Category Archives: Life

Insult to Injury


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.

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.

Nothing Downstairs

One of the problems with moving to a new city is that you have to sell your house in the old one. This is quite enough of a pain in the arse in the normal course of things, but when you’re in the middle of a housing market meltdown, and the city in question is St.Louis, a place that is often referred to as “a great place to raise a family” simply because there’s fuck all else good to say about it, a place that lost its airport hub status and is now admirably served by a fleet of cigar-shaped coffin regional jets, and a place with absolutely no basis for economic growth, things get tougher.

Selling a house is a pain for many and varied reasons: you have to deal with realtors, a life form that ranks slightly above the tick in terms of sheer parasitic uselessness; you have to try and make your house appealing and keep it that way constantly, ready for any potential buyer to show up; and you have to deal with members of the public. I know the “public” is theoretically made up of people, just like you and me, but there’s something about that designation that causes people to leave their brains at home, in a jar beside the bed.

Let’s take my house, just as a for-instance. It isn’t the best house in the world, but it’s clean, airy, well-situated, well-maintained, nicely landscaped and priced in line with similar offerings. One thing it does not have, however, is a finished basement, or “finished lower level” in realtor parlance. Now, I remember buying this house nearly fifteen years ago, and the process of house-buying then involved looking at dozens of printed one-page house details, each with one small photograph, and trying to determine which ones it was worth going to check out. Inevitably a whole lot of them weren’t even worth going into once you arrived and realized that they were adjacent to a parking lot / school / insane asylum.

Nowadays, however, we have the internet in all its glory. Not only are all the houses listed on, so you can check out multiple pictures, but you can also see Google street views and aerial shots which will tip you off in advance that the reason the house is so cheap is that it’s literally side by side with a crappy old gas station. The house details listed will give you numbers of rooms, types of rooms and dimensions of rooms. You can see pictures of many rooms, and after a while you figure out that if you can’t see a picture of the important rooms, such as kitchen or bathroom, they must be utterly shit.

So with all this information literally at your fingertips there really is no reason to be completely surprised when you show up, even if the realtors still have the enviable ability to make a postage-stamp yard look like a football field with cunning photography. It’s certainly possible to cut down on time wasted looking at houses which don’t even meet your basic requirements.

Which brings us back to my unfinished basement. Last week a couple made an appointment to see the house, which necessitated Mrs Bison tidying up and fucking off out for a couple of hours, but no problem because – joy of fucking joys – someone actually wants to see the house. Afterwards you wait with bated breath for the feedback from the visit, and in this case the potential buyer was not interested because the house didn’t have a finished lower level, and they really needed one because granny and “failure to launch” kid were going to be moving in too.

Well excuse me for pointing out the fucking obvious, but if you knew you wanted a finished basement, what would make you want to visit a house that didn’t have one? It’s not as though it’s a small detail you might forget, like an aversion to hydrangea bushes or a preference for deep pile carpet. It’s a fucking unfinished basement, dickhead – what were you thinking when you read the house details? “Oh look honey, this house doesn’t have a finished lower level, but we should go and see it anyway – you never know whether it might have grown one in the night.” Did you think the fucking finished basement fairy might have visited and we’d all walk down there and exclaim in unmitigated delight “Wow, look at that elegant drywall and extra bathroom – how did that happen?”

At the end of the day the worst part about selling a house isn’t the tidying, the realtors, the scheduling of appointments, the price reductions or the lack of control. It’s dealing with members of the public in all their fucking stupid mindless ignorance. It’s listening to their witless “feedback” about the lack of something we told them wasn’t fucking well there before they decided to come and waste our fucking time with a visit. In any civilized society I should now be entitled under common law to go and kick the buyer firmly in the nutsack for sheer brainlessness. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Copyright © 2010 Edward Bison

Party Time!

There appears to be a cycle that you fall into, if you’re not lucky, of really shit New Years Eves. Things are OK when you’re young – I clearly remember back in the day attending a festival of debauchery at our local pub with some mates, which involved fancy dress, joyfully shit music and precious little concern that none of us had yet attained the legal drinking age. I remember subsequent events that involved a touching act of faith by one friend who let me crash in his parents’ bed, apparently unconcerned that I might fill it with diced carrot, or urine (which I did not), and sundry acts of lust carried out on someone’s lounge carpet. Yes, those were the days – the parties were long and the hangovers short.

Fast forward a few years and for some reason everyone grew up and became sensible. Sure, people still had parties, but they were the kind of party where people played Pictionary, and we weren’t invited in any case, possibly because I’m shit at Pictionary, but more likely because no-one wanted their lounge carpet defiled after midnight.

There were still parties at pubs and clubs, and for a few quid, or dollars, you could go along, drink crap beer to excess with people you’d never met before and end up wondering why hangovers, like hemorrhoids or arthritis, never bother you until you get older. But if you don’t go you end up at home watching the most utterly fucking shite television in the history of the known universe. Inane and witless presenters fill the air with drivel until what seems like a hundred thousand morons count backwards from twenty and the new year is ushered in, pretty much like the old one, i.e. full of morons.

For that reason I have to admit I’ve turned in early a couple of times over the years, but recently we’ve fallen in with a bad crowd of people in our neighborhood who know how to see in the New Year in style. The event always involves lots of well-aged Scotch, so this year I brought along some good rye whiskey, just for a change of pace. My 2009 theory was that if I drank nothing but whiskey all night I might be spared the worst of the 01/01/2010 suffering, and let me tell you that it’s a great theory, if for no other reason than that it gives you an excuse to drink whiskey all night.

This year, however, the host’s teenage daughter was having a party of her own downstairs, giving us all a chance to vicariously relive earlier excesses. All the attendees were considered responsible enough by their parents either to drink sensibly, or to refrain from drinking, which made it that much more entertaining when the non-drinking girl whose over-protective mother had made a special point of showing up to have a few words and check out the party, ended up draped around the toilet bowl, yurking her champagne-and-cake mixture into the depths.

At least she made it to the bog, unlike the boy who yakked up some orange regurgitate in one of the bedrooms. There was beer pong, but not much else, and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed in the youth of today – if you’re drunk enough to vomit orange in a stranger’s house you ought to be drunk enough to sing, dance, do the conga, attempt to shag someone or stagger out into the street and throw a bottle at a passing car. They just sat around and did nothing. Generation Y, or whatever they’re called, can’t even figure out how to have a good time unless someone scripts it for them and hand-holds them through it.

There was one blonde girl, all of eighteen, with the kind of wonderful boobs that make you question how any bloke could seriously bear to be gay, and no-one was on top of her under a pile of coats at any point during the evening. You could suggest that this was because of her virtue, or the restraint shown by the fine youth of St.Louis, but frankly that’s just bollocks. Restraint be buggered – if you’re going to chunder fluorescently in someone’s bed, at least make the drunkenness worth your while.

In the end I was just happy to be spared a Pictionary marathon, watching Dick Clark’s prune-like visage, an evening with Ryan Seacrest (Jesus!) or an early night like a sad wanker. I also decided that rye whiskey is an exceptionally smooth way to drink through an evening and that I still like big eighteen year-old boobs. But then again, who doesn’t?

Copyright © 2010 Edward Bison

It Will Rub The Lotion In Its Laundry

In case anyone wondered if I’d just died, my apparent absence has not been the result of my untimely demise, but instead has been caused by a new job, and the consequent need to move to Chicago. I mentioned a while back that I needed to find a new job, but that I didn’t intend to make my job search the subject of a running journal (“Chronicles of an Executive in Transition”) or anything wanky like that. So I’ve been silent on progress and activity.

Now that I have a new position I can reveal to anyone who gives a shit that job hunting is a soul-destroying, miserable pain in the rectum. It tends to become such a complete focus of your life that even when you’re not actually engaged in it you tend to forget about anything else (or at least I did) and for that reason it didn’t seem like I had much else to write about. Humorous situation observed? Who cares, I’m unemployed. Read an interesting article, could write a funny observation on it? Couldn’t give a shit, I’m still unemployed. Why write a blog? Go and find yourself a fucking job.

Well, now that I’m in the middle of all the “new job, find apartment, sell house, buy house, explore new city” bullshit I have plenty of stuff to fuel my writing, but precious little time that I’m inclined to devote to it. Suffice it to say that I have located a temporary apartment and am now experiencing all the joys and misery of living around other people. And I can also reveal to anyone who gives a shit that living around other people is a soul-destroying, miserable pain in the rectum.

It does have its moments of levity, however. The other night is was down in the apartment building laundry room, attempting to decipher the instructions on the washers and dryers so that I could deal with two weeks worth of assorted undergarments and other clothing detritus. It was apparent that you needed to put money on a laundry card, but not at all apparent where said card could be obtained. At this point an attractive blonde girl entered the laundry room and approached the dryer next to me.

Now I don’t know about you, but when a pretty young girl comes into a lonely and remote laundry room, and I, 230 lbs of scary male, am the only other occupant, I naturally assume that she’s sizing me up as a potential rapist or sex criminal, and so I’m very careful not to do anything that could be construed as rapy, threatening or just plain weird. Standing there staring at an empty dryer, with no washing in my hands and clad in black hooded sweatshirt and black jacket like a target from America’s Most Wanted, already put me dangerously close to the “weird” category, though, so I figured I’d better ask her where you get a laundry card.

“They give you one when you move in” she replied.

Great, now she assumes I don’t even live here, but that I’ve somehow sneaked into the building to prey on lone females in the laundry room, chatting them up with stupid laundry card questions to which anyone who actually lived there would already know the answer. (Thanks, apartment rental company, for not giving me either a card or instructions on the fucking laundry.)

At this point she hurriedly opened her dryer, and a pair of her white underwear fell out into the floor between us. And there, on the gusset, was a huge, brown mark. I could immediately sense the shift in priorities. “I don’t care if he’s a rapist, my gusset-mark is on display. I must retrieve the situation quickly.” She bent down and grabbed the offending underwear, while I made my excuses and left.

Over the road was a wonderful little laundry where a friendly Korean woman took my clothes and, for the princely sum of $8.50, will have them clean and folded for me on Monday. And, what’s more, she didn’t once look at me as though I were a sex criminal. Fuck the laundry room – I’m going there from now on.

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Breakfast Sausage

It’s a week now since I returned from vacation in Oregon, and the joy of falling asleep to the sound of the sea has been replaced by the irritation of trying to sleep under a ceiling fan that whines if you run it in one direction and clicks if you try the other. Piece of shit.

It was a good holiday, meaning that there was no planning, no list of things we had to do or see, and lots of relaxing. We also ate a lot of good holiday food, including a few cooked breakfasts; there really is nothing quite like bacon and eggs in the morning. Sucks to be a vegetarian, because, let me tell you, fried tofu is not going to get the job done. Sorry. Strips of dead fatty pig, with eggs, fried bread, mushrooms and sausages. Only thing missing was the black pudding and HP sauce.

We ate most morning and evening meals in the house we’d rented, which had a great booth-style table which looked out over a neighbor’s garden, towards the sea. And almost without fail the neighbor’s overweight labrador would amble down into the garden and take a massive shit in front of us just as we were sitting down to eat. Didn’t matter if we ate early or late, the fucking thing adjusted its schedule so that it could curl down its load for us, twice a day.

Down on the sandy beach there were a few families clustered where the steps descended from the road, and quite a few surfers. The beach was blocked off at that end by a rocky point but in the other direction it curved round to a distant lighthouse. We walked along the beach one day, doing pennance for a pizza and some mint Oreos, I think. The tide was in so you could only walk about a mile, to a stretch where the tide washed right up against the sandy cliff above which was the main road. At that point there was also a stream running down to the sea, under a bridge which carried the road. Obviously there was some kind of campsite up there because, in contrast to the completely empty stretch of beach we had just walked, there were more than a hundred people clustered around this stream.

I can remember as a kid how we’d go to the beach, and no sooner had we got on it than I’d want to get out my bucket and spade, or go in the sea. My old man would insist that we walked further along the beach, to where the people thinned out a bit (they never thin out that much in the UK – fucking people everywhere), and it would irritate me, because I was a kid and I just wanted to play. Now.

So it bothered me that here were maybe two hundred people all stuck together in one of the least attractive parts of the beach (road noise overhead, rocky stream, no dunes, trees or scenery) all practically falling over each other as they staked out their tiny piece of sand. There were several blokes trying to fly kites over the heads of other people (without much luck), and absolutely no-one was in the slightest bit inclined to walk a few hundred yards along the beach to have a space to themselves, with driftwood logs to sit on and clean sand.

And they were fat. Not all of them, but for the most part they were chunky bastards, and there were a fair number of absolute bloaters – you know, the kind of people who should have been walking along the beach, or just walking anywhere (other than a donut store). Fat families with grossly overweight kids, all piled together because they couldn’t be bothered to walk a few yards further down the beach where it was deserted for a distance of about a mile. What the fuck makes people do that? I mean, it was great that they couldn’t be bothered to walk, because we had a mile of beach to ourselves, but there had to be something wrong with them.

In many respects they reminded me of the labrador. I’m sure each day they walked down to the same piece of beach, turned around a few times and just sat down. I guess I should be grateful that they didn’t actually take a shit there. Now that would have put me right off my breakfast…

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Life Everlasting

Maybe it’s fitting that on Easter Sunday, when millions are celebrating the last time someone rose from the dead, I found myself listening to a National Public Radio program about cryonics. Normally I eschew NPR, full as it is of dreary arty bollocks, lefty liberal apologetics and “black-only” racist programming, but it has its moments, and today contained one of them. The program looked back to the early days of cryonics in the sixties, when some bloke called Bob Nelson started freezing people and storing them in the charmingly ridiculous hope of reviving them later. The technology wasn’t there at the time, but who knows what will be possible later, and I couldn’t help thinking what a horrific thing that would be.

The idea behind cryonics is that most people who die aren’t really “dead” according to the “information theoretic” definition of death, since their identity and memory is still preserved in their brain tissue at the moment of clinical death. As minutes or hours go by the brain will decompose and identity would be lost, but in theory if you froze someone who died of something like a heart attack you could revive them later.

Let’s leave aside all the scientific questions about how long you could wait to freeze someone, what you’d need to do to preserve the body tissue and all that other stuff. For a start it’s arse-clenchingly dull to anyone who’s not into cryonics, and I have a suspicion that anyone who is into cryonics is a nutter. Frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to research the subject. But let’s think about this for a bit. What if it worked? What if people didn’t die but just went into stasis for a bit and got revived later?

For a start it’s not as though the world is short of people. The population is now estimated at 6.7 billion; when I was a kid I remember being told it was about 4 billion. Even without cryonics we’re going to run out of places to put them all, and land to grow food for them. About 60 million people die every year, but even if you only consider the “wealthy” ones the number isn’t small. 2.5 million die annually in the US. Assuming that cryonics becomes possible and affordable just imagine the additional land that’ll be given over to gigantic frozen warehouses for all their corpses. And what are the eco-weenies going to say about the huge amounts of electricity being used to refrigerate all these bodies; instead of returning their carbon to the earth they’ll be using fuel for centuries. Bear in mind that it’s not necessary to prove that you can revive people for there to be a market here – there’s no shortage of idiots willing to be frozen just on the off-chance of future success.

Let’s hope the idea never works – with the birth rate at 75 million per year (a net of 15 million over the death rate), even if we only revived 25% of the stiffs we’d be looking at doubling the population growth.

And what would we get at the end of it? Statistically speaking an awful lot of people die when they’re old. I’ve seen old people: forget the problem with all the senile ones, just think about how they spend their time now. Revive them and before you know it we’ll be knee-deep in wrinklies. They already retired so what are we going to do? Pay them another pension until they die (again)? You won’t be able to move at WalMart, and forget trying to eat during the early bird special. The economic might of the United States will be devoted to the production of dentures, incontinence pants and arthritis drugs. The promise of cryonics is that we get to see a wonderful future, beyond our dreams, but the revived pensioners are just going to moan about how much better it was in the old days so what’s the point?

That’s the trouble with people – they don’t think things through. Everyone wants to live forever but I’m afraid that doesn’t work. Instead of people trying to extend their lives indefinitely wouldn’t it be better if we enjoyed life while it lasted, embraced death when it came, and realized that millions of drooling carcases, kept alive only by advanced medical intervention, should be sent on their way? Today millions remember how two thousand years ago someone got nailed to a cross so we wouldn’t have to fear death anymore. Doesn’t seem like it worked, does it?

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Bear-Faced Cheek

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Hands up if you bought roses or chocolate-covered strawberries? All you lot with your hands up, you’re twats: Valentine’s Day is the biggest rip off, load of old bollocks known to man. When I was a kid it was still a fun day. You’d wait to see if you had a Valentine’s card from a mystery admirer, always anonymous (which was the tradition, and also what made it fun). You could also send one to that girl you fancied, the cloak of anonymity providing cover against looking like a saddo if she wasn’t interested. I don’t know what grown-ups did back then, but it seemed to me that Valentine’s Day was for people who wanted to get together, not for people who were already a couple.

Fast forward thirty years, and the Hallmark crowd has turned the whole event into one massive excuse to make you part with your money. Firstly they have created this whole imperative that couples give each other cards and gifts. Peer pressure and relentless advertising combine to make Mrs Average feel neglected if Mr Average doesn’t come home with at least a dozen red roses, and possibly something with a diamond in it, too. Poor old Mr Average daren’t show up empty-handed and incur the wrath of his spouse; and Mrs Average wouldn’t dare tell her harpy friends that she only got a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, in case they looked down at her with smug fake pity. Meanwhile the chocolate, diamond and flower merchants are raking in your money as you subserviently feed the myth of the “romantic day”. Tonight, even crap restaurants will be full of couples going through the motions of a dinner, simply because the calendar says Feb 14. Baaaa!

Of course, if you do give in and buy roses you’ll end up paying three times the normal price. The flower industry pretty much makes all its money on Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day. But buying flowers is at least understandable; what I cannot comprehend is how a whole fucking industry has grown up around people sending each other Teddy Bears. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company offers the Loverboy Bear, which sports jeans, a t-shirt and shades, and in fact more resembles Homoerotic Bear. Or there’s the Love Bandit, which comes dressed in a black shirt, with a black mask, and should possibly be renamed the Arse Bandit. And here’s the hilarious bit – each one comes in a “Fun & colorful gift box with air hole”. An air hole? Are you shitting me? What, in case the poor thing suffocates? Jesus H Christ! The world has gone completely fucking monkey bollocks arse-backwards retarded! Small wonder that we’re disappearing up our own economic arse when people like that are allowed to take out mortgages. I’m just amazed they don’t drool all over the forms.

Here, let me spell it out for you: If you send someone a romantic Teddy Bear, you are a twat. T.W.A.T. But there must be a sod of a lot of you, because Vermont Teddy Bear’s stock of dumbass romantic bears is listed as “sold out”.

Meanwhile, back at the kids, all the fun has gone out of Valentine’s Day. At Bison Daughter’s Elementary School they had a class party yesterday. That’s a pretty tenuous excuse to interrupt education. Here’s a thought, fucking dickhead teachers: how about you spend your time educating my child, like I pay you to, and leave the “having fun” part to us, rather than wasting half the time they’re in school dicking around with bullshit “class parties” and then sending them home with a ton of fucking homework so that we never have any time together. Wankers! The really stupid thing is that they couldn’t call it a Valentine’s Party. Oh no, it had to be a “Friendship Party”. What the fuck? If you don’t like Valentine’s Day don’t have the stupid party at all. And don’t make the kids give cards to every other kid in the class, boys and girls alike. How fucking retarded is that? Typical politically correct lefty educational bullshit – reduce everything to the level that it becomes utterly meaningless, just in case we offend someone.

Hallmark and their friends have completely neutered Valentine’s Day, just so they can sell more crap. It used to be about sending a card to someone you fancied, but now they’re twisted it (at least in the States) so that parents give Valentine’s gifts to their kids. Now that’s just wrong. (Except in parts of Arkansas, but they mostly can’t write in the cards anyway.) The whole day has been hijacked to make us all buy stuff we would otherwise never buy, to assuage the guilt they’ll pile on us by proxy if we don’t comply.

Fortunately Mrs Bison can also spot bollocks a mile off, and much prefers that I buy her flowers on a day she’s not expecting it, because it means more that way. Which is perfect by me except for one small detail. I’m not that good at remembering to buy them when there isn’t a billion dollar multi-media advertising blitz to remind me…

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Grapes Of Wrath

You could file this story under “They probably deserve each other”. A flight attendant is suing a popular evangelist’s wife for assaulting her on a plane where she allegedly “threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast”. Now I’m certainly no fan of TV evangelists – smug, self-satisfied bastards, clogging up the airwaves with their inane drivel and ministering to an army of the brainless. I watched one at the weekend and you didn’t have to be a genius to figure out that the secret of their success has absolutely fuck-all to do with what they say and absolutely everything to do with how they say it. The recipe is as follows:

1. Pick some simple and basic biblical concept, for instance “God is good”.
2. Think of about eighty different ways to say this same thing. (God is good. The goodness of God is all around us. The Lord has blessed us all with his goodness. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow all who believe in God. Lift up your hearts to God in all his goodness, etc. etc.)
3. Put on a smart suit and a tie, and make sure your teeth are very white.
4. Stand at the front of a very expensive church, filled with very simple and gullible people.
5. Run through your eighty different versions of “God is good” or whatever your text is in a loud and artificially proclamatory voice.
6. Smile broadly, wave your arms and say “Amen” a lot.
7. Pass round the collection plate and get very rich.
8. Live in a mansion.

So the news that a TV pastor’s wife turns out to be some pampered uber-bitch with a superiority complex doesn’t exactly make my personal “never would have believed it” list. On the other hand, where does the flight attendant get off claiming 10% of the bitch’s net worth for an elbow in the tit?

The actual harm that was alleged is that the flight attendant now “suffers from anxiety and hemorrhoids because of the incident” and needs “medical expenses for counseling”. What total and utter bullshit. What a complete bastardization and abuse of the legal system. This useless flight bitch should be thrown straight in prison for insulting the intelligence of the human race. How the fuck do you allege that getting your boob knocked, even assuming it happened at all, causes hemorrhoids? Newsflash, dumbass: maybe the thirty years you spent standing up in planes at high altitudes has more to do with the purple grapes that you’ve discovered dangling from your wrinkled arse.

And another thing, what is it with flight attendants that makes them believe they get a pass being rude to customers in the first place? For some reason we’re expected to be understanding that they may have had a busy day and lots of difficult passengers, and this should somehow excuse them from being helpful, courteous or remotely useful. In what other line of work is this a reasonable excuse? Do air traffic controllers get to run planes into each other at 30,000 feet because they had a hard day? Is it OK for surgeons to intentionally botch heart operations because they just can’t be bothered today? There’s a big difference between mistakes (unavoidable in any line of work – for instance “I forgot to get the blanket for the passenger in seat 3C”) and downright bloody minded refusal to do your job. Surgeons are employed to do surgery; flight attendants are employed to make customers’ flights enjoyable. So why do so many of them seem to regard us as self-loading freight, to be tolerated or not as they see fit. And, apparently, sued.

Maybe it’s the hemorrhoids – I can see how this would make you pissy and irritable. Still, bitch, put your faith in the goodness of the Lord, and surely your grapes shall be cured even as was done for the lepers. And that bloke Lazarus. Not that he died of hemorrhoids. Or at least I don’t think he did – the Bible is a little vague on this point. Never mind all that deep theology – it’s about time for the collection plate. Large bills only please, no checks. Now fasten your seatbelts for your flight to the promised land…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison