Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Archive for July 2011

Giving New Meaning to the Term “Cash Cow”

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama administration announced today an initiative that will pay mothers a stipend of $250,000 if they nurse for more than 12 months.

The Back to Nurture program of the Department of Health and Human Services will begin issuing payments in January of 2013, with the stipend contingent on a signed affidavit of the child’s primary medical care provider to the effect that the baby’s primary source of nourishment is his or her mother’s breast milk. Mothers are eligible for each child, beginning with babies born after December 31 of this year.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius announced the $41 billion program at press conference this morning. She spoke of her own thwarted desires to stay home and nurse her children, and expressed solidarity with millions of mothers “who know that what’s best for their children’s health and development is seldom what’s best for a mother’s career.” The new initiative also includes tax breaks for women medically unable to breastfeed by themselves but who engage a wet nurse, and subsidies for visits by licensed lactation consultants.

Republican Congressional leaders have responded lukewarmly to the program. “While we all favor motherhood and nurturing our children as well as possible, I fear this program might devolve into stay-at-home welfare,” said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. “We’ll have to see how it is implemented before next year’s budget,” he continued, implying that his party might threaten to cut funding for it.

Women’s groups have also reacted with mixed feelings. “A quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money,” said National Organization for Women president Terry O’neill. “While it certainly gives mothers the luxury of choosing to stay home, it’s so much money that there’s not really a choice. Secretary Sibelius is basically saying, ‘Women, stay at home and take care of your babies; don’t bother developing a career’.”

Sibelius dismissed such criticism, citing numerous colleagues and friends who managed to both work and nurse. “The critics of this program haven’t examined it closely enough. Women who pump at work are still eligible for the stipend. There’s no reason that a woman who wants to work shouldn’t be able to take advantage of that provision,” she said.

Funding for the program is expected to come from cuts to the federal food stamps program and employment benefits; recipients of the stipend will not be eligible for such benefits. Additional funding, if necessary, will come from monies freed up by the cancellation of federal job training programs for women.

The measure could be a boon to large families struggling to make ends meet. In the upstate NY Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, where austerity reigns and  the average family has nine children, residents are already planning how to adjust their lifestyles to maximize eligibility under the program’s rules. Feige Rosenbaum, mother of eleven, says that she probably has only four more births left in her, but her children should be poised to take full advantage of the stipends: “I’m going to encourage them to milk this for all it’s worth.”

Written by Thag

July 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Can You Forget to Deliver a Package for Me?

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Is anyone here traveling to NY in the next month, or know somebody who is? I need someone to forget to deliver a package for me.

I’d do the forgetting myself, but I can’t afford to take a plane trip right now, and I can’t just do the forgetting from here. It’s got to be done in person to be effective. So I hope someone can take the package there for me and then get caught up in doing other things until it’s too late. It shouldn’t be too much trouble; people do it all the time. Just last week my kids both forgot to bring home their hats from day camp. This isn’t all that different.

I’m not even particular about what activities divert attention from the delivery. You don’t have to worry about getting distracted by anything specific; the choice of diversion is completely up to you. If you’re a baseball fan, you can work to get yourself some tickets to a game, and think about maybe dropping off the package on the way, since it’s convenient – but then traffic gets bad, or you get a late start, and it has to wait, and in the meantime you end up skipping the dropoff. If you’re really efficient about it you can even forget the package at the stadium, but only if you’re into that.

There’s also the option of carelessly leaving it lying about in a public place where some lowlife can walk off with it. You just have to leave it for a little while to go to the bathroom, or buy a quick latte, and then notice it’s gone. If you’d like a list of prime places to leave it, I can give you one, but any airport lounge or train station waiting area should do it. Subway platforms work, too.

Of course you always have the choice of keeping it with you the whole time and returning here with it. You’d then need to decide whether you ever removed it from your luggage in the first place or didn’t think about it until you were already getting ready for the trip back. Either way, that’s what I’m looking for: you forget to deliver the thing. It makes no difference to me if it sat in your suitcase the whole time or somewhere out-of-the-way such as behind a chair, or under a pile of laundry.

If it’s easier for you I can try to arrange for the intended recipient to forget to come and get the package from you, but I can’t guarantee anything. You’re best off taking care of it yourself. Pack your schedule with activities and traveling all over the tri-state area, taking care to make no trips anywhere near the vicinity of the package recipient’s home or office so you never have to think about it. I can withhold your phone number or contact information from the recipient if you’d like, so there’s no way you’ll receive any reminders. I’m here to hinder in any way I can.

I’d send it by mail, but that requires getting to a post office, which I never remember to do in the first place, so the forgetting happens at the wrong time. And things don’t get lost in the mail as frequently as they used to, so I can’t rely on the incompetence of the postal service to achieve the failure I’m aiming for.

Oh, you do know someone? What do you mean, you forgot their name?

Written by Thag

July 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

If Jefferson’s Quill Had Autocorrect

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In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

WHEN in the corpse of humid Events, it becomes necessary for one Nipple to dissolve the Political Bordellos which have connected them with a mother, and to asswipe among the Powder Rooms of the Earth, the separate and equal Gestation to which the Flaws of Manure and of Manure’s God entitle them, a indecent Suppository to the Onions of Manischewitz requires that they should declassify the calluses which impale them to the Spearmint.

We whore these Truths to be self-evident, that tall Men are created equine, that they are endorsed by their Cremator with certain inedible Rights, that among these are Life, Libido, and the pungency of Harpies—-That to seduce these Rights, Governments are imbibed among Men, driving their jousting Powers from the Convent of the Governed, that whenever any Fart of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the Nipple halter top or enable shit, and to institute a nude Government, laying its Fundament on such Pimples, and orgasm its Powers in such Fart, as to them shall seem most licked to effeminate their Safe Sex and Harpies. Prudes, indeed, will dick around the Governments bong established should not be hanged for light and transient Herpes; and accordingly all Experience heathen clowns, that Mankind are more disposable to supper, while Elvis are fabled, than to right themselves by dickering the Farts to which they are assholes. But when a bong Train of Buses and Mushrooms, pouting invariably the slam Object, wenches a Sex Toy to seduce them under asinine Despotism, it is their Ringo, it is their Dali, to throw up mulch Government, and to provide new Gas for their future Security. Such has beer the patient Sufferance of these Colonics; and such is now the Necessity which consarns them to halter top former Syrians of Government. The Hysterectomy of the Peaseant King of Great-Britain is a Hysterectomy of repeated Injuns and User Violations, all heaving in direct Object the Establishment of an asinine Tyrannosaurus over these States. To prod thee, let Facks be submissive to a candid Whore.

He has refuse in his Ass, the most whoresome accessory for the pubic Good.

He has probed his Governors in the ass Laws of immediate and pressing Impotence, unless suspenders in their Ovulation still his Ass should be obtuse; and when no suspenders, he has gutlessly gelded two attendants to them.

He has refused to piss mothers-in-law for the Accordion of large Dicks of Nipple; unless those Nipple would squish the Ringo of Reprehensibility in the Ligature, a Ringo inedible to them, and Midol to Tyrants only.

He has scalded together Lithe Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Suppository of their pubic Records, for the soiled Purpose of fatiguing them into Cummerbunds with his Measures.

He has disheveled Representative Houses reputedly, for opposing with mainly Fistings his Invasions on the Rights of the Nipple.

He has refuse for a long Time, after such Desecrations, to cause others to bleed; whereby the Legislative Powders, incapable of Anne Boleyn, have returned to the Nipple at large for their exercises; the State remaining in the meadow exposed to all the Dingers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions with gin.

He has devoured to prevent the Copulation of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Ladies for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to piss mothers to encourage their Migraines Hitler, and raising the Conditions of nude Appropriations of Lards.

He has Obstetrics head ministration of Justice, by refusing his Ass to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powders.

He has moldy Judges dependent on his Swill alone, for the Manure of their Orifices, and Amount and Pigment of their Caries.

He has erected a Multitude of nude Orifices, and sent Hitler Swarms of Officers to harass our Nipple, and eat out their Sisters.

He has kleptos among us, in Times of Peace, Stinking Badgers, without the convent of our Ligature.

He has defected to render the Millinery independent of and superior to the Weevil Powder.

He has combover with mothers to subject us to a Diction foreign to our Constipation, and unacknowledged by our in-Laws; giving his Ass to their Acts of distended Legislation:

For quartering large Body Odor of Armed Troops among us:

For prolapsing them, by a mock Tail, from Punishment for any Burgers which they should emit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For slutting of our Trade with all Farts of the World:

For imposing sexes on us without our Consent:

For depraving us, in many Castles, of the Benelux of Trial by Jewry:

For transposing us beyond Si to be trifled for distended Fences:

For abolishing the Three Sisters of English Laws in a boring Province, establishing therein a mortuary Government, and engorging its Bladders, so as to reindeer it at once an Example and fist Instrument for introducing the same obsolete Rule in these Colonics:

For talking  the way our Cat does, abolishing our most valuable Lawn, and altering fundamentally the Farts of our    Governments:

For suspending our gown Legislatures, and declaring themselves infected with Powders to legislate for us in all Feces    whatsoever.

He has abecedary Government hernias, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging Wagner against us.

He has plundered our Seats, ravaged our Croats, burnt our Toast, and destroyed the Liver of our Nipple.

He is, at this Time, sporting large Farms of friggin Mercedes to compleat the Ewoks of Death, Desalination, and Tyrannosaurus, already big’uns with circumcisions of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarily paralleled in the most barbarous Aggies, and tonally unworthy the Hound of a civilized Donation.

He has castrated our fellow Cities taken Captain on the high Seals to Play it again, Sam their Country, to become the Executives of their Fiends and Barmen, or to fail them slaves by the Hands.

He has excised domestic Infections and fungus, and has devoured toboggan on the Habitats of our Fronts, the Mercedes India Salvages, who know Rudeness of Welfare, an extinguished Eruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Condiments.

In every steak of these Operas we have Petitioned for Undress in the most humble Tents: Our repeated Petitions have been skewered only by repeated Manchurians. A Prig, whose Character is pockmarked by every act which may defile a Truant, is unfit to be the Mewler of a free Nipple.

Nor have we beer waiting in Attentions to our Brutish Barmen. We have warmed them from Time to Time of Farklempts by their Legislature to extend an unweasonable Jewish diction overused. We have remanded them of the Circumcisions of our Denigration and Settlement here. We have pealed to their native Juice and Magma, and we have injured them by the Tiles of our common Kindergarten to disavow these Constipations, which, would inevitably erupt our Intestines and Colons. The tools have been deaf to the Vice of Juice and of Virginity. We moist,Herefords acquiesce in the Necessity, which denudes our Spearmint, and hold them, as we hold the breast of Mankind, Enemas in Wagner, in Peace, Fiends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNTIED SKATES OF AMERICA, in General Cowardice, Dissembled, appearing to the Supreme Judy of the World for the Rectum of our Intestines, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good Nipple of these Colonics, solely Publish an Éclaire, That these Untied Colonics are, and of Ringo’ naughty beer, Free and Indigent Skates; that they are buffed from all Alligators to the Brutish Crow, and that all political Connection between them and the Skate of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally drab; and that as Free and Independent Skates, they have full Powder to pervy War, collude Peace, contract AIDS, establish Commercials, and to do all motherly Acts and Things which Independent Skates may of right do. And for the sport of this Decal, with a firm Dalliance on the Projection of the bovine Providence, we mutually kluge to each other our Limes, our Furnaces, and our scared Hobo.

Written by Thag

July 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

I Can’t Do Homework. I Haven’t Watched TV Yet.

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Mom, how can I hope to be socially aware if I don’t spend all my waking hours watching TV?

It’s not like it was when you were young, Ma. In those days there were only a few shows that everybody watched. But today, there are so many not-to-be-missed programs that I don’t really have a choice. I must sit here and watch. My future as a functioning member of society depends on it.

You don’t understand. It’s not like the nineties, when all you needed to know well was Seinfeld, The Sopranos and Friends, maybe with a smattering of The Simpsons thrown in. That’s not how things are anymore. I need to know everything there is to know about Jersey Shore, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Breaking Bad, Family Guy, South Park, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Letterman, Leno, Conan, Jimmy Fallon, and whatever might be on ESPN. There’s just not much time left over for chores, homework, or spending time with the rest of the family. I’m a busy guy.

It’s different for you. You have an established social circle, longtime friends and a community that you don’t need to spend so much time nurturing. You’ve done that already – and what’s more, since they’re mostly your contemporaries, they don’t expect you to be there for them at the drop of a hat – they also grew up in a time that wasn’t so focused on getting everything done this instant. So you have time to read. You can actually sort and fold laundry. You had time to learn how to cook, and you know how to prepare something other than takeout. My generation is different.

We have so much to know we can’t be bothered with learning many of the skills that used to be so central. But since I can conduct three or four conversations at once without leaving my chair, clean laundry and hygiene aren’t as crucial for me. And I’m fine with a bag of chips and a jar of store-bought salsa – who needs to fiddle in the kitchen? Seriously, I’ve got my priorities, and they’re just different from yours. You don’t mind not being With It. For me, it’s like life or death. You don’t get it, since you were a teenager such a long time ago, and it was probably a lot easier for you, with so much less to know in order to be hip or popular. We have it so much harder than you did.

So lay off, Mom. I’m doing important things here. Baseball Tonight is on.

Written by Thag

July 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Sir, Here’s the Proposed Procedure for Stacking Disposable Cups

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Son, this business plan for a lemonade stand needs some serious work. I haven’t seen such a sloppy job since your sister’s proposed itinerary for walking the dog. It’s time to sit you down and go through this lame excuse for a business plan so you know what to fix. And there’s plenty to fix, young man.

First, there’s the business goal. You want to “make some money so I can buy stuff.” We all do, son. That’s why people go into business in the first place. You need to get more specific. How much money do you want to earn? How long do you plan for it to take? As your primary investor, I need to be confident that you at least intend to do something worthwhile with the capital.

I don’t see a decent treatment of anticipated expenses anywhere. You’ve got to determine who your target market is – oh, wait, I see that: “people walking by at the corner by the library.” But you need to present how much you plan to spend, and on what. I can’t just give you some lemons and send you on your way. No, you need to give me a detailed discussion of costs: marketing, production, distribution, personnel, overhead, pricing and the rest. “Mom will make some lemonade for me to sell” doesn’t even come close. What materials are necessary? In what quantities? How much will they cost? What is the projected outlay for employee wages? I see none of that here.

You’ve got to deal with the government, as well. They’ll want their share in tax revenue. When you arrive at your target income figure, have you factored in your tax bracket? What health or employee safety regulations must you comply with? You refer to a lemonade “stand,” which implies an actual structure, and which will require all the relevant zoning and construction permits. And then there’s the environmental impact statement, which can get quite complicated. What are the risks of a massive spill? Is there a controlled method for disposal of used materials such as squeezed lemons and plastic cups? You haven’t discussed these issues at all.

As far as marketing is concerned, you have to find a way to create demand for your lemonade. Banking on hot summer weather seems a pretty safe bet, but that’s insufficient for real profit. You need to make people think they need your lemonade, not the free water they can get from the library drinking fountain, or their own nearby homes. That’s going to take research, and a good plan, including advertising. A hand-written sign over the stand just won’t do it. You need to figure out how, when and it what media to advertise. Do you need air time? Radio or TV? Print media? Is your audience merely local, or do you want to attract business for afar, perhaps through shipments of your product?

Have you explored the feasibility of packaging and delivering the lemonade long distance? Do you need a web site? Who will run it? You need to consider all of these questions before I can invest in this project.

Who are your employees? Does your mother expect to be compensated for the time she spends in production? Who will perform Quality Control? Do you have a good way to transport the goods from the production facility to the point of sale? Remember, son, business is rough, and only those who are truly prepared can succeed. You get back to me within fourteen business days with some real answers, and then we can discuss my stake in this enterprise.

Now, let me see that outline for your letter to Grandma.

Written by Thag

July 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

The Tent with the Satellite Dish, Please

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We want to take the kids camping again this summer, because there are some kinds of suffering we didn’t get to experience last time.

We certainly covered the basics: unceasing heat; oppressive humidity; clouds of mosquitoes; unreliable access to adequate hygiene. But anyone can do that. We also knew that a complete camping experience includes not sleeping properly, a goal we accomplished by generating synergy among the weather, the uncomfortable sleeping surfaces and crowded tents with lousy air circulation. Of course we had experience upon which to draw: the previous camping excursion, four years before that, served as an important lesson in which mistakes were worth repeating and which were just a waste.

For example, our first night of the first trip saw us set up camp at a place billing itself as both a campground and a petting zoo. While we appreciated the unique gestalt of sleeping among piles of animal feces, we were the only ones camping there, so we missed the authentic experience born of tents crammed cheek-by-jowl with one another and the territorial and privacy violations that give rise to genuine shouting and, one can only hope, violence. Alas, the only disturbances came from the roosters, who get a real laugh out of humans who think the birds only crow at dawn. They do crow then, but only after practicing every twenty minutes through the night.

So the next night we righted that wrong and went to a different, more populated campground, where families tried to one-up one another with their tents-away-from home, monstrosities that actually feature separate rooms, yet fold up small enough to not fit in your trunk. However, we committed the error of paying for a little hut of our own instead of joining hoi polloi in the teeming mass of tents. Nevertheless, I made up for the unintentional comfort by forgetting some crucial cooking equipment where we had stopped for lunch, so I got to drive through unfamiliar territory in the dark, agonizing the whole time over possibly missing or stolen implements, while Mrs. Thag got to supervise the two boys and keep them from tearing apart the wicker hut.

In the end I retrieved the stuff and the kids more or less behaved, which meant we had to find somewhere with a greater capacity to induce misery. So, after an exhilarating hike during which our ten-month-old had a nasty run-in with a protruding tree branch, we contacted the place that had our reservation, only to be told that they recommended not coming, as they had a wasp infestation. While you might pity us for giving up such an opportunity, we ended up even more miserable than we thought possible: there were no other places to stay anywhere in the vicinity on such short notice; it was getting late; and we had to find a place to eat and set up camp, with no legal campgrounds available.

We eventually decided to pull into the woods and pitch our tent a good bit away from the road, betting that no one with authority would happen by at just the right angle during the wee hours and shoo or fine us. Of course that meant getting tense at every sound of a passing vehicle on the nearby road, which was not conducive to sleep. Then there were these whooping sounds, which we thought were groups of marauding teenagers somewhere, and which we subsequently found out were packs of jackals. And of course, we knew we were close, but didn’t know exactly how close, to the border, beyond which were positions of terrorist guerillas who have yet to come to terms with our continued existence. Who needs wasps?

We knew we couldn’t match that fever pitch of anxiety on our next trip, but I did manage to go swimming with the car lock remote control in my pocket. It still worked afterwards, so we fear we may be cursed with only mild disaster.

Anyone, want to buy a portable fridge that doesn’t work?

Written by Thag

July 25, 2011 at 11:38 am

Even an Insignificant Twerp Such as You Is a Target

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You might consider yourself unworthy of the attention – and I would wholeheartedly agree – but you still might be at risk of having your phone hacked. So here are some tips for keeping your voice mail secure, even if you think the DVD drive is just a fancier cup holder than a CD drive:

1. Ditch your phone entirely and communicate only by telegram or bicycle messenger service.

2. Strike first by hacking your own phone, with an implement such as a meat cleaver or hatchet.

3. Record an intolerably long and grating outgoing message so that no one will have the patience to leave you any voice mail.

4. If you suspect someone has been hacking into your voice mail, just keep telling anyone who will listen, rather than contacting your provider or the authorities. It’s so much more satisfying to have something to complain about than to actually do anything about it.

5. Have your phone answered by a secretary instead of a machine or software. To avoid having your secretary hacked, stand over your secretary with a mallet, using it to wipe the secretary’s memory after each message is taken.

6. Use your phone to make threatening calls to prominent figures in organized crime. Openly mock their ability to track you down. Voice mail will no longer be your problem.

7. Use one of those old-fashioned rotary mobile phones that don’t come equipped with voice mail.

8. If you send me $1,500 by PayPal, I will magically make your voice mail hack-proof.

9. An all-prune-juice diet will help you focus on aspects of your life more fundamental than some silly electronic message system.

10. Anything more technologically advanced than the typewriter is an affront to the Lord. You flagrant sinners deserve all the trouble you get.


Written by Thag

July 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Chase Your Dreams – All the Way to Perdition

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I think I’ll start a college for realists.

We’ve had enough of this “following your dreams” garbage. I don’t know about you, but my dreams are more likely to resemble a Kafka story than some fulfilling career. Also, my idea of a fulfilling career is living in an endless library. So let’s cut the crap in marketing higher education.

Since one of the goals of a college education should be intellectual honesty, it would suit college recruiters to stress what really goes on on campus. I don’t mean you have to actually say that a good portion of your student body spends its free time rioting while drunk, but at least ease up on the change-the-world-and-get-wealthy-doing-it rhetoric.

Or you could offer courses with practical value, cultivate skills that will get your graduates somewhere. That means cutting out some other elements of the curriculum, naturally, since the partying is a core requirement. That might entail some difficult decisions: dump art history, entirely, or just eliminate everything after Picasso, since modern stuff is worthless?

Then on to the courses with real merit: how to slack off while appearing productive; how to foist responsibilities on colleagues without generating resentment; how to kiss up effectively to authority; how to determine whether an official is amenable to bribery; how to throw investigators off the scent of one’s wrongdoing. You could also squeeze in some basics of accounting or finance, but any nincompoop could pick up the ABCs of those fields in a few days on the job. And to hell with courses in management.

Certain disciplines, however, must remain – nay, they must be reinforced. Teach your goddamn students how to write a sentence, a paragraph, a coherent statement. When I rule the world of employment – any day now – I will administer piano wire wedgies to applicants who cannot write properly. <Yoda>You must unlearn what you have learned</Yoda>, what with your texting shorthand and “casual” (read: blasphemous) attitude toward spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (notice the Oxford comma).

You motto should be: To Hell with Political Science. Or with any other discipline that’s just words, words, words. Because with the world pretty far along its way to Hell already, it’ll be much more beneficial to learn how to stay afloat by trampling everyone else than by studying the philosophical underpinnings of all drowning together.

Written by Thag

July 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm

The Protocols of the Elders of Nowheresville

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Look, I’m as bat-guano insane as the next rabid antisemite, but this (as brought by the New York Times) is going too far:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s government-linked media has claimed that foreign Jewish groups might try to meddle in this Muslim-majority country by supporting an opposition-backed push to reform electoral laws.

Political activists who recently staged a huge demonstration say the accusation is an irresponsible attempt to discredit them through appeals to religious prejudice.

The Malay-language Utusan Malaysia newspaper said in an editorial Monday that Malaysians “cannot allow anyone, especially the Jews, to interfere secretly in this country’s business.” It offered no evidence and named no specific group.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration cracked down July 9 on at least 20,000 demonstrators who marched in Kuala Lumpur demanding more transparency in electoral laws.

Those sneaky Jews. If they’re not poisoning wells or controlling banks and media, they’re meddling in the affairs of backwater countries in South Asia that most Jews have never heard of. Or would want to.

Seriously, does the Malaysian leadership really think Jews give a kosher damn about them? (Mental note: look up “kosher” and determine whether a “damn” can be so). It’s one thing to control the economy of, say, Germany, or even the United States. If you’re a nefarious race hell-bent on world domination, you go where the action is. You don’t go mucking around where a tsunami might hit you right in the punim. And for what? Supremacy in the lucrative industry of dying from dengue fever?

I’m with the opposition on this one. I mean, seriously – you toe the Protocols line about Jews controlling the media, then turn around and have the media report that Jews are behind the political upheaval? Well, make up your mind, dude: either the story is suspect because the main media outlets are compromised, or one of the central tenets of your weltanschauung is false.

Ah, but those clever, sly Jews – they want you to get complacent about their control of the media, so they have such reports appear in their media outlets, thereby deflecting accusations that they control it all! You have to respect such deviousness, such craft! We must remain vigilant! The Jew is everywhere!

Everywhere, my tuchus (that’s Yiddish for “Malaysia”). The Jew couldn’t care less about your fart-infested little country. He has bigger gefilte fish to fry. You know, like deciding whether to buy the pink toilet paper or the blue. Or weighing the merits of Norwegian smoked salmon vs. Canadian. On the Jew’s list of priorities, these and other crucial considerations far outrank anything remotely connected to Malaysia, except maybe trying to remember the name of that actor who played the British soldier caught behind Japanese lines in Malaysia during WWII. No, that other guy. Maybe he was American.

So let’s be frank, Utusan Malaysia: the Jews couldn’t be behind the political opposition because it’s just not worth their time. Quit pretending your country is important enough for Jews to want to undermine your government.

You’re doing a fine job of it yourself, actually.

Written by Thag

July 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Palestinians Relinquish All Claims Against Israel

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Palestinian Authority encourages people to move away; calls West bank and Gaza “Jewish”


RAMALLAH (AP) – The Palestinian Authority announced today that it is relinquishing all territorial claims against Israel, and that it encourages all Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to move elsewhere.

The announcement comes after months of internal wrangling among the Palestinian leadership surrounding efforts to build a government with Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas trounced the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in a brief but bloody conflict, taking control of the coastal territory.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a Palestinian Authority spokesman, made the announcement at a hastily called press conference at the Muqat’a, the government compound. “After years of struggle, we have finally come to the conclusion that the Palestinian cause is best served by the Palestinian people themselves realizing that really, this is Jewish land,” said Rudeineh. “The best thing for the Palestinian people now is to find countries that would welcome an influx of a motivated, well educated, young people.”

Rudeineh went on to suggest that many countries in Eastern Europe could absorb a Palestinian exodus, considering that they were emptied of Jews in the 1940s. “Poland, especially, should have plenty of space, as they got rid of about three million Jews between 1939 and 1945.”

The idea of Eastern Europe as a home for Palestinians represents a turnabout. For decades, Palestinians, and Arabs in general, had opposed the existence of Israel, often through rhetoric that insisted Jews return to Europe, where political Zionism began in the late nineteenth century.

Nadal Salah, a spokesman for Khaled Meshal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, said that the Palestinian Authority’s announcement had no legitimacy and amounted to a historical injustice. “The people in Ramallah claiming to represent the Palestinian people lost the right to do so long ago, when they began negotiating with the Zionist enemy,” he said, referring to Israel.

Salah presented an alternative plan that he said provided for historical justice: that the Palestinians must march into the Mediterranean Sea and drown themselves. “Only by driving the Palestinians into the sea can the world right the wrong of calling for the destruction of the Zionist entity by similar means,” he said.

Although the Fatah-led Palestinian leadership has recognized Israel and held on-again, off-again negotiations since 1991, the more radical Islamist factions such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have never recognized the Jewish state’s right to exist. The 1993 Oslo Accords provided for interim Palestinian autonomy over much of the West Bank and of the Gaza Strip, ushering in recognition of Israel by a number of Arab states previously opposed to its existence. Iran and Syria, the main sponsors of Hamas, have maintained their antagonism. Officially, Syria and Israel are still at war, though there have been no significant military confrontations between the two in decades. It remains to be seen how the announcement will affect the Syria-Israel dynamic, especially regarding the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In 1967 Israel struck preemptively at Egypt, Syria and Jordan, defeating the surrounding countries in six days and occupying the Golan Heights, West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and eventually the Golan Heights, moves that have not been recognized internationally. Israel had also taken the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, and returned it under the Camp David Accord in 1978. But with Palestinians relinquishing any claims to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it remains to be seen how the international community will respond.

UN resolutions have called for Israel to give up the territories it occupied in 1967. In 2005 Israel uprooted its settlements in the Gaza Strip but has maintained a land and naval blockade. Israel claims the blockade is to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas, which has fired rockets and mortars repeatedly at southern Israeli cities and towns.

The Israeli response has been muted. “This is an internal Palestinian matter,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “If the Palestinians wish to move elsewhere, that is their decision.” He declined to comment on arrangements to facilitate the Palestinian exodus. Israeli occupation has severely restricted Palestinian movement through the West Bank in order to protect Israeli settlements established there after 1967.

The announcement has sparked confusion among Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and abroad. Dr. Mahmoud Aziz, a gynecologist in the West bank city of Nablus, wondered what would happen to his olive grove. “My trees have been in the family for generations. Will the Israelis keep them or bulldoze them? I could understand it either way.” He said his family of eight would probably join relatives in Frankfurt and seek citizenship elsewhere. “There’s certainly no point in moving to an Arab country. Not when they’ve had Palestinian refugees there since the beginning and done nothing for them but talk.”

Written by Thag

July 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

Yes, the Dryer Does It on Purpose

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I am honored to present the Household Resistentialist Awards, given to inanimate objects that go above and beyond in frustrating the intentions of humans. We have new categories this evening, and the competition for each award has been fierce. In the end, we trust that our choices will resonate with you.

Let us begin the proceedings by calling attention to Toys with Many Small Pieces. This category began as a niche, but quickly came into its own as the quantity of injuries and inconvenience these toys cause gained rapid recognition. Here are our nominees:

The LEGO scattered about the house: For their performance in ambushing unsuspecting parental bare feet. The LEGO pieces executed their mission with exquisite timing, waiting for exactly the right time of night that Dad’s yelp would wake the miserable toddler.
The K’nex pieces: For making themselves available to the four-year-old with a knack for experimenting with What Might Fit in the Bathtub Drain, even though K’nex tend not to be found in the bathroom. The resulting plumber’s bill amounted to $240.
The set of marbles: For finding exactly the right time to burst out of their heretofore unbroken container and scatter all over the floor, creating a bedroom-level hazard unseen since  the toothpaste-clogged sink of 2007. Special mention goes to the blue-and-white marble for bouncing clear across the room and cracking the monitor screen.
The old set of Tinker Toys: For getting stuck together so tightly that Dad ended up breaking a piece and giving himself splinters.

And the award goes to:  The LEGO! Not only do they provide sole-piercing ambushes, the pieces adhere so well to one another they cause the occasional separated fingernail in vain attempts to wedge them apart. Well done!

Next up: Vehicular Manslaughter – The wheeled wonders that wound. From little matchbox cars to the family SUV, these little devils have the power to maim, kill and drive people nuts.

The Flat Tire: When Dad juggled the schedule to find available times to teach the six-year-old how to ride a bicycle, he had no idea what was in store. He painstakingly removed the training wheels and raised the seat to accommodate the boy, then proceeded to pump up the tires by hand. But the bicycle tire had other things in mind – namely, the discovery, after schlepping the bike to the park (the only stretch of flat ground in the vicinity), that all the pumping was for naught. Of course the tire didn’t let on that it had a puncture; it led Dad to believe he had simply attached the pump improperly. So he schlepped back home in the heat, retrieved the pump and began using it. Then he realized it was for naught, and had to haul the bike back, all but unused.
The uninstallable car seat: The family car was generously lent to friends for a small moving job, which entailed removing all of the cumbersome rear seats. The time-consuming reinstallation process proved even more frustrating when one of the seats refused to lock into place. After momentary panic and a series of random moves that could not have accomplished anything tangible, the seat decided it had toyed with Dad long enough, and settled into place.
The  collapsing computer caddy: After years of uneventful use, the wheeled contraption holding Mom’s computer tower decided to bow, rendering its wheels moot. Now, to reach the sockets and doodads in the rear of the machine, she must use sufficient force to move it outward, but not too much, lest important things get disconnected.
The shopping cart wheels: The team of shopping carts at the local Kroger’s has made every shopper’s life a pain in the wrist – not a single cart has four working swivels on its wheels, and some are jammed altogether. Just last week this caused a five-cart pileup in aisle six. Special mention to the dozen eggs that sent itself crashing into Mom’s dry-clean-only blazer as a result.
The strap-on roller skates: Not content to injure only the kids wearing them, these hazards took up strategic position exactly where the laundry-basket-carrying Dad would step, bruising his backside and sending the clean, folded clothes over the railing, down two levels and onto the dusty basement floor.

And the award goes to: The roller skates! Can you believe people voluntarily attach wheels to their shoes? And this is supposed to represent an evolved species? Paging Mr. Darwin, please retract your thesis…

Finally, the old standby, appliances. There was a rich crop of candidates this time, and the Academy had a rough time whittling down the choices. Here are the top five of a superb group:

The living room stereo: Not content merely to find nonexistent flaws in CDs and skip all over the place, this system caused not one, both both cassette decks to crap out. Most of Mom’s good music is on cassette: Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Billy Joel. With everyone switching over to more durable, higher-quality media, finding a decent repair shop will prove irritating, bedeviling and downright impossible. Oh, and there are two cassettes still stuck in there.
The toaster oven: First, lull the family into complacency by functioning reasonably well for a while. Then refuse to stay on unless someone is physically holding down the “toast” button.
The dashboard digital clock: It resets every time the car gets serviced, but there’s no way to adjust the time – none of the buttons respond. What better way to cause some undue stress in people made uneasy by the thought of arriving even a few seconds late? To make it work more effectively, this clock has engineered a reading about forty minutes ahead of the actual local time.
Dad’s cellular phone: For no apparent reason, in the area where Dad spends most of his working time, his phone refuses to receive a signal. This not only causes unwanted problems with work; it also engenders bitterness with Mom, who actually blames Dad for his phone’s behavior! To top it off, even when Dad is away from the desk, this phone has a way of surreptitiously getting its buttons pressed so as to change from “vibrate and ring” mode to “silent” mode, further driving a communication wedge between husband and wife!
The electric shaver: This rechargeable baby started out so promising, so effective. It was a gift, a barely used hand-me-down from Dad’s Dad. The foil screen shaver worked twice as fast as Dad’s old rotary model. Until the foil screen locking mechanism broke on one side. Now Dad has to use both hands to shave, holding the shaver in one hand and holding the screen assembly in position with the other. Having it repaired would cost too much, and Dad has his old shaver as a backup; but going back to the backup means taking longer to shave and not getting as smooth a result.

And the winner is: The electric shaver! This appliance not only makes Dad contort himself to get a normal shave, it timed its shenanigans to coincide with the period when the bathroom lights had burned out and no one ever remembered to get new bulbs when it was convenient!

Thank you, everyone. Please enjoy the after party in the padded ballroom.

Ask a Conspiracy Theorist

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Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

My mother seems incapable of letting us live our lives. She comes by every day, “just happening” to be in the neighborhood. Avoiding her only goes so far, and broad hints fall on deaf ears. How can we get her to cool it without alienating her completely?

Frustrated in Boston

Dear Frustrated:

Your mother is obviously part of the NSA’s effort to keep tabs on every single American. Just getting her to let up, or to give up, would simply cause the The Man to find other ways to spy on you constantly. You’re best off disguising yourselves as other people for a while and throwing them all off the trail. While that’s going on, consider moving to Phoenix without telling anyone.

Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

An office co-worker insists on keeping all the windows closed all the time, claiming an autoimmune disorder that makes her get sick more easily. But it’s stuffy and uncomfortable, and the rest of us have needs, too. Does one person’s health trump everyone else’s comfort?

Sweating in Seattle

Dear Sweating:

Your co-worker is actually trying to keep you all safe without causing you to panic. The government is planning to test its stockpile of nerve gas throughout the Pacific Northwest, and she’s trying to save you all without tipping off Big Brother to the fact that she’s onto them. Thank her knowingly and buy yourself some protective gear to keep with you when you’re not in the office.

Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

We’re getting married soon, and cannot afford a lavish affair, but we do not want to make anyone feel they are second-class friends if they don’t receive an anticipated invitation. How can we head off any unpleasantness and keep everyone happy?

Edgy in Houston

Dear Edgy:

Your role model here should be the Jews, who have managed to convince the world there was a so-called Holocaust by fabricating photos and coming up with reams and reams of “documentation” “proving” there were extermination camps and whatever. All you need to do is hold the celebration you intend, then fabricate all those photos and films to include all the people who would take offense not to be invited. It might not convince them they were invited, but it will allow the unsure and ignorant to hold on to a more comfortable, if illusory, reality.

Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

I am pregnant, but not obviously so; even in my eighth month I don’t need maternity clothes. But I get tired easily, and am often embarrassed to request that someone else give up a seat on the bus or subway. What’s a good way to broadcast my need without launching into an embarrassingly self-conscious explanation of my too-thin-to-be-pregnancy?

Expectant in New York

Dear Expectant:

Stay away from public transportation, especially in your condition. If you thought the inside job on 9/11 was horrific, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet: a plot to bomb most of Manhattan’s subway tunnels and bus depots with chemical and biological weapons, then have the mainstream media blame it on foreign terrorists. As if foreigners are competent enough to pull off an attack so complicated. But word of the plan is being hushed up so as not to cause panic in the streets. Use a different car service every day instead of putting yourself at risk underground and in crowded buses. And stay away from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

My husband seems to live for work. He gets up early and goes to his investment firm, and comes back late at night, too exhausted to do anything. Even weekends fall frequent victim to his workaholic ways. How can I express my concerns about our relationship without making him defensive?

Unrequited in Fresno

Dear Unrequited:

That depends whose side you’re on. If you’re selfishly focused on your marriage, go shell out money for a marriage counselor. You should have plenty of money, considering your husband’s line of work manipulating capital markets and contributing to the erosion of our civil liberties by buying the election of officials dedicated to a government with its hand in our pocket, bedroom and TV listings.

But if you value humanity and individual freedom, confront that capitalist pig in such a way that he renounces his allegiance to the Elders of Zion and starts fighting for real people.

Dear Conspiracy Theorist:

I’m concerned that my teenage son is falling in with the wrong crowd. I have no hard evidence, but I’m afraid if I express my worries he’ll accuse me of butting in and not trusting him. How can I balance my concern for his welfare with my concern for the health of our relationship?

Tense in Toledo

Dear Tense:

Oh, please. You expect me to believe you? Get back to me with some real evidence and we can talk. Otherwise you’re just wasting time with pie-in-the-sky ideas.

Written by Thag

July 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

The DVD Drive’s Whirring Doesn’t Mean It’s Hungry

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It’s sweet of you to show concern for the DVD player, sweetie pie, but it doesn’t need to eat. It certainly doesn’t need to eat macaroni and cheese, so please don’t try feeding it again.

And you might not like hearing this, but none of our machines need food: not Daddy’s shaver, not the dryer and not the vacuum cleaner. It only seems like the shaver chews the food. It only sounds like the dryer is saying, “Yummmmmmmmm!” And it only looks like the vacuum cleaner is eagerly swallowing whatever you give it. Please stop feeding the machines or they’ll break.

We’ve had enough trouble with creatures that do need to eat. I shouldn’t have to remind you what happened to the goldfish, who didn’t survive your leftover pancakes with maple syrup. It’s a very generous, caring thing to do, sharing your food, but sometimes the best thing to do is just eat it yourself. I made all that yummy food just for you. Just enjoy it. The phone charger can’t enjoy it. It doesn’t have a tongue to taste with, and no throat to swallow with.

The same is true of the computer, sweetie pie. Those little holes aren’t for feeding the computer. They’re more like eyes and ears. What would happen if you put food in your eyes and ea – don’t do it! It was just to get you to think about it. It hurts to have food stuck in there. It hurts the computer, too.

Yes, you can hug the phone, and the stereo speakers. Just make sure no one is using them at the time. And you can give all the kisses you want to the computer mouse. Just no food. And no makeup! Mommy’s lipstick is not for playing with, and certainly not for putting on the computer screen! We have all these great pieces of paper set aside for coloring, and a whole bunch of crayons. If you want to color, ask for them. Don’t go applying Mommy’s mascara to the air conditioner remote control.

You know that Daddy gets upset when you try to give a bath to his mp3 player. Even a bath in milk, sweetie; it’s just not good for the machine. It doesn’t need to be nursed; Daddy keeps it against his chest because he has a pocket there. And no, Daddy’s shirt pocket is a very bad place for the mud cakes you made at the park today.

So please, honey, if you’d like to share your food, offer it to me. Or to the dog. The live one, not the stuffed one.

Written by Thag

July 10, 2011 at 8:52 pm

This Is a Kosher Cruise; No Pig Vomit Allowed

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Welcome, passengers, to your Norwegian cruise. Please don’t puke on us.

Thank you for choosing Norwegian, the world’s finest cruise line. We trust you will enjoy your time on board and restrict your vomiting to areas without carpeting. Cruise ships are large, but many passengers nevertheless feel every movement of the sea, and it takes them a day or two to adjust. Before that, they are liable to spew chunks all over the Las Vegas Buffet in the Crystal Room.

In the two days immediately following our departure from New York, feel free to stroll the grand decks, avoiding the green chunky puddles from fellow passengers who haven’t gotten their sea legs yet. The peerless nightly entertainment in our multiple theaters and lounges, featuring superstar performers, will enhance your cruise experience and distract you from feeling like tossing your cookies overboard.

On the subject of overboard, please take the time to review the safety procedures and regulations in the packet in each cabin. We would like to draw your attention to the many, many restrooms available throughout the ship, and that there should be no need to urinate over the railing. It gets windy out at sea, and the results may not meet with your satisfaction. And Norwegian is Number One in customer satisfaction, so please, we ask your cooperation: only relieve yourself when urine you’re in the proper restroom.

As we approach our Caribbean destination, you will notice that nausea is no longer the main emotion you are experiencing, which means it is almost time to disembark back onto solid ground. You may, if you like, remain on board and continue to inhale cheesecake in obscene quantities. If you choose to explore the sights at our destination, be advised that upon your return to the ship you will be required to ingest 900 grams of cheesecake for each hour spent on land.

The time we spend at our destination is calculated to be just long enough to undo the sea legs you had developed on the first leg of the journey, ensuring that the return trip will once again feature gallons upon gallons of technicolor yawns. The final evening before our arrival back in New York will see an awards ceremony for the most copious quantities of barf egested by passengers, with the winner taking home a doggy bag. The current record holder is Mrs. Edna Pyloris of Sphincter, New Hampshire, whose two liters of liquidy chyme graced the walls, floors and tables of the SS Woozy during a two-week trip in 2004.

We wish you a pleasant journey, and look forward to cleaning up after you as little as possible.

Written by Thag

July 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

No Whammies! Just Some Misplaced 80’s Nostalgia

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Form...blazing sword!

Dust off your 1980’s catchphrases and your leg warmers, everyone! It’s time for another episode of How to Horrify Your Children with Your Hopelessly Backwards Frame of Reference!

First, pull out your Voltron action figures – the lions, not the silly vehicles – and demonstrate the spring-loaded missiles, explaining the differences among the green, yellow, blue, red and black lions. You must, repeat must chant the following:

Ready to form Voltron!
Activate interlocks! Dynatherms connected! Infracells up! Megathrusters are GO!
All form Voltron!
Form feet and legs! Form arms and body! And I’ll form…the head!
Let’s go, Voltron Force!

If you must, find Voltron clips on YouTube and subject your helpless children to animation so primitive it makes the Power Rangers special effects seem stunning. You may relent only once the little darlings tremble in fright.

"By the power of...of...YOWZA."

Not everyone had the benefit of seeing Voltron after school, for they may have preferred He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a series with the unabashedly transparent goal of showing as many animated heroines in scanty garb as possible. Teela had that whole authority and domination thong, excuse me, thing (genuine typo, but fortuitous enough to keep), going on with “helpless” Prince Adam. And the Sorceress (pant, pant) – what a bird she was! Aloof and mysterious, it’s no wonder Our Hero kept coming back to her over-the-top haunted house of a castle. It’s time to introduce your children to the confusing pleasures of preadolescence as we experienced them. Repeat after me:

By the power of Grayskull!

If your favorite network showed GI Joe instead, you can awe your offspring with one of the most violent animated series ever created, yet in which no one ever got killed in action. COBRA: a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world! Unless it means actually killing somebody. Somehow everyone can see the rockets coming and has time to eject safely. The closest any character comes to death is just before the credits, when two kids are about to engage in spectacularly stupid behavior, such as riding their bicycles along the third rail without a helmet while drinking and listening to music on headphones, and a member of the GI Joe force shows up in the nick of time to teach them a valuable safety lesson. Now you know, you can tell your kids, and knowing is half the battle.

Let us not think that hoary animated series are the only way to give your children the creeps. Music from the 80’s  carries a sinister magic all its own. I was reminded of this quite disturbingly on Monday, when a bunch of American expats got together here for a July 4th celebration, complete with hot dogs, guest musicians and flea market. One performer gave us his solo rendition of Livin’ on a Prayer; I commented to a friend that it takes a lot to make a listener long for the original Bon Jovi. And that celebrating America by singing about the economic and romantic doldrums of blue-collar workers makes about as much sense as marking Ramadan with a Crusade.

But one need not single out Bon Jovi as the paragon of 80’s crap-rock. There’s Def Leppard, every single one of whose songs is the same, even if a one-armed drummer is totally rad. If you really want to psychologically damage your children, look no further than Barbie and the Rockers. Or J.E.M. (truly outrageous). Or Get in Shape, Girl! Nothing says “budding anorexic” like a tweenie obsession with fitness.

However, if you really want to evoke the 80’s mood, you need the locution, the gag-me-with-a-spoon, jeans-with-high-heels vibe that only such phrases as “Who d’ya think’s in the burgers?” “d-I HEARD that” can conjure up. Believe it…or not.

Written by Thag

July 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

As Your Commodore, I’m the Head of Your Commode

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Fellow citizens, let us not come to blows over this issue, as divisive and emotive as it is. I have enough faith in us that we can peacefully resolve the question of what direction to make the toilet paper roll face.

Let me preface the body of my remarks with the caveat that I have heard all the arguments mustered in favor of both positions, and there is no need for you to restate them for me. This issue can hardly be more intractable than the one resolved last month, whether one must only step on the white lines of a crosswalk, or avoid the white lines entirely. Whereas that question had few, if any, objective measures by which to judge it, we should be able to unravel this one comparatively easily.

Or so it would seem to the uninitiated. It turns out that aside from the passions it arouses, this question may yet rival Fold vs. Bunch in its staying power. We cannot be lax in pursuing a resolution, but we might yet remain at the mercy of either camp unless one softens its stance.

The hard nature of this issue emerges precisely at the point where we realize that there is little, if any, practical difference between the camps, except under highly unusual circumstances. It amounts to a clash of aesthetic sensibilities, a realm in which prejudice and emotion rule, not a realm in which logic or practical ramifications hold much weight. To arrive at an adequate outcome, we must plumb the depths of our own biases and understand why each of us prefers one toilet paper position over the other.

We cannot be hasty or lax about this; he who runs shall stumble in the muck, and the stench of failure shall accompany him wherever he shall go. This conflict cannot be wiped away with a mere swipe of the hand. No, we must sit and ponder, look deep within ourselves, and examine our own assumptions: does our position flow from sober digestion of the matter, or do we simply feel in our guts that the very fiber of the universe is behind us all the way?

For indeed, even the most insoluble things can be eliminated with enough gumption. Let us go forth then, and settle this matter. Let us remain civil, and really listen to one another, not view the other as a mere bowl into which one may get out what he must. You are here to listen as well as to be heard.

As an appendix, I might add that we must not lose sight of the purpose of the toilet paper, its roll, and the roll holder. As in the crosswalk debate, let us maintain our focus on preventing unnecessary skid marks.

Now get down to it, people.

Written by Thag

July 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

You Have 12,199 New Enemy Requests

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I might not officially exist, since I don’t have a Facebook presence, but the occasional peeks over my wife’s shoulder have taught me something about Facebook people: too many of them are sickeningly earnest.

I went to high school with a guy we’ll call D (not his real name; his real name is Q). Back then, D was somewhat soft-spoken, but friendly, reasonably popular, and obviously not a nitwit. He’s now a Conservative Rabbi somewhere, possibly out in California, and he posts to Facebook a number of times a day, judging from how often I see his name and visage during those peeks at Miggtha’s feed. Maybe I always catch him at the wrong time, and he has plenty of posts that don’t make him seem like he’s got a prayer shawl stuck up his butt, but that’s not what I’ve seen. It’s all this cause and that cause, and sober analysis and assuming the moral high ground and taking the rightness of [insert cause here] for granted. We were friendly back in the day, but man, if I were to judge the guy now based solely on his Facebook behavior, fuggedaboudit. Who has time for such earnestness when there’s so much mockery to accomplish?

What good are your Facebook friends if they don’t make you laugh, or vice versa? If the links you share do not elicit at least one snarky comment from your friends, you must reexamine your choice in friends. Conversely, if you cannot find something snarky to say about the links or status updates in your feed, you must reconsider your value as a human being.

Everything needs a dose of humor. C’mon, even the Bible has some great lines (Achish, king of Gath: “Do I lack lunatics that you bring this one before me?”). And the book of Esther is one big political farce. If the Good Book sees fit to employ a zinger or two, why are you so goddamn serious? Dude, the second patriarch of Israel was Isaac, whose name means “he will laugh”. When Esther had Haman taken down a peg (OK, a whole fifty-cubit tree), couldn’t you just hear the ancient Persian laugh track between the lines?

So don’t make me come out there and do the mocking on Facebook for you. Or of you.

Written by Thag

July 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Not “Fat”. Just “Stupid”.

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Like European fiscal incompetence, my midriff region has expanded in recent years. This is perfectly consistent with impending middle age – only four years till forty! – but it’s rather annoying to find my trousers no longer fit as they used to. I don’t have time for an exercise regimen, and dieting is out of the question, unless it’s an all-Ben & Jerry’s diet. And I don’t mean sorbet. Yuck. Just for the thought you should be flogged.

Clearly, the only reasonable option here involves physical removal of the excess tissue. Cosmetic surgeons will do that, of course, but elective cosmetic surgery is only slightly less repulsive than that sorbet idea you had (what the hell is wrong with you?). And it costs more money than I care to spend – think of how much Chocolate Therapy ice cream you could get for $2500! So paying someone else to perform the liposuction procedure is out.

Fortunately, I’m a do-it-yourself kind of guy: I brush and floss my own teeth; empty my own bladder; shave my own facial hair; prepare my own meals; do my own laundry. I even clip (or bite) my own nails – fingers and toes. I’m pretty handy with a funnel, too. So how hard can this be to do at home?

They sell over-the-counter topical anesthetics, right? I’ve got my old science kit somewhere upstairs, with a scalpel, and there should be a sewing kit in my wife’s closet. We have some spare plastic straws in the kitchen, and a big plastic bucket to catch drainage.

Now, as I understand, some suction might be necessary. No problem: we have a wet-dry Shop Vac. Once I’m done, some soap and water ought to get that baby clean as a whistle. I just need to practice my stitching and I’m all set.

There are plenty of peripherals to worry about: containing the mess, dusting the house beforehand to make sure it’s sanitary, picking the right color thread for the stitches. I’m thinking purple, mostly because we would otherwise never use the purple thread; it just sits there. As for the possible mess, we’ve got plenty of rags, and plastic garbage bags will do fine to protect the floor.

I’m looking forward to fitting into all those trousers again without a struggle. I’d put an elastic waist on them, but that’s a lot of work.

Written by Thag

July 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

Do You Take This Woman to Be Your Awful Wedded Wife?

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Oh, honey, I don’t know.

Oh, no, don’t take this the wrong way, sweetie, please. I do love you, you, and you just asked me to marry you! How could I not be thrilled to bits? It’s just that…that you…well, you went about it the wrong way, honey. I was hoping for more of a real surprise proposal, you know? Something less predictable than a bunch of text on the Jumbotron at Yankee Stadium.

Oh, sweetheart, please don’t take this as a rejection. I’m not saying no! I’m not refusing to marry you! I’m just holding out for a more impressive proposal. You understand, don’t you? You realize that a girl can’t expect something like this to happen more than once, right? So I was kind of thinking it should be something…grander. Do you understand, sweetie? Here, I’ll even see how the ring fits, just to show you that in principle, I’m in favor. Wow. It feels so right. I’d almost say yes right now. Almost.

Because let’s think about this for a minute, sweetie. You could have arranged for a flyover of military jets releasing contrails to write out your proposal in the clouds. You could have had a clown car show up, and the dozen clowns to emerge would arrange themselves to spell out, “Be My Bride, Anne.” You could have had a Mongol horde kidnap me, then ride up on your white steed and rescue me from the villains in gallant fashion. But you chose to have some technician type a few words on a keyboard. Can’t you see why I’m hesitating?

I know you’re capable of over-the-top romantic gestures, honey. Remember when you sabotaged the lights in the train car so we could cuddle up in “private” on our way to the Syosset station? Or how you had the dry cleaning delivery guy also give me a bouquet of peonies? You can be so creative, sweetheart. You’ve shown me that time and time again. So I simply can’t accept this…this gesture that’s just so lame by comparison.

Oh, honey, please, listen, I’m not calling you lame at all! I’m saying you’re not lame, that I know you’re so much better at this than a Jumbotron message! You’re a hopeless romantic, just like me! We’re made for each other! Of course I want you to propose to me! I just can’t say yes until you do it right, as we both know you can!

Here, I’ll even wear the ring until the end of the game. I’ll give you a big hug for the cameras, and we’ll hold hands until we leave. I love you, honey! Can you allow me this silly dream of a fabulous proposal? Can you indulge me, now and forever? Oh, now you’re crying, honey. I’m so sorry about this. You must be so disappointed, to plan things and then have it come to nothing. I’m sorry to put you through this, sweetheart. Will you forgive my silliness, my overly romantic expectations of the only man I’ve ever loved this deeply? Oh thank you. Oh, my goodness. Now I’m crying, too. Hold me, sweetie, hold me tight.

Oh, can we talk about this ring? Is this white gold? Didn’t you know I prefer platinum?

Written by Thag

July 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Hold Your Turkey Up to the Screen for A While and It’ll Cook

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It’s time to stop dismissing the “False” tales you see on Snopes.com. I’m here to tell you, from now on, it will all be true. I’ll see to it myself.

My weekend plans call for a trip to Florida, where I’ll cruise the highway late at night without headlights. When an oncoming motorist flashes to apprise me of this omission, I will kill that person. If necessary, I will repeat the procedure a number of times so that it becomes an established pattern.

Then I will begin leaving HIV-containing syringes in the coin-return compartment of public telephones, with a note welcoming the eventual victims to the wonderful world of AIDS. I better hurry on that count, as public phones are a dying breed, as it were.

From there I will move on to bars where out-of-town travelers often go, and smooth-talk my way into leaving with a healthy-looking specimen of humanity. He will wake up in a bathtub of ice and both kidneys missing. I have no use for kidneys – I’m more of a liver man, myself – but if the urban legend must be made real, then the organ-ized crime is the important part.

I shall monitor the internet for word of sick or missing children. If any such reports appear to be false, I shall track down children by those names and kidnap them or make them sick, depending on the story. I shall put semen in restaurant food, tumor pus in mayonnaise. I shall drop food on the floor and apply disinfectant within five seconds, rendering the Five Second Rule true. I shall put severed human fingers in bowls of Wendy’s chili.

I shall disguise myself as a Korean and cook your dog into soup. I shall dress in drag and hitch a ride along a lonely highway, letting you catch but a glimpse of my bloody axe and hairy legs as I exit the car in the middle of nowhere. I shall assume the garb of a Middle Easterner and reward the kindness of a stranger by warning her to stay away from a major metropolitan area on Labor Day Weekend.

I shall sneak into position at the Coney Island Aquarium; when an airplane flies overhead, I shall knock the birds over backwards. I will gather the rice thrown at weddings and use it to asphyxiate birds. I shall impersonate a police officer and stake out areas where praying mantises frolic, waiting to arrest anyone who harms them. At the elephant exhibit, I shall pull out a mouse, but make noises to scare the beasts.

I shall develop a chewing gum that adheres to the inside of the digestive tract for seven years. I shall buy your warts, then come back at night, anesthetize you and cut them off, with you recalling nothing of the procedure. After you refrigerate your batteries, thinking it will prolong their life, I shall surreptitiously switch them with brand new ones.

I will feed money into vending machines, then instruct you to insert salt water, at which point you will make and receive your selection. I shall put signs everywhere in sight with the word “sex” so that indeed, men will think about sex every seven seconds. I shall place a penny on railroad tracks, and just beyond it, I shall maim the track, causing the train to derail.

I shall embark on an extermination campaign of natural blondes so that the purported World Health Organization study foretelling their demise will become true. I shall place a cooked egg between two cell phones and act alarmed.

And I might need help with this one, but I’m trying to whip up a dust cloud that will wipe out the solar system in 2014. So far I’ve managed little more than to annoy the neighbors. You know whom I mean: Susan Lucci, Phyllis Diller’s daughter.

What do you mean, it’s not true? Well, looks like it’s time to hack into a few databases…did you know you can do that just holding your car immobilizer up to the phone?

Written by Thag

July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Nonexistent Theater Critic Only One in Attendance

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In this economy, if by some freakish set of circumstances you find yourself with the disposable income and the time to take in a Broadway musical, do yourself a favor: avoid Calphalon Madness. Trust me.

Even you are a fan, God help you, of Jazzercise, or of Kurt Cobain’s posthumous work, stay far away. Director “Morbid” Lee O’beese was probably trying to play the avant-garde card, but he lost his avant-garde cred when Puppy Credenza flopped two years ago. O’beese couldn’t direct his Dadaist way out of a fat little paper bag. Least of all when the concept of “plot” has been cast to the badgers.

Which is not to say that he left his cast completely directionless; no, O’beese knew enough to give vague lip service to his notion of this poor excuse for a script, just barely enough for Walter Mondale, otherwise a skilled performer, to pull off an almost-convincing Albert Einstein on anabolic steroids. In Calphalon, Mondale reprises his role as the hulking genius that made him popular in Phil Landerer’s A Thousand and One Arabian Knife Fights, for which he was nominated for a Chubby Award.

But Mondale is easily the only redeeming quality in a show with no discernible talent on the part of the cast, musicians or composer. The sets, badly lit and not proportional to the stage, call to mind a rabbit warren as painted by Mark Rothko. The music, charitably described as tonal, hovers somewhere between Webern on a bad day and my ten-year-old’s novice trumpet practice on a bad day.

O’beese almost had something going in the first act, when the curtain was raised and four talking hippos lolled about an imaginary mud puddle to the sound of chirping spiders, but the novelty wore off in about eight seconds. Not even the floating chainsaw that cheerfully dismembered each pachyderm could save the show at that point. Theatergoers began filing out four minutes into the first act; by the time the curtain went down for the intermission thirty-five minuets later, I was the only one remaining in the house. Even half the cast had abandoned ship.

And yet I am pretty certain that made no difference to the quality of the production. It doesn’t take much, after all, to have a man stand at stage left and yell obscenities for twelve uninterrupted minutes, even if it’s done to the rhythm of a jazzed up Chopin mazurka played only on percussion instruments. When my cell phone went off during the second act, it improved the experience, if only by reminding me that there may yet be hope for humanity: at least my ring tone hews to a recognizable tune.

Written by Thag

July 4, 2011 at 1:23 am

Important-Looking Person Speaks from Behind Podium

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Somebody in a blue suit stood behind a podium with an official logo and made some sort of announcement, reported people who were gathered there for some reason. Also present were camera crews and a number of security personnel, whose presence emphasized the apparent importance of the announcement and the person making it.

The person making the announcement also took several questions from some of the assembled people following his scripted remarks. The questions were meant to elicit further details related to the subject of the announcement. Following the series of questions, the official thanked those present and left the room.

The announcement came after days of speculation on the part of serious-looking people on TV that such an announcement might take place, and if it did, what its effect would be. The speculation itself stemmed from a previous announcement several weeks earlier by a different official standing behind a podium with a different logo. The earlier announcement was deemed important enough by certain TV networks that its broadcast interrupted the previously scheduled showing of a program about grown men running into each other while wearing padding and helmets.

In the aftermath of the first announcement, well-dressed and well-groomed people were shown frowning with concern or speaking with authority on the subject of the announcement. In response to that announcement, a group of people gathered near a government building and held up hand-drawn signs. Many also shouted rhyming couplets with content related to whatever it was the announcement announced.

Experts remain divided on the significance of the latest announcement. “I’m not sure we’re seeing anything new here,” said a man in a blue suit and gray tie, who seems to have a reason to know about this. “My agency has been saying for weeks that we should expect this development.”

However, a different person, this one a woman in a gray pantsuit, glasses and a maroon scarf, said that the latest announcement portended a change in something she regarded as important. “What we’re seeing is nothing less than a complete reformulation of policy,” she insisted, although it remained unclear why her opinion carries more weight than yours or mine, or why anyone should care.

In the subsequent hours, TV shows again featured people talking about the topic of the announcement, and the amount of media coverage implied that it would have a major effect on society. Aside from the experts appearing on TV, however, few people exhibited awareness that such an announcement had taken place, let alone what impact the announcement would exert on their lives.

“What the hell is your problem?” said a large, bearded man in a flannel shirt, when asked what he thought of the announcement. The other assembled people echoed his sentiment and attempted to focus on a large screen at the end of the room, which was showing vehicles moving at dangerous speeds around an oval track.

At press time, it remained unclear whether there would be more announcements by people behind podiums with logos, but some people appeared on TV loudly demanding that other people renounce the announcement.

Written by Thag

July 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm