Sunday, January 31, 2010

On J.D. Salinger

It' a little delayed, but I've been putting my thoughts together.

The first time I read The Cather In the Rye I was in high school. Obviously. The first time anyone reads The Catcher In the Rye it's in high school and most people will never read it again. The first time I read it I abhorred the thing. Holden Caulfied was just the worst kind of self-destructive, short-sighted, bitching emo asshole, completely incapable of taking responsibility for his actions or controlling himself in any positive way. Anything I contributed to class discussions was to this effect and I was quite happy to be done with the damned book.

Then the next year I had to read it again.

This takes a little explaining, but the short version is I had voluntarily dropped myself out of the college level English curriculum for a year because it involved mostly reading essays about what other people thought about books instead of reading the books. The next year this curriculum went back to source material while the normal classes moved to deconstructing essays. Since they wanted me in the higher courses from the beginning, it was fairly easy to coast my way through one year of simpler books I enjoyed and then enter back into the higher level once they were doing something I was interested in again.

It was a pretty sweet deal, except for the fact that I had to read The Catcher In the Rye twice.

However something wonderful happened. I had never read a book more than once, before this. I still will rarely reread any novel, and only years after the first time. I can go back to journal articles and essays and certain other texts, but for me so much of the fun of reading is in being led somewhere by the prose. After reading a novel once, I know where it's going to end up and the suspense–even in genres not chiefly relying on suspense as an artistic basis–is lost to me.

But for the first time I was being forced to reread a novel, one I particularly disliked the first time around. Yet somehow in the span of a year something had clicked inside the writer-y center of my brain squiggles. I found myself actually enjoying watching Holden slowly kill himself because I despised him as everything indicative of a weak, selfish person. He wasn't a person, let alone a person I had to like. He was not a hero, but a protagonist. You needn't like a protagonist. Richard Wright's Bigger Thomas from Native Son is a good example as well. He's a selfish, vile person. Yes, he's a product of economic squalor and racism, but he is also a murderer. We as readers only need to understand him, not forgive him. Judgment is our duty and right upon completing a book.

So yes, now I love The Catcher In the Rye and keep a copy on myself. It is pristine and perfect as I have never opened it again, but I know it's there if I want to read it, and I think I'm starting to want to go there again. I hate Holden Caulfield but I love the book. I love it because it i so well written that it makes me instantly hate a person I have never met who doesn't exist.

That is wonderful.

As for the timely and perfectly reasonable death on 91 year old reclusive author J.D. Salinger, I can say only this:

J.D. Salinger Dying can only be a good thing.

Now I'm obviously discounting how much his friends and loved ones will miss him. That's the tragedy of any person's death and it goes without saying that my condolences go out to anyone who knew such a man.

Still, as far as the literary community goes, we can only benefit from this author's death. Salinger has not published a single work in over forty years, despite supposedly writing quite a bit. Ignoring the hell that will follow his estate ever selling the movie writes to a "Catcher" film, there is no doubt that the next few years at least are going to see some incredible, fully formed new works by a brilliant writer.

We are not going to receive a few paltry letters and journal entries; we are going to be seeing fully formed and finished novellas, shorts, even entire novels that have been completed but not seen the light of day since 1965.

For the literary community it has been as if J.D. Salinger died in 1966. However now we get to see what it is he's been doing alone in his head all this time.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Fitness

Times It Is Appropriate To Work Out
  • When your doctor tells you to
  • Before swimsuit season
  • Before Spring Break/vacation
  • When taking off your glasses to look at yourself naked in the mirror no longer brings with it the same thrill of positive body image it once did

Times It Is Not Appropriate To Work Out
  • While consoling your girlfriend at her grandfather's funeral
  • In a crowded elevator
  • At weddings
  • Any time The Jersey Shore is on T.V.

Friday, January 29, 2010

12 Reasons to Have A Valentine That Are Not Romantic

Possible 2010 Valentine Card. It's things like this that keep me from associating with normal people.

  1. If I'm hungry for chocolate I don't want the guy at the checkout counter eying me suspiciously.

  2. There are a bunch of romantic comedies I've been meaning to rent but I'd feel weird watching them by myself.

  3. My other friends are too cheap to go out to Applebees as often as I'd like.

  4. When I don't receive any cards this year it'll be because I'm considered "off limits," not "an asshole."

  5. I like making chicken cordon bleu, but it's always been a problem that chicken breasts are frozen in packages of two.

  6. Conversations about how it's a holiday manufactured by greedy, soulless corporations will no longer come off as sounding lonely or spiteful.

  7. If someone were to spend, say, $20 on something I've wanted, that is $20 in my pocket I can use for cool other stuff. Like my motorcycle licensing exam. Or space rocks.

  8. When I receive a pretend cell phone call in the liquor store asking me to pick up a bottle of strawberry-kiwi Arbor Mist instead of Sauvignon Blanc, there could actually be someone on the other end of the phone telling me I do not posses the liver of a thirty-one year old mother and housewife who is trying desperately to recapture her youth in the eighties and appear as though she at any point preferred Def Leopard to old Bee Gees records.

  9. I have had my eye on a sexy nightie in the Victoria's Secret window for three weeks now. Shut up. You know I'd look good.

  10. It gives me something to do on a Sunday night.

  11. I have always wanted to have a skywriter under my employ.

  12. I look good in the color red.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Inappropriate Reactions

Before they realized antifreeze also raises the boiling point of car fluids, mechanics used to drain it and store the clear liquid in mason jars during the summer. This led to many accidental deaths of thirsty people. Antifreeze makers began artificially dying their product lime-green because no one would ever drink that. When Gatorade's producers refused to change their product the antifreeze people switched to the most unappetizing electric blue color. Well played, Gators.

So I've been seeing this new commercial around dinner time a lot.

A rather frazzled, high-energy couple accost a pharmacy clerk, demanding to know, "WHAT IS THIS YOU SOLD US!?" They slam down a box of new Trojan condoms.

I have no idea what the name actually is. As a man I understand that Trojans are a reliable brand. The white box is for cheapskates, the blue box is your go-to and the purple is trying to impress her. All I really know about condoms is how to use them, when to use them, and that you order them by color like a sports drink.

However much like the introduction of original lime and later blue Gatorades ruined antifreeze safety protocols not once but twice, Trojan has thrown off my typical hue-based consumption by injecting a new color into the inactive vagina that is my social life.

I may not know what this Yellow flavor is, but apparently neither do the actors.

The weird thing is when the couple says, "It feels like nothing's there!" they say it with a smile. They are happy that they can't feel the condom they're using.

Which is fine for the advertising team. I get it. Whatever they named Yellow officially, the premise is thinner and less obtrusive. Fine.


I feel like if a couple is interrupting their sex, running back to the pharmacy to desperately find what is going on with their disease-/tiny dependent-prevention and why it feels like they're not using any, it's probably not out of joy. They're probably terrified, angry individuals, imagining the hell they could live through the rest of their lives and realizing this is not the person they can go the long haul with. They are pissed.

And even if they're just happy and coming back for more? Really?

The 24-hour pharmacy is not closing any time soon. And somehow I seriously doubt you two can finish off a standard Trojan 12-pack before morning. Go finish your fuck and leave the poor CVS girl alone, already.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Haha woo! It's been a great run! Regular dick jokes resume tomorrow, but for today, let me indulge my autobio bug.

This blog started as an on-going assignment for a comedy writing class I took, just something to get everyone writing every day. I was the only one to do this. In fact I can guarantee that no more than six or seven of the thirty people in that class ever bothered to even start a blog. Certainly I was the only person to update consistently. Hell, even the illustrious Professor Ryan Vaughan, D.F.A. quit his bloggetries after a few months.

What I'm trying to say is I am way more awesome than the rest of the people I know. One of the few things Vaughan said has stuck with me. It was this:

"When you walk into a room, you have to truly believe you are the funniest person in that room. And it's going to be true. I mean unless you're in a room with me, because I'm obviously funnier than you."

It's that little bit of doublethink, that mind-over-matter that allows people like Dane Cook and from an acting/not-funny parallel Matthew McConaughey to exist and gain success.

Well I find it hard to reconcile this fact of life with my own, skeptic views, especially since self-deprecation is so damned funny, and in my case easy.

I'm funny. I'm probably funnier than all of you. However you can probably beat me up, so you've got that going for you. I'm assuredly funnier than most of the people in the English speaking world, on the sheer basis that I'm smarter than most people but less empathetic. I think there are absolutely some people so stupid that they should have been picked off by lions as the weakest members of the herd were we all special and unique zebras. Natural selection favors the strong, the smart, the quick. Granted, I'd probably fail to ever procreate anyway, thus damning my genetic line of brilliant, snarky omega-male genes. But still, I'm willing to lift weights and get some fitted shirts if it means fewer people marrying humanity's evolutionary potholes.

But I'm getting off point. The problem is I can't prove this. I can't refute the possibility that one of you reading this is funnier than me. Maybe Jason Segel reads this and is just really really shy about contacting me. (Jason, it's okay. I'm here for you if you need anything.) I mean he's probably not, but I just can't prove it.

But what I can prove is that I am funnier in more places than any of you pissants.

The following is a list of the only U.S. states my blog has not been viewed from since I started tracking that in late October:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
Now, I'm discounting Alaska because it's mostly empty space, like the inside of an atom or the volume of a spinning propeller. Or your mother's cavernous reproductive organs.

In fact that could be said of all those locations. Except for Rhode Island, which considering its size and the number of hits I have from surrounding states should be discounted anyway, there really aren't any people or things of note in these locations. There's oil we refuse to tap, a big sculpture, potatoes and new Mexicans. These are actually the states Americans joke about as being backwoods hick locales, and the places Frenchmen assume are indicative of all the other places. Boo that, I say.

But I can do better. Here is a list of some more exotic countries that think I am hilarious:
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada (go ahead and discount it, even though somebody there loves me)
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Ukraine
  • The United. Arab. Emirates.
That's not even counting the British or the French. The French think anything is funny, from what I can tell. But guys! I have the Jews, the Arabs and the Germans. In fact I seem to be most popular

A) In my home county
B) In Canada/Socialist Europe
C) In Third World nations, mostly Southeast Asia

So hell yeah, me! Go ! Woo! I'm an internationally known blogger!

And somehow I've actually managed to get some real writing done too. Who'd figure?

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed all my ramblings as much as I've enjoyed screaming them into the ether with the brief, futile hope that someone is hearing them and drawing up a multi-book contract at their publishing house.

That all said, I hope you love me. More if you are attractive. And female. Or female-looking; I'm very accepting.

To further this, I have spent many hours deciphering Blogger's machine code and photoshopping images, so now the page will appear all cool and widescreen. Plus, you may have noticed the cool Doggy motif up in the header. Well if you didn't notice it now and then maybe walk your eyes over to the right and check out the super-cool award I've given myself.

You know, for being so funny.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of Cocktails

I have this theory that people are all different kinds of alcohol.

I'm some kind of light but classy bourbon, my friend Jay is clearly Jameson and quite unfortunately most of the girls we know are either Zima, Smirnoff or Arbor Mist.

My theory is also that relationships are like cocktails. A good one brings out the best in it's components to create its own unique flavor. Like an Irish car bomb, shots of Jameson's and Bailey's–very different on their own–mix together in a beery life to form something new and exciting that may or may not make you black out and forget several years of your life.

The bad relationships look and taste awful, leaving you curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, swearing off them forever and promising God anything to just please make the pain go away.

Some of the most fun ones are like a Long Island Iced Tea. Yeah, it tastes pretty normal, but the draw is that there's like five things all fucking you up at once.

There's no joke about drinking alone/masturbating. You're just an alcoholic.

We are all alcoholics.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Way Too Much On James Cameron's "Avatar"

"Jakesulley, are you worried?"
"Hmm? Oh, no. I just feel like I left the toaster on 800,000 miles away. You ever get that?"
"On my planet a 'toaster' is an enormous lizard."
"So, no?"
"Is everything on your planet a giant lizard?"
"Mostly, yes."

I saw the movie "Avatar" this weekend. 3D and IMAX. I ended up in the very first row but that just gave me extra leg room and made the 3-story tall people look slightly taller.

I did not have a heart attack from how awesome the movie was like this man.

I do not feel on overwhelming sense of depression that I will never experience such a world as Pandora like these vampire-reading escapist fantasy super 'tards.

I heard from many people that Avatar was basically just Disney's Pocahontas in space and without singing. I thought the environmental parts would lend more towards Ferngully: The Last Rain Forrest in space, but I still walked away entirely satisfied with the movie. If anything, it's a more mature take on the Pocahontas tale with more emphasis on manifest destiny and Euro-centrism and Colonialism than environmentalism, with a much better ending that does not disappoint escapists or literary scholars.

Basically my review is four words:

"Peter Jackson presents: Ferngully."

But enough about that crap. I'm going to make some wild accusations simply because I can.

Today I got hooked into all the jokes about Na'vi sex that spins out of James Cameron including a love scene in his 165 minute alien epic. The following are inescapable facts I have noted from the movie:
  • Pandora is not a planet, but an Earth-sized moon orbiting a gas giant
  • Pandora's trees seem to be routed/rooted into a sort of neural network with some degree of wareness.
  • Pandoran fauna appears mostly reptile-based, but includes horse- and dog-like animals
  • The Na'vi appear to mate with genitals located by the pelvis.
  • Na'vi women have breasts. Boobs the size of your head.
Now, the first part of that is fun, because it means Pandora requires either an inordinate amount of water present in it's stellar system when it formed or a ground-based cycle of water production. That Pandora orbits a gas giant means it is unlikely to have had very many asteroid/comet impacts. The former implies it likely never experienced an extinction event (more on that later) but the latter implies it did not experience the decades of planetary rainfal from comet debris that is thought to have contributed most of the water to Earth's oceans. Pandora's primary, having a massive gravitational field, would have sucked up nearly all of the local objects which could have impacted Pandora.

This leads into the second point, as a lack of extinction events due to massive impacts (Earth has experienced at least 3 major extinction events) means Pandora's ecology has been allowed uninterrupted evolutionary lines. Theoretically, all Pandoran creatures have evolved strictly on the merits of beneficial adaptive mutations from their original forms. Pandora's trees, meanwhile, have joined into a kind of neural net that is capable of data storage, and as evident from the end of the film, has at some point gained a certain amount of autonomy, if not actual awareness. This is a problem because it raises issues associated with Gaia Theory and intelligent design, however we can disregard at least the possibility that Pandora's tree sentience created its other life forms based on the fact that these life forms are not necessary to to continued existence of the trees and are animal rather than vegetable, thus they are not likely derived from the trees nor created to aid the trees like specialized cells or organelles.

Which brings me to the third point. Pandoran zoology would indicate mostly reptile-based life forms, from tree frog lizards to flying lizards to dog/cat lizards to hammerhead rhino dinosaurs. Now the standard evolutionary progression on Earth went from single cells to plants, to fish, to reptiles, to mammals. Since Pandora is unlikely to have had a cataclysmic impact-extinction, its larger reptiles would have been able to exist where Earth's dinosaurs died out. However certain characteristics from the dog/cat critters and the Na'vi themselves seem to point towards mammalian characteristics. Both appear to have skin and fur/hair rather than scales or leathery hides. The dog-cats have carnivorous fangs, but they are canine in nature, rather than the large, serrated teeth shown in a Toruk skull midway through the film. As the Na'vi posses very human, omnivorous teeth with slightly larger canines, it is more logical to assume that Pandoran fauna is not all reptilian.

HOWEVER! Since the planet appears to be all relatively warm and suitable to very large reptiles, it stands to reason that both the dog-cats and the Na'vi could potentially be reptile-descended along lines of parallel evolution to our own mammal. A warmer planet would mean it is more suited to dinosaur-like "luke-warm blooded" circulatory systems and megafauna's ribcage-assisted respiration. While many larger dinosaurs died out with the depletion of O2 levels on Earth, the fact the the Na'vi are so much larger than humans could be a result of evolution from this type of respiring reptiles. The Na'vi's lack of body hair would support this, as dinosaurs are now thought to have frequently had fur and a sort of proto-feather, something seen prominently on Pandora's six-legged horse things and its smaller pterosaurs. Parallel evolution is an option.

Unfortunately for that theory the Na'vi have boobs. The men have visible nipples and the women have very clearly some fatty tissue in that area carefully covered at all times. This is actually a HUGE problem as only humans really have boobs. In actuality, nature doesn't need them. Milk ducts work just fine in all lactating mammals. Only humans really developed breast tissue in females, and the general evolutionary theory is that they only developed as a front-facing mating reminder for bipedal mammals. "Oh, look! I can have sex with that!" That's the theory, anyway. There's no reason a mammal has to have breast tissue, unless it walks upright. Now there's certainly nothing to say a parallelly-evolved reptoid couldn't evolve the same trait as a mating display of for some complete other purpose, but working under the assumptions that the simplest answer is generally correct and that evolutin finds similar forms to conquer similar problems, it stands to reason that the Na'vi are mammalian rather than incredibly similar reptile analogues. After all, one must consider that it was relatively simple for humans in the year 2154 to grow human-Na'vi hybrid clones in a short while, and this process had been going on since at least 2144 and for as much as twenty years. Mammals would be substantially easier to crossbreed. The cool ramification of this is since Na'vi can at least maintain what appears to be "backwards giant cow-girl" as a mating position, and since they cover their nether regions and not much else, it seems logical that Na'vi genitalia is all down there. If they're mammal-analogues, they're likely to have wing-wangs and vagoos as well (anatomical terms). Yes, it's possible they don't, but there was some thrusting that insists there is male-to-female penetration going on there. [However testicles are an entirely different CRAZY possibility.]

So as far as I can tell, Na'vi are bipedal mammalian creatures with a fur-covered secondary spinal chord protruding from their craniums. This last assumption is based on their ability to neurally link with animals, sacred trees and each other via the specialized neuron tips in their ponytails. There appears to be no muscle there, however when Col. Quartich holds Jake Sully by his it causes him great pain, leading me to believe it is in fact a secondary spinal chord packed with neurons and wrapped in a very thin sheath of flesh. The fact that most of Pandora's larger life forms share these secondary nerve columns leads credence to the unidirectionality of Pandoran biology, but it is also a bit unnerving that trees, reptile-, equine-, and ape-analogues can all interlink readily through a system that should evolutionarily long predate any intelligent species on the planet. In all likelihood, secondary spinal columns serve more direct purposes, probably in cementing life-time mating for species, while higher lifeforms (the Na'vi) have simply learned that they can use a more finessed link for controlling semi-domesticated species. Contacting the Pandoran tree consciousness obviously founded their religion, though I am still somewhat fuzzy on the biological means by which the Pandora Consciousness can 'wirelessly' control her animal populations.

Now someone go get me a towel, because I believe I have just blown a few minds. A very few. Like exclusively those of biologists who saw this movie. Who didn't already think all this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On Postmodernism

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for postmodernism.

Not the sculptures and mobiles and stuff, but pretty much any other self-aware type of expression. It's like irony you actually mean. Post-postmodern. I'm writing a whole book about it. Anyway, here's a simple piece that I came up with a while back that never ceases to amuse me. There's a full comic version but to be completely honest this is all I ever really want hung on my wall like a piece of pop art next to my Lichtenstein prints.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jay Leno Facts

To commemorate the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien while I'm out finally seeing "Avatar" I bring you this thing, all spun out of control after Chris tweeted, "When Jay Leno isn't wearing a suit he wears a denim shirt … please explain why this man is appealing…." Thanks, Chris.

  • When Jay Leno is not hosting The Tonight Show, he is hosting The Tonight Show.

  • When Jay Leno is not physically in New York, his chin still is.

  • When Jay Leno isn't beating Conan in the ratings, he is beating a dead horse to death.

  • When Jay Leno isn't stepping all over a punchline, he's walking all over Johnny Carson's grave.

  • When Jay Leno isn't gobbling NBC knob, that's what Kevin Eubanks is for.

  • When Jay Leno is gobbling NBC knob, Kevin Eubanks is tickling the balls.

  • When Jay Leno is reading this, he is a very nice man who was put in a terrible position by a network that sacrifices forethought and loyalty for short-term profitability.

Friday, January 22, 2010

People I Would Kill A Goat to Meet

  • Alec Baldwin unless he's wearing a suit
  • Kevin Smith from 1997

  • Mitch Hedberg (pre-death)

  • Lindsey Lohan (pre-Herbie)

  • Angelina Jolie's OBGYN
  • The writing team of How I Met Your Mother
  • Lady Gaga's personal stylist

  • Nathan Fillion

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Throwbacks

This is what greeted Dean and I last night on our brief adventure out to Rocky's Deli.

Apparently Fresca still exists. I was aware that Tab was still around, but I've found (formerly "Mr.") Pibb holds the staying power when it comes to comically unpopular soda pops.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On Friendship, Pt. II

As I got out of my car tonight to throw out some garbage, leaving the keys in the ignition to keep the radio playing, I thought to myself, "What id Dean steals the car?"

Dean and I have been friends for 15 years. I do not believe he will be stealing my car. At the very least his living situation with regards to my own living space is measured in feet rather than miles.

Still, I was concerned Dean would steal my car. Or be stolen with it. Perhaps we were being watched. No, that was unlikely timing. More likely Dean has been waiting fifteen years for this moment. This is the culmination of our friendship. Perhaps it was a ploy this whole time and Dean has only been my friend on the off chance that one day he could steal the car I might have had.

Dean did not steal my car. Perhaps he was let down I didn't have a better car by this point in my life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


To be perfectly honest, I'm really not sure what NBC is up to right now.

In theory their goal is to get more people watching their shows, which to be perfectly honest is exactly what everyone getting mad at this Leno/Conan thing has done. People supporting Conan are tuning in in larger numbers to get his ratings up, while others are watching Leno to see if he's really as awful as everyone is assuming. (He's not.)

All-in-all this could have been a great marketing ploy if it had been done on purpose, but it's not.

For one thing, I think even network television is now more concerned with selling their brand than selling their shows. The product is secondary to the name.

For another thing, I can't see any way for the NBC name to come out of this not looking like a fistfull of assholes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

On Superficiality + Countdown to the Yeariversary: T-minus 10 Days!

I think it's hilarious that people, myself included, get annoyed by the sheer number of incredibly attractive people on television.

Of course they're attractive. We like looking at attractive people. Some shows just load themselves up with nines and tens and it breaks our suspension of disbelief. "Hey," we say to whoever is around to hear us and sometimes to no one, because it is particularly unnerving to see so many attractive people in one location and not be able to comment on it, "There are literally zero unattractive people in this show. None. Nada. Zilch. The average hotness of this show as numerically ranked by a deaf person is in the high percentiles.…Maaaaaaaan…."

That's what we say. Verbatim.

Or not. The problem is we always do say the same thing: "Can't they put, like, some unattractive people in this show?" or perhaps, "Man, is anybody who goes to this [school/office/coffee bar/etc] not super-hot?"

We gripe about there being too many attractive people in shows like you're probably griping about there being too many italicized words on this page.

Unfortunately, we are keenly aware and rather scornful of shows that do feature less-than-unattainable thespians. And I don't mean Ron Howard's brother or Steve Buscemi noticably unattractive, I mean Jenna Elfman hot. Like, yeah, she's hot for a real person but I would probably stand a chance with her.

When I have to way attractiveness on a quantifiable scale (though as a wordsmith I much prefer the Under-Used Adjective Scale) I stand by my methodology: "Normal people" or "normies" get the numbers 1-8, while 9 requires some kind of celebrity status because frankly no one without a publicist and personal make-up artist/photoshopper can achieve that kind of perceived beauty. 10 Is reserved for a 9 who also seems to have a really good personality.

What I'm saying is Jenna Elfman is like a 7. And I'm talking first season "Dharma & Greg" Jenna Elfman, not 10-years-later, 'Let's make Knocked Up a network series!' Jenna Elfman.

Look, the point is people bitch about there being too many attractive people in shows when they feel guilty for only watching for the attractive people. Likewise people bitch when decent shows don't have anyone attractive enough, but you stick by them try to say nice things about them anyway, like you're trying to set up a blind date for your overweight best friends. You talk as best you can about intent and personality and how funny they are, but in the end what you're really saying is they're not much to look at.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On Chris Rock + NEW LAYOUT!

Throughout all television I can remember, F*R*I*E*N*D*S has some friends but they were not my friends, Cheers had people drinking but I did not raise my glass and–as far as I can tell–Everybody Loves Raymond was pretty much hated by every single person I've asked, however no show has really had such a poignant, on-the-money title as Everybody Hates Chris.

In fact given its best odds I would say most people are apathetic about the circumstances of Chris. Many people are completely unaware of Chris, and those I'm assuming even the people who have seen Chris are keenly noticing that it is basically Bernie Mac narrating Malcolm In the Middle, since nothing Chris Rock has ever said has been funny and clean enough to put on network T.V.

Which is a shame, really. Chris Rock is hilarious. The problem is he's just not funny when he's holding back. We all want to see him be witty and apropos, especially us white people because the more mainstream and intellectual he becomes the more comfortable we are saying the word "nigger" to our other white friends when we retell his jokes about how hard it is to grow up in the projects.

That said, here is an image I drew back when DreamWorks decided Madagascar needed a bunch of spin-offs and sequels. Every time I look at it I smile broadly and think to myself that whoever else sees it and laughs heartily is someone I would do well to get to know.


In other news, yo may notice that Sound A Doggy Makes now appears in reasonable dimensions for viewing by modern computers! Yes, I am not sure why Blogger insists on only utilizing 60% of the available workspace on most screens, but I have slaved over hot code for almost seven hours today reverse-engineering HTML and Blogger's tag system, as well as Photoshopping my usual template into a more robust visage, all in the name of bringing you all a better blog-trolling experience!

Actually, that's a lie.

Officially it is The Sound A Doggy Makes' One Yeariversary on the 27th and in celebration I will be putting some extra effort in to make this thing sparkle and kick ass, not unlike a certain breed of MTV2-loving emotive vampires, BUT WITH MORE ASS KICKING!

So yes, the official countdown begins tomorrow when I shall unveil something so secret I haven't thought of it yet. [I was going to put the old code back up and unveil the new site design but it was so goddam annoying I'm leaving it now so I don't mess anything up.]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ad Infinitum

I think you'll find this to be an accurate representation of the numbers involved.

For further proof visit Shut Up Woman, Get On My Horse, a flash loop so awful it doesn't even need proper comma usage.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Tabloid Journalism

So I was standing in the check-out line at the supermarket today and spent my time looking over the tabloid pickings as usual. Since the Weekly World News and Bat-Boy ceased printing it's been mostly SOCCER MOM ABS and BRAD AND ANGELINA: THE END, but today was a special kind of hell.

This week Sarah and Bristol Palin are featured on the cover of In Touch magazine holding Bristol's babies.

As horrible a person as I am, I figured in my own head I was safe from retribution. I thought I could ask myself, "I wonder if you can tell which baby is retarded?"

Yes, I am a terrible person, alright? But yes, you can totally tell which baby has Down Syndrome and it's not even remotely funny. It looks like the baby is half-Asian. Look at the two babies and you'll say, "Alright, that's a baby. And … that's a retarded baby … huh."

If they weren't exploiting this for a story, I'd think In Touch's art director most likely shot a photographer in the face over this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Team Conan

Here's a picture of Conan the Barbarian with Conan O'Brien Hair and a cool sword. Feel free to use it anywhere you want to show your support of O'Brien/Crom or hatred for NBC. Either/or. A thumbnail version follows this post. (They have a secret watermark somewhere so I can recognize it! Cool!)

Now I've never been one to watch Leno, Letterman or Conan, and I rightfully think Jimmy Fallon is just the worst anything since ever. Jimmy Fallon is the Twilight of late night television.

Anyway, the point is I'm a fairly objective opinion for this whole NBC debacle.

So Point 1: There is heavy tradition to a show that hasn't changed time slots in 60 years.

Point 2: NBC screwed the pooch by simply changing the names and times of 3 of its shows. It's not like Conan is working with Leno's old writing team, they all moved with him to his new show just like everyone from Late Night came with Conan and just like Jimmy Fallon's awful friends came with him. They moved everything around and were shocked when it didn't immediately succeed, which leads to

Point 3: NBC is scrambling to fix this clusterfuck by putting Leno back where he used to be, despite him contractually leaving that show to O'Brien, back-peddling and pissing off everyone in the process.

Point 4: Leno brings in ad money, likely because major companies still associate him with the face/chin of late night. NBC should be switching their focus to O'Brien and toning down their emphasis on Leno to make the switch, not keep him on the air into his failing years like their network's personal stroke-ridden Dick Clark.

Point 5: This is the last one and the most important. You cannot air "The Tonight Show" in what is technically tomorrow.

So for those five reasons–mostly number 5–I am choosing to support 'Team Conan.' I am not doing it because I would support him in anything. It's not like he's Colbert or anything. Frankly, I always get weirded out by the way O'Brien stares unblinkingly into the camera after each joke, like he's judging me for not laughing from the other side of my TV set. Yet still, for the issues, I will side with him at least this once. DO NOT FEAR CHANGE NBC! AUDIENCES WILL ADJUST. It may require a bullet in Jay Leno's head before they do, but obviously we don't condone that kind of thinking. At least not before running it past a test audience.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


One of the best decisions you can ever make is driving 70 minutes each way after midnight to find the nearest 24-hour IHOP for their all-you-can-eat pancake combos.

One of the worse decisions is to try the butter pecan flavored syrup, but that's like saying it's a worse idea to have sex with twelve supermodels than it is to have sex with fourteen supermodels; either way you're still in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On 6 Sigma

My father told me an exceedingly long and dry story yesterday about data analysis but which actually had an interesting point.

The background is that in statistics any typical test results can be graphed along a cosine, the bell curve. 85% of results fall in the middle, then the outlying 15% will fall 7.5% to either extreme. Apparently "1 Sigma" refers to 31% or a 69% defect rate among products. "2 Sigma" drops to 31% defect, then levels 3-6 jump to the 93.3 percentile, 99.38%, 99.977% and 99.99966%. There exists a 7 Sigma at 99.9999981% but that's a pretty moot divergence from 100%.

Anyway it seems a guy my father used to work with was ordering parts from a distributor at one Sigma level and he was looking to move up a notch. He asked the distributor, "Hey, we're getting parts at like 95% defect-free. Do you think you could get us 97%?"

The distributor told the guy, "Oh, sure! You know, I actually have great quality control. I mean I could get you 100% defect-free if you wanted. You just always asked for 95% free so every time you ordered 100 parts I just threw in five defective ones."

Apparently, the moral of the story, kiddies, is always ask your cosine for what you really want. Don't be afraid and don't short change yourself.

Because cosines are dicks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On Gender Performance

Sunday nights have recently been our fun manly nights.

Jay works the bar so everyone comes to visit him, and since it's a Sunday only a few people other than our friends ever stop in, so mostly it's just us hanging out in a bar with food and pool and darts all night. Well Jay quit tending bar this week. Apparently our happiness wasn't worth the low pay and insane, overtly racist boss and her boyfriend.

Anyway, without beer and gambling and games of skill to fall back on I decided to give up on manliness for the night and bake a chocolate souffle.

All-in-all, I found it to be a tremendous waste of time and eggs. Mostly eggs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

On Batmen

I think the reason I never liked the Tim Burton Batman movies is that Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne looks exactly like Billy Joel circa "An Innocent Man." I like my Batmen brooding and seething. I do not like to picture them singing "Uptown Girl."

The great Chuck Klosterman once interviewed Val Kilmer at the latter Batman's New Mexico buffalo ranch. He asked then-thirteen year old Mercedes Kilmer what her favorite Val Kilmer movie was and she replied "Oh, probably Batman Forever, but only because it seems like it was secretly made by Andrew Lloyd Webber." ["Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas." Follow on Twitter @CKlosterman.]

As for Batmen I prefer, I was alright with Clooney on the grounds that he can play the bored playboy well enough to pull off Wayne, but that movie's of course forfeit as result of its use of just awful, awful acting, direction, writing, costumes, sets and sound production. If it not entirely obvious, I believe Batman Begins/The Dark Knight were pretty much perfect what with the Frank Miller base and actual, talented thespians. Oh, and scoring not by Danny Elfman. Sure, Boingo Alive, but I wish you wouldn't.

But man, Billy Dee Williams could have had a sweet cameo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On Cats

This is Mikey. He is one year old and enjoys television, though to be fair he mostly just watched cartoons. I wish I was kidding.
Aqua Teen seems to be his favorite.

I am undeniably a cat person.

Now this might be that I was raised around both dogs and cats, and though cats poop in your house they on the whole smell far better. They also are much lower maintenance, due chiefly to their independence. I am told that dogs have been domesticated for something like 20,000 years, while the best guess for cats is something like 5,000 years. The joke is that they really aren't even that domesticated as it stands. Worst case they've simply domesticated humans to shelter and feed them daily.

Jack London be damned, if you died in your sleep your dog wouldn't know what to do with himself. He's wait weeks trapped inside before eating your rotting corpse, if he got out he'd probably be picked up by another family quickly. Cats? If he can get outside he'll be feral instantly, hunting rodents for food and creeping on some cute little Persian Aristocat. If he can't get out, well he'll be eating you in a couple days and won't think a thing of it.

Basically, what I'm saying is cats are dicks.

But I love that. I respect that. We can smell our own, after all. My first cat experience would be my grandmother's cat, Misty, who was an adorable replacement for my mother's cat Spooky, who she grew up with and was 17 pounds of rippling, midnight black muscle and badassery. I am told Spooky was handled with tanned leather gloves by the vets–the kind used for Dobermans–and would often engage raccoons in single combat, winning. Misty, as far as I remember was a nice little girl and thus pretty boring.

MY cat was Milo, named for the titular feline in Milo and Otis. However my Milo was not the dim-witted, rambunctious scamp his orange namesake was. No, despite using his claws to climb our chimney up the vaulted ceiling and being willing to attack creatures forty times his size, Milo was a bit different. Firstly, he was black with a white chest and "boots" and the kind of evil, soul-raping eyes usually possessed by serial murderers. Milo grew into a thirteen pound devil that terrorized myself and my family and my friends for his entire life. We walked carefully around Milo. My friends frequently took the long walk to the living room in order to avoid him. I remember it fondly.

"Mrs. Zucker?" he'd bemoan.
"Yes, Dean?" my mother would reply.
"Is Milo going to attack me?"
"Well yeah, probably, Dean."

Ah, now that was a good conversation, especially considering Dean was 5'11" and 200 lbs when this conversation happened. And sure enough Dean took a step and Milo attacked his foot.

Milo was a complete and utter bastard, and our relationship only improved when we adopted young Obi, giving him someone to spar with on a daily basis. Obi, I convinced my mother, was technically short for "Obi-Wan Katnobi," and his vet charts will support this, but only recently have I revealed to her that Obi was originally an homage to Oberton Jones, the lovable super from Queen Latifah's '90s UPN sitcom Living Single. The point is, though, Milo had a young ragamuffin to run him ragged so he would relax more around us humans.

I have to admit however that I think what really improved our relationship was the day he realized I had grown to twice my original size and could now crush him. I mean literally crush him based solely on my size. It might be uncomfortable and I might sustain damage in the process, but Milo's little kitty brain recognized I could sit on him and kill him easily without bleeding too much.

After that there was some kind of bizarre respect between us. I'd grown substantially, I'd worked for a year as a vet assistant so I had the training and now there was less fear between us. We were aware of each other's capabilities, like old foes who have grown close over the years, warring generals fully capable of meeting civilly off the battlefield.

And in that was the key. I came to respect all Milo's cat-like qualities and he honestly respected my effort and understanding. Let me tell you, there is nothing more heartwarming and a little disconcerting as knowing you are unconditionally loved and respected by a cat if you're not the one feeding it. Cat's are dicks. They do not like people. Not the smart ones, at least. But surprisingly all cats like me now, especially the more dickish ones. They seem to get that I get them and am totally cool with their dickery.

Because they can smell their own.

Friday, January 8, 2010

In The Jersey Shore

I have a dark secret that I must now share with you all.

I very much enjoy The Jersey Shore. Unironically.

Shocking, I know. I can just tell, though, that a few of the people there are completely aware of how ridiculous everything is, chiefly the runt of the group, Vinny. It probably didn't hurt that tonight they cavorted in their own promos with Michael Cera, doing his tour circuit for the new movie Youth In Revolt, or for that matter that just yesterday I discovered this video in which The Situation, Snookie and Pauly D openly show they comprehend their show's place at the back of the artistic bus (to descending degrees, in order).

As much as I hate stupid reality T.V. and stupid assholes who don't understand that they're only entertaining in an ironic way, post-post-modernly the only people who don't know not to take themselves seriously, it seems like these individuals go above and beyond the typical Real World dissociation. Rather, these people are, well, people. They have (varying measures of) depth. They have feelings, damn it. Real feelings that are based on the facts of the situations at hand and not (usually) how much money they're going to make from MTV.

Worse yet, I'm watching this like it's an anthropology study. Legitimately, these people seem to understand that faux-tans, blowouts, Ed Hardy and bad dye-jobs are only considered even remotely stylish by the people in that exact area of the world, however it just happens to be what they like aesthetically, and they seem very tolerant of others based off that. They are like the kids in high school who always went to Warped Tour instead of homecoming. They know it's not universally cool, but it's cool among the people they like to hang out with. They have their own values and rules and styles and so long as you let them do their moshing or their skanking or their fist pumping they're okay with you doing whatever the hell it is you do instead of going to the gym every morning.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On Resolutions

I typically don't make New Year's resolutions. I'm that kind of person. Part of me says you're more likely to make a resolution you know you'll probably break or, quite the opposite, one you know it'll be easy to achieve. In either case it just seems pretty useless.

I usually feel that if there's something about my life I really want to change I'm supposed to have the strength of will to achieve it on my own or not at all. I don't need some kind of self-imposed holiday ruling to guide me, I can make my own arbitrary self-imposed deadlines, thank you.

That said, I've been going through a real uncharacteristic bout of positive body image of late, and I'm kind of wishing I had made "Get in shape" a New Year's resolution, if only to be able to say I accomplished it by January 6th.

I've never been in shape before. I've never been out of shape, but this whole looking good while being healthy thing is just kind of creepy. All of a sudden I'm looking forward to beaches and going shirtless and having sweaty, man-crazy arm wrestling matches in smokey truck stop barrooms.

But like all New Year's resolutions this too will probably fade. Hopefully if that happens all my friends will have already given up their designs on a healthier life too, and I'll still look fit by comparison.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On Responsibility II: Knowing Who You Are At the Heart of Things

So last night I dreamed that I was driving a car over a snowy, hilly road.

Now I do drive cars occasionally. It is also currently winter in my hemisphere, so this all just really falls into place, doesn't it?

Anyway, likely because I was asleep and could tell my hands and feet were not actually responding to my brain's desire to turn the wheel into the skid or feel a break under my foot, I managed to drive up a hill in someone's driveway and sort of maybe kind of crush out their rear passenger-side window by driving over their car like a monster truck. But I only crushed them a little. Nicked the vehicle is more like it.

Anyway, I undeniably hit like two cars and thought I might have been able to get away without saying anything about a third.

But the important thing was this: after I got my car back on track and parked it outside my new apartment (where I was apparently moving in with Jay and DEAN) and unpacked most of my big stuff, I began writing out a nice letter to the car's owner claiming responsibility and offering to pay for his new window. Moreover, I was plannign to copy this letter verbatim for the other car I smashed.

It turns out I am a class act, guys! I mean I always knew I was a classy dude when I wanted to be, but it seems all my talk about Law and Social Contracts and The Golden Rule isn't just theory! I'm a genuinely good person! At least when I dream I destroyed some cars, I mean.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sound A Doggy Makes: The One-Yeariversary

For those of you who care, the one-year anniversary of The Sound A Doggy Makes is coming up on the 27th.

I'm planning something good, once I figure out what it is, but frankly after a year of daily blogging I've run out of old ideas. We just gotta hope I think of something hilarious in the next few weeks.

More problematically, Apple has announced that they've moved there big announcement event for the Apple Tablet and some other less important junk from the 26th to the 27th.

Clearly Apple is attempting to overshadow my momentous day in the eyes of the press. I love you, but FUCK YOU, STEVE JOBS. FUCK YOU.

Monday, January 4, 2010

On Synesthesia

Synesthesia is a medical condition wherein a person's senses are blurred. Certain sounds might have specific tastes, for example. The color red may feel prickly.

Personally, I've gotten some looks when I tell people things taste purple, but they tend to get what I mean when I explain that artificial grape flavor doesn't actually taste like grapes; it just tastes like purple after a while. You know it's going to be purple. If it's not grape than you've got to call it something. Only citrus flavors ever taste like the fruits anyway.

But that's not really synesthesia. My friend Bob has synesthesia. When he writes music he apparently writes it in patterns of nesting brackets, all with their own colors.

Too bad for Bob he's also colorblind.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

On Post-Christmas Blues

A lot of people tend to feel down after the holidays. Be it the present not received or lack of thought put into those that were or no longer feeling that sense of universal good will but still remembering what it felt like when you did.



I've found a solution. Now it may only work for me, but I'm sure there's something in this you can extrapolate for yourselves.

When my family takes down the Christmas decorations and it should typically be a very disappointing moment, I always have one thing I can look forward to.

Actually that's a lie. I hate doing it, because it's hard and it's cold and it's annoying, but after I do it I always feel giddy so I just need to get it done and then I feel great. I throw out the Christmas tree, guys.

And no, this isn't some sick, twisted display of hatred for Christmas, traditional or secular. It's not some Grinch-like act of destruction and defilement that gets my once-Jewish rocks off.

Guys, we live in a second-floor apartment. When I'm told to throw out the Christmas tree, it means I get to drag a tree the two feet through the living room glass doors and heave it over the side of our deck.

And of course we're probably not allowed to do this. We've never asked, but we're pretty sue we don't want to ask, because then we wouldn't be allowed to do it and I'd have to track the damned thing all through the house, down the stairs and out the front door and aside from being far more difficult that'd just get pine needles everywhere.

This way I get to toss a Christmas tree live a javelin off the side of a building. Into snow. And then drag its corpse to a mass grave/dumpster. Surreptitiously.

It's great, you guys. You should try it. Or something similar, I mean.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

On The Lovely Bones II: "The Love Boning"

I really can't wait for The Lovely Bones to come out to theaters, because then I'll stop seeing commercials for it on television.

Friday, January 1, 2010

On A New Year

Last night I rang in the new year/decade/day-we-start-using-the-cool-futuristic-"twenty-x"-dating-scheme with friends new and old, and plenty of alcohol.

I feel great personal and professional growth on the horizon.

I somehow buried the hatchet on an ancient grudge.

But most unsettling all night was the realization of one of my worst fears. Due to my penchant for daily being too cold to only have one layer of clothing, I have become recognized as the Friend Who Wears Extra Shirts.

I tried, guys, really. I tried switching it up. When it turned to Fall and Winter I cut out the button-ups every day and threw in some sweaters, some zips, some hoodie action. Even last night I put a button-up dress shirt over my layered Tees because I knew it would be cold, but also because I thought people would be confused if I showed up lookin' less-than my typical class-factor.

And yes, it seems I was already the FWWES. If it wasn't so goddam cold right now, if it wasn't the fuckin' middle of Winter you'd see me rockin' some arms out. Oh yeah, I've been working out. Thank you for noticing. I'm in the best shape of my life, actually, which goes back to my point about 2010 being a good year coming, but oh, never mind. It's cold out, and that means without three layers I'll shiver like a chihuahua outside my 80˚ natural habitat.

Fuck you, Winter.