Monday, March 25, 2013

Stuck in the Weeds

Despite my best efforts I cannot seem to extract myself from the weeds that infest daily life these days. Just as soon as one issue is overcome another takes it places forcing me back to the proverbial square one. My work schedule continues to make all this even more fun. I find myself coming home in the morning, getting cleaned up, and pretty much crashing on the couch until I wake up around ten o'clock and force myself to go to bed. April should be a little easier, hopefully once we get this month over with I should be able to post on a more regular basis. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Idiocracy-The True Story

Being at least somewhat scientifically literate, as compared to many in a country more fascinated with moronic reality shows and conspiracy theories, to the best of my knowledge the consensus among scientists is that human evolution has ended. The overall idea is that after millions of years struggling to survive on the African savanna where our only real advantage against very toothy and far swifter predators was an ever increasing brain once we settled down into villages and then cities the pressure to evolve stopped.

I would have to say for the most part it was a good bargain, discounting the assorted sword-wielding religious crusaders, various bloodthirsty tyrants, wars in general, greed, and pollution on the whole civilization seems to be pushing at least some of us to use our brains to improve ourselves. We express the better angels of our species in such things as science, music, art, in an attempt to figure out the universe and ourselves.

One problem, while our nobler side seeks to understand existence civilization has also possibly created a cosmic “Catch-22” in which our cushy lifestyle does not punish the stupid among us allowing them to procreate. To be fair I am not just talking about your stereotypical nose-picking redneck upset that his tax dollars are going to support such things as arts and sciences but the Wall Street executive who can lose billions of dollars but yet be rewarded with multi-million dollar bonuses and marry a swimsuit model.

So you think this sound far-fetched?

Is Pampered Humanity getting steadily less Intelligent?

Now Crabtree admits it would not bother him at all if his theory was proved wrong buts lets think about it for a minute. In a world where intelligence is truly valued would this person ever seriously be considered for anything other than a local Avon salesperson much less being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office? 

It is even worse because while all sorts of crazy mistakes are possible when humans are involved the fact that she was a headline speaker at the recent CPAC convention should send waves of nausea through anyone with a milligram of sanity.
Taking a strictly non-political stance here but in all honesty there has been a general slide of visible societal intelligence for decades now. And while much of it can be attributed to simple cultural decay brought on by a media playing to the lowest common denominator among the population at somepoint it seems reasonable that the end result could be the same.
As someone who has regularly looked down upon those mired in the survivalist mindset I have got to admit that just maybe they have it right for all the wrong reasons. Because while devolution back to tree dwelling primates is probably not going to happen Homo sapiens are ugly and cruel creatures in the best of times, take away the thin veneer of rational civilized behavior and anything becomes possible.     

Sunday, March 10, 2013

John Galt Can Kiss My Liberal Ass

“Where some people are very wealthy and others have nothing, the result will be either extreme democracy or absolute oligarchy, or despotism will come from either of those excesses.”

Late Friday morning I was sitting on the living room floor folding the third load of family laundry I had done when I spied the movie “Atlas Shrugged” on Netflix. Being that I have a visceral distaste bordering on blind hatred of anything or person associated with Ayn Rand I can only say it was a sudden and overwhelming sadomasochistic  urge that caused me to hit the play button and watch that abomination. What were my reasons for watching a movie based on the fantastical ravings of a narcissistic old bitty who I consider at least semi-psychotic and not far removed from the teachings of the granddaddy of all modern dictatorial lunatics Adolph Hitler?

The first being that several prominent American politicians like the Wisconsin boy wonder Paul Ryan, the nutty Ron Paul, his equally nutty and blatantly obnoxious son Rand Paul,  the sphinx-like Clarence Thomas, and even the Appalachian Trail walking former governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford have at one time or another thought Ayn Rand was the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. This only matters because each of these individuals claim some pious regard for the duties and responsibilities associated with being an elected leader. Well, the one exception being old Clarence who hardly ever speaks and even then it is only when his buddy Scalia is standing next him playing ventriloquist. This begs several questions to be asked, like where does Scalia insert his hand to control his buddy's mouth, but I will not touch any one of them here.

So enamored was the Wisconsin wonder boy with Ayn Rand that he made the mistake of being recorded once saying everyone who worked in his office had to read her writings. Of course, once hoisted onto the national stage by Romney he had to withdraw that statement and play stupid.  The Paul boys have both proudly proclaim how much they admire her novels and beliefs. So much that both have questioned the constitutionality of such things as civil rights legislation that cleared the way for minorities to vote and FEMA, which provides vital disaster relief. As for the former governor of South Carolina now seeking a political resurrection, his admiration had cooled somewhat but it’s clear she was once not far behind his now Argentinean fiancé.

The problem with these fellows and their admiration for the lady who formalized and quantified on how to be a douchebag is that they also have wrapped themselves in Christianity claiming to believe in the teachings of Jesus. I know quite a few republicans are morons but even a cursorily examination of the two philosophies should show the two are not compatible. Rand believing in something called “rational self-interest” and condemned ethical altruism where as Christ wanted us to love and watch out for each other.

From Matthew 25:35-40:

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I know I’m just a South Carolina country boy but this kind of shoots the crap out of the “I’ve got mine, screw everyone else” crowd.

If that was not enough here is one that should send every free market, conservative Bible thumper who is cozy with Rand into a permanent catatonic state:

The second reason I wasted nearly two hours of my life watching Atlas Shrugged was to try to get a handle of that fictional asshole John Galt. In the movie, the chief storyline involves a very bad actress, And I mean terrible, playing a railroad owner battling her incompetent brother along union thugs, commie environmentalists, and bloated bureaucrats to save her company. All the while, a shadowy figure wearing a trench coat and fedora is going around recruiting rich folks to some secret hideout where all good “producers” can live in freedom and happiness.

Now I can go along with the concept of someone making a buck off his or her idea or invention or neat idea. And since I am feeling slightly generous, a character flaw as far as Ayn Rand is concerned, I can basically understand the idea that government and other organized entities can get in the way. The planet-sized problem comes when we start making distinctions into what is actually a hindrance and what is just fair and prudent.

As far as the terrible union thugs republicans and the mighty leaders of industry have nervous fits about, I see this is just an attempt by the rich to go really retro and establish a semi-official privileged class. Greed is a terrible human flaw encoded into our basic DNA and it screws with my mental balance when I hear some multimillionaire or billionaire whine about how they are abused as they buy their fourth home in the tropics or second private jet. Please! Unions over the decades have immeasurably improved the conditions of the common people whether they were members or not. While there are legitimate examples of union corruption, I would rather have a far more expanded organized labor movement in this country making sure we do not return to 19th century labor conditions.  

Contrary to what a certain CNBC blowhard might say, I have a huge issue when some factory is pumping pollution into my water supply. Yeah, the capitalistic answer would be to buy bottle water but hey, I am an extreme socialist bordering on outright commie when it comes to this very basic human requirement. Call it a further example of how deeply flawed an individual I am but I do not see this planet as some huge dumping ground for these semi-mythical but very skittish job creators.

As far as bloated bureaucrats are concerned, what can I say? These suited bean counters are a burden civilization has to bear. The nasty little secret "producers" and other free market capitalists’ types do not want getting out that while bureaucrats in government are a pain they never receive multimillion dollar golden parachutes like those in business do after screwing something up like the American economy.

It is sad balancing the economy and preserving the environment along with the basic dignity of workers seems impossible. The way I see it, and I admit my view is skewed; the fault is squarely on the shoulders of business types. While the John Galt types of the world believe they have built their empires all alone it takes a government provided infrastructure of roads, bridges, and schools producing an educated work force to make that possible. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Walking in the Shoes of Another

Author note: This is a story set in the universe of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale."

The day of Harlan Carter’s mission, he awoke in his cot with the safe house deathly silent. Years of finely honed survival instinct caused him to freeze in place and listen for any sounds suggesting that other sections of the old building had been compromised. The Eyes of the Republic were patient agents and were known to silently swoop into a resistance outpost, take those they found, and then after finding hiding places themselves wait for days for the stray fighter to seek refuge in what had become a trap. For that reason alone, resistance safe houses had become complex mazes with numerous secret sections and even more escape routes.

When convinced the safe house was still secure Harlan calmly got out of his small bed, walked over to the small bathroom and had his last shower on earth. He had long made his peace with a God who at best seemed preoccupied with other concerns or more than likely did not exist.  Still, he said a prayer on the slim chance he might see his lost loved ones on the other side. Harlan still recoiled at seeing various members of his family fall victims to Gilead state security.  

Minutes later Harlan stood in front of the bathroom mirror carefully shaving. To Harlan, it seemed a ridiculous activity given what he had planned. However, the state security apparatus of the Republic of Gilead dwarfed anything Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia had ever created. Even the most mundane discrepancy like personal appearance could draw the attention of an attentive agent of the Eye or even a bored Guardian of the Faith trooper looking for a bump that could make him an Angel allowing him to serve in the army fighting in Canada or Mexico. The mission required Harlan to pose as a member of the new merchant class, a group with no political or spiritual power but a relative freedom of movement on par with that of the Commanders of the Faithful ruling class.

The key that made Harlan’s mission even possible was the special suit worn by the merchant class. At first glance, it looked like any other suit a pre-President’s Day Massacre businessman might wear but embedded into the right sleeve was the holographic seal of the merchant class. The Gilead government claimed it was impossible to counterfeit, which did nothing but make the NATO agent laugh the week before when he delivered it to the safe house along with the special pistol and badge Eye agents carried when they were undercover. All important pieces of the plan to assassinate a high ranking Gileadean government official.  

Harlan carefully dressed in his very specially made and tailored clothes and when the time was right, grabbed the small briefcase he was suppose to carry and slipped out of the safe house merging into the morning pedestrian traffic of Atlanta, Georgia. Given the apparent stature of the merchant class in Gileadean society, the group of low-level civilian men Harlan was walking amongst completely ignored him. He could not tell if it was out of hope or fear, although the latter was much more likely.

After the overthrow of the old regime, the Sons of Jacob spoke about remaking the country into a spiritually clean and godly place. That still did not put food into the bellies of a hungry population. The laws of economics ignored all religious dogma eventually forcing the ruling class to create a special caste of businessmen/bureaucrats to run the foreign owned factories that the new government had actively recruited to keep the population as busy as possible. The workers were paid just enough to buy the slop sold in similarly foreign owned grocery stores despite the fact that what passed as food here was sold overseas to feed livestock. A fact the Mayday Resistance spent great effort in informing a very complaint public that once proudly proclaimed to live in the land of the free.       

These former Americans were indeed a very submissive lot, which angered Harlan greatly. With Hispanics pushed out of the country and blacks forced into toxic waste zones, the government called the Colonies, a little over half of the white population went along with the abomination called the Republic of Gilead out of sheer terror. Their hope was that if they kept quiet and passive the psychopathic Eyes and Guardian thugs would leave them and their families alone. The remaining whites had bought into the nightmarish fantasies the Leader up in what had once been Washington DC told them.

Even fifteen years into the Gilead regime seeing the streets devoid of traffic except heavily armed and armored vehicles parked along the normal routes the workers normally walked still struck Harlan as odd. What was funny to him was that these vehicles were all surplus from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars he himself had fought while serving in the old United States Army. His only real souvenir from those tours, beside bad memories, was a piece of shrapnel in his right leg, a present from an Iraqi suicide bomber. Years and circumstance had long since bled away the rage and resentment Harlan felt toward that long dead Iraqi, and in fact, given the current state of the bizarre area of North America he found himself a citizen he acknowledged a certain ironic humor to how life unfolds for each human being forcing them into actions that once seemed insane.

Harlan was making good time to his destination until he came to an intersection and saw several Handmaids walking down the middle of the street closely escorted by their protective Aunties. If anything could upset his timetable, it was these special captive pets of the ruling class. Of the five Handmaids, three of them were very pregnant to the point all their effort was in use just to walk down the street. Another looked like she was a couple of months along, the mindless but blissful expression on her face all but confirming she was a true believer. The final woman looked both terrified and angry at the same time. It was obvious at how she was constantly looking around that her thoughts were directed towards running away. She was obviously new to the special privilege the ruling class had forced her to take and Harlan hoped the woman could learn some self-control, if she did not her remaining days on earth could be counted in weeks.

Even the thuggish Guardians visibly recoiled at the sight of the Handmaids and Aunties, choosing to look away. The ruling class was so desperate to rebuild their racial numbers one word from an Aunt to his Commander and most anyone could disappear. The seconds dragged on seemingly becoming minutes as the group passed in front of Harlan and the workers he was walking with. When the intersection was finally clear, the group crossed over acting as if what they saw was a normal occurrence, which it was.

Several blocks later and after his silent walking companions had broke off down a different street taking them to their workplace, Harlan’s destination came into view. Unlike most of the buildings and other structures of twenty first century Atlanta, the one Harlan approached was just a few years old and could almost be called artistic, something the government suppressed in all matters almost automatically. The building was really a hotel and stood on the grounds once occupied by the Georgia Aquarium and stretched over into the area of Centennial Park, now called Revolution Commons.

The carefully maintained lawn and classical sculptures on the Commons would have been a credit to any city in the world but no resident of Atlanta would ever dare set foot on the property without proper papers and training. Both the hotel and Commons were a type of Potemkin village designed to give the impression to foreign visitors that the situation in Gilead was not as bad as the refuges and occasional defectors claimed. No fences or uniformed security personnel were visible but in truth they had been replaced with numerous concealed cameras, microphones, and agents of the Eye who could be janitors, desk clerks, or maids just waiting for one of the civilian workers to embarrass the government.

Turning onto the lush path leading to the lobby months of planning were coming to a head for Harlan. This was where he would find out if his training and the suit provided by the NATO/Russian alliance bought him entrance to the hotel and a chance at his target. Walking towards the old-fashioned revolving door Harlan knew sensors were reading his biometrics and the holographic seal on the right sleeve of the suit. Harlan’s resistance team leader had assured him the night before that hackers had penetrated hotel security and that the proper cover identity would appear on the doorman’s computer tablet.

“Hello Mr. Turner,” the elaborately dressed and very young doorman said. “What brings you to the Global Exchange Hotel today sir?”

“I’m here to meet with the Thai delegation about business opportunities. The meeting is scheduled in the Red room for ten o’clock.” Harlan said while opening his briefcase and looking for the required papers.

The Doorman’s fingers danced over the tablet. A second of so later a confused look appeared on his face. “Sir, I have no record of a Thai delegation staying here at this time, in fact the only foreigners I have here at the moment are the Chinese who the Leader-Designate is suppose to see in an hour.”

Harlan carefully smiled with all the malevolence he could muster, and carefully leaned in towards the Doorman while unbuttoning his coat to show off both the pistol and badge of an undercover Eye agent. “You idiot,” he whispered, “You think you and the staff in this unholy place are the only security for the Leader-Designate? I don’t care what the computer says, I’m here to  make sure nothing goes wrong, we have information a resistance agent will try to penetrate the perimeter.”

Striking just the right tone had scared the rookie Eye agent to the point his fingers again danced on the tablet. “Yes Mr. Turner,” he said, “Please go right in.”

Harlan walked directly to the lobby entrance facing the driveway and took a seat as close to the large doors as he could find. A few seconds later, a waitress approached him asking if he wanted anything and Harlan ordered a beer. A bizarre twist in an already crazy reality was that once inside the hotel all security fell away to the point it was easy to think that the Republic of Gilead, Sons of Jacobs, Commanders of the Faith, Eye intelligence agents, Handmaids, and all the other insanity was something from a science fiction movie.

The hour went quick with Harlan savoring every sip of the beer. As the time of the Leader-Designate's arrival drew close everything seemed to slow down for him to point a feeling of peace and serenity took over every cell in his body. During this quiet moment, Harlan found himself thinking about the Iraqi suicide bomber that had nearly ended his life. He never understood what could motivate a person to do such a thing until now. Seated in a comfortable chair watching the coming and going of the hotel staff a thought drifted into Harlan’s mind at all the damage he could do to the Gilead state security apparatus if he just pulled out the pistol and began firing. He asked himself if the Leader-Designate was actually worth the thirty of so dead agents he could take out and did the Iraqi suicide bomber run a similar math in his head.

Before he could decide on an answer, a long black limousine stopped in front of the main hotel door. The first ones out of the vehicle were the Leader-Designate’s personal security detail, which took up positions inside the lobby. Seconds later the Leader-Designate himself jumped out and walked inside waving at everyone he saw almost as if he was campaigning. A former senator from Pennsylvania in the old regime he still possessed much of the boyish charm from that lost era despite his hair having turned completely grey.

Like those around him, Harlan stood out of respect careful not to make any move that might draw the attention of the protection detail. With his right hand he did slowly begin to brush the left sleeve of his coat as if he wanted to remove some lent or dust. Harlan then with his right index finger and thumb began to squeeze one of the buttons on the cuff of his left sleeve. A small battery in the button sent a tiny surge of voltage to every fiber of the suit that happened to be made of a high-yield enhanced chemical explosive.

The resulting blast turned everyone in the lobby into an organic mist. What the explosion did not completely destroy was the pistol and badge Harlan had carried. Forensic teams would later find the pieces and because burn marks eliminated any possible evidence of them being counterfeit it spawned a wave of purges and disappearances unparalleled in Gilead history.


A month later the chief Russian intelligence agent in North America entered a secret bunker deep under the streets of Toronto. His NATO counterpart, a German was sitting at a computer station reviewing the images and data from Atlanta.

“The hit was a total success?” He asked taking a seat beside him.

“We’re still gathering a bunch of secondary facts but it is confirmed the Leader-Designate is dead. It is also confirmed that the Leader has ordered a purge of the Eye and all the Commanders of the Faith in the Atlanta area fearing some faction in the government was attempting a coup. Radio and data intercepts between several of the more powerful Commanders of the Faithful suggest a power struggle is underway with each wanting to be the next Leader-Designate. And finally, Mayday Resistance groups have already started attacks of opportunity throughout the entire country.”

"Supply subs off the coast of Oregon," the Russian said, "began offloading weapons, ammunition, and food for them two weeks ago. My contacts say the resistance groups of the northwest feel they can take and hold both Oregon and the former Washington State."

"Maybe, as long as the antiaircraft missiles hold out." The German said reaching over to find his pack of cigarettes.

“What do we know of the suicide bomber?” The Russian asked absently offering his friend a lighter.

“Not much, he is a non-entity as far as we are concerned.” The German answered. “But I cannot imagine what could make him volunteer for such a mission.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Eleven Questions

 Lately my mind has been a gooey glob of unorganized sludge. Attempting anything creative has resulting in such a god-awful mess I have instead just vegetated on the couch watching Big Bang Theory whenever I can find it on television. 

When I have the desire and the creative energy to write something my daughter, wife, or the universe in general throws up some roadblock ending my pitiful efforts. 

Lime over at House of Lime responded to a meme and then created eleven questions for someone else to answer. Hoping this might jump start some sustainable mental activity I decided to give it a go. If any of my answers make any sense I would advise you to seek immediate mental health help.    

1.)I'm inventing a new yoga position inspired by you.  What does it look like and what shall I call it?
What does it look like? Two words say it all: couch potato. The ideal yoga position for the middle aged American male dead tired from both his night-shift job and trying to manage his ten-year old daughter so she keeps her mind on her homework. The couch potato is not for the yoga novice, for not only does it necessitate the practitioner to fall totally limp on said piece of furniture, it requires a total clearing of the mind reducing it to the level of your average jellyfish.

I liken it to resetting a tripped circuit breaker. The only trouble is that the length of time between exhausted and frustrated dad to functioning person seems to be increasing.     

2.)What is your quest?
My quest is a simple one. It is to escape the overly pleasant but spiritually dead suburban prison I find myself living. My destination once I break out is as equally uncomplicated; it is to find some refuge close to the ocean where I can live out my days free from yard work and obnoxious neighbors suffering from delusions of grandeur. My ideal location would be the southern island of New Zealand or the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off the southern tip of South America. Or in other words about as far away from the United States as possible to avoid the increasingly unavoidable psychotic breakdown most of the country seems Hell bent on having and still have a chance at home pizza delivery. Yes, they do have Dominos there, I have checked!

Possible alternatives include the southern coast of Australia, British Columbia, or Key West. On the last one I figure we could blow the Seven Mile Bridge and if needed ask Cuba for a few used gunboats and attack helicopters.     

3.)Ghengis Khan or Snooki?  Why?
Ghengis hands down, because I while do not blame Snooki I see her and nearly all other reality show celebrities not as people but as hideous and bizarre television viruses and how the decay of American culture mighty have reached the point where it is beyond saving. This country on a widespread level once believed in a higher form of cultural and intellectual life appreciating things like literature, art, music, and science. Hell, over the course of the last few years I have all the cable channels that once prided themselves on broadcasting thought provoking television have devolve into a gooey mass of mindless reality shows filled with strange creatures like Honey Boo Boo and her kin.

Yeah Ghengis was a bloodthirsty conquer who ravaged countless lands and people on his path to empire but I would still prefer to hang out with him than Snooki.   

 4.)What does the color turquoise smell like?
The first thing that comes to mind is a desert morning I guess, I’m not into those smelly, feel good scents. In fact, I once totaled up all the money my wife spent in a month on the semi-clever air-freshener devices corporate America has invented and then convinced the public they needed and came out with a sum that over the course of a year could have paid for a much-needed Disney cruise.

5.)I'm giving you butterscotch candies, cabbage, yak milk, and escargot.  What sort of tasty dish will you prepare for me?
That is easy, a large meat lovers pizza because I am tossing all that stuff in the trash and calling Dominos.

6.)If you wear garlic around your neck to keep vampires away, what should you wear to keep zombies away?
If anything gives me the willies it is not only the concept of undead zombies roaming the land searching to make the living a form of mammalian sushi but the amount of serious thought that seems to abound these days on how to deal with such an apocalypse. Being a fan of such discussions, not only at observing those who take it far too seriously like it might happen but as an cerebral exercise in survival. Yes, the distinction I have made between the two is very thin, almost microscopic in fact, but comes down to those who know a little on biological functions and those whose main source of science is Fox News, Glenn Beck, and their likes.  

First of all. I do not know of any substance that will ward off zombies like vampires. Almost by definition alone, zombies have no higher brain functions; see my thoughts on both Snooki. Fox News, and Honey Boo Boo above, but are unfortunate souls suffering from some sort of disease that has ended nearly all functions and processes we call carbon based life. This infection leaves them nothing but instinctive husks seeking to spread the contagion they contain in their decaying bodies.

Instead of pursuing some futile search for a substance that wards off zombies like PBS and NPR chases away my evangelical and conservative relatives the best course of action is instead to avoid the sad creatures but that requires an examination of the two main types of zombies.      

Slow zombies, those that in the movies and television shows amble about and whose chief threat to the living is their sheer numbers, seem to be drawn by sound. While survivors might want to gather together with their trusty Bushmaster and AK-47 assault weapons and carve out little fiefdoms free from the evils of a tyrannical federal government (long story but I am making fun of someone here) the noise generated by firing off numerous rifles will only draw more of the undead.

Unless some form of civilization is still functioning allowing for the creation and logistical maintenance of a real army the best way to clear the land of zombies will be simple and dangerous hand-to-hand combat with spears and swords. Never forget the basic rule of any zombie apocalypse, they only go down permanently when you destroy the brain.  

Recent movies have introduced the concept of a fast moving zombie who retains all its basis senses in some fashion. If you find yourself in that situation unless you and your fellow survivors have some secure fortress or easy access to a boat that will carry you far enough off shore to escape the deadish horde you are screwed, blued, and tattooed. One zombie website suggests that given the wear and tear on an undead body's tendons, muscles, and other parts of the fast moving zombie will wear out in about a month at most. It is a small comfort but then again this is all idle and fun speculation, right?

 7.)What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
What species? And on which world are you talking about because planetary gravity is an important factor. Said creature would almost certainly be faster on Mars but the lack of terrestrial atmosphere would require the creature to be wearing a pressure suit that would not interfere with the function of its wings. Then again a swallow wearing a pressure suit on Mars would probably use a jet pack requiring years of expensive development by the military industrial complex before the project ever blasted off for the Red Planet.

This bullshit is why we can’t have a decent space program.

  8.)Tell me a story involving a bathtub of macaroni, a red wagon, and a head of state.
This is a piece of American history few know about but George W. Bush had a strange fetish about taking baths in a tub filled with macaroni. In fact since George had always lived in the shadow of his father and suffered the indignities of being the dumber brother when compared to Jeb his one real enjoyment in life was soaking in a tub of warm pasta.

This obsession so consumed the forty-third president that when Dick Cheney withheld the delivery of ziti pasta to the White House he was able to force Bush into the invasion of Iraq. Because Bush feared that the news of his bathing habits might become known to the American public by classified executive order he had an elaborate red wagon built containing a huge bath tub and placed it on his Texas ranch.

With his presidency is long over George Bush can finally enjoy his bathroom time without fear. In fact, he has now developed an artistic side to this obsession and now paints himself semi-naked enjoying his alone time.

***Strangely, this last part is true.***

 9.) Invent a family game using a pile of lentils and a thimble.
I’ll just go with old fashioned hide and seek.

 10.)You may not use paint or wallpaper.  With what will you cover your walls?
Simple, I will neatly cut out the pictures of twenty years worth of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and paste them to my walls.

My schedule sucks the big one on a pretty regular basis now. We’ll just go with whenever.