Celebrity Outrage Fever!

I haven’t written anything for…oh….nearly four months now. This is inexcusable on my part.

But now? Time for some excuses!

Firstly, I went through a solid six week stretch where I was working 70ish hours per week. While I don’t regret it and will almost certainly do it again sometime soon, it’s exhausting. On every level. I was physically and mentally drained and just didn’t have it in me to sit in front of a computer and ramble for a couple thousand words or so.

Secondly, I occasionally have/do get moments of self doubt. I’m sure this happens to everybody who writes, be they a best selling author or a once in a while blogger. Putting yourself out there like this is SCARY, but it’s a good kind of scary. The kind that makes you know something is worth doing. I know that tonight, which is why I’m writing, but sometimes that fear is overpowering and it’s been happening a lot, particularly when my brain has been fried from all the work during the week.

That’s been more the case lately. I almost ended the hiatus a couple of weeks ago, for example, when Paul Walker died and people started complaining to Wheel of Fortune because of their “insensitivity” for using “The Fast And The Furious” as a puzzle answer during an episode taped MONTHS prior to Walker’s death but aired days AFTER his car accident. People were outraged. Outraged! This could not stand! They complained to Pat Sajak’s Twitter account! Pat Sajak apologized and said he felt “awful” about the timing, but it was a coincidence. Plus…y’know…how could he have possibly known that everyone with way too much time on their hands was going to gather together at once in order to complain about the audacity of using the title of a film a dead guy appeared in as the answer to the puzzle on a game show?

Paul Walker of course being the first movie star ever to die. Surely Wheel of Fortune has never used “Rebel Without A Cause” or “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca” as the answer to a puzzle before, because those films all contain dead actors AND THAT WOULD JUST BE INSENSITIVE OF THEM AND WE’RE ALL HYPER SENSITIVE THESE DAYS! Don’t you know that, Sajak?!

ANYWAY, I bit my tongue on that. After all, my last blog had been about fake outrage and I didn’t want to repeat myself. Plus, I told myself, “People don’t really have any reason to care what you have to say, Adam. It’s very nice that some of them do, but no need to get up on your high horse over and over on the same subject.” I made a good point that day. Repetition is bad, variety keeps things fresh and interesting. But the “why should they care about what I’m writing about” doubts remained. And still do, to a degree.

But then this week, everybody started up the phony outrage machine again about some guy on a duck show. Repetition be damned, inhibitions be damned, I cannot keep this one bottled up, so consider this my return.

There’s a reality show on the A&E Network called Duck Dynasty. I know of many people who enjoy it and it’s apparently quite popular. Let me be completely up front and say that I’ve never seen it once and really have no intention to. It’s about a bunch of guys who make duck calls for a living and hunt ducks and live outdoors, which is all well and good. Just not my cup of tea. The leader of the family is a guy named Phil Robertson. I’d guess he’s somewhere in his 60s and runs the duck call company. Right? Let’s go with that. It’s irrelevant to this post.

What I’ve learned this week is that Phil Robertson is a white male in his mid 60s who is an ultra religious millionaire businessman from the Deep South who apparently doesn’t think too highly of gay people.


I just….where do I even start?

Phil was giving an interview to GQ magazine when he was asked about gays, blacks and I don’t even know what else. He gave some answers about gay people which are just bizarre (and getting all the attention) and blacks that are just abhorrent and not getting nearly as much attention.

Why do we care what the Duck man thinks?

The people on the left side of the political aisle are up in arms because he compared homosexuality to bestiality. Equal sins in God’s eyes, he said. Once people got mad about this, A&E listened and suspended him for violating their code(s?) of conduct. The people on the right side of the aisle became furious because he was only expressing what’s in the Bible and he has a right to free speech which is protected by the Constitution.

Let’s break this down.

Firstly, the people on the left need to calm down. Because, frankly. many of you are educated people who can make a good guess at the political/moral views of an ultra religious white man from the Deep South. He’s entitled to his opinions (abhorrent as they may be) and no amount of outrage sent his way is going to change them at this point in his life. That’s reality. Personally, I think his views could not be much farther away from my own. In the Bible I read as a kid, Jesus preached tolerance, love, and kindness towards your neighbors, no matter who they may be. Somewhere in there is a line about he who is without sin casting the first stone.

In his own eyes, Phil Robertson must be without sin.

Secondly, the people on the right need to calm down. The Duck man’s being suspended from his job isn’t an attack on religion or your beliefs or on you as a human being. A&E is a company and Duck Dynasty is a television show. It’s also a highly profitable business venture OF A&E. Yes, they are glad to have a large, base audience who will tune in no matter what, but they would love nothing more than every eyeball in North America to be tuned in to every new episode of Duck Dynasty. They’ll make more money, they’ll invest in more shows and you’ll get more things to watch. Win-win-win.

Now, does Phil Robertson have a freedom of speech? Absolutely. It’s in the Constitution. First amendment, actually.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”


Again. Congress.

NOT the A&E Network. The founders were good, the men involved in writing the Constitution were very smart and forward thinking, but not a single one of them could possibly have seen the A&E Network coming.

The A&E Network is a private entity which has the right to set personal conduct standards as they see fit. Phil Robertson and the rest of the Duck Dynasty family all certainly had to sign contracts saying that they would not say or do anything to besmirch the network’s good name, since that may (or in this case, almost certainly will) keep viewers away from the A&E Network, which will cost them money and hurt their business. The Robertsons are business owners. They understand that you need customers. They shouldn’t be at all surprised by his suspension from the show.

What they should be surprised by is the fact that a writer from a major magazine like GQ was taking time to ask the leader of a duck call company what he thinks about gay marriage, civil rights and other important political issues of his time.

Actually, scratch that. The writer from GQ asked him about these things because he thought that people would care. Or that the Duck man would make some controversial remarks and people would buy more magazines in order to read his controversial remarks.

GQ was clearly right on that one.

What should surprise the writer, the Robertsons and every thoughtful human being on Earth is that so many people are so wrapped up in celebrity life that they care what the Duck man has to say about political issues. Of course, this is a problem on both sides of the aisle. Leonardo DiCaprio gets asked about renewable energy. Movie stars, comedians, other TV actors get asked all the time for their opinions on hot button issues. I doubt this is anything new, but it’s definitely become more widespread as our definition of what a celebrity is has expanded vastly over the past 5-10 years or so.

The fact is, if the Duck Dynasty team never makes another show, your life will go on. The reruns are widely available to tide you over and surely someone is developing a show about Roof Shinglers Of The Upper Midwest as we speak which will fill the void they leave nicely.

(Note to self: Call Hollywood in the morning. Pitch a reality show about roof shinglers of the Upper Midwest.)

If Phil Robertson is suspended for a while? THIS ALSO HAS NO IMPACT ON YOU. He’ll lose some income from the show but he’ll gain it back from his books, T-Shirts, duck calls, sock puppets and whatever else they sell with the Duck Dynasty logo attached to it. But that’s his problem, not yours.

Freedom of speech is a great thing, but again, it really only grants us the right to trash the government without fear of reprisal. That’s all that is written into the first amendment. While it’s also great that we have the technology available in which we can debate the merits of any particular comment at any particular time, it doesn’t mean you can go to work tomorrow, stand on the break room table and yell your views about gays or black people.

You know what? Actually? Some of you should try that tomorrow. Let me know how that works.

The most important facts in this whole controversy? Let me count them down from two to one.

2. Black people didn’t have it easy in the South for, oh, 200 years or so. They just didn’t. They still don’t in a lot of ways. The 1760s weren’t easy, the 1860s weren’t easy, the 1960s weren’t easy and the 2060s probably won’t be easy. Nothing a duck commander says is going to revise that history.

1. Gay people exist. They have always existed and will never stop existing. You can point to the Bible for evidence that God hates this and thinks it’s an abomination as much as you’d like, but science would beg to differ with that section of the Bible. Gay males didn’t wake up when they were 12 and think “You know what? I like boys!” any more than straight males woke up one morning and think “You know what? I like girls!” They just did.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. We have so many more important problems in this country and this world than arguing over who people love. We have many more important problems than worrying about what the star of a reality TV show says about anything. Whichever God you might believe in, I can guarantee that they’ll take care of judging the sins of your neighbors and the citizens of your country whenever that time might come.

But for now? While you’re still down here on Earth?

Worry about what your parents think. Worry about what your teachers say. Worry about your goals and dreams and how you’re going to reach them. Worry about working hard and living your life in the best way possible so that you can do whatever you can to make your world better than you found it the day before.

That’s what’s important. That’s what will always be important. Your life belongs to you.

It certainly doesn’t need to be impacted by anybody on cable.

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We’re Number Twelve! We’re Number Twelve!

Let me paint you a word picture.

A couple has two kids, a boy and a girl. They’re…oh..let’s say 8 and 6 years old. As kids do, they fight. They bicker. The girl says something mean to the boy, so the boy pulls her hair. The girl screams for mom and dad, the boy pulls her hair harder. Mom gets to the room first, scolds the boy. Yells at him to stop pulling his sister’s hair. The boy stops pulling his hair but yells back at Mom about how the sister started it. Mom tells the boy not to pull her hair and the girl to be nice to her brother.

This scenario repeats itself over time. Week after week, year after year, hundreds of times the girl gets her hair pulled after saying mean things to the boy, Mom or Dad orders the kids to stop. Behave. Don’t pull your sister’s hair. Be nice to your brother. What you’re doing right now is wrong and it needs to stop.

Then…one day…a neat thing happens. It stops. No more hair pulling, no more mean words. The message of what is wrong and what is right gets through after years of conditioning and good parenting. The boy grows up to be a man who is nice to women, the girl grows up to be a woman who is nice to men. All because they got all the meanness out of their system and came around to eventually behave in a way they knew to be right.

This is how politics works these days.

We go to vote for somebody to represent us every couple of years. Sometimes we vote for Democrats, sometimes we vote for Republicans, sometimes the masses get together and pick somebody else. They all get together and try to make laws. Or at least they used to. Washington right now is nothing more than the boy and the girl, saying mean things, demanding apologies, then saying meaner things because the other person started it so why should I apologize because he said the mean thing first and I’m going to take my ball and go home and I’m telling Mom! I’m going to get someone to spend lots of money to air commercials in your district to tell all of your voters what you did wrong! Then you’ll stop it! You’ll have to stop it! And it escalates and it escalates and new people come to Washington and repeat the cycle again.

But eventually, something amazing almost always happens.

We do the right thing.

It just always takes far too long. FAR too long, in some cases.

We took too long to give women the right to vote, black people their freedom, (seriously. We had slavery in 1776, but the Founding Fathers are looked at as impeccable deities by some people? Really?) we’re taking too long to deal with climate change and many many people are dying because we’re impossibly stupid on guns. We’re taking far too long to acknowledge that women have the right to own and operate their own vaginas.

That one should’ve happened in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade happened, but it didn’t because of the smartest, most deliciously evil thing Republicans ever did. At some point in the mid-1970s they realized “Hey! We can get the votes of Southern religious people who are REALLY mad about abortion! They won’t even realize they’re voting against their economic interests! It’ll be great!”

They were right, and what they did has transformed politics for the next four decades and counting. Christianity is now firmly injected into politics. I do not want this portrayed as an indictment of Christianity by any means, but it has absolutely no place in American politics because we were designed to be a nation without an official religion. NO religion has a place in government because not everyone in the country is ever going to believe in that religion and America is designed to be a government whose purpose is to represent everybody. EVERYBODY.

But that’s another blog.

Anyway…eventually, we gave women the right to vote and black people the right to exist. Heck, even Mississippi officially abolished slavery this year. 2013. If Mississippi can eventually get around to that, anything can happen. We’ll get there on abortion. Seriously, the stupidest thing that any politician, political party, or for that matter any man can do is imply that they are smarter than a woman, especially on issues involving a woman’s own body. Why is this? Twofold:

2) WOMEN ARE SMARTER THAN MEN ARE. Fellas, ask your wives, ask your girlfriends. They’ll back me up. Our brains are not wired to think through options as well as theirs are. Any woman at any time has 47 different thoughts going on a carousel through her head and she processes them faster and more efficiently than men can. She can do this without bursting into flames, either. So really, let’s hurry up and stop it with the transvaginal probes and the Planned Parenthood bashing and the waiting periods and everything else the rich white guys do to try to hold control over women. They’re capable of handling what to do with their bodies by themselves. Besides, we have absolutely no idea how all the plumbing in there works, so can us guys all get together at the next Man Convention and agree to stop acting like we do? Great, thanks.

ANYWAY, Minnesota got one right today. The state Senate followed up on the stellar work of the state House and voted to legalize gay marriage. The Governor will sign it tomorrow and on August 1st, gay couples can start getting married. Now…a little secret?

Society won’t collapse. Children won’t be damaged. The world won’t stop spinning just because something religion somehow taught you to hate is now legal. How hate ever came out of the teachings of Jesus is completely beyond me, but you know what?


I am massively proud of my state for being ahead of the curve. Days like this are why, no matter where I find myself living for the rest of my life, I’m always going to be a proud Minnesotan. We were one of the first states to go past tolerance (which is really a nice word for “I hate what you’re doing with your life but I’ll put up with you anyway) and straight for acceptance.

Love is not something that should just be tolerated. It should be embraced. Enjoyed. Desired. It’s something that everybody deserves to experience in their lives and everyone should be able to experience it without their love simply being “tolerated” by the rest of society.

This week Minnesota did the right thing. We stopped pulling our sister’s hair and admitted that it’s sometimes imperative to stop fighting and do what we know to be right. Eventually, the rest of the states will as well. Be patient, it’ll come. Love is too powerful for politics to overcome.

And today? Well, today. More than ever. I love Minnesota.

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How To Order Coffee In The Cold

I have two great loves in life.

One is baseball, the other is coffee. The former gets me through the summers, the latter gets me through all hours which end in “A.M.” Yesterday presented a somewhat rare opportunity to combine my two loves when I attended the Minnesota Twins season opener at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The game was quite fittingly played on April Fool’s Day, as all 38,000+ of us ticket buyers could only be some sort of fools to pay good money to watch a bad baseball team play in the bitterly freezing cold. I left work a few hours early to make my way down there, with two nagging thoughts in the back of my mind the entire commute downtown:

1. “I love baseball, but this is insane. It’s 20 degrees and windy. Very windy. VERY WINDY.”


It would appear the part of my brain responsible for nagging thoughts has a bit of a split personality, upon further review. I should get that checked on.

At any rate, after making my way to the Mall of America to hop on the train (always a mistake. Never get on at the Mall. For starters, you have to walk through the mall. For seconds, it’s four minutes between the Mall of America stop and the 28th Avenue station. It takes approximately 1.7 minutes to drive from Mall of America to the 28th Avenue station, PLUS you don’t have to walk through horrors of the Mall of America when you’re at the 28th Avenue station. I learned things in college, boys and girls.)

ANYWAY, I made it in time to catch all but the first out of the first inning. By the second out of the first inning, it became clear that leaving my seat at any point would be a horrible idea. Let it be clear, I was fairly well dressed. I had a T-Shirt, hooded sweatshirt, winter jacket, gloves, the works on. Not to mention jeans. Sad as it was, I had to deny the women of Target Field the chance to feast their eyes upon my shapely calves. All in due time, ladies.

In spite of the layers, when my butt hit the seat I knew I’d be staying put for as long as possible. The seat was FREEZING. Once I had warmed it up, I didn’t want to leave. Others around me had the same idea. One man in the row in front of me even saw fit to take a nap for a while. He left in the fourth inning however, when he realized that he was napping in a bitterly cold baseball stadium.

Somewhere around the sixth inning, the coffee loving part of my brain took over in a coordinated effort with the part of my brain that enjoys being able to send blood down to my legs. Not much had happened on the field to make me want to stand up, but (scientific fact) if you keep your legs bent at a 90 degree angle in -90 degree temperatures, they’ll stay that way forever if you don’t stand up from time to time.

So my buddy Pete and I went down to the concourse to get some coffee and hot chocolate. Pete isn’t a coffee addict, yet we’re still friends. Makes no sense to me either. He had bought me the ticket, however, so I offered to buy his hot chocolate as a means of paying back part of the price.

We got to the first concession stand and saw very long lines. The next one had several very long lines and one very short line. After standing in a very long line for an entirely too long time, I notice the existence of the short line and switched to that. There were only two girls in front of me, so I stayed in line while Pete kept an eye on the game. The man behind the counter gave the girls there food and then asked me what I was waiting for.

“Oh, I’d just like a hot dog, hot chocolate and coffee, please.”

“You need to get in the OTHER line for THAT,” he snapped back at me.

Now, here’s the thing. The older I get, the less Minnesota Passive-Aggressive I get and the more aggressive-aggressive I get. I’ve BEEN on the other side of that counter and I know how stressful it can be. I’m sure it’s even worse when it’s freezing cold.


When did society get this way? I do not for a SECOND think that I’m better than him because I have a better job than he does, but seriously…when did society get to a point where we shifted all the power to the guy handing out hot dogs at a baseball game? I do not want power over him, I simply want kindness in return for…oh…DARING to stand in the wrong spot when NOBODY TOLD ME IT WAS THE WRONG DAMN SPOT. Is that a lot to ask? Do I need to be scolded? Do I need to be shamed? NO. Shame was coming later. Shame came AFTER I glared at him and asked “How could I POSSIBLY have known that was the wrong line?” and he gave me a condescending smile and a point to the very long line two feet to my right.

So I gave him another shrug of the shoulders and hopped in the other line. It moved pretty quickly and I repeated the order that I had given Jackass #1.

“Hi, I’d like a hot dog, hot chocolate and coffee please.”

“Yeaaaaah, we can’t do that.”

“Excuse me?”

“We’re out of those things.”

“You’re out of hot dogs??”

“Oh no, we have those, but we’re out of hot chocolate and coffee.”

*blank stare* “But you still have them listed on your sign.” *points up* “See? Right there. Caribou Coffee, hot chocolate.”

“No, I’m sorry. We can’t keep up with the demand so we’re out right now. They have some at section 327 though…”

“Those signs slide out, don’t they? Couldn’t you take the sign down so we don’t sta…”

*condescending smile* “No, sorry. Section 327 though..”

So I willed my legs to work and walked down towards 327. Complaining up a storm to Pete the entire way about the bad manners and the stupidity. Here’s the part I left out:

The special blend of stupidity and rudeness is currently what IT TAKES TO BE AN AMERICAN. Honestly, it infuriates me on a daily basis what a self-absorbed and inexcusably stupid country we have become. It is MANDATORY for kids to attend high school and STRONGLY encouraged that they go to college after they get done with their 12-13 years of mandatory schooling, yet we’re currently in a society where PEOPLE CANNOT TAKE DOWN THE SIGN FOR COFFEE WHEN THEY RUN OUT OF THE EFFING COFFEE. It would take 14 seconds to hop up on a stepladder, slide out the little sign that says “Coffee” and get back down to your cash register. It would take 7 seconds to write “Sorry, out of coffee” or “Pick up food here, order it over there” on a sheet of paper, BUT OH MAYBE WE CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO WRITE ARROWS POINTING THE PROPER DIRECTION SO WE SKIP THAT PART. Or no, wait, maybe it’s FAR more important that you take your 7 seconds to let out some aggression by yelling at the guy who accidentally got into the wrong unmarked line NEXT TO A CASH REGISTER by the way instead of trying to make the lives of your fellow man, who is ALSO FREEZING a little bit easier by pointing him to the right line.

But no, we can’t do that. We can’t communicate with each other as we’d like others to communicate with us. We can’t express reasonable things like “The line to order your food is over here.” We can’t express anger where it belongs. We can’t yell at the boss who fired you from the job that led you to take a job slinging hot dogs, so we yell at the guy trying to buy a hot dog. We can’t pay attention long enough to make it through a 30 second lesson on how to spell “you’re” or “your,” so we can’t spend 30 seconds pulling signs out of a menu board. We have EVERY opportunity in this country to pay attention in high school, read books, surf the WIDE WORLD of information that’s available on the internet, but we spend our time worrying about who Chris Brown beat up today while figuring out new ways to destroy the English language. We don’t want to learn anything longer than a misspelled Tweet, and I don’t like that that’s where we’re headed.

I do not like that we’ve given all the power to the people getting paid $8 an hour to stand behind a counter. They deserve enough power to take my money and hand me my food without giving me any crap for standing in the wrong line. They deserve the better jobs that they want and the extra money that they desire. They deserve better than what the world has given them if they hate their days enough to bark at people who do them no wrong. That starts with kids paying attention in high school, caring about the world around them and working incredibly hard while being kind to others. Those kids grow up into solid adults who will have their own kids that will be brought up right. Kids who will learn that you have to work every day for what you have and if you don’t have everything you want, you need to work harder. Once that gets drilled into people’s brains, once people stop expecting everything good to just be handed to them, this world gets better. That’s the better world that you deserve and the guy behind the counter deserves.

Me? I deserved the right to cry in public. After all that running around in the freezing cold, including a trip to section 327, I got no coffee. Pete got no hot chocolate. In spite of what the man told me, section 327 was out of warm drinks as well. How do I know this?

Aha, there’s hope after all, kids. The people running section 327 took down their signs for coffee and hot chocolate because it was, in fact, sold out. Hope is on the way.

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Adam Tries To Book An Appointment With The Dentist

I grew up in a really small town.

If you’re reading this, odds are you knew that already. What you may not realize, is that one of the perks of living in a place like that is that you don’t have to think about basic things like where to get your hair cut or your teeth cleaned. I was lucky enough to just find a wonderful woman to cut my hair basically from the time I started growing hair up until the point where I started losing hair when she sadly moved away. The dentist I had growing up remains the only dentist I’ve ever been to. I went to preschool with his son, he’s been fixing up my teeth since I’ve had teeth and does tremendous work. The dentist, not his son.

Having grown up with that level of comfort, I developed a certain nervousness with strangers who attempt to do these basic things. The first time I went to a Great Clips was when I was 19 or 20 years old. I sat down in the chair and the girl asked me “So what do we do?” I said “Make it shorter.” She said “With which blades?” I said “The ones that make it shorter.” She said “Yes, which numbers?” I said “They have numbers?”

I started losing my hair around the time someone new started cutting it. I still blame Great Clips. If I just find the right one to cut it again, it’ll grow back some day. It’ll grow back……

…..ANYWAY, ditto the search for a reliable auto mechanic. Granted, this is largely an oxymoron, as the repair of cars is far and away the largest form of organized crime without the Comcast name attached. Actually, I wonder how long it takes for Comcast to realize that they’re missing out on ways to rip people off and they start buying up some auto repair shops.

“Comcast Auto: Taking Incompetence To the Streets!”

ANYWAY, the Dentist. Let’s back up a step.

Roughly a year ago, I was almost completely unemployed. I could barely afford food, let alone health insurance. Life was very much a struggle and got even worse once I broke the Republican Health Care plan by becoming simultaneously poor and sick. Got a dusting of food poisoning and after a solid six hours of vomiting, drove myself to the hospital. They patched me up, hooking one IV to my arm and another to my wallet. They made me apply for medical assistance, which I didn’t want to do, still don’t want to do, but am incredibly grateful that I have it. It’s fantastic stuff, and it’s come in VERY handy over the last year. It’s not the stuff they give you for free, I just get VERY comprehensive insurance at a subsidized price from a company called UCare.

It gets tricky, especially these days since I work 7 days a week now (wanna talk about grateful? Go from working 0-2 days a week to working 7 days a week. Every hour at work becomes a blessing.) to go home to see my good dentist, so I decided the time had come to find a local one. There’s an office roughly a block from where I work that came highly recommended. I know a couple of the hygienists there and think they’re great, my grandparents go there, if ever there were a place to break down my walls of trust, this would be it. Especially since I found them listed in the UCare Provider Booklet with a big bold ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS! Headline under their listing.

So I submitted an appointment request late one night and asked them to email me. They did. I asked for Tuesday morning and was told that the particular dentist I wanted to see was off that Tuesday but had some openings on Wednesday, and would 8:00 work? And would you like me to check your insurance coverage? I said 12:30-1 would be better, and I have UCare Minnesota Care.

The reply came back of “Sorry, we’ve met our quota of UCare patients.”

I was taken aback by this, but had a hunch what they were getting at. I wrote back and said “Oh, okay, how much would a checkup/cleaning cost if I just paid cash?” I also added “Perhaps you should contact UCare to remove the Accepting New Patients! line from your listing in their booklet in order to prevent future confusion?”

Neither of these emails got an answer.

Now is where I need to derail my story, but it needs asking: Why is it so hard to answer? No, sorry, that’s not nearly enough outrage over the stupidity of how often I find myself asking that question.


Like most men, I’ve been out on dates with women who didn’t like me as much as I liked them. I’m sure the ladies have this problem with us as well. I’ll think things went well and then shoot a text or leave a message of “Hey, that was really fun and I’d love to see you again, how’s Thursday?” or something to that effect. And then get nothing. Which is really getting a very loud something. If you have news that you know you personally wouldn’t want to hear, just ask yourself “Would silence be worse? Would I want to be ignored until I go away?”

NO. No one likes being ignored until they go away. I’ve done it, I’ve felt bad about it up until the point that I realized “OH YEAH, That’s the idiotic society we’ve crafted for ourselves, where we CANNOT ACTUALLY JUST SAY HOW WE REALLY FEEL ABOUT THINGS.” Except for, of course, our phony outrage about things that don’t matter. It drives me up a fucking wall every time I have to see some politician on TV going “I’m sorry to my wife, daughter and everyone else who I’ve upset by my affair.” Shit like that is PERSONAL. If you’re outraged by the politician’s affair, whichever murder trial is on Headline News this month, what Chris Brown did to mess up what’s her nose’s face today or WHATEVER THE HELL ELSE IT IS THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE YOUR LIFE, I want to switch lives with you because you’ve clearly got fewer problems than I do. Just man up, or woman up, say “Hey, I don’t think dating will work, but good luck to you!” and that’s that. Or, in this case, say what the dentist’s office told me the next day.

I emailed again the next day with a friendly “Hi ____, I’d still love to know how much it would cost to come in for a cleaning if I just paid cash. Thanks!”

This eventually got a reply of “It is illegal for us to charge someone who has insurance.”

Which led to a reply of “Yet you won’t take any patients with my insurance, so in spite of the big bold message of “ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS” I can’t come in and pay you cash, either? How do you people stay in business with that kind of rationale?”

Which, again, I get the rationale. They don’t make much money off of me since they’ll be paid by the state. I pay the state a little amount of money, it goes to a lot of places, so I completely, 100% understand that they don’t want to take on someone who’s only going to make them a little bit of money.

Her reply? “Again, sorry…”

Now this…no. Just no. Here’s where I feel wronged. And here’s where the advertised adult language kicks in a little bit, so shield your eyes if you’re sensitive to such things.

Problem #1

Do NOT. EVER. Tell your customers, patients, students or ANYBODY ELSE WHO MAY NOT NEED TO KNOW THOSE THINGS FOR ANY FUCKING REASON THAT THEY ARE PART OF A QUOTA. You tell me “Oh no, I’m sorry sir, that message was an error, we actually aren’t able to take new patients at this time, but try us again in a couple of months.” You tell me “Oh no, sorry, but we’re booked pretty solid for the next few months. Try us back again then.”

DON’T JUST SAY “Oh, we’ve reached our limit of your kind.” That’s horrible customer service, it burns a potential later bridge and really, bitch, I like to complain.

Problem #2

If you’re going to turn down my insurance, LET ME PAY YOU CASH. I understand that the state makes ridiculous laws and I understand you’re probably bitter that the state makes you accept poor people. But really, “It’s illegal for us to charge someone with insurance.” SHOULD NOT BE FOLLOWED BY “…even though we aren’t accepting people with your insurance.” Is the state really going to have you shut down, fined, jailed or arrested for accepting the amount of poor people they require you to and then charging cash to the rest? AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, if you don’t take my insurance, THAN FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES I DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE. LET ME PAY YOU CASH.

So this was handled terribly. I got pissed at the level of incompetence. I called UCare to complain, got a kid on the phone who was scared to death of me because I was confident in my argument. He offered to send me an electric toothbrush. I offered to shove it…er…I politely declined. I called DentaQuest, who apparently can help the less capable adults among us book appointments, I said “No, I do a lot of that for a living. I just want to know if they’re allowed to set quotas. They are? Okay, fair enough. Stop yelling at me.”

Problem #3: 


Seriously people, this isn’t that hard, but it’s become difficult. We’ve crafted a country where you’re either rich or you’re not, and if you’re not, well then fuck-o, you’re on your own. And don’t you DARE TAKE ANY OF MY TAX DOLLARS BY DRAGGING YOUR LAZY ASS TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM WHEN YOU’RE SICK. OR BY TRYING TO GET YOUR TEETH CLEANED AND FIXED SO THEY DON’T FALL OUT.

Thanks, Tea Party. And thanks, Republicans. Great job voting for those nutbags. This is no longer the America of even ten years ago. Once upon a time back in high school, it was OKAY to help those in need. It was OKAY for government to help make sure people could eat, sleep someplace warm and get medicine if they need it. The thanks I got for trying to apply for medical assistance after having the audacity to go to the ER when I had food poisoning was a horrible, horrible woman who hung up on me after VERY rudely declining to hear my argument of “I do not see my gross pay. I see my net pay. Why on earth do you determine income cutoffs based on gross pay?” I’ve come a long way in a year, since I got to hang up on the dental lady who was yelling at me and trying to explain “Oh no, you’re wrong. We don’t have a dental clinic by that name. They just must have meant they’ve reached their quota of new patients.”

Because, y’know, I’m an idiot. I can’t read, I can’t communicate and I can’t even handle making myself an appointment.

And really, the condescending attitude of the conservative side of this argument is where I take an awful lot of offense. I’m an awfully smart guy who wants BADLY to work for what I have. I’m eternally grateful to be doing it seven days a week now and making my own way a little bit. But you know what? I’m fallible. I will get sick. I will need my teeth checked. I’m very lucky to be living in a great state like Minnesota that is progressive enough to actually care about poor people and help us out a little bit. Because, y’know, caring about poor people is now a progressive cause, not a social conservative cause. Let me know if you figure that one out.

But the fact that I do need a little bit of help to afford health insurance does not make me a taker, a leech, a government sponge, a drug addict or a lazy welfare bum. It makes me a guy who’s had a rough couple of years, needed assistance and is working his ass off to get to a point of no longer needing it so that he can start giving it.

Half the country understands this, half the country is insane. Until we all get together on this one, we’re in for a long, long continued decline.

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Magic Mike: Live Blog

Perhaps this will go down as a failed experiment. Perhaps it will become something I never post. Or perhaps it will become something that you’ll read along with next time you watch this Steven Soderbergh…erm…masterpiece? Either way, this is a live blog of Magic Mike, a film I’m watching as a deserved punishment for forgetting to make some phone calls at work on Tuesday. Here goes nothing!


11:43 PM: Popped in Magic Mike
11:43:10 PM: Realized that’s a poor choice of words. Trying this again…
11:43:15 PM: Inserted…no…
11:43:17 PM: Turned on Mag…no….
11:44 PM: Began Magic Mike.
11:44:50 PM: Previews. Always the previews. Why do I need a two minute long schpiel about how great Blu-Rays are WHEN I RENTED A DAMN BLU-RAY?! I *know* how good Blu-Rays are or I WOULD NOT HAVE RENTED ONE.
11:45 PM: Realized I rented a Blu-Ray of Magic Mike. I…um…this could have been a DVD. Why didn’t I get a DVD?
11:45:15 PM: Oh yeah! Because Blu-Rays have excellent sound and picture quality. Thanks, commercial!
11:45:22 PM: Excellent picture quality on a film about male strippers. Why didn’t I get a DVD?!?!?!?!
11:47 PM: Trailer for Cloud Atlas. I really should have seen Cloud Atlas during the 4 days it was in theaters. This looks fascinating. A fascinating movie starring Tom Hanks. Apparently also narrated by Tom Hanks. And Halle Berry? I have no idea what’s going on anymore. Fast Forward.
11:49 PM: Tried to find a picture of the Blu-Ray menu. Couldn’t. Imagine a really buff, smooth, buff version of the village people but without the Native American guy. Or the black guy. Okay, imagine five white guys dressed in nearly nothing. Now imagine me screaming “WHY DID I FORGET TO MAKE THOSE PHONE CALLS AT WORK?! WHY?!” Okay, four minutes of repeating that and I’m finally pressing play.

Let it Begin

11:54 PM: I love Steven Soderbergh. Let’s get that out in the open. The man makes some excellent films and the fact that he directed this is the only reason I went along with my punishment.
11:54:30 PM: Nothing on screen yet, but some ladies are cheering as Matthew McCon….oh geez. He’s on screen now. He’s asking “Hey now ladies, can you touch this? Can you fuckin’ touch this?” as he grabs his crotch.
11:56 PM: Naked girl! Naked girl! Two of them! Redemption! Channing Tatum just made himself smoother. Below the belt. Tells girl not to steal his shit. That’ll work, Channing.
11:57 PM: Channing Tatum is Mike! Apparently he has a mobile detailing business and hopes to someday sell custom furniture. Nice to see that even male strippers have dreams.
11:59 PM: Mike is now scolding his construction boss for hiring guys off of Craig’s List. This brings up several concerns. First of all, how many jobs does Mike have? He’s climbing up on a roof now where a bunch of guys appear to barely be working. That should be more of a concern, right? Oh! He got his job on Craig’s List, so he’s jealous of the other guys who got jobs on Craig’s List. Mystery solved!
12:00 AM: Nothing like eating your third piece of pie for the day as you watch Channing Tatum walking around being Channing Tatum to boost the ol’ ego. Nothing at all.
12:02 AM: Haven’t caught this guy’s name yet, but Mike’s friend got fired from the construction job because he was accused of stealing. He’s now at home with his sister, sorry, his GORGEOUS sister who is telling him to get a job. But politely! Oh, I bet someone out there has a job for a guy with no talents except looking good.
12:06 AM: Sister’s brother is a friend of Mike’s. Mike is in line for a club, friend wants into the club wearing a hoodie. Apparently the name of the club is Amphitheater, which is a magical land filled with beautiful women dancing in cages and other noncaged women in sparkly dresses getting ready to dance with Captain Sweatshirt.
12:07 AM: Captain Sweatshirt’s real name might be Ruben. I don’t care if that’s his name or not, it is now. Ruben just impressed a girl wearing a tiara and a sash.
12:09 AM: Ruben’s real name is Adam. ADAM. ADAM. Magic Mike is handing out advertising to the sash girl inviting her to his “male dance revue.” Adam is standing there awkwardly. I repeat, a guy named Adam is standing there awkwardly while another guy smooth talks the ladies. Show of hands, who here has seen that before?
12:09:10 AM: Put down my hand so that I could continue typing.
12:12 AM: I have absolutely no idea how to spell Matthew McConaughey’s last name. I also have no idea why he’s standing in a room waving around some sort of torch.
12:13:10 AM: Kevin Nash is in a film about male strippers. He’s teaching Adam how to spray tan his leg. Have a feeling that might become a major plot point soon.
12:14 AM: I’ve spent much of this year needing a job. Somehow I never thought about applying at a male strip club. Awkward Adam is getting prepared to hand things to the dancers as they go on stage by joining them in taking some sort of probably illegal supplement. What the eff is going on. Twenty minutes into this movie and….oh my….here come the dancers.
12:16 AM: Those are certainly some strategically placed umbrellas.
12:16:10 AM: Those are some spinning umbrellas. Seriously hoping their trenchcoats remain strategically placed.
12:17 AM: Nope. But at least they’re still wearing pants and vests.
12:17:20 AM: Nope.
12:17:40 AM: But the pants are still on so far, that’s good news. They’ve got that going for them. And most are wearing some kind of ties.
12:18 AM: Except for Kevin Nash.
12:18:15 AM: Oh Adam. Adam, no no, Adam. Don’t get that sly smile on your face. But at least he’s smiling while they’re still wearing pan….
12:19 AM: Nope.
12:20 AM: Kevin Nash is passed out in the back instead of being out on stage where he belongs. I’d expect this out of Scott Hall, but not you, Nash!
12:21 AM: They need somebody to dance instead of Kevin Nash. It’s as if Adam were there for a convenient plot point reason!
12:21:10 AM: Yup.
12:21:40 AM: Adam can’t dance, but is awfully good at taking his clothes off. It’s as if I have a clone.
12:24 AM: Adam made lots of money for awkwardly taking his clothes off. It’s no longer as if I have a clone.
12:25 AM: Magic Mike is apparently a part owner of a male strip club, a construction worker, an amateur furniture business owner. And good with the ladies.
12:26 AM: Very good. I…oh my…that young lady just removed her sash. Even Adam is bringing somebody back to his sister’s couch. Or…wait…to a bridge near the ocean. Classy move, Adam. Classy.
12:27 AM: Adam: “Hey Mike, I think we should be best friends.” Essentially what I said in 1990 when I walked over to my neighbor Mike’s house for the very first time.
12:29 AM: Cody Horn just scolded Magic Mike about how she doesn’t cook breakfast. 35 minutes in and I cannot for the life of me figure out where this movie is going. Could be about Adam finding himself, could be about Mike finally owning his own furniture business funded by stripping, could be about Adam’s sister hating breakfast, could be about Matthew McConaughey being a gigantic douche. I JUST DON’T KNOW!
12:31 AM: Yeah, definitely that last thing. He’s abusing Adam while teaching Adam how to grind on him. AND ADAM AGAIN WITH THE SLY SMILE!
12:32 AM: Magic Mike now taking Adam underwear shopping. For some star spangled banner underwear.
12:32:25 AM: Matthew McConaughey’s name is apparently Dallas. Granted, I earlier thought Adam’s name was Ruben, but I’m sticking with this one since it’s much easier to spell.
12:33 AM: Adam is now shaving his leg. The leg that Kevin Nash spray tanned. Callback!
12:34 AM: Adam’s Sister: “I need to talk to you about this box with the boots, the sailor hats, the thongs….I don’t judge man, I love you, but I need to talk to you about this bo….is this my razor?”
12:35 AM: Smash cut to Adam now being on stage in some sort of wild west show down with another stripper. Oh..no..wait…now he’s just in a wild west showdown with his cowboy hat as his sister watches uncomfortably from the shadows.
12:36 AM: Adam’s sister warns Magic Mike that he’d better take care of Adam.
12:37 AM: I can’t lie, I’m strangely liking this movie. For it’s PLOT AND DIRECTION. Let’s make that VERY clear.
12:38 AM: I can’t lie, I’m joining a gym next week. WHICH I WAS GOING TO DO ANYWAY. Let’s make THAT very clear.
12:38:30 AM: Adam’s sister is getting very jealous that Magic Mike is currently carrying another girl on stage and dry humping her.
12:39 AM: He took off his pants. She briefly looked happier. Not nearly as happy as the woman he was dry humping, but still! Progress towards the inevitably romantic ending!
12:41 AM: Magic Mike is now in a suit. Appears to be a non removable suit. Office girl is clearly flustered by Channing Tatum’s looks, something that has been recreated in real live offices by real live office girls nationwide.
12:43 AM: Now we’re getting somewhere. Mike is getting very frustrated that he can’t charm his way out of a low credit score. I hear you, brother.
12:44 AM: We’ve now moved into July. We’ve moved into July with Mike ringing Adam’s doorbell….while wearing a dress and a Marilyn Monroe wig. It appears he’s taking his credit score harder than I thought.
12:45 AM: It appears he’s actually taking the news of his horrible credit score by getting eight gorgeous people on a boat to a sandbar party. A sandbar party at which he will charm the pants off of Adam’s sister, perhaps setting up some sort of conflict with Adam. Not that this is predictable, of course.
12:47 AM: Olivia Munn wants to bring Adam’s sister into bed with her and Mike.
12:48:05 AM: Checking price of Magic Mike on Amazon. Worth it just for Olivia Munn’s butt. OLIVIA MUNN!!!!!!!
12:50 AM: Adam’s sister and Mike having heart to heart on the beach. Just checked Rotten Tomatoes while they tried to figure Adam out, saw this has an 80% rating. Certified fresh!
12:51 AM: Guys back on stage in military costume. Matthew McConaughey’s abs just aren’t fair.
12:52 AM: Shirts off. Their abs aren’t fair either.
12:52:20 AM: Is it sleazier to own a strip club or to dance at one? I have to go with owning, but that may be because I’m won over by the charms of Adam and Magic Mike.
12:54 AM: Love that Adam is drunk out of his mind but still has the presence of mind to dewrinkle his dollars. I know that’s always a top concern of mine when I go out drinking. Granted, I rarely have more than one dollar in my pocket, but still. Gotta keep it smooth at all times, that’s my motto.
12:55 AM: Olivia Munn is really really really REALLY pretty. Gonna be a shame when Magic Mike breaks her heart to go out with Adam’s sister, who in turn is going to break that Paul guy’s heart. I smell a conflict coming!
12:57 AM: It is a testament to the talents of Steven Soderbergh that he can make an utterly captivating movie about male strippers. A movie that includes more than one scene with nothing but guys dancing on girls while music plays over any sounds actually taking place in the scene itself. Dude knows his stuff.
12:59 AM: Dallas is moving the club from Tampa to Miami. This has no consequence as far as I’m concerned, but it was just fun to make a sentence with three city names in it.
1:00 AM: Ooo! Ooo! I bet this will have consequences between Adam, Magic Mike, Adam’s Sister and Olivia Munn! Wait for it….
1:02 AM: Magic Mike has feelings for Olivia Munn! Real feelings! Adam has feelings for a girl who is currently feeding a bottle to a pig! Real, honest to goodness, temporary sexy sex time feelings!
1:05 AM: Adam just ignored the pig girl to feel the boobs of another stripper’s wife. He felt her up while telling the stripper how much he loved him. Honestly thirty of the weirdest seconds I’ve seen in a very long time. And now it’s August…
1:09 AM: Magic Mike is sooooo in love with Adam’s sister. She doesn’t want them to move to Miami. He doesn’t want anything to stand in the way of his custom furniture business. At least they have an equal relationship.
1:10 AM: Magic Mike and Adam now dressed as cops at a sorority party. How many jobs does Mike HAVE??? Wait…wait…..they aren’t arresting these girls. THEY AREN’T ARRESTING THESE GIRLS AT ALL.
1:12 AM: ADAM JUST GAVE A PILL TO A GIRL! Ohhhhhh snap! Frat boy now getting mad at Adam….Bottle over the head…..RIOT RIOT RIOT!!!
1:12:10 AM: If I live to be a thousand, I hope I can make it that long without getting beaten up by a naked stripper.
1:12:15 AM: Or a clothed stripper.
1:12:18 AM: Or a female stripper.
1:12:20 AM: Or Channing Tatum.
1:12:22 AM: Definitely not Channing Tatum.
1:15 AM: How is every person in this movie outrageously good looking? Is that just how it is in Florida? Or just in movie Florida? I want one ugly guy to just walk through a room, wave and say “Hi! I DO exist! Now back to your show!”
1:19 AM: Mike gets into a fight and then gets reunited with Olivia Munn. And her fiancee. Oh. Crap. Didn’t see that coming, actually. $10 that she explains her way out of that one by saying “I’m Olivia Munn.”
1:21 AM: Mike now smack talking Dallas. Dallas not taking kindly to it. Shockingly not surprised that Mike is taking the news of Olivia Munn being engaged harder than he took the news of his bad credit score.
1:22 AM: Mike now getting sassy by not wearing his sailor costume and instead twirling from a rope above the stage while he wears some sort of corset. That’ll show him, Mike! I know nothing angers me more than when a guy doesn’t wear a sailor outfit after I tell him to.
1:22:01 AM: I’d like that last sentence stricken from the record.
1:26 AM: Mike is self destructing while Adam is on some sort of ecstasy fueled night with the girl who was milking a pig earlier. This is one of those scenes that Soderbergh does better than anybody. No dialogue, just music, but everything in the world going on at once. Well done.
1:28 AM: Adam’s sister is in there now completely dressing down Mike. Hah! A pun! Go me!
1:28 AM: Adam is passed out on the floor after the drugs. Turns out his sister’s name is Brooke. 90 minutes into the movie and they finally name her. The moral conscience of the film is named Brooke. MUCH easier for me to handle than the moral conscience being named Adam’s Sister.
1:30 AM: Bunch of guys broke into Magic Mike’s house! Drug dealers looking for the kid. Adam’s been dealing drugs! BAD ADAM! BAD! The stripping I can handle, but not that!!
1:33 AM: Now Adam’s Sister is breaking up with Magic Mike because he turned her brother into a drug dealer. “Am I Magic Mike right now talking to you? I’m not my job, it is what I do but it’s not who I am.”
1:34 AM: Channing Tatum can actually act.
1:36 AM: No, really. He can act. He’s silently owning a scene where Adam is explaining to him how he changed his life. “The guy who has given me more in this lifetime than I could ever ask for.” Almost exactly what I’d say to Bruce Springsteen, can’t lie. I imagine he’d look similarly disturbed to how Channing Tatum looks here.
1:40 AM: I have to imagine that when he auditioned and was told that he’d need to spend a good chunk of this movie in a thong grabbing himself, Matthew McConaughey just said “Meh, that’s fine. No different than my typical Saturday night.”
1:41 AM: Mike left the club instead of going on stage. Dallas just promoted Adam to the prestigious title of “The Man.” The torch has been passed…but where is Magic Mike going! Oooooohhhhh, to see Brooke. Adam’s Sister. Slick move, Soderbergh.
1:42 AM: Touching heart to heart followed by some kissin’. Mark my words.
1:43 AM: Mike tells Brooke that he didn’t give the drug dealers $10,000 to help Adam. “I didn’t do it for him.” I bet I know who he did it for!
1:44 AM: “I’m not going to Miami.” “What’re you gonna do?” “I guess I need a new plan…”
1:44:10 AM: Adam’s Sister broke up with her boyfriend! I think I know where this is going! Now they’re going out to eat for breakfast. But she hates breakfast! Wait a minute…
1:45 AM: Her favorite breakfast place doesn’t open for seven hours. Waaaaaaait a minute….
1:46 AM: Kissing! And….movie’s over. Smooth, Brooke, Smooth.

Honestly, I really liked this. Honestly? I’d watch it again. Plenty of gorgeous girls (OLIVIA MUNN!) and a really well written/directed movie to balance out the male stripping. It’s more about developing self esteem and growing up than anything else. All disguised through the medium of male stripping. Takes a talented filmmaker to pull that off and like I said, Steven Soderbergh knows his stuff. 3 stars out of 4.

Now, I may not do a live blog again. Well, at least not about this movie again. Certainly never intended it to be almost 3,000 words. If you’ve made it this far, thanks, but drop me a line and tell me why. Hopefully you had a little fun reading it. I actually did writing it. Thanks again if you made it this far and good night!

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