Fatty, Fatty, Two-By-Four, Got a Job and Gained Some More

Bad news, everyone–it turns out that employment will make you fat. In what must surely be the most causally determinative and well-respected study of all time, researchers found that your job is responsible for that button-strain you now feel. According to the Boston Business Journal, “Around 44 percent of workers say they’ve put on pounds at their current job, with 26 percent saying they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, per the report.”

Naturally, some jobs are worse for you than others:

The jobs where people are most likely to gain weight include: travel agent; attorney; social worker; teacher; doctor and public relations professional. The job descriptions weren’t ranked, but were grouped by their potential for causing weight gain.

Seemingly, it’s the combination of sedentary work conditions and a high-stress environment that provide the conditions for eating Italian subs every day for lunch. Notably, the study does not comment on the deliciousness of Italian subs or your weak will; hopefully, further research is forthcoming.

In other news, I now want an Italian sub.

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So You’re Going to Go to Law School

Um, what the hell is wrong with you? You’re seriously going to go to law school? Seriously?! Even after reading this? Or this? What about this, or perhaps this? Jesus, you can’t be reasoned with. At the very least, consider the following:

1. You will pay an exorbitant amount of tuition.

Tuition has been rising by about 5%-10% per year for the last four years, and is up 71% from a decade ago. But this won’t deter you, because you’re an idiot, and you believe you’ll land one of those coveted BigLaw positions. Except for the simple fact that you won’t.

2. You will not get a job as a lawyer.

That’s right, genius–there are 45,000 graduates competing for 28,000 legal jobs. And you know what counts as a job? Doc review that pays $10 bucks an hour. Or better yet, a full-time associate position that pays less than minimum wage! Not to mention that schools count jobs at Starbucks in their employment statistics, and that this is the reason they’re being sued by former students.

3. If you do get a job as a lawyer, you will not be paid well.

Were you under the impression that lawyers made decent money? How is it possible that you even graduated? Oh, that’s right–you went to Cooley. Even if you do get a legal job, the salaries are shrinking; top salaries are down 10%, and fewer students are getting BigLaw positions–only 18% of graduates are employed by the largest firms. And they probably didn’t go to the shitty school that you’re about to attend. Best of all, your lousy salary will likely make it impossible for you to pay off your student loan debt, which now averages at about $91,000 dollars.

4. Your law school might not be accredited by the ABA.

So, after getting 500 emails a day from California Online School of Lawtalking and Legal Styling, you finally made the plunge. On the bright side, your tuition might be a little lower than Stanford’s (as if you were going to Stanford!). But on the less bright side (the shady side, if you will), your school is not accredited by the ABA, and so you can’t sit for the bar exams anywhere but California. And since California’s bar is notoriously difficult, you probably won’t pass it (because you went to a shitty online school), thus making it really hard to pay back the money you owe. Not that you would have gotten a job anyway.

DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!

“The Banning of Foie McGras”

I will begin by saying that I am heavily biased on the matter of foie gras; I love the stuff, and I find attempts to ban it to be offensive and idiotic. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t fucking eat it; if you try to stop me from eating it, I will slap your grandmother.

Sadly, California just doesn’t seem to value their grandmothers enough to avoid my wrath, and soon enough a full ban will take effect:

July 1 is the start date of the hotly debated and divisive ban, which prohibits the sale of any product derived from the force-feeding of birds to enlarge their livers — the most common way to mass-produce foie gras. (The law was passed in 2004, but included a seven-and-a-half-year grace period.)

Naturally, both chefs and lovers of delicious food are outraged; culinary hero Thomas Keller and other luminaries are currently attempting to repeal the ban while their customers enjoy Romanesque orgies of fattened goose and duck liver (duck liver being the more common form) for what could possibly be the last time in California.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the ban is the rather nutless logic that underlies it, artfully crafted by a man who I strongly suspect of fiercely masturbating to movies like Hostel:

John Burton, the former California legislator who drafted the law, has shot back at the chefs, likening the tradition of foie gras (which dates back centuries) to waterboarding and female genital mutilation.

“Why don’t you tell those chefs to have a duck cram a lot of food down their gullets and see how they like it?” he asked.

Yes, fattening a goose’s liver is exactly like having several adults hold down a screaming pre-teen girl while her aunt takes glass from a broken bottle and carves off a piece of her anatomy. And it’s definitely like simulated drowning to extract information:

“Tell me what you know, you goose bastard!”

“Quuuuaaaaaccccckkkkkkkgargleegarglescream!”

Thankfully, there are those that see the inherent flaw in this argument: geese are not people, Goddamnit!

David Kinch, the acclaimed chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif., who opposes the ban, said part of the problem with the ban’s logic was that its supporters had mistakenly anthropomorphized the ducks’ experience of being force fed. “They imagine a tube being shoved down their human throat,” he said. Rather, he said, ducks have no gag reflex, nor are geese as cuddly as they appear.

Indeed, it’s rather unlikely that a goose or duck will break into song and dance its way around the barnyard while a candlestick plays the fiddle.

However, allowing for a moment the ethical objection to the production of foie gras, it’s worth pointing out what many other critics point out–that factory farming, which is far more ubiquitous in America than foie gras production, is much more harmful to the environment and moreover to food. But, as Michael Pollan rather sensibly noted, “I think it’s really a way for people to feel like they’ve done something without doing anything…there’s so many more serious problems we’re not dealing with.” Thus it becomes a matter of missing the ethical forest for the twee moral tree; that is to say, your stupid ideology is showing.

But really, why bother fixing your fucked university system when you can shit on people for eating delicious food?

The Curious Case of Alaskan Buttons

Recently, Anchorage earned the title of “Worst Dressed City in America.” Personally, I can see it; I’ve lived in Anchorage, and it’s a city that prides itself on a certain classless pastiche of trends that faded months ago (something tells me that bootcut jeans and popped polo collars are still quite popular in Anchorage). It’s the kind of place where ties will make you look like a jackass because your boss is wearing sweatpants and Ugg boots.

Moreover, Alaska is possibly one of the most defensive places on Earth; criticize at your peril those who’ve spent but one year prowling the badlands of the SoNo district (for those of you from the “Outside,” that’s “South of Nordstrom’s”; a kitschy and semi-retarded marketing ploy meant to fool the yuppie wives of displaced oil executives into thinking they’re not in the worst dressed city in America). Thus, I cannot say that surprise is my first emotion upon reading this rather limp-dicked editorial response in the Daily News (the other Gray Lady).

The writer argues that the pathetic stylings of the Anchorage bourgeoisie merely reflect the “spirit” of the Last Frontier:

Many Anchorage residents and other Alaskans decide how to dress based on what they want to wear and what’s comfortable, not the venue or expectations. We know how to dress for the occasion. But often we decide on the nature of the occasion for ourselves.

Going out to dinner? How do you feel tonight? Dress to the hilt or just make sure you go with a clean sweatshirt? Up to you.

That’s right: going to someone’s funeral? Black tie optional for sure; hell, as long as you’re wearing pants it’s a dressy occasion. Promotion dinner at the Petroleum Club? As long as your dick’s not hanging out you’re golden!

Essentially, Alaskans take pride in their bottom-of-the-barrel fashion ranking because it cements their view that they are somehow above the concerns of everyday appearance, and thus better and perhaps more unique than your average “Outsider.”

However, a certain sensitivity to Outside opinion is present in every Alaskan, and this recent dubious honor exposes a common deep-seated insecurity: that Alaskans are but poseurs, no different in their attentive inattention to detail than any bearded Brooklynite hipster man-child.

Thus, the sweatpants and Ugg boots become a signifier of a deeper commitment; they are a costume, a uniform, an identity. Sweatpants fuel the fire of the Hegelian dialectic; in them a consciousness is born, and it fears the Outside. When you criticize you sear the raw nerve that is the Alaskan identity, and you kick the puppy that is their subconscious.

But perhaps worst of all you force from them a flaccid rebuttal that contains the seeds of the truth that they fear the most: “Alaska Girls Kick Ass” is twee as fuck, and they Goddamn well know it.

So kill the bullshit pretense, and for Christ’s sake stop wearing sweatpants to Simon’s.

According to David Brooks, Romneybot is More Like Edward and Less Like Dracula

Once again, that bloated sack of Burkean bon mots has come out swinging against those who would seek to defile the good name of private equity:

Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.

The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient.

Apparently the last forty years of American capitalism was like a season of The Biggest Loser; muscular capitalists yelled at weak and flabby businesses and eventually turned the American economy into something you wouldn’t be ashamed to bang.

But those damned Democrats just released an ad besmirching the reputation of Bain Capital (they weren’t founded by the Batman villain, in case you’re curious) by calling into question their handling of GST, a failing metalworks:

The company was in terminal decline before Bain entered the picture, seeing its work force fall from 4,500 to less than 1,000. It faced closure when Romney and Bain, for some reason, saw hope for it in 1993. Bain acquired it, induced banks to loan it money and poured $100 million into modernization, according to Strassel. Bain held onto the company for eight years, hardly the pattern of a looter. Finally, after all the effort, the company, like many other old-line steel companies, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, two years after Romney had left Bain.

This is the story of a failed rescue, not vampire capitalism.

You see, Democrats? Bain is more charity than anything else; besides, Romneybot left the Bain heezy before GST crashed and burned! And he probably had no effect on policy, so as soon as he left, Bain was like, “who the fuck was that guy”? This is some solid-ass logic, Brooks.

Of course, Brooks can’t write a column without shifting from the concrete to the abstract, or without mentioning a fancy study conducted by someone in the Ivy League; therefore, we have this half-assed justification for private equity:

This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations. The overall effect on employment is modest.

Hey, if a guy from the University of Chicago said that the throbbing knob of venture capitalism and private equity is a good thing for America’s middle-class, unlubricated anus, then it must be! Because that school has no history of capitalist stoogery.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this essay is the way that it elides several key points. For instance, what does the study classify as a “modest” effect on employment? Is 25% modest? Or perhaps 30%? I do not consider the absence of 30% of a company’s labor force to be modest, especially when you consider that 30% as a contributor to the local economy. Here’s another gem:

Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.

What is the precise number for “most of the time”? Did Brooks say “most” because 51% isn’t the hotness? You know, now that I think about it, that quote is an excellent summation of Brooks’s writing for the Times:

Most of the time he succeeds. Readers from around the world clearly confirm that conservative essayists for the New York Times that are named David Brooks are more productive than comparable essayists.

Also, Team Bain for the win!

So You’re Going to Be Arrested at a Protest

First of all, shame on you: protesting is un-American. Unless it’s the kind of protesting that involves yelling about runaway government spending while you’re seated comfortably in a Rascal scooter purchased with some of that sweet Medicare cash. But since you’re determined to be a hippie about it, here’s some advice for staying out of trouble once the heroes in blue decide to arrest your stinky, anarchist ass:

1. Be polite.

This would be obvious to any protestor who was at a legitimate protest (you know, one where you compare the president to a monkey or a terrorist or something), but since you’re some kind of Goddamn socialist, I’m forced to remind you that saying “Please” before “don’t taze me, bro,” is the best way to approach your situation. As is saying “Thank You” after you’re boot-stomped for trying to push your girlfriend out of the way of a swinging truncheon.

2. Shut your damn mouth.

Our heroes in blue don’t want to hear about the metal plate in your skull that you got while you were serving your fourth tour in Afghanistan. The only talk from you should be the aforementioned niceties, or perhaps an offer to narc on your hippie buddies.

3. Remember that you’re not the only one in trouble.

That’s right, asshole: your dipshit politics have gotten your nice little friends police records. Was making some sort of point about a banker’s well-deserved salary really worth the price of seeing your little brother get curb-stomped by a hero in blue? Maybe you should give up some info before anyone else gets hurt–didn’t you get a falafel from an Arab guy earlier? What’s his story?

4. Don’t throw shit at the police.

And don’t stand next to the people throwing shit. In fact, why don’t you just stand across the street at the Dunkin’ Donuts? Just get a cherry blossom donut and forget all about the oligarchy that America has become.

5. Make friends quickly.

If you end up in jail, make friends quickly. Then offer to rat them out. You’re doing the right thing, son.

Historic Mega Millions Jackpot of $640 Million Will Likely Be Won By Some Old Jackass

Isn’t that what usually happens? Some old bastard retiree who owns his own house and has no student loans wins it all and still keeps his job mowing greens at the golf course? Well, even though it’s possible for this record jackpot to be won by someone who deserves it (read: me), it’s not very likely. And that possibility is clearly fueling the record ticket sales, as CNN reports:

The multistate jackpot, which lottery officials are calling “the largest lottery jackpot in world history,” has captivated the nation, has caused long lines at convenience stores and has many dreaming of creative ways to quit their jobs if they get the lucky numbers.

“Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing will truly be a spectacular event in lottery history and provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and lead director for the Mega Millions group.

And perhaps crazier still, if no one wins tonight, the jackpot for next Tuesday will reach $975 million bones. Richard Lustig, a seven-time lottery winner (and asshole!) advises purchasing tickets in groups and avoiding the quick-picks, but cautions against profligate spending:

“Don’t go crazy with this,” he said. “Don’t get what’s called lottery fever. Do not spend grocery money. Do not spend rent money.”

Even a University of Evil (Chicago) economist is getting in on the lottery advice action, cautioning winners to avoid the annuity and take the lump sum:

The choice comes down to interest rates, and with interest rates at zero, the lump sum just makes better financial sense, Goolsbee said.

“If you are fortunate enough to win the lottery, you most certainly want to take the lump sum,” Goolsbee said.

Yesterday, Gawker’s own Hamilton Nolan wrote a piece in which he reminded us of the odds against winning the lottery. While his math is solid, his reasoning will doubtlessly fall on deaf ears as millions of people buy tickets in the hopes of quitting their jobs, paying off their student loans, or perhaps more humbly, sexing up a bunch of Hungarian strippers in the greatest coke party that the world has ever known. Oops–I guess I gave away my plans for the winnings!

Did you buy your tickets yet? What are your plans for the winnings? Do they involve Hungarian strippers? Or robots? Discuss in the comments!

Breaking News: Europeans Hate Shitty Coffee

Alas, poor Starbucks–I knew it, Horatio.

While many of us are desperately wishing for a melancholy Dane to ponder over the bleached skull of the most irritating corporate force in America, those mad geniuses behind your burned coffee are seeking to conquer that Dane’s homeland–think of them as Fortinbras with a Frappucino.

Starbucks is embarking on a multimillion-dollar campaign to win over more of Europe’s coffee aficionados — with a upscale makeover of hundreds of stores to cater to an ingrained cafe culture, and adjusting beverages and blends to suit fickle regional palates.

Yet despite the full-court press Elsinore is, for the moment, safe:

After eight years spent setting up 63 French Starbucks stores, the company has never turned a profit in France. And even in the parts of Europe where the company does make money, sales and profit growth lag far behind results in the Americas and Asia.

Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish economy are a factor. So are high European rents and labor costs, which impinge on profits more than in any other region in which Starbucks operates. But the biggest challenge may lie in tailoring the Starbucks experience to appeal to a variety of European tastes.

Ah, I see–young Europeans aren’t yet used to the idea of a soul-killing career for a company that does not pay a living wage. But there is hope for the ‘Bucks, and that hope lies within the simulacrum:

“In markets where there is an entrenched coffeehouse culture, like Paris or Vienna, I was expecting to hear more requests to be like them,” Ms. Gass said. “But I heard the opposite — people want the true Starbucks experience.”

Presumably this desire for “the true Starbucks experience” necessitates a surly barista, a urine-soaked homeless person, and some asshole with a clipboard whose resume lacked the civic activities required for admission to Harvard Law.

Ultimately, Starbucks will conquer Europe. McDonald’s, that other beacon of American food corporatism, eventually found traction and so will the ‘Bucks. Whether it’s Eurotrash hipsters desirous of lemon pound cake and a watery latte, or bloated American tourists too afraid to try a local cafe, people will make their way into the black and green empire of aestheticide that is Starbucks.

On the other hand, the British need Starbucks: shitty or not, it’s likely the only passable cup of coffee you’re likely to find on that entire miserable island.

Mississippi Loves Jesus; Jesus to Mississippi: “I Thought We Were Going to Keep it Casual!”

Yes, it would appear that 60% of America, and especially Mississippi, has really fallen head-over-heels for that rebellious black hippie who probably didn’t exist:

The latest Gallup Poll finds Mississippi is the most religious state, with Vermont and New Hampshire ranking as the least.

Overall, Gallup says, “America remains a generally religious nation, with more than two-thirds of the nation’s residents classified as very or moderately religious.”

Poor Jesus; just off a bad break-up with some whore and now a majority of Americans want to jump on his dick. Can’t a guy just talk about plucking out offensive eyeballs and not masturbating without a bunch of crazy bitches wanting a commitment? Apparently not in Mississippi:

Gallup found that 59% of Mississippians described themselves as “very religious,” followed by 57% of Utahns and 56% of Alabamans. Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina came in at 54%.

Ha! Suck it, Utah–those bible-thumping hillbillies in Mississippi have got you beat!

Not surprisingly, the Godless northern states in New England were among the least religious. Whether this is because of education, wealth, or possibly immigration patterns is certainly up for debate; nevertheless, we now know where Jesus will hide when Mississippi starts texting him at 2 a.m. looking for some late night “prayer.”

Give it Up, Jackass: The Ladies Don’t Want to See Your A La Souvarov

Well, it looks like that month you spent growing a beard to impress the ladies (and your Williamsburg bicycle club) was for naught: turns out ladies are completely skeeved by beards. That’s right, hippie, your beard is off-putting. Yet many men still decided to deck their chin with a tuft of hair; explanations abound:

Science gives us various theories as to why men are able to grow beards, from protecting the delicate facial skin from sunlight to buffering blows to the jaw in a fight.

It is even suggested that a beard is a sign of a strong immune system. The theory goes that disease-carrying parasites thrive in body hair and so if a man can sport a beard without getting ill, he must be extra healthy.

Women are supposed to be drawn to strong, healthy men but previous research into whether beards are attractive has produced mixed results, so scientists from New Zealand and Canada decided to conduct their own research.

The study photographed 19 men with full beards (six weeks of solid growth), and photographed them while they made angry faces. The men then shaved and were photographed again; afterwards, scientists showed the before and after photos to a bevy of beauties who then rated the shaved men as more attractive.

Interestingly, the study, when conducted on men, seems to show that men prefer other men with beards; having a beard seems to confer a level of status upon a man. Women, too, rated the bearded men as having more presence, presumably because they were simultaneously afraid and excited by the angry, hairy visages.

While the study has a long way to go in establishing any sort of correlation, it would seem that the early results are in: dudes love other dudes with beards, and ladies prefer a clean shaven man. Or near to clean shaven; as one scientist who commented on the trend that women love a 5 o’clock shadow said, “It was almost as if women preferred a man who could grow a beard but hadn’t.”

The layers of meaning in that single bit of analysis beautifully sum up modern relationships.

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