I Want to Be Politically Engaged, But Unfortunately There’s a Cat on My Lap

This is an incredibly volatile and precarious time in the annals of history. Crucial votes on our governmental policy could shake the very foundations of our democracy. The ideologies of those in power are so polarizing that to remain on the sidelines is nothing short of unconscionable. There is a lot at stake, and I so want to engage in the political process and make a difference.

Unfortunately, there is a cat on my lap.

I can’t move. I mustn’t move. For to move would be to disrupt this peaceful, purring creature from the sanctuary of its Zen-like state. And we can’t have that. Not to mention, this furry, four-legged entity is providing me with perhaps the only true affirmation of my worth as a human being I may ever receive. “Your lap is good,” it seems to say as it gratefully receives a robust chin scratch, “therefore you are good.”

So, as I say, it would be nice to get online and maybe sign a few petitions, or mark up by sample ballot or even post an angry, politically-charged meme to Facebook. But, none of that is going to occur because even though my laptop is within reach, it would be far too awkward to have to balance it on top of this cat’s rump. Not to mention placing a foreign object directly on top of said cat would most surely cause it to dart away from its position of being perched across my thighs. And that simply cannot happen.

This cat must never leave my lap. It is right and good that it should be there, and all activity must cease while it rests, sphinx-like, on my legs. And if that ceasing of activity includes failing to work toward change for the very life’s blood of my nation, well so be it.

In fact, this cat’s basic lap-sit could easily progress to a full-on splay, wherein the feline goes into an even further relaxed state and dissolves across me in a heart-achingly beautiful display of complete trust and comfort. If you think I am going to pass that up just to have an impact on some legislation that could make it easier on the people with whom I share this precious planet, you are crazy.

Yes, my phone is within easy reach. I could probably accomplish some Internet advocacy with Wi-Fi, but, you know, I don’t think that’s going to work, either. I mean, just the slightest movement from me could cause kitty to bolt, and I simply cannot take that chance. You guys probably all know about the studies they’ve done on the therapeutic aspect of pets. It can result in lower blood pressure, reduced feelings of hopelessness and fewer bouts of anxiety. When’s the last time the political process could claim to do any of that good stuff? I ask you! So, my apologies, various web sites soliciting for my virtual signature on petitions to my representatives in Washington—not gonna happen.  Who’s gonna get a good chin rub?

In closing, I guess I should apologize for whatever nightmare scenario you could all end up living through just because one citizen willfully refused to become engaged politically.

But, hey, I’m sorry. There’s a cat on my lap.

90 is the New Dead

2015-06-29-1435560880-2130699-clothcoveredcasket-thumb

 

We live in a wondrous age of age-defying wonder. If you’ve made it to 30, hey, it’s pretty much the new 20. Then comes that other big milestone, 40. Have no fear; it’s the new 30. For a while now, 50 has been either the new 40 or the new 30, depending upon just how invigorated one can claim to feel when hitting the big 5-0. Even more incredibly, 60 has itself been declared the new 40 as well, which is a boon and a half to folks entering what used to be called the golden years but have now, if the names of vitamins are any indication, been reclassified as silver.

 

In any case, you may be experiencing some confusion as to how all this will apply to you, as you get older. While it is true that you are as young as you feel, and it is perfectly acceptable to shave as much as 20 psychological years off your actual progression on this planet, it can be comforting to know that, when all is said and done, it’s a fairly good bet that 90 is the new dead.

 

Kudos to the centenarians; they will certainly defy this. In fact, statistics show that they will number a little over 100,000 in 20 years.

 

These same figures indicate that 6 million people will be over 80 during that same period of time.

 

Ninety, though, is still a pretty tough nut to crack, so it’s probably time we put a general cap on our ability to keep ratcheting down our aging processes and, again, come out and say, for the sake of argument, that 90 is the new dead.

 

It’s not that bad. When you hit 70, you can still call it the new 60 if you want. In fact, a crapload of people have already declared it the new 50, anyway.

 

And when you make it to 80, you don’t even need to shave a paltry 10 years off your age and make it the new 70, no! It’s already out there in the mainstream that 80, you guessed it, is the new 60.

 

One thing is for sure. All this conflation in the world of aging is freaking exhausting. I should think any of us would be glad to kick it, after spending anywhere from 10 to 50 years constantly declaring ourselves the same age as people who are actually going to nightclubs and keeping track of contemporary music. It’s a hell of a lot of work to keep aging backwards, so giving up the ghost at 90 should work out just about right.

 

Yes, 90 is the new dead. Live with it.

 

article-2309944-19535C9D000005DC-967_468x286

 

Top Ten Benefits of a Mr. Paul Maul Presidency

Paul Maul - 2016 Campaign

The candidates are telling us they have the answers, but it’s pretty easy to see that all the problems in the world stem from a lack of self-examination. So here is my ten-step plan to reform politics in America once and for all. Won’t you join me in tapping into your truths, whatever that means?

TOP TEN PROMISES OF MR. PAUL MAUL’S  EMPOW-WOW-ERMENT PARTY

  1. I will begin each day by talking to the economy and making sure it realizes how important it is to all of us.  Soon, the economy will develop a better sense of self-worth and pass that worth onto the American people in the form of new jobs.
  2. Constitution to be replaced with copies of “The Secret.”
  3. As long as they provide a convincing written explanation of what is wrong with them to politicians on the far right, LGBT people can do anything they want.
  4. As part of my five-year plan to reduce stress in everyday life, I will institute the death penalty for taking more than ten items through the ten items or less line.
  5. I will continue to allow tax cuts for the rich as long as the rich promise to learn more about sharing.
  6. I will balance the budget by making sure to put a Libra in charge of the budget.
  7. I will replace the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools with the Pledge of Empow-WOW-erment (full text below).
  8. I will impose severe tax penalties on anyone who makes another comic book movie. 
  9. I will end our dependence on foreign oil with the power of my mind alone by using law of attraction principles as outlined in the new Constitution (see #2).
  10. Finally, I will pay no attention to the constant, nagging critical voice in my head that keeps saying the first nine promises are ridiculous.  By refusing to embrace any negativity, I will be able to implement all the steps in this political platform no matter what anybody thinks. So even if everything goes right down the shitter, I will be remembered as someone with the strength of my convictions.  And that’s how it works, people.

Thank you for your support.

THE PLEDGE OF EMPOW-WOW-ERMENT

I pledge allegiance to myself

And occasionally to Deepak Chopra

And to my development

For which I stand

One person

Fully realized

With inner strength

And awesomeness

For all

.

Enjoy more self-help posts and pseudo-wisdom by becoming a Facebook fan!  Why, look, the link is just to the right. Over there! Well, you have to scroll back up, but it’s there, I swear!

Report: World Has Lost Over 100 Billion Hours Sitting Through DVD Anti-Piracy Warnings

2015-08-25-1440476198-5131201-FBI_AntiPiracy_Warning-thumb

Motivational muckraker Mr. Paul Maul has uncovered formerly classified government documents which could have tremendous implications for the empow-WOW-erment industry, and deeply impact everyone’s ability to reach their peak productivity potential potentiality.  As entertainment consumers turn more and more toward streaming content, a staggering new finding has made the world’s population acutely aware of trillions of minutes they will never get back. Officials report that the average viewer of DVD or Blu-ray home entertainment has lost over 35 hours waiting to get through the anti-piracy warnings that appear at the start of most home video content, for a worldwide total of over 120 billion lost hours.

 

The statistics were assembled using figures taken from 1997 onward, and do not include any metrics regarding VHS technology which, although allowing the viewer to fast-forward much more readily than most modern digital content, might still have accounted for lost time in consumers who simply sat like dullards waiting for the warning to be over so that their movie could start.

 

“You figure an average of 30 seconds per warning, with the, again, average viewer going through at least two DVDs or, now, Blu-Rays a week, and sometimes a lot more than that,” observed Daniel Bunting, the head researcher in the loss-of-time study. “That’s fifty-two minutes a year times seven billion people times a little over twenty years….I mean, good God, that’s, like seven trillion, two hundred and eight billion minutes gone. Over a hundred billion hours.”

 

“I don’t even want to think about how productive we all could have been with those trillions of minutes,” says scientific researcher Laurie Ptolemy. “We might have brought about world peace, or figured out how LinkedIn works.”

 

Shocked by the recent findings, the President has called upon citizens of the United States to lead the world in making up for the potentially further billions of hours squandered on anti-piracy warnings during the recent phenomenon of binge watching. In a statement issued earlier this week, the President said, “Look, people, when you binge, all the episodes blend together anyway. Let’s be more sensible in the way we take in product with anti-piracy messages.”

 

The organizers of the study took pains to emphasize that, despite their anecdotal research, piracy of intellectual property is still a crime, and that perhaps the massive time suck involved in sitting through anti-piracy warnings will sear the messages into our brains. This, in turn, officials say, “…may one day prevent you from taking food out of the mouths of decent hard-working people, you uncaring bastards.”

 

Mr. Paul Maul was not available for comment. Which is pretty weird, since this is his blog post.

 

0803-couple-watching-television_li

My Decision Whether or Not to Become an Atheist is in God’s Hands

Cima_da_Conegliano,_God_the_Father

I’m still not sure if I am ready to actually declare myself an atheist, so I guess I am just going to leave it up to God.

I mean, what do you think, big guy, or gal? I need a little guidance, here. Should I stop believing in you? I know, I know, you’re bored out of your skull with that tired old trope about why would a loving God allow suffering in the world, but I have to admit it does crop up now and then. Especially when I need an explanation for what I see on the news, and why human beings can’t seem to stop hurting each other, or why people on Facebook insist on posting pictures of their dinner entrees.

See, if you came down this instant and told me that you were cool with me being an atheist, then I wouldn’t need to have an answer for why things happen at all. They would just happen, and I wouldn’t be able to blame it on you, prostrate myself to you or bargain with you, or any of the things that grow naturally out of an emotional investment in your God-forsaken existence. But since you haven’t seen fit to become involved in my decision about whether or not to claim you aren’t real, I’m back to square one: asking why: why you aren’t fighting a little harder when you know one of your pitiful, imperfect subjects is considering dropping your ass?

You haven’t seen fit to show me a sign, which is what you have done for a lot of famous religious figures over the years, let’s face it. Okay, maybe I’m just a piker who isn’t exactly worthy of a burning bush or being asked to sacrifice someone to prove my loyalty, but give me a break, this is a big decision! We’re talking atheism here! So, if we are all equal in your eyes, would it kill you to send some sort of clue or miracle down to Earth so I can know how to proceed? Maybe I could be walking around thinking about becoming an atheist and then a lightning bolt could narrowly miss me, or a Bichon Frisé could suddenly start telling my fortune in perfect English, or my parents could inexplicably start understanding who I am as a person.

Clearly, Lord, you spoke to Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, informing them that they could get the hell (if there is a hell) out of Dodge (if there is a Dodge) and I suspect you did the same for Christopher Hitchens, God rest his soul. So I know you are capable of swaying people in one direction or another. And of all the heinous, unspeakable things that have been done in your name, one citizen simply asking you whether or not he should switch sides does not seem like that big a deal.

And hey, at least I’m asking! I want you to know I would not fling myself rashly into declaring you don’t exist. No way. You’re God, and you’ve earned the right to a fair trial. So how about meeting me halfway at least? Let me know if I should become an atheist, will you? I’ll be honest, sometimes I get the feeling you would feel more of a call to action from overhearing the hidden thoughts of a Red Sox fan who’s considering supporting the Yankees for the rest of his life.

Okay, sorry, don’t mean to sound bitter. I’ll just sit here and wait for a nudge from on high. Until such time, I will try to be comfortable with the question that continues to plague me.

Should I become an atheist? God only knows.

For God’s sake, become a Mr. Paul Man fan on Facebook!  The link is right over there on the sidebar!

Stay Back or I’ll Crowdfund You

Talk-to-the-Hand

I’m warning you. Keep away from me. Back the eff off. I’m serious. If you come any closer, I’ll crowdfund you.

Don’t think I won’t do it, either. I have plenty of projects I could use some financial backing for. Like, last year, I invented this pen that you can program to sign your name, hands-free. Seriously, we tried it and it worked once. It was like the pen was hovering, all by itself. It was pretty cool. We couldn’t get it to work a second time, and it’s just in the prototype stage right now, but with enough investor support, we can offer it to the public and you can be part of history.

For reals, I could crowdfund your ass so bad. I’m working on a documentary about Words with Friends. You know, it’s like that movie about crossword puzzle fanatics, only it’s about people who are addicted to inventing screwed up words and seeing if the Words with Friends dictionary allows them to be used in-game play. We’re giving away an official mini-poster for the movie on a lanyard if you donate at the 25 dollar and up level. Besides, there are big stars now doing crowdfunding, and if they can raise a few hundred thousand bucks based on nothing more than an immense fan base of millions who are already familiar with their brand, then anyone can do it.

Seriously, if you don’t step off, I will hit you up for cash in a heartbeat. Somebody has to pay for my root canal, and it’s sure as hell not going to be me.

Hey, wait a minute. Where are you going? What’s that? If one more lifelong friend hits you up for starter funds for some esoteric project you’re going to do what? Come on, come back, will ya? Please? Can’t we talk this over? Unfriend me? Unfollow me? Aw, man, that’s cold! How am I supposed to crowdfund you if I can’t let you know about it on Facebook and Twit–oh, oh, nice, that’s real nice, thanks a lot pal. No, go ahead, just go, see if I care. That’s right, walk away!

Well, this is just great. I guess when it comes to crowdfunding, two’s a crowd.

Get Mauled daily by becoming a fan on Facebook!  The link is right over there, to the right. Yes, right there!

Totally Loving This Game of ‘Words with Enemies’

Words

Listen, I think it’s really sweet and precious how all you people on Facebook get together to play Words with Friends. It’s real fun and everything, coming up with crazy, half-baked words that you don’t even know, but then you run it by the Words with Friends database and hey, presto, they accept it. Next thing you know, your so-called friend is on the other end of his or her device going, “Selcouth? Are you kidding me? That’s a word?”

So, yeah, it’s nice that you can be all smart and erudite with your Facebook friends and get all, like, “oh, we have so much in common because of our love of words; oh aren’t we a special subset of humankind because we still value the language and everything?”

Stop kidding yourselves. Sure, it might be satisfying to picture your opponent eating your cyber dust as you strategically plan the most effective way for the tiles with the highest point values to land on the double and triple letter scores. Yes, it’s pleasant to get some kind of reward out of knowing that “Chi” can also be spelled “Qi.”

Whatever.

Wouldn’t it be a hell of a lot more cathartic to just rip somebody a new one with every stinking play?

That’s what Words with Enemies has done for me, and I know it can introduce you to a whole new world of word-based entertainment, too.

Half the time you’re playing Words with Friends you just want to reach out and dope-slap the moron you’re paired with anyway. So why not go the whole nine yards and just keep trying to out-insult each other? It’s like a freeing, unencumbered game of The Dozens played on a virtual city stoop.

So get down off your intellectual high horse. Stop trying to impress people you already know with your prodigious and varied vocabulary. Pick someone who pisses you off, and arrange those tiles in such a way as to indisputably communicate how much they have irreversibly irked you.

Have a game of Words with Enemies. I guarantee you will be praying to get one of the Fs.

Why not become a fan of Mr. PM on Facebook?  The opportunity to do so is right over there on the right.

This ‘Which Asshole From History Are You?’ Online Quiz Isn’t as Much Fun as the Others

 

ra7vwh

I sure had a lot more fun when I played the online quizzes that let me know which Harry Potter character I was (Hagrid, which was awesome), or which character on Friends I am most like (I got Phoebe, somewhat disconcertingly), or which famous author shares my disposition (Kafka, though I was hoping for Dean Koontz). These are just a few of the endlessly amusing and diverting personality quizzes out there on the Internet, each one more enjoyable — and revealing! — than the next. I just can’t get enough of them! And the best part is they turn out to be so accurate, it’s just adorable. No wonder they take up two-thirds of my Facebook timeline!

So I guess it was my desire to make sure I took every single online personality quiz out there that led me to take a stab at “Which Asshole From History Are You?” I don’t know what I was thinking. In retrospect, it started innocently enough.

2014-03-24-OnlineQuiz3Questions

But I was only kidding myself. I mean, what did I expect my innocent answers to the survey questions would yield? It’s a “Which Asshole Are You?” test, after all. No matter what I answered, I would have ended up as Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Caligula, Tomas de Torquemada, Pol Pot, Elizabeth Bathory or any of countless other bloodthirsty losers you might call to mind.

And to top it off, taking a test about one’s similarity to a famous asshole can really only mean that the inventory of personality traits you get in your result is not going to be all that admirable or uplifting.

If you must know, here was my test result:

2014-03-24-OnlineQuizAttila

So, I wouldn’t recommend you find out which asshole you are. It’s really not as much fun as those other quizzes. But we can take heart in one thing: it won’t make all those other quizzes go away. People will be posting them on Facebook until we run out of things to compare ourselves to — and that will never happen!

Which Facebook Mr. Paul Maul fan are you?  Find out by clicking over there, to the right, and becoming a Mr. Paul Maul Facebook fan!

Allow Me to Introduce My Neighbor, Fred McInconsideraton

soundproofing-noisy-neighbours

Life isn’t about obtaining great riches or notoriety. It’s about the connections you make with other people, your fellow human beings. And I’ve got someone I just know is going to make quite an impression on you. I’m anxious for you to meet him, and I do not believe the two of you have met. Allow me introduce my neighbor, Fred McInconsideraton.

When it comes to neighbors, you will find Mr. Inconsideraton as great a guy as they come. He’s incredible, for example, at continuing to leave his car radio on at endearingly high volumes as he pulls into his parking space long after midnight. And it didn’t take me long to figure out that he is merely being altruistic! You see, his passion for either talk radio or classic rock is so all consuming that he clearly wants to share the blossoming beauty of his soul with the neighbors he so loves and respects — otherwise why would he sit there inside his car after it’s already parked and let the rest of us listen while the vituperative rant of an angry host or eleven minute AOR track comes to an end?

Let me tell you about this man’s boundless affection for those who reside in his proximity. Not only, not only , does he want us to experience the radio he so enjoys, he absolutely insists that we become a part of his movie viewing experience. We feel so connected to Fred, right from the moment the big, symphonic, pseudo-orchestral music that accompanies the opening movie studio logo on a Blu-Ray comes reverberating through his floor, walls and ceiling. There’s nothing quite like hearing that signature five seconds to set your nerves on high alert, waiting for the fun to come. Why, it’s like he’s inviting us all over to sit down in front of his state-of-the-art home theater system and watch Anaconda with him.

But Fred’s regard for his nearby cohabitants does not end with solitary activities such as radio and television, no. It extends to the way he subtly includes us in the boisterous conversations he has with his charming, endlessly vocal friends. These guys are distinctive, larger-than-life personalities in their own right, and since the decibel level of their outbursts of laughter, or shouting each other down to make their opinions known, goes up in direct proportion to their steadily increasing consumption of alcohol, we get to hear almost every word of the sparkling, witty, animated intellectual exchanges that are going on above, below and to the sides of us. Actually, I think more of us in the neighborhood should take the time to thank Fred for allowing us all to have an educational experience courtesy of his erudite guests.

You might assume that a man who never stops giving to those near him would run out of ways to let everyone in on his deeper, more private ways of being. But you would be incorrect in that assumption. For just when we think Fred could not possibly find another way to welcome us into his life, he sends to us the sweetest, almost musical message that conveys so much without saying a word: the evocative, heart-rending sound of dozens of empty beer bottles being tossed into the recycling bin from a great height at five o’clock in the morning. It’s almost as if the man is telling us that he feels badly about the brief period of quiet we experienced after everyone in his modern-day Algonquin Round Table had succumbed to the effects of nine gallons of India Pale Ale, and wanted us to know that he was still among us. And capable of generating a lively, innervating sonata of tumbling glass to assist us in greeting the dawn.

Listen, sorry to lay on the superlatives. I’m worried that after an introduction like this, once you really get to know Fred he might never live up to the hyperbole. And I didn’t even get to talk about the thought-provoking debates he engages in with his girlfriend. But, listen, I’ll let you two get acquainted. Give him time, and, as with all of us who know him, soon the only thing you will think about, from the moment you wake up to the time you’re attempting to get to sleep, will be the most appropriate way to make sure he gets a well-deserved place among the angels.

Realistic Motivational Speaker Calls for American Dream to be Downgraded to American Whimsical Notion

2012-02-01-AmericanDreamflag.jpg
 

In a move that reflects the economic and political uncertainty of our times, popular motivational speaker Mr. Paul Maul announced yesterday a bill that would downgrade the American Dream to an American Whimsical Notion.

“Many of us have been reduced to eating the cardboard on the refrigerator boxes we moved our families into during the recent downturn in the economy,” reads Maul’s press release. “It takes some kind of cojones to assume that an overpass qualifies as home ownership, or that such an eventuality was the outcome of the beautiful, long-standing vision we had for ourselves and our loved ones.”

“It was only a matter of time,” said sociologist Amber Thibodeau in an interview with Maul. “What with so many incentives still in place to make cheap crap elsewhere, the economy fluctuating, and social services always getting cut from the budgets first. And now Congress is at this historically low approval rating and they can’t agree on even the slightest concession to the middle class. Things are blowing pretty hard right now.”

paul maul on stageMotivational Speaker Maul

Mr. Maul, known for his forthright, no-nonsense approach to personal empowerment, goes on in his press release to urge Americans to wake up from their collective “dream” before the American Whimsical Notion gets further downgraded to the American Passing Fancy.

“Look folks,” it reads, “there are over 300 million people in America. Do you seriously believe that every one of you has the same shot at being a millionaire as those who are already in the top one percent? Dream on.”

While many agree that it has been much tougher for current wage-earners to fulfill the hope of a better life for their children that was realized by the post World War II generation, some are still unwilling to let go of the American Dream and are outraged at Maul’s cry for it to be downgraded to a whimsical notion.

“This is the greatest country in the world,” said one laid-off factory worker who lost his job to outsourced manufacturing and is still unable to feed his family despite working two minimum wage jobs. “And once I get rich, I sure as hell am not going to want my taxes going to help some loser like me to get a chance at something better.”

Mr. Paul Maul’s unconventional way of motivating through a realistic look at what we all face, as opposed to an ethereal New Age outlook,  is gaining in popularity. But he is not above ending his call to action on a hopeful note. “If we put our minds to it,” he says, “I’m sure that we can upgrade the American Whimsical Notion to an American Reverie by year’s end.”