The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
Please be advised that for your safety you must exit this blog on foot, calmly and quickly.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Awful Products as Seen on TV: Shake Weights

Hello, ladies!  If you're like me, you're looking for a revolutionary way to shape and tone your arms.  Why shouldn't you have strong, sexy, sculpted arms which you're proud to show off?  Well now you can, with Shake Weights.  There's only one problem.  Using the Shake Weights in a public setting might be rather... embarrassing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Kick Ass for the Lord

The 1992 zombie flick Braindead (which is incidentally Peter Jackson's best and most important work and is better known in the U.S. as Dead Alive) featured a Catholic priest who "kicks ass for the Lord."  If you haven't seen the clip, watch it.  You will thank me.

While scouring the news today for work, I came across this ABC News piece about a Kentucky based church called Xtreme Ministries.  The church, which caters largely to people returning from military service, is also a gym.  Congregants train there, participate in mixed martial arts matches on Saturdays and hold church services there on Sundays.

As a fan of MMA, I have long observed a relationship between missionary Christianity and the combat sports community.  Some of the earliest and biggest stars of the sport such as Matt Hughes and Jens "Lil' Evil" Pulver are outspoken Christians.  Fierce competitor Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is a Born Again, and considers himself "God's Street Soldier" as the tattoo on his arm reads.  There is even a clothing line called "Jesus Didn't Tap."  The name means that much as a MMA competitor ideally refuses to "tap out" thereby yielding to his opponent, "Jesus didn't quit after going through unimaginable suffering and pain when he was crucified on the cross."  I'm unsure of the significance of this trend, but it is interesting to say the least.

I previously posted about serial killer Rodney Alcala, an amateur photographer whose work was released by police in hopes of identifying previously unknown victims.  In an update to that story, detectives are currently fielding hundreds of calls according to the L.A. Times.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hatfields and McCoys

The current debate about healthcare reform and the political rancor surrounding the same made me think of this article I recently read on Politics Daily.  The article concerns two brothers who are both political operatives who stand on opposite sides of the aisle.  It hit close to home, as my brother and I both work in the policy realm on opposite sides.  I like to think we comport ourselves better than these two guys.

Check out this great list of 19th century slang from the always enjoyable Art of Manliness blog.  For the unfamiliar, Art of Manliness is dedicated to "reviving the lost art of manliness" and regularly posts pieces of old school wisdom for men.  It meshes nicely with another favorite of mine, The Fedora Lounge.  Due to an error of omission, Art of Manliness is not featured on this blog's resource list.  I will correct that post haste.

In the spirit of classic manliness, I leave you with one of the most important and influential short silent films, "Larry Goes to the Market."  Worthy of your two minutes, I assure you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Comfort Food

My dear wife is in California visiting family for the next few days.  As such, I am home alone for the first time in a very long time.  I am learning that while cohabitation with a female domesticates a male to a certain degree, it also dulls many of his essential survival skills.

For example, food.  I never learned any cooking skills beyond frying an egg (poorly, I might add) or boiling water.  When I lived on my own, I subsisted mainly on Stouffer's TV dinners.  The turkey one is actually quite good.  The lasagna is not bad, either.  However, I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle since then.  I have grown soft because I have my lovely wife's cooking to look forward to each night.  I have not had to act as a hunter-gatherer for a long time, and it shows.

When I was a child, two of my favorite foods were tuna fish sandwiches with mayo and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  This still remains the case.  The Barenaked Ladies lyric  "If I had a million dollars, we wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner, but we would, we'd just eat more" resonates deeply for me.  I had a tuna sandwich for lunch today, so I can check that off the list.  I have a feeling that I'll be having a box of Mac N' Cheese in the next few days.

Kraft Mac N' Cheese actually has a somewhat interesting history.  It was introduced in 1937 in the U.S. and Canada.  World War II contributed to the product's popularity as the rationing of meat and dairy created a need for hearty, meatless entrees.

At this point, it's a legacy brand.  I know I am not the only one who feels a nostalgic pang at the sight of "the blue box."  There's just something about a foil packet of nuclear orange colored powder that spells delicious to me.  Over the years, Kraft has marked Mac N' Cheese in many different variations made to appeal to kids (for example, Ninja Turtles, spiral shaped noodles, or pre-mixed cheese sauce in a pouch), but true aficionados such as myself know that these variations suck.  The powdered sauce doesn't stick as well to noodles of shapes other than the traditional elbow.  And the noodles themselves don't take on the right consistency when cooked.  And cheese sauce in a pouch?  That's just gross and it never tastes right.

The good folks at Kraft provide plenty of recipes to fancy up your Mac N' Cheese, but I like it best the old school way.  What does it say about me that one of my favorite foods has an official website hosted by an animated dinosaur, the Cheesasarus Rex?  Hopefully that I have discerning taste.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Billz Classics: The College Years

While in the process of putting together an application, I started to dig through my old college papers.  In the fall of sophomore year, I took a class entitled "America Circa 2000."  From what I recall, the professor led us through an examination of American culture and society at the turn of the 21st century.  Deep within an old hard drive, I found several very short response papers which I wrote for that class.  Unfortunately, the descriptions of the original assignments have been lost to the ages.  So I'm not sure exactly what I was responding to.  What I wrote for the first assignment made me laugh out loud and I thought it suitable for a fresh edition of Billz Classics.  You will find the original one paragraph paper below, followed by my usual commentary.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Who's up for some snorkeling?

Since my post last week on former Rep. Eric Massa, it has come to light that his Navy shipmates have some pretty interesting stories.  For one, Massa used to like giving men what he called "Massa Massages."  Also, he is apparently a snorkeling enthusiast.

Last week, I remarked that the events unfolding in the Massa scandal have the comedic pacing of a Saturday Night Live sketch.  The writers at SNL were apparently unable to resist doing a send-up of Massa's escapades, featuring him in both the cold opening and Weekend Update sketches.  My favorite aspect of the cold opening is that before Massa gets in the obligatory "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" viewers are treated to a reenactment of his tickle fight with the congressional staffers he lived with.  The reenactment goes down pretty much exactly as I picture the actual event.  Massa even utters the phrase "Kill the old guy!" which is how he described the giant man pile he threw to celebrate his 50th.

Here's one that's good for a laugh.  The always excellent Neatorama linked to a mock movie trailer by the comedy team BriTaNick.  If this were a real movie, it would be guaranteed to win an Academy Award.  After all, the trailer features the song "The Dragon's Heartbeat" from the "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" soundtrack.  (You'll know it when you hear it.)  The video is a brilliant spoof of Hollywood studio tearjerkers, and I think you'll enjoy it.  See below.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Portraits of a Serial Killer

Rodney Alcala was convicted last month of murdering a child and four women between November 1977 and June 1979.  He is lead suspect in several unsolved murders, and has been linked to dozens of disappearances and deaths.  He also had a knack for photography.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hold the Presses

Work and real life has gotten in the way of my blogging hobby.  But I can only stay away from my dear reader(s?) for so long.  Don't call it a comeback.  Today, I'd like to focus on some news items.  After all, it's important to stay abreast of current events.

Friday, March 5, 2010

For your viewing pleasure

It's been far too long since I've posted, but I'm too lazy today to write something of substance.  When it comes to a lack of substance, nothing beats YouTube clips.  I present for you a small sampling of my favorites.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Something to chew on

In a previous posting, I wrote of my misadventures at the oral surgeon getting my two left wisdom teeth removed.  To say that the extraction did not go well would be a massive understatement.  Today, I had the right side done.  Overall, the process went better this time but it was still no picnic.  When I went for my follow-up consultation after the last extractions, I requested some sedatives this time.  I'm afraid of being put under, but I wouldn't have minded being nicely scrambled.  What follows are actual snippets of conversation I had with the surgeon and his staff.