Archive for July, 2009

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Excerpts from the Time/Life Books “Amateur Handyman” Series: Vol. 2

July 31, 2009
Not covered: When property lines run through the middle of your living room

Not covered: When property lines run through the middle of your living room

This <choose appropriate time period>’s selection from the Time/Life Amateur Handyman Book Series comes from The Guide to Settling Homeowner Disputes. As with all Time/Life books, the information contained within may be out of date, factually incorrect or harvested from more knowledgeable book series.

In fact, you may find some pages that contain that little “Idiot” guy giving you some boldface advice. If you are not the copyright owner, please ignore and continue reading. If you are the copyright holder, please note the hand-drawn moustache we added which makes him an entirely original creation.

Time/Life editors also recommend that these books be enjoyed in much the same way that they were purchased: late at night in impulsive, drunken bursts. Be aware that the book will not erase the aching loneliness of your life in quite the same way that our Bengali operator did during your 2 a.m. phone call. Time/Life cannot be held responsible for any “buyer’s regret” that may result from your perusal of this volume, which contains nearly 90 pages left blank for notes or doodling while fielding calls from our collections service.

Settling Homeowner Disputes by Mark Shultz, Attorney-at-Law

About the author
Mark Shultz, a graduate of the Upper Dayton, OH Night School of Lawsmithery and Remedial Legalese, has over 15 years experience in real estate law and homeowner disputes. He currently operates out of his law office at: (c/o Mr. & Mrs. Schultz), 4231 Willow Ave., Dayton, OH. He can be reached between 9 AM and 4 PM, Monday thru Friday. Schedule may vary due to Everquest guild events.

A fireman prepares to crush the dreams of yet another home owner

A fireman prepares to crush the dreams of yet another home owner

Introduction
While it is the American dream to own your own home and burn it later for the hefty insurance payout, home ownership can be a perilous journey down a path filled with faulty city water lines, inept and expensive contractors and litigious neighbors.

The disputes can happen at any time for nearly any reason: erecting a privacy fence, harvesting from the “communal” garden or even during your weeklong bender during which you mistook the neighbor’s living room for your garage.

Most of these expensive disputes can be defused or avoided completely through a combination of “worst case scenario” preparation and lying like a motherfucker. Let’s take a look at some common homeowner disputes.

Property Lines
This dispute will normally rear its ugly head once your fence construction is nearing completion or when a tree falls onto your neighbor’s addition. As these become more and more common, some clear delineation of your property lines is needed, meaning phrases like, “a little past the mailbox,” “as the crow flies…” or “just before the leaking water lines…” are no longer acceptable.

As a property line dispute is the most common homeowner issue, multiple solutions to this problem have surfaced over the years. Rather than battling it out in court or dragging those assholes from the Homeowner’s Association into this, consider these options for dispute resolution:

  • Slap fight
  • Race around the world
  • Pistols at dawn
  • Jarts
  • Internet flamewar
  • Thunderdome
  • Trivial Pursuit: ’80s Edition
  • Facebook Friend-Off
  • Agreeing to disagree
  • Compromise

(Note: These last two are not recommended.)

Resolution Role Play
In this section, we will present a variety of common disputes. Please choose the best resolution.

1. The City calls to inform you that you will be held responsible for the power lines chewed up by your tiller. Your response?

  • “Well, send someone down to help me transplant the bodies.”
  • “No habla engles.”
  • “Tell your crew to stop vandalizing my yard. There’s frickin’ orange paint everywhere.”
  • “I really think the responsibility lies with the Troy-Bilt Corporation’s incredibly powerful and smooth handling roto-tiller.”
  • “Hold on a second, I have a call from the water company on line 2.”

2. The homeowner’s association has informed you that your choice of mailbox is not acceptable. Your response?

  • “Have I shown you my extensive handgun collection?”
  • “No habla engles.”
  • “Why? Because the flag is shaped like a penis?”
  • “I need someplace to test out my pipe bombs.”
  • Sucker punch the representative and ask for a pro-rated refund of your dues.

3. During a fierce storm, a branch from your tree knocks out your neighbor’s windshield. Your response?

  • “Well, that answers the whole “if a tree falls in Parkview Terrace, who starts whining immediately” question.
  • “Here’s a number for my insurance agent. Unfortunately, he doesn’t speak English.”
  • “I would imagine this falls under “act of God.” Like your slashed tires and your daughter’s pregnancy.”
  • “Could I ask you to hold this pipe-ish, bomb-ish looking thingy for a minute while I run and get my checkbook? I’ll be back in 7-10 minutes.
  • Sucker punch him and ask for his insurance information.
To aid in retention of this information, here is an easy-to-follow flowchart having absolutely nothing to do with our subject

To aid in retention of this information, here is an easy-to-follow flowchart having absolutely nothing to do with our subject

4. An electrical fire discolors the outside of your neighbor’s newly painted house. He wants you to pay for repainting. Your response?

  • “No. I’m OK. Thanks for asking, you douche.”
  • “Are you familiar with the phrase ‘water, water everywhere/not doing a goddamned thing'”?
  • “Perhaps my powerful urine will clean it off… although it really didn’t do much to the fire…”
  • “Can you break a $10?”
  • “Remember that time when you asked if I’d seen anyone ‘strange’ lurking outside your daughter’s window? And I said I hadn’t seen anyone ‘unfamiliar’…”
  • “Have you met my insurance agent? He’s not to good with the English but he throws a hell of a sucker punch.”

5. Your neighbor’s daughter is pregnant and all evidence points to you. Plus the homeowner’s association is none to pleased with your choice of exterior paint. Your response?

  • “Look. The plan is to paint the town red and name it ‘Hell.’ I’ll get to the rest of the houses eventually… weather permitting.”
  • “Are you sure it wasn’t the mailbox?”
  • “Sure, it’s easy to point fingers at a time like this. But what are youall doing about the real issues? Like the environment? Or our state’s regression to a pre-Roe v. Wade legal climate?”
  • “It’s not so much like you’re losing a daughter, but rather, gaining an uncle.”
  • “My choices are white, off-white, bone, eggshell or blanco?”

6. Your neighbor calls the police with a noise complaint about your houseparty. Your response?

  • “Look. His daughter is safely at home. If you’ll join me in the shrubs, you can clearly see her through the window.”
  • “Officer, can you break a $10?”
  • “Call my lawyer, whom I have put on retainer due to recent events.”
  • “Ah. So you do speak Spanish. Well, ignore most of what I just said, Officer Vasquez.”
  • “So you can see where it all went wrong. IED, IUD… it all sounds the same in the heat of the moment.”
  • “It’s not a real penis. Oh, fuck it, I’ll head to Spencer’s tomorrow and exchange it for something equally as obnoxious.”
  • “Have you met my neighbor? The insufferable prick? And proud grandfather?”

We hope you have enjoyed this preview of the Idiot’s Guide to Settling Homeowner Disputes. Please remember to keep your window areas well lit and free of bushes or shrubs.

-CLT

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Our Sincerest Apologies: Retractions and Corrections

July 29, 2009
The Fancy Plans Mailroom - where the "magic" happens, as Juanita will find out, shortly before filing a sexual harassment suit.

The Fancy Plans Mailroom - where the "magic" happens, as Juanita will find out, shortly before filing a sexual harassment suit.

Over the past seven months, we at Fancy Plans have made over 300 posts, most of them riddled with errors, false statements and speculation. Whether this can be chalked up to laziness, stupidity or ignorance remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: our mailroom is starting to fill up.

In an attempt to clear the slate heading into the back half of the year, Fancy Plans would like to issue the following corrections and retractions:

Our slogan is: “You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.” Not: “You’ve got questions? We’ve got questions. Wanna fuck?” (Radio Shack)

Arizona and Indiana are not the freak states, despite their refusal to join the rest of the nation’s proud, but outdated, tradition of Daylight Savings Time. A joint statement issued by representatives of both states reads: “Not only will we not show up at work at the wrong time twice a year, but when the revolution comes, you know who will be ahead of the curve. That’s right, baby. The “freaks!” I think. Unless the revolution starts in the spring. And in the fall… I guess we’d be arriving at the same time… Viva la revolucion!” (The Freak States)

ASCAP and its worldwide associates are not solely comprised of “thug-like shakedown artists, whose dispassionate soullessness allows them to finally empathize with lawyers (even patent lawyers).” ASCAP points out: “We also have lawyers.” Touché. (ASCAP)

Snapple points out that, while they are “made of the best stuff on earth,” most Snapple drinks do not include elements of “titanium, platinum, uncut diamonds, black tar heroin, really fucking good acid, vegemite, Krispy Kreme donuts, weapons-grade plutonium, additional brain cells, pixie dust, or the sperm of several Nobel Prize winners.” (Snapple)

Dirk Cussler, unlike Jimmy Carter, can “fart and chew bubblegum at the same time.” Video evidence was provided, but required the installation of RealPlayer. So you’ll just have to take our word for it. (Dirk Cussler Trust Fund, LLC.)

Our art department would like to apologize for being

Our art department would like to apologize for being "too literal" when bogarting retraction photos.

The estate of Jim Morrison would like to point out that his nickname was not “Van” as previously stated several times. It was “Jimmy,” like all good American boys. His mother would also like to point out that she “does not believe that Jimmy ever showed his penis in public,” and that she “was only propositioned once or twice by Jim, at the most,” blaming it on his absinthe usage. (Estate of James “Jimmy Van M” Morrison)

Nietzsche did not coin the phrase: “Say it with flowers.” (FTD)

At no time, in the New Testament or Old, does the Bible refer to God “laying his pimp hand down.” (Strong’s Concordance)

Clive Cussler’s middle name is not “Fucking.” It is “Eugene.” (C. F. Cussler’s Adventure Novel Mill)

ASCAP does not consider the statement, “Sure, other people can hear my music, but I can guarantee they’re not enjoying it,” to be a legitimate denial of wrongdoing. (ASCAP, again)

Printing someone’s unlisted address and phone number is not a victimless crime, according to lawyer Joseph Merritt, who lives at 3431 Placid Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The best time to reach him is after 6 pm (EST) at his home number (805) 421-1991. (Stevenson Law Firm of Ft. Lauderdale)

General note: the pants have rarely matched the plan. Sorry for the confusion. (CLT)

Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) has apparently won several fights with kiddie pools (and other inanimate objects) despite earlier reports. Also mentioned in this retraction request: Gwenyth Paltrow v. mirror, Keanu Reeves v. folding chair and Scott Stapp (Creed) v. “Pull” door. (We Can Smart Anti-Defamation League)

President Barack Obama has not “gone one toke over the line.” (Office of the President)

Smoking, drinking and drugs are not cool, despite all evidence to the contrary. So go to bed, kids and give mom/moms/dad/dads back his/her/their computer and paraphernalia. (D.A.R.E.)

Neither is all that excessive swearing. (Mom)

WordPress.com would like to point out that we do not actually have a “mailroom” and should drop this conceit as soon as possible. (WordPress.com)

The art department also thought this would be "clever." They have since been told that they are not paid to think, or at all from this point on.

The art department also thought this would be "clever." They have since been told that they are not paid to think, or at all from this point on.

Eric Clapton’s nickname is not “Pimp Hand.” Please refrain from using this or any other derogatory terms when referring to His Holiness, God II. Also, you already used the pimp joke earlier. (Clapton Publicity, LLC. aka “Voice of God”)

My blog may not contain the exact address of my Bacharach Men’s Fashion store, but I have left several clues like “Vernon Hills” and “Cubs game.” In fact, I’d like to think my site combines the visceral thrill of reading ad copy with the blustering excitement of a round of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Phil Alper:4U2C)

Your continued refusal to purchase medicine at outposts and general stores will greatly increase the chance of a party member dying of dysentery. (Oregon Trail Historical Society and Event Generator)

Help! I’m stuck in your spam filter! (Ramblin’ Rooster)

-CLT

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Reason #1,443 for Running a Blog

July 27, 2009

tetramaster

…to advertise your wife’s brand-spanking-new photoblog, Tetra Master.

Thanks in advance for those of you kind enough to stop by. There may be some construction going on now and then, so you may want to wear a hat.

Those of you who can name the Squaresoft game that this blog title comes from will win a Buddy-Jesus quality thumbs up from yours truly, and will be placed firmly in the “Nerd” section. (Don’t worry, it’s well-attended.)

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 8 – Better Late Than Never

July 26, 2009

With the last lion of the weekend safely tamed, Capitalist Lion Tamer, in conjunction with Fancy Plans Productions and RC Cola, brings you Heavy Rotation Volume 8. Please set your ears to maximum and prepare to have your eyes blown by the inclusion of some low-quality YouTube videos.

Previous installments available. Ask your pharmaceutical representative.

MIDNIGHT_JUGGERNAUTS_A

Midnight Juggernauts – Into the Galaxy
Australian self-described “prog disco” outfit, whom are really much better than that pairing of words would suggest. Danceable beats, Andrew Eldritch-esque vocals and some nice synth work all combine to make Into the Galaxy a thundering dancefloor apocalypse, sort of like a friendlier Killing Joke.

Can’t beat the “G-L-O-R-I-A” shoutout either, hearkening back to early rocknroll burner Gloria by Them. Worth checking out further, as some of their other tracks bear a distinct resemblance to Nitzer Ebb meeting faux-British-accent-era Ministry on goth night.

Floating to the edge of the world
Floating to the edge of the sea
Floating off the edge of the ocean
Out into the galaxy

An apparition
Of twilight visions
A final mission
A superstition
Reactivated
Now automated
Appropriated
Investigated
Global tectonics
Psycho robotic
Plasma bionic
Bred supersonic
A new translation
For integration
Your invitation
G.L.O.R.I.A.

Floating to the edge of the world
Floating to the edge of the sea
Floating off the edge of the ocean
Out into the galaxy

Hyper-creation
Or reinvention
Love and affection
Gaining attention
United nations
Inter-relations
A declaration
Of hypertension
Emerging summits
Pre-emptive plummet
We drop atomic
To shooting comets
The controversial
Ultra-commercial
Now universal
G.L.O.R.I.A.

Floating to the edge of the world
Floating to the edge of the sea
Floating off the edge of the ocean
Out into the galaxy

 

UIN1120

Pigface – Chickasaw
Off their Notes from Thee Underground album, which saw their usual band of collaborators swell even further, leading to mental images of some sort of industrial music high school reunion. This particular album featured some heavy influence from Genesis P. Orridge (of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle). This track sounds unlike anything on the album or in Pigface’s back catalogue: dual female vocals, a quasi-dub backbeat and a gorgeous drop around 2/3 of the way through.

If you love this track, brace for disappointment. Most of Pigface’s other work greatly resembles the grinding and repetitive throb of its “heroin rock” contributors. Some may consider this a plus (I know I do).

 

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Poni Hoax – Budapest
Some great filtered-and-fucked-with vocals combine with some of the best percussive noises in the business to build this ass-kicker of a track. I’m not entirely sure what to file this under, as it bears a slight resemblance to “rock” and even “roll” but nothing that defines itself easily. Sort of like an Add (N) to X and adult. supergroup, if that makes any sense to you. (If not, well… we can always do another Heavy Rotation with these two suspects further on down the road.)

 

Secret-Machine-poster

Secret Machines – Nowhere Again
Actual prog-rock this time, coming out of Dallas, TX, for some bizarre reason. (Or not. After all, the Flaming Lips and the Chainsaw Kittens all erupted just north, in Oklahoma.) Just all around good stuff here. An opening build, nice hooks, great lyrics. Tends toward the spacier side of the prog rock spectrum, which is why it ends up in my part of the woods.

Cellophane flowers never happened for me
Been sleeping the day off
Watching the night fall
Covering nowhere
Filling my time share

There’s a woman in the mirror in a fiery state
As she motions to me, I start turning away
She’s lifting her dress up
Trying to keep up

Oh, you’d be surprised how we race
While our lives erased

Another alone on an everyday night
I think in the morning I think I’ll be alright
Watching the blood flow
With poison, I dont know why

Maybe the rain will stop following me
Dripping the colors
Running in daylight
Over the cloud burst
Hoping they don’t burst

Right before my eyes, erased
Our lives erased

We know we’re lost, we’re lost, we’re nowhere now
We know we’re lost, we’re lost, we’re nowhere now
Now we know we’re lost and nowhere now

Maybe the rain will stop following me
With millions of colors reflected in daylight
Right on the kickdrum
Turning the sound up

Another alone on an everyday night
I think in the morning I think I’ll be alright
Watching the blood flow
No wonder I don’t know why

Theres a woman in the mirror in a fiery state
She motions to me I start pulling away
She’s lifting her dress up
All the way up

Oh, don’t look surprised, erased
Our lives erased
Our lives erased

 

3233999475_092b3d5867

Sparks – Beat the Clock
From their 1979 comeback album No. 1 in Heaven, a collaboration with Giorgio Moroder that features some of my favorite tracks from their huge back catalogue. Moroder’s disco footprint are all over this song, dealing with divorce, life, death and racing time. Two other tracks from this same album will most likely make an appearance in the Heavy Rotation (No. 1 Song in Heaven; Tryouts for the Human Race) because they are just so fucking good.

I was born a little premature
Mom just couldn’t take no more
Had no time to learn to cry
Goodbye, Mama, got to fly
Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye

Entered school when I was two
PhD’d that afternoon
Never entered any sports
Didn’t look too good in shorts
Got divorced when I was four

CHORUS:
I’ve seen everything there is
I’ve done everything there is
I’ve met everyone but Liz
Now I’ve even met ol’ Liz
No time for relationship
Skip the foreplay, let ‘er rip
You gotta beat the clock, beat the clock,
Beat the clock, beat the clock

I did lots of travelling
Parts of me unraveling
The Army then rejected me
Said I had two flat feet
Wore them out when I was three

Too bad there ain’t ten of you
Then I’d show you what I’d do
I could cheat on five of you
And be faithful to you too
But there’s only one of you

All mp3’s in one easy-to-use zip. Click to open in new window:
Heavy Rotation Vol. 8

-CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
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Fancy Plans Guide to Divorce

July 24, 2009
A divorce isn't necessarily a sad event, especially one as simple as cutting a picture in two.

A divorce isn't necessarily a sad event, especially one as simple as cutting a picture in two.

At some time in your life, odds are that you will get divorced. For some of you, that means you will need to get married. For others, you’ve been through this already and would do it again in a heartbeat. I myself just went through a painful one (Reality v. Lion Tamer), which has left me rudderless and discombobulated.

Why do so many people get divorced? Is it really the destruction of our family values and needless separation of church and state? Is it God laughing at us? Are that many of us getting knocked up under the bleachers?

Let’s take a look at some nice, calming statistics:

In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 formerly happily married couples, these were the main reasons given for their divorces:

51% – Because of the kids.
22% – “That thing they (their spouse) do when they sleep.”
10% – For the kids.
4% – Infidelity.
4% – Coin flip.
3% – Backfiring ultimatum.
3% – Jerry Springer Show appearance failed to reconcile differences.
3% – Ashton Kutcher.

Other (less than 1%):
Stockholm Syndrome wore off.
Found loophole in chosen religion.
She started fucking my brother, so I started fucking our sister.
Sobered up.
Signed petition from friends and family.
Dr. Phil recommended it.
After 96 hours, we both realized it was time to move on.
Marriage license revoked by county.
Due to recent economic slowdown, we were forced to eliminate the partnership.

As our nation’s divorce rate reaches the tipping point (in which there are more divorced people than ever were married), there’s no time like the present to pick up some advice for the damn near inevitable, especially if you’re male. Statistics show that 98% of all divorces end with the man paying alimony and child support. This is considered “fair” by everyone involved (except the man) due to the male’s two undeniable advantages: higher earning power and the ability to pee while standing up.

Since any divorce is an incredibly messy affair (and they all are – show me someone with a “clean” divorce and I’ll show you someone whose marriage ceremony was presided over by a fifth-rate Elvis impersonator and came with buffet coupons), there really is no arbitrary starting point for the amount of advice you’ll need.

This divorce is not as simple. Perhaps if the picture had been cut cleanly, rather than torn. You may also want the children to leave the room during the divorce process.

This divorce is not as simple. Perhaps if the picture had been cut cleanly, rather than torn. You may also want the children to leave the room during the divorce process.

I’ll pick one. The kids.

Now, as will become readily apparent, you both are not going to be able to not take the kids. Someone will have to take one for the “team” (such as it were) and raise the little fuckers. Be cautious, though. If one of you has significantly more income or net worth than the other, this will turn into a pitched battle for custody, at this point now referred to as the “free ride” or the “money train.”

Let’s take a closer look at Scenario B. If you thought raising kids was expensive before, just wait until the other party’s lawyer and sympathetic judge are through with you. You will now be on the hook for everything imaginable.

Your children will be yanked out of the suddenly drug-and-gun infested public school and sent to the nearest/most expensive private school. Their wardrobe will now require constant updating. They’ll need bikes, cars, college funds, trust funds, Montessori schooling during the summer, all coming out of your paycheck.

They’ll drill you with, “Don’t you want what’s best for the kids?” Try not to answer, “I thought we had agreed on ‘adequate.'”

And while we’re speaking of the kids, let’s take a moment to consider their feelings. Any number of therapists and analysts, now billing you by the hour, will mention ad nauseum that the children are the most hurt by a divorce. Your response isn’t really needed here, but try not to let your spite and aching pocketbook convince you to say something witty like, “That would only be true if both me and my spouse beat them nonstop during their visits.” This will only garner you some contempt, additional billing and a possible visit from Social Services.

The therapists will also mention the childrens’ internalizing and over-willingness to shoulder the blame for the split. Perhaps now would be a good time to attempt to recall your childrens’ names and gather them around for a quick status check. They may ask you the most heartbreaking question of all: “Did you and mom/dad get a divorce because of us?”

Here are some responses which may aid in the healing process:

  • “Oh. My. God. Are you aware that the world does not actually revolve around you?”
  • “Well, I don’t think so, but your mom/dad certainly seems to.”
  • “No. No. Of course not. I mean, you could have behaved better and been a little more helpful…”
  • “If you take nothing else from this conversation, remember this: never stick your pen in company ink.”
  • “Pass.”
  • “Well, let me ask you something: did you know you’re adopted?”
  • “Go ask your new mom/dad.”
  • “Didn’t you read the poll results?”

Now, are the kids really the victims here? In a word, no. Not really. In three words. No, not really. There are, in fact, several benefits for the children of divorced parents:

Sometimes it is much simpler to perform the divorce during the wedding reception.

Sometimes it is much simpler to perform the divorce during the wedding reception.

Meeting new people.
These children will be fortunate to meet new and exciting potential parents, often unannounced. No longer will they be forced to deal with the same two boring parents for the rest of their lives. Former rules will now become guidelines or better yet, nostalgic memories, as the authorities in their lives shift constantly.

They’ll get to meet dad’s apparently endless supply of easy women whose lack of self-respect is only outdone by their social ineptitude. They’ll also meet mom’s revolving door of underemployed males, usually “between” wives or jobs, looking for a prepaid house and some easy-to-ignore children.

Two places to call home.
The children will also have a variety of living situations. There will, of course, be their home base, where 90% of their stuff is, with its convenient proximity to expensive private schools and malls. They now will also enjoy their “home away from home” where they can while away your work day drinking, doing drugs and having premarital sex.

More material wealth.
With two parents, four grandparents and some exponential temporary explosions due to on-again, off-again dating, every child will be showered with gifts, money and other purchased signs of love by competing parents.

Ground zero for gossip.
Being the middlemen for uncommunicative former spouses, the children will be quizzed endlessly about the goings-on in the unseen residences. Who’s doing whom. Where mom got the money for the plastic surgery. Where dad’s recent ex has herpes. How mom’s new stud got busted for workman’s comp fraud.

They will also be able to interact with both parents outside regular visiting hours via clandestine late night phone calls:

Whose car is that sitting outside our house?
Fine. Mom’s house.
Who?
Met him at the company softball game?
Does she work with him?
Find out.
No. Not now. Jesus! Has he been over a lot?
‘Nearly nonstop’ is referring to what time frame?
‘Recently?’ What the hell does that mean?
Never mind.
No, I am not outside right now!
No. I was just driving by earlier—
Jesus Christ! Close your window and stop waving at me!

The pain=creativity bonus.
The tension and heartbreak of divorce will allow your child’s creativity to blossom, resulting in overwrought poetry, song lyrics and teacher-disturbing margin doodling.

I hope this has been enlightening for you. Take this advice and go boldly out into your shattered world. Don’t worry about the kids. They’ll be fine. Have fun looking for that second job/house/spouse!

-CLT

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Profiles in Uselessness: The Bible Thumper

July 23, 2009
Call this number now for prime real estate in heaven!

Call this number now for prime real estate in heaven!

The nemesis of normal people everywhere: the Bible Thumper. Well-versed (no pun intended, I think; or if you think it’s clever enough, then why the hell not…) in the parts they like of the Holy Bible, these do-gooders scour the world clean of any offensiveness, intended or not.

“Do-gooders” is actually a misnomer. These people tend to be more self-interested than many of the people they despise. They have somehow turned their knowledge of good and evil into a holier-than-thou weapon, to be wielded at the slightest provocation.

Someone said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” (I think it was Malcolm X.) In the case of these freaks, their eyes are the window to your soul, every deep black sinful inch of it. You may come across one in their native habitat (church entryway, Bible bookstore, abortion protest) and even find them personable and cheery.

But step across that line inadvertently (and unless you’re a complete asshole, it will happen and it will be inadvertent) and the gates of holy judgement will slam shut, sealing you out and packing you neatly away into the overcrowded “Sinner” compartment. Once you’re in there, there is no coming back out, no matter how persuasive your arguments. YOU. ARE. WRONG.

Fortunately, these “Godlike” people tend to be human beings, and as such are hypocritical, deceitful, misguided and petty as any of us. Perhaps more so, since they suffer the delusion of being “chosen by God,” something that doesn’t hamstring the rest of us.

They also make lousy employees.

Good girls go to heaven. Amy Grant gets a Hollywood star. See you in hell, baby.

Good girls go to heaven. Amy Grant gets a Hollywood star. See you in hell, baby.

Former employers:

  • Hyvee Grocery Stores – Customer asked for location of Boca Burgers. X replied with, “Did you check the ‘fag’ section?”
  • Super 8 Motels – Demanded valid ID from any registering couples to ensure they were properly married, etc. “in God’s eyes.” Repeatedly disabling in-room movie service.
  • 7-11 Convenience Stores – Verbally assaulted Rainbo Breads delivery driver, raising questions about his sexual preference and insinuating that his truck was filled with young boys rather than delicious breads and pastries.
  • OfficeMax – Seemed to work fine, but we were all sick of her constant stories about whatever had offended her on TV the night before, told repeatedly and in clinical detail.
  • Omaha Zoo – Happened across two tapirs in mid-intercourse and stormed out, throwing Jack Chick tracts everywhere.
  • ACLU – Have we just stopped screening applicants altogether? What the fucking fuck?!?
  • The Good Bookery Christian Bookstore – Refused to stock or promoted “whore of Babylon” Amy Grant’s latest album; constant referral to “plain English” NIV translation as the “work of Satan.”
  • The Gap – Constant referral to our intricate shirt-folding instructions as “unnatural” and the “work of Satan;” also frequently commented on the “ungodly music” issued by our Gap radio network.
  • Gamestop – Kept taking all copies of Grand Theft Auto to the lockup behind the counter or out to the dumpster to burn, despite constant reminders that a.) she did not work here and b.) the police were on their way. Her response was, “Oh. Now you think law enforcement is ‘cool.’ We’ll discuss your open-world scenarios and prostitute beating with them.”
  • Make a Wish Foundation – Told child, “What horrible sin did you commit to earn your terminal illness? Stop crying, tears won’t cure brain cancer any more than wishing. What you need is prayer, God’s placebo.”

One of the way these Bible Thumpers display their “good works” is by joining various causes, forwarding chain letters and signing various petitions. Too secure in their own righteousness to be bothered by human compassion, facts or even spelling, the Thumpers take the road heavily travelled, paved with smug ignorance.

In their own way much like their polar opposite, the Wiccan liberal nature-worshipper, in that they both have better ideas on how everyone else should live their lives, where they should shop and go to school and what time they should all be in bed. These bi-polar twins also have something against sex, protected or otherwise. On one hand: it’s a sin. On the other: it’s breeding more earth-killing humans.

One Disney employee down, several thousand to go...

One Disney employee down, several thousand to go...

Here’s a brief look at what’s troubling the inboxes of bleeding-stigmata holy rollers these days:

Outrages/Protests/Petitions/Concerns/Chain Letters:

  • Harry Potter – Portrayal of magic, facial scars as acceptable to children.
  • Herbal Essence ads – Depiction of female orgasm as normal, enjoyable and even possible without outside assistance.
  • Dancing with the Stars – Female contestants dresses are too short – in both places. Some male stars sporting noticeable “bulges.”
  • WordPress.com – Host of several “questionable” blogs that traffic in, among other things:
    Wanton elevator-related lust
    Questioning of Ms. California’s purity
    Positive portrayal of convicted felons
    Depiction of roosters as capable of asexual reproduction
    Besmirching Rachel Ray’s purity; hosting weeklong slideshows
    Attempting to “talk” away the wages of sin through the pseudoscience of psychoanalysis
    Recommending alcohol usage; frequently taking the Lord’s name in vain
    Positive portrayal of non-Christian published writers
    Mocking suicide victims, which, although it is an affront to God, is still kind of awful and tasteless.
  • Obama’s Stimulus Plan – In my opinion, no one needs to be “stimulated.” It leads to diabetes, blindness and state-ordained genocide.
  • Hybrid vehicles – If God didn’t want us to use fossil fuels, He wouldn’t have killed off all the dinosaurs hundred of years ago.
  • Sick of dealing with arguments about the Bible’s many inconsistencies and contradictions? God made us in His image. Let’s return the favor by rewriting His book in ours.
  • RSS Feed for food-related miracles – Up for auction now:
    – Virgin Mary (tortilla)
    – Jesus (grilled cheese on wheat)
    – Billy Graham (Reuben on rye)
    – Mother Theresa (Gogurt spill)
    – Calvin pissing on Bhudda (Spicy Nacho Dorito)
  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – No longer the great anti-masturbatorial aid it once was.
  • World of Warcraft – More like World of Witchcraft, am I right, parents?
  • The Weather Channel – 10-day forecast: harmless projection or dangerous divination?
  • Petition to remove World Book Encyclopedias from the elementary school library – reasons listed:
    – References to the occult (O-Or) and satanism (S-Sl)
    – Information on other religions
    – Graphic depictions of the human reproductive system
    – Evolution portrayed as science
    – No references to the coming apocalypse
    – Everyone’s using Wikipedia anyway; we could stock the empty shelf space with all 28 volumes of Strong’s Concordance to the Bible
  • Letter to president of Believers In God’s Own Truth
  • Bring back the Hays Code!
  • Christmas – A time of family togetherness or a bacchanal of pagan rituals? December 25th wasn’t even Jesus’ birthday as the Jewish calendar wasn’t fully formed until the law firm of Lowestein, Schobel and Witz put one out towards the end of 1781.
  • Chain mail recipient and forwarder of any diatribe on these subjects:
    – Homosexuality
    – The ACLU doing anything about anything
    – Any “evidence” of a “one-world government”
    – Bring back 7th Heaven
    – Things not being the way they used to be
    – Prayer chain of healing for Martha Swinson, who just discovered a possible tumor
    – Prayer chain of thanks for Martha Swinson’s tumor, which just turned out to be part of a malformed underwire bra
    – Prayer chain of guidance for Martha Swinson’s search for another, more competent doctor
    – Good Lord, look what Disney’s done now
    – Chain letter informing recipients that, due to recent economic slowdown, all chain letter generation and forwarding is now being outsourced

Now here’s what troubles me the most. The hypocrisy.

I can hate on anyone I want, if for no other reason, than I am not fronting for God or claiming to be more enlightened (I’m looking at you, White Male Protester). However, generally speaking, I am not a hateful person.

There’s a lot out there that will earn my disdain, but not a lot that will make me forget the human that lurks under every hated category. This is what seems to be missing from both sides of this. The contempt shown for their fellow human beings is unforgivable. And to act on this contempt, while propping yourself up on the Bible or white guilt, is despicable.

Let people live their lives. If they are not actively harming you or other around you, who gives a goddamn what the hell they do. If they want to watch someone turn the story of Christ into a metaphor for AIDS, who fucking cares? If they want to eat hybrid corn with their caged-up steak because it’s cheap and plentiful, shut the fuck up and get out of their kitchen.

It’s the point when your beliefs encroach on mine, usually through some groundswell movement that smacks the butterfly, whose flapping wings excite the air around the nearest Congressman facing a tough re-election battle, that I start getting pissed.

My life: here. Your life: there. You want to spend every Sunday in church praying for my soul, so be it. You want to take my favorite show off the air because you can’t find the fucking off switch on your own television, fuck you.

The Golden Rule: mind your own business.

-CLT

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The Stabbing Knife Vol. 1 – ASCAP

July 21, 2009

Roberto_jpg

Time to unpack the stabbing knife. Kids: don’t read any further than this unless a.) you really want to, or b.) no one’s stopping you.

Pity the poor music industry. Or don’t. Any group that claims to speak out for “poor artists” at press conferences while sending packs of lawyers out the back door doesn’t deserve your pity. Contempt, perhaps. But not pity.

Having long ago run out of sane ideas on how to maintain their wealth, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Performers) has decided that everyone, everywhere should be forced to pay in perpetuity for listening to music. It’s just not enough to buy the album these days.

First, a little rundown on their targets. A rogue’s gallery of copyright violators and pirates of every shade. Here’s who ASCAP is billing now:

Anyone who embeds video on their website.
So pretty much everyone at every blog site and everyone everywhere else. Specifically, this goes after YouTube, which is a bit of a stretch, especially considering YouTube has already agreed to pay them $1.6 million for hosting the videos. Now ASCAP would like to collect again. And again. And again.

The town of New Milford, CT.
ASCAP would like $280 because the town center “sometimes has music playing.” The city council voted to ignore the billing, tabling it indefinitely. BMI and SESAC responded by increasing the amount of their claims to $3,000 and $1,500.

Everyone who owns a cellphone.
Well, maybe not everybody. Not if you’ve never purchased a ringtone featuring a popular artist. ASCAP is claiming that your cellphone, while doing its job of alerting you to an incoming call, is performing publicly and thus subject to royalty charges. Better put that phone on vibrate. Those easily excited can just set it to mute.

Hosts of open mic nights.
ASCAP and BMI have hit owners of small coffeeshops and bars with bills ranging from $350 to $6000 to cover “performance royalties.” Some have had to shut the open mic nights down, thus cutting off several fledgling artists from finding a venue in which to perform. Others have tried to get their acts to sign waivers stating that they will only perform original material. ASCAP has ignored these.

Here’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant quote on the subject:

Vince Candilora, ASCAP’s vice president for licensing, says the fees are set at a “very good rate,” adding, “What gives anyone the right to use someone else’s property, even though they’re not making money on it? I can guarantee you the phone company’s going to charge you whether you’re making money or not.”

So… a band playing a cover song is like the phone service? Always on? Multiple lines? Phone companies bill for services provided. You’re charging the bar owner for what exactly? The music played? The instruments provided? The soundsystem? What exactly are you providing in exchange for this money?

Related: a nightclub owner in Vail, CO paid $40,000 to ASCAP because a band played 10 cover songs during its appearance. A real bargain, considering ASCAP originally wanted $30,000 per song.

Anybody who sings Happy Birthday.
Over 1% of the total money collected by ASCAP comes from this one song, arguably the most popular song ever. And that copyright claim they collect on may be completely bogus. But who needs facts and research when threats and intimidation will accomplish more in less time?

Bitches better have my money...

Bitches better have my money...

The Girl Scouts of America.
We can debate the propriety and taste of teaching the little cookie-pushers the Macarena, but really… threatening the Girl Scouts? A bunch of 8-year old girls who are now afraid to dance and sing… I hope you’re happy. Perhaps the lawyers will stop by and kill their pets while they’re away at camp.

In all fairness, ASCAP dropped the campaign to wring money out of a beloved American institution. But only after the public shaming. And what the fuck? Who greenlighted this action? If anything highlights the antagonistic entitlement these jackasses feel, this does.

And that just covers some recent stupidity from America. Here’s a very brief rundown on what’s going on in the rest of the world:

These actions mark performance rights groups as true bullies, never willing to go head-to-head with a comparable foe, but rather beat up on charities, small businesses and little girls.

You’d think that an industry so strained for cash would want to have as many people as possible exposed to their product. Apparently it would be easier for them if one person paid royalties over and over again via this business model:

  • Buy CD. ($10-15)
  • Play CD at work. (Pay public performance royalties.)
  • Play CD on car ride home with windows down and stereo up. (Performance royalties.)
  • Throw a little house party. Get new CD pumpin’. (More performance royalties.)
  • Sing a little of the CD in the shower the next morning. Whoops. Left the door open. (Performance royalties.)
  • Etc.

ASCAP continues its push, getting into bed with Congress (although, let’s face it, our representatives have all the self-restraint and self-respect as any “Girl Gone Wild”) in an effort to collect additional performance fees anytime a song gets played on the radio. This hypocritical gouging is covered in a delightful ironic sauce, as ASCAP and the RIAA have both been in hot water for paying the radio stations to play their music.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump. Awww... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Awwww... a rescue shelter! Look at that dog with three legs! He's trying to jump! Adorable... Anyway. Pay the fuck up.

Now the shoe is on the other litigious foot, and their favorite promotional vehicle has now become a sacrificial cash cow.

All that ASCAP will do is ensure that they and their lawyers get paid. Some of the top 5% of their stable of artists will get some trickledown (think U2, Rolling Stones, etc.) Those slightly below this threshold may see some tiny residuals. And everyone else gets jackshit. Nothing but fewer places to play and promote their music.

I haven’t sent one out for awhile but I think the time has come:

Fuck you, ASCAP. Fuck your ignorance, your false sense of entitlement and your abusive tactics. Fuck you just like you’re fucking 95% of the artists on your roster.

Stick it to the man. Play your music loud. Invite your friends over and play all the music you can. Promote your favorite bands. Embed their videos everywhere. Support your local cover band. Donate to your favorite charities. Buy Girl Scout cookies.

-CLT