Saturday, November 28, 2009

nativity scene

I noticed an absolutely exquisite nativity scene on the way home and it got me to thinking. As a self-described master of sign manipulation, perhaps it's time to take it to the next level. Yes, I've enjoyed altering a marquee or two (or 378) in my time. I usually try to rearrange the lettering to convey an entirely different message or if I'm on fire, the exact opposite message. It's difficult, but when the planets are aligned just right, there's a full moon and I've had just the right amount of scotch...

Anyway, this nativity scene has some pretty impressive statues. Most of the replicas are waist high and appear to be made of wood. I'm not much of an expert on the nativity scene. I'm guessing it's the same as a manger scene, right? There's the baby Jesus, Mary the mom, I'm guessing the 4 or 5 other guys are the "wise-men." Not exactly sure what makes them so wise. They were there for the big day, so I guess that makes them sufficiently wise. They were in the right place at the right time. Hell, if I could scalp tickets to a modern day nativity scene, I'd make a bundle and I'm sure the wise men would have been financially compensated as well as any deserving hedge fund manager. And the local municipality of Bethlehem, WV would be an ideal choice for the nativity. Not only does it overlook my home, it's in a good centralized location with convenient I-470 access.

And there's a few animals in the scene as well. I noticed a few sheep, 2 camels and there was some kind of donkey/ass hybrid. Maybe it was a wildebeest - hard to discern.
Anyway, considering my vast years of sign manipulation, maybe it's time to STEP IT UP and inspire future generations. After all, this is a Christian Nation... right? Here's what I'm thinking. Now stay with me. If you slightly altered some of the relative positioning of these characters, you could have the first ever pornographic nativity scene with just a light hint of bestiality. And since I've already been repeatedly condemned to spend eternity in hell (for past transgressions), it doesn't really matter. I've got nothing to lose. No harm no foul.

Alright, here's the specs. First, you'd want to have a straight up sodomy scene with two of the wise men. One is hunched over admiring baby Jesus, so all you'd have to do is lean the wise guy up against the other crouched wise man. We could call it Hidden Penis, Crouching Wise Guy.
The sheep scene would be easy. Basically, just go with a straight-forward humping theme. Done. Now here's where it gets a little weird. For some of you, we may have already gotten there. There's this camel that's seated, but his neck and head are up in there air. Fortunately and regrettably, that puts him in the perfect position to deliver fellatio to one of the wise men. As the recipient, he'd be discreetly enjoying himself yet remain surprisingly nonchalant.
Finally, here's the lynch-pin of the operation. And this is where I'm obviously going to take a little heat. I would place the baby Jesus in its crib/blanket on top of the donkey's back. As he rests peacefully without a care in the world, the Mother Mary is underneath the donkey in the much heralded, but almost never utilized, 69 position. One of the sheep or final wise-men could be observing, waiting patiently for his turn.
There also might be a chicken which really opens up a new world of possibilities. I'll need to take a closer look the next time I drive by.
Rest assured, my intention here is not to upset anyone, just maybe shake things up a little in smalltown USA. And most important, in keeping with the long-standing tradition of sign alteration, there is absolutely no tolerance for vandalism. This is the most fundamental and sacred principle of the sign altering code of ethics. All I'd be doing is about 70 seconds worth of repositioning. And if it ever gets done, I'm thinking maybe December 25... ohhh, I'd say about 5:30am sounds about right. Application of the relative time theory literally begs for this in our new age of asymmetrical warfare. In all honesty, I doubt I'll be awake.

Since it's the holiday season, one final thought. I used to work with this demented woman named Kathy at the Bears Against Drugs telemarketing operation. She'd chain smoke her cheap menthols and had this quirky manner of talking on the phone - straight run-on sentences to avoid being interrupted. And she'd methodically read the obituaries and make these crazed comments to anyone who would bother listen. Although I'd egg her on, most would ignore her. One time she's reading about a deceased young boy named Timmy. She started singing this song aloud, "Santa's got lots of toys, for all the girls and boys." Then she tilts her head, looks at me and says, "Well, except for Timmy, he's dead!" I'll never escape that warped, haunting voice.

Alright, one more Bears Against Drugs story. They once hired this 20 something kid who could neither read nor write. He was there for maybe 2-3 days and then they had to fire him, or he quit - I do not know. Anyway, every once in a while, someone would inquire - "Where do the proceeds go for this charitable cause?" Considering that the whole operation was a money-making sham, we were told to offer up one legitimate explanation. We'd tell people that some of the money goes to stock teddy bears in all the troopers' cruisers so in case they come upon an accident where a child has been traumatized, they can give the kid a "Teddy Hug-A-Bear" til the proper counseling agents arrive at the scene. This would theoretically help pacify the child as his remaining family members were extracted from the minivan using the jaws of life. Anyway, one time an old woman asked the "where does the money go" question to the new kid. He starts screaming into the phone, "Ma'am, trooper give 'em Teddy Hug-A-Bear. It makes 'em understand! Yes Ma'am! It makes 'em understand! Ma'am, trooper give 'em Hug-A-Bear! Hug-A-Bear Ma'am!" This may have been the greatest moment in the entire history of the West Virginia Troopers Association and their scandal-ridden Bears Against Drugs program. To this day, I doubt the old woman understood what the fuck he was yelling about, but trust me... I assure you... I understand!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Palin book signing

So I went to the Sarah Palin book signing at Sam's Club in Washington, PA yesterday. I got there at 11:10am, right when she emerged from her tour bus. It truly was a rock concert atmosphere, and lo and behold, I was prepared. Armed with my sign, I headed into the fray...

4,000 YEARS OLD ?


The thing that distinguishes my sign from all others - My sign ain't some ghetto marker bullshit. I used vinyl lettering and had it stapled to wooden posts with a triangular backdrop, thus enhancing its stature. Once you elevate the sign above crowd level, you're begging for the added attention.
I received some surprisingly positive vibes out front for a a while. Several people wanted pictures and I was more than happy to oblige. Then, this Associated Press guy told me the line was on the side. Giddy with excitement, I turned the Sam's Club corner and saw a massive throng of probably 1,200. Witnessing this crowd of Palinites emboldened everything I stand for. At this instant, the sole purpose for my entire existence became refreshingly clear. I was going to PISS THEM OFF.
I hoisted my sign with unmitigated exuberance. As I said, there's a key to a good sign - you have elevate it above eye level. That way, everyone has to see it. They don't have a fucking choice. Anyway, a few scattered boos immediately erupted. Then, a chant of GO HOME GO HOME GO HOME! This mad me feel alive! My blood was pulsating as I started "pumping" the sign in the air.
"Hey, I'm just expressing my first amendment rights at this pleasant book signing." An embittered old man yelled, "Hey, Obama thinks there's 57 states!" Another beckoned, "Look at the lonely Democrat!" I just smiled with the giddiness of a 13 year old girl checking her myspace account. I "heart" this shit! Then, the crowd starts chanting "SARAH SARAH SARAH!"
So a Sam's Club rep comes out and tells me I have to leave. I tell him I'm not going to budge. By then, the crowd had softened and the ridicule had become increasingly sporadic. I tell him, "If you want me gone, you'll have to get the manager. I don't understand why this guy's allowed to have a sign (Some mo-ron had a piece of shit sign that said "GO SARAH GO" - how inventive!) and I'm not permitted to show mine. Anyway, he gets the "real" manager and 2 Wash Pa cops. The one cop looked at me and smiled while silently mouthing the words "I like your sign." The other cop was totally unamused. He flashed me this look of disgust, but I don't think it was directed at me. It was more of a "why the fuck am I here on a Saturday morning at a Sarah Palin book signing in Western Pennsylvania look."
I tried to get the WTAE camera guy and reporter to take an active interest. "What's it going to take for me to get this sign on the news?" The reporter dude asked me, "Exactly what are you hoping to accomplish?" I fired back, "I'm trying to piss everyone off. What do you think I'm tryin to do? Let's git'r'dun!" Then he said, "Well, if they arrest you, we'd probably put that on the news." "Well, I want to go running and hit this party later. It's called the Feast of Friends but some call it The Annual Fisting of Friends." I don't think he had a clue where I was coming from.
Anyway, the manager guy is begging me to leave. "Sir, I have a family. Will you please just leave. This is private property." I started hedging a bit, trying to rally the crowd but they weren't galvanized like before. All of a sudden, this autistic teenage kid charges at me, yelling and flailing. He narrowly missed me, his mother chasing after him. After another 10 minutes or so of gabbing back and forth with the manager, I relented, "Alright, I'm outta here." As I walked away, there was a spattering of applause. I just nodded.
In any event, I think it was a worthwhile experience. I managed to piss off a thousand hardcore Palin lovers in a congested setting. And Notre Dame lost in double OT. I'd say it was a good day. Good day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

President Palin

Think I'm joking. Sound far-fetched. Perhaps. Let me ask though... Is it conceivable that she could actually win the Republican nomination? At first glance, I'd say it's doubtful, but consider the following scenario. Who really knows what will be happening by the time 2011 rolls around. I think the economy will be in the tank. I just can't foresee an improving economic climate. I imagine the massive government spending will have done little to stimulate the job market. I envision continued high unemployment, higher gas prices and inflation in general, and even more government debt as Obama will need to rebuild the military infrastructure. I'm not even factoring in the Obamacare debacle assuming it goes through in some form.
My point - I expect the economy to still be dragging. You can place the blame wherever you want (8 years of Bush, Obama, the Federal Reserve, continuing housing foreclosures, the American people, China decides they want to collect on our debt, etc. blah). I think the majority of the American public would agree that the overall economy will not be in good shape; thus, a continued economic recession as Obama seeks reelection. How about throwing in a domestic or foreign terrorist attack to really undermine confidence since he's generally (and unfairly) viewed as weak on defense. If the economy is totally sucking the balls of Senator Robert Byrd, someone might see an opening.
Alright, here's where it gets interesting. Let's say hypothetically that some heavyweight politician in the Democratic party decides he/she wants to make a run. I'm thinking Al Gore. Basically, he'd position himself as a conservative Democrat but run as an Independent. Crazier things have happened. Al Gore would definitely fit the bill. He has amassed an enormous amount of cash and has wide ranging support. Assuming Obama's popularity has significantly dwindled, you now have a 3 way race. A large portion of the country is still disgusted with both political parties and he wouldn't have to waste huge amounts of cash in a hotly contested primary. Plus, Gore already ran what appeared to be some kind of "angry populist" campaign back in 2000.

Obama - Democrat
Gore - Independent
Palin - Republican

Ohhh, wait a second. I forgot to explain how Palin gets the nomination in the first place. That was supposed to be the main gist of this blog as I'm watching this parade of idiots stand in line (at the crack of dawn) for her book signing in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Regardless of whether you love Sarah or hate her (I'm with the latter), you've got to admit one thing - she definitely rallies the base. I'm talking about the evangelicals and the pro-lifers. And the "patriots" love her. These are the people who mindlessly chant "USA USA" and "Drill Baby Drill" and they love to wear sweatshirts w/ the American flag. Just an aside, I'm hardly a fashion consultant but when people wear those sweatshirts with the American flag on them, they look like disoriented buffoons. Some advice - just stick with a more tasteful lapel pin or mini-hand held flag.
There's a significant portion of the Republican base that has this churchlike mentality. They don't question anything, they tend to embrace the easiness of follow the leader and they despise the mainstream media. These are the "prayer warriors" and guess what... THEY VOTE!
It's hard to say who the major players on the Republican ticket will be in 2012. I'd say Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are the most likely. Romney has a considerable personal fortune but I don't think he has had a lot of success raising money. Huckabee is trying desperately to increase his popularity on Fox News, but I think it has leveled off. Palin, regardless of whether you think she's a complete moron, is on fire right now. A book tour through all the battleground states and a glaring anti-big govt and anti-media message, not to mention her PAC which will probably fare well. She's positioning herself outside the establishment. Romney will have trouble shaking that robotic government mentality. And not to sound like a dickhead, but Huckabee's wife KILLS him. She just doesn't look the part of a first lady. Maybe back in the early 1800's she'd have been an ideal President's wife. I'm sure she's a nice gal and a helluva bowler, but this woman is FRUMPZILLA. And we're talking a few more years down the road. The aging process will not treat her kindly.
Let's take a look at the first three states in the Republican primary - Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Huckabee scored a convincing win in Iowa in 2008. He did this on the backs of the evangelicals. Iowa is loaded with them and they propelled him to victory. These are the same people that have a serious distrust of Mormons. Some even equate Mormonism with voodoo and Satanism. I'm not joking. I think this destroys Romney. Obviously, Romney is the most qualified to represent the real Republican party message (fiscal conservatism across the board, endless tax cuts and 1950's social values). But I think this Mormon thing kills him with the base.
In the end, I think Huckabee just can't raise the money. Most of his supporters veer toward Palin who, despite being a complete idiot, has this inspirational underdog charisma. Americans love an underdog, particularly one who waves a flag.
This sets up a Palin vs. Romney showdown. Palin takes Iowa. Romney squeaks out a victory in New Hampshire, but will then get clobbered in bible belt heaven - rural South Carolina. By this time, Palin has enough momentum to carry through. I could see it transpiring a lot like the Bush Jr. vs. McCain saga.
Don't forget how much money she'll make from the proceeds of her book. Of course, all this would hinge on a Ross Perot-like character emerging and running as an independent. How about someone like a Tom Hanks? Crazier things have happened. There's plenty of wealthy people in the U.S. with enormous egos. Could any of them snag the presidency - I doubt it. However, I'm sure there's a few mega-millionaires out there who wouldn't mind throwing a wrench into the 2012 campaign. Just something to think about. As I've said before, crazier things have happened.

I will be at the Sarah Palin book signing in Washington, PA at Sam's Club on Saturday. I'll dust off my sign...

4,000 YEARS OLD?

Why will I do this? The reason is two-fold. First and foremost, I'm totally enamored with the concept of pissing off everyone who loves Sarah Palin. And they'll all be there in a convenient, discernible, congested location. Rock! These morons need to know that not everyone is not in love with the ex-governor of Alaska. Not everyone loves her 5 kids or the fact that she's a hockey mom. I've always thought Bush Jr. was incredibly dangerous because, simply stated, he just wasn't intelligent enough to be President. An aloof neo-con is bad enough, but for the love of fucking God, where does this place Sarah Palin on the totem pole?
The other reason I'll go - I gotta get some more use out of that sign (as I'm sure any true utilitarian would agree).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

cell phone noise

I just came up with an idea. And here it is.
Consider the following scenario. Steelers are at home next week. They're up 20 to 14 on the Cincinnati Bengals (gay/lame). It's late in the fourth quarter/2 minute warning and the Bengals have the ball in the red zone w/ no time outs. Everyone at Heinz Field is making as much noise as humanly possible. The whistling, the screaming, the yelling, the cursing - here's my idea...
Why doesn't everyone in the entire fucking stadium blare the ringer on their cell phone at maximum volume? This could emerge as the most insanely annoying fad of the decade and beyond. It would certainly increase the overall noise traffic. I'm not an expert on sound logistics but if you've got 65,000 blaring phones, that's a big deal. And there's no way you'd overload the network because you're not dialing numbers. You're just hitting the volume thing/ringer button.
I remember in the late 1990's when the Minnesota Vikings got busted for piping in additional crowd noise through their speakers at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome. I think the NFL fined the organization and the matter pretty much resolved itself.

Can you fathom the impact? Carson Palmer's back there trying to call audibles and he's overwhelmed by this crazed random blur of electronic noise.
The question is - how do you encourage an entire stadium to act like a bunch of moronic cell phone blaring fuckheads? Maybe if a player or coach were to accidentally let the idea slip in a press conference. I suppose you could encourage fans to blare their phones via the widescreen. Not sure how well that would go over with the NFL front office though. My point - once this precedent has been established, it would be incredibly difficult to undo. All sports and stadiums of all sizes could apply. I imagine the effect in dome stadiums would be near unbearable.

Let us pray this whole thing never happens. If I were responsible for introducing this calamitous shitstorm of noise to the sports world, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Broadview/Brinks Home Security

Has anyone seen these new home security system commercials? They really take it to another level. In the middle of the afternoon in an upscale neighborhood, a mom and her daughter finish playing in the yard. As they enter the house, she asks her daughter if she wants a snack. Then, she adeptly activates the alarm code. This turns out to be a wise move as a nearby "runner" is passively tying his sneakers. Then, with no warning, the guy charges the front door and does a flying karate kick. The door busts open. As the alarm goes off, the mom and daughter start screaming and the crazed maniac intruder vanishes off into the distance.

"Brinks Home Security, this is John. Is everything ok?"
The panicky mom replies, "No, someone just tried to break in!"
John calmly informs her, "Don't worry ma'am. We're sending help right now."

Alright, praise the lord, the alarm system did its job. However, this commercial asked more questions then it answers. First, is this a normal mode of entry for an intruder - a flying crane kick straight out of Karate Kid Part II? I assume this guy's motivation is not robbery. I'm guessing he wants to rape the mom while the daughter is forced to watch. Either that or kill both of them. If he wanted to rob the house, I doubt he'd use such brash tactics in pure daylight.
I'm also wondering how a strong door like that just gets smashed to smithereens. If I tried to kick in my front door, I doubt it would easily break apart in one fail swoop. Also, is it normal to activate the alarm EVERYTIME you enter your home. I thought you just activate these things at night or when you go on vacation.
Our house was robbed a couple times when I was young. One time, we came back from a vacation and a bunch of stuff was stolen. The bastard took stuff from everyone except me. As a 6 year old, I felt left out so I went up to my room and threw clothing everywhere. Then, I came down to the kitchen and said, "They did a number on me too." I don't think my mother or father were amused. The robber also took a massive shit in the garage. As we surveyed the poop scene/crime scene, it left an indelible image in my head. I'll never forget the cop (Wheeling's version of Inspector Detector) saying, "Yeah, defecation is common. It's the adrenalin. When you gotta go, you gotta go." I even remember asking the cop if they were going to take the poop to the lab and have it analyzed. I remember my father telling me I should clean up the shit and then straighten up my room.
After this whole fiasco, we got an alarm system right before our next family vacation. It was a motion sensor with an incredibly loud alarm. Anyway, dad pretended to reenact the movements of the newspaper boy and sure enough, the thing starts blaring at 7am, waking up the whole neighborhood. We ended up disconnecting the thing and just left this bullhorn contraption attached to the house. We were never robbed again. The bullhorn looked rather menacing but was never hooked up. Turns out it was an effective deterrent.
My point is that Brinks really ups the ante. I've never seen home security commercials push it to this level of fear mongering. I think rather than spend god knows what on an alarm system, installation fee and yearly security payment, maybe it would be best to just attach one of these bullhorn devices in a prominent position. Or maybe just get a little sticker for the front door. Of course, the sticker probably wouldn't deter a mass murderer/rapist.
I'm kind of surprised the Brinks commercial didn't go with a black intruder. I'm sure their marketing team discussed it but didn't want to cause a firestorm. Really though, if you're going all out, why not play the race card?
There's another Brinks commercial where a couple get done with their date. The woman informs him, "I just got out of a bad relationship and want to take it slow." The man nods in agreement. They shake hands and he quietly departs. Then, all of a sudden, the guy's back and pissed off. He violently smashes through the glass door and tries to turn the knob. Fortunately, the alarm scares him off. Wow, this guy had a major shift in attitude. What the hell provoked him anyway? He seemed fine but then instantly turned psychotic.
I'm from small town America and live in an isolated location, but I'm just not familiar with any of these crazed maniacal intruders. These Brinks commercials would make for a fantastic parody on the internet. Could be a big a hit, like the Snuggie one.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

it must be me...

There seems to be a concentrated effort by the media to "dumb down" the population of the United States. I'm going to offer a few disconnected examples. Trust me, they're endless.
Gig mentioned how she was concerned about the background music in today's cartoons. I really didn't give it much of a thought until we were zipping through the channels and landed on an old Pink Panther episode. The background music was this risque jazz. Then we flipped to a Dora the Explorer cartoon and it was just a series of quirky noises - eerily similar to the noises you might hear at Wheeling Downs Casino. Take a minute and reflect on the old Bugs Bunny cartoons - they all employ Beethoven, Mozart, etc. The music is vastly more stimulating. These new Teletubby cartoons don't really even have actual music. It's more of a blipping feed of silliness, designed to leave you in a trance. I wouldn't describe the music as good or bad, but rather fun or sad.
This phenomenon seems to have spilled over to the popular social networking site Facebook. There are two different types of status updates. Some people try and provide a comical quip or something insightful about current events. But for most people, this is far too difficult. The lack of creativity is truly mesmerizing. Let's check out an example...

Status update: I just ate some chicken lo mien - YUMMY!

Aside from pressing the "like this" button (truly an indicative marker of higher consciousness)...

here are 5 typical follow up comments.

1) I just had shrimp lo mien yesterday. Mmmmm.
2) Stop it! Your making me hungry! (always with the incorrect usage of "you're")
3) LOL - my cat's nickname is fried rice!
4) I'm so jealous! My stomach is growling! Hee hee.
5) I always thought were a Kung pao kinda girl.

My point is this. People seem satisfied to just make these relatively innocuous, meaningless observations. It's the more popular way to engage in discussion or touching base with a friend and it's becoming increasingly socially acceptable. I'm curious if you asked these facebook addicts, "When was the last time you sent someone an email which had 10 or more sentences?" I seriously doubt any of them has. Constructing anything of length or substance might require too much exertion. I'd actually have to think about what I want to say and put it in writing. Isn't it just easier to make a follow-up comment about the weather or how tired you are?

This generally simplistic mindset has been a force in the national media. Think about it - when the Bush administration sold us on the war in Iraq they used incredibly simple tag lines.

We must fight them there, so we don't have to fight them here.
They hate us because they hate our freedom.
You're either with us or against us.
This is a battle for civilization - good vs. evil.
Osama Bin Laden - wanted dead or alive.

And you hear it today with regard to the Obama administration. The regurgitation of key buzzwords - socialist, fascist, elitist, racist, etc. With the consistent "dumbing down" of the U.S. population, the trend of defining incredibly complex problems with brash slogans and endless zippy refrains continues unabated (Drill Baby Drill was the rallying cry for 40% of the fucking country). Think about it - Why on earth would I want to reflect on a problem when I can be force fed the answer from the political commentator of my choice? It's just so much easier.

Facebook has made it even more efficient. If you want to be informed, it's not a problem. You can take a quiz specifically designed to for you. My favorite one is "God wants you to know..." WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? Do people really achieve some sense of gratification or self-fulfillment when the result comes back - "God wants you to know... that even when things seem darkest, you are loved by many. God thinks that you can pull through any hardship because God loves you and knows that you're a fighter." Are people really unable to ascertain that this is a group of English majors/techies sitting in an office in Mountain View, California spewing forth this drivel? Why are people perpetually compelled to take these quizes? I guess it's kind of a modern day horoscope - something I've always found equally revolting. Oh wait, now I get it - I'll fill out the questionnaire where I describe myself as yippety, outgoing, affectionate, and then lo and behold, the answer "Golden Retriever" comes up. That "what kind of dog are you" quiz was spot on. F'in A!

My favorite example of this will always be the sub-humans who pay the yearly fee for their personalized license plates. What did they put on it? Well, their initials of course! JWL - stands for John William Lewis. Wow, how cool is that? This could be the most uninspired gesture of all time. Well, unless it was JWL II. Yes! The father/son combo vanity plates. As if it couldn't get any worse. Yet is is consistent with the 2 precepts of our new societal trend - Keep it quick and simple and for the love of Christ, don't make me think about it! This is America - I don't need to think. I will buy the Abercrombie & Fitch shirt because it says "Abercrombie and Fitch" on it. What more could I possibly want? And look, it was marked down 70%. What a steal!