Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Jehovah’s Witness Knocks On My Door…

 
The Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by my house today.  It’s one of the downsides of working from home – distractions.  But as long as they were here I figured I would have a little fun with them.  They handed me a brochure titled: “A Peaceful New World: Will It Come?" (picture above appeared on front of brochure).  We then engaged in a lively discussion on the topic. 
      
They asked, “When you look at this picture, what feelings do you have?”

I responded, “It looks like someone’s unrealistic interpretation of paradise.” 

They followed up with, “Do you believe these conditions will ever exist on earth?” 

I responded with a simple, “No.”

My pessimistic responses must have opened the door as they immediately burst into a dissertation on a new heaven and earth.  They said (quoting directly from the brochure), “The ‘new earth’ will be a righteous society of people living on earth, and the ‘new heaven’ will be a perfect heavenly kingdom, or government, which will rule over this earthly society of people.” 

I responded, “Sweet, does this mean China is going to forgive our debt?”  They were visibly puzzled by this response.

They then explained (still quoting from the brochure), “Such ideal conditions were part of God’s original purpose for this earth. He placed the first human couple in the earthly Paradise of Eden and gave them a marvelous assignment: Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.”

I said, “Hold the phone.  Are you saying that you literally believe in the story of Adam and Eve?  What about evolution?  You do know that it actually happened, right?”  Again they looked visibly confused, almost like I was the wacko for bringing science into the conversation.

They quickly dismissed my interruption and continued, “A Messiah will come who will serve as a divinely appointed king and rule over this new world.  The Messiah will rid the earth of all wickedness, and then the psalm will be fulfilled.” 

I asked, “Will the Messiah bring us total consciousness?” (a la Carl Spackler from the Dalai Lama).  My Caddyshack reference was clearly lost on them so I added (in my best Bill Murray impression), “So we got that goin’ for us, which is nice.”  …crickets.  Tough crowd. 

They went on (completely oblivious to my awesome attempt at humor), “The Messiah’s rule will bring earthly benefits beyond compare, accomplishing everything good that God originally purposed for his people to enjoy on earth. Hatreds and prejudices will cease to exist, and eventually everyone on earth will be a true friend of everyone else.” 

I responded with, “Wait, aren’t the Jehovah’s Witnesses adamantly opposed to gay marriage?  In fact I recently read that your religion teaches its membership that homosexuality is a detestable abomination caused by demon possession.  So how does that work out then?”  This is about the time they started to look nervous.

Not sure how to respond they quickly continued with, “The whole earth will eventually be brought to a gardenlike paradise state.  Never again will people feel hunger because of lack of food.  All will enjoy the fruits of their own labor, as our Creator promises: They will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage… They will not plant and someone else do the eating.  In God’s new world, no longer will people be crammed into huge apartment buildings or run-down slums, for God has purposed: They will certainly build houses and have occupancy…They will not build and someone else have occupancy.”

I said, “Hmm, that sounds a lot like socialism.  I’m more of a free enterprise guy myself.”

They went on now visibly irritated (but in the same robot-like tone), “In time, God’s Kingdom will even restore the peaceful relations that existed in the garden of Eden between animals, and between animals and humans. The Scriptures say: The wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them.” 

I said, “So we’re back to the fantasy picture.  Let me tell you why it’s an unrealistic interpretation of paradise.  First off wolves and lions eat lambs, so they could never hang out together.  It’s the circle of life, didn’t you ever see the Lion King?  Secondly humans were never meant to cohabitate with wild animals.  Haven’t you ever seen When Animals Attack?  How about Siegfried and Roy, ever heard of them?”  I was just about to start into my assault on the hypocrisy of organized religion when they decided to walk away (shaking their heads).  Apparently I was deemed a lost cause.  “Hey, I didn’t ask you to knock on my door,” I called out after them.

After I closed the door and walked back into my office my wife asked, “Who were you just talking to?”

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses,” I responded.

“Were they trying to help you see the light?” she joked.  “You could actually use a little more light in your life.”

“Ouch,” I thought to myself.  But she’s not wrong.  Perhaps I have grown a bit too jaded towards my fellow man.  It’s just that there’s something very offensive to me about aggressive religious recruitment.  Faith without logic is a very dangerous thing.  Religion is about as personal as you can get.  So where’s the logic in peddling your faith door-to-door like cheap cutlery or encyclopedias?  I’m all about religious freedom and tolerance.  Believe what you want to believe (as wacky as it may be), and be a better person for it.  Just please leave me out of it. 

Who knows, perhaps a peaceful new world will come.  But I’m fairly certain it won’t be delivered by a pair of drones knocking on my front door.

Happy Wednesday,

The Quinsey Blog

Monday, November 26, 2012

If We Couldn’t Laugh About It We Might Have To Cry


As a life-long Chargers fan I can’t help but feel like I’ve turned into this guy.  Not literally (my wife is hot) but metaphorically speaking.  It’s like everything was cool until one day I woke up and realized I’m stuck with a fat chick.  On the surface my words may sound cruel and insensitive (I know - fat people need love too) but bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this. 
Let’s start at the beginning.  There was clearly a reason I fell in love with her in the first place.  Granted it was a long time ago but I’m fairly certain she didn’t always look this way.  I realize time has a way of romanticizing things and making them seem better than they actually are (so does alcohol), but I’m not kidding myself.  I know she’s never been the best looking girl at the dance, but she was readily accessible and we’ve had some good times.  But recently an inexplicable chain of events (giving complete control to AJ Smith) has sent things spiraling out of control.  Perhaps I should have seen this coming.  When she chose to hit the fast food drive-through this past off-season (for the fat-laden contracts of Gaither, Meachem, and Royal) instead of sticking with the carrots we already had in the fridge (Jackson, Tolbert, etc.) what was I supposed to expect?  She’s made multiple questionable dietary choices in the past, but this most recent binge / purge tipped the scales in the entirely wrong direction.  For a while now she’s been packing on the pounds.  I’ve looked the other way, turned the lights off, and told myself things will get better.  After all she’s always struggled with her weight but she’s had this uncanny ability to shed off the pounds when it counts, and make herself presentable.  Unfortunately she’s now gotten to the point of no return (3 straight years of missing the playoffs).  I can no longer stand the sight of her and spending time together literally makes me sick to my stomach.  I see my friends out with their hot girlfriends having a great time, and I’m embarrassed to be seen with her.  In conclusion she’s hideous and I’m done.

Until she gets a new dietitian and a complete makeover, I’ve decided to start playing the field.  I hear the dating scene is nice in Houston this season.  Or maybe San Fran?  Just please keep me away from the fat chicks. 

#FireAJ #FireNorv   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Are You Thankful For?

 

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.  Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition. Today, Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday. 
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.  Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes.  As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God".

And there you have it.  A brief history on how Thanksgiving came to be (not that you asked or even care).  Now here we are almost 400 years later... and still thankful.  Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions.  Each year at my family’s Thanksgiving meal we go around the table one by one and say what we’re thankful for.  As kids we were usually thankful for the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  As we grew older and more mature we became thankful for our family and friends.  As we entered adulthood we were thankful for things like peace and prosperity.  And as we ventured into our golden years we were thankful for good health and fond memories.  It’s a natural progression, life laid out through our Thanksgiving proclamations.  And there’s always been something reassuring about the symmetry.  But then I think about all the stuff that gets left out with this method.  About all the quirky things we’re thankful for that simply fall through the cracks. 

Think about it.  You’re dressed up in your Sunday bests (Thursday in this case), sitting around a festively decorated table, anticipating a meticulously prepared feast, and looking around at the warm smiles of your loved ones.  You can’t help but be overcome by sentimentality.  So it’s your turn to give thanks, you open up your mouth, and what do you suppose comes out?  Exactly what’s supposed to come out, that’s what. You stick to the standard Thanksgiving script, and who could blame you?  Hence the problem.  While appropriate and at times even touching, there’s no room for reality in this equation.                     

Therefore what follows (in typical Quinsey Blog fashion) is a list of the not-so-obvious things I’m thankful for this year.

·     My narcissistic Facebook friends who regularly post self portraits at various flattering angles.  I smile thinking about the countless shots that didn’t make the cut, and about the time and effort invested in taking all those shots.

·     The tree huggers, penny-pinchers, and old farts who drive Priuses (or is it Prii?).  If not for them who would cancel out my giant carbon footprint?

·     The dude at my daughter’s soccer game who went commando in a pair of see-through linen pants.  Thanks to him the even less pleasant images (if that’s possible) burned into the back of my corneas have now been replaced.

·     Adults who look for any excuse possible to dress up in costumes.  They make the rest of us feel more normal.

·     Canada.  No matter how shitty things get in the United States, at least we’re not Canada.

·     Zip ties and duct tape with which I truly believe I can fix anything.

·     The Kansas City Chiefs for making me feel slightly less pathetic for being a Chargers fan.

·     Crows, the bottom feeders of the bird world.  I seriously hate crows.  I mean really hate them.  I curse at them like a crazy old man and try to hit them with my car on a daily basis.  What?  We all need a healthy outlet for our rage.

·     Cargo shorts because I carry a lot of shit, and purses aren’t a good look for a dude (regardless of what the Euros tell you). 

·     Gloria Allred for making what I do for a living seem incrementally less sleazy.

·     And last but not least... Whatever hidden redeeming quality my wife has found that keeps her married to me (God bless her).
And God bless everyone else out there too.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The Quinsey Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Punishment by Public Sign Shaming



CLEVELAND - A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children stood in the cold at an intersection holding a sign warning people about idiots.  A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve this highly public sentence for one hour Tuesday and Wednesday. She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree cold, puffing a cigarette, wearing head phones and avoiding comment as passing vehicles honked.  Satellite TV trucks were on hand to stream the event live near downtown Cleveland.  Her sign read: "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."  Hardin's license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.  Hardin's case is just the latest example of creative, and sometimes controversial, sentences handed out by judges to publicly shame offenders. Some other examples from around the country:

HOUSTON - Daniel and Eloise Mireles were convicted of stealing more than $265,000 from the crime victims fund in Harris County, Texas.  In addition to restitution and jail time, the Houston couple was sentenced in July 2010, to stand in front of the local mall for five hours every weekend for six years with a sign reading, "I am a thief."  A sign was also posted outside their house stating they were convicted thieves.

PENNSYLVANIA - Evelyn Border and her daughter, Tina Griekspoor, 35, were caught stealing a gift card from a child inside a Wal-Mart.  In November 2009, the Bedford County district attorney said he would recommend probation instead of jail time because the women stood in front of the courthouse for 4 1/2 hours holding signs reading, "I stole from a 9-year-old on her birthday! Don't steal or this could happen to you!"

WISCONSIN - A man who crashed his car into the gates at a Wisconsin waste water treatment plant spent eight hours holding a sign saying, "I was stupid."  Shane McQuillan decided he would rather do that than spend 20 days in jail on a charge of criminal damage to property.  McQuillan had a blood alcohol level of 0.238 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for driving, at the time of the 2008 accident in Eau Claire.

OHIO - An Ohio judge ordered a man and woman who vandalized a baby Jesus statue in a church's outdoor nativity to march through town with a donkey to apologize.  Jessica Lange and Brian Patrick admitted to defacing the statue at St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church on Christmas Eve 2003. They led a donkey provided by a petting zoo through the streets of Fairport Harbor carrying a sign that said, "Sorry for the jackass offense."  After the 30-minute march, the pair was taken to serve a 45-day sentence that included drug and alcohol treatment. They also were ordered to replace the statue.

First thought is damn, I missed my calling.  I should have been a judge.  Those guys have all the fun.  Second thought is this sign thing is a great idea.  Why limit it to moronic criminals?  Perhaps we should make celebrities carry around signs for their blasphemous assaults on humanity.  Here’s a few ideas to get things kicked off.  Let’s hope it sticks.

 Sign slogan: It should be illegal to love yourself this much.

 Sign slogan: Scientology – just another word for crazy.

Sign slogan: It’s a good thing I look like this because man do I suck at acting.

 Sign slogan: What he said (have you seen “The Vow”?).

Sign slogan: I don’t get it either, and I’m married to him.

Sign slogan: My back fat tells me what to do.

Sign slogan: I’m hoping this ridiculous hair distracts from my severe lack of talent.

Sign slogan: Your wives think about me when you’re doing it.

Sign slogan: I like big sluts and I cannot lie… (wait, never mind)

Sign slogan: I can't even spell fiscal responsibility.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Difference Between Men & Women Simplified


 
I have two children, a 13-year-old boy and an almost 12-year old girl.  They amuse and frustrate me on a daily basis.  It might just be their particular personalities, but in a lot of ways I think they really personify the major differences between men and women as a whole. 
Take their approach to education for instance.  In our household school comes first before anything else, including sports.  This is more my wife’s rule than mine but like most things in our marriage I just go with it (it’s not like either of my kids are going pro in sports anyways – they were handicapped with my DNA after all).  You’d think, given this rule, that they’d BOTH be extremely focused on getting good grades, right?  Not so much.  My daughter currently has a grade of 100% in 5 subjects, and a 99% in the 6th.  And guess what?  She’s pissed about the 99%.  My son, on the other hand, also has all A’s (barely) and it appears there’s gonna be a photo finish in several subjects.  And guess what?  He couldn’t care less.  So long as he achieves the bare minimum that will allow him to participate in sports (which is all A’s – I know, my wife is a hard-liner), he’s as happy as a clam.  In his mind why would he shoot for a 100% when an 89.6% (they round up at his school) gets the job done?  Mind you my kids are of more or less equal intelligence, and both participate at a high level in youth sports.  Yet one aims for the academic moon while the other aims for an academic check box on his way to the baseball field, basketball court, etc.  Point number one: Women care more about pleasing others (Mom and Dad in this case) while men care more about pleasing themselves.  Translation – men are selfish pigs (not all of us but certainly most of us – oink, oink).   

This next example takes us to the middle of Los Cabos, Mexico.  Wait, perhaps I should back up a little.  For as long as I can remember, my son has had the uncanny habit of having to go to the bathroom at the absolute least convenient times.  And I’m not talking about number one.  That boy, God love him, has probably dropped a deuce at every fast food restaurant, convenient store, and gas station this side of the Mississippi.  Fast forward to last year in Los Cabos, Mexico.  We’re on vacation and shopping for supplies at Walmart.  Side bar: If you think American Walmarts are dirty, try shopping at a Mexican Walmart.  Enough said.  Anyways we’re on the beer aisle (where else?) when my son gives me ‘the look’ and I’m like, “Dude, really?  In here?  The hotel is like 15 minutes away.  Can’t you hold it?”  He just shakes his head and smiles.  So I begrudgingly take him to the bathroom where we’re immediately slammed in the face by the foul stench of sewage as we enter the filthy, closet-sized room.  I mouth-breathe while waiting just outside the stall but it does nothing to quell the watering of my eyes.  After what feels like an eternity he emerges from the stall with a content look on his face.  I make him wash his hands and as we exit the bathroom he remarks (with a grin), “That was a 4-bagger Dad, I touched em’ all.”  God, I love that kid.  My daughter, on the other hand, takes after her mother and is a complete germaphobe.  She wouldn’t dare set foot inside a dirty bathroom, let alone use it, unless it was an absolute emergency.  She would literally rather make herself sick holding it, than use any bathroom she deems less than sanitary.  Point number two: Women are high maintenance while men are low maintenance.  Translation – most of the time we just don’t give a shit (no pun intended).
Next up let’s talk about the conversation that takes place each night when I ask how their days went.  My son could have gone skydiving, met the President of the United States, and cured cancer all in the same day, and I guarantee when asked how his day went I would get the following one-word answer: “Good.”   It’s the same answer I get from him every day.  No matter what.  Without fail.  Getting information from that kid is like pulling teeth.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is my little flower.  She could have had the most boring day in the history of days, but you know what?  I’m still going to get the extended version with every single detail, no matter how trivial or inconsequential they might be.  She’ll tell me about the conversation she had with the crossing guard on her way into school, about the outfits each of her teacher’s were wearing, about the kid who freaked out at lunch because he threw away his retainer, and about every other microscopic detail in between.  I love that little bugger more than anything, but man can she talk.  Point number three: Women are (overly) communicative while men prefer silence.  Translation – when it comes to sharing our feelings men live by a simple paradigm that women will never fully grasp: Less is more.

Along the same lines let’s talk a little more about their feelings.  Out of the blue my daughter will get all weepy for seemingly no reason whatsoever.  I’ll ask her what’s wrong and her typical response is: “Nothing.”  I’ve been married for a long time, so I know that when a female says “nothing” it rarely (never) means nothing.  This is usually the point when my wife intervenes (thank God), figures out what’s wrong after a long and arduous process of elimination, and cautiously proceeds to rectify the situation.  My son, on the other hand, rarely gets upset about anything.  But when he does I can usually narrow it down to one of three things: 1) he’s lost at something (pick-up basketball, fantasy football, TiddlyWinks, it doesn’t matter – he HATES to lose as much as his old man), 2) we ran out of something that he likes to eat, or 3) his sister sucker punched him when he wasn’t looking.  Therefore I can almost always diagnose what’s wrong and quickly figure out how to fix it (let him win, feed him, free shot at his sister).  Point number four: Women tend to be all wishy-washy about their feelings while men couldn’t be more transparent (we’re an open book).  Translation - you ladies are like an emotional Rubik’s Cube.      
I’m now going to lump multiple examples together in order to prove my fifth and final point.  First off my son could go an entire solitary weekend locked in his bedroom (the man cave as he likes to call it) and be perfectly fine.  He’s got a TV, his gaming system, and a cell phone in there.  If we slid a pizza under the door every few hours I swear we might never see him again.  My daughter, on the other hand, can’t go more than 30 minutes without checking in w/ Mom and Dad.  I’m not sure if she thinks she might be missing out on something, if she’s looking for us to entertain her, or if she’s just that attached to us.  The point here is that women tend to be far more needy and co-dependent than men.  Next up is their interaction with friends.  My daughter and her friends are very hot and cold.  Their BFF’s rotate around about as often as they change clothes in a day.  The best word to describe the vibe of their little group is drama.  It’s almost as though they are in a constant competition with one another.  My son and his friends couldn’t be more opposite.  They spend entire weekends together without so much as the slightest conflict.  And if a minor argument should arise, it can easily be resolved with a fun-loving punch to the nuts (I know, I don’t get it either) or a good-natured wrestling match.  The point here is that women aren’t nearly as good of friends to one another as men.  Lastly let’s look at a simple exercise in perception.  My son walks into the kitchen and sees a batch of freshly-baked cookies on the counter.  One thing and one thing only immediately pops into his head: How can I eat a whole boat-load of those cookies without Mom finding out?  My daughter then walks into the kitchen and sees the same batch of cookies.  First she’s pissed off because Mom didn’t invite her to help bake the cookies.  Second she’s even more pissed off because she assumes her brother got to lick the beaters and she didn’t.  Third she starts counting out the cookies to make sure there’s enough to bring for her friends the next day at lunch (if anyone gets left out the drama will REALLY get cranked up).  Fourth she’s back to pissed off because she’s just realized the cookies are chocolate chip and Mom knows full well she prefers peanut butter.  Fifth the pissed off bug has now taken root so she starts thinking about all the shit that pissed her off the previous day, and she’s now scanning the room for her brother to hit him with a sucker punch in the back of his head.  The point here is that women are wired so much differently than men, it’s almost as though we’re an entirely different species.  Which brings us to…  Point number five (the master point of this long-winded collection of points): Women are a complicated battle field of trap doors and land mines while men are a simple wasteland of instinct and gratification.  Translation - I love my girls more than anything but I’m now more convinced than ever that I’ll never fully understand them. 

The boy and I will be in the man cave if you need us.