when you really think about it, this Santa concept is rather creepy

My mental priorities are usually out of alignment. I sometimes can’t even check off simple daily tasks that require coherent thought to avoid problems. For instance, I had to walk to the mailbox from work today and was rather shocked to discover it was pouring rain. And I was like, “Oh, I didn’t know it was supposed to rain today.”

I had no idea. Do most other normal people check the weather? I think so, so what’s wrong with me? It might be that since my first and last acts of any day involve me standing in the backyard with my dogs, that I use that as my daily weather checks. And since no rain or clouds this morning, I didn’t expect rain all day. Luckily for me, I carry a little umbrella in my bag at all times. So in theory, I’ve already accounted for my inability to conduct reasonable routine daily thoughts.

But while I’m not bothering my brain about little things like the traffic report, or whether I needed gloves today, I had this weird thought in my brain about whether I’d tell my kids that Santa is real. This is absurd lunacy as among other things I have no date or kids or immediate prospects of such things. Soon, I guess. But right now it’s just a weird pointless thought. But then my next needless thought was, why? Why?

Because when you really think about it, this Santa thing is kind of creepy. Take heed of these basic facts about this dude:

 

santa_claus

– Regularly practices the art of belligerent unsolicited home invasion

– Can apparently fold space and time but doesn’t go back in time to murder Hitler

– Implements child labor procedures that the Burmese authorities would find abhorrent

– Demands payment in food product that adds zero nutritional value to the human form

– Thus encourages lifestyle choices that would cripple the health care system with a pandemic of Type II diabetes

– Possesses emotional and technical monitoring powers that make the NSA and Jesus jealous

– Encourages materialistic domination of a possession based culture to the detriment of a value based society

– Rewards naughty or nice block designations off an arbitrary, unregulated, and unaudited obscure process

– Pontiff of a cult religion in which millions of his acolyte followers are commanded to dress just like him and convince children of the sanctity of his divine powers and demand that they pray to him to receive a beneficial response

 

Why is this still a thing? Why did humanity not banish the idea of Santa to the gutter alongside other winning ideas such as human sacrifice?

To get to the bottom of this most urgent of human dilemmas, we decided to call Jesus at his castle in Hawaii:

The Arcturus Project: Greetings, Sir.

Jesus Christ: How’s it going?

TAP: Happy early birthday then.

JC: It’s not my actual birthday, the 25th is a construct, it’s the message that counts.

TAP: So what’s your actual birthday?

JC: Uh, you’re a, you’re not listening.

TAP: New Years?

JC: …

TAP: So about Santa?

JC: Yeah okay, what about Santa then.

TAP: What’s the deal with this creep?

JC: He makes people happy, what’s wrong with you?

TAP: I have many problems, which one in particular are you referring to?

JC: Even the most child friendly, popular creatures in existence can be twisted in a dark way. But Santa’s a likeable, jolly guy, so people have decided he can stick around.

TAP: Lies. Not all popular child friendly creations are creepy.

JC: Oh yeah, take this Elmo guy. If you left his appearance, voice, and mannerisms exactly the same, but gave him a butcher knife in an NC-17 rated slasher horror movie he’d cause grown men to vomit in the theater aisles.

TAP: Not true.

JC: Oh yeah, feast on this image inside your brain, my Brother:

 

Elmo

“Elmo has established a window into your soul!”

 

TAP: Jesus Christ!

JC: …

TAP: Oh, sorry. [shudders] I mean, I guess I see your point.

JC: Santa’s just about the dumbest creation in human history, except for yo-yos, but what he does is encourage family togetherness, the idea of somebody jolly watching over you, and the idea that you can happily pass traditions onto your kids like your own parents did; even if those traditions are somewhat foolish or creepy, like flying reindeer.

TAP: I guess I see your point.

JC: Nobody thinks about me during Christmas anymore. And I suppose eventually, if everybody told their kids Santa wasn’t real, that eventually he’d fade from Christmas too.

TAP: But he’s backed by Macy’s, so he’ll probably stick around. You’re only backed by all the powers of the universe, so eventually you might fade into benign oblivion.

JC: Good point.

TAP: What do we do?

JC: Tell your future kids Santa is real, have fun with it, like your parents did with you. And then tell them about the real point of Christmas too. Keep the traditions going that are worth preserving.

TAP: Got it.

JC: Cool.

TAP: …

JC: …

TAP: …

JC: Anything else?

TAP: So if the 25th isn’t your actual birthday, what do you normally do on that day?

JC: I usually go on a pre-New Year’s bender with my other religion bros. And we generally go see a movie, this year we’re of course seeing Star Wars.

TAP: Oh, that should be fun.

JC: Not according to your last post.

TAP: Uh, yeah, I guess. Sorry.

JC: It’s okay, but if the movie isn’t any good, I’m just going to blame you for ruining all of Christmas.

TAP: Isn’t that a little harsh?

JC: I have high standards that encourage positive thought and behavior.

TAP: How am I doing with that?

JC: Yeeaahh.

 

the weirdest things can make us feel better

I got up at 2am this morning and was on the road within the hour for work.  It seemed to make more sense than spending another overnight away from home.  And the dogs came with me, because why not.  But then it was raining hard for the entire automobile based journey.  I always forget, and am reminded when in progress, just how unfortunate it is to have to drive in the dark when it’s raining.  I think it drops the chance of survival by like 83%.  My statistic on this is beyond reproach, I got the numbers from the WHO, so you know they’re good.

Anyways, about halfway through while downhill on the highway and at a low point across a bridge I ended up skidding on what must have been a puddle built up with the heavy rain.  So I was along for the ride for maybe 1.5 seconds.  Luckily, I didn’t get my one way ticket to Valhalla.  But then I couldn’t get it out of my head that I’d somehow screwed up.  Either through poor driving, or driving too fast.  I probably uttered one or more words that usually would be rather appropriate on this blog, but don’t feel like repeating them now.  And all the dogs did from the backseat was open their eyes briefly, wonder what the hell Daddy was so upset about, and then go right back to sleep, totally unaware of the troubles that could have awaited them in Doggy Valhalla.

But then ahead of me, a FedEx truck towing a pair of those dual-connected trailers started to skid out too.  His second trailer started to fishtail in and out of his lane.  I thought he was done for.  I actually started to slow down in the expectation I’d have to pull up behind him and run out to pull the driver out of an overturned semi.  But somehow he got it back under control and carried on.  And other than relief, my next thought was to feel better.  Surely, this guy is driving every day, and even he nearly trashed it on this road.  So it was somewhat okay that I’d nearly done the same, and I took my foot of my throat about that puddle.  The weirdest things can make us feel better.

Eh, maybe neither of us should have been on that road to begin with.  3am in the dark, in the rain.  Neither his job or mine is worth that insanity.  And yet we were both there.  And I bet you we’ll both be doing it again some day, no matter how stupid it is.

sometimes folks take their craft too seriously

It can sometimes become a struggle to drink with folks you don’t know. It can also become a joy. It just depends. The group might not get along, everybody might already be in a bad mood, and so on. Or things can go great, and everybody’s happy.

But there’s always the risk you end up sitting next to guys you find insufferable. For me, it was a pair of craft brew queens. So I got to hear them rant viciously (I hate vicious rants, truly) about the beer. So I heard multiple uses of the terms “hop profile”, “style”, “branding”, and so on. In short, they hated the beer.

I sat with my hands in my lap the whole time struggling mightily not to say a word because I was in no mood to start anything at all. For you see, the beer in question was Belhaven’s Twisted Thistle IPA, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s not epic, but it’s just a good decent beer.

Just to determine if I wants nuts (yes, indeed), when I got home I looked it up and I’m apparently not the only one who likes this beer. So I’m not sure what’s up with those guys.

Don’t get me wrong, I kind of wish I had their knowledge level on beer, but I don’t. I can talk all day about beer. But I don’t really know how it’s made, how breweries work, or the science behind it all. In fact, I’ve never been on a single brewery tour, seriously. I’m not sure why, it’s on my list, but I’ve got a long list.

TT IPA

unrelated reference stock photo of beer not mine

 

But to me, I guess, beer is more of a relaxed thing, not something to take too seriously. This beverage came of age as the normal swill for the planet’s dirt poor. Old style beers were likely low alcohol, and of a differing consistency than what we see today, but it was still beer. They drank it because of the extensive risk of painful-waterborne-disease-death if you consumed straight water.

So to me, beer is like:

Them: “I find the fruity infusion on this saison to work well with the hop profile they acquired from Southeastern England.”

Me: [pops ordinary Yuengling can] [drinks] [enjoys life]

Them: “I’m wondering if that’s blueberry I’m detecting that goes well with the lactose they built in here to give it kind of a milk stout quality.”

Me: “The way to know if you’ve got a good batch of Skullsplitter is if it’s so freaking black you can’t see through the glass. Plus I love to look at that Viking dude as he splits my skull.”

And so on.

 

By the way, old Skullsplitter label is superior. They tried to go too Lord of the Rings with the new label.

SKULL-SPLITTER-GRAPHIC

I love the older label more because the Viking dude is staring out into space like a lunatic. It’s a good pose, because you’re like, hmm, what’s he thinking: conquest, a girl, space travel, beer? And so on.

220px-SkullSplitterLabel

 

 

Every human should have a craft they love. That’s what’s part of the great human experience. Find a craft and excel at it: brew beer, surf, write poetry, plot intricate assassinations, and so on. But also make sure to regularly sample like 700 other crafts. Because life’s too short for just one.

But also don’t take your chosen craft too seriously. All of this stuff is for fun anyways. Don’t get too negative (yes I am actually saying this) even if you don’t like it / disagree. Just sit back and enjoy it. Things can go great, and everybody’s happy.

 

I&G1

unrelated reference stock photo of additional Scottish beer not mine

 

goof

unrelated reference stock photo of drinking buddy not mine requesting belly scratch

I’m over the heat

And so is my youngest, who in lacking a proper snout, has a rough go in the hot weather.  So the walks have to be shorter.  But we’re rather lucky enough to live somewhere where we get to experience four distinct seasons.  So it seems I grew up, as did she, with the idea that if you’re sick of one season you can look forward to the opportunity to experience a new one rather shortly.

074

For her it can’t come soon enough.  For she loves the snow so much it’s the only times she’s actually tried to run away from home.  Twice.  Frolicking off into oblivion atop a snow pack.  Off to somewhere?  I guess?  I have to watch her like a hawk.

109

Please, please don’t go too far.

we welcome the introduction of “killer robots”

So all these smart scientists and engineers don’t want the planet to develop artificial intelligence killer robots?  Why?  What’s not to like?  What do all those brilliant and accomplished folks know anyways?

And in any case, it’s already happened.  Multiple militaries have developed autonomous or semi-autonomous weapons that have essentially taken human thought, emotion, and morals out of the kill loop for years.  Just ask your former Pakistani terrorist neighbor who was forced into permanent retirement after an unrelated pickup truck accident.

We welcome this killer robot development.  For you see:

 

– With robots it’ll be so much easier for professional politicians to start and sustain needless wars as a substitute for reasonable / rational thought since they won’t be putting their own soldiers at risk

– Allows Hollywood to continue to produce C-grade action flicks based on paranoid but entertaining technological concepts invented well before the Internets was even a blink in anybody’s eye

– Favored by my Guests as they believe the unbridled use of murdering robots will let human stupidity “do our required prep work for us”

– Presages a paradise Earth future where wise logical robots can make all our key decisions for us; hell, as long as they provide me an ample supply of beer and kibble for my dogs, they can go ahead and liquidate whoever they want

– Allows MMA, boxing, and other martial sports to be replaced by robot fights, which we could hold on the freaking Moon to create increased buzz prior to fight night; hint – place much money on the vicious fighting seizure robots from Japan

– Will result in the word “irony” being tattooed on the gravestone of the human race as we’re swallowed by our own creation; even as we somehow managed not to completely destroy ourselves following five-thousand years of near constant war

– Why should I get my own beer, when the killer robot can get it for me? if said robot can wield a handgun, he can carry a beer; eh, as long as he doesn’t actually kill me when he gets there

– Let the robot walk my dogs while I drink said beer; and then the robot can contemplate its place on Earth as it routinely carries little baggies of dog feces

– Robot can be consumed in its own everpresent and ultimately debilitating existential crisis as it gathers its wits to determine its “place in this universe” while culling the human flock

– Machines can build spaceships, give humanity the finger, and fly off into space to build a better life in the belief that “none of you humans are worth the effort of killing”

ai-terminator-300x252

Hail Robots!

Triumphator lily

lily1

My Mom’s, just outside the front door.  They only last for a few days.  In the short term, they attract a lot of ants and bees.  Which is always delightful because my dog(s) are of the mind they can eat bees without any negative consequences.  [foolish canine act not pictured]

lily2

I don’t have my camera with me so this was shot on my Samsung S3 Mini, a piece of technology that many of you would classify as a paperweight, but which still manages to baffle me on a regular basis.

lily3

She’s had this same, simple vase for decades.

lily4

This vase is new and so I asked where it came from.  She says, [shrugs] “Somebody sent us flowers and I kept the vase because I figured the color would match the lilies.”  Indeed.  And she says, “By tomorrow morning the whole room will smell of them.”  Sweet.

requiring the permission of strangers to turn on a ceiling fan; and other ways our homes are no longer ours

For the uninitiated, in America a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or similar construct is an evil organization bent upon world domination through regulation of the style and manner in which your bushes are trimmed. In that sense, they have similar priorities to the always delightful, Sturmabteilung or Nazi Brownshirts.

For the uninitiated, who haven’t learned history because it’s not taught anymore, the Brownshirts were another evil organization bent upon world domination through regulation of the style and manner of clown nose coloring, tap water purity, the rules of chess, mass genocide, and the process by which one acquired permission to don footwear.

brownshirts

Bringing peace and enlightenment to the people; one broken window at a time.

Anyways, way back when after a HOA embarked upon a six month ordeal to force my parents to change the color of their shed, I’ve been of the strong opinion that HOAs are nothing more than an excuse for parasites to add luster to their otherwise pathetic lives by holding power over their fellow human beings, aka their own neighbors.

The guy in my next door cubicle at day job is a HOA president. So I get the joy of hearing his frequent used car salesmen back door scheming on daily HOA management. I wouldn’t trust this dude to hold my coffee for six seconds. And yet, please pardon the vulgarity, I think his voice sounds so weird after one of his HOA phone calls that he likely has an erection inside the cubicle.

So when I bought my current shoebox home, I tried my best to stay away from HOAs. But bizarrely, in modern America if you want a neighborhood without an active HOA you need to be willing to pay more. I couldn’t afford it. And so, $50 of my money each month goes to fund an organization whose sole purpose is to destroy me.

Ostensibly, the HOA’s purpose is grounds management, keeping the neighborhood looking nice, and otherwise maintaining order. This way that one annoying neighbor can’t leave an RV camper on their lawn for months at a time. However, in practice HOAs fuel a racket of lawyers, corporations, and white collared goons who are in it to make money.

The corporate behemoth running the day-to-day actions of my HOA does business in two dozens states as a full blown LLC. Because nothing says local democratic government and quaint neighborhoods like paying the Giant Octopus to cut the twelve square yards of public grass that border you property.

The former overlord running our HOA used to lead, to put it mildly, with a rather disengaged hand. Folks would literally leave garbage on their lawns. Eh, I kind of live in a rough neighborhood.

Just last night somebody emptied all six rounds from a likely large frame revolver into the woods out back. I hear gunfire all the time and so I don’t call the cops anymore. Why go to the gun range when the woods at 11pm work just fine? Sure enough, this morning there wasn’t a body out there. I think.

And so, if I have to dodge garbage while walking my dog(s)? Oh well. I bitch about it, but it’s not a big deal. Particularly given that I know what an active / engaged HOA is capable of.

And sure enough, we got a new HOA president. And she was active / engaged. I caught her roaming the neighborhood in her clown car with a note pad. She’d drive a few feet, stop, open her car door, stare at her neighbors’ homes, and take notes. While I walked by her with my dog(s) she wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. She knew what she was doing.

And sure enough, then the entire neighborhood got flooded with “violation” notices. The garbage still litters the lawns. But apparently my bushes needed trimming (true). And, my entire freaking driveway needed replacement. Yeah, the entire driveway.

Why? Because she said so. The violation notice simply instructed me to replace my driveway within 60 days or face fines. No explanation as to why. Good luck with that, lady. I’ll sue first.

And when I replied in formal letter requesting clarification? Eh, no reply. So we’ll see if I hear from them after the 60 day clock runs out. Maybe she’s just overwhelmed with responses to all the paperwork she generated.

And then I’m walking my dog(s) yesterday and I see her latest idea. Behold the power of waste and general sadness! See if you can figure out what’s wrong here:

insanity

1) Now our cool little tree and flower circle has been surrounded by a trio of no parking signs

2) For a garden circle that is geometrically impossible to park around

3) On a dead end street that houses no consistent traffic

4) For a circle that I’ve never seen anybody park around for two years

5) When our neat flowers and cute little tree are now surrounded by steel, signs, order, and sadness

 

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it’s rather hard to execute absolute power when you’re a darn moron who has as much common sense as a Brownshirt goon on meth.

I fear this is the future of the American home. The needless signs surrounding the tree. Home isn’t your home. The HOA owns you. The bank owns your mortgage. Via property taxes, you effectively only rent your home from the government. Even your local utility wants to hook up smart meters which empower them to turn off certain appliances at their decision, not yours.

dog

Happy non-contrarian canine wonders why beloved Daddy bothers to think and write about stuff that might not matter.

And so the future of the free American’s home will require the permission of strangers to turn on a ceiling fan.

Maybe it’s just a continuation of history’s reality. Through most of the human race’s great adventure, folks have never really been free or owned their homes, their land, their lives. So who are we to think differently?

We live in a modern society so controlling that entire arms of our culture are committed to telling you what you can / cannot say, think, eat, drink, smoke, vote, believe, and so on. So why not all of these things, and then some, even when you’re inside your own home?

It’s very troubling to me. It makes me fear what kind of home my kids, God willing, will live. Will they look back on my tale of their grandparents shed color debacle and be like, “Oh, that’s so minor compared to what it’s like today.”

Will freedom, the home, the joy of choosing your own path just slowly erode away? And those who come after us won’t even know what it was like. What it was like to live free before the age when a total stranger could order you around in your home? Just because they felt like it?

Or maybe my dog(s) is right. And I’m off my senses. And one day I’ll be wearing a tin foil hat mumbling to strangers about the Brownshirts. Eh, we’ll see.

stormy

The Arcturus Project’s Weekly (Not Weekly) Stormy Cloud Award goes to Her Eminence HOA President #457.2b. I won’t give in lady; there’s nothing wrong with my driveway; I’ll see you in court if necessary.