List of the Week: 10 Ways to Fix the Catholic Church

Add a countdown clock and buzzer: Sure, we all know how long Mass is supposed to be, but to have an actual number on it can really make the whole thing less of a chore to sit through.  If the Father feels like going long on the homily, it’s gonna cost him some recessional rites time.  If he doesn’t get it all in before the buzzer, well, that’s on him.

Put a crossword in the program, and if you finish it before Communion you don’t have to stay for the last song: There will always be the people who attentively listen for the entirety of Mass, sing along to every song, and quietly hope the piano keeps going for all seven verses of the recessional hymn.  Those people are dorks.  Everyone else will likely spend Mass periodically zoning out and thinking about what they plan to do afterward, or what they did the night before, or how ugly the baby in the front row is.  Those people probably aren’t really getting the message, so offer them a carrot – make a crossword puzzle where everyone who completes it has this week’s message or lesson subliminally processed through their head.  In exchange for getting it done, they can go home right after Communion.  I think that’s fair.

Continue reading

Bill Hicks Keeps Riding

Were it not for that bastard cancer, Bill Hicks would have turned 50 last Friday.  The world would have been a better place for the last 18 years if he were still around.  I didn’t find out about his work until a year after he died, but it still made a huge impact on me and how I look at the world.

Brow Beat over at Slate has a write-up about the infamous censorship, euphemistically dubbed as “cutting,” of his 1993 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman that’s worth a read.  If you aren’t familiar with his work and you’re a Netflix subscriber, give America’s Funniest Home Videos a rest for a bit and check out American: The Bill Hicks Story, a recently-produced documentary about his life, then wash it down with his 1989 special Sane Man and the four-special compilation Bill Hicks Live: Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian.  If you don’t laugh, congratulations, you’re part of the problem.

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume III

Remember when this was supposed to be a weekly feature?  Me neither!  We’re back with more D.D.P. after taking October and November off.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if TMZ was written by the editors of The Economist, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week we deal with the medical mysteries of adoption, why women don’t understand pissing in sinks, strange manifestations of other-woman guilt, and women thinking too hard about friendship.  Put a pink magnetic ribbon on your car and pretend to like missionary, it’s Ladies’ Night on Fantastic Manliness!

Dear Prudie,
My father was adopted as a baby in the 1950s. About all I know is that his birth parents eventually married and that he has full brothers and sisters. He does not want to know anything about his biological family, and I respect that, I really do. However, my husband and I want to have children in the near future and I feel it is important to have a more complete family medical history, though it’s not that the presence of some horrible disease will likely sway our decision. (My niece does have a rare, genetic blood disorder which my mother points out could be from her side of the family.) I have asked my mother many times over the years how I can get this information, to no avail. I’ve thought about hiring someone to track down the biological family or having genetic testing done, but these things are simply too expensive. My mom supports my dad’s decision to know nothing and feels that it is not my business to ask such questions. My dad doesn’t have much adoptive family left and they would probably be insulted by such an inquiry. Should I talk to my dad about all this? If so, how can I explain that I support his decision not to have a relationship with his biological family and that I am purely interested in shedding some light on my own family medical history? Continue reading

List of the Week: 5 Head Coach Dilemmas – Call the Athletic Director or the Cops?

This week the world of college football was rocked by the revelation that beloved Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a serial child rapist.  I, personally, was amazed that a team in the Big Ten could actually find a new way to suck – even moreso when it turned out to be a team other than Ohio State.  Sandusky was caught in red-penised red-handed by a Graduate Assistant in 2002 who went on to join Head Coach Joe Paterno’s coaching staff.  The Assistant reported the incident to Paterno, who then informed the school’s Athletic Director that Sandusky is a…uh…let’s say “4chan user” when it comes to sex.  Paterno then went about his business quasi-coaching a football team that needed a new head coach 20 years ago, never to think of it again.

Alright, well in retrospect I guess this looks pretty bad

Continue reading

On Enjoyment

Watching movies is insanely easy nowadays.  Re-watching movies, same case.  If you name a movie, unless it’s something super-weird and rare I can probably download a copy of it that would rival a flawless 16mm print put through a projector with a brand new bulb on full power with all the dust removed from the air in the room.  It’ll take an hour to download at the most.  Maybe it’s on Netflix in HD, maybe it’s on Amazon Prime, maybe it’s a BluRay or DVD that I dumped onto my hard drive, or worst-case scenario I had to tell the magical box in the living room to record it as it plays on channel 1205 without me ever having to turn on my TV.  If you like a movie you can watch the hell out of it.

I had a great time seeing Inception a year and a half ago.  Remember Inception?  Leonardo DiCaprio invades people’s dreams, that somehow means a shitload of guns onscreen, Michael Caine is there for some reason, PG-13 mindfuckery…big deal movie.  Summer tentpole.  Everyone loved it when it came out, then as Christmas came around people started pointing out plot holes, vocalizing things they found wrong about it, and questioning the reason for there being so god damn many guns in a movie about dreams within dreams.  It lost its luster for a ton of people.

At the last minute they photoshopped the gun out of Ellen Page's hand

Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume II

It’s been 11 days, you know what that means – another round of Dear Dear Prudence!

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if Gawker was written by the editors of The New Yorker, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with the weird sexual kinks of our loved ones.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week Prudence counsels a mother whose child may have a rare genetic disorder passed on from her mother-in-law…and we throw out her perfectly good advice for my horrible rambling tangents  Sweet sassy molassy let’s get on with it! Continue reading

Solved! – Soccer In America

If you’re a trendy American you’ve probably been pretending to like soccer since a few months after everyone forgot that France won the World Cup in 98.  Good for you!  You obviously have a lot of culture and do other smart people things like dislike Garfield and use the metric system.  Here’s the problem – there are a LOT of people out there who aren’t into it.  They’re still eating non-organic vegetables, they think Rick Perry has a lot of fresh ideas that are worth trying, and they don’t like soccer.  They may find the time to watch the three World Cup matches the US plays in before the team gets bored and goes sightseeing but that’s it.  Soccer is so unpopular in America that it makes women’s soccer seem popular.

So how do we get them on board?  They already sell beer at MLS games, the only safety equipment in the game protects exactly one of the players’ bones, and they don’t even stop the damn clock for penalties.  There’s one thing ye olde football is missing – scoring.  The players run up and down the field, offense strikes, defense defends, and after 90 minutes and change if you’re lucky enough not to end up with a tie you might see a team slug their way to the god-like sum of 3 goals.  Why the perpetual stalemate?  One asshole with a special shirt who gets to use his hands.  Every time the defense gets beaten and the ball is sailing into the goal there he is, catching it in midair, drop-kicking it to midfield, and bringing half the wristwatches in the audience up to eye level.

America demands that the goalie be destroyed.

America hates defense.  Its boring – they’re barely ever trying to score.  The gold standard of NFL football teams, the New England Patriots, only fields a defense because the league rules say  they have to.  The goalie tips the balance too far in the defense’s favor.  Even if they completely fail he can salvage the situation with all four limbs and bring the game to a standstill until he decides it’s time to foot-hurl the ball down the field.  Take him out and the game is pure offense versus defense.  “But what if they just put a guy in front of the goal?”  Well unlike the disposed-of Goal Warden, that planted defenseman can’t use his hands.  While you may feel like placing a pseudo-goalie at the end of the field, the other team may just put that body on offense, and he’s coming at your handless goalie.

But don’t despair!  If your offense gets past their defense their goal is wide open – open enough for America’s Favorite Sports Thing, the long bomb. We’re talking scores from midfield.  Every game.  Precision long-distance strikes.  Every major sport needs a long bomb.  Baseball as the homerun, basketball has the three-point shot, and football he the…er…long bomb pass.

“Well this isn’t the futbol I know and love, guv’na,” I hear you exclaim because you’re some sort of European or South American.  Well, you’re right, Gunter.

It’s not futbol.  It’s soccer.  Pledge allegiance.