Tag Archives: funny

Caustic Countdown: Four Insanely Mean-Spirited Political Ads

17 Jul

I should apologize for not posting more often. I could sit here and lie (after all, it is my job) and say that I’ve been busy. It’d be a half lie; I have been busy. Just not enough to justify such an extended absence. No. The truth is I’ve been having a hard time finding balance and order to my routine. I am not what you would call organized. At all. With this in mind, it’s amazing that I’ve managed to accomplish so much with my writing. But I can’t rest on my laurels, and my disorganization is restraining my potential. So I present Caustic Cookies version 1.5. It’s a beta right now, but I’m sure you’ll like it. If you have any suggestions, just drop me a line. I’d be happy to field questions on any intelligent basis.

Now to the fun stuff!

It’s easy in this world of political nonsense to feel entirely inundated with every facet of the machine. Personally, I feel like I can’t even go five minutes without having to explain my political position in some way. In order to combat this, I’m tempted to just sit back and say: “You know who really had their shit together? Lincoln. Boy, could he emancipate and propagate liberty like the best of ’em!” I’m a history nerd though, so it’s kind of nice to have some perspective to compare our current disorder to.

One of the greatest gripes of all comes in the form of these bombarding attack advertisements. Currently, Former Governor Romney is attacking President Obama based upon his health care mandate and the President is backlashing with details of Romney’s supposed corporate history. And it’s getting kind of nasty. It always does. It seems like our politicians are the proverbial children in the sandbox… if the children happened to be vying for the position of the most powerful man in the free world. (Would that equate to the slide on the playground them or the monkey bars? Such is the great philosophical quandary). And every election cycle, people find ways to believe that, if anything, it’s only gotten worse than the time before. It turns out that not only are they feeding a mass-delusion that legitimately affects the older population bracket, they also happen to be incorrect. It’s not their fault, however. See, it’s all a matter of perspective. Here are four political ad campaigns that makes today’s contenders appear as polite and courteous as stereotypical Victorian gentlemen. Which do not turn out to be as nice as everyone believes.

1: Jefferson v. Addams (aspiring king of England?!)

Despite the fact that the United States and England seem to now be best buds (the Blair Bush Bromance will go down as one of the most noticeable in political history), there was indeed a time where being closely associated with the English would destroy any hopes of social acceptance. Keep in mind that this period of time was namely until that pesky war of 1812 (a war which most Americans don’t recall the year it transpired. Seriously). Up until that squabble got resolved, it probably wouldn’t be very good for someone running for political office to be in close relations with higher British authorities. It would be worse if said politician was running for office and said close relation was the King’s daughter.

Boy, doesn’t that just sound like a wacky sitcom.

Enter John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both uncontested intellectual badasses. Except for the fact that they had a contest between each other. Namely, the 1800 presidential election. Now this election went down in history for a number of reasons. But people forget that a large population of people didn’t vote for Adams because Jefferson had spread the entirely fallacious idea that Adams’ son was being wed to the King’s daughter in an attempt to create an American dynasty. Despite being called out on his lies, Jefferson still ended up winning. Chalk one up for liars!

3: Johnson’s Bomb (Not Talking about his Libido).

Now if you didn’t get the joke in the title, follow this link. It turns out that Kennedy wasn’t alone in enjoying the ladies as President.

Now. Back to business. And by business, I mean overtly insinuating that your rivals will ensure the nuclear apocalypse.

See that? That wasn’t exactly subtle. But neither was Johnson. He had a tendency to be upfront and dramatic when it came to certain nuances of his policy. He often allowed his size and low growl of a voice to intimidate dissenters. So it was in his nature when he presumably thought as he was running for a second term of ways to intimidate not just disorderly orderlies, but the nation as a whole.

He came up with this.

For those who didn’t follow the link, shame on you. Seriously, go click on it. It’s worth its metaphysical weight in metaphysical gold. I’m sorry to say that the exchange rate for metaphysical gold isn’t too high now, but still go click.

That’s right. Johnson insisted that electing his opponent would instigate a fiery hell of nuclear radiation and death. Needless to say, he was reelected.

2: Swift Boats for Justice.

Alright, this one is recent (it aired against Kerry in 2004), but it shows how quickly we forget. Because these were just flat-out mean.

Take a watch.

Now, essentially the message boils down to this: Kerry was lying about how bad-ass he was in Vietnam. Normally, this isn’t a problem, there are people who exaggerate about their war-stories every day. The issue came that he was using it as pro-Kerry propaganda during the campaign and he happened to piss off a lot of people he served with.

Honestly, I remember this election. I was convinced that Kerry was going to beat out Bush…up until these ads came on. Even though I was younger and didn’t understand the gravity of such an attack, I somehow knew that the game was over. Looking back on it, I’m surprised riots didn’t explode into the street such is the gravity of their statements.

1: Don’t Mess With Jackson

So far these have been rather harmless in the grand scheme of things. Sure, reputations were damaged (not irreparably) egos were bruised, but otherwise no harm no foul. Things got crazy; such is the nature of the beast, right? Well, this time, it arguably got someone killed.

Enter who is perhaps the greatest President of all time (if you choose to selectively ignore the whole trail of tears thing): Andrew Jackson.

And yes, I am aware that the parentheses and colon equals a frowny face emoticon. That was perhaps the one potmark of Jackson’s presidency that can really never be fixed. It was destructive and cruel, no doubt about it. But a political mistake doesn’t erase the other great things he is known for. Nor does it justify the fact that his wife was brutally assaulted by the media. To the point where she freaking died!

Jefferson and his wife were the quintessential star-crossed lovers. When they met, she was still married to an absent husband. But when they were together, he was incredibly abusive. So they just took the absence as a blessing and got on with their happy lives. The two never actually divorced, however, allowing the press to portray Mrs. Jefferson as a harlot. She soon died after this violent press started pouring in and Jackson was forever changed. He went from his rambunctious, violent nature to…swearing to avenge her death on every person who ever spoke ill of her. So the press managed to take his fury and direct it to his political opponents and themselves. Probably not the best idea.

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Caustic Countdown: Three Insane Food Laws

22 Jun

Recently, there has been a lot of commotion over the proposed law in New York designed to make it illegal for fast-food providers to sell more than 16 oz of soft drink per transaction. The aim is to curb the tide of obesity by constricting the sale of sugary drinks and soda, which do in fact deal a heavy hand (pun totally intended) in raising obesity rates. Of course, the bill is quite controversial and many individuals feel that this is directly infringing upon the inherent freedoms in this nation. (Apparently, people believe that to get fatter than Gluttony and more lethargic than Sloth is directly in the constitution. It’s probably somewhere in the 28th amendment. Gawd Bless America!).

[Serious note: Some legal experts are quick to point out that this could seriously be illegal due to the interstate commerce clause. That being said, there is no endemic freedom to eat yourself to death and causing a burden upon society. I’ve read the constitution five times. It’s shockingly not in there.]

Proponents of the law believe that it is legal due to the fact that many seriously obese people create a burden upon taxpayers, thus warranting legislative intervention. I’m not one to pick sides (both of the constitutional arguments have merit and that’s left for more experienced people to decide. I yield to superior understanding), but I will say this: this is not the most insane law pertaining to the consumption of food. Actually, comparatively, this looks about as sane as illegalizing texting while driving.

3: Protect the Pigs!

As I mentioned above, I’ve read the constitution numerous times. Why? I don’t know. I get some weird kick when I read me some constitution. I get wired. That and the fact that my major is Government and World Affairs. But hey, the hankering for some constitutional understanding probably plays hand in hand. It’s a knowledgeable addiction. Plus, I actually like to know what I’m talking about when I talk politics with people. I don’t want to be the one who shouldn’t have opened his mouth and removed all doubt.

So I’m a lega-phile. And I’m a knowledge-a-phile. Most importantly, a nerd to boot. So when I was in high school and they asked me if I wanted to register to vote, I said, “awh hell yeah!” Just like that. In the middle of class. Clearly, I was an intellectual bad-ass.

Upon registering, I realized that I had to sign an oath to defend the constitution of the United States. No biggie. I had read it about three times by then, I was pretty comfortable with it. But then came the caveat. I also had to protect the Florida constitution. Well, shoot. I had signed my name and all. So I did what any legally bound nerd would do. I read the Florida constitution. What I discovered shocked me.

There’s an amendment protecting the sanity and safety of…

If you guessed a) children, you’re wrong. b) adults, you’re wrong. You’re actually getting colder. If you guessed c) kittens, sorry but no. If you guessed d) pregnant pigs, then you’re both oddly specific and correct!

Yep, the Florida constitution protects the rights of pigs who are, more likely than not, going to end up as bacon on my cheeseburger.

2: McBanned.

Now fast-food is helping obesity in the worst of ways. The way these companies see it, they give you food which barely qualifies for pets and you give them money. It’s like eating your cake and mugging you in a dark alley too!

We just learn to sit down and accept that these companies are running on the capitalistic system; they exist because people will pay them to. So the only logical thing is to accept this as an inevitability of human advancement or, if it really tickles your fancy, avoid perpetuating the system by not giving in to their business.

Or, you can just up and ban fast food from distributing toys. I mean, why just avoid them yourself? Clearly, you got to go all out for this to work. Think about the children!

In Santa Clara County, California, a law was passed banning McDonald’s from selling their infamously cheap Happy Meal toys. This presumably worked until they realized that most of the people who frequent the Golden Arches are a little too old to be playing with HotWheeles… Unless they’re able to hide them from their wife/girlfriend. In which case please, you brave souls, spread the word and tell us immature men your secret!

Of course, there were good intentions with this law. It’s just that its lunacy and ultimate futility kind of makes it one of those good intentions that paves the road to Hell.

1: Enjoy Champagne on a World War Technicality.

Who doesn’t enjoy the sensation of liquid victory? Whether it’s celebrating a win or a wedding, champagne is the go-to for bubbly happiness. Who wouldn’t like to take a sip of champagne to accentuate good times? Who hasn’t poured a glass or guzzled it straight from the bottle because damn it, you’re awesome!

Well odds are you haven’t and you probably never will.

See, if you live in the United States (where most of my readership lies) you have probably never actually tasted champagne. See, champagne isn’t just a type of sparkly alcoholic beverage. It’s supposed to be an indication of origin. In Europe, if you drink champagne it’s because that drink hails from the champagne region of france. Most of our champagne hails from California.

See, the treaty of Madrid first solidified the term champagne the legal property of the champagne region in the late nineteenth century. It was a treaty the United States wasn’t involved in. After that, the treaty of Versailles after World War One reaffirmed this legal right. Guess what, we weren’t involved in that either. Even though we tried to put forth several ideas in the treaty, we never actually ratified it ourselves. Meaning that it wasn’t until recently that the U.S. stated that all new bottles of sparkling wine had to be properly identified. How recent? Well, it’s still cool if bottles from 2006 and before use it.

Caustic Countdown: 4 Reasons why Prometheus was Terrible

12 Jun

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my absence last week. Things were really hectic as I started to reorganize and get everything squared away for one thing or another. All in all, it consisted of doctor’s appointments, trips to south florida (twice last week) and familial obligations that needed to take precedence over my writing.  I am happy to announce that all the conflict and drama has been resolved (for now. One of the few things I happen to agree with in regards to Marxian theory is the fact that it is conflict which drives human interaction). So I’m back. And I’m back with a literary vengeance.

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer was Prometheus, a movie directed by Ridley Scott. Scott, as you may remember, was the director for the Sci-fi horror classic Alien and for the trail-blazing Blade Runner- so one does not simply expect bad movies from him. I happened to see Prometheus as it premiered on Friday; as you could imagine I was extremely excited. I needed a break from reality, I needed something that broke away from the usual monotony of sequels we’ve had over the last year. (Actually, it’s been sequels that have been dominating the box office for the last year. Most original films simply can’t compete with a familiar cast and plot line). Prometheus was advertised as a horror/sci-fi flick that seemed to stand all its own. I bought my Powerade, sat down in the theater and watched the magic unfold…

And I found myself hating it. Very, very quickly.

Despite the hype, I found Prometheus to be one of Scott’s worst creations. Don’t get me wrong; the story itself had a lot of potential and the special effects were incredible. And, granted, the acting was pretty dang good too. It’s just that those were just trying to put tits on a boar. There are four main reasons why I walked out of the theater disappointed after the credits started rolling. And it’s for these same reasons that I saw a lot of other eager viewers shake their heads and mourn the gaping hole in their wallet…

4: Alien, Alien, ALIEN!

I suppose I should just address the white elephant in the room: I was under the impression that this was a stand alone movie. I, like many other regular theater goers, do not extensive, obsessive research based around a ninety-second video. I have more pressing things than to freeze frame each shot and look for the hidden phallus. Plus, my showing was at ten PM Friday evening- the movie released at midnight earlier that day. If I so much as googled “Prometheus” I’d end up getting spoilers and those  are always terribly annoying. So I went into the theater, sat back, and watched. It wasn’t very long until I started noticing similarities to Alien. At first I was fine with it because, after all, what prolific director doesn’t put little tributes to prior efforts in their new stuff. But then as the plot came along, I started feeling nauseous. My thoughts pretty much followed these lines (warning:spoiler).

“Oh, parasitic alien…where have I seen that before?”

“Ohhh it’s going to burst right out of her, huh? That seems…original”

“So this android gets decapitated just like the old one did? Like, same white glop coming out and everything, eh?”

And then finally.

“Let me get this straight? Android infests guy with alien worm, alien worm-man has sex with girlfriend, girlfriend then gets pregnant with octopus, octopus grows to enormous size, eats face of bigger pre-human, pre human’s chest erupts with Alien queen? What in the actual Fuh-”

You get the idea.

That last one made me want to stand up, find the nearest table, and flip it. Thank God it came at the end so I was able to supress my table-flipping rage. Note: no tables were harmed through my viewing of Prometheus.

3: Plot Holes Galore.

Every great story has plot holes. Life has plot holes, we can’t possibly understand all of the intricacies beneath the normal mundanity that occasionally produces something extraordinary. That being said, we should be able to extrapolate the basic motives of characters. Right?

Guess not.

Exhibit A: the android freaking the hell out. The destruction of everything was single-handedly this one annoying animatron. Throughout the film, he goes out of his way to make sure that the entire crew suffers. As mentioned above, it’s his fault that the guy first impregnates the woman with an alien spawn. Why? Well, he never really answers that. In fact, other than acting as a way to kill off a couple of characters, it does nothing to move the plot forward. Eventually, he explains that he wants to kill his creator (he does towards the end). But that doesn’t explain why he was trying to kill everyone else. If he wanted the old man dead, why not shoot him into space as they all sleep in their capsules during the two-year voyage? He’s awake and sentient the entire time!  Nope. It really boils down to this. Why did he do it? Because screw you, there’s aliens now. That’s why.

More so than that, we are introduced to a giant spaceship in the very beginning of the film abandoning a pre-human entity…which never comes back. Oh well. Guess that arc wasn’t important. Then there’s the fact that even though the robot tries to kill her and kills her boyfriend/fiance, the female protagonist works with him towards the end anyways. And as the unlikely duo launch towards the stars, she sends out a half-assed message warning no one to visit the planet. Because this is a de facto prequel to Alien, apparently no one freaking listens. Plus, one of the characters added that a company put up a trillion dollars for this mission. If a one trillion-dollar exploratory mission says “do not come” the entire world’s going to know about it. It’s not like Roswell; you can’t just keep that stuff secret. So anyone who paid any attention at all left with either a splitting headache or developed a hernia from all of the illogical plot points.

2: What a Terrible Twist!

There are times where authors and artists try to create twists: surprising endings which are supposed to shape the audience’s perception of EVERYTHING. This movie was lacking in any of them.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, per say. Some movies accomplish a lot more with being direct with their story than those which try to play “gotchya” at the end. Prometheus was like that one kid playing manhunt with a flashlight, glow in the dark shoes, and neon green clothes. The surprises weren’t really surprising.

Take, for instance, the incredible discovery that the old man was actually on board all along. You only see his face after a certain point; before we were all told he had died. The intended reaction is “oh my God! He lives!” Actually, no. See, the android was talking to an entity within a private canister and told the mission leader that “he says try harder.” Simply put, there weren’t any other characters introduced who weren’t accounted for. It was a process of elimination- like the laziest game of clue ever.

Later on, the female mission leader is revealed to be the old man’s daughter. Even though this guy looks old enough to be 250 years old. Setting aside the visual incongruity, this was supposed to be another surprise. Except at the very beginning where his hologram insists that the robot was “like the son I’ve never had” and the mission leader just kind of looks at anywhere other than the image. Real smooth. At least we know who daddy’s favorite is…

Even the “shocking” ending that they had inadvertently created the alien queen wasn’t really surprising. As I mentioned earlier, the entire movie circled around Alien. It was just one of those surprises like getting deodorant for christmas. You pray that it won’t happen, you hope it won’t happen, please God don’t let it happen! When it does you sit back and moan. Not because you saw it coming, but because you did and even the knowing couldn’t mitigate how terrible it is.

1: Wussing- Out to the Max

Perhaps the biggest problem I had was with the ending. No, not the part where the infantile queen explodes from the chest of the humanoid. The fact that the protagonist doesn’t die.

See, I’m a big proponent of Oscar Wilde. And I love his famous quote in the Importance of Being Ernest: “The good ended happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” I didn’t want fiction with Prometheus. I wanted  something better, something believable. Frankly, that wasn’t delivered in the end.

I really did abhor the fact that the android mentioned “oh, by the by, there’s another ship out here. We can use it to escape. And I totally know how to use it even if at the moment I’m a disembodied head depending upon a woman who is neither a mechanic or pilot.” But sure enough, they manage to shoot off towards the sky.

Look, I’m fine with happy endings- if they fit. It didn’t here. Space exploration is messy business. Numerous people have died just trying to get to our moon! Could you imagine the mortality rate of a mission trying to travel to a planet light years away? It would be more realistic for everyone to have died. The reason it was acceptable for there to be a survivor in Alien was because, in that universe, exploring was presented as a job one could be trained for and ready for. Like Bering Sea fishing, it was dangerous but common enough. Here, this was the first time this had been attempted. Predictably, everything went to hell. Except one person managed to somehow escape. It didn’t come across as human luck and ingenuity; it was simply a directive prerogative to have at least one survivor. Honestly, without trying to come across as too terribly macabre, it would have been a better ending if the protagonist had suffocated on the planet, staring out into the vast empty sky beyond. Would it have been depressing? You bet. But at least it’d be the truth.

Caustic Countdown:5/28/12

29 May

My high school cross-country coach was a man of interesting axioms. He, of course, would offer certain quirky phrases as we ran (“Arms, Arms, Arms!” and “Relax to Run Fast” happened to be his favorites), but by far his most memorable has to do with- well- high school stupidity. He would always tell us “I want you guys to know that I love you as people…but you sure do make some interesting choices with your lives!” I thought it was the optimal attitude to have in regards to humanity: love your fellow man, but still admit that he can be a freaking moron (it’s like having your cake and eating it too!). So this week, we tip our hats to three individuals who have, recently, made some very interesting decisions with their lives.

3: Creative Videography

It may or may not come as a shock, but several people really seem to hate their local meteorologist. Maybe it’s because the uncertainty of weather and the uncertainty of man coagulates into a frustrated heap of failed predictions. Maybe it’s because people are envious of the fact that television meteorologists get to draw on a board, perform guesswork in front of thousands of people daily, and rake in an average of $85,000 a year. If everyone had this job you could be that every day some outlandish prediction would be made like, I don’t know, a meteor passing within 30,000 kilometers of Earth. I mean, what’s the likelihood of that?

Given this disdain, it’d be understandable if weather reporters somehow concocted a way to ensure the accuracy of their predictions- or even their on site reporting. But how could they accomplish this? Last time I checked, the doomsday machines controlling the weather were banned by the UN (seriously). Well, they could just kick sand to give the cheap illusion of 60Km/hr winds. Sure. Why not?

According to the hyperlinked article above, the weather conditions that the Romanian reporter was trying to emulate actually were occurring; they just calmed down before he hit the scene. So instead of reporting that the storm has miraculously passed, he felt it more prudent to have his camera man kick sand into his face as he reported on the storm that has passed. Unfortunately, this gaffe was immediately picked up on by even the least observant viewers as said production assistant was still in frame. Fortunately, both men get to keep their job. In fact, no report of them even receiving a formal reprimand has come to light. Instead, the station is simply shrugging and saying essentially “hey, it’s not doctored.” At least that’s an assertion that can’t be disputed. Rain or shine.

2: Pretty Ceremony, Petty Bride.

We’ve all been a little strapped for cash. This economy is tough; it wears down on people. But, as a wise man once said, there will always be life, liquor, and love- so why not just continue on with the weddings? (obviously, they are the perfect combination of all three). Well, considering that the price tag of a wedding is nearly half of the average American’s salary, there’s understandable trepidation about tying the knot. But hard times often inspires the creative side of people. It just so happens that no one qualified that these creative solutions had to be considered ethical. But, I mean, it’s not like someone will just go out and blatantly lie to fund their dream wedding? OK. No one will try to play the pity card to fund the wedding? Drats, OK, once more. No one will blatantly lie about dying of cancer soon after their wedding to swindle well wishers into giving money… You know what? I give up at this game.

That’s right. A New York bride has been convicted of faking a cancerous condition to elicit sympathetic donations for her “dream wedding.” Soon after the wedding, however, the husband alerted the police to the fact that his new beau was simply a liar. How he figured it out wasn’t explicitly mentioned- so I’ll just go off on a fictitious limb and say it was presumably from all of the calls asking either a) how his soon to be dead wife was doing or b) why his soon to be dead wife wasn’t dead yet. Such inquiries would be a real head-scratcher to any spouse.

Predictably, the couple has gotten a divorce but, scandal alert, he was there to pick her up from the jail cell as she was released. Do I detect the flame of romance being reignited? Readers, I honestly don’t give enough of a damn about their private lives to say (this isn’t TMZ after all). I will say this however: how twisted would it be if this was just something on the couple’s bucket list?

1:

There has been a lot of publicized hype about the immigration issues in the United States. However you stand on the fence with these issues (badum-ping), it can be agreed that we are at least attempting to limit the number of illegals entering. But with every advantageous means we employ, it can be assured that someone will craftily dodge or work around the issue. We’ve seen it time and time again in criminality- people will always try to be one step ahead of law enforcement.

On occasion, it helps to be in a pair of wheels designed to look like a UPS truck. You know, to have an advantage. Not to fulfill some child-like dream to become an international postman travelling between the U.S. and Mexico…while also being a secret agent…and trapeese artist. What? Some people like to retain their imagination.

Apparently, the car was decked out to look like a true UPS vehicle. It even had the unmistakable actual American citizen driving the damn thing to increase its authenticity. The difference is, besides the obvious fact that this vehicle didn’t deliver parcels but a baker’s dozen worth of illegals, may only lie in the color value of the logo. This van is just one of an emerging trend called “cloned vehicles.” And while the title may spark images of Optimus Primes lined up ad infinitum, they’re merely the creation and modification of vehicles so as to appear less obvious.

The cleverest of facades can’t pass through the immovable force of bureaucratic policy! The truck and passengers were caught and arrested at a routine inland vehicle check about 50 miles from the border. One can only hope they made their interesting decision even more so by deciding to exit the vehicle dressed as cardboard robots. They may not be transformers, but they apparently know how to hide in plain sight!

Book Notes: Flatland

18 May

There have been few books which have been as innately challenging, yet as incredibly fascinating as Edwin Abbott’s classic novel Flatland. Part satire, part treatise on multi-dimensional perception, this book both entertains and illuminates readers to multiple complexities commonly glossed over in rudimentary geometry classes.

The premise of the book at first appears to be for jest and humor using simple mathematics as its premise. Divided into two distinct parts, the first matter-of-factly describes the physics, laws, and idiosyncracies of a two-dimensional reality. The tale is directed by a sentient square who inhabits a position of moderate power and merit within his society. Here the speaker discusses what is seen and perceived within the metaphysical bounds of his world. To be frank, it’s a real head scratcher. For starters, since they exist within a two-dimensional plane, they are forced to see everything as a single line. As Abbott skillfully describes, imagine taking a penny and looking at it directly from above. Your vision will perceive it to be a single line. Thus is how all of Flatland is seen by its inhabitants.

Not all who exist here live as perfect squares. Indeed, Abbott used a system of generational ascension to describe the multitudinous shapes which also picks fun at the rigid social movement found within the reader’s world. In Flatland, “humans” begin as simple triangles. Servants, slaves, and career soldiers occupy this class of polygon with individual types of triangles being reserved for specific sects. However, like in reality, upwards mobilization in this society is damn near impossible. In Flatland, merit does not improve one’s shape, although execrated action can degrade it. The shape can only be improved by subsequent generations. I.e., a square and his wife (we’ll get to the women in a moment) will foster a pentagon. A pentagon’s offspring will be a hexagon. Eventually, after roughly “300-400” generations, the near-innumerable angles within the figure will be close enough to resemble a circle. But escaping the burden of triangular limitations is insanely difficult. Each generation of triangle will only increase their angular proportions not their angular counts. And this increase is minimal at best; the immediate posterity of a triangle with a 30 degree angle will be a triangle with an angle of 30 degrees and 30 minutes (or 30.5 degrees). The ultimate goal being the perfect 60 degree rating of an equilateral triangle, which upon being reached finally opens the door to actual improvement.

Women are also satirized in conjunction to social mobility. In the novel, women are single lines (which are thus perceived as points). This “of course” leaves no room for any organs deemed non-vital for proper women. Amongst these includes, ironically enough, a brain. That’s right. Flatland includes women without an actual brain. Thus women are highly emotional, irrational, and stupid. Education is given to them as a means of convention and it frankly goes in one “ear” and out the other. But because of their violent nature and pointed nature, they are extremely dangerous to cross. Apparently Hell hath no fury transcends all dimensions of space. Being assaulted by a woman in Flatland is comparable to being shot by a bullet here in reality. Except that the bullet doesn’t constantly scream, rage, and murder your children. It’s almost impossible not to laugh at this scathingly bitter satire which barely tries to hide its condemnation at the discriminatory practices of society here in reality.

However, the book makes a ready transition from social commentary to a thought-provoking essay on multi-dimensional perception. Keep in mind, this book not only came out before string theory, but before relativity! Yet, some of the concepts postulated would strike anyone reading the book as well-developed and exceptionally modern.

I wish I had read this book when I was writing The Dimensional Constant; many of the concepts of appearances at differing dimensions are strikingly similar. It’s one of those moments where you realize with pride that an idea that originated between your own ears is featured prominently within a verifiably brilliant cult classic. It’s also one of those moments where you sit back and think “son of a bitch, I thought I came up with this idea!”

Ultimately, our square speaker tires to pass off the wisdom of his two-dimensional universe to a universe limited to lines and points. (Points, again, being women. It seems like no matter in which dimension you live in, if it’s before the 1920’s, ladies don’t seem like they’re able to catch a break.) The book shows the difficulty in discussing things which supersede certain realities. When a three-dimensional creature then comes to discuss the higher dimension with the square, his mind is sufficiently blown. Or, whatever passes for a mind within the rigid parameters of four points.

Ultimately, Flatland is a scathingly funny social commentary with profound intellectual content hidden in plain sight… I had to seriously defeat the urge to use say plane sight. You’re welcome.

This novel will come of great use when I’m presented with the need to avoid conventional ways to describe the contours and nuances of the physical world. Furthermore, I’m always happy to snag a book dealing primarily with perception (especially since my next novel will deal with that. But shhh. Sorry. No spoilers yet).

I would strongly insist that anyone read this book, especially someone with a strong background in geometry read the book. Or anyone who knows the difference between a square and hexagon. The language is seriously that inclusive. You may have to Wikipedia a couple of unfamiliar concepts or a bit of outdated vernacular. But ultimately, the book provides a read that was so far ahead of its time, it feels right at home within our own.

Caustic Countdown: 4/30/2012

1 May

Greetings and salutations! Welcome back from the weekend!

I have exciting news! This week begins the regular schedule of Caustic Cookies. So today (and friday too for you Anxious Annie’s) is a compilation of all of the, well- “interesting” news that happened over the last few days. My mother always told me if I had nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. However, she also told me that honesty is the best policy. So when conflict arises, caustic sarcasm comes to save the day. Save your applause please. Feel free to express your gratitude in the form of donations, gratuities, or by spreading the word.

Coming at you at number four is…

4:Vengeful Dentistry. 

You thought your dentist was bad.

In Poland, a woman was presented with a unique opportunity. As a dentist, she usually has to see a fair share of disdainful things under her terrifying equipment. It comes with the territory. But this time, she got to utilize her sharp, shiny tools on an ironically surprising subject: her ex-boyfriend.

Now, there’s a million different things she could have done. She could have given him fishing line for floss. She could have given him bubble-gum flavored fluoride instead of grape and giggled maniacaly as he squirmed under her. She could have even make him high off of nitrous and get him to slip embarrassing secrets.

Or, she can take all of his goddamn teeth out. You know, I guess that works too.

Now I know everyone has wished they had the upper hand on an ex. It probably is hidden within the genome somewhere. But it takes a special kind of person to decide to want the upper hand and lower and upper dentiles.

The woman claimed that she was going to act professionally but then spuriously decided that she was just going to go tooth fairy on the poor guy.

She is facing a malpractice investigation. And since his new girlfriend has already dumped him, it seems like he is sentenced to an indeterminate period of no romantic possibilities. At all.

3: Turtle and Importation Snare

If the Government ever grew tired of the war on drugs, they no longer need to fear.

A man was convicted recently with smuggling several rare species of reptiles to and from Japan. It is reported that he used snack food containers to hide them, obviously eliminating the need to feed the often endangered animals and instead possibly allowing diseases like salmonella to develop.

The curious reptilian nature of the case raises the question if the turtles were overlooked by customs initially due to the felon’s stealth, or if they believed they were certain mutated martial artists.

The man pled guilty to numerous counts of smuggling, insisting that he has learned his lesson and will not relapse into such devious activity.

Whether or not he intended to later important rare species of rabbit to hold nostalgic races has, as of typing, yet to be addressed.

2: Granny Danger

It’s always nice to see Florida in the news. My home state never seems to get enough attention…

Unless you count an Anthony, a Schiavo, a Zimmerman, a Duckett… All in the last decade or so.

Needless to say that there are a lot of interesting people in this state. And what happens when they breed? They have interesting children. And when they in turn breed, the first generation of zany antics gets to vicariously perform dare-devil stunts on their grandchildren.

A  granddaughter in Florida was towed behind her intoxicated grandparents “all afternoon” as police arrived onto the scene. While they do admit they were drinking, they presumably didn’t see the danger in towing a seven-year old in a plastic toy car being towed behind a huge, totally real one.

The girl was wearing no helmet was only donned in a bathing suit. Perhaps they imagined that they were part of a parade. What sort of parade, I’ll leave to your twisted imagination. After all, this was in Sarasota.

And finally, number one for the recent news is…

1: Titanic: Part Two?

No, there isn’t going to be a sequel to the almost ridiculously possible movie. (Although, so far, my girlfriend hasn’t insisted we watch it…yet.  Seeing this though will probably remind her. I’m game by the way, babe; as long as we get to discuss whether or not Rose was actually a jerk afterwards.)

But as my Brother on his Facebook mentioned: “Sometimes people just never learn.”

An arguably eccentric (read: Australian) billionaire has decided to pursue recreating the legendary vessel.

He has insisted that it will be equipped with all of the most up to date equipment to prevent sinking. Gee, where have we heard that one before?

Of course, in true grandiose style, the man has purportedly decided to have the ship follow the original- eventually lethal!- path the original ship took.

Needless to say, mother nature has been warming up for this one. Literally. Global warming has caused all of those icebergs to chip off lately, as if it anticipated being challenged for oceanic supremacy. Perhaps this announcement just fifteen days after the 100th anniversary of its sinking will bode better luck and less ultimate irony.

But my vote’s on the irony. God seems to have a funny sense of humor. Notably since I happen to share the anniversary of my birth with that of the Titanic’s doom. Can’t argue much with that post hoc logic.