Friday, May 5, 2017

10 Crazy Things you Didn't Know about Islam and Muhammad

Muslims are like the Mormons of the Middle East; both religions are growing internationally and at an exponential rate. Both religions supplement the original Jewish Bible with new “testaments” of salvation. And of course, both religions believe in a non-corruptible (but ultimately human) prophet. Let’s take a few minutes and critically examine Muhammad- the “Joseph Smith” of the desert.

10. Muhammad’s Mystic Letters

Can you imagine putting the time and energy into writing a book – and then having random letters spread throughout your text that apparently mean nothing? Muhammad actually did this at the beginning of 29 of his Surahs (or chapters) in the “Holy” Koran. (Although Muhammad technically didn’t write the Koran himself– he did dictate the text through supposed “inspired and divine revelations.” More on that later.) Theories abound that these strange letters are abbreviations for deeper, mystical meanings that only Muhammad could have explained. So at this point, all we can ponder is how any person in their right mind could strap a bomb and detonate themselves –solely in the name of a book that’s littered with random.

In hindsight, I wish more people would give their lives for stupid books

9. Muhammad Loves Sneezing, but Hates Yawning

The Sunni version of Islamic faith is much more fundamentalist than traditional Islam. (Think female circumcision.) According to the Sunni’s, Muhammad is quoted as saying:

“Allah loves sneezing but dislikes yawning; so if anyone of you sneezes and then praises Allah, every muslim who hears him (praising Allah) has to say Tashmit to him.”

Why would the creator of the universe care about humans sneezing? Noses are good for 2 things; punching and doing blow through them. You’d be hard pressed to find ANYONE who actually enjoys sneezing.

“But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so if one of you yawns, he should try his best to stop it, for when anyone of you yawns, Satan laughs at him."

If Muhammad hated yawning so much, I would have challenged him to write a more interesting book. Perhaps a romance novel?

Personally, I prefer any genre as opposed to the fiction that is the Koran

8. Muhammad doesn’t like dogs

Typically, Muslims view dogs as unclean and only useful for work purposes (hunting and guarding.) Muhammad has actually been quoted as saying black dogs are evil, and that they are devils in animal form. Muhammad also commanded that dogs were not to be exchanged or sold amongst fellow Muslims.

 “If you keep barking – I’m going to behead you”

Recently, Muhammad’s (puppy) intolerance has led to interesting issues in modern day Europe. Muslim cab drivers have disallowed blind patrons with seeing eye dogs’ entry into their vehicles. Islamic restaurant owners have refused service to vision-impaired guests with canine assistants. Just like grandpa, 2000 years later, Muhammad is still embarrassing those closest to him.

 So if a dog was to commit suicide in the name of Islam, does it wake up with 40 human virgins or 40 doggy virgins?

7. Muhammad and the Jews

Starting a religion in the Middle East around 500 AD, isn’t easy. Muhammad had his work cut out for him battling the growing cult of Christianity – but his strangest relationship was with the Jews.

“I don’t care about the tourism; we need to shut these beaches down now!!!”

 Muhammad’s strained experiences with the Jews plays like the on-again, off-again relationship you had with your high school girlfriend. When needed, Muhammad would pray in the direction of Jerusalem as a way to pander to the Jews who were a majority in a specific region. But as soon as the number of Muslims outgrew the Jews; Muhammad would get aggressive with his Israeli neighbors. (The most famous of these vendettas ended at Banu Qurayza, where he beheaded over 600 surrendered Jewish men- then sold the surviving women and children into slavery.)

Somehow, Jesus throwing a temper tantrum at the synagogue pales in comparison to Muhammad’s resume of hate

6. Drawing Muhammad

 Although the Koran never specifically condemns the depiction of Muhammad, hadiths (or laws based off of Muslim tradition) certainly do. The underlying philosophy is that portraying Muhammad can lead to symbol worship and idolatry in the Islamic faith. It’s an understandable slippery slope, because once you start drawing the prophet of Islam – it won’t be long until you’re getting prison-tattoos of Muhammad on your neck.

 Why does Jesus look so stoned?

Ironically, the Muslims seem more concerned about threatening, rioting and murdering in the name of saving the face of their prophet….But if portraying him is so offensive – why do Muslims not take issue with naming almost every male child after Muhammad? Doesn’t that seem more of an insult – especially if your son grows up to be a disappointment? Really now, how many people named “Buddah,” “Moses,” or “Krishna” have you ever met? Been in a cab? Chances are, you’ve met a Muhammad.

OK, maybe not every cab driver is named Muhammad…

5. Muhammad’s Questionable Sexual Relationships

 Where to begin on this one? Should we start with his first marriage to a woman 15 years his senior? No, let’s start with the polygamy he practiced with 11 wives- most of them arranged to secure tactical advantages over political/religious enemies. Scratch that – let’s talk about him marrying a 6 year old and consummating (yes, having sex) with her when she was 9.

Pumpkins, not included in the dowry

One of the classic stories of Muhammad (and his lust for strange) centers around his cousin Zaynab. Now Zaynab was already married to Muhammad’s adopted son Zayd (this would make Muhammad both cousin and brother-in-law to Zaynab.)

One day, Muhammad walks in on Zaynab naked – and Muhammad gets all hot and bothered for her. Ironically right after this, Allah speaks to Muhammad and tells him that Zayd should divorce Zaynab – and allow Muhammad to make Zaynab his 5th wife. Zayd, who apparently loves Muhammad more than his wife, agrees to divorce Zaynab – and Muhammad and Zaynab live happily ever after. Don’t you just love happy endings?

Happy Endings; the gift that keeps on giving…

4. The Satanic Verses

As mentioned before, starting a religion can sometimes be a difficult business. It’s easy to lose focus on your long term goals with all the stress of converting the masses and putting all your theologies into standard practice. But to be successful in the “new religion” game– you really have to be motivated, creative and most important; organized.

 If only Charles Manson had a better secretary, John Travolta and Tom Cruise would have been defending this guy

Attempting to bridge the theological gap between Islam and the early Meccans pagan beliefs, Muhammad actually conceded his monotheism for a short period of time. Muhammad told the Meccans that the 3 goddesses they worshiped were recognized as legitimate deities in Islam as well – this of course being a futile attempt to gradually convert the Meccans into Islam.  After Muhammad was called on his multi-god bullshit, he claimed that it was actually Satan who had deceived him into comparing Allah to the 3 goddesses. In an attempt to rectify the Muslim position – Muhammad went right back to insulting the goddesses and antagonizing the Meccans until he was run out of town after unsuccessful attempts on his life.

Get out of here, or we will taunt you a three-hundredth time

3. Muhammad writes the Koran (sort-of)

There are several issues regarding Muhammad and his supposed “authorship” of the Koran. First off, most Muslims agree that Muhammad was illiterate. (This may not be an issue to some, since Muhammad verbally shared his revelations.)

But what about the original translation of the Koran being written without vowels? There’s also the little story about Caliph Utham (essentially one of the first “popes” of Islam) who literally burned all variations of the Koran that existed up until his reign.  But who’s to say that Utham’s version of the Koran was the correct one?

 Mis-translations can be a bitch sometimes…

When receiving his “divine revelations,” Muhammad would supposedly fall into epileptic seizures. Since Muhammad was unable to read or write, the story goes that Allah would dictate to his angel Gabriel, who in turn would whisper to Muhammad whatever God was trying to tell him. Muhammad would then relay the message to anyone around him who was able to write; this person would then document the context of the revelation that Muhammad was at that moment receiving. Doesn’t this all sound like a rather inefficient way for God to write a book? Seems more like a supernatural game of telephone than anything else….

 Hello? Yeah, dads not in right now…he’s out scoping for virgins again

2. Muhammad was Suicidal

 Christians love to flaunt their gaudy “WWJD” bracelets. Unfortunately for the Muslims, when you’re under pressure and think – “what would Muhammad do” – the answer usually ends with “Muhammad would threaten to kill himself.”

Fonzie would strap on his skis and jump the shark – duh

 The story goes that when Muhammad first began receiving his revelations from Allah – his concerns weren’t about securing merchandising rights and justifying his personal interests in polygamy. An overly-stressed Muhammad is quoted as threatening to “hurl himself off a mountain crag, kill himself and find relief.” The second time Muhammad became suicidal was when the angel Gabriel (his muse) hit a case of writers block. In an irony too obvious to point out – Muhammad threatens to throw himself off a cliff – this time BECAUSE he hasn’t been receiving revelations from Allah. Mental instability? Let’s ask our panel of judges.

Nope, he seems fine to us…

1.Muhammed and Islamic prayer

The famous story of Muhammadas “night journey” involves flying donkeys, a tour of heaven and insightful conversations with Abraham and Jesus. Basically, a regular Thursday night with enough Nyquil.

I picked a hell of a week to apostate

Once in heaven, Muhammad is instructed that the Muslims are now required to pray 50 times a day to Allah. After some LOLZ (and a hilarious intervention from Moses) – Muhammad gets the number reduced to 5 prayers a day. (Proving that Allah is the most insecure God and definitely has the smallest penis.) 

 Of course it’s the Muslims, who are once again stuck with an arcane and embarrassing God...a God who seems easily talked out of 50 prayers a day by an illiterate and misogynist prophet.

Wait, did somebody say profit?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Why I Hate Drinking

Let me share with you my thoughts on the bar scene. I drink occasionally, mostly socially (which is probably the worst reason for drinking there is). Why in society (especially America) is drinking so prevalent? What's so great about it? Why is drinking the most diverse activity around? What do we find inside these bars? Besides the fake testosterone-front meatheads wish to portray, and besides the sleazy-with-a-sensitive-side attitude that bar sluts hope to exhume, and no matter how much fun a bar might try to make itself seem, it all seems fake. As I write this, I analyze my situation. I'm a fairly intelligent 22-year old heterosexual male who enjoys the company of friends, and conversations involving politics, life and religion. (I'm not big into 'who won the Lakers game,' or fart joke conversations. Life's to short, and I don't give a fuck about sports.)
I'm not personally opposed to drinking, but question the desire to do so. Big into conspiracy theories, I love to somehow correlate humanities bad habits with a general weakness that lies within ourselves--define it, then ponder solutions. People will tell me that going out to bars frequently is "normal" for a 20-something. I say they're full of shit. Like everything, excessive amounts of anything is bad, but excessive amounts of drinking is worse. Besides the already immature and bad decision-making, why not add being half drunk and horny to the next generation of our country? No wonder people don't give a shit. As a nation, we've drank ourselves into complacency. The more we drink, the more we relax, and feel like not doing anything. The more we drink the less we feel like thinking, (especially thinking about bettering ourselves or improving our lifestyles). Our capitalistic society is based on keeping us (the working class) content with working our entire lives for nothing ... and the only way to relax and "get away from it all" is found in the bottom of a Budweiser? What are they selling us? It doesn't matter, 'cause they're full of shit.
My first experience at a bar ended the way most young adults end the night of their 21st birthday: covered in vomit. My "drinking buddies" (that is, friends that really aren't your friends but rather just people you know that want to feel better about themselves drinking so they invite you along), had gotten me plastered and I passed my 21st birthday initiation by puking Jack in the Box tacos all over the side of a cab for an hour.
But the more I began frequenting bars with my "drinking buddies" the more I realized how depressing bars really were. Everyone smiled but no one was happy. People were smoking and drinking and laughing, but it wasn't real. When we walked up to bar and ordered a drink, what were we really ordering? Fake happiness? The coolness of walking around the bar with a beer in our hands? The rebelliousness of knowing our moms wouldn't approve? Where's the fun in all of this? Drinking to me became a hollow activity reminiscent of eating an Oreo cookie without the cream filling. It's good, but not as good as you were hoping it was going to be. Individual experiences at a bar depend greatly on company in tow, and the way you were raised. But the outcome is still the same.
Lameness. Now there's a lot of people that are going to disagree with me, and that's awesome. But I pose one simple question to those who think I'm full of shit. Give me one reason why you drink that can't be related to a weakness in you. Good luck, and in the meantime-bottoms up.

The Most Fucked Up Shit that has Ever Happed to Me

I am only 22, and have only had the pleasure of living in Boise, Idaho for the last 12 years of my life-but the following story is the most fucked up experience that I have been through. It’s a story filled with intrigue, danger, romance, homework, cheating….and terrorists blowing up the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th. Everyone has a 9-11 story, and this is mine…

            I’ve always had a thing for Michael Jackson. (Who knows, if I was a little younger, he might even have a thing for me….) I’ve always been a huge fan of his musical ability, his unique approach to videos and his bad-ass dance moves. (How can you not give credit to Michael Jackson-he’s the greatest living entertainer of ALL time, seconded only by jesus christ.) So, when I heard that he was doing a reunion concert with his brothers-his first show in the United States in over 11 years…..and when I heard that Gloria Gaynor was going to appear live and sing ‘I Will Survive’……and when I heard that this was all going down at Madison Square Gardens in New York City on September 10th 2001-what the fuck do you think I did? I bought those god-damn, three-hundred and fifty dollar tickets and got my best friend to go with me…(to protect the innocent, all names in this story have been changed-we’ll just call my friend Victor.) 

            Now my dad was a pilot for Delta, so I flew for free. My dad hooked my friend Victor up with a ‘buddy pass,’ (which I think is French for ‘if there is room on the plane, you can get on board-if there isn’t room on the plane-you are fucked, and aren’t going anywhere.’) Now just call me Mr. Connections, but my 36-year old, convicted felon, possibly gay, overweight, broke-ass roommate at the time (we’ll just call him Bill in this story) was a travel agent. So-Victor and I got reservations for a pimp-ass, room in the Newark Hilton (which is actually in New Jersey.) So the plan was to leave Saturday the 8th, fly all night and get into Newark Sunday morning. We would check into the hotel Sunday, September 9th, in the morning, and check out Tuesday, September 11 and fly back to Boise. Now, for the record Newark is right across the border from New York City. We’re talking a 5 minute subway ride, from the shittiest state in the union-to the shittiest state in the world. New Jersey is a fucking dump. 

            I remember the afternoon I picked Victor up from this parents house. He was a senior in High School, and had taken several school days off to come to New York with me. (I would have still been in High School also, but I had dropped out already.) I remember as I was pulling out of Victors driveway his dad making some comment about us being careful. (Victors dad was always full of worthless sayings, wisdom and warnings-he was like a 5’4, Yoda.) Victors dad mentioned how the American governments  involvement with the middle-east could easily make New York and Washington DC prime terrorists targets-and we should be careful. We laughed his lame-ass off, and drove to the airport. Thanks Nostradomus….we’ll be fine.

            The flight arrangements sucked ass. Due to us flying for free-we had the shittiest itinerary possible. Fly out of Boise in the afternoon, land in Salt Lake City an hour later, and then wait 7 hours for our over-night flight to Atlanta. From Atlanta we would fly the 3 remaining hours to Newark and check into our hotel some time Sunday morning. Victor and I (as always) made the best of it. During our layover in Salt Lake we got a free ride to the center of town thanks to the Mormon Tabernacle shuttle. (These fucking Mormons have thought of everything. So lets say you got time to kill waiting for your flight at the Salt Lake City airport-what do you do? You get a free ride to tour the Mormon temple and gardens. And they’ll even take you back to the airport in enough time so you can catch your flight. This is where the Hari Krishna’s went wrong…They weren’t mobile.) Anyhow, once the shuttle stopped at temple square Victor and I ran off into the direction of a mall and spent the evening eating, playing video games in their arcade and checking out all the fine Salt Lake City ass. (You know I’ve been a lot of places around the U.S. before-but never will you see better looking chicks than in Salt Lake. Quite possibly even better than all the hot ass walking the Salt Lake City streets, is that the dudes that live in Salt Lake all look like they’re in-bred. Score.) Victor and I took a taxi back to the airport and finished our trip with no problems. We made it into Atlanta, and then Newark with no delays. (I do remember flying through the worst storm of my life on the overnighter to Atlanta. God, I hate flying….)          

            Victor and I spent Sunday and Monday roaming the New York City streets. I was 18, and Victor was 17. (There isn’t a lot of trouble we could have gotten into-and trust me, we looked for it.) We made the usual New York purchases (fake Oakley’s off some bum on a corner, fake Rolexes from some dude selling shit out of a trash bag….) We wandered through Central Park, and Times Square-watched MTV’s TRL from the street. Sunday night we paid a bum to buy us beer and vodka, and then got ripped off. (We did eventually get some beer and drank too much of it.) I remember Monday morning going into the McDonalds that’s at the base of the Newark Hilton (four-star- class-my-ass,) and pouring a full beer into an empty McDonalds cup, in the middle of their dining room. No one cared. There were bums passed out, black punk rockers tweaking (yes, I did say black punk rockers,) business men and women in suits and ties not giving a fuck about anything besides their egg and cheese biscuit. And here I was, 18 years old at 10 in the morning drinking a beer in the dining room of  a McDonalds-god what a rebel, someone get me a cause….

            The Concert was OK. For three-hundred and fifty bucks I guess I was expecting to be a little closer to the stage than the 4th story we ended up at. I suppose it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the man without a face throw down. I can’t complain-I’ve seen worse shows…..(Bruce Springsteen comes instantly to mind.) After the concert Victor and I proceeded to attempt to finish the 18 pack of beer we had left. We got close….

            Five-thirty in the morning came early for Victor and I on Tuesday, September 11th. We woke up, checked out and were at the airport half-an-hour before our plane left. We flew out at 7:10am from Newark, New Jersey and little did we know, we were sharing the same airport as terrorists. Our plane was scheduled to fly from Newark to San Francisco, with a stop in Salt Lake City. The plan was to switch planes in Salt Lake and make it back to Boise by Tuesday evening. As Victor and I boarded the plane, hung-over and exhausted I felt calm, and peaceful-even though the only room left on the plane was one seat in the back (which was Victors,) and one seat in first class (which was mine.) (And you all know how much I hate flying in general, let alone in the front of a plane…) We taxied on the run-way and took off as the in-flight movie (Bridget Jones’s Diary) started, and the New York skyline disappeared behind us.

            I had a lot of shit going on that week. Bill and I were moving from an apartment to a house and had to be gone by Saturday the 15th. My girlfriend (at the time) was living off me-(you know, not paying rent, not working, not cleaning, barely putting out….and pissing me off.) Bill had convinced me that she was NOT moving into our new house once we moved-so I had to spring that on her when I got back. Plus, I was failing my English class in college-I had a personal experience essay (which ended up being this) due by Friday. I was also in the process of quitting my job and trying to find another one, but whatever, back to the story…..

            About an hour into the flight, the captain came on the intercom and told us that the plane was landing. No reason, no destination-but the plane was landing. I awoke as the voice came back on several minutes later with the news of our landing in Kansas (no joke.)  I asked a stewardess if what I had just heard was correct, she told me that every plane in the nation had been ordered down and no one knew what was going on. As the plane descended into Kansas, I managed to fill Victor in on the situation. Victor figured it was Godzilla invading, I thought it was the Chinese invading…..As our plane made its way into the Kansas airport, we knew something was fucked up. We taxied down the runway and saw literally 50 or 60 planes scattered throughout the landing strips-something was wrong. We sat in that plane for at least an hour waiting for an open gate to unload at. The Captain never came on the intercom, never told us what was going on-I’m sure he was afraid of panic breaking out inside the plane. 

            Finally we began unloading at an empty gate. I was in first class in the first row so I was the first in the plane to get out. Some old lady that been sitting next to me began trailing behind me as I led the way into the airport terminal. A Delta gate agent stood at the top of the ramp and asked us to gather around him. Several of us huddled together as he told us of the situation. He told us how the nation was under a national emergency and 2 planes had hit the Trade Center towers in New York, a plane had hit the Pentagon-and there was still a plane missing somewhere. It had seemed that to prevent any more attacks-every plane in the nation (especially those from New York) had been grounded immediately. (That seemed to explain our rapid descent….let me rephrase that, our rapid free-fall,) into Kansas. Victor made it off the plane, and I filled him in on the situation. We wandered through the airport for several hours-stranded. 

            Eventually, Victor called his parents and informed them that he was safe, alive and well in Kansas. (My dad had checked the registry for the outbound flights from Newark and knew I was safe.) But what were we going to do now? We had no money, no credit cards and worst of all-I had no clean clothes. (I had been wearing the same pair of socks for 2 days.) Victors parents ended up knowing some Christian pastors in Kansas, and soon we had been picked up from the airport (which was being completely emptied by the airport security.) We were taken to this small church in the middle of nowhere, where we hung out all night. Evidently the church was having an emergency prayer meeting-and we had the pleasure of sitting in front of a TV in one of their children’s rooms-and watching the news replay the camera footage of the 2nd plane hitting the Trade center. (By this time the fourth plane had crashed in Pennsylvania.) We must have watched that fucking crash a thousand times on TV before we finally got disgusted by the news stations and wandered out into Kansas.

            I don’t remember much of Kansas, just a lot of farms. I remember seeing gas stations knock their price of gasoline to 20-something dollars a gallon-and seeing 30 or 40 cars waiting in line to fill up. People were panicked in the Midwest, I can only imagine what it must have been like on the East Coast after the attacks. Victor and I made our way to a small convenience store where the only socks and t-shirts they sold were Kansas City Chiefs official merchandise-so I bought a new wardrobe. That night after the church service, these crazy jesus freaks we were staying with took us to a sports bar where they drank virgin Shirley temples and ate appetizers and talked about the events of the day. Victor and I were completely irritated, (especially considering we had to tell our story 500 times to every church member, waitress and pastor we ran into that night.) We finally got back to the pastors house where they stayed up till 2 in the morning watching those fucking news reports over and over again. Victor and I had been up since 5:30 that morning, and eventually we passed out on their couches in the living room. The next day we had hoped to fly out of this hell-hole (but we were still flying stand-by, which meant we were fucked….)

            Evidently the FAA decided not to reopen the airports until the next week, so Victor and I were stuck. I called Bill and we formulated a plan. Victor and I would take a Greyhound bus from Kansas City to Denver, Colorado, and Bill would pick us up. We were so excited to get away from our lame hosts we never realized what lay ahead of us-a bus trip that started at 8pm on Wednesday and ended with our arrival (half way to Boise) in Denver-Thursday night. I wish I could say the trip was eventful (there was the stereotypical old, black lady traveling alone who was fighting with an imaginary boyfriend the whole trip.) There was a family (with a fairly hot, blond daughter I remember) that we talked with for most of the trip. They had been stranded in Kansas as well and were headed for California. Sucked to be them….

            Victor and I finally made it to Denver and Bill picked us up. He had driven from Boise to Denver (which is an 18 hour trip,) then turned around and headed back. Bill drove till the middle of the night-then we got a hotel in Utah. I remember talking to my then-girlfriend on the phone, and her telling me how much she loved me and was happy to know I was like….you know….alive still. The next afternoon we made it back to Boise, safe and relatively unharmed. It was Friday, September 14th and although I hated Boise (and still do) there was no place I would have rather been than home. I took a shower, called some friends, rented a U-Haul and started moving shit out of our apartment-(we had to be out by midnight the next day.)    
            All in all, we moved our shit out, I got my personal experience essay done (I turned it in late, but still got full credit for it,) and told my girlfriend she was not moving into the house with me. (Its kind of funny now, 4 years later, but I’m at this party and I actually meet the guy she evidently had spend the night with her that weekend. Evidently he was to drunk to remember if they did anything, but they slept in my apartment, in my bed. Fucking whore….) 

            My entire 9-11 story is true. To make it more intense I soon learned that my Delta flight that left from Newark, New Jersey at 7:10am on September 11th, and was scheduled to fly from New Jersey to San Francisco with a stop in Salt Lake City –is almost identical to the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. That United Airlines flight left Newark, New Jersey at 8:01am,and was headed for San Francisco as well. It was the exact same flight, just a different airline company, and left half-an-hour after mine. That’s fucking close.

            I’m not going to end this story with a rant, or some political propaganda…..but I will say this. On September 12th, 2001 the entire fucking WORLD was on Americas side. They saw what we went through, and would have done ANYTHING to help us out. The entire planet saw the drama, and tragedy that took place involving close to three-thousand innocent civilians. But look at us now. One, two, now three years later the world hates us. We’ve taken a bad situation and made it worse. Every fucking country in the world was with us, and now it seems like we’ve alienated them all. Sometimes I think we forget who the real enemy is. Anyhow, that’s enough…..I hope you all enjoyed my story….

            And you were hoping it was a story about me and a couple hookers in Vegas weren’t you?                      

Steven Spielberg Movies Suck

Steven Spielberg is the McDonalds of the movie industry; rot-gut, fast food entertainment at its most saturated and over-processed. Spielberg movies are baked and boiled down to their bare essentials and marinated in fatty ego and Hollywood excess; they are then robbed of any vital nutrients, minerals or mental nourishment by being replaced with flash (CGI,) sizzle (sex,) and pizzazz (violence.)  Like a hollow chocolate Easter bunny, Spielberg’s movies look delicious on the outside, but once the credits start to roll – you feel the familiar sting of falling for the Hollywood hype machine again. 

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve seen this brand new movie before? As in the pacing, structure and characters always seem to be vaguely familiar? It’s because you have seen this movie before. In fact, you’ve seen it many times before. The typical Hollywood script machine has big-budget films written down to the FUCKING page numbers; with a guaranteed formula that sort of works, almost 100% of the time. 

Take for instance the typical villain in a film – why does he always have to do something bad the first time we see him? And by the end of the movie, why does the protagonist always have to learn a lesson about himself /overcome some kind of struggle (whether that be internal or external.) Sure, some of this “cycle-of-the-hero” structure is as old as Greek mythology; but that just highlights how lazy and unoriginal film making has gotten since the 80’s. And it was Steven Spielberg that created and exploited this billion dollar Hollywood formula almost completely on his own. There would be no Michael Bay excess, IMAX greed or reboots of remakes of prequels if it wasn’t for this “perfect storm” of movie studio blockbusters. The safety net is gone. Big film companies don’t want to risk financing a movie that could fail and instead chose to invest their millions into films that are carbon copies of earlier films with recycled parts from older scripts that were a success.

 This typical Hollywood script formula has been perfected and reused countless times; starting with Jaws, E.T. and Indiana Jones. These “Summer Blockbusters” continue to this day with Spielberg produced franchise projects like Back to the Future, Men in Black and Transformers. Now we have a plethora of watered-down, PG-13, fun for kids/entertaining for adults, toy line ready, formulaic Frankenstein movies with a stranglehold on the market. GI Joe, the Amazing Spiderman, John Carter, Battleship, Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Caribbean. All of these movies want to grow up to be like Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which is like saying you want to grow up to be Ryan Seacrest; boring, androgynous and whatever the movie studio owners want you to be.

Whatever happened to taking a risk? To trying something that might fail? Whatever happened to creating something simply for the fact of expression - instead of expecting financial and critical acclaim? I get the movie business is a business that operates for profit – but you know what would make even MORE money than rehashing the same tired movie formulas over and over again? Creating something genuinely original. Merging our technological advances with CGI and storytelling to pave a brave new world in the movie industry.  Spielberg redefined the art of film making at the beginning of his career – but he’s since gotten sloppy and complacent.  (Much like his counterpart George Lucas, who hated the establishment and the big studio attitude of Hollywood in the 70’s – only to become that very thing he hated after his success with Star Wars.) Let’s not reward studio executives with our money when they refuse to create original content. As a collective, if we continue to support lazy film making than this will be the standard by which Hollywood gauges success; box office returns as opposed to artistic merit.

Now I’m not suggesting that we take to the streets and burn our collective DVD copies of “Hook” or “Minority Report” – but just be aware of what you’re putting into your system. All those mindless hours of brain-rot entertainment are like empty calories stored right to your gut. There’s a price to be paid for not exercising good decisions and we allow and condone the movie industry to continually expand and bloat financially when we support shitty films. America, we’re better than this.

The Case for Satan's Birthday

Every year, as late summer slowly turns into fall and winter; a national zeitgeist occurs. It seems that families in Boise and across the nation have hardly put away their Halloween costumes before those large, ominous lights slowly encompass the (literal and non-literal) landscape. It seems that “christmas time” comes earlier and earlier every year – with the uncompromising guarantee of unrelenting stress, material obligations and empty calories.

This year I’ll be celebrating something a little more unique than the birth of jesus on December 25; I’m celebrating satan’s birthday. Now, I’m sure I speak for most free thinkers when I don’t recognize satan as an actual being (horns, pitchforks, eternal damnation; that’s so middle ages….) Instead, I imagine satan as an analogy for human nature. Pleasure, luxury, idleness…..The antithesis of following outdated and questionable commandments that are at best a waste of park space and at worst a waste of tree. Figuratively, I imagine satan in the same way that Anton LaVey imagined satan; as an ultimate gentleman. “He’s the best friend the church has ever had,” said the notorious founder of the church of satan “he’s kept the church in business all these years.” And isn’t it about time we tipped our hats to this mascot of indulgence?

To the religious - christmas is about the acknowledgment of their savior; but in practice christmas is a supposed self-less time to share with thy neighbor (and of course thy department store Santa.) Christmas is about giving to charity, giving to your kids and giving of your time to work functions. When you boil it down, jesus’ birthday is nothing but a drain – physically, emotionally, financially (and if you believe in this kind of stuff) spiritually. Pretty lame all in all – and christmas is supposed to be a celebration? From here on out, I’m promoting a holiday for selfishness. A holiday that requires nothing but relaxation and the exploitation of our human nature. Giving of oneself is overrated and underappreciated; take some time off for yourself. Trust me; you need it more than you think you do.

So let the rest of the neighborhood waste their weekends putting up christmas lights, let your dopey friends spend their evenings at boring holiday parties - and feel free to spend your hard earned money on gifts for people that you don’t even like; but as for me, I’ll be spending this holiday season napping in the afternoons, cooking for myself in the evenings and wrapping my own presents for christmas morning….And I’m sure that I speak for Lucifer himself when I say that this is exactly the way that he would want his birthday celebrated; selfishly.