Danica Who?

11 June 2010

You know what pisses me off?  The fact that I know who Danica Patrick is.  I don’t give a flying fuck about racing and can hardly name any good drivers, let alone anyone as mediocre as she is. But every time SportsCenter covers a racing event in which Danica Patrick competed, the main story is how she did (poorly, invariably); the winner is barely mentioned.  They do the same thing with Tiger Woods, but there’s an important difference: Tiger is the greatest golfer of all time.  At the time of this writing, Patrick has been in 89 races; she’s won exactly one of them and has zero titles to her name.  From 2005-2009, her IndyCar ranks were 12th, 9th, 7th, 6th, and 5th; she’s currently ranked 11th in the 2010 season.

So why is she famous?  Because she competes with men?  It’s  driving; why shouldn’t women be able to compete with men? (Then again, you could say the same thing about chess, in which women have their own competitions and titles.)  And don’t say it’s because she’s attractive.  Anna Kournikova, who also sucked at her sport, is attractive.  As for Danica, maybe she would be considered attractive around the trailer park in which she was probably spawned, but the bitch is downright homely:

Get me a six-pack and a paper bag, stat!

Sure, she looks passable in the magazine spreads she’s done and those godawful GoDaddy commercials, but she must spend hours in the makeup studio before those shoots.  Those makeup artists are so good that they could have meathead Maxim readers jacking off to me.

Finally, what the fuck kind of name is Danica?  It’s like her redneck parents were trying to decide between Danielle and Jessica and just said, “gawrsh, how ’bout both?”  This is an example of the increasing trend among white people to give their kids ridiculous names.  Just look at this list: the top boy name in 2009 was “Aiden.”  Are you fucking kidding me?  And it doesn’t stop there.  Look through the list and you’ll find lots of names that fall into one or more of the following categories:

1) Last names: Madison, Carter, Taylor, Connor.  These are last names.  Enough said.  Often overlap with…

2) Occupations: Porter, Cooper, Hunter.  What’s next, “Janitor?”

3) White trash names: Hayley, Kayla, Cailyn, Kadence, Bailey.  As you can see, the girls tend to get stuck with these.  If you want your daughter to be a stripper, just give her one of these names, which often feature…

4) Misspellings: Natalee, Ashleigh, Allisyn, Jakob.  Great way to make everyone think your kid is stupid (and they’re probably right).

5) Pussy names: Aiden, Tristan, Brayden.  Giving your son one of these names increases tenfold his odds of ending up on the business end of a gloryhole.

Where did this trend come from? These retarded names are even more obnoxious than the ridiculous names black people give their children, which at least can often be original and amusing.  Parents, when it comes to names, don’t try to get cute; remember that you’re not the one who’s going to have to live with the name for the rest of your life.  Keep it simple and classic: Tom, Bob, Al, Mary, Alice, Beth, etc.  There are plenty to choose from.


Back to Basics

21 October 2009

Several Moral Hazard readers have recently complained that the blog has become too cheerful in tone.  Actually, that’s a lie; nobody reads this blog.  Nonetheless, I’ll devote today’s post to doing what I do best: bitching and moaning about utterly insignificant bullshit.  Without further ado, here’s the latest installment of Things That Piss Me Off ©.

1. “College” t-shirts.

Comic legend.

Comic legend.

Unoriginal douchebag and probable circle-jerker.

Unoriginal douchebag and probable circle-jerker.

When John Belushi wore this shirt in the National Lampoon classic Animal House, it was original and clever.  When some closet case fratboy asshole does so over 20 years later, it is neither.  I bet a lot of these idiots don’t even get the joke.

2. The standard system.

Question: how many inches are in a mile?  Answer: nobody knows.  The standard “system” (a loosely used term if there ever was one) makes it impossible to make these sorts of everyday calculations.  Compare that to the metric system: if you want to know how many centimeters are in a kilometer, you just move the decimal point.  The standard units of volume are almost as bad: you’ve got tablespoons, cups, pints, quarts, gallons, and who the fuck knows what else.

I don’t get it: the base 10 number system was around when the standard system was invented, and yet for some reason they thought that 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, and 5,280 feet in a mile sounded about right.  Really, what were they thinking?  At least they have the excuse of living in an age before science, however; what’s the United States’ excuse for continuing to use this cumbersome nonsense?  Probably that Europe uses the metric system, so switching would be unpatriotic.  This is the same reason we don’t have universal health care.

3. Those push-button faucets in public toilets.

You know the ones I’m talking about, right?  The ones where you push down on the faucet(s) and water comes out for about 1.5 seconds?  Those fucking things drive me absolutely nuts.  You push the faucet with your soapy hands and race to get them under the brief flow of water, but you don’t have time to rinse them completely.  You have to push the faucet again, getting more soap on your hands in the process; this cycle continues until you give up and wipe your hands while there’s still soap on them, leaving behind a most unpleasant residue.  These faucets should be banned as a crime against humanity; they’ve caused at least as much human suffering as land mines.

4. Dogs with human names.

The other day I stopped to pet a dog in Frick Park.  I asked its owner what its name was; “Joe,” he replied.  “Joe?” I asked.  “You named your dog Joe? You must be the least creative motherfucker on the planet!  It’s a dog, not a person; give it a badass name like Cujo or Bonecrusher,” I suggested.   “Alternatively, you could go for humor; Steve Martin had a dog named ‘Shithead’ in The Jerk.  Anything, absolutely anything, would be better than Joe!”

I would have continued, but by then he had motored pretty far away on his Rascal scooter.

Meet my dog, Pete.

Meet my dog, Jerry.

5. Lottery drawings during sports games.

I don’t have a problem with the lottery, which is really just a tax on people who don’t understand probability.  If they want to flash the day’s winning numbers across the bottom of the screen during a ballgame, I’d be fine with it.   But no; they devote 3/4 of the screen to showing the little white balls being drawn, distorting the game and reducing it to the size of a postage stamp.  As there are several drawings, this can go on for several minutes.  Why is this necessary?  Do people really need to see the drawing to confirm that it’s not rigged and that their chance really is one in 300 million?  I hate everyone.


9 August 2009

Damn near sporting event I watch is attended by at least one ass clown with a sign that says something to the effect of:

“Gas for trip from [some pissant town]: $X.

2 tickets to [sports facility]: $Y.

[Shitty domestic lager] and [meat products made from horse anus]: $Z

Seeing [sports team] beat [other sports team]: PRICELESS!”

First of all, those MasterCard commercials are at least a decade old.  Second, so many dipshits have parodied them that the parodies are actually more cliché than the commercials themselves.  And yet each one of those dipshits brandishes his sign proudly, as though he’s the first ever to think of the idea.

Really creative, asshole.

Really creative, asshole.

Finally, attending a ballgame is not “priceless.”  Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is priceless.  Having a threesome with Jessica Alba and Pamela Anderson is priceless.  Kicking one of these cretins in the sack would be priceless.  Going to a Twins game…looks like it ran this particular cretin about $800.

If you’re going to try to whore yourself out to the TV cameras by making a sign, at least be original, like the guy I saw at the 2001 World Series in Arizona.  Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, who had dominated the Yankees in his previous outing, was on the mound; the fellow’s sign said, “it takes more than 9 Yanks to beat our Johnson.”  Well played, sir.

Shut the Fuck Up Already, Dick Vitale

11 February 2009

I’m currently watching the UNC-Duke game and figure it’s better to vent my anger by blogging than by throwing beer bottles at the TV.  Sportscasters often piss me off because they tend to be ignorant ex-jocks who can hardly express a coherent thought.  This is not the problem with Dick Vitale, who is fairly knowledgeable about college basketball.  The problem is that his shtick – the ridiculously excited tone, the lame catch phrases – got old about 20 years ago, yet he continues to trot it out every time he opens his mouth.  Perhaps it’s not an act and he talks like that all the time (“this muffin is awesome, baby!”); regardless, it’s got to stop.


The worst thing about Dick Vitale, however, is the way he fawns over players, especially those who play for Duke or UNC (he practically creams his jeans when these two play each other).  I have never heard him say anything even remotely critical about anyone ever.  He’ll even slob the knob of the towel boy who comes out and mops sweat off the court:  “What a great mopping technique this kid’s got!  He’s the most talented towel boy in the conference, baby!”  What a douche.

Q: What’s better than winning the Superbowl as a Steeler?

4 February 2009

A: Not living in Pittsburgh.   Zing! That’s right, faithful readers: it’s been a long time coming, but the much anticipated and long overdue “Pittsburgh post” has finally arrived.  Before I tear this city a new goatse-sized asshole, however, I will acknowledge some of its virtues.  First and foremost, the cost of living is very low.  I couldn’t even rent a broom closet in Manhattan for what I pay for my three bedroom here.  Of course, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, but Pittsburgh certainly is a good place to be a poor graduate student.  Second, for a city its size, Pittsburgh has a fairly vibrant cultural scene.  It has a symphony, an opera, and several art museums, as well as a number of attractions that can be enjoyed by heterosexuals.  Finally, it must be said that there are many worse places to live, such as Beirut, the Sudan, and Detroit.

But people don’t read Moral Hazard for some bullshit hippie love fest; in fact, they don’t read it at all. But if they did, it would be for bristling, over-the-top negativity, which I shall now deliver.  Without further ado, I present four reasons Pittsburgh should be swallowed up into the fiery bowls of hell.


Far and away the worst thing about Pittsburgh is the weather, which is, as Mike so eloquently put it, dog shit. To put it another way, the weather alone is sufficient reason to qualify Pittsburgh as a bona fide shithole.  Winter starts in mid-November and extends into April (yes, I know it technically starts in December and ends in March, go fuck yourself).  These months are bitter cold, but this is typical north of the Mason-Dixon line; what makes Pittsburgh winters particularly abominable is the constant precipitation.  It’s usually snow, which, though it does fuck up the roads, at least leaves you dry.  Often, however, it rains – even when the temperature is well below freezing, which leads me to believe that Pittsburgh is under some sort of gypsy curse.  In such cases you wind up soaked and shivering, and the rain mixes with the snow on the ground to form a disgusting slush that makes walking an utterly miserable ordeal.

Summer is not quite as bad as winter, but it’s no picnic either.  From late June through early September it’s as hot and moist as Satan’s nutsack.  The humidity is what really kills; you can’t so much as walk to your car without needing a change of shirt.  On top of that, there’s the frequent rain and electrical storms.

Thus, there are only two genuinely pleasant months in Pittsburgh (May and October), and even then the sky tends to be overcast.  Weather is a major component of quality of life, and Pittsburgh’s is so bad that one might be happier on death row in San Quentin.

The Case Law

Pittsburgh’s alcohol laws defy comprehension.  In a shrewd move to discourage entrepreneurship, the city makes liquor licenses expensive and difficult to obtain.  Many restaurants are therefore B.Y.O.B.; I actually like this, since it’s a lot cheaper, but it sure does suck for the business owner.  Throughout Pennsylvania, liquor and wine are only sold at state-run stores, often at high prices.  This is annoying, but I’m more of a beer drinker, and the beer situation is absolutely infuriating.  If you want to buy beer at a reasonable price, you must go to a “beer distributor” and buy a case.  For some bizarre reason I can’t even fathom, you can’t buy single bottles or six-packs.  Actually, it is possible to buy a six-pack from a bar or pizza parlor if you’re willing to pay $11 for a six of Yuengling.  I’ve resorted to this a few times, and in the process discovered yet another absurd rule: you can’t buy more than two six-packs at a time.  The clerk told me to buy two, leave, then come right back in and buy the third.  What.  The.  Fuck.

While I disagree with prohibiting supermarkets from selling alcohol, at least there’s a reason for such a policy: to protect small businesses who sell booze.  But I have yet to hear a single legitimate reason for the case law.  The only explanation I’ve been offered is that it protects bars and other purveyors of overpriced six-packs, but since when is it the role of legislation to create an artificially restricted and inflated market?

The Pittsburgh Accent

Before I came to Pittsburgh, I wasn’t even aware that there was a Pittsburgh accent.  Indeed there is, and it’s the only accent that makes southerners sound sophisticated by comparison.  Here’s a taste:

This is a parody, but people really do talk like that here.   In case you were wondering, “yinz” is a contraction of “you ones,” and serves as the second person plural.   “N’at” is a contraction of “and that,” and means absolutely nothing; yinzers just stick it at the end of sentences for no apparent reason.  It’s hard to believe that the English language could be so thoroughly mangled, but there you have it.

The Pirates

The Steelers are a model sports franchise; congratulations to them on their sixth Superbowl championship.  The Penguins are also a fine team who made it to the Stanley Cup finals just last year.  These successes, however, are canceled out by the embarrassment that is the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Guess when the Pirates last had a winning record.

1992.  Nineteen-ninety motherfucking two.  That’s 16 straight losing seasons, including 8 last-place finishes, and no signs that this streak is going to end anytime soon.   But since poor finishes lead to high draft picks, the Pirates’ minor league teams should be flourishing, right?  Wrong; incompetent management has squandered these draft picks time and again and left the farm system barren.

It’s really a shame the Pirates are such a disgrace, since they play in one of the nicest parks in all of baseball.  PNC Park opened just seven years ago, but now only draws more than 10,000 fans when the Cubs are in town.  What a fucking joke.

Why Passwords Suck.

7 January 2009

Here’s a quick rant about something which has always been annoying, but seems to worsen every year.

Every time I do anything on a website, whether it’s use e-mail, buy something, manage insurance or bank accounts, even view the newspaper or edit my running log, I need to provide a password.  This is good in theory; it ensures that random people don’t have access to my private information and that they can’t, for example, change my settings at nytimes.com on a whim or write obscenities in running log.  Passwords of some sort are clearly essential, as much important financial business is now conducted via the internet.

When creating a password, the common advice is to pick something not easily guessed or itself private; birthdays and social security numbers are obvious poor choices.  To encourage a degree of cleverness in password selection, many sites require that both letters and numbers be used, and give length requirements.  Some allow or require special characters, and some even detect repetition of characters or the use of one’s name or username.  Bank sites especially use multiple passwords under different names along with “site keys,” or pictures to which the user gives a caption.

All well and good, except that with the different requirements of every site, I have to make up new passwords all the time while the restrictions become tighter and tighter.  Sites now make it so hard to create a password that not only could no other person guess my password, I can only guess myself perhaps 40% of the time.  I realize that the purpose is to prevent the theft of my private information, but do passwords really need to be so tricky that I get locked out of my own running log?  This seems extreme.  I’d much rather run the risk of someone breaking into my log and finding out (gasp!) how many minutes I ran on some date in 2005 than having to go through the routine of having my password emailed to me or changed every time I use a different computer which hasn’t already saved it.  After all, isn’t it my own choice to pick simple passwords, knowing the risk?  If I use my birthday as the password to my bank account and someone guesses it, I’m clearly at fault for my unwise decision, not the bank.  So why do they persist in making me create one complicated username and two complicated passwords?

This brings me to my next gripe.  These sites are aware that people have trouble remembering their own passwords.  Their remedy is to place convenient “Forgot your password?” links next to every sign-in box.  Enter your username, or e-mail address, and maybe answer a few “secret questions” and your account is magically reopened for you.  But wait: passwords must be impossibly complicated to prevent fraud, yet getting access to another’s e-mail or finding out what hospital they were born in, or their pet’s name, or whatever other bullshit they ask is ridiculously easy.  Someone who wanted to break into my account would simply have to get into my e-mail or find out an account number (not very secret ) and supply the name of some family member and they’d be in, no matter how sneaky of a password I chose.

Furthermore, passwords themselves are routinely saved on computers or written down, in hopes of recalling or circumventing them later, rather than committing all 75 of them to memory.  How hard can it be to just use someone else’s computer and get into their accounts with the passwords saved in there already?  Probably not very.

My advice to the website gods out there:  find a system that might be both effective and tolerable.  Please.

Phone Phollies

10 December 2008

Question: Why is it that every time I reach someone’s voicemail I have to hear this?

Computer Bitch: “You have reached the voice mailbox of five…one…zero…six…eight…one…four…three…seven…three.  To leave a voice message, begin speaking after the tone.  When you are finished recording, you may hang up, or press one for more options.  To leave a callback number, press three.”

Man…FUNK DAT! Gee, thanks Computer Bitch, I would never have known how to leave a message without your thorough instructions.  What the fuck?  It’s 2008; even the Bushmen of the Kalahari know how to leave a goddamn voicemail.  And has anyone ever left a “callback number?”  I don’t even know what that is.  Beep, talk, hang up.  There don’t need to be any other options, and there’s certainly no need to waste my time explaining them.

This wouldn’t be so irritating if there were an easy way to bypass it, but each phone network uses a different button for that purpose.  I have Verizon, which uses “star.”  It also sucks gigantic elephant cock, but that’s a post for another day.  Often I’ll call someone and try to skip the preamble by pressing “star,” but on that person’s network “star” takes you into the voice mailbox, and there’s no way out.  I have to hang up, call back, sit through 45 seconds of instructions, and finally leave a message, including an explanation that I’m not an idiot, I just called twice in a row because I wanted to skip the voicemail instructions but your network uses a different bypass code than mine and I wound up in your mailbox so I had to hang up and call again.

This pisses me off to no end.