December 11, 2006

One Light Goes Out, They All Go Out

Oh No!
It's Time for Yet Another Edition of ...

A very special holiday edition of an occasional Rant feature

AH, DECEMBER! With Christmas Day fast approaching, Americans everywhere are doing their holiday shopping, getting ready to visit relatives, and planning to enjoy some time off around the end of the year. As such, it will surprise no one to learn The Rant has accordingly seen more disturbing and alarming search-engine queries than ever. Gad.

Now, this is not to say I don’t like the Christmas season – I do very much indeed. It’s just I don’t understand certain recent developments surrounding the celebration of Christmas. For instance, I fully appreciate and value the fact people like to go out shopping for Christmas gifts, even when the malls are horribly crowded and parking is impossible to find. That said, I don’t understand why people start their shopping around the time I’m having a second piece of pie on Thanksgiving night.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but joining an angry mob in an attempt to buy purposely-limited quantities of cheap Chinese electronics ain’t my idea of fun. I also don’t know what prompts people to assault other shoppers over parking spaces, why some radio stations play Christmas carols all the time during December, and who exactly is responsible for pushing back the Christmas shopping season to Columbus Day. Fifty years ago, this would have been seen as prima facie evidence of decay in our Republic. Today, it’s – well, it’s seen as prima facie evidence of decay in our Republic. Yet it goes completely unchecked, apparently because we’re all too busy making sure the shipping companies are getting our packages sent on time.

But anyway. It’s Christmas time, so I can assure you even I have a smile on my face – well, I will at the end of the week, anyway. Now let us talk of many things.

QUERY: class of 94 here i come

ANSWER: As a member of the Class of ’94, I can assure readers that I hate this fucking commercial. That’s primarily because it makes me feel old. I’m not old. I’m only 30. I have no business even thinking about high school reunions. For that matter, I have no business thinking about lots of life’s important milestones which traditionally come before one’s high school reunion. Thus, I would prefer not to think about the fact my tenth high school reunion – if people my age organize such things anymore – has come and gone.

QUERY: funny side of daylight saving

ANSWER: Hey, here’s an idea, why not look for the funny side of a root canal? Why not look for the funny side of getting beaten about the head with a tire iron? Now look, there’s nothing funny about daylight saving time, which cruel German imperialists first put into practice during World War I. It’s worth noting these are the same cruel, pointy-helmeted imperialists who saw nothing wrong with chemical warfare. Yet today, hardly anyone complains when Americans’ precious sleep cycles are disrupted and shattered for weeks at a time.

QUERY: sick Christmas music

ANSWER: Well, first on the list has to be that horrible Paul McCartney song from the Seventies, which I shan’t name lest anyone get it in their heads and – oh, damn. Too late, I see. Sorry. Anyway, this particular song is so hideously bad that it’s almost enough to make me root for the soon-to-be-former Lady McCartney in the couple’s divorce proceedings, if indeed Lady McCartney can in fact lose her title in such a manner. Almost enough, but not quite.

But I digress. You all know the song of which I write, I am sure. It was released in 1979, and I would further note it lends credence to my theory 1979 was the year in which America hit its cultural nadir. It also hit No. 6 on the UK singles chart that year, which I submit is proof Scotland must and shall declare independence before it’s too late.

QUERY: why is christmas a good day

ANSWER: Football! Turkey! Gift-giving! A day off work! Even better, all sorts of goods – including gold, myrrh and frankincense – are frequently on sale following the big day, particularly when the retailers start getting desperate to reach their sales targets. Also, I seem to remember something about a manger and wise men and a really bright star, but it’s late and I’m tired.

QUERY: when the rapture comes we

ANSWER: I don’t know about you, but I’m going to … let’s see here … ah, yes! … “hide in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?’ ”

Before that, though, I’m stealing your sport-utility vehicle.

QUERY: atheist the-divine-comedy

ANSWER: Sixth circle, fiery tombs, so on and so forth – which actually isn’t all that horrible for Dante’s Inferno.

QUERY: why do bad things happen in threes

ANSWER: It’s all a matter of perspective that bad things happen in threes. You must transcend this outlook on life to realize the larger picture, that good things generally happen more often than not.

QUERY: what do we call the imaginary circle around the earth whch lies halfway between the north and south pole

ANSWER: That would be the International Date Line.

QUERY: how long is winter going to be

ANSWER: Two weeks too long, of course.

QUERY: swarming insects michigan

ANSWER: Yeah, that sounds about right.

QUERY: am i here for a reason ?

ANSWER: Well, God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?

QUERY: football commentators that hate the ravens

ANSWER: Hi there!

QUERY: taking soy milk in luggage to mexico

ANSWER: Boy, the customs folks are going to have fun with you. I don’t think there’s really any reason why you actually need to lug the soy milk to Mexico. Just drink beer or soda like everyone else.

QUERY: bring back the 55 mph speed limit

ANSWER: Uh … no.

QUERY: what is currency speculation

ANSWER: Currency speculation is just that: speculating that the value of a particular currency vis-à-vis a second currency will rise or fall. For instance, one may speculate that the dollar will rise against the pound, or the yen will rise against the euro, or what have you. Unfortunately, as making any significant sum requires an alarming amount of leverage, guessing wrong has a tendency to wipe out one’s position rather quickly.

QUERY: every man a speculator

ANSWER: Given the increasing amount of speculative offerings out there, we’re getting closer than ever to this. Also, that’s the title of a good history of Wall Street.

QUERY: percent of invited guests who show up to weddings

ANSWER: Speaking of every man a speculator … actually, I have no idea how to answer this question. Furthermore, as a man, I don’t think I have any business offering my thoughts on this question. However, generally speaking, I would suggest not skimping on the lobster or whatever you plan to serve during the wedding dinner.

QUERY: raison why you should not drink soda

ANSWER: That’s like asking for a reason not to drink water.

QUERY: money affects friendship

ANSWER: Thank God it hasn’t in my life, and I’d like to think that’s the case in most people’s lives. I think most people realize that everyone’s situations are different, and that no matter whether one has more or less money than another, there are very real tradeoffs which take place as a result of that income disparity. It is one thing to be envious of a man who makes six figures, but strangely, there’s never any envy of the blown vacations and eighty-hour work weeks and missed family events. Conversely, one ought not be jealous of another man’s time or occupation without appreciating the sacrifices he is making as a result. But I would suggest that any and all such financial issues can be resolved through a healthy dose of self-confidence and, if possible, through living below one’s means.

QUERY: flaunting one’s wealth

ANSWER: Flaunting one’s wealth is classless and gauche. That’s not to say one ought not enjoy one’s wealth, but it’s not right to make a scene with it or otherwise act like some wretched celebutante.

QUERY: two jefferson dollar bills are worth how much money?

ANSWER: They would generally be worth, oh, about $2.

QUERY: low end gin brands

ANSWER: Gin is an excellent spirit precisely because one can purchase the best gin on the market for $20 for a fifth, thus obviating the need to purchase cheap gin, which can be especially vile.

QUERY: fundamental analysts are wasting their time when operating in a semi-strong efficient market

ANSWER: That’s assuming you believe in efficient market theory, which I certainly do not. The efficient market theory, to my mind, requires that people and markets operate in a logical, sane and coldly orderly manner. Yet time and again, history has shown that people and markets can and do go stark raving loony for extended periods of time, all based on the thinnest of hopes and the most outlandish of dreams.

QUERY: what did keynes mean in long run we all dead

ANSWER: (blink) (blink) (crickets chirp)

QUERY: did you find the directing sign on the straight and narrow highway

ANSWER: Yes! And my quarter-life crisis is just ahead!

QUERY: since hong kong government doesn t provide a decent pension fund for the senior citizens reached the age of 65 only stupid assholes want to retire in hong kong

ANSWER: So it’s the Government’s fault you didn’t properly invest in your Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme?

QUERY: parents naming children fights

ANSWER: It is important for each parent to hold Veto Power over the ideas one’s spouse has for naming their children. The spousal veto should ensure both parents can settle on a name both like and which won’t embarrass the child in later life.

QUERY: pimped out mercury sable

ANSWER: Now there’s a phrase I didn’t expect to see.

QUERY: trumpet sheet music for europe s the final countdown

ANSWER: And there’s another!

QUERY: bud light real men of genius cincinnati bengals fan

ANSWER: I find it impossible to believe a Cincinnati Bengals fan could be named one of Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius.”

QUERY: christmas ideas for employees

ANSWER: As I’m not the partying type, I tend to think *not* holding an office Christmas party is generally a good idea. This would probably come as a silent relief to nearly everyone, as well as prevent all sorts of unfortunate incidents from taking place, such as Ted tripping on an extension cord and landing face down in the potato salad. If people really want to have a fun time together around the holidays, they can get together and go out carousing on their own time. It’s more fun for them, less of a liability concern for you, and a win-win alliance all around. Yeah. That’s it. A win-win alliance.

Anyway, in all seriousness, I do hope that all of my readers have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Pleasant Yule – or an enjoyable otherwise-applicable holiday, like Winterval or something. Thanks for continuing to read The Rant despite my all-too frequent absences, and I look forward to continuing to write it in the weeks and months and years ahead.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 11, 2006 11:13 PM | TrackBack
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