More cool things I'd like to do someday

  • Make acrobatic catch at company softball game.  Draw applause.  Teammate later attempts to reenact my daring catch, but winds up catching softball in groin, racking himself in the process.  Collective wince is heard from onlookers. 
  • Approach back alley gambling ring occupied with young toughs shooting dice.  Bet them their entire stake.  Win.  Then let them keep the money, but make magnanimous quip about the folly of gambling which imparts valuable lesson on their youthful minds.  Walk away and hope none of them switchblade me in the kidney.
  • Quiet a barking dog with an old, aboriginal hand gesture that evokes 50,000-year bond between man and wolf.
  • Remain motionless at thug's attempt to make me flinch by pulling a punch.  My mettle proves too much for his delicate psyche.  He confesses that insecurity in his manhood prompts him to intimidate others.  I explain that the way to enlightenment is through introspection, not competition.  He begins crying and then tells me he's gay. Whoa, I'm outta here!
  • Smell the air.  Squat down.  Grab a handful of earth.  Allow dirt to spill from my hand and observe its motion in the breeze.  Make fairly accurate prediction of weather over the next several days based on my observations.
  • Synchronize watches with my friends and then do something that we agreed to do at the same time.  YouTube it.
  • Show up wearing dashing tuxedo someplace where my wife is waiting for me and worrying.  Surprise and relieve her with my arrival. When she asks where I was, retort, "traffic was a bitch" in a glib, debonair manner.
  • Order obscure vintage wine at restaurant.  Waitress says that they don't feature that wine on their wine list, but they do have a case in the cellar.  Asks me how I knew.  I reply, "Because in my travels, I've learned that the finer restaurants have a case of [whatever vintage wine I ordered] in stock in the rare event a man of taste arrives."  Waitress blushes down below.
  • Pick lock using everyday items; save neighbor costly visit from locksmith.  Get apple pie or other baked good as reward the next day.
  • Write the great American novel -- in German.
  • Fix something important with a flashlight clenched between my teeth while wearing a wife-beater t-shirt.  Wife brings me glass of lemonade.  She compliments me on the great job I did.  As I swallow lemonade and tart concoction hits my throat, I suck my teeth, nod and say, "It'll do for now."  



  • As a kid I remember adults, teachers and cartoons urging me, cajoling me to eat healthy snacks.  I responded with a silent, visceral objection.  I thought to myself, Yeah, yeah.  I get it.  Everything that tastes good is bad; everything that tastes bad is good.  Yay!  I'm so glad I was born.  Love this life thingy.  Next thing you're going to tell me is, I can't play with my ding dong when I'm at the park!
  • People claim they prefer the truth, even if it hurts.  I'm cut from different cloth.  If it concerns money, by all means, I want the truth.  If it's a matter of love, lie all you need to keep me happy.
  • Everybody wants more tax dollars for schools.  We don't need more money.  We need innovative teaching ideas.  How about we save about 10 grand per student-year by shutting down schools and putting the lessons on iPods?  Also, for teen-agers, mix educational videos in with Internet porn.  [Insert "divide by pi" algebra joke here].
  • Earlier I racked myself by stepping on the pedal of my trash can and deploying the lid into my groin. No wonder I flunked out of physics at ASU.
  • Those little Netflix envelopes are everywhere.  Everybody loves when their Netflix envelop arrives.  If I were a court server, I'd pack court docs into a little red envelop and hand it to them.  "Excuse me, ma'am.  I found this by your mailbox... Surprise, beotch!  You've been served!  Oh, by the way, your copy of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is in there, too." 
  • I've dropped so many crumbs in my keyboard that when I beat on it at random, it types out the words "Wonder bread."  I can't believe the keys can still make a circuit. 
  • Recently they started manufacturing microwave/convection oven combos.  These must be for people who still want the expense of cooking with conventional heat along with the rubbery flavor of microwaved food. 
  • A Pennsylvania high school has segregated black students in an effort to boost their academic performance.  Vice Principal Gerhard Schultz received press questions for absent Principal Johna Goldberg, who, Schultz informed, was "locked in a railroad box car with the rest of the Jews."
  • Charlie Sheen was rushed to the hospital this morning with acute abdominal pain.  When doctors pumped his stomach, they found enough semen for two and a half men.    
  • I don't always blog, but when I do, I prefer Dos Blogger.  Stay literate, my friends. 


God, Karma and Jerk-off-itude.

On God and Karma

I don't believe in karma. I believe in the laws of statistics and probability.

To wit, I don't believe an invisible spirit sits on your shoulder and logs good and bad deeds into a ledger, and then conjures whatever vicissitudes necessary to balance the account. Nor do I believe a supreme being watches from the heveans, rewarding kindness and punishing evil. These are beautiful ideas and I wish they were true. But faith in karma doesn't withstand empiracle testing.

Jerkoffs as Empiracle Proof

Note all the consummate a-holes roaming this planet relatively unscathed. For example, do you have a boss? Is he a jerkoff? Is he being punished? Of course not. At the very least -- he gets to be the boss. If only a little karma existed in this world, most bosses would magically turn into restroom attendents at the local full-nude strip bar. There's the proof that karma doesn't exist: jerkoffs inheret the wind.

But as I wrote, I do believe in statistics. So I believe that if you make a habit of being a jerkoff and pissing in the public punchbowl every chance you get, eventually the odds will catch up to you. Take solace in this. Only a jerkoff believes he can beat the odds forever. But the odds eventaully play out. That's how life evens the score. Statistical probabilities aren't always reliable and they're not always fair. But sometimes the toast does fall butter-side up. Sometimes the lane I'm driving in does move a little faster. Once or twice in your life there is a cop around when you need one. And rest assured, the jerkoff with the chaw, naked-lady mudflaps, and the "No Fear" tee shirt who cut you off in traffic is going to get his pencil dick caught in his zipper. Or he will wrap his truck around a telephone pole and not manage to hurt or mame innocent bystanders. It's a beautiful thing.


We see somebody get their comeuppance and conclude karma evened the score.  The ancient Greeks went so far as to contrive a god, Nemises, whose purpose was to take a divine dump on the jerk who had things too good for too long. That notion survies today in people who rely on karma to make things right. Well, they're wrong. A comeuppance isn't magic. It isn't divine intervention. It happens when one jerkoff crosses the path of an even bigger jerkoff. The latter's jerkoff-itude neutralizes the former's and still has some power left to fuck over the first jerkoff. It's all very scientific. I admit a phenomenon like this has the element of poetic justice and tempts one to believe in karma or God, but it's just probability and statitics playing themselves out.

Few people know that Albert Einstein was theorizing a version of this principle when he died. Incidentally, Einstein? Huge jerkoff. The Smithsonean unearthed a tee-shirt among his personal effects that reads, "Compared to me, you're a fuckin' idiot."



  • There's a midpoint between earth and heaven.  Some call it Purgatory.  Think of it as a cosmic weigh-station for the soul. You don't get hot and cold running bliss like you do in heaven, but you do get to recover all the objects you've lost in your earthly life, such as hats, sunglasses and cell phones.  They also show you how socks do that trick in which one sock disappears while the other stays behind and creates a distraction.
  • Bed Head makes a hair care product called Dumb Blonde.  I went to the company's website to register my complaint, whereupon I noticed their complete product line, which included Skanky Redhead, Brunette Bimbo, Busybody C*nt -- and for the fellas, Jobless Lying Asshole.  As long as they're keeping things fair!
  • If you smoke 2 joints, do you celebrate 840?  
  • Some people suffer from writer's block.  I suffer from writer's cock.  I always have something to write, but often I'm too busy jerking off to type.
  • The success of the Hershey's Kiss surprises me.  It doesn't look like kiss so much as a turd -- perhaps something the Nestle Quik Rabbit might leave behind a bush.
  • The efforts to dissuade or punish drivers using their cell phones puzzles me.  Instead, invest the creative energy into an application for driving your car remotely from your cell phone.  i-Drive.  Problem solved. 
  • The recession is so bad, 50 Cent had to change his name to 3-For-A-Dollar. 
  • I know they're all the rage, but I think of tattoos as graffiti turned inward. 
  • In today's news -- a restaurant in Tucson plans to serve lion meat tacos.  Animal rights activist are protesting the exotic menu item.  But one group has registered its support: The Gazelles of Zimbabwe.
  • Also in the news, a 52-year old woman is able to speak again after doctors gave her a voice box transplant.  After learning of the surgery's success, her husband checked into the same hospital for a bilateral ear drum removal.
  • Scientists say that when you look in the mirror, you don't actually see the real you.  You see a vertical inversion of yourself, where left is right and right is left.  If that's true, then how come when you lie down in front of a mirror, your reflection isn't upside down? 
  • When I was 14 I attended an astronomy club meeting during the last visit of Haley's Comet.  This one geek explained to me that we won't see it again for 76 years.  I told him, In your case, the same is true for Planet Vagina.


Answers lll

Bennet asked:  What kind of work do you do?  Not that I want to pry into you life, just wanted to know for reference sake.  Based on your posts I imagine you sitting in a cubical.

A cubical job?  Perchance to dream!  I'd love 4 walls and a computer while I'm working; I'd feel right at home!  I'm an X-ray technician.  I appreciate it, but I don't identify with it.  I don't know how the hell I wound up in healthcare.  But given the economic climate we find ourselves in, I'll hang out.  Honestly, I'd like to be a bartender one day.  If I have any discernible talent, it's mixing drinks, talking trash and telling jokes.  I belong behind bars.  

Just Me asked: Why do you hate your dog?

First, I LOVE dogs.  They are indeed man's best friend.  I had a dog for 16 years -- all through my childhood.  She was more of a sibling than a dog, a member of our family.  So when I became an adult, we got another dog.  A friend gave her two us.  I expected this dog to be just like Corky, my first dog.  Only she's everything Corky wasn't and nothing she was.  This dog is aloof, dim, unaffectionate and disdainful.  She prefers to be left alone -- unless I give attention to my newest little dog that I love!  Then she barks and becomes obnoxious.  Suddenly she cares.  I can't stand a dog that doesn't love people.  Worse still is an aloof dog who won't let you bond and play with your puppy.  Also she's a 128 pound crap factory.  

KittyCat asked:  Have you ever been caught in a compromising position with women?
And what was your excuse as to why you were in that position.

A few times.  I sneaked a girl into my bedroom on Valentine's Day, 1987.  My mom caught us before things got too heavy.  But it made for some fireworks.  My wife and I had a couple cops' flashlights beam through the windshield in our youth.  Luckily we had the option to drive away!  I suppose everybody rolls the dice with some alfresco sexual activity once in a while.  I've been lucky.  

Sandra asked:  Does your wife realize that some of your blog readers have mad crushes on you and think you're totally hawt?

Does my wife realize it?  No.  In fact, I can't believe it myself!  But you're sweet to think so, Sandra. 

ThoughtsAppear asked:  What is your favorite Pop-Tart flavor?  You'd be surprised how much you can tell about a person by their flavor. No pressure.  And, what's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?

Brown sugar and cinnamon.  I love'em.  Warmed or straight from the package, they're a treat!  My most embarrassing thing?  Well, I suppose the "jock strap incident" of 1985.  Still laboring to forget that.  How the hell was I supposed to know which side was the front?

Mona asked:  Does a time machine raise the dead?  When does your birthday fall?  And what do you mean by "Indian?"

First, good burn, Monita.  My birthday falls in May.  And when I write about Indians, I mean the ones who tried to steal our land from us poor, innocent European immigrants.  Not the ones from India, who are the salt of the earth!  Honestly, I love all 1.2 billion of them.  First, they gave us Gandhi.  Second, they're the only ones on that side of the planet who don't thirst for America's demise!  And finally, they make such charming bloggers!


Ask and ye shall re-read (Answers ll)

Remember:  It's not too late to submit a question!  Just ask me.

ShabbyGal asked:  What is your absolute favorite pastime (besides alcohol)?

Blogging, of course!  But for a while, it was first-person shooter video games.  That whipped me into a froth.  Spending 3 hours a day imaging you were in the theater of war couldn't be healthy. So I quit.  Before that, my favorite pastime was popping plastic bubbles in packing material.  I still get a boner every time the UPS van drives by.

CB asked:  Have you ever torn the ass off a lightning bug and put it on your finger like a light-up ring?

Killing lightning bugs for their glowing parts is a contemptible practice!  And yes, I did.  But I was young and knew no better. 

Jeannie asked:  What makes you really laugh?

Anymore, the Finance section of the newspaper!  Also, I've noticed that I tend to laugh hysterically at others' anger.  You know -- when people vent and let all the hate spill.  Anger is funny.  It's weird.  I've wondered whether that says something about me.  

Impulsive Addict asked:  I would like to know how you picked your blog name and does your wife read your blog all the time or just sometimes like my darling M?

When I was dreaming up my blog name, I struggled for a metaphor meaning "flashes of insight."  Eventually I landed on lightning bugs.  From there, all I needed was a dash of obnoxiousness.  So it became Lightning Bug's Butt.  By the way, when I started blogging, I wrote a blog named "Pontificate or Perish."  I was so proud of that name.  I've often considered changing this blog's name to Pontificate or Perish.  But I can't bring myself to do it.  What would I do with that cute li'l pic of the lightning bug on the left?    

I read every blog post to my wife when I first publish.  If I get a laugh, I know it's good.  She never tells me when they stink.  She's too sweet.  But if she laughs, I hit the target.  

Penny Lane asked:  So one day I decide that I am going to build you a time machine. I am a genius and know how to do those things so it only takes me a day. I hand it to you and I say "here is this time machine, but you are not allowed to use it to go forward or back in time" what do you use it for?

Well, the first thing I do is see whether I can stick my penis in it.  If I can't, then I'll use it as a paperweight.  

HeartInHand asks:  Do you have a dog?

I have two.  I love one to death.  The other I hope soon meets with death. 


Ask and ye shall re-read (Answers)

Thanks to those of you who submitted questions -- such good ones, too.  I knew you wouldn't disappoint. And to the rest of you: it's not too late to submit a question!

Kitty Cat asked:  I can ask anything? About you?
I need more intructions please.

You don't need instructions, KC, just your imagination.  And I know you have one of those because I read your blog!  Yes, anything.  Just know that if you do ask about me, you're likely to be disappointed.  I'm painfully boring.  

Denise asked:  What is your favorite thing about yourself?

This should be easy as I have a short list of things I like about myself.

I believe we're all very much alike, and what distinguishes us from the crowd is how we perceive the world -- the unique way each of us processes what we observe.  That's what I like about best about myself: the way I see things.  

Summer Rae asks:  What do you think the guy who writes this blog is like?

I sympathize with him a tiny bit.  I've read a slew of statistics that show that men, for the first time in history, are getting the societal shaft: they die earlier; they work harder, more dangerous jobs; they get anything but justice in family courts; they attend and graduate college at lower rates than women; their health issues are trivial compared to women's heath issues vis a vis funding and charity; boys are far more likely to be diagnosed and drugged as "behaviorally disabled" children; they get far less encouragement in school; etc.

But boycotting women bloggers?  That's just crazy talk!  They're way too fun!  If you refuse to read what women write because a few zealous social activists have tipped the scales, you're just too darn angry.  And ignorant, too!

How did you find this blog, anyway?

HeartInHand asked:  What's the best thing about your life?
(You can't include booze or dark chocolate.)

The first few answers that zipped through my mind were: my wife, my kid, and my health.  But now that I think about it, the best thing about my life is the time and place in which I'm living it.  Sometimes I get cynical about my country and about the future.  But the truth is, I love modern times and I thank Almighty God I live in America.  The things I love wouldn't be possible in another time and place.  Consider that as little as 15 years ago, blogging wasn't possible!  Twenty years ago the Internet was the stuff of academics and computer nerds, not laymen.  Less than a hundred years ago, simple things like warmth in the winter or adequate nourishment were iffy, even in relatively prosperous countries. I could be shivering in a cave or under the crack of a whip or ailing from malaria or fending off a saber-tooth tiger but for the fortune of modern American life.  My God, I could have been born in France!  Death first!

Not So Simply Single asked:  If you had only seven days left to live,what would you do, who would you do it with, and why...  Lisa in Maui.

Honestly, NSSS, I'd grab the wife, kid and my credit card and jet to Maui.  If I'm checking out in a week, I'm doing it in style: swim trunks, wife in a hula skirt and coconut bra, kid with a sun-kissed face, a sandy beach, the ocean, a Polynesian barbecue and a ridiculous girl drink in my hand.  Plus, on my last day, I'd have so many macho ways to end it on my terms.  I could para-sail into the ocean, dive off a cliff, surf a deadly wave, wrestle a shark or descend headlong into a volcano.  

I'll look you up should I find myself in this situation!

Ask and ye shall re-read.

Go ahead.  Ask LBB.

Ask me something and I'll publish my answer in the next post -- along with your question.



Blogs are for more than potty humor, dating advice and song lyrics. They can bring about social change. They can inform the public, stick it to The Man, and help fight the good fight.

Therefore, I'd like to take this opportunity to raise awareness of cruelty to animals, in particular, cruelty to domesticated birds -- the ones that talk. While most bird owners are kind, responsible care-givers, a significant percentage of bird owners deliberately teach unsuspecting birds foul language, slang words and sexual innuendo. A victim of their owners' twisted perversion and their own instinct to repeat sounds in their environment, these birds spend their lifetime uttering profanity. Some owners exploit these birds for juvenile comedic value.

Just how pervasive is this sick, twisted practice? Experts estimate that in 2008, over 9000 cockatoos and parrots learned over 198,000 profane words or expressions and uttered over a 182 million F-Bombs alone. Clearly the practice of bird abuse has reached epidemic proportions. And unlike other varieties of animal abuse which are denounced by the general public, many find a cussing bird "cool." We have a lot of work to do.

Incidents of bird abuse are erupting across the country. In Orlando, Florida, a woman reported a parrot telling her to "go fuck yourself" after revealing a Saltine cracker from her sack lunch. At a Starbucks in San Diego, a cockatoo announced to the clientele that he had "taken a dump in the mocha latte machine," prompting several patrons to vomit and seek medical attention. Before an animal cruelty team could apprehend the offending bird and his owner, the duo victimized a Dunkin' Donuts just blocks away when the same bird announced "kiss my feathered ass, pigs."

Bird abuse will thrive until the public takes a stand against it. It begins with awareness. Please spread the word. And take action against bird abuse. The next time you see somebody with a parrot on his shoulder, offer the bird a pretzel, breath mint, or whatever morsel you might have handy. If the bird utters profanity, stun gun the owner and call the local authorities. Thank you.



My last couple posts came off caustic.  That's the risk I take when I sit down to write while sober.  No such risk today, I'm glad to report; I've got a glass of homemade limoncello as my co-pilot.  I'm feeling magnanimous just now.  So want to write something lighter.  Plus I recently read a blog post in which the writer listed the things she's grateful for (I forget which blog, but I remember enjoying it).  It prompted me to make a list of some things that I love.  Here it is:

  1. The mass of solid ice cream that sinks to the bottom of a chocolate shake mixer cup and that smacks you in the mouth when you attempt to drink the last bit of milkshake by tipping the cup and tapping it.
  2. The beams of sunlight that shine through the window in the afternoon, and within them the dust particles that weave and flow according to the dictates of entropy. 
  3. Alcohol.  Alcohol is the elixir of love.  It's fun.  It's a great social lubricant.  It makes everything a little more pleasant (except a game of lawn darts; stay sober for that!).  Barring abuse, alcohol promotes good health.  I love alcohol in all forms: spirits, wine, "girl drinks," Jello shooters -- everything except beer, which tastes like carbonated urine.  
  4. The modern personal computer.  Sure, they're 90% social networking and porn, which is to say they're wonderful.  You have to stand back in awe of computers and how they enrich our lives.  Think of how many curiosities you've satisfied with a trip to Wikipedia.  Imagine how many times YouTube made you laugh or showed you how to install a new sink.  Recall the excitement the last time you brokered a sex date via your smart phone with your spouse or significant other.  Anybody who claims we're not making progress is overlooking the glowing, 24" hi-def LCD monitor shining in his face as he laments the world in his blog.  Irony.
  5. The one pizza place within driving distance that makes a great pizza.  We all have one, even if we need Vasco da Gama, a GPS and a bloodhound to locate it.  Good pizza places are hard to find.  That's what makes them so special.
  6. The hot tub on a cold night.  Bubbles off.  I can't stand the noise from the air pump and all those bubbles bursting.  No bubbles, just the micro-bubbles that fizz from the hot water return jet.  Ahhhhhhhh.... 
  7. Homemade salsa with thin, crispy tortilla chips.  Made correctly, salsa is the champion of appetizers.
  8. The night before a day off work.  I exalt in the sense of freedom and possibility.  Sure, I wind up sleeping in and giving way to the tug of lethargy.  I blow off my plans and waste my precious day off.  But the night before is undiluted bliss.  It's the sweet spot of the weekend.
  9. That psychological phenomenon by which a piece of music brings you back to a time in your life when you were brimming with love, or in youthful rapture, or tranquility, or a particularly happy interval in your past.
  10. Ripping through hours of your favorite TV series once the new season hits DVD.  We did this with the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, Dexter, Weeds, and Sex and the City.  Sometimes we'll order a pizza and let the episodes play until our eyes are burning.
  11. The promise of a new book.
  12. The uncanny way that mishaps turn into the most precious of memories: the cancelled flight that forced you to buy an incredible book you otherwise wouldn't have read, the power failure in which my family drove to the neighborhood ice cream shop, or the time my wife and I broke down on Mt. Lemmon and had to coast the car down the mountain and then walk home late at night.  That kind of stuff. 
  13. Comets, shooting starts and celestial bodies.  Also, the smoke trails that jet planes lay across the sky.
  14. The aftereffects of exercise or vigorous physical activity.  
  15. My "go-to" clothes -- a collection of shirts and pants that fit me perfectly and always look good, even when the rest of me doesn't.  You never know which items of clothing will become your go-to clothes.  Most won't.  You can never tell at the store or in the dressing room.  Only time will reveal which clothes are your go-to's.  That's when you wish you'd bought 3 of whatever your go-to clothes are.  
  16. Exceeding 300 points in a game of Scrabble.
  17. The Dennis Miller Show.  It's a 3-hour daily podcast with no commercials.  If the idea of talk radio appeals to you, but the hosts are bombastic and overly partisan, try Dennis Miller. 
  18. The sensation of cleanliness after a shower and shave, floss and brush.  
  19. A bunch of comments pending publication on my latest blog post.  I must admit I love devouring those.  
  20. A field at dusk awash in lightning bugs.


Sympathy vs. Empathy

Nowadays everybody uses the word "empathize."  I remember when we used to sympathize.  Now we just empathize.  We should get back to sympathizing.  The world needs more sympathy and less empathy.  Let's distinguish the two.  Empathy is paying lip-service to whatever cause or hardship without actually giving a damn or doing anything of substance to alleviate it.  Politicians and Hollywood A-holes empathize.  By contrast, Mother Theresa and Albert Schweitzer sympathized, which is to say, they didn't pose for cameras.  They climbed into the gutter and helped people climb out.  A good rule of thumb to remember the difference between empathy and sympathy:  when you're watching a movie and a guy takes a shot in the grapes and you laugh, you empathize.  If you clasp your junk and wince, you sympathize.

I can't empathize with people.  I either sympathize with them or I don't.  People either deserve sympathy, or they're morally deficient (if you felt a cringe while you read that, consider how politically correct we've become!).  For example, if somebody loses their job, I sympathize.  It could happen to anybody. It's not easy news to receive and it can temporarily cripple you financially.  However, if somebody is still unemployed 27 months later, I don't "empathize" with him, and I sure as hell don't sympathize.  I accept that you had a bad stroke of luck.  But I sure as fuck don't believe you couldn't find another job in 2 years.  Be honest with me.  Is the job market that tough?  Or do your XBox 360 and your stash of weed have a hand in it?  We'd all love to fuck off and bemoan the job market for 2 years while we blaze up and hold out for a management position, but we have bills, yo.

I sympathize with accident victims.  Some drivers draw a horrible poker hand for nothing bigger than trespassing the wrong place at the right time.  Accidents happen.  Sometimes the at-fault driver is reckless or intoxicated.  That makes it sting even worse.  I sympathize.  But other accident victims don't deserve sympathy.  They deserve contempt.  If you were trying to be the next Evil Knievel on your dirt bike, or the next George St. Pierre in the MMA octagon, or you drank a bottle of Jack and punched a hole through a door because you found pics of some other dude's dong on your girlfriend's cell phone, then you deserve whatever injury chance bequeathed on you, dipshit.  [I should disclose to the reader that I work in the emergency room every weekend.]

I sympathize with the sick and infirm.  Some of us are born with lemons for bodies.  Our bodies don't come with a 100,000-mile wrap-around warranty and you can't trade them in using Obama's Cash-for-Clunkers program.  If you're one of the poor bastards roaming the earth in a human version of the Ford Pinto, I sympathize.  God issued you a defective body.  You're blameless.  If a few of my tax dollars can ease your suffering, fine.  But, if you've eaten yourself to the size of a Dodge Minivan and you're ailing with bad knees and Type 2 diabetes, go roll yourself off a cliff.  I don't feel sorry for you.  And spare me the food-is-an-addiction speech.  Get yourself addicted to exercise and a healthful lifestyle.  You'll be surprised how quickly you become addicted to it when you can see your own pecker without the aid of a mirror.

I'm not surprised to see the word empathy supplant the word sympathy about the same time political correctness shifted into overdrive.  Political correctness forces us to stomach the unpalatable.  Tolerance and non-judgementalism are the orders of the day.  We can't sympathize with the rampant nincompoopery afflicting the masses.  So instead, we "empathize," which is to say we affect caring and withhold judgement.

I hope someday we resurrect the word -- and the practice -- of sympathy.


Ravishing Rick Food

Once in a while I'll read about a cook-off in which chefs make an entrĂ©e of record-breaking size.  Today, for example, I saw a clip on the biggest burrito (it weighed like a thousand pounds and was capable of inducing 57,000 cubic feet of fart gas according to the scientist on location).  I've also read about the biggest omelette, the largest pizza, the longest sub sandwich, the fattest cannole, the tallest cake.  You get the idea.  You take an ordinary menu item and enlarge it until astronauts can see it from orbit, like the Great Wall of China or our national debt.  By the way, do they eat these culinary monstrosities or leave them for the birds, stuff them down the garbage disposal, or call Kirstie Alley?

Reading about record-breaking foods, I get to thinking about the hungry.  Starving people don't have access to television, but they read the newspapers before they build their houses out of them.  Should they turn to the Lifestyles section, they might read about the World's Biggest Omelette, in which went 15,250 eggs, 1400 pounds of cheese and a truck load of onions and peppers.  How charmed they must be.  Hey, look at that.  The Americans made a breakfast item 37 feet in diameter and used enough ingredients to feed every starving child in our village for a year.  Gotta love those Yankees and their can-do spirit.  That reminds me, I'm starving.  Honey, let's scour the land for grubs in the blazing sun before the warlords arrive with their machetes.  Ooh, I know.  Let's make the World's Biggest Insect Carcass Pie! 

I don't begrudge American culture its excesses.  I don't believe, as many do, that our abundance denies other countries their "fair share."  Their corrupt governments and failed economic policies do that.  But I can see how our love affair with food can be obnoxious to the foreign observer.  For example, those huge steak dinners that if you can eat it all, it's free.  Think about the statement that makes: if you're a big enough glutton, we'll subsidize your gluttony.  It's like a scholarship program for overeaters.

All-you-can-eat buffets tweak the sensibilities of foreigners, too.  You plop down 9 bucks and shovel as much inventory down your gullet as the laws of biology allow.  The goal of a buffet is to eat yourself miserable enough to know you got your money's worth.  The trick is to get one over on The Man.  Ha!  I ate nine dollars in crab puffs alone.  Take that, Mr. Ming's China Buffet!

Frying dessert foods is a uniquely American example of overkill.  We should stop doing that.  Don't fix what isn't broken.  You should fry vegetables.  They're gross.  You fry them so that they have an outside shot at tasting good.  Don't fry Oreos and Twinkies. They don't need any help.  It's like giving Dolly Parton a boob job.

Competitive eating melds two American virtues, competition and gluttony, into one grotesque sporting event -- although the Japanese give us a run for our money by boasting their national virtue: efficiency, specifically, packing 62 hotdogs into a 120-pound dude.  Only the Japs could use space so efficiently -- and maybe that IKEA guy.  You know who should join eating contests?  Those African kids you see on the Sally Struthers commercials.  They'd clean up.  Imagine our spoiled, lard-ass, bowling alley dwellers squaring off against an Ethiopian who hasn't had a meal in 4 months.  I know who my money's on.  If I so much as skip a meal I can knock back a large pizza and a pack of Oreos.  Imagine going a decade or so without food.  You and a couple villagers could probably eat one of those record-breaking burritos all by yourselves!  Man, we're in trouble if sub-Saharan Africa joins the ranks of competitive eating.  There goes our national dignity.