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I got an honorable mention this week on Boxing with Pencils. The flash fiction contest was simple: 100 words or less and you had to include the words yellow, swindle, and lament. My entry:

The lemon didn’t ask to be chosen by God. He was enjoying his yellow sun-kissed existence, protecting the seeds of the next generation.

But walking underneath was a distraught girl.  Her boyfriend had swindled her out of her virginity, with broken promises of love and forever.  There was nothing for consolation but a long walk with a close confidant.

Our hero fell and landed in their path.  Momentarily stunned, the tear-stained one picked him up.

“Are you going to make lemonade?”

“No, I’m going to throw it at his car.”

In her dark backpack, the lemon could only lament.

Existential despair.  It’s my speciality.

Flash fiction is extremely addictive.  Go check out Boxing With Pencils, cute little site that I think has a lot of potential but not a big community yet. I entered this week’s flash fiction contest also.  You can sign up for entries or comments using your facebook account.

Categories: I arted Tags: anthropomorphic food, boxing with pencils, existential despair, fate, flash fiction, lemon, lemonade

^Debt Ceiling infographic via Third Way

—-

In the fall of 1995, Congressional Republicans refused to raise the total amount of debt accumulated by the federal government of the United States.  It was not raised until the following March.  This gap created a 6-month period, when the Secretary of the Treasury announced a debt issuance suspension, which is known as the 95′-96′ debt ceiling crisis.  During this period, the US Treasury, under President Clinton, took several extreme measures to raise funds without exceeding the debt ceiling or defaulting, including a temporary use of retirement funds for former government employees.

What makes the debt crisis situation different today?

Unfortunately, the measures taken by the Treasury then, would not be as effective in the current economic climate, analysts at Deutsche Bank found.

In 1995, the economy was in the middle of a strong expansion with the unemployment rate around 5.6%. (Today it’s around 9%.)  It was fiscally strong; there was no recovery period necessary from a Great Recession.  The deficit was 1995 was 2.2% of GDP.  Current deficit is around 9% of GDP and rising each year.

The Deutsche Banking analysts were very clear in their report:

Today, the financing needs of the government are so much higher, that diversion of these funds would not last more than a couple of months, and probably far less.

In terms of the timing of the debt crises relative in terms of election:  1996 is an election year.  2012 is also an election year.

In March 1996, the House controlled under Speaker Newt Gingrich caved in the midst of overwhelming negative public opinion.  President Clinton went on to beat Republican contender Bob Dole for reelection by a 9% margin.

Obama certainly has more to lose right now in terms of potential economic disaster.  But, at 71% disapproval of the GOP, public opinion polls right now are pretty clear.  Americans realize who is at fault here for the impasse.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: 1995, Clinton, debt ceiling, government shut down, partisan politics

Originally posted on my old DeviantArt.  Creative commons license, no commercial use or modifications.

A Condensed Version of College

When they met on Topless Tequila Tuesday, he asked if she wanted to be his beer pong partner.  She smiled and said sure, but she had to go soon to study for an exam the next morning.  He said that was cool; he himself had taken extra precaution to not schedule any classes before noon.  She was in the pre-med program and he was studying business.

They both eventually graduated.

She was accepted to a third-rate med school.  But after learning that a three-year residency was practically indentured servitude, she moved back in with her parents and made a decent living wage bartending.

He tried some entrepreneurial endeavors, like managing a regional high-end knife chain.  But after realizing that these businesses were modified pyramid schemes, he got a job at his dad’s company selling life insurance.

But on that Tuesday night, they weren’t thinking about their long-term futures.  He was wondering if his roommate wanted her too, and she was wondering if her roommate would approve of him.  As they stood in their underwear, throwing ping-pong balls across a table into cups 1/3 full of Heineken, responsibility seemed so far away.

Categories: I arted Tags: beer pong, college, flash fiction, tequila

So I linked to my own blog, different articles, on Reddit twice.  There is no rule explicitly against this practice. But I was banned anyway.

The rule clearly states:

Feel free to post links to your own content (within reason). If that’s all you ever post, and it always seems to get voted down instantly, take a good hard look in the mirror — you just might be a spammer.”

Within reason.  They really need to create a specific quantitative guideline (1 self-promotion per week) otherwise its just arbitrary who they or the “report” button says they can ban.  My account is relatively new.  I don’t link to a lot of other stuff because, most popular links are already up, and they don’t do duplicate links.  The few comments I  have posted have been well thought-out and insightful.

I’m not the only person to complain about this issue in particular and being “silently banned” by IP address:

http://www.pureblogic.com/How-To-Get-Banned-From-Reddit-For-No-Good-Reason

How I Got Banned From Reddit

Silently banned from Reddit…

FormerRedditUser

This happens all the time with Reddit. Rather than outright ban users, they mute them without any indication. The muting is done by IP address, but the ability to see your own comments is done by user name. Ostensibly this is to fight spam (like a honeypot), but there are indications that it can be invoked automatically with the report button — apparently the oversight on report is intermittent, and the user is frequently just muted until an admin looks into it. An associate of mine pointed otut that this has the convenient side effect of maintaining the user’s ad impressions without allowing them a voice.

If you have a reddit account that you don’t care about getting IP banned on (like a work computer), reddit this shit, and the other links I posted to.

I’m sticking to StumbleUpon from now on.

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, meta-blogging Tags: banned, censorship, promotion, reddit, spam, subreddit, suspension, unfair

http://customersurveypanels.com/offer/vc/terms.html

Their ads are everywhere and somehow elude chrome and firefox’s otherwise decent pop-up blockers.

Money quote:  “To the fullest extent permissible pursuant to applicable law, customersurveypanels.com disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.”

I don’t want to quote any more for fear of violating “fair use” in case they are litigious motherfuckers.  But it’s hilarious.

Basically it says:

Please give away your personal data and waste your time on surveys.  We have no legal obligation to uphold anything on our site.  You’ll never get your free ipod.  Go fuck yourself.

Categories: Social commentary Tags: free ipod, pop-up ads, terms and conditions

Short review.  The moral of Transformers 3 is don’t date Shia LaBeouf.

Seriously, I was mildly surprised by Tranformers: Dark of the Moon.  I never saw the second film due to its ubiquitously terrible reception, and I don’t remember the first film oozing in witty dialogue.  But Transformers 3 made me laugh a few times and the supporting casting was superb: John Malkovich, Ken Jeong (Chow from Hangover), and Alan Tudyk (Alpha from Dollhouse) to name a few.  Leonard Nemoy was also the voice of Sentinel Prime, something my friend had to point out to me, even after the numerous Star Trek references.

Despite the obvious action film flaws, like the girl having a miraculously clean white blouse post-apocolypse, it delivered what it advertised–really cool fucking robots.

My main complaint is that the editing could have been tighter.  They could have shaved 30 minutes off the 2.5 hour run time.  Still, the ending scene, which was more like 3 ending scenes blended together, had some really badass robot carnage.  And Michael Bay got to destroy Trump Towers.

I give it a B- for a regular movie, and A- by Michael Bay standards

Categories: Reviews Tags: leonard nemoy, michael bay, Shia LaBeouf, transformers 3, transformers: dark of the moon

The viral e-harmony cat lover youtube video sparked an internet debate about the girl featured in the “bio”: Is it real or not real?

Comments on the video tend to leans towards no. The two main giveaways is that the girl presents herself as “Debbie,” but the account username under which the video is posted is hartmanncara. Lack of wetness and red eyes indicate the crying is fake, although webcam quality always makes it hard to tell.

Alas, the hilarious cat lover is an actress. Her name is Cara Hartmann. She apparently also had a video mimicing Stephen Hawking singing a Katy Perry song that “has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech.” Here is her facebook fan page.

Categories: Viral Things Tags: cara hartmann, cat-lover, e-harmony, viral video, youtube