Friday, August 29, 2014

Well, of COURSE I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Did I really think I was going to get away without having to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? You know, for a second there, I kinda did.
I thought I was flying low enough below the radar that I wouldn't have to endorse (or condemn) something that has become a true pop culture phenomenon that people seem to either absolutely love or completely despise (personally, I think ultimately it's a good thing and I don't entirely understand certain complaints about it).
"Augh, I'm so tired of these stupid videos! Here's another 50 of them that I feel compelled to watch for some reason, even though I have the freedom to do whatever I want and something I'm not actually required to participate in shouldn't bother me that much! Augh!"
But no, I should have known better. I should have guessed that somebody would nail me eventually. Finally, the other day my Unbelievables writing partner Jeff Hickmott challenged me (I didn't think people from the UK were allowed to challenge Americans any more. What the hell was the point of the damn Revolution?). He also challenged our other partner Michael Noble and he's already complied like a champion. But here's mine. I accepted the challenge and complied, albeit with some difficulty...

You are officially "on the clock" Ronnie Elliott, Rob Pastore, Rebekah Pulley, Spike Slater and Renee Warmack.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Here we gun again

Once again, we woke up to headlines about a shooting involving a child. This time, a nine-year-old girl, under adult supervision, was firing an uzi and accidentally shot and killed a firing range instructor.

A nine-year-old. With an uzi.
An uzi is an open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun invented in the 1940s and has been used as a frontline weapon by elite light infantry assault forces.
A nine-year-old is barely half of a legal adult human being, restricted by law from getting married, voting, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer or seeing a movie with too many tits in it. Their years of life experience and responsibility in anything can be measured in single digits. A typical nine-year-old can't even be relied upon to put their toys away, let alone handle an open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun.
There is no good reason for these two things to ever be a combination.

However, because more than one previously-presumed intelligent adults didn't think that was the case, a firearms instructor is dead and a little kid has to live with that for the rest of her life. I really hope that in the last instant before he died, that guy thought, "Yep, I totally deserve this", that he was at least capable of acknowledging bad judgment and a lack of discretion, even if only in hindsight. If that sounds harsh, I'm sorry. There's no nice way to say it; this is a stupid and senseless thing. And if your response to any of this is something along the lines of "well, that's the cost of freedom; occasionally a child might accidentally mow someone down with an Israeli assault weapon for the sake of our constitutional rights", go ahead and classify yourself as senseless and stupid too.

I'm really starting to question the existence of "responsible gun owners". These so-called "isolated incidents" (and isn't the term "isolated incidents" an oxymoron as soon as there are more than one of them?) never seem to happen... until they do. Like bombs and missiles; perfectly safe and harmless when they're just sitting there in their launch silos waiting to do what they will eventually do.

But if you're out there, "responsible gun owners", if you actually exist, can you talk to your fellow hobbyists please? They are not doing you, or anyone else for that matter, any favors. And let's be honest, okay? Can we drop the pretense and admit the truth about you and your gun collection? It's a hobby and you're a hobbyist. You're not sentinels of liberty or beacons of freedom or any other self-important, red, white and blue bullshit. You're a collector, just like I'm a collector of baseball cards. The only differences are that my right to own and bear baseball cards is not protected by the constitution and that if I mishandle my baseball cards, nobody is going to die. You don't want the government or anybody else telling you what to do? Fine. Then figure your shit out, get it together and fix it already. Try to convince some of these dumbasses to take up another hobby.
Incident-free since (at least) 1972

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All right, all right, I guess I want an award

Actually, click HERE, not up there.
There used to be a time when I would launch mock campaigns to try to win a "Loafie" award via Creative Loafing magazine's annual "Best of the Bay" surveys. These campaigns would include rivalries, endorsements and impassioned pleas, all with a tongue-in-cheek "ha-ha-I-know-I-won't-win-but-if-something-strange-happens-and-I-do-win-I-will-totally-accept-it" tone. I haven't done one of those since 2011 and there are a few valid reasons why:

  1. I never won.
  2. I think I've mined that territory for as much material as possible.
  3. I honestly don't care if I win or not. I know everybody says that and it's hip and artsy to act aloof and like you're above such petty things as trophies that symbolize acceptance and appreciation from the general public. But it's not that I don't want to win one; if I do, I would absolutely be thrilled and would show up at the ceremony to get it and then display it in a place of prominence. It's just that I don't really care whether or not I win one, and that's because I feel like I get plenty of positive feedback on a face-to-face level, which is more than gratifying.
All of that said, John Fontana, my friend and boss (Chief Editor) at Raw Charge, made notice of the 2014 Best of the Bay survey currently taking place and attached my name to it via Twitter.
That was nice of him and since he went to the trouble, I re-tweeted it. Since then, I've heard from a few people who actually went to the trouble of voting. 
Well, geez.
The survey is pretty extensive (long) and now that people have put forth the effort to make it a thing, I kind of feel like I should actually make something of a push to win, so as to justify the time people took to cast votes for me.
Nothing has really changed; I don't expect to win but would be thrilled if I did. Either way, it doesn't really change anything as my motivation for doing what I do is not derived from trophies. If you want to vote, do so here and thank you. If you don't, no big deal (If you don't live here or are not at least familiar with the area, please don't vote. As funny as I think it would be for Los Pollos Hermanos to win for Best Fried Chicken or Paddy's Pub for Best Bar, I don't want to see local merchants who really care about this stuff hosed by a skewed vote). I appreciate the effort or lack thereof equally. Because remember this sage philosophy:

"I don't wanna be a poet
Cuz I don't wanna blow it
I don't care 2 win awards
All I wanna do is dance
Play music, sex, romance
And try my best 2 never get bored" - Prince

Monday, August 25, 2014

Irritation for the sake of agitation

I spent this past Saturday working at an event held outdoors at downtown Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park. It was a food festival and I was at a tent near the front of the park selling admission wristbands. There are fountains there that parents let their kids play in. From what I could tell, it's something that some people do every weekend as a lot of the people seemed to know each other. The parents set up lawn chairs on one end and watched their kids go nuts, running back and forth through the water.
About an hour into the event, a middle-aged woman toting a cart full of stuff pulled up and began assembling a display (I don't know why, but I didn't take a picture of her. Sorry about that.) that featured pictures of aborted fetuses. Oh good. An anti-abortion protester. With a microphone. Swell. Now I get to spend my Saturday morning listening to this. But I get it. It's a park. Public space and she has the right to free speech. Fine. Whatever.
But here's the part that makes me do this...
The area where she set up her display was right in among the parents who were there to watch their non-aborted fetuses play in the fountains. Not only that, she got into verbal arguments with at least four different people, including one clearly pregnant woman. Isn't that kind of like getting into arguments with people in line at Dunkin' Donuts while you're handing out flyers for Dunkin' Donuts? Again, she has the constitutional right to free speech, but I question the logic behind an anti-abortion protester targeting an audience that would not seem to be in the market for an abortion. They were far enough away from me that I couldn't hear what was said but the fact that they were arguing indicates to me that the parents were irritated by her mere presence. I'm betting that they were probably less than thrilled with her graphic displays in full view of their children. If I were protesting that "Meat Is Murder", I wouldn't set up outside of a vegetarian restaurant with pictures of mutilated cows, unless I wanted to annoy and agitate the people who might be predisposed to take my side. What's the damn point of that?
Yet another item on the seemingly endless list of things that I simply do not understand.

Friday, August 22, 2014


In spite of all the nastiness going on in the world RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I guess it's still somehow possible that you are not getting your daily recommended amount of hatred. This is yet another case where the fast food industry comes to the rescue.
Heil hunger!

Introduced in Morehead City, N.C., a couple of weeks ago, this new McHate sandwich features a crispy chicken patty topped with mayonnaise, shredded iceberg lettuce served on a perfectly toasted bun, with a buttery swastika seared into it, served to you by some of the most underpaid and mistreated workers in the world!! Honestly, there might be more pure evil in this thing than you would find in two or three meals elsewhere! Grilled chicken can be substituted for the calorie-conscious intolerant. Either way, you can taste the ignorance slide right down your throat and into your belly where it takes root and spreads throughout your entire body, mind and soul like some kind of toxic kudzu. 


This is a perfect sandwich for the misanthrope on the go. Grab a whole bag of 'em on your way to the next rally against whatever decent thing in life that you want to see destroyed. Your fellow sociopaths will be glad you did!
"Pull over and let's grab some munchies!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The guy with the pies

Just over a week ago, there was a story about some guy who bought 23 pies at a Burger King for the purpose of not letting some spoiled brat in the middle of a temper tantrum from having one. Of course, lots of people chimed in...
"I love this man."
"This is amazing."
"A true hero!"
"Bravo sir. Bravo."
"I would have eating it in front of the kid and tell his mom you let you kid talk like that !!!! were did he /she get that from???? hummmm"
I don't want to comment directly on the incident itself; seems like there are questions about responsible parenting and common courtesy at the root of that and I know nothing about either of those concepts.
I do want to talk about some of these comments though, except for that last one because I have no idea what that person is trying to say. The other ones, though. The ones featuring the words "Love", "Amazing", "Hero" and "Bravo"? This is the level to which we have sunken, folks. Where we draw inspiration about making the world a better place from a bitchy little counter-tantrum (if it even happened) committed by someone else, not even something we did on our own. I think that qualifies as aggressively passive aggressive. Hey, troops deployed to Afghanistan and whatever other hellholes around the world; you're trying too hard. Just get somebody to pee in the enemies' drinking water and come on home.
Because obviously the most effective way to teach a child a lesson about indulging impulsive behavior is to lower yourself to that child's emotional and intellectual levels of maturity and then trumping that with cash. There's no way that kid comes away from that thinking that if you have money, you really can do whatever you want.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What's YOUR town packin'?

Over the last week, we've all seen what the Ferguson, Missouri, police department is workin' with. Well, check out this video (set to the mellifluous tones of "Die M*therf*cker Die" by the modern jazz combo known as Dope), which until just a few days ago was posted on the Doraville, Georgia (population 8,482), police department's web site (I can't imagine why they removed it).

I'm trying to be a more positive person these days, so I'm not going to worry about the Doraville PD being prepared to deploy military grade hardware on their own citizens, like what's happened in Ferguson. No, instead, I choose to imagine the citizens of Doraville lined along Main Street, all singing "Die M*therf*cker Die" (I wonder if they have that inscribed on the police cars where most departments have "To Protect and Serve"?) together in harmony as this thing leads the annual homecoming parade.

I wish I could go to the park

In my still-new (to me) neighborhood, I live very close to the Hillsborough River. There's a little park there with benches where you can sit and watch the water and the fish and birds and maybe an alligator or two. Fresh air. Sunshine. Very tranquil and relaxing. I wish I could go there.
"What's stopping you? It's a short walk from your house. Go to the park and hang out."
That was a comment from someone who doesn't get it. She doesn't share a point of reference so she can't possibly relate, but I happen to be at that awkward stage in life where I can't just go to a park and hang out. I'm not welcome there. I'm a 50-year-old single white male. There is literally nothing I can do at a park by myself that is not inherently creepy. If something tragic ever happens at a park, the police are writing a description of me before they even interview a witness. Maybe, maybe, if I were few years younger or older, I could go to the park. Or if I were walking a dog or toting kids of some kind, but definitely not now, not as is. Nobody wants to see me sitting there, smiling at their children. Young women in yoga pants don't want to try to guess if they can outrun me (spoiler alert; most, not all, probably can). Guys who do have dogs don't want me petting theirs. There would be people calling the cops if I drive by too slowly. The only people happy to see a 50-year-old single white man show up at the park is other 50-year-old single white men, and even then, it's not for good reasons.