Four years ago, I was in Washington DC, working as a speechwriter. I was working 50+ hours a week but making decent money. I was also freelancing on the side to help pay off the debt I’d incurred moving to DC. I was staying with a friend in Indiana who was kind enough to open the door for me while I found a job, but had to leave after only one week. The job started literally the day after I arrived and managed to find a place to live. I was stressed, lonely, and barely slept, but I was prepared to work even harder to be the best I could be and make my mark and possibly a new career…
Then… things happened. And I was $3,000 down, jobless, and had to pack what few belongings I had left into my car and drive and hope for the best. Longest 40 hours of my life.
Now, I’m making less than a third of my former salary…
But I met the love of my life upon returning to Laredo, I have a job with two bosses that I respect, teach children how to write using Mythbusters and Batman, have the time to write and do what makes me happy, started Randomology.org, and have a kick-ass D&D group. And did I mention my AWESOME wife?
All I’m saying is… plans change. The world kicks you in the tender spots. You know what? Get drunk. Cry. Meet up with friends and tear it up. Pack everything up and drive through snow and hope you don’t die… and when you get to your next destination… well, you never know.
Someone asked me upon returning, “What are you going to do now?” I just said, “Start over. What else is there to do?”
I guess as I sit here editing Charcoal Streets and reading the news for a new video for Monday, I look over at my wife working on her graduate studies, translating a new document, and I can’t believe I might have missed all this. I might have missed her.
Just four years ago, the world seems simple and difficult. Now, it’s still difficult, and I may not be making the kind of money I was making before, but I’m happy. Plus, I get to prove that I can bounce back from something like that and make the people who doubted me eat crow.
What more could I possibly want?
Oh right! We’re going to watch Mister Bean, Parks and Recreation, and Star Trek and drink Blue Moon later. WORLD. GOT. EVEN. BETTER.
Not shown? The smug contempt he holds for you and your kind...
June 17, 2011
I’m going to nip this in the bud right now.
Rick Perry is a moron and if he does run for President, I want the rest of the country to be ready. There are far crazier people, like Bachmann and Kane, and there may be dumber, such as Gingritch, but Perry has something the others don’t have.
He has a lot of cred with right-wingers, and he has the backing of a lot of groups like the NRA. The Tea Party loves him. And let’s not forget that he’s actually more eloquent than the last yahoo from this state that ran for president. Before we even get to the primaries, before the ads run, and before people start wondering “Who is Rick Perry?” allow me to fill in the gaps for you, dear reader, and save you some trouble. And as you read these and think to yourself, “NO one could be THAT dense,” remember that Perry also once claimed that Juarez, Mexico was the most dangerous city in America.
Perry’s stance on a lot of things boil down to one word: prayer. Yes, everything from rain to protection from terrorists requires nothing more than getting down and praying to Pops, Junior, and Spooky. Don’t believe me?
He didn’t ask for plans for irrigation and water storage systems. He didn’t offer aid to the people struck by this. He didn’t even pitch the idea of a PSA to let people know of things they could do to help conserve water. The man asked his state to pray.
Now, I’m no scientist, but I live here, and I can tell you that it hasn’t rained in a LONG time. We’re dryer than a Hemingway story over here. We’re getting lakes catching on fire, and Perry thinks God will come down and bring water from heaven.
Shouldn’t God be doing this without so much prompting? I mean, it IS His creation? I know if my manuscript caught fire, I’d put it out.
Then again, Perry did invite the other 49 governors to join him to fast and pray for our nation to help combat things like terrorism. Five guesses how that went.
Maybe he needs to get a new long-distance plan, ‘cause Texas might be roaming.
Rick Perry jogs and, as the governor of one of the most armed states in the Union, he has a full security detail. Let me repeat that: our governor has a fully armed and trained security team with him when he goes out.
Which explains, I guess, why the governor felt it was necessary to shoot a coyote he found while on a jog.
The story goes that Perry saw said coyote and it approached him. It threatened his dog, so the governor, in accordance with Texas law, took out a .38 pistol and shot the coyote dead.
Sounds like a great case for being able to carry a gun, huh?
Except that’s not quite the whole story. According to Perry, he CHARGED the coyote after it had stopped with a verbal threat. The animal was already stopped in its tracks. All Perry and the team and his dog had to do was go in a different direction. Did Perry do that? Nope. He shot an animal and killed it. And where did this take place?
In a hilly suburban area of Austin. The man pulled out a laser-mounted gun and killed a wild animal like he was Allan Fraking Quatermain. That wasn’t approaching him.
We’ve already established that Perry is a man of God, a man of Faith, but did you know he is also a man who understands the nuances of economics and basic morality? It’s true! A few years ago, Perry made the bold claim that if the federal government didn’t stop trying to force these draconian programs, like much-needed health-care reform, he and his state would secede!
That’s right. A sitting United States governor openly threatened to leave the Union. I’ve already put my two cents in on the whole “We have the right to leave” business, but I think none other than the king of liberal snark, Keith Olbermann himself, put it best when it came to Perry’s threat.
With that being said, it’s quite shocking, then, that Perry recently asked for government aid when wildfires burned through the state. I guess government is evil and oppressive… until you actually need something from it. Then you’re entitled to it. Which is why he just had to bash the stimulus as unethical two years ago and why he had to nevertheless take billions in federal funds to plug our state’s deficit…
The recession was caused by a number of factors such as the housing bubble and the banks taking far too many risks with no regulation to keep them in check. It’s a bit complex, but two years down the road, we can look back and see where the country went wrong. For Rick Perry, though, it’s much simpler than that.
God did it.
See, God wants us to be more self-sufficient, to go back to Biblical economics. I guess Perry forgot all the slavery and buying and selling people thing in the Bible, too, but that’s beside the point. Perry believes that the government should do nothing, that we have to fend for ourselves, and this is a lesson from the Almighty.
Coupled with the fact that he actively bashes welfare programs that could help women and children while he takes billions of dollars to plug a deficit he helped create, this only leads to one conclusion.
He has to be. It’s the only rationale for why he would be above the rules set for the rest of us. I had to borrow money from the government to go to college, and now I’m paying it off, but in Perry’s world, that makes me a slave. I have friends who have to use food stamps to feed their children. Obviously, keeping their children healthy and fed makes them evil.
But not Perry.
He can shoot animals in residential areas, and instruct people to refuse government aid while he instructs people to be religious and refuse said money themselves.
Even though his numbers are low in Texas, he’s pretty popular with the Tea Party and many Right-Wingers. And we all remember what happened last time a religious fanatic from Texas got into a position of power, right? I’m just trying to warn everyone. I don’t think he’d win, but then again, I didn’t think the leader of the free world would almost be assassinated by a pretzel.
Ever played ding dong ditch? You know, where you ring a doorbell, run and hide, and watch some poor sap go to the door and find no one there? Oh, good times! And as we all know, the appropriate reaction to seeing a kid pull a prank like this is a SHOTGUN BLAST TO THE BACK. I seriously hope they put this guy in the deepest, darkest hole we can find, then cover him in fire ants.
And the winner, and still champion, JESUUUUUUUS OF NAAAAAAZAREEEEEETH!
December 22, 2010
O’Reilly answered us!
And by “us” I mean Olbermann, Colbert, The Young Turks, and all of us who called him the self-centered hypocrite that that he is for trying to use the teachings of Jesus as an excuse to not tax the rich. It seems that my early Christmas present was a rebuttal with all the eloquence and intelligence of a five-year old trying to squirm out of getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Just to refresh your memory, O’Reilly wrote an article in which he used Christian teaching as a justification for not helping the poor. In his mind, if you cannot help yourself, you do not deserve help, which as I and others showed, is a complete reversal of what Jesus actually said.
Before we get to the meat, a word of the Founding Fathers.
It’s disrespectful to bring up the fact that Benjamin Franklin liked the ladies? Sure, Colbert’s joke that Franklin uttered the phrase “The Lord helps those who help themselves” between “mouthfuls of French whore” may sound disrespectful, but only really if you think sex is a bad thing. I think most of my readers will agree that the fact that Franklin was not only a great inventor, statesman, a Founding Father, and quite the ladies’ man makes him a model to strive for.
Bill refers to the Parable of the Talents, a story Jesus told in which a man gives three servants some money. Two invest the money and pay it back with interest while the third hid it away. The third servant is then chastised and cast out.
I remember hearing this story as a child. It’s in Matthew 25:14-30. As it was explained to me, the parable refers not to money, but to the gospel of Christ. Don’t keep it for yourself, I was told. Spread the word and multiply it. Use it. Don’t hold it in. In fact, if you’ve ever heard the song, “This Little Light of Mine,” you get the idea. It’s a call to ministry.
Bill, it seems, has never heard of a metaphor. In fact, the idea that the money in the story is a symbol, as most things in parables are usually interpreted, is not even considered.
Then Bill goes and does something really weird. He says that charity is a cornerstone of Christian teaching and then says that Mother Teresa is a perfect example of saintly behavior while instantly saying that we should not do what she did because it’s inconvenient. You know, I agree with him. I’m not so selfless that I would drop everything to go help people on the other side of the world. But then… I’m not Mother Teresa.
It gets weirder as Bill equates “rich people” with “responsible people” and the poor and unemployed with “irresponsible people.” Tell me, just how irresponsible is it to not have a job despite months of looking? How irresponsible is it to look for government aid such as food stamps to keep food on the table? Is it irresponsible to accept government loans and grants to go to college when you don’t have the means?
Bill, though, takes it a step further by saying we have no responsibility to pay for other people’s gin and cocaine, somehow assuming that’s what people do with food stamps and government aid.
Now that’s just sick and low.
First off, being rich doesn’t make you responsible. It makes you rich. It doesn’t make you some financial expert, and it doesn’t mean you create jobs. It just means you get paid a lot, and if the clowns at Fox are any indication, brains and common sense are not needed to rake in millions each year.
Kind of makes me want to write a book at Tea Baggers just to make money from them.
Look, Bill didn’t actually address the points I and many others bashed him for. He just repeated them with the same conviction. And no, Bill, Jesus wouldn’t agree with you.
He would jump down from the cross, break off a piece, and slap you with it until the seventh angel blew his trumpet.
If you want to make an argument for not taxing the rich, stop using Jesus like Republican Senators and members of Congress use 9/11. It’s like a freaking security blanket. Just say you want people to do things your way because you’re a self-centered prick with no concept of how the world works. Admit that you’ve taken Jesus and made him your five-dollar whore. At least be honest with your self-centeredness. Don’t pass the blame to a guy you believe died so you could get into heaven.
It’s one thing to be a bastard. Don’t be a lying bastard on top of that. Remember, Bill, Jesus loves you, but he doesn’t have to like you.
No links today. However, look for a special Christmas story from Via Rosa this Friday. See you then, and I hope everyone had a happy Solstice!
I’m going to warn you right now that this is a rant. Pure and simple. Also, don’t forget to vote on the poll to the right.
If you’re rich and you have to pay high taxes, I just have on thing to say to you.
For those of you who don’t follow tax regulations (it’s better than a Star Trek marathon!), one of the big debates on the political circuit has been whether to allow Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. These tax cuts are part of the “trickle-down economic model.” The theory is that if the rich have more money, they’ll invest it and it will eventually get down to the lower and middle classes. The rich, after all, are the job creators.
Oh, the rich! Were it not for them, we would still be living in trees, right?
My dad says something I always repeat to myself when someone complains about paying high taxes because of wealth. He likes to say that he’d love to have to pay half his salary to the government. Why? Because it means that he has more than enough left to live more than comfortably. And that’s just it. People have two thresholds for money as far as I’m concerned. You have the amount at which you can survive. For anyone not living on minimum wage, let me assure you that it’s not an easy feat. I’d love a few hundred more a month just to save up in case of emergencies.
At the same time, there is a point at which you no longer have to worry. We all have different standards of living and we’d all love to be rich, but we also have a point at which our basic desires, not just needs, are met and we can live without inconvenience. A recent study found that, for most people, this was roughly $75,000. Do you know how much I’d kill for that much money per year? Per two years?
The truth is that if you make enough to qualify for the Bush tax cuts, upwards of a quarter million a year, you’re doing pretty good.
“But isn’t taxing the rich more immoral? After all, they worked hard for their money!”
This is probably the most common argument against taxing the rich. It’s somehow wrong to deny the rich of their property. Guess what? A lot of rich people worked hard for that money. A lot of them woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning to build business empires that now span the globe.
A lot of them are also dead.
I could name names Paris Hilton and just say that Lindsay Lohan some people either inherited their money Glenn Beck or made it by selling crap to gullible people. Some wealthy people are using their wealth to get more money from the rest of us. Look at the Koch brothers or any lobbying firms working to screw the middle class. They are funding the Tea Party on daddy’s dollar to try and make a profit down the road.
That’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate, hard-working people in the upper echelons of society. The problem is that giving more money to those that have it is the complete opposite of what works. How do I know? Because we tried it before.
During the Clinton years, we had higher taxes on the rich and the economy thrived. Do you remember the Clinton years? The biggest problem we had to worry about was the fact the president of the United States screwed something besides the people that voted for him.
Actually, did Monica vote for Bill?
At that time, the economy was doing great. Why? The rich got taxed more and the middle class got taxed less. We had more money to spend. We GAVE our money to companies so they could go out and make more stuff for us to buy. Now, we’ve got companies exporting jobs out of the country and nothing stopping them from doing so. Any mention of regulation is met by shouts of “socialism” and “anti-business” rhetoric.
And let’s not forget the classic “class warfare” battle cry. Glenn, take it away!
Notice how he doesn’t specify that the tax cuts are for the wealthiest people in this country. Not for everyone. More than 98% of us have gotten tax cuts in the last few years, but the people who could afford to pay more don’t.
It’s like saying that your car can’t possibly crash because you have an important meeting to get to. It’s like saying your teenage daughter can’t get pregnant because you want her to go to medical school. It’s like saying a tornado can’t wreck your house because you just got a new TV. Everyone is happier when the rich get taxed more. The middle class has money to spend and the rich get more revenue because people can afford to buy things. It’s that simple.
I swear that if I hear one more rich person complain about getting taxed too much, I will personally suck the money out of their bank account to mirror mine and make them live on that for one month and see how they like it.
Ever wanted to know when the universe will end? Turns out it’s a lot closer than we thought. But don’t worry! We’ll all die in the nuclear Armageddon long before that.
Tiger Woods has done a lot of things (and mistresses HIYO!), but he’s just given us perhaps the greatest photograph in the history of golf. Ever!
And finally, what would happen if our old Disney cartoons tackle modern-day issues like right-wing radio paranoia? Check out this fantastic video to find out what happens when Donald Duck meets Glenn Beck.
Beck’s on vacation, Limbaugh’s just normal crazy, Bachmann is still her same old psycho-idiot, and no one’s really done anything stupid enough in censorship this week. At least, I haven’t seen anything.
Time for an English language rant!
Arguments often lead to a basic truth. Even if one side will never admit it, there’s often one point of view that’s more valid or just made a better use of evidence and logic. However, this assumes both sides start on equal footing. If you have one side labeled a devil while the other is white-washed and wreathed in angels and flowers, you’re going to get a very different public perception.
If one side is for life, isn’t the opposite side for death?
That’s the first thing I thought when I first heard of this debate. The names are completely inadequate to frame the debate. You can always have, say, socialism versus capitalism since both terms which describe their points of view, but pro choice and pro-life both have names that are absurd.
“Pro-life” already implies that a fetus is alive from the point of conception. If you believe in a woman’s right to chose, you understand how problematic this can be. If the debate starts with the other side saying they want to save lives, because those lives are real (a circular argument), you’ve pretty much lost. Your side will forever be branded “pro-death.”
This is perhaps the only group I can think of that is named based on what it DOESN’T believe. A deist believes in a divine power but may choose not to worship it. A Christian believes that Christ is the son of God. A Buddhist follows the teaching of Buddha. An atheist believes in… atheism?
By framing atheism as the absence of a belief system when all other belief systems are based on their definition, it creates an instant hostility. We don’t call Jews “proto-Christians” any more than we call Buddhists “non-Muslims.” An atheist believes that the world and what we can analyze and interact with is all that exists. That’s it, but calling an atheist “materialistic” uses a term that’s also been tainted by meanings of greed.
Take, for example, “traditional family values.” Oh boy. I hate this one. The argument is never against Christian morality or fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. It’s typically framed in the context of “traditional family values,” a term that means almost nothing without knowing whose family you’re talking about.
And trust me. I wrote speeches for Congress. I learned to write five minutes of nothing. It hurt.
“Bigot” is another that’s been getting thrown out. If you don’t agree with someone’s philosophy, you’re a bigot, or at least that’s the way some people are using the term. That used to be called multiculturalism. I don’t have to agree with someone’s world-view to like or get along with them.
Okay, that’s it. I’m tired. On Friday, hopefully the new Charcoal Streets will be ready. It’s turning into my own personal Duke Nukem Forever.
This handy infographic on the Facebook vs iPhone vs Android app war is quite telling. No matter how much people complain about Facebook every time it changes something, it still manages to draw a crowd.
In news that is sure to get all you history-philes all nice and moist, footage of the blitz IN COLOR has been recently unearthed in England. It shows the war in a way we hadn’t seen before. Now I’m waiting for that 3D footage of Normandy.
Friends of mine in the Army have told me about MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) and the verdict ranges from gut-cement to “taste of home.” Ever wonder what other countries give their troops? I have to say, if given the choice, I’d go with the French MRE.
Money can’t buy happiness, but $75,000 a year can buy peace of mind. That’s the claim by a recent study. Apparently, $75,000 is enough to lessen stress. It doesn’t make you happier, but it provides enough financial security to help offset many crises.