Posts Tagged ‘Cloying Culturisms’

Today Ms. Denyse Bridger has been kind enough to lend me her blog and is hosting a guest post I wrote titled Can we outspend our discontent?

Thinking we need a different approach to the Christmas ‘system’? How about, at least, considering a different mind set. Trot on over to my guest post to see what I mean!

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Heads buried under the sand—denialismPer usual, my idea for a quick, pithy post about an annoyance turned into a full bodied rant. The inspiration for this scripture of personal contempt is actually fairly innocuous, but only if you’re not paying attention.

The United States Postal Service is currently running a commercial aimed at driving more usage of buying postage online. I’m all about getting everyday tedium accomplished online, paying bills, etc. But this ad starts with a man saying “There’s nothing worse than having to wait in line at the post office . . .” It takes maybe three or four seconds and then it’s on to the rest of the commercial.

Nothing worse than standing in line at the post office? This is supposed to be a motivator for buying stamps online? I have zero issue with buying stamps online, only the implication that there is nothing worse than waiting to buy them at the actual post office. There really is:

• You might rip an excruciatingly loud fart during homily at mass.
• You might get caught waiting to make a left turn after an all too hearty meal of Mexican food (this actually happened to me, and I can assure it is, without a doubt, worse than standing in line at the post office)
• You might find a vein in your hot dog—okay, that’s a dusty, old joke, but it’s still relevant.
• Your doctor may sternly inform you to cut out fried foods. May as well just kill me on the spot.
• You only now learn, from reading my blog, that Soylent Green is made from people.

As trivial as most of those are they all qualify as being worse than the postal premise. It has always struck me how utterly flippant people are in their use of phrases like this. Say it aloud to yourself and listen: “There’s nothing worse than (insert personal lament here)”.

Nothing worse?

How about living in a society that rewards stupidity? “That’s absurd!” you say.

“Please,” I reply.”It’s only absurd in its ease to prove.”

“Where I come from we like to see proof” you boast. Innate curiosity mandates that I ask the natural question, “Where ya from?”

“Missoura.” (That would be Missouri for those of you not from midwest, or those who don’t recognize their own dialect.)

See . . . too easy. “Perfect,” I say, “then you’ll understand my first example.”

LaToya Jackson. She has far more money than you and I (and the other three people who read my blog) combined, hence the ‘reward’ criteria being satisfied). She publicly stated “Victory was served.”

There really are worse things than feeble-minded celebrities (or feeble-minded has beens) being given a few more seconds of exposure. People who would actually claim to look up to her . . . I’m sure they exist. Yeah, that’s worse.

Need more proof that we reward stupidity? Okay.

Let’s synchronize our Wayback Machines to February 1992. Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, sued McDonald’s for the thrid degree burns she suffered due to the hot coffee she spilled in her lap.

The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at fault in the spill [I’d have argued for 100%-JN]. The jury also awarded Liebeck $2.7 million in punitive damages, which equals about two days of McDonalds’ coffee sales. The trial court subsequently reduced the punitive award to $480,000.

$640,000 is a solid award for brazen stupidity. Back to my initial postulation, that there are few things worse than living in a society that rewards stupidity.

I’ll stop at this last one: sharing national breath with a voting bloc as mind numbingly pathetic as its elected representatives. In 2011 our Congress managed to achieve the lowest poll rating—for performance—in our history: a 9% approval rating. How mud-brick-stupid are those who actually gave the thumbs up?

Only marginally dumber than those who keep returning the same non-performers in the first place.

For my money there’s little worse than any individual, collective, society, or nation that willingly refuses to engage their grey matter. Being stupid is not a crime, sadly. But if we could use it as a “revenue source” to reduce our deficit—say, by taxing every day idiocy—imagine how staggeringly fast we could reduce the federal deficit!

Oh, so now you want “everyday stupidity” defined. Well, for starters:
• texting while driving . . . monumentally stupid
• tugging on Superman’s cape . . . Croce said that was a no-no, and would be truly counter-productive, so it, too, is stupid
• leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the aisle . . . okay, that falls more under rude and inconsiderate, but it’s close enough to stupid to be valid.
• saying “Can I get” when ordering something that’s clearly on the menu. Stupid. Period.
• attempting to make meth inside a Walmart so you don’t have to buy all the fixin’s and carry them back to your Airstream home. Oh yeah, someone actually thought this was a smart idea. Not so much . . . that’s not just stupid, that’s f!$*ing stupid—on two counts.

This morsel is far too juicy to let go without a factual—yet entertaining—clipping from the news story:

Police arrived at approximately 6 p.m. as the woman was mixing the unpredictable potion in the back of the store. “When I saw her she had just finished mixing sulfuric acid with starter fluid in a bottle,” says Officer David Shelby.

According to KSDK [television], when questioned, she denied attempting to make meth in the store, but firefighters at the scene say otherwise.

“When firefighters were on the scene she made statements to them that is what she was doing, she was attempting to obtain these chemicals and was in the process of trying to manufacture meth. However, she said she was not very good at it,” said Shelby.

That, folks, is laughably stupid. WOW! “She was not very good at it.” Talk about your inability to polish a turd.

Anybody want to guess what she might say to her cell mate? “There’s nuthin’ worse than gettin’ busted for making meth at Walmart.” In her defense, her use of “nothing worse” in this situation is far closer to truth than what most people use it for. What could be worse?

The whole illegal enterprise could blow up on you. Literally. Frankly, not a waste in my book, because we then have one less moron living among us, sharing our air, voting, etc.

Which brings me to perhaps the ultimate conclusion: there is nothing worse than anything but death. Want to steal someone’s thunder when they proclaim “There’s nothing worse than coffee without cream!” Four words is all it takes.

You could be dead.

That locomotive slams to a roaring halt.

But as I have stated before on this blog, I won’t care about a damn thing when I’m dead—because I’ll be dead. There ain’t nothin’ more final than that. What’s worse at that point? Probably living. Think about it. Would you really want to continue living, coexisting, with whatever killed you in the first place? That would be pretty horrific, and in all likelihood would qualify as being far worse than standing in line at the post office.

When casual conversation allows the “nothing worse” mantra to slip in, before nodding in agreement consider the weighty untruth of the statement: being unemployed with a family to support—likely worse by comparison by a long shot; while having a cold sucks, there are many things worse than that—like cancer; being denied something you deserve or earned because you don’t fit a specific demographic or fulfill a quota—yeah, that’s worse than many things; nothing worse than stampeding crowds on Black Friday? How about the derailment and commercialization of the season—I think that qualifies as worse; any heartbreak or loss . . .

Point made?

So every time you see that commercial the rest of this holiday season, please think of this post. Moreover, I appeal to your greater sense of intelligence and enlightenment (you obviously read!) to take a split second and think before beginning or ending a sentence with the words “there’s nothing worse.”

Unless of course there really isn’t. In which case you should be held in our prayers and God’s grace for the suffering which visits you.

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Family reunion poke-n-go

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CEO chows down while you starveI’m rather enjoying the repeated news stories about America’s outrage over
bail-out banks and their princely CEO’s. If I may be so bold as to use current
vernacular: Bank Fail.

I’m in complete agreement with the frustrated masses—so for those of you who
think I’m a Republican, I can assure you I am not; not in political affiliation
anyway. The word you’re looking for, America, is egregious:

adjective: extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant

We, the taxpayers, give these tail-chasers BILLIONS of dollars because they
couldn’t properly self-govern themselves when it came to fleecing consumers. They used words like “risk’ and “market-driven.” I use words like “salaciously greedy” and “stupid.” Worse still, we weren’t even asked if we would mind if our government bailed them out. Personally, I’d have said no—that goes for the auto industry too.

Oh please, enough crying about how big they are. No one, especially the
government, gives a rats ass if you spend your way into personal oblivion. Sure, others around you may feed your monetary black hole, but unless you fix the problem yourself you’re pretty much screwed. We, as individuals, don’t rate a bail out—unless we’re a lobbyist or influential minority. White women and men, you don’t count anymore—unless you’re a lobbyist . . . or bank CEO.

Bitter? Just a little. How about the rest of us, you know, Joe and Mary everyday taxpayer. Where’s our fat bail out and golden parachute?

Oh yeah, in the toilet, along with the rest of the economy. Thanks Wall Street and cold, impersonable financial institutions.

Don’t give me any crap about these institutions being “too big to fail.” And
yes, I understand they paid the money back, startling quick if you ask me. Which makes me question how bad off they truly were. They not only live off our collective wallets, but they turn around and shower their CEO’s and such with bonuses large enough to comfortably support several families for a year. But that would mean hiring and spending money. Can’t have that—unless you’re a Democrat.

I heard that the Huffington Post has put in motion a campaign aimed squarely at the core of this frustration. They are encouraging consumers to move their money from these pantheons of indifferent fiscal terpitude to community banks. Now, I have never visited the Huffington Post, but I can say I have no problem firmly supporting this idea.

Sadly, I am fairly confident this will have little effect on the largest of
these institutions: Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citicorp, and (laughably
named) Bank of America. Why? Because we Americans love to talk a good game, but we rarely suit up and take the field. Look no further than most every election cycle—every damn time there are huge cries to oust the incumbents because they refuse to get anything done. And what do we do . . . vote them back in.

Almost two decades ago I moved my meager account from what was then one of the largest banks in the state to a local credit union. I almost wish I would have waited until now. I can scarcely convey the delight I would take in closing my account with a large institution, smiling as I informed some lowly management drone that I could no longer stand the bitter taste of their contempt for the average consumer. I really don’t think they’d care, but I would enjoy it. More enjoyable still would be my personal campaign to encourage others to follow suit.

See folks, the only thing these people understand is money. They don’t care about you—they care about your money, and how much more of it they can insidiously extract from you. They’ll tell you they want you to stay with them, but if you told them they could keep the money but you were leaving anyway they’d shake your hand and wisk you out the door—and do so happily.

They need a bigger message to be sent. The don’t need a warm scolding with a finger gently wagged at them. They need a steel-toed boot in the crotch.

If you have the actual fortitude to embark on such a bold endeavor, you get extra brownie points from me—like it matters. Seriously though, you might be surprised what the smaller local banks can provide, starting with something as forgotten as the human touch.

I’m no economist. To be completely honest, to say math is not my strong suit would be generous. But I can perform the basic calculations that tell me I can’t afford to own my own home, nor could I qualify for the Cash For Clunkers program. I’m employed, thankfully, so I don’t qualify for food stamps, but I can’t get any extra help to so much as take one step toward upward mobility. I take somber comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.

I’m really not complaining. I do what I need to do in order to make ends meet. I try to be responsible with my money (you know, as opposed to reckless breathtakingly idiotic irresponsible). I don’t believe this will take any kind of deep root, but with enough word-of-mouth at the very least we might make them sweat a little . . .

Admit it, you want to see it too.

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Mr. LineCutter - Pour Yourself A Nice Steamy one!

Mr. LineCutter - Pour Yourself A Nice Steamy one!

I really must, up front, admit to my disappointment at not being able to post the true version of the graphic. IT not that I literally can’t, rather the sour state of political correctness we find ourselves steeped in precludes me from doing so. I don’t know who may actually be reading my blog, or what eyes my peer over mom or dads shoulder when they’re reading it, so I used the cleaned up version. I doubt there are few out there who don’t know what it actually says. If perchance you don’t I’ll be happy to send you the original, or you can search for nice cup in Google Images.

But this isn’t about pithy graphics. It’s about our need for order. It’s about one’s ability to retain simple matters of societal protocol instilled from pre-school on. It’s about respect and simple politeness

Essentially, it’s about not being a self-important, simpering, lumbering dickhead.

Adult life is full of waiting in lines . . . on a daily basis. We wait to order food (don’t even get me started again on “Can I get . . .“), wait in traffic, wait on the phone, and wait—as I did—queued up at the post office.

No big deal, right? Normally it isn’t.

I was sharing the line with six other fellow, protocol-abiding citizens. We all waited while other like-minded folks took care of their mail needs at the counter. Then things turned almost predictably stupid.

Here’s the set up: I was next in line, five other people behind me. One window clerk was busy while a second was behind-the-scenes doing who knows what. Out of nowhere comes mister I’m-Bigger-Than-You, about 6’4”, probably around 260 pounds, looking every bit the retired linebacker type. He parks himself just to the left of the empty window, yeah, the one where I should be up next when the clerk returned.

Okay, whatever . . . if all he has is a quick question, I’m okay with that. I have zero hang ups about letting someone jump in front of me if they’ve only got a couple things to pay for . . . or if they only have a quick question. I really read this guy wrong. Once the clerk returned Mr. IBTY pitched camp at the window. Obviously it wasn’t a quick question. He stood there, pen in hand, writing something for about five minutes. For all I know he was straining his brain trying to remember all the Dr. Suess books he read in high school.

Then along comes mister God’s-Gift-To-Travel-And-Women: peppered hair slicked back, shirt unbuttoned much further than necessary to expose the two necklaces around his overly-tan neck, and sunglasses perched atop his head. He’s actually two people behind me in line, but begins a campaign—more of a frontal assault, really—on anyone within ear shot, declaring that he was late for his ten o’clock passport appointment. Naturally, Joe Passport gets to move to the front of the line and have his needs met before the rest of us who had just plain ol’ mail to send.

Ordinarily that’s enough to cheese me off. I was raised to be courteous, to wait just like everybody else, and yes, to be polite. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have the urge to point to the floor immediately in front of me and bark “Hey clowns, the line starts here,” then point my thumb back towards the rear of the line, “it ends there!”

If you’ve ever got a splinter under your skin, you know that’s irritating enough; sometimes a little bit is exposed and you can pull it out immediately, while others get buried well out of easy reach. Joe Passport was the second type of splinter.

He stood in line and whined, complaining that they weren’t moving quickly enough to serve him. Never mind that he was late for the appointment, by his own admission. Apparently being late, loud, and arrogant gives one the right to move the front of any line.

Why wasn’t I taught this in school? WTF?

This only reinforces my already ingrained theory about women only going for the bad-boy type. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

Why is it that people can get away with this kind of behavior and leave the rest us, who play by the rules, in the dust? Need another example? Okay . . .

Ever flown standby on any airline? If you fly standby then you’re typically last on the list to get on the airplane. If there are any seats left once all the paying passengers board, then you have a shot at making the flight if there are seats left open. Otherwise you’re “rolled over” onto the next one and you get to wait. If you know you’re flying standby you accept this going in, and that’s okay. Planes will fill up, that’s the way it works. But here’s the part that frosts my berries: Passengers who come hauling down the terminal because they’re late. Three times I’ve been a part of this scenario. All the passengers have boarded and the crew are getting ready to board me or other standbys, and some yahoo comes barreling into the boarding area, whips out his or her ticket, sometime grinning, then they board.

Yeah, I know, “They bought a ticket.” See, this is one example of why America is going down the toilet. We set up rules for a reason. We expect—or at least hope—that everyone will play by these rules. If your flight departs at 8:20am, that means it will likely begin boarding at roughly 8am. Everyone involved in the industry will tell you to get to the gate at least an hour prior to departure time, if not an hour-and-a-half.

So why the @#*! can’t these people plan for that? I don’t buy the story of not having an alarm clock. People have alarms on their cell phones. They may have a spouse who can wake them up. If you’ve commited to being somewhere at a certain time, then BE THERE. But we have allowed these knuckledraggers to get away with their lazy, self-inflated, arrogant behavior. We’ve created generations of enablers who are now trained to let the whiners and boastful blowhards of the world to impose their will and get their way ahead of the rest of us who thought manners mattered. We’re the same people who paid attention in school and play by the rules with the understanding that everyone else will too.

I’m sure there are other examples you could think of, and assuredly there will those who think I’m off my rocker, or perhaps not vocal enough.

Thing is, I know for certain I understand where the line begins, and where it ends.

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A momentary respite from my blog tour stuff . . .

Can I get . . .

Can I get . . .

Do you remember the Magic 8 Ball? It’s still produced by Mattel, in case you were wondering. For those who may not have enjoyed it’s completely random omniscience, you are supposed to ask any question at all towards the big number eight on the face of the ball, then turn it over to see how the universe feels about your question. Entertaining, sure. Eerily concidental . . . at times. If you have the slightest bit of worry-wort in you, don’t so much as approach the Magic 8 Ball. You’ll thank me later.

I bring up the Mighty Magic 8 Ball because there is a huge untapped market for this diversionary toy. I think Mattel should immediately embark on an advertising campaign directed at people to ask the following question when ordering at restaurants/fast food chains:

Can I get . . .

Maybe it would be better for Mattel to focus on the franchisees and restaurant owners instead. I’d pay a little extra for the sheer entertainment value of seeing a waiter or cashier repeating the question to a Magic 8 Ball, then turning it over and relaying the toy’s answer.

Customer approaches counter at, let’s say, Taco Bell.
Joe Public: “Can I get 2 tacos and a burrito Supreme?”

Cashier: palms Magic 8 Ball sitting in front of register, gives it a quick shake, then turns it over and reads the response “Concentrate and ask again.”

How perfectly fitting would that be as a response? Guess what, Taco Bell is in the business of selling tacos and burritos. McDonalds sells hamburgers, Arby’s sells roast beef, KFC sells fried chicken. My point may be getting lost.

There is always, and I do mean always, someone in line who will begin their order by asking the blatantly obvious. If you’re in Taco Bell, guess what you can get—a taco, or burrito, etc. Why ask if you can get one when that’s what they friggin’ sell?

Why people . . . why?

Now, I absolutely understand that if you want something that’s not specifically listed on the menu then you’re asking if you can be provided something not called out in their list of offerings. If you want fried pickle chips on your burger, you’d have to ask for them. Hang on! Here’s another example where you don’t need to ask “Can I get . . .”: If you’re requesting a modification to the standard deliverable, that is, if you don’t want tomatoes, but do want extra onions and secret sauce/Thousand Island dressing on your burger. Those items are typically provided on the burger, but you’re asking for a deviation from the norm. That’s a perfectly plausible reason to ask “Can I get . . .”

So you waiters and cashiers out there, if I’m ever in your establishment and see you whip out a Magic 8 Ball, you’re getting a little something extra in your tip from me, because I know you’re dealing with someone who clearly isn’t paying attention.

Now I’m going to hear it from people who have done this all their lives, if only because they’ve done it all their lives. or because “everybody does it.” Just because everybody does doesn’t make it right. Before the blessed advent of plumbing people pissed or performed other bodily functions where ever they saw fit—that would fly today, would it? No, the two aren’t closely related . . . but in principle they are.

Bottom line is, if it’s on the menu, you know, the big one, lit up, directly behind the counter or in your hands (if it’s a restaurant menu), then unless they’re out of the item you can get it. Pretty simple.

Yeah, this has been chafing me for years, and I finally resolved to get it off my chest for the world to see. I know I can’t be the only one who finds this stupifying.

If you’d like to see the internet version of the Magic 8 Ball at work, hop on over to Erv’s Virtual Magic 8 Ball. Go ahead and ask it “Can I get . . .”

I’ll be back later with my blog tour stop listed for tomorrow!

Happy Easter everyone!

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