Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things with no purpose

Blow dryers - Hello, they invented towels - which can't break or electrocute you if you drop them in a bathtub - for a reason.

Irons and ironing boards - Sure, sometimes your clothes come out of the closet wrinkles. But you know what else gives clothes wrinkles? Wearing them. Stop fighting nature.

Norton Antivrus - There are free antivirus programs online. You can make better use of the $20 you were going to pay Norton for the year on lottery tickets, stripper tips or origami tiaras.

Watches - You have a cell phone, right? Well, there's a clock on it.

Cufflinks - Cuffs need not be linked. They were born free and are meant to stay that way.

Weddings - Just as awkward and expensive as funerals only not as long-lasting and inexplicably voluntary.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tiny hotel shampoo bottles

Whenever I’m staying in a hotel where they give out those mini-shampoos, I grab one and it makes my hand look humongous. I feel as though I’m the Incredible Hulk, using my oversize paw to pick up a comically small bottle made for usage by measly non-gamma rayed humans.

Then I scream “Hulk Shampoo!” and persist with cleansing my super-strong Hulk hair. OK, I’ve never screamed “Hulk Shampoo!” but that’s only because I never thought of doing that until now. The next time I’m in a hotel, I will say the Hulk thing, and I’ll also use the miniscule hotel soap and gloat at how huge it makes my arms look.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A meditation on George W. Bush as he relates to Mega Man

George W. Bush is not stupid. His greatest accomplishment is making you think he is.
In reality, W is a hyperintelligent supergenius, and that’s the reason he’s sitting in the White House for his second term, dozens of people are dying every day in Iraq and the companies he’s connected to get exponentially richer by the day. Everything is going exactly to W’s evil plans.

By fooling you into thinking he’s a fool, W is really only following one of the tenets of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” which states that it’s always best to have the enemy underestimate you. Be smart but appear dumb. Be prepared but appear unprepared. And most of all, be articulate but appear to be inarticulate.

W’s forced stutter and phony ranch hand accent are meant to endear him to the public, who take whatever he has to say for honesty because they assume he’s not more intelligent than they are. What proves this is W managed to get into Yale, avoid the Vietnam war, and trick people into thinking he’s a Texan even though he’s been a Northeastern blue blood his entire life.

Whenever I refer to our president, I do so as “W,” not because that’s what it said on all those “W ’04” bumper stickers, but because to me it’s the perfect name for him.
The whole W thing is very ironic for me, a boy who was raised playing Mega Man. For those who missed out, you play the games as Mega Man, a blank-faced robot dude with a laser arm who defeats a sequence of giant robot minibosses, then gets to use their weapons once he defeats them.

Each of the robotron opponents in that game were represented by symbols, lined up on grids on the title screen. Each game has a different story and introduces a different mastermind villain, but play all the way through and you’ll always find that the end boss for each game is always the maniacal megagenius Dr. Wiley, who always turned out to be the brains behind everything. Dr. Wiley’s symbol is always a gimongous W, so to me W is the perfect definition of the prez, who is the intrinsic mastermind demigod.

Pass a few Mega Man games, and you’ll notice a certain trend: W fights like a bitch. He has others do the warring for him whenever possible, and only fights for himself once you destroy each and every machination he can think of. And once you get to Dr. Wiley, he never fighting you hand to hand, always Voltronning up in giant robot attackers, spaceships, tanks or whatnot. And then you blow all his sh_t up and he begs you for mercy. Mega Man always lets him live, because he has no other purpose in life than blasting through the obstacles that W puts up, allowing Mega Man to save the world again and again, becoming recognized and respected as a hero. Whereas if W didn't exist, Mega Man would be just about useless, perhaps some kind of servant, and most definitely addicted to robot heroin. Without his W, Mega Man would be nothing more than a lowlife destitute, without hope nor plans. He'd be an electronic Bobby Brown.

In sum, my point is that W is Dr. Wiley, and the rest of us are all either Mega Men or one of W’s minibosses. Whatever you are, you need W to survive. So don’t underestimate the boss. Hail to the king.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mossman and Stinkor, I hardly knew ye

These He-Man action figures go hand in hand because they came out at the same time and both were graced with the parent-despised trait of having a natural, pungent stank. Mossman smelled like, well, moss, while Stinkor smelled like a skunk if he had bad gas due to a feast of black licorice.

After watching an episode of the He-Man cartoon in which both characters were introduced, I was convinced that I immediately needed both Mossman and Stinkor, and my too-loving Mom foolishly complied. It was only a day of out-and-out stinkbombing that led both to be covered in Ziploc bags, and eventually to be tossed into the garbage when I wasn’t looking. Easy come, easy go.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wish I had a double burgaaaa

Please say it ain't so, McDonald's. How can you possibly be considering shooting an anthrax-dipped, urinated upon flaming arrow through my heart and wallet by eliminating the double cheeseburger from your dollar menu?

First you water-down the McNopoly game, tossing out Best Buy Bucks, and now this? It's as though you've entered my home, stolen the change off my dresser and defacated in my cereal bowl. The double dollar cheeseburgers were always my safety valve in case I forgot my lunch or ran out of 99 cent Michelina's pizzas. What I feel for those heat lamp-massaged delights goes beyond simple hunger, lust or enfatuation.

Every bite bestowed a sense of satisfaction and oneness with all that was good and right. Each three-centimeter-thick patty made me into a better man, each pickle sloshed with that special mustard-ketchup amalgam inspired dreams of a better world. Each sticky thicket of cheese left over on the wrapper was a kiss from the ether. Double cheeseburgers were the viagra of food orgams.

BUT, they were worth a dollar plus tax, and nothing more. Go through with this reckless shenanigan, McDonald's, and I will no longer be a dollar menunaire. I'll refuse to obey the edicts of Mayor McCheese and vow to turn a blind eye to the suffering of Grimace.

And I shall place a curse upon the scarlet, curly head of Ronald himself, as well as three generations of his descendants thereafter.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


For the unfamiliar, the title of this post is the Zelda chime of success, signifying moments in the games in which you solve a puzzle or find something that was hidden. I'd like the government to initiate a program in which the sound is played over loudspeakers whenever anyone accomplishes something really cool (or even better, little earpieces that people who want to hear the chime play for them whenever they do something really awesome). Appropriate accomplishments include:

-Sex on a first date.

-Getting an extra bag of Fritos from a vending machine because the previous bag was dangling on a coil.

-Leaving work early without your boss noticing.

-Finding an ancient Master Sword - capable of slaying phantoms and rescuing princesses - buried under a bridge.

-Defeating Apollo Creed for the heavyweight championship of the world.

If we end the war in Iraq that's an extra $2 billion a week we can use to make this happen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Christian Bale/Kristen Bell

If Abbott and Costello were alive today, the world would scamper away in fear because they'd surely be back in zombie form and looking to bite us all, spreading their undead infection until a gory George A. Romero nightmare had come to life.

But if they happened to be nice zombies that happened to retain their comedic zing surely they'd concoct a "Who's On First"-like skit confusing the names of actors Christian Bale and Kirsten Bell, whose names are homonyms.

This came to me as I drove to work and heard a news story that Christian Bale had been arrested after being accused of verbal assault by his mom and sister. In my sleepy state I was confused as to why Kristen Bell was being referred to as a "he" and why she was at the UK "The Dark Knight" premiere until it finally hit me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obama baby

My 1 year old is a fan of a certain politician.

Good thing he wasn't a Hillary man. Poor young thing couldn't have taken the heartbreak.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why Flight of the Conchords has become than Entourage

"Entourage" gets a little bit worse the more famous and successful the characters become. "Extras" slipped down the same slope, only much faster and harder. There's little drama or humor about guys who can get laid at will. I still love it and will eagerly tune in for the next season in September, but it's appeal is waning.

"Conchords," on the other hand, is a show about unsuccessful dweebs with the scoring ability of the San Francisco 49ers' offense. Shows about losers who will never do well can be good perpetually. It'll be even better when they're older and unsuccessful, although they say they're going to stop after this season. Hopefully they're just trying to get more money.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm No. 3!

I just found out I placed third in the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors contest for arts and entertainment commentary:

1st: Jason Bracelin, Las Vegas Review-Journal
2nd: Mark Arnest, Colorado Springs Gazette
3rd: Phil Villareal, Arizona Daily Star
Honorable Mention:
Brandon Griggs, Salt Lake City Tribune

Look out, Mike Arnest and Jason Braceline, I'm going to put up a better fight next year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MacGuyver 1-year-old

I got him a bowl of Cap'N Crunch, set it on the counter and went outside to get the paper. When I came back, he was sitting on the floor surrounded by the Cap'N's goods, partaking in the golden nuggets of morningtime perfections, saying "eat." At his side was a telltale mop that he'd pulled out of the closet and used to knock down his target.

I imagine if MacGuyver's dad had a blog he would have written a similar post.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reincarnated as a dumbass

I try to give religious beliefs that differ from mine as much slack as possible. After all, faith by nature is based on the unprovable: virgin births, burning bushes, miracles, promises of godhood, giving away 10 percent of your money with the belief that it will be returned to you tenfold...

But one I just can't wrap my open mind around is reincarnation.

It just doesn't make sense. Especially human-only reincarnation, meaning your soul has inhabited one body after another since the beginning of humankind. A quick look at Wikipedia's global population numbers over the past 300 years proves that there just aren't enough old souls to go around. In 1750 there were 791 million people on the planet, and in 1999 there were nearly six billion. What this means is if human-only reincarnation exists, it's insignificant because either souls from 258 years ago are split into more than seven new bodies (is that even enough soul to go around?) or six out of every seven people walking around today are new, never-reincarnated souls. With those odds only three players on the field in any football game are likely to have been recycled from someone who was around circa the Revolutionary War.

It seems more reasonable that reincarnation could encompass all forms of life. The numbers would conceivably work out because no one knows how many bacteria or gnats there are running around. But to believe that souls work their way up or descend through the evolutionary food chain as if on a baseball farm team doesn't quite fly. Say you steal a lot of cars and are punished by coming back as a monkey. How do you live a virtuous life and work your way back into humanhood when you're stuck as an animal that acts solely on instinct? Throw less poop at kids who watch you at the zoo? Save a panda from an alligator attack? Star in a film with Annette Funicello?

Granted, maybe reincarnation works in some way I'm incapable of understanding. Like maybe we get reincarnated among a universal pool of intelligent life that spans the universe. If so, I'd like to put in a request to be reborn as an Orb in the Orbulon galaxy because I hear they serve good onion rings there. But whatever happens I don't want to come back as a gray, almond-eyed Area 51 alien who's into anal probing. Because anally probing kidnapped humans just isn't cool. In fact, that's the sort of behavior that'll get you reincarnated as a monkey.

Rottentomatoes fanboys at it again.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Pathetic can be funny

I got this email today from Publish America. Subject line: "PublishAmerica puts free gas in your tank"

Dear Author,

Let PublishAmerica treat you to free gas at the pump!

Here is how we'll make that happen for authors who choose to have extra books on hand:

First, we will give you a 45 percent discount on all purchases. There is no minimum purchase limit, therefore the offer applies to orders as low as 1 copy.

Next, we will send you a check for an additional 10 percent mail-in rebate on the entire order amount. Depending on how many books you purchase, this rebate money could easily fill your tank at the pump. The more books, the more free gas!

Phone orders only, at 301 695 1707, between 9am - 5pm EST. Hardcovers are excluded, but full-color books are included! Allow 2-4 weeks for rebate check to be issued upon our receipt of your mail-in coupon. Shipping and handling charges not included in rebate calculation. Offer expires July 18.

Thank you, and drive safely!

PublishAmerica Author Support Team

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The top 10 reasons top 10 lists aren't funny anymore

10. A cliched format that saps creativity away from Letterman writers.
9. Hillary Clinton did one.
8. They lack the snappy abruptness of top 9 lists and fall short of the depth offered by top 11s.
7. Not enough puns.
6. See, bored already aren't you?
5. They don't come from Pixar.
4. They leave no room for that promising up-and-comer in the No. 17 spot.
3. I admit it, I couldn't think of anything else to do so I decided to beat on a straw man for laughs. Go ahead and leave now. You've already given me my page view for the day and I appreciate that, so let's do what's best for both of us and just move along.
2. Seriously, why are you still reading? Don't you have anything better to do?
1. It's part of God's plan.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Every other car commercial ends with the words: “It’s got a Hemi.” Now, this bugs me not only because I don’t know what a Hemi is, but because the advertisers think Hemis are so important that they are compelled to make their advertisement meat puppets’ faces light up in ecstacy when they’re talking about the Hemi, as though Angelina Jolie was having phone sex with them.

What’s even worse is that the Hemi-madness has insinuated itself into society to the point in which some clues @holes have Hemi bumperstickers. Why, oh why, won’t those clever car sticker makers manufacture decals of Calvin pissing on a Hemi logo? I’d buy one.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I don't think fat people should have to pay for two seats on airplanes.

They should be forced to pay for three.

All hail John McCain

That didn't take long. When you need a friend (at least on MySpace) John McCain is there for you, baby. Or at least he was for me. Only a few hours after I sent my request McCain was on it like a sonnet, welcoming me into his pool of frustrated Republicans looking to tilt the windmill that is the inevitable Obama presidency.

One hundred more years in Iraq? John, with that greased-lightning-on-a-bobsled-with-no-breaks response time, I'd support you for 10,000 more years in Iraq or wherever else you'd like to send troops in order to keep that war economy we Republicans love humming. You can even select that Haterade drinker Mitt Romney as your running mate and I'd still love ya. I mean, how can I not? We're the only two known fans of the Arizona Cardinals!

So Barack Obama, you know what this means - you're officially on notice. Better accept my friending real quick-like or else I might consider holding true to that promise of forgetting to send in my vote-by-mail ballot (with your name checked) that won't be counted until weeks after the election is in the books (and even if it were counted it still wouldn't count because of our inane electoral college system. McCain's got a bead on 'Zona regardless of whatever mistakes he makes on the campaign trail). That's not a threat, Barack, just a statement of potential fact that may come to be if certain events don't unfold the way I'd like them to. Just sayin'.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A MySpace political experiment

(Disclaimer: Do not watch this awful trailer. It's here merely for illustrative purposes.)

I sent out friend requests to Barack Obama and John McCain a few seconds ago, and now I'm anxiously awaiting to see whether either will be accepted (After my Mitt Romney rejection nothing's guaranteed) and which one will go first. I'm still planning to vote for Obama with my trusty, sure-to-not-be-counted-till-January vote-by-mail ballot regardless of the outcome, but should my homeboy McCain accept my overture while Obama ignore me, I may just have to forget to send my vote in.

Of course I'll post the results here as soon as they're official. Never trust the exit polls.

Evil land developer wanted

Wanted: An evil land developer (preferably played by Shooter McGavin) to come in and threaten everything I hold dear, causing me to spring into action, come of age and set off on a rollicking 90-minute adventure that will culminate in a happy ending followed by end credits and bloopers.

I'll pay a competitive salary and handle moving expenses. Interested applicants should supply a cover letter, three references and notarized examples of your past experience in the field of attempting to ruin the lives of protagonists only to be given your comeuppance at the climax. I am not an equal opportunity employer and will actively discriminate based on race, religion and liking of the movie "WALL-E."

And don't forget to say you saw this post on

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Brett Favre will never retire

Nor will Rocky, Rambo or Evander Holyfield. And you know what? I don't want any of them to quit. Go until you run out of gas, boys. There will be plenty of time for golf, shuffleboard and sending off angry e-mails to newspapers after you die.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Donkey Kong's press conference


Mr. Kong, first let me say that I love your work. I’d like you to please answer, what’s your favorite video game?


Sir, do you feel a little overshadowed by the recent cinematic success of your distant cousin, King?


Mr. Kong, you are famous for your random outbursts of anger, which you just exemplified by killing one of my colleagues. But I must ask, why the barrel?


Kong, you’ve been romantically linked with Jennifer Aniston. Can you confirm or deny these rumors?


Where do you like to vacation? Do you have any favorite New York City hangouts?


Donkey – may I call you Donkey? What’s the deal with you and Mario?


I mean, we all know that you started off with a fairly adversarial relationship in the early years, what with you stealing his girlfriend and holding her captive in metal cages atop construction sites. Then came the uncomfortable retribution scenario in which Mario locked you in a metal cage atop jungle vines, until your son, Donkey Kong, Jr., gallantly dodged gigantic bees to rescue you. But since those troubles, you two seemed to have made something of a peace with one another. These days you routinely engage in friendly sporting events, such as go-kart racing, golf, tennis and even baseball. So what I’m getting at is, are you two friends now?


Then, sir, how do you explain the 2004 Game Boy Advance release, “Mario vs. Donkey Kong,” in which you stole the wind-up toy clones Mario made of himself?


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Goodbye, Maxim

One of the most enduring long-term relationships in my life is over. I've said goodbye to Maxim magazine, ignoring its desperate pleas to get me to renew after 10 years of nearly uninterrupted service (save for a few months in '05 when canceled my subscription in protest of an editorial decision).

As always is the case with these types of things, it was over long before it was officially over. For at least the past year I dreaded the magazine's arrival and glumly trudged through its ad-dominated pages, seeking some sign of life that would get me to ante up again. A far cry from my college days in which my heart bounced with anticipation whenever I noticed the mail attendant had forgotten to steal it from my box.

Although I did notice an uptick in quality level in the past three issues under the new editor, it wasn't enough to get me to part with $10 to see where the next 12 issues would take me.

Part of me wonders whether I'm quitting because I've become too old for the magazine, as was definitely the case with MAD in my early 20s. But realistically I think I'm no more mature at 29 (only 40 days of my 20s left...) than I was at 22 - just broken by life and burdened with more responsibilities. I'm more inclined to believe that Maxim and I have just grown apart.

There's no delicate way to put this - Maxim has transformed into a woman's magazine. Sure, there are still the shameless pictorials of the pop tart of the month. But Maxim is now no more racy or daring than your average issue of Cosmopolitan. And its contents are basically Cosmo as well. Crammed with fashion advice, weight loss tips, ads with bare-chested men sprawled on the beach and lately, recipes (Yes, recipes. If I were a more judicious writer I could have encapsulated this post in just that one word), Maxim seems fabricated for women and metrosexuals.

On the other hand, Maxim's desperately racy covers belie its tame contents. I've never been able to bring the magazine along to pass dead time at waiting rooms or before screenings because it made me look like I was reading porn. Nor could I leave it on the coffee table when "adult" guests were over. I've had to hide it under the bed most of the time as a 17-year-old would a Penthouse.

Despite these obstacles I persevered for many years, with Maxim my dirty little secret that got littler but no dirtier. Here are my other problems with the rag:

-Female pandering. Maxim should be a he-man boy's club, not some equivocating, politically correct sellout. I long for the good-natured, tongue-in-cheek cavemanlike copy.

-No video game coverage and very little attention to sports and cars. You used to at least give gaming half-assed coverage, with blurb reviews penned by people who no doubt never played the games, but at least it was something. Now you've abandoned one of my favorite hobbies altogether. Its pathetic sports season previews are so inane they're actually worse than nothing. The gearhead stuff has also fallen by the wayside in favor of top five lists and soft-hitting investigative pieces.

-That fashion section. Why do I need to stock my wardrobe with shirts that aren't shot out of cannons? Why would I spend more than $50 on shoes, ever? Why would I care what matches with what, or what other people will be wearing so I can go out and get the same thing?

-The same old sex advice stories, over and over and over again. Foreplay and shallow thrusts, I know, I know, I know.

The bottom line is Maxim used to make fun of the femininity and out-of-touch sensibilities of GQ, and now it's become another GQ.

It took the sage advice of my 1-year-old son to thoroughly drive home Maxim's shortcomings. He calls all publications "books" and whenever he catches me reading a "book" with pictures asks me to find certain things for him. Anyway, he grabbed my Maxim and asked "basketball?" I shook my head. "Car? Truck?" No and no. He threw it down and walked away. Took me 10 years to get to that point.

So farewell, Maxim. We'll stay friends, meaning I never want to see you again.