Who the hell do you think you are?

I get that question a lot. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

Then, I check my ID and get confused, on account of the fact that I have multiple. Far as I’m concerned, names aren’t really static. At any given moment, I could give myself a new one.

One time, I went by the name Vondwella Haberdashery Sharoom  for two weeks just to prove a point. Another, when I was out of ration points in Germany, I went by Wade Sharpell.

That’s the cool thing about names. They aren’t really static. You can have any one you want to fit any mood. You can be a nobody or you can be a queen. You are what you tell the world you are.

So who the hell do I think I am?

Anyone I feel like being at that particular point in time.

Happy Halloween and rock on.

The Story of Columbus…From a Girl Who Knows Sh*t about History

So today is Columbus Day, in case you didn’t know. I say that with a sense of superiority, despite the fact that until I went to the store for beers, I didn’t know it was Columbus Day…or Monday.

Or October.

But anywho, I realized I don’t know much about Columbus, aside from “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” No joke, that’s all I remember about Columbus.

I smoked a lot of weed in high school.

However, realizing that I was lacking in this education, I quickly searched the internet to learn as much about Columbus as I could. To save you all time, I’ve condensed what I know into the following easy to read synopsis.

Which is probably almost entirely wrong…but hey, at least it’s free.

Enjoy.

The Story of Columbus – From a Girl Who Knows Sh*t about History

Columbus was born in Genoa, which despite being the sixth-largest city in Italy, you probably haven’t heard of, because the Jersey Shore cast never visited it.

snooki italy

Lucky Genoa.

He always knew he wanted to be an explorer, because in Italy at the time, there were only two main jobs; Gondolier and President. No joke, in the 1400s, if you lived in Italy, you were either president, or you drove a boat. Those were your options. Don’t bother to look it up.

Columbus didn’t want to be a gondolier, because his family was too poor to afford the striped shirts, and he couldn’t sing. So he decided to be an explorer.

He went to the Queen of Spain for money, because at that time, everyone was looking for Asia…yeah, that’s right. Back then, they were incapable of finding the world’s largest continent. The Queen of Spain really wanted to get in on Asia, because that’s where the Silk Road was, and she heard the best weed came from there. Unfortunately, her computer didn’t have the RAM to support a Tor browser, so she decided to send Columbus in search of it.

She gave him three ships, The Nina, The Pinta, and the Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita. Columbus, on his fourth DWI by then, crashed one and really fucked up the other two. But luckily, they stumbled upon America, where they were greeted by the native people.

Due to the large population of doctors, dentists and technical support call center reps, Columbus immediately assumed he was in India, which is why he named the natives “Indians.”

During his travels, he also found the Indies and declared himself governor.  There, he treated the people so badly that word reached Spain. Upon his return, his atrocities were so offensive to parliament that he was tossed into jail and stripped of his title. After begging and pleading, the King finally let him out long enough to he could go back to America just long enough to give everyone Smallpox.

However, he didn’t get back in time to name the new land he’d discovered. By the time he’d gotten there, Cookie Lyon had already arrived, and decided to take what’s hers. She chose to name America after her son’s favorite fashion brand, American Eagle Outfitters.

get what's mine

Columbus, while disappointed, had to agree that Empire was the greatest new scripted series to hit television in a long time and forfeited the right to place his name on America. Later, he died of some kind of foot disease that I can’t be bothered to Google.

But he had a legacy. See, Cookie didn’t want to take responsibility for the discovery, saying “you ain’t putting all that shit on me,” so the white dudes in charge had to decide on someone who was responsible for discovering the new world.  Because his name was the most memorable, and least frighteningly ethic to white people, everyone in America decided to agree that Columbus discovered America.

And that’s why Christopher Columbus is important.

***

Ok, so it’s entirely possible that I mixed up a recent synopsis of Empire with what I know about Christopher Columbus, but we shouldn’t miss the important lesson from this story.

That lesson being that new episodes of Empire air on Wednesdays, 9/8 central. As for why it’s earlier in central time, I don’t have a good answer.  Maybe Columbus knows.

A Really Offensive Grammar Lesson

Something neat about the English language. Check out the below.

entire sentence spell wrong optical Illusion

Yes, it is true that human beings, being the adaptable creatures we are, can still decipher a message that is completely spelled wrong.

On the flip, we will also assume that anyone who sends us a message like that is drunk, stupid, having a stroke or all three. That’s just human nature.

I’m bringing this up because something happened in my hometown that has a lot of people up in arms this week. I’m not going to go into it because I don’t have an opinion either way. I mainly just lurked on Facebook, enjoying the drama like the cheap drama slut I am.

Well, mostly enjoying it. See, I consider myself a bit of an expert on internet arguing and there is one thing I’ve noticed about any person presenting an argument. It doesn’t matter how good their opinion is. If it’s riddled with incorrect word choices, spelling errors, caps lock and straw man logic, it immediately takes their opinion down thirty IQ points.

Now, if you’ve ever gotten a drunken message from me, you’ll probably notice I’m no stickler for spelling. Shit, some of the stuff I’ve written to you people is barely decipherable as the English language, but there is a difference between what I send privately and what I post in public.

I want people to at least respect my opinion, even if they don’t agree with it. The means not writing like an angry tween who never took Freshman English. So here are a few minor things that I think people should be aware of.

Your vs. You’re

The only time the sentence ‘Your an idiot” works if you remove the ‘an’ .

“Your idiot’, as in ‘your idiot brother,’ ‘your idiot dog,’ etc. Your indicates ownership. You’re is a contraction that means ‘you are” as in “you’re an idiot for using your wrong.” These two are not interchangeable.

On that note

There, Their, They’re

There has ‘here’ in it because it references a place, even if that place is a simple state of mind. As in, “there is no damn way people are going to listen to you if you write like a moron.” Their, meanwhile, is a possessive noun. “Their brain damage prevents them from forming coherent arguments”. Finally, they’re simply means “they are” The presence of an apostrophe indicates the omission of a letter, space or both. Same goes if it’s versus its.

CAPS LOCK

Look, in the past, people have said that the use of caps lock indicates shouting or if you have a very forceful opinion. I disagree. I think the use of caps lock means that you’re too fucking stupid to be able to reach your pinky slightly over to turn caps lock off.

Capitalization should not be your trump card in your argument. Your trump card should be using intelligent words. If you want to stress a particular word, italicize it, underline it, just do something that indicates you know how to work HTML like any person not working in a glove factory.

Just say no to text speak

Personally, I hate it. I’m not a texter, or a tweeter, because I am not concise…and I have giant clumsy sausage fingers. I think text speak is killing the English language, one awful acronym at a time. Does it really take so much time to write ‘you’ that you must use ‘u’ instead? Is your that much of a hardship that ur is your only refuge? Let me put it in text speak so all you text speakers can understand.

If ur space is nt limat8td FSR, and u still use txt speak, u look like an idiot. Jst m .02

Just saying, the extra .00005 seconds you spent spelling out the words could have saved me two minutes of Googling to figure out what the fuck you’re talking about. Text speak is the holocaust of human language, which leads me to my next topic.

Recognize when you’re using straw man logic…and then don’t

Straw man logic occurs any time you pull your opponents words completely out of context, and then argue with a point they didn’t make. For example;

“So you think that this guy should go to jail for shooting his dog? Then you must be picketing at abortion clinics every weekend, because murder is wrong, right?”

Or

“Any person who is ok with this guy shooting his dog; How would you feel if this was your dog….or your child?”

These are examples from both sides of this apparent hotbed issue in my hometown, just to prove I’m not biased against either group. Both appear to suck equally bad at the fine art of internet flame wars.

Straw man is nothing more than misdirection for idiots. While I usually dig misdirection, and would probably fuck David Blaine because of it, I do not like it in my arguments. Everyone recognizes straw man logic for what it is; a desperate attempt to compare a smaller issue to a bigger, inflammatory one when it just isn’t comparable. Straw man logic can and will undermine your entire argument…and ironically, makes me want to light you on fire.

Look people, arguing on the internet can be a lot of fun. There’s nothing like getting unfriended in bulk over an issue that you probably won’t give a shit about six months down the road. But if you’re going to argue, at least do it safely.

Practice safe grammar, or just go with abstinence.

grammar

Everyone’s Offended All The Time

easily offended

Is it just me, or is it starting to seem like everyone is offended all the time? People are offended by a Halloween costume based on Caitlyn Jenner. People are offended by the K-State marching band allegedly forming a penis during a performance. Everyone in the world is apparently offended by this video featuring the utterly adorable Nicole Arbour

You know the common thread that I find at the start of most “I’m offended” statements?

“Well, I’m not usually the kind of person who is easily offended, but this (nipple slip/drawing of a penis/cornrow hairstyle/possibly gay cartoon/insert ridiculous thing here) offends me.”

Based on my extensive studies of wearing a lab coat while watching YouTube videos, I can tell you that if you’ve ever started off a statement about something that offends you with “I’m not the kind of person who is easily offended but…” you are actually the kind of person who is easily offended. The fact that you feel the need to justify your opinion to people who might become offended by it indicates that you are already of a mindset that requires a proactive disclaimer because you know from past history that you are easily offended and social proof indicates others will be offended as well.

Don’t know if that last sentence was a bit too complicated, but breaking it down simply?

He who smelt it dealt it.

I’m easily offended. I’m absolutely easily offended. Hell, I’m writing an article about how offended I am that everyone is offended all the time. Social justice warriors offend the shit out of me, because they make it seem like I’m too dumb to think for myself.

Case in point? Video games. There was an issue called Gamergate awhile back that went way too far, with threats and doxing and all that other silly shit you find in online troll wars. And it all started because some people found video games misogynistic. The ladies featured in them were either fighting fuck toys (Lara Croft) or damsels in distress (Princess Peach) and people were offended.

Here’s the deal. I thought it was kind of stupid to be offended. I mean, look at the demographic of gamers. Men, ages 18 to 35. Of course you throw a bunch of chicks with big tits and pretty girls needing rescuing at them! I don’t call that misogyny. I call that good marketing. When you find an underserved niche in a market, you don’t get pissed and insult the people that came before you by bitching about it. You find a way to serve the underserved market.

It’s the basis of capitalism for Christ sakes.

Let me explain with the case of Nicole Arbour. In case you haven’t seen it, she did a video called “Dear Fat People.” Sure, the video was offensive, but it was also funny. I found Nicole endearing and amusing and wondered what the fuss was about.

Then, I looked at the comments. They were all from people who were pissed. They called Nicole names, talked about how offended they were, what a bitch she was, and got into ridiculous fights in the comments section with complete strangers over how offended they were.

And I had to say “we get it, you’re offended. But what are you hoping to accomplish by bitching about it?”

Do you want to get her page taken down because you’re personally offended? Ok, do that. But what happens next week when your favorite comic makes a joke about Vegans, and all the Vegans complain? What happens next month when people complain that Halloween offends them? What happens next year when someone at your work says they find a woman showing her hair offensive?

Censorship is a slippery slope and we can already see its effects. When I was a kid, my school had a Halloween parade every year, and we all wore our costumes while teachers would read us scary stories.

My kid’s Halloween party at school is now a ‘fall festival’ celebration where they go to school in their normal clothes, eat gluten free, soy based cookies, and color nice inoffensive pictures of fall leaves in harmless shades of muted orange and brown. No one is offended and everyone goes home miserable.

Because making sure no one is ever offended is a good way to ensure everyone has a terrible time.

Being offended is nothing more than a human reaction something that comes in exact opposition to your personal preferences. You can either choose to try to silence the offensive party or you can go on about your day and get over it, knowing that people won’t always agree and variety is what makes us interesting.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who is easily offended (see what I did there?), but when you try to silence others based on your own preferences, by demanding that everyone else follow your own very narrow world view, I find that offensive.

Based on the rules you’ve already set, that offensive thing must go away. So you offending me because you’re easily offended? Yeah, that needs to stop.

Now finish coloring your leaves.

Political Commentary in 20 Words or Less

I am guilty of something that I often call other people out for, especially in email or comment form. The excessively long response. As I look through my last few responses to various emails sent to me, I see a common theme. Not one of them is under 2 paragraphs. I lack the ability to be succinct.

Case in point, I just used over 70 words to make the following point.

I talk too much.

So today, as an exercise in self-control, I will summarize my feelings on various current events in 20 words or less.

#1. Kim Davis won’t give out marriage licenses.

kim davis

Essa’s response: Are we really that surprised that a government employee refuses to do her job?

#2. Arby’s employee refuses to serve cop.

arbys employee wont serve cop

Essa’s response; No civil servant should ever have to eat at Arby’s. That’s the real travesty.

#3. Kermit has a new girlfriend and feminists are pissed.

kermits new girlfreind

Essa’s response: You are all aware that these are puppets, right?

#4. Teenager fakes triplet pregnancy for ten months.

Teenage-girl-faked-triplet-pregnancy-for-9-months-with-help-from-FakeABabycom

Essa’s response: I’m less concerned about the lies and more so about her clear lack of knowledge on both math and biology.

#5. Indiana police raid 100 grow houses with the help of the military.

indiana grow house

Essa’s response: In other news, Indiana meth manufacturers announce record supply surge, thanks to law enforcement being busy with silly bullshit.

While good, my mother is far better at being succinct, claiming she can sum all current events and political discourse in two words.

We’re screwed.

As for the rest of you, I challenge you to be succinct. After all, we’re born with a set quota of words, and once we run out, we’re not allowed to talk ever again.

Essa’s Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

So apparently Governor Scott decided to declare a state of emergency over “Hurricane” Erika.  Now, I could be a skeptic and claim that this cry for help, (over a relatively moderate tropical storm) is nothing more than misdirection designed to keep people from noticing that he just openly admitted that he lacked training regarding how to manage civil rights in open forums and town hall meetings. I could point out that he forced someone to step down without due process or proper, constitutionally granted, civil procedure, by using inappropriate backroom dealings and questionable ethics.

Gerald Bailey…cough… Gerald Bailey.

a4s_1FDLE020315_14615186_8col

But I’m not. Instead, I’m going to pretend this ‘hurricane’ is the real deal and not a form of misdirection designed to get the population to look in another direction while he commits a relatively minor crime. In short, I am going to do just what his PR people want me to do and pretend I’m fucking dumb.

So here’s my hurricane preparedness checklist.

#1. Bleach

Look, no one in Florida knows why people recommend it. We don’t know why we buy it during a hurricane. We just do. Maybe we want our whites to be whiter than white when people identify our bodies. Either way, you need it. I don’t know why. You just do.

#2. A smashing hammer.

I know number two should be water, but like any intelligent person capable of rational thought, I know that I don’t need to buy water by the gallon. Simply stopping up my sinks and tubs, well after the electricity is dead, will allow me to drain a minimum of 32 gallons out of the tap.

The smashing hammer? Well that’s for smashing my way into my neighbor’s apartment, in order to drain their water from their taps as well.

#3. A stabbing knife.

So me and my kid tried to do the responsible thing. We set up a bag in the event that we were told to evacuate. Then, my mother showed up and she said “Evacuate? Fuck that! I want a new TV. We’re going looting.”

Have I mentioned recently how much ass my mother kicks?

So the Alrocs will not evacuate.  We will not back down to this ‘hurricane’. Instead, we will do like our Irish ancestors and use it as an opportunity to make money and get drunk.

And any good looter knows you need a stabbing knife. Guns just don’t work as well in a highly windy, salt water environment. Only a knife is a guarantee when you’re trying to steal a 32” plasma from your neighbor’s apartment.

#4. A highly cynical attitude

Look, governor Scott, your state of emergency means shit to me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s political miss-direction. You know when I start worrying about a hurricane? When the Keys people evacuate.

If you live in Florida, you understand. See, the Keys people are a special kind of people. They have this magical laid back gene that makes it nearly impossible for them to become upset about anything. They sit around, smoking weed, listening to Jimmy Buffet, and being chill under just about any circumstance. Much like the Zen Buddhists, they have reached a higher state of being. They have lived out hurricane, after hurricane, simply with the saying ‘just be cool, man. Be cool.”

I know a Keys guy who lived out Wilma by living off the water he collected outside and cooking hotdogs over a candle. When I asked why he didn’t just evacuate he said to me…

“But where would I bring my bong?”

Only when Keys people panic will I panic…and Keys people never panic, not even when our governor is trying to draw attention away from his inappropriate behavior by pulling the hurricane card. I’d listen to a middle-aged Key West, high as shit, openly gay, chicken hawk before I’d ever listen to a dude who spends like two months a year in his home state…at best.

#5. A Life lesson

Recently, my mother’s car battery died while we were at a gas station. A few months before, she’d had her rear tire replaced and while there, the people tried to upsell her on about 2k worth of car parts. Some of the parts were bullshit. Some of the parts were real.

One of the real parts was her battery.

Here’s the deal. She’d become so used to mechanics lying to her, that she took any suggestion with a grain of salt. When they told her the battery was broken, she didn’t listen. The mechanic became the boy who cried wolf.

Then her battery died.

That wasn’t her fault. She’d been lied to so much, over so many silly things, it became impossible for her to tell the real from the fake. Through no fault of her own, she suffered.

“Hurricane” Erika is the same damn thing, and it bothers me. It bothers me because so many politicians have used natural disasters as a form of misdirection that it’s impossible to take those warnings seriously anymore. We see a politician who doesn’t spend most of his time here spouting off nonsense about national emergencies and we don’t listen, because those politicians like to talk about national emergencies when their ratings are down.

Just look at what Sandy did for Obama.

Then shit like Katrina happens and we don’t take the order to evacuate seriously…because we’ve seen it before, and before it was nothing.

Natural disasters are not a political platform and they are not misdirection. They are serious and lots of people die. I expect my politicians to take them seriously too. It’s fucking disgusting to me that they would be willing to leverage human lives as an opportunity to pull ahead three percentage points.

But that’s the way things are. So I adapt. I don’t listen when Florida politicians tell me to evacuate. They don’t know me and they don’t know my Florida.

I listen when Florida lifers tell me to evacuate because those are the people that have the same intimate and unconditional love for Florida that I do. I respect them in a way I will never respect a politician, because they actually know Florida and they know when she’s about to turn on us, much like a drunk high-maintenance chick at 3 am. They know her and they know when to run. I’ll run when they do.

So God bless you my Keys and Panhandle people. Thanks for keeping it real.

The Pumpkin Agenda

pumpkin-beer

What’s with all the pumpkin flavored crap coming out in August? Usually, I only have like two months of pumpkin to deal with.  But now, pumpkin is slipping its way into my coffee and my beer earlier and earlier.

Look, pumpkins are useless. They’re only relevant for about two weeks a year, and usually used as decorations. I mean, when was the last time you sat down to a hearty plate of raw pumpkin?  When have you ever seen anyone bite into a pumpkin like they would an apple? Never? There’s a reason for that.

Pumpkins are disgusting.

And don’t bring up pumpkin pie either, because you can accomplish the same results with sweet potatoes, and not have to spend four hours dismantling a 25 pound gourd, peeling it, cleaning it, cutting it, etc. Also, you can eat sweet potato pie any time of year and have the added benefit of not looking like a crazy person.

You see someone order pumpkin pie in July, it’s safe to assume they have some deep rooted childhood issues.

Even the ‘pumpkin spice’ you get doesn’t really taste like pumpkin. It tastes like the stuff people add to pumpkin so it won’t taste like wet cardboard. Pumpkin would not be remotely appealing if not for sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.

I have a conspiracy theory about pumpkins. I think the whole ‘pumpkin flavor’ craze got started after some politician’s idiot child bought a pumpkin farm, thinking they’d only have to work like two weeks a year.

Then, they realized that the average household’s pumpkin needs came to less than one pumpkin per year. So the idiot kid went to daddy for help, and their dad snuck an addendum onto a bill he knew would pass. That sneaky addendum read;

“All popular franchises must find a way to incorporate pumpkin into their product for a period of no less than 8 calendar weeks per year.  Businesses that exceed the requirement will receive a 1 million dollar government grant for researching the use of pumpkin as a mind-altering substance.”

No joke, if pumpkin got you high, I’d eat like forty a month. But they don’t. They don’t get you high and they have no redeeming value. They don’t taste good. They’re expensive, cumbersome to carry, rot in like 15 minutes and carving one always makes it look like someone vomited marmalade all over your house.

I’m old school. I like my coffee to taste like coffee, and my beer to taste like beer. I don’t need the flavor of pumpkin to make me feel like it’s fall. I live in Florida. I know it’s fall the first time I’m forced to give directions to Disneyland to a European tourist that speaks broken English.

So to the people pushing the pumpkin agenda, I have three suggestions for increasing pumpkin sales.

  1. Make it the next trendy superfood, and market it to idiots with the promise that it will make you better looking, more energetic, or give you a nine inch penis. It worked for acai berries, coconut oil and kale. Why not let it work for pumpkin?
  2. Find a way to get high on pumpkin. There’s got to be a way to turn it into a smokable hallucinogen.
  3. Throw away all the pumpkins and plant a food people want to eat…like twinkes or skittles.

Look, I clearly know very little about farming. My closest experience to farming came when I tried to dig a hole to China in my back yard. I was so stupid in my late twenties.

But I do know what I like, and I don’t like pumpkin. So please stop trying to slip it into my food. I will not be swayed by your pumpkin agenda.