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!!?!.