Shady Mailings… Not Just For Politicians Anymore

In the season of receiving important tax documents in the mail–think your W-2s–I pay more attention to the junk mail. I don’t want to accidentally pitch some documents from a  bank or my employer that I need to file my taxes. So, lo and behold, when I checked the mail this morning, my boyfriend had received something form the IRS and I had received a letter with similar-looking typeface which read, on the front, “DO NOT BEND. Statement of Benefits Enclosed.” I began to wonder if it was from my insurance company or something, so I looked toward the return address label and saw it was from something called “Midwest Living,” located in Des Moines, Iowa.

Hum. Well, this looked important. Then I turned it over.

Was this… a magazine subscription ad? …What???

Upon opening it, this was confirmed. It was, in fact, a ploy to get me to subscribe to Midwest Living Magazine. They are trying to attract potential subscriptions with what appears to be a bill. Sneaky, sneaky, Midwest Living. But I’m calling you out. Disguising ads as bills or important “BENEFITS” documents during end-of-the-fiscal-year tax season is not only misleading, its incredibly shady. I’m calling bullshit on you!

You didn’t even deserve expert editing, you jerks. Only janky phone pictures edited with the skills of MS paint.

2011 in Review: Dumbest Moments in Politics

Honorable Mention: Fear the Hippy Drum Circle. Occupy Wall Street took the nation by storm (if by storm you mean a large cloud of pot smoke) this year, driving fear into the hearts–and pocketbooks–of millionaires across America. So much so that spraying old women and peaceful students with pepper spray became the new norm.

5. Rick Perry Farts in Public. Perry’s brain fart, marked by that signature “oops,” on what government agencies to eliminate was almost too painfully awkward to watch. Especially when his colleagues tried to save him from embarrassment.

4. Anthony Weiner tweets his wiener. For those of you who followed our “Weiner’s Wiener Watch,” you already know the details of this story. While we admit we were slightly impressed (and we suspect he might have just been bragging), this was still completely ridiculous. Who “accidentally” tweets their bulge to however many followers and then proceeds to claim no knowledge as to who could possibly be posing as the mystery dick in the photo? REALLY? We are still shaking our heads.

3. Donald Trump ran for president. Really? I can’t say I’m surprised the Donald thinks he’s qualified to be president, but he was really taking this far too seriously–and it seemed like most of the media was, too–for far too long. The White House is already kind of like a reality show (CSPAN.. what!!!), but are we ready to have an actual reality TV star as our commander-in-chief? We’re not ready for Vice President Khloe Kardashian.

 

2. Michele Bachman.

This year, Michele Bachman claimed that the HPV vaccine causes Autism based on what a random constituent told her. She, meanwhile, forgot to consider that people getting the HPV vaccine tend to be teenagers. Not young children. Not surprisingly, Michele has the tendency to… well… neglect science. Additionally, we’d like to remind you–Michele–that the camera is over here.

1. Herman Cain. Are you on board the Cain Train?
a. What and where is Libya?

Our pal Herman tried to contact the space aliens who provide him with information (or his brain runs like a crappy version of Google–a.k.a. Bing) and was searching through the tornado “swirling” around his brain, but alas he could not locate–or properly pronounce–Libya. Uzbeki-beki-stan-stan FTW!

b. Turning America into Sim City: 999

Cain’s flat tax concept was apparently pulled from an old version of Sim City. No, we’re not kidding.

c.”Life can be a challenge.  Life can seem impossible.  It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.” ~ Pokemon Movie Soundtrack / Herman Cain’s Campaign
A great poet also once said, “One booby, two booby, three booby, four…  I touched four new boobies, and now I need more.  I found me a limo, I filled it with tits.  I went to the strip club, and gave away tips.  I ran to the office to touch all the boobs, and there I found hundreds to rub up with lube.  I smacked ’em, I squeezed ’em, I made them my life; but I kind of forgot that I still had a wife.” ~ Herman Cain

d. How many boobies can one man honk?
(See above poem.)

I’m bringing my AK-47 to the Christmas Party

We are, after all, in a war, right? To save Christmas… Oh, we aren’t?

You’ll excuse my momentary rhetorical strategy of playing dumb, but the idea that there is some sort of ideological war against your Yule log is absurd.

Christmas is pervasive. It’s everywhere. I’ve seen complaints about this being referred to as the “Holiday Season” and otherwise intelligent folks getting all up-in-arms when someone wishes them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” What gives, people?

I like to wish people a Merry Christmas. Sometimes I wish them a Happy Holiday(s). Sometimes I just say, “Enjoy the Holiday!” Once in a great while I may even pull out the “Happy Christmas.” (That’s only if you’re real lucky). In the past few years, I’ve become accustomed to wishing one half of my family a “Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah.” (Depending on their spelling preference, of course.) This doesn’t mean I’m some kind of Christmas-hating heathen. It just means my world view isn’t dominated by people who only celebrate the same holiday I do in the winter. Happy Holidays is just an easy way of covering all the bases. Instead of assuming someone is a Christian, you can still spread the joy of the season that comprises many holidays for people in all walks of life by saying “Happy Holidays.” You cover Christians, Jews, people who celebrate Kwanzaa, winter solstice-celebrating folks, atheists, and other groups. Instead of asking someone to identify themselves, which takes time and is, quite frankly, kind of rude, you can just wish them “Happy Holidays,” and hope that you made their day a little brighter.

If there’s one thing people need to recognize amidst all the celebrating by gorging ourselves and racking up a bunch of credit card debt on crap we probably don’t need but that makes us happy, is that Christmas has become a secularized holiday in addition to a religious one, and in both worlds the point is to bring joy to other people during a period of celebration (of togetherness, if you’re not religious, and of Jesus’s birth if you’re a Christian). So instead of outlining all the ways you’re different from (and apparently superior to) all the other folks who have holidays to celebrate during this time, maybe you should be more concerned with making sure everyone shares in the joy that marks this time of year by wishing people a happy holiday, whichever one they choose to celebrate.

I AM AMERICA. ARE YOU?

I’m gonna make this short and sweet.

A. This song is awful. Formally AND for its shitty content. (80s dance party, anyone?)

B. The Tea Partiers have long needed to stop being so self-righteous.

C. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are the same bullshit. They’re both movements who have made it very clear what they’re against and have offered no possible solutions to the problems they have identified other than ones that revolve around absence (e.g. stop government spending or stop giving tax cuts to corporations and millionaires). Neither of these things are helpful.

D. This song is so bullshit.

Red, White, and Screwed

I took the title for this post from one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Lewis Black (are you surprised?). It seemed appropriate for the new attitude I keep seeing on the news and in my community.

Let me begin with this article from the L.A. Times, because everything about it makes me angry. Infuriated, in fact. Called “The Upside to Being ‘Poor'” (yes, poor is in scare quotes there), it highlights what it calls “stereotype-shattering” facts about America’s poor, like the fact that roughly 42% own their own home, most have microwaves and flat screen TVs, and a lot of poor kids have Xboxes. An article from the website good.is gives an interesting counter-perspective to this, in which the writer sought out the prices for many of the goods mentioned in the Times article, and found he could buy them all for roughly $375.

But beyond this, what is more disturbing is the “screw everyone else” attitude that Americans seem to be taking toward each other. Rather than feeling bad for a family of four that somehow scrapes by on $22,000 a year (I make $14,000 as a single person and find living a middle class lifestyle extremely difficult, which is essentially what the Times article is arguing that having a tv, microwave, etc. amounts to–because it’s not ‘being poor’), we say, You’re Not Poor Enough! When asked if a man without insurance should be left to die in a hypothetical situation, audience members at the CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate yell, “YEAH!!!!” We applaud Gov. Rick Perry’s capital punishment of over 250 people in Texas, and virtually say, Die, Fellow Citizens, Die! We have eliminated collective bargaining rights for teachers and other public servants (see Wisconsin); we say, Screw you, greedy teachers, you don’t have real jobs! To the firefighters and police officers who risked their lives to run toward a set of burning, collapsing skyscrapers in the middle of Manhattan and who worked for months at the site of what was perhaps one of the most horrific moments of American history to search for survivors and the remains of the dead, we say, We don’t want to pay for your cancer treatment after you inhaled months’ worth of all kinds of carcinogenic debris to save lives!

This is a non-partisan question that I am raising here: why have we all taken up the attitude of “screw you” toward our fellow citizens? It is a question of American collective pride and support. It’s a question about who we are as a people, a society, a nation, when to our most vulnerable, hardest working, most deserving people, the ones that deserve our pity, our respect, or our help, we instead say “Screw You.”

Just think about it.

And hope you’re not at this point by the time you’re done.