The stupid. It hurts.

Ah, Facebook. As much as I enjoy using it there are definitely times when it’s more trouble than it’s worth. ‘Tis the season, it would seem, for passive-aggressive “post this as your status” updates. A case in point:




Note that it’s not grammatically correct, and it’s written in all caps, for FUCK SAKE. This was posted by one of my more embarrassing red-neck American relatives, and true to form, it sparked off a comment war. I know I should have just left it alone but I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut when someone posted, ” If people don’t like it ,they should move to a different country!!”

*sigh* How boringly predictable.

My step-father, who happens to be the older brother of the person who posted the astonishingly ignorant update, posted the following:

That is a big problem with many here in the US, people forget that we have the right not to conform, to choose, now some people think that if u don’t like something you should leave! Sounds like someone doesn’t understand the Constitution Or the bill of rights. As for the one nation under god, that was added in the 50,s during the McCarthy era, a terrible time for the country. The country was founded on freedom of religion which means also freedom from religion. So of you need to lighten up & learn the law & be a bit more accepting.

Hear hear. I added the following two cents:

Personally, I don’t think it’s right to insist that children recite a symbolic oath of allegiance every single day. Just about everyone I’ve told about this over here has been absolutely horrified. They thought the United States was supposed to be beacon of freedom, and yet its children are made to recite these words over and over like little automatons without understanding what they are saying.

It smells very strongly of totalitarianism. So does insisting that anyone who disagrees with you should leave the country. In the United States we don’t oppress or deport people who don’t share our personal beliefs. Maybe in other countries they do that but America and Americans are better than that, right?

Of course I realise that my eloquently-worded comment will fall on deaf ears, but I meant every word of it. This got me thinking about the Pledge of Allegiance in general and I did a little bit of research. My step-dad is correct in that the “under God” part was added in 1950s as part of Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist campaign. He wanted to make sure that those godless dirty red scum understood that We the People are God-Fearing Americans.

Anyway, it turns out that the original pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist. That’s right. The Pledge of Allegiance, recited millions of times by millions of American school children was written by a Socialist. Oh bless.

I wonder what those jingoistically patriotic if-you’re-not-with-us-your-against-us Americans would have to say about that…

WOTD: intelligence quotient (IQ)

Today’s word is a number. More accurately it’s the score determined by one’s performance on a series of standarized tests designed to assess intelligence. The higher one’s IQ the more intelligent one is considered to be, at least according to the tests. Whether or not the IQ scale is an accurate or useful way of measuring actual intelligence is certainly debatable. There are many factors that make up intelligence and IQ tests assess only some of these.

Interestingly, the words idiot, imbecile, and moron were once associated with the IQ scale and were used by psychologists to describe those whom they considered to be “feeble-minded” or mentally retarded to varying degrees. The word “moron” for example, used to be the clinical term for someone who was “mildly-retarded,” and had an IQ of between 50 and 70.

Furthermore, the word “moron” is also strongly associated with the American Eugenics movement. Eugenics is the belief that certain characteristics can be intensified through “selective breeding.” Hypothetically, if a musically-proficient man and a musically-proficient woman have a child, then this child will be according to eugenics, a musical genius. However, it was also believed that certain negative characteristics could be eliminated using often draconian methods. People determined to be “morons” were discouraged from having children to prevent the creation of further morons. In some extreme cases, these “morons” were forcibly sterilised.

The Eugenics movement is a dark time in our history and the ideas and theories associated with it are now considered to be extraordinarily flawed, not to mention highly immoral. Thus, words like “moron” are no longer used by psychologists to describe people of low intelligence. Instead we use words like “dull.” Although, ironically the word “moron” actually means “dull” in Ancient Greek.

The modern IQ scale looks something like this:

Over 140 – Genius or almost genius
120 – 140 – Very superior intelligence
110 – 119 – Superior intelligence
90 – 109 – Average or normal intelligence
80 – 89 – Dullness
70 – 79 – Borderline deficiency in intelligence
Under 70 – Feeble-mindedness

On a final note, someone who possesses a high IQ and multiple university degrees can still be stupid. The following is an exchange between a doctor testifying as a witness in a court case, and the lawyer questioning him. Keep in mind that in order to become a lawyer one must study for many years, and then one must pass a very difficult exam.


  • Lawyer: “Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?”
  • Witness: “No.”
  • Lawyer: “Did you check for blood pressure?”
  • Witness: “No.”
  • Lawyer: “Did you check for breathing?”
  • Witness: “No.”
  • Lawyer: “So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?”
  • Witness: “No.”
  • Lawyer: “How can you be so sure, Doctor?”
  • Witness: “Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.”
  • Lawyer: “But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?”
  • Witness: “Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.”

WOTD: bureaucracy

Unfortunately, today’s word is something that has become a fact of life for most of us living in the modern world. defines bureaucracy as, “government by many bureaus, administrators, and petty officials.” Hehehe…I love how they used the word “petty” in their definition.

Additionally, bureaucracy can be associated with all large organisations and not just with government. Thus it is further defined as,  “administration characterized by excessive red tape.”

Ahh…red tape. That’s a colloquial synyonym for bureaucracy and is defined as, “excessive formality and routine required before official action can be taken.” Much of this red tape is manifested in the form of letters from large organisations such as insurance companies or banks. Since so many must be sent out daily, such letters are automatically generated and sent out by computer. At no time are these letters seen by human eyes. This must be the case, otherwise why would dead people continue to receive letter after letter despite frequent and repeated attempts to inform the sender that the recipient of their letters is in fact deceased?

The following exchange is a classic example. It’s a bit long but definitely worth reading to the very end:

My father died on Jan 02, 1995. He left no forwarding address.

Therefore, it fell to me to collect his mail. I didn’t expect much really, since my sisters and I had been careful to notify his bank, insurance agent and a host of other businesses that one of their customers was no more. You would think a death notice would cut down on the amount of correspondence from those firms. Quite the contrary. Instead — for months, mind you — my deceased father continued to receive mail from companies that had been told of his passing but pressed on, determined to contact him anyway. The first to hope for a reply from beyond the grave was my father’s bank.

Dear Mr. Hanson,

Our records indicate payment is due for overdraft protection on your checking account. Efforts to contact you have proven unsuccessful. Therefore, we are automatically withdrawing your monthly $28.00 service charge from you account. Please adjust your records accordingly.


The Phoenix Branch

Dear Phoenix Branch,

This is to notify you once again that Mr. Hanson died Jan 02, 1995. It is therefore unlikely he will be overdrawing his account. Please close his account, and adjust your books accordingly.


Scott Hanson

Later that same week, I receive this note from Dad’s insurance company. Again, this is a firm that had been told in no uncertain terms of his death.

Dear Mr. Hanson, It’s time to renew your auto insurance policy! To continue your coverage, you must send $54.17 to this office immediately. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your policy, and interruption of your coverage.


Your Insurance Agent

Dear Insurance Agent, This is to remind you that Mr. Hanson has been dead since January. As such, the odds he’ll be involved in a collision are quite minimal. Please cancel the policy, and adjust your books accordingly.


Scott Hanson.

The next day, I went to my mailbox to find this:

Dear Mr. Hanson, Let me introduce myself. I am a psychic reader, and it is very important that you contact me immediately. I sense that you are about to enter a time of unprecedented financial prosperity. Please call the enclosed 900 number immediately, so I can tell you how best to take full advantage of the opportunities that are coming your way.


Your Psychic Reader

Dear Psychic Reader, My father regrets he will be unable to call you 900 number. As a psychic reader, I’m sure you already know my father is dead, and had been for more than three weeks when you mailed your letter to him. I sense my father would be more than happy to take you up on your offer of a psychic reading, should you care to meet with him personally.


Scott Hanson

P.S. Should you be in contact with my father in the future, please ask him if he’d like to renew his car insurance.

A few months of calm passed, and then these arrived:

Dear Mr. Hanson, Our records indicate a balance of $112 has accrued for overdraft protection on your checking account. Efforts to contact you have proven unsuccessful. Please pay the minimum amount due, or contact this office to make other arrangements. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving all of your future borrowing needs.


Your Bank’s San Diego District Office

Dear San Diego District Office, I am writing to you for the third time now to tell you my father died in January. Since then, the number of checks he’s written has dropped dramatically. Being dead, he has no plans to use his overdraft protection or pay even the minimum amount due for a service he no longer needs. As for future borrowing needs, well, don’t hold your breath.


Scott Hanson

Dear Mr. Hanson, Records show you owe a balance of $54.17 to your insurance agent. Efforts to contact you have proven unsuccessful. Therefore, the matter has been turned over to us for collection. Please remit the amount of $54.17 to our office or we will be forced to take legal action to collect the debt.


Your Insurance Agent’s Collection Agency

Dear Collection Agency, I told your client. Now I’m telling you. Dad’s dead. He doesn’t need insurance. He’s dead. Dead, dead, dead. I doubt even your lawyers can change that. Please adjust your books accordingly.


Scott Hanson

A few more months, and:

Dear Mr. Hanson, Our records show an unpaid balance of $224 has accrued for overdraft protection on your checking account. Our efforts to contact you have proven unsuccessful. Please remit the amount in full to this office, or the matter will be turned over to a collection agency. Such action will adversely affect your credit history.


Your Bank’s Los Angeles Regional Office

Dear Los Angeles Regional Office, I am writing for the fourth time to the fourth person at the fourth address to tell your bank that my father passed away in January. Since that time, I’ve watched with a mixture of amazement and amusement as your bank continues to transact business with him. Now, you are even threatening his credit history. It should come as no surprise that you have received little response from my deceased father. It should also be small news that his credit history is of minor importance to him now. For the fourth and final time, please adjust your books accordingly.


Scott Hanson

Dear Mr. Hanson, This is your final notice of payment due to your insurance agent. If our firm does not receive payment of $54.17, we will commence legal action on the matter. Please contact us at once.


Your Insurance Agent’s Collection Agency

Dear Insurance Agent’s Collection Agency, You may contact my father via the enclosed 900 number.


Scott Hanson

It has now been a couple of months since I’ve heard from these firms. Either the people writing these letters finally believe my father is Dead, or they themselves have died and are now receiving similar correspondence. Actually, there has been a lesson in these letters. Any one of them would be cause for great worry, if sent to a living person. The dead are immune from corporate bullying. There’s nothing like dying to put business correspondence in its proper perspective. Perhaps that’s the best reason not to fear death. There’s no post office there.

Until next time…

WOTD: grace

Here’s a little blast from the past. Well, from 2009 anyway. This was my first original Project Mayhem post ever. And what do you know? It’s a word of the day post. Enjoy!

Elusive Grace

When the word Grace was revealed to me after I lifted up my finger from the dictionary page, my first impulse was to choose a different word. This word is too complicated, I thought. It has several meanings and uses, not to mention religious connotations.

Then I thought, why not? Grace is a very positive attribute. It is defined as: “seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.” Among other things, grace implies elegance, beauty, and refinement. It is a quality that enables one to maintain composure even in the face of inevitable defeat. Grace is dignity personified: stable and calm under pressure.

Grace used to be an extremely popular A-list celebrity who regularly accompanied Audrey Hepburn on shopping trips and could often be seen holding onto Cary Grant’s arm at parties. She used to be an essential guest at every Tinsel Town function, but these days Grace is increasingly hard to find in Hollywood. However, there still remains a whole new generation of starlets and “pop tarts” in desperate need of some guidance.

Therefore, with Grace becoming more and more of a recluse, her twin sister Disgrace has taken over the majority of Grace’s duties. Being much more visible than her introverted sister, Disgrace can hardly keep up with the demand for her services. Among many other things, Disgrace works as a fashion consultant, and it was she who suggested to Amy Winehouse that pink ballet slippers really do go with everything. And indeed, it was Disgrace who advised Britney Spears to wear short skirts with no panties because the resulting pictures would be a tremendous boost to Spears’ career.

Disgrace is also in high demand as a life coach. Included on the list of her exclusive clientele is none other than Paris Hilton. It was Disgrace who encouraged Miss Hilton to go ahead and record that pop album and to appear in the movie, “The Hottie and the Nottie.” In fact, Miss Hilton relies on Disgrace’s invaluable relationship and career advice so much that she keeps her on a retainer. She also insists on Disgrace accompanying her wherever she goes. Whenever Paris Hilton arrives at a party or a club, Disgrace is right beside her in the limo and never leaves her side the whole night.

As for Grace, she was last known to be sharing a house with her close friends Decency and Tastefulness. No one seems to know for sure where this house is located, and as a result all three of them have become virtually inaccessible. Grace is still alive, but it is widely believed that Decency is in fact, dead. However, we have no way of confirming or denying the death of Decency at this time.

On a final note, Grace finds the song, “Amazing Grace,” to be quite embarrassing and thinks it makes her sound like some kind of magician: “Call me anything but amazing, please.”

WOTD: Armageddon

As long as we’re all preoccupied with the Rapture and the Apocalypse, we might as well discuss what to do if Armageddon occurs. And I’m not talking about the astonishingly bad Michael Bay film from 1998.  In religious/biblical terms Armageddon is the final epic battle between Christ/Good and the Anti-Christ/Evil. However, in more general terms it can be pretty much any “great and crucial” conflict.

The 2012 Phenomenon is considered to be part of the Armageddon mythos. If the Mayan Calendar is anything to go by, in 2012 the earth will be subjected to a series of unavoidable disasters and catastrophes which will culminate in the end of the world as we know it. So, your basic Armageddon.

You probably wouldn’t be at all surprised if I told you that there are several websites out there with important safety tips and “How to Survive” information for the coming disasters of 2012. For example this website discusses how to survive the “polar shift” (this is a misnomer for geomagnetic reversal) which will inevitably occur during 2012.

Those of us living in Northern Europe will probably be okay, but pretty much anyone living in the United States is screwed big time. Might as well start charging up those credit cards right now folks since you probably won’t survive Armageddon 2012.

This same website also offers for sale several items of specialized gear for those who wish to maximize their chances of surviving the disasters of 2012. Included among these are Fruit of the Loom heavy cotton undershirts and Calvin Klein cotton boxer shorts.

Because after all, even if the world is coming to an end it’s important to make sure the family jewels have the support one has come to expect from a brand as reliable and well-known as Calvin Klein. And at £18-£30 for a package of three, they’re not only essential survival gear, they’re also a bargain.

Some of the survival items available for women include a 1950’s style floral halterneck dress, and a silver clutch handbag.

Because after all, even if the world is coming to an end it’s important to be as fabulously dressed as possible and with the proper accessories. It would never do to show to up to Armageddon with your everyday black leather handbag.

Bye for now…