Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas LIES (warning Santa spoilers)

Good old Santa.  That pudgy purveyor of unrealistic expectations and capitalism.  A near perfect metaphor for strong central government.  Big red makes promises to the children that we as adults have to come through with.  Then that bum gets the credit (works hard one day a year...sheesh).  Pretty big scam.  We are constantly telling our kids about the value of truth etc, but we start them off with this big whopper.  Like so many lies, there are several facets to them.  Like...

- Jesus' Birthday - The only reason I bring this up at all is the really funny nativity scene where Santa is kneeling and praying at the manger of new baby Jesus.  Yikes.  Well, by any and all counts, we find that Jesus was likely born around the spring time, pretty close to Easter.  Seems like we already have a holiday there and the Pagans were feeling left out with the winter solstice so we have a new birthday there to celebrate. (don't even get me STARTED about the Easter bunny).

- News reports - Lets start with the news.  We all know that journalism has been on a death spiral since the internet, but this problem has been around since there was televised news it seems.  Reports of Santa's whereabouts coming in every 1/2 hour or so are fake, every bit of it.  Everyone knows that the real Santa isn't going to be seen doing his job.  In fact the REAL Santa has some kind of crazy stealth technology or something since there has never been a sighting of any non criminal bearded men standing on any roofs that weren't later apprehended by authorities.

- Santa's Helpers - What a crock.  Santa's imposters is more like it.  There you are at the shopping center looking for Christmas goodies and there he is 'Santa'.  Some are drunker than others, but they are all fakes.  When I was a young believer, I was told that those are Santa's helpers because he didn't have time to be everywhere taking down Christmas wishes, he had to keep an eye on those good for nothing elves so everyone will get their presents.

- Elves - We've all seen elves.  They are blonde, nearly immortal and impervious to temperature changes if Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien have anything to say about it.  Well it seems these are not the elves we are looking for.  The elves we are talking about here are the tiny elves probably with green hats that make them look like miniature Robin Hoods sans bow.  Because it's WAY out of the realm of possibility to think that Santa, who can zip around the world in 24 hours, can make all of his own toys.  Nope, he has a factory full of indentured servants that are not only expert wood workers, but are masters of knocking off nearly anything that can currently be manufactured in China except for EVEN cheaper.  After all, Santa's givin the stuff away!  Nope, no elves, no factory.  They've been all over the north pole.  no evidence of these little green trouble makers.  Speaking of trouble makers...

- Elf on the shelf -  Whoever came up with this bit of keen suffering should be shot.  What kind of world do we live in where we tell children that clearly inanimate objects suddenly will come to life?  I'll tell you what kind of world.  One where there is NO expectation of privacy!  All this stinking elf is, is a surrogate for the NSA.  Always watching me.  Always reporting on me.  BAH!

- Santa tracker app - Oh great, so the news isn't enough.  We have all kinds of media telling us all kinds of things.  Google Santa Tracker and Santa tracker apps for our phones?!?  Geeze.  Why do we need this technological reinforcement?!?  The rest of it should be plenty.  On the other hand if you don't have him in your technology, kids might get wise and we wouldn't want that.   It's probably tracking your movements anyway.  Just an electronic Elf in your pants.

- Other Santas helpers - You know these more than willing helpers.  Your local independent retailer.  They are the most vested in continuing this farce.  After all, If we didn't have a holiday and a Jolly old man relying on your continued overspending to keep it going how would these partners in advertising crime get into the black every year??? We all know that no parents would ever get their kids anything ever if it weren't for Santa.  Parent's don't even like their kids much.  Oh wait, that's probably a big fat lie too.

- Livestock - Reindeer are really the most used, but they become integral.  It's just not good enough that Santa gets 'round the world in 24 hours.  We have to have an explanation.  You know, something plausible like flying Reindeer.  Then THOSE weren't good enough.  We had to get one with a glowing nose that helped the other flying reindeer see through the bad winter storm (you're telling me it isn't snowing somewhere on the earth every year round December 25?).  For a while stores would get a reindeer to stand there with Santa so that you could get your picture taken with Dasher.  That ends up being more trouble than it's worth so they will just take Santa showing up in his 1975 VW Dasher.

- Santa's List - So it's not enough that we have this intruder wandering around our house while we are knocked out, eating our cookies, and scaring our pets.  He's got a list.  A BIG list.  You see, Santa doesn't like all the kids.  Only the good ones.  So Santa's list seems like an innocent enough lie but think about it.  Santa is deciding if you are good or bad enough to get his magic presents.  How is he doing it?  Well he's using his willing stool pigeons the parents or that stinking snitch elf.  So now not only do you have to buy presents and give the credit to the corpulent crimson curmudgeon, but if the kids don't get what they want, Santa heard they were bad and if they put 2 and 2 together, they know Mom and dad turned North Pole's evidence.

- Santa of course - Well the bottom line is this dude and the tales told about him all over the Western world.  Cultures love their mythological icons, but wow, this Santa guy has been all over the place.  Father Christmas, Sint Nicklaas, Kris Kringle he goes by many names, but the one we know in America is the one our Coca Cola bottler gave us.  Of course Santa would drink Coke in America It makes perfect sense.  Ever since, we have counted on that image and that myth to get us through the winter months.  Usually around age 7 or so, we figure out that he's cut from whole cloth, but you are entreated to keep that secret from your younger siblings being the first time you are included as a part of the conspiracy.  I personally never remember thinking that the presents in the morning were from anyone but mom and dad anyway.  But then you enjoy the tradition so much that you take it as your own with your own kids.  Or at least some part of it.

Do I think you should all stop telling these Holiday lies?  No, they make the season fun and honestly, isn't winter hard enough to get through?  Just another subject that tickled my brain is all.  Happy Holidays Merry Christmas Brilliant Hanukkah Festive Kwanza and any other holiday greeting I didn't include.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

10 things the internet has completely replaced (or will)

Once again a blog post about the internet.  you know, it was not long ago when we had a lot of other things that used to do, very poorly.  Things that the internet does very well.  On the internet they call it disruptive, which of course was co-opted by suits and is now business speak (If your boss is a business hipster he or she will be able to use it in several sentences without breaking a sweat).  So here is a list of things the internet replaced.

- The Library - You remember the Library, It's that idea that since people can't copy books easily we will house a bunch of books and lend them to friends.  These days that would be called piracy, but that's a different issue.  The biggest reason we have libraries in the US is because people that got obscenely rich in their business life decided that they should probably give back or else God will invent a new level of Hell just for them.  Andrew Carnegie being chief of them made a bunch of houses full of books for all people to borrow a book and read it and bring it back.  I'm sure he felt much better about his overall pursuit of wealth.  Well these days it seems like most of the information you want is just available on the internet gratis.  Between piracy and actual online libraries, it seems like the regular library is just a place where you can access the internet.

- News - I love how the news is now so much more about people saying what they saw instead of Journalism students getting paid for their degrees.  People want news and they go online to their favorite one or two websites that tend to agree with their own world view and whatever news is printed there is the news.  Fox lies?  sure they do.  Why not?  People aren't looking for objectivity anymore, they are looking for people on their side.

- Private Investigators - Ah those lovable old PI's.  Sam Spade, Magnum, Inch High.  All of these folks would go and find people track down dead beats and shake down the local toughs on your behalf.  Now days you can find out nearly anything you want to on someone just using the internet.  Those few people that aren't on the internet somehow?  Yeah, they are visible because they AREN'T on the internet.  PI's I'm sure are alive and well but I'm guessing they are using the internet, and probably sites that you could use yourself.

- Phone calls - Wait, we use cellphones right?  yeah, that's true enough, but many phone calls are placed through the same internet that serves you great applications like skype and chat voice.  If you are going international you are probably using skype.  Ya know who the first users of skype were?  George Jettson and Jane his wife.  Yep.  Video phones were being used and I remember Jane even had a made up face mask that she would use on the video phone when she was called too early in the morning.  Seems like a pretty good idea.

- Local Access Cable - Back in the 80's when cable TV companies started becoming a thing because some people couldn't get their antenna high enough to get the local TV stations, another idea started coming to the fore.  Local Access or public tv.  Not public tv like PBS, but public like just some guy that gets free time on a particular channel to put up nearly anything they feel like.  Well now thanks to our friendly internet that's called YouTube and anyone can put up nearly anything.  It's even easier.

- Your Doctor - Surely you are kidding Mark, the internet isn't replacing your doctor right?  Well no, but how many people go to the internet first when they notice that green rash on their left forearm along with a mysterious 11th finger?  All of them.  Not only that, but you can order a lot of the same tests that your local super expensive clinic will run on you, for your own use.  You might have to buy in bulk but you can administer your own strep test just as easily as the clinic.  So maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but still a lot of the low end maladies are taken care of on line.

- Maps -  I remember driving across the country from city to city.  You'd get the map from the car rental place and then you would drive to the city you were aiming for.  It was kind of a skill to have the general direction and be able to find your way to your next destination with only a few stops along the way.  Fancy people would buy a regional Rand McNally road map.  It would contain all the information you needed to get through the streets to your destination.  After a while we got maps on compact disc and we made itineraries based on them.  They were amazing.  you would actually see where your home address was and it would print out instructions for you.  This made a transition to the WEB.  Finally it ended up on the cellphone which uses the Internet.  I think the only map people use anymore are the big directories at the mall.

- The Mall - I remember that everyone would go to the mall to buy nearly everything they needed that wasn't groceries.  It was great!  My first job was at the mall.  I was the weekend janitor.  Which basically meant while my friends were hanging out at the mall, I was cleaning up after them.   Well now thanks to the internet, you do most of your shopping online.  No more going anywhere, the stuff you want comes to you.  Sure people still go to the store, but more for convenience than anything else.

- Know it all's - There was a time when the guy with a great memory was really something.  Seems like that guy knew everything.  Well now that guy is the internet.   His name is Google.  That google guy knows nearly everything.  In fact, if you look up "box of my stuff" (not many people do) You'll see my blog quite possibly still at the top of the list and a few other references to boxes.  If you don't know what Google is, you are some kind of strange Luddite and I have no idea how you are reading this blog.

- Mail - You would think that the postal service is no longer necessary.  Not so!  Every Christmas, the Postal service roars back into existence.  No longer just a shill for junk and the IRS.  Every year the USPS gets on it's knees and thanks it's maker that Christmas cards are still best sent in meat space and not on that uncaring area called the Internet.  E-mail.  As far as the post office is concerned; the E stands for Eviscerating.  You can go to and email them from there if you want to offer your condolences.


- Casino's - Time was, you wanted to make a wager, you had to do it in a legal establishment where gambling was legal.  This was LasVegas or later Atlantic City.  Later, casinos sprung up everywhere except Hawaii and Utah, because Native Americans realized that they can probably take money just as easy as states do.  Well now the internet is fighting a war to be the new place to gamble.  Your own home.  If you are a compulsive gambler, how scary is this?  On the other hand if you found gambling a diversion and a destination, you will still tend to want to go on a road trip for the spectacle.  But if you are looking for some action, it's just a keystroke away.

There we have it.  Another list.  Nobody is more surprised than I am.