Untitled. A Poem.

I am going to treat you
to a luxury vacation.
You will be staying at
a beautiful Resort,
where the celebrities go.
You will experience
the magnificent shows.
You will get a voucher,
with money,
to gamble with and spend
on the most expensive items.
You will enjoy the array
of delicious meals and drinks,
that punctuate each moment
with momentary bliss.
You will lose your room key,
be escorted back to your room
by the attendant
who will let you in,
and then let himself in.
You will make memories.
You will abuse your mind
and your body
with illicit substances
and strange fingers.
You will lose yourself.
You will experience
massages and facials.
You will cleanse yourself
with luxurious shower gels
and bath oils.
You will touch yourself
and think of me.
You will think of
what I’ve done for you.
You will hate yourself
for hating me.

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Corporate Dingleberry – A Memoir

I’m sitting in the basement lunchroom attending a seminar about marketing, but I have no fucking clue what in holy twat it even is. The woman teaching us has a mild midwestern twang to her voice, which isn’t enough to render her incoherent, but enough to make her irritating. The lesson, thus far, has gone the way of most other corporate lectures: boring, lazy, uninspired. We have managed to cover the most mundane of tasks including signing into an unresponsive network, troubleshooting a bad connection, and filling out a few password reset forms — none of which were relevant to the actual topic of the seminar. During this failing diatribe she managed to push the words, “handy” and “dandy.” I want to gouge my eyes out and throw them at her. If you couldn’t tell, I don’t like this woman. I’m sure that she’s very pleasant, but I just don’t like her. There’s something about her that makes my skin crawl. Maybe it’s the unrelenting unmotivated drawl that seeps out of her perfunctory grin. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s the harbinger of four hour seminars that make you realize how much your life sucks. I don’t know how this became about her, I think I’m just projecting because I can, and it’s convenient, and I’m uncomfortable. I hate the shirt I’m wearing. I hate the way the back of this seat pushes me forward and crunches my stomach, making my already enormous gut mash against my conservative button down and distort the fabric. This, like most things, serves as a reminder of my girth. The top of my thigh is sore; or is the bottom of my ass? I could never be sure when my ass ends and my thigh begins. It’s 10:30, still the morning, and while time is something of an enigma I can’t seem to shake the dread that I felt upon discovering that my cat vomited on my bed. I’ve decided to switch chairs, but I don’t want to make a scene or want people to wonder why I switched. I think about the person next to me, offended by my move, taking it personally. I want to say something, but they wouldn’t hear me and I would have to gesture or write it down, and more people would look up, and more people would wonder what was wrong. I just changed seats, but in doing so I accidentally kicked the empty chair in front of me. Everyone stared at me wondering what the commotion was, and wondered why I moved my seat. The person I was sitting next to is looking at me, puzzled. The other chair was worse, so I switched back. To make matters even more uncomfortable, someone came in to look in the fridge while I was switching seats and, to put it mildly, I think someone must be storing body parts. I started to worry that people would associate the sensory onslaught with the smell of my rancid anus lifting from my chair. This smell was punctuated by someone else in the seminar, a coworker, who said to the woman, “The fridge smells like garbage when you open it.” Everyone laughed, except the woman, who delicately raised her hand to her nose and scoffed. I looked up at her, stone-faced, and thought, much like your mouth.

Tea Time and the Causation Fallacy

I was sitting at work, minding the business of someone else I would otherwise care not to, when I was alerted to this news story produced from The Record and reposted on northjersey.com: New Study Looks at the Potential Heart Health Benefits of Tea. As a semi-hardened skeptic, I couldn’t help but pointing out the informal fallacy present in this story, and used this as a teaching moment for my unsuspecting and, albeit, unenthusiastic coworkers. Here is my response:

I would be interested to know more about the sample group and their particular health habits. Drinking tea for medicinal purposes has been around for more than a millennium and I suspect that those more likely to drink a cup of tea would be more health conscious overall, possibly explaining the results of the study. This reminded me of the informal fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” or “after this, therefore because of this.” That being said, I wonder if people who drink tea more often have less heart problems because of a causal relationship between something in the tea and their cardiovascular system or if it is merely a correlation which has arose from the fact that some people who drink tea are more health conscious and, if not anything else, decidedly avoid the extra 10-12 grams of refined sugar and ounce of cream. Just a thought.

 

It’s always fun to wax on about the pitfalls of any particular science or health related news items, especially when it could provide an opportunity for a very light-hearted discussion about logic and skepticism for those who care to engage. Yes, it could make me [you] seem like a know-it-all douche, but that’s far less likely when the topic at hand concerns a beverage that most people regard as “less-than coffee.”

The response I received, from the original distributor of the article no less, was, “Unfortunately, the study was basic and didn’t dive deep enough to answer your questions. Perhaps you should do some research and send out a follow-up response.”

Touché.

We Beg to Differ – Hopeless Employment, Corporate Scum, and a Failed Attempt at Being Funny.

Before I explain the contents of our latest episode and refer to myself in the third person again, let me first, start by apologizing for the lack of content and posts on this blog and the lack of new episodes of We Beg to Differ. Life has gotten in the way, again, and Jess and I have had to divert our attention to more pressing – money making – matters. So for now, please enjoy our latest episode. We will be sure to post another as soon as we can. Thank you.

In this episode, Michael whines about not having a job and, without taking any personal responsibility, relentlessly blames those responsible; Jess agrees with everything; and they both tirelessly make fun of old people while also managing to be racist and ridiculous.

My Letter to God: Assuming One Exists.

Dear God-Elohim-Adonai-Yahweh-Jehovah-Lord-Almighty-Creator-etc.,

If you are there, I hope you get this. Considering my current state of belief regarding the issue of your existence, this feels kind of masturbatory – and not in a good way – but I think I would like to write to you anyway. I have to ask you a couple of questions and no, I am not expecting answers, so I guess that makes them rhetorical. As you might know, I also have complaints and, considering they have to do with you, I figured I might as well discuss those too. Consider this a way of clearing the air between us. Of course, this is assuming there is an “us” and I’m not just writing to myself.

To start, I would first like to address the hypocrisy and general insanity of your followers. I admit, to start with such a topic is a bit heavy handed, but I would like to start with one with which I am the most vexed. I am going to concentrate mostly on the fanatical and most pious because the moderates in all of the religions that worship you function quite well in your average society. It is the egregious actions and, so-called, moral standards of the fundamentalists that really need a lesson on the proper way to conduct oneself around others. Most of them are not violent, but the ones that are, really are and they start wars and spread havoc, and have used their hateful doctrines (which you gave them, I might add) to justify rape, murder, oppression, war, discrimination, segregation, genocide, slavery, molestation, harassment, and civil injustice, just to name a few. This is not to mention the countless numbers who have slaughtered each other because they happen to believe a different version of a book that you had someone write or listen to what a different prophet of yours had to say. Come to think of it, why did you have to send more than one prophet? Do you know what trouble you’ve caused [see: above]? I don’t think you do, because if you did, you would fix it by sending another one and ending this incredible mess you have made. Just make sure to have this new one have a little fun and make sure to let everyone know that he is it: the last one. Also, be sure he makes us legalize pot and like gay people. Trust me on this, he will be well received and you will make life here much more enjoyable.

Speaking of this whole “life” thing that you gave us, why did you even bother with it in the first place? What could I possibly learn here among people like me that I could not learn someplace else among people like me? The only thing I have gathered from it, is that you are waiting for us to do something that you have deemed wrong so that we will get sent to that bad place all those men in funny hats that we listen to tell us about. I am just not convinced there is anything I could not do here that I could not do as a little ball of spirit stuff somewhere else. I have heard that you are testing us, but what is the test? Especially considering that failing the test results in an eternity of suffering. Even someone like Hitler should not receive an infinite amount of suffering for a finite crime. For someone that is supposed to essentially know everything, you have seemed to miss this tiny flaw in your own logic.

That is another thing, logic. It just seems to get in the way of things and the fact that you would create us with such an ability is astounding. If I were to create beings that I wanted to believe, follow, and trust me, I would never instill the ability for logic in them. I would hope that they would never be able to use such a thing as logic to ask me, their creator who, like you, would tell them I was all powerful and all knowing, if I could make a stone large enough that even I could not lift, create a law that I couldn’t break, or make a decision that I was not aware of my already making. Our basic ability to use logic also gets in the way of the whole faith thing, too. Since we have logic to work with, we like to use evidence in order to support our claims and make a clear distinction between what is part of reality and what is not. It is why we do not buy that whole “Eden” thing, and rightly so, when we look at fossils, geology, carbon dating, tree rings, and the process of natural selection. Your requirement of faith simply asks us to abandon this. What is it with faith and why now all of a sudden? The people of your many holy books, including the bible, not only heard you speak, but were witness to both your wrath and occasional blessings. Why make us abandon basic logic and accept something with which there is seemingly no evidence for? It seems sort of cruel, if you ask me. Especially, since all you have to do is say, “hi”.

Let us talk about the aforementioned “Eden” creation for a second, and why you would create a universe so vast and magnificent only to place us on a tiny little sad insignificant microscopic chunk of rock somewhere near the outside of a massive galaxy at the end of an arm of a massive supercluster and make the laws of the universe such that it is near impossible to navigate. I could not possible imagine the purpose of making so much “stuff,” especially when you consider how we are never going to see most of it. Also, why claim to care so much about life if we are the only [known] things you have created?

I mentioned your cruelty before and I wanted to get back to that for a second. In all of your texts you seem to obsess over the mundane and redundant. You chastise us for ridiculous things like eating the wrong kind of dead thing, not slicing off a chunk of our penises, and forgetting to cover our hair, among so many countless others. What’s the point? Why would you make a species in your image and tell them to chop, cover, remove, replace, stitch, and cinch themselves in ways that make them uncomfortable, because you just don’t like them the way they look otherwise, anyway? It seems easier to just make us the right way to begin with so you don’t have to bother with all the nonsense.

Speaking of nonsense, I cannot forget to mention the ridiculous way you have chosen to speak to us. I understand that what we have has been translated several hundreds of times and that we do not even have the full version on account of some early Christians voting out some text, but why speak with such indetermination, especially when addressing incredibly important topics? Do you know how many years we’ve spent trying to figure out what it all means? If you mean to say something, just say it. Don’t use ridiculous metaphors or those parables that your son was so fond of using all the time.

Lastly, I just have to mention the large mammalian in the room because it’s old and it stinks: What is your issue with gays and women? I can’t help but notice the way you’re constantly putting men on a raft and leaving women out during high tide. It’s like a girl dumped you in high school and you just can’t get over it so now you have to make everyone else miserable. I’m not going to dwell, because you know what I’m talking about, but it is really annoying to me. Oh, and about us gays, do not make us if you do not want us, and if you do, rewrite those books of yours –  they still seem to be in a rough draft [see: above].

So, if you really are out there listening, I hope I was not too much of a bother for you, God-Elohim-Adonai-Yahweh-Jehovah-Lord-Almighty-Creator-etc. I mean that sincerely and I know that you must be really busy at the moment, so it is here I will let you go. Thanks for your time, among a few other things.

We Beg To Differ – Sunburn, Petty Theft, and Things

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In this episode, Jess talks about how unfortunate it is that she is both a ginger and enjoys the sunlight, Michael talks about a couple of assholes, and they both reflect on the state of racism in the US.

We Beg to Differ – Cleaning, Unemployment, and a Session on Depression

In this episode, Michael has a revelation about himself, the job market for the hopelessly unemployed is examined, racism is briefly discussed (again), Jess talks about dealing with depression, and both have a bone to pick with the Ice Bucket Challenge.

We Beg to Differ – Robin Williams, Movie Theaters, and Michael’s Eyebrows

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In this Episode we discuss the pros and cons of going to the theater alone; depression, anxiety, and suicide; great party themes for children; and Michael’s eyebrows.