The Fall of the GOP

March 6, 2012

Over the last month or so, I’ve pretty much dropped off the map… and managed to miss the BIGGEST clusterfrak in the history of the GOP. Ever. The whole debacle with Limbaugh and contraception and the hearings with nothing but men talking about ovaries when none of the have been near a vagina since birth…

It’s like when I missed meeting R. L. Stein because I had to work on Saturday. Only worse. And this involves vaginas.

Enough has been said on Current, The Young Turks, Maddow, and everywhere else. Let me just say this.

If you identify as a Republican, please consider that the man who called a woman a slut, a prostitute, a whore, is the de-facto leader of your party. Your political leaders are afraid of him. Even after he mischaracterized birth control and insulted a young woman for wanting nothing more than for her health insurance to cover a medicine that helps balance hormones, he stuck to his guns and insulted her character, insulted women, and made his case that femenists are nothing more than man-hating harpies. Insurance companies, after all, cover things like erectile dysfunction, so why not birth control pills?

An erection, after all, has no point other than to bone. Let us now use bone as a verb…

If a man is allowed to bone on insurance money, why can’t a woman receive a medicine that helps balance hormones and prevents a battalion’s worth of medical problems without being called a slut and a prostitute? GOP candidates were unsurprisingly soft on Limbaugh regarding his statements and subsequent non-apology.

Maybe they need erectile dysfunction medicine for the spine.

Ladies, you don’t deserve this. Limbaugh is not a man. He is a semblance of a person made of oxycotin and lard. He is a man-child who would not know how to treat a woman if you showed him a manual written by the combined forces of 3 billion women. He is everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. He is a misogynistic, racist piece of crap that deserves no pity. Once he is gone, conservative Americans might actually be able to move past this windbag’s rants and actually say something substantial.

As much as I rail against the GOP, it’s not that conservatism by itself is a bad thing. Holding on and remembering the past is a good thing. I think the past should be looked at fondly, but it should not be the only thing that matters. Conservatives of old might have had some points, but today’s GOP is run by Fox, Limbaugh, and the voices of unrelenting hatred.

Maybe this vitriol, as painful as it was, will serve to topple that trinity of evil conservatism.

With that in mind, here’s a video of our medicated puppy trying to get through the day.

The Wisdom of Beer and German Meats

Shown here? Pure, old-man wisdom.

October 3, 2011

It’s no secret for any long-term reader that I have a certain, shall we say, hatred for the state of Texas. Between gutting education and replacing it with conservative propaganda and lies and then electing a governor that’s little more than Yosemite Sam with a bad hair-style, this state has shown time and time again that it really would be better off floating into the vast void of space.

And considering the week I had the last ten days, I’d had it just about to here with the world. Take into account the last year, and it’s been rough.

And then my family went to Fredericksburg, Texas for Oktoberfest. Nothing cures the soul like the proper application of family, German sausage, and microbrewed beer.

I walked the streets of this little town with my fiancée and sampled various German beers and food. We checked out arts and crafts made by the residents of this small town and I felt a new invigoration for my own art.


October Cheers by ~Ellamori on deviantART

We got to walk the streets of Fredericksburg with beers in hand. It’s legal there, like Las Vegas, and it wasn’t until later in the day that we noticed something. There was almost no security anywhere. No one was falling-down drunk. There were no incidents. I’m guessing people were, like us, too stuffed with bratwurst to really move too fast. Or people were just nice.

Seriously, though, if I had to stay in Texas, I’d choose Hill Country. The number of artisan crafts, the weather, the country, and the food are awesome. Plus, San Antonio’s less than an hour away if you really need a bigger city’s resources.

The retroactively best moment of the night, the one that really washed away the last ten days, was at the restaurant where we had our forty-fifth or forty-sixth bratwurst. Not sure. I was in the restroom when I heard two gentlemen talking.

“What? Restaurant this big and only one pisser?”

“I know. I don’t think they planned this out. Don’t they know you don’t ‘buy’ beer? You rent it.”


Wise Owl by ~AletheaDo on deviantART

That’s when the world crystallized. Everything turned razor sharp and I ignored the rolling blend of spices and double bock beer in my stomach. Beer is rented? I’m sure I’d heard something similar, but the combination of sunlight, beer out in the open parks, and the love and company of my family created a perfect point in my brain for me to hear that phrase and think, “This is all temporary.”

At once, I knew I had to go home at the end of the day. I knew come Monday, I had to try and cram 60 hours of work into a 19-hour week. I knew I had to find a way to fit my writing and editing schedule in with a new job that, while it will provide much-needed income, will make things more hectic.

I knew all that, and at the same time, I knew those things would also pass.

Like beer at Oktoberfest.

Also, I found and bought the collected works of H. P. Lovecraft in a beautiful hardbound edition, so things are good.

Here’s the week. May it bring drink in the end and aspirin in the middle.

In the meantime, here’s Susan Boyle doing a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” It’s odd, but I find this song strangely inspiring considering this week.

Palin’s Rape Fantasy

It's not rape if you change the wording, right, Bristol?

July 11, 2011

Oh, there are so many things I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about Bachmann’s stupid pledge to ban gay marriage and porn. I wanted to touch on old shows getting new commercials inserted during the story. I wanted to do so much, but now I am forced to address a language issue that has far-reaching consequences.

Bristol Palin has ruined my day again.

It’s no secret that she had premarital sex, got pregnant, then was about to marry the father of her child even though they later had a falling out. It’s no secret that she’s a hypocrite for claiming that abstinence is the only kind of birth control that’s useful even though she never practiced it, never received proper sex education, and studies have shown that abstiance education actually increases the chance of getting pregnant or catching an STD. All of this is well known, if not accepted, by the Right.

But now Bristol has gone and said something that doesn’t just condratict reality. She’s said something that actually damages language and could create a problem for any woman that is sexually assaulted.

Bristol claims her virginity was “stolen.” She says she wasn’t raped, though. Her rationale is that we say we “lose our virginity,” so it’s accurate to say hers was stolen since she didn’t consent.

But it wasn’t rape, she insists. She was just really drunk and doesn’t remember what happened.

Yeah, that’s called date rape.


Scared Silent by *MEGAN-Yrrbby on deviantART

Words have meaning for a reason. The verbal knot she created by trying to defend her statements is not only indicative of her poor grasp of language, but it sets a dangerous precedent. If she and others like her can claim that their virginity was “stolen” but it wasn’t rape, if such a viewpoint of contradictions is ever accepted as valid, then others can make a similar claim.

“See, I didn’t rape her. I stole her virginity. And she doesn’t remember.”

“I didn’t kill my husband. I introduced an unappetizing ingredient in the form of ricin into his food because I knew he wouldn’t like it. It’s okay. He didn’t know what happened.”

“No, I didn’t drive drunk and hit someone. I was enjoying a night out when someone carelessly didn’t notice I was driving erratically and got in my, leading to their death. I didn’t take their life. They lost it.”

Like her mother, Bristol seems to think she can just make up her own definitions for words and it’ll just be accepted. Guess what? Yes, English is a language that changes all the time, but just because you don’t understand it and don’t get things like vocabulary, does not mean you get to go and invent new terms.


A Form of Rape by ~Equivamp on deviantART

So let me be blunt. There’s a term for stealing someone’s virginity. “Stealing” means to take without permission. When this applies to virginity or when it implies someone performs a sexual act on you without your consent, that’s called rape. If Bristol doesn’t want to report it, that’s her problem, but it adds to the problem of women not coming forth with assaults like this so something can be done…

But going on the national stage and claiming that having someone “steal” her virginity is not rape is irresponsible and ignorant. If you want to get technical, Bristol took English and forced it to produce an unnatural meaning. They made it do something it didn’t want to do. They, shall we say, made it perform an unnatural act?

Well, let’s get something fun now to wash the stupid away. Here’s Ben Franklin battling Billy Mayes.

Dunn and Done

It's funny because... actually it's not funny.

June 22, 2011

Okay, I need to address something about Ryan Dunn’s death.

He did it to himself and no, I will not mourn him, especially since he took a life in the process of ending his own.

And this wasn’t even a sudden accident. Dunn had a history of DUI’s and posted pictures of himself drinking before the accident. He drove his car at over a hundred miles per hour and had to be identified by his tattoos. The car was a wreck that could only be identified as a car because it was on a road.

Roger Ebert and R. K. Milholland both wrote about the death and made no attempt to hide their contempt for Dunn, though Milholland used more dark humor than the former. Both have gotten a lot of flak for it on Twitter and elsewhere.


And So, It Goes by ~PsychoMonkeyShogun on deviantART

Ebert made a now infamous tweet where he said, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Granted, at the time of the tweet, it was unknown if alcohol had been involved, but the pictures of Dunn made it clear that alcohol was involved. No one sobers up that quickly. Milholland, on the other hand, should be well-known to anyone with a sick sense of humor. If you don’t read his comic, look at the first comic ONLY, and if you laugh, you get it. If you think it’s sick, well, the internet is not for you. If you were entertained, good for you. Keep reading. That online comic kept me sane for many years.

And Randy, if you’re reading this, you’ve been an inspiration for a long time. Keep it up!


Sarcasm 5 by ~applebutter180 on deviantART

Here’s what this rage over the comments boils down to. A man known by millions got lit like a German Christmas tree and crashed his VERY expensive car, killing himself and another human being.

I have contempt for Jackass, which is how many knew Dunn. I think it’s nothing more than a bunch of guys acting stupid to get attention, that it’s the widely-distributed version of self-inflicted pain Youtube videos. Don’t get me wrong; I love watching people get hurt on Youtube, but I do so with the understanding that said people were trying to act cool or do something stupid and ended up paying a physical price for it. I don’t look up to them or care for them. That’s what makes it funny. If someone purposefully hurts him or herself in an attempt to get attention, well, they’re a ja-

Nah, too easy.

Comedy occurs when someone whom we don’t care for is hurt. Mel Brooks himself said it best. If any one of you actually thought Dunn was funny and if you cared for him, you would not laugh at him for Jackass. Did you laugh? Then you didn’t care, so stop complaining.

Translation? If you act stupid and get hurt, expect me to laugh at you not because I think you’re a comedian, but because you’re an idiot.


DDD don’t drink and drive by *fabioricci on deviantART

If Dunn had been the only person killed a few days ago, yes, I’d probably mourn the loss of an irreplaceable human life, regardless of what I thought of his career. I’d be right there with Johnny Knoxville and the others.

But Dunn killed a man.

Said passenger should have known better, but Dunn was the one who drove and Dunn was the one who wrapped his car around a pole and burned both men to death.

Ebert and Milholland are right. They were a bit more… creative with their reactions, but in case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, here was my reaction, date June 21st, 1:28 PM Central Time:

Ryan Dunn died while driving drunk after twitting a pic of himself drinking for several hours. His car was a twisted wreck since he was driving at triple-digit speed. Reports say he killed at least one other person. Yes, it’s a tragedy. No, I do not feel sorry for him. If the world was fair, he would have been the only one to die. Idiot…

If you don’t like someone pointing out another person’s stupidity and the utter waste of life, get off the internet. I’ve lost enough people in the last ten years… hell, the last ten MONTHS, to qualify me for horror-movie survivor status. I will gladly acknowledge that some of my loved ones had their faults. Everyone does.

But none of them killed a man in the act of inadvertently taking their own lives.

If you can’t accept that fact, if you can’t even listen to someone else RIGHTLY criticize a man for taking a human life in the process of ending his own, stop reading right now.

If you’re still butt-sore and want to vent some rage, I recommend you wear a lead jock strap and get a kryptonite ring before you post anything.

I’m scrappy.


Ryan Dunn Portrait by ~sheriksillo on deviantART

And if you want to wash the taste of internet rage from your brain, here are some links to numb the brain and waste your time.

  • Jackie is already pretty bad-ass for performing his own stunts. I think it’s more bad-ass that he trained a fish. Yes, he did. There’s video.
  • How do you solve global warming? Like this. DARE YOU FIND FAULT WITH HER LOGIC!?
  • And finally, Weird Al released his video for his parody of “Born This Way.” It’s called “Perform This Way.” It’s… creepy to say the least. Enjoy, and I’ll see you on Friday.

A Defense of Drug Abuse

It's fine as long as you drink with a group. Honestly!

December 13, 2010

Man cannot live on bread alone. Occasionally, there must be drink.

Artists in every field occasionally dabble with the dilemma of drugs and alcohol. Not so much in, “Should I drink/ use this?” as much as, “Will this make me a better artist?” There is no image more enduring than that of the writer or artist in some smoky bar, stiff drink in one hand, cigarette in the other, notebook or sketchpad at the ready for inspiration to hit.

It’s crap.

Well, mostly. It would be a lie to say that drugs and alcohol haven’t helped art in some way. As Bill Hicks once said, the greatest music in the last century has been influenced by drug use. So, in an effort to build on that tradition, let’s go over a few of the more popular drinks and what they can do for you as a writer.

I do want to point out that I firmly believe, along with Stephen King and scores of writers, that any artist that NEEDS alcohol or something else in order to function is in desperate need of some help. This is just a review of various drinks and how they can best be used to jump start creativity or how to use them in a social situation with other writers.


Gluttony 2 Redone by ~TchaikovskyCF on deviantART

Bourbon

This is a stiff drink, not for the uninitiated, that a friend once called perfect writing inspiration as long as you blasted some James Brown.

Bourbon is best enjoyed by yourself unless you can find others to drink it with you. I prefer it straight, though if the weather’s a bit hot some ice is always welcome. Bourbon on the rocks may not be as manly, but hey… It works.

As a solitary drink, enjoy it slowly. Taste the different flavors. Feel the wood-aged smokiness. Poetry benefits from that sensation of aged whiskey, the sting of the first taste, and the legacy of rugged men throughout the years sipping this spirit in bars all over the world. If bourbon’s not your thing, other whiskeys like Crown Royal or even Jack Daniels work in a pinch. This is actually my drink of choice when just working alone.

Expect to grow some facial hair with bourbon.

Tequila

Under no circumstances or threat of a bullet to the brain EVER drink any tequila that does not say “100% agave” on the label. I mean it. You better eat a bullet before you drink any of the swill served at scores of college parties or office Christmas parties.

I’m serious. Tequila drunk, real tequila drunk, is a sensation that’s not easily replicated by any other liquor I’ve ever had. You’re a bit numb and uninhibited but without the fog of other alcohols. The next day, if all you drank was pure tequila distilled from 100% agave, you’ll wake up without any hint of hangover. Sip it. Enjoy the flavors, the sharp sting and the mellow wood flavors.

While I don’t usually condone mixed drinks, a shot of tequila with some orange juice and a shot of sangrita makes a delicious alternative for those who don’t like straight liquor. Pace yourself to one drink an hour and you’ll stay within a zone of clear-headedness that will help you write and consider ideas previously taboo.

And you won’t be so drowsy that you’ll forget what you’re thinking about.

Still, pace yourself. Whether or not your antics end up on Youtube is your own fault.


Tequila by *coldasylum on deviantART

Beer

If you’re looking for inspiration, this is actually the last place you should look. I enjoy a good, dark beer, but even I have to admit that this is one of the worst drinks, in any form, for inspiration. It’s fizzy and makes you go to the bathroom every ten minutes. It may be good for social get-togethers, and may work with other artists, but as a general rule, it’s not great when it comes to opening the ol’ brainpan.


Beer by ~tilk-the-cyborg on deviantART

Absinthe

The Green Faerie… It’s blamed for the madness of an entire generation of artists. Absinthe is now available in the United States, and I have a limited experience with it, but I can honestly say it’s one of the more interesting drinks to have while working.

Like tequila, it seems to induce clear-headedness while granting the regular benefits of inebriation. Inhibitions and the normal censors in the brain go down while you remain alert. That, combined with a light numbing in the mouth from the oils and chemicals in the liquor, make it feel unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I can see why Van Gogh and Oscar Wilde coveted this drink. While I’m not a fan of sweet drinks, the connection, however tenuous, to those great masters is thrilling.


OOAK Sculpture: La Fee Verte by *Indigo-Ocean on deviantART

And that’s really what the drink gives you: a connection to the past. Drinking is a social experience. You should enjoy it with others, preferably artists and creative types who can loosen up and share their insight and accept your own ramblings.

Anyone who needs liquor to work has a problem. But nothing is more traditional, more insightful, than the occasional alcohol-fueled gab session.

Hey, I wrote two theses at a bar, which brings us to one final point:

Pick your bars carefully.

Dark corners are good. Anything that plays decent music is welcome, but not necessary. If the bar gets too crowded, you’ve lost any ability to work. If you’re going to write or sketch, arrive early or late. Avoid the peak hours or pick a nice corner with enough light to see. And tip your waiter or bartender. Let them know you mean business. As someone who also worked in the food service industry, I can tell you that a constant good tipper goes a long way to getting you in the bar’s good graces. Hey, it might even score you a free drink.

And observe.

Even if you yourself don’t do any drinking, bars are perfect places to get a glimpse into human behavior. As the alcohol flows, you’ll see people acting like idiots, but you’ll also see and hear material you’d never think of on your own.

Now go get drunk and write something.

And for those artists who are 21 (or pretend to be 21), what drinks do you prefer while working?

And now for links!

  • The Salvation Army won’t distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys because they are against the organization’s Christian beliefs. Wow. Really? I can understand not giving away Twilight toys (they cause cancer, you know), but Harry Potter toys?
  • The science fiction purist in me says AAAAGH! But the geek in me says “Oh!” to these redesigned Darth Vader models.
  • And finally, movies like this are the reason alcohol should not be taken on a constant basis while writing.

Divine by Zero: Birthday Bras, High School Werewolves, and Army Brownies

Welcome once again to Divine by Zero, the only place where you can hear an anarchic liberal with a weird accent ramble about the crazy things in life. A few things came my way these past few days, and I have to give full blame for one of them to Stephenie Meyer.

  • First and foremost, happy birthday to the bra. Yesterday, the bra celebrated 100 years. Ladies, raise a toast for this wonderful piece of underwear. And gentlemen, also raise a toast to this wonderful piece of underwear.

  • The army released the recipe for brownies it uses to make these tasty treats for the troops… and it’s 26 pages long. Apparently, if you follow the directions exactly, you can make brownies that last for years. Anyone want to try this and comment below to tell us how they taste?
  • Science Daily released a report that states that exposure to certain bacteria can actually make you smarter. Specifically, exposure to something called mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, can boost learning ability. I don’t buy this report at all. How can you explain nerds’ increased brain-power? We RARELY go outside! Sunlight burns.
  • And once again my state proves it’s on a crazy race with Arizona. In San Antonio, police arrested a man who had decals on his car that marked him part of the sheriff’s department in Baxar County but in the nation of the Republic of Texas. Police are charging the man with false identification, not impersonating a police officer. Why not charge him with the latter? Because doing so would mean that Texas officially recognizes the existence of the Republic of Texas, a make-believe country some die-hard conservatives here believe is the rightful nation in these parts. They don’t believe the “official” state laws apply to them and so just pretend they’re citizens of this Republic. It’d be like investigating Fox News for improper journalism. That would imply they actually do journalism.
  • We don’t hear a lot of good stories about the oil spill in the Gulf, but an 11-year-old in New York named Olivia Bouler has raised thousands of dollars by selling her drawings. There’s even a Facebook page about it. This is great because it shows the impact a single person can make on something as massive as this, but it also upsets me that a little girl’s drawings of birds have more fans on Facebook than I do… I somehow feel my manhood has been threatened… She must be stopped.
  • Speaking of funny/ horrifying things having to do with the spill, did you know the government employees in charge of inspecting the drilling were watching porn, drinking, and doing meth? Oh, and they were taking bribes, were childhood friends of the people who owned the rigs, and very likely have to kill puppies to reach climax.
  • Speaking of children, two brain trusts decided to give their baby Pop Rocks. How did it go? Well… just watch. This kid looks like he just walked in on his parents making him a little brother when the candy pops or something.

  • Republicans, meet the internet. We’re crazy. House Republicans set up a website a few days ago called America Speaking Out. The goal was to have everyday Americans suggest the course for policy so they wouldn’t feel like the Republicans were ignoring reality. Unfortunately, when you ask the internet for advice, you get advice like this.

“End Child Labor Laws […] We coddle children too much. They need to spend their youth in the factories.”

“How about if Congress actually do thier job and VET or Usurper in Chief, Obama is NOT a Natural Born Citizen in any way […] That fake so called birth certificate is useless.”

“A ‘teacher’ told my child in class that dolphins were mammals and not fish! And the same thing about whales! We need TRADITIONAL VALUES in all areas of education. If it swims in the water, it is a FISH. Period! End of Story.”

“English is are official langauge. Anybody who ain’t speak it the RIGHT way should kicked out.”

  • And finally… I know Stephanie Meyers is behind this. Somehow. A new trend in San Antonio schools is for kids to identify themselves as “werewolves.” I’m not making this up. They wear collars and identify with wolves. You HAVE to see this video to believe I am not just making things up.

That’s it for today. Stay tuned tomorrow, because some idiots on Facebook are launching “Everybody Draw the Holocaust Day” in response to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” I wish I could say I didn’t have to explain why this is wrong… but I do.

Link and share, please.