Taking a Plunge into the Male Mind

If you’re a woman, there is a decent chance that you have at least one completely platonic male friend, whom you use to probe as much information out off about the inner workings of the masculine psyche.  If you’re a guy, chances are that at least one of your platonic female friends has tried to probe you for information on how men think, or how men react to different things concerning their interactions with women.  For socially outgoing people, with a wide network of friends, the development of this dynamic is almost unavoidable.  So much so, that even for us men who are essentially borderline asocial hermits, we will (by some unexplainable means or another) know at least one woman in our small group of contacts who fits the description above.

I, too, have one such female friend.  We don’t actually talk much, but every once in a while I will receive an email, linking me to an article or story (usually authored by some perplexed young/youngish woman), trying to piece together the various factors that make up the heterosexual male mind.  And she always does this with the addendum of wanting my “honest thoughts” on the matter.  What I’ve learned from these exchanges is that there is apparently an entire market niche of educated, financially stable women, writing magazine articles and books trying to dissect how we men think as a gender (always in relation to our interactions with women), usually with the conclusion reached being (IMO) something between “too obvious to need be stated” and “there is no fucking way that any guy would react that way, ever. ” [I’m sure there must also be a market niche of books and magazines for men to better understand the female mind, but being an insensitive, unemotional male, I simply couldn’t be bothered to look into it, goddammit!]

Anyway, so my friend sends me an email titled “Things That Turn Men Off,” eager to hear my thoughts on the listed items.  I figure why keep such important information private, and that women are really reading these things to better understand the male mind, maybe they’d prefer to hear an unfiltered version of what an average guy has to say on the topic (Yes, in this scenario I qualify as the average guy, so I don’t want to hear any lip ’bout it).

The “turn offs” listed below are supposedly collected statements from men about what turned them off most about women (I should note that only the first two are listed in their respective order as they appear in the original list, the rest are my rankings by hilarity).

1.  “A women should always keep the bathroom door closed when she’s on the toilet.  I think it’s really disgusting to watch a woman on the toilet.  And don’t leave feminine pads and stuff around for the guy to look at, either.”

I’m already confused.  Is there some sort of trend or epidemic happening amongst women that compels them to take a crap with the bathroom door open?  I assume so, otherwise why on earth is this listed as the number one turn off?  That issue aside, the second part of the statement is just plain silly.  Look dude, pads and tampons aren’t going to kill you.  Yes, they’ve been in her vagina.  But so have you.  They haven’t touched anything you haven’t, is my point here.  And since your first-hand encounter wasn’t enough to turn you off, I don’t see how inanimate items could, especially if they still haven’t even been taken out of the packaging yet.  Stop being such a wuss about the whole thing, is what I’m essentially trying to say.

2.  “Jealousy is always a major turn off.  One time, my girl and I were out for a walk, then a long-haired blond walked past us.  She immediately accused me of staring at the blond.  Even though it turned out to be a guy.”

Yes, but were you staring or not?  (You’re avoiding the question, sir.)  Jealousy is annoying when it starts to feel like you’re being constantly put on trial over trivial things.  However, seeing our girlfriends get a bit jealous every once in a while (because we’re such hot studs that other girls can’t help but check us out), can also be a huge ego-boost.  [I assume plenty of women feel similarly about seeing their partners get just a bit jealous every now and then over their desirability to other men.]  So, I guess, the only part I would take issue with here is the absolutist usage of “always,” when there are obvious exceptions to be raised.

3. “I don’t like women who don’t have a job.  Or bad credit.  Or a crazy ex-boyfriend.  I like a women who is responsible.”

In what way does this stream of non sequiturs constitute one solid turn-off?  As to the points raised, let me ask you this Mr. Responsibility: what if the women can’t find a job on account of the poor economic trends that have been prevalent for the last decade, and as a means of increasing her employability she took out student loans in order to afford college, which incidentally put her in dept and hurt her credit score to the point that she was forced to remain in a bad relationship in lieu of her dire financial situation–and she is now picking up the pieces of her life and trying to move forward only to be slighted at every turn by people who dismiss her worth as a human being due to her past life grievances?  Why, in that context, you just look like an judgmentally shallow prick, don’t you?  I’m sorry, but I cannot accept the notion that most men (or people, in general) wouldn’t exercise a bit more nuanced thinking in this situation.

4. “I don’t like being humiliated in public.  If I said something wrong, you should tell me in private.”

But then how will you learn not to say stupid shit in public?  For instance, if you said something absurdly ridiculous, you’re not just embarrassing yourself, you are potentially embarrassing everybody who associates with you–especially the person that’s sleeping with you.  Don’t say stupid things, and you won’t get called out on it.  Or make a habit of reserving your intellectual gaffes to private conversations.  [That goes for you too, ladiesDon’t demand a guy to go along with a bullshit position you’ve taken if it’s demonstratively silly.  Accept the ridicule and move on.]

5. “My fear is that after marriage a women will cut off all her hair, gain weight, and stop putting out.”

That’s not a turn-off, it’s a preemptive marriage-phobia, easily cured through a dedication to lifelong bachelorhood.  People age, things change (physically and by order of priorities); you will age, you will change (physically and by order of priorities).  The only way to avoid having to go through this while being legally bound to another person, is to simply refuse to take the matrimonial plunge altogether.  It’s the 21st Century, no one will question your manhood for it (well, no one but your parents…and all your married friends.  But they’re all just jealous of the fact that you still get to be a free gazelle, lazily grazing on the fields as much as your heart desires.  Yup, that’s what it is).

6. “I don’t like it when the furniture keeps getting rearranged…”

I don’t even need to read the rest of it, because I finally found something I’m 100% in agreement with.  If it’s my shit, located in my home (which we don’t share), then please be so kind as to not mess with it.  I don’t care what it is, it ain’t yours to move in any way, shape, or form.  You want to give home decorating tips for my house, start paying my bills and we’ll talk; until then, mind your own damn business about my property.  [Are my past experiences leaking through on this one too much?]

There were more turn-offs listed (a total of 15!), but since many of them seem to be bringing up the same points over and over, I might as well end on a statement I actually agreed with. I did get something out of this list though.  We men are petty, we fear change, and sometimes have commitment issues; I get that.  But that’s no need to beat us over the head with it by compiling a whole list showcasing it.  In fact, doing that is kind of a turn off.

Job Interviews: Plainly Simple, or Just Plain Stupid

Is it just me, or does anyone who has ever been to a job interview think that the person doing the interviewing asks the stupidest questions imaginable.  By far the dumbest thing that comes up in every job interview (in my experience) is the question, “Why do you want to work here?”

When this happens most of us will smile and mumble on about how much we respect the company/business/field/whatever and how much potential we see in the employer, and how we wish to contribute even a small part to the blah, blah, blah.

What most of us really want to say to the question, Why do you want to work here?, is much simpler:  “Money.  I want money.  I want you to give me a paycheck on a regular basis so that I can afford to pay my bills, and feed myself, and otherwise survive in modern society.  I couldn’t care less about this place, or its success, as long as it in no way impedes on my ability to earn a leaving, this entire industry can just be scrapping by for the next 50 years with no prospect for growth.  What I want is to get paid, and I’ll do the job for it because I have to.  Think of me as a sexless prostitute, if you will.  But you know that already.  You must know that!  You spend all day, every day interviewing people who give you the exact same insincere, pre-prepared response they found while searching Google for ‘interviewing tips’ the night before.  Heck, you were in the same place, for every job you’ve ever had in the past, so cut the crap and stop wasting my time with this nonsense.  You have my freaking resume, you have my freaking credentials.  You have all you need to know to make an informed opinion about whether or not I qualify for this job.  If I do, great, give it to me and I’ll start earning my salary.  If I don’t, thanks for your time and let me be on my way.  And what is with this whole second and third interview shit?  I said all I have to say in the first interview.  My answers to your vague, overly simplistic questions will not change the second or third time.  There are only so many ways we can say the same thing over and over again before we run out of words.  Believe it or not, there actually is a limit to the amount of bullshit the English language can be spun into over the course of a 30 minute conversation.  You’re smothering me, man, you’re smothering me!  The main goal of any job is to earn money, otherwise we’re just slave labor.  And I’d rather be a prostitute for the job market, than a slave.  Got it?  Good, now let’s talk benefits, shall we?”

I will pillage, conquer, and surrender a kingdom* to any person out there who is willing to say give this response to a really annoying job interview question.

All right then.  /Rant over.


*Timeline to claim pillaged, conquered, and surrendered kingdom falls to the discretion of the pillaging, conquering, and surrendering party.  Terms and conditions are amendable at said party’s whim and interest.  No refunds or evidence of the existence or plausibility of a kingdom’s pillaging, conquering, surrendering will be issued prior to melodramatic outburst.  All rights reserved.

Treatise on Profanity

Profanity in the Workplace - What Are Employer Responsibilites? | CPA  Practice Advisor

I like profanity.  I like how it adapts to whichever situation the speaker wants to thrust it in.  I like how it effortlessly fluctuates from endearment to abuse.  And I love how, once spoken, the reaction reveals more about the listener than the speaker.

Like any mode of expression, profanity is codependent on the speaker and the listener to add context to its message.  If worn-out ad nauseum, the profanity becomes stale, bland, and too normalized for heterodox consumption.  However, if used with tact, distributed with a precise attention to detail, it can have the impact of elevating even the dullest of conversation to a respectable level of fringe rebelliousness.  But here too, one must proceed cautiously.

The most beautiful part of profanity is its apparent authenticity.  If it comes across too calculated, too forced, the effect is ruined, and worse still, the disgust will come to be associated with profanity itself rather than the failure of the speaker to profane properly.  Essentially, profanity must be mindful, but not overly so.  It must resonate with the audience–good or bad–without drowning them in a sea of senseless rabble.

When it comes to the listeners (or maybe I should say responders) to the profanity being spoken, often the reaction is one of self-righteous disgust at the words.  In this circumstance, no effort is given to understand the context in which the words are spoken, let alone to appreciate the emotive experience it produces.

Are you offended by profanity?  That’s good.  Now, aim to dig deeper and understand the power the words have over you.  If you are offended or made uncomfortable by a profane word (or profanity in general), resist the urge to either apologize for your initial feelings (they are involuntary after all) or to demand an apology from the speaker to sooth your offense.  Instead, try to appreciate the great depth of emotions these so-called vulgarities have forced you to confront.  That power alone is why profanity deserves better than to be dismissed as too lowbrow for intellectual discourse.  Why it deserves an honored place in literary/cultural discussion.  If anything, to ignore that which challenges our most base values and senses, evokes so much heated passion from us, would be all that much worse for intellectual discourse.

Fucking A!

Valentine’s Day Letter to the Sweetest of All Things

Dear Chocolate,

Once again the day of the year has come on which you above all things will be bestowed all the attention and devotion you could possibly crave, as love-laden valentines seek you out in hope that your delicate texture and rich aroma will make them more carnally appealing to their significant others.  A wise move on their part, for what tooth could resist your toothsome sweetness, and what ninny would nay-say your nectarous nourishment; so redolent in your luscious tastiness, that there surely exists no buckle, undergarment, or chastity belt on earth, heaven, or the ether whose bindings could not be loosened by your candy-coated goodness.  All this I know and understand.

Nevertheless, amidst your annual foray in the peripherals of the smitten masses, do not forget who it is that seeks your company to sooth their weary hearts for the other 364 days of the year.  Those of us who crave you not as an ends to a fudging means, but to fill the lonesome hole in their lives through that sugary-wanting hole in our faces.  We who expect nothing of you, other than to satisfy our “meal-for-one” ordered dessert.  Sure, occasionally we might unduly snap at you, and possibly still blame you for that time we failed to impress the head cheerleader/quarterback of the football team with what should have been our amazing track running skills, but we always come back, don’t we?  Thereby, while you enjoy the attention reserved for you on this day, do not forget, dear Chocolate, that no matter what, at the end of the day, you are as you have always been, and shall always remain:  a Single’s treat.

Sweetly yours,


Happy Valentine’s Day


The 8 Ghastly Phases of a Philosophy Major

The Intro Phase:  First Semester

  • This is where it all begins.  Four years from now you’ll be able to argue the Rousseaus from the Hobbeses like circumspection from circumcision, but right now you are just getting your feet wet with Basics of Philosophy and Philosophical Writings.  You learn what an argument is without ever actually being asked to make one.  The professor will be a young, grad school student (read: barely employable), reciting the lecture verbatim from a notebook he made between his routine morning coffee binge and his 8:00 am seminar on “Why determinism is futile, and why we should care?” (The answer is we shouldn’t).
  • You are the only philosophy major in the class; everybody else sitting around you will be there for that easy Humanities/Elective credit.  They will spend all semester questioning your good senses for choosing philosophy as your career track, but it won’t bother you because you spent that afternoon orientation carefully reading that brochure assuring you that philosophy is, “a much admired and valued degree in various professions.”  Your future is limitless, you’ll think, in all these “various professions” (read: teacher).
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  This phase is nothing but idle tripe, nonetheless, whatever you do, do not grow a handlebar moustache.

 Ethics Phase:  Second Semester

  • The last semester of your first year as a prospective philosopher, and the topic now is Ethics.  You finally get to apply all the things you’ve learned about arguments to actually make one of your own.  The problem is that unlike last semester, here everybody is striving to get that sweet, sweet philosopher status; also they all have beards.  Following along with their construction of an argument is like listening to Aristotle, being discussed by Aristotle, in ancient Greek.  You’ll be lucky if you can make one coherent sentence all semester long.
  • The professor is a middle-aged man, enthusiastic about teaching, because he never managed to do anything else with his degree (spoiler alert).  He will bring up interesting moral topics like abortion, and the holocaust, and watch with frustration as his students completely miss the point on everything he is trying to say; being greeted only with vague buzz words like “antecedent”, and “zeitgeist”, and if enough time is available, repeated non sequitur references to “cognito”, “ergo”, and “sum”, won’t be far off.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Through Socrates’ self-sacrifice, we have achieved the zenith of Kant’s decrepit absolutism and Schopenhauer’s dreaded pessimism.  The conclusion:  A true philosopher can namedrop like a motherfucker!

Logic Phase:  Third Semester

  • The first semester of the second year will be unlike anything you have learned in the first.  For the time being, there will be no more words, no more names, just plain arguments like you have never seen before.  Literally, the arguments will be unrecognizable to you, as they will consist mostly of simple letters and symbols à la:
    • 1. ((C v D) ∙ (~C v ~D)) ∙ ((~C v ~D) → ~(D v E))
    • 2. ((C v D) v ~(C v E)) → ((~C v ~D) → ~C)
    • 3. ((D v E) → C) ∙ (~D v (D v E))
    • 4. (~D ∙ (~C v ~D))→(~D v E)→(~D→(~C→~E)))                  /~E
    • 5.  (C v D) ∙ (~C v ~D)               Simplification (Simp.) 1
    • 6.  ~C v ~D                              Simp. 5
    • 7.  C v D                                  Simp. 5
    • 8.  (~C v ~D) → ~ (D v E)          Simp. 1
    • 9.  (C v D) v ~ (C v E)                Addition (Add.) 7
    • 10. ~ (D v E)                            Modus Ponens (M.P.) 6, 8
    • 11. (~C v ~D) → ~C                  M.P. 2, 9
    • 12. ~C                                     M.P. 6, 11
    • 13. (D v E) → C                        Simp. 3
    • 14. ~D v (D v E)                        Simp. 3
    • 15. ~D                                     Disjunction Syllogism (D.S.) 14, 10
    • 16. ~D ∙ (~C v ~D)                    Conjunction (Conj.) 15, 6
    • 17. ~(D v E)→(~D→(~C→~E))  M.P. 4, 16
    • 18. ~D → (~C → ~E)               M.P. 10, 17
    • 19.  ~C → ~E                         M.P. 15, 18
    • 20. ~E                                    M.P. 12, 19
  • You have argued well, and proved your case in a clear and mathematically logical manner, the only challenge facing you in this semester is not dozing off and/or reconsidering your major, because let’s face the facts:  The best part about having a Liberal Arts major is the limited amount of math proficiency you are expected to master.  But having to spend fourteen weeks treating letters as numbers in place of formulating a grammatical syntax, will force you to conquer a beast you swore never to awaken in the first place.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  There are truths that are recognizable best by mediocre minds because they are most congenial to them; there are truths that have charm and seductive powers only for mediocre spirits; and there are faces for which no beard can fit as flatteringly as their frat brothers insist.  If you are not among the first two, then you are undoubtedly among the hairy-faced third.

Aesthetics Phase:  Fourth Semester

  • Having survived Symbolic Logic you’re going to be feeling pretty confident about yourself as a prospective philosopher.  So confident that you will feel the need to demonstrate your ability to people who will at best smile politely at your recitation of James Rachels, while inching further and further away from you, hoping to make it to an exit before they give in to the urge to cordially remind you how nobody present gives a flying fuck about what some guy they’ve never heard of has to say about anything.
  • You will throw yourself wholeheartedly into the course material, and make every effort to impress your gray-haired, thick-bearded professor with your advanced knowledge of argument deconstruction.  Your grade will be a B+, when you inquire as to why you did not receive an A, you will be met with inspiring advise of, “I dunno know, it was good, but it had no umpf.”  And if the writings of past thinkers are any indication, philosophy without “umpf” might as well be cat piss.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Aesthetics…well…your verdict is as good as mine here.

Seminar Phase:  Fifth Semester

  • The Upper-division status has finally been reached, and because you have survived to year three as a philosophy major you will be rewarded with access to seminar courses.  The point of a seminar class is to expose philosophy majors to a graduate school environment of lively debate and philosophizing, but what it really does is expose male students to a shameful feeling of regret that had begun two semesters back when they realized they had joined the mother of all sausage fests, as the only three women present in class will be the two who are already dating (each other, that is), and the one who is thrilled enough by the call of philosophy to major in it herself but not confident enough to break her engagement to the pre-med senior whose career path doesn’t involve theorizing how the form of forms are not equivalent to, but indeed superior of, the form of the good.
  • Your first move will be to stand out by delivering an impressive comparison between Utilitarianism and Moral Relativism, only to be shot down by a discontent peer wearing a red/black El Che shirt.  Your attempt to counter by pointing out the objector’s hypocrisy of blending consumerism with an anti-consumerist Marxist will end in completely failure; making you an enemy for the semester who will stop at nothing to prove your arguments illogical, like a bespectacled, beret wearing Evil Spock from Philosopher’s Hades.
  • Also, you have three semesters left to go, and the patchy beard you have grown to fit in with the philosophy crowd is looking less and less appealing (not that it was ever appealing to anybody to begin with, looking like a dehydrated Chia Pet).
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  No one can tell the truly great how to live.  Now shave your face, you look like a complete tool.

Nihilist Phase:  Sixth Semester

  • The place where every philosopher ends up at one point or another, and the place which many never go passed either.  The writings of past thinkers are hereby irrelevant, the input of peers is dreadfully boring on a good day, and insufferable on a bad day (the latter being most days).  You no longer need to hear the arguments for this and that, because ultimately it’s all drivel.  Specks of wasted energy, in a universe devoid of meaning and purpose.  You will see no contradiction in proposing that you have it all figured out, while simultaneously asserting that there is nothing to figure out.  And you’ll mock the brainwashed sheep who point out the dilemma in your rationality as unenlightened fools.
  • Your professor will be some soft-spoken crank or another, or perhaps an unorthodox traditionalist; it doesn’t matter.  The important part is that he is a distraction to you.  Just another gear in the conformist automaton machine plant of standard issue relevance spouting conformist promoting ideologies bent on keeping up the noncontroversial image of society as a rose steamed garden of possibility and hope.  That’s right, in philosophy there are no stinkin’ commas.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  This is a phase for all and none.  If you have made it this far, then you go on and own that walrus styled fuzz, own it for all its worth.

Phase of Complex Diction Usage as Applicable to Thought Expression:  Seventh Semester

  • Once your cognitive processes have surpassed the volatile state of nihilistic solipsism, you will possess the mental prowess to ascend beyond self-despondency.  Such acclivity passed one’s preceding neophyte state of existence, will do fine in gradually disclosing the proper path of maneuvering against the strain of contend experienced hitherto.
  • As pertaining to the caricature one would assign towards the dispositional nature of the professorial order, the only satisfactory descriptive commentary that can be utilized is one of simplistic diction refraining itself from the temptation of convoluted jargon.  In short:  Elocution is the primary objective.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  The Grand Unifying Theory of Philosophy:  Everyone is wrong about everything, except me about this.

Epitaph Phase:  Last Semester

  • You’re last semester as a prospective philosophy undergrad will be one of great despair, as your realize that no academic field considers anything below a PhD in philosophy to be worth less than the quantifiers of monadic predicates [???].  Thus, you’ll spend the last semester left taking that final deontology class contemplating the next seven years you will be spending essentially repeating the last two years, while slowly but surely descending back to your previous stage of nihilism by graduation.  Happy teaching, Prof.  For it will be your life.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Philosophy is Dead!

Peace is Dead!

Pure pacifism is an extinct concept.  That is not to say that people don’t still oppose wars, because they certainly do.  But it is a very sanitized form of opposition, filled with awkward qualifiers and conditionals, that really amount to little more than a moderate, “Well, no I don’t oppose all wars, just this particular one that we happen to be discussing right now.”  And there is nothing wrong with such a position, as long as it is truly the position one feels is most reasonable, and not a baseless cop-out, adopted so as not to look weak-minded in front of the courageous war proponent.

Pacifists are seen as naturally unreasonable (even by other pacifists), and a lot of that is due to the pacifist’s inability to be aggressively passive.  How often have people who see war as a harsh necessity silenced their peaceful counterparts simply by asserting, “Pacifism is fallaciously unsustainable, just think what would have happened if we listened to these guys back in 1939.  If everyone had been a pacifist at that point, Hitler would surely have taken over all of Europe.”  Of course, pacifists–not knowing how to argue–never bother to point out that had everyone been a pacifist in 1939 (or 1934, or 1756, or 1198), the likes of Hitler would have never existed to begin with.  No, to make such an argument would be unreasonable (for some obvious reason or another).

The instinct to fight, it is argued, is a part of human behavior, thus war is simply an unfortunate extension of a basic function of our species; it is unnatural to try and restrain a phenomenon that is so deeply ingrained in our evolutionary psychology.  No arguing against that, just as the instinct to have sex and procreate is a part of human behavior, thus rape is simply an unfortunate extension of…what?  This is an unfair analogy?  Well, I’ll have to take your word for it, just as soon as I tell the next airplane pilot I see that gravity entails how it is unnatural for things to go up instead of down (this is deeply ingrained in our physics, after all).

It is unavoidable for pacifists to live in a fantasy world; their utopian vision of humanity demands it.  They can’t understand that because people are violent, it is only reasonable that they should be violent.  The don’t get how their blind belief in “the greater good,” is childish in the face of reality, which demands for us to war against those who wish us harm for the sake of…the greater good?  Also, they make really stupid arguments, too.

I don’t believe that people are naturally peaceful; I think our violent inclinations are more than self-evident.  Thus, my argument is clear and simple:  I don’t want people killing each other, not because I have some grandiose view of human virtue or because I’m looking to uphold to the values of some greater spirit of man, but because I don’t want to be killed myself.  It is self-preserving and self-centered, and unashamedly so!  Therefore, by definition I cannot be a pacifist, who only know how to make shameful arguments.  QED

Not that any of it matters, since pacifists don’t exist (at least not any sober ones).  To be anti-specific war is reasonable, but to be anti-war war is absolute absurdity.  “How will you defend yourself against those who wage war on you?  Will you smother them with modesty until they surrender?  What a cowardly position!  You know damn well, Mr. Pacifist, that your safety depends on the fact that others are fighting wars to protect you!”–Damn straight, you tell ‘em Mr. Brave War Proponent.  You tell that coward all about the need for others to die to protect us.  About the need to go to war, so that we can preserve peace.  About how their flimsy idealism in a better world is nothing but fanciful trite, in comparison to your realistic understand of the need to annihilate evildoers so that we can have a better world.  About how if it wasn’t for war, pacifism wouldn’t even exist.  You see!  You see!  They need war just as much as we do, and we only do it because it is natural to do so; so we win by default.  Go war.

The pacifist will have no argument against any of this, because the pacifist never has an argument for anything.  But what do you expect, when s/he is forced to argue the position that killing other is somehow morally reprehensible.  Who could ever hope to win that argument?!  The self-proclaimed pacifists (and they would have to proclaim it themselves, otherwise hell if I knew which side they were on from the crappy arguments they resort to), is eager to point out how they are anti-war, but not anti-military:  “We are against war, but not the armed forces.  We love the brave men and women in the military.”  But how could you have a war, without the military?  To oppose one, don’t you have to oppose the other on principle?  “No, no, no, no, no, you see, I’m opposed to the abstract concept of war, not those who actually take part in it.  Everyone who fights in the military is brave and noble beyond any reasonable doubt.”  I suppose I will have to jot that down as another reason why I can never be a pacifist–when I disapprove of an act, I understand how by necessity I also disapprove of those who partake in it.  And I don’t apologize for it.  I don’t assign nobility or bravery based on the vocation someone chose, but based on her/his individual actions, and I expect nothing else in return.  But, then again, my innately ignoble immoralist inclinations are probably just blinding me from seeing the great honor in fighting for principles that are not my own, at times I do not choose, for reasons I have no say in, in countries I cannot locate on a blank map.

No pacifist would ever dare say this, because no such thing as a pacifist exists anymore.

Things I’ve Learned From Late Night Infomercials

My sleeping pattern has been steadily returning to normal in the last two weeks, which is great for my overall stamina.  Nonetheless, insomnia still has a habit of occasionally slipping into my bed at night, and wringing her decadent claws around me (worse of all, she never bothers to leave any money on the dresser either, despite having her way with me all night.  What kind of a cheap skank does she take me for?).  In light of still having to bear the occasional case of sleeplessness, insomnia has given me a chance to become reacquainted with a long neglected friend from youth:  Television.

Yes, the internet has spoiled me, with its easy access and availability to high quality resources, is it a surprise how neglectful I have been towards that lonely square box complimenting my entertainment center (which is neither located in the center of anything, or provides much in the area of entertainment these days).  But now, I return to you, sweet, patient television, to give my restless nights some ease of mind.  Unfortunately, my time away from TV has made me unprepared to deal with the fact that a.m. programming is the abyss in which infomercials reign supreme.  Naturally, like any person eager to be bored into a comatose stupor (that ought to show that bitchy insomnia what’s what), I watched and allowed the spawn of consumerism’s unwanted lovechild with cheesy soap-opera’s dialogue to try and work its charm on me.  In this experience, I have picked up on a few seemingly important life lessons from these late night/early morning infomercial ads.

  • College is serious business!  Are you living in the United States, and can’t afford to go to college?  Don’t worry, despite that fact that low-income students qualify for government grants that don’t need to be paid back–and are usually enough to cover the bill to attend most modestly ranked, in-state public universities–what you should really consider as an adolescent with no credit history or real life financial experience, is taking out loans to attend a privately-run, online college.  According to the infomercials, even Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210 got a Liberal Arts degree this way, and if she can do it with her busy acting schedule, who are you not to?!
  • Baldness is a death sentence!  Of course, I have yet to personally appreciate the life-altering impact of male pattern baldness (though judging by my family album, I have a 50/50 chance of finding out all about it in the coming decade or two).  But if there is one thing that infomercials have taught me about this phenomenon, it’s that once a receding hairline begins, a man might as well start to contemplate how many years of his life he is willing to sell to the Devil just so he can retain enough hair strands to manage a decent comb-over.  The message is clear: if you’re not foaming it, transplanting it, or lasering it, you have metaphorically castrated your manhood to a perpetually phallic state of solitude.  Yet, having now been given this great insight into human sex appeal, I’m left wondering why the bald guy I share a wall with is (by the wall-piercing sound of it) still getting laid more than I am?  Also, is that aforementioned pact with the Devil in any way voidable?
  • Acne is a merciless cancer on society that Hollywood needs to defeat one Proactiv infomercial at a time!  Speaking as someone who went through his adolescent years with a moderate degree of pimples on his face, and who still wakes up to the occasional zit now and again (the battle for clear skin never ends, and takes no prisoners–damn it!), I can easily understand the sentiment behind this A-list celebrity crusade against the pangs of acne-laden skin.  What I don’t understand is why, if this cause is as important as the fancy graphics and voice-over narration is to lead me to believe, are young people with virtually no income of their own being asked to cough up $39.99 for a product whose main active ingredients is the same benzoyl peroxide you can pickup at any drug store for under five bucks?  Also, I can’t help but notice how far good lighting and a fair amount of foundation goes to *ahem* clear-up those celebrity faces.
  • Your soul’s salvation depends on your willingness to send money to some guy, who heads some obscure ministry, in some awkwardly named place in California!   For the longest time, I was under the impression that religious clerics had to undergo some kind of seminary training, or at least an apprenticeship of some sort (if that ends up being turned into a reality show staring Donald Trump on NBC, I swear to every conceivable deity and space creature that I will personally bring forth great wrath and vengeance upon the lands of the earth, and all its inhabitants…look I’m just saying, please cancel the apprentice already, it’s not even ironically funny anymore).  Apparently my suspicions were dead wrong, because all you need to offer pious counseling is a P.O. Box and vaguely threatening, thick eyebrows with which to pierce and guilt the very souls you are trying to save.  Sometimes senders are promised gifts for their charitable donations (though if you’re doing it for the free Gideon Bible, I suggest just swiping one from any motel room), but sometimes viewers are offered more urgent reasoning like, “Fool, it’s the end of the world, so do this one decent thing and send the money, or else…”  What else, you ask?  Who cares, man.  Do you want to take the risk to find out?  I didn’t think so.

The only thing that’s really worth asking now is how the mail-order prayers can be utilized to cure the acne menace of the young, the college finances of the slightly older, and the baldness of the even older?  This is just one of the many ways infomercials are bringing the lessons of life full circle, one sleep deprived mind at a time.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, Insomnia appears to have had enough of me for the evening.

My Grievances With 3 Classic Cartoon Characters

Like most children, I wasted a good deal of my early development waking up at near dawn each and every day just to catch the regular lineup of morning cartoon classics.  But unlike most children, I wasn’t content with just viewing and enjoying the programs–No!  Because even from a young age, and even when it comes to matters we hold dearest to our hearts, I believe there is a limit to how much nonsense a person ought to be willing to accept from their entertainment.  And some of the logical gaffes of classic cartoon series are too great to not be called out and challenged directly.  In that light, consider this a serious list of grievances that is decades in the making; a wound of hangups I have been nursing for as long as I can remember being a conscious agent.  My first venture into social commentary and cultural polemics (and a man never forgets his first), without which I may not have become the blogger that stands…er…writes before you today (and I doubt that’s a world any of us would want to imagine).

So, skipping any further introductions, let’s start with this list of my childhood grievances by order of personal annoyance from least to worst offenders.

3.  The Problem With Scooby-Doo:  Fred.  Just so there is no confusion for those of you not too familiar with the show, this guy is Fred:


Look at him, with that stupid orange ascot. I hope it chafes his neck.

Fred isn’t the brains, he isn’t charismatic, and he sure as hell isn’t the comic relief.  All he does is state the obvious aloud, and than comes up with the most imbecilic plan to catch the weekly crooks (“Oh, hey Shaggy, why don’t you and Scooby lure the bad guy to step onto this puddle of oil, so he can slip on it?  I’m sure you’ll be fine.  FYI, I’ll be hiding safely in the bushes over there.”).

But even if I’m willing to overlook all of this, there is still one major character flaw that makes Fred an irredeemable jackass in my eyes.  Scooby and Shaggy are always presented as being 100% convinced that the place the group is investigating is actually haunted (Daphne’s stance is more or less ambiguous, but generally falls into this same line of thinking when the “monsters” appear).  In contrast, throughout the show’s run, it is established that Fred and Velma are repeatedly unconvinced that any of the places Mystery Inc. investigates are really haunted, which is why them two always look into alternative explanations right from the start.  So far so good.  Yet, if Fred is convinced that the unarmed ghost running at him is just some guy clothed in a loosely fitting bed sheet, why doesn’t he just tackle the bastard?  Remember, Scooby and Shaggy (and probably Daphne) actually think it’s a ghost, and Velma is too small in stature to be much of a match against a full grown man.  Fred, however, is presented as an athletically fit young man.  He could do some serious damage to the group’s would-be assailants if he actually bothered to stop just mopping around like a waste of carbon and use his physical traits to contribute to the team.  Honestly, I’m glad he was written out off most of the later incarnations of the show, as it gave me the opportunity to imagine how one day he happened to trip over his bell-bottom jeans, fell out of the Mystery Machine, and the rest of Mystery Inc. just never bothered to go back for him because they couldn’t be bothered to care.

2. The Problem With The Smurfs: Their Incomprehensible Gender Issues.  Everybody points out the fact that the Smurfs have a serious male-to-female ration problem in their mushroom village.  Few people bother to point out that this is only a minor issue in the greater dilemma in the Smurf biosphere.

The problem isn’t that there is only one (later two) female Smurfs, it’s that there are no naturally birthed female Smurfs–Period.  Smurfette was artificially created by Gargamel, and than later on in the series Sassette was artificially created by the three young Smurflings.


Just to jog your memory, this one is Sassette. I realize you were racking your brain trying to remember.

Now, I can accept that within the reality the Smurfs inhabit, they are magical creatures that are (literally) delivered by a stork every some-odd season or so.  However, since every single occasion of a Smurf being born naturally produces only (presumably) male offspring, this heavily implies that Smurfs are organically a one-gendered species.  This itself is not the problem, either.  The problem is, how can a one-gendered, essentially asexual population of creatures still feel sexual attraction towards an artificially created opposite gendered individual (i.e. Smurfette), when she isn’t really a natural product of their biological makeup?  In numerous episodes the male Smurfs are shown swooning madly for Smurfette’s simply on account that she is of the opposite gender, despite the fact that Smurfs obviously aren’t gender binary (i.e. they have no opposite gender).  If anything, all the Smurfs should either feel no sexual attraction towards anyone, or all the (presumably) male Smurfs ought to be getting it on with one another.


At least Vanity Smurf seems to make a lot more sense now.

1. The Problem With Tom and Jerry:  Tom was the wronged party in the series, and no one seems to care but me!  Let’s look at the facts, shall we?  Tom is the unseen homeowner’s pet, thus he is essentially an official resident of the house he occupies.  Jerry, on the other hand, is a rodent; a pest that’s constantly breaking entry into the residency to steal the tenants’ food and take advantage of their living fixtures.   Jerry is obviously the intruder here, while Tom is just doing what he was probably brought into the house to do in the first place: keep pests away.  Sure, it’s all fun and games for Jerry to ravage and plunder someone else’s fridge and horde away their belongings, but what do you think will happen to poor Tom when his owners get fed up with his inability to do what he was (by all estimation) brought into the house to do?  He’ll probably be put out on the street, or worse, be dragged off to the animal shelter–where he will eventually be put to sleep if no one takes him (and since he is already an older cat, no one will probably take him, because all those snobbish kids care about saving is that cute little kitten in the back).  Are Jerry’s antics still funny to you?  Yeah?  Then consider the fact that if you pay attention to the episodes, about 80% of the time Jerry is the one that’s provoking Tom (who is, as we have already established, simply protecting his and his care keeper’s property from a commonly disease-carrying vermin).  You know what, fuck that mouse.  I hope he choked on that ill-gotten cheese.

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Yeah, enjoy it.  You thievingly amoral home invader, you.

All right, having gotten all of that finally off my chest, the healing process can at last begin.

Maintaining Modesty

I awake yesterday morning with the startling resolution that my life has been a long dogmatic list of uncompromising stubbornness, and it could easily be improved through a healthy does of inoffensive moderation.  Which I immediately set out to follow, but then stopped myself just in time to wait a good 15 minutes; just for modest measure.

As I boarded the bus to work, I decided that since both the 6:24 am & the 6:31 am bus can get me to work on time, a healthy compromise would be to walk to the next bus stop down from where I usually wait, for a refreshing walk and to catch the later of the two.  The 6:31 am bus was running 15 minutes behind schedule, and I was 10 minutes late to work.

At lunch I decided instead of having my usual combination of donuts, fries, and soda, I would substitute it with a moderately healthy diet of apple, mashed potatoes, and green beans (note to self, fruits and vegetables make for powerful laxatives).  After lunch, two coworkers asked me to settle an issue of the utmost importance:  Who would win in a fight between adult Simba from the Lion King and adult Baloo from The Jungle Book?  Although I am convinced that Simba would shred Baloo to pieces (he took down Scar for goodness sake), I instead opted to spare both person’s feelings with a humble, “I don’t know.”  A compromise that satisfied no one.

On the way back home from work (taking the earliest bus I could catch this time), a man told me that he desperately needs money to buy himself new pants for work.  I humbly gave him $40, and advised him to get a new shirt too, so he can also cover up the needle marks on his arms.  Then I slapped his face as compensation (it was the modest thing to do) and got off the bus.

Once home, I informed my spouse about my new found insight and suggested we appreciate it through a moderate dose of coitus.  Since it would be unfair for both of us to expect an equally thorough performance, I suggested that we compromise by deciding on who would be climaxing tonight, and then we’ll rotate on a weekly basis; so as not to exhaust ourselves with too much wasted energy.  We mutually decided that the most modest compromise would be for me to sleep on the couch tonight.