Category Archives: Conspicuous consumption

Water, ummmmmmm

Am I the only one who thinks that this waterfall might just be a metaphor for the way the world is going right now?

Back-asswards if you ask me.  Which of course you didn’t.

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Trump v. Fox — A Solution

You’ve all heard the news.

The Donald’s feelings are hurt and therefore, he stamped his feet, put his fingers in his ears and said “la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-.”  “Not going to debate.”

Of course, that leaves Fox and the debate moderators with a problem:  Too few folks on stage.

After reading this blog post from my home town, though, I’ve come up with a solution.

Empty suit

Image: Turbosquid.com, which I did not make up.

You didn’t click on the link, did you.  You never click on the links.

So I guess I’ll have to give you a hint.

The story in that blog is about a resident of my hometown who works as a photojournalist who met The Donald on a job.  The billionaire tried to sell JP Vellotti a suit.

The story, to me, is a metaphor for The Donald’s offering:

He’s a cheap huckster selling things that just don’t fit.

So in my mind, an empty suit, standing in Donald Trump’s 7th spot on the Fox dias tonight, would represent exactly what Trump has to offer the United States.

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It isn’t often that this happens to me.

If there is a way for me to lose large amounts of money through no fault of my own, it will happen.  Those bucks are history.  Or, more likely, my money is in somebody else’s pocket.

Damn.

But when the Volkswagen scandal hit the news this past fall, I will honestly say I breathed a sigh of relief.

You see, we’d been looking to replace my car for well over a year at that point, and a Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen was in the running.  (We wouldn’t have gone for a diesel though.  Even though I had no inkling of the cheating, I figured sooner or later any diesel was going to smell like my neighbor’s Mercedes Diesel which not only stinks to high heaven, but increases the particulate content of the atmosphere 10-fold every time he fires the damn thing up.)

Volkswagen clean diesel

Wikimedia photo.

When we read about the cheating, Volkswagen immediately came off the list. So did Audi and Porsche, which were only on the “Wish” list anyway.

Why would we want to buy a car from a company that intentionally cheated its customers and damaged the environment?

I felt bad for the folks who’d bought any Volkswagens, though, because surely the value of their cars plummeted, diesel or gas-powered. A car is a huge investment for most of us; this hurts big time.

I knew there would be lawsuits out the wahzoo brought by people who had been defrauded.  There are times when lawsuits are absolutely justified.  This is one of them.

Enter the GOP.

GOP We don't discriminate

Photo credit:  All Things Democrat

Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill that will screw folks who bought Volkswagens.  It will take away the ability of them to file a class action law suit.  And of course, class action is the only way that individuals have a prayer of getting any money back for their losses.

H.R. 1927, the hilariously titled “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act,” was introduced by Neanderthal congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-I’m sure you’re shocked-VA) — and the House is expected to vote on it this week.

The bill states that it will do the following,

This bill amends the federal judicial code to prohibit federal courts from certifying any proposed class seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss unless the party seeking to maintain such a class action affirmatively demonstrates that each proposed class member suffered an injury of the same type and scope as the injury of the named class representatives. (Emphasis added)

In short, that means that every single Volkswagen owner must have identical factors in order for a Class Action suit to be allowed to go forward.  That means that, in order to join a class action lawsuit, each and every Volkswagen purchaser must have:

  • Purchased the exact same vehicle
  • Paid the same amount for their vehicle
  • Driven the same amount of mileage
  • Etc. etc. etc.

The entire purpose of the bill is to prevent Class Action law suits.  [For those unaware of what this means, a class action law suit is when a group of normal people who have been injured band together and sue a large entity for redress.  Class action lawsuits are the only way a group of normal consumers can maybe, possibly, get some measure of restitution.  How we can keep from being screwed.

Earlier today, I wrote to my congresswoman, asking her to vote against this bill. Because while it impacts the folks who bought Volkswagens, it will be used to prevent class action law suits from the time it is enacted onwards.  And sooner or later, it will impact all of us.

If you would like to write your Congressman or woman, and tell them to vote against this bill, here is the link to find your Rep:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

Thank you to my bloggin’ buddy, Mark, at Lean Left for reminding me of this story and inspiring me to write about it.

 

 

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Hillary’s Chicken

Yesterday, I braved the grocery store to come up with an edible antidote to 2015.

I found myself pacing the aisles of the local Giant Foods, and well, I heard voices.  Or a voice.

If I were a Republican, I would have assumed it was God.

Jesus Meme

But as it was, I realized I was talking to myself.  Chanting.  And naturally I listened.  I’m not crazy, you know.

The Voice, my voice, told me what to do.  What to get.  How to do it.  And I saw that it would be good.

You see, I remembered a long-ago gift from my niece that actually held the secret antidote to 2015.  Only I had forgotten about it.

Congressional Cookbook

The Congressional Club Cook Book, Copyright 1987, The Congressional Club, Washington, DC

Yup.  Who woulda thunk that an antidote would be in a cookbook!  But this one is special.  You see, it was published in 1987, when the folks in government still believed that the government has an important role in the country.  When the government is, essentially, how we all contribute to improving our society.  Educating our kids, making workplaces safer, the air and the water and the land cleaner.  Yeah, I know it was published at the end of the Reagan years, but that cancer hadn’t yet metastasized.

Here’s the antidote to 2015:

Hillary’s Chicken.

Hillalry's Chicken

Congressional Club Cook Book, 1987, at page 266

As you can see from years of cooking smears, this is a well-used recipe.  It is simple and delicious. And I’m going to make it for New Years’ Day — and often between now and November.

Because while this woman eats chicken.  She is NOT a chicken.

Hillary Clinton at Bengazi hearings -- LA Times Photo

Hillary Clinton, Testifying for 11 hours at the Bengazi show trial.  Photo Image, LA Times

And the GOP?  I see little evidence that the GOP clowns are anything but chicken, can you?

Air Force

Google Image

 

Happy New Year!

 

***

 

It’s a little hard to read the instructions from this picture —

Combine all sauce ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Wipe each piece of chicken dry and coat well with sauce.  Place chicken,skin side up, in shallow baking pan.Tuck edges under, forming a compact shape, about 1-1/2 inches thick.  Roast in preheated oven at 450 degrees, basting occasionally with pan drippings.  Bake until opaque nearly to center, about 14-18 minutes, depending on thickness.  Remove to warm plates.  Spoon pan juices over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Makes 4 servings.  May be frozen.

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Give Peace A Chance – Bomb Agrabah

It was one of the most embarrassing things about working at the World Health Organization for an American like me.  My knowledge of geography really wasn’t all that hot.

I was pretty good at Europe.  I knew that Italy is shaped like a boot, and Switzerland, where I was living, looked like a delicious croissant.  Russia and China?  No problem.  South Africa and Chile — those were easy — they’re at the bottom (and I had been to Chile, so I knew that it was south).

It didn’t help that several countries changed names at the precise moment when I was trying to find them on the map.  Yeah, I’m talking to you Burma/Myanmar. 

But I’m a pretty quick study.  My knowledge of geography grew daily as I had to figure out where the hell everybody was when they went away without me.  Today I can proudly say that I, an American citizen, am no longer geographically challenged.  I’m so good, I can even find Malawi on a map.

Malawi

It’s right there at 4:00.  Google Image.

So I will admit feeling a wee bit sanctimonious when I learned that the GOP wants to bomb every Arab city including Agrabah.  Because I know where it can be found.

GOP voters support bombing Agrabah!

Those stupid Republicans!  They don’t even know where Agrabah is!  They don’t remember their, umm, history.  I know that it’s the town from The Arabian Knights.  Agrabah, the city of magic is the stuff of fiction, and folk lore and Disney movies.

 

Agrabah is where Aladin and Jasmin lived.  The city they flew over on the magic carpet.  Oh and the Genie.  He was there too.

My bloggin’ buddy, Bruce Thiesen wrote an interesting piece about the GOP, that made me think that bombing Agrabah isn’t such a bad idea.

I figure, by focusing all our military efforts on Agrabah, we can rewrite Middle Eastern politics and history.

  • We can shoot fictitious people instead of real flesh and blood ones!
  • We can carpet bomb the hell out of a magic city instead of ones with bricks and mortar and things like hospitals and schools.
  • We can demonstrate to the world that we are willing to use the most terrible of weapons if anybody tries anything on us, but without hurting a fly.  Or a flying carpet.

Bombing the shit out of Agrabah will satisfy the blood lust of the Right Wing without hurting any real people.  The GOP will be happy, the Military-Industrial Complex will get their $$$$$ and nobody gets hurt (well, except the taxpayers). It’s a win-win-win.  Lots of wins.

This is how we give peace a chance.

I’m expecting the Nobel Peace Prize for this baby.

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A-Sick – Abroad

When you move to another country where you don’t speak the language, you expect things to be challenging.  But I think that there are scientific studies that estimate that the odds of your expectations equaling reality is precisely 5,392,487 to 1.

When we moved to Geneva in 1997, we, like all other expats, knew that there would be culture shock.  We didn’t speak the language.  We didn’t know our way around.  We were babes in the woods and there were wild boar in them thar hills.  Oh, and in those woods.

In fact, we hadn’t been in Switzerland long before John came down with a cold.  NBD, right?  Off to the pharmacy we went.

But of course, we couldn’t speak the language, which made it a bit of a challenge.

Nevertheless, I took my responsibility as family french speaker seriously.  I went to the pharmacy with my husband with my English-French/French-English dictionary in hand.

My husband has a cold (mon mari a un rhume).  He has a stuffy nose (il a un nez bouché).
Sadly, my french was not really good. And I learned again that day that if you are foolish enough to speak to a french speaker in French, the asshole will respond to you in french!  WTF??????  Why do they DO that?

Anyway, in pidgeon french, I told the pharmacist that we wanted a decongestant.  And really, it didn’t seem like such a big deal.

“Vous avez besoin d’un lavage de nez,” said the pharmacist.

John and I looked at each other.

“She’s recommending a nose washer,” I said.  “I guess that makes sense.  I guess a decongestant will “wash you nose.”

We were handed a box and the pharmacist allowed us to open it to look at the instructions.  The illustrated instructions.  Color illustrations. of a man leaning over the sink with a ‘lavage de nez’ in one nostril and a stream of green snot pouring out of the other.

Lavage de nez 1

I am not just using this picture because my husband is a big baby when he gets sick.  Really.  Google Image

Ewwww.

Upon our return to the US, we learned that netti pots had become popular remedies for stuffy noses.

Ewwww.

They also spread infection because they are difficult to clean.  And then there is the goo that goes into the sink….

Ewwww.

Tonight while spending money I don’t have on gifts for folks, I saw a commercial for a Navage.

So I needed to share my story.  Because that’s what we bloggers do.

 

Ewwww.

I just felt it necessary to prove that I don’t only think about poop when I think about weird medical treatments.

But of course, everything I discuss would interest any 12 year old.  Like me.

You’re welcome.

 

 

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I’ll Take That as a Compliment

Dr. C wiped a tear from her eye, hugged me and laughed as she walked me out of the examination room after my semi-annual tune up the other day.

“I have never had this much fun during a consultation, Elyse,” she said.

I love this doctor, my gastroenterologist.  She is bright, listens, figures out the best treatment for me, and incredibly importantly for me, she has a fabulous sense of humor.  That’s incredibly rare for a gastroenterologist as I’ve mentioned before.

“I’ve been keeping up with all the research on poop transplants,” I told her.

Yes!  It’s fascinating, isn’t it?”

Even though they aren’t currently being used for IBDs like mine, well, I do keep up with the research.  Obviously, you do too.  Why else would you be reading this post about poop?

Canadian Poop

How could I resist this image?  I know it’s Canadian and they have single-payer health care and I don’t, but you will admit, it’s funny.  Thanks, Google Images. You’re the bomb.  Errr…

Did I lose you there?

Our discussion continued down that same hole …

“I read that you have to be very careful who you get one from,” I said, proud of the depth of my knowledge.  “I read that if you get one from a grumpy person, or a depressed one, you can take on these traits.  Or fat people (thanks, Carrie!)”

“I actually have a patient who had a poop transplant.  She had c difficile,  and the transplant came from a heavy person.  She’s actually gained a lot of weight!”

“I used to think I’d get one from my husband.  But he’s kind of a curmudgeon, and he has risks of a couple of other diseases that I don’t want to get.* But mostly it’s the curmudgeon thing.  I don’t want to become a crank.  Besides, he refuses to laugh at my jokes.  Since I’m often the only one laughing, taking his shit might make my career as a humor blogger short-lived.”

“You’ll have to just tell him to keep his shit to himself!” Dr. C said, roaring with laughter.  Suddenly she realized, oh shit!  I’m talking to a patient!

“‘My doctor says you have to keep your shit to yourself!’ — That’s what I’ll tell him!  –Maybe then, he’ll stop leaving his crap all over the kitchen counter!”

Poop!

Google Image.

“Maybe you have to get your poop transplant from a model — a smart and beautiful one.  You don’t want to get your poop transfer from somebody stupid, because we don’t yet know if it can impact your IQ.  So you should choose somebody really smart — a scientist might be good.”

I looked over at her.  She’s healthy.  She’s slender.  She’s smart.  She has curly hair like mine.

“I want a poop transfer from you!” I announced.

She quieted her laugh for a moment.

Uh-oh, I though.  I’ve gone too far.

“You know, that may be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

We both roared with laughter.

“Great. Lemme know when they figure out that poop transplants really do work on Crohn’s.  I’ll bring the sterile cup.”

Poop 4

Where do you think I found this?

 

* Nobody can say I don’t protect my husband’s privacy.  Ammirite?

***

While this blog was awaiting publication, I found this article in my inbox:

Gut Bugs Affect Cockroach Poop-ularity

By Jef Akst

Commensal bacterial living in the gastrointestinal tracts of cockroaches lace the insects’ feces with chemical cues that mediate social behavior, according to a study.

Lord, why me?

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