Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Freaks Rant

Welcome to Writer Freaks Rant Page. This page is separate from the regular blog because it has nothing to do with writing or our struggles as writers or carpal tunnel syndrome or writer’s block. The Rant Page is just stuff we find funny, irritating, generally concerning… you know the deal. Please please please comment. We’re really looking to start a dialogue on the odd, weird, pet-peeve-y, funny things in life.  And rants can ramble and be random and they don’t even have to be cohesive or make any sense at all, as is the general rule with rants the world round.

January 24, 2013

When atheists speak of God

Why is it that people who are self-proclaimed atheists never remember their own rules? I guess I shouldn't say never-- I don't believe in that word, it's too permanent and exclusive-- but in my experience it seems like they don't follow the rules. Because they say they don't believe in anything-- not God, not a higher power, and they de-capitalize the word God (really annoying to me also, but whatever)-- but they still say all the bad vain-taking words. Like the one that sounds like Cheese and Rice, and the G-D, and even just the D. How can you 'damn' something if you don't believe in damning or damnation? 
 Just to cite a HIGHER POWER-- i.e. Merriam Webster:

transitive verb
: to condemn to a punishment or fate; especially : to condemn to hell
a : to condemn vigorously and often irascibly for some real or fancied fault or defect <damned the storm for their delay>
b : to condemn as a failure by public criticism
: to bring ruin on
: to swear at : curse —often used to express annoyance, disgust, or surprise <damn him, he should have been careful> damn

So okay-- just a regular, not G-D damn is probably not a rule-breaker. But it really bothers me when atheists swear with the God words. How can you take the Lord’s name in vain when you don’t believe in the Lord?  I guess it’s not satisfying to just say damn it. But instead of saying the G-D, why not say “Nothing damnit!” because that’s what they believe in—nothing. Or damn it all to nothing, instead of damning things to hell. You can’t damn someone to a place they don’t believe in. I guess they can use the standard expletives, but I believe anything involving religious colloquialisms should be strictly off limits for atheists. It’s hypocritical, like those vegans that walk around in leather shoes and belts and stuff. Not claiming that I’m never hypocritical, but if it’s important enough to you to announce that you’re an athiest and believe in NOTHING Judea-Christian, I think you should be denied the benefits of abusing those deities

PS I don't condone the swearage or taking the Lord's name in vain, either. It gives me a yucky feeling. But at least if you're going to do something in vain, do it for something that you believe in. Maybe atheists could say "Science Damn!" or how about "Damn it to no afterlife whatsoever!" I think that would be better. Just think about it, guys. 

January 11, 2013

Commercials are the Devil

Commercials make me one of two things: annoyed or amused. The two A’s as I call them. I don’t watch a lot of television and even fewer are the chances that I watch an actual commercial. I have a DVR. I love the DVR. It is awesome. I speed through all commercials. I only find that I end up in the dark when it comes to current events. The news commercials for their upcoming segments get lost in the fast forwarding. I’m okay with that. I can get news elsewhere just to avoid being sold to.
Courtesy David Westerfield
Well, for some reason I have seen more commercials in the last few days than is typical for me. I’m a little worried. Most of these commercials are annoying and only a few are actually amusing. What has the world come to that Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal uses cannibalism to endorse their product? What is wrong with our society that male enhancement products are promoted during Dora the Explorer? And why, oh why are we trying to sell people a year’s worth of dehydrated food in preparation for the impending zombie apocalypse (Side note: Why are we fascinated with zombies? I blame the Walking Dead, which I still have yet to see.)? I just don’t get it. We are either being sold products we don’t need, like Joan River’s absurdly gaudy collection of costume jewelry, or we are being advertised to through inappropriate marketing. And don’t get me started on the kid’s toys commercials! They scream at you until you plug your ears and scream, “FINE! I’ll go buy little Susie that toy if you would just stop yelling at me and airing this commercial 20 times in one hour!”
And what about cleaning commercials? There is always some woman that is confused about how to clean her bathroom or kitchen.  There’s always a male voice over telling her what to do. Or a tampon commercial with a male voice over. Seriously? Can we say sexist? And on the same token, there are commercials depicting men as stupid. They don’t know how to clean, they don’t know how to be cool, they don’t know how to raise kids, they don’t even know how to reign in their unrealistic sports enthusiasm. Seriously?  Come on! My husband rocks! I might be a feminist, but my husband is not dumb, he can handle most anything life throws at him. He can cook, he can clean and he does it all without gambling away our mortgage on the big game. Good grief! And now? They have kids screaming at their mom’s in grocery stores until that mom caves in and buys Fruit Roll Ups. And we wonder why our kids are so out of control! Well, it is because we are told in the most annoying ways, what we should buy them and when. Then, because we are annoyed, we do it. We end up with over indulged children and broke because we have become push-overs.
So, on a whole I just need to tell the marketing community to knock it off! You have worn out your welcome. I cannot buy products from companies that so recklessly advertise their products. There’s no accountability. Instead, the consumer is left to deal with the aftermath of your irresponsible marketing.  A big hint? Want people to buy your product? BE FUNNY! I know I would be more inclined to listen and consider your product if you were more amusing and less annoying.

Regretfully yours,

Stephanie D. Birch

Stephanie D. Birch is an expert channel surfer and avoids commercials like you avoid that things in the back of your fridge that you keep meaning to throw away, but now it has become more of a science experiment and you are wondering when it will sprout it's own legs. To contact her visit, www.stephaniedbirch.com or email her at birchwordnerd@yahoo.com

November 22, 2012

Peace on earth, but no parking
I’m a little obsessed with good parking spots. I don’t want door dings or accidental shopping cart collisions into my fenders. When I go to a store, I park far away in a choice parking spot. I don’t mind the extra walk at all, if it means that my car will be ding free. It’s not like I have a luxury car or anything like that.  I think it stems from this one time where my husband, Jake and I were sitting in the car waiting for a store to open when, WHAM! Someone pushed their shopping car right into our car, then quickly got in their own car and sped off. I was miffed to say the least, and leaving a permanent reminder of the memory is a brilliantly executed ding near the rear passenger fender.

A frustrated holiday shopper finds a parking
spot come hell or high water

Now bearing in mind my affinity for protecting my car, can you imagine why I hate shopping this time of year? Yup. There’s no freakin’ parking. Not anywhere. Well, maybe at the dentist because I can’t imagine that the holiday’s bring them any extra business, but who knows.  I long for the days of my protected parking spots. Even parking far from stores doesn’t change the fact that I must daftly maneuver my SUV into the parking spot with two cars on either side, and for good measure, they are hugging the white line so tightly that I have to squeeze out the drivers’ side door, sucking it in and holding my breath.  Now, I know that many an SUV owner park in compact spaces. And normally I don’t do it because I find it obnoxious, but if it is the only parking spot available, I will. I hate being that person, but I have to go to these stores. I must line up with the throngs of people huffing in frustration over the fact that they have been waiting in line to purchase one item at Costco for over an hour and they just ran out of the last sample they stashed in their pockets knowing they would be waiting. These people start to wonder why places like these don’t offer samples of vodka, wine, or even Aspirin to get them through. What an idea! I would joyfully line up to buy something in a store that offered me samples of Cosmos with Aspirin chasers. But I digress.
So, I finish my shopping and head to my car. The small cars are no longer parked next to mine, but what’s worse is that they have been replaced by two huge SUVs.  My SUV is sandwiched between two others and there’s no way I can get in through my driver’s side door. Nope. Not even my passenger door. So, I crawl in the back door, and land squarely on my face as I climb over the back row of seats. Thank god for window tinting! Nobody saw my less than successful attempt at gracefully maneuvering over the seat. And my strategy to get into the drivers’ seat while less than klutzy, still bordered on clumsy. Serves me right for parking in a compact space.  And I sit in that seat thinking of better days, when parking lots were more like wide open spaces, with less chances of door dings and opportunities for acrobatic seating. I keep thinking it will be over after Christmas, but alas, then there are the lines for returns! Oh dear! And it all makes me think of a line from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and syndicated columnist, Dave Barry, “Peace on earth, but no parking.” So, as you search for parking on this day, Black Friday, know that I am thinking of you, wishing you find the best space in the lot to provide you with at least a little solace during the chaos that ensues this time of year.
Happy Holidays and happy parking my friends.

Stephanie D. Birch is a parking space stalker and is heading up the grass roots effort to bring Cosmo samples and Aspirin to holiday shopping lines near you.  To hear more about her random-ish rants, email her at birchwordnerd@yahoo.com

November 6, 2012

Election Day

It’s finally election Tuesday. For all of you walking around (virtually) un-friending people on Facebook for their political rants, you can keep reading. This is not a soapbox or in favor of any political party. You will like it. I promise. If not you will receive a full refund of your time and energy. Just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with twenty bucks in it, I will give you back your five minutes by repeatedly walking barefoot over a zombie ant hill. That’s a promise.
Or is it? It sounds like a lie… because how would you know if I really did it? Or even if I really have access to a zombie ant hill? Maybe it’s just a scam to get you to send me twenty bucks. Okay it totally is. But that kind of shady talk is all I've seen on television lately. What happened to the inappropriate Liquid Plumber commercials? Now it's all "I promise to blah blah blah..." And how will we really know if they're going to blah blah blah? I'm about instant gratification. If a promise takes over a year to manifest, I've probably already forgotten about it. *Don't click on the video if you are easily offended by sexy stuff. It's really dirty, but they play it on regular television.*

 I wonder how politicians do it. No, really. It’s hard some days for me to fit a shower into my schedule, and they’re out there speeching and fundraising and political-adding and whoring around and stuff. It’s like they were allotted more hours in their day than the rest of us. I feel horribly disenfranchised.
I think I would make the best politician though, if I could get some of those extra daylight hours to get my speech on. I can talk about nothing pretty much indefinitely. They call it a filibuster. I call it what I do while waiting in line at Starbucks. I just got a gift card to the ‘Bucks (don’t you hate when people give cutesy nicknames to places, like pronouncing it Tar-jay and calling Carl’s Junior’s CJ’s?) as a coach’s gift from my soccer team this season, just for being cool and probably because they think that more coffee is a good idea for someone like me who doesn’t have nearly enough caffeine in their lives. Just a warning for those Starbucks-ians. I will be there.  Stealthy like a ninja. Filibustering your pants off.
There’s no serious in ranting, so if you think I’m going to tell you to go vote, I’m not. You should, but that’s your business. Some things are private, like voting and using the potty. No need to share the details with the public, just do your business and get out. It’s some people’s jobs’ though, to comment on politics and share their opinions. Thank goodness it’s no one’s job to comment on the potty-using. Maybe a doctor. What kind of doctor would do that? Colonoscopy-ist maybe.
I like to watch the different news stations and judge the political commentators. Like Fox News—they always have hot young girls giving their political opinions. Sorry, Fox, but you gotta ug those girls up for me to take them seriously. No way I’m going to listen if they look more like Jessica Rabbit than Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m sure old Ruth was a major hottie in her time, but still. At least take their hair down a notch from the big, SteelMagnolias blond helmet bouffant. Maybe go with a ponytail, less glittery eye makeup, and some glasses. Because most of the guys are just thinking uh huh, uh huh, knockers, uh huh… That’s the other thing. Slap a turtleneck on, maybe don’t inflate the girls up that day with a Miracle bra. I’m sure people really want some eye candy with their political commentary vegetables. I dig. I never like being sexist or saying that just because a girl looks hot doesn’t mean she’s not super smart too. But maybe they could take down the bimbo setting on their style just a touch, that’s all I’m saying. We have to think about that stuff-- it's not fair, because no one is telling Shepard Smith to cover up his cleavage so people will take him seriously, but it's reality. Although who is the dude equivalent to sexy girl reporters? That one guy-- Anderson Cooper. I tend to drift off when he gets to talking, just envisioning running down the beach and stuff.
Miracle Bra
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
I really like political commercials, especially the ones where they use kids, puppies or old people. I don’t even have to turn up the sound—I just watch the sad grandma with her eyes filled with tears because some horrible grandma-eating political vampire stole all her money and chewed off her fingers, and I’m so on her side, whatever side she is on. She could be part of The Environment Burning Zombie Virus Development Agency, advocating Proposition Z for Zombie and I’d still watch her cry and vow revenge on  the horrible folks trying to keep her from her dream of world zombie domination.  And the same goes for those ads with kittens and babies crying and horrible mean corporations taking away their chocolate chip cookies. Who does that to little kitten babies? Rude.
someecards.com - All of my friends are posting intense political
rants on facebook, and I'm just over here like, The other thing that cracks me up is how serious everyone takes their opinions. They like to post them all over the interwebs and then get all sobby and offended when people with the opposite opinion (the other fifty percent of the world) comment on their comments.  People post whole paragraphs back and forth and sometimes it sounds like they are reading directly from aforementioned political ads. It’s great fun to log on and find some random person and post an innocuous comment that could go for either side. Example: “You go! Right on. I couldn’t have said it better myself.” And then “like” all the comments below the post, both pro and con.
I know it’s really serious, and I should take it all more seriously. It makes me nervous though, when people start talking politics. It’s really a bitch-slapping match with words. I already put my idea for alternative debate formats out there, and I really feel like the government should start taking advantage of that right away.
someecards.com - Thank you for honoring Facebook's legacy by staying
away from political rants and using it for gossip and mindless chatter

One thing they haven’t had enough of lately is sex scandals. How do late night talk show hosts survive? They played with the whole Clinton/Lewinski thing forever. And now he’s all weird and skinny and she’s selling handbags I think. It’s very anti-climactic. This is why I love the movie The Birdcage. Besides getting to see Gene Hackman in drag as the ugliest woman ever, it’s rife with political misunderstandings and sex scandals and drag queens and Hank Azaria in Daisy Duke cutoffs singing Gloria Estefan songs. There is nothing better.
So today I’m looking forward to having a bang up time with the whole voting, politico crazy stuff. It’s the time when the trot out DorisKearns Goodwin (she gets to leave her political analytical cave once every four years) to tell us how voting was back a thousand years ago when she first started it. It’s time for every news station to start making predictions, which are super funny because they keep changing their minds every four seconds. It’s time to go get my sticker. I love that they hand out stickers when you vote. It’s like going to the doctor and getting a shot and then you get a sticker as a reward. I hardly get any stickers as an adult anymore. It’s going to be a banner day. Have fun out there. Mess with people's minds. It's fun. 

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