Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yesterday, in our local paper, someone wrote in to complain about the Nativity Scene on our Market Square, which is owned by the city. He wondered it the city would allow a Buddha to be displayed, or statues of other gods. Naturally, this has created quite a stink with the locals here in Jesusistan.

Here's what I wrote to the editor. I have withheld the original writer's name.

I have an idea to get different religious scenes up on Marketplatz. Right now, Big Business makes 90% of their profits worshipping Jesus by making us give everyone a present in the hopes that someone will get us a laptop and an iPod (hint, hint); we gorge on rich, fatty foods for a solid month, thus enriching our physicians later in the New Year; and Texas Hill Country towns light up, luring in the tourists hoping they will leave piles of cash as a memento of their visit.

Obviously, there's a lot of money to be made in the Chri$tma$ $ea$on (But not on Christmas, the day Jesus was born. Everyone has stopped counting the money they've raked in or inventoring the gifts they've received long enough to go to church.) If we can convince Big Business that they'll make fistfuls of cash on a new holiday, they start running ads on TV tomorrow. Look at Kwanzaa! Look at Easter, you know, the holiday where the bunny that clucks like a chicken leaves hard boiled eggs and candy in our yard? (Where's "The Reason for the Season" folks then?) Look at St. Valentine's Day, sponsored by DeBeer's and chocolate companies. Look at St. Patrick's Day, where we celebrate a Christian saint by drinking ourselves into a stupor. Folks are making a lot of money on these religious days.

So, I suggest Odin's Day. It has four things going for it: 1) It's Germanic, and would fit in with the German heritage of the city! 2) We already honor Odin (or Woden) by naming Hump Day after him. We can call the new holiday "Odin's Day," or "Woden's Day," or be lazy and just call it Wednesday. (The paper is already behind us. They publish on Wednesday!) 3) Odin's son was Thor, and the day after Woden's day is Thor's Day, or Thursday. Think of it as Zweite Weinachten or boxing Day. Ka-ching! And 4) Woden's Day comes around every week. There's no need to take the decorations down. They can stay up all year Thing of the labor savings!

Personally, I like the idea of a weekly Odin's Day bonus to fatten my wallet. I won't have to wait 51 weeks for it.

Happy Woden's Day, everyone! Put the iPod in my mailbox.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's amazing the way the mind works. When I started thinking about this post, I was only going to complain about the morals of contemporary society as it applies to gas prices, and no I don't mean corporate morality. (Like hamburger steak and military intelligence (with a tip of the hat to Gallagher)and honest politician, that's an oxymoron!) I'm talking about having to pre-pay at gas pumps.

When gas was less than a dime a gallon, there were no convenience stores, there were service stations. You pulled up to the pump, a guy in a khaki uniform and wearing a tie would dispense your gas, check your tire pressure, and clean your windshield. When gas hit a buck a gallon, those last few holdouts folded shop. All places that sold gas were self serve. (When I was 20, I had to teach my mother how to use a self-serve pump.) You would pump your gas, then go inside to pay. (There was actually a station in Fredericksburg that paid a guy to stand beside the self-serve pumps and collect money so you didn't have to go inside.)

In the 90s, I worked as a cigarette sales rep in Austin. Gas prices had spiked at $1.29 a gallon. One afternoon, I was training a part time couponer in a convenience store on East Oltorf Drive in Austin. I had worked in a convenience store. I knew some of the concerns.

While super-hot Karen put coupons on the generic cigarettes on the left side of the counter, I did my thing behind the counter. I noticed the manager look out the window as a guy in a beat up Toyota started filling up. I could tell as his spine got straighter that he knew something was up. I slipped from behind the counter, sidled up to super-hot Karen and said softly, "Keep out of his way."

Sure enough, as the manager edged closer to the door, the guy at the pump kept glancing nervously at the store. Suddenly, he put the pump back in the cradle, jumped into his car and drove off. As the car door was closing the manager was out the door and running across the lot to the pump. The guy drove off and I saw the manager watching the car.

"Just stay where you are," I said to super-hot Karen as the manager came back into the store, his lips moving a mile a minute. The manager quickly jotted down the license number he had been repeating to himself and called the police. Later, after super-hot Karen asked my how I knew to keep out of the way, I said, "Because I knew the guy was gonna drive off."

"You're so smart," super-hot Karen breathed to me. I blushed, and remembered how she had turned me down for a date a couple of weeks before. "Just make sure you keep out of the way of the manager in emergencies," I said.

Now that gas is at $2.19 a gallon, we gotta pay in advance. There are stickers on the pump warning that if you don't pay for gas you could lose your license. There's an armed guard at the each pump and, I'm certain, a sniper on the roof.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lou Grant

A recent study from UCLA has revealed that, Yes, Virginia, there really is media bias.

This comes as a surprise to folks who learn further left than the media: granola-eatin' tree-huggin' devil worshippers. Everyone else has crossed their arms and is nodding, elbowing each other, and muttering, "See? Told ya."

The best part of the story is this paragraph:

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Credit card companies (who pushed through bankruptcy "reform" laws earlier this year) are experiencing record bankruptcy filings.


Instead of being able to light cigars with $100 bills, the credit card companies are facing reduced profits for the year. People expect bankruptcy filings to spike, then settle back to normal levels.


Oops. I just checked the minimum payment due on my cards.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Virginia Representative Jo Ann Davis (R) has examined the issue of babies being barred from flights by the no-fly list because their name is similar to a terrorists, and decided to do nothing. Nope. Instead, she is introducing a resolution calling for the House to respect the symbols and traditions of Christmas.

No doubt, there will be a law passed requiring everyone to respect the symbols and traditions of Christmas. That means non-Christians will have to buy Christmas Trees, spend two months' pay to buy gifts for everyone they've met, and sing carols. I expressed this sentiment to one of my co-workers, who said, "This is America!"

If you don't believe in Christmas, you'd best start accepting it. They're coming to get you.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

I've got this song in my head.

It's always Christmastime for Visa
An American Exression of good cheer
The payments that we're making
Are the gifts that keep on taking
And leaves us buried deeper every year!

I ran across the song "It's always Christmastime for Visa" in an email from Consumers Union. Here it is in its entirity. Make sure all your friends get this!

Hi there! Here's a link to an animation made in Texas with music from the Austin Lounge Lizards. I thought you would enjoy it. It's about the ways credit card companies suck our wallets dry -- with something we can do about it. Everyone should see this one before whipping out the plastic for holiday shopping!

Copy and paste this address into your browser to see the animation: After you watch it, you can take action to stop abusive credit card practices and empower consumers to manage their finances and reduce debt burdens. Please show your support for S. 499 (the "Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act") and H.R. 3492 (the "Consumer Credit Card Protection Act") and tell your readers, too. While the nation's spending is at its holiday peak, I hope you will help us get the word out about and help us build the support these bills need to move in 2006.

Feel free to email me at if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Amanda Frayer
Assistant Web Editor
Consumers Union