Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Wouldn't Have Been A Good Cowboy

I am thankful that I was born in an era in which people can make their living by typing on a computer all day. And I do mean computer, because I'd be screwed in the era of typewriters. I never go more then a sentence without realizing what I just wrote was unintelligible drivel and having to double back and retype it.

So if I were alive in the 1800s and forced to make my existence as a cowboy, it wouldn't have worked out so well. I can't sleep with rocks as pillows, am incapable of lassoing and am not very good at shooting, even in video games when the auto-aim takes you from bad guy to bad guy.

I've never ridden a horse, so there's another ding to my resume. I don't trust myself on the back of a horse. I'm pretty sure I'd do something wrong that would get me bucked off and paralyzed.

In summary, if I were a cowboy I'd be a paralyzed insomniac who walks everywhere while being the slowest draw in the West. On the other hand, most cowboys would probably have made mediocre bloggers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You Cain't Choke This

I’ve got a pretty good plan for if someone ever tries to choke me to death. I’ll struggle for a few seconds, then fall limp and pretend I’m dead. The choker will then ease his grip, giving me a chance to kick him square in the nuts and run off to safety. Why don’t characters in movies and TV shows try this more often? They’re the ones that need the technique the most, since people get strangled for our entertainment a whole lot more often then they do in regular ‘ol boring life.

Maybe I should start a training academy to help people get out of tough spots they don’t know how to deal with. The above technique would rescue you not only from a choking, but from a Wild West hanging. Whenever a desperado is hanged for his crimes in the town square, they cut the guy loose as soon as he goes limp. Well, my advice to an unlucky bandit would be to play dead, get cut free, then use your noose to lasso in the nearest six-shooter and blast your way out to glory, shouting, “Whoomp, they it is!!!” as you ride off into the sunset with the sheriff’s daughter.

Getting choked and hanged are two things that tend to freak people out, and my class would help ease their fears and allow them to live more normal lives. Another problem a lot of folks have is trepidation about getting into a fight with someone who’s really good at karate. You know, the kind of people who can break cement blocks with their heads and whatnot. To those who cower in fear against such opponents, I say this: Get out a gun. No matter how good they are at karate, they’ll be no match for a bullet through the kneecap.

Student: Um, sensei, sensei!

Me: Yes, what is it, student?

Student: Did you say “kneecap?”

Me: That’s right, son. Kneecap.

Student: But why not shoot him in the face?

Me: Because the people who are REALLY good at karate will try to dodge your gunshots like Neo, bending backwards and waving at the bullets aimed at their face whiz by. If you shoot them in the kneecaps, that defense technique won’t work.

Student: If only the agents from “The Matrix” had known this, we wouldn’t have had to deal with the crappy sequels.

Me: Shut your mouth. While “The Matrix Revolutions” was subpar, “The Matrix Reloaded” was misunderstood and underrated. Go sit in the corner!

As you can see from that example, I’d make an awesome sensei. The only reason I don’t sign up is because they don’t pay teachers enough to put up with all the crap they’ve got to deal with. I think it’s a cultural thing. I’ll bet that at Ninja schools, teachers get treated right.

I wonder what Ninja Kindergarten is like? Instead of naptime, they probably have throwing star target practice. And none of this half-day nonsense. Five-year-old ninjas have got to go to school all day, because you don’t learn how to shoot poison darts and nunchuku skills in only four hours – not if you want to learn them right, anyway. And storytime is replaced by deathmatch tournaments. That’s what I’d make them do if I were a ninja teacher, anyway. I’d also teach them to do the Matrix bullet-bend trick, too, only I’d make sure they wore bulletproof kneepads.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Go Butler

It's unfair that Butler will be competing in the Final Four against mere mortal NCAA teams, given the fact that its three competitors use college kids while Butler loses immortal magical ninjas with bionic powers and robot legs.

Butler has won 35 million games in a row and never misses baskets. Every time the other team has the ball, Butler steals it and throws down crowd-wowing alley-oop dunks that end in teabaggings and shattered backboards.

This one time a team of aliens played Butler for the right of ownership of the Milky Way Galaxy, and Butler owned them 103-99 in double overtime. Because that's how Butler does. It likes to give you a false sense of security, maybe make you think you've got a chance, then rip out your beating heart and it to you in brown cardboard to-go boxes. All you can do is fowl them and hope they miss free throws, but it's not gonna happen. Because we're talking Butler, baby, which is so clutch that clutch has to pay Butler copyright royalties whenever it breathes.

Butler will not only with the NCAA title this year, but the next 30, all with the same players. Because immortal magic ninjas don't graduate, they just go to grad school and keep on picking up MBAs and doctorates until they're smarter than Yoda times Miyagi plus the Oracle from the Matrix.

Do you know why health care reform passed? No, it wasn't because Democrats finally got their stuff together, it's because Butler told Republicans that if they didn't shut the eff up about the filibuster it would visit every one of their mothers and posterize them in awesome half-court 360 teabag dunks. You get a threat like that and you take it seriously. So even though the Republicans are acting all mad about it and breaking windows and stuff, secretly they're totally glad it happened. And as they go to sleep at night they're whispering "gimme that socialized medicine, baby! I want it so hard!" because they know the alternative would be a grim one indeed.

Las Vegas is wise to how badly Butler will ownelize Michigan State Saturday, and have set the point spread at 25,000. Definitely bet on Butler to cover, if not for all the reasons explained above but because I'm a genius of betting who owned the Luxor for a $60 profit a couple weeks ago.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sports As Metaphors For Life

Football is like life because no matter what you do, you rely on the clockwork-like actions of several other people to mean success. You take devastating hits and spend most of your time waiting around for something to happen. And that clock is always running.

Baseball is like life because you need to wait your turn, benefiting from the work of those who came before you and doing your best to leave things better for those who follow you.

Basketball is like life because both consists of countless little victories and defeats, and it's important to keep an even keel -- never getting too high or too low -- but to maintain the cool that's necessary for success.

Hockey is like life because we're all stuck in the awkwardness of life, having to maneuver on a slippery surface at varying skill levels, constantly ready to burst out in fits of rage.

Soccer is like life because no matter how enthusiastic and daring our endeavors are, whatever we do is far more likely to end in failure. Even the possibility that we may be on the way to goals is worth reveling in and celebrating.

Golf is like life because despite all illusions to the contrary, we are devastatingly alone. And our accomplishments in our own personal vacuum will be constantly compared to those of others, and unless you are Tiger Woods there is always room left to ascend the neverending leader board. Satisfaction can only come from refinement, persistence and inner peace. And if you are Tiger Woods you're still never satisfied until you've managed to bed every revolting slut on the planet.

Bowling is like life because we take on the same routines over and over again, thinking we're doing things the exact same way, which led to success in the past, oblivious that no two attempts at anything are exactly the same, and the line between success and failure is decided in fractions of centimeters and just the right touch.

And NASCAR is like life because it's mostly boring and just going around in circles, save for the rare crashes and rarer victories.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pager Days

Remember 15 years ago, when cell phones were for rich drug dealers and Zack Morris, and anyone who was anyone had a beeper? Being no one at the time, I did not have one.

Back then every TV and radio station would air commercials approximately every 45 seconds for J.J. The King of Beepers that ended "I am J.J! (guy spoke exclusively in exclamation marks) I am the owner! And I am the KING OF BEEPERS! (often he spoke in ALLCAPS). And then J.J., like Dallas Cowboys playoff success, simply vanished. Cell phones came along and the world had changed.

The beeper era, though, bears remembrance because was the birth of text messaging. People wold just sit by their phones, using them not to call each other but to tap in one-line puzzle-messages that could only be read upside down and by using quite a bit of imagination. For instance, remember that elementary school joke about Dolly Parton getting plastic surgery where you added a bunch of numbers together and got 55378008, which translated to "Boobless?" It was just like that. You could spell "love u," "call me" and other stuff somehow if you knew the right codes. 911 meant call me back immediately. I've forgotten all the other ones, but all that matters is that they once existed. And they made up a beautiful, pathetic language of seduction. And drug deals, too, I'm sure.

During the summer of 1998 I had the pleasure of borrowing my friend's beeper when he went on vacation for two weeks. I used the device to steal his girlfriend by responding to her "911" messages and paging her with clever little messages that were so confusing she had to call me so I could explain them to her. That's actually a pretty impressive accomplishment, one that the kids of today will never be able to match, what with their iBerries, sexting and Facespaces. I challenge you, young'ns: The next time you decide to violate your friendship to seduce a woman, try it by texting only numbers. If you can pull it off, both J.J. and I would be proud.

Oh, and by the way when my friend came back from vacation I gave him back that pager and the girl stopped talking to both of us because things had gotten too awkward. We all turned the page, as it were.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things That Will Happen Now That We Gots Health Care Reform

-The Death Panel, which consists of Dick Cheney, Mr. T and the clown from the miniseries IT, will now decide everyone's fate. If the panel -- which makes its decisions the same way the Batman villain Two-Face does, by flipping a coin -- says you die, you die.

-Everyone will start using the metric system, saying "aboot" and be covered in snow, rescuable only by trusty mounties.

-We will devolve into a communist society and sprout breadlines. Washington D.C. will be renamed Obamagrad. People will be kept behind walls with machine guns, we will start battling Checnya and start having awesome Olympic hockey teams.

-No one will actually get health care anymore. We'll just sit around, waiting for it because it will be rationed so severely that whatever ails us, including common colds, will kill us before we get a chance to see the doctor.

-Conservatives will start crossing the border illegally into Mexico.

-Even without conservatives in congress, Democrats will be unable to pass any meaningful legislation that doesn't devolve into a watered-down, convoluted mess.

-Everyone in America will quit their jobs and become unmotivated bums who do nothing but sit around and wait for the free health care they won't actually get.

-Small businesses will all go under and as-of-now-unheard-of things called giant corporations will emerge and start to control the economy.

-Illegal immigrants will steal your social security numbers so they can pretend they are you and not get the health care that they are not paying for, just like you.

-Doctors and execs from pharmaceutical companies and insurance agencies will become so poor they will only be able to afford 45 golf vacations a year rather than the usual 427, and they'll have to scale back to H2s or H3s rather than real Hummers. Also, their liquid gold-spouting bidets will have to be replaced by plain old liquid silver-spouting bidets. And those medical professionals who can no longer afford bidets will resort to wiping their butts with torn-up pieces of the Constitution that will be delivered directly from Obamagrad.

So basically we're all screwed. It will be sad indeed to live in a world in which the poor can afford to have their broken bones set and families will no longer be driven to bankruptcy by appendectomies. Cherish the memories of the old days, son. Cause they are gone, baby gone.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things Luke Tells Me To Be

My 3 year old Luke is big into role-playing. Here are things he has asked me to be when we are playing:

A cat.

A mean robot.

A nice, repogrammed robot.

The door to his train.

A horse.

A tiger.

Him, while he is me.

Him, while he is his soccer coach.

Emma, his 1 year old sister.

"Aster-boy" (Astro Boy), as well as other "Aster-things," such as an aster-robot, aster-alien and aster-pirate.

A gun.

A stool.

A mean T-rex.

A nice, reprogrammed T-rex.

Chick Hicks.

A mean army of aliens.

Trina Left Iowa

Reviews me here, saying the book made her smile.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Statistics From My Las Vegas Sojourn

Net money won: $60
Money won at tables: $125
Money lost on basketball: $50
Money lost on slots: $15
Money spent on flight: $189
Money spent on hotel: $180
Total hours slept over three days: 11
Hours slept more than everyone else on the trip: 3
Most consecutive hours awake: 21
Text messages sent or received: 163
Times received the message "When did you start texting?": 5
Drinks imbibed: 19
Money spent on drinks, including tips: $21
Times buzzed: 2
Times drunk: 0
Racist-named mixed drinks heard invented: 1
Cab rides taken: 1
Tram rides taken: 1
Monorail rides taken: 5
Money spent on transportation: $41
Miles walked: 5
Times ate at buffets: 0
Times ate at McDonald's: 4
Times ate at Burger King: 1
Times ate at Quizno's: 2
Times ate at Nathan's: 1
Times ate at random non-Quizon's sub places: 2
Times Mormon dude recommended I bet against BYU: 1
Times that bet was successful: 1
Times Wisconsin screwed me over: 2
Times sat at blackjack tale: 2
Times sat at slot machine: 2
Money triumphantly deposited back into ATM upon return from Vegas: $350
Number of times heard Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity:" 3

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video Game Characters -- Hot Or Not?

These video game sex objects dominate my dreams. Go ahead and Google ‘em if you don’t know who I’m talking about. There should be pix of all of them online except for Janet. To see Janet, you’ll have to play Tecmo Bowl. Anyway, let’s begin:

LARA CROFT (6.5/10)
Breast size is overrated, and Lara proves that in spades. Her shirt is way too tight. She’s lucky it doesn’t cut off her circulation. Lara propagates the stereotype that women should have 58-21-36 figures and be only interested in activities such as stealing and shooting. I find this deplorable. Also, she’s such a poser on the swimming levels when the camera zooms in on her ass. Lara, you try too hard. I respect women too much to indulge in this walking stereotype. I’d still bang her, though. You know, if I was still single.

Well, she masquerades a dude in the Metroid, which normally would be a strike against her, but she makes up for it at the end of the game by stripping off her armor into sluttier and stluttier outfits, depending on how quick you beat the game. I still hold on to the big rumor of Mrs. Hernandez’s third-grade class, circa 1986, that it’s possible to get her naked if you really, really kick the game’s ass.

I don’t get why she changed her name to “Peach” for Mario Golf and Mario Tennis. Maybe it was to get away from that stalker, Luigi. Funny, though, Bowser always seems to know where she lives so he can go in and “kidnap” her. Yeah, kidnap is in quotes because I don’t buy it. I think it’s all some sort of kinky three-way role playing thing that Bowser, Toadstool and Mario are all into. That kind of thing is too wild for me.

ZELDA (9/10)
Speaking of three-way role playing kidnap complexes, Zelda is an even more textbook example. One knock against her, though, is she digs the metrosexual type. Link is such an effeminate, gown-wearing, manicure-getting, non-sexual hero that you wonder if his “Magic Sword” actually works. Ganon has no such problem, obviously, which is why Zelda lets herself be captured and/or turned to stone by him every single game. This girl will do ANYTHING for Ganon’s dong. Remember back in Zelda II, when Zelda was asleep the whole time while Link went around and did all the busy work in that impossible-to-pass game? The instruction booklet said she was asleep because of a “magic spell,” which is a nice way of telling 10 year olds that she took such a thorough rogering from Ganon that she couldn’t even wake up for hours.

JANET (8.5/10)
Janet is the name I came up with for the cheerleader from the halftime slide show for the original Tecmo Bowl. Janet leaps high in the air – so high, her skirt flips up. She’s on the screen for no more than two seconds, and then the slide show flips to the marching band and whatnot. Janet’s sense of mystery intrigues me. I think she’s a junior college student working her way for school with a part-time job cheering for fictional pro football teams. She has a lot to cheer for, too. Walter Payton is hella fast in that game.

MS. PAC-MAN (10/10)
Smooth yellow skin, a hot bow in the hair and an oral affixiation. What more could you possibly ask from a video game character girlfriend? Plus, she’s got that sense of mystery going with the “Ms.” thing. Is she married? Single? Who knows? You get the feeling that she’s a freak underneath the sheets, though. She definitely is enough of a minx to seduce multiple ghosts at the same time in the maze

This was stolen from 2008 because I had no time to do a post

Monday, March 15, 2010


The Amish have a well known ritual called Rumspringa, the ritual that allows them to take leave of their ultraconservative lives at age 16 to galavant in the city as alcoholic junkie whores for a period of time before returning to the roost.

Why should the Amish get to monopolize Rumspringa? Why don't 31 year old married fathers of two get one? Well, not to become a junkie or a whore, but instead to behave like a jackass, spend a couple days staying up all night getting drunk and gambling their money away and the next day sleeping it off, then spending the ensuing week of life as an alcohol-poisoned, sleep-deprived zombie. The answer is my people do get their own Rumspringa. And it's annual, baby, as eternal as arrested adolescence. It takes place in Las Vegas in the third weekend of March, when the NCAA Tournament and Spring Break collide into leashing an unholy mess of humanity onto Sin City.

I've been going to Las Vegas with friends for the tournament just about every year for the last decade. What was born as a quarterlife crisis is now approaching a midlife crisis, and although the sojourns grow tamer and less populated every year, as friends shy off from the tradition because of job or family responsibilities (even I ditched out last year because I had a one-month old baby), and every time I go I am so sick of Vegas by Sunday morning that I always leave for the airport hours early hoping to catch an early flight out, it's still by far the highlight of my year.

The movie The Hangover captures the essence of what a Rumspringa can mean to a man of a certain age. At home I'm a conservative 9 to 5er, but in Vegas I'm a drunken slob who thinks nothing of screaming at maximum volume at a 20-year-old sophomore on TV for missing a free throw, threatening his grandmother as I pound my fist on the chair in front of me. At home I never touch alcohol, but in Vegas, when it's flowing for free, I am Barney from the Simpsons, unleashing slurred chance for Villanova I make up on the spot because I've got $5 riding on them to win their game by 5.5 points at least. At home I work out regularly and count my calories. Well, kinda. In Vegas I inhale so much anonymous food at buffet tables that I can hardly stand to waddle my way back up to my room to recover. At home I'll scan movie reviews intently before deciding on the movie I'll pay $10 to head out to see. In Vegas a pal will suggest I plop down $20 to see some weird 30-minute IMAX movie in the bowels of the Luxor, and I'll hate every minute of it but still consider the outing a triumph because I didn't puke on my seat.

Of course, just as most Amish do as their Rumspringa comes to an end, I always look desperately forward to returning to my real life. Rumspringa helps me appreciate things I may have started to take for granted, and helps snap me back into perspective.

This contentment lasts about a week, until I come to, regain my faculties and start looking forward to next year's trip, when I'll be another year older and poorer, grayer and weaker. Ready along with any remaining friends willing to come along to give mortality the finger once more, with feeling.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life After College radio interview

You can find it here.

When Left To My Own Devices

Through a twist of fate -- my sister in law's baby shower in Phoenix that coaxed Jessica to bring the kids and leave me at home -- I was left alone pretty much the entire weekend. Being able to choose when I wake up, what I watch on TV, when I play video games and where to go to eat gave me flashbacks to 2004, when I lived in my house alone.

I was expecting to get bored, but instead it was the opposite. I had too many things to do, and because I was so unused to planning my agenda on my own it was a little stressful. It was a little like what agoraphobia must be like, only with the panic replaced with copious amounts of God of War III.

Anyway, here are things I learned about myself when I'm alone:

-I stay up too late and don't get enough sleep. Seriously, Phil? You feel the need to stay up until 2 a.m. when you know the sun from that impossibly huge window in your bedroom will wake you up at 7?

-I eat badly. When nothing's standing between me and the Philly cheesesteak place across town I've heard of for years, it's bad news.

-Eventually I will get tired of playing video games. After only a few hours, too.

-My kids and wife do not prevent me from writing a new book. Laziness does. They're here, I think "you guys are the meaning of my life but I really should be get some work done." They leave and the excuse is gone, and I realize my brain's eyes are bigger than it's stomach and I spend all my time watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

-People who work 50 hour a week jobs or less with no kids, or even just one kid, should never ever complain about being too busy. Your lives are cruising down Easy Street and you don't even realize it. I had a lot of stuff to take care of this weekend - 2 hours of weed spraying in the back yard, grocery shopping, laundry and cleaning the house in my halfassed style, but it was all way too simple because a 3 year old and 1 year old weren't tugging on my legs I was trying to do it. Also, since having a second child I've lost a little bit of respect and pity for single parents of just one kid. It's really not that bad if the parent-kid ration is equal. It's when you're outnumbered that things get crazy.

-I have the tendency to go outside only when absolutely necessary. I stunned myself by not going for a run Saturday when I had so much time to do so. I will today though, after I'm done writing this, or so I tell myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Money's On The Monkey

Sometimes I wonder who would win a fight between a giraffe and a monkey. You may scoff at such a suggestion, noting that a giraffe would surely emerge victorious because of its long neck, which puts its face far out of reach of the little monkey fists, rendering it tough to knock the giraffe unconscious with blows to the head. Plus, a giraffe could easily stomp on the monkey’s tail with one of its four legs, pinning the primate in place while kicking it in the face with one of its free legs.

All points are well taken. But you can’t discount the monkey’s intelligence and fierce resolve. They’re resilient little buggers, and I once saw a movie where a monkey kicked field goals for a football team. It doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to substitute giraffe testicles in place of the flying footballs.

If an overconfident giraffe ever let its guard down and left the monkey unattended after giving it a solid beating, I’d give 2-to-1 that the underestimated monkey would scamper up the leg of its opponent and deliver a swift kick to the boys. And with fights, momentum is everything, so the monkey would probably follow the kick with a few bites, fist-pounds and banana throws, and before you know it, there’s the upset of the century – Monkey standing “EEEK-EEK-EEEK! OOK-OOK-OOK!” - victorious over the dazed, droopy-necked giraffe, its tongue hanging out of the mouth in a defeated stupor.

As we all learned from “Rocky III,” though, there’s always a younger and hungrier fighter waiting in the wings. So even as the monkey would be relishing its championship, rolling in endorsement offers, doing Letterman and Leno and whatnot, you can bet that there would be a fierce contender scouting out the monkey’s title defenses against the garter snake and the platypus – both pushover opponents handpicked by an overprotective manager – and that prospective rival would be a kangaroo. And not that wimpy, crybaby kangaroo from that ignorant costumed Winnie the Pooh show the Disney Channel used to have on in the 80s. No, one of those kangaroos with boxing gloves you see in those 1930s film clips. They got skills. I think one of them beat Joe Louis one time. Not that Joe Louis was the greatest fighter ever. I mean, he was good, I’m sure, but he always gets so much credit by beating that one Nazi that time back in the day. Indiana Jones, on the other hand, gets nowhere near the amount of props, and he not only beats up but kills about 700 Nazis per movie.

But back to the subject at hand – monkey vs. kangaroo, cage match, no holds barred. Who wins? Well, call me biased, but I think I’d have to take the monkey again. Sure, the kangaroo would get a few shots in, maybe even break the monkey’s nose and open up a cut or two. But I’m seeing the monkey getting knocked down over and over again, but always getting up and ready for some more beatings. The tired kangaroo would look on in growing fear, possibly commenting that its opponent “is not a monkey, but a piece of iron.” See, what the kangaroo lacks is a little something called heart.

Elbow grease. Gumption. Endurance. While the kangaroo was hopping around in the field, confident in its punching abilities, the monkey was running on the beach with Apollo Creed, doing one armed-push-ups and plowing snow while being stalked by the KGB in Siberia. The monkey did this knowing full well that even though the kangaroo is a better fighter than he is, he’ll eventually tire out. And sure enough, in their battle, the monkey would come out in the 15th round and lay out the wobbly-legged bounder, proudly screaming, “EEEK-AAAK-OOK-UUUUK!” which roughly translates to “Yo, Adrian, I banana poop throw!”

Come on, I never said the little dynamo was articulate.

Of course, all this is heresay and conjecture. The sad truth is that I’ll never see a monkey fight anything other than its urge to masturbate in its zoo cage. Monkeys will never take on giraffes, let alone kangaroos. I lack the fight promoter capabilities to set up such a matchup, so I’m simply left, like the rest of us, to imagine such a battle royale spectacular.


Bashes me here, and also gives away two copies.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Everyone Important From The 80s Is Dead

Even though I could never tell Corey Haim apart from Corey Feldman, I'm still angry that he's gone to that great big rehab facility in the sky. I'd like to take this moment to recall some of the other important people from the decade who are no longer with us. The first four all share the first name of "Mr."

Mr. Belvedere: The epitome of austere British regalness, Belvedere was an illegal immigrant before being an illegal immigrant was cool. Wesley was such a dick in that episode where he tried to get Belvedere deported. And remember that time when Belvedere got addicted to pinball and had his Hearts of Darkness Apocalypse Now Col. Kurtz moment? That ruled.

Mr. Miyagi: He was the smartest man to ever live and could karaticize a hundred Cobra Kais at the same time. Everything people were saying about Chuck Norris five years ago applied double to Miyagi. He was a renaissance man and a truly great human being, and I'm pretty sure Yoda had a poster of him on his bedroom wall when he was growing up. I guarantee you that by the time the Grim Reaper finished dragging Miyagi to the netherworld, he had a broken jaw and his scythe was shoved up his skirt.

Mr. Wizard: You know Isaac Newton, Darwin, Galileo, Marie Curie and Bill Nye? All were blithering idiots compared to Wizard, who invented most science we know today and perfected that science that existed before he was born. He would pull out those lightning balls -- you know the ones, crystal balls with lightning trapped in the middle -- to demonstrate that he had control of the very elements, not unlike Thor, Norse god of thunder. Weather itself had to ask him permission to do whatever it had planned for the day. Sometimes Wizard would approve, sometimes he'd tell it to shove it and come back to him when he wasn't so busy.

Mr. Rogers: To be honest I never much liked Mr. Rogers. Never would have wanted to be left in the same room as the guy. But he was an icon, and rumor has it he was a Vietnam sniper with a hundred thousand headshots in his day. Wikipedia makes no mention of his 'Nam experience, which probably means it's not true, but there's a reason you always thought it might have been true, right? Guy was a stone cold killer, if only metaphorically, and he was tight with King Friday. Maybe a little too tight, but whatever.

Alf: He wasn't that funny, wasn't that real looking, and wasn't big on stage presence. But Alf, like Frankenstein, did it his way, and parlayed his limited abilities into a damn respectable career. So you've gotta take your hat off to the alien puppet, because he was at least as big as Webster in his day.

Donkey Kong Jr: Nintendo shoved Jr. aside for "Diddy Kong," who I believe was a Kong that Donkey Kong Sr. adopted and decided he liked better than his own blood offspring. Somewhere Junior deliberates in seclusion, plotting his sweet revenge. And when it comes time, Junior, you shall have a brother in arms.

Bayou Billy: OK, the sign I'm pretty much done is that I'm exclusively talking about video game characters now. But what the hell, developers? Why does Bionic Commando merit a remake and Bayou Billy not? I may just have to make this game myself, and trust me, you DO NOT WANT TO SEE THAT HAPPEN.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My Favorite Misquoted Song Lyrics

The song: "Hoochie Mama," 2 Live Crew
The misinterpretation: "Big booty odds, get wit it"
The real lyrics: "Big Booty hoes, up wit it"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: My friend Tyler came up with this one while we were in Las Vegas. He was drunk and wearing heelies at the time and had just heard the song in the cab for the first time despite it having existed for more than 15 years. When you're in Las Vegas, you want big booty odds so you don't get home broke.

The song: "Glory of Love," Peter Cetera
The misinterpretation: "Like a knight in China"
The real lyrics: "Like a knight in shining armor"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: My sister Laura came up with this when she was 5, and since then the image of a knight in China has just stuck in my head. It works.

The song: "It's My Life," Bon Jovi
The misinterpretation: "Like Frankenstein I did it my way"
The real lyrics: "Like Frankie said I did it my way"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: The entire civilized world came up with this interpretation immediately upon the song's release a decade to go, and since then it has been obvious that Frankenstein is the way Bon Jovi should have gone with the song. I mean, Sinatra was known for doing it his way, and even wrote his own song about doing so, but no one -- and I mean no one -- did it quite like Frankenstein.

The song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Tin Pan Alley
The misinterpretation: "Buy me some crackers and Apple Jacks, I don't care if you never come back"
The real lyrics: "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: Another gem from Laura, age 5. Apple Jacks are better than Cracker Jack in all ways, and it's also funny to tell the person you're with at the baseball game to do something so impossible as to somehow get you some Apple Jacks. Then you add insult to insultry by saying you don't care if they never come back. Basically Laura's version of the song is to tell your seatmate that they're talking too much and you'd rather watch the game alone.

The song: "Up in Here," DMX
The misinterpretation: "Godspomaikmee do my mind"
The real lyrics: "Y'all gonna make me lose my mind"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: Drunken Tyler again. His reimagining of the lyrics recall that of an Estonian immigrant who has never heard the English language, yet is still inspired by the joyie de vivre of the music. Tyler thought so much of his version of his version of the song that he once made his own Talk City site titled Godspomaikmee Do My Mind. It was really funny, too. And then Talk City deleted everyone's site without telling anyone and it was lost forever, then from that point on, devastated Tyler vowed never again to make another website and has held true to the promise.

The song: "Viva La Vida," Coldplay
The misinterpretation: "Roman Catholic choirs are singing"
The real lyrics: "Roman calvary choirs are singing"
The reason the wrong lyrics are better: I was so sure it was "Roman Catholic choirs" that I bet Jessica, who knew otherwise, that it was. I lost the ability to name our daughter Emma because I was wrong. But then she thought about it and relented, and our daughter is named Emma. So I won, and even though things looked dark at the time, the big booty odds were up wit it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Greek Gods That Should Exist But Don't

As I play God of War III and impale various Greek deities with their own pitchforks, swords and staffs, I can't help but wish the ancient folk had taken their imaginations a few steps further and come up with some more immortals for me to kill in video game form.

If the Greeks ever get a chance to take the lead in advanced civilization once again and reassert their own religious system, here are some gods they might consider.

Comcastacus, God of Cable -- At will, he decides whether or not you can go on the Internet or watch Big Love. He takes mischievous pleasure in erasing your entire DVR, yet sometimes rewards you with 3 free months of HBO for suffering his undignified pranks.

Gassius, God of Gas Prices -- A juggler by trade, his numbered balls spell out the day's charge for regular unleaded. His pet pup is Econimicus, an unpredictable sheepdog who tends to urinate on crops, causing them to fail and hurling economies into recessions.

Toby, God of Pens -- He watches over ballpoints, felt tips, and what have you, aiding the just by giving them a little extra ink when they really, really need it, and forcing leaks on the wicked.

Cardinalos, Hater of Cardinals -- He personally makes the Cardinals lose every year, sort of like the University of Washington ghost basketball player in The Sixth Man, only he's a total dick and makes this guy drop passes and that guy (looking at you, Kurt Warner) retire. His half god, half mortal son is Matt Leinart, whose greatest myth is that some believe he will be a reliable quarterback despite four years of failure.

Portopoticron -- Decides whether or not there are enough portable toilets for social functions. Also the patron god of peeing behind dumpsters while peeking over your shoulder to make sure no one is looking.

Titleninite -- A goddess dedicated to ensuring the televised equity of men's and women's basketball. Whenever an Arizona State-Washington game that inexplicably runs 40 minutes long on Fox Sports Net and causes you to miss most of the first half of the Arizona-Washington men, 'tis the grinning femme fatale Titleninite who is behind the mayhem.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Most Disgusting Breakfast Cereals Of All

Ranked in order from not so gross to inedible:

5. Shredded Wheat - If you've ever wanted to know what it felt like to be a horse, make yourself a bowl of this hay-like substance, tie a saddle on yourself and nail some metal shoes onto your feet and hands and you'll be there. The least enjoyable part of the experience will be the Shredded Wheat, which can't taste any more bland than actual wheat.

4. Rice Krispies - They're good in Rice Krispy Treat form, but just about anything would be palatable if you mix it with marshmallows and butter. Unbuttered and unmallowed, Krispies are uninspired at best, a soggy mess of glop at the worst. A pathetic underachievement in cereal engineering, Krispies stands up to milk the way the Democrats do to the Republican threat of a filibuster. Within minutes Krispies lose all their integrity and morph into amoebic slimeballs that sink to the bottom of the bowl and cling to the side the way algae suckers do in aquariums.

3. Special K - "Special" is used to describe K in the same way the term is used for... well, let me stop myself before I get into trouble. Let me just say that Special K lives up to its name. The turn-offs start from the box, which usually features a 1980s aerobics woman, which is just about the opposite of sexy. From that point on you know you're in for a "healthy" experience, which means boring and gross, because Special K probably has less calories than other cereals and as everyone knows, the less calories things have the worst they taste because calories are a quantification of flavor.

2. Frosted Mini-Wheats - You may wonder why I'd rank Mini-Wheats, which include frosting, as more detestable than unfrosted Shredded Wheat. The reason is because the designers took a good idea -- to slop sugar all over something -- and only followed halfway through with the concept. As a result, when you're eating a bowl your tongue becomes accustomed to the sweetness so when you come up against the compacted hay the absence of the frost is all the more acute. If I were a medieval inquisition torturing guy I would make heretics eat bowls of Frosted Mini-Wheats until they repented and converted to the one true faith.

1. Cheerios - The name is a lie. There's nothing cheery nor worthy of an O in these circles of hateful agony. I hate Cheerios for many reasons. Maybe its their utter lack of flavor. Maybe its their tiny stature, which eludes capture by spoon when you're down to the final few bites. And maybe, just maybe, it's that my mom forced my family to eat nothing but Cheerios for several months in the 80s because we were saving up boxtops to send away for a free basketball that ended up popping on a cactus right after we got it. Cheerios, I hate you with my entire soul, as well as the souls of all my ancestors and descendants combined into one ginormous Care Bear stare of withering death-ray angst.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Let's Do More With Mâché

Why is it that paper (or papier, as the French so sillily refer to it) is the only thing that gets mâchéd? Scientific fact has it that any object saturated in Plaster of Paris will harden into an tough shell impregnable to anything other than the furious swipe of a 5-year-old swinging a pinata bat.

What if we really pushed physics and engineering to the max and made steel mâché? Could you imagine how tough that material would be? You could make it into Cylon armor and conquer entire continents with only a few robots.

There are other uses for mâché that don't involve enslaving innocent populaces. What's say we built airplanes out of, say, airplane mâché. Planes wouldn't crash, they'd just bounce on the ground and begin to fly again, dropping candy canes and sunshine on the happy people below. Furthermore, we could also build houses out of stucco mâché and windows out of glass mâché . There would be no more home invasions, nor house fires, because think about it -- have you ever seen a mâché'd object catch fire? Of course not, because not only is mâché invulnerable to bullets, nuclear warfare and steel-toed boots, but it's also flame retardant.

I think I'm sort of in love with mâché. I wonder if I can get its number. I know it's weird because I'm married and have 2 kids and all but the heart wants what it wants. Mâché, I will pine for you until you're mine and our relationship status is made of commitment mâché.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

5 People And Things I'm Afraid Of

1. Mr. T - Anyone who's seen Rocky III is with me on this. The yellow teeth, the eyes of terror. He's such a bad man that he kills Rocky's trainer, Mickey, simply by being in the same building with him. He openly hits on Rocky's wife in front of him, then proceeds to give the greatest fighter mankind has ever known a sickening whipping that makes what Ivan Drago did to Apollo Creed seem like pat-a-cake in comparison.

2. Dick Cheney - If him and I were ever in a room together, I don't think I would be coming out of there alive. The guy carries a Darth Vader-ness to him to such an extent that it's not so much that Cheney has a Darth Vader-ness but that Darth Vader has a Dick Cheney-ness. He could snap his fingers and have me disappeared at any second. Wherefore by the grace of Dick am I allowed to walk in freedom.

3. Heights - Screw the term acrophobia. When I come to power I'm eradicating that word from the dictionary and coining "moronosity," which is the mental condition in which people for some reason are NOT afraid of heights. Because it's scary to be way up high, with nothing separating you from splatterage but what seems like a 90 billion feet fall of screaming agony and anticipation of your evolution into road pizza, even though you're only on the upper level of the mall.

4. Getting Night Frozen - Sometimes I'll wake up, only I won't wake up, because I'll be paralyzed, unable to move a finger. I think I'm halfway asleep, halfway a week, and it sucks. I can't even open my eyes. I scream as loud as I can but can hardly eke out a whisper. Sometimes I'm laying on my side and can feel a night freeze coming on so I rocket out of bed and do a little dance in order to fend it off. Yeah, I'm not what you'd call "normal."

5. Turning 50 - Wouldn't that just suck? What is there to look forward to at that point, other than annual rectal exams? I mean, it's better to turn 50 than to die at 49, but still. You're old, and there's no way around it. 40 may be the new 30, but 50 is not the new anything. It's the old everything, and although it's moderately better than being 85, it's still horrifying.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Conspiracies I'm Trying To Get Going

I'm a big conspiracy guy. I'm always looking for the hidden angles, the secret handshakes and the man behind the curtain. I want to connect the invisible dots and believe there are secret societies of super-elites who pull all the strings and know just how everything is going to play out.

But I fear that I'm deluding myself and just believing in fairy tales for the sake of belief, and that it's a folly to string together coincidences as cause and effect. I'm terrified to imagine that my favorite conspiracies are just the work of people with too much free time who just make stuff up.

And if my fears are true, I want to be one of those guys. So following are conspiracies I have made up in the hopes I can get morons like me to believe them. I don't believe in any of these... or do I?

1. Sarah Palin paid Ryan Miller to let Sidney Crosby's gold medal match overtime game-winner past him in order to deflate American nationalism and prime Palin's bid for the 2012 presidency.

2. Barack Obama is not only not an American citizen, but nor is he an Earth citizen, and in fact hails from Triton, moon of Neptune, home to a civilization that deems it a goal to eradicate universal health care from the universe. By feigning weak-sauce health care reform that has no chance of passing even it its pathetic state, he furthers the Tritonian agenda.

3. The 1990 UNLV national championship basketball team were lizard people with time-stopping abilities, rather than humans. Because otherwise Arizona would have beaten them in the Sweet 16 that year and there wouldn't be a black hole in my soul.

4. Two and a Half Men, Dancing with the Stars, NCIS and Ghost Whisperer are secret government plans to identify viewers with no ability to decide what to watch on their own. They are implanted with subliminal messages that turn people into a massive sleeper cell that at the snap of the finger will capture and enslave all normal people.

5. Alf was not a puppet. He was a genuine alien with a heck of a personality and crackerjack timing, not unlike Yakov Smirnoff and Mr. Belvedere. Because of his puppet resemblance, Alf was able to convince NBC that he was an inanimate object and thus would be best used to entertain millions rather than be submitted to copious government tests. Alf so valued his freedom that he allowed an actor to stick his hand up his butt and pretend like he was controlling him for a half hour every Monday.

Hopefully some of these will catch on and one day believers will discover they're not real and feel every bit as crestfallen as I do.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Day In The Life

It seems like I've always done what I've been doing forever, and will continue to the same thing ad nauseum, marching through my standard routines throughout the rest of time.

This isn't true, though. The current rut I'm in replaced a previous rut, and is just a link in a chain of ruts that changed a little from ruts preceding, dating back to when I was 5 years old, playing with little plastic Army men and picking my nose and wiping it on the Spider-Man poster above my bed.

With that in mind I will record my current weekday rut in the interest of looking back on it one day and realizing how much everything's changed.

6:30 a.m. - 1-year-old Emma announces the new day by screaming until I lumber out of bed and pull her out of the crib. I unzip her zip-able sleep blanket and bounce her around until she snaps out of her horror and starts pointing at various objects, saying "this," asking me what each is called. I resume a Netflix I'd watched half of the night before, then I take her outside and grab the newspaper, come back inside and strap her into her high chair, dumping a handful of Cheerios and slicing 3/4 of a banana onto her tray. As I swallow my multivitamin and proceed to shovel Cinnamon Toast Crunch into my mouth, she eats some of her meal, tossing the rest of it to the ground.

6:45 a.m. - 3-year-old Luke emerges bleary-eyed from his bedroom. I hug him and say "I'm so glad you're awake!" He responds "I'm so glad you're awake, too," and asks if he can watch a show. I turn him down and microwave a frozen Costco breakfast sandwich for him, plopping the food on the counter along with a glass of milk and two Marvel heroes chewable vitamins.

7:05 - I tell Luke it's time to go wake up Mommy. He runs into our room and pounces onto the bed until Jessica wakes up. I give her a 30-second status update on the kids and shave and shower.

7:18 - I play with Luke and Emma as Jessica eats breakfast before I head off to work at 7:21.

8-4 - I zone out and crank out news stories at the Arizona Daily Star. Lunch is either Chef Boyardee ravioli or Banquet pizza & pudding, with the occasional run to Carl's Jr. for a Six Dollar Burger thrown in to keep me sane.

4:25 - I return home to Luke hiding behind the entryway to the living room, and I pretend to be scared. Emma claps and jumps into my arms. I give Jessica some free time to exercise or take a nap, handing Emma a stick of string cheese and Luke a packet of fruit snacks. When Jessica is finished, I either run or watch the kids as she makes dinner.

6:45 - After we eat, I make a bubble bath for Luke and Emma, then sit with them as they splash around and I read Sports Illustrated, Newsweek or Game Informer. If I'm done with my magazines I beg off and get Jessica to sit with them while I play a few minutes of whatever video game is tormenting me at the moment. After the bath, I dress one kid, Jessica handles the other and we sit down together to watch something on TV of Luke's choosing.

7:15 - I brush Luke's teeth as Jessica brushes Emma's. Then I read Luke a story. Most often it's something from this big Disney treasury book that has a bunch of capsulized, 10-page summaries of an assortment of animated Disney movies from the last 15 years. His favorite is the worst of the bunch -- Chicken Little. I always ask him if he wants to read Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" -- which I never get sick of -- but most of the time he turns me down. After the story, Jessica puts Emma to bed and says prayers with Luke and talks about his day as I fire up the laptop.

7:30 - I check my email and power through my Google Reader, then start writing my Consumerist posts. Jessica either plays around on her computer as I watch a Netflix or sits besides me and watches one of the 400,000 shows she has saved up on DVR.

9 - Jessica and I lie in bed and talk about stuff for somewhere between half an hour and 90 minutes.

2-4 a.m. - One of a number potential emergencies yanks me out of bed. Emma will wake up crying, or Luke will amble out of bed shouting "Daddy, clean me!" because he's peed his bed, which happens a little less than half the time -- gradually decreasing as the boy garners nighttime control of his bladder. After I put out the fire -- the Luke peeing instance is the more arduous, requiring me to strip him down, wipe the urine off him with wet wipes, re-clothe him, start a load of laundry with the soiled clothes and bed sheets, then put him back to bed. I use the late-night wake-up to finish up my Consumerist stuff and bang out a Becauseitoldyouso post, all while watching Netflix or stuff I've got saved on the DVR. When I finish my writing, I drift back to sleep until Emma's thundering roar ushers in a new day.


Coral is the natural enemy of man. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and scoff at the statement. Be a disbeliever. But it's true and you know it deep down inside. Coral hates you, you hate coral, and one of you has got to go down.

How, you may ask, could a kaleidescopic, inanimate calcified structure slowly built by microbes over the millenia on the sea floor possibly pose a threat to humans in all their mastery? What, you don't know? That's because you're an irresponsible idiot who doesn't think things through. Let me present you with some evidence:

1. Long John Silver's - Do you see any coral on the menu? Nope. Coral is the one sea creature we have failed to be able to fry, butter and serve in a combo platter. Coral is more likely to eat you than you are to eat coral. One time I heard this coral say that his favorite food was popcorn humans. Serious.

2. Sea World - Do you see coral jumping through flaming hoops or bouncing balls for our entertainment? Nuh-uh. Coral is too smart to do that. It sits at the bottom of the sea chuckling while so-called intelligent dolphins and sea otters degrade themselves for drooling hicks from Minnesota and their nose-picking 9-year-olds. Coral can never be made a foolish slave.

3. Stoicism - While insecure humans feel the need to scamper about, inventing this, studying that, trying to impress everyone, coral just sits there smugly thinking, "I know I'm a badass. I have nothing to prove." And then it cops feels on hot scuba diver chicks who try to get a look at nearby sea turtles.

4. Fighting ability. Ever hear of rope-a-dope? Muhammad Ali copied the technique from coral. Seriously. Try to box coral, and it will take your punches for five, six rounds, tiring you out, biding its time, making you think it ain't got nothing left. And then comes a roundhouse jawbreaker to knock you the fuck out. Whoops, I said fuck, without deleting the vowels even though in the FAQs I said I would always sanitize cuss words so it would be OK for kids to read it without getting their minds warped. Well, reader, if you do happen to be a kid, it's high time you learned. Sometimes people say fuck, and sometimes coral is looking to whip your ass. Tread fearfully, for the dangers of the deep are deadly, little one.