Saturday, January 24, 2009

can animals be assholes?

a friend of mine invited me to the zoo today. at first i was hesitant, it's winter after all and i didn't think that the animals would be out, let alone active. after learning from my friend that a season pass was involved and i wouldn't be paying i decided that i might as well go. i correctly assumed that if someone with a season pass enjoys the zoo in the winter time there must be a good reason for it. after all, he can go any time he likes for free.

there were maybe four other groups of people at the zoo today. i think maybe the lack of crowds is what got the animals going. the cold didn't even seem to bother the animals who were outside, they were super active. maybe they were trying to move around to stay warm, i don't know i'm not a zoologist. i haven't seen some of these animals since the zoo stopped using small cages and spent all that money on expensive habitats. some of the exhibits i didn't even know existed.

some of the behavior was odd to me though... i saw a bird relentlessly try to attack my friend through the netting that was put up for our safety. i saw a monkey trying to start shit with other monkeys. when one of the other monkeys that he was clearly irritating fought back, the aggressive monkey put his finger in the other monkey's butt hole. this under handed move was repeated over and over again whenever the monkey who was fighting back got the upper hand, which was often. i witnessed a vulture beefing up at another vulture in order to steal it's bloody carcass when it had one of it's own to eat. the zookeeper near by informed us that this vulture was "sassy" and was never happy with her own bloody carcass, she had to have whatever the other vulture was having all the time. i guess the carcass is always bloodier on the other side of the fence.

all of this got me thinking, can animals be assholes?

i used to have a cat who i believe to have been an asshole. every day i would come home from work to see what havock he had wreaked on my apartment while i was gone. things would be knocked off the coffee table, he liked to knock over potted trees and then poop in the dirt, if i left any dishes out they were sure to be overturned on the carpet with their contents tracked everywhere. once when i was washing dishes this cat jumped up and used his claws to hang on to the tender skin of my butt crack. he hung there for a moment or two while i stood bearing the pain... i was afraid if i moved he would rip the skin. as i was deciding what course of action to take he yanked his paw away and dropped, taking a piece of me with him. have you ever had to put peroxide inside of your butt crack? i think it hurts more there than anywhere else. people would look at me as though i was crazy when i'd say things like "you'll never guess what that asshole cat did today."

i also used to have a bird that hated me. believe me people, this bird was a real prick. he would start screaming before dawn each day and wouldn't stop until i either a. put his whole cage in a closet or b. went somewhere else. according to my human room mate the bird was quiet as long as i wasn't there. no matter how many toys or snacks i provided him with he wouldn't settle in and enjoy my company. he refused to accept that i was his roomie and i gave him away eventually. the idea of owning a bird of any kind is one that will forever be tinged with horror for me.

when i was young i used to fantacize like every little girl does about
all of the pets i'd have when i was older. i also thought that all
animals were good and if you treated them well they would respond in
kind. as i aged and encountered assholes of the domesticated pet variety my perception changed. i surmised that maybe forced breeding and poor training and handling skills were to blame. as i aged more and became responsible for so many assholish pets i was forced to accept the inevitable... some animals are just dicks. no amount of training and love can change it.

why do people have such a hard time believing that animals can have
destructive personalities? it's not all rainbows and snuggles and wet
kisses in my experience. my trip to the zoo confirmed for me what i've always wondered about, wild animals can be assholes as well. it's not just domesticated pets. according to my own calculations one in ten animals is an asshole, and there's no good way to tell early on if a new pet is going to have that distinction. you just have to wait and hope.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Most Powerful and Moving Political Blog You'll EVER READ!

i was going to write an earth shattering political blog... the type of blog you'd want to make a hard copy of to hand down to your grandchildren. then i realized i know next to nothing about politics. i'm sorry for getting everyone's hopes up, the truth is i'm a child of the seventies and grew up in the eighties and nineties; a bad time for political involvement by youth. maybe everyone else had a different experience, but i remember the eighties and nineties being about one thing and one thing only... me.

i really don't think i'm alone in this one. the culture of self absorption had fully set in when i was coming of age. maybe it was a natural backlash from the uber politicking of teenagers and young adults in the fifties and sixties, but i wasn't interested and neither were any of my friends. not really anyways. sure everyone had an opinion gleaned from the headlines, but no real passion.

lately i've been trying to learn more about the world and actively seek out information to fill my head up. i've been doing alright, but what i've learned is pretty much what i suspected... that tragedy sells. i've always read the paper, and i routinely check out for additional worldly info but none of it really grabs me. certainly none of it sticks. i can speak for exactly five minutes on any topic but if i am questioned i am forced to change the subject or admit my ignorance. i would like to be one of those people who can toss out dates and names but i have neither the intellectual capacity or the enthusiasm to learn that much.

ah well, que sera sera... most of what i've learned in my self imposed history and current events lessons can be summed up in the following truths:

i've learned that every current event has multiple historical equivalents.

i've learned that nothing is so tacky, tragic, or cruel that people won't want to do it again and again.

i've learned that all pride is a highway to hell. no matter how well intentioned.

i've learned that righteous anger is the most satisfying type of anger.

i've learned that if basic courtesy were applied to every situation on the planet there would be no drama. by this i mean courtesy by all involved, not just a courteous arbitrator.

i've learned that if a black child is missing or killed it doesn't sell newspapers, but if a white child is missing or killed the nation stops to look/help/mourn, and new laws will appear that are named after the child.

i've learned that the extended family of a missing or killed child are immediately pitied and loved regardless of them having had the opportunity to help the child and not bothering to do so.

i've learned that mob mentality is a recipe for disaster, even when the mob has the right idea.

i've learned that the sadness and sense of loss after a story of heroics and sacrifice only lasts for a half hour.

i've learned that stories in which children have been harmed make me mournful and outraged and yet no more tolerant of my neighbor's loud ass mean kid.

i've learned that if a bunch of people promote themselves well enough as a group it causes the group itself to appear better than the individuals that actually comprise it.

i've learned that there are more sides to every story than letters in the dictionary.

i've learned that "personal" stories are far more interesting than statistic driven articles. i'm human, i need only one compelling witness statement to completely drown out any opposing numbers or facts.

i've learned that there has been no government that ever existed that truly cared about it's people. power craves ruthlessness and ruthlessness craves power.

i've learned that people can be beautiful, brilliant, heroic, stupid, needy, dishonest and dull all in the space of a week. sometimes less.

there you have it... you can all stop reading the paper and watching the news now. nothing will come up that i have not addressed. my research has been thorough, if not at all well documented. and i've paraphrased for you. maybe the newspapers should do that and save everyone time. maybe they should just say "bad things and good things happened, people were killed and people were saved. some assholes got justice served to them and some good people were rewarded, but mostly it was the other way around."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jeff Jr. Has Been Found!

jeff jr. has been found. i was looking at his empty tank mournfully and he swam out from behind a large rock. i don't know if he left and came back or if he was hiding the whole time... i just know that he's here now and i'm not letting him out of my sight.

i'd like to thank everyone for their support during what was a difficult time for me. while i've had many pets die (seriously, many many pets) i've never actually just lost one.

wait, that's not true... i lost a cat fifteen years ago. her name was cat, and she had long black hair with a little bit of white on her face, mainly around her nose. i lost her because my room mate insisted that she would find her way home if i allowed her to become an "outdoors" cat.

i've never forgiven myself. i waited on the porch for days... but to no avail. i hope she's doing well wherever she is. maybe she went to try her luck in vegas or settled down somewhere to raise a family. maybe my room mate hated cat and planned the whole thing so that she could trap her once she wandered outside and then kill her in a ritualistic sacrifice to some demon god. i'll never know, and i have to accept that.

anyways, thanks for all the support everyone:-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How to Make a Relationship Fail

i thought i'd try to write something a little advice columny so this is my ode to romantic blogs... my offering of the wisdom that i've acquired in both my personal travels and through observations. i refuse to admit which are observations and which are personal experiences, and i don't encourage you to guess. if any of this saves your life and/or relationship i will be more than happy to accept checks or money orders, contact me privately for details.

i've seen many things in my lifetime, well maybe not many... but lots. one of the things i've seen is failed relationships. since i've only seen maybe three or four lasting relationships in my life (that i can remember) i decided to list some surefire ways to kill romance faster than a summer at camp crystal lake.

1. being clingy. clinginess is something that you don't even want your socks doing, why would you want a person doing it? people generally show signs early on that they might become clingy... i.e. asking where you are all the time, wanting to do everything with you, pretending that they like your stupid friends, and even adopting hobbies of yours. all of these signs should be avoided. here are the reasons:

a. nobody but you likes your stupid friends, and anyone you date should have their own stupid friends. only when two people are married should they have "mutual" friends, and even then there should be a distinction drawn because eventually you're going to want to tell your stupid bff that your girlfriend/wife is a bitch and you don't want him rushing off to the bathroom to call her on his cell. this is the same for women who want to complain to their bff about their jackass husband/boyfriend.

b. if your significant other was interested in your stupid hobbies they would have already been involved in them prior to your relationship.

c. the only people who should know where you are every second of the day are jesus and your parole officer. everyone needs five seconds of peace sometimes to reflect on things.

2. cheating. this one is obvious but i will still spell it out because i like the way i write.

a. people who cheat don't change. one may learn not to cheat, and that's fine, but that type of cheater is rare.

b. most people who cheat do so because they can't think past the next five minutes and have trouble understanding consequences. if they can't understand a simple rule like "don't bone anyone else" why would you want to plan a life with them?

c. the most common excuse for cheating is "it just happened so fast". this is crap because everyone is aware at any given time of every aspect of everything that they are interested in... you weren't surprised by your secretary's advances, that shit was in the works for months. you saw it coming and encouraged it. someone who is surprised by a sexual advance and is powerless to stop it is called a rape victim, so file charges or admit you cheated.

3. letting yourself go.

a. chances are you're not a raving beauty queen, so when someone commits their romantic life to you the least you can do for them is to not let yourself get any sloppier.

b. your friends will tell you that someone should be "loving you for you", but isn't love based on a series of impressions both emotional and physical? what's left when what you fall in love with is gone? aging is going to occur, but there's no reason why two people shouldn't become old and ugly at a similar rate.

4. being so close with your family and parents that they are your best friends ever. there are multiple reasons for this one:

a. it's creepy to date someone and have their mom ask you about a rash you had. people like this don't have the sense to keep some things private.

b. you're not going to get a fair shake if something goes down because the family of a normal person is already going to dislike you afterwards, but a super tight knit family that doesn't have any friends outside of themselves is likely to slash your tires and smash your windshield.

5. not showing any interest at all in what your loved one is doing. the reasons that this is a romance killer are many and multi-faceted:

a. if you don't show any jealousy at all, this gives the person reason to think that you don't care what they do, thus encouraging cheating. if you show too much, it goes back to the number one issue of clinginess... use your better judgement. don't follow someone to work with dark glasses and watch the building, but do ask them why they were 3 hours late getting home and then accept whatever answer they give. it shows you're watching them, but not in a constrictive way.

b. most people are involved in hobbies that nobody really cares about, i.e. scrap booking and writing limericks. a nominal amount of interest should be paid no matter how boring the hobby is, things like "that's nice, when did you take that picture and paste shit to it and put it in a big book that nobody wants to look at?" are good things to ask every now and then. show some interest. it's not rocket science.

c. there's always going to be some chump that is waiting on the sidelines for you to screw up. you need to know who this person is and the only way to know is to periodically ask about their life when they're not with you.

6. back handed compliments. this one is a bit tricky. you don't want to lie and tell someone they look much better than they do, but you want them to feel good about themselves.

a. the best way to avoid this trap is just to give surprise compliments. every once in a while just stare at them and when they ask what you're looking at pick something about their face. "i was just thinking that you have perfect eyelashes" or "i was looking at your bottom lip, it's so cute".

b. don't say things like "you look great since you lost all that weight." this is a backhanded compliment that implies that they were a pity bone before, but now you actually want to have sex with them. nobody appreciates a compliment like that. instead say something like "you look great."

c. don't compliment too much, you don't want them getting a swelled head and using all of their newfound false confidence against you. and you don't want them looking at you like they could do better.

7. opposite sex bff's, if you're a homosexual this still applies to attractive same sex bff's. this one is just irritating.

a. nobody wants to see the one they love doing all of the things with someone else that they should be doing with you. it doesn't matter that friday has always been movie and dinner night with your male bff, you need to switch it up to a less obtrusive daytime activity. maybe scrap booking.

b. it's also irritating for your s.o. to see old friends of yours ask "you still hang out with so and so? everyone thought you two would be married by now."

8. mixed couples. no i'm not talking about interracial, i'm talking about cute/ugly. this is a recipe for disaster. here is why:

a. if the male is more attractive than the female, chances are he's with her because she's easy to please and conveniently enough is more afraid of losing him than he is of her. he is probably also one of those guys who was ugly as a child and retains that sense of physical failure. he will undoubtedly be told by countless women at work and elsewhere that he is attractive and eventually it will sink in. when it does, and he realizes that the playing field is tipped in his favor... he will jump ship. chicks think that a cute guy with an ugly girl is hot, it's because we know we won't have to work as hard to get him. always comparing... sigh.

b. if the female is more attractive than the male then she is dying to let herself go. i hope you've paid attention because this goes back to number 6 and has to do with over complimenting... by the time she does let herself go his ugly head will have already been falsely swelled by her fake compliments and he'll be ready to head out the door for an imaginary better deal.

9. party people. never ever ever get involved with a party person.

a. they have eight million friends who only know them casually and hence aren't privy to their many irritating habits.

b. they are told over and over that they are great by people who wouldn't know otherwise anyways, and their heads are swelled to unimaginable proportions because of it. they don't have to be attractive, they just have to be overly social.

c. they mainly are a romance killer because being involved with one means that you have to become a party person too. if you don't, you will have no idea whether they're coming or going and they tend to make spur of the moment decisions with nobody in mind but themselves. if you're not there when one of these decisions is made you'll be getting that call to pick them up from the police station and bring them some clothes.

10. constructive criticism. there is a way to get people to do what you'd like them to do without nagging them, it's called tricking them.

a. most people nag... i.e. "you said you were going to join a gym!" or "you told me you were going to get a job!" these methods never work. the trick is to make someone think of something as their idea, and then reinforce it. "so have you been looking at gym memberships? i think that's so great that you're going to do that, i'd love to have the willpower that you do!" this will cause them to think that they will be letting you down by not following through. everyone secretly wants to be a hero to someone.

b. telling someone that they should dress like they dressed when you met is no good. it's counter productive because they will stop dressing for you and start dressing for someone else who notices nice things about them instead of only negative things.

c. they will start complaining to their friends about you and nobody wants to be on the bad side of a bunch of hating friends, male or female. you'll look like a prick, and he/she won't dress any better.

d. if it's the woman who is told she looks shitty her friends will tell her that the man is an asshole and he's not worth it. if she's smart, she'll believe this. if it's a man his friends will tell him that he "could do better anyways, she's looking dumpy these days" and if he's smart, he will believe them. it's a lose lose situation.

well there are the top ten reasons for relationship failure that i can think of, i hope they have helped someone, god knows i'm hoping that this vast array of knowledge will one day help me.

Amber Alert

jeff jr. is missing. he was last seen on the 13th of january, 2009 in a tank rectangular filled with water. he is one millimeter tall and four millimeters long. he has black eyes and is caucasian with one orange spot on his head.

jeff jr. lost his father in 2008 to a long and courageous battle with my poor pet handling skills, and his mother just last week to the same illness. he may have run away to avoid the same fate.

this is the last known photo of jeff jr.

jeff jr.

this is what jeff jr. may look like now


if anyone has any information that can help to bring him home please feel free to contact me anonymously. i am prepared to offer as much as two dollars for his safe return.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

deprogramming children's programming

i've been thinking lately of all the programs that i watched as a kid... when i was very young cartoons didn't seem to have any moral besides "don't try to eat other animals, they will outsmart you". as i aged, however, all of the shows that became popular seemed to have one thing in common... they tried to teach children how to live. the following are some examples of common moral lessons that are poured like hot wax onto the eyeballs of children through the miracle of television and why i think these lessons are crap.

1. if you give the nerdy kid a chance, he/she will surprise you and become your best friend for exactly one episode and then disappear forever.

the reason this is crap is that i've tried to take socially impaired people under my wing. invariably it ends in awkwardness and sorrow. and they NEVER disappear... they just hang around asking you to do things with them. most of these people are social pariahs for a good reason... even children... it may be that they smell bad, are stupid, think they are smarter than they are, or are trashy. all of these are symptoms of deeper social ills that none of their child peers have the psychiatric training to "fix". the best way to handle them is to remain courteous yet distant. that way you can avoid being targeted in the high school killing spree and also the death hit by association that your social life will invariably take.

2. if you dream hard enough, you will achieve your goals.

this is such obvious crap it needs no explanation... however i will provide one anyway. some people are talented in areas, others are not. most common is the person who isn't talented in any area that is applicable in any way to any type of success in life. this type of person more often than not doesn't know that they have no talent, they write their crappy poetry or draw their one dimensional sketches of hearts and dolphins on lined notebook paper and go through their childhood thinking that there is a future for them in the art world. unfortunately the misinformation that their dreams will translate directly into success is beaten into their heads from a young age and there is no helping these people. any criticism is seen as jealousy so it's best just to follow the previous rule... remain courteous yet distant and move on as quickly as possible. there is no danger of a killing spree from these youngsters. however if you see one of them walking around with a notebook or a sketchpad... under no circumstances ask to see what they are working on.

3. people from different backgrounds are all the same, with the same problems and the same desires to be liked.

while all people are essentially the same, the idea that they can get along with each other once they realize that basic truth never will come to pass. all kids are one uppers... it's a fact. most adults are also one uppers. because of this, they can very seldom see similarities between themselves and perceived enemies. in reality when one child complains about their life, the child that they're complaining to immediately starts to explain how much worse their own life is. they create their own differences, negating any chance they might have to recognize any common ground.

4. mean kids are insecure and have deep problems that can be solved with either a modicum of kindness or by standing up to them.

mean kids, realistically, do have problems. unfortunately they can rarely be solved with kindness. in reality mean kids generally grow up to be mean adults... we know them as "assholes". the common scenario in children's programming is that the nerdy nice star of the show is somehow forced into a situation that involves tutoring or detention with the mean kid... thereby forcing them to interact and realize they both have something to gain from each other. realistically when this occurs and the mean kid suddenly has unsupervised access to the nice kid it ends horribly, and the mean kid has a new mean story to spread about the nice kid pooping his pants and crying when the mean kid punched him in the jaw. standing up to the mean kid is likely to end the same way.

5. every child should be college bound.

some kids are meant for trade school, some for college, and some for mcdonalds. this is a fact. no child's life ends because they don't go to college, this has been true for the duration of human history. pumping children full of the idea that if they don't go to college they will end up "flipping burgers" or "working in a factory" is demeaning not only to everyone who has ever worked in the service or manufacturing industries but to humanity in general. it implies that the only jobs worth striving for are the type of jobs that 95% of humanity is not cut out for. the world needs garbage men, burger flippers, line workers and waitresses. i wouldn't want to live in a world without them. i haven't been to a doctor in four years yet i've been to countless restaurants in that time... short order cooks and waitresses get my vote for the jobs that most effect my life. implying to children that they are "wasting their potential" if they don't give their money to a four year college is setting most kids up for failure and disappointment.

these are the "life lessons" that television has seen fit to force feed children, and kids eat that tacky crap up unquestioningly. it is unfortunate however that the kids are bound to realize that it is just that, tacky crap, by the time they get to high school. by then it's too late to "undo" the programming and the kids just have to take the let down for what it is, a let down. i like kids, i think they're funny and charming little people and just a few years ago i was one... but i know from personal experience that they aren't idiots. every kid knows how not to be an asshole without a tv show telling them. i managed to grow up knowing not do crappy things to other people without "that's so raven" telling me not to. this is going to sound crazy... but i learned how to interact with other kids by... drumroll please... interacting with other kids!!!

i'm not saying that children's programming should eschew all moral boundaries and only show realistic depictions of tween life... i'm just saying that morally relevant shows are irrelevant. also i'm a bit pissed that the one morning of the week that i used to cherish is filled up now with live action tween programming that treats children as though they need to have every life lesson seared directly onto their brain... why can't subtelty and pure entertainment rule again?