Archive for the Rants Category

My Official Rules for Facebook (i.e. How to not get blocked)

Posted in Rants on February 12, 2010 by Eric

I’ll admit, I was a Facebook holdout for a while. I registered my account in 2005 at the suggestion of a friend. For three years, all you saw on my profile was one of only a handful of pictures that exist of me with a full beard (go ahead, try to find it…you know you want to). Around the beginning of 2008, I jumped on the Facebook train after all of my friends conveniently abandoned Myspace about 5 minutes after I joined.

At first, I just poked around a bit while maintaining my cynicism for the sake of being cynical, and therefore cool. After I got over that (don’t worry, I’m still cool), I started searching for and finding many of my old friends (apparently, applying the “social media” label makes “stalking” a little easier to swallow). It wasn’t long before I was checking the site daily to keep up with the people with whom I had lost touch. It was at that point that I realized exactly why I had lost touch with some of those people.

The way I see it, there are two ways to use Facebook. The first way is to use it as a means to communicate amongst friends and share humorous/useful/entertaining material from the internet in a user-friendly, all-in-one format. The other way is to become what I like to call a full-blown, crazy, “FB-tard”.

All I can say is thank you Lord for the “Hide” button.

You see, the “hide” button is the handy little tool that allows me to ignore posts from certain people without “un-friending them.” I’m nothing if not an e-gentlemen. But do I like hiding people? Of course not. Since it is my assumption that all posts that appear on my page are explicitly put there for my approval, it pains me to deprive any individual of the opportunity to entertain me. My Facebook hide-and-seek game involves a large amount of hiding and very little seeking. So if you want to avoid my hide list, take heed of the following rules:

1) Keep Thine Application Updates to Thyself

I don’t care about your Farmville farm, I’m not interested in your daily Horoscope, and if you put one more stupid iHeart on my wall I’m going to send your Mafia Wars goons to shake down your Cafe World diner.

Before you start using a new application, check the settings to make sure that every single little inane thing you do isn’t published on everybody else’s feed. I’m not digging through automated post after automated post just to find the one post saying you think the Grilled Stuft Burritos at Taco Bell are “amazing”.

2) Do Not Babble Incessantly About Your Relationship

I’ll make this pretty cut-and-dry. If you begin or end a relationship, you are allowed to post about it exactly two (2) times. I’m not sexist, but this one is aimed at the females. We’ve all been there before. Starting a new relationship is a very exciting time…for you. I’m glad you’re happy, but you’re giving us all diabetes.

That said, all good things must come to an end, and when that time comes just make your announcement, say that you never cared about him in the first place, and be done with it. If you drone on and on wondering why he left you, you’re pretty much announcing why he did. There’s a time and place for screaming at an ex, and that is during a private message or a drunken 4 a.m. phone call.

Oh, and don’t try to get around this rule by posting song lyrics. We all know what you’re doing. Besides, if you’re going to try to seem deep and introspective, you’re going to have to do a little better than Nickleback.

3) Don’t Join Every Group With a “Clever” Name

Eric just joined “It was funny the first time, mildly amusing the second time, irritating the third time, and now I just want to hurt you”

Point made.

4) Be Funny, or at the very least, Relevant

Today, I got out of bed and went to work. I had a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. On the way home, traffic was slow. Later, I watched Seinfeld reruns on my DVR for two straight hours. Tomorrow I have to drive to Ohio. I’m bored. I’m getting tired now.

Did any part of the previous paragraph even remotely interest you? Didn’t think so. That’s why I didn’t share it on Facebook. My day-to-day experience can be mundane at times, and I’m even less interested in yours. I’m glad you went to the gym today. If you must know, I spent that same time rationalizing my weight gain…while punching a puppy (see how I did that?).

5) Find the Shift key. Know it. Use it.

its really hard to follow what youre saying when you dont bother to use any punctuation or capitalization you could be copying einsteins theoy of relativity verbatim and still come across looking like a moron seriously you learned this stuff in freaking first grade have we really become so lazy as a society that we cant be bothered to push a simple button that requires a finger movement of less than an inch

There, now I feel better. I’ll see you all on Facebook…well, some of you.

-ES

By Popular Demand

Posted in Rants on December 29, 2009 by Eric

Back in April, I decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest (especially yours) to unleash my unsolicited observations on the world.  Over the next two months I composed post after post of cynical, whining, rambling nonsense.  Kind of like Jerry Seinfeld, only with one-tenth the humor (however, I figure I’m good for at least half of the Jewish marketability…Shalom, folks).

However, a few short weeks after it started…the posts stopped.  What happened?  Writer’s block?  Too busy?  Perfect Strangers Season 1 on DVD?  Unfortunately, no (although that last one would have been awesome…I can’t get enough of that Balki).  I simply got lazy.  Well, I didn’t actually get lazy.  According to my insurance company, my “pre-existing condition” manifested itself, meaning it wasn’t covered.  Thanks a lot, Obama.

So why am I starting back now?  That’s a bit of a long story.  And by “long”, I mean “short”.  I recently attended a Christmas party at which I was the subject of quite a bit of laughter, nearly all at my expense.  Whatever, I’m here to entertain (albeit, in the “put a suit on a chimp and watch him dance” kind of way).  At this party, I received requests from not one, but TWO whole people to resume my blogging responsibilities.  And if there’s one thing we all know, two people officially constitutes “throngs of adoring fans”.

So people, I’m back.  Back in all my crotchety, juvenile glory.  Tell your friends, and if you’re good, I may even post a shirtless picture of myself.  Some guys rock the six-pack, I rock the keg.

There, try to sleep now.

-ES

Mugshot of the Week: 5/22/09

Posted in Rants on May 22, 2009 by Eric

My brother got a tattoo his freshman year of college.  It’s a small, black cross between his shoulder blades.  He had it almost a solid year before our Mom found out about it.  His response to Mom’s vocal displeasure was “hey, at least it’s a cross!”  Mom’s response was “I love Jesus too, but that doesn’t mean I needed a tattoo to prove it!”  Perhaps she would have reacted differently if he had come home with the following ink:

Nothing says “I love you, Mom” like some fancy black script across the throat.  Just look at the attention to detail the tattoo artist employed to center the “O” perfectly around the Adam’s apple.  I can only assume that this photo is proudly framed above the fireplace in his parents’ home.  I am suddenly feeling like a bit of an inadequate son.

The rest of this week’s Mugshot Roundup from thesmokinggun.com can be found ratcheer.

-ES

90-Minute Nap (aka Soccer in America)

Posted in Rants on May 14, 2009 by Eric

Disclaimer:  I do not hate soccer as a sport.  I played it as a kid, and I had a lot of fun.  I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with the game itself.  Now, please bear with me as I rip it to shreds…

Despite being a huge sports fan, I do not want this to turn into a sports blog.  I have made an effort to refrain from ranting on sports topics, but this one slipped past my filter (even I am not above the filter).  That said, I have an announcement to make:

ATTENTION SOCCER PEOPLE:  PLEASE STOP TRYING TO FORCE YOUR SPORT ON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

I’m not sure how we can more clearly convey to the soccer people that we find their sport incredibly boring to watch.  As I say this, I fully admit that I watch the World Cup.  Why?  Same reason I watch the Olympics.  There is a undeniable sense of nationalism and pride, and it only comes on once every four years.  The rest of the time, I’d just prefer soccer be kept off of my TV.  Let’s explore why most other Americans share this sentiment:

Ties and little to no scoring

A soccer match is 90 minutes long (approximately…we’ll get to that in a second).  That is way to long to sit there and watch a game end 1-0.  This is the Age of Ritalin, and we simply don’t have long enough attention spans to watch a bunch of floppy-haired Europeans kick their little ball around for what appears to be no legitimate purpose.  Is it really a marketable sport if a 2-0 lead is basically insurmountable?  Don’t think too hard, the answer is no.  Also, every other major sport in the world has done away with ties, why can’t soccer do the same thing?  Americans aren’t going to invest an hour and a half of their lives to watch a game when there is a better than average chance it will end in a tie.  It’s like in Little League when everybody gets a trophy at the end, except here we abandon that policy when the kids hit puberty.

"You win!"  "No, no...YOU win!"

"You win!" "No, no...YOU win!"

The old saying goes “a tie is like kissing your sister.”  Well, I don’t have a sister so I’ll assume a tie is worse.

Diving and Fake Injuries

The American viewing public isn’t totally averse to fake falls and feigned sprains.  That’s why we have the WWE…sorry soccer, but Vince McMahon beat you to the American market.  Professional wrestling is a glorified soap opera, but the difference is that we know that going in.  If soccer wants to be taken seriously in this country, then how do you explain this:

This was all from just one World Cup!  Type “soccer dives” into a YouTube search, and you’re provided with 2 hours of instant comedy gold.  C’mon, eight-year-olds are tougher than this!  When your sport becomes 10 times more entertaining to watch when played by children, then it’s lost all credibility as a sport.  The worst part of all this is that the influx of European basketball players in this country has resulted in this pansy behavior infiltrating the NBA.

People who are waaaaayyy into soccer

I like baseball.  A lot of people think it’s boring to watch.  The difference between myself and a soccer freak is that I don’t belittle people who don’t like baseball.  Say something negative about soccer around a hardcore soccer guy and see what happens.  Actually, first you’ll want to back up about 25 feet because they may spontaneously burst into flames.  Always try to have a working, certified extinguisher with you when debating soccer when these people.  Don’t worry, you’ll be able to spot them with no problem.  They’ll be the ones who have an Adidas logo on ever scrap of clothing on their body (including the logo on their tighty-whitey briefs that they drew on there with a Sharpie…don’t investigate this for yourself, the results are horrifying).  They’ll also be sporting the jersey of their favorite club, FC Someplace You’ve Never Heard Of.  Atop their stubbled face, you’ll find one of the two Official Soccer Hairstyles, either the Greasy Stringy Shoulder-Length Hippy Head or the White Guy Perm.  They will refer to soccer only as “the beautiful game” and speak with a stubborn sense of condescension as opposed to actually refuting your arguments about the flaws in their sport.  I guess I’m just another “uncivilized American”.

Crazy rules that exist for no reason

I’m speaking about two rules in particular: aggregate scoring and injury time.  I’d explain what aggregate scoring is, but I can’t because I haven’t been able to make any sense of it.  All I know is that because of aggregate scoring, I’ve seen where a team lost a playoff match 1-0, yet they still celebrated afterwards because they somehow “won” on aggregate.  I’d research this further for the purpose of this blog, except that I figure that learning more about such a ridiculous concept can only result in somehow making me dumber.  Trust me, I don’t need the help.

"I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

"I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

The other stupid “rule” is injury time.  Injury time is where the referee estimates all the time wasted attending to the critically injured floppers during the game (which always results in a miraculous recovery after the whistle) and then tack that random amount of time onto the end of the game.  They’ve decided that the optimal time to do this is right as time is expiring in the second half, meaning that nobody really knows when the game is going to actually end until the referee blows the whistle.  Seriously, how hard is it to stop a freaking clock during the course of play?  If the organizers of a YMCA youth basketball league can do this, then why can’t FIFA, an alleged international sports governing body, do the same thing?

The whole Football/Soccer name thing

I understand that the United States is the only civilized country in the world that refers to the sport as “soccer” instead of “football”.  Allow me to explain why that is.  You see, “football” is an awesome name for a sport, so we simply gave it to a sport that was much more deserving of the name.  That’s all.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t think that soccer should be eliminated as a sport.  What I’m saying is that it is clearly obvious that the sport will never catch on with an American audience.  Just ask the organizers of the NASL, NPSL, ASL, ASL II, WUSA, and the USL (source: quick Google Search for “failed American professional soccer leagues…it didn’t take long).  Get ready to add Major League Soccer to the list as well.  A league with a history of financial difficulties and dismal TV ratings (not to mention a litany of failed predecessors) will have a very difficult time surviving the current economic recession.  They they banked on the fact (to the tune of $250 million) that David Beckham could spark an American soccer revolution, and predictably, we didn’t care.  If Pele couldn’t do it in the 70’s, then a tattooed, spikey-headed Spice Girl trophy husband had no chance.  Time to quit trying.

To end, I leave you with this…

soccerposterBasically that’s everything I just tried to say, only it took me about 1,100 more words.  Guess I’ll stick to my day job.

-ES

Migrane, Thy Name is Jonas

Posted in Rants on May 12, 2009 by Eric

The Jonas Brothers must be stopped.  Immediately.  Reason?  I’m too pretty for jail.  I’m definitely not cover-of-a-romance-novel material, but my butt looks way too good in a government-issued jumpsuit for me to last a day in the clink.  But so help me, seeing their smug little faces on TV, posters, lunchboxes, bedsheets, etc., makes me want to carry out some much needed justice in the name of decent music.  I’m sure we’re only a few weeks away from hearing that their faces appeared in a grilled cheese sandwich in Mexico.  But I need to settle down…I can’t do six months sleeping with one terrified eye open, nervously watching my giant, muscle-bound, and very lonely cellmate.  (Yes, six months is the actual Indiana statue penalty for assault, and no, I should not know that)

Urge to kill...rising

Urge to kill...rising

What drives me so crazy about these little gelled-up, pouty-eyed, she-males?  THEY HAVE NO FREAKING TALENT!  Their songs are horrible, and they can’t play live.  Normally, I would feel sympathy towards a group of young teens struggling against their own musical inabilities in order to make it big as a band.  However, I feel no sympathy towards a group of teens whose baffling musical success is built solely on an androgynous image that is forced on me daily via every possible medium.

The comparison I hear from the other Jonas-haters (apparently, I’m not the only one, imagine that) is Hanson.  You remember Hanson don’t you?  Back in 1997, MMMBop made me want to drive an icepick through my eye and into the portion of my brain that controls hearing and comprehension.  I couldn’t stand them.  But you know why I don’t compare the Jonas Brothers to Hanson?  Hanson actually had talent (before you start screaming at your monitor, go have a listen to some of the songs from their second album…go ahead, I’ll wait…see?)  Hanson played their own instruments, wrote many of their own songs, and actually grew into some decent little musicians.  As corny as that first album was, they knew what they were doing.  The Jonas Brothers, not so much.  Presenting Exhibit A:

See?  See what you made me do????  YOU MADE ME DEFEND HANSON!!

Guys, if you would only stay off the stage, smile for the cameras and bat your cosmetically lengthened eyelashes at the 13-year-old girls, then nobody would know that your “songs” are played by studio musicians.  But you had to go and screw that up by attempting to pass yourselves off as a legitimate band.  You just rocketed to minute 14 of your allotted fame window, and Disney knows it.  Once they’ve sponged as much money off of you as they can, they’ve got the next teen idol fraud group lined up and ready to go.  Remember these guys?

We were cool once!  We promise!

"We were cool once! We promise!"

Take a good long look, Jonases.  This was Jonas Brothers version 1.0.  When I was a kid, there was a period of time (albeit a short one) where these people were the hottest act around.  Now, nobody remembers them, not even most people my age.  That was the time when Disney figured out that they could make buckets of money over a short period of time with just a few pretty faces.  When the pretty faces got older and not as pretty, they were replaced (the Mexican teen group Menudo used this model as offical group policy).  Why spend the money to develop acts with actual talent, when the only things that the Seventeen Magazine demographic care about are blue eyes and hype?

If the Jonas Brothers want to be taken seriously, they should back out of the spotlight for a few years, get some real musical training, learn how to actually play, and come back with an album of  substantive songs instead of bubblegum pop retreads.  But they won’t.  They’re already halfway through the pop culture meat grinder and well on their way to an adulthood full of rehab stints and horrible VH1 reality shows.

See, when your target audience has an attention span of anywhere between 7-9 seconds, your career lasts only slightly longer.  But I don’t begrudge them a thing, they don’t know any better.  Play on boys, for fame is fleeting.  Just do me a favor and please stop taking yourselves seriously.

-ES

So Long Vowels, We Hardly Knew Ye

Posted in Rants on May 9, 2009 by Eric

I’m not much of a text messager… er, messenger…whatever.  Point is, I primarily use my phone as, get this: a phone (gasp!).  There are several reasons why I use the spoken word in lieu of the abbreviated word, but the main reason is that I don’t understand “text language”.  Unfortunately for me, I was raised in an English-speaking household.  Little did my parents know how ill-prepared this would leave me for life in the 21st century.  I grew in in a world of phonics, punctuation, and capitalization.  These will soon be relics of a forgotten era.  Sad, but true.

I’m not as down on texting as a form of communication as I used to be.  There are times when I need to get a message to someone who I know can’t answer their phone at that particular moment.  In those situations, I will send a text.  What baffles me are people who have entire conversations through text messaging.  In order to do this, you have to have a phone in your hand.  The person with whom you’re communicating has to have a phone in their hand.  Seems like a quick dialing of a few numbers could save people a lot of trouble.  I’m pretty sure that’s why the phone was invented, wasn’t it??  However, typing out every single individual thought you want to share with a person would take forever.  To get around this, serial texters have devised a cunning plan.  That plan involves the complete and total butchering of the English language.

Um...what?

Um...what?

I’m not sure when numbers and letters merged into a single unintelligible basis of language, but I must have been absent that day.  The infuriating part of all this is that it is escaping the medium of text messaging and infiltrating other forms of communication.  I’ve read conversations between two people on Facebook that didn’t contain a single word that can be found in any dictionary.  I’m sure that kids these days would have attempted to abbreviate actual speech if drunk people hadn’t already beaten them to it.

Let’s bring this all back to what is really important, namely me.  The reason I don’t send many text messages myself is because it takes me forever to do it.  The reason?  I insist on using correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (I’m sure my former English teachers are wondering why I didn’t adopt a similar policy in high school).  However, this is not an attempt to better myself.  I do it simply out of spite.  Hey, progress is progress.

I’ll end with a Public Service Announcement.  If I am behind you in my car and I’m stuck going 10 mph below the speed limit because you are trying to text while driving, I will spin you into the median without the slightest bit of remorse as a favor to my fellow motorists.  Not that you’ll stop texting of course…I can see it now:

“OMG im ttly facin d rong direkshun ryt now!!!”

Comments?  Just call me.

-ES

Down Home Road Rage

Posted in Rants on May 7, 2009 by Eric

I was born and raised in the South.  Two years ago, I moved to Indianapolis and began my field study of life north of the Mason-Dixon line.  Even the Midwest is a bit of a culture shock to a grits-and-gravy southern boy, but overall I’m very happy here.  I’ve learned several things in my two years in Indiana, most notably that sweet tea is a taste not yet acquired by all people, not everyone calls shopping carts “buggies”, the weather here changes every five minutes, and you can tell what month it is by height and color of the corn crops.  But there is one lesson I’ve learned above all others…

People in Indiana don’t know how to freaking drive.

I grew up in the foothills of the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains.  Our roads were curvy and hilly.  Indiana is flat, almost depressingly so if you’re used to a mountainous backdrop, which means that the roads here are long and straight.  Where I live now, the numbered roads go east and west, and the named roads go north and south.  I actually like this setup because it made it much easier to learn my way around.  However, the grid of two lane roads makes for a lot of four-way stops.  This wouldn’t be a bad thing except for 90% OF THE PEOPLE HERE DON’T KNOW HOW TO NAVIGATE A SIMPLE FOUR WAY STOP!

For those of you who didn’t learn this at the age of fifteen (a population I was unaware existed until two years ago), when you approach a four-way stop, you proceed in the order in which you arrived at the intersection.  Not hard.  However, when the average Indiana driver approaches a four-way stop intersection they typically react thusly:

File photo

File photo

I would like to break down the different categories of idiots who can’t handle the simplest of traffic situations:

The “Holy Crap What Do I Do Now I Can’t Make A Simple Decision On My Own?!” Driver

This particular type of road warrior could be a Harvard graduate, but when they see that stop sign, their intelligence level reverts to a state best described as “in the womb”.  They sit with a deer-in-headlights expression on their face as approximately 3,452 cars go through the intersection.  Meanwhile, the line behind them stretches all the way to a small Canadian village called Les Mechins (translation: The Mechins), while every driver behind them is two seconds from snapping like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”.  Finally, after a period of 3 1/2 to 4 hours, the terrified driver plows through the intersection full speed with their eyes closed, narrowly avoiding other vehicles and the nice old man with the jumper cables who was attempting to jumpstart what he thought was a broken down 1998 Saab.

The “Oh Crap I Was On My Cell Phone and I Don’t Know Whose Turn It Is” Driver

This self-absorbed Sunday driver approaches the intersection with a phone stuck in one ear, completely wrapped up in what is obviously the most important conversation on the planet.  Judging by the complete lack of attention paid to the road, I can only assume that this person is discussing the development of a new chocolate-flavored corn hybrid that simultaneously ends our dependence on foreign oil and cures AIDS.  When their turn finally arrives, they are snapped back into reality (courtesy of my horn) and sit shell-shocked for a few seconds before trying to telepathically communicate with the other three drivers “Can I go now?  Now?  My turn?  Now??  Is it my turn?”.  By the time they realize it’s their turn to go, I’ve usually pushed them through the intersection with my bumper.  Nicely, but firmly.

The “If I Don’t Look At the Stop Sign I Don’t Have To Obey It” Driver

This person is more important than you.  Much more important.  They can’t be bothered by silly things such as traffic laws and personal safety.  This person treats right-of-way as something to be taken by force.  Mercy (and merging) are for the weak.  If you see this person approach the same intersection you are approaching, stop immediately, because they aren’t.  Sometimes as a courtesy, they will slow down to 55 mph as they go through the intersection, and if you are lucky enough to experience this, they expect a thank-you wave.

However, the state of Indiana has found a way to make sure that all drivers come to a complete stop at all intersections.  They have replaced many of the four-way stops that have so confused their citizenry with roundabouts designed to speed up traffic by not even requiring people to stop.  But they stop anyway because one indisputable fact is that people fear the unknown.  And in Indiana, the unknown is an inverted triangle:

Good luck out there.

-ES

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