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Vive La Burger Republique!

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Last night, Mr. Jen and I were discussing fast food in Europe. He, having never been to Europe, established himself as the expert and I, having been on three occasions to various European countries, had to knock his ass down a peg or two. Here is the conversation in almost its entirety:

Jen: And there are no Taco Bells in Europe!
Mr. Jen: That must have been terrible in Amsterdam.
J: No, because you go to McDonald’s and they give you mayonnaise for your fries and you’re like, “Oh, wow, this tastes SOOOOO good right now.” So, I really didn’t miss Taco Bell.
MJ: I cant eat McDonald’s while I’m high. Burger King I could do. But I would really want Taco Bell.
J: No, there aren’t any Burger Kings, either.
MJ: Yes there are!
J: I didn’t see a single Burger King the whole time I was there. Not in England, not in Spain, not in France. Belgium. Holland. Nothing. No Burger Kings.
MJ: They were there, you just didn’t see them.
J: Now, how’re they gonna have a McDonald’s on practically every corner and I just don’t happen to see a Burger King?
MJ: Well, I know why they don’t have them in France. They rejected the burger monarchy a long time ago.
J: Yeah, like, there was a Burger King, but a bunch of Frenchmen stormed it and dragged the manager out and guillotined him and now it’s Burger Republique.
MJ: Right. They had to behead him, because the King just has a plastic head.
J: They tried, though. Like, they loaded him onto that little bench and strapped him all in, and then they tried to roll him forward and his head wouldn’t fit between the neck holder things.
MJ: Yeah, and they kept smashing his head into it, but he wouldn’t fit. And his arms are all flailing. That would be funny.
J: His arms wouldn’t be flailing. They strap you down.
MJ: No, seriously, I couldn’t get high without Taco Bell.
J: Suit yourself. That’s more for me, my friend.
MJ: Hey, we should go to Amsterdam for their festival of cannabis or whatever they call it.
J: I think they call it “Thursday”.
MJ: No, they have this thing, this celebration, and they do contests. Like one is a competition to see who can smoke the most weed.
J: And that was how Jen died.

One of my friends posted this video on her LiveJournal, and it’s hilarious. My favorite line is “Under my TurboHeather’s pretty, pretty dress is a tornado of power.” Clearly, TurboHeather is an EC heroine.


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It has come to my attention that there is a video floating around YouTube with the intent of creating alarm and “ZOMG GOVERNMENT KONSPIRACY !!!111!!!!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!!” type feelings about a totally normal thing that happens every day.

That is, about a space rock.

Let me address this tom foolery on a point by point basis.

  1. Asteroid TU24 will be within roughly 500,000 kilometers of Earth. Wow, that seems really close, doesn’t it? I mean, the moon is only 400,000 kilometers, or 1.0 Lunar Distances (from here out abbreviated “LD”, meaning a measurement based on the distance between the Earth and the moon). So, TU24 is whizzing by at 1.3 LD! Oh no! It might hit us!

    No. But let me tell you why. On January 15 of this year, asteroid 2008 BW2 whizzed by at a close .9 LD. It was in between the moon and us, theoretically. And it didn’t hit us. Why? It’s on it’s own little course, zooming through space.

    Think of it like cars on a freeway. They’re traveling very fast, very close, but they rarely hit each other (unless something catastrophic happens). The only way they hit is if one car obstructs the path of another. Which is what makes cloverleaf exchanges so dangerous. But I digress. Think of space as one giant cloverleaf exchange, with earth and asteroids passing each other, close, in haphazard, last-minute choreography.
    The difference being that Earth and the asteroids both drive like assholes and will run each other off the road rather than change their orbits.

  2. Holy shit, this thing is the size of the Sears Tower in Chicago! Wow, that’s scary, right? No. You fail at space, my friend. The asteroid, while indeed a hefty 527 meters is certainly not the largest one to make a close approach this century: Toutatis, know also as asteroid 4179, thought of as being the arguably most likely threat to crash into our planet eventually due to its strange orbit and rotation, came on by in 2004 with all of it’s 2.9 miles of length and 1.5 miles of width. It is estimated that to cause world wide extinction, the proverbial “End of the World”, an asteroid would have to be at least 1/2 mile, and when you do the conversion, TU24 falls just slightly short. It would cause massive destruction, obviously, but not the end of the world.

    You also have to judge its impact risk on the Torino scale. The Torino scale compares the destructive power in megatons of an asteroid to the probability of it striking earth and assigns a number, 0-10, 0 meaning “No way is this thing coming near us, and even if it did, it might leave a hole or kill a cow somewhere, but don’t brick in your seat yet”, 10 being “Start reading Revelations now, friend, because we’re going straight to Hell.” Big mamma Toutatis scored a 1 on her little trip. TU24 merits a fat, round 0.

  3. Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA’s) and Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) fly by us every day. Two and sometimes three a day. None today or yesterday, which was actually very odd. We’ve never had the “plasma discharge” issue that the second video in this series alleges will occur. They cite Tunguska as being the result of a plasma discharge, but Tunguska actually hit us. If they theorize that even a small meteor with a negligible impact probability is going to cause world wide destruction without touching us, why hasn’t it happened yet?

  4. The government can’t cover up space rocks. All of the information gathered by professional and amateur astronomers is publicly available from NASA’s NEO program ( Plus, the United States isn’t the only country with observatories and space technology. This just speaks to the egotism of the average American doomcrier. “The government is covering it up!” Yeah, blow me. This is the age of the internet, my friend. If our government covers it up, someone else’s government is still going to spill the beans, and it’s going to get posted all over TEH INTARWEBS. Morons.

I’m not posting the second video because it’s bad science and I don’t want to help it get anymore views. What I’m going to do instead is rant for a minute about doomsayers and astronomy.

Okay, I used to do a lot of community theatre. Nine times out of ten, a cast I was in would have this one specific kind of person. You’d talk about a show, let’s pretend it’s The Secret Garden. Anyway, you’re talking to this person about The Secrt Garden and how much you love “In Lily’s Eyes” and she says, “I only listen to the girl songs, so I can sing along,” and you’re like, “WTF is this shit? You only like something if you can somehow be involved in it?” Yeah, I’m talking about you, Rachel. You wanna go, let’s go!

Anyway, amateur astronomers obsessed with PHA’s and NEO’s are Rachel, and astronomy in general is like The Secret Garden (the version with Mandy Patinkin and Daisy Egan). The Secret Garden (space) is so interesting and complex, with so much to offer as a musical (vast, inky void), but she’s (they are) ignoring like, half the score (phenomenon) to concentrate only on the parts (she) they can sing along with (the parts that directly impact Earth). How short sighted and egotistical is it to assume that the only things of interest are going to be Earth (Rachel)-centric?

I guess my point is, doom freaks are morons, there is stuff way more likely to kill you on a daily basis (GLOBAL WARMING WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE AT NIGHT AND SWITCH ALL YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES WITH RAT POISON!), and The Secret Garden is a really good musical.

Edited to add: I also want to point out that there is another TU24 video floating around out there that, along with stating completely incorrect facts (like TU24 is the largest asteroid and closest approach this century) argues that it WILL hit us because we don’t know enough about it. It then states that we didn’t know enough about a comet that recently visited our solar system, proving that scientists know nothing and we’re all doomed. However, I can use that argument to prove anything. For example: “Scientists used to think the Earth was flat, so they don’t know everything, so Cancer tastes like gumdrops!” Yeah, that’s what we call a logical fallacy, kids.

Hey out there in the blogosphere!

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I’m taking a little hiatus from blogging because Jr. has the pneumonia. Friday grab blog is still going to happen, but I’m MIA until further notice.

Keep it real, y’all.

ETA: This could keep you busy while I’m gone. Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church is going to picket the funeral of Heath Ledger, calling him a “fag enabler” for appearing in the “sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as Brokeback Mountain.” Granted, I agree that the movie wasn’t that great, but you know, something about Fred Phelps makes me wish I could make a stranger’s head explode just by imagining it over and over again. In any case, the church’s phone number is 785-273-0325. Call them, let them know what you think.

6 Random Things About Me.

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Okay, I was tagged by Brynn Paulin to do this meme. So I’m doing it.

Six Random Things About Me

  • I can walk on stilts. In fact, I’m so good on stilts, I can run on them. Unfortunately, I’m not real good at stopping.
  • I know some American Sign Language. And I’m still learning. In fact, I think I might spend a little too much time on it, because I sometimes have dreams in which I’m signing.
  • Every room in my house is painted a bright color. My kitchen is a bright red-orange, my living room is vibrant yellow, my office is cornflower blue, my bathroom is blindingly aqua, my bedroom (the most subdued color in the house) is forest green, Jr.’s room is sky blue, and the family room is pumpkin orange. I like colors.
  • I can sing the Highlander theme song backwards. Are we here! Kings to be born! Universe the of princes! Seriously, I don’t know how or why it came up, but I can sing the whole song backwards.
  • I know all of the words to “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by REM Again, I’m not sure why I need to do know it, or how I figured it all out, but I do and I did.
  • I met Sarah Brightman in person. She was very tired. But she gave me her autograph.

I’m not gonna tag anyone. Do it if you want, don’t if you don’t. Whatever blows your skirt up.

Oscar noms are out, and I am required by law to say:


Sweet Holy Mother Of L. Ron Hubbard.

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Some wonderful soul has reposted the Tom Cruise on Scientology video that the “church” of Scientology ordered pulled from YouTube. Here is your chance to catch the crazy before they take it down again:

Now, I’m usually pretty laid back about other people’s religions, but there is just something about Scientology that makes me want to build a giant bonfire with every available copy of Dianetics I can find. A lot of religions are far-fetched. Let’s take a look:

  • Judaism An invisible being chooses a percentage of the human population to torture indefinitely.
  • Christianity Followers worship a carpenter (not Karen) who rose from the dead 2,000 years ago.
  • Church of Jesus Christ and The Latter Day Saints a.k.a. Mormons Founder of religion follows beautiful naked man into woods, explains his absence by starting religion based off of “plates” of text no one can see.
  • Shinto Followers believe that every inanimate object has a spirit; explains why Mr. Jen thinks canned goods sometimes need to be itched.
  • Neo-Pagans The universe is governed by various pantheons of petty, vindictive and selfish gods who look kindly upon dressing up in RenFaire garb and dancing around campfires at the local state park.
  • Buddhism Everything causes you suffering somehow, so don’t overdo it and you should be fine.

Okay, so Buddhism doesn’t sound that far-fetched. But given the list of weird things people believe, you’d think Scientology would be pretty easy to accept, right?

Scientologists believe that a bunch of years ago, before there were any people on the Earth, an evil space villain froze some aliens and dropped them into a volcano or something, and when people showed up, the ghosts of the aliens swooped in and infected us with all of their negative emotions, and that’s why we get depressed and sick and hurt and have the daily ups and downs of life.

Let that sink in a moment. Alien ghosts.

The thing is, I have no problem with what anyone wants to believe. That’s their business. But when they have such a smug attitude about it– like Tom “we’re the only ones who can save the world” Cruise– and act as though it is their duty to convert everyone, well, that just really gets under my skin like hallucinogenic spiders with your dead grandma’s face right after you’ve done a big ole bowlful of PCP.

And maybe a lot of my anger toward Scientology is based on the fact that while they want everyone to learn their secret ways of rejecting medical science and patting each other on the backs for understanding the universal truth, they want everyone to pay for it. And they want people to pay a lot of money. So, what we’ve ended up with is a church made of rich, successful people who think it’s their job to save the world, because their egos weren’t big enough to begin with.

Scientology just seems like a way to proclaim to the world, “Look at me! I’m rich! I’m important! This has be validated in a way that makes me feel secure about how I am living my life! More importantly, I know more than you do, and you can’t find out what I know unless you pay for it, which you probably can’t!”

Seriously, just buy a private jet or name a hospital after yourself, for Xenu’s sake.

ETA: In the interest of fairness to Tom Cruise, here’s a video of an absolutely nut bar lady who starts screaming about Jesus, Mexicans, and Shannon Doherty and gets kicked out a coffee shop. The site that hosts it is NSFW, though:

Dr. Phil, maybe you need to counsel your wife…

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Senator John McCain is in the city this morning. Senator McCain, on behalf of everyone in our area: stop fucking up our traffic. The weather is bad enough.

For about a week we had bizarre weather here. See, in Michigan, January is usually synonymous with mountains of snow, roads like arctic Slip n’ Slides and this really cool phenomenon where you leave a bottled water outside and it doesn’t freeze until you bring it inside and open it. But for some reason, last week we had temperatures in the forties (that’s fahrenheit, for everyone outside of this tiny island of standard measure in an ugly, cold, metric world, but let’s just say it was between 4 and 9 celsius and 277 and 282 Kelvin, in case you’re a scientist), which means shorts-wearing time for the average Michigander.

We’re paying for that now, with multiple vehicle accidents at every intersection and snow that falls in wet, gap-between-your-coat-and-your-neck seeking clumps.

Maybe it’s the weather that has me in a poor mood, but I have been locked in the throes of deepest grammar rage today. I don’t know why, but I’ve been noticing everyone’s spoken grammar issues. For example, on Dr. Phil, Dr. Phil said, “I’ve raised two boys, along with my wife, Robin.” What the hell, dude? You’re a medical doctor. Could you rephrase that question so that it doesn’t imply that you raised your wife? I know she looks young, but I have a feeling that has more to do with L.A. doctors and not age.

Don’t even get me started on the Bare Minerals informercial (that I absolutely love to watch, because I love to see people putting on makeup). The woman trying to sell the products goes on and on about all the unnatural ingredients in regular foundations and concealers, then goes on to say, “there are only five natural ingredients in Bare Minerals.” Gee, that’s great, so what are the other, unnatural ingredients? Maybe something like, “there are only five ingredients in Bare Minerals, and they’re all natural.” There, I fixed your commercial.

I really can’t be that harsh. I can barely string together a sentence.

GREAT CHRISTMAS’S GHOST! We now interrupt your regularly scheduled blog bitching to totally flip out about Dr. Phil’s wife feeling up a seventeen-year-old on TV. Here’s the scoop: Dr. Phil asks Robin to come up on stage to be a part of a difficult interview between parents and a child. Robin comes up, sits next to this seventeen-year-old boy, puts her hand on his knee and says she was “wanting to touch” him. No joke. Then she reaches into his lap to get ahold of his hand, and he’s looking profoundly uncomfortable. Dr. Phil goes, “What are you feeling right now,” and I’m expecting this kid to say, “Your wife molesting me, Dr. Phil.” Holy crow. I mean, I get it, you’re going through this midlife thing and you’ve had all the plastic surgery you can reasonably have, so what comes next? You hire a supple young pool boy or a bronzed carpenter/struggling underwear model or somebody you don’t really need around the house and who preferably doesn’t speak English to take care of these things.

I’m seriously disturbed by Robin’s excessive handling of this poor, minor child, and Dr. Phil’s sudden and excessive use of mixed metaphor. I need to see some people putting on makeup to soothe my jangled nerves. Here, have some:

Top Ten Signs A Work Of Fiction Was Written By Me

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This is a meme making the rounds of the super awesome writers who blog, so I thought I’d toss my hat into the ring.

Ten Signs A Work Of Fiction Was Written By Me

  1. A character you grow to love and root for is brutally killed midway through the book. It will be random and somewhat unexpected, and it will seem like I’m doing it just to be mean to you personally. In fact, you can often tell who is going to live and die in one my novels based on how nice un-screwed up they are. Only the flawed get to live.
  2. On the subject of flaws, I’d like to think that none of my characters are sickeningly perfect. I have a really hard time reading books where the characters never make a bad decision or do something selfish. If someone is 100% perfect all the time, they just look like a victim when inevitable plot happens to them.
  3. There will probably be some horrific description of either an injury or a rotting corpse.
  4. References to Broadway musicals. I’m a giant fan of musicals and I love sneaking little nods to them into my writing. If I can’t make the characters do it in character, I sneak it into a chapter title. For example, in book four of Blood Ties (All Soul’s Night, available June of 2008 plugity plug), there’s a chapter called “Ain’t No Party” because it was a good description for the chapter and also it’s a song from Dreamgirls and Dreamgirls is the bestest.
  5. Colloquial grammar. Even if I’m writing in third POV, I like to write the narrative the way the person would talk. If that means writing improper grammar now and then, I’m willing to do it.
  6. Cussing. I have the vocabulary of a sailor who grew up in Newark, so my books are peppered with obscenities. My grandfather gives me lectures about the profanity in my books (I notice it hasn’t stopped him reading them), but where the hell did he think I learned to talk that way?
  7. The main character is an orphan, or has a poor relationship with his or her parents. This is mainly for convenience on my part, so I don’t have to figure out a character’s relationship with his or her parents. Sometimes this backfires; I figured making Dr. Carrie Ames an orphan would explain why she’s so needy and yet emotionally distant with people. As it turns out, it wasn’t her parents’ death, but how they were when they were alive, that made her that way. Carrie’s father has all but bludgeoned his way into the books.
  8. Sex. I don’t think I’ll ever write a book that doesn’t have sex in it. Not because I’m a horn dog, but I think it’s where people are most vulnerable. It’s also a good way for characters to screw up their lives.
  9. Religion. I like to know what my characters believe, because it makes them easier for me to write. Since I don’t like to just write random stuff that isn’t going to make me money (except fanfic, but that’s addiction, not a hobby), it ends up in the books.
  10. No dialect. Even though characters in my books might have accents, I’ll never write them out. I don’t think I could have taken Nathan seriously up to this point if he sounded like Hagrid on the page. You’ll probably never, ever see a dialect in on of my books.

Bonus #11: Myself. I think I’ll always make a cameo appearance in some of my characters. Sure, they all get a little something from me, I think, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that I am a different person than my characters. However, there is always one character in each project that is more like me than any of the others. This is because I’m vain and I need to be involved.

If anyone else does this, please leave me a link! I have very much liked reading these!