Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear Will Ferrell

If I was really a big fan of yours, I would find your career maddening.  As it is, I find that if you are starring in a movie, there's about a one in four chance that I will find it even slightly entertaining.  I'm not sure if you are just making bad choices, or if your compass on what constitutes a good comedy has been skewed so far off by all the ass kissing you received ten years ago that you just don't have a clue.  What I do know is that you owe everyone an apology for the idiocy that is Anchorman II.  I mean everyone, even the people that didn't see it, because there has been no getting away from it.

That should have been the first clue for everyone that there was going to be a major problem with this movie.  For nine years, everyone pined away, hoping that you would make a real sequel to Anchorman.  I say "real" because don't even try to tell me that Ricky Bobby wasn't a sequel with a different character that acts mostly the same.  You had nine whole years to get this right, but you kept saying that you didn't want to make a sequel.  Then, all of the sudden, you came on Late Night TV in character and announced you would do it.  In a whirlwind of odd appearances and weird commercials, America was inundated with your character and the weird sense of humor you were taking to it.  There was no getting away from Ron Burgundy.

I did not make plans to see this movie.  I enjoyed the first one, and even saw it in theaters.  The problem with it, the same problem I had with Austin Powers and Borat, was that every jaggoff that didn't have a sense of humor of their own imitated the character until all joy had been wrung dry from it.  Alas, the Monday before Christmas was rainy and awful out, and with little else to do on my day off, I agreed to catch a matinee with my sister.  There were several others in the theater, even for a Monday matinee, since many people had taken the week off for the holiday, apparently.  The only reason I knew there were other people was because I walked in while the lights were on.  For the next two hours, there would be no indication of life in that theater, except for when someone walked out before the movie ended.

Maybe you thought you'd be congratulated or idolized for making a comedy with barely any jokes.  You probably fancy yourself the new Andy Kaufman.  You both seem to share the same contempt for your audience.   To have a two hour comedy that isn't the Blues Brothers is hatred enough.  To have at least a half hour of that movie include a side plot at a lighthouse with a very unfunny song to a shark, that does nothing for the supposed plot, that might just be a hate crime. 

I think the main problem I've had with you through the years is that you have two distinct "modes" for your comedy.  You have the innocent man child, prone to fits of rage, as we see in Step Brothers and Elf.  This is, in my opinion, the only time you are actually funny.  You set up jokes, then knock them out, and you are aware that there are such things as escalation for jokes.  The other mode you get is your "Robert Goulet" mode.  Ron Burgundy is just a modified version of the awful Robert Goulet sketches you did on SNL.  They weren't funny then, and they are much less funny now that you've beaten them to death.  It's just pompousness and yelling.  I can get that from Paula Deen, I don't need it from you.

Worst of all, in all of the interviews you give that aren't in character, you seem like a humble, nice guy.  I can't rectify how you can be so funny in some things, and so god awful in others.  You're the man that created Bill Brasky.  You could have retired on that alone.  Instead, you've just gotten older and weirder, like that neighbor guy that sits on his porch and cries all day long. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dear Christmas

I know, there's not much worse than a 30 year old complaining about how old he feels.  Well, I'll tell you what I told my cat when he was yelling at me: you shut your whore mouth.

No matter what I try, I can't seem to bring back the feeling of Christmas fervor I had when I was little.  There's probably plenty of reasons why it went away.  Christmas isn't a jack-pot of consumer greed anymore.  It isn't a haven of time off from school and commitments.  I don't have a single minded focus of Christmas and only Christmas to fuel the merriment and the season.  Real life has homogenized it all into a faceless time just like any other, and I find that to be a shame.

The past couple of years I've tried to make things a bit more special.  I set up Christmas lights in the bushes in my yard and on the front porch so when I came home late at night from work I had some holiday cheer shining to welcome me home.  I meticulously collected and perfected a playlist of Motown, Rat Pack, and rock Christmas songs to listen to in the car to get into the mood.  I documented the case where last year I went to the mall I used to frequent to get some nostalgia going in my Christmas shopping.  The total sum of all of these efforts has been jack squat. Maybe if I lived in a snowy climate it would be different.  Maybe you only get that sense of wonder back once you have kids of your own.  I'm not ready for that.

It seems appropriate to write this now, because the last time I had that old Christmasy feeling was exactly ten years ago.  Christmas break 2003 was everything I could have wanted.  I drove home from college, having just finished one of the most fun semesters of my college career.  I was quite taken with a lady, and best of all, I had avoided giving a 2 hour ride back home to a giant nerd I had gone to high school with and had regrettably run into again at college. 

I'd taken all afternoon and evening classes for the past four months, and due to a hectic writing, theater practice, and social schedule, I had truly become nocturnal.  Bedtime was dawn, and I would rise again at the early winter dusk, ready to seize the night.

At that time, my sister was working for a small time newspaper.  She frequented the local library near the paper, despite the fact that, as an English major, she still cannot finish reading a book in under a year.  One day, early in my vacation, as a treat for me she rented the first disk of the miniseries Band of Brothers, knowing my love for World War II history and somehow foreseeing my future adoration of Simon Pegg.  So, instead of watching reruns of MASH all night as I did in high school when I couldn't sleep, I would watch episodes of B.O.B. from the time my family went to sleep until my father woke for work at dawn.

I have truly fond memories of the Christmas tree twinkling in the corner as I was enthralled with what would become one of my favorite productions.  I'd snack on Christmas cookies, bathed in flashing holiday bliss and televised mortar flashes.  By morning, the disk would be done.  I'd leave it on the table, and the next disk would be there when I woke at dusk and my sister was home from work.  I spent time with my family, and did the "home for vacation" thing of visiting others that were back.  I couldn't tell you what I got for Christmas that year, but I do know the experience itself was better than anything I could have gotten that was wrapped or bought.  In two years, I'd have a full time job, responsibilities, and much less time to sit back and enjoy everything I did that December.  Even that twinkling tree broke after that year, and none of the replacements have ever been as good. 

The only regret I had that year was that one morning, after finishing a disk and having breakfast with my father, I thought it would be a good idea to take a trip to my old high school and say hi to some of the teachers I had liked.  It was the first time I'd gone back there since I had graduated two years previously.  So, there I was found in clothes I'd lounged in on my couch all night, dark circles under my eyes from not having slept yet.  I walked up to the building to the odd looks of students that maybe remembered me as an upperclassman, and teachers that wondered what in the hell I was on, and what I wanted. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dear Huy Fong Foods

Please understand that I take a great risk writing to you about your beloved Rooster Sauce.  The Oatmeal is a crimelord and has put forth an edict that no other blogger can ever associate themselves with your product.  I cannot stay silent, though.

There was a time, not long ago, that we as Americans said that we would not give in to the demands of terrorists.  Surely, if the people living around your factory are complaining of the fumes from the pepper processing that you do to make the delicious Sriracha sauce, then your workers, who would be much closer to the process would be affected.  Seeing as the local hospitals are not choked with blinded, gagging Huy Fong workers, I think there is something else at play here.

There also must be a better option than closing down production, even partially.  There are no factories that are far enough from residential areas that you can move to?  Your sauce is one of the most popular condiments behind ketchup and mustard, and I have never seen a knockoff product.  There is no possible way your company is not raking it in.  Maybe a story will help you understand what you mean to me, and to everyone.

The year was 2008. A young, naive Greg with much more hair on his head but less fire in his belly went to a Vietnamese restaurant with his friends James and Lisa.  Back then, Greg was scared of hot food.  His put sweet Thai chili sauce on everything, because it was just spicy enough to convince him that he wasn't a coward.  At this restaurant, James encouraged Greg to try a dish called BiBimBap.  He was handed a sizzling bowl of rice, beef and egg, and also a ketchup bottle filled with orange fury.  One squirt was all he allowed himself, but upon tasting the beauty, he unloaded on the dish.  It was not too hot, but much more than he was typically comfortable with, and so very tasty.  Greg tried his best to find this sauce at the store later, and instead fond a red bottle with a rooster on it.

That night, Greg added the sauce to a pasta dish he had cooked.  An hour later, his housemate The Todd-Faced Killah came home to find Greg laying on the couch, sweating profusely.  Unsubstantiated rumors also claim that Greg was also speaking flawless Sumerian, and that he had translated the Voynich Manuscript on the wall with his own blood.  All reports state that the Sriracha fever hit a head, and at that point, the old weak Greg burned to the ashes that spawned me.

If that story isn't enough for you to keep production going, then how about I go with threats.  I know you bow to those.  Your sauce, while good on everything, is no longer hot enough to burn away that anger in my belly.  I've started making my own sauce, and now you leave me no choice but to publish the recipe for all.  If you go down, we shall self sustain.

Greg's Phoenix Sauce
prep time: 4 months     Cook time: 7 hours

INGREDIENTS:
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 pounds of peppers so hot that Minka Kelly is jealous of them
1/4 cup of malt vinegar
1 boom box
A copy of a mix tape that you made for a boy or girl you were crushing on in high school
1 blender or food processor
A container strong enough to withstand the hoary fires of the underworld

INSTRUCTIONS
1)  Grow a damn garden.  It's not hard, it's rewarding as hell, and everything tastes better.  Plant garlic, and plant lots of different kinds of peppers.  I grow habaneros, jalopenos, anchos, Biker Billy's habaneros, fish peppers, sweet italians, bells, chiles, cherries, and cayenne. 

2) Once those are all grown and ready, get out the boom box and throw that old mix tape on.  Yeah, that's bringing back some memories.  Probably not alot of good ones either.  Just sit there, and let them wash over you.  Once you've heard the tape, both side A and B in full, you're ready to start.  Restart side A, and get out a cutting board.

3) Cut the stems off of the peppers, but leave the seeds.  That's where babies come from.  Throw the peppers in the blender.  I use a Vitamix.

4)Peel the garlic clove, and add it to the blender.

5) Right about now, the mix tape is probably hitting the song "Glycerine" by Bush.  How do I know?  Everyone put that on a mix for someone they liked.  Soak in that awkward teenage angst by listening to both sides of the mix tape three more times. 

6) Pour the vinegar over the peppers and garlic.

7) Blend it all up until that sauce is silky smooth.

8) Tear up a little when the Goo Goo Dolls come on the mixtape.  Yes, you put them on there, and you have to live with that.  This will make you stronger in the end.  Remember when that song played in the eighth grade Valentine's dance, and none of the girls would dance with you because you were so very awkward?  Oh, you didn't remember that?  Now you do.  Let your tears season the sauce.

9) Take the blended sauce and put it in a pot.  Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to medium for 5 minutes.  Take off the stove and let it cool.

10) Some recipes tell you to let the sauce ferment for a week in a glass jar.  I am not patient enough for that.  I need fire and I need it now.  Pour the sauce into an easy squirt bottle while the Wallflowers sing "One Headlight".  The tears are weakness that you don't need in you anymore.  You must get rid of them so you are strong enough for the sauce.

11)  Put the sauce in the fridge to thicken.

12) Consume and be joyful.  It is fresher than you could ever hope, and tastier than you can ever dream.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Mauling of the Faithful 2013


For those of you that aren't fans on the Facebook page, you really should join.  Here is the amalgamation of all of the Maulings of the Faithful for this year.

Leigh Dowdle Profit, under the psuedonym of Starla Pippenshaw, perpetrated an elaborate series of events through six states and over a period of three years in order to ensure that a 37 year old widower named Brian Duritz would be standing at the corner of 3rd and Maynard in Portland, Oregon on May 27, 2013, just so she could drive by and make fun of his harelip.

Kevin Johnston sold the rights to the T is his last name to both Ice T and Mr. T.  When they disputed the ownership, he locked them both in a shipping container with one knife and told them to settle it themselves.


To answer the question posed in song by Barry Mann, Zach Rothstein put the Bomp in the Bomp She Bomp She Bomp.  And by that, I mean Zach punched a seagull out of the air and tried to make it into a hat.

Tom Barnes created the character Jar Jar Binks.

Jamie Dowd Latsko is the reason why Dominos can no longer guarantee delivery in 30 minutes or less after an elaborate Home Alone style set of booby traps left six delivery people wounded.

Eric Wilder has a lifetime ban from IHOP for a misunderstanding over what the “P” stood for in the sign.

Jamie Book once tackled a deer and rode it like a toboggan down a snowy hill.

Michy Aja has never been kind, and has never rewound.  Blockbuster went under because of her.

Regina Harris Lee has never left a penny in the leave a penny, take a penny.

Col Kpati denies that taxicabs are a real thing.

Timothy Dodge thought it would be funny if he had an archrival named Chevy.  Chevy Chase has not been amused, and has sworn a blood vendetta, which only spurs Tim on further.

Hilary Brooks has never said a word containing the letter “E” in conversation.  That’s mainly because she only mutters the word “blood” just loud enough for people to hear.

Jonathan and Christopher Beasley are the illegitimate children of Hall and Oates.  Hall was the mother.

Brian Massey has lobbied for years to get the nickname “Sassy Massey”.  The third time he was rejected, he burned down his own house in protest.

James King is an elaborate disguise of Eddie Murphy.

Joe Flannigan was once thrown out of Sea World for biting an otter on the face.  He was later given a medal of honor when psychics revealed that otter would have gone on to assassinate Elijah Wood for starring in the Flipper movie.

Liam Webb still enters soapbox derby races for the sole purpose of crashing into other carts and ruining the dreams of the children that built them.

Jordan Free is not free.  He is quite costly, in fact.

Ellen Kathryn makes little figurines out of the hair she brushes off of her pets.  She loves those figurines more than she ever loved the actual pets.

Tobey Mitchell is The Noid.

John Olson reviews different kinds of moist towelettes on Youtube.  He’s made millions of dollars doing so, and regularly forces the less fortunate to dance for his entertainment.

Lynne Fletcher was the person who convinced the band Three Dog Night to break up.

To this day, Dori Gregory will violently defend the claim that the Harry Potter book series is based off of a trip she took to Woolworth’s in 1999.

Dennis Fleming won’t even bother to read this sentence until I include the phrase “devil monkey”.

Laura Redfield has slaughtered millions of defenseless animal crackers.  She’ll be tried for her war crimes in January.

Theresa DeLizza has never blinked.  She says it’s a sign of weakness, and weakness is for Swedes.

Tomas Corazon was known as Hershel Pemis until he changed his name.  

Derrick Gray is the all time high scorer in Dance Dance Revolution due to his pioneering of a new form of the Running Man.  If he did even one move incorrectly, it could kill thousands.  Luckily, he’s never done anything wrong.

Catharine Chow Yoo and InSung Yoo are terrified that the cartoon strip “Garfield” will come true, because they’ve invested their life savings in Stouffer’s frozen lasagna.

Timothy Lankes has the unfortunate distinction of being the only person in America to have had a bowl cut, mullet, and rat tail haircut all at the same time.  They say he achieved enlightenment, though.

Gwyneth Whieldon has gone “Single White Female” on a Boston Crème Pie on eighteen separate occasions.

Errick Tirell is responsible for every movie Steven Segal has ever made. 

Nico Danks and Did Langrock think their names are sooooo coooooool.

Tenley Martin has broken my heart on no less than 300 occasions.  She says it is better than a cup of coffee to her.

Hannah Piper Burns, Stephanie Marie O’Brien and  Mary Kate Schneider Truesdale have had an ongoing battle on who can have the longest name.  While Mary Kate is currently winning, Stephanie is paying off a judge to change her name to Ricki Ticki Tembo No Sar Rembo Per Mer Uchi Pip Peri Pembo.  Hannah will retaliate by adding “Smith” to her last name, because she doesn’t really get the rules. 

Libby Davis ghost wrote the book “Where The Red Fern Grows” because she felt not enough children were crying in the world.

Elizabeth Anne O’Sullivan, Antonia Scholz and Michelle Trotter Milne are the three most frightening women under 5 foot tall I have ever met.  One day they will join forces and take over the country, or just team up to get something off of a high shelf.

David McKenna will never love anything as much as he loves the Taco Bell Gordita Crunch.

True story: Nancy Stange once tried to poison me in a Red Robin.  Luckily for me, the antidote was delicious hamburgers and bottomless fries.
Monica Cavanaugh is the result of genetic testing on hummingbirds.  She is why the Geneva Convention happened.

Chris Biller dresses up like Captain Hook and “invades” Long John Silver restaurants for the sexual thrill.

Corey Kehew’s favorite band, food, and arts and craft supply is Black Eyed Peas.  He just loves to let them fall through his hands while he giggles at them.

Karen Donnelly has perfected the ability to “mind Meld” with gummi bears.  She has only ever used this talent for evil.  

Jered Hannawald wants to know what love is, and he wants you to show him.  This is not a request.

Jade Marie Vega sends postcards to strangers.  All of them have a picture of a falcon on the front, and say, “If you stop loving me, I will kill you” on the back.

David Gregory was named Smith Campbell but he hates last names.

Jen Greenwood  once called out of work to play Sonic the Hedgehog for seven hours straight.  It wouldn’t have been a problem if she wasn’t the only air traffic controller at her airport.

Margaret Alldredge will kill again.

Katie Sill has tried for three years to start a Prince tribute band, just so she can finally wear velour in public without shame.

Brooke Summers and Tim Pumplin run the best hostel/pancake house one drunk guy on Yelp has ever been to.

Lisa McQuigan is the devil.  Nothing else cute.  She is the dark lord.

Kelly Vance Klocek invented Crocs as a form of birth control, but no one ever caught on.

Chris Law loves disco.  

Becky Bradford wanted to be the new Paula Deen, up until Paula Deen didn’t want to be the old Paula Deen.  Now Becky wants to be the new Greg Gumbel.

Christopher Neu became obsessed with rhymes, so he moved into a shoe, played a blue kazoo, went to the new zoo, and then infected himself with the flu.  If anything, he showed commitment. 

Every song Amanda Conway has ever written has been about the movie Glengarry Glenn Ross.

Angela Desmond was driven mad when she couldn’t figure out the difference between stalgtites and stalagmites.

Bodine Boling still mails dead Welshmen to my house, after all of these years.

Ryan Protos tickles people when he is stressed out.  This led to his firing from the Bomb Squad.

Annelise Montone holds the distinction of being the only native born American to have slapped every major guest star from the tv show Friends.  

William Chris Ward sued the professional wrestling group WCW over stealing his initials, and sued Macho Man Randy Savage over stealing his wardrobe.  

Scott and Ted Humburg were the inspiration for the character of Station in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, mainly because they constantly run into each other trying to fuse into a SuperHumburg. 
 
Julie Stricker, from what I can gather, is either the most hardcore person I hope to meet, or is the most hardcore person I hope I never meet.

Jodi Bailey, make up your damned mind about when you want to use the letter Y.  Everyone is getting tired of this shit.

Jessica Chappell dances like no one is watching.  We are all watching, and most of us are judging.  The Cabbage Patch is not acceptable.

Lisa Burkman Solier.   Nerd.

Kyle Reedy ate a live goldfish on a bet.  What he doesn’t know is that it’s still in there, and it’s stealing all of his vitamins.  He’s going to get scurvy any day now.

Clare Zuraw will only use onomatopoeia to communicate.

Heather Davidson Friel hates me so much she put a curse on my family, even though she is my cousin.

Natalie Litofsky, like Peter Pan, has no shadow.  Unlike Peter Pan, she framed hers for arson and it’s been in prison for years.

Matthew Mebert…oh Matt, you just makes things too easy.  Please…just walk away.

Katie Giraulo has been described as human tennis elbow.  The President has since apologized.

Keith Robertson is just a sack of skin filled to the brim with chiggers.

Laura Brockmeyer does not believe in the sky.

Jolene Schafer believes that she derives her powers from a Nintendo Power pack.  She carries it wherever she goes. 

Philip Walters’ idea of rebellion is occasionally spelling his first name with two “L”s on official documents.

Katie Cavallo eats kittens marinated in mushrooms.

Layla Calderon once tried to hijack a steamliner and crash it into Pauley Shore’s house.  Unfortunately for her, he lives in Nebraska, spending his days reliving Son In Law.

Michael Asplen worked for four months as an understudy to Corey Haim on a Reno, Nevada production of The Apple Dumpling Gang.  He calls that time period “The only time I was ever really alive”

Morgan Booz driving a moped made of turkey bones.  She made it during a nightmare.
Sarah Fisher has held my last name hostage for the last thirty years.  Her demands are a vat of lime jello and a strapping Norwegian man named Fleegor.
There is nothing I can make up about Ben Carioso or Joel Van Goor that is more off base than anything they’ve actually done.

Emily Teresa runs a dice game every Thursday at the Chuck-E-Cheese.

Hanna Gribble told me she would hit me with her car if she wasn’t worried I would dent it.

Jesse Howell steals eggs from bird’s nests and uses them in his perverted rituals

Jordan Bradford has thirty seven children with fifty two different women.

Steve Nickerson’s only love is a manila envelope he calls Puddin’ Face.

Sarah Mattes dresses like a geisha and tries to serve people McDonald’s apple pies at funerals.

Chris Layman funded every movie remake in the past five years.

David Wendig sang the definitive version of “Inna Gadda Davida” and has never spoken since.

Brittany Potts wrote a pilot for a show called “Potts and Kettle”.  It’s a show about her as a police woman, interacting with her partner Detective Agatha Kettle.  It was bought by Fox but never filmed, because it was needlessly racist.

Heather Rhodes Comegys smiled for the first time at the age of 28, when she saw a pigeon sucked into an airconditioner.  The pigeon owed her money.

Jordan Riccio wears a cape everywhere he goes. 

Joyce Phelps writes fan fiction about Debbie Gibson concerts.

James Yamakawa coats himself in grease and tries to break the sound barrier on slides at public playgrounds.
Benjamin Kloch still believes that Welcome Back Kotter is a documentary.

Jefe Tolbert roleplays as Mary Poppins.

Maggie Small Ferguson has made a lucrative living picking fistfights with Art Gallery tour guides.

Melanie Evans Curro is the chupacabra.

Sharon Rothblum Schlenger once ate seven pounds of marshamallows in a sitting.  It was regarded as the best Christmas mass her church had ever seen.

Laura and Erin McSpadden are part of the third best Heart coverband in North Carolina.

Andrea Buntz Neiman and Laura Weinand are destined to have a “Beat It’ style knife fight over the Dewey Decimal System.

Matt Lesley gets very agitated when listening to CCR playing “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”.  He feels like they never listen when he answers “Yes”.

Jaclyn Whittington, no matter how many different wigs you wear or costumes you wear, you will not trick me into getting into your car.

Megan Usilton lures children into her gingerbread house in the woods.

Mike Muszyski is known as the Pierogi King of Utah, but he’s only known as that in Arizona.

Travis Shaw digs holes at night in his backyard, whistling a hearty tune as the neighbors silently weep.

Valerie Sedai refuses to acknowledge that Matthew McConnaughy is a thing.

Elizabeth Friedel practices Krav Maga in case she ever has to fight a nun.  This is her greatest fear.
Vicki Fisher his racist against puppets.
Megan McGilloway has been doing the Neutron Dance constantly for seven years. 

Holly Brownley is convinced that culottes are making a comeback.  She has knitted eighty pairs.
Kurt Lewis was the only child that Supernanny couldn’t handle.  The Dog Whisperer couldn’t help him either.
Jessica Emerson was given the ability to go back in time for five minutes.  She used it to buy some Ecto Cooler.

Monica Cavanaugh has the habit of licking lightposts as she passes them.  She is now immune to all disease.




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dear Readers

If I were normal, I wouldn't do this.

A normal person would have stopped writing this blog a long time ago.  They might not have even started it.  Really, who in their right mind would continue to write a humor blog when, after two years, it has merely doubled it's audience from the fourth month of its existence?  Who would take the time every week to write a thousand or two thousand words about a topic they came up with, mostly on the fly?  Who willingly subjects themselves to the scrutiny of dozens of strangers?  Where is the motivation coming from?

This is not a complaint against my audience.  I love my readers, and that isn't lip service.  Those of you that read the blog, and like the blog, are fantastic.  You get on the Facebook page, and you interact with whatever lunacy or idiotic thought I throw up there.  Many of you have known me in real life, so you understand that maybe I'm not the most well balanced person, and you get where my humor comes from.  That doesn't stop you from sharing the blog with your friends and family, who don't know me, but still sometimes get a kick out of what I do. 

One of my very good friends once told me that while most of our friends were really good at one thing, I had a whole bunch of things that I was ok at.  He meant it as a compliment, and I took it as such.  I am mediocre to ok at a fair number of things.  I had a terrible band in high school, but I loved every minute of it.  High school theater, as cringe inducing as it can be, was like a drug when I found it.  Sports did the same thing.  If it had been up to me, I would have just been in college to act in every play I could, and sing in the acapella group I was in.  I was never great at any of these things, but I was at least passable.  I took it personally every time I didn't get a part, because that was one less chance to do what I was good at, and what I wanted to be doing.  Thinking about it, it's almost unsettling how much time and effort I put into things like the blog, things that will give me even just a tiny modicum of happiness. 


The motivation for me is there.  Kevin Pollak calls it the "Hey, Look at Me" Disease.  Doctors might call it some form of depression mixed with a need for validation, but Kevin's sounds funnier, and isn't far off, so we'll go with that.  I've always been happiest when I'm entertaining people.

I'm a person that, for the most part, can't do small talk.  I understand the concept, and know how the execution works.  I can even do it, to some success.  I don't enjoy it though.  It's not something I am good at.  I can shotgun emotion and feelings at people through music, performance, or writing, but I am terrible one on one.  It's one of the myriad reasons I don't have relationships, and definitely one of the reasons I cling tight to the friends I have had for over a decade.  They know me, and they admit that they know how to deal with me.  It is so much less work for me than trying to be likeable for new people.  See?  I find it easier to blast my feelings in public than anything remotely intimate.  This is the person you are dealing with for your weekly jollies. 

This is a thank you for the past two years.  For the people I know, and people I have never met, that come back and read what I've written.  It's a thank you for those that put up with me talking about this ad nauseum, like it's something that is important to everyone.  I understand it isn't but it is to me, and I appreciate you humoring me.  This is a thank you for putting up with the mania I put out when it's there, and for the maudlin, pandering, begging for attention that seeps out of my needy brain.

Hopefully this builds some good will before The Mauling of The Faithful later this week.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dear NaNoWriMo

I don't remember where I first heard about you.  I just know I wish it had never happened.  You've been both the best thing to happen to my writing since I found out people would read the idiotic letters I write to things that make me angry, and the worst thing to happen to my exercise regimen and free time. 

National Novel Writing Month seems like such a neat idea.  It's a month to stop making excuses and to get the novel out of my brain and onto paper, or the fake paper of a word processor.  I've been struggling with three different book ideas since college, about ten years now.  At one point, I had gotten about 1,200 words down for one of them, but abandoned the project when I couldn't figure out what to do next.  There it has sat, dormant and stagnant for years.

I can remember downloading an episode of the new defunct podcast "The Deceptionists" that dealt entirely with NaNoWriMo.  I listened to it while I mowed the lawn last summer, and made vague and ultimately unkept plans to participate.  When November rolled around, getting 50,000 words down seemed like too much of a task to undertake, so I instead wrote more angry letters to television stations and women who ignored me at stores, because I am a classy guy.

This year, I didn't really make a plan for it.  It just so happened that on November 1st, I saw a posting that you had started, and I decided, "What the hell?  I'm doing it."  Most of the good decisions in my life have been made that way, so it seemed promising.  How hard could it be to write an average of 1,667 words per day?  Most of my Open Letters are between 500 and 800 words, so it'd be about two or three angry letters a day.  Old people do that, so I could do that.  I did an eenie meenie mynie moe, and picked one of the three stories. 

The first two days went well.  I hit my word counts, and the story seemed to start well.  My character voice was strong, and I was surprised already with some of the story choices I made on the fly.  On day three, I hit a wall, and decided everything I had written was terrible, that I couldn't write in third person, and that I look terrible when I wear flannel.  Not all of those were relevant to NaNoWriMo, but I was in a bad place.  I tore down the story and started over.  Somehow, I even caught up and went ahead. 

As I stated, my free time suffered.  The little social interaction I usually do had to be cancelled in lieu of writing.  Luckily, the website for NaNoWriMo offers interaction with other writers, and after browsing, I found out that there was going to be a "write in" for people to get together and work on their stories around other participants.  That seemed like a great idea!  I could meet some people, knock out some pages on the book, and since it was at Panera, I could get a scone.  I just hoped the waitress I had written a letter about previously was not there. 

The write in was set to begin at 12PM.  I showed up a fashionable 15 minutes late with my laptop and a can do attitude, but couldn't find anyone else with the group.  Then, in the back, I saw an older gentleman with a laptop.  Surely he was there for the write in.  I set up shop behind him. 

Looking over at his screen after I had set up my computer, I saw he was doing a crossword puzzle online.  He was not a kindred spirit.  I went to the website and the Maryland NaNoWriMo Facebook page, and put a call out to the other people to see if anyone was coming.  After an hour, I still had no response.  I did find out that the woman that was supposed to be running the write in was in fact a 17 year old high school girl, so that started to bode less well.   I shook it off, and continued to work.

After a couple of hours, I heard some people talking loudly.  I looked up, and there was a young girl asking a group in a booth I couldn't see, "Are you all here for the write in?"  She introduced herself as the coordinator, only two hours late to the party.  I figured I was already there, I should go introduce myself as well, so I got up and walked over.

The booth these people were sitting at was behind a partition, so I didn't see anyone until I turned the corner and was standing right  at the table.  There sat another four high school girls.  The entire turnout for the write in was 5 high school girls and a large 30 year old man that hadn't shaved in five days and was wearing a shirt that said "Rough Rider" with a skull and crossbones that looked like Teddy Roosevelt.

I had stopped at the table, and before I could move on, all five girls turned and stared at me.  I had to say something at this point, so I told them I had heard them mention NaNoWriMo, and I was a participant too, and thought I would say hello.  To their credit, the girls were very nice.  They asked what I was writing, I politely answered, and quickly tried to go back to my seat.  That was when in unison, they all told me to come and sit with them. 

Again, this is five high school girls, at a table in the middle of the day at Panera.  There is a grizzled man that has been sitting in the corner, who everyone has seen get five cups of coffee from the self serve, and was muttering to himself for awhile over a laptop.  Had I sat at their table, the cops would have been called in record time.  People around them were watching, and they gave me looks that let me know that in no uncertain terms I was being viewed as a dirty old man.  I did not explain any of this to the girls.  I just ran back to my seat, threw on headphones, and tried to look nonchalant while I sang along softly to When In Rome and typed frantically.

I made sure that when I left, I looked at the carpet.  The carpet does not judge me.  The carpet knows I am not a bad person.  Only I could enter a writing contest and end up a pervert at Panera.  I have a superpower for misunderstandings and awfulness. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dear Non Smoker

I quit smoking cigarettes just about two years ago.  Yes it was tough, and yes, I know it wasn't doing me any good.  I've lost almost forty pounds since then, and am in better shape than I have been in years.  That being said, I still enjoy the occasional cigar and pipe.  It's calming, it tastes good, and remember kids, it makes you look cool.

My grandfather smoked cigars.
 

My dad smokes cigars.

So, yeah, I smoke cigars.

This week, I took some vacation time and went to Atlantic City.  This is a city where I would routinely go through half a carton of cigarettes in a trip back in my smoking heyday.  Now, with anti-smoking laws, and the general outcry of the public to make things difficult for anyone to have a vice that isn't food, sex, or terrible reality television, most casinos only have one small area where a man can gamble and light up a stogie in peace.  That, paired with what is apparently a new law that every casino has to blast "Starships" by Nicky Minaj at least once every half hour, can lead to some aggravating times. 

I found myself in one such room my second day at the shore.  I walked into the designated smoking area, and saw right away that there were two brand new Iron Man machines near the entrance.  Unfortunately, one was being played by a lady no younger than 80.  The second, immediately next to it, was occupied by her equally not young husband.  He was not playing the game, only sitting there to be with his wife.  Say what you will about me, but I did not ask him if I could play the game.  I simply took note of how much money she had left to play on the screen, and went to another game to bide my time.

The only game that was open in the immediate area was an older style game, but I reluctantly sat down and gave it a try.  The name of this game?

This is a game in which if you spin a winning combination, you are rewarded with both credits and wonderful Glamour Shots of different cats.  Instead of playing a game with Scarlet Johansson in a catsuit, I was seated at the feline equivalent of the Sex In the City slot machine.  Karma needed to be extra nice to me for not making that old guy get out of his chair.

While I played Kitty Glitter, I reacquainted myself with a friend, Mr. Arturo Fuente.  The cigar was excellent, and I hit a bonus quickly on the game, so I had a good excuse to get up.  I figured enough time had passed for the lady to finish her credits, and rounding the last bank of machines, I saw I was right.  The couple was gone, and only a middle aged man was seated in the left hand machine.  I grabbed an ash tray, and sat down on the right hand machine, cigar in hand.

Immediately, as I put my money in the machine, the man next to me muttered, "Jesus Christ."  I figured he wasn't having any luck with the machine, and I started playing.  Five seconds or so pass, and he starts "coughing".  This was not real coughing.  He was about as convincing as Keanu Reeves was as a Brit in Dracula.  I chose to ignore him, and keep playing.

Someone had eaten their passive aggressive pancakes that morning, because he started doing it louder and more deliberately.   I had enough and finally turned to him.

"Is there a problem?"

He looked at me like I had slapped him in the face with the corpse of his first childhood pet.  There was sheer horror on this man's face, as if I had stated that I endorsed using dolphins to kill other dolphins, and then killing those killer dolphins with the cast of the Kitty Glitter game. He immediately cashed out, and walked away.

Call me crazy, but I was in the smoking section.  I think that gives me pretty much free reign to enjoy a cigar without someone bitching or whining at me.  This was quite literally the only place where it was even legal for me to have that cigar while in the casino.  If you have so much of an issue with smoke, go play the other 100,000 slot machines in the casino that are located outside of the 100ft by 100ft smoking section.  It isn't that hard.  All the other crybabies are doing it, so you should fit right in.  Apollo Creed fought and died defending the rights of all Americans to do what they want to do, and you are spitting on his grave with your apathetic dramatics.  

It was your loss anyway.  I was sharing my delicious cigar with you, for free I might add.  Had you stuck around, I would have also treated you to my rendition of the song "Iron Man", sung in the style of that great plastic surgery disaster Sir Kenneth Rogers. I also don't know any of the lyrics, so I tend to sing it, "I am Iron Man.  Iron iron iron iron IRON MAN!"


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dear Sesame Street

Today is Sesame Street Day, or so MSN homepage tells me, so I feel like it is an appropriate time for this letter.  I've sat back long enough, hoping someone else would say something.  As in most things, it seems like it's been left to me to make the world a better place.  From what I gather, at the outset, your goal was to create an educational tool that children will enjoy while not at school.  Ideally, it was a way that adults could use the electronic babysitter for their children and not worry that they were only being subjected to mindless garbage.  If we worked in ideals, Adrianne Palicki and I would be happily married, solving mysteries while riding a fanboat.  No, we live in the real world, where her lawyers have repeatedly asked to to stop contacting her, the police keep telling me I have no business at their crimes scenes, and your characters set a terrible example for the children they are supposedly educating.

Let's take Elmo for example.  Elmo is a furry little monster that started out as a background character, had several wildly different voices, and then became a breakout star with his high pitched, nasal whine.  Basically, he is Fran Drescher. The main difference is, children know to fear Fran Drescher, and they don't learn from her.  If you ask Elmo anything, he will undoubtedly refer to himself in the third person.  Only three types of people talk in the third person: NFL wide receivers, pimps, and Bob Dole.  None of them should be allowed around children.

Cookie Monster is another good one.  Since his creation, childhood diabetes has risen over eleven million percent according to some studies that I may or may not have made up.  Furthermore, he's the clearest depiction of an addict that some children will ever know.  One day, he'll be singing "C is for Cough Syrup" and no one will bat an eyelash, because we've all known it was coming.

The rest of your cast of characters are either blatant stereotypes, blackboards that your producers use to promote whatever agenda they see fit, or simply hellacious monsters burst forth from some nether region to enslave mankind.  Bert and Ernie are blatant stereotypes of the downtrodden Armenian coal miner and Snuffalupagus is barely more than a minstrel show caricature of a Greek fisherman.  Grover has been used to perpetuate the rape culture of America for decades, and Big Bird is a thinly veiled recreation of the pagan god Aengus, known as the frightful god of spring, who feasts upon cattle fortnightly.

I will not stand to let my children, however fictitious they may be, be sullied by your foul and blasphemous propaganda.  If my children need to watch television to learn something, they will be what I did, and learn from Night Court.

Also, this letter had nothing to do with the fact that I threw up in the ball pit at Sesame Place.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dear Winamp

How did you let iTunes beat you out for computer music playing supremacy?  In 1998, you had the world on a string, but your hubris and vanity opened the door for the far inferior Apple to steal your glory.

Throughout high school and college, you were a constant on my Gateway desktop computer.  I had custom skins downloaded, including the awesome Social Distortion skeleton skin, and the Johnny the Homicidal Maniac one as well, lest people think for a second that I was not down with the counterculture, thinking man's graphic novels.  Napster kept a constant stream of tasty new music flowing through your custom built playlists, and the new joy of ripping cd's to my computer ensured that we would never run out of tunes.

You were with me through almost every paper I wrote in high school.  You were there when I did my college acceptance essay, through my term papers, and kept me up until dawn every morning as I worked on my senior thesis.  You and I kept parties thumping, and entertain the occasional lady that we were able to get back to my room with promises of candy and a bootleg Flogging Molly concert recording.  You were there through every rewrite of my "independent movie", which was code for "Look at me, I'm making a college movie.  Please love me, ladies!  I'm artsy!"

Fondly, I remember the day I found the Milkdrop visualization button on your interface.  That's the thing you click and all the lines and pretty colors dance around and make your music even better.
See?   That's the only known way of making "Ace of Spades" a better song.  Even Lemmy agrees.

Sadly, very shortly after college, you became somewhat a joke after iTunes came to power and Metallica killed Napster with their whining and posturing.  Why would someone export all of their songs to you when they were already immediately in iTunes after they were legally paid for?

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to correlate the fact that most of my creative writing curtailed in the years after college, the years where you were absent from my life. Therefore, I place the blame solely on you.  Unable to whip the llamas ass, as you were so want to say, I never wrote the Great American Novel.  I didn't even get close to the Great Canadian novel.  At best, I was somewhere between Belgium and Qatar in the Great Novel game, and that won't cut it by any stretch.

I came up with a plan though.  No one said you can't go back.  I went there, and I'm birnging this with me. 

Does Chabon have Fishbone on his Social D. Winamp?  No.   He probably uses Windows Media Center like a sucker.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dear Halloween Detractors, Part II

When I was growing up, Halloween was a big deal.  Where I lived in both Pennsylvania and Delaware, kids owned the night on October 31.  Great care was taken in picking out the perfect costume, and rigorous tests were performed on whatever pillowcase or satchel you planned to use to haul all of your candy home.  The truly entrepreneurial kids would plot out the best route, taking into account the houses with the best and worst candy from years past.  When I started school in Maryland, the school even took part of the day out to do a "Costume Parade" where all of the kids got to show off their Halloween costumes before the big night.  You'd think that it might seem uncool to the kids to do that, but we were always excited, because Halloween is that good, only perhaps eclipsed by Christmas and summer break from school. Even parents would get involved.  Houses were always decorated, and someone would throw a haunted house or try their level best to scare the hell out of every kid that came for candy.

Look at this.


I was freakin' adorable.  And awesome.  Not much has changed in the ensuing years.  Sure, a fat white kid could make some better choices than Dracula or Zorro, but whatever.  I was doing what I wanted, and having fun. Side note- the eye patch in that picture was stolen, years later, by Aaron Barrett of Reel Big Fish. 


Flash forward to now, and I don't know what to think.  I live in the middle of farm country, so for the past few years, I go into town and sit in my friend's driveway while we pass out candy.  That's all well and good, except only twenty or so kids come through all night.  This is a big development located near restaurants and other developments.  There is no call for such a lackluster showing.  Worse, we seem to be the only ones even trying.  Barely any decorations are out, and only half of the houses have jack-o-lanterns.  I grew my own damned pumpkins the last two years.  That's commitment, you jerks.  I asked my friends what the deal was, and was told that it's the way it is.  The schools have the kids come in for a "safer" Halloween thing if they so choose, but it just isn't what it used to be.

I stood, aghast.  Safe?  Halloween is not supposed to be safe.  Kids dress as goblins and witches as a safeguard from the things that go bump in the night.  It is every adults given right to scare the children mercilessly, and then reward their fear with candy treats.  Halloween is that first taste of delicious fear that lets your blood run cold, and lets you know, "Yes, I am alive, and I have a glittered up pillowcase full of tiny Krackle to prove it."  This is how participation trophies start, by taking away Halloween.


I  only to became angrier when I found out that this seems to be a symptom of the county I live in, not the world at large.  I have been assured by friend that live elsewhere that Halloween is alive and strong outside my twisted burg.  Maybe, but I look on tv, and I don't see the great Halloween specials I used to see growing up.  The networks still give lip service to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but that's because old people find it non threatening.  This year, there will be a Toy Story Halloween special, and there was a Shrek one a few years ago, so maybe there is a small effort being made.  AMC does their FearFest thing for the adults too, but I still weep for the days when The Halloween That Almost Wasn't was a television staple. 

I remember driving with my friend Jefe, of TheAngryScholar fame, to Atlantic City in October of 2006.  A favorite stop of mine along the way is the Woodstown Diner in Woodstown, New Jersey.  Jefe and I were awestruck as we drove through Woodstown that day, because every house had up Halloween decorations.  The town had decorations on every post, and banners across the street.  That drive, seven years ago now, is probably the last time I can remember getting a feeling of Halloween like when I was little.  As hokey as it sounds, it was the community feeling that Halloween is something special, something that we can all do to make things just a little cooler for the kids, and for everyone.

I like to think maybe my friends aren't lying, and that Halloween is still thriving away from where I am.  Maybe I just don't see it, because I stick around here, and the only time I got away in the past decade, I got to see that not everyone is pooping on the parade.  It would be a shame, because as much as I complain about kids, they deserve to have Halloween be as great as it was for me.

Last year, around 7PM on Halloween, prime trick or treating time, I was on my exercise bike, watching Hell On Wheels on Netflix.  That's no way to do things.  I should be ashamed as much as anyone else. This year, I need to go for the gusto.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dear Cigar Store Owner

If I am going to pay your exorbitant prices on cigars, I should be able to smoke one in your lounge.  I've been buying cigars and pipe tobacco from you since I was 18.  Back when I smoked cigarettes, I would occasionally splurge and buy a pack of Gauloise from you, and those really weren't cheap.  Yet somehow, any time I sit down with my friends to enjoy a fine tobacco product in your lounge, we are made to feel very unwanted.

I am not advocating a "Do The Right Thing" situation here.  It is your store, and I know and respect the fact that you can do whatever you want with it.  If you don't want some twenty or thirty year olds hanging around, that's fine.  However, just say it.  Don't wait until I buy something, and then act like a dick. 

See, you like to spend the day with you retired and unemployed redneck friends, smoking away on the plush leather sofas and chairs of the recently renovated splendor of the lounge.  Even before, years ago, when you had an old beater couch and some plastic folding chairs, you still acted like we had no right to be in there.  Granted, you show a crass indifference to me when I am actually shopping in the humidor, but you tolerate me enough until I hand over my cash.  Once that happens, you can't get me out of the store fast enough.  It's bad enough that I have never actually had a cigar in the new lounge, the one you advertise all over town as being "classic, comfortable, and relaxing".  I just can't stand the looks from your friends, and how they whisper like inebriated, hillbilly schoolgirls until I leave.  This is not the behavior of a businessman, or what should be his grown up friends that are old enough to be grandpas. 

I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't know what a good cigar store is like.  See, I was at the Tinderbox in  Northfield, New Jersey before it closed.  A place that had a bare room with twenty plastic chairs lining the walls, and a back room with sandwich fixins and drinks that they let everyone enjoy.  The regulars there were happy to chat me up, talk some Phillies baseball, and give me some tips on where to find the best raw bar.  When that moved and reopened as The Cigar Boxx, I was there too.  It was more plush, but they let me and my friends put whatever we wanted on the bank of TVs.  They also had a stunning collection of tattoo magazines and Hustlers.  I was at the Union Cigar Company in Gettysburg, PA, where they let me play chess with my buddy Karl Spackler for three hours because it was too rainy to walk the battlefield.  I've also been to the John B. Hayes Cigar Store in Winchester, VA, where they blend the finest pipe tobacco I have ever tasted.  I spent a wonderful night in there trying to ward off the head sweats I got from the Jamaican curry I bought down the street.  The regulars there invite me to their monthly pipe night every month, and I will have to get back there sometime to partake.  So, obviously, I enjoy cigars, and the culture around them.  You've just made it to where I will travel these long distances to to this, and not three miles from my house to your store. 

I have gotten to the point where I won't support you, a local business, because you've convinced me time and again that you don't want or need my support.  I buy my cigars from a small cigar maker in Pennsylvania, and they are cheaper priced and better tasting that anything you are marking up by five bucks in your place.  Enjoy your lounge and your buddies, because they are about the only ones who will come back a second time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dear Electricity

I find you to be much like the majestic velociraptor or actress Roma Downey: I like you much better when you are restrained, and not as much when you are actively trying to murder me.  At this point in my life, I have been electrocuted almost half a dozen times.  This is not a "whoops, got you with some static electricity" Sunday school shock.  This is home outlet or worse, better-than-a-cup-of-coffee-in-the morning kind of cattleprod to the nervous system.  It's not even like I am actively doing anything to warrant this abuse.  You have simply tasted my blood, and it is a sweet wine to you, indeed.

Twice I have been electrocuted trying to fix an outlet.  Yeah, ok, shame on me.  I had a screwdiver on an open outlet, and sometimes my hand shakes like a dachshund getting over a meth addiction.  That's on me.  Another time, I got it from grabbing a frayed TV cord.  Not totally my fault, but I will let that slide.  However, there are two times I will not abide, and I demand an apology.

The first case was a few years back.  I was living in an older house with a few housemates. The lady of the house, who we shall refer to as Slagathor, had a penchant for eating every hot dog in the place, and for leaving her clothes on the dryer.  I inadvertently knocked one of her tiny striped socks behind it as I loaded the dryer with my clothes.  Being a caring housemate, I tried to reach back and retrieve the sock.  My impressive reach was not enough, and since I am a human, and therefore superior to all things, I used my toolmaking skills to bend a coat hanger.  It grabbed the sock, then proceeded to enter an open area of the back of the dryer as I tried to lift it.  Electricity turned off my lights, and I went through the wall behind me.  Worst of all, the superpowers I gained from the experience were limited to slurred speech and muscle fatigue.

The worst experience I had was the summer before I went to college.  I was working for a golf course.  The way the golf cart barn was set up, all of the golf chargers were set in the rafters, and the cords dangled down to plug in the carts at night.  One of the chargers had been malfunctioning, so I got a ladder to take it down.  The chargers are secured to the rafter by screws, so I unplugged the charger, and started unscrewing the brackets.  Three things went against me.  First, I had mistakenly unplugged the charger next to it, since the cords were a tangled mess.  Secondly, the ladder I used was a rickety mess, which led to the third thing, that I took a frail boy named Ike with me to hold the ladder steady.

Ike was about an 80 pound ball of anxiety and gangly nonsense.  Granted, I spent much of my free time at that job antagonizing him, and pouring small amounts of salt into his sodas when he wasn't looking.  To this day, I am not sure he knows what a real Coke tastes like.  One time, I put golf club grip enhancer, a foul smelling goop that looked like Smurf ejaculate, on his chair at lunch.  That ended as well as could be expected.  Not to say I was a bully, or that he didn't think some of it was funny.  He was just an easy target, and I couldn't seem to stop myself.

Since I literally weighed over three times what Ike did, he wasn't doing a great job holding that ladder still.  My hand slipped, the screwdriver went into the charger, and I fell down to the cement floor, landing on one of the screws.  I did not black out, but I could not move.  Ike, being the loyal coworker, ran as fast as his chicken legs could go to get me help.  Apparently, his chicken legs were not fast at all, because ten minutes later I was able to get up, pull the screw out of my arm where it had embedded itself, and shamble the quarter mile from the barn to the pro shop.  Bleeding, fuzzy headed, and dirty, I asked the assistant pro if I could go home.  He said yes, but wanted to know what had happened.

See, he had no idea where I had been, because when Ike got to the pro shop, he ran to find the assistant pro.  When he found the pro, he was about to tell him I was laying hurt and broken in the cart barn, but the pro spoke first.  He told Ike that lunch was up.  So, Ike forgot what he was doing, grabbed a chicken sandwich, and happily washed that down with a refreshingly non salted Coke.  When I had full use of my nervous system back, I rat-tailed him so hard he probably still stings from it.

Ok.  So, maybe I did deserve these electrocutions.  Maybe we could just limit them to once every other year?


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dear People Who Call Themselves "Nerds"

I am not a nerd.  I bet you're not one, either.  I would bet my left foot you aren't.  Yeah, sure, diabetes will probably take that foot in a few years anyway, but as of right now it is still a valuable betting commodity. 

Buying big thick glasses doesn't make you a nerd.  It makes you a trendy asshat or a high school aged idiot girl hipster, especially if there isn't a prescription in it.  Liking comic book movies doesn't make you a nerd.  Those are the most popular movies out there today.  You aren't ostracized for liking them, which proves the point already.

Let's do the lame thing and look at the Webster's definition of "nerd".
  
Nerd noun \ˈnərd\ : :  an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially :  one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits

99% of people who have called themselves a nerd in the last month were just proven wrong.  Liking things that nerds like doesn't count, and wearing things that nerds wear doesn't either.  If I put on a policeman's uniform and call myself a cop, I go to jail for impersonating a police officer.  Get it?

Nerds are people that can sometimes barely even function in society.  They are introverted and so inadept at effectively communicating that most just don't even bother.  These are people that have most likely worn some sort of cape in public during their lifetimes.  Why would you want to pretend that this is you? 

Revenge of the Nerds was actually fairly accurate in their portrayal of nerds, with on exception: Booger.  They threw in one character that actually had some charisma to make it easier for people to root for the nerds.  Booger's problem wasn't an inability to fit in, he simply refused to. That might make him a sociopath, but not a nerd.  Last year one of the cable networks ran a show called "King of the Nerds".  Again, they had him pair up with Robert Carradine, because Robert Carradine and a bunch of people that look like they have never seen the sun isn't going to make for more than a couple of episodes of perverse TV watching. 

It mainly frustrates me that the people latching on to this supposed "rise of nerd culture" are the same types of people that would be administering melvins to and mentally torturing the real nerds.  They are the same girls that would never date a nerd, and would take special care the let a nerd know exactly how disgusting they think they are.

Lets put it this way: I think Laplanders are stupid, and I would never want to be around them.  Suddenly, Laplander culture is really popular, so I'm going to get one of their ridiculous native costumes, herd some stinking reindeer, and mouth off about how "my people" created Santa Claus.

Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dear DJ's of the World

I work at a resort.  Most weekends, from April until October, we have a wedding.  That's roughly twenty weddings a year, and I have been at this job for eight years.  Given various weeks we didn't have a wedding, or the rare day off on a Saturday, I have worked through about 140 weddings.  That means I have heard every godawful wedding song there is.  I have suffered through countless Chicken Dances, learned how to spell YMCA more times than I care to recollect, and endured the Electric Slide enough to want to get the electric chair.  I have also lived through several fads, like Gangnam Style, Call Me Maybe, the unprecedented long life of the Macarena, and that ungodly song that just keeps going "To the Left, to the Left" that I just call the Zapruder Song.  At least with those, they have a set dance, and serve a purpose of getting your drunk uncle up and moving before the vodka settles in his lungs.  There is one song, though, the worst song ever, that you DJ's refuse to retire.  That song is Kool and the Gang's "Celebration", and it is time that we put a stop to this madness.

The origins of the song are shrouded in mystery.  Some believe it was written as a funeral dirge in 1300's Latvia, as an urging for villagers to live life to the fullest before the plague took them.  Others believe it is a lullaby written by a madman that he sang to his collection of sock puppets.  Regardless, all agree that it is an insipid piece of trash that took roughly three minutes for a kindergartener to write in between snorting lines of blow and punching an ostrich in the face at a petting zoo. 

Let's take a look at the lyrics.  Here's the chorus and the first verse.

Celebrate good times, come on
(Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on
(Let's celebrate)
There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times
And your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you

If the urging to celebrate was not clear with the "come on", it is cannonballed with 'Let's celebrate" to make sure that everyone that wasn't paying attention 2 seconds earlier got the gist.  The whole deal about a celebration lasting throughout the years is both a prophecy of doom and a vile threat by Joshua Frederick Kool and his associates.  The confusing part is where they are trying to suddenly make it my party, and act like it is a favor they are doing me by celebrating it with me.  If I am having a party, it will have a slip n' slide, some Moxie cola, and tunes that are much better than this load of post- disco drivel.  In fact, there is only one group of people I ever see at weddings or events that get up, start dancing, and just really thinking that this song "gets"them:  The whoo girls.  God, please help the whoo girls, with their unquenchable lust for red bull flavored shots and "Sweet Home Alabama", both the song and movie.

Things take a much darker turn in the bridge.

We're gonna have a good time tonight
(Ce-le-bra-tion)
Let's celebrate, it's all right
We're gonna have a good time tonight
(Ce-le-bra-tion)
Let's celebrate, it's all right

Anyone else getting a good old molesty vibe here?  The fact that they feel the need to reassure us that it is alright is bad enough.  Want to make it worse?  Imagine Willem Dafoe saying these words.  

Slowly.  



Congratulations, now you are pregnant, because despite what they told you in grade school, that is really how babies are made.