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Category Archives: Gripes

Your kids suck

As a parent, I have spent alot of time and energy trying to be as unbiased as possible.  There is no doubt in my mind that my kids are the best kids, ever.  But there was never a need to rub it in the faces of the other parents.

But, after all the bullshit I have seen and heard kids do in the last few years, I give up.

Your kids suck.

I am sorry, but they do.  And it’s your fault; you are shitty parents.

I wish I could say “You know who you are!”, but the fact is… you don’t.  You think you are awesome, and you think your kids are angels.  But, you are so very wrong.  You are wrong to a level that cannot be measured with modern instruments.  We would need to travel to a far distant future where they have massive banks of “wrongometers” capable of measuring trillions of wrongs per second in order to begin to calculate the sheer volume of wrongness contained in your fragile body.

No, your children are not angels.  They have abused my children too many times for me to ignore it anymore.  The details really don’t matter, so I won’t post them here except to say that my kids are frequently the victims of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of your foul spawn.  And it’s starting to piss me off, in case that isn’t obvious.

Now, while I don’t like seeing my children hurt, I do understand that this is part of life.  You gotta take the good with the bad.  My problem isn’t with the fact that they get hurt.  My problem is that there are never any consequences for the actions of the children who hurt them.  Ever.

Schools, for example, no longer have any authority to mete out punishment that has any meaning to children.  In many schools, teachers aren’t legally allowed to touch children even to save them from harm!  They frequently get in trouble for yelling at them.  They can’t even keep them after class anymore… no no… Jimmy has Soccer practice then!

The chosen punishment at my kid’s school is the issuing of a “demerit”.  Wow… I bet that has the kids shivering at the mere thought.  Best I can tell, the scariest thing about a demerit is that you might get a paper-cut from it.  This is clearly not the type of punishment that we need…

Billy (crying): Ms. Harmony!  Jimmy punched me!

Jimmy: Did not!

Ms. Harmony:  Jimmy… You know that we’re not supposed to hit.  I’m afraid that means you get a demerit.

Jimmy: Sweet!  That gives me 49!  Mommy says I get ice cream when I get to 50!

Jimmy punches Billy again.

Billy (still crying): Ow!  My spleen!

And why aren’t schools allowed to punish children in a way that actually works?  Because many parents won’t let them!  They’ll say “My Jimmy would NEVER hurt another child!”.  Even if there is video evidence.  Even if their child is actively pummeling another child while they are saying it!  Even if their child’s name is not Jimmy! (They aren’t very bright)

If I ruled the planet… situations like this would be dealt with in a swift and severe manner.

Billy (crying): Ms. Harmony!  Jimmy punched me!

Jimmy: Did not!

Ms. Harmony: Jimmy… I warned you about this yesterday.  You know what that means.

Ms. Harmony slowly pulls a yard-long plank of well-worn ironwood from a leather sheath strapped jauntily to her hip.  The hissing sound it makes as it is drawn causes the entire playground to fall silent in grim anticipation. 

Jimmy: Mother of God!  Not “The Bullywhacker”!  Please… mercy…

Ms. Harmony: You’ve left me no choice.

Jimmy runs — they always run — but he is hit by a taser long before he reaches the electrofied playground fence.

Haha!  Oh that Jimmy!  Even if he had somehow made it past the fence, he should have known that he’d never make it through the moat.  That’s what I call negative reinforcement!  Here… I created this simple diagram for those that are interested in using negative reinforcement for raising their children.  It should help clear up any misconceptions.

ScaryNotScary

Seriously though… when did it become ok for our kids to be assholes?  It’s not cute people!  When I see the way kids act today, it makes me feel like pimp-slapping their parents.  I think parents these days understand how to train a dog better than they know how to raise kids.

No, I am not suggesting that raising children is as easy as training a pet.  What I am suggesting, however, is that if training a pet is like Algebra and raising a child is like Calculus, then these parents are still working on their “times tables”.

So, even though they are not the same, there are some basic principles that are.  For instance, when they do something good, reward them, when they do something bad, punish them.  This is NOT a difficult concept to grasp, and yet I see parents doing the opposite of this all the time.

The MTA, yet again, provides me with a real-world example…

One time, I was traveling on a bus in the city.  I only needed to go two stops.  When I got on, there was some drama already in progress.  There was a woman sitting in an aisle seat, and a screaming child standing in the aisle next to her.  He appeared to have a larger than normal lung capacity, since I am certain that he was bellowing like a wounded water buffalo for several minutes, without taking a breath.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on.  He wanted the seat, and his mother wasn’t going to let him have it.  As annoying as his screaming was, I was very happy with how the mother was handling the situation.  She was coolly ignoring him.

But then, just before I got off the bus at my stop… she ruined it all.  She got up, and gave him the seat.  Congratulations asshat, you just taught your son a valuable lesson: “Hang in there!  Your tantrum will pay off!”.  Idiot.

On my planet, you would need a license to breed, and it would require an IQ test.

But alas, we live here on Earth where any bozo can have children.

And so, I say it again…

Your kids suck.

Please stop making more of them.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2008 in Gripes

 

Literal Thinking

Ok, I’m serious here people.

The word “Literally” is not used for emphasis.

You were not literally “hanging by your fingernails”.

You have never literally “flown through the air”.

Sadly, you will never literally “die from starvation”.

And, thankfully, it is unlikely you will ever be literally “scared shitless”.

Please stop it.

I don’t want to have to literally kill you.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2008 in Gripes

 

I am Incredibly Retarded

Allow me to introduce the next example of “Words that are technically being used correctly, but don’t make any damn sense”. I introduced the concept in a previous entry with the word “Terrific” (which is just like “Horrific”, but somehow… good).  Today’s word is:

Incredible.

I am sure you use it, and hear it used all the time.  “You’re incredible”, “That movie was really incredible”, “Craig Coffey is absolutely incredible!”, etc.  The meaning, in this context, being “amazing” or “awesome”.  But… look at the word!  No, wait… first, let’s look at some other similar words:

    • inedible – not edible
    • intolerable – not tolerable
    • infallible – not fallible
    • inscrutable – not scrutable
    • insane – not sane

Ok, now I am sure that even the slowest members of the audience can see where I am going with this.  There is no question about it, “incredible” means “not credible”.

I don’t know about you, but when someone says that something is not credible, I generally consider that a bad thing.  But, somehow, somewhere along the line, incredible changed its meaning to: “so amazing as to be unbelievable”.  Sure… you can see the connection, but c’mon… this is a stretch.  As with the word “terrific”, it does open up some possibilities for insulting people to their face without them knowing it though…

Me: You are terrific!

Boss: Stop… I’m blushing.

Me: No! I mean it… you really are incredible!

Boss: Here… have a raise.

That might come in kinda handy.  Like a verbal weapon, to be used in those rare situations where it is not a good move to say things like:

“I hate you!  I hate you more than mere words can describe!  If each ounce of hatred were a grain of sand, my hatred for you would be a galaxy filled with dessert planets all baking under an angry sun!  I hope your car breaks down on the way home, and you are eaten alive by hungry squirrels!”

What can I say?  I have the soul of a poet (I keep it in a jar).

Granted, the word “incredible” doesn’t quite provide the same level of satisfaction, but it helps take a bit of the sting out of some situations.  And, as a bonus, you get to remain employed/married/alive/etc.

Now, as valuable as it is to use a good word in bad ways, I cannot help but wonder if it’s possible to twist a bad word into a good one using the same logic.  Put differently, would it be possible to insult somebody and make them believe it was not insulting?…

Co-worker: I heard what you said about me!

Me: Oh… You’re welcome.

Co-worker: That’s right! You better apolog– wait… what?

Me: I said, you’re welcome.

Co-worker: But… you told everyone that I was retarded!

Me: Yes, but “retarded” means “delayed”, and “delayed” means “deferred”, and “deferred” means “Committed or entrusted to another”.  So, you see, I was merely pointing out that you were worthy of our trust.

Co-worker: Oh… um… ok… um… thanks then.

Me: You’re welcome, retard.

Haha… that would be great!  This type of English anomaly is totally cool!  It’s like having a language within a language; one that only we understand.  I suppose we could just speak Latin to each other, but that might just make us seem like pretentious douchebags (and we wouldn’t want that!).

Besides… I don’t know Latin.  So I guess we’ll just have to stick with Plan A.

But I can’t keep referring to everyone that I dislike as terrific and incredible all the time.  I am certain that even the densest of them might begin to catch on after a month or so.  Thus, our path is clear.  We need to find more of these wonderfully malleable words.  Perhaps one day, we will build an arsenal of oratory stealth weaponry with which to wage battle against our enemies.

Until then we will just have to persevere.

Or just use standard insults.

Whichever.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Gripes

 

Texas Ho’hum

In my youth, I used to play alot of Poker — and, by Poker I am referring primarily to 5-card draw, which is Poker as God intended it.  For a while there, my friends and I played cards almost every weekend.  We’d gather at my friend Dave’s house, order up some pizzas and spend the entire night taking each others money.

Although 5-card draw was my favorite, we played other Poker variants, like 7-card stud.  We introduced a few others over the years, but we generally stuck to the basics.  It wasn’t until we were all much older that one of us introduced Texas Hold’em into the mix.

In a moment, this will become abundantly clear, but I’d like to state it plainly…

I really hate Texas Hold’em.

It wasn’t until I began writing this entry that I realized why it is that I hate it so much.  I mean, I love poker, right?  So why would a particular variant piss me off so damn much?  Let me see if I can properly explain.  My loathing falls along a few lines…

First, although there are multiple ways to play the game, the one that was made popular by the World Series of Poker TV program is called “No Limit”…

I have to stop here for a second.  I thought the human race had reached a low point in it’s history with the widespread popularity of “reality” shows.  But, what kind of horrible strain of “stupid” has infected the people that watch the World Series of Poker?  I mean, holy crap… you are actually watching people playing cards!

Ok, sorry, back to the topic… where was I? Oh, yeah, “No Limit”.  This is a great concept for a tournament, but for playing at home?  Wow does this suck:

Me: Ok, I’m all in!

Player: I call.

Me: Ha!  Bad move.  I have a Full House!

Player: Fool!  I have a Royal Flush.

Me: Dammit! That was only the first hand, and I am already out of chips.

Player: Whatever.  Loser.  Hit the road.

Ha!  What a friendly game.  I can see why so many people like it.  I sometimes wonder if I’d be better off simply hurling my “buy in” onto the front lawn of my friends house as I drive by, just to save time.  I wish that was the worst of it, but unlike other poker games, this game has spawned it’s own vocabulary.  Let see that same conversation in hold’em-ish:

Me: Ok, I’m all in!

Player: I had the nuts on the flop!  And you are short stacked anyway, so I call!

Me: Ha!  Bad move… wait… what?

Player: Fool!  I had broadway on the turn!  And you were probably drawing dead all the way to the river!

Me: I… um… are you high?

Player: You totally sucked out!

Me: Can I go home?

You can see how this would make playing the game even more tedious.  But Hold’em players did not stop at creating their own language.  No, alas, they went on to creating their own system of math as well.

I am not questioning the realities of the situation here.  The cards that come up are based upon sound statistics and probability principles just like any Poker game.  They are well documented and well tested, but not even remotely understood by Hold’em players.

These are not mathematicians we are talking about here.  The average Hold’em player needs a calculator for flash cards.  At one point it was suggested to me, by one of these mathematical marvels, that if I shuffled the cards too much, I would unshuffle them.  Then again, this is the same person that insisted that “8, 2 unsuited is the best starting hand in the game” (No, I am not kidding.  Sadly, neither was he).  Genius.

But now, suddenly, they are all experts in statistics and probability; able to instantly and accurately calculate the odds on every hand.  Let’s have a shot at that conversation one more time:

Me: Ok, I’m all in!

Player: Since I had the nuts on the flop, there is a 65.2% chance that I have you beat, so I call!

Me: Ha! Bad move… wait, 65.2%? Where the hell are you getting that from?

Player: Fool! I started with a 52.4% chance of winning, and then I made broadway on the turn, increasing my chances by 25.3%!

Me:  Asshat… That doesn’t even add up.

Player: I am going to kick 35.2% of your ass!

Me: Bring it!  Bitch!

For the few times that I have suffered from a colossal lapse of judgment — the kind brought on by severe head trauma — and have actually agreed to play Texas Hold’em, this last mock conversation seems like a fairly accurate account.

So, if you play Texas Hold’em, I wish you well.  May your hand be free of rags, and your flops full of nuts.  I, however, will stick with good old 5-card draw… at least 86.7% of the time.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2008 in Gripes

 

It Just Doesn’t Add Up

Frequently, when I come home from work, and after Karrie and the kids are asleep.  I retire to the Meditation Chamber (the Living Room) with some nourishing brain food (let’s just assume it’s Cheetos here) and enter my Thoughtful Position (nearly prone, on the couch).  This position allows for the optimal flow of blood to the brain, thus enabling me to calmly reflect on the days events and prepare for those of the coming day.  Plus it allows me to use my belly as a snack table for my Cheetos.

It is in such a state that I come up with ideas for what I would actually like to write about on this blog.  Mentally flipping through those ideas right now, I see a common theme emerging: Education (or the lack thereof).  Don’t get me wrong, I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but some of the things I observe make me wish there was a vaccine for “stupid”.

In the interest of organizing my observations, I am going to focus this entry on Math.  The fact that lotteries exist, and are popular, says enough about the math skills of the average person.  But it never truly hits home as much as when I actually hear people engaging in wanton acts of math.

One evening, while commuting home on the Long Island Rail Road, I was subjected to a conversation between two vacuous, yet attractive young women.  I don’t recall exactly what they were talking about, but I remember the following part word-for-word:

Ditz 1: Are you sure?

Ditz 2: I am, like, ninety-nine point nine percent sure.

Ditz 1: Oh my gawd.

Ditz 2: Yeah!  The only reason I am point nine percent NOT sure is…

At that point, my brain forcefully blocked the remainder of the conversation for it’s own protection; Kinda like a circuit-breaker for the absurd.

So, you see, we are not talking about Calculus here. Still not convinced?

Ok, how about this actual conversation overheard at a Subway (the fast food joint, not the train station) down near Union Square:

Clerk: Welcome to Subway, may I take your order?

Patron: Yes, I’d like a twelve inch meatball hero.

Clerk: I’m sorry.  We only sell six inch or foot long.

Holy sweet mother of all things idiotic! I mean, I will grant you that putting sliced meat(ish stuff) on bread probably doesn’t exactly require a Mensa membership.  But knowing how many inches are in a foot seems like a standard piece of common knowledge to me.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2008 in Gripes

 

One Terrific Entry

Let’s get something straight right from the start.  I was not an English Major in college.  I would spell many words incorrectly were it not for the advent of the spell checker.  I use semi-colons with reckless abandon. I am a huge fan of run-on sentences, and I use entirely too many commas, and ellipses

Therefore, I am not trying to imply in any of my rants that I am the pinnacle of English perfection.  It’s just that there are WAY too many examples of the English language gone horribly wrong for me to ignore.  It seems evident to me that during its long journey through time English frequently zigged when it should have zagged.

As a responsible English-speaking citizen, I feel it is my duty to bring these departures from normality to light.  Which brings us to our first victim, the word: “Terrific”.  This simple list demonstrates my dilemma:

    • Horror = Bad
    • Terror = Bad
    • Horrible = Bad
    • Terrible = Bad
    • Horrific = Bad
    • Terrific = Fabulous

Dictionary.com confirms the problem, since it’s definition sounds distinclty bi-polar:

    1. Very good or fine; splendid: a terrific tennis player.
    2. Awesome; astounding: drove at a terrific rate of speed.
    3. Causing terror or great fear; terrifying: a terrific wail.
    4. Very bad or unpleasant; frightful: a terrific headache.

Sure… there are days that I feel “very good”, and others (far more frequently) that I feel as if I am “causing terror or great fear”.  Come to think of it, it is damn convenient to be able to use the same word to describe either mood…

But that’s not the point!

The point is that this poor word was lead astray.  At some point, “Terrific” was abused in a way that forever altered it’s meaning… but not all the way… it was doomed to be stuck in this limbo state.

Once, long ago, it was there, cheerfully being used exclusively to describe gruesome accidents involving brutal dismemberment and disembowelment:

Person A: Oh my God! What a terrific accident!

Person B: Is that a spleen?

And then one day it wakes up and BAM! It’s ALSO being used to describe the tangy flavor of Aunt Bea’s potato salad:

Person A: Aunt Bea’s tangy potato salad is just plain terrific!

Person B: Is that a spleen?

I say we embrace the ambiguous nature of this word, and use its power for good! Just think about it!  Insulting people is so much more fun when they aren’t even aware of it!

You’re saying “You are terrific!” to someone you dislike and smiling, because you know that what you really mean is “You are very bad, unpleasant and yes… even potentially frightful” and yet they are none the wiser. Try it… they may even THANK you!

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2008 in Gripes