The Seven Stupid Habits of Highly Annoying People (a disenbrained rant)

August 15, 2011

Some people are OK. For instance, you are seven months pregnant and you just boarded the bus or train. The moppy-hair kid with the PSP takes note, invites you to have his seat while he disembowels opponents on Mortal Kombat, standing. He’s not so bad and chances are you won’t spend the next 30 minutes developing increasingly vile scenarios by which he meets his inevitable doom. A win-win situation for the both of you.

However, many (most?) of the people you encounter throughout the rest of your day are probably less palatable. The world we live in has spawned a race of people who bond together in silent accord over a set of behaviors (habits) which are the topic of this week’s posting. It’s not that these people are malicious (although some certainly are), rather, this subsection of humanity has devolved into a sort of self-unaware conglomerate of energy consuming cells seemingly bent on creating a less habitable world for us all. By consciously choosing not to be cognizant of their actions (or more importantly, the impact of their actions) they have laid the foundation for a society which progressively cares little for the common good in preference for a type of F U Individuality that increasingly defines our societal fabric. Some of these habits are merely a nuisance. Others generate the sort of vitriol that, over the long stretch of history, may effectively Darwinesque them into a forgotten oblivion. The reader should feel free to parse the following habits into appropriate buckets, and, if a responsible citizen, should feel a sense of obligation to call out offenders when they act in such a manner. Together, we the denizens of a better future, hold strong under a flailing banner of optimism and the prospect that tomorrow can be better if we manage to wash the following patterns of behavior from civil society. I present to you , in no specific order, The Seven Stupid Habits of Highly Annoying People:

  1. Obsessive Social Media Updating – The inane details of your pathetic life are readily available to every poor sot who felt obligated to return the favor of a connect (be it a circle inclusion, a friending or a Twitter connect). What prompts you to think that it is a good idea to share, with several hundred people, useless nuggets of trivial data about your sad little world? Your “breakfast tasted great” huh? Do you think I really give a shit? Did I make that breakfast for you? Are you complimenting my culinary skills? No, to all of the above. You simply had a little extra time on your hands and thought it would be appropriate to share this micro revelation with the world. Are you bored? Do you simply need attention? Are you in search of confirmation? Are you fishing for information about other peoples’ breakfasts because you have absolutely nothing better to do? Did your decision to make this announcement cause you to bump another task into the ‘incomplete’ pile? If yes, I’d love to know what profundity played second fiddle to this announcement. Actually, no I wouldn’t and neither would any of your ‘friends’, jackass. Next time you are in a restaurant and decide it’s a good idea to share your feeling about the meal, stand-up and announce in a big, bold voice to all restaurant patrons your thoughts. Consider the looks they return and assume that people on the other end of the social media continuum are expressing the exact same response to your update. Bon Appetite.

    pointless facebook update

    Ms. Ham, I'm surprised you even know what pants are

  2. Honking Immediately at the Start of a Green Light – I’m still unclear as to why this isn’t against the law. Oh, wait, it is and for a reason no doubt. Do you think that the people in front of you are intentionally not moving because they want to sit idle in their car wasting petrol? Are you concerned that other drivers may be blind, or perhaps just as stupid as you are? What if everyone participating in this behavior? Wouldn’t that be enjoyable where every time a light turned green a 100 decibels of screech raped everyones’ eardrums. Maybe you would even prefer to extend this brilliant methodology to stop signs? Did it not occur to you that it takes a least a fraction of a second to remove one’s foot from the brake in order to place it on the accelerator? Are you capable of executing two mutually exclusive tasks in the same point along the space-time continuum? No? Then why do you expect that a queue of five drivers in front of you are simultaneously capable of this impossible feat? Next time you ask this of me, I’m going to put my car in park, get out, rip your antenna off with my teeth then beat you senselessly with it. Fair Warning.
  3. Saying Something, Anything During a Meeting – Silence can be golden. An opportunity for thoughts to simmer, to marinate. A chance for next level thinking to take root and blossom after deliberate consideration of points. Unfortunately for you, the half-second of silence provided ample opportunity to reveal to everyone that you do in fact have a functioning pulse (often to the dismay of many). It’s not as if your contribution added anything valuable to the process, you simply felt it necessary to be heard even if what you said was a mere reconfiguration of the words in the previous utterance. Your aim is not knowledge-expansion, bridge-building, clarification or empathy, rather, it is simply a ploy to register your physical presence in the room. A fart, burp, groan or smacking noise as a result of a self-punch could have been registered with the same effect. Nobody in the room gained anything from your decision to speak, instead, you have managed to (at least minimally) derail thought processes as people now must take a brief pause to consider why it remains advantageous for society to permit you to consume limited oxygen resources in these times of creeping over-population. Next time you are in a meeting and a moment of silence descends upon the participants, do yourself a favor by picking up your laptop and smashing yourself in the face effectively registering your presence to all. This way, instead of people fretting for a their ration of limited oxygen, they can ponder the prospect of you hitting yourself too hard, rendering yourself unconscious and unable to continue your participation in the current and possibly (hopefully) future meetings.
  4. Leaving Long, Instructive Voicemail Greetings – Thomas Edison first applied for a U.S. patent for voice recording technology in 1877. Fastforward 134 years and it is fair to say that, as a civilization, we have had ample time to understand the purpose for and methodology of leaving a voice message.  If your incoming caller is in anyway confused about what to do and requires instructions on how to leave a voice message, you should reevaluate who you keep in your circle of friends, and perhaps even consider administering selective jockpunts. I think it would be prudent for us all to cut down the VM greeting to a simple “Thanks for calling, pls leave a message”. If the person on the other end gets confused and suddenly decides to eat his handset instead of leaving a message, consider yourself a useful societal filter, effectively weeding out communication from people who have less sense than a Raisinet. If you choose not to shave down your greeting message, I’m going to have to assume one of two things: (A) You think I enjoy wasting my time listening to stupid instructions from you and your automated lady friend (B) Your decision to leave said message is a calculated assessment of my intelligence level. In either case, I will take the following action to remedy the situation (and to further mitigate stress upon my system): contact everyone you have labelled as a mortal enemy and do my best to become a sincere companion of theirs. We will then pool together and develop a program which reroutes all your calls to Miss Cleo’s line discouraging anyone from ever trying to call you again.  
  5. Setting the Car Alarm to Hyper-Sensitive  –  Nobody wants to steal your 1989 Honda Civic with chrome rims and a broken exhaust system. The fact that you adhered the rear spoiler to your trunk with twine and duct tape should have tipped you off that you drive a worthless piece of crap, unjustified for any level of protection. Why do you feel it is necessary for your car to make a noise when the garbage truck rolls by? Are you in some way competing? I’d like to propose a benchmark, a sort of threshold if you will. If your car alarm is worth more than 3% of the value of your car, you should really take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are capable of making judicious financial decisions. More importantly though (for the rest of the hearing public) please ask yourself the following question: “Is there a direct correlation between the marginal volume of my car alarm and the increasing impetus for a random citizen to intervene should that same car alarm sound?” If you don’t understand this question, research has told me that the best method of car security for your particular situation would be to leave a half-dozen king cobras on the dashboard of your car as they will certainly be a more effective deterrent. I hope those subwoofers destroy your hearing rendering you one step closer to complete biological failure.

    snakes on a car

    pythons are good, but cobras are more effective

  6. Not Getting Out of the Way  – Perhaps the KING of HABITS for the completely self-unaware individual, and, unfortunately, one which makes an appearance in multiple aspects of daily life. Be it at the grocery store, on the road, in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, the supremely self-unaware individual is just that; unaware that they are blocking many other people with their ignorance. They clog up the fast lane, they’re blind to the fact that their shopping cart is preventing anyone else from moving in the aisle, and they can’t seem to grasp the concept that other people move at different paces along the sidewalk. It’s frustrating. It’s rampant. It should have some penalty attached to it. For God’s sake, have some sense of self or at least be cognizant of the fact the you are not the only person occupying space on planet earth. This mentality (or lack thereof) even extends to things such as not stunning your phone at appropriate times (in a movie theatre, funeral, during a speech, etc). Is it really possible that you haven’t quite learned how to properly use that electronic device, or are you simply just the kind of asshole that put his singular interest above the collective interests of impacted hundreds? Either way, society would be better off without you. Your penalty? Each time you block or otherwise disturb more than 2 people at once, the blocked/disturbed people are permitted to set fire to whatever object has assisted you in the offense. Your cellphone? A couple squirts of kerosene and a match. Your car? Molotov cocktail. Your grocery cart? Lighter fluid in aisle 5, matches right next to it. We should all take notes from this man as he is truly and innovator:  
  7. Littering – Yep, good ‘ol fashion littering. The sort of misdemeanor crime which screams “I’m still several chromosomes shy of 46 and I advertise this to all by revealing my inability to delineate where I should shit from where I should eat.”It is nothing short of amazing that there are seemingly so many people in a civilized society that haven’ t grasped the importance of separating these duties. I think stiffer penalties should be employed (and aggressively enforced) which not only impact the wallet of the littering offender but also create a perspective which can be used to teach the ignorant person. Specifically, a law proposal: one room in the offender’s home shall be filled to the ceiling with rubbage from the local landfill. The refuse must stay in place for a period of 30 days after which, the garbage is to be extracted by a clean up crew at the litterer’s expense. We can’t (yet) improve the biological condition of these criminals (they will remain chromosomally challenged for the foreseeable future), although, we can take steps to increase their awareness by providing them with some practical experience in the impacts of their stupidity.
    penalty for littering

    penalty for littering

    ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

    I wrote a book. At $2.99, it’s a freakin’ bargain. Click the image below to learn more:

    debut novel Where's Unimportant

    Fortunately, the book is an Indie project, so your hard earned money won’t further enrich media-controlling assholes like this guy:

    Sadly, for many, Murdoch controls what media you consume

    Sadly, for many, Murdoch controls the media you consume...do you know how expansive his empire is?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation

Advertisements

One wife, two wives, three wives, four? Five wives, six wives, seven wives? Really? More?

July 27, 2011

Suspending judgement tends to be a good policy for the intellectually inclined. So much of our human knowledge is frail, fraught with errors, subjective, or misinterpreted as deterministic. Yet, far too often, we acquire a bit of knowledge and feel compelled to castigate everything around us that doesn’t dovetail nicely with our new information. A sort of irony masquerading as enlightenment like when you blame the dog for your fart simply because the dog lacks the vocal chords to effectively lodge a retort to your outright lie (and before you think too long about it, the previous analogy doesn’t stand up logically).

Live and Let Rape?

In the normal course of daily events, I tend to believe that the rationale “live and let live” is compatible with the concept of suspended judgement. People should execute the details of their lives to the best of their ability and allow others the opportunity to do the same so long as neither party is adversely impacted (certainly difficult to quantify) by the other’s choices. Simple concepts to grap, however, real-world implementation remains a challenge since it is difficult to clearly draw the lines (especially with broad legal language) to articulate where my rights end and your rights begin.

Take the issue of polygamy. Personally I don’t give a shit if Jed has 100 wives so long as he:

  1. doesn’t receive preferential tax treatment as a result of his choices, and
  2. the most vulnerable among us are not subjugated, oppressed or otherwise victimized

Personally, I’m happy not to be swimming in that estrogen-fueled madness that Jed has to endure, especially when the menstrual cycles of five score align with a full moon. No amount of sexual variety can properly temper so much hormonal insanity.

Unfortunately, for one isolated Arizona town, polygamy is merely a gentle cover for a culture of oppression, subjugation, rape, abuse, racism and even disease. In this community, Jed’s not marrying a stable of educated, adult women of their own volition, rather, Jed is being given 13 year-old brides, with 9 year-old educations by an all-powerful “prophet” enabling Jed to relieve his pedophilia tendencies on multiple child-brides under the guise of religion. Furthermore, much of this activity is financed by tax payers because Jed believes it is his duty, as a man of God, to “bleed the beast” (ie: US Gov’t) of funds to support his unmanageable large household of incestual rape.

Now I give a shit and can’t suspend judgement.

Westward Bound

So I found myself out west last week (not in the existential sense – simply on a quick visit), far from my cramped Brooklyn apartment and spared from the 114 Fahrenheit radiating from the concrete. On a high-speed romp through the desolate, crusty nothingness north of Las Vegas (still can’t figure out why anybody likes this place), I was compelled to pass through the little town of Colorado City while en route to visit my Jack Mormon friend up in Salt Lake. Colorado City, you may remember, is the community of FLDS polygamists formerly ruled over by FLDS ‘prophet’ and imprisoned serial rapist Warren Jeffs. My interest here was a sort of sociological one; an itching curiosity to attain even just an outsiders glimpse at such a secretive and brainwashed community. My intent wasn’t to gawk so much as it was to simply experience whatever there may be on offer. I set the GPS to northern Arizona.

A Stop at Big Devil (WalMart)

On the advice of my SLC buddy, I paid a visit to a Walmart about 30 miles outside of Colorado City. The site, he claimed, provided an excellent juxtaposition of new-world consumption with old-world polygamy. It did feel a little weird stalking grandmas and kids in a retail establishment, but curiosity has done far worse to the cat in the past. I did my best to enter stealth mode and because of it, I’d say my pictures are mostly crap. I’m a terrible spytographer:

polygamists shopping

polygamists buying goods from Satan

It was odd to say the least. Not quaint, simplistic and old-worldly like a visit through Amish country, more like a sort of white-trash-come-wanna-be-wholesome with a dash of Little House on the Prairie. A mashup of “yes, I made this cotton dress with…aren’t these Nikes just to die for?” A blending of beehive hairdos and trailer-park braids. A “fuck you outside world” mixed with a bit of “how much did you say this digital camera costs?”. I hope this is coming across clearly. I hope you get the picture. You’ve got Grandma’s furiously punching buttons on her smartphone while daughter(or more probably, sister-bride) is pushing the cart full of Lay’s potato chips to the Ford F-150. Modernity appears to be perfectly acceptable beyond the thin veneer of an ugly hand-made night-gown thing. Strange. Fascinating. I stalk on.

Arriving in Zionborhood

It only got increasingly odd after entering the pearly gates of Colorado City:

welcome to colorado city

welcome to colorado city where "We Lik'em Young"

Straight away it was clear outsiders were not welcome as “No Trespassing” signs hung from every fence, gate and building. Houses were massive and crudely built with nearly all of them sided with plywood Spackled together at the seams. Many houses had boards or plastic sheeting as windows. Every house had “Zion” emblazoned above the front door. Few people were out and about. The few kids that were outside stared us down, scowling; it felt like a segment from Children of the Corn.

plywood polygamist palaces

plywood polygamist palaces

victims, I mean kids

victims, I mean kids

Unfortunately, many of the pictures are fuzzy because I rushed, fearful that some crazy fundamentalist might fly off the handle (at this point I’m thinking Waco, Jonestown, Taliban, and on and on). We drove around the dirt roads for about 25-30 minutes snapping pictures and trying to get a feel for daily life in this isolated community. Some houses had industrial metal trash bins out front. Several houses had massive, metal shipping containers in the backyard (storage?? extra lodging??). Each house had multiple cars parked in front of it. We did spot traces of kids playing behind corrugated aluminium fences…normal stuff…jumping on trampolines, riding plastic cars, smacking at a water tank with tree branches. All the while, huge puffy white clouds drifted along a brilliant blue sky and massive red cliffs provided a beautiful backdrop to the community:

Colorado City backdrop

Colorado City backdrop

We did happen upon one Zion which had a clan hanging out of it (given the size of the home, it most likely belongs to an apostle fleecing the community of its meager, gov’t subsidized funds):

pious plygs party on the porch

pious polygamist porch party

As we were leaving, we happened upon Mother Plyg and her little ducklings; can’t help but wonder how many of those kids have already been sexually assaulted. Sad.

mother plyg duck

mother plyg duck

Final Thoughts

All up, the visit to Colorado City was strange, surreal. It would have been interesting to have a conversation with some folks, but without anyone on the inside, it is difficult to engage. After the visit, propped up in some dingy motel dive about 40 clicks east, I dove into a late-night Google-hole of an evening and learned about the timing coincidence of my visit. In July of last year, Warren Jeffs’ multiple rape conviction was overturned due to deficient jury instructions. His new trial is set to begin this month (July 2011) with potential life sentence hanging over his head. Unfortunately, this trial will probably not get nearly as much coverage as the Casey Anthony trial. White trash is Florida is apparently much more broadcastable than an isolated rape factory in the middle of nowhere Arizona. Sad, because the many victims rotting away in FLDS communities around the country could certainly use popular support and media attention to bring about much needed change.

Ironically, even through his years of incarceration, Jeffs has held a rather substantial grip on power – conducting sermons from his jailhouse home and breaking up homes at will. Even after he admitted that he lied about being a prophet in jail, many FLDS members still believe he is their prophet.  Since admitting he lied, he has retracted the statement, gotten back to health, and retained power among many FLDS members. Currently, he is being challenged by another power player (William Jessop) in a struggle to wrestle hearts, minds and property from the followers from Jeffs. Time will tell who grabs the reins. It is difficult to determine the power structure (if there is a formal one) in Colorado City today, however, one thing seems clear; FLDS leaders are clearly centered around a perverse ideology and will continue to abuse power and rape kids until outside forces intervene.

There are many interesting documentaries/reads out there on the FLDS. Here are some I highly suggest:

Finally, a weird sort of “drive-by documentary” (in three parts) done by a former polygamist. Basically, this is a Lost Boy doing a driving thru Colorado City 3 years after being kicked out of the community. He drives around the city pointing out places of interest. He also stops by his parents house in an attempt to talk to them. It is a fascinating view and explanation of some of the specifics from the community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTv4zVyTk_8&feature=related
********************************************************************************************************************
If you have a moment, check out my debut novel, Where’s Unimportant. It can be found in any major online retailer (or on my website at http://www.danielshortell.com) in ebook ($2.99) and paperback ($10.99). (Disclaimer: no children were raped in the process of writing/editing/publishing the book).

New Laws Mulled After Westboro Baptist Church Supreme Court Win

April 10, 2011

About a month ago the Supreme Court, in an 8 to 1 decision, upheld Westboro Baptist Church’s right to picket the funerals of deceased US soldiers. The lone dissenter was Justice Samuel Alito, who, in a post-judgement  interview was quoted as saying, “I’ve never believed in the doctrine ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’, and, I’m currently working with Congress to frame legislation which provides the federal government  a set of tools to centrally control this type of vitriol.”

Seemingly unaware of the concept of checks and balances, Alito continued, “Over the past couple of years, I have had numerous  discussions with Senator Lindsey Graham regarding a range of tools the federal government could employ to tamp down hate speech in America. One idea which has repeatedly surfaced as both low-cost and technologically viable, we’ve dubbed the Freedom Collar. This device, if implemented, would act as a deterrent to those who aim to inject ignorance and hatred into the public discourse, rightfully protecting the freedoms of those who wish to listen only to  points of view consistent with American values.”

Freedom Collar designed after the Bark Control Collar

“The Freedom Collar is quite a simple piece of technology, the program of which, could be managed under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security,” Graham said in a recent interview. “We are currently evaluating the efficacy of leveraging Navy Seals to covertly ‘collar’ targets identified for speech reduction, either while they sleep, or, while immobile on the toilet. Once we have collared all identified targets, we can configure each collar with a set of voice-recognized hate words and phrases which, if spoken, will automatically administer a medium-level shock directly to the throat of the target. The shock is not enough to injure the target, however, during prototype tests, 75% of administered shocks resulted in the assailant ‘pooing’ himself/herself, which, studies have revealed, should act as a strong second-level deterrent against hate speech.

Fred Phelps wearing a prototype of the Freedom Collar

Attorney General Eric Holder was sought for comment regarding the impending Freedom Collar proposal and was quoted as saying, “I’m not confident that the Justice Department will be able to endorse the Freedom Collar program, but, rest assured, the visual of Terry Jones crapping his pants while burning Qu’rans certainly resonates with my sense of comedy.”

someone paying a dear social price for hate speech

Jones thinking, to burn (then poop) or not to burn (then not poop), that is the question.

So, for those of you living with your head in your bum, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is a nutty little ‘institution’ hailing from Topeka, Kansas headed up by the looney Fred Phelps and comprise of a total of 71 members (most of whom, are related to Fred). Their vile rhetoric commonly appears at the funerals of US soldiers KIA and homosexuals murdered in hate crimes. Their inbred, white-trash message is a clear indication that free speech is alive and well in the good ‘ol USA.

Instead of validating as legitimate their message with a negative response, we should embrace their ignorance and be happy that our first amendment allows people this depraved to roam freely without being attacked. Imagine for a moment the type of response their hate speech would provoke in, say, some closed-off, tribal region of Afghanistan. Reason over ignorance…the power of intellectual evolution!

Taking a step back from the WBC’s choice of picket location (the funerals) and focusing solely on the un-targeted version of their message, one cannot, I think, succumb to the comedic lunacy of their beliefs. Yes, these people actually believe what they preach…unreal!

If this is your first time hearing about WBC, do yourself a favor and Google them for some comic relief, or, just check out Fred during one of his sermons:

**************************************************************************************

Check out my debut novel, Where’s Unimportant at http://www.danielshortell.com