Tag Archives: Obama

New hundreds

They just updated the hundred-dollar bill. It’s got this holographic strip on the front, Ben Franklin’s profile is a little bigger, and on the back there is a giant 100 printed at the end. I hadn’t heard that the hundred was getting a makeover, but I never hear about these things. When new currency is rolled out, it’s like it’s done all at once, there’s never any forewarning.

new hundred

One day it’s old hundreds, and the next day I’m at work and someone pays in cash, and I see the new hundred, I immediately recognize it as something different, but I don’t question it, I’m not like calling out to my boss, “Hey boss, is this a new hundred? Is this a real thing?” no, he’d be like, “Rob, please don’t waste any more of my time than you have to, OK?”

I just think it’s crazy because, what’s stopping someone else from making their own new hundreds? You know, besides federal laws and stuff. I’m just saying, if you’re going to make counterfeit bills, wouldn’t it make more sense to make up an entirely new design and then hope that people like me simply won’t question anything?

And then the next day, I see more new hundreds, every time one of my coworkers gets a new bill, they’re like, “Oh my God, a new hundred. Did you see this?” and in my head I’m thinking, do you really have to announce that? Who are you talking to? But then I remember my reaction the first time I saw one, I think it was identical, I held it up for whoever happened to be standing next to me and I was like, “Ooh, look at this.”

How much longer is paper currency going to be a thing? Don’t get me wrong, nothing in life feels better than having a gigantic wad of rolled up cash bulging out of your front pocket, but I can’t really foresee where it’s all going to go. I’m talking, each upgrade in bills has featured some cool new technology. When I was a little kid, it was those cotton strips only visible when held up to the light. Then watermarks, gold foil, now holograms.

Why the need to keep changing the money every few years? I’m guessing that it’s all an effort to stop counterfeiting. Which, since the US dollar is basically the global currency, it’s got to be like the Holy Grail for every nefarious criminal operation. As sophisticated technology becomes more and more accessible to everyone else, you’ve got to think that eventually the Treasury is going to throw its hand up in the air and admit defeat.

And what are they changing, really? It’s all minor, cosmetic details. I say, if you’re going to change the money, we should like really change it, get all of those old Presidents and whatever Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were and replace them with some fresh faces. Obviously the Republicans are going to want to put Reagan on everything. They’re still pissed off that FDR got the dime.

But what about maybe some novelty currency? I remember when the second Fantastic Four movie came out, some marketing company got in trouble for making a bunch of quarters with the Silver Surfer on the back. You can check them out on Ebay, I think they regularly fetch pretty high bids. But why does it have to be mostly Founding Fathers? Maybe we could put Bryan Cranston on something, you know, to commemorate the last time that our country was united over anything, in this case, everybody loved Breaking Bad. And then we could put Walt Jr. on the nickel, Hank would definitely make a great limited edition fifty-cent piece.

ff quarter

Nah, let’s just wait, fifty years from now, it’s definitely going to be Obama. Who do you think is going to lose their spot? If I had to guess, I’d say Andrew Jackson. That guy is always looked to as a badass, but more and more, history is showing us that he was super racist and a little too bloodthirsty.

Finally, every time they introduce new money, it always starts its way with the hundred, then trickles down to the fifty, the twenty, the ten, the five, and then nothing. Come on, don’t you think it’s about time we had a new one dollar bill? It’s the odd man out here. You never see old fives or tens anymore, but every single dollar bill looks like it’s out of a time machine. Maybe the cost isn’t worth the trouble, but I say, let’s just do it, let’s make a new one-dollar bill. And let’s put Obama on that one also.

A quick shout-out to my galactic overlords

I was thinking today, what if some super intelligent aliens were to visit Earth? I’m not talking just super intelligent, I mean like so far advanced that they’d have to figure out some way just to communicate on a level that would make sense to us. To them we’d be like ants. No, even smaller, we’d be like whatever microscopic organisms ants look down at and say, man, those microscopic organisms are so far behind us mighty ants.

So they’d show up here at Earth, these aliens, they wouldn’t even bother saying anything like, “Take me to your leader,” because, being so ridiculously smart and advanced, they’d already know everything there is to know about us. They’d know who our leader is. They’d teleport straight to the White House. Wait, no, that’s not advanced enough. They’d freeze time on Earth and they’d transport the entire White House to their home planet. Yeah, that’s pretty advanced.

And so the President, all of the security guys and secret agents, they’d start going nuts. Their first instinct would be to get Obama down to the underground bunker, you know, the one from Olympus Has Fallen, but they’d quickly realize that there is no underground bunker. They’d look outside the windows and have no idea what to make of whatever it is they’d be seeing outside. That’s when the aliens make contact.

They approach the President. They tell him, listen, we’re in charge now. We have our own agenda that we won’t even bother trying to explain to you, one, because you definitely wouldn’t understand it, and two, it doesn’t matter if you know what’s going on or not. You’re going to do exactly as we say from now on, and that’s just all there is to it.

And maybe people in the administration might try and put up a fight, say stuff like, “This is America! You can’t tell us what to do you goddamn aliens!” even though, technically speaking, since they’d be on a totally different planet, the earthlings would be the aliens in this scenario, although they wouldn’t yet realize the scope of their predicament, just how far across space and time the whole White House has been transported.

The aliens would let us humans have our moment, yelling and threatening and cursing and trying to press the launch button for all of our nuclear weapons, but eventually everybody would lose energy. They’d get tired. Nothing would be working. None of the guns or White House weaponry would have any effect. They’d try to storm outside but they’d find it impossible to even open the doors. Maybe it would take a day, maybe a week, but sooner or later everyone would be out of options.

And so the President would have no choice but to listen. The aliens would be like, “All right, we want you to do this and this, change that, keep doing this,” and so on, laying out their plans, not really leaving any room for negotiation or compromise. Obama might balk initially. He might outright refuse, saying something like, “I’d rather die than cooperate.”

But the aliens would respond, “Are you sure?” and they’d snap their fingers or whatever they do to operate their insanely advanced technology, and another Obama would appear in the room. Because these aliens can do that. They can make these clones, identical to anybody, but much more willing to go along with their alien plan.

I could go on like this forever. What I’m trying to get at here is, what if there’s a force in the galaxy much farther ahead of where we are at right now? What if they wanted to alter our history? What if there was absolutely nothing we could do to stop them? That’s not totally farfetched, is it?

And so after they unfreeze time and send the White House back to DC, that would be it. I’d never know about it. There’s tons of stuff that I’ll never know about even assuming that aliens never show up and start bossing our government around. So considering what I know, and what I know that I don’t know, how can I be sure that nothing like this crazy alien scenario isn’t actually happening?

I’ll never be sure. I’m constantly relying on other people, other institutions to provide me with ideas of what the world is like. I can investigate, I can read, I can do lots of stuff to make a case for myself that what I believe to be true is true, but at some fundamental level, I can never be positive that reality is real as I know it.

So if there are aliens out there, if they are super advanced and omnipotent, I’d like to shout out to my galactic overlords, what the hell guys? Why can’t you let me in on the cosmic fun? I’m just supposed to sit here at my computer and try to convince myself that I’m not crazy? Show yourselves! Take me to space! I want to see what’s out there! Come on!

Election 2012: The Recap

The election is over. I spent that night watching TV, and the results came in so fast that I almost missed the announcement. I had read all of these articles the day before saying how that, under certain circumstances, we might not have had a clear victor until mid December. So when all of the networks started calling it before 11pm, it was kind of surprising.

I wonder what it must have felt like for Mitt Romney, a guy who has been campaigning for President since 2006 really. Even the day of the election, he’s out there, holding rallies, firing up supporters. So was Obama. Up until the very end, everyone said it was anybody’s game, and so I guess each side had a legitimate hope that they could win. But as Pennsylvania went for the President and then all of the other swing states followed suit, and then NBC starts calling it and eventually Fox News does the same, I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like for Romney, for his team.

To get so close, only to be denied right at the very end. I can’t see how these guys can go out in front of their crowds and make concession speeches. How do you hold your head up like that? I’d want to just crawl away somewhere and disappear. And you have to get on the phone and call up your opponent, the guy who you’ve been trading barbs with for the past year, lobbing insults across the airways.

And then what’s the next day like? To all of the sudden have a campaign go from running at full capacity to the very next day just shutting down? It’s not just like losing your job. It’s like being the head of a business that overnight just goes belly up, dead in its tracks.

I can’t stand the gloating on Facebook, which is super hypocritical, because I’m right on the frontlines of it. I’m like a lieutenant, a Facebook amateur political commentary lieutenant. But I hate it. I hate it when I see comments from the other side, the opposing political viewpoint. A part of me just says, OK Rob, just take a deep breath and let it go. Just ignore it. Don’t feel like you have to post something of your own. It’s going to be a very fleeting sense of satisfaction at best.

Sometimes I’ll listen to my own advice. Other times I can’t help myself. I’ll throw something out there, something partisan, something divisive. Whatever, I already said it was stupid. But it was all of these small little comments, these occasional back-and-forths that, over time, they built up into something that made me feel like I had a personally vested interest in who won the campaign. And this was all very outside of the issues, outside of politics. A bigger part of it came down to, I didn’t want to have to go on to Facebook and see all the gloating from the other side if Romney won. It would have eaten at me from inside.

I kind of know how it felt. During the 2004 election, the first one that I could vote for, I was positive leading up to voting day that John Kerry was going to destroy George W. Bush. But what I felt as I watched that night unfold on TV, as the results came in a way that I hadn’t anticipated, that sinking feeling, staring at the screen, hoping for some “Breaking News” update that would tell me it was all a big joke. And then afterwards I would watch these political commentators and these smug right wing guys in suits would say stuff like, “Well, it’s evident that America is a fairly conservative country.” And I just sat there, boiling with impotent rage, unable to even properly let out the frustration that was building up inside. But why? Why was I angry? Was my life going to be that fundamentally different than it was before?

During this whole election season I had the same fear that it might happen again. And when it didn’t, I experienced a very hollow but palpable sense of elation. It’s over. I didn’t have to face a reality that I had not properly thought out. But the first thing I did was log onto Facebook and write “Four! More! Years!” a big middle finger to all of my online friends who happen to have a different way of looking at things. I felt great for like ten minutes, but then I felt terrible, realizing that I’m no better than everything I hate. I tried writing something sincere afterwards, talking about moving forward, of not letting ourselves get carried away by national politics, but it was too late. I could imagine a Republican doing the exact same thing and all I would feel would be a strong bitterness for some cheesy, magnanimous sore-winning.

And it’s all going to come back someday. Democrats can’t be in charge forever. That sense of loss, of being let down, of feeling politically marginalized, it’s all waiting for me four, eight, twelve years from now. It’s important, politics, but it’s all so silly. I get so fired up over people I’ve never met, will never talk to, about a system that I’m only very marginally a part of, policies and legislation that depend very little on my opinion or point of view. And I use it all as ammunition to make people that I’m close to feel inferior, not as smart as me, why can’t you see things like I see them? So yeah, I’m glad it’s all over. And I hope the next round of elections might just be a little farther away than the ones we just had.

Let’s talk politics

I always hear people saying stuff like, don’t talk about politics. Keep it to yourself. Don’t get political. But that’s just one person’s opinion, to not talk about politics. My opinion is a little different. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I like to only talk about politics, to everybody I meet. It’s one of the first things that I start talking about when I meet somebody. That’s not entirely true. It’s actually the very first thing that I start talking about, even before I formally introduce myself to a new person. My goal is to just bombard people with political opinion, and somewhere amongst this onslaught of clever commentary and smart insight, you’ll feel like you know me, know where I’m coming from, and I’ll consider us introduced. Obviously I won’t have asked you about your political opinions. But I don’t have to, because my critiques are always so fresh, so spot-on, that whoever I talk to always winds up automatically seeing things from my point of view, and once they’re there, they like it better, so much better in fact that they always discard whatever rudimentary political beliefs they had previous latched onto, and replace them instantly with my patented brand of clear-cut no-nonsense award-winning analysis.

People get frustrated talking politics. People get bored. They say why waste the time and energy talking about this stuff? It’s not like you’re ever going to actually change anybody’s opinions. But that’s only because you’ve never actually changed anybody’s opinions. I refrain from talking about politics on this blog because I don’t want history to think that I unfairly swayed the outcome of the 2012 election. Because if I started talking about politics here, my views would be so welcome, so needed by our misguided public, that word would spread way too fast, and everybody would try to log onto this web site at the same time, and I’m not paying GoDaddy enough money to support that type of traffic, and I don’t know what their business model is like. Would they permit the traffic and then send me a ridiculous bill afterward? Or would the crush of page loads simply destroy what I’ve built, rendering it completely inaccessible?

And it wouldn’t stop. Once I start talking about politics, people always wind up saying to me stuff like, “Well Rob, you’ve got my vote!” I can’t run for office. I don’t need to be the center of a cult of personality. Because that’s where it would lead. My views are so all-inclusive, they’re so what’s needed right now, that I’m not sure how I would change and react to such a tidal wave of national support. It’s only honest to think that I’d be changed somewhat. What do they say about the power of celebrity? I don’t know. That’s one of my writing tricks. Whenever I can’t think of something to say about something that I was talking about, and I want to switch topics without making it seem too abrupt, I ask an open ended question, like “What’s that they say about open-ended questions?” And I end it by saying, “I don’t know.”

But what’s that they say about not talking about politics? I don’t get it. We’re one day away from the election and, before Hurricane Sandy leveled the Northeast, it was all I heard anybody talking about. Politics. Barack Obama. Mitt Romney. Seriously, before the storm, what else was there to talk about? I wait tables for a living and, pre-Sandy, as I would walk around the restaurant, every single sentence I would hear from every single table would be about politics. “When Romney finally gets this economy moving again …” “I just don’t get why Obama doesn’t press Romney about his tax returns …” over and over and over again.

But whenever I open my mouth somebody invariably tells me to stop talking about politics. Usually it’s somebody who has differing views from me. Maybe I come across as a jerk. Maybe I don’t really give anybody else equal opportunity to talk. Maybe I get a little too physical when I’m trying to drive home my point of view. Maybe I don’t necessarily need to grab people by the collar and get all up in their faces, little foam spittle flying outward from my mouth. But what does it say about us that we’re only allowed to talk about politics if everybody in the group that we’re talking to shares the same beliefs?

This is pretty important stuff, politics, leaders, policy. We are the nation that we are because of the culmination of all the small political decisions that have been made in our history. And for each decision that was made there had to have been a counter argument. All of the arguments that won, they won because they were argued successfully and convincingly. So if you believe that something should be a certain way, you don’t just shut up about it because you’re not supposed to talk about politics. No, you get in there, you grab that guy sitting at that table with his family by the collar, you tell him that he’s wrong, tell him his family is a bunch of idiots, you tell him that he better listen to you or else there are going to be some serious consequences. Tell him it’s not a threat it’s a promise. Ask him to see some ID. Wrestle him to the ground and force the wallet out of his pocket. I know it’s hard to aim the foam spittle, but try to get as much of it as you can right in his face, right in his mouth. Because politics is important. And we should all be talking about it.

Fresh to death

You can’t box me in. I won’t fit into any type of mold. I don’t do presets. I’ve never even heard of the word conventional. What does it mean? Maybe I should go look it up. But I’m not going to do it in any dictionary. I’m so original that I’ve never looked anything up in a dictionary. It’s too tired, too cliché. That’s for everybody else. I only do things that nobody else does. I eat breakfast for lunch and I eat snack-foods for dinner. And once I do something, I’ll never do the same thing again. I’m too new. I’m always innovating. I ate breakfast for lunch today, but it was the first time I had ever done that. Yesterday I had dinner for lunch. And that was the first time that I had done that. And I’ll never do it again. Tomorrow I’m going to eat some pancakes. I’ve heard they’re great. Somebody told me they’re delicious. You know what? I’ll never eat pancakes. It’s already been tried. Old news. No, I’m going to eat some tancakes. What’s a tancake? You’ll find out when I invent them.

I march to the beat of my own drum. I’ll never settle into the same routine. I wait for the light to turn red and then I put my foot on the brakes. Sounds pretty regular, huh? But my car is original. I switched the brake with the gas, so it’s unique. You hit the brake and it takes off. You hit the gas and it stops. So when I’m at a red light I hit the brake and I go. And if the cops stop me after the light I like to ask the cop for his license and his registration because I’m not going to go through the same boring, done a million times traffic cop routine. And if he asks for my license, I’ll roll up my sleeves, because when I got my driver’s license, I had it tattooed on my arm, and then I threw out the original, because this is even more original, the most original, and the cop always lets me go. And then I pull up at the next light and wait for that light to turn red, and then I floor it, and maybe another cop will get behind me and turn on the sirens, but I’m not stopping. I just did that a block ago. I told you, I never do the same thing twice.

I voted for John McCain, only because I really wanted to vote for Barack Obama, but I knew that if I voted for Obama in 2008, then I wouldn’t be able to vote for him again in 2012. It would have already been done. I need to always be doing something fresh. I never watch reruns. I like it even fresher. But when I voted in 2008 it was in the cafeteria of some public school. No way I’m going back to the same place to vote again. So I set up a fake residence in some other country, and I’m going to vote via absentee ballot. And I’m not going to use a pen. It’s going to be in crayon. Because I stopped using pens a while ago. They’re so everyday, so pedestrian. Pens? Really? Could you be any more unoriginal?

I never even write these blog posts. I wrote the first one, and that was it. You think I’m going to sit here every day and do the same thing over and over again? No way. Everyday I find some other writer and pay him or her to write something new for me. It’s all on the books. I make them all file tax papers and everything. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What, you make them do the same thing every day? How exciting.” But you’re wrong, because I’m not filling out the papers, they are. They’re the stupid ones. And besides, I get all of the papers printed at a different print shop every day. And then after the writers write something, they get fired. Take a hike. But I do it in a different way every time. Like one time I sang it out, like a song. Another time I baked a cake with a pink slip in the middle and I made the writer finish every last bite. Another time I sat the writer down and said, “I’m sorry, this isn’t working out.” But I only did that once, so it was new at the time.

I wear my pants on my torso. I wrap a bunch of shirts around my legs. Have you ever seen somebody skiing with the skis on their hands? And he was skiing upside down? And he was going up the mountain instead of down? And there wasn’t even any snow? And it wasn’t even winter, it was spring? And he had three skis instead of just two? That was me. That was my first ski trip. I loved it. I always wanted to go back. But I’m done with skiing. I need to find some new activities. Something completely different. Something that’ll really make me stand out from the pack.