Category Archives: Crap No one Needs

Insult to Injury

not-a-moron

The old expression “adding insult to injury” might well have been coined with parents of high school seniors specifically in mind. Bison Daughter is in her senior year, and the nightmare of college selection is already fully upon us. The process is bad enough, what with the visits, the applications, the application fees, essays, and meaningless letters of recommendation dragged out of the hands of recalcitrant teachers, but when you consider that “success” merely triggers the sure and certain expectation of the forcible anal rape of your bank account for the subsequent four years, the fun factor really drops off.

Considering that, maybe I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to receive the package of glossy brochures from the school outlining all the wonderful things I might want to buy to commemorate said daughter graduating high school. For a start, there were rings. Lots of rings. Gold and silver and who knows what else, with blue stones, pink stones, green stones, engraved names, commemorative symbols and all manner of decorations. None of them seemed to cost less than a couple of hundred dollars, but you could drop a cool eight hundred, if you so desired, on a gold “Heritage Collection” ring. No need to stop there though – you could drop several hundred more on custom made class tags. You could buy class jewelry, apparel and commemorative pictures too.

But that’s not all. Just in case your friends and family aren’t aware that your little darling is about to leave high school you can order beautiful custom announcements, with ornamentally sealed envelopes, to be sent far and wide to broadcast the news. It really wouldn’t take much to spend well over a thousand dollars on commemorative graduation crap.

Remember – this is high school we’re talking about here, not college. You know what it takes to graduate high school? Show up until you’re eighteen, don’t be as thick as pigshit, and turn in a bare minimum of work. Unless you have a medical reason that gets in the way, (and there are people with real challenges, let’s be clear), about the only way you can fail to graduate is either to be a moron or to simply not bother to do the work. And since high school graduation is a pre-requisite for almost any job that offers any kind of a future, choosing not to do the work kind of puts you in the moron category too. So, in summary, you’re either “high school graduate” or “moron”.

So when a parent spends a couple of grand sending out gold plated notes, buying class jewelry and holding a party to celebrate little Johnny graduating high school, they are basically saying “Look, look! My kid isn’t a complete moron! Isn’t it great?!”

I suppose I should have seen this coming, in a land where graduating kindergarten is celebrated with a straight face as a rite of passage. It’s just one more facet of the “You’re all winners, everyone gets a trophy” mentality. And if it was just a fun “throw your cap in the air, celebrate with your friends” event I’d be all in favor. Parents with cameras, kids in gowns, cake afterwards – it’s all good stuff. But four figure jewelry bills and personalized gold embossed stationery? Are you kidding me?

It all makes me wonder what’s in store if my offspring manages to graduate from college? How expensive does that catalog get? If high school graduation (or “my kid’s not a moron”) merits a grand or two in cash outlay, I can only imagine the options available for the college graduation celebration. Maybe there will be personalized airplane banners, to be dragged over the ceremony by a gold-embossed biplane. Custom silver braided cakes, where a live dwarf leaps out and presents your college graduate with a platinum and diamond commemorative tiara. A fleet of Bentleys to hand deliver invitations to the graduation ceremony simultaneously to fifty of your closest friends and family. A choir, resplendent in robes custom-made in your college colors, to sing congratulations to junior as he takes his first shit after graduation. And what about post-graduate degrees? If Bison Daughter gets a doctorate I’ll have to file for bankruptcy, or face the shame of having her be the only not arriving at the ceremony in a silver carriage drawn by unicorns.

In the end Mrs Bison and I decided to go for a simple cap and gown, for twenty eight dollars I believe, and to keep our bank account as plump as we can, in anticipation of the financial ass-rape that college will for sure bring. I suspect, however, that we are in the minority, given that Jostens, a large purveyor of high school graduation crap, announced this week that it is being bought for $1.5 billion. That’s an awful lot of rings, shirts and tacky announcements, but unless either the moron count of kids in our schools or the good taste of their parents increases significantly the company apparently has a solid gold future.

No Stone Unturned

It’s the day after Christmas, or as the civilized world calls it, Boxing Day, and I’m starting to feel marginally less shit than I’ve done for the last six days. It’s a mistake to take time off work and relax because I can always guarantee that the moment I stop working a miserable cold/flu virus will descend on me from a great height and fuck me up. And that is indeed what happened precisely one day after coming home. Of course, like all normal males, I had not done one iota of Christmas shopping prior to this, having planned on the five remaining days before Christmas being plenty within which to accomplish the pathetic series of near-desperate purchases that normally make up my gift list.

I didn’t plan to be down for the count for six days, but fortunately I made the effort (greatly assisted by assorted medications) to visit the stores on Monday, just to get the whole exercise out of the way and ensure that Mrs Bison had something to open on Christmas morning. (Mrs Bison is a patient and wonderful woman, but like all women has an elephantine memory for such transgressions, and although she cares little for fancy gifts, I could not risk being slyly reminded for the next, ooh, let’s say thirty years, about the year she had nothing at all to open.)

We long ago stopped trying to impress each other with gifts, which does take the pressure off, and instead we just buy fun junk. If there was anything we actually wanted we would already have bought it, and it’s amazing how much crap you don’t really need when you get right down to it. Not exactly the consumer behavior the retail industry is dreaming about this season, and judging by the swarms of crappy people clogging up the roads around the mall on Monday, not a very common attitude either. So I patiently avoided running over the moron family who wandered out into the road, the dumb woman on her phone who didn’t look where she was going and the bitch who didn’t seem to care that between her and her bus was an active road, and parked the car at the mall. By this time I’d bought the more “fun” gifts, but I had it in my mind to check out some jewelry, because Mrs Bison is an excellent spouse, and wouldn’t it be fun to surprise her?

So I cruised a few jewelers in the mall, looking for attractive necklaces that didn’t cost the same as a small car. You have to be careful doing this – the trick is to wander through and glance sidelong at the merchandise, but without making eye contact with the lacquered harridan behind the glass counter, who will immediately ask what she can show you, and then proceed to attempt to guilt you into buying some overpriced tat. I had a narrow escape with one Eastern European assistant who wanted to direct me to silver jewelry coated in gold (“so you mean gold plated crap?”) but after three stores I had seen nothing remotely interesting. Last shot – Macy’s. Credit where it’s due, they had more attractive looking stuff, and my attention was drawn to one necklace – a gold chain with some diamondy bits, including one larger stone. Of course they had elegantly folded the price tag underneath the item, making it impossible to determine whether this was in the price range I was looking for. Along came the assistant to ask if I needed anything. “Sure – can you just tell me how absurd the price tag is on that necklace?” (No, that’s really what I said.) Out comes the necklace, display it, touch it, describe it, and then out comes the calculator for the myriad discounts, the result of which was $750, unless I wanted to get a Macy’s card?

Let’s leave aside for a moment that the gold chain was so insubstantial as to be near invisible, and that there’s a fine line between “delicate” and “cheap”. Let’s also leave aside that I thought the item would have looked better as a gold thing with glittery bits, and absent the solitaire stone, and also let’s leave aside the fact that I wanted to spend about $500 less than that. I was suddenly reminded about why I hate shopping for jewelry. It’s impossible to know if you’re being ripped off. (Actually it’s almost certainly the case, but let’s just pretend for a moment.)

The most expensive part of that necklace should certainly have been the single diamond; the gold chain and setting could have been bought for next to nothing in China, and the diamond fragments are worthless even if pretty. So what was the big stone worth? Well that depends doesn’t it? Forget the fact that it’s actually worth nothing without the artificial inflation of diamond prices by a worldwide cartel, and just consider its worth within the rigged market: was that stone a clear E color stone with no inclusions, elegantly cut to maximize brilliance? Or was it a yellow piece of near-industrial grit, knocked up in a cheap shop and glued to a gold setting in a Chinese factory? I have no way of knowing. I can’t pull out an eyepiece and examine it, partly because I don’t own one, and partly because I wouldn’t know what to look for in a million years. If I had that $750 necklace appraised, what would its value be?

If you buy a used Ford Taurus its value is largely a function of age and mileage. Buying a piece of jewelry in a mall store is like buying a used car without knowing either of these facts. “Here’s a beautiful blue Taurus, black tires, brown seats, lovely clear glass. How about this?” “Fifteen thousand? Yeah it looks nice, I’ll take it.” You’re spending significant money on something about which you cannot possibly know enough to gauge value.

And that’s where the whole jewelry business has its hands round your balls. You’re expected to buy jewelry for women because they like it, and you can’t buy glass or zircons, even though no-one could tell the difference, because then you’re a “cheap bastard who doesn’t think I’m worth it.” But if you do buy something how do you know whether that diamond is any good? Is that blue stone a pretty natural sapphire, or is it an artificially colored piece of crap produced in a factory? You could ask, but what sort of answer do you think you’ll get from the commission-based slime bag at your average jewelry store? “Yes, this is priced at $1100. It’s actually worth much less because the stone is very flawed, and the setting is mass-produced, but we make a 500% mark-up on this so I strongly recommend it to you.”

So I retreated from the store as gracefully as a shivering, run-down man with flu and three days of stubble could, probably leaving the assistant believing I was some kind of meth addict, and returned home.

Yesterday Mrs Bison and I exchanged fun gifts, and Bison Daughter got real gifts, and I managed to cook the turkey, even though I felt like crap, because that’s the tradition here, and Bison Daughter said it was excellent, and that basting with phlegm obviously helped, and then we did what everyone should do on Christmas Day, which is nothing. And later in the evening I recounted my jewelry story to Mrs Bison, and she laughed and told me she would have been pissed off with me if I’d spent $750 on a necklace, which is why she’s such a great spouse, and why I felt like I needed to buy something to show her that, so you can see my problem. But it’s a good problem to have, and I wouldn’t swap it for all the crappy diamonds at the mall.

Black Plague

black friday at walmart

So yesterday was Thanksgiving, and we gathered around the dinner table and consumed inordinate amounts of meat, potatoes, sausages and stuffing, and just enough vegetables to ensure that our colons didn’t completely seize up. Because that would be bad – no-one wants to spend Black Friday crouched on the porcelain, doing a Marty Feldman, attempting to pass three pounds of impacted seasonal joy. In the process of said Thanksgiving dinner we paused to reflect on that for which we were grateful in 2014, and number one on the list was unquestionably that we would not be getting out of bed to join in the festival of crass excess and consumption that is the Black Friday shop.

I have tried to put myself in the place of those sad, overweight, invariably ugly people who you see on the news fighting their way into Walmart when the doors open; I have attempted to rationalize their actions on the basis that they don’t have much money, and they need to get the best deals they can. And I have come to the distinct conclusion that this explanation is complete and utter bollocks.

OK, so here’s point one: you know what the cheapest form of consumption is? Non-consumption. Compared to fighting your way through the store to load up a cart with two giant flat-screen TVs, NOT buying two flat-screen TVs is a dollar-saving winner every time. I started out life with no money, and now I don’t have no money anymore, but the more money I have, the less inclination I have to spend it on upgrading electronic crap which I can confidently predict will be out of date in six months and obsolete in just over a year. And it’s not like there’s anything on TV that would make any sane person declare “You know, I really wish I could see that picture, only much, much bigger, all over one wall of my house, and hear that voice in skull-penetrating Dolby surround sound. I’m off to punch some fat Hispanic woman in the head and grab a TV in Walmart.” Are you fucking kidding me? There is nothing worth staying in to watch on TV, and very little worth turning the box on for, even if you’re stuck in the house with no better options.

“What about football?” I hear you ask. Yep, I like football too. And the eleven minutes of actual action, sandwiched between nearly 50 minutes of clock running down while nothing happens, and a further 90  minutes of commercials for more crap to buy on Black Friday, doesn’t even come close to making me want to fight the chubby crowds. Apart from that you have sitcoms that aren’t funny, movies that are so full of commercials you want to break the TV, and reality shows that would insult the intellect of a cockroach. To want more of that you’d have to be – well – you’d have to be exactly the kind of certifiable moron who leaps out of the house to the Pavlovian ring of the Black Friday sale bell.

Fundamentally though, if you’re that hard-up that you need to immerse yourself in Black Friday hell to afford the things you buy, maybe you should try not buying them.

But here’s the next point. It isn’t even about the stuff people buy. I don’t believe for a moment that the people who shop those sales couldn’t afford the crap they buy otherwise. Either they’d buy a bit less or they’d pay a bit more, so it can’t be about needing to save money – it must be something else.

Here’s the pivotal question: “If a man buys a flat-screen for $99 in Walmart and there’s no-one there to see it, does he still get a bargain?” Do you think people would fight the crowds at the sales if they didn’t get to brag to their buddies on Monday “Yeah, I got two tablets for under a hundred bucks, and a 50 inch LCD TV for four hundred.” Is the real motivation the acquisition or is it the feeling that you got a deal, that you paid less than someone else for whatever shit you bought. You’re a winner because you got a bargain! Yeah!

It just beggars belief that there are that many people out there with that much desire to buy that quantity of crap, every fucking Thanksgiving, in addition to all the other crap they buy for the other 364 days of the year. But it’s all about the deal – buy it now, quickly, so you can get one over on all the other poor saps who bought it last week, and those who are going to buy it next week, because you’re the chosen one. The deal-maker. The caveman, dragging superfluous electronic shit back to your semi-detached cave so your functionally retarded offspring can amuse themselves putting their opposable thumbs to work on the X-box while your spouse paints gazelle on the wall.

I shouldn’t complain. Selling crap to people who don’t need it is what makes the world go round, or at least the US economy go round, and heaven forbid people should suddenly wake up and NOT want all that unnecessary consumer tat. We’d be in recession faster than you could say “fat people shop at Walmart”. The merry-go-round of “I need to buy shit, so I need to work, so I make shit that people can buy” is the bedrock of our whole economy. If I wasn’t at home flicking through the TV in a desperate search for something not shit to watch I probably wouldn’t even notice Black Friday. But the wall-to-wall commercials are a stark reminder that, not only are there millions of dumb shits out there, but they’re all entitled to vote. And if the Black Friday shopper is any indication as to the intellectual capacity of the American voter I’d have more luck trusting to that three pounds of impacted colon.

Crap No-one Needs, #16

The Art Establishment

Have you ever thrown up on the pavement? You might be an artist. Ever spilled some paint on the floor? Yep, sounds like you’re an artist. Ever cut a cat in half to see what the insides look like? You could possibly be a psychopath, but you probably have a great future as a famous artist. The whole art establishment is so infested with useless wankers who wouldn’t know real art if it crawled up their anus and tickled their spleen, that there’s really no qualification required anymore.

Remember the “Piss Christ” photograph? Some moron pisses in a glass and puts a plastic crucifix in it, takes a photo and calls it art. The National Endowment for the Arts, a $155 million Congress-created boondoggle for worthlessness, puts this and other similar shit on exhibition at the taxpayer’s expense and calls it art. If there was ever a sector of human endeavor that exhibited the Emperor’s New Clothes phenomenon it’s the art world: if you think some dozy tart’s unmade bed, half a cow in a glass case or someone’s crude painting with their own excrement isn’t real art it’s because “You’re just a middle-class drone who doesn’t comprehend the artist’s deep appreciation of the human condition, communicated through a complex medium in order to bypass our natural emotional filters”. In other words, if you think the emperor is naked, you must be stupid.

If all these wankers were just running around on welfare pissing on crucifixes then I wouldn’t care, but they’re doing it on our dime. It’s not the business of government to be subsidizing the arts – if something is good enough then someone will pay to see it. Those that clamor for government arts funding (which, let’s face it, means arts funded by taxes expropriated from working people against their will) realize full well that given a choice the working public will not voluntarily pay to support someone who spends his day pissing in a glass and taking pictures of it. Without government intervention art would have to survive on its merits, which would immediately condemn half the liberal arts establishment to get a real job.

Yeah, I know, people pay millions for Damien Hirst so-called artworks. which doesn’t mean they have any artistic merit, but that’s an entirely different phenomenon: art collection. The whole point of that is for people with more dollars than braincells to buy stuff so they can show off to other such people how wealthy and “enlightened” they are. It doesn’t have to be good, only “desirable”, an attribute conferred by an art establishment so removed from what the real world thinks as to have rendered their opinions meaningless.

Here’s some art rules to live by:

1. If The Bloke Down The Pub Could Do It, It’s Not Art

When we watch professional sports we know that the quarterback, sprinter, tennis player or goalie is performing at a level that we couldn’t; that’s why we pay to see them. They demonstrate excellence. It’s the same thing with art. When I see a Bruegel painting I know I couldn’t have done it, plus it’s interesting to look at. Half of what passes for modern art requires no real talent other than the art of self-promotion and the ability to talk bollocks, which brings me to:

2. If You Have To Explain It, It’s Not Art

If you could walk right by the so-called art and have no idea that it was art at all, then it isn’t. Notice how modern art requires a soundtrack of interpretation and commentary to help the observer “understand and appreciate” the artist’s message. This is a clear sign that it’s a load of old bollocks; the number of accompanying words is directly proportional to the speed with which it should be consigned to the dumpster.

3. If It’s Not Painted Or Sculpted, It’s Not Art

Since music and dance are their own categories, art is a term for things of beauty that are static and to be looked at. This includes pictures, sculptures and maybe certain photography. That’s it. It does not include “art installations” which consist of crap just thrown together, or people engaging in “interactive art”. This is just bollocks. You know it’s bollocks because normal people, uncontaminated by art indoctrination, would walk up to it and exclaim “What a load of old bollocks”. Living in a room for fourteen days is not art.

4. If It Needs A Famous Name Attached, It’s Not Art

What’s the chance that if I’d pissed in a glass and put a crucifix in it, I would have got it into an exhibition in New York? If I cut a dog in half and put it in formaldehyde would I get my own show and have someone pay a million for it? Fuck no. If you took a Constable picture and took the name off you’d still walk past and think “Fucking good picture of a haywain, that.” If you walked past the glass of piss you’d think “Jesus, I think someone pissed in that glass. Is there a tramp in here?” So just imagine it’s not Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, or Damien Hirst’s half a cow, or Andres Serrano’s glass of piss. What if Albert Bloggs or Dave Brown had done it? Would it still be good enough for an exhibition? Of course it wouldn’t – it’s not real art, it’s just a bunch of art establishment wankers crawling up each others’ arses.

Fundamentally the art scene is infested with pseudo-intellectual wankers, and if it that’s what makes them happy then good luck to them. Except when the government, laboring under the biggest deficit in history, finds it essential that they confiscate money from working people to hand out to so-called artists who are just climbing over each other to be more “shocking” and “controversial” while not being required to exhibit any real talent.

Here’s a suggestion to all those cutting edge art tossers: the Piss Christ is old news – if you want to be really “out there”, why not take a dump on the Koran and photograph that? No, I didn’t think so. Not so brave when some Islamist would cut off your tiny balls and make an exhibition out of you?

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Crap No-one Needs, #15

Twitter

In the beginning was the Blog, and man looked on the Blog and thought “I bet everyone wants to know what I did today” and he saw that it was good. And lo! the multitudes did sign up for Blogger accounts and did fill manifold servers with their inane writings. But in time the masses did rend their clothes and wail unto the heavens, saying “I know not what to write today, I’ve run out of ideas!” and they did resort to posting photographs and YouTube videos in their shame.

Yet in the midst of their trial, deliverance was at hand. Twitter came from on high, promising that you needed less than 140 characters for a post, and suddenly the air was filled with utterly pointless drivel from people clearly laboring under the misapprehension that the world gave a flying fuck where they were about to eat lunch. And many worthless wankers with too much time on their hands were released from the drudgery of having to write actual paragraphs, and could now post a hundred times a day, and still say nothing.

Seriously, I don’t care if your Twitter buddies are all your best mates and really care what you’re doing in a way that strangers never could, it still doesn’t excuse the kind of fucking crap I read this morning:

“I slept late today but now I need coffee and breakfast.”

Really? Wow! Glad I didn’t miss out on those pearls of wisdom. Just imagine if I’d had to live my whole life without knowing that. Are you going to take a big dump later as well? Maybe you can let us all in on the secret of how many sheets you used when wiping, or what color the wallpaper in your bog is?

One day, when the Emperor’s New Clothes effect has subsided a little, people will look back at Twitter and wonder just what the fuck they were thinking…

Crap No-one Needs, #14

The Presidential Dog

You’d never know that we were in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that General Motors was contemplating bankruptcy, or that pirates were terrorizing the high seas. No, today’s big story was that the US President, Commander in Chief of the armed forces, the most powerful person in the free world, bought a fucking dog. Don’t give me all that crap about “people being interested”, in an attempt to justify why the US media was all fawning over the presidential kids and their new puppy – it’s symptomatic of the craven deference they show to this most unqualified of presidents.

But don’t imagine for a moment that El Presidente didn’t finely calculate the spin value of this touching “family moment”. It wasn’t a spontaneous event which happened to be captured but a carefully stage-managed and manipulative attempt to show how “normal” Obastard is, so we can all forget how he’s plunging us into debt, committing $86 billion to Iraq and Afghanistan that he vehemently opposed when Bush wanted to do it, and reneging on just about every campaign promise he made. So long as he can keep spoon-feeding the liberal media there’s no chance they’ll dig into his dirty secrets. We can stay in the dark about his illegal immigrant aunt, his lying alleged sex criminal half brother and his tax-avoiding cronies.

He got some minor criticism for not getting a rescue dog like he “promised”, but there’s a more fundamental question: with the media as his devoted lap-dog, why did he need a puppy at all?

Chia Shit


Here’s a Yuletide suggestion: if you’ve considered buying anyone a Chia pet this year, perhaps you should seriously consider euthanasia as a lifestyle choice. Maybe back thirty years ago the idea of growing organic green “hair” on a clay body was a novelty, but who’s buying these things today?

They were actually advertising the things on network TV here last week, which was frankly amazing to me. Are there really enough people who can be persuaded to rush out and get a Chia head for their nephews and nieces so as to justify a TV ad campaign? Beer, cars, phone companies and boner pills I understand advertising, but Chia pets?

Pity the poor bastard who wakes up to one of those things on Christmas morning.

“What’s in this box? Is it a phone? A Nintendo DS? An iPod?” Cue rustling of paper.

“What the fuck is this? Terrific. No need to head out to that New Year’s party next week now – I can stay here and have just as much fun spreading seeds on this bastard.”

Crap No-one Needs, #12

The St.Louis Rams

When I moved to St.Louis the Rams were going through their Tony Banks phase and comprehensively sucked arse; I didn’t count myself a fan. Likewise, when they became the “greatest show on turf” I didn’t suddenly become a fan – to be a real fan you have to suffer through the crap years and not just show up when a team starts winning. Nevertheless St.Louis is my home town now and I always liked to see the Rams do well. But Leonard Little changed that.

It’s not enough that he killed a woman while driving drunk and got off with a slap on the wrist, but he got stopped again drinking and driving, and this time got off on a technicality. You’d think that killing someone might ensure that you thought twice before driving drunk again, but apparently not. So what did the no-class Rams organization do? Did they cut this shitbag? No, they rallied around like he was some sort of victim and he kept his multi-million dollar paycheck. And no-one mentions that he killed someone’s mother anymore.

Let’s put this in perspective – Michael Vick, the ex-Atlanta quarterback, is in jail for killing some dogs. He might never play again. The PETA brigade would have him stoned to death in the street if they got the chance. Where the fuck were all these outraged people when a human being was killed? As far as I’m concerned the Rams can go 0-16 this year, and fuck right off.

Crap No-one Needs, #11

Carbon Reduction Manager

I’m flicking through the Manchester Evening News and I see this job advertised: Carbon Reduction Manager for Manchester Metropolitan University. (That’s Manchester Poly or Manchester College of Basket Weaving to you and me, right?) This is part of the Environmental Sustainability Team, reporting to the Environmental Sustainability Manager, and apparently has responsibility to “devise innovations to reduce our energy use and carbon emissions”. Well, how about this as an idea: if you didn’t take out full-page ads in the newspaper, maybe you could reduce your fucking carbon footprint, tossbags.

What kind of college needs to fill a meaningless, politically correct, fuckwitted position like this anyway? You want to know what it pays? $60-70k per year. I bet that’s reassuring to all the kids taking out loans so they can afford higher education in the UK. You’ll be working hard to pay the salary of a carbon reduction manager, so they can drive, fly and fart around, producing carbon dioxide and perpetuating the utterly baseless myth that global warming (if it exists at all) is man-made and can be controlled by us. It’s ironic that cutting down on carbon is something “industry” is expected to do, while the climate change industry consumes endless resources having conferences and flying around to meet each other.

Here’s an innovative idea for the environmental sustainability manager – how about you take the Manchester Evening News, roll it up and shove it really hard up your arse. That should cut down on your “emissions” for a while.