Give Me Liberty or Give Me Lunch!

Three score and eleven years ago
our corporate overlords brought forth a nation
conceived in sin
and dedicated to the principle
that “all money is created equal.”

A nation where our children
will not be judged
on the content of their character
but on the content of their bank accounts.

Give me Liberty or give me Lunch!

Let Taco Bell ring!
Let Taco Bell ring from the diabetic state of Mississippi
Let Taco Bell ring from the illegal prisons of Guantanamo
Let Taco Bell ring from the minimum wage purgatory of McDonald’s

Ask not what your country can do for you
Ask what Starbucks can do for your country
We chose to go to war not because it was easy
but because it contributed to the profits of Northrop-Grumman

And the brave men who have died
have not died in vain
But so
a government of the military-industrial complex
by the military-industrial complex
and for the military-industrial complex
shall continue to be a parasite on the earth

Actually Useful Movie Ratings

Currently, the Motion Picture Association of America has five ratings for movies: G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. However, many people find this ratings system not very useful, so I proposed another ratings system that is more relevant.

EGT – Explosions, Gore and Titillation: This film is only suitable for those easily amused by explosions, gore, or men/women in skimpy outfits.

DEP – Depressing: This film is critically praised but has a plot too depressing for most people to enjoy.

SE – Special Effects: This film has excellent special effects but is not suitable for those who enjoy good plots or acting.

BRO – Bro: This film is suitable for bros. Contains mainly adolescent and off-color humor few other people enjoy.

S – Science: This film contains so much advanced scientific concepts it may not be interesting to people who don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering.

C – Celebrity: You will see this film despite the fact you neither enjoy the genre or the plot, but because your favorite celebrity is in it.

SEQ – Sequel: This film is a lower-quality sequel to a higher-quality film.

NOS – Nostalgia: This film exploits your childhood nostalgia for a franchise that is no longer popular.

A – Animation: This film is that incredibly popular 3-D (or 2-D) animation film that your kid will be obsessed with, and makes her constantly sing songs from the movie and bug you to buy merchandise.

ROM-COM – Romantic Comedy: This is that somewhat boring and formulaic romantic comedy film you have to take your girlfriend to.

T – Teens: This film was made for teens, despite the fact that it contains extremely mature subject-matter such as violence, sex, and other adult situations.

Intentionally Bad Poem

This poem was written intentionally bad
Its atrocious lines will certainly make you sad

The rhymes it uses are incredibly lame
It twice rhymes the word “lame” with the word “lame”

It uses meters that are incredibly forced
Like a mouse and deer fighting a Norse
Non-sequiturs spew everywhere you see
Like a mongoose wearing Spandex jeans
It has no purpose and goes nowhere
Have you seen Vladimir Putin fighting a bear?

This poet does not understand the word “metaphor”
The way a calculator knows not the square root of negative four
Alliteration, assonance, what’s that all about?
Who the hell cares, I think a sphere is a cow

The images I paint with words are a total mess
Like what happens when Freddy Krueger kisses Eliot Ness

If you want elegant verses read a really good poet
I just sit down at the keyboard and totally wing it

What if Tech Companies Made Potatoes?

Here is what would happen if the tech companies started making potatoes:

Apple: The Apple iPotato has all its eyes removed so you can’t grow your own potatoes. You need to buy a $5 peeler and $10 knife made by Apple that was specifically designed to peel and cut your potato. Every year Apple runs ads touting how great its next version of the potato will be, but all you ever notice are slight changes to the shape and color without noticing any difference in taste.

Microsoft: The Microsoft Potato keeps telling you that the potato you own aren’t authorized copies, even though you have a written certificate of authenticity from Microsoft. Hackers can easily break into your potato and steal personal information, and so much malware infects your potato that you give up and buy a new one.

Linux: There are more than 200 different varieties of Linux Potatoes, none of which you like. They tell you that the potatoes are open-source, and you can change the genetic code of the potatoes to make them look and taste however you like. But you don’t have a degree in genetic engineering and don’t know how to change the genetic code of potatoes.

Google: The Google Potato will monitor every minutiae of your life, including your grocery bill, exercise habits, sleep pattern, sexual activity, tax return, social security number, dress size and your children’s grades in school. After a thorough analysis of this information, it will recommend what products you should buy. At night it will relay all your personal data to the NSA to determine if you’re a terrorist.

Elon Musk: The Elon Musk potato will pack five times the amount of nutrients and fiber as the regular potato, and will make your teeth white and farts smell like perfume. But each one costs $100, and might explode or crash into the side of a truck for no reason.

Honest Titles For TV Shows and Movies

Have you ever noticed that some television shows or movie have secretly very dark premises? Here are some alternate titles I created for popular (or once popular) television shows.

  • Children Practice Animal-Baiting with Mutant Monstrosities (Pokemon)
  • Underage Teenage Soldiers Fight Monsters from Outer Space (Power Rangers)
  • Underage Teenage Soldiers Fight Supernatural Monsters (Sailor Moon)
  • Widower Raises Girls with Former Delinquent and Goofy Man-Child (Full House)
  • Black Nerd Who Gets Constantly Bullied but Remains Cheerful for No Reason (Family Matters)
  • Moronic Buffoon Runs a Nuclear Plant (The Simpsons)
  • Children Who Fight Evil while Surrounded by Adults Who are Too Powerless or Corrupt to Help (Harry Potter)
  • Child Who Has to Deal with the Traumatic Loss of a Parent (Bambi)
  • Child Seeks Revenge for the Murder of a Parent (Lion King)
  • Teenagers Forced to Fight for Survival (The Hunger Games)

I think I could come up with more but this is the list for the moment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Entertainingly Bad

Judging whether a book is good or bad is a difficult task. One problem is that all judgment on a creative work is subjective, and no two person will have the same opinion. But this isn’t the problem I want to address in this essay, it is another frequent problem that I find glaring but hasn’t been adequately discussed by other people. It is that the judgment most people give tend to be one-dimensional. Websites such as Amazon and Goodreads often rate a work on a scale of 1 to 5. This is useful because it tells people whether a work is good enough to read or watch, but it sometimes ignore other dimensions of the work. A book can be surprisingly entertaining despite being objectively terrible.

Sometimes it can be useful to introduce another dimension into rating a book. I have created a chart, and the X-axis ranks a work as “bad/good”, the usual way we judge books. Then, the Y-axis ranks a work as “boring/entertaining”, a dimension most people assume coincide with the “bad/good” dimension. However, I found that in practice the two dimensions can be independent of one another, and a good work can be boring as well as interesting. I have rated a few works based on this new system to illustrate how it will work out. These ratings are from my point-of-view and therefore subjective, and I haven’t read some of these works in their entirety. Despite these drawbacks, I hope you’ll find my musings entertaining and my system useful.

In the upper right quadrant are books that are both entertaining and good, and are usually the books we read. These books are good because they express interesting ideas, are well written, but also manage to be entertaining at the same time. For example, the book Notes from Underground is about a man who is undergoing (or has underwent) an existential crisis, but somehow Dostoyevsky makes his situation funny. Seldom will you have a work that embodies both philosophical ideas and is at the same time engaging and entertaining. The same can be said of Candide, which criticizes religious bigotry, social injustice, gender inequality, but all in a satirical way that makes the heavy-handed morality tale tolerable. I also put the works of Beverly Cleary and Mark Twain in here, because they created interesting and realistic characters that are enjoyable to read.

In the lower right quadrant are books that are good but boring. I consider most of the works of Jane Austen and and Charles Dickens to be in this category, as well as Moby Dick. These books were all well written, express interesting ideas, but have fallen short at being an interesting enough to make you excited and enthusiastic about the work. I remember reading Pride and Prejudice, and while I was impressed with the elegant language Jane Austen used, I found all the characters to be stiff and wooden. None of them appeared to have any personality at all, they were merely talking heads spouting perfectly composed sentences. It was like reading a romance novel written by an autistic person. Everything I like about Beverly Cleary is absent from Pride and Prejudice, and for this I am disappointed in that novel. Unfortunately these are also the works of literature most likely to be taught in high school and college.

In the lower left quadrant are books that are both bad and boring. Works in this quadrant tend to be ignored by most people (for obvious reasons), therefore there aren’t many works I can call off the top of my head that belongs here. The only reason these works tend to hang around is when they promote some popular ideology, so the works of Ayn Rand and most of the Bible belongs here. While I like (and dislike) certain aspects of Judeo-Christian doctrine, I find most of the Bible terrible as a work of literature. The Bible is supposed to be a grand epic narrative about the creation of the world, the falling of man into sin and final redemption. Therefore, the literature style you would expect the writers of the Bible to use would be similarly epic. However, when I read the Bible I was disappointed. Many of the stories were written in a dry, matter-of-fact style. It was as if it was written by Ernest Hemingway on his bad days. (Oddly enough God looks just like Ernest Hemingway when he’s having a bad day, so it may not be entirely a coincidence.) Never before have I been bored by reading murder and rape scenes, but the Bible somehow manages to do that.

The upper left quadrant is the most interesting, because it includes books that are both bad and entertaining. Few books fall into this category, because it is difficult for a bad writer to produce entertaining works, but when they do the results are often spectacular and memorable. My Immortal is the epitome of this category of books. It manages to make suicide, rape and torture funny, a grand achievement for someone who does not have a grasp of English grammar or spelling. Due to the ease of self-publishing and the Internet, more and more amateurs are putting their ill-conceived books on the market. Fifty Shades of Grey, which like My Immortal, was a work of fan-fiction, was originally posted on the Internet and then self-published. Will this eventually become the future of literature? I hope not, but if it does at least literature will not be dull anymore, the way it currently is.

In Memory of Billy Mays

A found poem based on the infomercials of Billy Mays

Hi, Billy Mays here to share with you
the most important product I’ve ever endorsed.
Once in every lifetime comes a product so great,
in some states it’s even illegal.

Powered by the air you breathe,
Activated by the water you drink,
Handy Switch is the easy way
to control any lamp from anywhere.

The double-sided non-stick surface is so slick,
Not even burnt on cheese will stick.
Call right now and you’ll also receive
the Big City Slider absolutely free.

You can double or triple stack ’em,
and watch your family attack ’em.
Top with onion, ketchup or cheese,
Big City Sliders are sure to please.

Into the matting, into the padding ,
It even takes red wine
and grape juice out of carpeting.

It will make your whites whiter,
It will make your brights brighter.
Turning from green to white
to show it’s ready to hold on tight.

It has the strength to pull this fully-loaded
eight-thousand pound tractor-trailer.
It’s a technology that took eight years
and millions of dollars to develop.

Yours for just nineteen ninety-nine.

Call right now and get
The miracle machine with
twelve precision blades so sharp
they even slice ripe tomatoes.

Ask for the optional industrial
diamond blades that can cut
through all kinds of stone.

Slice cheese with ease.
Just pay separate processing and handling.