Archives For February 2013

Presumed Hindu

February 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve stopped eating meat at Taco Bell. It tastes horrid and is less healthy. I am telling you this for a reason to become apparent later. I’m a white guy in his late 20’s (read: I’m 30) and I have blond hair and blue-green eyes depending on the angle of the sun and the current point in the tide cycle. I am pasty because I live in Chicago and it’s been winter for far too long. This will become important shortly. I pulled up to the Taco Bell drive thru payment window and the nice woman addressed me the following way.

Woman: aegerhigeioghe agerghegih xnvdjnvsvkn (aka total gibberish)

Me: (Smiling and trying to hand her my credit card) I’m sorry?

Woman: agaeiognabdfkbnanwlf avekvna (more gibberish)

Me: (Feigning understanding) Oh, Yes! (Still trying to hand her my American Express card)

Woman: (Leaning in to get a better look at me): Ahh, you are Hindu!

Me: What?

Woman: You’re Hindu?

Me: Uhh, no, I’m sorry. I misunderstood you.

Woman: (I think really looking at me and my extreme non-Hindu-ness) Oh, I’m sorry! I thought from your order you were Hindu! (Finally lets me pay.)

So there you go. By ordering vegetarian I was presumed Hindu. Let this be a lesson. I’m not sure what the lesson is or was, but hey…awesome. I’ll be Hindu all day long. Pass the Crunchwrap Supreme with beans instead of beef.

I’d never heard of Mother, Jugs, and Speed, but someone told me Bill Cosby was pretty raunchy in this film and I felt like I needed to see Ghost Dad himself in a completely new light.

This movie is fucking hysterical. There’s not much to it. Two ambulance companies duke it out in the most underhanded ways they can imagine to become the #1 ambulance company in Los Angeles. Feels like Taxi meets Caddyshack. It’s not as good as Caddyshack, but Larry Hagman and Bill Cosby playing foulmouthed ambulance drivers dropping some pretty fun banter is totally worth it.

Why it’s worth your time? Well, here in 2013 they don’t do raunchy comedies like this anymore where the dialogue is as superb as the visuals and antics are crude. More often than not you just get The Hangover II. This is smart and old school. Love it.

I’m thinking something is wrong with Mint.com tonight. Either that or a very rich benefactor just made my 2013 taxes a freaking nightmare.

This ever-evolving Christopher Dorner story is simply fascinating. There are so many angles that it feels like I’m watching as close to a real Jason Bourne movie as the world will ever see. That it falls against the backdrop of the long rumored and now pretty much confirmed exposing of President Obama’s “Drone Strikes for Americans Are Now Legal in Secret, Prolly” policies just gives it an even weirder feel. Throw in the debate about guns and it just becomes an incredible hurricane of conflicting emotions for me.

Time will tell, but it looks like Dorner was probably at least justifiably correct in his manifesto when he alleged that he was wrongly booted from his job as an LAPD officer. I’m sure more information will be released, but already the testimony of the man kicked by the officer that Dorner reported has leaked and pretty much confirms Dorner’s story.

It looks like Dorner probably lost his life and livelihood because he ratted out a fellow officer for kicking a mentally handicapped man in the face needlessly. It’s an almost Richard Kimball-y type of injustice. It’s the kind of injustice that gets Americans up in arms. It seems like Dorner was royally screwed out of his entire livelihood and life right around a time when it became pretty damn impossible to find a new livelihood right here in the good old US of Bank of America.

Reports suggest he lost his job as a policeman around the time the Great Recession started and if you’ve been out of work at all in this period you know quite well that finding a new livelihood to replace one that’s lost is next to impossible. Just read Gawkers Unemployment Stories for a good idea of what it’s like. I can only imagine what it’s like for someone who was trained to be a police officer and then was fired from the job under his circumstances. What other department would hire him? No one. What else is he suited for? And so, to protect a bad cop the LAPD created a monster. At least, it’s hard to not see it somewhat like that.

Obviously, Christopher Dorner has snapped and must be stopped. You can’t just go around executing people who are sort of to not at all tied to how you were wronged. I know that. It’s just not a feasible way to run society. And yet, knowing this, I still feel for this guy. I feel for his victims families too. I just feel sad, but it’s not clear cut where to direct that sadness.

Watching the media cover this story has been enlightening. His manifesto seemed like a final goodbye of someone who didn’t really want to say goodbye, but really felt like it was over. It felt like a very Web 2.0 suicide note. Think about it. For the last 5 years we’ve increasingly been trained to converse with/at brands and celebrities as we would our friends. Is it really that strange that he left messages for famous folks, politicians, and people he knew? For a crazy manifesto he seemed fairly reasonable. Compared to the Dark Knight shooter… The media has treated this almost exclusively as if he’s a lunatic with no basis in reality and, strangely, no one is buying it. Every story I’ve come across on niche blogs and mainstream news sites is riddled with oddly justified support for Dorner. He’s being called a hero by many. It’s doubly intriguing and validates, at least somewhat, the confusion I’m having with this.

Not Dorner's Car, Not Even Close

Not Dorner’s car, not even close

Further complicating the issue is that random police departments in the LA area decided to start shooting civilians who they mistook for Dorner. Never mind that these civilians were driving a truck that was the wrong make, model, and year as the suspect. Never mind that there were two small women inside. Never mind that police aren’t supposed to shoot first and ask questions later. Never mind that they shot these women in the back and riddled the back of the car with bullets. It was a “police mistake”. Then another shooting happened and more bystanders are hurt. If you’re blood isn’t boiling over this story as a human and as a citizen, it should be. At Dorner, at the LAPD. At everyone. Comments have been ruthless from what I’ve seen and I think I agree with many that these women deserve every penny they get in their eventual civil suit. However, I also agree that these officers ought to face criminal charges. The police department will fight this and probably win, but what a colossal fuck up. This response is exactly the type of police work Dorner was trying to expose when it cost him his career. This is the kind of police work that the Constitution is supposed to, I would think, prevent.

This kind of shoot first and worry about laws and the rights of American citizens mentality of the police and government is exactly what will result in Dorner being caught dead and not alive. People smelled this from a mile away last night when police ordered new helicopters out of Big Bear, CA. Besides, this is what we do as a country now. The most amazing thing to me about the killing of Osama Bin Laden is that the supposedly liberal President didn’t take him prisoner and put him on trial. He wasn’t an American citizen, but I’m starting to wonder if we’ve really lost sight as a country of how to be a beacon of justice. If busting into another sovereign nation and executing a war criminal isn’t cowboy justice, I don’t know what is.

I generally understand most of the cop hate in this country, but I also think they have really hard jobs. Probably some of the hardest jobs on the planet. These officers deal with the scum of the earth on a regular basis and regularly deal with psychologically trying sights that cannot be expected not to take a toll. Does this excuse it when a cop is a jerk or behaves badly? No, but it does at least allow for some understanding of how they might gradually over time become unwittingly rotten. It’s also just a job to these cops. We all get jaded and sick of our jobs. Dorner speaks to this in his manifesto:

Don’t honor these fallen officers/dirtbags. when your family members die, they just see you as extra overtime at a crime scene and at a perimeter. why would you value their lives when they clearly don’t value yours or your family members lives? We heard many officers who state they see dead victims as ATV’s, waverunners, RV’s and new clothes for their kids. why would you shed a tear for them when they in return crack a smile for your loss because of the impending extra money they will receive in their next paycheck for sitting at your loved ones crime scene of 5 hours because of the overtime they will accrue They take photos of your loved ones recently deceased bodies with their cellphones and play a game of who has the most graphic dead body of the night with officers from other divisions. This isn’t just the 20 something year old officers, this is the so year old officers with significant time on the job as well who participate.

I’ve personally had many cop friends show me their phones and cameras filled with this stuff and heard them talk about the “insert racial slurs” here that they have to deal with. I think this guy nails police culture in big city departments. Suburban cops are a whole different breed. It’s like comparing poodles to dobermans. There’s hundreds of videos on YouTube of inexplicable behavior from police. I don’t think many of these officers even realize they’re that far out. It just becomes a problem when they are dealing with average citizens who aren’t that far out of line and their typical schema for who they’re dealing with is violated. Imagine dealing with people like this all day and staying completely sane.

If you watched all of that, I’m sorry. Point is, they’re always expecting to encounter that lowest of the lowest common denominator. They’re worried about their own safety. And so old women in trucks get shot.

When is being scared going to stop being an excuse? We were afraid of terrorists so we’ve spent over a decade at war with people who weren’t even responsible. We gave up tons of civil liberties with the Patriot Act to get safer. Did we? It apparently didn’t work because President Obama has just plowed forward carelessly with executive orders and secret policies authorizing drone strikes against Americans. All this under some ridiculous assertion that there is some legal way to do that and that we should be grateful that we will be safer. Meanwhile the debate rages about gun rights in America after several high profile shootings. Obama and his folks claim that we need tighter gun laws and the gun nuts claim that more guns are the solution. I been sort of conflicted here as well. I never want a gun anywhere near my house, but I respect the second amendment. I think we could require a little more of people who want to buy a gun in terms of background checks, but I don’t think that regulations will change much. Do I buy the argument that we still need guns to protect ourselves from a corrupt government? The rational side of me says, “no”. However, there’s a nagging voice in the back of my mind that looks at Obama’s corrupt actions and the shooting of these women in the blue pickup truck as pretty damn good examples of a government that is just out of control with what it can and should be doing. Some people argue that an armed populace couldn’t stand up to the government, but Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t exactly rolled over against the best military in the world. So I come back to being torn about the whole thing.

This brings us back to Dorner and trying to make sense of my mixed emotions about his situation and killing spree. I think this guy is being labeled a hero because most Americans are really, really sick of these giant institutions that do what they want, when they want and claim victim-hood. Maybe these institutions get justice for themselves, but the little guy doesn’t. The LAPD got what was just to them. You don’t cross the blue line. Period. Dorner did and from the LAPD’s point of view, justice requires he be thrown out of the brotherhood. It’s like Mafia rules. From the point of view of the big banks, justice was bailouts to save them from their mistakes. From their point of view, justice didn’t involve helping homeowners keep the homes after screwy mortgage polices and rates they created sent millions into foreclosure. The government chose, surprise, the institution to support.

Maybe Dorner should have known better than to stand up for a mentally challenged arrestee. Maybe people should not have bought into stupid mortgages. But I’m struggling to find sympathy for these big institutions on a more regular basis and I think there’s a growing sentiment in America that when the big institution gets justice, the little guy gets screwed. And I think that’s how I explain rooting for Christopher Dorner at least somewhere in my soul.

I’m out driving my sick new whip in the snow today and it was icing pretty badly out and, naturally, my mind wandered to power sliding around some turns on the way to Taco Bell. Now, I’m no Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive, but I execute basic driving maneuvers like “The Right Turn” and “The Merge At Speed” (this is surprisingly complex judging from how many people do not understand that the purpose of the on-ramp is to accelerate to the speed of traffic on the highway so as to merge seamlessly) with ease. I consider “The Powerslide” to also be in my repertoire.

I came to a beautiful curve in the road that banked nicely and threw down. The car started to slide and then abruptly corrected itself. Dash lights flashing and warning me that traction control was kicking in. Fuck that. How are you supposed to power-slide around turns like a boss if traction control keeps kicking in and ruining everything?

Name one man to ever pick up a fine lady without power-sliding right in her face.

Benjamin Franklin you say? WRONG.

Ben Franklin evades the cops

Ben Franklin evades the cops

Ben drove his horse and buggy drunk all the time (It was a different time. Back then this was considered “hilarious” and “de rigueur” and “boss-like”) and was ALWAYS power-sliding and doing donuts all over the place like a fucking boss in front of mad wenches, in front of mad pubs and all the bros were super pissed because, as I read on Wikipedia, they were totally jealous of his diplomatic immunity and thought it was bullshit.

Head on over to Wikipedia and see for yourself or better yet, because I’m nice like that and saved you the time just peep this rad screen capture.

Ben Franklin Drivin' Drunk

And there you have it folks. No excuses. No traction control. Do it Franklin style today.

Kind of a mediocre showing this year both on the field (come on, that game was over at halftime until the NFL cut the lights to give themselves a chance to tell the Ravens to let the 49ers make a game of it) and on Madison Ave, but let’s see what was fun and what wasn’t. Feel free to hate all of this.

The Best

M&M’s won the Super Bowl this year. They’ve killed it the last few years with that Party Rock Anthem ad and the male model trying to eat the Green M&M. This ad was just perfect right up to the last line where Red says, “It hurts but I kind of like it.” Makes me want to have a giant talking M&M move in with me and crack wise. I’d watch a show with Red living with Kevin James as roommates and funny amusing things happen. Kind of like the show Cavemen, but not awful.

The Worst

What the hell was Dodge thinking with that God and Farmers ad? That’s probably going to play well in Iowa and Oklahoma where they haven’t seen Food, Inc. or don’t have Whole Foods yet, but don’t we all know that there’s no such thing or (very close to no such thing) as little, neighborhood farmers anymore? I found the ad preachy and fake. Too bad for them because I thought their Eastwood and Eminem ads in the last two Super Bowls have been terrific. Even if no one in their right mind would believe that Eminem would ever drive a Chrysler 200.

Speaking of cars you’d never drive, that Mercedes Kate Upton ad was kind of cute except for the fact that it looks like Mercedes was unveiling a $4,000 car. I would sign a contract with the devil to avoid having to drive that Mercedes anywhere.

The other ad that really hit the bottom of the barrel for me was Wonderful Pistachios Gangnam Style inspired “Get Crackin'” ad. When did they conceive that thing? September? At the very least that’s gotta be the final nail in that song’s coffin, right? In 10 years we’ll all remember that song with some nostalgia while cracking a Budweiser Black Crown, right? If the ads are any indication, Black Crown isn’t going to last a week. If Bud hadn’t aired the horrible series of Platinum ads last year this might have been their worst Super Bowl ad showing ever. Also, can they just drop “Here We Go” as a tagline? It’s always been more awkward than that ad for Calvin Klein Concept. Just a horrific ad that definitely didn’t make anyone in my living room want to smell the fragrance.

Coke’s ad with the race across the desert was inept like a GoDaddy ad of yesteryear. What was the point of the “vote online” campaign just to see exactly nothing clever happen in the conclusion? Coke always rules at this sort of thing and tonight they blew it. Not that Pepsi really killed them or anything. Beyonce’s continued the miserable string of halftime shows that have plagued the Super Bowl ever since Janet Jackson ruined it all. Can’t we just have Britney Spears and Ben Stiller back again? Or Michael Jackson?

Biggest Surprise

GoDaddy. GoDaddy makes horrible Super Bowl ads. They do it year after year and they always get trashed online for it and rightfully so! They use Danica Patrick. For gods sakes if you’re going to use a woman who sucks at a professional sport at least hire Anna Kournikova.

This year when I saw Danica and Bar Refaeli on screen I figured that Danica was going to hint to Bar that they should behave in a lesbian manner and then GoDaddy was going to suggest that I go online to watch all the parts that were “too steamy” for the Super Bowl. Then I’d go to their website and Bar and Danica would be sitting there eating a roasted cat and I’d realize that GoDaddy was just having some good old fashioned fun. But this year, GoDaddy actually made an effort and got gross and hilarious. I have no idea how much they paid Bar for that, but that nerdy dude got the role of a freaking lifetime. Then they blew my mind further with their “Big Idea” spot and didn’t even hint at anything sexual or misogynist and just went for the funny bone. Good show Bob Parsons.

Honorable Mentions

Who else won? Old Spice’s Wolf Man was hilariously “them”. Oreo’s Whisper Ad and impromptu blackout related Twitter ad were great. Kia’s “Where Do Babies Come From” ad was perfection. With that one especially I like how the humor tied back into the product with a great demonstration of its superior sound system. Audi’s prom ad was vicariously awesome and totally reminded me of that time that my dad let me drive our minivan with 400,000 miles on it for the first time. Not an Audi, but I was tipping over Porto-Potties not going to dances. Leon Sandcastle was great fun, but I had to look up that it was for the NFL Draft. The Joe Montana Miracle stain ad was a riot too and tied nicely into the game. And The Rock drinks Milk was yummy.

Missed Oppurtunity

Missed opportunity was not using Sam Gordon. Roger Gooddell, a man no one likes, had the good sense to sit her next to him at the game, so why in the world didn’t anyone do a clever ad featuring her knocking down NFL players left and right and tell me that anyone can do anything if they just “Do It” or “Believe” or “Drink Gatorade” or “Believe in Scientology”. And really, CBS, you’ll let Scientology advertise, but you won’t let Sodastream run it’s meh ad that sort of disses Coke and Pepsi?

Next Year

Next year, I better see an ad with Joe Flacco declaring some product, service, brand, or film to be “fucking awesome” in honor of this year’s amazing post-game Janet Jackson gaffe. I predict Lance Armstrong will do an ad of some kind with some brave advertiser. There will also be an ad that references the blackout in some clever way.

Bang For The Buck

The last two years Old Milwaukee has proved something with their Will Ferrel ads. They show their ads in very small markets and thus qualify – at least as far as the internet is concerned – for Super Bowl Ad status without spending a fortune to get in the game. And yet, they probably achieve nearly the same level of saturation as many of the other big game ads. Sure, the Super Bowl is seen everywhere, but this has buzz. It spreads like wildfire around the internet and infects the Old Milwaukee target. Old Milwaukee’s market – whether they would ever admit it or not – is probably high school kids and college kids who need cheap, crappy beer to buy or steal. The only other market is poor twenty-something who drink it ironically. Exactly the type of people to love and share this ad. It will be interesting to see who tries to replicate this strategy next year. It’s a terrific bang for the buck strategy even if GoDaddy had a better gross makeout this year.

 

flakes

Winter sucks, but for some reason I love shoveling in the middle of the night. I think the neighbors probably hate me, but whatever. They let their pug out every time I let my dogs out (now you know who let the dogs out) and then my dogs get all distracted and can’t go potty. And man, it’s freezing cold so I just want them to go, go, go. I sit there and sing to them. I talk like a baby-wayby. I pray to my lord and savior Jesus Christ and every other diety including, but not limited to Shiva and Majin Buu that they will just go god-damn-motherfucking pee pee and poo poo because I am selfish and don’t want to freeze anymore. I also don’t want to clean up anymore poopy poo in the house and really don’t want to be awakened again by a dog peeing on my head. (That’s a whole other rant.)

I pray and pray and right about the time I’m closing with an amen and well before my dogs are helicoptering into poop squats, the light on my neighbor’s porch always flips on and the door slides open and Super Distracto Pug 3000 comes snorting outside. It’s a cute, tubby little dog that they feed doughnuts and pastries which get left in the yard sometimes. This is to my dog’s delight and my dismay, but it’s sort of what I imagine the Israelites must have felt when they were wandering around picking up manna off the ground. “Oh look, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, an Israelite would say, “God left us some Krispy Kreme’s this morning and Jim Cramer said Krispy Kreme was a solid stock this month so we better eat up and help support those fools that took his advice.” Think about it. How badass would it be to just wander around the lawn picking up breakfast bread from God? Seriously though does it always have to come out when I’m out taking my dogs out? (Side note: I think doughnut poop must be delicious because it’s like crack to my crackhead dogs who eat it anytime they can.)

And so I shoveled. I did my driveway, front stoop, back porch, a good portion of the street, and for good measure some of the grass. So who’s the champ now?! (Not the people’s champ either. As an educated American knows that’s Dwayne The Rock Johnson. He’s also the reigning WWE Champion after beating CM Punk this week. No really.)

If you’re still awake right now go catch some snowflakes too. That’s as American and Apple Pie and Ice Cream and in this economy considerably more affordable for the average American. It’ll make you feel alive mostly because the snow is probably filled with jet fuel and global warming juices that are horrible for your insides and will give you bowl cancer, but not for decades so do it anyway. And make sure to take HDR cellphone pictures and share them with the world on your stupid blog that no one reads like some weird self paparazzi-ing sycophant who doesn’t post their blown-out and weirdly exposed/saturated photos to Instagram like a well adjusted modern man. But the thing is Instagam is just another annoying thing to check and maintain and I’d rather be out catching snowflakes in my mouth than posting One Direction memes and pictures of my dinner (snowflakes) to yet another site while trying to accumulate the most hearts. It’s just stressful to have another place where I’m trying to get attention and likes and deliver high quality content to my fans.

So grab your shovel. It’s the middle of the night but you’re currently under employed. Aren’t you? You are. You don’t have to get up early tomorrow, it’s Saturday. Grab your Saturday by the horns and start it right now at 4:30AM CST and then sleep through most of the rest of it after you’re done. Burn off the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Crunchwrap Supreme, Mountain Dew Baja Blast Slurpee (probably not called that because 7-Eleven owns the trademark, but that’s basically what it is), Medium Baja Blast Mountain Dew (I didn’t know if the Slurpee one was going to be any good so I ordered a backup. It wasn’t good. It was fucking awesome. But I drank them at midnight. Whoops.), and Cookie Sandwich that you had earlier. (I might have been lying about snowflakes being my dinner.)

This weekend wake your neighbors up and wake up your soul. Remember what Kid President said: “Fuck you Robert Frost.” Goodnight.

House Shoveled And Feeling Accomplished