Another year without a nuclear meltdown has got to be making them rethink the calendars…

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Mornin’ all.

We done went and had ourselves a bit of winter this week. It was sleeting so hard that when I got up the other day that it sounded like a pipe had broken. I had a momentary flashback to last years’ Pipes of Hell winter production before I got a grip and realized that it was a balmy 30 degrees, and the water was coming down from above, not up from below.

I took a look outside. A couple inches of snow, then ice pellets as far as the eye could see. What an awful mess! Fortunately for us, no one had anywhere they needed to go. Kids were home from school, man was home from work. There wasn’t a single reason any of us had to go out.

So of course we went out.

…what? Oh come on. It’s a New England tradition. The plows had already come through, so we weren’t clogging up the roads and getting in their way, and there was almost no traffic. As soon as you can, you get in your car and chug the mile to the local grocery store to make sure every other redneck congregated there still agrees with your assessment that winter is wicked fahkin’ shitty. It’s just what you do. I don’t make the rules, people.

Besides, we were low on milk. Not quite out, but low enough that the morning joe would be tan, not khaki. Couldn’t have that first world problem, now could I? I mean, I chipped a nail this week, too. There’s only so much one person can take.

We’re halfway through the kids’ holiday break. For the most part, it’s been pretty smooth. They needed to clean their rooms to make space for fresh inventory after Christmas. I remember when that meant they played with the rediscovered toys while I sat buried under the heaps of long forgotten treasures, desperately trying to throw out the crap that the kids only suddenly NEEDED because it was time for it to go.

Now, even the littlest pup is old enough to mostly guide himself in cleaning.

I’m not saying I don’t have a couple in the litter who show the same hoarding tendencies I possess. Sometimes I’ll catch the pup sneaking a broken toy under the bed. “What’s that?” I’ll say. “I can fix it,” he’ll protest. “Put it in the trash before you end up with an hour long TLC special,” I’ll tell him, carefully creasing my brow in practiced parental consternation.

Aside from cleaning, it’s been mellow and game-filled. They are my little flock of geeks and got some cool games for Christmas. And while they got out and played before the shit weather rolled in, I can’t say any of them seemed the least bit disappointed to discover that Mother Nature made sure their time was free for digital adventuring.

Pokemons explored caves. Isaacs were…bound? I’m sorry, I don’t really know how that game works. Brain puzzles were solved, and, if the excited tittering wafting from the teen lair was any indication, large battleships were thwarted.

Looks like they’ll have that same kind of morning again today, at least. It’s raining and the snow/ice is getting a fresh, glossy glaze. Hey, I suppose I can’t complain. I mean, it’s the first real sign of winter, and it’s almost 2016.

Can you believe it? Another year out. Pfft, just like that. Seems like I cracked open my free 2015 calendar the nuclear power plant sends to all the folks that live in the potential fallout zone just yesterday.

…true story. Got next year’s unusual bribe all ready to hang in the morning. If the plant ever blows, at least I’ll have the warm memories of all the free calendars they sent over the years to temper my anger at their incompetence and give me comfort. Well, the warm memories and the literal warmth of the radiation…

It’s that time of year again when we look back and reflect on the old shitstorm we’re leaving behind before our hungover asses wake up to the first misting sprays of the new one. Everyone’s recapping the year as only the internet can.

Most sites are linking their favorite lists by category. The news this year was, by and large, fairly bleak. I’m looking through these lists of murders and scandals and jihads and arrests and it’s depressing as hell. There was a link on MSN to the “20 Cutest Internet Cats of 2015.” I was thinking that would take the sting off the hell hole we’re in and clicked on it. True to their word, some of the kitties really did have squiffy wiffy faces. I was feeling more positive until I clicked on the last cat. The last cat on the list looked like Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is now ruining the palate-cleansing ability of internet kittehs. Screw you, Donald Trump. #generalmessageof2015

Then there are the usual lists of celebrity lives that ended in the course of the year. The entertainment sections have lists of actors and singers that shuffled off this mortal coil. The sports section listed “7 Sports Heroes You’ll Miss Next Year.” What a set up articles like that are. I didn’t even know these people existed until you told me, and then as soon as I find out about them, you tell me they died. I was in a world of blissful ignorance before. Any emptiness and loss I now feel for heroes I will never get to know is completely your fault, sports writers. Screw you, too.

Science and tech sections also have their loss articles, but no one reads them. I think that’s probably sadder than the fabricated depression from the sports writers. This keyboard I’m typing on could have been invented by someone who died this year, and I’ll never know. I mean, I *could* know, I guess. I just won’t.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Aside from the news bits, many of the lists on the internet are sponsored. “Top 20 Hairstyles of 2015,” brought to you by Wen hair care. Just guessing here, but I think these styles are going to be held in place with Wen’s Dr. MacGuillicuddy Formula Super Shiny Impossible-to-Muss All Purpose Hair Shellac Elixir and Floor Polish. They’re also linking their least favorite lists. “Worst Hairstyles in 2015.” Looks like there are many folks out there who didn’t buy Wen. Tighten that shit up in 2016, folks. Just call Wen and ask for “magic hair beans.” They’ll know what you’re talking about.

Here’s a good one. “50 of the Best Cars of 2015.” How about, “80 Great Breakfasts to Start off the New Year.” This is one you cannot miss: “101 Life Hacks We Learned in 2015.”

It cracks me up when I see lists like this. 50 Best Cars…so, like…ALL the cars of 2015, then? I think they just try to one up each other. I think the folks at BuzzFeed brainstorm or interface or idea-share or whatever they call it to try and come up with a list that cannot be topped.

“Let’s see if we can think of a list that will dwarf all other lists,” some asshole in an ill-fitting plaid shirt says as he pushes thick-framed, lensless glasses up his nose.

Stanley gulps, though whether because of genuine panic or simply discomfort the starched bow tie pressing against his Adam’s apple creates is undetermined. “Dave,” he rasps. “You’re talking about…the Golden List.”

The group gasps as one, but Dave is undeterred. He holds up a perfectly manicured hand, mostly to flash the sweet 1986 Casio calculator watch he found at a yardsale that sometimes even works, and the group stills. “Yes.”

The one word gets the hipsters riled enough to forget their corporate catchphrases. “That’s fucking nuts!” someone shouts. “It’s a pipe dream, Dave!” says another.

“This is it,” Dave shouts above the din of the crowd. Everyone settles back down. “I said it in January and I meant it. This is OUR year. We’re not leaving this office until we finally do it. I want everyone to network and give each other input and no one is leaving until we come away with the Golden List.”

Stanley hitches up his high waisted acid washed jeans he’s totally wearing ironically, duh, and takes a deep breath. “You do know that’s the top, right? That’s the pinnacle. If we create the world’s most comprehensive list, it’s all downhill from there. We’ll never be able to beat it.”

Dave removes the annoying empty frames, stares long and hard at his expectant hispt-herd, and finally utters, “Then we go out in a blaze of glory, my friends. Who’s with me?”

50 cars. 80 breakfasts. 101 life hacks… I tried to do a Google search for “longest compilation lists,” “longest year end wrap up lists,” and “longest dumb lists of shit that happened in 2015,” but I simply confused the Google Overlords. They still think I want a list of armed conflicts near large rivers. Should make my autofill even more interesting next time.

Things happened this year. More things did not. We were great at realizing problems, but really shitty at fixing them. We’ve got to work on that in 2016. We’ve had some deaths, some more personal than others, and some births. Folks set records, smashed records, invented records, and some even recorded records, though they won’t just call them “records” anymore and that’s super annoying. There was a lot to 2015.

I look back on the news, the media, the trends and stories and pop culture ebbs and flows. What do I want to talk about in terms of the year we’re leaving behind? I have spent the year blogging. I got most of it out of my system when it happened. Something grabbed my attention, I hopped on and “Mornin’ all-ed”, and walked away feeling lighter and freer. I generally don’t need to recap, since it’s all archived and anyone is free to look back on their own if they want.

However, there is something nagging me that I need to get off my chest before I can move forward. Somehow I missed the news when it came out, and then it became awkward to talk about apropos of nothing. But that’s what year end round ups are for, right? It’s a time to have one last chance to air your grievances before you close the calendar, throw it away, and start fresh.

With that in mind, here’s Bethie’s Huge Annoyance of 2015. I’m not even going to try and compete for the Golden List award. It’s really simple. Just one thing.

This:

hoverboard

THIS IS NOT A HOVERBOARD!!! It doesn’t hover. It doesn’t even come CLOSE to hovering. It’s on GODDAMN WHEELS for crying out loud. It’s AT BEST a crooked skateboard. It’s not innovative. It’s not the “future”. It’s just a board with spinny wheels on it. WHEELS. No hovering capabilities whatsoever. The emperor is naked and it’s time someone stood up and said something.

STOP CALLING IT A FUCKING HOVERBOARD!!!!! GAAAHHH!!!!

*exhausted panting* *deep breath* *slicks back crazy wayward lock of hair* *clears throat*

There. NOW I’m ready for 2016.

Thus concludes the last Musing for 2015. I say this every year, and every year some dope ignores the good advice. If you want to usher in 2016 by getting utterly shit faced, cheers! Now, grab a couch. A floor. Be the huddled mass in the bathtub moaning all night. Whatever you do, DON’T DRIVE AFTER YOU DRINK!! Any is too many. I hope everyone gets to wake up tomorrow morning with a headache, cotton mouth, and a nagging suspicion that the lampshade and goat weren’t actually a dream…

Why all the anger, brah?

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Mornin’ all.

My cat is running around the house carrying with her a “plastic bag of invisibility.”

Look, cats are weird. We all know that. Mine seems to believe that all plastic bags have mystical powers. She honestly seems to think we can’t see her when she sticks her head under one. If she’s playing the chase game with the kids, she’ll use a bag the same way we used the couch during a rainy day of indoor tag when we were young. Bag is safety. Can’t be tagged “it” when she’s touching the bag.

Sometimes when there’s no one to play with and she’s feeling kitten-y, she’ll take her bag with her from room to room and try and start shit.

I haven’t had enough coffee for shit to be started, and I am the only one awake. Sorry, kitty.

I went shopping yesterday. At a dollar store. The day before Christmas Eve. What an odd experience. I have been to dollar stores often enough that I don’t really know why I would have expected otherwise. A lady had a problem with my hair.

“Huh?”

Yeah, that’s about the only acceptable reaction. She got mad when I didn’t respond how she wanted and went off to the cashier about my hair. *shrug* Dunno.

A dude was trying on socks.

Socks.

Right in the aisle of the dollar store, he took off his own shoe and sock and tried on the dollar socks. I don’t have any idea why someone would do this. First, they’re socks. Who tries on socks? And then there’s the price point. It’s a buck. For a three pack. Was he testing quality? Because if that was his goal, then no matter how well they fit, he was going to be sorely disappointed.

My cashier was a very nice and polite woman with tragically unfortunate make up.

I don’t wear make up. Every time I tried to use it, it stuck to my face, which was entirely unpleasant. I’m told that is the entire point of make up, so I guess we were never really destined to get along. Also, I hate that women are expected to dip themselves in lacquer every day while men get to actually use their own faces.

I’m just saying that I might not have the strongest grasp of beauty product application. However, my cashier used a foundation that was probably five shades too dark for her skin. It was a reverse Geisha look, and it was somehow far creepier. Her hair was on point, though. Wicked fancy style with curls in and updo that looked so out of place on a dollar store cashier that I kind of wanted to high five her for it.

The cashier in the register behind me told Crazy Hair Lady, “Happy Holidays.” That earned a death glare. The woman snatched her bags, threw them in the cart, and sniped, “It’s ‘Merry Christmas’!”

“Uh oh, Bethie. I know that tone of voice…”

That sentiment is also splashed across Ye Olde Booke of Faces today. I’ve got to be honest.

“No. No, you don’t.”

I have seen this over and over and over, and it really pisses me off when people…

“Bethie no! Not today of all days! Don’t try and stir the pot on Christmas Eve!”

…complain about the phrase, “Happy Holidays.”

“…shit. *sigh* I tried to warn you.”

You did, and I’m sure my detractors will take note and not hold you responsible. Now, sit back down. I’m just getting started.

“Happy Holidays.” Why does one little term get people so angry?

In this nation, we tend to have a really difficult time understanding that we are not the absolute. We’re really very bad at looking at our country as part of a bigger picture. I’m not knocking us. I’m actually pretty sure that the folks in every nation feel the same. Hell, we’re probably even hardwired to, when you get right down to it. On a purely scientific level, our ancestors would have had to believe that they were the most important in order to have the drive to keep their cave families alive.

I don’t fault us for it. But now that we have the internet with its instant access to the lives and living rooms of the rest of the world, we’ve got to start opening our eyes. We’re NOT the shit. No single group of people is. Everyone is different and that’s not only okay in societal terms, it’s necessary for the overall health of our species.

So for the good of humanity itself, let’s take a look at some Christmas facts.

The holiday we call “Christmas” here in the United States has, overall, very little to do with Christmas. The first Christmases were deeply religious. We’re not talking like a couple years for the holiday to catch on. We’re talking CENTURIES of strictly religious Christmases. There were no bells and whistles. No wreaths and happy carols. Unfortunately for the monks, no tasty cakes and cookies, and definitely, absolutely, positively no gifts.

From a theological standpoint, Christmas is supposed to be a “celebration”…of the soul. It’s supposed to be a time to reflect on God giving his child to the world for eternal spiritual salvation. In fact, the early centuries of Christmas observations were times for deep praying and fasting, not singing and feasting.

Over the years, the holiday slowly changed. As the Christian crusaders started to spread across the globe, they adapted and, in some cases, flat out adopted local customs into their own religion. Caroling, a tradition that dates back to the Romans who sang at every public event, not just religious ones, was started in the fourth century by monks. They sang dirges. In Latin. The point was to remind people of the somberness of the day.

How fun.

Actually, I bet locals felt about the same for those carolers as we do today. “Oh shit, Igor. It’s those monks singing in a language we don’t understand trying to make us feel guilty for eating our gruel.” “Blow out the candle, Olga, and maybe they’ll go away.”

Boughs of evergreens came into the scene when the Christians spread north. In all fairness, the early Christian crusaders probably realized hanging evergreen boughs in a closed up winter keep was a most excellent idea. They took the stank off the joint. I mean, back in those days, all food scraps were thrown on hay rushes on the floor to be either eaten or ignored by the dogs. And then left to rot. Until SPRING. I’m guessing the early Christian crusaders said, “I believe thy Lord has spoken unto me, and he hath conceded yon evil pagans mighteth be onto something,” as they pinched their noses in their own smelly homes.

The happiness and joy of the holiday didn’t come until people, most famously Saint Nicholas, began to give the child laborers a little extra pick-me-up in homage to the gift God gave to the world. He was actually a real person who stuffed things in stockings for local children to make their lives a little brighter. I mean, the kids still had to get back to scrubbing out chimneys and carrying coal and falling in wells and shit, but at least they got an orange first.

Oddly, ol’ St. Nicky there wasn’t the only one who decided to stuff gifts in footwear. I guess since they didn’t have cardboard or tupperware, options were limited. Still…foot fetish much? Anyway, Scandinavian children used to put offerings in their shoes and leave them outside for Odin’s horse, and Odin would be happy and leave them candy in trade.

Gift-giving itself wasn’t a Christmas tradition, either, until it was borrowed from other religions.

“Uh uh uh. Nope. Sorry, but I’ve got you there, Bethie. The Three Wise Men. BOOM.”

Hang on. Don’t drop that mic just yet.

The wise men gave the gifts TO Jesus, and Jesus only. Not to each other. Not to the animals laying around. They didn’t even bring Mary a little something for her effort of giving birth in a damn barn. Not even a sampler of chocolate or a “World’s Best Mom” balloon or anything. Bad form, Wise Men.

Exchanging gifts between human beings at Christmas is another borrowing from pagans, with strong historical evidence suggesting it’s directly from a tradition for the pagan celebration of Saturnalia. Again, the evergreen boughs totally made sense to the new religious pioneers trying to convert pagans to Christianity, and so did gift-giving when the crusaders thought about it.

Gift-giving between human beings on Earth was a far more demonstrative way of honoring the gift of the man they considered to be their savior. It was a physical way to show their understanding of the holiday, and one even those who had no fucking clue what they were talking about in Latin could understand. “I’m giving you a gift like God gave our people Jesus. I won’t take the gift away. It will always be yours no matter what. God and Jesus? Ditto.”

When you think about it, gift-giving on Christmas became a very effective way for crusaders to show the locals what the holiday was all about in a very succinct nutshell. It was pretty much the best way to explain everything they meant in terms everyone could understand. I mean, sure, they could have impregnated a virgin, but even in those times, that was considered tres declasse.

“BETHIE!!!”

…hm…*strokes beard*…*nods slowly*…Yeah, now I see it. A step too far there. Sorry.

“*haughty sniff* So you’re just against Christmas.”

No! Not at all.

I might not be a religious sort, but I was raised in a Christian household. The holiday season was always filled with magic and happiness, and I love Christmas for those memories and my personal family traditions. I love the lessons taught through giving. I love the idea of salvation, personal or spiritual or other. I love the trees and the lights and the songs and the hope. All of these things are messages that I have decided to borrow from Christians, because I think they DO pertain to my life, and I believe my life is better when I stop and take a few moments in an otherwise dark and dreary season to enjoy and appreciate those messages.

The difference is, when I borrow, I’m not going to forget where those traditions started. I’m just not going to pretend that all the traditional “Christmas” stuff we do wasn’t taken from other religions, and then completely ignore that those other religions exist.

There are over a dozen major religious holidays that followers of other religions celebrate around this time of year.

“Yeah, but those are small religions. There are tons of Christians in the world.”

2.2 billion, actually. 2.2 billion people truly celebrate Christmas, not just posers like me who did it for the modern meaning more than the actual religious observance. That seems like a lot of friggin’ people!

…until you realize that nearly 5 billion people do NOT celebrate Christmas. And though I’ll be the first to admit my relationship with math is almost as non-existent as my relationship with make up, I get that 2.2 is less than half of 5.

If you are one of those people who gets angry at “Happy Holidays,” you’ve got some serious thinking to do now. I’ve told you the facts. You’ve read them. They cannot be unseen or unknown. At this point, it’s up to you. You can now go one of two ways.

You can realize and accept that not only are you a minority, but your Christmas is actually based on a wonderful amalgamation from many different religions, get okay with that, and start wishing them a happy season anyway…

Or you can ignore all the facts, and keep getting angry and “correcting” people who say “Happy Holidays.” The choice is yours, but I have to be honest. If you go with the latter, you’re going to sound like a dick.

Don’t be a dick. It’s almost Christmas.

Thus concludes a long-winded Holiday Musing for Christmas Eve, 2015. To everyone who celebrates Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday tomorrow! For those who celebrate other holidays, I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well! For those who don’t celebrate anything, I hope you realize you’re alive and reading this and that alone is worthy of celebration. And to everyone, Happy Holidays, whatever those may be!

If you snooze, you Cruz…

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Mornin’ all.

So my cat decided I was a pin cushion in the night. I honestly don’t know what the hell. My first thought was, “Did Timmy fall down that goddamn well again? Because I swear, if that little asshole didn’t learn to stay away from abandoned wells by now…”

But then I woke up enough to realize that the world around me was in color, I don’t even have a Timmy, and cats are just dicks.

She looked at me with big owl eyes. I looked at her with eyes that could not have been so cute and inviting. She blinked. I refused to blink back, the ultimate snub in the world of cats. She slowly withdrew her paw and tiptoed out of my room.

There was nothing amiss when I got up. She didn’t even have a toilet paper shredding party she wanted to show me. I think she was just bored and wanted to wake someone up. There are four children in this house…why you gotta pick ME?

Speaking of children…

My heart is in a state of melancholy today. I had the Santa talk with the Little Pup last night.

Oh shit. Hang on. Uh…spoiler alert. If you still hold on to the magical belief in a gift-bearing chimney sweep and his mystical flying cervine, then perhaps you should skip the next few paragraphs. I’m not judging you at all and there will be no weirdness between us when you return. Just look for the * and you’ll know to pick up where this leaves off…

For everyone else: We were sitting on the couch trying to fold construction paper circles into sixths to make snowflakes (top tip: dollar store construction paper folds like shit. I mean, in hindsight, that should probably go without saying, huh?) and he said, “Hey, do you believe in Santa, Mum?”

Every parent who’s perpetuated a nine year con knows the icy panic of this moment. The instant sweat on their brow, their minds making the cartoon “hummina hummina hummina,” the struggle to think of what to say. When Teen Prime was not so teen-like and approached me with the same general idea, I had days of anxiety after wondering if I handled things properly.

However, Little Pup is the fourth kid I’ve crushed with the truth, so I’ve got it down pat. I said, “Do YOU believe in Santa?” Because if your child still believes, and you’re like, “Shit no! Santa? Why the hell would I believe in THAT?” well, then, you are an asshole and you better start a collection jar for your child’s future therapy. No, you have to feel the kid out. Each kid is different. Some kids need to hold on to Santa just one more year, ya know? And some kids are ready, and need to know that you’re not going to lie when they point-blank you a question.

Little Pup clearly didn’t believe. He had that look in his eye when he said, “Well, I want to believe in Santa. Some of my friends don’t. And you did have all those fuzzy dice on your Amazon watch list.”

…yeah, okay. My bad. A couple years back he asked Santa for fuzzy dice. You know, the kind that dangle from rear view mirrors in bad 70s movies. Why? Who knows? He’s a little boy. You can’t try to apply logic or reason. Anyway, Santa found an incredible deal on a CASE of fuzzy dice. Apparently, Santa forgot that little snoops look over shoulders, and that Amazon does a real shitty job of helping you hide secrets. THANKS Amazon.

I gave him my practiced spiel, how parents perpetuate the Santa legend to teach kids the spirit of giving and to help the holiday feel magic yada yada. He took it very well. I mean, guys, he’s 9. And he’s got older brothers. I made sure to tell him that he now knows a big secret, and to never tell any little kids that Santa isn’t real. He seemed to like that part of it, that he’s now “in on it”.

I’m not so sure I took it so well. Maybe I’m the one who wanted him to have just one more year. Gah. Best get this back on solid footing. Things are starting to feel sad. Let’s get the believers back in here and change the subject.

*Spoliers over* *c’mon back*

Say, how about this zany election cycle, huh?

“*turns back around to walk off*”

Oh, now wait a second! Don’t leave again. I won’t dwell on it, I just have a theory.

I think Donald Trump is actually working for the Ted Cruz campaign.

NO! Listen. Who the hell is Ted friggin’ Cruz? Aside from a muppet with perpetual RSF (Resting Sad Face), I mean. No one knows. Here’s this guy who’s not a genius, but he’s not a total moron, either. He’s as middle of the road as the Republican party can seem to get these days. He doesn’t have great policy ideas, but he certainly seems fairly malleable. He’s not a good choice to the public, but he’s not the worst. He’s a former Canadian citizen, for god’s sake! Talk about friendly, eh?

“Uh, Bethie? The birthers are okay with this?”

YES BECAUSE HE’S REPUBLICAN. And it’s Canada, not Hawaii, so. You know.

Besides, who else have they got?

Bush can’t win. He can’t. His last name is Bush. Fiorina won’t win because she has ABF (active bitch face) and the stick is up her ass, not jutting out front, erect for freedom. Christie? Pfft. Nope. Huckabee? Are you friggin’ kidding me with that shit?

The Republicans needed a candidate, one that could actually win.

“But Trump can win, Bethie.”

No. No he can’t. He has high poll numbers, because the pollsters in his pockets are careful about who they poll. If you take a poll of 1,000 known Trump supporters, then you can accurately say that 1,000 of the people polled support Trump. Numbers are very easy. You show ’em a good time, and they’ll put out. Anyone can work numbers.

Working numbers does not equate to reality, though. Trump will not win. He just won’t. People like watching because he’s a one man show. He’s entertainment. Orange, ignorant entertainment. He makes awesome sound bytes and gives plenty of water cooler fodder. That’s being popular, sure, but in the same way that your drunk uncle who stuck his head up the turkey’s ass at Thanksgiving is popular. Everyone talks about him, but no one’s writing him into their will anytime soon.

Trump is America’s drunk uncle. If he is on a ticket next year squaring off against Bernie or Hillary, the democrats WILL win. He’s fun to watch, he makes good tv, but when you’re looking at the ballot and imagining him in the oval office, your hand will honestly slap the shit out of your own face before it’ll let you check mark Trump’s name.

The Republicans don’t want another Democrat in office, no matter who that Democrat might be. They want to take back the white house, and they can’t do that with Trump.

Which they know. Which they’ve ALWAYS known.

Ah, but they CAN use Trump to get a different Republican in that coveted seat. They can use him to make a malleable candidate look enticing to the American public. Let’s conspirize for a few minutes, shall we?

What if Trump has been a patsy all along?

What if the Republicans were like, “Look, Donny Baby. You like money. You like the Republicans. You have no concept of personal shame and we at the Republican party respect that. We’ve got a proposition for you, a way you can help us all. We NEED a Republican in office next term, but so far, the pool of hopefuls looks pathetic. We need you to pretend to run. Get out there. Ham it up. We’ve been laying the groundwork for years, telling people how much better life in this great nation will be if we get a Republican in office. They’re whipped up and scared. The hard part’s already done. What we need from YOU is to go out there and play on it. Throw around a few catch phrases. Dig into those raw and terrified emotions. Keep them hungry for a Republican while we weed out the field. Then, when we’ve got the candidate we think can actually win, we’ll give you the signal to kick it up. Start going off. Say things, outrageous things, mind-blowingly racist things that’ll make our guy look like a fucking beacon of hope in this god forsaken race. We’ll make it worth your while. You want bigger tax breaks? Done. You want permission to build your next casino on protected marsh lands? Fuck the marshes! No one likes herons anyway! Child labor laws getting in your way? Schmild shmlabor shmlaws is what I say!”

I think we have to believe this theory. I think this must be the truth. How else would Ted Whatshisname be skyrocketing in the polls? A no name. A sad no name. A guy who looks like he’d be far more comfortable with a binkie and a blankie than a microphone and a podium. THAT is the man who is leading the Republican race.

Guys, I’m not big on conspiracy theories. It’s not that I don’t believe them, it’s that honestly, I generally just don’t care. We live in a world filled with nosy, sneaky, devious humans. Duh. Plots and ploys and control and subterfuge have been happening since the dawn of time. If you don’t accept that about our species, then you’ve got some serious self-denial going on. At the end of the day, if I’ve had some food, had some fun, and had some snuggles with the ones I love, I’m good. If I had all that and was still sitting here with a tin foil hat on and my guts in a jiggle about the thought of conspiracies happening all around me, then I’M the one with the problem, right?

But sometimes, you take a little step back and look at the big picture and can’t help but see the truth. And the truth here is…

Illuminati.

Clearly that’s the only explanation for Donald Friggin’ Trump and Ted Sad-Canadian Cruz being the two biggest names in our current election cycle. That is some next level crazy and only people with endless money and boredom can make that happen.

Thus concludes your conspiracy for the day for Tuesday, December 15, 2015. You know what I would love to have happen? I would love it if I got one of those polling calls from the Republican party today. That would prove my theory quite nicely. Ah, but now I’ve put them in a bind, haven’t I? What are you going to do, Republican Illuminati? The ball’s in your court.

I’mma get right to the point today:

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Mornin’ all.

Usually when I see headlines that crack me up or make me roll my eyes, I hop on here and have some sort of friendly – some may say rambling- intro. I’ll tell you about my cat, or my car, or my cat driving my car (boy, do I WISH I could say that!). I’ll give you a not-always-quick glance into my world as we work through the first sips of my horrendous coffee together.

Not today.

Today, we’re shaking things up. I’ve got no funny anecdotes. The silliest thing my cat did was puke all over the dining room THREE times, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that. Cars suck, but only slightly less than horses, and none of the kids has done anything we need to applaud or bitch about this week.

So let’s cut to the chase. I’ve already got the go-go dancers ready, the band had a last minute jam warm-up to drown out the radios NON-FRIGGIN-STOP Christmas music, and the coffee just finished growling. Should be safe to drink once the growling stops.

Grab a cup and a chair and buckle in for a…

*** HEADLINE ROUNDUP!!! ***

*catchy theme music* *furious up-tempo jazz steps*

Aaaaaand…cut! Everyone give a quick round of applause for the ladies and the band. There you go. Off the stage. Go. NOW.

Yes, we’re doing a Roundup today. For those not in-the-know, the internet news sites are full of poorly worded or misleading headlines. Sometimes they make light of a serious situation. Sometimes, it’s as if the editor fell asleep on the keyboard they’re so confusing. And sometimes they just give this weirdo an unusual mental picture that my inner narcissist must share. As always, the headlines themselves are too legit. The commentary is what might make you want to quit.

Shall we begin?

“Do we have a choice?”

Absolutely not!

-Trump Adds New Target: Ted Cruz

So his hate list is now Mexicans, Muslims, and muppets. “M”ommy issues, Trump?

– Calif. Attacks Raise Fear of Jihadi Wife

Are…are they implying that your wife will secretly go behind your back and join ISIS? Because it really seems like they’re implying that people are legitimately concerned about this…

– Models Devour Buffalo Wings

NAW BITCH. You get pretty bras, cameras flashing on your perfect dimples, and your bunions treated on Prada’s dime after the photo shoot. I get chicken wings. I don’t venture into your world, you don’t cross the line into mine.

– Ultra Modern Homes Fit For the “Hunger Games”

In what way, exactly? They’re half-crumbling? The tax burden imposed by a tyrannical government means the residents will be in constant poverty? Terrified children hide in them??

– Foolproof Secrets to a Blissful Marriage

1. Don’t secretly join a radical terrorist group behind your husband’s back.

– 9 Reasons to Eat Walnuts Right Now

This article is unfairly biased against people who don’t have walnuts. I’m offended. Let’s launch a Twitter attack. #impossiblewalnutdreams

– Rude Behaviors You Can Get Away With in Other Countries

What?! NO!! And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks we’re buffoons!

– Springsteen Fans Upset Over “River Tour” Ticket Prices

Brucey babe. Heart to heart…I know your dream is to have a Scrooge McDuck silo of gold you can swim in, but you’re missing the big picture here. Somehow, against all odds and every sense of reason in this universe, you STILL HAVE FANS. Cool it on the pool of gold and throw those poor saps a bone.

– Funerals for 14 Killed in California Massacre Begin Somberly

Uh…were we expecting something different?

– Syrian Refugees Greeted Warmly in Canada

Yay Canada! It’s got to be awful hard to be so chill in the face of such a global hot button issue. I wonder what their secret is?

– Going to Pot? Canada Leads the Way in Legalizing Marijuana

…oh. Well. That clears things up.

– Diplomatic Pressures Force Syria Opposition to Table

“That’s it! I’ve held my tongue long enough. I can no longer pretend to support this office’s choice of marble top in the conference room. We should have gone with mahogany and if I were a stronger man, I would have said so at the time. There. *sigh* I feel so free.”

– Tokyo Deploys Drones that Use Nets to Capture Drones

We’ve done it. We’ve trained our AI to truly act like humans and defeat their own race. We can pat ourselves on the back as we bow before our new robot overlords.

– Trump a “Disgrace” Saudi Billionaire Says

Yup.

– Donald Trump’s Name Torn off Dubai Golf Course

Yeah, I’d say that’s on par.

NO I WON’T TAKE IT BACK. You knew this was a pun-friendly environment when you signed up. Don’t act all butt-hurt about it now.

– Syria’s Assad Buying “A Great Deal” of ISIS Oil, US Official Says

“And I’m like, what gives, Assa-hat? We called dibs on that oil…”

– Angola’s Global Host of World Environment Day 2016 and its Elephant Population

This is the discussion in the meeting before the publication of this article: “They’re hosting the environmental thing, but that’s not enough to get people to click. We need a human interest side to this story. Bill, if I say “Angola”, what pops in your head?” “Uh…sweaters?” And after much grumbling because Bill is utterly USELESS and would have gotten the ax a long time ago if he weren’t the EIC’s nephew, someone came up with the elephant idea. People like elephants. And they probably live in Angola, right? “Are the elephants wearing sweaters? Cus that’d be sick, brah.” *sigh* Sure Bill. The elephants can be wearing the sweaters. *rolly eyes*

– Farm Worker Accused of “Maliciously” Killing 4 Chickens

Unless you plan on lopping the head off, dipping the thing in boiling water while it’s still thrashing, violently pulling out all the feathers, then spilling its guts on the ground before feasting on its meaty flesh the humane way, leave those chickens alone.

*editor’s note: We here at the Muse are very pro-flesh dining. I wasn’t banging the vegetarian drum. I was merely pointing out the rank hypocrisy of a chicken farmer getting offended at the killing of his chickens. Put down the PETA t-shirt. I don’t want one.

– From A Risky Space Walk to the Top of Mt. Everest

That seems to be the wrong order to me. I know people lose their shit over Everest, but c’mon. Sherpas have been climbing it for ages. There are permanent camps set up for people to take a month long climbing break. It’s got LADDERS chained to the rock walls! Ladder-laden mountain vs. muthafreakin’ SPACE. Priorities, folks.

– How Technology is Redefining the Afterlife

Spoiler: it isn’t.

– Moscow’s Cemeteries to Get Wi Fi

Oh. Well then. I stand corrected.

– Moscow’s Cemeteries to Get Wi Fi

I can just imagine how many dead zones there will be.

…face it, you would have been disappointed in me if I didn’t.

– Twitter Expands Ads to Reach Users Who Didn’t Log In

Twitter, you’re getting creepy. #stopstalkingme,twitthole

– Bright Spots on Ceres Aren’t Aliens Afterall

Fuckin’ duh. We never said they were. Clearly lights aren’t aliens. What we SAID was that the lights were CREATED by aliens, and frankly, your evasion of the facts just bolsters my opinion. LIFE ON CERES!!

“Twitter: @BethReason Didn’t you mean #lifeonCeres? :P”

Ew Twitter stop. I’ve got mace.

– See Saturn’s Funky “Potato” Moon

Yes please!

– How Fallout 4 Took Over My Life– And Gave Me A New One

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

– Squishing Baby’s Faces is Japan’s Latest Social Media Trend

Why can’t I muster up either confused outrage at the antics, or sympathy for the mush-faced babies? Curse you, internet. You have jaded me.

– British Cops Search for Hoverboard Riding Robber

Shouldn’t take long. They just have to look for the pile of ash. OH YEAH hoverboard makers! Need a little aloe for that sick burn?!

No, seriously. Take the aloe. We heard about your inability to stop your products from exploding and are legitimately worried for you.

– Wild Boar in Germany Adopted By Herd of Cattle

Oh, stop. Who are you to judge what makes a family a family? It’s not just “Adam and Eve” anymore. Sometimes it’s “Hoven and Cleaved”.

*Drops mic*

*dons sunglasses*

*moonwalks off stage*

Thus concludes a brief Roundup for Saturday, December 12, 2015. I need to work on car wiring today. I feel I should have e.e.cummings-ed that statement, and said it with all the apathy I could be bothered to muster. Let’s try that again.

the car wires  rip at my soul with their uselessness

                                            and yet i find myself

                                             loath to fix them

perhaps a fairy will enter the engine compartment

                                          and make the effort to sort

                                          the frayed ends of my life

or maybe

it won’t

The best gifts to never give…

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Mornin’ all.

Boy did I have shit dreams last night. Not scary. Just…haunting. People from the past showing up just to remind me they’re gone. I hate those nights. I’d rather wake up with my heart racing convinced that the Tallicat that’s taunted me since first grade has finally manifested than dream about people I miss.

I can shake off the heebie jeebies of a scary dream. I can shine a flashlight under my bed and remind myself I’m a 37 year old woman, for fuck’s sake, and of COURSE nothing is going to bite my feet because I chopped off its tallipole. Honestly sometimes I am such a baby. But, I get over those. Might wear an extra pair of socks and tuck my feet up under me when I sit on the couch juuuuust to be sure, but I can work past a creepy nightmare.

I can’t, however, unmiss people.

Hang on a sec. There’s a James Taylor situation happening on the radio I must take care of.

Yikes. The very last thing I need this morning is James Taylor whining about Christmas.

Speaking of…

You know, sometimes things happen in life that make you think, “Hm. Maybe someone really IS looking out for me.” I woke up in my melancholic mood and fixed my coffee…

*WARNING: This batch of coffee is not FDA approved. Consume at your own risk.*

…then loaded up the old distraction machine and immediately found an article MSN linked from Allure that turned my melancholy into incredulous exasperation.

Actually, the FIRST article I read was about that blow hard Warren Sapp claiming he has “proof” of Patriots cheating because one time in the early 2000s, his team was playing against the Pats and they were leading before halftime and ended up losing the game.

Because, you know, that’s never, ever happened before. My god it’s unheard of. Everyone knows the first team to score always wins the game and…

“*achem* Bethie?”

Yeah?

“You’re doing that sports thing again. I thought we had a deal?”

…oh. Right. Heh. Sorry. I just can’t believe the tiny, steroid-shriveled balls of some guys, ya know?

Because Christmas is right around the corner, Allure…magazine? Is it a magazine? Are magazines even still things? Well, whatever Allure is, they published a list. You know I love me a good list. I love me a BAD list even more. And this one, this one’s a doozy.

18 Gift Ideas For the Girl Who Has Everything

I would expect that a site/magazine/sad-collection-of-usurped-middle-aged-women-who-used-to-OWN-the-newsstand with a name like “Allure” would be for women, not girls. But maybe they’re going for the 30-year-olds who desperately try to convince themselves that 30 is the new 20? I just don’t know, and that means I’m already sold.

1. Hermes Double Tour Apple Watch: $1250

So the girl who has everything wants a watch that costs as much as 357 gallons of milk!?

…what? You have your ways of assessing value, I have mine.

Sorry, Allure, but I have a hard time believing that someone who could afford a twelve hundred dollar watch is reading your e-zine for gift ideas.

2. By Kilian Scented Paperweight

No, there’s no trick. No hidden agenda. It is literally a scented paperweight. A designer… scented… paperweight. Why would you give someone a smelly desk rock for the holidays? Because it’s FRENCH, that’s why. It comes in four different flavors, too, so no worries if someone else also gets her one. And at only $155 each, she can collect them all. Like Pokemon. Sad, smelly Pokemon.

3. Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Holiday 2015 Collection

Now, I know you have absolute no idea whatsoever what this might be without a photo. I could literally tell you it’s anything and you’d have no choice but to believe me. I’ll let you in on the secret, though. This is the description. “Strung on a gunmetal chain, the three creamy bullets of Rough Louboutin (in satin, matte, and sheer finishes) are gorgeous anywhere you put them…”

That didn’t really clear it up, did it? Okay. Here I go risking copyright violation for you.

louboutinnecklace

So, uh…thoughts?

*crickets*

No one’s going to chime in? You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you? *sigh* Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll say what we’re all thinking. They look like butt plugs. Sorry, but there’s no escaping it. Louboutin metal butt plug necklace. Let everyone know your kink. You know, in a classy way. Only $270 to make your coworkers never look at you the same way again.

4. Amazon Echo

I had to look this on up separately because the description went on and on about Siri and how the Echo is not that. It’s an oil filter-looking thing that does everything your smartphone does…except make calls. Or take pictures. Or video. And it’s not supposed to be very portable, more like sit on your desk next to your scented paperweight collection.

Oh, wait! Duh. I just thought of an actual use for the Echo! Unless you want her papers to smell like one of four designer eaus?

You do?

Then I don’t know. Pay $179.99 for Echo and see if she can find a use for it. And if she can’t, oh well. She’s already got everything anyway. What the hell is she bitching about? Honestly, what a twat.

5. Shu Uemura X Maison Kitsune Curious Eye-Catching Premium Make-up Box

No, I didn’t stroke out there. That’s the name of it. About the only clear part of the description is the “curious” bit. It’s a white make-up case that has little dresses, croissants, coffee cups, tea pots, nun habits (? I think?) and pretzels in circles which I think are supposed to be crowns on it. Like dotted all over. Like the girl you’re shopping for is five.

And maybe she is? I mean, clearly an e-rag that calls itself “Allure” is catering to the sub-kindergarten crowd. Gotta get those little girls into make-up and perfume early, you know. And at the bargain basement price of only $400, the little girl in your life that has everything can feel free to decorate the outside of this case all she wants!

…no, really. She should. Maybe give her a set of markers, too.

6. Underclub Subscription

“Bethie, what’s Underclub?”

I’m so very, very glad you asked. It’s a subscription underwear service.

I’m serious. You sign up for $228/year and the company will send the gift recipient monthly panties. Lace thongs are the ones pictured in the ad, but I’m sure you could find all kinds.

The description says, “Giving underwear as a gift can be a little awkward.”

THEN DON’T DO IT. Honestly, NO one wants you to get them a panty subscription. It’s just not a thing any girl or woman wants. They don’t want panties as a gift from their family, they don’t want their best girl friend to buy them skivvies… Hell, guys, let me enlighten you on your lady wanting to get some lacy unders from you… SHE DOESN’T. If you ever, EVER considered getting a woman underwear as a gift, it’s because YOU are the one that wants to know she is wearing them.

Pick literally ANYTHING else. Anything in the world. Go to a corner gas station, close your eyes, spin around, and take the first thing your hand lands on. I guarantee that will be a far better gift than undies.

7. Acqua Di Parma Benzoino Candle

It’s a $172 candle in a striped glass that looks like Mr. Benzoino picked up in bulk from the local dollar store. But it’s “spicy-green” scented and “almost too precious to light,” so, you know, totally worth $172. Better stock up before they’re sold out.

8. Artis Elite Mirror White Velvet Brush Set

It’s a set of silver and white velvet make-up brushes. The blurb says, “These tools, with the bristles perpendicular to the handle, get fingers, hands, and handles out of the way…” I’ll admit, I’m not too clear on how you use them. Or why they’re white velvet if you’re supposed to use them for makeup application. Or why you need to buy the brushes for $160, and then also by the $180 stand.

But I’m not a make-up person, so what do I know about common sense?

On the plus, they’re “100% cruelty free.” It’s about time a major cosmetics company takes a stand against forcing mice and rabbits to try and use non-perpendicular eye shadow brushes. Their paws are so little. It’s just mean.

9. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Kiss&Love Edition

I guess we needed one more designer WTF.

Hey, I just thought of something. We can turn this into a game! Okay, so I just told you the product name. You get three tries to guess what the hell it is! Fun! Go for it.

“…I can’t even. I literally have no damn clue.”

…fair enough. It’s concealer. More make-up. Though I guarantee that if you tell someone their face is jacked as shit and needs serious concealing, this make-up will NOT be 100% cruelty free.

You’ve been warned. Spend $42 to crush your friends’ soul at your own peril.

10. Sage&Rowe Shave Club

Another subscription service, this one for shaving supplies. I suppose you can’t get your best buddy fancy thongs if she’s going to be all Sasquatchy down there. And really, is another $31/month really too much to pay to give your hairy friend with the jacked up face and butt plug fetish a little confidence boost?

11. Avion Reserva 44 With Custom Etching

Oh yeah. Now we’re talking! You might not be able to tell from the bourgeois name, but this is actually just really top shelf tequila. It’s $170/bottle top shelf-y, but come on. Your friend is clearly a hot mess and could use a night away from herself.

…unless this article really IS trying to give you gift suggestions for a girl and not a woman. In which case, no. Do not. That’s child abuse.

12. Amika Movos Wireless Styler

Phew, another beauty product! I was worried with the tequila suggestion that this article was losing sight of the overall message. Glad to see we’re back on track with a gift to make the girl spend hours every day desperately chasing an impossible ideal.

It’s a wireless hair styler. They call it a “snazzy flat iron”. I don’t know if I’d have gone with “snazzy” there. “Snazzy” makes me think of something fun. Flat irons are not fun. Especially not $150 ones. I suppose if you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, this wouldn’t be the worst suggestion on the list.

I mean, you’re reading Allure for gift ideas. I think it’s safe to say you’re desperate.

Look, brah, I’ll make it easy for you. If you’re trying to choose between unreasonably hyped-up flat irons or smelly desk rocks, I suppose you should go for the flat iron. Maybe she could use it for crafts or something.

13. Rebecca Minkoff Lightning Cable Bracelet

It’s a gold plated bracelet that’s secretly a USB plug and charger. I’m going to give them this one. It’s actually pretty damn cool. Ugly, but their heart was at least in the right place. It’s only $58. While that seems like a lot, let’s put it into the context of this article. A smelly rock costs nearly three times as much to just sit on a desk and collect dust. At least this is useful.

14. Clarisonic Keith Haring Collection

So you got your buddy the concealer and the make-up brushes to hide her hag face, but all that beauty plaster has to come off at some point. You could get her a jackhammer, but those tend to be a little unwieldy. She already takes up the counter space in her bathroom with all the products it takes to hide her hideousness, and her boyfriend’s getting a bit annoyed. Get her this electric scrubber instead! With all the power of a commercial floor stripping machine in tiny, hand held form, it’s the perfect tool for facial excavation. If you’re not sold yet, wait until you see the confusing 90’s retro hammer pant print designs. You won’t be able to get the $149 out of your wallet fast enough.

15. Soulcycle Shoes

Say, remember how ugly and hairy your friend is? Did you ever stop and realize how FAT she is, too? Maybe what she needs is to work out. I know! She can take a “spin class.”

In that case, your friend is definitely going to need these “spin” specific shoes. The company, SoulCycle “has finally launched Soul-branded spin shoes.” It’s happened! I can stop holding my breath!

The description is not clear what will happen if you try to use them when you’re NOT on a “spin” bike. I’m kind of getting an undertone of Cinderella at midnight, but that could just be me reading between the lines. I didn’t want you to go into this gift before you knew it was a definite possibility, so, you know. Be careful. $150 to keep your best girl pal in a constant state of self-loathing.

16. By Terry Baume De Rose Trip Deluxe

$339 lip balm. Not even lipstick that looks pretty. Just balm. It’s got “ceramides” in it. Oooh. And rose-flower essential wax. Ahhhh. And shea butter, because they ran out of exotic sounding shit to cram in there. That’s…nice.

Hey, don’t judge them. They had to think of THREE things. It’s not like you’re buying just one. There are limited things in this world you can put in lip balm. Are they supposed to magically know ALL of them?? What do you want from them, HUH? Blood?

“…do you think that’s what ceramides are?”

Hm. Now there’s something to ponder, eh?

17. Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Fireworks Limited Edition Bottle

“You can never go wrong giving Flowerbomb as a gift.” Boy, if I had a dime for every time I’ve said that! Amiright?

“Laced with jasmine, orchid, and patchouli…” Sounds…uh…hm. I mean, I suppose it could… Well, everyone perceives smell differently, and… Uh. Some people enjoy smelling like a dorm room?

*sigh* Look, I’mma cut to the chase. It’s a pretty bottle. Just pay the $120 and buy the pretty bottle so the stinky desk rock can have some dust-collecting company, okay? Gawd. Why you gotta make this so complicated? Shit.

18. Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer

This is perhaps the one and only decent idea in the entire list aside from the USB bracelet. It’s a mini printer you hook up to your smartphone (no, sorry, not the Echo…your buddy can cross yet another thing off the Potential Uses for an Echo list) that will print your photos. Simple. Easy. Like a Polaroid. It’s $179, which is steep, but it’s the only thing on the list that won’t make her hate herself. Or you.

But what do I know? Maybe you read this list and thought, “Gee, I’ve always thought Marge’s nethers must be bushy and ill clad, and now I have the perfect gift idea!” Maybe Allure really does have a demographic, one that lives in an alternate dimension I just can’t comprehend? Maybe I’m just the odd duck in the gift-giving world and these ideas are actually pretty sweet?

If that’s the case, I’m going to apologize right now to my friends and family. If you were hoping for lip balm made from the creamed blood of your enemies, you’ll have to cross your fingers and hope that Santa pulls through. I’m just planning on making you cookies and fudge like the boring, unimaginative dope I am.

Sorry.

Thus concludes a snarktastic Musing for Saturday, December 5, 2015. I’m off to try hard not to think of how many people are actually going to buy their loved ones underwear subscriptions this year… I suggest you do the same.

When life gives you lemons, play video games.

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Mornin’ all.

“Ooooh, look who decided to grace us with her presence.”

…*sigh* Okay, okay. I earned that. It’s been an incommunicado week. I wasn’t shunning you. I was simply busy with car repairs and gaming. My asshole car continues to be an asshole. It’s currently in cahoots with a wiring gremlin. It’s giving the bastard sanctuary and tracking down a problem that could literally be in any single hot wire in the entire car is turning me gray before my time.

…er…gray-ER.

Thank god the car crap was tempered by awesome Teen Prime being awesome. He got me Fallout 4 for Christmas…and didn’t even make me wait to play it!!!

Raised that one right, folks. *sniff*

So Fallout 4, probably one of the most anticipated games to come down the pike in a long time. Teen Prime got it for me on the PS4. I’m told the PC version is smooth as butter, though I have serious doubts about that one. I think it’s more likely that people can easily patch the PC game if they’ve got an issue, whereas you’re at the mercy of the developers for updates on the consoles. I have a very hard time believing that all the bugs I’m getting aren’t also an issue on the PC.

How buggy? Dialogue skips. Those seem to happen a lot and suddenly I’m supposed to answer a question the NPC never actually asked. There are consequences for the answers you give, too, so knowing what I’m saying would probably help. In one area of the part of the map I’ve explored, I can’t shoot two of my weapons unless I draw the enemy back into a different corridor.

And top tip for anyone else playing on the PS4…save frequently. Crashes, man. *sigh* Crashes.

Oh, but don’t think your “quicksave” will be good. That’s a feel good gauge at best.

“Sounds like the game’s a real dud.”

Not at all! Not to me, anyway. Look, this game is huge. Absolutely MASSIVE. The game is so expansive with so many different things to do that I’ve already put in a full-time-job level of commitment and still have not started the second major quest in the story line. I love a game that lets me roam free and fart around.

But something that size is going to have its issues. Does that make the game unplayable? No. Does it really make it less enjoyable? To me, not really, but I’ve got an odd sense of humor. I love glitches. They spice up digital life. And when you get right down to it, it’s a game. It’s just a game. Does it really make it worse if you’re laughing your ass off at an NPC suddenly appearing on your shoulders for absolutely no discernible reason? No. It makes it SO much better.

So far, I’m going with a 4.7/5.00 rating. We’ll see if that changes over time.

Okay, that’s enough of a book report. I guess I should try out Real Life for a little bit, eh?

“US to Target ISIS Leader”

Um…like…shouldn’t we have been doing that all along?

I mean, for real. Either this really is a new plan, which I seriously doubt, or we’re just putting it in the paper to scare the dude, which is ALSO really stupid. Anyone reading it really should be like, “We already knew that…”

C’mon, CIA. THIS is the best propaganda you’ve got right now? Those budget cuts must have hit harder than we thought. Someone get the CIA enough funding to hire a better sociolinguist immediately. If I’m going to be brainwashed, I’d at least like a little effort put into it. Stop half-assing it, CIA.

*Author’s note: Welp, if that doesn’t get me flagged, I don’t know what will!*

Let’s look at some other news.

“14 Dead in California Mass Shooting”

My heart goes out to the families that are suffering such a loss. Anything else I could possibly say would piss at least one of you off. I don’t want to piss anyone off. I want everyone to feel sad that 14 more people were murdered. It’s getting harder and harder to feel sad about it though, isn’t it? It’s becoming numbers. People are becoming numbers.

That’s a problem.

“Stone Temple Pilots Singer Scott Weiland Dead at 48”

That’s going to get more honest tears than the story above. I’m not dissin’ Scott or his memory. He made some damn fine songs that weave themselves through my teenage memories and it’s too bad he went so young.

Maybe one of these mass shootings will have to happen to a famous person before something’s actually done?

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A THREAT TO ANYONE. I just want to make it clear that I am NOT calling for or in any way planning anything against any famous person. I don’t want ANY people murdered! I’m just saying, the way our society is going these days, I just don’t know what it’s going to take for people to actually get off their asses and DO something about the problem.

“Day After San Bernadino, Republicans Line Up to Crush Gun Control”

Of fucking course they did. Because ANY reasonable compromise that might actually help make it harder for crack pots to get their hands on mass murder machines is just utterly insane.

…oops. Guess I forgot the “not pissing you off” promise. Not sorry. Needed sayin’.

Let’s see if we can find something in real life that’s less contentious to discuss.

“Nielsen: Smartphones and the Internet Are Eating Our TV Time”

This one is interesting. Nielsen is basically an information marketing company. You younger ones might not have heard of a “Nielsen family,” but before the internet, it was the only way that tv stations could track the popularity of their shows. A box was installed in randomly selected homes to track what tv shows the viewers were into. For decades, the Nielsen numbers were almost solely responsible for deciding which shows continued and which were cancelled.

Oh, I know it’s more involved than that. I was nutshelling it.

Now, they’re getting pissy. The internet is killin’ their buzz in a lot of ways. Their services are becoming less relevant across the board. It’s interesting if you’re at all into the business side of television.

“I’m not.”

…*blink**blink*…okay then. Uh…moving on.

“New Form of Carbon Is Harder Than Diamonds, and Glows”

Screw diamonds. I want a ring made out of THIS!

“Fallout 4 Superfan Creates 3D Printed Mini Nuke”

Aw shit. I want that, too!

“A Surprisingly Small Team Created 2015 Game of the Year”

Wanna guess what game?

“Fallout 4 Sales Shatter Records”

BOOM suck it Call of Duty!! Told you it was highly anticipated.

“How to Make Your XBox One Faster (And Make Fallout 4 Better)”

Pfft. Who’s playing on the XBox One?! Newbs. That’s who. I tell ya…

“…uh, Bethie?”

Yeah?

“I’m sensing a theme in your news viewing.”

Hey. I gave the Real Life thing a try. Aside from glowing diamonds, it pretty much sucks right now.

“How Accurate is Fallout 4 to Boston and Boston’s History?”

I don’t write the news. Is it really my fault if the Fates keep leading me down a particular path?

“Fallout 4 Player Accidentally Falls into Sea, Finds Mysterious Structure”

WHAT!?!?!!! Uh, sorry, but, uh, something just came up and I…just…uh…bye!

*empty computer chair spins*

*papers flutter to the ground from the whirlwind*

*you awkwardly sit there, staring at the cat and wondering if you should show yourself out*

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Friday, December 4, 2015. I’d pen a closing quip, but it’s hard to type with one hand on the controller. You understand.