Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day Randomness: 2009 edition

Welcome to the third edition of Snow-Day Randomness. This has become an un-intentional tradition, which may or may not be a good thing. It does, however, have the benefit of quasi-meaningful distraction, otherwise known as "keeping me out of trouble". When it snows and I'm stuck inside, there is always potential for trouble. I get strange ideas when I'm alone in the house for too long. Having the cats here does not help that.

Today's snowstorm is particularly heinous in many ways. For one thing, it is bitterly cold and windy. The plus side is that shoveling ought to be a breeze, as the snow will not be thick, wet, and icy. But the drifts! I opened my door at 5:00 this morning to feed the basement cats, and could not believe how the snow had drifted against my door, and my basement door. And did I mention that it's fucking cold? I cannot help but think about the fact that it was about 60 degrees Farenheit in London the weekend before this last one. Why did I ever come back?

This weekend I have been on a tear to go through the mounds of books sitting in my stairwell for the last 5 and a half years, dust them off, and get rid of the ones I don't want. I accomplished this yesterday, with a price to pay today--my body is absolutely killing me. I still have a few more things to do, and another part of the house to tackle; "later" is sounding like a very good time for that (never mind shoveling snow), maybe after the Advil has kicked in.

I have been reading through the taglines on Fark this morning. Fark is a website run by Drew Curtis, and it is dedicated to news that is not news. Curtis has an entire book dedicated to the various categories of non-news, which is highly amusing, and somewhat scary. The proliferation of things out there in newspapers and in the news online and on TV that is just a lot of made-up garbage, or advertising posing as news is mind-boggling. The Fark site allows users to submit these articles with an appropriate tagline that summarizes the article. The best taglines/articles actually make it onto the Fark site. The non-news is divided into various categories: scary, obvious, asinine, dumbass, interesting, hero, and Florida, to name a few. If you're wondering about that last one, then you've never been to Florida.

Here are some examples from today's Fark:

Filed under "Stupid" : Headline: "U.S. airlines losing less luggage." Actual point of article: people aren't checking as many bags due to bag fees

Filed under "Florida": Woman arrested for aggravated battery with deadly weapon after stabbing boyfriend in face with her stiletto shoe

Filed under "Scary" : War brewing on the US-Mexico border. This is not a repeat from 1846

Filed under "Silly": LA County to proclaim "No Cussing Week." Yeah, good farking luck with that shiat

(California is going bankrupt, and someone is worried about swearing. The person leading this should talk to Lewis Black.)

I don't watch the news and barely read the papers anymore, precisely because of the phenomenon demonstrated by the Fark site. I can't tell you how many times my mother has come trooping over to visit me, handing me an article about some study that proves that something I am doing is going to kill me one day. (File that under "obvious"). Yet, if you read the fine print, a lot of these are sensational-sounding propaganda masquerading as a serious scientific study. Yet, people like her, who already worry too much about nothing, don't realize this and get even more worked up about nothing. There must have been a time when you could rely on a newspaper to provide sound journalism that had integrity. Those days are long gone, not even part of memory, so it's best not to assume that anyone in journalism has anything useful or true to tell you.

Before my thoughts get too well organized, and in the interest of the "randomness" tradition, I present to you:

15 Random Things I Have Learned Over the Years

1. The desire to clean everything in your house with a Q-Tip is a sure sign of one of 3 possible things: PMS, pregnancy, or a meth addiction. I'm sure someone will do a study that will correlate the 3.

2. Tequila is bottled evil. Not the good kind of evil.

3. Something kills everyone someday. If you think this is obvious, speak to the folks who continually admonish me for not getting an annual flu shot, not eating vegetables, and for drinking copious amounts of diet soda.

4. The fastest way to drive a bunch of unwanted and hung over twenty-somethings from your house after a night of partying is to play some early Pink Floyd singles. Say, "Apples and Oranges." Or, "It Would Be So Nice." (This is a leftover from my days of being married)

5. It is actually OK to be physically sick once in awhile. Never convenient, but you'll live.

6. If your job sucks so badly that you have to call and dump on all of your friends almost daily about how terrible your day was...time to get another job. Same goes for your marriage (though I wouldn't recommend running into another one of those.) It's not nice to bleed your friends dry of any pleasure they might have experienced during the day.

7. Beware of what Scott Adams calls "the rolling disaster." This is the person who is besieged daily by major catastrophes, usually self-created. When you encounter such a person--run, don't walk.

8. You do not have any more brains at 40 than you did at 20. Being older does not necessarily make you smarter.

9. If you find yourself tripping down the escalators at Penn Station at midnight because you are so wasted, it's probably not a good idea to drive home once you get to the train station.

10. If you are so attached to your job, your friends, your position in life, that you would completely fall apart if there was a big change--then you need to rethink your priorities.

11. Toyotas are difficult to break into, so try not to lock your keys in the car if you own one.

12. Everything is absurd, and should not be taken too seriously.

13. Never answer the phone, unless you really do want a new mortgage or want to order satellite TV.

14. You won't find real news in a newspaper or an online/televised news network. You need to go to a comedy show, or satirical newspaper like The Onion.

15. Work, politics, and day-to-day interactions are not logical. You can save yourself a lot of grief if you realize this.

I guess I should go shovel some snow.

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