I’m preparing an expose that is going to uncover the rotting corpse that is the pharmaceutical industry. This is going to take some time so be patient, and try not to be a patient (and try not to self-medicate). If you can hang in there, and if you don’t overdose in the meantime, you won’t be disappointed
I know a lot of you have been waiting with baited breath for my next post, but I’ve been busy; unlike you I’ve been busy with this thing called Life. Oh sure, I’m still putting in 110% for you but now I have to put in 210% just to keep up with life too. And unlike you I don’t have a lot of “free time” on my hands jerking at work on your computer while you should be working on that spreadsheet and graph to make your boss look better. I also don’t want to waste your time with posts that are about nothing at all, although I happen to know you have a lot of time and something else on your hands. Unlike other bloggers my posts are always full of useful and important content, not just me blabbing about how I was constipated yesterday but now I’m okay. Who wants to read something like that? Other bloggers think you want to know whenever they pick their nose. Nobody wants that. Even somebody as important as the President of the United States, you wouldn’t want to know when he picks his nose, now would you? So I don’t waste your already worthless life with things that are not relevant to it and are all about me.
Be patient, as it says in Ecclesiastes: there is a time for everything, or something like that.
That International Feel post wasn’t that great. I’m a big man, in more ways than one, so I’m big enough to admit it was a D minus effort, but that’s water under the bridge, as they say. Unlike most of you I don’t make the same mistake twice so you don’t have to wait for another opportunity to poke your finger in my eye. Ain’t gonna happen. Get over it.
Hey, I bought this NSA t-shirt from Woot.com. The folks over there know about real patriotism. It says “NSA” but if you look really close it has all these little quotes from The Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, and their ilk, about freedom that makes up the NSA letters. I don’t expect many of you to know much about this or these guys but they are the true patriots of history and said way back then (18th century) that the NSA was bad and was going to spy on American citizens if somebody wasn’t vigilant and rat out the “Organization.” Back then the NSA just peeped in your window and opened your mail, but now it’s way more sophisticated as I’ve pointed out in previous posts. Pretty cool, huh? I suppose if I wear it in Washington “somebody” will just stick a microscopic poison pellets in my leg and that’ll be it. One of those cardboard box campers will end up wearing my shirt. The price of freedom.
Well I just wanted you to know I wasn’t dead but I’m also not one of those bloggers to put up a long post about nothing at all just so I can see my name in print. So until the muse calls again, I’ll be silent.
Today’s essential declamation is scientifically sound but really meant to piss off (visual pun intended) the environmentalists so I can add another special interest group to my hate mail. I generally despise most environmentalists as a general population. I know there are lots of committed people that have the right thing in mind and do good things but there are many (most?) that have a hidden agenda: socialism. Now I actually don’t have a problem with economic socialism. Well let me rephrase that, I’m not really for redistribution of wealth per se, but I do think that whatever needs to happen to ensure basic human rights, health care, a living wage, care for children, care for the elderly, end to starvation, and a decent education (through college) for all needs to happen. If this entails a redistribution of wealth in the process, so be it. There are too few with too much and too many with not enough.
What I really hate is hidden agendas. The environmentalists propose things that are not in the national or majority interests of this country. In many cases these are insidious attempts to redistribute wealth without saying so and pushing us back to a “simpler time.” They have little science to back their overtly stated agenda.
The entire carbon emission policy proposals for the US are insignificant when you look at the expolisive economic growth that is happening globally? Would you care about greenhouse gasses if you had nothing to eat or live in a rat hole? I don’t think so. What about the countries that are exempt, what if these areas start to grow dramatically (assuming they get rid of the corruption that is the real millstone around their necks)? Why are they exempt in the first place?
Now I’ll be the first one to admit that greenhouse gasses and global warming are real problems, but I claim the main thrust behind the current political (yes, mainly political, not scientific) debate about global warming in the US by most environmentalists and academia is really a subterfuge to institute socialism in the US without saying so. The current global environmental policy will do almost nothing to alleviate the greenhouse gas problem except maybe delay the inevitable a few years because global politics will not allow a real solution to the problem in the foreseeable future.
But I digress… My main point here was to point out some bad science in a particular case and show how academia and the media set out to, intentionally in the first case, and intentionally and through ignorance in the second case, sow misinformation about the problem from an environments standpoint.
Now there is no doubt (but is there?) that incineration of unused and expired medication is a preferred method for disposal over land fill or just flushing them down the toilet. But wait a minute, what about the greenhouse gasses incineration creates. Hmmm, never thought about that one did you?
What about landfills, they are lined with an impermeable membrane. The medicine will still be there, and not in your groundwater, for hundreds of years, in which time they will be reduced to harmless components anyway. The modern scientific methods for landfills pose no problem to the atmosphere or groundwater. An insignificant amount of land in the US is taken up by landfills. The problem with landfills is location; nobody wants a landfill in their backyard, city, county, or state. These arguments, except for a few of the larger cities, is just bad science and political pandering. States that ban garbage crossing their borders into their states are just scientifically foolish and mainly based on getting somebody reelected. There is plenty of safe and unpopulated land in the US for landfills and recycling is increasingly taking some of the pressure off the need for more.
So now we are down to flush ’em. Here is where some particularly bad science comes into play. Now nobody in the US knows jack shit about science, math, or statistics (I blame the school system), and the media, since they were all journalism or english majors, are particularly ignorant. That’s the first part of the problem.
The second part of the problem is the scientific, and to a greater extent, the environmental movement, propagates these insidious lies. Lets look at some of the things that are bandied about by the media and environmentalists on this “problem:”
“We are now able to find detectible amounts of pharmaceuticals in rivers and lakes. These are steadily increasing.”
“Pharmaceuticals found in the water system may be having an effect on human health and the environment.”
Well, the first sentence in first statement is actually technically true. But the devil is always in the details. What they haven’t told you is why this is true. Detection methods have improved at least 1000 fold in the last 50 years. What was previously undetectable has become detectible, but in such small amounts to almost surely have no measurable effect on the environment or treated waste water outflow. In actual fact nobody has proven scientifically that these trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have any effect on the environment or human health. Can I see Chicken Little comin’?
The second sentence is just patently false. Nobody could detect the amount of Prozac in the water 30 years ago, so the time frame for seeing an increase is too short and the current data is within a statistical error range that no conclusions can be drawn from the data at all, other than trace amounts are there. I’m pretty sure I see Chicken Little on the bus now.
Let’s look at the final statement. Again, the devil is in the details. See that word I highlighted, may. Nobody knows. Nobody, literally nobody, has shown a scientifically valid effect on anything, not people, not fish, not plants, nothing. It is pure speculation. Read the research. The claims are based strictly on the increased use of pharmaceuticals in general, and a currently unsupportable conclusion. No valid research exists. I hear Chicken Little knockin’ at the door.
Remember the scientifically almost certain problem with greenhouse gasses emitted by incineration that I pointed out oh so long ago? A process dependent on fossil fuels.
So I say flush ’em. Most of us have 1-gallon or less toilets now so the amount of water used is small. Once the drugs hit the sewer system they are diluted probably at least a thousand times more, waste treatment probably dilutes it at least 10,000 times more. Some of the drugs are still going to be destroyed by the waste treatment process and just exposure to sunlight and oxygen. And when it all meets the mighty Mississippi, well you could calculate it but you’re going to need a lot more zeroes. Oh and sunlight, heat, and oxygen are going to get some more now. See if all you math illiterates can handle it? Oh and those pills you flushed, each only contained 50 milligrams of active ingredient anyway (0.050 grams). We are talking pharmacologically insignificant amounts in groundwater, streams, lakes, and drinking water, almost on the level of homeopathic remedies (and if you think homeopathic remedies work, get that calculator out again to calculate those dilutions and bone up on your science).
Oh and the amount secreted in urine, don’t get me started. How would we eliminate that anyway, ban pharmaceuticals? That’s what the hippie environmentalists, the back to the log cabin, environmentalists really want?
So I say again, flush ’em. Crap on them, pee on them, and then give the ol’ handle a good jerk or two!
A lot of people blog because they have a big ego and think tens of thousands of people out there are going to hang on their every word. They want people to nod their heads for every opinion they write about. They want comments about how brilliant and how oh so right they are. They think everyone wants to look into their private psychoses and their dreary website and affirm their useless digital scribblings. It’s all about me, me, me…
Well this blog is different, it’s all about you, you, you. I’m here for you. I’ve got your back. What other blogger warns you off some posts while putting others out there that you know will improve your life? Don’t some posts seem to have been written just for you personally? Huh? Do you think I’d sit here punching this keyboard if I didn’t feel an urgent social responsibility? I’ve got tons of episodes of NCIS on the DVR and I could be parking my lazy ass on the divan and enjoying the best TV program ever made. But no, I’m here trying to improve your miserable life, a complete stranger. That’s how big I am; a giving person, a servant.
Oh sure I have to use tough love sometimes and point out the deficiencies in you and your world but you know it’s for your own good. I don’t like doing it but somebody has to or you are going to end up on the trash heap of humanity. I worry about you all the time, especially the 50% of you that are below average. I stay up late trying to think of something that is going to stick in your little pea brain, that can pull you up from the desperate and hopeless state you are currently in.
I try to temper these intense self-improvement posts with other posts of whimsy and carefree fun that will brighten your otherwise dreary day. I add the occasional important current event because I know you haven’t touched a newspaper in years and when you did all you cared about was what the Kardashians were doing. See these are all for your own good too. I spend a lot of time each and every day thinking about how to get through to you and improve your life just a little. I put all my needs aside to serve you, dear reader.
Well I just wanted you to know that when the chips are down, like they always are for you, you can count on me. I wanted you to know I’m making more than a D minus effort for you. Whatever disaster comes into your world I’ll be putting all my resources into how best to deal with it and keep you from circling the drain. Think of me as the FEMA of bloggers, but in a better way that actually arrives in time and helps the afflicted.
Remember I’m here if you need me and I’m ready to make time for you day or night. Oh, and like I’ve told you before, lowered expectations are the key to a less than miserable life so just expect the worst and everything will be all right.
Well here’s todays installment of me foaming at the mouth. As you can plainly see it’s called Pointless, and if you haven’t already figured out that it’s going to be a waste of your time then you’re on the wrong side of the mean.
Anyway, here we go. Where to start? A bunch of years ago (you already know I’m not looking it up!) a scientist/anthropologist sort of Viking guy name Thor Heyerdahl built this raft using prehistoric methods and materials. He launched it into the Pacific Ocean. Eventually he landed using only primitive means and supplies on a Polynesian island. So, you’re gonna say this was pointless, oh no effendi, this had a very good reason. Let’s just make one thing clear, this scientist was the first person in the historic era to do anything like this and he wrote about it. This is very important so quit nodding off. Why? He was trying to see if prehistoric man could have populated all of Polynesia; if they had all the means and knowhow to achieve this. This was important because a lot of scientists were skeptical and there were conflicting theories about how Polynesia could have been populated. Heyerdahl proved that some guys in prehistoric times would have all they needed to push off from the continents to eventually find and populate all the islands. It didn’t prove that this is what happened but it proved all the guys wrong that said it couldn’t have happened this way. It also showed just how early or late Polynesia could have been settled. This is how science proceeds you waterheads.
Now somewhere along the line another guy got the idea to do the same thing as Heyerdahl, exactly the same way. This is the most important thing I’m going to tell you so write it down, this guy’s escapade was pointless. Why? Heyerdahl had already done it. There was nothing further to be proved by a second trip. Even if this second guy died trying, it proved nothing since Heyerdahl had already proved it could be done. Nobody really cared that you could die doing it. Everyone already knew this. There were probably a lot of prehistoric guys who sailed off and died trying. So why did this second modern guy do this silly thing. Was he really stupid? Was he crazy? Probably not, after all even doing a lousy job would require a lot of planning and intelligence. Hmmmm. You wanna know why he did it? Because he’s an egotistical and selfish bastard, a piece of human scum, that’s why.
Hold on a minute you say, here’s a brave and intelligent fellow. He’s taking on this dangerous quest all alone with no modern contrivances. No he’s a selfish ego-driven idiot and a bane on humankind; someone never to be held up as a role model. I’m going to prove this to you so pay attention. Why? Because he does this out of his own selfish reasons, to prove some pointless fact about his courage and brilliance, plus he probably counts on us to risk our lives to bail him out if things go awry. He’s nothing but a spendthrift thrill seeker hoping you’ll be a big enough sucker to support him/her and say “well done” and have a parade when he/she maybe comes back. He’s a dumb ass swindler. A flim-flam man.
Here’s another thing I heard that’s a little different but equally pointless. In the early part of the 20th century a lot of folks were trying to be the first to the South Pole in Antarctica. This has at least some little merit from a scientific standpoint but it was basically another attempt to explore a place NOBODY had gone to before. There were two groups that went to the Pole, a British team and a Norwegian guy. Well the Norwegian guy got there first because he had a better plan and somewhat better luck. The British guys all died coming back, so the fact that they reached the Pole second almost doesn’t count because you’ve got to get back to tell about it to say it’s successful.
Now fast forward to modern times. People go to the South Pole all the time. People even live there in a sort of moon-base setup now. But here come some dumb-asses that want to go to the South Pole just like the British team did in 1911 (circa), man-hauling sledges, to “prove” that it could be done. What? First we already know it could be done. It was done by a Norwegian guy with a dogsled. It is also pretty certain that with a little better luck and maybe planning the British team would have gotten back as well. In addition, this is not like Heyerdahl’s experiment because we already know how people got to the South Pole, it’s no mystery. On top of this there are all sorts of less dangerous ways to get to the South Pole. You should use these before you resort to early 20th century technology and depend on us to save your ass in case of trouble. This newest expedition is pointless and a waste of time and money, no reason for accolades; an egotistical display of wasted time, money, and effort. An expensive and foolish hobby. And unnecessarily dangerous and risky.
We see this all the time: somebody we know summits Mt. Everest, they’re somehow a better or deeper souled person than we are. No they’re as selfish as the guy down the street who spent $50,000 on a car. We already know somebody can get to the top of Mt. Everest, hundreds of people have done it. Planes fly higher. Real brave explorers have even walked on the moon, think about that. Now here is something to crow about: being launched in a tin can 250,000 airless miles with a pocket calculator for guidance and actually getting there and all the way back in one piece with rocks to prove you were there (uh, oh here come the loonies talking about the back-lot in New Mexico again). We actually learned a lot of stuff in the process unlike the guy who summits Everest without oxygen. Big deal!
The last part is these fools put other people’s lives at risk with their egotistical and foolish behavior. How many times do we hear about the Coast Guard trying to pluck some retard out of a boat in a hurricane when they were trying to sail around the world alone? I say let the dumb asses drown. Why put a CG helicopter crew at risk for some dummy that doesn’t have the sense to crew his sailboat or come in out of the storm. This person put themselves intentionally in peril and we’re supposed to die to save them. I don’t think so! It’s like tying yourself to a potential suicide standing on a building ledge 30 stories up, a real bad idea. We’re supposed to come rescue these idiots when they express their ego-driven Darwinian behavior? It’s fake heroics. Heroics without purpose is just a waste of everything.
What I’m trying to say is all these stunters that are always trying to get support for their “expeditions” are nothing but leeches. Their time, money, and effort could be channeled into something useful. The problem is they get no accolades for their courage for building and staffing a soup kitchen. What kind of lousy accomplishment is that? There are all sorts of people everyday that are doing brave things with a point that don’t have this incredible ego thing going on and wasting our oxygen. Think about a fireman going into a burning building for a child, a regular cop who never knows if the next drunk isn’t going to go berserk at a traffic stop, an ambulance driver in Afghanistan, Mother Teresa helping infectious lepers. There are tons of deserving and heroic people making a difference in life, science, spirituality, etc. that really put it on the line and for a real reason, not pointlessness.
So be careful when you hold these “models” up your children or others. They aren’t role models. They are egotistical selfish people displaying dangerous behaviors. Is that who you want your kids to look up to and emulate?
So I’m never going to jump out of an airplane and rely on a bed sheet to keep me from hitting the ground unless the plane is going to crash because then it’s the less risky, less foolish, less pointless option. And if I make it I don’t expect anybody to be patting me on the back for how brave I was in saving my own sorry ass.
I promised to tell you how watching television can enhance any part of your life and with today’s 21st Century wireless technology the future of 24 hour TV is even closer than you think. As you know I’m not here to disappoint so hang in there while I get up a full head of steam.
Now think about it, what do you like better than watching TV? Be honest. Okay, I’ll give you that but TV second best, I’m going to show you how even #1 can be made better with television. So now we have established that TV viewing is just about the thing you most like to do. On top of that it is one of the most relaxing pastimes. It’s so relaxing you can even sleep in front of the TV and you should for your mental health. C’mon, what other hobby lets you sleep while you do it? So don’t tell me that mountain biking or kayaking is more relaxing than TV viewing. Even going to a movie or, god forbid, live theater, isn’t as enjoyable and relaxing as sitting front of the ol’ telly. Try to sleep sitting up in those “stadium seats” after you’ve shelled out $100 for tickets and concessions. You can’t rewind, record, fast forward through the boring parts, stop to get a better look at an actress’s breasts, none of that. You can’t stop it to go to the bathroom, that’s a game breaker for me. Inferior entertainment. The good news is that even if you are chained to your spouse, friends, family, or kids that insist on doing any sort of these tier two or three hobbies or entertainments you can now always enhance that experience and make it less tedious with television!
Let’s get right down to first and second best: sex and TV. How can we combine these? Well there’s a rich mans solution and the poor man’s solution. Rich Man: 60 inch or better LED 1080p on every surface in your bedroom even above the head board and the ceiling. The poor man’s solution has some actual advantages over the rich man solution: mirrors on every surface and only one or two 1080p LEDs (as big as you can make ’em) placed strategically. Now when your team scores you can score! You’re doing both your favorite things at the same time unless she’s a two bagger and then you can stick with the sports. In case you’re wondering both these solutions are actually gender neutral and also work for the G&L crowd too, I just used a guy example because they generally like both sex and TV more than gals.
Here’s another problem solved. How to use TV when engaging in a more active lifestyle. Let’s take mountain hiking and camping. Both spouses can mount a small TV in their backpack. All you have to do is cut a little window in the back of each pack and voila, even the remote will work. Now only the following parties can watch but if you change places regularly everyone else can take their turn. You can even get your kids to participate in active leisure time (what an oxymoron) activities with you. Only broadcast and DVDs will work with this setup while moving (make sure you get a shock-free DVD player and a battery powered or better yet a solar powered setup). Once you setup camp or your picnic you can break out the dish and enjoy literally hundreds of channels instead of telling dull stories or worse yet, singing around the camp fire. Have each person haul at least one extra (or better yet more) charged Li batteries and a solar charger. Leave out food, water, and other extra stuff if necessary to save weight.
Now with the heads-up-display TVs in glasses offered there literally is no excuse to not watch TV constantly and we have now proved that everything is enhanced by television. Today there is no reason for you to whine about that mall trip or the amusement park so no more bitching about how I never make your life better.
I’ve got to finish this NCIS marathon I’ve been watching while I’ve been putting this together so excuse the typos. I hope your miserable life has at least been slightly improved.
I know that last blog entry about the word thing sucked bad. Talk about bottom of the barrel. I almost deleted it but I figure someday long after I’m gone these little gems are going to bring me the fame and recognition of greatness I never had in life and it would be a shame if even the Dminus efforts were not included in my ephemera and marginalia, seeing that they are still certainly better than most of the hot air out there today.
Let’s talk today about unemployment or as I like to refer to it: “coincidental early retirement.” I think the government should shift towards using this term and let the “unemployment” defined rate gradually fade to near zero. Everyone in our free and classless society would be pleased by this. Think about it, if the government would just assume that no one over 65 wanted to work anyway (drop them from the “unemployed”) and assume that anyone who has exhausted their benefits are just lazy and shiftless and wouldn’t work at any job no matter what, now we have the retired (over 65) and the early retired (the lazy and shiftless) off the unemployment statistics. If we go one step further and assume the disabled are going to forever be unable to work, then there you have another big chunk out of the “pie of idlers” as I like to call it.
Now before we…, Whoa you over there, don’t get up out of that chair while I’m talking and don’t you dare heckle me. I’ll come right over there and smack you. Before we go any further, to avoid any misunderstanding here, I myself am currently in a temporary bout of “coincidental early retirement.” So there. Now sit back down and shut up. You know what happens when you assume…
Where was I, oh yeah, like most things in the media, business, or government, we haven’t made any real changes to the physical world here. It’s all a matter of perspective (= spin). We’ve now got our new unemployment rate down way low, near zero (Somebody is going to start talking inflation now so we may have to add something back into our statistic. There’s always a pessimist around.). Voila! Everyone feels better. Okay maybe not everyone but a lot of people. Those that don’t feel better are just going to not really care and that doesn’t count. These are mostly the lazy and shiftless that I mentioned above and nobody listens to them anyway and most don’t vote. So now I’ve proven that either people don’t care or they are way happier about our new unemployment statistic now so on average (and remember 50% of people are always going to be above average!) I think we can agree that the day is just a little sunnier now. What’s so bad about feelin’ good? Isn’t that what we yearn for most in life, feelin’ good? If you can do it without moving anything, so much the better. Why work so hard (see the “Dminus Principle”)? Anyway I’m doing all the heavy lifting here so just pay attention.
Here come the naysayers. I’ve got my usual on target answers for them. The first thing that is going to be said is it is “different” than what we do today. I say: “Is what we’re doing today working, huh?” The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I say: New Way, New Result, because what we have now obviously isn’t working. Second, the economists and statisticians are going to say that the new stat is going to skew things or under report the real situation. This is maybe the worst argument ever. The current old unemployment stat we use is a made up number too, I’m just offering a clearly better pretend number. A more optimistic made up number. Remember: perspective = spin.
Third unemployment statistics aren’t like physical constants like Avogadro’s Number or pi or the speed of light, they are just made up numbers by people to measure some thing in some way with a certain perspective (remember: spin). Why shouldn’t we use new ways of calculating statistics that put our current situation in a better, more optimistic light? I say change it again if circumstances change. Remember nothing has changed in the universe except a lot of people are a whole lot happier and the rest (the ones that don’t matter anyway) are just the same as they were before; net gain. Economists will squawk from both sides but when were economists ever right and therefore why would anyone pay any attention to them? When was the last time a tax cut “trickled down” to you or a tax hike created any jobs that the lazy and shiftless defined above would take? Huh? Never! QED!
The other thing to remember in all this is even as the old unemployment statistic creeps down most of these jobs being taken are much lower paying than the ones people had before the crash. Most former auto workers in America are now slingin’ hash and they both count as employed but the latter just barely. Most former rice slingers in China are now making autos. But why rain on the parade? The new unemployment number takes care of all that. It is virtually unaffected by the quality of the jobs that the few outside of Wall Street work at. How better to measure a half-empty statistic?
I can see that some of you are still not on board with me. How about this: let’s measure the employment rate instead of unemployment rate. Now we can crow about our 93% employment rate instead of pity-partying about the 7% unemployment rate and we haven’t even played the numbers game. How ’bout dat? I bet if you showed somebody a picture with 93 guys in it then showed them one with 100 guys in it they wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. They sure would be able to tell the difference between 7 and zero. Real life is the same. Perspective and spin. Is your day getting any better yet?
The last argument will be that other countries don’t measure it that way. What? When did we ever worry about what foreigners, especially ones that don’t live here, think? Why would we behave like these lesser lights that we have to bail out globally like a drunk every New Year’s Eve? Remember WWI, WWII, Vietnam (France), Falklands (Great Britain), Kossovo, (remember that film Behind Enemy Lines with nutcase Owen Wilson as that downed NATO pilot) not to mention keeping their oil safe for them in the Middle East. We can measure unemployment any way we want. Besides when other countries see how low our unemployment is they’ll want to measure their’s the same better American way like they always do with things.
I still apologize for that last post about words. It was really awful. I had a sort of writer’s block thing going on, but now the meds are starting to work. Hopefully this post will make up for it.
Welcome back friends and relatives. Did you enjoy our little diversion into the wistful memories of childhood? Were you taken back to the years of your wasted youth? Well today we are back to serious business so no talking in the back there. Hey, you, do you want to share that with everybody? No, I didn’t think so, sit down and pay attention.
Today’s essential essay deals with the television program Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS. I’m going to show you why this is not only the most entertaining and inspiring but also the most important show on TV today. If you watch nothing else on TV, you should be watching NCIS. The very survival of our democracy and your sanity depends on it and you know I never exaggerate.
Where to start? Hmmm. A little history. I’m not going to look up the dates because I’m lazy and exact details don’t matter anyway, what we’re going for here is the big picture (I give you all sorts of little hints about how to make your life easier by cutting corners so pay attention. Try to take away SOMETHING). NCIS was actually a spin-off of JAG and is one of the rare instances on TV where the spin-off actually exceeded the parent. Now I never watched JAG but I know from hearsay that NCIS is better, so trust me on this. I’ve seen the pilot NCIS episode say 20 times so I can tell you that most of the critical elements that make NCIS so compelling and intelligent were there at the start and are still there now. This is important in today’s fast changing world where tradition is casually thrown on the trash heap of history. NCIS has maintained the same basic formula for like, don’t quote me on this, 11 seasons. Why is this so important? Because contrary to popular belief, repetition is the spice of life and the thing that makes living tolerable. Gibbs, Ducky, Tony, Abby, and Kaitlyn were there from the pilot episode (Kate was in the Secret Service though for this premier episode).
As you can see the casting was exquisite. Putting aging ex-football star, pretty boy, and method actor Mark Harmon at the helm was sheer brilliance (Did any of you ever see that movie where Mark Harmon plays Ted Bundy? Outstanding.). The range of his ability made the ensemble almost beyond failure. The next stroke was resurrecting David McCallum who all the old folks, the primary broadcast TV demographic, would probably remember from The Man From UNCLE. Then the third stroke of genius was the casting of Goth Pauley Perrette as the quirky but cheery forensic scientist Abby Sciuto. With this three legged thespian stool as a foundation you could pretty much throw any actor or actress into the mix and come out with a winner, however Michael Weatherly (Tony) and Sasha Alexander (Kate) turned out to be no light weights either.
Over the years there have been some changes: Kate was tragically killed off by a berserk terrorist and was sort of replaced by the equally talented and beautiful Cote de Pablo (What kind of a name is that?) as the character Ziva David. The characters of McGee and Mr. Palmer and the agency Director as well as some on and off characters were added in but never was the basic formula tampered with. This is the key to it’s success: second verse same as the first.
Now to me watching NCIS is like family. I’m on a first name basis with all the characters, even the minor ones, and I think about the cast as real people, and you should too. These characters are all meant to be lovable, good looking, and quirky just like real people should be so you should act like they are real people that can affect your lives. Talk as though what they said in the show is real. Your otherwise miserable life will be richer for it.
Why do I tell you all this? Well for your mental health. You need some funny but strong and lovable people to anchor your miserable life on. People you can count on since the real people you know are never going to come through for you, so why shouldn’t it be television characters? Pretend Tony and Ziva are your neighbors. Invite them over for coffee. Imagine rich conversations and interactions with them. Relive key moments in NCIS with Gibbs in a cheerful casual way at a barbecue. Every time you look at NCIS from now on all the characters are going to be like people you really know and love. And unlike real people they’re never going to let you down. They’re everything you wish you and your friends could be but never will be: intelligent, creative, courageous, kind, witty, good looking, pretty much the whole upbeat package. The worst that can happen to you is that some of these good qualities might rub off on you and bring you one more step up from the primordial ooze. What’s to lose?
I could get into all sorts of other technical reasons why NCIS is excellent on so many levels, camera angles, direction, special effects, body doubles, mise-en-scene, montage, but I’d be wasting breath on the unteachable and I don’t know much about them, and they don’t really matter anyway (triple whammy!).
The other real reason to watch NCIS is it is all true! All that stuff they do on their computers, phones, and surveillance cameras is 100% correctamento. How do we know this? Edward Snowden, that Jeffersonian patriot weasel who ratted out the NSA surveillance spooks. He confirmed that all that crap that McGee and Abby and Tony do on their computers to listen in on your phone calls or your Facebook page or your e-mail are 100% real. Yep.
So where’s the problem you say? I knew you weren’t paying attention. NCIS is TV not reality. Forget that right now. Sure we can trust our private communication with Abby or McGee or even Gibbs, but these are not real people, they’re characters played by actors. Get that through your thick head. Where did you ever get that goofy idea that these were real people? Not real! Whereas Gibbs et al are only going to use your vital information to catch the real bad guys and are going to forget it the minute they don’t need it, the real world doesn’t work like that. The real NCIS (and by inference all federal law enforcement agencies) are out to screw you, not protect you. Think about it. They are in actuality filled with people like you or me, vengeful little spiteful nobodies who want to get their little piece of the pie by using your e-mail and phone calls to blackmail you or harass you to kingdom come. Or worse.
Stay with me here. I’m not sure why you are having so much trouble separating fantasy from reality right now but you need to steady the boat a bit.
The people that are employed by the US Government come out of the same cesspool that other employers get their employees from (remember 50% are below average). Sure they’re vetted but only so they won’t rat or take drugs. It doesn’t say anything about not using a little “free time” to access your credit card transactions to Rubber Novelty World and making a little pocket change on the side. Remember most of these people are hardly being paid enough to live on. What would you do given the same circumstances? And we haven’t even gotten to the peepers yet.
Peepers, yes that’s right, the peepers, freaks who want to look at you and your kids naked and self gratify. We already know schools, churches and daycares are full of these freaks so why should NCIS be immune. Via all sorts of bugs, surveillance cameras, and even the webcam on your laptop they are getting their thrills while you go about your seedy private business blissfully unaware. You know, you’ve seen it used on NCIS, in that episode with the school bomber. And I’ve just proven to you that if it is on NCIS it’s most certainly true. Unlike films and live theater, you can’t put stuff on TV that isn’t true or possible. It would warp children. You already knew that.
So now you are armed. I expect you to be tuning into America’s #1 broadcast show religiously. Watch the new shows faithfully on CBS. Watch the back to back rerun marathons on the USA cable network. You will be better informed, more sane, and maybe your pitiful life will just be a little richer for it.
When I was a kid we used to go on field trips from school or my parents, usually my Mom, would take us to the big museums in the city. Now if you live in some Podunk city like I do now, even if it’s a pretty good sized metro area like Charlotte, NC, you aren’t going to have the same experience. Your museums are crap. No real mummies or tombs. I’m talking about the old museums where they had all the stuff the imperialists stole from the rest of the world. Anyway when I was a kid we went to the museums that were left over from old World’s Fairs. My favorite was the Museum of Natural History because they had so many freaky things in it. I mean really freaky things. Cool stuff and it was real not some special effects re-creation rubber crap.
It’s hard to know where to start so I’ll start where we always started, everyone’s favorite: shrunken heads. The museum had maybe a dozen real shrunken heads from South America in this glass case. They were so cool. Now most of these were of natives who I suppose were always whacking each other’s heads off Hatfield and McCoy style anyway. We didn’t care about them in our ethnocentric childlike way. But there were two that were Europeans (I’m not sure how they determined the nationality; they all looked pretty much the same) and that really freaked us. I always thought: What if that was my great, great, grandma in that glass case with all those other heads? They showed how they made the heads with real photographs too. They outlawed trade in shrunken heads in the 1920s or 1930s for obvious reasons so a lot of museums don’t have any heads. They also had shrunken monkey or I suppose chimp heads but these were strictly novelty fare. However if real ones (monkey I mean) had been for sale in the museum souvenir shop we would have definitely bought them. See you’ve got to live in a city old enough, and big enough, to have important stuff like this.
The next thing we always went to see was the Pickled Punks (I stole this from carny talk but that’s what we all called them too). The Punks were real human fetuses at various stages of development preserved in big glass jars. We always wondered where the ones that looked like an almost born kid came from since they looked perfectly normal and we felt kind of sorry for them. There were a few freaks too, two headers and the like, but we actually didn’t look at these much. I’m not sure why. The regular fetuses were the main attraction.
Next was always Roast Beef Man. Roast Beef Man was this guy they sliced in a giant deli slicer like you get cold cuts from. They sliced him sandwich thin and put the results in a series of parallel glass cases so you could see progressively all the way through all the organs and stuff, even the dick (We thought this was just the greatest of course, especially on school field trips with girls.). We always wondered how they sliced him so thin (this was way before cutting lasers were common), well actually we didn’t wonder, we figured they did use a huge deli slicer. Can you imagine pushing that guy back and forth across the giant rotating knife and seeing him come off like pastrami?
After the Thin Man came mummies. They had a lot of crap from tombs and all, but nobody wanted to see that, although the reconstructed tomb itself was pretty good. We really wanted to see the wrapped and unwrapped mummies. There were Egyptian ones and South American ones. None of them looked like nor were as tall as Boris Karloff, which was always disappointing. I always wondered why you could dig up these people from their graves and show them off. Think about it. In a couple of thousand years they’re gonna dig you up and you’re on display for everyone to see in some museum. Not a pretty thought, but maybe better than worm bait.
Next were those dioramas showing life size cave men in supposedly contemporaneous surroundings. They never changed, and looking back on it now I wonder why, since anthropology and archeology kept discovering new things about prehistoric man even back then but the dioramas never changed. They probably still have the same ones now. The Carboniferous era dioramas were cool too because they had dragonflies and their ilk that were as big as a toaster oven. Here’s a good question. If all the oil and gas and coal and diamond comes from plants and animals in Carboniferous times that were all squeezed up and transformed by tectonics or what not, why doesn’t it still happen now? Why aren’t we getting all squished up and turned into crude oil. Think about it. Did dinosaurs just not get out of the way when a big continent came rushing up at a few feet a century? Then it’s like, okay, crude oil production is geologically done now. That time is over so on to the Renaissance or whatever.
Finally dinosaurs; those giant bone fossils put back together and dwarfing the museum space. Brontosaurus and especially the full size Tyrannosaurus Rex were the favorites. Now I guess they didn’t have enough fossils all the time so they always filled out the exhibit hall with “reconstructed” skeletons made out of colored paper mache or something. These of course were of inferior entertainment value and thus shunned by us when we identified them as crude fakes.
There were still endless things to look at in the museum but these were all the primary attractions. Nobody wants to know about or look at dioramas of things crawling out of the ocean for the first time or fossils that were smaller than a Volkswagen so lunch at the crappy cafeteria (no McDonalds in the museum back then) was usually on tap by this time and after that either back on the bus (field trip) or begging Mom to leave ’cause we were bored now having seen all the worthwhile attractions.
For some reason it seemed like every time we went to the museum there would be some big group of Orthodox Jews and/or a whole bus load of Penguins (= nuns) at the museum. These were both an oddity to us although there were inevitably reformed Jews and a lot of Catholics in our school group. What do they do round up all the nuns in the convent and take them on a field trip? What are they interested in in a museum? Probably shrunken heads, Pickled Punks, and Roast Beef Man. I wonder if they always go to see the shrunken heads first. Maybe it’s one of their missionary friend’s ancestor. Nuns are already creepy so a nun shrunken head would be super creepy. They should make a little habit to go with the head but headhunters probably wouldn’t think of that.