Category Archives: Observations

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.

Joyless Stuff

bog-brush

One of the many gifts of the internet is the constant stream of new crazes that make their way into our homes, whether it be through news or social media. Pretty much every day there’s something you can join in. Yesterday I saw “extreme phone pinching” – people posting photos of themselves holding their phones between thumb and forefinger over places that it would be highly inadvisable to drop a phone. Like a deep hole. Or a toilet. The risk/reward quotient of this seems a little out of balance – loss of a phone that seems to be (at least for these people) a gateway to their whole sense of self-worth, versus a photo that someone might “like” tomorrow. It’s beyond stupid, and one can only anticipate the evolution of this fad, until we get a new series of “my penis dangling over the spinning blades of the blender” photos.

Some crazes, however, are more durable, providing far greater opportunity for the participant to spend money and waste time, while endlessly immersing themselves in social media contacts with like-minded devotees. Decluttering is one such activity – it has gone beyond a generic desire to throw shit away, to become a “lifestyle”, with its own guru, a brand name, and books you can buy to help you transform your meaningless existence and find inner peace. The KonMari method is one popular approach, and an article I failed to avoid reading today described how one should review one’s possessions and keep only those things that bring “joy”.

Wow. Joy. That’s a high bar. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can pretty much walk through my whole house and pick up everything I own in turn, and I doubt there’s a single thing in there that would bring me “joy”. It could be because I have a sad, meaningless existence, and am in desperate need of decluttering, but I suspect that’s not the case. I don’t have any desire to self-harm; I don’t find myself weeping uncontrollably for no reason as I sit, rocking back and forth, on the stairs; I certainly appear to spend way too much time laughing and enjoying myself for that to be the case. But none of the crap I own brings me joy.

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Here’s a thought – how much joy can one expect to receive from owning a toilet brush? Not a polished ivory, diamond-studded Kardashian model, just a simple plastic bog brush. Couple of dollars from WalMart. Not exactly a needle-mover on the joy scale. This morning, however, partly as a result of Bison Daughter’s bread and cake making day yesterday, I happened to, how do I put this delicately, manage to block the toilet. Not “plunger and plumber” block, just a giant U-shaped sausage stuck in the bottom of the bowl, receiving the flush like a dead seal, impervious to pressure. There was the plastic brush – one small push and everything went on its way. Joy? Not really. But relative to the “no brush” alternative, it was a pretty good option. Maybe a toilet brush doesn’t bring joy, but having to break up a turd with your fingers would be about the opposite of joy.

And that, I would suggest, is the reason for most of the stuff we have in our homes that would otherwise be called clutter. It brings us no joy for 364 days of the year, and then on one day we need it. I get no joy from a box of assorted screws and nails, at least until I need one and can pick one out rather than drive fifteen minutes to the hardware store, buy a packet, drive home, find out they’re the wrong ones, swear, drive back, wait in line to return them, buy another packet and drive home again. I don’t need dried milk, until I run out of milk, and I don’t need my electric pump until my tire goes flat.

Stuff is a bit like insurance. It’s a complete waste of money, until you need it, and then you’re glad you have it. The purpose of stuff is not so much to bring joy as to avoid misery, or at least irritation and minor unhappiness. Arranging stuff makes sense, if it makes you happier, but not if it’s so you can post a picture on Facebook and show off to your friends in the KonMari club. And certainly not if you become some weird, nervous, OCD bitch, constantly fretting that someone left a book out.

Do I have shit in my house that I could throw away? Sure. And I will, when I move house. Until then it can stay down in the basement and give the spiders something to play with. Because, when you think about it, even arachnids deserve some joy in their lives.

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.

More Fat Please

Maybe real men shouldn’t admit to eating yogurt – perhaps it has the same stigma attached as quiche, manicures and man-bags – but I have to confess that I eat the stuff. I justify this on the basis that it’s proteiny, but sweet enough to count as dessert and (perhaps) allow me to resist the siren call of thousand calorie cakes. Yogurts used to be simple things, but recently they’ve started to grow in size, and cost, so that you’re being asked to pay an obscene amount for a small bucket of Greek yogurt. As though we’re bailing out their miserable economy one pot at a time.

Greek yogurt is supposed to be good for you – more protein, which is right up my street – but it doesn’t taste better. In fact it generally tastes as one would imagine the congealed nocturnal emissions of a diseased wino would taste, only with fruit on the bottom. We seem to have reached the point where yogurt all tastes shite, it’s just a matter of how shite you can stomach. But the other day Mrs Bison unleashed a yogurt revelation on me: small pots of yogurt that aren’t labeled LOW FAT and, apparently as a consequence, taste great. Like real food. Like you’d eat one out of choice rather than duty. And it suddenly hit me – ALL yogurt could taste this good if we only stopped obsessing about low fat foods.

All those attractive sounding but ultimately disappointing flavors that you see in the supermarket chill cabinet could really taste like key lime pie, or strawberry shortcake, or whatever it is they claim to be. And they’d all taste great. But instead we live in a world of mealy-mouthed, low-fat, calorie-counting self-denial, where luxury is an ever-larger pot of something that you just know will taste like fruity dog semen.

Mrs Bison says yogurts all used to taste like that, but I don’t remember those days. I don’t think we had yogurts when I was a kid, and I certainly didn’t buy them when I lived alone because they didn’t fit my “lots of protein, lots of carbs, and just enough fruit not to get scurvy” low cost shopping plan. Nevertheless I can’t help wondering why, in a country that is quite prepared to chicken fry steak, there isn’t just a little bit of room on the shelf for non-low-fat yogurt.

Maybe it’s the next big thing: “Food You Can Enjoy”, but I can’t help thinking that the great marketing powers that be have decided that Yogurt = Health = Low Fat, and taste can just take a running jump. Pity, because nothing puts you off healthy eating like the taste of dog spooge.

 

Reality Ever After

Mrs Bison is watching re-runs of Sex and the City, and I have to admit that it doesn’t seem half as bad as I remember it. OK, no need to demand my “guy card” back just yet, it’s not as though I’m watching it myself. How can I be? I’m writing this. No, my point is not that it got better, nor that I turned into the kind of limp-wristed, flamboyant excuse for a man that would actually enjoy it. My point is that compared to the utter crap that’s cluttering up my cable TV these days, Sex and the City is brilliant.

Do you remember when TV shows had actors and stories? Or when we had interesting documentaries, or investigative shows? Now I trawl through the channels and all I find is “reality shows”. You name it and someone’s made it into a reality show. I cannot fucking believe that there are shows out there solely about people who make cupcakes, and all the trials and tribulations of being a cupcake maker. There are shows where people compete in stupid contests to become the next top model, or cake boss, or apprentice or whatever fucking idiot idea someone in LA or NY just came up with. This is about as “real” as little green men probing your anus while whistling the theme from Bonanza.

I could go on and list all the dumb “reality” shows that center around some lifestyle or profession, such as clamping cars, being a woman cop, getting married, hunting wild hogs, giving our parking tickets, collecting scrap metal, buying a wedding dress, operating a pawn shop, having a makeover or losing about two hundred pounds of bodyweight, all of which are chock-full of completely staged situations, created to bring drama and suspense to the tiny-minded plebs watching. What really pisses me off, though, more than anything else, is the plethora of “celebrity” reality shows, centered around the kind of vacuous bullshit non-people whose only claim to fame is being famous. Once upon a time we just had Paris Hilton, but now we have the overpaid, overexposed, real housewives of just about anywhere, all prancing about like utter twats in a massive celebration of the collective stupidity of the American populace.

Unlike the internet, which allows people to self-select according to their tastes, and where absolutely anyone can find something of interest to them (farmyard porn anybody?) cable TV is all about appealing to the masses. Only by attracting enough viewers to support advertising can TV companies make any money, so they work extremely hard to make sure that EVERYTHING we see is targeted at as broad an audience as possible. We can assume that they’ve got pretty good at it by now (economic Darwinism working its magic), so we can by extension assume that the swathes of reality TV shit that they put out are exactly what the majority of the American viewing public desire. I mean, TV companies aren’t stupid.

Now we’ve reached a new low. Bethenny Ever After is coming. A woman famous simply for being on reality TV is now getting yet another reality TV show, just about how tough her life is now that she’s married and has a kid. (Makes a change from a litter of six kids, or nineteen, I suppose.) What the fuck? I’d never heard of this weird looking cow before, but it turns out she’s been on an apprentice show, been a real housewife, and also had some other show about planning her wedding, and now we’re being offered a chance to watch the next episode of her life. Jesus wept! That’s what America’s doing now – tuning in to see what this “famous for nothing” celebrity bitch is doing in her manufactured life every week.

If we could decide for ourselves which cable TV channels we wanted in our bundle you can be absolutely fucking sure that this piece of trash wouldn’t be on my list. I’m about ready to junk cable altogether, because it’s nothing but crap and cartoons.

How did we get to this stage? The great moronic mass of the voting American public is sitting down every night to worship synthetic celebrities. Now we have Kim Fatarse Kardashian (where the FUCK did she come from?) hawing herself, her perfume, her clothing, and just about anything else that you can stick a brand name on. She’s only famous for being famous, and that’s what gets paid for in America today.

You know, compared to that load of old crap, even horse-faced Sarah Jessica Parker’s looking good these days…

Copyright © 2011 Edward Bison

Indiana Nights

And while we’re on the subject of Indiana, here’s another thing: why are there so many “adult video” emporia lining the highway there? Maybe it’s my imagination but all I could see along the side of the road was McDonalds and shops selling wanking material, all with big signs. I know this is small-town Indiana, but I wondered “surely there has to be a little more to life than masturbation, followed by a burger”. Then I realized that the only other buildings in evidence were churches, and suddenly I understood. Compared to hanging out in church, rubbing yourself off and eating a Big Mac must seem like winning the lottery. Cheaper too…

Small Head Disease

I happened to be in Indiana today, in a small town. It was chock-full of fat bastards. Not just chubby people, but those really fat ones, with the gut that hangs down over their genitals. Maybe it’s unfair to make the observation about Indiana – maybe you see the same thing in any small Midwestern town.

Nevertheless, what really struck me was that some of the wobbliest ones had a really small head. Sort of like it had shrunk, as all their energy went into growing a gut. Really tiny head on top of a really big, oval body. Nice look…

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 Realtor.com, 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

There’s No Hope…

From time to time I’ve noted the kind of search phrases that people have used when they’ve pulled up my site. I accept that with my “creative use of language” I might get a few obscene searches coming my way, but it seems that’s all I get these days. Below is today’s top list of search phrases, exactly as they appeared (spelling mistakes included):

animal sex
animal blowjobs
sex anemal
animal man sex
women taking a shit
nude wedding photos
nude wedding pics
animal blow jobs
Nude wedding night pics
female women getting fucked by four legged animals

There’s really no hope, is there? I should give up now, as my audience apparently consists of bestiality-obsessed perverts and wedding-sex fetishists. By the way, isn’t “female women” somewhat redundant? Or is this a necessary clarification in these increasingly transgender times?

I should publish a picture of a pig in a wedding dress, taking a shit while fucking a woman – it seems I’d be the most popular site around…

Watch What You Pay

It’s a well-established law of life that stuff breaks just when it is least convenient. For instance shoe laces only break when you’re rushing to leave the house for some important meeting, and when you have no idea where the replacement laces (that you bought a year ago for this very eventuality) are now located. Since I had only a short time at home this weekend between returning from one business trip and leaving for another, it only stands to reason that my (one and only) watch should choose this moment to stop working.

It didn’t exactly stop – it just started telling weird time, a good sign that the battery was giving up the ghost. So this necessitated a trip to the mall and the crappy kiosk which replaces batteries.

I was prevented from approaching the spotty kid at the kiosk by an Indian family who had got there just ahead of me, along with a collection of about fifteen watches that the father seemed undecided what he wanted to do with. “Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off” I was thinking, as my miniscule weekend drained away. Eventually I got to the desk and asked the kid how long it would take. About 25 minutes was the response. The cost? “Twenty five dollars, which includes a five year guarantee.”

Something made me suspicious that there was a better price available.
“Is that the only option?”
“You can have it done for $14.99 but that only has a one year guarantee. For the five year we replace the seal and do testing, otherwise it will void your warranty from Guess.”
Note that my Guess watch must be ten years old and I’m sure it didn’t cost $50 even then. I’m not even sure it had a warranty, but it must have expired long ago. I looked at the kid.
“I bet it’s the same battery in each case, right?”
“Yes the battery is the same.”
“So it clearly can last five years – why would I pay more for the five year guarantee?”
“After a year you can bring it back if it stops working.”
Stupid bastard.
“Just do the one year version, OK?”

It’s bad enough paying $14.99 for a battery that costs about $1 to be installed, but needs must when you’re short of time. The higher price is pure scam though, and I hate people that try to rip you off. Wankers.