My friend, Orange Neck in New York

In response to my last post, my interwebtron buddy “Orange Neck” commented:

Awwwww…why do you mid-west rednecks get to have all the fun? :(

ONinNY, there are lots of people like you. Many people wind up in areas that they simply don’t belong for whatever reason. My other freind, Instinct is pretty much in the same boat, actually. If you want to live out here, you will eventually, and I’ll tell you why that’s good enough. Jesus told a parable in Matthew 20:1-16:

1″For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3″About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5So they went.

“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8″When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9″The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12’These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13″But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16″So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Now, I’ve never been to heaven, but I live in Oklahoma. *snickering at my own silly reference* The way I look at it, somebody like Orange Neck or Instinct eventually winds up in a place like this. Even if it’s a lot later than they wanted to, it still counts. I work with a woman who is a naturalized immigrant from South Africa. She’s more of an American than most natural-born citizens I’ve ever met. Consider how the population of Israel has grown nearly ten times over! The same goes for here. There are a lot of people living in Oklahoma that are not Okies. Similarly, there are a lot of people who have moved to Oklahoma that are more Okie than I am. Will you be an Okie one day? Just make sure you aren’t the Okie in boots with a New York accent! Even if you are, it will only get you punked, not injured. The bottom line is this: Whatever you want in life – whatever your heart truly desires, work for it and towards it. You’ll get there soon enough.

My Take on Megan Fox

I understand that this weekend, Transformers 2 hits the theaters. I probably could not care less. I thought the original was a steaming pile of crap – fairly typical of Michael Bay films, in my humble opinion (with the exception of The Island which was a glorious fluke containing plot and character development). I have read less than glowing reviews of the sequel. It seems that people who like these movies pretty much only want to see the combined eye-candy of CG-rendered giant robots fighting and Megan Fox strutting her stuff. I think that’s pretty funny, as I don’t think that she’s really all that great-looking. Don’t get me wrong, I guess she’s kind of cute. Her eyes are a little close together and her jawline is a little manly for my taste. These are telltale signs of poor genetic stock the the reptilian corner of my brain. She does have some striking features, but not my style. Thanks anyway. I used to think that she was really stupid, and a terrible actress to boot. Yet, in an interview with Total Film, she was asked what she would do to stop Megatron if she met him in real life. Her response,

make a deal with him, and instead of the entire planet, can you just take out all of the white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super bible-beating people in Middle America?

First of all, Meg – can I call you ‘Meg’? in Middle America, we are not wife-beating, toothless, barefoot, religious zealouts that run around in our lifted 4×4’s looking for queers to beat up. You might be shocked to see how many of us out here aren’t ‘white.’ And, we prefer the term ‘redneck.’ It’s actually quite nice around here. If you had any experience of my part of the country beyond what you read in Grapes of Wrath before you dropped out of high school, you might have slightly less low-brow preconceptions. Yet, I digress.

Meg’s suggestion of sending Megatron here is actually quite sly. and I may have severely underestimated her. Sure, if the Decepticons stick to the big cities, they’ve got a whole bunch of sitting ducks to terrorize. But, if they came to the Midwest, they wouldn’t last half an hour! And yet, that wouldn’t make for a very good movie. We rednecks would give them a good old fashioned, country a**-kicking. If at that point they still didn’t want to play nice with us, we’d escort them off the planet and tell them “there’s more where that came from.” If they wanted to play nice however, they’d probably be welcome to stay for dinner before they went home. So, if you city slickers get in a pickle with any inter-galactic mechanical terrors, just do like Meg says and send them our way. We’ll take care of them.

Happy Father’s Day!

I’d like to take the opportunity to give a belated shout-out to all the fathers out there. I will say from personal experience that it’s hard (and yet quite rewarding) work being a dad. I know that I haven’t done everything right in my role as a dad – and neither has anyone else. I hope that the other dads out there put in the effort to be the best dad that they can. We are called to be gentlemen, warriors, and spiritual leaders. It takes two parents to raise children, and neither role can be diminished in the least. Being a dad is one of the most important jobs that anyone can have. It’s right up there with being a mom!

At this point, I’ve been a dad for ten and a half years. I’m much better at it now than I was at first. One of my co-workers recently became a dad. This was his first Father’s Day. Early on, when he complained about the midnight feedings and diaper changes, I told him that this was the easiest he would have it. I told him that the journey from infancy to adulthood only got harder and harder as a parent. BUT… A big BUT, it will be worth it!

Now that the kiddo is ten, parenting is WAY more of a challenge than ever before. But, he’s so much more fun now! On Saturday, we rode a bunch of roller coasters together. He goes shooting with me, and he can clean his own rifle after our outings! He’s capable of making some complicated decisions on his own at this point. Ten is such a funny age. I hate the word ‘tween,’ but I do understand the sentiment. He’s caught in the limbo between being a little child and being a budding adult. His good decisions are getting more frequent and more predictable. That only makes it that much more frustrating when he does something childish!

On Friday afternoon, the three of us went to the gun range. He is usually so responsible with a firearm, but not on Friday. I had to repeatedly remind him to keep his trigger finger in check. When he emptied his magazine, he didn’t bother to pull it out and lock the action back. He proceeded to sweep the entire range on his way back from the firing line. Needless to say, I was furious! I was not too hard on him, though. I took his rifle from him, cleared it, put it away, and told him what he had done wrong. He knew. That’s all I had to do. He said he was sorry. I told him that I was glad that his irresponsible behavior had not led to anyone being shot. I told him that I knew he would do better on the next range trip.

It was my fault, though. He is ten. I’m his dad. It is my responsibility to be the range safety officer when he’s at the firing line. He’s always so good with the gun that I got sloppy on the one occasion that he happened to be off his game. That just serves as a reminder that I can’t slack off, and I can’t get lazy. Like teaching a kid to ride a bike, you often have to hang on to that seat even when it feels like they are balancing it on their own. He’s turning into a great man, but he’s not riding the bike on his own quite yet. There are times to allow a child to fail because of their own poor choices, but never with a firearm, and I know this. Still, at some point, you have to let go of the bike and let them ride it on their own.

In six years, he’ll be driving. In eight years, he will be a legal adult. If I do my job right, he’ll be a mental and emotional adult. I’m always shocked at how many people never actually make it that far. But, the kiddo has a great mom, and I hope that he’s got a great dad! That’s my goal – my most important job right now.

To all the gentlemen that are fathers of children – Keep the faith and run hard! Play hard and guide and mold those children. Chivalry is not dead and respect is not archaic. Love your kids, and keep them going straight. More than anything, love the kids third best. Love God first, love their mom second best, and make them a very close third. I believe that many mistakes are forgivable and easily surmountable. Follow the simple guidelines above and you will be a successful dad. Good luck and God bless!

To all the gentlemen that are fathers of adults – thank you. The job is not in the least an easy one, but thanks for sticking with it. Your job has contributed to all of us!

The Transporter

One of my dearest friends, Sean, asked me if I had seen The Transporter 3. When I admitted that I had seen none of the films in this trilogy, he insisted that I should check them out. So last night, Jen and I rented all three and watched them back-to-back. They were entertaining, but no great feat of film-making. To me, they were basically a blend of Die Hard and The Hire with a little Dirty Harry and James Bond thrown in the mix for good measure. They also ripped off a fight scene from Romeo Must Die, in which Jet Li makes extensive use of a fire hose to clobber the bad guys. The biggest problem is that Jason Statham is not nearly as good an actor as Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Clive Owen, any one of the multitude of Bonds, or Jet Li for that matter. Statham’s deal is that he’s a muscular, rugged-looking dude that’s pretty good with his martial arts – namely kickboxing. He’s basically today’s version of Jean Claude Van Damme. Character development in the film was nominal at best, adequate at worst. The plot lines in each of the three were decent enough to keep me watching. The driving scenes were pretty involved, although they peaked in unrealistic silliness in the second episode. Since Statham can’t mask his English accent, they should have pitched his character as being retired from the RAF instead of Army Special Forces. I would say that overall, the films get better in succession, if not increasingly far-fetched at the core of each story. As I said, they were entertaining enough. My biggest beef with Statham is his ability (or lack thereof) to make faces. Therefore, I submit for your approval The Many Emotions of Jason Statham:

StathamEmotions

Spambot Girls Revisited

For either of you who have been following my blog for long enough, you may recall my breakup with a spambot girl. Well, I must confess, that the girls are back. I have commented to my wife that one of the first marks of a successful blog is the preponderance of spam in the comments. I’m currently using a spam filter or two on my blog, and new commenters go to moderation prior to comments being published. If I’ve published you before, it’s basically a shoe-in. Now, if one of my favorite commenters got weird and started doing some really weird stuff, I would do something about it, of course. Needless to say, I am getting spam comments, and a lot of them at that! Most of the time, I can breeze through and knock them out, but every now and then, I do get one that catches my attention and deems more than my standard skim-for-hundreds-of-links bit. This is a comment that I received from Pupskievua on my last entry:

Welcome, I am sensuous, open-minded and extremely sexy sweetheart from Ukraine.. Independent Kiev. Kiev girls. All on my page.

I can’t diagram any of those sentences, but they are pretty hot! Did you see the bits on that chick?!? Her syntax is so mesmerizing!

I could just imagine a candlelight dinner, me on one side of the table, a computer monitor on the other side of the table.

I would say, “I trust. Everything-is 2 Ur liking?”

And, she would coyly say, “Dahlingk! Pretty girls. HOT girls. In Kiev from Ukraine for mail-order brides.”

But, I know she’s lying, and I cannot abide by dishonesty. She’s so obviously not from Ukraine or Kiev. It’s clear as day to me that she’s from Koy4Goff.


Click here if the video doesn’t embed properly.

Enjoy!

Hollyweird in My Backyard

Well, it seems that Jessica Alba started putting up posters around Oklahoma City like a pre-teen in her own bedroom. Why do these actor-types feel like they can do whatever they want whenever they want to? It defies all reason! There was Wynona with her shoplifting, Bobcat with his live TV arson, and now this! Then again, I’m talking about a chunk of society that has an alarmingly high concentration of belivers in a religion made up by a crazy sci-fi author. I am speaking of a group of people employed on the basis of pretending to be someone that they are not. These people may spend months immersed in fantasy because it’s their job! That’s all fine and dandy, but why do they feel like they don’t have the same boundaries as the rest of us?

For that matter, why do they think they have any right whatsoever to tell the rest of us how to think? They aren’t paid to think. They are paid to pretend they are so many somethings that they are not. Like many others, I don’t care what they think just as long as they make me laugh, or cry, or happy, and basically entertained in general. Don’t tell me what to think. We will tell you what to think. As my lovely wife has said of these people on more than one occasion, “You are here for my entertainment! Dance, monkey!”

Jess, can I call you ‘Jess’? I’m glad you care so deeply for the great white sharks that you want to raise awareness. You ought to know that I’m kind to every great white shark I run into around here in OKLAHOMA!!!!! Which, if you didn’t know already is a LANDLOCKED STATE!!!!!!! Sgt. Knight said that you did a great job putting up the posters, though. Since you got so bored of your filming in Guthrie that you had to fall back to your hobby, maybe you are in the wrong line of work. Maybe you could make a living applying wallpaper in homes or possibly billboard maintenance. You could be the cutest billboard technician evah!

OBTW – I really liked Dark Angel, and my wife thinks that she may want to highlight her hair like you’ve had yours recently. Please don’t glue anything to my house.

*Cheesy telegraph beeping sound* UPDATE:

As it turns out, I may have underestimated Jessica Alba. You did the right thing, kid. All hope may not yet be lost.

Dry for Material

You would think that with as much is going on currently, I would have more to talk about… But, I’ve been going through a real dry spell recently. Every one of my recent entries has been arduously and forcefully pounded out, and it is showing in my hits. My statistics are low and my motivation is low. It’s not that I don’t want to write so much as I sit down at the keyboard and don’t know what to write or how to write it. It’s frustrating. I know my cousin-in-law has been quite frustrated recently, and he has far more reason to be. In fact, I know a lot of bloggers that have had a hard time coming up with material recently. I don’t want anybody to go, “Oh, poor Michael!” or any crap like that, but I needed to get it off my chest. Work has been challenging – in good and bad ways. The weekends have been too short. I would have to say that the last time I felt this way was about a year ago. I think I need a vacation. Mrs. Evyl Robot and I need to get away and get some R&R time in. Once again, I’m not trying to complain or get anyone’s sympathy – I just needed to say it so I can get over it. Thanks for your undying patience to both my readers.

FDA Tobacco Bill

On Monday, my wife wrote an entry concerning a little bill that the Senate just passed. There seems to be a lot of mixed emotions in our society concerning smoking. Although I’ve heard a lot of uproar from the smoking community about this bill, I don’t see the harm. It actually seems pretty toothless as I read it. You can read the bill yourself to decide what you think about it, but for our purposes here, I’m going to reference the summary published by the Associated Press thirteen hours ago. They lay out the provisions of the bill as follows:

_ Creates a tobacco control center within the FDA and gives the FDA authority to regulate the content, marketing and sale of tobacco products to protect public health.

Alright. That could be good or bad. As it stands, the tobacco companies are already controlled on these standards to a pretty strict degree. It sounds as if there’s no more than a shift of control.

_ Requires tobacco companies and importers to reveal all product ingredients and seek FDA approval for any new tobacco products.

So, there will have to be an ingredient list on the side of your pack of cigarettes? That actually sounds like a good thing to me. With the stuff I like to smoke, that ingredient list will likely read “tobacco.”

_ Allows the FDA to change tobacco product content to protect the public health.

‘Change tobacco product content?’ As long as there’s still tobacco in it, I predict it will still sell and be enjoyed by many.

_ Bans the use of flavors, including candies and fruit flavors, in tobacco products.

Aw, snap! There goes Prime Times and Swisher Sweets! Then again, I’m not sure if those products have any actual tobacco in them so this bill may not apply.

_ Aims to prevent sales to minor by requiring direct, face-to-face transactions between retailer and consumers. Limits advertising that could attract young smokers.

…because, seriously! Little kids freely buying smokes is an epidemic problem in today’s world! You know, this might be a worthy thing to legislate if it weren’t already illegal. How long ago were they forced to do away with Joe Camel for the same reasons? It looks as though this is a pretty universally legislated deal at the state and local levels. This merely preempts local laws with Federal. Seriously, this is not 1957, and why do they always try to make illegal stuff more illegal? Is it out of fear or what? It’s no secret where I stand on the issue of children smoking. Even so, it does not seem like a present enough problem to further legislate. If you have stories of children buying smokes at the corner store in your neighborhood, please do share. I’m not aware of any in recent history.

_ Strengthens warning labels.

Because you know that will affect the flavor or draw of your smokes. Or, do they mean using a physically stronger material with the Surgeon General’s warning printed on it? That would stiffen up the pack nicely and protect your smokes better! We’ve already learned to ignore that crap, so what’s the big deal?

_ Bars the use of expressions such as “light, “mild” or “low” that give the impression that a tobacco product poses less of a health risk.

This is the biggest clue that it’s liberal legislation – changing the semantics. If they perceive that the language might be wrong, they will change the language altogether. This goes for if you are describing race/ethnicity, the status on someone’s disabilities, or describing the idea that the climate of the Earth may or may not undergo change over long periods of time, either naturally or not, in a straight line or as a matter of cycle. Frankly, I think that we should all just say it like it is. If that offends you, get over it. So, there won’t be ‘light,’ ‘mild,’ or ‘low.’ I like what The Onion has to say about it.

_ Establishes user fees on tobacco companies to pay for the new regulations.

The tobacco companies have been forced to pay for stuff for ages now. This is no different. Frankly, I can’t really disagree with taxes on luxury items. If they were taxing the crap out of necessities, I would have different things to say about it. But, we’re talking about TOBACCO! If you don’t want to pay the taxes, simply QUIT SMOKING!!

And finally, we get to the crown jewel of the bill:

_ Prevents the FDA from banning nicotine or tobacco products.

Heh, heh, heh. Checkmate, baby! The bill actually reads that the Senate will have the sole power to ban tobacco by vote. They (they the government, that is) have been trying to ban tobacco for ages! This bill actually makes tobacco safer from extinction than it has been since the natives were smoking it in peace pipes!

I don’t believe that tobacco is nearly as dangerous as we are led to believe. Not even the NCI has the slanted stats to back it up. You may agree or disagree with me as you see fit on that point. Regardless, in a nutshell, this bill will:

1. Take steps towards removing urea, formaldehyde, and other tobacco additives that don’t belong there anyway, and hold the tobacco manufacturers accountable to their customers.

2. Eliminate ‘sweetened’ (IMHO ‘garbage’) tobacco products, and make it more illegal to sell tobacco to kids.

3. Change the semantics on the pack, so you will better understand that smoking is bad for you.

4. Raise the price of tobacco – I’m honestly not thrilled about that one.

5. Keep tobacco from becoming contraband.

I just feel like there are bigger things to worry about right now.

Engrish at Denny’s

When I was a teenager, my brother and I developed a Christmas tradition of having dinner with our in-town friends at whatever local restaurant. The way this came about is that we traditionally had a Christmas Eve dinner with my parents, and made the family circuit on Christmas Day. On the night of Christmas, everything was always so anti-climactic that we started this. We would go to cheap, sit-down places (we were kids with very little money) and just have a great time. On such a night, we went into Denny’s and found our table. Our server, a very nice immigrant student, came to our table.

“I hope you are all having a Merry Christmas,” he said in a hard accent. We assured him that we were.

My brother commented in his teenage surliness, “Do you ever get any Jews in here that get offended by that?”

“Oh, yes,” replied our server, “We have orange, apple, and grapefruit.”

I was certain, as I am to this day, that all of their juices were quite offended by Christmas.