This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I Hate the 70's

When I was growing up, my basement was the place to be in the summer. The all-encompassing heat and humidity wafted up into the main floor of the house, leaving the basement a cool 68 degrees or so. Plus, there was all sorts of cool stuff down there -- board games, ping-pong, a pool table with bent cues that tilted slightly towards one corner, a stereo (later I added a "tape deck", which only added to the coolness) with cool numbers on it made of tiny green circular lights, a fallout shelter with enough Sun Drop to quench an Army's thirst, and a bunch more fun stuff. It was a treasure trove of fun. All through grade school and high school, none of my other friends had a basement that compared with mine, so my basement became the meeting place for our social events. And by social events I mean making each other laugh and later going to Pizza Hut.

One of the cool things in my basement was this chalkboard that my older brothers taped up so they could use it to score baseball games. I don't know where these baseball games took place, but the board was clearly a baseball scoreboard, at least on the top half. The bottom half was covered (at least after 1980) by a tribute to the 70's. My brothers and their friends had used colored chalk to list a bunch of stuff they thought was cool about the 70's (samples included "The Mod Squad" and "Peter Gabriel"). Right in the middle of all this they wrote "The 70s" in giant colorful hippie letters. It was beautiful, and we just left it the way it was after my youngest brother Russ moved to college in late 1981 and my friends and I officially took over the basement. Well, part of it was also not knowing if Russ and co. would be mad if we erased it. I don't think they gave it much thought, actually. At some point it was just a fixure in my basement, just as much as the ping-pong table and the Hippity-Hop and the nerf hoop and the stand-alone foosball-esqe hockey game.

The reason i bring this up, besides to tell you how cool my basement was (and continues to be, btw. Almost all of that stuff is still there. Every time we visit my mom nicely suggests we take some stuff home, but she's way too nice to just throw it out), is that just about everything on that board sucked. I know, I've seen all of it. All those venerated 70's movies sucked. Saturday Night Fever is not a good movie, as we seem to think these days. It is a joke. And I even kinda like disco. There are a few good things to come out of the 70's, like the development of rock and dance music, and All in the Family/The Jeffersons...and...that's all I can think of right now. An entire decade was lost to gas freezes, Watergate, bell bottoms, nappy hair, polyester, and the color brown. Thank the good Lord the 80's saved us from all that. People may hate Ronald Reagan, but that man had to pull us out of a vat of Jimmy Carter's peanuts and Billy Beer. Quite an accomplishment, even if he had to leave some homeless behind to do it.

MTV has dredged this whole 70's thing up with their little "reality" show, The 70's House. The house itself looks kinda like the Brady house, and the concept isn't totally horrible -- it's a bunch of 00's kids trapped in the 70's. They have to live with the things we had in the 70's, including the cars. They even have to talk 70's, and are judged by how often they work in terms like "groovy" and "peace" into casual conversation. Each week they are divided into teams, and the team that loses is judged by "Oscar", a disembodied voice across a Charlie's Angels-style intercom. I'm not sure, but I think Oscar is voiced by one of the original MTV Veejays, Mark Goodman.

So Mark Goodman sends the two members of the losing team who have been the least enthusiastic about the 70's into a game show situation where they show their knowledge of the decade. The loser of that goes home, the winner stays. In that way, it's like every other reality show. The 70's thing is really the only unique thing going on here.

The thing is, I would have liked the show if it weren't so bathed in the 70's. I hate the way they dress, the way they talk, they cars they drive, their stupid dance moves, and everything else so much I can't bring myself to look at the show positively even when a guy is kicked out for using the reprehensible and meaningless 00's phrase, "Keeping it real." Everyone should be booted off of everything for that! But still, it's unwatchable. Let's never speak about it, that accursed decade, or bell-bottoms again.

Friday, July 22, 2005

It Has Been Quite a Year

I suppose every one-year period you examine is going to be chock-full of crazy stuff, so I won't say "What a crazy mixed-up year!" or "How did I ever make it through that?" Some things demand to be mentioned again, for the sake of completing our memories. For if we don't mention them, they will fade away like Tom Cruise's dignity. Remember that? I don't.

Top Things That Happened between July 19, 2004 to July 19, 2005.

1) Jag was cancelled after I publicly complained about its existence. It is at this point that I realized the power I have to create my own reality by dissing things that I hate. When I rip them, they disappear. Or maybe I've been listening to too much Ramtha.

2) There were not one but two "seasons" of Survivor. Just when you thought they killed the series with Vanuatu and that hick Chris, they came back with the best season since Elizabeth Filarski graced the Outback. It's your standard "fall from grace -- redemption" story, really.

3) No hockey was played. Also, the Religious Right created a Theocracy that we all now live in. We pay our taxes directly to God now. They'll be mailing you an offering plate next month.

4) I discovered, not necessarily in order: Mexican Trash TV (Jose Luis! -- and something called Secretos that has to be seen to be believed), Alias (by watching the first 3 seasons back-to-back over the course of a month), Netflix (which is how I discovered things like Alias in the first place), Werner Herzog movies (like this one and this one. Man, I miss doing Netflix diaries. I'll have to do more of those soon), Arrested Development, the long-awaited Hitchhiker's movie, and many, many more things.

5) Marquette University chose a nickname to replace the one that nobody liked, recanted when people complained, and then let people choose between 10 nicknames, none of which was the one that people wanted. They ended up fittingly going back to the nickname that nobody liked, and ticked off all their alumni in the process. They're still the Warriors to me, and I didn't even go there.

6) President Bush was re-elected, even after they found no WMD's. John Kerry? What were they thinking?

7) I wrote a novel! Or, more accurately, the first part of one. And I didn't even finish editing/revising that. But I will.

There was other stuff that happened, but it's either to hazy or too sad to recap now. After a week of looking back, let's move forward please.

From Feb. 8, 2005 -- Post of the Year

I like looking back and reading all my previous posts. I do this all the time -- is this normal? Do writers look back on what they wrote and think about how great it is all the time? Somehow I don't think the average writer does that. Does this make me a bad writer, or amateurish? I don't know. What I do know is that this post was the flagship of the best series I've had in 04-05, the recaps of My Stupid Sweet Sixteen. This MTV show was not groundbreaking in any way except for lurid and excessive use of "sparklies" to designate things that are good. We all loved it, though -- especially the way they would simultaneously play to the 13-year-old stupid girl who dreams of her own Sweet Sixteen Party and the 33-year-old mocker of exhorbitant wealth.

For Post of the Year, it was between this Ava episode and the Hart episode. I gave it to Ava because she's just insane, and that insanity deserves another look.

My Stupid Sweet Sixteen III

My Stupid Sweet Sixteen, Part III – Ava’s Revenge

I have written the last 2 weeks on how the MTV suckfest “My Super Sweet 16” would be a sad commentary on the state of the 2004 American Teenage Girl if myriad other things hadn’t shown us this sad state already. It’s merely confirming what we already know to be true: the teenage girl is the stupidest form of human on the planet, and it’s a wonder any female reaches the age of 21 with all of themselves intact. You’d think at the very least the car accidents would claim most of them. And yes, I’m stereotyping that many teenage girls can’t drive – but I’m also saying that most of them would more than gladly get into the passenger seat of a cool car of a cool guy with cool hair and who just drank several cool Milwaukee’s Bests and is just about to “Unleash the Beast” as they say.

This week, however, we take a break from pointing out the stupidity of the average teenage girl and turn our attention to a very un-average teenage girl named Ava (that’s pronounced Ahh-Vah, not Ay-Vah – the first bad sign). Nothing Ava does or says seems even remotely human, and the 23 minutes of show is basically filled with absurd alien-sounding quotes from her and reaction shots to them. You think Lauren from week one and what’s-her-face from last week (upon investigation, her name was Jackie) were spoiled? Ava makes even Lauren look like a third-world missionary child. Any judgments one might be inclined to make about the youth of today because of Ava’s hysterical rottenness don’t hold water, because Ava is quite extra-ordinary. Or at least she better be, or this world is in trouble.

In honor of the show, this recap will be filled with quotes, followed by my reactions to them.

“Dad is a Jew, Mom is a Muslim.”

Let’s get to the parents, shall we? Just like Freddy Krueger taught us, the parents are always the ones responsible for making the monster. First, Dad is rich beyond belief (and I’ll thank you kindly not to associate the “Jew” with the “money”, because that is unacceptable in this free country), and was clearly never home when Ava was growing up. He is gone for the entire show except when they are shopping for cars or there is some discipline to be carried out. It’s unclear whether dad and mom are divorced or separated or neither, because no mention is made of the circumstances. But he’s never around, like I said. He drives a nice car, talks in an indiscernible accent, and drops like 200,000 on his daughter’s birthday party. Think about that the next time Republicans say these people deserve to keep more of their money. This guy just gave his daughter 200 grand in an attempt to win her affection. The sad part? It kinda works.

Dad appears to be a Jew in descent only – he does no religious things (and married a Muslim, for YHWH’s sake) as far as we know. But it makes sense that he would call himself a Jew because of his family line. Mom, however, appears to have no Islamic attributes whatsoever. She doesn’t wear any weird clothes, doesn’t pray to Allah, doesn’t mention Mohammed at all. And then she married a Jew, which is touching in a Lifetime Movie sort of way, but doesn’t indicate any sort of commitment on her part to the Muslim faith. So my question is, in what way is she a Muslim? She seems like just a trophy wife to me. I mean, “Muslim” implies she believes in Allah, the Quran, etc., right? I guess this is how Christians (like me) feel when people refer to Bishop Spong or the local White Supremacist as a Christian. What I’m saying is: Muslims, I feel your pain as you watch this rich, boob-jobbed, jet-setting, and totally secularized woman referred to as a Muslim.

Ava says she had to decide between a Bat Mitzvah (for the Jews) and a Sweet Sixteen Party (for the, um, Muslims?). She chooses the Sweet Sixteen party because it’s like the Bat Mitzvah without the messy Jew stuff. My words, not hers.

“Take yer shirts off”

Mom and Ava get the brilliant idea to hire 4 young studs to carry Ava into the Sweet Sixteen party. Ava picks from about 10 strapping dudes, and when they remove their shirts it’s like the Chippendale Revue all of a sudden. They should be wearing bow ties and suspenders. The girls ogle them, and Ava has them all pick her up. The problem with this whole thing, which I realize as they pick her up, is that Ava thinks that life revolves around her. She never got out of that mental stage where she thinks other people live to serve and affirm her. And this whole party thing is cementing that notion in her head, because it is all about her. It would be better for her to be throwing a party for a poorer (which is just about anyone) child, because then she would get to see that other people exist and have needs just like her. Oh, who am I kidding? Ava would just find a way to make that about herself, too. They choose 4 studs, and Ava seems happy for now.

“She’s always been my best friend – now she wants to be my mom.”

The main drama of the episode is caused by the fact that Ava is so spoiled, and mom and dad realize how bad they’ll look as parents on MTV, so they try to sort of discipline Ava, which drives Ava crazy. The quote above is so very telling. Ava is the product of the parenting style known as guilt-friend-love. Mom and dad feel guilty for being jet-setting bastards who didn’t alter their lifestyle when they had Ava, and for passing her off to some nanny or something. This guilt causes them to try to be Ava’s friend, in order to win her love “back”. They feel love from Ava when they can talk about things in a non-judgmental fashion. Of course, the side product of all this is a spoiled child who doesn’t respect anything her parents say, and who ultimately will resent them twofold (if she later realizes what went down, that is): once for the nanny, and once more for not setting up boundaries. Ava may one day realize that she’s a piece of crap with no real friends, because you can’t have real friends if you believe that your problems are the only ones that matter. The question is when will Ava realize this: When she sees the MTV show? When she turns 18? 21? When she become a trophy wife just like her mom and has a kid who turns 16 and doesn’t respect her? For Ava’s sake, it better happen sooner rather than later.

“Daddy says yes to everything.”

Ava goes to the car lot to pick out a new car for her birthday. This is a big deal to Ava, so big that later on she calls her dad to confirm that she’ll be getting the car she wants before her birthday, because, “All my friends got their cars early.” I hope that’s not true, because if it is then Ava is part of a network of super-spoiled super-rich troglodyte children. This statement causes dad to do something interesting – he yells at Ava over the phone about how irresponsible she is. He’s yelling loud, which introduces another thing to the family dynamic, namely, an abusive father. What kind of parent “says yes to everything”? The one that feels guilty for abuse. Now we don’t know for sure that he’s abusive, but we do know there is some sort of bizarre and intense family dynamic going on here. Unless MTV made the whole thing up, which is possible but not likely. I don’t think they’re that creative, and the yelling didn’t fit in with their image of the father as Yes Man to the daughter’s every desire.

“Who would let me like…drive?”

Ava says this, and it’s easily the most insightful and endearing thing she says the entire show. Other things she is overheard saying while looking at cars: “Red is a close as we’ll get to pink.” “It’s used? Eww…” Clearly Ava has an idea in her head of what she wants, and that does not involve anything used. I can guarantee you she looks down on those kids who come to school in the used Jags as opposed to the brand-new ones. Anyway, she decides she wants a Range Rover, which is fitting because it’s about most unsafe and unreliable vehicle built by human hands. Dad should be screaming in horror at this choice of a 35,000 piece of crap, but his answer amounts to a “we’ll see.” He does mention “If she likes it we have to get it for her” which makes it sound like he just doesn’t want to deal with any Veruca Salt-like temper tantrums she might throw. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we refuse to stand up to our children.

“I don’t want a dress from Jiki, nobody knows who that is…”

It would be proper to mention here the way Ava talks. She is one of those people you occasionally meet whose every utterance is phrased as a whine. Years of positive results from complaining has caused her to complain incessantly in order to see positive results. Judging by her voices nasality, she also appears to have evolved an internal second nose in addition to her normal nose, through which she speaks. In addition, years of whining at her mom has caused her to elongate the word “mom” to “mohm”, and the only way I can describe that to you is if you’ve seen the Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Kataan playing a little kid out of whose closet a bunch of baseball players appear – they way he says, “C’mon guys, you’re going to wake up my mohm” is the way Ava pronounces it. If not, just say it a little longer than usual. She says “mohm” about 20 times over the course of the episode, so I felt compelled to mention it.

Ava goes to Paris(!) to shop for a sweet sixteen dress. She goes to this Jiki store, and utters the quote above. Of course, nobody calls her on being a skank who thinks that wearing the right designer makes her cool. But what do I know? I like Kohls, personally. People know who Kohls is, and they don’t like it. Anyway, Ava is pretty much disgusted with all the dresses in Jiki, and fights with her mohm, who has a “different idea about her dress.” It’s foreshadowing the main drama of the episode, and MTV is just setting the whole thing up now.

“Dior is like…closed”

Apparently, many shops in Paris are closed in August. You’d think a pathetic style-conscious nuveaux-rich family like Ava’s would know that.

“I wish I could go shopping on my own – without my mohm.”

Ava finally settles on this $10,000 dress from a store I don’t remember the name of. There’s just one problem: It is without a doubt the world’s sluttiest dress. Seriously, it’s the kind of thing you’d see Lil’ Kim show up in at the VMA’s. It’s not that it’s low-cut, it’ that there’s a giant hole in the front, so that if Ava turns one way or the other there’s not one inch of her suspiciously big boobies that will be covered. Note that the previous sentence is not in bold – it’s absolutely true. Not only that, but there are circular holes cut into it all across her belly and lower back. I could just see it now: people making fun of her and asking, “Hey Ahh-vahh, where’s your pimp?” Mohm, for her part, is horrified but trying to let Ava down easy so as not to cause a temper tantrum. Mohm mutters something about it being “not good…for 16-year old”. She’s not going to get it for the disappointed and insane girl. Ava strokes the dress as they leave and keeps saying, “my preciousssss”.

“If my career is over because of this, then that’s just sad (stupid facial expression).”

Commercial time, and Ashlee Simpson is all over this station. And no, Ashlee, if your career dies because you suck at it, that’s not sad, that’s appropriate. And stop making stupid facial expressions after you say things, it makes you look like a ditz. I see now why you dyed your hair – being blonde would open you up to so many jokes after people see you talk.

“My parents talk so much…but they never enforce it.”

Blah blah blah. MTV’s laying this point on a little thick, don’t you think? We get it --it’s not her fault, it’s her mohm and dad’s. Take it easy.

But seriously, take a parenting tip from a non-parent: Be consistent, and do what you say you’re going to do. By the way, this lack of enforcement will show up later on, so be ready.

“I can’t walk out the door with this suitcase.”

Ava gets it in her head that she just has to go to Santa Barbara on a shopping trip. She also knows her mother does not approve of this (probably because Ava has a tendency to spend a little too much when out with her friends), so she packs for this overnight shopping trip while her mother is out of the house. Mohm comes back early and Ava then has to go on the overnight trip without a suitcase. Oh, the horror! She leaves the house, letting her mother know she’ll be “right back”. With a plan like that, Ava would not survive on Alias, let me tell you. As she leaves in her car, she knows that she’s crossed some line even she wasn’t supposed to, and says, “This is big.”

“There is no mistake that my daughter left for Santa Barbara.”

This clunky English sentence means that Mohm has sleuthed out the truth. She got it when Ava was not “right back.” Mohm’s pissed beyond belief, and this is the main conflict that drives the rest of the show.

(By the way, Mohm asks the credit card company how much the last charge was and it was for $8,000(!) The Democratic Party should hire Ava as advertisement for a higher top tax bracket. She could be the reverse Willie Horton.)

Back to the conflict, and Mohm fires the first shot…

“What a bitch…(calls dad) Dad, Mohm cancelled my credit card.”

I’m telling you right now: If I have a daughter, and that daughter at age 16 calls my wife a bitch for canceling the credit card that my wife has allowed that daughter to use, that daughter is going to that place for wayward/hysterical women that was portrayed in Girl/Interrupted. I don’t care if it’s illegal and doesn’t exist, I will find it. Holy crap. I do believe the only thing to say here would be the old-timey phrase, “You kiss your mother with that mouth?”

On top of that, she calls daddy. Man, Muslim Mohm and Jewish Dad must hate each other for Ava to think she can play them off each other like that. Actually and refreshingly, calling her dad does not help. The parents are actually putting up a united front, and that only 16 years too late. But just like Alias, do they know they can trust each other? Will they cave like Shawn Bradley does against Shaq? The suspense is killing me!

“I don’t regret going at all…I deserved it, I needed it.”

I wonder: Is it Jewish or Muslim Theology that she’s basing these claims on? She deserved it? Hmm. Sounds like Kabala to me. Don’t laugh, these people have so much money I bet Madonna is at their door twice a month trying to get them to buy henna tattoos and salvation. Kabala and Scientology are probably formulating their game plans right now.

“She’s like being so unreasonably uptight.”

Just like when she wouldn’t let you go to your Sweet 16 party dressed as a $10,000 hooker, right? Mohm grounds little Ava, and Ava whines…moreso. C’mon, get to the good part…

“If I don’t get my car, I’m never going to talk to my parents again.”

This statement has the honor of being both whiny spoiled-speak and an idle threat. Ava goes to dinner with both dad and mohm (in the same room(!)) and dad drops the bombshell: Ava would in fact not be getting her range rover on this her birthday dinner that has nothing to do with her sweet sixteen party. Ava cries the most spoiled, whiny cry that I have ever heard. She cries like “The Nanny”. It’s like they surgically implanted Fran Drescher’s voice box in Ava’s windpipe. And don’t laugh, these people have the money to get that done, and have shown a willingness to do whatever Ava wants. They would have you killed if Ava so desired. Watch out.

However, there is still no Range Rover. Ava can’t believe it, and says:

“They totally killed my birthday-uh.”

She’s crying and whining, and when she does that she tends to append an “uh” to her sentences. You know, we used to make fun of people who did that when I was growing up. We used to exaggerate it, saying, “Get out of my yard-uh.” I suppose you had to be there. It was wicked funny when I was 10. Anyway, Ava’s birthday is ruined, but she continues to talk to her parents because:

“I basically realized that she kind of had a point.”

So this is a redemption story, like The Mission or Terminator II. Ava realizes when she doesn’t get her Range Rover that cars don’t grow on trees, and that even though she will never want for anything but attention because of her parents’ crapulence, she should probably stop being such a Banshee Skank so that she can enjoy the full fruits of her parents’ love. The spoils, if you will. Because she’s spoiled, get it? Ha ha hoo.

Finally, the Sweet Sixteen Party (remember that? It’s why we’re here, even though the only part of the episode dedicated to it so far was the beefcake competition at the beginning) occurs, and Ava gets carried in by young shirtless hunks in a velvet chair like you see in period pieces. They almost drop her because her boobs are too big post-surgery and it’s hard to compensate for the wind resistance. I’m just talking out of turn here, sorry. She’s wearing the ugliest outfit ever, which you just know she paid 12 grand for.

“You have to respect your mother and me.”

Ahh, the sweet sound of capitulation. Dad proves that he likes his daughter’s affection more than her respect, and shows up in her brand new white Range Rover, with the caveat above that neither one of them expects to happen. Ava squeals with joy, which as it turns out is even more annoying than her whining. This girl is incapable of producing a pleasant noise. The Range Rover has a bow on it, which is so Christmas 2002. The party guests start taking bets on how long it will be before Ava totals it. The over/under starts at 15 days.

“When I walked in with my red dress, the party really got started.”

Flash to Ava’s peers, who are all dressed up. They all hate her, you can tell. Here are a couple quotes: “This is so extravagant.”; “This is so expensive.” There’s no “Man, that Ava really deserves this, what a great girl.” All these people are just out for a free meal and something to do. You can see it in their eyes. Plus, how exactly do you handle being Ava’s friend on a day-to-day basis? How can you be friends with someone who’s whining all the time, or who thinks they’re better than you? Ava just invited the people from school who she thought were worthy, and who didn’t visibly hate her. Must have been a small party.

“You deserve it.”

Mohm, finally saying the words that Ava so desperately wants to hear 24/7. She’s talking about the party, which dad adds up the cost of. “200,000, counting the Range Rover.” He says it was worth the money, because now Ava will love him. He doesn’t say it that way, but you know he was thinking it. And Ava, having won yet again the battle of wills with her France-like parents, thanks them for the great party.

“One of the best days of my life.”

One of? I can’t take this anymore. They just dropped 200 grand on a party for you and you have to qualify it? Would it have been the best day had they let you wear the dress that involuntarily flashes your boobies at the world? Would it have been just an average day had they gotten that excessive, ugly, gas-guzzling, destined-to-be-scrapped Range Rover ahead of time like you wanted? What day was better? Maybe she should demand a $300,000 Bat Mitzvah with Jerry Seinfeld as the Rabbi. The sad part is they would have gotten it for her, had she just threatened to withhold her affection. Ava needs to be Interrupted before she turns into an actual terrorist who blows up things in order to secure the dress she wants.

Next week: A dude! Less emphasis on dresses, more on hoe’s. Is that how you spell that? Spell check thinks so.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm Going to See Movies

Here's a look you'd never see from the real Susan Storm-Richards.

Yesterday in my daily contemplations (read: time when I'm sitting in my car delivering pizzas) I decided that I'm obligated to see Fantastic Four and comment about it, even though I'm 95% sure that I'll hate it. You see, as I've explained every time one of these Marvel movies comes out, I was a rabid reader of Marvel comics when I was a kid. I didn't know every nook and cranny of the Marvel Universe, but I knew most of it. It was like a big soap opera for kids with superheroes instead of spoiled rich people. All the different "titles" were related somehow, with crossovers and team-ups and all sorts of history being built up all over the place.

I didn't read much Fantastic Four. I was intimidated by it, I realize now. It was the classy flagship of the Marvel franchise. It was Stan Lee's first real venture with Marvel, and it had grandiose storylines like the Cosmic Cube/Galactus eating the earth thing and all the stuff with Doctor Doom. I don't mean to get into minutia here, I'm just remembering how it all seemed to me at the time -- impenetrable, like you had to be there from the beginning to really "get" it. I now know it was just comic books, but when you're 11 things translate a little bigger than they actually are.

Things eventually changed for the Four, starting with Susan Storm-Richards (HCBGOAT*) having a kid and being replaced for a while, The Thing getting his own title and unfortunately being replaced by the repellant She-Hulk (most decidedly not the HCBGOAT). They started tricking these things up when titles like The Uncanny X-Men and The Avengers took over, and this brought the class factor down a bit. They were still intimidating, though. Maybe I'm not explaining this right. Let me put it to you this way: The Fantasic Four were the original, and best, and everyone knew it, even when they were buying Spider-Man. I don't see how this movie will do anything but dishonor the memory of that great classy book. Especially when they cast Jessica "Honey" Alba in the Susan Storm-Richards role. That girl's as wholesome and smart as a bag of flaming crap.

Maybe I'll decide to reward myself (for getting out my jumbled and difficult-to-explain thoughts on the Fantastic Four) by not seeing the movie at all. I'll see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory instead. That'll teach 'em.

Plus, I've got Primer to watch. And watch. And watch.

*Hottest comic book girl of all time. And yes, I'm disappointed in myself for having this classification, too. Anyway, I can't explain it, but I just liked her -- In a comic-book crush sort of way.

From Dec. 23, 2004

Confession: I started a line-by-line parsing of Sean Paul's "Like Glue" last year, but I never finished it. I now believe that I lost it in one of my hard drive crashes. It was funny, and now it's probably gone forever. If I can find it, I'll post it here.

I guess what I'm saying is that I should probably do more of the sort of thing I do in this post. Merry Christmas in July.

Merry Christmas

Since the first time I heard it, I have always loved the song, "The Little Drummer Boy". I hated the cartoon (was it a cartoon or a puppet show or something?), but I loved the song. It was so simple, so humble. Looking at it more closely at age 32, I see it as a great Christmas song that has some Theological warts. I think it's worth a parsing, so let's go through these lyrics that have affected me so much and see what they really are saying.

Verse 1
Come, they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum (after this, the pa-rum-pum-pum-pums will be assumed)

Right off the bat, there is a level of mystery. Who is this mysterious "they" who are doing the "telling", or, "ordering around", of the narrator? For that matter, who is the narrator? We do not know. I always assumed since the song is about a little drummer boy that the "they" refers to the boy's parents. Now that I think of it, the "they" could really be any adult -- a guardian, the director of an orpanage, the Oprahites with their Book Clubs, or Herod's guards. Anyway, it's clear that the song is about the boy, and that where the orders come from doesn't matter.

A newborn king to see

From the story as it reads in the Bible, we have no account of just random people and their drumming sons showing up at the manger and pelting Jesus with gifts. This is an apocryphal (there is only one "h" in that word -- did you know that?) story. The author is using his dramatic license to demonstrate his own reaction (and the reaction of the ideal audience) to the story of Jesus' birth. It is apocryphal and metaphorical. The Drummer Boy is a metphor for you, me, everyone. Got it? Good.

Our finest gifts we bring
to lay before the King

Once again, this account is not "based on a true story", but regardless, what is happening here? The Ordering Agent is letting the boy know of the protocol that is used when approaching the manger, i.e., Jesus. "You're supposed to bring your best stuff." What the author is doing is setting up the back story so that we feel for the drummer boy in verse 2 when he explains that he has no "finest gifts". The nameless Ordering Agent is putting pressure on the boy, and on us (of course, it could also be a joyful, "Come on, let's worship the King" type of thing, and in fact that's probably the author's intended meaning. That I first viewed the bringing of gifts as a threat to be subverted indicates how weird (and ultimately, Lutheran) I really am).

So to honor Him
When we come.

So they are traveling as a group to the manger to give their gifts to Jesus. Imagine if you will a line containing all people who believe in Jesus or who ever believed in Jesus. Imagine them getting one thing to lay down before Jesus in the manger. Imagine most of them getting caught up in this and missing the point, which is Jesus really wants you more than your gifts -- i.e., you are there to honor Him, not impress Him. And then imagine yourself as a little boy with no posessions to give, standing in this line with only your drum and meager skill. Is that enough? Check out...

Verse 2 (The Drummer Kid Speaks)

"Baby Jesu

We've skipped ahead to the boy's time at the manger, and he is speaking to Jesus directly. For some reason, the "Jesu" part always gets me. It's probably not intended to be this way, but it seems a familiar and affectionate way to address someone that everyone is there to Honor. It's like, the boy knows that this is God with a capital G, but knows him (or of him) well enough to be talking with him like someone talks to their own father. That he's actually talking to a baby creates an interesting bunch of ideas, don't you think? In any case, the boy is humble approaching the humble manger.

I am a poor boy too

Now this part really gets me, perhaps better than any other part of any other Christmas song. The Drummer Boy sees the child and knows the honor due Him, and knows he's really in no way worthy of pleasing the child in any way. He also knows he has nothing of value to give the child (and God, btw). Can it be any clearer? Soylent Green is people, and the Drummer Boy is us, I mean, me. This is exactly how I feel when I think about the God that loved me enough to send this Baby. I have nothing of myself to give Him. I am a poor boy indeed.

I have no gift to bring
That's fit to give a King

This is the boy's unworthiness laid bare. He knows he's not worthy -- he's just there to honor the King in the manger. He throws himself at the mercy of the court, so to speak, and appeals to the fact mentioned in the previous line: that this baby Jesus was a "poor child" just like us.

Shall I play for you
On my drum?"

The Drummer Boy takes the only thing he has and asks if he can use it to honor God. That's pretty cool. But will the baby Jesus let him play, or will he make him come back with more money or an advanced degree? Maybe the boy would be turned away and use that as motivation to develop some marketable skills. The answer's in...

Verse 3
Mary nodded

Catholicism alert! Ok, was the author Catholic? I guess non-Catholic Christians can look at this and say, "Jesus was a baby at this point. so Mary had to speak for Him." But why not, "Joseph nodded", since it was undoubtedly a patriarchal situation there in that barn? Or am I being too critical?

The ox and A__ (or, later, lamb) kept time

When I was growing up, this song had a cussword in it. We would all sit and giggle like Beavis when we got to this part. I fear for our children when they are deprived the right to giggle at the changing of a word's meaning from "donkey" to "bum". It's would be like singing, "Don we now our festive apparel". It's just a silly response to something silly. Of course, that's not nearly as silly as the picture of an ox and a sheep getting down to the Drummer Boy's beat. Actually, it sounds like a Disney movie.

I played my drum for Him
I played my best for Him

This is the boy's response to Jesus' mercy -- playing his best. Not the other way around, because we don't receive mercy for doing our best. That would not be mercy at all -- it would be reward. We receive mercy because God loves us and sent that child in the manger for whom this Drummer Boy is playing his song (probably quite irrythmically, I might add -- how old is this boy, six? How many six-year-olds do you know that can drum well?). Our gifts and the use of our talents has to be a response to God's love. That's what I got from this song. That's why I cry whenever I hear it. Really, I do.

Then he smiled at me

See? The Little Drummer Boy got it right. Jesus smiles at those who use their talents to honor Him.

Me and my drum.

Study questions: What is your "drum"? Are you the Little Scientist Boy? The Little Football Girl? The Little Missionary Boy? The Little Singing Girl? The Little Parts Coordinating Boy? Oops, too personal, I'd better stop.

Merry Christmas everybody.

From Jan. 18, 2005

I had forgotten that this post existed. It's interesting, the ones you remember and the ones you don't. I think it describes things about my high school experience accurately and succinctly. I like it when I'm accurate and succinct.


I've been remembering weird things of the past lately. It's frustrating, because I want to write the memoirs of my high school and college days (because everyone wants to do this when they get to a certain age. Everyone wants to believe the experience of their youth was somehow both universal and special), and these memories are just coming to me and then they are gone. Poof. The only one I can think of now is the time I was playing football in my front yard with a couple of my friends.* I would have been about 10. The thing I remember is me trying to tackle one of my friends, and not being able to get him, and then me sticking my leg out, and him tripping over it (with a thud I still remember) and going flying through the air. He had been running at full speed. All my friends were like, whoa. I was, in some small way, cool to them because I did that. Kids are so messed up. How'd I ever make it out of that phase?

Most of the memories that come back to me are the humilating ones. It's probably no wonder they get out of my brain so fast. I was a nerd, and the defining moments in my life are the ones that tell me I wasn't cool. I still want to be cool, but I cannot. Most nerds come to terms with this and embrace their nerdiness by at least the time they get out of college, if not in High School. But I was always an uneasy nerd. I was smart, but not really nerd smart. I had some of the same interests as nerds (not that nerds are a monolithic group in regards to their interests. My nerdy friends were so different at times it appeared the only thing that held them together was a sense of community and a the bizarre high school clique system that everyone simultaneously decried and assumed), but I had other interests as well.

By the time I was a senior, the nerds were nerds pretty much in name only, because when you get to that age everyone's getting ready for college and realizes the cliques of High School are passing away quickly. At least people without their heads in their A---es (read: girls who like prom too much or guys who are not getting ready for college but getting ready for Frats) realize this. The shared experience of being in the same class overwhelmed whatever differences people thought they may have had. It's a cool thing, and it's why Seniors appear so much more mature than Freshman and Sophomores. At least this happened at my school in '89-90. The nerds in my class became just another social group that happened to hang out together. Many of them had hot girlfriends (not me -- which is either a long story or a short story, and the long story's really really long and the short story makes me look bad), other friends outside the "group", and were successful in all sorts of ways.

I'm still friends with just about all of them, those nerds. Cool nerds.**

*"Football" being a generic, family-friendly term for the game which was known in my area/era as "Schmeer the Queer". It literally did not occur to me until at least age 25 what the game's name was implying. In this game, one person had the football, and the others would try and tackle him, at which point he would give up the ball, and then that guy would be tackled, and so on ad infinitum or ad injrium.

** Coined by a defensive tackle/punter named Kelly Ray in 1989 in Miss B's classroom, referring to my friend, the one who got married in a kilt. Kelly, for his part, was later seen living out of his car after his parents kicked him out of the house. He also sat next to me in my college Sociology class, where we proceeded to make fun of the guy in front of us' young son, who came to class and sat down and had a little plumber's crack exposed every day. Eventually, he dropped the class or just stopped showing up. See? My memoirs would be fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday, News, You, and Me

Hey, I checked my Google "AdSense" stuff yesterday and in July so far I've made $.04! That's a 400% increase over June! That's right, those annoying ads you see but don't click on nearly enough have made me a total of 5 cents. As Yakoff Smirnoff would say, "America, what a country."

Now on to the important news:

I'll start with a note about the 10pm newscasts in Dallas on Sunday night. They all had the same lead story -- In Arlington, cops went around to 400 houses for the express purpose of judging people who leave stuff in their cars. That's right, their response to the growing problem of people taking stuff that's not theirs is to go around and play "blame the victim" all day. It would be nice if when I fail at my job (which I do, and often), if I could go around and blame the people that I've hurt. Anyway, they put flyers on the cars they deemed "potential targets," making this distinction based on several factors: Is it locked? Is there anything valuable still inside the car? Is it a Honda Civic? If the answer to any of these is "yes", then (boom!) you get a flyer that judges you. Imagine coming out to your car and having an official police document under the wiper that tells you to "get your CD case out of the car because you're contributing to the crime problem."

It's all sleight of hand, people -- they're trying to distract you from the fact that they can't get a handle on the crime here in Dallas, and that the criminals have won. They are telling us that there's nothing left to do but lock ourselves in our homes, guns drawn and trained at the door.

Of course all the news outlets were positively positive about the cops wasting taxpayer money by spending all day judging people who weren't committing any crime. There was no questioning of those cops or of the pervasive "blame the victim" philosophy of the authorities around the Metroplex. There was only acceptance and the message that you, too, could be next. You could be getting a judgy flyer on your car, so get that Pink Floyd CD off the seat. You don't want it to be stolen, do you? What kind of moron wants things to be stolen? It's you're fault, you know.
Quick Scoreboard:
number of times my car has been broken into in Dallas: 4
number of car stereos lost to "the underworld": 2
approx. out-of-pocket expense to fix cars after the crimes: $1250
number of items recovered by Dallas Police: 0
number of police officers I talked to in person after the crimes: 0

Ok, NOW the real news:

President Bush last night announced his nominee for the Supreme Court. His name is Generic White Male, or at least that's what I saw under his picture on TV last night. Seriously, John G. Roberts is his name? It's like Bush said, "Forget all this talk of 'women' and 'minorities' -- I'm nominating the least ethnic person I can find!" My favorite quote so far about this has to be from some Planned Parenthood leader-drone:
"The nomination of John G. Roberts raises serious questions and grave concerns for women's health and safety. It is particularly troubling that Roberts went on the record calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned when he served as a lawyer for the government," said Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Only a nominee committed to protecting women's health and safety should be confirmed by the Senate."

As an aside, when did the pro-choice position become about "health and safety"? Isn't that the realm of the pro-lifers? Isn't pro-choice about, well, giving people a choice? Karen Pearl sets it up like you'd have to be against women's health and safety if you want to protect the unborn. Who would be anti-health? Who would be anti-safety? Grr.

And after a circus-like confirmation process that will probably involve allegations of harassment and pope abuse, finger-pointing, grandstanding, liberal fearmongering, conservative "rule-of-law" talk, and a big fat Filibuster, John G. Generic will be your next Supreme Court Justice. Bank it, unless he's got some skeletons in his closet we don't know about. I don't see a filibuster working here, mainly because Whitey hasn't done enough for the Democrats to demonize. At some point people are going to start wondering why our Court only has 8 justices, you know? The Dems would be better off to just make a little stink now and hope he's another David "Annexation without Representation" Souter in a Conservative's clothing. I'm 90% sure they're going to filibuster, though, because they've literally fallen in love with the concept. The Democrats want to marry filibustering.

In other news, scientists have determined that dark chocolate keeps blood pressure low. I'm sure they will be retracting this in a couple years, though, so don't go around eating truckloads of "special dark" and throwing out all the Krackels, Mr. Goodbars, and Generic Bars in an effort to counter your addiction to KFC.

My wife will be happy -- I didn't link to anything today! All the news out there is boring today, what can I say?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

From Sept. 21, 2004

I really like this particular bit, which is very nearly investigative journalism (not really, but I did look some stuff up). As it turned out, none of the machinations of Rock the Vote, WWE Smackdown the Vote, or Drew Barrymore mattered. Nothing mattered except the fact that Kerry never outlined a real plan for the war in Iraq, and gay activists decided to push for something that is cool not to have a problem with but that nobody actually wants. Enjoy...

Why is a cable network interested in me voting?

Every 4 years we are treated to the MTV "Choose or Lose" campaign to get "young voters" out to the polls. Does anyone...

Hold on. Dr. Phil just said on a radio commercial, "There are 14 characteristics of a serial killer -- and your son has 9." Only 5 away, then watch out! I'd love to know what those 14 characteristics are, according to Dr. Phil. I'll research that and report later. What if one of them is totally random, like, "Eats corn on Thursdays" or something? That would be cool.

Anyway, does anyone else think it's strange that a cable network would devote massive amounts of time and resources for what is supposedly a Public Service Announcement? Especially MTV, the Pamela Anderson of cable networks (meaning beautiful, vapid, blindly liberal and socially degenerate). What are they up to? Well, the slogan for the Choose or Lose (heretofore referred to as CoL) campaign is "20 Million Loud". What does that mean, you ask? On the CoL website it has a dictionary-type definition for this:

20 Million Loud, (cutesy phonetic pronunciation), noun, a national campaign of organizations mobilizing more than 20 million young adults aged 18 to 30 to vote and be a deciding factor in the 2004 presidential election. (emphasis mine)

On first glance this looks ominously like a propaganda campaign designed to get young people to vote en masse for a candidate, thus being the "deciding factor". But it could be taken in a more benign way, making sure that young people are represented as well as other groups. But what would that matter, if they split their vote 50-50? Wouldn't that just be "20 million loud" people shouting, canceling each other's voices out?

The fact is, this voting business and how we view it is way more complicated than most people realize. I am reminded of my old high school Government teacher, whose hairy knuckles intimidated even the most jaded of high school burnouts, and who implied that people who just vote without knowing any of the issues shouldn't vote at all, and should in fact stay home and stop ruining democracy for everyone else. It was an expression of really really watered-down Hamiltonianism -- the idea that an elite and most knowledgable class of people should elect the president, and keep the stupid masses out of it -- only in this case the elite class was made up of those who simply cared enough to find out the candidate's positions on things.

And you know what? I sympathize with this concept, I really do. There's something to be said for keeping uninformed people away from the polls. But there's no way to stop them, and we shouldn't even try -- we live by the people, and we die by the people. The solution to this is informing the people, not taking away their rights. No Taxation Without Representation or somesuch. That's why Hamilton was super wrong and lost the argument way back when. But he's still on our money, which should tick off anyone who's not a snooty elitist.

So, is the MTV CoL campaign really for information purposes, or something more sinister? Well, let's take a look at these organizations that are "mobilizing young people". What are their purposes? It would seem that "Rock the Vote", "Hip-Hop Summit", and "WWE Smackdown the Vote" (not making this up) would be liberal by default no matter how much the term "non-partisan"(notice it doesn't say non-idealogical) is thrown about on their literature. What do you suppose the percentage of conservative Rockers/Hip-Hoppers/WWE Roid Restlers would be? Isn't the over/under at about 3%? What do you think their message is going to be? Comparing Bush to Hitler and scaring people into voting him out, that's what.

(Side note: It's interesting, this fear that Michael Moore and his ilk are trying to stir in people -- fear of this nefarious cabal of rich white dudes who start wars for oil and repeal civil rights legislation and rip us all off in so many ways. Interesting because they accuse the other side of using fear of terrorism to get political things done. )

(side note 2: You will notice there's no "Country Fry the Vote" campaign involved in this, which is understandable because MTV literally pretends on a daily basis that no other form of music exists outside Rock and Hip-Hop. Even normal Pop has been pretty much relegated to VH-1. Therefore, I don't count the lack of such a program involved in this as a political bias of any sort. Another way to put this is: The corporate philosophy of MTV states that nobody under the age of 30 listens to country. Which I don't mind, considering today's country music is our National Embarassment, even moreso than The US Men's Olympic Basketball Team, the Iraq war, or Dr. Phil getting his own show in Prime Time on a Network.)

Of the other groups listed, is a joint project of the George Washington U. and the PIRG's. What are the PIRG's, you ask? They have the generic name Public Interest Resource Group, but all they really are is a group of people pushing for tougher environmental legislation in each state. PIRG also has a less non-partisan voting campaign to get low-income and "historically underrepresented" people to the polls. A good goal, but one that most definitely benefits John Kerry at the expense of GW Bush. itself seems pretty solidly non-ideological despite its liberal backing, as do "Declare Yourself", "", and "Project Vote Smart". "Voto Latino" is non-partisan, but has many ideological statements expressed by bloggers and essayists on its site. It's definitely not just some sort of liberal front organization, however.

So, all these organizations are saying the right things, but it's what's unspoken that's important here. Namely, the unspoken fact that 20 million marginally informed 18-30 year-olds voting will contribute probably 10 million more votes to Kerry than Bush. You see, people who turn 18 are mostly liberal in ideology, thanks in large part to the pretty people of pop culture preaching liberalism at them. Of course, parental influence is still key at that age -- at least among the 10% or so of kids that see their parents every day and like them. But any remaining conservatives at age 18 will quickly be indoctrinated in liberalism at the college of their choice, causing the few conservative holdouts to bunkerize and get haircuts and wear ties to class and berate people with talk of flat taxes and 2nd-amendment-worship.

What all this means is that the more young people vote, the better it will be for John Kerry and the Democrats. MTV and the Artists they create know this. They can't possibly not know it. Not that I'm necessarily Pro-Bush, but it's just not fair that a TV network (especially one aimed solely at impressionable 12-20 year-olds) would devote so much time and energy to getting Kerry elected. That's why I'm proposing somebody or some TV network (with more time and money than myself) start a new "get out the vote" program, one that targets the 30-and older crowd, regardless of social position. It could be called "Choose or MTV Will Choose For You." That should be enough to scare some people. If we can get 20 million people older people to vote who wouldn't have otherwise voted, we can bring some fairness and respectability to the political process.

And how about you young people fricking think for yourselves for once and stop letting people tell you what to do? The real cool, rebellious thing to do in this election is to not vote. I mean, rich white people will decide the election anyway, right? At this very moment rich white males of both parties are organizing campaigns to go out on the street and scare trashy non-voters into voting, often by outright lying to them (proven fact). You aren't naive enough to believe that your vote counts, are you? Be reverse naive instead. And let me tell you what to do.

I disavow the last paragraph, and apologize to anyone I disenfranchised. I will end this madness by saying that the next time you see an MTV "Choose or Lose" program, shudder, because every time Drew Barrymore says, "I want to find out what this high-schooler thinks about Health Care", an angel loses his wings and gets run over by a garbage truck.

I disavow that last paragraph also. I'm leaving before I have to disavow anything else.

Work is Fun!

So my "real" job just implemented more changes to our internet policy here, in an effort to keep employees from having a good experience. They have banned 80 categories of websites, from "traditional religions" to "sports". I spent all of yesterday figuring out which sites I could visit and which sites I couldn't, an activity I would have been saved from if they would have just kept our internet the way it was. It's like they want me to waste time here. Some interesting sites I'm banned from, followed by the category it fits into: (a weblog about the mass media's coverage of religion) -- "traditional religions". (Christian apologetics website) -- "traditional religions" (ESPN) -- "sports" (sports radio station I listen to in Dallas) -- "sports" (artist promotion service) -- "mp3 audio and download service" (director David Lynch's website) -- "cultural institutions"

Some sites not banned, but are giant timewastes and potentially offensive:
The Onion, IFilm, Atom Films, every online newspaper,, and as you can see, blogger and blogspot. That means I can read every blog, and post things myself. So, this actually doesn't affect me very much, but I'm still annoyed by it. It's so silly.

Did anyone else see that news report that people waste something like an average of 2 hours on the job every day just doing random non-work-related things? Did anyone else notice that employers expect you to blow only one hour a day, and so they're unhappy with all this double downtime? I predict there will be a crackdown on excessive time wasting, starting with my employer yesterday and this whole internet "categories of judgment" thing. Big business will not have its employees enjoying themselves! This is unacceptable!

The ugly truth about all those office layoffs we've famously had(I'm talking about when staff has just been reduced -- not about when jobs have been shipped off to another country and lost forever) is that employers can tell people to do all sorts of extra jobs they never had before, but a worker is always going to do the same amount of work. If a worker has jobs A-D, and you give him job E because you just fired that lazy Mandi who liked Marylin Manson a little too much, he may do job E, but something in A-D will suffer for it. Something will fall by the wayside. All across America, in this new "hyper-productive" economy built upon a lack of a labor force, crap just isn't getting done that needs to be done. And people are hiding this fact, too, so that by the time we discover it, it'll be too late. And somebody will eventually have to clean things up. We are making our bed, and we will soon lie in it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

From July 23, 2004

I recently rediscovered this post due to a friend of mine who wanted to link to it for the abstinence clearinghouse's blog. How you feel about it would probably be determined by whether or not you think the analogy is valid. If you think teen sex (I'm using this generic term to mean all sorts of sexual activity by teens -- even stuff that they naively don't think is sexual) is healthy and peachy and something everyone should experience, you probably think this was written by a moron. However, if you think that having sex too early is harmful to the development of a person, then you'll probably like it. I love it, but then again I wrote it.

I thought of it one day when I heard someone on the radio advance the tired opinion that kids are "going to have sex anyway." Of course they are, if you hand them a condom with a wink in lieu of parenting. Nice cop-out. Maybe people just feel guilty for having sex when they were too young -- I don't know. Anyway, try to enjoy this...

"Teenagers are just going to have sex anyway"

Teenagers are just going to eat what they want anyway (like you can stop them from going to Burger King when you're not watching), so why even present carrots and fruits and stuff as an alternative? Shouldn't they be making up their own minds? So what if the foods they eat contribute to a slow and stinky death? TV preaches those foods at them all the time, in a non-judgmental fashion. All your food-pyramids and "diet plans" are just unrealistic moralizing.

You parents should be researching drugs and devices to make these fatty, sugary death foods less unsafe for teens. That sounds like a job for the government, actually. I think our tax dollars should go to programs that allow our teens to eat the foods they want (because, as I explained, they're going to anyway, the little immoral scamps) and still be healthy. That way, they will figure out for themselves that actions have no consequences whatsoever.

The government should also pass out cigarettes in school, you know, so kids can decide if they like 'em.

So this is what 300 posts feels like

I also just noticed that my post counter, which had been stuck at "86" for about 8 months, has updated and now lists an even 300. I have no idea if I've posted that much, but that does sound about right. I'm at work now, and it is Monday. This week is filled to the brim with caffeinated potential, at leat on this blog. I'll be running one old post a day, with my commentary to start it out. This is of course in addition to the normal posts. I enjoy making more work for myself.

Fun fact: Did you know the Papa John's "All the Meats"(TM) pizza has only 57% of the available meat toppings? It has: sausage, bacon, ham, pepperoni; it's missing: italian sausage, beef (it used to have beef but not anymore -- Papa needed a new Jag), and of course chicken. I mention this because I think it's interesting how companies can legally name something a name that's fundamentally inaccurate. It's like the "official" name of East Germany (anyone out there remember them?) -- the German Democratic Republic. This, people, is what 1984 was about. Don't believe them! It all stops if we don't believe them!

Think about that the next time you're eating a Papa John's "57% of the Meats Pizza".