Wednesday, September 29, 2010

13 Superstitions...

Now you'll know a little background on why we do the silly things we do!

1. Don't Walk Under a Ladder: After researching this superstition for a year at the British Library in London, Oliver says the belief's most-cited origin points to "a ladder forming a triangle with the wall and the ground, suggesting the Holy Trinity." Apparently, walking through that triangle would show disrespect to the Trinity and therefore bring bad luck. Another possible (and much simpler) origin: Where there's a ladder, there's usually someone working on top and walking underneath could lead to all sorts of cartoonish accidents, like a hammer falling on someone's head.

2. Black Cats Bring Bad Luck: Oliver says black cats are notoriously linked to witchcraft, which is why some people think they're unlucky. However, there are two sides to this one. Allegedly, if a cat crosses your path it's considered unlucky, but if a cat walks toward you, it's a good omen. Should the first scenario happen, though, Oliver says the "only way to avert the back luck is to spit."

3. Never Light Three Cigarettes With the Same Match: This superstition originated in military circles and dates back to those long nights in the trenches during World War I. "If three soldiers smoked at once, enemy snipers would easily detect them," says Oliver. "If they used the same match to light all three cigarettes, snipers would notice the match burning after the first one and would have enough time to load guns, aim and fire at the unlucky third smoker."

4. Carrots Are Good for Your Eyesight: Though some studies have shown that the vitamin A in carrots is good for the eyes, the vegetable alone isn't enough to spark 20/20 vision. Oliver says this old wives' tale -- or smart attempt by parents to get their children to eat their veggies -- originated as a myth during World War II. "That's when British pilots where rumored to be eating enormous amounts of carrots to see from high altitudes and in the dark. The rumor was widely spread to throw the public off from the fact that radar had been invented and was being used against the enemy," he says.

5. Cross Your Fingers: If you look hard enough, you can see this superstition has religious roots. Oliver says that crossing your fingers is a type of holy protection because the two overlapping fingers form a "slanted cross." This "good luck" ritual varies around the globe -- in Switzerland, people fold their thumbs in and wrap their other fingers around them instead of the standard index-and-middle-finger combination.

6. Don't Open an Umbrella in The House: The origins of this belief are simple -- what's designed for the outdoors should remain outside. While today's version of the old umbrella superstition is said to simply bring "bad luck," Oliver says there used to be a much darker cloud hanging over the belief in ancient times. "In earlier versions, opening an umbrella inside was an omen of death," he explains.

7. Always Have Something in the Oven: This old Jewish superstition could be considered "family friendly." Supposedly, leaving an oven empty will cause one's family to go hungry in the future. To avoid famine, it's enough to leave a baking sheet or a pan in the oven at all times as a precaution. "This belief is linked to ancient rituals in which food was left for household gods in order to ensure protection of the family," Oliver explains.

8. Wear Underwear Inside Out: When having a bad day, superstition suggests that turning your underwear inside out can make it all better. Oliver isn't quite sure where this odd belief came from, but we wouldn't be surprised if originated on a wild college campus somewhere, perhaps during a post-party "walk of shame."

9. Kiss a Mustachioed Man, End Up a Spinster: There are more superstitions revolving around marriage than we can count, and that includes "kissing a dark-skinned man at a wedding." If a woman does this, she'll supposedly get a marriage proposal shortly thereafter. But watch who you're smooching, ladies. If a woman kisses a man with a mustache and finds a stray hair on her lip after, she's destined to be a spinster.

10. Don't Praise Babies in China: If you're in China and you come across an adorable newborn baby, do not under any circumstances compliment the little one. In China, it's considered "unlucky" to praise babies because it "attracts the attention of ghosts and demons." Instead, Oliver says it's customary to "talk badly about babies" to keep evil entities away. Rather than getting upset, parents are told to convert those insults into praise quietly in their heads.

11. Don't Chew Gum at Night in Turkey: Even if your breath stinks, popping in a stick of gum after dinner in Turkey is a bad idea. "It's thought that if you're chewing gum at night in Turkey, you're actually chewing the flesh of the dead," says Oliver. Gross.

12. Lucky Four-Leaf Clovers: Because of how scarce four-leaf clovers really are, just finding one in a field is lucky in and of itself. Oliver says the rare leaf represents everything one could possibly desire in life: "wealth, fame, love and health."

Unlucky 13. The number 13 -- and Friday the 13th -- are considered unfortunate in many places, and the reasons go back to the Bible. Remember, Jesus had 13 disciples until one of them -- Judas -- betrayed him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Rule...

Great excerpt from Bill Maher (


New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified
New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It's so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being "rich", or what tax rate is "too much." But I've done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.

And let's be clear: that's 3.6% only on income above 250 grand -- your first 250, that's still on the house. Now, this week we got some horrible news: that one in seven Americans are now living below the poverty line. But I want to point you to an American who is truly suffering: Ben Stein. You know Ben Stein, the guy who got rich because when he talks it sounds so boring it's actually funny. He had a game show on Comedy Central, does eye drop commercials, doesn't believe in evolution? Yeah, that asshole. I kid Ben -- so, the other day Ben wrote an article about his struggle. His struggle as a wealthy person facing the prospect of a slightly higher marginal tax rate. Specifically, Ben said that when he was finished paying taxes and his agents, he was left with only 35 cents for every dollar he earned. Which is shocking, Ben Stein has an agent? I didn't know Broadway Danny Rose was still working.

Ben whines in his article about how he's worked for every dollar he has -- if by work you mean saying the word "Bueller" in a movie 25 years ago. Which doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just that at a time when people in America are desperate and you're raking in the bucks promoting some sleazy Free Credit Score dot-com... maybe you shouldn't be asking us for sympathy. Instead, you should be down on your knees thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that you were lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.

And you're welcome to come on the show anytime.

Now I can hear you out there saying, "Come on Bill, don't be so hard on Ben Stein, he does a lot of voiceover work, and that's hard work." Ok, it's true, Ben is hardly the only rich person these days crying like a baby who's fallen off his bouncy seat. Last week Mayor Bloomberg of New York complained that all his wealthy friends are very upset with mean ol' President Poopy-Pants: He said they all say the same thing: "I knew I was going to have to pay more taxes. But I didn't expect to be vilified." Poor billionaires -- they just can't catch a break.

First off, far from being vilified, we bailed you out -- you mean we were supposed to give you all that money and kiss your ass, too? That's Hollywood you're thinking of. FDR, he knew how to vilify; this guy, not so much. And second, you should have been vilified -- because you're the vill-ains! I'm sure a lot of you are very nice people. And I'm sure a lot of you are jerks. In other words, you're people. But you are the villains. Who do you think outsourced all the jobs, destroyed the unions, and replaced workers with desperate immigrants and teenagers in China. Joe the Plumber?

And right now, while we run trillion dollar deficits, Republicans are holding America hostage to the cause of preserving the Bush tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest 1% of people, many of them dead. They say that we need to keep taxes on the rich low because they're the job creators. They're not. They're much more likely to save money through mergers and outsourcing and cheap immigrant labor, and pass the unemployment along to you.

Americans think rich people must be brilliant; no -- just ruthless. Meg Whitman is running for Governor out here, and her claim to fame is, she started e-Bay. Yes, Meg tapped into the Zeitgeist, the zeitgeist being the desperate need of millions of Americans to scrape a few dollars together by selling the useless crap in their garage. What is e-Bay but a big cyber lawn sale that you can visit without putting your clothes on?

Another of my favorites, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said, "I don't know where they're going to get all this money, because we're running out of rich people in this country." Actually, we have more billionaires here in the U.S. than all the other countries in the top ten combined, and their wealth grew 27% in the last year. Did yours? Truth is, there are only two things that the United States is not running out of: Rich people and bullshit. Here's the truth: When you raise taxes slightly on the wealthy, it obviously doesn't destroy the economy -- we know this, because we just did it -- remember the '90's? It wasn't that long ago. You were probably listening to grunge music, or dabbling in witchcraft. Clinton moved the top marginal rate from 36 to 39% -- and far from tanking, the economy did so well he had time to get his dick washed.

Even 39% isn't high by historical standards. Under Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 91%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. Obama just wants to kick it back to 39 -- just three more points for the very rich. Not back to 91, or 70. Three points. And they go insane. Steve Forbes said that Obama, quote "believes from his inner core that people... above a certain income have more than they should have and that many probably have gotten it from ill-gotten ways." Which they have. Steve Forbes, of course, came by his fortune honestly: he inherited it from his gay egg-collecting, Elizabeth Taylor fag-hagging father, who inherited it from his father. Of course then they moan about the inheritance tax, how the government took 55% percent when Daddy died -- which means you still got 45% for doing nothing more than starting out life as your father's pecker-snot.

We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.

Monday, September 27, 2010

oh airline industry, how you don't ever make sense!

Recently I took a little trip and while I was on the plane, I was served a complementary beverage in this little glass. I was also given this napkin.  Now, as I was sitting drinking my free water (water should be free regardless, right?), I got to thinking...

How much money do you think US Airways could save in a year by not having custom molded plastic cups and custom printed napkins?  I'm serious here people! Give me an answer!

Maybe they could stop charging for your 1st checked bag if this stuff was eliminated?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

hate is a strong word...

you know what i dislike very greatly... mouth breathers!  no, i'm not saying i hate humans and to be my friend you have to breathe out of gills.  you know what i'm talking about, the people that are sitting next to you that are working on something and they temporarily forget that they have a nose to breathe out of.  "huuuuuuuhhhhhh huuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh".  i mean come on, you aren't 5 anymore, you don't need all of your body's energy to go to concentrating on cutting that star shape out of construction paper!! believe it or not people, you can multi task! like, i don't know, swallowing and walking?  i don't think this is too much to ask, we are all adults here.

maybe this is a little harsh, but can we just come to a compromise that you will try to breathe out of your nose every once in a while so i don't feel like the grim reaper is behind me and breathing down my neck?  thats all i ask. i'll try not to chew like a horse at lunch. k, thanks!