That’s Sexist! (Asus Tweet Edition)

Asus is a large Taiwanese computer manufacturer and the latest target of the hyper-offendable sexist brigade. You see, at a recent tradeshow an employee made this rather risqué tweet.

Of course this made the internets crazy. “OMG, Asus is sexist!” “I will never buy another motherboard from this company again!” First of all, good luck- Asus has a variety of parts in other company’s products so chances are you wouldn’t even know if you were supporting them. Secondly, while the CEO or anyone high up surely isn’t the gatekeeper of their social media message, I will concede that the remark is fairly inappropriate for an official company tweet. However, I’m more concerned with the indignant reaction. Is the comment really that bad?

This is how duplicitous the United States is about sex today. On one hand we have a culture that markets and praises attractiveness but on the other we are not allowed to speak on the subject. Don’t tell the pretty girl that she’s pretty because that’s sexist, and definitely don’t point out that she put on makeup so people would think she was pretty. The comment didn’t even use any crude language or sexual innuendo- the last time the public was in an outrage over the word ‘rear’ has got to be the 1950s.

Listen, I understand how this would be a rude comment if this was Hilary Clinton or someone at an event under a different context. I understand that debasing women in serious circumstances by making sexual references is ignorant at best. But is that what’s going on here?

This woman is a model. She’s not an electronics manufacturer working for Asus. The only reason she is here is because she is attractive and has nice body features. No doubt she is happy that guys like to look at her- it’s her livelihood. It’s not easy to make money yet she is doing it with a simple smile, but here it is taboo to mention this explicitly? If it’s not offensive to pay a pretty girl to attract male attention to your booth then what is offensive about the natural result?

I will forever be in awe at the depths that PC speech has infested society. Asus quickly  and predictably removed the tweet and apologized. That’s too bad, because I’m waiting for the day that someone tells it like it is.

QR Code for Taxi

The Consumerist ran a story about how Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning is passing out coasters with QR codes to a bunch of bars. When patrons scan the code in their smartphone, a list of local taxi services will come up. As long as everybody agrees that this is a gimmick and won’t actually help anybody then I have no objection. But srsly.

Now, I’m all for calling a taxi when you need it, but this doesn’t seem very well planned. The Consumerist linked to a study that shows most college students don’t really know what to do with QR codes. That may certainly hamper their plans but that’s not my main gripe. If you are targeting a tech-savvy young crowd equipped with smartphones, don’t you think this audience can figure out how to call a taxi? We already have things called Google and Siri that can take care of this type of stuff for us.

Valentine’s Day

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day doesn’t leave a lot of options for guys. Either you’re a consumerist sheep surrendering to the masses and buying into a corporately invented holiday or you’re a jerk who doesn’t buy flowers for his girlfriend. There’s not much you can do to avoid these options, and here’s why.

Just the Facts

You could point out that there are 3 different saints who are honored on this day and that the modern church generally doesn’t even do this anymore. You could argue that the first time romantic notions became involved with the holiday were in the 14th century in a Chaucer poem that probably referred to a different date and Valentine altogether. You can talk about how Hallmark invented the whole thing to sell cards (but you’d be wrong since this practice dated centuries before the company existed). But in the end, what would you really be gaining? The day has a meaning in contemporary contexts all its own and you choosing to ignore that fact doesn’t mean everyone else will.

What’s the Point?

So at this point you are basically left with objecting to the holiday on moral grounds. “Why is it so important to celebrate our relationship on this specific day when I can give you flowers all the time?” (Note, this argument is only semi-valid if you actually do give your girl flowers all the time). There is definitely something to consider here but there’s too much pressure from outside forces to theorize the holiday out of existence. People are going to snoop and ask what you did for Valentine’s Day and answering that question alone is annoying enough. I’ve learned that simply keeping up with the Joneses comes into play- if your significant other’s girlfriends are all talking about where their men brought them then there’s bound to be some resentment heading your way if you didn’t do anything.

Anti Valentine’s Day

I’m pretty much against Valentine’s Day but in a very ambivalent way. I’m much more likely to forget about the day entirely than campaign against the existence of it. Unsurprisingly, I’ve found that works out much more nicely for me when I’m single. A very different opposing stance is getting more popular, and that’s the group of people who want to go to a singles party and blast songs not about LOVE but about HATE and generally be cool because they’re lonely. But these guys and gals are just trying way too hard. If you care about something enough to plan events to pretend that you don’t care then you are obviously miserable about being single. Here’s a secret: Not being in a relationship has plenty of benefits that you might as well enjoy while you can, and ironically one of them is going out on Valentine’s Day and picking up on women very easily because THEY’RE miserable about being single. So really there’s no reason to rally against the holiday unless you feel like you are jumping through unnecessary hoops for the damn thing.

On Your Own Terms

And that’s what it comes down to. If you’re in a relationship with someone who even slightly cares about the trappings of Valentine’s Day, you might as well go along with it- but celebrate it on your own terms. If you think flowers and teddy bears are cheesy then you can skip that part and just go out to a nice dinner. If you don’t want put up with reservations and expensive prix fixe menus then just take your girlfriend to a nice dinner some other night around then. The trick of Valentine’s Day is that it’s not time-dependent- there’s no real benefit to celebrating it on February 14 instead of the 13 or 15 (unless of course you’re single looking to get some phone numbers- in that case the weekend prior is sufficient). This isn’t New Year’s that requires a very specific time component, or Halloween where you get to see a bunch of people dressed up. In fact, Valentine’s Day is quite the opposite, where the whole point is to go out as a couple and enjoy each other’s company. You can do that any time, which admittedly is partially why I find the custom silly, but it’s also equally silly to raise a big stink about such a non issue.

3 Reasons Why the New Year Sucks

Sure, holidays are all fun and games, but there’s more than the physical after effects of drinking to worry about. The New Year is ripe with nagging pains and annoyances that an aspirin can’t cure. What’s worse, this metaphorical hangover can last weeks or more. What kinds of things am I talking about exactly?

The End of Fun
What does January mean to millions of Americans? No more football, for one. But it goes deeper than that. Coming off a period of intensive holidaying, dealing with the rest of Winter and Spring is practically going cold turkey. For almost the next 5 months all we get is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Presidents Day, and chances are you don’t even get both of them off unless you are a federal employee. The message is clear- it is now time to get back to business. Suck it.

The Gym is Packed
All I want to do is work out for 30 minutes as usual but so many new people are determined to get into shape that they decide to crowd the gym at the same time and generally clog up the normal system. They get in my way on the machines and, being ‘casual’ exercisers, don’t even know that we should try and share. Nope, instead their out of shape asses are camping out and hoarding their territory while they take breathers in between sets. Unsurprisingly, it’s all for naught because after a month or so the crowd starts thinning out again. Well that was a good use of a year long membership.

You Gotta Answer that Awful Question
You know the one I’m talking about. The question about how you’re going to change your life and become a better person. How exactly are you going to do that? Because if you don’t have a plan by the end of December then the whole year’s just a wash.

“So, like, what’s your New Years resolution?”

Should you be honest?

“Oh, I don’t really do stupid things.”

Brutally Honest?

“To punch everybody who asks me that question in the face."

Or maybe you can actually take the opportunity to set some real goals for yourself.

“Well, actually, I thought it might be a good year not to go to jail.”

But really, all you want is to not have to answer that fucking question one more time. And despite your lofty aspirations, sometimes it’s worth it to get arrested for doling out some good old fashioned vigilante justice.

The Goth Fallacy

I’m not going to rail against the old Goth movement but I will allow myself to pontificate a bit about one of its overriding fallacies. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to paint your nails black and adhere to a certain style. It is a bit annoying that every 13 year old girl needs to go through a Goth phase (if only because it hurts the credibility of the others) but there’s not much I have against it. One of the first clubs I went to was a Goth club and despite being ignorant of the requirements and wearing a white shirt I actually ended up having a whole lot of fun.

But at some point many Goth folks will tell you that they don’t conform to society and want to be unique and different. Let me just take this moment to say that’s all horseshit. Maybe not that you *want* to be unique, but what exactly is original and unexpected about these girls?

You want to dress differently? That’s cool. Just admit you’re a fan of a certain style and check the non-conformist diatribe at the door.


I’ve always hated seeing the word ‘geek’ used self referentially. This is a word that sits snugly in between dork and nerd- an insult that should be avoided. I remember wondering why anybody would want to willingly shop at Think Geek, essentially an online store that is poking fun at its customers, or work at The Geek Squad for that matter. Have they no self respect?

At some point I came to realize that the word geek is a lot like the word nigger. At least they share a troubled childhood. These are terms meant for a derogatory purpose but snatched away from the oppressors and worn like a badge. They are reclaimed insults that no longer mean quite the same thing.

Still, it’s not a term I would want applied to myself. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

The End Times

Today is the end of the world.

That sounds like a good first line of a novel, but unfortunately there are those out there who don’t see this idea as fiction. Harold Camping is a batty old man who runs the Family Radio network and he is convinced that today, May 21st 2011, is the day of the Rapture. “Recent events, such as earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Haiti, are harbingers of impending doom” he says, and he is spreading that word across his worldwide radio network and very likely messing up a lot of people’s lives.

So what is the deal with Apocalypse predictions anyway?

One of the most common responses you will hear to this question, as Harold states above, is that it is clear that the end times are nigh because of all the death and tragedy that is happening around the world today. The clear and obvious counter to this fallacy is that bad shit has been going down for thousands and thousands of years. Was the Japanese tsunami proof that the world is ending? What about 9/11? Hmm, what about little events you may have heard of called WW1 and WW2? How about the fall of the Roman Empire? Or, say, what about the planetary disaster that wiped out the fucking dinosaurs? There have been many tragedies in history and the only difference between now and then is that we happen to be alive now. This line of thinking is extremely self centered, as if nothing that happened before we were alive is important.

But man do some people take stock in it. And when people believe in something, there’s money to be made. The internet has spawned hilarious real world companies that service the end times. is a “Rapture Notification System”. Several good Christians spread around the world collect email messages from people who plan on ascending to Heaven but have loved ones who will inevitably be ‘left behind.’ When a majority of the Christians fail to log in to the servers 3 days in a row, they will assume the Rapture occurred and a mass emailing will go out. I wonder what their website says about today’s prediction?

Rapture Not Found
777 Error: Rapture Not Found!

Oops. Well if this website can’t handle a FAKE rapture, what makes them think they can handle a REAL one?

Then there’s the budding industry of “Post-Rapture Pet Care”. Are you worried about your dog being fed after you go to Heaven? Well, just your luck, there is a network of pet-loving Atheists who will take your yearly insurance premium and make sure to care for your pet in the eventuality of an Apocalypse.

And apparently there is a non-significant amount of religious people spending money on these services.

But let’s get this out of the way. This isn’t about religion versus science. I’ve long advocated that the two are not polar opposites. I myself am Catholic but you don’t find me immersing myself in propaganda and scare tactics. Does that mean that I believe one day there will be an Apocalypse and the world will end? Let me put it this way.

It is a scientific fact that the Earth will one day be dead. I will go one step futher and say, whether or not humans populate other planets, that it is a scientific fact that we will one day be extinct from this universe. Everything dies. Nothing lasts forever. It is the one single thing I can guarantee. Call it the WIHE Imperative : All humans will one day be dead. And whether you are a crazed nutjob or a cynical man of pure science, this is one topic where a consensus can be reached.

Death Chart

The crux, of course, is the little matter of *when*. But to that I say, who cares? Every single one of us can have our own private Apocalpse at any moment and unexpectedly die, and worrying about it is not going to do us a whole lot of good. Furthermore, and make no mistake about it, it is outright arrogant to predict the Apocalypse and expect anyone to listen.

Which leads us back to Mr. Camping, the man who started this latest freak out.

How does anybody seriously follow this man? I am sorry, but if you predict the end of the world in the absence of overwhelming evidence, you are crazy. And not just a bit crazy, but balls-out batshit crazy. As to how people like this ever get followers, well, as evidenced by the fact that Celine Dion fans will go to their graves believing that she is the greatest person to ever live, crazy sticks to crazy.

“The 2012ers are weird”- I’m with him so far- “The world will end sooner than that.” Ok, he lost me. Where does he get off dismissing someone else’s unfounded pseudo-science for his own? Why is his proof so much more compelling?

Let’s see. He believes the date of the Crucifixion to be April 1, 0033 (<-- Y2k compliant). Today is 722,500 days after that date. What was his mathematic formula garnered from 70 years of studying the bible that gave him that figure? He multiplied the 3 holy numbers (5, 10, and 17) together, twice.

The Rapture Formula
(Technically a Theorem)

WTF? Where did the 2 come from? 3, if anything, being the number of the Holy Trinity, makes more sense. So why doesn’t Mr. Camping believe that we maybe have another 722 thousand days to live? Because that date doesn’t happen in his lifetime.

The hilarious thing is, he’s done this before. He’s literally predicted the Rapture with a mathematical formula before and (wait for it) was wrong. On September 6, 1994, when nothing happened, he said his math must have been off.

What do you think he’s going to say tomorrow?

So there you go. I’ll see you all tomorrow, whether you believe it or not. I will probably have a hangover at the time, though. If there’s one thing end times predictions are good for, it’s a reason to go out drinking.

(As if I needed one).

Penny Patriotism

Supreme Patriotism!

Great, Osama’s dead. Everybody can rightfully rejoice. Even the media isn’t making as big a deal about it as I thought they would have. You can’t really blame them if they did anyway after 10 emotional years culminated in a dramatic and secretive special op. For the most part this is real news with real questions being answered. I’m not going to complain about that, and you certainly won’t find me finding fault with any of the events that went down.

The thing I do find funny is the proclaimed “outburst of patriotism” that broke out around the country.

Drunk College Kids

Sorry, but a bunch of drunk college kids jumping up and down chanting, “USA! USA!” is not quite the poignant scene some would have you believe. Let’s see, last time I did that I was partying with friends in Rio de Janeiro – we were in a dance club and all they played was American music and a few of us felt the need to be ‘patriotic’ as well. Many of these people ‘demonstrating’ out in the streets weren’t there to commend our troops, they were there because it was a party. They weren’t jumping up and down to congratulate our 16 (!) intelligence agencies and operatives on a job well done – they were doing that because they were drunk.

Gun Show
“Hey Osama, check out my guns!”

Anyway, I’m not a hater. I probably would have been out there in front of the White House if I could have been. But let’s just temper our perception of patriotism a bit here. You don’t need to be Abe Lincoln riding a bear to be patriotic, but the act should probably entail more than acquiring a hangover.