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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Grammar Nazis and Word Police Must Die!

I recently came a across someone harping on how clueless people from the United States are for calling themselves Americans because America describes two entire continents and what right do we have to monopolize the word blah blah blah. This was in the comments section of a cooking video, of all places. This tired, old chestnut has been thrown around forever and yet I still want to throttle people doing the throwing.

The USA is the only country that has America in the name so we aren’t being chauvinistic by calling ourselves American. Try telling someone with limited English or Spanish that you are from the United States and they will often give you a befuddled look but tell them you’re American and they understand. Estadounidense is almost never used anywhere I’ve ever been in the Spanish-speaking world. We don’t even have an English word for our nationality.

People who do this suffer from the same neurotic illness as creeps who go off the deep end when people use “literally” to mean anything other than “in a literal manner.In my view those who correct other people’s grammar or word usage automatically qualify to be hit over the head with a board with a nail sticking out of it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bike Theft Is a Crime? Who Knew?

Imagine if cars were stolen at the same rate as bikes and we did virtually nothing to punish the thieves. In every city where I have lived I don’t think that the police considered bike theft a crime, or at least not one worthy of their attention. This is why you see the rather pathetic practice of people buying locks that are worth more than the bikes they are vainly trying to protect. I have a city bike that I paid 60€ for and I use two locks worth 90€ to try to keep it in my possession. The city of San Francisco has come up with a bold, entirely revolutionary plan: they are actually trying to prevent people from stealing bikes! The plan is just crazy enough that it may actually work.

The people who choose to ride a bike instead of driving are doing society a favor. The very least that we can do is to protect their property.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Driving Dead

There may be nothing I hate more about the world today than cell phones. I was probably the last person on earth to come around to the new technology, buying my first mobile phone in probably 2002 and the only reason I did was because it was a hell of a lot cheaper than a landline. Since then I have watched as almost everyone around me has been pulled into the vortex of this mind-eating, conversation-robbing, annoying-as-hell invention which has filled our streets with horrifying brain-dead zombies all in the name of keeping us all “connected.” Of course, all we’re really connected to is a small screen in the palm of our hands but that seems to be more than enough for a staggering segment of modern society.

I realize that to bitch about this is like an old man screaming at teenagers to get off his lawn and less effective than standing on the shore trying to hold back the waves but I just really don’t want to be a part of it. Is that even possible? I can’t hit every phone-absorbed person over the head with a board with a nail sticking out of it no matter how much fun that would be. I can’t do that, right? Like, there may be laws against it or something?

As bad as things are at least my generation (old farts) hasn’t suffered as much because of phones as teenagers. Most kids freak me the fuck out with their obsession with teeny, weenie little screens. It makes me sad to see a group of young kids quietly ignoring one another as they probe into the depths of their gadgets getting more cross-eyed and stupid with every button they push.

The relentless peer pressure to have only the latest and most expensive models is terrifying to me. I’ve had children as young six years old mock my inexpensive mobile phone so either your kid gets an iPhone or a Smartphone or you’d be advised to sleep with one eye open at night. Few people have the stamina and will power to resist the onslaught of marketing peddling the newest gadgets.

Buses and trains once filled with people reading books are now more like moving video game parlors. Welcome to the post-literate society where if anyone remains who is clever enough to make a literary reference the other dumbfounded people can just Google it.

P.S. Text Messages of Death
The NSA must have records of the text messages and phone transcripts of people as they drove their cars off a bridge or plowed into a crowd of school children. These final words should be published at the beginning of their obituaries just so everyone can know what was so vitally important to the deceased that they were texting or talking when they should have been driving. Who knows, maybe we can start embarrassing drivers into not being obnoxious and dangerous assholes? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want my last communication in this world to be "LOL" or “R U @ The Mall?” or the posthumously ironic "B home @ 10."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Climate Change and Work-Out Gear

I found a picture from May 24th of 2013 and I was still wearing long sleeve jerseys on my rides. This year I've worn short sleeves since the end of April. I think that it's going to be a hot summer here in Valencia.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Ring At Your Own Risk!

It’s 08:35 and some maniac is ringing my door repeatedly from the street below. The balcony over-hang keeps me from seeing the front door of the building (my intercom doesn’t have a camera). It must be someone distributing shopping flyers because they don’t even allow emergencies before nine o’clock in Spain. Dropping a potted plant is probably too extreme considering the possibility of collateral damage. Where is a big bucket of excrement when you really need it?*

After a moment of reflection I’m not sure the old adage “It’s better to have a big bucket of excrement and not need it than need a big bucket of excrement and not have it” is true unless it were a Tupperware® bucket with a really good lid.

*I wish I had a nickel for every time I've had this thought.

Son las 08:35 y un maníaco está sonando mi puerta desde la calle. El balcón me impide ver la puerta principal del edificio (mi portero no tiene una cámara). Debe ser alguien distribuyendo folletos comerciales, ya que ni siquiera permiten emergencias antes de las nueve aquí en España. Dejar caer una maceta es probablemente un poco extremo por la posibilidad de daños colaterales. ¿Dónde hay un gran cubo de excrementos cuando realmente lo necesito?

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Stating the Incredibly Obvious #21

Never get behind an old person in the supermarket line.  Even if they only have one damn thing you’re in for a siege…guaranteed! If the total is 14.99€ of course they have the change and will go to absurd lengths to dig the coins out of their handbags, pockets, the bottom of their shopping cart, or maybe they just forgot that they had it in their other hand. As they take this vaudeville coin search gag to the outer limits of humor it’s hard to keep a stiff upper lip when you look at another register and people who weren’t even born when you got in line are walking out with their purchases.