Friday, November 9, 2018

A Stupid Fable

Baboon and Bird sat together, watching the Council of Animals debate. Hyena was braying loudly, his voice bombastic, his arguments nonsensical. About thirty percent of the animals listened raptly; an equal number hooted and screamed obscenities, their anger barely contained; another sizable percentage simply stared at the ground with dull, dumb expressions. Baboon snorted and scratched his red ass, which was inflamed. Bird squawked and leaned in conspiratorially toward Baboon. He knew the monkey wanted to say something quietly.

"Hyena is making good sense tonight. I think we should wage war against the trees," Baboon said.

"You cannot make war against the trees. The trees are even dumber than the animals," replied Bird.

"It would be nice to take down the sky as well," said Baboon. "It's a little too high for its own good."

"Are you listening to yourself? How are you going to take down the sky? You are a monkey. The only things you can do are eat, shit, and scratch your ass."

"When Hyena speaks, something clicks in my brain. The confusing noise makes sense. Things become simple. Black and white. Good and evil."

"Hyena is a demagogue. He kindles the anger of the animals against weak or impossible targets. Notice how he's always eager to make war? What is the result of these wars? They are a waste of time. I grow tired of listening to him speak. Eventually, the animals will make war against each other because of Hyena," said Bird. He ruffled his feathers and picked at a louse that was visible under his wing.

"Bird is too smart for his own good," replied Baboon. "Animals do not need to be smart. For animals, there is no contemplation. We act, guided by instinct. This is why Hyena guides us."

"He is the embodiment of the id," said Bird. "You are correct. Perhaps this whole Council was a bad idea. The animals are not fit to govern themselves."

"Now you're thinking like Hyena. He has been saying that the Council should be dissolved for some time."

The two animals paused their discussion to watch a new development. Lion had broken from the circle and walked up to Hyena, roaring and baring his teeth. Hyena cowered but made terrible noises in the back of his throat. Soon the animals were choosing sides, though there were some that still stared at the ground and chewed their cud.

"Well, we must choose sides. I hope that I will not have to eat you," said Baboon to Bird.

Bird gave him a side glance and flew into the sky. He smelled smoke and his keen eyes saw a fire rushing toward the animals, burning down the savanna. The fire had been burning for a long time, but even the animals that knew about it had ignored the blaze, preferring to argue with Hyena's faction. Hyena said that there was no fire, and that even if there was, it would never reach them. He said it would burn down the trees and therefore release the animals from making war on them. Bird had no rebuttal for this argument. He decided that he would try to get away from the animals and the fire. He flew for a long time, but the smoke thickened in every direction, and eventually he had to land on a blackened stump, a small distance away from where he had started. From that vantage point, he watched as the rest of the animals were engulfed in flames.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

On Gettting Old

You thought your ass would age like fine wine... but now you look like the Undertaker.

Look at you, you old man. You thought you could handle three craft beers, but now it's morning and you feel as though someone dragged your guts behind a truck for several miles. Drink some coffee, elder millennial. Hydrate and pretend it's working. Slump in your chair behind the computer screen for some quality time with the old PC. Notice how your brain is sluggishly crawling over words like a wounded snail? It won't be long before you start forgetting stuff, like people's names or where you put the goddamn keys. "It's always been like that," you say. Fine, make excuses. The truth is, your getting old.

Happens to the best of us, you know. Look at that picture of the Undertaker at the top of this post. He's fifty years old. Of course, for most of those fifty years he's been in a wrestling ring, which equates to like one-hundred and fifty years worth of wear, but still, you have to admit that it's depressing watching him move at this point. Your joints might be fine, hell, you may even been in fine shape, yet you and I know that your recovery is compromised at this point. You can't push yourself like you used to do. You probably have already subconsciously stopped doing so but you haven't realized it until now.

"So what?" you say. Bodies are flesh and blood. Are we supposed to mourn our youth like the death of a loved one? What is so great about youth in the first place? When I was young, I was dumb as a load of bricks. I was a mess of hormones and anxiety, and I couldn't talk to a stranger without fumbling my hands around in the air. Look at the decisions I made, and tell me that I should want that version of myself back. Behold the amount of wisdom that I have accrued, and marvel at my modified decision making processes. The fruits of age and experience, right?

It's a hard argument to make when you're still hung over in the middle of the day, your stomach writhing around like a struck snake. The bad thing is that when you are thirty, you're just starting to notice that some pieces of you are not functioning optimally. You're just experiencing a taste of how it's going to be, and that horror makes it worse.

Keep on climbing into the ring, Undertaker. Keep working for that pay day. Your pectorals have disappeared and your skin has the tone and texture of sun-dried leather, but still you trot out the black leather coat, the wide-brimmed, hat, and the gravelly voice. You hope that the memory we have of you will somehow supersede our current perception. You are counting on the great power of nostalgia.

I want to end this with some sort of message, but all I can think of is that nostalgia is overrated, and that my stomach aches with the strain of processing half-digested beer. Maybe there is no message, just random speculation masquerading as an essay. You've read the title on the top of this blog, no? Read it again, if you will.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Spooky Things to Do the Day after Halloween

Halloween is a spooky day and there's often not enough time to do all the spooky things that you want to do. So here's a list of a bunch of spooky things you can do the next day. I swear, November 1st is almost as spooky as Halloween. Trust me. I know spooky.

1. Put out the Halloween candy you forgot to put out, but this time for the raccoons.

2. Wear the remnants of your costume in your living room, naked, while you eat whatever candy the raccoons left.

3. Watch a spooky movie like Twins or Robocop.

4. Scour your hard drive for a spooky game and then never get around to installing it.

5. Read H.P. Lovecraft and then wonder why he had to be so goddamn racist.

6. Spend the day checking the polls at Five Thirty Eight for mathematical reassurance that the 2018 election will not suck as much as the 2016 election.

7. Eat a bunch of eggs that you painted orange.

8. Take a wad of candy corn and toss it in the middle of the road and watch it for as long as it gives you pleasure.

9. Read a Harry Potter book and wonder why nobody ever strangled Ron.

10. Grab a guitar and play a spooky song, like Thriller or Monster Mash.

11. Try futilely to remember the name of that monster-themed side-scroller that you played as a child, the one that came in the shareware collection that also featured the skiing game with the abominable snowman and Commander Keen.

12. Contemplate whether Bulksgiving is a better holiday than Halloween.

13. Watch an episode of Sesame Street and debate whether Elmo will grow fangs and claws like most monsters.

14. Spend an hour on the toilet trying to clear the blockage in your intestines due to excessive Halloween candy consumption.

15. Dress your dog up as a bat and then laugh at said dog.

16. Try to think of the last time you approached a holiday with the pure, unadulterated joy of a child.

17. Watch that one Stephen King adaptation about cat aliens. You know the one. Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.

18. Put a pumpkin in the road and watch how long it takes someone to hit it.

19. Make a special Halloween punch of orange juice, chocolate, candy corn, and Jameson. It takes so bad that it's spooky!

20. Write a shitty blog post on your shitty blog and then laugh about how damn funny you are.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There Is No Good Reason Not to Vote, Unless You Are an Idiot

It's probably a good thing that Mr. Noodle is trapped in Elmo's World and is, therefore, unable to vote.

New York Magazine has an article entitled "12 Young People on Why They Probably Won't Vote" on their front page. I'm not going to link to it because it's fucking stupid; if you want to read it, just google it. The reasons given by these young people range from "it sucked to lose in 2016," to "I get anxiety going to the post office." Some of these people are Political Science majors, which blows my goddamn mind. There is not a single acceptable reason given by any of these people. Mostly, their answers boil down to apathy, laziness, or stupidity.

I suppose if you're so indifferent to politics that you can't tell the difference between a Democrat or a Republican, then you shouldn't vote. But that failure is on you; you are failing your democracy. A democracy can't exist without an enlightened electorate. Its your civic responsibility to educate yourself about politics, to know your politicians, to understand how they are helping or hindering you and the people around you. Apathy is not an acceptable state because apathy helps keep evil shitbags in power. I guarantee that the anti-immigrant racist next door to you is going to vote. I bet the hypocritical evangelical that wants to take away a woman's right to chose is going to vote. I know the crazy old coot who is hording guns and preparing for a race war is going to the polls next Tuesday. But you can't vote because you don't have the time or energy. You don't think the Democratic Party adequately represents you. Well, that's nice that you have the privilege of being stupid. Perhaps you're lucky enough that the policies of the Trump Administration don't affect you directly. You're probably white and a dude. Maybe you make a decent amount of money. Maybe you're young enough that healthcare isn't an issue for you. Maybe you think climate change won't greatly impact your life. Maybe your friends are all like you. Maybe you have no friends.

We're not all as lucky as you, asshole. Quit shirking your responsibility. Get your head out of your ass and realize that everything is politics and no one is free from their political obligations. Educate yourself and stop offering excuses.
And for chissakes, change your fucking major if you're a political science student and you can't understand why it's important to vote.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Elmo's World

I look around the room. All I see are walls of paper crudely drawn on with a crayon. One would think such walls would bend at the touch, but they hold fast like an iron prison. A gold fish bobs in a bowl, staring at me with bulbous eyes. It seems to be real unlike most of the things here. Everything drawn with crayon is insubstantial except for the walls. There's a door which I try to open but it doesn't budge. I can't remember how I got here. Panic rises up in my stomach like a burst of acid.

Something knocks on the door.

"Hello?" I ask. Nothing for several seconds, then another knock, this time louder. In my mind I see a red mass of fur, a yellow nose, and a gaping black maw.

"You should open it," says the fish.

"Whhaaat?" I stammer.

"It could be a way out of here. That door opens to many worlds. But be wary. He has many agents. Or it could be Mr. Noodle."

"Who?" I ask.

"A big, dumb doofus with a mustache. I think he once had a brain, but the master removed it with torture. The master has an ugly sense of humor."

"Can this Mr. Noodle help me?" I ask.

"He can't put his pants on in the morning without help," replies the fish. "When I said he doesn't have a brain, I really mean it. I'm a goddamn gold fish, and I have more cognitive powers than Mr. Noodle."

"What is this place?"

"It is space between worlds. The Red Master has made it his home. His sorcery is strong, and I know no magic capable of besting it."

"What in the hell is the Red Master?"

"Shusssh!" says the gold fish. "We do not speak his name. We do not wish to summon him if he is not present."

"So you're saying I need to open one of these doors..."

The crayon-colored walls tremble. The knocking behind the door ceases. The gold fish cries out and then is silent. A hole appears in the middle of the floor, and a fuzzy red monster pops out of it. He doesn't look very scary to me. In fact, he looks like something you would hug.

"Ha ha ha. Welcome to Elmo's world!" says the creature in a high-pitched voice. "Do you want to play with me?"

"Umm... no?" I venture.

"Wrong answer! Ha ha ha! Let me put it this way: Do you want to play with me, or would you rather spend eternity as a gold fish?"

He beckons to the fish bowl and laughs his short, choppy laugh once more.

"Yeah, I'll play," I say.

"Ha ha ha!" says Elmo. "Put this on."

He throws me a pair of slacks, a checkered vest, and a wrinkled long-sleeved shirt. I comply with no questions asked.

"Put this on too," says Elmo, pulling a bow tie out of his nether regions.

I put on the bow tie and immediately I feel that something is wrong. My wits seems to melt out of my ears. A goofy grin appears on my face. A mustache sprouts from beneath my upper lip.

The gold fish seems to be crying. I don't know how that is possible, but I don't question it. My questioning days are over.

"Now I have two Mr. Noodles!" says Elmo. "Bye bye, Mr. Noodle!"

A crayon-drawn door opens and blackness stares back at me. I turn back to the red monster and try to explain that I'm not Mr. Noodle. My hands go every which way yet my mouth doesn't open.

All I hear is that shrill, short laugh as I fall into the abyss.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Conan Brothers Q&A

TrumpsADump asks "The midterm elections are almost here. Is it hyperbole to say that this is democracy's last chance?"

Dave: You were under the impression that America is a democracy? What rock you been under, bro?

Arnold: The same rock everyone's been hiding under, Dave. Technically America is a Federal Republic with democratically elected representatives. Note that the Constitution does not forbid gerrymandering, dark-money political contributions, voter suppression, and destructive partisanship.

Dave: I guess what I'm trying to say is that all those things you just mention undermine our supposed values, and they have for some time. Trump may be the harbinger of doom, but once he's gone, the same problems will remain.

Arnold: But this is sort of a last chance to elect people who will offer any resistance to Trump's agenda.

Dave: You're right. I'm just trying to downplay the whole thing in case I'm massively disappointed in the result.

Arnold: There's a decent chance of that. Apathy is the true enemy. That and the fact that about thirty percent of the electorate will not be swayed by reason or facts. They've tied themselves to Trump with a steel cable, and if he jumped off a bridge, they're coming along for the ride.

Dave: So get out there and Rock the Vote, people!

Arnold: Jesus, I remember that. Young people don't give a fuck about voting. They're all about raging hormones and binge drinking and doing stupid shit. It's a luxury of the American system that most of us, especially the young, can ignore politics and not see many immediate repercussions. But that time's ending. Mark the words of a wise old bodybuilder, children.


GamerGate324 asks "What have you guys been playing? Assassin's Creed? Tomb Raider? What about Fallout 76?"

Dave: I haven't played an Assassin's Creed game since the second one, and I never finished it.

Arnold: Every Ubisoft game is the same. Here's a giant map full of shit to do. Lot of it is pretty boring or derivative. The main story might be interesting, but there's no way for a narrative to maintain tension when you're being distracted by a million side quests.

Dave: Yeah, the open world theory of game design, despite being popular, has a lot of pitfalls.

Arnold: Even a good game like the Witcher 3 suffers from too many sidequests and too many things to do.

Dave: Developers, less is more!

Arnold: Yeah, put that in the advertising and see how well your game sells. Metacritic would be full of one star reviews lamenting the short play time.

Dave: It's makes no fucking sense. Most people don't finish games. Yet game lengths have gotten longer and longer. No one understands that quantity does not equal quality.

Arnold: To return to the question, I haven't played anything all year. I finished the Heart of Stone DLC for the Witcher 3 a while ago, and then I played a lot of Quake Champions. That's it. I've spent thirty bucks on video games in 2018.

Dave: You're finally becoming an adult, Arnold.

Arnold: About fucking time.


Noobgainz69 asks "Bros, how frequently should you max out?"

Dave: Never.

Arnold: This is something that I've learned: maxing out is kind of stupid. You should constantly be trying to increase your training volume and total poundage. But testing your one rep max in a heavy lift like the squat won't make you squat more.

Dave: But Arnold, how will I know if I'm getting stronger?

Arnold: If you're gaining weight and increasing your total volume, then you're getting stronger. If you want to compete in powerlifting, save your maxing for the meet. And don't compete unless you've got a chance of winning. I see people posting their 1000 lbs totals all the time on the net. Why did you waste everyone's time?

Dave: Preach it, brother.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Old Music: Hive-Minding Man

Back in Theme Park Mistress's playing days, this was one of our staples. A nice, robotic groove reminiscent of the routines that guide us and keep us on the monorail. The song probably dates back to the eldritch days of 2011, when we were all children.