March 30, 2007

And They Say Pigs Are So Smart

Walking to the lunch kiosk today, I noticed one of the halls smelled strongly of a scent I hadn't sniffed since high school. It was a smell I will always and forever associate with dissecting fetal pigs.

I believe I was in 10th grade at the time, in biology class, obviously. We'd been looking forward to dissecting fetal pigs for most of the year. We were tired of dissecting worms and frogs, which we, quite frankly, considered amateur dissection projects that didn't provide us with enough biological matter to throw at one another.

But fetal pigs were another matter entirely. These things had size and heft. That, and you could manipulate their little fetal hooves so it looked like they were dancing little fetal jigs.

The fetal pigs were stored in five gallon plastic pails, filled with a liquid substance that we were assured wasn't formaldehyde. Whatever it was, it stung the nostrils like a swarm of olfactory bees. My lab partner, Chris, and I selected a nice, big, pink fetal pig from a bucket and set about pinning the pink porker down into the wax-filled dissection tray.

Quite frankly, Chris and I were very jealous of the lab pair sharing our table, because they had been selected as the only two who got to dissect a full-grown cat. That thing was AWESOME! It was all stretched out, paw to paw, with a look on its face indicating it was none too pleased at the time of its death, its mouth drawn back in a silent, eternal hiss. We named it Fluffy.

We dissected those animals for what seemed like forever, possibly weeks, meticulously locating the various systems of the body, like the digestive system, the respiratory system, the pulmonary system and so on.

When we finally got around to the nervous system, we were all itching to get done with the dissection, as we had all pretty much decided during the first week we didn't want to do it for a living. Still, I was still interested enough because I wanted to dissect the brain.

We were instructed to cut into our pig's brain, but when we did so, Chris and I were presented with something completely unexpected. Namely, our pig didn't have a brain. It had a SHELL of a brain: there was a fleshy brain-like sphere about as thin as a napkin, but there was nothing inside that sphere, except for air and whatever that stuff was that wasn't formaldehyde. It was a most perplexing development. All the other students were busy carving up their piggie brains, but there we stood, staring blankly at our pig's brain balloon.

When we finally spoke up about our brainless swine, our teacher was incredulous.

"What do you mean it doesn't have a brain? Of course it has a brain! How could it not have a brain?"

When the teacher came over to inspect our cerebrum-lacking project, he stood there for awhile, poking curiously at the brain balloon with a probe, not unlike when Darth Vader poked Obi Wan's empty cloak after striking him down.

"I've never seen anything like this," he said, and I was strangely relieved to know it wasn't a common occurence.

I was imagining an army of zombie-like brainless pigs, unknowingly being kept in farms nationwide, aimlessly bumping into fences, unable to even "oink." I couldn't help but think a brainless pig would no doubt make a noise to befit its brainless existence: something like "Drrrr" or "Duhhh."

In the end, the brainless pig was chalked up to a developmental mis-fire in the womb, and the pig, obviously, would never have survived birth, if it even lived at all during its time in the womb.

But I'm not so sure. Ever since that day, after my scalpel punctured that pig's brain balloon, exposing only air and an unknown preservative, I have my suspicions some pigs live long lives with that condition.

In fact, I don't think it's limited to pigs. It honestly helps explain a lot of the people I meet daily.

Posted by Ryan at 01:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 28, 2007

Your YouTube Vid 'O the Day

Posted by Ryan at 03:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Caution

You know, the day after you eat Olestra-based Pringles, you're especially cautious when it comes to farting. Oh, sure, it FEELS like it's a fart; almost 100 percent positive it's all air pushing for freedom. But there's a lingering doubt, and for good reason.

Posted by Ryan at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pansy Milquetoast

Colman McCarthy: To battle the tradition of bullying

Child abuse receives ample amounts of public attention -- from the courts, the police, social workers and the media. Less noticed, though, are children abusing children. The National Association of School Psychologists reports that more than 5 million elementary, middle school and high school children are consistently bullied. More than 6 million frequently do the bullying. In the school of hard knocks, enrollment starts early with shaming, taunting, mocking, beating and intimidating.

Okay, look, I was bullied around in elementary and high school, but some of my greatest memories from that time revolved around me getting even with bullies. Also, if you can't deal with shaming, taunting, mocking and intimidation, then I'd argue you're not particularly well-equipped to deal with the real world. Beating? That's another issue, but I'd also like to know the author's definition of beating, because I don't think, for example, shoulder punches or purple nurples should qualify. But, hey, that's just me. Then again, I lived through the elementary schoolyard game of "Pecker Tag," which, believe me, toughens you up a bit.

To be darker, slower, fatter, thinner, weaker, quieter, poorer or different in any way but the prevailing way is to be vulnerable to the physical or emotional might of bullies. Fit in or be a misfit.

Oh, bullshit! Bullies exist to be bullies. Practically every bully I ever knew in my school years was eight million degrees removed from "the prevailing way," whatever the hell that was. Everyone knew who bullies were: they were the fuckers you tried to avoid like the plague.

How common is it? When I asked one of my recent college classes if anyone had ever been bullied, nearly all hands went up. Stories poured out. One student told of being bullied on the school bus while in the sixth grade. Those in higher grades forced her and her classmates to sit only in the front seats.

See, now, I wouldn't qualify that as bullying. Hazing, maybe. And, spare me the Rosa Parks analogies.

They were also ordered to open the windows during freezing weather, while the older students laughed at the shivering. When this student became a senior, she humiliated sixth graders the same way -- and enjoyed it. The tradition of bullying was carried on.

Wait a minute. Where the hell was the bus driver during this "bullying?" Because, in my experience with school bus drivers, they were about the most strict bastards in the entire school system. You couldn't squeak a fart without bringing about the wrath of the bus driver.

In 25 years of teaching courses on nonviolent conflict resolution -- to high school, college, law school students and prison inmates -- I've argued that violence is a learned behavior.

Yeah, people "learn" what they can get away with, and they exploit those cracks at every turn. In other news, bigger kids tend to realize they can bully and intimidate smaller/weaker kids for personal enjoyment. Those same bigger kids can be absolute angels at home and in the classroom.

Bullies aren't born, they are taught: often by peers, sometimes by the adults at home or coaches who berate their players during practices or games, and perhaps by living in a country like the United States that is perceived by much of the world as a global bully.

Oh, for fuck's sake. Who is this guy? Heaven forbid coaches berate players during practices or games. Many was the football/wrestling practice or game/match wherein the coach (in some cases, also my dad) told me to get my head out of my ass and concentrate. And you know what? In 99.9 percent of said incidents, the coaches were right, with the .01 percent of other incidents being a statistical anomaly. Oh, and I just LOVE how living in the United States can make one prone to being a bully. Having attended an international school in Tokyo, I can pretty confidently state that bullying is pretty much a global phenomenon that transcends race or country of origin. Being a dick is an international affliction.

If violence is learned, can empathy, kindness and tolerance also be learned?

Sure, but what the hell fun is that?

Yes. If taught well and taught consistently, those skills are as teachable as any others.

Fine, teach away. At the end of the day, Olaf the Hulk is still going to strongarm Eugene for his milk money.

A prime solution is exposing children in the early grades to the satisfaction of service to others. If parents, teachers and coaches encourage -- and demonstrate themselves -- reaching out to someone who needs help, a message is sent: We are a caring family, we are a caring school, we are a caring team.

Sure, we haven't had a winning record in over three decades, but we lead the league in group hugs and positive thinking. Competing teams can't wait to play us, because we're a cake-walk bunch of pussies, but at least we can say: "we tried, and we care, and please set the bone correctly so it grows back together right."

Be a part of it. Whether the service is as basic as clearing the table after dinner or as large as volunteering at Special Olympics, chances increase that a child will become less self-centered and more other-centered.

Hey, I cleared the table as a child! I was part of it!

A second antibullying strategy is for schools to schedule regular class meetings and student assemblies where children are encouraged to speak freely about their fears or anxieties.

Oh, right, yes, let's have our children expose their fears and anxieties to those bullies smacking their lips, waiting in the crowd. Bra-vo. Good plan. Has this guy ever existed in the real world? School assemblies provide a smorgasbord of information for those specializing in shame and intimidation. You may as well just ask the younger and weaker students to stand up and punch themselves in the groin to save time.

Children's feelings of powerlessness increase when they feel emotionally isolated and think they have no voice. They become loners, withdrawn and easy marks for bullies.

Uh huh, and having Felix stand up in front of a school assembly, telling everyone how he thinks the poop monster is waiting under his bed to get him is just SO going to help matters.

Class meetings can empower children to step in when they see bullies at work, by telling the victimizer to lay off. Group disapproval can be potent.

Actually, I thrive on group disapproval. Seriously, bullies don't give a flying fuck what other people think. THEY'RE BULLIES! They know they're bullies. They know that being a bully is supposedly a bad thing. And, yet, they still choose to be bullies! Gosh, it's almost as if they see some sort of benefit to being a bully.

Bullies themselves are likely to know, deep down, that they are essentially unhappy.

Oh, right, yeah. Actually, bullies are likely to know, deep down, that they enjoy intimidating others.

In "Reclaiming Our Children," Dr. Peter Breggin, a Bethesda, Maryland, psychiatrist, writes that a bully is also injured by his behavior: he "learns methods that not only harm other people, but will also backfire on him in adult life, when abuse and violence ruin his family life, alienate other adults, result in job loss, and lead to criminal convictions."

In order, the three biggest bullies of my childhood are today: a lawyer, an IT administrator, and a high school teacher, all of whom have very nice families and, by all accounts, lead pretty admirable lives. Yet, growing up, they were some of the biggest damned assholes I could imagine, at least until puberty kicked in and the playing field evened out a little bit.

It would help if schools themselves decreased academic bullying, as found in the current testing mania of No Child Left Untested. I know of no meaningful evidence that acing tests has anything to do with students' character development or whether their natural instincts for idealism or altruism are nurtured.

Academic bullying? ACADEMIC BULLYING?!! Honest to fucking God, WHO IS THIS GUY? Oh, and hey, did you know you're born with natural instincts for idealism and altruism? Hey, Colman McCarthy says so, so it must be true. That is, unless Colman McCarthy is bullying us through academic bullying or somesuch twaddle.

As imposed on public schools by testocrats in the federal Department of Education, excessive testing is an abuse of power over the weak -- the basic definition of bullying.

Now this article is just descending into parody. My qualms with standardized testing notwithstanding, what is it, exactly, Colman McCarthy would have us do: Just let students, you know, mellow and follow their own muse, man, because that's how you go with the flow and don't have to follow the dictates of THE MAN, you know?

No school, no family and no community is without flaws, but none of that justifies allowing the ethic of domination and competition to persist.

Do away with competition! Stop competing! Of course, that would pretty much spell the end of societal innovation and advancement, but hey, there are always drawbacks.

When parents or teachers obsess about academic or athletic excellence, the pressured child may seek refuge in becoming a dominator. This blossoms into get-aheadism, with bullying a way to cull the competition.

Man, this guy is a front-runner for "Pussy of the World." Or at least "Mr. Clueless 2007." Either way, I guess it's not surprising the Star-Tribune decided to run this non-sensical dreck.

If the pattern starts early, so should confronting it. I think it was Maria Montessori, and it usually is, who said: It is easier to build a peaceful child than repair a violent adult.

And it's easier to rip apart Colman McCarthy's nonsense than it is for Colman McCarthy to write a thought-provoking opinion piece.

Colman McCarthy, a former Washington Post columnist, directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C. He is speaking Thursday afternoon and evening, and Friday morning, at the upper campus of Carondolet Catholic School, 3210 W. 51st St., Minneapolis.

No bullies allowed.

UPDATE: LearnedFoot has discovered possible runners up for the "Pussy of the World" contest.

Posted by Ryan at 09:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Whoa

I was recently tasked with writing a definition for "Web 2.0." While researching the topic, I came across the following YouTube video, which does a far better job explaining the concept behind Web 2.0 than I have a prayer of conveying.

Posted by Ryan at 02:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Why My ThunderJournal Is Awesome #9587

People come to it from Answers.com looking for the answer to that age-old question: How long does it take fart gas to travel to someone else's nose?

I also think it's awesome how Answers.com helpfully redirects by asking: Did you mean "How long does it take to get over someone?"

I think the two questions are probably somehow related.

Posted by Ryan at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2007

Against My Beliefs

There's been a bit of a furor developing as of late in the Twin Cities, wherein some taxi drivers, citing infringements on their Muslim beliefs, have refused service to customers brandishing alcoholic beverages and, in more extreme cases, refusing service to blind people brandishing alcoholic guide dogs. Or maybe they were just regular guide dogs. I honestly don't read the news that closely.

The taxi cab kerfuffle was followed in short order by another kerfuffle, this time involving Target retail check out clerks, citing infringements on their Muslim beliefs, refusing to scan grocery items containing pork.

amazingly, Target reassigned those Muslim cashiers refusing to ring up pork products to other jobs, and there are those saying cab drivers are within their rights to refuse service to customers brandishing alcohol or dogs.

As a Thunderjournalist, I have an obligation to have an opinion about these assorted kerfuffles, and my opinion is this: I'm outraged.

I'm primarily outraged because I didn't think of any of these ideas first. As a journalist, I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to not do my job. Oh, sure, I tout myself as a writer and gatherer of newsy items, but deep down I'd really rather not be working at all. I work practically 24/7 thinking of ways to better avoid actually working.

For example, during my first stint as a newspaper reporter, I used to dial my own office number, and then quickly hang up, so my phone would ring. I'd then answer the phone, in a very professional manner, so everyone in the newsroom would notice, and I'd pretend to take notes on a very professional-looking notepad. I'd then wrap up the fake phone call, and dash out of the newsroom, leaving everyone thinking I was going out in hot pursuit of a news lead. In actuality, I'd drive out to a very secluded spot I staked out a few weeks earlier, shut off my car, recline my seat, and take a nap for about an hour. I'm a very dedicated journalist.

Hence my outrage regarding the recent news events detailing how certain Muslims have managed to avoid doing their jobs based on their Muslim beliefs. I mean, seriously, how come I didn't think of that? I'm so outraged at myself for not coming up with this idea first, I can barely stand it.

Here I've been coming up with elaborate schemes to avoid doing work, when all this time I only had to say "work is against my beliefs," or something along those lines. All I have to do is come up with a system of beliefs that go entirely against my work requirements and, *snap,* this politically-correct culture we live in will dutifully proclaim I should continue to be paid for not doing my job because, well, who are they to question my beliefs?

So, let me just come up with a personal belief system. Give me a moment.

*a moment*

You know what? I've just now decided the written word goes against my beliefs. I very deeply believe the written word is an unclean medium by which to communicate. Communication should be limited only to verbal intonations or hand gestures, according to my very strict belief structure, which I just now came up with.

In fact, I'm horribly offended by my very act of continuing to write these words. With each passing keystroke, I honestly believe I'm becoming progressively unclean, which is really saying something, considering I didn't even shower this morning. Here I am, working in a profession that goes completely against my cherished and strongly-held system of beliefs.

I suppose I could quit my job, and perhaps seek employment in a non-writing capacity. That would be the most obvious course of action. But, you know what? Why should I? I think it would be discriminatory to expect me to find employment more in line with my beliefs? I think I should be paid to not write. I should be able to sit here, all day, in strict adherence to my beliefs, resisting the urge to dabble in the written word. And I should be paid quite handsomely for my noble non-writing efforts.

That said, if you need me, I'll be at a certain secluded spot, taking a nap.

Posted by Ryan at 09:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Thought

How come people talk about their dog getting hit by a car, but no one ever laments when their car gets hit by a dog?

Posted by Ryan at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2007

Birth of the Fart Rooster

BACKGROUND: When you work in an office environment, particularly one as huge as the one I work at, you tend to develop inside jokes with fellow co-workers, whether those jokes are about certain run-down offices, or people with weird quirks, or just office culture in general. For those of you at all familiar with this ThunderJournal, you know that I and a co-worker, Caroline, often banter back and forth via MSN Messenger. We also have our standard office topics that are funny pretty much only to us. One of these topics is a woman we refer to only as "QuickWalk." We call this woman QuickWalk because, well, she walks quickly. Like, bullet quick. For no particular reason, we decided it would be funny if we pretended QuickWalk's quick walking annoyed us, and it's provided us with plenty of laughs for several months now. Well, yesterday, after purchasing a Diet Pepsi, I happened to see QuickWalk come around the corner, zooming towards me, and when I got back to my office, I IMed Caroline telling her of my QuickWalk encounter. Seconds later, there was a knock on my office door: it was Caroline, looking more amused than at any point since I've known her.

"I was just going to IM you, but then I saw your message on screen," said Caroline. "I was going to tell you that I was just in the bathroom, and QuickWalk was in there. . . AND SHE FARTED!"

So, I had seen QuickWalk JUST PRIOR to her fart, whilst Caroline was there for the actual fartening, and holy hell did we think it was about the funniest thing EVAR! What follows is our IM conversation that transpired through much of the rest of the day, posted here mainly for posterity, but also in the hopes several of the terms we conjured will be picked up and adopted by the English language.

Ryan says: I'm down here just giggling.

Caroline says: Me too!

Caroline says: laughing so hard, I almost wrote "me toot."

Caroline says: aaaaaah!

Ryan says: LOLO!

Caroline says: Now, BEFORE I knew who let the fart, I was thinking about asking you if you have ever been in the bathroom and you hear someone fart and you feel the urge to say "nice one."

Caroline says: That aaaaaaaaalll changed once I saw QuickWalk through the door.

Ryan says: I never have, but I've had people comment to me on MY toots.

Caroline says: OH, that's right.

Caroline says: this is too funny

Ryan says: And it made me laugh, but I tried to stifle my laugh, so I ended up firing several rounds of staccato tooting.

Caroline says: omg, stop

Caroline says: my sides

Ryan says: This is about the best thing to ever happen here.

Caroline says: It is!

Caroline says: Stoccatoot!

Ryan says: I'll bet you do all sorts of stacatooting during a tasering.

Caroline says: Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Ryan says: Give a hoot. . . stoccatoot.

Ryan says: My stomach hurts from all this.

Caroline says: I know!

Caroline says: aaaah!!

Caroline says: The planets aligned to put me on the same pee schedule as QuickWalk.

Ryan says:I wonder if pre-fart QuickWalk and post-fart Quickwalk are different in any way.

Ryan says: Probably lighter.

Caroline says: You would think the gas would propel her.

Ryan says: It will be a crying shame if the word "stoccatoot" doesn't enter the common vernacular.

Caroline says: It would warrant a tasing.

Ryan says: And the fart rooster says. . . stoccatootle-doo!

Caroline says: Fart Rooster!

Ryan says: LOL!

Ryan says: That could be either a rock band, or a beer name.

Caroline says: Or QuickWalk's new and improved nickname.

Ryan says: HAHAHAHAHA!

Caroline says: Fart Rooster ... you know, like Rock Lobster.

Ryan says: OMG, this is just too much!

Ryan says: I'm so going to start calling people who make me mad "fart roosters."

Caroline says: Listen, Fart Rooster, I'm not 100 percent in love with your tone right now.

Ryan says: Knock it off, you fucking fart rooster.

Caroline says: fucking fart rooster!

Caroline says: ow owow ow ow, my sides

Ryan says: Who would have thought "fart" and "rooster" would go so well together.

Ryan says: I'm dying down here!

Caroline says: I KNOW!

Caroline says: Yeah, there's no editing power left in me after that.

Ryan says: Now I have the "Married, with Children," theme song in my head, only it's Fart and Rooster, Fart and Rooster. . .

Caroline says: THAT'S what you can call your boys!

QUICK NOTE: We had a running joke early in the day about testicles, which were referred to as "boys."

Ryan says: LOLO!

Caroline says: What a pair.

Ryan says: Fart really gets the shaft on that one.

Caroline says: oh no

Ryan says: I'm afraid the next time I see that girl, I'm going to fall on the floor laughing.

Caroline says: That was the best part of my week. A fart incident in the bathroom. So. Sad.

Caroline says: She's such a fart rooster.

Ryan says: Best insult in the world up to this point.

Caroline says: Best used with the word "fucking" preceeding it.

Ryan says: I feel strangely cleansed after all this laughing.

Caroline says: As do I.

Ryan says: Staccatoot!

Caroline says: It sounds Native American when you say it out loud.

Ryan says: And the Great Spirit created the staccatoot, a briskly walking animal with a peculiar call.

Caroline says: It sometimes mates with the fart rooster.

Ryan says: There is some cross-breeding, yes.

Caroline says: I'm a gonna laugh if I see her again

Ryan says: Resulting in a sterile Staccatooster.

Caroline says: oh god

Ryan says: I just snorted twice.

Caroline says: That seems about right.

Caroline says: I've been laughing so hard, I can't remember why you said fart rooster.

Caroline says: I just looked.

Ryan says: "And the fart rooster says. . . staccatootle-doo!"

Caroline says: right, lol

Caroline says: my face hurts

Ryan says: But in a good way.

Caroline says: Well, yeah.

Posted by Ryan at 09:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 21, 2007

You know what?

fuck it.

I'm going to eat whatever the hell I want to eat. Last night, for example, I had a TGI Fridays bacon cheeseburger, and the day before that I ate four cheese rotini, and the day before that I had leftover Chinese food (Hunan chicken).

fuck it, ya'll. I eat what I like. And I work out. A lot. Like, up to eight hours a week. So, again, I say fuck it.

Posted by Ryan at 09:33 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Today's Britney Convo

Ryan says: You know, I have to wonder when Britney Spears will be referred to something OTHER than "the Toxic singer."

Caroline says: Well, I think it depends on the context in which her name is used. Rehab? Toxic singer. Ditching rehab? Ooops I Did it Again singer.

Caroline says: Ooops I Did it Again also works when she forgets to put on undies.

Ryan says: One does not "forget" to put on undies. One makes a concious decision not to put on undies.

Caroline says: Then maybe she forgets to close her legs or pull down her skirt while exiting vehicles.

Ryan says: Oh, please. She knew full well what she was doing. Flash the hoo-ha, get free publicity.

Caroline says: Hmm. I never thought of hoo-ha as hyphenated.

Ryan says: Hoo-ha should not be confused with ree roo.

Caroline says: It's so difficult to keep these Brit vocab words straight!

Ryan says: "Hyphenated Hoo-Ha" would be a great name for a rock band.

Caroline says: But, for irony, it should be "Hypenhated HooHa."

Ryan says: Now that I think about it, it would be a better name for a soft drink.

Caroline says: Pop that HooHa.

Ryan says: I like to start my day off with a piping hot glass of Triple H.

Caroline says: This could go to shakyHville really fast.

Ryan says: I like to start my day by burying my face in some nice, warm HooHa.

Caroline says: aaaaaaaaaaand ... there it is.

Posted by Ryan at 09:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

Great Name For A Rock Band

Nipple Feet.

Posted by Ryan at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

Google Must Be Shaking In Their Boots

With competition like this in the market.

Posted by Ryan at 12:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Throwing Down The Gauntlet

I have a cousin. Several, actually, but this one in particular has issued a challenge. I'm not sure whether he was drunk, or high, or being waterboarded, or all three, when he issued this challenge, but I still feel I should respond. So, here are my Ha-Choos:

A Bored Cousin Did Retaliate

Against His Inferior Literary Zombie

Edward Fellates Goats With Zeal

Posted by Ryan at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Pepsi Checks

Remember when I wrote this?

This morning, I received three checks from Pepsi for $20 each.

Suh-weet.

Posted by Ryan at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

Ironic

I recently watched an entire episode of South Park on YouTube (the "Naggers" episode, if it matters to you), and it occurred to me, in this era of high definition broadcasts and television sets, how I'm perfectly fine--nay overjoyed--to be able to watch a grainy, blurry, episode of South Park on YouTube.

Posted by Ryan at 03:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2007

WTF?

Seriously, WTF?

UPDATE: I've been instructed to inform you that link is disturbing.

Posted by Ryan at 02:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Bring the Gold

Posted by Ryan at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Shouldn't Make Me Laugh. . . But

Noooooo.jpg

Via.

Posted by Ryan at 11:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My Next Career Move: Ambassador

Iíve been working in my current place of employment now for over five years, in a variety of capacities. Iíve been a magazine news editor. I was promotedólargely against my willóto managing editor. Now Iím a combination of both news editor and managing editor. I like to think of myself as an editor chameleon, because chameleons, letís face it, are pretty cool.

Still, having toiled now for over half a decade for the same company, itís only natural for me to start looking beyond the employment fence to greener pastures. The tough thing is, however, Iíve always had a knack for writing, so the sphere in which I typically seek employment is primarily limited to the communications and marketing fields. While thereís nothing necessarily wrong with those fields, Iíve come to discover there are a maddening number of other professionals just like me who have a knack for writing. So, itís a competitive sphere, in other words.

Well, as I sat brooding last week, following an e-mail rejection notice for a job as an editor for Playboy Magazine (I was SO close to my dream job!), I noticed an interesting news tidbit flash up on my screen, which took my mind off of Jenn Sterger appearing in Playboy, which was pretty hot.

According to a March 12 Fox News report out of Jerusalem, ďThe Israeli ambassador to El Salvador has been recalled after he was found drunk, naked and bound in sexual bondage gear in his yard, an official said Monday.Ē

Now, up until that point, I had never really considered a career as an ambassador. From everything Iíd seen of ambassadors, they struck me as an uptight, overly formal lot. Theirís was a world of tuxedos and palatial ballroom dances, with a sprinkle of international intrigue thrown in to spice things up. Such was my understanding, so news article about the Israeli ambassador came as a lightning strike to me. Could I have been wrong all these years? Could the lives of ambassadors actually consist of drunken, naked bondaged revelry?

ďTwo weeks ago, El Salvador police found Tsuriel Raphael naked outside his residence, tied up, gagged and drunk, Israeli media reported. He was wearing several sex toys at the time, the media said. After he was untied, Raphael told police he was the ambassador of Israel, the reports said.Ē

Itís at this point where I realized something; I believe the worldwide community of ambassadors crafted the image of themselves as stuffy and overly formal so the rest of the world wouldnít want anything to do with an ambassadorial position. I lived in perpetual fear of being appointed to some random ambassadorship, at which point Iíd have to sacrifice all semblances of a life. Or so I thought. Thatís what they wanted me to think, so they could keep their lifestyles of debauchery all to themselves. Well, now I know the truth! And I want in!

ďThe British Broadcasting Corp. reported that (Raphael) could identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth.Ē

RAPHAEL: Irm feh ahmbaffador of Iffreaw!

POLICE: What?

RAPHAEL: Irm feh ahmbaffador of Iffreaw!

POLICE: Still canít understand you. Here, letís take this rubber ball out of your mouth, okay?

*SHPOP!*

RAPHAEL: Iím the ambassador of Israel!

ďThe embarrassing affair was one of several involving Israeli diplomats in recent years. In 2000, Israel's ambassador to France died of cardiac arrest in a Paris hotel under circumstances the Foreign Ministry refused to publicize. Media reports said he was with a woman who was not his wife at the time.Ē

So, itís official. Iím now going to eschew my journalistic career path and start actively seeking an ambassadorial appointment.

If you donít hear from me for awhile, itís because Iíll have moved overseas to seek Israeli citizenship. I hear they have an ambassadorial position I may be interested in.

Posted by Ryan at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Getting Ahead in Life

Whoa.

That's just kinda. . . sick.

Posted by Ryan at 08:27 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

Follow The Bouncing Ball

Ryan says: "The Israeli ambassador to El Salvador has been recalled after he was found drunk, naked and bound in sexual bondage gear in his yard, an official said Monday."

Caroline says: "Just another Monday," says the ambassador.

Ryan says: This is the funniest news item I've read in ages!

Ryan says: "After he was untied, Raphael told police he was the ambassador of Israel, the reports said.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that he could identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth."

Caroline says:" OK. HE should be the one who's sent into Iraq unarmed.

Ryan says: "Irm feh ahmbaffador of Iffreaw!"

Caroline says: Did you put your fist in your mouth to get the right pronunciation?

Ryan says: Completely off the top of my head. . . so to speak.

Caroline says: Just curious.

Posted by Ryan at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Goliath Versus Methusaleh

Couture is 43 years old.

Posted by Ryan at 02:12 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Too Stupid To Breed

From Today's Star-Tribune:

Trade peace for war

Why are the only two options being looked at: to stay in Iraq in full force or to pull out (Star Tribune, March 9)? It seems to me that a fair solution to our problem is gradual removal of all troops.

Up to this point, this has been a reasonable letter to the editor. You're thinking, "Hm, okay, I may not agree entirely, but I'd like to read a bit more about what you have to say." And you're whacked across the face with a baseball bat when you continue reading:

For every service person who is sent home, we should send an unarmed humanitarian worker into Iraq. This is a peaceful resolution the whole world can support. Let's finish this job!

You read that right, folks. We should send an UNARMED HUMANITARIAN WORKER INTO IRAQ FOR EVERY SERVICE PERSON WHO IS SENT HOME. In a similar initiative, bunnies and kittens will be deployed to the next starving pit-bull convention.

I just love how volunteer humanitarian workers will just be magically sent into Iraq, and unarmed to boot. The Unarmed Humanitarian Workers (UHW) are a little known additional branch of our military. It goes: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, (Coast Guard), Unarmed Humanitarian Workers (UHW). They would have added a sixth side to the Pentagon to accommodate the UHW branch, but there were so few of them they got a basement office next to the water heater.

I will now print the letter's writer so people reading this will know to point and laugh if they ever encounter him.

MICHAEL OIEN, FALCON HEIGHTS

Posted by Ryan at 08:40 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 09, 2007

I'm a victim's victim

Warning: This post contains repeated use of the word "victim." Be advised, "victim" is one of those words, if you say it or read it enough, that starts to lose its meaning over time.

Disclaimer: For those of you who are thick as oak in the head, this is to point out this is a work of humor, or at least an attempt at humor. This is not intended to be taken seriously. You're supposed to say things like "Ha-ha," or "Ooh, good one," or "LOL!" Please do not fill my comment box or e-mail with hateful diatribes about me being a misogynist, or a racist, or a pedophile. I'm not saying I'm not all those things; I just don't like to be reminded.

It has come to my attention, we live in a society of victims. Everyone's a victim of something, it seems. You spill coffee on yourself pulling out of a fast food drive through? You're a victim, and eventually, once a jury agrees you're a victim, you become a rich victim.

Religious people are victims of some sort of persecution or another. Non-religious people are victims of the religious right. Blacks are victims. Jews are victims. Black jews are victims. Women are victims. Children are victims. Elderly people are victims.

Here's the problem I have with all this victimhood: I can't apply for any of it. I want to be a victim, damnit! I want to be able to obviate all of my personal responsibility for any of my shortcomings in life onto some vague societal reason.

But the thing is, I'm not particularly religious, but at the same time I have some religious beliefs I hold onto, so I can't really claim victimhood from either of those camps. I'm not black, and I'm not Jewish, which of course means I'm not a black Jew. I'm not a woman. I'm not a child. And I'm not elderly. Those are all pretty much the sweet spots that can claim victimhood, and here I am, maddeningly, none of the above.

As I got angrier and angrier about being unable to call myself a victim, it occurred to me I am, in fact, a victim. I'm a victim of victimhood. I've had to put up with all these victims for so long, I just kind of lost the realization that I'm a victim to all these victims.

You know how some woman claim they're a victim to a male-dominated society? Well, guess what? I'm a victim to listening to them go on and on about being victims. Stop victimizing me, ladies! You don't think I have better things to do with my life than to hear you cry about being victims? Do you have any idea how much better my life would be if you weren't droning on and on about gender inequality? If I were to put a number to it, I'd say my life is probably lacking 20 percent of the quality it should have thanks to your blathering victimhood.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm sick of being a white victim. All you non-white people--you blacks, and Hispanics, and Indians (both dot and feathers), and Asians and whatever other races I'm missing here--stop trying to make me feel so damned guilty for being white! I get it already! You're not white, and I'm sorry. No, wait, I'm not sorry. Stop victimizing me! You know that job I applied for, but didn't get it, because I'm white? I didn't appreciate that one bit. You know who you are.

Hey, and kids? Is there anything else you'd like from me? Yes, you're the future. Fine. But, honest to God, the second one of you tykes think it's funny to point at me and say I touched you in your private place, even though you know I've never come within 20 feet of you in my life, the burden would be on me to prove I didn't, and you can just stand there and smile and smirk because you know I could be looking at several years in Pound Me In The Ass Prison (PMITAP). And hey, bonus points, I have a shaved head and goatee and a unibrow (which I have to pluck like mad to separate), so I look enough like a kid-toucher as it is. I'm sick of being a victim to the all-powerful "Children of the World." Little bastards.

And, you elderly people can just cram it already. I get it. You're old, which you think entitles you to things, usually prescription drugs or something life-lengthening like that. What you do not have is some God-given right to comment on the rather crappy quality of my lawn. I know you think your lawn is important. I do not hold such a belief system. If dandelions weren't meant to be in lawns, God--or evolution, or both--wouldn't have made them so fuck-awful hard and expensive to get rid of. Screw it. I think they're kind of pretty. I will no longer be a victim to your nosy, opinionated old-fartyisms.

As for the Jews, I guess I can't claim some sort of victimhood from them. Besides, they have way too many other people claiming to be victims of the Jews, so they don't need me added to the pile. Although, if they could maybe work to improve the quality of the worldwide media they control, I'd sure appreciate it.

Posted by Ryan at 07:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Good Pee

My cousin is staying in Rochester for the next few weeks while her husband, Matt, recovers from a kidney transplant operation that took place a few days ago. Matt's father donated the kidney, so it's an inspirational and heartwarming story and all that.

I came to an odd realization yesterday, as I and several other family members stood clustered around Matt as he laid there in his bed of recovery. That realization was, in a hospital environment, all sorts of conversation that's otherwise taboo is not only not taboo, it's pretty much encouraged.

For example, one of the big topics of conversation revolved around how good Matt's "numbers" were when it came to how his new kidney is functioning. Apparently, his "numbers" are better than at any time since his last kidney transplant some 30 years ago or so. So, that's good news and all.

However, as a visual representation of the quality of his numbers, people apparently felt compelled to comment on the large cannister of urine sitting on the floor. There you had family members, most of whom probably have never walked in on Matt in the bathroom, eagerly and enthusiastically commenting on his augmented ability to produce copious amounts of urine. No one really mentioned the fact the urine was draining into that cannister by means of a catheter, but the urine itself was a topic for intense conversation.

At one point, my aunt actually looked at the urine cannister and said, "Good job, kidney!"

I'm sure the kidney appreciated the vote of confidence.

Posted by Ryan at 12:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Cutting All Ties

Okay, I'm not one for small talk. In fact, I think my skills when it comes to inter-personal communication have been deeply hindered by a combination of Web-based communication tools and a 9-5 office job with little interaction with actual, you know, PEOPLE. I'm most comfortable communicating via keyboard. Stephan Hawking has his voice synthesizer, I have MSN Messenger.

It goes beyond that, of course. I'm hyper-sensitive to ambient noise, so more often than not I miss over half of what's being said directly to my face because my focus is on that strange thumping noise coming from the wall 30 feet away. Because, seriously, what the hell is that noise? It's driving me CRAZY!

Anyway, all this is a segue into my sandwich purchasing experience at Subway last night, wherein the Sandwich Artist working the counter was one of those incessant chatter-boxes I've grown to know and dread.

For most people, perhaps 80 percent of the population, when you say "hey, how's it going?" you get the standard "Not bad; yourself, Rose McGowan?"

So, when I said "hey, how's it going?" to the Sandwich Artist last night and got back--complete with a dramatic stretching and rolling of the shoulders--"Oh, could be better; I went snowshoeing today, and I'm really sore."

Crap.

Okay, I had a chit-chatter Sandwich Artist. Unfortunately, there was also a television tuned to some news program, and a couple sitting directly behind me discussing the possibility of getting a puppy which, honestly, was far more compelling than any narrative about snowshoeing could possibly be. My pathetic attention was torn asunder in three different directions.

Now, I have this thing when somebody is trying to talk directly to me, but I'm not really following, because there was apparently a storm front moving in and there are all the pros and cons about getting a black labradour retriever. And the thing is, if I'm not following the person trying to talk directly to me, I go ahead and pretend I got every word perfectly.

The tricky thing about pretending you heard everything perfectly, when in fact you absorbed only about 40 percent, is it's up to you to hold up your end of the conversation based on less than half the information required to conjure a coherent response. Oh, sure, I can occasionally get away with "you got that right," or "I hear ya," or "storm front's moving in," but I've developed an unfortunate tendency to just chortle a little laugh in the hopes the person said something even remotely a little bit funny.

This is a double-edged sword. On the one sharp edge, perhaps the person did, in fact, say something they think is funny, and my laugh has emboldened them to spout more inane blather I'll have to respond to. On the other sharp edge, they could have just told me their significant other died the other day, so my laugh is completely inappropriate, and now I've deeply insulted the person PREPARING MY FOOD!

In the case of last night's Sandwich Artist, my laugh was of the emboldening variety, so he continued to go on and on about. . . I have no idea what. Eventually, the conversation came back to something I was actually focused on: my sandwich. I had ordered a foot long Roma Ciabatta, something something, and I said "you don't need to cut it." I've said this to every Sandwich Artist I've ever encountered, going back more than ten years now.

For some reason, Sandwich Artists have been trained, almost to an instinctive level, to slice footlong sandwiches into two equal parts. I have no idea why this is. Personally, I prefer an intact, non-bifurcated hoagie. That's just my preference. And, so long as I instructed the Sandwich Artist to hold their slicing hand at the appropriate time, I've never had any problem getting an intact sandwich.

Until last night.

ME: That looks good. And you don't need to cut it.

SANDWICH ARTIST: Actually. . . I do.

This had never happened before. I was being second guessed by an over-talkative Sandwich Artist. Of course, at first I did my little chortle laugh, which was basically a kind of conversational place-holder while I considered my next verbal move. Of course, in that precious interval, my sandwich was evenly clove in two.

ME: Why do you have to cut it?

SANDWICH ARTIST: It's easier to eat this way.

Now, admittedly, I'm not a certified Sandwich Artist; I don't know all there is to know about the secret world of the hoagie. But, I think it's fair to say I've sampled both sliced and un-sliced sandwiches and detected no quantifiable differential in their relative ease of edibleness.

In fact, if anything, I think a sliced sandwich may be slightly less easier to eat because, depending on the point of slicification, the ingredients (I'm thinking mainly tomatoes here) can sometimes be cut at odd points, meaning they can actually fall out of the sandwich before it even reaches your mouth because they've been hewn apart and have no significant hold to the rest of the sandwich. I think you all know what I'm talking about here.

I know this sounds strange, but the moment that Sandwich Artist drove his knife into my sandwich, he also drove a deep wedge into any possibility we'd ever eventually be friends. Just minutes before, I was 40 percent willing to listen to his snowshoeing experience; but at the instant of slicing, I wanted nothing more to do with the presumptuous, knife-weilding Sandwich Artist. He was less an "Artist" to me than he was a mere sandwich assassin.

In fact, I don't think I'll ever go to that particular Subway store ever again.

So there.

UPDATED: This post has been slightly edited to make certain non-bloggers of the world happy.

Posted by Ryan at 11:17 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Pooch Snooze

Posted by Ryan at 02:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stepped on a Pop Top

flipflop.JPG

Posted by Ryan at 01:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

There Can Be Only One

You know, with the demise of Strip Mining For Whimsy, I'm reminded, yet again, how completely out of date my "Daily Read" blog list on right actually is. I should really do something about that sometime.

Or, you know. . . not.

Posted by Ryan at 01:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And When He Opened The Seventh Seal

There was silence in Heaven.

Posted by Ryan at 09:20 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Dear Winter

Okay, you can leave now.

Posted by Ryan at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Okay, This Is Just Funny

The online world is one of anonymous whackos, unfiltered opinion and just general dipshittery, 90 percent of which is just nothing but garbage (or porn), with the remaining 10 percent actually being useful (or useful porn).

Political discourse, shall we say, isn't probably all that well served by either the far right or the far left of the online universe.

All that said, I still think this is about the funniest thing I've seen all week.

Posted by Ryan at 01:56 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

I Ought to Start a Trend

If there's one thing I'm determined to do with my time on this marble orb we call the earth--and Martians call "Zzzkbl 5"--itís to be able to lay claim to coining a term that will be used far into the future.

I harbor no delusions that I'll eventually be President or find a cure for cancer, so Iím thinking my best chance for ensuring a legacy (short of actually, you know, having children) of some sort is to come up with a term everyone will eagerly glom onto and use for at least the next 100 years.

So, if you'll excuse me for just a bit, I'm going to go tinker with the English language. . .

*tinker, tinker, tinker*

Eureka!

So, here it is. You know how every decade, for whatever reason, is remembered by the years during which it took place? For example, everyone talks about living in "the 60s," or how "the 70s" were the disco era, or how "the 80s" would have been such a waste if it weren't for the endless stream of musical one hit wonders. Even "the 90s" are equated with Monica Lewinsky and the stock market boom/bust. Oh, and I graduated from high school and college in the 90s, making that decade even more momentous and unlikely.

But, what about this decade? Nobody has apparently put much thought into what this decade will be called, and here we are all the way into 2007. Something must be done! And, I'm going to be that "something."

Let it be known, from this point on, the decade spanning 2000 to 2009 shall be referred to as "the Oughts." When people think wistfully or ruefully back on this first ten years of the new millennium, they will say "back in the Oughts," or "the Oughts were a unique time in history," or "donít even get me started talking about the Oughts."

Oh, sure, people can continue to write the years out as "2002" or "2005" or "2007," but in their heads, and in casual conversation, they'll be calling those years "Ought Two" and "Ought Five" and "Ought Seven." Sure, it will sound like we're all calling out football plays, but I still think it would be an awesome way to recall this ten year stretch. I mean, who wouldn't smile when saying "Ought Four," as if the ghost of Jed Clampett was alive and well and speaking freely?

And just think of the year 2000! Good old "Double Ought!" Or "Ought Squared!"

For example, back in 2000, one of the big topics of interest in and around my hometown was a large sinkhole that collapsed outside of town near the former home of my high school classmate, Dave Coyle. Now, applying the rule of "the Oughts," I can envision one day speaking the following dialogue, in my then-to-be-patented old man voice:

"Back in my day, around the early Oughts I reckon, the earth was just collapsing all around usóGlobal Collapsing was what they were calling it back then. Anyway, I'm pretty sure it was around the spring of Double Oughtóor 'Ought Squared' as those East Coast folk call itówhen the earth just up and gave way, making a crater of a sinkhole just outside the front door of the old Coyle place. A cow dang near fell in and busted itself all up when it moseyed a touch too close to the rim of that holeówhat came to be known as 'Satanís Sphincter' around those parts."

So you see, this decade offers up a prime opportunity to bring back good, old fashioned, down home, country speak. All we have to do is commit to calling the first ten years of this unfolding century "the Oughts."

If for no other reason, do it for my legacy.

Posted by Ryan at 01:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Don't be so anal

Ryan says: I just read an MSNBC.com headline I thought I'd never see.

Ryan says: "The last lovemaking taboo lifted?
More straight couples experimenting with anal sex"

Caroline says: Yeah, I totally read that this morning.

Ryan says: "Experimenting?"

Caroline says: More like "Exit only, jerk off."

Ryan says: I'm envisioning lab coats, beakers, test tubes and clipboards.

Caroline says: Right. And assless dress pants.

Ryan says: "Hmm, subject seems to be experiencing some sort of discomfort."

Caroline says: "Is that a beaker, or are you just happy to see me?"

Ryan says: "Apparently related to penile insertion into the anus."

Ryan says: "More experimentation may be required."

Caroline says: Anal Sex Lubratory

Posted by Ryan at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

32

Hey, hey, it's my Birfday.

Not sure what to think. 32 is such an nothing year to celebrate, really. It's like birthday purgatory.

Posted by Ryan at 10:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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