Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday

Many are concerned that we have turned the holiday season into a materialistic orgy of sales and door busters, that we have sacrificed our annual fellowship with kith and kin at the altar of consumerism. Stores are opening earlier this year than ever, and retail giant Wal-Mart began their Black Friday festivities at 10:00 PM Thanksgiving Day. So how did this benefit the American consumer? Let’s take a look:

Patrons in an Arkansas Wal-Mart were captured on video as they scrambled to claim discounted Waffle-irons. Throngs of people were screaming as they surged forward to grasp their prize. One woman (whose shirt is ill-equipped to contain her torso) can be seen walking away with at least four of the electric griddles. A snide person might quip that the level of excitement in Arkansas would only make sense if the machines dispensed beer, NASCAR tickets, or back child-support. Fortunately, I have chosen the high road and will make no such observation.

But when did homemade waffles become so popular? Let me tell you something, if you are serious enough about specific breakfast pastries to willingly launch yourself onto other human beings, you already own a waffle-maker. Granted, the waffle-makers in question were priced competitively but if it takes a $2 price point for you to pull the trigger on a kitchen appliance I seriously doubt you are going to spend the time it takes to prepare homemade batter. Plus, I have stayed at enough mid-level hotels to know that half of American adults cannot successfully operate a waffle-iron even when assisted by an illustrated instruction guide.

At a Los Angeles area Wal-Mart, a woman assaulted twenty other patrons with pepper spray in order to acquire a discounted Xbox video game console. She was caught on camera and since turned herself in to authorities. Several of the victims needed medical treatment and the police are deciding whether or not to file charges. Apparently, the woman was afraid that she would have to pay regular price if she did not take drastic action.

I ask you, what kind of person is committed enough to chemically-blind complete strangers, but not committed enough to arrive at the store earlier than them? Just skip dessert and get there a few minutes ahead of schedule if saving $20 on a game system is that critical. Common sense tells us that an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of assault.
In New York, two women were hospitalized while trying to take advantage of a sale on smartphones. One of the women claims that she was forced to the floor before being kicked in the face while the other woman described the scene as a “stampede.” So far no charges have been filed in the case and it does not appear that either woman was able to procure the device.

While I am a proponent of both technology and thrift, it will be a cold day in Hell before I stand in line for the privilege of getting mule-kicked on my day off. If my choices are between settling for a cheaper cell-phone model or involuntarily recreating a scene from American History X, you better believe somebody will be waking up to a Jitterbug flip phone on Christmas morning.

There were also reports of gun violence outside of Wal-Mart stores in California and South Carolina. In both cases, armed assailants demanded that the bargain shoppers turn over their discounted merchandise. In one case, a man was crossing the parking lot with his family and refused to hand over his door-buster items. In the ensuing scuffle, he was shot and remains in critical condition.

I am not sure who exhibited worse judgment: the thief willing to pull a gun on a family or the family willing to die rather than relinquish their purchase. Call me a coward, but if I am going to take a bullet it is going to be for something more meaningful than a discounted Garmin GPS. The physical therapy and hospital co-pays are going to negatively impact my shopping budget more than waiting a few days and paying full price. 

The real victims in all of this are the store employees. While the shoppers chose to truncate their Thanksgiving festivities, the workers have no such option. Every year, more and more of their holiday becomes a casualty of the public’s insatiable lust for discounted prices on non-essential items. These people are not giving up their turkey dinner so that we can procure food or shelter. They are giving up their turkey dinner so that we can take pride in the fact we acquired an iPad2 for the price of an original iPad. If there is one thing that I can be thankful for this year, it is that I have the luxury of not working retail anymore.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

That's So Raven!

This is the story of a young man we will call “Reggie.” Reggie, a happy-go-lucky Arizona resident, was surfing the Internet one day when he began chatting with a young woman named Rebecca who resided in Milwaukee. After several online exchanges, Reggie felt compelled to make a pilgrimage to Wisconsin in order to meet his new acquaintance. So, after bidding his friends and family farewell, he climbed aboard a bus and rode almost 2,000 miles before finally arriving at the apartment of his lady friend.

Two days later, a bloodied and beaten Reggie stumbled out of that same apartment and made a frantic call to the police. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found Reggie suffering from a multitude of cuts, lacerations, and stab wounds. Once transported to the hospital, doctors estimate he had sustained at least 300 separate injuries on his torso, neck, and face.

When questioned about his experience, Reggie claimed that their first meeting had gone along swimmingly until Rebecca and her roommate Raven requested to restrain him for some carnal recreation. After agreeing to this somewhat unusual request, Reggie alleges that the girls sadistically tortured him with knives for two days before he was able to extricate himself from the restraints and call police.

Upon searching Rebecca’s apartment, police discovered duct tape and rope covered with large quantities of blood and other DNA evidence. They also noticed some unusual reading material including: The Necromantic Ritual Book and The Werewolf’s Guide to Life. Rebecca insists that the cutting was consensual at first, but that things had quickly gotten out of hand. Both women were detained on “suspicion of reckless injury” charges.
Rebecca & Raven

First of all, incidents like this would not have been possible without white people in the principle roles. At the risk of offensive generalization, how many copies of “The Necromantic Ritual Book” do you think they sell at the Compton Barnes & Noble? Every time I read a story concerning witchcraft or the occult, it always seems to involve middle-class Caucasian adolescents who cannot seem to find more constructive ways of filling their time than armchair sorcery.

What is even more troubling is that lack of commitment. Even their selection of satanic literature showed little imagination or research. Just a periphery glance at the online reviews would tell you that Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the Fifteenth Century is a far superior in both scope and detail than The Necromantic Ritual Book. While I am at it, just how “dark” are you when you pattern your ritualistic ceremonies after a paperback you purchase from Can you imagine the conversation at that week’s coven social:

“When will that ritualistic animal slaughter book be here? We really need it before the demonic craft fair.”
“I just checked my account, and they say it hasn’t shipped yet.”
“Dammit Rebecca! If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times to sign up for Prime so that we do not have another black mass homecoming fiasco on our hands.”

Secondly, men are stupid. There is only one reason a dude would be willing to spend his own money for the privilege of riding thirty hours on a crowded bus to meet a girl, and it has nothing to do with her sense of humor. I also do not doubt Rebecca’s claim that Reggie agreed to the restraints. In fact, I am fairly certain that Reggie stopped listening after he heard, “my roommate and I want to tie you up and take turns doing unspeakable things to your body.” Only later did he realize that “unspeakable things” referred to stabbing him repeatedly with the decorative cutlery set they had acquired at Target.

I wonder when the internal struggle between his intellect and his hormones began to tip in favor of the former. I am guessing that moment occurred somewhere around the second hour of his ordeal, about the time he realized it was going to take more than a tube of Neosporin to erase the memories of his first visit to the Badger State.

I suppose he is fortunate that he lived to tell the tale, and I wonder if the girls will be convicted of anything. Perhaps young Reginald has learned that allowing yourself to be imprisoned by an emotionally-disturbed stranger you met on can lead to some unpleasant experiences. At the very least, he should save himself the excruciating two day trip and locate emotionally disturbed young women in the southwest.  From the police description of the scene, the only thing we know for certainty is that Rebecca and Raven will not be getting their security deposit back.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Children of the Corn

Attempting to work my way through a back catalog of classic horror films, I found myself viewing the original Children of the Corn starring Linda Hamilton. For those that do not know, the movie was loosely based on a Stephen King short story of the same name and is set in the quaint (fictional) Nebraska town of Gatlin.

One particular year, the town’s corn harvest is sparse and after the citizens pray for divine assistance a creepy boy preacher named Isaac appears. He then takes all of the children into the cornfields to meet “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” Upon their return from this corn summit, the youth massacre all of the adults and take over the town continuing to sacrifice any adults unfortunate enough to pass through.
Despite its well-deserved reputation as the most frightening film to feature malevolent produce, I was unable to understand why this is considered a horror classic. Firstly, when Linda Hamilton and her boyfriend are driving down a Nebraska highway and hit a child standing in the street, their first instinct is to toss his lifeless body into their trunk and drive around looking for help. Now I realize that vehicular homicide laws have evolved over the years, but generally speaking it is unwise to cross state lines with the corpse of a child in your car because that tends to look suspicious to a jury.

Secondly, this idea of a self-governed collective of fanatical pre-teens living in a rural setting is not all that frightening. In fact, once they eradicate everyone old enough to rent a car, the kids seem to embrace discipline and structure. They avoid unnecessary recreation, willingly attend religious services, and observe a centralized (albeit satanic) command structure. The resulting community is akin to a really violent chapter of Future Farmers of America.

As the movie progresses, we learn that once a child reaches the age of nineteen they are called into the field by “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” Thanks to this “agricultural draft” program, Pappa Corn doesn’t have to worry about establishing social programs to support an aging congregation. The downside, of course, is that no one is old enough to drive into Omaha and pick up beer for the homecoming dance.

While we never see the film’s vegetable-based deity, there are several shots of soil being tunneled from underneath suggesting that the city’s adult population was murdered at the request of an ill-tempered groundhog. Grand-master maize also requires all adults to be crucified on an apparatus comprised of repurposed corn stalks and husks. It is unclear whether this design was chosen for its environmental sustainability or simply because he was unwilling to take the chance of the kids unionizing once they learned carpentry.

In the end, “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” was defeated when the two main characters set the corn field on fire. What an anticlimactic resolution. You mean to tell me that a demonic entity powerful enough to override the free-will of two dozen Midwestern white kids was overcome by a controlled crop burn? How bad can a supernatural antagonist be when it can be vanquished with the combination of sustained drought and an errant firework? If your reign of terror is that susceptible to arson, you’re on borrowed time anyway.

The film has spawned seven sequels to date with ridiculous names like Children of the Corn III – Urban Harvest and Children of the Corn II– The Final Harvest. Unbelievably, these movies featured several well-known thespians including Naomi Watts, David Carradine, and Eva Mendes. 1995’s Urban Harvest was even the film debut of Charlize Theron.

King’s original story succeeded because it focused as much on the crop’s sense of seclusion as it did the inherent evils of ethanol. Corn fields are uniquely frightening because their height and density creates a sense of isolation regardless of their proximity to civilization. Even Field of Dreams did little to convince me that a cornfield was a welcoming environment. Let’s face it nobody is going to kill their parents because “He Who Meanders through the Cotton Patch” commands it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Recently, twenty-year-old single mother Mariah Yeater filed a paternity suit in California’s court system. That, in and of itself, was not unusual. What was unusual was that she claimed the father of her infant was none other than entertainer Justin Bieber. According to the documents she filed with the court, Mariah was taken backstage by a security guard after Bieber’s October 2010 concert at the Los Angeles Staple Center where she was asked to wait with several other young women. Justin then appeared, presumably to select the recipient of his advances, and chatted with Mariah and the other women before pulling her into a restroom and proceeded to give her the ultimate fan experience.
Mariah Yeater
Mariah also felt in necessary to document the fact that she was Bieber’s first lover, that he employed “the dirty talk” during their encounter, and refused to use a prophylactic. She is asking for $144,000 a year in child support citing, among other things, the $25,000 she still owes the hospital for her son’s birth. Representatives for the singer have denounced the claims and deny that Bieber is the father of little Tristyn Anthony Markhouse Yeater.

Beiber’s fans, predictably, issued their customary online Fatwa by promising to dish out their own form of vigilante justice. Several self-described “Beliebers” have directly threatened homicide, while others are content with derogatory comments. Bieber has been ordered to appear in court this December to directly respond to Yeater’s allegations. Despite the threats, Mariah adamantly insists “I believe that Justin Bieber is the father of my baby” which is the one statement I am pretty sure is true.

Skeptics highlight Yeater’s financial distress (she is unemployed and relies on government assistance) as proof that she is just seeking an easy payday from a millionaire. It does seem rather unlikely, and conveniently flattering, that Bieber was so physically attracted to her that he selected her from among thousands of female admirers to lose his virginity to.

Yeater’s defenders and they tend to be greatly outnumbered, respond that she has taken a great risk by coming forward since she could be prosecuted for statutory rape under California law. If, the events transpired as she claims, Bieber would have been only sixteen at the time of the encounter while she was already nineteen. They also maintain that $12,000 a month is a reasonable sum to request from someone making $50 million a year.

Personally, I am not sure who will turn out to be more delusional: the woman who believes that she got “Biebered” in the men’s room or the fans willing to murder a single mother for pretending to have sex with someone they have never met. Thanks to modern D.N.A. testing paternity is a relatively easy allegation to prove or disprove, but I doubt that either will save Yeater now. Whether she is or isn’t telling the truth, some unhinged fan will probably stab her with an icepick outside an Arby’s for defiling her idol.

If it is true, I suppose Bieber could simply claim he was dehydrated and thought she was Selena Gomez or that he was under the impression that what occurred was part of the VIP Meet & Greet package. Sadly, it would seem to undermine the adolescent romanticism portrayed in Bieber’s music if he lines women up like cattle and then selects which one to impregnate. On the plus side, he and Gene Simmons would now have something to talk about.

Even if she is lying, you have to give her credit for attempting to extricate herself from public assistance. While others are content to simply suckle at the public teet, young Mariah took matters into her own hands and fabricated a prosecutable sexual encounter with a wealthy minor. While not as ethical as putting in an application at her local Cosco, you cannot accuse her of not having ambition. To those that say America’s youth is losing its innovative edge, Yeater stands tall as a beacon of hope at least until iLoveBieb4Eva’ busts her knee with a pipe wrench.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There was nothing unusual about young Courtney’s aspirations. After all, many a 16 year-old girl dreams of embodying the Hollywood trinity of singer/model/actress, but unlike her peers she was unwilling to place her ambitions in the hands of fate. Guided by her mother/manager, she decided to focus on her musical talents by recording a few demos and singing on with the production company Dark Water Inc.

Soon, young Courtney was introduced to Dark Water’s enigmatic president Doug Hutchison, who is best known for roles in The Green Mile and Lost. Fifty-one year old Doug became smitten with his underage client and in May of this year, after a legal release by Courtney’s parents, the two were married in an intimate Las Vegas ceremony.

Since exchanging nuptials with Doug, Courtney has worked tirelessly to forge a career based on integrity and understated sexuality. Embracing the Internet as only a middle-class teenage girl can, she created a Twitter account and erotically confronted today’s most pivotal issues:

Senseless Alliteration
Urinary Incontinence?
She has also filmed several music videos for the songs she writes and produces. The best of which is for her club-banger “Don’t Put It On Me,” a tune addressing women who are unable to control their man’s attraction to her. The video, which appears to have been shot aboard a pontoon boat set adrift in a retention pond, showcases Courntey's talents. I rarely find it necessary to embed a video but I discovered my words were powerless to adequately describe this nautical gem. Behold!

Like all budding starlets, she has her detractors. Facebook has removed her account on multiple occasions for violating their policy against posting sexually explicit photos and just recently she was asked to leave a family pumpkin patch after several complaints that her attire was inappropriate. Her mother publicly defends her attire citing jealous women as the source of the complaints and noting that the men aren’t complaining. As for her daughter’s social networking woes she says simply, “She's just too sexy for Facebook!"

Others, questioning the wisdom of seeking stardom at such an impressionable age, have expressed concern about her lack of education. When asked about these concerns, Courtney responded that if she ever sought higher education she would only attend classes about her husband’s body. She referred this dream college as the “University of Doug.” 

In order to make interviews as cringe-worthy as possible, Courtney’s mother also insists on addressing both her daughter’s breasts and her Christian faith (your move Joe Simpson) in order to dispel plastic surgery rumors and cast her in a more favorable light. Both Courtney’s parents (who are younger than her husband) are thrilled that Doug is in their daughter’s life and the pair is currently in talks with MTV to film a reality show.
Momma Stodden, Courtney, and Doug
While many would view poor Courtney as an oversexed, exploited teenager being rented out the highest bidder by her delusional mother, I prefer to see a levelheaded young talent who has been unfairly vilified by an envious public. With the exception of perhaps Shayne Lamas, few can understand Courtney’s cumbersome burden of both talent and beauty.

Who are we to tell her that she should not publicly expose her underage flesh at a family pumpkin patch or forgo a basic understanding of math and science in order to pursue a degree in “Dougology”? What business is it of ours if she wishes to constantly Tweet nonsensical messages and sexualize mundane tasks? Perhaps we should be thanking her for rejecting a system that prefers contributions to humanity and age-appropriate wardrobes over superficiality and debilitating narcissism.

Of course, there is also the possibility that Courtney is just vapid and clueless. She makes me feel like I owe Heidi Montag a heartfelt apology, but that is probably the result of my sultry subconscious swarming with scintillating scenes of sensual solitude surrounded by a soulless swath of satisfied sarcasm supporters XOXO…..