Thursday, December 29, 2016

Group Conformity

When people are in the company of each other and they want to get along, they often go out of their way to show that they have something in common. This is generally a prominent part of friendly or business interactions. In order to make those interactions move along a certain way, people often find and settle on certain topics, activities, etc. that show they have some sort of common ground. They might discuss a topic that's popular and in the news, eat the same or similar foods or have the same or similar drinks, dress a certain way, use similar terminology, focus in on shared interests, tastes, views, and activities, or do a number of other things that show some sort of sameness. They ultimately conceal what they don't have in common, emphasize what they do have in common, and even feign certain interests and beliefs. And by doing so, they create some sort of sameness.

According to Brian Regan, "People will adjust what they just said based on other people's reactions to it. I've always been amazed by that. They'll just change what they just said. No matter how much you would think they would stick to what they just said. 'I think it's wrong to kill people with a machine gun.' 'Oh, I kill people with a machine gun.' 'Well, sometimes it's OK. But what I'm saying is I don't think you should kill like a lot of people with a machine gun.' 'Oh, I've killed scores of people.' 'I'm talking about the people who are always killing people. Day and night. Killing people with a machine gun. I don't think you should do that.' 'Oh, no. I don't do that.' 'Yeah--that's what I'm saying.'"

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do." This suggests that it's generally a good idea to go along with local customs and culture. A region like Rome has an established set of ideas, beliefs, practices, activities, etc.--and if we want to thrive among the people there, it often helps to "do as the Romans do."

But this phenomenon isn't exclusive to what's popular in a region. During most social interactions, people also create some sort of "common culture and customs," and then go along with that creation. In other words, when a group of five people get together, they create some sort of culture belonging to that group. And the members of that group tend to go along with that culture.

What this often does is create the illusion that people are far more similar than they really are. When we take those interactions for what they appear to be, it seems like people are very similar in many ways. After all, when they're interacting with each other, we see a great deal of similarities, and not that much in the way of differences.

But when we consider what people are at their very deepest levels, it becomes apparent that although they do in fact have many things in common, they also differ in many ways. They're not "Romans" so much as they're chameleons who appear Roman. In order to properly perceive what people are, it's important to see the chameleon root and the Roman branch. If we think that people are as similar as they seem--we might form false ideas about what people really are, and the differences between them.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Stamp Prices


Every once in a while, the post office increases stamp prices by one cent. According to post office law, if you have a stamp in the old denomination, you can't use it unless you affix an additional one cent stamp. Does the post office actually enforce that law? Let's say you send out a letter with a 46 cent stamp, even though the current rate is 47 cents. What'll the postman do when he sees that one cent shortage? You gotta think some postmen are really looking for action. So when they spot that old stamp, their heart rate triples. They take out their phone and call the police. "We got a 7-3-3 in progress! I repeat--a 7-3-3!" "Um. What exactly is a 7-3-3?" "Didn't you read the postal manual? A 7-3-3 is the most serious postal crime there is." "And what crime is that?" "Attempted one cent larceny! Someone is attempting to larcen a penny from the post office! I'm looking at the envelope right now, and I got all the evidence I need to put this guy away for life. The perpetrator's zip code is 81394. I think it's safe to assume he's armed and dangerous. I'm gonna need some backup. Send over a SWAT team!"

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Sunday Paper

Last Sunday, I was was walking home, and I came across one of those street vending machines that sell the Los Angeles Times. Now, I like to do things that make no sense--so I bought a Sunday paper for $2. But first I had to get change. To others, doing something like that is a task. But not me. I see it as an experience. An experience to relish. I'm all about that. It's my my middle name. My full name is Rodney Experience Relisher Ohebsion. So I went into a convenience store and bought a pack of cherry Bubblicious with a $50 bill. And I said, "I need all of my change in quarters, so I can make some calls on a payphone, and so I can buy the Sunday paper from a vending machine." The guy was confused. He said, "First of all, you don't need that many quarters to do those things. Second of all, this isn't the year 1997. 1997 is a more suitable year for those items on your To Do List. Third of all, you can just buy one of the newspapers in front of you that we sell at this store. We keep them in stock for our elderly customers who don't use the internet." And I told him, "No thanks. I want the experience of buying a newspaper from a vending machine for eight quarters! I'm gonna relish that experience, just like I'm relishing this experience of getting change in a convenience store. "

So I went to a machine and bought a newspaper. And not just any newspaper. The Sunday paper. On Sunday, you get the full smorgasbord. I'm all about the full smorgasbord. That's my middle name. My full name is Rodney Full Smorgasbord Ohebsion. I'm all about the Sunday paper. The newspaper company works around the clock to crank out that bad boy. They obviously don't try as hard when they're working on their Monday through Saturday papers. Especially their Wednesday paper. If you ask a newspaper reporter about Wednesday, he'll tell you, "Forget Wednesday! I don't care. I'm focused on Sunday." On Mondays through Saturdays, the newspaper is bare bones. No food section, no real estate section. You only get one page of comic strips, and one page of classified ads. And on Wednesdays, the news stories aren't even complete. On Wednesdays, they say stuff like,
"Man buys car." But they don't tell you which man, or which car. On Sunday, you get the full smorgasbord. On Sunday, they tell you, "Remember how on Wednesday, we mentioned how a man bought a car? Well. The man was Bill Gates. And the car was a Hyundai Sonata."

The craziest thing about the Sunday paper is the vast array of valuable coupons. It's amazing. Bill Gates has a net worth of $82 billion, and the Sunday paper's coupons have a net worth of $83 billion. You can just hold up your Sunday paper and say, "I'm the richest person in the world! Sort of!"

Those coupons are intense. Some of them save you so much money, that the company has to place a limit on how you use them. Right there on the coupon for $3 off of sunblock, it says, "Limit of one coupon per purchase." And then it goes on. "Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day. Any other use constitutes fraud." In other words, if you somehow get your hands on nine copies of that coupon, you can only use eight of them. According to coupon law, you can only buy eight bottles of SPF 40 sunblock. Which means if you go to the beach afterwards, you'll only have enough sunblock to cover your body 758 times. You won't have enough for that 759th coat that's recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Too much sun is gonna go int your skin. "Wow. That's some sunburn you got. How'd you get it?" "It's those damn coupon limits. Read the fine print. 'Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day.' That limit is gonna give me skin cancer."

The really bizarre thing about that coupon limit, is that it's actually imposed on a household. Not an individual. In other words, the company doesn't want you to conspire with another member of your household to bypass the limit. That why the coupon says, "Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day. Any other use constitutes fraud." It says fraud! It uses the term fraud. That's some serious terminology for a coupon. Ordinarily, when you're talking about an act that "constitutes fraud," you're referring to some guy embezzling $127 million from a hedge fund. As opposed to Charlotte and Brianna Darchinyan trying to score massive amounts of discount Banana Boat Ultra Mist. Is the Sunday paper gonna cover that story? Maybe. It'll say, "The Darchinyan sisters are at it again! Their household used nine identical coupons!"

Now let's talk about the most coupon in the world. You know which coupon I'm talking about, right? The one where if you live on the planet earth, you're very familiar with this coupon. Because every time you open your mailbox, there's one staring you right in the face. I'm talking about the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon. When was the last time you opened your mailbox, and you didn't see that blue and white mailer in your mailbox? I'll tell you when. October 22nd, 1988. Because starting on October 23rd 1988, Bed Bath & Beyond instituted a policy of sending 1000 coupons a year to every single address there is. Even if you don't have an address, you'll get the coupon. There's a guy right now handing Bed Bath & Beyond coupons to a bunch of homeless people on the street. They say, "Spare change?" And the guy gives them 20% off their next purchase of can openers. Bed Bath & Beyond coupons are the most abundant resource in this country. We're expected to run out of oil in 2085, and we're expected to run out of Bed Bath & Beyond coupons in 376,992. There are 72.9 billion of those coupons in America right now. However, most of them expire next week. Because Bed Bath & Beyond wants to get you into their store ASAP. "Hurry up and get in here, before your coupons expire! Then after you're done shopping, go home, open your mailbox, and get some more coupons. And then come to our store and use those coupons before they expire." They're training us, like we're a bunch of monkeys. We just keep on pressing down on the lever and getting more bananas and pillowcases, over and over and over again.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Your Neighbors


If you live in an apartment, you spend a lot of time trying to solve the mystery of what's going on in your neighbor's apartment. Every day, you get a new clue. On Monday, you can hear an argument, but you can't quite make out what anyone is saying. You think, "Did he say 'this company is losing money,' or 'Three's Company is really funny?' Did she say 'do you understand this alibi is awful' or 'it's your two hands that are all in my popcorn. The words 'awful' and 'popcorn' sound the same when you're listening through a wall." Another day, you see the husband walking into his apartment, and he's holding a giant tub that's labelled 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.' A week later, there are some scratching noises coming from their apartment, and you can also hear a chicken clucking. Then the next day, there's a package at their door, and the return address is from Des Moines. And that's when you come up with a unified theory. "OK. So, the margarine is what they put on the popcorn which is manufactured by their money-losing snack food company in Iowa. As for the chicken, it lays golden eggs any time it watches a funny episode of Three's Company.  Like the one where Mr. Furley throws a pie at Mr. Angelino." But then the next day, your theory is disproven when you can see inside your neighbor's apartment, and the chicken is standing there eating the margarine while watching Gilligan's Island.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sports Trivia Grandmaster

I have a friend who's one of those sports trivia grandmasters. You watch a game with him, and he starts giving you the players' biographies. The TV announcer says, "And Roethlisberger takes off, and he picks up the first down." And then my friend adds, "This is the first time in Roethlisberger's career that he's rushed for over 100 yards in one game. He usually has a 'pass first, run second' mentality--which makes sense, considering how he weighs 247 pounds and 14 ounces." What impressed me most about that statement was not my friend's thorough knowledge of Ben Roethlisberger's rushing stats. It was the fact that he knew Ben Roethlisberger's weight in pounds and ounces. I mean, when you know how many ounces someone weighs, it's usually because you gave birth to him yesterday. "OK, Mr. Henderson. Breathe in, breathe out, and give me one more push. OK. He's out. It's a quarterback. Good job. Give me a second to cut the cord. And now let me weigh him. OK. He's a little bit heavy. 247 pounds and 14 ounces." "Should I put him on diet?" "No. Just make sure he has a 'pass first, run second' mentality."

Supermarkets


Supermarkets are confusing. How come every time you walk into one, they have lots of alfalfa in stock? Who exactly is that alfalfa for? Over the course of my life, I've seen people eating Cheetos 15,000 times. And I've seen people eating alfalfa once. I was driving through Albuquerque, and there was a shirtless man in a purple cowboy hat standing at a bus stop and eating alfalfa. He's the only person in America who buys alfalfa. But for some reason, every supermarket manager in the country keeps on telling his employees, "Put in another order for alfalfa. We gotta replace the old alfalfa with some new alfalfa."

How come the shoppers in a supermarket are so protective of their shopping carts? They're always standing near them, and guarding them like maniacs. They act like everyone else is thinking, "As soon as he reaches over to grab a box of Fruit Loops, I'm gonna take his cart and head straight for the Mexican border. After all, Safeway has no jurisdiction in Tijuana."

Sometimes I shop for groceries at a small ethnic grocery store one block from my home. It's a great place--except there are a few products with misspelled words on the label. You see that a lot at those kinds of grocery stores. One time I came across a container of cinnamon--only the label spelled it "cinemon." I would love to hear the story behind that one. I guess the owner of that company was working on the label, and he thought, "Um. I'm not sure how to spell this word. Should I look it up in a dictionary? No. That's not my style. I'll just put down C-I-N-E-M-O-N. That's probably over 50% right. That's all people demand out of the food they buy. Semi-correct spelling. As evidenced by the success of products like 'Korne Flaiksss' and 'Lo Faat Millck.'"

Thursday, June 30, 2016

YouTube Comments

(Guest Post by Jerry Guldenstein)

Isn't it weird how any time a conversation takes place in the comments section of a YouTube video, the conversation eventually mentions black people and/or Jews? It doesn't matter what the video is. Any time people discuss anything on YouTube, it leads to that theme. It's amazing. You're watching a video about a guy in Arizona who makes cactus juice for a living. There's a comment that says, "Cactus juice tastes really good." Then someone else replies, "You probably also think Obama's cock tastes good. Anyone who drinks cactus juice is a Democrat, and a homosexual. Or as I like to call it, a Demohomo." Then the first guy says, "You're a homophobe and a racist. Probably because you've been brainwashed by the Zionist Jews. By the way--I fucked your mom." And you read all that and think, "What the hell does all of this have to do with cactus juice?"

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gifts

Sometimes people give you gifts that have absolutely no connection to who you are and what you like. Just out of nowhere, some guy hands you a loofah. "Merry Christmas." And you're thinking, "What the fuck does he want me to do with this?" It's like he's trying to change you into the type of person who loofahs his calves, takes bubble baths, and listens to Yanni's greatest hits. When someone gives you a gift like that, it's like he's saying, "I don't like who you are. I like people who listen to Yanni. This loofah is part of my plan to change you into the world's number one Yanni fan."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ranveer Explains the Government

(Guest Post by Ranveer Panjabari)

Here's the main thing you need to know about the government. Let's say you eat Chalupas all day, you call the President a cocksucker, and you put out a YouTube video that's titled "Fuck the Government, Fuck the President, I Like Taco Bell." What'll the government do? Nothing. They won't tell you to take your video down, and they won't tell you to eat less Taco Bell and more servings of fruits and vegetables. The government won't do anything at all. And why? Because they really don't give a shit. Now let's say you don't do the stuff I just mentioned. Let's say instead of all of that, you eat a dozen carrots a day, you save the President's life, and you owe fifteen cents in unpaid taxes. What'll the government do? Well. At 3:00, the President will thank you for saving his life. And at 3:15, Uncle Sam will choke you with an American flag, until five nickels pop right out of your ass.

What's my point? The love of money is the root of all government. The official policy of the government is "give me my money and get back to work, bitch." Are you sure Uncle Same is your Uncle? He sounds more like your pimp. At the IRS, they secretly refer to all taxpayers as ho's. They tell each other things like, "There's some ho in New York who be hiding lots of cash from us. Let's notify our Department of Open a Ho's Purse and Take That Ho's Money."

We pay taxes, and the government spends money. They don't spend it very efficiently. Or, to put it more specifically, the government wastes more money than than the Kardashian family on crack. And they put out an annual report that says, "We spent $5 trillion on the military, Social Security, welfare, health care, a lot of cheap corn, an occasional rocket to the moon, and PBS specials about llamas and Lorenzo de Medici's favorite pasta dishes." How does all of that add up to $5 trillion? I think we need to hogtie Uncle Sam, and drop him off at Walmart. Do you know how much you can get at Walmart for $5 trillion? You can run 10 Americas with that money, and have enough left over to buy 315 million Garth Brooks CDs and bald eagle sleeveless t-shirts. By the way--those are the two best selling items at Marlboro. Number three and four are beer and whiskey.

Last year, instead of sending the IRS a $10,000 check, I sent them a $10,000 Walmart gift certificate. That's the correct way to make the government spend money the right way. My Uncle Sam is Sam Walton, and not the guy who hangs out at the IRS and calls everyone a ho.

Oreos

(Guest Post by Gary Guldenstein)

Let's talk about Oreos. I have a long, storied history with them.

When I was a kid. I didn't eat Oreos. Because I'm Jewish. And in the 80s, Oreos were blatantly anti-Semitic. In other words, they contained lard. As in, pork fat.

There was, however, an alternative to Oreos. It was stocked in every supermarket. It was something that resembled an Oreo. Only it went by a much different name. It didn't have a three vowel one consonant scheme, the way an Oreo does. No. This cookie has two vowels and four consonants. And not just glamorous consonants, either. Oreo just uses a fancy, sophisticated consonant known as an R, and then calls it a day. But the Oreo alternative I'm talking about--it has an X! An X! In a snack food name! What kind of a sick fuck names a snack food, and includes an X in the name? I'll tell you what kind of a sick fuck. The sick fuck who created a cookie known as Hydrox.

Hydrox! I kid you not. That's the name of the cookie. How is that a name for a cookie? It sounds more like the name of an ointment you put on your penis after you masturbate. As in, you tell your wife, "Honey. The next time you go to Costco, buy me a gallon of Hydrox. Yeah. Because I just signed up for a subscription to a porno website, and I'm planning to do a lot of jacking off tomorrow afternoon. I'm gonna need plenty of Hydrox." And then your wife is like, "I'm not gonna walk around Costco with a cart full of post masturbation ointment! If you want Hyrdox, then go buy it yourself!"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Taxes

(Guest Post by Larry Kennifer)

I like keeping in touch with the government. You can talk to them if you want to. Just get on the phone. The government's phone number is everywhere. I mean, you won't get to talk to the President  or anyone like that. But you always get to talk to someone. The other day, I called up the White House, and I talked to some woman named Cindy about how I think the President should put a trampoline on the White House front lawn. I also asked her about the White House hot tub. I really wanted to know the process the President uses when he gets a woman in there. I mean, if you're just some bachelor with a hot tub in your house, it's pretty straightforward. But if you're the President of the United States, and the hot tub is in the White House, how does that work? If you're talking to the Queen of Canada, do you just say to her, "So, uh, how about we go to my place, and have a few drinks, and get into the hot tub, and see what happens? Let me just call my wife first, and tell her to go to a press conference or some bullshit like that."

Cindy didn't tell me that much about how the President gets the Queen of Canada into his hot tub. The White House keeps things like that confidential. The IRS, on the other hand, will talk to you about anything. They're all like, "Yeah, bro. We got a crazy hot tub over here. Last year, we found some Canadian girls who were here on spring break, and we took them to our office, and we had some Smirnoff, and then they got naked and into our hot tub! You should've been there, bro! We do all kinds of crazy stuff like that. No one parties like the IRS!" Then later, I tried to talk to the IRS about taxes--but they were all like, "Fuck taxes, bro! Let's talk more about hot tubs."

Let's talk about taxes. I think we should tax rich people 99.9% of their income. But in exchange for that, they should get to call the President at 3 am, and insult him for a few minutes. That's a good economic system. You call up the President in the middle of the night, and you tell him, "I paid $9.9 million in taxes, you motherfucker! I only took home $100,000, you fucking prick!"

Actually, I have an even better tax plan. Instead of tax laws, we should have tax recommendations. As in, a few guys come to your house, and they say, "Hi, Billy. We just dropped by to make a couple of government recommendations. Recommendation one: Eat fruits and vegetables. And recommendation two: pay us $5 million in taxes. Those are just recommendations. It's up to you, bro. You can eat fruits and vegetables, or you can eat McMuffins and Chalupas. And you can give us $5 million, or a you can give us a naked photo of your girlfriend."

As you can tell, I'm really good at coming up with tax plans. Here's one more. Have you ever heard of the FairTax? It's an income tax that's on the stuff you buy, instead of on the money you make. You just pay an extra 40% for everything you buy. I came up with an even better version of that, known as the Douchebag FairTax. It's like the FairTax--only you pay a higher rate when you buy stuff that makes you look like a douchebag. So, if you buy Corn Flakes, the tax rate is 1%. But if you buy a yacht or Axe body spray or you like Nickelback or you call people "chief," then the rate on those things is 1,000,000%.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

National Anthems

Did you know that the Japanese national anthem is, "May your reign continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations--until the pebbles grow into boulders lush with moss." That's not the title. That's the entire anthem. What was the meeting like when they were working on those lyrics? "OK. We are up to one sentence. Do you think we should say anything else about Japan?" "No! One sentence is enough! We have already made our point! To add any unnecessary material to our anthem would bring great dishonor to our ancestors!"

One national anthem I'm unwilling to listen to is the one from Greece. You want to know why? Because the full version has 158 verses. What was the meeting like for that one? Some Greek guy said, "Let's go for 158 verses. That way, when someone attempts to sing the whole thing, he'll drop dead of exhaustion five hours into it."

How did they fill up 158 verses when they wrote that song? How many different ways are there to say that Greece is a fantastic country? You don't see us running the Star Spangled Banner past verse one. As in, "O'er the land of the free / And the home of the brave / Just to reiterate / America is really freaking awesome."

The Japanese anthem is one sentence, the Greek anthem is 158 verses. What if Japan unites with Greece, and they become one country called JaGreece? They'd have a tough time settling on a unified national anthem. The Japanese people would say, "Let's focus on how JaGreece's reign will continue for eight thousand generations." And then the Greek people would respond, "Yes. That's a good idea. We'll focus on that theme for 158 verses." "Well. We were thinking something more like one sentence." "No! We want people to die trying to sing our anthem."

Speaking of death and national anthems, the country of Ukraine has a national anthem titled "Ukraine is Not Dead Yet." Interesting. Japan wants its reign to continue for eight thousand generations, until pebbles grow into mossy boulders. But apparently, Ukraine is not nearly as ambitious. What was it like when they came up with their anthem's lyrics? "OK. I came up with two versions of our our national anthem. The first one focuses on Ukraine continuing for eight thousand generations. And the second one focuses on Ukraine not being dead yet." "The second one is much better. Ukrainians are not going to appreciate Ukraine, unless they're told that the country will die very soon." Ukraine must be an interesting country. I'll bet over there, the most romantic thing you can tell someone is, "I don't hate you yet." And they honor the president by saying, "We haven't assassinated you yet."