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Footnotes To Life

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Monthly Archives: December 2011

I have a tendency to break New Year’s resolutions faster than a cat with a Christmas tree ornament. So this year, I decided I’m going to pick five New Year’s resolutions which I will absolutely stick too. I’m so confident, I’ll bet money with anyone willing to take it that these will be properly achieved.

Firstly, I’ll be drunk when the New Year arrives. Probably not hammered, falling over, piss-on-your-friends drunk, just nicely tipsy. I mean, the year’s change at midnight. Part two of this resolution is that I won’t watch the ball drop. Not intentionally, just because I’m easily distracted, lose track of time and can’t find the right channel.

Secondly, I will write 2011 when I mean 2012 sometime in 2012. I’ll probably achieve this one the first time I write a date after the New Year. Check.

Thirdly, I won’t get a DUI on New Year’s eve/day. I’d like to say this is because I’m a responsible adult and don’t drink and drive, but it’s actually because I don’t plan on leaving my house. It’s better that way.

Fourthly (is that a word?), I’ll make it to sleep in my own bed on New Year’s Eve. If you don’t understand that one, please reference the point above.

Fifthly (that’s definitely not a word), I’ll take off my clothes and put on PJs before I get into bed on New Year’s Eve. Getting the gist here?

There. Those are 5 New Year’s Resolutions I definitely won’t break. And don’t say I’m cheating or I’m supposed to challenge myself or any of that bullshit – those are all things I have failed to achieve in the past.

Best of all, I’ll know whether I achieved four of them before I go to bed on New Year’s Eve! I can’t stand too much suspense.

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I just read the 13,261,890,601th blog post, article or news story about the world ending on 12-21-12. Here is my message for you:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop going on and on about it, unless you have something new or funny to say.

I will laugh in your face on December 22nd 2012. And if the world does end, I’ll give everyone $100. The great thing about that is the world will have ended, so I don’t have you give you anything.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

John

facebook-logoWe all love Facebook. Statistically we spend 10% of our time online on Facebook – more than we do on any other site or service. As destructive as that is for workplace productivity, there is still a shred of hope for employers. Several forms of idiot inhabit the Facebook region of the internet and use their annoying posts to drive us back to our day jobs.

The Vaguebooker

This species of idiot posts vague, depressing statuses so people ask them what’s wrong. When people ask them, they weave some depressing tale, intentionally leaving questions unanswered to keep the pity-fest going as long as possible. These needy idiots think love is equal to the number of sympathetic comments on their latest Facebook status.

The TMIer

This idiot checks in everywhere they go to let you know what’s happening on even the most normal of days. You’ll see status updates like “at the grocery store,” “going to the bank,” and “sitting around at home.” Well congratu-fucking-lations, you’re so important we all need to know where you are every second of the day. Just wait until some clown robs your house because they knew you were “going to store, then bank, then out for din-dins with my BFF.”

The Chronic Lyricer

Every status this idiot posts is a song lyric or a quote. Once in a while, it’s inspiring, but when every status is a pseudo-deep Blink 182 quote, it gets old and whiny pretty fast. If you find a clever quote about your current situation, great, if not, respect the fact that most of us would rather get our music from iTunes, not your Facebook feed.

The Game Player

This idiot clogs your news feed with their Farmville achievements. Seriously,I don’t care whether you discovered a gold coin or need help building a barn in your magical online universe. Find something else to do with your time instead of skiving off and playing Farmville or Mafia Wars while you’re at work. Oh, and for the record, more than two requests a week to join you in playing said game is grounds for unfriending.

The Politicer/Religioner

This species of idiot insists on bringing up their political and/or religious views at every possible opportunity. Whether they’re a commie or a conservative, they have to blame everything on the other side as publicly as they can – using their Facebook status. They’ll get a bunch of likes from people who share their ludicrous viewpoint and anyone who dares to question the logic or sanity of their position will get their lineage brutally insulted. For those of you reading this thinking “this isn’t aimed at me, my viewpoint makes sense.” You’re wrong, it is.

The Excessive Tagger

Everyone loves being tagged in the occasional photo or status, but this idiot tags every friend they have, even if they weren’t there. They’re so excited by their latest outfit they post a grainy webcam shot let the tags fly, presumably hoping for comments or likes or something. Mostly, what they get is a whole bunch of creepy people looking at their hot photo after the idiot wormed their way into their friend’s news feed.

The New-Speller

Whether this particular idiot has any idea how to spell or not, they choose not to. Cool becomes kewl, rotflmao becomes a regular word and they cApItAlIZe EvErY aLtErNaTe letter, presumably because they don’t know where to use capital letters, but know they should. Either way, it’s damn near impossible to read what they’re saying. When you finally do figure it out, it probably wasn’t worth reading anyway.

The holiday season brings out the best and worst in all of us. We’re happy to scream and shout at the cashier for being slow, and then hand $5 to the Salvation Army guy standing outside the door. With everyone at the shops, it’s a topical time to review some of the common ways we Footnoters can identify certain species of idiot present in the malls and strip malls around the country.

1. The Entrance-Exiter

This particular idiot brings their cart, bags and comically over-sized holiday belly out the entrance while a steady stream of new visitors is coming in. Heaven only knows why they feel it’s necessary to be such a contrarian, but it doesn’t work because they end up as irritated and mad those fighting their way in do. You have to wonder how this particular breed of idiot ever enters a highway safely.

2. The Line-Sigher

This particular idiot stands restlessly in line, sighing loudly every few seconds and sometimes muttering under their breath about how slowly everything is moving. You can feel their eyes boring into the back of your head as if it’s somehow your fault simply because you’re in front of them, and by joining the line when you did, you’ve destroyed their plans for the whole day. You want to tell them they should just be patient like everyone else, but idiots have memories like goldfish, so they’ll forget within eight seconds and go back to sighing loudly. You’ll just have to deal.

3. The Over Limit Credit Carder

This person takes it upon themselves to try and determine exactly how far they are from their credit limit by taking a massive amount of merchandise up to the register, then mixing and matching pieces until their credit card stops declining. I suggest that next time you see one of these folks, you tell them to go home and pay their bill, instead of racking up more interest on shit that’ll get returned the day after Christmas.

4. The Unaware Browser

This particular type of idiot is related to the outside lane camper we discussed in the driving portion of our guide. They look at one item, seemingly engrossed, until you go to walk behind them in the aisle when, with the agility of a tiger, they block your path. The more skilled members of this species will manage to knock down your carefully balanced pile of last-minute gifts, scattering them across the Macy’s floor.

5. The “Rules Don’t Apply To Me-er”

This person embodies the customer is always right. They insist the store give them what they want, even though what they want is not only completely unreasonable, but also something the store manager could never conceivably supply. They are easy to spot because they’ll have a simplistic argument about why the TV they bought to HHGreg can be returned to Best Buy for a Best Buy credit. By the time you’ve been in line behind them more than 30 seconds, the loudness of their voice and sheer lunacy of their argument will make everything clear, and you’ll spend the next 20 minutes waiting patiently behind them in line and wondering why the manager hasn’t hit them over the head with their TV. Return that bitch.

6. The Mall Stopper

This species has become more prevalent recently, and its population is growing exponentially as more and more people buy smart phones. It’s that person you’re following in the mall who randomly stops in the middle of the corridor for no reason, other than the cute kitten video they’ve spent 10 minutes downloading has started and they can’t walk and watch at the same time. When you run into the back of them, because, let’s face it, you were downloading the same video, they look at you as if it’s somehow your fault that you can walk and play with your phone at the same time. You bastard.

 

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The holiday season brings out the best and worst in all of us. We’re happy to scream and shout at the cashier for being slow, and then hand $5 to the Salvation Army guy standing outside the door. With everyone at the shops, it’s a topical time to review some of the common ways we Footnoters can identify certain species of idiot present in the malls and strip malls around the country.

1. The Entrance-Exiter

This particular idiot brings their cart, bags and unusually oversized holiday belly out the entrance while a steady stream of new visitors is coming in. Heaven only knows why they feel it’s necessary to be such a contrarian, but it doesn’t work because they end up as irritated and mad those fighting their way in do. You have to wonder how this particular breed of idiot ever enters a highway safely.

2. The Line-Sigher

This particular idiot stands restlessly in line, sighing loudly every few seconds and sometimes muttering under their breath about how slowly everything is moving. You can feel their eyes boring into the back of your head as if it’s somehow your fault simply because you’re in front of them, and by joining the line when you did, you’ve destroyed their plans for the whole day. You want to tell them they should just be patient like everyone else, but idiots have memories like goldfish, so they’ll forget within eight seconds and go back to sighing loudly. You’ll just have to deal.

3. The Over Limit Credit Carder

This person takes it upon themselves to try and determine exactly how far they are from their credit limit by taking a massive amount of merchandise up to the register, then mixing and matching pieces until their credit card stops declining. I suggest that next time you see one of these folks, you go out and tell them to go home and pay their bill, instead of racking up more interest on shit that’ll get returned the day after Christmas.

4. The Unaware Browser

This particular type of idiot is related to the outside lane camper we discussed in the driving portion of our guide. They look at one item, seemingly engrossed, until you go to walk behind them in the aisle when, with the agility of a tiger, they block your path. The more skilled members of this species will manage to knock down your carefully balanced pile of last-minute gifts, scattering them across the Macy’s floor.

5. The “Rules Don’t Apply To Me-er”

This person embodies the customer is always right. They insist the store give them what they want, even though what they want is not only completely unreasonable, but it’s usually something the store manager can never conceivably supply. They are easy to spot because they’ll have a simplistic argument about why the TV they bought to HHGreg can be returned to Best Buy for a Best Buy credit. By the time you’ve been in line behind them more than 30 seconds, the loudness of their voice and sheer lunacy of their argument will make everything clear, and you’ll spend the next 20 minutes waiting patiently behind them in line and wondering why the manager hasn’t hit them over the head with their TV. Return that bitch.

6. The Mall Stopper

This species has become more prevalent recently, and its population is growing exponentially as more and more people buy smart phones. It’s that person you’re following in the mall who randomly stops in the middle of the corridor for no reason, other than the cute kitten video they’ve spent 10 minutes downloading has started and they can’t walk and watch at the same time. When you run into the back of them, because, let’s face it, you were downloading the same video, they look at you as if it’s somehow your fault that you can walk and play with your phone at the same time. You bastard.

twilight-breaking-dawn-theater-sign-errorI’m not a big fan of the Twilight Saga, but I am a big fan of whoever did this outside the Regal Theater in Frederick the other day. I was on my way to get Chipotle, I wasn’t expecting a little chuckle as well!

I tried writing something to make this funnier than it is, but I can’t. Giggle at the picture and move on.

And crack open a cold Bud Light Mr. Movie Theater Sign Writer.

Local news station WTOP recently posted this about an evacuation from the Metro in central D.C.

From Service Restored on Metro, posted on WTOP.com:

“Commuters were evacuated through the dark track tunnels into the Smithsonian station. D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services said they assisted 300 people there.

No injuries have been reported, though there have been unconfirmed reports of passengers experiencing anxiety and stress related to the incident.”

Editors of WTOP – is it really necessary to suggest people may have experiened anxiety and stress after a loud bang on a metro train in a tunnel deep underground shuts off all the lights? To me, that sounds a little scary and causes some anxiety and stress. I”m pretty sure we can assume someone was stressed out about it – perhaps the woman who ran out of the station and hugged her husband?

On the bright side – the rumor is unconfirmed and they’re reporting the facts. Nice job, guys.

brad-meltzers-decoded-logo-with-history-logoMr. Meltzer,

I appreciate the amusement I get from your series on the History channel. It’s actually quite refreshing to hear such rampantly sarcastic predictions for the future as you put forth in your episode on the end of the world in 2012. I must assume they’re sarcastic, because you make wilder leaps than I do during a game of Assassin’s Creed.

Your logic goes a little something like this. All dogs have four legs, this animal has four legs, therefore this animal is a Bengal Tiger. These leaps of faith do make life interesting, but you seem to take them quite seriously. I don’t want to waste too much time pointing out every error, but I do at least want to point out some of the funniest most egregious.

Let’s start with the survival experts. I should point out a survival expert is an expert in survival, rather than in ancient Mayan predictions. Those you interviewed provided excellent descriptions of what happens after a calamity and excellent explanations of how to prepare for it, but unfortunately, they were a little shaky on whether the Mayan prediction would come true. I understood their confusion though, because they’re survivalists, rather than, you know… historians.

Having said that, I do believe you included one nice gent who said he’d use text messages to notify his followers after all modern infrastructure had crashed. I’m not sure he understood the cell phones would be out as well, because they’re part of the crumbling infrastructure. Either way, it doesn’t matter too much. Anyone he can’t reach via cell phone can Skype in later on.

We should also take a brief look at your predictions about the Black Death. For Europe in the 14th century – you said the 13th century, but it was, in fact, the 14th –this was a terrifying disease. Fortunately, modern medicine and modern sanitation have helped us overcome this terrible disease. I believe the lack of open sewers and an understanding of how disease spreads will lessen both the fear and reach of bubonic plague.

Furthermore, I appreciated your ability to weave a zombie outbreak into something that purports to be a serious documentary. I know nothing sells programs like a bit of undead scaremongering, but there has only been one reported case of zombie-ism in the United States, but that turned out to be a nasty red-wine hangover.

Finally, ending on the note “well, no-one laughed out loud when we mentioned the prediction,” therefore it must be true, is a little assumptive isn’t it? I was under the impression historians needed more evidence than the lack of a guffaw before they passed off a theory as fact. Knowing this would have saved me a lot of time in college.

Oh, by the way, the random jab you got in there about needing to loosen gun control laws because we’ll need them when the apocalypse comes made me laugh out loud. So if you need someone to do that for you next time, I’d be happy to oblige.

Since your program must be an elaborate work of fiction, I think you should include one of the disclaimers they have on Law and Order, stating that any relationship your program has with reality is purely coincidental. Just to prevent any confusion.

Yours,

A. Concerned Historian