Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas 2013 Brag Letter

It's that time of year where children refuse to smile for pictures while dressed in flannel garb, Christmas cards are hastily put together, and the one thing more obnoxious than 'Christmas Shoes' is written up - the 'Year In Review Christmas Brag Letter'. My family never did these growing up (not much to brag about I guess?), plus they're pretty pretentious and ALWAYS boring. No one gives a shit if you got a dog and went to Aspen with your husband Gordon's bonus. He's probably cheating on you anyway. You make it look like your kids are the best, when in actuality your son is into heavy drug use, bullies the mathletes, and your slutty daughters lead the school in 'forced abortions'. But you don't see that in the Brag Letter now do ya?

So we'll play your game. Here's our 2013 Christmas Brag Letter. Sorry it's not the viral 'pajama-clad' home video of a family jumping around in elf PJ's that smell like stale farts. You'll have to bear with us and internalize the awesomeness of our family. We're just doing a 'Kid Brag', since my wife and I are tired and boring people who are already past our prime - hold onto your seat, these accomplishments may knock your socks off.

Brian (Age 8)

Brian, our oldest, had a fantastic year. He's currently in 2nd grade and loving every minute of it. Smartest boy in the class, by far. Best looking. Most respectful, friendly, and caring individual. So all of those qualities were obviously inherited from my wife. But what you just read is what makes Brag Letters boring. Here's what Brian really accomplished this year:

- Perfect attendance since kindergarten. We've sent him off to school with a broken leg, green boogers dripping down his face, open sores on his neck, and gangrene on his right foot from an infection I was too cheap to treat. Our mantra is "Tough it out, you pussy". When I was your age, we never had things like 'aspirin', 'tissues' and 'Sudafed'. What? We did? So you're saying I was LIED to?

- Perfect scores on his 'Mad Minutes'. Remember those things? Crank through a shitload of multiplication problems in 60 seconds. Remember how YOU struggled to get through it? Yeah, well Brian didn't. Not only did he typically finish 20 seconds early with no mistakes, he also managed to help the poor slob next to him, kinda like the condescending Nick Burns 'Company Computer Guy' that Jimmy Fallon played on SNL. MOOOOOOVE!!!!!

- Great baseball year. I guess the quinoa wraps/acai juice/weekly B-12 injections are starting to pay off. I shit you not, here are his numbers for 2013:

.313 BA    26 HR's    109 RBI's    .487 OBP   4.1 WAR   32 SB's   8 dive-ahhs

That's like a fantasy league wet dream. Plus he was a great locker room leader, could grind out at-bats, and always showed a proper 'sense of urgency' to kick-start a rally.

- 4.0 GPA. I know they don't calculate this in 2nd grade but it's the rough equivalent of what he's gotten every semester. He's excelling at math, loves science, can spell 15+ letter words without breaking a sweat, and has an extensive vocabulary. This Spring, we will be enrolling him in the elite 'Mission To Mars' program, which grooms intellectual youths for future NASA roles. Daddy also thinks of this as a beachhead to cracking the Area 51 mafia code of silence. If Brian can be an 'insider' on the ground, we can finally validate the existence of aliens and the globalist plan to re-animate the dreaded Nephilim at some point to enforce the New World Order, bowing subservience to a supernatural alien agenda.

Honorable mention:
- Broke his leg at gymnastics. Why he was in a gymnastics facility in the first place is still a 'bone' of contention in our house. The kid that ran into him did not make out so well. Lots of peeps at the funeral though, so that's gotta count for something.
- Broke his mini-iPad. I guess when you break your leg, your mother-in-law needs to get you an overpriced gadget. Not sure my father-in-law knows about this purchase yet. Nor the 'replacement purchase' made five months later for Christmas.
- Read the entire Boxcar Children series cover to cover WHILE brushing his teeth/making his bed. Your kids probably can't even READ!

Meghan (Age 6)

Meghan, our middle child and only daughter, continues to thrive in kindergarten. Beautiful girl, fun to be around, great sense of humor, and well liked by her classmates. But again, that's boring and no one gives a shit. 2013 was a banner year for Meghan:

- Awesome gymnast. She's been doing this for a little over a year, and somehow rocketed to the top of her peer group. For $173/month, I was expecting nothing less. She completes very complicated moves 1) without accidentally farting and 2) without falling over. She can do a Front Aerial with her eyes closed. A Double Layout, Half In, Half Out from a standing position with no running start, as well as a Triple Tuck while blindfolded. I mean, the list goes on and on - but the common denominator remains - my daughter can do this shit, and yours can't.
- Fantastic dancer. While all of you were out 'twerking' (overused word of the year), Meghan was perfecting her dance routine. Fields of Gold 2014 will be the performance, and I have no doubt she will own the night. How many six year olds can do a Grand Jete? Fouette? Leaping Pirouette? Straight Leg Scorpion? Answer: 'not your dopey child'. Meghan can, and she does it with an innocent smile and humble disposition.
- Expert swimmer. We've enrolled the children in swimming classes 'just to better round them out.' And it's working ($600 later). Meghan has the fastest breast-stroke for her age group in all of Bucks County, PA. She actually CORRECTS her lifeguard/swim coach when HIS form is wrong. Her diving is starting to improve a great deal as well, ever since we installed a balcony to the side of our house for her to jump off of into a kiddy pool.

Honorable mention:
- Still thinks "vagina" is pronounced "bagina"
- Says she will get married so that her husband can "get her snacks and pick up her toys" for her. But she is not sure about having children when she grows up because "there is blood and it hurts and people see your privates" (namely the bagina).
- Had allergic reaction and needed to go on steroids for a few days, which resulted in hyper-behavior, trying to jump off the top of the stairs, and ripping off of doll legs/heads. Steriods and children do not mix.
- Sneaks lipstick to school in her Monster High backpack so she can glam up in the kindergarten bathroom. I think I may have to kill myself when she is a teenager.
- She has always rocked very long hair styles but recently she got an adorable 'bob' haircut with layers, and was cautioned on the pitfalls of pixie cuts.

Matthew (Age 2)

Matthew, our youngest, is a proud toddler with adorable little blonde curls, a cherub face, and cheeks you could just squish/bite. His little personality is developing by the day, and he keeps us on our toes! Yup - he sure does!! Ha ha ho ho!!! SHUT UP!!!! Crumple crumple your dumb letter goes in my trash. STFU about how cute your kid is. No one cares. Matty was amazing in 2013:

- Conquered his YMCA Mommy and Me class and then some. Got a sticker for behaving EACH WEEK and made his way through the tumbling obstacle course in 43 seconds, a historic mark that stood for one week before he BROKE HIS OWN RECORD with a 41.6 second romp. He OWNED that shit and instead of taunting his inferior classmates, he simply wandered to the water fountain and politely asked to be lifted up for a lukewarm sip of wa-wa.
- Fully potty-trained. The child shows discipline, patience, and calm demeanor when he has to go pee and poop. Simply waddles to toilet, exclaims to no one in particular, 'I have to pee in the potty', drops 'trou' and lets it fly. Skidmarks have been reduced by 63% since May. I think making the switch from Pixar undies to Marvel Comics undies was a game-changer. Food for thought.
- Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Forget the 'Tough Mudder' - this child survives daily beat-downs from the Brian-Meghan gauntlet and rarely cries. Meghan's patented move is the scrunching of her teeth followed by a Scorpion-from-Mortal-Kombat-esque 'GET OVER HERE' culminating in a head-squeeze/hair-pull/chest-shove triple hit combo. Matty sits back up like The Undertaker, adjusts his wrists and gets back to work (probably picking his nose or eating fruit snacks). Brian is more sneaky - he waits until our backs are turned and gives Matty a subtle pinch in a fleshy spot and shoves him over. I've taught him to fight back with a two-attack arsenal - shout 'Shorrryuken' and slap your sister and brother across the chest, and 'Haduuuuuuken' followed up with a swift mule kick to the guts. Let's just say the attacks have subsided since he received this training.
- He's also been walking and talking since way before his first birthday and by now is having full back and forth conversations including jokes and asking and answering questions.

Matthew - "I want to play with my Batman car and make him run over your head."
Me - "Not now Matthew."
Matthew - "Why not?"
Me - "It's getting late out."
Matthew - "But its not dark yet."
Me - "It'll be dark soon."
Matthew - "Shut up fat loser, you mind your business and do what I say."
Me - "OK." (hangs head in shame after being bullied by a 2 year old).

He can run like the wind and jump over boulders, and even has perfected his somersaults and headstands. What does YOUR kid do, eat his boogers? Shit his pants? Shit someone else's pants?

Honorable mention:
- Some new words and phrases have made their way into his vocabulary, which is cause for concern:

  • 'Penis'
  • 'Mind your business, hog'
  • 'Shut up, pig'
  • 'Butthole'
  • 'Shut up, fat loser'
  • 'Poopy guts'
- Recently overcame an irrational fear of Brian's Batmobile remote control car. Would run and hide every time the sounds played, scream in fear, whimper in the corner. Now he takes it all over the house with him and even cuddles on the couch with it, even though it's 1/3rd the size of his little body. Look it's cute so shut up. 
- Inability to pivot away from yogurt, grilled cheese, pasta, and mac & cheese. So basically, he's just like every other child his age. Stop judging - no one gives a shit that you feed your kids organic kale sandwiches pesto-flavored hot dogs made of bison entrails. They're probably gonna get adult onset diabetes anyway. 

I think that should do it for the 2013 Christmas Brag Letter. See how obnoxious this sounds? THAT'S WHAT YOURS SOUNDS LIKE!!!!! Hopefully this puts an end to your self-important cards. Stick to the Merry Christmas script from here on out. 

This concludes 2013 from a blogging standpoint. 5,000 views in the first year, which was a lot more than I ever thought I'd get in a lifetime, let alone one year. This is strictly organic through Facebook, so hopefully I will think of creative ways to expand readership in 2014. Suggestions and feedback welcomed. Thanks to those who have read the Trousered Apes blog in 2013 - I wish you all a Merry Christmas and healthy, happy, safe 2014. God bless!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time To Pop The Student Loan Bubble

One topic snatching headlines every so often is the ongoing student loan bubble (or lack thereof, according to conventional wisdom, the same conventional wisdom that missed the real estate bubble and corresponding crash in 2008). For so long we've heard that college is key if you want to make it in life, and while that may very well be true in some cases, the undue burden that student loans have put on us over the past two decades has begged the question - is college even worth it?

We've all heard the statistics trotted out every time someone wants to reinforce the importance of a college education - "You'll make $1m more in your lifetime over someone with just a college degree." "You can't get a good job without a college degree." I totally agree on the former and totally disagree on the latter (which I will flesh out shortly). The person will then shake their head with a smug, self-satisfied look on their face like they just dropped a truth-bomb on you. They themselves are probably at least twenty years older than you, but had significantly less student debt to pay back. They probably have a really good degree that they were able to parlay into a great job at a great company that they stayed at their whole life. God bless them, they've had a nice run. But that's not the over-arching reality in 2013 for us young-ins (of which category I'm leaving in the next few years).

The student loan bubble is out of control. Tuition costs (which I will use interchangeably with 'student loans' throughout this post since I believe them to be intrinsically linked, so just deal) are out of control. The student loan industry is about $1 trillion as of 2011. When compared against 1990 consumer price index (CPI), the Moody's ratings agency has listed tuition costs as having TRIPLED in the last 25 years. Since 2008 alone, tuition costs have been increasing 2/3x the rate of inflation (which according to the government is between 2-3% each year). But noooo, of course there's no bubble. This is all normal. It's basic supply and demand. Everyone's getting college degrees (the new 'high school degree'), so you need to pay to play. Why is this happening? What is the driver of these high costs? One simple answer - GOVERNMENT.

The main culprit of the student loan/tuition cost bubble is our wonderful government. To be fair, this process has been unfolding over the past 30 years, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, so both are guilty. Much like the real estate bubble, we have been socially engineered to 1) own a house and 2) obtain a college degree. The two most expensive propositions in our lifetimes. We've been shamed into thinking renting and not going to college is a bad thing. At the top of the list of guilty parties is a government that continuously feeds the college beast. Stafford Loans, Pell Grants (which have nearly doubled since 2009), Perkins Loans, and more - in total, government shelled out $112 billion in student loan subsidies in 2012, an ever increasing number. There's two rules of thumb with government involvement - 1) when government gets involved, costs go up, and 2) if you subsidize something, you get more of it. Insert government into the student loan process and voila - you get more in student loan subsidies and a corresponding bubble. Methinks this smacks of the same attitude that got us into the real estate bubble - people who had no business owning homes were given the false impression that they could take on the large mortgage. And when shit hit the fan in 2008, these people found themselves with ballooning interest rates and an underwater mortgage that they simply walked away from. Well guess what's going to happen when the student loan bubble bursts? People will stop paying, ask for frequent deferrals and forbearances, and, in a less dramatic fashion than the housing bubble, costs should and will stabilize. The goal of this post is to make it a soft landing as opposed to a crash landing.

As it stands right now, government keeps loaning out subsidies because it's good business - after all, recovery rates on these tend to be between 105%-122% when interest is included. Government keeps the profit. The party in control gets to politicize the always looming 'rate increases' each June/July where the threats of doubling the rate to 7-8% seems to be an annual false alarm, and then at the last second everyone agrees to leave rates as is. Plus there's the perception of America as a global leader in college education when millions of high school seniors decide to go on to higher education - when in reality, the brightest international students engage in 'brain drain' and take their talents back to their countries of origin and set up shop there.

Now that government has created the bubble and artificial demand by providing easy access to credit for college purposes, the schools are getting into the act too. How many schools have you visited that were undergoing massive expansions with lavish campus centers, new dorms, state of the art classrooms, futuristic athletic facilities, and astro-turf fields that get used for five years and then scrapped in favor of new projects? On a semi-related note, what about these overpriced textbooks that never get cracked? Forced to get the latest edition that adds about ten pages of verbal diarrhea for $110? And if you go to sell it back at the end of the semester it's suddenly only worth $40? Only to reappear the following September selling at $70? Everything about college is a racket - the only thing not going up is keg and six pack prices. For that we are eternally grateful. I understand that colleges are all competing to attract students, but shouldn't they bear more responsibility for churning out deeply indebted entry level workers who are unable to find jobs instead of building exquisite and showy facilities? Or is that onus on the student for pursuing college in the first place? Is it a chicken and the egg scenario? What about the fact that 15-20% of students actually land jobs in the field of their major? That implies 80-85% of college majors are wasted!

Seems to me like schools will push a ton of core curriculum with bullshit courses that you wouldn't dream of taking were they not mandatory. For what? To say I'm more cultured? How about if you are a biology major, you shouldn't be forced to take Greek Civilization courses (which I actually enjoyed, by the way). What if you are a business major, can you opt-out of the Religious Studies class that mentions Jesus five times the whole semester even though you are at a Jesuit institution? I speak from experience. I went to a private four year Jesuit school in Connecticut that ended up educating three of the four children in my family. I majored in Marketing but have worked in the Finance field for the past ten years I've been out of school. I started out with $120k in expected expenses, minus $40k in accumulated grants, leaving a sizable $80k to pay off. My wife had one semester of school to pay for once she graduated (we got married two weeks later), and we conceived three months into our marriage, and she entered retirement a year later to stay home with our children. That of course was a choice, and she will most likely go back to work at some point. Not blaming college on that one. But to pay back a shitload of debt on a major that I chose of my own free will, applied to marketing jobs, didn't get them, and ended up pivoting to Finance (my minor)? Bad choice of a major on my part? Inability to connect and network with appropriate parties? At least Marketing fell under the 'Business' umbrella, and Finance was a hedge in the event Marketing didn't work out for me. I knew I wanted some type of Business degree, because I wasn't some pie-in-the-sky dreamer who thought I'd find my ideal job in whatever field I set my mind to. How many others are in a similar spot? And could it have been avoided if I had a different strategy? Blame at this point rests with government for subsidizing it, universities for taking the money and not churning out quality and relevant majors that align with the needs of the job market, and the student who doesn't know what they want out of life, let alone college. How do we align all three?

1. College isn't for everyone - identify candidates earlier on in the game. Weed out those who wouldn't thrive in a four-year school.

This is gonna hurt, I know that. But it helps weed out those that aren't serious about college. Don't look at this from a 'who can afford it and who can't afford it' perspective, look at it from the standpoint of the prospective student. Parents, student, and HS guidance counselors should meet and determine the best course of action for Little Johnny, preferably half way through high school. If Little Johnny showed a proclivity to constantly lose focus, need extra attention, flunk classes, not apply himself, slack off, pass in homework late, then perhaps college isn't for him. Let's save ourselves the heartbreak of a crippling student loan and ask HIM what he wants to do with his life. Offer life skills classes in high school that prepare students for the real world. If that commitment of time, money, and focus is too much, then start to float an alternative plan. Please note, what I say above is not to disparage those that don't go on to college - everyone has different reasons why they don't go, and that's ok. To the emotional knee-jerk buffoons who don't have discernment - I'm not implying those that don't go to college are slackers. Get it through your coconut brains. But outside of 'it costs too much' (which is 100% accurate), and getting useless majors (more on this later), you can look back on some college friends and say "You were better off skipping these last four years if (job x) was going to be what you did with your career. You are the bubble-blowers that we can weed out and correspondingly begin to get this student loan bubble to deflate a little bit." According to a Northeastern study conducted by the Center for Labor Market Studies, 36% of recent college grads with degrees were working in jobs THAT DON'T REQUIRE A DEGREE (up from 30% in 2008). Call it a crappy job market, or call it jobs that they want to actually be in, but that is the reality.

How about more vocational schools for those not moving on to higher education? Find a trade that can still be lucrative - just because you don't have a college degree doesn't mean you are resigned to working jobs you don't want the rest of your life. Get an apprenticeship (equivalent of a corporate bitch-tern...sorry...intern). Become a mechanic, healthcare technician, programmer, get certified in specific areas of expertise that don't require college degrees. I've come across quite a few people in my lifetime who were wildly successful without a college degree. We need to back off this idea that the only path to a successful life is through an overpriced college and debilitating loans that we pay off into our 40's. How about our high schools teach more 'real world' classes on entrepreneurialship (is that even a word?) and how to manage your expenses when you are an adult? What is wrong with channeling and cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit for those not moving on to higher education? Hello, future small business owners! If you get a chance, try to pick up the book 'The Millionaire Next Door' by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. It uses extensive research to show that the wildly successful, eeeeeevil rich people that liberals always bitch about aren't just CEO's, executives, doctors, surgeons or lawyers, but they are the everyday small business owners that excelled at something, had a vision, and put heart and soul into making their small business flourish and thrive. You can't put heart and soul into a corporate job. You get a paycheck every two weeks and there is stability. Small business owners run on grit and sheer determination, because they are not guaranteed anything unless they hustle. A four-year degree isn't a prerequisite to make that happen. Plus - who is the driver of job creation? The ivory tower exec running a corporate leviathan or the small business owner who is close to his/her expenses and knows the ins and outs of his/her business? Hint - it's the small business owner. Food for thought.

2. Get rid of exotic majors that can't fill classrooms and engage in market research to determine what kind of majors are needed in the here and now. 

What made America exceptional and innovative over the years was rugged individualism and a well-oiled capitalist system (not perfect, of course) that dictated winners and losers. Those with the right amount of drive, hard work, luck and rudimentary education would win, and those who were lazy, out of touch, and tending to rest on their laurels would lose. So it goes in the job market here in 2013. We are in the prolonged 'Great Recession' (which I think will be rebranded as the 'Second Depression' within the next two years), and numerous fields that used to be successful paths to job security are no longer thriving.  Lumber, building supplies, luxury goods, non-automobile manufacturers are all on the downswing due to the the shitty economy since 2008. So if you know that, pick your major accordingly. If you want to choose a major that's easy but not lucrative, take accountability for your decision and live with the consequences. I'm intentionally being vague about garbage majors because I don't want to offend anyone (I have three readers after all, wouldn't want to piss them off or its back to TMZ and Us Weekly toilet reading as an alternative to the Trousered Apes blog!). If each university had a mini-job market department that assessed popular jobs, overall demand (not likely to DRASTICALLY change over the course of a 2-3 year period), they can promote themselves as adroit specialty schools and attract the right target market. Going the 'specialty' approach means less buildings to maintain, less professors to employ, and less overall demand across the board for college since there is less administrative and physical overhead. Relevant, specialized majors get matched up with relevant, specialized jobs and there is less 'waste' of a degree.

Here are some recent unemployment numbers for various majors, according to a Georgetown Public Policy Institute study. As the jobless rate has slowly decreased in the year since the study was conducted, assume slightly lower rates as of December 2013:

Architecture - 12%
Arts - 10%
Computers/Math - 9%
Social Science - 10%
Humanities/Liberal Arts - 9%
Business - 7%

Is demand slipping in some categories? What are the 5-10 year trends? Give college students guidance along the way and educate them to the pitfalls of picking a shitty major.

Full study here:

This would be a fundamental game-changer if schools could show how nimble and versatile they were. Time will tell.

3. Carve up the core curriculum. Rebrand the colleges to go straight to the courses you want to take. 

Another game-changer - get rid of the needless courses we don't want to take. I knew I was going to be a Business major of some sort when I went off to college in August 1999. Spare me the music, art, history, spanish, ancient civilization, and diversity courses. Not that they were bad, but they are $3k a pop plus textbooks and I don't need to be studying them. I repeat - I don't need to be studying them. Give me Economics, Business 101, Accounting, Marketing, Investments, more Investments, Financial Institutions, let me weasel my way out of a Derivatives course and then let me finish with a capstone International Management course. Game. Set. Match. Give me my degree and I will find a job, with less debt to worry about when I am gainfully employed and my six month payment stay of execution is over. This ALSO means that colleges can cut down on staff, buildings, other administrative costs. Let the Art school take the Art students. Let an Accounting school take the CPA-wannabes. Let the Lesbian Hebrew studies school take all the Lesbian Hebrew studies students. What? There's no demand for it? THEN PICK ANOTHER FUCKING MAJOR and stop wasting your parents'/your money!

I think this item is self-explanatory and probably the most popular among the 2.4 people reading this post.

4. Once the above three items are done, government can slowly start to cut student loan subsidies. 

If and only if the aforementioned ideas take shape, government can stop throwing money at the bottomless pit that is student loans. Does this big shakeout mean less people overall will go to college? Maybe, maybe not. Will it create a new generation of entrepreneurial superstars that say 'screw college, I know I'm good at xxx and I can become profitable at xxx without an expensive and perhaps useless college degree'? You bet your ass. Will it slow the rate of increase and even deflate some of the ever-increasing tuition costs? There's a good chance of that. Imagine a country with more innovation, more small businesses providing specialization (and correspondingly, jobs), less wasted degrees, less student loan debt hanging over our heads, the marketplace deciding which majors are bound for the trash heap, and a more enriching college experience? It may sound like a pipe dream, but the possibilities are endless. I'd love to hear your comments and feel free to poke holes in the analysis!!!! Ad-hominem attacks and insults encouraged!!!!

Crazy Christmas 2013 Brag Post coming later this week. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Top 5 'Hall Passes'

I'm sitting here watching Thor I with my wife, older two kids and my mother-in-law, and I am deep in thought. Not because I've seen the movie twice (1.4x really, since I turn into a narcoleptic during each movie I watch unless I have jumper cables attached to my balls to zap me awake), but because it got me thinking - the actor that plays Thor is really good looking, muscle-bound, and downright irresistible. Is it so wrong for a married man to think this? By thinking this, do the floodgates suddenly open so that any other person on earth can have their looks analyzed in this fashion? You bet your ass. Here are my Top 5 'hall passes' as granted by my supportive wife, in no particular order. You will notice a curious common denominator.

1. Randy Orton, WWE Champion

I think I've had a man-crush on WWE superstar Randy Orton since 2003. The son of 80's legend Cowboy Bob Orton, Randy Orton is the second generation superstar that was thrust into our TV sets along with Triple H, Ric Flair, and Batista as part of the 'Evolution' stable. He was billed as the future of the WWE as the infamous vulgar/violent 'Attitude Era' of the WWE (1997-2002) came to an end. They needed new stars, so Orton, John Cena, and Edge filled the void. Instead of filling a void, Randy Orton filled my jeans....with a boner. Washboard abs, nice definition, and a clean, short haircut combined with a deep voice and pulsating jaw when angry. Then he started to get that noise all over himself ('tattoos'). He now has dual tattoo sleeves, a flat top and a mean disposition. Still one of my faves, and going through a messy divorce. So you're saying there's a chance!!!! Maybe a one night stand?

2. Chris Hemsworth, actor - (only as Thor)

Chris Hemsworth plays the regal Thor of Asgard in the Avengers series. He's had two of his own movies where he feuds with his brother Loki over control of the throne that will ultimately be vacated by Odin, King of Asgard. But that's all dumb back story. What is front and center is how hot Thor is. So hot that he singes off my eyebrows so I look like Jerry Seinfeld's Uncle Leo. His hammer is one of the most awesome weapons in the history of movies. With it, he's damn near invincible. Without it, let's just say I would have my way with him.  His ignorance of basic Planet Earth protocol is kinda cute, so I'd love to be his tour guide. I'd teach him weird things about 'how we do things in 21st century America'. And it would involve us making out H.A.M. ('Hard As a Muthfuckah'). I vividly recall my wife and I gripping each other's forearms during a shirtless scene during a theater viewing of Thor 2. My requirement (if I ever get to be in his presence) is that he Thor-hammers his dick into my ass holds my hand as we prance along the rainbow gateway to the eight other worlds.

3. Freddie Prinze Jr, actor in garbage movies

Freddie Prinze Jr, also known as 'Mr. Michelle-Gellar', starred in numerous movies you may have unfortunately watched - Summer Catch, She's All That, I Know What Those Kids Did That Summer, and Scooby Doo. He's got an all-American boy look, he's a conservative Republican (rare for Hollyweird, probably why his career took a downward spiral after he declared it), and a decent build. He was an ace pitcher in Summer Catch, but strikes me as a mini-Keanu Reaves with his doofiness. Not a problem if I tape his mouth shut and ravage him. But he's got a gorgeous face. Probably one of the nicer Hollywood faces out there. Better than George Clooney, hands down. I hope Sarah Michelle-Gellar Prinze knows how lucky she is. BTW - his movies suck, don't see them.

4. Orlando Bloom, actor - (only as Legolas)

"Boe a hyn neled herain dan caer menig? Natha daged dhaer." - Sindarin (Elven) language
Translation - "Come here and sit on my face. Are you into water sports? You ever seen a grown elf naked?"

Orlando Bloom achieved stardom from his role in Lord of the Rings as token hot elf Legolas (of the Silvan Woodland Realm, OBVIOUSLY. As if his dialect didn't give it away?!?!?). I liked his long flowing locks, puke-green leggings, and pinpoint accuracy with a bow. He had a fast draw and could also gut you like a fish with a dagger if you got too close. Just ask an orc or an oliphaunt!!!! Right?!?! Anyway, he looked like a girl, dressed like a girl, and talked like a girl. Since I love blondes (namely my wife), I figured I'd add him to my 'To Do' list. Who needs Cupid to shoot a love arrow when Legolas could shoot his OWN love arrow and we would fall in love and frolic throughout Rivendell together for eternity? Plus I think he'd be real submissive. A man can dream, right?

5. Viggo Mortensen, actor - (only as Aragorn)

Sticking to the LOTR theme, Viggo Mortensen played the uber-manly role of Aragorn, eventual king of Gondor (sorry to ruin it for you, jugheads). He was scruffy, well-trained with a sword, had good leadership qualities and NEVER lost his cool. I like that in a guy. Patient with the loser hobbits who couldn't hang with the rest of the gang, always willing to share knowledge, and always deferential to the other kings he would encounter. A humble man. Scored a higher battlefield rating than General George Patton. Looks hot in mithril armor. I loved the sweat that gathered on his brow after the battle for Helm's Deep when he pushed the doors open, and his tired, victorious frame lurched in slow motion towards the camera. I may have had some pre-jac.

Honorable Mention - Alan Rickman, actor - (only as Severus Snape)

Ok just kidding. But he friggin OWNS this character.

That's it before I get carried away. Next post deals with creative ways to pop the student loan bubble. Stay tuned and have a great week, readers!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

'You Might Be A Conspiracy Theorist' Quiz

I got a suggestion from my an extended family member to do a 'You might be a conspiracy theorist....' post to help others gauge how awake they are. Well, here it is!!! What follows is a questionnaire that tests how you rank on the mindless sheep scale. While these questions were pulled out of my ass, they still provide insight based on the response of the reader. Are you a 'head in the sand' citizen that typifies the ideal low-info/low-life voter that both parties prey on. Or can see through the bullshit and detect the ulterior motives and wider agenda of the ruling party so that you can be a trusted ally when shit hits the fan? Enough foreplay - let's get to the quiz!

1. Al Qaeda headquarters is located in:
A) Somewhere in Afghanistan
B) Somewhere in Qatar
C) Somewhere in Saudi Arabia
D) Langley, VA (CIA HQ)

2. The Benghazi controversy all centered around:
A) A Youtube video making fun of Mohammed. Obvi.
B) Terrorists who are jealous of our way of life.
C) Poor security.
D) A gun-running operation sponsored by Ambassador Stevens aimed at arming/handing off weaponry from Libyan rebels to Syrian/Al Qaeda rebels in their fight against the Al-Assad government.

3. The recent Syria chemical weapons attack in August was committed by:
A) The Al-Assad government
B) George W. Bush
C) The Muslim Brotherhood
D) Christian killing, organ-eating Syrian rebels that we arm, many with links to Al Qaeda.

4. The real story behind 9/11 is:
A) Whattya mean real story? 19 terrorists from Saudi Arabia hijacked planes and crashed them into the Twin Towers. We need to go out and kill muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan to avenge this atrocity, naturally.
B) The Bush administration had no idea. They thought something may be coming down the pike, but had a failure of imagination, according to then-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
C) We knew this was coming, wanted to stop it but couldn't. However, just think of the sweeping foreign and domestic policy changes we can implement with a large scale domestic terror attack! Let's pretend we were powerless and then go to war to exact revenge!
D) We knew all along this was coming and encouraged it to happen. We had Bin Laden on our CIA payroll in the early 1980's against Russia. We had a controlled detonation of Building 7. September 10th, Rumsfeld in a hearing said $2 trillion was 'missing' and 'unaccounted for' from the Defense expenditures. That wing of the Pentagon had a 'plane' hit it the next day. Iraq and Afghanistan war blueprints were prepared in August of 2000. DHS, TSA, and Patriot Act didn't exist but needed to. We just needed the people to demand it. Ok I'll stop.

5. The 2008 Financial Crash was caused by:
A) George W. Bush
B) The evil Republicans
C) George W. Bush
D) The repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act as part of the Gramm (R) Leach (R) Bliley (R) Act of 1999, signed by Bill Clinton (D), which previously prevented the creation of giant financial supermarkets that could own investment banks, commercial banks and insurance firms. Deregulation followed, which led to an overheated and lax lending environment and a resultant toxic market for ARM loans, subprime loans, and mortgage backed securities. Then shit hit the fan when the first leg of the bubble popped in 2008. Or you could just select A or C because MSNBC told you to.

6. The Boston Marathon Bombing was:
A) Committed by a bunch of crazy Chechnyans. T'is all.
B) Committed by a bunch of crazy Chechnyans, with links to George W. Bush.
C) Committed by a bunch of crazy Chechnyans, who were linked to extremist organizations and we did a poor job of tracking them.
D) Committed by a bunch of crazy Chechnyans who were on FBI payroll and surveillance. They were trained by members of the FBI and were used as double agents to gather intelligence information from Chechnyan terrorist cells. The resulting shutdown/martial law of Boston in the aftermath was a test-run for national martial law. We passed with flying colors.

7. The Quantitative Easing policy from the Federal Reserve is aimed at:
A) I dunno. Probably to fix something George W. Bush did.
B) Lowering the unemployment rate and giving TBTF ('Too Big To Fail') banks the chance to stabilize their balance sheets and build confidence in the stock market, bond market, and the US dollar.
C) Allow us to hyperinflate our way out of paying back our debt. The more worthless and devalued our dollar is, the easier it is to pay back our $17 trillion debt.
D) Build a dependency on 'out of thin air' money creation to drive stock market and bond market bubbles. Allow us to hyperinflate our way out of paying back our debt to China, Japan, Brazil and any other creditor. Put Band-Aids on our financial insolvency as we continue to pivot from financial crisis to financial crisis (three already in 2013! Fiscal cliff, sequester, debt ceiling). Allow the other countries to also inflate their way out of paying back their respective debts through fiat currency printing. Simultaneously crash the major economies so that Special Drawing Rights (SDR's) officially become the much sought-after one world currency since Biblical Times. Or we will have a gold-backed Chinese currency because both they and Russia have all of the gold at this point.

8. The true purpose of Obamacare is to: 
A) Help those with pre-existing conditions get access to insurance and help insure the 30m + without insurance, silly!
B) Enroll young taxpayers in a 'superior' plan* than their existing plan to help pay for older enrollees in the program, as well as provide additional revenues for the Medicare program. (*Note - 'superior' plan means getting services that you never would have used in a million years just so that the Obama administration could say you previously had a crappy plan and its so much better because you enrolled with Obamacare)
C) Enroll new previously 'uninsured' peeps so that they vote Democrat and ensure general election victories from here on out.
D) Intentionally put private insurance out of business. Bastardize the system to the point where the people face 300% increases to monthly payments and 15-30 million people demand answers for their increased costs. The White House then acquiesces and says, 'Ok, we'll agree to fix it - let's move to ONE single-payer system, in which the government handles all transactions related to healthcare.' Problem, Reaction, Solution.

9. Barack Obama was born in and his religious affiliation is:
A) Hawaii, Christian
B) Indonesia, Christian
C) Kenya, Christian
D) Kenya, Muslim

10. Jesus Christ:
A) Was a really popular counter-revolutionary. Not much more.
B) Never died on a cross, never came back to life, but brought people to God and fostered peace and turning the other cheek. So I guess he served a purpose.
C) Never died on a cross, never came back to life, but the Catholic Church and Vatican lied about it to ensure centuries of control, fear, and tithing.
D) Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He suffered, died, and was resurrected on the third day. He is impervious to government, two-party systems, the Illuminati, and any other conspiracy theory. (Hint - it's 'D')

Personal note - I don't necessarily go with 'D' in all of these, as I'm still on the fence with 9/11. Anyway, there's your quick quiz. Assess your results below:

'A' answers = 1 pt
'B' answers = 2 pts
'C' answers = 3 pts
'D' answers = 4 pts

1-10: You are a worthless, piece of shit sheep. You are the reason America is becoming the laughing stock in global opinion. Try to get your news from a source other than MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR, PBS or Air America (jk - Air America went out of business because liberal talk radio sucks and no one listens to it).
11-20: You show signs of hope, but still rely on the failed two-party system. You vote for the 'lesser of two evils'. Break away and become an Independent.
21-30: You are so close to waking up! What do you need to happen at this point? The Immigration Bill to require RF ID chips? Just admit it - you completely distrust government!!! You don't believe if 'your guy' wins the election next time out, things will automatically turn around.
31-40: You 'get it'. You distrust the government, hate both parties, and believe most of what Alex Jones says (whether you want to admit it or not, he is right 75% of the time, albeit on a longer timeline).

Well, there it is. Hope you enjoyed the quiz, and I really hope you are scoring really high on this, since my readers (all three of them) tend to be really intelligent cynics who simply want the truth. Until next time.....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Horror Movie Stereotypes

I was watching some random horror movie on FEARnet the other day and it occurred to me that someone other than the wildly over-rated Jamie Kennedy of Scream fame should be chronicling the common denominators of horror movies. If you haven't seen the Scream movies, Jamie Kennedy plays the role of the horror movie buff who knows all of the inside secrets, what not to do, how to evade the killer, etc. I hate cliche 'me-too' posts, so I will strive to break new ground, but may fall short in my analysis. I just don't think he peeled the onion back enough. Who gets targeted first? Why are you in that situation in the first place? Does the killer wait until after I 'finish' in the bedroom? These questions need to be answered, and this post will hopefully provide well-researched clarity*. (*whatever I can find on Google at the time of the writing)

Theme #1 - Teens/College Getting Their Comeuppance In The Middle Of Nowhere
One of the most common threads throughout horror movies is cool teens or college kids going off on their own, away from their parents for a weekend of partying at a far-off location. But it's never anywhere near the rest of humanity. It's always an isolated run-down cabin, a desert, a mountainside shack, a camp run by stoners, a haunted house, or a shady hotel/motel in eastern Europe or Mexico with less-than-savory clerks and managers. We are trained to feel bad for them because of the predicament they are in, but in essence, should they really have been going to those locations in the first place? Can't you vacation somewhere that other folks occupy? I always need to have a police station, hospital, or town center at least five minutes from where we vacation. It basically guarantees we'll never be murdered, because our screams will undoubtedly be heard by a neighbor or a trendy wearing tight jeans going into Starbucks.

All too often, the victims are at a family member's second home, one that is invariably rustic, without adequate power, screwy locks, shoddy/creaky wood panels, prone to a lack of heat in the winter, and the lights are never replaced. Why can't you stay at a half-decent hotel? Does it have to be bug-infested with a front clerk that has a drooling conjoined twin head attached to it? Marriott rooms start as low as $129 a night. If you are with a group of friends, these costs can be easily defrayed and spread out over four or five nights. What about miniature golf? That's too gay you say? How can golf be gay? What about going to Atlantic City or Busch Gardens? Six Flags? A local farmer's market? No? If you can't afford that, then you probably shouldn't be going on vacation. Stay at your parents' house and pick up some hours at Rite-Aid - your beer fund will thank you once Spring Break is over.

If this is greets you at a motel, please run. For your life. 
The victims also refuse to complete a thorough car inspection before setting off on their journeys. Frequent calamities include flat tires as a result of under-inflation and poor driving around turns (inevitably hitting a pothole due to lack of infrastructure funding for middle of nowhere roads), faulty brakes due to driving a shitty 2001 Jetta with 140k miles that has never been properly serviced, the ever-popular 'engine trouble' that prevents the car from starting (SAE 5W-30 or SAE 10W-30 oil viscosity designations can be found in bottle form at your local grocery store), and finally, non-maintained keys with gunk and grime on them that inhibit timely starting of car in a moment of need. Throw in a high likelihood of at least three beers in the system before driving and a quick round of puff-puff-pass at Doug's house, and you have a recipe for disaster. Folks - rent a fucking car from Enterprise, split the costs and your likelihood of surviving goes up 25%.

Theme #2 - Black People Always Die First (Ok, most of the time)
Let's be honest - the second we typically see the token jive-talking black person in a horror movie, you know they will be the first to go. Like Clay Buchholz in the 2013 MLB Playoffs, these guys can't make it past the equivalent of the 4th inning. My calculations show that they usually wind up dead within thirty movie minutes of arriving at the vacation destination. It's just the way it is. Unless you are LL Cool J, who somehow defied logic and survived a Michael Myers movie. Probably the bullet-proof vest and pocket glocks through his security guard gig. But you name it - Scream movies, I Know What You Did movies, pretty much every Friday The 13th movie - they are the first to go. I don't know why. Do they know too much? Will the killer have less of an uphill battle if they take out the black dude first since they are probably the strongest and most athletic? Is killing the squawking black chick first really a wise tactical move? You're supposed to leave the confrontational pigeons till the end so that they give away everyone's position because they can't resist starting unnecessary fights about mundane things (ok that's every woman). But either way, the minority character unfortunately bares a disproportionate percentage of 'initial kills'. Yes, I intentionally kept this theme short. Moving on.

Theme #3 - The Hot Blonde and Token Meathead Die During Raucous Sex
No horror movie has a completely ugly cast. MTV learned that after Real World London. The head cheerleader/resident cum-dumpster needs to be romantically linked with the dumb jock meathead (or as I like to call him - "Richie Incognito"). Usually about 45 minutes into the movie, we get the obligatory sex scene while a killer is on the loose. You know the hot blonde isn't long for the movie due to the fact that she's probably a dummy and that her biscuit-necked boyfriend ain't too much brighter. Find a rickety mattress or jizz-stained futon and these savages are good to go. Part of you wants the scene to continue, but the other part of you wants the killer to stumble upon the sexcapades and put it to an abrupt end. Both usually get slaughtered within mere seconds of each other. If the killer is smart, he brings a javelin or a spear to shove through both sets of their guts so that they are intrinsically and sexually linked as they meet their maker. Blood burped up into each other' mouths as they snog and canoodle. Hopefully AS the guy blows his load (think of it as the horror movie version of autoerotic asphyxiation or Whip-Its. Dude it's such a high!!!!)

It's a damn shame that these two are dead, since one of them is usually the niece/nephew of the homeowner or lead contact with the hotel booking agents. A secondary character needs to now step up against their better judgment. Looks like we're now left with the frumpy/nebbishy brunette and the coke-bottle glasses wearing nerd.

Richie Incognito is every meathead in a horror movie. They can't die soon enough.

Theme #4 - Nerds Somehow Outwit, Outlast, Outplay
With the token minority, hot blonde, and meathead out of the way, the mantle of 'hero' is now inherited by the socially awkward nerd. Stringy, Edward Snowden-looking dweeb in a black Metallica or Lando Calrissian Star Wars shirt with an IQ of 160 or above. They have somehow eluded capture throughout the movie, by laying low and being pussies. If there's a closet to hide in, they will be in it. If there's a wardrobe to hide in, they will be in it. Hell, they'd hide in a boat, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev-style as long as they didn't have to fight alongside their 'friends'. Let's face it, they only dragged the nerd there to make fun of them. Trust me - I am one, I know this stuff. They weren't your friends, so maybe its ok that they get killed first - you were their whipping boy. But water under the bridge. You're alive, they aren't. The nerd looks like they are going to finally defeat the evil villain, and then they go and fuck it up. Remember - they are all brains, but no brawn. They're like the Moneyball Oakland Athletics - good enough to get to the playoffs, not built to win. Or an NCAA college basketball team that makes it to the Elite 8 against all odds. They eventually get clumsy and outsmarted at their own game. Mincemeat. They walk into a wall or a net contraption and then wake up on a table with half their organs missing.

They don't have the upper body strength because by nature they are ectomorphs. They couldn't overpower a Jack Russell Terrier. On the flip side, you also have the endomorphs of the bunch - the slow moving oafs who can't keep pace with the killer, fart as they run, and are quick to piss/shit their pants when the going gets tough. This is why nerds need to work out. If they did, they survive every horror movie.

Theme #5 - Frequent Tripping and Other Sloppiness
On the 'breaking new ground' front, this is nothing new, so apologies. People choke under pressure. Just look at Roger Clemens and A-Rod (2009 notwithstanding). Brett Favre and Tony Romo are always good for a late game pick-6. Same deal with horror movies. Usually the tripping is left for maximum drama towards the last scene or two of the movie. From a numbers standpoint, the nebbishy brunette is 7x more likely to trip on a tree root or rake than a male. Late movie brain farts are more likely to be made by the remaining guy (65% vs 35% for women). Physically the males hold up, but their dumb brains pickle in dicey moments. Women tend to have their heads screwed on straight with the overall strategy, but the execution goes wrong. They step on a rake and whack themselves in the head. They fall in a ditch and sprain an ankle. They slip on ice and fall face-first into a mud puddle. Some silly shit that costs them dearly. Guys get cocky and tough. They try to go one on one with the villain, but forget a weapon. They get so hare-brained that they grab a rubber veiny dildo and start flinging it around for the last hurrah. Ok I made that part up, but it is a funny mental picture isn't it? ISN'T IT? They overcompensate in the first half of the skirmish and then tucker out while a dagger gets plunged into their guts as they make the motion for a 15 second time out. Curtains. El fin.

Stupid meathead.
Ok that's the end of the post. These are some top themes that I think get overlooked in the multitude of internet horror movie analyses. Hope they've shed some new light on common threads. I leave you with this:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Obamacare Endgame: Intentionally Crash, Usher In Single-Payer Socialist System

Mad props to the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox!!!! Unlike the Yankees, when we suffer a terrorist attack, we actually go and win the championship and not choke to an expansion team and let our city down. Ok that was harsh.

We're four weeks into the bloody abortion that is Obamacare, you know, the horrible Affordable Care Act that no Republican voted for but liberals will still try to blame on them? Yeah, that one. The one that will most likely require 10-16 million Americans to lose their healthcare even though they were told they could keep it? Yeah, that one. The one that INCREASES the premiums, deductibles and monthly payments, despite the fact that we were told it would decrease $2500 for the average family? Yeah, that one. The one that is going to drive 60% of doctors from the profession? Yeah, that one. The one that we, the taxpayer, spent $600 million on to set up the website that has had numerous glitches? Yeah, that one. This is an unmitigated disaster. It's actually WORSE than all of the cautionary rhetoric coming from the much-maligned Tea Party Republicans (or as I call them, 'liberty loving Americans with testicles') warned about at townhalls four years ago.

 I'd love to recap all of the numerous Obamacare rollout problems but you've probably heard about them already. The middle-class are particularly screwed over as they are the largest segment of productive people who will be hurt the most by 500% healthcare increases. Again, we were told there wouldn't be increases, that in fact it would slow the rate of healthcare cost growth. In fact, for many Americans, healthcare costs would go DOWN. Those with a brain and a healthy level of cynicism knew this was pure bullshit. Let's not forget - the 2012 election was a gut check for America. While we never directly voted on Obamacare, our choices of Congress members and President was an indirect thumbs up on moving the progressive agenda forward. Re-elect Obama, and we get Obamacare in all its glory. Don't re-elect Obama and we put the brakes on it and perhaps repeal it. We made our decision and need to live with the consequences. I will not tolerate complaints from people who voted for Obama and are now bitching about Obamacare. You knew what you were getting. All low-information voters can eat shit for all I care. I hope their healthcare costs go through the roof and it cripples their ability to live a normal life without getting a second job. I hope they can't afford to travel anymore and need to stay in on Saturday nights eating Pizza Hut/drinking their own urine to save money. I hope they successfully enroll through (who's dick do you have to suck to get THAT kind of preferred access?) and your information gets hacked by NSA and identity thieves. You were warned and you still voted the way you did because you are a gullible buffoon. Not that things would have been drastically different under Romney, but at least the painful healthcare impacts would have been postponed indefinitely. Whatever, water under the bridge. 

The purpose of this post is to reinforce the point that Obamacare will be allowed to fail. They knew it was going to be a shitshow with the American sheeple. The website glitches probably came as a surprise, but everything else is going as planned. Give the people a turd sandwich, force competitors off the playing field and then have the public demand a 'single-payer system' run by the government. Socialist goal accomplished. It's called the Hegelian Dialectic - 'Problem. Reaction. Solution.' You want to push an agenda? Create a problem, government saves the day, people demand government solution, government grabs more power. Mass 'Stockholm Syndrome' as we embrace our captors. Because we are stupid sweaty dopes who care more about the finalists on X-Factor than how to fix the economy and get the right candidates in office. The rest of the world is laughing at us as we wallow in our self-indulgent, indebted lifestyles. 

Problem - "We need universal, nationalized healthcare for American citizens. 30 million previously not covered people will now be covered if we push this legislation."
Reaction - We pass Affordable Care Act in 2010. The magical '30 million' number becomes 15m. Then 10m. Then 7m. Nervousness creeps in. Democrats get their dicks kicked in during the 2010 midterms. 
Solution - Obama gets re-elected. Ted Cruz filibuster (predictably) fails. Obamacare enrollments open October 1st. Government shuts down. Website crashes and can't accommodate the web traffic. Enrollment is 1% of what was expected. Program needs at least 7 million people enrolled to be financially viable. Projections are around 1 million people by Q1 2014. People begin to ask for an alternative. Single-payer, government controlled healthcare gains traction. 

See how this shit works? The government WANTS Obamacare in its current form to fail. The GOP dangled the prospect of delaying the individual mandate. The Dems said no. Ironically, they've just granted a six week 'delay' for those having trouble accessing the website. You can't make this shit up. The website flat-out CRASHED last Sunday. It CRASHED during HHS Secretary Kathy Sebelius' testimony. Now, let's be honest - eventually the website will work. Not smoothly, but it will work. Enrollments will ramp up (maybe?). But the impacts have already been felt. Americans are more cash-strapped, the economy continues to limp along at 1.5-2% phony growth, and our debt ceiling problems were basically punted out three months. Federal Reserve will taper their QE purchases any month now (despite the recent news that they will still print $85b a month), instantly crashing the stock market bubble. Food stamps go down by an average of $57 a month for families in need effective November 1st. Oh well. We're five years into the recession, I'm sure it will get better one of these days. 

Ok, so what is single-payer, and why is it bad? Simply put - it's one administrator of healthcare payments. They collect healthcare fees and allocate healthcare payments. Gone are the thousands of health care organizations and billing agencies ('private sector jobs'), replaced by government-controlled health care administrators ('public sector jobs funded by the taxpayer'). It will slow the rate of healthcare cost inflation. Comprehensive coverage for all. Doctor compensation would change little. We will get a simplified model run by the government. Of course they are telling the truth. What could go wrong? Plenty. 

Obamacare is the Trojan Horse to a single-payer healthcare system (you know, the failed European model for healthcare?). Slowly frighten people into thinking they will lose their employer-sponsored healthcare. Costs become prohibitive for corporations due to fees, regulations and increasing costs of administering healthcare. Companies then drop healthcare coverage. Scared citizens run into the open arms of government. Mission accomplished. The government will trumpet the wonders of it all like a Foxwoods commercial, but it will ultimately result in more abuses and wasted taxpayer money. Remember, these are the same assholes that run the DMV.

First things first, since the government will be the single-payer, people will take advantage of the process and overuse it. Why should they care? They aren't paying for it, someone else is! So forget about 'savings in administrative costs' - that goes out the window with a single-payer that people abuse! It's human nature to overuse something that you don't have to pay for. Also, we will inevitably ration this undersupplied healthcare the way they do in Canada and UK. Talented doctors exit the profession since it means less compensation to offset their years and years of medical school loan payments. Quality of care decreases. Government elbows its way into your private affairs and starts making decisions usually reserved between you and your doctor. As mentioned above, private healthcare agencies go out of business because they can't meet Obamacare guidelines, which puts people out of private sector jobs and they presumably land on their feet as a....taxpayer funded public servant for government-run healthcare. This means higher expenses for ACA and ultimately a higher budget deficit each year due to the program's expansion. But again, why should we worry? The government didn't make things worse by expanding its involvement in Medicare and Medicaid, right? Those costs didn't skyrocket, right? Am I missing something here? Furthermore, you can expect longer wait times and, in the case of England and Canada, 20% of all patients complain of having trouble accessing care. Get this - UK, Canada, and Sweden are now looking to REVERSE decades of public healthcare in favor of private health care. We have more preventive care here and five year cancer survival rates are higher in the US. You want to mess with that?

Remember when Republicans were compared to Nazis and Bush to Hitler? Shoe on other foot.
And how does it make you feel that you will be funding the healthcare costs for people that don't take care of themselves and eat healthy? How do you feel about competition being wiped out and the government being the only game in town for 1/6th of the economy? How do you feel about the head of the IRS being in charge of Obamacare oversight? How do you feel submitting information into a system that is wildly unsecure and prone to internet hackers? Remember, Obamacare has paid 'navigators' to help you through the process. In light of all the NSA scandals this year, do you really feel confident that your medical records are secure? To sum it up - Obamacare is designed to fail in favor of a 'save the day' single-payer system that globalists have wanted all along. All of our information goes into a central government healthcare database and it's game over. Then they push legislation to link a gun registry to the central government healthcare database. Then they link all of your debts to the central government healthcare database. Do you see where this is going? This is what you voted for America. I hope you're happy. Single-payer healthcare by 2016, maybe earlier. Game, set, match.

Thanks for reading. I need a stiff drink......

Monday, October 21, 2013

If Only We Had More Women In Government To Solve Our Problems And Get Stuff Done....Behold...."The Trojan Horse Blog Post"

"Hope you have all been enjoying your autumn so far, apple picking, watching football and just enjoying nature when you can!" - Every other boring blog. Not here. I don't care about what you do on the weekend, it's probably sleeping in like a warthog till an ungodly hour and then complaining that there is not enough time during the day to get errands done. We have bigger fish to fry here at Trousered Apes so lets get right into it.

There is a nice article floating around the internet about how women solved the contrived theater known as the 'debt ceiling' crisis, written by a guy with a hyphenated last name (never understood why a grown-up dude has to do that to his last name). Check out the link below, in all seriousness, it's a good read and is a unique perspective on how they stick together in a bipartisan fashion despite their differences:

I'm thrilled that this type of teamwork exists in Washington. Quite a breath of fresh air. I'd be totally fine with a 50/50 split of men and women in Congress. But it got me thinking - there have been a few articles bouncing around this week talking about how men got us into the debt situation, and women got us out. Knowing that Congress is heavily dominated by white men who smell like moth balls, Jovan Musk, and have calcium deposits on the sides of their mouths, a part of me was inclined to believe that hypothesis. The media fawning was aimed at one endgame - give the impression that women will govern better, solve our problems and fix our now $17 trillion debt crisis. To which I respond - "TOTAL BULLSHIT."

The 'Before and After' of the Senate Sisterhood's Saving of the Day
 ***DISCLAIMER To Knee-Jerk Feminists Who Get Offended Easily***

People are so tunnel-visioned that I need to take out real estate to actually frame an issue in context. So here goes - I think women are great leaders, more organized, structured, pragmatic, honest, and fair than men (is that stereotyping - quick, feminists get offended!!!!). The majority of my direct bosses in the workforce have been women, and I perform better as an employee when a woman is my boss. There, I said it. ***END DISCLAIMER***

In light of the above though, the implication that more women, more diversity, more african americans, more LGBT makes us automatically 'better' is hogwash. It's merely a physical or sexual attribute. Good ideas and solutions make us better. I don't vote for people based on physical or sexual attributes, and neither should a well-informed American voter. Do you represent your constituents? Do you want a two term limit to implement whatever agenda you have? Do you respect the taxpayer and don't say anything just to get elected? Then I don't give a shit what gender or skin color you are. Just do what we tell you to do and walk away when your time is up.

Read on knowing full-well that I have no dog in the fight. Old white men have been ruining our planet for thousands of years. I'm not defending them. Think of this as giving a Shawn Michaels super-kick to the 'women in high places can do no wrong' crowd. We act like the 10-15% Congressional approval rating only applies to the wrinkly old white man, and that the women all have out of this world likeability. The list below details prominent women political figures that "we need to just give a chance cause you'll see - things will be better." Sit back and enjoy.

Janet Yellen - brand new head of the Federal Reserve, effective January 2014
It's cool that we no longer have some old white guy running the most diabolical monetary system in the world. Now women can destroy currencies, too. Janet Yellen was named as Ben Bernanke's replacement. She was basically a career academic before hitting the Federal Reserve board circuit, before becoming the Vice Chair of the Fed in 2010. Yes, she is plenty qualified to run the Fed, just as those before her. But she isn't going to make things better merely because she is a woman. In fact, our collapse will happen on her watch. She's committed to continuing if not EXPANDING the ruinous QE Infinity program wrought by Ben Bernanke ($2 trillion to date with NO improvement other than an inflated stock market based on no fundamentals whatsoever). She didn't foresee the 2008 crisis when it unfolded, which is the same excuse her three predecessors also gave (mind you, these people RUN THE FEDERAL RESERVE and can't see the iceberg to save their lives). Take this gem of a quote:

“I did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit ratings agencies, the shadow banking system, the S.I.V.’s — I didn’t see any of that coming until it happened.” 

Great. She's now in charge. But she's a woman, so I'm sure things will magically just get better.

Hillary Clinton - former NY senator, former Secretary of State
She will replace Obama and become the first woman president in 2016. Pretty much a done deal. People will vote for her to help achieve such a historic accomplishment. But her track record the higher she goes in government sucks. The buffoonish 'containment' strategy against China. Doing nothing with Pakistan in the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid. Overthrowing war on terror ALLY Moammar Ghaddafi in Libya, and of course, the horribly, shamefully, disgustingly handled Benghazi abortion. The 'what difference does it make' sqawk-fest while being asked about the true events of that night. Supporting the overthrow of key Middle Eastern ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, replacing him with the Muslim Brotherhood puppet Mohammed Morsi, who lasted ONE FUCKING YEAR before he and his 'brothers' were OVERTHROWN, KICKED OUT, and BANNED from Egypt. The Libya rebel arming followed by Syria rebel arming has basically ensured Al Qaeida inherits the throne to the region. You can't make this stuff up. But she's a woman, so she'll make things better. Don't hold your breath.

PS - and way to be a fucking doormat while your piece of shit husband frequently banged/raped/punched other women. If the National Organization of Women (NOW) was capable not being blinded by political affiliation, they would be outraged at how submissive you appear when faced with sticking up for yourself in a marriage. But alas, strong woman, hear me roar, blah blah blah.

Janet Napolitano - former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security director
Ms. Napolitano has since left the DHS to run the University of California system (she'll be replaced by Jeh Johnson in the coming weeks). But she was a force when it came to implementing Obama's vision of a 'civilian security force' that he called for in his 2008 campaign. Yes, her three predecessors in DHS were also civil liberty grabbers, so I want to be fair, but going along with my higher message here, she didn't exactly 'solve our problems' or 'make things better'. DHS has notoriously purchased 2.2 BILLION 'hollow-point, banned by the Geneva Conventions' bullets that are aimed at killing people and shredding their guts. DHS also accumulated over 2800 Humvees and advanced artillery for DOMESTIC use. The drone program has expanded substantially in the past five years. Conservatives, libertarians, and veterans are now Public Enemy #1 to the average slow adult, low-info voting trendies. Job well done, Janet. Quite a departure from your forebears.

Nancy Pelosi - former Speaker of the House/Kathy Sebelius - head of Health and Human Services
Nancy Pelosi is a fun target of the GOP, but I guess she's effective at her job - after all, she infamously coerced everyone into passing Obamacare so that they can find out what's in it. She was the pitbull behind the operation, while Ms. Sebelius is the operations head in charge of this disaster. Both women were huge advocates of the Affordable Care Act, and both should be held accountable for its failures. As for the first week's numbers, well, check out this orgasmic chart:

Glitches have plagued the launch for the past three weeks. But 'unique visitors' are being trumpeted as 'enrollees' by the administration, and these two are at the forefront from a never-wrong women's perspective. This rollout has been so unpopular, Sebelius recently hijacked Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for an 'ACA Roadshow'. Less than 100 people showed up. At a major football stadium. Premiums and monthly payments skyrocketing, coverage plans being dropped by companies of all shapes and sizes, and doctors threatening to exit the profession. These two lovely ladies are gung-ho about Obamacare. But they're women, so they can fix our healthcare problems, right?

Sarah Palin - former governor of Alaska, former Republican VP Nominee
To show I'm not some partisan hack, I threw in Sarah Palin, because, quite frankly, she did it to herself. Remember the excitement when she was added to the boring, toothless, dickless, spineless, idealess McCain ticket that I was forced to hold my nose and vote for? Emotions were high - she was well-liked as governor, represented her constituents as advertised, and hated political and corporate bullies. She had that anti-establishment streak that made people gravitate to her, and ultimately became a rising star in the Tea Party movement. But she had a propensity for gaffes. Not what the GOP needed after the Bush years - as a gubernatorial or senate candidate - fine. But as a VP nominee? Ehhhh. She routinely flubbed softball questions from brilliant minds like Katie Couric and Brian Williams. She couldn't name basic magazines that she read in her office. Her recollection of American History was spotty at best. She used Alaskan colloquialisms that only three Alaskans had heard of. Supporters would cringe when she was asked tough questions. She handled herself well against Biden in the debate, but the McCain staff had their claws in her and treated her with kid gloves. "Don't wander too far off the reservation, ya hear me, girl?" Her ideas, if put on paper, are just what the country needs. As long as someone other than her expresses them. But this is what the GOP went for - a woman VP for the sake of having a woman VP. We need a little more, folks.

Honorable Mention:
Janet Reno - former Attorney General. Authorized the Waco inferno. Refused to investigate Clinton cronies. The Elian Gonzalez debacle.
Susan Rice - former ambassador, current head of NSA. The face of the Benghazi lies. It was about a youtube video. That says enough right there. She can never be trusted again.
Barbara Boxer - Senator from CA. Loves basic infanticide, but once that baby makes it into your home, the bastard needs to live.
Dianne Feinstein -Senator from CA. Does not believe Americans should own private firearms. But she can have a personal security guard that does. On record saying she would love to confiscate guns from the average citizen if the situation presented itself. Keep an eye on her next time a mass shooting happens.

Condoleeza Rice - former Secretary of State, former NSA director. Love me some Condi, but she does have Iraq/Afghanistan on her resume. Sooo many missteps. And the bungled communications failures around 9/11. That stuff will never go away.

So what was the point of this checklist? To show people that gender/race/religion/age alone aren't going to fix our problems. Pragmatic, realistic, authentic and slightly cynical ideas will. Two awesome female political figures come to mind as I write this - the late Margaret Thatcher (former British PM), and current Germany President Angela Merkel. Both were demonized early on in their terms but through a stalwart belief in the power of the individual, personal accountability, living within your means, limiting government largesse, and an unabashed love of country and preservation of its principles they have become some of the most successful leaders of the past 50 years. Merkel has shown her key strength as it relates to the ongoing Euro crisis, giving the impression that she is the only adult in the room at many of these meetings. But it's not because she's a woman, but rather because her ideology and mindset are in line with rational thinkers. As was Thatcher's. Those women couldn't be walked all over, because they would fight back with well-thought out responses in lieu of typical government talking points.

One more thing - they are also from opposite political spectrums, so clearly there are common denominators that can be extracted from their leadership styles. THAT is what we need in our leaders, whether male, female, black, white, handicapped, tall, or short. We get too caught up in the wedge issues. Enough. Find the right candidates for the job. Don't make physical attributes a selling point. I've just proven that women are just as capable of being as awful as men. Stop giving yourselves a pass cause you have a vagina.

Hopefully this provoked some interesting feelings. I still bet I get the knee-jerk hate mail from those who don't believe in things like 'reality' and 'female fallability'. But that's why I do this shit. To shake up the psyche a little bit. Until next time.....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Government Shutdown - What You Probably Didn't Know

This week has been fraught with discussions about the much feared and anticipated 'US government shutdown.' Both parties are in another bitch fight with no end in sight, limp-wristedly hitting each other with their purses. It's so bad that Lindsay Graham's vibrator fell out of his satchel and John McCain had to kick it into the corner so no one would see. This post dissects the main storyline, each side's position, what you are NOT being told, and where this is all headed.

Here's the storyline - the government has shut down due to the fact that the Democrats initially refused to endorse the Ted Cruz-led GOP proposal to defund Obamacare (ie - we'll agree to a 2014 proposed budget set to begin October 1st 2013, but there will be no funding granted for the Affordable Care Act). That ruffled some feathers, rightfully so. Democrats were not cool with this, so they refused to negotiate further. Oh wait, they refused to negotiate even BEFORE the GOP proposed defunding ACA. Ted Cruz filibustered for 21 hours, saw his approval ratings shoot through the roof, and made the main establishment guard of the party a little uncomfortable. I couldn't be happier. But that was merely a symbolic gesture. The proposal was soundly defeated by the Senate and effectively, the 'Defund Obamacare' proposal ended September 27th/28th. Republicans have not brought it up since. Instead, they have backed off and offered countermeasures:
- Make Congress get the same type of healthcare that everyday citizens are forced to get if they go on the open exchange. If the law is good enough to pass, they should be forced to be on it.
- Delay the individual mandate for another year, just like the corporate mandate. Obama already did so with small companies so he could make the Dems look better going into 2014 mid-terms, so why not do that for the everyday people?
- Drop the 2.3% tax on medical devices. Like, forever.
- Continue to fund 'piecemeal' select government agencies that warrant ongoing funding (200+ NIH children with cancer, park services for WWII veterans, other memorials, etc). Dems have said no, but Harry Reid went a step further when asked if he would fund NIH and even help one child with cancer by responding, "Why would we want to do that?" Party of the little guy. The Democrats.

At this point in time, as of this writing (Sunday, October 6th), we are still in shutdown. By shutdown, I mean '67% of the government still works as planned, but 33% actually shuts down'. The earth is still turning, the sun has been coming up, and millions of women have gotten their periods this week (although a few thousand Obama supporters of barely-voting age DID NOT get their periods this week, so expect some bloody abortions/unwanted pregnancies due to poor decision-making. Party of the little guy. How's THAT for a left field remark?). We are 11 days away from the dreaded October 17th TRUE deadline, where we would be in technical default and unable to actually pay our bills, and neither side is budging.

Now this is the 17th government shutdown since 1977, but this one's a little different. Tip O'Neill/Ronald Reagan would meet frequently to work through their differences. Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich would meet frequently to work through their differences. And guess what? Each time, monuments would remain open, barracades of open space memorials would be nonexistent, and veterans had access to sites dedicated to them. This time around is different. No surprise. Democrats don't want to negotiate. Republicans keep giving counter proposals and get rebuffed. Obamacare is going to be 16% of GDP. We never got to vote on it. It is wildly unpopular (Mickey Mouse polls are probably being conducted by George Soros progressive thinktanks to drum up support). Yes, Obamacare is the law of the land. But we are paying for it, so God forbid someone steps in to formulate a better plan to implement it, a plan that doesn't involve it being shoved down our throats like Ron Jeremy's dick.

The main idea in play here is to further divide the country. Go for the emotional site closures. Block roads that technically shouldn't be blocked because they aren't technically federal property. Blame the pussy Republicans for the umpteenth time, just like they allowed themselves to be blamed for the sequester, the fiscal cliff, the prior debt ceiling debate, the current debt ceiling debate, and of course, the 2008 Financial Crisis. I left the party because the Republicans don't defend themselves and can't define 'rape' like normal people and can't tell an airhead morning tv host what magazines they read. They run large budget deficits for ill-conceived wars, do nothing on immigration, overspend on the military industrial complex, and refuse to keep the banksters in line. Now the firebrand upstarts like Cruz, Rubio, Paul, and Lee finally grow a backbone and the establishment pussies want nothing to do with it. Keep it up, I say. Piss off the old guard. Remember - this is the old guard that got their dicks kicked in by Obama twice. The old way ain't working. You suck, you must step aside. The Ted Cruz filibuster was aimed at setting up 2016 and splitting the Republican party into two factions - old guard blueblood RINOs destined to lose, and the new wave of electable libertarian-leaning, non-blueblood winners who actually give a shit about the American people. You know what side I'm on.

So what's going to happen? Who wins? Who loses?

The Democrats - Short Term Win, Long Term Loss
Every indication is that Obamacare will make costs go through the roof. We are already seeing large increases in monthly payments, premiums, doctors threatening to leave the industry, actual death panels, dropped coverage, and more 'surprises'. It's called unintended consequences. Government's specialty. But the media belongs to the Democrats (except for Fox News and Talk Radio, but even then the odds are still stacked against conservatives, ratings notwithstanding). Dems can get away with saying the Republicans want the government to shut down. They can blame it on the GOP all they want, and the sheeple will believe it. Regardless of who wants to negotiate, regardless of intent. Remember, back in January during the fiscal cliff crisis, the Democrats got a shitload of additional taxes passed on the American people. Here's the truth - Obama cut payroll taxes in 2010 (which resulted in savings of about $26 per paycheck as a result of the 'Making Work Pay' initiative - not enough to move the dial in my household, but much appreciated). Once that expired in January, my payroll taxes shot up to the point where they completely ERASED the temporary cut and became an $80 per paycheck INCREASE. We were lied to, and now the middle class is bearing a large burden of our deficit spending. To get back to my point - those fiscal cliff concessions by the Republicans were a strategy aimed at gaining leverage during the debt ceiling crisis. Well here we are, Obama said he would consider cuts as a result of his January fiscal cliff victory, and VOILA, the Muslim Brotherhood operative LIED again. As I've said before, when Dems promise compromise now with spending cuts later, they NEVER follow through. And here we are. But when the chaos hits in January 2014, and Obamacare is brought to bear on the struggling, drug-infused US economy, silly Americans will start to become hip to the game. They'll realize after the fact that they were indeed fleeced and their paychecks will continue to be raped. Whatever, you assholes voted for it.

The Republicans - Short Term Loss, Long Term Win
As I said above, the GOP will be blamed by the lamestream media (per usual), and they will do nothing to defend themselves. They will allow the Dems to dictate their policy, play the emotional card, trot out kids with cancer and say 'Hey look - you want this kid to have cancer because you allowed the government to be shut down.' Like the child would have been immediately cured had the government NOT shut down (but that's neither here nor there). But again - Republicans offered to fund NIH, and Harry Reid clearly said no. But the brainless sheep don't hear that part. They operate in five second sound bytes, because they can't be bothered. What will ultimately happen is we go down to the wire, October 13th-16th, barely eek out a deal and we all trumpet the success of both parties in 'working together'. Remember when Obama claimed he would unite everybody? Complete opposite. But who's reporting that? Anyway, we get some type of budget deal (when was the last time the democrat leaning senate passed a fucking budget anyway? This shit is unprecedented). Has ANY budget been passed under Obama? Of course not! No wonder we are well on our way to third world status. Budget passes, delays to individual mandate, medical devices taxes dropped, but Obamacare funded. Life is good.

THEN..............S&P fucking DOWNGRADES us. Again. China and Russia dump US Treasuries. Quantitative Easing starts to taper in October/November. Bernanke escapes and his replacement is caught holding the bag of monkey shit. Bond yields shoot up to 4%, and suddenly 40% of all tax revenue goes to paying interest on the ever-increasing debt. That's how I see this debacle playing out. All roads lead to a dollar collapse, the question is HOW. Could be government shutdown leading to a default, could be relaunching the case for an attack on Syria, could be another fiscal crisis, could be an epic cyberattack that former DHS head Janet Napolitano warned us about. Something is coming down the road, so be ready for anything and everything. The world changed for a few of us this week - no paycheck means anger, anxiety and feelings of desperation. Imagine that on a wider scale as this shutdown drones on? It will eventually make its way to all of us, not just those immediately impacted. Shutdown is good for nobody except those in power, because it's all about optics. Which party can make the other party look worse. Crisis Politics, with really shitty actors that we re-elect at a rate of over 90%. This is the America we've chosen for ourselves, I sincerely hope you're proud!