Friday, June 28, 2013

Richard Dawkins Reviews

Inspired by Richard Dawkins' seething polemic against an "Appallingly bad instruction manual" for an external DVD player (review here:, verified by Big D himself here:, here follow several other possible reviews from the world's preeminent opponent of organized religion and vague directions:

An Abomination of a Toaster, April 8th, 2012
    ☆ By Richard Dawkins
This review is from: Black & Decker TRO490W Toast-R-Oven Classic 4-Slice Countertop Oven, White (Kitchen)
It troubles me that in a modern world where humanity is fully capable of shooting men into space, eliminating harmful disease, and communicating instantaneously across continents, we are still plagued by the oafish design of this toaster oven. I shall elide the name's obvious attempt to curry favor with the lower class (what, pray, does the "R" signify in Toast-R-Oven? Certainly not "Reason") and instead direct my considerable intellect toward deriding the incomprehensible settings of the toasting knob.

I inserted two slices of bread as I surmised the product intends; I say surmise because the manual makes no mention of where the food should sit whilst the oven is operating. This was not an issue for me, but I have fought long enough against mankind's ignorance to understand the need for explicit instructions wherever possible. I then rotated the knob such that the tick mark aligned precisely - PRECISELY - with the primitive "toast" icon and left the room as the contraption set about preparing my toast.

When I returned to the kitchen, having responded to several unenlightened "commenters" on my blog, I found to my dismay that the bread had been burned darker than the veil that religion throws over humanity's eyes! It is baffling that you would make the presumptive default setting one that appeals to no one. I immediately unplugged the oven (again, the lack of instruction forced me to rely on my deductive capabilities to plug it in in the first place) and searched it for a complaint number. It seems Black & Decker believes they answer only to a mythical creature, but they are sadly mistaken, and I hope this review demonstrates that thinking men will not take shoddy design sitting down. A terrible product.

A Bicycle Treading on a Human Face -- Forever, August 2nd, 2009
    ☆ By Richard Dawkins
This review is from: Schwinn Discover Men's Hybrid Bike (700C Wheels) (Sports)
Though I pride myself on my infallible approach to demolishing foolishness and promoting logic, I am not without my indulgences. I purchased this bike thinking that it would lead to whimsy and not despair. I was mistaken. To err, as they say, is human. But just as there is no such thing as divinity, there shall be no forgiveness.

To the product's credit, the assembly was straightforward and all pieces of the bicycle were included in the packaging. As a man of science I enjoy the pursuit of an empirical, obtainable goal and the construction of the bike afforded me just such an occasion. The process called to mind the Wright brothers in their own bicycle shop, and I thought fondly of the historical parallels: great thinkers, they and I, absorbed in mechanical work while our brains concoct revelations for the future.

No, my plight began after successful completion of the bike as I attemped to RIDE it. I mounted in the same manner as the iconic picture of Albert Einstein, eager to match him in yet another regard. Imagine my surprise when the bicycle toppled over, causing considerable pain to my left leg. Shaken but undaunted, I again bestrode the machine only to find myself pinned again underneath it, the victim this time being my right leg. Several minutes of this passed with no success and I abandoned the foul vehicle in my driveway. It was not until later that evening when I turned to the internet for counsel that I discovered the necessity of PEDALING to keep the bicycle upright. This is utterly shameful. Schwinn has grown so lax in its instruction as to omit the MOST CRUCIAL ELEMENT of the pursuit of cycling. I double-checked all the packaging and confirmed: no reference to pedaling whatsoever. I am reknowned for my disbelief in gods, but rest assured, if I had retained any scrap of belief in a higher power, this bicycle would have disabused me of it.

This Applesauce Is Cause Enough For Genocide, September 30th, 2013
    ☆ By Richard Dawkins
This review is from: Mott's Natural Sauce Apple, 3.9-Ounce Cups (Pack of 72) (Grocery)
A famous fictional character once remarked "man does not live by bread alone," but a man of reason understands the falsehood in this statement. Humans are no different from any other species of animal in their need for nourishment, and to that end I purchased these applesauce cups. I require sustenance to continue my tireless pursuit of knowledge and these containers were intended to provide it. Suffice to say they did not hold up their end of the bargain.

I spent two weeks sitting in my dining room across from a single cup, awaiting the nutrients and vitamins contained therein. During such time I received neither, and, but for the grace of the mailman, who discovered my collapsed form and notified the proper emergency channels, I might have departed this life leaving behind only 14 manuscripts and 72 useless cups of applesauce.

I am writing this missive from my bed at Queen's Medical Centre (I insisted on a transfer after awakening in St. Mary's) where I have been informed by a cadre of doctors that my mistake with regard to the applesauce was that I neglected to consume any of it. My mistake? It seems to me to be a grievous oversight on the part of Mott's for not including any mention of consumption with their product. I would continue but I find myself growing weary and have also been instructed by the medical staff that I should conserve my strength. That much, at least, is clear.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rick Reilly: A Finals For The Ages

In light of the strain put on sports journalists juggling multiple playoffs and storylines, I have taken the liberty of writing Rick Reilly's ponderous, analogy-laden missive on Game 7 of the NBA Finals. ESPN please note that I am happy to write more of these at a competitive rate.


Well folks, this is it. The big one. Lucky number 7. In 48 hours we'll either be watching Miami descend into a Roman bacchanalia or a Roman bacchanalia-level hangover. Tim Duncan delivering a somber speech about defeat or a somber speech about victory. This game isn't just a matchup of two NBA teams - this is two American philosophies knocking heads. The glamor versus the grind. Carnaval versus study hall. Nature versus nurture. Whatever happens, we win.

On the one side you've got the Spurs, so dull even the uniforms are grey. Watching the Spurs is like watching the restricted-area paint dry. Their captain is Tim "TPS Report" Duncan. He's quieter than an Alabama library. Dishwater avoids him at parties. He's a man who hits his thumb with a hammer and writes a thesis on hammer-swinging mechanics. He once beat out a painting in a staring contest.

Flanking Blando Calrissian are the Argentine Argonaut, Manu Ginobli, and the French...firefighter? Whatever. Tony Parker. They've logged more minutes together than most celebrity couples and collectively lost more hair than a werewolf with Alopecia. They're older than Old Spice and hungrier than Honey Boo Boo. They want this bad.

Then there's the coach, Greg Popovich. The last time he smiled was when Benjamin Franklin invented the lightbulb, and that was just because it meant he could run night practices. To him, "fun" is a four-letter word unless it's the first part of "fundamental". He wrote the book on workmanship. Then he copy-edited it. He has a pin-up calendar of pick-and-rolls.

On the other side, you've got the King and his Court vision. Lebron James, whose legacy hangs in the balance more than he hangs on the rim. He collects accolades like rappers collect Escalades. If he wins, Miami will name every street James LeBoulevard. He'll be one crab-step closer to Jordan. They'll put him on the posters for Man of Steel.

If he fails? Katie bar the door. He'll be ripped apart like a sneaker in a puppy mill. He'll be a bigger flop than Gigli. They'll put his face on Heimlich Maneuver Instructional posters. These stakes are larger than Chris Christie's grocery bill.

And he's not the only one with a monkey on his back the size of King Kong. Dwayne Wade is going down in history as Flash...or a flash in the pan. Chris Bosh is either a Third Amigo or a Third Wheel. Their coach, Eric Spoelstra, will be known as a Whiz Kid or a Whiz like the slang word for pee. He'll be pee.

So what's it gonna be America? I don't care. I've said less about this matchup then Obama has about Benghazi but I'm still getting paid a stack so fat that Chris Christie thinks it needs to start dieting. Did I already say Chris Christie? Fine, Peter Griffin. Regardless, this is a game for the ages - literally, Popovich is really old and Spoelstra is really young.

I can't wait.