On Bad Hip-Hop, Musicals, D&D and British-Like Humour.

Every once in a while, I go through my CD collection and wonder why I bought two-thirds of the stuff I have. I spend more time trying to choose what music to listen to while I work out than I do actually working out. I keep thinking I should choose a CD that I know all the songs on, but as I peruse the endless shelves of jewelboxes I realize that those gems are few and far between. For the most part, my collection is filled with albums purchased because I liked one song…or I liked other groups on the same record label…or I read something about the group that intrigued me.

Well, yesterday I decided to drag out the boxes of actual vinyl that the wife and I own. I was completely blown away by our combined resources. If you sat this collection in front of a total stranger and asked them to describe its owner based solely on the contents within, I can’t help but think that the stranger would describe us as “weird” and/or “possibly deranged.”

My wife’s part of the collection is filled with respectable stuff like The Smiths, The Cure, Black Flag, Sex Pistols and The Replacements while my shitty contributions include The Village People, Queen, Flock of Seagulls and ridiculous amounts of horrible hip-hop singles like this:

FUN FACTS: The K-9 Posse featured Eddie Murphy’s younger brother Charlie, best known for getting bitch-slapped by Rick James. And the only good thing about this song is the Eric B & Rakim sample in the chorus.

I also own this on vinyl:

The song opens with a pretty cool sample of dialogue from West Side Story and a great bassline, but after that it’s all downhill. The flipside of “Play it Kool” was titled “Ugly People Be Quiet” and the follow-up single was called “Find an Ugly Woman.” How did these guys not hit it big?

I don’t know why I got off on this strange tangent, but now I’m laughing my ass off. I miss the days of Whodini and Steady B, Mantronix and the Boogie Boys, MC Shan, Davy DMX, Original Concept. I could go on, ’cause that’s how I roll…or used to…sort of…alone in my bedroom.

And now I just lost every single reader of the blog because you’re all sitting there thinking, “Cracker, please!” Maybe you’re right. Let’s talk about things white people like. How about musicals? Goofy white people love themselves some musicals.

I guess by now everyone knows that there’s going to be a Spider-Man musical. And that the guys from U2 wrote the music for it. And that the plot involves Peter Parker twirling and running away from other bouncy dudes in leotards. You remember that part of Spider-Man 3 where Tobey Maguire got all emo and had a stupid(er) haircut and danced and sang? Yeah…it’s gonna be like that, except with wraparound Bono shades and a bunch of hungry African kids singing the background parts.

The latest word is that Green Day are creating a musical based on their “theme” album American Idiot. I guess that’s a better idea than basing it on Dookie, which was all about drug use and masturbation. However, I can’t help but feel old thinking about Green Day staging a musical. You know how the Rolling Stones continue to tour even though they all died over a decade ago and are kept alive solely by draining the lifeforce from their audiences? I don’t want to live in a world where Billy Joe has to suck upon the souls of the Hot Topic crowd.

Oh wait, yes I do. I can’t stand those fake goth weirdo kids.

On a completely unrelated note, the other co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson, passed away after battling cancer for years (Gary Gygax, his former business partner, died in 2008). I guess he failed his saving throw. ZING!

This makes me sad. First of all, he was the same age as my father. Secondly, he was one of the people responsible for helping me “protect” my virginity for years. And thirdly, the dude that created Pokemon still breathes the same air as me. That’s just not fair.

You know what else isn’t fair? The fact that ABC will probably end up canceling Better Off Ted. Is anyone else watching this brilliant show? Yeah…that’s the problem. The show is shot in a single-camera format and the main character constantly breaks the “fourth wall” to talk directly to the viewers. Take the funny parts of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and imagine them making love in a sweaty threesome to The Office and a live-action version of Futurama and you still won’t begin to understand what I’m telling you.

Better Off Ted is about one of those companies that makes things no one realizes they need. Like BASF and 3M and NASA and Apple. Ted is the head of Research & Development at Veridian Dynamics. And the plotlines of the episodes revolve mostly around an “item of the week” that has been created by the company…from cow-less meat to weaponized pumpkins to itchy office chairs to racist motion detectors.

There’s a level of humor here that isn’t comfortable for typical American audiences. There’s no one getting tagged in the nuts. Nobody falls down. Not a single instance of men belching or commenting on their own clichéd laziness. I like to call it humor with an extra “u,” as in the British style of humour where you actually have to think for a second instead of just blindly laughing like a drunken hyena.

And that’s why it won’t last an entire season. Americans don’t like to think. That’s why we continue to buy Jonas Brothers albums and Uggs. It’s why things like the Carls’ Jr. Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger exist.

Two Charbroiled All-Beef Patties, Two Strips of Bacon, Two Slices of Melted American Cheese, Crispy Onion Rings and Tangy BBQ Sauce on a Toasted Sesame Seed Bun.

Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? Well, believe me, it makes your ass water afterwards too.

I don’t really have a point to make today. But honestly, how many of you read the title and thought I was going to have any sort of cogent discussion on all of those disparate topics? I’m only human (and a white guy (and American))!

The Decider Decides To Write A Book About Decisions.


Former President George W. Bush is writing a book about some of the important decisions he made during his years in office and his life leading up to those years. I, for one, am waiting on the edge of my seat to get inside this man’s head and discover the intricate thought process that allowed him to continue reading “My Pet Goat” during the most horrific terrorist attack in US history. I want to dive headfirst into all the strategery meetings about how to pronounce the word “nuclear.” And I really want to hear his insights on how God told him that it was cool to let his friends rape our economy and try to ruin our environment. I’m going to be first in line!

Because I’m such an avid reader and strong supporter of literacy, President Bush’s publisher has asked me to share this special excerpt from the forthcoming font of knowledge. Here, in W’s own words, are the careful planning and emotional reasoning that went into one of the toughest decisions of his entire presidency:

December 4, 2006 – Crawford, Texas

Do I want a turkey sandwich? Or do I want a peanut butter sandwich? Lemme see here, gotta have the wheat bread ’cause Laura says it’s good for my pooper. Hehe…I said poop. Turkey, turkey, turkey. That reminds me of that big book I read the other day. What was that called? Maybe if I hit my head on the table, real hard-like, I’ll remember it. Ouch! I’m seein’ birdies. Wait…Chicken Little! That’s it! Man, that book was funny. That dang bird runnin’ around all loosey goosey, tellin’ everyone that the sky was fallin’. Man, folks sure are gullible. Did anyone ever see a piece of the sky fall? Pfft…no. That there’s crazy talk. But hey, I guess if you say somethin’ enough, the commoners will start believin’ it.

What was I talkin’ about again? Head on desk…OW! Now I remember. Sandwiches. Sand and witches. Hehe. Sand Witches. Crazy Iraq bitches. My butt itches. I said butt. I’m funny, ’cause I’m an American. Real Americans are funny. Like that Cable Guy fella. He’s funny. Git ‘r done! That’s what I said on that aircraft carrier when I was dressed up like one a my GI Joe action figure toys. It was like Halloween, except without all the God-hatin’ ghosts and junk. I was a paratrooper. Pooper. Hehehehe. I’m hungry.

Y’know what sounds good right now? A turkey sandwich. Mmm…turkey. Jive turkey. ‘Member that part in that movie Airplane where those two colored fellas were talking all crazy? I used to tell everyone in my National Security meetings that they were talkin’ jive ’cause I had no idea what the heck they were babblin’ on about. Once Rummy started drawing me those funny pictures, then I was gettin’ it. That stuff is hard. Someone shoulda explainiated that to me better. I went to college. I can follow along. My mom says my handwriting is pretty good too if I have enough time to work on it. But that’s a whole other egg to crack. Eggs. Turkeys. Man, I wish I had some lunch.

I don’t think I should eat the turkey. Ever since I had to pardon that big bird on Thanksgiving, I’ve felt bad about eatin’ animals and stuff. It ain’t right. Poor little guy is just tryin’ to do his thing. Doesn’t want to have his little world invaded by us ugly Americans, always shootin’ at him and lockin’ him up in cages and tryin’ to torture him and all that. It just ain’t right. Someone should put a ban on it. Or lift a ban or lower a tax or somethin’.

What about peanut butter? That makes a good meal. It’s got protein. Gives you energy to fight the big fights. And it’s cheap too. With this crazy economy, you never know where you have to pinch yer pennies. I swear, that Bernanke dude is just makin’ up magic numbers to scare people into savin’ all their money. Who ever heard of a “billion?” That’s a dumb name. What’s that, like, eleventy zeros or somethin’? I’d like a billion sandwiches, please. Hehe. Let’s bury some billions in the sand and play Capture the Flag. This little billion went to market, this little billion stayed home, this little billion had roast beef…hey, roast beef sounds good. Pretty sure I saw a cow outside. Maybe he’d know where I can get some beef. Or some peanut butter.

Wait a minute. I can’t have no peanut butter. It always makes me all sticky and such. Can’t be all sticky if’n I’m fixin’ to play golf later. The clubs’d be all glued to my hands all the time. I might make a mess if I wipe my hands on my pants. I don’t want people to make fun of me for somethin’ like that while I’m on another vacation. I’m the President of the United States, not Tiger Woods. Tiger. Tony the Tiger. Maybe I’ll have some Frosted Flakes. I like Flakes. Somethin’ comforting about bein’ a flake. Is that the telephone ringin’?

Hello? Laura who? Oh! Hey there, Laura! What are you doin’ inside my phone? Lunchtime? I don’t know. I’m writin’ this here book thingy. What? What’s that? Sorry wife person, I can’t understand you with all the laughin’. Did you say corn dogs? Tater tots too? Did you cut ’em up? C’mon now, you know Dick don’t let me get near the knives anymore. Okay, I’ll be right there. Gotta sharpen my crayon…

Dear Pho: A Love Letter To My Dinner.

Dear Pho,

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since we were last together, since I was able to wrap my loving arms around you and draw you to me without fear of the stares and whispers of an unappreciative society. Each day has felt like an eternity for me. I miss your warmth, comforting me and assuring me that the world isn’t all about pain and disappointment. I miss your delicate scent and the way you taste on my lips, all exotic and full of spice. You are a forbidden fruit waiting to be plucked by the innocent. Or maybe you’re an innocent flower waiting to be ravaged by passing hordes? Your history is a mystery to me. Your depth is unimaginable. Your beauty knows no bounds. I am amazed by how easily you can fill me up with passionate satisfaction and yet leave me hungering for more.

I know, deep in my heart, that this can never last, that we can never spend an eternity together. Our lives are fickle things. The way we pass in and out of each other’s circles, flirting with forever, reaching for unattainable heights, following our self-designed paths while always looking over our shoulders to see where the other is traveling as well. It’s not a healthy thing for us to pursue this romance. We both know the truth. Desire fades with familiarity. Words unspoken would soon turn to grief. A fit of rage. A flurry of sideways glances. The fear I harbor from society’s refusal to acknowledge our pairing would soon manifest itself in my own fear of commitment, of a loss of choice. There are better ways to live, I would say to you. There are other things we could do, other people we could involve our time with.

You would suggest that we try something different. Let’s expand our horizons, you devilishly infer. Add an extra dash of sriracha to the depths of your bowl. Squeeze another wedge of tart lime across your surface and watch the acidic tang mingle with the rich saltiness of your natural bounty, tantalizing bubbles and streaks bringing shivers to our souls. Maybe we bring in another player? A spring roll, wearing its see-through covering like a proud badge of temptation and possibility? It dips into you. You wrap yourself around it. I taste you both, my head a swirl of emotion and conflict. It’s all so new, so unknown, I reply.

But will that change anything in the long run? Will it solve our problems? We are too alike, too set in our ways. We cross like comets. Our orbits intersect and the world sees sparks inspired by cilantro and onion and beef and sprouts, but the moment is only temporary. And then we’re gone. I’m left in a heap on the living room floor. My belly is bulging with noodle-y goodness. You’ve left me again.

I love you, Pho. And I always will. Please come back to me again, forever.

87 Things That I Don’t Care About (with some links).

You ever have one of those days where nothing really interests you? A day when no matter how many magazines you read, conversations you have or websites you visit, you just can’t find anything that makes you emote in the least. This day is just a dull, bleak monotony with no end. Even sleep is boring to me right now. Not one single dream.

The sad thing is, my chosen profession puts me in a position where I’m supposed to stay abreast of pop culture and current events so that I can weave these touchpoints seamlessly into my writings. Our clients strive to be relevant. They want to be on the top of everyone’s mind. While the perks of such a profession can be enriching (tax write-offs for comic books and concert tickets under the auspice of “research”), the downside is a barely uncontrollable urge to just hide in a dark corner and weep.

In order to temporarily stave off the dreadful power of creative burnout, I’m going to talk about all the things that I don’t care about. Some of these things will be described in sarcastic detail. Some will be appended with evidence of my nonchalance. And all of them will be promoted by my non-promotion of them.

Yes, the irony is not lost on me.

Anyway, here are 87 Things That I Don’t Care About (with some links):

  1. LOST – I haven’t cared about people stranded on islands since the days of Gilligan. Smoke monsters and polar bears are just updated versions of Wrongway Feldman and Dr. Boris Balinkoff. Look it up, youngsters!
  2. Bluetooth headsets – You just look like a tool when you’re walking in a crowded shopping mall talking to yourself about tee times. Seriously. Is your life that important that you need to be in constant contact with someone? Will the world economy collapse if you take an afternoon nap?
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Miley Cyrus
  5. The Cleveland Browns – Win something, then we’ll talk.
  6. Free credit reports
  7. Amy Winehouse
  8. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  9. Turkey – The country, not the animal. Turkey, the animal, is delicious. It’s especially delicious when it’s sliced thinly and piled on a hard-crusted bread with watercress, Havarti and a smear of mango chutney. I’m not kidding. It’s superb.
  10. Superpoke
  11. Super Unleaded gasoline
  12. Superchunk
  13. “Super Duper” – Used as an adjective, especially in the lyrics to “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by one hit wonder Taco.
  14. PlayStation 3
  15. Lifetime television channel
  16. People who play the bassoon
  17. Ted Turner
  18. Professional wrestler The Blue Meanie
  19. Truck stops
  20. Preteen chick flicks about vampires
  21. This guy
  22. That new Star Trek movie
  23. Anything made out of gold (silver is less pretentious)
  24. Cash4Gold
  25. Kanye West
  26. Quilts
  27. Quilting
  28. Magazines about quilting
  29. Magazines about rock climbing (but not rock climbing itself)
  30. Pecan sandies – fuck those things.
  31. Songs about women riding horses
  32. Billy Baldwin’s film career (except for Fair Game…that’s a classic)
  33. Stores that sell $350 jeans
  34. Sporks
  35. Traveling anywhere by bus – Didn’t we outlaw torture in the US?
  36. Paintings of fruit
  37. Furniture that you’re not allowed to sit on
  38. People whose pet peeves encourage them to correct other people’s grammar
  39. Paddleboats
  40. The Colorado River
  41. The difference between bologna and salami
  42. Comic books about people who hate their jobs
  43. Coup d’états
  44. The Little Rascals
  45. Country music – Except for stuff that only sounds like country music but really isn’t…like some Neko Case and Jenny Lewis songs. However, I have extra contempt for stuff that is country music but pretends not to be. I’m looking at you, Wilco.
  46. Greeting cards
  47. Bumper stickers
  48. Department store changing rooms
  49. People who ride scooters just to be clever – I’m on to you.
  50. The bullriding monkey
  51. Umbrellas
  52. Scratch and sniff stickers – For my money, they could never nail down the smell of chocolate. It was always too sweet.
  53. Ukulele songs
  54. Small dogs – If I can accidentally step on it and kill it, it is not a pet.
  55. Flightless birds
  56. Electric can openers
  57. Kites
  58. The Canadian Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center – That’s just lazy.
  59. Trilobites
  60. Galactica 80 – Wow. That was just awful, wasn’t it?
  61. Hair dryers
  62. Shorthand
  63. Nicknames for basketball players – Let me guess, it’s going to have something to do with him being tall.
  64. Kentucky
  65. Superstitions based on weather
  66. Blue food – Not counting that funky milk stuff from the first Star Wars movie
  67. Origami
  68. The jackass at every Halloween party who shows up dressed as “himself”
  69. Cannibalism
  70. Commercials for life insurance
  71. Dancing With the Stars – Not only does the premise bore me, but they blatantly abuse the word “Stars” with apparent glee and relish
  72. Banana peels
  73. Organ grinders
  74. Mushrooms
  75. The Rolling Stones (except Paint it Black)
  76. Whooping cough
  77. This car
  78. Abstinence
  79. Staying up until 2am on a Thursday to watch The Pope of Greenwich Village, because I was under the impression that it was one of those underrated great movies of my generation. Instead, it was just sort of boring. And it was difficult trying to rectify both Eric Roberts’ perm and Mickey Rourke’s face in today’s celeb-centric world.
  80. Clothing for pets
  81. The new Beyonce album that Amazon seems to think I’d be interested in, based on me adding the upcoming Hold Steady live album to my Wish List. Correlation?
  82. Basing my entire workday around the latest announcements from Apple
  83. Deep sea fishing
  84. Balloons – What’s the point?
  85. Tricycles
  86. People who only want to talk to me about what they did today. Sometimes it sucks being a great listener. Might as well be a eunuch.
  87. Not winning the lottery.

Wow, I thought that would help me feel a bit better. But it didn’t.

Drink This And Give Up The Ghost.

Did I ever tell you about the time that I had a freelance writing assignment for one of those glossy, bosom-packed guy magazines? See, this was during the emergence of the energy drink phenomenon and the magazine was looking for someone who would be willing to sample, rate and review every ridiculous concoction they could get their hands on. I was young and silly and already addicted to caffeine, so I jumped at the opportunity. I was living in Las Vegas at the time, which is like Ground Zero for addictive substances and lifestyles. My wife and I scoured every grocery store, gas station and convenience store in the city in order to track down whatever the market was shilling. All in all, I found 22 different brands of energy drink. And I drank them all in a three-day span.

That was stupid.

I kept very detailed notes on each drink, from simple stuff like color and taste to packaging design and supposed health benefits of certain ingredients. And I took the notes just as I was consuming each crack-like beverage, so one could actually watch my wording and handwriting deteriorate in real-time. Quite the spectacle really. I even saved each can and carefully washed them all to avoid attracting ants. I lined all the cans up on the windowsill in my kitchen so I could gaze upon my accomplishments as I loaded the dishwasher.

When I had finished my self-torture, I dumped the cans into a plain brown cardboard box and dragged them into my office in the hopes that one of the agency’s art directors would photograph them for me after hours. The cans were safe and sound on the floor behind my desk, triumphantly gleaming like a Technicolor Pandora’s Box of big game trophies. They were a conversation piece. An announcement of my virility. An unmatchable conquest.

And you know what happened? I left them there overnight and when I came in the next morning, I discovered that the cleaning crew threw them out.

I never did get that writing gig.

But I did gain a few pounds, experience a temporary change in skin tone, and lose hours of sleep that I’ll never get back. Yummy.

Hey look! A Pac-Man energy drink! Whoopee.

I’m going to buy this, mix it with three fingers of Jagermeister and a dash of Triple Sec, garnish it with an orange slice, and call it “The Clyde.”

Patent pending. Don’t steal my idea, sucka.

We’re Hot Soft Spots on a Hard Rock Planet.

Words can sometimes make me sad. Not so much the emotional kind of sadness, like crying after watching a particularly touching episode of COPS, but more of a hollow sadness like someone just kicked my soul in the balls. It’s an echoing, empty pain that drives me to despair over our society and our progress and the messages we’re sending to the aliens who will one day stumble upon our ravaged planet and try to understand us. It really hurts.

Case in point: nonsensical advertising.

I don’t know what any of the words in that poster (aside from the “snack” part of that stupid name) have to do with Snickers, but I know that I don’t care for them or their arrangement or their foolish, misplaced wit. See…that’s the thing though. I knew that was a Snickers ad! Oh, those delightful advertising professionals are ever so clever, aren’t they? I’ll bet Don Draper came up with that one after three highballs, a handful of Pall Malls and an inappropriate fling with the client’s housekeeper. I’ll bet he and the boys threw that one up on the wall after an all-nighter at the comedy clubs flirting with cocktail waitresses and ad-libbing pithy monologues about politics and the cost of a good suit in Manhattan. Trust me, I work in advertising. This is how these things happen.

But, alas, this isn’t some fever dream from a disgruntled television writer. No, this is real life. How can I tell? Because Snickers has a Facebook page that ties into the advertising. And there ain’t nothing more real-er than Facebook, yo! On said page, you can Learn to Speak Snacklish (which has, evidently, been trademarked because there must have been a huge stampede for ownership of that phrase). You can see a dozen or so more of these messaging monstrosities here, unless you value your continued vision and/or that meal you just ate.

I guess this is what passes for “branding” these days…connecting the traditional and nontraditional advertising worlds with our day-to-day social networking. My question would be, does it work? Is there someone so enamored with Snickers that they’re going to spend any amount of time on the Snickers Facebook page chatting with other Snickers aficionados about the texture of nougat or the fine art of caramel stretching? Will they be trading their favorite photos of Snickers wrappers or Snickers in various states of being consumed? Will the creepy sub-genre of Snickers porn be born (or, if it already existed and I somehow missed it, resurrected)? And will any of that interaction matter three days later when they’re standing in line at the grocery store and decide to buy a candy bar? Will they think back fondly on those long-lost halcyon days of internet usage and random meaningless posters and think “I want a Snickers” or will they just say “Dude, they have Zagnuts here!” Just what is the goal?

I will grant the Snickers tribe one caveat. At least there was a certain amount of effort put into this one. I mean, they did print up posters and have them placed. And that’s a huge step beyond the “innovative” laziness of the Skittles folks. See, this week, Skittles opened their homepage to a streaming Twitter feed where consumers were able to live-blog their feelings about Skittles and their many flavors and uses, from tasty snacks to anal beads. Every Twitter post from the day, that mentioned Skittles, was aggregated on the Skittles homepage for all to see. All in uncensored glory…filled with curse words and multiple racial epithets (which is funny, because I don’t remember Twittering about Skittles that day). Some laughed, some cried. Some “experts” called it a grand maneuver similar to Deep Blue’s swift dismantling of Kasparov in the first game of the classic 1996 showdown. Some others thought it was kinda dumb.

Skittles next redirected all web traffic to its Facebook page, perhaps to better control content or perhaps because they’re just batshit crazy and wanted to confuse everyone. And today, all Skittles.com visitors end up on the Wikipedia page for the colorful candy. I think I’m going to log in as a Wikipedia editor and make up a fake history about Skittles being invented by Nazi scientists. That’ll teach ’em!

So what’s the goal of this rambling diatribe? I honestly don’t know. Maybe I’m confused. Maybe I’m bored. Maybe I’m just thinking “Hey, it’s Friday. Nobody cares what I scribble down on the blog today because everyone is either a) already drunk or b) thinking about getting drunk.” Whatever the reason, I suppose I should come to some sort of conclusion before you all drift back over to Facebook to network over your favorite munchies.

Well, I was chatting with a co-worker yesterday. He was asking me about Twitter. He wanted to know what it was and its purpose for being. The reason for his inquiry was an article he read about how Facebook wants to turn to a more “real-time” model similar to Twitter. We were both kind of baffled by this. First of all, I see no real use in Twitter. My life isn’t nearly fabulous enough to tell you about it in short bursts every few moments. In addition, I was under the impression that Facebook was already real-time. I post a status update to let all my “friends” know what I just ate for lunch and…PRESTO!…there it is, on my profile page for all my “friends” to see RIGHT NOW. How can it get any more real-er than that, yo?

And really, how much more immediate do our lives need to be? And why does Snickers need to try so hard? And who made money from betting on Garry Kasparov to beat that damn machine? And why did Don Draper run off to California when he has a perfectly good wife waiting for him at home.

That’s too many questions for a Friday. I’m gonna go get drunk now.

Can I Tell Your Congregation How A Resurrection Really Feels?

Fade in.

The backyard of a jubilant family barbecue. Rows of picnic tables line the scene, topped with traditional red-checkered tablecloths. Relatives, both young and old, mill about, talking and laughing. Camera pans across the yard to show just how big the festive scene really is. There’s a swimming pool with kids jumping in and adults playing a rousing game of volleyball. An older woman walks across frame, carrying a large bowl of macaroni salad. There’s even a large banner hung on the tall wooden fence framing the yard. It reads “2009 Walker Family Reunion.”

Cut to medium shot of a man working his magic at the grill. He’s dressed casually and looks like the typical “dad.” He’s wearing a white apron and twirling a set of tongs in his hand. Two small children, one girl and one boy, approach him.

Cut to closeup of kids, their bright faces beam with hope and love. They hold out plates filled with potato chips, cut veggies and…empty buns.

GIRL: Daddy, can we eat yet?

Cut to closeup of dad, smiling. He points the tongs at his cute little daughter.

DAD: In a second, pumpkin. Daddy just needs to season the meat!

Cut back to kids.

KIDS: Hooray!

Back to medium shot of dad as he reaches for a salt shaker resting on the prep table next to his grill. Tighten on salt shaker as his hand reaches closer for it. Closer. Closer. All we see are the words KOSHER SALT rapidly being obscured by his hand.

As his hand touches the shaker, a sudden demonic growl tears through the scene. There’s a rumbling as he lifts the shaker from the table. The noise, like a thousand galloping horses builds and builds as the shaker gets nearer to the grill and the sizzling meat. Back to a full shot of the picnic scene, but now in slow motion. As the camera pans the happy crowd, single frames are inter-spliced with the scene…frames of Biblical woodcut-like drawings depicting pain and suffering and utter torture, bathed in red light.

From out of nowhere, the wooden fence at the back of the yard bursts open, splintering wildly, and a battalion of armored knights pours through, maces and swords swinging haphazardly through the crowd.

Cut back to closeup of dad and grill. Dad is oblivious to the ensuing chaos and continues to shake his kosher salt onto the burgers and dogs.

Cut to shots of family members being mercilessly dismembered. Tables are trampled and some are set on fire, burning dark, acrid smoke. People are running and flailing everywhere. One older man falls into the frame, his eyes plucked from his skull and deep rivulets of blood pouring down his hollowed cheeks. Bodies float in the now red-tinged swimming pool. A paladin on horseback gallops through, smashing the spine of a woman cowering over her slumbering infant.

Cut back to medium shot of dad and kids at grill. Just as dad sets his salt shaker back down on the prep table, a hulking figure in gleaming silver armor takes his head off with a single swing of his mighty warhammer.

Cut to closeup of kids standing with mouths agape. A veritable bucketful of blood splashes across their faces and torsos as they watch in horror.

Cut to tight shot of red-checkered tabletop. This is the beauty shot. A succulent, steaming steak sits on a plate beside a heaping pile of fresh salad and a perfectly loaded baked potato. In the blurred background, we can still witness the picnic carnage. An armored hand enters the frame and slams down a very different salt shaker, its label smeared with gore. A lilting harpsichord tune begins to play over the bedlam and a friendly announcer chimes in…

ANNOUNCER: Christian Salt. The Flavor Crusader!

Fade to black.

I Was A Skeptic At First, But These Miracles Work.

Ninety-nine cents for a glorious yet fleeting cup of liquid love. I felt the shame immediately after I touched the crinkly foil package. The voices rang out to me, a siren song of sugary suspicion and caloric greed. The lonely satisfaction was guaranteed. It was like driving down a seedy side street and surreptitiously choosing a prostitute for my taste buds. I knew it wouldn’t be there in the morning, and it would most likely steal my iPod and food processor on its way out the door at sun-up, but the growing lust in my belly wouldn’t say no. Our sins are so difficult to confine these days. I’ve tried pinching myself really hard or forcing myself to daydream about puppies and unicorns, but that usually just ends with a big bruise or a bloody dogpile and bits of unicorn meat staining my walls.

No, this was unavoidable.

Head down, hands in pockets, I scurried back into my office building and back into the sterile serenity of my cubicle. I was going to do something naughty and everyone knew it. Foreplay consisted of flipping the thin packet over, gently massaging the tightly-packed contents between the palms of my hands, and quickly perusing the list of directions. Add contents of packet to eight ounces of hot water? WATER? God, she was so cheap she didn’t even need milk. I was to mix my shame with common water, the same wetness that could be found running through street gutters and dripping into dumpsters. Low maintenance, quick relief. In and out, over and done.

Pulling the pre-notched packet top offered little resistance. This treat knew its role and played it well. There was no struggle, no show of regret or pause of emotion. Just do it already. Passionless. Uncaring. I think I heard an audible sigh as the tinny material came loose, exposing the powdery ecstasy within. I felt like it was the first time all over again. Uncomfortably cramped into the front seat of a parked car, clothes gathered roughly in a mass at our feet. There were no kisses of joy, just a constant feeling of “get it over with.” Loving caresses gave way to awkward pawing, apologies and excuses. We rolled down the windows to wake ourselves up from the complete inappropriateness of our actions. The night air reminded us that we had other options. This life would go on without us, one or the other.

Yet, as the lighter than air substance mingled with the tepid trickling liquid, I suddenly had hope. Warmth sang up from the bottom of a darkened cup. This cocoa refused to clump. It gave up its rocky exterior and playfully swam its own course. It had independence after all. Intimate garments were strewn among the weeds, a bare hip wiggled out its own dance as it playfully walked away, beckoning me to follow on a silent escapade. This was an early Christina Aguilera video. Everyone was welcome. That craving you thought was hunger was just the need for something new, something hopeful and sunny and fun. Give it a taste. Savor the sweetness. Everything is going to be okay.

And it was. And then it was gone, as I predicted. A lilting refrain from a Stone Roses song cascaded to silence as the cassette flipped over and there was sudden nothingness. I was alone again, staring into the bottomless abyss held carefully between my dry hands. She left me as she had so many times before. That trickling water, those soft grains of sugar, that satiny dark liquid may as well have been giant tears falling from eyes to hands. Lesson failed to be learned again. Feelings got the best of me. Reason took a vacation. Same old story.

Land O’ Lakes Cocoa Classics Supreme. I know you don’t care anymore, but I think I love you.

It’s A Long Story, But…

Jeez, you take a few days off from a blog and suddenly everyone thinks something happened to you. Calm down, people. I’m not lost in the treacherous mountains of Bhutan or buried beneath tons of rock and soil on an archeological dig for the lost continent of Atlantis. I just have the attention span of a coked up gnat. Don’t you understand that yet?

Evidently, I missed the chance to talk about a bunch of stuff that seems to be on everyone’s minds these days…OJ, Britney, the Emmys, sub-prime mortgage fraud, the upcoming hour-long Family Guy tribute to Star Wars, a ginormous typhoon that’s going to wipe out half of China and what’s going on with Phyllis on Young and the Restless.

But let’s be honest. I was never going to talk about those pedestrian matters anyway. I go for the interesting and hard-hitting news items. That’s why, right now, I’m going to attempt to string together seven completely unrelated news items into one dazzling post that will climb inside your head and kick your mind’s ass. Here goes nothing…

fits in the palm of your hand.

Would you like to play a game?

A 30 year-old Chinese man died at an Internet cafe after playing an online game for three days straight. I guess he ran out of extra lives! HA! See what I did there? I took a sad story and, by putting a bit of video game referencing humor in it, I made it an even sadder story. Just call me the “David Copperfield of Words.” Three days straight, huh? Hell, I’m surprised everyone else in the place didn’t die from his body odor first! ZING! I got a million of them. Seriously though, I can’t think of a single game that could keep me occupied for three straight days unless I really had nothing else to do with my life. Sure, my buddy and I stayed up for nearly 24 hours playing one of the Ultima titles back in the day, but all we got was a little giggly once we finally wandered back out into the sunlight to have breakfast. I would just feel guilty for playing a game that long. Like, I think I would come to the eventual realization that I should probably be doing something…ANYTHING…else.

big Mac(k) truck

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a four-wheel drive chassis

Of course, if the guy had known that you can now order from McDonald’s over your cell phone, he may have survived a bit longer. (And no, despite how incredibly believable that photo is, McDonald’s does not deliver monster-sized Big Macs. Yet.). Seriously. Have we become that time-consumed as a society that we need to be in our car, speeding to Mickey D’s, with a cell phone jammed in one ear, shouting out an order to some pimply-faced teen just so we can swoop in and pick it up without breaking stride? Wouldn’t it be even faster if we could hire someone to chew the food for us first and then run alongside us and spit it in our gaping maw while we hurry to our next can’t-miss appointment? Fuck it. For that matter, why not just get a slow-drip special sauce IV that you can tap directly into your veins? Americans are lazy bastards.


And that’s for winking at me!

Except for one: Chuck Norris. That’s right, Chuck Norris is in Iraq right now visiting some bases at the request of the US military. He reports that it’s “much safer” and “more relaxed” than often portrayed by the “liberal media.” Sure it is, Chuck. And it’s because everyone is afraid you’ll roundhouse kick their faces off! All the terrorists probably dug their own graves and lay shivering in them, soaked in their own tepid urine, just waiting for you to leave. Nothing puts the fear of God into terrorists (or the liberal media) quite like Chuck Norris.

as God is my witness...

And I’m suing George Burns for all the secondhand cigar smoke

In fact, Chuck may have to act as a stand-in for God if a Nebraska state senator has his way. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Sen. Ernie Chambers is suing God. It’s the perfect cherry on top of the frivolous lawsuit sundae, if you ask me. Of course, I’m a liberal atheist, so you probably don’t want to talk to me anyway. But it makes sense. I mean, everyone calls floods and hurricanes and Uwe Boll films “acts of God.” That, technically, makes God a mass-murderer or at the least a really big jerk. Imagine the stories the public defender attached to the case will be able to tell. “Yeah, I’m such a good lawyer, I was picked to defend God. And I have a huge penis. Who wants my phone number?” It’ll be interesting to see if God shows up for the proceedings.

is Ned Beatty in this one?

Does the blood pouring out of my eyes count?

I doubt he will. Because if there were a God, then Bloodrayne II: Deliverance would’ve never been made. And I can’t believe I just referred to Uwe Boll twice. I hope he doesn’t challenge me to a boxing match. This guy has become such a hack that he’s making up sequels to movies no one saw in the first place. I guess Michael Madsen and that chick from T3 determined that this could actually damage their sparkling careers, so they were replaced by Michael “Eddie and the Cruisers” Pare and the pseudo-lesbian villain from Elektra. Wow. How do these things get greenlit? There must be something in the Hollywood water.

Stephen King never looked so good.

Yes, that’s a still from Creepshow. Wanna fight about it? 

Or maybe it’s just a meteorite like the one that recently crashed in Peru. People in the area reported feeling sick and tired. And they weren’t going to take it anymore. Then one of them sprouted claws and started calling everyone “bub,” another one learned to control the weather and a third one started shooting red beams from his eyes. Peru is fucking crazy. Don’t go there. That single meteorite could wipe out mankind as we know it.

Y? Because we love you.

A guy and his monkey walk into a bar…

And then all we’d be left with is Shia LeBeouf. Yes, Mr. Holes is reportedly interested in taking the lead role in the movie adaptation of the Y: The Last Man comic book series. As I’ve said before, I enjoy Shia’s performances. I also happen to be a big fan of the book. And, from what I’ve heard, that Disturbia movie that Shia did with the same director was a pretty cool flick. Huzzahs for everyone!

And with that…I actually did it. I merged seven idiotically divergent stories into one meaningful and heartwarming post. I am a lingual genius. A master of phrase, if you will.

Please send me money.

I’m what you guys call a User.

Did you know there’s a sequel to Tron in the works? That is the most awesome news I’ve heard in the last 20 minutes or so…followed closely by the fact that Cheerios can lower my cholesterol and Geico can lower my car insurance. If a Tron update is on everyone’s lips today, that Red Dawn remake no one has been clamoring for can’t be far behind.

And speaking of soft drinks (just call me Sir Segue), did you know that Lipton makes a green tea flavored with apple?


It will briskly erode your tooth enamel.

Ok, I lie. It’s not really flavored with apple…it’s apple flavored (with other natural flavors which don’t seem visible, at least in plain English, on the ingredients list). While that may seem like semantics to you, there is a distinct difference in the food industry. Being a former award-winning advertising copywriter, I know that these things called “words” are thought up ahead of time and assembled in a specific order to elicit the proper response. That’s called “writing.”

“Flavored with apple” implies that an apple was used to add flavoring to the beverage. “Apple flavored” merely means that the flavor of the drink has a vague resemblance to the taste of an apple. In this case, that’s through the use of malic acid which was originally derived from apples (and whose name comes from the Latin word for apple, malum).

However, that’s just one of the four amazing and flavorful acids that give this drink it’s sparkly and corrosive taste. There’s the bitter phosphoric acid which, I believe, glows in the dark. The tart citric acid which doesn’t actually come from citrus fruits anymore, but rather is fermented from the mold growing on leftover molasses from other food products (yum). And there’s also some ascorbic acid which is an even tangier version of citric acid.

This drink contains enough acid to start your car.

And, at 56 grams per 20 ounce bottle, it contains enough sugar to put Willy Wonka in a diabetic coma. And let’s not forget the caffeine and the ginseng and the guarana. Yep, four different acids and four different ways to get high. For the life of me though, I can’t seem to make a joke that involves acid and getting high. Hmm…

So how does it taste? Honestly? It’s not as bad as you’d think. But that’s probably because of the high fructose corn syrup. Yummy!

Really, I’m a fan of all things apple. Apple Jolly Ranchers, applesauce, Apple Computers, apple butter, Apple Jacks cereal, caramel apples, Johnny Appleseed, McDonald’s deep-fried apple pies. Even apple bongs. Hell, I remember when the long-gone Slice soda had an apple flavored version.

While this Lipton Brisk thingy does have a vague apple taste to it, which easily combines the tart and the sweet, I’m left wondering why they even bothered to put green tea in it. Isn’t green tea supposed to be good for you? They couldn’t possibly be marketing this under the hopes of drawing some of those health-conscious types to their insidious beverage, could they? That would just be wrong (or brilliant, depending on which side of The Force you adhere to).

In the long run, you’d be better off dropping a roll of pennies into a jug of Mott’s and chugging the whole thing with a mouth full of 9-volt batteries.

It’s shockingly delicious!