Sunday, April 19, 2009

Announcement: I'm Taking A Hiatus From Updates

Okay, so I now officially fail at the Internets.

I need a break. An honest to God break. A hiatus.

I need to not post for a while.

I have a lot of major things going on in my life right now, and I don't have the time or the attention span to put into creating quality posts of any sort. When things get straightened out, I'll be back, and I think, better than ever.

Just... not right now.

I never wanted to be one of those people who couldn't update on a schedule, but I think after doing this for four and a half years, all but one of those years on a daily basis, I don't have a bad track record. Everything must come to an end.

But this isn't an end, just a break.

I promise.

I need to go away and dream it all up again.

Don't worry — BELIEVE ME when I tell you that the reason behind this...

Is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't Panic. We're From The IRS.

Today is National Income Tax Filing Day, a day of community, where people from every walk of life can come together and share the common bond of standing shoulder to shoulder in the post office lobby. I don't know much about income taxes, other than no one understands them and they freak me out. Seriously. Every time I start a new job, they give me a W-4, or a W-2, or a WD-40 form to fill out, and it makes me want to curl up into the fetal position on the floor and sob, and the only thing I have to do is mark a "1" in certain spots.

Like any red-blooded American, I want to do my civic duty to properly report my filing status as accurately as possible to withhold the maximum amount of money from the government without being accused of perjury. Unfortunately, there are two factors working against me when it comes to income taxes. One is specifically designed to work against me, as it's specifically designed to work against most people who are not criminally insane, (by which I mean "lawyers and politicians"). The other, I'll admit, is that I am easily confused by anything combining numbers with completely abstract concepts.

The IRS combines both of these factors into one big, scary process specifically designed to make me panic and give them a lot of money, then worry that they're going to throw me in jail anyway. This is the same thing that makes it impossible for me to perform any sort of financial transaction more substantial than buying gum without direct supervision.

Like, I'll decide I want to go buy a car. To me, buying a car should be pretty self-explanatory. You go to a store, and you buy a car. Only in this case the "store" is called a "dealership," and it's loaded with "salesmen" who are trying to "take advantage of you." You find a car that fits your price range and your needs, and you tell the salesman that you want the car. The problem comes in when the salesman sits you down in his office for several presidential administrations and starts talking about scary car things like features and options and dealer incentives. Then I get all confused. Then he'll start throwing numbers out at random, and if he starts comparing it with another car, my brain shuts down. By the time I'm done, I might walk away with three cars. I might walk away with no cars and a 237% interest rate. I might walk away paying for someone else's car. I have no idea!

I'm also really gullible. If the salesman tells me I need to have something on my car, oftentimes I'll agree to it just to make him stop throwing numbers at me. That is why I always need to have someone with me who knows what they're doing when I'm buying any expensive items like a car or a house or furniture or pretty much anything involving a contract.

Contracts are the worst. Insurance companies will list a bunch of policies, and I have no idea what any of them are really for because they all have names like "Balanced Assured Compensation Liability Mutual Licensee Aforementioned Deduction Allowance," and of course I need every single one. I end up with an entire contract, and I don't even know what it even covers, but I can rest assured knowing that whatever problem I have, it isn't included in the contract.

This brings me back to today's topic, which is income tax filing, a topic that makes me a total neurotic mess who seeks the advice of people who may or may not know what they're doing. I don't really know anything or care about income taxes, and therefore I had to fill the bulk of this article with completely unrelated filler. This is a time-honored technique that most professional writers perfect in college, where they are assigned essays on topics they care nothing about, such as the United States Tax Code. They have to answer such important questions as "Is the President of the United States exempt from paying income taxes?" and "Or what?" Both of these can be answered by copying and pasting any relevant section of the tax code, such as:
If an eligible person sells any property pursuant to a certificate of divestiture, at the election of the taxpayer, gain from such sale shall be recognized only to the extent that the amount realized on such sale exceeds the cost (to the extent not previously taken into account under this subsection) of any permitted property purchased by the taxpayer during the 60-day period beginning on the date of such sale.
TAX TIP: If you don't owe the government any money, you can file up to three years past the deadline, but if you do owe the government money, trained IRS agents will kick down your door and take it from you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Easter

March came in like a lamb, bounding and bleating and eating all the grass in our yards until we got fed up and cut off all its hair to make coats because March went out like a lion, raining all over the place. March contained no holidays meriting free days off work, although, in my opinion, the release of the Watchmen movie should have been considered. If only our country was run by former comic book nerds. At least they would have the sense to understand that Bruce Wayne would make a far better Treasury Secretary than Lex Luthor.

Directly following March naturally comes April, or unnaturally comes August, but since this isn't a leap year I'm going to stick with April. April brings us the elusive holiday Easter, which falls on a different Sunday every year, ranging from the beginning of March to the end of May, given certain astrological calculations based on the positions of the stars and the mood in the air and the groundhog seeing its shadow on the day that Jesus died on the Cross. The Bible is not quite as specific about Easter as it is adamant that Christmas is to be celebrated on December 25th. Apparently two different Ancient Roman Bureaucrats were keeping records at the time.
DATE ON JESUS' DEATH CERTIFICATE: The First Sunday Of The Third Trimester Of The Second Shepherd Moon Following The Super Bowl, Carry The Remainder, And No Less Than Six Weeks After The Groundhog Sees Its Shadow, 33 A.D.
Not much is known about Easter as it is not a highly publicized holiday. Christmas gets roughly 147 billion different songs on constant rotation everywhere you go from the beginning of August through the end of December. Christmas gets a slew of television specials and movies aired so aggressively some of them need a government mandate limiting how many times they can be shown on television each year. Easter, on the other hand, gets one song by obscure progressive rock band Marillion, a movie by Charlton Heston, and another by Mel Gibson.

I can't recall much about the Charlton Heston Easter movie except it probably had something to do with guns, or maybe apes. I do happen to remember that easily influenced Christians blamed Jews for the death of Jesus Christ because Mel Gibson's Easter movie told them to, even though the Bible explicitly states that it was all God's fault. In fact, according to the Book of Matthew, Chapter 26, Verses 39 and 40:
39Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me."

40God looked down and whispered "No."
In response to the outrage over his negative portrayal of Jewish people in his movie, Mel Gibson expressed his sincere regret with a drunken, anti-Semitic tirade. There's much more to Easter than the irrational hatred of Jewish people, though. There's also bunnies. Since Easter takes place in the springtime, it's been largely associated with bunnies, chickens, ducks, eggs, green pastures, blue skies, yellow sunshine, and whatever occurs in nature that can be associated with the color pink. (Strawberry Nestlé Quick?)

In the weeks leading up to Easter, parents can take advantage of the opportunity to frighten their kids by taking them to the mall and having them sit on the lap of a man in an anthropomorphic bunny costume because that is slightly less creepy of a holiday mascot than an emaciated bleeding guy in a diaper. This is the Easter Bunny. Unlike Jesus Christ, the Easter Bunny would steal chicken eggs and hide them to antagonize farmers, who would send their formidable armies of confused toddlers to retrieve them. As far as I can tell, this is the basis for the Easter tradition we still honor to this day of sending our college students to tropical paradises to have uninhibited, drunken sex for a week straight.

Most importantly, Easter is the last chance to get worthwhile holiday candy until Halloween. I highly recommend Brach's Bunny Basket Eggs. These are basically pure cane sugar packed inside hard candy shells. These are so rich that most people eat half of one and put the other half away for later, but I can eat an entire bag of these at a time because I am an advanced candy eater and have been eating candy products for so long I will probably die from diabetes before I'm 40, but that is the sacrifice Jesus was willing to make to save the world from sin.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Harsh Criticism

When you're someone important such as an Internet humorist or President of the United States, every once in a while, you have to respond to harsh criticism. Unless you're a FoxNews pundit, like Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck. Then you don't "respond" so much as you just shout at your critics to shut up and cut their mics if they don't. However, when you're an Internet humorist, you don't get any harsh criticism because no one really cares about anything you have to say, so you have no choice but to make up some harsh criticism of your own.

Q: In your January 7th article about some guy named Rod Blagosomethingorother who only people in Illinois cares about, you reported a glaring inaccuracy. You mentioned that the town of Jenkinsburg, GA was momentarily commandeered by a man calling himself Jorgo the Wonked. I have lived in Jenkinsburg, GA my whole life, and to my recollection, nobody named "Jorgo" ever "commandeered" this town. He was actually narrowly voted in because we felt he'd do a slightly better job at running the town than his opponent, who was a goat. Please correct this error.

A: In all honesty, I didn't think anybody would catch that because I made the assumption that the town of Jenkinsburg, GA probably didn't have working Internet, or newspapers, or electricity. Thank you for bringing this oversight to my attention. In the future, I will do my best to research important facts about small towns before publishing an article, such as whether or not they do, in fact, have working Internet.

Q: On January 28, you said that Wintember used to be one of your favorite months, but I'm pretty sure there's no such thing. I can't find it on any calendar.

A: Wintember is actually a three-month period consisting of September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and Winter.

Q: In your column about Groundhog Day, you reported that the tradition was based on the observance of Candlemass, a gothic heavy metal band. The celebration that the tradition was based on was actually called "Candlemas," with one "s," like "Christmas." What I want to know is: Is it "Groundhog Day" or "Groundhog's Day"? Which is right?

A: Actually, Candlemass is a doom metal band, not gothic metal band. I felt the average reader, or "layreader," might not be familiar enough with the more obscure subgenres of heavy metal to automatically recognize doom metal as opposed to the more common gothic metal. Gothic metal includes of bands like Type O Negative and Lacuna Coil, whereas doom metal consists of bands most people have never heard of.

Q: Back in January, you wrote something about William Harrison being a grizzly bear. I don't mean to question the extent of your knowledge of American history, but I'm fairly certain that I don't know who William Harrison was.

A: According to Wikipedia, William Harrison was the ninth President of the United States of America, serving I'm pretty certain sometime before 1980, when the order, dates, and names of the various presidents get confusing for anyone too lazy to care. Upon taking office, his first order of business, during the critical First 100 Days, was to get sick and die. This led to the ratification of the 25th Amendment, which states that the current between two points is inversely proportional to the resistance. Wikipedia lists nothing to dispute that William Harrison was, in fact, a grizzly bear.


A: Based on my memory of high school American history, Benjamin Franklin lived for at least 300 years and pretty much invented everything because pretty much all they talked about was how great Benjamin Franklin was.

Q: I believe I discovered a misquote in your awesome and completely accurate criticism of Debbie Schlussel last week. You quoted her as writing: "And we all know what happened after they drank he purple Kool-Aid." Shouldn't you have typed "the purple Kool-Aid"? She doesn't need any help to look like a terrible writer.

A: You're right, but unfortunately, I didn't actually type out the quote. You see, computers have this cool feature. All you have to do is highlight a block of text and press CTRL+C to copy it, and CTRL+V to paste it somewhere else, and as long as you properly attribute the block of text, it can fill word-space without being considered plagiarism. This tip also works really well for college papers. So anything I quoted appeared exactly as it was originally written.

Q: Ha ha! You'd think she'd proofread her articles before submitting them for publication!

A: Yes, and not only that, but also bear in mind that this is all just opinion for the purpose of satire!