The Vault

The Party Boy

A man called in about his son's expulsion from the local school district. Dad wanted son to be reinstated at once. It was imperative because the young lad's cheerleading career hung in the balance. The new school didn't recognize the son's brilliant cheering abilities. It was the kid's senior year; his time to shine.

Man: He's really a good kid. All he did was a dance called the "Party Boy". Some teacher got all bent out of shape about it and told on him.
Me: What's the "Party Boy"?
Man: It's from a movie called Hot Rod.

I decided to watch this dance on YouTube while the man gave me some other details.

Me: So your son was doing a dance that consisted of him thrusting his groin repeatedly at someone or something?
Man: Well yeah. But he was just kidding around. That teacher has no sense of humor! I can't believe she can't take a joke.
Me: Wait a second. He did this in front of a female teacher?
Man: Well, yeah.
Me: Is this conduct considered acceptable by the school?
Man: They said he violated the Code of Conduct.
Me: Was there a hearing?
Man: Yeah. It didn't go well.
Me: If there is another school district that is willing to take your son in, the old district doesn't have to take him back.
Man: That's not fair!
Me: "slamming head repeatedly against desk"

Unfair Accusations

A woman called in about the police unfairly targeting her son. The son's phone was found near the scene of an arson; he was currently sitting in jail.

Woman: They're always accusing him of stuff!
Me: Like what?
Woman: Oh you know: robbery, attempted murder, burglary, drug possession with intent to distribute.

This wasn't the main issue though.

Woman: Is it legal for the police to look at my son's text messages?
Me: If they have probable cause to believe that the phone was used in furtherance of a crime, then yes.
Woman: That should be illegal! They're trying to get him on drug charges because someone sent him a text asking if he could get them some weed.
Me: They're allowed to do that.
Woman: That's so unfair!
Me: "fashioning rope into a noose"

There's Only One Motel In Odessa, TX

This woman went to Odessa, TX and booked a three night stay at a budget motel. The premises were apparently so unsafe that she was forced to stay inside her room for the majority of the day. When she did go out once a day for ice, she had to be escorted by a member of the hotel staff. Of course, she wanted the hotel to compensate her for "pain and suffering". Naturally, some questions arose.

Me: Why didn't you go to another motel?

Woman: Well, I had a reservation for three nights.

Me: There are other motels in Odessa. It's not a small town.

Woman: But I was so scared! I suffered a lot of emotional pain.

Me: You could have gone elsewhere.

Woman: Really? I thought you couldn't do that if you had a reservation.

Me: "facepalm"

My heritage, pt. 3

I was once screamed at by a woman outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium for not being proud of my Latino heritage.

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Bluffing

I used to go to a fair amount of grad student parties. As one can imagine, there were quite a few people who were incapable of admitting they didn't know something you brought up in discussion. Whenever I went to one of these parties, I would find out what departments' students were in attendance. I then picked a field with as little intersection with the fields of the people at the party (i.e. math at an English department mixer). After a few drinks, I would sidle up to the most pompous looking person there and start talking about a theory I made up about my supposed field. The theory's name was composed of two ethnically different names, an adjective and a noun. Like in this game. An example is the Pyrush-Subramaniam Theory of Bovine Defenestration. I would then talk about it at length, without going too overboard. The object was to see if the pompous person would admit to not knowing about the theory. If they challenged the authenticity of my "theory", I would obfuscate by bringing up "papers" that were important to the current scholarship on the subject. There was only one occasion when someone actually said that they had no idea what I was talking about.
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Thoughts on Romney

Anyone who is moronic enough to vote for Romney is not going to be swayed by logic or reason. With the Confederate Party's (GOP's) voter suppression efforts, low turnout among the young and educated, and churches that tell their congregations who to vote for, it is very possible that Romney will win this election. If he doesn't, then another 4 years of race baiting and anti-intellectualism will skid the way for the USA to become what the Confederate Party wants it to become: Iran.

So, we have 4 years to fight back against the lunacy or scout out another country to move to. Because if things keep going this way, we will soon be praying to Ayatollah James Dobson and this nation will be the Puritan dreamworld the Confederates envision in the wettest of their dreams.

Punjabi

You should not sing the chorus to the Punjabi song "Mera Long Gawacha" in a predominantly black neighborhood.

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Fair and Lovely

I was in Bangladesh back in 2006. I am much lighter skinned than most of the people in that country. While I was there, my 20 year old cousins had several friends over for a birthday party. While we were talking, I let slip that I used 3-4 tubes of Fair and Lovely every day and had done so for the past 10 years. Thus, I had much lighter skin. All of the girls ooh'ed and aah'ed, delighted to see someone they knew who had gotten such great results using such a product. I'm sure they would have bought all of the Fair and Lovely in the country had I not told them it was all a joke.
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Law School Gunners

In my law school class, there were many people who were smart and well-liked and also spoke up in class. There were also people who talked for the sake of hearing their own voice, belittled others openly, and were generally hated by all except other gunners. Some examples of "gunner" behavior": In my Federal income tax class, there was one gunner who delighted in coming up with increasingly convoluted hypotheticals to try and stump the prof. There were a group of gunners on law review whose pre exam routine was telling each other (rather loudly) that they were smarter and better than everyone else in class and that there was no reason to worry about getting a bad grade. In my Con Law class, some of the Federalist Society douchebags would debate the prof on cases like Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education, where the holdings went against their personal beliefs. One of the TA's in my first year legal writing class had attracted the attentions of a gunner. In a move I'm sure he found charming, he would corner her and then grill her about upper level classes he was thinking of taking. It got so bad that a few of us felt compelled to rescue her whenever we saw this happening. She always effusively thanked whoever got her away. Finally, at my school, there's a special part of graduation where the graduates of every school walk the campus to the football stadium. The valedictorian of each class held a flag denoting which school they were representing. Everyone usually cheers for their flag bearer. Our flag bearer was so hated and so obnoxious that only his own family cheered him when he was announced as the law school's flag bearer. To this day, I do not feel bad about this. So, it takes more than simple smarts and engagement with the material. You have to possess a sociopathic malice and disdain for your fellow students while maintaining an unjustifiably high level of self regard.

Accepted

Watched 'Accepted' last night. The movie reminded me that I need to buy hobo stab insurance.

Hate the game

With one exchange, my self-identity has been thrown into doubt:

Steve: Hate the game, not the player... Me: You can be a player. I'm more like a coach or an owner. Steve: As such, you represent the game, and are worthy of hate.

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Rise of the Stupid

The stupid have been able to rise in the GOP because of the ease of communication today.

Back in say, the 1970s, I imagine that everyone knew one or two people who was angry about society and stupid. But, the fact that these people were stupid and/or lazy precluded them from commiserating with each other because of the barriers to communication. Stupid people are not articulate, and thus wouldn't be the types to converse with each other by letter. Finding the local KKK chapter or others like themselves took some time and effort.

Enter the Internet.

In the beginning of the Internet age, it was still tough for the stupid to use it to communicate, since the equipment was hard to use and often expensive. Next comes the web browser. The stupid are now able to check out websites and other porn. But the barrier to communicate is still high, since content creation required some HTML know how or at least a familiarity with Usenet.

Finally, blogs come on to the scene. The stupid are now able to at least write rambling, incoherent nonsense on sites like Xanga and Blogspot. Even though the stupid are not terribly good at writing, the ability to see each others' writings in cyberspace emboldens them. There are others like them. They no longer have to endure the ridicule of their intellectual betters. It is easy now to surround themselves with each other, while maintaining that they're not stupid, but persecuted. Enter YouTube and the barrier to entry is completely removed. Now anyone with a flip cam can upload their idiotic thoughts and have others like them say, "Hey, that's totally right! Climate change is bogus! Obama is a Muslim! I knew it!"

The Reagan-era operatives see these people and think to themselves, "If only we could mobilize these people." They create Fox News. They help raise the Tea Party. But then, in an unanticipated turn, the stupid take over. They decide that their agendas of extreme social conservatism, hatred of success and wealth, and anti-science are right, by God! They are unhappy that their time in the limelight might end soon, just as the getting got good. So that is why we have Santorum emerging as a serious candidate. That's why we have elected officials trying to pass "state rape" laws to prevent abortion. A drubbing of these people's candidate will allow the Republican establishment to flush out these pests.

While they'll never go away, the stupid can and will be relegated to the margins again. Even though I am a moderate Republican, I hope that Santorum gets the nomination. When he is smacked down, the stupid can go back to a life of deserved ridicule. It's the only hope people like me have at this point.

Happy New Year!

As a youth in Saudi Arabia, I once collaborated with two classmates and made a dot matrix ASCII drawing that said "Happy New Year". After hanging it up, we basked in the admiration of our fellow students. Our religion teacher then ripped it off the wall and into pieces. We were then harangued for close to 30 minutes about our un-Islamic conduct.

Since then, I have been unable to wish anyone a Gregorian calendar Happy New Year without hyperventilating and wetting myself a little.

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Interest

The one thing my parents taught me was exactly how interest works. So, when I got to college in the late 90's, I avoided the credit card company tables like the plague. My friends and dorm mates snapped up the hats, t-shirts, and knick knacks along with the credit cards they were subsidized by. One night, I'm sitting in my friend's room and notice that he has a new CD changer. On top of that, he's ordering pizza for the third straight night. We came from similar economic backgrounds and I was skint, so I asked him how he was making all this dough. "Oh man, I just charge it, and then pay $20 on it each month." I began to tell him that he was only paying interest, and if he's only making $20 payments, he'll be paying that card off until he's 30. His face suddenly fell, kind of like when a dog figures out that the steak you've just made isn't for him. This guy, along with my some of my other pals, had to take on a second job and cut way back on everything to help pay down that stereo and all that pizza. I was still broke, but at least the money I made went to my bank account and Playstation games.
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Mr. Belvedere

When Mr. Belvedere first started airing in Saudi Arabia, it enthralled me. (Note: I was 8 at the time.) Here's this English dude who seems like he did alright for himself in England. He moves to America and is no better than a common servant. Plus, he knew the Royal Family, corresponded with British officials, and seemed to possess things that only a rich person could afford. It made me think that America was a place where any immigrant would be forced to live in servant quarters and serve his new American master. Which was significant because the next year, my dad announced we were moving to the USA. Also, didn't he own a Faberge egg?
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Ascertaining The Effect Of The “G Thang” On Skill Level In Hip Hop

(Author’s note: I am stealing an idea from Sean Keane and expanding upon it. I am assuming his mantle as a distinguished scholar in hip hop theory, philosophy, and technique. My first lesson will go to a time before Mr. Keane’s seminal essay and analyze “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” by Dr. Dre and featuring Snoop Dogg.)

The song in question is a tale of mutual loyalty and general badassery. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg not only illuminate the listener as to their individual and combined strengths, but also pass on individual life lessons that young listeners can apply to their own lives, lest they get burnt.

Snoop Doggy Dogg, in only his second official foray into released recording, begins the proceedings. We are tipped off to the potential lethality of an alliance between Compton and Long Beach. Worse for all aspiring challengers to their throne, Dr. Dre and Snoop are paragons representing the danger and menace emanating from their respective hometown. As a result, they are loc’d out to the point of insanity. This is a good tactic, as it establishes a potential alibi based on insanity for any actions that may injure, maim, or kill their opponents in the future. Snoop, foreshadowing his future role as “The Doggfather” and “King of the Motherfuckin’ West Coast (Baby)”, urges the listener to be wary of engaging in sexual relations with an unchaste woman without proper contraception. Such carelessness can result in the sucka getting burnt, as a bitch who would engage in such risky sexual behaviors will have no qualms infecting her lovers with various STD’s that may weaken an otherwise healthy and strong man. Not to be putting a damper on the entire arena of sexual relations between gangsta and ho, it is acceptable to take a small piece of some that funky stuff if the earlier suggested precautions are in place.

The second verse, as a sign of his elder status, is bestowed upon Dr. Dre. Having recently escaped the villainy and absolute control exercised by Jerry Heller upon Dr. Dre and his NWA cohorts (please listen to Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” for more information), Dre is eager to pass on the lessons that enabled him to earn a doctorate in the rap game. From the beginning of the song, the listener may have experienced an uneasiness, a newness that cannot be explained or described by human speech. Dre explains that this is all a function of his ability to rap and control the maestro, in an understated display of his supreme status in rap. This advanced technique has the ability to make the listener feel as if he or she is under the influence of “The Chronic”, a particularly potent strain of marijuana originating in Dre and Snoop’s home state of California. Any alarm one may encounter should be taken in stride, as an inability to do so will render the lessons Dre and Snoop moot and unintelligible. While this has no effect on Dre and Snoop, as they have already mastered the subject matter, they are showing an uncommonly magnanimous nature in urging the listener to learn and better himself so that he may deign to attempt an approach to their seemingly unreachable skill level.

Not one to become complacent and rest on his laurels, Snoop follows and augments the Doctor’s lessons. Snoop, perhaps feeling that the listener has digested the earlier lessons and is ready to take a further step in her development, describes various things that enable him to approach Dr. Dre’s level without the formal study undertaken by the Doctor. Some necessary ingredients include a hellafied gangsta lean, getting funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens, showing much flex when it’s time to wreck a mic, and pimping ho’s and possessing weapons like 1970’s blaxploitation icon Dolemite. While the exact nature of combining these elements to become an analog of Snoop is kept secret, their mere revelation may shave decades off the studies the next generation will have to engage in. Unlike the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs, who left no hints as to how they created their architectural marvels, Dre and Snoop leave a record that can be studied by future generations in an attempt to duplicate their accomplishments. At long last, the listener is ready for some muthafuckin’ G shit. Ostensibly feeling the pride a mama bird must feel when her chicks leave the nest and take their first steps into the cold world, Dre and Snoop both agree that the listener is ready to receive a piece of their wisdom, undistilled and raw. This is the only way that their wisdom can be received. Watering it down would be akin to reading a Bible translated into text speak rather than one written in the original Hebrew.

At this point in the proceedings, the listener may be thinking, “It’s not hard, what Dre and Snoop are up to. I can do this too!” Oh, the folly in such thinking. Dr. Dre did not receive his doctorate through an inferior institution like the University of Phoenix. He attended the School of Hard Knox, where only the strongest survive and complete the rigorous curriculum. As a result, Dr. Dre’s mic skills can make challengers crumble in the way a properly made Pecan Sandie or chocolate chip cookie yields to firm pressure. One should be wary of ignoring these entreaties and challenging Dr. Dre, as Snoop will aid him in destroying any fakers, haters, punks and perpetrators. One should take utmost care in not allowing the Doctor to slip. Allowing this slippage may force Dre’s hand in using his cache of firearms to protect his status and honor. Further, Dr. Dre is operating at a level so far above that of the normal person that he can project the illusion that he never rests. To attempt to pierce this illusion will have deadly consequences. It is therefore not advisable to ever challenge Dr. Dre. The listener may increase his skill level, but never far enough to mount a serious challenge to Dr. Dre.

Finally, the customary pledge of allegiance is made to Dre and Snoop’s respective hometowns of Compton and Long Beach. In a twist, however, the duo emphasize the catastrophic consequences this pairing of ferocious California municipalities will have on the rap game. This is a shift from the usual technique of MC’s from different areas engaging in one upmanship when describing the danger and sinister consequences faced by outsiders venturing to their hometown. It ultimately has the desired effect in chilling any potential challenge to the reputation for murder and mayhem possessed by either Compton or Long Beach. This technique also has the additional benefit of discouraging field trips to either locale, as such a decision is likely to result in death and dismemberment for any suckas who dare to attempt it. The economic benefits for this warning cannot be understated, as it prevents a deluge of claims against insurance companies that would threaten a destabilization of this nation’s already fragile economy.

At the time this song was made, one could have dismissed it as mere hubris. After all, Snoop was an eighteen year old, who had somehow already served four years in the county jail with hardened criminals and thrived in that environment. He had no professional accomplishments to speak of at that point. Dr. Dre, having just completed his residency with NWA, was making his initial foray into solo practice. The years have shown that this early song was a harbinger of the colossal accomplishments each man is credited with. Even more impressive, this initial pairing had the desired result of propelling both Snoop and Dr. Dre into the forefront of the hip hop community. They were rewarded for their early hard work and experienced massive success, as a graduate of Harvard may experience in the area of commerce. Few have sustained the high levels of achievement Dr. Dre and Snoop have sustained in the nineteen years since this song was released.

Until next time, keep it real.

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A Union Story

A pal of mine is an attorney, and was doing a deposition related to a mesothelioma case in Illinois.

He asked the witness how long he worked each day. The guy replied, “You want to know how long I worked, or how long I clocked in?” My friend asked him to explain.

“Well, I’d clock in at 8am, then go have some coffee and read the paper,” he said. “After doing that, it was time for lunch, so we’d all go to a bar and have a few drinks. I came back around 2pm and checked to make sure my machine was working OK. Then I went home and took a nap. I came back at 4.30 to clock out.”

“So how long did you actually work on a normal day?” my friend asked. “About 40-45 minutes,” the witness replied.

And people wonder why all the manufacturing jobs are going to Asia and Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kareem making his feelings clear

NCS Pearson

I spent a couple of weeks at one of NCS Pearson's grading warehouses back in 2001. When I got there, it was just as was described in the article: I had a one day orientation and then was given sample essays to grade to see that I could follow the rubric. Once in the grading center, we were told that at minimum, we needed to grade 8 packets of tests. Each packet had 18-25 essays, give or take. For the first couple of days, I really bore down and read through each essay and tried to justify my grade. I was consistently off on my grades. So, I decided to judge the tests based solely on the first sentence, the last sentence, and how many paragraphs were in between. Voila! My eight packets were usually done before lunch, and commendations were being handed to me for my speed and accuracy. Most days, I sat around with a packet after lunch and took the whole afternoon to grade it while I wrote out outlines for short stories on a notepad. On the day I decided to see how many packets I could get done if I applied myself, I got through twenty two of them.
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Baron Davis Alley Oop Reaction

Baron Davis's reaction to this dunk always gets me amped up.

Bullied At Work

Last night, I was being bullied by my co-workers into bringing treats today. I know it was bullying because I watch Oprah and she knows what she's talking about.

So, I go to Munchers, and ask them for 2 dozen mini cinnamon rolls in a box and then 6 in a paper bag. I walked into the office belligerently holding the paper bag, telling people that their treats are here. I got death stares, looks of confusion and hurt, and outright rage. 

Once I felt that the blood pressure of my co-workers had risen an acceptable amount, I went to my car and got the box. Looks of relief and phrases such as, "I was trying to figure out how I was going to screw you over" flowed in abundance. 

We had mini cinnamon rolls, but also a lesson: Don't bully Muneer.

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Canadian Disappointment

I have a name similar to the attorney who represented Omar Khadr.

One day, I got a call from a Canadian journalist. He started asking me about this case, as I thought, "Wow, must be a slow news day up North." As he continued our interview, it dawned on me that this man actually thought I was Khadr's attorney.

I began to laugh and told him that he had the wrong guy. He sounded disappointed, in that chipper but slightly downbeat Canadian way, and bit me farewell. I hope his career has progressed since then.

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The Dinner Party

[Friend]: We'll bring something nice to eat. I'm not sure what, though. Any suggestions?

Muneer: I believe you should bring king prawns simmered in butter and curry powder.

[Friend]: But [Other Friend] and [Other Friend] are vegetarians!

Muneer: True, so you should also bring naan for their lentil curry and my prawns.

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Dick Cheney Having Fun

This picture is so very unsettling.

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Darkness

I don't understand why white people love tanning. Being dark never did us any good.

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Panda Smuggling

This week’s post concerns a plan I’ve had in my mind for quite a while. It’s a bit unorthodox, but I am convinced that if I can pull it off, I will be rich and notorious beyond my wildest dreams.

With the advent of democracy throughout the world, there has been increased attention paid to public works. Part of these public works are zoos. As most people know, the more animals a zoo has, the better. The panda has long been a subject of fascination in the U.S. I remember back in the day when the major networks’ nightly newscasts had a panda sex watch for the two pandas in the DC Zoo at the time. I later learned from my pal Chiangstein that the reason these pandas didn’t do the nasty was because the wily Chinese government gave the silly Americans an old male panda and a young female panda. Think Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Entrapment”. Yeah, I wouldn’t have done it either.

This is where I come in. I propose to outfit a truck as a portable panda habitat. I would spirit pandas away from their homes in southern China, smuggle them into Laos, and then sell them to the highest bidder among the world’s zoos. I’ve already accounted for the fact that I will need panda handlers, a translator, and some seed capital for bribing guards and outfitting the truck.

My girlfriend claims that this is the most foolhardy plan I’ve had since I thought of teaching monkeys how to be jewel thieves (detecting a pattern here?). Anyways, she claims I’ll get raped by the 400 lb. pandas well before getting to Laos. I say she should be happy that I am trying to get us financially secure for the future. What can I say? I’m a dreamer.

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