Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Beg-a-thons Suck 

As I'm typing this, I'm listening to the only thing my town has that's even close to a good rock station...93.5 "The Buzz". Today, however, instead of hearing the same few songs by Rush and Ozzy Osbourne, they're having a cancer drive. "Fuck Cancer in the Ass", or something like that. I mean why should I remember the dumbass name they've given it?

Here's how it goes...the DJ (who takes remarkably loud breaths while he's talking) says:

"We're here in the center court of Bonita Lakes Mall, and we've got chairs set up everywhere -GASP!- where you can sit and watch us as we try to beat cancer. I mean, lots of people have cancer, and I know I'm a high risk for cancer -GASP!- and right now we're raising for FIVE KIDS who have cancer. That's five little children who might not have a chance otherwise to live, -GASP!-and you'll be giving them a chance to fulfill their dreams. All kids should have dreams, whether it's getting their first car, going to high school, going to college, having kids of their own, and you'll be helping to -GASP!- fulfill these dreams. And we're SO CLOSE, if you could just donate some of your money to the American Cancer Society, -GASP!- just to show you care. Even if you say that you don't have enough money now, anything helps. -GASP!- Five dollars -GASP!. Five dollars is all you have to give. If five people give five dollars, that's 25 dollars. Think of how much that could help. -GASP!- And I know that you think that cancer is one of those things that just doesn't effect Mississippi, but we have 33,000 deaths a year from cancer, most of those caused by secondhand smoke. If you could just stop smoking, -GASP!- that could cut back most of those 33,000 a year. Do your part."

Okay, just listening to this ass-slave is irritating enough, but look at that last part. The majority of those 33,000 a year is caused by secondhand smoke? Even though not one legitimate scientific study has ever linked secondhand smoke and cancer? That's the majority of a 33,000 a year cancer death rate in a state that has a population of just over two million people. I guess the people doing those scientific studies should come here. Or maybe the "Fuck Cancer in the Ass" people should get their facts straight.

But it's not over. Oh no. Next comes the personal testimonial of some bitch who sounds like she speaks entirely through her nose with the biggest redneck accent I've ever heard in my life.

"I just wannuh thayank the Ammurcan Cainser So-sie-tee fer givin' me a chaince. Now mah cainser is in remission, and I'll get to go ta church on Sundie."

Shut up. Just shut the fuck up. Please.

I may sound like a prick for saying it, but I am a prick, so I'll say it: I don't care. That's right, I don't give a damn. I don't care about little children with cancer, I don't care about that redneck trollop with her goofy-ass accent, I don't care about that DJ with asthma, and I don't care about the American Cancer Society. I just want to hear music. That's what the radio is for. Music.

Yes, I realize cancer kills a lot of people. But a cure for cancer has eluded doctors for hundreds of years. What exactly does the ACS do? What exactly does that money go to? They aren't doing anything useful, they just say "donate so you'll feel better about yourself". I don't know what makes the ACS think they can magically find a cure cancer just by taking over the only decent radio station in town begging for money from underpaid blue-collars who are tuning in just to HEAR ROCK MUSIC. That's all. Play some of it. It doesn't even have to be real rock, I mean at least play Creed or Nickelback or something if you can't play anything good. Anything would be better than what I'm hearing.

But all isn't lost...I just changed the station to my local "last hope" station (better known as a "hit music" station - pop crap), and they're having the Flashback Lunch. The first song I hear is "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco. I guess if I can't hear any decent rock music, I can settle for cheesy '80s pop. Maybe it'll take my mind of that goofy beg-a-thon.

So rock me, Amadeus.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I Saw James Brolin at Wendy's! 

Tuesday, March 9. Noon. 65 degrees and clear. At the Sears in Bonita Lakes Mall, in Meridian, Mississippi, I had an amazing experience. I saw Emilio Estevez. That's right. Emilio fucking Estevez.

The consummate "actor's actor", starring in such classic pieces of cinema such as Maximum Overdrive, Freejack, and the incomparable St. Elmo's Fire, was in Sears looking at Craftsman riding mowers. Here's the man who, with his tour de force performance in Repo Man single-handedly shaped me into the nutty, maladjusted chap I am today. Then he spoke to the woman next to him, and out came booming, deep southern voice.


Waitaminute. Emilio Estevez doesn't have a booming voice or a southern accent. Damn. He was a clone.

Everyone at some point has seen a celebrity clone. They're a staple of American life. Picture this, you're walking around in the park and suddenly....THERE! Patrick Duffy! Patrick Duffy of "Step by Step" fame is there, jogging with a German Shepherd and talking into his cell-phone about getting breast implants.

You leave the park and go into Toys 'R Us to buy whatever replica or toy adults are buying now as "collectibles", and lo and behold, there's Bruce Boxleitner buying a Bob Crane action figure, complete with miniature camera tripod and complementary cheap hooker.

You drive away from the store in a daze, but you can't escape the celebrity clones. There, next to you at the first red light you come to is Kevin Dillon, driving a '96 Mazda 626 and pumping DMX's Best Shit over his sound system at 180 decibels.

But it's still not over. Oh no. When you get home, you find out that your new next door neighbor is Tom Atkins. As you pull in your driveway, he smiles and gives a wave while we waters his lawn wearing plaid shorts, white shoes, and a yellow polo shirt...you know, one of those that has the little alligator on them.

You go inside and, feeling peckish, you decide to order a pizza. You laugh the celebrity look-alike thing off as foolishness, wondering why you didn't get food while you were out. You call in the pizza, and in 29 minutes (it's free if it's more than 30, which it never is - they plan that shit) you hear the doorbell. You run to the front door, and HARK! In a red T-shirt and a white baseball cap, holding a "Stay Hot" pizza pouch is none other than Christian Slater. He tells you your total and you manage to completely resist cracking any jokes about Kuffs, but the one that slips out about Gleaming the Cube seems to slip completely over his head.

You grab a slice of pizza, sit down heavily on the couch and turn on some early primetime TV. The first face you see on the television program prompts you to cock your head to one side and say quietly to yourself:

"Who the hell is that?"

Such is the curse.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Riceboys and Their Rice, Part 2: The Myths and Cliches 

In the second part of my two-part ricer rant, I'm going to focus on a few of the cliches and technical myths that riceboys will invariably bring up in an argument. The fact that all of them sound and act alike only serves to make them funnier.

1. You're jealous.

Our example riceboy has put so much money and effort into making his car look "tight" that he just can't believe that someone wouldn't like it. After all, he's extroverted to the max and his self-esteem depends on how much everyone else like his "tight ride". So somehow we must be attacking his car out of jealousy....which makes NO SENSE. I'm jealous of vintage Ferrari owners, but you don't hear me saying "Damn, that 275 GTB is the ugliest thing I've ever seen". It's common sense, really: If someone says he doesn't like a car, chances are he actually doesn't like it.

2. Imports are better than your stupid domestics.

There are the ones who say this, and then there are those really precious fucks who call them "dumb-estics". Aren't they clever?

First of all, rice has nothing to do with imports. Riceboys think that all Japanese car tuners have their same sense (read: lack) of style, when in fact most of the import-tuning fans hate ricers too. This stupidity of this statement is sometimes compounded when the riceboy in question is driving a domestic car, such as a Neon or Cavalier. Apparently "import" now means "anything that doesn't have a V8 engine". Also, the statement is overgeneralized. Park a AMC Javelin 401 next to a Daihatsu Rocky, and most car enthusiasts will prefer the domestic car. Park a Mazda FD RX-7 next to a Chevrolet Chevette, and they'll be drooling over the import.

3. Imports make more horsepower per liter.

Still on the import kick. In fact, no matter how many times you point out that you aren't anti-import, riceboys can never get it through their heads. I guess logic is beyond them.

Apparently the the "horsepower per liter" argument has a purpose, but hell if I can figure out what it is. The basis for it is that Japanese cars like the Honda S2000 make 240 horsepower out of a 2.2 liter engine, whereas American cars like the Ford Mustang make 260 horsepower out of a much larger 4.6 liter engine. I suppose the tools think that this is a statement on how efficient the Honda is, but it isn't. There are NO advantages to making more horsepower out of a smaller displacement engine. In fact, all it guarantees is that the engine will make much less torque than a larger engine with the same horsepower rating. It also ultimately gives the engine less tuning potential, and once it is tuned it becomes highly strung, with an difficult-to-control powerband, poor reliability, and awful gas mileage (since the engine is working towards its upper limits).

4. Imports are higher tech than muscle cars.

Riceboys love to play on the tech-savvy image of their generation, so they pretend their cars have a technical advantage. I mean, like, they have microchips and stuff in them!

It's often amusing to ask what is high tech about import cars, because they can never tell you. They might try to tell you turbochargers are high-tech (they've been around nearly as long as internal combustion engines have), that overhead camshafts are high-tech (first used in 1898, and actually predate the "low-tech" overhead valve engines that traditional muscle cars use), or that multiple valves and variable timing are high tech (both of them were commonly used by high-end cars in the 1920s and 1930s). The truth is, apart from some advantages if fuel-management and electronics, cars of today aren't more high-tech than some of their older counterparts...and that's operating off the assumption that all muscle cars are old. To riceboys, late model Camaros don't exist.

5. You're gay!

If you argue with a riceboy you automatically become a homosexual. Doesn't make any sense, but that's the way the riceboy mind works. I guess it's supposed to be insulting, but to me it comes off as sounding something like "You Republican!" or "You Environmentalist!". On a side note, it's fun to pretend you're gay and play along with this.

6. American cars don't handle well.

Ricers really dislike American cars for some reason. And this is another one that has no basis in reality. American cars, like all types of cars, are mixed. Some don't handle well, others do. The Boss 302 Mustang was considered to be one of the best-handling cars in the world in 1970, and the Corvette Z06 is considered to be one of the best-handling cars in the world today. In fact, America has always produced performance cars that had either competitive or class-leading handling.

7. I have this and that, and you're just poor.

An extension of the jealousy argument. Not to mention proof that riceboys are cankers on the chapped lip of humanity. I honestly can't understand this mentality: "I'm better than you because I'm rich". To make it worse, they are often no richer than middle-class. After all, if they had money they wouldn't be driving used economy cars.

8. You're an old man.

Riceboys always jump on the generation bandwagon at some point. This is based on the assumption that people who love classic cars (like the muscle cars riceboys hate so much) are only the people who grew up with them. Well, lo and behold, I'm a member of Generation Y, and I love classic cars. That includes muscle cars.

If this generational argument is true, I can't wait to see what happens once riceboys reach middle age. But I still think rice is a product of it's times, coming from a lack of good performance cars (now used cars) from the late 1970s-early 1990s. Now that cars are regaining their performance so long ago lost, hopefully the fad will go the way of the 1970s custom van...fade out after about ten years, never to be heard from again.

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