Monthly Archives: March 2014

I Think There’s a Typo in The New Testament

bytimocerantola

 According to Forbes magazine, there are 1,565 billionaires in 2014 and, the richest of them all, is Bill ‘nerds r’ me’ Gates, who has $76 billion reasons why people tend to treat him nicely.

 Back in 2013, Gate’s was appreciably poorer as his total tallied a trifling $67 billion – which means Bill made $9 billion dollars in one year. By my math, that’s a $173 million bucks a week or approximately $4.3 million dollars per hour – if Bill puts in a full 40 at his money factory.

 Look at it this way; in the time it has taken you to read this far, Bill ‘nerds r me’ Gates has made approximately $72,000 thousand dollars.

 In the same amount of time, with my job, my savings interest (at my present bank interest rate of .0000000000002% per annum) – plus all of my RSP interest and other investments, I’ve made about 1.03 cents. (Yippee, I’m a pennyaire!)

 Which leads me to today’s topic and the reason why I believe there’s a typo in the New Testament. 

 You see, after hearing that ‘Supernerd’ has racked up $76 billion bucks, I’m now convinced that they misheard Jesus when he said, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

 I think maybe Jesus said, “The geek shall inherit the earth” – only the guy taking down notes for Jesus didn’t know what a geek was, so he wrote in “meek” instead. (An honest oversight because computers, like geeks, had yet to be invented).

 Anyway, my point is, it’s all finally starting to happen just like Jesus said it would when He prophesied that Bill Gates was going to take over everything and buy the earth – although Jesus never actually uttered those exact words.

 OK, relax everyone! Bill’s probably not the anti-Christ. He’s more like one of those harmless Star Trek nerds who dress up in Starfleet uniforms and go to those weird sci-fi, dweeb conventions. Seriously, just one look at Bill and you can tell that inside that man’s chest beats the heart of a pointy-eared space geek.

 OK, maybe space geek is a bit over the top – so, let’s just say that prior to his acquisition of zillions, most women would have said that Bill registered a solid 8.5 on the Dork-o-meter.

 Of course now, when “Mr. Money-bags” is announced at one of those upper crust, social events, audible gasps of “Isn’t he dreamy?” “Hunkalicious!” and the occasional “Oooh-la-la!” can be heard among the crowd of money adoring women.

 But, if the truth be told ladies, Bill Gates without his money, is the type of man you would normally picture with a shirt pocket full of pens, horn rimmed glasses and a stack of dirty magazines under his bed. (Sorry to be so brutal Bill, but let’s face it. Like the rest of us nerds, you had to beg for dates back in high school too).

 Personally, I think that all those years of humiliation in high school set poor nerdy Bill off on this dangerous drive towards global domination. He was tired of being pushed around by the captain of the cheerleading squad. That’s when he put his foot down and, like most nerds, stepped into something brown and squishy. (But that’s the way we nerds roll).

 Anyway, Bill was motivated.

 “I know,” he said to himself (because few people would actually talk to him back then). “First, I’ll start a computer company, call it Microsoft, become mega-rich and then buy the entire planet. Then, I’ll hire all those folks who pushed me around in high school and employ them as doorstops and toilet roll replacement engineers in all of my various mansions. Finally, I’ll reward all of my dorky buddies from the chess club and hire them on as senior vice-presidents.”

 Hey, it was only a matter of time before the nerd herd took over.

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Resistance is Futile

bytimocerantola

On the way home from work last night, the news reported that the price of was going up by 4 cents a litre at midnight. So, I pulled into the very first gas station I saw and uttered some words I rarely ever say.

“Fill’er up.” I told the attendant. Eighty-three dollars and several tears later, I was on my way.

As I drove off, I thought back to the early 1960’s when my Dad would pull into our friendly neighbourhood BP (British Petroleum) gas station and say…

“Fill’er up or five dollars – whichever comes first!”

For those of you who have never visited the sixties, back then, gas station attendants, fearing an overflow, would be very cautious when trying to squeeze a whole five dollars worth of gas into your tank. If this sounds far-fetched to you, ask your grandparents to verify this seemingly unbelievable assertion.

Back then, even though my father drove a gas pig, five dollars was enough for a week’s worth of driving in the family boat. Of course my dad never took us anywhere, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, as expected, this morning the price of gas jumped the reported 4 cents a litre to 132.9 cents – or approximately $6 per gallon.

If you expect your government to do anything about the ever-rising fuel costs, forget it. Sure, at election time they always promise to look into the matter but, the sad truth is, other than getting the usual group of officious sock-puppets and political windbags together to form gaseous committees, our leaders have proven to be impotent when it comes to doing battle with the ‘big oil’ corporations.

Many people believe the price of gas could be easily reduced if the government merely dropped the taxes but, according to one government spokesperson I heard recently on a radio show, this strategy will not work. According to this bureaucratic blowhard, our government does everything possible to keep the price of fuel low because they truly feel for you and me, the gas buying public. But alas, he explained, decreasing taxes will not lower the price.

NOTE: Before I go any further on how lowering gas taxes has no effect on the price, to fully understand the convoluted logic of the political mind you must first bang your head repeatedly against a concrete wall. This will properly prepare your brain to absorb the information. Come back when you’re done. I’ll still be here.

Back so soon?

Feeling a little woozy?

Good, it should help.

Now, as I heard it explained on the radio, lowering taxes will have no effect on the price of gas. Rather, lowering taxes will only serve as a signal to oil producers to raise prices even further because the public is already acclimatized to paying the higher price anyway. Sadly, according to some of the brightest minds in official-dumb, government is powerless to do anything about gas prices except, of course, rake-in billions in tax dollars.

For a brief moment, I actually started to buy into this weird, crazy explanation. But then the sobering truth hit me like an unquenchable gas-guzzling Hummer. I had an epiphany. I finally understood what was really going on behind the scenes in government institutions all around the world. It was the only logical explanation. The world’s leaders have been taken over by those evil, half man/half machine Borg aliens from Star Trek and we are all about to be assimilated – one gas tank at a time!

Think about it. First they encourage us to support the economy by buying large, expensive, gas-thirsty vehicles. Then, they slowly jack-up the price of gas until we are spending more on fuel than food.  Finally, they’ve got us where they’ve always wanted us (by the pistons) – and that’s when, like in Star Trek, they assimilate you. Resistance is futile. You are Borg and part of the gasoline-addicted collective!

It’s scandalous, but somehow “big oil” has managed to turn the entire car driving public into passive, puerile, pushovers. We’ve become a bunch of languid, lazy-minded automatons who have forgotten about natural human locomotion.

C’mon people, think about it! There is only one way to do battle with these greedy gas titans and the battle cry is “WE WILL WALK – or at least ride our bikes!”

That’s right. For our collective health and wealth, not to mention cleaner air, we must start walking more and using our vehicles only when absolutely necessary.

Sure, we may be losing the battle now, but the war has just begun. If the world’s oil producers suddenly see hundreds of millions of people walking and riding their bikes to work, they’ll quake with fear and lower their gasoline prices immediately. Trust me, I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek. I know how to handle the Borg.

 

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How Macaroni & Cheese Saved My Life

bytimcerantola

If you are among the many that worry about making ends meet, I believe I can help. For you see, I am a superhero of sorts. I am ‘El Cheapo – the cheapest man in the universe.’

For decades now, my parsimonious ways have achieved legendary status among my friends and family. I have earned my ‘el cheapo, man of thrift’ reputation and founded a life changing, penny-pinching philosophy known as “Budgetarianism.”

So, read on young grasshopper so that I may enlighten you and help you achieve proper balance. I will now impart the secret to financial happiness.

Similar to the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Budgetarian enlightenment also contains four noble truths:

1. Suffering is inevitable.

2. Macaroni and Cheese Dinner eases suffering.

3. Further suffering will ensue if you eat too much Macaroni and Cheese

4. Even if you’re having roast beef, your kids will probably prefer mac and cheese anyways.

Now the budgetarian lifestyle is very similar to a vegetarian lifestyle, although vegetarians intentionally omit meat from their diet, whereas budgetarians omit meat to attain economic stability. But either way you look at it, both vegetarians and budgetarians can be considered “barn-yard friendly.”

Indeed, the budgetarian diet, though similar to that of his cousin the vegetarian, does, occasionally, include meat; but that’s only because the most cunning and clever of budgetarians have created a vast array of ambiguous pseudo-meat mutations such as spam, baloney, tofurkey, veggie dogs (not-dogs) and veggie burgers (shamburgers) all designed for those with limited grocery dollars.

Other mock-meat substitutes such as meatloaf are excellent examples of frugality at its finest. Containing only trace amounts of ‘moo’ and vast quantities of vegetables, breadcrumbs and, I’ve often suspected, lint from the clothes dryer.

Needless to say, this tasty low-cost “loaf” will easily qualify as an edible non-toxic by most federal food agencies though I recommend dousing these “edible substances” with copious amounts of ketchup or hot sauce as it may be necessary to avoid any taste seepage.

*Note: budgetarian meatloaf is very high in polyester, a very important budgetarian fiber.

Do budgetarians ever have fun you ask?

Well, they do. In fact, budgetarians have loads of fun.

For entertainment, budgetarians borrow DVD’s from their local library. Granted, the titles available may not be among the most contemporary favourites but, older classics such as “Surf Nazi’s Must Die” or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Hercules in New York” are readily available.

The library also offers a vast selection of educational titles such as National Geographic’s “Wonderful World of Lichen.” (spoiler alert) Lichens are symbiotic associations of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont also known as the phycobiont) that can produce food for the lichen from sunlight.

Outdoor budgetarian activities may include tree watching. Tree watching is very similar to bird watching only the expense of binoculars is eliminated as most trees will allow you to get up quite close. But remember, the best things in life are free, like air!

That’s right air (now fortified with greenhouse gas). It’s free, it’s fun and it comes in assorted smokey flavours. Breathe in as much as you like. Go outside and make a lung-sucking pig of yourself.

As you might imagine, grocery coupons play a very important role in the life of a budgetarian. Besides doubling as reading material and therefore entertainment, the grocery coupon also holds monetary value. A stack of grocery coupons can also make your wallet appear quite thick and impressive.

Speaking of thick and impressive, sex is a fine budgetarian activity – as long as you’re only practicing. Ah yes, while all the rich couples are out impressing each other and lusting after each others possessions, budgetarians are forced to remain at home and lust after each other. This is good for the marriage. And remember, divorce is very expensive. Divorce is not good for anyone, especially budgetarians.

Finally, you may ask, Tim, budgetarian Guru of the 37th degree and penurious keeper of the holy underwear of 1977, what is the secret to true financial happiness?

Well my young grasshopper, if you have any budgetarian friends, especially friends whose surname happens to be ‘Jones’ – you must invite them over for the evening. For if their name is Jones and they are true budgetarians, it will be so much easier to keep up with the Jones’.

As for anyone out there approaching financial doomsday, ha, ha, ha! You can now laugh in the face of the inevitable economic reckoning knowing that with superior planning and some helpful tips from a qualified budgetarian master, you too can live a full and relatively money-free life.

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