Friday, October 10, 2008

greeting cards

Greeting cards can be found for sale in just about every grocery store you'll ever meet. They have greeting cards for every occasion: New Mommy, Birthday, New Baby, Birthday for boy, New Wedding, Birthday for girl, Birthday for transgendered individual, Old Mommy, Grandma, Birthday for boy humorous, New Baby humorous, Old Mommy inappropriate, Old Wedding, Old Mommy ridiculously suggestive and completely uncalled for and inappropriate for any respectable human and should be banned from the free world, and Anniversary.

Greeting cards also typically have the unfortunate quality of attempting to be serious. Who is so incapable of writing 'I love you' that they need to buy a greeting card with that printed in big letters? Writers of greeting cards, I've got a message for you: if you're the one imparting the message, IT'S USELESS.

Imagine Bob Smith, who can't think of the words to tell his wife on their 30th Wedding Anniversary, so he goes to buy her a card. Imagine his surprise as he finds a greeting card with fluffy puppies saying, 'I love you'.

"Wow!", he'll say, "I never even THOUGHT about saying that!! And with puppies too!"

Imagine his wife as she gets said puppy-filled card.

"Ooooooh, how cute! Puppies!", she'll say, and upon opening the card to find 'I love you' stamped in gold letters with her husband's signature, she'll immediately pick up the phone and find a good divorce lawyer.

So, writers of greeting cards, please, spare us the printed smarmy messages. You may be able to fool your purchasers into buying into such a lame idea, but rest assured that their wives will leave them and soon they'll go back to spending their money on ratty sweaters and peanut butter.
Stick to humor. You're better at it anyways.

Though, I warn you, if you incorporate any word with the root 'sex' in any card intended for older women, I will burn it. Repeatedly. There is nothing more disturbing than shopping for birthday cards for my Mother to find said references.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

batting cages

Batting cages were invented as a deterrent to frighten sissies into never trying to play baseball.

I went to the batting cages yesterday with my cousin Annette. I have wanted for some time to vindicate myself over some bad early-life experiences with baseball, so I figured the way to do that was to go to the batting cages a few times and hit a ball a few times, and thereby justify myself and go home saying something along the lines of: well, if I wanted to be good, I could be, but I'm not because I don't practice, because I do so many other important things, and I'm so much smarter or stronger or faster etc. etc. etc.

Sadly, this was not one of those times.

Figuring all batting cages were created equal, I jumped into the first open cage, and poured all my tokens in the machine, and stepped on up to ye olde plate. And watched as a semi-automatic machine gun began to shell me with poorly-disguised baseballs.

POCK...THUMP...POCK...THUMP...POCK...THUMP...

The first proton out of the LHC caused me no small amount of surprise, and I jumped back a few feet to stay clear of instantaneous death. Suddenly, my plan wasn't looking so feasible. And that is when my cousin looked over and started laughing.

One lesson folks: LOOK AT THE SPEED BEFORE YOU JUMP IN A CAGE.

I had begun my quest in the Orel Hershiser cage, the same cage they use to beat large mammals to death. So, though I recalled pitching speeds rivaling waddling ducks from my little league days, that sort of thing didn't really happen here in the majors. And when I say majors, I mean the death cage. Expecting to hit low flying gnats, I was getting buzzed by F-14s.

Well, I'd like to end this quaint little vignette by giving a story about how I overcame my fear and hit a home run, but that would require that I overcame my fear and hit a home run (either that or I tell a very large non-white lie). Not only did I not overcome my fear, but I am now more in fear of batting cages than ever.

I'd also like to say that I didn't slowly creep out of the cage whilst the balls were flying, and slowly move to slow-pitch softball whilst whistling, trying to act casual, while it was entirely possible a small child would find his/her way into my empty cage and be seriously injured by those demonic baseballs.

I am absolutely certain that batting cages are a dirty plot by my ex-girlfriends to showcase my sissiness to the world, lest I become too adept at hiding it...

baseball

Baseball is a sport designed to inflict the maximum amount of embarrassment on kids with bad hand-eye coordination. Football, for example, takes those same kids and makes them some form of linebacker. Soccer puts those kids as fullbacks. Basketball is similar to baseball in its hand-eye requirement, but it at least allows for a merciful option like immediately passing the ball to someone else upon any/all contact, then retreating to cry quietly in the corner.

However, baseball requires everyone on the team be capable of minimal hand-eye coordinative activities at any possible moment (further discrimination against the coordinative impaired, as the exact moment of the need of coordination is not known beforehand, and can manifest itself in a flash). There is no escaping these duties. In the best case, you're allowed to retreat to right field and pick the grass and pray to heaven that there aren't any accursed lefties on the other team.

Hardcore baseball fans will laud the game to you, and tell you that its values lie in being the "National pastime", and in its absurd enshrinement of the good of slower-paced play (if I wanted a slower-paced activity, I'd take up knitting, not a "sport"). Be aware, though, that their real love of baseball stems from its utility in acting as a method of genetic cleansing. Uncoordinated saps are easily picked out and can be excluded from the gene pool by general social ostracism.

Furthermore, "batting" is just the practice of forcing people to stand next to fast moving objects and attempt to magically place the "bat", through a motion of swinging, into the path of said fast moving object, with a slight probability of the object being headed at your face, which causes you to wear a helmet. The act of "hitting" the ball is improved upon by continually "choking up" on the bat, as if changing position on the bat would actually improve the changes of hitting said fast moving object.

Kinder members of our race, who feel bad for other members of the species who are about as popular as lepers in the Bible, will call out "good eye" in any circumstance in which the batter does not "swing" (that is, wave the bat around in the general direction of the "plate" and "strike zone"). Even if the ball sailed on clouds of marshmallows and presented itself to the batter as an object the size of several suns, if the batter does not choose to swing, these kind people will still laud the batter's eye. There is a special section of hell reserved for these people, which is slightly less hot than the section reserved for the other coaches, players, and, most especially, the inventor of baseball (whatever his cursed name be). They will most likely also be served lemonade for their misdirected kindness (true kindness is shown by immediately enrolling the child in some other sport which requires less embarrassment, like nighttime running in the middle of the dense cornfields).

The only hope for the coodinatively-challenged batter is to pray the pitcher is in the same category of human, and you will be gifted with a walk. This is a somewhat uncharitable hope, as it ensures the pitcher will take the ostracism in your place. However, a batter has plenty of opportunity to collect derision during the course of "running" the bases.

A word to the wise: sliding is more difficult than it would appear, and I would recommend practice before trying to implement this technique during a game.

When one of the superior members of our species is finally able to "hit" one of the "balls" (which are sure to have a certain number of stitches, which number is memorized by strange people worldwide), abject fear fills the heart of any in its path. Should the outfielder be incapable of catching the ball, derision is sure to follow. Worse, there is a chance the outfielder run the other way and be hit in the back with the baseball, then retreat to the fence to cry*, forever stunting that outfielder's usefulness to society.

*I never cry, and though I don't actually recall similar circumstances, I am not under the false impression that they were unlikely; in fact, I suspect this was the most likely scenario during my time as an outfielder. Minus the crying of course.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the **illion dollar budget deficit

Every so often through the course of your life, someone will try and scare you by mentioning the US budget deficit, which is currently somewhere near the number of plastic surgeries Michael Jackson has undergone.

Don't fall for their scare tactics. The US budget deficit isn't real money or obligations. It's actually a secret encrypted message used by the NSA. Ever realize how that number is prime? And it never goes up by just one, but by apparently random increments? That's right, it's top secret US intelligence.

Actually, I lie. The budget deficit is a plan by the US Congress to destroy, then take over the world. At some point in the near future the amount of outstanding obligations will equal the sum total of neutrons in the known universe. At that point, Americans will actually be in debt to foreign powers above and beyond any possibility of repayment, yet somehow, we'll still be able to issue debt to eager creditors.

However, just after that point, Congress will default on all obligations, causing nuclear holocaust, as the Chinese come to collect their dues by removing vital pieces of American history and infrastructure (HEY, you can't take the golden gate!! that's our bridge!!). The future US president will have no choice but to release the nukes, as actually paying down the debt will be out of the picture. As the mushroom clouds multiply, you'll see members of Congress congregating in their underground bomb shelters with Dr. Strangelove and legions of hand-picked beautiful now debt-free Americans.

Foreign nations who hold our debt have actually figured this out, and plan on repossessing our nuclear weapons long before that point arrives. Just don't mess with that repo man, 'cause he is dirt tough.

working from home

Working from home is a common term used in the business world used to signify the process of doing laundry while checking email.

Actually, that's a bit of an exaggeration. It's also a term used to describe other activities, such as taking a nap, interviewing for other jobs, playing video games, folding laundry, and yes, eating donuts.

Try testing this hypothesis by emailing one of your coworkers the next time they declare they will be "working from home" that day. If you get an immediate response, they're browsing for jobs. If the response is delayed by a few minutes, they went to the restroom, and are now back browsing for jobs.

Most likely, though, you'll get a hasty response six hours later with veiled references to donuts and naps. "Yeah, I was deep in thought on this tasty morsel all day long...and I think we both need to sleep on it and dive down into the filling tomorrow."

However, that being said, working from home is the most desirable of all working conditions. Sacrifice any sort of job title inflation in order to achieve such a blessed state.

chipmunks

Chipmunks are the stupidest creatures on God's green earth.

They attack me every day I bike to work. Biking along, minding my own business, I have strange squirrels sitting around in the middle of the road who, as I approach them, suddenly dart for my wheel. It's a little disconcerting to see a flurry of black fur try and take a spin through my spokes.

Chipmunks are also expert tree navigators, except when those trees are located over streets. A squirrel once planned an aerial assault on my person by falling to the street from overhead. After a stunned pause, it shook its head and scurried off.

Chipmunks are also excellent musicians.