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.:[Wednesday, February 25, 2004]:.
MY BROTHER - I REALLY HATE HIM
Right around the time I lost my job, I visited my brother in Houston and he gave me some books to read. He gave me some P.J. O'Rourke, but really, it was mostly pretty bad. There was a book that I can't find right now, and whose name I don't remember, but it was a book for teenagers about vampires. He also gave me Stephen Baxter's "Manifold Space," which was crap but not nearly as objectionable as the SIX books of Peter Hamilton's "The Reality Dysfunction" series, which is so abominable that I wish I had never learned to read, and further that I had never been born. The next time I see my brother, I would murder him and dance in his blood but I don't have a nickel to put in the Murderin' Jar.
You know how sometimes you date a girl for a while, and you think that she's great, except that she stole your rent money three months in a row, and she gave you herpes, and then sodomized you with a broom handle while slashing all four of your tires? And you think, she'd be the perfect girl if she wasn't such a twat? No? Me neither, of course. Anyway, that's how I feel about science-fiction.
Science fiction has great potential, but all too often the dialogue is so insanely bad, the love scenes so painfully written, the plot holes so gapingly open, and the individual motivations of the characters either so blindingly transparent or ridiculously foreign that it sometimes seems that the author is not just abusing the English langauge, but tying it to a chair, burning it with a crack pipe, and sexually assaulting it. Reading bad science fiction is like being shit upon by nonsense while someone wails on your genitals with a pillowcase full of doorknobs. It can be good. And it can be very, very bad.
The "Reality Dysfunction" series is approximately 3,000 pages of the very, very bad variety. Which brings me back to my brother: he gave the series to me with the cryptic comment that I might find it "interesting." He, being fully aware of how awful these books are, knew that I would read them (probably multiple times) and be filled with a seething rage at him, the author, the publisher, the editor, their families, and their ancestors back to 15 generations.
The series primarily focuses on a phenomenon where the dead come back to possess the living in a universe where humans have colonized 900+ planets. Oh, and the dead, upon coming back, have godlike powers. Oh, yeah, and also, some of the dead who come back and are prominent characters are major historical figures and include, just to pick two at random, Al Capone and Fletcher Christian from "Mutiny on the Bounty." Jesus H., feel the crapulence.
One of the other plot points I rather enjoyed (and realize, here, that "enjoyed" is entirely relative; by "enjoyed" I mean "filled me with an intense amount of hatred instead of an infinite amount of hatred) was the concept of neural nanonics which many of the main characters possess. They are basically integrated computer processors in the characters' brains so they can load computer programs into their brains which make them better at things than they would be naturally. Now that's an interesting idea, and could make for some interesting plot conflicts. But not if the author is named Peter F. Hamilton, apparently. He goes into great detail at one point describing how the principal character uses his neural nanonics to make himself a superlative lover. But if he can do that, couldn't everybody else? I mean, jump into the sack, put on a robo-condom, load your "porn star" neural nanonics program, and everybody is a great lay, right?
And speaking of robo-condoms, the main character knocks up a girl early in the series, which puts the girl in question in a substantial bit of social discomfort. So this guy is so considerate that he programs his brain to make him super in the sack, but he isn't considerate enough to program his brain to tell his balls to only shoot blanks?
Anyway, these are just my initial thoughts that I had to get off my chest. I should be finishing the last book in the next day or so. If you don't hear from me again, it's because Peter Hamilton made me have a rage-induced embollism.
| a BEN production by me at 3:24 PM
.:[Monday, February 23, 2004]:.
Dave Chapelle is a comedy genius.
| a BEN production by me at 2:09 PM
.:[Sunday, February 22, 2004]:.
I HATE ADVERTISERS
And not just with a little bit of hate. With a lot.
I was reading my sister-in-law's latest irrational anti-Ben screed, when I noticed she has linked to Quizno's, the sub shop now famous for their bizarre marketing campaign.
Okay, what are those things? Are they rats, guniea pigs, potatoes, what? And I will tell you this, that doesn't make me want to eat your sandwiches, fuckhats, it makes me want to shoot somebody. Thank God, I don't own a gun or anything more dangerous than a fork with a cork on it, or I would be expressing my Quizno's displeasure with extreme prejudice.
1. If they are rats, what could be more unappetizing? Maybe, somewhere, there are Luddites who long for a plague to wipe out industrial civilization. But are they the people to whom you want to market your product? The "Ted Kaczinski" set may be a marketable demographic, but I don't think they're buying fast-food subs. I think they're mostly eating Ramen and drinking their own urine (at least, that's what I'm doing). If you want to market a product to anti-social psychopaths bent on the collapse of civilization, maybe you should concentrate on pre-fab shelters (Google description: bullet resistant. Now that's what I call quality).
2. Guinea pigs are a tool of satan.
3. Potatoes always make me think of starving Irish or starving Russians. Now, I can think up a few ad campaigns where starving Micks and commies might sell your product, but I don't think sandwiches would be one of them. Maybe an ad for luxurious gulag vacations or the Irish potato diet.
| a BEN production by me at 10:37 PM
.:[Tuesday, February 17, 2004]:.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
Reynolds linked an article about renaming DARPA programs...
I didn't know the federal government was involved in anything remotely as cool as this stuff. In my mind, public spending was a lot like setting my money on fire, only not nearly as fun. To quote P.J. O'Rourke (Parliament of Whores): "To call something public is to define it as dirty, insufficient, and hazardous. The ultimate paradigm of social spending is the public restroom." That's one of the quotes from the dustjacket, actually.
In light of Glenn's post, though, and also in light of this, I think it would be best to include the rest of P.J.'s sentiment, which is that "[i]n a democracy, if we don't spend an enormous amount of money on defense, we will have to spend it on vice, bad smells and alarming graffiti."
Right on. Bring on the robots.
UPDATE: The DARPA LA to Vegas race is taking place next month. Why don't we have more of these sorts of programs, and why isn't more attention paid to them outside of the "Battlebots" crowd?
| a BEN production by me at 11:34 PM
... have ever been upset about the sex-doll industry's shameless indifference to the dead hooker market, here's your site.
UPDATE: No, I'm not blogging from a prison computer.
| a BEN production by me at 11:22 PM
.:[Thursday, February 12, 2004]:.
CELEBRITY CENTERFOLD WANTED
Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!
Another year, another scandal involving the diddling of an intern. I just hope that the girl is really hot.
Other recent sex scandals have been disappointing in that regard. I like trashy mall tramps as much as the next guy, but really, Bill, you were the leader of the free world with a nuclear arsenal at your fingertips, you can do better. Because of my twin addictions to porn and politics, I bought the Paula Jones Penthouse, but I certainly didn't enjoy it (except for the lesbian pictorial).
MEMO TO JOHN KERRY: You're supposed to be a leader, someone American men can look up to. If you aspire to the highest office in the land, you must be far more selective than the average philandering Dem.
UPDATE: And the verdict? Not so hot.
| a BEN production by me at 2:31 PM
.:[Wednesday, February 11, 2004]:.
GET YOUR DOLLAR BILLS READY, FELLAS!
Because Nickelback is ready to challenge Whitesnake (visit the site, it's a real treat)for the world heavyweight title of lap-dancing songs. Nickelback has already made it big on the strip-club scene with their breakout "How You Remind Me," but their newest toe-tapping ditty is sure to knock off "Here I Go Again" as the all-time leader in pole-dancing and lap-dancing accompaniment.
I have a number of problems with this. Nickelback is too non-threatening, for one thing. They're like Creed with non-specific "baby, pretend I'm a stranger"-rape fantasies.
Hey, look, the lead singer's got chin-length hair and a goatee, he must be a rebel! Plus, everybody on the album cover except the lead singer is looking angrily away from the camera. I like that in a band. And the "B" is backwards in their name, that either means they failed first grade or they don't fit easily into society's conventions. Take that, standardized alphabet, Nickelback's not gonna take your shit anymore!
Maybe it's the grunge-addled, flannell-wearing, Doc-Marten-buying alterna-teen which still lurks inside me, but I just don't think Nickelback's got the angst "street cred" I like in a band. Take, for instance, their new single, "Figured You Out":
"I like your pants around your feet
I like the dirt that's on your knees
And I like the way you still say please
While you're looking up at me
You're like my favourite damn disease"
Now it starts off strong with the pants around her feet and dirt on her knees. Hey, we all love oral sex, it combines our two favorite things: sex and not doing anything. But it quickly goes downhill, with the reference to male-dominating, misogynistic behavior. Women's Studies courses have taught me: that is wrong. Believers in the true spirit of angst music, the grunge movement, will tell you that misogyny is okay, but ony when you're married to Courtney Love. I suppose I would also be agreeable to any misogyny coming from a spouse of Yoko Ono or Bianca Jagger. And what about disease? Which one is he talking about? Is it that hard to come up with a rhyme for chlamydia? What about "stinking genital cheese?" That rhymes.
"And I love the places that we go
And I love the people that you know
And I love the way you can't say no
Too many long lines in a row
I love the powder on your nose"
And the first three lines of this verse sound like something Beaver Cleaver would be writing to his sweetheart in gym class: "I love the places that we go, I love the way you drink Bosco, and I love your polka-dotted bow." I can't relate to this sort of happy crap. But to balance it, these geniuses threw in a reference to coke, but in a sissy, "Less Than Zero" kind of way. Hey, if you want to be angry and bitter, how about "I'll suck a leprous hooker's toe, for a half a gram of blow?" Nothing says "street-cred" like a desperate plea for a ridiculously small amount of coke. C'mon, guys, if you want to sing about drugs, be a real man and sing about heroin, you pussies.
The disappointing thing about all this is that the girls at the titty-bars who dance to interesting music are all pierced up like a pincushion and dance under the stage name "Cthulhu" or something. NOTE TO STRIPPERS: being some sort of bizarre pierced up psychopath is about as attractive as having a dead fetus snagged in your pubic hairs.
| a BEN production by me at 7:09 PM
The bathroom wasn't that bad. Granted, it didn't have any toilet paper in it, but it wasn't a health hazard or anything (I don't think).
Actually, I didn't tell my sister-in-law the truth about the pool-hall incident. What actually happened was I made the crack about the chloroform and handcuffs, and then the pool-hall chick beat me in pool, and then she said that if I wanted to say creepy stuff to women I ought to be better in pool. Then she left. I just don't normally tell the story that way because it makes me sound like I suck at pool, when in truth I just suck at talking to women and she just happened to be a really good pool player. But if you want to use the chloroform/handcuff pick-up line, I would still like to be credited, as my darling sister-in-law says.
| a BEN production by me at 6:50 PM
.:[Monday, February 09, 2004]:.
I'M PRETTY CONSERVATIVE...
... but I support stem cell research.
Fuck you, Christopher Reeve! Bring on the big breasts!
| a BEN production by me at 10:18 AM
.:[Sunday, February 08, 2004]:.
THE TOILET PAPER WAR AND THE ONE BROWN EYE
Plucker was an awful roommate, as I've mentioned before.
One of our other continuing, ongoing problems was his refusal to buy groceries. I encountered this, at first, when I would buy some Chips Ahoy and find them all gone the very next day. Now, this is to be expected when you live with a filthy stoner. If you live with a stoner, buying cookies and expecting to eat them later is like inviting Michael Moore to a fundraiser and wondering where all your canapes went.
But the real problem was not the cookies. It was the toilet paper. Using all of the toilet paper and refusing to buy any more is a war of attrition. The Palestinians don't hope to actually defeat the Israelis with suicide bombers, they hope to wear down their will, so they'll capitulate to specific political demands. So, too, Plucker's toilet paper strategy.
Because, you see, buying toilet paper is not, in and of itself, an overly burdensome act. Toilet paper is cheap. It's readily available, at convenience stores, beer stores, and your place of employment. Ah, but you see, one must stand up for principle. You can not be solely responsible for all of the toilet paper purchases in the household, whether you're Winston Churchill or Plucker's roommate.
I waged a toilet paper war.
For three months.
For three long months, there was no toilet paper in my house. The heroes of Thermopylae could not have had it tougher, my friends, I swear to you. I don't know how Plucker coped, but I made do with purloined toilet paper from my office, and other substitutes, as necessity required.
I lost the toilet paper war.
But I think it was because of Plucker's fondness for the "one brown eye." It was a subject of fierce dispute between the two of us. When going to nudie bars (as opposed to titty bars, the nudie bars are, of course, all nude) I was always having to tell the girls "no brown eye for me, thanks. Can you show me some of your attractive parts, maybe?" Denizens of the nudie bars will tell you, though, that strippers at nudie bars have no attractive parts. Of course, I wouldn't have to be saying things like that if Plucker weren't asking every stripper within 30 yards if he could see her asshole.
However, there's the possibility that he wasn't a dirty, perverted stoner. Maybe he was just an undercover proctologist.
There's a metaphor, here, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I don't have the energy right now to puzzle it out.
All I can figure out is that the Palestinians are the Pluckers of the civilized world.
| a BEN production by me at 9:16 PM
.:[Wednesday, February 04, 2004]:.
WANT EFFECTIVE BIRTH CONTROL? HOW ABOUT BLOWJOBS?
You know, these things don't inspire a lot of confidence, anyway.
It reminds of the time I tried to quit masturbating 23 hours a day by gluing jagged pieces of broken glass to my penis.
| a BEN production by me at 9:13 PM
I'm supposed to do some actual paying work this weekend. I think that I will present the boss with one of these as a condition of my employment, though.
You would think that Beyonce could afford an attorney who wouldn't make so many typos in her "Hospitality Rider." Maybe she picked her attorney based on chicken seasoning abilities rather than spelling.
| a BEN production by me at 5:54 PM
Hey, look, a car for Dean supporters!
Now, if only we can develop a car powered by smug self-righteousness, we'll have a vehicle for the rest of the liberal demographic.
| a BEN production by me at 5:30 PM
Well, it looks like the bestiality problem has spread beyond the confines of Sweden... now Thais are getting into the act.
So remember, Mr. Toryip Rawang, the next time a dog "is wagging her tail and acting sexy" try buying her dinner first.
| a BEN production by me at 5:03 PM
.:[Monday, February 02, 2004]:.
BUYING AN ISLAND IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
I was going to make a bid on this, but the English used in the description sounds an awful lot like an email I received from a Nigerian banker the other day...
| a BEN production by me at 7:26 PM