Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sympathy Pains

     Okay, we need to talk.  We need to talk about sympathy.  There is a big difference between sympathy and understanding.  And a lot of times people are looking for sympathy when all they deserve is a little understanding.  And the worst is when someone is fishing for sympathy and they deserve nothing.  NOTHING!  If you try to jump your bike over a creek and end up falling in and getting all wet, you get no sympathy because you didn't have to jump.  If you are gambling and you lose $1000, you get no sympathy because you could have stopped after $100.  If you put a whole bottle of lighter fluid on your grill then lean over it and light it with a match and burn your eyebrows off, you get no sympathy because you obviously shouldn't have been allowed into civil society to begin with.  If you are talking on your cell phone while driving and ass-ram the semi in front of you, you get no sympathy.  That's just how it works.
      You only get sympathy if something bad happens to you and it's not your fault.  Or even if it is a little your fault but it comes so far down the chain of consequences that you never could have seen it coming.  For instance, if you carve you and your wife's names into a tree with a big heart around them in an attempt to kick start the romance in a dying marriage and that causes wood eating insects to get behind the bark and into the tree and then they eat the insides and the tree falls on your garage and crushes your truck, table saw, lawn mower, pool toys, old boxes of National Geographic, etc. that deserves some sympathy because there is no way that you could have seen that coming.  Am I right?  
So don't go fishing for sympathy if you don't deserve it.  Because you won't get it from me.  I will give you understanding if you deserve it.  Otherwise I will give you indifference and scorn.  That's just how it works.  And don't go giving sympathy for the results of stupidity.  If we stop giving and asking for sympathy at inappropriate times then maybe this world could be a little smarter.  Then we could get back to using bike helmets for protecting our heads while biking instead of protecting all our heads from ourselves as we go through out daily lives.  And wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?  Because all those helmets look stupid at business meetings and bus stops.  Except mine, because mine has a sticker of a duck on it.  And that is the shit.

No F@$%ing Way!

No f@$%ing way!  You are so lucky Jimmy James.  I mean, for Christ's sake, that's Alton Brown!  I mean seriously, when I see this picture I am screaming like a 13-year old at a Miley Cyrus meets Hannah Montana concert.   Or like a drag queen in Liz Minelli's dressing room. Seriously.  I don't even know what else to say.

Monday, April 28, 2008

'Zoo Animals

AND WE'RE BACK!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend while I was away.  I certainly did.  And boy what a trip it turned out to be.  Between the parties and dinners and comings and goings I swear those people are going to kill me.  But it's okay, because I got to see a lot of wonderful people that I had not seen in years, and I got to meet a bunch more.  And I had a great time.  Here are some highlights.  Or lowlights.  I'll leave it up to you.
- Attempting to pay someone else's phone bill and not succeeding.  I don't know what's wrong with Nextel, but I have never run into a company who made it so hard for me to give them money.  Most companies don't care who pays their customers' bills, but not Nextel.  Paying a bill with them is like doing a scavenger hunt on a ropes course while delivering a baby and getting paper cuts on the soles of your feet, right in the arches.  Yeah, it's that fun.  Oh, and they had two different systems for paying in the two different cities I tried in.  Genius!
-  Getting free beer.  PePe's mom and stepdad showed up a her house with a cooler full of beer.  How awesome is that?  Happy Graduation PePe.  They also brought a bunch of food, including THE BEST CHICKEN SALAD THAT HAS EVER BEEN PLACED INSIDE MY MOUTH.  Hand to God.
- Getting good gifts.  PePe got Prince perfume.  I have never seen her go that ballistic.  Good job Booh.  You picked out the perfect thing for her.  We probably should have disabled the sprayer though until we left.  It's cool that PePe wants to smell like a skanky whore from the shores of Lake Minnetonka, but I don't.  And the whole room doesn't need to. Anyway, she also got a wonderful potted plant and a Walgreens gift card that she was geeked about, and put to good use.  Which leads me to my next point...
- Buying huge white gang-style t-shirts at Walgreens.  Apparently that's what gangs around there are wearing.  Now nothing is huge on me, but it was big on my friend.  And I am sure she's wearing it all around town at night.  BRILLIANT!
- Possible gunshots.  Booh and I decided that we didn't want to go to the after party on Saturday because, well, because we are like old people apparently.  But she didn't want to be alone at PePe's apartment so I said I'd stay with her for a while.  So we put in a movie and she falls asleep.  And she was amazing.  She would be snoring one minute, and then I'd get up out of the recliner and she'd say "You're not leaving, are you?"  I don't know how she did it.  She will be a great mom because her kids won't be able to get away with shit.  She has some sort of supersonic beyond mechanical hearing.  Anyway, as I am changing the movie I hear a series of pops and bangs from a few blocks away.  And since I can't tell if they are fireworks or gunshots, I kept staying.  Then, just when I was finally falling asleep on the floor next to the bed, Nick came home and scared the bejesus out of me.  Oh well.  All's well that ends well I guess.
- Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese.  I did not get the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese.  I am an idiot.  My sandwich was delicious, but that Ultimate Mac and Cheese looked absolutely orgasmic.  And I am sure if you ask anyone who got it they would agree it almost was.  Picture this: 24 month old aged white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, spinach, caramelized onions, and breadcrumbs.  Yes.  YES! Y-E-S spells yes.  But I've got this weird thing where I can't get the same thing as someone else I am dining with, so I didn't get it.  And it haunts me.  Oh well, I would have rather had peas than spinach.  That's a lie.  I am just trying to move on.
- Listening to grandmas tear the restaurant a new one.  Now this is funny.  It was a wonderful restaurant with an outstanding ambiance and menu, but it is very much geared to a younger crowd.  So you could see this coming from a mile away.  I like both of the Grandmas well enough, but it was hilarious to hear them going on about the food and the bread and the sun and the whole nine yards.  Booh did a stand up job of dealing with it for the sake of the greater good.   But I thought it was funny.
- The 15 person gang bang going on next door.  Now, I didn't not experience this personally, but apparently while we were upstairs partying PePe's neighbor Steve was out on his front porch (we had been out there for pretty much the whole evening before that, it was awesome!) just hanging out when two elderly ladies came over and told him that there was a girl getting gang banged by 14 guys.  Why would you tell someone that?  Especially a stranger in the neighborhood who was just minding his business on his front porch?  That's messed up.  Especially coming from two elderly ladies.  Anyway, they go away and then come back a short time later screaming at Steve to call the police because someone hit someone else.  So Steve calls the po-po and when they roll up, everyone scatters, leaving Steve to sit in the back of the squad car and chat with the police.  Ahhh, classic.  So needless to say he was stressed out and made his way upstairs with us.  Which is cool because Steve is cool.  And we are cool.  What more can you want?
- Ghetto hotel.  Okay, it wasn't really in the ghetto.  It was more like in an industrial park. Way at the edge of town.  And the hotel itself (well, it was a motel) was fitting.  It lived down to every one of the $31 per night I paid.  When I got there, there were no towels in my room.  And no alarm clock.  And only 25 channels.  Which is all fine.  But it was just weird.  I pull in and the first thing I see is an '84 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham in like a lurid goldish-yellow with huge spinners and lots of bling.  So I sort of guess that the white girl who thinks she is a southern black woman working behind the front desk to be driving it.  Nope.  It was the 50-something super skinny Vietnam Vet maintenance man.  Stuff like that.  Also, I am pretty sure that people in the next room, the family in the next room, actually were living there.  They had an awful lot of cars and I heard their bratty kids outside the door screaming about going into the "apartment" and then slamming the door.  Housekeeping seemed to like slamming doors too for some reason.  All in all it was an odd place.  Oh, and I think there were a couple of um, how do you say...Ladies of  the Night? using it as a home base.  Yeah.  But I made it through with my health and sanity and all my belongings so I guess I shouldn't complain.
-  Meijer.  I like Meijer.  For those of you who don't know what Meijer is, it's like a Wal-Mart or a K-Mart, but it's basically a Lower Peninsula of Michigan chain.  Which is fine.  But when you are wandering an eleventy-billion square foot store with which you are not familiar at 5:30 in the morning looking for a toothbrush and a single bar of soap and you can't find it you will curse and swear.  I know I was.  I think I was crying a little bit too.  Whimpering at least.  Good thing that there was nobody within 14 miles of me to hear me. It's a pretty sweet toothbrush though.
-  Taking a shower in PePe's bed.  Not intentionally though.  The stereo is in the bedroom and we were pumping tunes and people were dancing.  Well, the drunken girls and a couple drunken guys were.  Which is cool.  But I was not.  I am a fat white boy from Wisconsin.  We don't dance.  Maybe at a wedding after enough drinks, but that's about it.  Otherwise we look like Mark Madsen celebrating his NBA championship.  Not a pretty sight.  So I was sitting on the bed trying to look cool in front of the girls.  That's what we do.  Well anyway, the girls were drunk and stumbly and wanting to jump on the bed, which is fine.  But their drinks, water and boxed wine and goodness knows what else showered down upon me.  And the bedspread.  And the mattress.  And the floor.  I wonder if PePe knows that.  Well, if she didn't she does now.  Sorry dear.
- Learning that apple compote is a pancake topping.  We were eating breakfast at this sweet buffet inside the Radisson (which was awesome but had a ritzy feeling about it that made me feel under dressed) and I saw it and wanted to try it.  PePe decided to tell me that it was a pancake topping after I had taken a big bowl.  Oh well.  Egg on my face figuratively and in my belly literally.  And some apple compote.  And some great hashbrowns.  And amazing bacon. 
- Hanging out with Hardcore.  I took some time on Sunday to meet with Hardcore and it was great.  I miss that kid and I had fun.  We did lunch and hung out at his place, which is devoid of furniture.  I found that funny but not really the least bit odd.  Good times though. 
-  Hanging out with Pepe and Nick and Booh and Susan and all the rest of their friends.
Those last two points are by far the best part of the whole weekend.  They always show me a great time when I go down there and I can't thank them enough.  I guess you never realize just how much you miss people until you see them again.  It's strange.  But it was a great weekend and I would like to think we celebrated appropriately for PePe's graduation.  Congratulations dear and I am terribly proud of you.  I just need to go father some kids so you can teach them now.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

News and Notes

     Hello Company!  Just a few odds and ends, news and notes, and other whatnot for you today.  First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in our little survey over the last two weeks.  From time to time we will ask you questions to help serve you better.  And sometimes we will just have lame poles there for the hell of it.
     I am going to be out of town this weekend visiting my dear, sweet friend PePe for her graduation.  So congratulations PePe.  As such, there will be no posts until Monday at the earliest.  Don't worry, you will survive.  Trust me Guy, you will be okay.
     I have to say that today I didn't follow my own advice.  I was definitely sweating the small stuff.  My bad.  It started early and snowballed until I felt thoroughly defeated by the end of the day.  If I had just let it
roll off me like water rolls off a windshield with Rain-X on it I would have been much better.  So you know what that makes me?  Evidence to back my own self up.  How do you feel about that?
     I would also like to thank everyone who has been so supportive during my salt book crisis.  The outpouring of support has been tremendous, and I wouldn't be able to stay sane without you.  Rest assured that I will not stop in my quest to have it returned until it is safely on my bookshelf.  Unfortunately, I had to throw out the wonderful placeholder, because I made the mistake of opening it and it smelled like spoiled milk.  So out it went.  But it's memory remains.  
     Also, thank you everyone for the wonderful comments.  I am trying as best as I can to stay on top of them and answer some of them.  Just so you know, if you are having trouble logging in to leave comments, use your e-mail as the user name and your Google account password as your password.  Or you can always post as Anonymous.  But that is a helpful hint for you.
     Also, please note that out archives are now called The Filing Cabinet. Because that's where you keep stuff.  The newest posts are at the top.  So read from the bottom up.  Like you in China.  If that's how they read in China.  I don't think it is.  
     Other than that, thanks for reading.  According to the poll we have readership in the double digits, which is about ten more than I ever thought we'd have in my wildest dreams.  So thanks to everyone that reads and comments and cares.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
     That's all for now.  Have a wonderful weekend and we will be back in full force on Monday.  Or maybe Tuesday.  But eventually.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thinking Beyond the Box

     A box made me feel stupid today.  There, I said it.  It was an ordinary box.  Rectangular, but almost square.  It was made of brown cardboard, and I assume that if I cut across it it would have a top layer and a bottom layer with the wave of paper inside.  You know what I am talking about.  It said Quill on the outside and I would assume that it was filled with some sort of office supplies.  I don't know.  I didn't open it.  By the time it was done having its way with me I didn't want anything more to do with it.  So I stuck it in a dark corner of a windowless room next to some broken down machinery.  And that's all it deserves because it made a fool of me.  But I am a person and it is a box, so I get the last word.
     All I wanted to do was move the box from Point A to Point B.  That and the four other boxes that were stacked on top of it.  But I am lazy so I wanted to move them all in one fell swoop.  I had a moving dolly, so I didn't think that it would be too hard.  But that was before I met the bottom box.  I will call it Box 5.  I should have known that it would be a trouble maker.  It was all dented and crushed on the corners and bottom edges and had way, WAY too much packing tape on it.  It was a bad apple to be sure.  And when I tried to slide the bottom of the dolly underneath Box 5 it was no dice.
     Now, all you physics nerds will go on and on about the weight of the boxes and the friction of the carpet and the downforce and whatnot.  You will tell me that they weighed too much and carpet wouldn't let the box slide.  Nope.  That's not true.  It all happened because the box was a dick.  I even squatted down and tried to lift up the edges of the box and that didn't work.  It took me three full minutes of heaving and squirming and swearing under my breath to finally get the boxes on the dolly.  No way that should be true.  The dolly should have slid right under Box 5 and we should have been on out way.  But Box 5 had other plans.  And when I finally got it to move, oh was it pissed.  And I paid for it once I had moved from Point A to Point B.
     Once at Point B I discovered that I need to move the boxes again.  And this time on tile floor, Box 5 put up the greatest resistance it ever had.  I couldn't even lift or scoot or move Box 5 onto the dolly.  It refused to go.  I almost had to get someone to help me.  I had to push it up against the wall and mangle the bejesus out of it to get it back on the dolly.  Now it is serving time in solitary confinement (well, not really since it's in there with Box 1-4 and Boxes 6-10), all mangled up because it had to be difficult.  But I was a person and it was a cardboard box full of office supplies.  So I won.  Plus, I delegated and made someone else deal with and unpack it.  So I win twice.
     Why do you care?  You probably don't.  But why should you?  Because it is an important story to think about.  Moving a cardboard box full of office supplies with a furniture dolly seems like a simple enough task.  Yet it made me look like I should be wearing a helmet.  Unfolding my futon is a relatively easy chore, yet if often ends up with me tangled up in the frame, with legs and arms and futon parts sticking out all over in every different direction.  Carrying my kayak up the stairs to my deck should be no problem, but every single time I manage to smack the side of the house with it.  The point is that we all fail at some of the little things in our life, sometimes regularly.  Maybe you lose your car keys with alarming regularity.  Maybe you burn your pancakes every time you try to make them.  Maybe you can never get your pictures to hang straight.  So what?  It doesn't matter.  I might be able to do all of those things just fine, but I can't move Box 5.  We all struggle sometimes.  So don't sweat the small stuff.  Your quality of life will not be worse because you can't make pancakes.  Keep everything in perspective and help each other out and we will all be fine.  And you know it.  Even if you are being routinely defeated by a cardboard box.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Posting a Reward: Update!


     I have a new and shocking development in the case of my missing salt book.  Recently, I received the nefarious ransom letter pictured at right (click on it to see a bigger image).  If you are having trouble reading it, here is the text, unedited:

Genius, I have the salt book. Put $465.69 in the brown Intrepid today bitch!  Hugs and kisses.  XOXO.

     How appalling.  I don't know what kind of person would pull this kind of stunt but it is just awful.  I am not usually at a loss for words, but I am right now.  My poor little Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky is not only missing from its rightful place on my bookshelf (by the way, Peg-a-saurus Rex and the Stepmom made me a neat little placeholder for the salt book, with a picture of the cover on each side of a milk carton...it's priceless.  Thanks ladies! Oh, and Stepmom brought my book back.  Thank you. But just know that I wasn't trying to shame you or call you out or anything) but it is being held hostage by an evil genius.  Well, maybe not a genius.  Because there are about eleventy billion brown Dodge Intrepids driving around.  Am I supposed to put $465.69 in every one of them?  Because thats...let's see, eleventy billion times four-hundred sixty-five point sixty-nine...that comes out to...that is...well that is a staggering number in any event.  I can't afford that much.  I can't even afford the $465.69 one time, let alone a time for each Intrepid. Second of all, if you want me to put the money in your lame car, won't you have to leave the door open?  And I bet you live in a shitty part of town, so if I just lay it on the seat it will probably just get stolen.  So then we are both screwed  Third, why $465.69?  Why not $465.  Or $470?  $465.69?  That involves change, so I am going to have to put it in an envelope or a shoebox or something or you will have change going all over your floorboards.  Unless I write a check.  But if I have to write you a check, I am just going to cancel it or have it tracked when you try to cash it.  And I can make it happen.  Because I know people in places.  And I have called in everyone who is anyone to help find, persecute, belittle and maybe smack you down.  CIA.  FBI.  IRS.  ATF.  Border Patrol.  Pinkerton Detectives. The US Department of Agriculture. Interpol.  Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  The Swiss Guard.  John McEnroe.  The New York Knicks.  And they are all hunting you and your cursed brown Intrepid.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, I have Scooby Doo and his gang on it too.  Yeah, now you are running scared, aren't you?  You'd better be looking over your shoulder because at any moment the Mystery Machine could run your felon-ass down (at least I assume that you are a felon).  But the bottom line is you are a hunted man/woman.  Because I am not going to negotiate with you.  Big Dave and Company does not negotiate with terrorists.  Or kidnappers.  Or car salesmen.  Or little kids.  Or the White Shirts.  So deal with it.  And I hope that you a Hope Depot or Menards or Lowes or Canadian Tire credit card because you are going to need to get a new door once the University of Utah marching band busts your down to get my salt book back.  Yeah, because they are looking for you too.  And so is Guy, and if you are in Sand River he will find you.  So don't even think about trying to hide there.  Or in Deerton.  But you'd better be hiding because my cronies from Pestinger Distributing Company, Inc. in Beloit, Kansas are out on the hunt for you.  So is the entire Russian Navy Pacific Fleet.  And they will both let me have at you before they turn you in to the proper authorities.  And by that I mean Georges St-Pierre of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  Yeah, that's right, he's 15-2.  And he's my brother-in-law.  (Okay, I made that last part up.)  But he's still looking for you.  And I am sure that you'd rather be caught by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game than Mr. St-Pierre.  So anyway, I expect that I will find my salt book on the front seat of my car by the beginning of next week.  Or you can slip it inside my kayak while I am gone.  If you bring it back I will call off the dogs (oh yeah, there are dogs looking for you too.  Lots of them.  Remember, the Dog Whisperer is leading them) and we can end this all, no questions asked, no hard feelings.  Just a little something to think about.

P.S.  The Tamil Rebels in Sri Lanka are keeping an eye out for you.  And they love salt, and they love books.  So they are probably extra pissed off.  

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Treasure Hunt for the Ages

     It all started with Val.  You know Val.  Well, if you don't know her you know the type.  Bubbly, outgoing, cute blond who thinks everyone likes her because she's a sweetheart.  Val had a boyfriend, and one sunny summer afternoon they decided to take a relaxing fishing trip down a local river, the Chocolay.  But something went terribly wrong, and they had to abandon their canoe with all of its contents and swim and walk their way out, emerging on a local highway.  Sort of like in the movie Without a Paddle but without all the pot farmers and weird backwoods mountain men.  Unless they met some of them along the way.  If they did Val never mentioned it.  Anyway, after telling us of her trip, she offered us a deal.  If we retrieved the canoe, we could have it and everything in it except for the cooler and its contents.  (And seeing as it was a fishing trip, there was probably a lot of beer and booze in there.)  So we would become the proud new owners of a canoe, the one paddle that was left unbroken, a couple of fishing poles, and all the tackle they had with them.  That's a pretty sweet deal; all we had to do was go in and fetch it.
     Little Jeffy went first, on a kind of recon mission.  We knew that Val and her boyfriend had put in on the river at Mangum Road and made their way downstream, so that's where Little Jeffy started.  He went downstream past one log jam, past two long jams, until the third one foiled him.  I arrived at the Mangum Road landing on my way home from work as he returned from his reconnaissance.  So we new know that the river was filled with logjams, and so we decided to make our way to treasure by land.
     So we set out one fine morning, the sky was blue and the wind was light.  David Nathaniel, Little Jeffy and myself, armed only with granola bars, bottles of water, hiking boots, and a machete.  We made our way along the riverbank, slashing through high grass and brush like we were explorers opening up Africa.  Except this was the middle of North America and we didn't have and idea what we were doing.  After fighting through the brush for a little ways we came to an abandoned railroad grade with the remains of a bridge that crossed the river.  This is where the first logjam was located.  We were on the right bank (the right side as you face downstream) and we knew from Little Jeffy's reconnaissance that a homeowner maintained the railroad grade on the left bank, and kept a canoe at the river's edge.  So we made a decision.  Sometimes in life you have to make decisions.  We decided to borrow this person's canoe, for the public good.  Just so long as the public is us.
     We recognized one problem right off the bat.  We didn't have any paddles.  So we decided to make our way by poling ourselves along, like we were gondoliers in Venice or something.  So we piled in, David Nathaniel and Little Jeffy at the stern and bow respectively, and myself in the middle lying below the gunwales like a sack of wet flower. And so we struggled along downstream, past logjam after logjam, getting thoroughly wet and muddy and very tired.  After a time we decided to turn around and make our way back.  We returned the canoe to where we found it and made our way along the groomed path, through the aforementioned homeowners front yard, down his driveway, and back to our cars.  It was not a successful attempt.  But we did glean valuable information as to how to go about our mission.
     The second attempt to rescue the canoe was made by David Nathaniel and Josh.  They used all of the knowledge that had been gained by our past experiences and decided that attacking the problem from the water was the best way to go.  So they reborrowed the canoe and made their way down the river.  There was no way they could have known what lie ahead.  
     After crossing several logjam obstacles, David Nathaniel and Josh discovered what was Val and her boyfriend's undoing.  Unbeknown to us, at one point the Chocolay River flows into a dense thicket.  At this point it also morphs from a medium-flow, small-sized river into dozens of tiny rivulets no more than 2 ft wide or 6 inches deep.  Dozens of them.  In interlocking paths.  From above it must look like capillaries in the human circulatory system.  And it's maddening.  If you know about geography or  hydrology you know that they all end up in the same place.  But their course in between is anyone's guess.  So you just have to pick one and hope for the best.  And that's what out two intrepid explorers did.  They used the machete to hack a path through the thicket along the river, at many times dragging the canoe across land.  And then they found what was on the other side of the thicket.  A swamp.
     The only problem with swamps along rivers is that there is often a lot of water.  And small bits of land.  And it all looks the same.  And generally in these swamps the river slows down enough, and spreads out enough that you can't tell where the main flow is going to follow it.  So after getting through the maze of the thicket, Dave and Josh faced the maze of the swamp.  
     The boys don't say a whole lot about their time in the swamp.  So we assume that it was uneventful.  But the swamp holds an important place in the story.  See, we know that Val and her boyfriend swam through the swamp, and exited from the water at the edge of the swamp.  So we know that the canoe must have been abandoned either in the swamp or somewhere upstream.  When David Nathaniel and Josh reached the swamp without finding Val's canoe they had failed in their mission.  All they had found was a lot of misery and a strange area of beat down grass along the riverbank.  No canoe.  No broken paddle.  No fishing poles.  No cooler.  No nothing.
     Even though they had failed to find the canoe, the river is like a hill.  There is no way out but down.  So our heroes continued down the river and out of the swamp into the wider section of river.  But despite being wider, this section of the river is plagues by fallen trees.  Every 50 feet or so.  For several miles.   About halfway through this hell the boys came to a large metal pipe sticking into the river and decided that they couldn't take it anymore.  They ended their trip along the river at the irrigation pipe for a local golf course.  They hauled the canoe out along the pipe, slipping and sliding onto dry land.  They caught a ride back to their truck, then came back bajaing across the golf course to retrieve the canoe.  Left tire tracks all over that golf course.  Fairways, greens, the whole nine yards.  And that was the end of their journey.
     But that wasn't the end of the search.  Little Jeffy and I decided that if they could make it that far in a canoe then we could do even better in our kayaks.  But our attempt was doomed from the start.  For one, we followed the same path that David Nathaniel and Josh had hacked out.  So if they didn't find the canoe we certainly weren't going to.  But we persevered and made it all the way to the mouth of the river.  It took us roughly 10 hours to go perhaps 6 miles.  Not a good speed record.  We would not have been successful as explorers.  In the end we sort of decided that the people who gave Val and her boyfriend a ride once they'd reached the highway had come back and retrieved the canoe and its contents.  And when we pressed Val for more details she got sheepish and the story changed.  We'd been had.  But it was all in good fun, and we ended up no worse for the wear.  And we did learn one thing.  If you are going to go on a leisurely Sunday fishing trip, don't go down the Chocolay.  

Sunday, April 20, 2008

St. Peaches Day

     Happy St. Peaches Day!  April 20th is a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  It is the birthday of one of the most deranged people in history, Adolf Hitler.  For many who smoke marijuana, it is 4/20, a very special day indeed.  And for people who live in Vatican City it is of course The Feast Day of St. Conrad of Parzham.  As you can imagine, this is a very popular holiday in Parzham.  But to me April 20th will always be St. Peaches Day.
     Back in the day (which, according to Dane Cook, was a Wednesday) we used to call Young Errik Peaches.  It's really not important how he got that name.  All that is important is that his former roommate got named Cream as a result and hated it.  Which is good because he was a dick.  So anyway, Young Errik was called Peaches.  And it was the combination of he and I and a bunch of stupid college kids that led to the start of the most wonderful holiday--St. Peaches Day.
     Young Errik and I were sitting in the hall between out dorm rooms playing Legos one April 20th.  I don't know if it was exam week, or what was going on, or why we were playing Legos in the hallway instead of in one of our dorm rooms.  And I have no idea from where we got Legos.  I mean, it's true that Legos do rock, and that they are always fun no matter what the age.  Seriously, have you tried them recently?  I am glad that they are always labeled "Ages 8 and up" as opposed to "Ages 8-12" because it's open ended and I can still play with them when I am 16, 24, 32, 79, or whatever.  
      So anyway, Young Errik and I, and probably Jimmy James, are being creative and most likely dumb and playing with Legos.  And as people are walking up and down the hall, stepping over us as they go about their business, a few of them are saying "Happy 4/20."  That's all I kept hearing--"Happy 4/20."  "Happy 4/20"  Now I don't smoke, so I thought that people constantly wishing me "Happy 4/20" was
dumb.  It was borderline retarded.  "Happy 4/20, huh huh."  Go to hell.  You are SO annoying.  I got real tired real quick of people wishing me a happy 4/20, so I randomly began wishing people "Happy St. Peaches Day"  If you had been walking along my dorm hallway that day and came upon three weirdos playing Legos in the middle of the hall in the middle of the afternoon, you would have been wished a Happy St. Peaches Day by the fat one whose Legos made something lame and uncreative.  Nobody knew what St. Peaches Day was.  Many people didn't know who Peaches was.  But most of them didn't care.  Most of them did exactly what you'd expect, they just stared at me and moved on.  A few inquired about this exciting new holiday.  Some argued with me that I couldn't just make up a holiday out of the blue.  Well guess what dickface: I just did.  How do you feel about that? 
     St. Peaches Day never really caught on, I'm not going to lie.  Every year, a few select friends of mine who know about it will call or e-mail each other with a Happy St. Peaches Day message if we remember.  And I guess that maybe there are some other friends that I don't know about, the offspring of one of those people walking down the hallway, who are wishing each other the same.  Maybe they are having a St. Peaches Day party.  Perhaps there is a cake involved.  I don't know.  But now you know about it and you can spread the word to whatever corner of the world you live in.  Go out and get a cake.  Maybe a nice blueberry pie with some vanilla ice cream.  Put up some white or colored Christmas lights.  Maybe throw some confetti on your bushes.  Do what you've gotta do.  But do something.  Because every day should be celebrated.  We just gave this one a name.  So Happy St. Peaches Day everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Diverse and Frighteneing

     Pizza Hut makes pasta now.  I mean, they always made a little bit of pasta that you could get on the buffet, or that one thing that you could get on the menu, that chicken alfredo stuff.  And it was pretty good.  But now they make like 7 different kinds.  In the town my sister used to live in, there was a place called Pizza Hut Bistro.  So Pizza Hut makes a lot more than just pizza now.  Like everything they are diversifying.  And I don't know that I like it.
     It's happening everywhere.  Wal-Mart is a great example.  Everyone loves Wal-Mart not only because of the low prices but because you can get anything there.  And I mean it.  But I don't love that about Wal-Mart.  That actually scares the bejesus out of me.  You can buy rubbers for your car and rubbers for your wee-wee at the same place!  Hello?  Is anybody home?  That's messed up.  Because there is no way, no way, NO WAY that they can do both things equally well.  I don't trust a place that tells me they know as much about firearms as they do eggplants.  Wal-Mart is like the encyclopedia of stores.  They give you a very generic version of everything, just the basics thank you.  But your local store is like a specialized book.  If you actually want to know anything useful about guns you don't look in the encyclopedia, you get a book about guns.  If you want the right gun for your crazy, bell tower sniper needs you don't go to Wal-Mart.  You go to Clete's Pawn and Gun down the street.  I trust my local tire shop because that's all they do.  I don't trust Wal-Mart or K-Mart or any kind of mart with my tires because I can buy new underwear while I wait for my balancing and rotation.
     Diversification is reaching dizzying levels.  There is Bayer aspirin in my medicine cabinet.  My landlord uses Bayer Advanced fertilizer on his lawn.  THOSE AREN'T EVEN IN THE SAME BALLPARK!  And how do I know that some d-bag isn't accidentally mixing some of the grub control chemical fertilizer with my aspirin.  How do I know that when I am trying to take a blood thinner that I am really not taking the same thing that terrorists use to blow up buildings?  I don't.  And I don't like it one bit.  My DVD player is made by Kawasaki.  So is the motorcycle that that d-bag that just cut me off in traffic.  What's with that?  I don't want my DVD player to be able to win a motocross race.  No!  I want it to be able to play DVD's.  I don't care if the company that makes me DVD player makes TV's or stereos.  Or if the company that makes my motorcycle makes jetskis or ATV's.  That actually makes sense.  But when the day comes that they mount my Kawasaki DVD player on my Kawasaki motorcycle I think that I will probably drive said motorcycle into a bridge abutment.  Not really.  But I would seriously think about it.
    Now I understand the need for diversity.  There is security in diversity to some degree.  If one area of your company is not performing well, another probably will be.  And in some areas of my life I want diversity.  I want diversity in my diet.  I want diversity in my stock portfolio.  I want diversity in weather and season (I know, it's weird.  But 72 and sunny every day might drive me nutso).  And diversity in society is a must.  But sometimes it gets out of hand.  But if you really think about it, wouldn't you be a little weirded out if Ford started making blankets in addition to cars?  Of if the good people at SC Johnson Wax started making axes and chainsaws?   Well it's happening all around you.  I know that there are exceptions.  Nokia used to make everything from tires to work boots to radios, now all they make are mobile communication devices.  But they are the exception to the rule.  Most of the world is expanding the opposite direction.  Have you ever thought about the ramifications of that?  I bet you will next time you realize that the same company that made your doctor's stethoscope also printed the magazine you were reading in the waiting room.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dog Whisperer

     Due to the crippling lack of entertaining weekday daytime TV, and my messed up work schedule, I have been watching The Dog Whisperer, featuring Caesar Milan a lot as of late.  And I have to admit that I am hooked.  I like dogs, and I really respect what he has been able to do.  He has been around dogs all his life and he has figured out how to control them by simply observing and thinking about dog training from a different angle.  From the angle of the dog.  It's amazing.  His ideas for dealing with canines have even allowed people to change their own lives.  The things he does are absolutely amazing.  And after watching many episodes I still like dogs, but I don't like many of their owners.
     Okay, dogs are dogs.  They can do some amazing things.  They can be service animals, leading the blind or handicapped through their daily lives.  They can herd sheep or cattle across the Australian Outback.  Hell, Lassie saved that dumb kid Timmy out of that well like 37 times. Come to think of it, what the hell was wrong with Timmy's parents?  You think they would have capped the well, or put a fence around it after the first or second time.  Why let your child keep falling in there?  I guess it was just easier in the end because if he couldn't fall in the well the retard probably would have found a mine shaft or bear's den to fall into instead.  At least with the well they knew what they were dealing
with and Lassie would always save him.  All I know is that after the third time he fell into the well that kid would have been on a tether.  Or I would have set it up so he could fall into a combine instead. Anyway, dogs can do some amazing things, they can be intelligent and compassionate and industrious.  And they of course have emotions and whatnot.  But they are still dogs.  They are not people.  And they should not be treated as such.
     First of all, if you have a little yippy dog, you suck.  Those dogs are not cute, they are not peppy, they are annoying.  They are nothing more than dust mops that you have to feed and clean up after.  Get a dog that you can step on and it won't get hurt.  Get a dog that will scare an intruder.  And don't put clothes on it.  No matter what kind of dog you have.  Your dog already has its own clothes.  It's called fur.  And it changes them every season.  They don't need a lame sweater or some booties to make them warm or good looking.  If you think that you probably need a helmet.  And you should get yourself a doll if you want to play dress up.  I will even spring for the little doll carriage.
     And you need to learn that your dog is not your child, and it doesn't need to be protected from everything.  Let it sniff other dogs.  Let it chase rabbits.  Do not give it its own bedroom.  Do not let it climb in under the covers with you.  Do not set it a place at the table.  Do not let it control your life.  I hate to break it to you, but your dog will be just as comfortable lying on the floor as it will be lying on top of you in your bed.  So make it lie on the floor.  You are the human and you come first.  So the dog should not run your life.
      That being said, there is another kind of owner I don't like.  You dog might be a dog and not a person, but it is still a responsibility.  It needs to be walked every day.  It needs to be cleaned up after.  It needs to have discipline and then affection.  It needs to be taken care of.  You cannot chain your dog to a pole and let it run around doing nothing.  You can't give it a doghouse and a fenced in yard with no grass and just let it be.  It's okay to bring in the dog when there is a blizzard.  It's okay to give it a treat every so often.  It's essential to play with it.  Neglect is just as bad as too much attention.  It's worse because neglect is not socially acceptable.  If spoiling is getting drunk on whiskey, then neglect is getting drunk on rubbing alcohol.  Rubbing alcohol is just not socially acceptable.  Not even in college.   And don't ever beat your pet.  Or I will come beat your ass.  I will kick you until you start shaking then I will kick you until you stop.
     So the bottom line is this: if you want your dog to be man's best friend you have to be it's best friend.  Dogs want to be dogs, so treat them as such.  If you always do what is in their best interest they will always return the favor.  Trust me.  Walk the dog because it is good for them, and they will not rip up your furniture.  Give your dog a good home and it will protect it.  Give affection and discipline and you will get respect and affection back.  And what more could you ask for?  Then I won't have to see you on The Dog Whisperer and get all pissed off.  Plus, Caesar Milan doesn't come cheap.  
     
     

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Most Unwanted Song

      Hardcore is great but honestly, he's a bit of a computer nerd.  And I think that he will probably admit that.  So when he IM's me with the line "I hate the internet sometimes, Dave." I know that there must be a serious situation afoot.  Upon further inquiry, I discovered that Hardcore was about 10 minutes into listening to the worst song in the history of the world (a.k.a. The Song).  A song that was delivered to him by the Internet.  If you want the Internet to deliver it to you click here.  But I wouldn't recommend it to you.  It's terrible.  Now all that Core wanted was some solidarity, some support while he went through his trial.  So I had him send me the link and I jumped in with him, about 13 minutes behind but totally immersed.  And I immediately regretted the decision.
     Click here to go to the website upon which Hardcore found The Song.  They will give you far more details that I am able to, or that I really care to to be honest.  But the basics are this: two Russian d-bags decided to find out what music people don't EVER want to hear and then arrange it into a 25-minute waste of space mp3 of crappy shitpile music.  It's atrocious.  Seriously, I hope that they kept all of their receipts so that they can get that part of their life back.   Because it was wasted away on nothing. NOTHING.  Anyway, like I was saying, I listened to the whole thing, and because I care about you dear reader, I won't make you listen.  I will tell you what's going on while I listened to it.  Because spending 25 minutes bashing your temple onto the big nut on the top of your neighborhood fire hydrant would be a better use of your time.  Trying to smoke as many unfiltered menthol cigarettes as you can in 25 minutes would be more productive.  And stabbing your right testicle for 25 minutes would certainly be less painful.  If you don't have a right testicle of your own, just poke at the one nearest you with a dull steak knife.  Anyway, here is the rundown, and it's going to be long.  So sit down.
     The Song opens with a mixture of accordion and old-tyme cowboy music.  First of all, of course that is an awful combination.  Accordion and harmonica?  That's like putting together brown mustard and mayo.  They are fine when standing on their own.  And I am sure that they can be blended together into something wonderful.  But the two lame-o's in Russia decided to pick the two worst musicians in the history of everything to play these parts.  The accordion sounds like what came out when I was messing around with my dad's electric keyboard when I was 10.  In fact, I am pretty sure they had a microphone dropped into my basement rec room and recorded the whole damn thing.  And then the paid the Russian girl I used to know to get me to sign a waiver that I didn't know was a waiver and take it back over to St. Petersburg for them.  Awful.  But that wasn't enough.  These sick bastards take my fake accordion-type solo and they put it over the opening strains of Billy Joel's "The Legend of Billy the Kid."  Why would you do that?  Apparently they didn't have a chalkboard around to drag their fingernails across.  Plus, I am pretty sure that they didn't ask Billy, so that's plagiarism.  And once Billy is done crashing his car into the nearest house I am sure he will realize that he's getting ripped off for the sake of pure evil.  Oh, and then they add just a touch of flute, because they didn't have the time to come to my house and kill me.
     Just as your mind starts to drift off towards the mesas and tumbleweeds of eastern Utah or some other God-forsaken lonely area in the western United States, or to the Pampas if you live in South America, The Songs breaks into an amateur-style rap done by an opera singer.  The Song breaks into an amateur-style rap done by an opera singer.  Yeah, you just had to read that twice.  If you are a little drunk you had to read it four times.  But it's that stunning.  I mean, it's so amazingly inappropriate and terrible and off the wall that even Adult Swim wouldn't air it.  Not even at 3:30am after anime when nobody is still watching anyway.  It is so bad it wouldn't just cause people to turn their TV's off.  It would cause day shifters to wake up and actually turn their TV's on to other stations.   That's how bad it is.  If Adult Swim aired the opera rap, there would be a natural and concerted effort to watch other stations regardless of what they were showing.  And I will stand by that.   Oh and there are bagpipes involved.  I would say more but I can't even comprehend what has already been said.  
     The accordion/cowboy part then joins with the opera singer.  Bad enough.  But then the kids come in.
     I am pretty sure that these are the exact same kids that worked with Pink Floyd on "Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)."  Except for now they are working for the most evil place in the world  - Wal Mart.  That's right.  These young children, whose parents apparently don't love them at all, proceed to sing an ode to each holiday IN SUCCESSION from Christmas all the way through Halloween.  And at the end of each ode they tell me to do all my shopping at Wal Mart.  In between their odes there is a mixture of a tuba, the opera singer, and what appears to be the sounds from a train accident.  But not just any train accident.  That would be too soothing to the ear.  This is like if a French TGV happened to be in Scotland and hit a horse and buggy contraption that was pulled by cats instead of horses and that was carrying a Scottish bagpipe band.  And then a bunch of local schoolchildren saw it all happen, and were screaming because the cats were dead and the train was exploding and the band's kilts were up over their waists and they hadn't shaved anything down there since the year began with a 19.  That's roughly the sound that is in between the Wal Mart commercial sections.   Then the Phantom of the Opera and the Opera Lady walk in.  Together.  Holding hands.  And the Phantom plays his pipe organ and someone pulls out a tuba while she sings the Star Spangled Banner and raps and I die a little on the inside.  And I think that the Phantom has some sort of stroke while he is playing.  Or maybe a heart attack, I can't quite tell.  And that happens between the Wal Mart ads too.  Seriously.  I don't have the time or the energy to make this shit up anymore.  
     Eventually the kids go away.  Thank God.  I hope that they got put in awful foster homes.  No wait, I hope that they were taken to a Chinese orphanage.  They could have been taken to a textile mill circa 1810 for all I care.  I am just glad that they are gone.  But The Song soldiers on.  I don't exactly know what happens next because I really couldn't hear anything over the sound of my own voice.  See, by this point I was curled up in the middle of my bathroom in the fetal position with my head behind the toilet, rocking back and forth and screaming "Make it stop!"  But it didn't.  It wouldn't stop.  So then I went into my garage and shut the door and turned my car on.  But because my garage is so leaky I was unfortunately unable to suffocate myself.  I tried but the garage is old and doesn't seal well, so too much oxygen got in.  But, luckily, I was saved.  See, this song is so awful, so atrocious, to putrid, that it actually affected the structural integrity of the wood in my garage and made the roof fall right down upon me, blessedly knocking me out.  Okay, so that didn't happen.  But you can't even begin to understand how much I wish it had.
     Well, about the time I came to and came back in the living room some pissed off lesbian was yelling at me through a bullhorn about how are government works while a dirty hippie played a flute in the background.  Even the avant garde sect wouldn't claim this shit.  And I think that the worst part of the lesbian yelling at me is that she doesn't even seem to have a grip on reality.  At one point she digresses into just yelling random nouns.  I don't know what the Russians thought they were doing when they put that in there, but in out country they call that Tourette Syndrome.   Apparently in Russia they get a government grant for that.  I'd expect that out of Germany or maybe Sweden but not Russia.  They wouldn't even let a pissed off lesbian have a bullhorn, let alone make music.  And that's how it should be.  Where to these d-bags get off making me listen to that?  And shouldn't the pissed off lesbian be getting to rugby practice or pruning her she-mullet?  Or at least re-lacing her hiking boots?
     Just like most corny, awful songs The Song ends with every character coming by to play, sing, or scream through a bullhorn all together.  In Unity.  What I am thinking really happened at this time was that the FBI had finally figured out that The Song was a threat to basic human well-being and rounded up everyone who participated.  These people then broke into song while they were in the lineup being identified by the remaining shards of my sanity.  My brain at this point was standing behind the one way glass, asking the sergeant "Are you sure they can't see me?  Because I think it was number 1.  And 2.  And 3-12.  They are all guilty.  They all did this to me."  So there they are, all aligned in song, much like Germany, Italy, and Japan were all aligned during World War One.  And despite the fact that I now have my head in the oven and am trying to reach the "self clean" button to turn it to about eleventy billion degrees and put an end to it all I can still hear all those people singing.  But to anyone who has ever seen a musical, or listened to a lot of those all-star-sing-togethers-to-save-the-whales-type concerts you know that once everyone gets onstage at the same time the end is near.  So I took my head out of the oven and gritted out the last bits.  And then finally it was done.  
    But I missed it.  Hardcore was talking about "sweet sweet silence" but I realized I sort of missed it.  The Song was over and I didn't know what to do with myself.  For the last 25 minutes I had lived through what I imagine is the music that they play you while you wait in line at the ferries on the River Styx on your way to the innermost levels of hell and now I didn't know what to do that it was gone.  It's was kind of like that girlfriend that you always fought with.  No matter what you and she were always at each others' throats, and you pretty much hated each other.  And you know that you need to break up.  But once you do you sort of miss her.  You know what I mean?  The Song is like the girl.  You couldn't live anymore with it but now that it's done you just don't feel right.  I couldn't shake the feeling.  It all came into perspective later in the day when I traced the feeling back to general dizziness from the loss of the gallons of blood that were leaking out of my ears.  I knew that The Song was too terrible to have any redeeming qualities at all.
     So that's it.  Now you don't have to listen to the worst song ever made.  And trust me, it is.  It's even worse than "Love Will Keep Us Together."  Way worse.  So don't be a hero.  Don't go listen to it.  Don't fall into a trap like I did.   Listen, if you want to know what war is like, you don't go out and have people shoot at you.  You talk to a veteran, right?  Do don't subject yourself to The Song.  I already did and told you all about it.  What more do you need to know?  Or do you just not trust me and  have to listen to see for yourself?  Well don't say I didn't warn you.


P.S.  Oh yeah, and the whole song manages to be out of tune with itself for the entire time.  Good luck with that, asshole.


     
     

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chocolate Rain

    Click here and watch this first.  I will wait while you watch it.

Waiting...




...waiting...




...waiting...




...waiting...




...now you're done.  
     That is Chocolate Rain.  I know nothing about the guy who sings that song.  I do know that if you go out onto the parts of the Internet that I don't control (i.e. all the rest of it) you will find a lot of different versions of this song.  And you will find several parodies of it.  So why is this pertinent? Why is this important?  Because Chocolate Rain is great.  One of the greatest ever.  And I will tell you why.
     Chocolate Rain is great because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  None.  Now if you ask a sociologist-type they will tell you that chocolate rain is a term for racism and that Chocolate Rain is about fighting that and whatnot.  But I don't believe it.  Chocolate Rain is about rhyming.  And not ever about doing that all much.  As long as you can sort of make something fit the basic rhythm then it's good.  The first one doesn't have to match the second one.  You can start with "What I write about in my blog is chocolate rain.  You can help me paint my house chocolate rain."  And so on and so forth and it's fine.  That's the genius behind it.  Every time Tay Zonday has to sing it he can just make it up as it goes along.  He will never be wrong.  Because let's be honest, everyone is going to know a different version.  Plus, he will never have one of those embarassing "Saved by the Bell" sitcom moments when he is singing and the producer or director comes over just behind the curtain and signals for him to keep going but the song is almost done and he has to improvise and it gets crazy.  Because he can easily just keep going.  And he can even communicate and bargain with the producer while he sings.  "I will sing more if you pay, chocolate rain.  Twice the amount is what I ask of you, chocolate rain.  Let me know when I am done, chocolate rain."  See how easy that works out?  It's amazing.
     Now our guy Tay is not the first person to think of this.  Johnny Rivers t had the same idea when they came out with "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"  back in 1972 (Click here to hear it).  It's rhyming couplets.  (Click here to read the words.  I know it says Aerosmith but they did a cover and the words didn't change.)  How easy is that?  Sometimes I sing about what's going on around me to the tune of this song.  I can do it for hours.  I could totally narrate your whole day day to the tune of this song.  Or at least the part of it that comes before you snap and stab me in the face with a soldering iron.  "You brush your teeth now so your breath smells fine.  You'd better hurry so you'll be on time.  Young man rhythm has a hold on you too.  You've got the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu" and so on and so forth. AMAZING.  If I had it my way at least 37% of all songs would be this way.  It would make my life much easier.  And it would make it much easier for me to annoy people like Stealth or the Peg-a-saurus Rex or even Foxy Roxy.  And I need all the help and ammunition I can get.  So here is some impomptu choclate rain to close you out today.

I am making this all up, just like chocolate rain.
Thank you for reading my blog, here is chocolate rain.
Leave me some comments for me to read, chocolate rain.
Canada is to the north of here, chocolate rain.
I need more gas to mow the lawn, chocolate rain.
MacGyver is so smooth he rolls just like chocolate rain.
Streetlight help to light my way throughout chocolate rain.
I could do this forever despite chocolate rain.

I hope you enjoyed that.  Make up some of your own and send them to me via some comments.  That would be sweet.  Wait, let me put that in a form you can understand better.

Send some versions just for me, chocolate rain.
Post them up as comments, would you please?  Chocolate rain.
I will share the coolest ones with you, chocolate rain.

See how easy and fun that is?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gino's Performance Review

    I am an avid sports fan, but I take pains to spare most of you.  Because I know that a lot of you don't like sports.  Fine.  But there is an ongoing story in the baseball world that really has a large significance in the real world.  For those of you who don't know the New York Yankees, the evil empire of professional sports, is replacing their still profitable, charming, 85-year old gem of a stadium with an eleventy-billion dollar monstrosity.  Fine.  As would be expected for a project of this size, construction workers of every size and type are helping to build this stadium.  A construction worker named Gino Castignoli, who is a fan of the Yankees' bitter rival and the equally evil and annoying Boston Red Sox, who buried a Red Sox jersey (David Ortiz #34) in the concrete of the new Yankees Stadium in attempt to curse the Yankees.  That's awesome.  Amazingly great prank.  It would have been awesome.  Emphasis on the word "would." Because he screwed it up.  He told.  
     Okay, you've got me.  I can hear you saying it. "What's the good of pulling a prank if no one ever knows about it Big Dave?  You would have told too."  And you are right.  I would have told too.  But I would have waited until after the stadium was done being built.  Because then there is nothing that they could have done.  See, he came out and ran his mouth the day after.  And the Yankees sent some other workers out with jackhammers to break up the concrete and pull out the jersey.  Now, there is no curse. Unless it reverses against the Red Sox (which would be okay too because the Red Sox are just as awful).  So now there are no Red Sox jerseys buried in the new Yankee Stadium.  Because Gino Castingnoli is a loud-mouthed d-bag.  Sorry. 
     If you are going to do something as cool as trying to curse a Major League Baseball franchise you have to be a major leaguer yourself.  Gino obviously was not.  First of all, he allowed a while bunch of people, including one with a CAMERA to be present for the burial.  Bad move.  Unless it is a small group of trusted friends, or some other people involved in pulling the prank, you have to be alone.  You can't just allow there to be some other random people standing around.  That's all there is to it.  Because eventually it will burn you.  And it will burn this guy.  Now he has Hank Steinbrenner, who runs the Yankees and who really shouldn't even be allowed to speak in public EVER, on his ass and threatening a lawsuit (which is real classy by the way). That's karma kicking your ass Gino.  Having a bunch of New York construction workers around when you bury a red Sox jersey in the new Yankees Stadium is like deciding to cheat on your fiancee on top of the keg at a college kegger.  Not only are you going to end up single and in a heap of trouble, you are also going to end up on YouPorn by Monday morning.  Nothing good will ever come of it.      Now I hear some mumbles and grumbles out there about the camera issue.  If you are trying to tell me that you really should have a camera present so that once the stadium is built you can have some evidence that you actually pulled the prank.  Not true.  Because all you have to do is say that you did something, and have just a sliver of credibility, and the prank carries weight.  Tons of it.  All you have to do is say it and for the rest of eternity Yankees fans will blame it for things happening.  End of story.  If I am in a fraternity, and say that I buried my pledge pin under the bushes that were planted in front of the rival frat house, they will be nervous and when they get their charter revoked, they will blame you and your pledge pin.  It's sort of like when you want to mess with someone at work, and all you do is smirk at them wh
en then come back from break.  And when they ask you what you did you just say "Oh, you'll find out."  and they freak out all day long, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But you didn't do anything whatsoever.  It's called psychological warfare.  And it's just as effective.  So what I am saying is you don't need the photographic evidence.  You just need people to think you do.  It's great.
     The absolute worst part of this whole buried jersey thing is the timing of it all.  Gino, nice prank.  Gino, bad timing.  I know that I already alluded to it.  But you absolutely keep your mouth shut until after the stadium is finished.  Then there is nothing that the Yankees can do about it.  They have no evidence against you for a possible lawsuit (still classless on the Yankees part).  All they have is wonder and paranoia.  And 
that's great.  And your beloved (yet still evil) Red Sox have something to lord over the Yanks for the rest of eternity.  Telling on the day of the prank is like going into a bank with  a pair of stockings over your head and an Uzi under your arm, robbing the shit out of the place for hundreds of thousands of dollars, then, before fleeing, walking up to the teller and asking to open a new savings account or buy some high yield bonds to hold your winnings.  It's stupid and nothing good will come of it.  And it pisses me off.  You've now ruined what is possible the greatest, one of the gustiest pranks in the history of prankdom because you couldn't keep your big, lame Bronx trap shut.  Gosh!  Sorry Gino.  But bury the jersey right and then we can bury the hatchet.  Terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  
     So anyhow, in the end, we can all learn something to from this.  It is a classic good-prank-gone-bad scenario.  So if you are planning on pulling your sweet non-April Fools prank, read up on this case study. Don't make the same mistakes.  Do it on the sly.  Preferably while wearing a ski mask.  Maybe while everyone else is glued to the TV so see the noon lottery draw. Enlist the only the smallest amount of help, and use only the most trustworthy cohorts.  Do background checks.  Interview them.  Make them fill out an application.  And keep your trap shut.  Get one of those S&M hoods with the zipper over the mouth.  Maybe have someone clock you in the jaw so it has to be wired shut.  Just be sure that you really like smoothies if you are going to go that route.  Maybe go into seclusion on a lonely desert isle in French Polynesia or maybe on Plum Island.  Because no one will want to go there.  Write to me and I will be happy to help you along your way.  Because I am always willing to support a good prank.  But only if it's done right.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Free Market Research

      I am not a marketing major.  I have never taken a marketing class.  I have no marketing experience whatsoever.  But I am an American consumer.  And as such, I am  pretty sure that I am authorized to say what does or does not work in terms of commercials.  And I am here to tell you that just because your commercial is memorable doesn't mean that I am going to buy your stupid product.  And that's the cold hard truth.  So put that in your marketing book.
     If you put out a commercial that just provides me with some information about your product, that's cool.  I am all about that.  You put out a commercial about some middle aged couple talking about lowering their cholesterol with Crestor or something and that's okay with me.  You are telling me information about your product and what it does.  You put out a commercial about all the great new wireless plans from 
Sprint, that's okay.  It tells me about how I can get my new two year contract and a sweet phone from Nokia with three different keyboards or whatever.  Cool.  I can take the information about drugs (possible side effects:  vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding, hair loss, softening of the fingernails, eye color change, osteoporosis, loss of taste bids, mild hypertension, and bubonic plague) or sweet cell phones (only $139 after $16 mail in rebate with two-year contracts on plans $79 per month and up) so I can ask my doctor about your awful drug or pay for a wireless plan with way too many minutes to get a cool new phone.  That's what commercials are supposed to do.  So those are okay. 
     There is another kind that is okay.  Usually they are food commercials, sometimes a car commercial.  Those are the ones where they show a really sweet picture of the product and I want to buy it right there, right now.  Sho
w a picture of a big sloppy Hardee's burger slowly rotating past a bed of fries and dripping grease and tomato juice all over the place and I am in the car and on my way to a heart attack.  Boom.  You show a sweet new Mitsubishi running around some city at night and I am on the Internet, looking at how much one will cost and realizing that I am poor.  Those are good commercials.  They make me want to buy your product.  That's the idea, isn't it?  Give me some info on your product so I can consider buying it.  Or appeal to my animal instincts and make me want it RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.  That's cool.  That's effective.  But don't try to cute me, or entertain me, or make me think a lot, because it's not going to work.
     If you want me to buy your product, or engage your service, don't make a commercial that I will remember.  Does that make sense?  Probably not.  But here is the deal, if you make terrible memorable commercials, you commercial is going to overshadow your product.  And odds are it's going to be for a product that my mind is already made up on.  Like beer.  Some of the greatest and most memorable commercials of all time are beer commercials.  The Budweiser frogs and the Real American Hero/Real Men of Genius commercials for Bud Light are two examples.  But no matter what ridiculous commercial those companies come out with
, I am going to keep drinking Miller.  That's just how I am, that's just where my allegiance lies.  So the only value that those commercials have to me are as entertainment.  So that's millions of dollars wasted that you could use to lower the price of your beer.  Then I'd probably buy more.  What do you think about that?
     So here is the deal.  Make your commercial be about your product.  Don't show me a commercial about marmots skiing and then have it be a Nationwide Car Insurance ad.  That's not going to make me want to
 buy car insurance from you.  If you're Citibank, don't spend your money on a commercial showing twenty-something girls in skimpy clothes washing a car in the hot sun.  Yeah, I'm not even going to register that Citibank is involved.  Let's think about that.  All I care about are the girls in swimsuits.  Hello?  Is anybody home?  If you are selling real estate don't put out a commercial showing people riding in a motocross race.  That makes no sense.  The FreeCreditReport.com commercials with the band singing in as servers at a pirate-themed restaurant might make me remember FreeCreditReport.com but it doesn't make me go there.  So please let's be smart about the commercials we put out.  If you want to entertain me more power to you, but don't expect me but your product.  But if you want me to buy your product, don't try to entrain me.  It's a pretty simple concept.  Call me and ask me about it.  You could probably even write off the long distance as market research.  But only if you make me a sweet commercial for the blog.