Monday, December 29, 2008

Unwanted Advances

For anyone wondering how to deflect unwanted advances:

1. Raise your hand in the manner depicted below.

2. In a loud voice, say, "No, thank you."

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

30 or so songs for 2008

A note: This is not my top songs or whatever. But it really sort of is. Only, instead of the Richard Swift song I have here, I wanted "Lady Luck." Go find that song somewhere now and listen to it and pretend to have heard it from this playlist first instead. Do the same for My Time Outside the Womb by Titus Andronicus.

Playlist also didn't have these songs:

Mr. Scruff: Donkey Ride
Gentleman Jesse: Black Hole
The Rosebuds: Bow to the Middle
Blood on the Wall: Rize
Man Man: Rabbit Habits

A final note: If you have the disorder where you taste what you hear, you are so very lucky. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Also, in my continuing quest to find the perfect song for drinking alone and then wandering around a city, the Walkmen's "Canadian Girl" may have taken it.

Christmas-related Post

Happy Thismas, Jack Benny-style

Part 1

Part 2

I marvel at the comic timing of this sketch, which, mostly in one long shot, is just as much of an accomplishment as the tracking shot in Goodfellas. Like most comedy shows at the time, it has the pacing and stage action of a play, which I have always loved. The audience's squealing response to Mel Blanc's increasingly bedraggled salesman is equally delightful. This also gets points for having perhaps the darkest ending of any Christmas special I've ever seen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Congratulations to "What Would You Do If You Were President?" Half-Thoughts Contest Winner: Anthony Hamilton, 16, Eagle Ridge, CO

Four months ago, in the heat of a historic presidential race, Half Thoughts opened up a contest for high school students (and ASPIRING POLITICIANS???) across the nation to write an essay about what they would change as president. Thirty-seven applications and many sleepless nights later, WE HAVE A WINNER! Congratulations to Anthoney Hamilton of Eagle Ridge, Colorado. Two of three Half-Thoughts bloggers were impressed enough with Anthony's 500-word essay that they didn't feel the need to read the thirty-two (32) remaining essays. See below to read Anthony's 500-word essay, and congratulations to him on his prize, a $15 gift certificate to iTunes - don't (or on second thought, do!) spend it all in one place!!!

Before Anthony's essay, a word on our methodology: Half Thoughts, a St. Louis-based think tank with outposts in Laramie, WY and Knoxville, TN, was mandated by court authorities to take part in a public works project as punishment for running a somewhat successful timeshare Ponzi scheme. We are herein required to offer an official apology to the town of Branson, MO, and Hank Williams III in particular for involving them, unwittingly, in a criminal enterprise.

Of my own accord, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Tyles' wife and family, as well, for his multiple convictions and his five year mandatory minimum sentence that I am arguably responsible for. I would also like to point out to them that I did not escape the situation unscathed - my credit rating took an inestimable hit, I've had to register all of my aliases on an FBI watchlist, and I cannot apply for a job at a federal credit union for the rest of my life (not to mention the 500 hours of community service!).

In July of 2008, the two remaining (unincarcerated) Half Thoughts bloggers submitted to the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri and the Honourable Walter Staples our plan for a community service project that would fulfill the obligations of the court's ruling and take advantage of our medium, the zeitgeist, and our peculiar talents. The plan was to open up a 500-word essay competition to high school students across the country who would answer what they would change if they were president. E-mails to guidance counselors were sent, parole officers were consulted, and four months later, we yielded thirty-seven responses!

Our methodology in the review process was as follows: Ashby would scan for the following disqualifying buzzwords - socialism, redistribution, change, "end the war in", "the poor", torture, check, balance, "pursue indictments", Guantanamo, "was really behind 9/11", and diplomacy. Then, it was up to me to actually read for content. I ignored such typical indicators as presentation, organization & development, and thesis and instead focused on if the writer had that intangible "it" quality. Anthony had it in spades - he says he loves this country more than anyone else ever, frequently tells on classmates who misbehave, leads the pledge of allegiance every morning and writes down the names of students who don't say it aloud, often thinks about military service, frequently reflects on 9/11, and never trick-or-treated because he doesn't believe in begging. He knows that change happens when it's ready to happen, and that it's socially dangerous to try to force it. As the son of a successful small business owner, he is disgusted by Americans who profess disappointment with the country. "They should live in Baghdad, and then tell me how bad it is here," he said in his cover letter. "If the slaves could talk today, they'd say thank God they were brought here, because they could see how bountiful are the lives of their children."

Here is Antonin's essay. We offer him our most sincere congratulations.

My Dad Is An American Hero
By: Anthony Hamlton
The tyrannical code of equality shrouds us in darkness. Man's rapacious intellect provides him with the capacity to pursue his own happiness, he need be reliant on nothing but his own ability. Take, for instance, my father. He pays so much taxes that it is amazing that his business hasn't failed. His business involves for instance selling sports wares, leasing ATVS, and to rent tennis equipment. Barack Obama would make my dad even more taxes to help poor people who don't work as hard as my dad. It is also hard because he has to pay high minimum wages to people who also don't work as hard as he does. This makes it hard to be competitive, and when business doesn't compete, it is communist. My grandpa didn't fight the japanese to become a communist.

As president I would cut taxes to people like my dad, who deserve more money. My dad is a hard working man who would help the economy if he made more money. Since most people are in small businesses like my dad, most people would help the economy too if I cut taxdes. But I wouldn't cut taxes for everybody because they woudln't help the economy so much because they don't make enough money. People who don't make enough money should get any breaks becuase like my dad says if you work hard in America you'll do fine.

As presidnet I would help the enviornment by cutting carbon emissions by making everyone walk to work, including liberals who think everyone should walk to work except for them. Liberals complain a lot because they are lazy and think government should work for them when they should work for themself.

As President I would win our wars by bombing more. Every day people say why don't we win Iraq I say because we don't bomb enough. If we bomb m ore we wouldn't lose anymore troops because they would leave the cities before we bomb them. After we bomb them they will be safe for democracy. Even though Iraqis act like they don't want democracy now, they'll be happy for democracy, liek slaves were happy to be in America after they came to America.

As President I would help healthcare and education by putting them on the market. My dad says people who can afford healthcare and education should get good helathcare and education, and people who can't afford it should be punished. I think if people are punished for not having enough money, they will get themselves more money to afford healthcare and education.

As president I would not let gays get marryed. If gays get married that means my family won't mean as much to me, because then EVERYbody could have a family. And if families don't mean as much to me, then that means family doesn't mean as much to anyone, and if family doesn't mean as much to anyone, then families will break apart and we can't have an ecnomy if we don't have families.

In concluding, I think I would make America a better place as president. Small businesses would do well, families would help the economy, everybody would get healthcare and education, we would win our wars and then we would tell countries to do what we say is good because I would show that America is good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holidays Created by Start-up Religions to Compete With Christmas

America is as known for its many Christianities as it is its democracy. But did you know we have religions besides our various Christianities that believe more or less the same thing but still somehow resent each other? It's true! The most famous example is "Mormonism," whose followers believe in the divinity of Jesus but any real Christian will tell you that this in itself is not proof of Christianity so much as a cynical conceit. Mormonism was founded by an albino gadabout named Joseph Smith (of the Vermont Smiths), who, like most other religion founders, used little boys as fucktoys and little girls as cannon fodder. He was a sick, sick, enterprising, brilliant man. Besides founding the tabernacle choir - a collection of eunuchs from the vast expanses of Michigan who are known for both their angelic voices and their craven subservience - Smith is perhaps best known for creating a holiday to rival Christmas. Instead of celebrating December 25th as the birth of the lord, Smith has his followers celebrate on January 8, or the day that Jesus first set foot in America. Instead of exchanging gifts, Mormon families would bake loaves of white bread and craft effigies of indians and bash their skulls in. Then, the pan-flute contests. Always with the pan-flutes.

But we have other religions, TAX EXEMPT and myriad as the seas!

Founded by Henry Ford, the Autobots believe that inside every car lurks a machine man who will reveal himself and will have a specialized power according to his model. Ambulances will be healers, semi cabs for some reason will say everything melodramatically, and Porsches will be jive-talking minstrel-type figures. In 1964, a contingent of Autobots sought to force the man out of the machine by taking sleeping pills and driving toward a cliff, necessitating life-saving action on the part of these robots-in-disguise. There were no survivors.

Optimus Primas
The Autobots celebrated the holiday on December 25. Families would gather in the garage on the evening of December 24 to sleep, leaving the car on in belief (according to Ford's prophecy) that the robot-men would come to life over-night.

Sean Penn
In 1986, Sean Penn created a religion with the expressed intent that only he would follow it. Over twenty years later, this secretive religion (some say it started as a practical joke and became something much more... devotional) is apparently still going strong. Religious rights activists say that if you were at all familiar with Sean Penn's religion, Penn's antisocial behavior would seem totally understandable, even banal.

Little is known about Pennmas, but we do know it exists, and that it holds a very special meaning to Sean Penn.

Six Sigma
Designed to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects, Six Sigma started as a management technique at Motorola and was quickly adapted by other companies. It is not surprising that six MBA students at Marquette University tried to adapt it into a religion. Nor is it surprising that interest in the efficiency-worshipping religion waned almost as quickly as it was established. Or that the six students were summarily convicted of tax fraud.

Six Sigma Days of Christmas
Always taking place immediately after finals week at Marquette, the Six Sigma Days of Christmas were really just an excuse to gather around a laptop computer to drink beer and watch Internet pornography.

The Catholic League
Catholic League President William Donahue, disgusted with the ongoing commercialisation of Christmas, decided to make a separate and distinct Christmas, free of pagan Christmas trees and Christ-obscuring presents.


Catholic members celebrate Christmas by telling their family members who still celebrate Christmas that they are destroying Christmas. It is a time honored tradition for them to respond to a wish of happy holidays by saying, "Fuck you."

The Universal Incrementalists

This tedious time-worshipping religion has enjoyed varying levels of popularity for more than four decades, after it was founded by music journalists who believed Bob Dylan when he, in a typical bit of methamphetamine-fueled press-baiting, said he was a Universal Incrementalist. When pressed by a member of the press corps to explain Universal Incrementalism, Dylan ignored the question, re-lit his cigarette, and pulled out a giant novelty boxing glove. The reporters laughed, one by one, desperate to fit in.

The Planeternational Be-In

Joined by a game Allen Ginsberg, music journalists celebrated their most successful Planeternational Be-In in 1971 at a HoJo in Dublin, Ohio. At that Be-In, they started the tradition of proclaiming rock and roll irrelevant and insisting that they admired country music's sincerity.

Friday, December 19, 2008


At parties, I am often approached by drunk friends of friends who know nothing about me other than my name who then nod at me, nod at a girl across the room whom I've never talked to, and say, "I'm gonna get you laid tonight." As far as I can tell, they're almost always single themselves.

Then, when she gathers her coat fifteen minutes later and leaves, they'll shoot me a look from across the room, shrug, and say, "Sorry, man."

It's true!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Don't Be Shy!

Shyness is a personal flaw, just as shameful as clown masturbation or as harmful as spying on your neighbors with a telescope and microphone system that you hide in a hollow in the floor of your garage. There are a number of books that will try to get you to cope with shyness - there's even an article floating around that says introverts deserve your sympathy. As a person with a minor in behavioral psychology, I say, bullshit. Such people do not have "habits" and "routines" that they take "comfort" in, they have coping mechanisms that keep them from facing the icy blackness of their very souls.

Just the other day, I ran into an introvert. I could tell her by her inability (sweaty palmed unwillingness?) to look me in the eye. I asked her to please excuse me. She said NOTHING. I sidled by, obviously seething. This is the introverts' brushoff. Allow me to make an aside: I am brilliant at reading facial expressions, voice-tone, and body language. This woman was very hungry, somewhat cold, and unable to go about everyday life without crippling anxiety. We should pity her, you say? WOULD YOU PITY HER AFTER SHE HAS CUT YOUR FACE OPEN WITH A POCKETKNIFE????

With that in mind, I have crafted a chart of facial tics common to the introvert and have provided their iron-clad meanings. Look closely, young reader:

Looks like he or she is about to yawn, but doesn't.
CONFUSION. Do not make eye contact.

TIRED. Do not touch above or below shoulders.

Pupils dilated.
AMENABLE. You may engage in light conversation.

Eyes half-closed.
DIABETIC SHOCK (diabetics only). Force-feed Twix bar. Always carry a Twix bar.

DIABOLICAL. Reveal no private information that the government doesn't already know.

Smiles and winks.
SLY. A Wes Anderson movie was just released, and (only) introverts love Wes Anderson movies.

AROUSED. A sexual encounter with an introvert is a rare occurence, spottily documented. From what we have conjectured, we can say that during the encounter, do not make eye contact, avoid small talk, and for GOD'S SAKE, DO NOT SUGGEST CHANGING POSITIONS. An introvert is a sedentary being, comfortable with not moving. They are prone to violence at the slightest inconvenience. Also BE ADVISED, during the encounter, the introvert will not move.

Nose twitches.
DISCONSOLATE. Introverts are prone to episodes of inconsolable depression and night terrors. THIS IS ONLY A PLOY FOR YOUR PITY. Because introverts are incapable of joy or love, those very Christian impulses of us normal extroverts, they must settle for pity and charity. AGAIN, they feed on the vulnerabilites of others. Would you hug a lost grizzly cub? Yes, you probably would. Would you do the same for an introvert? No, their fuzzy fur falls out soon after birth.

Eyes are crossed.
MISCHIEVOUS. If you live near an introvert, you've already been advised to get rid of all sharp objects. I HOPE YOU TOOK THIS ADVICE. Introverts, incapable of feeling anything close to empathy, get their kicks by inflicting severe emotional pain on others (unless they have a sharp object at their disposal, then they like to inflict severe physical pain). Due to their hominess and UNSTAUNCHED FEMININITY, introverts are incapable of operating heavy machinery. This is in our favor: As soon as you have distracted the introvert by playing The Songs of Leonard Cohen, RUN THEM DOWN WITH YOUR CAR. It doesn't count as vehicular manslaughter: THEY AREN'T REALLY MEN.

Claws gleam in the sun.
ALL IS WELL. No action needed. An introvert's claws are vestigial - most experts agree that they've forgotten they have them.

Eyes gleam in the sun.
MURDEROUS. It is foolish to assume that because the introvert's eyes have become useless from years spent in-doors they are not dangerous: Because in their burrows the refrigerator is right next to the privy, their sense of smell is stronger than a hundren men's sense of sight. Fed by their rage, the introverts can not be defeated in this state. Dress yourself in Lindberger cheese (it smells just like a massive privy to them), or they will sniff you out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cleaning the Microwave

Cleaning a microwave is often a challenging task. To make it easier, try adding a little lemon juice to a mug full of water and then heat it up in the microwave (careful not to let it boil over). The steam that is created makes wiping bits of encrusted food away a breeze, and the lemon juice gives your kitchen a wonderfully pleasant aroma. Of course, always be sure to use microwave-safe objects.

Labels: , , ,