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30 Jan 2012: Newt is a Toad

Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Newt is a ToadBreaking news from The Onion's NEWS IN BRIEF, 26 January 2012 issue:

Time Traveler From The Year 1998 Warns Nation Not To Elect Newt Gingrich

Time Traveler quoted as saying, "Won't anyone listen to me?!?"



29 Jan 2012: Society is Imploding

Category: Opinion
Posted by: Andrea English
Gerber Baby Cute baby contests have been around for decades. They probably began at fairs where contests of all kinds were a staple entertainment. It was good, clean American fun. But then, like most things that start out wholesome, our society twisted and tweaked the idea until they became sordid and disgusting (wet T-shirt contests, any high school popularity bullshit like Best Hair, etc.).

Contests aren't simply entertainment; they have also been used as an effective marketing ploy since about the beginning of time. For example, the first Gerber baby contest was held in 1928. So began a long, sad tradition of women displaying their infants with the hopes that their bundles really are as adorable as everyone says they are. Do they need to be reassured that their children aren't actually ugly little trolls? Of course not. These loving mothers are looking for cash.

Over the years, "Cutest Baby" has morphed into "Toddlers & Tiaras", a show whose tagline could easily be: It's never too early to teach our daughters to be narcissistic, catty little bitches. Honestly, I've never seen the show, but here's a sampling of the photos that come up if you do a Google image search for "Toddlers & Tiaras". Very fucked up.

I think beauty pageants in general are stupid and demoralizing, but pageants that involve deranged mothers dressing up their little girls like dolls and then trotting them out for public consumption is repugnant. The mothers disgust me and the children seem like aliens, so when I saw the following CNN headline, the hypocrisy of it compelled me to read the article (quoted here in its entirety).



Isabella Barrett

It seems the controversy surrounding TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” and its pint-sized stars is never-ending.

After one contestant dressed as Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” another, Isabella Barrett, was filmed singing LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” at an event.

Barrett’s mother, Susanna, has since filed a lawsuit against TMZ, Huffington Post and Daily Mail Online, among other media outlets, for running stories that she alleges “sexualize” her 5-year-old daughter, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

“After this firestorm, I quickly protected my daughter by having cease and desist orders sent to most media outlets that ran the story,” Susanna said in a statement provided to CNN, adding, “I intend to clear my daughter’s name.”

Barrett also detailed her version of the events shown in a video published by TMZ. (In the video, Isabella can be seen singing along to “Sexy and I Know It” at a DJ booth with a microphone in her hand.)

News organizations reported that the Barrett’s were at a nightclub, however, Susanna said in her statement that she and her daughter were actually at “a pet friendly charity event at an American bistro restaurant in New York City at 7:19 p.m. It was a private well-lit event with vendor tables and pets in attendance.”


Little Miss Sunshine, if you've never seen it, is a wonderful movie about Olive, a seven-year-old girl who desperately wants to be in a beauty contest. Olive is not a beautiful little girl, something her dad reminds her of, inadvertently but often. Like most parents, he loves his daughter and wants her to be happy so he gives in to help make her dream come true. (There's much more to the story, but it has nothing to do with the point I will eventually get to.)

Olive's father (Greg Kinnear) doesn't know anything about the Little Miss Sunshine pageant other than it means something to her. He's actually a little irritated by this parental imposition, expecting a typical school-play like production. Then the show starts. Sitting in the audience, he sees little girls dressed like trollops and prancing around the way they might in a pedophile's daydreams. Then he notices the creepy voyeurs sitting in the audience with him. You can tell by the look on his face when he finally understands what's going on. His love for his daughter, his need to protect her, has finally broken through his self-absorption. When it's Olive's turn in the talent segment, he (along with the movie audience), is suddenly anxiety-stricken. He's afraid she will be humiliated and hurt and it's breaking his heart.

Olive comes on stage in her everyday clothes and it's awkward. Then the music plays and Olive begins to dance. There's no attempt at childish seduction, no coy winking at the audience, just a little seven-year-old girl dancing her silly happy dance. She was beautiful.

As for Isabella, her mother should be ashamed for corrupting her daughter's childhood. If she really wants to clear her Isabella's name, let her be adopted by someone who understand the meaning of responsible parenting.


Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Mark TwainI don't know much about Mark Twain. Here are a few things I do know: what he looked like in his later years; he gave life to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; he was very intelligent and witty and liked cats; and he is considered one of the greatest American authors. I probably even read Tom Sawyer at some point in my life, but it didn't choose to linger in my mind. After a little research, I found out that he was probably an atheist. Sounds like someone I would have liked to have met.

The reason I even mention Twain is that I stumbled across this quote on Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comics web site:

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head.

Mark Twain's summing up of reality wasn't, in itself, a fresh insight. John Milton (another author whose works I've never read) had a similar view in Paradise Lost:

A mind not to be chang’d by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. 

Milton and Twain (along with thousands of other writers, artists, and philosophers throughout history) knew then what cognitive therapists know today: how you think can affect how you feel. Some people have the good fortune of living within minds caressed by calming breezes. Some poor souls suffer unpredictable, destructive gales. Others are oppressed by gloom and discouraging drizzle with intermittent sunshine.

Today I'm thinking gloom and feeling tired. Just posting to distract myself for a little while. I'd write it in a journal, but then I'd have to burn it someday. This way, if I die suddenly, there's less for everyone to throw away. Just select all and delete.


25 Jan 2012: I Love The Onion

Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English


25 Jan 2012: Oh, My Puns

Category: Visual Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Edgar Allen Poe away!


Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
It's a moot point, as Perry has fallen from the STUPID[1] bus, but this needs to be addressed because it bothers me. No one understands the subtle humor of this carefully constructed visual jest, so I will deconstruct it for my obtuse friends.

Duh.

Normally one says "I can see my house from here" when flying over Kansas, standing at the top of the Empire State building, or some other high vantage point — not because you can actually see the house, but because it's impossible and silly.

If you will notice, Perry is casually looking to his left which implies that he is looking at a nearby object. A nearby object would be easily identified. So...if Perry is looking at a house down the street and is pretty sure it's his house, that would make him pretty dumb.

I think my mistake here was using Perry instead of Romney. Oops.



[1] Society That Undermines Philanthropy, Intelligence, and Dedication


23 Jan 2012: She So Crazy

Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Nicki Minaj

I know it's hard to tell because of my well-rounded interests, but I'm so far from being in the Hip Hop Loop, I'm not even sure exactly what qualifies as hip hop. The only reason Nicki Minaj blipped on my radar was because of her appearance on Ellen D's show. And the only reason I saw that was because another little blip from Britain caught Ellen's eye. Meet Sophia Grace.


Here's where Nicki Minaj comes in...


Nicki is, as far as I know, a YouTube Cinderella. Good for her. Sophia, as far as I can tell, is an adorable (from a distance) little spaz. Good luck to her parents. My question is, why does any parent allow a precocious child to listen to, much less emulate, a young woman who sings songs like the explicit, "Stupid Hoe"?


Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
I do not care for puppets. Even as a child I found them to be at best moderately amusing, but mostly just weird. Mr Rogers' puppets in particular, so as to seem normal in his neighborhood, were curiously creepy. Even the subtle condescension in his own voice and manner gave the impression that Mr Rogers was addressing insane and potentially violent viewers rather than very young children. As I was being raised to see any and all strangers as potential threats, his opiate personality were unsettling and suspect.

In later years, I experienced the other end of puppetry, kneeling behind a puppet stage, arm raised over the edge with a googly-eyed puppet on my hand. As an evangelical enabler, part of my missionary position involved performing puppet shows for the poor dumb kids whose sadistic parents dragged them to church every Sunday. My puppet was a felt flower with the insipid name, Flower. I don't have the scripts of any of those charming morality plays (many of which I helped author), but I know they were funny as hell.

As an adult I can now appreciate, if not always the humor, at least the skill required to manipulate a puppet well. That isn't my point in exposing this shocking puppet exposé. The point is, there is an Ohio-based television station that is using puppets to get the news to the people. As stated in what I hope will be an award-winning article by Thomas J. Sheeran, "...a television station barred from using cameras during a high-profile corruption trial covers the highlights with a nightly puppet show. It stars a talking squirrel 'reporter'...". That Mr Sheeran felt the need to put "reporter" in quotations gives you some idea of his "take" on the story.

Courtroom puppetry

I can only say that combining news or "gossip" with puppetry is simply brilliant. Not only are WOIO and it's sister station WUAB Job Creators, have stumbled upon a so-crazy-it-just-might-work method for propagating "information" to the people of Ohio. Information that, sadly, they would be unable to process using yesterday's news methods. Of course, the real credit goes to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who have succeeded in making humor a necessary part of a healthy information digestive system. Kudos.[1]

Of course, this will put even more pressure on Sesame Street, which is already under pressure from the Society That Undermines Philanthropy Intelligence and Dedication (STUPID) to make learning more fun and less educational. I think we can all agree that the goal is within reach. It's only a matter of time until the news is animated by Koreans and directed by Matt Groening.

Until that day, remember, while corporations may be people, puppets are tools like most other members of the media. Tools we can use to shape a tomorrow that is easier to digest.



[1] In your face Colbert! I mocked it first! How does it feel when the puppet master is not you, but a MILF in New Jersey? Well, not fromNew Jersey, I was born in California and moved here about ten years ago, so technically... Nevermind! You have just been puppet-powned.


19 Jan 2012: Rick Perry's Epiphany

Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Rick Perry throws in the towel.

Rick Perry Experiences Overwhelming Feeling Of Clarity And Contentment In Final Moments Before Death Of Campaign

According to TON, Perry said, without irony, "I finally know what it means to be a good candidate. Goodbye."


16 Jan 2012: Boys Will Be Boys

Category: Opinion
Posted by: Andrea English
Rick Perry is a cretan.

I don't enjoy following the douche-baggery we call our political system as it tends to upset me. And generally there's no reason for me to comment on anything our government tools say or do, as my one and only reader most often agrees with me anyway. However, this morning, as I was scanning the MSNBC news headlines, one in particular caught my attention: Perry: Marines in video are 'kids', not criminals.

If you haven't heard about it, read about it, or worse yet, watched the video of it -- we have among our military a few guys who thought it would be funny to piss on human corpses. There are many words to describe that sort of behavior: disgusting, disrespectful, stupid, and criminal. Take your pick. (The correct answer is: Technically, all of the above.)

As stated in the MSNBC article by Anne Flaherty, "A military criminal investigation and an internal Marine Corps review are under way. The Geneva Conventions forbid the desecration of the dead."

With all the atrocities being committed in these horrible wars, why should we care about this one in particular? The guys are dead, so they don't even know about it. The peeing Marines don't care because they've been trained not to. And apparently Perry doesn't care because he believes boys will be boys -- what's the big deal?

"Obviously, 18-, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often. And that's what's occurred here... What's really disturbing to me is the kind of over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military." --Texas Governor Rick Perry on CNN's, State of the Union.

Seriously? Marines piss on dead combatants, but what really disturbs Perry is the fact that this administration is critical of them? What is really fucking disturbing to me is that our military trained those "kids" to be brutal and heartless. Who would even think of doing something like that?! Who would think of doing that are young men whom our government have brain-washed into seeing "the enemy" as sub-human. Stupid mistakes are drinking too much, cheating on an exam, taking the car without permission, or being videotaped desecrating a corpse. Seeing another human being lying dead on the ground and choosing to piss on him was not a mistake: it was a choice and a statement that said, "We are Americans and you are worthless pieces of shit."

I am so very sorry for the families of the men whose bodies were treated with such disrespect. But I'm also sorry for those Marines. They will have to live with the memory of that act, and of undoubtedly far worse affronts to human life and dignity, for the rest of their lives. They are going to come home damaged and deeply scarred by the things they've seen and done while draped in a flag that made them less human.

While I am ashamed of those men and their actions, I do agree with Perry on one thing: these men aren't criminals. However it is hardly "over-the-top rhetoric" to call the behavior of these Marines "deplorable" -- over-the-top rhetoric is to say they were just boys being boys.
____________________________________________________________

I am not an investigative journalist and the Geneva Conventions is a very long and complex document; that said this is what I found: "Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field. Geneva, 6 July 1906. Chapter I: Article 3. After every engagement the belligerent who remains in possession of the field of battle shall take measures to search for the wounded and to protect the wounded and dead from robbery and ill treatment."


Category: Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
Sinéad O'Connor's Rolling Stone Cover

Back in the '80's I saw Sinéad O'Connor's music video "Nothing Compares 2U" on MTV. Her unique and beautiful voice, accompanied by the loveliest eyes I've ever seen, were mesmerizing. Listening to her sing words that she filled with such vulnerability and sweetness, seeing those two sad little tears timidly slip down her perfect skin, those were the reasons that nearly the entire video is only of her face. She was delicate yet powerful, beautiful yet unpretentious.


Sadly, that was followed by her infamous Saturday Night Live faux pas...


I was as stunned as everyone else watching, but only because her "song" was not enjoyable and the dead silence that surrounded her was so uncomfortable to witness. I'm not Catholic, so when she tore up a photo of the pope I wasn't offended in the least, merely puzzled. (Of course, now it makes perfect sense.) But the Christianity-mongering portion of the population -- they were offended to the very core of their beings. The mindless, dogmatic vitriol that was flung at Ms O'Connor reminded me of a similar reaction to John Lennon's inadvertently offensive "Bigger than Jesus" remark that compared the popularity of the Beatles to that of some people's Lord & Savior. Jesus fans were not amused.

Sinéad O'Connor at 45

Back to Sinéad O'Connor as we know her today: still very talented, aging in the way that women do and people wish they wouldn't, and troubled in a way that ought to be kept a wee bit more private. We all know she's going through a tough time, although I'm not sure the media is too blame so much as her own judgment. Regardless, these personal traumas can cause a person to make other questionable choices. As mentioned on MSNBC, after overdosing on pills the week before, O'Connor reached out to her Twitter followers: "Does anyone know a psychiatrist in Dublin or Wicklow who could urgently see me today please? I'm really unwell and in danger. I desperately need to get back on meds today." Surely she knows that anti-depressants do not work instantly. Need something to help you calm the fuck down NOW, those meds actually exist. Given her age and mental health record, I'm pretty sure Sinéad already has some in her medicine cabinet...

There are several things about this that amuse and concern me. That Sinéad has made suicide attempts is something that she and her family should take seriously. It is heart-breaking and tragic when a person is unable to escape a deep and overwhelming sense of despair and sees death as the only means of relief. Not all suicides are truly intentional. Sometimes it is the sad and accidental consequence of seeing oneself as a victim and trying to prove it to everyone else. Regardless, both are mental health troubles that require professional help.

That being said, the fact that O'Connor went to Twitter for help finding a psychiatrist does amuse me. That's not so much a cry for help as a plea to have her phone taken away. Don't get me wrong, I suffer from plenty of self-induced anxiety and the mental anguish brought on by an improperly wired brain and I do rely on (I hope) properly prescribed medication, however, I do not blab about it on Twitter. Blogs are bad enough, but Twitter, in the hands of a mentally unstable person who feels compelled to prominently display her demons, one without boundaries or even a basic sense of self-preservation, will ALWAYS be a source of humiliation and regret, not only for herself, but for family and friends as well. Lucky for her, Sinéad's family must not follow her on Twitter (getting to experience the crazy firsthand), so they have no idea when she psycho-twitters things like, "Anyway...If any1 knows how I can kill myself...Without my kids finding out I did it deliberately pls tell me asa f--kin p." I'm certain that as she typed this SOS, and even after she flung it into the Sea of Voyeurism, she knew in her heart that it was a useless, narcissistic, and stupid tweet for attention by a crazy person without a firm grip on her reality balloon. I know that our American celebrities make batshit crazy seem glamorous and fun, but it isn't a good idea to have batshit crazy people as ones role models. People will only feel sorry for you after you're dead and what good is that.

----------------
John Lennon quote: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."


06 Jan 2012: Speaking of Jesus...

Category: Atheism
Posted by: Andrea English
As a one-time missionary (Believe It or Not!), I have legitimate reasons for my mild contempt toward evangelical religions in particular. It's a simple and uninspiring tale of a young woman with low self-esteem trying to fill a void with a belief. (Spoiler alert! It didn't fit.) After years of careful observation of Baptists in their native habitat and much rational contemplation, she abandoned the excruciating anxiety of living under the faith vs. works conundrum. She chose instead to stoically face a cruel and random universe, armed only with her cynicism and doctor-prescribed meds. Anyhoo, one result of this voyage of nonbelief is that things like this tend to irritate me:

death.jpg

heaven_or_hell.jpg

map_to_heaven-2.jpg

Click on the images if you care to read the text of these pamphlets.


These pearls of Good News were carefully and conspicuously placed on the visitor check-in desk of the New Jersey hospital to which my mother-in-law had just been admitted. My husband and I were a little worried—his mother had suffered a major stroke only hours before and been airlifted from her local hospital to this one. You can imagine the sense of peace and comfort that washed over me when I read, "Death: It Happens Every Day". What a compelling yet reassuring title. And it was only the gateway to a tiny trilogy of enlightenment! I had to have them—a voice was urging me, "Take these My child. Please". (The voice was mine—I often think to myself.) So I stuffed the bits of Biblical condensation into my purse. I couldn't bear the thought of them being carelessly tossed into a convenient recycling bin. If anyone were to deliberately throw them into the trash, or worse yet, burn them, I wanted to make sure it was done right. As it turns out, these tiny pieces of Western religion have become the pithy souvenir of the only time I've ever watched a loved one die.

Published by Fellowship Tract League, which happens to be a Baptist endeavor, these pamphlets have had a powerful impact on my life. Maybe I should let the Fellowship Baptist Church know that their pamphlets have removed any possible doubt I may have had that there is a god, while their logo has proven that it doesn't take talent to get work from people who can't tell their ass from a hole in the ground. It's like a Rorshach test: is it a pitcher (jug perhaps?) inside a hamster ball? Is it a poorly drawn silhouette of a rodent in a hamster ball?Is it a globe with all the continents smooshed together by God's love? Like God Himself, graphic designers work in mysterious ways.

tract_league.jpg


Please do not misunderstand me. I am in no way mocking a true personal belief in God (or ethnic equivalent). My mother-in-law was a devout Catholic and she drew considerable comfort from her beliefs. Just as I would never have tried to dissuade her from her convictions, she never once criticized or condemned me for my views. She never tried to get me to go to church, although I am sure she prayed for me everyday. For that kind thought I am grateful. However, had she been born into a different belief system, I know she would have been the same generous and kind person. Her faith did not define her and it did not create her. If there is a heaven, and for her I hope there is, I know that she was welcomed—not because of the church she attended, but because of the person she was. If everything she was died with her, I know that she will never again suffer and will always be loved by those who knew her.

That being said, I think that Catholicism—as an entity—and every other known religion that ruthlessly indoctrinates their followers and aggressively proselytizes the ignorant, are a blight on humanity. The fact that the dispenser of these tracts would attempt to take advantage of people, who were very likely emotionally fragile, was insensitive and utterly lacking in empathy. If you really want to be a positive ambassador for Christ, show some compassion. WWJD? Not be a dick.



Category: Visual Humor
Posted by: Andrea English
jesus.jpg