Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Writer's Block: 2016

The silent sounds that sink slowly
The sober songs that stick around
A beating lasts in perpetual motion
The mugger rank and reeking of privilege
So what?
The corpulent creature relaxes
Content with its sagging tumescence
Death, you see
Gives it a boner.
I have nothing
My hands, you see, are empty
Yet scars, you see, are still there
Seeing is not believing
You can watch a murder and trust in death
You can burn a village and dust in ash
You can eat your neighbor
And keep rhythm with his bones.
I can’t see what you see
You cannot feel what I feel
Hate is what it spews
Pouring out in wet, hot spurts.
You can’t kill a disease
But you can try.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Weightlifting: Box Squatting

Box squats are an exercise a lot of people have written off as useful only for geared powerlifters. Lifters who compete in squat suits have to fight against the elastic tension of the suit as they descend; they have to learn to sit back and use the stored energy of the suit for the ascent. Raw lifters don't have much to gain from box squats, since the movement removes the stretch reflex (the bounce out of the hole, so to speak). I agree that having a big box squat does not mean you'll be able to squat the same amount of weight without that box under your ass. However, if you don't care about your competition squat (and let's be honest: most people shouldn't) the box squat allows some advantages over the raw squat.

First, you can control how deep you descend. Deep squats can be very hard on your hips--for years I've done deep squats, and I've developed a hip issue on my left side where my hip cracks and pops painfully after working out. After stopping deep squats and replacing them with squats to a high bench, my hip pain has been greatly mitigated. Most of the great lifters in weightlifting and powerlifting eventually had hip surgery, including Ed Coan and John Grimek. If you're not chasing a world record, maybe you shouldn't go deep.

Second, deep squats really work the glutes and hip flexors more than the quads. If you're trying to build strong legs, squatting from a high box will really stress those muscles, in my experience. I do my squats to a high bench, with the bar in the high position. I keep tension in the muscles as I descend. When I touch the bench, I pause for about a second before pushing with the legs to lock out the weight.

You could just do half and quarter squats without the bench, however, I do think there are benefits to touching the box. If you favor one side when you squat, lowering to a box and then pushing off evenly with both legs is easier. Of course, hitting the depth that you want is also easier with a box under your ass.

In conclusion, I'd try box squats if you're having hip issues. At some point, you have to consider your general health. Weightlifting is fun, but you can't keep doing an exercise that's causing you pain and furthering the degeneration of a chronic issue. I ditched the bench press earlier this year because I couldn't press without pain. Now I've done the same to deep squats.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Voices of the People: Meet the Deplorables

Pointless Venture was just as surprised as everyone else that America chose to elect Donald Trump President of the United States. Clearly all those polls were full of shit! We took to the streets to meet people who voted for Trump and have them explain their reasoning.

Deplorable #1: Brent Atkins

Age: 26

Employer: BorgWarner

Hobbies: Waving Confederate flags, removing mufflers, masturbating over diesel engines, cheating on his girlfriend with high schoolers.

Reason for voting for Trump: "Goddamn 'merica is a mess and our small towns are dying. Whose gonna do something for us young white dudes? Donald Trump, that's who. Also never much liked Mexicans or getting consent 'fore I grabbed a chick by her pussy. Speaking of which, my girlfriend's liberal POS brother said it was ironic that I thought a New York billionaire would be compelled to fight for the working class. I told 'em that Trump was gonna drain the swamp, and then I kicked 'em in the face."

Deplorable #2: Candice Lawrence.

Age: 35

Employer: Stay at home mom.

Hobbies: Gradually letting herself go, keeping the kids busy with video games, desperately trying to make husband love her again.

Reason for voting for Trump: "I don't involve myself in politics that much, but all the ladies in my book club love Ivanka, and her clothing line is just fabulous! I once stayed at Trump International Hotel back when my husband used to take me on business trips, and it was the definition of luxury. Also, I'm a little scared of black people, and I hear he's not too big on them, in general."

Deplorable #3: Anita Dooger

Age: 40

Employer: In His Holy Fire church

Hobbies: Producing offspring, reinforcing the patriarchy by being submissive, visiting Walmart.

Reason for voting for Trump: "I always vote Republican because abortion is a crime against God, and I believe President Trump will repeal Roe versus Wade. The President can do that, right? My pastor told me that Obama and Hillary were demons sent by the Antichrist to drown America in sin.  Plus there are too many homosexuals about! What happened to traditional American values? It is very hurtful to be labeled a bigot. One day all the homos and unwed mothers will perish in a torrent of hellfire, and the faithful will rejoice!"

Deplorable #4: Bretfart1942

Age: 22

Employer: Community college dining hall

Hobbies: Trolling for the lols, finding weird porn, collecting Japanese Schoolgirl dating simulators.

Reason for voting for Trump: "Obviously for the lols! And for Pepe! The feminists have taken away too much from us. They're the reason I've never been intimate with a woman, because any woman that would refuse to have me is obviously a feminist. Political correctness is really lame, and I resent having to act like an actual adult instead of a man-child. Oh, and Trump would totally be for Gamergaters. Maybe he'll force Twitter to give Milo Yiannopoulos his account back."

Monday, November 14, 2016

Conan Brothers Q&A

MakeAmericaFascistAgain asks "Wow. Donald Trump is President. Who could've seen this coming?"

Arnold: Anyone who has ever been outside a city.

Dave: So you weren't shocked that Hillary Clinton isn't our first female President?

Arnold: Hell no. Let's be honest. Hillary wasn't the best candidate. She's had Republicans dragging her name through the dirt papers ever since Bill was banging interns. The media constantly reported on the email scandal; she had Vladimir Putin, super villain extrodinarie, and the freaking FBI against her. And to top it off, she was a woman. There's a majority of men that will never vote for a woman, especially one that looks like their grandma.

Dave: So if she was hot, she would've won?"

Arnold: Probably. Too much of America was counting on people to be logical about politics. I know people who voted for Trump because he is against abortion. They just handed Biff Tannen the nuclear codes. Hey motherfucker, what's more pro-life: making sure people end unplanned pregnancies, or preventing the annihilation of our entire planet?

Dave: What about the people who voted for Trump because he's "an outsider?"

Arnold: He's an outsider in terms that he's an asshole. Yeah, I'm sure a New York billionaire is going to change the system. The guy who is likely to appoint Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani might really shake shit up.

Dave: Have the trolls won?

Arnold: Yes. Lolfaces for everyone.


BigMusclesBill asks "What do your training routines look like right now, guys?"

Arnold: Old age is finally getting to me, boys.

Dave: You're 31.

Arnold: But I've been training for a long time. I have a partially torn labrum in my right shoulder. My left hip clicks and pops painfully if I squat deep.

Dave: So you've stopped lifting, right?

Arnold: Fuck no! I've had to ditch the bench press and deep squatting. My focus is now on deadlifting, power cleaning, and overhead pressing.

Dave: Why don't you share your routine?

Arnold: Sunday: Power clean for 4 sets of 3, then either a final heavy triple or a single. Deadlift for 3 sets of 5, attempting a 5 rep max. Monday: Strict press, usually 5s or 3s with a goal of 30 reps. Push press afterwards for 3 sets of 3. Upper back assistance, usually pulldowns for higher reps. Tuesday: Bench squats for 5 sets of 5, then arms for higher reps. Repeat this cycle, though I usually go heavier on my second deadlift session. Only one day off per week.

Dave: Sweet.


StrappedferCash asks "What is the worst fast food restaurant?"

Dave: Any fast food restaurant.

Arnold: Taco Bell without a doubt. You eat Taco Bell, and you can almost immediately feel your bowels protest.

Dave: You don't like mystery meat?

Arnold: It's only like 35 percent beef. If it were 100 percent, then they couldn't sell you cheap tacos.

Dave: I love how when you unwrap a Taco Bell burrito, it always looks like it has passed through someone's digestive system already.

Arnold: Run from the border, people. Especially now that Trump's President.

Kill it! Kill it with fire!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Now They'll Have to Take My Stupid Opinions Seriously

Wake up, liberal America. Time to stop sipping your Starbucks lattes and tweeting on your Iphones made in the Orient. Real Americans have spoken up in defense of liberty, particularly our beloved freedom to be as awful to one another as possible. If you queers were getting comfortable, thinking that you could get married and treated like real human beings, then you got another thing coming. You see, me and all of my fellow bigots feel validated now. We can drive down the street waving Confederate flags and shouting racial slurs and not feel like a bunch of assholes. The next time some woman starts complaining about rape, we can tell her to fuck off to Saudi Arabia, where she can experience some real oppression. The troll king supreme is in the White House. Welcome to America, you commie pinkos. You're about to get your asses kicked and it's about time.

No more blackies complaining about the police shooting their gang-banging asses. No more Mexican criminals coming over the border, 'cause the wall is coming and they're gonna pay for it. No more egg-heads warning us about global warming. Don't they know that this shit changes from year to year? It used to be warm when the dinosaurs walked around with Jesus; at least, that's what I heard on Facebook. No more Democrats acting as the voice of reason because the Republicans are in control of Congress and the White House, and Paul Ryan is going to get his budget passed, hallelujah. Then we can get rid of food stamps and disability and all that shit, though my ex-wife and my cousin Billy are going to be screwed, come to think of it, but that ain't no big deal. Trump is going to cut taxes and get rid of Obamacare and the economy is going to come roaring back like it was 1950. Everything from 1950 is coming back. No more bossy women in the workplace. No more diversity hirings. We'll get to drink in the workplace like on Mad Men. I'm gonna be Don-fucking Draper and it's going to be awesome.

Come to think of it though, I don't know much about advertising. I don't think we are expected to know things anymore, to be honest. It's hard work knowing things. I'd rather see some shit on the internet and instantly believe it than find out if it's really true. We got big-picture guys to do the thinking for us now, real men like Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Newt Gingrich, too, and Rudy Giuliani. You want diversity, assholes? How about a bunch of old white men put you in your place?

The next time someone asks me to fact-check myself, I'm going to fact-check their stupid face with my fist. It's time they took my "stupid" opinions seriously.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Welcome to the Post-Reason World

The sun spills across the horizon like blood leaking from a wound. A man emerges from a pickup truck and marches toward the polls. He doesn't look like you, probably, but he looks a lot like me. He prunes trees for a living, removing the overgrown branches for a reasonable sum. One time he had a Mexican guy work for him, and though he worked hard, he fired him after a while because he was an illegal immigrant. His girlfriend is always complaining about some lesbian waitress at work that takes all of her hours. His dad once had a rental property in Cincinnati, and it took some maneuvering to evict a black couple who had stopped paying rent. Half of his friends are addicted to heroin. The town that he lives in is populated by the walking dead--the unemployed, the unambitious, the purposely obtuse.

He's walking toward the polls because his America sucks, and he wants to make it great again.

It doesn't matter that the candidate he's voting for is dangerously unqualified for the office of President of the United States. He doesn't read the news much, and when he does, he gets it from social media, from people very similar to himself. He trusts his grandma any day over some college-educated journalist who lives in the city. The conventional media doesn't report much on people like himself. All they talk about is black people being shot by the cops or how bad women have it. Most of the cops he knows are pretty good people, and his relationship with women is complicated. His first job was cleaning tables, and his manager was a woman, and it was hard to take orders from her. Society used to afford white men certain privileges, and now women, minorities, and homosexuals are getting all the perks, or at least that's what his Facebook feeds tells him.

Democracy is a reckless, powerful thing. It puts power in the hands of individuals, who cannot possibly know what it is like to run a country of 300 million people. To obtain this power, all one must do is register. You are not required to know anything about policy or the global economy. You are not even required to understand how government works. So many of us look for a panacea, a simple fix to all of our complex problems. The thing is, complex problems do not have simple answers. When so little is asked of us, is it no wonder that we elected a demagogue? We believe that we each live in our own little insular worlds, but that's not how things are. It's too easy to forsake reason, because reason is not prized by most of us. We are emotional creatures prone to tribalism. Reason is just a side-effect of our supposed intelligence.

Idiocracy was a good movie, but I never wanted to live in it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Consummate Politician Apologizes

Look folks, it's been a tough election. In my long career as a politician, I've had to apologize for a great many things, but this year has been an anomaly. Never before has so much bull been floated about as legitimate news. Never before have I lied so much in such a blatant manner. Facts have not mattered in this election. Neither has policy. Nobody wants to hear a coherent position on abortion or global warming. Tribalism has overtaken partisanism. When we look across the aisle, we see the enemy, not a fellow American. Is there one great surprise waiting for us today, on election day? Part of me yearns for it, while another wants to collapse with fatigue. This is perhaps the first time I've ever had a guilty conscience. I must say that I am sorry for most of what I have done.

I'm sorry for the disparaging remarks I said about illegal immigrants. I'm sorry for implying that a judge of Hispanic descent was unfit to serve his office. I'm sorry for saying that the cops, and not African Americans, are the real victims of police shootings. I'm sorry for surrounding myself with such bad people like Newt Gingrich and rat-fink Rudy Giuliani. I'm sorry for having Peter Thiel campaign for me, because I think he may be a vampire. I'm sorry for implying that former President Clinton might be a rapist (still think he might). I'm sorry for not denouncing all the white supremacists that have supported my run for President. I'm sorry for steering the Republican Party toward civil war (actually, not sorry for that, hah). I'm sorry for objectifying women, and I apologize for lusting after my own flesh and blood. I also have to admit that the groping allegations are like one-hundred percent true. Sexual assault is something that me and my fellow Republicans are confused about, so maybe I should take a class or something. So I'm sorry for that. Also sorry for saying that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy when I know that it is really the most important thing we need to be concerned about if we want to continue to live on this planet. I apologize for telling people in the Rust Belt that the steel industry is going to return if I am elected President. I'm sorry for saying that I will revitalize small towns across the nation because I really don't know what to do besides cut taxes for rich people like myself. I'm sorry for making fun of fat people and disabled people. I'm sorry for ever discovering Twitter.

There are more things that I need to be sorry for, but the aforementioned are all that I can remember at the moment. Just one more thing: vote for me today, on election day. I have said that I am sorry. A vote for me is a vote for America. Just like always. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

New Music: Row the Boat

This is actually an old song I wrote probably sometime around 2009 or so. Because I haven't written anything musical in a while, I thought I'd share it. I was always proud of the lyrics.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

This Is a Harbinger of Things to Come

I have become convinced that we're in a parallel universe that split off from our main universe right around the conclusion of the Republican primaries. In this new bizarro universe, Donald Trump has a decent chance of becoming President of the United States and the Chicago Cubs just won the World Series. What else is possible in this strange new world? Pointless Venture would like to speculate.

Within the next year, Disney will decide to remake the original Star Wars trilogy using former Mouseketeers.

Soon, we'll get hoverboards and flying cars like Back to the Future promised us.

Anytime now, aliens will visit the earth. They will demand to see the Ancient Aliens Guy, and Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (the dumbass with the crazy hair) will become the High Counselor to the United Federation of Planets.

Global warming will be revealed to have been a Chinese scam, in that the Chinese are responsible for most of the world's pollution.

Vladimir Putin will say "Fuck it," and open up a moonbase complete with sharks that have laserbeams attached to their heads.

They will remake Frank Herbert's Dune and it will be awesome.

Cold fusion will be mastered and we'll get all that cool future-tech we always wanted.

Hitler will be resurrected as a cyborg by a joint project headed by Russian scientists and Trump supporters. The world will be united in taking down the new Nazi/Russian/Trump menace.

Scientists will discover that we are living in a supercomputer generated simulation, and no one will stop looking at their mobile phones long enough to give a shit.

Half-Life 3 will just show up on Steam unannounced and it will be the greatest game of all time.

The Cleveland Browns will win the Superbowl next year.

The earth's magnetic polls will switch places, resulting in all sorts of zany highjinks.

How I Met Your Mother will be erased from the collective memory of the human race, and we will all be better for it.

Poop will stop smelling so bad, and we'll know what dogs see it in.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Esteemed Critic Reviews Civ 6, Shadow Warrior 2, Black Mirror

Look at all those wonderful little units about to do my bidding.

The Critic has been immersing himself in Polynesian shell art as of late and has only emerged from his studies to review two video games and a tv show so that he can pay the bills, which have been piling up, if you must know. Appreciation for fine art is at an all time low; nobody will pay me for my twenty-thousand word dissertation on how cubism changed queer culture, and I spent half a year writing it! Of course time spent on a piece does not automatically bolster its quality, but it's as good an indicator as any, as far as the Critic is concerned. Until I can sell my Cubism piece, I suppose my analysis of Manhattan toilets and their multitude of extraneous uses will have to wait.

Civilization 6: One of gaming's most venerable series, Civ 6 has the same base game every Civilization does. A lot has been tweaked beneath the hood, however, so much so that it will take some time for you to understand Districts and the new tech trees and Amenities and...wait, I guess I don't understand any of that. It doesn't matter though, because you'll want to play one more turn for your dopamine fix. It is really impossible to review a game in its nascent state that will consume months of your life. Let it suffice to say that, after fourteen hours, Civilization 6 is as addictive as ever. The game does have a Western view of history--Montezuma as the leader of the Aztecs? Gandhi as ruler of India? But who cares when your delightful little cartoon units are prancing about industriously, spurred on by their Puritan work ethic. Let it be known that I am a conqueror at heart, though I sometimes try for a Culture victory. Games are like a good bacchanal--it's all about roleplaying, baby.

It does not look nearly as good as this clearly doctored screenshot.

Shadow Warrior 2: Wild Hog's sequel to their 2003 reboot is something of a surprise. Instead of a throw-back shooter similar to this year's Doom reboot, we get a Diablo/Borderlands lootathon and procedural-generated maps. Loot in games has always stressed me out; I have enough junk lying about my house, I don't need my virtual inventory clogged with countless upgrades and stat-boosting detritus. Nearly every enemy slain in Shadow Warrior 2 will drop an upgrade that you can use to customize your weapons, of which there are many. The weapons are the best part of Shadow Warrior--you can make an acid-spitting chainsaw and dual katanas that shoot electrical beams. The non-PC humor falls flat, however. Lo Wang, your avatar, is basically a bad South Park joke. The story is also a mess this time out, for I found myself clicking through cutscenes just to get back to the action. Graphically, the game looks good most of the time, although human characters look as though they were stolen from Quake 2 (not a compliment). If your looking for a shooter, I would suggest the Doom reboot first. If you have any money left over, then maybe give Shadow Warrior 2 a try.

Black Mirror Season 3: Sort of a Twilight Zone for the tech generation, Netflick's Black Mirror is one of the better programs on the ubiquitous streaming service (which is nearly 3 billion in debt because of their original content). Indeed, the first episode, "Nosedive," featuring Bryce Dallas Howard in a pastel-coated future where every social interaction is rated on a five star basis, had the Critic deleting his Twitter account and scouring Facebook for needless personal information. There are a few duds, such as "Playtest," a predictable spin on the dangers of virtual reality, and "Hated in the Nation," about internet vengeance served through hacking a government nanobee program (I think I just coined a new word). But the horrors of "Shut Up and Dance," and the ethereal beauty of "San Junipero," which tells a tale about two women falling in love in a simulation for elderly people, will have you glued to the screen.