my bagel, and sat down on the couch to eat and watch some TV.  Usually, I watch the news for the weather and traffic.  Not having any reason to leave the house, I started watching yesterday's episode of Dexter OnDemand.  Every Sunday, Dexter and Boardwalk Empire air from nine to ten on different channels, and I always go with Boardwalk Empire

After watching Dexter successfully toe the line between serial killer and regular guy for another hour,  I flipped through a few channels.  Finding nothing worth watching, I threw a load of laundry into the washer.  The thin metal door clanged shut and the hollow machine gave the sound of the water gushing in a hollow quality to it.  I went upstairs into the bathroom and turned on the shower.  A few minutes into my shower, I started singing the Christmas song I had just heard on TV.  "White Christmas".  I think The Santa Clause was on when I turned the TV off.  My attempts at imitating Bing Crosby's voice echoed off of the tiled walls.

After my shower and moving the wash into the dryer, I didn't know what to do.  As I sat on the couch wondering what to do, Rufus ran by, chasing a fly.  I decided to take him for a walk.  It had been awhile, and I enjoyed walking the trails along the Wissahickon.  Rufus always gets too excited to sit still whenever he sees me grab his leash, so I quietly grabbed it and snapped it on to his collar while he was distracted by the fly.  Forgetting the fly, he immediately bolted towards the door.  After what must have seemed ages to him, I opened the door and we made our way back the creek.  We walked along Ridge ave, then turned down Wise's Mill.

I saw no one else on the trail.  It was only about 3:30, so most people were still at work.  I suddenly remembered recently reading the essay "Morning on the Wissahiccon" by Edgar Allan Poe.  I began to wonder what it must have looked like back then.  From the way Poe spoke of it, it was still a fairly secluded area.  Not as traveled as it is today.  By this time of year, the trees are all but bare of leaves.  Maybe not as colorful as the Spring and Summer, but I liked it.  The view of the surrounding area was better without all the foliage.  I was standing on a smaller trail, going along a hill that overlooked the main path and the creek itself.  I stopped for a minute, just to take in the scene.  This was about as close to nature as it got in Philadelphia.  Having long ago learned to tune out the sounds of traffic, it was actually a nice moment.  Geese, presumably headed south, flew and honked overhead.  To my left was a rough patch in the water.  Rufus tugged me further down the path. 

I looked back toward the white swirl of water that caught my attention earlier.  Getting a better look at it, I realized my eyes had played a trick on me.  It was actually one of the heads of the street lights that lined the main path below.  From my higher angle, it looked like it was actually in, not above, the water.  Although the sun was beginning to fade, it was still too early for the light to turn on.  A sigh escaped my lips, and I went home.

This story was inspired by a walk I took back the creek.  I did think the light was part of the water, which was disappointing to me for some reason.  It made me think of Poe's essay, so I went home and read it and found that my experience seemed like a modern version of the narrator in Poe's story.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pennsylvania's Alcohol Laws Begin to Modernize

On Friday, Dec. 3, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the PA Liquor Control Board followed all laws and regulations in issuing a license for on-site consumption of beer and the sale of six packs to go at all Pennsylvania Wegmans.  The eat-in cafes at Wegmans gave the supermarket the right to apply for the license, despite a legal challenge by a trade group representing local beer distributors.

I understand the concern on the part of the largely locally-owned beer distributors, but this change is long overdue.  Pennsylvania has some of the most restrictive liquor laws I've encountered in my many travels.  Our bars, distributors, and liquor stores close too early and six packs are too often sold at ridiculous prices and can only be bought two or three at a time.  The limit on how much you can carry out is especially ridiculous, since it doesn't keep you from buying more than two six packs, it just forces you to have to make several trips in and out of the bar/store.

Tom Corbett, who recently won the race for governor, hopes to privatize liquor stores, which would be freakin' awesome.  I can't stand the short hours of the nearest Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits.  Not to mention the fact that it's being closed down.  Why shouldn't I, a grown-ass man, be able to buy a bottle of rum later than 7:00?

Unfortunately, there's at least one politician who sees fighting these changes as a way to get more votes.  State Rep. Paul Clymer will try to reverse the Supreme Court's decision because he feels the State should have control over the sale of alcohol.  Who the hell put this guy in office?  On what grounds should the State be so restrictive about alcohol sales?  We already have to pay a "sin tax" on alcohol because the government decided that drinking is immoral.  I don't know on what grounds the government of a nation that so highly values the separation of church and state can decide that something is immoral yet not illegal, but it managed to do it.

Hopefully, it won't be long before I can walk to 7-11 and buy a six pack whenever I want.  And while we're at it, I think it's high time to get rid of that arrogant Puritan statue on Kelly Drive.  Stuffy bastards.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Arsenic-Based Life

As it turns out, the Grinch's "three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce" might not be as deadly as we've been led to believe.  Previously, scientists have been unable to find any form of life that could replace any one of the six major building blocks of life: carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen.  Earlier this week, NASA scientists announced the discovery of bacteria in Mono Lake, California that, due to a lack of environmental phosphorus, have been able to use the usually poisonous element arsenic in their cellular structure, DNA, RNA, etc.  Although some scientists believe this discovery overestimates how much arsenic these bacteria actually use in their cellular structure, it is still pretty damn interesting to say the least.

The day before this announcement was made, Nature announced that scientists now estimate that the universe contains 300 sextillion stars (300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), three times the previous estimate.  With each star, the probability of extraterrestrial life increases, since each one could be the sun for another planet capable of sustaining life.  And of course, the discovery that at least one "big six" component of life can be replaced suggests others may be replaceable as well, further increasing the probability of life outside of Earth.  Many believers in alien life have long hypothesized that life on other planets may be based on different chemicals than life on Earth. 

Pretty interesting.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Censorship on Amazon?

Until I finish the story I'm working on now, this will have to do.

Initially, Amazon had no qualms about selling a e-book titled The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child Lover’s Code of Conduct by Philip R. Greaves II.  A spokesperson was quoted as saying, "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."  Due to the inevitable complaints, however, Amazon has since stopped selling it.

Greaves claims that the book is a guide to having a legal physical relationship with a child.  He says he wants to dispel the notion that all pedophiles are murderers and rapists.  He showed his enlightened side by acknowledging that penetration with a child is not OK.  He went on to say, "Kissing, fondling, that sort of thing I don't think is that serious of a problem."  I'm willing to bet there are countless victims of sexual abuse that would disagree.  Not to mention the law.

As for the question of censorship, I would have no problem banning this book from my store or website.  Amazon is a private business and can sell or not sell whatever they want for whatever reason.  Given the author's comments above condoning the fondling of children, I seriously doubt Greaves' book offers ways to maintain a "safe" physical relationship with children.  That's because there is no such thing as a safe physical relationship between a pedophile and a child.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Is Why You Should Learn Proper English

This post is not about politics.  It's about stupidity.  How do you expect to be taken seriously when you can't speak your own country's (unofficial) language?  Especially in the example above.  The irony is almost painful.  I'm willing to bet there are countless foreigners who learned English as a second language and know the difference between "our" and "are". 

This guy's spelling is awful, and his math isn't entirely accurate.  If you DIVIDE (not devide) a whole number by a decimal, the quotient is greater than the original number.  When you divide by 0.5, it's like multiplying by 2.  Whatever you do with this guy's wealth and work ethic, please don't spread his stupidity.

More pictures from Pargon's Flickr

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choke-Chuck Palahniuk

I'm writing this assuming you've read the novel, so there are spoilers.

This was the first work by Palahniuk that I've read, and I wasn't terribly impressed.  It wasn't a bad novel, there was just one thing that bothered me from the beginning of the book until the end.  Palahniuk's attempt at making the narrator and other characters speak like a typical twenty-something young adult seemed so artificial and forced that it distracted me from the story.  After only a few chapters, I came across more uses of "for serious" than I have in my entire life.  It may seem like a minor flaw, but for me, it took away from the reading experience.

That's not to say it was a bad piece of literature.  The supporting characters were well developed, especially Victor's mother and Denny.  For me, Victor served as a means to hear about those two characters because I did not find him as interesting.  The reasons behind his sex addiction weren't as interesting to me as the things going on mentally with the mother and Denny.  Mrs. Mancini was obviously suffering from mental problems way before she ever wound up in that nursing home.  I'm no psychologist, but her paranoia was evident from the first memories of her presented to the reader (schizophrenia?).  An interesting question, considering her mentally degraded state by the end of the story, is whether her memory of stealing Victor from another woman is true or not.  Given her problems, it could very well be true.  But then, why go through all the trouble of constantly kidnapping him from his various foster homes.  Again, that could be explained by her mental issues.  Just a thought worth considering.

Denny may have been my favorite character.  It was interesting to see his process of dealing with his addiction.  Just as it seemed he had simply replaced his excessive masturbation with an excessive collection of rocks, he revealed that he planned to build something with all those rocks.  And when, thanks to Victor, it was destroyed, he wasn't even upset.  For him, it truly was all about the process.  Which, from my limited understanding of addiction recovery, seems to be the basis of 12 step programs: a journey, not a destination.

I felt Dr. Marshall was a disappointment.  Having her turn out to be a patient the entire time, for me, is too similar to telling some crazy, unbelievable story and then have the main character wake up and the audience realizes it was just a dream the whole time.  Pretty cliche (for example, Shutter Island did the same thing).

Victor's main function seemed to be talking about other characters in the story.  I didn't find him to be all that interesting on his own.  He struck me as fairly stock, seeking out casual sex to avoid a real relationship and the pain of losing someone.  Furthermore, the whole idea of pretending to choke to extort money from his pseudo-savior was so far-fetched that it also distracted me from the story itself.  Every time it was mentioned in the story, I would stop and think to myself, "Who the hell would actually keep giving money to some moocher who they saved from choking?  Isn't saving someone's life enough?"

All in all, I'll give it a 3 out of 5.

Four Loko Gets No Love

Nine kids at a party at Central Washington University were hospitalized with "symptoms of life-threatening overdose or intoxication" whose BAC "ranged from 0.12 percent to 0.35 percent" (death is possible at 0.30%-0.39%), apparently after drinking too much Four Loko.

The article from AOLNews called Four Loko the "culprit" in this situation, ignoring the fact that it was these kids (many of whom were underage) drinking more than they could handle that got them in a hospital.  That's like a kid without a license dying in a car accident and blaming the car.  Everyone likes to talk about how bad the drinks are and call for a ban of such drinks (or at least those stupid doctors and buzzkill old people) as if other alcoholic drinks are good for you.  Would it really be any better to drink 12 beers instead of a few Four Loko?  Granted, Four Loko has caffeine and typical drinks don't.  But that just means you need to not be an idiot when you drink it.  Which also happens to apply to all alcoholic drinks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Is Why I Hate Hollywood

Mel Gibson was supposed to have a cameo in The Hangover 2, but was cut after director Todd Phillips’ said that he “did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew".  Specifically, Zach Galifianakis said, "I’m in a deep protest right now with a movie I’m working on, up in arms about something".  Regardless of how much influence Galifianakis alone has on production, this incident is a perfect example of Hollywood activism.

While those involved with The Hangover 2 apparently had major issues with Gibson's history of prejudice, no one had any qualms about working with a convicted rapist in the first film.  Say what you will about Tyson having did his time and paid his dues and all that, but you can bet that the only reason his cameo wasn't rejected was because the rape occurred so long ago that most people don't automatically associate Tyson and rape.  For Gibson, that isn't the case.  His controversies are still fresh in the public's mind.  I'm not condoning either of their actions, I just want to point out the hypocrisy of the whole thing.

I've read some people also saying that the cast and crew of the first Hangover didn't have enough control over the first film to demand Tyson be fired.  First of all, there is no record of anyone associated with the film having a problem working with Tyson.  In fact, Cooper said in one interview, "He was awesome. I was intimidated at the prospect, because when I grew up, he was it. But he wound up being fantastic." (Driven Magazine).  Even if some did have an issue working with a convicted rapist, why would it be acceptable for them to ignore their moral objections in that case but not when it involves Gibson?  Again, it's only because Gibson's problems are still fairly recent. 

I'm not here to say whether rape or prejudice is worse, I just wish Hollywood would stick to making movies and stop "protesting" whatever happens to be the cool thing to protest that week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Hitler DNA Tests

Earlier this year, the DNA of 39 of Hitler's living relatives showed a chromosome that is rare in Western Europe and is commonly found in people of certain African and Jewish descent.  There have long been rumors that Hitler's father, an illegitimate child, was fathered by a Jewish man whom Hitler's grandmother worked for.  For awhile, these reports were largely dismissed, since Jews had been expelled from Graz, the city in Austria where Hitler's grandmother lived. 

Traditionally, Jewishness is passed on through the mother.  But it would still be nice to see the look on Hitler's face when he was told he was descended from both Jews and Africans.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Is Why I Hate Politics

If you haven't heard, Target has donated $150,000 to a group supporting a Republican politician with a tough stance on illegal immigrants, gay marriage, etc.  Since then, protesters have criticized the donation and demanded Target make a similar donation to some left-leaning organization.  Target says that it supports the conservative politician because they feel his plans will create more jobs.
First, if I had my way, corporations would stay out of politics entirely.  It just feels too much like buying a politician favor.  An article from the Associated Press claims the protesters hope to deter other corporations from making similar donations.  That's horseshit.  If Target had donated money to some organization supporting gay marriage, you wouldn't hear a peep from these people.  And who the hell are these people to demand that Target support a liberal organization as well?  The Supreme Court has allowed corporations to spend company funds directly on politics.  It didn't say that they have to support both sides of the political spectrum.  Under the law, Target has every right to support Nazis if they want to.  Obviously, supporting any politician could cause Target to alienate some of their customers, but that's their call.
Fred Sainz, VP of communications for national gay rights organization Human Rights Campaign, demands Target donate money to help pro-gay candidates, saying, "The repair has to be consistent with the harm done."  Bullshit.  By that logic, every single person who has donated money to basically any Republican candidate should also donate money to gay rights supporters.  Who the hell is this guy to determine what is and isn't morally harmful?  Personally, I think gays should be able to get married.  But this is America, and you can support whoever the hell you want to for whatever reason you deem appropriate.
This being America, these people also have every right to boycott Target.  It just makes them look like stupid hypocrites.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reality TV

 "Fuck yeah!" Rob yelled out as he checked his email before work.  He called Wawa while trying to think of an excuse to call out.  His friend Kyle answered.  "Yo, it's Rob.  I'm not coming in today.  Tell Krista I woke up and started puking or something."  Kyle laughed and said, "Alright.  So what's the real reason you're calling out?"  Rob glanced back at the computer screen with a huge smile on his face and said, "Dude, you won't fuckin' believe it.  I'm gonna be on the next season of Jersey Shore!"  On the other end of the line, Kyle was shaking his head.  "Ok," he said, "why does that mean you can't come in to work today?"  Rob replied, "Fuck work, man!  I'm taking the day off to celebrate!" and hung up the phone.

Ever since he first heard there was going to be a new cast for the next season of Jersey Shore, Rob had thought of almost nothing else.  He felt he was wasting away his talent, working at a damn Wawa in South Philly.  And he was definitely too good for the tiny apartment he rented out.  This was it, though.  His big break.  After making the big bucks during the show, he'd be able to get paid thousands just to make appearances at clubs and bars.  Places he would never have been able to get into before.  He was on the cusp of living the life of his dreams.

Rob started a mental list of the things he would have to do to get ready for the show.  I'm gonna have to work out like a muthafucker, he thought to himself, maybe even get some roids.  Nothing makes good TV like sex between two hot people.  And that was it.  He started texting his friends, telling them the good news.  He got out of the chair at his computer and plopped down onto his raggedy couch.  It was quite possibly the ugliest couch on Earth.  It was a shit-green color with a mustard-yellow floral pattern.  It looked like Rob's vomit after a night of heavy drinking.  He relaxed, infinitely pleased with himself.  Who the fuck needs a high school diploma when you can get a job on TV?  Rob had dropped out during his junior year, after his grades fell too low to be able to play for his high school football team (he was a linebacker).  That was 6 years ago, and he was 23 now.  His cell phone rang.  It was Brad.

"Yo Rob, just got your text.  That's fuckin' awesome, dude!" Brad yelled through the phone.  "I know, man, I'm fuckin' psyched!  This my break, man.  Fuck school and football, man, I'ma be a TV star!" Rob yelled back holding the phone in front of his face instead of up to his ear.  When he had calmed down enough to hold the phone like a normal person, he heard the question he had been dying to hear ever since he had to quit football.  "So, you gonna bring me around to any celebrity parties, bro?" Brad asked.  Fuck no, Rob thought to himself as he said back, "Hell yeah, man, you know it!"  He hung up and thought about all the new famous friends he'd be making, and knew he wouldn't have time for these small-time nobodies anymore.

Over the next few months, Rob went to work just often enough to avoid getting fired.  He was planning on quitting before leaving to film, but he needed some income until then.  On top of rent, bills, and food, he had to pay for steroids, a gym membership, and all the Armani Exchange he could get his hands on.  After all, he told himself, I gotta be ballin' on TV.  Finally, the day came when he left his little South Philly apartment for the glitz and glamour of South Jersey and beyond.  As he pulled up to the house he would spend the summer in, he knew that this show would be that first step to being the next great action movie star.  His last thought before he set foot inside the house was, Thank God for reality TV.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2011 Winter Classic

I am sick and tired of this love affair between Gary Bettman and Cindy Crosby.  Everyone knows of his reputation as a whiner and a diver, so I won't get into that.  Although I obviously wasn't happy that Shitsburgh was chosen for the first Winter Classic, it made sense.  They had been improving as a team and Bettman knew Cindy would sell tickets.  But to give him a second Winter Classic in four years?  That is a slap in the face to every other player, team, and fan in the NHL.  Fuck you, Bettman.  It's clear you don't give a shit about anyone in the NHL besides Cindy and Ovechkin.  And the only reason you care about Ovechkin is because the NHL, per Bettman's influence, has blown up the rivalry between him and Cindy.
I see nothing wrong with the Capitals getting to play in the next Winter Classic.  But there are so many other teams besides Shitsburgh that deserve to play in the Winter Classic with superstars that will sell just as many tickets to real hockey fans.

Update June 21, 2011-It's totally OK when they give the Flyers another Winter Classic.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Reading

So while I continue in my seemingly pointless efforts to get a decent job, I've decided to read like shit this summer. Since I graduated in May, I've read a handful of Orson Scott Card's novels (Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon), I finished reading all of Edgar Allan Poe's tales and some of his poetry, and I just recently finished Paradise Lost. I had to read parts of Paradise Lost before for different classes, but I didn't enjoy it much then. Reading it on my own, however, I found it to be pretty damn fulfilling. Yes, it's very religious, but like religion, the poem deals with themes of humanity that run deeper than religion. Anyway, I liked it.
Right now I'm reading an edition of Le Morte Darthur that has all of the original spellings and other features of the Winchester Manuscript from the late 1400s.  For example: "'And whan Gryffet saw rescowis he smote a knyght on the templis, that hede and helme wente of to the erthe" which translates roughly to "And when Gryfflet sat the chance for rescue he smote the knight on the temple, so that head and helmet fell off [the body] onto the earth (ground)".  Pretty interesting if you're into that kind of thing.

So anyway...any suggestions?