Dumbest Holiday Of The Year

February 14, 2011

Seriously. Who hasn't been here?!

Here it is: another contrived, consumerist holiday that no one seems to like yet to which everyone falls victim in one way or another.

Valentine’s Day appeals to only one relatively small subset of the population: single dudes. Valentine’s Day used to be my favorite night of the year to go drinking. The bars were full of drunk women who were feeling sorry for themselves all day. It was like fishing with dynamite.

But in years in which I was not single, the day was awful. It’s a day when society forces you to spend money and time doing something that any not-asshole would do regularly throughout the year. And it’s not like you could make a principled objection even if your significant other was of like mind. If, for example, you ignored Valentine’s Day, your girlfriend would be subjected to the humiliation of telling her co-workers that her boyfriend ignored her.

Valentine’s Day is a day of forethought and decisions for dudes. It’s easy if you’re in a committed relationship of some sort, but it gets dicey if you’re not. What do you do when you’ve been dating a girl for only a few weeks? Your actions on the dreaded V Day will define your course henceforth. Gifts or dinner plans implies serious interest at least, and a relationship at worst. I’ve had more than a few dating ‘relationships’ end due to my determined inaction on Valentine’s Day. Just as action has implications, inaction makes a pretty bold statement, too.

On Valentine’s Day, single girls are told by society that it is not acceptable to live alone in a one-bedroom apartment with her cat. And, of course, it’s somewhat misogynistic in that it implies that women are dainty, passive ornaments who only receive in accordance to the whims of their patriarchs.

And who can’t identify with the anxiety of Valentine’s Day celebrations in elementary school where you’re either forced by your parents/teachers to give valentines to people who make your skin crawl or getting shut-out by the kid whose parents didn’t have the same compassion and foresight as yours? It’s a shit pie any way you look at it.

People like me enjoy blaming Valentine’s Day on big, evil companies like Hallmark. It’s neither accurate nor fair, but it’s fun and convenient nonetheless. The history of St. Valentine’s Day, however, tells a different story. According to wikipedia — which we all know is always reliable —  V-Day was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 A.D. (for those of you who are Latin-challenged, A.D. does NOT mean ‘after death’ as my former students seemed to think. It means Anno Domini, translated the year of our lord.)

Stepping outside our ethnocentric worlds, it appears some cultures have more wisdom than our own. In some Muslim countries, for example, Valentine’s Day is either banned or discouraged by the state. This includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia. Sure, you think Jihadist, I think brilliance. Well done, Mr. Mujahideen. Well done!


The Mafia Needs A Publicist

January 25, 2011

the kinder, gentler, more loveable mafia

The mafia resurfaced in the news recently when 119 Northeast mobsters were arrested in the biggest organized crime bust of all-time. What I found most surprising about this is that, apparently, La Cosa Nostra still exists. Who knew?

The second most surprising part of this — and certainly the most entertaining — is the names of the organized thugs. Perhaps I’m just an old-school purist here, but I want my mafiosos to have names that inspire intimidation. I want names that conjure images of glocks, broken kneecaps and seriously cheesy bling.

Names are important. How is a kid supposed to dream of one day becoming a Gambino Capo if his heroes sound like the affable but underachieving sandwich maker at Subway?

Here are some of the names of our modern-day Godfathers:

  • Vinny Carwash
  • Junior Lollipops
  • Lumpy
  • Johnny Pizza
  • Marbles
  • The Professor
  • Tony Bagels
  • Baby Fat Larry
  • Meatball

Ugh. I feel so disappointed.

Good luck at Rikers Island, Tony Snigglefritz.

Face Stretching and Men Who Look Like Women

January 21, 2011

First, I’m highly skeptical that the woman in this advertisement is actually a woman. Secondly, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that ‘her’ face stretching exercise is not-so-subtly suggestive.

But whatever. I just think the ad is really funny. It’s not quite shake weight quality, but it’s worthy of a gander.

Slate.com says of the BodyFlex exercise advertisement:

“First, she instructs, make an “O” shape with your mouth, then drop it down so you’re stretching the top half of your face. Next, stick out your tongue. With your “O” mouth down and your tongue extended, look up to the sky and hold your breath. (Childers exhales and inhales as if she is sucking in the last bit of oxygen on Earth.)”

Check your local ordinances before exercising your face. It may be illegal to perform the BodyFlex stretch within 300 yards of a school.

Rick Santorum Needs a White Hood

January 20, 2011

Rick Santorum is the hood in the middle

Rick Santorum, former right-wing Republican (redundant, I know) Senator from Pennsylvania, not only wants to tell women what to do with their own body, he’s willing to play the Klan Kard. (Sorry, had to do it.) Speaking on a public access Christian tv show, Santorum said:

“The question is — and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well if that person, human life is not a person, then, I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'”

In a different interview, Santorum took the same tact:

“Today other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the constitution.”

Wow. Santorum invoked the three-fifths compromise so he could take rights away from women. Wow. That’s a two-fer. A racist AND a misogynist. What an asshole. But, hey, at least he’s efficient.

Santorum had his fifteen minutes of fame several years ago when Dan Savage (gay activist, columnist) had a contest with his readers to create a definition for Santorum that best reflected his virulently homophobic positions. Even the poopdeck has standards so you’ll have to click on this link to see what the readers decided and how Santorum has been immortalized to the non-bible thumping, non-homophobic among us.


Weep Not For The Wealthy

January 20, 2011

What the GOP wants for America

Julian Assange says he will, er, wikileak on some of the wealthiest people in a future confidential info. dump. A former Swiss banker has provided Assange with two CDs of financial details for 2,000 of the richest individuals and corporations, including 40 politicians and celebrities.

This leak is particularly apropos right now as President Obama failed to secure an expiration of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Fueled by a massive misinformation campaign paid for by these wealthy Americans and enacted by their toadying congressmen, the U.S. will now operate with $700 billion less than it should have as states face unprecedented cuts to essential services such as fire and law enforcement and education. The rhetoric includes bogus claims of taxing employers (approx. 2% of the wealthiest Americans actually hire employees) and a devastating blow to purchasing power. It’s all lies, of course — and the majority of Americans opposed this tax break extension — but a sizable amount of people still buy into the bullshit that doesn’t even pass the retard test.

Conservatives like to say that corporate taxes are prohibitively high and force companies to send jobs overseas. Another lie, of course, but it’s standard rhetoric. The oil and gas companies are making record profits but are paying virtually no income taxes AND they receive government subsidies. In 2009 Exxon-Mobil paid NO income tax at all. I hate to nitpick, but I hardly consider that tax burden to be prohibitive.

And then we have the classic comments from Warren Buffett, the third-richest person in the world. Buffet made $46 million last year and paid a tax rate of 17.7%. Buffett, of course, famously said in the interview below that he pays a far lower income tax rate than his secretary does.

And, of course, we have my favorite industry: health insurers. Even as millions of Americans are losing their health insurance because it has become unaffordable, insurance companies are making record profits. Some highlights from an ABC report:

  • Wellpoint increased profits 91 percent from 2008 while it chopped 3.9 percent of its total enrollment.
  • United Health’s profit increased 28 percent from 2008, while enrollment dropped by 3.4 percent.
  • Cigna’s profit increased 346 percent and enrollment dropped 5.5 percent.
  • Humana’s profit increased by 61 percent while enrollment decreased by 1.7 percent.
  • Aetna was the only company with a drop in profit and a gain in enrollment. The company’s profit declined by 8 percent from 2008, and enrollment grew by 7 percent.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Huffington Post lists the top 11 companies that are hoarding the most cash. Taxes are too high? Hardly. Some lowlights of the cash reserves some corporations are sitting on:

  • Apple Computer – $25.6 Billion
  • Total S.A – $27 Billion
  • Google – $33.3 Billion
  • Cisco – $38.9 Billion
  • Microsoft – $43.2 Billion
  • GE – $78.3 Billion

So, with all these absurdly profitable corporations and wealthy Americans not paying their fair share of taxes, what is going to be cut from the federal budget? Good question. Well, the benevolent GOP has some answers. In the $2.5 Trillion proposal put forth by House Republicans, they want to cut the stimulus spending that is saving our country from a devastating depression, environmentally friendly programs such as public transportation, assistance to people below the poverty line, assistance to Washington, D.C. (ya know, that federal district that relies on federal dollars to function), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (ie, those ‘liberal’ propaganda outlets NPR and PBS), and pretty much everything else that is not beneficial to the wealthy, big corporations and defense. (cuz, ya know, just because we spend more on military than the rest of the world combined, it’s more important than making sure our citizens are fed, housed, and cared for.) You can read about it here and here. Bring your barf bag.

According to G. William Domhoff, professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

“In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.”

Aren’t you glad the GOP is here to make sure that trend gets even worse? Fuckers. Every single one of them. The last time wealth disparity in the U.S. was this bad was in 1929. Ya know, right before the Great Depression. Awesome.

A #16 and Scorpion Bowl … American Style

January 19, 2011

no cats died in the preparation of this meal

The White House is hosting an official state dinner tonight for Chinese president Hu Jintao. According to the AP:

“More than 200 guests will dine on a main course of dry-aged rib eye steak with buttermilk crisp onions, double stuffed potatoes and creamed spinach.

There’s a first course of pear salad and a second course of poached Maine lobster with orange-glazed carrots and black trumpet mushrooms.”

Funny, my chef made this same thing tonight.


Seamen and Semen

January 18, 2011

Sometimes homophones are fun.

Here’s a website for women looking to drop anchor on a boat captain and, er, sail through life as his first mate.

POIS sufferer; needs a sea captain

“Sea Captain Date is the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean. With thousands of Captains already online, SeaCaptainDate.com is the destination for romance on the seven seas!”

And here we have an article explaining a horrific condition: men who are allergic to their own semen.

“There’s a mysterious phenomenon in which some men, immediately after having an orgasm, come down with a flu-like illness. Now Dutch scientists are saying these men may be allergic to their own semen … The condition is known as post-orgasmic illness sydrome, or POIS.”

We used to have a name for men who get sick after having sex with women: gay.