Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top 5 Things that might fix the Economy / Top 5 things I think about when I'm sick

So both of these subjects have been weighing heavily on my mind as of late. One because I am sick. 'So what' You may say, we all get sick. Well I don't. Let me rephrase that. It's rare that I do get sick. Rarer still that I'm sick enough that I must take a sick day or some such nonsense. So when I am sick it really brings to relief what's going on that is making everyone else sick, the Economy.

I majored in Economics. This of course means that I will never use that subject in real life except in a very Trivial Pursuit kind of fashion. There are a lot of theories floating around about how to 'fix' the economy. We say fix the same way a child says to fix the TV when the signal goes out. We aren't really sure how the problem started, and we don't like it's outcome, but we are very much certain that we would like to continue watching TV again. We just want the economy to be like it was, flush and full of jobs. I will try to cover this subject without being TOO political. If you don't like that then merry Xmas and there is a really funny video on U-tube about cats. Please enjoy

For those of you that have remained...sorry, this is probably going to be boring

10. I wonder what if humans didn't have mouths, would a head cold be a fatal illness? - As I sit with my congestion I wonder that very thought. In fact I wondered it for the first time when I had a bad cold in Arkansas and was so packed up that I just knew that if I closed my mouth I would suffocate. I tried it for like 30 seconds and yup, I would be dead right now D-E-A-D. Stupid cold.

9. Bailouts?!
- Ok, this isn't my answer to fix the economy, but rather it's my answer to what WON'T fix it. Lets reduce this to something we can all understand. That goofy family member that never quite figures out life. You know the one. They are always sponging off of one family member or another and they usually are involved with at least one if not several 'DEALS' that are going to make them 'Set for life' *sigh* So like idiots, we buy some of their lotions, we let them use our house to host a party because we'd like them to succeed. Well they've been doing this for a while and somehow this person actually has a spouse and family to support, but it hasn't changed their life habits. Now financial tragedy X hits them. How do we help them?! So the parent gets in touch with all of the brothers and sisters and suggests that they put together an 'AID' package. Mom says,3 children only need to donate say 10k to help the wayward family member. I think you see where I'm going with this. It's really not enough to help them because they are destitute and stupid, but it IS enough to really put a big dent in the rest of the family finances. Unless that sibling is willing to change the way they deal with life, NO AMOUNT OF HELP WILL HELP. The Banks and the Car Companies are our errant siblings in this overplayed metaphor, and the Government is playing the parents that live with one of us that want to help the problem child because 'they just need another chance'. BAH! (lets make this metaphor just a little sweeter. AFTER the wayward family gets the help money, they go out and buy MOM a really nice dinner for helping them out. AWWWWWWW isn't that precious? I'm still waiting for MY dinner.)

8. Convince yourself you don't have a cold - I go through this ritual because for me it actually seems to work. Either that or I don't really get very sick anyway and so the cold never really takes hold. Either way, when you get that sore throat, you pop a couple of cough drops and ask people if the air is bad because you've really been noticing it lately. It won't work. Those little germs are taking hold and soon they will have you in their power!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

7. More Government Regulations will help - NOT! More regulation isn't really the answer if we can't actually regulate what we've already said we would. Unfortunately public opinion is like a kid with the thermostat. If you turn up the heat to 79 and you still don't feel warm immediately, then you turn it up to 89 because you actually think that you are making the furnace hamsters run even faster in their little wheels and so you will feel warm faster. Maybe if you turn it up to 129 degrees you will make your furnace super nova until you feel warm. So we will go WAY overboard in regulating things with methods we can't really employ. I say, lets just make sure all of the methods we have in place are actually being checked. if not, CHECK THEM. Once that is good, then we can start talking about what to stop.

6. I need to drink more orange juice
- Too late bozo. Besides, orange juice is not that great anyway. Just look at all of the things that have more vitamin C than an orange. Pineapples, Tomatoes even Potatoes I think. If you are only drinking crappy pop or not getting enough sleep or smoking or any of the myriad things you can do to drop your immune defenses, then a glass of orange juice too late isn't going to do you a lot of good, and it hurts your throat. On the other hand maybe downing a bunch of energy drinks might help it zoom through your system, but i doubt it

5. Invest in something new
- Stimulus, Bailout, Hand up not a Hand out. it's all the same. money from pocket A to pocket B. We want to distribute the wealth. But lets do it the smart way this time. Giving discretionary money to people you just took it from is like giving quarters to a 6 year old that you took out of their piggy bank. That's going straight into the gumball machine at the grocery store. Well that helps business right? Sure it does, but what helps even more is helping small business owners get a leg up by the government giving them low cost loans so they can employ more people. Then we can employ the very poor, well you've heard this angle before I'm sure. Well shouldn't the American people own a part of that business if they make money from these low interest loans?! Yes and we already do. They pay taxes like everyone else and we WANT them to be successful. They will employ other people and make good on the American dream. We've given too many perks to Giant business and not enough to small/medium business. If we invest in new technologies and smaller businesses we will be ahead in the long run.

4. I wonder what I could get out of...- If I'm sick long enough I start wondering if I can get out of church, work, meetings, anything that I'm not particularly fond of attending. If I'm going to suffer, I can guarantee you I want to figure out a way to make it useful somehow. Since it's the Holidays, there are usually a few events that I could really do without.

3. Quit listening to BOO HOO sob stories
- I listened to a story about a guy that got caught up in a pyramid scheme and lost 7 million dollars. 7!!! MILLION!!! This is how much he lost to this scheister. Here's the funny part, he want's to sue the government for the money because the government didn't catch him the bad investment guy. Lets see. Something tells me this jerk wasn't ready to tell the government anything when he was getting 15% returns in a 3% returns market. HEY! maybe that should have been his first clue. When someone tells you they will sell you a diamond for 10% of market value, do you really believe it's a diamond? This guy was just plain greedy. Now some peoples answer is that the government shouldn't have let him invest his retirement that way or something. Government can do all they want, but they can NEVER legislate wisdom or intelligence. In America, people are allowed to be as stupid as they want to because we also have the opportunity to be as smart as we want to. If we listen to all the individual tales of woe that these people WILLINGLY PUT THEMSELVES INTO we will loose our focus and start being worried about things that make no long term sense and help very few. I fear this is a trap we as a country will eagerly fall into.

2. I wonder if THAT works - Once you've confirmed that you are in fact SICK. The first thing you do is go to the doctor. *BZZZZZZ* Wrong answer (WARNING! the following answer I give as it pertains to me it should NOT be constituted as Medical advice from a Medical professional only as anecdotal advice from a part time lunatic). The only thing they will do at the doctors office is take a strep test and then tell you to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. That's been my experience, so...Don't even bother. Go to the website linked HERE and buy yourself a box of 25 strep tests. Test yourself, save the trouble and co-pay and then you can go to the doctor if you actually have strep because you will need antibiotics for that. If you don't have something that is curable by standard antibiotics, you will start looking at those 'other' remedies. you know, Cold Eze, Xycam, The list is as long as your grocers shelf. They say it will reduce the length and intensity of the common cold. Great. Except that you don't know from cold to cold how intense they will be. So you could be treating a sore throat that wasn't going to be anything more than a sore throat in the first place and you are going to give Cold Eze the credit. On the other hand, It probably can't hurt because it's mostly sugar anyway.

1. Wait - Yes, that's what I said, wait. Just like my cold, there is really nothing we can do to help me get over it until the cold is over. Sure we can check to see if there is Strep and I can take an antibiotic that clears up any infections of that nature. But if it isn't and it's just something going through my system that I will eventually build an immunity to, then all I am doing in buying these goofy remedies is helping some people relieve me of my money. There is no really verifiable method of saying whether or not what I'm doing is successful. With the economy there are statistics and there are trends. I will be VERY surprised if we see any statistics that differ from the norm when compared to the trend after we have bought our VERY expensive cold remedy (and yes, it's just a cold, It's uncomfortable, sometimes in pain, but we will survive it as a nation.). On the other hand, if we as a country decide to continue to live our lives and spend money we will be helping the economy much more than anything the government can do on our behalf. The Government is not good at many things and is very slow to do much of anything. I guess we can leave it in their capable hands. at least we are DOING something...after all we are just throwing money at it, so it couldn't hurt.

*sigh* I hate being sick.

Thanks for reading, and Special thanks for the fans of my blog that keep reading no matter what goofy subjects I cough up. And thanks Tracy for 1/2 of this blog, I caught the cold on my own.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top 10 Presents

Tis the season, blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, it's time once again that we pay some small amount of lip-service to the son of God and then go and buy more than we should. Christmas is to financial responsibility what the midnight dessert buffet on a cruise ship is to Weight Watchers. We've learned from the time we are young that we are celebrating the Birth of Christ and that we give presents to signify the present that he gave us in the sacrifice of his life. In fact there are numerous poems and pithy little anecdotes describing how our traditions of Christmas came about. Yes, I know, we actually co-opted it from the Pagans, but it's ours now and we probably aren't giving it back. We try very hard to subjugate the material aspect of Christmas to the spiritual, but to no avail. What is the season all about? Just ask any 6 year old. They never lie. It's about presents. Specifically from Santa. Santa plain rocks, he knows what you want before you do and he will give you more than you thought you wanted. Mom and Dad give you socks and shirts, Santa gives you BB Guns. Unfortunately, once you get the hang of this concept, it's gone. Santa's power fades in the face of brats with high expectations. What you are left with is some kind of SUPER allowance that does not come as a gift but rather an obligation. *sigh* How I long for the days when I was young and so excited about the potential of presents that I couldn't sleep. It was MAGIC.

While this blog is about my thoughts on seemingly random subjects, it tends to not be much about me. This is because I lead a fairly boring life. I don't mind it at all, but it is what it is. This episode I will lend a little more insight into me as I will be listing the top 10 Presents I got. Not just from Christmas, but from anything. Some of you got the same things, while most of you got the same feeling. And they weren't necessarily the best presents I got, but rather the most memorable presents I got. I dedicate this list to the memory of my Dad. A guy that LOVED to be Santa.

10. Rooster Watch - Back in the day. It was a BIG deal when you got your first timepiece. So big in fact that it kind of marked the first time your parents took you seriously or thought you capable of doing enough with your life that you would need to be ON TIME for something...anything. I got a rooster watch. It's head would bob up and down to the seconds and other than that it was a regular watch that you wound up and had to tell time with the hands (a very important skill to this day). I couldn't stop watching it. I would tell people what time it was to the second. It was amazing. all you had to do was wind it. Keep it wound up and you would be a paragon of responsibility, a beacon of trust. I'm not entirely certain what happend to that watch, but I think it ended up succumbing to the slings and arrows of careless youth. I do remember walking around one day hiding my wrist from view because I had lost it. A sad day indeed.

9. Magic Shot shooting gallery - This was actually not my present, it was my brothers. The Christmas we got that we also got several other things that made it one of the most special holidays I could ever remember. First, my Dad was home for the whole winter break so that was cool. Second, I think he had just gotten some kind of bonus or something at work because it just seemed like we got a LOT of stuff. Not that it's important, but it IS memorable. Anyhow, I remember seeing this toy on TV and really wanting it badly. It was a self contained shooting gallery that had 24 steel balls that were held in a box behind a thick plastic cover. You pushed the magnetic gun against the cover to pick up a ball and the pulled the trigger to thump the ball into flight against the target on the other side of the box. You couldn't lose the bullets, the targets remained out of harms way yet you still got to feel like you were shooting stuff. This present made me the 2nd most jealous of my young greedy life. Fortunately, my brother was a good sport and let me play with it. But we both knew it was his.

8. Shogun Warrior - This was a large action figure that was a big companion figure to go along with Godzilla. I never had Godzilla, never wanted him. I wanted a Shogun warrior. That Christmas ended up being a particularly lean one for my family as I recall. I remember getting a lot of clothes. The dead give-away of a 'hard candy Christmas'. But my dad actually got me this cool toy. it fired bird shaped rockets out of it's chest and had a fist that launched in case you needed to punch Godzilla back into the Triassic period. I was 13 years old at the time and deemed a bit old for this kind of toy, but I wanted it anyway. Truth is, I still love toys, I don't even care about big toys either. If I had a little less self control, I would probably have several thousand dollars worth of goofy toys. As it is I have way too many.

7. The Kaypro 286i - This was an incredible present that would likely launch my career in the IT field. This baby had some software and some big floppy drives as well as a color monitor (CGA graphics baby. it was SWEET!). The keyboard was heavy and sturdy. I had that keyboard for many years after I had left the box for better models. I played immersive games like fun house and zork as well as rogue and hack. I still play hack. It's one of the funnest games you can play on a computer. Once you get past the learning curve, you have a hard time letting go of the game. This computer would follow me to college and just a little beyond. It was that model of computer that allowed me to hack into a particular colleges mainframe. Of course I wouldn't change my grades...I probalby should have. Would you like to play a game?

6. My Dirt Bike - I've had several bikes in my life, but I got a dirt bike for Christmas once, this was at the same time that builders were making houses down by the school. Those dirt mounds stayed there for all the winter and a good part of the spring. I would ride my dirt bike in the dirt on those mounds like I was Evil Kinevil. Of course I didn't really jump much, but I loved going up and down those mounds. I loved it so much that I broke the fork on my best bike leaving me bikeless. After that I got a much less memorable regular 10-speed bike with the ram's horn handlebars. You couldn't really go over dirt mounds in that. I figured that out.

5. The Atari 2600 - This was the first video game to really break out. The year was 1977. I had seen the Atari 2600 game system at Sears. You could play it in the store. It was simply amazing. Game cartridges were all you needed. There were all kinds of games for it and each one came in color! It had a joystick with one big red button and also some paddle controllers if you got the breakout or pong game. That was easily the most used present I had ever gotten. We wore several of those controllers to the point that we were taking them apart in order to frankenstein a working controller out of spare parts. The most memorable part of this present was the fact that I was certain that my parents weren't getting it for me. Absolutely sure. I was hinting in as subtile a fashion as any 12 year old could. When the actual Holiday had arrived, I knew that I was not going to get it. It was too late. Mom and Dad didn't get it. I had searched out their hiding places and they had nothing there of consequence. In years past when my dad was unable to find what we wanted on Christmas eve (his favorite day for shopping for Christmas) he would write a letter to us from Santa and about how some lazy elves couldn't get this last present out the door etc. I was expecting that and was shocked that my parents had in fact outwitted me. How could they have purchased and hidden it in a place I couldn't find?! It was a Christmas Miracle.

4. My Sterio Boom Box - This gift wasn't nearly as memorable as it was absolutely useful. For Graduation I got a JVC portable sterio system with detachable speakers a 5 band equalizer, a tape deck and am/fm/ShortWave. I still have that box and use it today for my computer speakers. It is amazing. I've lost the tape deck and I doubt it will ever be truely protable again, unless that portability takes it to the dump. But that probably won't be for another 10 years. Congratulations JVC on making a product so sturdy that I was probably kept from putting money into the sterio component industry for at least 40 years of my life. The year after I got it, my dad accidentally stepped on it and broke one of the casette buttons rendering it unable to dub. He claimed it was my fault for leaving it on the floor, where it had been for nearly a year. I'm sure it was.

3. My Car Mat - Ok this present wasn't actually mine either, it was for both me and my brother, but as I recall, it was given to my brother to share with me on his birthday. I could be wrong about that memory. It could have been just for him, but I liked it so much that I played with it all the time. I just know that when we got it it was so absolutely cool that I can still remember the elements. This was well before they had cool play mats that they sold you for 30 bucks. This was one that was painstakingly made by my mom and included places of interest in our lives. She had cut and sewn the mat itself, which easily filled a small room, and hand drawn all of the roads and landmarks. It was a masterpiece. There was our elementary school, many roads and parking spaces, and the airport. We took our dad to the airport often because his work would take him all over the country. the other was home and several points of interest along the way. We would drive our hot wheels and fisher price cars all over this mat. You could use the mat for all kinds of things other than it's intended purpose too. You could roll yourself or your little brother up in it.

2. Digital Watch - Ok, I have already mentioned a watch before, but this one was special. it was DIGITAL. That's right no more divining the earths relative position to the sun for me, I had a device that would tell me right off. It was gold with a dark red face. You pushed a button and the numbers showed you what time it was in bright red. I remember wearing that watch to bed and turning it on to see the glow under the covers. If you hit the button again, you could see the seconds. THE SECONDS!!! This stunning marvel was the accessory that made the man. I knew that females from any kind of distance would close in on me just to get a look at the red glowing glory that was wrapped around my wrist. I had hoped that perhaps a secret combination of buttons would allow this timepiece to emmit a sudden powerful laser beam James Bond Style. I couldn't derive the combiniation, but no matter. It was the apex of technology and style. This present was the first experience I had with the ever moving target of technology. A scant 6 months later my best friend would get a digital watch that not only had the seconds, but also had the date. This of course put my watch to shame. This I'm quite embarrased to say was the MOST jealous I had been of any present others had gotten. Not because he got a better watch than I did, but because now what I had wasn't a big deal at all. Yes, very embarrased indeed.

1. Magnavox Oddessy - This was the first video game I had ever seen. We were at the Zenith store and i saw it on a demo tv. Back then TV's had glass tubes and usually were housed in consoles with fine wood cabinets. I used to love to look at the tube testing machine that was at the drug store and wondered what you did with it. My dad was fairly handy, but he didn't dare touch the tv. We had a repair man come over for that. So anyway, up till this point, there was no point to a TV other than watching a black and white indian head (native American) grace the screen or to watch football and gunsmoke. There was no other point to this box. Enter the Magnavox Oddessy. This was the FIRST video game system ever and every game looked like PONG. This game system didn't have graphics per se, but rather it had overlays that clung to the screen with static electricity. I could write a top 10 list just on the games for that system. It was amazing. We played it as a family for so long that I missed the David Copperfield magic special that I was very looking forward to seeing. Apparently he made something disappear.

Happy Holidays everyone! No matter what you celebrate. Thanks so much for reading and your comments.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top 10 Superhero Powers

Here we are in the calm before the holiday storm. Halloween is over and soon the frenetic frenzy that surrounds the holidays will be upon us. As we near the commemoration of Jesus' Birthday, Festival of Lights, A bountiful Harvest, or just the obligatory days off that our employers begrudgingly give us in order to avoid the 'Tightfisted hand to the Grindstone' award. Thanksgiving will start us off by frazzling our nerves and then each week will increase in intensity until we hit the end of the year. It's a nice way to pass a few weeks of the cold winter months I suppose. It seems that during the holidays we tend to get just a little less patient with our surroundings. Some of us deal with this frustration by swearing, some by turning up the radio a little louder, some by kicking the dog. I, personally, like to imagine what superhero power I would need to have in order to dispense with this @#$^ IDIOT that is driving down the road in front of me at 5 miles below the posted speed limit while talking on their cellphone...There are so many powers to have, which one would I choose....hmmmm...

Superhero powers come in all kinds of flavors and shapes. Some heros get ALL the powers (superman). This of course isn't fair and quite frankly, not profitable. If one person has ALL the powers, then you have to make everyone around them equally powerful in a different way just to make them interesting. For the sake of my list, it's one power per customer. You gotta pick one.

I dedicate this top 10 list to my Sister in law Shannon who gave me the idea to include it.

10. Flying - Last on the list and yet first on the list, Flying would be a cool power to have, but really only in a gee-whiz sort of way. You could get from point a to point b in a very novel way. Just because you can fly, doesn't mean you are going to do it fast, and then you really don't have a superhero power more than you have an alternate mode of transportation. Biggest problem with this power is you can be CERTAIN that if you use it in any populated area, you are going to get some gun toting moron shooting at you because you were the 'goofiest bird I er' seen'. Funny thing is, flying seems to be a sub-power for many high end heros. Almost a prerequisite. Wonderwoman, check, Superman, duh, Green Lantern, check sort-a, Spider-man (well he can swing around on webs so) 1/2 check. Iron Man, check, even the Hulk who can NOT fly approximates it by jumping so powerfully that he in effect 'flys' to his next destination, Seems like if he can jump that far in a single bound, that would give him enough time to calm down and kill himself on re-entry.

9. Invisibility - SWEET. I believe that this would be the most used power of any standard Hero powers. Unfortunately most of the applications of invisibility would be selfish in nature and have nothing to do with saving anything unless you worked for the military. If I could turn invisible, I would probably spend more time that way than opaque. This power would have been much more usable about 30 years ago when infrared/night vision was only in the hands of the military. Aside from all the insider trading you would do and the other more prurient interests. Invisibility can only be used to get YOURSELF out of trouble and not really anyone else. This is why most people that are given invisibility powers (invisigirl, Sue Richards, Wonder woman's plane). Aside from the Invisible Man, who is definitely NOT a hero, why is it that Invisibility seems to be given only to hot looking females? That just doesn't seem right. Invisibility should be given to ugly men, do us all a favor. ALSO get the ability to put up shields around themselves or others. Incidentally, Wonder Woman's invisible plane was such a pain in the butt for the FAA that she kept it on the island of Themyscira.

8. Super Vision - Not too many hero's had this model of power and for the most part nobody wants it. Superman (yawn) of course has all methods of vision at his disposal. Heat, Infrared, Xray, I'm sure he could dazzle the young teens of Metropolis with a laser light show if he had the time. But seriously, the only kind of vision I would want is Infrared. X-ray would have to look more like an X-ray in the airport and less like the X-ray on the novelty page of a comic book (spread fingers and SEE BONES!). Heat vision unless under tight supervision would only cause you to destroy multiple TV sets and eventually make you swear off of watching news, sporting events, or politics for fear of letting loose while you are watching in a 'heated' moment...sorry. Cyclops of the Xmen had this unfortunate ability and the only way he could control it was to wear glasses made of a particular rose-quartz to filter out the astounding power and allow him to see like a normal person. Infra-vision would at least allow you to see heat signatures and not be threatening in any other way. Not too many heros with this kind of power. Cyclops, Superman, and the rest are unnotables.

7. Speed - Better than flying in my opinion. The ability to go superfast really would be the best way to be of service to your fellow man. You could have single handedly saved DHL from financial destruction. Speed of course comes in several different flavors, and if that charleton Albert Einstein is to be believed, if you are going to even come close to approaching the speed of light, you've got a lot of problems, the least of which is the whole time freezing thing. Of course you would only need to be maybe sub-sonic in speed in order to be useful. Imagine running so fast that you could skirt on the tension of the water without sinking. So fast, you could deliver a severely injured person to the hospital in time to be helped. So fast that the amount of food you would need to consume on a daily basis would require you to use these powers for financial self enrichment as well as helping others. Imagine the calories you would burn up. On a personal note, I would really only need to have twice the speed I have now, and it would be incredible. I would have twice as much time to not get things done that I had fully intended to. LOADS of heros have the speed gene. lets see, superman (wow, it's a good thing he's an alien, or the other heros would be feeling super inadequate right about now), The Flash (only a hair faster than Superman), Quicksilver, Dash (that spunky kid of the Incredibles). Speedster on Heros.

6. - Extra Brain abilities - Of course. The ability to read other peoples minds! What a great ability. Think of the damage you could do at a casino! You'd be wealthy in no time and they wouldn't be able to stop you. You would not be allowed in any casino after about a week because you would always know the dealers hole card as long as the dealer knew. You would be able to know 'what was wrong' when your wife stopped talking to you. Of course there are different levels of telepathic ability.
- 1.The ability to read minds or empathicly feel other peoples emotions.
- 2. The ability to project your thoughts into another persons mind
- 3. The ability to alter the perception of what people think they are seeing/feeling etc
Then of course there is the whole telekinetic thing where you can actually move things with your mind. Any level of this ability has actually been claimed by your average run of the mill humans. From Yuri Geller to the guy at your local carnival. The difference between the comic book guys and them is that the comic book guys are real. The carnies are just very perceptive. I would point you in the direction of Psyche or perhaps the more serious version called The Mentallist and you'll see what I mean. There are a boat load of heros with this power, but the most obvious would be Professor X of the X men. (Superman does NOT have this ability)

5. - Magic - Magic as a Hero ability? Bah! Magic is just tricks. Yes, I agree. magic is just tricks. But in the realm of comic books and TV, magic can often be real. It's not a trick or slight of hand, it's calling on unseen powers to transmute objects, curse your enemies, and of course levitate stuff. The definition of Magic is: any technology sufficiently beyond our understanding. In the comic book world there are a few heros that deal with magic all the time. Zatanna of the Justice League is the local big wig of magic. She can make anything happen as long as she says what she want's backwards. take THAT Mr. Mxyzptlk. On the Marvel side of the universe the man in the big boy pants is called Dr. Strange. In both universes they are reguarded as among the most powerful heros there are. Here's the cool part. Magic is one of Superman's few weaknesses! That's right. The Boyscout in Blue just can't take his eyes off of David Coperfield even for a moment. He's MEZMERIZED!!!

4. - Elements, Animals etc - This is a broad category because there are so many powers that are simply derived from the earth around us. There are powers of being like a sandstorm. Powers of being like just about any animal with any kind of cool and even some that have no cool at all (sorry TOAD and Blue Beetle). Seems like without the atavistic vision of the average human there would be a severe shortage of hero's to look at. On the elemental side we've got Johnny Storm for the Fantastic 4 that turns into fire at the drop of a hat. he can then blast you with fire as well as fly. SWEET. There are ice guys, water guys, and the list goes on. You name the element and someone probably has invented a hero who's powers are derived from that element. Why just the other day I had to break out Cesium Man # 221 and give it a read again. Watch out for that water Cesium Man!!! Ok, just kidding, there is no Cesium Man...YET. I would love to have several animal powers, but If they were randomly distributed, I would likely gain the power to accurately hurl my feces at suprising distances...right now I can't chuck them much more than 20 feet. Seriously, the problem with any of these abilities is that you would become SUCH a distraction at work that nobody would hire you. You'd need to become a hero for hire or something just because there would be little else you could do. There's always government work I suppose

3. - Change your shape. - Shape Changers! SWEET! Now you're talkin! The ability to take on any form or shape varies from hero to hero in the comic books. Plastic man, Rubber man, Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic was his name for a while, but that was too whiz bang for a man of Mr. Richards intellect). On the bad guy side you have Mystique and the Chameleon. In some cases you can change to look like something or someone else. in other cases you can actually become what you change into. Who wouldn't want that ability?! Once again, this is an ability we would only use for our own benefit initially. Perhaps when we had grown tired of it, or alienated all of our friends by seeing what they really thought of us would we use our powers to help people out by fooling them. We have people that walk among us that display these sorts of abilities today, we call them Politicians.

2. Money - Hey that's not a super power. Oh yea? Go tell Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark that. Heck, even the Fantastic 4 really benefit as much from Reed Richards grant money as they do from their super powers. That's why many of their comic stories revolve around them nearly going bankrupt or some such nonsense. If you have money and a good heart, you can accomplish an AMAZING amount in the world. Of course, those without money would quip that the wealthy are simply salving their hurting guilt and should give even more because 'they can afford it' Gosh I love that line. So if you have money and you do something noble with it, you get no credit for it because you have the money, and if you don't have the money, you will get more credit for having good intentions but no ability for doing good with the money you don't have. It's a power that comes with it's own weakness. It's amazing. If this is a genuine super power, then Politicians would probably be chief among it's users and abusers for/against society. Super Congressman! Able to spend more money than you have in a single session of congress! Finally, something that Superman doesn't have. You don't get rich writing by-lines for the Daily planet. On the other hand, your 401k would mature nicely over the next several hundred years.

1. Strength - Really, you are hardly super if you don't have strength. After all, everything else is just parlor tricks. Strength will help you help people as well as impress the ladies or scare the men or both. Super strength usually comes with it's own set of problems. People always asking you to come help them move or do yard work. Sometimes strength comes with it's own set of caveat's. The most famous of which is of course the HULK. Hulk can only help you get that lid off of the pickle jar if he's GOOD and MAD. Otherwise, you're gherkins will remain in their vacuum sealed tomb. The other side is, if you are SO strong, how do you keep from just demolishing every day things? Well I guess the same way we humble humans do it. We make sure we are careful! Strength is so common amongst the hero set that I won't bother going into who has it. Just assume that if they are wearing tights and possibly a cape, they are probably strong enough to back up their fashion statement.

I guess I'll go back to daydreaming about the lottery, the only superpower I posses is the ability to pull up on the door handle just as you unlock the car door from the driver side, rendering the unlocking USELESS. Bwaahahahaha! I'll take over the WORLD!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Top 10 Crappy Halloween Treats

Yes, I'm well aware that Halloween is past. I know that it's November. But since I went to the store on November 1st and saw all of the left over Halloween candy pushed into a lonely corner on one end cap next to Kitty Litter and Kitchen aids I realized that everything around it was glowing a red and green Bing Crosby Christmas. That's right, CHRISTMAS. I don't blame the stores being antsy to get the Holiday season going what with the bad economy and all but PLEASE can I have just one weekend of Turkey and Pumpkin Pie before we go full bore into the Xmas fanfare?

In a move that is directly opposite the stores, I am moving backwards into Halloween again to talk about the candy. Those of you that know me know I have a penchant for the sweet. One of my favorite pastimes was running a Candy store at a company I used to work for. After seeing my son come back from his All Hallows Eve door to door night o' beggin looking like a burgler that had just come back from the biggest heist since Oceans 11, I watched him sort through his candy with a seriousness that rivals young brides sifting through diamonds. He was putting them into piles according to his tastes. This is what has brought me to this list of notable crappy Halloween treats.

10. Coupons - Did I say candy? Well I meant candy, but this is even better kids! A coupon for 1/2 off of a BIG candy bar! Not some lame 'fun size' candy bar. You can use this baby when all of your other candy has been eaten and puked all ready. LAME. I got this one when I was about 10 years old and wondered who if anyone would actually use a coupon for halloween candy. This is very very much like trying to buy off a hit man with S&H Greenstamps to not kill you.

9. Tooth Brushes - Hey Mark Didn't you say Candy? Well, technically I said treats, which could be nearly anything. This one is a little worse than number 10 because you really are adding insult to injury. Not only are you not getting candy, but you are getting anti candy. The biggest problem is these tooth brushes are usually inferior quality brushes that you wouldn't scrub grout with in a Frat house bathroom much less your own pearly whites.

8. Red/white Mint Discs/Candy Canes - This is Halloween right? Just because you had to clear out your Christmas decorations in order to get to the Halloween ones doesn't mean you can try to foist last years yucky candy canes and mint discs on those unwitting kids this year. You should be ashamed of yourself. You cheapen the Spirit of Halloween.

7. Live Fruit - What are you? My Mother? An apple? REALLY?! Everyone knows you put a razorblade in there anyway. At least that's how the urban legend goes. How about a little tiny plastic bag with baby carrots in it? Wrong answer. If you don't make with the sweet and gooey pretty soon, you will have a hard time distinguishing your house from egg salad.

6. pennies -
pennies. I got pennies in my bag a few times as a youth. I don't blame them too much because it was usually on the last few houses on the route and they had run out of candy. When I was a kid, there was a point in time where I wasn't certain that there WAS any curfew on Halloween. So I would be ringing doorbells WELL into the night. So I very likely deserved the pennies. I had actually heard that there was someone that was giving out baked pennies that were red hot that would melt through those pumpkin head treat buckets. Probably not true, but I think Iwould like mythbusters to check it out.

5. Plastic Spiders - This is not a treat and it's not a Toy. It's a crappy Plastic spider that you can get from the oriental trading company for about 3 dollars for a gross of them. Nobody plays with these. In fact they are thrown away nearly as soon as they are found and shown to mom with the appropriate fake look of terror response. I would have had more enjoyment out of 1 peanut m&m.

4. Milk Dud(s) -
If you perchance to look inside a childs Halloween haul, you will find one or two of these little boxes of glory. Any one of these little 'butes could rip out a filling in 2 chews. It's a wonder that Dentists weren't giving these away by the gross. They are in a box that will contain anywhere between 1 and 4 milk duds. In candy biz these are called 'FUN' sizes. Fun my sweet mothers girdle. If a regular candybar is normal or 'business' size and these sorry excuses for candy are FUN size. I suppose those little candy sprinkles that you find on cupcakes could be packaged individually and sold as 'Riotous Living' Size.

3. Smartees -
The reason these make the list is sheer numbers. These little discs of compressed chalk are rolled up into tubes and called SMARTIES. They have an off brand kosher cousin called Fizzers. They Fizz about as much as smarties make you smart. I have nothing against these candies normally, but if you eat about 5 packages of them, you get really sore taste buds that take roughly 2 days to heal, and everyone knows that one of the essential pieces to Halloween is gorging ones self on candy to the point of nausea. This doesn't help that cause.

2. Peanut Butter Taffy -
In their Trademark Black and Orange wax paper wrapping this little treat was a staple of cheap handouts in the 70's and 80's and I have still seen them today. The taffy is ok, but there is just something wierd about a process candy that has no logo and no company information. If you would like to try the RETAIL version of these things, go and find yourself an ABBA-ZABA, they are the same. For all you know, that old lady handing them out made it herself with Exlax to get back at the neighborhood kids for spray painting rude words on her silhouetted cowboy leaning against her house.

1. Pixie Sticks -
Yuck. These little paper tubes filled with crushed smarties are horrible. they either broke in your bag and left a residue that contaminated all the other candies and made your hands sticky just from handling them. Or worse yet, they survived and you ate them with very unsatisfactory results. I suppose they ARE candy, but really, they aren't much of a candy. In fact, mostly they are just the promise of candy. One year my brother and I decided to try to pool our resources of pixie sticks and pour them into a glass of water in the hopes of discovering a new replacement for kool-aid and thus quenching a growing world thirst for that fat glass man's smiling pitcher of liquid delight. We failed miserably. We used too much water and not enough pixie sticks. But the truth is, there isn't enough pixie sticks in the world to make something good out of them. More bad, just equals more BAD.

As always thanks for reading! and Merry Xmas!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

top 10 reasons Ghosts don't exist


So here we are, first day after Halloween. I found out that the actual spooky day of haunting and stuff according to the local Wiccans is actually somewhere in early November. So I figure I'm only late for trick or treats and not for ghosts. I love ghosts and ghost stories, if for no other reason than to hear people tell the tale. After years of collecting ghost stories, I've come to the conclusion that there are simply no such things as ghosts. By ghosts, I mean the spirits of dead people that not only still walk the earth, but have decided to bother the living with their incessant moaning and carrying on.

top 10 reasons there are no such things as ghosts.

10. Because Hollywood is a bunch of liars. - Since when does Hollywood embrace any idea that's actually factual? The only thing I know about Hollywood is that they make money from telling good stories and good stories are always embellished and edited. The true story never comes out. So when I see a movie like the Changeling (still one of my favorite scary movies even though there is no blood or gore or anything) I know that ghosts do much cooler stuff on celuloid than in real life.

9. 1 billion Hindu's can't be wrong. - I don't feel like reincarnation and Ghosts are compatible philosophies. If you are going to a new state of existence, you don't have time to hang around lamenting the choices of your previous life. After all, you are moving on to bigger and better things. This is likely not reflected in the direct philosophy of Hinduism, but I'll still bet there are ghost believers in the religion that try to make it work. If I knew that I had a new swing at life ahead of me after death, I sure wouldn't hang around the mistakes of my past any longer than I had to, I'd definitely be in for making new ones in a new existence.

8. It's all in your head silly - When I first heard about waking dreams it all made sense. I was asleep in my bed and I woke up suddenly and saw a black shadow of a man in my room staring at me. It was freaky real, but I just kept staring at him and he literally evaporated. A waking dream is the subconscious of your dream mind intersecting with the more literal and business like conscious mind. It makes for hallucinations that seem very real. If you ever do have an experience like that, it might be time to trade out your furnace. Carbon Monoxide poisoning will give you dark visions as well as several other side effects that could make the most staunch non-believer think that they are plagued by poltergeists.

7. Patrick Swayze made more movies after Ghost - Everyone knows that ghosts don't move around a lot, in fact, they are pretty much seen in the same places all the time. It is also a well known fact that Patrick Swayze actually had many more movies AFTER ghost. Point Break, To Wong foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, and who could forget Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. Clearly Patrick Sawyze survived beyond being a Ghost. We aren't sure the same could be said for Whoopi Goldberg. Maybe in Sister Act 2, she became pious enough to cast out demons though...something to think about.

6. The dead are overrated - The dead on earth have been hyped up so much that there is NO WAY they could live up to that kind of hype. Turning peoples hair white, moving furniture and not in a helpful way, whispering/yelling to Hamlet, and that whole Ouija board farce. After this kind of ability attribution, you gotta know that spirits are far too afraid to show up because the bar has been placed so high that there is no way they could measure up. Lets be serious, closing a door in an already stiff breeze is not really going to impress anyone above the age of 13.

5. MOM! - If there were such things as ghosts, don't you think that all the dead mothers in the world would return to nag their progeny? What mother wouldn't break the chains forged in life to come back for just one more 'I told you so' or 'Why can't you be more like your brother?'. This world would be silly with them. so much so that they wouldn't even be creepy, it would just be assumed that once you as a mother died your mother would be released to the great beyond and you would be left to haunt your kids until their untimely demise. As it is, not too much of that going around. Dad's obviously wouldn't bother with haunting their kids because they need to learn life for themselves like he did. No ghosts came down and told him the right turns to take and besides, there's a good game in heaven that he doesn't want to miss the Fallen Angels might really have a chance against those goody two shoes Heavnly Hosts this year..

4. It would have been on the news by now. - Surely someone would have caught the image of a dark spirit flipping the bird to those left behind. If for no other reason, to mess up those family pictures that they really didn't like posing for in life. The media instead bores us to tears with news of the living...YAWN. And no, the Discovery Channel/TLC doesn't count. Those aren't ghosts either, read #10 again.

3. Wouldn't there be ghosts haunting other holidays? - Sure Halloween would be the obvious choice for spirits of all stripes to strut their stuff, and there is a few notable ghosts that wander around during Christmas. Veterans day ghosts should be all over the place. What about the valentines day ghost? You're telling me the suicides of unrequited love don't produce a few shades to bother the objects of their affections? Not really. On the other hand, it could be that in committing suicide, they realized that their true love wasn't worth the trouble and suddenly moved on.

2. If ghosts were real, we wouldn't be scared of them - After all, we are afraid of them because they are created from our imagination and as such are something beyond our understanding and control. If ghosts were real, they would be provable by something beyond a crappy recording on an old cassette tape slowed down and sped up until it made a phrase that sounded something like 'pudding isn't good'. They would be able to not only be photographed, but posed in such a way to make family photos more meaningful. They could do helpful things like tell us where we left our car keys and if our credit card is being used without our authority. In fact, if ghosts were real, they would quickly not be because they would move on after realizing what a bunch of lazy self serving louts we really are in life.

1. The government would find some way to tax them - The phrase 'death and taxes' really says it all. Once you are dead, you don't pay taxes any more. That's because the Government can't collect it from you. Either because you have relocated out of their jurisdiction, or because you don't use money anymore. Either way, if you don't exist to the Government, there is a fairly high likelyhood that you don't exist at all on this plane of existence.

Sorry I took October off, but it was a hectic month. I will be back on my 2 a month schedule, or more if I get more motivated, or my own ghost prompts me with something wittier than I already put down here.