Tips On Crime Prevention

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Minimize the amount of money and credit cards that you carry with you on a daily basis to avoid theft. In the event that you need money or credit cards, steal them.

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When being robbed, remain as calm as possible. Don’t make any quick or sudden movements. Often the criminal is as scared and nervous as you. Remember: over 45 percent of first-time robbers are bears.

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Always carry some form of identification. A label in your clothing will help police to identify your severely mangled, repeatedly penetrated corpse in the event that you are severely mangled then repeatedly penetrated by an attacker.

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A bag that dangles from the shoulder can be easily yanked off your shoulder by someone coming up from behind. Glue all belongings to your face and body with fast-binding adhesive.

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While enjoying a walk in a city park, take care to avoid hilly and steep paths. If you should fall and roll down a hill, thieves may rob you on the way down, and you will be powerless to stop them.

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Closely supervise your children when they play in public areas. If you spot them being robbed, run as quickly as you can to the parking lot and lock your belongings in your car. Do not remove them until the robber has finished robbing your children and is safely on his way.

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Weld your garage door shut at night to prevent car theft. In the morning, drive through the garage door at full speed, immediately dispatching any burglars attempting to break in from the other side.

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Stay on well-lit, populated streets at all times. It is a well-known fact that thieves will never attempt to rob you in crowded, distracting areas with the harsh glare of the sun in your eyes.

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When explaining the details of a crime to authorities, be sure to omit certain details while inventing others. Tactics like this keep the instincts of our city’s fine detectives honed and whip-sharp, where they need to be.

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Should someone attempt to verbally harass you, continue walking and ignore them. Responding to this kind of behavior will only escalate the situation. Instead, follow them home at a discreet distance. When they fall asleep, kill them.

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Carry large sums of cash on your person at all times. Displays of wealth make robbers feel too depressed about their own state in life to rob you.

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Never leave luggage or other expensive items unattended at airports or taxi stands. When extinguishing a cigarette in a designated airport smoking area, take care not to leave any Rolex watches in the ashtray by accident. Never carry your wallet in your rear pants pocket. This makes your butt look fat. Instead, keep your wallet out at all times, “fanning” your money outwards in a Ted DiBiase-like display of wealth, so that females — and not robbers — become attracted to you.

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When driving, travel on well-lighted, populated roadways whenever possible and keep the doors of the vehicle locked. Be wary of other motorists who give you vague warnings while on the road. In 78 percent of cases, this means that the stranger you are conversing with on your cell phone has a hook for a hand, and is actually in the backseat getting ready to ventilate your skull. The other motorists aren’t harassing you — they have been trying to warn you, all along.

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Tips On Babysitting

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DO NOT allow strangers into the house unless your employer specifically informs you that they want you and their children to be brutally murdered.

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DO NOT tell a caller that you are the babysitter alone with children. Mentioning children can often be a turnoff for potential suitors. Focus instead on your articles of clothing, mentioning how they feel on your sensitive, downy young skin.

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DO bring items to entertain the children with, like coloring books, colored paper, color markers, tape, board games, puppets, pens, old newspapers, tacks, dirt, aerosol-spray cans, mail, Tabasco sauce, malt liquor, gasoline, bleach, currants, fast-food wrappers, and anything else you can grab ahold of. Lay these items in a pile in the center of the room and watch as the imagination of children takes hold. Feel free to use this time to rifle through their parents’ dresser drawers, or to masturbate vigorously in the bathroom, knowing someone could burst in at any time, thus adding to the level of danger.

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DO NOT go outside to investigate suspicious noises or activities. Any suspicious noise should immediately be responded to with as much buckshot as you can fire through the front doorway, followed by a confident, “How you friggin’ like me now, Osama?”

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DO keep matches locked away from children. Be sure to let them know that you are doing this only because matches have magical properties that give their user the power to cast any object aflame, like a wizard.

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DO NOT leave a child alone in a bathtub, unless the call is very very important, like from your boyfriend.

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DO NOT allow the children under your care to place garbage bags over their heads, unless you have poked a hole in the top of the bag and you are certain you will be back from your friend’s place in under ten minutes.

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DO keep portable heaters away from play areas, curtains and furniture. Keep portable heaters close to the children at all times, so that you can be assured they are always warm and toasty.

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DO NOT allow children to hide in the refrigerator for any reason. Pick one child at random and place them in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes, to illustrate the dangers inherent in this activity.

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DO show children how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes catch on fire. Remind them that their sudden combustion is a very real possibility, and should be feared at all times. Add that it often happens as a child is falling asleep.

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A Sensible Proposal

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So.

Let’s kill the homeless.

And please — don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean to throw around a line like “we should kill the homeless” loosely. No, I wouldn’t suggest for a second that we should “kill the homeless” as some kind of trite, tongue-in-cheek Swiftian homage. You, the reader, are above that. I’m above that. Even if you’re not above that — well, I am.

So, no — I don’t say “we should kill the homeless” satirically, but rather as a means to say that we should quite seriously eradicate them off the face of the earth, leaving nothing but silence and a thin, cartoonish wisp of smoke.

Not kill them to eat them. Not kill them as part of some grand, despotic, sociological design. Not kill them for entertainment purposes, even though it would be funny. No. Kill them simply so they’d be dead and never come back.

Now, before you jump all over me for this, please allow me the opportunity to explain. I think you’ll find my rationale sound, my reasoning as unblemished as buffed porcelain. First and foremost among my reasons, I should state clearly, is that I like my change. I enjoy change. I find it useful — for buying things and whatnot. Owning no washer/dryer combo, I find I’m constantly in need of it to wash my shirts and pants.

Following this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, we should kill the homeless. When faced with the embarrassment and aggravation I would most certainly suffer in denying the homeless my laundry change when they ask for it, I propose that just getting rid of them altogether would make a lot more sense. Were they utterly dead, I could walk down a street without having to listen to them shriek like crazy people when I try to soberly explain that I can’t give them money to eat because I need to wash pants.

Bringing us to the second point: all that shrieking. Man. They shriek a lot, loudly, often about Jesus, and make no sense at all. One might begin to suspect, in fact, that they’re crazy — to which I put forward that this might very well be the case.

After all, they do live on streets. Chew on that for a minute, because it’s pretty odd when you think about it. Streets are for walking and driving, not for sitting and shrieking. If you and I were walking down the street, for instance, going to, let’s say, a bookstore, though really we could be doing pretty much anything — I’m fairly easygoing, and if you had some errands or something to maybe run and you just wanted some company, I’d be up for that — but in any case, we’re walking, and suddenly I say “Excuse me” or something, sit down on the street, and start shrieking about Jesus.

“Whoa,” you might think. “This guy’s crazy.” Maybe you’re even rethinking the whole day, piecing together an excuse in your head to do your errands alone. And the whole time I’m breaking your concentration by yelling at the high threshold of human hearing that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind, and what do you mean you have to do laundry, give me money.

I’d bet safe money you’d think I was at the very least odd. Moreover, you’d be right. Well then, let me lay this on you — homeless people do that kind of thing all the time. They don’t even have errands. Or if they do, then all that yelling and begging probably is the errand.

This callous and wanton disregard for the mores of society would, I can safely assure you, stop very very suddenly if we were to really roll up our sleeves and kill all of them. Dead men tell no tales, after all. More to the point, they don’t shriek when you prop them up on street corners and put change cups in their stiff fingers. They’re actually soothingly quiet and unobtrusive. Like a waft of summer air off the ocean. Except dead, and with a tin cup.

Thirdly: homeless people are probably evil. One only has to use a modicum of common sense to figure out that anyone sitting and shrieking on streets when they should be mowing their lawns and watching real-life castaway shows is no doubt a shifty and suspicious villain of mystery. While everyone else sleeps honestly in their store-bought beds, foul-smelling men are stalking our good streets and maliciously sitting on them.

Sitting for good? No. Sitting for change. Sitting the decency out of America. I once saw a homeless guy crap in a mailbox, you know. Tell me that’s not evil.

“Well,” you’re probably thinking, “why doesn’t someone just kill the homeless.” And that’s fantastic, because I was thinking the exact same thing.

Fourthly: perhaps I didn’t actually see a homeless guy crap in a mailbox. But that’s beside the point, because you know anyone willing to rob an innocent victim (me) of clean laundry (mine) is capable of absolutely anything. Murdering the President, even. I mean, they don’t have guns, true, but I don’t think this an adequate yardstick for measuring character. Homeless people can’t afford guns. Think for a moment, though — what if you could buy guns with change? Then every homeless person would have a gun. No laundry would ever get done. Society would topple, not from the anarchy, but from the stench. It would just sort of keel over. Now, call me wrong, but I find that kind of idea pretty depraved.

The solution? You guessed it, friend. Kill them all.

Finally: as if all of that shrieking and sitting and government official slaughter weren’t enough grounds for a prompt and expedient countrywide eradication of the homeless, they’re also all very ugly. The homeless have passed far from what society would deem conventionally unattractive and landed miles further into a dark carnival of Streisandesque deformity. Yes, your bleeding hearts will moan about their human rights, but I think they’re missing an important point, which is that the homeless are profoundly unsexy.

Coming at the situation from a purely sex-based perspective, the homeless are so useless it’s obscene. Besides, even if you wanted to make love to the homeless — and might I add that I can’t for the life of me imagine a scenario in which this would sound enticing — you’d have to do it in the middle of the street while they pounded on your back and yelled about the Savior of the universe. I propose that this scenario would entice only the most daring enthusiasts. For every other John and Jane Doe out there, though, the homeless are about as useless as sand.

In summation: we have everything to gain by killing the homeless. And even if this ends up not being true, and in fact we gain nothing from it, at least we don’t lose much. It’s not like they were saving our seats in the theater or anything. If they were doing that, there might be a few stragglers to my proposal. As it stands, however, we seem to be in the clear. The only problem I can see is the irrational outrage of a small faction of whiny crybabies.

Bringing me to my addendum: we should probably kill said crybabies before we kill the homeless, so they won’t give us all headaches when we shoot every homeless person in the back. After that, we should probably also kill all the people the homeless people used to hang out with, so they won’t be bringing us down at otherwise-fun parties. And after that, we should probably stop killing people altogether, leaving merely the threat of killing more people if any sass about the homeless killing was forthcoming. But probably no more killing, because at this point we’d have an awful lot of bodies lying around everywhere, so everything would stink pretty bad for a while. I’d guess we’d have to institute at least a six-month grace period before we killed any more people, at which point further suggestions could be submitted for my approval.

Clearly my reasoning is flawless, my methods precise. Grab your weapon of choice, my brothers and sisters, and let’s go kill the homeless! But wait — the crybabies first! Then the homeless! Then the people who hung out with them! Then rounding it all off with follow-up reprimands of death to anyone giving us sass! Then a six-month no-kill grace period! Then a write-in suggestion campaign for further killings!

To the streets!

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Proper Gardening Tips

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Gardening is for some a way of life, and for others a nice hobby to keep them occupied. Decide early which category you fall into, and the amount of your children’s college money you will be willing to part with to feed your new obsession.

Try planting bright, eye-catching gardenias next to your front step as a way of perking yourself up as you leave for work. If manic-depressive, follow this up with a cocktail of mood suppressants and downers with a chaser of whiskey in the car.

Exposure to the sun can be an essential factor in the health of your garden. Manipulate the rotation of the Earth for a plump, healthy tomato harvest.

You’re only spraying nutrient-rich growth promoter on one side of your cucumber leaves, not both? Why don’t you just back up over your garden with a monster truck, moron?

Never add fresh manure directly into an already established garden unless it is worked in at least four weeks before planting. To do otherwise is the cardinal sin of gardeners, broken only once by history’s greatest monster: Adolf Hitler’s gardener.

Fence off your garden so that “little feet” can’t tromp through your planting areas while playing. If this proves ineffectual, amputate the legs of your children at the knees, using children’s Tylenol as a mild sedative. They’ll thank you when they see a supper plate full of nutritious, garden-fresh green beans!

Composting is a useful tool for any garden, as it adds nutrients into the soil. For the most impressive garden possible, avoid salty, nutrient-poor foods when defecating randomly through your garden.

To get started in building your own hydroponic garden, be sure to plant a row of cabbage and carrots near the entrance of your greenhouse. This will serve as a handy smokescreen to hide the titanic amounts of pot you will no doubt be planting.

Avoid placing your garden atop steep slopes, or water won’t have time to seep in before running off. Locations to avoid: the tops of hilly patches on your back lawn; near any recent yard renovations; at the summit of Mount Everest; on top of the Washington Monument; in deep space.

Mix a handful of wood ash with a handful of hydrated lime and two fingers of vodka, then just kick back and relax. You’ve worked hard on your garden, you deserve it.

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Proper Grooming Tips

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Trim your toe- and fingernails immediately after a shower, when your cuticles and nails are at their most tender. Performing toe grooming at other times will cause your toes to snap off suddenly in a brittle explosion of bone and skin shards.

Sir Lies-a-Lot didn’t actually like your new haircut. That’s not even his real name.

For future reference, wearing black tends to have a slimming effect. Watching you shovel up four helpings of pasta at the restaurant last night, conversely, tended to have an I-think-I-want-to-break-up-with-you effect.

Don’t comb your hair on a regular basis. Combs and brushes tend to damage hair over the long term by breaking it off or pulling it out, causing your tail to become sparse and thin. Instead, remove tangles by “combing” through your tail with your teeth. Also be careful to remove rocks and dirt from your hooves where, if left unchecked, bacteria can build. Also, be a horse.

When trimming nasal hair, remember that you have a lot of it, and that you look hilarious.

For a refreshing change, why not try devoting less time to grooming your 17 cats and get out of that filthy tracksuit, you fat mound of stool.

Though this may be coming a little late to be useful, be sure to take care of your tooth.

Proper toweling technique after a shower can be instrumental in removing dead skin and dander. Viciously scrub your skin while examining yourself in the mirror, not stopping until you achieve that “removed-skin” look so popular in the teen medical journals.

Remember: lather, rinse, gargle, pass out, regain consciousness in shower, repeat.

Soap is not a toy. It will do more good when applied with generous amounts of water to your skin than buried in your colon while you stand on a footstool and jam the shower nozzle in your anus.

Smoking in the shower: usually this is a don’t. But try tying a garbage bag tightly around your head and upper torso. Look out, world — here comes Smoky Showerton: Ace Shower Smoker!

Don’t bathe with your dog. Honestly, I’m telling you for the last time.

Try combining many grooming activities at once in the shower. You’ll find the shower a time-saving place for many different chores: brushing your teeth, shaving, combing your hair, ironing your clothes, and electrocuting yourself in a shower of sparks and shrieking.

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Avril Lavigne: By The Numbers

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Number of unique words in 500-word Avril Lavigne song: 100

Title of song: “Complicated”

Number of unique words in 130-word poem “Simplicity” by Robert Service: 92

Average number of unique words “Simplicity” contains for every unique word in “Complicated”: 3.5

Lavigne, on Lavigne: “I’m a skater punk who writes guitar-driven rock.”

No. of tracks on Lavigne’s Let Go for which she has sole writing credit: 0

On writing guitar-driven rock: “I sit down with a guitar player usually.”

No. of guitar players Lavigne sat down with to write Let Go: 5

Other artists to sit down with same guitar players: Wilson Phillips, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper

On her sound: “I just didn’t want to be bubblegum pop.”

No. of 2002 Grammy nominations received by Avril Lavigne: 5

Lavigne, on proper pronunciation of first name: “It’s not Aye-vril. It’s Avril!”

Lavigne’s pronunciation of David Bowie’s last name at nomination ceremony: “Bau-ee”

Proper pronunciation: “Boe-ee”

Number of 2002 Grammy nominations Bowie received: 1

David Bowie’s greatest accomplishments in 1984: Grammy, Best Video; MTV Video Music Award, Male Video; MTV Video Music, Vanguard Award

Avril Lavigne’s greatest accomplishments in 1984: was born

Proper pronunciation of Avril Lavigne’s last name: “Lah-veen”

Incorrect: “Luh-vig-nee,” “Lah-viegg-nuh,” “Lugh-fugh-bugh”

Lavigne, on her sound: “I don’t like using the term ‘pop star’ because that’s not my personality…I’m hardcore.”

Acts to label themselves “pop stars”: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake

Acts to label themselves “hardcore”: Black Flag, Dead Kennedys

No. times the words “boy,” “feel” and “cry” appear on Black Flag’s Damaged: 0, 2, 0

On Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: 0, 1, 0

On Lavigne’s Let Go: 16, 11, 13

Lavigne, on lyrics: “Girls seem to be more sensitive, right? Guys like to hide their feelings.”

No. times the words “boy,” “feel” and “cry” appear on Justin Timberlake’s Justified: 16, 39, 40

On Spears’ Baby One More Time: 1, 4, 1

Ranking Lavigne (47) would receive by totaling these numbers, with Dead Kennedys (1) representing hardcore and Justin Timberlake (141) representing wussiest, most not-hardcore thing in universe: 66.6% hardcore; 33.3% pop star

Hardcore/pop star ranking Britney Spears would receive by this same ranking: 96% hardcore; 4% pop star

Lavigne, on similarity to Britney Spears: “”I’m not like [her]. I’m just being myself, being real.”

Formula that scores readability based on complexity of words and sentences: The Flesch-Kincaid Index

According to Flesch-Kincaid Index, how old person must be to read the Financial Times: 18

To read the Times Educational Supplement: 17

To read lyrics to “Complicated”: 8

To read lyrics to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time”: 8

To read lyrics to Eminem’s “Without Me”: 13

To read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: 13

To read lyrics to Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You”: 6 and under

No. times Timberlake says “girl” on Justified: 58

Amount Lavigne won at Kingston Exhibition and Home Show’s Country Singing Show Down in 1999, in Canada: $1000

City in which author of this piece lived in 1999: Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Place author of this piece worked as Event Coordinator in 1999: Kingston Exhibition and Home Show

Duties of author during this summer job: accounting, putting hog and cattle finalists into database, some lifting

Unofficial duties: playing Prince of Persia on old 486 computer

Level I obtained on Prince of Persia by end of summer: 8

Awareness level I had of Avril Lavigne at time: 0%

Interest level I had in Country Singing Showdown: 0%

Interest level I had in Gymnastics Showdown: 97%

Relation of interest level to participant’s actual proficiency in gymnastics: low to none

Relation of interest level to tightness/sheerness of outfits: very high

Relation of interest level to possibility of scoring with gymnast: very high

Likelihood that I met Lavigne that summer: 20%

Likelihood that I gave a crap: 3%

Mental state of author throughout summer: very high

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Mission Statement

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Great business drives powerful business results. And the key to getting great business is to develop new and customized approaches to leadership and strategy, by enabling effective, productive change, aligning your core competencies with your business vision and value proposition and solution propositions and also partnership.

Keep a step ahead of the competition with solutions that work full-time for you with unpaid overtime. At Genericorp, we will partner with you proactively across all vertical markets to align your strategy, mission, and objectives with other things that are dynamic and raise performance levels with synergy. We will also drill down into just-in-time best-of-breed productivity optimization, thus enhancing all facets of your strategy and allowing you to consistently excel proactively. By aligning your business vision to your processes, we will leverage synergies throughout your value chain and fly around all over the place, like over buildings. That is our value proposition. Oh, strategy!

Discover the way the world does business, with Genericorp, your just-in-time best-in-class I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter solutions management performance specialist provider engineer solution experts. Team up proactively to partner on customized “what-if” scenarios through outside-the-box paradigms and comprehensive implementation plans. Have I said synergy yet? I can’t stress that enough. Also, Gantt charts.

Genericorp: Because if you don’t collaborate to achieve entrepreneurial spirit while leveraging target-market productivity with consultative excellence and resources and expertise to enhance peak performance across your integrated corporate culture 24/7 drill-down high-level blue-sky management ISO-9002 industry expert value chain, who will? It’s web-based and cost-effective! And just-in-time! Synergy, you imbeciles! Communication enhancement! Am I talking into a bag of socks? Get over here and proactivate!

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Stem Cell Research: Pro Or Profane?

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The uproar over stem cell research has once again given the genetic sciences the spotlight, and with that spotlight come questions. “Are you making gill-men? Is that what all this is about?” the savvy among us probe. As is usually the case, stem cell research is not actually about gill-men at all, but something else entirely that isn’t terribly interesting. Nonetheless, it is news we must embrace. Why? Because any advance in genetics gets us one step closer to the ultimate goal of all gene tinkering: that someday, it will be raining men. Perhaps even gill-men, though we don’t have the hard facts to back that up.

To date, male-based precipitation research has produced nothing significant. Yet every new finding — be it stem cells or what have you — gives us hope that the ultimate prize is ever closer to our anxious grasp.

What Are Cells?

Cells are the building blocks of humanity. You, for instance, are made out of trillions of teeny tiny little cells, which are apparently really small so, trust me, don’t even bother looking. This is true of all creatures, big and small. Even Rosie O’Donnell, who an astute observer would conclude is composed entirely of fudge, jelly donuts and coagulated gravy, is in actuality made up of the same stuff as you or me.

A horrifying thought, certainly — but also a thought staggering with implications. How can any of us truly be racist, for instance, knowing full well that the folks we’re discriminating against are made up of the same adorable little parts that we are? How can we deny Sylvester Stallone another big box office hit, if we take into account that his cellular make-up is almost identical to our own, no matter how execrable his films may be?

To sum up: cells are small human-building things, the existence of which offers conclusive proof that you should watch Sylvester Stallone movies. This alone is cause for alarm; so it’s easy to see why such small things can stir up so big a fuss.

How Do Cells Know What to Make?

An excellent question. To answer it, you must think of cells as the bricks that make up the you-building. As we all know, a pile of bricks left to their own devices will not make a building. They’ll just sit there like Teamsters. This is where enzymes come in. Enzymes, the proteins that get the cell to transform into one of your you-parts, are the builders. And your DNA, a stringy collection of data that tells the enzymes how to build the you-parts, is the blueprint.

Through a simple metaphor, we have taken a complicated genetic process and made it easy to understand. Unfortunately, we have also simplified it to the point where it is grossly inaccurate. In actuality, cells produce their own enzymes as they need them. Plus, DNA transfers instructions to the enzyme through a complicated process involving RNA molecules and ribosomes. So, to get a more accurate understanding of the process, imagine a construction site where piles of bricks give birth to their own construction workers, the building’s blueprint is popping out instructions that zoom off and gestate inside the workers, and the workers themselves construct the building by setting off chemical reactions inside their own bodies.

Now our metaphor is more accurate. It is also kind of horrifying to think about. If it helps at all, try to imagine the construction workers as cuddly bears. Why, they’re lovable little scamps, aren’t they? Always getting into mischief, sometimes dozing off when they should be working, maybe getting their heads trapped in bowls of honey. Those silly bears!

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are just cells that haven’t been given any instructions yet — they’re a pile of bricks just waiting to be told to transform into something. Recently, scientists have begun to figure out ways of giving stem cells instructions that will start them on their way to becoming things. From a medical perspective, this is a real breakthrough, as it means we could conceivably build sick and ailing people replacement lungs, livers, skin, or anything else that isn’t working. From a raining-men perspective, however, the news is discouraging. Hypothetically, we could use stem cells to stockpile the resources needed to have it rain men’s parts. As an alternative, though, it’s sadly lacking.

Can’t We Just Change a Sick Person’s DNA?

No, not really. Once something’s been built, it can’t actually be un-built. The idea of giving someone new DNA that will change them overnight is a misconception made popular by bad Hollywood movies starring big muscle guys and, lately, Tobey Maguire. The entire Marvel universe, in fact, rests on the assumption that if you were irradiated, exploded, driven over, or otherwise spectacularly mangled, it would jangle up your DNA and give you super-powers. It is not the purpose of this article to argue the merits of Stan Lee’s grasp of molecular biology. However, it’s worth noting that if any of the above were actually true, there would be a risk that you’d suddenly sprout dragonfly wings every time you bumped into a door.

In reality, the best science can do would be to replicate a sick person’s DNA, clone them, and harvest the clone for parts — in other words, rebuild something from scratch. So far, though, the best the cloning sciences can do is duplicate a sheep that is perpetually sick, can’t walk or think right, and costs millions of dollars to keep alive. So don’t hold your breath, basically.

What If We Gave People New DNA Anyway?

Remember that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where those Nazis opened up the ark and had their faces melt off? It wouldn’t be anything like that.

Okay, So Why Is This Stem Cell Business a Problem?

Well, because of where scientists have to get them. Stem cells, remember, are cells that haven’t been built into anything yet. So if you’re in the market for a handful of primo stem cells, you’ll most likely have to get them from something that hasn’t been built yet, i.e., human embryos or fetal tissue. This opens up the age old debate we’re all understandably sick of by now: when can a human being be called a human being? When it’s born? When it’s still in the womb? At the point of conception? When it’s old enough to move out of the house and get a damn job? There are no easy answers here. Just a lot of arguing and picketing.

Saner heads may point out that the pro-life and pro-choice activists should just pick a point randomly and be done with it, on the grounds that most of the world stopped caring about any of this years ago. It’s difficult to be sympathetic to the “every human life is a sacred miracle” argument, after all, when there are over six billion of the sacred little angels consuming our planet’s resources right now. Twenty years from now, when the world population hits critical mass, and we’re all scrounging around for food scraps and living with five hundred of our closest relatives, we’ll be aborting “sacred little miracles” who are well into their late thirties, I assure you. One can’t help but wonder if future generations will look back on our little debate as impossibly quaint, since they’ll most likely be holding lotteries over who gets the privilege of eating a bag full of everyone else’s hair.

So Stem Cell Research ISN’T a Problem?

Well, let’s be fair. Currently, scientists are getting permission from women who have had abortions to extract stem cells from the discarded embryo. Now, if you see stem cells as a goopy pile of embryonic tissue, there isn’t much of a problem.

However: what if those stem cells were a bunch of cuddly little bears? Capering about the forest as cuddly bears do, sitting down to cake-and-honey picnics, playing lively games of charades? Why, those monsters! They’re killing those bears!

This, in essence, is where the problem starts. Pro-life activists feel that using stem cells for research disregards the sanctity of human life, since the stem cells had the potential to build a human being. Scientists have argued that the embryo was aborted anyway, so the choice had been made long before they entered the picture. The pro-lifers argue that the scientists are still destroying the embryos to get the cells, with the headache-inducing implication that the scientists should instead be making the embryos back into babies.

“Why have the abortion in the first place, then?” the exasperated scientists say.

“Exactly!” say the pro-life activists.

Eager to avoid fisticuffs, everybody simply agrees to disagree. Since using stem cells denies the sanctity of human life, the embryo is thrown into the trash instead of used, which somehow makes the pro-life activists happy.

Elsewhere, someone with acute liver problems dies of liver failure. But it could be argued that he would have been the next Hitler anyway, so it’s not entirely relevant.

Is There a Solution to Any of This, Then?

Yes, actually. What needs to be done, clearly, is to give every one of the pro-life activists diseases that cause their lungs, liver and kidneys to fail. Faced with their own imminent mortality, it’s a safe bet many of them will take the time to seriously reappraise their stance on stem cells; cells which, now that they take a closer look, really don’t look much like cuddly bears after all.

Now where’s that kidney?

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Investing in the Stock Market

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With Enron, Worldcom, AOL, Qwest, Tyco, ImClone, Dynegy, Global Crossing — and, as of press time, every other corporation in America — embroiled in scandal, many potential investors are turning away from the stock market, choosing instead to invest their money in pants. This is undoubtedly sound; every occasion demands the wearing of pants, be it a ritzy affair or a night out with friends. For the few moments where pants are not required — lovemaking, eating dinner over the sink, and watching Fashion Television being first among them — the threat of pants-wearing to come is nonetheless a pressing concern.

Not that any of this has anything to do with the stock market, of course, which involves numbers and is ridiculously complicated. Still, though: do you have enough pairs? Is your money so precious?

Please think about it. On to stocks.

What Are Stocks?

Let’s say I buy a pear for a dollar. The pear is both sweet and delicious, but for the purposes of this metaphor let us assume I don’t eat it. As time passes, the pear rots and decays, becoming very unsweet and not delicious. At this point, I could throw away the pear, cursing myself for having not eaten the damn thing just to forward the cause of a silly metaphor. But instead of throwing it away, I incorporate the pear and gather a ludicrous amount of investment capital by pushing Pear Incorporated as small-cap IPO growth stock. My many investors sit and wait for the pear to mature. And of course it will, though this doesn’t change the fact that it’s now foul and completely worthless. I cash in my shares and wire the swindlings to an off-shore account, then move to a tropical island, where I live out the remainder of my days having drinks served to me by almond-skinned girls in coconut bras, later to be fellated by same. This, in essence, is how stock works.

What’s a Stock Market?

A stock is an opportunity for somebody to sell somebody else “pieces” of something which hold no value; pieces he or she would otherwise keep if it had value. A stock market is the place where this piece would be sold. And while this sounds surprisingly straightforward, it naturally is not. For one, some stocks are listed on the exchange, and some aren’t. This is decided through high-stakes dart games, the rules of which are too complicated to get into here.

Additionally, one is not only free to buy regular stock, but also futures. Investing in futures is a method of insuring that you can purchase make-believe stock at a certain price in the future. It is much like insuring oneself against a dealer’s potential 21 in blackjack, in that it is a fool’s game.

To add to the confusion, anyone attempting to buy stock at a stock market is required to sport rolled-up shirt sleeves, sweat profusely, and holler numbers at someone standing on a desk. The person standing on a desk then points a pen at the stock-buyer and screams at him, at which point he is free to go home to his loveless marriage.

If all of this sounds incredibly confusing, don’t despair. Stocks and the stock market are purposely confusing, so as to keep out undesirables. Yet none of it is terribly relevant when compared to the simplicity of the stock market itself: a bunch of white guys attempting to make scads of free money off other white guys. The primary rule of the stock market is to buy low and sell high, a simple enough rule. However, for the rule to work in any meaningful way, there must be just as many people willing to buy high and sell low, or else the entire system falls to its knees and spasms embarrassingly. For all the disorienting “NASDAQ”-this and “Dow Jones”-that talk, what the stock market essentially boils down to is a profoundly high-yield game of hot potato. In order for traders to make money off their low-bought stock, there must consequently be some podunk sap willing to buy it off them at a jaw-droppingly high price. This is where you come in.

What’s a Corporation?

If I buy a store, put up money for supplies and employees, and sell products or services to the public for a profit, I’m a business. If I raise money for a store through the stock market, sell off ownership of the store to twenty shareholders — none of whom can make a decision independent of the other nineteen — then deflect any liability for my products to a fictional entity composed of disinterested third parties, I would then have a corporation.

In simple terms, a corporation means that when you buy a toaster, and it doesn’t work, and the warranty is only good in five states, and your receipt was printed with cheap ink and isn’t actually legible, and when you dial customer service you get put on hold and, after listening to dead air for five minutes, get cut off — it isn’t actually anybody’s fault. It’s the corporation’s fault. And the corporation doesn’t exist, in a strictly physical, “I-am-going-to-beat-those-responsible-to-death-with-this- toaster-that-cannot-toast-bread” sense.

So What’s The Deal With Enron, Then?

There are of course many intricate and complicated reasons why corporations commit crimes, but as a simple answer, keep in mind that corporations are purest evil. The seeds of the Enron scandal were first sown in the late 80’s, when vacuous presidential gunslinger Ronald Reagan approved gas and oil deregulation, lifting controls on who could produce energy and how it was sold. Enron was first through the gate in a long line of corporations willing to exploit this like a blonde Iowan drama student. With energy privatized, Enron was free to monopolize it, often tripling costs in areas suffering energy crises.

Additionally, the fledgling corporation was free to manipulate the market as it saw fit. For example: Dumbshit Gas Company takes an ass-beating in profits if a winter is mild, as people won’t need gas to keep warm. So they trade futures (i.e., get future energy prices locked down) with Enron, the only game in town, to ensure that a warm winter won’t kill them off financially. BilkedHuge Electricity Company, conversely, fears a cool summer for the exact same reason, and trades futures with Enron, the only game in town, so they won’t get molested like choirboys if it gets a little chilly come July. Enron then makes money no matter what happens — because they’re the only game in town, and because they manipulated their prices enough to stir up problems in the first place.

Ah, good times. It’s not illegal, of course. Because capitalism works like my Uncle Doug does: In other words, seldom, and only for pot money. Is Enron evil? No. Enron got caught. There’s a moral here: if you’re rich and you don’t care a damn about anything but your own bank account, don’t get caught.

But Enron Did Get Caught, Didn’t It?

Oh yes, it did. As the whole world now knows, Enron cooked its books to a frothy boil, siphoning off substantial losses to make-believe “partnership” companies in order to hide the beating they took in the dotcom industry, among others. Enron was of primary importance because, once again, they were first out of the gate — this time as a wake-up call to investors that they could lose their shirts. Ironically, once Enron was outed, many other billion-dollar corporations, such as WorldCom, also stumbled — proving once again that there is no justice as swift as that which the American public is currently interested in for the next 15 minutes.

What made the story truly newsworthy, of course, wasn’t the fact that a billion dollar corporation had committed North American ass-sized fraud. No, what plucked our heartstrings (again, for fifteen minutes) was the human element. Joe and Jane EnronJob had devoted monthly stipends to their 401(k)s, investing their savings in the future of a company that, ultimately, didn’t have one. While Enron’s CEOs sold off their company stock in fat fistfuls, the employees were denied that same right, and lost a bundle. Much like a cute baby bear cub who watches as a small fire spreads to a pile of leaves, then hours later engulfs a tree, then over a period of days consumes the entire forest, the average Enron employee — sitting in the epicenter of the corporation’s day-to-day business and privy to all of its dealings — did not realize there was a problem until it was too late. People throughout America shed a tear for these poor brave souls, who, discerning Enron’s imminent collapse months ahead of anyone else, were unable to pawn off their worthless stock on unsuspecting people for profit. Luckily, the victims who had huge racks were able to sell naked photographs of their huge racks for money — yet America weeps for the flat-chested among them (for many reasons, many of them self-evident).

So how, you may ask, do you avoid a similar fate? By asking yourself some important questions. Firstly: does your company suck? Secondly: are you giving it money? Thirdly: if your company sucks, stop giving it money.

So What Should I Invest In?

Clearly, in pants — the clothing accessory for all seasons. Other than that, the only option available to you is getting yourself an organic hemp poncho and divesting yourself of capitalism entirely. But since this necessitates you becoming a filthy hippie, it is not recommended. Instead, consider investing your money in extremely high-risk stock in the hopes of winning big: namely, lottery tickets. Brokers advise investing heavily in Fantasy 5, which is presently enjoying a bull market share, and is paying off huge dividends to one in every sixty million investors.

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