Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today's PStUM: Self-Checkout Aisles

Not pictured: a job that gives self-esteem and income.

Why have the powers that be decided that the removal of human interaction from all facets of our daily life is the right call? I may not be the brightest person on earth, but automated checkout lines are confusing as shit. It’s not more “convenient” to give your customers a chore while they buy from your grocery store. I think Giant Eagle will survive as a chain if they add a few more minimum wage workers to their locations instead of these asinine (and presumably expensive) machines that no one actually likes. I’m surprised there is no popular movement demanding that grocery stores create jobs for young people and the disabled rather than use an automated system that helps nothing but maintain a marginal level of efficiency in each store.

Today's PStUM: (neighborhood followed by cardinal direction)

There is an irritating trend among city planning these days in which the appellation of relative cardinal direction for a municipality follows the parent place name instead of preceding it. What the hell is wrong with (for example) ‘North Squirrel Hill?’ This is the way cities have been named for decades if not centuries, ‘Squirrel Hill North’ suggests the creeping hand of modernity and corporate branding for long-existent neighborhoods. Squirrel Hill North is not a new housing project, it is a neighborhood where real people live.  Talk like normal fucking human beings- It's called North Squirrel Hill.

Today's PStUM: Tribal Tattooes

What tribe are you from, Travis?

Today's PStUM: "Prescription Drug Abuse”

As any mother in America knows by now, our teens (all of them) have a crippling addiction to prescription drugs. It seems youngsters today are just crawling to eat as many pills as possible. Pills are dangerous. Pills.
The singular enemy.
The recent PSA campaign against pill use shows kids who died from them. Without any description of what they were actually consuming. The new moral panic over prescription drug usage reflects again a profound ignorance of how drugs actually work- “prescription drugs” are not a category in themselves; they are just one method of obtaining various substances. This distinction covers amphetamines, benzodiazepines, sedatives, opiates, and others- a vast range of different substances with different effects. This idea that “prescription drugs” are a useful categorization for substance abuse is ignorant and hinders any progress that may be made towards helping addicts cope with their disease.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Today's PStUM: Porcelain Berries

I walk to the grotto everyday to pray my novena. Every day I see tasty tasty grape berries from de vine. I see dese berries, I say- what lovely colors! I can tell they grape by de shape of de leaf, I can tell grape by de bunch of de berries, I can tell grape by de vine. So I taste grapey. It no grapey! It bitter bitter! I see the leaf, I see the berry bench, I think: tasty grape! Won’t you get in my belly? I go to de Wipipepia, I sees de article- it not grape it porcelain berry! Bad berry, bad bad berry. De devil mix him lies with de truth. Porcelain berries foolin me with their nasty nasty offspring.

Today's PStUM: Cats

I often (by which I mean never) get the question, “do you like pets?” well, that’s a loaded fucking question. I have had pets my whole life; several loving dogs who have been my best friends in the damned world. To me, that’s what a pet is- a friend, a loyal companion. I do not count cats among the ranks of pets, rather, they are more akin to a style of furniture that respirates and moves a little bit. Oh, and also shits in your house. Cats are not really all that much different from groundhogs that live near a camping ground- they have abetted their fear and aggression toward man enough to secure a somewhat stable living environment free of predation and occasionally scraps of food. That’s it. No, your cat is not special because you trained it to poop in the toilet. When it comes down to it, your cat will not save you from a fire, fight off intruders, or express any interest in your persistence as a living being so long as you feed it. Cats are nothing more than feral animals too lazy to act on their instincts.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's PStUM: Pumpkins

Now that it is fall, every genteel suburban Romney voter has placed a small bale of hay on their porch alongside the obligatory pumpkin. Who the fuck decided that pumpkins were a symbol of Autumn? It's not like people say, "hey wow we best go down to the farmer's market and stock up, it's pumpkin harvest time." They serve as little function as a food item can and still be used. You know that awesome taste of pumpkin pie? That's cinnamon and nutmeg. Pumpkin itself has no flavor whatsoever, so that "pumpkin spice" bullshit you put in your coffee is a total farce. I bet in like 1946 or something some brilliant capitalist with an inherited pumpkin farm concocted all this shit up. "Hey Sherm, I'll just start telling people they are an arbitrary symbol of Autumn, going off the whole Jack-o-Lantern thing. yeah, they don't taste like anything or have any real culinary value, but they look pretty on your porch I guess." Pumpkins mean nothing, they have no use for anyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today's PStUM: "Dance Punk"

This little tyke considers
James Murphy his muse, but
isn't too good at describing
First of all, I admit it: I can’t deflect the term “hipster.” I like good things- PBR is better than Keystone, good music is better than shitty music, irony is better than sincerity. Some, but not all. My pedigree is mostly comprised of the music I like- indie shit, post punk junk, unlistenable artiness. A lot of that music, like LCD Soundsystem, Matt and Kim, and Crystal Castles (Suicide or New Order if you apply the tag retroactively), are roughly grouped together by music critics (my cousins) into the bullshit category of “Dance Punk.” The problem is not the music itself or the desire of certain cultural gadflies to put some kind of genre tag on the music they like. The problem is that Dance Punk doesn’t mean fucking anything. The term applies two tags that are associated with an impossible diversity of sounds and moods, creating a pretty heavily overlapping Venn Diagram over the whole of contemporary music. None of the aforementioned artists are more “Punk” than any other thing on the radio, nor are they any more “Dance Music.” They are electronic-leaning poppy indie acts that do not in any way necessitate a genre description on their own. Dance Punk serves the same rhetorical function as the ignorant conservative slogan “Pro-Family;” they both assume a broad term reflects one’s own small-minded definition of its function. Gay people still have families, you can dance to whatever the fuck you actually want, and I think that if “punk” means anything today, (which is highly dubious) it applies to The Wiggles much more than it does to whatever garbage local deathgrind band whose 8-track you most recently bought. When punk came to describe half of all rock music and when someone started nodding their head to Swans, these two terms lost all meaning. Much like your local conservative senate candidate, the mavens of Dance-Punk exist in their own ignorant little sphere, immune to the modern world around them and oblivious to any values or opinions remotely different than their own. Dance-Punk is not real.