The Digital Soapbox

Well, here it is ... a forum from where I can sound off! While I do try to keep things on the up-and-up, remember that this is my "digital soapbox" and some of the topics and language can be construed as mature. Thus, please heed the big friendly logo above. If you don't think you can handle the occasional controversial thought or naughty word, read Penn's lips:


Table O' Contents


Carl's Jr. Officially Sucks Now

So this morning (Sunday 16 December @ 9:00) I go to my local Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurant to grab a bite to eat. I walk in and order a Breakfast Club Sandwich with a drink; bill comes to $4.60. I give the cashier $10, to which she promptly gives me a penny in change and runs off.

When she returns about 5 minutes later, I alert her to the discrepancy. She then gets defensive and indignant, telling me that I'm lying to her. I ask to see the manager. Nope, no manager at the store. Assistant manager? Nope, not one of them, either.

By this point I'm definitely sure I'm not gonna see my money, so I wait till I'm pretty sure the sandwich is being made, then I walk out the back door so she can't see that I left (who knows, she could've told the Senior Assistant Burger Engineer to blow snot in it or something). I was half-thinking of waiting till I got the sandwich, then catch her attention as I slowly tore it up over the garbage can at the front of the store. After all, if I paid $10 for a $5 sandwich, I could do whatever I wanted with it.

Which brings me to a couple of points here:

Anyway, this incompetency and language barrier has been an ongoing problem with my recent visits to Carl's Jr., which fully played itself out this morning.

And savor this irony: I have much better luck communicating with the staff at Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco.

Carl's Jr. is OFF THE LIST!

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America: A Celebration of Mediocrity
Is it just me, or have you also noticed the evaporation of creativity, innovation, and drive that used to be America? Mainstream network television utterly sucks. Even hot shows like "American Idol" have people singing other songs, nothing original. As for Hollywood, let's see what other TV show or movie we can remake. Hey, we haven't done a full-length movie of "Holmes & Yoyo" yet ... why the hell not??

That's right ... Holmes & YoyoThe music industry. I don't even know why the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) even bothers protecting music these days. Let's re-record one-hit-wonders from the 70's and 80's, YEAH!

And another thing: Has America gone so far down the tubes that the only way we can find celebrities is through their "secret" sex videos plastered all over the damned Web? What ever happened to promoting good people with talent? Why do we put these alcoholic, drug-addicted, amoral nut-jobs on pedestals like we do? I'm convinced now that the road to fame & fortune is paved (or steamrolled, rather) with one's victims. And I almost believe that, had I taken darker paths, I'd somehow be better in the eyes of society today.

Sad. Truly sad.

But enough about that, let's get back to the celebration of mediocrity that is America. One of the major causes of this (IMHO) is the exponential expansion of media outlets: 70 bazillion satellite & cable TV channels, just as many satellite radio channels, the advent of digital FM, and the limitless immediate multimedia Gutenberg Press that is the Web. This gaping maw of new media frontier needs to be filled. However, the ratio of shit to substance is staggering. I can just see the day when American creativity sinks so low that porn movies have more compelling storylines.

My answer to this problem? We have got to revisit America as meritocracy. That's right. Remember years ago when you were a kid and you were told that anyone -- yes, even YOU! -- could grow up to become President of the United States if you studied hard and got good grades. But then as you grew and became more aware, you noticed that there were people around you who could coast through life (nay, even give life the finger!) and still miraculously rise through the ranks of society all the way up to celebrity status. We have GOT to return to recognizing and promoting true talent, from entertainment to business to government to all that society is. We're screwed if we don't.

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Political Correctness, KMFA!

If there's one pet peeve of mine that's even bigger than junk mail, it's Political Correctness. You can certainly tell after reading the previous articles, non? The best succinct definition I've been able to come up with for PC is that it's institutionalized paranoia. George Orwell must be perched on a cloud, harp in hand, looking down & laughing his ass off at us. I mean, what the hell was this country founded on if not freedom of speech? Look, so long as I'm not threatening anyone or fomenting revolution, I should damn-well be able to say whatever I want.

Back in graduate school (and this was the University of Hawaii, mind you!), I was earning my Master's in Political Science. When Political Correctness started encroaching the campus, an unwritten rule was immediately decreed: You can say whatever you want, but if you ever become Politically Correct, you can take yourself right out the door!

Now how cool is that?

Funny, the PC epidemic seems to have contained itself on both coasts of the United States, with New York and San Francisco being the core hives. The one place where I know it doesn't exist in such severity is the Midwest. I can most assuredly assert that people speak their minds there. That's cool, too, if you don't otherwise mind that insular "y'ain't-frum-'round-here" xenophobia endemic to the region.

Overall, Political Correctness has been so much more of a hindrance than a help. It doesn't level the playing field. It doesn't promote intelligent discourse. And it CERTAINLY doesn't help relations between the sexes. If I fail a job interview because I didn't use the word "she" in a sentence (and this actually did happen to me!), then I've become a ball-less automaton.

As my little graphic on the right so clearly illustrates: SCREW THAT SHIT!! SPEAK YOUR MIND!

And the world will be a better place. They sing songs about that.

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Okay, that's all for now. I'll add more Rants as my Rant Muse sees fit.