09 August 2012

Wall Therapy

The City of Rochester came up with the wacky idea of a series of murals across the city to help stem violence.  The art is supposed to be soothing.  They brought in mural artists from around the world.  One of them created this:

You can see it a little clearer here.  It was created by Spanish artist Liqen and meant to show American freedoms in chains (I guess).  Have you ever invited someone over for dinner so they could tell you what an asshole you were?  Yeah, me neither, but it seems to be what the City has done here.  I think that Americans are more in danger of being under surveillance than ever before, thanks to the technological developments of the past ten years, but I don't need a Spanish artist to tell me that.  I also resent him coming here from a nation very familiar with Fascism and wagging his finger at us.  On the other hand, maybe no one knows what freedom under fire feels like more than an artist from a totalitarian nation. 

Another mural that created "buzz" was this one:

So what do you think these animals are?  I'll give you a hint:  they aren't rats.  I know what you're thinking:  "Oh, they're not?!"  Nope, they're supposed to be bears.  To the Belgian artist Roa who created this mural,  this is what a bear looks like:

Or this:

Or even this:

This is what a rat looks like:

Or this:

People in the neighborhood have said they were offended by the Roa mural because it shows the animals, whatever you think they look like, in a sexual position.  I am more offended that the artist apparently can't draw a bear.  It was suggested to the artist that he design something soothing and natural and use the Adirondack Mountains as inspiration.  I think he missed the mark by a little.  Looking at the murals has not soothed me in any way but I am a little hungry.  I think I'll go steal a picnic basket.

06 August 2012

I Tell People Off

The moral of the story is: be nice to your bartender.

I work as a bartender and my job is great but there are lots of things I'd like to say to people that I don't.  I am not a very confrontational person, so I have developed different ways to deal with people that I don't like.  When you are serving drinks, whether it's at a wedding or at a hotel bar, you will come across people you don't like.  I like to deal with people passive/aggressively.  I know what you are drinking but will stand in silence and stare at you until you tell me what you want.  I hope that it makes you feel uncomfortable.  I may put your drink in a shorter glass.  If I see you waiting for a drink, I will take an extra long time talking to the person in front of you.  "Where are you from?  Did you have to travel far to get here?  Oh, really!  I heard it's been hot there this summer (it's been hot everywhere).  How was your dinner?  Did you get the prime rib?"  When I see you turn your head away and mutter something under your breath, I'll deliver the drink to the person in front of you and just when you are getting ready to step up and tell me what you want, I'll draw the other person back in for another thirty seconds of meaningless chatter.  It's the same thing Lt. Columbo used to do on Columbo.  "Ahh, just one more thing...."  The key is to make it seem like I am genuinely unaware of what I am doing and I'm just being friendly.  When you finally get your chance to order your drink I may do something like not give you lime with your gin & tonic.  I'll make you ask for it and then say, with great cheer, "Oh, sure!"  And just when you think I'm the biggest dick in the world, I'll ask you an inane question or make a trivial observation like, "Nice day for a wedding, huh?"  When it's worked the best, I shame people into giving me money while treating them like shit.  They never come back more often when you treat them like this.  It's a win-win.  Just remember that if you really piss the bartender off, you run the chance he will stick a napkin in his underwear, wipe off all the sweat he can, let it sit in some olive juice, and then pour the juice in your dirty martini next time you come back.  And when he asks, "You said 'dirty', right?" maybe you'll think he's just changed his attitude. 

If I could say whatever I wanted I might tell off people like the jerk that comes into my bar at 10:15 when we close at 10 and then acts like we're buddies:  Dave, I know you don't know this but you're kind of a dick and a know-it-all.  People are sitting at the bar to relax and have a drink, not so you can argue with them, and no one cares or wants to know about how much you made when you sold your house...To the father of the bride/groom: you are a dick.  When your son/daughter leaves right before dinner is served, everyone is going to wait.  Don't expect thousands of dollars to be taken off your bill because your dinner is overcooked....Also, I know you spent a lot of money on the wedding but you should tip at least once in awhile, you effing lush.  Don't stand at the elevator at 7:59 waiting for the bar that opens at 8.  God forbid you spend five bucks and get a drink at the hotel bar instead of stalking the bartender.  And never say, "If I don't get a drink by 8, I'm gonna get another discount," because it makes you sound cheap.  But you are cheap, so.....To the other aholes in your party:  Open Bar doesn't mean "it's free so I'm gonna drink as much as I can."  "Can I get a double?  Can I get a triple?"  If you are at my bar every fifteen minutes, you are going to get less and less alcohol in your drink as the night goes on.  Go buy a bottle and sit in the alley if that's what you want.  It's almost the same thing.  Are you really that cheap that you can't buy a drink at the bar while the open bar is closed?  People are like animals when they are getting food or drink for free.  No wonder Americans are so fat....If you give me a direct order when I'm working you can be sure that I won't do it, I'll ignore you, and I will make you feel as uncomfortable as possible....To the chick with the boobs: they look okay but nothing about you is real except your grating personality.  I don't know what you charge your johns but they're paying too much for that stretched out....Pussy Galore is my favorite Bond movie name.

Other stuff has been bugging me, like the people voting on IMDB: when I do a search for "list of influential films," it is inevitable that The Shawshank Redemption comes up.  It's not an influential movie.  Battleship Potemkin, The Birth of a Nation, City Lights, La Dolce Vita, Citizen Kane, Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, Deep Throat:  those are movies that influenced movie making.  And what men expect out of women.  Shawshank is a good movie but it's not influential.  This is why true Democracy is always a failure.  People are morons.  If you don't believe me just turn on the TV.  Idiots....This should be a headline:  "Did Michael Phelps drown in the pool?  Find out tonight on NBC."  What is with the stupid Olympic coverage NBC?  Just put it on TV live.  The U.S. Basketball team had a five point lead going into the fourth quarter.  They showed 20 seconds then cut away.  WE ALL HAVE INTERNET AND TWITTER!!  Just show the damn games.....To all the Lefties who cry diversity and tolerance but show none: people have the right to believe whatever they want, even Holocaust deniers.  If some d-bag owns a company and he wants to give his employees Sundays off, so what?  If he opposes gay marriage, let him.  If you disagree vehemently enough, go protest.  Live what you believe but don't hide behind tolerance when you are intolerant.....Think about this: white supremacists are always the best example against white supremacy, people that preach hate are the best examples against hate, people who are aholes are the best advertisement for not being an ahole.

This guy, Adam Smith, does not pass the 'Not an Ahole" test.  He's very smug and self-satisfied while he bullies this teenage girl at a Chick-Fil-A protest:

He's so tolerant that he makes it a point to tell the girl that he's totally straight and not gay at all (not that there's anything wrong with that)... America is a big, patched together mess of a nation, with everything and everyone from Protestants and Catholics, atheists and Evangelicals, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Nation of Islam, represented by groups as diverse as the gun and gay lobby (to be clear - there is no Gun and Gay Lobby that I know of - there is the gun lobby (the NRA) and the gay lobby (people who watch Glee) to the Christians, Caucasians, Catholics, Catheterized, etc.  I'm glad people feel strongly enough to support their individual causes, and I want people like Adam Smith and Dan Cathy to have freedom of speech, even if I'd like them to STFU....I can barely get my nephews to do what I want them to do.  Forcing other people to live by my values sounds exhahusting....To the people who ran the banks into the ground in '08 and screwed our economy:  you also suck....Penn State again?  The victims were the raped and sexually abused, not the Paterno family, not the students or retailers who lose out because Penn State won't play for a bowl game.  If it helps, just pretend you were a German citizen during WWII.  Your nation, whether you supported them or not, did some horrific things.  Whenever you are overcome with a sense of persecution or injustice, put it into perspective by thinking about those who were abused....To Emily Goode and the Occupy Rochester idiots:  would you please grow up?  The Chief of Police is dealing with issues like, I don't know, DEATH.  Murder on the streets of Rochester, which is happening every week, trumps your silly parade and your right to block traffic in the name of fighting the same Capitalist system that gives you the means to protest it.  And, moron, you should expect to get arrested and want to get arrested when you are protesting.  You're like children having a pretend tea party while the adults are out working.

OK, that's it.

03 August 2012

Rest In Peace Heather Boyum

Megan Merkel walking into court to be arraigned for vehicular manslaughter

I have a bad temper.  Anyone who has worked with me, played video games with me, fished with me, or golfed with me is well aware of this.  I have taken some steps to deal with my anger issues.  These steps are me thinking to myself, "It's okay, it's just an inanimiate object...." two seconds before I'm overcome by Tourette's and throw said inanimate object across the room.  It reminds me of a funny radio commercial I heard for a computer repair store: Guy goes into store and says to clerk, "My laptop makes a funny noise when I punt it across the room."  I chucked my latest Blackberry across the room a few months ago when I tried and failed, for the emeffing fifth time, to text my friend Melissa.  It bounced off of something into something else and the screen cracked.  Good riddance, I thought.   I don't get mad at people, at least not people in my life.  I get disgusted with politicians, public figures, faceless bureaucracy, the phone people, the utility people, the a-holes that try to gouge me with banking fees, and I get mad and rant at them, but I have a tolerance for the real people in my life.

Fairport teacher Heather Boyum

However, there are real people that I think are lowlife scumbags, like the pair that caused the death of Heather Boyum, a wife and a mother of two, who was killed at 7:45 on a Sunday morning as she was out riding her bicycle.  She was killed by a twenty-two year old 3-time DWI loser who was passing his girlfriend, twenty-three year old Megan Merkel (possible ex-girlfriend who was just "hanging out" with him), on the shoulder of the rode on his motorcycle.  Merkel and 3-time-DWI-loser had both been up all night drinking.  Neither of them has ever held a license to drive and despite their young age both have an intimate and extensive experience of the criminal justice system.  Merkel, feeling like she was being attacked unfairly, went on the radio to defend herself.  She said her boyfriend (or possible ex-boyfriend who she's just screwing around with) was being "retarded" and doing wheelies and generally being the low-life scumbag that he is.  She was driving a car with no brakes and couldn't stop when 3-time-DWI-loser struck Boyum and drove her body in front of Merkel.  Merkel then said she did not know how to express remorse to the Boyum family, which was evident in her Facebook post that told critics they could "suck a d**k and choke on it".  Class act, Merkel.  She has since been charged with vehicular manslaughter and is sitting in jail with no one to bail her out.  It is a story that elicits great sadness from me if I think too long about it, but my bloodlust for Merkel and the 3-time-DWI-loser has kept me coming back to news of Heather Boyum's death over and over.  Is twenty years long enough for these two to serve?  How about a life sentence?

The road to Hell isn't paved with good intentions so much as small ethical compromises that erode character.  Shoplifting doesn't seem like a huge infraction when you are fifteen but what does it lead to?  Dealing drugs when you're nineteen?  Maybe you've stolen something before or resold some pot to make money or driven when you've been intoxicated, and if you have done these things you've probably done so without hurting someone or being arrested.  But the moral of this story is that the standards we set for ourselves should be compromised as little as possible.  Looking back on stupid things we've done and shaking our heads at what buttheads we were is a good sign that we are still here and escaped unscathed, that we got through our transgressions and emerged with a little more common sense.  I think these two are very different than the psychotic person in Colorado who fantasized about committing mass murder and then committed it.  We are all much closer to making a mistake like Merkel than we are to killing strangers in a movie theater.  Merkel and the 3-time-DWI-loser's compromised ethics led to the death of a good person and they deserve a long time in a prison cell to think about what they've done.