Friday, December 26, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas - 2008 Remix

"The 12 Days of Christmas" was always a nice enough song, at least for the first 20 minutes. I love how little kids get excited to scream "FIIIIIVE GOLDEN RINGS" loud enough to wake Jesus for his birthday. But those gifts...honestly. Anyone who was "my true love" would know better than to give any of these gifts. First of all, where are you going to put all those people and animals? There are 50 people involved in these gifts, plus 13 waterfowl and ten other assorted birds. Yes, I counted. So to assist modern day gift givers, I've decided to adapt the gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" to more contemporary tastes.


Really, this has to be a hippie drum circle. My aversion to patchouli and people telling me to take it easy means this gift isn't for me, but someone on your list might like it.


Maybe it's the baker in me, but the first thing I think of is people piping icing onto cakes. So the 2008 version of this gift should just be 11 big cakes studded with icing flowers. I would be happy to receive this, especially if it comes with the scooter I'll soon need to get around.


Ten guys leaping can only mean one thing: Basketball tickets. Syracuse/UConn, please. And as long as you're being so generous, throw in my travel costs as well.


Today's equivalent has to be strippers, right? Strip clubs really aren't my thing, but if all the girls were dressed in skimpy Mrs. Claus outfits, I might change my mind. Gives a whole new meaning to "Ho! Ho! Ho!", doesn't it?


First of all, get your minds out of the gutter. Yes, I'm talking to YOU. I think eight maids coming to clean up around my place ain't a half bad gift. I hate cleaning the bathroom and the oven.


I think I might take this one literally, because it means I might get a pond or a pool. They have to swim in something, right? I don't think seven swans are really going to fit in my bathtub. As soon as I get my pool I'll just release the swans into the woods or something.


If they're the geese that laid the golden egg, that would really help with the next gift. If not, it's still cool. I love eggs.


I'm not one for jewelry, and I also don't have a wife hounding me for any. So I'm going to interpret this as championship rings for the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies, plus for Syracuse men's basketball. And if all that really happens, I hope one of these gifts is a defibrillator.


If the birds that are calling are the Eagles, then after last week's game I am not answering.


How about Audrey Tatou, Eva Green and Juliette Binoche? Joyeux Noel!


You know what? I'm skipping this one. I'm up to here with fucking birds. Seriously.


I don't have a yard, so a tree is out. But I do love pears. So how about Shirley Jones serving me pear vodka martinis? Yeah, I said Mrs. Partridge instead of Laurie. She was way hotter. Wanna make something of it?

I sincerely hope that this update of "The 12 Days of Christmas" has helped you with your holiday shopping. I'm going to go console myself with the socks and useless kitchen gadgets I actually received.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Football Is A Hideous Bitch-Goddess

Why? Why do I watch football when it brings such pain?

Today began with such promise. I was in the championship game of my fantasy football league for the third time in four years, and my beloved Eagles needed only win the last two games of the season to advance to the playoffs.

As the afternoon progressed, the sweet turned to sour. I lost a thrilling fantasy football championship by the slimmest of margins, 100-96. It was not decided until the last minute of the last NFL game, when one of my receivers still had a chance to win it for me inside the 10-yard line. As that was happening, the Eagles were trailing 10-3 and driving for the tying touchdown. I was frantically watching TV and keeping an eye on the internet following the real game and the geek game. In the space of a minute, the fantasy football game was lost and an Eagles player was tackled six inches short of the goal line as time expired. To use the parlance of the dear departed "Wide World of Sports", I vacillated the entire day between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and at the end I was that ski jumper that took an Evel Knievel-style header and broke his ass in half.

Football, like love, is pain. I don't know why I come back for more in either case. This time, I think I've had it. Finally, I'm done with football.

Until next week.

The box score that will haunt me until next year

The six-inches too short catch that I will see in my nightmares

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Don't Know What This Means, But It's Not Good

I'm beginning to think that NyQuil inspires strange dreams. As if I didn't need more reasons to love this product. Last night I had one of the strangest dreams in recent memory.

I was at a hotel bar somewhere and out of the blue, Tom, an old classmate from high school, came up to talk to me. In high school Tom was neither a friend nor a foe; we rarely spoke. Why he would choose to appear in my dream is a mystery to me. We did the usual catching up thing, and he asked me if I was attending our class reunion, which coincidentally was taking place in that very hotel that evening. (At this point, I should probably interject that my actual high school reunion took place over Thanksgiving and I did not attend for two reasons. First, I now live 3,000 miles away from where I went to high school; and second, I have not spoken to a single member of my class since graduation day. That's absolutely true.) Back in the dream, I had been unaware of the reunion but I told Tom that maybe I would drop by.

I did drop by, alone. Even stranger was my outfit for the evening. I wore a white shirt, black pants, a tie and a vest. Not so strange so far, especially if I'm a waiter. But on top of these clothes, I wore a strapless violet dress. No one seemed to notice my bizarre attire, least of all me. I didn't actually realize what I was wearing until the dream was almost over. I fared pretty well at the reunion. I think most people liked me and I made a good impression, which would be a tremendous improvement over my actual high school experience. Towards the end of the dream, I think there was a sexy confrontation with and maybe a desperate pursuit on foot of some crush I had, but the details are lost to the fog that clouds dream memory as soon as you wake up.

I'm not sure I really learned anything from this dream except that I need to start taking more NyQuil and that violet is not really my color.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Candy Caned

I am a sucker.

I spent 13 hours baking today, and when I was finished and covered in the Christmas-y smells and stains of cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla and orange zest I just wanted to get off my feet, have some dinner and watch some Christmas-themed television.

Not unreasonable. However, the only Christmas-themed show on offer was a movie called Surviving Christmas. This is the kind of movie that will make you beg to accept coal in your stocking every year from now until the end of time if only this movie would agree to go away. "How bad could it be," I thought. "It has James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate and Catherine O'Hara in it." I didn't realize that I had dared the movie to be terrible. It delivered. If you like movies where the basic idea is completely implausible and then the complicating events are more implausible as the film progresses, then this is totally the movie for you.

I watched this movie until its entirely predictable conclusion. I'm a complete sucker for Christmas. Throw a tree and some lights into a movie and I will watch it. No questions asked. I just need my fix. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I admit it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Have Been Unproductive This Week

Click for a more detailed urban cityscape.

This is the view from my office. I have no idea why I have been hired to start this week, because there is very little work to be done until after Christmas. This has given me the opportunity to look out the window all day and observe human behavior.

Top 10 Things You Learn By Watching A Few Blocks Of Sunset Boulevard

10. There are really a lot of fucking palm trees here.

9. Two-thirds of people that enter Starbucks have black nerd glasses. Especially when I go.

8. No matter how much I ponder it, I will never figure out what that billboard with the Statue of Liberty is advertising.

7. It's probably not an accident that there is a free AIDS test clinic right next to a used clothing store called Out Of The Closet.

6. White is a very popular color for cars, which is stupid because they constantly look dirty.

5. I can now tell simply by appearance who will go into Rite Aid, who will go into Starbucks, and who will go into Denny's.

4. There are an awful lot of people driving around in the middle of the day who either don't have jobs or work as strippers at night.

3. 0.0001% of all squealing car alarms indicate that a crime is in progress. Unless being stupid is a crime, in which case that jumps to 99.9999%.

2. Either laptops have now become de rigeur for the homeless man on the go, or "vagrant chic" is the new bleeding edge of fashion.

1. I need binoculars.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The G-Chat Diaries, Vol. 2

This is the kind of witty banter that those of you who don't G-chat with me miss out on ALL THE TIME.

Okay, fine. I'm not really buying that either. But I haven't posted in a week, so this is what you get!

Chatter X: By the way, you're not getting your weight loss incentive this week.

me: That's okay, I've only lost 50 lbs this week.

Chatter X: Look, there's no way you're going to break me. I'm not going to ever say you're a dick.

me: No, really. I lost my legs in a tragic chocolate factory accident.

Chatter X: hah. Your idea of tragedy involves diet chocolate. Did you eat your own legs?

me: Wouldn't you if they were suddenly covered in chocolate?

Chatter X: Somehow, that seems sexual. Not actually sexual. Just kind of like, there ought to be something sexual about that. And

me: Vaguely reminiscent of sexual. Yet not.

Chatter X: That's how I'm going to write wine reviews.

me: Like something that sounds sort of dirty but upon examination just makes no sense.

Chatter X: Well, in all seriousness, if there ever were to be really something between you and me, then it would spontaneously happen when and if we ever met. Thousands would die in the subsequent explosion. implosion?

me: Now I'm onto wine reviews. They should be like "At first this vintage was reminiscent of Welch's grape juice with a splash of turpentine. But by the time I was halfway through the second bottle, I began to appreciate its piquant insouciance."

Chatter X: "Then I groped my cousin."

me: Explosion, not implosion. And you're right. It would be like that scene in Body Heat.

me: That's it, we are starting a wine review website.

Chatter X: I have not seen Body Heat, but I know it involves Kathleen Turner, so, yes.

me: Well, at that point in the movie she and William Hurt are dying for it, but they have resisted. Then he comes over and throws a chair through her sliding glass patio door and bends her over the easy chair.

Chatter X: "I enjoyed this wine. I consumed 3/4 of the bottle while eating a Lean Cuisine. Afterward, my cats seemed really amusing."

Chatter X: Man, that description just made me gasp.

me: I'm already imagining my review of Two Buck Chuck.

Chatter X: Like, totally not expecting it, "Oh, my," gasp. I'll never have adequate sex. Now I'm ruined. For movies and for life.

me: Don't worry, I think we're all capable of over-the-chair sex.

Chatter X: But breaking the sliding glass door first then chair sex?

me: Sure, why not? I mean, provided you have a sliding glass door.

Chatter X: I bet the lighting is hard to get right. There has to be adequate patio lighting.

me: No, because then you'd see him coming.

Chatter X: Plus metal chairs.

me: The sex was in the house, not on the patio furniture.

Chatter X: Um, metal furniture needed to break glass.

me: ohhh.

me: I think a well-constructed wooden chaise would do the job.

Chatter X: OK, I just laughed heartily, yet again.

me: Every conversation I ever have about sex winds up being about shoddily constructed patio furniture.

Chatter X: bahahahhah. IKEA is like your arch nemesis.

me: Do you mind if I post this conversation in my blog with your name missing? We're kind of funny, and I post like once every leap year.

Chatter X: Now I'm all flattered. NO

me: How about with your phone number?

Chatter X: Depends on if any of the men who comment are single and have the capability of hurling things. Not lunch. Chairs.

me: They're largely married dorks.

Chatter X: I know. We're not.

me: No, I'm a single dork.

Chatter X: Erase everything I just wrote after the IKEA comment.

Sorry, Chatter X.

- FIN -

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giants' Burress Bravely Transcends Metaphor

NEW YORK (AP) - New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, apparently unsatisfied with the results of metaphorically shooting himself in the foot, actually shot himself in the leg with a gun hidden in his pants pocket Friday at a Manhattan nightclub.

Burress, who in February caught the winning touchdown in the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory and subsequently signed a 5-year, $35 million contract, has since those events systematically attempted to sabotage his career with insubordinate behavior. "I had it all," said Burress upon his release from the hospital on Saturday. "I won the Super Bowl and signed a rich new contract. I couldn't wait to lose it all just as quickly. I wanted to follow the path of my heroes and use my newfound financial security to ruin my career with selfish, criminal behavior sure to disappoint my employers, anger my fans, and break the trust of my teammates. The Giants just wouldn't cooperate by disciplining me severely enough to make even someone as careless as me pay attention ."

Burress did make a genuine effort to sabotage himself. In September, he was suspended one game and fined $117,000 for missing an entire day of meetings and practice without notice to drop his son off at school. In October, he was fined $45,000 by the NFL for verbally abusing a game official. And recently he was benched for skipping a treatment session for his eternally sore hamstring. Burress has extended his effort to the field, as well. In addition to missing a great deal of playing time because of the balky hamstring, he has dropped several catchable passes and has become a smaller part of the Giants' offense as the year progresses.

"I made a good faith effort to ruin my career, but the Giants just wouldn't meet me halfway," added Burress. "They did discipline me, but I could tell that they would never just get rid of me because despite my antics, I am a talented player. I felt that shooting myself in the foot metaphorically was just not going to get the job done. Actually shooting myself turned out to be the best option. Not only did I set a new standard for ridiculous behavior, but by seriously injuring myself I have ensured that I will be worthless but highly paid for the remainder of the season."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Miracle (or just good timing.)

As most of you probably suspect by my frenetic, Poobomber-ish posting schedule,* I have been without work for some time. This week, I finally got a new job.

I got an email Monday morning out of the blue from my old boss Stu asking if I was available to work on a new movie. I hadn't spoken to Stu in at least a year, and we had last worked together on my Canadian adventure in 2006. I quickly accepted, because no matter how many chopped vegetables you mix into Rice-A-Roni, it can only stretch so far. It will eventually turn from San Francisco Treat into San Francisco Tease. I'm not particularly enthused about the new job itself because it will mean long hours and lots of Saturdays, but I'm excited about receiving one of those paycheck things I keep hearing about. Word on the street is that money can be exchanged for goods and services, and I love me some goods and services.

Now comes the part that qualifies this entry as "funny" for the purposes of a humor blog. On Tuesday my friend Julie emailed me and offered me a job too. Of course. Nothing for a long time and then two offers in two days. I told Julie that I had accepted a job in the visual effects department on Movie X just the day before and that it was too bad, because I like working with her. "Oh really?" she wrote back. "Guess what. I'm working on Movie X too, and I'm sitting ten feet from your boss." Well slap my ass and call me Judy. Not only did I get two offers in two days, but I got two offers in two days for jobs on the same movie by two people who acted completely independently of each other. Crazy. I guess I belong there. I'm really glad Stu called me first, too, because that job pays a LOT more than the job Julie offered me. But now I get the best of both worlds, because they'll both be around.

So that is what I am thankful for today. Now I don't have to fly home for Christmas and explain to everyone why I continue to devolve from Great White Hope to black sheep. I'm also thankful that there is a Taco Bell on the way home from the house I'll be having Thanksgiving at. Because I'm going to a vegan Thanksgiving. "More Tofurkey, WWW?" "Oh, no thank you! I couldn't eat another bite. Really."**

* See what I did there? That's quality humor.

** I don't think my host even knows this blog exists, but if he does then I assure him that I am just keeeeeding! - Ferecito style.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Strenuously Object

I saw something horrible on TV last night that has forced me to call for a New Rule.

A little background. The last episode of Six Feet Under is the best series finale of any show, ever. EV-ER. And without ruining it for anyone that might care to watch, the song "Breathe Me" by Sia plays a very important and emotional part in the episode. The song and the episode are inseparable.

And now...NOW. I heard the song begin on my TV and turned around immediately expecting to see something Six Feet Under-ish. But no. It was a commercial. For a VIDEO GAME. I cannot figure out how that song is the perfect accompaniment for two elfin guys with swords attacking a monster made of rocks. But someone decided that it is. And now that song is tainted.

New Rule: Once a song has become iconically and intrinsically attached to the last episode of a long-running series, it may not subsequently be used for any other commercial purpose.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Agree, Your Child Is The Next Brando

I spent yesterday working on an open casting call, which is normally orderly and slightly boring, save for some of the things that come out of wannabe actors' mouths. Things like "I was an extra last week in this big group scene, and the assistant director refused to tell us what our motivation was" and "I know I'm 37, but I've been told I look really young, so I can totally play the role of Sexy Co-Ed #3."

This time was different. We were casting for the role of a mischievous four-year-old boy. Imagine if you will, 100 little boys and their eager stage parents put together on a small soundstage waiting for upwards of three hours with nothing to do, eat or drink. In case you have passed out from paralyzing fear, I will pause to allow you to wake up. In the meantime please enjoy this test, which after yesterday sounds less like a humorous lark and more like a valuable job-survival tool: How Many Five-Year-Olds Could You Take In A Fight?

Okay, you back? Good.

The day stumbled out of the gate. The casting call was supposed to begin at 3, and at 3:10 we wondered where everyone was. Usually these things are packed. I went out to investigate, and to my horror I found that the studio guard had directed all our aspiring Culkins to the wrong place. I arrived to find about 200 people lined up along a third-floor outside railing, waiting in front of a vacant office. "HEY!" I yelled up at them. "Any of you people here to audition for Pedro?" After a chorus of annoyed agreement, I led the group of potential Pedros and parents to the actual location. If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to lead a's okay, I guess.

This complication meant that we had a crush of people to process all at once. Fill out the application, put this numbered sticker on your shirt, come stand on the X and let me take your picture. I have to say, I think baby photographers must have it easy. Kids will smile for you way easier than adults will. Adults are too worried about looking cool. One kid even did the robot in his picture, which doesn't happen nearly enough in pictures of adults. (He got a callback, too.) C'mon, who wouldn't like to see an adult doing the robot in their professional picture for the company directory or a press release? There was one kid who didn't want to smile. I don't even think he wanted to be there. Let's face it, when you're four, it's not you who wants to be an actor. It's your parents who want it for you. Most of the kids seemed happy to be there, but I felt bad for this one.

For three hours, the kids ran around like morons on the concrete floor. I had a bet with somebody about how many kids would get hurt, with an over/under of three. To my amazement, it was zero. I used to be a lifeguard and to this day I always get nervous when kids run around like idiots on concrete. Nobody ever used to get hurt in the water, only running around the pool. There was one really cool kid who wasn't running around, though. He wore a "Vote For Pedro" shirt, which was kind of funny, and he seemed very possessed of himself. After his audition, he even came back over to do his lines for us. Then toward the end, when there were only the six kids left who were going to meet with the director, he even insisted on helping us fold up and put away chairs.

I'd had enough yelling and screaming for one day, and when I got home all I wanted to do (after scheduling a vasectomy) was to soak in the hot tub, have some wine and make some pizza. All of which worked wonderfully. Wouldn't you want to have this at the end of a trying day?

Click for deliciousness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Woman's Guide To Sports Fandom

Today more than ever, women are infiltrating the previously all-male world of sports fandom. I am strongly in favor of this trend, as it increases the chances that my future wife will not hassle me to go shopping for dishes when football is on. Sports fandom however, like many avocations, requires specialized knowledge to enjoy it fully and gain the respect of your friends. Relax, ladies. I am here to help. That's why today, UBP is proud to present:

The Woman's Guide To Sports Fandom

Article I: Sports bigamy is prohibited.

Fandom requires loyalty and fidelity. You may only be a fan of one team in each sport, and you may not change teams on a whim. Following are the rules to follow when choosing your favorite teams:

Acceptable Reasons To Choose Your Favorite Team
  • You grew up in the team's home city.
  • You live in the team's home city now.
  • The parent, sibling, or man who introduced you to sports is a fan of the team.
  • You are a fan of a particular player on the team in question because they attended the same college as you. (Keep in mind before making a final decision that you will be stuck with this team after that player retires.)
Unacceptable Reasons To Choose Your Favorite Team
  • You like the team's uniforms or colors.
  • You like the animal that the team is named after (especially cats.)
  • You are attracted to one or more of the players.
  • The team is a consistent winner and you like being associated with winnners.
Acceptable Reasons To Switch Teams
  • Your team moves to another city.
  • The man who made you a fan of your team cheats on you.
  • Your favorite team is the Detroit Lions.

Article II: Participation in betting pools is limited to those with legitimate sports knowledge.

This rule is in place to prevent the girl who picks winners based on what team colors she likes or what team mascot would defeat the other mascot in a fight from winning everyone's money. My female roommate once won several hundred dollars in an NCAA basketball pool by betting on the Kentucky Wildcats "because they were cats and their coach's name was Tubby". This rule should be self-explanatory.

Article III: Women may not wear sports apparel that is specifically tailored for women or which features non-team colors for the sake of fashion.

This rule is designed to stamp out the trend of pink-colored sports hats and jerseys for women, and the babydoll-cut sports jerseys which have infiltrated the sports world. If you are a fan, you can wear the same stuff we wear, and sport the same colors. Wearing pink is like wearing a sandwich board that says "I Know Nothing". Sports fandom is about dedication and loyalty, not about coordinating an outfit. Besides, you look sexier in the real thing. Trust us, the hottest thing you can wear to bed is our broken-in regulation hockey or football jersey.

Article IV: Learn the lingo.

Nothing will give you away faster as a newbie than using the wrong terms. Here are some quick tips:
  • You "root" for a team, you do not "cheer" or "vote" for a team.
  • You also do not "like" a team. In sports, "like" does not denote affection. It's a word people use in the context of gambling to denote which team they think will win, e.g. "I like the Giants this week against the Cowboys, so I took them plus the six points."
  • You do not "make" a touchdown, a run, or a goal. You "score" one. Oddly, you DO "make" a basket. I didn't make these up, I'm just explaining them.
  • Do not ask questions out loud in front of a group of sports fans. In the beginning, your questions are likely to be quite stupid and hilarious. Remember the question and then ask it of someone you can trust later on, like a boyfriend, parent or clergyman.
  • When you are well-versed in the language of sports and feel comfortable with your level of knowledge, don't be afraid to flaunt it in front of your man's friends. He will be esteemed among his peers if you know your stuff, and doubly so if you can correct one of them.

Article V: Be cognizant of time and place.

Your man will be quite happy to watch the game with you as long as you understand that while the game is on, you should remain focused on it. I know that you will see this as a bonding time, and may be tempted to talk about other topics that you associate with bonding like how fat you are, what your mother thinks, and what that bitch in line at Starbucks had the nerve to say. But please take these tips to heart:
  • You may bring up other topics on commercial breaks, but only if the discussion can be brought to a conclusion before the game comes back on.
  • Other topics are to be avoided completely in the fourth quarter, third period, or ninth inning of a close game. If you should persist, your man may snap at you. Do not be angry. He is right to do it.
  • Keep in mind that even if company is invited over or you are out at a bar, a sporting event is a sporting event first and a social engagement second. Think of it like an Oscar party - you can have a good time, but everybody shuts up when they're about to announce a winner.

I hope that I have been of help. I enjoy providing valuable community service, and I sincerely hope that my female readers and also the court see that I have done that today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion: The First In An Endless Series

Huzzah! Kick the dog and wake the kids! I have been invited to be a guest blogger for the first time.

Please visit *E* Deconstructed to see me not being funny at all (this time on purpose.) ~E's blog is entertaining, especially if like me you like girls who like football. Additionally, unlike my blog, hers is frequently updated.

R.I.P. Cheap Trick

It's a terrible thing when a once-great rock band devolves into a sad parody. Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on exactly when that threshold is crossed. After all, on occasion, carrying on into old age and steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the passing of time works for a particular artist (Jimmy Buffet, Ozzy Osbourne.) But on certain sad occasions, the band in question makes it all too easy.

That's the case today with Cheap Trick. Witness the sadness:

A Very Special Offer.

Now, I'm not against buffets. They're proof that God exists, especially in Las Vegas. But a free buffet before a rock show is just about the most un-rock 'n roll thing I can imagine. I daresay that when your talents need to be augmented by heaping plates of "I Want You To Want Me Chicken Jambalaya" and "Standing On The Edge Seasonal Vegetables", it's time to hang it up. This reminds me of when I saw a performance by INXS advertised at a dinner theater during their post-erotic asphyxiation, pre-reality show limbo. I didn't have the heart to investigate further and see if they were billed above the Beef Wellington.

Cheap Trick, we know you want us to want you. And we will always want you on the radio on a Saturday night when we're drunk. But we don't want you like this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This afternoon my friend Amanda called me and asked, "What are you doing tonight?" This is pretty much the worst question ever after "Does this make me look fat?" and "Is she pretty?"

I hate answering this question, because if your answer is "I'm staying home", then it is assumed you are free and eager to accept any social invitation. Somewhere along the line, it was decided by the People That Decide Things that:

  1. Staying at home alone is the least desirable way to spend a Saturday night.
  2. Staying at home is not plans, but a lack of plans.
  3. The company of others is a priori preferable to spending time alone.
  4. Pursuant to (1), (2) and (3), any social invitation, no matter how boring or unpleasant, is to be immediately accepted if there are no conflicting social engagements.
  5. Pursuant to (3), failure to adhere to (4) is considered rude and a personal slight.

Predictably, when Amanda heard that I was staying home she invited me out to see a play written by one of her co-workers. I do not like plays. Most especially, I do not like plays by novice playwrights that are performed in 99-seat theaters by drama students and Starbucks baristas. They invariably remind me of Ingmar Bergman films without the levity. In this case, not only would I be required to watch the play, but because Amanda knows the writer I would be required to meet him and tell him how much I enjoyed his play. I do not need to tell you why this is unacceptable.

When Amanda called, I had already prepped a Cornish game hen that I was planning to cook for dinner and was looking forward to having a nice meal and watching my new Netflix arrival. To me, those are plans, even if no one else is involved. I knew that this reasoning would not work with Amanda, though. On a previous occasion she had called me at about 6pm asking if I wanted to get some dinner, and when I replied that I had already begun cooking dinner she asked why I couldn't put it in the fridge and have it another night. So that's what we're dealing with here.

As soon as she asked me to go to the play, I knew I was screwed no matter what I did. I was either going to ditch my plans and go do something I really didn't want to do, or I was going to decline and look like an asshole. I audibly hesitated as I told Amanda that plays weren't really my thing. She said, "But you're not doing anything else. You're just going to sit home instead of going to the play with me?" I really wanted to object to her dismissive use of the word 'just', but this was no time for pedantry. I sort of declined again, and then she - a woman who never misses an opportunity to talk about how independent and strong she is - played the helpless woman card. "Are you going to make me go to Hollywood alone at night?" I knew she was half-kidding, but I knew she was also definitely trying to guilt me into going. I wasn't having it. She finished with, "Well, I have to leave by six. Call me if you change your mind."

Amanda is Canadian, and is here for just a few months for work. I am the only person from Los Angeles that she knew before coming here, so I - the introvert - have assumed the responsibilities normally divided among an entire social circle. Not two weeks ago I spent 12 hours in the hospital with her when she had minor surgery because there was no one else to do it. I feel that I should be able to say no sometimes without making someone mad. I feel that if I want to stay home then it should be considered the same as if I have plans with another person.

I also feel that this entry started out funny but wasn't so funny by the end. So let me just say...POOPY!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I think a lot about why things are funny. In particular, I've been thinking lately about the difference between comedy and a mind-fuck. Is one legitimate craft and the other in bad faith? Is there a line between them that you shouldn't cross? Or is comedy an "anything goes" kind of performance art?

The example I keep coming back to is Andy Kaufman. Kaufman had an alter-ego character named "Tony Clifton". "Tony Clifton" was a sleazy lounge singer, and Kaufman often performed entire shows as Clifton. The ads promoted a show by Tony Clifton, your ticket said Tony Clifton, but everyone really knew they were coming to see Andy Kaufman. Kaufman wore prosthetics, and never broke character during the show. So far, so good...just an innovative kind of comedy, and everyone knew what the deal was.

But Andy Kaufman added another dimension to it. He took advantage of the anonymous nature of the prosthetics to occasionally have his writing partner Bob Zmuda perform the Tony Clifton shows without telling anyone. The only people that knew were Kaufman, Zmuda and Kaufman's manager. Even the owners of the clubs hosting the performances didn't know. Sometimes Kaufman sat in the audience in disguise. On one occasion Bob Zmuda even appeared as Tony Clifton on the Letterman show. Zmuda was basically playing Andy Kaufman playing Tony Clifton. The audiences had a reasonable expectation that they were paying to see Andy Kaufman, when in fact he wasn't there. Kaufman's response would probably be, "You're paying to see Tony Clifton, and you got him. You're not paying to see me."

I tell the Andy Kaufman story because it's a nice intro to what's keeping me up at night. Is it still comedy if you're not trying to be funny? I realize that you can be unintentionally funny, but that's not a performance, that's an accident. What I'm getting at is, can you be intentionally unintentionally funny? Let's say I'm a terrible singer and I want to perform a comedy bit about a terrible singer. I can do it two different ways. I can imitate a terrible singer or I can sincerely try to sing well, knowing that my sincere attempt will probably be funnier and ring truer than the imitation. It's likely to be emotionally crushing to go the sincere route, but the results are likely to be better too. And like the Andy Kaufman example, the audience will never know.

Does the sincere attempt at singing count as comedy, or is it debasing yourself for a laugh?

Was Andy Kaufman screwing the audience, or was he a daring performance artist?

Is there even a meaningful difference between the options in these two examples?

Does it matter that the audience will never know?

The world is falling apart, and yet this is the kind of thing that consumes my mental energy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Actual Conversations With Real People, Vol. 2

Today UBP presents another installment of Actual Conversations With Real People. These are, yes, actual conversations I've had with real people. Today's real person is *drumroll* a Deli Worker.

Me: "I'd like a tuna salad sandwich on wheat toast, please."

Deli Worker: "What would you like on it?"

Me: "Just lettuce and onions, please."

Deli Worker: "Any mayo or mustard on that?"

Me: "No thank you, just lettuce and onions."

Deli Worker: "Any cheese?"

Me: "No thank you."

Deli Worker: "Tomato?"

Me: (big sigh) "No thank you."

~ FIN ~

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama Wins Election; Reveals Divine Nature

CHICAGO (AP) - Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) won the 2008 Presidential election Tuesday night, handily defeating his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Obama received 364 electoral votes to 163 for McCain and also won the popular vote, 52 percent to 46 percent. During his acceptance speech at Grant Park, Obama also revealed His divine nature to a transfixed nation.

Shortly after urging the crowd to "put aside our differences and work together for the good of all Americans", Obama extended His arms from His sides and began to glow with an unearthly light. As the assembled masses gasped, Obama took on a glittering gold countenance and slowly began to ascend from the stage to a height of over 100 feet. Rising together on either side of Obama were Vice-President Elect Joe Biden and Democratic Party mascot/figurehead President Bill Clinton, who began to glow with a slightly dimmer light and assumed positions slightly behind and below the President-Elect.

"Fear not," Obama said, his voice taking on an otherworldly soothing and lyrical tone. "Today you have chosen wisely, America. I told you that a vote for Me was a vote for change, and you have heeded My call." The rapt audience began to shudder, some collapsing in the thrall of sheer Obamamania. "At the stroke of midnight tonight," Obama continued, "the faithful who have voted for Me shall vanish from this Earth as one in a joyful rapture and join Me in Heaven. A Heaven where mortgages are interest-free, war is but a memory, free healthcare is available to even those seeking nose jobs or tattoo removal, and everyone is gay. Those evildoers who have voted for Herr McCain shall remain on this Earth, left behind to fight wars over dwindling oil supplies and gradually succumb to global warming, the fiery hell of their own creation."

After His remarks, Obama remained in the sky flanked by Biden and Clinton, smiling beneficently and basking in the adoration of the crowd. For the remainder of the two hours until midnight, there was singing of songs, holding of hands and dancing of all sorts, even the white kind. As the clock struck, families and loved ones held each other tightly before transforming simultaneously into flashes of blinding light and disappearing from the Earth. The only signs of human life were the clothes left behind by the faithful and the distant sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth from McCain voters coming to terms with their fate. []

Ed. Note: The writer of this article wishes to make a correction.

"Apparently I celebrated too hard last night and ingested some substances with which I have precious little experience. I apologize unreservedly for my characterization of the events at Grant Park. What really happened is that just like every four years, we elected another guy who half the country hates. We're excited and hopeful now. However, it won't be long before he demonstrates that even if he is a very good choice, he is in fact human. Radical change, let alone Rapture, is unlikely because of our inefficient political process, the poisonous influence of lobbyists, and the very real limitations of the office of the President."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's A Major Award!

I have finally been decorated! Fancy over at Fancy Schmancy has presented me with the "I Fucking Love Your Blog" award, pictured below.

As well she might! Untitled Blogger Project has been lauded by many important and prominent figures that to the best of my knowledge you have never heard of. Plus Zibbs likes it. Just listen to these enthusiastic endorsements:

Barack Obama, President-Elect: "What are you talking about?"

Sean Penn, Actor/Curmudgeon: "I don't have time for this nonsense."

Cole Hamels, World Series Hero: "Thank you, but I didn't do it alone; there's 25 guys on this team. I'm just trying to help the ballclub."

Amy Winehouse, Singer: "Can I throw up here? I'll say whatever you want after that."

Sean Penn, Douchebag: "I said get away from me, you &%#$@ *&%@#!"

For those of you that are unaware, this is a very selective and prestigious award. It has only been awarded to seven people by Fancy, and then of course the person that gave it to her, and the six other people given it in that class, and then the seven people that they each gave it to, and th...let's just say it's a big deal. I won't be passing it along, because if I love your blog, you already know. Plus, the more of you mouth-breathers I give it to, the less it's worth.

Thanks, Fancy, and I'll try to keep this a blog that you can be fucking proud of.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Real Craigslist Personals, Plus One I Totally Made Up

Yes, they're all real and they're all spectacular. Except for the one I made up. I was going to put a funny note with each one but I realized that like a fine steak, they require no accompaniment. Enjoy!

Please don't email me if you have nothing nice to say and only say don't move here. I am a US citizen and have the right to live where I so choose.

I won't fuck your friends

I have a membership at 2 video stores

no BBw please also no gay guys and any other freaks.

diner ready any wana share me it


I am in a dead end marriage and don't know whether I should leave or not. I just don't know if this is as good as it gets or not. Are you better than her? Should I leave?

Please only read further if you have or have ever had a serious secret desire to receive an anal tonguing experience.

I am a good looking asian,5'10", 32 years old man looking for some chubby or little heavy girl (Not Black)

Hi there I am looking for a woman who is involved in recovery, I am an attractive and 6'2 200Lbs

i'm black & white, 5'10, love to play sports and dance. young ladies who were BORN a girl

i have a sneeze fetish. it turns me on to see women sneeze.. the wetter the better. if you would be interested in experimenting with this, or have done this before.. please email me.

we were married in the 70's I cannot find you

A bit about me --I'm not your "typical" WOMAN -- I'm not FAT, don't have herpes, and I sure as hell don't eat rice every day!

ive been single for a few weeks now so if you get me drunk, you'd probably get a blow job. just throwing it out there. send me a pic or a link to your myspace and ill send you mine. everyone has a myspace -- if you don't you're creepy!!!

I'm not your average Jewish girl; I am nice.

With this guy I don't want to have to worry about anything financial because he'll take care of. I mean that's wat there for right? I wanna kno wat its like to be treated like a princess

Have you ever had a PBR? Do you even know what one is?

Be discreet. Be loyal. Be sane. Be disease free. Be single. Be Drama Free. Be generous. Be humorous. Be Intelligent. Be height and weight porpotioned. Be oral. Be packing a 9" or more penis.

if you are interested in talking to someone depressed and lonely please send me a pic and i will send you mine.

Long walks on the beach, snuggling to some smooth jazz with my cats while reading a book, keeping up with what's going on in this world, hitting up the trendy new art gallery and going out for a cup of coffee are just some of the things I don't like do to. (Ed. Note: I almost wrote to this girl.)

UPDATE: To the guy who sent me an email saying only "Lets see if oyur interested", and then corrected himself sending another email saying only "Lets see if your interested (sorry)", I just want to let you know that it's actually "you're". Hopefully this helps in your future internet endeavors. (Ed. Note: This one too.)

Do you like persimmons?

Someone please save me!!!! All I really want is strong blk man's touch. I'm so tired of riding my imagination and masterbating it's pathetic

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Inspired by a travel sob story posted by Liz over at Gingers Is The Watchword, I thought I'd unearth something I wrote last year about a trip I tried to take on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend...

I'm sitting on the floor at LAX. It's 6pm, my leg is asleep and my ass hurts. But it's 6pm, WWW. Weren't you to depart at 1pm? And wait, weren't you flying out of Burbank? Yes, yes and God yes.

I was picked up for my 1pm flight at 11am this morning. When I arrived at the Burbank airport, they were already trying to get people to volunteer to get off my flight. Not a good sign. Because it is so brutally hot here (101), they had to lower the weight on the plane because apparently in the heat, fuel burns faster. Or something. I don't know, my expertise is not in chemistry, thermodynamics or airline policymaking. WWW, how many people did they need to get off the plane? Two? Five? Alas, dear reader, it was THIRTY-NINE. That is not a typo. I don't make typos, but that is a topic for another entry altogether. The gate people said that the flight would not leave until they got enough volunteers. I just knew that if I tried to wait it out that there would be an hour of passengers eyeing each other suspiciously and playing chicken, waiting to see who gives in. I had a connecting flight to make, and I could see the writing on the wall. So I decided to cut a deal before everyone else did.

What kind of a deal did you get, WWW? Well, the same kind of deal you make with a tow truck driver when your car breaks down in the town where they shot Deliverance. Instead of 1pm, I am now departing at 11:30pm. Instead of 1am, I am now getting in at 9:55am. The only winner here is my father, who is picking me up. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part. - I'm departing from ANOTHER AIRPORT. (Yes, I got a $300 voucher but I'm pissed and on a roll, so don't even think about trying to stop me.) When I and the other refugees from my flight were herded onto a shuttle bus for the one hour ride to LAX, it was 2pm (an hour past the original departure time) and they still needed to pull 13 people off of that flight before it could take off. I can't say for sure exactly what was transpiring with the angry, flightless and heat stroked people inside that plane, but I bet it could have inspired a young adult novel called Lord of the Skies. Poor Piggy. The Bus That Time Forgot arrived at LAX about 3pm, dropping me off a full 8 1/2 hours before my flight. On the bright side, that was early enough that I probably had a 75% chance to get through security in time to make my plane. In an incongruous stroke of good luck, I managed to get through the gauntlet without being disemboweled and by 3:30 I hell again. Hell in the anthropomorphized form of a woman named Helene.

Helene is a fiftyish woman who was next to me in line at Burbank while we were both cutting our deals. We wound up on the shuttle together and she insisted on talking to me. To be fair, she was nice enough. We had something in common as we work in different areas of the film business. Helene makes wigs. When we arrived at LAX, I helped her with her bag and tipped the driver for both of us since she had no cash handy. She insisted on making it up to me by buying me a drink at the airport. Since I couldn't possibly think of anything I wanted more in the world than a drink and I was on the spot, I said yes. We wound up in Chili's and as soon as we sat down her cell phone started ringing. And didn't stop until we got the check. Apparently Mary J. Blige needed a wig like pronto and Helene's shop was closing up for the holiday weekend. So she took and made approximately 15 loud calls during the 30 minutes we were at the bar. No joke. If I thought I could do it without her seeing I would have made the universal “I'm so sorry, I don't really know her” shrug to the family seated next to us and to the waiter. Mercifully, Helene's flight was leaving at 4:45, so she made a quick exit. In departing, she told me I should come to her wig shop to check it out so I could keep her in mind the next time one of my movies needs a wig. I told her that I would be sure to do that when I wanted to die painfully and there wasn't a melon baller or a pair of pliers within arm's reach. Okay, so I didn't, but that's what I would have said if I were cool.

I made one last anguished cry for relief by pleading with the American Airlines customer service rep to give me a complimentary day pass to the Admirals Club. After all, I was bumped 10 hours and one airport through no fault of my own. I had the same success I would have had if I’d asked them to wipe my ass with a cashmere pashmina. In other words, they said no. I have always wondered what goes on in those Admirals Clubs. I envision a grown-up frat party, the airline version of Caligula's palace. Champagne fountains, masseuses, dodo egg omelettes, a live string quartet, and giggly blondes bouncing on the laps of guys with loosened ties and pilot's hats. And for some reason, it’s always 1963. I probably shouldn't actually visit one, because they're bound to pale in comparison.

I'm sitting on the floor at LAX. It's 7pm, my other leg is asleep, and my ass hurts. And in sixteen hours, I'll be home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1,000 UPB Fans Can't Be Wrong

Sometime over the last week, Untitled Blogger Project received its 1000th site visit!

(Insert tasteful and classy fanfare here)

I'd like to thank everyone that made this possible, mostly me. Nothing I've ever written has been seen by this many people, other than the time I spray painted "Go Phillies" on that cop car and it wound up on the news.*

To celebrate, here are a few interesting facts about some of those 1000 people who have seen fit to visit:

1. I receive an alarming number of hits where the length of visit is recorded as zero seconds. I can only surmise that these people have a phobia of the color brown. Thanks for giving it a fair chance, folks!

2. I have a disproportionately large number of visits from Oregon and Alberta. I know one person in Oregon and none in Alberta. I'm really hoping that I'm the David Hasselhoff of Alberta and that I'm wildly popular there for no good reason. That would be tremendous.

3. I'm fairly certain that if Falwless, Dr. Zibbs and Fancy Schmancy did not pimp me on their blogs, my hit count would be holding steady at six (6). I would include Beckeye, since I was once the Firecrotch Of The Month, but that was before I had a blog to pimp and I was going by the mysterious nom de plume "fran".

4. Yes, I included that last bit just because I wanted to boast that I was Firecrotch Of The Month.

5. No fewer than EIGHT people have found my blog (specifically this post) by using the search term "kim jong il jacket". It could be many more than eight, but I didn't start counting until I noticed it was a trend. And they weren't all the same person, either. These people all had different IPs, some as far away as Sweden. If I had any idea that dictator haberdashery was such a topic of interest, I would have turned this into an entirely different sort of blog.

* Yes, I made my obligatory Phillies reference. As I will continue to do until they win the World Series despite the best efforts of metorologists, Bud Selig and God Himself to prevent it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good Grief!

I wrote this last Easter on the previous non-Blogger blog. But I'll be damned if I wait until next Easter to post it here, especially when I'm dying for content. Enjoy your reruns!

You're Dead, Charlie Brown!
Charlie Brown Of "Peanuts" Fame Dies At 59

PEORIA, IL (AP) - Charlie Brown, who rose to fame in the 1960s as the protagonist of the wildly popular comic strip "Peanuts", died Sunday afternoon after jumping off the balcony of his third floor apartment. He was 59.

According to police, toxicology tests indicated high levels of Xanax and alcohol in Brown's system. Early speculation is that he leapt from his balcony due to panic and anxiety stemming from hallucinations. Brown was found in the alley at about 10am by neighbors who heard incoherent ravings about the Easter Beagle coming from his apartment. Paramedics were called and declared Brown dead at the scene.

Police were able to reconstruct Brown's last hours from evidence in the apartment. On Saturday night Brown augmented his usual pitcher of whiskey sours with a few pills of Xanax and then dyed a dozen Easter eggs, hiding them around his apartment. According to acquaintances, Brown was unusually distraught over of a rebuffed attempt to reconnect with the Little Red Haired Girl through her Facebook profile. Police psychologists speculate that Brown was attempting to get so drunk that he would black out and forget he had colored and hidden the eggs himself. In this way, he could awaken on Easter Sunday and think that someone loved him enough to color and hide eggs for him. Ironically, upon discovering the eggs Brown became paranoid that someone had broken into his apartment overnight, leading to his anxiety, hallucinations, and eventually his fatal leap.

Friends report that Brown had become withdrawn in recent years, cowed by a continuing series of setbacks that started in childhood with his famous and ill-advised attempts to kick a football held by Lucy Van Pelt. "I don't think he ever really got over that", said best friend and renowned psychologist Dr. Linus Van Pelt. "Lucy is my sister and I love her, but she really did a number on Charlie Brown. It's bad enough to start in life as a bald kid whose father is a barber...I mean, do I have to draw you a picture? But he was never the same after that football thing, always waiting for life to pull the football away from him." Life did just that in 1975, when Brown's wife Peppermint Patty announced that she was a lesbian and filed for divorce. "Having his personal life splashed all over the tabloids was really the last straw for Charlie Brown", said childhood friend Schroeder. "A guy like that who's insecure to begin with? And then his wife leaves him for a woman? That's enough to make anyone nuts. And speaking of nuts, you'd have to be nuts to miss my set at the Airport Holiday Inn piano bar every weekday afternoon from two to four!" Perhaps the most touching tribute came from Brown's elementary school teacher, Miss Othmar. "Wah wah, wah wah wah, wah wahhhhh", whispered a tearful Othmar.

Charlie Brown is survived by his sister Sally Brown-Kennedy and his dog Snoopy IV. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial donations to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sheshe Taggedtagged Meme

I got tagged with my very first meme! I suppose I'm officially a blogger now. Kimmie from the mouthwateringly delicious food blog KimDeC did the honors, and thank God she did. I haven't made an entry in days, and frankly, I got nothin'. This will help me skate a few more days.

This meme asks you for your favorites in the following categories...

  • CLOTHES - I'm casual. Very casual. I like jeans, cargo shorts, t-shirts and hoodies. I do enjoy dressing up for the right occasion, like funerals and parole hearings. But I have no dress code at work, which means I tend to wear what's comfortable most of the time.
  • FURNITURE - I am a man, so I actually don't know if I have an opinion here. I like furniture that is comfortable and matches my apartment's color scheme of brown and red. I suppose one thing I do like is a loveseat that I can stretch out on with my laptop.
  • SWEET - Anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate. I'm also fond of ice cream, doughnuts and tiramisu.
  • CITY - Vancouver. The perfect mix of cosmopolitan big city and natural beauty. Clean, friendly, and smells like outside. I also love Dublin and, even though I was only there two days, Seattle.
  • DRINK - Jameson Irish whiskey, straight up. I also like dark hoppy beers and dry red wines. I don't often drink mixed cocktails, but when I do I like mojitos and Manhattans.
  • MUSIC - It's impossible to talk about my favorite music in such a limited space. But I'll give it a go and say my favorites are blues, 60s soul, and power chord-laden cock rock. My favorite band is either U2 or The White Stripes depending on my mood.
  • TV SERIES - The Simpsons, first and forever. My other favorites are The Twilight Zone, Cheers, Seinfeld, SNL, Moonlighting, and Jeopardy. My favorite current shows are 30 Rock, The Office, Pushing Daisies and Chuck.
  • FILM - Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's the movie that made me want to make movies. I was 11 when it came out and a girl I had a crush on grabbed my hand during the scary parts. A career was born!
  • WORKOUT - Hahahaha. Wait, really? Okay. I hate working out at the gym, but I love playing sports. Sadly, all my friends are comic book and movie nerds, so that means I don't get as much exercise as I should.
  • PASTRIES - Chocolate croissants. The end.
  • COFFEE - I love a good strong cappucino. The best coffee in the entire world is at Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver. Their espresso is almost chocolatey, and I swear they make the lattes with actual liquid velvet.
I think everyone I know has actually already been tagged with this meme...except for one person who's been neglecting their blog...

That's right, snooze, you lose!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

UBP Presents "Pat And Sully Go To The Game": A Play In One Act

Pat: I can't believe it! We're actually here at Fenway Pahk for a playoff game!

Sully: Hey, we still have to make our sign before we go in!

Pat: What should we write?

Sully: I don't know, mind is a total blank.

Pat: Well, think of some things you like.

Sully: I like Fridays. I like Hahhpoon Ale. I like Family Guy. I like baseball. I like how omelettes at IHOP always come with pancakes...that shit is wicked awesome. I lik...

Pat: Wait, WHAT? Go back.

Sully: We should go to IHOP?

Pat: No, before that, chowdah head!

Sully: OMG, RIGHT?

- FIN -

Comedy Blog Posts (Intentionally) Unfunny Entry

Scoring a cheap ticket because LA fans suck: $10
Subway fare: $2.50
Watching your team win the NL pennant and go to the World Series: Priceless.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My beloved Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from reaching the World Series after winning last night's game and taking a 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The hero was little-used Matt Stairs, who crushed a dramatic two-run home run in the 8th innning that was the difference in the 7-5 victory. Stairs has only been with the team since August and has seen very little playing time, so naturally he was happy to make a contribution to the team in such an important spot. In his enthusiasm, Stairs employed some unfortunate wording that will ensure clubhouse ribbing for the rest of his playing days. Here is his quote from the Philadelphia Daily News:

"You want to get that one big hit where you feel like you're part of the team," Stairs said. "Not that I don't feel like I'm part of the team, by no means, but when you get that nice celebration coming into the dugout and you're getting your ass hammered by guys, it's no better feeling than to have that done."

That ball isn't the only thing getting hammered on this night.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Drugstore Cowboy

Many of you surely read my heartbreaking account of a trip to the drug store to buy NyQuil. That experience has stayed with me, because such an unfortunate situation would not have occured if drug stores did not have the curious habit of understaffing their cash registers.

I've consulted hundreds of some two friends about this, and the problem appears to be universal. Be it CVS, Rite Aid, Long's or Walgreens, drug stores consistently staff only one cash register no matter how many people are in line. These drug stores often have as many as six cash register stations, but I can only conclude that these are for show and that the registers themselves are inoperable. It's certainly not a question of staffing, because whenever I'm seventeenth in line behind fifteen fat people buying Ben & Jerry's and one nervous teenage girl fiddling with a pregnancy test, I see smocked and nametagged employees wandering around the store in great numbers. They often congregate together and eye the line blankly as if to say, "Wow, there are a lot of people in line. I wonder if this is something somebody should be addressing."

Eventually, one of the frustrated and hungry Ben & Jerry's lovers will berate the person behind the operable cash register. "Hey, why can't you open another register? There are three employees over there playing grab ass and peeling security tags off of the Jagermeister!" The response will invariably be, "They're on break." I've never seen so many people on break at one time as I have in a drug store. It seems like the ratio of employees on break to employees actually working is at least five to one. How is this possible? I mean, everyone loves taking a break, but this is ridiculous.

I decided that I needed to get to the bottom of this. I donned all black clothes, put on a ski mask, and searched the internet for answers. You will be shocked at what I found. I'm about to blow the lid off this thing. Apparently, this behavior is not only tolerated by the corporate bigwigs, but encouraged. All you need to do is check out this sample Rite Aid store floor plan and it will all become clear.

Dateline, here I come!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rays and Chargers and Trees, Oh My!

Many of you don't enjoy posts about sports. To you I say: I don't care. This entry will prove that you can enjoy the sports world without actually 1. knowing anything about, or B. caring at all about, the actual games.

The Cinderella story of those perennial doormats, Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, has brought to the forefront a topic which has bothered me for years. Many teams in the sports world have a name which either does not match their mascot or creates a dilemma wherein they have multiple mascots that play on completely different interpretations of their name.

A little history is in order. The Tampa Bay Rays began their existence in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with the manta ray as their logo. As the years went on, the Devil Rays organization became uncomfortable with having the word "devil" in their name. For the 2008 season, the team announced that they would change their name to simply the "Rays", and change their logo to the word "Rays" with a sunburst. Thus, the Rays no longer represented a sea creature, but the rays of the sun. The Rays even made sport of the change, fining staff and media members a token sum for every instance in which the team was referred to as the Devil Rays.

All good, right? Until the uniforms for the new-look Rays were unveiled. As is patently obvious in this photo of the Rays' Rookie Of The Year candidate Evan Longoria, the Rays have kept the manta ray as a secondary logo in the form of a sleeve patch. Which is it, Rays? Are you the rays of the sun, or are you a fearsome sea creature? YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. It sends my steel trap of a mind into a logical loop from which it cannot escape.

The Rays are not alone in their duplicity. The San Diego Chargers, an NFL franchise for which I have many warm feelings, also engage in these shenanigans. As celebrity blogger Red from famous San Diego sports blog Pink Hat Nation confirmed, the Chargers have mascots that play on both the "electricity" interpretation of their name and the "war horse" interpretation. Which is it, Chargers? Are you a douchebag dressed like a bolt of electricity, or are you a noble steed? You cannot be both!

Finally, there are the Stanford University Cardinal. Contrary to popular belief, the Stanford athletic teams are not named after the bird, but after the color. So all those testosterone-laden football players are actually named after an abstract shade of maroon. Not very fearsome. Also not very easy to replicate in mascot form. Realizing this, Stanford...well, they went another way. That's right, the mascot of the Stanford Cardinal is a tree. If you can make a connection between the color cardinal and a college student dressed as a tree constructed from toilet paper, you are smarter than I. However, to be fair, the Stanford Tree has quite a colorful history for an unassuming conifer. During the NCAA basketball tournament, the Tree once put the moves on the St. Joseph's University Hawk, only to be summarily rebuffed. Not to be outdone, the 2006 version of the Tree was dishonorably relieved of his duties after drinking on the job. Nothing like a drunken, surly pine tree to get the fans jacked up!

I won't even pretend to know why a team called the Phoenix Suns employs a death-defying gorilla as a mascot.

I just wish that sports teams would adopt a consistent theme with their names, color schemes and mascots. I don't think it's too much to ask, even if I am a raging anal-retentive. Some might say that as an alumnus of Syracuse University, whose sports teams are named the "Orange", I have no room to talk. I disagree. At least the mascot of the Syracuse Orange is actually an orange. So there!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hot Tub Meta-Musings

This evening was quite cool by Los Angeles standards (i.e. my windows were open and my air conditioner turned off), so I decided to avail myself of the lovely hot tub on the roof. As I've stated before, I often get my best ideas in the hot tub, so sometimes I sit amid the bubbles for inspiration.

Alas, tonight my only epiphanies were about the hot tub itself.
Each of the four corners of the hot tub has a contoured seat, each with a different configuration of water jets. Three of the seats are quite comfortable (see Fig. 1). However, the seat with the very best and strongest jets sits a little lower in the water than the other three seats. This means that especially buoyant persons like myself tend to float over the seat, unable to sit comfortably (see Fig. 2). Complicating matters, the very same strong jets that make this the most desirable seat in the tub become an irritant for the aforementioned especially buoyant persons. Floating free and unanchored to the seat, these persons are easily propelled into the middle of the hot tub by the thrust of the very jets meant to soothe (see Fig. 3).

I can only surmise that the designers of this hot tub have lowered the most desirable seat simply to amuse themselves with the thought of innocent people being propelled across the hot tub, their only crime a desire for relaxation. Sonsabitches.

Friday, October 3, 2008

All Aboard The Dumbass Express!

Once again, driving around my fair city with a camera phone has paid off in hilarity. Check out this road work sign I encountered today:

You have to wonder how many people were involved in the design and production of this sign that failed to see the blunder. I should have every one of their jobs. You also have to wonder what a "pedestrain" actually is. I posit that it would look something like this:

Get used to pursing your lips like that, kid. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Double Indignity

It sucks to be sick. Just ask famous interweb logger Gwen. But it sucks even worse when you're sick and you make a public spectacle of yourself, as I did this evening.

I woke up with a horrible cold this morning. My head was a cinder block. All day I resisted taking medicine, because NyQuil is the only thing that works for me and I didn't want it to put me out in the middle of the afternoon. Finally at around 9, I decided to give in. I went to the medicine cabinet and lo, there was no NyQuil to be found! I never think to replace it when it runs out, because by then I'm usually healthy. This is known as "poor planning", or more colloquially as "being fucking retarded".

Since I was sick, I was dressed in my most comfortable, least presentable clothes - the purple t-shirt with the stretched out neck that shows a tuft of classy chest hair and the black gym shorts with white paint stains. The composition of "sick clothes" can be seen in this handy chart:

Despite my appearance, I felt like shit and I was just NOT going to change to run to CVS for NyQuil. I thought to myself, "I know exactly what I'm getting, I'll go to the self-checkout lane, and I'll be gone in 2 minutes flat before anyone can see me, point and laugh."

Yeah, not so much.

I approached the self-checkout machine and scanned the NyQuil. The wrong price came up, so I didn't want to complete the transaction. The machine, in its best HAL 9000 voice (if HAL 9000 were a screeching undersexed housewife), yelled "PLEASE PUT YOUR SCANNED ITEM IN THE BAG! PLEASE PUT YOUR SCANNED ITEM IN THE BAG!" The barked orders were accompanied by a beeping of such fanfare and volume that for a second I thought I had hit three cherries on the Double Diamond machine. The manager had to come over from the register where she had seven patrons in line to reset the self-checkout machine. So far my plan to go unnoticed was working brilliantly.

Undaunted, I made a second attempt to scan the NyQuil. The machine, clearly having lost patience with me, immediately started yelling again. "AGE RESTRICTED PURCHASE! AGE RESTRICTED PURCHASE! ASSISTANCE IS ON THE WAY! DO YOU SERIOUSLY GO OUT IN PUBLIC LIKE THAT? DON'T YOU HAVE ANY PRIDE?"* The sirens whipped up their frenzy again, and above the patrons in line a collective thought bubble formed that said, "Why can't that homeless guy work the goddamn self-checkout? I just came in for smokes and Lost starts in ten minutes!" The poor manager had to come over again and confirm my age. Apparently, you can't buy cold medicine in California unless you're 18 because so many cold medicines are ingredients in crystal meth, and because crystal meth is California's third-largest export after porn and malaise. I find this law highly illogical, as I would guess that 97.5% of crystal meth makers are 18 or older. Besides, if someone under 18 is a drug kingpin, I don't want to smother the entrepreneurial instinct in such an industrious young person. That's the kind of thing America was built on.

After the manager took my hair for DNA analysis and determined that I was at least 18, I was allowed to pay for my medicine and slink out the door just ahead of the glares from the rabble still waiting in the human line. On my way to the parking lot, I passed a guy begging for change outside the store. He took my hand in his and slipped me fifty-six cents. I kept it.

* I may or may not be paraphrasing the self-checkout machine's remarks