Archive for August, 2010

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I’d Come To Your Parties But Your Parties Suck

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on August 31, 2010 by admin in Politics

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Democrats, Republicans…who can tell them apart these days? That’s why I’ve decided to throw my own little party. The Punk Party. Help me with some bumper sticker ideas for the party you’re not invited to.

I was pretty excited about the 2000 presidential election. Which was quite a turnaround from 1980, when I was protesting the reinstatement of draft registration, and 1984 and 1988, when I didn’t even vote. I reluctantly voted for that horndog con man Clinton in ’92, but only because I was tired of having a warmongering former CIA director as president. And you can’t deny the 90′s were pretty okay in a lot of ways. In 2000, I was bummed that we were stuck with that stick-up-his-ass twit Al Gore as the democratic candidate, but I voted for the jerk anyway, because it was better than helping build the Bush oligarchy or wasting a vote on somebody like Nader. And then democracy was hijacked. The numbers are the numbers, and a court decided the election, not the voters. And anybody who denies that is, well, in denial. So of course, with the meat puppet GW Bush dancing on the strings of the militaristic New American Century neocons, before you knew it we’d been attacked by terrorists again, and had started two wars. I still find it interesting that half of America is out for Muslim blood for 9/11. I mean, why didn’t everybody develop an irrational fear and murderous hatred of rednecks from New York and Michigan after Oklahoma City? So 2004 rolls around, and America’s still in a state of fear and panic, mostly thanks to the neocons fueling it, and then we have another election hijacked. Even Chris Hitchens thought so. To me, the only thing more appalling than the brazenness of THAT little stunt was the fact that there weren’t riots the day after election day. So we endure four more years of paranoia, some failing wars, and a decimated economy, and then the weirdest thing in the world happens. America elects a black president. L~a~a~a~a~a [INSERT ANGELIC CHOIR SOUND]. Hallelujah. The world is born anew. Our savior has arrived! But wait… it turns out he’s the same-old-same-old rich guy in Washington, he just has a higher IQ than the last guy. Oh, wait. Hold on. What’s this? Fox has some breaking news. What? He’s a Muslim? He has no BIRTH CERTIFICATE? He’s a GODDAMN SOCIALIST hell bent on DESTROYING AMERICA? Shit. I bet he’s gay too. I have to confess that the only thing that creeps me out more than a politician these days is the people that vote for them. And by that I mean the average American voter. Never have so many had so much information available….and IGNORED it. In my opinion, Public Enemy Number One is Rupert Murdoch, with the citizens who hungrily devour his news machine’s crumbs of disinformation like they’re Big Macs or something running a tight second. I’m sorry, you don’t know who Rupert Murdoch is? He’s a foreigner. An Australian with a socialist background. And the owner of most of the biggest news sources in America. So. With almost every moderately intelligent person I know taking sides in the “Glenn Beck vs Keith Olbermann Sentiment Election of 2010″, I’ve finally given up. I’m forming my own party, and I don’t care if you join me. I wouldn’t mind some thoughts on taglines and graphics though, so feel free to share any ideas you have for the party no-one is invited to, the Punk Party. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Throwing Puppies In The River Bad?

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on August 30, 2010 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, August 30th, 2010

I think I may finally go fully vegetarian.

Be warned. The following includes some pretty grisly content. You may have seen or heard about the video of a girl taking a bucket of puppies and throwing them one-by-one into a river. Yes. A bucket of puppies. Unlike car accidents, which I’m pretty good at NOT stopping to gawk at, I had the misfortune made the mistake of watching this video (also below). It was incredibly upsetting. I was mesmerized by the tragic failure of humanity I witnessed. I really just felt sickened, and experienced a brief hopelessness that if a young girl could do this and video the whole thing and post it on the internet, what else are we capable of as humans? It seemed more horrible by an incredible magnitude than the woman in England who put the kitten in the wastebin recently. I’m not the only one to get upset; much like the vigilantism that took place with the kitty abusing biddy, users at 4chan have already initiated the hunt. But this raises two issues for me. First of all, sometimes these Human Flesh Search Engines end up going after the wrong person. And in the case of the girl and the puppies? As dementedly cruel as it seems, is it any more cruel than how the food industry treats the male chicks that we don’t want because they won’t provide eggs or enough meat? Or any of the other cruel acts against animals featured in movies like Food, Inc. or Death on a Factory Farm? I don’t eat much meat anyway. Maybe it’s time I finally instituted the don’t-eat-it-unless-I-kill-it-myself-policy I’m often pondering so I can be less of a hypocrite about girls throwing puppies in the river. Disturbing videos below. Read the rest of this entry »

Positive Panhandling – Is Information As Valuable As Cash?

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 29, 2010 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Most of us can’t afford to simply give away cash all day, but would still like to help people out. I think I may have a clever idea to change these interactions, and would love some feedback.

This kind of shtick is getting tiresome

Before I get to the precious links that I know you really come here for, I’m going to preface things with an interesting experience that I had recently. Early in the morning the other day, I walked out of my house to head to what I knew was going to be a long meeting. I lit a cigarette, and as I rounded the corner was confronted by a woman who asked if I had another. I said “sorry” and kept walking. I live in a town that even in bad economic times has service jobs going wanting, which makes it easy for me to pompously justify to myself my reluctance to give things away to the 5-15 people that ask me for something each day. As I walked on, she muttered something incomprehensible, which I assumed was some Gypsy curse to punish me for being such a selfish bastard. About a half block further along, I remembered how my recently deceased mom ALWAYS gave things to strangers, and thought “Great. That lady was probably Jesus in disguise or something, and now I’m going to hell”. I resolved to try to be just a little bit nicer. Just for that day. So a few hours later, I walked out of the meeting, and headed to a nearby alley to indulge in my shameful nicotine addiction. Guess who was sitting at the entrance to the alley. I was on the phone as I passed her and she asked for a dollar. I ignored her because, well, I was ON THE PHONE dammit, so DON’T BE SO RUDE. When I headed back I wasn’t on the phone, and because she had been SO RUDE while I was on the phone, I ignored her as she asked for “just a few” dollars. I walked about 20 feet further and thought to myself “Damn. I planned to try to be just a little nicer, just for one day.” I walked back and asked her exactly what she needed, and she said “oh please mister, just five dollars would really help out.” I explained that I wasn’t likely to just give her five dollars, but would gladly go with her to the nearby store and buy her a bunch of food or other basics she might need, or even take her to a cafe or something for a bite to eat. To which she replied, almost sobbing, “can’t you please just help out with twenty dollars?” I’m not sure how we got from a cigarette that morning to 20 dollars just now, but I explained that there was no way I was just going to give her a bunch of money. I walked away, actually more angry than anything. I was reminded of this little set of interactions today as I read a fascinating article called Westerners vs. the World: We are the WEIRD ones. It explains how we WEIRD people (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) are in fact quite weird in our perception in many ways. It tells the story of how researchers used something called The Ultimatum Game, in which you are given money and asked to share it with someone else. You can offer that person any amount, and if he accepts the offer, you each get to keep your share. If he rejects your offer, you both walk away empty-handed. The results in various parts of the world were quite telling. Along the same lines, a Toronto Star reporter tried a little experiment recently to see how panhandlers would use free credit cards. The actual results were interesting, but not all that surprising. And frankly raises a small question of the ethics of “charity experiments” to create news content, when this sort of thing occurs naturally and probably gets about as much readership. This kind of experimenting is something that can be taken to incredible extremes, as in the case of doing A-B testing to see if a homeless guy can generate more revenue by refining his sign design. I’m not sure if that’s even a true story, but all of these stories reminded me that I’ve been struggling for a long time with how to deal with the people in my everyday life who ask for money on the streets and how I might do something positive that doesn’t involve simply giving away money. To that end, I already have a project in the works to teach computer skills to the disadvantaged, as I think computer illiteracy is a common obstacle to job-hunting confidence, even for homeless people. But I long for a simpler, practical solution to helping those that are struggling, and I think I’ve hit on a clever idea that may have some sense in it. I’d love input on the idea; I’m not sure if in reality it would be pointless or seem condescending. I explain it a little below. Read the rest of this entry »

I Spy Something Red White & Blue

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 28, 2010 by admin in Technology

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Why spying on your fellow Americans is your duty as a patriot, and how to do it.

For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me until the other day that because the Bush administration made spying on citizens part of the American Way (an idea that in spite of all his talk of change, Obama wholeheartedly supports ), we’re actually obligated to spy on each other to show our patriotism. As always, if you want to know how to spy, there’s a retarded eHow article on the topic. I hope the author of “How to Use a Webcam to Spy on People” causes the content farm Demand Media to get their pants sued off; before you write a piece like that, you might want to ponder the legality of what you’re suggesting. That issue doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone though (including us); there are hundreds of articles like this. Although we’d hasten to point out that the content farm hack that wrote How to spy on people for also authored Tips on how to get a girl to go out with you and How to invest in the nigerian stock market. So frankly, you might just improvise. There are plenty of tools available, so the only limits on what you can do these days would be a result of your own lack of moral decrepitude or ingenuity. In light of the legal decision handed down the other day that allows government agents to sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car, and keep track of everywhere you go, why not just do it yourself with an Always Find Mini Realtime Covert Vehicle Tracker? That’ll only set you back about 300 bucks. For free, you can use this site – using the same GPS technology – to track anyone with just their cell phone number. It was pretty amazing to watch their software zero in on the target with satellite images, just like in a cheesy spy film. We have NO IDEA what they do with the numbers you enter; I used the number of a plumber that recently caused me a ton of headaches and overbilled me for simple job. And let’s reiterate that it’s no longer bad to spy, it’s the patriotic thing to do. But remember – in an era when Google’s CEO thinks privacy is a thing of the past, you’ll want to be on your guard, just like a real spy. You never know. Your new Facebook friend might just be a spy or an IRS Agent . Below are some handy tools to get you started. Happy prying! Read the rest of this entry »

A Listful of Dollars, Infostractions For Graphtards, & More YouTubidity

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 28, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Our final collection of pointless infographics, lists of stupid lists, and the videos that eat up any time you have left over after Facebook.

Completely irrelevant photo
of Heather Locklear

I’m always searching for ways to bring you interesting content without actually doing any work. For a long time, I achieved this with our Monday Demotivators, but with the incredible growth in the unemployment sector, no one’s at work on Monday these days to avoid it, so we dropped that weekly feature back in December 2009. More recently, I thought I’d sneak by with a weekly “linkdump” (like this one and this one), but quickly realized that this would be almost as much work as actually writing something, so I hope you enjoy this final collection of useless infographics, pointless lists, and YouTubidity. The infographics and videos are first, because the stupid list of 66 stupid lists would take you almost as long to peruse as the hours of suffering all the involved parties endured in the hope that someone would actually take the time to look it over. Oh. But before we move on, my pick for link of the week is the story of how Coach scrubbed their brand clean of all the filthy Snooki. Read the rest of this entry »

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