Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thoughts, Questions, & Musings

·         Are we really to believe that a professional athlete, whose very livelihood is inexorably linked to their level of physical health, was under the impression that the cloudy syringe they acquired in a Denny’s bathroom was a multi-vitamin? Did it look like Centrum Silver? Did you think that no one would notice the fact that you can suddenly bench-press a 2007 Ford Focus?

·         I am fully convinced that Hell will be equipped with a Kroger self-checkout kiosk that will continually inform you that “There is an unauthorized item in the bagging area.”

·         I cannot remember the last time I purchased a DVD that was not a “Special Edition.”

·         What exactly are essential oils and who designated them as such?

·         Once, while taking several purchases to my car from Wal-Mart, I dropped a bag of generic pillow stuffing in the parking lot. Unable to immediately retrieve the item, I placed my other purchases in my trunk and retraced my steps to recover said stuffing; but before I could get there a car pulls up beside my lost purchase and a man in his 20’s jumps out. He proceeds to grab my bag of stuffing, throw it into the back seat, and squeal away. Was this the big break he had been waiting for? Did he wake up that morning; raise his fist to the heavens and shout, “As God as my witness, this body will never come in contact with an inadequately-padded armchair again!”

·         The price of a restaurant’s entrees is directly proportional to the wattage of light bulbs in the dining area. The brighter the light, the cheaper the food…

·         It is possible to buy pickles that have no caloric value per serving, and since chewing burns calories, you would actually starve to death faster by eating a jar of these pickles than by not eating at all.

·         Why bother to give canned dog food elaborate names like “London Grill” or “Country Stew”, let’s dispense with the pleasantries and label them “Bovine Aftermath” or “Pork Collateral.”

·         I would love to receive a paycheck for naming car and truck clubs as it seems they always consist of two random words that juxtapose something desirable and undesirable like “Repulsive Seductions”, “Malicious Compassion”, or “Inadvertent Intentions.”

·         Isn’t it ironic that if you type the word “antonym” into Microsoft Word and ask it to suggest a synonym, it cannot think of anything?

·         Despite what the publicists tell us, celebrities have not and do not collapse from “exhaustion.” Farmers collapse from exhaustion, celebrities collapse from Xanax & Hennessy.

·         Why do restaurants think that it is appetizing to rhyme their entrees? Some of my personal favorites are Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity or Chocolate Thunder from Down Under. 

·         I truly believe that I could return an envelope full of weaponzied anthrax and Wal-Mart would issue me a store credit as long as I was able to produce a working phone number.

·         It seems that every time I go to the grocery, one of the items has been given a “New Look” or “Improved Packaging.” I have to wonder if altering the color scheme on a bag of corn chips will really change the way people feel about eating corn chips.

·         Why can’t the gas pump just tell me that it is out of paper before I stand there in the cold pressing the “yes” button just to have to walk inside like an idiot? 

·         I am a PC, and Windows 7 was the idea of a faceless multinational conglomerate still reeling from the unexpected backlash generated by their previous operating system.

·         I consciously avoid entrees that contain the words “explosion” , “ambush”, or have inappropriate punctuation (Salmon-pudding ambush explosion!!)

·         My brother-in-law lived on a street named “U” and the street sign included the quotation marks. This means that they were quoting from another sign and wished to avoid plagiarism.

·         Should we be worried that there are more people on death row in California than in the entire US House of Representatives and Senate combined? I wonder which group poses a greater danger to the general public……

·         Why does Pregnancy magazine offer a 1 year subscription when its subject matter covers a nine-month event?
There are thousands of different quizzes on Facebook, these are some of my favorites taken from the quiz page:
Is you a retard?– As offensive as it is pointless…
Are you Amish? – A person’s very presence on the Internet would seem to render this quiz unnecessary..
How stupid are you? – Promises to reveal your lack of intelligence in 20 questions or less
What is your hobo name? – As a bonus, it will also reveal “How homeless you are.”
Are you a sex offender? – Who would want to pass this?
Are You Cool? – I will make this easy. No you are not.
Do you know what my kitchen looks like? – This would not seem to require 15 questions to determine.
How will you die? – Probably at the computer if this quiz is any indication.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Comforts of Home

This morning I caught a story about a new service that the Holiday Inn Hotel chain is offering: human bed warmers (photo above). The idea is that you call the front desk five minutes before retiring for the evening and they will send up an employee wrapped in a specially-made warmer suit to lie in your bed for you until it has been verified to be 68 degrees. The service is free, but currently only being offered at a limited number of locations in the United Kingdom. While I find the service intriguing, it does raise a number of questions:
·         What is the appropriate tipping scale for a human bed warmer?
·         Can I request someone whose physical proportions match my own so that the bottoms of my legs are not cold?
·         What guarantee do I have that my bed warmer will not emit flatulence while under the covers (also known as the Dutch-oven effect)?
·         Is snuggling extra?
·         Will this service be extended to the toilet seat?
While this service may seem unnecessary and extravagant, it is positively pedestrian compared to some of the amenities profiled by Forbes magazine:
·         The Keswick Hall Hotel, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, offers a “baby butler” service that will warm baby bottles and even provide someone to rock the child to sleep while the mother relaxes in the tub or goes down to the spa
·         Tired of the same old complimentary terry-cloth robes? The Ritz in Madrid, Spain will pre-monogram all of the bath robes in your room before arrival (in case you get soused and are unsure if you are vomiting in the correct restroom)
·         The JW Marriott in Beijing will pick you up from the airport in a Rolls Royce so that you do not have to ride in the courtesy shuttle like the other losers.
·         Jade Mountain in the Caribbean, will adorn your pillow with a hand-selected poem for you to read before bed. (Comfort Inn does this as well but they refer to it as a bill)
·         The Lowell Hotel in New York ensures that your dog enjoys his stay by providing “organic buffalo marrow bones” and “paw moisturizing treatments.”
·         The Taj Palace in India will greet you outside the lobby with camels and trained elephants.
After reading through this list, I have begun to realize that perhaps my expectations as a hotel guest are far too low.  I usually consider my stay successful if:
·         A cursory search of my bedding reveals no discarded body hair.
·         The complimentary breakfast has not been stripped of everything except stale Raisin Bran and apple juice by the time I arrive.
·         They remember to place a plastic liner in my ice bucket and the dispenser on my floor is operational.
·         I do not witness a narcotics transaction in the parking lot as I unload my luggage.
·         The Gideon Bible does not have a pentagram carved into it.
·         The staff does not remind me more than once that our room is equipped with a door chain.
·         The fire evacuation map contains no grammatical errors or misspellings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Salute to Death Metal

Being a music fan, one of the television programs that I enjoy watching is VH1 Storytellers because it allows the songwriters to elaborate on the origin of their sometimes cryptic lyrics. It is worth noting that this is completely unnecessary if the song is fairly straightforward. Case in point; I was at a concert once where the artist spent five minutes explaining that they wrote the next song while remembering what it was like to spend time playing with their dad on a farm and the first four lines of the song were
I was remembering daddy
Just the other day
We grew up on a working farm
But we still found time to play

At any rate, the incident reminded me of a mental exercise I utilized to amuse myself while working at the music store. Along with mainstream acts you would expect to see in an entertainment media retailer, we carried a rather large variety of “specialty genres.” One of these was Death Metal, a sub-sect of heavy metal that made Metallica sound like the Toy Story 2 soundtrack. I became amused at how far each band would push the envelope in order to create the most offensive song titles and lyrics possible.

One of the groups that would always catch my attention when we stocked the shelves was a Buffalo-based conglomerate named Cannibal Corpse. Their macabre decadence was the fodder of legend, even resulting in countries banning their entire body of work at various points in time. I would scan over the song titles of their albums and try to imagine sitting in the audience of their Vh1 storytellers while the band’s vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher fields questions from fans and waxes poetically about the inspiration for some of their catalogue:

“Thank you for the question Terry. I was inspired to write “Sanded Faceless” while cashing in my son’s tickets at the Chuck E Cheese prize redemption counter….”

While death metal has not met with the commercial success of more mainstream genres (Cannibal Corpse took eight albums and thirteen years to break one million in sales worldwide and they are considered industry leaders) these morbid metal heads are unparalleled in the art of unique song titles.

A sampling from the Cannibal Corpse catalogue:

·         Meat Hook Sodomy (code word for a Gilmore Girls marathon)
·         Force Fed Broken Glass (would it have gone down any other way?)
·         Mummified in Barbed Wire (don’t fall asleep at an Egyptian frat party)
·         Frantic Disembowelment (why it is dangerous for Taco Bell to serve food until 3 AM)
·         Edible Autopsy (the worst Barbie accessory pack ever)
·         Blunt Force Castration (both Marty Smith & shop class were forever changed)

In my naivety, I was convinced that Cannibal Corpse had cornered the market on elaborately offensive song titles. This all changed on a brisk spring day when I opened a box of compact discs and discovered the San Diego trio Cattle Decapitation. Despite the implied bovine animosity of their name, the group is comprised of staunch vegetarians and environmentalists. In fact, a large percentage of their lyrics are devoted to preventing the mistreatment and consumption of animals.

Like Cannibal Corpse, when it comes to song titles they leave no nauseating adjective unturned:

·         Icepick Gag Reflex
·         Bludgeoned, Beaten, and Barbecued
·         Bathing in a Grease Disposal Unit
·         Open Human Head Experiments With Bleach, Lacquer, and Epoxy
·         Colonic Villus Biopsy Performed on the Gastro-intestinally Incapable

Argue if you will, but coming up with the titles must be creatively exhausting and while I could not consider myself a fan; I must applaud their dedication to their craft. With that in mind I have compiled a list of song titles that I would be willing to sell to an “up and coming” death metal band in need of creative consultation:

·         Laceration-Induced Epidermal Decomposition
·         Reverse Power Saw Colonoscopy
·         Quagmire of Festering Entrails
·         Gangrenous Puncture Wound Lobotomy
·         Festooned by Putrescence
·         Organ Harvest Malfeasance
·         The Hungarian Ravioli Debacle
·         Parasitic Harpoon Impalement Massacre
·         Amputation Miscommunication
·         Erroneously Released Flatulence
·         Reconstituted Hemorrhaging Pustules (Cindy’s Song)

So if you are the member of a struggling young death metal outfit and are lacking song titles, feel free to contact me so that we can work something out. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pat Robertson: When You Need Ignorance Fast.....

The world has produced several “big-league morons” over the years, but I fear that many of them will be eclipsed by the tour de force that is Pat Robertson. Ordained in 1961 as a Southern Baptist Minister, Mr. Robertson later went on to start the CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) cable channel.  Over the past few decades the channel became wildly successful and in the 90’s it was rebranded as simply the Family Channel. Following the realization that the network’s profit margin endangered the CBN Corporation’s tax exempt status, he sold it for 1.9 billion in 1997 and it was re-named Fox Family. It was later sold to Disney and currently operates under the banner of ABC Family, with the iron-clad contractual obligation that the station must always carry Robertson’s 700 Club.
In 1988, Robertson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination and has since kept himself busy with his various media holdings, increasingly erratic behavior, and his unmatched ability to offend anyone within earshot.
A sampling of his greatest hits:
·         In the 70’s and 80’s he dabbled in faith healing claiming that he was able to cure AIDS through prayer.

·         On January 14, 1991, on The 700 Club, he attacked a number of Protestant denominations when he declared: "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”

·         On two occasions he has claimed that his prayers altered the course of major hurricanes, presumably to spare the Hampton Roads, Virginia headquarters of his CBN network.

·         In 1992, Robertson wrote a letter opposing an amendment to the Iowa State Constitution that would ensure equal protection under the state constitution for women. Identifying supporters of the bill as part of the feminist movement, he declared that feminism was a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

·         In 1994, Robertson used his television program to solicit donations for Operation Blessing, a charitable organization that was supposed to use the money to rescue Rwandan refugees and airlift them to Zaire to escape the ongoing genocide. An investigation by The Virginia Pilot newspaper later revealed that the money and planes were used to transport diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a business venture Robertson established with Zaire’s ruling Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The Commonwealth of Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs investigated the story and recommended criminal charges, but prosecution was dropped by Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley (whose largest financial contributor just so happened to be Robertson).

·         In 1999, Pat Robertson deep-sixed his own investment venture with the Bank of Scotland after he remarked that Scotland was a “dark land” overrun by homosexuals.

·         Days after the September 11th terror attacks, Robertson had Jerry Falwell as a guest on his show who blamed the tragedy on "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the People for the American Way." Robertson immediately stated "I totally concur,” but later claimed that his agreement was due to a malfunctioning earpiece.

·         Robertson indicated on air that someone detonating a nuclear weapon at the US State Department would be good for the country saying, “"What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom," (the official site of the US State Department).

·         In a 2001 television interview with Wolf Blitzer regarding China’s “one child per couple policy,” Robertson stated that the Chinese government was “doing what they have to do.” Even though he clarified that he did not personally agree with the practice, it created a firestorm of controversy since the Chinese policy was often enforced through compulsory abortions.

·         In the summer of 2003, Robertson publically criticized the US government for supporting the removal of current Liberian President Charles Taylor stating that it was bad for the country and would “destabilize Liberia.” Robertson neglected to mention the eight million dollars he had personally invested in a Liberian gold-mine was at stake. For the record, President Taylor was accused of harboring Al Qaeda operatives and was later indicted by the UN for war crimes.

·         In 2005, he launched "Operation Supreme Court Freedom" a campaign to pray for vacancies on the Supreme Court. He declared the operation a success following the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor.

·         Also in 2005, he advocated the assassination of Hugo Chavez on the 700 Club saying, “I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

·         On January 5, 2006, Robertson told his 700 Club viewers that the recent stroke suffered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was divine retribution for his attempts to give more land to Palestinians. The statement was so offensive that Ted Haggard felt that something must be said….

·         In February 7, 2007, while eloquently expressing his displeasure at the nation’s overuse of plastic surgery, Mr. Robertson stated that people who had too much plastic surgery “got the eyes like they're Oriental.” He followed this by stretching out his eyes into slits in a mocking Asian gesture.

·         Robertson has his own “Age-Defying energy shake” that he claims has allowed him to leg press 2,000 pounds even into his 70’s.

·         In 2010, Robertson blamed the Haitian earthquake on the Haitian people’s "pact to the Devil" that allowed them to break free from the French in 1791. Referencing the people’s use of voodoo during that time, Robertson indicated that this had caused citizens of the country to be “cursed.”
His behavior has been denounced by fellow evangelists, other conservative Christians, and even the denomination that ordained him. I would even venture to say that a Mariah Carey acceptance speech contains more eloquence and intellectual stimulation than Pat Robertson’s commentary on current events. Just think if he had been elected president…….