Friday, January 18, 2019

Free Association Friday

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Today we introduce a special feature called "Free Association Friday," in which we comment on whatever the heck is tumbling around inside our noggin. This will provide us the opportunity to examine stories which may not be in the mainstream, as well as to fill space on slow news days without resorting to posting bikini babes twice within a week.

• In looking at the BRIGHT RED HEADLINES on Drudge asking "Did Trump Bribe Drudge Poll?" we find ourselves shaking our heads for the umpteenth time about what passes for news these days. In the story, sleazeball attorney Michael Cohen is accused of paying a firm to skew the results of a CNBC poll and a Drudge poll to make Trump look better- but the firm wasn't able to do it, and Cohen subsequently gave the PR flacks only a small amount of the money they were promised, plus (inexplicably) a boxing glove.

As nearly as we can tell, no one was "bribed," the polls weren't swayed, and who the Hell cares about (or believes in) the accuracy of online polls anyway? Besides being an entirely non-criminal act, it's also unforgivably boring.

• We are currently reviewing an updated version of our Last Will and Testament, and it's even less fun than doing taxes. The legal language is just as convoluted and baffling, plus every sentence is describing some horrible scenario we'd rather not think about. "In the event that you have died horribly and your rotting corpse is being nibbled on by maggots and your spouse has descended into drooling incompetency with a life consisting of alternately screaming and having spectacular bathroom accidents, how many years should your drug-dependent descendant be deemed "clean" by a certified drug rehab program before receiving any of the money you were too dumb to enjoy before kicking the bucket?"

Even worse, it's important to only review important legal documents while cold sober. Not that we believe Nancy Pelosi ever has.

• We are trying to make peace with our recently purchased "Smart TV," but it's an uphill battle. Because in our experience, "smart" devices seem intentionally designed to make us feel dumb. The 55" 4K television has an astoundingly sharp picture, fully capable of making epic films look like they're being played out on live security cameras. The sound is about what you'd expect from one-inch, bottom-firing speakers (or tin cans connected with a string), but you can easily upgrade the audio by adding an expensive sound bar which plays everything slightly out of synch, making an old episode of The Office seem like a poorly dubbed Godzilla movie. The Smart TV also has buttons which take you to hundreds of Internet channels which apparently originate in The Twilight Zone. Seriously, what the heck is this stuff, where is it coming from, and how can we make it go away?!

In our aforementioned Will, we plan to leave this TV to someone we don't like.

• In the Jarlsberg household, debate rages about whether it's more relaxing to watch cysts being drained on Youtube (yes, we subscribe to the Dr. Pimple Popper channel), or savoring some good ingrown toenail surgery (we also subscribe to the Toe Bro channel). In complete honesty, we find both to be relaxing (especially just before bed, viewed in our Oculus Go VR goggles) and less disgusting than the average news broadcast. Warning: the links above are real, and the one with the cyst should not be clicked while having any sort of gravy-based meal.

• And finally, we think it's freaking hilarious that President Trump cancelled Nancy Pelosi's overseas jaunt on a military aircraft at the last minute as an act of transparent payback for her attempts to force him to cancel the upcoming State of the Union address. What his move lacks in class, it more than makes up for in style points!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Taking Leave of Your Census

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"This is our child unit, Pumpkin!"
There surely must be stories in which the phrase "a federal district judge has ruled" actually leads to something good, or at least vaguely like justice. But today's news item is decidely not one of those stories.

Specifically, Judge Jesse Furman has ruled that the Trump administration may not add an outrageously offensive question to the 2020 Census asking, "are you a citizen?" Which, in our opinion, would have saved a lot of time and money by keeping dogs and cats from being interviewed. But noOOooo.

The judge made this ruling because he "infers from the various ways Commerce Secretary Ross and his aides acted like people with something to hide that they did have something to hide." For instance, they might have been hiding a suspicious desire to know how many actual American citizens there are, or been attempting to get a better grip on the number of aliens who are illegally in the country.

Had the wildly unacceptable question been allowed (which will be reviewed by the Supreme Court once Ruth Bader Ginsburg is again able to cling to her perch and gnaw her cuttlebone) it would have had terrible effects, according to the director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project (who is apparently unaware that illegals aren't supposed to be voting).

"The inevitable result," he said, "would have been to strip federal resources and political representation from those needing it most." In other words, the Left wants illegals to maintain the same access to taxpayer-funded benefits and political representation that citizens have...essentially making citizenship itself meaningless.

Whether or not that's the future we want for our country is worth discussing...but as usual, it's a discussion the Left wants to make sure has no reliable facts about which to argue.


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In an absolutely jaw-dropping advertising gaffe, Gillette razors has been running a spot in which they basically accuse all men (formerly their target market) of being ignorant, sexist, skirt-chasing thugs and bullies, guilty of "toxic masculinity" during this enlightened #MeToo era.

Really, Gillette?!

There's a message worth delivering about real men not being rapists, bullies, and all-around assholes, but like candidate Hillary Clinton, Gillette chose to call all men Deplorables. Except, of course, for those Gillette-approved pajama boy types who intercede to tell their neanderthal friends that it's "not cool" to show that you're attracted to a woman, and a bad idea to stand idly by as a gang of feral boys beat the living crap out of another kid who looks like a little boy, but whose gender we don't want to assume out of fear of traumatizing him/her/it.

The imagery in the commercial includes a "Stepford Husbands" row of toxic men in a suburban back yard, standing shoulder to shoulder behind their evil, smoke-emitting grills as animal meat sizzles menacingly...soon to become testosterone-fuel coursing through the veins (sometimes dangerously remaining in certain veins for four hours or longer) of a nation of grunting, hirsute, brutal man-beasts eternally cursed by their possession of a Y chromosome.

Having had a long career in advertising, we find ourselves wondering how in Hell any overpaid ad exec (and teams of testers) thought the way to sell razors to men was by insulting them? Seriously, you don't see "Summer's Eve" running commercials telling women not to be vicious, overly-emotional harpies who should - oh yeah! - buy more lemon-zesty douche products.

Which is why the ad isn't really intended to rein in sexists and bullies at all, but is rather a crass and commercial appeal to neutered social justice warriors who enjoy seeing the unwarranted slander of one of nature's two favorite genders.

Our bottom line: toxic masculinity is a lot less of a threat to our culture than toxic emasculation. We don't need Gillette's razor to tell us that; Occam's will do nicely.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Top Billing

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Today's post is a straight up bitch session, although it technically doesn't involve Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, or Joy Behar. No, we mean "bitch" in the sense of a this case related to our first round of paying bills for 2019.

Specifically, we discovered that the government, in its infinite wisdom, has tripled the cost of Medicare coverage for the reasonably healthy Mr and Mrs Jarlsberg, owing to the unforgivable sin of our lofty perch amongst the evil rich.

Only we aren't rich. And not really very evil. Rather, a couple of years ago we took some investment money out of our personal retirement account (rather than going on Social Security) and put it in the bank to pay our bills with. And it was admittedly a tidy amount, owing to the fact that it was intended to cover all of our expenses for a couple of years. And of course, we paid a massive amount of income tax on the withdrawal rather than subjecting ourselves to life on the run and/or repeated prison shower rapes.

But apparently, this still didn't fulfill our duty to the state. Which is why the Social Security Administration just gifted us with an IRMAA (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount) which triples our joint Medicare payments to approximately $1000 a month.

Granted, a lot of people are paying way more than that for insurance now that Obamacare has more than doubled prices while slashing benefits. But still, after paying into our Medicare policy for over 40 years (paying double, in fact, being self-employed) we're still a little nonplussed by this sudden uptick in charges. And we also find ourselves wondering how many of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's snot-nosed social media followers would be demanding "Medicare For All" if they knew their "free" health care was going to cost them a grand a month up front (not including skyrocketing taxes)?

Fortunately, our Medicare premiums should drop back down next year when the government looks at our actual somewhat pitiful income. Assuming that the government shutdown isn't still going on by then...