Saturday, June 20, 2009

Updated: Weekend Funnies - Funny Death Scenes

I haven't done a Friday funnies in a while. I meant to put this up last night, but didn't get around to it. So I guess I will call this one Weekend Funnies. The first scene is from Robocop, wherein one of the bad guys gets toxic waste all over him. The second is the great Samuel Jackson death scene from Deep Blue Sea. Enjoy.

Update! Here's another great scene, this one a classic from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rant of the Day - June 17, 2009

It's been a while since I really complained about something I personally encounter in the course of my day. But today I got a parking ticket that's got me really teed-off.

But first I need to put things in context.

This morning, I was looking to catch the 9:07 train to Hicksville. Now, normally, I park at the Sears parking lot, where the Town of Oyster Bay provides a shuttle bus that takes commuters to and from the lot to the Hicksville Train Station. The last bus leaves for the station at 9:00 a.m. However, I was working late in the office tonight and did not expect to be back in time for the last shuttle bus that takes commuters back to Sears at 9:00 p.m.

Since the parking lot at Sears is quite a long way to walk on foot at night, instead I planned to try and get a spot near the ticket office at the train station this morning. Quite often, it is possible to get a good spot if you time your arrival just as an east bound train arrives at Hicksville from Penn Station. What happens is that people who work overnight shifts in the city are able to get good parking spots at the Hicksville Station at night, so if you set yourself in the right spot at 9:00 a.m., you can snag a spot as one of the overnighters pulls out.

Unfortunately, this morning I got to the station just a bit too late, so I was unsuccessful at getting a parking spot by the train station. It was already too late to go to the Sears lot and catch the shuttle bus, so the only other option was to park in the lot by the Peppercorn's restaurant at East Marie Street. The problem is, many of the spots by Peppercorn's are metered spots, so even if you have a town parking sticker, you still can be ticketed. The unmetered parking spaces in this lot set aside for town residents are normally all filled by 8:00 a.m. However, in the past, I have found that even when I parked in the metered spots, I hardly ever got a ticket. And even then, the fine was $25, which was bearable.

Well, this morning, when I got to the lot, I had no choice but to park in a metered spot. The problem is, the maximum time you can park there for a quarter is 4 hours, and the meter does not allow you to put in 2 quarters for 8 hours. I put a quarter in anyway in the hope that I would be able to squeak by and avoid a ticket. But much to my chagrin, when I got to my car tonight, I looked and saw the ticket underneath the driver's side windshield wiper.

As annoyed as I was, I resigned myself to paying another $25 or $35 fine. But when I got home a short while ago and looked at the ticket, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I saw the amount of the fine. NINETY DOLLARS! Let me repeat that. NINETY FUCKING DOLLARS for a parking spot that costs 25 cents. I'm sorry, but that is an absolutely outrageous amount of money to fine people. I guess it is a sign as to how starved our local government is for revenue that they have raised the fine for overstaying in a metered spot to such an onerous amount.

Of course, I have no choice to suck it up and pay it. And it goes without saying that I will never park in a metered spot again. Which just goes to show that hiking the fine so high might end up costing them revenue. Paying $25 here and there was an acceptable risk to me, and it ended up being extra revenue for the town. By hiking the fine to such exorbitant levels, virtually no one will end up parking in the metered spots for the day, which could end up in ticket revenues plummeting. Way to go, guys!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Head of the Household

This afternoon I got one of those telephone survey calls. As is often the case with these types of calls, the caller asked me if I was the head of the household. I started to say something along the lines of "Yeah, I guess so." But then I stopped and said, "Well, actually I like to think of myself as an equal partner."

When the call terminated, it occurred to me for the first time how such a term, "head of the household," seems so anachronistic to me. It hearkens back to an era where women tended to stay at home and raise the children while the men were the breadwinners of the family. When you have been exposed to feminist ideas and accept them, you find your consciousness being raised about such things as how every day language perpetuates patriarchal ways of thinking.

Do I tend to take a leadership role in certain aspects of the family business (as opposed to the Family business!)? Yes, I do. But my wife helps set the agenda in our home as well. And as a professional who brings home more take home pay than I do, I bristle at the notion implicit in the term "head of the household" that she has some subordinate position when it comes to affairs of house and family. Personally, I think I will go with the term that Filipinos applied to Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, a "conjugal dictatorship"! :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Please Save My Marriage From The Gays, Ex-Senator Santorum

But before I get into that, first off, I apologize for the lack of posting lately. I just haven't had the time or the energy these last two months to be as productive as I would have liked. Okay, end of apology.

As I have stated in the past, one of my main sources of inspiration for posts on this blog are solicitations I get in the mail from right wing Christian organizations.

The latest piece of nonsense I have gotten comes from the National Organization for Marriage. The solicitation comes in the form of a hyperbole filled letter from Republican ex-Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

What follows are excerpts from Santorum's letter (in manly blue colored text, of course), followed by my responses in faggy lavender.

My friend, I've never come to you with a more urgent message: we must act NOW to protect marriage.

First off, asshole, I'm not your friend. Second, my marriage, the 10th anniversary of which I will be celebrating next week, is doing just fine. I do not require your "protection."

In Iowa and Vermont, an out-of-control court and an out-of-control legislature have forced same-sex marriage on unwilling voters and New Hampshire and other New England states are in the fights of their lives to protect marriage.

Gosh, there's a lot of lunacy packed into that one sentence. For openers, I can't help but notice that whenever a court or a legislature or agency goes against the wishes of religious conservatives, these institutions are described as being "out-of-control" or "out of touch." And New England states are in the "fights of their lives"? You can almost picture the streets of New England's capital cities littered with dead bodies and crumbling buildings like Berlin in the spring of 1945, as the last die-hard gay marriage opponents desperately fire their panzerfausts at the unstoppable lumbering T-43 tanks of the tyrannical gay marriage lobby, while Rick Santorum and Maggie Gallagher exhort their supporters to fight to the death over the loud speakers.

With one stroke of the pen, President Obama could sign into law a bill that allows judges in one state to impose gay marriage on 47 other states. (Bolded and underlined in the original.)

That's another thing I have noticed about these people. They always try to frame the issue of marriage equality to make it look like it is an imposition on the rest of us. Listen, the only way gay marriage can be imposed on you is if you are forced to marry another person of the same gender as you against your will. You know, the way the daughters of kings and nobles of old were married off against their will to cement alliances or in exchange for territory, all with the blessings of the church, of course.

Will you join me, Dr. James Dobson, and thousands of other people of faith who support the National Organization for Marriage? Together, we can stop those who would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. (Bold in original)

No, I won't.

I was in the Senate chamber on that historic day back in 1996 when an overwhelming majority of Senators and Congressman came together to pass the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is the ONLY federal law that protects marriage as the union of husband and wife.

Yes, you were in the Senate chamber on that day. And now you're not, because you lost your bid for re-election. There's democracy in action for ya!

DOMA makes sure that four judges based in Boston or San Francisco cannot impose gay marriage on the rest of us. It also makes sure that taxpayers like you and me cannot be forced by judges or gay marriage activists to subsidize same-sex unions as if they were just traditional marriages.

Here we go again with this "impose" bullshit. And guess what Ricky Boy, gays pay taxes too! By the way you describe it, you would almost think that every homosexual in America is living large on the public dole like Ronald Reagan's mythical Welfare Queen. Maybe gay Americans don't feel they should be forced to subsidize the multiple marriages of such bastions of conservative morality as the thrice married Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.

As I sat in the Senate that day I can remember what an extraordinary moment it was: How proud you and I could be of the way Americans of every party and creed came together to to protect our common sense understanding of marriage. Even Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law-that's how broad and powerful the bipartisan consensus for marriage is.

You came together? What, did you all have some kind of circle jerk in Congress that day? As for Bill Clinton, he was a president faced with Republican control of both houses of Congress. Of course he signed it into law. It would have been too politically costly for him not to have signed it. He's a politician and that is what politicians do. In 1996, I thought the idea of same-sex marriage was taking things too far, as much as I considered myself pro-gay rights at the time. But you know what, Ricky? People change their minds over time on some issues. Sometimes it takes decades. Other times it is just a matter of a few years. It's what Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion calls the changing moral zeitgeist. So, you can keep looking back on the passage of DOMA with fond nostalgia all you want, but it is not 1996 anymore.

Marriage is a sacred union of male and female.

Not entirely. A marriage is not inherently sacred. The sanctity of a marriage rests on the level of commitment between the participants in the marriage. If one or both spouses routinely engages in affairs outside of their marriage, or they just plain don't love each other anymore, then there is nothing sacred at all about their marriage.

Marriage should never be turned into a politicized plaything that powerful politicians misuse to placate their clamorous partisan bases.

I guess Ricky's irony meter was broken when he wrote that line.

Not while you and I have a breath left in our bodies, right? (Bolded in original)

Good grief! Here we go with the overwrought rhetoric again.

That's right, while we are tending our jobs, going to church, and raising our families, a handful of wealthy gay men are plotting to use their giant fortunes to reshape the entire American political landscape in their own image.

Yeah, because we all know gays don't have jobs, don't go to church, and don't help take care of family members. And wealthy gay men using their money to help promote gay rights? Gosh, the nerve of them. How dare they lend their financial support to causes that they believe in? After all, it's not like wealthy conservative white men never use their fortunes to support conservative causes!

You and I and millions of other Americans know that we don't want courts telling us our views of marriage are just old-fashioned bigotry.

Okay, as an ordinary American citizen, I will tell you then. It is old-fashioned bigotry.

We want and expect respect for marriage as an ideal because the ideal for children is a mother and a father united by bonds of matrimony.

Yes, when all else fails, THINK OF THE CHILDREN! Does this mean that Santorum opposes heterosexual marriage for couples that are well beyond child bearing age? After all, last year my 67 year old uncle got married to the 65 year old woman he met after his first wife died from cancer 9 years ago. Not all marriages are about children. But since Santorum wants to drag kids into the equation, is he seriously suggesting that children raised in a heterosexual marriage where one or both of the parents is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or is abusive or neglectful, is better than a child raised by same-sex parents who are loving and make a decent income? Mind you, I am not saying that every same-sex couple that wants to raise children will make the best parents. But we all read of plenty of examples in the news of heterosexual couples wherein one parent leaves children in the car of a mall parking lot while he or she goes shopping, or who takes the child with them while attempting to purchase heroin or crystal meth from a street dealer.

What matters is not whether the couple is heterosexual, gay, or alternatively, a single parent household. What matters is the level of love and commitment of the parents or parent, gay or straight.

Marriage is a gift from God, a sacred bond.

Uh, no it's not. It is a human institution that has been dressed up in the garb of religion.

Marriage is not at all like racism, it is not founded on hatred, and we will NOT accept in silence these BIG LIES endlessly repeated to our children and our grandchildren.

Wow, what stupidity! Who is saying that marriage is like racism or that it is founded on hatred? And opposing same-sex marriage is obviously not racism, so Ricky is getting overly emotional here. But the attempts by Santorum and religious conservatives to demonize the gay marriage movement is based on a foundation of bigotry. What gays who have been in monogamous relationships for many years are asking for is that they be accorded the same rights as two heterosexual senior citizens who can lawfully marry. Does it mean that every same-sex marriage will be a paragon of domestic bliss? Absolutely not. As we all know, nobody is perfect.

We are eached called to "faith, hope and love." It is the fuel for our battles with the forces of hate who seek (in the name of tolerance!) to silence God's own truth.

It is not "God's own truth" that you are advocating. What you are advocating is what you choose to believe is the truth of a god that was created by somebody in the Middle East thousands of years ago. The collections of books in the Bible are not some objective truth handed down from on high, but rather the subjective beliefs of the people who wrote them.

And don't forget: we need your prayers, too.

You know what, Ricky? I just might pray for you. Because, as an atheist, I know that my prayers for your success will not be answered nor will they improve your chances for success in any way.

Won't you take a stand for marriage and give today?

The only marriage I can take a stand for is my own, and I will try to give my best to my marriage every day.

God bless you, Rick Santorum.

Yeah, and fuck you too!