Things That Grind My Gears, vol 4,301,209

Yeah, it’s that time. Things have cheesed me off so much that my only recourse is to blog about it. And I’m gonna.

 

1.    The Misuse of the Word “Epic”

 

It’s en vogue to call anything cool or interesting “epic.” To wit, a sandwich I once made was called “epic.” It wasn’t epic because it was worthy of an extended narrative verse wherein a hero overcame vast odds to save a world, or anything like that. It was epic because it contained corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Now, I can vouch for the deliciousness of the sandwich, because I ate it. However, it certainly was not epic. It was a sandwich. Bards will not sing of it in times to come, and a cult of hero worship will not form around the sandwich.

Of course, this criminal misuse is not limited to gastronomy. A good friend of mine, whose opinion in most matters I respect, once called dancing the conga “epic.” I told him that he was wrong. That the conga has never been, and never will be, referred to as “epic,” and the fact that he did so betrayed his ignorance of the actual meaning of the word.

Surprisingly, we’re still friends.

So, pals, chiefs, the invasion of Normandy was epic. The Star Wars saga is an epic. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic. My sandwich is not epic. That chain backstab you got in Team Fortress 2 while wearing the Ghastly Gibus is definitely not epic.

Not epic.

2.    The Phrase “Deal With It”

 

I don’t know how to properly mock this statement. I’ve been trying to think of a way to do it for about twelve hours now, and nothing’s come up. Is it narcissistic to think that your menial act of defiance is important enough to register? Maybe. Is it just vapid? Probably. Is it an instance of what passes for ironic humor? Quite possibly.

Regardless, I’ve seen this used in occasions where the speaker has been totally serious, and it needs to stop. When you say “deal with it” after you were, I don’t know, reading a book on the bus, then you’re being an asshole.

Humorwise, sure, use the phrase, but only if you’re mocking people who use it seriously. Or mocking me for getting so annoyed by it. Whatever. I can take a joke. Until that point where I snap and recruit other cheesed off people and we construct an effigy of a dictionary on your front lawn and burn it.

 

3.    “Like a Boss”

 

Bosses do not go and get coffee. They have underlings who go and get them coffee. They’re called interns.

Bosses do not go and work out. They spend every waking moment at work, their sanity slowly dwindling away in the hopes of making more money for the company so their stock can continue to rise. Their home life will eventually shatter as their loved ones grow alienated by their absence from home.

And then, when they’re old and alone, they’ll sit in the silent, cold house they once shared with a family and look back upon their life and say, “I lived it… like a boss.”

And that’s when their liver collapses from a lifetime of heavy drinking as a coping mechanism.

So, really. Do you want to be like a boss? Do you?

 

4.    The Current Debate About Oil

 

It seems to be framed in terms of “We must build our domestic oil infrastructure!” or “We must free ourselves from foreign oil!” And, yes, those are important points in an economy as driven by petroleum as ours, but it’s missing a very worrying fact:

Oil is a very, very finite resource. One we’ll run out of sooner rather than later. Estimates have run from the end of the 21st century (“FYI” in Popular Mechanics in 1999) to 2057. And then, there’s concern that demand will grow larger than supply sooner than predicted—2015, according to an Oxford study in 2010.

So the question that I’m not seeing being asked by either side is “What do we do when the oil supply runs out?” This really bothers me in regards to the Democrats, who are supposed to be the tree-hugging hippies—if you believe FOX News and GOP talking points.

The most green-friendly thing you hear from the Democrats is “We are pushing for increased fuel mileage standards.” Well, that’s great, but once again: What are you going to do when the oil runs out? Will you then push for an energy infrastructure based on alternative fuels?

Don’t you think that’s too late? Building that sort of thing takes time. Regardless of how you feel about the merits of petroleum, natural gas, or whatever else you want to talk about, you have to acknowledge that, as it stands, we’re faced with the very real possibility of losing access to the very thing we depend upon to live in the modern world. There’s only so much of it left, and until we have people in office who acknowledge that instead of kowtowing to frantic calls about American energy independence (read: lobbying by the oil industry), then we’re screwed.

I recently read a book by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and one of the things that he kept hammering home was that unless America returns to its status as a major scientific innovator, then we’ll be forced to sit on the sidelines as another country takes up the mantle.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t see talk of major innovation when I hear gas company engineers tout how their newest SUV hits 25 MPG on the highway.

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Yeah, it’s that time. Things have cheesed me off so much that my only recourse is to blog about it. And I’m gonna.

1.    The Misuse of the Word “Epic”

It’s en vogue to call anything cool or interesting “epic.” To wit, a sandwich I once made was called “epic.” It wasn’t epic because it was worthy of an extended narrative verse wherein a hero overcame vast odds to save a world, or anything like that. It was epic because it contained corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Now, I can vouch for the deliciousness of the sandwich, because I ate it. However, it certainly was not epic. It was a sandwich. Bards will not sing of it in times to come, and a cult of hero worship will not form around the sandwich.

Of course, this criminal misuse is not limited to gastronomy. A good friend of mine, whose opinion in most matters I respect, once called dancing the conga “epic.” I told him that he was wrong. That the conga has never been, and never will be, referred to as “epic,” and the fact that he did so betrayed his ignorance of the actual meaning of the word.

Surprisingly, we’re still friends.

So, pals, chiefs, the invasion of Normandy was epic. The Star Wars saga is an epic. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic. My sandwich is not epic. That chain backstab you got in Team Fortress 2 while wearing the Ghastly Gibus is definitely not epic.

2.    The Phrase “Deal With It”

I don’t know how to properly mock this statement. I’ve been trying to think of a way to do it for about twelve hours now, and nothing’s come up. Is it narcissistic to think that your menial act of defiance is important enough to register? Maybe. Is it just vapid? Probably. Is it an instance of what passes for ironic humor? Quite possibly.

Regardless, I’ve seen this used in occasions where the speaker has been totally serious, and it needs to stop. When you say “deal with it” after you were, I don’t know, reading a book on the bus, then you’re being an asshole.

Humorwise, sure, use the phrase, but only if you’re mocking people who use it seriously. Or mocking me for getting so annoyed by it. Whatever. I can take a joke. Until that point where I snap and recruit other cheesed off people and we construct an effigy of a dictionary on your front lawn and burn it.

3.    “Like a Boss”

Bosses do not go and get coffee. They have underlings who go and get them coffee. They’re interns.

Bosses do not go and work out. They spend every waking moment at work, their sanity slowly dwindling away in the hopes of making more money for the company so their stock can continue to rise. Their home life will eventually shatter as their loved ones grow alienated by their absence from home.

And then, when they’re old and alone, they’ll sit in the silent, cold house they once shared with a family and look back upon their life and say, “I lived it… like a boss.”

And that’s when their liver collapses from a lifetime of heavy drinking as a coping mechanism.

So, really. Do you want to be like a boss? Do you?

4.    The Current Debate About Oil

It seems to be framed in terms of “We must build our domestic oil infrastructure!” or “We must free ourselves from foreign oil!” And, yes, those are important points in an economy as driven by petroleum as ours, but it’s missing a very worrying fact:

Oil is a very, very finite resource. One we’ll run out of sooner rather than later. Estimates have run from the end of the 21st century (“FYI” in Popular Mechanics in 1999) to 2057. And then, there’s concern that demand will grow larger than supply sooner than predicted—2015, according to an Oxford study in 2010.

So the question that I’m not seeing being asked by either side is “What do we do when the oil supply runs out?” This really bothers me in regards to the Democrats, who are supposed to be the tree-hugging hippies—if you believe FOX News and GOP talking points.

The most green-friendly thing you hear from the Democrats is “We are pushing for increased fuel mileage standards.” Well, that’s great, but once again: What are you going to do when the oil runs out? Will you then push for an energy infrastructure based on alternative fuels?

Don’t you think that’s too late? Building that sort of thing takes time. Regardless of how you feel about the merits of petroleum, natural gas, or whatever else you want to talk about, you have to acknowledge that, as it stands, we’re faced with the very real possibility of losing access to the very thing we depend upon to live in the modern world. There’s only so much of it left, and until we have people in office who acknowledge that instead of kowtowing to frantic calls about American energy independence (read: lobbying by the oil industry), then we’re screwed.

I recently read a book by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and one of the things that he kept hammering home was that unless America returns to its status as a major scientific innovator, then we’ll be forced to sit on the sidelines as another country takes up the mantle.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t see talk of major innovation when I hear gas company engineers tout how their newest SUV hits 25 MPG on the highway.

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