Friday, December 30, 2011

Not Talkin' About The Football Team

    Understanding has great potential to prevent conflict. Frustratingly enough, one catalyst of conflict I've witnessed stems from the misunderstanding of one word: Patriot. Patriotism is a strongly emotional word, but it's flung around far too much. Admittedly the height of paranoia in the wake of 9/11 has subsided, but the abuse of the word is still a go-to method of attack for two kinds of people: idiots, and those who intend to control us.
    Patriotism is defined as devoted love, support and defense of one's country. Too many individuals become so blinded by that love, however, and feel that to support one's country one must follow whatever we are told without question. The simple act of calling elected officials and lawmakers into question can draw accusation that you do not support the entire country, which is unquestionably fallacious. Unfortunately this kind of catastrophizing is very popular, and draws a great deal of public support. And why not? who wants to appear unpatriotic, especially in the middle of a crowd? Cries of who is or isn't patriotic is used to great effect to control many kinds of people, and it's comical.
    I love my country, I am thankful for everything my country provides for me. However, to claim there are no problems, that nothing needs fixing, is bluntly delusion. I would probably come under fire, and be labeled among the "Blame America First" group, of which I believe is a gross oversimplification. However, if I am looking for flaws in America, and finding them, I have two options: leave the country, or try to fix it. If I'm trying to fix it, then it's because I believe the problem can be fixed and the change would benefit the whole country. Change is not bad, and it is illogical to assume that a desire for change implies a hatred of the the entire nation. I can hate one aspect and still love the whole. From the lyrics of Immortal Technique, "I love the place I live, but I hate the people in charge" and as the graffiti says on the 590/490 can-of-worms "You can't spell 'Patriot' without 'Riot.' As I keep coming back to, think for yourself.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Have Yourself A Merry Little One

    I hope all your Christmases and Hanukkahs were and are enjoyable! Welcome back, let's dive right in to what pissed me off this Christmas. Your first question is probably why I'm talking about Christmas when I've made no secret of my Jewish descent. I subscribe to whatever religious practices I want without the label. I like celebrating Christmas, so y'all can deal. Now, I'm sure you're now wondering what could possibly have pissed me off about such a happy time, and the offending party is closer than you or I might think. Family. You can't choose 'em, and you can't choose to ignore 'em.
    My wife and I made a last minute decree to not leave the house at all on Christmas. With the presents forgone, we decided to respond to her grandmother's guilt-ridden phone message asking us to Christmas dinner with her by ignoring her. In a stroke of honesty, we told my parents of this, and they immediately began in with the shame to goad us into dinner with them and my grandmother. "Or at least you could come down and talk with her for a while." My grandmother, by the by, was coming to my parents house for a traditional Hanukkah dinner scheduled for Christmas day.
    I rapidly grew weary in life, of the phrase "well it's family" or "well he's family" or "she's family" as if that is all I should need to go against my better judgement and my personal preferences. Throughout life the only family member I ever chose was my wife. Other than that, I'm stucm with and emberassing hodgepodge of people I don't see eye-to-eye with and who disapprove of me. Why should I sacrifice so much for a person who thinks so little of me? The moral of the story is that for coming down and chatting with my grandma, she gave us a Hanukkah card with $25 in it. That translates to each of us getting paid $12.50 for 45 minutes of awkward, pointless conversation in which both sides speak but not about each other. In my opinion, not worth it. Keep the card and the money. I'd rather have spent the time the way I wanted, with only my chosen family.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Still Kickin' Myself

    I personally sling a lot of mud, however I definitely don't have all the answers out there. I suppose, therefore, it's fair for me to share some stuff that makes me angry about myself and not just the world around me. I get struck speechless very easily. It frustrates me to no end how difficult it can be for me to find the words for situations, especially when for something that really matters to me. I'd like to share an experience of which the memory still pisses me off, as this is, in fact, a blog about things that piss me off (as I warned in my intro).
    In May of this year I took a trip to Los Angeles, as I have plans to move there as soon as it's feasible to pursue comedy. My wife and I visited a comedy club to scout out an open mic show, and this was my first time ever inside a comedy club, period. We decided it was getting late, and we headed to the counter to pay for our drinks, I handed the waitress my card, and she walked away to do the transaction. I did two double takes over toward the wall, where two guys were talking, because I thought I recognized him. It turned out to be Bobby Lee (who I know from Mad TV and Harold and Kumar), and I know he saw me do a double take, so I said "Hey are you.... .... ..." and I could not remember his name! If he had pulled out a gun and aimed it at my wife and said he'd shoot her if I couldn't remember I would be a widower right now. And what's worse is he helped me, too. He ackowledged that he was someone famous who might be recognized, and even said "Bobby........Bobby Lee" while I stammered how I couldn't remember and how I felt like an asshole. Then we just stood there for five of the most awkward minutes of my life waiting for my card to come back.
    Bobby wasn't even mean about it. He certainly couldv'e actively made me feel worse. I still stew about it from time to time though, wishing I could have remembered any part of his name. And it worries me going into stand-up comedy, I can't be at a loss for words ever onstage. I'm sure it'll happen though, at least once I won't be able to find my wording in front of an audience, it's destined. Just gonna keep on keepin' on and jump off that bridge when I come to it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Customer Doesn't Always Have a Clue

    Nowhere do I see self-centered brats with a delusional sense of entitlement more than in retail. And I'm not talking about their children either. It's more than a little bothersome that so many people prefer, more than anything else, to have someone else do shit for them. Not themselves, not a machine, they would rather make another human being, usually a stranger, do the work above any other option. But if they don't get the labor they desire out of someone, boy, they get angry!
    I don't know why you would ever get pissy toward someone working the bottom rung in retail, or most jobs really.  It's not justified when they didn't do the job you wanted, not when they told you the rules and you didn't like them, and not when the store is out of something. The only time it's OK is when the employee legitimately screwed up the job they are paid to do. However, if they are doing their job correctly, and some aspect of that met with your disapproval, get the fuck over yourself. They are paid to do X, Y, and Z so you can really shove it if you want them to do Q. Every business has their own way the handle things, their own distinct distance to "the customer is always right" they're willing to go.
    Therefore, if you don't like how little an employee was able to bend over backward for you, go shop somewhere else, or find someone higher up to whine at because you couldn't get 11$ back for a hair straightener because you lost the receipt and all the packaging and "I don't wanna exchange it for another!!!" And don't even bother asking "why" when they tell you the policy, you thirty-something-acting-like-a-nine-year-old. Them policies are debated, and changed and put into practice time zones away from the store you're standing in. If you really do want to know why, pull out the cellphone and bitch at someone whose job it is to know and care. Not at an 19-year-old girl behind a counter who's just trying to make rent this month.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Some Things Matter More

    My wife and I have been married for just over two years now, and now is as good a time as any to share a bit of family drama we experienced. Our marriage ended up being rather impromptu, and we decided on a very small ceremony mostly for family, with a big, more inclusive barbeque at Ontario Beach State Park for the reception. The ceremony was just parents, grandparents, siblings and a couple close friends, so naturally we were gobsmacked when my wife's grandparents on her father's side decided they would not be in attendance.
    It wasn't so much that they chose to come, but why the opted out. The story we were told is that the two of them visited their religious official, in their Roman Catholic church, and they were informed that because the wedding wasn't Catholic, they couldn't even sit in the chairs as part of the crowd and celebrate our union with us. Now, my wife has dabbled in Wicca, and I was raised in Reform Judaism which I do not practice anymore. However, the ceremony, if they'd taken any time to learn about, was not specific to any religion. We included a Wiccan ritual, a Jewish one, a reading from the New Testement and a reading from Chinese origin. More than any religious slant, it was a celebration of love. Where ia the offensive aspect, what about a wedding would so sully a Catholic that they can't even watch?
    Apart from their holy instructions to boycott the marriage, what kind of lack of human decency is this that avoids a wedding? Perhaps it really is an afront to Catholic beliefs to join our blissful celebration. So what? Come, enjoy our company, acknowledge our commitment to each other, and then drag your ass to confession on Sunday and make up for it. Which, by the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. " 'Bless me father for I have sinned' 'What are your sins my child?' 'I went to a beautiful, romantic, unique wedding that wasn't Catholic' 'Seven Hail Marys is the penance for this offense to the Lord'."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Walk, Maybe You'll Get Better

     Normally, I'd take this first paragraph to warm you up to the object of my outrage, but this time, I'm not beating around the bush. People who choose to be handicapped need to have their rascal battery die in traffic. You may be wondering what I mean by "choosing to be handicapped" and I'm referring to those selfish heaps of human baggage milking social security on some trumped up, exaggerated or imagined phantom pain, or who've eaten themselves to sufficient corpulence that they can't walk. I see these people daily in my retail job, and they nauseate me.
     I have so many gripes with these wastes of resources and space, I don't even know where to start. They are black holes for tax money, they have delusions of entitlement, they inconvenience the infirm who came by their malady from age or misfortune. I've heard the electric mart carts at stores referred to as "fatty caddies" in reference to the laziness of the slobs who've chosen to stop walking. It's obvious to me, working in a place that has mart carts, who has a right to use them, and who takes them out of raw sloth. When we run out of mart carts, even the oldest, decrepit old fossil will take the news in stride, and continue their shopping. The voluntary cripples, however, are quick to complain and display how unhappy they are they they have to shamble through the store leaning on a cart. Why the different reactions? Because old people, accident victims and the like don't want to need the help. They wish they had the ability to walk all over the store at their leisure. People who've made a specific choice to take every crutch they can are the only ones who really get pissed when there isn't something there to make their lives easier. It's revolting and wrong.
     It's obvious how the ungrateful, inconsiderate layabouts negatively affect the people immediately around them, but the implications are far-reaching. They more often than not find some excuse to not have a job, and seek out every conceivable  form of government support they can. To break it down, they contribute nothing to society, and drain public funds. Don't get me wrong, social security is a lifeline for many people, but the system also gets abused by whiny, narcissistic human slugs. They really believe that they deserve every scrap of assistance they can get their grubby mitts on, and we as a society don't do enough to tell them they are wrong. The next time you see a proposal for a new tax increase, send a fucking letter to someone you know who's unfairly misuse the system placing the blame on them for the government needing more money. Or better yet mail them a noose so they can hang themselves, although you'll have to go help them 'cuz they sure as shit won't do it or anything else for themselves.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candy Can't

    It's that time of year again: lots of family togetherness, an avalanche of red and green, and incessant commercialism. In tow with that are other aspects of the Christmas time that I look forward to much less. Chiefly, the ridiculous, perilous crap-shoot that is candy canes. I've given up hope, you see, on the fragile sticks of mint and the seasonal disappointment they herald.
    I have to assume they are designed to fail. I've never gotten a box of candy canes home from the store intact. I usually end up with what appears to be glass shrapnel from a barber pole. The ones, interestingly enough, that don't break are the ones my family had (back when we used to do a tree for X-mas, a past era I mourn gravely). These are the candy canes that are purely ornamental. The ones that live for 11 months in box in the attic next to the antique silverware. Come to think of it, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the candy canes crossed the Atlantic with the silverware as my granny fled Europe. I sure don't have any memory of when they were bought, I assume neither do my parents. I feel like a candy hoarder, with boxes of centuries-old sweets gathering dust in storage.
    The modern candy canes, though, the ones that are theoretically for eating don't bring me any joy as well. it astounds me, with how easily they shatter in transit, biting a candy cane is about as rewarding as biting a brick. If through some miracle I manage to get a piece to break off without chipping a tooth, I'm left to pray that a razor shard doesn't give me a new piercing. So the other option, besides biting, is to suck on the candy cane, and aside from the suggestive nature of this endeavor, the result is the classic candy cane shiv. If I ever go to prison I'll sneak in candy canes to improvise a weapon. Talk about a festive way to retaliate on a rival gang. Merry Christmas! And Hanukah. And Kwanzaa. And winter solstice. Whatever.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Jaw is Sore for Nothing

     Technology in many fields is really pushing the bounds of possibility. The cutting edge of innovation is filled with huge intellects and huge imaginations, and fascinating answers to new and old questions are constantly evolving. In looking through new advances in medicine, electronics and information technology, one starts to wonder what amazing, unimagined concepts will be tired commodities in a few decades even. However, I have to wonder if perhaps the bounds of some technologies are far enough. Have you seen the technologies being developed in chewing gum these days??
     If you've wandered past a supermarket checklane anytime recently the number of gum choices is completely superfluous. I pine for the days when I could drop a quarter on the counter for 5 sticks of something minty, something spicy, something fruity, or some special bubble blend. That's satisfies all my worldly gum cravings I've ever had. But the gum they have out now! Now you, too, can be chewing a piece of gum and you'd swear it was key lime pie or strawberry shortcake! They have gum mystically injected with a delectable splash of liquid nestled in center (which in my point of view, means I end up with less gum). TV channels are flooded with visually dazzling commercials, with beautifully contrasting high-def images to express the overwhelming emotional sensation you are guaranteed to feel when you put this magical little chewable square on your tongue. With all the edginess of an iPad commercial, they peddle next year's model of gum trying to convince me it's gonna taste like how sex feels. It's simply too much!
     Let me ask you this, readers, who's demands and fancies are not being met by the current gum supply? Is there really someone in the country for whom chewing a strip of strawberry in between two strips of apple was such a divine experience they can never go back to Juicy Fruit like the peasants chew? And forget all that, I still haven't found a gum that keeps the flavor, whatever that flavor is, until I'm done chewing it. No, it looks like a flash in the pan is enough for most people I guess, and they're the tycoons making the millions off this gum. I just sit back with my head in my hands and say "for realsies?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Lend a Life

     We still need a great deal of help here in America, financially. I mean the economy has started to stabilize, but there's a still whole heap of debt out there. So many people still owe exorbitant sums of money to what must feel at this point like loan sharks. The way some people feel, I'd expect to walk into Bank of America and the teller would be in a pinstripe suit leaning on the wall flipping a nickel. Then I take a step back and realized "AW SNAP it's your own fault, debtors!" As it turns out, come to find out banks don't force us to borrow a shit-ton of dough, we go out and buy the dreck we don't need on credit.
     Which is why it blew my mind when I learned about a concept called microlending. Now microlending is when some rich investor in America makes a small loan, $50 or $100 or something insignificant like that, and they lend it to people in third world countries. These little loans, the price of a couple of seasons of South Park on DVD, or a brief crack binge, is enough startup capital for some starving foreigner to start generating money and pull themselves out of poverty to pay back the loan. They might be able to buy a fishing boat and nets, or a small stall to sell things from and BOOM! they have a new livelihood! STUPENDOUS!! Amazing! We can permanently change people's lives for the better for the same amount of cash I blew a month ago on a webcam that I haven't used at all.
     So I guess what fascinates me the most is the contrast. On the one hand, an individual with effectively nothing gets a loan for $50, and they can pay it back with interest. On the other hand, we have people here in the States with apartments and trailers full of heaps of what they will proudly admit is junk, and tens or hundred of thousands of dollars in debt they can't possibly pay back in the terms they agreed to, getting more loans! Because 37 inches is too small for a TV now that you got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for your XBOX 360, and somehow, they haven't cut off the credit card yet! But I stray from my point. Some people get a loan because they want more than they can afford right now, and some people get a loan because they want to be able to afford more after the loan is paid back.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Miracle on Main Street, Pt. 2

Yesterday I told about two separate incidents that happened to me recently. You can read about them here, but now I would like to compare the two, to help you experience the emotion I took in, and the determinations I came to. The first incident, if you don't feel like reading, was when I found 40$ prepaid on the gas pump I pulled up to. The other incident occurred in the discovery of someone's personal pocket copy of "The Bread of Life / the gospel of John" stuck to my windshield, presumably in response to and evolutionist bumper sticker I have on my car. The point of comparison in these two events, is in the larger implications and in how they made me think. To cut to the chase, I feel as though I experienced the divine in one of these circumstances, and the miracle certainly wasn't in that gift of verse.
     No, instead I found god, so to speak, in the circumstance of finding my gas had been comped. It became apparent when I realized how the two matters moved me. I felt several distinct waves of disgust involved with the the gospel left for me. The first was at the point of discovery. At first I thought "Ticket!" and all the worry that goes with it. After the realization of it's evangelical nature and intent, I felt the usual annoyance I always go through when someone tries to tell me their way of thinking is superior. The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was when I realized the targeted and personal nature of the gift. I was the only one chosen to receive this bit of preaching, presumably because of a my "Darwin Fish" car decal, and the 'giver' pointedly gave something he bought for himself to me. He told himself "this guy needs this more than me," or, in another way, "I'm better than this guy because of this little booklet, maybe if he reads it, he's be as good a person as I am!" Sorry, pamphlet-droppers, I resent the blanket assumption that you are right and I am wrong.
     The feelings stirred up, however, from the dingy gas station in the inner city, and the anonymous charity I experienced, seem somehow holy. It came to me with no imperative, to expectation, and only as much guilt as I put on myself. In the wake of the blessing of 40$ worth of gas, I have changed my plans for the future. I have since vowed to pay the gas forward, when I have the financial ability, manyfold. When I arrived to 40$ in free gas, I felt special and lucky, as well as humbled and owing. I felt as though something very wonderful had happened, and that I had to somehow pay my fair price for it, to somehow return those good feelings to the universe in kind, since I cannot repay the person who donated my gas. What truer definition of a miracle can you ask for?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Miracle on Main Street, Pt. 1

     Recently I pulled my car into a local gas station, a wayward Delta Sonic on East Main St. near downtown Rochester. I was dumbfounded when I got to the pump and saw that $40 had been prepaid into the pump. I tried the "cancel" button and it told me to see the cashier. I have something of social anxiety, and not being in the best of neighborhoods, I decided to use the prepaid dollars and avoid this unique and awkward interaction. Watching over my shoulder for someone to come marching up demanding I return stolen money, I fervently filled up and fled furtively. Through the rest of my commute, and sporadically for days after, my thoughts were consumed with the mysteriously personal, enigmatic bounty.
     I went over every possibility in my head. Perhaps the money should have gone to another pump, and someone stormed into the gas station demanding to know where their money had gone, and the gas station would probably have to eat the loss created by a careless attendant, or a customer who misspoke. On the other hand, just maybe, in an act reminiscent of the coffee shop phenomena seen around the country, the previous gas purchaser had paid for my gas in advance. Maybe the attendant, in a fit of angelic inspiration, decided to give the company's gas away or even put his own money into the register for me. I don't know. It's an absolute secret to me. Additionally, the person who put up their 40$ likewise does not know what his money did.
     I told you that story to tell you this one. I have a decal on my car, that is mocking "Jesus" fish decals. It is a fish with feet that says "Darwin," advertising my choice of belief in evolution. The other day when I walked out to my vehicle after working an almost 11-hour shift, someone had stuck "Bread of Life/The gospel of John" under my wiper. This bit of scripture was obviously worn; corners were bent and it was permanently curved from time spent in a pocket. It wasn't a mass handout from a church to all the lost souls in the parking lot, it was someone's personal copy they told themself I needed. It made me seethe. Some self-righteous, holier-than-thou demigod decided that he or she couldn't let me live with my bumper sticker without reaching out to me. I'm sure they ran home, too, and bragged to their significant other, or their parent, or their church buddy about the soul they hoped to  save and the life they tried to affect. I admit, sometimes I feel like I see signs, little reminders that might, in the right interpretation have larger implications. Check back tomorrow, and I will share with you the signs I see in these two incidents.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Contract Can't Be Gay

   I was surprised and unexpectedly proud of New York when we legalized same-sex marriage a while back. The numbers were solid, too; my local newspaper, The Democrat and Chronicle reported that 54-58% of New Yorkers were in favor of the change for acceptance. Almost immediately, however, there was a lawsuit filed by a conservative religious group. Shamefully enough the group is based in Rochester's own suburb of Spencerport, reinforcing stereotypes in the big apple that Western New York is all cow town and country bumpkins. As the saying goes, if you don't approve of gay marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex!
     The most infuriating part of this fresh attack on homosexual rights, to me at least, is the new direction of attack to accomplish their intolerant goal. The procedures for how the issue was legislated are being called into question. The group spitefully calls themselves New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (I won't bother breaking down all the hypocrisies just in this name) and they are claiming open door meeting laws were violated in the process. Additionally, they believe that procedures were violated by the bill not being sent to appropriate committees prior to the vote on the Senate floor. If you would like a more complete breakdown of the legal issues called into question, you can read about it here. Annoyingly enough, the bill vote passed: it would likely pass again if required. I see it as simply being a hindrance for the purpose of being a hindrance. It is shouting and jumping up and down and waving of arms, throwing a childish tantrum at the actions of happy people which do not affect them in any way other than those produced in their own minds.
     Sorry, religious-conservatives, you didn't succeed in convincing enough of us that a harmonious union celebrating the love and promise of two individuals in a legal contract with the state was an affront to the lord. It's your right as Americans to continue to persecute and demonize your fellow humans inside the confines of your church. However, for the love of God, act like an American and tolerate the fact that all men are created equal and therefore all deserve the same rights. We voted this in, even though we shouldn't have had to. Just because you believe you are right doesn't mean you have the privilege to force everyone to live their lives that way. As a good friend of mine once said (actually he's a complete stranger and I'm paraphrasing, but his point is true) 'When I teach physics, it isn't called gay physics. When I donate money, they don't call it a gay donation. When I get married, why can't it just be marriage?' Well, friend, too many people in America, through ignorance, intolerance, or fear still find the need to tally all they ways we are different, rather than agreeing we are all people.

Schmear Campaigns

     My short fuse is already reaching a critical point with the Republicans this year, and we're not even out of the primaries. The only reason I'm singling out the GOP is because they are the cats campaigning right now. Specifically, it's how they're going about campaigning, and every politician is guilty. After each debate, viewers might not even be clear on the issues at stake, but they could sure tell you who burned who. So much effort is put toward the person-to-person zingers, as usual, and annually it massively distracts from the actual issues. What can we possibly expect from politics if all the effort is going to defamation instead of ideas for national progress?
    In my glorious utopia, that will only ever exist in my mind, political debates and campaign strategies would be unrecognizable from the current childishness. Each candidate would only talk about themselves, and so when each side gets asked about fixing the economy, or Medicare controversy or whatnot, their answers would be an apples-to-apples comparison. "This is how I will fix the economy" will square off versus "this is how I will fix the economy," and the ideal solution becomes plain. At present, though, there is no comparison of platform or plans, only attacks on opponents. Whats worse, it works! All the undecided voting sheep hear the debates like it's two poor people cussing each other out on Springer!
     The ignorant, uninterested and misinformed people seem to eat up that kind of politics. I don't want to say that past words and actions of politicians have no bearing on the current elections, but the focus needs to be on the issues our country is facing. If a candidate is over-the-top too unacceptable or inappropriate, it generally becomes apperant quickly (the only Herman Cain reference in the whole post!), outside of the debates and campaigning. Perhaps we should actually hold all politicians to some tangible moral standard, then there might be a basis for the ad hominem argumentation. In the big election next year, I'm sure the onslaught of slander ads will be staggering, so I'm hoping people will take a little more initiative than usual, and demand politicians offer up their plans, rather than let them have their pissing contest and let the best dirt-digger win. Please, voters, take the time to wade through and find what's actually relevant and beneficial in your politician's campaign; then see if he or she is really who we want to put in command.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spear Hunting

    In these great United States, in my own home state of New York, it is somehow illegal to hunt if your weapon of choice is a spear. Let me be clear: you can kill an animal with a gun or bow, but in this day and age you can't even spear hunt if you want. What is this noise? Why can this all-American past time only be done with guns and bows? I absolutely feel this is one law we do not need and I'll tell why.
    I don't care much for hunting myself. I can't really see any joy to be had in squatting in a 'tent' made of camouflage netting at 6 AM and luring helpless animals to their death. I especially say helpless, because of the use of guns and bows by the hunter. The deer might be 75 ft away from the thing that kills then and they'd never even realize. I'm sure that hunting enthusiasts would laud the ignorance as compassion, that at least the animal didn't suffer having to run for his life from a killer he could see coming. I, alternatively, don't even see the sport in it.
    I understand the concept of hunting for sport, and that the enjoyment comes from acting on long-obsolete instincts to succeed so completely over another being. They are very primal emotions some people are just more in touch with. However, wouldn't the thrill, the adrenaline rush that comes from that hunter-gatherer mentality be amplified if you could rush up and fight in melee combat with a spear? Or even thrown from a short distance? That would be true skill, man truly exerting his higher primate brain over lesser mammels. Trophies shot with a gun seem hollow to me. With a spear-hunting scenario theres even the risk the animal might hurt you. Risk, to me, is what makes the reward worth it. Can you imagine needing real skill to bring home a nice trophy? Stalking, stealth, speed, agility, strength, the ability to think on your feet. If you fail, not only do you leave sans trophy, you might very well get a hoof in the jaw or claw scars across the beer belly. That might be real sport. Not drinking beer with some buddies far earlier than people should be imbibing while making a lawn chair bow under you and occassionally looking up at the salt lick on the tree to see if there's a 20-pointer that'd look great in the cabin.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And Your Blinker Is Still On

     I know it's trivial, but it's an issue that wears on me nigh every day, certainly every day I drive. I try not to rage too much on the road, but inconsiderate, blissfully unaware drivers grind toturously at the corners of my thoughts. One major element of driving in particular that so many people seem to struggle with, is merging and switching lanes. Something happens when people, especially in any kind of traffic, need to change lanes. Common sense breaks down, and one person often inconvenience several people, sometimes dozens in a chain reaction, because they act without any simple foresight for how their actions will affect those around them.
     The place I see problems arise is when someone needs to get over at the last minute, and they jump on the brakes. If you fucked up, and that same familiar exit you get off at every single bloody day came up quicker than you were expecting, you should do those around you the favor of moving ass out of the way as quickly as possible. I may not think highly of the moron who runs screaming across four lanes to the exit at the last minute, but at least he didn't fuck with my shit and make me brake. When people slow down, because their dumb ass didn't think two little stinking minutes ahead and get over before they're about to miss their exit, we all suffer!! I KNOW, I know, it really shouldn't matter that much, and I usually just let the scummy jerk over, but it's your spacey mentality that starts traffic jams, it undoubtedly is.
     The other cretins who drive more oblivious than Helen Keller at the Pink Floyd laser show, come up at on-ramps. It's the "oh what a lovely day for a drive in the motorcar" lollygagging, lackadaisical simpletons who merge onto the highway, but they AREN'T GOING HIGHWAY SPEEDS. They give you a whole ramp to get up to speed, and I will be god-damned if you are going to make me accomodate your ineptitude by having to brake. I know the big car sounds scary when you are accelerating up the ramp, but you're on a timer. In a nutshell, open your eyes, and turn your head, your whole head, not just that quick mirror check, and see how many fucking people you are going to piss off when merging and lane-changing like bored sloth jacking off.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh, Is That All?

   When I first heard word that there was an Internet censorship bill before congress, my thoughts turned to the darkest, most revolting corners of the 'net. And in defense of freedom of expression and thought, I was planning out a blog post toeing the gray areas of our First Amendment. I thought maybe kiddie porn sites, or prostitution under the guise of an escort service. When I started poking into it, I was floored. Piracy?? Media-swapping? That's what they're considering allowing broad censorship of the web for? I recognize the intent, and from a purely legal standpoint, the end result is certainly clear and right: to stop information piracy and protect intellectual property. However, I absolutely do not see how the ends justify the means in this case.
      What I see when I look at this bill is a gang of miserly lawyers and record company CEOs who want to be even richer coercing our government to use a blowtorch to kill a ant. Or to be fair, millions of ants. However an exterminator uses a very guided, surgical approach to remove ants, not burn down the house. The government hasn't been able to effectively stop individuals from pirating music, so they are lashing out at the mode of piracy: the websites. Would they also suggest that boatmakers and weapons manufacturers be liable for what Somalian pirates are doing in North Africa? People are the ones breaking laws and pirating music, not the websites themselves. The bill would allow websites to be sued or taken down if their subscribers are suspected of pirating media through their site.
     As usual, the big corporations will remain largely out of danger and the biggest casualities would be the smaller, less popular sites with less means for legal defense. The government and lawyers will truly be shooting the messenger on this one, due to their own ineffectiveness at stopping piracy from the actual individual people copying music. Media piracy is illegal and if the lawyers and companies with claims to the media want to take their own action thats fine. But this kind of commissioned legislation creates far too much collateral damage. There is an answer to preventing piracy, but this is absolutely not it. This seems to be still another another case of government over-action in response to the lobbying of the wealthy that will hurt more innocent people than it helps. I don't know how many more ways I can say it: the ends don't justify these means.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ass-isi Institute

     I was driving around Rochester earlier this month, and I saw a sign for a place, and the sign and name intruiged me. It was called The Assisi Institute of Rochester, and the symbol on the sign was similar to the OM symbol from Indian and Dharmic religions. I dearly love this, the information age, because I was very quickly able to find the rocwiki and homepage of this Assisi Institute on my Driod. And it sounded nice, as I read through, I found that their message, as they say it, is "Eastern Philosophy and Western Mysticism" which made me pause, I wasn't really sure what they were referring to by "Western Mysticism" because generally I don't associate anything from the West as 'mystical' in any way, at least when compared to the East. I feel like the most 'mystical' we get here in the West involves drinking the special Kool-Aid.
     But I kept reading, and throughout the first paragraph, they used the word 'God' a surprising number of times, for an organization that focuses primarily on Kriya Yoga. Finally, in the third paragraph, they were willing to admit that when they say 'Western Mysticism,' what they mean is Jesus-Yoga, or as they say "a special emphasis on Christian mysticism," whatever that means. I'm a relatively jaded soul with regards to Christianity, so naturally I wanted to know how Christianity could possibly add any kind of occult or arcane aspect to YOGA. I really wanted to know who could possibly think Christianity was more mystical than Eastern meditative religious lifestyles. Thus, I went to their website,, to try to find some clarity, and their specific page "Christian Mysticism" and it was blank! Every other page at least had some small blurb, but the mysticism page was emptier than a church during football. They did however, have a plethora of information about the fact that they operate on and encourage donations, as well as their plans to expand. Which really seems to confirm my cynicism toward anything Jesus related that won't admit it's actually just another church.
    What really makes me want to 'cast the first stone' right through their fucking stained-glass windows, is that they can't just be up front about their Jesus slanting. In the information about the Assisi Institute, it was halfway though the third paragraph before the Christian bullshit was revealed. It really feels like a scammer, where you go and listen to a presentation that promises you can make $1000 a week working from home, and then you go and in the last five minutes they 'reveal' that it's Vector knife sales.
     I then waxed curious about the 'Assisi' from the title, I looked up more about it, and it refers to Saint Francis of Assisi, from the Franciscan order of monks. Which to me, once again I feel the tugging of wool down over people's eyes. If you wanted to identify with those monks, the word "Franciscan" is far better known than "Assisi" and would be a more straight-forward, genuine title. Instead they pulled out the much less recognizable word to ally themselves with the teachings of a monk who preached "To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps." If you believe in following Jesus, but you want to do yoga too, that's fine, just call it a Church and offer yoga classes. Don't lure people in with the promise of mysticism and enlightenment, and then snake in with the Christian dreck.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Beginning of the End

    Well, Cunning Linguist is off and running, but now, while we're still at the start, it seems like the logical time to for what I believe will be a rarity in my blog. For the first time (obviously), and hopefully for the last time, I want to tell you what you should think. Most of my postings will be me displaying facts, and bringing to public attention my observations and opinions. It will ne clear when I am expressing an opinion or a fact, and my opinions may not be correct for everyone. Typically I will be pointing out the things that are wrong, and I won't necessarily have the right answer. I only want to highlight what is root if the issue, and help guide you in making your own decisions. This one time, however, I want you to really seriously consider taking my advice, which is how I try to live my life. Perhaps I might call it The Chaba Doctrine if I were the first person to say it:


    Before you jump to any hasty conclusions about that or anything ever, let me tell you my reasoning. Especially in America, we are constantly being bombarded with the opinions of others, and outside forces regularly try to influence your own opinions. What's worse though, says this observer, is how little resistance the majority of Americans put forth to prevent themselves from being influenced. Whenever someone, anyone, from politicians and religious officials to advertising companies and their clients, tries to sway the perspective of the masses, there is always some goal they are trying to achieve, sometimes obvious and sometimes covert. What really gets my goat is that so many people, 'the masses' one might say, mindlessly bend toward these authoritative voices without so much as a mental double-take to try to identify ulterior motives. Therefore, I find it fitting, to give you, perhaps what I'd call The Kevin Corollary to The Chaba Doctrine:


    The only people who do not welcome their message being questioned, in my experience, are those who have something to hide or whose message does not stand up to scrutiny. Apparently I'm in a shriveling minority, in that while I was growing up I was constantly encouraged to ask questions. Because of this, I have a very strong "bullshit" sense. I can smell the bullshit that wafts out of Jesus pamphlets, and I can't even watch TV during major elections due to the bullshit that pervades political ads. When people are discouraged from asking questions, it teaches them to blindly accept blatant bullshit, and pointedly ignore subtle bullshit. As I go about putting myself out there on the Internet, blogging my opinions, I will be bringing to the populace the questions I have with society, and I look forward to my ideals being questioned. It demonstrates a desire for understanding before a decision is made. So if you get nothing else from the entirety of my blog, I hope to spread this message to THINK FOR YOURSELF and to QUESTION EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Welcome! The Who, The What and The Why

    Salutations from the Cunning Linguist blog! I'd like to start off with some introductions, and to flesh out what to expect from this here weblog. A wee bit o' background first, though, for purposes of understanding. I have lofty ambitions of becoming a standup comedian, and I've been working on jokes with which I'm not particularly satisfied. As I started to gather ideas to write about, many of my what I wanted to be jokes turned into something more akin to rants lashing out at the avalanche of stupid I deal with daily. Not necessarily funny, but often quirky, as well as  harsh and critical. And so I settled on the blog, to get out my disgruntled opinions on the things in my daily life and society around me. My goal here in That Cunning Linguist is to get my points across as clearly as possible, with less focus on the funny and more focus on lucidity and the crafty making of my point.
    Back to the introductions, now that you know what I'm doing. I think a bit of history can help shape your perspective of me. I'm a twenty-two year old honkey raised in Rochester, New York. I was actually born in Albuquerque,  NM, which gains some noteriety as being en route to all of Bugs Bunny's travels. I only lived there for six unrememberable months, though, in my infancy before moving to Western New York. I'm an Eagle Scout from BSA troop 31, International Baccalaureate (sounds cooler than it is) graduate from Wilson Magnet HS, former FIRST robotics team member on Team 191 The X-Cats (racy, ain't it?), and I was in my drama club, DVC in high school. I was raised in reform Judaism at Temple Brith Kodesh, but I'm not particularly observant anymore. I've been married to my wife Mia for two years, and we're currently saving up some cheddar to make the move westward to the City of Angels, where I will chase the comedy dragon, and she will be writing.
    Now, allow me to wrap it up by way of telling you what to expect from 'That Cunning Linguist.' I will soon be delving deep into the myriad problems that thrive in this great country of America. I love my native country, but I am certainly not of the delusion that the nation is flawless.   I will be tackling a plethora of irritants, the mundane, the gravely serious, the controversial and the abstract. Also, fair warning, I'm sure I will come across inflammatory, incendiary and downright annoying to certain people. However, I do try to examine all sides of an issue and opt for whichever seems more beneficial to most, and I always explain why. Therefore I believe I will recieve the most opposition from only those with closed minds. I welcome controversy and I will eagerly engage in rational debate with anyone who opposes my views. I am not above changing my opinion to accomodate a more correct one, and I expect nothing less from my readers (boy am I in for some disappointment!). I'm looking forward to reaching out to readers to share opinions and ideas. I guess, moving forward, th one thing I want my readers to do above all, is to THINK FOR YOUSELF and to QUESTION EVERYTHING (more to come on that).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coming Soon!

Soon this blog will be chock-full of anger and insight. Tune in soon!