Monday, February 25, 2008

Top 10 Biblical Stories of the Old Testament

Now before we get started, let me say that my wife would tell me 'you don't know crap about the bible, and you should write something about something you know about'. This of course would be the case if she read my blog, which she doesn't. Also, I tend to play fast and loose with some of the narrative, but the facts come close. I'm pretty irreverent here, so if you're thin skinned about your religious icons, you'd best stay away. Next week I'll have my top 10 favorite candies revisited.

I have in fact read the bible a couple of times. Not my favorite reading mind you, but I did it. It seems to me that there are several stories that really strike a chord not only as religious reference, but just as stories. To many people, the Bible is the word of God. The truth is, it's the word of God as written by men. And as we know only too well, some men write better stories than others. So this top ten stories list is based on the excitement and wow factor of the stories, and just if I like them.

10. Cain and Abel - The timeless tale of the first Murder Mystery in recorded history. What's not so clear are the motives. Back in the day, God required sacrifices from his faithful. Cain offered some of the produce of the land, and Able offered the firstling of his flock. God was however not a vegetarian and as such rejected Cains offering. Cain being the good far left environmentalist he was, killed Abel. Of course the problem with this mystery was you had Mom and Dad (Adam and Eve) and then your brother. Mom and Dad had an alibi what with the whole populating the earth etc they simply didn't have time to kill their firstborn son and that leaves the brother as the killer. Not a huge shock, but it was the first incidence of intrigue. God, not being a fan of the death penalty at the time, cursed Cain to wander all of his days. Some people believe until the end of days.
9. Rahab - Precious few women get billing in the Bible. I'm not certain why this is, but I have a theory. There are all kinds of figures in the Bible that give women ammunition in 'improving' their men. The Bible is silly with men better than you and me. If you start putting in the women that are better than you and me (men), well that list is longer than should be written. Rahab is one of the few women in the Bible after Eve and aside from her profession, she’s a pretty good gal. As such, she deserves reference. She was a prostitute in a city that the armies of Israel were taking over. The bad king told her to make sure and tell him when the armies came to her house for some pre battle comfort. God tells her that the invading armies are the Good guys and she should give them a pass. So instead of narking to the kin, she hid the men of the army on her roof and said 'Look, I'm showing you a good time by not getting you killed among other things, hows about you take it easy on me and my family' As a result of this, the armies take over, but spare her and her family. Lesson learned? In the Apocrypha ( a bunch of books that make the Bible look like a quick read) it seems to indicate that she was not a prostitute, but in fact an innkeeper…stupid translations messing with a girls reputation.

8. Noah - This is God's own wacky dude. It's one thing to say your city will be destroyed, it's something else to say that the EARTH is gonna be re-booted. Thanks to Joseph my distant cousin for some of his insights, Noah is his favorite biblical prophet. What's not to like? he warns the people by building a boat out in his front yard and starts collecting animals and then he convinces Congress to stop legislation...wait a minute that's a semi-funny movie...Oh yeah. So watch the movie, except where it's just a part of washington that gets flooded, it's the whole earth, and where everyone that's bad gets put in jail, they all just drown and God says "That will teach you all". After this God says "Ok, that's the last reset, from here on out, no more total destruction, I'll just let you guys destroy each other" Noah agrees and lets all the animals off the boat, except he puts all the wierd animals in Australia. One interesting note, After Noah, people start dying off around 100 years old or so. Before Noah, folks were living to be 500 or 600 years. One dude Methuselah lived to be around 998 years old, I hear he was still a playa at 700. Young at heart I always say.

7. Elijah - This is the first My God is better than your God story from a prophet that could have had his own show in Vegas. Elijah brings his buddies on the other side of the aisle together (round abouts 450 of them or so, the equivalent of the 700 club of the day) and says 'look, lets decide this once and for all since worshiping one of our Gods is a complete waste of time. I bet that your God (who is fake) can't shine a candle to my God (Who is real)'. So he puts up 2 altars, one to Baal and one to Jehova and says 'Whoever's God will light these altars without our help will be the winner'. the 450 priests of Baal get to it and are roundly mocked by Elijah. They did all their lame magic tricks and nothing, nada, bubkis. Elijah then says in true David Copperfield form 'Drench my altar with water, and check my sleeves (the part about the sleeves is still under some translational debate)' He then asks God to accept his offering and Boom! God consumes not only his alter, but the alter of the losers of Baal with white hot flames. The people seeing this decide immediately that Elijah's God is likely the guy they should be worshiping. Seeing that he's got public opinion on his side, Elijah figures that it's time to get rid of the priests of Baal thereby eliminating any competition from the priests that have no followers anymore anyway. Elijah's life ends with him being picked up in a chariot made of fire after splitting a body of water in half just so he could cross, leaving his padawan learner Elisha to become a master (Prophet)

6. Elisha - Most people didn't know this guy was actually a prophet. Story wise, he kind of had an inferiority complex trying to follow Elijah's act, which is why he is behind Elijah in the prophecy business, but ahead in rankings. It is because of Elisha that we have the phrase 'picks up the mantle' to indicate someone that has ascended to leadership. Elisha picks up the mantle of Elijah after Elijah's one of a kind spectacular departure and becomes the next prophet to lukewarm reviews. The most unique story from Elisha's life has to be when a bunch of kids were mocking him for being bald as well as being a prophet of a competing God (apparently they hadn't seen Elijah's floor show), he turned and cursed them at which point 2 bears came down and tore them all apart. Suffer the little children indeed.

5. Sampson -Wow,the first professional wrestler in the Bible has to get a nod on the list.
God was not particularly happy with the Israelites and so he brought in the Philistines to humble them a little. Sampson was the method through which God was going to re-liberate Israel. Sampson has super human strength from the day he was born and the only thing God required for this super strength was that he doesn't cut his hair...ever. This is not super human like 'wow is he strong', more like super human as in 'Holy Crap how many buses can this guy lift?!'. This guy had a serious temper problem. He falls in love with a Philistine woman and asks a goofy riddle that nobody could answer at the wedding. They get pissed and tell his wife to find out the answer or she'll get burned and her dad too. She tells them and Sampson gets PISSED. He kills 30 Philistines and comes back to find out his wife married another dude (the best man), so he ties torches to 300 foxes and lets them run through the fields and wherever else he wants to burn and then kills a bunch more Philistines. The Philistines don't take this lying down. Superman or no, they need to stop this guy so they send the army in after him. Sampson is still pissed, so he takes the Jawbone of Super-ass and Kills 1000 army dudes. At this point they decided that they need to find his kryptonite so they ask his new girlfriend Delilah. Delilah finally gets Sampson to tell her his real weakness and sure enough he gets his legendary hair cut. He looks like Fabio with a crew cut and he's nearly as weak. This is when he gets paid back for all his killing, they put his eyes out and tie him up in the dungeon. He prays and says he's sorry for cutting his hair and ends up killing a ton of Philistine leaders, and himself, by tearing down the temple they were all on or in. ARE YOU READY TO RUMMMMMMMMBBBBBBBLLLLLLLEEEEE!!!!

4. JOB - This story/Prophet isn't nearly as interesting as the fact that God and Satan talk together like they are shooting the proverbial bull across the fence. Satan is wandering around the earth doing what he does, spoiling milk, making you trip over your dog when your arms are full of groceries, that sort of thing when God says "So what have you been up to?" Satan replies, "The usual, just wandering around causing trouble" God says, "well you haven't done a very good job with my pal JOB, he's totally cheering for the God team" Satan Says "Yeah, that Job's a tough nut to crack. He's rich and life's good for him and he claims its all because of you. Of course if we took away his money and his family, he'd hate your guts like everyone else" God says "No way, not my man JOB, tell you what, I'll let you do whatever you want AROUND him and I bet he still comes up smelling like a rose" Satan says "Deal" and gets bizay. So in a near comedy, 4 messengers show up nearly at the same time to tell him. Your flocks are gone, Your Herds are gone, Your land is gone, Your kids got killed in a freak roof falling in accident at one of their houses and they are all dead. JOB says 'Hey GOD's got my back, i'm not worried' GOD gets a good chuckle at Beelzebub's expense and then Satan says "Well, it's like they say, you're always rich if you have your health so that last bit didn't count" GOD replies "Whatever loser, you don't have crap on my man JOB, tell you what, you can do whatever you want to him, but you have to leave him alive" Satan says "Deal! he's my biotch now." and plants him with burning boils from head to foot and these things hurt like stuff you see on the learning channel. He's in such a bad way that he covers himself with ashes to help the pain and his wife says 'JOB you schmuck, why don't you just curse GOD and get it overwith? He obviously doesn't like you any more." but JOB says 'No way, I'm down with G.O.D." And God wins the bet again. But JOB's friends come over and say "DUDE, God seriously has some bad mojo out for you, why do you bother? this goes on for chapter after chapter" God finally steps in and tells JOB's friends 'Why are you guys so whack to me? JOB is a stand up dude and you're harshing his mellow. You go and offer up some sacrifices and tell JOB to pray and I'll fix everything. Then God gives back JOB's stuff and adds twice as much to it. Of course he didn't bring back the dead kids, but what are you gonna do.

The best thing about this story isn't that JOB is suffering, but that JOB is suffering because God and Satan decide to have a little bet about him, and the only loser really is JOB but he doesn't believe it so it's all good.

3. Adam and Eve - the OG mom and dad of the Bible. The kids that started everything. A and E get made, well specifically Adam gets made by blowing some dust around and Eve gets made by pulling a rib out of Adam and making her. The big question is, do they have belly buttons? I think so because chicks look totally hot with belly buttons. A&E start out in the Garden of Eden and they don't know squat. They are naked, but it doesn't mean anything because they are like little kids so they just wander around and smell flowers. God says "You kids stay in my garden and you gotta do one thing and not do another thing that I tell you.

First - Multiply and make LOTS of kids.

Second - See that tree over there with the tasty fruit? I was gonna call it a quince, but I think i'll call it the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. Don't eat it. I mean it, Don't eat it, because if you do you'll die. I'm serious. Don't do it.

Problem is, they are like kids so they don't know how to Get it ON yet. now if they ate some of that TOKOGE fruit they'd start getting some ideas, but they heard what dad said, NO TOUCHY. Well that's not gonna get us very far, so here comes Satan, but he shows up as a serpent (with legs). He goes to Adam and says 'Eat some of that TOKOGE fruit sucker, it'll really cheeze dad off if you do' Adam says 'No soap snake dude, I like it here in the garden, everything is already done for me and I can just chill' Satan figures this isn't going to go anywhere with this couch potato so he slithers over to Eve. "Hey sssssister, I hear that if you eat that fruit you'll be like super smart." Eve says "I'm bored, there's nothing to improve" Satan then figures it out and says " look, if you eat that fruit it will make you smart like dad smart, you want that don't you?" Eve says "Will it make me less bored?" Satan says "yeah, whatever, go ahead eat it" So she does and gets smart. Then the snake says "Check it, you gotta get slackass over there to eat it too because you are gonna be in TROUBLE with dad so if he's in trouble too, maybe it won't be so bad" Eve realizes that things are gonna get rough so she saunters over to Adam (She just learned to saunter) and she says "Hey stud, I'm just ACHING for you to eat some of that fruit" Adam says "You're wierd, why'd you do that? Dad's gonna be pissed" Then she says " he's gonna be pissed anyway because we didn't make any kids" then Adam says "Duh, because we don't know how, why would he be mad about that?" She says "If you eat the fruit, you'll know how and it will totally rock" Adam finally says "uhhh...ok" The second he takes a bite they both hear Barry White playing in the trees and things start percolating. God of course comes back. And says "WTF? I told you not to eat the fruit and you did, what do you have to say for yourselves?" Adam says "Ok, so you know that girl you put down here? She totally said that if I didn't do it you'd be pissed or something, it wasn't my idea, I just wanted to veg' Eve says "That is so like you Adam, put it all on me. besides, it wasn't my fault. I was watching the Snake and he said that it was a funky fresh fruit. I really couldn't think very well because I totally had the brain of a 5 year old so I said ok." God says "If you kids are old enough to be doing THAT in my garden, you can get your own apartment OUT THERE (pointing to a parking lot behind a burnt out WAL-Mart outside of the Garden) Oh, and before you go, It's a good thing that snake didn't tell you about this other tree that makes you immortal and totally spoils the other tree killing you, that would have totally sucked. In fact, I better put a guard around that tree". So he does that and kicks them out so Adam has to start working and Eve can complain how everything isn't as nice as it was in the Garden. Oh yeah, and God takes the Serpents legs off because that would make him totally cool looking. Sure there was a lot more to it, but this thing is getting windy as it is.

2. LOT - Wow, this dude is like JOB. He's got 3 letters in his name, his name means something other than his name, and he's like the only faithful guy in town. Lot kind of has a different story though. If it weren't for LOT we wouldn't have the word Sodomy. This is one of the big red flags of the Bible that says buggery isnt Kosher. Lot’s the only good guy in town (and his family). God says 'Lot, you gotta get out of Soddom because it's Vegas bad and I'm gonna wipe it out.' Lot says, "I really like this city and it will be tough to sell my house. If I can find a good man in it other than me will you spare it?" God says " I'm made of time buddy, but I'm not patient, find me one and I'll spare it, other wise, the wrecking crew comes in" Well, Lot can't find one good guy in the city and God says it's clobberin time but before he starts razing the joint to the ground he sends 2 angels to Lot to tell him to get out of Dodge. The other men in the city of Soddom see the Angels and say "Lot, bring that fine man meat out side so we can get to know them better." Lot says "My daughters are virgins how about them instead?" to which his daughters say "thanks a lot dad." But the mob of bi and homosexual men say 'No way, we don't want your daughters, we want those sweet angel guys you have in there' Well, that seals the deal for Soddom and Gomorrah. The angels tell Lot's family "Run up into the mountaints and don't look back because it's not gonna be pretty, that and God will turn you to a pillar of salt if you look because he's gonna get midevil on these cities" So in a dead run, Lot's wife says "That's gotta look really awe..." Then she gets turned into pillar of salt. So the rest of the fam escapes and lots daughters figure they are the only ones left on the planet. So they get their dad drunk enough so they can have kids. For virgins, these girls sure knew a lot. Bwahahaha! Sorry, I just had to. (Oh yeah, one of the kids was named MOAB, so next time you wanna see scenic Utah, remember Moab was named after the product of a drunken incestuous relationship. Hows that for interesting trivia?)

1. MOSES - The lawgiver etc etc. So great that they are still showing that movie every easter and the movie only has 1/3 of the miracle stuff in it. Moses is pretty well known and I don't want to take anything away from the movie. Not only did he get a bunch of ingrate Hebrews out of the hands of Pharaoh, but does miracle after miracle and the Hebrews say "What else you got?" Finally when the Israelites are thirsty, Moses smacks a rock and makes water come out and says "How much more do I have to do for you idiots before you will believe" After which God said "Ummm...Moses, not that you aren't doing a good job, but did you just say YOU did that? Sorry, nobody gets a free pass, just for that, you can't go into the promised land with the people you've been leading for me for the last 40 years. Sorry man, If I let you get away with it, soon I'll get no respect from anyone." Moses dies just short of the promised land and Israel gets their nation and causes trouble for the world ever since.

My take on the old testament. I hope I didn't offend anyone. noteable missing stories, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Abraham, Ezekiel, Joshua (his army was the one invading Rahab's town) and several others. Yes they are interesting too, but I ran out of numbers.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Top ten reasons why you don't like your job.

Hypocrite alert!!! I actually am 80% happy at my current job. The only reason I'm not is because I am woefully inept at the skills that I really need. My prior job on the other hand was truly a distasteful one. My job prior to that was Ok, but I didn't handle it well and got myself fired. That being said...

Alright you glass half full types. I know, I should be thankful for my job etc. The truth is, currently I really like my job, but my dad had a great saying when it came to work: "If you liked it, they wouldn't pay you to do it". Now this bit of conventional wisdom has to be parsed correctly in order to be properly appreciated. What of those lucky souls that get to do exactly what they enjoy and they get paid for it? Well, I've decided that those people are producing something that other people love to consume. This works for artists, writers and other generally creative people. The key to doing what you love, or making what you do something you love to do, is being able to do it at or near your pace. The rest of us poor schlubs have to slog into work and figure out some way to motivate ourselves to come in the next day beyond our paycheck. Well don't come looking here for the bright side. Here are the top ten reasons you don't like your job:

10. 90% of the car damage I've sustained is either in the parking lot of, or traveling to or from work.

9. They are paying you much less than you are worth. This much is obvious. If they didn't, the company wouldn't make any profit because it would be split proportionately between the people producing the most on behalf of the company, which of course would not be 98% of management.

8. Companies think they are your mom and dad. Man I hate this, when they go through and start listing your 'goals' and the things that 'need a little work' I just want to stand up and say 'I've already got a mom and dad, and they are a damn sight better than you (no, this is not them).

7. TIME. 98% of companies will tell you that they expect more than 40 hours a week. This is of course if you are Salaried employees. The rationale for this is that if you are done with your work you can take time off and the company still has to pay you. What a joke. It's just a way for them to take your most valuable resource and make money for them with it. My current company is actually very good about this. But most companies have decided long ago that they own you 24/7 and so telling you to work more for nothing is well within their purview.

6. Annoying Employees. Nearly anywhere you go to work, you gain a certain camaraderie with your fellow employees. A kind of trench friendship if nothing else. But just about everywhere you work, there will be those people that annoy you, not because they are trying to, but because they lack any semblance of social skill. Sometimes there are whole departments that are made up of these misfits. They are usually called I.T.

5. The pointy haired boss. There is only one reason the fellow from the Scott Adams cartoon is funny. It's because it's true. There are no exceptions to the rule that given enough time, a boss will eventually become a clueless jerk. There is of course a reason for this, I went over it in a prior blog.

4. You start realizing that the reason you are where you are is because you aren't smart enough to get out of it. Man oh man is this one depressing. You wake up one day to find out that you are really just as dumb as you were afraid you were. It takes your sucky job to make you realize it.

3. Stress. It's amazing how much of the quality of your life is linked to stress. Of course a lot of this is by our own doing, but when your job adds stress to your life by telling you to come in and work on weekends and give even more to a company that doesn't care in the slightest if you are put out, it really puts it in contrast.

2. The SECOND they think they don't need you, they will not hesitate to put you out of a job (and pat themselves on the back for doing it). If you get nothing more from this rather windy list, please remember this: Every loyalty in business is perceived, and business's only true loyalty is first and foremost to money. There is nothing you can do to alter this, it's the nature of business.

1. Stinking motivational CRAP. Those black bordered platitudes straight from the anus of hell, you've seen them all, you've probably seen the counterfeit ones that explain a little more realistically how things actually are. This is bigger than those things of course. It's a company that thinks they can manipulate you into producing more simply by spewing some of this pablum in your direction. In fact, for the effort of blowing this fluorescent sunshine up your collective skirts, they EXPECT that you will produce more and be less idle. If you don't provide them with the proper return of their mental investment, see number 2 ;). Top of this crap heap is Good to Great. I could go on, but this actually deserves a whole blog entry for itself.

I've had a few bosses that I've disliked enough to really enjoy the following link. It's a little bloody, but well worth the effort.

Stress Reliever

Monday, February 4, 2008

Top 5 Underdogs / Top 5 reasons we love underdogs

So after watching New York play spoiler to the perfect year that was going to be the Patriots legacy, I started thinking about what it is about underdogs that we love. The last time I sided with the winner was when I was 6 and saw my dad watching a football game and he asked me who I was rooting for and I said 'I dunno, who's winning?'. Coming up with 5 underdogs was easy. Coming up with 5 reasons to like them was easy as well. 10 of either proved to be too difficult so I didn't go that far.

Top 5 Underdogs:

5. The New York Giants (just because they are the latest, next year they won't even be considered)

4. Karate Kid. Yes with Mr. Myagi's help, even you could overcome years of training with some secrets of the Orient.

3. Rushmore. Broadway quality productions that go unappreciated. A loser anyone could love.

2. My Bodyguard. 2 different fights, on 2 different levels. This film has it all. 2 Underdogs for the price of one!

1. YOU (You know who you are. Most of us consider ourselves the underdog. If you don't, see Number 1 of the 2nd section)

Top 5 reasons for liking Underdogs

5. Because we don't like overcats? (I know I know, but I like the picture of the fighting cats.)

4. Because we bet on them for the odds. even money? for those bums? Never in a million years! 5-1 odds you say? I'll take that bet!

3. Because we hate Simon Bar Sinister (you knew this one was coming and if you didn't, look up Underdog on the Internet )

2. Because we hate the stupid overachievers no matter who they are!

1. Because losers that win sometimes are a lot more like us than winners that lose sometimes.

Loser that's a Winner

Winner That's a Loser

There it is. I hope you've enjoyed it. Remember, I'm rooting for you ;)