Saturday, July 31, 2010

On Motorcycles

I promise a longer, funnier blog in the afternoon.

Until then subsist on this: my riding instructor at motorcycle school looks and talks exactly like John C. Reiley's character, Dr. Steve Brule, from Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!

So many things wrong with this.

Addendum: So we road this morning. Instructors use constructive criticism. Peers build me up. Apparently having absolutely no idea how to ride a bike or even use a clutch works in my favor. Some kind of tabula rasa situation.

We also took our written test today instead of tomorrow. The "review" session? Instructor Steve reading off the answers instead of asking us. Those answers? Straight off the test we immediately took. 42 of them. Out of 50. I counted. And then I wrote them back down.

Learning is weird.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Even More Nerdy Pick-Up Lines!

I always get more hits with a picture. Somehow images of cute girls do better than average. Odd, huh?

Good Idea:

  • "If you looked any more perfect, Greek scholars would have assigned you a letter value defined as an infinitely recursive sum of fractions."

  • "Girl, you so fine I don't even need my course adjustment."
Bad Idea:
  • "Is that a vuvuzela in your pocket, or are you just really fucking annoying?"
  • "Are you a bluetooth headset? Because I feel like we're paired."

Related posts: One, Another One, Eight More, and Some To Avoid.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On PoshTots

File this in the "So Maybe the Terrorists Do Have A Point" folder, tagged "wasteful spending" and maybe "capitalist pigs."

What do you get for the child who has everything except the kind of parental love that fills huge gaping emotional holes? How about a $3000 Pirate bed? That's pretty cool, right? I mean my bed only cost like $900, and that was a full-size on sale. I think a 33"x66" "youth" mattress is a little smaller than a a regular twin, which sounds great for a kid. Plus, there's a deck ladder and a mast with a steering wheel and shit goddam a captain's wheel, shit yeah! What kid wouldn't love this for all of three weeks?

But maybe pirates isn't your thing. Maybe you're a ninja person, I don't know. Maybe three grand is just chump change for someone of your asshole-itude.

A $15,810 island bungalow bunk bed? Gilligan never had it so good! Fake palm trees, two beds and a slide; never has competition for top bunk been so fierce! Someone could take a coconut to the head trying to get up there. For real. I mean I'd totally bean a prepube to get into that tsunami-proof stilt hut.

No? Then say "Fuck that noise!" and go for broke with the Princess Palace Playhouse Bed, only $47,000. Yeah, it has it's own spiral staircase, and a slide with its own banister. And shelves. And frickin' minarets! It has minarets! Spires! Pointy things! Oh yeah, and there's a bed inside.

Still, if you're so rich that it doesn't matter or you are in some bizarre probate plot that requires you to burn throw a million dollars without anything of tangible value to show for it, then maybe you need to order the "La Belle Au Bois Dormant Coach." Might as well forget about this one if you've have even a vague idea of how much money you actually make. This one doesn't even have a price. It just says, "Call for pricing." That's a custom-made pumpkin carriage of cherry and rosewood. Love your little princess? Then stick her into a permanent display of the kind of fleeting, romantic attentions she can expect people to never give her in real life.

But wait, is that bed outside? Sure it is! It's a carriage! If only there were some way to make even more extravagant purchases for our children outdoors … of course! Playhouses! Let's put a $52,000 pirate ship in our back yard, honey. I'm sure the kids will love it. And if the neighbors ever get uppity, we can keelhaul the bastards and use their house pets for canon fodder. Yeah, it's kind of expensive, but we all want the best for our little swashbucklers, don't we?

If that's truly the case, every child would have one of these:
a Tumble Outpost. That's a $122, 730 jungle gym. Really, at that price, how do you even justify not rounding off the the nearest unreasonable sum? I'm sure $123,000 is just and disgusting to shill out for your fundamentalist compound worth of children. And I'm not kidding about that number of kids, either. This is basically a better version of what my elementary school bought to replace the jungle gym they had when I went played there years ago. This utterly insane. They even have a little version for $75,000 with a fock climbing wall. I can't really tell if this version has that, but it pretty clearly has a rope bridge and a cargo net. At this point, I'm starting to think most children would get winded trying to walk around any yard capable of holding these behemoths.

So obviously we need to get our kids some of these: that's a perfect replica Mercedes 500SL. It's a two-seater with working lights and disc break, and it's only $9500. For a thousand less you can get a BMW 325i, you know, like the kind I passed driving down the Long Island Expressway two days ago. No kidding, I passed an old green BMW 325 on the LIE, but in fairness that might have been an S series. Big difference for a true aficionado, I know.

Well screw it, let's just get one of these things and be done with it all:
I wish they had a bigger working picture. That's called, simply, "Children's Off Roader" and looks like an early-nineties model Jeep. According to the description it is capable of going thirty miles an hour and like all the other vehicles should be operated only by children wearing DOT-approved motorcycle helmets. According to my highly knowledgeable and trustworthy sources at iCarly, this $32,350.00 novelty technically qualifies as a legal 'car' under Washington state DMV guidelines. And why not? It's got head, break and tail lights, turn indicators, a horn, upholstered seats and runs on actual gasoline with and electric start and a three-gear, nine horse power 296cc engine. (That's bigger than a small motorcycle.)

Honestly, as crazy as that price tag is you might as well buy your preteen a Harley. They cost the same and A Davidson leaves a bigger smear when you crash into your giant fort.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Real Life Conversations VI: Grandmothers

Not my grandma, but she looks the part. If I were holding open-casting for a grandma, this lady would be a front-runner alongside Betty White and Mel Brooks in a wig.

My grandmother has a typically Bronx-Jew idiosyncratic speech pattern.

For one thing, she's fairly incapable or saying Ts in the middle of a word. "Mitten" comes out as "Mì'en," with a hiccupy linguistic hiatus in the middle.

On another note: when verbs affect verbs, her grammatical syntax reverts to Yiddish.
"Do you want me to…" becomes, "You want I should…?"
This would make sense in some Romance languages, where the expressions "You want" and "I should" can each be expressed as single, conjugated nouns without necessary pronouns, then modified into a question simply by adding an inquisitive inflection. For example, the Spanish "¿Quiere me deber?" literally means "[Do] you want [that] I should?" However this still makes no sense, considering that Yiddish is mostly German (written in Hebrew) and English itself is a Germanic language as far as syntax is concerned.

Fun for the whole family is trying to discern What the Hell Is Grandma Trying To Say?! (from Parker Brothers)!
"You know how to hang Venetians?"

Proper response: "Yes, Grandma, I know how to hang Venetian curtains."

Rejected response: "What? Like people? Yeah, I know how to lynch a Guinea."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Banks II

Still not about Elizabeth Banks. Sorry.

*A thematic sequel to "On Banks."*

My credit card number got stolen recently. I might have mentioned this.

Only two charges were made, even then only for $11.08 total and one do a shady LLC didn't even get processed because I canceled the card and changed my pin fast enough. How fast? The charges were made as I was balancing my checkbook online at 3:30 a.m.

I almost think it was all stolen by a friend or something, because the one charge that did go through was for an eco-friendly light bulb that was going to be shipped to me house. If not a joke, this was the worst credit fraud ever.

Anyway, I decided it was high time I jump ship on this old account anyway. There are no local branches, no ATMs and I'm getting tired of their crappy online policies. I went down to the Chase Bank in my local supermarket and opened up a checking account that actually has fraud protection where I say, "Stop this from happening," and their response is, "Okay," not, "We can't until it's already happened."

And do you know what they did for me? They told me the wrong way to make out my initial deposit, so they just let me have all that money early. Then they tried to get me to sign up for a credit card. I told them I'm a horrible credit risk with zero taxable income. They laughed. They put through my checking account and then decided that was enough to qualify me for every card they have. With low rates. And bonus points. And extra points. For no yearly. You know those commercials in black-and-white with the guy from the dog food commercials and the woman from Pam Anderson's old show V.I.P.? Of course you do. Well I have that card now. With a ridiculous limit. It's insane. I can literally charge something like seven times my actual net worth. I don't know what they smoke down at Chase, but whatever it is I hope they're dealing too because they would make a fortune.

I tried to close down the old evil bank for good the other day. You know what they said? A transaction I made Friday afternoon had yet to be processed by Monday afternoon. A full business day and you haven't approved $45? Really? Maybe if you stayed open past 3 p.m. you could get some shit done.

Speaking of shit, the closest branch I was able to go to (well, the closest branch I could go to without getting shot for driving through the area)? Massive shithole. The building is grubby. It's not even a bank. There's a bank across the street. There's an other Chase right next door. This bank? No, it's a shopfront in a mini-mall. It has some chairs and a couple lamps, with some bad paintings of sailboats on the wall next to large framed ads. There are to little kiosks. No bulletproof glass, no locked doors, just a fat, middle-aged white woman and a chubby, slightly younger Indian woman. They sit around in shabby store that looks like it was decorated in early-smoking-lounge chique and tell me I can't take my money away from their shit security because they haven't finished playing with some of it just yet.

I swear this bank would be better run by a couple of kindergartners and a Fisher Price cash register.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On Stormtroopers

The in-universe answer is 'by the time of A New Hope, a good percentage of Stormtroopers were being grown from the genetic material of inferior specimens, through nepotism and political favors.'

The industry answer is part of Law of Japanese Animation # 16, The Law of Inverse Accuracy:
"The accuracy of the 'Bad Guys' when operating fire-arms decreases when the difficulty of the shot decreases. (Also known as the 'Stormtrooper Effect.)"
The short answer is if Stormtroopers were such good shots, a naturally gifted water farmer wouldn't be able to slaughter them and that would end the story pretty fast.

I was informed today that I'm not a true Star Wars fan because I don't own Stormtrooper body armor. Fuck. That. It's like two grand for a real set. Hell of a pain to make it yourself, and still it's expensive. Frankly? I haven't been tall enough to fit into that until possibly last year.

I am a little short for a Stormtrooper.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things My Degree Has Gotten Me

Things My Degree Has Gotten Me:
  • Practice hanging frames
  • An ulcer from picking out not-pretentious frames
  • The ability to write off paper, books and certain movies on my taxes
  • Confidence in my use of the semicolon

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the Can Jam

Have you heard of beer pong?

Of course you have. In fact, you may even be the kind of asshole to point out that what most everybody calls "beer pong" is in fact a game called "Beirut." If you are this kind of asshole, please kindly fuck off.

Now that those assholes are gone, I've got a new game for the rest of you.

Have you ever thought to yourselves, "Man, I wish there a way to make this game even more white trash than it is already!" Sure you have. You've thought that every time you look down into your Bud Light and realize your throwing dollar store balls into gas station Solo cups.

Well, have I got a game for you!

"Can Jam" combines the simple premise of beer pong–toss a ball into a cup–with that favorite suburban pastime, ultimate frisbee. Add some beer and subtract the need for running and sweating and you have Can Jam.

Yes, in this game you stand fifty feet apart and try to toss a frisbee into trash cans. Oh, but here's the fun: each two-man team stands at opposite cans. A single point is for tapping the disc your teammate thrown and hitting the garbage can. Two points are awarded for the disc hitting the can directly and three for knocking the frisbee into the can. (Landing it in the can on your own is an automatic win.) Games are played to 21 points, with redemption giving the losing team a single turn to catch up. Overtime is played at +3 point intervals.

Yes, this is truly a White Trash game of champions, standing, usually shirtless, in hot, humid weather in front of not one but two garbage cans. Oh yes, and you're drinking. Drinking, throwing things at garbage cans.

Honestly, you wouldn't think we'd have a hundred dollar bet riding on this game after only knowing about it for three days but, hey, we're proactive.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Internet Explorer Is Being Gay" - Web Browsers Personified AND Stereotyping People By Browser

Image © Anji 2007

I heard someone today say, "Hold on, IE is being gay." Really? Are we still using "gay" as an insult? Why not "queer?" At least that's using the word for what it was intended. Every time I hear someone say, "That's gay," referring to anything other than legitimate homosexual acts, all I hear is "That's so non-heteronormative."

And then that just sounds retarded.

Web Browsers Personified:

IE - If anything, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the straightest of web browsers. It's like the most herteronormative browser there is. Everybody uses it. Which leads me to:

Safari/Camino - Clearly the housewife's web browser. Want to surf the nets after you've vacuumed in heels but before the roast is ready? Then you clearly log in to your AOL account on that cute little iMac your husband bought you in a pretty pink to match your nails. You're really the worst thing about this gender disparity.

Firefox - Mozilla knows it's the hot young stud, the star quarterback. F.F. gets all the girls and he knows it, but he also gets a lot of the guys too, the skinny, nerdy ones who are ashamed to admit they've lusted after his multiple plug-ins and his years of experience with tabbed web pages. But The Fox doesn't care. He loves everyone.

Netscape - The creepy old uncle of web browsers. Does he even do anything? We don't really know. He just sits there saving all his junk mail to his hard drive forever. That and look at really old, HTML-based websites of questionably-aged children.

Opera - That faggy kid from theater class who reads the newspaper and carries a satchel.

Users Personified By Their Web Browser:

IE -
Anybody who only uses their computer for "pregaming" playlists and to writer term papers on Adderall.

Safari - Girls who were given a MacBook when they got into college

Camino - Girls who were given a MacBook when they got into college and spent the money their parents sent for an OS update on Bacardi Razz and plan B.

Firefox - Men who stream enough porn to understand how to maximally utilize plug-ins, tabbed windows and keyboard shortcuts.

Google Chrome - People who do not understand how to maximally utilize plug-ins, tabbed windows and keyboard shortcuts, and who are otherwise terrified of Firefox.

Netscape - Your anal retentive father who prefers his email download and store on his home machine and his mail server be utterly sanitized. Also, anyone on the show Hoarders.

Opera - That faggy kid from theater class who reads the newspaper and carries a satchel.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Slacker's Soliloquy


I call her Care-Bear because it's cute and it doesn't seem to drive her insane yet. We'll see how long it takes. Anyway, the point is that Tenderheart was the fucking man when it came to Care Bears. CARE BEAR STARE!

My friend Carolyn posted something called "The Slacker's Soliloquy " by Enoch Tung a few days ago.

Angry that Mr. Tung didn't bother to finish his soliloquy–in true slacker fashion–I decided to do it for him. I have always been something of an overachiever.

Slacker's Soliloquy

To slack, or not to slack, that is the question;
Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer
The zeros and low marks of outrageous assignments
Or take pens against a sea of compositions
And by opposing, finish them.
To work; to accomplish
No more, and by accomplishment to say we end
The workload, and the thousand essays
That students are heirs to; ‘tis a dream
Devoutly to be wish’d. To work, to accomplish
To accomplish; perchance to succeed; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that accomplishment of work what mark may come,
When we have submitted this completed piece,
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long a school career.
- Enoch Tung

For who would bear the Fs and incompletes,
The TA's wrongs,
That asshole in the front row,
The pangs of despiséd tests,
The grader's delay,
The insolence of office hours,
And the spurns that college credit takes,
When she herself might her quietude make with an Aderol.
Who would midterms bear, to grunt an sweat under a a weary undergrad,
But that, the dread of something after graduation,
That undiscovered Real World from whose rent no alumnus returns,
Puzzles our will,
And makes us bear the course loads we have,
Than fly to Mexico for Spring Break.
Thus classwork does make cowards of us all,
And Powerpoints of great font and effect,
With disregard,
Their projects turn awry
And lose the name of action.
- Dave Zucker

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breaking News! 4 - The End

If you hated these, you'll be happy to know they're over after today. If you loved them, I'm sure I can write more and post them for another three weeks.

Jan 11, 2010:

Been A Bad Boy This Year: Christmas Bubble Bursts As C. Cringle Charged 483,000 Counts of Credit Fraud

Hot Alien Babes Dressed In Princess Leia Bikinis Only Probe Nerdy Virgins, Know No One Will Believe The Stories

War Against Sentient Cows Undermined By Dairy Bootleggers' Product "I Can't Believe It's Butter!"

Prince Namor Reveals Secrets of Atlantean Clean Energy: Thermal Vents, Whale Blubber

Obama Makes Midnight Sandwich, Use of White Bread Enrages Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Peacocks Petition Government to Legally Change Name

Area Man Attempts to Calculate Volume

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Breaking News! 3

Dec. 10, 2009:

No Means Yes? Tickle Me Elmo Introduces Safe Word

Trenton Man Watches Every Episode of Law & Order, Even Trial By Jury; Easily Passes N.J. Bar Exam

Thanksgiving Turkey's Diary Discovered In Attic, Tells Tale of Woe

ITT Tech Dean Offers CS Degree to Anyone who Can Set Up New Wireless Printer

Local Reporter (White, 35, Balding) Inserts Personal Ads Into Headlines, Seeks Large-Breasted Black Supermodel With Lycra Fetish Age 18-21

Liberal West Coast Ivy League School Teaches Racism, Redneckery Just to Piss Off Fox News
Rape Victim Wanted It, Says Aging, Haggard, Overweight Cop

Internet Bully Compared to Hitler In Real Life. Cries, Writes Scathing Blog "What I Should Have Said"

Jim Perdue Visits Psychic, Confronted By Ghosts of One Trillion Dead Chickens

Monday, July 19, 2010

Breaking News! 2

Nov. 23, 2009:

Stephen Hawking Amused for Hours By New Computer's Text-to-Speech Function

Tyra Banks Sees Self In Mirror, Starts Catfight

Local Teen's Sock Sues for Paternity

Starlet's Vapid Babble Causes Reporter's Head to, Like, LITERALLY Explode

Film Series About Gay Vampires Who Hate Adoption Weeds Out Bad Taste In Literature Through Natural Selection

Charlie Brown Adults Begin Debating Climate Shift, End As Smooth Jazz Combo

Sigmund Feud Released from Cryogenic Tube, Inexplicably Thinks of Sperm

AT&T Bans iPhone Sexting App, Plans to Reintegrate Later At Cost

Infertility Among Sex Workers Blamed On Low Stress Levels
"They just don't seem to bring their work home with them like the rest of us."

Hipster Rock Trio Gains Success, Immediately Disbands

Starbucks Invents New Holiday "Mochashanah" to Supplement Existing Seasonal Drink Specials

Hundreds of Ex-Lesbians Claim "Saved" by Close, Personal Relationship with Rosie O'Donnell

Movie Movie Released by One of the Guys Who Knew A Roommate of That Guy From That First Movie About Other Movie Movies, Grosses $600M Opening Weekend

Cobra Commander, Terror Drome Found to Have Gas Leak "Sssuddenly Ssserpentor ssshouted, sssmelling sssomething sssinister! Ssso we sssauntered to the Sssee-Dee-Sssee. Sssure as ssshooting, sssulphur dioxide…. Just glad we caught that in time, y'know? Turns out that stuff can have long-term speech effects."

New Pussycat Dolls Album Drops, Does Not Land On Feet

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On Breaking News!

Cleaning up my desktop today, I came across a series of files I had once penned and openly laughed at my own jokes.
Since I obviously have to inflict these upon the rest of you, I simply present "Breaking News!" a four-part series of attention-grabbing headlines I wrote for–and were entirely underused by–The Wad, a Binghamton University-based comedy website. (Which I named, by the way. Let's get that out there right now.)

Breaking News!

Nov. 11, 2009:

Nerdy Battlestar Fan Successfully Reproduces Asexually, Attends Con As Two Number Twos

“Nothing's really changed, we just play 'Call of Duty' in two-player mode now.”

Jesus Christ Descends From Heaven on Pillar of Light, Hails Obama As Messiah

Famed Anti-Cancer Drug Admits to Malignant Experience In College

“I was young and stupid. It was an experiment, a mistake … I
didn’t metastasize."

Asian Community: “Yeah, we all do sort of look alike, don’t we?”

"Melted Butter, Cannolis Good for You" Claim Extremely Fat Scientists

Project Runway Lauds Motley Hobo As Fashion Genius

Final Solution: Body of Rubik’s Cube Found Smashed Next to Nazi Literature

Local Man Questioned As Man-On-the-Street, Neighbors Shocked
“It was a total surprise. I mean I just seemed like a normal guy, you know? Real quiet like.”

Mad TV Inexplicably Still On Air

FDA Cautions: "Cheetos 'Dangerously' Cheesy," Pleas Fall on Deaf, Orange-Dust Covered Ears

Santa Claus Sues Walmart Over Christmas Decorations In October, Cites Defamation of Character

BET, MTV Greenlight Full Season of MLK Jr. Speeches, Promise Shocking Finale

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Scam Artists

As I was grocery shopping today, a man walked up to me. "You don't remember me," he said.

No. No, I don't remember you, random six-foot-four Mexican with bad teeth and and handshake reminiscent of grasping a cracked, dried out baseball glove.

"Think hard," he said so softly I could barely hear.

"Are you … are you [redacted]'s father?"

"No…" he said. "Where did you used to work?"

"The Gap?"


"Did you used to be one of the delivery guys?"

"Yeah, man, you still working there?"

"Oh, how've you been? No, I haven't worked there in … oh, two years, now? How's it going?"

"My son died today."


Apparently, he just came into A&P to see his cousin, but the cousin wasn't working today. Also, he'd been laid off from IBM last week. Then he asked me if he could ask two questions. The first? He asked for bus fare to get to the hospital today.

Yeah, in hindsight, I volunteered every piece of personal information this guy seemed to know. When it comes to charlatan psychics, this is what is known as a "cold read." By supplying just enough generic detail in the right setting, working from resulting clues a fraud can appear to know a great deal about a person.

How did I get out of this incredibly awkward conversation and whatever smaller favor he was going to ask of me after I said, "No, scumbag, you can't have me lucky charms my money"?

I told him that someone had just stolen my credit card number and I'd been dealing with the bank all day, leaving me only about $20 to my name until a get a new card next week."

Which is true, by the way. Fuckin' sucks. However the universe rewarded me for how well I handed many terrible situation all on the same day. When I went to check out, an adorable, punky/scenester-ish type of cashier girl with a blond bob started chatting me up. Seems she really liked that I bought my Red Bull in bulk. In hindsight, she talked about having one on her break enough that I probably should have asked when she got off, but 20/20 and all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On Goats

My friend Jo is deathly afraid of goats. She hates them. Their beady eyes with rectanguloid pupils, their nubby head nubs and tiny woman beards, what's not to mistrust, really?

Yet because of this, I have begun to find goats hilarious. If their is one thing above all else that men will never tire of, it is teasing girls. How great is it to just be able to hold up a thing, even a picture of that thing, and reduce a person to cold sweats and convulsions.

It's like having the ability to trigger someone's diabetes at the drop of a hat. Fighting by a farm? Toss her in the goat field. Losing an argument? Bleat a plaintive, "MaAaAaAaAaaaaa…" and end the discussion with the force of a stray bullet.

That said, I now know a man who lives in an upstairs apartment above a survivalist landlord. This man keeps goats, which I am becoming more and more desperate to pet and be photographed with, if only for more Anti-Jo cruise missiles. I'm failing pretty hard, though.

However, I have a new prospect. The same man who lives at the bottom of my father's street and collects giant metal roosters (wow, lot of internal links today), apparently keeps a ram.

There is no point to this. As far as I can tell he owns know other goats, wild or otherwise. This is a male, with big, curvy horns I could blow shofar music out of; it will not produce milk. If not for breeding, milking or straight-up eating, I don't know why this ram is kept so well. Perhaps the man is simply fattening him up for the end of the year, I really don't know.

What I do know is that every time I drive to my dad's place, now, I find myself slowing down around this one turn and straining to see if I can find that blur of white among the treeline. Well this past Wednesday I did see it, and unlike the last time, its owner was nowhere to be seen.

Straight-legged, the ram was perched atop a large, round bolder as rams are wont to do, chewing some hay with a circular motion of his mouth. As I neared a gap in the rock wall surrounding the property, I screamed out, "Hey, goat!" The ram stopped and looked directly at me, or as directly at anything as a creature with panoramic vision can look at anything, twisting his head and freezing mid-cud.

I wasn't sure what to do. I had the animal's attention. It was aware of itself. It knew what it was! Oh, sure, you say he merely turned to observe the sudden noise, but I know better! He thought I was going to convey some seriously important information to him, and I had to do it. That, or I had to be really, really mean and verbally abusive right away. Obviously, I chose the latter.

"You're a goat!" I yelled. Pressed for time and with little else to add, I sped away, cackling as I left. I had nothing to say to that goat, but damned if I didn't say it loudly. And we all know that's what counts in teasing something.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things My Dad Has Bought With His Marlboro Points

Things My Dad Has Bought With His Marlboro Points:
  • One (1) set outdoor cookware, blue
  • One (1) 24" double reflecting telescope with stand
  • One (1) Marlboro brand denim jacket with leather Marlboro patch, size L (200,000 points)
  • One (1) guarantee of not living long enough to develop Alzheimer's.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On Meeting Your Heroes 2: The Heroing

Photo courtesy David Andrako. Follow him on the Twitters @daveinbrooklyn.

Generally, hero worship leads down a pretty bad path. Invariably someone young idolizes someone older whom they wish to emulate, then get in trouble for emulating that person in an inappropriate setting.
As far as Hollywood has informed me, this person will either meet this person immediately and then have their fragile perceptions dashed (The Incredibles, My Name Is Bruce, Fivel Goes West), or they will constantly have their faith tested, always enduring and, with perhaps a smidge of divine encouragement at their darkest moment, overcome and finally meet their hero, seeing it is just as awesome an experience as they'd imagine (Mallrats, Wayne's World 2, That kid who caught Mean Joe Fraiser's jersey in the Coke commercial).
However,the way it usually works out is this: you worship someone for one aspect of him/herself (say Morrissey), from afar, but at some point realize s/he is just a person (he actually does have sex sometimes). If you ever do meet your hero, it is likely in a very artificial environment and anything of intimate value you have to tell them is invariably awkward to say in public.
When I was maybe eleven I met Steve Sansweet. Sansweet was then and is still some kind of huge big shot in the world of Star Wars, not for doing anything important, but for essentially being the biggest fan in the world, to such an extent he was put in charge of fan relations and creative development of expanded series. The guy literally wrote the book on Star Wars, and by 'book' I mean 'encyclopedia,' by which I mean both the original and expanded volumes.

Dude's big. And I shook his hand when I was eleven. Honestly? The guy was just a guy, you know? Except he honestly thought he could pull off a brown trench coat.

When I was twelve I got to go to the very first officially sanctioned Star Wars Celebration. (Are we sensing the theme of my childhood yet?) Incredibly, in a room full of people, I got to ask Jake Lloyd something during a Q&A. You may remember Lloyd as the little boy who ruined Anakin Skywalker before Hayden Christensen.
The problem was I had nothing to ask him. I was so focused on trying to beat out hundreds of flailing adults for the chance at a microphone and an opportunity that I never considered the possibility of winning. Worse, I had never put any thought into what I would ask the soon-to-be washed-up actor. Being twelve, speaking to a ten year old, I think I fell back on, "Hey. So, uh, like, where do you go to school?"

Obviously inappropriate in retrospect. However, it shows how unaffected I was by the gradual, humbling shuffle of a mediocre life. I was a kid talking to a kid he was kind of impressed with. I didn't think smalltalk was inappropriate, even with 300 people in attendance and one party on stage as Anthony Daniels points a microphone in the other's face wondering how an incredibly effeminate British man got stuck playing Ryan Seacrest to a chipmunk-cheeked prepube.

Which brings me to a point: I met Chuck Klosterman tonight. (Or "Kloe-sterman," as is apparently the proper pronunciation. The first new upset to my worldview.)

I met my favorite non-fiction author and I shook his hand. I also learned that we share incredibly similar views of internet culture, Twitter and even MTV's The Jersey Shore, though thankfully my thoughts on the matter seem to go a bit farther than he was willing to let on about in a 90-minute interview/Q&A. (This bodes well for getting him to buy a copy of my book.)

I wondered what I should say to him when I got up to his desk. I read enough from internet artists to know basic autograph protocol, I know what they actually find endearing, I know how to be a decent human being and rise above the tide of accolades and blind worship to instill that deeper, personal note in even a brief encounter.
Except I froze up. I wish I could tell you otherwise. I'll obviously lie and say that I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to ask. This will be mostly true. "Did being in magazine and newspaper publishing for almost two decades play a big part in getting your first agent and book contract?" (Obviously.) "How often do people ask you how you feel about getting married in lieu of having once written that no woman will ever satisfy you and vice verse, adding that you would eventually be asked this and respond with a cheesy falsehood, just to see if you say the same thing?" ("Not nearly as often as people ask me that question," seems too obvious. I'm going with, "Never, because it was a fucking joke and everyone gets that, including you. Stop being cute.")
So, no. No, I couldn't think of anything to say to this man that was worth it. Every line of praise would be wasted in public. This man–and to a lesser extent his friend and associate of the evening, Rob Sheffield–not only shaped how I write, but are the very reason I am writing the book I am writing. I can't tell them that; they deserve better than run-of-the-mill "dick riding."

With the girl ahead of me focusing her attention on Mr. Sheffield and Chuck starring at me as I hold up the line behind her, I caved. I passed on telling Sheffield I enjoyed his first book, even though I'm sorry his wife had to die for him to write it and I'm not buying his new book either, but he did teach me what an empire waist is in omen's fashion and that gave this very blog a joke last week. I forked over my old, dogeared copy of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs for Klosterman to sign, to the title page as instructed despite my desire for a big "C.K." Sharpie'd on my book's cover and was able only to eek out a soft, "Thanks," as I left. Again, I wish I could say my silence and quiet gratitude stemmed from a dearth of anything valuable to say and an inset desire to make his life a little bit smoother and easier.

But sometimes you meet your heroes and they are just as awesome as you've always imagined and you can do nothing but remain steadily awestruck.

Even if they sound eerily like Professor Bunsen Honeydew.

Seriously, North Dakotans must train their kids to talk in a higher pitch or something.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Classic Movies Ruined Forever By Outdated Plot Devices

"Hello, you've reached the Winter of our discontent. It's not 1994 right now, but if you leave your name and number I'm sure Ben Stiller will make a movie with it eventually."

Classic Movies Ruined Forever By Outdated Plot Devices:
  • Ghostbusters 2 - The old Statue of Liberty license plate scene at the end

  • Rambo Part III - Fighting for the Taliban

  • Pretty much any technical scene in War Games

  • Say Anything - Who the hell still owns a tape deck?

  • Ninja Turtles, Short Circuit 2, Coming To America and anything else that features Twin Towers in the New York City Skyline. [Ed. note: FROWNY FAAAACE.]

  • Reality Bites - Ethan Hawk would have fucking shot himself if he knew about Twitter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

American Idiot: Everything That Is Wrong With Theater and Why It Will Save The Stage

This past Thursday I attended an evening showing of Green Day's American Idiot on Broadway.

Why did I do this? Because it was my mother's birthday. My mom has been listening to Green Day longer than I have, longer than some of you reading this–the younger ones who really shouldn't be reading material of this maturity–have been alive. My mom owns "1,039." I don't care if you got really into Killswitch Engage or Tool when you were fifteen, facts are facts and the facts are that my mom is way cooler than you are. (I once got her a new Offspring album for Mother's Day.)

So yes, my mom bought herself tickets to a real Broadway show for her birthday, and the show she wanted to see the most was American Idiot. She invited me along because, frankly, she didn't know anyone else who could appreciate both theater and internationally acclaimed pop-punk. Being a gentleman, of course I accompanied her.

These following facts are what makes American Idiot better than any other play since the time of Shakespeare, though conversely it's also what will destroy everything the hoity-toity believe good theatre should be:
  • There is plenty of cursing - Both in the songs and in the (sparse) original dialogue, there is nothing classy or farcical about it, like in much of punk's early history, it's just there for shock value, though this in itself is a conveyance of raw, unrefined emotion, something usually only achieved in musical theater through emoting or high-brow writing.
  • Most of the audience already knows the words - You never have to listen too closely if you already know what the lyrics are telling you. Except for Disney musicals with puppets and other remakes, only theater nerds no the words and story to modern plays before seeing it for the first time. Most Victorian plays, meanwhile, were either topical or retellings of classic stories well known to the public.
  • You can walk in wearing jeans and a t-shirt - Hell, they have sharpies lining the entrance so you can sign the walls as you enter the St. James Theater. Something is very wrong about this, but I have to admit it feels good as a young, hip person to own the shit out of something historic like that.
  • YOU CAN DRINK IN THE FUCKING THEATER - I can't stress this enough. There are multiple bars inside the building, on at least two different floors and, yeah, okay, they're insanely overpriced ($17 for a cocktail and a beer), but frankly the bartenders are looking for tips and understandably loose with their liquor. But here's the kicker: they let you take your drinks into the show. You can drink during the performance. I was ecstatic to find a bar inside, livid that I couldn't drink during the punk rock show, and then dumbfoundedly reverent when I found I was mistaken.
This is exactly the point to reiterate that this show contains within it everything that will both kill and revive Broadway as an entertainment form. It is accessible, it is fun and more importantly it is youthful. It's grabbing a whole new generation of people at once, rather than subsisting on a few theater nerds until that generation ages and becomes conservative enough to start attending the theater.

And it doesn't hurt that this play is filled with enough sex, drugs and rock & roll and, oh yeah, real booze for the audience to get heteronormative men into theater for the first time since …

Alright, I've tried for about fifteen minutes now to come up with something that got men unabashedly into live theater and frankly I'm going nowhere. All my jokes either revolve around Rent or "Shakespeare In Love" and neither of those is very red-meat-and-potatoes manly.

I could use another $5 beer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On Skunks

While I was dogsitting for my dad last week, I came back to the house to find a friendly visitor in the front yard. No, it wasn't the well-meaning but overly personable mentally challenged guy from down the drive; yes, it was a skunk as the title suggests.

At first I just kept approaching the thing. I was busy, still singing in my head from the drive up with the wind in my face and a blaring radio. Then I realized there was a critter in front of me.

First thought? "Oh, aren't you cute! What the hell are you?" This is a fair question. This wasn't the kind of skunk you see in movies. With it's tail down and fir immaculately groomed (and without his Winter plump), it just looks like some kind of skinny, black ferret. "What are you doing eating our yard seeds in the daytime, little ferret?"

About then process of elimination as to hat this odd little thing was started to pick up. I examined the adorable little hands and the shorter fur and the long snout, and I reached the conclusion "skunk" right as I caught a glint of white on its tail.

And yet I'm still an idiot.

Next thoughts? "Oh, awesome, I'm so close. That thing is really cute! It looks like that pink-nosed skunk bitch from Bambi. What was its name, again? (It was "Flower.") I wonder if I can pet it. I wonder if someone lost it. People keep skunks as pets. They just get them de-scented-"


There's a reason people have to get their pet skunks de-scented. Suddenly everything about what skunks do when they're scared came back to me, but, not surprisingly at this point, it never occurred to me that my respect for all cuddly mammals and general suaveness might not placate the skunk.

I figured I wasn't scared of him, he shouldn't be afraid of me. We're both critters. If I can go about my day without bothering him, he should respect that and do the same. We'll be buddies.

Finally this train of thought seemed what we'll call "stupid." I wondered if I could just get passed the skunk and into the house on the walkway. There was a good four or five feet of space. As I inched forward in a very purposeful but oblivious manner, Mr. Skunk raised his tail an almost imperceptible degree higher and stopped chewing the seed he had found.

Remembering that skunks can shoot a concentrated stream of stank accurately distances of up to ten feet, I slowly backed away and waited until my not-friend went back to his nuts and seeds.

I ended up getting inside by taking a wide arc around the little guy, well out of ass-stink range, all the while not pointing in his direction, trying to reduce the amount of fear pheromones I was pumping through calming exercises, and just generally giving off the air of an animal that came across another animal it knows and doesn't want to bother.

Only later did I remember: I fucking hated Flower. Little pink-nosed bitch ruined my concept of Pepé Le Pew for me forever. Looking back on it, I'm pretty sure she was just constantly rolling ecstasy. Nothing always that happy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

On Cajones

You ever see a dead critter on the side of the road? I mean right on the side, not in the middle or part-way in like he made it about as far as the average distance of an outer wheel from the shoulder, I mean right on the edge.

I use to think that guy was just shit at crossing roads. Dude, you made it like a foot and a half. That's not very impressive. You basically died at the first opportunity. You're those guys on the beach from the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan." Yeah, it's stacked against you, but jeeze!

But then I realized something. A good percentage of those dead critters I see on the road's periphery are pointed towards the woods, away from the center of the highway. Sure, I suppose a number of those tried to turn around and run back–the cowards!–but I have to assume, statistically, some of those animals made it all the way from the other side of the motorway. Granted, they weren't the Ultimate Street Crossing Champion like any of their friends who managed to make it across the street, but those guys did a pretty damned good job. They went for it and, yeah, they failed, but they almost didn't. (To extend the "Private Ryan" analogy, I guess these guys are like that one soldier who walks around in a daze picking up severed limbs to see if they're his. Yeah, he's pretty screwed, but what a trooper.)

So just imagine the cajones on those critters that go ahead and take that last long trek. It's only a road to us, but even the biggest raccoon tops out around 25 or 30 pounds. Lets take a conservative estimate and say the average raccoon's about 20 lbs. He eats well, but he's still spry. That's still more than eight times smaller than the average American by weight. By height, he's like a fifth of us.

Have you ever tried to cross a highway without a crosswalk? With speeding cars? At night?

No, you likely have not. But wait, it's far worse for out little raccoon friend. It's hard enough to cross a highway as a person, now consider that for a creature about 18" long and weighing only 20 lbs.

Try imagining a highway that is from end-to end not four lanes wide (plus a median), but twenty lanes wide. Now imagine that instead of every day cars about 16 feet long and weighing 1.5 tons, cars are eighty feet long and twenty feet wide and weigh as much as 32,000 pounds traveling upwards of three hundred miles per hour. Now imagine you've never seen shit like this before in your life.

That's what squirrels and raccoons and badgers and skunks and cats and deer do every day. They're all fucking lunatics. The ones that make it back must seem like action heroes to all the other woodland critters. They come to this impenetrable river of death and say, "No, Mother, I must go! There must be something beyond the great divide. Perhaps we will find a new source of food, a new lace to live! If only just one of us has the courage to try. I will return for you, Mother. For all of you."

But yeah, most of them went out about two feet, froze, and got whacked trying to make it back, crawling away like little bitches.

Friday, July 9, 2010

On Salting the Wound

As Emmy nominations have started coming out, a wonderfully bittersweet act of providence has granted four separate "noms" to The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Now, O'Brien in interview recently reacted–there's no better word for his multiple levels of honest and facetious maniacal laughter/tears and sobs–to the news that most Google users didn't even know what The Tonight Show was. Frankly, I never gave a crap either, until the imminent cancellation allowed O'Brien and his crew to be completely unrestrained and, well, good in my eyes. Only in knowing that their time was short did they begin to film the show they wished they'd been filming for years. It's like the cancer patient who lives more in his last week than most people do in their whole lives. You remember Last Holiday? No, you shouldn't, but that's what it was about.

Anyway, knowing that the first episodes of O'Brien's new TBS show will absolutely have to contain some jokes about Peacocks, I was thinking they could try one of these as a really expensive joke for the first week or so:
  • The To Knife Show with Conan O'Brien - The Tonight Show set is rebuilt plywood-for-plywood, but with the addition of giant gleaming butter knives to either side of the main interview area. Obvious references to knives are made all night, including bad puns, claiming that their main audience is now survivalists and serial killers and having the first interviewee be Paul Hogan (of Crocodile Dundee fame).
  • The To Knit Show with Conan O'Brien - Same as above, but far cheaper. Conan sits in a rocking chair next to a grandmotherly old woman who knits for the entire hour or until she falls asleep mid-sketch. Occasionally, she gives Conan tips on pearling.
  • The Two Wife Show with Conan O'Brien - Conan rebuilds his set as a farm compound and dresses as a fundamentalist Mormon for the whole episode.
  • The To Fife Show - This is either an opening sketch about feudalism or small flutes, I haven't decided yet.
  • The 'To Life' Show - Everyone, especially Andy Richter, is so ecstatic to not be unemployed that every seven minutes during an otherwise typical Conan O'Brien Show the entire crew raises glasses of Manischewitz and a latke in a toast.
However it works out, I would just like to point to the irony that The Conan O'Brien Show is clearly going to displace Lopez Tonight from its current time slot, but no one is going to complain about that because as far as I can tell no one actually likes George Lopez for any reason. The man is about as funny as a paper bag.

Oh, sorry. Sorry! I forgot you can't make fun of ethnic comedians because it might be construed as subtly racist.

I meant to say George Lopez is "about as funny as a brown paper bag." Now everyone's happy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reasons I Want To Get A Motorcycle

Not included in this list: "Because I want to look like a gay leather enthusiast."

Reasons I Want To Get A Motorcycle:
  1. To ride it
  2. To look cool
  3. To save on gas
  4. To have an excuse to break out my old leather jacket
  5. So girls will want to ride it and they'll have to hug me

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On Lindsay Lohan

Recent obsessing over why Hannah Montana could possibly have become so famous to the contrary, my pop idol heart will always belong to Miss Lindsay Lohan.

Ever since she was 11 in the parent trap. (I hate dating myself, but I was only 10 too.) Through the eating disorders that robbed her of her luscious bosom, the drugs that replaced the eating disorder, the rehab and vaguely homoerotic bond with her best friend that replaced that, and even all the gross ways she looked trying to find the perfect amount of coke and liquor to power her through an existence empty of the accolades she so desperately craves. Even when she acknowledged that she was in an open lesbian relationship and appeared to actually grow as a person. Alone in my head, I stuck by her even through that.

It's been some crazy adventure, ups and downs, more downs than ups but much greater ascensions than even the longest crash. That said, here is a graphic representation of how hard I want to bang Lindsay Lohan over time:

(A full, giant-sized version can be found here, for those of you who are interested.)

Lets try a little break down.

1998 - The Parent Trap - Great remake. I'm ten, but even I want to kiss the Californian Lindsay on the lips out behind the swing set at recess.

2003 - Freaky Friday - Another remake. Yeah, she was around in between, but this was her next big thing and the first in her three contractual Disney pictures. She was an maladjusted teenage pop-punk chick who was gorgeous but wore a lot of black and didn't know she was hot. The perfect high school girlfriend. Also, from what I hear she and Jamie Curtis were both gave amazing performances of each other.

2004 - Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen - Dramatized being an egomaniacal, stupid bitch. Clothes were visually busy, distracted from lack of quality in rest of movie.

2004 - Mean Girls - Actually written by Tina Fey, this explains why the movie always seems like it was really good before being edited for television, except the parts that were cut out never existed in the first place. I distinctly get the feeling that Fey wrote a much better movie, as evidenced by the non-lesbian and the fat guy, depictions of legitimately vile high school life and pretty much any scene involving Tim Meadows. This was the absolute last and hottest jailbait Lindsay Lohan.

2005 - Herbie: Fully Loaded - Lohan in a jumpsuit, pre-substance abuse? By Zeus, at the premier events for this movie Lindsay was at her absolute finest. During the movie? No. After? Nope, that started her first major downward spiral, but right as the last of her Disney obligations was bombing in theaters, eighteen year old Lohan was looking so good I wouldn't have even minded picking up Wilder Valderama's sloppy seconds.

2006 - Just My Luck - I have actually seen the last seven minutes of this movie and had previously read a synopsis on Wikipedia. That said, it was just as horrible to watch as I'd imagined and up to that point successfully avoided experiencing. Poor acting, ridiculously "classically" handsome people running around pretending to know what their characters jobs actually entail and falling in love by wacky circumstance. Essentially, it was a teenage girl's version of Confessions of a Shopaholic, which actually fits the previous descriptions as well. Lohan's character is such a vapid, consumer whore, reveling in it until the plot of the movie forces her to become a real human being before finding her worthy and giving it all back as a reward, that I want her to fall off a slick cliff face. Yes, there's a point where I hate who you are inside so much that even I wouldn't sleep with you. Shocking, I know.

2006 - A Prairie Home Companion - Didn't see it. Heard it was really good. Lohan improves in my book for performing well in a grown-up movie.

2007 - Arrested on substance abuse charges. Sentenced to rehab, court dates, drug tests and later a very fashionable leg bracelet.

2007 - Georgia Rule - See my comments about Prairie Home, but add that she looks healthier and actually desirable again.

2007 - Never mind, she's a hot tranny mess again. Lots of photos surface of a pale, squishy-looking, strung-out Lindsay, hammered, wearing bikinis inside various hotel rooms. Many pictures of her nipples surface in this time and no one is doing damage control like they did for that one time she forgot her panties on a night out with the Hilton skank.

2007 - I Know Who Killed Me - Perhaps all that might have been due in part to her portraying a (literally) tortured, drug-addled stripper in this horribly bad thriller with an inappropriate fantasy twist. Though, appropriately, it puts a firm contrast on Lohan's character dichotomy: party sweet, successful, beloved daughter and her whorish evil twin every thinks is the same person.

2008 - Lindsay dates a girl openly. I'm wracked with that awkward feeling I usually get when a female friend I genuinely like gets a boyfriend and I am forced to deal with the realizations that a) she does not see me in that way, b) I will likely never sleep with her, and c) it's actually better for her emotional development to have a positive, functional relationship like I am incapable of. It's sad, but still kind of makes you feel good. Then she went crazy when even a very butch woman told her she was too much of a selfish bitch to deal with emotionally. Having been dumped by both primary genders, Lohan goes wackadoodle and tries to grab some of her stuff from her ex's place and gets caught outside hiding in the bushes.

2008 - In the middle of all that craziness, Lindsay achieves a childhood dream of becoming Marilyn Monroe for a day by posing nude for Playboy Magazine, replicating famous Monroe spreads and finally being naked on camera and not-blurry. Simultaneously, this fulfills many men's childhood dreams as well.

2009 - Labor Pains - OH GOD SO HORRIBLE MAKE IT STOP! [Note: babies are the precise antithesis of living your own successful life. That isn't the point this movie makes, but it's what I took away from it and that's what I think every time I see an attractive woman weighted down by kids or a baby bump. But hey, at least she puts out.]

July 6, 2010 - Lohan is found guilty of violating her 2007 probation and sentenced to 90 days in prison and an additional 90 days of rehab. Lohan cries like a little little bitch who didn't know she'd been getting trashed for the past three months in direct opposition to a court order and a piece of bling that measures her alcohol intake.

2010 - Lohan appears in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, a full-length exploitation film previously teased during the intermission of Grindhouse. Like the other 837 big-name actors in this movie, Lohan is gritty and likely murderous, and like all her female costars apparently appears topless and objectified. Ostensibly, it's her dream role.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm tired of hearing Lindsay Lohan's husky voice in the back of my head and thinking about her breasts. She's too high-maintenance. I just want to go to sleep and maybe have a sandwich later.