free site statistics Fires of the Frozen Lower Blogosphere: September 2005 <bgsound src="" loop="infinite" />

The Lower Blogosphere Burns with the Intensity of a Thousand Suns.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Growing the Economy

I have many duties as the United States' most distinguished economist. During my tenure at the Office of Imaginary Numerology I was entrusted with solving long term crises such as preserving the solvency of Social Security, to short term problems like managing the national deficit. After the recent recession and sluggish recovery, I was ordered (by the president) to draw up new government policies for improving the economy. The following proposals as well as the outline for my new “Greeting Card” pet project were submitted to the president during fiscal year 2005, and are pending review and implementation.

Lowering the National Deficit

According to the business cycle, the economy will expand, peak, and then contract. After it hits bottom, it recovers and the whole process starts anew. During contraction, the government is forced to spend money to hasten the recovery process. This adds to the national deficit. Therefore, it is advised to eliminate all government spending during an economic recession. In my professional opinion, doing this will alleviate the national deficit. The only side effect is a possible depression and extremely high unemployment rate. Of course, this can be offset by changing the definition of “unemployment” to exclude people who have no income. It is also recommended that the Federal Reserve raise interest rates to about 50%. This will encourage people to invest in high-interest government bonds, thus solving all our financial problems.

Keeping Gas Prices Under Control

If the Laffer Curve teaches us anything, it's how to keep gas prices down. Using the curve, we see that if the tax rate is too high or too low, the government only takes in a fraction of what it could potentially amass. To find out if the problem is the tax rate, the national tax on gasoline should be increased by $20 per gallon. After one week, the gas tax should be eliminated and massive subsidies should be given to the petroleum and auto industries. After another week or so, both industries will realize that money can't actually buy true happiness. They will then cooperate to build newer, more fuel-efficient cars. Once the demand for gasoline decreases, the price will drop.

Dealing with the Chinese Government

Over the last decade or so, China has emerged as a capitalist power. But while they may be economically dynamic and almost magical, they have been buying up dollars. Over the long haul, being indebted to the Chinese government poses a security risk. The easiest way to eliminate China as an economic threat is to force them to import more than they export. Unfortunately, they have a massive labor force and import far less than they export. Countless hours of research concluded that the one thing China needs to import the most is oil. It is therefore advisable to sell the Chinese government the entire Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as well as our arsenal of nuclear weaponry. This will cause China to import more than it exports, leaving its citizens completely demoralized and disillusioned. Their economy will crumble.

Fixing Social Security #1

Social Security is the most successful and widely loved entitlement program in American history. Unfortunately it is a “pay as you go” system, whereby the younger workers of society have a portion of their paychecks divvied up among the elderly who also used to have a portion of their paychecks removed. This will stress the system when the baby boomer generation retires (they're already starting to). The only way to counteract the baby boomer crunch is with, get this: another baby boomer generation. A third world war would certainly accomplish this goal, but the people of the early 22nd century would just end up facing the same insolvency problem that we do now. Therefore, after the third world war, the government must repeal all environmental regulations and actually encourage unhealthy personal habits. This will give the second baby boomers a much lower life expectancy, preventing them from reaching retirement and sparing the people of the future from having a fourth world war.

Fixing Social Security #2

Immediately raise the retirement age for all baby boomers to 80. Those who choose to retire sooner are covertly shipped to organ harvesting plants.

Slowing Down the Housing Bubble

The price of homes has been increasing dramatically for some time now. This is great for homeowners who are selling their houses, but some economists warn that it parallels the dot-com bubble that burst a few years ago, leaving hundreds of computer geeks unemployed. They foolishly think that increasing prices on houses is unsustainable and will lead to economic ruin. Bah, I say! The housing bubble will never go bust. There is no reason to spend any time trying to fix this problem, for it does not exist. If anything, the government should be trying to get the prices on homes to go even higher!

Eliminating Poverty

The amount of people living in poverty has gone through the roof over the last four or five years. This is terrible but in that same time, the amount of millionaires has also gone up. The two cancel each other out, leaving us with no social problems whatsoever.


The President has recently approved all of my proposals, as well as my “Greeting Card” project. As a result of my research, progress is assured!


Despite choosing the latter option for fixing Social Security, the President was forced to switch to the former. A world war became inevitable once the Chinese started launching the nuclear missiles we sold them.


It would appear the petroleum industry hasn't gotten tired of money yet. Since the war began, they've raised the price of gasoline to approximately $50 a gallon. Technological innovations have ceased due to a strange global economic paralysis caused by hyperinflation. My “Greeting Card” project seems to have destabilized the Moon's orbit.


While the Earth may have been rendered uninhabitable by nuclear fallout, I am fully confident that my “Greeting Card 2” project will give us enough time to evacuate to Mars before the Moon's orbit completely decays.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Lookie Here! I Found Me Some Animé!

Now here is a truly incredible site. What makes the animé at this site so incredible? Integrity. Experience. Credibility. This is a real artist of the people. If you've got a huge chunk of time to kill (and don't act like you don't. I know you!) then go here. If you don't, a bunny might die. In fact, I'm sure it will. Who would kill an innocent bunny? This guy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Passion of the Roboshrub II

As the sun set, Vince O’Neil looked out through the thicket that had been his home for the last two weeks. Some day I’ll get home, he thought. It had now been two weeks (though it seemed longer) since Vince had gotten lost in this harsh forest. What had started as a simple hike had turned deadly once the bears had shown up. They descended without warning upon the campers, and with their ferocious roars and razor-sharp claws had scattered the frightened children throughout the dark wood. Running had not been easy for the 300 pound middle schooler, but the threat of being devoured by grizzlies proved to be all the motivation he needed to outrun his slimmer friends. The first two days had been the hardest, finding blood-stained bits of clothes and empty canteens among the wrecked campsite. Each night he could hear the bears’ demonic howls, but he could tell they were getting farther away as the days passed. Left with no food, water, or shelter, Vince knew it was only a matter of time before help came. Until then he would have to survive.

During his time in a juvenile hall for (unwillingly) stealing government property, Vince had tried to escape- not literally, of course, but through his imagination. The facility had an extensive library, and Vince spent many a night reading about far off places. One of those books chronicled the life of a man who was marooned on an island for several years. He managed to survive by eating vermin and insects, and drinking the sweet juice of the coconut. Too bad I’m not stranded on a desert island, Vince grumbled listlessly. The forest had no coconut trees or vermin; even the insects looked puny. Survival would be a challenge in this dense wasteland. Luckily, the grizzlies that destroyed his campsite and eaten his friends hadn’t figured out how to open the cooler wherein all their lunches resided. Stupid bears, thought Vince. They could have had ham! Fighting his urge to eat all the sandwiches the first day, a careful rationing system was devised. But all the food in the world couldn’t stop the dreams.

Dreams? They were more like nightmares. When Vince closed his eyes, he saw his friends- and the bears. He could hear their screams as the tried to run, but he knew the bears were quicker. Sometimes it was only one bear. A giant demonic bear, wearing bronzed armor and holding a glistening golden sword. “Foolish human!” the bear shouted. “You have already lost!” Every morning Vince woke up with a scream, looking around for the evil bear king. And every morning it wasn’t there. The dreams only made him more paranoid. At night he listened to the howls of the bears. After the first week he couldn’t hear them anymore. They’re gone! I’m finally safe!

As the days turned into weeks and then into fortnights, Vince began to lose hope. Living out in the forest changed him. Surviving out in the wilderness gave Vince a new outlook on life, and it wasn’t just psychological. He managed to lose more than half his weight, going from being morbidly obese to merely hefty. He became an adept hunter, learning how to track and catch small birds and whatever animals he could find. Vince O’Neil was no longer a video game addicted couch potato. He stared the world in the eyes, and the world blinked. The cooler full of prepackaged food ran out a while ago, but Vince thought nothing of it. He thought less and less about civilization, about rescue. Then once fateful day, he heard laughter. Not the demonic laughter of the bear king, but human laughter.

What was this? It appeared to Vince to be some kind of company picnic; there were people everywhere eating food, small children playing, and some band giving a rendition of an old Elvis song. A huge group of people were congregated around a central station of some kind, cheering at one of the biggest TVs ever made. As Vince walked up to the screen he began to feel déjà vu. When he saw what was on the screen, his jaw dropped. It was him! These people were cheering at him as they watched him capture a sparrow. Turning around, Vince had another revelation: these were his friends! The same friends he thought had been ripped apart by wild grizzlies, alive and well! “Don’t worry, Vincent. Everything will be fine,” came a voice from behind Vince. Spinning his head with unnatural quickness, he came face to face with the demon from his dreams- the bear king himself!


“Will he ever recover?” asked Vince’s mom, looking into the small chamber where Vince sat, his eyes darting back and forth. “It’s hard to say. Vincent suffered what we in the business call ‘a shock’. He just couldn’t take it all in, and he just snapped.” Looking up from his pad, the doctor frowned. “But then again, what did you expect when Fox picked him for that insane new reality show, ‘Survivor: Bear Edition’?”

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Failed Sociological Experiments #1-10

As a fully accredited sociologist, it is my duty to study the human condition in all it's forms. This includes intentionally provoking others through amazingly contrived situations, thereby forcing them to accept ideas beyond their current thought-processes. The following are failed experiments that resulted in lawsuits and/or property damage.

Failed Sociological Experiment #1: Operation Darwin

Purpose of Experiment: To study humans in their natural habitat.

Hypothesis: Humans tend to form complex social interactions when left to their own devices.

Findings: No findings. Hidden ceiling camera discovered by several subjects.

Failed Sociological Experiment #2: Mr. Critical

Purpose of Experiment: To record the reaction of several people to harsh, loud criticism by a complete stranger.

Hypothesis: Some people will be too perplexed to protest; others will sharply defend themselves against unwanted criticism.

Findings: Store managers ask you to leave when they see you screaming at customers.

Failed Sociological Experiment #3: Call of the Wild

Purpose of Experiment: Go through a public zoo with a silent dog whistle. Record the reactions of people when you use it.

Hypothesis: When the pandas start tearing each other apart, someone will tell you to knock it off.

Findings: Crowds love dueling pandas.

Failed Sociological Experiment #4: Bootless Bootlegging

Purpose of Experiment: Go through a security checkpoint to Mexico with an empty car. Go through the same checkpoint later with about twenty bags of sand, and act suspicious. Repeat each day for two weeks.

Hypothesis: The government is willing to spend thousands of dollars and dozens of hours investigating bags of sand.

Findings: Homeland Security detention centers are cold.

Failed Sociological Experiment #5: Come Again?

Purpose of Experiment: Ask someone for directions. Then, ask them to repeat what they just said. Keep asking them to repeat themselves until they give up and leave. Find out how long that takes.

Hypothesis: People will think you either have a serious memory problem, or are messing with them.

Findings: 45% of participants thought they were on a hidden camera show.

Failed Sociological Experiment #6: Tammany Hall

Purpose of Experiment: Pick a random member of Congress and send him/her letters accusing him/her of corruption. Find out if that member of Congress will personally respond to such outlandish accusations.

Hypothesis: No one in Congress has the kind of time to respond to baseless accusations.

Findings: Homeland Security detention centers are really cold.

Failed Sociological Experiment #7: Pen Pals

Purpose of Experiment: Wait until one in the morning. Then, look through your phone book for someone that lives a few miles away. Call them and claim to be from another country and ask to be pen pals.

Hypothesis: Most people will politely explain the difference in time zones and ask that they call back later.

Findings: People with Caller ID aren't so polite.

Failed Sociological Experiment #8: Beam Me Up

Purpose of Experiment: Find out how much the average person knows about Star Trek and thinks about Star Trek fans.

Hypothesis: The average person is neutral towards Star Trek, yet despises its fans (trekkies).

Findings: Although only 28% of subjects think trekkies are “nerds”, 79% feel that Star Trek fans do not exercise much. A whopping 61% believed that Star Trek and Star Wars were created by the same person.

Failed Sociological Experiment #9: Armageddon

Purpose of Experiment: Find out how many people think the world will end in the next couple of years.

Hypothesis: No one could be gullible enough to think that, given all our advanced technology and ingenuity, the world will end.

Findings: The world is ready for Armageddon insurance.

Failed Sociological Experiment #10: A Rose by Any Other Name

Purpose of Experiment: Strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. During the conversation, make up words. Record whether the person asks the meaning of the word or derives its meaning from the context.

Hypothesis: The more real a word sounds, the more likely it is that the subject will derive its meaning.

Findings: Freudian slips make this experiment unfeastible.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

How NOT to Debug an Umbrella

Many people would jump at the chance to use a brand-new piece of technology. When I was first offered the position of “Chief Product Debugger” at Roboshrub Inc. I initially declined. The company was situated many miles from the closest town, behind a grove of dead-looking pine trees. It was weathered and worn, and looked as if it had sat unused for a hundred years; even the job title itself had a dreary ring to it. It looked nothing like the ad, which showed a 19th century steel mill surrounded by smiling workers. The ad had come, unsolicited, to my doorstep. I would not have followed up on it, but the starting salary was at least six digits. It was just too good of an offer to pass up. But this was nothing like the ad. The walls were rotting, the machinery was covered in cobwebs, and silence hung in the air. It was a tomb.

Following the map on one of the crumbling walls, I eventually made it to the waiting room. One of the ceiling lights had a slightly orange glow to it, which made me uneasy. I always hate it when I'm looking at a bunch of ceiling lights and one is a bit off. After about fifteen minutes, I met with the manager. Before that moment, I did not believe that it was possible to concentrate so much aqua-velva in one place. I found out later that the “manager” was actually the President of Roboshrub Incorporated, so it's probably a good thing I didn't make a joke about the bad cologne. In truth, it was he who made the bad puns. “Name's Roboshrub. Michael Roboshrub the Fifth. Don't ever forget that, I'm the Fifth. Guess what my Great Grandfather's name was. Go on, guess!”

Still, the economy was in a slump and I desperately wanted expensive food. You may not think pizza is all that expensive, but a couple slices each week really adds up. But it's worth it. The sensation of the pizza, of the smell as you hold it up to your face, the taste of the cheese and sauce as you bite into it; can such a thing be given a monetary value? My mind lost to the ravages of pizza withdrawal, or perhaps blinded by the high salary, I recklessly agreed to become Roboshrub Inc.'s new Chief Debugger. I received my first project that day: testing the company's new solar powered umbrella.

The umbrella had passed factory testing which involved being sprayed with water from a garden hose. My purpose was to test it under actual rain conditions. I watched the weather channel intently every day, but it was a dry month. The grass had turned a straw-like brown, and the leaves had been tricked into thinking it was already Autumn. I started browsing the Internet, looking for a new job. I was in the middle of updating my resume to include “Chief Product Debugger” when I head a familiar pattering on my air conditioner; it was raining!

Grabbing the device, I ran outside as fast as I could. I looked straight up and closed my eyes. Small pellets of rain softly battered my face. I heard two or three thunderclaps in the distance. The whole world was alive, with insects and birds chirping and the ground giving off it's ancient earthy smell. Remembering that my job (and six figure salary) depended on my ability to forgo this scene of unparalleled beauty, I sighed and pulled out the umbrella. It was unlike any umbrella I have seen before or since. The lining was a bluish fabric, softer than silk. The exterior, however, was covered in small rectangular solar cells. Each cell was identical, and they shimmered like the underside of a CD. As I held it up, the cells began to glow. Light streamed out of them, bathing me and the surrounding area in a prism. It began to unfurl, reaching out to protect me from the unrelenting downpour. Looking up I could see the cells through the umbrella's lining, which had become translucent. It's beautiful, I thought to myself. Then I heard another thunderclap and the world melted away.

The stench of antiseptics knocked me back into consciousness. The doctor who greeted me told me that I had been struck by not one, but two bolts of lightning. This caused the bone marrow in the right side of my body to instantly boil, fusing several ribs together and leaving a huge scar across my back. If my neighbor hadn't looked out her window when she did, well, it might have been too late. A police examination of the umbrella found that the solar cells were made out of a highly conductive metal. It was as if I had been walking around with a lightning rod.

As soon as I got out of the hospital, I went directly to Roboshrub Inc. to demand compensation for my pain and suffering. But it was gone. When I first went there for my interview, the whole building looked empty, devoid of life. Now, nothing remained. The dead pine grove had stretched beyond it's original position to encompass where Roboshrub Inc. had been. I scurried around for at least a half hour, looking for some sign that I didn't imagine the place. There was no trace of it. As I turned to leave, I thought I heard laughter coming from the trees. I've never answered an unsolicited ad since.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Just When You Though It Was Over

The party begins anew! That's right- all new Timages! Of course, I prefer quality over quantity. Hopefully you do too. Because if you don't... too bad. The Lord High Executioner has spoken!