Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Your Guide to the Thanksgiving Blogs

It's that wonderful time of year again, when people of all races and creeds open up their hearts and laptops to blog about Thanksgiving.  What can we expect from this year's Thanksgiving-blog lineup?

Of course there'll be the familiar favorites: heartfelt, sincere expressions of gratitude for family, friends, and what remains of our health.  The best of these will contain a soupcon of humor about also being thankful for spiral-sliced ham, but not so thankful for green-bean casserole, or perhaps a droll reminder that anything eaten between twelve noon and midnight on November 27th is completely calorie free.  (Ha-ha)  Reading too many blogs along these lines gets depressing after awhile, especially if your own Thanksgiving is going to suck, but the holidays wouldn't be the same without them.

Speaking of depressing, there will be oodles of blogs on how to burn calories and lose weight following the turkey-day gorge-fest.  I advise steering clear of these unless you're into that sort of thing, in which case, I'd advise others to steer clear of you.

Then, if you really want to be depressed, there's blogs about shopping for Black Friday specials.  Oh, please, spare me.  Bloggers gushing about how early they got up, how far from the mall they had to park, the lines and crowds they endured, and the bargains they got - or didn't get.  To counter those with equal and opposite noxiousness, are anti-Black Friday blogs where self-righteous hipster pinheads rail against capitalist greed and its exploitation of consumers with an utterly commercialized holiday celebrating the birth of a man devoted to a life of humility and poverty.

God, I need a drink.

And what Thanksgiving would be complete without a blog or two "correcting" our mistaken notions about Thanksgiving itself?  For example, did you know at the first Thanksgiving, there wasn't Turkey, but lobster?  Did you know pilgrims didn't have buckles on their hats or the Indians feathers in their hair, but actually the other way around?  Did you know the first Thanksgiving was in Canada?  And did you know it wasn't Thanksgiving at all, but St Swiven's Day?

Sweet Jesus, take me now.

And if all that isn't depressing enough, there'll be at least one meta-blog blogging about blogging about Thanksgiving, wherein some curmudgeonly spoilsport, who clearly has a stick up his butt about something, gets incensed about all the other blogs out there which clearly he doesn't have to read if he doesn't want to.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's About Time

If we can bottle these, why not exercise?
Health experts have long recommended engaging in physical activities, but many people do not exercise. Swiss food company NestlĂ©, however, appears to have found a solution to this dilemma with the "exercise in a bottle."  The world's largest food company said that research conducted by scientists from the NestlĂ© Institute of Health suggest that food and nutritional products may soon be able to provide some of the beneficial effects of exercise on the body's metabolism and this could particularly benefit physically inactive individuals. - Rhodi Lee, Tech Times

Well, I for one say "Thank goodness."  It only makes sense that the makers of chocolate milk and cocoa would be the ones to create what American civilization has craved for so long: exercise you can drink.  I'm tired of these dang fitness nuts making me feel inferior with their rock-hard abs and low body fat.  Soon we can all have the physique we want without hard work and discipline that make life such a downer.

The worst part about exercise nuts is their moral superiority.  "I just go to the gym thirty minutes a day instead of watching TV."  Or, "Instead of candy and fatty foods, I just eat fresh fruit and vegetables."  Thanks a lot, you selfish bastards.  Now the rest of us have to watch that much extra TV and eat that much more junk food to keep the national average up.  They never think about that, do they?  They get to pamper themselves on treadmills and elliptical machines while the rest of us have to slog through Law and Order marathons choking down bagfuls of Kettle Brand krinkle-cut potato chips.  And they're all smug because they're into "extreme sports" like rock-climbing, or white-water kayaking, or sit-ups or whatever; but it says right on the package that Cheetos are "dangerously cheesy."  You hear that, you self-righteous butt-holes?  "Dangerously cheesy."

Well, the tables have finally turned.  We can be just as fit as you by doing what we do best: eating processed foods from gigantic multinational corporations. 

As soon as we have education in a bottle and basic human decency in a bottle, we will achieve a new golden age.

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Be a Martyr

Shecky of Antioch
Patron Saint of Yo Mamma Jokes
Here's the thing about martyrs, a lot of them had it coming.

I'm not saying all martyrs, but a pretty fair percentage of them were definitely looking for trouble and deserved whatever they got.  Very few people were ever just walking down the street and got themselves martyred.  

Now some people are martyred in the act of doing something genuinely worthwhile, and that's different.  Like say you're this really great plumber.  I mean like a genius plumber.  You are to plumbing what Michaelangelo was to ceilings.  And one day, a buddy says, "Hey, word to the wise.  Certain Powers That Be want that pipe to drip."  And you're like, "No way I'm not fixing this pipe.  A plumber's got to do what a plumber's got to do.  Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, a plumber's gotta plumb."  And you fix the pipe, and you die for it because fixing that particular pipe happened to step on some very powerful toes.  That kind of martyrdom's okay because you're serving humanity.  But other martyrs, let's face it, want to be martyrs first and foremost, and humanity can go take a flying flip for all they care.

You can tell the people who want to be martyrs because they're happy about it.  For anyone else, it's an inconvenience.  "Do you really have to martyr me now?  I have this toilet I need to plunge."

If you want to be a martyr, there's a few basic steps.  First of all, antagonize people who're bigger than you, more numerous than you, and better armed than you.  Back in Bible days, calling people vipers usually did the trick.  Call them vipers or anything in a den - "dens of vipers" "dens of thieves" etcetera.  The only thing worse than being a plain viper is being a viper in a den.  A plain viper maybe can't help it; a viper in a den is up to something.

Then you talk about their parents: how their parents were dens of vipers.  And their parents.  And their parents.

Now when your audience starts gnashing their teeth, you know you've really got them where you want them.  In normal social situations, if you see any tooth-gnashing, it's a sign you better lighten up; but in a martyr-type set-up, the more gnashing the better.  You see them gnashing their teeth and maybe looking around for rocks to throw, then you're pretty much set.  (Oh, I forgot to mention: it helps to do this where there's a lot of loose rocks lying around.  If you do it on the beach, it may not work so well.)

Now, once the rocks start flying, here's the hat trick: forgive them.  You got to do this just right for the full effect.  Forgiveness can't imply an apology - it can't be something like, "Hey, I forgive you for stoning me to death.  Fact is, I was being kind of a pest.  I should've taken the hint when you started all that tooth-gnashing."  No, the way you forgive them, is just straight-out forgiveness, like they started stoning you out of the blue only you're too nice a guy to hold it against them.  That'll really piss them off, but by then you'll already be dead and they can't do anything about it.

And that's how to be a martyr.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Does God Feel About Getting Filthy Stinking Rich?

"Turns out, you can take it with you."
Frankly, He's completely cool with it.  Really.  He wants you to get as much money as you can, right?  I mean, why else would he put us here?

You look at the Big Guy Himself.  I'm talking about God here.  Numero Uno.  He owns the whole universe, right?  He made it, it's His.  Can't get much richer than that.  And he wants us to follow his example.  Starting to get the picture?

And look at the way he set the world up, the natural order.  Every animal out there is busting its hump as hard as it can to get as rich as possible.  Consider the lilies of the field. They're all photosynthesizing hand over fist.  When you're a lily, that's basically being rich.  Chlorophyll is like money to them.  Or you take the sparrows.  They're out there catching worms like gangbusters.  Cause for a sparrow, worms is money.  Of course, with a free enterprise system, like nature is, you got your winners and you got your losers.  Take dinosaurs.  They were top dog for the longest, but they got lazy.  Stopped innovating.  They forgot the lessons that got them on top in the first place.  So boom.  Bankruptcy, or as the dinosaurs called it, extinction.  With God, you're never too big to fail, so keep that in mind.

Everyone says but what about that line about the eye of the needle and the camel and all that.  Yeah, yeah, I know, but everyone forgets the second part of the verse, where Jesus says, in effect, "Sure, sure, it's hard getting a camel through the eye of a needle, but it's possible.  It's just gonna cost you." (Wink-wink.)

And people point at Jesus, and they're like, "Whoa, there, Jesus himself was kind of anti-money, wasn't he?"  Well, that's just plain not true.  It's a shame the way some people distort the Bible's message.  Like they take a few facts, like Jesus never got a MBA, and he never held down a paying job, and he lived with his mom - and they string a few things like that together and come up with the notion Jesus didn't care about money.  

But you got to look at the big picture.  Jesus, he's like the CEO, and he picks twelve folks to help run his company.  (Of course, one of them was Judas, but there's a loser in every batch.  Now, you take Peter.  There was a go-getter.)  And Jesus gets crucified, but on the third day he's promoted, and then his disciples are running the business.  And what a business.  You show me any company in the Fortune 500 that's raked in as much loot or lasted two thousand years like Jesus Christ, Inc!  And you know the best-selling book of all time?  That's right, the Bible.  You add it all up - publishing, radio, tv, movies, not to mention the whole tithing racket, and Christianity is the biggest money-maker of all time!  Not bad for an illiterate carpenter's son, huh?

So, does God want you to have money?  Hells yes.  God loves money.  For all I know, God is money.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chickens in the Tool Room

The chickens have done things to the inside
of a fertilizer-spreader that will
give me nightmares for years to come
Nancy is out of town, and, no, the "mouse" has not been playing.  The mouse has been working.  And whenever the mouse looks up from nibbling, during a well-deserved cheese break, all it sees is more work ahead.

I will now abandon the mouse metaphor, which is the problem with a good metaphor, once you grab hold of one, it's hard to let go.

In particular, I dread having to deal with the tool room this weekend.  I pray that sweet Nancy, who reposts these for me on her Facebook page will not peruse this particular blog too carefully.  Owing to a chicken-coop malfunction the other week, a predator got in and attacked one of our birds.  I moved them into our tool room.  I repaired the coop, but the attack victim is still recovering, and then came an unseasonable cold-snap so I have left the birds in situ.

It has been over a week now.  The chickens have made themselves quite at home.  When you visualize "home" for a chicken, perhaps you think of fluffy clean straw, an egg picturesquely perched in a little hollow, like a pie set on a windowsill to cool.  Some soft downy feathers, mayhap.  A needlepoint reading, "The cluck stops here."


This is not how chickens view home.  I will not explain what home is like to a chicken.  Suffice to say, it is a place of horror.  The chickens have done things to the inside of a fertilizer-spreader that will no doubt give me nightmares for years to come. 
Sunday, I will be working in the utility room with a scraper, bleach, and a hazmat suit.

And Nancy, if you do read this, I'm only kidding.  The chickens have left the tool room immaculate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Coming Crisis in Trendy Foods

The Artist's Depiction of Hipsters
Admiring a Sweet Potato.
Which Goes to Show the Artist Has
No Concept of How Hipsters Look
I am very concerned about trendy foods.  In the previous century, where I still spend most of my time, there were a set number of foods available and everyone ate them, and no one complained, but then, there was a gradual explosion of new and trendy foods.  (Yes, I know explosions can't be gradual, but I couldn't think of another way to say it.)  

I believe it started way back when with the kiwi fruit.  Does anyone remember the first time you saw a kiwi fruit in the grocery store?  "What is it?  A mushy tennis ball?  A really old egg?  No, it's delicious."  Then came sushi.  Ah, sushi.  I've really come to love it, but there was a time I was put off by it, partly because of the notion of eating raw fish, and partly because of an unfortunate incident when I mistook a blob of wasabi for guacamole.

By the way, incredible as this may seem, guacamole was once a "new" food, at least in these parts.  And yes, I do realize, that these novelty foods were only new to us, and by "us," I mean benighted southerners who don't wear shoes in the summer and probably breed with their cousins.  I recall the first time my buddy Mark Silberman explained the concept of a bagel to me.  As he described it, it was sort of a doughnut, only not at all sweet, and chewy enough to pull out a filling, on which you smeared cream cheese - which I hadn't had at that time either - tomato, onion, and smoked salmon, which I'd also never had.  I cannot tell you how revolting I found the prospect of this melange of flavors and textures.  Since that time, of course, I've come to adore lox and bagels.  For a time, bagels were all the rage, and they mutated into varieties that would be inedible with smoked fish, for example, blueberry and cranberry bagels.

Whenever the excitement of a new food reached its apogee and public enthusiasm began to wane, the Novelty Food Industrial Complex could be relied upon to spring some new treat on the stage.  "I don't know about you, but I'm bored to death with edamame... say, have you tried this branzino?  It's delish!"

The first tremor of the coming implosion was the introduction of shrimp and grits as haute cuisine.  You can't throw a stick these days without hitting a restaurant that sells shrimp and grits.  Basically, some clown put shrimp, which everyone already knew about, and dumped them on grits, I repeat, grits, and called the result a flavor sensation.  Then, and the memory of this is only now beginning to fade, there came kale.  Kale, kale, kale.  There was sort of a frenzy about the thing.  Admittedly, I'd never knowingly eaten kale, but I was perfectly aware of its existence.  It was a green, alongside collards and mustards, and presumably, when boiled with a sufficient amount of side meat, indistinguishable from its more familiar cousins.  And yet the public, yearning for some new gustatory experience, jumped on this bandwagon like a, well, bandwagon.

What, the cognoscenti asked themselves, will they think of next?  What they thought of next was - get ready for this - the sweet potato.  When the next thing you think of is a sweet potato, it means you've run out of things to think of.  How bizarre the spectacle of hipsters oohing and ahhing over a - I still can't get over this - a sweet potato.  "Look at all the antioxidants!  And the Vitamin C."  I believe orange peel, which on occasion I do eat, has an equal amount of Vitamin C, and as far as antioxidants go, isn't that something they put in antifreeze?

Even as I write this, the sweet potato craze has passed, and Americans are nervously looking around and wondering what will come along to replace it.  Perhaps they dimly sense, it's over.  The last truly new food was edamame, and now, we're not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, we're clawing at it, and soon will come out the other side.

I can't say for certain what tired old standby will be foisted on the gullible public as the latest thing, but just in case - I'm investing heavily in turnips.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pick Your Jesus

To list all the known Jesuses available to date would be too cumbersome, and so the essential questions of Jesus are divided up under headings I, II, and III.  By selecting one or more appropriate choices under each heading, you can perfectly identify which Jesus you accept.  A traditional Christian, for instance, would believe in Jesus Ia,IIa,IIIa.

I. Identity of Jesus
     a. Jesus was God incarnate, and healed the sick and blind.
     b. Jesus was a prophet who may have healed the sick and blind, but only if they were faking weren't all that sick and blind in the first place.
     c. No such person as Jesus existed at all, or if he did, he wasn't Jesus Jesus, but some ordinary guy, and the whole Jesus Jesus story was made up by Paul and some others.

II. Death and/or resurrection
     a. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, and on the third day, he rose again.
     b. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried.  The end.
     c. Jesus was crucified, but he got better.
     d. Jesus was crucified, and is buried next to his wife and children.  (See III f)

III. The Virgin Birth and Immaculate Conception
     a. Jesus died a virgin, as did his mother Mary.
     b. Jesus died a virgin, but Mary stopped being a virgin after Jesus was born and had other children by Joseph.
     c. Jesus died a virgin, but Mary was not a virgin and never had been and just told Joseph the whole virgin birth thing so as not to get in trouble,
     d. Neither Jesus nor Mary were virgins, or not for their whole lives anyway, and Jesus had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene.
     e. Neither Jesus nor Mary were virgins, and Jesus was gay.
     f. Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children of their own.
     g. Jesus died a virgin but secretly thought Mary Magdalene was cute and often asked the disciples, "Does she ever talk about me?"