Category Archives: Society

Toyota Six Feet Under

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It’s ridiculous! First the accelerator sticks and now the brakes don’t work. Enough with the hollow apologies and hokey whoopsie-doo-baby-made-a boom-boom commercials, alright? We expect more. We didn’t collectively kill our auto industry for shoddy workmanship and unreliability. If we wanted that we could have just bought a Buick. I mean it is a Japanese company. Shouldn’t a couple of those execs be falling on their swords, literally? See that’s the problem. We need to bring back good old-fashioned Samurai ethics. I guarantee that the impending threat of hara-kiri would get ole Akio to personally double check those vroom-vroom pedals and stop-stop pads before they left the assembly line for our crumbling pot-holed highways.

Lucky this didn’t come to light five years ago or it might have sullied Six Feet Under’s stellar season finale montage (one of the greatest product placements in the history of advertising). Where instead of Claire driving her pristine Prius into a panorama of the great wide open to Sia’s Breathe Me, she’d have floored it directly into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer (due to a jammed gas pedal and ABS failure) ending in the sound of screeching metal and a death-rattling scream. Surely a subdued sewing-up and embalming of little sister Fisher’s mangled corpse by David and Rico, concluding in a tasteful yet somber service, would not have held the same place in our hearts. Continue reading

Punxsutawney Meltdown

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PETA demanded this week that the organizers of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festival replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.

A disgruntled Phil has steadfastly refused to abdicate his position and be replaced by what he calls a “animatronic fraud”. He has reportedly armed and barricaded himself in his burrow, chittering that he would shoot if he sees “anyone’s motherf*cking shadow” . Recently fathering a litter of six and with unemployment at an all time high in Pennsylvania, the laid-off rodent would be hard pressed to find a job, let alone one with a premium Health Plan for his brood.

Starschmucks Folly: VIA, the Instant New Coke

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You could put lipstick on a pig, but…

So it seems that Starbucks, the U.S. brewing behemoth, has decided to hawk an upscale version of Folger’s Crystals (currently gathering dust at the back of your out-of-touch nattering Nana’s pantry), but don’t you dare display your displeasure whilst within the immediate vicinity of one of their brainwashed baristas, or be prepared for a barrage of inane talking points and propaganda rivaling Liz Cheney’s blind backing of enhanced interrogation techniques. I’m not sure what remedial reprogramming retreat these poor part-timers were forced to attend, but it was apparently led by that murderous maenad Maryanne from True Blood or a direct descendent of Jim Jones ’cause there is zero room for dissension. Resistance is futile. You simply must drink the Kool-Aid… or neo-Sanka swill.

Is it somehow surprising that the franchise’s base of upscale liberal lefty latte-guzzling pseudo-intellects, who pride ourselves on being caffeination connoisseurs, might be a mite perturbed over the prospect of having a white-trash product pimped to us while trying to get our five o’clock fix and recharge our iPhones? We aren’t brewing up a batch of crystal meth in the bathroom units of our double-wides, looking for a quick-fix beverage to wash down our derelict dinner of Cheez-Whiz and Ritz Crackers for Cletis’s sake! Give it a rest; we don’t want to take your stupid taste test! We don’t care if this isn’t our grandfather’s instant coffee, it reminds us of our grandfather (who was last spotted hollering about health care at a town hall meeting due to a combination of dementia and Glenn Beck).

We have already agreed to pay three dollars for a cup of coffee. You’ve won. Don’t insult our intelligence by trying to get us to pledge allegiance to an inferior un-brewed commercialized commodity conceived by some snotty young marketing exec fresh out of grad school with plans for cutting losses by diversifying your elitist appeal to the general populace. Talk about watering down your “brand”. It was bad enough when you started in with that awful homogenized Pike’s Peak to compete with the Dunkin’ Donut’s demographic and their pansy palates. And let’s not forget those putrid pre-manufactured breakfast sandwiches (re-heated in those creepy gray cancer-causing ovens) prominently featured in your fly-ridden refrigerated display cases–yummers!

But for the coup de grace, it’s hard to believe your insolent insistence upon undermining the entire foundation of your existence: freshly ground, percolated C. Arabica that we pay a premium for you to prepare. Something authentic to be ingested and savored as we make our way through another impersonal, cyber-connected, pre-fabricated day. The churning in our stomachs, the burning in our bowels, the bing! bing! bing! of when it finally kicks in and everything is ok in the universe again. Gradual descent into despair transforms into rocketing ascent into possibility, hope and “what if?” Why would you want to dilute that?

Che Gueverette: Rodizio Slayer

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Like grandfather, like granddaughter, I guess. As it seems that 24-year-old Lydia Guevera is now taking up the revolutionary reins from her famous family patriarch. Is she waging war against U.S.-controlled conglomerates that have diabolically implanted puppet dictatorships and repressive regimes around the world? Helping those aging Castro hermanos get their hands on some brand spanking new thermonuclear-armed ballistic missiles to test the mettle of yet another U.S. prez in a life-or-death showdown, bringing us all to the brink of atomic annihilation? Desperately trying to drum up a Neo-Marxian revolution by teaching remedial guerilla-tactics classes to the natives in the deep, dark jungles of the Congo? Don’t bet your Batista!

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still serious about defending the rights of masses that have been forced into labor, their entire lives consumed by hungry capitalists who just see them as a meaningless multitudes of bodies and oh so much meat–they just happen to lack a cerebral cortex and prehensile thumbs! That’s right, folks, Lydia is taking the fight to the carnivorous powers that be by posing semi-nude for the latest PETA ad campaign. ¡VIVA LA REVOLUCION DE VEGETARIANS! Yesiree, the ole family legacy lives on as the Butcher of La Cabana’s bodacious petite-fille is out to butcher the butchers by showcasing her prime cuts.

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And have no doubt that her titillating spread will become equal in notoriety as her revolutionary progenitor. Just look at the publicity still where she strikes the Guerillo Heroico pose (which graces the hats and t-shirts that so many disaffected over-privileged, upper-middle class white teenage suburbanites wear–not with any consciousness of its historical context or meaning, but because it looks so f*cking badass dude!). I mean the similarities are uncanny. Both look highly bangable in their sexy berets and bandoliers (only his is comprised of life-stopping bullets while hers is fashioned from organic baby carrots whose high concentration of vitamin A help maintain healthy retinas). One wonders if she’s also armed with extra-firm tofu grenades and a flax-seed thrower for when things get totally FUBAR.

I for one am totally stoked for the inevitable five-hour Steven Soderbergh biopic of this young woman’s harrowing struggle against sweetbreads and tripe. If I can only somehow manage to attain tickets to the gala premiere (fingers crossed!) I will most certainly doll myself up in my best pleather pants and hempen baja (and if it’s wet wintery day, my lush faux-fur-lined galoshes) to celebrate.

Free Drugs for the Unemployed… Not the Fun Kind

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Whoever said big billion dollar medical conglomerations didn’t have a heart, as well as shill high-risk chemical concoctions for it? It’s official: Pfizer Inc. has announced that it will provide 70 of its most popular prescriptions (like Lipitor, Zoloft and Viagra) gratis to the poor, fat, flaccid sad sacks who have been unlucky enough to have lost their jobs and medical coverage… and (read the fine print) been loyal Pfizer customers for three months or more–JUST DON’T BUY GENERIC! WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY AWAY FROM GENERIC BRANDS THAT DO THE SAME THING BUT COST MARKEDLY LESS!!!

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Yesiree Bobby, it seems altruism is alive and well within the amalgamated capitalist model. Slap on back. Hand on heart. Salute. Zoom up on single tear trickling down a chubby corporate fat cat’s face, starting from his rad Ray-Bans and slowly pooling within the dainty dimple in his jaunty jowl.

Meanwhile, legislators in eight states are advocating that beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s subsidized programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare be required to submit to random drug testing (AKA Operation Buzzkill) for certain substances that are not government approved. It seems the marijuana lobby, not surprisingly, isn’t all that organized.

Seriously, though, I know there are diabetics that desperately need their testing supplies and medicines in order to survive, but Pfizer’s plan (recently hatched at a leadership training program) seems more aimed at maintaining product loyalty than preserving the phalanges of the masses. What about all the non-Pfizer-buying sufferers left in a life-or-death limbo without the aid of desperately needed pharmaceuticals? F*ck em’, I guess. ‘Cause this is really about cutting losses and making sure none of the docile drug-buying sheeple stray away from the pack.

For in times of dire economic depression some might question the actual malady they are “suffering” from, seeking out alternate measures to treat the trauma they’ve been mindlessly medicating, as long it didn’t make them choose between the deluxe cable package or the other little blue pill (that was for all you Matrix nerds). Worst of all (cut to aforesaid corporate fat cat’s sweat-drenched visage, crocodile tears dried, eyes red and frantic, his douchebag-designer sunglasses long ago having slid down the slippery bridge of his rhinoplastied, cocaine-caked nose and shattering into a Million Little Pieces) some might even choose to exercise, change their diets or question the source of that mental pain they have been numbing for months or years–rather than directly line the pockets of an industry that, more often than not, encourages dependency rather than a cure. Can’t let that happen!

To conclude, let’s just take the Viagra subsidy in and of itself. Unemployment plus artificially stimulated erectile function in the elderly and/or infirm can only lead to positive developments for society as a whole, right? Hey, far be it from me to knock the importance of providing the prescription-paying public with boner pills so that they might procreate in their down time, breeding a whole new generation of loyal customers indoctrinated into the practice of pharmaceutical instant gratification by their pill-popping parents. Best of all, these newly distracted descendants who spend their formative years ministering to their drugged-out adult dependents can open up a vital ADHD market. Win-win!

Now if only they could concoct a new drug to stave off the impending Swine Flu Apocalypse, or better yet cook up a new virus to contrive a drug to avert …that would be a real money-maker! Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Preparing for the Swine Flu Apocalypse

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First SARS, then Avian Bird Flu, and now the Iddy Biddy Piddy Pandemic. Here we go again, and this time we are at DEFCON 2, apparently. And of course in times of artificially manufactured duress we must remember to not under any circumstances remain calm–it is very important to panic and support a good healthy public hysteria. Do your part. Support the mass media’s fixation on a modern-day Captain Trips narrative. They need the ratings. There hasn’t been a good old-fashioned saucy sexual scandal among the politicos in quite some time, all is quiet on the tsunami/volcano front, and the Craiglist Killer just doesn’t got what it takes (hard to empathize with sinners’, who were utilizing casual encounters, most unfortunate endings when they were financially hawking happy ones). I mean we seriously can’t be expected to sit in front of the boob tube drooling over Arlen Specter’s spectacular defection to the Democratic Party can we? Where are the tantalizing titillation or doom and gloom? Please! I might as well read a book or pursue my dreams or something.

Also, it is important to boycott bacon and pulled pork sandwiches, even though the offending pathogen’s transmission has not been scientifically connected to the consumption of the succulent buttermilk-bathed bodies of these mud-trolling cob rollers. It shows that we are serious and committed to overreacting. I mean you’d think the United States would take a world leadership position here. Instead we have to idly watch as other nations out-frenzy us. Russia and Gabon are blatantly banning all imports of the other white meat, while Egypt has ordered the mass-execution of all of their unhallowed hoggies (although this could merely be a convenient excuse to settle an age-old Islamic grudge–why must unsanctified flesh taste so delicious!).

Meanwhile, pork industry lobbyists are out to ruin all our fun by trying to change the name of the swine flu back to H1N1 Flu or even worse: Hybrid Influenza. Borrrrring! One sounds like a Star Wars robot and the other like an environmentally sound automobile that runs on germs (actually not a bad idea–someone contact Al Gore), but neither is particularly catchy. How are we supposed to foster widespread irrational pandemonium with these mundane lab-coat clad monikers?

And keep up the good work out there by continuing to make stupid jokes about acts of bestiality with our pink, hooved, pot-bellied friends, poor Kermit’s marital bed quandary, and awful puns about overweight women and those who protect and serve on the police force. Hysterical! You are quite a card! And doing your duty producing uneasy titters and groans while perpetuating paranoia among your co-workers. Sales of Purell should increase by 20%.

I myself survived the dreaded SARS epidemic (in the heavily populated Asian neighborhood of Elmhurst, Queens) in which a total of 779 people died worldwide. There were eight U.S. cases, all non-fatal. I may be wrong but I think more people have actually lost their lives at Great Adventure… and that’s just from the concession stands (More Flags, Less Fun! ). Though that didn’t stop the local populace from panicking like pros. I rode the subway into NYC daily across from faces covered in surgical masks and red bandanas. As if we were heading towards some bizarre convention catering to Wild West outlaw bank-robbing bandits and the medics who loved them. It was exciting. Why not full Hazmat suits and oxygen tanks this time? Let’s go full-blown Outbreak and spice up the morning commute!

Ultimately, though, the excitement it bound to end and the drama to abate as the world survives another media spin cycle and the perfect storm for virulent virus mutation once again fails to form. Odds are most of us will survive to watch yet another sub-par episode of American Idol thanks to the technologically advanced art of hand-washing we practice. It also doesn’t hurt to have access to stockpiles of Tamiflu or the ability to mass-produce more, this being a first-world country and all. And let’s remember this is a strain of influenza, not AIDS, and the majority of us would probably kick it on a mucus filled Nintendo-Wii-filled sick day vacation from our cubicles.

However, if it comforts you more to fantasize about a dark and dreary post-apocalyptic dystopia where a sole bedraggled man trudges down I-95 with a shopping cart desperately searching for any signs of other survivors (perhaps, with the re-tread REM ditty Cause it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel swine, as background score), I say go for it. It’s either that or waiting for the much-anticipated cinematic adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to come out…or you could just go outside, live your life and enjoy the spring. Nah! What if???

Dog the Pirate Hunter???

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(Please feel free to refer to the Pirate Glossary for all terminology)

Avast, ye picaroons! If landlubber Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has his way, good ole American privateers will be set loose on ye wily pillaging Somali buccaneers and get all War of 1812 on yer booties. According to his yellow-tinged amateur YouTube video (seemingly recorded on a Betamax device preserved from the early 1980s in front of a motley assortment of reading material being balanced on a rickety bookshelf that is mounted on the wall of a faux-wood-paneled den in the Old Batty Cave), Ron advocates reinstating the archaic letters of marque and reprisal, last utilized in the early 19th century, to bring down these bilge-sucking blaggards.

Of course, things would have to be a little different these days. Privateers would no longer be able to possess the vessels and treasure they seize. In fact, the wealth of most of these renegade seadogs is no longer romantically secreted in chests full of golden doubloons destined to be buried in the briny deep, but gets wired into Swiss bank accounts as cold hard cash destined to be lavished on flashy sports cars, semi-automatics and saucy Somali wenches. Instead, our government would have to offer sizable bounties as incentives for capture. Much like the 25 million dollar one on the head of Osama Bin What’s-His-Name.

Blimey! On second thought, using a colonial-era policy to solve a 21st-century problem might not be so legally hunky-dory with the rest of the planet, especially if we unbeknownst employ a backwater Blackwater to flog alleged marauders with a cat o’ nine tails, feed them to the fish, or make them dance the hempen jig. Do we really want to trust these disparate conglomerations of ex-military, post-traumatic-stress-disordered servicemen, soldiers of fortune, and racist rednecks armed to the teeth (the ones they have left) looking for action outside the double-wide trailer park and five-and-dime to police international waters and be the minutemen of diplomacy? I mean I loved the A-Team too, but it was a TV show, not a model for global relations.

The African corsairs in question themselves consist mainly of local fisherman (the brains), ex-militia men (the brawn) and technical experts (GPS navigators). Many of them who, in addition to seeking independent wealth (73% of the Somalian population lives on a daily income below 2 dollars a day–with an estimated per capita GDP of $600/year for the entire country), hold a personal grudge due to the ten million tons of toxic waste dumped on their shores by European firms (causing highly elevated rates of radiation-related sicknesses among coastal inhabitants) and the 300 million dollars’ worth of illegal trawling and poaching that takes place in their territorial waters (the pirates themselves only accumulate about 100 million dollars in ransom annually). So it’s safe to assume they would rather visit Davy Jones’ locker than surrender. No quarter!

Shiver me timbers! It seems we have quite a quandary here. Do we really want to dispatch mercenaries to further muddy the waters? Then again, me hearties, dead men tell no tales.