Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Culinary Catechisms

Let’s talk about food. Obviously having food around and eating it is an important part of our lives. Too often, I think, we are too casual about the things we put in our mouths and fail to take time to appreciate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert to all things gastronomical, but as an armchair scientist/philosopher I believe I have excellent observation skills. That's gotta count for something, right?

The two people I eat food with and observe the most are my wife and the boy. My wife of course is a ruthless, despot of a dietitian. She lives and breathes everything food: she teaches people about it, she reads about it every day, she cooks it every evening, and, more often than I’d like, she gets on my case about it. I mainly reap the benefits of living with a dietitian. I’d say she’s taught me to consider many important things about food, like calorie counting and diminishing my carb intake. All that is great. But I secretly feel that she wants to condition me to the point where I have nervous tremors and waking nightmares about eating a brownie. Oh yes. I’m on to you woman.

My boy’s perspective regarding food is much, much simpler. To him, his mouth is his primary sense organ and everything is either food or not-food. This is apparent by the way he interacts with the things around him. When I give him something, I imagine his thought process is something like this: (1) Grab new object; (2) Insert in mouth; (3) Chew; (4) Swallow or set aside; and (5) Poop. What a simple way to look at the world! I have learned a lot from his way of doing things, and have from time to time implemented his simple, 5-step method to success.

Now, the above approaches to food are just two of many. Some take the simple minded position that the only food groups are rice, chicken, and 1% milk. Others foolishly believe that eating meat compares to jumping in the sack with Satan. Obviously there is more than one way to chuck food down your gullet, some maybe better than others.

Overall I’m a broadminded person when it comes to food. Generally I don’t care what people consider savory or nutritious. But I do feel at this point I must lay out and publish for all the world what I consider the irrevocable laws of caloric consumption. Now, in my opinion these laws were decreed from the eternities long before the world began. Yes, long before any man or woman set meat to the flame or water to the lips, these laws fell from the heavens and should be ingrained into every beating heart. They are the following:

1. Thou shalt not mingle any raisin-like substance with thy cookie. The raisin-cookie mingler shall be cast out and no light will dwell with him.

2. Thou shalt not defile thy pizza with the fruit of the pineapple, for he who does so shall be called a liar and hypocrite.

3. Thou shalt not blaspheme thy brownie with the whore known as nuts. The brownie blasphemer shall be thrust to the third ring of Hell.

From these laws flow all that is the Culinary Catechism. Many bad experiences have taught me that failure to abide by these laws leads only to disappointment, sadness, and uncontrollable crying. So go forward, my friends, and with this knowledge may you never shed a tear again from eating a crappy cookie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gangsta Cyclist.

Few of you know that I’m a hard core gang banger. Some of you may have inferred this due to my usual salutation, e.g. “What up, gangsta?” It’s just my years of hitting the streets bleeding through into my everyday speech. As they say, “Once a gangsta, always a gangsta…beee-aauch!!”

I first joined a gang in second grade. It all started when Mrs. Conrad’s class, a.k.a., the “Rockin’ Roosters,” started moving in on our merry-go-round during morning recess. Our leader, Juan Carlos De la Virgin Santisima, rallied us to a game a smear the queer, where we would go toe to toe with the Roosters and finally send them home cryin’ to their mammas. Just as the game started to get interesting, the recess police put a stop to it. Needless to say…I spent some time with the principal that day. It was the first of my many experiences dealing with the man.

I bounced from gang to gang since that time, all the while improving my thumb wrestling and jack knife skills. Perhaps the meanest, most bad ace gang I joined after second grade was the Barracudas. We were a rough bunch, recently immigrated from south of the border. Our families were just trying to catch a break, but bigoted home-bodies kept tryin’ to bring us down.

The roughest gang we dealt with was the Bombers. These guys were hard core. Apparently to even join you had to know how to tap dance, sing in tune, and stab a cop. Their motto was “Once you’re a Bomber you’re a Bomber till your dyin’ day!!” They always sang that in harmony when they hit the streets for a throw down. The craziest thing I remember was when little Frankie of the Bombers tried to hook up with the little sister of Nacho de la Virgin Grandisima, ruthless leader of the Barracudas. To make a long story short, Frankie ended up with a torn hamstring, never to dance again…

My days with the Barracudas taught me some hard lessons, mostly that I can’t keep a beat for crap. I had various offers to join gangs since that time but nothing has ever felt right…until recently. About two months ago I was approached in a dark alley and asked to join a bicycle gang.

The leader was called “the Nutritionist de la Virgin Saludisima” and is known as the most exotic gangta dietitian east of the Spokompten valley. Her right hand man, simply known as “Soup,” is built like a cinder block. I’d heard stories about these two before. The word is that the Nutritionist won’t take no for an answer and doesn’t mess around when it comes to shakin’ your booty. The Soup doesn’t say much. All I know is he won’t think twice about biting your finger off. So, as you can imagine, I couldn’t resist when I was offered a lifetime membership, full protection from other biker gangs, and a brand new Diamond Back, 21-speed, steel beast from Hell…

We’ve been rollin’ hard since that time, kickin’ trash and takin’ names. The Nutritionist takes the lead, and Soup rides shotgun with me. Nobody messes with us when we hit the trail; most of the time other bikers just speed on by, afraid we might try to stick ‘em if they look at us the wrong way. Yeah. I think I’m in this gang for life, whether I like it or not.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doc Complex.

The Bairds have been battling a flu-like death virus this last week. That’s an exaggeration, but we hardly get sick so being sick is a rough experience for us. Cambell, the boy, was the first to come down with it. Last Monday he woke up from his afternoon nap with green boogers all over his face and two snot trails coming down his nose. The poor kid. It’s the first time he’s been sick.

Being the rockin’ awesome dad that I am, I scooped the boogers away with my hand (it was all I had available at the time). I also thought I was immune to sissy kiddy viruses. My body has 26 years of virus butt kicking power behind it! I’m invincible! Wrong. Friday morning I woke up after .2 hours of sleep. I proceeded to lie in bed and various other places and positions the rest of the day. The “Cambell Green booger flu” laid me up for the whole weekend.

Today I stayed home from work. I’m feeling a wee bit better but now I’m having problems with my ear. I feel like my head is underwater. I stand up and I feel like I’m on a circus ride. Pain in the ear is usually a big deal (that’s what the internet said, and the internet knows all). You should go to the doctor if you have pain in your ear (the internet said that too).

I hate going to the doctor... Most of the time when I hear a doctor’s advice I think: “Gee thanks, I learned that one from watching TV.” Or “So I should rest when I get a cold. Fascinating.” I feel like doctor’s get off on playing hide the ball. Of course, a doctor is the closest thing next to a demigod on earth (again, something the internet said). Inevitably you have to visit the doctor time and again.

You can imagine I wasn’t too thrilled when I decided to go to the doctor today. I went with the expectation that he’d give me some magical solution to my ear problem. After some probing and prodding and ooohing and ahhhing the doctor came to his conclusion: “Mr. Baird, you should go home and rest.” What the frak? Give me some drugs man! I was at least expecting a prescription ear pain relief drop thinger. Gosh.

I think I’m in favor of home brewed health care. When I got home, I downed a Diet Mt. Dew, ibuprofen, and chocolate-chip cookie cocktail. Now I feel right as rain, besides the whole ear thing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6th: The Day of Days.

On June 6th, 1944, the greatest off-shore invasion in the history of this earth took place. An allied force of more than half a million men, from the United States, Great Britain, France, and Canada stormed the beaches and dropped from the skies of Normandy. The operation was code named Overlord. The beaches were named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. And little did anyone know that 59 years after this fateful day the author of this glorious blog would step through the door from boyhood to manhood. That’s right, my friends, 5 years ago today I disembarked from my own personal amphibious landing craft and stormed my own beach.

Just so no one is confused, on June 6th, 2003, I got married. Today Heidi and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary of marital bliss. It’s sort of a cool thing that my wedding day also coincides with D-day. I’ve always sort of been an amateur World War 2 buff, so the fates aligned when, unwittingly, my wedding day/anniversary fell on the same day our boys stormed ashore, and initiated the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler.

So today, on this day of days, I must send out my hearty congratulations and thanks not only to the many veterans of WW2, but also to my lovely wife. Without their sacrifice, none of the happiness I enjoy today would be possible.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Mudder’s Day.

This post is about mommies. I know mother’s day was like three days ago, but whatever. I still got moms on the mind.

I have to say that I didn’t really appreciate or understand mother’s day until I was married. I have to admit I was sometimes a thoughtless child when it came to doing things for my mom; I’m still a flake from time to time. I remember the first mother’s day I experienced with my wife. I thought, “Hey, we don’t have any kids, so she’s not a mom. I don’t have to do anything then, right?” WRONG… That was the first of many, many disappointments for Heidi.

I like to think I’ve gotten better at this mother’s day thing over the years. I’ve gone from groveling for forgiveness to “Hey, thanks for the gift card.” I know. Gift cards are sorta lame. But it’s better than spending a night on the couch.

In my opinion, mother’s day is a good time to say those special things. That’s why the Halmark card is usually a no brainer. It’s also good to write a short message in the card, to show that you care. My son Cambell is already a pro at this. His first mother’s day he gave his mommy a card and then wrote a special message. I was so impressed with what he said, I feel it’s important to repeat it here verbatim:

Dere Mummy,

Fanks yu for luve mee lots. You’s a best mum eva and eva. I wuv the waye u take caree uf mi and dive food, diaper and sleepy. I tink u best. Most all, tanks for boobie. Me likey boobie lots and lots.

Wuve bubby boye,


I don’t think you could say much more. Thanks moms. Thanks for all you do.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

At a loss for words.

You can always tell when it’s time for law school finals, the library fills up with panicking students, there are high levels of caffeine and other stimulants consumed, and a slight hint of body odor wafts through each and every classroom. Oh yes. It’s a glorious time. A time for cramming. A time for praying. And, if necessary, a time for crying.

I finished my evidence exam about two hours ago. As with most of my finals, I brain barfed all over the place. Generally I’m a thoughtful and provocative person (extremely provocative), as you can note by the other works of art on this wondrous blog. But there’s really no time to be artsy fartsy in a law school final. There’s really no time to be thoughtful, or thorough, or any of the qualities that are required of a good attorney. Normally it’s a three hour typing race, where the person with the fastest fingers tends to get the A. And everyone else hopes for the all elusive and coveted B-. Yes. How I yearn for you B-...

So, as you probably can tell, blogging has been hard lately. My creative / funny juice organ is on vacation. I write this post now saying that I will return, my friends and fans. I will return.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here a Nerd. There a Nerd.

This post is about the so-called nerd. We all know the stereotypes associated with the term “nerd” and its synonyms, such as, dweeb, geek, pimple-faced loser, et cetera. I’m sure most of you imagine some four-eyed nose picking D&D junkie when you hear the term. I propose that the general conception of the term “nerd” is incorrect, as I myself have been dubbed a nerd and do not have four-eyes or pimples.

Usually when I’m looking for the definition to a term I go to the dictionary. Dictionary.com gives the following definitions of nerd. First: a nerd is “a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.” And second: a nerd is “an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: as in a computer nerd.” These definitions are wrong. For one, if I’m a nerd, then I ought to be stupid, ugly, irritating, et cetera. Those of you who know me also know that I’m an uber sexy beast. And I can’t be stupid cuz I’m super duper smart. And finally my wife, Heidi, will certainly tell you that I’m the least irritating person she knows.

The second definition comes a little closer to a correct conception of the term “nerd” but still falls short. This is because the definition narrows the class of persons who ought to be considered nerds. The term “nerd” ought to include a great many people. I think a proper definition of nerd is one who has an obsessive tendency to master an area of esoteric and potentially useless knowledge and acts out in furtherance of that knowledge. Considering the term nerd with this understanding means we are all potentially nerds my friends. Yes. All of us.

Here you might say, “Adam, I think you’re totally full of crap. I’m no nerd.” To this I say, “My friend, do you have some sort of semi-unhealthy obsession, not necessarily related to Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Star Trek, Anime, space aliens, goblins, or anything stereotypically considered nerdy?” Invariably 99.35% of you will answer, “Hmmm, yeah, I’m totally into [fill in the blank].” Your obsession could likely be reality TV, or sports, or political news, or fashion design, or pretty much any area of potentially useless or esoteric knowledge. My wife, for one, is totally into being healthy and nutritious. Who gives a rip about that? Right? Well, she does and that’s okay.

Anyways, after considering my new and improved definition of nerd I invite you to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a nerd?” The self-realization that you are in fact a nerd will be traumatic, but it’s okay. Wipe those salty tears from your eyes my friend. Put your fist in the air and say, “Yes, I’m a nerd, and proud of it!” Then go back to your 40k game and roll your D6 and scatter dice for your deep striking terminator assault squad, may the Emperor protect them...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pontificatus Defacaitus.

The title for this post suggests that it’s about a Harry Potter spell gone terribly wrong. It’s not. Your second guess might be that this post is about poop, or as the academics call it, fecal matter, scat, or excrement. If that’s your guess, you’re right. This post is about poop.

Above is a picture of my boy Cambell, who’s also known as Bubbey, Bubs, Goober, The Boy, and, on occasion, Fart Bucket. In the picture he’s about 6 months old. He’s about 6-ish months old now. He’s a great kid, the greatest source of laughter in my life.

Everything about Cambell, from the day he was born, was sweet…until recently. As some may know, when kids are born their little poopies don’t really smell, at least that was the case with Cambell. He hardly ever had diaper disasters and changing his bum used to not be that big of a deal. About three or four weeks ago Cambell started to eat solid foods. As a result, his little poopies aren’t so sweet anymore. His poopies are starting to smell like my poopies…all grown up.

At first, I was really proud of Cambell. My little boy is starting to become a man. But now I’m starting to get sad… I’m starting to miss the old smell-free poop curdles he used to make. Now, I start to cringe almost every time I de-Velcro his little diapee. Tears roll down my cheek…

And to top this whole thing off, a few days ago, Cambell, out of nowhere, sprouted some teeth… Gosh! What’s gonna happen next? Before I know it he’ll bring home some goth chick that he’s calling his girlfriend and want to take my Ferrari out for a spin. Yuck! Well, such is life. Kids grow up and so does their poop.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Computer has an STD.

Most of the time we frolic on the internet, bouncing from website to website, downloading software, music, patches or whatever from wherever we please. It’s amazing how one minute we can be looking at stock prices and the next we can watch some guy make a fool of himself on YouTube. We take all this stuff for granted, until our pretty little comps become terribly sick…

Last Monday I was looking at one of my usual gamer forums. (I admit it. I’m 26 years old and play computer games…that’s only the beginning of my nerd-ness.) If you don’t know, most of the time these forums are helpful and highly insightful. In these forums, users discuss how to kill the Wraith-Lord and dismantle the scepter of Orr before the fire titans run a-muck in the Elonan desert, or how the Necron Monolith’s particle whip causes massive splash and residuary damage to light infantry, especially to the Tau Krutalk Mercenaries. I mainly complain about the bureaucratic structure and bulkiness of the Imperial Guard’s technology tree, and how the Bane Blade super-heavy tank totally rocks. Most of you will agree that this information is terribly important and warrants careful and thoughtful study.

Anyways, as I was meandering last Monday on one of my many esoteric forums, I came upon some downloadable content that I thought would enhance my gaming experience. As usual, the little box popped up that says “Windows does not recognize this publisher. Don’t download this stuff you idiot!!!” Having disregarded this box thousands of times before, I proceeded to download. Thirty seconds later, my spyware blocker and Norton anti-virus both had violent and traumatic seizures. I even thought I heard a slight gag.

My little laptop got sick. Certainly I’ve dealt with computer viruses before, but never one like this. It was called something like “VirusHeat.” The funny thing about this virus was that it posed as anti-virus software, gave me alerts indicating that my computer was “extremely” susceptible to spyware attacks, and prompted me to pay $59.99 to download the solution. Just as I was about to get my credit card (not really), I said “I can’t believe some cleaver little bastard took the time to write this program.”

After about three to five hours of downloading the latest update on Norton, running full system scans, initiating the system restore, and delving into the registry to delete the downloaded virus files, my computer now appears to be better. (I hope.) My little laptop has been taking its penicillin shots for the last few days and all seems to be well.

So, my friends, my advice is this: don’t have unprotected sex on the internet. I know you’ve done it hundreds if not thousands of times, but someday your luck will change. Sure you can think you’re a rebel, downloading files, joining a peer-to-peer network, and delving into the darker regions of the World Wide Web, but some day your reckless habits will catch up with you. Someday, your computer will get an STD.

P.S. If you’re little comp gets sick after reading this post, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The title of this post is clear on the matter...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cage Fights: The Answer to Decision ’08?

In no place is a man manlier than when he fights for his life in a cage. You probably know that cage fighting is the new rage in the semi-organized, semi-professional, semi-underground world of fighting, and unless you’ve had your head in a ditch the last few years, you also know that cage fighting is totally awesome. The cage is the great equalizer, the place where all the cheap talk ends and the winner is determined by whoever is the most ruthless, bloodthirsty, and skilled with their fists. In the cage, two enter, only one leaves. A contest doesn’t get simpler than that.

Standing in direct opposition to the glory and terrible spectacle that is the cage fight is some fan-dangled excuse for a decision-maker called an election. In an election, too rich people spend lots of money so lots of other people will vote for them. The “candidates” make wild and impossible promises trying to appease particular sections of the electorate. They spend months adjusting and curtailing their view, only to satisfy what “they” think the majority of people wants. And, when it's over, everyone ends up being pissed off at the person who wins.

I’m in favor of replacing elections with cage fights. I’m sure some of you thought of this after reading the beginning of this entry. I’m positive that you’ll be convinced after I give five compelling reasons for tossing aside the whole election system for the raw, down and dirty brutality that is the cage fight.

(1) Cages fights are cheap. You probably know that candidates in almost any election have to drum up some sort of cash money so they can even begin to run. This has the unwanted effect of excluding many viable and quality candidates, many of which have new and exciting ideas. To be a contender in a cage fight, all you have to do is show up with glass shards glued to your knuckles. That’s a total of $1.59 for the broken glass and the glue. The cage probably costs 100 some odd dollars to rent. And you could pay a Hooter’s waitress to hold a sign. That’s a total of $53.29!!! Do you have any idea what any election costs? Gajillions of dollars my friend. Gajillions.

(2) Cages fights aren’t bogged down by the half-baked commentary of the media. The media commentary on any election is dull and boring, and most of the time delves into irrelevant tangents about some odd thing a candidate allegedly may have done in the past. Half the time reporters don’t even know what they are talking about; they just read the stuff on the jumbo-tron. Reporters also give themselves way too much credit on the effect they think they have on any given election. This would all end with the cage fight. Sure, a reporter could provide some commentary on what she thought would happen or who she thought the winner would be. But in the end the true winner of the contest would be the one who emerges half-dead from the cage.

(3) Cage fights are more exciting than an election. In an election, people stand in line, punch holes in a card, and then are suppose to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. In a cage fight, people are packed like sardines next to an old rusty cage and watch two “candidates” have it out in mortal combat. Now, you tell me, which is more exciting? If cage fights replaced elections, we could re-live the glory days of Rome! I’m sure you’ve seen the movie Gladiator. Now, you tell me that show wasn’t totally bitchin’.

(4) In the cage there is truth. Only in a cage fight do you learn what a person’s “real” position is. Candidates in an election only speak half-truths or what they think people want to hear. In no place is a man more honest than when he has his back pressed up against the walls of a rusty cage. Need I say more?

(5) Voters are stupid. I think this reason is pretty obvious. Few brain cells are required to appreciate a cage fight. As for the issues candidates discuss during an election, most people don’t even know what an economy is or what short of international relations the United States has. Even less know that the capitol of this great Country is Rhode Island. Replacing elections with cage fights would solve these problems. Obviously the person who wins the cage fight is the best choice. Right?

Just imagine it! Obama and Clinton in a cage and in a fight to the death. There would be no pulling the race card or talking about women in politics. There would be no discussion as to who is more qualified or capable of answering the phone at 3am. The true winner is the one who emerges from the cage, plain and simple. The winner would then face the geriatric McCain. Then we’d see how vibrant and healthy he really is. Oh yes, friends, cage fights are the elections of the future…

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oprah's Big Fib.

“Why don’t you join a mainstream religion, like Oprahism or Voodoo?” This witty expression is what Professor Farnsworth said to Bender, a robot, after he joined the radical religious sect of Robotology. (From the show Futurama). At first read, one might find this little line amusing. You might even chuckle. In addition to its funniness, I think there’s a subtle and slightly disturbing truth to the line: Oprah mania is running rampant in this country and I don’t think we realize what kind of a problem this might be.

Don’t get me wrong, Oprah is probably a good person. She has worked hard to get where she is today and I think she deserves every bit of her success. I remember back in the mid-90s when her show went head-to-head with the likes of Geraldo Rivera, Phil Donahue, and yes, even the king of smut TV, Jerry Springer. This was the “reality TV” of the pre-reality TV age, and she survived it. Now, she’s pretty much all that remains, and has transformed her show into a money-making empire.

Oprah is everywhere. The great majority of post-menopausal women religiously dedicate 30 minutes a day to watching her show. More time is spent reading her magazine and the books she recommends from month to month. Now, doing this stuff is not all bad. Certainly some people find this entertaining. If that’s your thing, fine.

My big problem with Oprah is that recently she has turned acts of charity and charitable giving into a contest. Again, Oprah’s giving to charity and all her charitable projects are not per se bad; overall people genuinely get the help they need so I guess that’s a good thing. I just remember reading somewhere the following advice: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them…But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (See Matt 6: 1-4).

Oprah’s latest show, The Big Give, epitomizes this passage and why turning charitable giving into a contest is wrong. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the premise is essentially this: A bunch of so-called charitable people were gathered from across the country. From week to week Oprah gives them a charitable task to accomplish, which she, of course, has already organized and endorsed. Throughout the duration of the show the contestants get involved in many wacky and petty, reality-TV induced situations, as they are organizing and preparing the different charitable events. At the end of the show, the contestants are judged, based on their teamwork, their creativity in executing the charitable project, the overall success of the event, and ultimately how “charitable” they were in the project. After each show one contestant is eliminated. None of the contestants supposedly knows it, but the winner of this whole fiasco gets a million dollars…

Does anyone else see a problem with this? This show is essentially the unholy bastard child of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the Apprentice. Charity, of course, is about giving to others and asking nothing in return. Charity involves giving your time and resources to help out people in need. And obviously we need lots more charity in the world. Charity, however, DOES NOT involve going on a TV show and demonstrating to the world how charitable you are or how creative of a philanthropist you can be. Just like her talk show, Oprah has turned The Big Give into a money making machine. Maybe she’s not necessarily making money for herself, but she is making money for the network producing the show for the gullible masses to lap up from week to week.

Lots of you probably disagree with me on this point, but I don’t care. You probably think I’m a self-righteous jerk for saying what I’ve said, but, again, I don’t care. When someone or something poses as something that is good and wholesome when really it’s not, I feel the need to point out the problem. Nuff’ said.

P.S. Sorry this post is not that funny and potentially offensive. I promise to be funny soon. But as I said in my very first blog post, I’ve dubbed myself the Charles Bronson of the internet, taking my vigilant attitude on the web to make right what’s wrong, and bust a cap in the bloggers who try to make this bloggin’ world their own. Ka-Pow, Sucka!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This post is dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America, and how that organization almost ruined me forever. Like most lads in this here country, I was involved for a time with the scouting organization, and, for my part, I briefly reaped the benefits of participation. As a Cub Scout, I learned how to build a tool box. I also made bird feeders, flower pots, and other such crafts that were promptly tossed into the trash. I enjoyed it. I even received the coveted “Arrow of Light” award, based on my excellence in Cub Scouting. Things changed, however, when I advanced into the “Scouts,” where my carefree, craft-making days came to an abrupt and traumatizing end…

The primary reason for my downfall, and my eventual self-inflicted expulsion from Scouts, was my complete and utter inability to tie knots. That’s right, knots. My scout leader was a knot Nazi. She knew every knot in existence, even forbidden knots. She loved knots. She dreamt about knots. And, more frequently than I would like to remember, she scowled me bitterly for my knot-tying ineptitude. The first three months of my Scouting experience were filled with knot tying activities, giant alligator tears, and tender little fingers.

So I quit, and applied myself to other self-improving activities. I dedicated myself to the science of fireworks. I refined my ability to shoot furry creatures with my BB-gun. I learned to the do’s and don’ts of off-roading in my parent’s Chevy Malibu. And, most importantly, I learned the mysteries of love…

I think the Boy Scout program is a waste of time. A great support to my position is the heralded classic of American cinema called Red Dawn. This movie portrays a hypothetical situation, set in the mid-80s, where Communists invade and conquer the United States. The film details the story of a few high school students who ran to the hills amid the confusion of the invasion. After much time, they start to mount a gorilla campaign against their aggressors. Don’t get me wrong, the kids in the movie should be commended for their bravery, diligence, and love of freedom. The only problem is that things would have gone much better if they’d learned some useful skills in Boy Scouts.

I have to point out that all of the kids in the movie were Boy Scouts, some of which even achieved the rank of “Eagle” Scout, a rank for only the best and brighest, and those who couldn't get a date. Their Scouting skills left them wanting, however, when their retaliatory campaign began. None of them knew how to prepare effective fields of fire, or dress shrapnel wounds, or clean and maintain salvaged AK 47s. Nor did any of them know the weak points of the T-55 main battle tank or how to safely throw pineapple grenades. These kids had to learn to fight through trial and error, and, regrettably, many of them didn’t learn from their mistakes in the field.

The Boy Scouts should teach kids the tactics and principles of gorilla warfare, so they can protect our Country from pending Communists invasions. To this day I feel short-changed, knowing that Scouts could have taught me so much more. I often sleep restlessly at night. I worry about what I would ever do if a Russian storm trooper parachuted into my front yard. What would I do? Tie a square knot and throw it at him? Oh the things I could have learned…

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Romantic Capitalism

This post is about the so-called romantic comedy and how 98.327% of them are total crap. Most Americans, as I alluded to in an earlier post, seem to have pretty low standards when it comes to entertainment. Our culture is so soaked with cheap thrills and excitement that when we actually have the time to enjoy a movie we regrettably tend to pick films that were written by Hollywood drunks trying to make a quick score.

All romantic comedies follow the same formula, which could be described in the following manner:

1) Guy and girl meet.

2) Guy or girl says: “Hey, I’m guy/girl. I have this job / political view / abnormality / [insert characteristic here] that makes me different from you. I might also have a secret. You want to hook up?"

3) Guy or girl responds: “Hello, guy/girl. Sure. Can we make out / get it on after a couple of dates and/or minutes?”

4) Guy and girl go out.

5) Wackyness ensues.

6) Wackyness ensues.

7) Wackyness ensues…

8) Eventually guy and/or girl have a problem, seemingly insurmountable and irresolvable.

9) Musical Montage.

10) Musical Montage…guy and/girl are shown, deep in thought, crying, pensively considering the problem.

11) Guy and/or girl confronts guy and/or girl regarding the problem, either at the airport, or a sporting event, or some other unusual or uncomfortable place.

12) Guy and/or girl somehow resolve issue. They are deep in love after 4.5 days.

13) The movie ends.

14) Two-thirds of the men in the audience vomit.

15) Some Hollywood drunk makes 30+ million dollars.

Sadly, much to my chagrin, the fairer of the sexes is lured into the romantic comedy trap more easily than us dudes. To keep peace at home, and to maintain the sometimes fragile equilibrium of the relationship and/or marriage, I have devised a short list of films, in no particular order, that us guys could watch, but only if absolutely necessary.

1) Sleepless in Seattle: This film perhaps set the standard for romantic comedies; therefore, it’s not as terrible as most. Moreover, this film makes references to the Dirty Dozen and the Godfather, two of the manliest films ever made.

2) Fever Pitch: This film has some mildly amusing moments. I’m not exactly sure why this one is on the list. I think it’s because I was “rewarded” after the movie was over.

3) The Wedding Singer / Fifty First Dates: I lumped these films together, just because Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore appear in both. Adam Sandler has his mildly funny moments, hence why these films are included. Again, I believe something “good” happened to me after I watched these movies.

4) Love Actually: I have never seen this film all the way through, only parts on TV. It’s a British film and therefore employs subtle British Humor. It has some funny moments. I have yet to be “rewarded” for watching this film…

5) Whatever romantic comedy gets you some… “action”: Every once in a while, and hopefully only once in a while, us guys may have to bite the bullet. Only do so, brethren, when there is “something” in it for you, or when you’d rather not sleep on the couch.

Well, that’s it for now. May the guises of romantic capitalism swiftly pass you by.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Minivans: Part Duece

Recent commentary on my minivan post, published 19 Feb 2008, requires further discussion. The commentary is found in the comments section of that post; I have republished it here, verbatim, for the sake of convenience.

I take exception to your blog, Adam. We recently bought a minivan out of necessity since there is no way [that] three car seats will fit into the back or our Accord. We therefore bought an Odyssey and your arguments about not liking minivans are reminiscent of those made by buyers of non-Odysseys. As for Justin's remarks about SUVs they are really nothing more than a modern "station wagon" (much like the original AMC Eagle, the first 4x4 station wagon). So if you are planning on having more than two kids and drive them all in one vehicle, you have two governmental imposed choices, a minivan or a station wagon. Choose wisely, your manhood could be at stake and buy an Odyssey because non-Odysseys come equipped with miniature sized guillotines installed in their drivers seats. As for me, I choose to drive my van like a man (103mph on I-90, to the tune of my favorite machine gun fire soundtrack) and wait for the day a coup occurs that liberates us from an iron fist government that imposes their crazy ideas on us, like seat belts, car seats and highway safety.

I see your point. But if you read the post closely, it is more of a "lamenting" on my part that someday I, too, will have to buy a minivan; someday, minivan mania will be unjustly imposed on me against my will. I know, deep down, you would rather be driving something else, like a tank or a fighter jet. I guarantee that when you played with toy cars as a kid NONE of them were Honda Odysseys. And I know, my friend, that even though we can pretend to be "cool" or "practical" or whatever when we drive or buy a minivan, when it comes down to it, guys who drive minivans are just pussy-whipped chumps. Nuff' Said.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Deduct You.

It’s tax time kids. As everyone knows, once a year this arbitrary and capricious society we’ve created takes a financial reckoning of its citizens, and thereafter determines if they’ve been naughty or nice. For some, it’s a time of misery and woe, and for others…it’s still a time of misery and woe. And for the random and sadistic few, and only the random and sadistic, mind you, tax season is a time of celebration, a time to bask in the all encompassing glory and spectacle of the Internal Revenue Code, the code that owns you like a kid owns a puppy dog.

I, much to my parent’s disappointment, am starting to fall among the random and the sadists. The astute of you may have noticed that the icon next to my name on this glorious blog is actually the icon of the IRS. To those of you who caught this, I hereby give you an electronic high-five. You are on the path of becoming a “tax-jock,” a title much revered in paper-pushing circles everywhere. To those of you who didn’t, it’s okay. You probably have more important things to be concerned with, like where’s the closest bathroom…

My conversion to sadism and randomness began last fall, after being lured unwittingly into the individual and estate and gift tax classes at law school. At first, as my professors spouted forth the gelatinous dogma of the code (a.k.a., the Internal Revenue Code for you humans), I was frightened, scared, confused, and yes, I must admit, I soiled myself…but only a little bit. But, as time wore on, I became enlightened. I was mystified at the wonder of it all, at how the little worker bees of the United States MUST abide by its precepts, and at how knowledge of the code gave one power. Yes, my friends, power beyond belief…one code to rule them all, one code to find them, one code to bring them all and in the darkness bind them… Rrraaahhh ha ha ha!!! I will crush you under my iron boot you puny gnats!!!!! Sorry. Got carried away.

I knew I couldn’t turn from the dark path when I prepared this year’s tax return, filed two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule. My wife sensed something was wrong when I gathered up our W-2s, 1099-divs, 1099-ints, and 1098-ts like a ravenous dog. Her eyes were filled with fright as I giddily calculated our adjusted gross income, retirement savings contribution credit, earned income credit, and additional child tax credit. To my surprise, she’s sticking around, afraid, perhaps, that I might try to deduct her again if she tried to escape…

In sum, my friends, it’s all over for me; I’m lost to a world of randomness and sadism. But to each of you I wish a very merry tax season. May your miscellaneous itemized deductions, as indicated on schedule A of form 1040, be greater than your standard deduction, and may your personal and dependent exemptions continue to be plentiful and great.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A limey, a drunk, and a dawg: America’s solution to entertainment?

I’m sure many of us wish we could change the past, alter some of our previous decisions, or take a different path than the ones we’ve taken. Last night, for example, I wish I hadn’t turned on the TV at around 9:30pm and saw the last few minutes of American Idol…perhaps the most watched show in all the land. I quickly tried to change the channel, but was thwarted by my wife. (You see, she wears the pants in my house, and therefore controls the remote.)

So, after some whining, I sat and watched, thinking it would be the nice thing to do since I hadn’t really talked to her all day. I was suddenly distracted, however, by the lame-duck performances of the contestants and mediocre commentary of the so-called judges. I was shocked at how each contestant lapped up the advice like a dog laps up its own vomit, at how eager he was to consider the wisdom of those have no vocal talent of their own (Paula, perhaps, excluded). I was even more appalled when I considered the number of people watching this crap and calling it entertainment…

So begs the question, what is entertainment, or at least, what do we call good television? I guess to each person the answer would be radically different, as we all have our own sense of judgment, taste, or whatever you want to call it. In my mind, however, what I watch on TV has to generally stimulate profounder thoughts. I consider things like, “How would I deal with this situation this character’s in?” or “Is there some deeper meaning to this character’s conflict?” Admittedly, not everything I watch causes me to speculate on the meaning or application of Plato’s forms or the ethics of Aristotle, but what I watch should be genuinely entertaining, if only having the quality of stimulating some genuine conversation.

For example, the last few days AMC has been religiously showing the Death Wish series every afternoon (hence the reference to Bronson on my first post, may his bad ass soul rest in peace). These movies are probably the worst action movies ever made, as every car wreck results in devastating explosions and Bronson apparently is impervious to bullets, knives, and hookers with baseball bats. But one thing these movies do is stimulate conversation. We can talk about how all the things Bronson does are impossible, how he is apparently above and beyond the law. We could talk about similarities between Bronson’s character and other characters. I, for one, would say there is a striking similarity between the Death wish movies and the Die Hard series, the later obviously being better executed than the former. We can also talk about the recurrent themes through these movies, like how Bronson can never settle down and have a family, how every person he ever loves is murdered, or how even when he lets the law do its job he still has to open a can of whoop ass.

Basically the point I want to get across is that even though we have been starved as of late when it comes to quality TV, we can’t give into the poor-excuse-for-good times called “Reality” TV. Rise up, people!!! It’s time to take American Idol and every show like unto it down. Change the channel to something that stimulates your brain. Heck, if it came to it, you could even read a book. May I suggest “Bronson’s Loose: The making of the Death Wish Films”, written by Paul Talbot. I’ve never read it, but certainly it will kick your teeth in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Minivans: A vasectomy on four wheels

Vhrrrrum na na na na Vhrrrrrummm na na na Urrrrrrrrr screeeech booommm!!!! To those of you who don’t know, these are the sounds boys make when they play with cars. Usually, if these boys are raised right, the cars they play with are fast, big, shiny, and make lots of really cool/annoying noises, like a police siren, or the echoing of machine gun fire. What these boys don’t know is their perception of what a car is highly skewed, and regrettably not for their benefit.

Someday, if a boy wants to live with a woman, there is a 92.4257% chance that he’s gonna have to buy and drive a minivan. This a traumatic time in a young lad’s life, as his dreams of driving hummers and T-34 tanks through concrete walls vanish to the bleak, suppressed recesses of his memory, never to surface again. Sure he may justify the minivan by saying things like, “It’s economical” or “My wife really likes the color”, but these justifications will never satisfy the male, hard-wired urge to drive 103mph down the autobahn.

One of my good friends recently succumbed to minivan mania…the poor, poor schmuck. I’ve tried to console him. As Payton Manning has advised, I told him he could paint flames down the side. Maybe he could get some rockin’ mag wheels, or put in a mount for a 50 cal. in the back seat. The minivan could be a nice ride if he ever wanted to abduct someone, either working for the mob or the CIA, as those sliding doors would make the insertion of the abductee much easier.

The list of “improvements” could go on…but when it comes down to it, the man who buys a minivan is in some way “less” of a man. That’s why my friend’s van is now nicknamed “The Shrivler”. But I guess it’s just one of those things us guys gotta deal with…at least we have a car, right…Right? Hmmm…I guess that’s sort of like saying we’d still be shooting, but shooting blanks.

Behold!! A blog is born...

Hello my bloggin' comrades. The time has come for me to publish my own blog. I know, I know, many of you have been waiting a long time for this, anticipating my every move and keystroke as I log onto my computer day after day, but now I must announce the wait is over. Now, for the first time in the history of the earth and the universe, my thoughts, opinions, rantings, rhythms and rhymes are to become a part of the giant cesspool we call the "world wide web". I hope you can welcome them with open arms, and embrace them in all their nonsensical and fantastical glory.

I must say that in creating/publishing a blog I feel like a bikini-clad little girl sticking her toes into the pool for the very first time. Many of you, of course, have years of experience, whether it be wearing bikinis or sticking your toes into a pool. So I'm nervous... Will this blog be any good? Will anybody look at it besides my mom or the few people who accidently come across it while looking for free internet porn? What will people think upon reading the disjointed thoughts that swim around in my noggin all day long? Do I really want to do this?

To these thoughts of failure and doubt I proclaim an emphatic "NOW IS THE TIME, ADAM". Now is the time to make a blog, to become the Charles Bronson of the World Wide Web, and take my vigilante attitude and make right what's wrong, to dodge bullets that are impossible to dodge, and bust a cap the crack heads that try to make this bloggin world their own.

So my friends...for unto us, this day, a blog is born...hallelujah!!?!.