Thursday, December 15, 2016

No, Virginia, You've Been Deceived

No, Virginia, You've Been Deceived
by Rob Cottignies


            Stop lying to your children. Yes, telling your kids that Santa Claus is real is a lie and you are horrible for doing so. The same goes for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Yakko Warner, Wilford Brimley, and whoever else you trick kids into thinking is magical.

            Once upon a time, I was quite smart. I would delve into a subject and pick it apart, criticizing its integrity and answering my questions about it while raising new ones. Perhaps I was an odd child. But what didn't separate me from the other kids was that I believed what my parents told me. When I was learning what things are called, an adult neighbor would point to an airplane in the sky and say "Boat". Of course this is hilarious but apparently I knew better than this roué. I knew it was a plane because that's what my parents told me and they would never lie to me.

            Then one soggy Christmas Eve, I went to the bathroom. (That sound gross.) On the way, I saw my mother eating the cookies I had placed out for Santa. The nerve. I stood stunned while she displayed the toys which Santa always left for me. She took them out of shopping bags and scratched off stickers. It made no sense but I didn't want to be naughty so I quietly returned to my room so I could think the whole thing over.

            I laid under my awesome dinosaur sheets and wondered why in the world Santa would put my mom in charge of putting his toys under our tree. Then I thought about the world in general and how many people lived in it. Since I didn't really know what religions were, I thought there were only two categories of people- good and bad. (Isn't childhood sweet?) Santa only visited the houses where good people lived. 'How many houses could that be?', my young brain pondered. 'Probably a huge number like a million.' So there it was- one million houses were visited by Santa every December 24th. 'How long would he need at each house?', my adorable mind inquired. He'd have to get in, eat a cookie, leave presents, then get out. I knew he was fast so twenty seconds sounded about right. And maybe another ten between houses.

            Alright, thirty seconds a-pop. Let's do some math:
            30 seconds x 1 million houses = 30 million seconds
            30 million seconds ÷ 86,400 seconds in a day = over 347 days!!!
            (and that's for only a million houses!)

            'Magic and times zones are great and all', my youthful mind thought, 'but those cannot explain doing almost a year of work in just one night. This is unacceptable!' I puzzled and puzzed until my puzzler was sore. Then I thought of something I hadn't before. Maybe Christmas does come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, was one giant crock of shit.

            So there it was- My mom was Santa. My dad was Santa. Everyone's mom and dad were Santa. It was all a hoax. I was furious but I thought that if I exposed the fallacy I would stop getting Starting Lineup action figures. They say revenge is sweeter than a puppy suckling a honeypot, so I decided to play along for as long as I could. For several more Christmas Eves, I would sing about a fictional fat guy and set out cookies for him and go to bed before he "arrived". And for several more Christmases, I got NFL figures of such notables as Dexter Manley, Ken O'Brien, and Ronnie Lott. There was peace on Earth.

            My parents never officially told me about their hideous treason but just assumed it by my teenage years. I don't know how other people learned the truth but I don't remember any ruckus at school so I assume their parents let it go as long as it could, then asked them not to blab to their classmates. And so ended an era of blind belief.

            Fast-forward to now and I wonder how I'd feel about it all had I been the 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' kid. If you aren't familiar with that song, I'll explain its premise (and I'm very jealous of your ignorance): One Christmas Eve, some disobedient brat who was supposed to be sleeping snuck around his house. Underneath the mistletoe, he saw his mother not only kissing but tickling Santa Claus. Apparently not traumatized, the lad thought it would've been funny had his father seen this spectacle. It's implied to adult listeners that it actually was the kid's father dressed as Santa. People might think this is funny and charming.

            I think otherwise. Had this kid told his father about his mother's infidelity the next morning, Dad would've only had two options:
            1) 'Well, Balthazar, that wasn't Santa but me dressed up in his costume. You might not know this but your parents are disgusting perverts who like to role-play before bringing out the hoses and peanut butter. Your mother confessed to me that she'd been very naughty this year and needed to be spanked. I did this then was rewarded when she jingled my bells and heated up my Yule log. Also, Santa isn't real. But you should still trust us forever.'
            …or…
            2) 'Well, Balthazar, thanks for telling me. That could not have been Santa because he is not real but it must have been someone dressed up as him. It was probably your mother's Yoga teacher, who she's been having an affair with for months. Pack your things and take the presents from me because everything she got you is awful. We'll go to a hotel and Mommy will get served with divorce papers tomorrow because my lawyer is fast. And Jewish. I'll explain what that means later.'

            Either way, the child is crushed and Christmas is ruined. Way to go, Balthazar's parents.

            So yeah, don't bullshit your kids. They might have to take care of you one day. Or worse, they might end up like me.
            Happy Holidays.



FAQs
Is this story about your childhood true?
I don't remember. Probably not. Or probably. Whatever.

Would you tell your kids about Santa Claus?
I would teach them about Saint Nicholas and how Sinterklaas and Santa were created in his image. And I would teach them about Krampus because I'd want to frighten them.

Didn't you dress and act as Santa for a friend's Christmas Eve party not once but twice?

Shut up.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Shut Your Face(book)

Shut Your Face(book)
by Rob Cottignies


            Shut up. Seriously. I can't take it anymore.
            Facebook started out as a networking website where people could talk to others about jobs and/or reconnect with old friends. You formerly needed a valid college e-mail address to be a member and you could only look up people from your school. I think. Something like that. Whatever. Now anyone can join it and post whatever horrible things they want. People have online fights about politics, post pictures of every little thing they do, and generally broadcast way too much information about themselves.
            At last count, I've unfollowed more than 60% of my "friends". They are not bad people and I do not hate them. I just don't care. I barely spoke to them when we used to be in the same room every day so I couldn't care less what they're doing now. To go with that, I'd be quite surprised if they care about what I'm doing. If you think I've unfollowed you, you're probably correct. If you're thinking, 'Why would someone unfollow me?', inquire within.
            So now I'm going to focus on three self-promoting, do-nothing, obnoxious, horrible types of Facebook posts: couples, dead relatives, thoughts and prayers.

            Couples
            This is gonna get violent real fast.
            Post all the pictures from your stupid wedding at once. Displaying a few here-and-there is horrible. This isn't an epic action movie. I don't need teaser trailers. Also, if I was at your wedding, I remember what the scene looked like. If I wasn't, we aren't that good of friends so I don't care anyway. Do people really look at pictures of weddings they didn't go to!?!?
            If you and your better half go somewhere interesting, that's great. But stop checking-in to every leg of your journey. Oh, you're at Newark Airport waiting for a flight to Denver? I don't care. Oh, you have a layover at O'Hare? I don't care. Oh, you arrived in Denver? That's too bad. I'd hoped you got sucked out of the plan somewhere over Nebraska. In addition to advertising that you're not home, it's uninteresting. Throw up a picture of yourselves in front of a mountain and say that you're having a lovely time. That's it. But I know it'll just be stupid crap for a week until you check back in to the Denver airport and I will completely lose my mind.
            I don't hide the fact that I don't like kids. (Actually, it's usually more the parents that I dislike.) I understand you posting a picture of your kid's first day of school. I don't care but I get it. However, documenting and posting to the world every minor thing your kid does makes me think you are an obsessed stalker with sadly nothing better to do. 'Here's my kid holding a shoe. Here's my kid looking at a tree. Here's my kid petting our stupid little dog.' Save it for the scrapbook. Only Grandma wants to see each and every one of these pictures so send them to her. She's lonely.
            The worst couples post things which should be shared only within their relationships. 'I miss you bunches even though you don't like potatoes.' That's a text message. (And what kind of savage doesn't like potatoes?) The other person will see the message and probably reply with something more idiotic. If I see it, my response will be less-than-favorable. These are the same couples who promote their own relationships to the world. 'I am the luckiest person ever because I found [name] and that person is my soulmate and today is [made-up holiday] AND the seven-month anniversary of the first time we watched Shrek together and we will last forever because we always [inside joke] and you are my baby sweetie honey pie snookum fishyface.' Shut up and go away forever. It's great that you're happy but reading about it is nauseating to people with pulses.

            Dead Relatives
            I've got some bad news for you- your grandmother who died in 1992 does not have access to Facebook. She was gone ten years before people were starting to find out what Facebook was. That's sad and it's wonderful that you still honor her birthday but she can't read your three-paragraph diatribe of nonsense. Do you know who can read it? Me. And I don't care. I'm sure your grandma was a lovely lady but I didn't know her and neither did most of your Facebook friends. So can it.
            Do you know what I did on my father's birthday the year that he died? I posted on Facebook, but it was just a song that made me think of him. No words, no explanation. Those who knew what it meant could appreciate it and those who didn't could enjoy a song they perhaps hadn't heard prior. Or anyone could just pass it by, which I would like to do with your entire existence.
            Every Facebook post screams look at me. 'Watch this. Read this. Aren't I hilarious?' But writing a public letter to a dead relative is nothing but attention-seeking. Be honest- You just want to see how many likes your post can get. And that makes you feel good because you are empty and awful.
            One of my best friends often posts about his father who died a few years ago. I knew the man well, so those posts mean something to me. But he does it right: a picture, a short description, over and out. He doesn't drone on-and-on as if he's actually communicating with his dad…
            Like this: 'Dear Uncle Bippy, I can't believe it's been six years since you passed (nice euphemism). Each day obviously gets easier but I miss you so much. I'll never forget you even though I only think of you every four days now.' Though unacceptable, this is probably sincere and seems tender but is really idiotic. If you believe Grandma and Uncle Bippy spend their afterlives scrolling through Facebook to see if they're mentioned even though they are unable to respond, you have a horrible idea of Heaven.

            Thoughts And Prayers
            I don't want to be accused of stealing from Anthony Jeselnik so I'll keep this short. Posting that your thoughts and prayers are with people you know (or not) after a tragedy is one micro-step above doing absolutely nothing. 'Oh, a building blew up five-thousand miles away? My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. Phew, that took a lot out of me. I hope I sent enough thoughts and prayers for the all the family members. But then there are friends and co-workers and other people who were also impacted. It's time for another post. Thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends and co-workers and other people who knew the victims. There; that should do it. But does everybody get one thought and one prayer? And shouldn't a victim's wife get more than their mailman? What if they had a dog? Dogs sense absence but they probably don't really know the extent of what happened. Alright, third post is a charm: One thought and one prayer to anyone who knew a victim and a few more thoughts and/or prayers to family members and close friends and mailmen while throwing out some extra thoughts and prayers in case any of the victims had really conscious dogs.'
            See how stupid you are? And take the translucent flag off your profile picture. You don't care about those people, you've never been to France, and doing that attention-seeking act was somehow directly in-between typing about your 'thoughts and prayers' and doing absolutely nothing. You clicked a button. You're not a hero.

            It's time to be real. Or whatever. I should just quit Facebook.

            Forget I said anything.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ooyaht

A travel tradition has come about. The key is to bring a small notebook with you when traveling with friends to record the nonsense you say. Don't write down who says what or what it means. Let the words speak for themselves.
Previous installments have been Muhayt and Neuyaht.
Now I present...

Ooyaht
by Rob Cottignies, Joseph McConnell, and Lindsay Something with special appearances by Leanne Folusiak
Illustrations by Joseph McConnell


That's probably the end of her butt.

It's the estrogen, man. Chicks- they're just not guys.

Oh, polenta, don't do this to me now.

What would a pterodactyl do?

Bitches love getting married.

Honkey Mkonkey.

I'm violently hungry right now. I'm going to beat a cow to death and eat it.

Whatever. Tomorrow is today so it'll be fine.

You're a maniac.
I know! It's good!

What's this weird chin!?!

Sometimes you eat soup, sometimes you boil alive. What are ya gonna do?

I'm looking forward to a nice dry dinner.

It's the only station here- Sheep Radio.

Buttman is back, Jack.

This would be a great place for flying grandmas.

There's normal rock and then there's paprika mountains.

We're in a cloud. You guys, we're the Care Bears!

Secret gay mountain sheep party.

He's terrifying. That animal must be a Satanic being.

I think he wants us to remove the pine tree from his butt.

It was nice to eat dinner.


It's a jar! hm ha hmm hmm he hm haa (creepy lady laugh)

With rivers coming out of her hair... hair rivers.

Oh boy, here we are. Butt-sex and sheep the entire trip.

Naked Russian waterfall bitches doing a photoshoot with Japanese guys playing ping pong.

Give him ten more years and he'll be a turtle.

Twenty minutes have been taken off the butt-sex clock.
Great news for my butthole!

A canoe for moths. Ten-moth canoe.

They always go for the face. Why don't they go for the knees?

Oh, it's a famous grill?

There are never too many crevices. A butt-crack is my favorite crevice.

Fishy breath!

Learn to eat rocks and you'll have food forever.

Either it's a girl or it's a normal person.

It's thin and stupid and the top is big. I hate it.

Let's go to the chicken area.

Someone else's bread.

Is she Geoffrey or Speedy Gonzalez?


Just speak in Portuguese because it sounds like Japanese and Japanese is good because Japan is in Asia.

They had a whole foot section.

It's not bread. It's fish.

Truth or Dale?

The butt train left the station.

Half these quotes are going to be about butts. And they're all from you. Ooyaht turned into Buttyaht.

We could go bowling at home but we won't.

Red should be "give" because it's like a period. You're giving red to the world.


Tina Turner- making dreams come true.

He was not a ravioli. He was a fettuccine.

I need a motorcycle and a bowl of Jell-O.

What's so good about puddle water?

Do you have a wet wipe? I have bologna fingers.

No seal left behind.

Octopi and sheep- very strange cousins.

Houses, a church, a car, father and son. Hvammstangi.

What the hell does that have to do with Giovanni Ribisi???

Crazy cumplant. Your first son, cumplant.

It's the little things in life. Nice heavy boils.

That frost isn't straight, it's bi. This is the 21st century, mom. It's cooler to be bi than straight.

It wasn't a UFO. It was boobs in the sky.

Those tires are so long and hard. They just keep going.

Red Stuff Lake.

You should like that smell. Great gas mileage.

Oh, we're back in jiggly boom boom world.

You have your clothes and I have shooting cans.

This conversation has turned into a wine glass.

Fashion... jeans, T-shirts. If you're cold, put on a sweater. Go do something.

My intuition tells me to take the mustard.

Are the cannons actually fossilized dinosaur buttholes?

Ah, shoe pork.

Another old moth shows up.

Peeing Roulette.

Goat cheese, milk, and screaming.


That's what they do in weird Satanic cults. They make them play in crap!

The smoke army will get us.


David Beckham is a buttbag.
No, he's a boner.
Yes, he's a boner.

Acorns and an accordion- that's what he likes.

Where's Gilbert?
Oh, he's buying a crazy hat.

OK, you two guys are done standing. Now you two go.

She looked like her chin was trying to eat her neck. She looked like an angry potato.

A waterfall of neckfat.

I gotta poop again. It's a two-poop day. It might be a three-poop day. It was a four-poop day.

The colon is a vortex to other worlds and alternate dimensions. Welcome to the Butt Zone.

I thought I was in an action movie.

And then there were two. Farewell, Smokey Jones...

I never thought I'd pluck eyebrows while drinking wine in a public Hungarian laundromat.

Black people Santa Claus.

This is the magic number for Ooyaht.

Ah, I thought you said Lip Tower.

Mars is the G-spot of the Milky Way.

Two blue moons don't make a red tongue.

I don't want to sound racist. Poor little baby Indians.

They look three times before spending a penny. This is not good.

You're the same as Monsanto!!! Just with jizz instead of GMOs.

We saw loons on the water. We walked over old horse crap. What a magical evening.

Es a vadi boo. Badinga bee gada. Don't hate the player; hate the game. Ga dinga be doo daa ingsa ver don inga ming kala bonga.

He's an old slidey fat guy. Who's he still playing with!?!

What language is he speaking? It's like a Dutch guy banged a Danish girl and a handicapped monster.

Australian men in their twenties is the worst species on the planet.

Take his enthusiasm and make it Asian.

I don't have your nose.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

That Ain't Wright

That Ain't Wright
by Rob Cottignies


             During the 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci spent much time dissecting birds to figure out how they flew. Based on this information, he came up with and sketched an idea commonly referred to as a flying machine. The design would never have worked as-drawn but it laid the groundwork for what would arguably be mankind's greatest invention. Then he drew a small portrait of a homely woman and everybody freaked out so that's what he's best-known for. Kinda sad.
            Skip ahead a few hundred years to a pair of brothers named Orville and Wilbur (nice names…… not) tinkering around with this very idea in North Carolina. The chaps performed the first controlled human flight. It's debated if the Wrights actually invented the prototype for modern airplanes but they will forever be remembered as the men who led us in that direction.
            Since then, aviation has had a grand history via names such as Charles Lindbergh, Samuel L. Jackson and Amelia Earhart, the latter being famous for disappearing, though Harry Houdini had nothing to do with it. Or did he??? No, because he died a decade before she went missing. Or did he fake his death so he wouldn't be suspected of bringing down Ms. Earhart??? Probably not, but apparently there's some reality-show star named Harry Amelia so you can figure that out on your own.
            Anyway, think about flying for a second. You can get to California from New York (almost 3,000 miles) in under six hours. It would take over 40 hours of non-stop speed limit driving to make the same journey. According to Google, it would take 911 hours to walk there. Put your abaci away- it's almost 38 days. And who knows how long it would take someone on in-line skates being pulled by an ATV to get there so please someone do this and find out though you will almost certainly bleed and catch fire in the process.
            But flight is still king. I can sit in a cushioned seat in the sky and calmly read, eat, sleep, or roll my eyes each time a baby cries. With such a rich history and amazing capabilities, why does flying make me so miserable?
            The simple answer can be found in bold below:

            People who bring weapons onto planes to hijack or otherwise cause terror. Whoever took me to the airport used to be able to wait at the gate with me until take-off. Now they'd pay $25 to park for ten minutes and couldn't hang with me anyway because of security. Safety is great but when I get stopped and searched and questioned about a nail clipper, there's a problem. Plus everyone has to get nude to go through the x-ray machine and face a barrage of violent stares from agents who could easily ruin someone's day.

            People who decided to charge for taking bags on planes. If I'm going away for two weeks, I will need a bag for my stuff. This is simple. But no, enough people who only travel for a day or two threw fits about having to pay the same amount as real people with real bags. Doing this has also led to people overpacking carry-ons, resulting in…

            People who take an insanely long time to board. I've read about scientists who've devised different ways to board planes involving front-to-back, alternating rows, random but controlled entry, and other methods. These techniques have been tested and the results were positive- they generally cut boarding time by at least half. So why haven't these faster ways been adopted? It's simple to teach an individual a new behavior but almost impossible to teach the same to a group. People en masse are too idiotic to follow easy plans that would relieve a problem everyone has with flying. So thanks for that.

            People who bring babies onto planes. They must know before they leave the house that hundreds of strangers will soon hate them. 'But Nana wants to see her little Timmy Woomboo.' While I'm all for throwing technology out the window, this is the age of it so Granny should only get pictures of the kid until she gets off her old carcass and goes herself. I don't blame the babies in these situations because they have no idea what's going on. 'Alright, I'm on Mom's lap. Now there's some loud noise. Now my head is imploding. What!?!?!?' There should be an age minimum for flying. I don't know what that limit should be but it would surely be swell if it rhymed with blineteen.

            People who get up ten times on a flight. I usually reserve a window seat so nobody will bother me like this but sometimes the aisle can't be avoided. And each time, I have to pause whatever awesome thing I'm doing to stand up and wait for some dope to awkwardly flop out of the row. Then I sit back down to continue whatever awesome thing I'm doing only to pause it again a few minutes later to let the fool back in the row. Sometimes I'll be next to a couple and they'll go at the same time. Considerate, one might say. I say not. The guy always comes back first so I have to stand to let him in then stand again when she comes back because women take ten times longer to pee for some mysterious reason.

            People who work for the airline. The captain who always has to greet everyone, especially the Super Sky Airplane Gold Flying Plus members. (Do those people really care about this special greeting?) The co-pilot who has to tell us what altitude we'll be flying at because exactly zero people are interested. The flight attendants whose patience level I can't imagine but always take up the aisle and do an unhealthy amount of smiling. (I'd like to try whatever drugs they do pre-flight.) The one gay male flight attendant who is on almost every flight and wants everyone to know that he's gay and male and a flight attendant. (His jokes fail every time.) The drink lady who asks if I want ice cubes in my orange juice. (I'd rather be thrown out of the plane. Do people really do this???)

            People who try to talk to me when I'm trapped in a seat next to them. 'So why are you traveling- work or family?' Like those are the only options. Morons. I despise small talk (and, really, any other kind of talk) and would much rather sit in silence. But no. Mr. Neck-Pillow-And-Safe-Haircut who is wearing a full suit on a plane for some ungodly reason is so lonely and pathetic that he insists on knowing what I "do for a living". To avoid this, I usually put headphones on before boarding even if they're not attached to anything. And that certainly doesn't always work.

            People who are young hippies and therefore aren't actually people. One time, I was seated when this smelly dread-locked couple sat next to me, but not before introducing me to their [horrible small dogs] that were in crates. Jerry and Marley. Seriously. Thankfully the little jerks were sedated and silent the entire flight but their bigger smelly jerk owners were anything but.

            People who give me full box of tissues to vomit in because there are no bags on the plane. This happened once so I felt it was necessary to mention it.


            To close- When asked how a flight was, I respond with 'The plane took off and landed, which was great. Everything in between was horrible.' Thanks a lot, people.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Shit + Hitler = Shitler

Shit + Hitler = Shitler
by Rob Cottignies



            Shit stinks. No really, it really stinks for real. And I'm talking about shit. Like, actual shit. This is not a metaphor nor a euphemism. (How would it be a euphemism?) I mean shit in the fecal sense of the word.
            When people smell something that reeks, they tend to say, 'Good gullivers, that smells like shit'. People go right to the top shelf in this scenario. In our minds, shit is the worst-smelling of all things. So when something smells horribly we immediately compare it to shit. Gym socks, dumpsters, weird uncles. Shit, shit, shit.
            "So what does shit have to do with Hitler?" -you
            Great question. Thanks for asking.
            I recently saw comedian Bill Burr and included in his act was a commentary on how we immediately compare bad people to Hitler. For instance, 'That orange monster-guy is so crazy and dangerous, he could be the next Hitler.'
            However, as Bill Burr pointed out, Hitler was not the worst guy ever. *For your convenience*, I've compiled a list of some folks who were worse than Hitler or at least on the same level. Some of these folks may not be statistically worse than Hitler, but they were pretty bad so feel free to call people these names sometimes just to mix things up. Here goes…

            Pope Urban II (c. 1042 - 1099): Wait, a pope??? Yes, a pope. This guy is credited with initiating the Crusades. The freakin' Crusades. Instead of nicely asking Muslims in Europe to vacate the continent, Urby gave the order to redecorate everything with their blood. His direct campaign killed about 200,000 people, which pales in comparison to our boy Adolf, but think about the subsequent Crusades and everything similar that followed. The Spanish Inquisition comes to mind. (Did you expect that?) So yes, at least one pope was worse than Hitler.

            Vlad The Impaler (1431 - 1476): The guy impaled people. That's hardcore. When an opposing army showed up to overtake the capital of Vlad's territory, they only found their own prisoners rotting on stakes which were also shoved through their bodies. This much is factual about Prince Vlad but he has been accused of many more things such as boiling people, skinning them alive, and dining among his impaled victims. It's even been said that he washed his hands with and/or dipped his food in their blood. If even half of these things are true, he deserves a spot near Hitler out of sheer brutality. Also, he was Bram Stoker's inspiration for his blood-sucking character Count Dracula. The man inspired Dracula and therefore vampires everywhere.
            Mary Tudor (1516 - 1558): Bloody Mary (surprisingly, the drink was named after her) was the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first of six wives (mad drama). After a long struggle to attain the English throne, which included violent scheming and proving she was not a child of incest, Mary married a Spanish guy and declared all Protestants to be heretics. She ordered the burning of over 300 of them because whatever Protestants believe didn't jive with whatever she believed. Seems logical.
            Ivan The Terrible (1530 - 1584): Unlike his grandfather, Ivan The Great, who was great, Ivan The Terrible was terrible. Russia's first tsar was paranoid and prone to violent outbursts. Among many other things, these outbursts caused Ivan to kill his son and beat his pregnant daughter-in-law. Not only terrible by action, he led Russia into a downward spiral in all ways for a hundred years until Peter The Possibly Greater Than Ivan The Great came to power. Alright, this guy wasn't so bad but he is notoriously known as 'The Terrible' so he had to be on this list.
            Josef Stalin (1878 - 1953): Have you heard of the KGB? How about Gulag?  Yep, they were both him. Hitler's partner-in-moustache similarly changed his surname, but to the Russian word meaning man of steel. Unlike Superman, however, Joey decided to help his country by killing millions of its residents. Massive starvation and the executions of those who disagreed with him led to tens of millions of deaths. And oddly enough for this article, Stalin gained Russian support when Hitler betrayed their truce and invaded part of the USSR. The guy was such a bad-ass that he had the date and year of his birth changed. His inter- and intra-country wars also did a lot of damage to Russia financially and geographically. Some herald Stalin as a Communist hero but most don't really care for his methods and massacres. Even all the places he'd named after himself have been renamed as part of "de-Stalinization". Poor guy.
            Mao Tse-tung (1893 - 1976): A close ally of Stalin, Mao Tse-tung surged a struggling China into a hefty world power. Unfortunately, he also oversaw the deaths of tens of millions of people along the way. Torture and murder were nothing to Chairman Mao. His lies about food in China caused 30-40 million people- the population of California- to starve to death. Many more millions of people perished in the harsh conditions of his labor camps. (Sound familiar?) In addition to these, Mao did horrible things to his vilest enemies- educators. He had his soldiers round up teachers en masse to beat them, kill them, and sometimes eat them. Dude was bad news but he is generally honored within the Chinese Communist Party.
            Pol Pot (1925 - 1998): A big fan of the previous guy, this Cambodian dictator and I share a similar philosophy- that money should be outlawed and all modern things are evil and should be destroyed (…he types on a laptop before posting on the internet…). I'm on board. But people have different opinions and their ways of life should be respected. This is where Pol and I would disagree. Instead of doing his own thing and letting people be, he ordered anyone who refused to leave the cities for farm life to be tortured and/or killed. To avoid death, many people left the cities and were forcibly worked to death. Oh yeah, and his troops put landmines all over the country which still get happened-upon to this day. Look up the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge regime for more.
            Albert Fish (1870 - 1936): This guy admitted to raping/torturing/murdering over 100 children though only a few could actually be linked back to him. One for-sure victim was Grace Budd. Alby tricked her family into trusting him then again into letting her accompany him to a birthday party which he made up. He instead took her to an empty house, got naked for some reason, strangled her, then cut her up and cooked her in various ways. Then he wrote a letter to Grace's family describing what he had done without really leaving any details out. (Could you imagine getting something like that???) He did, however, assure them that "She died a virgin" so the family must have been comforted even though there's no way that comforted them. So yeah, the next time someone is awful, call that person a Fish. It may not make them less-horrible but it'll confuse them and that in itself is a win for the good guys.

            And this complete lack of a segue brings me back to shit. Did you know that not everyone wipes their asses the way you do? Years back, a friend walked in on another friend in the bathroom. The latter was wiping his ass while purposely standing up. The former friend ran to report the news to the rest of us. Half, including myself, were appalled. In no way had we ever thought of an ass-wiping technique other than leaning slightly. But the other half was just as appalled, having never considered a method that didn't involve standing. And maybe there are other ways out there which are just waiting to be discovered.

            Point is, some people commit mass genocides and some people wipe their asses while standing. But before you criticize these freaks of Nature, consider that they actually believe in the horrible acts they're committing. Don't judge them. Rising off the toilet to wipe or rising in power to kill everyone- same shit. And thus defines this article's title…

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Pizzerianalysis

Pizzerianalysis, Well-Done
by Rob Cottignies



            Recently, I ordered food. Said order was one pepperoni pizza and one eggplant parm pizza. Simple enough. I got to the pizza place twenty minutes later and said my order number- 56. A mighty number if there ever was one. The woman behind the counter brought me one pizza box and one long paper bag. Assuming there wasn't some weird pepperoni sandwich thing inside, I told her the eggplant parm was supposed to be in pizza form. She looked at the order ticket she'd written and it clearly said pizza. One of the cooks came over and took blame for the mistake.
            After apologizing, the woman said it would take ten minutes for them to make an eggplant parm pizza. And thus ensued my dilemma…

            1) I should wait for the food that I ordered.
            2) I'm hungry. And so are other people. Plus someone is waiting in the car for me.
            3) How much of a discount would I get if I wait?
            4) Why should I get a discount? It's what I ordered.
            5) How would she figure out a discount? How much is ten minutes of my time worth?
            6) How would I kill ten minutes in this place?
            7) What would happen to the sandwich if I choose to wait?
            8) If I take the pizza and they throw out the sandwich, I'd hate myself.
            9) How would I find out the fate of the sandwich?
            10) I'm surprised the counterlady hadn't misheard me. I mumble a lot.
            11) Why do I mumble so often?
            12) I really want to get out of here. I should take the sandwich.
            13) An eggplant parm sandwich is basically an eggplant parm pizza in a different form.
            14) I don't really like pepperoni. My plan was to just have eggplant slices.
            15) My friends and now this place's workers are all waiting on me. This is horrible.

            I took the sandwich at a two-dollar discount and got out of there.
            The point of this pointless story was to let others see what goes on in my head, even in a boring everyday situation like the above. Imagine when I'm faced with an actual dilemma. Sheesh!
            The sandwich was good, the pepperoni was gross, and everyone had a lovely time.

FIN


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Visit To The Creation Museum

A Visit To The Creation Museum
by Rob Cottignies


                 Should you ever be lucky enough to find yourself in the gloriously exotic land of northern Kentucky, take a wander over to the Creation Museum in Petersburg. Run by the Answers In Genesis Ministry, this place lets you see almost first-hand how every single thing in the Bible's first book truly and actually happened for real. Seriously.
            Ken Ham is the president of AiG, a group of Young Earth Christian Creationist Apologetics (I had to look it up too). He founded the Creation Museum because "AiG's main thrust is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively young Earth is a consequence of accepting the word of God as an infallible revelation from our Creator."
            Now, as a museum, this place is very well-done. It's big, clean, and thorough. Its plot of land is large and there are models and statues of dinosaurs everywhere. This place loves dinosaurs. A large part of the museum's focus is showing how often dinosaurs are vaguely-but-not-really mentioned in the Bible.
            You can probably tell by now that I am a skeptic but I did go into this visit with an open mind. It interests me how others see the world. I looked at it as a cultural experience in unfamiliar territory. But I could only suppress myself for so long.

            Before entering, make sure you really want to see the museum because the entrance fee is $30. This may seem steep to some of you, but I'm sure most of the profit goes to local charities and other important causes because a church would never try to make as much money as possible for ultimately no reason at all. Included with admission are a self-guided walk-through of the museum, two short films, some presentations throughout the day, and access to the petting zoo and botanical garden. Oh yeah, there's a petting zoo and botanical garden for some reason. Not included with admission but for nominal fees, you can enjoy short films at the planetarium, the other presentations throughout the day, camel rides at the petting zoo, an 'insectorium', mining for gemstones, zip-lining, a free-fall ride, grub at Noah's Café, goodies at the extensive multi-level gift shop, and/or a souvenir picture taken as you enter (which was not offered to me).
            Upon entry, I was treated to two immediate gifts of juicy goodness. While paying my entrance fee, the man next to me was asked for his zip code. Apparently from Minnesota, he said, "5-6……..6……..6-2." 56662. The zip code of the beast. The way he caught himself was excellent. I hoped security would escort this obvious demon out of the facility but no such luck.
            My second spat of good fortune came when the cashier told me a presentation was beginning in five minutes. I looked at my handy brochure to see that it was called Dinosaurs And The Bible. I wasn't about to miss that. Hosted by 'former public school teacher' Bryan Osborne, this hour-long production taught all about two dino-topics: 1) That dinosaurs lived peacefully with early humans, and 2) That dinosaurs did not evolve into birds or anything else because Evolution is evil and must be destroyed. Within itself, his argument was flawless. The ideas flowed together nicely and his PowerPoint images were spot-on. The main message of his presentation and the Creation Museum in general was to just accept what the Bible says. Don't question or assume anything. If you do, you'll look as dumb as this guy- 'A farmer was on the side of the road when he saw a cow giving birth. While watching, a city guy stopped and watched with him. The calf was halfway out. The city guy asked the farmer how fast the calf must have been running to get stuck in the cow like that.' See, the city guy was foolish because he assumed something that clearly lots of people would think when seeing a calf half-in a cow- that it had run in there. Also, this guy called anyone who's ever seen Jurassic Park a heathen. So we're all doomed.
            Bryan's argument reminded me of a Critical Thinking class I took in college. The professor said, 'All composers have two heads. Beethoven was a composer. Therefore, Beethoven had two heads.' The idea works within itself but not out in the big scary real world where people breathe and make sense and eat tacos.
            Littered with auditory gems, this presentation had me skipping down the hallway craving more. The first thing to be seen was a sign displaying The 7 C's In God's Eternal Plan- Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. The first four were elaborately shown and described during the walk-through while the last three were detailed in a 17-minute video at the end of the journey. I guess space and/or money ran out. It would seem Ken Ham was not as good of a planner as God. But maybe that's the point.

            My adventure began with two mannequin archaeologists arguing over the age of an uncovered fossil. One said millions of years while the other argued just thousands, dating the dinosaur (I told you this place loves dinosaurs) back to the time of the Great Flood. A looped video played next to this diorama which showed an actor portraying the first guy recanting his initial idea and accepting the finding of the actor playing the other guy.
            A series of signs pitting Creationism against Science eventually led to a horrifying display of our current world in ruins. Through pictures, videos, and loud noises, I saw that sin is everywhere. Graffiti covered the walls, pictures showed mostly non-white people holding guns, and all sorts of abortions were happening. Gays were getting married and people in terminal pain were allowed to end their lives with dignity. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!!! The mannequin of a teen-aged boy even smoked a marijuana cigarette while playing video games and searching the internet for pornography. I can barely do one of those things at a time so this kid clearly must have sold his soul for the magical evil power.
            The corridor of despair ended with a walk through the Time Tunnel. This small hallway was completely dark except for some faint lights in the ceiling which I guess were supposed to represent stars. The only point of this I could surmise was that it's best not to ask questions in this place.
            The Garden Of Eden diorama was quite vast. There were several depictions of Adam and Eve doing everyday tasks like picking berries and hanging out with dinosaurs and other animals. Everything was peaceful in an awkwardly perfect way. It reminded me of Toon Town. The dinosaurs were mostly raptor-like, which was odd because this place condemned Jurassic Park, in which raptors pretty much stole the show. Other animals included giraffes, bears, and penguins. Just as it is now, climate change was imaginary in the Garden Of Eden, so all of these animals could live together in one ecosystem. It's been said that God created just one "kind" of each animal and "quick evolution" led to varieties such as domesticated dogs, wolves, coyotes, and hyenas. What was strange about the diorama was that I easily recognized the animals as they look in their current forms, with the exception of the wooly mammoth whose current form is less-wooly and more-skeletal. Again, some questions need not be raised.

            To be honest, I am not very well-versed in the Bible. I did not know that the Garden Of Eden was intended to be a perfect eternal Paradise. There was no death, no disease, no gay marriage, and all living things were vegetarians because plants are not living things. This was all shattered when a talking reptile convinced Adam and Eve to eat fruit from the one forbidden tree in the entire garden. Because they did this, we now have all the horrible things I listed earlier. Plus apparently this is why women get painful periods because the whole thing was Eve's fault. That was not stated in the museum (I've read it elsewhere) but it was explained as the reason why childbirth is so excruciating. Their act was the original sin that caused everything to be irreparably horrible forever.
            At this point, my skepticism went into overdrive. The first C taught me that God created Adam in his image without any base tools but then needed a human rib to make Eve. Was it just God's physical image but he left the mental part up to chance? If they were so susceptible to temptation, wouldn't that be because God made them that way? Also, if the serpent was some incarnate of the Devil, wasn't God also responsible for that trickery? From what I'd seen, God created everything. I would greatly enjoy this discussion in another medium.

            The exhibit about Noah and the Great Flood was the most in-depth. It even featured an animatronic Noah who answered all of my questions that the museum had already set in place for me. There was also a really-real-life-sized part of the Ark and a piece stating that Noah and his small family could certainly have built the multi-level city-sized Ark by themselves, though they were wealthy so they may have convinced others to help them. I guess that version of Noah was kind of a dick. 'Hey, there's gonna be a huge flood that will eliminate all life except for what I bring on a huge boat. I have the plans. Don't ask where they came from. If you help us build it, I won't so much let you on the ship but I'll give you a bunch of money which you won't be able to spend because you'll be working and then it'll be worth nothing because the planet will be covered in water. So yeah, want to help?' Trickery and bribery seem sinful to me, but I'd accept this idea over Darren Aronofsky's rock monsters.
            For those of you thirsty for as much Noah as possible, The Ark Encounter will be completed this year in nearby Williamstown. The building will be a full replica of the Ark as Noah built it, complete with cubits and everything. I wonder what will become of Noah's section in the Creation Museum. I'm sure there will be a discounted price on admission to both places, with no lack of self-promotion at either.

            If my words were not descriptive enough for you, here is a string of images from the Creation Museum. I realize I did not take nearly enough pictures but you can see more for yourself if you visit…

















            What troubled me most about the Creation Museum wasn't its message or beliefs but how it contrasted specifically against Science at every opportunity. I feel that other similar museums about a culture's history would simply present their beliefs without contrast. 'Our ancestors believed the Sun was a god and all animals were born from trees.' Great! No argument. Done. But Answers In Genesis has made such effort to discredit Evolutionary thought that at the end I thought they were really grasping at straws out of insecurity. I don't have a problem with anyone's belief system but to present those beliefs as facts while debasing another method just seems wrong.
            And why only attack Science? The Norse believe a massive collision of fire and ice created the world. Hindus believe their three gods have always created, maintained, and destroyed the Universe in repetitive cycles. The Hopi believe one Creator made nine Universes and a Spider Woman created all life with her saliva. I assume AiG would have problems with all of these beliefs but they were not explicitly attacked in the Creation Museum. One could argue that these belief systems are not commonly taught in American schools (which is a shame) but Evolution is.
            The critical truth is that nobody knows how something came from nothing. I've stopped trying to figure it out but I enjoy learning about what different groups of people think happened. Believe what you want but don't try to force it on others. If you do, as people have been doing for a very long time, it can only lead to the ultimate C…