Sunday, June 1, 2008

White Lustrium: The Birthstone of Cheaptember

Dear Friends,

The new Hard Taco song for June, "I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying," is meant to serve as a welcome for our newest band member, Malcolm London. If you say this fast, you sound like Pac-man: Welcome, Malcolm, welcome, Malcolm, welcome, Malcolm!

New Hard Taco CD: "Jupiter the Balloon Horse"
Hard Taco's freshest, moddest (as in, "most mod") full-length CD, "Jupiter the Balloon Horse" has dropped. Having this album is such a good idea, it is now widely accepted to be the gold standard by which all other good ideas are based. To help put this context, I've developed the 10-point Having Jupiter (HJ) scale. The higher the number, the better the idea! Here's an example:

9 HJ's - Wearing a tie to a black tie party
7 HJ's - Wearing a tie to a white elephant party
3 HJ's - Bringing an elephant to a black tie party
1 HJ - Bringing a black elephant to a white elephant supremacist party

Who's in the house? Education!
Now that I have children, I have a tough decision to make. Do I want to homeschool? When my wife and I first talked about it, we came up with this list:

Homeschooling Pros:
  • Kids would both be valedictorians
  • Get to take off work every time the teacher's union goes on strike
  • Get to print up customized "hall passes."
Homeschooling Cons:
  • Have to build a full gymnasium and an Olympic-sized pool with high dive
  • Pep rallies - would they be underwhelming?

Our biggest concern was that many of the commercially available homeschool curricula have thinly-veiled religious undertones. It turns out our concerns were justified. I could not, for instance, find standardized homeschool lesson plans to teach heretical studies or gay-sex education. Sadly, the majority of homeschooled children graduate "high school" without ever learning how to perform third- and fourth-trimester abortions! It's no wonder homeschooled children do so poorly on standardized tests.

Speaking Of "Intelligent Design"
In the end, we thought of one word that made us accept the fact that our children would have to go to public school: Josten's. The culmination of a public school education is that oversized nugget of beautiful tradition known as a high school class ring. How can homeschooled children celebrate achievements, preserve memories, and shows pride if they can't purchase a class ring*?

Believe me… Josten's class rings live up to the hype. They are made of white lustrium, an alloy of silver and chromium that is guaranteed by the manufacturer to remain tacky for the lifetime of the wearer. The inset is hemi-semi-precious stone such as blue zircon or white spinel. (According to the website, the latter is the birthstone of Cheaptember!) The sides of the ring can be used to depict life-long interests such as:

Hip Hop Awareness
Pheasant Hunting
Love of Satan

Josten’s class rings are also great for "building affiliations." To this day I have held out hope that a potential employer may place his middle finger next to mine and declare, "Look… we are both dedicated to calf-roping! Let me enlarge your signing bonus!"

My Ring ("Zach" is written in Russian)
Of course, this has never really happened. Most people seem to think my class ring is pretty tasteless. In fact, most people don't even look at it at all, unless they are worried that I am about to punch them and they want to predict how much it is going to hurt.**

If I step back, I think my dedication to the concept of the Josten's class ring may have been instilled in me by the onslaught of propaganda from my high school teachers and administrators. They really pressured us into buying class rings. At the time, I thought it was a school pride thing, but now I know the true reason... public schools are under the thumb of BIG LUSTRIUM.

With warmest regards,

* Josten's apparently does sell class rings to homeschooled children, but they have a disclaimer on their website that these rings are "devoid of all value, emotional or material."
** A little bit more than usual.