Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Patrick: Irish National Hero or Imperialist Shill?

Look, I'm about as Irish as a bowl of Lucky Charms covered in Jameson, but I've had it with St. Patrick. First off, that guy wasn't even Irish. He was from Britain. And what did he do that was so great? He converted the so-called “savages” to Christianity. That's right. He was a British guy who came to our land because he wanted to change our religion. Sound familiar?

Sure, he wasn't a dick about it like Christopher Columbus was to the Native Americans, or the way future British guys acted toward us concerning the Catholic vs Protestant schism, but still, don't you think it's funny that the holiday honoring the man who supposedly “civilized” the Irish is celebrated by people getting as uncivilized as possible?

Before St. Patrick came along, the Irish did not know that Leprechauns weren't real and spent most of their time trying to get to the end of the rainbow. They did this in order to get the pot o' gold thereby allowing them to buy enough potatoes to survive through the winter. St. Patrick showed them the error of their ways, teaching the dirty lute-playing brutes to rely on faith in God and not little green men who hang out at the ends of rainbows. St. Patrick bested heretical Christian rivals in debates by using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (three in one, see!). If he was ever presented with a four-leaf clover, he would just say that that one included the Holy Mother and pronounce it lucky. That's where this tradition comes from.

Even though he is an important person in Irish History, the fact remains that he is not a real Irishman. A real Irishman, in my view, is someone born and raised in Ireland, or at least someone who’s family originated in Ireland and had been living there since some arbitrarily chosen date. Now I'm not trying to rag on immigrants here, Lord knows some of ‘em are actually worth a damn, but I think that the Irish holiday should be represented by someone who was a true Irishman and not some foreigner who came over and demanded that we change our beliefs and our way of life to accommodate him. Under St. Patrick, a whole system of mores and folkways was abolished.

I'm as modern as anybody else and I can fully appreciate the argument that maybe using Leprechauns along with some hippy-sounding stuff about loving nature as the central tenants of your religion might not be the best idea, but St. Patrick, as a foreigner, had no business doing what he did. He should have respected the Native peoples' beliefs. He should have been more sensitive to their beloved traditions and since he was living on their land he should have adopted their religion and cultural practices or at least have had the decency to practice Christianity in private and not try to force it on anybody. St. Patrick was an imperialist, plain and simple.

Everyone has a right to their own beliefs and when you come into my land you had better not question or criticize the things that I believe. This not only hurts my feelings, but makes me clench my fists in bitter indignation. If St. Patrick was so against the Druid religion, he should have stayed in Britain and let the Irish people be.

That is why I’m proposing that instead of honoring this priestly East India Company every year, we should honor a true Irishman and venerate true Irish heroes as well as Irish cultural contributions. Let’s get rid of St. Patrick’s Day and replace it with St. Bono’s Day. The music of U2 has definitely raised Ireland’s cultural stature in the eyes of most of the world. Let’s embrace that. Hell, it’s not just U2. Ireland has produced many great artists, poets, writers, and statesmen from James Joyce to Bill O’Reilly. Personally, I could totally get down with a holiday honoring Samuel Beckett or George Bernard Shaw. Or how about Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams? If anybody’s fought for Ireland and her interests, it’s this great man.

Or if you prefer your legends non-living, how about the hunger striker Bobby Sands? He was a great Irish patriot who died in an act of defiance of the government’s all too successful attempt to deny him the right to carry illegal firearms. There’s nothing more Irish, American, or Irish-American than not backing down when the government tries to punish you for exercising your right to bear arms. Especially when you intend to use those arms against the King of England. That was the exact same enemy the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind when they wrote the Second Ammendment. “We need guns to keep the King of England in his place” said George Washington as he drank his green beer in a smoky Irish pub whilst wearing his “I’m With Federalism” t-shirt.

We Irish, Irish-Americans, Irish-Canadians, and everyone else with the word Irish anywhere in their self-descriptions need to rid ourselves of this agent of British Imperialism known as St. Patrick and embrace our true culture and heritage.

Now excuse me, but it’s almost half past noon and I’m going to put “the Joshua Tree” in my stereo, grab a Guinness from the fridge, and maybe later I’ll stroll on down to my local McDonalds and order that most delectable dish of authentic Irish cuisine, The Shamrock Shake. But for now, I need to wrap this up so I can resume my St. Ted Kennedy’s Day weekend celebrations.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Heil Honey, I'm Home!

Imagine yourself in another time and place: England in 1990. On September 30th of that year the worst sitcom of all time was released upon an unsuspecting public.

"Heil Honey, I'm Home!" is a show about the domestic squabbles of Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun. From the opening credits and theme song alone one can immediately tell that it is an attempted send-up of classic 1950s TV comedies.

And Heil Honey, I'm Home! is just like a 1950s sitcom, except it is not at all funny. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is even worse than such contemporary TV shitcakes as FOX's The War at Home.

All throughout I got the impression that the writers found the concept itself so overwhelmingly hilarious that it overshadowed the writing of actual jokes. I watched this abortion from beginning to end and, much like the real historical atrocities of the Third Reich, I had a hard time coming to grips with it.

The only plausible explanation I can think of is that whoever did this must've been constantly amused by things like "This man is in trouble for being late for dinner...AND HE'S HITLER!" or "This woman is stressed out from all the housework...AND SHE LIVES WITH HITLER!" Oh, and did I mention that everyone on this show has a fake New York accent?

And you know the writers thought they were being oh so clever and awesome when they made the next door neighbors playing the Fred and Ethyl type roles as a Jewish couple. I'm not kidding. That's exactly what they did. Edgy to the max, dude.

Mel Brook's movie The Producers and Serge Gainsbourg's album Rock Around the Bunker proved to us that this material can be used to create great comedy. The film Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS showed us that Nazi Germany can be simultaneously sexy and horrifying. While Heil Honey, I'm Home! goes in another direction and presents us with a Third Reich that kills us by boredom rather than with machine guns and poison gas. With all the bad non-jokes mixed in with canned laughter and predictable scenarios and dialogue, I wished the Luftwaffe would drop a bomb on me because that would be far more pleasurable that watching another episode of Heil Honey, I'm Home.

This is honestly the only instance I've seen where the evocation of Nazi Germany in popular culture can be soundly condemned not for being either insensitive or offensive, but for being tedious. If the real Hitler had been as irritating as the one depicted here, the Weimar judiciary never would've given him an early release from prison for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch. He would've served his full sentence, and "Mein Kampf" would've never cracked the best seller list.

I don't endorse watching this show. It's bad enough that I did it. You should save yourself the brain damage and click the "back" button on your browser right now. But in case you're feeling a mixture of curiosity and masochism or if your life is in shambles and you want something appropriate to play on your computer to help you not back out of committing suicide, then by all means, take a gander at Heil Honey, I'm Home!

Episode One Part I:

Episode One Part II:

If you liked all that then you should be sterilized. This is one point on which the real Hitler and I would be in complete agreement.

To see an example of the right way to utilize Hitler for entertainment purposes, check out this clip from the 1970s Japanese children's show J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai in which we are given an Asian Hitler with a David Bowie mullet, a female storm trooper, and footage of a crucifixion.

Checka-checka-check it out:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

South Korean Scientists Clone Glow in The Dark Kittens

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For the longest time, I've held the not very popular opinion that North Korea is the greatest Korea. Today, I am pleased to report that although I still deeply respect and admire the wise, fair and balanced leadership of socialist revolutionary superbrain Kim Jong Il, recent news has forced me to revise my views. I am now firmly in the pro-South Korea camp.

The reason for this seismic shift in my political perspectives was not due to anything involving uranium enrichment, concern for human rights, or any sort of newfound respect for capitalism or democracy. Instead, I am backing South Korea because their scientists have not only cloned kittens, but cloned kittens that glow in the dark.

First off, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a glow in the dark kitten, but thanks to South Korea's scientific community, I know this as well as the fact that there can now be more of them. If you read the article you'll notice how they try to downplay the awesomeness of this action in and of itself and talk about how it could lead to treatment of human genetic diseases and stuff like that. To me, this is just a bunch of boring nerd talk. There are so many better things you can do with a glow in the dark cat than attempt to cure diseases.

I would like to state right now that I am in favor of using this technology to give cats a more prominent role in the rave subculture, but the possibilities for house pets are what I'm most interested in.

One of my roommates is a grey tabby named Mr. Business. He's a pretty sweet cat for the most part but sometimes he can get into mischief, like the time he crawled into a hole in the wall that my landlord still hasn't fixed yet so I had to go and use a claw hammer to free him. (I covered the hole with some JC Penny ads for the time being. I just hope my landlord gets on the ball before the holiday sale ends) Mr. Business, although a very sophisticated and astute gentleman in his own right, is sometimes guilty of regressing back into the ancient hunter-predator role assigned him by his blood memory.

I'll be getting myself a midnight snack with the lights out and no sooner will I have started to open the lid on the peanut butter will Mr. Business jump at my leg and try to eat it. Other times he'll be sleeping in the hallway and I'll accidentally kick him because I can't see him and he'll give me an especially grumpy meow.

If Mr. Business glowed in the dark, I would be able to step around him without accidentally kicking him and waking him up. Furthermore, I would be better able to anticipate his sneak attacks, thereby giving myself the ability to more easily capture him, hold him in my arms, and sing him parodies of pop songs with the lyrics changed to be about either him or just cats in general. (current song: "We built this kitty on rock'n'roll.")

Plus, having a glow in the dark cat would come in handy on nights like the one where my friend Jackie left the front door open and we thought Mr. Business had ran out and so we were franticly trying to see if he was hiding in the bushes but we couldn't see him because it was dark. It turned out to be a false alarm though because after we started calling for him he came out from under the couch. Still, that could have potentially been a bad situation.

For some people, a cat is perfect as it is and does not need to glow in the dark. Well consider this: if human beings are allowed to use science to better themselves, why can't cats? Isn't that a little bit speciesist? I think that the glow in the dark gene should be placed into the DNA of every clone. Not just cats. That way, if a scientist were to clone me, for example, the clone wouldn't be able to lie and say he's the original and take over my life. His claims would be easily disproved by a flip of a light switch. I know that my clone would attempt this because that's exactly what I would do if I were in his position.

With scientific breakthroughs like these happening more often these days, we should not be slow to reap the benefits of this knowledge. On the contrary, we should encourage scientists to further speed up the evolution of cats. This glow in the dark thing is a great step, but it's not going nearly far enough. I want a cat that grants wishes by the year 3000.

So hats off to you, South Korean scientists. Your glow in the dark cat clones are inspiring. I just hope that mankind has the maturity and the foresight to use this gift for good and not evil.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Adventures in Retail Episode 1: "I been drinking since seven o'clock."

A lot of folks think working in retail is wiggity wack and many think the same is true of working the graveyard shift. When I tell people I work the graveyard shift in the retail sector, the common response is "How can you do that?"

It's easy if you heed the advice of the Carter Family and "keep on the sunny side." It also helps if you generally tend to find the behavior of insane and/or drunk people more amusing than irritating.

Last night a man in a green sweater staggered into the store and collided with the stack of shopping baskets at the entrance, knocking them over. He continued to stagger to the bathroom, unable to miss making impact with a necktie display. We just assumed he was drunk like half the other people hanging out in and around the store so when he went into the men's room, we thought he was going to just vomit in there. A while later he left. Not long after, a co-worker was informed by a customer that the men's room looked like Dracula's napkin. I checked it out myself and saw that the floor and the sink were covered in blood. He wasn't drunk at all. He just lost a ton of juice.

Another of my co-workers was given the honor of cleaning it up. I went back to the cash register. One man bought over $100 worth of candy canes.

Later on, at around 3:40 am I was behind the register when a big drunk dude with a thick Jamaican accent and real bad hiccups asked me when the next bus was coming by. I told him that the buses stopped running two hours ago. He said "I know, *hiccup* I missed my bus. I need to know *hiccup* when the next one is coming."

"Not until about 5:30ish."

He said "Aw fuck, *hiccup* you mean I *hiccup* really got to wait a whole hour?"

"It's more like two hours, sir."


So he walks out of the store. My co-worker who had cleaned up the blood was working the register while I tidied up around the cosmetics isle. The dude came back 20 minutes later and asks if he can take a nap somewhere in the store. My co-worker politely tells him that that would not be permissible and the man becomes irate, basically yelling fuck a bunch with hiccups in between and stormed out yet again only to walk back in and lay down in the store's entrance and go to sleep. We just left him alone there because we figured it wasn't worth the hassle to try and deal with him for the two hours before his bus shows up.

5:10 comes around and my manager wakes him. He doesn't want to move, saying "I was having a nice nap."

She lets him know that the bus is going to be there soon. He growls "I KNOW!" then in a soft voice he repeats "I was having a nice nap." She told him he couldn't stay there any more and he goes "leave me alone, fuck." So by this time she's had it and tells him if he doesn't leave right now she's calling the cops so he gets up quick and leaves. My manager goes back to what she was doing before.

He comes back in not more than 5 minutes later, walks up to me and says "where's your deodorant?" I point him to the appropriate isle. He says "How much does it cost?" I tell him that that varies. He goes "Yeah, but how much does it cost?" I told him to read the price tags. It was then that I noticed that homeboy had pissed his jeans. He asks "do you have the spray?" I answered in the affirmative and entreated him to go back there and get it. The next thing I hear is the alarm that gets activated every time the deodorant case is opened go off and continued to do so for an entire minute. He walks up to my register absolutely reeking of body spray. I could smell it from a short distance and by the time he got to me it was almost unbearable. I asked him if he found the deodorant he was looking for. He said "You have a lot of different kinds of deodorant. That's good."

Then he says "let me ask you something man, what would you do if your manager tells you he's trying to get you fired?"

I said "if my manager is trying to get me fired?"


"I dunno, maybe start looking for another job."

"No no no, I don't mean that. I mean how would you feel if your manager, he just a small man, he say to you 'I am trying to get you fired.'"

"I would think that that was not very encouraging to say the least."

"He is a small man. Maybe only five feet. Maybe even less than that. I might have to fight him for this but I don't want to. It would be too easy. That's not a fight."

"Yeah, you don't want to be known as the guy who beats up midgets."

"Exactly. Where is the challenge? They should give me someone like Shaq. That would be a fight."

"That's true, but I doubt that Shaq would try to get you fired."

He laughed and said "that's true. He would give me a million dollars instead of being a pain in my ass."

My boss sees that he is here and yells at him again. "Get out of the store like I told you before."

He goes "You have a problem with me?"

She said "Yeah, I do have a problem, you're in here drunk."

"I AM DRUNK AS HELL!" he roars.

"I can see that, now get out."


"Get out before I call the cops."

"You want to know something?"

"Go!" He is heading toward the exit.

"I tell you something. I'm drunk as hell. I been drinking since seven o'clock!"

"Good, I hope you're proud of yourself. Now get out."

"I am proud." He's almost gone.


"I am very proud of myself." He's just out the door. "Hey! You want to come settle this outside?"

"You want to fight a woman? What kind of man are you?"

He doesn't answer. He just wanders off. Then one of my favorite customers comes in. She's a super-cool Portuguese lady who's always really cheerful and every time I see her she tells me facts about Portugal. Today she informs me that she was going to fill out an application for a job at my store the day after the last time I saw her but was afraid that she wouldn't get hired due to her poor penmanship. "Nobody can read it" she says. I told her she should just have someone with good handwriting fill it out for her since we don't have to do any writing at all here.

"Oh you people here in America all have such wonderful handwriting. In my country nobody can write very well. Over there you have to get a private tutor and spend a few years practicing but over here you all can do it so clean and so clear."

I suggested that maybe the educational system in Portugal doesn't concentrate on penmanship as much as the one here does. She said "That's exactly right. Over there nobody cares if you write good or not. They probably think it's the parents job to teach them at home but the parents can't write good and they don't care. They don't even care if the kid does his homework most of the time. So of course they don't care about handwriting."

"Yeah," I said, trying to pretend like I know something about Portugal, "it's like 'mow the lawn and then leave me alone.'"

"Exactly, only in Portugal we hire somebody else to mow the lawn. We don't do it ourselves."

So yeah. To recap: Retail + The Graveyard shift = Non-stop party. You people with fancy hotshot jobs like Investment Banking and Civil Engineering might be able to watch TV Links in your office all day and get paid way more than me, even though you can watch every episode of 30 Rock while sipping the finest champagnes in your well lit cubicle, I am still having a way better time than you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Max Fleischer

Max Fleischer was one of the earliest pioneers in the field of animation and in the early days he was Walt Disney's main rival. Many of his shorts are very quirky and surreal and hold up very well even today.

Here are a few of my favorite Fleischer cartoons.

Ko Ko's Harem Scarem (1929)
Synopsis: Originally a silent film, this version contains a more recent film score. Ko Ko the clown and his dog Fitz are captured by a knife-wielding Arab and go on a wild romp through a cartoon Middle East.

Swing You Sinners! (1930)
Synopsis: A man steals a chicken and escapes the police only to inadvertently wind up in a Kafkaesque nightmare world located at the local cemetery.

Betty Boop - Bimbo's Initiation (1931)
Synopsis: Betty's pal Bimbo is tormented by the strong-arm recruitment tactics of a secret society.

Betty Boop - Minnie The Moocher (1932)
Synopsis: Don't run away from home or the devil will get you. With music by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra.

In My Merry Oldsmobile (1932)
Synopsis: A would-be rapist is thwarted by a midget with cool wheels. Then there's a really nice musical number with one of those karaoke dots so that the audience can sing along.

Dancing On The Moon (1936)
Synopsis: Love hurts. A lot.

Betty Boop - Be Human (1936)
Synopsis: Betty Boop is shown as a precursor to the Animal Liberation movement. A bad man is unimpressed by her song of peace and is subsequently imprisoned and tortured. Fun Fact: In this short, her outfit is more conservative than in the previous one. This is due to the Hays Code, an early self-regulation measure taken by Hollywood and the precursor to the MPAA ratings system.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Dear Friends, Hot Babes, and Assorted Strangers,

This is the official weblaunch of my new blog Single K.O.

For quite some time now people have been saying to me "Jeremy, you should do a blog. People would read it if you made one" but I never really gave it much serious consideration.

I was originally going to just skip over this whole blogging thing and go straight to podcasting but I kept forgetting to buy a microphone and then I found myself plagued by all kinds of self-doubt. I worried that my podcast plan would turn out to be stillborn like my brief and unsuccessful attempts over the years at such diverse hobbies as learning bass guitar, cooking, tap dancing, kung fu, and Arabic.

Getting into the podcast market requires a monetary investment and since I can't afford to divert any more funds away from my 401(k) (read: the Pennsylvania Lotto and back-alley crap shoots), I decided that the best option for a cautious, risk-averse investor such as myself would be to hop on the blogging boat. So here we are.