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Posts Tagged bullshit

That’s bullshit: Theme song edition

Wow, it’s been a long while.  Sorry about that – I’ve been meaning to write a whole bunch of things, but I’ve been a wee bit overextended of late and sadly you, my loyal 5-7 readers, have suffered as a consequence. Good thing my fellow bloggers have stepped up and filled in the gaps, eh? Oh.  Well, something popped into my head yesterday morning, and if I don’t get it out now, it might be another long while until I can make that happen.

I’m not sure why, but the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island” was playing in my head at about 5:45am.  A lot has been made over the years about this song, namely pointing out the amount of luggage people had for what was supposed to be a “three-hour tour” (though they still wore the same outfits almost all the time, right?).  Another common theme I’ve heard extends throughout the series: don’t The Skipper and The Professor have real names? (According to Wikipedia, yes they do.  I kinda wish I never looked at that though.)  I consider all of that old news though, for something different struck me about the song this time.  “If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost,” we’re told in the song.  Granted, I haven’t seen the first couple of episodes of that show for…I don’t know, maybe 25 years, but that’s a very important line.  I can’t recall a single instance of the other castaways thanking The Skipper and Gilligan for their heroism.  Yes, they were stranded on an island with no sign of rescue, but the crew saved their frickin’ lives.  I would hope that they could express a little gratitude for that.  But no, all I remember is poor Gilligan getting made fun of and/or belittled with nary a “thank you” to be heard.  The island was not a fate worse than death, so that type of behavior isn’t just wrong – that’s bullshit.

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That’s bullshit: Rhyming edition, Part 2


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As I typed in the title of this post, I went back into the archives and saw that rhyming had already earned its own “That’s Bullshit” post.  So I named this “Part 2,” but it’s not really a sequel.  It’s not even a gritty reboot of a franchise, though I do appreciate those.  Disirregardless, I shall press on.

Let’s talk about the word “again.”  It rhymes with “ten” and many other common words in this glorious yet frustrating language we call English, right?.  Do you know what it doesn’t rhyme with?  “Main,” “train,” or “Bahrain.”  Yet that rhyme pops up in song lyrics and poems all the time.  I get it, it looks like it should rhyme with those words, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t.  For too long, I’ve heard lyrics like, “I’m standing in the rain/And I miss her once again” and just thought to myself, “Oh yeah, we pretend that those words rhyme.”  Why do we let that slide?  It’s not like the real way we pronounce “again” wouldn’t have any words with which to rhyme and so we give it a free pass and let it feast in the -ain/-ane category.  There are plenty of great words there, but we still just hear that non-rhyme and accept it because we’ve been conditioned to think it’s been granted some kind of rhyming bigamy.  Why?  Just because they look like they should rhyme with each other?  That’s not a good enough reason.  We don’t pretend that “laughter” and “slaughter” rhyme, “rough” and “through,” or “show” and “how,” so what’s so special about “again”?  Nothing, and fuck that.  When the singer/writer pronounces the word as “uh-GEN,” then it has to rhyme with the right words.  Anything else, and that’s bullshit.

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That’s bullshit: sequence edition


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Some of my kids’ books are great, and some are less than stellar.  I know my standards are probably too high, yet I’m still pleasantly surprised by some of the books strewn about their play area.  Susan Boynton’s books, for example, are almost all awesome, and if you’re a parent of a kid anywhere close to the age range of mine, you’re probably nodding in agreement.  They’re illustrated well, the meter of the verse is usually pretty solid, and there are sometimes little twists that make me smile (or even laugh out loud once – I know, that’s some serious shit right there).

But I don’t expect too much from the less ambitious ones.  If it’s something like “Baby’s First Words,” they should be able to correctly put a picture of a shoe under the word “shoe,” and that’s not normally a problem.  Actually, now that I think about it a little more, there is one small book of colors that has a mostly green apple on the page that’s supposed to illustrate “Red.”  I think that’s some minor bullshit right there, but I have a new one that gets my goat a wee bit more.

“Numbers” is a small board book with a whopping six pages.  Hard to mess that up, right?  Page one shows a picture of a teddy bear, the number 1, and the words, “One teddy bear.”  Pretty easy formula to follow, you might expect.  Two shoes are on the page that faces that one, also with the appropriate text.  Turn the page, and you’ll find three cupcakes and four cars waiting for you.  So far so good, eh?  But here’s where things go awry.  The first time I turned the page, I was reading the book aloud to my kids.  As I was saying, “Five fingers” and pointing to the splayed hand on the page, I couldn’t help but notice a foot waiting for me on the subsequent page.  I actually had time to think to myself, “Nah, that can’t be right.”  Sure enough, I moved over to the final page of the book and read aloud, “FIVE toes.”  Yep, you read that right.  The six-page book of numbers goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.  Why the hell would they do that?  It’s not like they needed to find something inextricably tied to the number six (like fingers are to five), because that’s not the case with three cupcakes, four cars, or…any of the others, actually.  So it could’ve been six of anything – flowers, blueberries, rattles, babies, or virtually anything not R-rated.  It’s like someone said, “Ya know, we had such a good feeling about 5 being fingers that maybe we should just try to replicate that success instead of pushing ourselves to find a good pairing for number 6.”  Ok, sure, that could make a tiny bit of sense…if it weren’t a fucking counting book with only six pages.  My kids are going to think that the number 5 follows the number 5 unless I step in and stop the nonsense myself.  I really have no idea how it got published with what I consider to be a giant flaw, but I know one thing: that’s bullshit.

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That’s bullshit: Contest edition


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Ok, there’s some serious bullshit going on here, so prepare yourselves to get as angry as I am.  I’ll build to that though, so get comfy.

One thing I love about my core group of friends is how well we know each other.  Dave is my “newest” friend of the group, and I met him in ’96 or ’97, so we all have a ton of history together.  None of them would call me up for tips on changing their oil or the fastest side streets to take if the freeway is worse than normal, because they all know far too well that those things aren’t my bag…baby.  However, if Dusty doesn’t remember his ex-girlfriend’s birthday or needs an idea for his company’s radio commercial, I expect my cell phone to buzz (and take great pleasure in helping).

I’ve known my friend Lisa for over 15 years, and somehow I haven’t scared her off yet.  She forwarded me an email at the end of last month and wrote, “Go for it.  Please buy me one if you win.  Or two.  Or a hot dog, a beer, and one.  Thanks.”  I scrolled down and saw a contest that a local restaurant chain called “The Stand” was starting: “Name our new dessert, WIN $100 GIFT CARD!”  Was I intrigued?  Fuck yeah I was intrigued!  Not only is that sort of thing right in my wheelhouse (as my dear friend instinctively knew), but their burgers and hot dogs are mighty tasty.  Here was the description of the dessert: “A deep fried hot dog bun we sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar turning it into a churro.  Then we add a fresh banana and top it with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts.  This dessert is amazing.  It’s the ultimate ‘dog’ dessert.”  They also said they were launching it under the name “The Stand Split” as a placeholder until after the contest.

I wrote her back with my first stab: “I’m thinking ‘El Perro Frio’ would work, but I might write it without the ‘el.’ (I’d do ‘The Perro Frio,’ except I hate that.)  They call it a ‘dog dessert’ but since it’s got a churro-type bun, I think the Spanish works.  You like?”  I wasn’t in love with it, but I thought juxtaposing a “cold dog” with all of the hot ones on their menu was a nice touch.  She replied: “Wasn’t getting the Spanish till you said churro.  I like.  But anything else?”  And you see, folks, that comfort level is the mark of a solid friendship right there.  She wanted to be wowed, and now I didn’t want to let her down.  I made a joke about calling it “This Shit is Bananas” in my reply before adding this: “‘Ice Cream Bundae’ would work too, right?”  Her reply told me everything I needed to know: “Bundae!! Totally.  Absolutely.”  I went to the site, submitted the name, and wrote her back saying that her hot dog, beer, and bundae awaited her.  She said she really felt like it was going to happen, and we spent the next few weeks joking about when we’d get “our” gift card.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011: A day that shall live in bullshitfamy.  I got an email from Lisa entitled, “THAT’S BULLSHIT!”  Her accompanying message prepared me for the worst: “No freakin’ way, dude.”  I scrolled down and saw this steaming pile of crap: “We finally named our new baby…’The Banana Bundae.  Congratulations to loyal customers Rhonda W. and Shirley F. for naming our new dessert!”  I picked up the phone and called Lisa.  “You’re fucking kidding me,” I said.  “I know, right?”  (She might not have actually said that right then, but she says that a lot so it’s entirely possible.)  I was focusing on the fact that they gave it to two people with a similar but inferior name while Lisa added a very salient point: “Nobody calls it a ‘banana sundae.”  It’s an ‘ice cream sundae’ or ‘hot fudge sundae.’  ‘Banana bundae’ doesn’t even make sense.”  I had forwarded her email to my lovely wife, who right then sent me an online chat: “That’s total bullshit! Whoever heard of a Banana Sundae?”  I wrote back saying that Lisa and I were having the same conversation.  She replied, “Rhonda W. and Shirley F. suck.”  Thanks, baby.

Lisa and I came up with a theory: They really wanted the word “banana” in the title, but liked my entry of “Bundae.”  Rather than giving it to me, they combined the two and pretended that other people came up with it.  They said “Rhonda” and “Shirley” because that’s their grandmothers’ names, but those people didn’t really submit anything.  That way they get the name they like the most and save $100.  I don’t fully buy our theory, but we’re throwing it out there.  As if I weren’t pissed off enough about this, they listed a few other names that didn’t make the cut.  I’ll list them below with my parenthetical thoughts following:

1. The Al-Bun-D.  (This could be ANYTHING on their menu.  Why would this make sense for a dessert any more than a hot dog or hamburger?  The answer: it wouldn’t.  I appreciate puns, but “Bun in the Oven” or “The Easter Bun-ny” have the word “bun” in them too and wouldn’t be good dessert names.)

2. Arctic Jungle Puppy. (“Arctic” because it’s cold, fine.  “Jungle” because it’s…wait, why is that word there?  Lisa said it’s because bananas grow in the jungle.  If that’s the case, I think I just pulled a muscle stretching for that pun to make sense.)

3. Churrana-Saurus-Rex. (Go fuck yourself, whoever sent that in. Seriously.)

4. Winning! (Because they thought permanently naming a dessert after an already-dated Charlie Sheen quote that has NOTHING to do with it was a solid idea.)

5. The Dawg House.  (How this is any different/better/more relevant than “The Underdawg,” “Dawg Gone It,” or “Let Sleeping Dawgs Lie” is beyond me.  Just because the word “dog” is in a phrase, that doesn’t make it a good name for a dessert.  Yes, even if you change the spelling to look cooler.)

I honestly don’t know if I’d be more upset if one of those won instead of “Banana Bundae.”  Probably not, because I’d be able to tell myself, “Clearly they were looking for something different than what I provided.”  Instead, they chose a crappier version of what I submitted and will proudly display it while people pat Rhonda and Shirley on their (possibly fictitious) backs.  That, my friends, is some utter and complete bullshit.

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That’s bullshit: Holiday name edition


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Today is the eve of the new year, hence we call it New Year’s Eve.  The apostrophe is required because of the possessive nature involved, right?  Well then, why the hell isn’t it Christmas’ Eve on December 24th?  It’s the eve of Christmas, so the same (correct) logic should apply.  The holidays themselves start to muddle things.  Christmas and Christmas Day as names make sense to me, but do we really need to say New Year’s Day or even the commonly abbreviated New Year’s?  I suppose I could make the argument that “New Year’s Day” is really short for “the day of the new year,” but couldn’t I then use that same line of reasoning to advocate for “Christmas’ Day”?  Two things are for sure: first, when my birthday becomes an official holiday due to excellence in sporadic blogging, I’d like for everyone to call it P-Dawg Day (or The Feast of St. P-Dawg) and the day before to be P-Dawg’s Eve.  Second, this whole gray area of naming holidays is utter and complete bullshit.  Have a happy and healthy New Year, everyone.

p.s. I just realized a couple of days ago that tomorrow will be 1/1/11.  I thought I’d mention that now before 500 of your closest “friends” use that fact as a Facebook status.

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That’s bullshit: Rhyming edition


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My buddy Jon gave me some new music recently, and one of the bands on the first cd is awesomely named “We Were Promised Jetpacks.”  I have to assume that whoever named the band is near my age, because jetpacks and hoverboards were supposed to be abundant by now based on the shows and movies of our youth.  (My mom’s equivalent band name might be “We Were Promised That We’d Be Using the Metric System,” incidentally.)  In any case, this band is Scottish, which is obvious from the first line of the first song.  The lead singer says, “I swear I heard my name,” and the way he pronounces “heard,” it rhymes with “swear.”  That’s a serious accent.  (A quick sidebar, your honor: If you say, “I heard it’s near, I swear,” there are three words with “ear” in that sentence with three different pronunciations of it.  Oh English, you confuse me yet again.)

That line and that rhyme and not bullshit, in case that’s where you thought I was going.  I actually think that’s quite cool.  It did however get me thinking, and when it comes to rhyme, people with certain accents have it way easier than Americans.  Let’s say I end line one of a song with “start” and am looking for a word at the end of line two to rhyme with it.  I have a healthy selection, including “heart,” “part,” “smart,” “Pop Tart,” “Qwik-E-Mart,” “Paul Blart,” “holy crap I have to fart,” etc. 

If I were from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, South Africa, or probably some other places, my options don’t stop there.  To me, the R in “start” would be silent or negligible at best, so other rhymes could be “hot,” “cot,” “the wife of Lot,” “I just got shot (bonus internal rhyme!),” “I woke up and I was a robot,” etc.  That makes song and poetry writing at least a small percentage easier for people who hail from other countries.  I bet most of them don’t even realize how fortunate they are that they can rhyme “Descartes” with “dry rot.”  That’s bullshit!

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That’s bullshit: ATM edition


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I’ve complained quite a bit in the past about people saying “ATM Machine” and “PIN Number,” but those are the faults of the people and not the machines themselves. This one’s all about the machine though. I go to the ATM right by my office more times than I’d like to admit, and recently it’s really begun to piss me off. You see, I’m an expert now. For example, my finger is ready and in place to push the “Yes” even before it asks me if I want a receipt. I’m that fucking good.

Does it bother me that no one in line has ever stopped me and said, “Wow, that was really fast – you’re awesome”? Not one bit; people tend not to talk around ATMs (though they’re obviously thinking that). What bothers me is the very last step of the process. My index finger on my left hand is ready to push “Take Card” instead of “Another Transaction” while my right hand waits by the slot to quickly snatch the card when it comes out. The screen comes up and my left hand springs into action, hitting the screen with a speed and accuracy usually reserved for snipers. The very moment that even half of my ATM card appears, my right hand snatches it out of the slot. So what’s my problem? It beeps. The fucking thing beeps at me like I’m going to forget my credit card. I honestly don’t think I could be any faster and yet it gets out two beeps – one before the card even appears, and one after I’ve already removed it. I understand wanting to remind people to take their cards with them, but I obviously don’t need that reminder (let alone two of them). If a card is sitting there for half a second, sure, go for it. But beeping at Speedy McCash before and after I masterfully take care of business? That’s bullshit.

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That’s bullshit: News edition


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That's Bullshit!I went to CNN’s website today to make sure that I hadn’t missed any huge news in the past little while.  Boy was I wrong!  My eye leapt to this majorly important headline: “Study: Materialistic people less liked.”  I don’t know what I find more preposterous: the fact that people spent money on a study to tell us something that everyone already knew was true, or that CNN thought that those unimpressive findings were newsworthy.  I imagine some CNN staffer had to think, “That’s really fascinating.  When people value objects more than personal relationships, it has a negative reaction on the way that they’re viewed by their peers.  Who knew?  I hope we have room on the front page for this.”  Regardless of how it went down, that’s bullshit!

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That’s bullshit: Field trip edition


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That's Bullshit!Yesterday morning, I was trying to walk as lightly as possibly while getting dressed for work as my lovely wife was sleeping in.  When I walked past the bedroom door to get my jacket from another room, I got a sudden flashback to a field trip from way back in elementary school.  It was at some kind of nature preserve or something.  I’d tell you more, but that’s all I got.  Our tour guide was a lady who told us that if we didn’t want to spook the animals living in the nearby bushes, we should all walk toe-heel, toe-heel.  That’s the quietest way to walk, she told us.  Well now that I think back on it, I’m pretty sure she did that just to make us look like jackasses to our teachers and volunteering parents.  I bet the adults shared knowing smiles at how cutely misled the class was.  I don’t doubt that it was adorable to watch a couple dozen kids creeping around like cartoon bad guys, but it’s no fun to realize that you were being played…twenty years too late.  That’s bullshit!

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That’s Bullshit: Idiom edition


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That's Bullshit!I tend to think (and over-think) a lot about words and phrases.  And yet, there are everyday sayings that come to my ears or from my mouth that I’ve never stopped to analyze before.   (This is similar to my interaction with celebrity names that I learned as a child.  It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I said, “Wait a minute, her name is Sigourney?”)

Well today, my friends, I’m not letting one of these idioms pass me by without giving it some careful consideration.   That phrase is: “Let the cat out of the bag.”  To me, there’s a slightly negative connotation to that, as if the speaker might not be at liberty to divulge whatever secret s/he is spilling.  Even if you disagree with that part of what I’m saying, I hope we can all agree on my main point: We should be focusing our attention instead on who put the cat in the bag in the first place.  How does that guy not even get a mention?  At best, it’s terrifying a domesticated animal.  At best!  Then we get into whether or not the bag had any holes in it for the cat to breathe during its time of imprisonment.  I think the authorities would be very interested in that point, don’t you?  Even if the bag didn’t explicitly say, “This bag is not a toy,” we as a people are smart enough to know that by now. 

So next time someone says that they “let the cat out of the bag,” I’m going to interrupt him and say, “You, sir, are a hero.”  To anyone who thinks otherwise…that’s bullshit.

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