Vivek Narain on Life

The musings of a man preparing for a mission

Archive for April, 2008

Gas Tax Holiday, Iraq Death Toll, Mission Accomplished, and the allure of GTA IV

Posted by viveknarain on April 30, 2008

Occasionally, a nice little package of misery and despair is delivered directly on my digital doorstep as our country’s major problems coincide in remarkably timely ways. The American death toll in Iraq reached a 7-month record high today, and tomorrow marks the five year anniversary of President Bush’s dramatic “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier proclamation, while Hillary Clinton and John McCain recently made their support for an absolutely idiotic gas tax cut public, highlighting the dire necessity of an informed and attentive American population to stop these scoundrels before our county falls into oblivion. But what do all my friends care about? Grand Theft Auto IV!!! (Actually, the only reason I’m not playing right now is my Xbox’s recent acquisition of the Red Ring of Death)

Clinton and McCain’s desire to cut the federal gas tax (18.4 cents a gallon) for three months is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to trick consumers and gather uninformed votes, much like Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” debacle tricked the American people into thinking that the Iraq War was about to end.

Not only will the removal of the federal gas tax fail to lower gas prices, it will siphon away important tax dollars from other programs that desperately need money. Suspending the tax will take $8.5 billion from the Highway Trust Fund, which is already reeling from a $3 billion loss. The Highway Trust fund helps maintain our nation’s roads and bridges, and is a necessary part of America’s infrastructure upkeep. Cutting such a wide monetary hole into this fund will not only endanger the condition of our roads and bridges, it will threaten the hundreds of thousand of jobs that are necessary to maintain these projects.

The tax cut is designed to offer extra support to oil companies, who will in turn decrease prices at the pump. However, there is little chance that this extra boost to oil company profits would help lower gas prices. Shell and BP have already reported record profits for this quarter, so why do they need government help to make even more money? The removal of the gas tax would only give more money to oil companies that are already swimming in it. If, by some stroke of luck, oil prices dramatically decreased because of this tax cut, lowering prices would increase oil demand, but many refineries are already working at their highest possible production level so they wouldn’t be able to keep up, and would inevitably be forced to drive prices back up.

There is absolutely no way this tax cut would help lower gas prices, but it is the type of proposal that makes Clinton and McCain look like superheroes in the eyes of uniformed Americans.

The omnipotent Obama called this gas tax cut “a gimmick,” which is exactly right, but that doesn’t make him any better than Hillary or McCain because he’s made the same mistake before. Obama has voted for a similar gas tax cut on three different occasions. Unsurprisingly, these proposals failed to provide any substantial drop in gas prices.

When President Bush landed like a soldier of fortune on the USS Abraham Lincoln five years ago, he proudly proclaimed that major combat operations in Iraq were over and that Iraq was a victory, while a “Mission Accomplished” banner brazenly shown behind him, illustrating how easy it is for our government to trick us with publicity stunts and flashy words. These gas tax proposals are an insult to American intelligence; just like the “Mission Accomplished” banner is an insult to all the American soldiers who have died in Iraq in the last half decade.

We’re already throwing mind-boggling sums of money into the war effort, so why throw away more for a pointless oil holiday? If the oil companies were struggling and needed help I might see the point of this tax removal, but with the current state of affairs in the oil business world, it just seems foolish.

That saddest thing about this skewed gas proposal is that it’s supposed to be part of a grandiose plan to fix the American energy crisis. However, I don’t think giving more money to oil companies and trying to get people to use more gas is a solution to our problem. Congress has spent years bickering over America’s clean energy strategy, effectively stamping it into the ground. Why is it so difficult for politicians to unite behind wind and solar energy production? Without Congress giving the proper backing to clean energy, our country remains a slave to oil. We are failing to do simple things that could solve our problems, and instead we decide to rely on foolish tax proposals that help the very industry who needs it the least. American clean energy companies are moving to other countries because of the failure of our government to protect them. How much longer will our government neglect the real energy issue and continue to frolic in the pockets of oil lobbyists… will it take another war? Will it take eight dollar a gallon gas prices? Maybe I should just cool down and pick up a copy of GTA IV – that would definitely keep me quiet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

IT Wars

Posted by viveknarain on April 16, 2008

Since my first reality show concept, America’s Next Top Dictator, failed to attract any attention from the major television networks (I’m looking at you Fox… you accepted Battle of the Bods but denied me? I mean COME ON – Alright, calm down Vivek. You can’t let emotions cloud proper writing flow). In any case, my latest reality show proposal is guaranteed to spark an epic network bidding war. The name of this new television gem? IT Wars.

IT Wars will unveil the mysterious, exciting, and occasionally sexy world of the IT Professional to American audiences, creating a new reality TV series that is destined to top the ratings charts.

Most people think an IT job is filled with simple routine operating procedures and boring nerd-work, which is completely true, except when reality TV spices it up! IT Professionals are forced to spend their days in isolated basements, with only the humming of air conditioners and server racks to comfort them. However, the IT pro lives in fear of the inevitable, the day his neighboring tech acquaintances are silenced and the steady blink of a dying server’s red LED marks the end of a relationship that is more like loosing a squad-mate in battle than loosing a piece of hardware.

These catastrophic equipment events force the true IT soldier to emerge, which is exactly the moment when our cameras begin to roll. The series will highlight each contestant’s struggle to get their company’s IT networks up and running. The contestant’s will have 24 hours to get their dying systems back up to speed, or else they will face termination, both from the show and in their real life jobs. Episodes will show our nerdy reality stars facing off against both Porsche driving upper management goons and pimply pizza-eating customer support dudes who are more concerned with leaving work the exact millisecond their shift runs out than helping the IT Professional manage a fatally damaged network.

Forget the “vote-off” gimmicks involved in other reality shows, IT War contestants won’t get booted off an island or voted out of some camera-filled house, these IT professionals will actually be fired from their jobs when they fail a challenge. However, they will be promoted to hefty seven figure bonuses when they succeed. The power to make or break careers has always been a vital recipe for the successful reality show, and watching these sorry souls bust their balls for 24 hours straight with the fear of a ruined career nipping at their tail will be truly entertaining television.

Since our contestants only have 24 hours to complete their challenges, I suggest we incorporate something from the popular action show 24. Come to think of it, Kiefer Sutherland would be an ideal IT Wars host. Can you imagine listening to Jack Bauer’s intense narration as the camera pans over a goofy IT Professional furiously typing and chugging Mountain Dew as he desperately attempts to rekindle a dying piece of financial data?

Like any reality show, the producers and I will inject a variety of contrived situations into each episode that are designed solely to whore in additional viewers. For example, I would break into a contestant’s World of Warcraft account and counterfeit a dirty affair with a fellow female WOW user. I would then accidentally plant evidence of some illicit WOW cybering into the hands of the IT Professional’s wife and make sure the camera was rolling when she confronted the poor guy. It would be vintage reality television!

Let’s hope this reality plan does better than America’s Next Top Dictator.

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The Real Life Forum Comic

Posted by viveknarain on April 3, 2008

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve started a new side blog/online comic series tentatively titled The Vivek Narain Real Life Forum Comic.

I created the first episode today and I’m working on a few more right now, so the series remains in its infantile stages, but I’m hoping to expand it quickly.

The inspiration behind the comic comes from my own forum experiences. I’ve noticed while participating on various boards that people say the most idiotic things for no reason other than they know they can get away with it because it’s on the internet. Being able to post your thoughts anonymously gives these people a certain power which they quickly abuse by being vulgar and stupid. So I got to thinking, what would happen if people made these comments in real life and not on the internet? Thus, my comic series was born. I only use real forum discussions in the comic, none of text is fictional.

As you can tell from my blog, I’m absolutely against web censorship. I believe our ability to post thoughts anonymously and say whatever is on our minds without fear of reprisal is what makes the internet so incredible. I created the comic because I wanted to poke fun at some of the jerks that cloud up the digital world and take the web’s privileges for granted. I don’t believe what these people are doing is wrong, I just think they’re stupid. I plan to update the comic fairly regularly because I’m never at a loss for inspiration, the internet is full of idiots.

Posted in Madness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Castro Unisex Body Lotion and My Plea to the Mysterious Searcher

Posted by viveknarain on April 2, 2008

Like most WordPress users, I love to peruse the Blog Stats feature on the WordPress dashboard and see who’s been looking at my work. One of the unique features on the dashboard actually allows bloggers to see what search engine terms people have used to find their blog.

While on my normal Monday procrastination routine, I noticed an interesting search term that someone had used to find this very site. Dispersed among my normal search terms, which include World Dictators, Hillary Clinton Robots, and Star Wars Football Players, I found a curious piece of search language that completely shattered my view of reality. Someone, or something, found my blog by searching for Castro Unisex Body Lotion.

Now what in the world are you looking for when you type in Castro Unisex Body Lotion? This question has haunted me ever since I discovered the phrase, and I have decided that I must do everything and anything in my power to contact the human being who committed this outlandish search engine act.

Whoever this mysterious web surfer may be, I speak directly to you now, and I beg that you return to my blog and leave a comment explaining yourself and just what you were hoping to find by searching for Castro Unisex Body Lotion. The very idea, the very image, the sheer imagination and chutzpa involved in such a web search baffles me. I must meet you mystery searcher, I must find out what went through your mind. I beg you to share with me and my readers what you were searching for. In an effort to appease you, I have discovered what I think you were looking for.

“One Sex. One Dream.”

How do you think Castro survived all those CIA assassination attempts over the years? The key to his success was an expertly scented and gender neutral body lotion that was previously reserved only for other world dictators, but is now set for release to the general public in early 2009. This new public line of Castro Unisex Body Lotion, known to the world simply as Uni, uses the finest, most exotic herbs and spices on the planet, which have been hand picked by an aging Castro himself. The secret Uni lotion mixture also combines the Amazon’s rarest frog bones and Capybara tears to create a concoction that smells and lathers so eloquently, no sex should be without it. The final mixture is fermented in a pregnant Snow Leopard hide for 15 months before it is ready for bottling. Thanks to Castro’s commitment to excellence, a lotion now exists that transcends all gender bias, and protects you from exploding cigars.

Is this what you wanted mysterious searcher? Will I ever hear from you, or will you be just another enigma of web insanity, destined to remain forever lost in the depths of cyber space? If you find this blog again, please leave a comment explaining yourself.

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