Monday, February 26, 2007

The only thing we have to fear is…everything (i.e. Panophobia)

It’s out there. Whatever it is, whatever you’re afraid of, is out there. No matter what the phobia or fear. For some that means a life spent running in terror from musical instruments such as flutes, (otherwise known as Aulophobia.) Others feel the need to avoid learning anything or gaining knowledge, (Epistemophobia, which, by the amount of stupid people in this country, leads me to believe that this must be the most prevalent phobia in America.)

Do you have an idea of how many thousands of phobias there are out there? And, naturally, a lot of them are extremely goofy. Who discovers these things? Who was the first doctor to come across a patient with an unhealthy fear of long words? And why, upon learning of this problem, did he decide to name it Sesquipedalophobia* What kind of sense does that make? I guess, since antidisestablishmentarianism was taken already, the doctor had to use whatever left over letters were at hand. But still, talk about throwing salt in the wounds.

Doctor: So what did you say your problem was sir?

Patient: Hate long words. Scared of them. Too many letters. Me afraid.

Doctor: Afraid of long words eh? I know the perfect name for that! Sesquipedalophobia! Can you say it with me?

Patient: Ahhhhhhh!

I wonder what causes people to be afraid of such weird things. What goes on in peoples’ heads that would give them Theatrophobia, the fear of theaters? Past bad experiences? Perhaps the person suffering from this phobia, was, at one time, a promising up-and-coming stage actor until that fateful night when they were stabbed in the eye by a bouquet of flowers carelessly thrown on stage at the end of some performance. That’s about the only way I could see it going down.

Naturally, some phobias make good sense. I can see why some people have Thanatophobia, the fear of dying. Pretty obvious right? Same with Virginitiphobia, fear of rape. And Zeusophobia, fear of god, or gods, (after reading the Old Testament, I’m surprised more people don’t have this fear.) These are all good, clean, healthy fears. Not so much with Walloonphobia, fear of Walloons, (unless you live in Belgium I guess) or Xerophobia, fear of dryness. I bet people with Xerophobia go through a bottle of Jergens a day.

We all have fears and I’m not going to pretend that I’m any different. And strangely enough, I’ve got a couple of goofy phobias myself that have affected my life. One would assume that after spending two years in Iraq that I should have been afraid of being blown up, (or only partially blown up, which is much worse) or shot or something painful and bloody. Nope! Not the case, (although a little PTSD is evident I feel, which has led to Agoraphobia, the fear of large crowds or open areas. This is why I just sit in my dojo and drink instead of going out to clubs and whatnot.)

I’m going to share my phobias with you, because I think anybody reading about them will get a good laugh and maybe not feel so bad about their own irrational fears. Such as Barophobia, the fear of gravity. Man, that’s a stupid one!

After intense research and studying (i.e. five minutes of checking out this list of phobias I googled) I have yet to see names for the two main phobias that I have. Which is pretty weird considering just how specific some of these phobias are.

My first is a fear of large, open, deep bodies of water. Especially murky water that you can’t see and which can hold who knows what. Maybe I really just have a fear of sea serpents and other aquatic monsters, but that’s just silly. I love the water and am quite a proficient doggy-paddler. I can go out on rivers, lakes or oceans, but I prefer doing such things on large boats. My fear comes from going out in the water in small boats, or no boat at all. Perhaps in another life I had a torrid love affair with Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster which ended badly. I have no idea why I have this phobia, but it’s a pretty minor one and doesn’t come into play often.

My second fear is of live performances of any kind. The circus, theater, plays, stand-up comedy, (especially stand-up comedy) dinner theater (a la Medieval Times) concerts, public performances and even Saturday Night Live. For some reason I can never enjoy any of this stuff because I spend the whole time being worried about the people performing making mistakes. I guess I feel embarrassed for them. Really embarrassed and sad when they mess up. It’s not to the point where I run out of theaters, but I spend most of my time avoiding anything live.

The weirdest part of this is that I love to perform publicly. I love to speak in front of large crowds while improvising the whole thing. I don’t understand what odd twist of fate gives me the ability to do the things I’m scared of seeing. Such is the dichotomy that is my paradoxical existence.

I would love to just type out this list I found of phobias, because they are hilarious and a bit frightening. Sadly I don’t have the space, so I guess I’ll just hook it up with the link. (http://phobialist.com/) Check it out. Then ask yourself:

What are you scared of?


*Oddly enough, I saw that there are two words for this phobia. What’s the other word? Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. Which is even longer, and I’m sure even more painful than the other phobia name. What a cruel trick to play.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thank you Helpy Helperton

You nice people need to knock it off! You’re making the rest of us look bad. I can’t help it that I am physically and mentally unable to care about starving kids in Ethiopia, so why must I feel bad because I don’t give them a quarter a day? Whales could disappear from the earth’s oceans tomorrow and all that would mean is that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting the Pinocchio treatment. I don’t want to feel guilty about that.

Nice people ruin it for everybody. They constantly do the right thing and totally screw up the grading curve. What’s the worse thing about nice people? The way they stick their nose in other peoples’ business. Let me live my life the way I so choose, please don’t try to fix my shit when it isn’t broken.

For example, something that has always vexed me greatly is when two people are gearing up and psyching themselves up to get in a nice bout of fisticuffs, when out of nowhere some Dudley Doright shows up and tries to get everybody to stop. Why must Dudley do this? The people fighting are not only not involved with this low-budget Jesse Jackson, but they are also providing a valuable service by entertaining passersby. Yet this unasked for Samaritan feels that they must set things right and bring about world peace, even if it’s stopping one fight at a time.

I also don’t like how nice people can be so inconsiderate. When I’m driving it’s because I’ve got somewhere to go. The fact that I’m taking a car instead of walking shows that I want to get to my destination with all alacrity. Sometimes I’m late and really in a rush. So the last thing I need is a nice driver in front of me. The nice driver is the person who lets a million cars in front of it thereby pushing me so far back that by the time I get to the light it’s red again. The nice driver is the one who stops at crosswalks because there’s somebody fifty yards away who look like they might want to cross the road. What foolishness is this?! That’s beyond frustrating. Sure they’re helping out some people, but at the expense of others. What they need to do is what the rest of us selfish drivers do, just go about their business and let other drivers worry about themselves.

I find the optimism of these nice people to be annoying as well. They are always upbeat and manage to find the positive side of any situation. They see the world as basically being a good place where everybody wants to be good and do the right thing. It’s not naïveté so much as a blind faith in everybody and everything being good. This is a fallacy. The world is a terrible place full of horrible people who, at best, want you dead and at worse want to marry you. I will freely admit that I’m a pessimist and a realist. It comes from a whole lifetime of observation and experience. Optimists are just people who haven’t been anally raped by life yet, (gee, that’s a bit over the top, even for me.) Given enough time everybody becomes pessimistic, the exception being senile old folks with Alzheimer’s, they simply can’t remember how crappy their lives were.

The only thing worse then genuine nice people are the fugazi nice people. These are the ones who are nice simply to show off how nice they are. When they do something nice they like to rub it in your face. You’re not going to get into heaven that way people; if you’re not genuinely nice then why fake it? You’re not getting extra credit.

Don’t even get me started on people who smile constantly, making the world a brighter place and shit. My head will explode.

Sure this blog entry makes me come across as Ebenezer Scrooge’s grandson. But that’s alright. It doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person myself. Not to the degree where I’ll be remembered as a really helpful guy, but enough to keep me from changing my name to Dr. Evil. I like to limit it do one good deed a year. I think that’s a good number. Not so much that people can just walk all over me and expect me to be fine with it, but enough so that people know that I am capable of the occasional benevolent act. Keeping the number so low helps with the element of surprise. I keep people on their toes because they never know when I might spring a good deed on them. It’s fun. Unfortunately I’ve already used up the nice thing for this year, so don’t expect any more from me in 2007. I saved up my good deed from 2006 and didn’t use it until December, then I was nice for a minute or two in January, killing two birds with one stone and getting it out of the way early.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hateful person. True I am filled with hate and anger and the slightest thing can set me off, but that’s all just part of my cache. It helps me to write these humorous, yet hatred-filled rants. I don’t actually go around telling people I hate them, that would be bad form. Instead I simply torture and kill neighborhood pets. It helps me to relax. On days when it gets really bad I just go around randomly slashing car tires and scratching paint. It’s fun, you should try it sometimes. And when things get too bad I just declare a jihad; it helps to align my chakras.

Have a nice day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Come suck on my salty potato balls

This past Saturday saw the arrival of the first ghetto-style Iron Chef. It was an epic battle, full of drama, excitement, suspense and potatoes!

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Iron Chef, allow me to explain. First of all, if you’ve never heard of Iron Chef then you need to immediately run back into your cave and wait for the second coming of Christ, because right now you’re pretty useless to society. But enough of my cleverly-worded insults to people I don’t know.

Iron Chef was a show that first started in Japan last century. It was hosted by the flaming and flamboyant Chairman Kagi, a guy who takes ridiculously large bites from raw bell peppers and who probably spends most of his time hanging out with Siegfried, Roy and their harem of tigers. Seriously, men should not wear that much glitter and sparkly shit.

The Chairman is also apparently rich and loves to spend his money on ventures that amuse him, which is what led to the creation of Kitchen Stadium, a place where he could pit two world-renowned chefs against each other in a battle to the death! Well, not actually to the death, but certainly to a severe bruising. He had four champion chefs, the “Iron Chefs,” all Japanese and all with different specialties. One was a master of Chinese cooking, one Japanese, one French and one Italian. Each week a random chef from some random eight star restaurant would show up at Kitchen Stadium and challenge one of the chefs to a battle. Each battle was an hour long and featured a secret ingredient that the chefs didn’t know about until the battle had begun. The ingredient had to be used in new and creative ways in each dish. Then four judges would be given the dishes and would rate them based on creativity, originality and appearance (and use of unnatural, uncooked sea creatures). The winner would then leave Kitchen Stadium in a daze, wondering just what the hell that had all been about and what the prize was, (if my memory serves me correctly the winner didn’t get much of anything, maybe, after the show they took the winner to his/her new double sized apartment, 10’ by 10’ instead of 5’ by 5’. People who live in Japan know what I’m talking about here with the tiny apartments!)

A few years ago they brought the show to America with different chefs and its hosted by the guy who played the Crow in the television series, (a little bit of useless knowledge for ya there.)

But enough background. Go youtube it to see what the hell I’m talking about. Anyway, back to my story.

We decided to do our own Iron Chef, though, of course, some changes had to be made. There is no Kitchen Stadium, at least, not one in this county, so the two contestants had to cook in their own kitchens and bring the dishes to a third, neutral kitchen. There were two hours to cook instead of one, and the cooks had to supply all of their ingredients, (except for the secret ingredient.) And there were three judges, who each could give one hundred possible points, 30 on plating, 30 on originality/theme and 40 on taste.

And so it began. Two men entered, one man left. Then the other man left a couple minutes later once he was done in the bathroom.

It was I, Joshua, Chef of the Eighty-Four Glyde and some other guy that I think they found on the street. Which made it a very uneven battle. I had no competition. Kidding, of course! No, my opponent was my friend Jay, (who I’m sure will pipe up in the comments). I must give Jay credit, I didn’t really think that he would be much competition, after all, I’ve got years of professional cooking experience, I’ve been a line cook, or short-order cook for years. I know my way around a kitchen. Not to mention (as one can tell by the pictures) that I love to cook and eat. So I figured that it would be a walk in the park. But I was mistaken. So very, very mistaken.

Our secret ingredient was potato. An interesting choice that could lead to some interesting dishes. Let the battle begin. Allez Cuisine!

Jay presented his dishes before the judges first and it made me nervous when I heard what he had prepared. He started off with two chicken breasts sandwiched together with cheese and mashed sweet potato with boiled sweet potato relish. He then followed up with french fries and minced potato with feta cheese. Next were some scalloped red potatoes. And lastly, he finished off with apple turnovers. The turnovers didn’t actually have potato in them, they were just used to bribe the judges (in my opinion.)

Jay’s dishes were good, well thought out and tasty. His strength came in bring out sauces to mix with the dishes. He had honey ginger sauce and a chili sauce. He didn’t make the sauces, but he used them wisely.

I countered with a golden potato soup as an appetizer. Then I brought out a plate of fried potato, sweet potato and plantain. Then I finished it all with my coup-de-grace of rack of lamb over rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes all on a bed of dandelion leaves. This last dish I paired up with the judges’ choice of red wine or Absinthe.

The food we made was devoured by judges and onlookers alike. And as the chefs stood around in sweaty anticipation, the judges spent what seemed like hours deliberating. It was maddening! To be honest I felt that my second dish was weak, and I had no idea what my soup tasted like, because didn’t even eat it!

Eventually the judges left their deliberation chamber and confronted the chefs to render their decision. It was a close one, very close. It was a less than 20-point difference. 255 to 232. Who was the winner? Who do you think, you foolish fools! I walked away that day a victor. It was my cuisine that reigned supreme!

And I’m almost one hundred percent sure that it wasn’t me who gave that one judge food poisoning.

Friday, February 16, 2007

An ode to judging a book by its cover

Friday is once again upon us, and for people with jobs that means the weekend is the time to relax, have a good time and maybe go to the movies, (for people without jobs it means absolutely nothing, Everyday is the weekend to us!).

But, in this crazy, hurly-burly world we live in, we don’t always have the time or energy we need. How will you know what movies to go see? Which movies look good and which movies look awesome? Will there be some ta-ta exposure?

That’s where I come in. Using my patented system, (patented in Borneo, for the good that does me) I have figured out which movies will be sweet and which ones you should avoid. And the key here, as always, is that I haven’t seen these movies either. So, without further ado it’s time for more:

Reviews of movies I haven’t seen

Bridge to Terabithia: I, like many people in this super country of ours (America, motto: You’re going to embrace democracy and you will love it damn it!) was forced to read this book when I was but a wee schoolchild, knee-high to a grasshopper. Luckily, just like everybody else I know who read this, I don’t remember a bit of it, other than one thing: just like in the movie My Girl, one of those kids dies at the end. If I’m not mistaken the actual bridge to Terabithia breaks while one of those kids are on it, and in typical fashion, FEMA took to long to come and rescue the victim, who gets washed out to sea and battered by about a million jagged rocks along the way. Breaking every bone in the body and reducing it to just so much soft, mushy jelly. It’s fun for the whole family!

I’m going to recommend this movie for two reasons. One, the commercials make it seem like it’s the next chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia, when it is in fact, nothing more than two kids with extremely active imaginations and possible addiction to hallucinatory narcotics. The commercials are a total psyche-out and I think that’s funny. Two, the main kid’s name is Josh Hutcherson, which, minus but a single letter is my exact name! How can you go wrong with that?

Breach: In this movie, a sullen and depressed Ryan Phillipe, still trying to cope from the divorce from that fiveheaded, dinner roll-chinned ex-wife of his, joins the FBI, where his first job is to get close to a special agent, (played by Chris Cooper) to see if he could maybe get him to stop being such a meanie doo-doo head who is giving secrets to the Russians. Somehow porn is involved in this, which is always a good thing. But I think it might be kiddie porn, which means this movie is only going to appeal to Michael Jackson and those eight million guys who keep showing up (sometimes more than once!) on Dateline: To Catch a Predator.

I’m sure that this movie is filled with intrigue, suspense and a whole mess of scenes filmed under fluorescent lights. But I’m also sure that this movie is filled with shots of D.C. And I don’t really think I want to pay eight dollars to see people talking around places I can visit for free, (unless they have a fight scene at Ben’s Chili Bowl, then maybe it’ll be worth it) so I’m going to pass. If, however, you’re not from Washington D.C., or if you’re just a lazy tourist, (who needs to leave home to see things far away?) this might be something to go see. It looks like a pretty decent movie, but there’s simply not enough kung-fu or John Woo-style gun battles to hold my interest. This is definitely a great movie to bring a date to, because about halfway through you’ll both be so bored that making out in the theater will be your only option. If anybody does get lucky, be sure to remember where you got the plan from!

Ghostrider: Sigh, what can I say about Nicolas Cage? He’s in his mid to late 40s, he has a 22-year-old wife, (I’m not mad. Wait, that’s not true, I am. He should have just stuck with Michael Jackson*’s sloppy seconds and stayed married to Lisa Marie) and his hair gets crazier and crazier looking every time he’s on t.v.

Think about this: Cage was almost set to play Superman, in that whack-ass movie that came out last summer. How weird would that have been? Superman’s chest hair would be all sticking out the top of his costume, looking nasty as shit. He’d be Taco-MeatMan!

Anyway, this movie is about a guy who rides a motorcycle that can go up walls and has a flaming skull for a head. If I’m not mistaken he also throws flaming pumpkins at people, can’t cross over bodies water and is the bane of Ichabod Crane’s life. (Extra credit to those who got that joke.)

Eva Mendes is also in this movie, which will probably appeal to a lot of people, but I must say, she looks kinda manly to me. I mean, look at her strong and firm jaw-line, her severe and pointy chin and her four-foot-long nose. I find her scary looking, but that’s just me.

I have no clue as to the plot of this movie, but I bet I can make a really good guess. Let’s see: Evil forces of darkness are trying to take over the world/enslave mankind/unleash demons from the bowels of hell. There’s only one man who can stop them, a cursed and morose character with an affinity for two-wheeled vehicles and no working sense of the laws of physics. He’ll drive over some people, whip some people and drive around some more until the world if safe. Along the way he’ll make out with Eva Mendes while trying to avoid being impaled on her facial features. That sounds pretty good to me. I think I’ll go see that now. Ta-ta!

*Two references to Michael Jackson in one day? Either I’m starting to run out of joke ideas or I’m in love.

Monday, February 12, 2007

There's nothing funnier than a broken heart

In honor of Valentine's Day coming up, coupled with the fact that I'm super lazy, I've decided to reach deep into my dark and disturbing past to find a humor column I wrote for my college newspaper. It's about Valentine's Day and just how depressing it is. I wrote this six years ago, so I don't know how much it applies to things now, but pain seems to have a very long half-life.
So, without further ado, let us take a glimpse into the past and the revolting innerworkings of my mind.

It's just about Saint Valentine's Day. It's time to be placed in one of three categories: People with significant others who can expect presents, people without significant others who can also expect presents (damn their good looks, life is easy for them), and the third group into which many can fit including myself, people with nobody who can expect absolutely nothing.
I'd like to thank the Hallmark company for supplying us, once a year, (twice if you include Valentine's little short bus-ridding brother Sweetest Day) with another reason to feel unloved.
Don't get me wrong; Valentine's Day was super sweet when we were little kids. In elementary school everybody got involved. I remember going to school in the morning and turning a shoebox into a container with a hole in the top for the valentines. Then, after lunch, we would all circulate around the classroom, putting a card on each desk. It was a good system because everybody receieved something. Sure if you had a crush on somebody you might tape an extra lollipop inside the card, but other than that it was pretty much even steven for everybody.
But then junior high came and all the rules changed. Valentines became only for those who had girlfriends or boyfriends. The only exception to this rule was and always will be the "secret admirer." The only problem with the "secret admirer" is that you can't really depend on it happening. You can never find a good secret admirer when you need one. And on the occasion when the "secret admirer" is applying for the position of girlfriend/boyfriend, they end up looking like relatives of Quasimodo. And heaven forbid if you try the "secret admirer" thing yourself. That stuff only works in John Hughes movies.
The only saving grace for me after junior high was my mother. Even if everybody else looked at me as if I were a walking plague, I could always count on my mother for some Valentine's Day love. I would wake up in the morning to find a small present at the foot of my bed. When I was younger the presents were toys, as I grew they changed. Now she gives me silk valentines boxers. I'm not entirely too sure what she's thinking, but hey, who am I to complain? I'll wear anything, especially when I'm too lazy to do laundry.
Ever since junior high I have distanced myself from this depression-inducing holiday. It's easier that way. Now I tend to view February fourteenth with detached, bemused ambiguity. I just hang out with girls; this is because they over-gift each other. My sweet tooth quickly becomes satisfied from all the candy hearts and pieces of chocolate.
For those of us who will be alone this Valentine's Day, I can only offer this advice: don't take it personal. Don't worry, just think of February 14th as any normal day. Or better yet, acquire the ability to hibernate and sleep the day away.
But really, it's not such a big deal. Because when you get down to it there are enough of us in the third category to overpower those in the other two and take their valentines. Nothing captures the spirit of this holiday better than filling your belly with other people's tokens of love. I can't wait.

Wow, such words of insight and wisdom from young, 20-year-old Joshua. I would take them to heart if I not remembered that I was most likely sitting in my underwear eating a bowl of cherrios and beer at eight in the morning while writing this back in 2001. Which bring us to the lesson of the day: Take all advice with a grain of salt. Or was it Never start a land war in Asia? Oh well, one of those two. They both make sense.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Will work for booze

And still the search continues.

I had no idea how wild the job market was when I left the army. I figured that within weeks I would have been scooped up by some Hollywood director who needed a fresh writer to work on the script for a good black comedy (The Cookout II: Fresh grillz). But no. I had to go out on my own and actually search for a job, and let me tell you, my recent employment history hasn’t been so great.

First I went to work for Cobra Commander as a henchman. Cobra was having a job fair in the area and I decided to see if I could get down. I figured that with my military experience Cobra would certainly benefit from hiring me. And with the bad taste left in my mouth from my two years in Iraq, I certainly wouldn’t mind taking a shot or two at G.I. Joe.

I was with Cobra for about a month, but the benefits package really wasn’t to my liking. Hell, they didn’t even cover dental! That, combined with the fact that all the other Cobra henchmen couldn’t have had worse aim if they tried, (how hard is it to shoot a laser gun anyway?) kind of sealed the deal and I turned in my resignation to Major Blood.

Next I went to work for Willy Wonka. I’m not a big candy fan, (I have a salt tooth, not a sweet tooth) but the ad in the paper made it sound like it’d be really fun and I was willing to work in an environment where all my coworkers only came up to my thighs. (I’d be a god!)

The problem was that the Oompa Loompas never got around to unionizing, which means that old man Wonka ran what turned out to be little more than a sweat shop. Getting to work around chocolate rivers and gumball trees may sound like fun, but after working three 12-hour shifts back-to-back you tend to get sick of sugar really quickly. So I quit.

I applied to the Federation, but when I discovered that they planned to give me a red shirt and stick me under the command of James T. Kirk, I broke out with the quickness.

All these bad jobs were depressing me, so I decided to take a vacation in Europe. My Absinthe-induced drunken wanderings led me to a small burg in northeastern Transylvania. There I met an eccentric and nice old doctor who told me that he needed an assistant in his lab, as his last one was reduced to a stain on the floor by a stray lighting bolt. I decided to help him with his experiments. After all, he’s a doctor; anything he’s working on must obviously be for the benefit of all mankind, right?

After the third mob of angry villagers stormed the castle, intent on destroying the doctor and the “evil abomination unto the Lord that he hath wrought,” (their words, not mine) I decided to seek employment elsewhere. I was tired of having to get stitches for pitchfork wounds in my ass.

I’m not even going to talk about my short stint as a tooth fairy. Let me just say that I never knew that teeth could smell so bad! What do people use to freshen their breath, dead rats covered in manure?

In the end, none of these jobs suited me, so I just came back to my Dojo of Love and decided to take a break. Which is where I’m at now. So, once I finish my breakfast beer I think I’ll hop onto this interweb thing I’ve heard so much about and see if I can’t find a position as an assassin. I don’t have any experience in killing people, but I think that I could pick up the skill pretty quickly. If there aren’t any ads for professional killers then I’ll look for one as a professional ninja. This is a field that has been poised to take off for years now. Think about it. How many times have you been in one of these situations: stuck in traffic, need to get into a locked building or room, trying to evade the authorities, and you thought to yourself, “this would be so much easier if I had a ninja around!”? If you’re like me then you’ve said that a lot. So why not just be a ninja? A little training and a wardrobe of black pajamas is all it takes.

Maybe I’ll start my own door-to-door ninja services. The convenience and reliability of a ninja, backed by the Joshua guarantee: All my ninjas are of the highest quality and I personally promise that they will dispatch whomever you want excised, or your money back!

I’d be a millionaire within a month!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The non-Superbowl blog

The way I figure it, everybody and their mother is blogging about the damn game last night, so I really will try not to waste your time talking about it. But first, a few minor points: Take the score of the game, divide it by the number of teams in the Superbowl, and you got yourself the number 23. Don’t know the significance of that? Neither do I, but it’s got Jim Carrey pretty worked up. Also, the commercials this year were borderline retarded. It seems as though advertisers have forgotten the purpose of the Superbowl, (excellent commercials, duh!) I would have liked to see a commercial where the Mooninites give the finger to everybody in Boston, (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you should catch up on your current events. I make sure, every morning, to read those parts of the Washington Post that appeal to me an interest me. War in Iraq? Don’t care. South Korea and Iran caught having sex together in a seedy Bolivian cathouse? Not my problem. Nope, I skip all that jazz and go straight to the comics. And when I’m done I go check out the style section to see what society says I should try to covet for that day.)

Anyway, if you want to know what I think of the Superbowl, just go back a year to the entry I wrote while I was still trapped in Iraq. Now that I think about it, I’ve twice been stuck in Iraq during a Superbowl game. That means two years where I didn’t get to see any commercials, (my fav part of the whole damn shooting match). This is because out in Iraq the military has its own cable. This isn’t just in Iraq actually; the American military, when striding the globe like a Colossus, bending the will of foreign cultures to suit American needs and desires, likes to bring its own satellite t.v. system with it. It’s called AFN: Armed Forces Network. AFN is a bunch of channels showing American programming. It doesn’t matter which channel or time the show comes on in America, in AFN they juggle everything around until it suits them. And when you factor in all the time differences all over this wacky planet of ours, you understand how it is I end up seeing brand new Simpsons episodes at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.

But the best part of AFN is the lack of commercials. Where the breaks would be in normal programming, AFN has filled with public service announcements and sheer military propaganda. Ever seen a commercial for courage? What would be the point? Where would I go buy some and what is the unit price for it? If it’s not a commercial for some human trait (Fidelity: Please don’t cheat on your spouse! Military lawyers are tired and overworked from divorce cases! Keep America strong!) then it’s a PSA warning soldiers of the dangers of smoking, chewing tobacco, not looking both ways before crossing the street, being left-handed and not wiping your feet when you enter a house.

At first, (for a few days, maybe even a week) it’s funny and corny as shit. You laugh and enjoy how pitiful and misguided these “commercials” are. But then you realize, with the amount of military brats who are babysat by the television, at least 25 percent of them will grow up actually falling for the propaganda. They’ll have never seen a regular commercial and won’t understand that they’re being manipulated. Not to mention that you haven’t seen a commercial in a long time either and that ad for reenlisting is starting to make a lot of sense to you. So you end up doing what just about every soldier does at one point. I’m not happy about it, it’s not something we’re proud of, but it’s something that eventually becomes called for. And that is having somebody in America send you a taped show with commercials intact.

I can’t count the number of times when I eagerly awaited a tape in the mail. Then, on that special day when it arrived, I would take it and run to my trailer like Golum with his precious. I would pop the tape into my VCR (yes I had a trailer with a VCR, a tv and cable. But of course, the cable came in very poorly and there were only five channels. I had a really rough time in Iraq.) and sit with my eyes glued to the screen. When that first commercial came on (a Honda commercial I believe) I sat back with contentment and bliss on my face, as if I had just helped a cow give birth to a healthy baby calf, then grilled and ate that calf with some sautéed onions and a baked potato.

People in America take their commercials for granted. We must remember that there are some places on Earth where people don’t have the benefit of knowing what kind of moisturizer Kelly Ripa uses, or how Jenny Craig helped Kirsty Alley shed enough pounds to not be mistaken anymore for a walrus that wandered out of the zoo.

That means that we have a duty to treat our commercials right, with dignity and respect. Take ‘em out to dinner every once in a while, snuggle after sex, perhaps give them another commercial award show or two. Then, when commercials get old and have to be retired they’ll go to a managed care facility, where young people will watch them to get a sense of how goofy people were back in the seventies or whatever. Why not? I think we’ll all feel better if we do.

Save the commercials, save the world.