Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Jokes

Well, one is not really a joke, but a story. If you want a good laugh, then read on. (I don't know who wrote it, found it on a forum post).

Pocket Tazer Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife.
A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their anniversary submitted this:
Last weekend I saw something at Larry 's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie . What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse- sized tazer. The effects of the tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety....??
WAY TOO COOL! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.


Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.
Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right? There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?
So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately y on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and tazer in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.
All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and (loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, 'no possible way!' What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.. .?
I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, 'don't do it dipshite,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad. I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and . .


I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs? The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.
Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a tazer, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor.. A three second burst would be considered conservative?


A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling.
Apparently I pooped on myself, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe came from my hair. I'm still looking for my nuts and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!

P.s... My wife, can't stop laughing about my experience, loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it!

Don't you just love it? Did it make you laugh?

Here's another joke that came by my inbox recently.

Tired of constantly being broke & stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife with himself as the beneficiary, and then arranging to have her killed.

A 'friend of a friend' put him in touch with a nefarious dark-side underworld figure who went by the name of 'Artie.' Artie then explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out a spouse was $5,000. The husband said he was willing to pay that amount, but that he wouldn't have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife's insurance money. Artie insisted on being paid at least something up front, so the man opened his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside. Artie sighed, rolled his eyes, & reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man's wife to the local Woolworths store. There, he surprised her in the produce department & proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands & as the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath & slumped to the floor........ The manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the murder scene. Unwilling to leave any living witnesses behind, ol' Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

However, unknown to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by the hidden security cameras & observed by the store's security guard, who immediately called the police. Artie was caught & arrested before he could even leave the store.

Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the whole sordid plan, including his unusual financial arrangements with the hapless husband who was also quickly arrested. The next day in the newspaper, the headline declared ....


So, did you have a laugh at that one?

I didn't. And because I replied to the Artie Choke Joke sending person a reply about social constructs, and then a few days later followed with the Tazer Gun story, I was accused of having 'double standards'. According to my accuser, the Tazer Gun story denigrates men.

But I don't think it does. I didn't see it that way, and that got me thinking about the differences between these two jokes. I'll attempt to explain how I see the differences. I'll start with the Artie joke: First up the punch line isn't really all that clever, but someone thought of it and decided to construct a joke for it. The 'joke' is based around the sanctioned murder of a woman by her husband which is the extreme end of violence and in particular it's done by the man who is her intimate partner. Secondly, we don't know the gender of the manager and if it's a male this is conveniently left out. Thirdly, it's the husband who gets caught that is referred to as hapless, and there's no mention of the hapless circumstance that had befallen the wife and the manager, so we are left to lament the 'poor' husband because he got caught. Lastly, the joke is centred around the value of the wife's life being as low as $1. So, overall the reader is expected to laugh at this series of circumstances and find that murdering your wife is funny.

With the tazer gun story I see a man who has written a story about himself, and he's done it in a humourous way. First up, he shows that he has a moral conscience in that he should tell his wife about the burn mark on her microwave. Secondly, he shows that he has empathy, by morally reasoning that the cat should not be the subject of his experiment. Thirdly, he is not afraid to disclose his curious and creative mind. Fourthly, I believe he really does care for his wife's safety. And lastly, and most of all, the man who wrote this can laugh at himself, and isn't that such a wonderful trait to have? His story does not harm or devalue anyone, not even himself, really. Overall, I think the guy who wrote this is a warm, caring, compassionate and funny person.

The ability to laugh at oneself is one of the best traits we can all possess. I wonder if the tazer man has a brother....:-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Disney on Ice and all that fairytale stuff

I had the opportunity to book tickets for Disney on Ice in a pre-release offer. So I thought, Why not, as you do, and I went ahead and booked VIP tickets for me and Stephanie and her Dad. The performance is on Thursday 25th June and we have tickets at centre front stage in the 4th row. I'm really excited about going, I think it will be a fantastic night, and it's things like this that create great memories of our childhoods. I think Stephanie will be thrilled.

I have a bit of a 'thing' about fairytales, you know, all that Prince and Princess stuff. Which is ok, there's nothing wrong with a bit of fantasy in our lives, in fact, I think it's a good thing, but do wonder sometimes how some fairytale stories have changed and in particular, the story-lines and characters portrayed by Disney, which seem to have so much emphasis on girls achieving happiness by marrying their prince.

So I was quite pleased to come across some literature on this very subject while looking for some readings on a topic for Uni. It was refreshing to read Tess Cosslet in her account Fairytales: revising the tradition, which looked at Cinderella and Snow White in more depth.

She writes: "the stories assume that beauty is the highest value for women, and the possession (or not) of this quality sets women against each other as rivals for male approval. It is also assumed that greater beauty means greater virtue and that beauty is constructed in terms of 'whiteness'. Beauty is what gains the love of the handsome, rich Prince, which leads to marriage, which leads to wealth. Hence, wealth is the highest goal to be aimed at and marriage is the end-point in a woman's life. But to attain their goals the heroines are not active, but passive. Cinderella has to wait for the Prince to find her and her wish to go to the ball is fulfilled by magic, not by her own efforts. Snow White in her glass coffin is an extreme example of woman's passiveness and in both cases externalities are what rescue the heroines, who just happens to be the active male. The only assertive, active females in these storylines are wicked and thus female activity, resourcefulness, energy and anger are equated with evil or villianness, while female passivity is equated with goodness."

"Furthermore, the passive females are associated with domestic roles, Snow White with the dwarves, and Cinderella with servanthood, although she doesn't want to be there, she passively accepts her role. The end result, which can cover in some form or another ALL of Disney's fairytales is that women function as passive objects and rivals for male attention, marriage is their only goal and that a good woman stays in the domestic sphere and that any other kind of female behaviour is demonic, abnormal and monstrous."

Cosslet goes on further to look at fairytale history, and tells us they were once the popular art of the poor, passed on by word of mouth for entertainment and it was not until they were written down that a number of changes were made. The point is made that they were tales of people, expressing their hopes and fears, particularly of how they may escape hunger, exploitation and injustice and get their hands on the power, money and land of the rich. In such, fairytales then reflected the social ideology of the times and it's interesting to make the connection that since Walt Disney got his hands on these particular fairytales their scope has narrowed. The theory is that they have been given the voice of the dominant ideology. Which is an interesting point. Given that, in the 21st century we supposedly live in 'enlightened' times which give a much wider scope for women (and men)to live their lives, when do you think we shall see some rather radical changes to Disney fairytale storylines?

So, you might gather I'm not a huge fan of Disney. I much prefer other productions, such as Shrek, which gave a more balanced view of the rescued heroine, and one where beauty wasn't of such ultimate importance.

Will any of my views or awareness of the narrow scope of Disney characters and stories ruin my night at Disney on Ice? Hell, no! But will I be aware of the underlying social construct on display. Hell, yes! And because of my awareness I have the ability to give my daughter a wider scope.

Such as: Cinderella: You're not stuck doing something that you really, really hate and don't wait for the Prince or Fairy Godmother to change your life for you, you've gotta do it yourself. Snow White: You don't have to cook and clean for 7 little guys if you don't want to, if you want to go to work, then you can go too. And finally, Ariel: You don't have to give up your identity to get the man you love, if he loves you back he'll accept you for who you are.....and finally, a) you can be still be happy even if you don't get married, b) there is much more to men than the image of rescuer, so much more.

It's going to be a great night!