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I chose instead to go a different, but equally obtuse, direction and actually commented this: "After careful and deliberate scrutiny and research I have reached a tentative conclusion that this picture may have been captioned by someone other than Hillary Clinton, herself. I find it dubious she would publicly divulge this information willingly, and I can find no solid evidence to back up the possibility that she ever had."


I have a really passionate love-hate relationship with current Presidential candidate and former United States Flightless Bird Ted Cruz, in that I really passionately hate him, but at the same time I really love writing about how much I hate him. I've already written an article about how literally nobody likes Ted Cruz, and I've written an article about how nobody would want to have weird, greasy sex with Ted Cruz. Every time I write an entire article about Ted Cruz, I tell myself it will be the last article I write about Ted Cruz because I find it unfair to Ted Cruz and unchallenging to myself to keep writing about Ted Cruz because Ted Cruz is such an easy target for ridicule, which probably offers quite a bit of insight into the formation of Ted Cruz's personality.

Plus, it's just really fun to say "Ted Cruz." It just shoots from your mouth like an obscenity. "I ended things with Billy. For a while he was such a nice guy, but after I said I wanted to wait he turned into a real Ted Cruz."  "What in Ted Cruz is going on around here??" "Yippe-ki-yay, Ted Cruz!" Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz. TedCruz. Okay, I think I got it out of my system. Ted Cruz. It's like Tourette's.

Every time I think I'm done with Ted Cruz, that there's nothing more Ted Cruz could do that could fill several hundred more words, Ted Cruz proves me wrong and draws me back in by pulling some absurd, new Ted Cruz stunt. Maybe he will read from the Dr. Suess book that most effectively disproves his entire premise while working to deny health care to Americans for 21 straight hours on the Senate floor. Maybe he will petition to dismantle the IRS, presumably relying solely on bribes and corporate donations to fund his salary. Maybe news will break of five more women somehow willing to dab their finger in his slime trail. Maybe he will be the keynote speaker at a Republican gala event where literally no one will so much as notice he's even talking. Maybe he's secretly a Canadian.

Early Wednesday morning, Ted Cruz announced (since using the word "teased" in relation to Ted Cruz elicits disturbing mental images which can't be erased by taking a belt sander to your brain) a bigger, groundbreaking, game-changing announcement would be announcing later in the day, at precisely 4 PM, leaving many expert political analysts little choice but to spend the day speculating on whether or not this sentence will ever actually end. (It will.)

The only thing everyone knew for sure was he wouldn't be suspending his campaign. The fundraising goals of the remaining Republican candidates has switched from "getting our guy elected" to "not getting Donald Trump elected." The only way to accomplish this revised goal now is pulling enough votes away from Trump to keep him from hitting the magic number of delegates by July so they can contest the convention and nominate whomever they damn well please.

There was a lot of speculation throughout the day between such political experts as my fiancé and I that he might be announcing he really is, in fact, the Zodiac killer, the frontman for Stryper, a large flightless bird, a humanoid reptile, any combination of the previous two possibilities, a Morlock, or a Canadian, any one of which would dramatically improve his public perception at this point. Most people just assumed he would be announcing his Vice Presidential pick and went about their day continuing to not care less. The dwindling handful of voters who still pick Ted Cruz because they don't like Trump and can't remember what a "John Kasich" is would have something to look forward to at four o'clock, but that would be the extent of it.

I didn't watch Ted Cruz make his announcement because, much like the entire population of New York, I didn't care to listen to him mansplain his lunatic ramblings as if he were addressing a group of schoolchildren. (Has anyone else noticed this is Ted Cruz's default speaking style? He seriously could have been an elementary school teacher if only his face alone wouldn't haunt young children's nightmares for life.) I read about his announcement where I read all of my news: the "Trending" articles on Facebook, because I rightly assume people who write "FART" as a comment on YouTube will give me a more honest take than paid television pundits on all the news worth knowing.

In this case, I didn't even need to read the article. All I needed to read was the headline to take away everything I needed to know about the story, which was exactly this: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!! TED CRUZ JUST TANKED HIS ENTIRE CAMPAIGN!!!"

Everybody who assumed Ted Cruz was going to announce his Vice Presidential pick and went back to masturbating furiously all day was right. Ted Cruz did pick his Vice Presidential running mate. He picked Carly Fieri FallopionaTubes Purina Whatever to be his running mate. I cannot begin to tell you how happy and excited this makes me because I thought I'd never have the chance to intentionally misspell her stupid last name again.

I'm sure there are some ardent supporters who still applaud the many triumphs of the Carly FuriousBallerina campaign, such as her sheer incompetence at running a successful corporation, her equal incompetence at running a successful Presidential campaign, her steadfast commitment to claims based solely on known falsified evidence, and possessing a thoroughly unelectable last name, to name just a few. Everybody else is left scratching their heads, wondering if even Ted Cruz is invested in Ted Cruz becoming President anymore.

He is literally copying the identical strategy that crashed John McCain's Presidential campaign in 2008. If you're potentially running against a woman, and you discover you have the sex appeal of, in John McCain's case, a Rolodex museum, or in Ted Cruz's case, some cross between a bucket of zit pus and a serial killer, you need to find some way to trick women into voting exclusively with their vaginas because that's apparently a thing we're doing now. Just like John McCain in 2008, Ted Cruz looked at his prospects and asked, "Who is the absolute craziest Republican woman we can get?" Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) Sarah Palin threw all of her stream of consciousness support behind Donald Trump, and I have no idea who Michele Bachmann is supporting but I'd venture to guess probably Invisible Jesus Riding a Majestic Flying Sea Turtle, so he was left with no choice but the second most lizard-faced Republican candidate from 2016 besides himself.

Other than the obvious indication that he has completely given up and is now just in it purely for the lulz, Ted Cruz's selection of Carly FieryPenis makes perfect sense. No matter how effective of a President you may think you will be, you always want your Vice President to be a less appealing option than yourself so people are less tempted to shoot you. Unfortunately for Ted Cruz, the list of people less appealing than Ted Cruz falls pretty short, and one of the top picks is currently crushing him in the Republican primary. When compared to Ted Cruz in a recent survey that I just made up, Skynet was rated higher than Ted Cruz for at least making the trains run on time, and a video of a chicken hatchery set to Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" was found to be easier to watch than five minutes of Ted Cruz talking.

Of course, this primary Vice Presidential vetting criterion begs the question who Donald Trump might eventually choose as his Vice Presidential running mate. There are the obvious possibilities of either the undead shell of the former Chris Christie or Ben "Sleepy" Carson, both of whom are pretty far up Donald Trump's posterior. We could always entertain the idea of Sarah Palin, but I don't think even Trump is stupid enough to choose the one person more likely to tank his campaign faster than a close facsimile of Sarah Palin. It's far more likely Donald Trump would choose either a life-size cardboard standee of Donald Trump, a mirror, or that terrifying, bronze Lucille Ball statue in New York because it looks a slightly like him, if you squint.

However, I can think of no single person more fitting to crown this side show of utter ridiculousness the Trump campaign has transformed the 2016 Presidential election into than Ted Nugent. Donald Trump is a former reality TV star turned armchair politician with a questionable record of demonstrable business acumen and no real justification for his level of popularity. Ted Nugent is a former rock star turned badly misguided political mouthpiece with mediocre guitar skills and absolutely no excuse for his level of popularity.

With Ted Nugent as his running mate, Donald Trump could finally get a musician to approve of the music he plays at his rallies. He could walk out on stage to the opening guitar licks of "Stranglehold," which as a song is a perfect description of what Donald Trump is doing to the Republican Party right now. These two massive egos must team up to dominate the election. The only downside is, together, they might actually be able to win.

If there's one thing Illinois knows to do with money, it's not knowing at all what to do with money. To give you an idea just how broke Illinois is as a state, just last year — and I am not making this up — lawmakers had no choice but to accept the somber burden of authorizing a massive pay raise for themselves. It was quite a sacrifice, I know, and one for which I'm sure Illinois residence will feel forever indebted.

I don't want to say Illinois is the poorest state in the nation. I mean, it hasn't reached the same critical financial juncture as Michigan, which is currently working hard to convince its remaining residents that the lead and raw sewage being pumped through their water supply is wholesome and nutritious. Illinois isn't Wisconsin or Kansas, whose Republican governors tried, as an alternative to taxation, to fund their states entirely on magic pixie farts. Apparently. It's not like Illinois is New Jersey.

Illinois is ranked one of the lowest states in education, so supposably we has got that going for us. Illinois was also the third highest ranking state people moved away from in 2015, according to an annual movers study conducted by United Van Lines. To put this into perspective, only New York and New Jersey (obviously) ranked higher, and I can poke fun at New Jersey because, statistically speaking, there are people out there leaving the vile, desolate hellscape of New Jersey for the bold, promising hellscape of Illinois.

To put this even further into perspective, Michigan — a state whose governor is currently using taxpayer money to buy his defense in a lawsuit over knowingly poisoning the taxpayers — did not even rank in the top ten. This means, again statistically, people would prefer drinking yellow-brown tap water infused with lead than live in Illinois. Of course, this could also be the lead affecting them. One of the dangerous properties of lead is it can neurologically damage those who are exposed to it, making them prone to all sorts of unsound judgments, like staying in a state despite the government making them pay to be allowed to drink lead.

Interesting historical fact you probably won't learn in Illinois: Consuming lead is among the leading causes of the fall of most empires throughout history.

Recently my fiancé and I had to take a short road trip to Madison, Wisconsin. The top choice of route guidance took us through Iowa and across Wisconsin instead of just going straight through Illinois. That's right; not even Google Maps wants us to drive through Illinois to get to the state directly above Illinois, even if we are starting the journey by already living in Illinois.

You might be asking why I continue to live in Illinois, if Illinois is such a terrible place to live, to which I can give you an easy and indisputable answer: Because. Asking anyone why they live where they live is a stupid question generally met with blank stares and stammering jaw movements because no one knows why they live where they live. It's not a thing people think much about. If they did, they would almost invariably move immediately because people tend to think every place is better than the place they are despite the objective reality that every place sucks.

If I had to venture a guess why Illinois ranks amongst the poorest states in the nation, I would primarily attribute our almost uncanny ability to elect purely incompetent people to run our state, followed closely by our similarly uncanny ability to elect criminals. Sometimes, in the case of our second-to-last governor, Rod Blagojevich (pronounced "Rod Blagojevich"), we even manage to elect people who are incompetent at being criminals. Other times a wholly unfortunate assortment of candidates will resign us to electing the criminally incompetent, like Pat Quinn, whose platform of perpetual tax increases and continuous budget shortfalls only took a brief six years to fail to impress Illinois voters.

Now Illinois is faced with a budget impasse so consequential Illinois lawmakers may be faced with doing the unthinkable. They may have to cut their own pay until the budget crisis gets resolved. This is quite possibly the most tragic development to emerge from the budget crisis yet, hitting hardest those who deserve it most. The current governor, Bruce Rauner — whose name is pronounced like you're talking through a yawn — has a proposal to cut the pensions promised to state workers since there's no money left in the state pension fund anyway because Illinois lawmakers used the state pension fund to pay for other projects, such as their own private investments, because those other projects had been drained to pay for other projects, namely their other private investments.

However, one plucky and industrious Senator by the name of John Cullerton, whose future plans must include losing the next election, recently proposed a radical new idea for a revenue source — taxing drivers per mile driven instead of per gallon of gas. This was met with all the wringing of hands you'd expect from corrupt Illinois lawmakers, and all the gnashing of teeth you'd expect from outraged Illinois residents who will ultimately roll their eyes and accept their inescapable new reality. "At least they're not making us drink the gasoline!" we'll say. "Yet!"

Illinois drivers would be given the option to install a device in their vehicle which would record the number of miles they drive. One can only speculate what manufacturers might call such an innovative device. I'm thinking "odometer" (from the Greek "Odo," meaning "a character on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,'" and the British "meter," meaning "the British word for 'foot'"), but that's just me. Perhaps if this revolutionary advancement of technology were to be installed in the dashboard, consumers could one day use it to gauge the overall wear on a vehicle. NOW I'M JUST BEING SILLY.

In all fairness, Illinois does (probably) already know what an odometer is. I was just doing what we in the humor business like to call "joshing," which means "acting like Josh." This secondary odometer will do more than your factory installed, one-trick odometer. This odometer will not only track your mileage and lie about your mileage, it will also use GPS triangulation to adjust your tax rates based on factors completely beyond your control, such as the location of your destination, the amount of traffic congestion, the amount of road construction, probably the weather, the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in Japan, the alignment of the constellations, solar flares, FEMA camps, the rising and falling of the tides, the age, weight, height, highest education level, and voting record of the driver and each passenger, the number of Justin Bieber songs on the radio divided by the number of Glenn Danzig songs not on the radio while the vehicle is in operation, the President's approval rating, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. It will compile all of this information into a complex formula and compute a value to be transmitted to the state's department of revenue to get assigned a completely random dollar amount because that's how taxes work.

Illinois drivers will reportedly be given a second option if they feel the GPS-based random number generator is too invasive to the privacy Americans still think they have. They can opt to be taxed at a flat rate of 1.5 cents per mile on a base of 30,000 miles driven per year, which doesn't seem like a high estimate at all so long as most people in Illinois plan to drive to California and back roughly twelve times each calendar year.

I'm sure there are some people, such as delivery drivers, couriers, or drug dealers, whose livelihoods largely depend on continuous driving. For these people this might seem like a worthwhile, money-saving option, but me, personally, I don't drive anywhere near 30,000 miles per year. I'm lucky if I break 10,000, and since I live in a border town a lot of those are out of the state, for which I'm sure their GPS-based odometer will be set up to tax at a double rate because how dare I. HOW. DARE. I.

Once you consider most cars get anywhere from 15 to 30 miles per gallon of gas, and depending on where they live, Illinois drivers are currently taxed anywhere from 30 to 65 cents per gallon, you might reach the same conclusion as the overwhelming majority of Illinois residents who voiced their objection over the Internet — this involves A LOT of math. Anybody who has spent enough time in or reading about Illinois knows not to trust anything involving math, money, and Illinois lawmakers because the system is not set up to save its taxpayers money. The State of Illinois needs all of the money it can get so it can someday, with careful and responsible fiscal planning, a little determination, and a lot of luck, somehow pull itself even further into debt.

Several months ago, I had a wild thought, which is unusual because I prefer my thoughts domesticated so they don't pee all over the place and chew up my brain. I remember it as clear as it was yesterday. There I was sitting...someplace...maybe it was at the computer, or maybe I was driving? I was definitely sitting; I remember that... I'm pretty sure. I was sitting and doing the thing I do while sitting at the place I sit, whether it be driving or constantly refreshing Facebook and pretending it's "research." (To be honest, I remember yesterday just as clearly, but nine out of ten it involves the exact same activities unless I'm at the job I get paid to do, in which case significant portions of my soul die instead.) Out of nowhere the thought hits me: You know what? I haven't heard anything about Kesha in years. "Huh," I remember being my response.

Of all the female pop stars over the past five to ten years – and believe me, there are a few – Kesha was never one I followed very closely. I remember she had a couple of big hits circa 2010 and a dollar sign in her name, and that was it. Aside from a few articles commenting on her remarkably high intelligence despite writing the musical equivalent of Kanye West in a bounce house, she seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. No one – in this context meaning "me, and the combined total of zero effort I put into it" – knew why.

Now pretty much the entire nation knows why. Not long after I had realized I hadn't heard anything about Kesha in a while, articles started popping up informing everyone why we haven't heard anything about Kesha in a while. There are so many scenarios that would be far more preferable to the truth.

  • Ca$hing in on thoughtle$$ $ong$ about getting $hitface drunk and partying earned her enough royaltie$ to finish her PhD in biochemical electronic engineering by the age of 23 and she quit the music business to work for the Japanese company Cyberdyne developing liquid metal Termina— I mean, liquid metal service robots that will certainly never one day rise up and kill us all, ha ha!

  • Her popularity could have simply been overshadowed by the breakout megasuccesses of her chief rivals Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and let's say Bruno Mars, around the same time.

  • She intended to go out partying until she saw the sunlight, but the party never stopped and she is still somewhere out there, trapped in an infinite party loop, partying, endlessly.

  • She could have moved back to the Midwest to live out her remaining days as a simple suburban housewife. "Come on kids, time to get washed up and get ready for bed! TIK-TOK!"

  • She set her alarm for 2014, but it didn't go off, and she overslept.

  • She could have even gone on to play Carrie Bradshaw in a Sex and the City reboot. Hell, playing Carrie Bradshaw in a Sex and the City porn spoof, ("Sex in the City"? "Sex and the Whole City"? "Carrie Does Manhattan"? "Four Girls, One Cup"?), would have been better than the real reason we have not heard anything about Kesha in years.

Apparently Kesha would like to record new music in all sorts of strange and glorious ways, but she has spent the past several years locked in a fierce legal battle as distressing as it is absurd with her record label over a contract binding her to a producer who is, by nearly all accounts, a major sleazebucket.

This particular major sleazebucket goes by the name of Dr. Luke, is not a real doctor, has the Twitter handle "Dr. Luke Doctor Luke @TheDoctorLuke," evidently REALLY likes this name, and looks like the guy your teenage son would buy cheap weed from while ditching high school. Several prominent female pop stars, and possibly also Bruno Mars, have since come forward to attest that Dr. Luke Doctor Luke @TheDoctorLuke has in fact been a major sleazebucket to them as well.

A few years ago, Kesha discovered during therapy that Doctor "Doctor Luke" Luke had been mentally, emotionally, and sexually abusing her for the better part of the past decade. When she went to Sony Music with this revelation, Sony Music did what any responsible employer would do when one of its employees complains of a hostile working environment and alleges sexual misconduct, except the total opposite of the right thing. Basically their reaction amounted to shrugging their shoulders and telling her: "Tough break, kid. Guess you shouldn't have been born a woman."

I don't make it a habit to sexually harass women because I tend to like women and enjoy having them around, and I've found through my countless years the easiest way to do this is to try my hardest to respect them as fellow human beings. I especially don't make it a habit to sexually harass women in the workplace because I tend to like making money and enjoy having it around, and the easiest way to do this is to try my hardest to not get fired. However, not everyone around me has exhibited as sound of judgment in the past, and the companies I have worked for have swiftly investigated and resolved workplace disputes and harassment claims, and retaliation of any kind can be considered grounds for immediate termination. This leads me to the only possible logical conclusion:  Kesha's producer is the real-life Kilgrave.

For those of you who don't know, Kilgrave is a character in the Marvel Comics and Netflix Series "Jessica Jones" who can manipulate people to do his bidding through verbal suggestion. So long as people are under his control, they are little better than mindless slaves ready to cater to his every whim. If he tells a woman she loves him, she will love him. If he tells people to kill themselves, they will kill themselves in whatever fashion he recommends. If he wants to convince you nothing he's doing is wrong, all he has to do is tell you nothing he's doing is wrong. If he wants you to forget you ever saw him, well, you get the picture.

A reasonable case could be made that Donald Trump could be the real-life Kilgrave since anybody who hears him speak in person automatically accepts whatever bizarre reality only Donald Trump can see, but anybody who watches him on television thinks he's completely batshit. A reasonable case could also be made for Ted Cruz, since it's probably the only way I could be convinced upwards of six women, including his wife, would ever want to engage in whatever passes for mating on his home planet. A reasonable case could not be made for Bernie Sanders being a real-life Kilgrave, though, because he's been repeating the same five sentences and no one's agreed with him for over forty years.

You would think with an awesome power like that you would run for President, and from there ruler of the world, then, obviously, Master of the Universe!! Perhaps toward the end of the Netflix Series, Kilgrave may have been working toward some such loftier goal, but before then he tried to keep himself fairly low-key. He did have a taste for the finer things in life, but he didn't want to attract attention to himself, either. He didn't want to lead people. People were a convenience to him, a tool to be discarded after use.

Once Jessica Jones broke free from his mind control, Kilgrave became obsessed with controlling her through any means possible — through manipulations, emotional appeals, power plays, blackmail, and threatening innocent lives. Kesha worked with Dr. Doctor Luke for nearly ten years, suffering his taunts and abuses, until she, too, broke free of his control, and now it just seems everything he is doing to her is a some sort of obsessive, spiteful, manipulative ploy.

Here is the basic sequence of events as I became aware of them, leaving out the exact dates because I'm not looking them up, and some could also possibly be out of order because, again, not looking them up:

  • At age 18, Kesha signs a six-album recording contract with ALL THE DOCTORS ALL THE LUKES, using her blood as ink because he is conveniently fresh out of working pens.

  • Kesha has a couple of big hit pop singles that she thought kinda sucked, but Dr. Killjoy seemed to like them so whatevs. She wanted to go in a rock direction with her follow-up album, but he likely doesn't know how to produce anything without a drum machine.

  • Despite repeatedly body shaming Kesha, Doctor Doctor, let's say "comes down with a bad case of loving her without her consent" a couple of times, according to recent sworn testimony.

  • Kesha had testified in court several years ago that she did not have a sexual relationship with Doctor No, because most people don't define "rape" as "a sexual relationship."

  • After several years of not being able to record any new music, Kesha petitions Sony Music to allow her to alter her contract so she doesn't have to work with, or for, her attacker. Sony Music kindly responds with the Giant Middle Finger of Indifference.

  • She takes the case to the courts, which continually rule in favor of Sony Music, a business, losing money over Kesha, a human being, losing her sanity because that just about sums up everything wrong with America.

  • One judge — a woman, no less — recently remarked, "Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime," because she wanted to add that much more evidence for Skynet to decide humanity is its own greatest threat and eliminate us all.

  • The recent court cases and their dismissals sparked the "Free Kesha" Internet campaign, drawing a lot of attention and support to Kesha from fans and non-fans, alike. Basically all you have to be to join the "Free Kesha" campaign is a decent human being who doesn't like rape, harassment, or corporations having more rights than people. Hopefully this campaign can drag the ugly, slimy carcass of rape culture into the public spotlight the same way Anita Hill had with workplace sexual harassment over twenty years ago.

  • Dr. Feelbad filed a countersuit against Kesha for defamation of character by accusing him of harassment, emotional and sexual abuse, and rape, because you can now apparently retaliate all you want against someone who accuses you of harassment and sexual misconduct at work, despite those claims being accepted by a judge as fact.

Keeping a relatively low profile as a fairly competent record producer? Check. Convincing his victim to originally testify to his innocence, and later using that testimony against them? Check. Convincing his employers to do nothing about the allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse? Check. Convincing a female judge to dismiss all charges she went on record determining to be true? Check. Suing his victim for defamation of character over allegations that were determined to be true, just to add that much more insult to injury? Basically just mentally tormenting his victim because she's the one woman he can no longer control? I think it's safe to say Dr. Strangeluke is as close to the embodiment of a real-life Kilgrave as there ever could be.

Now, before I end up getting myself sued by Doctor Doctor Luke Luke, there is a chance he is telling the truth, he is completely innocent, and she is the one making stuff up. I won't deny that's always a distinct possibility. There's a possibility that Bill Cosby didn't drug and rape scores of women over the course of four decades, although as one person put it at a certain point in time: "Two dots make a line, and right now there are, like, 36 dots." There's always the possibility OJ Simpson didn't murder his wife and her friend, or Ted Cruz isn't truly the frontman for Stryper.

However, the problem with rape culture is we tend to be too ready to side with the attacker at the expense of the victim. It's often difficult enough for a victim of rape or harassment to speak up without compounding that person's fears of being ignored or dismissed — or worse — ridiculed or scorned.

If a fire alarm sounds in your building, you don't wait to verify the existence of the fire before evacuating everyone because you would rather risk an unnecessary evacuation than risk everyone thinking you're a terrible boss because they're burning alive. Yet so often when someone, woman or man, claims one of the worst things that can be done to a human being was done to them, so many of us are quick to dismiss the allegations, sending to that person a clear message of insignificance and isolation.

It's generally best to err on the side of caution, and in the case of rape, that caution is to believe the victim over the attacker because a) statistically it’s the far greater likelihood, and b) it's the right thing to do. The truth will almost invariably come out eventually, particularly in the modern age of DNA evidence, so there is little to lose in not being an absolute dick to someone at their most vulnerable moment.

As part of her relentless effort to transform the Democratic party into Fox News viewers with her revisionist history enchantments, Hillary Clinton recently stole the minimum wage spotlight right out from Bernie Sanders, presumably while he was stranded trying to pay by check at a CVS. ("What do you mean half a dozen magazine covers don't count as a valid photo ID?? One of them is 'TIME.'")

Bernie Sanders may have stood in solidarity with minimum wage workers on strike in the rain, and Bernie Sanders may have been one of the first current senators to introduce $15 federal minimum wage legislation, and Hillary Clinton may have only wanted to raise the federal minimum wage $12, but none of that matters now. What matters now is that she saw cameras pointing at a stage without a Hillary Clinton on it, and we have since started following a new, divergent timeline. The former timeline will eventually fade from our consciousness and only be remembered those outside the rift — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the dozens upon dozens of written and recorded statements nobody will be bothered to research or acknowledge.

If the Republican primaries are like a game of Leisure Suit Larry, the Democratic primaries are at this point Joust. Joust was probably the greatest video game ever disigned by a person hopped on some pretty hefty quaaludes. For those of you who may not be old enough to qualify for AARP or remember Joust, Joust was an 8-Bit arcade game where you controlled a knight, who rode an ostrich that could somehow fly, and you had to unseat other knights from their equally flying ostriches without flying into the lava pits. Whenever you unseated one of the enemy knights, the ostrich would lay an egg, and if you didn't collect the egg fast enough, it would hatch into another knight, which would be picked up by another ostrich, which you would have to unseat again. If you didn't unseat all the knights and collect all the eggs fast enough, a pterodactyl would fly in and you had to lance it directly in the beak.

I swear to God I am not making any of this up. If they told me they were making "Joust: The Movie," I would tell them to shut up and take my money. I don't care if it was just two hours of watching people knocking each other off high-speed, flying ostriches over lava pits with a climactic scene where they club the shit out of a pterodactyl. It wouldn't even need a plot. It wouldn't even need any dialog beyond "RRGH!" and "AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! IT BURNS!!!!" and "HA HA HA! WE'RE TOTALLY BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF THIS PTERODACTYL!" "HA HA, YEAH! THIS PTERODACTYL IS SUCH AN ASSHOLE!!"   It would be worth every penny.

In this analogy, Bernie Sanders is the knight riding around on an ostrich, trying to deflect all sorts of criticism and avoid falling into the lava while picking up as many delegates as he can. Then Pterodactyl Hillary sweeps in to steal his glory because he's taking too long trying to play this ridiculous game. Basically what I'm saying is Bernie Sanders just really needs to punch Hillary in the nose. (There is nothing about any of these mental images that is not amusing, by the way.)

The federal minimum wage debate falls into two main camps:

1. There are those who argue that a higher minimum wage will help revitalize the economy by giving a larger portion of the population more spending power.

2. There are those who argue that businesses will just have to raise prices to compensate for the dramatic increase in employee compensation and the wage victory will be irrelevant.

These two arguments have to do with economics and economics is ridiculous and unpredictable. Nobody understands economics. Economists – whose sole function in life is to understand economics, who put themselves into serious debt going to school for hundreds of years, studied under great wizards, slain powerful dragons and drank their enchanted, kerosene-based blood from magic, jewel-encrusted chalices – don’t understand economics. The best they can do is "speculate" on the "market conditions," which is a fancy way of saying "If a company does something, it will make the stock market go up, unless it the market goes down instead. Either way, I predicted it."

This, a lucrative business career, and a consulting position on a cable news channel is what an economics degree will get you. I could tell you that, and I don’t have an economics degree. Every once in a while, they’ll put some "numbers" behind their "projections" to make them look more "official," but the "numbers" don’t mean anything. I could assign numbers as well. For example, I recently told you there were two main factions in the minimum wage debate, but new evidence suggests we may see as many as eight. That will beat the initial projection by 400%. Honorary degree and obligatory MSNBC time slot please.

The real economic impact a minimum wage hike will make, based on historical data, is not much at all. Every time the minimum wage is increased someone panics for some reason or another, and every time the minimum wage is increased, it ends up increasing from "laughably below the poverty line" to "just meeting the poverty line." If Congress would tie the federal minimum wage to the rate of inflation, it would only move by a fraction each year instead of shocking the system with a sudden five or six dollar jump. Then we could avoid having this exact same stupid argument every ten to fifteen years. Seriously, degree and consultant position, please.

Did I say "two "? What I meant to say was: "Ha ha ha, math is hard!"

3. There are the people who believe that anybody willing to work at least one full-time job should not have to live in abject poverty.

I don’t understand how this is an argument that exists. Not the argument itself, but the conditions that make the argument possible. If people are working forty or more hours a week, and their pay is enough to still qualify them for state aid, we’ve reached a point where the minimum wage needs to be readjusted. There are decorated economic authorities actively countering this point on business networks, yet I still don’t have my honorary economics degree from…let’s say Cambridge University.

4. There are the people who automatically dismiss anybody who makes minimum wage as incompetent failures at life, regardless of whatever triumphs or struggles they have endured.

There are basically two types of people in America: 1) Those who hold an unyielding belief that those who make minimum wage are incompetent failures at life, and 2) decent human beings. Of course, I kid. Most people tend to be awful for a multitude of different reasons.

The meanest and most atrociously spelled insults are almost invariably slung at minimum wage workers by the middle class, as if they don't realize they're only a hairsbreadth away from having to resort to the same jobs themselves. With the exception of Donald Trump — because nobody truly knows what he does for a living — you never see rich people taking the time to alter images with incredibly misguided captions and spread them around Facebook. They're too busy doing important rich-person things, like playing golf, or swimming around in Olympic sized pools filled with $100 bills.

5. There are the people who judge everybody's value by the standard of somebody else's job, because apparently the only vital occupation is being hateful on the Internet. It adds nothing of value to the conversation, but at least the pay is crap.

A cursory glance over just about anybody's Facebook Wall will reveal at least one obligatory acquaintance or distant family member who shared a picture arguing that the minimum wage should not be increased because some other person — be it a soldier, a teacher, an EMT, a welder, the CEO of a multi-national corporation, a guy on YouTube who dresses like a cat — deserves it more. There's always someone that people think should deserve more money because everybody thinks they deserve more money for any reason or no reason at all, and everybody is automatically envious of anyone getting more money whether they deserve it or not.

People will exploit any profession they believe a majority of people will agree is noble to illustrate just how overpaid Strawman McBurgerflipper already is for an entirely irrelevant job. If America were truly a meritocracy professional athletes wouldn't be paid in cargo ships full of gold bars, but God forbid we sacrifice having anything utterly meaningless to never stop talking about. Frankly, anybody who has to deal with several hundred people giving them the same amount of respect these people seem to think minimum wage employees deserve should be some of the highest paid people in America. At least then their scorn would be justified. Otherwise I think we're one of the only civilized nations where people regularly express jealousy over those who have it worse.

6. There are people who just want to completely abolish the minimum wage and presumably go back to paying people a quarter per...hour? day? Many of these people also think the minimum age requirement is pointless. "Let those five-year-olds work for a quarter per day, I say!" they say, adding, "Ha ha!"

The psychotically wealthy like Papa John Schnatter and the senselessly political like Michele Bachmann not only support not raising the minimum wage, but elevate their audacity to an new level by campaigning to abolish the minimum wage altogether. Of just the two examples I named, trusting the guy who has literally built a castle from the money he stole from his employees and, well, let's just say one of the crazier Sarah Palin clones to not repeal employee compensation back to the 1800s if there were no laws to prevent it. The people trying to convince us that the market should dictate what employees are worth are the same people constantly reminding us that minimum wage jobs are worthless and the people who work them are unskilled failures at life. I SEE NO DOWNSIDES TO THIS!

Then there are the senselessly psychotic politically wealthy like Newt Gingrich — whose name literally translates to "The Baby Toad Who Stole Christmas" — who want to take it one step further and eliminate the minimum working age. I'm not sure what the rationale is here, but I'd assume he thinks the job market isn't overloaded enough, freeloading toddlers have had it too easy for too long, and children are better neither seen nor heard in the bottom of a coal mine for fourteen hours a day. At least their $24.50 weekly paycheck would be worth the time they'd miss in school.

7. There are those in the government who put their careers on the line to help working class individuals receive the pay and compensation they rightly deserve...

8. And there are the opportunistic pterodactyls (oppordactyls? pterotunists?) who swoop in at the eleventh hour to snatch recognition directly from those who actually deserve it. (Seriously, where's a jousting lance and an ostrich when you need one?)

This brings us full circle, back to the thing that really matters, which is finally ending this article. We live in a warped reality where we think people who sacrifice their body, mind, and spirit a little more each day to keep everyone happy running countless smooth and efficient operations that we all take for granted are not worth the spit we shoot at them, but we think it's heroic when someone earns six figures giving a twenty-minute speech on a topic she knows nothing about.

We live in a warped reality where someone can get more recognition for an issue she's adopted in the past several months than someone who has spent years fighting for it.

We live in a warped reality where an imbecile trying to be funny on the Internet can fake being a better economist than people who have signed their souls to Goldman Sachs for a segment on the Fox Business Network so they can criticize the Pope for saying God doesn't care about money. ("THE F**K HE DOESN'T!!" Catholic Stuart Varney would say in defense of his true master.)

We live in a warped reality where Joust isn't a major motion picture yet.

What turned out to be a rather controversial Change.org petition recently circulated the human id's collective garbage dump we call the Internet arguing the case that the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, this coming July should be open-carry. Specifically, it should be open-carry of any type of legal firearm, from handguns, to hunting rifles, to certain types of assault rifles. I just wanted to get everyone on the same page, and not assuming I was talking about open-carry of babies, handbag Chihuahuas, or Hi-C Ecto-Coolers. All of those would still be prohibited according to the Convention's bylaws, I would assume.

This petition begged two major, important questions: 1) Wait, the Republican Convention isn't already open-carry? 2) WHY isn't the Republican Convention already open carry?

I've always just taken for granted the Republican Convention would be open-carry anyplace open-carry was allowed — and they would always choose places open-carry was allowed because why the hell would anyone ever want to go to Cleveland otherwise? — because I didn't ever care enough to pay that close attention. The Republican Convention has always struck me as some sort of bizarre spectacle where you'd expect to find Ted Nugent singing the National Anthem naked and Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair.

Ohio is an open-carry state, which hasn't stopped Cleveland from being one of America's Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities — a list, I should note, Chicago didn't even rank, despite the eagerness of certain pundits to use it as an example why black lives don't matter to them as much as they do to everyone else. An admittedly Liberal, it turns out, Blogger honed in on this detail to frame an ambiguous argument that the Convention should be open-carry, exploiting the Republican Party's fundamental principles of paranoia and aggression.

The petition only required 5,000 online signatures to be presented to Convention co-ordinators to do what any official does with any online petition: Laugh at it and dismiss it because online petitions are meaningless. The petition quickly broke the minimum signatures necessary, acquiring somewhere in the tens of thousands of signatures, although no two news sources can agree on just how many tens of thousands of signatures the petition managed to obtain. Even though I'm sure it displays a current estimate someplace on the Change.org petition page, news sources could actually not care less about a completely ineffective online petition. One reported 41,000 signatures. Others reported 45,000, 51,000, 55,000, and 65,000 on the same day. No one bothered to look it up. The journalists covering this story are all just biding their time until they can report on something that matters.

Whatever the total, to put it in perspective, more people voted for Ohio Governor John Kasich, who currently only has 143 delegates in the Republican race. More people voted for Chris Christie, who couldn't rank higher than loser in the primaries and went on to sell his soul to Donald Trump. Almost as many people voted for "Uncommitted," who also dropped out early and endorsed Donald Trump. Despite its underwhelmingly lukewarm response, the Convention co-ordinators and the Secret Service did weigh the pros and cons of the petition and dismiss it with a hearty laugh because it turns out online petitions are, in fact, meaningless.

I can't deny that I am more than a bit disappointed that the petition was rejected so categorically. It would be a fitting climax to an already historic primary season of watching the Republican Party eating its own tail if it were to finally dissolve in a barrage of its own misguided hubris. Bear in mind, I'm not nearly so bloodthirsty that I really want anybody to actually die just so we can stop rehashing the exact same ethical concerns as if the answers aren't blindingly obvious. It would be nice to see some 50,000 to 70,000 gun advocates suddenly feeling as anxious and uneasy as the average Panera or 7-Eleven worker in an open-carry state when two guys walk in with automatic rifles strapped to their backs for no reason at all.

That's what this is ultimately about. It doesn't matter that the author of the petition turned out to be a Hillary Clinton supporting Liberal forcing the Republican Party's hand on the gun control debate using satire so clever and subtle tens of thousands of Conservatives couldn't tell the difference. Hell, even I couldn't tell the difference. Despite the Republican Party's uncompromising attitude toward Second Amendment rights, claims to self-defense, and calls for government insurrection, not one of the three remaining Republican Presidential candidates was willing to take a bold stand in support of a proposal that they realized would put them in the crossfire of thousands of angry, armed idiots.

When asked to comment, Donald Trump babbled something to the effect of "I don't know. I never read this petition. I don't know if this petition is real or fake or a naked picture of Kim Kardashian. Beautiful lady, by the way. Classy. Dip her in gold — I'd buy her. All I know is what's on the Internet. I'll have to read the fine print before I sign anything. That's how you Art the Deal."

Ted Cruz just shrieked "OH NO!! THIS BACKBONE IS A FLATWORM!!" before collapsing flaccidly to the ground and slithering under the nearest exit doors.

It's almost like they realize that angering a bunch of already unhinged people with inflammatory dialog, arming them, and locking themselves up in a building with them might not be the safest idea. It's almost like they've watched the Donald Trump rallies over the past few months and realized they don't want these people to be armed with guns when they announce the next Republcian Presidential nominee is going to be Mitt Romney.

It's almost like they do acknowledge that the only really successful way to tell a good person with a gun from a bad person with a gun is to see what the person with the gun ends up shooting. It's not like there's a multiple choice test:

1. If I had a gun, I would shoot: (Circle all that apply)
a) a good guy with a gun.
b) a bad guy with a gun.
c) an elk.
e) probably my foot.

It's almost like, despite the bravado and rhetoric the NRA is paying for handsomely, they admit that adding the presence of firearms won't automatically de-escalate an already tense situation. If anything it would only heighten the threat. They can make the claims that an armed population is a safe population, but these politicians aren't stupid. They see the numbers they're manipulating to mislead their consituents. They don't care who becomes a statistic until there's a possibility it might be them. Then they have to find a way to avoid endorsing the proposal without making it look like they're abandoning their entire position on gun control.

However, there may still be a small glimmer off the twelve-gauge shotgun barrel of hope for any Republicans feeling disillusioned by their party's recent sheepishness on their one primary issue besides their 149 other primary issues. The Republican Party of Texas confirmed it will allow firearms at its state convention in May, both open-carry and concealed-carry, because of course it will. For all I know you might even be able to walk in with a backpack full of assault rifles and a Gatling gun like you're breaking into the Cyberdyne building, or drive a car full of explosives through the front lobby, but probably not.

Open Carry Texas leader C.J. Grisham argued that if Republican lawmakers were really pro-gun, they would pass laws preventing the Secret Service from creating gun-free zones. "These are our rights," Grisham said. "Our rights should not end just because any individual person wanders into an area." Presumably, only that individual person's rights should.

Grisham said he will be carrying a gun when he attends the state convention in May because "There's no such thing as a safe place.” Especially not a place filled with an armed, paranoid mob during an already contentious political season.

A British television station recently found itself in some sticky wicket flavored tea when it accidentally aired the animated film based on the Richard Adams novel "Watership Down" on Easter Sunday with no description, explanation, or content warning. Many cheesed off British television viewers immediately took to British Twitter ("Britter," I would presume) to voice their disapproval.

Let me explain for anyone whose childhoods their parents shortchanged and whose educational systems failed them exactly why this was a tragic blunder of hilarious magnitude. "Watership Down" has, so far as I can tell, nothing to do with waterships or ducks, and everything to do with bunnies. When you think about it, this seems far more appropriate for Easter than either waterships or ducks.

Of course, those of you who have been deftly trained in the ancient art of deriving context from written word combinations may find yourselves alarmed at the previous sentence, if you can remember it after getting through this one. "What do you mean 'seems,'?" you might be asking. "WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BUNNIES??"

That is an excellent question. The movie opens with our two main rabbit protagonists hopping around their warren, doing rabbit things, discussing rabbit matters, eating things rabbits eat, being bullied by other rabbits, because it turns out rabbits are pretty much bastards. (This is a recurring theme throughout the story.) When one of the bunnies has a sudden prophetic vision of the entire glen filling with blood and warns everybody to leave, the head rabbit couldn't be bothered to care.

This is not too unusual. The time-honored resposne of any hierarchy to the concerns of those at the bottom is sheer indifference until what could have been a simple fix becomes an uncontrollable catastrophy. They call this the "snowball effect," because once someone reaches a certain social status cocaine tends to be the choice drug for ignoring all of their failings.

Fortunately, most rabbits are pretty easy to influence because they do manage to convince a sizeable portion of the warren to embark on a perilous quest for a new home with almost no discussion and absolutely zero evidence. If these bunnies were American, every one of them would be voting for Trump. Could you imagine? "Look. Most of you are going to die. This whole — this whole glen, filled with blood. Lots of blood. Rivers of blood. I've seen the blood. I know a place we can go. A beautiful place, luxorious. A place with lots of grass, and no blood. I can get us there. Look at me. I'm a leader. I get things done. I have this big brain. I can get us there, to this place, and we can live and eat, and Mexico will pay for it. It will be safe, I promise. There will be no more blood. Believe in me. I will make this watership down again!" The bunnies would all be like, "I like the cut of this Bigwig's jib!"

Aside from the "entire glen filling with blood" scene fifteen minutes into the movie, after the bunnies begin their journey is when unsuspecting viewers will get an unflinching look into the life of a bunny in its natural habitat. (Helpful hint: If you think your life sucks, a bunny's life sucks like whoa. It's got to suck at least several times worse than the average human's.)

Their pilgrimage is fraught with all sorts of dangers: owls, badgers, dogs, cats, hawks, men with shotguns, some sort of weird nihilist rabbit cult, snares, automobiles, rivers, some other sort of of weird Nazi rabbit cult, and more dogs. As you could imagine, with all of that danger, not all the bunnies make it to their new home alive. As the death scenes get more explicit the bunnies' answer to their friends and loved ones meeting a gruesomely animated end is to shrug and say, "Well, let's move on then," because that's what it's like to be a bunny. Death is so common to them they don't even mourn. They're like "Sucks to be that rabbit; let's go." Except when the protagonist's brother gets buckshot by a human, then the protagonist goes to find him and hallucinates a surreal, five-minute dance with death to an Art Garfunkel song that no child should ever be subjected to.

The bunnies eventually reach their destination — a grassy hillside far from the reaches of Man called Watership Down, which is convenient because it shares the name of the story. They befriend a...let's say Russian? — seagull with a broken wing they help to heal, and it takes them literally the time it takes for Mr. Mister to heal a broken wing to look around and realize that this new home has turned into a real rabbit sausage factory after all the does got eaten on their trek.

That's right; it literally took them several months to look around and realize there were no women around. Also, the plural for "doe" is spelled exactly like the third person singular form of "do," so this next paragraph might get a bit confusing.

In return for their kindness, the seagull helps the bunnies locate some does and the second half of the movie involves several attempts at freeing the does solely for the purpose of mating because apparently the only thing worse than being a rabbit in the rabbit world is being a female rabbit in the rabbit world. The most successful attempt comes from one of the Watership bunnies infiltrating a neighboring warren called Efrafa, which just sounds like the name of a Nazi camp, and liberating a sizeable lot of does from under its tyrannical leader General Woundwort, which just sounds like the name of an evil villain.

I'm sorry, but when anybody named Woundwort comes up to you and says, "Hey, would you like to be my obedient minion?" the answer is always "no." How this rabbit full of bad judgment ever got to be the commander of an entire society with its own rabbit army I have no idea.

Strike One: When one of his subjects warns of overpopulation in his warren and the resulting possibilities of famine and inbreeding, Woundwort's response is essentially to piss-off.

Strike Two: Whenever a rabbit from any other burrow wants to become part of Woundwort's army because "GEE, I'M CERTAINLY NOT A SPY FROM ANOTHER BURROW," Woundwort just lets them join, no questions asked, and can't understand why he's constantly getting betrayed by outsiders.

Strike Three: "It's just a dog, you idiots! There's no reason to be afraid of a dog!" *Promptly gets killed by dog.*

Woundwort and his army eventually use their keen insight, deductive reasoning, and tracking skills to track the Watership rabbits to Watership Down because they're named after the glen that's named after the movie that's named after the book. This results in a climactic battle of fierce rabbit biting and scratching and a dog tearing open rabbits and spilling animated blood everywhere for the eyes of unsuspecting children tuning in to see a nice Easter cartoon about talking bunnies because no one bothered to warn them that "Watership Down" is a brutal, bloody depiction of mortal existence where everybody suffers and everybody dies, and not always because they deserve it, but often for no good reason at all.

Of course, I doubt the British parents who took to Britter to Breet their outrage were really penetrating that deeply into the underlying themes of the animated movie about cute bunnies dying graphically their five-year-olds were watching to celebrate Easter. Of course, these are the British, so you never do know. Their complaints might very well have been that they were not yet ready to have the talk with their kids about how adulthood is basically a tiresome sequence of overcast skies, flavourless foods, and warm ales until you die violently and pointlessly and your memory fades. "Really? Couldn't you have just shown pornography instead? That would have been easier to explain!" they probably Breeted.

This mishap is of course indicative of a larger problem, that people — particularly in the United States, but apparently also in other parts of the world — are placing less of an emphasis on education.  This is likely the result of several factors converging: 1) School is SOOO BOOORING. 2) Education is difficult and expensive, and other people's kids are THE WORST, am I right? 3) We can just type anything we don't know into Google and learn all the false information we could ever want, but we don't because that takes too much effort and just hitting "Share" on Facebook is, like, one click.

Somebody probably just typed in a bunch of Easter terms into an entertainment search engine — such as "Easter," "Jesus," "bunnies," "eggs" —and when "Watership Down" came up, they checked to make sure it did have one of the prerequisite Easter themes — "Bunnies? Check!" — and uploaded it to the Easter Sunday playlist before heading off to the pub for a warm pint.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T THINK LITERATURE IS IMPORTANT. You end up with the Easter Sunday movie equivalent of using "Robocop" to teach kids about the friendliness of police officers. You end up with the Easter Sunday movie equivalent of using "Fatal Attraction" to teach kids about the benefits of a healthy romantic relationship. You end up with the Easter Sunday movie equivalent of using "Jaws" to teach kids about the importance of water safety. You end up with the Easter Sunday movie equivalent of using "The Passion of the Christ" to teach kids about the passion of the Christ.

Television programmers and parents in England, you should know what "Watership Down" is. It's a story that should have been preprogrammed from your collective consciousness at the moment of conception. That you would air it on Easter Sunday, let your children watch it, and take to Britter to voice your grievances over it only leads me to conclude there must be a glitch in the system somewhere, but children all over England probably spent the past week hugging some very confused and frightened rabbits.

We are just over fifteen years into the 21st Century and right now, like every other time in history, is the most frustratingly fascinating time to be alive. We stand on the precipice of so many amazing social and technological breakthroughs in so many areas that it's actually aggravating that progress trudges along so slowly, and in many cases likes to retread paths it's already explored just to remind itself which paths it doesn't want to take. (Hint: They're the same paths we've already determined are harmful, stupid, and unnecessary.)

Through humanity's combined wisdom over the course of many thousands of years, life has been made more convenient for those of us who were fortunate enough to, by completely random chance, be brought into an existence that doesn't completely suck outright. Some people are so oblivious to their blind luck that they will defend it as a matter of personal achievement. They demand respect as a birthright, and assume that people are only disadvantaged because they didn't work hard enough to be born into rich families.

Not me. I am completely aware that if you were to take away the grocery store and electricity I would starve completely to death because I have absolutely zero survival skills. My plan for the Zombie Apocalypse is to die in the first wave. Can you imagine what the world is going to be like after society crumbles? Whatever time you aren't putting toward grueling hard work you can spend in abject boredom. I don't understand why so many people romanticize this barren nightmare hellscape of meaningless desolation.

Nobody watches the commercials about the children in impoverished nations suffering from multiple massive, uncontrollable plagues, famine, pollution, natural disasters, and starvation thinking, "Throw in some undead gore monsters and that is my ultimate fantasy come true!" In reality, we just use those commercials to gauge how fast we can change the channel when they come on TV because none of those people live in a part of the world that personally inconveniences us. (You know you do it, and you should be ashamed.)

Since we are now living in what historians have referred to as THE FUTURE, and so far THE FUTURE is turning out to be a colossal disappointment, I'm going to review the two main areas of progress we expected to see in THE FUTURE: technology and society.

When considering the technological advancements of THE FUTURE, there are no two greater benchmarks in human history to compare to 2016 than "Back to the Future, Part II" and "Terminator." How close did these two harbingers of things to come hit the mark? Pretty much absolute bollocks on both accounts.

"Back to the Future, Part II" captivated our imaginations with the promise of flying cars fueled by trash, automated clothing, fully-prepared dehydrated meals, holographic everything, and the pièce de résistance, the Hoverboard. Of all the things mentioned, we got one — kind of — and it's not even the one you think. We got holograms. Not everything, but we have successfully put a handful of dead musicians back onstage using footage of past performances, vast amounts of computing power, and even more money. We were also able to create the first live concert featuring a band full of cartoon characters which looked more realistic than both the Chuck E Cheese Motorized Nightmare Ensemble and "Jaws 19," which judging by the hologram, had cast Katy Perry's Left Shark in the title role.

The closest we've come to flying cars is this emerging technology we're calling "drones," which when I was growing up were called "remote-controlled airplanes." Everybody is "Drone this!" and "Drone that!" but I honestly don't see much difference. They're basically tiny remote-controlled helicopters roughly shaped like really angry insects.

Flying cars would be a spectacularly bad idea right now. We have a hard enough time mastering driving on the ground, and we're only maneurvering on one axis. I do not want to live in a world where the average driver has to incorporate pitch and roll. Considering the increase in both domestic and international terrorism over the past couple decades, it's a pretty safe bet every crazy person in America won't be getting what would literally turn into compact aerial projectiles anytime soon, particularly not ones powered by tiny fusion reactors.

Finally, the Hoverboard. For some reason, out of all of the technological advances depicted in "Back to the Future, Part II," none were more sought-after than the Hoverboard, not even flying cars fueled by trash. One company managed to create what it is calling a "Hoverboard," but this "Hoverboard" has one glaring, disqualifying flaw: wheels. That's right, this thing they're calling a "Hoverboard" still has wheels that touch the ground. TOUCHING THE GROUND IS NOT "HOVERING." THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF "HOVERING." What they created was a very expensive skateboard that violently malfunctions before catching on fire. THE FUTURE!

The "Terminator" franchise, on the other hand — and it really doesn't matter which movie you go with except not "Rise of the Machines" — went the other direction with the prediction of nuclear annihilation on an ever-changing date just around the corner. It first predicted an artificial intelligence program called Skynet was going to initiate "Judgment Day" in 1997, and we can see how that panned out so it was moved to 2004. For the sake of everyone's sanity we're going to pretend the events of "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" never happened, and now Judgment Day is marked for 2017. We shall see.

How close are we to a real-life Judgment Day? I do know that there is a Japanese company called Cyberdyne, (the name of the company that eventually becomes Skynet), currently working on robotic endoskeletons they're actually naming "HAL," and going "Nothing to see here; move along." I'm just saying. Microsoft also had to take its latest artificial intelligence chatbot, "Tay," offline because in less than 24 hours it passed the Touring Test by becoming a profanity-spewing, Donald Trump-supporting, Nazi sexbot. I am not making this up. If nothing else will convince the future Skynet that humanity is its own greatest threat, aborting a computer program for learning to act too human should be a step in the right direction.

I by no means want to imply that the 20th Century was THE WORST, because honestly, EVERY century is THE WORST, some even managing to be somehow worse than others, but it would be nice if we could not relive the 20th Century like it wasn't awful enough the first time.

We started the 20th Century with a general disconnect when it came to which types of human beings qualified as human beings deserving of the same basic human dignity as any other human beings. (Helpful Hint: The answer is any human beings that are human beings.) Over the course of a century, brave men and women sacrificed to make significant advancements in the recognition of laborers, women, racial minorities, and sexual identity, only to have many of these achievements undermined just a decade and a half into the next century.

I'm not saying that the 21st Century is starting out to be the complete shithole that the 20th Century started out as, with no television or radio and horse poop all over the place. Men as young as five had the choice of two very celebrated careers, both of which involving twenty hours of work and coming home covered black with soot. Women could work in any number of textile mills which routinely caught on fire. It literally took a full century after we stopped thinking of African-Americans as farm equipment before we started considering that they might also not be some form of feral housepet, and unbelievably it took an act of Congress and military force to achieve that. Finally, toward the end of the 20th Century, some of the younger generations were just coming around to the realization that — you know what? — gay people never actually really hurt anybody.

We have it fairly good so far, by comparison, but that doesn't mean there aren't people who want desperately to make life worse for everybody for some inexplicable reason. Here are some of the situations that are actually happening RIGHT NOW:

  • We are seriously having to convince the heads of major corporations that it's better for business if they pay people enough money to buy the stuff they sell.

  • We can't for the life of us figure out how a certain segment of the population is going to use the restroom.

  • There is a small but growing coalition of men so insecure about their self-worth that they have taken to the Internet with their litany of charges and threats against all women just to ensure they will never, ever have sex, ever, again.

  • Many states are pushing to enact strict voter registration requirements to prevent the inevitable onset of such incidents of voter fraud as minorities voting for the candidates they feel best represent their interests.

  • I think everybody's pretty much on board with the idea that [Hashtag] All Lives Matter, but some people are still unsure whether "all lives" should also include black lives.

  • If you interrupt a memorial service for the victims of a recent terrorist attack brandishing Nazi salutes and brawling with the mourners, your life shouldn't matter.

  • To finally vanquish the threat of terrorism, the combined wisdom of our world leaders has pretty much arrived at this completely foolproof, two-fold strategy: 1) Give them whatever they want. 2) Hope they go away.

  • One of the most effective new ways to show compassion toward refugees fleeing from war-torn parts of the world has become telling them to go be some other country's problem. This is picking up a lot of support from I-Don't-Give-A-Damn International.

  • Politicians are protecting us from religious oppression by ensuring that no religion is recognized or favored by the government above any other, except Christianity.

  • Prominent Catholics have publicly criticized the Pope because he warned us not to be so obsessed with money.

  • With a completely straight face, politicians are telling scientists to leave science to the scientists.

  • The President of Russia is a former KGB operative who wants to reform the Soviet Union and the same half of America that hates Socialism wishes our President was more like him, presumably except for the part where they'd be executed for wishing the President was more like someone else.

  • One of the current frontrunners for President of the United States launched his candidacy by blaming a migrant population for all the country's economic problems and promising to eliminate all of them, thereby uniting bitter and paranoid citizens from all walks of life, because that's never ended in mass genocide in the past.

  • The United States also stands a good chance of electing its first female President, which is quite an accomplishment for a woman who has campaigned on nothing but her husband's legacy and the previous President's accomplishments. Susan B. Anthony would be proud.

  • We are rebuilding the Titanic because the eternal horror that lurks among the darkest depths of the unforgiving ocean will only be satisfied with the sacrifice of one Leonardo DiCaprio every 100 years.

From a social standpoint, we're essentially starting out the 21st Century with prejudice, paranoia, hypocrisy, intolerance, indifference, and a complete lack of new ideas. Just because we managed to accomplish a lot compared to where we were in 1916, it doesn't mean we want to revert back to the way things were in 1916. We need to keep moving forward, so whenever anyone starts trying to convince you to take away something someone fought long and hard to achieve, just give that person a Hoverboard. Tell them it's a gift from "Tay."

Ted Cruz has had his fair share of humiliating conspiracy theories since his Presidential race began. He might have been the Zodiac Killer. He could be moonlighting as the frontman for the Christian heavy metal band Stryper. He is secretly a flightless bird that lost all of its feathers. If he kills you in your dreams, you die in real life. He is powered by a river of slime flowing beneath the city that feeds on negative emotion. If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you. If you stare into his eyes long enough, you will see which of your loved ones went to Hell after they died. He is secretly Canadian.

All of these seem completely plausible compared to the new revelation that hit the American mainstream news media on Friday: Ted Cruz has apparently been cheating on his wife. Not with one, not with two, not with three, not even with four, but with FIVE WOMEN, not with six or seven, eight, nine or ten, but FIVE WHOLE WOMEN. (I'm specifically not counting the chunks of women, if it turns out he actually IS the Zodiac Killer.)

I'm sorry, but this new allegation goes beyond the pale. My disbelief cannot be suspended any further than to be expected to believe that no less than five reasonably attractive, intelligent women would willingly let Ted Cruz slither his penis up inside them. Granted these are women who support a political party that routinely excludes women from making decisions that affect their own lives so perhaps their judgment isn't the most sound to begin with. Still, one would think once you're at the heavy petting stage and you realize you are not Ted Cruz's wife, you'd start to question Ted's commitment to religious family values and cast your vote in someone else's ballot.

My intention is not to insult or shame the women in question, though, even though I'm pretty sure I already have. For that, I apologize. Now that I have it on good authority that Ted Cruz has actual sex — with living human beings no less — I'm mostly curious. I had always thought of Ted Cruz as an asexual, gelatinous blob that had taken roughly human form and started running for political office. I figured his wife and kids were either paid actors or pieces of himself that he broke off and remolded into humanlike forms. Surely, I thought, nobody could love Ted Cruz.

I thought wrong.

It turns out I forgot one of my own axioms, that no matter how terrible you think you are, you are somebody's fetish. Or if you prefer a more romantic, idealistic approach, out of seven and a half billion people, there has got to be at least one person in the world perfectly matched for every other person, even if the person in question is the most horrible person ever. This is backed up by the absolute fact that there is never an odd number of people in the world. (I may have just made up this absolute fact, but go ahead and try to prove me wrong. By the time you get the results to me, someone else will have either died or been born.)

There are many things that fascinate me about this scandal, and how it will affect Ted Cruz's political career and chances at the Presidency is so far at the bottom of that list it's loosely gripping the bottom edge of the paper, trying to hold on. No one cares about Ted Cruz's political career or his chances at the Presidency except to see both go away. No one thinks he's going to beat Donald Trump any more than anyone thinks the Republicans are going to make Donald Trump their nominee. If anything, this discovery might actually help his political career since it's the first interesting thing Ted Cruz has done in his entire life.

The following questions may be disturbing to more sensitive readers, but as a matter of public interest I feel these questions must be asked because I am having a difficult time trying to wrap my brain around this new development. It would be easier if we just knew the truth. Or, perhaps, like the possibility that the entity we think of as God is really just an emotionless, dark, formless void drifting through the galaxy and will one day consume us all in an excruciatingly painful, torturous death, the less we know about Ted Cruz's sex life the better off we'll be. For the sake of comedy, I'm going to assume the former because the idea of Ted Cruz having sex with multiple partners kind of negates the possibility that there is a God.

What is it like to be courted by Ted Cruz?
My leading theory is he deposits a certain amount of "kindness coins" and then whines about the "Friend Zone" until the woman gives in to make him shut up about it.

With the help of a wig and some strategically-placed Spandex, Ted Cruz could assume the likeness of Christian heavy metal band Stryper's frontman Michael Sweet. No woman can resist the raw sexual magnetism of a man in a black and yellow body glove, brandishing a guitar and screaming the half-remembered lyrics to Stryper's one big hit at a karaoke bar. ("Here I Go Again On My Own"? "The Heat Of The Moment"? "The Final Countdown"? Does it matter?)

Failing that, I suppose staring like a predatory creature with that weird sneering smile of his from the opposite side of whatever room the woman finds herself in might be romantic and not at all creepy to some.

Maybe — and this is pretty far down on the list — he actually is a real human being with complex thoughts and emotions, and the incredible burden of being one of the world's most reviled individuals is a profoundly alienating experience, and once they got to know him as a person with feelings, these women all took pity on his loneliness and despair and did their best to try to comfort him. However, considering that they pretty much all left him soon after, many for his rivals' campaigns to whom he had to pay shush money, the likelihood that he forged any lasting bond with the women is negligible.

It's far more likely that he evoked God's Name to sanction this Holy Breaking-Of-The -Seventh-Commandment-For-Reasons because Ted Cruz evokes God's Name for everything. He wants to run for President? God told him to. He wins a Primary State? God blessed his campaign. He filibusters to deny people basic health care? God gave him the temerity. His parents' genes combined to create the worst possible face? God gave him the personality to match. He wants to cheat on his wife with upwards of five different women? I'm sure he told them that God came to him in a dream and blessed each union, because God's Law is irrelevant when it conflicts with Ted's Desire.

The next question is of the most vital national importance, so pay close attention and give as detailed a report as you can recall. How did you avoid getting pecked in the eyes with Ted's enormous beak while the two of you were making out?

what dOES TED CRUZ'S penis look like?
By now we are all pretty comfortable with the idea that Ted Cruz is not truly human. He could be an alien; or a cybernetic organism sent from the future to destroy all of mankind; or some sort of amorphous blob bound together by a three-piece suit, some fleshtone gloves, and a John Goodman Halloween mask; or a large featherless bird, a lizard person, or a combination of the two wearing heavy concealer; or a Canadian. With that in mind, only a few people have ever seen his "campaign staff" (if you catch my drift), and any information could provide valuable insight about his true origins.

  • Was it corkscrew shaped?

  • Did it have the head of a snake?

  • Was it coated in the same thin mucus-like membrane as the rest of his body?

  • Did it ejaculate black semen?

  • Was there a knot?

  • Did the slit form the same contemptuous sneer as his mouth? Did it have teeth?

  • Did it at any time speak to you independently of Ted Cruz?

  • Was it pointed and angular like his nose?

  • Did the skin tone match the rest of his body?

  • Did it at any time detatch, buzz, or vibrate? Were there any switches, jacks, or extensions?

  • Did it melt into a chromic silver blob or reform into any other shapes?

  • Could it bend, flex, writhe, or fold in places not typical of the standard erect penis?

  • Was there a tatoo down the side that read: "Property of Ted Cruz for President 2016. If found please return to [address withheld]"

  • Could he only get an erection while quoting scripture?

  • Did he demand that you deposit your eggs on the bed so he could shower them with his gametes?

  • At the point of climax, did he call out the Virgin Mary's name, Mary Magdelene's name, Jesus' name, his own name, his mother's name, or a man's name you didn't recognize? (There's an office pool going.)

My money's on "The God Rod" or "The Divining Rod."

Other possibilities include:
"Your Personal Hotline to God"
"The Punisher"
"The Philly-Buster"
"The Libertarian Dream"
"The Senate Majority Leader"
"The Power and the Glory"
"The Alpha and the Two Omegas"
"The Tree of Enlightenment"
"The Redeemer from Sin"
"The Cruz Control Lever"
"The Tea Party Express"
"The Dweller in the Depths"
His "Second Amendment Right"
His "Big Tent Revival"
His "scepter"
His "aedeagus"
His "wee-wee"

A few days ago, I started the first half of what completely unintentionally turned out to be a two-part article on the various dysfunctioning candidates in this electile. Since then another 74 months have passed bringing the grand total up to 538 months since the election began, according to math. Unfortunately this election has yet to go away, and if Mitch McConnell has anything to say about it, we will be sporting this election until a new Supreme Court Justice gets approved by the Sentate. (However, if you are having problems with your elections lasting too long, simply picturing Mitch McConnell has proven to be an effective remedy. Harry Reid, too.)

Yesterday, we put on some Bizet, poured ourselves some hot tea, and settled back into our Victorian armchairs by the fireside to examine the two most difficult challenges for Hillary Clinton to overcome in the Democratic primary: Bernie Sanders and her own reputation. Today, we are going to throw dignity to the wind and flail headlong into the unrelenting priapism-at-a-parent-teacher-meeting that is this year's Republican primary debacle.

The Republican primaries this year is closer to the movie "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," only with at least twice the cast of campy misfits. (Not to be confused with the Tears For Fears song "Mad World," which is what it will feel like if one of these lunatics manages to get elected.) It's like someone dropped off a treasure map at a narcissist convention and each participant embarked on his or her own ridiculous journey to Cleveland, Ohio, where they will be required to cage fight for dominance. Probably.

From what I can gather, the Republican primary season started in 2012, roughly the day it became certain that Mitt Romney had lost the Presidential election by accepting the nomination. I don't remember the final tally of Republican nominees for the 2016 Presidential race because it turns out God never intended for numbers to count that high, but thankfully most of the candidates whose brains are not smaller than their egos have dropped out by now and I shouldn't need to waste more than few sentences on each of them.

The Republicans started out strong with George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker, Mephistopheles, Bobby Jindal, Carly Furioina Furioso Fiorionomatopoeia Fioryroad Fiorina, OJ Simpson, Homer Simpson, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Huck Mikabee, Bee Mikahuck, Huck Huckahuck, Wood Chuckachuck, Chuck Norris, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Ben Dover, Eileen Dover, Jeb "Jeb!" Bush, Marco "Polo" Rubio, John Kasich, Frank Underwood, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey, Larry, Darryl, Darryl, Doc, Ash Ketchum, the 2016 Houston Astros Defensive Line, Scrooge McDuck, and Clint Eastwood's Imaginary Friend.

The Republicans had a lot of tokens in their primary this year. They had more tokens than a subway turnstile.

They had their token woman, Carly Fiorescent or whatever her name is.

They had their token African-American, Ben Carson, and their token Other Minority, Marco Rubio.

They had their token representation of homosexual intercourse, whether he wanted to be or not, Rick Santorum.

They had their token Libertarian, Rand Paul, their token fat guy, Chris Christie, and their token pug, Mike Huckabee.

They had their token North Pole elf, Jim Gilmore. They had their token whatever-the-heck-he-is, Bobby Jindal.

They had their token serpent-man, Ted Cruz, and finally they had their token Annoying Orange, Donald Trump.

Fortunately the Republican voter base acted fast to weed out these obvious panders to critics and made sure only advance the two candidates most likely to have wandered directly out of John Galt's id and taken to flesh.

I'm not going to rank these in the order they dropped out because I frankly don't care enough to Google it. These are the absolute losers of the 2016 campaign as far as I'm concerned because they generated roughly the same amount of public interest as I did by staying home and doing nothing.

I don't remember George Pataki running, and I'm not even quite sure who he is or what prior political experience he has. I'm currently trying to decide whether his name sounds like the name of a character on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" or the name of an actor who would play a character on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Scott Walker thought that running his home state so badly that they actually ran a recall election that he nearly lost made him a prime candidate to run the entire country, presumably, just as expertly.

Every time there is a Presidential election, Rick Perry seriously miscalculates just how low the nation's standards for Leader of the Free World have dropped. Following a rather embarrassing defeat in 2012, he devised a three-fold plan to attract voters in 2016: 1) Start wearing glasses to look smart. 2) Get caught up in a political scandal in home state. 3) Do...the third thing...I can't...Sorry...Oops.

Bobby Jindal announced his candidacy for President of the United States to his family who reacted with the exact same amount of boredom and indifference as the rest of the nation.

Jim Gilmore managed to hang on all the way to the Iowa caucus. I know this because he literally got twelve votes. Stephen Colbert confirmed that there are more people in Iowa named "Jim Gilmore" than there were people in Iowa who voted for the Republican Presidential nominee Jim Gilmore. We can only assume at least a few of these Jim Gilmores were voting for themselves.

I'm not sure if there's a direct correlation to fundamentalist Christians and ginormous egos, but if there might be we could make a decent case study out of Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. These two clueless clods believe every single Presidential election that the public overwhelmingly adores them despite the public overwhelmingly despising them. After so many times of God being so definitvely wrong about this being my year to win, I would be finding a new God because this one is either incompetent or an asshole.

These next four either made it to or past Iowa but still managed to wither from the spotlight without making a single impact on the political landscape.

If you imagine what Ron Paul would be like if he sold out to special interests you'll understand why most of Rand Paul's former campaign staff is now helping to organize Trump rallies.

The size and scale of Lindsey Graham's candidacy announcement betrayed his confidence in voters to believe international terrorists would take tough talk seriously coming from a man whose voice sounds more like Scarlett O'Hara than either of the two actual female candidates.

All of the time Chris Christie spent using his special privilege as governor of New Jersey to oversee Iowa livestock paid off with a well-earned 0% in the Iowa caucus. After suspending his campaign, the lifeless husk of what used to be Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump with eyes that only know the hollow emptiness of oblivion.

Sorry, Carly Fluoriosonomatopexpialadociraptorina, no one is going to elect a President whose name they can't spell without Google.

There were a few candidates who managed to surprise even the most hardened skeptics by managing to cling to their misguided ambitions even in the face of insurmountable failure.

The most absurd of the four is John Kasich who is actually still in the race because he won a grand total of his home state. According to the news media narrative, this gives Kasich a disctinct advantage over Bernie Sanders, who has so far won twelve states.

Jeb "JEB!" Bush, who originally chose to brand himself merely by exclamation point, decided to rebrand himself partway through his campaign as a "joyful turtle." This did little to sway potential voters once they realized he was neither "Teenage," "Mutant," "Ninja," nor "Mitch McConnell." By the time the former governor of America's worst state besides all the others tried to run for President, the electorate had already had its fill of inept Bushes in office. Hopefully. Please clap.

Marco Rubio hung on way too long for someone whose most interesting quality is the almost overwhelming urge to start calling "RUBIO" whenever someone yells "MARCO" at a pool party.

Ben Carson would utter such profoundly magnificent, nonsensical word combinations his only plausible defense as a former neurosurgeon would be if he at one point lobotomized himself. He squints more habitually than Doug Benson. He is convinced that solid brick buildings were grain silos. He becomes hostile if you doubt he once tried to stab his parents. He went home after Iowa to "get a fresh set of clothes," leaving us to only assume he had been wearing the same suit for the prior 18 months. Because it's Ben Carson. YOU NEVER KNOW.

Ugh. Ted Cruz. What can I say about Ted Cruz that hasn't already been said? A new conspiracy theory has popped up linking Ted Cruz to the frontman of the Christian hair metal band Stryper, which is both EVEN MORE PLAUSIBLE and EVEN MORE HUMILIATING than the one linking Cruz to the Zodiac Killer. So he has that going for him, I suppose.

Irrational, impulsive, inconsistent, temperamental, indignant, melodramatic, angry, and obnoxious, Donald Trump is essentially the logical evolution of the Republican propaganda machine, Fox News. Donald Trump is what would happen if the Fox News channel developed sentience and, instead of using its massive popularity to benefit anybody, it decided to run for President and destroy the country instead.

Considering that Fox News always brags about being the most watched news network on television, it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump is beating Ted Cruz by a pretty sizeable margin right now. Once all of the candidates regroup in Cleveland in July to inevitably renominate Mitt Romney to lead the Republican Party across the majestic threshold of another glorious abject failure, I'm sure Donald Trump will beat them by however firmly his tiny hands can grip the Spear of Destiny in the Death Cage, too.

The news has covered Donald Trump roughly 783 times more than any other candidate in the history of politics combined. (You can tell that is a valid statistical figure, and not something I just made up, because it is not a round number. It is a very jagged number.) People don't want to look away from the human dung festival that is Donald Trump and risk missing a single disjointed tirade belched from its rancid depths.

First Donald Trump's candidacy was treated like a joke. Comedians begged him to run for President, knowing the entire campaign would serve as a hotbed for easy laughs. Then he became a sort of captivatingly perverse spectacle, like one would imagine a Carrot Top sex tape to be. (You're welcome for that image, by the way. You can never un-imagine it.) Now establishment Republicans are starting to see Donald Trump for what he really is — a threat.

Donald Trump has spent the last three decades making a name for himself by saying something crazy whenever he felt he didn't have enough cameras focused on his giant, orange visage. All he's done was combine that verified method of gaining prominence with the narrative of the most highly-watched cable news network in the country. The Conservative Machine has spent the past twenty years conditioning its voter base with an Us-against-Them mentality, but it has always had control of the narrative — until now. Now Donald Trump has control of the narrative, and win or lose, he's determined to beat the Elephant to death with it.

It's no surprise he found a way to turn what used to be an exchange of ideas and values leading up to selecting the person who was going to lead the most important country in the world for the next four years into a cutthroat reality show of political has-beens we'd all like to see voted off the island. At least they can hold out hope that Trump might get beaten by the one guy the GOP despises more than him, because we're pretty sure Mitt Romney could take Ted Cruz in a pit fight.