Friday, December 05, 2008

10 Things That Annoy Me II, Electric Boogaloo!

Back in 2004, when I was still new to this whole blogging thing, my first internet love SJ (Give Me the Booger) inspired me to compile a top ten list of things that bug the shit out of me. So here it is, four years later, and most of those things *still* piss me off. But I dug deep into the tortured recesses of my spongy brain, and I managed to scrape together a list of ten MORE things that make me more irritable than Dick Cheney with hemorroids.

So enjoy. I'll be back in 2012 with my third installment. Let's pray Sarah Palin isn't on it.

1. People who try way too hard to be interesting. Everybody wants to be liked. Most of us do it by cultivating a personality and learning how to interact with others. But some folks do it by inventing a dark and mysterious past, and then dropping what they imagine to be tantalizing hints about it at every possible opportunity. A song will come on the radio, and they'll say, "Ah, yes. This reminds me of that time I was doing heroin in the abandoned hospital and those skinheads tried to shoot me."

Eventually, you learn to quit taking the bait, which causes them some consternation. They'll look at you expectantly, waiting for you to ask them to elaborate. And when you don't, they'll press the issue. "Yeah, I did some dumb things when I was young. Can't believe I almost died that night!" If you ignore them long enough, they'll get desperate to share their imaginary backstory. "I know you probably can't relate to the stuff I've been through, but if you ever want to ask me about my past, please feel free. I don't mind talking about it."

If I don't pry into your sordid and gripping past, it isn't because I'm disturbed or scared or lack the proper frame of reference to relate to you. It's because I don't believe you.

2. Billy Mays. I'm a fat, bearded guy, and I'm capable of being just as shrill and offputting as Mr. Mays. If you have a product, service, or organization you want shilled, just let me know and I'll do it for half of what he charges! Plus, I have no shame whatsoever, so I'll endorse anything! Just check out these testimonials from pleased customers:

"Ever since Chris started singing our praises, membership has picked up by 400%! Thanks, Chris!"
-Reg Hatley, NAMBLA

"People throw around the word 'hero,' but I think Chris really fits the bill. He really saved our business!"
-Don Reddick, Reddick's Puppy Shredding Mills

"If only Chris had been willing to representationalize us, the Republican party would be in much better... oops, I crapped my pants again."
-George W. Bush, Lame Duck

3. "Obama is the antichrist!" I've got to hand it to the conservatives. Once they decide they're going to hate someone, they will work their asses off to make up a reason.

Here's an email I received from the wife of one of my more conservative friends, in all of its illiterate glory:
According to the Book of Revelations the anti-christ is: The anti-christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuassive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal.... the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destory everything. Is it OBAMA??
I can't really comment on the contents of the Book of Revelations, since it doesn't exist. However, I know for a fact that the Book of Revelation (just one, dammit) makes no mention of an antichrist. That term was actually taken from the Epistles of John, and was used to refer to anybody who denied the divinity of Jesus (which I guess, technically, makes me an antichrist). What crops up in Revelation is the Beast, who is described as rising from the sea with seven heads and ten horns, upon which are written the names of blasphemy.

There's nothing about a man in his 40s, and there's absolutely nothing about Muslims. The Islam faith wasn't even founded until 610 AD, at least 500 years after Revelation was written. And even if John of Patmos did miraculously gaze into the future and prophesy the coming of Islam, OBAMA ISN'T A MUSLIM!!!

Seriously. If you're going to be a Christian, you might occasionally try READING that Bible you tote around...

4. Anyone who voted for Prop 8. Why the hell are these hateful fucktards so scared of same-sex marriage? Are they afraid the government might make it mandatory? Do they imagine a squadron of gay commandos is going to march into town and divorce them at gunpoint? Are they afraid gay weddings are going to somehow invalidate their marriages to their cousins? Or are they just using Jesus as an excuse to be bigoted assholes?

If you voted in favor of Prop 8, then you're a horrible human being and I hope you burn to death in a fire made of cancer while eating habanero peppers stuffed with poo. If you don't live in California but you thought Prop 8 was a good idea, then... well you know. Fire, cancer, habanero peppers, poo.

Bonus: Check out Prop 8 - The Musical on

5. Trans fat. What the hell is trans fat, anyway? I've seen commericials for things like deep-fried bacon-wrapped chicken sandwiches that claim to have 0g of trans fat, and I have to ask myself, does it even exist? Has anyone ever actually seen it? Or is it just one of those things that we take on faith, like Intelligent Design and airport security? Personally, I think a bunch of food companies got together and invented the term "trans fat" just so they could claim their product didn't have it. But it's only a matter of time before we as a people rise up and put a stop to it. Like we did with that whole "net carb" fiasco...

6. People too lazy to express their own opinions. By national standards, I'm somewhat moderate in my politics. But here in Texas, I'm somewhere to the left of Lenin. A lot of my family and friends don't share my particular point of view, and they're constantly trying to change my mind by sending me emails that somebody else wrote. Because, hey! Why bother to have any thoughts of your own when you can just cut and paste? It's much easier to be opinionated when you let other people do all the work!

7. People who screw up common sayings. I used to work for a guy who, when signing his name, would always say, "Let me put my John Henry on that." After the third or fourth time, I finally snapped and shouted, "It's HANCOCK! John Hancock! Signer of the Delcaration of Independence! John Henry was a steel drivin' man, and probably didn't sign a whole lot of documents!"

Other mistakes that get up my ass with cleats on are "I could care less," "It's a mute point," and "President George W. Bush."

8. My upstairs neighbors. I've never met them, but based on the amount of noise they make every goddamn night, I've put together a little profile on them. I believe them to be a family of 10, weighing in excess of 400 pounds each. And every evening at 10:30 p.m., they like to put on their work boots, stomp into the bedroom, and knock their collection of bowling balls onto the floor.

I actually went upstairs to complain once, and the chicken shits wouldn't even answer the door. I could hear them inside, and I could see the peephole getting dark as they peered out at me, but they just sat inside and listened to me knock for 10 minutes. I finally gave up and went back downstairs, and they went back to doing jumping jacks.

9. Those preachy episodes of M*A*S*H. I used to love M*A*S*H, but I've been catching the repeats on TV Land, and I've noticed that every episode written by Alan Alda has the exact same speech in it.

General: Captain Pierce, I find your manner insubordinate.

Hawkeye: Oh yeah, General? Well somebody's bullets were insubordinate to this kid's body! I didn't ask to come here! I didn't ask to pull soldiers out of a meat grinder and sew them back together so maniacs like you can march them out again! I hate this place. I hate this war.


Colonel: Son, why don't you head over to the mess tent and get some supper?

Hawkeye: Oh yeah, Colonel? Well somebody's bullets sure made a mess of this kid's body! I didn't ask to come here! I didn't ask to pull soldiers out of a meat grinder and sew them back together so maniacs like you can march them out again! I hate this place. I hate this war.


Nurse: Hey, Hawkeye. Wanna go have sex in the supply tent?

Hawkeye: Oh yeah, Nurse? Well somebody's bullets sure had sex with... wait, that doesn't work. Um... supply... supplies... Hey, I bet this kid was totally suppliesed when he got all these bullets in his body! I didn't ask to... hey, where are you going?

10. People who refer to Sarah Palin as a MILF. Only if the "F" stands for "Force her head underwater until the bubbles stop coming up."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Soapbox Hero (He's Got Stars In His Eyes)

Back in 2000, Al Gore ran for president against George W. Bush. And even though Gore got more votes, the Supreme Court decided to ignore the whole electoral process and just appoint Bush to the position. Understandably, we were outraged. Furious. We raised our fists and cried foul. And the Bush supporters called us sore losers and told us to quit whining. Because for them, none of that democracy crap really mattered just as long as their guy "won."

Our nation suffered through eight years of the WORST PRESIDENT EVER! And this year, the American voters finally got their shit together and decided it was time for a change. Fortunately, this time the votes actually mattered. Obama was elected and, for the first time in nearly a decade, the results were above board and incontrovertible.

And holy shit, now the conservatives are whining like a bunch of little bitches with skinned knees! They keep going on and on about how Obama is a Marxist leftist Muslim terrorist antichrist who is going to take away their guns and march them into internment camps where they'll be forced to crap on Bibles and get abortions.

I'm pretty sure most of them don't REALLY believe that. They're just desperately trying to hang on to a shred of dignity, to justify voting an illiterate warmongering fuckwit into office TWICE. Lord knows if I bore any responsibility for putting Bush in the White House, I'd probably spew that same nonsense just to convince myself I was still a decent human being.

But there are some dumb fucking mouthbreathers out there who honestly DO buy into that crap, and that boggles my mind. They honestly believe we're living in a blissful Bush-constructed Utopia, and now Obama and his wicked minions are going to come along and destroy it with their wicked Commie ways. Even more surprising is the fact that so many of these people live in Texas! I thought Bush executed most of the retarded people back when he was governor.

So to any of you people who are afraid of Obama, let me first say thanks for taking the time to let your state-provided caretaker read this post to you. Now put down your finger paints and listen carefully, because this is very important. Okay?

It's over, you sore losers. You had your chance, and you fucked it up royally. So quit whining. Sit down, shut up, and let the grownups work.

And while we're on the subject, do you remember all that bullshit you hypocrites kept spouting about how anyone who disrespects the president is an unpatriotic supporter of terrorism? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Whew. Thanks for listening. You've been very therapeutic. I hereby relinquish the soapbox...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Blogger Love Revisited

Stephanie, the nerd o' my heart, is now a proud member of the blogosphere. Check out her sultry rants at It Probably Won't Kill You.

Putting the "US" Back in "Virus"


So this morning, I navigated to this page to see what lovely comments had been left by my threes of readers, and I got a popup warning from my virus scanner that two instances of the actns/swif.t virus had been detected and deleted.

Naturally, I crapped my pants. After that was cleaned up, I poked around looking for information on this virus. Unfortunately, it's a relatively new thing and there's not much out there. I suspect it was just added to the virus definition files on the last update.

The problem was a couple of videos that I had embedded from Youtube. The videos themselves weren't infected. It was just the HTML code that was being flagged and deleted every time the page was loaded.

I finally found this info on the actns/swif.t virus on

The Actns/Swif.T has been a tricky one. It seems this virus has just recently spawned, causing computers to show a embedded shockwave/flashplayer file within IE/Firefox browser. Inside the embedded swf, it features a redirect to a phishing website that I advise everyone NOT to click on! So if you see this embedded vicious file pop up, Do Not Click It! It will install another virus called Antivirus 2009, which those of you who know this virus already, it’s a pest to get rid of.

Now, based on this, I'm suspecting my detections were false positives. Since the virus definitions were just added, I think my virus scanner saw the embedded videos in my browswer and just assumed they were placed there maliciously. The videos themselves don't appear to be infected, and I've never been redirected to the phishing site.

But I'm hardly an expert, and I don't want to take any chances until I know for certain. So I've deleted the embedded videos until I can get a little more information. If any of you out there are smarter about this kind of thing than me, I'd love to hear from you.



Update: After all the ballyhoo, it turns out it was just a false positive from CA Antivirus. Apparently they've fixed the problem and I'm off to download the updated files. I feel pretty goddamn smart for having figured it out myself FOURTEEN HOURS AGO!

Also, I had a LOT of hits on the blog today. I was apparently one of the first people to post anything about the virus online, so for a few hours my blog was showing up on Google near the top of the list for searches on "actns swif.t" or variations thereof. Ordinarily, I get 20 to 30 hits a day. Today, I got 600+.

Of course, Google's brilliant algorithm eventually kicked in and decided that link farms and sites devoted to 80s heavy metal were FAR more relevant than my blog, so now I've dropped down several pages. But that's okay. Fame would have only changed me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Comedian, Schmomedian

Earlier this year, my nephew Campbell was diagnosed as mildly to moderately autistic. Since then, his twin brother Luke has been diagnosed as mildly autistic as well.

The thing about autism is that very few people know anything about it, yet everybody and their goddamn dog thinks that they're some kind of armchair expert. My sister has done her homework. She has truly done her due diligence. She probably has a better understanding of autism than anybody else I know. And she's constantly being badgered and corrected on her facts by well-meaning people who watched some fluff piece on Good Morning America.

You see, my sister believes that her sons' condition was exacerbated by the inoculations they started receiving just hours after they were born. She's not alone. Nearly 60% of the parents of autistic children believe that vaccines played a role in their child's condition. Their suspicions have been substantiated by medical professionals, and even a few insiders within the pharmaceutical companies.

But the pharmaceutical companies are the biggest problem. They've paid out billions of dollars to make sure that their interests are safeguarded in Washington D.C., so you get people like Dick Armey trying to sneak a rider onto the Homeland Security Bill granting autism liability protection to drug companies.

The drug companies have also spent an ungodly amount of money to discredit these concerned parents. They've managed to paint them as foil-hat-wearing loonies who want to abolish all drugs and unleash an epidemic of polio on the world, or as opportunistic money-grubbers who want to cash in on their children's disorder. After all the shit we went through with Big Tobacco, you'd think people would be too smart to fall for anything so transparent. But you'd be wrong.

The symptoms that many autistic children display are actually listed as possible side effects for a lot of these vaccines. But despite that, the drug companies clap their hands over their ears whenever concerned parents dare insinuate that these massive drug cocktails might have anything to do with their children's condition. They insist the problem is purely genetic. They are simply unbothered by the fact that autism has gone from being a rare diagnosis to affecting 1 in 150 children.

Perhaps most despicable of all is the way that the pharmaceutical companies have hijacked the once legitimate organization Autism Speaks and turned it into their own corporate shill. It was founded by the vice chairman of General Electric, Robert Wright, back in 2004 when his grandson Christian was diagnosed as autistic. But somewhere along the way, right about the time the drug companies started writing them huge checks, Autism Speaks began singing the praises of vaccines. Christian's mother Katie was so disgusted by this change in direction that she no longer has anything to do with the organization.

Firmly in the corner of the pharmaceutical companies are slimy folks like Dr. Paul Offit, a man who writes books like Autism's False Prophets to attack these concerned parents. Offit often appears as a talking head on news shows that are covering the controversy, and insists that there is no controversy and there is no link between autism and vaccines. Offit is also a major patent holder for RotaTeq, a rotavirus vaccine, so I can understand why he would be so desperate to portray the drug companies as blameless and holy.

Is there a link between vaccines and autism? I don't know. Honest to God, I don't know. Nobody knows. That's the point. All of these parents are scared to death that they've been unknowingly poisoning their children, and they want a definitive answer from someone who doesn't have a vested interest in the status quo. They're not asking for a ban on vaccines or massive government subsidies or anything unreasonable. All they want is an unbiased, third-party study to see if there is a link.

If the pharmaceutical companies honestly believe they shoulder none of the blame, then why work so hard to obscure the truth? Why only release the results of studies done by their own private research firms? Why spend so much money attacking the families of autistic children? Why subvert the issue when, if truth truly is on their side, they could easily vindicate themselves?

The drug companies definitely have money and public apathy on their side, but there is hope that the tide might be turning. Obama recently nominated Tom Daschle to head up the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Daschle is most assuredly not anti-vaccine, but he has shown a willingness and a determination to question vaccine safety. Obama is also considering Robert Kennedy, Jr. to head up the EPA. Kennedy has long been a crusader against the irresponsible practices of the drug companies, and was one of the first to bring the potential link between vaccines and autism into the public light.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies are trying a new (some might say desperate) tactic of pretending like there is no controversy. "Asked and answered" has become their new talking point. Any time a news show purports to cover the story, they get pharmaceutical reps and folks like Dr. Offit talking about how there is absolutely no merit whatsoever to the claims. And then, in an effort to appear balanced, they get a bogus group like Autism Speaks to simply reiterate what the drug companies are saying.

They know they'll never convince the concerned families, and frankly, they're not even making an effort anymore. They're just trying to convince the general public to keep on not giving a shit.

And God knows, we're pretty good at that.


Denis Leary's book, Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy, and Stupid, contains a chapter entitled "Autism, Schmautism," which claims that the majority of people who claim to be autistic are faking, and the true fault lies with "inattentive mothers and competitive dads." Leary obviously shares the same misconception about autism that a lot of folks do; he believes anyone who is truly autistic will manifest some kind of savant ability. So basically, anyone who claims to be autistic but isn't good at math or painting is just faking.

The thing is, Leary's schtick is political incorrectness. This guy has joked about everything from cancer patients to crack babies, and when confronted by angry, indignant folks, his response is usually to just blow smoke in their faces and tell them to quit being a bunch of fucking crybabies.

But in the wake of the backlash from autistic families, Leary's reaction has been surprisingly contrite. He's racing to cover his ass, claiming he was misquoted and taken out of context, and the only people who are outraged are ones who haven't actually read his book. (I haven't, but I did read that chapter.) He claims to have great love and respect for people who are truly autistic, and says his intent was not to belittle them or claim autism doesn't exist, but rather to attack "grown men who are either self-diagnosing themselves with low-level offshoots of the disease or wishing they could as a way to explain their failed careers and troublesome progeny."

Personally, I think he's full of shit. I think he lashed out at what he thought would be an easy target, and was surprised by the vehemence of the backlash. I mean, let's face it; when Michael Savage agrees with you, you've made some horrible life decisions somewhere along the way.

So sorry, Denis. Not buying it. But I admire your prodigious attempt to backpedal, and I have no doubt you sincerely *wish* you'd written something more noble. Maybe next time...