Don’t tell me what to read.

funny-Jack-Nicholson-careRuth Graham over at Slate thinks it’s shameful that adults are reading fiction aimed at kids:

Against YA: Adults should be embarrassed to read children’s books.

As The Fault in Our Stars barrels into theaters this weekend virtually guaranteed to become a blockbuster, it can be hard to remember that once upon a time, an adult might have felt embarrassed to be caught reading the novel that inspired it. Not because it is bad—it isn’t—but because it was written for teenagers.

I have two words for Ms. Graham: Fuck you.

I don’t read a lot of fiction because — and this is something I’ve said many times in the past — I’m very picky about what I read and I have the bad habit of judging books by their covers. The vast majority of my personal library is composed of non-fiction books, usually of a scientific bent. There are, however, authors whose books I will buy without even asking what they’re about simply because I’ve enjoyed their work in the past. Some of them are “young adult” authors such as J.K. Rowling. I don’t care if they’re not aimed at my demographic, I only care if I’m entertained by them. It’s the same reason I often go see “kids movies” like How To Train Your Dragon or Toy Story or Kung Fu Panda even though my own kid is now 23 years old.

Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this. I know, I know: Live and let read. Far be it from me to disrupt the “everyone should just read/watch/listen to whatever they like” ethos of our era. There’s room for pleasure, escapism, juicy plots, and satisfying endings on the shelves of the serious reader. And if people are reading Eleanor & Park instead of watching Nashville or reading detective novels, so be it, I suppose. But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.

Again, fuck you. Maybe it’s a sign that I’ve never completely grown up, but I’m of the opinion that if someone is enjoying what they’re reading then we should probably be happy they’re reading at all. My wife reads all manner of vampire and werewolf stories from authors I’ve never heard of that to me all look like the same story over and over again, but she’s happy reading them. Meanwhile, I tend to buy every book Neil Gaiman puts out regardless of whether it’s aimed at kids, young adults, or adults. I don’t understand the popularity of shows like American Idol, but I’m not going to begrudge someone’s enjoyment of it. Especially when I occasionally tune in to watch a kid’s show like Adventure Time.

I’m a huge fan of Mark Twain, but I’ve never read any of his classic stories. I have read a lot of his essays and talks and magazine articles. I’m a fan of his in spite of not having read the things he’s most famous for. The other night I realized I had a book containing a collection of his stories that included Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I have no idea where I got it, probably a gift from someone who knows I’m a Mark Twain fan, but there it was and for the first time I opened it up and starting reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Interestingly enough, in the preface to the story Mark Twain had this to say:

Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.

I wonder what Ms. Graham would have to say about that? Tom Sawyer is considered a literary classic and yet Twain says he aimed it at children. Should I be embarrassed to be reading it now that I’m 46 years old? I know some who might argue I should be embarrassed that I’m haven’t read it sooner.

Perhaps I’m not very sophisticated about the entertainment I consume. If so, then so be it. I often dismiss “serious” movies because they don’t have enough explosions for me to spend the money to see them in theaters. I generally don’t give a shit which ones win “Best Movie” at the Oscars because it’s often stuff that bores me to tears. I don’t pay attention to the New York Time’s Best Seller lists. And my musical tastes are often off-kilter to what’s popular.

I’m not ashamed by any of that. I don’t see why others should be about what they’re into. And anyone who thinks I, or anyone else, is worthy of being looked down on because I’m not into the same shit they are can go fuck themselves.

OH HOLY HELL! The KNEES! The KNEES are EVERYWHERE!!!

An example of the threat to man's holiness! Just look at it! Being all sexy and shit! Who wouldn't think impure thoughts with that being shoved in their face by those wicked vixens!

An example of the threat to man’s holiness! Just look at it! Being all sexy and shit! Who wouldn’t think impure thoughts with that being shoved in their face by those wicked vixens! Where’s my fainting couch?!?

Pity poor Pastor Martyn Ballestero for he is traumatized on a regular basis. The source of his torture is the scandalous sight of naked knees at church where they tempt the menfolk from the path of righteousness.

They’re Everywhere!! | The Ballestero Blog

They never used to be seen in Pentecostal Churches, but they are now. If they were ever seen in church in the old days, an embarrassed apology was made. But not any more!

Now, they come to many church and do not mind being obvious about showing up. They seem to enjoy the attention they attract, too.

Some of the time they come to church and no one notices them when they walk in, after they finally sit down. Then it’s like, they say Boo! and get your attention. They sure know how to catch folks off guard.

Damn those sneaky knees with their seductive caps baring it all in such a wanton display of lust! And all that noise making with the constant “boo”ing that interrupts my sermons and gives me awkward boners that make the baby Jesus cry!

I remember them never being seen in church anywhere years ago. But now, they’ve evidently got religion and so they come to almost every service.

In the old days, someone would try to help them hide from if they came, and make sure they stayed out of sight, but no effort is being made anymore. They seem to enjoy being seen in church. More and more of the folks are becoming comfortable around them.

[...] It used to be a problem when they showed up anywhere, especially church. But now, they’ve even come to church with some preacher’s wives and daughters. Go figure.

Clearly the solution to this problem is to insist that people leave their knees at home! Or, better yet, people should never acquire knees in the first place. All they ever do is spread temptation everywhere they go. Oh why can’t we go back to Victorian times when knees — and women —  knew their proper place?!?

It’s good to know there are holy men out there who are standing up against the encroaching scourge of uncovered knees. Why just imagine what would happen if we let this slide? Next you know folks will be wearing shirts with sleeves that stop above the elbow! That’s just crazy!

Today’s I Feel Old Video: Kids reacting to an Apple II computer.

The Fine Bros. are at it again. Tormenting today’s youth with the technology of yesteryear. This time out they sit a bunch of them down in front of a venerable Apple II computer to see if they can make heads or tails of it:

I can’t blame the kids for not appreciating the Apple II. It was a pain in the ass compared to the Commodore 64, but I admit to having some bias in that regard. I’m pretty sure they’d have had just as hard a time figuring out a C64. Especially if they had to use a tape drive instead of a floppy drive, but at least the games would’ve been a lot better. And in color!

Sometimes a little role reversal can be enlightening.

Comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding has put together a little video titled “If Gay Guys Said the Shit Straight People Say…” that does an excellent job of putting the shoe on the other foot.

The sad part is, I’ve heard actual people say these actual things to actual gay people. I’ve also had some of them said to me online when I’ve called people out for using bigoted language in voice chat. In particular the line about “I don’t mean gay as in homophobic, but as in stupid” line.

OK, one more time: Do NOT point your laser pointers at aircraft.

 

Pic of Charlie Brown.

I’m right there with you on that one, Chuck.

Man admits he pointed green laser beam into airplane cockpit at PBIA – Sun Sentinel

Michael Ryan Fischer, 26, of Wellington, pleaded guilty to a federal charge and admitted that he intentionally aimed the beam of the laser pointer into an AirTran flight shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2012. He also pointed the laser into a sheriff’s office helicopter that was sent to investigate the incident, according to court records.

This jackhole is getting off easy as the prosecutor is recommending a punishment that doesn’t involve jail time. He could’ve been facing five years in a federal prison.

It’s a felony to do this. You could blind the pilots and cause a crash and then you would be facing even more serious charges. You wouldn’t randomly shoot a gun into an aircraft cockpit (I hope) so why do you think there’s no harm in doing the same thing with a freakin’ laser?

The next time you think to yourself, “Gee, I wonder what would happen if I shined this laser into the cockpit of that passing aircraft?” Do everyone a favor and take that laser and shove it up your ass where it’s less likely to do any real harm to anyone. Better yet, if you don’t think you can resist the impulse of shining lasers at random passing vehicles then don’t even buy one. Surely there are better things you can spend your time and money on that don’t carry the risk of landing you in federal prison because you happen to be a dumbass.

The great house search of 2014 has come to an end.

And not because we actually found a house to buy. Rather we called it off for health reasons.

Anne’s been suffering from a chronically sore back for some time now and our doctor had her go get an MRI done to figure out if it was muscular, spinal, or neurological in nature. Turns out it was muscular and the solution, as always, is to lose weight. Given that’s something we’ve both been working at for awhile, our doctor suggested we consider some form of bariatric surgery for Anne. Our health insurance has a $3,000 deductible so it made sense that we’d have to use some of the money we originally planned to use as a downpayment on a home to cover the deductible so we called our Realtor and let him know. Mike was great about understanding our decision and if you ever need a patient and hard-working Realtor in Michigan then you should look him up.

We started looking into the various forms of bariatric surgery available only to discover that our insurance doesn’t cover weight loss surgery of any kind. So now we go from having to cover a $3,000 deductible to having the cover the whole cost, which can average between $20,000 and $35,000. Hoo boy. I think it’s safe to say I will not be buying a home anytime in the next several years, but I’d much rather continue to rent and have a healthy and happy wife than a miserable one and a home that we can’t take care of because we’re not healthy. Apparently some of the clinics that specialize in this surgery have financing available and we’re looking into how many arms and legs that’ll take to acquire.

Why yes, yes I am.

Why yes, yes I am.

As for me, I’ve given up on trying to use the elliptical machine we bought and I’m going to try plain old walking for 30 minutes at a time now that the weather is getting better. I’m thinking I will try to sell the elliptical and maybe put the money towards a treadmill (for use in the winter or on rainy days) as that’s something Anne and I should both be able to use of a little more easily. We spent about $1,000 on the elliptical and it’s been lightly used enough that I think I could get maybe $750 for it. Anne and I recently upgraded our smartphones to Nexus 5 devices so I may try reinstalling one of the healthy eating/exercise apps I had tried to make use of previously and give that another go. At the moment I’m still hovering between 290 and 300 pounds and I’d really like to drop below the 290 mark sometime soon. My back hurts occasionally and my legs are sore more often than not so I need to find the motivation to make this a habit soon.

Lastly, our old queen mattress set is getting pretty long in the tooth and I’m sure some of our back issues are a result of it being worn out so we’ve been looking into spending a little of the money on a new king mattress and maybe a simple Ikea foundation to put it on. More specifically, I’m heavily considering ordering a Casper mattress as everything I’ve heard about it is pretty good. They make one model of mattress and it’s a combination of memory foam and latex foam. They fold it up into a box small enough to fit into a car and the price seems reasonable enough at $950 for a king with free shipping in the U.S.. Of course, as soon as I started looking into this new startup (they only came on the market back in April) I discovered a similar company called Tuft & Needle offering a similar product for an even better price. So clearly I have some more research to do, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with one of these two companies over the traditional route of visiting a local mattress store. If any of you out there have experience with either one then I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

So anyway, that’s what we’ve been up to lately and why I won’t be joining the ranks of home owners for a bit longer.

According to the Levi’s Jeans CEO, you should never wash your jeans.

I’m a big fan of jeans. They compose nearly 90% of my wardrobe. I’m lucky enough to get to wear them to work. I’ve been wearing them for as long as I can remember.

And I’ve apparently been caring for them in entirely the wrong way…

Huh. I will often wear the same pair of jeans for a couple days in a row if it’s the weekend, but considering the amount of crap I end up getting on them regularly (e.g. food, dirt, awesomesauce, etc.) I’m not sure it’s a good idea for me to go more than a few days without tossing them in the washing machine. That said, I do seem to wear the right knee out pretty quickly as of late for reasons I cannot begin to fathom.

According to some folks at Levi’s you should just toss them in the freezer one a month to freshen them up. The official website says you should wash them infrequently and when you do wash them you should put in a lot more effort than most Americans (and this is certainly true for myself) are probably willing to commit to.

I’m not sure if I can go the never-wash-them-but-freeze-them-occasionally route anytime soon, but it’s good to know I could probably go a few days before I toss them into the washing machine.

Hey, it’s Friday!

Nothing particularly special about today other than it’s been a long week for me and I’m glad the weekend is here. Plus, Mother’s Day this Sunday. Seems good enough reason to share this:

CalvinHobbes

No idea who made it, but it’s awesome. Makes me wish Bill Watterson would permit a Calvin & Hobbes animated special. Even better, wish he’d write one. Fridays are for dreaming, right?