Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself, Except...

I was thinking about fear the other day and it reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld (no, not the "shrinkage" one, but that was a good one too!) where George admitted that he couldn't wear underwear briefs because he had a fear of elastic. Now I know there are a lot of people out there with some very unusual phobias, including in my own family, and I don’t want to make fun of them because these phobias are very real problems these people are facing, and for many, with very serious and devastating consequences.

On the other hand, laughter is the best medicine and if you can’t laugh at yourself, then I’ll be happy to do it for you. While I feel for these phobia sufferer's obvious pain and discomfort, a part of me (albeit an incredibly evil and insensitive part of me) finds it somewhat hilarious.

Now being phobic about elastic is odd, but I don’t see it as being necessarily life altering. Neither is a fear of dirty socks or a fear of elevators for that matter. But there are some really crazy phobias out there that really make you wonder. What sort of trauma or experiences results in people developing these weird neuroses and how are we supposed to know that they are in full-on freak-out mode because their phobia stimulus presented itself?

For example, say a person has a phobia about the color yellow (yes, it happens!) and a taxi or school bus happens by their line of sight. What would you do if they began screaming hysterically, running in circles, crying uncontrollably and scratching their whole body as if it were covered with ants? Why shoot them, naturally. Obviously they are in the first stages of turning into a flesh-eating zombie, right? Or so you might think. But no, it’s just that they are experiencing an irrational, out-of-control fear that has paralyzed their mind.

It’s not hard to assume that people who have some of these fears have developed them via some traumatic personal experiences, especially those people who have a fear of roller coasters and ferris wheels, a fear of clowns, fear of the dentist, fear of water or fear of thunder and lightning. But how does one explain a fear of sitting on torn furniture or a fear of having one’s hands or feet cut off while you sleep? And how does a person living in South Dakota develop a phobia of whales? What would give someone an intense fear of sponge cake or a fear of getting a paper cut on their eyeball?

What about people that are deathly afraid of accountants? Do you know anyone who has a phobia about corduroy clothing, or a morbid fear of people singing the Oompa Loompa Song from Willy Wonka while chewing gum? Yes, I’m afraid there are people that suffer from these as well. Clearly there are some deep psychological issues plaguing people like this. As Freud would explain, it is undoubtedly the fault of the victim’s mother. Probably something related to either too much or too little breast feeding I would imagine. Lucky for me my mom knew when to quit…when I started kindergarten.

(Uh huh, I got mad suckling skillz.)

Of course there are a lot of common phobias, and I won’t bore you with the medical terms because it’s rather pointless to share them with you unless you are a licensed psychotherapist and most of you, though probably very familiar with psychotherapists, probably aren’t one. The most common phobias include fear of heights; fear of public speaking; fear of the dark; fear of needles; fear of crowds; fear of germs; fear of falling; fear of death; fear of flying; fear of confined spaces and fear of commitment. Similarly a lot of people are afraid of various animals: dogs, snakes, spiders, birds, fish, cows, and so forth. Though more people experience these types of fears, they are unfortunately not nearly as funny as, say, someone who has a fear of celery or a fear of going poop or a fear of garden gnomes. Now I don’t care who you are, that’s some funny stuff right there.

My daughter Lissa has a fear of cotton balls. (Don’t laugh!) It is quite common. She’s perfectly normal otherwise. Well, except for a fear of Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. (Stop it!) No one knows how or why she has these phobias. It may or may not have to do with my early attempts to amuse her with puppets fashioned from tongue depressors with cotton ball wigs…which, as it turns out, make a really impressive flaming skull puppet. Maybe I didn’t need quite so much fake blood and possibly the dead chicken was a little over-the-top, but I have no doubt that performing these little plays for her as a baby have helped her blossom into a fine actress and budding screenwriter in later life…and maybe a vegetarian as well.

As a kid I remember my brother Rob had a phobia about hair being pulled out. I think he subconsciously thought that as each follicle was being ripped out of the scalp, the hole left there would begin bleeding profusely. It was a fear which I, as his miserable little brother, capitalized on quite often. “Hey Rob, look at me!” I would say as I pretended to yank my hair as he violently turned away in utter horror. Yeah, good times. I don’t know if he’s still affected by it. I’ll have to find out next time I see him.

I think that of all the phobias I have come across, my favorites have been those that are a bit more unique. Here are some of the fears that are weird, even by my standards: odd numbers; red fire alarms; extra-terrestrials; people vomiting; people with animal heads (such as mascots); balloon animals; Hannah Montana; the Happy Birthday song; bubbles; feet; peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth; your own wrist; librarians; toenail clippings; bagels; parasitic worms eating your brain; Saran wrap; Barbie dolls; strawberry ice cream and football players killing you in your sleep. Imagine trying to lead a normal life whilst being tormented by these things. Boy, there really are a lot of seriously screwed up people in the world!

What do you have to say for yourself, moms? (You may use the comment area for your apologies.)

Despite the terrors that might plague your life if you have any of these or other phobias, take heart that things could always be worse. You could live next door to these people.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Let's Talk About Dick!

Those of you familiar with my blog know that from time to time I like to poke fun at Rethuglicans like Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck because of their utter stupidity, their senseless need to pervert the truth to fit their twisted right-wing ideology and their tenuous grasp on reality.

But there are plenty of others that are just as deserving of our contempt and, at the risk of being targeted by one of his Blackwater death squads, I would like to discuss one of them - our less-than-ethical former Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Who is Dick Cheney? He is the dark embodiment of soul-less evil that is hell bent on ruling the world. I'm sure you've seen or heard him a lot lately in the media. He is most often described in sentences that include words such as "stupid", "bloodsucking parasite", "insolent", "draft-dodger", "treacherous", "obnoxious", "war-monger", "puppetmaster", "corrupt", "lying bastard", "history-rewriting", "evil", "treasonous", "thief", "diabolical scum" and "ass-maggot".

Well, except on that "fair and balanced" television news station, the Fox News Channel.

Here are some more facts about Dick Cheney that I bet you didn't know:

  • The only man Chuck Norris is afraid of.
  • The rumors of his eating kittens for dinner are untrue. He eats them for breakfast.
  • He is Satan's pride and joy.
  • His hobbies include kicking puppies, shooting friends in the face, burning books and reading lesbian erotica.
  • At least partially a 1960's era robot.
  • He was the inspiration for the character Voldemort from the Harry Potter films.
  • Chosen VP because Bush figured that way he would be safe from assassination attempts, as no one would want Cheney as the President.

No longer relegated to quietly sneering in the background while disgracefully helping Dubya (some would say leading Dubya) through eight years of gross mismanagement and economic ruin, Cheney has lately become the ad hoc spokesperson for the Repiglican party and a very vocal opponent of the current administration in virtually every scenario.

Like most Repuppetcons, his stiff defiance to all things Obama have painted him as just another political tool wielding his nay saying obstructionist views and a delusional and distorted take on recent history before the public. He even has his daughter Liz spewing the same idiotic rants.

Here's what I don't understand though. How can a man who's already been repeatedly exposed as a compulsive liar, a secrecy nut and a maniacal twit hell-bent on rewriting history, have the slightest bit of relevance and credibility in today's political forum? I mean, are we supposed to listen to his advice after he had eight years and spent over a trillion dollars on just the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with no success? Is anyone really blind enough to listen to his psycho counsel after his years of repeated failures?

Oh wait, I forgot about the ignorant, drooling masses of Republitards that follow him on the Fox News Channel and see him as the next messiah! Ahh, but the rest of us rational, non-Tea Bagging folk know him for the deranged weapon of mass deception that he is.

I'm sure much of this political posturing of his is just an excuse to distract the public from investigating the serious allegations being leveled at him and Bush with regards to their gross mishandling of pretty much everything during their eight years in office and Cheney's refusal to comply with the law and submit his files to the authorities for scrutiny citing yet another lie as his excuse:

"No no, that doesn't apply to me. As the vice-president, I technically belong to neither the executive NOR the legislative branch."

While we wait for Cheney to finish rewriting the Constitution to make all of his crimes and activities legal again, and apparently introduce himself as the sole member of a new 4th branch of government, let's say a little prayer that America is hopefully done with this power hungry narcissist. Our country deserves a chance to rise above the ashes of economic devastation that he and his fellow Repukelicans have created for us.

So go on back home and do what you do when you are not screwing up the country and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent lives, Dick. I'm sure it won't be as fun for you, but you can still dump toxic waste into storm drains, park sideways in handicapped parking spots and go drunken hunting to your heart's content. And maybe you can leave running the country to the people who were actually elected by the majority of Americans to do so and, unlike you, have a clue about what they are doing.
Mr. Cheney, your time in history is gratefully at an end and you need to quietly slink away into obscurity like your old boss and stop continuing to drag the nation down with you. Your continued existence, like the Ebola virus, is no longer required.
And just so you know, there are no deferments available where you are going.


Here are several funny quotes about Cheney by late-night television hosts I hope you enjoy:

"Dick Cheney again this week was in the hospital. He was experiencing discomfort in his leg. And the doctor asked Cheney if he stretches. Cheney said, 'Are you kidding? I linked 9/11 with Saddam Hussein.'" -- Bill Maher

"Did you see Cheney the other day? He threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home game. It was low and in the dirt -- kind of like his approval rating....Whose idea was it to use Cheney to throw out the first pitch? I mean, this guy's not known for his aim." -- Jay Leno

"Dick Cheney said he felt terrible about shooting a 78-year-old man, but on the bright side, it did give him a great idea about how to fix Social Security." -- Bill Maher

"Here's my favorite part of this whole incident. After Cheney shot the guy, the police later showed up at the ranch where Cheney was staying and wanted to talk to him, but was told to come back the next morning. And that's what they did, they came back the next morning. Kev, that ever happen in the hood?" -- Jay Leno
"Rumors are that the reason Dick Cheney didn't say anything about the hunting accident for about 24 hours was because he had been drinking. And I'm thinking, well jeez, he was probably drinking when he planned the invasion of Iraq." -- David Letterman

"America remaining obsessed, fascinated, appalled, by what is being called 'Dick Cheney Shot A Guy In The Face-Gate.'" --Jon Stewart

"There was some talk that the vice president had been drinking before he went out to shoot and it turns out that was true. Cheney said he did have a beer during lunch. One beer, and the only reason he even drank it was to wash down the three hits of ecstasy." --Jimmy Kimmel
"You can't blame [Cheney]. Bush says you can spy on people without warrants, you can torture people, you can hold people without a trial, so Dick Cheney thinks, 'Oh what the hell, I can shoot a few guys.'" -- Jay Leno
"Cheney's temper got the best of him last week when he told Vermont Senator Pat Leahy to 'go F yourself' on the Senate floor. Wow that's so out of character. He seems like such a peach. ... Afterwards President Bush would not comment on Cheney's outburst adding, 'You think I want that psycho coming after me.' ... Dick Cheney does have a history of swearing, but usually he's clutching his chest and falling down." -- Craig Kilborn
"Dick Cheney finally responded today to demands that he reveal the details of the Enron meetings. This is what he said. He met with unnamed people, from unspecified companies, for an indeterminate amount of time at an undisclosed location. Thank God he cleared that up. I'm ready to move on." -Jay Leno
"Plans are being discussed as to who will replace Dick Cheney if he has to resign for health reasons. It's not easy for President Bush, he can't just name a replacement. He would first have to be confirmed by the oil, gas and power companies" -Jay Leno

"In competing speeches today, President Obama said the U.S. went off course with practices like waterboarding. Cheney retaliated by saying he doesn't regret any of the decisions he made, and if he had to do it all over again, he would order President Bush to do exactly the same thing. And then he ate a baby." --Jimmy Kimmel

"Yesterday at a campaign fundraiser, Hillary Clinton criticized Vice President Cheney and called him 'Darth Vader.' Cheney denied it and said, 'Darth Vader is evil, half-machine and always wears a cape. And I don't own a cape.'" -- Conan O'Brien

"Dick Cheney was on the news this week, and he said that it would be a mistake for the Republicans to moderate their policies. He said they should remain true to their core principles: gay bashing, war profiteering and torture." -- Bill Maher

"To the vice president's credit, he did own up to it. On Fox News he said the fault was his, he can't blame anybody else. Boy, it's amazing. The only time you get accountability out of this administration is when they are actually holding a smoking gun." -- Bill Maher

"Dick Cheney, the former vice president, said that President Obama went too far with the jokes at the correspondents' dinner. By too far, does Cheney mean like waterboarding a guy 183 times?" -- David Letterman

"This week, Dick Cheney was interviewed by ABC News, and he said that he will miss being vice president. Then he said, 'And I'll really miss being president.' That was the best part." -- Conan O'Brien
"He sat down for a one-on-one with Fox News. Very bold choice. Dick Cheney sitting down with Fox News is like Mrs. Butterworth sitting down with the Pancake Channel." -- Jimmy Kimmel

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rufus, the Blog-Blocking Doggy

Rufus in a typical tug-of-war pose

I hate my dog, Rufus.

Okay, well maybe hate isn't the right word. Better to say he irritates me to no end sometimes.

As many of you already know, I am a huge animal lover and an unabashed believer that my dogs and cats are my "furkids." While I would never do harm to an animal (though the prospect of hunting Sarah Palin from a helicopter holds some interest) I nonetheless get so frustrated with Rufus.

Every time I try to sit down to write on my blog, he sits next to me and whines because he wants attention. Well, at least I think he wants attention. I'd hate to think he's read my blog and has decided to keep me from writing it, like some right-wing canine Glenn Beck. (Scary thought, that.)

If I ignore him, he just starts barking at me. If I ignore his barking, he howls. So I end up stopping and playing tug-of-war with him for about 20 minutes or so. Then I stop to go back to what I was doing and he sits and whines some more. Eventually I give in and just sit with him and rub his belly or play with him until he decides to go play outside, take a nap or when it's time for bed.

Yes, he is a very high maintenance pup.

I play with Rufus all the time, but he just seems to want more attention whenever I sit in front of the computer. And, being an age-challenged kinda guy, whenever I stop what I am doing to play with him some more, I invariably forget whatever it was that I was going to write. I can't tell you how many "Great American novels" have vanished into the literary ether because of this.

I wonder if J.D. Salinger had this problem?

Rufus doesn't realize that there are repercussions if I don't post something every few days. Not only do I feel like I am letting my followers down if I haven't posted for awhile, but If I am not allowed to vent my weird stream of consciousness thoughts here, then I might go totally insane and end up holding a sign at a Tea Party rally.

About the only way I have found to avoid this problem is if I get up in the middle of the night and write. (Rufus likes his beauty sleep.) There are times during the day when I want to write, but I can't because he's just really persistent in an evil, demonic sort of way.

Get off the computer and play with me, dammit!

Rufus has his brother-from-another-mother to play with in my other dog Ringo. But Ringo doesn't share the same passion for tug-of-war that Rufus has. Ringo has a more, shall we say, delicate passion. He likes to nibble on the ears of stuffed animals. I'm not judging by the way. It's a free country and if you want to nibble stuffed animal ears or toes that's your right. (Even if it is a bit weird.)

I used to have a large number of stuffed toy beagles, but many were gradually pilfered by the dogs and became ragged, stuffing-less and mostly ear-less dog toys. I had hoped that "the boys" could keep each other busy playing, but ear nibbling is apparently pretty much a solo effort.

My dog Ringo "Gimme those ears! Nom nom nom nom."

After careful consideration, I think I have come up with some ways to combat this problem and not endanger my dear puppy:

1. I could move my office to the bathroom and just pretend I am taking a shower while I write on a laptop. Of course if he starts hearing typing coming from the bathroom he will figure it out and try to kick down the door.

2. I could take the laptop to a Starbucks, but one out of town so he can't track me down, and try blogging there. Even if he finds me, I don't think he would do anything too terribly sinister to me in public.

3. I could write wearing a Michael Vick jersey and see if that intimidates him. Probably not. He eats guys like Vick for breakfast. Which would explain why I need a snow shovel in the backyard even though it doesn't snow here.

4. I could strap a bunch of stuffed animal ears to Rufus and let Ringo chase him around the house and yard. Of course Ringo naps a lot, so maybe that's not a viable long-term solution.

5. And finally, I am thinking that I could take him to an exclusive doggy spa where he can be pampered and fed rich foods while getting a massage and enjoying an herbal body wrap. Then I could sit in my car and write in my blog to my hearts content.

And maybe later I could try and come up with an excuse for why I can afford to send the dog to a spa and not my wife.

That should pose an interesting challenge.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random Farts and Other Musings

I thought long and hard (that's what she said) about what to write for my silly old blog but couldn't come up with anything that wasn't inappropriate at every level. So in the interest of refreshing this space with new words and graphics for my followers and followers-to-be, I have collected some assorted ruminations, anecdotes, factoids, silly videos and random weirdness to entertain you and hopefully make your trek to my site a worthwhile one. Enjoy!


We have a cat named Blue who is deaf. I think if you are a cat, it's just better if you are deaf and I will tell you why. My two dogs love her, but being dogs they can't resist the urge to chase after her and bark and growl and snarl at her as menacingly as a couple of small dogs can. Meanwhile Blue sits there, licking her paw as poised and serene as can be, completely oblivious to the racket.

I think the dogs think she is a real bad ass.


If we ever become an advanced enough society to have created realistic-looking robots, or androids as they are called, I think it would it be in the best interest of society if they knew how to fart and burp because any robot design of us wouldn’t be complete without including some of our foibles. As we aren't perfect, neither should they be. Just as long as they don’t do it all the time. That’s just gross.


If a dog can supposedly tell where another dog has been by just smelling it's butt, as they say, then if you fart in a dog's face, is that the equivalent of their watching a DVD of where you were? Maybe even in surround sound?



Consider that each of the following items occur every minute of every day. (1) 250 babies are born, 113 into poverty; (2) the average person in the world makes once cent; (3) the average American household earns almost ten cents; (4) Oprah Winfrey makes $523; (5) 950,186 pounds of trash is thrown away in the US; (6) 120,673 pounds of edible food is thrown away in the US and (7) 18 die from starvation.

Wow, that's really incredible. Rarely do you hear something that really makes you pause and reflect like that. I mean it really blows my mind that Oprah makes that much money. You go girl!


My mother always blamed her farts on her cat, Nuisance, even years after the cat died. Like Nuisance, the “rapid fire” farts would follow her while she was ascending or descending the stairs in her home. These feline "ghost farts" so far have yet to leave any ectoplasmic residue. At least, not yet.



I think you can tell a lot about a person by his/her selection of pizza toppings. For instance, I respect those that put anchovies on their pizza because they are saying “I don’t care if 95% of people hate them. I want a fishy salt lick (or is it a salty fish lick?) on my pizza because I am cool like that.”

But what can you say about people that put these (all true) toppings on their pizza: Hard Boiled Eggs, Spaghetti, Squid, Pickles, Mayo, Caviar, Thousand Island Dressing, French Fries, Oysters and Sunflower Seeds.

I believe these pizza topping choices must denote a person with a serious chemical imbalance or psychological problem. (Medical term: Crazy MoFo.)


Places where you should never fart include (1) in line at the Post Office; (2) in an elevator; (3) in a dentist’s/barber’s chair; (4) in the shower and (5) at a job interview.


Okay, I admit it. I used to torture my kids when they were little. I made up bullshit stories that they believed, scared them to their wits end with evil clown dolls and clucking chicken dolls and other twisted things and basically screwed with their tiny minds because…well…it was funny!

I purposely sang “Georgia On My Mind” in a screeching, off-key voice when they were in my car. And for years that’s how they thought the song was supposed to be sung.

Also when we were in the car I would announce that we were going to visit my friend and that he hated kids and liked to poke them with a stick. (shrieks of utter terror)

“No daddy, please, I don’t want to go there!” (ha ha, nice one!)

Then I would say he is in Kansas City and that they wouldn’t be able to enter the city limits unless they could do the “Boola Boola Dance.”

“But daddy, I don’t know the “Boola Boola Dance!” they cried. "Well, I guess you will have to walk home then." (snicker, snicker!)

I can’t wait to see what rest home they decide to put me in.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Let's Give Them a Damn Valentine's Day Card

Valentine's Day is not just the day where we get to shower our beloved with trinkets and flowers and other romantic expressions of love and affection. It is also a day when we should recognize the other people in our lives that love us or give us joy in some way. So lets send them a Valentine's Day card and let them know how we feel about them.

For instance, let's not forget our families, who have always been there when times were tough. True, you could count on them to ridicule and berate us for our shortcomings and our failures, but they would also be there to coax us off the ledge or bail us out when the time came. They deserve a card.

Plus there are our extended families. They are generally too busy with their own lives to spend a moment thinking about us, but when something happens that could have repercussions for the entire family, such as your winning the lottery for instance, they are your constant companions and always reminding you of how much you are loved. They deserve a card.

Your friends and co-workers are almost like an extended family. They spend lots of time with you, they know many of your darkest secrets and share your hopes and fears. Sometimes they even go out to bars with you and get drunk with you and watch you hit on hot girls who are there with their boyfriends. Then they pick you up after you have been beaten to a bloody pulp and get you home safely. They deserve a card.

Let's not forget our bloggy buddies and pals we've discovered on the internet. With all the encouragement and support that they give us, it's a good idea to remember them as well on this day. No matter how many invites you have declined to being a "Fan of Pants On The Ground" on Facebook they keep sending them anyway. That's dedication! They deserve a card. Or maybe twenty.

If you roll like Tiger Woods, then you might have a few mistresses and booty calls that warrant some Valentine recognition. So mail them a card and let them know how much they mean to you. Don't text them, though. Seriously. Don't be that stupid.

Some of you might have a loved one that doesn't really fit into a category. For example, it's a shame that there aren't any Hallmark cards for "my baby daddy" or "my baby mama" because they deserve something that says, "Hey, I'm thinking of you today" on Valentine's Day. Even if there is a restraining order.

That's just a few of the people you might want to give a Valentine's Day card to. You can decide if you want to give it to your grocer, doctor, teacher, postman or anyone else in your life that you feel a special kinship with. It's only one day, after all. Afterwards you can ignore them to your heart's content.


With Valentine's Day just a few days away I wanted to take this opportunity to spread a little love to the wonderful readers of my weird lil' old blog by sharing with you again some wickedly funny (and best of all, completely free) e-cards available from wrongcards.com.

Those of you who share my twisted sense of humor may know someone who would appreciate receiving something of the off-the-wall variety of Valentine's Day tidings. The rest of you will probably just pass this off as the work of a diseased and drug-addled mind and pray for my eternal salvation. Or not. Either way, check 'em out and see what you think!

There you have it my friends. Which one is your favorite? I'm kinda partial to the second one myself. But they are all weird in their own way. Don't forget to send some out!

I wish you all a really enjoyable Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Special Valentine's Day Gift

The Nipple Gamepad T-Shirt is now available, and just in time for Valentine's Day! So don't worry all you guys that have already purchased the diamond jewelry, sexy lingerie, flowers, candy and other presents. You still have time to return them and pick your lady up this swell gift that will be sure to please!

Gamers will appreciate the soft feel of the controller and how it fits so well in your hands. (Other size controllers are sold separately.) The buttons and joystick controls are very sensitive and use a delicate touch in order to get a greater response. Rough handling of the controls will inevitably lead to game over, but done correctly players have a good chance at getting to the next level. In fact, at the expert level, many even utilize licking, sucking, nibbling, twisting and gentle pulling on the controls to get maximum effect.

Gamers, who have been patiently waiting for this to be released for over 3 years, have been known to wait in line for them for up to 26 days, often enduring bouts of rain and high winds. The delay was caused by the product testing department which steadfastly refused to release it into production despite the lack of technical glitches and widespread demand.

There are a couple of nice features available with this product. First of all there are some great sound effects with this unit. Depending upon the intensity of the game, you will be sure to hear various levels of "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs" all the way up to a high-pitched moaning "mmmmmmmm yesssss!!!!!!!

Secondly, those that habitually play for an extended time period may notice that their hands might get red and tired. To help with this problem the manufacturer has supplied a small bottle of hand lotion with the product. In addition there is an optional vibrating rumble pack available for this unit. (Highly recommended!)

All you gamers go check it out and see if you've got the hand dexterity to master this product. Your girlfriends will love you for spending so much time with them! If, by some rare chance you don't have a girl of your own (as doubtful as that may seem), don't despair. Just ask your sister to play with you! I'm sure she would love to play a few games with her very special brother.

And don't forget that it also makes a great Mother's Day and Grandmother's Day gift too!

(Coming up later: Joystick Gamepad Boxer Shorts!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Dumming Down of Amerika

The cast of MTV's reality series "Jersey Shore"

Remember when we were kids and our parents would warn us about watching too much television because it would "rot our brains?" Well, I watched it anyway, and my brayne brane brain is just fine. How ridiculous! Like watching the shows back then could do anything but improve our mental state! That’s like saying mommy leaving me home alone when I was four with just the TV for company was a bad thing. Who comes up with this stuff?

Many shows back then touched on intelligent social issues or had educational themes and pulled together elements of comedy and drama and mystery that awakened your mind to new ideas and insights. I loved "All In The Family" and the brilliant caricature of Archie Bunker's blue collar life in Queens. Shows like "Happy Days" and "The Waltons" gave us a glimpse of everyday life in simpler times. And of course for mindless escapism few could deny that "The A-Team", "CHiPs" or "Charlie's Angels" had the right stuff. Plus there was also Loni Anderson on "WKRP in Cincinnatti" for those that like big...um...smiles.

With the advent of reality television, though, everything has changed. I can safely say that watching too much of it WILL ROT YOUR BRAIN! In a world where TV poker players are considered athletes and where MTV doesn’t play music, it's time to take another look at the mental mush that is passing for entertainment on TV these days. The "Jerry Springer-esque" approach to television programming is creating a generation of mindless foul-mouthed imbeciles whose lives are all about posing, primping, getting drunk, having casual sex and fighting.

Probably no show on television better epitomizes this ugly trend than MTV's "Jersey Shore" about a group of self-proclaimed "Guidos" and "Guidettes" sharing a summer house in the resort town of Seaside Heights, N.J. As MTV explained “there’s no spray tan too orange, no hair too spiked, no bod too tight for this crew” on a show that “exposes one of the tri-state area’s most misunderstood species, the ‘Guido.’” Though following the same formula as the previous "The Real World" franchises, this show is an embarrassment of epic proportions showing just how disgusting, low-life, ignorant, orange-tanned, hair gel-addicted, obnoxious whores and douche bags can be. (No offense.)

Not only has this program been criticized loudly by Italian-Americans who see it as wildly offensive and an insult to their heritage, but New Jersey lawmakers have likewise condemned the show and asked MTV to cancel the series because it perpetuates the unflattering stereotype of the people there as idiotic, low-class mooks and skanks. (Stereotype? Really? Are they not the Armpit of America?)

The cast of “Jersey Shore” have all the charm and intellect of Beavis and Butthead and include such losers as Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, "Pauly D" Delvecchio, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Jenni "J-Woww" Farley. Rounding out the rest of the fist-pumping, liquored-up, scantily clad cast are Ronnie, Sammi and Vinnie. If ever there was a more pathetic group of tools to have totally outlived their 15 minutes of fame, these are them.

Several of the cast members, most notably Snooki, Mike and Pauly D, have become popular guests on talk shows and have been commanding personal appearance fees of $10,000 each. This is strange when you consider that stars at their level of style, IQ and talent could easily be replaced by anyone sitting alone at a New Jersey bus station late at night. Snooki, one of the most well-known of cast members because of her distinctive look (sort of like a fugly top-heavy orange Oompa Loompa wearing a rat on her head) worked the red carpet at the Grammy’s last week as MTV’s designated interviewer. (And yes, she sucked.)

A "Jersey Shore" Parody

For the second season (Ugh! Yes, there will be one) they demanded MTV pay them $10,000 per episode by acting as a group, like the cast of "Friends" did, and saying they would all walk if they didn't get what they wanted. The only difference is that the cast of "Friends" were actors and they were talented and deserved their money. These clowns? Not so much. They made only a few hundred bucks per episode and MTV said they would rather replace the cast than change their agreement. Apparently the cast caved in their negotiations because they are all coming back. Lucky us.

So I guess this means that we will all be subject to a continuation of the endless newspaper, magazine and internet articles and television appearances by these talentless cheese balls. Oh well. If you haven't become familiar with the cast of this show by now, allow me to introduce you to a couple of them so you know who to avoid in the future.

Mike "The Situation" is a 27 year-old assistant manager of a gym. He is so proud of his six pack abs that he nicknamed them "The Situation" and refers to himself constantly by that name. In fact he is so in love with this name that you would almost think he was getting paid per mention. Not only is he currently trying to trademark his nickname, but he is also reportedly launching a new cologne called "The Sitch." To quote "The Situation" he says "This is The Situation right here, my abs are so ripped up it's ... we call it The Situation. I mean, this situation is gonna be indescribable, you can't even describe the situation that you're about to get into with The Situation. I don’t think they are going to be ready for this situation. Everyone’s gonna be like “oh shoot, that’s the situation right there. I got girls back here almost every night, there's not a time that I don't have girls coming back. Girls love The Situation."

I'm sure everyone is glad that fame hasn't gone to his head.

Snooki is a living, tiny, orange-skinned, sloppy drunk troll doll with a ridiculous hair poof and a filthy mouth that is giving the show's film editor carpal tunnel syndrome. When she is not getting drunk she goes to the gym in full makeup and hopes to make a splash “with all the juiced-up men.” She recently refused to meet Jerry Springer at a restaurant they were both eating at because she said "I am way classier than that." So classy, in fact, that on their first episode, Snooki showed up to the beach house with her clothes in a garbage bag, proceeded to get drunk and strip down to her bra and thong underwear and climb into the hot tub where she proceeded to paw at all the guys, being repelled by each. Then she blacked out, overslept, threw up and missed her first day of work orientation. Too classy for Springer? That was just the first 24 hours.

As for the future, she hopes to parlay her celebrity into a dating show called "Snookin’ For Love." She says "I want to find my prince. I’d have 27 guys: guidos and juice heads. That’d be heaven. Every time I’d pick a guy, I’d give them a pickle and we’d eat the pickles at the end." Sadly, given the popularity of these types of shows, I don't doubt she will get it. Snooki, who Mike compared to a Chihuahua spray-painted black, was quoted as saying "I'm not trashy, unless I drink too much" and "I tried to eat, but I couldn't get it in my frickin' mouth, 'cuz I'm disabled."

How appalling.

Finally we get to Pauly D, a deejay with his own personal tanning bed and a heavy addiction to hair gel (what he calls man-gel) which, for 25 minutes each morning, he uses to spike his hair and then point it backwards to look cool. (That is, if your definition for "cool" means "retarded.") How addicted is he to his man-gel? "There's no way I'm going to Jersey without my hair gel. Can't leave without my gel," he says. “I was born and raised a Guido; it’s just a lifestyle, it’s being Italian, it’s representing family, friends, tannin’, gel, everything.” Pauly practically wrote the handbook on being a Guido and noted that "There are some girls who are respectful, who you have to actually treat like girls, uh, human beings." On fist-pumping, that dance move popular with Guidos, he had this to say, "We're beatin'-up-the-beat, that's what we say when we're doing our fist pump. First, we start off by banging the ground, we're banging it as the beat builds 'cause that beat's hittin' us so we're fightin' back, it's like we beat up that beat." Uh huh. How could throwing punches at the dance floor appear lame? What's next, head pumping?

Some things are even too stupid to contemplate.

With 4.8 million homes tuned to the season finale of "Jersey Shore", and the likelihood that not all of them were located in New York and New Jersey, it does make me worry about the people that enjoy watching this show and whether any of them are of child-bearing years, drive vehicles or have access to explosives. I think shows like this one contribute to the decline of civilization and effectively dumb down our populace by spoon feeding them this kind of trash in lieu of substantive television programming. How long before we have millions of American adults glued to the TV screen watching some violent, angry version of Teletubbies? With the advent of these types of shows and their degenerative effect on our brain cells, it's only a matter of time.

In the meantime, perhaps we should try and preserve our collective I.Q. and watch shows that are entertaining on a more intellectual level such as "House", "Bones", "NCIS", "Fringe," "Criminal Minds," and wean ourselves off of other shows like "America's Top Model," "Melrose Place," "90210," and "So You Think You Can Dance."

And especially anything on the Fox News Channel!

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