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Movies I’ve Sneen: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

J.J. Abrams, along with writers Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci, thought they were being clever by using the imagery of Star Trek's flagship, the Enterprise, crashing and burning.
J.J. Abrams thought he was being clever by using the imagery of Star Trek‘s flagship, the Enterprise, crashing and burning.

At the end of an interview in TIME back in April, LeVar Burton was asked what he thought of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Burton replied that he was eager to see Into Darkness, but added that he wants “to see what it is [Abrams] wants to talk about. Star Trek’s always about something. What’s J.J. trying to say? That’s what I’m very interested in discovering.” [Emphasis his.]

At the time, Abrams had already wasted 127 minutes of Star Trek, all of which had signified nothing. It was an origin movie for ordinary people. Kirk came from a broken home. Spock also had a difficult childhood. Uhura probably had a cold, distant father, sending her into emo-Spock’s arms. A random Romulan named Nero lost his family and used his future tech to destroy Vulcan. All in all, it was no different than the latest Wolverine film: a lot of noise and shouting and action movie justifications for killing each other.

So, Geordi threw down the gauntlet: given another 132 minutes, would J.J. Abrams finally use Star Trek to say something? No. He didn’t.

Before we get into the meat of this review, let me state two things in advance:

1. There will be spoilers. Abrams cheated. He intentionally made a film so full of twists — and entirely devoid of actual plot and character development — that to “spoil” those twists would ruin what little movie remains. This is why every review so far written is limited in details: by making all of stupid parts of the movie out-of-bounds as “spoilers,” this brain-dead blockbuster with Star Trek characters is essentially unassailable.

10 PRINT "Worst." 20 PRINT "Movie." 30 PRINT "Ever." 40 GOTO 10
10 PRINT “Worst.”
20 PRINT “Movie.”
30 PRINT “Ever.”
40 GOTO 10

2. I know who I sound like. I get it, man, trust me. I’m fully aware that this is gonna read like, as Adam Frazier from Geeks of Doom put it, a “die-hard bellyacher,” using my “TI-83 scientific calculator to formulate all the ways Abrams has ruined [my] favorite franchise by making it fun, fast-paced, and watchable.”

And Adam (who is a friend) would be absolutely right … had he not just written not one, but two articles about Iron Man 3: the first to explain why he’s not mad, just disappointed, and the second to present how he would have written it. Truly, a better example of the lantern calling the arrow green has never been written.

(Also, his movie would have been the better Iron Man 3, which is why you should always take the expert’s opinion over a casual fan’s. After all, would you trust a vegetarian’s review of a steakhouse?)

So, where to begin? How about this: Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan.

I told you that there would be spoilers. And now that you know that J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof (Cowboys & Aliens, Prometheus), and Roberto Orci (Transformers, all you need to know) couldn’t write a Star Trek Too: Look Who’s Trekkin’ Now without making it a retread of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Do you see why this spoiler is the only thing that makes the review worthwhile? I mean, if you can’t name your villain without spoiling the whole damn movie, then it’s pretty damn flimsy.

Not only does this movie attempt to retcon the only Star Trek movie that fans and non-fans agree on as being the best Star Trek movie ever made, it does so through role-reversal. In Soviet Russia’s Star Trek, Khan fights side-by-side with Kirk, Kirk dies to restart the Enterprise’s warp core, and Spock screams “KHAAAAAAAAN!”

Look at it! Look at it! This is the new "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" moment in cinema.
Look at it. Look at it. This is the new “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” moment in cinema.
"Can I cook or can't I?" If Carol Marcus can't cook, then she can, at the very least, breastfeed now.
“Can I cook or can’t I?” If Dr. Carol Marcus can’t cook, then she can, at the very least, breastfeed now.

Oh, and Carol Marcus is back, but younger, bustier, and as a torpedo specialist — indicating that this writing team missed the whole point of WoK‘s Project Genesis: to create living, habitable worlds. She now sneaks aboard the Enterprise due to Daddy Issues. No, really. I wish this were all satire and that, really, I want to blow your mind the way Abrams thought he would by giving Dr. Marcus a fake last name. But, no. This is an actual movie that was actually made.

I could go into the plot and why Kirk and Khan start out on the same side and then end up fighting each other, but you know what? You, I, and even Original Universe Spock (played once again by Leonard Nimoy, who got dragged into the make-up trailer for a quick video conference) already know that Khan is evil, so why bother?

"Unlike the cruel Roddenberry, who demanded that you think, I require only that you kneel."
“Unlike the cruel Roddenberry, who demanded that you think, I require only that you kneel.”

And that’s the main question for the writers, on whom I’m heaping all of the scorn I can muster: why even bother? There’s some bullshit about 9/11 (followed by a dedication at the end so you can’t critique how ineptly they wrote it),  and Peter Weller is trying to militarize Starfleet against the Klingons who look like Xerxes from 300 now.

The worst part, though, is that the movie starts off so promising. It opens with the scene we all know from the trailers: Kirk and McCoy on an away mission that has gone to hell. They’re on the run from a pre-warp alien culture because the aliens want to kill them and the Prime Directive means they’re not allowed to reason with them. Spock, in the meantime, is ready to die to stop the volcano that’s about to destroy their world so that those aliens will never know. This is the Trek that the end of 2009’s Star Trek promised us. And it lasts for all of 15 minutes.

After that humdinger of an opening, Star Trek Into Darkness descends into dumbness faster than the long, drawn out crash into Earth at the end. Kirk loses his command. Chris Pike lives through the first movie to die in the second, which is still better than being a vegetable in a chair … or will he back in Star Trek to Three or not to Three?! (Yeah, I’m saying it: even the title sucks, and that’s a hell of an achievement in a franchise that includes Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis.)

"Captain, stay down. I'll get you some of Khan's blood and save you." "Spock, you know that there's, like, 72 other superhumans already frozen in sick bay, right?"
“Captain, stay down. I’ll get you some of Khan’s blood and save you.”
“Spock, you know that there’s, like, 72 other superhumans already frozen in sick bay, right?”

J.J. Abrams admitted years ago that he was not a Star Trek fan. What he is a fan of? Delivering mediocre adaptations of other people’s work to sell popcorn. And it’s been downhill. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was one of the better Mission Impossible movies (he said, knowing that somewhere online, there is a MI fan as pissed off as I am at STID and Frasier at IM3.) Super 8 was Abrams’ best attempt at something Spielberg hasn’t done since the 1980s: writing a movie about children that makes adults wish they were that age again. Sure, it was cheesy and felt like someone else’s homework at times, but it was still good. Star Trek was better than I expected.* But, the red matter and basic errors indicated that he was getting lazy.

*Full disclosure: I walked into the 2009 Star Trek expecting it to suck. That’s not just because it was an adaptation of the original series. It’s mostly because, as a Star Trek fan, I know that Star Trek movies are always hit or miss. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is as boring as it is literally titled. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock only exists because Nimoy wanted out of the series … until WoK was a success. IV is goofy and fun. V is proof that, although they didn’t find the real God at the center of the galaxy, he does exist and is angry at us … but, I digress. Point is, I was delightfully surprised. This time though?

Abrams made the kind of movie he is a fan of: Star Wars. And so it’s probably for the best that now he’s making those films … or is it?

What’s to stop Abrams to decide that the problem with Star Wars is everything you love about it? That what it needs is more mass appeal and to dumb things down for the kids that weren’t around 30 years ago when the original series was made. That’s exactly the mentality that went into the Star Wars prequels, and that was by the guy who invented them in the first place, the person they should have been safest with.

I’m a Star Trek fan, and I’m a Star Wars fan. And I can say that, after seeing Star Trek get turned into a dumb action movie — complete with a rooftop fight on a flying train something or other — I don’t trust Abrams with Star Wars. And neither should you.

"I'm gonna throw you off this train!" "No! I'm gonna throw you off this train!"
“Get off this train!”
“No! You get off this train!”

In the end, Star Trek Into Darkness promises that the U.S.S. Enterprise’s five-year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before, starts now. For real this time. No, really. Even though they already found tribbles and Harry Mudd, this is where real Star Trek begins!

Yeah, we’ll see.

Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Recap Sucks

"Thrones made of swords? How do they even work?"
“Thrones made of swords? How do they even work?”

When the Insane Clown Posse reemerged a couple of years ago back into relevance with their music video, “Miracles,” they pondered everyday miracles like “Magnets/how do they even work?” Everyone, of course, laughed, because the answer to how magnets work is documented in books or, if your bookshelves are doused in Faygo, a Wikipedia search away.

What a pair of illiterate morons, right? I mean, who treats something that has been documented in written word for some time now like it’s an unsolvable, unknowable mystery?

That would be pretty much everyone writing Game of Thrones recaps.

Does that seem harsh? Hit the jump to find out exactly why your Monday morning link bait is terrible, and you’re terrible (with notable exceptions) for writing it.

First off, no, I’m not talking about everyone who posts a weekly recap of Game of Thrones after each new episode airs on HBO. I’m not even mad if you haven’t read the books. But, if you’re writing a recap for the sake of guessing what happens next in the series and, even worse, get upset if somebody mentions in the comments — that you asked for — what happens in a book published in 2000 (A Storm of Swords, which is where Season 3 is at) … then we’ve got a problem.

I’m gonna back up a bit. Let’s say that you aren’t a complete idiot and know how to look up magnets to find out how they work. Instead, let’s say you’ve just watched Peter Jackson’s first of three Hobbit movies, but you never read J.R.R. Tolkein’s book.

What are you going to write about? You can’t write about the ending because Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas decided to stretch The Hobbit across three films and pad it with scenes written from Tolkein’s notes and Lord of the Rings appendices. But, you can’t even discern which scenes are “new” material because it’s all new to you.

As far as you’re concerned, it’s a work in progress. To everyone who actually gives a shitt about a book that was published all the way back in 1937, however, you are an idiot, especially when you wonder and/or try to guess what happens next. If you’re really that interested in whether any of the dwarves die, then the answer already exists. You just have to read a book that is very easy to read. (Or even look it up on Wikipedia if you’re that lazy.)

Of course, Tolkein’s not for everyone. Nearly everyone, however, has read Harry Potter. Except for me.

That’s not entirely true. I read almost all of the books except the last one, which I started and after several chapters of whining in tents, put it down and decided I just didn’t care enough; I’d wait for the damn movie. (It’s OK not to care. It’s never OK to pretend to care when you absolutely don’t.)

But, I sure as hell wasn’t about to write a recap for each installment of The Deathly Hallows. I knew better than to guess which characters live and died in the second half, or to take odds. Why? Because I don’t like to revel in illiteracy.

I can fully admit that I didn’t read a book. And why not? It’s not like I didn’t read other books. Or that I was worried about having the ending spoiled for me because, if I truly cared enough that I needed to see Voldemort die in context, I would have fucking read it.

Or, you can ignore all of this and write about Game of Thrones anyway, demonstrating that ignorance is no obstacle to holding an opinion. Just be aware that I may have Photoshopped juggalo makeup over your byline pic.

Razing Hope

Oh, hello there. I didn’t see you come to this Web site since that’s not really a thing you can see … or even hear since the dial-up days. Also, because I’m busy at work in my lair.

So my lair may be a little unfinished right now. But, it will only take a couple of miles of jack-hammering before it’s a volcano lair.
So my lair may be a little unfinished right now. But, it will only take a couple of miles of jack-hammering before it’s a volcano lair.

Why do I have a lair? Well, when I’m not writing fart jokes or pretending to be a doctor, I have a day job. And when I’m not at that day job, I put on a cowl and practice arch-evil. I guess you could say I’m a part-time villain.

I’d like to say that I’m pretty good at villainy — for an amateur, that is. But, no matter how many shrink rays I invent or monologues I write, I’ll never be able to quit my day and blogging jobs because I’m hopelessly outmatched by the Republican party.

Yes, I mean that the Republican party (or GOP) are twice the villains I could ever hope to be. And I don’t mean that because I’m a registered Democrat. On the contrary, as a practicing villain who aspires to one day destroy the world, I consider it my duty to vote Republican as often as possible. Here’s why: Continue reading Razing Hope

Looking Away from Addiction

Playstation, you are my home school.
Playstation, you are my home school.

White people, especially white men, love us some history. (I phrased it that way so I won’t get sued by Stuff White People Like, which is nearly 50 years old now in Internet time.)

Why do we love history so much? Mostly because it’s about us, and holy crap were we the victors. Reviewing our history is figuratively like watching our very own sports highlight reel, which is literally something we haven’t been able to do since Jackie Robinson. Even when the history involved white people doing bad things, it was usually another white person that set it right.

This is why the History channel cut to the chase years ago and started serving up a hodgepodge of

  • World War II, when white people stopped the whitest people from killing what were considered at the time less whiter people.
  • Aliens. Specifically white (or very pale gray) aliens abducting white people.
  • The Bible, as presented in Monocolor. (Not that New World Edition with Black Jesus, mind you.)
  • Alaska, pawn shops and swamps because, dammit, you go where the white people are, OK?

There’s only one historical topic that white people love more than any other, and that is the U.S. Civil War. It’s a fact: non-white students are allowed to cite any white person in the bibliography of their Civil War papers up to their Master’s program, and it counts for full credit!

So, where does this zeal come from? It’s not like it’s particularly complimentary to white history, what with slavery and all. Yet, we can’t stop flying the Confederate flag even in 2013.

In the VA’s defense, they did fly two out of three actual Confederate national flags, and according to that old honkey spiritual, “two out of three ain’t bad.”
In the VA’s defense, they did fly two out of three actual Confederate national flags, and according to that old honkey spiritual, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

For instance: a Veterans Affairs hospital in Virginia took down their Confederate flags when a black patient complained, discharged him two weeks early for his PTSD treatment and then put the flags right back up as soon as he was safely out the door. Even though he’s not the only patient to complain — and although VA Medical Center at Hot Springs only treated Union soldiers during the war — that hospital needed those Confederate flags.

Or when North Carolina displayed a Confederate flag in the statehouse to “historically” reenact what it would have looked like in 1863, it didn’t matter that they weren’t even flying the flag that would have flown in the statehouse in 1863. Sure, the Confederate flag you and I know wasn’t really the CSA flag in 1863 or any other time, but they needed to fly that flag.

North Carolinians insist they did all the requisite research into the what they say is the Confederate flag by looking at paintings by old white dudes at crafts shows.
North Carolinians insist they did all the requisite research into the what they say is the Confederate flag by looking at paintings by old white dudes at crafts shows.
Well, if The Dublin Citizen, an actual Texas newspaper says it’s Racist 4-20, then it must be true!
Well, if The Dublin Citizen — an actual Texas newspaper — says it’s Racist 4-20, then it must be true!

Or when Commanche County, Texas pretends that April is Confederate History Month just to fly the flag over its courthouse. Even for just a month, they need to fly it.

Or Brad Paisley, the country music star who can’t go to Starbucks without wearing a Confederate flag: he claims that he doesn’t know it’s racist, even though he sang a whole song about why he kind of knows it is.  Even still, he needs to wear that flag.

This isn’t zeal. What we’re really talking about here is addiction.

And you can’t just ask white people to quit the Civil War cold turkey. Especially the Confederacy. If Civil War addiction is pot (every gets into it for a little while when they’re young), then the need to fly the Confederate flag is like crack cocaine or heroin: it’s harder to quit because all the things that make it worse for you also make the high better.

You cannot beat the high white people get from the Confederacy. Imagine: it’s American history plus war, facial hair and the idea that, given the chance, it could happen again, only with the whiter people winning this time! This is the purest mountain of white stuff that skydiving, bungie jumping or any other extreme sport or ideology can’t top.

It’s why the VA Medical Center at Hot Springs could barely shoo Desert Storm veteran Craig DeMouchette out the door to get another sweet, sweet hit of Confederacy. Who cares if his PTSD — which he’s apparently had since at least 1991 — is cured, right?

The VA printed this certificate for DeMouchette’s record-setting recovery from PTSD because they can’t legally give awards for “instilling white guilt, however temporary.”
The VA printed this certificate for DeMouchette’s record-setting recovery from PTSD because they can’t legally give awards for “instilling white guilt, however temporary.”

Or why North Carolina can’t help relapsing over and over again. Maybe it’s because they’re still hanging out with South Carolina, which has had their own Confederate flag troubles since at least 2003.

“What’s the big deal, mom? Caitlyn’s dad said it’s OK.”
“What’s the big deal, mom? Caitlyn’s dad said it’s OK.”

And why towns in Texas invented the equivalent of “4-20 Day,” thinking that would make it suddenly OK to fly the Confederate flag in public if “everyone’s doing it.”

Even Brad Paisley’s caffeine addiction can’t overpower his need for a CSA fix. (Although it appears his sponsor, LL Cool J, and accompanying permissive attitude isn’t doing Paisley any favors.)

And that’s why white people know so much about the U.S. Civil War and yet, really, so little about it. It’s like getting medical marijuana facts from your local pot head. Sure, we know where it was grown and what THC stands for, but we’ll act (sometimes genuinely) surprised when anybody mention that smoking it will give us cancer the same way inhaling smoke from enough cigarettes or car fires will. (It’s also coincidentally why the State’s Rights argument gets recycled to defend smokers from anti-smoking laws. Or when the Man tries to limit how many car tires you can light on fire in a place of business.)

So, how do we cure this addiction? By preventing young people from getting hooked when they eventually learn about the Civil War. Through education, we can teach a generation that, while wearing gray uniforms and marching through fields for tourists may look like fun, that those uniforms are facsimiles of ones made by slaves for their masters. Or how most of those re-enactors probably hate themselves and would quit if they hadn’t put so much time and money into their historically accurate waistcoats.

In short, we have to expose young people to the ugliness of the U.S. Civil War — and Civil War addiction — to break the cycle. And then, maybe in another 50 years, we can start the debate over again when white Southerners try to fly the segregationist flag (or the actual flag these idiots keep trying to fly right now) during their centennial reenactments of the March to Selma.


Originally posted on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Ask Dr. Snee: Overcoming Your Shortcomings

“It was tiny, and it looked like this!”
“It was tiny, and it looked like this!”

I always wondered if women really cared about, you know, size, and it turns out that they totally do! I’m not exactly the biggest guy around, so what do I do now?
Paul, but Fierce

Whether it’s a big penis or big set of “projecting lateral tubercles,” the ladies are all about size, Paul. It’s what put the “selective” in “selective breeding,” like picking out the least warty cucumber that can also feed a family of four.

Why do I bring up evolution? Because, thanks to earlier generations of size queens, your four-inch potato masher is still one of the comparatively largest members in the animal kingdom. (I’m not sure why I specified animal kingdom. It’s not like there are plant species receiving offers for free underwear.)

Of course, in some plants’ cases, it’s only because they don’t have the requisite legs to wear Jockey’s.
Of course, in some plants’ cases, it’s only because they don’t have the requisite legs to wear Jockey’s.

Even in the study in question, the women appraised naked men’s bodies with flaccid penises and, on average, liked the way a three-inch soft penis (♪ warm penis, little balls of ♫ … but, I digress) looked. So, still not that big, and we’re not exactly talking about playing conditions here, where functionality actually matters.

But, let’s not forget that women were appraising men’s bodies overall. So, proportion counts here, too. Taller men had to have bigger penises for higher ratings because, when you put a hot dog in a sub roll, it just looks like less meat. And more fit men rated higher, period, with penis-size just sorting out who got picked first for skins-on-skins wrestling and who got picked second.

So, what do you do?

“Call me a baby dick, bro! I f**king dare you!”
“Call me a baby dick, bro! I f**king dare you!”

1. Work out. You can’t control your height or penis size … well, to clarify, you can’t control your height or penis size without weird Frankenstein scars. But, you can somewhat control what your body looks like. Plus, leaner guys’ peeners stick out more, which is why celebrated Renaissance artists called the penis the cheek bones of the pelvis.

2. Turn your junk into another man’s treasure. With the right ornamentation, you can make your smaller penis more attractive or even appear bigger. For instance, try incorporating it into a tattoo. You can try a little drop-shadowing to give the illusion of greater size and girth, or just make it prettier and more female-friendly by tattooing still shots from Girls or Ryan Reynolds’ abs on it.

3. Date smaller women. One of the more interesting factors was the women doing the appraising. Women with larger body mass indexes preferred larger penises, either because they are more likely to fill them up (which doesn’t make much sense — outer dimensions have as little bearing on vaginal depth and width as it does on penis size) or because they’re hungrier.

But, to a tiny woman, apparently a shrimp can look like a tiger prawn. That is to say: bigger, but c’mon, we’re still talking about adult human proportions here, with an emphasis on “adult.” (To state it outright: don’t date children.)

So, there you go, Paul. I wouldn’t worry too much about your penis size. After all, even the smallest dick still gets paid more than the average woman for the same work. By looking for small victories, we can overcome all of life’s shortcomings.


†Although I maintain that evolution is a lie, I’m willing to use any theory, no matter how satanic, to make my dick look bigger. And this ability makes me the biggest dick of them all. Go Back


Rick Snee is not, in any way, a licensed medical professional or an actor that plays one on television. His only qualifications are high school and college biology (101 and 102), reading Men’s Health (2001-2003), and a systematic exposure to almost all health hazards (1981-present), but no medical training whatsoever. He’s just really opinionated, which is good enough for blogging. To submit yer own questions to Dr. Snee, Guynecologist, post comments below or email the good doctor.


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Cleaning Out the Language Gutters 2013

Just like a picture of mouths, these words don’t say a damn thing.
Just like a picture of mouths, these words don’t say a damn thing.

According to a count performed by Google and Harvard in 2010, there were 1,022,000 words in the English language with an estimated 8,500 words added each year. The average speaker, however, only knows anywhere from 12,000 to 21,000 words. And though that still seems like a lot, we manage to mangle, twist and abuse certain words until they not only lose their original meaning, but appear to have lost all meaning whatsoever.

If these words were leaves, they would have directly bypassed being dried out and brittle, lying on the ground for any old user to pick up and twirl around. Instead, they were deposited into the gutter and, through overuse, become a moldy, muddy, indecipherable goop that prevents the language from moving forward.

They are the words people resort to when they actually have nothing to say, usually when “you’re having just too much fun” or when it’s time to define insanity for everyone all over again. (This phrase, that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is both the definition and cause of my own insanity.)

That is why, every couple of years, I contract myself out to the English language, cleaning out this meaningless morass in hopes that those who resort to them will find new words. (Or say nothing at all.) Here’s what I found in the gutters for 2013.

Diva

Look at her. All menstruating into a cup like she owns the damn place.
Look at her. All menstruating into a cup like she owns the damn place.

Original Definition: A prima donna, which is either the lead singer of an opera or a bitch who refuses to work under direction or with a team. This has evolved to also apply to glamorous female pop stars. It is literally the Italian word for “goddess,” so that should indicate just how much baggage this term comes with. (Which you’re carrying, by the way.)

Current Meaning: A woman.

For a word with such a negative meaning, it’s bizarre that anyone would want to call themselves a diva. Perhaps it was originally appropriated by strong women who, after being called one, decided to show those peasants what a bitch really looks like.

Now, however? It’s something inside of every woman, waiting to be unearthed through zumba classes, New Age Christian bullshit and “having it all.” Divas are known to eat chocolate, drink wine, own a set of ovaries and pretty much anything else that women say they enjoy to avoid arousing suspicions at their secret diva meetings.

Basically, if there are as many divas on Earth as licence plates on Mazda Miatas claim, then we are living in a new glorious age of modern Roman mythology.

Inspiration

Inspirational “quotes” to help you accomplish “things” … Sounds legit.
Inspirational “quotes” to help you accomplish “things” … Sounds legit.

Original Definition: The act of influencing or suggesting opinions to others, often by implied divine means. Also, to breathe in, because what isn’t more inspirational than living between exhales?

Current Definition: Anything you read, hear, see or talk about with someone other than your cats … Actually, you know what? Fuck that. Pets are inspirational, too.

Because we’ve set the threshold for achievement so low, it takes even less effort to be inspired or inspirational. Related to divas above, it took originally nothing short of the work of a god to get your ass up and working on a work.

And we’re not talking about putting together a spreadsheet or mowing the lawn types of work — those don’t require emotion. (Well, except when you do either passive-aggressively. Then I suppose resentment is an emotion.) No, inspiration is supposed to spur creativity, not why you put margarine on your bagel instead of cream cheese so you can lose some weight.

To put this simply: if your dad inspired you to go into accounting, then either your dad is considered by his peers as the Greatest Accountant of All Time …

all-time

… or you have mistaken inspiration with the cruel machinations of fate and its hereditary nature. Which do you think is more likely?

Delicacy

Original Definition: Food that is considered rare or luxurious. Other uses imply that one appreciates this food due to their refined and discriminating taste.

Current Meaning: Weird food that you’re too lazy to explain to disgusted people.

While, yes, caviar, lobster and foie gras are all disgusting when you really think about them, they originally earned this distinction by being expensive and rare. And even that was sort of manufactured because lobster was at one point so common (in both abundance and taste) that servants had to beg not to eat it more than three times a week and serving it to prisoners more than once a week was considered cruel and unusual punishment.

So, we don’t get to call hot dogs or horse meat delicacies just because it’s easier than actually learning why people eat it. Andrew Zimmern doesn’t get to explain away his abhorrent internal food hording by claiming everything he eats is a delicacy. If rooster balls are such a rare commodity, then how come farmers get to be choosy about which ones they use to make future chickens? The same goes with any animal we’ve devised a spray to destroy en masse, like snails, ants and pigeons. (What? You don’t spray the pigeons in your yard with wasp spray?)

And serving the most commonly eaten meat in the world, only in juvenile form, isn’t a delicacy. It’s the cuisine equivalent of pederasty.
And serving the most commonly eaten meat in the world, only in juvenile form, isn’t a delicacy. It’s the cuisine equivalent of pederasty.

Taking any food out of its traditional context doesn’t make it a delicacy. It just makes it weird and exotic. And stuffing two other ordinary animals into yet another ordinary animal (looking your way, turducken) isn’t the brain child of the finest culinary mind. It’s what happens when a frustrated chef snaps at home whenever he asks his wife what she wants for dinner and she responds, “I don’t know.”

If you have to describe your country’s food habits as delicacies to foreigners, then it’s time to admit that, really, you’ll eat anything. And maybe that’s why this word has merely replaced “decadence,” because ‘splaining the Doritos Locos Taco wastes valuable eatin’ time.


This post originally appeared on SerioulsyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Marriage is Older Than the Earth

downright-normalIt seems like that in 2013 — when gay men and lesbians can serve openly, vote Republican, and shame the president into supporting same-sex marriage after his vice president does so on television — that the argument over California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be long over.

But, in both laws’ cases, conservative Christians can’t let the old arguments go. They’re so dogged to prove that they wrote the book on marriage that, when the governments responsible for defending each bigoted law in court refused to do so, they had to hire their own lawyers.*

So, for the fourth time (counting when Prop 8 was originally on the ballot in 2008), we get to hear the same old, tired arguments from people who believe that God tolerates child soldiers but hates it when two men or two women register at Bed Bath & Beyond.

For instance: did you know that God created marriage? There are only three problems with this idea:

1. According to biblical scholars, God didn’t create the Earth until 6000 years ago, man six days sooner than that and marriage however-many-days-it-took-Adam-to-name-every-plant-and-animal-in-Eden sooner than that.

“What’s that, Debbie Deer? You know what I can do with this erection?”
“What’s that, Debbie Deer? You know what I can do with this erection?”

Marriage or standardized monogamy, however, originated anywhere from 20,000 to 4 million years ago, depending on whose genetic research we go by.

2. Even if we give conservative Christians the benefit of the doubt that they’re not all being silly Young Earth Creationists, Judaism (the original movie that many would argue was better than the sequel) is only 3000 years old. So, when it comes to marriage, you didn’t build that. Somebody else’s God (or lack thereof) built that.

“I fucking love science!”
“I fucking love science!”

3. And, for the sake of argument, let’s say that all of the geological and genetic research was fooled by Satan burying fake bones deep in the Earth, and marriage really is as old as God deciding his human needed another human the way we justify adopting another cat. So what?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2,326,000 weddings in 2001 alone (excluding Louisiana for some reason). And in the 18 states that track marriage, more than 40 percent of those were performed in a civil, or non-religious, ceremony.

And of those 60 percent that were outright religious ceremonies? At least a few of them were conducted in accordance with the doctrine of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shinto, Wiccan, Pagan, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and countless other religions that certainly aren’t in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and some of them predate both.

“Jesus, not even as a bridesmaid?”
“Jesus, not even as a bridesmaid?”

So, if the Judeo-Christian god invented marriage, he was probably only invited to a slim majority of U.S. weddings. Whether his patent on marriage expired, or he never had one to begin with, it is clear that marriage in America is neither based the Bible, nor has it ever been in accordance with the establishment clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Besides, if it were based on the Bible, then wouldn’t more of us be married to our arranged wives, brother’s widows and rape victims? (We sure as hell wouldn’t be divorcing and remarrying so much.)

And, hey, if you think I’m cherry-picking ridiculous ideas to refute, then I’d love to hear your rational, well-thought-out reason why same-sex marriage is wrong.


*In the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, California’s Proposition 8, which amended their state constitution to permit marriage only between a man and a woman, is being defended by the political activist group and the non-profit organization that wrote the bill and collected signatures to put it on the ballot. And in United States v. Windsor, DOMA is being defended by the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, who were put on the case by Republican members.


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Consume like a Man

I call Mario Lopez for my hovel-mate ... and birthing partner.
I call Mario Lopez for my hovel-mate … and birthing partner.

For the past several years, writers from Fox News to the rest of the media have said that (straight) American men are dying out … or less hysterically, we’re falling behind as a gender. We’re less likely to graduate from college, hold a white-collar job or follow the convoluted familial relations in Once Upon a Time. And now, with advances in reproductive technology and unwanted third world children, we’re not even needed for our seed.

Fortunately, there’s one segment of the population that still needs men: shitty entrepreneurs whose ideas were terrible to begin with or forgot to market to the hairier half of the U.S. population.

This is the story of the resulting products. Get shopping, men, or I shall surely meet you in District XY, where will be kept until we evolve the means to reproduce, Jurassic Park-style.

Brogurt

It’s a known fact that the female half of the population are like aquariums and can’t poop unless they eat bacteria every time they change their yogurt out for the day. However, the other, maler half poops all the time, sometimes when thinking too hard about math.

It's how we figured out the formula for sending humans to the moon in a dong that farts fire.
It’s how we figured out the formula for sending humans to the moon in a dong that farts fire.

So, how do you sell Greek yogurt to men? Well, if there’s one market aimed squarely at Internet Tough Guys and middle aged divorcés, it’s the fitness industry. Put the emphasis on “Greek” by slapping some 300 abs on the box and declaring it “powerful.”

Boom! Your stomach is in the ESPN Zone!
Boom! Your stomach is in the ESPN Zone!

And that’s how you make yogurt the perfect meal for isocarbolating your pecs on chest day. It’s part of a balanced workout along with your Red Army kettle ball set and myriad of forearm flexer-uppers.

Nadscrubbers

Fact: Men will buy anything shaped like an athletic supporter.
Fact: Men will buy anything shaped like an athletic supporter.

Not only can’t women poop without probiotic bacteria, but they also can’t naturally shed their skin cells. Much like bears, they need special scrubbers called loofahs to scrape the dead cells away, or they will die. Or itch. Whatever.

Men, on the other hand, didn’t even know that epidermal gangrene was a problem. That is, not until AXE realized that their douche spray was easily counteracted with over-the-counter soap. It worried the executive bro-scientists at Unilever that, for the five minutes between showering and applying AXE Body Spray, there was a window of opportunity for a hypothetical woman in your bathroom to say, “Hey, Irish Spring smells much better.”

While the fitness crowd has been sneaking loofahs into the showers since the Ironhead days, how do you reach dudes that are more into first person shooters, Madden and racing games? By calling it the Axe Detailer Shower Tool. Now it sounds like what Paul Walker and Vin Diesel soap each other up with between takes in the latest Faster, Furiouser movie.

Man Candles

Oh, and did I mention that the brogurt makes men poop, too? The makers of Powerful Yogurt really did just relabel Greek yogurt, probiotics and all. (It may be part of an agreement every other nation made to kickstart Greece’s economy again.)

There are some things that soap will never clean, like air. And matches don’t burn long enough to cover up a Jamie Lee Curtis. If only men could buy candles. If only …

Hey, look: Yankee Candle thought they could fill an untapped market niche without doing any actual research about what men would like to smell.

"Or to other hu-man types. For instance: the fe-males of y-- I mean, our shared species."
“Or to other hu-man types. For instance: the fe-males of y– I mean, our shared species.”

The creatively named Man Candles come in the scents of sawdust, football equipment, cheap aftershave and blistering yard work.

Two of the scents, “2X4” and “Riding Mower” are the world’s most passive-aggressive reminder for men to get to work around the house. And the other two, “Man Town” and “First Down” were clearly ripped off from some old gay porno mags left in the warehouse the company bought in the 1970s.

Out of the three products in this post, the Yankee Candle Company’s cynical attempt to sell women’s products to men says the most about our gender’s future. If we really want to succeed, then maybe it’s time to take a cue from women and buy the things that define success. Or, at the very least, make purchases that are measurable on our corporate betters’ quarterly reports so that they’ll keep giving us income.


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys and HumorOutcasts.

Ask Dr. Snee: Snowed in with your letters

Why, hello there, patient readers. Like everyone else in the DC area, I’ve been pretending to be snowed in by rain and two very wet inches of snow.

You know how they started naming winter storms this year? We called ours the Snowquester. Get it? Because people who live within 100 miles of the nation’s capitol only exist from one political event to another.

So, while I try to remember that, essentially, man is good (even when they name everything with puns based on terms from Civics class), I figured I’d answer a few letters. As always, thanks for emailing instead of licking envelopes during the cold and flu season.

It’s not like I’m going anywhere in this pretend snow car.
It’s not like I’m going anywhere in this pretend snow car.

According to the Pauly Shore-Sean Astin-Brendan Fraser vehicle, Encino Man, a neanderthal should be able to blend into our world unnoticed except for some hilarious hijinks. Do you believe this would hold true if science clones one, or does he have to be raised in the Paleolithic and frozen for us to become best buuuuuuuuddies?
Future pool-owner/prom king

Normally, this is where I would warn you that, dammit, I’m a doctor,* not a geneticist. Fortunately for everyone in the world with an Internet connection, I wrote my pre-med thesis on Stone Age cryonics and the psychological ramifications, so I believe I am more than qualified to answer your question.

First of all, Brendan Fraser’s tour de force performance in Encino Man is what many paleocryobiologists regard as the most accurate portrayal of a thawed caveman in a high school movie, not a thawed neanderthal. Linkovich “Link” Chomovsky is as human as you or I would be if portrayed by the star of the 1999 historical action-comedy, The Mummy.

See how closely he mimics our human emotions? That’s because — believe it or not — Brendan Fraser is a modern human, or Homo sapiens sapiens.
See how closely he mimics our human emotions? That’s because — believe it or not — Brendan Fraser is a modern human, or Homo sapiens sapiens.

But you nevertheless raise an interesting question: is our capacity to form manly, yet affectionate bonds a trait inherent to all humans, or is it something that must be learned through the patient guidance of The Weasel?

My professional opinion is that the cloned neanderthal will kill us all, starting in the medical waste facility in which he has been mistakenly discarded and ending with the geneticist responsible for growing him in the first place after a years long quest to correct his egregious ethical sins.


Mayor Gloomberg is at it again. This time, he’s after my tunes. Why’s he got to be such a dick?
What’s that? I couldn’t hear the next field on this form

You can’t diminish the damage that air buds cause. What? Sorry, I can’t hear very well, which has affected how I read, write or discern humor.
You can’t diminish the damage that air buds cause. What? Sorry, I can’t hear very well, which has affected how I read, write or discern humor.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and I rarely see eye-to-eye on anything. Not because he’s an itty-bitty dollop of a man, but because he hasn’t banned wearing sunglasses at night, and that’s when I always drive through New York.

Maybe. I can’t read the signs, but I’m pretty sure it’s New York. I just drive in a straight line up what I think is I-95 and know to straighten out whenever I hear a car horn. If that’s not supposed to be how you drive, then why do they have those save points every couple of miles?

So what if listening to your music through ear buds is causing deafness? Or that, thanks to trans fats and super-sized Cokes, your average New Yorker can’t fit into their standard studio apartment? (They’re still Alabama thin.) Or that cigarette smoke is killing bartenders, servers and exotic dancers?

If the government was supposed to be in the health and safety game, it’d be written in the Constitution. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of DUI charges to argue my way out of. (Why, yes, ladies: I am also an attorney.**)


There are more antibiotic-resistant superbugs than ever! How’s a new mom supposed to keep her baby safe and healthy in a world that is teetering towards annihilation?
Ripley

OK, let’s take deeeeep breeeeeeaths, Ripley. That’s it. Just caaaalm doooooown.

Chances are that you’re experiencing a little postpartum OCD, which was recently discovered to be more than just a sitcom device. Some of this is due to hormonal changes, and the rest is because being responsible for a future heavy-machinery operator is understandably daunting.

Also, yes, your baby will probably host an incurable, microscopic parasite that will reproduce and wreak havoc until all of his or her tiny organs are accidentally thrown into the diaper genie.

You are the only hope for Earth’s future, Kal-El. You, Trans-Thor? Not so much.
You are the only hope for Earth’s future, Kal-El. You, Trans-Thor? Not so much.

That’s right, not only are there more antibiotic-resistant pathogens than ever, but they’re also lurking in all the places where we look for cures:

  • Hospitals: The new one is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, but there’s also methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the Magnificent Sicks — Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and Enterobacter (ESKAPE).
  • The gym: Besides eating disorders and bunk science mixed in water bottles, your fitness center also hosts MRSA. So, there’s another reason to shame-glower at people who don’t wipe the seats.
  • Chicken soup: Chickens have been discovered hosting E. coli and salmonella antibiotic-resistant strains.
  • Our sex parts: If you practice the ancient healing art of pretending you’re not sick while boning, then you’re also practicing the even ancienter art of killing people with gonorrhea and syphilis, both of which are increasingly becoming — you guessed it — resistant to antibiotics.

So what can you do? Nothing, except turn the lights on and off three more times. That’s because flesh-eating bacteria are antibiotic-resistant and epileptic. Probably.

And on that note, if I don’t see you next time here at Ask Dr. Snee, it’s probably because you didn’t wipe properly.


*Rick Snee is not, in any way, a licensed medical professional or an actor that plays one on television. His only qualifications are high school and college biology (101 and 102), reading Men’s Health (2001-2003), and a systematic exposure to almost all health hazards (1981-present), but no medical training whatsoever. He’s just really opinionated, which is good enough for blogging. To submit yer own questions to Dr. Snee, Guynecologist, post comments below or email the good doctor.

**Rick Snee is not an attorney, did not attend law school and is not licensed to practice the law anywhere.

Keep Calm and Drink

"According to your answers, you drank lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll rumrunners last night."
“According to your answers, you drank lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll rumrunners last night.”

Something is amiss in the United Kingdom. University College London researchers tried to reconcile alcohol sales with the amounts people claimed to drink in surveys, but the numbers just don’t match up. Nearly half of all booze sold in the U.K. is unaccounted for.

So, where did it go? A lesser writer might just chalk this up to people under-reporting what they drink, what business is it of yours, jack? And it makes some sense — anyone who’s ever been asked by a professor how much they’ve had to drink is more likely to low-ball that figure.

But, that still wouldn’t add up to twice as much booze sold as drunk. What the hell is going on in Merry Olde England? Let’s just say I have a few ideas …

“It belongs in a museum”

OK, so maybe — just maybe — collectors are storing it up. Most drinkers have a bottle of wine or fancy sippin’ whiskey stuffed away for a special occasion. (Movies have taught us that special occasions are when your police partner dies or if you’re trying to score with an eight or higher.)

But, c’mon. One stashed bottle per drinker is easily outweighed by the handle your average Churchill fan drinks a day.

Although it's entirely possible that Geddy Lee stole it all and keeps it in a mythical land called Canada.
Although it’s entirely possible that Geddy Lee stole it all and keeps it in a mythical land called Canada.

“How much did I … What day is it?

Every now and then, it’s easy to lose track of what and how much of anything you did, especially after your third shot between carbombs. So, if you’re counting up to the point where everything becomes hazy and accompanied by sepulchral mariachi music, then yeah, you had five last night. For all you know, you went straight home afterwards and didn’t kill a hooker.

Or on second thought, maybe you did buy those twenty lemondrops on your bar tab for yourself and not for the rest of the bar.

The point is that we’ll never know because everything from last night, including documentation was buried in a peat bog.

Three can keep a secret if the bartender is dead.
Three can keep a secret if the bartender is dead.

Also, if enough people were buying twice as much booze like the scenario above, then London would be completely prostitute-free. So much for that theory.

Boozacapra

"Boozie Monster love whiskeys! UG GLUG GLUG!"
“Boozie Monster love whiskeys! UG GLUG GLUG!”

So, we’ve ruled out people lying about their drinking out of shame. They’re not filling bomb shelters with it for bartering after the Pound collapses. They’re certainly not drunkenly Jekyll-and-Hyding their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Then who — or what — is drinking half of all the booze in Great Britain?

I’m not saying it’s definitely supernatural, but has anybody seen Nessie walk a straight line lately?