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August 29, 2003

Finding Religion or Headlines???

If I stood up in front of a crowd and said, "I started a cult and we're going to be bigger than scientology....", no one would give a moth eaten dead rat's butt. But when Madonna touts her interest in Kaballah, everyone's interested. The papers would erupt if Chris Rock came out and said he practiced Baha'i or John Travolta was a newly converted Gnostic.

I'm tired of religion not just being someone's personal preference or something they grew up with or just simply something to believe in. Now it's like a badge of honor to find the wierdest crap to believe in or to know someone who was in the same Scientology circles as Travolta. It's sad to see people commercialize and sensationalize their beliefs in order to make a buck. In fact, Madonna has decided to do a new commercial for the GAP and in return they are going to carry her new book "English Roses" which is a childrens book that teaches some of the basic tenets of Kaballah.

So now, not only can I buy some abnormally small khaki's and a baby tee for my horribly bulemic girlfriend, but I can teach my child some super obscure, really ancient teachings that basically say water is water, land is land, and the big guy says be nice!

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion." - Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

August 26, 2003

Your car isn't that wide!

Hey, you! The idiot driving the Honda Accord with the stupid racing decals and the glass packs. Yeah, you are the one. I hate to tell you, your car is not that wide. Your car does not require taking up more than one parking place. Hell, you can actually park two of your cars in a single parking place.

I drive a big vehicle. Really big. It is a Chevy Tahoe. From a passenger vehicle standpoint, there are probably only four or five that are bigger. I can almost always get my truck between the lines. And, if I can't it is usually because some bonehead that can't park his little rice rocket between the lines. I usually do my best to piss these little punks off by parking as close to them as possible and making it as difficult for them to open their doors. I really don't have to worry about door dings... their doors aren't high enough to hit anything other than the running boards on my truck.

Now, there are two lines of thought on why these people do this. First of all, they are terrible drivers. Could be. At least for some of them, this is probably the reason.

I think the real reason, though, is that these idiots do it is because they are inconsiderate pricks.

Today, I was looking for a parking place at a local shopping center. I did find an empty one right next to a one of these little cars. Unfortunately, he was parked about a foot over the line. I tried twice to get into the parking space, but I couldn't make it, so I spent another 5 minutes driving around looking for another spot. Now, as I was walking up to the store that I was going to, the person who drove the car, got up from a park bench and made his way over to his car to leave. He watched me try to get into that spot from a bench 10 feet away and didn't move an inch. What a @$#%@#$%!

"On Monday mornings I am dedicated to the proposition that all men are created jerks." -H. Allen Smith, "Let the Crabgrass Grow"

August 23, 2003

Driving with your head up there, does NOT help!

Why is it that idiots who cannot drive, feel the need to flip you off??? I hate people who cut the turn and almost shave off the front of your car as they are making a left. This has happened so many times that I am no longer surprised when it does, but when you are rolling up on the stop sign and the person is clearly cutting out about 50% of the lane, I at least have to mouth some choice words.

Mind you, I try to make it short and sweet, like "Oh my GOD!" or "Idiot!", but yesterday both my wife and I uttered "Dear LORD!!!" We're pretty sure that the lady saw this and recognized our amazement, because she promptly flipped us off.

Now listen, I don't mind if you are an idiot and don't drive worth a darn, just don't flip me off when I point out that you do something stupid!!! I mean, honestly, what did I do, but witness your amazing lack of driving skills? Quit tryin to cut the corner and make that extra half a second. It just makes my head hurt.....


"No, no, he didn't slam into you, he didn't bump you, he didn't nudge you...he RUBBED you. And rubbin, son, is racin'" Robert Duvall, Days of Thunder

August 21, 2003

Now, that makes sense

I was walking through the cube farm that is my life today when I noticed a pack of cigarettes on a desk. I don't normally notice things like that, but the package was not one of the normal ones. This one was brightly colored with pictures of nature on the it.

I stopped and read the packaging and saw something that I really didn't expect. They were organic cigarettes. Organic? What in the hell is that? The cigarette for people who want to make sure that their carcinogens are completely natural? While I was reading the package, the guy who lives in this cube returned. He asked what I was up to and I told him I was just reading the packaging. He said that they were great and that he pays an extra $2.00 a pack for them.

Now, I can understand spending a little extra to get organic produce. I routinely buy organic tomatoes. Mostly because I think they taste better. But, organic cigarettes?

Yeah, now that makes sense...

August 19, 2003

Privacy Insanity

I spent part of this afternoon debating privacy issues with a colleague of mine. He contended that online and offline privacy is something that needed to be protected at all cost and companies should not collect data in any way. Not that they shouldn't collect personally identifiable data. They should collect nothing. And what data they have should be kept secured and not shared at all.

My thought is that this is the biggest load of crap that I have ever heard of. First and foremost, not collecting data would be impossible. In this day and age, we leave a trail of data everywhere we go. This data comes primarily in the form of purchases that we make. But it can also come from anywhere. Surveys you fill out. Websites you visit. Government information. Books you check out from the library.

Newsflash... We are in the information age. People are always collecting data. The cable company is monitoring the show I am watching right now. My Internet service provider monitors the outbound traffic on my router. You are reading my website and I have already collected the IP address you are coming from, the operating system on your computer and the browser that you are viewing my site with. I can then cross reference that with other data and find out how often you have viewed the site, the domain name of your ISP and which pages you have read.

Like I said... Information is everywhere. And we can't do anything about it. In about 5 minutes of searching, here is what I found on the Internet about me:

Google returned 184 hits for my name. Most of them were books that I wrote. It did return two websites that I am running. A quick search on FasterWhoIs for one of those domains reveals my home address and my cell phone number. Once you have that, there is all kinds of information that can be gleaned from there... I was able to find my property tax bill online as well as aerial photos of my house. There are also a couple of websites that will even tell you my social security number, how much money I make and the number of children and pets I have in my house.

If this type of information can be used to send me marketing information that I might find useful... Great! If it means that companies I do business with will give me lower prices or start carrying products that I will use, even better. If it means that my elected officials will start representing my thoughts as a constituent, then I think that collecting this information is well served.

Get over the privacy debate. In this day and age, true privacy is a misnomer... It doesn't exist. Data will continue to be collected and stored. If you can find a way to live life without leaving data behind, then more power to you. Until then, you will keep leaving a trail of data everywhere you go.


Money well spent?

I recently heard about the new and innovative system the California election board created to make the recall ballots look different in each district. They scrambled the alphabet into a new order and in each subsequent district they will take the top letter and move it to the bottom.

This is all fine and good, but what about leaving the alphabet the way it is and merely starting district two with B, district three with C??? Most people only want to take 5 minutes or so to vote. Now that the alphabet is completely messed up, how long will it take people to find the person they really want to vote for??? There are over a hundred idiots, freaks, and stars running in this recall election that hasn't even been finalized yet....

Of course, I guess if you don't care you can just look up the longest name possible and vote for Conan the terminator......what a novelty!

"We are going to play a fun game. It's called, who is your daddy, and what does he do?" - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kindergarten Cop

August 17, 2003

Can anyone be "areligious"?

Yeah, it's not a word, keep reading...
Now I've never though of myself as a radical, nor have I thought of myself as a conservative. That's merely some background to set this rant in the right mood.

Recently I recieved an email calling for me to go online and enter my vote in a poll. It was from a friend who has been known to send some emails that could be considered sectarian or theistic in nature. The poll was severely sociopolitical and makes quite a call of a religious nature: it was, basically stated, are you for or against homosexual marriages.

It took me a little while to think, and I think my final thought and response to my friend was this: religiously I cannot see any reason to acknowledge a homosexual marriage, but for that matter the bible would seem to be fairly against in most scripture. If you were in such a relationship why would you want a "church service" when the basic tenets of that belief see your lifestyle as abberant?? But for me, I could see the reasons for a political union to allow sharing of certain rights that heterosexual couples enjoy: shared benefits, tax advantages, etc....

Here's where the rant starts......Why on earth do people get soooo upset over issues like this? I hate seeing people picket certain venues because a person is homosexual. I've moved out of hate central (Kansas and you know what I'm talking about if you've been to Topeka), but I still see people picketing at certain events and in front of public buildings. Ok, fine, your religion says that homosexuals are damned and their lifestyle is an abberation. Tell them once, then walk away. The visiting speaker usually isn't there to talk about their sexuality, they're talking about science, politics, or personal experiences that have nothing to do with that part of their life. Believe me, they know how you feel. I'm heterosexual and I've heard it all before and I've gotten the skinny of the message, it's hate, wrapped up in a religious package...

And again, why is this a religious or an ethical decision for the president and lawmakers? I seem to remember a promise to the seperation of church and state. We removed the ten commandments from a city hall, we've tried to take God out of the pledge! So then, why would a civil "marriage" or binding be based on religious beliefs? True, you can never be a seperate entity from your religious self, but there has to be some sort of faith seperation if you are a government representative.

You can be apolitical.....can you be "areligious"?

August 16, 2003

Angry Fat Changes

There are some changes coming to The Angry Fat Man. Now that I have recruited a new fat man to rant, there are several things that I am going to have to do to make the site multi-fat man.

First of all, the tag line on the site is going to change. The current tag line, the rantings and ravings of a crusty curmudgeon, doesn't really work when there is more that one. So, the new tag line is going to be, "Disproving the myth that fat men are jolly." I figure that outlines quite a bit of what we are doing here.

Secondly, the fat men are going to put biographies up. These will outline some basic information about us so you can know why we are the way we are.

Lastly, adding new fat men will help me ensure that we have more content on a consistant basis.

The more the merrier.

August 14, 2003

The Night the Lights Went Out on Broadway...

Today, the lights went out on Broadway. OK, a little more that just Broadway. The lights went out in 9,300 square miles including New York, Cleveland, Detroit and several areas in Canada.

There are a couple of things that are open for rant on this. First of all, everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. Con Edison, the power company that serves most of the affected area in the United States said it was a power plant in Canada. The Canadian Prime Minister came out and said that it was a lightening strike at a Con Edison power plant in Niagra, New York. Then, the Canadian Defense Minister came out and said that it was a failure at a nuclear power plant in Pensylvania. Come on guys! At this point, who care who's fault it is. Get the damn lights back on and then start pointing fingers. There is a lot of ice cream melting in the New York right now.

But, my real rant at this point has to deal with the media. It amazes me how quickly that the media can come up with names and theme music for media events. The major media outlets must have entire brigades of marketing people sitting around and waiting for something to happen so they can come up with marketable names. A quick look around the web and TV comes up with a few that makes me think these guys are overpaid:

BLACKOUT! - This is what CNN is running on their website. Hmm... Really. Hadn't noticed. Its not like every news station and website on the planet is running a story on it. Not only are they running this as their headline, it is a full page headline. Talk about sensationalism.

The Blackout of 2003 - Now this one is NBC's original. What happens if they have another major blackout this year? They will have to go back and rework all their graphics... It will be the the Blackout of August, 2003.

Come on, people. I know that every media outlet is trying to establish themselves as the place to go get your news, but does the news itself really need to be branded. In the past few years, the media has given us Terror in the Heartland (Oklahoma City - 4/19/95), Terror in the Skies (9/11/2001) and The Modesto Murders (4/18/2003). And I am sure that you can think of many, many others.

Just give me the news... Hold the sappy music and the sensationalism. Let me make up my own mind.

"Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock." - Ben Hecht (1893 - 1964)

A Flawed Copy of a Copy

We recently made our not-so-regularly scheduled bi-weekly trip to a local electronics store for some mixed media fun. We chose the store in question because of it's proximity to the house and amongst our purchases was a copy of the George Clooney remake of a Rat Pack classic, "Ocean's Eleven". When we decided to view our recent purchase a fun time was had by all, for a time. We were getting into the movie and the wonderful storyline, the boys were about to start the caper, and then.....fatal crunch....it looked like the digitized ugliness when you change channels on digital cable, then it died completely.

Nonplussed, we decided to wait until the next day to return the movie. My wife couldn't return the movie as she did not have a copy of my credit card to pull up those spiffy electronic tracking reciepts they have now.....but Ian (name not changed as the focus of my ire needs a real live name and being), the incompetent teen monkey who drew the short straw that fateful day, informed my wife that they do not have any more copies in stock, but surely they have a copy that we can go get at a sister store. The only catch is that the store sounds like it is about halfway between here (south Denver) and Wyoming. Joy!

When I came home from my tough day at the keyboard, we loaded up the baby and headed toward the brink of insanity once again. Again, Ian was there, standing around like he had nothing better to do, innocent as a gazelle about to get mauled by a lion. I calmly walked up and handed him my credit card, and after a few seconds he found it and started into the "we have no more copies" speech. I informed him that the copy we now held was flawed and would not play past chapter 19. He then informed me that according to copyright laws, they could not trade media nor return the purchase price as people make copies and try to return DVDs.

About this time, my wife started to get a little ticked off. The kind of anger that pops that little vein out of the forhead and makes people's heads pop in popular 1980's B movies. She began to argue more with Ian, but I stated the argument, "why would I make a copy of a flawed copy?" It made NO sense whatsoever. He could check the copy and see that it was crapped out. He turned around and said, "I'll see what I can do." When this happens in a situation like this, I always feel like doing a little Happy Dance of Joy, but you know that won't help your case out any if they catch you. So I held on to my dignity for another day.

Of course Ian returned and did the only thing possible to get rid of us for good, gave us our money back. And like usual when people are in this situation, he reiterated all of the arguments he had made previously as if it would lessen his loss of the argument.

God bless the poor folks who get in the way of a man returning faulty equipment....Why is it that when you buy a product, you can't return it because someone else has decided that they want to buck the system? If I say something is broken, I DON'T mind someone following up on it and playing the dvd/tape/video game to see if it is broken. No one even offered to crack out a DVD player and test it out! You would think this would be a good idea, especially if it was policy to deny returns for the stupid Copyright Laws!

Eh....whatever....guess we went Home Depot on him...but that's another story for another day.
This is like deja vu all over again. -Yogi Berra

August 13, 2003

Hello

Spank you, Spank you.....

I'll try to keep it clean, to the point and above the belt.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue! -Lloyd Bridges, Airplane

August 12, 2003

Introducing...

Today I am introducing a author. His name is Norby and he is an Angry Fat Man.

I am doing this for a couple of reasons... First of all, I am pretty busy and I don't have enough time to keep up the site frequently enough. Secondly, the new angry fat man has been my most frequent commentor and he is, shall we say, fairly opinionated.

I am sure that we will hear a lot from Norby...

August 04, 2003

It Only Gets Better!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how Jerry Springer was running for a senate seat from Ohio. Wait a few weeks and it only gets better.

Today, CNN is reportingthat Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler, is going to run for California governer. He even suggested a slogan for himself...

"Vote for a Smut-Peddler Who Cares."

Wow. Doesn't that just get you going? Doesn't that give you confidence? I know it does me.

If his slogan doesn't get you, there were some other quotes in the article that will really make you shake your head. My favorite was this one. "Just because I publish pornography does not mean that I am not concerned about the social ills that all of us are." I am far from what you would call a prude, but I do think that he would qualify as one of those social ills. I mean, would you really want someone like him living next door to you? Probably not.

Once again, we will have to rely on the voters, and we all know how well that works.

"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

August 03, 2003

Something Bad is Going to Happen...

Hey, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Rumsfield... While I appreciate your vigilance, I think your recent warnings have been useless.

I know the arguement could be made that these types of general warnings have increased the vigilance of the general public and have helped people to see and report suspicious activity.

Personally, I think that these types of warning are useless. The text of these warnings are universal and were as valid before September 11 as they are now. Today, John Ashcroft came out and said that there was a "very real potential" of terrorist attacks attacks against American targets. This is something that we didn't know yesterday? This is something that we didn't know on September 10, 2001? No, we know that today and we knew that back then as well. Perhaps it wasn't as close back then as it is today, but the potential was as real back then as it is today.

It is also valid every time we get behind behind the wheel of a car or walk though a parking lot... The American people need to be vigilant at all times and report suspicious activity to the authorities. Well, yeah... I don't think I really need you to tell me this.

Somewhere... We don't know where. Sometime... We don't know when. Somehow.... We don't have any specifics. Something bad is going to happen.

Now, go back to living your life like you normally would.