please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Rules of the Ziggy Circus game

Another day, another great time to switch the punchlines on our nation's two worst comic strips.

Again, all the other people in Ziggy's world (such as they are; they're not so much 'people' as they are walking punchlines) are constantly making references to a Daddy or Mommy who's nowhere to be seen.
And back in Cirque du Famile land, Dolly gets closer and closer to crossing that line that she would do well not to cross.

This one actually doesn't even need much juxtaposition. The upshot of all of it is that Jeffy drinks urine, but I think you knew that already.

I know I'm not the only one who has wondered about Ziggy's sexuality. I mean, does he have any? That would be only the first of many questions. But best of all, wouldn't it be great if he, like so many other amorphous man-blobs I've known in my time, could only get it on in a very very specific way?
Like -say for instance- forcing his partner to form himself into some sort of 'z' shape and call him "Daddy?"
Meanwhile, Billy doesn't make a goddamn lick of sense, is proud of same. He will grow up to be your typical American adult.

Frankly, this one was a problem for me even before I switched the punchlines.
I mean, randomly being asked for your food by a stranger who was walking by your house is odd enough, as is your retarded, melon-headed child clearly wanting to fuck your mouth out of some strange, feral instinct to just put it in the hole, dammit, first thing in the morning.
But when the kid says, "Are you going to eat that pickle?" it takes on even more sinister dimensions. What is the frequency, Kenneth?
And as usual, some hapless stranger has mistaken Ziggy for daddy, which could never happen outside the magical world of the comics.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Interviews, with a Bachelor and a Major

This is more or less just to post these somewhere. They've been flying the flag on Facebook for a while now: but let's bring it on home.

Aaand episode two!


That'll do for now.
Oh, okay...


Monday, January 10, 2011

You and Your "Therefore"

Back in early 2005 when I first started this blog, I went out of my way to engage people who didn't share my political views at all. I figured that everyone needed to keep talking, regardless of how we spoke to each other. I never shied away from calling them bigots, they never tired of reminding me that I was was going to Hell. And that's dialogue: to my mind it's better than silence.
It wasn't always name-calling, either. I went out of my way to let them know I agreed with them on the few occasions we agreed. I tried damn hard to show the places where our interests overlapped. I often spoke of how we had lots more in common that we were being told by the media. They rarely did me any of the same favors in return.

So why'd I stop? Well, aside from getting sick of batting away the same shitty arguments over and over again, I noticed early on that all those people on the Other Side were always damn quick to go to the "We Should Just Kill All Of Them" variety of joke. And it was never long before it went past jokes, and into the real thing.

Naturally, reminding them that they were being kept in a constant state of irrational, barely coherent anger by a well-funded media apparatus that sought to do so entirely for the short-term political gain of one particular political party never came off well. Turns out people hate to hear that sort of thing about themselves.

But in any case, I always went out of my way to remind anyone who would listen that this isn't a sustainable state of affairs. You can't have this many people this angry at each other for this long, and still have a country that works at all. What you have in that case is something more like Rwanda, actually.

After a while, I noticed the random appearance of the word "therefore" in lots of their arguments. Always in some sort of syllogism that didn't exactly work, like -"if (thing that isn't true) is true, then therefore (other thing that isn't true) must also be true." Like watching a class on logical fallacies, like first day in Philosophy 101.
I knew what this was, too. They had been made to feel bad by your science-y types enough times that they just wanted to throw a few "therefores" and "hences" of their own because that's what you get to say when you're right, or at least sound that way. It's a way of speeding past that whole having-to-prove-something part and just go, "I win!"

That's why I'm not terribly surprised that Jared Loughner had that as his favorite method of argument. And why those arguments were all loaded down with not just poor comparisons but things that didn't seem to connect to any thing at all. (Matter o' fact, here's a great interview with the guy's philosophy professor from community college. It's almost funny.) As if he only attended half of the class on logical fallacies, and was now actively trying to prove that bread really is stones.

So lots has been made of how he's basically too crazy to have a coherent political position. That may be, but he himself described what he was going to do as an "assassination." I'm pretty sure that didn't refer to the little girl who died, either.
Lots has also been made about how we musn't interpret this as some sort of failure of Arizona's gun laws. No problem AZ; you didn't fuck up colossally and see to it that crazy there was comfortably armed and actively concealing. Feel better now? Didn't realize you states were so damn sensitive.

I think I should get to have a gun myself. And I think that other people should get to have guns. But I think that even the staunchest gun-rights activist doesn't like crazy, stupid people having guns.
And if all these lone nuts throughout our history were never doing it for politics but simply because they were crazy (or "evil," whatever), then why is it pretty much always a liberal that gets it? Why aren't people shooting the Michele Bachmanns of this world? Why the hell hasn't anyone put three well-placed peach-sized holes in Glenn Beck?

Lots of reasons, I suppose: maybe those same people who want us to all be mad at each other all the time also want us to be scared all the time, and it scares us more when people who at least try to talk about us all being nice to each other end up gettin' got. Maybe it's something I've never even gotten close to considering.
(Also: I kinda forgot about George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Yeah, they sort of got shot too, I guess...)

This is that thing I keep going on and on about: we have so completely let the stupid take over the argument at this point that we all have to speak their baby talk. It's our fault: wouldn't want to be seen as An Elitist, would you?
Well, as I often said to those nice people who told me I was going to Hell for thinking as I thought: you're the one who claims to speak for God, and you're calling me the elitist?

But there's nothing wrong with telling people who have nothing good to add to shut the fuck up. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise; they're probably doing it for a very bad reason. We pride ourselves on our inclusiveness and rightfully so: but, if stupid there just keeps on barking the same stupid ideas over and over again, it's your duty as a thinking person to tell them to fuck off and be quiet.

So these days if I want to go make fun of stupid people with terrible arguments, I go over to Yahoo! Answers and stalk the "Religion and Spirituality" boards. (Actually, I don't even do that anymore, but my year of experimentation with that lowest level of public debate is going to get a blog of its own, whose inaugural post is here. Yes, I know: because I'm doing such a fantastic job keeping up my other five blogs. )
Pretty much it's all bad arguments, skewing toward the pseudo-scientific, often just childish (because I suspect a lot of the questioners are actually children). It has given me way too many opportunities to begin my reply with, "You and your 'therefore'..."


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Things To Not Do With Your Profile Picture, Gentlemen's Edition

The problem with critiquing men's photos first off is that what really ruins almost all of their profiles is their text, and their photos only serve to make it worse.

But the bigger problem is that I often see things here that don't necessarily require a different photo selection, but a different guy.

I mean, this is who he really is, right? (Or, at least Who He Was In The '90's, Back When He Had More Hair.) This is an accurate depiction. And if all the advice I have is if you'd like to get laid, try not being you, well...I can see why that would be less than helpful.

Seriously though, the ladies are not wrong sir: Why yes I am a Wizard is not the best look for you. Or any of us. It somehow manages to make you look uncomfortably smug about being something that very few of us want to even be near. It's also kind of like winning The Ugliest Dog competition: I'm A Winner! Being the top of the dork shitheap is...What I just said it was.

But what do I know? There's a whole buncha LARPer girls running around out there, and they need relationships too. They, unlike the rest of us, would feel positively privileged to be the lady consort of The Dungeonmaster, here.

Sausage For One! Okay, this one is Hey Ladies, I can cook!, or maybe more like Hey Ladies! I can set the table! The problem being that you have set the table with what appears to be a largish bowl of guacamole to accompany the four lone, lonely sausages that adorn each plate. Your Fiestaware plates. And maybe no one else is there, but at least Mr. Snuggles is. (Hey Ladies! I have a cat!)

It gives the rest of us the perhaps mistaken impression that each and every night you throw yourself a pretend dinner party, in which you and your cat entertain all those friends of yours. Who aren't there.

But unfortunately, most of all it's Hey Ladies! I have this goofy light fixture growing out of my head! Look, I know that you didn't realize it at the time, but since then you've looked at the photo, right? And you had time to edit, or just not select this one.

(Actually, this isn't even the creepiest of his photos. No, that's the one in the hammock, where the Up-Shorts angle of the shot gives you an unwanted preview of what Sausage For One can really mean.)

The magic of Context, yet again. I imagine that you were in the middle of doing something that your friends found incredibly funny. But that doesn't come through here.

Thing is, here again is a case where I struggled to pick out which photo was Worst, and it was an epic struggle. You Can't Photograph A Personality, and perhaps you shouldn't even try. I say that because you've got several things against you that come out in all your photos.

The fact that you're not being exactly forthcoming with yourself about your male pattern baldness is not a good sign, and your dead, staring eyes aren't going to be melting any hearts any time soon. It's not your fault that you're no one's idea of a heart throb, but it will be your fault when you cause them to flee in panic.

The hardest part is that I suspect you're actually smart, and you probably actually are quite funny. Humor is how all the best people I know coped with growing up, especially the homely ones. Now you've got to stand up straight. Literally. Please stop doing that thing you're doing in this picture.

Remember that time when you were really annoying? Yeah, so do we.

This one's a triple-decker. The Magic of Context, You Can't Photograph A Personality (especially if most of said personality revolves around Irony) and Yes, This Is How I Actually Am, Unfortunately.

I don't know what else to say here. You probably do alright, actually. Lots of girls like douchebags, and unlike the resta these guys, you're okay looking, at least.

There will be a number of ladies, though, that will look right at you and see Exactly What I Don't Want To Grow Old With. That's the central tragedy of You. Well, that and your abysmal lack of self-awareness.

That theme continues here. Except this also introduces a brand new category: Must Love Hats!
I don't know what the hell it is anymore; used to be that we could make fun of the ladies for their slavish adherence to the fashion in hats (you know, back when you and I were growing up in the 1940's), now they're onto shoes and it's the menfolk who are weird about their headgear.

Looka this mack daddy! He's exactly what I think of when the term "Urban" is thrown around. Snoop Josh, The Iron Pimp Hand! Damn! How he be so sweet?

So...if you're being ironic, there's still too many of you in this world, and if you -against all reason- are being one hundred per cent serious, I'll say it again: there are women out there that do want this, and you should do the rest of us a favor and take them. But do the rest of us a much larger favor and Do Not Get Them Pregnant.

I forget whether or not this guy and the guy above him are actually the same guy. They may be. They're two sides of the same coin, in any case.

Must Love Hats! But this is a different kind: I Am Endearing Because I'm Too Real To Care That I Look Ridiculous.

And I'm outdoorsy! Or at least I was outdoors once! Or I'm a hippie, kinda, and this hat is really important to me because it was given to me by the indigenous natives of some place you've never heard of! It's their tribal colors! This is the primary focus of their primitive art culture: making stupid hats to sell to tourists!

No man; wear whatever the hell you want but...Well while we're at it, what's up with that shirt?

You might want to spend a little time thinking about The Subtext, too. It's hard to know what anyone who's Not You is going to be thinking at any given time, and it's unfair to ask that of a person.

So you must know in advance that you can never be sure. Can't know if you'll be seen as charming and whimsical, or just plain creepy.

And since at least some of the subtext is necessarily going to be sexual, know too that someone out there is going to read this as here is how my face will look when we put a camera in your cervix!

Almost as numerous as pix of men showing off their collection of whimsical hats (which certainly aren't there to hide their creeping baldness) are pictures of guys holding guitars.

You know, people really do find musicians sexy. God knows why, but they actually do. And that also carries a whiff of Rebel, you know, despite how fairly commonplace it is to play an instrument, have once upon a time been in a band, what have you.

Despite the fact that you're now an office manager, you've been there! You know what it is to live the rock n' roll lifestyle, what with being the...bass player and all.

Sure, all your other pictures are of what you really look like now that you're the owner of a small copy shop, but here is what you are At Heart: a guy who once upon a time had a very brief moment of relative stardom in his own mind.

But at least you look like you were in a Guided By Voices cover band. Most of the I Have A Guitar photos reveal their subjects to have been in metal/nu metal/whatever-bullshit-passes-for- "punk" these days type acts.

I have seen a disturbing amount of people's senior year high school yearbook photos while engaged in this project. Here's me looking Thoughtful In High School.

And it's only the men. Women never do this. I'm not sure what conclusions could be drawn from that. Maybe none. But I do know this: I see this a lot, and it's never a good idea.

I don't remember what else this guy had on offer in the way of photographic representations of himself. I seem to recall they were boring, which is how he looks here, even at his most philosophical. Gotta remember: one guy's Deep Thinker is another guy's Where The Hell Did I Leave My Phone?

Other things wrong with this include: the lady you would attract with this picture is the lady who wants to bang teenage dudes. Remember that.

Don't think I'm being unnecessarily cruel when I say: it's not really all that hard to make the software work for you, you know? There's really no reason for you to be all sideways like that.

I see tremendous amounts of these. Ladies and men. Not sure why, but it really bugs me. Perhaps because you're making us work overtime, stranger. You're suspecting in advance that we already love you as much as you love yourself, which just isn't true.

But there's still less of these than there are those My-Half-Of-The-Picture, hastily cropped, from your last relationship.

And last but certainly not least here is this man, who decided that Penilimplant69 would be a good profile name. He is seventy-six years old, and lives right here in the area. He sums himself up with the phrase "SEXUAL MAN JAZZ music."

Along with weeping in front of the television while enjoying a thirty-two ouncer of something, his interests include "sexual incounter with ladys and want to visit NUDIST RESORT."

He digs hanging out at FREDS (Meyer's, I'm guessing), DENNY'S (how did I know that?), SHILOW (Shilo Inns...You know, I feel like most Republicans I've met are elderly swingers, actually) and FISHERMANS (Supply, probably. Ditto what I said about Republicans for "fishermen." It really just means I want to rape you on my boat).

His dislikes include "politions" and phony people. Man, no matter what the age, gender or orientation, the Phonies just can't catch an even break in this world. He also can't discern between a comma and an apostrophe, judging by his use of words like "can,t" and "don,t".

He likes Portland for its "open mined" people, and the last concert he attended was "jazz." It's difficult to tell whether or not this is some incredibly cruel joke on the part of his buddies or just what, exactly.