Things that insult my intelligence

Christmas Trees Insult My Intelligence

Christmas should be every day, sort of.  (Photo credit: Mount Pleasant Granary)

Christmas should be every day, sort of. (Photo credit: Mount Pleasant Granary)

I came home last night to find a festive bundle of decaying holiday joy shining through the window of my neighbor’s house.

Too many punchlines come to mind.

Because of this, I would like to wish everyone a Merry March Madness and present a list of the top ten reasons you finally need to get rid of that Christmas tree:

10- Unlike the lovely holiday sweaters you received, you can’t regift the tree without investing a lot of time and money into the effort.

9- If you wanted to arrange dried pieces of firewood so that they could achieve inferno status in minimum time, you couldn’t do much better than to build a Christmas tree shape.  And by the way, the warranty on those lights you bought in December has expired.

8- In December, you said “we shouldn’t let secular distractions infringe on a religious holiday.”  Now that Easter is coming, I’d like to return the favor.  We’re all going to notice your tree and not your religious exhortations.  (On the other hand, maybe the tree can last a few weeks longer…)

7- The electricity company’s Christmas special is no longer running.

6- Unlike the frankenturkey, your tree cannot be revived.

5- What fun is a Christmas tree if it no longer has needles for you to clean off of the floor?

4- That’s not penicillin growing at the base and your dog will get sick if he decides it’s tasty.

3- You could shove the top of that tree up an angel’s underside because the angel isn’t real.  Your pet rabbit is getting worried that you’ll try to change the tree’s theme for Easter.  Expect a revolt.

2- That is a tree, not a bush.  If you wish to display political advertisements for Jeb, this is one of the few methods that makes you look less intelligent than the Tea Partiers.  At least the Tea Partiers recycled their trees.

1- No one is bringing you any gifts.  Get over it.

Reading the Stories Insults My Intelligence

These days, I rarely write a new post on two consecutive days.  However, you may know of some critically important international crises that deserve immediate attention.  We must discuss them now and we must discuss them well.

Well…

Because the situation’s so urgent, we must visit the most respected informational source in existence: Playboy.

And guess who’s being featured in Playboy…

Confront your fear of Playboy.  I dare you.  (Image credit: Valstein0)

Confront your fear of Playboy. I dare you. (Image credit: Valstein0)

No, not Miley Cyrus.  Playboy is an intellectual publication and only produces material to engage the most significant of minds.  That said, you surely will not be surprised to discover Dick Cheney’s picture if you click on this link.

Actually, you’ll find three pictures of the former Vice President… and he consented to this.

Your dreams have finally come true.

Side note to readers:  As a man, I feel the natural obligation to explain how I ever-so-innocently happened upon the Playboy website.  I clicked on a headline and I didn’t realize that such a scandalous publication would be involved.  I cast thee to Hell, Playboy, and I hope my female admirers are satisfied with that gesture of solidarity with whatever it is I’m showing solidarity with.

I really did visit Playboy to read a story.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Insult My Intelligence

War.

Famine.

Pestilence.

Death.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

What’s wrong with this picture? (Image is in the public domain.)

And they’re all men.

Does this strike anyone else as inherently sexist?  Women can destroy the world as effectively as men can.  They just need a chance to let their evil ways shine.

I would take a moment to ask my thoughtful readers which of the horsemen would most appropriately be depicted as a horsewoman.  Instead, long live free advertising.  I may ask the question one day as a writing prompt on my other blog.  For now, you’ll just have to marvel at my wisdom and perhaps click the cheerful happy link.

Clicky clicky…

Boot Camp Insults My Intelligence

I recently had the opportunity to visit an old friend at the military base where he’s stationed.  Since I’m somewhat above the maximum weight limit to join the forces, no recruitment attempts were made in spite of my unemployed status.

Realistically, I would have declined if I had been asked.  The odds of me making it through boot camp are exactly zero.  Come to think of it, the odds of me making it through any remedial physical fitness training before boot camp are also zero.

And even if I made it through, I’m rather clumsy.  I’m the guy who would slip on a rock and accidentally drop his gun, which in turn would fire while conveniently pointed at someone else’s head.

Putting me in the military would be a horrible idea.

Almost.

You see, this is what most people imagine when they think of military training and work:

I bet he's running after ISIS.  (Photo is in public domain.)

I bet he’s running after ISIS. (Photo is in public domain.)

And this is what I see a lot of on base every time I go:

Okay, maybe I didn't see Slovenian soldiers.  But the guy is sitting on his butt doing work.  Close enough.  (Photo credit: Carol A Lehman)

Okay, maybe I don’t see Slovenian soldiers. But the guy is sitting on his butt doing work. Close enough. (Photo credit: Carol A Lehman)

Now, I’m not stupid.  I understand that the military occasionally needs soldiers to do physically grueling work in combat zones and those soldiers need appropriate training to do that work.  However, do soldiers really need any remote level of physical fitness to fire missiles from drones while sitting at a distant computer center?

When gays were banned from the military, Americans often heard complaints of critical skills being excluded from the force because their owners had a certain taste in sex.  Even though sex was irrelevant to the job.  And now, people are being excluded from the force because they have a certain taste in food even though the resulting girth would no longer hinder many soldiers from doing their jobs properly.

The U.S. military is outdated.  Fat people skills are state of the art; moreover, diversity in body type ought to be celebrated for the unique contributions each body is able to make.

Just make sure that larger soldiers aren’t put on the front lines.  We would make easy targets…

Soylent Hillary Insults My Intelligence

Hillary's golden years before her golden years.  (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

Hillary’s golden years before her golden years. (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

If Soylent Hillary
is made
out of people…

Will she degrade
and fade?

Donations,
Benghazi,
Email,
Controversies pervade.

Corpses.
(Her fault or not,
the dead feel betrayed.
They made her what she is.)

The consultants strayed
and made
The Soylent One.

Her new views are coming.
Her loyalists start drumming.
She drinks lemonade.

It’s bitter.

Once again
the Queen ascends
to nothing.

Made from people,
but not people herself.

Seemingly.

Cursed by her own deeds
to grow old
as Bill’s doting wife
with privacy
and inevitability.

Inevitability?
He’ll get laid.

How
does a former
inevitable
failed candidate
loser
defeated by her own faults,
unmade
by her own weaknesses
become inevitable again?

The addition of more
baggage?

Tirade?

No one deserves to win
except “me.”

Frankenturkey Insults My Intelligence

Today I learned that Thanksgiving leftovers can be revived after three months in the refrigerator.

Waste not, want not.  (Photo credit: Stu Spivack)

Waste not, want not. (Photo credit: Stu Spivack)

First, eliminate the odor with a few quick shots of bleach.  The bleach also replaces some of the moisture the leftovers had lost and it kills any mold that might have found a home on your bird.  Remove the dead mold with a butter knife.

After performing this basic cleaning, you must decide upon an appropriate recipient for your newly rediscovered culinary delight as well as an appropriate receptacle to ship it in.  I recommend a large Ziploc bag placed inside a cardboard box.  However, you must include something else inside the box to prevent dogs or other nearby animals from tearing open the package and stealing the loot.  I’d suggest spraying the entire box with Axe; that stuff will keep anything but teenagers away.

And now for the new, proud owner of Frankenturkey.  I do not recommend any occupant of the White House or Capitol Hill because all that Axe on the box might get you accused of trying to poison a politician.  That’s terrorism, perhaps.  Instead, I recommend your closest vegetarian friend; since the turkey no longer resembles a meat product, your friend will never know what you fed them.

If it looks like tofu and smells like tofu, it can’t be a Frankenturkey.

– Epitaph on friend’s grave

After the funeral, your refrigerator will hug you; it’s his friendship that matters most in your life.  Go out and buy your fridge some new bling.

The Bloggies Insult My Intelligence

No doubt many of you have heard of the Bloggies, arguably the most prominent blogging award there is.  I say “prominent” and not “best” because I know a thing or two about the selection process that you may not fully appreciate.

Here’s the official publicized procedure: people fill out a web form nominating blogs in all sorts of categories.  Votes are tallied and then the organizer chooses 200 random voters to decide on the finalists from a list of the top vote-getters.  The voting form asks if you’re willing to be chosen when you submit your nominations, presumably to ensure that judges don’t complain about all the work.

Just look at that face!  You don't need to keep him from complaining...

Just look at that face! You don’t need to keep him from complaining.  (Image requires no attribution.)

This year, I served as one of the ever-so-deserving 200 on the judging panel.

The organizer sent me an extra-special link to my ballot about two weeks before the voting deadline but, since I rarely check the email account that’s attached to my blog, I did not see the message until two days before the ballot was due.

Now for some math.  Each judge reviews the semifinalists for ten categories (out of 30) and there are approximately 15-20 blogs per category.  I’d estimate that it took about half of the two days to load all those blogs.  And that’s just the home page for each one.  Also transpiring during those two days: sleep, job applications, cooking, eating, the occasional potty break, bathing, and enjoying the snowflakes outside my window.  That left me with enough time to click to a second page on most of the blogs I was evaluating.

As you can see, I focused on my judging duties in accordance with the sacred trust I was given.  Diligence is key.  It’s not like I ever promised to do a good job.

Of course, other issues did come up.  Take a look at the judging instructions:

Ten categories have been randomly selected for you. For each, select up to five weblogs (or six in the Weblog of the Year category). If you encounter blogs that aren’t eligible for their category, just skip them. If you encounter a broken link, try adding “www.” to the beginning of it. I encourage you to vote in all the categories available to you, but it isn’t required. If you don’t have time to complete the whole ballot now, you may submit a partial ballot and return later to complete it.

Um… I know this may be a stretch, but shouldn’t a blogging awards site be able to provide links that will open properly?

And come to think of it, is it too much to ask that semifinalists be pre-screened for basic eligibility before I’m asked to spend my time judging?  Or, maybe the semifinalists should have been double-checked to make sure they were actually blogs.  (Granted, some of those questionable websites may have contained blogs somewhere on them.  However, if I can’t immediately locate your blog, you lose.)

Nevertheless, I thought it would be exciting to review these best-of-the-best blogs and see if I could find anything worthwhile.  And so I checked the first category: Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog.  I must admit that I learned more about that region than I could have ever imagined possible.  For instance, at least three semifinalists had blogs focusing on culturally enlightening arguments against the existence of global warming.  I say “at least three” because two nominees were in Spanish (I think) and another refused to load.

I’m not spending my time trying to decipher a foreign language because it wasn’t in the job description.  If I can’t judge the writing quality, you lose.

You never know what task will end up requiring some heavy lifting.  Fortunately, judging wasn't one of them.  (Photo credit: tunnupus)

You never know what task will end up requiring some heavy lifting. Fortunately, judging wasn’t one of them. (Photo credit: tunnupus)

Of course, I didn’t get to delve so deeply into any of these blogs… at least to the extent that something called “depth” could be discerned.  I, like most other people, happen to have a life and it’s relatively easy to figure out which blogs are crap after a very brief perusal.  I’m not giving up my potty breaks so that I can look at an extra few posts.  I’m not even giving up my potty breaks so I can search the blog for a link to archives of posts that were published during the year the blogging award is for.  I stopped hunting once it became clear that many blogs did not include such links.

And remember, I’m not 1 of 200 who are judging these categories.  I’m one of 66 or 67.  (200 judges total, but each of us only judges 1/3 of the categories.)  My voice matters big time no matter how uninformed it might be.

Yay me.

Next up was “Best Designed Weblog” and, as some of you may know, I take a great interest in innovative blog design… even if my own blog’s design is on the divisive side.  I could select up to five blogs from among twenty choices.

I picked two.

Yes, only two.  A few were so seriously flawed that I can’t believe they became semifinalists on the basis of legitimate votes.  (On the other hand, I have an abiding belief that people are stupid… so maybe the votes were on the up-and-up.)  Other nominees were generic and, therefore, indistinguishable from the millions of other blogs out there.  Of course, I could have judged the blogs’ navigation but I really don’t think effective navigation is such an unusual or difficult thing that people deserve an award for doing it properly.

The person behind the Bloggies also decided to randomly assign me the “Entertainment” category as well as “Fashion or Beauty.”  I tend to think that blogs on these subjects are crap even when they’re well constructed.  So as not to hurt people’s feelings, I will not continue on that line of thought.

Okay, I lied.  If I hate your topic, you lose.  That may sound unfair but no criteria were given for the assessment of a blog’s quality.  I figured that my personal prejudices would work just fine.

The “Best Group or Community Weblog” category also focused on a special group of blogs.  I think it had more parenting blogs among the nominees than the “Best Parenting or Family Weblogs” category that I was also asked to judge.

I guess all it takes to become a semifinalist is for members of a topical blogging group to go vote for each other en masse.  Just a hypothesis…

And then there’s “Best Photography of a Weblog.”  Here’s the category’s definition:

Photoblogs and other weblogs with a focus on presenting photography.

Please note that the category name does not mean the same thing as the given definition; the category name implies that all blogs containing photography can be nominated regardless of the blog’s overall focus .  Nevertheless, I did find a couple of blogs among the nominees that deserve an award.  I saved a copy of my ballot so I could find these (and a few others from the remaining categories) again.

Yes, it took that long for me to think “hey, I’ll want to see some of these again.”

By the time I reached “Best New Weblog,” I wasn’t much in the mood to do the basic assessment of eligibility that the Bloggies’ administrator should have performed on all nominees before sending out the ballot.  It’s possible that I may have voted for a blog that wasn’t new last year.  I didn’t check.

The final two categories I judged were European blogs and blogs about politics.  Both had some keepers, especially the political category which had a good share of famous and commercial blogs whose writers surely couldn’t care less about the award.  I voted for a lot of those.

And then I must mention the blogs that were nominated for numerous categories.  Contrary to what you might believe, this thrilled me.  I thought a lot of these blogs were crap the first time I saw them, meaning that each repeat listing represented one less blog for me to look at.  Of course, I did return to those blogs when the category was design or photography or something I hadn’t considered as heavily in my original assessment… and that’s in spite of my suspicion that some of these bloggers may have found a way to stuff the ballot box.

Stuffing the ballot box wouldn’t be too difficult and I doubt the organizer (yes, it appears to be one person) is taking sufficient measures to prevent it.  If he isn’t reviewing the semifinalists’ eligibility, we can probably assume that the more time-consuming or technically savvy measures aren’t being pursued either.

Overall, I found the experience disappointing.  With the opportunity to cast up to 50 votes, I cast fewer than 25.  I follow a few blogs that outshine most of the semifinalists.

No explanation necessary, I assume.  (Image credit: Plognark)

No explanation necessary, I assume. (Image credit: Plognark)

And with that in mind, I would like to encourage all of you who were not nominated to disregard the disregarding of your work.  I can promise you that the awards do not reliably track quality and they may not even measure popularity all that well.  However, I’m sure they effectively predict an increase in traffic to the selected blogs; for that reason, I humbly request that everyone reading this post please nominate me for as many categories as possible next year.  I won’t even ask you to consider the possibility of opening some new free email accounts so you can nominate me multiple times.

And if you happen to be selected as a finalist, please don’t take offense at what I’ve written here.  I am a judge; you bow to me.  If you think I’m a looney or that I didn’t take the job seriously enough or that I have bad taste, I have news for you: the randomized selection of judges results in random judges and not necessarily qualified judges.  Be thankful that I’m literate above a seventh-grade level; you never know who else might have been judging your work.

Imagine the possibilities!  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Imagine the possibilities.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

And be thankful that I didn’t vote by just clicking on random blogs.

Presumably…


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