30 June 2010

You Should Always Finish What You Start (And Other Official Statements)

(If you are just joining us, please see this entry)

OFFICIAL STATEMENT #4

Patronizing tones should be used with caution. Some people believe in a ambivalence of the human race and therefore don't know if you are patronizing them or being serious. I feel like I am on both sides of this coin because 1) I tend to believe in the ambivalence of the human race and 2) I tend to say patronizing things. I suppose I need to change one of those.

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT #5

(Per a coworker) When you are talking about something and the other person you are talking to agrees with you, you should always just stop mid-sentence once they agree. It saves the planet by lowering your emissions of CO2.

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT #6

You should always finish one official statement before moving on to others (for example I am now working on statement #6 when I haven't even finished five or four). This is an example of the attention-deficit society we live in. While waiting in line for dinner at IKEA (the greatest place in the entire world [see Official Statement #7]) with my friends and their kids, the five-year-old had her tray behind mine, and she was tail-gating me. There was a terribly long line that evening, and as the person in front of me moved forward a couple feet, the five-year-old immediately asked (in an innocent tone), "Chris, aren't you going to move forward?" as she pushed her tray up so it was all in my grill. I smiled and moved forward and reflected on how impatient I can be (probably as a result of the immediacy of most things these days) and then was a little startled to think of how much more impatient the rising generation will be, because they never had to wait for anything. Well except for dinner at IKEA.

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT #7

IKEA is the greatest place in the entire world.

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29 June 2010

Left is the New Right (and Other Official Statements)

What exactly qualifies an entity or an individual to make a public or official statement? I suppose you have to be a PhD or a nation or be elected by a group of people or something, but I think more common people should make official statements. It's not like we don't have statements to make, and it's not like those who make statements are all that much more qualified than the rest of us. While we clearly live in a reasonably opinionated world, few people take the time to write their opinions down and distribute them in one form or another for the world to see as official statements. We should definitely do more of that.

Oh that vein, I'd like to release a few official statements of my own. Please enjoy.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT #1

The Chris Show has officially stated today that the two cobs of corn that Chris Giovarelli, Chris Show president, prime minister and only contributor, ate for dinner were excellent. The Chris Show believes more people should buy sweet corn and eat it.

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT #2

I would like to officially proclaim and state that the left is the new right. No, where not talking politics, we're talking driving. Due to popular demand and the overwhelming participation by the Oregonians all around me, the right lane is now the passing lane, and the left is the slow lane. When you pull into traffic, it is your immediate job to get into the left lane and then go below the speed limit. This is simply how it must be. Ideally, when pulling into traffic, just go straight into the left lane (especially if cars are coming up quickly in said lane) and pretend like you are going to punch it, but then don't. When driving in the left lane down a road with two lanes going in the same direction, it is especially appropriate to match the speed of a car to your right and then together, drop to five or six below the speed limit. This shows great prudence and impenetrability to those behind you. Let it be known from this statement, they will be grateful you have force fed them the roses they didn't want to stop and smell by their own fruition. Equally important, is that if you have been driving down a road in the right lane for a while (silly you), it is not only appropriate, but now expected, that you will randomly, with the jerk of the wheel, move into the left lane, even if that means cutting of cars there. Please understand, this is for the betterment of society. Those who can stand driving fast enough to actually pass you can just as easily scoot on over to the right lane to get around you, it's the least they can do for the nerve of driving the speed limit!

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT #3:

Chris Giovarelli will be releasing official statements throughout the next several days. Check back here for updates if you are interested in learning more.

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02 June 2010

Silence Is Golden

In a striking blow to all of those crooks, thieves, hooligans and vicious criminals out there, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that in order to invoke your so-called Miranda right of silence, you have to tell the officers who are arresting you that you'd like to remain silent. Puzzling.

In similar news, the IRS has decided to waive federal income tax, you just have to pay a tax-waiving fee approximately equal to 30 percent of your income, but depending on how much you make it could be less or more. If you have a good accountant, he/she can find ways for you to lower that fee to almost nothing, but if that accountant is "too good," you may be found guilty of income tax waiver fee evasion, and end up in jail with Bruno as your roommate (see yesterday's post). But I digress...

Maybe it's just the small, raging, liberal, ACLU advocate inside of me trying to get out, but I worry about how the tone, cadence and pitch of the verbal declaration of desired silence may be used against the individual who is innocent until proven guilty. What if my voice squeaks when I'm nervous (like if I'm being arrested for a crime I clearly didn't commit)? What if I am just feeling a little agitated and upon stating my desire to remain silent I seem a little crazy, unbalanced, edgy, or I don't know, guilty?

Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the Justices who was on the losing end of the five-to-four decision, thought it was dumb, saying in her written dissenting opinion (and I'm paraphrasing), "This is dumb."

This is the reality we now face:

Arresting officer: "You have the right to remain silent, anything you say will be used against you in court."

Me (or any other presumably innocent citizen): [silence]

Arresting officer: "Maybe you didn't hear me, you have the right to remain silent."

Me (or anyone else now freaking out): [silence]

Arresting officer: "You can remain silent so I can't make something you said seem incriminating, but you have to tell me that's what you want to do!"

Me (sheepisly): "I'd l-l-like to r-r-remain s-silent."

Arresting officer: "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understood what you said while I was [insert something related to the crime I'm being arrested for which is meant to shock me into confession]. Did you say something about violent?"

Me (annoyed/scared/unsure now): "No?"

Arresting officer: "Okay, so you aren't waiving your rights, let's play ball..."

Subsequently, Chris Giovarelli was tried and convicted of whatever crime you imagined, based on the arresting officer's testimony that he confessed to "wanting to remain violent."

And that's the value of silence.

01 June 2010

Litter-al Punishments

Sometimes when I am driving home on a certain route, I pass a sign that always makes me smile, and sometimes makes me laugh out loud (that's LOL), and shake my head. The sign reminds drivers that littering is illegal, and claims a maximum possible fine of $6250.

Yes, six thousand two hundred fifty dollars.

This raises two questions in my mind. 1) How on Earth did someone come up with that number, and 2) what on Earth would you have to litter in order to be fined the maximum $6250?

I decided to investigate a little more. After going through a number of state Web sites, I discovered the interesting item really isn't in the aforementioned questions, but that in reality, the sign is lying to the public (Yep, you heard it here first folks, the state is lying to us. I am calling this situation Littergate, and I am certain Fox News will cover it. Heck, they'll probably offer me a position as a pundit for this. [Said positions have been given out for less. {Yes, that was an ellipsis inside an ellipsis, and this is an ellipsis inside an ellipsis inside an ellipsis.}]).

The penalty for littering caries a maximum fine of $6250, yes, but it also carries a potential one year in jail, or both! Now, I don't know about you, but the next time I am about to throw, say, a file cabinet full of papers and toxic waste out of my car window (surely deserving of a $6250 fine if it's at least three drawers that are good and full of paper and a big glob of mercury), I'm not really going to be thinking about the check I might have to write for $6250 if they ever link the abandoned files back to me. What I'm going to be thinking about is Bruno (pictured above), who might be my roommate (and maybe more) for a year.

You want to stop Oregon from littering? Put old Bruno's photo on a poster that has one of those talking bubbles coming out of his mouth that says something like: "Go on, throw that empty Mickey D's cup out your window, I dare you." or "I'll be waiting for you." or even "Looking for a roommate, just throw something big out your car window and all my dreams could come true." I'm not sure exactly how to phrase it, or pull it off with real panache, but I'm sure the state's marketers could do a bang up job.

Incidentally, Oregon law classifies littering as a Class A misdemeanor, with puts it in the ranks of stalking, recklessly endangering a highway worker, prostitution, obtaining food stamps unlawfully, hunting with an artificial light (what?), applying a tattoo without a license, child neglect, assaulting an officer and unlawfully operating an ambulance, among other things.

So next time you think about littering (not that you would think about it, or even litter for that matter, but just in case you do), consider not only how it might affect the environment (ha. ha.), but who might be your newest friend as a result... suddenly a preposterous fine of $6250 may not seem so bad.

WRITER'S NOTE: I'd like to thank a friend for reminding me of the need to blog about this particular topic. While he will remain nameless, a la Chris Show rules, I appreciate his brief rant on the topic, which corroborated my first claim of seeing this ridiculous sign.

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