Category Archives: Rant

Anti-vaccination idiocy

One of the most perplexing examples of mob dumbfuckery to show up recently is the “AntiVaxxer” movement.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically an organized effort to kill off young kids and bring back an age of disease and pestilence among the uneducated and easily conned.

"It's ok if your kids die as long as people think I'm relevant."
"It's ok if your kids die as long as people think I'm still relevant."

Oh, that’s not how THEY describe it, of course.  Luminaries in their group like Doctor Jenna McCarthy (she is a doctor, right?  I mean, she’s setting health care policy, so she’s qualified, right?) talk about how great it would be to get rid of vaccinations because people aren’t getting sick any more.  The little logic flag that just popped up in your head?  Yeah, that’s just your “profiteering center”, according to Jenna McCarthy and her followers, because that’s the only reason people would support these procedures.  Certainly, it’s irresponsible to make any connection between worldwide vaccination efforts and the huge drop in sickness, right?   Whoops, your “BULLSHIT!” circuit breaker just popped.  Go ahead and reset that, we’ll be discussing some more of their claims shortly.

To the antivaxxer hoards, the fact that worldwide health has gone up in regions where vaccines are administered is incidental to their feelings.  “MERCURY!” they cry, referencing some of the preservatives used, despite the fact that you’ll get roughly the same amount of mercury from eating a small piece of fish.  If you believe their strident pleas, receiving the shot essentially means that mercury will seep through your pores and turn you into a highly toxic, autistic version of  The Silver Surfer.

“Autistic?” you ask, scratching your head.  “Where’d that come from?”  Well, about 15 years ago, Andrew Wakefield published an article in the Lancet making a link between MMR vaccines and autism.  The world reeled!  “ZOMG!!!!” read the headlines, and everywhere, people began to talk about deferring their children’s vaccinations.  ….except that the claims weren’t true and the study was discredited almost immediately when it was discovered that a group of people paid him to say this so they could sue a vaccine company, but the damage had been done.

So, we’re left with the AntiVaxxer movement today.  Their entire belief is based upon the disproven work of a discredited doctor who got caught faking evidence for money….  and they don’t care.

It’s as if stupidity has been bred into a generation of perfectly normal looking people who you don’t realize are batshit crazy until they open their mouths, but then it’s a non-stop torrent of drivel.  Their movement is a sham, sort of a modern day version of not wearing your seatbelt because you want to be “thrown clear of the wreck”.  They point to their own health and say “See?  People just don’t get these sicknesses anymore!”  without a trace of irony about the face that THEY themselves received vaccinations as children.  Also, the causes they take up reflect their ‘crazy levels’ quite nicely too.  This year?  Swine flu.

“Oh noes!” they cry, “the H1N1 vaccine is ‘new and untested’!”  The fuck it is, it’s made the same goddamn way flu vaccines have been constructed for decades.

Is anybody exploring alternative vaccinations?
Is anybody exploring alternative vaccinations?

You know the real reason the H1N1 vaccine is panned, the reason they REALLY subscribe too but don’t mention?  Because some radio host told them the vaccine is part of a government plot to genocide their asses.  What.  The.  Fuck.  Seriously, there are radio hosts out there who talk about body bags and medical camps and “the government is gonna reduce your population to free up land and money!” and they claim the vaccine is part of this conspiracy.  Holy goddamn hell in a handbasket.

This conspiracy theory, of course, is horseshit.  “But why, good sir?” I hear you ask through the whispering tubes of the Internet.  “And how do you know?”  Simple: they’re just not competent enough.

To believe that the US government can put together a big secret plan to kill off most of the population as part of some great conspiracy against its own citizens is to imbue them with skills in leadership, organization, planning, etc that they have consistently failed to demonstrate.  It’s like accusing your dog of being the leader of a world-wide diamond theft cartel.

I could disprove this theory so many different ways, but the sheer lack of ability our government has at doing anything big and secret is such a deal changer, I don’t need to go any further.

So back to the antivaxxers…  it would be funny if they were just making this decision for themselves and dying off, but here’s the rub:  All of these parents saying ‘No vaccinations for my child!”?  They’re vaccinated!  Their parents were not retarded, so they got the various vaccinations when THEY were kids.  The only people who die from horrible, preventable diseases?

Nice fucking job, guys
Nice fucking job, guys

Their kids.


Yet strangely, if I were to go out and punch each of these poor excuses for parents in the face for being so viciously, short-sightedly stupid, somehow I would be considered the villain.  There ain’t no justice.

Andrew Wakefield

Beware the Dork Side

While collecting my morning gruel, I saw the shirt over to the side here being worn by a fellow grubber.

Dork HappensNow, I’m a huge nerd, so I like me the Star Wars just fine.  Hell, I even waded through almost all of the books over a 5 month period recently to find out what’s been happening to me good ol’ friends Han, Luke, & Leia.  (An aside: Lots of really dumb crap, as it turns out, with just a little good stuff mixed in.  It’s like knowing there’s a small handful of gold nuggets in a barrel of sewage, it’s worth the unpleasantness of sifting through to find ’em, but you don’t always enjoy the trip).

But…  I’m a Star Wars fan who, like most of my fellows, am able to exist without wearing shirts that immediately announce my undesirability to all women.  I’d prefer they learn that by talking to me, see…

Well, this anonymous breakfaster, with his fashionable camo shorts and optimistically crew-cut hair is not only wearing a dorky Star Wars shirt, but it’s also one of the “Big Dog” series.  “Big Dog“, if you are not familiar with it, has essentially moved into the shirt genre previously occupied by the “Big Johnson” line of apparel.  They’re like jokes, only smaller.  Humor for leotarded people, let’s say.

Now, this might seem like a long post for what’s otherwise a pretty benign issue, but the real problem here is the cheapening effect this has on a very serious subject:

The effectiveness of funny shirts.

Just in case you can't clearly see this silly design in my poorly lit, improperly framed and amateurishly taken iPhone photo
Just in case you can't clearly see this silly design in my poorly lit, improperly framed and amateurishly taken iPhone photo

Some of us invest some serious time and thought in selecting shirts that are actually clever and/or funny.  When we wear these shirts instead of something with buttons, we expect people to look at them and be amused.  “Hey, that fat guy is actually slightly less repulsive than I thought because he has a funny shirt!  Ha ha ha!  I would like to have his children” is basically how the thought process should work.  Instead, things like ‘Big Dogs’ shirts have flooded the market with asinine attempts at cleverness that serve to basically bankrupt the comedic economy.

I’m sure that this dude looked at the shirt in some mall shop and said “Hey, that’s some seriously funny shirt.  It says ‘Sith Happens’ which is almost like ‘Shit Happens’, but it is socially acceptable because the word is actually different!  Ha!  Oh, and that Darth Vader figure on the back is actually…  a St. Bernard dog instead of David Prowse (who, as Star War nerds know, was the actual person in the suit, not James Earl “Awesome Voice” Jones) and dogs are FUNNY HAWHAWHAWHAW” to himself, then whipped out his bank card.  “Shopkeeper, good sir, sign me the fuck up for this wicked shirt!  No need for a bag, I shall wear it out of the store!”

Meanwhile, my Threadless shirt of Vader pruning a Death Star-shaped topiary receives an occasional chuckle at best, obviously because people are no longer investing the time to appreciate the sublime humor of T-Shirt art because shirts like that goddamn ‘big dog’ line have ruined it for them.   FFFFFUUUUUU-

If I can reach just one person with this rant who might otherwise stray in this fashion, I’ve done my duty.  Once you start down this ridiculous path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

Proof there’s no god

Why?  WHY?!What kind of deity would allow the following in a world where all the fat fuckers like me are trying to lose weight?

I read an article about how ducks and geese being fed bread at lakes are developing a nutritional malady called ‘Angel Wings‘ that leads to deformed bone structure because of the crazy mix of calories in the high-carb treats.  This, of course, merely encourages me to feed them more, because I fucking hate birds.

I’ll write more about that later, right now I’m working on a plan.  This is what I have so far:

  1. Put a bunch of spoons into a cup.
  2. Tape the cup next to the ‘Ready-to-eat Cheesecake filling’ display.

Actually, I guess that’s the whole plan.  I thought it would be more elaborate, but that’s pretty much it.

“Why?” I can hear you asking (actually, that may be the medication speaking, it seems unlikely that I’d actually hear anyone ask me that while I’m in the process of writing this).  Well, I figure there may be an alternate approach to the whole weight-loss thing that other people haven’t considered: Fucking up the grading curve.

If I can just get everyone ELSE to get fatter, then suddenly, I don’t look as huge, right?  This is basic relativity physics here.  If everyone else gains 20lbs, then me being 50lbs overweight becomes 30lbs overweight without me having to put down my cake.


The german blood in me loves the efficiency of this, because if I do decide to lose weight, the actual amount I need to lose is almost halved.  And if I get some sort of wasting-away disease, I might actually transition to “skinny” (well, relatively speaking) even faster!

Nanos gigantum humeris insidentes is Latin for “Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants”.  Also, it sounds fucking wicked when you use a different language, because as a nation, we’re a bunch of dumbasses who automatically assume that anything other than English or Spanish is dripping with brilliance.  Anyhow, while usually used as a metaphor for your achievements being possible because of the hard work others did before you, I’m wondering if there’s a semi-literal interpretation I can use once my plan takes place.

Of course, in my version, ‘dwarfs’ becomes “Cool Skinny Dudes” and “giants” becomes “newly fat(ter) fucks who ate a bunch of cheesecake filling”.  Oh, and “standing on the shoulders” becomes “fucking your girlfriend”.

First class jerk

I’m flying out on a business trip in a couple weeks, and due to what must be a hilarious sequence of computer errors, I’ve somehow been booked First Class for the flight out.  I say “computer errors” because

  1. My company does not do this on purpose.
  2. The people who would do this as a favor for some folks wouldn’t for me, for I am a raving douche bag.

So, this leaves me with a conundrum.  I can either sit back and enjoy the flight, staying classy and having a great time up front with the big kids.  Or…..

I could be an asshole.

Now, I don’t need to be a jerk to the stewardesses.  There’s nothing I can do on purpose that can be more offensive to them than my presence and personality already brings to the table.  I’m an overweight computer nerd with fucked up facial hair (“Check me out, I’m Wolverine’s fat brother!”) with the fashion sense of a stray dog covered in garbage.  I’m terrified of any social interaction that doesn’t involve my arcade character tea-bagging an opponent over the internet, so my ability in face to face conversation is… limited.  I’m 6’2, which means I tower over most women, so I usually avoid eye contact to avoid “looking menacing”.  Unfortunately, this usually backfires when it looks to them like I’m staring at their chest instead.  This is twice as likely when I’m sitting down and they’re standing.  Also, by the way, a view that is twice as nice.

Finally, my use of technology takes what would otherwise be a casual social crutch and turns it into a rusty nail of stupidity.  For example, I’ve spent hours reading my iPhone while holding it in my lap.  To me, this is perfectly reasonable, and it may even sound like a fairly normal if geeky thing to do.  The problem is…  the iPhone is invisible to everyone else, so to them, I’m ‘that dude that keeps staring at his crotch and occasionally poking it’.

So…  this aside, what else can I do to properly take advantage of this increasingly unlikely seating arrangement?  I’ve put some thought into this, and I’ve decided it’s time to be…  The Judge.

A little known fact about human psychology, we seem to be wired to find the judgment of strangers somehow more relevant and important than the judgment of those we know.  It sounds retarded, and it probably is, but for some reason, if your sister looks at what you’re wearing and says “Did a 3 year old child pick out your clothes today?” you can dismiss it.  Bah, sis, whatever.  But when someone on the street looks at your clothes and gives a little smirk, you might feel like ice water just poured down your spine.  “Holy shit!  A stranger looked at me….  and I failed their test!”

I don’t have an explanation for this (well, I do, but it mostly involves your mother and how fat she is, and also shut up) but I’ve seen it enough to be convinced that it’s true, so perhaps it’s time to take advantage of this situation and try it out in public.

The Plan (because without a plan, you’re just rude.  WITH a plan, you can be a true asshole)

  1. Dress snotty.  This means, as best as I can tell,  ‘black turtleneck and khakis’.  This is, of course, if television has taught me anything that porn hasn’t.
  2. Take advantage of early boarding, get to my seat before everyone else.  This should be cake.  (waves ticket) First Class, remember?
  3. Don’t shave.  No reason, I just fucking hate shaving.
    Now the hard stuff:
  4. As each person boards, look them up and down.
  5. Make brief eye contact so they’re looking at me.
  6. Immediately break eye contact and smirk while shaking my head slightly.

That’s it.  Nothing fancy.

What, you were expecting Isaac Einstein?  No, it’s simple, you’re doing one small thing.  You’re judging them on some basis that’s beyond their understanding (because you don’t have one) and they failed your standards.

So…  I’ll judge them.  I’ll send each of the cattle back into their pens behind me with the sudden thought that maybe they took a wrong turn in life.  Because not only did a stranger evaluate them on some unknown metric, that stranger was obviously respectable and wise because he was sitting in First Class.  The fact that he’ll be riding back home in coach two days later doesn’t matter because they don’t know.  They’ll slouch back to their seats and sit down.  The Air Mall catalogs will mock them from the seatback centimeters in front of their noses, and maybe one or two of them will actually cry a little.

Fuck yeah, I’m gonna get me some tears.  Then, back to reading books on my crotch.

More Patriot Act Fuckupery

The Patriot ActWhile everyone was giving each other high-fives and because of “how cool it was that President Obama called Kanye West a Jackass“, the president was talking about extending provisions of the US Constitution’s natural enemy: The Patriot Act.

We’re fucking arresting people then sending them to Afghanistan.  What.  The.  Fuck?  When did we become the country that does shit like THAT?

Anyone who doesn’t realize that the intent of the government is to make the Patriot Act a permanent part of the law is an idiot.  Congress put in the “expiring clauses” to sooth the public, and like sheep, the vast majority of the public bought into it.  There is no emoticon strong enough to convey the level of disgust this inspires in me.

If you haven’t figured out that both of the major parties are essentially identical, and that neither has your constitutional interests at heart (where it’s inconvenient for the government, that is), then you’re a moron.  The primary job of someone in power is to perpetuate and/or extend their influence.  Tie this in with the Peter Principle and look at our current political environment, and it gets pretty goddamn scary.

The Patriot Act is essentially an attempt to vaccinate us against freedom.  That’s the kind of flu I don’t mind having, but I guess the rest of my fellow citizens are ok with trading liberty for convenience.

Fuck ’em.

Worst alarm clock made

For a few years, I had an Oregon Scientific projection clock that rocked my night world.  It put the time up on the ceiling in red, the alarm went off when it was supposed to, and it just  worked.

So of course, I bought a replacement.

I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond shopping for, fuck, I don’t know.  It’s one of those stores where you go in for a shower curtain and come out with $150 in gadgets, then have to go back to get the shower curtain you forgot to find.  Anyways, I see this clock sitting there on this stand looking all blue and shit, and I immediately notice the following awesome things about it:

  1. It looks like a UFO.
  2. It’s a projection clock.
  3. It also has a wireless outdoor temperature sensor and will TELL ME exactly how goddamn cold it is outside while I’m snuggled up all nice and warm under the Thundercat! blanket I tell people I bought ironically.
I added the ears, but it's not a stretch.
I added the ears, but it's not a stretch.

Holy crap, this thing is awesome.  Best of all, it’s RIGHT THERE.  No eBay, no online purchase, no waiting two damn days to get it (while I click the refresh button on the UPS web page, c’mon damnit, get here already!), it’s RIGHT THERE.

And so I buy it.

I buy the FUCK out of it.

It’s the Homedic S5-5000 At home, I tear open the box and pull it out.  A few minutes later, I’ve got the timezone set, the temperature probe is powered up and mounted outside, the clock is set for wake up time, and OH NEAT THE CLOCK IS SETTING ITSELF.  This is the best clock ever!  I dismissively toss my old Oregon Scientific clock to the side.  “Sorry, old chum, but that was the future on the phone, and it says it’s here”.

I tell this Awesome Machine to wake me up with soothing jungle noises, and that night, I shut off my bedside lamp and get ready to go to slee-  wait…  what’s that?  The entire room is bathed in a blue light.  I look up and see, projected onto the ceiling that is is 10:36 – 56°.

The blue light is so bright, the entire room is illuminated.  I can see the bookshelves, the walls, the paintings on the walls…  Hang on…  I grab a book, open it, and discover that I can read the text.  This is not great.

“No problem”, I tell myself, “a fine company like Homedics must have a brightness control on their quality products”.  I hunt around for a minute, then give up.  I’ll fix this tomorrow, I decide to turn off the projector.   As it turns out, this requires I turn the light on and fumble around for a tiny switch on the back of the clock, but no bother, this is fine.  Projector disabled, the light goes off, and I settle down to slee-  uh…  I can still see illumination through my eyelids.  I look over at the clock and realize that the backlighting for the face is actually WHITE.

So, this clock is basically cornering the market in retarded color choices for night vision.  Blue to burn out your retinas, and white to kill off any Rhodopsin left after the first attack.

I figure out how to shut that off and shuffle off to sleep.  Well, I’m actually getting less performance now than I had before because at least my Oregon Scientific clock could show me the time, but….  no problem, I’ll get this taken care of tomorrow.

Slowly, I shuffle off to sleep…

(time passes)

I gradually come awake.  I’m rested!  I feel great!  I stretch out, this is fantastic.  I glance over at the clock, but, oh right, I had to turn off the backlighting.  No problem, I must have beaten the alarm.  I frown.  I have beaten the alarm, right?  I grab my phone and check the time…  oh monkey trumpets, I’m an hour late.  The alarm didn’t go off!

A Homedic being used against the terrorists of Alderaan
A Homedic S5-5000 being used against the terrorists sympathizers on Alderaan

I rush off to work, promising to debug the issue when I get home.  Later, I return and sit down with the clock and the manual.  I’ve never had to use a manual with a clock before, but ok, it’s a brave new world.  Paging through it, I discover some disturbing things.  Obviously, I had assumed there would be a dimmer or brightness control.  This, as it turns out, is wildly incorrect.  As best as I can tell, there is a ‘hypermatter singularity’ at the core of this clock that’s used specifically to provide the light for this projector.

Additionally, the backlighting on the face of the clock is equally non-adjustable.  Awesome.  Now, let’s figure out what happened with the alarm…  this is when my wife contributes to the discussion.  As it turns out, the alarm went off after I had left for work.  The clock had spontaneously decided it was in a different time zone and had set itself for a later time.  A fluke, I’m sure.

Sighing, I decide to give it another try.  The projection clock is still really what I’m wanting out of this, so it’s time to use a little cleverness.  I have some sunglass lenses handy, so I tape a couple together and balance them atop the projector aperature.  This works, sort of, but there’s still blue leaking out around the edges and the numbers can now only be pointed straight upwards, but ok, it’s a slight improvement.  I reset the time on the clock, and write off the backlighting.  WHITE!  C’mon….


I snap awake, the alarm is sounding.  This is good!  It’s going off, and it’s obviously not late because it’s still dark out.  Blearily, I hit a button, and it shuts off.  Boy, I am tired.  Exhausted, even.  I yawn, try to stretch, but geez, I am beat.  Blearily, I sit up in bed and stretch again.  I grab my phone to use as a flashlight and wander to the bathroom.  I’m checking email while waiting for the shower to heat up when I notice the clock on the phone.  It reports that it’s 2:03 AM.  wut.

Somehow, the clock has now shifted in the other direction and three hours early.  Oh sweet zombie Jesus.  I end up setting my phone as an alarm and finally make it back to sleep, but this is a rough day at work, and I’m tired.

That night, I read through the manual more and figure that somehow, it must have lost the timezone setting, so I reset that again.  As I noted earlier, the clock uses an atomic clock broadcast to set itself, but unlike most appliances, it seems to get bored.  This time, I turn off the atomic clock sync and just set it.  “No”, I shake my finger at it, “you do not set yourself”.

Since then, it’s semi-randomly changed what time it is despite me turning off that feature. Also, consider not using the ‘Rain shower’ sound as your alarm if it has been/is currently raining.  It’s less effective than you might imagine. The weather sensor can’t reliably reach it with updates even though it’s less than 10 feet away.

In short, this is the clock from hell.   My friends and co-workers have noted that my iPhone would function quite adequately as an alarm.  “Never!” I rejoin, “I’m not giving up yet.  If I use my phone as my alarm, then this Homedics clock will have won”.

“Dude”, one of them responded sympathetically, “it’s already won”.

Considering how many times I’ve been clockblocked by this abomination, I cannot recommend this alarm to anybody but my enemies, but for them I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Cash for Clunkers was an abortion

Do you know what happened when you turned in a car as part of this process?  The dealers put two quarts of sodium silicate into the engine and ran it until it destroyed itself.

If you’re not disgusted with this program and all the money it cost you, then you’re a fucking retard.

This entire program was based on the broken window fallacy of economics.  It took money out of your pocket and made you think you got cash, but everyone who pays taxes was robbed.  The only people who liked this are the auto companies.  Why wouldn’t they like it?

It was another bailout, and you paid for it, suckers.

Facebook & Health Care

Like all the good lemmings, I’ve got a Facebook account too.  God forbid I not know how proud my ex-neighbor from 10 years ago is about how his brat did on a test.  Buddy, just because you shit out a kid who’s smarter than you doesn’t make you King Of The Retards, it just means you’re an attention whore.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I pump out the same neverending stream of self-serving Public Relations because I’ve figured it out: Facebook is a contest, and the only way to win is to try and sound more interesting than everybody else. You grab as many acquaintances as you can then spend the remainder of your days proving that they’re fools for not following you around all day in person.

One of the most annoying memes in support of this ridiculous competition lately has been the “I’m morally superior unless you do what I tell you” one.  You’ve probably have seen an example sometime in the last few days:

9/3 on Facebook
9/3 on Facebook

On the face of it it seems like a nice idea…  “It’d be nice, aww, yeah, let’s all kumbaya and have a great big endorphin sandwich and hug and take X together”.

…except there’s one problem: the implication is that if you DON’T post this text as your status, you DO think people should die and go broke.  In fact, you’re a goddamn MONSTER if you don’t post this!  Holy crap, better get to the batcave Bruce Wayne and get your fucking Facebook updated right away!

Even more butt-hurt about it
Even more butt-hurt about it

So it’s an implicit threat.  “Do X or Y is true”.

That’s awesome.

Second, let’s look at the basic failure behind this message: “By doing X, you will help Z.”  The text suggests essentially that if you post this as your status, you will, in some way, make medical-insurance-magic happen.  I can only guess that the people participating in this believe at some level that somewhere, there’s a master control screen for Facebook surrounded by Insurance Industry executives.

noradbookIn this control room, the insurance dudes are watching the screen up front with growing terror as hundreds and hundreds of status messages switch over to this.

“My god”, one of them breathlessly intones to another (in the fantasy), “they’re in open revolt!  What do we do?”  And the tie-wearing guy he’s talking to sets down his big cigar and responds, “We pray, Mister HMO.  We pray.”

In truth, though, this is just a lazy form of slacktivism.  This is one of the most dangerous types of self delusion for the burgeoning protester/true believer/self-righteous espouser of The Truth.  The delusion that he/she/it is doing something to make the world better without having to actually do anything.

“By jove”, the original author thinks while stroking his neck beard, “this status message shall storm the gates of the world and light a fire of indignation that shall burn these streets clean!”  Confusing metaphoric imagery aside, this has the same erstwhile goal as any revolutionary.  But instead of having to actually go out and take down whitey, all that happens is that the chickens cluck loudly for a few minutes, then forget about it.

What’s the actual result of the status message going to be?  Really?  Well, probably nothing.  A lot of heads around the world nodded, a bunch of furious copy/pasting took place, but in the end, everything goes back to status quo.  But the situation is actually WORSE than it was before, because a bunch of people feel like they did something and can now move on to the next item in their inbox.  In the word of one internet philosopher, “FFFFFUUUUUUUUU-”

Finally, and perhaps most damning at all: It’s sanctimonious.  I won’t waste a lot on this, but seriously, fuck you guys.  Yeah, I get it.  You feel strongly about this.  But just shuuuuuuut up already.  There’s got to be a way you can jerk yourself off about how awesome you are without implying a severe lack of moral fortitude in everyone else who failed to think of doing this first.

So let’s recap:

  1. It’s a threat.
  2. It’s actually worse than useless.
  3. The people who do it think it proves they’re a better person.

Yeah, Facebook is a curious game, and it can be fun.  But if this is the way the contest is shaping, it seems as if the only way to win is not to play.

Do not coddle the mentally ill

Walking into Safeway yesterday, I encountered an increasingly common sight.  A woman, dressed bizarely in a shiny purple outfit and pushing a grocery cart was haranguing people walking down the sidewalk.  I can only assume her behavior was at least in part modified by the tall beer can she was drinking from, further evidenced by the shopping cart she was pushing ahead of her that contained, in addition to her belongings, the empty remnants of more beer.

Toothlessly leering in the fashion of a methamphetamine connoisseur, she staggered up to people and swore at them, occasionally grabbing her breasts and pumping them.  With the maniacal precision of someone who has decided she is exempt from any possible implied social contract, she stalked up to cars and shouted into their cabins at the startled faces of newcomers, then lurched back towards the sidewalk to scatter pedestrians with her raving.

Intrigued, I activated the camera function of my phone and was prepared as I walked past.

“Say, would you mind smiling?  I’ve never taken a picture of a crazy person before”, I called out brightly and with a smile.

The suddenly shy woman ducks behind a pillar
The suddenly shy woman ducks behind a pillar

In a flash, her chemically affected exuberance at causing discomfort snapped inwards and she spun about, hiding her face as I took a picture.  Assuming this to be an accident, I followed her around a pillar to get a followup picture, but she hid her face and kept evading.

I glanced up as a pedestrian passed and smiled.  “Shucks,” I said, putting away my camera, “she seems to be a bit camera shy.”  To my surprise, I received a withering look that suggested that _I_ was somehow in the wrong in this situation, that my refusal to substitute pity for amusement was somehow indicative of a deep seated personality flaw on my part.  I suspect that she hadn’t considered the alternative, that I’m simply an asshole, and that part of being an asshole is being unwilling to treat adults as children.

Folks, at what point do we stop giving a free pass to the mentally ill or addicts who veer through our neighborhoods, menacing our kids and yellow profanities at the top of their lungs?  At what point do we call them on their bullshit?

Do not coddle them.  If people do stupid things or behave badly, say something.  You may be providing a vital service to someone who believes their actions are acceptable because society never tells them otherwise.

Formal license to be an asshole

The founding fathers of the United States of America were pretty bad-ass.  These guys gave King George the finger, made Boston harbor smell like an old lady’s parlor for the lulz, then invented new type of dominoes that involves knocking over British Redcoats with musket fire.  When we think of their accomplishments, though, the one thing that stands out is the US Constitution.  And the part of the Constitution that resonates with us as a nation the most is more than just flowery prose espousing freedom:

The Bill of Rights is a License To Be An Asshole in 10 different, specific ways.

  1. The government can’t stop you from writing or believing what you want, even if it hurts people’s feelings and ESPECIALLY if it offends. (original wording)
  2. The government can’t stop you from keeping guns, even if it scares people.  It’d be polite if everyone defanged themselves, but liberty is often rude.  (original wording)
  3. The government can’t force you to house soldiers in time of war, even if it would be an awfully nice thing to do.  Starting to see a theme yet? (original wording)
  4. The government can’t search you ‘just because’, even if it’d help them stop some super duper crime maybe.  Hell, imagine the field day the cops could have if they could just set up random checkpoints and search everyone coming through for possible law breakiness.  They’d fucking LOVE to do that, btw, but you’re theoretically protected from it. (original wording)
  5. The government can’t force you to give yourself up or give up your freedoms or property, even if it would make everyone else happy.   (original wording)
  6. The government can’t just hold you in limbo without being charged or tried justly, even if it’s OBVIOUS that you’re a no good son of a bitch.  “He’s probably guilty of SOMETHING!”  They still try, though, so it also says you can have a professional asshole to represent you.  (original wording)
  7. The government can’t just run you through a kangaroo court, EVEN if, like in #6, it’s OBVIOUS that you’re a right mean bastard.  If you want, then you’re entitled to make ’em convince 12 other jerkoffs that you’re actually a criminal. (original wording)
  8. The government can’t just cram you into a hole and leave you to rot, even if like in 6 and 7, you’re the damndest big ol’ motherfucking bastard anyone ever did see. (original wording)
  9. The government can’t paper whip you into giving up your rights, even if doing so would make everyone else’s life so much easier and more pleasant. (original wording)
  10. The government can’t just make up new laws for anything this doesn’t cover, the states are the onl-  oh, never mind, this was effectively repealed in 1865.  This Right Left Intentionally Blank. (original wording)

Nobody needs protection when they’re doing something popular.  The guy writing pamphlets saying “Let’s all be nice!” needs approximately 10,000 times less protection than the raging asshole with the Klan hood on because that fucker will get some serious rage pointed his way.

Lots of country produce real assholes.  What makes the USA different is that we’ve formally recognized the RIGHT to be an asshole, and we’re proud of it.