Monday, March 22, 2010

Video Store Memory

I don't know why I just thought of this, but there was an incident that happened to me at an old job, and it still bothers me to this day. I don't know why I can't let things like this go, but there was something about it that still infuriates me. It might be one of the reasons I hate people as a whole.

I was working at a video store -- this was about 1999 or so, when they still had VHS tapes -- and we had a program with our popular new releases that if we didn't certain titles in stock, we'd give you a coupon for a freebie for next time. This usually applied toward big-name movies, or "Blockbuster" titles, if you will.

One night was especially busy, and we were all out of one movie, and so we were handing out coupons left and right. (I don't even the remember the movie, which I should if I'm going to continue harboring resentment toward the incident.)

We did keep a small stockpile of these movies behind the counter, because we found out that people were coming around with no intention of renting the movie in question, just to get the free coupon. There was nothing more priceless than having some asshole come up to the counter saying, "You don't have any copies of ________, so I'll take a coupon." I would say, "Well actually, it's your lucky day!" and then produce a copy of the movie. More than a few times, the person would say, "Oh, no never mind," and I would leave a comment on their account not to give them any coupons or refund them any late fees for trying to scam. Ah, the good old days.

So anyway, this one guy comes up to get a coupon, and so I gave one. We were completely out of copies, even our backups. The kid didn't look like white trash: he was relatively well-dressed, nice-looking enough (no homo) and if I didn't know better I would have assumed he was not a piece of shit.

I gave him a coupon and dated it one month later to the day, which was the policy. Since we were so busy, I forgot about the kid and started ringing up other customers. The video store I used to work at did a ton of business, and Friday nights were often out the door.

About ten minutes later, the kid to whom I had just given the coupon for the freebie (to be redeemed at a later time) came up with the movie that we had been out of, and so he plopped that and the coupon on the counter, smiling a sketchy little smile as if to say, "Give my my free movie, bitch."

I was pissed for two reasons:

1) It turns out that this sonofabitch went into our "Employees Only" video drop box and found the movie he was looking for. (We didn't have a lock on it, and at this store it was out on the floor, not behind the counter.) He went into an Employees-only space, like a selfish hunk of shit, and just took what he wanted. Make no mistake, this was a violation. Since I had already given him the coupon -- and didn't wait until he left the store as I had been instructed to do by my manager -- I had no recourse. And the reason I had no recourse was ...

2) ...because I never put a date range on the ticket. I gave an end-date, but I never gave a beginning date. (From this point forward I would always put the next day's date on the ticket.) I still don't know whether I was furious at myself or at the scheming piece of trash who did this.

The worst part is, I'm sure he doesn't remember the incident. Even worse, I couldn't pick him out of a lineup, which means the odds of me identifying him well enough to punch him in the testicles gets slimmer by the day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Facts

I'm having trouble figuring out whether the Tea Party members and/or many Republicans are stupid, or just evil. And more importantly, which one would be worse. Which would you rather have in charge: a gang of good-hearted but foolhardy incompetents, or a well-oiled, brilliant evil cabal.

I honestly can't tell which these people are. I suppose that there has to be a combination of both. But with the groundswell of misinformation spreading around like so much astroturf-growing fertilizer, are the people perpetrating this horseshit actually too dumb to understand? Or are they so smart that they know repeating the lie over and over will eventually make it "truth."

Take the example of J.D. Hayworth -- the man who is running against John McCain for the Arizona Senate seat this year. He said in reference to gay marriage: "You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage -- now get this -- it defined marriage as simply, 'the establishment of intimacy.'"

Rachel Maddow, to her credit, kept her cool -- and a straight face -- when telling this dipshit that there is no mention of "establishment of intimacy" anywhere in Massachusetts law. The would-be senator basically said it's a "difference of opinion." No, fucko, it's not a difference of opinion. It's either a fact, or it's not. Why is it that facts suddenly mean nothing in today's political argument.

[Side note: I wish these subintelligent jackasses would stop using the "gay marriage is like allowing a man to marry a horse" fallacy. A marriage is not legal if is not with the bride's consent, nor can an animal given consent to marry. From a strictly legal standpoint, this is pretty clear I would think. If I have intimate relations with a woman -- just go with me on this one guys -- it doesn't mean that she and I are married, now does it? And if these hypocritical assholes are so concerned about this, why are they not up in arms over that waste of blood platelets in South Korea who just married his pillow? Why so quiet, Brent Bozell? I can't hear you, Mitt Romney.]

Facts are not malleable. Interpretations of facts certainly are, but facts themselves are not. Let's get that straight. When there is unequivocal proof of something, it is a fact and not just a matter of one's own opinion. So based on this, J.D. Hayworth pretty much embarrassed himself in front of anyone who could see that the pantless Emperor is running around with his dick swinging in the wind.

So when people call Obama a "communist" (or when radical-liberals called Bush a Nazi), I'm not sure if they were just trying to evoke an dishonest emotional reaction to a buzzword, or if they were too stupid to truly understand what those words really mean. While it's true that many of the Bush Administration's foreign policies smacked of imperialism, it was certainly a far cry from the Third Reich. And just because Obama believes in higher taxes for those who can afford it (and begrudgingly enacted TARP), that does not make him a "communist" or "socialist" as some might say. To paint him as such is not only dishonest, it's just fucking stupid. Anyone who would truly call him a socialist has a) no idea what Obama is really about, or b) what the words "communism" and "socialism" mean. There is also a third choice, c), that implies that they might be very knowledgeable, but are intent on steering their hapless flock of mongoloids the wrong way.

We know that the Republicans have been engaging in Psy-Ops for a while now, putting up "anonymous" billboards of Obama with a turban, or some other nonsense. The idea is that Obama must "hate America" and is trying to pull a fast one to ruin the country. He is a closet terrorist, you see??!?!? He's waiting for the right time to strike! And we better take back our country or else! [Cue Toby Keith music]

The problem is, Obama is not a terrorist. Anyone saying that he is, is either a liar, or too stupid to know the difference. Either way, that's a problem, because those people's votes count just as much as mine.

But people are afraid to call these assholes liars. (Calling these liars assholes only exacerbates the problem.) And this here is the conundrum of liberal influence. I hate to use the term, but people are far to politically correct to call these lying scumbags ... well ... lying scumbags. It is perfectly appropriate to call a liar a liar, and to point out exactly where he is lying. And if he's not lying but is incorrect, someone should be able to quote scripture and verse as to where someone is wrong. (Note to Republicans and teabaggers: this would work for you too, if you ever said anything based in fact.)

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine the other day -- one who has a conservative bent -- in a forum were some comments were left, and he and I had a disagreement, and that's fine. But one of his commenters said something so stupid that I couldn't believe it. He said (and I'm paraphrasing), "I can't wait until Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Obama are out of office so they can stop racking up trillions of dollars worth of debt, and Republicans can get back to making this country profitable again."

I'll let that one settle in for a second.

I hate to quote the creepy Eric Massa, but he did say one thing right: the national debt did not start last year. Without playing the "blame Bush" game here, in 2000, we had a huge surplus, and now, we have a huge debt. (Part of that is because we are fighting two wars and people with teabags hanging from their clothes don't want to pay any more in taxes, but that's a different point altogether.) That is economic fact. It's not an opinion I made up because I'm a "tree-hugging liberal." You can make the argument that you feel Republicans are better when they are in charge; that's fine, that's an opinion, and one to which you have the right. But what you don't have the right to is facts: the fact is, neither Obama, or Herr Pelosi, nor that sniveling ineffectual Harry Reid caused financial meltdown.

In fact, I read an article the other day saying that despite some hard-to-swallow realities, the Obama economic policies are actually working. [Update: here is the link to the article.] I would love to see him really nail the banks abusing TARP, and until he prevents them from anally-intruding their customers with prohibitive fees and unannounced interest-hikes, I can't say I approve with 100% of what's done. But to say that he's destroying the country economically is not matching up with the numbers.

[Side note: I sent a private message to my buddy telling him that his indignant friend was, and I quote, "a fucking retard." I'm not proud of using that language, but based on my limited exposure to this post-Keynesian economic theorist, I believe it in my heart. My friend responded, something to the effect of, "Well I don't know about that, he served in the military and saw a lot of combat." Out of respect to his service, I relented. However, can we please stop justifying people's right to an incorrect opinion just because they served in the military? I admire the service, but you don't suddenly become a genius -- or get credit for being a good person for that matter -- just because you put on a uniform. It's a total cop-out to say that just because I haven't worn the uniform that I don't have right to an opinion about something. That's a fucking cop-out, and it's how children argue. How about as long as my opinion isn't related to military inner-workings -- something of which I know nothing -- I'm not dismissed like some kind of coward? Just because you served and I didn't, scissors does not beat rock, sorry. Fuck that horseshit.]

Now I am not some rah-rah Democrat. Remember: I am not a registered Democrat and have not been for over a decade. I think Democrats are a bunch of weak do-nothings, who would rather be inoffensive than get things done. The way they squandered a year and a half of a supermajority is mind-boggling, and emblematic of why Dems can shit in their hat for all I care. But by comparison, Republicans on the whole come off like evil fearmongers. They would rather shout empty slogans and call people names than to have rational, fact-based arguments. [If you want a really great, nonpartisan site to sort out the lies, go to They do a great job of separating truths, half-truths, untruths and outright bullshit.]

Can we please get to a place where facts make sense again? Where people are honest and forthright, even with difference of opinion? I don't even mind people having hatred for other people, but do it for the right reasons. Hate Obama for who he is (a liberal), not for who he isn't (a terrorist, a communist). If you are part of the white-noise, then you are part of the problem.