5 Back-to-School Saving Tips

Don't try this at home!

Pictured: $300 worth of supplies. As if the little shits don’t already cost enough. The lack of funding for schools is passed onto the parents.

It’s back-to-school time. Here are some ways to save:

1. Steal from a homeless guy – It’s much easier than you think. Buy them booze. Wait for them to pass out. And steal their backpack. There’s got to be pretty cool stuff in the backpack. After all, the backpack is only thing they own. If you could only own one backpack full of stuff wouldn’t be your best stuff ever! At the very least, you’ll get a backpack for your kid.

2. Sell Meth – I know what you are thinking. “But Aaron, I’ll snort too much.” Take it from me, I live in the same city where Breaking Bad was filmed, never use the product yourself. Snort cocaine instead. That’s what successful people did in the eighties. You want to be successful? Right? The best part is your kids will see your success and want to be just like you. And think of all the potential new clients you’ll get on career day at your kids school!

3. Reverse Donate – Go to one of those places that collects shit for orphans and say, “Look at all this stuff I have to donate. NOT!” And grab stuff off their table and run. You can also do this for Toys for Tots, church collection baskets, or just about any charity. Except blood drives. That’s kind of weird.

4. Auction One Child – Science experiments, human trafficking, rich oil barons, and the Tea Party (for ritual sacrifice) all need children. That’s why you have more than one kid. And think of the discipline opportunities. “You cut that out Billy or you’ll be sold off like your brother.”

5. Mug Other Children – Kids won’t put up a fight for their school supplies. If a teacher catches you, just tell them that the kid you were mugging was taking the school supplies from your child. Who are they going to believe a kid or you? Don’t answer that.

The Class Divide

My wife and I bought a new car. My wife is especially pleased with this purchase because she doesn’t have to sit next to crazy homeless people on the bus anymore. I figure, if she really ever gets nostalgic for the good old days of riding the city bus, she could always pick up homeless people in the car. Don’t worry, I’ll be the nice guy and ride in the back.

Being a veteran of the city bus system myself, I totally understand creepy people on the bus phenomenon. The Albuquerque bus that goes from our house to the University of New Mexico passes through the rich part of town, the ghetto, the trendy rich part of town, the student apocalypse, and finally arriving at UNM within twenty minutes of when I entered the bus. Needless to say you get strange encounters on the bus.

For example, I was proffered rum and coke from a travel coffee mug on the bus once… at 9 am in the morning. A homeless man was very proud to show me his freshly dumpster dived fries and unopened condom (He also pointed to a store in the heart of the ghetto that he claims in sort of a conspiratorial tone “has soda pop for sale.”).  Meanwhile, on the very same bus line I over heard two young ladies discussing whether or not they would get a car that costs the same as my house for sweet sixteen.

Albuquerque is truly a strange mix of classes. While we were in college, my wife and I lived in a house in the ghetto. Our door was kicked in. Our bike that was chained to house was stolen while I was literally two feet away on the other side of a blinds shut window. We witnessed an accident where the driver tossed beer cans into the bushes than stumbled away. It was a neighborhood where Methlabs probably made neighborbood watches to watch for undercovers.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the park (not a very big park mind you) from our ghetto house, there was a mansion that looked like an ancient Greek temple. Another mansion was nestled far from the street in a property that took up a city block. I even swore that I saw one of our US Senators hanging outside one of the rich houses once (My wife and I usually walked the dog on the rich side).

Albuquerque is very strange in the sense that the class divide is less a divide and more  a mix. We do have our share of gated ridiculous communities. I remember meeting a guy, I knew in school and he invited us to his house in one of these communities. Let’s just say that he had an Andy Warhol original on the wall and his parents supposedly bought the house so he’d have a place to stay in college. Being a poor musician, writer, and filmmaker, why didn’t I stay in touch with a person that could probably bankroll a project with his pocket change? Meanwhile, in the same era of my life, I remember going to a party not to far away from the gated enclave where I peed in the bathtub because the sole toilet was monopolized by several puking and passed out people in an apartment that was discounted from welfare.

Albuquerque is truly an economic blend. The next time you go to Costco and buy large amounts of candy and try to resell them because you are part of a “youth organization” that is fundraising for a trip to Newcardonia make sure to have two signs. The poor sign and the rich sign. Either way, you’ll win.

Put the fun in fund!

Really put the “fun” in fundraising by knowing your target audience!

Tron Fights for… Jeff Bridges?

Before I start my regularly scheduled humor post, I want to put everything thing out on the table. I feel no reason to hide the fact that Jeff Bridges has a country album. Nor should Jeff feel any shame in joining the musical actor ranks of William Shanter, Joe Pesci, and my personal favorite Leonard Nimoy (mainly because of the epic musical masterpiece: “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”). Which of course, I found for your viewing pleasure:

Is this what you want Jeff Bridges? Really?

Now that Jeff’s musicality is out in the open, I am really here to write about Tron: Legacy. I watched the movie last night and somehow was transported back to the nineties. Most would view the next installment of Tron as a nostalgic romp into the eighties. They wouldn’t really be wrong because of the scenic eighties “Space Paranoids”. Visual effects aside, I found the rhetoric of the movie more on the lines of Antitrust.

For those that remember the late nineties and early aughts, Microsoft was a big scary evil empire that would one day rule the world. Of course when air traffic control software starts using Windows, count me out of flying on planes. I think I’ll walk. The movie Antitrust was basically fueled by fear of Microsoft getting too big. Tim Robbins even played a billionaire, who was a surrogate for Bill Gates that would murder to ensure his software control.

During the time Antitrust, if you didn’t want to mess with installing Linux but still wanted to “stick it to the man”, you could always get a Mac. The funny idea behind Tron: Legacy is that Mac is in the position of the evil empire. Just like Tim Robbins was unmistakeable for Bill Gates, the evil empire in Tron: Legacy is releasing… drum roll… OS12… No… Not OS12!! How could you!

Essentially, Apple now gets to have a spot in the evil empire chair. The critics of Apple would of course say they are evil because they create the walled garden (Everything works great until you want content outside of the garden). My wife loves them because they always run well and she doesn’t really want anything outside the wall anyway. But whether you love or hate them, they worked hard to be in that evil empire chair and deserve some credit.

People don’t realize that building a evil empire, hellbent on taking over the world, takes a lot of hard work. It’s not just a simple of matter of building a product that people buy. There are plenty of officials to bribe, child labor to exploit, and third world countries to rape. Evil isn’t a matter of waking up one morning and deciding to be evil.

Steve Jobs: Let’s do something different. I bored of creating tech giants.

Bill Gates: Like what?

SJ: Let’s eat a baby.

BG: I better stop donating all this money to charity. Tabasco or Mustard?

Evil is a lot of hard work. To create a conglomerate that will dominate the globe, takes dedication. First, you have to create software that uses Bluetooth  to rewrite people’s brain waves. Then you have to create a phone that pleases everybody (If you’ve done that, I’ll file those patents for you…). Finally, you have to oversee the planet. Ruling the United States is hard enough but the world? Think about Obama’s job. Imagine being handed a giant pile of shit. Then every will criticize you when that shit doesn’t smell nice. You can sculpt it anyway you want but it’s still shit.

I’d imagine creating software that gives you billions of dollars is good enough. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates can bath Scrooge McDuck style in a swimming pool of money. I’d think they would have better things to do than that global domination plan… with a vast evilness that is so dastardly, they call it…. OS12!! Noooo! Not OS12!

On a final note, Tron no longer fights for the users. He fights for Jeff Bridges. Tron likes country music. So shut up!

Roadside Oddities

Since the beginning of 2011, every morning on the way to work a strange Uncle Sam mouse guy was always trying to get me to purchase his tax scheme. He looked like a generic form of Mickey Mouse (kind of like the way brands like Mountain Lightning look like a generic form of Mountain Dew). The eyes of the suit were designed in such a way that I could swear they were looking right at me.

While I passed, I always imagined the guy saying, “Alright Kia, today’s the day you will do your taxes.”

And every day I responded, “But my dad’s an accountant! I’ve already done my taxes!”

Last week, I saw the guy take off the giant mouse head and walk dejectedly back through the parking lot. Somehow the victory over the allure of the mouse guy’s tax simplicity was a hallow victory. This guy had been diligently parading for the last four months with giant hands, statues of liberty, and an army of roadside tax oddities.

Let’s take a moment of silence for these unspoken heroes.

Let’s take the next moment to think about an unemployment line full of mice, statues of liberty, and the others.

Unemployment Worker: What skills do you have?

Statue of Liberty: I can scream at traffic.

UW: Any other non village crazy guy skills?

SL: I have foamy spikes on my head.

UW: Um right… well um… here’s your unemployment.

SL: Great, I’ll see you next year.

UW: Next. Name?

Mouse Guy: Uncle Sam Mouse Guy.

UW: What skills do you have?

MG: I will end that Kia.

And that folks is why you should never trust a mouse dressed like Uncle Sam.

Ruses To Avoid Paying Taxes

April 15th is a mere week away and for those that owe money to the federal government, don’t worry! The government is going to shut down! The few left over federal employees will be too busy with the chaos that ensues from the all the park rangers going on unpaid furloughs. Maybe one of my ideas may actually change the world:

1. In your tax packet write, “I’m sorry. I died and can’t pay.” This one has the potential to set you up for life.

2. Pay them in “Google Dollars.” Proclaim you are a citizen of the new Google country.

3. List the entire country of North Korea as your dependents.

4. Put on a baseball cap. Pout and sequel “I’m a professional baseball player and I don’t have to pay taxes.” (My wife actually did this one when she was kid to avoid bedtime).

5. Put a postage stamp on your head. Walk into the IRS office. Tell them you are a strongly worded letter and inanimate objects don’t have money.

6. Tell the feds you don’t have enough cash because you spent it all on 5,000 pounds of fertilizer and a van. Residents of Guantanamo Bay don’t have taxes!

7. Send them a family photo instead of what you owe. After all, a picture is a priceless treasure.

8. Offer your best mount in World of Warcraft as payment. Player Kill their character right as you are about to make the transaction. Type P0wn3d N00b! That will teach the IRS to mess with you!

9. Fake mustache. Phony French accent. Pretend you are a foreign dignitary. Works every time!

10. When all else fails, sucker punch. Then run.

10 Tax Return Ideas

Tax season is here again and we all know what that means. Weeping in fear from being attacked as a kid by the Statue of Liberty. Aside from disturbing roadside dances, taxes mean big money. A giant check of money is very tempting to blow entirely on silly things such as creating an army of Barry Bonds Bobble Heads. However, there are smarter uses for gobs of money that will offer more long-term satisfaction. And what better way to spend tax money, than on the advice from some random idiot on the Internet:

1. Give your tax return to me. Really, I’m not joking! As a humor writer, I often envy such high paid business sharks like Bob Cratchit. If you give your money to me for writing humor, you’ll be an official Patron of the Arts. You’ll be the toast of any party. Just don’t tell them what arts you patron.

2. Twinkies. Spend the entire return on Twinkies. I know food is often not a long term investment. Trust me when I say, Twinkies will last longer than you do.

3. Adopt fifty cats. This is a win for everybody involved. The animal shelters are over crowded and the cats need a home. Some people spend all their lives becoming the Cat Lady (or Man), you can do it in a weekend!

4. Keep buying the same pair of egregious pants from Goodwill and donate the pants back anonymously. Watch with pleasure as you confound the staff. The pants will become legend.

5. Use the entire wad on stamps and thank you cards. Thank random people listed in the phone book for strange things. “Ted, love the chinchilla!”

6. Buy everyone at a bar a drink… of warm milk. Sing lullabies until you are kicked out.

7. Buy a head mask of Eric Stoltz and attempt to pick up on women. Don’t try to hide your feminine parts if you are a woman.

8. Try to cheat at a mafia poker game with Magic The Gathering cards. Threaten to cast Force of Will if they try anything.

9. Hire a bodyguard to follow you around work. When co-workers inquire, look around, tell them the location of your last vacation, touch your nose, and scamper away. Then use all your vacation and sick time to disappear for a while. Let one of your co-workers “discover” you in the parking lot, disheveled and in tattered clothing.

10. Married by Elvis in Vegas. Sometimes, memories are worth more than money.

Terrible Trouble With Student Loans

During an economic downturn, one of the reasons I think people don’t spend money is debt. For students in particular, the debt is a metric gob (one metric gob equals twenty metric shit tons). For the newly graduated, paying off massive debt becomes part of the privilege of an advanced degree with a higher paying job. I’m not an economist but wouldn’t a population spending money from their higher paying job help the economy?

Let’s look at an example from Ted. He is your average American guy. He likes football, smashing beer cans on his head, and has auditioned for High School Musical at least twice. He studied micro underwater transistorized converter biology zirconium chips, and received his BMUTCBZCA degree. The schooling cost about forty thousand in students loans and now he is gainfully employed at MUTCBZC LLC B2B CRM PSA NFL NBA LOL HF TTYL IF YOU HAVE ONE MORE ACRONYM I WILL FUCKING END YOU. Instead of buying the forty thousand dollar home entertainment system, Mustang (horse not car), or Malibu Stacy Ultimate Dream Collection, Ted pays off his debt. He later wipes a single tear from his eye as he realizes that Malibu Stacy would have made the High School Musical cut.  The point being, those with debt aren’t spending money.

In the spirit of Ideas That Won’t Change the World, I have the answer to such quandaries. To reform the educational system, the government must breed Tribbles. Those lovable, furry, infesting creatures from the Star Trek universe are the key to the student loan crisis. Simply place the fuzz buckets into any given financial aid office, watch them reproduce, and repeat this process until student loans are gone like the good ol’ days (“When I was your age, I had to wait all night to download one song! You ingrates!”). With no students receiving money, the student lending money reservoir will begin to over flow. Simply divert the cash reserved for the student to the institution responsible for the education. Ultimately, the colleges end up with the money anyway, why should the student repay money their school spent on a coffee mug design?

Since all the money normally reserved for student loans is now being paid to the educational institutions, eliminating tuition should be simple, like telling Slow on the Intake Hank to flip the switch. His strait man friend will then scream wildly, “No not that switch! That’s the launch every nuclear weapon switch!” Hank’s only response: a shrug and a laugh track. Ensuring the student’s education will remain free is fairly simple. All the staff in charge of student loan collections will be retrained with medieval torture tactics. Supply the agents with an ax and have them use the “crazy eyed stare” during accounting meetings.

What’s the return for the federal government by handing out all this money with no direct return on investment? The government throws around money for less fruitful ventures (The Missing $25 Billion), why not invest in students? With an educated, well trained, and higher paying population, I’d imagine the government will reap some benefit. Maybe with well paid, debt free  employees, there will be more economic growth and tax revenue. After all, well-educated college graduates need to purchase parts for their robot armies somehow! Ignore that last comment.

While I might not know the complexities of a robust economy, I believe people with debt don’t contribute to growth. Starting out most of the working force with an average of thirty thousand dollars of debt doesn’t seem to be the seed of a bustling economy. Student loans need serious reformation. Unfortunately, in a complex society simply nailing theses to a doorway won’t work. Law makers need to think outside the box… where they are locked up… until they think of a solution that doesn’t suck.