May 5th, I mean, Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2009

Today, millions of Americans are chugging Coronas and shooting tequila in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Which is strange, because Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla, during which an outnumbered Mexican army defeated a much larger, much better-equipped French army that hadn’t been defeated in almost fifty years. Yet despite no presence whatsoever of the United States in this conflict, Cinco de Mayo has, over time, become a more popular celebration in the US than in Mexico. I find this to be a bit peculiar. It would be like if on Doce de Febrero (Abraham Lincoln’s birthday), the Mexicans chugged more Bud Lite and shot more Jack Daniel’s than did Americans.

Or like if the Jamaicans commemorated the 53 B.C. Battle of Carrhae, during which the powerful Roman army, under Marcus Licinius Crassus, failed in its invasion of the Iranian civilization of Parthia. You might be thinking that this comparison is a bit of a stretch, since while Jamaica (and virtually all of the modern world) has little to do with the Parthian War, there are 28.3 million Mexican-Americans living in the United States, some of whom might be direct descendants of the brave men who fought at Puebla.

Parthia, the ultimate excuse to party

Parthia, the forgotten failed invasion

But you’d be wrong. Because the average participant in Cinco de Mayo festivities is not a Chicano paying homage to the history of his ancestors’ homeland. It’s college students embracing another opportunity to procrastinate studying for that final. And middle-class workers seeking to forget about the monotony of the workweek. Basically, it’s just people who want to get wasted, pretend they aren’t alcoholics, and yell broken, out-of-context phrases in Spanish.

So, noting that, why shouldn’t the Jamaicans celebrate the Battle of Carrhae? It’s just as random and arbitrary as Americans celebrating the Battle of Puebla. Jamaicans could hold “Serfs and Kings” themed parties, where they’d drink wine and converse in Aramaic. And farm. And trade silk. And defeat Roman armies.

Because honestly, what could make a cultural holiday more meaningful than another nation’s citizens using it as an excuse to hit the bars on a Tuesday night?


The next step for Twitter

May 1, 2009

Now that the White House (@whitehouse) is on Twitter, I think it’s safe to say that literally every living human being on the planet tweets. Congratulations, Twitter. Well done. But you’ve still got work to do.

What is the next step? All social networking sites at some point have to make the leap to get to the next level. Facebook started out by exclusively catering to college students, then let high school students join in on the fun, and now, five years later, even my mom has an account. That’s a progression I couldn’t have imagined in 2004 (but to be fair, in 2004 I also couldn’t imagine I would eventually know how to speak Swahili*, so in general, 2004 was a year of little insight). So the burning question remains: what will Twitter’s revolutionary upgrade be?

Will it be the ability to sense users’ thoughts and thus post tweets directly from the brain, without the use of some sort of fancy electronic? No. Come on. Are you even taking this seriously? Let’s be realistic.

Will it be the transformation of Twitter from a social website into an edible meal that resembles flautas and is served worldwide at Mexican restaurants? Of course not. Nobody wants to eat Twitter. But if they did, I’m totally digging the Mexican idea. Everyone loves Mexican food. Even Mexicans! Plus, margaritas. Mmmm.

In actuality, Twitter’s next big idea is to attract an animal tweetbase. That’s right, animals on twitter. And why not? Animals’ thoughts and daily activities are no less mundane than the average person’s. Some animals lead fascinating lives. Especially pets. For example:

@cat: Just pooped in a box.

@goldfish: Played with my owner. Got my belly rubbed. Fetched the newspaper. I’m such a worthwhile pet!

@dog: Sniffed Rover’s ass a little while ago. It smells particularly orangey today.

Fine, pets lead pretty mundane lives. As you navigate away from the domesticated animals and into the territory of wild beasts, however, things get a little less predictable on Twitter.

@hyena: Heard the funniest joke this morning, still laughing about it.

@lion: Waltzing down a road peculiarly paved of yellow bricks, searching for my courage. /emo


@sheep: Anyone doing anything fun tonight? Maybe I’ll tag along.

@velociraptor: This is my first tweet! Still new to this whole thing, but I’m liking it so far! Today I finally beat @tyrannosaurus at backgammon! Awesome! On top of that, I had a great day of tearing other dinosaurs to shreds with my razor sharp teeth! Man, I was by the water hole today and there was this iguanadon, and as soon as it saw me it was like, “Oh, shit,” and started running, but literally half a second later I had already eaten his entire body, including the bones! I don’t normally eat bones, but I figured what the hell! It was soooo bloody! Water hole? More like blood hole! Then I ate six hadrosaurs and a pterodactyl! Sweet! I know this tweet is way too long, but what the hell is Twitter going to do about it? I’m a fucking RAPTOR!***

*To clarify, I don’t currently know how to speak Swahili. But while in 2004 I couldn’t imagine I would eventually know how to speak it, in 2009 I can imagine I will eventually know how to speak it. Is it likely I will ever know Swahili? Absolutely not. I will never know Swahili. That is a guarantee. But I certainly can imagine it.

**The grizzly is in hibernation, so he was unable to update his Twitter status.

***Sadly, shortly after @velociraptor posted his first tweet, animals were banned from Twitter. The raptor, who in addition to being a vicious carnivore is also a wanted Internet criminal, ruined Twitter for all animal kind when he hacked into the database and eliminated the character limit for tweets. Regardless of whether you are or are not a raptor, you still have to play by Twitter’s rules. The animal experiment was short-lived, but you can’t say it wasn’t glorious.

Blatant hypocrisy re: swine flu

April 27, 2009

Recently, the swine flu has been sweeping the globe and scaring/killing the inhabitants of this fine planet. What is not being reported is that the human flu has been killing swine for a number of decades. Why all the heartfelt concern for human life and yet the well-being of these hogs is continuously unaccounted for? I’ll tell you why. Pigism.

We hear all this talk about racism and sexism and other discriminating isms, but pigism is either ignored or mocked. These pigs are people, too, and it’s about time they get equal treatment. Aside from being eaten, of course. I mean, I’m always down for some pork chops, but I’m almost never down for human chops. Let’s get that straight; I’m not a cannibal anymore. Regardless, with the notable exception of our tendency to eat them, we should pay the pigs the respect that we seek in return from them.

Let me tell you a little story about a pig named Glen. He was born in Ohio in 1974. He contracted the human flu in 1983, and he died the day after diagnosis. Did anyone start panicking about a possible worldwide pandemic? No. Did anyone start looking into ways to prevent the disease from spreading to other pigs? No. Did anyone attend Glen’s funeral? No! He didn’t even have a funeral! He was just left to rot in a dirty field. And rot he did. Maggots infiltrated his innards and pretty soon, ol’ Glen was barely recognizable. And yet nobody cared.

Glen, still alive, pre-flu

Glen, still alive, pre-flu

Let me tell you another little story about a pig named Glen (a different pig named Glen than the aforementioned pig named Glen). He was born in Iowa in 1996. He was sent to a slaughterhouse in 1998 and subsequently packaged into a variety of hams, bacons, and ribs to be distributed at a supermarket in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. And he was delicious! I myself had two ham sandwiches thanks to Glen. And a ham and cheese sandwich. What a pig! What a guy!

Now let me tell you about a person named Glen. I don’t know when he was born, and I’m not even sure his name is Glen. It might be Luke. Who knows? Point is, he has the swine flu. And we’re all up in arms about it. “We have to put an end to it, we have to put an end to it!” Oh YEAH? Well tell that to the other Glen (1974-1983)! Why does his death have to be for nothing, while human Glen (who actually doesn’t even exist and is just a hypothetical Glen invented for this post) is some sort of tragedy?

I’ll tell you why. Pigism. It’s disgusting. I quit.

Solution to unemployment in the US

April 16, 2009

The unemployment rate in the United States is over eight and a half percent. This, as we all know, is a major issue and one that hasn’t been so easy to solve in the current economic recession. But it would be easy to solve, if someone had just asked me for my opinion. I’ve got it all figured out. I’m a man. I’m forty.

Side note: I’m not forty.

Additional side note: I am a man, though.

The solution to this tragic problem our nation faces is easy as pie. But not unicorn pie. Because unicorns don’t exist, and thus unicorn pie is impossible. And by saying something is “easy as pie,” I’m not trying to imply that it’s impossible. I’m trying to imply it’s easy. Like a shaving cream pie in one of those old Nickelodeon shows. All they did was squirt shaving cream into a silver tin and then call it a pie. Now that is easy. Not sure if it’s technically a pie, but easy? Yes. Unicorn pie, less easy.

Additional additional side note: Even if unicorns did exist, would we want to eat them? I will confidently say no.

Additional additional additional side note: Even if we did want to eat unicorns, would we want to eat them in a pie? After a long deliberation, I have decided… yes.

But I digress. The solution to getting people’s jobs back, in my eyes, is to make unemployment itself a job. Hold on, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not a job!” I know it’s not a job, you simpleton. The whole point is that I would make it a job. You might counter that by saying that being unemployed, in an obscure way, is already a job, since the government issues you checks. But those are small checks. I’m talking large checks, annual salaries. Six figures. High six figures. To cut to the chase, I’m essentially suggesting that unemployed people get paid $800,000 per year. Just for being unemployed!

People could say, “What do you do for a living?” and you’d say, “I’m unemployed.” And they’d say, “Have you been looking for a job?” And you’d say, “I already have a job.” And they’d be confused, and while they’re standing there all confused, you’d leave. Boom!

The only way this would feasibly work, however, is if only one person in the country was allowed to have this job. If there was no limit, everyone would want it. And we can’t just be paying everybody $800,000 per year to be unemployed. So how would we choose this one person? Well, I came up with the idea, so… I’d probably be the one.

Additional additional additional additional side note: Woohoo! I’m rich!

Somali pirate escape plan

April 13, 2009

All this talk about Somali pirates got me thinking: What would I do if I found myself taken hostage by Somali pirates? I think there’s only a limited amount of things you can even attempt. I’m not entirely sure any of them would work, but I’m surprised nobody has at least tried.

First, I would try to convince them that I, too, am a Somali pirate. They might not believe me, because I’m white, and I’m not Somali, and I’m not a pirate, but maybe they’re dumber than we realize. If I was sailing off the coast of Africa somewhere, I would make sure to at all times be wearing a T-shirt that says “I’m a Somali pirate.” That way, I can point to the shirt when captured and say, “See?”

When questioned as to why I was on the American vessel, I would say, “What are you talking about? I’ve been with you guys the whole time.” This would probably confuse them. Obviously they would remember having just snatched me from the ship, but I’d have them questioning their sanity. Maybe I was really with them the whole time. Maybe they were just hallucinating extracting me from my ship at gunpoint.

To prove that I am indeed Somali, I would reference Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke. Surely no Westerner would actually know the name of the Somali PM! “He’s one of us,” one of the pirates would say. There would probably be at least one pirate who was still skeptical. But I’d just accuse him of being the American! “He’s not wearing a Somali Pirate T-Shirt!” I’d yell. “In fact, none of you are! Am I the only pirate here?!” They’d be so concerned with trying to prove to me that they’re pirates, that I’d simply escape in the confusion.

The other thing that nobody who’s been captured by Somali pirates has ever tried is to tickle them. I don’t care who you are or how macho you try to be, everyone is ticklish somewhere on their body. It might not be a readily accessible place, but it’s there. If you tickle a pirate, they’re indebted to you. Rule 930 of Somali pirate code says that if tickled, a pirate becomes an indentured servant to the tickler. Once all of the pirates were my indentured servants, I’d order them all to backflip off the boat into the water, where they would drown. Then I’d steer the boat back to my ship, and the celebration would begin.