“How about we blow up the car?” – the dangers of broadening the debate

BOB, MANDY, REBECCA, and FRANKIE gather for a family meeting to make an IMPORTANT DECISION.

MANDY: Right, shall we get started? As you all know, we’ve decided it’s time we get ourselves a second family car. The question is what car do we get? I’m sure we all have some strong opinions. This is why we thought it would be right to have a broad, open and honest debate on the subject. Frankie and Rebecca, you said you would bring together all the options under consideration. Are you ready to tell us?

FRANKIE: Um. I think so. Should I just, like, read them all out?

MANDY: That’d be perfect.

FRANKIE: Ok. Well, Dad suggested option one should be a brand new Vauxhall Ampera–

BOB: A great car. A hybrid, modern, stylish–

MANDY: Hold on, Bob. Allow Frankie to tell us all the options first. Frankie?

FRANKIE: Thanks. Yeah. Uh, the second option, suggested by Mum, is a, um, second-hand 2005 Kia Sedona–

MANDY: Yes, very sensible. Does what we need it to and it won’t cost the earth. When approaching this decision, I think it’s important to–

FRANKIE: Um. Sorry. But I haven’t said all the options yet.

MANDY: Of course, pardon me. Please continue.

FRANKIE: Uh, for the third option, we, me and Rebecca, thought we could, like, blow up the car?

BOB: What?

MANDY: Come again?

FRANKIE: Uh, blow up the car.

MANDY: The car we have?

FRANKIE: Yeah.

BOB: Why on earth would we do that!?

REBECCA: We’re not saying we’d do it! You said you wanted a proper debate! But the choice was, basically, between getting car A or car B – that’s not much of a choice!

BOB: Rebecca, that’s because we want another car. Blowing up the car we actually have is not going to help!

REBECCA: You said you wanted a proper debate! A proper debate needs a proper range of options. You can’t just say choose between this thing I want or something a bit like the thing I want! What’s the point!?

FRANKIE: You did say you wanted a proper debate, Dad.

MANDY: Ok, ok. Calm down everyone. Let’s keep blowing up the car as an “option”, yes? We don’t have to pick it, we just know it’s there. Let’s move on, shall we? Ok? Ok. Option one. Who wants to talk about the hybrid. Bob?

BOB: Hm. Fine. I think the Vauxhall is the best option. Sure it’ll cost a bit more up front–

MANDY: More than a bit, don’t you think?

BOB: It’ll cost more up front, but the money we save over time on petrol and tax will more than offset that. Eventually. Plus, we can finally get the nice, modern family car with all the latest features and comforts. We always wanted that, yes? And you know it’ll last a lot longer too. Not to mention how environmentally-friendly it is. That’s a big thing, nowadays. Being green. Isn’t that right?

FRANKIE: Yeah, sounds good.

REBECCA: Uh. I can see the benefits.

MANDY: That sounds lovely. But, honey, we do have to be realistic. That car will require us to take out a big loan. We’ll be paying it off for a long time. We could go to the second-hand lot tomorrow and pick up a very reliable, almost-new car. Yes, the Kia won’t be as fancy, but it’d do the job. We want something the kids could learn to drive in without worrying about bumps and scrapes. Right? Not the mention that the money saved could be spent on holidays, or improving the house. There’s a lot more to life than a posh car and I don’t want us to lose sight of that.

FRANKIE: Um. Good point.

REBECCA: Yeah.

BOB: Well, honey, I really think you’re overstating the cost–

FRANKIE: Wait. Uh. We still haven’t discussed the third option.

BOB: What? Do we need to? I thought we decided–

REBECCA: You said–

BOB: But it’s completely stu–

MANDY: Bob. Fine. We did say we’d do this properly. Rebecca, do you want to make the case for blowing up the car?

REBECCA: Well, I’m not saying we should definitely do it. But, you know, it would be the most cost-effective option. I mean, it wouldn’t cost a thing really. And we’d save a lot more money in the long run. Also, having no car at all is better for the environment than having one or two, isn’t it? Yes, there’ll be a bit of pollution as we burn it to a crisp, but that’s nothing compared to running a car every day…

FRANKIE: Plus, I think it’d be cool to see a car get blown up.

REBECCA: We could also do it immediately. Like, right now.

MANDY: Ok. Well. Case well made, Rebecca. Let’s talk a bit more about the Kia–

REBECCA: Isn’t anybody going to make a counter argument to blowing up the car?

BOB: No!

REBECCA: Why not!?

BOB: Because it’s the stupidest bloody idea I’ve ever heard! End of.

REBECCA: There you go again trying to shut down the debate! This isn’t fair. You’re not even taking this seriously!

BOB: Of course I’m not taking this seriously! Blowing up the car!? Are you mad!?

REBECCA: I’ve already made the arguments in favour of blowing up the car! You’re the one who hasn’t been able to come up with a single reason why we shouldn’t!

BOB: Why would I waste of time arguing against something so preposterous!? It isn’t even worth thinking about!

REBECCA: That is so typical of you–

MANDY: Rebecca! Enough. Bob, you can surely spend half a minute explaining why blowing up the car is not a good option.

BOB: Really? You really want to indulge this nonsense?

MANDY: In the interest of simply moving on, yes I think you should.

BOB: Fine! Blowing up the car is a foolish bloody idea because we need a car. In fact, the point of this whole silly debate is that we need two cars. Not one car. Not zero cars. Two. Blowing up the car will not give us the result we want. It will – suffice to say – give us nothing except the burnt out wreck of a car. It is madness. And anyone who is not a complete idiot would clearly agree with me!

MANDY: Bob!

REBECCA: And there you go again! Trying to shut down the debate with your… your derision and your, um, ad hominem attacks! It’s impossible to have a real discussion when you’ve already made up your mind and don’t listen to a single word I say!

MANDY: Rebecca, please calm down. I think we’re just both having a hard time understanding why you want to blow up the car.

REBECCA: I’m not saying I do want to blow up the car! Only that if we want to have a proper debate we need to consider blowing up the car as one of the options!

FRANKIE: I would quite like to blow up the car.

BOB: Frankie!

FRANKIE: What? I haven’t heard a good reason why we shouldn’t. I don’t need a car.

BOB: But we do! And how would you get to see your friends and go places if we don’t drive you in a car.

MANDY: This is getting a bit heated. Bob, maybe you could calmly and clearly make the case for why, when it comes down to it, we need a car?

BOB: Are you joking? We’re no closer to deciding what second car to get and you want me to waste more time on this subject?

REBECCA: Hah! So like you…

MANDY: Quickly. Please.

BOB: We need a car because people need cars!

REBECCA: Circular logic. Typical…

BOB: Very well. We need a car because we sometimes – often – have to go places that are too far to walk and we might also need to take things with us that are too large or too heavy to carry by hand–

FRANKIE: You can get carts that you can attach to bikes for carrying things.

REBECCA: That’s true. And I know lots of people who don’t have their own cars and get around fine.

BOB: For crying out loud, kids. No. No more. This is nonsense.

REBECCA: Are you denying the existence of carts you can attach to bikes?

BOB: What? No–

REBECCA: Are you calling me a liar?

BOB: No! I’ve just had enough arguing about this!

REBECCA: You wanted a debate–

BOB: Jesus Christ! Mandy, can we just make a decision. Vauxhall or Kia. I don’t even care which anymore…

MANDY: Bob, we did promise we’d include everyone in the decision. And.. um…

BOB: What?

MANDY: Well, all this talk has made me wonder whether we do need two cars after all. I mean, we definitely want one car. Don’t get me wrong. I really don’t think we should blow it up (but, of course, I am glad we heard everyone’s opinion and discussed the possibility of doing so). After all, maybe we can get one of those carts for the bike and you can use that instead of a second car?

BOB: You’re as crazy as the kids. We all agreed we wanted a new car. That wasn’t even supposed to be part of the debate!

MANDY: I do not appreciate that tone, thank you very much. When the facts change, I change my mind. You should try to be more open-minded, Bob.

BOB: What facts have changed!? This is absurd!

MANDY: The fact that I no longer want a new car. I’m perfectly happy with the current one we have.

BOB: But–

REBECCA: Shall we make our votes?

FRANKIE: I vote to blow it up.

BOB: You–

MANDY: I vote to keep the current car and not waste any of my money on a new one that I won’t even drive.

BOB: That isn’t even an option!

REBECCA: Dad’s right, mum. You have to pick one of the options on offer.

MANDY: Very well. In that case I vote to blow up the car.

BOB: Have you lost your mind!?

MANDY: It’s exactly that attitude, Bob, which is why people are voting against you.

BOB: I–

REBECCA: I’m going to vote for–

BOB: Rebecca, please. I’m begging you. Don’t vote to blow up the car. I’m sorry I was rude. Really really sorry. I know you’re clever and sensible. Please make the right choice. Please.

REBECCA: I’m voting for the Kia.

BOB: Yes! Good good. Me too! That’s what I’m voting for! The Kia Sedona. A decent, solid car.

REBECCA: For the record, that’s what I was always going to vote for. I only wanted to make sure we had a proper debate. That’s all.

MANDY: That’s two for the Kia and two for blowing the current car up.

MR & MRS JONES: Ahem. We also vote to blow your car up.

BOB: What are our neighbours doing here?

REBECCA: You said you wanted a proper open debate. I invited them to take part so we could get a broader range of voices involved.

BOB: They don’t even like us!

REBECCA: That’s not the point!

BOB: No, no, no, no, no. We can’t have just anyone waltzing in here deciding to blow up our bloody car!

REBECCA: You’re just upset because you lost the vote!

BOB: It doesn’t even affect them!

MR JONES: Well, I do have to say, it does affect us as we all park on the same street and one less car will mean more space for us. So, certainly, yes. Two more votes for blowing your car up, if you please.

BOB: I can’t believe this.

MANDY: That means four votes for blowing the car up against two for getting the Kia. I’m sorry, love.

FRANKIE: Yes! This is going to be amazing!

BOB: What the hell just happened?

MANDY: Don’t worry, darling. I don’t think they’ll really blow up the car. It just represents a definitive vote against getting the second car, that’s all. Everything will be fine. You’ll see.

FRANKIE: I’ve got matches!

THE END

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Both sides continue to claim victory as the Climate Change Deniers take on the Extremists in the match of the century

There’s everything to play for in the climate change arena as both sides continue to claim victory in a contest that looks set to drag on even longer than the Holland v. Spain world cup final.

The latest drama started back in 2009, when the captain of the Deniers, Lord Christopher Monckton (Nobel Peace Prize winner and unicorn), pulled off a convincing early shot with a flamboyant speech, which supporters maintain landed over the goal line. Although far from decisive, such forceful attacks by the Denier’s veteran leader boosted his side’s confidence and they continued to have the upper hand, leaving their opponents, the Climate Change Extremists, scrambling in disarray.

Yet despite this, the Deniers’ energetic, well-organised offensive failed to find the back of the net again, and again, and again.

The Extremist counterattack was slow but impactful, led by the relatively unknown super-sub, John Abraham. Studiously working his way up the pitch, Abraham tackled the cumbersome Monckton and exposed the weakness of the Denier’s defence. Storming towards an open goal and supported by the Extremist’s pugnacious striker, George Monbiot, it looked like victory was within easy reach. A clumsy attempted tackle by Monckton within the penalty area was easily shrugged off by Abraham and the ball sailed into the back of the net…

But the clear win desperately sought by the Extremists looked uncertain as Monckton angrily appealed to the referee, accusing Abraham of committing a foul. The crowd is left bewildered by Monckton’s 466-point argument, while Monbiot protests that the old Lord is merely time wasting.

Extra time looks a given at this point, which will surely favour the Deniers. Both sides are increasingly hungry for that decisive goal, but with the Deniers repeatedly moving the goalposts and the Extremists mostly getting on with doing important science stuff, the only outcome that looks near certain is the gradual destruction of our environment.

This just in: earlier this evening, it looked as though Denier fullback James Delingpole, whose previous contribution to the game largely consisted of hacking ineffectually at the opposing players and getting a yellow card for excessive stupidity, may have scored an own goal. This was overlooked, however, as nobody could tell whether or not he was playing the same game as everyone else.

Is Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin an Idiot?

Watching the US presidential debate on More4 earlier this evening momentarily reignited my interest in the whole election thing. After a few half-assed searches guaging the media’s reaction to the debate (unanimously regarded as a draw, so it seems), I found myself reading about Republican Vice-Presidential candidate and Alaskan moose-skinning hockey mom (which, from what I can tell, is like a normal mom – which in itself is like a British mum, but with added democracy – only more kick-ass, in your face, balls to the wall Vice-Presidential than, for example, a mom whose children hate sports and prefer to pursue academic interests – aka communist moms), Sarah Palin.

Despite being treated rather generously by the the American media, all the news articles I read about this “young, charming maverick” gave the overriding impression that, on top of her obvious inexperience and annoying demeanour, she may also be stupid. Not necessarily in the rather refined and perfected sense that George W. Bush has turned into an art form. What Palin projects is a sort of generalised and far less inspiring level of latent ignorance; which is more cringe-worthy than funny.

So is Sarah Palin an idiot? It would seem so but I can’t simply rely on my judgement alone, as skimming through a few articles does not an expert of American dim-wittedness make. Is there anywhere out there in internetland where I can dive into a sea of US doltishness and bathe in the anti-knowledge therein? Of course there is. It’s the fucking internet.

As asked on Yahoo! Answers: Is Sarah Palin an idiot?

Best answer (as chosen by voters):

“Yes, she is.
Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in evolution and thinks that creationism should be taught in every classroom. She has said she does not believe in global warming and wants to take polar bears off the endangered species list because she assumes that they are fine because the polar ice caps are, in her mind, not melting.
She is currently under investigation for abuse of power after trying to get her sisters ex husband fired after a bad divorce.
She was once asked if she was angered by the addition of “under god” to the pledge of allegiance and her response was “if its good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me”, which might seem like a decent answer until you realize that the pledge of allegiance was written by a socialist named Bellamy about 100 years after the founding fathers founded anything and it wasn’t until the cold war that “under god” was added.
she wants to drill for oil in alaska and stands for the aerial slaughter of wolves and bears in the wild.
prior to her candidacy she announced that she did not think the idea of her being the vice president is realistic.
after her candidacy was announced she announced she didn’t know what a vice president does from day to day and also didn’t know what john mccains stance on the war was because, as she said, she doesn’t pay attention to iraq. (keep in mind her own son is being sent to iraq this september)

if she isn’t an idiot, then neither is george w bush for leading us into a criminally unjust war and neither is john mccain for horribly misrepresenting the middle class americans that make up the majority of this country. republicans should be ashamed for ruining this great country. vote obama.”

How much you earn equals how much you work – the official guidelines

Miserable office life

A recent shit-storm of inane debate was kicked up across the internets caused by an article from Jason Calcanis, CEO of Mahalo. For anyone who doesn’t start frantically jerking off whenever they see a shiny, reflected logo or a bright, shiny BETA symbol, Mahalo is one of these fancy, web 2.0 start-up thingies that is vaguely described by its creators as a “human-powered search engine”. When I performed a search for Crunkfish on Mahalo, however, I received no results so perhaps a “far-shitter search engine than Google” would be a better description.

Regardless, this article isn’t about the pretentious, pointless and presumptuous conceit of Mahalo – it’s about work ethic.

Calcanis offered some advice for fellow start-ups about how to save money on his blog. To be fair, his pointers aren’t bad – even if they do start to resemble those penny-pinching tips sent in to weekly women’s magazines by people who wouldn’t hesitate to save on expensive face lotion by starring in their own bukkake movie – but some of what he had to say came off as pretty good-damn extreme. In short; they may be quite effective (I don’t know, I haven’t tried them), but so was Stalin’s rapid modernisation of Russia in the 1930s (and I’ve tried that – very messy).

The money-saving tip that proved the most contentious was number 11: Fire people. Although Calcanis has since toned down the language, it originally read:

“Fire people who are not workaholics… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you want balance in your life. For realz.”

I could join the debate by offering my thoughts on this issue and saying something antagonistic like, “if your staff isn’t motivated to put their all in for your cause, maybe you should try encouraging them more so they actually enjoy working for you, you draconian bastard”. Instead, I’m going off on a bit of a tangent with the intention of laying down the law about how much you should actually work…at work.

First off, the average salary in the UK is £22,000. This is the benchmark. If you earn 22k a year it means you start work at nine, finish at half-past five and take an hour for lunch. You are obliged to take a coffee/fag break in the morning, another one in the afternoon and shouldn’t feel guilty for spending some downtime on Facebook. Evenings and weekends are work free and, if you don’t meet that impossible deadline last thing on a Friday, it can well and truly get fucked until Monday morning. Finally, when it comes to the Christmas party, you can take advantage of the free bar, charge your taxi home to the company, and have sex with anyone who earns less than you.

Sounds fair, right?

Well, if you get paid any more or any less than this standard, you must expect to change your work ethic to adjust. Let me give some examples:

£50,000 +

You should be earning the hatred of every cleaner in your office for the number of half-drunk cups of coffee left on your desk and the sheer immovability of your ulcer-ridden body. The moments between work beginning and work ending is a half-noticed blur, largely consisting of detached arguments with the spouse and confused bouts of emotion that hit you when those strange midget creatures who call you ‘parent’ cry bitter tears after you cancel a promised trip to Legoland for the fifth time. You should hate your life but it’s ok because you don’t have time to live it. At the Christmas party, you are joined with your partner and sit with all the other execs and their partners to talk about work – pretending this is in a far more jovial way than it normally would be. After your spouse gets drunk and makes a scene/screws half the warehouse staff, you pay for a taxi home – though you do have to pop back into the office to finish off a few things and end up staying there past the New Year. Which is better than spending it at home.

c. £30,000 –

It is your duty to greet all junior members of staff with a smile as they enter the office – after you’ve already been there for half an hour. You make a point of NOT letting everyone know that you start before them and finish after them, although they MUST have noticed. Even though you are expected to start earlier and finish later than those earning less than you, there’s no real obligation to spend all that time actually doing any work. An hour-long lunch break has been subtly replaced by regular cigarette breaks, in which you discuss important work stuff with your chain-smoking, fellow 30k-ers – much to the annoyance of the tar-free suckers who are still sat at their desk angrily drafting letters to HR that they won’t have the guts to send. You’re too busy and important to take any coffee breaks on top of this, but that’s what the grunts are for – they love any excuse to get away from their desks. Expect your evenings and weekends to be intermittently interrupted by work issues. It’s a pain but, hey, that’s why you’ve picked up the coke habit. At the Christmas party, you largely avoid the bar (sticking to your own class-A pick-me-ups) and spend the night looking for someone who gets paid less than you to suck your cock (men), or for someone who gets paid more than you to suck their cock (women).

c. £22,000 – This is the standard (see main text).

c. £17,000 –

For 17k you are entitled to turn up late every Monday and duck out early on Fridays. Although you get no official extra time for cigarettes or coffee, you are expected to spend a good forty-five minutes or so (both morning and afternoon) flirting with the temps. Unless a major deadline is impending, Scrabulous takes priority over your, more menial, duties and a reasonable amount of time is alloted to allow you to forward that funny video of somebody hoovering a cat’s face to everyone you know. At the Christmas party, you rinse the free bar and smuggle out a few bottles of wine before you leave early to hit the local slut-hole and rape-box you call a club.

c. £13,000 –

If you’re earning around 13k and actually working, you’re as stupid as your salary suggests. Most likely there’s a machine that can do your job more effectively than you can and your employment is only part of an unspoken agreement between companies that they need uneducated fuckwits to earn money and buy the crap they’re producing. If you do turn up on Monday morning, you should do so still recovering from the hangover from Saturday night and, at the end of the week, if you’re not doing fuck-all except complaining that your office should have a ‘dress-down’ Friday, you’re dressing-down and doing fuck-all anyway. The other days of the week are a mixture of whining that you’ve got too much to do, bitching about what’s expected of you, and whining like a bitch because your current responsibilities do not rigidly follow what has been laid out in your job description that you spent the whole of Tuesday meticulously reviewing. Whenever you come back late and drunk from a lunch at the pub, the afternoon is then wasted writing a nasty response to your line manager’s “friendly telling-off” about such transgressions in which you point out that you’ve wasted an afternoon writing this email. At the Christmas party, you turn up late with all your mates in tow – each packing a hip flask full of White Lightning – and proceed to decimate the free bar, call your MD a cunt, and pass out on the street knowing that someone else will make sure you get home alive. Courtesy of the company, of course.

This is the way things should be. How does that stack up with your work? Name and shame those bastards earning more than you but not working as hard as you in the comments section below.