Hedy Lamarr Was 007 + Q

Pursuant to today’s Google Doodle, here’s a piece I wrote for Maxim years ago, about why Hedy Lamarr is your hero and/or fantasy woman:

TIME CRUSH: Hedy Lamarr

Listen, brother, there are more ladies in Heaven than Earth, and these are the ones we dream of in our philogyny. If Maxim were around in Ancient Egypt, we’d flirtatiously interview Cleopatra. And then she would find a creative way to have us killed, but–look, that’s not the point. The point is you need to know who the attractive women are in any time period, just in case you’re too busy looking at your phone to watch where you’re going and stumble into a black hole one day. Case in point: Hedy Lamarr.

Most actresses want to play Bond Girls, but Lamarr actually was one. Her first husband was a weapons manufacturer (Moonraker) who treated her horribly (Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, etc.), and threw parties attended by Hitler and Mussolini, where he presumably unveiled schemes for satellites that would wipe Buckingham Palace off the map. Less certain: whether anyone awkwardly told Hitler he was attending a party thrown by a Jewish couple.

Fed up with all the domestic torture and Hitler-coddling, Lamarr fled the arranged marriage disguised as a maid, and got a divorce in Paris. You may choose to believe the Deleted Scene version of her escape, in which she went to a lavish party wearing every piece of jewelry she owned, drugged her husband, and fled on rocket skis down the Alps, accompanied by a mysterious Englishman in a tuxedo. Okay, we only made up half of that sentence.

Speaking of deleted scenes, prior to her marriage, the 19-year-old had already filmed nude scenes in her acting debut Ecstasy, a Czech film about an older man who mistreats his insanely hot wife, because life imitates art. According to her, the sex scenes were real, but her orgasmic expression was caused by the director poking her rear with a pin, which…are we supposed to be turned on by that as well? We can’t tell in this kooky set of 1930s sexual standards. All we know is that exposed knees are scandalous…and hot.

Over the next thirty years she made as many millions of dollars (and that’s then-money, not now-money, which is worthless), and spent it all. On what? Nobody knows! So here’s an unsubstantiated guess: moon bases. Because Hedy Lamarr took her big math brain (The World is Not Enough, Moonraker again) and applied everything she’d picked up as her husband’s constant companion at military design and production meetings to file a patent titled “Secret Communication System.” The frequency-hopping scheme was used to keep radio-controlled torpedoes out of enemy control, and became the basis for much of the nifty technology we enjoy today, such as Wi-Fi and the nudity we enjoy over Wi-Fi, such as Ecstasy. My god–it’s all connected!

Brendan McGinley invented time-travel, but accidentally prevented himself from ever inventing it

A Freelancer’s Guide to Editors (by a Freelancer Turned Editor)

My day gig is editing CBS Man Cave Daily (no, not the other, crappier Man Cave Daily. The good one). One of my writers asked me for advice going full-time freelance and my advice is: WOAH! Have a spouse, because that is not something you want to do and also pay for health insurance, which for some reason gets more expensive the smaller the company you belong to.

But if you do go freelance in New York City, which I did, and only managed to drain an incredible amount of savings, this is my advice to him on how to dig up work and hang onto it. It’s based on what worked for me then and also what I’m most looking for now.

Don’t ask me how to become a Cracked columnist, though. I still have no idea how I got that lucky. The only reason Dan O’Brien and Robert Brockway aren’t dead of alcohol poisoning is they live too far away for me to buy them drinks every day.  

I got into freelancing by asking a buddy of mine from publishing if he’d recommend me to his editor at AOL and he said sure. There’s so much editorial turnover that soon the boss who was sharing me with her co-editors had new co-editors, but the old ones were still hiring me at MTV and other companies.

Browse Mediabistro and stay away from Monster or Craigslist. Nobody on Craigslist wants to pay you what you’re worth. I can’t say anything about LinkedIn because I’ve never used it. Don’t write on a “based-on-page-views” amount unless it’s a backend bonus like we offer for a monthly top traffic bounty. Get paid for the actual work. Site’s a startup? !*(% you, pay me. Views are down this month? !*(% you, pay me. You offer valuable experience and exposure? !*(% YOU, PAY ME.

Getting work is really is as easy as just asking. Somebody, somewhere, is looking to hire you. You’re not going to waltz into Esquire and you hopefully won’t let a site reap your work without paying you in anything other than experience (you can always say no to terms. If they won’t barter remember you can always walk). But yeah, I consider pretty much everybody who e-mails me and I’m less concerned about their history and more concerned about the quality of their writing and ideas.

You would be AMAZED how many “professional” full-time men’s interest writers are godawful in every possible regard: sentence structure, grammar, spelling, deadlines, communication. I would trade nine of the commonly known bylines in this world of dude-blogging for one young woman with an interest in writing and the topic she’s writing about, because even if she has no plans to make a full career of it, I guarantee you she’ll make my life easy and she’ll probably pull 5x the traffic as the guy who just wants to write “The Five Beers You Drink in College.” I’ve done it and it’s a trade-up six times out of six. And the weird thing is how many writers like that either want to but think they can’t or never thought about doing an internet article full of jokes even though they’re giving it away for free on Twitter.

The tenth guy (or gal), though, he’ll be fantastic. That’s why you see names like Dan Seitz or (before he took an editorial gig) Ian Fortey everywhere on the web. They’re fast, funny, and fresh. Editors talk. We trade recommendations for writers because we can’t always give everyone all the work we want, but we’re still avaricious of our top talent.

Ask not what editors can do for you but show what you can do for editors. Most editors are overworked and just want to be sure their content is correct, catchy, and queued up.

Deliver more than is expected. Once you’ve got the work, give them the baker’s dozen. Is it due Tuesday? Have it in Monday. Did they expect it to be mildly funny? Make it hilarious. If an editor knows they’re going to get what they want but better you will always have work. That doesn’t mean 1000 words is better when the assignment is 800 but if those 800 require zero editing, editors will love you. My favorite writers to read aren’t just the best in terms of content, they’re also the best as an editor because there are no typos, no mistakes they should know better than to make. All I have to do is read and enjoy it, throw in links and images, and call it a day.

Some key areas in which a writer can demonstrate his/her value to an editor:

DEADLINES: If an editor knows they can rely on you (and again, even have it in early) you’ll get work.

EASE: Do you require a lot of editing? Do I have to remind you deadlines are coming up? Are you going to leave me waiting around the office at 7 p.m. when you promised I’d have it by 4?

ACCESS: Depending on the subject. There’s a guy who’s a huge pain in the neck to edit, but he gets great subjects to interview so I can never really cut ties. He’s not even a good interviewer, but he’s the one who’s going to get me subjects I can’t on my own. Or bring me story ideas I haven’t heard anywhere else yet.

To use a negative example: I just had a PR person call me at my desk (which I hate because even if it’s useful to me it’s a guaranteed two-to-ten minutes when I could glean all the info from an email in under 30 seconds) and go on and on and on about this thing she was pitching. And it’s like, “Lady…I don’t care. You called me. You wanted me to care. So make me care.” Even if I was intrigued I’d say “Great, send me the details in an email” because unless it’s a drop-everything opportunity, I guarantee I’m in the middle of something else when you call and I need to stay in that zone. And if I’m not intrigued I’ll still say “Okay, send me the details in an e-mail” just to get them off the phone.

Most freelancers are either artisans or factories. Artisans tailor their work to the site and usually rise up pretty fast. Editors want to get them before they’re out of reach with someone else who has more budget. Factories work for everybody and they’re not really writers. They excel at the side of the job that’s making contacts with publicists, sending out a vast flood of pitches to multiple sites. Then they just hammer out the product. They’re not worried about how it looks, they’re not worried about site voice. Writing’s the fastest part of their job. They’re never very smart. They’re just very determined. They ALWAYS *@^(ing argue with me when I reject a pitch, telling me why it would be a good idea and I should reconsider.

They have their relative worth, but in the long term I hate working with them. They always take more editing, and only half of them submit their work by deadline. They’re often sketchy and try to see what they can get away with. I had one who listed herself as one of our writers on her site and all her social media for months and months despite never selling me on a pitch. When she finally did sell me on one, she double-sold the article to another site than acted like she had no idea it would be a problem, although she might not have been acting because I guarantee she never read any of the documentation I sent her saying she couldn’t do that.

Don’t be a factory. Factories are people who write. Artisans are writers.

Editors can tell which one you’ll be almost out of the gate. When a new writer emails me I have different responses based on how much I actually want to take someone up on their inquiry of work, although I don’t reject anybody out of hand because I could be wrong. But you don’t want an editor thinking “Is this guy going to be more trouble than he’s worth?” You want them to feel like they’ve found a diamond mine nobody else knows about yet.

Read ClientsfromHell for a laugh and memorize the common problems you’ll encounter. Thankfully there’s less of it in the world of NYC’s corporate-backed blogging. But still.

My Cracked midterm review

Oh man, I have not been good with the posty-posty about my Cracked work this year. I’ve never had my computer on so little as in 2015. I’m getting about one article a month up between my day job and a couple high-yield freelance opportunities I can’t talk about until they’re reality (but oh boy oh boy when I can–!) but that is steadily improving. I’m closing out old projects and being careful before opening new ones.

Here’s what I did for my beloved Cracked in the front half of the year:

5 Times Gold Made Something Less Valuable — I really enjoyed doing this one because I felt it was a different concept than the standard fare, I dug up some cool research, and I got some good lines in. I still chuckle at the stunned disbelief of “They added gold to money and managed to devalue both.”

gold ramen


6 Reasons Valentine’s Day is Going to Suck This Year — For some reason I crap on Valentine’s Day every year even though I enjoy it and I’m pretty good at it. This is that.

no fat chicks

5 Reasons Irish People Don’t Love American St. Patty’s Day — Oh, this was such a fun one day. Luke McKinney and I collaborated on it after kicking around the idea for a couple of years running and then finally prepping well enough in advance. I proposed we just compare our experiences, but I think he’s the one who wisely morphed it into how American St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t half resemble the Irish one.

It was like playing a game of catch. We threw down a bunch of thoughts, had a fun discussion, then trimmed it to a manageable amount, adding jokes in each pass. It was a different way to work, but it was cool to watch an article grow even if you felt you’d said all you could.

Luke’s from Donegal, and every Irish person I’ve ever met who’s used to humoring Americans has said, “McGinley, eh? A fine Donegal name.” Our branch of the McGinleys is actually from Derry, but it’s still nice to figure Luke and I probably have a great-great-great-great-great-grandmother in common or at the very least, were always meant to be drinking buddies.

st patricks day

5 Extremists It’s Impossible to Take Seriously — All of them, right? But this is a special brand of “Can’t even tell if you believe your own bullshit” entirely. There are human beings who believe leprechauns exist and they vote.


Damn Good Sandwiches for National Sandwich Day

Once you’ve had a Mago Barca, which, PS, I invented, you’ll never enjoy anything else. Except a banh mi. Or a grinder. Or the Mackenzie. Or…dang, man, there are just too many incredible sandwiches to be had. But I began the manly catalog of them with Damn Good Sandwiches for National Sandwich Day.


You Have a Responsibility to Be Funny, Adam Sandler

We know Adam Sandler is funny. We’ve seen it happen. It’s not a fluke. And look, everyone has their missteps. But at least something like Little Nicky, you can say he tried for an intriguing idea, or Zohan, you can see why it would be funny in the right hands.

But I don’t think he’s trying anymore. Would you, when you can make 5x as much bank while taking sweet vacations? Because that’s what Blended is. It’s lazy. It lacks a compelling premise. And it didn’t have to be because they had Terry Crews RIGHT THERE. They could have just let him be terrific for ten minutes and gotten more laughs than their entire semblance of a plot.

You know, The Room is a terrible movie made by a compulsive liar. But at least it had a goddamn vision. Sandler is the Guy Fieri of comedy — started off making enjoyable plebian fare, and now it’s just Blorp! Glop. Splorg. Fart. 

Anyway, that’s why I wrote a Eulogy for Adam Sandler set 20 years from now. And this is probably a good time to mention I have a Twitter account called News in 20 Years.

They also peed in the blood.

They also peed in the blood.

This article owes a huge debt to Will Leitch’s magnificent Deadspin screed, It’s Not Okay to Be Shitty. (Seriously — click that link. It’s on the very short list of articles I’ve saved to my Pocket favorites, and this column is greatly influenced by it.)

Here’s your customary apocrypha:

With the clock ticking down on a terrorist threat to decimate New York, Chuck & Larry admit they’re just big, flaming gaybags for each other and they shouldn’t have to hide who they are to be happy. As they finally confront their feelings, they are evaporated in each other’s arms.  

I’m proud of this joke structure, but the fact is Chuck & Larry are FDNY, and I didn’t want the question of whether I was touching on 9/11 to distract from the joke, when in fact I just think it would be sweetly fatalistic for them to fall in love a moment before their destruction.

Jack lights a cigar with the Magna Carta and high-fives the CHILD, who is in fact, TIME-TRAVELING BABY DREW BARRYMORE, and not yet neglected by people trusted to care for her.

You’ve suffered enough, Drew Barrymore. You don’t need my taunts.

Five Reasons Valentine’s Day Is a Sham

I wrote a new Cracked column on how even the basics of Valentine’s Day are a myth, just like the love that your ex said they held for you. You will enjoy it–or else I will stop loving you.

Pictured: Love?

Here’s your customary apocrypha, self-culled because it was too divergent from the main topic:

Here’s the thing with saints – they’re basically tiki idols with shinier heads. Since Christianity is monotheistic, it doesn’t have sub-deities like Cupid to worship. “But hey,” says the Catholic Church, “no harm in asking the dead to pray on your behalf, just like you would the living.” Although this does suggest that God pro-rates prayers based on how good a person you are.

IMAGE: God “Don’t tell me what to do. There, now he’s a pillar of salt. Are you happy?”
CAPTION: In fairness, most Americans are 40% salt already.

Many Protestant forms of Christianity consider this a form of idolatry, and I invite you to bicker about it in the comments below while the atheists mock you both and all three groups celebrate Valentine’s in spite of yourselves. Anyway, even though the Catholic Church has an elaborate process for confirming saints now, that wasn’t always the case. Historically, you were a saint if people could say for certain you were in Heaven – usually martyrs or Ted Williams, because that guy paid for children’s cancer treatments in secret. He’s in Heaven even if God is a Yankee fan.

Saints were beatified at a local level, at first informally through prayer and memorials and miracles. It all got a little—eh, I don’t want to say culty, so I’ll let the Encyclopedia Brittanica do that. relics People who collect other people’s body parts to obtain their power are creepy, no matter how friendly they are. Local bishops eventually took authority of canonizing the deceased’s saintly status, probably because regulation beats prohibition.

It took an entire millennium–half the extant Church’s life—before a pope started namedropping saints. By that point, saints’ roles diversified. Some protect their hometown (St. Januarius – patron saint of Naples) or their industry (St. Brendan — patron saint of sailors), or just whatever they’re best known for (St. Christopher — patron saint of people who transport children across borders). You get the idea.   (If I got any of that wrong, I’m only reading from my Catholic high school notes. Our theology program was run by two priests who didn’t want to be there and a woman so pure her soul could distill water, but she believed Adam & Eve were real people. We got so many mixed messages there.)

10 Insane Diets No One Should Ever Try

Here’s an article I wrote about healthy eating before I start deep frying macaroni & cheese balls with home-cured bacon for the Super Bowl. I invented some insane diets for Cracked, but couldn’t beat reality at its own game.

If you’re wondering about this passage:

And yes, he’s is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, but since I’m writing this from New York, legally speaking, I think I am, too.

There was originally a link there to the states that govern a person’s use of the term. In NY, as far (and as little) as I know, there’s no recognized doctorate in naturopathy.

Full version of last year’s Cracked State of the Union

Last year I wrote a State of the Union with some suggestions for real change in America. But did you know there was a fifth entry? It was very vindictive. 

Mr. O’Brien, Mr. O’Brien, Emperor Wong, members of Cracked, distinguished readers, spambots, trolls, and easily offended moms here by accident from Facebook–

Thank you for joining me in The Cracked State of the Union.

(pause for applause)

(pause grows awkward in length)

*cough* You know, last night I gave a State of the Union speech over in Kyrgyzstan. And I thought THEY knew how to govern…

(pause for boos. Boos become excessive and frighteningly violent. After a scuffle, security removes several Uzbeks from the audience. They are replaced by Leonardo DiCaprio, eagerly hoping to win an Academy Award, but he loses to a potted plant.)

Ahem! So I thought Kyrgyzstan knew how to govern…But NOBODY governs like America!

(rock ‘n’ roll solo squeals out. Crowd goes wild, as it should.)

…But you’ve forgotten that, my fellow Americans. You forgot how hard you rock, and you gave in to fear. You fear America’s powers are in decline. You fear this country is crumbling to enemies both domestic and foreign. You fear there’s nothing you can do about it, or worse: that you can, but it requires effort.

In fact, you fear so many things, you forgot the one thing you should be afraid of: letting down the Batman of nations. So let me ask you a question, Sniffles O’Buttercup–are you going to sit there posting Facebook statuses about how hard you weep for this country, or are you going to sack up, cinch in, and light this patriotism shit off?

Look, I won’t lie to you; America’s bleeding. But you can either cry about the America we have, or you can help build the America we want. The best way to do the latter is by solving one problem with another. Therefore I am proposing Congress turn the following weaknesses into strengths:

Obesity + Power Shortages + Unemployment = Green Power

Jesus Diabetes Christ, America, you’ve let yourself go. You’re so fat when you sit around the house, you sit around the ICU ward recuperating from your fifth coronary. I don’t want to kick you while you’re down, but I honestly can’t tell if you’re down or up now that you’re a perfect sphere. The average American’s weight has gone up so much since the ’40s that birth certificates now give the option of MALE, FEMALE and HAM MONSTER.

[img:obese.jpg] <br/ >When you’re sweating corn syrup, it’s time for the nation to reconsider its lifestyle.

Sure, it’s because we’re eating badly. Like, <target=”c” href=”#Standard_American_Diet”>really badly. So badly that science now recognizes sodium nitrate as a blood type. But it’s also because air conditioning allows us to stay inside playing video games instead of sweating it all out on the football field, bleeding and losing teeth like people did when they still knew how to have fun. So now you’re fat and you need MORE air conditioning to prevent mold from thriving under your clammy breasts. Your clammy…still, strangely, sexy…man-breasts. I–what? Look, whatever, that’s not the point. Folks, it’s a drain on the electricity, and it’s going to stop.

The Solution

America’s already suffering from rolling power outages and we can’t have that. Unemployment is too high already, and now you want to send the people with jobs home to make the obesity and energy problems worse?

Wasting electricity is an American tradition, and we’re not about to give that up. But this obesity thing has got to go, so let’s take everyone who doesn’t have a job and stick them on a stationary bike wired up to a capacitor. Their efforts will power a massive game of Mario Kart, and the high scorer for the day gets a $50 bonus on their paycheck.

Is it inefficient? Hell yeah, if your only goal is to generate electricity, but we’re reducing fossil fuel consumption while forging an army of road warriors. After a few 30-90 minute shifts under medical supervision, we’ll have an America ready to kick some ass in both video games and Spinjitsu, the martial art for bikes.

The bottom really fell out of the market for gym-based espionage 25 years ago.

The bottom really fell out of the market for gym-based espionage 25 years ago.

The bonus is it will clear whole packs of scumbag recreational bicyclists from our nation’s auto lanes, no longer struggling to pass one another, as they dream of clearing Lance Armstrong’s name and earning his friendship.

Second Amendment Debate + Ecological Decline = A Safer Nation

It’s not the president’s place to interpret or rewrite the second amendment, so rest assured, no one is taking your guns away. Although if they did, what are you scared of? That’s precisely why you have a gun, you sexy well-regulated militia, you. A gun will defend your home from any threat except the stormtrooper kicking down your door, because he has a much sweeter gun issued to him by the New World Order. And assuming he leaves you alive but disarmed, then you’re vulnerable to–oh my, all manner of burglars, caribou, and teenagers.

The Solution

Meanwhile, this debate is distracting attention from the very real ecological havoc caused by global warming, and thousands upon thousands of species stand to lose their habitat. That’s why every home will be issued its own endangered beast. Not only will you enjoy the protection and wrasslin’ matches of a big ol’ honking wolf, lion, or cinema’s Gary Busey…you’ll guarantee a future for these beasts and their prey, since you can’t put a price on home security, and feeding these things ain’t cheap.

I know what you’re thinking: “Won’t the invader just bring a tiger to a lion fight? Will weapons manufacturers shift production to dangerous new species like the manticore, the sharktogon, and the nuclear skink?”

Don’t be absurd. Have you ever tried to drag a rhino across town and coerce it into a burglary? They’re not going anywhere they don’t want to–and even if they do, statistically speaking, most rhinoceros crime is non-violent fiscal fraud. Your enemy’s best bet is still to bring a gun, and science has yet to invent the firearm that beats Armed Homeowner Riding a Polar Bear.

[img:knut.jpg] <br/ >Like you wouldn’t trade all your guns to be best friends with a polar bear.

What about assailants you can’t reason with? If you live in a rural area, you won’t have to worry about being beset by wild animals since we’ve already tamed all the dangerous ones. And even if we miss a few, no coyote is dumb enough to attack a person walking their pet bobcat. So foster an endangered killing machine today!

Terrorism + Cultural Decline = Elevated Discourse

Look, we all know the odds of dying in a terror attack are slim to [number of athletes Kim Kardashian wouldn’t fuck for attention]. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be killed by a shark made of lightning than a terrorist. And it’s not because those goons aren’t trying. It’s because we have a kickass security net made of spies, SEALs, and cyborg super-soldiers who don’t officially exist yet. Nevertheless, statistically, a few attacks are going to slip through our defenses.

The Solution

If terrorists are going to kill a small number of Americans in a very public way, we need to put that to work for us. Let’s lure them to hotbeds of domestic terrorism so wickedly western, we can all agree they must be smote from the Earth. May I suggest a TMZ broadcast?

Perhaps you’ve never heard of TMZ because you’re not from America, or you are a happy person. I’ll try to explain: this gossip site encourages reporters and random citizens to harass people in the entertai–no, hold on, that’s not clarifying anything. Okay, picture the most savage kids you went to high school with kicking a stillborn baby in a circle. That’s TMZ.

[img:fuckharveylevin.jpg] <br/ >The greatest contribution host Harvey Levin could make to the world would be dying someplace where his remains don’t pollute local water supplies.

As a website, it’s awful. But as a TV show, it causes cancer in lab rats and the scientists who dissect them. If a pregnant woman watches TMZ on TV and doesn’t miscarry, Vatican scholars start dying of mysterious nosebleeds before they can warn the Pope.

This program rewards its paparazzi for ambushing strangers with hostile behavior, so it’s exactly like a terror network minus the respectable aspects like moral conviction or engineering ability. In terms of production value TMZ is indiscernible from terrorist propaganda: grainy camera work, some dull-witted turd making inflammatory statements, and a hostage who just wants to go home.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? Imagine if we could lure terrorists into gassing the TMZ studios with phosgene during a segment about some Baywatch alum’s varicose veins! Would they still hate America when we all woke up that day to a brighter world? Or would we watch together as the writhing bodies of the TMZ crew slow to a twitching mass, and realize we’re not so different after all?

[img:phosgene.jpg] <br/ >Fun for the whole family!

The Income Gap + Cultural Divide + Overpopulation = A Unified America

These days, America is a divided house in most any room you care to enter. Economically, the middle class is vanishing faster than the whiskey at an Irish wake. Politically, the internet is seeping into real life, and now politicians just stand around calling each other gay Nazis. And as for religion: we can’t even enjoy a nice holiday season without one side or the other pretending be offended by how we wish one another peace and joy the wrong way.

But one thing we all know: there are more Americans now than ever before, and since none of us can survive outside of big box stores for more than a fortnight, resources are getting tighter. That’s not good news, since the New England Complex Systems Institute recently linked riots to a single factor.

[img:foodriot.jpg] <br/ >Their research was supported by the New England Actually Quite Simple Systems Institute.

That’s right—come summer, rising prices trigger the food fight to end all food fights and also millions of human lives. What’s a good patriot to do? Nothing but watch The Enemy Within devour the amber waves of grain? Or fight back, and squirt out a horde of Duggars like it’s some sort of cultural arms race?

Answer: both! The future of America, like its past, is going to be one of compromise.

The Solution

I’m just going to say it, we’re going to have to become a nation of swingers.

Although the trend has dipped, the poor have more kids because condoms waste money meant for cigarettes, whereas rich people have very few children. In upper society it’s considered good form to pull out and finish in a sack of money. Of course, we all know that’s literally a flimsy excuse when the real reason for their impotence is rich guys can afford all the cocaine.

But you know what rich people hate even more than having children? Tax hikes. And why shouldn’t they? They’re currently suffering through the worst tax levels since…uh…okay, not so much. But that just means taxes are going to go up soon! See? Tax hikes, grrrrr!

So here’s the deal, and it’s a good one: if your personal income is $150k or above, you unlock the Polygamy Badge. It permits you a gross income tax break of 7% for each spouse you marry, BUT: you can only marry someone who earned $26,000 or less for the last five years, and has religious or political beliefs that make you laugh one of those rich person laughs.

[img:richlaugh.jpg] <br/ >Oh yeah, that’s the one.

This is a win for everybody: now the spouses can take up better hobbies than reproduction, like polo–the gentleman’s orgasm! Their kids finally get a successful role model and a house with better flavors of paint than lead. And you get a gift certificate from the government to enjoy a plethora of sexual partners.

But the real winner here is America! Because as your hate-sex slowly turns into a tender love affair, you’ll stop despising all their perceived differences, and instead start despising the million little reasons all spouses want to kill each other.

Congressional Deadlock + Illegal Immigration = Effective Government

For decades now, Congress has belabored the fact that America suffers from freeloaders who drain our resources. These parasites put zero into the system even as they suckle on benefits paid for by real, hard-working Americans.

Not illegal immigrants. Those guys work hard. I’m still talking about Congress. That’s why all of the legislative branch is fired, effective immediately.

Don’t act like you’d care. Sure, there are a few good ones in there, but not enough to have any effect, obviously. You could probably replace them with one of those algorithm robots that organize Walmart’s warehouses, and get a better country. If you put the whole of Congress in a rowboat with a map to safe harbor, half of them would row in circles and the other half would sell the boat to Goldman Sachs for kindling. And they would all refuse rescue so they could blame the other party for their untimely drowning.

The Solution

Now obviously we’re going to need someone to write some laws every couple of decades. And that’s where the 62% Mexican sector of illegal immigrants can help. Did you know a recent study found that 99.9% of luchadors are Mexican? Lucha libre wrestlers kick exactly the kind of ass we need kicked to effect real change in Washington.

For starters, they’re go-getters, okay? They don’t waste nine months campaigning and compromising. When a luchador wants a title, he finds the guy who has it and pins him. It’s survival of the fittest, and it only takes ten minutes. Think of the efficiency! In that amount of time your current Congress can barely break more than seven or eight promises.

But the big advantage is luchadors’ identities are concealed – often their own families aren’t even aware. Special interest groups are going to have a devil of a time influencing the vote of a man who can vanish by pulling his face off.

[img:elhijodelsanto.jpg] <br/ >And one of them is a saint.

Other times, a politician might vote against his own judgment just to cut a deal or get back at another politician. Luchadors have more honor than that. The only time a luchador flips his position is to better leg-lock his opponent. And if a wrestler betrays his partner, you won’t see the wounded party take a dive next week as revenge.

Maybe you’re not convinced. After all, what do these heroes know about legislation? But ask yourself this: how could they do any worse, America? At least luchadors know they’re real men, and wouldn’t lurch the nation into eight years of unnecessary war because they’re afraid of being called soft.

[img:108.jpg] <br/ >There is no pipe rusty enough to thank the 108th Congress for its service to this country.

Since only natural born citizens can run for president, they’ll get out there and govern fearlessly, without worrying about their record. And there are clear-cut heroes, or faces (Spanish: technicos) and villains, also known as heels (Sp: rudos). This easy classification system means we can dispense with the endless debates, and say goodbye to the unbearable pussyfooting of the Democratic Party (Sp: putas) and hello to a Republican Party (Sp:Sith Lord) that finally admits it just wants to crush someone weaker.

Obviously, that still leaves 11 million illegal immigrants without a Congressional gig, but I trust our luchador legislators will grant them their chance at the American dream and all the taxes that accompany it. Meanwhile, they can assess heavy fines on employers who hire under the table and circumvent the tax system.

In conclusion, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what it’s doing to you with your own tax dollars. Don’t be afraid to speak up, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to be hurt, don’t be afraid to be kind, and be very afraid of the manticore. Thank you, and may God bless all this weirdness.

Brendan watched a shapely redhead give 30 Rock‘s Dot Com a yoga lesson. He’s on Twitter @brendanmcginley, keeping America safe.

Pumblechook & Figg Holiday Catalog 2013

Over 183.9 years ago, two merchants shared a dream for Christ-Mass: a gingerbread house so large that all men, whether Christian, Mohammedian, or Juwe, might worship the Christ within it. This mighty structure would unite the hearts of good Englishmen everywhere in the unity of goodwill, that they might stand as one and smash the Irish race from this Earth forever.

Unfortunately, the structural integrity of cookie-bread proved catastrophic, and 500 souls were lost that first year when a flying buttress made of fondant collapsed on their heads. But did the merchants give up? Nay! They found a new dream—one of the exchange of commercial gifts that would make them richer than any man dared dream each Christmas. And so was born—the Pumblechook & Figg catalog of Mercantile Goods.

Now it is yours to enjoy over at Cracked. I think I only made four references to cannibalism, two to infanticide, and two more to exploitative child labor, so it was a pretty family-friendly year for Victorian England’s greatest catalog warehouse. Oh, and a sentient robot who could not protest his life in sex slavery. Merry Christmas!


Dystopia Kit

You had it all planned but society’s frail threads snapped on your plan for a perfect new future. Comes with sledgehammer for shattering concrete and metal, and batteries for when the electricity fails.

Hunky Male Mercenaries

[This was supposed to accompany Foxy Female Assassins, but it didn’t have enough comic oomph.] Surely this will work now. Team of manly murderers brainwashed their entire lives to kill and die for you without piffling emotions or fanciful ability to feel pain. Unsullied by vice or virtue, these—AIEEE! They’re turning around! RUN!

Imploding House

Event horizon expands over time and at increasing rate to eventually consume all we know and ever shall be.