Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Turtle Safety: No one takes it seriously

We all like to pretend we live safe lives, but most of the time I think we're fooling ourselves.

We choose convenience over safety all the time. We drive in cars on the freeway, in which we're more likely to die than nearly any over activity.

Or food poisoning, such as eating undercooked eggs, tainted beef or raw fish. We use cell phones even though not nearly enough research has been done on whether they are safe or not and even though they tell you in your cell phone manual (including whatever phone YOU have right now) that the proper way to talk on the phone is holding it two inches from your head. Ever seen anyone do that who wasn't on reality TV? And I never wore a bicycle helmet a day in my life, even after I flipped over the handlebars on the Boulevard once.

We try and take safety seriously, but we can't. And sometimes, safety is just plain ridiculous. Like this - a publication my office puts out about how pet turtles are a common source of salmonella poisoning in children.

Sounds serious, right?

Yes, it is. But man - talk about calling the fun police! Imagine telling your kid he can't have Donatello because that adorable like turtle could make him sick. That dumb little amphibian could make your boy seriously ill. But, hey - he's crying, so I'll buy it for him.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thoughts on the Glenn Beck rally

Yesterday I went to church. Which would have been fine, except I thought I was going to a political rally.

It was what we called "GlennBeckistan," and what Glenn Beck called his super public plea to "Restore America," held about a mile from my house at the Lincoln Memorial.

I'm no stranger to political rallies. The difference here is that I wasn't a supporter this time. It was me and few others infiltrating a tea party / tea bagger 'Murican rally. Yes, I don't hold this group in very high esteem. But I'm also not as virulently against them as one of my friends, who is convinced that every single tea partier is a racist.

I know what it's like to feel alienated and to want change. I know about the wonderful feeling you get when you are around "your people," and the feeling of power that comes with going to a public rally. So I'm proud of them for rallying, and for taking buses all across to the United States to come to D.C.

But I was also appalled.

For a national movement, it was 99.9% white. I saw maybe 3 black people, 1 Hispanic and no Asians.

And religion. Religion was so pervasive it was... like a religion. Beck said people couldn't bring signs to his rally (which is so laughable and damning in its own right, but nevermind) but apparel was off the hook - hats that said "Team God," "Got Jesus?" T-shirts and the like. Faith was almost tangible, like I was at a revival.

To me, I wasn't getting the sense that these people simply had faith, which is fine, but that I was surrounded by fundamentalists. This was reinforced when Beck actually spoke - it was a speech as much as a sermon. He invoked Jesus repeatedly. He wanted to "turn America back towards God." They played Gospel music. He invoked Moses, the burning bush, his "stick" (staff). Miracles and grace. Salvation and redemption. I saw Beck's face 50 feet large on the TV screens, with him pacing across the stage delivering "heavenly" sound bytes, and I thought, "Oh My God, he's setting myself up as a prophet."

And I'm serious. It occurred to me that the purpose of the the rally, besides to increase conservative cohesion, was to add further religious dimension to Beck's persona. Once someone has you in their religious thrall, you become susceptible to all their suggestions and ideas. This mixing of politics and religion in this overt way scares the hell out of me. Beck is not a preacher. He's a political commentator. And the way people were saying "Amen" and (in the case of one woman) kneeling in the middle of the road and praying - that sounds very much like the "sheeple" they accuse liberals of being.

Then there was the incredible misinformation. We talked to some very nice people who thought that Obama was a Muslim, and that he had spent millions of dollars to hide his real birth certificate. People were quoting Fox News in thinking there were 3 million people there (less than 700,00, by most accounts). And one woman in the metro thought that Obama had left town because he was scared of the tea party. How can you have a movement - any movement - that isn't informed? A friend told me that most Americans don't get their information from news channels at all, but from forwarded emails from friends. That kind of junk is a NEWS SOURCE. Something that you base important opinions on.

I don't know what the future holds. Change is always scary. But I think this group is more likely to lead us in the wrong direction than anything else.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This soap blasphemes against our Lord

Oh my stars and garters... I have never seen the like. Just look at this here soap. LOOK IT. Look at how it takes the Lord's name in vain. Look at the blasphemy. It boasts. It is vain. It claims to be like our dear, sweet Lord.


Can't see what I'm talking about?


Fine, I'll use Pictureviewer to make their true message more clear.

NOW do you see? The Allmighty... scorned on a plastic bottle filled with suds.

Land O'Goshen.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Neck wax America

I expected a little more out of the neck waxing experience. Maybe more pain (a la Steve Carell), or a least more visible hair on the wax putty thing. Don't get me wrong - I appreciated Dianna ripping hair off the back of my head. It gets gross fast over there. A veritable forest, as Adam Sandler once said. D did an A+ job.

My neck hair has been an issue for some time. In college I once asked my roommate if he would do a big, big, big favor for me.

"Like huge," I said.

I'm sure he thought I was talking about something in the range of being a marrow donor, but in actually I was just nervous about asking another guy to shave my neck.
He did, and it was no biggie.

But I didn't know the "neck hair" etiquette, in those days largely before a decent internet. But then I saw "Bros shaving bros' necks" on Jersey Shore, and realized this sort of thing is actually acceptable in some circles. Maybe the ancient Greeks shaved each other before battle? Or maybe it's a sign of respect in Aboriginal cultures? Who knows what secrets lie in the backs of necks?

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It's truly amazing to me how two people can look at the same thing and see it entirely differently. For instance, take the movie Delicatessen, which I just finished watching with Dianna.

I saw this as a black comedy, sweet and funny and clever, and a bit scary at times (hence the black part). When the movie ended, I was happy and smiley that everything worked out.
Dianna, on the other hand, was traumatized. To her, it wasn't an art flick, or a black comedy, or a comedy at all, but a horror movie.
"I'd never want to get to that deli," she said, quite upset.
Sorry, D - my bad.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Write your own incredibly boastful bio

My workmate Michelle was working on a bio that someone wanted for a speaking engagement. They wanted 150 words, and were trying to drum up new adjectives for her to make her seem more awesome. It made my think - wouldn't it be great if we all wrote hyper-inflated boastful bios about ourselves. 150 words or less. Here's mine:

Bio for Jonathan Rubin
Jonathan Rubin invented the lightsaber during his Sabbatical from writing the Dead Sea Scrolls, a feat that required the invention of a time machine and the learning of calligraphy to achieve. His awesomeness is so immense that he can only travel up by freight elevator. He is, in the words of M.C. Frontalot, "so bright that it's redundant to have the sun out."
Rubin can make calls on the iPhone 4G that don't lose bars, and his calls on AT+T networks never get dropped. He inspired the man in the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials. He is omniscient, but has intentionally humbled himself in order to be more like the Buddha, of whom he is the 1,343rd reincarnation. He invented the internet but let Al Gore take the credit because that's how he rolls. He always smells like sandalwood, except when he works out, when he smells like Old Spice. (141 words)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Real scholarship on The Real Ghostbusters

Remember that show? They had to call it "The Real Ghostbusters" because this stupid cartoon show about a big ape snuck through a copyright loophope and made a show called "Ghostbusters" which sucked so hard it imploded upon itself after a few episodes.
Anyway, the show was amazing for the time - it was fun, funny and had an amazing array of villians. But little did I know that they occasionally did pretty elaborate tribute episodes.
Like this one about H.P. Lovecraft, brilliantly titled "The Collect Call of Cathulu" (mocking Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulu.")
You go, Ghostbusters!
Accurate source material includes:
  • Cthulu cultists
  • Regenerating beasties
  • Ry'lethian chanting
  • The Necronomicon
  • Miskatonic University

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Basil, at right, we grew from seeds. That's like having a green kid. Seriously. We love this plant, and worry about him / her during hot or rainy days. It's a huge investment - months and lots of TLC, and, unlike actual offspring, we get to eat parts of it, too.