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Under Pressure

In my life, I have been lied to. Granted there’s nothing special about that as we’ve all be lied to at some point. But to me there seems to be one group of people for whom lying is just a matter of everyday business. And here’s the thing, I’m NOT talking about politicians! This group is large, diverse, and all seem to think they know what is best for you. Yup. I promise. I’m still NOT talking about politicians.

I’m talking doctors and their ilk. I swear they must all take the same class on the subject. It is probably something like, “Advanced Truth Telling 403″ or some such.

My most recent pair of liars was my dentist and his assistant. I recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and like the fool I am I assumed I was man enough to experience the ordeal awake. Such a silly man I sometimes am. And apparently occasionally Yoda like in my speech patterns. Anyway, I digress. The lie I was told is one that I think most of you have been told. It was, “Now you’re going to feel a little pressure”. I didn’t feel pressure. I felt the sharp intrusion of a red hot needle being jabbed in and out of my jaw repeatedly. I should have paid for the anesthesia, but I’m cheap and would have felt the pressure in my pocket book instead. *Shudder*

Google tells me that “pressure” is:

  1. the continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it. “The slight extra pressure he applied to her hand”
  2. the use of persuasion, influence, or intimidation to make someone do something. “The proposals put pressure on Britain to drop its demand”

Neither of the above definitions is ever what someone means when they tell you that you might experience some pressure. What they mean to say is, “Now you’re going to feel a little pain”. For completeness, and to allow you, dear reader, the chance to compare and contrast the two definitions, here is Google’s definition of pain:

  1. physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury. “She’s in great pain”. synonyms: suffering, agony, torture, torment, discomfort

Discomfort. That’s the real word that should be used in the majority of these situations. But as you can see above, discomfort is a synonym of pain. Looking again and I see that pressure is NOT. Why? Because nobody really wants to admit that in order to make you feel better, you are going to have to experience something worse first. I think this is because many people seem to feel more pain and discomfort if they know it is coming. But if this is the case, all that is really happening is that we are instead making people afraid of the word “pressure”. People will then start to expect actual pain and discomfort at the use of the word “pressure”. The pain I felt as the dentist extracted my tooth was completely different than the pressure I felt as his assistant took my blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff applied actual pressure to the arm. Ripping a tooth out of someone’s head causes pain or at the very least discomfort. Ya know, come to think of it, I didn’t get “pressure pills” prescribed to me, I got “pain pills“.

Of course there is the chance that our society is merging the two meanings, like we have LITERALLY done with the word literal. Some literal dumb asses have decided that so many people have used literal incorrectly to exaggerate a point that literal now has a new meaning on top of its literal meaning. And I’m literally not exaggerating.

This can be seen in Google’s “informal” definition of literal:

  1. formal: Taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory. “Dreadful in its literal sense, full of dread”
    • informal: absolute (used to emphasize that a strong expression is deliberately chosen to convey one’s feelings). “Fifteen years of literal hell”

I’ll avoid digging into the bastardization of the word “absolute” as used in the example of the informal definition above. Let’s just say I hate the English language. Too bad I’m too lazy to learn a better one.

Thinking along these lines, I start to consider what happens if we start to misconstrue all uses of pressure to mean only pain or discomfort. If you suggest that you are feeling a lot of pressure at work, people might wonder about the type of work you do. Queen’s Under Pressure changes context. And high and low pressure fronts really start to make the weather report a lot more interesting.

Regardless I think doctors should say what they mean. Be frank! We can take it. I have yet to have one doctor tell me that I’m a fat ass and I need to diet. WTF people? We all know this! It should be talking point number one right after taking care of the emergency that drove me to your door. “So Niassne. I see you are bleeding profusely. While we are taking care of that, you should know that you are a giant fat ass. If you don’t lose weight we are going to start charging you more and demanding you come in for more frequent visits. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to start applying some ‘pressure’. We’ll start with the scrotum”.

Maybe the rest of us should start using the word “dollars” in place of the word “rocks”. That way when we pay a bill for a procedure that included some “pressure” we can pay with “dollars”.

I don’t know though. Following the rule of Unintended Consequences, if we started doing that I think in the long run we’d just be hurting strippers. (They’d start to feel a lot more “pressure” during their performances as “dollars” were thrown their way – if you didn’t follow).

Love in a Time of Zombies #1

The following is my first few pages of what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. I’m six days behind now and it is only day eight. I hope to catch up some on the weekend. I probably won’t, but that said I’ll do something.

My original story was a super hero style story set in a fictional land that was part Russia, part USA, and part East Germany. I scrapped the whole thing because while I KNOW what I want to do, I don’t have a road map for it yet, and I want to treat it right. So instead I figured I’d write something funny, something in the line of my Zombie News Now posts. So what follows is that, the first (short) draft of the first short chapter of Love in a Time of Zombies. 

——————-

Rene cursed his parents for giving him a woman’s name, at least his middle name was manly, damn manly. His middle name was Sioux like the Native American tribe. For some reason however people always snickered when they found out his last name, snickered and beat the unholy bajeebus out of him. Nowadays Rene kept his middle name secret as it seemed the world was filled with racists.

“Rene August,” announced a bland administrative female voice over the installation’s PA system after a brief ear biting chirp, “please report to General Whoremonger”.

Geesh. What a great name, Whoremonger. Now THAT was a manly name. Rene secretly believed that as soon as they saw the name Whoremonger on an enlistment form, the Army gave the applicant the rank of General on the spot. Too bad General Whoremonger was a woman. Such a great name to be wasted on a woman.

Rene was no sexist really. He just thought that Whoremonger was an excellent man’s name. Occasionally he’d admit to himself that there would have to be SOME Whoremongers who were woman, namely those married to barrel chested mammoth men named Whoremonger. Said women would give many Whoremonger sons to their Whoremonger spouses to allow for more men to have such a terrific manly name. See? Rene was no sexist at all.

The General always hated to be left waiting so Rene stood from his desk chair in such haste, his right leg pushed his chair backward causing it to quickly roll back. The chair quickly stuck Rene’s foot locker with a thump, then bounced back violent to collide once again with Rene’s leg. Cursing his luck, Rene turned to see the chair tipping over and about to spill on the plan painted concrete floor. Rene bent over to grab the chair but took a bad step while shifting his weight and fell over the chair planting his face squarely into the floor.

Blood poured from Rene’s nose. It wasn’t the first time. It seemed to Rene that every time he met the General he somehow got a bloody nose, so while the fall was unexpected, the nose was not. Taking a clean but blood stained handkerchief from his pocket, Rene pressed it to his nose as he extracted himself from the tangle of chair, floor, and legs. He grabbed his lab coat from a hook on the wall next to the door and swapped the hand holding the handkerchief in place while getting the coat in place and buttoning it up.

The door to Rene’ incredibly small office/bunk opened inward. This forced Rene back against his desk turned slightly with handkerchief held to his face. Stepping out into the hall, pulling the door shut behind him, Rene collided with Special Agent Kifah Ruben. Knowing Rene’s timing, the special agent was prepared for the collision and held them both in place as Rene caught his balance. Rene finally realized Special Agent Kifah held him upright, his eyes met hers. They were olive drab with flecks of orange and brown around the iris. The fluorescent lights sparkled within those organic spheroids. Why if Rene were to look long enough, he was certain he could see his own reflection. Yes. There it was. He smiled.

“Find your reflection again Mr. August,” asked the Special Agent. Rene finally realized he was in the arms of a woman and tried to step back. The Special Agent still had hold of Rene.

“Sorry about that Special Agent,” Rene stammered as he dabbed his nose, checking to see if the blood had yet abated. It had not.

“Don’t worry about it Rene,” Kifah purred, “I walk on this side of the hall for a reason”. Only then did Rene realize that in a twenty foot wide hallway, the Special Agent walked within inches of the wall and against the flow of normal traffic. Perhaps, he reasoned, she did that to get a different perspective of the people she was protecting and investigating.

When she finally did release Rene she made a quiet sound that was something between a sign and groan, but Rene was so focused on his bloody nose he didn’t notice. “Going to see the General as well?”

“Yes,” Kifah replied, “I received a text a minute or so ago”.

“Well your timing is impeccable. You kept be from falling for the second time today”.

Kifah stifled a laugh, “Three times it seems”.

“What?” Rene asked with a brief squint, “I must have missed one. Sorry. Thank you anyway. Will you accompany me to the General’s office?”

Kifah’s smile was so genuine that Rene seemed to notice her beauty for the first time. “I would be delighted,” she replied taking his arm and sliding hers into and around it.

Rene looked as if he knew he was missing something but wasn’t quite sure what. Regardless, “Is it proper for a Special Agent to be so, um, familiar with others?”

Seven steps, Kifah thought, I was happy for seven steps.

“Perhaps not,” Kifah replied, “but I’ve never been one for convention”. This reply gave Rene a few more seconds of confused thought.

“I would hate for you to lose face Special Agent. I think it best we walk at least ten inches apart. In this manner no one might get the wrong impression”.

Kifah sighed and separated from Rene. Sixteen more steps, she thought. Twenty three in all. A new record.

The two walked in silence save for the hollow echo of their steps in the massive hallway which disappeared in the distance behind and in front of them. Soon the whine of an electric motor and the occasional squeak of rubber could be heard. Kifah and Rene turned to look behind them and saw a Corporal in a golf cart. He pulled up beside the two.

“General is anxious. Get in.”

Kifah greeted the Corporal with an unamused tone as she took the seat behind the Corporal and hoping that Rene would take the other rear seat, “Nice to see you too Corporal Frank.”

Rene took the front seat and checked his bloody nose. It was a fountain again. “Aww.” Rene complained, “It had just stopped and now it is flowing again like it just happened”.

Corporal James Franklin glanced sideways at Rene, “Are you a hemophiliac, Mr. August?”

“No. I have never had an issue with bloody noses until working here,” Rene answered.

Corporal Franklin considered some more. “Perhaps it’s too dry here. Get yourself a humidifier”.

“Ha!” Rene barked, “And keep it where? My bunk is a shoe box barely large enough to be a bunk, AND I have to use it as my office too! I simply have no additional space. Besides I’m from Arizona and the temperature and humidity are both regulated tightly. Finally, this bloody nose is a result of …” Rene trailed off. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted the general populace to know he tripped over his own chair and struck the floor – WITH HIS FACE all within the confines of his ridiculously small bunk slash office space. “Well this nose is the result of other circumstances”.

The Corporal was aware enough what kind of circumstances might give the lanky scientist a bloody nose. The first came from the General herself after she punched Rene after he first showed her the results of Project Fellhammer. For some reason the General denies it ever happened. Another time Rene, Kifah, and the Corporal were waiting for the General when a steam value burst thirty feet from where the trio stood striking Rene in the face. He awoke to the General staring down at him, his face a wreck of broken nose and blood. Another time the General was the last person to a meeting of egg heads which Rene was the eggiest. Rene had gotten up to open the door for the General when he noticed that the door knob was refusing to cooperate with her. She managed to force the door open just as Rene got his nose within range. Finally there was lunch two weeks ago. The Corporal just sat on the opposite side of the table as Rene in the mess hall when his nose began to bleed. The Corporal looked up to see the General enter the mess looking for Rene.

“Perhaps you are simply allergic to women,” the corporal suggested.

Kifah gave a short bark of a laugh from the back row of seats.

“No,” Rene replied. “Special Agent Ruben is a woman and I feel quite good around her,” he finished unaware of the significance of what he just said.

The Corporal uncharacteristically took his eyes from the road long enough to turn to look at the Special Agent who looked simply stunned. A slow smile spread between the two. The Corporal whistled and turned back to look straight ahead as regulations demanded. Kifah slid over in her seat to sit more directly behind Rene. Reaching up to take the bloody rag from Rene, she swatted his hands away and applied light pressure to sides of his nose.

“Let me do this. Despite being the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, you seem to have no idea what you are doing. Now just tilt your head back and we’ll get you presentable.”

Rene sighed and reclined his head backward. He admitted to himself that the Special Agent was more effective at stopping his bleeding. After a minute, Rene realized the cart was stopped and the Special Agent was wiping his face with a clean wet portion of his handkerchief.

“We’re here Mr. August,” Corporal Franklin announced. Rene noted that the Corporal had a curious half smile that on anyone wouldn’t qualify as anything more than a smirk. “For once it seems you are actually presentable for once”.

“Good,” Rene replied, “Thank you for your help Special Agent.” Rene then straightened his

Too Stupid To Be Racist

(OK before I start let me just say that the only reason ‘to’ in the title is not lower case is because I couldn’t remember if ‘be’ should be capitalized or not so I just made them all capitalized and said “to Hell With it”).

So a white friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she wasn’t white. She’s Jewish. And I’m all, “?!?”. Really. That was my reaction. I guess somewhere along the way, I was supposed to get a memo or something about race that I missed. That’s very possible, because I grew up in a small town in Mississippi where everyone was either Black or White and someone might have assumed we all “got it” and threw out the memo. The small town I grew up in was about half and half of each. Several people in my class said that they were part Indian (Native American), but they all looked White to me. We didn’t have any interesting races, no Asian, Indian (continental), Middle Eastern, or Inuits. Heck we didn’t get our first Latino until I was in High School. I was jealous of him. He was popular and had a mustache. A mustache in High School! That’s better than a car. No really! At least half of  my senior class could give someone a car ride, but only one guy … well, you fill in the joke.

I’m half Portuguese, a quarter English, and a quarter Scotch Irish. I always thought Scotch Irish meant someone from Scotland met up with someone from Ireland and made little mixed-bloods. In reality though the Scotch Irish were Protestant settlers from Scotland sent to Protestant-ize Ireland by their English rulers (it didn’t work), but they later became persecuted themselves by England and many moved to America. None of that is relevant to my story ramble, but I though it was interesting. Anyway, what I mean to imply is that I’m white … in a swarthy kind of way. That’s important because I kinda see Latinos as like me. Granted I’m not from Latin America, and I don’t have any Native American blood mixed with my Portuguese, but other than speaking funny … they are me. Sorta. Once I was working in a mall and someone that looked a little bit like me came up and started speaking in Spanish at me. (At is the correct word. I could feel the words bouncing off me as the lady spoke them). So I know that at least to one little old Latino lady, until I open my mouth I might pass as Latino. Maybe it was the lighting in the mall, or maybe she knew someone there spoke Spanish and I was standing there, I don’t know.

Now, more than two decades after leaving my little town in Mississippi for college (also in Mississippi), then work (in slightly larger towns in Mississippi), and then a job in a big city (in Texas) I have come in contact with people from all walks of life and from all over the world. And let me tell you something. I can’t tell any of you people apart. I often work with people who’s ancestors originated from India, and if they dress the same as some from Latin America, there’s only about a 25% chance I could tell you they weren’t Latino. And as for most Latinos I have no idea if they are Spanish, Portuguese, Latino, or some generic White-mess. I have the same issue with folks from the Middle East, though I have about a 40% chance to tell they aren’t full on White. I have confused some lighter skinned Black folk with Whites and Latinos as well. When Hollywood casts a bunch of Anglos as Asians, I’m the ONE GUY in the theater going, “Wow. Authentic Asian actors. Finally!”

I’m too stupid to be racist. Or am I too racist that it is stupid? No, I don’t think so. At least I hope not. To me racism should really be intentional. I never really understood why race was important anyway. Honestly I never cared. I had Black friends growing up, and I probably could have had a Latino friend if I were cool enough. Now it seems that we live in an age of hyper sensitivity over who is what, and I kinda feel like people have drawn away from others simply because they look differently from each other. I thought America was a melting pot? Or at the very least a stew pot. Sure before you go in the pot you are a carrot, but when you get to the pot and mix around with the other ingredients you start to become something else, something better. You become stew! Not something called a Carrot-Stewian, but delicious stew.

Since I’m too stupid to be racist, AND since I feel everyone has to have a “thang” to help others define them, I’ve gone Full (Extended) Jingo! I am JINGO UNCHAINED!

USA! (and Mexico and Canada!) USA! (and Mexico and Canada!) USA! (and Mexico and Canada!) USA! (and Mexico and Canada!)

All About the Flow

I L-O-V-E, LOVE! the house my wife and I are currently renting. I really wish I owned more nice stuff to put into it. I kinda feel like the house is too big for us, and I’m a big guy. One thing that isn’t too big however is the downstairs half-bath toilet. It is a low-flush toilet. Additionally I think the flapper mechanism was designed to reduce flow ever more. Now I understand the desire that some folks have to reduce our water consumption, but a commode needs to actually work, and this downstairs one just simply doesn’t.

Not so long ago, toilets had capacities up to 13.5 liters (around 3.5 gallons), but today’s low flush toilets have a capacity of around 6 liters. If my math serves me, that’s less. Much less. Like … double less. And living in a part of the country where water is in short supply, that’s a significant improvement. If it worked. Occasionally I flush the commode in question four or five times. I’m often flushing a second or third time after my daughter uses the thing because the paper won’t flush. Sorry. I don’t like floaters even when it’s just paper after a tiny tinkle.

Now I could be wrong, but it seems like if I’m flushing at least twice to do the same work as flushing once in the old style thrones, I’m really not saving anything. I am generating frustration, but that has no real monetary value … that I know of. So to combat this insanity, I purpose a new solution. I call it, The Option.

The Option would be a standard flush toilet with a multi-function flapper mechanism. Basically the flapper would provide three flushing modes:

  1. A low volume flush to rinse the bowl, say for a number 1 or a tiny 2.
  2. A medium volume flush to fully flush the bowl, say for a normal number 2 or to be sure that spider NEVER COMES BACK AGAIN!!!! (You know in a low flusher, you’re flushing this thing at least twice, maybe three times just in case).
  3. A high volume flush to do what must be done, say for a Joe-2 after pizza, beer, and ice cream. It comes with a signed apology letter and an “I Survived the Deuce!” T-shirt for the next person to use the bathroom.

In this manner, responsible commode owners can conserve water more effectively. There will be fewer double or triple or gawd forbid quintuple flushes. (Yeah I know I skipped quadruple. If I have to go four, it’s at least a fiver!) Also, this device could make me a ton of money and be more libertarian (in the keep out of my business manner and not the I don’t want to pay taxes manner).

I say it’s a brilliant idea that I give to whomever did it already or to whomever will do it and give me 0.5% of the profits from the first ten years of use. I figure that will come to roughly eighty two million dollars, because everyone poops, and I want in on part of that action!

Wait, eww.

Miley Cyrus

Before August 25, 2013 Miley Cyrus was a young Pop and Country music star know best for her portrayal as Disney’s Hanna Montana. She’s also always been the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus of Achy Breaky Heart fame.

Forgive me while a shudder slightly.
Thank you.

Well on August 25th, MTV hosted the Video Music Awards during which Miley … uh … “performed.” Yeah I put that in quotes because I think it is ironic to call what she did performing, but I have a poor grasp of what irony is. If it isn’t ironic then please assume I’m quoting another source and have forgotten to properly footnote it. Kai? Thx.

So.

Where to begin.

Let’s just say that for someone who’s had a pretty “Disney” background, what Cyrus (Miley not Billy Ray) did was not very Disney at all. Follow this link if you have no idea what I’m talking about. So she shook her thang, stuck out her tongue … a lot … like a mentally challenged giraffe, and did things 16 year old me would have been very uncomfortable watching anywhere but alone.

I am not going to talk what she did, but rather what I observed from others.

So obviously there’s some backlash. People feel disgusted, offended, and maybe even a little betrayed by Cyrus’s (Miley not Billy Ray even though I’ve never forgiven him for ABH) performance. Yeah I know I totally cut that thought in two. Deal. I have some advice for these people. Grow up. Miely has. She’s twenty now. And although she cannot legally consume alcohol, she can die for her country, get married, have kids, and make more money than you will ever see at one time and then blow it on gas for her HUGE tour bus complete with an Olympic swimming pool and furnace that burns twenties. She’s no tween-ager or teenager anymore. It’s her life to destroy, not yours.

Oh and guess what? (Do I use a question mark or period? I mean that’s a command which should end in a period, but I feel like a question mark is more appropriate. Anyway …)

Oh and guess what? That dance didn’t happen over night. It was planned. For days. By people who KNEW what kind of reaction it would generate. Sure the choreographers were probably interested in the 16-year-old-Joe crowd, but they were really interested in ruffling the feathers of those who for so long held Miley up as a Disney style princess. They, they all from Cyrus’s manager to the choreographers, to the promoters and producers of the VMAs, to Cyrus herself wanted to shock you. They wanted you to go to Facebook, to your local Starbucks, and to your Moms groups, and they wanted you to yell and to scream how horrible that, that … THING!! was. They are toying with you, with your emotions, and they want you to be offended because it makes them more money.

So stop it.

The next time someone does something stupid like this, ignore it. No publicity means you’re dead in pop culture, so kill this trite crap by not giving it the time of day or a second thought. It will take a little self control, but isn’t that what we’re really disgusted at Cyrus for? Her apparent lack of self control? Wait no … she pranced around like a whore. That’s not the same thing. REGARDLESS, self control folks. Use it.

To this point it may seem like I’m really only upset with the people who got upset with the whole thing, but that’s not the case. I am also annoyed by the people who reacted in a negative manner to the people I outline above.

Why?

Well for one, they are being played too. Over reaction to someone’s over reaction is AWESOME for the tools that design this kind of stuff. It keeps that engine of gossip and water cooler banter flowing. It generates Facebook comments and memes and revenue OH MY! Also, if I am describing you, SHAME on you for not realizing that these people are being played, and SHAME on you for not having any sympathy. They can’t pick on only one group or crowd of people to shock. It gets old. Pretty soon it is going to be your turn. Someone is going to boil your blood over something petty. So have a bit of humanity for your fellow man and let it go.

Also, some people were BORN to be offended. I’m not talking about normal people with standards and maybe a stricter sense of morality than you may have, I’m talking about people who weep for the trees or who think the physics term Black Hole is racist. Maybe this is someone who immediately thinks that if you don’t think the way they do politically that you must be the devil out to eat babies or pollute the world. CAPTAIN PLANET!!!!!

Ah hem. Sorry.

Don’t feed any of these people the attention they crave. It only encourages them and makes it worse for everyone else.

I’ve Got Nothing

So I’m trying to write more. Needless to say it has been a while. So to that extent I’ve decided to reward myself every time I do post. I really couldn’t figure out what would inspire me. Then it struck me. I want to go to GenCon. Badly. I missed 2013. There were simply too many bills and not enough time to prepare. Mostly because I suck at saving money. So if I were able to raise the money over the course of the next year, I could certainly go. I could go to GenCon. OMG! GENCON! Notice the total geeking out there.

I have two blogs. One that I’ve been neglecting, and another I’ve been neglecting horribly. Additionally I have this thing I’ve been wanting to do for the past several years, creating T-Shirt designs on Cafepress. So I’ve decided to pay myself for each blog post and each successful session of T-Shirt design (meaning at least one new design uploaded). Each success and I will pay myself $20. One post a week per blog + new design per week = $60 per week. $60 per week x 50 weeks = $3000. That’s a damn good start for a trip to GenCon. Might pay for the rooms and tickets. w00t!

So here I am with my first post. $20. Ding!

Now I just need to figure out what to post Thrusday and what do draw Saturday. Check out JoeGamer.Net for my next brilliant post. I’m sure it will be awesome.

Boston

First, before I get stupid, I’d like to express my most sincere and warmest condolences to everyone affected by the terrorist attacks in Boston. I pray you all find peace.

Now to stupid.

I have a few “real” complaints that the Boston attack made me realize. First is about youth. Second is about the media (surprise!). Oh and articles. Who needs them right? Anyway, these items are more realizations about how I view the world and less about the attacks or attackers themselves. It was however the attacks that made me come to these realizations and as such I use them as a framework for exposition.

Youth

The bombings in Boston are now known to be performed by two kids, one 19 and one not much older. (That’s QUALITY research folks). Ignore their religion. There are statistics that mention the high number of Muslims who think attacks like these are justified. My personal experience is completely different. Every Muslim individual I have had the pleasure to know has been the kind of person that I am grateful to have known. So I refuse the religious angle just as I refuse to believe every Catholic was or is still responsible for the horrors it is blamed, justified or not. No, I blame these kids’ youth. Well, partly. Follow me for a little while through the Mind of Joe.

Young people are stupid. Really they are. Bill Cosby said that children have brain damage, and I’m all-in on that idea. It isn’t the kids fault, this incredible stupidity of youth. The stupidity is natural. Brains take time to mature, to develop empathy, to harden against the injustices in life, and to reject the idiocy of the Democratic party. (Just kidding. I love my libby friends). Basically when we are young, our brains are WIDE open, ready for information and ready for influence. That’s good because otherwise we’d have all gotten eaten by saber-tooth tigers and we wouldn’t have been able to quash the Mammoth Apocalypse (or maybe the Mammothagedon? Oh yeah! I like the so much better. From now on it will be referred to as Mammothagedon. Sh!t. I JUST realized (since I tried to back link) that I’ve never shared my B Movie idea with you people. I promise I will in the future. ) I used to think that around the time of college, we fully mature into who we are to be. Like all young people, I was SO wrong. Really. Think about it. Did you have NEARLY anything figured out twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Last week before you were introduced to the joys of Caramel Mocha Frappes? Pft. If you think so then you’re an idiot incapable of rational thought. You’re also probably my biggest fans.

So now you might be SCREAMING at the top of your lungs about the total insensitivity of my thesis. Literally BILLIONS of young people have gone through their entire lives without hurting a soul. I agree. I don’t suggest youth was the sole reason that these, what’s the right word?, d!ck heads, performed this act of terror. No I just want to complain about young people in general. They dress funny. They listen to weird music. They are prone to buck tradition and authority. And they won’t get off my lawn. Plus in rare instances, they get really stupid ideas that they think are brilliant but end up hurting more people than one could ever imagine. Ideas like “let’s bomb someone” or “I’m going to join the Communist Party”, or “Hey, Che Guevara is cool”. (I’m not apologizing for the last two. I really don’t like Communism, and Che was a mass murdering, homophobic, racist, sh!t who’s only real value is to help people use his image in Capitalistic endeavors (Oh! the irony) and to serve as an example of what a real piece of human sh!t looks like).

Young people also tend to be open to suggestion and acts of stupidity, sometimes horrible stupidity. I’m only sort of making up the “fact” that more wars have been started by kids younger than thirty through history than by people over sixty. If the collective “we” are lucky, the stupid actions of stupid kids only affect themselves. For instance “we” would have been lucky if these kids blew themselves up making their first bomb. We in this case doesn’t include the loved ones of those kids. God forbid my daughter ever does something horribly stupid. If she does I hope it is limited to something like creating a moronic blog, voting Democrat (Sorry. Last one. I actually kind of expect that one though), or becoming a journalist which rolls us into my next set of thoughts.

The Media

At first I really liked the positive stories that were coming out about the heroism of the first responders and basically everyone that ran toward the explosions. I thank God for these people. I thank the media for the stories. We needed that. Eventually however the coverage got a little … comical? no maybe … saturated. Yeah. You ruin something when you produce too much of it. It loses value and impact. I’m going to assume the best, that the journalists are just as horror-fatigued as the rest of us. The scars of 9/11 run deep. But where has the hard journalism been? Well, where was the hard journalism that wasn’t showing people how to create bombs or speculating that maybe BOXING drove the older brother to radicalism. Maybe it just isn’t time yet for that level of analysis. Maybe the media will start asking those questions when the time is right. I know there are several political opportunists out there trying to gain public opinion by saying things that are actually highly insensitive or really, really stupid. More the stupid. Any ACTUAL, VALID criticism that may be made in wake of the bombing is clouded with this asinine BS and the media focuses on what it thinks sells (usually the stupid). I’m going to stop this train of thought. I don’t talk about politics. My blood pressure and faith in humanity can’t handle the stress it causes.

Another thing that annoys me is the lengths to which some journalists exercise “The public has a right to know” excuse to be a$$holes. What about the rights of people to privacy? THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW! Psht! For instance, recently I saw an interview of the mother of the aforementioned d!ck heads. Now to the mother, these guys aren’t d!ck heads, they are the babies she bore, nursed and held. They were the children she spoiled and did everything she could to protect and love. These boys were her hopes, her dreams, and the totality of her love. My heart goes out to her, the boys’ father, and all their loved ones so long as they didn’t help plan this horrible action. I don’t have the right to see her pain, her anguish unless she wants me to see it. Now I don’t know if the interview was the mother’s idea or not. If the interview was initiated by her, then I’m OK with it, but if someone approached her or worse coerced her to have the interview, then I sincerely hope that there’s a special place in Hell for the people who profit off stuff like this. If journalists would follow The Morality of Joe, they would never approach the immediate family of the spouse, parents, children, or other close relation of anyone affected in any way by tragedy or loss. LOTS of religions and philosophies have a rule called something like, “The Golden Rule”. It is a pretty bad ass rule. It IS golden after all. Imagine if you found out simultaneously that the one of the most important people in the world to you did something truely horrible and was dead or imprisoned because of it. Imagine that! How would you feel? If your answer is something akin to “Like sh!t” or “I don’t think I could process it for a long time” then congrats, you meet the minimum human allotment for me to continue knowing you. Otherwise you might be the scum of the Earth. Congrats. I don’t hand that title out lightly. Its like the Medal of Freedom but in reverse.

Facebook Is The Devil

I’m a member (or perhaps more properly, a product) of Facebook. I basically joined Facebook because it seemingly was, and actually was, a better MySpace. I joined MySpace purely to keep in contact with my family. At the time I lived in South Mississippi and the majority of my family lived in North Mississippi. I hate phones. No that’s not ture, I hate calling people on phones and talking to people on phones. The internet I like. Instant messaging I like better. An almost completely anonymous system in which I can follow my friends and family wherein I don’t have to engage if I really don’t want to? Ohhhhhhh … I love that. And on top of it all said system reminds me of when people’s birthdays are? AND reminds them when MINE IS? Well, as a child of Christmas who’s birthday is rarely if ever remembered by even the closest of family until the day of his birthday, I can tell you that I’ve gotten more “Happy Birthdays” in two years of being on Facebook than I have counting the rest of my non-Facebook life. I seriously don’t think I’m making that up. Nor do I think that I’m bitter. AT ALL. No, I’m not upset that my little sister’s birthday was in the middle of the summer and that she got more gifts than I could shake my jealous pudgy fists at while I was relegated to just one Christmas-hold-over-present because “it would be unfair to get twice as many gifts as everyone else at Christmas time”. “But it’s not Christmas anymore! It’s my Birthday!” I’d scream into the night. Yes cute next door neighbor girl, that was me screaming into the night two days after Christmas every year. At least someone noticed.

So now that I’ve rehashed that old wound all over again for what I can guarantee will NOT be the last time, I can continue to discuss why Facebook is The Devil.

So you can see, I have some issues with communication. Now imagine, if you would, Facebook. Or better yet just go to Facebook and live it for a few days. I’ll be here waiting.

<voice style=”SpongeBob Narrator”>Several days later. </voice>

First of all, congratulations on giving away all rights to your identity for the rest of your life. Now you’ll never be able to unjoin FB, and even if you do manage to unjoin, you’ve probably given them the right to sell your soul. Well maybe not sell your immortal soul, but they now certainly now have the right to market your soul’s likes and status updates. Good on you, Sucker.

Now that you’re part of the cult, you can also start to do things like join Groups. Joining Groups in and of itself isn’t that horrible. Basically you’re signing up to get spam, but it’s your news feed so have atcha. Enjoy! Personally I love Spam. The “spiced ham” meat product is great sliced thinly, fried until it is sort of a molten brown color, and topped with mustard between two slices of bread. Eat hot. YUM! The other kind of spam makes me forget how alone and lonely I am. I’ve even considered changing my name to “Or Current Resident.” All of the spam mail would be mine. I’d be popular! Then I could also complain about how everyone is getting MY MAIL! I don’t like the middle name “Current” however, so I’ve never gone through with changing my name. Bonus points to anyone who knows my actual middle name.

Anywho, Groups aren’t bad to join, but your friends are joining Groups too. And you friends will undoubtedly find something in their multitude of Groups SO FUNNY or insightful or so freaking spamalicious (That is so a real word!) that they have to share. Some friends don’t know when to stop sharing though. On and on and on shared nonsense gets added to your news feed. You know that important family thing that just happened? NO! You don’t know! You don’t know because someone spammed his friends with so many “Send this to 10 people or an angle will kill this child needing a heart transplant” or “<insert random cliche over a cute image>” posts that your interesting items are pushed to the bottom of a freaknormously (That is so a real word!) deep spam pit that you’ll need Deepcore II to read it! What do you mean, “Deepcore II?”? Deepcore II! Yes. That’s a reference. No, I will NOT tell you to what! You have the entire internet at your fingertips. Look it up! I will provide a very helpful link however. CLICK ME I’M HELPFUL!

Another horrible aspect of Facebook is the multitude of casual games. Don’t get me wrong, I love casual games, but the VAST MAJORITY (a scientific measurement) of the games on FB require that you spam your friends to get them involved. So to complete some asinine quest you have to become an ass. I know that I’m an ass, but that doesn’t mean I like everyone to KNOW it. Well not on FB anyway. This guarantee that you’ll never finish a game (assuming you aren’t or don’t wish to appear to be an ass that is). It also guarantees that you’ll get invited to every game-du-jour that comes along several times! EACH! It’s a beautiful thing. Even if a game doesn’t require you to spam friends, it will probably have micro-transactions. Like spam, I’m OK with a small number of micro-transaction options, but almost all of the FB games I’ve ever played make it impossible for you to advance beyond a certain point without making micro-transactions or spamming friends. There’s one son of a bit-ch (Get it? [Computer] bit + bitch = bit-ch) game I’ve played that gets really hard without the special power-ups the game has which are For Sale (of course) yet they have the audacity to ask you (read force you) to watch commercials between rounds “to help keep the game free”. Really?! Really? Ungh. In the rare instance where I stick with a FB game for a while, I will often find myself playing said games for HOURS on end. One need only look at the frequency of my posts here for evidence. My frequency of posts resembles something in the super long wave form range. I’m the kind of poster that kills cows from half a world away … in a mixed metaphor meets bad science kind of way. And by bad science I mean I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Probably my favorite worst-aspect of Facebook is that through status updates and comments you inevitably learn horrible things about many people you love. You will learn which of your loved one has horrible spelling and/or grammar, “OMG! Your not going to beleev dis. I juz finds out that Titanic moovy wuz real!” I don’t think I can can create a bad enough good example, or is it good enough bad example? Anyway, just read more posts here and I’m sure you’ll find several.

As my previous example demonstrates you will learn which of your loved ones is an idiot. I’m sure some people who’ve found out that the Titanic was a real ship that sank then infer that Jack and Rose were also real people. They weren’t by the way. I looked it up using my very helpful link above.

You will definitely find out which of your friends and family are Grammar Nazis. Yes, I cannot spell very well. Yes, I used the wrong version of “its”. Yes, I know I very likely misused a comma. Or hyphen. Or colon. Yes, I know all of those are fragments. Yes, I know I always, always, always misuse the ellipsis. I know this all. It is known. Grammar Nazis don’t care about your learning disability, your propensity toward making typos, your creative use of language or punctuation, or your incredibly low IQ. Generally they just want to show the rest of the world how superior they are by pointing out every mistake and error on your (not you’re!) part. Yes, I also know I just complained about people with bad grammar AND Grammar Nazis. This is my blog. If you want to complain, get your (not you’re!) own blog and yell at the world from there. You’ll probably get twice as many readers as me without even trying too hard.

My penultimate least favorite type of status update or comment is one that requires some sort of context to understand what is written, yet none is given. Hell, I’m certain no context usually exists outside of the brain pan of the poster. (Remind me sometime to tell you the story of the Most IN in-joke ever). A good example might be, “He better not!” He? He who? Better not? Better not what? I don’t know if I need to come to your aid, start hating someone with you, or watch whatever TV show you’re watching because it sounds freaking awesome! Come on people, CONTEXT! Geesh.

Finally you will absolutely find out which of your friends are political or religious zealots. I’m not against a little debate, nor am I against a little evangelical advertisement. It’s all good baby. What I am incredibly annoyed by is the “us vs them” mentality that FB just seems to BEG people to demonstrate. Oh! You say I’m a bad person and/or going to Hell because I don’t support this agenda or believe that religious dogma? P!ss off P!sser! (See by replacing the i’s with !’s I changed curse words into a confusing mix of characters yet I get the point across. Yes I know I’m brilliant like that). Personally I’m a “it takes all kinds” kinda guy. That mentality includes the jerks as well. If you point out that the “us vs them” crowd should be included as the jerks in my “inclusive mentality” … well … pffffftttttfffftttt! (Imagine me blowing raspberries at you with my tongue stuck WAY out. And there’s a lot of spit too). I guess you can just stop reading this post!

Why I Hate Wil Wheaton

Note: If you are looking at this post and thinking something along the lines of TL;DR, then scroll all the way to the bottom and read the last line. This has been a service of the Oh Yeah I’m Not Going To Read YOUR Post Either Guy.

Recently on Facebook a friend of mine called me a “hipster nerd”. Well I took offense. I am most certainly a nerd, but while I would have loved to have been a beatnik when I was a kid (forgive me, I was young), there is no way in Hell I’m going to allow someone to categorize me as a hipster. Those were fighting words! My friend explained the reason for his slanderous missive was ‘…You’re all like “Everybody hated Wil Wheaton when he was on Star Trek, so I liked him just to be ironic, but now everybody loves Wil Wheaton, so I hate him”.’ He was of course wrong. I explained myself and we parted friends once again despite him driving me to use all caps at one point.

Let me begin by stating that if you are reading this and you don’t know who Wil Wheaton is … well I got no hope for you. The best I can do is suggest you do some f’king homework and Google the man. No. Wait. Let me do that for you … Click on the following: Oh Joe! Please help me understand the mysteries of the internet. Who is Wil Wheaton? Was that so hard? I mean I have like ten readers that I am pretty sure I know personally. If you’re reading this and I DON’T know you … well let me say, “I’m sorry”. And perhaps, “If you think this is funny, you’re kinda messed up. Welcome!

ANYWAY, a few days later I was sitting in my office trying to prepare for a Pathfinder game on Roll20 that I’ll be DMing when I decided to watch episodes of TableTop to help me keep my attention. Yeah that really doesn’t make sense to me either. but I’m more productive when I’m either slightly distracted or SERIOUSLY pressured. Wil Wheaton is the host of TableTop. You don’t need me to Google THAT for you too do you? Ungh … geesh people/ To figure out what TableTop is click the following link: Please Mr. Joe show me the wonders of TableTop. You are king! While watching TableTop I ended up getting very little accomplished, but I laughed my ass off. So all in all that was a win, but it also got me to consider, “Why do I hate Wil Wheaton?” So I did a little soul searching and I included my findings below.

First of course was Wesley Crusher, a character portrayed by Wil Wheton. Man I hated Wesley. What? You don’t know who Wesley Crusher was. Seriously this is the last time. To find out who Wesley is click the following link: JOE! Give me a very helpful link! OK. So now that we will have no further interruptions, there was Wesley Crusher. I thought Wesley was cool. At first. He was a kid. On the Enterprise. Representing all of us kids that wished WE could be on a space ship exploring known and unknown universe! F’kin’ A! Then it became apparent that Wesley could do no wrong. I mean really, NO wrong. Even when he screwed up it was genius. Everyone including I started to hate him, and frankly it was kind of fun. I should have known better being one of the weird kids in school, but I WAS a kid when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. (Sixteen still classifies as being a kid right?) So I didn’t always make the best decisions. Eventually Wesley became a Q or something which you know … fit, and well f’k him.

After Wil left ST:TNG he seemingly feel into obscurity – to me at least. His IMDB page shows that he’s worked pretty routinely. Hell he’s worked in stuff I love. I’m looking at the IMDB page now and I’m kinda impressed. Wait. I’m talking about Hating Wil Wheaton, not being impressed by him. Damn it. So anyway, a few years ago this thing called the internet appeared and Wil had a blog or something. I’m of the general mindset that people that write blogs are idiots, total idiots, but I heard a lot of good things about his stuff so I went and checked out his site. His posts were often endearing and/or entertaining, so I would occasionally return. Some in the online community seemed to want to gold plate his turds. I didn’t think his stuff was THAT good, but I guess everyone needs a hobby.

This brings me to my second thing … the thing that almost made my friend correct about me acting all “hipster”. Having been the weird kid in school, I tended to reject the things that other people liked. It kinda became my thing. Oakley sunglasses were “in” this year? F’k that. I’m wearing squinting. Izod all the rage? Wal-Mart Made in the USA brand t-shirts for me baby! Yeah so it might be important to also note that I was broke around this time. Pretty solidly broke. Like poor in a small town and too lazy to get a job so f’k it I’ll be stylish my own way kind of broke. Most people just called it being poor. Even after not being dirt poor anymore, that whole hating what is popular thing still rings with me on occasion. It is part of the reason why I hate Apple. That and their shit is expensive. The second part is the real sin though. Keep your iWhatever … I just got two PCs for about the same price. Can you LAN with yourself on that thing? NO? Well I got TWO computers and neither can I because they don’t have the right hardware! BUT I COULD IF I DID! NYAR! Anyway, so there is a small bit of not liking him because everyone else does, but that bit of pettiness is the smallest of several components of pettiness.

Then there comes Mr. Wheaton’s stance on politics and religion. Most of you who actually know me know that I usually try not to let this kind of stuff get to me. While being religious and somewhat conservative, I’m perfectly willing to accept everyone’s approach to life as long as they are genuinely good people who aren’t out to push themselves on others. Many of my friends are polar opposites of me in these two regards and yet I let them live. Erh … I mean I love them like the brothers and sisters that I’ve adopted them as. But there have been times that I’ve perceived Wil’s tolerance for religion and religious people to be almost violently negative. Violently is the wrong adjective to use. Maybe vehemently negative. When I encounter people who come across as potentially bigoted, I usually just remove that person from my life. There is no need to get all dramatic. I just won’t interact with that individual anymore. I won’t allow them to influence me in ways I’m not interested in developing. I’ll be polite and even helpful, but I won’t be attending their appendectomy recovery party. Now I’m CERTAIN most of my friends are at this point thinking something along the lines of “Wil’s sweet and loving! He’s not a bigot! You’re a poopy head!” That could certainly be true. I know I am in fact a poopy head so we’re half way there at least, and that is why I put emphasis on the word “perceived” earlier. This man could be (probably is) awesome. I will say I haven’t seen him at any APA (Awesome People Anonymous) meetings however. Wait crap. That’s supposed to be secret. Sorry APA folks!

Fast forward a few years and Wil’s on Twitter. (If you’d like his Twitter handle or don’t know what Twitter is, just click on the Very Helpful Link from before. It works for this too.) Once again friends tell me about how cool he is and how funny his Twitter feed is. So I follow him ’cause hey, I’m that kind of guy. I have no idea what “that kind of guy” IS, I just know that I’m one of them. After a few weeks of reading tweets and getting occasionally miffed at what I perceived as somewhat jerkish or arrogant tweets, I once again leave the Circle of Wheaton. For someone who’s motto is “Don’t be a dick,” I was often thinking, “What a dick”. Of course I’m a mindless churl so what do I know?

Faster forward a year or so and Wil’s on G+. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Meh. I decided at that point that I’ll let my friends filter out the best stuff and let me know about it.

Faster forward another few months or so and Wil’s on TableTop. This I can watch. He almost never makes me flinch while talking about gaming. TableTop could have been a turning point with my non-relationship with Wil Wheaton if it were not for the number ONE thing that keeps me HATING the jerk. Jealousy. Man! He does voice overs for animation and games (something I always dreamed of doing as a kid btw), he gets to play games, he’s RICH! (well at least from the perspective of the dirt poor teenager from rural MS that I was), and he got to hang out with {insert entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation except Wil Wheaton here} and currently gets to hang out with Felicia Day. If you don’t know who Felicia Day is I beg you to go away and never come back. Please. So yeah I’m jealous. That’s impressive too because I’ve learned to be happy and appreciative of the things I DO have. I feel honestly blessed on a daily basis, and yet I’m JEALOUS of WIL F’KING WHEATON! What a jerk he is for making me feel that way!

So now when I see him all I can think of is “That smarmy bastard!” Yeah I know it’s harsh. I’m sure he’s not a figurative or literal bastard, and I think his face might just be stuck in that constantly smarmy look all the time. It is like he’s got the answer to a joke or riddle that I don’t get but he does. I think the joke goes “I’m Wil Wheaton and you f’king aren’t!”

So yeah, I’m jealous. What a petty fool I.

Interesting Images – Or I’m Still Learning Stuff Most of You Probably Already Knew

So I was playing around with Google Earth and I found the following. When I saw it I thought to myself that the image looked like it was pixelated in places. It looked as if Google Earth just couldn’t render the image properly or someone was trying to hide something.

Who's Hiding Something?

Wondering what was afoot, I zoomed in closer to the following. The closer image was really starting to look sketchy. I mean there seemed to be whole sections that were not distorted and others that were distorted with either squares or circles of color. I could then see that it was definitely some sort of cover-up.

The jig's afoot!

I told my wife that I needed to contact Agent Mulder at the FBI, but she just grunted and returned to watching Shipping Wars. I screamed that I needed her to get the number because I had to continue to monitor Google Earth. Someone could have come along and removed the evidence before I could get it to someone in the X-Files department, so OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t look away. A few moments later my girl comes in the room with a corner of a sheet of paper. On it was scribbled, “Agent Mulder” and below that ” 1 800 You’re An Idiot” All I could think for several minutes was, “That’s a LOT of numbers”. Then I noticed the apostrophe and I thought, “What number is THAT”. Finally I got the “joke” and I slammed my fist down on the desk. When I did I accidentally hit my mouse and my fist slid off the scroll button. Man that hurt, but when I looked up I saw the following. Finally the truth was revealed.

Hunh. Who'da thunkit?

It seemed that my conspiracy was actually modern farming techniques in the Mid-West and Western USA. First it seems that there’s SO MUCH FARM LAND in these states, someone decided to go all Minecraft on the roads and build them into nice little squares. Then someone got real lazy and built irrigation systems that only water in circles. Circles are the Devil’s work. I don’t trust ‘em. Finally it seems different people own these squares and circles and they don’t all agree on what to plant or when to plant it, so all the colors are different. From the right distance from the ground, it all looks pixelated. Crazy. You learn something new every day. Or in my case, I learn something new every once and a while. Something tells me I should have learned this a once and a while a long time ago. Oh well.