The fire that never stops burning

I always scan Twitter trending topics every morning as a ritual.  It makes me feel connected to whatever is happening as it happens.  I don’t know why I do it.  What am I going to do about some major news story?  What impact do I have?  What am I gonna do, phone the governor and offer assistance?

ahh hell, not that ginger kid again

I guess it’s a leftover from being a kid and waking up to my mom telling me about a plane hitting the World Trade Center and adjusting to that reality, thinking of how it was probably just an accident, and then hearing about a second plane hitting the towers and realizing it wasn’t.  You don’t expect to wake up one day to an entirely new world.  It just happens, when you least expect it, and you can never prepare for it.

I found that out one morning when I got a missed call from my dad’s best friend, worried that he couldn’t get ahold of my dad.  Unlike most mornings, I didn’t scan the news, I just got in the car and drove.  I drove because I knew what happened, that my dad was gone, that he wasn’t just taking a nap with his phone off, because he never did that.  His phone was always on, whether we were on vacation or it was midnight.  No, he was gone, and an hour or so later I received a call confirming that reality.

It’s not something I’ve talked much about because there isn’t much there.  He’s gone and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  He was a part of my life and now he is not and it’s a new reality to adjust to, it changes everything, and everything I do from here on out is defined by a single, horrifying event.

It’s not the first time that’s happened, finding out your mom’s in a coma when you’re in middle school steels you to these types of announcements.  I didn’t let myself cry then and for most of the drive to Fresno, I didn’t let myself cry either.  Both times I felt like something was wrong with me, but I guess I was just in shock – your body has a way of stripping things down to bare, mechanical function.  Each action becomes robotic, binary, on or off, yes or no, forward or reverse.  One thing your body doesn’t allow you to do is to be still, to do nothing.  I haven’t stopped moving since July 7th and I don’t think I ever will.

I remember a decade or so earlier laying on the floor and watching TV footage of people stumbling out of London buses, bleeding.  I couldn’t stop watching it.  It was horrifying, it was real, it was one of those events that changed everything.  Is this what life is?  A lull between tragedy?

I did read the news this morning as fires consumed Napa in the middle of the night, a place I loved to go on vacation to with my family as a child and then as an adult.  They were across the street from Silverado, the place we always stayed.  Vineyards all through Stag’s Leap were combusting, one by one in sequence, leaving more destruction in their wake than a tour group full of suburban moms.

And in the end there are photos of charred remains.

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The flames engulfed my favorite vineyard, Signorello.  We’ve visited there since I was 9, there’s pictures in an album somewhere, the same albums my mom had to put down because they were just too difficult to look at this summer.  They had a gorgeous pool looking out towards the entire Napa Valley, paradise, a place from which you could see the end of the earth.

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It also helped that they had a very friendly yellow lab and damn good wine.  On the last trip to Napa I took with my family, I convinced my dad to take us there.  I didn’t know it’d be the last for him or for the place.  Those routine trips and out of town drives are all I have left.  At the time you got swept up in the inconvenience – the packing, the bathroom stops, the dinner reservations.  Now you look at those things fondly, tinged with regret that the scope of your problems then seem so small in hindsight.

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My dad isn’t coming back.  The winery hopefully will, but it won’t be the same.  Nothing’s the same, and that might be life’s most challenging lesson – nothing will ever be the same again.  People will die, buildings will fall, cancer will kill, fires will burn, and you must keep moving, unceasingly.

The Informal Evil of Parking Enforcement

There are two things a Los Angeles resident fears above all else: melanoma and parking enforcement. Earthquakes are a distant third, distant solely because it’s hard to live in perpetual fear of something that can happen at any time without warning but hasn’t for decades.

As I walked down the street, bleary eyed, to move my car on this permit-restricted street this Friday morning, I saw the glaring, pitbull-like face of the parking enforcement officer’s chariot, a mini Toyota Prius. Never has something so silent triggered so much fear. I watched the clock on my dash turn over to “9:00” – which means I’d quite literally made it without a moment to spare.

literally more terrifying than a cop car

This isn’t a dance I want to have to subject myself to, and it seems that the 1 or 2 vehicles who haplessly find themselves parked on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time should at least be let off with a warning instead of a $63.00 ticket.

I saw the two officers pull out to do this to a Mercedes. Gleefully, it seemed. They were wearing the standard uniform of the parking enforcement officer: a grim look, short haircut, cuffed blue shirt, and about eighty extra pounds each. Who were these people? Their job is to quite literally go around and ruin people’s days – people who are driving registered cars (which is a tax), have mandatory car insurance (another tax), pay the highest fuel costs in the nation due to taxes (yet another tax), not to mention are, more likely than not, a taxpaying citizen. These people have ostensibly paid for the roads, the bridges, and big heifers to ride around in toy cars to give people tickets many times over, so why do they need to pony up again?

If you grabbed one of these “officers” (a recently-acquired title it seems, apparently these individuals liken themselves to police-lite now) by their starched lapels and threw them against the wall, demanding to know why they’d take on a job that is designed to disappoint the good citizens of this fair city through every encounter, what reason would they give?

worse vogue photoshoot ever

Twenty years ago (the glory days, it seems) there was the meter maid. You don’t pay your meter in the busy downtown of the city? A lady on a bike comes and writes you a ticket. Disappointing, sure, but informal, transactional, and you feed the meter to keep the bustling downtown going.

Therefore – it seems the reason of “I always wanted to be a parking enforcement officer when I grew up” doesn’t really hold up, does it?

Plus, parking enforcement officers are no longer your friendly downtown meter maid – they patrol your walkable, suburban neighborhood like corsairs, waiting to relieve residents of significant chunks of change.

omw2stealurwages

What could drive one to do something so casually evil?

Casual evil would be the foil to formal evil, the former being something that, by design, is not to harm someone, but in practice and without direct action, does. Formal evil is a process that’s methodically carried out with full knowledge of the consequences – a Batman villain, or an executioner.

Perhaps parking enforcement falls into a third gray area – informal evil. It’s too organized to be casual. It can’t be casual and have its own uniform. It’s also not formal enough to be formal, because parking enforcement officers haven’t, to my knowledge, killed anyone yet, despite meeting the personality characteristics of someone who’s most likely to.

There’s a reason this informal evil is allowed to flourish, and as with all good reasons, it has a profit motive: the city of Los Angeles makes $148 million a year from parking tickets.

As LA City Controller Ron Galperin states:

As much as we’d like to reduce parking fines, we currently rely on the revenues.

The City of Los Angeles “faces a projected $245 million shortfall” according to Galperin – essentially, without parking tickets, our city is broke.

One doesn’t think individual parking enforcement officers go home and tell their children that they provide for that they spent another day saving the city from a budget shortfall, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.

Our city is like a startup (take note, President Macron) – we’ve monetized neighborhood streets. We’ve even introduced gamification – watch how the residents have to scramble in their PJs to move their cars so they can afford groceries that week!

Unfortunately, our city also pisses away money like an irresponsible startup – its office is in a historic Art Deco building Downtown (City Hall), enormous cash reserves are burned without any kind of accounting, and the whole goal of our city is to acquire more users.

Whenever anyone questions why we need parking enforcement there’s the obvious contrarian bleatings: “you want clean streets, don’t you?!” It’s the same idea at chafing at the necessity of an app that delivers laundry (not dry cleaning, laundry) to your door. No thank you. I prefer the convenience of waking up normally and not having to run outside and move my car, in the same way that I know it will take the same amount of time to collect my clothes so some stranger can take them away from me as it would to shove them all in a washing machine.

The streets above Hollywood Blvd, mind you, are free from the street cleaning mafia. There’s a little dirt in the gutters, but we manage to soldier on. So the “clean streets!” argument is bollocks. It’s for revenue, pure and simple.

Parking enforcement officers should be thrilled then. They can tell their kids they’re part of a hip new pre-revenue company called The City of Los Angeles (or West Hollywood, or Beverly Hills, because despite being independent cities with balanced budgets they can’t imagine an existence without that sweet, sweet parking cash). And we’re left to ponder just what kind of bizarre dystopia we live in while simultaneously deciphering the cuneiform tablets of our age – parking enforcement signage.

we’re diverse!

I’m in the worst relationship right now

People ask me why I don’t write more and it’s usually because I don’t have the time or the inspiration but I guess those are both just excuses.

I’m basically my own therapist and get out my anger in memes now. All the voices in my head are in agreement that it’s a good choice, except Chad – he’s a dick.

way to go chad, you drained a lake

Some things are so terrible, though, you just have to write. This is one of those times.

I had the Trader Joe’s “Sushi Sensations” platter today. Mind you – not the little California roll – the full-on supposed-to-serve-five-people platter with two rolls and three pieces of shrimp sushi.

God, it was awful.

And

everyone

agrees.

Dry, cold, hard rice in cubes filled with fakecrabmeat accompanied by putrid orange mayo, sickening teriyaki sauce, and beige wasabi paste. It’s like sushi they’d make for North Korean astronauts.

I knew it’d be bad. I knew I’d eat it, hate it, and hate myself. But I got it anyway.

About once a year I get stomach-dissolvingly hungry and I go into Trader Joe’s expecting to get a sandwich except I’m stupid and they don’t have sandwiches anymore and they haven’t had them for years for no other reason I can think of except that they just outright hate their customers.

 

51172-caprese-sandwich

RIP

They do have “wraps” though, and the difference between “wraps” and sandwiches are as follows:

would you like a sandwich (meat and vegetables with cheese between delicious bread)

or would you like a burrito made by Gwyneth Paltrow (a cold, dry tortilla filled with mushy, minced sandwich ingredients).

Wraps are a war crime.

I’ve never had a good wrap.

I’ve never had a wrap that’s better than a sandwich.

I’ve never had a wrap that’s equivalent to a sandwich.

I’ve had wraps that have been my own personal Srebrenica.

But this isn’t about wraps. This isn’t about sushi.

This is about Trader Joe’s, and the abusive relationship I have with them.

It’s both my closest store and favorite store because they have delicious things: bread, pizza dough, pasta, desserts, yogurt, wine, cheese, produce. They hit it out of the park with those.

And then they follow it up with a ready-to-eat foods section that’s American Horror Story, Season 7.

It’s like a beautiful, smart, charming, voluptuous, kind woman with the worst garlic breath.

beauty woman in fashion dress

“i had greek for lunch”

There’s no excuse, really.

Whole Foods does a great job, with the salad bar that goes on for miles.

Sprouts does a great job, and has the best sandwiches on earth.

Even your local chain grocery store has a good deli.

could i get a pound of human plz

How can you screw up the easiest part of being a grocery store?

A smart person would tell you that due to their German ownership, Trader Joe’s mirrors the expectations of European clientele – food is a thing to be made at home, you lazy American, so buying something pre-made should be a punishing and temporary experience, like being in an elevator with no cell service or writing a check.

Me, a dumb person, sees my relationship with Trader Joe’s much more personally – a dysfunctional, abusive relationship.

When things are good, it’s great. There’s a group of people coming over, I can go to Trader Joe’s and get all the appetizers, the drink, the entree ingredients, the dessert, all for significantly less than a third mortgage (sorry Whole Foods.)

But when times are tough, and it’s 11AM, and it’s not quite lunchtime, and I skipped breakfast, and I need something quick, Trader Joe’s is a cruel mistress, offering the worst buffet of prepared food this side of the Golden Nugget all-you-can-eat.

this was all just a grand excuse to use this nutty professor clip, one of the greatest scenes in cinema history

I know it’ll happen again – I’ll get hungry, I’ll wander inside, and I’ll stare at the prepared food case like the Ceausescus facing the firing squad.

#SpouseGoals

I’ve sealed my fate. Execution is imminent. The Grim Reaper is sharpening his tool.

I’ll choose something. I’ll choose wrong. I’ll pay for it, and make small talk with the cashier. I’ll go outside and eat it, and wince, and grimace, and choke it down.

I’ll no longer be hungry.

But I’ll still be empty inside.

The only resolution worth making

Happy New Year’s everyone, I have a feeling most of our nights turned out the same.

c1d2wv3xuaaykt8

Fans of this site *camera cuts to a solitary hobo jerking it in the back of a Carl’s Jr* will remember that three years ago I wrote a post about New Year’s resolutions.

It was ok.

But it’s 2017, Trump’s gonna be President, and I’ve learned a lot over the past three years.

he’s just so damn lovable

Upon reflection, I’ve noticed that I don’t remember much of the past year.

January 2016 seems simultaneously like it was yesterday and 30 years ago.

I know every day of the past year was obsessively documented, as those of you who follow me on Snapchat *camera cuts to the hobo again* know.

and with ridiculousness like this, why wouldn’t you? (@wyatt_tt)

But what was memorable? What actually counted?

Oh sure, there were the days when I did cool stuff like hike Runyon (ok, well, walk Runyon, the people who hike Runyon don’t take pictures) but the vast majority of days were disturbingly mundane, like rushing to Trader Joe’s at 9:48PM before closing to buy some bread so I didn’t die.

53835-organic-baguette

#sext

There were other days that just felt off, that always were justified later in the form of an excuse.

“I was in a weird mood all day” = “sorry for yelling at you and saying the woman who birthed you is literally Hitler”

“I didn’t sleep well last night, I was tired today” = “I stayed up until 3AM watching 90-Day Fiancee clips on YouTube autoplay”

“That [insert thing here] threw me off this morning” = “an expected and rather obvious outcome of something not done correctly yesterday caused someone else to point it out first thing this morning”

this is my new favorite show for so many reasons

There were 365 days last year and I’m pretty sure about 10% of them could be considered “good” days, 10% of them could be considered “bad” days, and the rest were just filler.

That’s a terrible record, and it’s so easy to see how it can happen.

First of all, the excuses to end all excuses: work.

Like a looming blimp ready to Hindenburg above you at any moment, it’s so easy to use work as an excuse.

Missed your goldfish’s Viking funeral? Work.

Don’t want to go out tonight? Sorry, got tons of work to do.

Picked up dinner at Carl’s Jr? Got back late from work, too tired to cook.

this is not sponsored content, but what’s wrong with the bottom bun here tho

That brings me to the second excuse: being tired.

Of those 80% of days of last year that were the equivalent of unflavored gelatin, I’m almost positive I was “tired” every one of them.

Partially because they have full episode recaps of 90 Day Fiancee on YouTube now.

Partially because the amount of coffee I consumed over the course of the day singlehandedly financed a Colombian drug war.

Partially because I allocated far too much effort to something that didn’t matter (getting to Trader Joe’s before 9:59) and not to things that actually did matter (lol work tho).

And then when it came time to do actual cool stuff (interact with other humans) I’m passing out on your couch and drooling on your crocheted pillows.

What do people who have actual problems do?

For example: someone who’s missing a leg. Do they make the same excuses I, myself, with two (gorgeous) legs would?

I’d guess probably not. I’ve never met an uncheerful amputee. I know I’d be an absolute monster, waving my fake leg at people and using it as a beer stein.

ICONIC

I guess people missing limbs are just happy to be alive, and that makes them more positive people.

I know that 10% of the days last year I was happy to be alive, 10% of the days I probably wished I was dead, and 80% of the days I don’t really remember how I felt but it was probably a progression of tired, irritable, on the upswing, anxious, on the downswing, tired, anxious, tired, sleep, with work sprinkled somewhere in there.

It’s such an easy rhythm to get into, and that’s the problem. The excuses of work and being tired are easy. Letting a whole week pass without anything memorable is easy.

The original sentiment of the above post was simple: why wait for a holiday to change your life?

I want to make every day count. Whether it’s doing something enjoyable, or memorable, or even something that’s a huge pain in the balls but is for positive benefit – there’s no reason to drift aimlessly from week to month to year.

I’ve got two (I can’t really overestimate how stunning they are) legs and dammit, I’m gonna hike Runyon.

Tomorrow, maybe.

or at least make it look like I did

Netflix secretly sucks and you know it

It’s the year 2016, and we’ve all given our souls over to the all-encompassing media deity (mediety) ((Madeaty, starring Tyler Perry, coming to a theatre near you this Easter)) known as Netflix.

no one asked for this

Who knew that the hokey mail-order DVD company would take over our lives in such a powerful way? It would be like Waffle House becoming the next Starbucks.

almond milk? almonds aint got no titties b*tch

We don’t watch network TV anymore, we watch Netflix Originals.

We don’t go to movie theaters anymore, we see what’s on Netflix.

We don’t go on dates anymore, we invite over people we meet on apps to watch Netflix and, if we’re lucky, touch genitals.

it sounds so uncomfortable when you say it like that

Which is why it’s baffling we’ve settled for a product as crappy as Netflix.

Before you all call me a hypocrite (and you should, I advocate responsible driving and use the carpool lane with a passenger seat blowup doll more often than I should) I do watch Netflix Originals, I do opt to see movies on Netflix instead of TV, and I do invite potential paramours over for Netflix’n’Chloroform.

this Huxtable Vineyards Pinot is superbkdhwfaehfkfhjd

Do I have a Netflix account? Of course not. Like most of you, I use a roommate’s sister’s ex’s plumber’s login (and brace for the inevitable crushing disappointment when they find out that, no, they didn’t watch 6 hours of Toddlers ’n’ Tiaras and change the password).

Most of you have implicitly reached an important conclusion – that Netflix simply isn’t a worthy enough expense on its own.

And you’re right. Because for every House of Cards (Season 1) there’s House of Cards (Season 3). Netflix Originals is the best attempt at a nonnetwork online streaming platform, but it’s far from perfect. Lady Dynamite is superb, Grace and Frankie is charmingly good, but there are multiple series where it seems like they…cut corners. Perhaps the budget was a little thin, perhaps the writing wasn’t as crisp, but it’s noticeable, and lacking the familiar finished assembly of network TV.

That’s the complimentary part of Netflix, by the way.

Most of you probably aren’t aware of the fact that Netflix has an ever-changing rotation of content they offer. So that movie you’re looking to watch at 10PM on a Friday night cuddled up with your foaming-at-the-mouth date? Oh, sorry, Netflix took it out of rotation last month, it’s no longer available. It’s like a library where a couple shelves go missing 12 times a year.

BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND

Then, there are the connection issues. Netflix makes up, by estimates, up to 36% of all Internet traffic during certain hours of the day – which means it lags more than the Instagram-fit, IRL-lazy friend you take on a hike.

A friend (it’s true, I have them! *tumbleweeds pass*) mentioned today that it’s remarkable that Netflix is still beating Hulu – after all, Hulu was first for streaming content and had all the major networks lined up. Therein lies the problem, of course. Hulu is actually owned 30% by Comcast (NBC), 30% by 21st Century Fox (FOX), 30% by Disney (ABC), and 10% by Time Warner (CNN/TBS). Every decision they make has to be agreed upon by the majority of these parties. It’s like the UN Security Council of streaming services: rarely do all parties agree, at least one is actively instigating another, and the entire body becomes a joke because of its composition.

In this vacuum lies Netflix, like a purring cat in the afternoon sun – cute and lovable, but lazy as all hell.

I can’t wait for The Grand Tour to come to Amazon Video.

UPDATE:

Not that I’m a prophet, trendsetter, or man who has come from the future to save humankind or anything, but hours after this was published, a Streaming Observer study was released showing that Netflix’s library is indeed shrinking:

More than 50 percent of the shows and movies once online have been removed from the US streaming platform, leaving just 31 of the 250 top-rated titles on IMDB.

It’s almost like Netflix has become as poorly-stocked as the video stores it displaced.

Worse yet, NO GIANT CANDY.

How people telling me to kill myself got me banned from Facebook

If you haven’t read my hit post titled: Charity, Brought to you by Facebook! from yesterday then here’s your chance.

Ok, all caught up?  Good.

A few breezy, late-breaking developments:

1) I was banned from Facebook (for a full 24 hours!) for calling someone a “bully”.

Before I even wrote my post above, I explained how real bullies brag about their humble, HUMBLE charity donations to make you feel crappy about yourself (text below).

Apparently Facebook finds that offensive and has put me in a grown-up time-out, because that’s the world we live in now.

Of course it’s self-reported. Facebook doesn’t monitor profiles for buzzwords or unusual activity then shut people down.

Hell, if they did, the 14 people killed by terrorists in San Bernardino might be alive today.

tfw you accidentally take a picture with the front facing camera

You have to *report* something to Facebook as offensive, then I guess some tribunal body reviews it, then you get put in time out from being able to post.

Mind you, you’re still able to access everything, but heaven forbid you post something for 24 hours.

Needless to say, I think we all know who “reported” me calling someone a bully as “offensive”, which is a sentence I never thought I’d have to say, it sounds super doubleplusungood.

2) More of Dana Amireh’s (Gretchen Wieners’s) friends have responded — and boy, do they have some doozies! (pardon the asterisks, even pottymouths like me have to abide by language restrictions sometimes)

warning: long-azz image ahead, skip past then you can go back to read

Seung-Hui Cho over here wants to shave off my eyebrows to protect an attractive girl he wants to impress.

MTE4MDAzNDEwMzI0OTE1NzI2

well hell, it’s cheaper than threading

Ollie Amireh, who is prob related to her (I know “Amireh” is common like “Smith”, but stick with me here) posted an exquisite response calling me “sick” and “twisted”, telling me I’m “disrespectful” and “hideous” (but not in reference to appearance, thank God, I couldn’t live with myself otherwise), with “cold, dead, black insides”, a “negative pr*ck”, all of which culminates in telling me to “remove myself from this world completely”.

thanks for the love, Ollie!

Funny how people with such a hard-on for charity are the first ones to basically tell someone to off themselves!

Sarah Amireh gets in on the action too, calling me “the absolute worst people” because of my name(?), a “sad lil gingerbread man” (the absolute worst Christmas carol), and “that douche canoe from Twitter” (god, I hope when I run away to the circus I’m introduced as such).

If you want to note some gender differences (and who doesn’t?) note the typical male response is coarse/fightin’ words, while the typical female response is a hack attempt at psychology coated in fake pity like a doodie-flavored cake pop.

Apparently people are still trying to dig up that whole attention-whorey meme after the Paris terrorist attacks that basically said “stop paying attention to this tragedy, bad things happen other places too!” because there’s no better way to memorialize those who laid dead on the floor of the Bataclan as “welp, sh*t happens”.

But back to gender differences.  There’s the other kind of male response that isn’t alpha, it’s beta in the most depressing way: desperate white-knighting.

Dalton Runberg (I think this might be a tie-in with the Trumbo movie) calls me a “piece of garbage human being”, “f*cking petty”, a “piece of sh*t” “d*ckbag”.

he sounds like a treat!

But the kicker is when web expert Dalton calls out my “stupid blog”, saying I have “no right to call anyone out for not being “humble” when [Wyatt] has an opinion blog with a URL that is literally just his name.”

oh sh*t, he caught me!  ABORT MISSION 

Apparently Dalton Runberg (former editor-in-chief of The Daily Collegian at Fresno State, now “web guy” with iHeartMedia) is so humble that he doesn’t have an opinion blog, just a site where he literally promotes himself: http://DaltonRunberg.com

You can’t blame a man for self-promotion or trying to get some, but when I want to please myself and feel I’m gonna get lucky I usually do it behind closed doors with Cetaphil and a box of Kleenex.

when you all excited but bae says “i can’t come over right now”

And speaking of masturbation, that’s what this all comes back to.

Publicly bragging about your charitable exploits to make others feel bad is a really disturbing form of masturbation.

That’s the opposite of what charity is supposed to be.

Charity is giving to give, not to get.

If you don’t get enough enjoyment from the act of giving, then do everyone a favor: don’t give.

Charity: Brought to you by Facebook!

There’s an old-timey saying I just invented that says “the only people who should know about your charity work are the IRS and your Maker”.

Which makes it all the more gauche that recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced he was donating 99% of his income to charity because he had a kid, or something like that.

i’m sure if this was a gif, you’d see his left hand pumping up and down

Most people with kids will tell you that once they “pop out a unit” the last expense they want to worry about is charity. But then again, most people with kids don’t have net worths that rival the GDP of even the most profitable African dictatorships.

Bokassa literally spent 1/3 of the Central African Republic’s budget on his coronation — that’s ballsy

Good on Zuckerberg for amassing his fortune and for having a kid, mirroring the trajectory of most people around our age we went to school with minus the fortune part.

But that “charity initiative” he’s bragging about for his kid? It’s just a giant trust fund LLC so he doesn’t have to pay taxes on the majority of his fortune and can dispense his money most efficiently.

the arrow indicates where the money goes…and stays

I don’t fault him for that either. What I do fault is all the dishonesty about it.

Why not just claim that the taxes in this country are out of control and this is your only resort to avoid being penalized for amassing enormous wealth?

Why not shed light on the fact that it’s your money, that you’d like to do with it what you see fit, and it’s none of the government’s business?

Why not point out the fact that you’re worth more to the IRS dead than alive?

Because you don’t get “positive vibes” from calling out a fakakta tax system or getting into the depths of corporate structure.

What you *do* get is tons of likes, hearts, stars (why don’t we just skip all these meaningless indicators of approval and go straight to a little fellatio emoji you can click?) for bragging about your charity.

explain to your grandkids you didn’t amass actual dollars as they’re waiting in line outside the Chan-Zuckerberg soup kitchen but you got a sh*tton of likes!

Which brings me to basics shouting from the Facebook rooftops about their charity work.

Exhibit A: this girl Hailey Mayo, who made an unctuous Facebook post about all the charity she did in a day.

Give her a medal!

Give her ALL the medals.

She did all this charity yet still had enough time at the end of the day to write an extraordinarily complex public post detailing that specific charity.

Think of how many more handicapped transgender orphans would’ve been helped if she spent the hour detailing her charity efforts doing something to help them instead.

“i don’t care if you don’t have a can opener to crack open that dollar store soup, i’m too busy Instagramming me unloading the cans from the back of my Highlander”

I have no qualms with people bragging about their accomplishments.

But charity isn’t an accomplishment.

It’s our duty as human beings.

You don’t see people bragging about the fact that they made a bowel movement *in* the toilet this time on facebook.

It’s your duty as a good person to not just squat and crap wherever you like just as much as it is to be charitable.

For my more simple readers, please don’t confuse the two and try to flush a can of green beans in your Kohler while popping a squat in a Salvation Army kettle. I’ll be impressed you made it through the coin slot, but the bell ringer won’t be.

only a FAKE bell ringer would wear a vest saying “I AM A “BELL RINGER””

Bragging about your charity while claiming to be humble is like bragging about your weight loss while double-fisting turkey legs.

I pointed that out as follows:

Hailey Mayo’s do-gooder-partner-in-crime, Dana Amireh, snapped, bless her.

I’d be upset too if I was the Gretchen Wieners to Regina George.

Unsatisfied with her dotty replies to everyone who responded to my post, she took matters into her own hands, making a public post calling what I did “bullying”.

Let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge: guys don’t do this.

Guys don’t brag about their charity work unless they’re trying to get laid (*cough* Richard Branson *cough*).

Girls fold charity into their social standing, along with manipulating their less-cute friends to do things for them.

and into *staying* less-cute than them

Girls are also more effective bullies than guys could ever be.

Guys will beat you up.

Girls are psychological.

Drunk guys punch.

Drunk girls tell you they were never your friend to begin with.

If guys are a bunch of brawling Irishmen after a soccer match, girls are Aum Shinrikyo.

guys: “no hard feelings, let’s have a pint”

girls: “i will make sure you die from the inside out”

Dana claims to be a victim of “bullying” (while, you know, actually bullying).

But how?

A really effective form of bullying is for a bully to claim they’re a victim while shaming everyone “beneath” them because it leaves no fingerprints.

As the recipient of that kind of covert bullying, you feel bad about yourself and you don’t know why.

You also feel bad for the person claiming to be a victim.

It’s manipulative – when it works.

Almost as manipulative as claiming that you’re giving away 99% of your wealth – to your own tax-dodging trust fund.

Exciting update: there’s a part 2 to this story!

The paradox of free speech

As a culture we’re approaching a point (with increasing speed) where more speech is actually leading to a worsening of society. There is little delineating anymore between thought and speech. Nothing is off limits, nothing is left better off unsaid. Self-censorship is at an all time low. Unfortunately the florid prose of centuries past has given way to a coarsening of what comes out of our mouths. If there are no guardians at the gates, what’s the point of having gates at all?

More speech leads to louder speech and louder speech leads to only the most simplistic, worst things being heard. In fact, that’s how free speech brings about its self destruction – through the zenith of its proliferation.

More darkly, the more that speech is allowed the more that people want to censor. “You can’t say that”, “you hurt my feelings”, “your speech creates a climate of [insert unsavory thing here]”. Speech is racist now, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, agoraphobic.

Phobia.

Fear.

What is there to fear in speech besides someone else being correct?

Why should that be feared?

By allowing speech to be free we’re not understanding *its* limitations, but ours. More things appear to be taboo the more that things are uncovered. We’re less comfortable with more uncharted territory. A “naughty word” used to be representative of sex. Now naughty words are no longer sexual, there’s “hate” speech. There are certain words that “represent hate”.

Which is patently ridiculous. Words represent nothing but a series of letters and a clinical definition. Intent, tone, context, audience – THOSE can be hateful, prurient. A change in tone can turn a cold statement into a pickup line. A sharpness of voice can change an academic description of terminology into a racist slur meant to cause injury.

Text culture places more undue burden on speech. It takes the emotions out of words, the tone, and leaves it to our imagination, which is usually a horrible place to go. It’s made us understand more about what was said (it’s right in front of us) but pay less attention (we don’t have to impolitely ask to repeat, it’s right in front of us). It’s made us robotic, turning previously face-to-face human interaction into robotic, quick phrases.

Which explains why emojis are so popular. People want to impart *feeling*. There’s a reason why hieroglyphics, cave paintings, oral histories, and ritual re-enactment were one of the earliest forms of communication – we have to “monkey see, monkey do” with each other to know what the f*ck is going on.

The more we communicate, the better we are in the long term. The more we talk, the bigger our brains get. The less limitations we have as humans.

Freedom of speech means no limitations.

Without it, how could I be saying what I’m saying now?

Can we get this election over with?

I’m already bored with the 2016 election and it’s not even 2016 yet.

The only thing making it semiexciting is Trump. At least he has a sense of humor unlike the rest of these buffoons.

i will never not love this

How do we keep putting these smarmy, harping scolds up there?

Rand Paul consistently looks seconds away from shi**ing his pants.

after the campaign, he can do infomercials.  “this toilet paper is the GOLD standard”

Carly Fiorina is, without a doubt, the “can I speak to the manager?” lady.

“what do you mean the chowder in bread bowl isn’t gluten free?!”

Also, Jeb Bush is there.

“can i go home yet?”

Instead of wishing we could remove Rubio’s pitifully small brain and replace it with Cruz’s, let’s focus on a more realistic candidate:

Me.

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That’s right, folks.

Instead of bothering with how many ways Hillary can and will screw this up for herself, let’s focus on the future — 2028, to be exact, when thanks to being just a couple months from being eligible to run in 2024 (thanks, MOM) I’d be able to continue the inexorably slow and painful path of driving this country into the ground the RIGHT way.

if any of you love me you’ll get me this hat for christmas…i’m sorry, for “Starbucks(TM) red cup day”

Why double, then triple the national debt and feel like you have nothing to show for it? Is your life any better now that we’re more in debt to the Chinese than a drunk British gambler at a Macau casino?

Of course it’s not. Your life sucks. You spend half your time scrolling through other people’s Instagram feeds and the other half working at a sh*t job…that is, if you even have one.

i just reposted a tweet without attribution, am i the fat jew yet

If we’re going to have a debt equivalent to the age of consent in most states (way to go Mississippi) times a trillion, shouldn’t we all have hoverboards or something?

the next person who calls this a “hoverboard” deserves to be stabbed by ben carson

My campaign promise is to only increase the debt if I can buy really cool stuff. Like a space-age capital city in the middle of the country so it’s easier to get to (I’m looking at you, Lebanon Kansas) or a fleet of supersonic jets to get you from LA to NY in less time than one episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the subsequent crying spell.

Otherwise what’s the damn point? Underfunded entitlements? Wars with countries that don’t rhyme with “Trance”? You can’t join the mile-high club and land before climax with any of those!

“can you stop using my armrest before i punch you in the testes?”

While we’re on the topic of sex — I can promise there will be no sex scandals under my administration unless America can be proud of who I’m shtupping in the Oval Office. Clinton only lied because…well, have you seen Monica? There was another rumor that he and Barbra Streisand did it in the Lincoln Bedroom on Election Night 92, which goes to show he should’ve been impeached on taste alone. You’ll only see me in supermodels in my administration, but tbh running the country leaves little time for anything except a quick jerk between meetings.

When it comes to women’s issues, I agree — they have them. Protip: if a woman says “I’m fine”, run for the hills! *ducks stiletto flung at the stage*

“this is a chart of the number of times you’ve used your period as an excuse.  if you were telling the truth, you must be 164 years old” *ducks second stiletto*

I don’t think illegal immigration will be an issue by 2028 because the country will either become a client state of Mexico or there won’t even be jobs for illegals anymore. I’m not in favor of amnesty, but for sending us 20 million people can we at least have Baja California? We’d add like 7 beach cities *and* solve the expensive housing problem in SoCal.

I have a very proactive foreign policy. You remember that scene in V for Vendetta where they talked about wars in “Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria before and after, Sudan”? That was weak compared to what I have in mind. Any country without a Starbucks is on my sh*tlist. My apologies in advance to Italy, but how else am I supposed to truly feel basic when I go to Rome and re-enact the Lizzie McGuire Movie scene by scene?

someday i’d like to serenade myself *outside* of my bathroom

I’m also for decreasing the size of government. In my administration, I will specifically fire one useless individual: the press secretary. Why let some schmuck go out there to answer questions from the press? I can do that myself just fine. And why does the press get to ask questions? Why not just make it a random panel of 10 random Americans who can ask whatever they want once a week? If you can’t face a tough question about what kind of underwear you wear (none) how can you face Putin (the only current world leader who will still be in power by 2028)?

when he say “netflix and chill” but you know he ain’t got a netflix account

See folks? This whole presidenting thing (it’s a verb, I said it’s a verb, I’ll issue an executive order to make it a verb, which is 221 less executive orders than Obama’s issued) isn’t that hard. Our country (“Estados Unidos”, because apparently every candidate has to dribble out a few lines in Spanish to satisfy loud interest groups that don’t actually care about Mexican people) deserves a leader that believes in small government (but increases the size of it), a strong national defense (then wastes it), and is pro-life (but doesn’t do crap about abortion, which is somehow still a political issue).

If you’re all going to elect someone who promises the moon and can’t even get us there again, why not make it me?

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the candidate you want to have too many glasses of wine with!

In the future, we can download emotions

It’s hard for me to speak the truth sometimes to people I love. In a way, it’s easier to tell it to complete strangers. For some reason they just seem more forgiving – they don’t know the experiences you’ve been through (which usually would engender some sort of sympathy I guess?) but when you get rejected by complete strangers the rejection is, at the surface, less painful. It’s harder to get rejected by someone close to you.

It’s harder still when you know you gave them every reason to reject you.

We should commission stories from people who live through suicide attempts just to see the last emotion they feel before they pull the trigger. Is it euphoric? Is it numb? Maybe if we understood that better, we could help more people who get to that point. Maybe we can simulate that feeling right before and give it to them in a healthy way. Maybe in the future we can just download emotions from a cloud-based network, 3D printing them in flesh with neural tissue and synthesizing the chemical reactions behind them.

I always knew right before I was going to barf because I’d get a weirdly salty taste in my mouth. It was never enough for me to be able to warn people around me. I barfed in the back of my parent’s car on a trip to LA to see the Hercules premiere as a kid. I barfed on my teacher, Ms. Matson’s, shoes in 2nd grade. I barfed when I got food poisoning from Giulia’s, an Italian restaurant in West Fresno. I think I probably barf more now than when I was a kid, probably at a rate of about once per year. At 3 meals a day which I definitely don’t eat, that means that 1 out of 1095 meals hits the porcelain before its time. That’s a pretty good rate I guess. I’d feel really bad if I bought an expensive meal and then threw it up.

Sometimes we don’t realize the kind of underlying situations that create how we feel. That’s why we feel hopeless or depressed or euphoric. I don’t want to understand why I’m euphoric, I just want to feel it. If I rechecked why, I’ll probably find a reason I shouldn’t be and then stop feeling euphoric.

I wonder how that guy who drove through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market felt. I wonder if he was rejected by his friends and family. I wonder how he felt, knowing that strangers knew the truth about what happened sooner than the ones he loved. I wonder if he felt suicidal. I wonder if he knew what a cloud-based network or 3D printing was. I wonder if he threw up. I wonder how he felt having a meal again with produce from a farmer’s market.

I wonder if he ever felt happy again.

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In the future, we can download emotions and all of these concerns will seem as trivial to us as remembering the crank the engine on the Mercer before we drive to the market is today.

The only thing we have to worry about is getting there in one piece.