Thursday, December 29, 2005

Somewhere, Vince Lombardi Weeps

They say, "Winning isn't everything," and boy, is that true. This Sunday, a win would absolutely suck cauliflower. Allow me to explain.

The greatest player since the last Greatest Player.

There's a running back at USC named Reggie Bush. He just won the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best collegiate player ... as a junior. Even if you're not a football fan, you have probably heard the names Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell. Well, Reggie Bush is supposed to be better than at least one of them. Based on potential, Bush could be one of the best running backs of all time.

Meanwhile, there's a football team in Houston that has been the worst NFL team this season. The worst team in football one year gets to choose the first player in the following year's draft. The Texans are 2-13 with one week to go, and possess the the worst won-loss record in the league. If the season ended today, the Texans would get the first pick, and could sure use Bush.

But the season doesn't end today. It ends on Sunday. The Texans have one more game to play, and it's going to be a doozy.

See, there are four teams with records of 3-12. If the Texans win on Sunday, and those other four teams lose, there would then be five football teams with a chance to make that important first draft pick.

One of those 3-12 teams, the San Francisco 49ers, will be the Texans' opponent this Sunday. Let the "Bush Bowl" begin! (Or, I suppose, we could also call it the "Toilet Bowl" ...)

What you will see on Sunday is something that no one in professional sports ever anticipated: two bad teams, each desperately trying to lose the game, without making it too obvious that that's exactly what they're doing.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the Texans are such an inept team that they won't even be able to lose properly. Call me a fatalist (30 years of being a Houston sports fan will definitely do that to you), but I have a horrible feeling that the 49ers are going to do a better job of losing than the Texans will do.

No, that's not Ernest Borgnine. (At least, I think it's not.)

Vince Lombardi, that legendary football coach, once said: “Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Unfortunately, so is losing.

The only way the Houston Texans can lose this Sunday ... is by winning. If winning means they lose, then the losing Texans will do what losers do; they will lose. Meaning they'll win. Which would suck cauliflower.

If you listen carefully, you will hear the gentle breeze carry with it a faint whirring sound. That sound would be Coach Lombardi, spinning furiously in his grave ...

posted by Gary @ 3:43 PM 10 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Special Guest Villain: "Ficken Chingers"

On BlogExplosion, there is a very poor (but usually-functional) "chat room" device called the Shout Box. When I first got involved with the Gang O' Bloggers in the Shout Box, the very first person to welcome me with open arms (and the very first person to tell me how sexy my photo made me look) was Angie. So I owe her, big time.

Angie's got kids, and a blog. That's usually a deadly combination. But don't be frightened. Angie also has a sense of humor, and frequently writes about things other than her kids. How many "mommy blogs" would also point out how a Spiderman game joystick actually looks like Spiderman's ... oh, shall we say, Levitra-enhanced body part? This is a mommy blog for those of us who hate mommy blogs.

Angie's blog, "Ficken Chingers", is this week's blog renter. I strongly encourage you to click here and pay her a visit ... right after you finish reading my pieces of cr-- er, my pearls of wisdom.

posted by Gary @ 12:24 PM 5 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Roast Beast And Tryptophan: The Post-Mortem

As Kyle Broflovski of South Park sang, "It's hard to be a Jew at Christmas." But it's not impossible.

The Wife, being from a family of the American religious majority, dragged my happy ass down to spend the day with her clan, to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior by opening too many presents, eating too much meat, and drinking too much spiked eggnog. Since the Jewish calendar doesn't really have a holiday designed around presents and eggnog, Christmas Day seems as good a time as any for me to get with the program.

(By sheer coincidence, this year Hanukkah -- or Chanukah or Hannukah or Chanuko or Chaka Khan, or however you spell it -- began at sundown on December 25th. But despite the "eight days for eight presents" theme that many American Jewish families have bestowed upon Hanukkah, our "Festival of Lights" is actually a fairly minor holiday, as Jewish holidays go. The gift-giving is mostly an attempt to keep the Jewish kids from feeling left out of the holiday season, not to mention an additional marketing opportunity for America's commercial retail enterprises. But I digress.)

The Wife made no secret that her preferred gift option would be jewelry. She never makes a secret of it. She began to drop hints starting, oh let's see, I think it was last February.

"I want a necklace."

"Can I have a necklace?"

"Look at this wonderful jewelry website. See all the pretty necklaces? Boy, would I sure like to have one of those ..."

Subtle as a case of explosive diarrhea, my Wife. During baseball season, she came up with the following little ditty, sung to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game":

Take me out to the jew-lers
Take me out to the store
Buy me some Cartier or Tiff-any,
I don't care, it all looks good on me!
So let's root, root root through your wal-let
Max out your gold card and more,
For it's one, two, three carats and up
At the jewel-ry store!
To say the Wife has a jewelry fixation would be ... oh, never mind. I think you get the point.

She got her necklace, and now I'm going to get my Christmas "privileges", if you know what I mean and I think you do. But that's not the point of this story.

No, the true point of this story is the Wife's recipe for eggnog. It's very simple. You buy a half-gallon of store-brand eggnog. You take a large glass or cup. You pour two shots of white rum into the bottom of the glass, and you fill it to the top with eggnog.

You give it to your unsuspecting brother, who guzzles it down quickly, casually mentioning (not in an unapproving way) the pronounced alcohol flavor. So you pour three shots of white rum into the bottom of the empty glass, fill it with eggnog, and hand it to your brother again.

Your brother drinks the eggnog, has a couple of glasses of wine, and then falls into a deep, snoring, booze-induced coma with the crosscut shredder he wanted for Christmas resting on his belly, gently rising and falling with each new snore, as the rest of the family mills around the room and laughs at him.

The Wife's philosophy is that if you add enough booze, eventually you forget you're drinking cheap store-brand eggnog. The third glass (if you maintain consciousness that long) is supposed to be a half-and-half mix of rum and nog. This philosophy works. (Although, I suspect that during her college years, she played "Quarters" with nog so that no one at school would know she was getting smashed out of her gourd.)

Add to the booze a liberal amount of tryptophan-laced turkey and the sugar crash from a HoneyBaked Ham, and you have a recipe for dormitory-style sleeping arrangements.

We remained awake and made it back home safe and sound (I mixed my own damn eggnog, thankyouverymuch) and now you, gentle Reader, get this present from me. (Unlike the Wife, you are very easy to shop for.)

Merry Christmas.

posted by Gary @ 10:08 PM 5 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Deal Or Big, Fat, Hairy Deal

It's official. The "Dumbing Down Of America" has reached a new nadir (or, if something negative becomes even more effective, does it reach a zenith?).

"Deal or No Deal" premiered last night.

Imagine a game show where the contestant has no need to even be conscious during the game play. That's "Deal or No Deal". It's the American version of a game created in the land of Heineken, legal hashish and storefront-window prostitutes, the combination of which would explain the brain-dead popularity of the concept. If you ever thought "Wheel of Fortune" was too intellectually challenging, "Deal or No Deal" is the game for you.

I watched the premiere on a television set, with the sound off. From across the room. While I was sitting in a local restaurant, where the Wife and I were having dinner with another couple. And I still knew everything that was going on.

In case you haven't watched NBC in the past few weeks (meaning you've missed their three-times-hourly promos for the show), "Deal or No Deal" is hosted by ... Howie Mandel. (Remember, the comedian who made Carrot Top look intellectual? The one who would pull a latex glove over his head and inflate it by exhaling through his nose? The guy who made one pine for the good ol' days of Gallagher? That's Howie.)

Howie Mandel. Now, if that doesn't already tell you everything you need to know about this show, go do some Sudoku puzzles and work on your logic skills. Apparently no other game show hosts were available. (What is Bob Eubanks up to these days, anyway? But I digress.)

A contestant comes on the high-tech stage, facing 26 gorgeous models straight out of the Miss Teen USA pageant (or more likely, straight out of Bambi's Boobie Bar). Each model has an aluminum briefcase. The briefcases contain a money amount from one cent up to $1 million. The player picks one briefcase, which is set down next to the contestant, but not opened. (So far, this sounds kind of like that old Chuck Barris show, The New Treasure Hunt, doesn't it?)

That ... um ... is pretty much the whole game. It takes two minutes. The rest of the hour is taken up with the contestant having the models open up the briefcases she didn't pick. The theory is that, if the million dollars is not in one of the other briefcases, it might be in hers.

So, just to annoy people, this game has found a way to work a cell phone into the proceedings. Yes, a cell phone. Every so often, the phone lights up and rings, and Howie ends up talking to a "Banker" who tries to buy the briefcase back from the contestant. If more high-dollar figures have been taken out of play, the briefcase isn't likely to contain as much and the banker will offer less. If the small money has been eliminated, the briefcase likely contains more and the banker will offer more.

Howie passes along the offer to the contestant and then, with all the gravitas and suspense he can muster, asks the player: "DEAL ... OR NO DEAL?"

This goes on until one of three things happen:

  • The player accepts the deal and wins the amount of the offer.
  • The player opens ALL the freakin' briefcases and wins the amount in hers.
  • The viewer throws a brick through the TV screen.
Now, in case the show wasn't annoying enough, the contestant gets to have three supporters on stage with her. In the first episode, the player's husband spent the hour nervously dancing around on stage like "Gene Gene The Dancing Machine" (another Chuck Barris reference) while Howie cracked jokes. As I indicated, the sound was off, but I still found myself expecting Howie to whip out the latex glove and put it on his head.

Oh, I nearly forgot: Apart from "DEAL ... OR NO DEAL?", there are no other decisions for the player to make. You do not have to phrase your response in the form of a question. You do not have to buy a vowel. You do not have to bid the closest to the actual retail price without going over. In other words, if you are capable of picking a number from 1 to 26, but have no other skills whatsoever, you are capable of playing this game.

Now, if you want to try playing "Deal or No Deal" yourself, NBC has helpfully provided a Flash version of the game on their website. It takes about sixty seconds to play. The TV show takes about an hour. That pretty much sums up the amount of filler in this show.

Critics' opinions of the show are divided. The Boston Globe, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Hollywood Reporter believe "Deal or No Deal" sucks, while the New York Post, Variety, and the Hartford Courant (what's a "courant"?) think the show merely stinks.

The producers of this show also produce "Fear Factor". Kind of tells you everything you need to know, doesn't it?

(And we wonder why so many people think Dubya is doing a good job ...)

posted by Gary @ 11:23 AM 17 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Landlord-Tenant Fun And Games

A big chunk of my traffic comes from BlogExplosion, which is (as far as I know) the biggest traffic-generating site for blogs on the 'Net. Traffic schemes are their game. You name it, they got it. Credits for surfing, "Battle of the Blogs" (two blogs ante up and duel over the pot, winner takes three-fourths), "Scratch Cards" (imagine a scratch-off lottery card that NEVER FREAKIN' PAYS OFF), and even occasional random credits just for being a nice person. (Or so I like to tell myself.)

Something that's becoming quite popular is the "Rent My Blog" program, in which one blog trades credits for a prominent link on another blog. And, being the independent non-conformist that I am, I jumped right on the ol' bandwagon.

Last week, I rented my blog out for the first time, for the princely sum of 15 credits. I had six offers. I took the one that signed up first. Out of the 1,473 visits I had last week from 662 unique visitors, my renter got 44 click-throughs. Now, a three-percent click-through rate may not sound like much, but compared to stats from other blog rentals, it's not too shabby. (Especially since my renter took his blog completely off-line for half the week, the yutz.)

So, today I put my blog up for rent again. I doubled the price to 30 credits, thinking it would narrow the field of candidates somewhat. Three hours later, I had 11 bidders. So much for narrowing the field.

This time, I read each bidder's blog carefully. Several of them were quite entertaining, and each of them had something unique to offer. I was sorely tempted to go with the blog that accompanied each entry with a picture of a different huge-breasted woman (the kind of bustline that, if she were to try jogging, would result in two black eyes and a severe case of whiplash), but ultimately realized the Wife would kill me if I did. Plus, there's something kind of cheap and tawdry about pandering to the masses like that, and anybody who writes an entire blog entry around the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" definitely CANNOT be accused of pandering to the masses.

Ultimately, I selected the one that I thought visitors to my sick funhouse would enjoy the most. That's it over on the top right: "Jane Loves Tarzan". I chose her blog, even though when I tried to rent hers, she shot me down cold. But I'm not bitter. Really. I'm not. I'm a better man than she is (which, I suppose, goes without saying).

It's not a uterus, dammit!

Besides being quite a witty and prolific blogger, Jane is also a USC fan, who refers to the University of Texas as the "team with the female-reproduction-diagram-logo" and the team itself as "the Uteri". Them's fightin' words, woman ...

So, one reason I have chosen Jane's blog as this week's renter is so I can watch her grovel at my feet on January 4th, right after the Rose Bowl, when her Mighty Trojan-Enz have been laid waste by the thundering herd from Austin.

Please click here or on the thumbnail in the sidebar, and pay "Jane Loves Tarzan" a visit. (Oh, and Jane: "Uteri" this, bee-yotch ...)

posted by Gary @ 5:03 PM 2 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 17, 2005

You Won't Learn THIS Crap On "Sesame Street"

(Disclaimer: This entry contains lots of twelve-dollar words. If big words make you nervous, here's a website you'll find more to your liking.)

When I was a tender tyke, I had a talent for being a (nearly) champion speller. One particularly fond memory was of winning a spelling bee after I had already been buzzed out (the pronouncer had mispronounced the word "ingenuous", saying "ingenious", which I spelled correctly. I was reinstated to the bee in time for the final round, which I won. Nyaah).

Just because I was such an annoying child, I mastered the oral spelling of the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" in four seconds flat (a skill which I still have to this day and which, I assure you, doesn't even appeal to anyone as a drunken party trick). I didn't know what antidisestablishmentarianism meant, nor did I care. It was, as far as my tiny, immature brain could conceive, the longest word in the English language, and spelling it became a really good way to annoy my family and (rapidly-dwindling number of) friends.

In fact, it was not until I was researching another article last week that I had occasion to look up the word. Antidisestablishmentarianism really does mean something other than "long, obnoxious word". In the 19th century, it referred to opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England as the official state religion. Today, it means opposition to the belief that there should no longer be an official church in a country.

"What does this have to do with ANYTHING?" I hear you scream. Well, this leads us to the most entertaining website on the Internet: Wikipedia. You won't find the entry for "antidisestablishmentarianism" particularly entertaining. But leave it to those linguistic lackeys who contribute and revise Wikipedia to make this 28-letter word even longer (and, oddly, much more interesting) ...

Of course, I haven't seen anyone professing antidisestablishmentarianism by that name lately. Perhaps this particular movement is dead. Perhaps I'll restart it. That's right, it's neoantidisestablishmentarianism ...

We're up to 31 letters now.

In that case I will start a counter-movement: contraneoantidisestablishmentarianism [37 letters]

Making your actions: contraneoantidisestablishmentarianistic [39 letters].

Contraneoantidisestablishmentarianistically [43 letters] inclined people of the world, unite: you have nothing to lose but your brains!
All that in one entry. Kill him.

What about pseudocontraneoantidisestablismentarianistically? that's longer.
Yep, we're up to 49 letters now. I can't even think that long.

I hate those people who love to pretend to be a contraneoantidisestablishmentarianist, therefore I will act contrapseudocontraneoantidisestablishmentarianistically.
55 letters ... ugh. Those overly-erudite wags have managed to nearly double the length of a word that was already the longest non-engineered-for-length word in the English languge.

And at my most obnoxious, even I would never attempt to spell contrapseudocontraneoantidisestablishmentarianistically aloud, because I would become an outcast in my own community, and deservedly so.

Now that displays of intelligence and independent thinking are considered un-American, it seems the only place language geeks can go to show off their brains is behind the scenes at Wikipedia.

Personally, I blame Dubya. (So what else is new?)

posted by Gary @ 3:32 PM 6 comments links to this post

Friday, December 16, 2005

An Unsolicited Testimonial

Don't get annoyed with me because I haven't posted another blog entry in the past few days. I value your intelligence, dear Reader, far too much to slap some piece of tripe together just to make it look like I post every couple of days. You deserve all the genius I can muster (which ain't much), and by God that's what you're gonna get, so I'm fighting the urge to blog about the finale of The Apprentice in favor of something really, really special.

Speaking of really, really special, I want to direct you to one of the blogs on my Blogroll to the right. "Scheiss Weekly" is written by a very prolific, very witty schoolteacher, who has a lot to say about the current state of education (as well as the rest of the world). It never ceases to amaze me how she can write so many entries so quickly, and yet so eloquently, about so many various topics.

Her blog is one of my favorites, and I encourage you to pay her a visit. Please feel free to tell her Gary sent you. She has no idea who in the world I am, so the name won't mean a thing to her. But maybe I'll get a blog entry out of it.

posted by Gary @ 6:50 PM 3 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

People Eating Tasty Animals

Vegan. The very word sounds like something out of "Star Trek". ("Captain, the Vegans are locking phasers." "Sulu, get us out of here!")

Vegans and vegetarians, as you probably know, are very different things. A vegetarian won't eat meat. A vegan won't eat meat, honey, eggs or Jell-O; won't drink milk; won't wear leather shoes, wool sweaters or silk underwear; and generally doesn't smile very much.

As a proud beef-chewing, leather-wearing, Jell-O-swilling carnivore, I have a bit of trouble identifying with the philosophies of either. As a wise human once said, "If God hadn't intended man to eat other animals, how come he made them out of meat?"

Many vegetarians and vegans believe that animals have just as much right to life as humans do. Well, that philosophy is fine and dandy, except it ignores the fact that animals have been eating other animals for millions of years. Antelopes have been brought down by lions, bears have been killed by wolves, and falcons swoop down to carry field mice to their eternal reward. Heck, for some species, eating one's partner after sex is part of the mating ritual.

So why should I feel guilty about eating a steak? I assure you, if overnight, cows somehow were to develop opposable thumbs and higher intelligence and language skills, they'd start hunting us as fast as they could. Our only defense would be to tip them over, and we all know how much fun that can be.

Vegans promote theirs as a healthier lifestyle. Well, a quick Google trip to brings up, on the very first page, an announcement of the passing of the Society's founder, Donald Watson. The picture accompanying the announcement ... shall we say, does not flatter Mr. Watson.

If that is what a vegan lifestyle makes you look like, pass the cold cuts.

Mr. Watson lived to the ripe old age of 95. If I only live to the still-green age of 70, and then keel over from heart disease and cholesterol, Mr. Watson will be just as dead as I will. But on my deathbed, I'll have a lifetime of memories of porterhouses and turkeys and barbecue and hamburgers, and wonderful Mexican dishes made with lots and lots of lard, and bacon and quiches and ...

(Well, okay, maybe not quiches.)

The point is, I would rather give up a few years and enjoy the different sensory experiences that life has to offer, than to live to a very advanced age having denied myself those same experiences. Because some of the wisest advice I've ever heard was from Burgess Meredith in Grumpy Old Men:

The first 90 years or so, they go by pretty fast. Then one day you wake up, and you realize that you're not 81 anymore, and then you begin to count the minutes rather than the days, and you realize that pretty soon you'll be gone. And that all you have, see, is the experiences. That's all there is, Johnny, to everything -- the experiences!

You mount the woman, son.
That's good advice. (Especially the last part.)

Life is not about trying to survive one day longer than the next guy; it's about collecting experiences. And, as good food excites all of our five senses (we hear the steak sizzling, we smell the char, we see the juicy grill marks, we taste the wonderful flavor, and we feel the scalding heat leave burned strings of dead tissue hanging from the roof of our mouth), we should incorporate an appreciation of that food into our life experiences, just so we can say we've really lived.

Besides, have you ever heard a carrot scream as it is ripped from the ground? Well ... neither have I. But if it had a mouth, the sound wouldn't be pretty.

posted by Gary @ 2:00 PM 16 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm Not For Sale ... But I Can Be Rented

There are certain things I won't do with this blog. It's here as an overflow vent for my brain, not as a money-making mechanism. I won't put Google ads on here, and I won't sell space.

At the same time, I have a raging ego, and want as many people reading this nonsense as possible. Yes, I'm a Traffic Ho, and I'm not ashamed to say it. So, while I haven't sold out ... I have leased myself.

Over to the right, you'll see our first tenant in the BlogExplosion "Rent My Blog" sweepstakes: "Haunted House Dressing", by writer Jeremy Shipp. I think you'll agree with me that, if nothing else, this is the most unique blog design you're going to find. (I'm still trying to wrap my brain around some of the things he has written ...)

Putting my blog up for rent was an interesting experience. Within three hours of posting its rental availability, I had six offers from six outstanding blogs. Jeremy got the spot because he bid first -- as near as I can tell, within one or two minutes of my putting this up for rent.

To the other five bloggers who wanted the slot: You do wonderful work, and I'd be pleased to showcase you, so please bid again next week. (But I may as well warn you: the price is gonna go up ...)

posted by Gary @ 9:25 PM 6 comments links to this post

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's A New Look. Happy Now?

I have finally shaken free of the shackles of the standard Blogger templates (none of which are particularly exciting, and my least-disfavored of which, the "Parchment" motif, has been used by everyone and their dog).

Well, no more. This is my new look. Dark and mysterious, like the inner recesses of my brain (and the back corners of my closets). Your opinions are eagerly solicited, and will be carefully considered, then disregarded as unpatriotic.

posted by Gary @ 3:56 PM 10 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Merry Freakin' Winter Solstice

In a comment to my last entry, someone (in an otherwise complimentary note) mentioned the "anti-Christian" tone of my posts. It's true that much of the humor (if you located any) in my last two entries centered around symbols of Christianity.

But let me be entirely clear about this. I am not "anti-Christian" at all. Christianity is actually a darned nice religion, as religions go. Christianity -- REAL Christianity -- preaches love and tolerance and happiness, and I have no problem at all with that.

So, I'm not in any way anti-Christian. But I am "anti-pompous hypocrites" and I am "anti-thought police" and I am "anti-Bible-thumping omnicrats". And, if you're a true Christian, you must agree with me that the so-called "Religious Right" (which, in my opinion, is neither) isn't making your faith look very good right now. Accordingly, they should be made fun of ... while we still have the freedom to make fun of them.

Consider, if you will, the latest fight the "religious" conservatives are picking (against their own pet Dubya, no less). President Bush sent out 1.4 million greeting cards wishing his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season." No taxpayer money went into the printing or mailing of these cards, so that's a nice gesture. Well, because Bush didn't expressly wish everyone a "Merry Christmas", more than a few "Christians" are up in arms.

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."
Ummm ... 'scuse me? Last time I checked, Bush (like him or hate him) was President of 280 million Americans, not all of whom are Christian. So where's the beef?

Now, when people tried to call the Capitol Christmas Tree a "holiday spruce", House Speaker Dennis Hastert insisted on calling it a Christmas tree, not a "Hanukkah bush" or a "Kwanzaa shrub" or whatever. Fine. Trees are a Christian symbol of the holiday, and if you wanna call it a "Christmas tree", fine. It's a tree, for cryin' out loud.

And the White House sent out a greeting card. So what's the problem?

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (ugh), has called for a consumer boycott of Target stores because the chain issued a holiday advertising circular that did not mention Christmas. Last year, he aimed a similar boycott at Macy's. And this year, Macy's capitulated.

At the Catholic League, Donohue had just announced a boycott of the Lands' End catalogue when he received his White House holiday card. True, he said, the Bushes included a verse from Psalm 28, but Psalms are in the Old Testament and do not mention Jesus' birth.
Oh, sorry, the Psalm is from the Old Testament. My bad. The Old Testament contains obsolete old concepts like, oh I dunno, the Ten Commandments, which the religious nutcases have come to ignore with alarming frequency.

(Does it seem strange to you that fundamentalist Christians, who believe that the Scriptures are the literal word of God, also seem to think that the Old Testament was nothing more than a first draft that was superceded by the New Testament? I mean, if the Bible is God's word, then I'd think the Old Testament is just as important as the New. But what do I know, I'm a heathen ...)

You know the situation has spun wildly out of control when the most rational voice on the topic belongs to ... Jerry Falwell?!? "There's a verse from Scripture in it. I don't mind that at all, as long as we don't try to pretend we're not a nation under God," Falwell said.

That's a sign. The Apocalypse is coming. I can feel it.

* * *

In a similar vein, I stumbled across this blog entry that points out a few more fallacies in the "Religious Right's" selective use of the Bible to inflate their importance and ridicule their enemies, while ignoring a few more ... troublesome parts of Scripture that don't suit their purposes. Good stuff.

So no, I'm not "anti-Christian". I'm "anti-dogmatic moron". There's a world of difference.

posted by Gary @ 2:01 PM 11 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This Year, Everybody Gets Myrrh

The Christmas shopping season started early this year. It starts early every year. I think in 2005, you could see Xmas decorations in some stores on the day after Valentine's Day.

In a forest of iPods and Xboxes and silicon bakeware "for only three easy payments of $39.95", we are constantly ambushed with overhyped, overpriced, over-technologized (somebody call Webster's, I think I just invented a new word) items that nobody really needs.

This is the time of year when, regardless of our religious denomination, we should hark back to simpler times. I was musing upon this as I was wandering lost among the gift-baskets-in-bulk at the local Big-Box Warehouse Club, each basket of which could be mine for three easy payments of $39.95.

It occurred to me that, back at the first Christmas, they didn't have Big-Box Warehouse Clubs or Xboxes or ginsu knives. When the Messiah of Christian mythology (remember, I'm Jewish) was born, the Wise Men didn't try to give him an iPod. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And then a bolt of brilliance hit me. Of course! No more trying to match impossible-to-afford presents with impossible-to-please relatives. This year, everyone gets one of three things: gold, frankincense, or myrrh.

Gold is too expensive. And frankincense sounds too much like the monster of Mary Shelley's book, which will certainly creep out the youngsters.

So this holiday season, everybody gets the gift that keeps on giving: Myrrh. It's fragrant, it's exotic, it has Biblical overtones, and best of all, it's cheap.

Swiped from WikipediaMyrrh is still readily available 2,005 years later (heck, Tom's of Maine makes a toothpaste that is loaded with the stuff). Myrrh is a gum resin that comes from Commiphora trees in Somalia and Ethiopia. These days, it's mostly used in the production of incense (and, of course, toothpaste. Here endeth the lesson).

Best of all, I can get a whole box of the stuff for 21 bucks. Ka-ching! My holiday shopping is now done. Everybody gets myrrh. And if anybody were to complain, they would be damning themselves to hell, because after all, if it was good enough for the Baby Jesus, it oughta be good enough for them. (Ingrates.)

So, naturally, I mentioned to the Wife my brilliant plans to dispense with holiday shopping.

Her response: "Who's Mur?"

posted by Gary @ 2:07 PM 6 comments links to this post

Location: Houston, Texas

Why the heck wouldn't you want to read the toxic byproducts of my mental processes? It's not like you're too busy to waste a minute or two here, you know. You ARE just killing time by mindlessly surfing the web. Pop open a brewski and stay a while.

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