Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres Is My Hero

If there's ever a chance my greatest dream will come true and American Idol will be canceled one day, it will be due to the work of Ellen DeGeneres, who clearly knows exactly as much about music as I do -- meaning absolutely nothing -- and brings the show to a screeching halt whenever she opens her mouth.

It's not that it's a bad idea to have a comedian on the show, which could use a lighter touch. But instead of talking smack about the other judges and contestants and bouncing along her own zany wavelength, DeGeneres tries to get serious and use her limited knowledge and malnourished opinions to outdo Simon and the New Girl.

Thus I am convinced DeGeneres hates American Idol every bit as much as I do and is doing her damndest to undermine it from within and get people to stop watching it, thus ridding prime time of Ryan Seacrest once and for all.

For the record, I do not watch the show intentionally but I am exposed to it because I like to do my night typing on my laptop while seated in my favorite chair, a recliner located in the living room. Jessica loves the show and I let her watch it at night so she can delete it and free up some DVR space. I think all people who watch this show for whatever reason are disgraces to humanity. This of course includes myself.

Anyway, here's to you, Mrs. DeGeneres, for doing your part to destroy this malevolent cancer. She clearly knows what she's doing. She's landed herself a billion different talk shows, made herself into a pop culture icon despite minimal talent and landed a wife who is way, way way, out of her league. Keep up the good fight.

Steph The Blogger Reviews Me

Sort of mixed, mostly positive. She calls it "good."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How And Why I Once Punched A Cat

I deplore animal violence. I think hunting is unfairly biased towards those with guns, cheer for the bulls in bullfights and rodeos and don't even like it when Kitten Mittons are affixed to a cat for comedy.

Well, that last bit was an exaggeration. Charlie Day and his Sunny mates can do no wrong. But you get the point. Before I get into this, I want to make it clear that although I have punched a cat, don't regret it and am about to tell a funny story about how it happened, I don't think it's cool to hit any animal, much less a tiny, defenseless one.

Let's go back to fall of 1999. I was living in the most deplorable setup of my life - along with one of my best friends and his girlfriend, a demonic hellbeast who brought two cats into our shared apartment without my permission. If my roommate was the devil, these cats were her arch-demons.

They pushed me into a state of constant sneezing, due to my allergies. They woke me up by jumping on my face. They barfed, pooped and peed on the kitchen floor, my bed and keyboard. They jumped into my cereal bowl in the morning. I hated them with my entire being, yet none of these reasons was an impetus to slug one.

And then came the tipping point. My friend ordered a Nintendo Entertainment System off of eBay, as well as my favorite game, Blades of Steel, which I hadn't played since I was a kid. I set up the game, re-upped as my favorite team, New York -- "they have no weaknesses," correctly read the instruction book scouting report on the squad -- and set to rekindling my nostalgic virtual ice hockey flame.

I powered through my overwhelmed computer rivals, racking up one inspiring victory after the next. Finally I advanced to the championship game against Pittsburgh, and was carefully protecting a 3-2 lead in the third period.

And then one of the cats pounced behind the TV, ripped the cord from its socket and then stared me down. I can still see its defiant gaze in the recesses of my darkest memories.

So without thinking, I leaped off the couch and gave the cat a little uppercut. The kitty took it in stride, running off without a whimper. I am sure I didn't hurt it, but it was not for a lack of trying.

I will always remember that outburst of anger, which is odd because I have never been in a real fight, nor attacked anyone outside of an occasion in YMCA basketball in which I shoved someone who fouled me too hard, and another time in which I punched my friend in the stomach after he dumped out my pretzels to punctuate a Mario Kart victory.

I realize I shouldn't have hit the cat. If I were back in the same situation, I wouldn't repeat my cat punch. But I do wish I had a video of that moment, because in that time, in that place, that damned cat deserved what it got, and I delivered.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dot Dot Dot Dot

Remember Dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot line line spider crawling up your spine? I think that would be considered sexual harassment nowadays. As would Friday Flip-up Day. Elementary school had better be done with that by the time Emma gets there, otherwise she's only wearing pants on Fridays.

Monday Marriage Day, Men's Choice is also borderline offensive, although it was counteracted by Wednesday Wedding Day, Women's Choice, to solve the gender equity issue. Which day was Opposite Day again?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fear And Loathing At The Carl's Jr. Drive-Thru

If you don't want to read all this and just want the moral of the story, here it is: Should you order a Six Dollar Burger at the Carl's Jr. drive-thru, do yourself a favor and give your bag a little peek just to confirm your burger is packaged in a genuine Six Dollar Burger box.

OK, now on with the tale of woe and triumph. Thursday I skipped out of work to grab a Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger value meal, but when I got back to my desk I felt like the guy in The Crying Game when I discovered my burger was but a decidedly un-Six Dollar super star. I'd been had.

At this point I had already devoured my fries and was a couple bites into - OK, halfway through - the offending burger, and might have done well to have just packed it in at that point and taken the hand fate had dealt me. After all, I certainly didn't need the calories of an entire other burger, much less that of the giant, Six Dollar variety, on top of what I'd already eaten.

My manorexia had already been dinged by the indignity of springing for a value meal in the first place, because I'd abandoned my usual routine of ordering just a burger, circumventing the empty calories of fries and soda. But then I had a Thomas Paine moment and decided I needed to make a stand on principle. If no one stood up to this Carl's Jr. in its attempt -- intentional or otherwise -- to defraud me, what would stop other Carl's Jr.s' from following suit? Surely Burger King would give it a try, swapping out Whopper Jr.s for Whoppers, and eventually even McDonald's would get into the act. So really, the entire fate of the fast food world rested on my shoulders. No, sir. I will not let this happy, peaceful world fall to such a fate. Not on my watch. This time it was indeed personal, even if I am getting too old for this shit.

So back I went, deliberating during the 4-minute drive rather than to attempt the return/exchange via drive-thru or in person at the counter. Of course I'd have to go inside, if only to do all I could to ensure the fast food workers wouldn't drop a seven-dollar loogie into my meal. You're flying blind when you go through the drive-thru, a place braille fears to tread.

So I parked out front and made my way toward the restaurant, bag of disgraced fast food stuffs in hand, when I confronted a homeless man. There are some situations in which one's integrity is tested. I felt the right thing to do would be to realize that it would be only right to hand the sandwich over to the unfortunate gentleman, because at that point I was no longer hungry, and the free half-burger would surely be the highlight of his week.

But it was not to be. My heart said stop but my legs said "keep walking," because I'm afraid of street folk and do everything in my power to avoid speaking to them. I went inside, pulled off the trade, inspected my genuine Six Dollar Burger box, then walked outside. Again I confronted the homeless man, and again I avoided eye contact and swerve-walked away from him in a manner so as not to convince him I was veering away from him.

He tried to make it easier for me. This time he asked me if I had a sandwich he could have. He didn't ask for money, just some food. Yet I said "No, I don't have anything. Sorry, man," and kept walking, making no attempt to hide the bag. So now I was a liar, a glutton, and if he needed that meal lest he perish of starvation, possibly even a murderer. But one thing I was not was a sloth, because a sloth would have accepted his super star lot at his desk. But not I, I thought to myself as I devoured a few thousand extra calories in front of my computer monitor. I may be a bastard, but at least I am not a lazy one.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Curling Qs

While watching the Olympic curling match between the United States and Canada, I came up with these questions:

-How does curling get away with stealing Target's logo?

-If the sport starts offering a competitively priced blend of home furnishing, sensible yet stylish clothing and basic food staples, then will the sport really be in trouble from the lawyers?

-Are women separated from men because females are so much more adept at using brooms than dudes?

-How do people do this without laughing?

-How many picnic table blankets did Norway's team need to make its pants?

-When, while curling, does anyone curl? Or is it a mysteriously metaphorical title such as boxing, in which no one uses a box, and fencing, in which fences remain unused?

-How does one first happen into curling? Is there a gateway ice-shuffling
activity that leads to the activity?

-Wouldn't it be cool of curlers had to wear curlers? And robes? And that green facial stuff Alice from The Brady Bunch used to wear when no one else was around? And cucumbers over the eyes?

-Is Curl's Jr. the official fast food burger of the sport?

-Are you ever going to read anything else I write after reading a joke that bad?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Praise Of Duct Tape

Once, when I was a stupid kid, I had no respect for duct tape. I was hardly introduced to its prowess before my freshman year of college and even then, I made fun of my roommate, Cracker, for using it to construct a crude cabinet system out of cardboard and abandoned pieces of particle board.

But soon, I came to see duct tape's value. That cabinet system held up, and although it was ugly, it got the job done.

I’ve retained exactly two things I learned in college; one, A-1 and tuna make for a good low-budget sandwich and two, duct tape is the bond that holds our fragile society together.

Soon, I found myself using the tape to better objects in everyday life.

I've always carried around a folder in which I keep all the tools that help me as a journalist - phone numbers, notes, pencil and such - but whenever the folder started to deteriorate because of the rugged use, I always had to buy another.
But not so with the folder I received as a birthday present in 1997. Three months after I started using the folder, a rip opened up the middle of it. I sealed it with a smooth piece of the sturdy, metallic adhesive.

Other rips and tears sprouted up in the folder and I covered each one in turn. The folder was ugly, but the duct tape got the job done.

Now the folder is actually more duct tape than paper. Scientists estimate that my folder will be entirely composed of duct tape by the year 2012.

But recently, I realized that I've been using duct tape blindly all these years. I had absolutely no knowledge of who invented the stuff so I decided to find that answer myself with field research. I wasn't going to use fancy tools like "the Internet" or "encyclopedia books."

This is what I discovered: duct tape was invented by the great Dutch explorer Alexander VanDucTappen, who collected the ingredients from each of the Seven Seas in 1585, on the very same voyage in which he became famous for discovering Portugal and for taming the women of the Amazon.

The legend says that one stormy August night, the oceanic phenomenon which would later become known as "El Nino," severely ravaged VanDucTappen's boat, causing a gaping hole in the side.

Amazingly, the ship didn't sink. But, VanDucTappen's crew who considered their captain an incompetent drunk, turned to mutiny because there was no way to fix the ship. But just as VanDucTappen was about to walk the plank, he pulled out a roll of his then-experimental roll of "DucTapp."

He could have easily used the tape to fix the boat and win back his crew's confidence, but VanDucTappen was a vengeful and foolish man who instead tried to use the tape roll as a bludgeon to beat up 30 angry sailors. Needless to say, VanDucTappen died that day. But before he went down, he made sure that his aggressors were sticky.

About VanDucTappen, well, I'm not even sure that he existed. It's just a story that I heard. Well, actually made up. But it really doesn't matter if the story is true or not. What matters is that we appreciate the magical adhesive concoction.

(I wrote this post a long, long time ago, but new to you, right?)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Republicans Should Not Hate Barack Obama

He is probably the greatest Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Just look at all his accomplishments:

-He's managed to ensure that health care reform never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER passes.

-He campaigned so ineffectively that Massachusetts -- which is bluer than a Louis Armstrong solo -- actually gave a senate seat to a Republican.

-He spends billions of dollars at random for no reason and with no tangible result, in the manner of both Reagan and George W. Bush.

-He's kept two nonsensical wars going with little sign of slowing down.

-He's enraged voters so much that they're willing to hand over both houses of Congress back to the Republicans.

What more can you ask for, Republicans?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sluts And Whores

The difference between sluts and whores is that one has sex for free while the other gets paid. Oddly when you call someone a whore there's more of a sting to it. But whores are arguably much smarter, because they profit off their promiscuity. On the other hand, sluts only have sex with guys they want to have sex with, which is not quite true for whores.

Men who have sex with infinite women are regarded as "players" and "dogs," usually by women who thought the men who "played" them were in love with them, as well as men who pretend they're sanctimonious and morality-driven whereas in reality they lacked the opportunity to become dogs. Men can't technically be whores, at least when it comes to sex, because few are willing to pay for their services, that is outside of intrepid New York Post writers on assignment.

By the way, this is another secret post, un-Twittered or Facebooked, so consider yourself lucky if you stumbled upon it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Long-Awaited One-Sentence Reviews Of Classic Books I Read In High School

People worldwide turn to me for my opinion on a number of matters, not the least of which is classic literature. So here they are.

Moby-Dick - As fun and exciting to read as a phone book in a different language.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - I can understand wanting to read about someone getting raped as a child because you're forced to by a teacher, but is there any other good reason?

The Grapes of Wrath - Silly fun on the prairies, with an M. Night Shyamalan twist ending involving breast milk.

Crime and Punishment - Before Facebook, stalkers had to go to great lengths to follow people until they went insane, and this book is the textbook of how to do that.

Tender is the Night - Rich people had too much time on their hands and didn't know how to get it on without messing things up in an overly elaborate and verbose fashion.

The Plague - It would really, really suck to get an un-curable fever -- like, a few hundred pages' worth of sucking.

1984 - Not sure, got a few pages in and then rented the movie.

Catch 22 - It would be fun to visit Rome, so long as you didn't do it during World War II.

The Lord of the Rings - Probably more enjoyable if you were on pot in the 1960s at the time and imagining the sociological ramifications of the One Ring as a metaphor for nuclear arms.

Luckily I didn't have to read any books in college, because I was a business major, and the same is true for my adult life, which lacks teachers and grades. So these are my complete works of literary review. Cherish them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Guide To The 2010 Winter Olympics

Ah, yes, the 2010 Winter Olympics are here, meaning it’s time for all the wonderful, inspiring thrills of bobsledding, curling and that activity where they run out in skis and randomly stop to fire bullets. It’s the event that brings out the best in international camaraderie and competition. And by camaraderie and competition, I mean absolute, devastating boredom. The following facts will increase your appreciation of how crappy and worthless the Olympics are.

-There’s a new “trial sport” in this year’s games called Snowblinder, in which blindfolded competitors try to ski down dangerous tree-filled mountains without killing themselves. Just kidding, Snowblinder would be entertaining, and nothing in the Winter Olympics is entertaining.

-Contrary to popular belief, bobsledders, skeletoners and lugers are not athletes. They’re sliders.

-Al Michaels pees a little bit out of excitement when he talks ski jumping.

-Figureskater Yu-Na Kim is the favorite to win the gold medal for Hooker Resemblance.

-Every time someone pulls off a triple axel, a kitten dies.

-John Candy can whip any ragtag group of misfits into medal contenders. “Cool Runnings” does not lie. Oh, wait. He’s dead? Crap.

-Non-white people are allowed to compete, although you wouldn't know it, given the NASCAR-like level of etnnic diversity among the athletes.

-The NHL will stop its season to allow its athletes to compete in the games.

-Not one person outside of Canada or those northern states where everyone talks like the guys from Fargo will notice that the NHL has stopped.

-Male figure skaters tend to be somewhat effeminate.

-Speedskating is frikkin’ scary. You’ve seen way they wear unitards and slump over as they skate, moving their arms back and forth low against the ice. They remind me of the Wheelers from Return to Oz. Don’t watch any of their races or they’ll bring back the Wheeler Nightmares you had when you were 6. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

-That really does suck that John Candy is dead.

-Outside the usual top medal contending countries, you’ve got to watch out for Italy. Whenever there’s a World War they start off on the evil side but after you beat them down for a while they switch to good.

-Odd but true: The Russian judge is still pissed that communism didn’t work out, and he’ll deduct points from every figure skater from a member country of the former Coalition of the Willing.

-And the German judge is still pissed about the Treaty of Versailles.

-And the Chinese judge is still pissed about that spyplane we crashed on their land and that we're not paying back all that money we owe them.

-And the French judge is still pissed about that Freedom Fries thing.

-And the Canadian judge is still pissed his already high taxes are going to pay for all this.

-Snowboard is what you get as a new event after Americans complain for years that they don’t win enough medals. Snow-bored is what you get if you actually watch these hippies do their silly flip-and-turn asks.

-Have you heard of the skier lady who isn't sure if she can compete because she has a bruise? No? Come on, sure you have! It’s like so controversial!! She's the diva of nautical ski moguls or whatnot! There’s a TV news story on her every day, and she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated! Oh well. So when do new episodes of Community start coming back on again?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Cards That Should Exist But Don't

I wish I knew how to do this right -- complete with graphics and flash animation -- but I don't so you'll just have to bear with me. Inspired by (500) Days of Summer, I've put together a few greeting cards that might be of some use to people on V-Day.

COVER: I sort of want to bang you...
INSIDE: But have not yet ruled out the possibility that you're a psycho. So let's go out!

COVER: To my love on our 50th anniversary...
INSIDE: Will you die already so I can finally get my freak on again?

COVER: I love you...
INSIDE: But I throw that phrase around so often it's lost all its meaning. So basically this is just to say "'sup."

COVER: You set my heart aflutter...
INSIDE: Because your erratic behavior has beset me with a documented nervous condition.

COVER: It was love at first sight...
INSIDE: When I saw the zeroes on the end of your bank account. Thank you for letting me marry well!

COVER: I will long for you forever...
INSIDE: Or at least until my Viagra prescription expires.

COVER: Thank you for being with me today...
INSIDE: So what's the protocol for prostitutes? Do you charge extra on Feb. 14 or am I entitled to a pity discount?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Every Aspect Of Life Should Have GPS

As someone with no sense of direction, GPS is a godsend. Since I got a TomTom for my birthday last year I've become a new man, getting to exactly where I want to go, when I want to get there. I feel like the TomTom is actually driving the car and I am but a sidekick -- a googly-eyed Robin riding in the sidecar to the Batbike.

The TomTom will suggest crazy time-saving maneuvers, such as sending me down dark, barely-paved streets I'd never noticed existed, and I'll grin widely and say, "TomTom, I don't know what you've got planned for us this time, but I like it!" Well, I won't actually say that... most of the time. I usually just think it. Although I'd be lying if I said I don't commonly speak to my TomTom, occasionally whispering sweet nothings of my respect and admiration. If everyone used GPS to drive, there'd be less traffic, pollution and car accidents, because people would be on the road less and they wouldn't get lost and confused as often.

There's a scene in The Office in which Michael, heeding the advice of his GPS, drives straight into the lake. I proudly declare that I would do the same. You know that Bryan Adams song Everything I Do I Do It For You? He wrote that, as well as Have You Ever Really Really Loved A Woman about him and his GPS. True story. They were invented and used in Canada several decades before they crossed the southern border.

Although my adoration for GPS knows few bounds, it does have its shortcomings. Following is my guide to building a better TomTom:

-It needs to tell you where open parking spots are.

-It should alert you to crazy, maniacal drivers, as well as oversize loads. And when someone cuts you off and you follow them for a while, just to prove a point, and the other driver tries to get away from you, and the offending driver manages to lose you, it should not only tell you where your enemy is hiding but give you its email address and Facebook password.

-It should tell you the news of the day, including sports scores, in a sexy Lara Croft voice.

-It should ask me how I'm doing sometimes, just to show it's not a one-sided relationship -- human to robot slave -- and it actually cares and would serve me even had it been bestowed with the free will of its Cylon descendants.

-It should grow legs and follow me around, gently advising me how much food it's appropriate to eat at a given time, telling me where I lost my keys and watch me play video games, advising me where my enemies are hiding in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

-It should coach me on sexual techniques, advising you when and how to stroke, rub, sweet talk, etc. It should do this via earpiece, because that would just be creepy if it was in the same room with us.

-It should warn me if I'm about to enter a bathroom with no toilet paper. I need to know these things.

-It should choose my clothes. I'm as bad at fashion as I am at directions, so it would help if the TomTom laid my clothes out in the morning.

-It should advise me on the proper actions to attain eternal salvation, or at least avoid going to hell. Lower limbo or mid-Purgatory is all I ask from you, TomTom.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Things I Wish Would Happen

-That Tara Reid would start a psychic business called Tara Reid's Tarot Reads.

-That the Senate and Congress would dissolve and all the nation's voting be conducted online and via text on Fox Virtual Manager.

-That the Cardinals had the opportunity to challenge the Saints to a rematch with this year's Super Bowl title on the line.

-That they'd bring back Count Chocula.

-That people would start reading newspapers again, including myself.

-That the Winter Olympics would announce their retirement in a joint press conference with U2 and Bruce Springsteen, who would join in and move off to the Lost island after the show ends so no one has to watch them anymore.

-That I was a little bit taller, and was a baller.

-That I didn't need to place my laptop on top of a plastic cutting board in order to prevent it from burning my lap.

-That the show Judge Katy Perry would show up on syndicated daytime TV.

-That the Criterion Collection would release a highlight reel of my life set to my own personal theme song, the All American Rejects' "Gives You Hell."

-That people would disobey the message in this book and just buy the damn thing already.

-That I could think of a way to begin one of these sentences other than using the word "that."

-World peace would occur. There, I did it. Dreams can indeed come true, but sometimes it takes a little passive voice to get 'em off the ground.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Chewlimia: The New Eating Disorder I've Invented

Generally it's frowned upon to invent a eating disorder. For instance, there's a reason you don't know the names of the guys or gals who first dreamed up bulimia and anorexia -- because they most likely not only failed to take credit for their abominable creations, they perhaps suffered from them on their own and decided to hide their afflictions away from the world.

Not so with Chewlimia, a hybrid eating disorder I came up with today. Someday the history books -- or history hovercraft/laser e-scrolls, or whatever people read or download into their brains in the future -- will cite this blog post alongside Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity after being bonked with an apple.

While recklessly stuffing my face with wings, cupcakes, cookies, chips, bean dip, pulled pork, rolls, and whatever else my unthinking hands could grasp, I caught a bad bite of something or other and spat it into the trash can.

Then it occurred to me: Why swallow at all, unless you're hungry? Despite what the Arizona State University cheerleaders would have you believe, there's no pleasure at all to come from swallowing. All the joy mankind gets from eating comes from the act of chewing. By combining the self-control of an anorexic with the lust for indulgence of a bulimic, you can become a chewlimic and enjoy the best of all worlds.

Granted, there's no need to become such a chewlimic that you under-nourish yourself and whither away. Just keep chewlimia in your back pocket for when you're at a party and are already stuffed, yet can't resist the siren call of hot wings and ranch.

I foresee chewlimia catching on and Super Bowl party hosts adopting the social norm of handing guests personal spitoons in order to save them from the indignity of rushing off to the bathroom, as well as filling garbage cans with unsightly, gooey masticated glop.

Together we can make this happen, folks. The more you know!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fortune Cookie Fortunes That Should Be

Next Tuesday will be dull and nothing remarkable will happen.

Your favorite sports teams will all end their seasons with losses.

Your lucky numbers are 9-1-1.

You will eat too many Doritos.

You will not again work out until someone accidentally refers to your weight problem.

Your dreams will crumble and burn before your eyes. And then you will wake up and fail even harder than your subconsciousness was able to conjecture.

You will spend several hours grinding away at a video game for the next several weeks rather than doing something constructive with your life.

You will make an ass out of yourself the next time you are asked to say grace at a family function.

You will fail to notice the orange gunk between your teeth as you grin like an idiot to those who cross your path.

The next time you bring a woman to climax, it will be because she is thinking of another.

Your boss hates you and wishes you would quit.

The Winter Olympics will disappoint you.

You will continue to remain poor and irrelevant.

She is cheating on you. With me. Right now, behind the maitre d' counter.

You ingest large amounts of MSG.

The cookie I came in was stale.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Guide To Surviving Road Altercations

I am a generally tranquil and easygoing dude, but every now and again I'll end up in a car chase because I honked at someone for cutting me off.

It's pretty much an involuntary reaction. As soon as I believe another driver has sinned against me, the horn magnetically pulls my palm to it, followed by the inevitable staredown. Sometimes when I'm feeling rather daring I even tailgate the offending party for a while, just to send a message that I fear neither man nor beast. I'm not looking to follow them home or attack them, but am just sending a little signal in case they ever again decide to try and step to me in my hood.

But more often than not, the honked-at party will stop abruptly and wait for me to pull up alongside so we can further discuss the matter. At this point some would step out of their car to clear the air, but I am of the mind that it's better to stay inside the vehicle during potential fighting situations, given the fact that I don't know how to fight, and I believe I'm safer inside a giant killing robot with wheels than I am on foot.

So when someone motions me to get out of my car, the magnet effect occurs once again, this time the gas pedal attracting my foot. I have been chased many times, feeling just like Pac-Man after his power pellet has worn off.

Once, when I was 16 and driving my parents' minivan, an enterprising pursuer in a cooling company van I had cut off waited for a red light, then stepped out to bash my taillight with a lead pipe. I had two friends in the van with me at the time who gingerly suggested we get out and fight the guy, but I instead stood pat and drove toward the freeway. Odds are we would have won the fight, but at least one of us would have taken a nasty piping to the skull before the bad guy went down. Those odds were too poor for me, and I do not regret fleeing.

I would have driven all the way to Mexico to get away from that guy. And not just by scooting down I-19 for an hour. Rather, by heading north through Canada and the Arctic, then down through the oceans and Asia, the Antarctic, up through South America to enter the country through Guatemala. How the minivan would have coasted on water I do not know -- but only that the will to make it happen was certainly there.

The moral of this story is to learn to fight and not honk at people or cut them off. Especially if they have lead pipes. Thankfully few drivers have guns, and those who are armed have passed thorough background checks and taken training courses so as to not be tempted to shoot you down.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

20 Reasons Clowns Are Scary

1. The red around the mouth is a little too red. Like not Maybeline red but I've Been Devouring Uncooked Human Flesh For The Past Week red.

2. The Stephen King movie "It."

3. They use the devil's magic to twist perfectly normal balloons into grotesque, creepy animal shapes.

4. Their shoes are so big they could be hiding anything inside.

5. The white face makeup is reminiscent of an inverse of what Al Jolson did in "The Jazz Singer."

6. They are always smiling.

7. Except for the ones with frowns etched on their faces, which are the ones you really need to watch out for.

8. Ronald McDonald propagates unhealthy food choices for children.

9. You never know exactly how many of them are left inside their cars, even after 15 come out.

10. Because despite the circus having gigantic elephants bitter about being mistreated and ferried across the country to perform against their will, bearded ladies, lobster boys and that psycho who drives his motorcycle inside of translucent spheres, clowns are still viscerally more intimidating than all of the above.

11. If their noses honk, you don't even wanna know what other body parts do.

12. They talk in crazy weird voices that sound equally drunk and depressed.

13. Except for the ones who don't talk, mimes, the ones you really, REALLY need to watch out for.

14. Some walk on long stilts that make them resemble Wheelers from Return to Oz.

15. They wear wigs, which themselves are not as scary as what you imagine their hair looks like underneath.

16. The movie Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

17. The Insane Clown Posse.

18. Insane Clown Posse Fans.

19. Because one broke into my house and killed me before I was able to get to No. 20.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sex, Marriage And Double Standards

Men are applauded for having sex from the time they lose their virginity, while women are celebrated for maintaining virginity as long as possible. In soccer terms, men are the strikers and women are goalies. Things are changing a bit, but overall the cultural norms remain entrenched.

The dynamic reverses when it comes to marriage, which turns women into strikers as men become goalies. Women are lionized by their female friends and relatives for getting men to propose to them, whereas men are disparaged by their pals. Engaged women are triumphant conquerors, whereas men are seen as embarking on funeral marches.

Things are equalized forever at the altar, however, when man and woman vow before God and family never again to have sex. Sometimes they have kids because they violate these vows, and that is how the human race marches on. That and all the underage births caused by daring young men who impregnate and abandon young floozies years before they decide to settle down and stop having sex by getting married.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Secret Of The Fade Out

When you are a movie critic for several years you begin to formulate little tricks to help get you through the slower movies. The best of these is the Secret of the Fade Out. Let me explain:

Whenever something fades to black before transitioning to a new, unrelated scene, imagine that whoever -- or whatever -- was on screen before the fade instantly began having sex with each other as things darken. It makes just about anything watchable. You name it: Harry Potter, Operation Dumbo Drop, FernGully: The Last Rainforest.

I've used this technique for so long that I've managed to half convince myself it's the Freudian truth rather than a silly gimmick of my creation. Oftentimes characters emerge with oddly bemused, preternaturally satisfied gazes on their faces, maybe a hair or two inexplicably out of place or a piece of clothing strangely ruffled.

The problem with the Secret of the Fade Out is it tends to ruin movies for you, especially The Karate Kid. Miyagi and Daniel-san get it on so much, in so many unorthodox locations, and keep coming back for the sequels. These guys are straight-up sex addicts. And things get really weird in The Next Karate Kid when it's Hilary Swank's turn.

OK, the moral of this story is not to become a movie critic, and never, ever, ever watch stuff using the Secret of the Fade Out. Even though I know you will from now on, because let's face it, once you find out about it, it's impossible to not.

Eleven Things Not To Do Before You Die

Some people have bucket lists of things they vow to do before they die.

I've got a list of my own: Things I will never do under any circumstance. If I ever cross one of these items off this list, I will have thoroughly failed at life and will rue my existence. And off we go:

1. Sword swallowing -- Sticking anything into your mouth that sharp that far is bad news. Find some other, less damaging ways to entertain passers by on the streets of whatever city Aladdin's from.

2. Walk on hot coals -- I don't care what kind of spiritual place you put yourself into -- extremely hot coals burn human flesh.

3. Sky diving -- I have no doubt it's fun to plunge several thousand feet from an airplane. But you know what's not so fun? Face-planting to your grisly death for no reason because your life is so disappointing that you need to go to near death experiences for entertainment value.

4. Coach the Oakland Raiders -- It will not end well. Just trust me. Al Davis be cuh-razy.

5. Let tons of bees crawl all over your face at the same time -- People who do that are just asking for it, and how can you see someone on one of those nature shows wearing a bee beard and not hope the bees are all planning for a simultaneous sting operation. Yes, I just wrote "sting operation" as a pun in a paragraph about bees. This is why the world keeps me in Tucson.

6. Sleep in a haunted house -- What is the best case scenario here? Maybe a Casper-like spirit who doesn't realize he has the supernatural capabilities of Paranormal Activity-ing your life into ruins will appear to you and give you a Sixth Sense Encyclopedia Brown riddle that you can solve and release it back into the afterlife? Maybe 1 percent of the time. The other 99, it'll be an incubus ready to release a little built-up tension on you while slamming your levitated head against the ceiling and making you hurl split pea soup.

7. Bungee jump. Once you take that leap, you're dangling above the void with complete trust that someone will rescue you. But what if they get heart attacks from the thrill of watching you do your thing and are too incapacitated to set you free? Or worse yet, what if facilitating your jump was but an elaborate prank to get you stuck there upside down forever, like what Willow did to Madmartigan?

8. Hang glide. Perhaps you're noticing a trend here, that three of the eight items thus far have to do with heights, and being terrified of them. Well, you're right in assuming that I have acrophobia. But it's not me who has the mental disorder here -- it's everyone who doesn't get jittery when there's the potential to fall from a great height. Getting back to the point, if you hang glide, you're sending out embroidered invitations for an eagle or hawk to come barreling into your little kite apparatus, spinning you into a death spiral. And failing that, when you're hang gliding I doubt you're registering with Air Traffic Control, so there's nothing preventing a Boeing 747 Airbus from barreling into you head on and redirecting your flight route, directly to the bowels of Hades.

9. File for bankruptcy. It seems great, right? You get rid of all your debt, start with a pretty much clean slate, and laugh at the poor saps who actually accept responsibility for their late night booze binges and gambling runs and work hard to pay it all off honestly. Well, you're correct that filing for bankruptcy will make all this happen for you, but you know what it will also do -- make me stop following you on Twitter. And you know you need the followers.

10. Contract herpes. No matter how happy the people in the herpes med commercials seem, you know they're hiding the existential angst of allowing themselves to get herped up in the first place. What they wouldn't give for Mr. Destiny to transport them back to high school so they could undo that hot makeout section that led to a life of cold sores. Note: I do not have herpes but laugh at people who do.

11. See your parents naked. If you're 7 and you're reading this, and you hear loud inexplicable noises coming from your parents' room, just do yourself a solid by making yourself a bowl of Cap'N Crunch and waiting for the noise to stop before unlocking the door with a toothpick and checking things out. You can thank me later.