Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Refusal To Castrate My Dog

A potential landlord just told me pets are "welcome" in her house as long as I agree to sign a letter stating that I will have George neutered after he has one litter of pups or within one year, whichever comes first. She is "doing her small part to encourage responsible pet ownership," which to her is synonymous with spaying and neutering.

I attempted to explain to her that just because I don't want to castrate my dog does not mean I intend to run a puppy mill in her backyard. She proceeded to tell me two (count em two) stories about people who - guess what - ran puppy mills in her backyard.

The first bred pit bulls and trained them to fight. I had to stifle a laugh, because have you met George?

The second buried chihuahua pups in the yard, and a toddler accidentally exhumed one of their skeletons. (This probably didn't happen, but it makes a great story with which to shame potential tenants.)

I was polite (enough) to the lady. I did not tell her what I wanted to tell her, which is: take your house and put it in your butt super hard.

This woman thinks it's within the purview of a landlord to "encourage responsible pet ownership." That's fine up to a point. You don't want a maniac dog defacing the walls, floor, and ceiling of your house, or digging mud pits in your backyard. I get it. And you don't want a puppy mill being run out of your home. I get that, too.

But having an intact animal is not synonymous with being an irresponsible breeder. Or even a breeder at all.

I would like one (count em one) of George's pups one day, sure. But the main reason I'm not getting him "fixed" is because he's not broken. I have no problem with his balls, and I don't feel the need to castrate him to prove to everybody what a fucking responsible pet owner I am.

"I love him so much I took his balls."

I can't tell you how many people - some of them strangers - have said, "You should really have him fixed." Have yourself fixed, dipshit. Who the fuck are you?

I don't walk around pointing out the genitalia of other people's animals and saying, "You shouldn't have done that." It's your fucking dog. If you want to get it fixed, get it fixed. But shut the fuck up about my dog.

It's this lady's house, and she can be as ridiculous as she wants with her criteria. But she's missing out on great tenants with a friendly, housebroken animal, all because she's been fed some alarmist bullshit about the "type of people" who don't alter their pets.

I will state this right now: unless there is some health or behavioral reason for it (and I mean a serious behavioral issue such as aggression, not something annoying but hilarious like leg humping) or unless his balls get so long and droopy they start to bang against steps and make him yelp, I am never ever ever castrating George. Ever.

Why not? Because I don't castrate the people I love, and that includes my dog. He loves his balls. If you're a dude, I bet you love your balls. I would rather have to watch him like a hawk around intact females and get barred from the more "enlightened" dog parks and restaurant patios than cut off his balls.

Dudes, I bet if you had a choice, you'd rather get to keep your balls despite never getting to have sex than be castrated.

So George is keeping his nuts, and we're not gonna be living in that lady's house.

But I do have the address. And I must confess I really feel like taping this to her front door.

These are my dog's balls.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Jack Bauer Power Hour

"24" is back on TV and because of this my life is better.

"24" is stupid. We all know this. It is preposterous, cliched, and burdened with both two-dimensional characters and a laughable plot. Every thirty seconds or so, something happens that would not and/or could not ever possibly happen on the planet earth.

And the greatest of these things that couldn't ever possibly happen is Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer is impossible in every way. Despite getting shot at every few minutes, he rarely gets hit with bullets, and when he does, it's nothing more than a momentary setback. I forget which season this happened, but once, he got stabbed in the stomach and it was never mentioned again.

But most importantly, he can get tortured literally to death, and then torture other people to death later that same day.

Torture only does three things to Jack Bauer:

1. Intensifies and perfects his steely gaze.
2. Gives attractive women new and exciting scars over which to run their admiring fingers.
3. Pisses him off.

"I got tortured in a Chinese prison and all I got was this incredible beard."

My favorite parts of "24" are the parts where Jack Bauer is on the outs with CTU (and therefore with every other government agency) because he knows the truth and no one will listen. That's why season nine is so fulfilling so far: it's Jack vs. basically the whole world. He has one person on his side, as usual, and that's Chloe.

Chloe, by the way, has gone full angst-ridden techno-warrior, replete with goth eyeliner and a "Look what I did, Mom!" haircut. Every time she comes on screen I want to sing "Bela Lugosi's Dead."

Dammit, Chloe.

Anyway. If you're interested in drinking heavily this Memorial Day weekend - and don't try pretending you're not - you can play this drinking game. I call it The Jack Bauer Power Hour, which is also my husband's apt term for "24" itself.

It's easy! All you do is take a drink every time one of these things happens. You'll be wasted before you know it.


Jack gets tortured.
Jack tortures someone.
Jack asks to speak to the President.
The President asks to speak to Jack.
Jack tells Chloe they're running out of time, or vice versa.
CTU establishes a perimeter and someone gets through it.
A beautiful woman finds herself believing in Jack.
Jack gets shot but keeps doing whatever it is he was doing.
Jack gets stabbed but keeps doing whatever it is he was doing.
Jack shoots someone.
Jack goes undercover.
Jack reminds someone that shitloads of lives are at stake.
Jack sacrifices himself for someone else.
Someone Jack loves gets killed super hard.
Someone mentions Jack's daughter and he looks really sad yet stoic.
Someone gets killed right before they were about to give Jack crucial information.
A Middle Eastern person defies negative Middle Eastern stereotypes.
Jack makes a stupid face trying not to cry.
Chloe is rude to someone.
The president makes a difficult decision.
Jack stoically refuses to speak.
Jack is placed in a holding room/cell and left there while important things happen.
Jack convinces someone to trust him right now because he's that person's only chance.
The bad guy executes one of his own people.
Jack gets arrested.
A CTU agent defies orders.
Jack commits breaking & entering.
Jack commits a felony for the greater good.
Jack lets himself get caught for the greater good.
Jack puts a gun to someone's head. Also for the greater good.

Why just sit around and drink when you can sit around and watch Jack Bauer and drink?

Also, if you're like me, you will never be 1/100th as cool as Jack Bauer, but you would still really like to look like you are. Fortunately, this exists now: a shop where you can buy stuff Jack Bauer wears on the show. You're totally welcome.

"24" airs Monday nights on FOX at 9/8 Central. So go buy something to drink (remember: "Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets." - Ron Swanson) and don't forget to play the Jack Bauer Power Hour. Make sure you follow Chronicles of Radness on Facebook, and tell me all about it when you play.

But remember to play responsibly. You don't want to end up like Nina Myers.

"I should have paced myself."

In the meantime, keep your SWAT boots laced up and the president on speed dial.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Political Rant 2014, Volume One

I haven't written about politics in a while. I've been focusing on other things. It's not that I don't notice or care what happens in the political realm. It's just that I don't let it bother me as much. I try to look at my immediate surroundings and keep my attention there. It's helping me be less weird.

The other reason I focus less and less on politics is it gets worse and worse.

Pretty much everywhere, there are fundamentally two sides: Liberty and Bullshit. The problem is Bullshit has to win somehow, and the only way they're going to win is by pretending they are the champions of the wounded poor, the trod-upon minorities, all the myriad victims of the mean, mean people who want Liberty. Despite the fact that the more Bullshit we get, the worse everything is. Bullshit is a lie, but it's a gorgeous lie. It's the reason why almost all of us believe in Bullshit until we get to a certain age and the scales fall from our eyes and we go, Oh wait. Reality.

Bullshitters can't run on the truth, so they run on Bullshit. And Bullshit always sells better than the truth. It's easier to "explain" Bullshit than the truth. It would take me at least a few hundred words to briefly explain why liberty is what we should be striving for. It would also require on the part of the reader some basic understanding of economics, history, and human nature. But the Bullshit argument is a mere haiku:

Nothing is your fault.
Republicans are just mean.
Here's some more free shit.

Please keep in mind all Democrats are Bullshit, and so are most Republicans. The people who aren't on the Bullshit side are few and far between, and everyone thinks they're mean and/or crazy. It's hard out here for a pimp [who believes in Liberty].

Anyway let me just do one big-ass rant and get the whole first half of 2014 out of the way.

Still waitin' for that justice.

1. Benghazi

Everybody knows - everybody fucking knows - if Benghazi happened under a Republican that Republican would have been more or less crucified by now. This is a "duh" statement. If you want to argue it, first you have to prove to me you can tie your shoes and count to twenty.

The Liberty side - and Republicans who pretend to be on the Liberty side when the cameras are running - are always judged more harshly by the media because the media is on the side of Bullshit. This means when Bullshit is in power the media don't do their jobs, and when Liberty is in power they are overzealous, unethical, biased, and deceptive.

When it comes to Benghazi, this administration and their puppets lied like dogs. Now they're pretty much caught, but it doesn't matter because they have no accountability. Who's gonna investigate? Eric Holder? (Pause for laughter.)

The people who shovel the Bullshit don't want to think or talk about Benghazi because it makes them look and sound incompetent, and the people who buy the Bullshit don't want to think or talk about Benghazi because they've been taught to feel deep down like maybe it's our fault as Americans that we keep making terrorists kill us.

Annoying pundit Eleanor Clift spoke for a lot of people, sadly, when she criticized the "glib" use of the word "murder" to describe what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens. She pointed out - correctly - that he died of smoke inhalation. Never mind that the smoke was from a fire started by terrorists. Does she also still think those terrorists were protesting a video? That it's our fault because we allow free speech against Muslims?

You're right, Eleanor Clift. Ambassador Stevens died of smoke inhalation. So did many of the people who died in the World Trade Center. That's like saying 9/11 victims died from a building falling on them, and ignoring the fact that the building fell after a hijacker crashed a plane into it. Which is to say: Eleanor Clift is about as sharp as a bag of wet hair.

At the center of all this mess is four murdered Americans and a Secretary of State who plainly gives less than a tenth of a fuck. Which brings me to...

2. Hillary Clinton

Most conservative talk radio hosts are at least 50% insane. One of them the other day proved my point by saying he doesn't think Hillary will run, and if she does she probably won't win. I think he's wrong on both counts. I think she will run, and I think she will probably win, because of the Bullshit Haiku. (See above.)

Hillary Clinton is ten pounds of crazy in a five pound bag. If you haven't read anything about the Clintons, I suggest you do so. I'm not gonna tell you which books to read. Do your own research, decide for yourself who's worth believing. I have become convinced in the course of my own investigation that the Clintons are perhaps the most corrupt, criminal, sociopathic couple ever to funk up the presidential sheets.

But she'll probably win. Because she has the last name Clinton, for one. Everybody loves Bill Clinton. They don't know why. They just think he's cool. "Everything was great under Clinton!" Maybe, but guess who's not responsible for that? Clinton! The 90s were better than now in virtually every way, but it's not because Bill Clinton existed. It's for lots of reasons, but that would take up two or three more blog posts.

The other reason people will vote for Hillary is her vagina. People will want to feel really good about how progressive they are for voting for a woman, the same way they wanted to feel great about voting for Barack Obama because he's a black dude. Barack Obama is a talented and clever man in many ways, but he wouldn't be president if he were white. Period.

All the stupid women - and there are so, so many - will vote for Hillary for no other reason than her lady plumbing. A bunch of stupid men will vote for her because they're stupid. The Bullshit Haiku.

3. Moms Demand Action

It's all right here.

This woman is about to be stoned to death under sharia law.
4. Women's Rights

Its failure to appropriately condemn sharia and help women around the world escape it is one of the greatest of the many great failures of modern feminism.

In the United States, when you say "women's rights," you mean, for the most part, abortion on demand and free birth control. Because women aren't truly independent until they can pay someone to suck their children out of them for any reason, and until the gub'mint forces their employers to pay for their birth control. Especially Catholic employers, because fuck those guys.

In many Muslim countries, Islamism has made women's rights a matter of survival. Women in those countries have nothing. No rights. They are chattel. They can be treated as inhumanely as their husbands and male relatives desire, and disposed of at will.

Then there's sex selective abortion, which California just failed to outlaw. Because they believe so strongly in women's rights that they believe women should be allowed to abort their baby if it's a girl. (It's a big problem among Chinese and Indian communities especially, here in the States, and many of these women are being coerced by husbands and in-laws.)

Basically, if fauxminists really cared about women, they would stop whining because they can't have abortions after 24 weeks and start speaking out about sharia and gendercide.

I would really like to know about an organization in the States that helps women who are fleeing or want to flee from situations where they are victims of sharia or similar cruelty. If you know of one, please email me.

4. Don Sterling

You know what should bother you about Don Sterling? Not that he's a racist piece of shit. There are lots of racist pieces of shit out there. There will always be racist pieces of shit, of all races and colors, everywhere.

What should bother you about Don Sterling is that nowadays, if you say something unsavory - not criminal, not a threat, just a gross opinion - in the privacy of your own home in what you believe to be a private conversation, it can be used to destroy your life. You can have property you own forcibly taken from you.

If that doesn't bother you, you are dumb.

Also: Sterling was sued for being a racist slumlord back in 2009. So how come ALL OF A SUDDEN it is BIG FUCKING NEWS that Don Sterling is a racist? OH MY GOD AN 80-YEAR-OLD WHITE GUY IS A RACIST! HOW COULD THIS BE?!

We have to keep freaking out about people being racist. Everybody's opinion is our business. Meanwhile our actual president, who actually matters, is leaving office with a report card ranging from Underwhelming to How Did You Even Fuck Things Up That Bad Without Being Satan - unlike Don "Don't Bring Blacks To My Games" Sterling, who paid $20 million for the Clippers and turned it into a $750 million team. I wouldn't mind Barack Obama being a racist - and he is a racist - if he did that shit with the country.

No one cared that Don Sterling was a philandering bigot until it became politically expedient for them to care.

It is just embarrassing to hear the quavering indignation in the voices of people who talk about how horrible it is that Don Sterling said what he said. The NBA commissioner sounded like he was going to weep at his own righteousness as he declared Don Sterling banned from ever sitting on the board, going to a game, looking at a basketball, etc.

Everybody from Oprah to Magic Johnson to the talking heads on ESPN are a-tremble with their own bravery and moral fiber for declaring Don Sterling a big mean meanie.

You know what would ACTUALLY be brave? For one of these assholes to point out one of the following things:

A. "Isn't it kind of scary that a private conversation in which you express a private opinion can lead to something you own being forcibly taken from you?"
B. "Isn't it kind of weird that everyone is super upset that Don Sterling expressed racist viewpoints, but no one cares he screws prostitutes like it's his full-time job?"
C. "Isn't it kind of wrong that Don Sterling can be universally loathed for expressing racist views against blacks, but blacks who express racist views against whites get a pass?"

Let's look at a few examples of racist black people saying racist things in public:

White folks was in the caves while we was building empires … We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it. - Al Sharpton
The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person... - Barack Obama
I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street. - Spike Lee

I could go on, but fuck.

Imagine all those quotes said by famous white people, about black people and "homos." Imagine George W. Bush referring to someone as a "typical black person." Imagine Steven Spielberg saying he gives interracial couples dirty looks. Then imagine the outrage, the uproar, the screams for blood. If Sean Hannity called somebody a homo, he'd never work again.

This is why it's hard for me to take all the racial demagoguery seriously. 

It is no longer enough for us to disagree with people whose viewpoints we find reprehensible. We have to destroy them. We have to ruin them utterly. (If you don't already know about him, google what happened to the CEO of Mozilla.)

There is now an acceptable opinion on these things and an unacceptable one. And if your view is unacceptable, you are fucked. You will be called out, denounced, and ruined. Because that is how things work in the Soviet Union.

Oh, wait, I mean modern day America.

That guy in the background? I am that guy.

5. Full Communism

No, I'm not done yet. I'm just getting warmed up. You can take a pee break if you need to. I will still be here. I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.

The "Full Communism" thing is everywhere nowadays. It's a hashtag. It's even got a sub-reddit.

I don't have much to say about this except I think it's adorable when people who have no grasp of the past attempt to design the future. Oh, wait, did I say "adorable?" I meant "fucking horrifying."

I'll never go to the gulag, comrades. You'd have to kill me first. But if you get reality's version of "Full Communism" instead of the one a unicorn crapped into your mind via The New York Times, some of you dipshits will go. Send me a motherfucking postcard.

Greetings From Sunny Siberia!
6. Hashtags

My favorite thing about hashtags is how they rescued those people from Somali pirates. Oh, and that hashtag who shot Osama bin Laden - what a hero!

Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I got confused. Those weren't hashtags, they were big scary mean men with guns! It's so easy to get them mixed up!

Look at that hashtag go!
The problem is the hashtag people (including Michelle Obama) have a great deal of contempt for the big, scary, mean, well-trained, well-armed men who actually do rescue people from bad guys. So they post a picture of themselves making a "me spilled my milky" face holding up a hashtag, and then they go back to getting pedicures and watching The View or whatever, and feel like they did something.

And when some big scary mean straight guys with big scary black guns (that should totally be outlawed!) actually rescue the poor kidnapped girls, do you think the hashtaggers will feel any shame? Do you think the thought, "Fuck me, all I did was hashtag, and those dudes risked their lives" will ever cross their minds?

No. They have no shame. They are hashtaggers. Instead they will think, "It was probably the worldwide Twitter pressure of people like me who finally got those guys off their asses."

And then they will praise whichever politician issued the order, as long as he's a Democrat. And they will never know or care who the actual heroes were, because they are too busy knowing and caring a million things that don't fucking matter.

Last but not least, they will steadfastly refuse to care that Islamism is the reason those girls were kidnapped, and the reason millions of Christians and women around the world live every day in fear for their lives and innocence. Because acknowledging that would be intolerant and probably racist.

7. John McCain

Why? Whyyyyyy?

8. Chris Christie

Seriously who fucking cares?

9. Ukraine and Russia

Whatever happens, this administration will fuck it up. I promise.

10. Taxation

Is theft.

11. Government

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Have An Inferiority Complex And I Blame The Internet

So recently I was all like, "I'm gonna be a writer! Like for realzzz."

What happened was I found this website. It's called Duotrope. It costs $5 a month so now my granny can't have that operation. But it makes submitting your writing for publication about a thousand times easier.

Submitting is hard, yo. It still kind of sucks, but it sucked way harder before Duotrope.

Before Duotrope, it went like this. Say you wrote a story. Say it's a story about a garden of potatoes who become sentient and they form factions and have a potato civil war.

So first you have to decide what genre your story is. It's fantasy, right? But what's the sub-genre? Is it magical realism? Let's say it's magical realism. (I don't really know that it is, but let's say that it is.)

So you go online and start searching for magazines and journals and e-zines and so forth that publish magical realism. (Let's not even talk about what this was like before the Internet. Ok, let's do talk about it. You had to go to the bookstore and plunk down $30 for a giant phone book-sized thing called The Writer's Market. Then you had to gather to yourself the dark tools of paper and postage: stamps, big-ass envelopes, SASEs, printer ink, standing in line at Kinko's. And let's not talk about what happened when you got confused and bound your story with a staple instead of paper clips and they sent you back a nasty letter in your SASE because you didn't follow their precious fucking guidelines.)

So anyway. You find a magazine that might buy your potato story. Let's call it Potato Stories. But then you read their submission guidelines and realize that you have to reformat the whole thing in a different font, with different spacing, and you have to add new info to the heading. They only want plain text in the body of the email. For God's sake don't send them attachments. And it can't be longer than 3,000 words or they'll call the cops.

And don't forget: you can't submit your story anywhere else while they're reading it. Their average response time, according to their website, is 60 days. (This is pretty common. In real life. Seriously.) So you wait 64 days and get a rejection. A form letter rejection.

Now you have to find another magazine. This one wants attachments, do not put anything in the body of the email for the love of Satan except your cover letter (and please for the love of Athena read some guidelines about cover letters) and make sure it's a .doc and not a .docx because if it's a .docx we'll delete it while we call you names and make a dartboard out of your story and throw darts at it all the time and laugh about how hard you suck. Ninety days later, we'll send you a form rejection.

Now imagine you're going through this process with six or seven - or more! - stories, all at the same time. That's a lot of shit to keep track of. Duotrope does it for you. I mean, you have to do the actual bullshit work of submitting. But you can look at your little submission tracker and be like, "I submitted to Corpse Dirt Review thirty-one days ago. Their average response time is 42 days. I have a few days before they reject me."

The other cool thing Duotrope does is gather data from all the writers who use Duotrope, so you can glance at a market's page and see they take 112 days on average to reply, and reject 99.2% of submissions, and be like, "Fuck that noise." Or, if you're Neil Gaiman or whoever, go ahead and submit.

Anyway I found Duotrope recently, and I decided to start submitting some of the stories I've written over the past several years. I've never really tried to get my fiction published, and I guess it's time.

So why do I have an inferiority complex? Because in researching markets for my stories, I've been glancing through their back issues and discovering this:

There are a lot of writers. Like, a lot. And they are better than me. They are all better than me.

How come when I write things it sounds like a kid wrote it? Or I wrote it for kids? Why aren't my sentences all beautiful and shit? Why don't impressive words come out of my fingers onto the screen? How come I'm a dumbass who can't write?

These are the questions I'm asking myself.

I'll be looking at a magazine online and thinking, "Hey, they might like my potato story!" (This is just an example. I didn't actually write a story about a potato civil war, although now I'm considering it.) And so I'll go to their archives and click on a random story and it will be all breathtaking. It happens every time. It never stops happening.

Just once I want to click on a story title and read

"Help me!" screamed Miranda as she jogged down the freeway, her large breasts bouncing. 
"No one is going to help you!" replied her attacker, subsequently attacking her.

I never see that. I always see the most beautiful shit. It's so frustrating. You have no idea.

Before the Internet, I had no way of knowing all those assholes were out there, writing shit and getting it put online and getting paid for it. And their bios are always like, "Priscilla Varnish-Hurdle has an MFA from Impressive University and a law degree from Columbia just for fun. She has published 4,205 stories in magazines that would impress the shit out of you if you were smart enough to know about them. She has three children who will have better lives because she is their mother. She has lots of progressive viewpoints and Amnesty International headquarters in her breakfast nook. Go to hell."

My bio says this:

Kristen Hatten has no degrees from anywhere. Once, when she was 20, she self-published a "chapbook" of her poetry, which is to say she decorated it with Microsoft clipart, printed it out thirty copies at Kinko's, bound them with staples, and handed them out for free on the street at the Deep Ellum Arts Fest in 1999. Most of the people she gave them to were Hare Krishnas, because she knew they were too nice to say no.

There is no point to this post. I'm just ranting into the void.

This is the part where I take a deep breath and say Fuck It.

(Does this.)

Okay. That's better.