Decline and Fall of America: The Prologue

While I finish collecting my thoughts on the latest craze (“Everyone I Hate’s a Nazi!”), here’s one that’s almost as sickening: Funeral Selfies. For realz.

Allow me to suggest that these narcissistic clowns pose a greater threat to civil society than the basement-dwelling morons of the “Alt-Reich.”

Because these people are probably considered “normal” in polite company.

Though it is creepy how much the departed looks like a Zombie Mitt Romney…

UPDATE: Original photo replaced with something more civilized, in step with the original piece from Sad and Useless Humor.

Got Grammar?

So I guess this is for real:

Idiocracy has arrived. Behold your future and weep.

Darwin might argue that we’d all be better off in the long run if douchebags like these WEREN’T insured. Weed ’em out now before it’s too late!

There’s so much WRONG in here it’s hard to decide where to begin, but here’s a helpful hint for all you “bros”: if you have medical bills to pay, you had damn well better be tapping your beer money before you expect the rest of us to pay for it.

American culture is now at the point where satire is no longer possible. “Do you got insurance?” REALLY? Grammar much?

We are so screwed.

Groupon This

So this ad shows up in my mailbox today:

Really?

It’s called the “banana bunker” (uh-huh), and note that it’s SOLD OUT. I really hope nobody is stupid enough to slip one of these into their kid’s lunchbox.

I Only Read The Articles

One of my coworkers picked this up at a garage sale. Just when you think you’ve seen everything…

Columbus-20130207-00165

Inside it’s all white pages, filled with – you guessed it – braille text. This is right up there with caffeine-free coffee and non-alcoholic beer in the “what’s the point?” department.

Kind of like the first time I noticed braille keyboards at a drive-thru ATM.

How Businesses Commit Suicide

Draconian rights-grabs aren’t just targeted at unwitting authors. If you use Instagram, you might want to reconsider your arrangement: Facebook thinks they have the right to sell your Instagram photos – without your specific consent nor for any compensation. (Hat tip: Passive Voice)

If that C/Net story is accurate, I cannot see how this ends well for Facebook or their latest acquisition, Instagram. Maybe I’m wrong – we do live in a culture that seems to desire notoriety above pretty much anything else. If you’re willing to give up your self-respect to go on reality TV for money (or not), why wouldn’t you just hand over your private photos for public use just for the pure-dee hell of it?

Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy Facebook. It’s been fun to use and has allowed me to find and stay in touch with college and military buddies whom I’d lost touch with over the years (which reminds me – if you’re a reader who has tried to ‘friend’ me, please don’t take it personally if your request isn’t accepted. I limit that account only to family and personal friends).

I’ve never been one to jump on the Facebook complaint-wagon because, hey, free is free. Ya gets what ya pays for. But this is different in my mind – they are claiming rights to things by the simple act of offering a free public service. So Facebook: YOU SUCK. And here’s why…

Zuckerberg is either 1) an evil genius, or 2) someone who just had a neat idea and was swept to a level of success he never dreamed of by luck and timing. My money’s on door number 2, but I digress…

Instagram had not made dime one in profit when he forked over a billion dollars for it. Well, now we know where he thought the value was in an enterprise which had yet to make any money.

It seems clear to me there were ulterior motives for Instagram the whole time: once the user community is big enough, how much potential revenue are you going to lose if a certain percentage walks away? And of those who miss the deadline, how many are going to take it upon themselves to put together a class-action suit for “reversion” of rights they never should’ve given up in the first place?

This might all seem like pedantic nitpicking, but we writers can be kind of sensitive to this type of thing. Depending on how this plays out, I may be dumping my Facebook account. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

Blowing It Up

Via The Atlantic, an interesting piece of…something:

Small Town Terrorized by Exploding Toilets

Detonating toilets have become a recent scourge in the American bathroom scene. Although the brand of North’s rogue crapper is unknown, earlier this summer Flushmate issued a massive voluntary recall of pressurized toilets after about 300 people complained of explosions. One poor victim of such a buttock-shaking barrage said that “I required dozens of stitches for an extremely deep wound,” although being “a bigger person, I was able to absorb the brunt of the force.”

I share this only because it’s from my beloved home state of South Carolina. Plus, exploding toilets!

Twits from Spaaace!!!

It’s not often you find two examples of towering space-related jackassery in the same day (at least in the places where I hang out – if you’re into UFO hunting then your mileage may vary). But thanks to a couple of long-retired government officials, we are treated to a smorgasbord of hot steaming BS.

Yet another “former Air Force officer” comes forward to confirm that yes, Virginia, there were space aliens that crashed in Roswell. In fact, it happened twice. Because I guess if something is good enough to screw up once, then twice must be even better.

Yawn. Remember the ridiculous “Alien Autopsy” TV special on Fox a few years ago? It wouldn’t be surprising if that was a big reason why some people refuse to take Fox News seriously to this day.

So let us move on to more serious fare, in this case a former NASA public affairs officer who insists there’s a dirty little secret hidden in the story of the Apollo 13 rescue. He claims an MIT student contacted the Agency and suggested, “hey fellas, why not just put them on a free-return trajectory?”

“Wow!” one imagines Gene Kranz exclaiming as he slaps his forehead. “And I could’ve had a V8!”

I’ve never had much patience with PR types and this just reinforces the stereotype. Sorry, man, but this is just clueless. And if there were any truth to it, then the whole affair was an even bigger miracle than anyone imagined because free-return was the first thing on their minds after ruling out a direct abort. The lunar transfer orbits were in fact purposefully constructed with that very option – every step of the way they had some kind of escape plan.

If you don’t believe me, read Jim Lovell’s Lost Moon or Gene Kranz’s Failure is Not an Option. Both are front-row views of the whole affair from the guys in charge at both ends of the mission. Kranz’s book has the added benefit of being a fascinating description of the evolution of Mission Control from the first days of Mercury.

An aside: being an operations desk jockey, I’m naturally disposed to the flight controller’s point of view. If you want some good ol’ fashioned gossipy dishing on certain astronaut personalities, Chris Kraft’s Flight makes for another fine selection. His accounts of certain events after reading the astronaut’s versions (either on ground or in flight) are enlightening to say the least. I’ve encountered the exact same types of interactions in my own career, from fighter squadron ready rooms to airline control centers. Kraft’s memoirs gave me the confidence to rely my own observations to spice up certain character traits in Perigee.

As they say, “don’t piss me off, or I’ll put you in my next book.”

How is it I’m always coming back to writing???

Aw, Screw It

I’ve spent enough time on the internet to become absolutely convinced that the world is ending, and that The Man isn’t telling us about it. Seriously.

Might be a zombie outbreak, might be an unavoidable collision with some wandering celestial body, or maybe it’s some combination of the two: that is, alien invasion!

When a respectable foreign policy journal (coincidentally named “Foreign Policy”) posts an article about stuff DARPA’s working on that could fight off an alien attack, well then…you just have to wonder. Or not.

I mean hot damn, what’s not to like about that action? All the opportunities for mass mayhem, without the guilt of shooting creatures that might look like your neighbors. Or, you know, might actually be your neighbors. If they hadn’t gone all zombie-undead and everything. Sorry man, but I like my brain right where it is, thankyouverymuch.

And then some hoity-toity scientist just has to go and blow holes in all of it. Geez. They’re spoiling all of my apocalyptic plans. What am I going to do with all these hollow-points and tactical bacon?

In the meantime, it gives me an excuse to link to awesome artwork like this:

Lord Vader has found your lack of faith disturbing.

Yawn of the Dead

They’re baaack

Impending zombie apocalypse stories abound in the news this week after that face-eating freak show in Miami.

What does this mean? An unbelievably good excuse to buy more shootin’ gear, just in time for Father’s Day! I mean, really, could the timing be any better?

Firearms are, of course, useless without ammo. Luckily, Hornady has been pimping their “zombie max” line of hollow points for a few months now. Almost like they knew this day would arrive. No word on similar promos from the Twinkies people.

As a great man once said, “Thank God for rednecks!”

And I’ll need bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. Good thing they make it tactical style in a peel-off bulk can.

The final nail in the coffin -ahem – CDC duly denies an imminent zombie outbreak. Of course they would – that’s how civilization-killing plagues always start, don’t ya know?

Time to face facts: The Walking Dead isn’t just a TV show, it’s a training film.

Or a clever marketing gimmick…

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Zombie Apocalypse has begun! Patient Zero appeared yesterday in Miami. Here’s a choice quote from the USA Today story:

Witnesses said that a woman saw two men fighting and flagged down a police officer, who came upon a naked man mauling the other man. The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying that the officer ordered the naked man to back away, and when he ignored the demand, the officer shot him. Witnesses said that the naked man continued his attack after being shot once, and the officer shot him several more times.

More here. No word on whether it required a head shot to bring him down. Because we all know it has to be a head shot for zombies.

Hope everyone’s stocked up on hollow points and Twinkies, ’cause it looks like it’s time to nut up or shut up.