Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from the Unpaid Interns

Happy Halloween from the Unpaid Interns. Since Big Dave took the day off to follow kids around the neighborhood and steal their candy, here is a list of things we are doing to the Worldwide Headquarters:

- Carving Jack-o-lanterns and putting the pumpkin waste in Big Dave's bed.

- Looting petty cash to buy kickass Halloween candy.

- Toilet papering everything that we can find.

- Dressing up in costumes like witches and goblins and ghosts and Joel McHale.

- Destroying both the Martin Van Buren and ice cream truck costumes that Mike-a-licious and Big Dave were going to wear, respectively.

- Lighting fires. But only on the tops of candles in our jack-o-lanterns.

- Spray painting all neighborhood cats black.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Duel

So Mike-a-licious remarked the other day that he would enjoy reading a blog about dueling. As such, and since you have been pissing the hell out of me lately, Company, I challenge you to a duel. But not so fast to pull that .22 out from under the seat of your truck, okay? There are rules that proper people like us have to use to go about this.
Wait, rules? Oh yeah, there are rules. I mean, come on, you didn't know that? You just thought that it was people out in the woods or a field or the dusty main street of some God-forsaken Western town. I mean, this isn't the shootout at the OK Corral; I didn't just lope into town on my Appaloosa named Peanut and upset the guy at the back of the bar so now we have to shoot at one another out in the street. No, I haven't challenged you to a shootout, Company. I have challenged you to a duel, like they did in the days of the Founding Father. Of course there are rules. There were people who had to wear powered white wigs that stuck like three feet off the top of their heads to meetings, and probably in the bedroom with their ladyfriends too, who were also wearing similar wigs. I mean, they wore coats with tails EVERYWHERE, of course they had rules for dueling. In fact, in 1777 they actually sat down in their coat tails and powdered wigs and wrote down the rules. And I happen to have a copy of those rules right here.
First I have to demand satisfaction from you, whatever that means. I sort of wonder if maybe the meaning of that term has changed since the time that this rule was written, because for one nobody says that anymore, and for two when you do say it, usually there is a "happiness consultant" or a customer service representative present. But anyway, I have to demand satisfaction, and I have to do this in a way that cannot be ignored or misrepresented. They seem to recommend slapping you with a glove, but I find that to be a little archaic, so I am just going to get a billboard that says "I demand satisfaction, dillhole." That should suffice.
Okay, now that I have demanded satisfaction, it seems that you have the opportunity to apologize to me for sucking so badly. And I apparently have the opportunity to apologize back to you. From what it says here, if we do this the duel is off, even though I have demanded satisfaction and the duel is on. So the apology would be like the shut-off valve that you always see at the gas station and have always wanted to push but have never had the need or nerve to do so. Anyway, as one would expect, there are rules governing the apologies. Whomever made the first affront, has to make the first apology. So like, first you apologize for saying that I have bad breath, and then I apologize for telling everyone at your work that you are impotent. That is how it works so go ahead and let fly. Oh, you aren't going to be apologizing for using up all my oxygen with your ridiculousness? Then it's on with the duel. Oh, by the way, it's a good thing you didn't hit me or kick me in the sack, otherwise the apology wouldn't be good enough. That's Rule 5.
Okay, these are a little confusing as far as rules go, but it seems to me that we have to choose "seconds," who appear to be like the Best Men of Dueling. So you choose your second, which I would assume would be Jack Black, and I will choose mine. I choose Sage Rosenfels. So basically, what happens now is they choose the "field of honour" and check the weapons and make sure that the duel is fair. Yeah, they will check them over and they are supposed to even load them for us. Oh, and we have to use smooth bore pistols, nothing rifled, so we will have to get rid of those 9mm Barettas that we were going to use and get like old-tyme flintlock pistols or something. And the seconds will take care of that business for us.
Oh wait, they are supposed to try to mediate our little dispute, like, try to make things all better before we shoot the shit out of one another. Yeah, I know, it seems like there are a lot of rules designed to keep us alive. Stupid ancestors and their "survival." Anyway, so they have to try to mediate us and when that doesn't work they just have to witness our shenanigans. Oh, and the best part? If they get pissed of at one another, they can duel too, but they have to shoot at one another PERPENDICULAR to us shooting one another at a 90 degree angle. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Can you imagine all those bullets flying across and through the middle of that field in Matrix-style slow motion? That would be the coolest thing. And that is what the seconds are all about.
Okay, so now it's time to duel. And there are a bunch of ways that we can do this, Company. But, bad news. Since I am the one who is demanding satisfaction I get to choose. We can battle to first blood where the first person injured is the loser. I am not into that. Let's move on. We can duel until one of us is so severely injured that we cannot continue. The rules say that once the hand starts shaking involuntarily that is injured enough. I don't like that one either, that could get messy and frankly, it just isn't very cool of us. We could fight to the death, but that just doesn't seem right without a cage. We could also do "slappers only" like in Goldeneye 007 for the N64 - that's a little more modern version I suspect - but we have these shiny, specially made dueling pistols so let's just use those. We will be like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. I will be Hamilton. Wait, he ended up getting killed, so you be Hamilton and I will be Burr. Anyway, there are several ways to do this. We could do it one-shot style, where we each get one shot, fired simultaneously. That would be cool. If we both miss I can declare the duel complete if I feel I have achieved the satisfaction that I demand. Otherwise we can keep trying. Apparently though, to quote Wikipedia, "A pistol duel could continue until one man was wounded or killed, but to have more than three exchanges of fire was considered barbaric and, if no hits were achieved, somewhat ridiculous." So that means we only have three chances to get this right, or else we will have to have a team duel against whomever laughs at us for messing up our first duel, you know what I am saying?
Now, I know this idea has gone through both of our minds here, Company, to both intentionally miss or shoot into the air so that we can both survive but we have still dueled. Well, we can't. I am sorry. These 1777 rules say that is verboten, which is strange because "verboten" is German, and the guys who wrote these rules were Irish. Anyway, that isn't apparently allowed because it might imply that ones opponent isn't worth shooting, which you aren't after the way you have so egregiously slandered me and denied me my satisfaction. I can, however, stop the duel at any time that I feel I have achieved satisfaction or I get bored, whichever comes first.
There are apparently a lot of ways we can go about this now that we are ready to start. We could have the seconds like mark out a certain distance and we could start with our backs to one another and go that distance and then turn and fire. But I like to more old fashioned way where we go a set number of paces. They say the more egregious the slight, the fewer the paces we go, but since we can't go one pace, which is what I think we should, we will go the traditional ten. We could also do the kind where I shoot first and then you get to, but that just doesn't seem as fun. I mean, if I just wanted to shoot you in the forest I would have just shot you in the forest.
Wait, wait, hold on. Apparently we have to agree on all the details. The rules say it, and from what Sage is telling me a lot of famous duels never came to fruition because the duelers could not agree on the specifics of the duel. Like how many paces, or how many shots, or just about anything else. And if I know you Company, and I think I do, we are never going to agree on anything anytime soon. So I guess there is no reason to have our duel. So what do you say you just buy me a beer and we call it even? I don't think there are and 1777 rules for that, are there?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Internet

Forty years ago tonight, on a fall evening in California, the Internet was born. Well, not exactly born, but it worked for the first time. So I suppose that one could say that it took its first breath. And it was a tenuous one. A researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) typed "L" into his computer and it appeared over 400 miles away at Stanford University. Then an "O" came from UCLA and it too appeared in Palo Alto. After that the scientist at UCLA sent the letter "G" and the whole system immediately crashed.
Not a great start for the Internet, but they fixed the problem and their little system out in California, called Arpanet, and got some help from British scientists working on how to more efficiently move information, and the Internet was up and running. Hey, it's okay, most of us fell down when we went to take our first steps. But as I said, Arpanet was up and going on step two, and it was growing, until by the mid-70s it was a full fledged network of computers that not only allowed computer and research scientists to vastly increase their computing power by simple hooking up, it actually saved money by eliminating duplicate research. It was groovy as the Brady Bunch would have said. It was from those humble beginnings, with only a couple of computers on the California coast that the Internet was born. And to think, Al Gore was only 21 when he invented the thing.
Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, and whatever his part in advancing it along was, it has truly become an amazing thing. It is what allows you to read what I sat and typed at my keyboard in the Worldwide Headquarters. It allows you to surf one of the eleventy billion porn sites that are out there floating around, including that one where the girl does that amazing thing with her tongue. It allows you to book your cruise from your home, to read the collection of the Moscow library, to check the weather in Greenland, and to make phone calls to Sardinia without paying long distance charges. It is also is what is making our industrialized citizens fatter, lazier, and more energy-dependent, so keep that in mind.
It has been a long time since anything has come around that has changed our civilization and society as quickly and as greatly as the Internet. It is up there on par with the wheel, fire, tweezers, and sliced bread. It has linked together the people of the world, and shrunk the ideas of time in distance in ways that we are only beginning to understand. It has opened sources of knowledge to people at a level that has never even been imagined before: if you don't have website then you might as well not even open your doors in some places these days. And let's not even get into how it allows the average person, with just a little bit of training and know-how, to present themselves and their ideas to the widest of audiences possible. That, I think, will be the greatest mark of the technological revolution. You can see the power of this phenomenon when certain countries censor certain websites from their citizens. The Internet allows for the ultimate in free speech.
So let us all raise our glasses to the Internet, it has become an integral part of our lives, a part that a staggering number of young people have said they cannot live without. It is ingrained within out being more with every day, so we had better give it its proper due. So happy fortieth birthday Internet. Al Gore must be so proud. And to think, it all started with the letter "L."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Profanity-Laced Tirade About Stupid People

So, I don't know if you realize this or not, Company, but I have to work a day job. Yeah, that's right, for as much wealth and fame as I assume that you assume I have assumed, I still have to work outside of the Worldwide Headquarters in order to do things like have health insurance, make money to pay bills, and expose myself to sunlight and social interaction.
Anyway, I moonlight as a mild-mannered government worker, a bureaucrat whose main job is to interact with the general public by phone and face. And that is fine. Contrary to popular belief, I have worked with the general public closely with every job that I have had. So I am used to them, and honestly I don't have a problem with them. I do not have a problem with John Q. Public walking into my office and not having a clue about complicated government regulations. Hey, at least they made the effort to come in an be in compliance with the rules enacted by their elected officials. That's the mark of a good citizen. The problem I have is with the so-called "professionals" that I have to deal with on a daily basis. With every phone call, with every face that walks through the door, I am simply fucking amazed at how utterly stupid and ignorant you can be and still be considered a competent business person.
Seriously, the "professional" people that I have to deal with every day, and not the people in my office, they are all super awesome people who know what they are talking about so I have no qualms with them, the "professional" people from outside of my office that I have to deal with on the whole have no fucking clue about anything, including what they are doing or what they are dealing with. It's out of fucking control, and they definitely need to be stopped. I am sorry, but if you are collecting money from a good member of the public in order to navigate the slippery slopes and winding roads of the government bureaucracy, you had better know every fucking minute detail, down to the number of hairs on your customers' back in before you even try to walk into an office and get some sort of permit or inspection or government anything. Like, for instance, if you are a real estate agent, and you are listing a property, and you don't know the name of the current owner, or the address, or even the town it is you are the number one shittiest fucking realtor in the world. You should have your real estate license revoked faster than if you were an airline pilot who flew 150 miles past where you were supposed to be landing. And then, once your license was revoked, you should be put in a God-damn fucking state run institution where they wrap you in all white clothing, and every couple of hours a burly man with tattoos comes by and either a.) hits you with a cattle prod in your taint or b.) shives you with a whittled down plastic spoon just for the fact that you have made the world a dumber place for having had you interacting with it for all these years. And then, somewhere while you are in there, they should perform a mandatory vasectomy on you because there is no way that you should ever be allowed to have children and spread your lazy fucking ignorant retard seed into the population. I am sorry, but if I am going to have to give you 10% of whatever I earn for selling my house when you didn't even have the wherewithal to figure out where the fuck it is located, I might as well sell it myself. Is any of this getting through? Huh, fuckbag?
Or maybe you are a builder who builds houses for a living. You think, that maybe, just maybe, after you built a house or two you would know the process that you have to go through to get one built. Seems pretty logical to me. That is called learning, and if you are incapable of it I am not sure I am comfortable with you being allowed to use a nail gun near me or my loved ones. In fact, I am not comfortable with you being allowed to use a regular hammer and nail anywhere within my community because you are incapable of learning. If you are builder, you should be so familiar with the building codes that it makes me sick.
Unfortunately, many people in the "professional" sphere that I have to deal with have their fucking heads impaled so far up their fucking asses that they actually come back out their own mouths and back into their ass in a vicious sort of spiral that just twists their body into the shape of like a conch shell. And they get away with it. Well fuck that. Those people can go sit on a spike. If I ever, EVER, have to utilize on of the people in the professions that I have to deal with, I am going to give them a test. Either a written test before I sign a single check or give them a single plan, or maybe like spot checks during the process when I just call and ask them basic details about what is going on. And if they can't answer they are done. Well, let's be honest, they were done a long time ago. Fucking retards.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Peg-a-saurus Rex and the Stuffed Beaver

One of our local Native American casinos has been running ads featuring a cartoon moose and a cartoon beaver. And they are lame. Really lame. To the point that I turn them off when they come on the TV. But they are out there and that is fine. So someone at this casino thought it would be a good idea to get some stuffed animals and give them away, along with flowers, to their patrons who were mothers on Mother's Day. And that's a fine idea. And since the casino's ads featured a moose and a beaver they chose to have the stuffed animals be moose and beavers. This is where it went wrong. Because you don't give away stuffed beavers to mothers on Mother's Day. And you sure as hell don't let me know about it.
I found out because Peg-a-saurus Rex went to that casino on Mother's Day with her family, and she told Stepmom what she had received. And Stepmom spilled the beans to me. So of course the first thing I did was call the Peg-a-saurus rex on the phone and leave a voice mail saying "Why aren't you answering the phone? Are you too busy playing with your beaver?" And when she called back I proceeded to make beaver jokes and comments to her for the next half hour, all while giggling like a little schoolgirl, which led her to ask the Stepmom "Did you have to tell him about that?" And she did. Because I thought it was hilarious. I was laughing so hard that I was choking; gasping for breath. It was amazing. Because seriously, you don't give away stuffed beavers on Mother's Day.
If you are a business owner, you really should consult with someone of the younger generation, or at least someone with a perverted mind and perverted sense of humor, before you have a promotion or you generate a new slogan. Because otherwise you will end up having you and your customers as the butt of many awful jokes. All the marketing people at this casino would have had to do was to call me up, or ask their 15 year old son, and they would have realized that it is not a good idea to give away a stuffed beaver on Mother's Day. Maybe on Father's Day or Flag Day or for their anniversary, but not on Mother's Day. A few people got the stuffed moose, which is fine. Those were the lucky ones. But most of the patrons, including the Peg-a-saurus Rex, received a stuffed beaver. For Mother's Day! I still can't believe it. You don't give that as a gift. End of discussion.
So anyway, I hope that all you mothers got wonderful gifts and had wonderful Mother's Days. I really think that Peg-a-saurus Rex's stuffed beaver is the best gift, even if only for it's comedic value. Oh, and it's value to me to torture her with. I also hope that everyone has learned from this little story. Always be careful with what you say or do, because it's so easy to pervert ideas and intentions. But there is a bright side. At least they didn't give out stuffed roosters.

This post originally appeared on May 13, 2008.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Local on the 8s

So, some time ago the good folks over at The Weather Channel hit upon a truly brilliant idea: show local weather slideshows every ten minutes on the time ending with "8." How smart is that? That is what single handedly put The Weather Channel on the map and made it the huge success that it is today, at least in my humble opinion. Now, this only works on cable systems where it can be narrowed down to almost ones exact location, satellite systems because of their nature get a sort of broad general national slideshow that shows what is going on all around the nation. Fine, great, good.
So anyway, I have been watching the "Local on the 8s" for years and years, and when I go to a new town the first thing that I always do in the hotel or house I am in is turn on The Weather Channel to see the local forecast, so I can see the towns that they refer to, the location the local conditions are taken from, the general lay of the area, etc. I find it a wealth of information about any given area. That being said, I have been able so sort of chart the evolution of the local forecast over the years for a sort of old-school, text-only thing that was just on a bluish-purple background but still got the information across to what it is today. Today there are lots of graphics, including moving ones, and in larger cities you can get traffic and airport and air quality information on your local forecast in addition to how long it will take you to get to work. The other big thing is that these days, the local forecast is always set to music.
The music for the local forecast is now often interrupted by voice-overs, yeah, that's right, they read the forecast to you as well just in case you are too busy doing other things to watch TV for like two minutes. However, when you watch the local forecast and the voice-overs stop, or if you watch on a satellite and get the national version, you can hear a lot of the music. Usually it is like basic and non-descript elevator music, but every once in a while they sneak something in that is totally recognizable to just about everyone in common society. It's like they sneak it in there just to see what they can get away with or to make sure that you really are paying attention.
There are two examples that come immediately to mind. And no it's not the Christmas music. Like everyone, The Weather Channel puts Christmas music on the local forecast during December, and that is fine. What I am talking about are two songs that I very distinctly was amazed to hear pumping out of my TV speakers during the local forecast. The first I just saw today, this morning while I was getting dressed, curling my hair, whitening my teeth, etc. Just kidding. Anyway, I am wandering around the bedroom going about my business and I heard the unmistakable song "What I Got" by the band Sublime playing along with the local forecast.
Wait, what? Seriously? Yeah, that's what I said. There were, of course, no words, but that aside it is still not the kind of music that one would expect to hear in that sort of situation. First of all, it is not soft rock, which it is not uncommon to hear in elevators, etc, it is like alternative rock, which is strange. One does not expect to hear scratching turntables while brushing their teeth in the wee hours of the morning. But there it was, plain as day, playing along while the screen told me about rain in the Pacific Northwest. It was a strange and ethereal sort of experience. I cannot fathom who went ahead and made the decision to put that tape in the machine, but I can only imagine that they were laughing their ass off, or at least smirking with satisfaction, as that played out across the nation on a Monday morning. It brought no joy to me, only confusion.
What did bring me joy, pure and unadulterated joy, was the music of the second example that comes to my mind. I haven't head this in quite some time from the local forecast, but several years ago my life was brought to a screeching halt one day because they were playing the Peanuts theme with the local forecast. Yeah, you know the song that I am talking about: it's the one that Schroeder plays on the piano that all the other guys dance to when they are rocking out. Yeah, you totally know it. You can hear it in your head right now. I can hear it too. And I heard it on that day on The Weather Channel. Needless to say, I did not find out anything about the weather that particular day. I spent the first half of that particular "Local on the 8s" running around in circles like an excited little dog going "That's the Peanuts song, that's the song from the Peanuts cartoons!" and being generally way too excited about a song that you can probably download from the Internet. By the time the second half of the local forecast came on I had been transported to different time and place and I was actually sort of watching that part of the Peanuts cartoon in my mind. I could see each of the people doing their awesome little dances, and I loved every minute of it. Before I knew it the local forecast was over and I was snapped back to reality.
So, if you watch The Weather Channel in the morning or in the evening or whenever, sort of take a moment to listen to the music on the local forecasts and see what you can hear. You will most likely hear something that you recognize somewhere along the way, which I suppose is neat. It's kind of distracting though, especially when the Peanuts theme comes on.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Chain Gang

So, I have this nasty habit of using Wikipedia to do a lot of my research for Big Dave and Company. Yeah, I know, it can be edited and whatnot by anyone anytime, but for most major articles they (the Wikipedia overseers, which in Wikipedia-speak would be the Wiki-bosses I guess) have been taking steps lately to ensure that things are at least roughly factually correct. That being said, if I read something with an obvious bias, or maybe that doesn't jive with reality, you have to be able to take it with a grain of salt. Basically, you just have to use your common sense, just like everything else.
The reason that I am always so quick to pull the trigger when it comes to Wikipedia and my research is that, with over three million articles contained in the English-language version, pretty much everything that I would ever want to discuss is there - it's like one-stop shopping. So I have been doing a lot of research there, and I have actually added it to my daily reading list in the morning. On their front page, they put a lot of neat stuff. First of all, they put a featured article out of their collection up every day, which is cool. Second, they put about a dozen different articles about what is going on in the world for everyone to see, so just in case I missed something important in the online newspapers I read every morning I can sort of get word of it there. Third, they put events that have occurred in history on the current day, so that teaches me a lot about history, and that is good. Then, the last thing they do, is put like say a half dozen "did-you-knows" on the bottom of the page from recent additions. They are like one line out of the article so you can sort of see what is new. That is my favorite part.
Anyway, between all my looking at the stuff we just talked about, and all of the research that I do for Big Dave and Company because the Unpaid Interns suck and are always busy writing letters home, calling the authorities, or trying to chew their way out of their ropes to do my research for me like they should, I am on Wikipedia a lot. And what I have noticed is that there is no easier way to let time get away from you, and no better way to wind up somewhere that you never thought you would be.
Oh yeah, it is so easy to be led astray daisy-chain style on Wikipedia. Like "please set this sandwich on the floor" easy. The reason for this is the unbelievable amount of links on Wikipedia. If an article is written correctly, and most of them are, every fifth word or so will be blue, which means that it links to another article somewhere on Wikipedia. So you can start at an article about The Embarcadero in San Francisco and daisy-chain yourself all the way to an article about fruit bats, or DNA, or about a million other subjects. You can see how this would be a major time waster. It is fascinating, sort of like a perverted Information Superhighway version of the classic kids game Telephone, both of which you can look up at Wikipedia.
The sort of cool thing about this phenomenon is that you end up learning a lot, well, maybe not learning a lot but sort of having a vague familiarity with things so if you are at a cocktail party and you hear something mention UB40 you can say "Oh yeah, I've heard of them." It's neat. But do please beware, because it is also sort of addicting. That being said, I would still recommend that you try it, because it's totally fun and you will be amazed at where you end up based on where you start. That's the magic of the Internet I guess.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Night at the Museum

A night at the museum. Okay, so it wasn't at night, it was in the morning. And it wasn't a museum. It was a children's museum. The thing about children's museums, and yes, I have been to more than one, is that they really aren't museums at all. Museums are supposed to be places where you go to see old stuff, like recreated dinosaurs and old butter churns from when your town was first founded. But that, Company, is generally fun for only about six minutes, and we all know that won't fly with little kids. So children's museums are not like that at all. They don't commemorate anything at all really. They are more like places for kids to play and learn shit.
And that is cool. The funny thing about it though, is that when you are an adult, they are pretty fun too. Like there are things that light up, and cool displays that you can play with, and all sorts of bird sounds if you push the right button, and giant bubbles, but as an adult you have to pretend that you are staid and boring and you aren't supposed to like that stuff. It's sad that you have to drag a kid along just to keep face but hey, that's the way it goes.
So anyway, children's museums aren't really museums at all, they are like fun centers for kids. So why then, are they called children's museums? That doesn't make any sense to me. They should be called child happiness centers. Or places for children with short attention spans. Not children's museums. Children's museums should be museums with pictures of children. Maybe an exhibit about Victorian English Orphanages. That would be depressing but slightly more appropriate in my opinion. I mean, one wouldn't take children there, of course, but a children's museum just sort of sounds like a name that should be for a place like that.
But we had fun, and my niece had fun, and that is all that matters in the end. So check out your nearest children's museum if you have a chance, especially if you have kids. The best part is that you will have a good time there as an adult, and you will be able to totally save face. And isn't that what life is all about?

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Box of Peanuts

So I received a box on the front door of the Worldwide Headquarters the other day. As to which of the other days it was I wouldn't be able to tell you because I didn't see it get delivered, and I didn't even really know it was coming, and I very rarely use the front door of the Worldwide Headquarters because I get to use a special VIP entrance that shields me from the general public and The Unpaid Interns. So anyway, I saw this box and I did not freak out and call the friendly local bomb squad or anything, because that is not how I roll. I simply picked it up and looked at the label to see from whom it came, and once I saw that name and address on the tag I knew exactly what it was.
Recently, I ordered a new car stereo for my sweet car and among the things that it was supposed to come with was a Bluetooth microphone, which I didn't care about because, quite frankly, I don't have a Bluetooth phone. How do you feel about that? So I installed the stereo and threw in a CD and was happy as a clam and forgot all about my wayward Bluetooth microphone. Now, as you've figured out by now, unless you really struggle a lot, the package was my Bluetooth microphone. Fine. The point here is not what was in the box, it was the fact that it was the most ridiculous packing job I have ever seen.
It was ridiculous only in how far overboard it went for this little Bluetooth microphone. First of all, the box was WAY bigger than it needed to be. The Bluetooth microphone is small, and it is in a box itself. THAT box is about the size of two decks of cards, and you could fit like 30 of those little boxes in the box that they shipped. Hmmm...bold strategy shipping department, how's that working out for you? So we've got this tiny Bluetooth microphone in its own box, nicely padded by the instructions and a plastic bag, inside this entirely oversized Plain Jane cardboard box. And one cannot have the small box clattering around the larger box as the good people at about a dozen different FedEx facilities throw it around, toss it aside, and probably play field hockey with it back in the warehouse on their lunch break. No, no, no, no, no. We cannot have that, now can we? So the folks in the shipping department did what any red-blooded American would do: they filled the space with packing peanuts.
Oh yeah, packing peanuts. Those ubiquitous little, annoying, fluffy, and environmentally atrocious things that get EVERYWHERE once you spill them. The box is full of them. Honestly, when I opened the box that was all that I could see. It was just a perfect, flat field of packing peanuts in the box. I knew that there were two things in the box: the Bluetooth microphone and a pack of papers. Well, the pack of papers was easy enough to find: it was just at the bottom. But the Bluetooth microphone? Yeah, that was a different story. I stood there fishing my hand through the box of packing peanuts looking for the little Bluetooth microphone like I was doing the dishes, the sink was full of bubbles, and I was fishing around in the water for the last fork to wash. You know what I am talking about. That is exactly how I felt.
Needless to say I found the Bluetooth microphone, but now I am stuck with this box of packing peanuts, much like the box I am still sitting on from when my stereo itself arrived, that I don't know what to do with. They are not the biodegradable kind, and they are not the edible starch kind that are funny for like sixteen minutes once you find out they are edible. Some places take them for recycling or reuse, but I can assure you none of those places are anywhere near here. So into the trash they go I guess. Hey, I like to recycle and save when I can, but you just can't win them all. I am sad about the timing too. Last week was Homecoming here, I am sure we could have painted them and thrown them at high school kids. That would have been fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cake Wreck Makes Me Feel Bad

Do you like weddings? Do you like cake? Do you like it when things get fucked up? Then you should probably go take a look at Cake Wrecks. I'll wait.


***


Welcome back. So that is Cake Wrecks. My guess here is that you have either spent the last two hours surfing around that site looking at pictures of cakes that look like they were made by a baker who has been required by the state to wear a helmet around at all times for his or her protection. Or, you saw one picture and decided it was not for you. I am going to venture that is what happened because there doesn't seem to be any sort of middle ground when it comes to Cake Wrecks. Don't you agree?
Well, I don't agree. Hey, there is nothing that says I have to agree with the things that I say. Don't try to use your logic to fight that, it won't work. Anyhow, I sort of like Cake Wrecks. I sort of like it because it makes me giggle to see just how terribly awful some of those cakes are, but it also makes me sort of feel bad for the bakers because, quite frankly, making cakes is not the easiest thing in the world even when they just have to be square or round, I can't imagine having to make them into like dolphins or the Eiffel Tower or something. So Cake Wrecks makes me giggle and it sort of makes me feel bad for the people who tried hard but failed miserably and it also, I suppose, makes me feel a little bit sad for the people who had to have that at their wedding. But then again, very few people remember their wedding cake, because for one it all got eaten, and two the part in the freezer got eaten a year later and everybody remembers the dress more than anything. But most of all, more than all of those things, Cake Wrecks makes me feel like shit.
Yeah, I said it. A blog that does nothing but comment on pictures of wedding cakes gone horribly, horribly wrong makes me feel like shit. But it also sort of gives me a little glimmer of hope. More on that later. Let me tell you the story behind how it made me feel like shit. I was cruising around Cake Wrecks after I saw it somewhere and I was stunned by it because, I don't know it you knew this, but Cake Wrecks is a national phenomenon. Oh yeah, it gets like a eleventy billion hits a week and it has been on all sorts of national media outlets. That's how I found out about it, I saw it on I think Yahoo! So anyway, I was surfing around this national phenomenon and wondering how it became so and how I can go ahead and become the same, and I uttered the phrase "Well sure it's super popular, but I bet it's been around for like six years." Yeah, not really. Turns out it's been since May of 2008. Hmmm. That's not that far from late March of 2008, now is it? So, in basically the same amount of time, Cake Wrecks has been able to a.) look a lot cooler than I do and b.) become a lot more popular. I mean, I solve the worlds problems with sagacity, aplomb, and bad grammar, and all they do is show pictures of cakes.
So that made me feel like shit. I am not going to lie. I mean, they are super popular, why aren't I? I know that I have a very dedicated merry band of followers, and I wouldn't give that up for anything, but I also want like 2.4 million other people who read my thoughts every day. Cake Wrecks has that, why can't I? You can see why I sort of feel like shit. However, being the stand up, everyday, optimistic kind of guy that I am, I AM able to take a small ray of hope from this whole fiasco. See, as far as I can see, Cake Wrecks was never a Blog of Note, just like me. I have never been a Blogger Blog of Note. So...as you can see, there is still hope for me I suppose. I am just maybe a little bit behind the Cake Wrecks curve. So what. I will get there eventually. Unless of course I turn into some sort of a Cake Wrecks. Hahahaha! I know, that was a terrible pun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Is Hard

I have never claimed to be a talented writer, although I like to think that I am no slouch. And I never really aspired to be a terribly good writer, but in the back of my mind I always sort of thought that maybe somewhere in there there was some hope for me. And I sort of thought that one of the things that made a writer good and creative one was being able to take a phrase, maybe just one phrase, and turn it into something much more substantial.
Or at least I always hoped that that was something worthwhile, because I find myself having to do that all the time. It's like, I get an idea in my big fat noggin and for some reason that is all that sticks, so I am left trying in vain to fluff it out into something substantial that maybe you will want to read so that you will come back tomorrow, you know what I am saying? So I am stuck here, sitting at my keyboard, time after time desperately attempting to turn one little phrase or one little idea into something consumable.
The problem with that is that it is hard. I mean, seriously difficult. Looking back, as we approach out 500th post...wait. Hold on. We've already passed that landmark long ago. Let me rephrase that please. Looking back, as our 500th post quickly recedes in the rearview mirror (there, that's better) I notice that when I have had to try and perform this miracle of modern authoring I have very rarely successful. I usually sort of come close to the mark but never really hit it on like I want to. Does that make any sense? I am sort of like a curler who is always in the four-foot circle but is never quite able to set the rock on the button. That was more for our Canadian readers. How about this one: I am sort of like an archer who is always around the bulls-eye but never quite on it.
So I am trying, and I would like to think that I am learning some. Some of what, I am not exactly sure. But one of these days, I am going to nail it on the proverbial head. The arrow is going to stick right through the bulls-eye. I am going to draw the stone right around the guard onto the button. Mark my words it's going to happen one of these times when I am going to take a simple phrase and make it into something masterful. Maybe then I will be something resembling a writer. Or maybe not, we'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Spy With My Little Eye

Okay Company, I know that you don't generally like it when I get preachy or give you fatherly-like advice, or at least I assume that you don't like it, but I am going to go ahead and do it anyway, because quite frankly I am the one who has the user names and passwords to write things here and you don't. Although, I suppose that you can just not visit this site anymore so we really have like equal power, but I digress. Ready to get some wisdom laid on you? God, that sounded like a cheesy pickup line.
Here is what I sort of figured out the other day: the people that you have your eye on don't necessarily have theirs back on you, and you never know who might be keeping an eye out on you. Does that make sense? I think it sort of does. Let me give you an example. Let's pretend that you are a chick and you are at the beach, okay? And you have been hanging around, soaking up the rays, and scoping out that super hot shirtless lifeguard. Now, you are getting a little discouraged and disappointed because he is not really paying any attention to you back. And that's fine. The point here is that you shouldn't be discouraged, because unbeknown to you that cute guy playing volleyball has be checking you out since you laid down your towel. Did you like that example? Good, because I have another one coming down the pipe for you.
Scenario Number Two: You are at a job fair, okay? You are very excited because you see the company that you wanted to work for there, so you get out your résumé, fix your jacket, and sidle up to the booth. You strike up a conversation with the recruiter, and you are wowing. Or at least you think you are. In truth, you are saying all the right things, making all the right moves, but the company you want just doesn't want you. Too bad so sad. Don't get upset though, because the guy at the next booth over is listening in, and he has noticed you, and he is already putting the number of the Vice President of Human Resources on the back of a business card to set up a special interview that will get you in like Flynn.
Is that a little clearer now? Is that a little more in focus for you? I hope so. The moral of this story, because you know there had to be a moral, is that you never know who might be keeping their eye on you, even if it isn't the one who you want to have their eye on you, so you always have to act accordingly. How you act and go about your business when no one is looking will tell a lot about your general character and personality, but how you act when you think the person you want looking isn't looking will tell a lot more. Because it is in that situation that one shows how they react to adversity, how they bear up in the face of a undesirable situation, and to be honest how one handles rejection. It tells a lot about who you are, and you want to put your best face forward, right? Because you never know who might be watching. It might even be the person that makes it all worthwhile.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Down With the Sickness

Well Company, I apologize sincerely for my absence from you this past weekend. I have been ill the last couple of days, not the sickest I have ever been but sick enough that I didn't go to work today, I just hung around the Worldwide Headquarters taking naps and staring at the TV, kind of like I was a cat or something, except way less evil. Anyway, since it's been a long time since I laid around on a weekday and did absolutely nothing that didn't involve me lying on my back half-asleep, I noticed a lot of things that I had never noticed before. So, without further adieu, here are some of those things, brought to you in non-numerical list form to honor Adrianne's return to blogging:

- sleeping during the day within view of my workplace makes me feel REALLY guilty

- there are a lot of dirty joked in the movie "Smoky and the Bandit"

- there is such a thing as too much MacGyver

- cable networks like VH1 and Fox News use the term "news" very, very liberally

- I can never be sick on a rainy, crappy day. It always has to be gorgeous outside. It's like a law of nature or something.

- The Unpaid Interns get tired of bringing you orange juice faster than one might expect

- I've got a fever, and the only prescription is, I don't know...aspirin, fluids, and lots of rest?

- Sleeping is great but you can only do so much of it

So yeah, those are some of the things that I learned, or at least was reminded of, while I was out on my sick day, watching the world go about its business in between my naps. Speaking of which, I think it would be a great time to take one right now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Little Baby Puff Puff

So anyway, a while back we looked into an Australian father who took the liberty of strapping his beer into the back seat of his car while he let his child roam free. Bold strategy, I wonder how that worked out for him. Anyway, either he moved to England or maybe he has a brother there, because a man in Northumberland, in the ironically and aptly named town of Ashington, is being charged with allowing a three-year-old child to smoke. HAHAHAHA! Ashington.
So here is what happened, yo. 31-year-old Greame (The most English name since Ian) Conroy was smoking. That, in and of itself was not surprising. He was also hanging out with kids, which is a bit odd but I suppose not unprecedented because he could have been at a family function or something, maybe he was a sitter or his girlfriend was or whatever. Anyway, he was hanging out and there were some kids there. And he was smoking. Interesting combination, kids and smoking; I thought that was bad for you. Anyway, things were I guess going well until a three-year-old girl walked up and asked for a smoke.
Hmmm...that's a little odd. Well, I suppose on second thought it is not really all that odd. Three-year-olds are inquisitive, they are always trying to learn about the world around them and emulate the adults they see. So I suppose it is not so odd for the child to ask for a cigarette. What is odd though is that our knight in shining armor Greame went ahead and gave one to the kid.
Yeah, no really a very good decision, and it only gets worse. First of all, it was not a good decision because the kid smoked it. Yeah, I mean they guy could have pulled out a fresh one and gave it to the kid, but this class-one fucktard went ahead and gave the little girl a LIT CIGARETTE, presumably the one that he was smoking at the time she asked. I can only imagine what the guy was thinking. "Well Jesus Christ, I don't want the kid throwing a temper tantrum and making me look bad in front of this 14-year-old, plus I own an awful lot of stock in the company that makes these cigarettes, and my little sister just got a job at the factory that makes them and I don't want her to be without a job, so I am just going to go ahead and get this kid hooked on the stuff right now. Plus it would be super sweet." Yeah, moron. I am sorry, this is and was a totally inappropriate decision. You don't give 3-year-olds cigarettes. That's the bottom line. That was always something that I just assumed that people knew, but I guess I overestimated the level of intelligence and learning of people in the world. Apparently there is not enough common sense out there to keep people from giving young toddlers cigarettes. I suppose we should put it on a billboard or something somewhere.
Now, Company, I know that you are astute readers and you noted that a little bit ago I said it would get worse. And you are asking a lot of questions about that now: "How could this get worse? What did he do, did he throw the kid out the window? Did the child drop the cigarette and light everything on fire? And what is with the teenager hanging around?" Well, please allow me to explain. It gets worse because Graeme, as would be expected from a man who would give a 3-year-old a cigarette, thought it was hilariously funny that this child was smoking. So he gave her another. And another. And then a couple more. For actually. FOUR CIGARETTES! That is one more cigarette than she has had years on this Earth. I don't care how amusing you think it is, or how quickly the little girl is getting the hang of it, allowing her to smoke one is bad enough but keeping them coming, forcing her to basically chain smoke a fifth of a pack, that is just out of this world. That is just so far beyond what is appropriate, so far out of left field, I can't even begin to fathom. Believe it or not, it gets even worse.
Yeah, even worse. The reason we know that the child smoked at least four cigarettes is because by the time Graeme went ahead and coerced the 14-year-old to take a video of the kid smoking with a cell phone, she had already smoked three, in preparation I guess? I don't know. I suppose that any performer needs to practice or rehearse before their big performance but that is just ridiculous. And we can tell just how smart that our Dingus McFadden Graeme Conroy is because he went ahead and recorded what was going on. That is where everyone fails. I am sorry, but if you are stupid enough to record yourself doing things that are maybe illegal or certainly inappropriate you are always, ALWAYS without exception going to get caught. And that, as you might expect, is exactly what happened to Graeme.
Want to hear another fact that won't surprise you at all? Once he was in court, in front of the old British guy who I desperately hope was wearing a giant tall powdered wig and a flowing black robe, he sat there and admitted that he knew he was wrong. He admitted that he knew what he was doing was not correct. Well, I guess my question now is that if you know now, with the heat on, that you were wrong, how come you didn't know at the time that you were. Oh wait, I know, because at the time you never thought you were going to get caught and now you are trying to save your ass. That's right, I get it. So anyway Graeme Conway, you are a dillhole, and I am glad you got caught, and hope they throw the book at you, go out and retrieve it, and then throw it at you again. Making a kid smoke, that is just fucking ridiculous.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Well, Company, today is Blog Action Day 2009, in which blogger all around the world register to talk about the same issue on the same day in order to raise awareness and spark conversation. You can get all the details at www.blogactionday.org. Now, I am, as usual, a little bit behind the times so I didn't find out about this until today, but I still was able to sort of jump on the train at the last minute and do my little part in order to combat...hmmm, let me see, what are we combating this year? Oh yeah, it's climate change.
Climate change is a little bit of a tricky subject, just ask Al Gore. He will tell you all about it. It is unfortunate that climate change is such a tricky think to tackle because it is exactly what we need to be looking at right now. Not that there aren't other important issues out there that need to be addressed, but none of them will matter at all if there isn't a planet with a nice, healthy climate in which to address them. Does that make sense?
So anyway, climate change is pretty tricky, because for as good as we are at sort of figuring out what happened a long time ago in the days before reading and writing, the overall changes in the climate of our gorgeous blue ball of life works in hundreds and thousands of years. And sure, like I said, we can dig up all the rock core and ice samples that we want, we can spend all the time that we care to analyzing the data, the problem is that in the last several hundred years we have, as a human race, had more impact on our climate and our planet that ever before.
It is true. The Information, Automobile, and Industrial Revolutions have had impacts on our planet so much greater than any other "revolution" it can barely be quantified. While the Agricultural Revolution had an epic effect on the human condition, there were so fewer humans on the planet at the time that it scarcely registered as a blip on the screen of climate change. But now, there are so many people treading the face of the Earth, who are using unprecedented technology in unprecedented ways, that the effect on our climate cannot even begin to be understood.
Part of the trick is to understand just how large of an effect the technology we use has on the world as a whole. Think about it like this: the thousands of bloggers who are sitting at their keyboards today, much like I am, and pecking away all these wonderful and eloquent words about climate change, are each using electricity, to power their computer, plus to power the servers that host these blogs. Add to that the electricity used by each person who reads these blogs, plus the electricity lost through the grid, the fossil fuels used to create that electricity, the fossil fuels used to mine the metal and silicon that goes into the computers, the shipping of the computer, etc, etc. It's immense. Now, I am not saying that you should stop reading Big Dave and Company by any stretch of the imagination, but it is important to realize that, in this day and age, with the world being as interconnected as it is, every single thing that we do created ripples in directions that we cannot even fathom.
So what's the solution when it comes to climate change, Big Dave? What do we do? I don't know. I don't pretend to have the answer. But I do know that there is certainly power in numbers, and the fastest way to cut down on our impact, and to maybe put the brakes on some of the human-created climate change, is to just do a little bit. We have all heard the statistics but they are true. If each of the six billion of us on Earth just cut down a little bit, turned off one unneeded light bulb every day, used one less gallon of water, poured one less pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, you can see how quickly that would add up. Now, I am not saying that a nomadic herder on the Mongolian steppe needs to cut down on his carbon footprint, he is having a very appropriate amount of effect on the Earth. However, I am sure that if I looked around I could easily find a gallon of water or a couple of pounds of emissions that I could cut out no problem. And I would venture to guess that the same can be said for you.
Before we go, I think that it is important to note that not all of the climate change that is occurring around us today is the fault of the human race. Some of the changes are just part of the cyclical nature of our climate, that is for sure. But the impact of homo sapien cannot be ignored. If the climate is changing on its own free will and volition, that is fine. But if we are the engine that is driving it that is unacceptable and we need to hold ourselves accountable and work to reduce our effect. Otherwise none of it will even matter. Happy Blog Action Day 2009.

A-Team vs. MacGyver

Okay Company, everybody knows that the A-Team could kick Magnum P.I.'s ass. Now, I like Magnum P.I; Hardcore will contest to that and I would take him on my side in a street fight against just about everyone except for the A-Team. Or the Crypts. However, I feel deep down inside of my gut that the A-Team would have its hands full with one man, MacGyver. He is bar none the master of coming up with a plan based on what he finds around the joint: he will be forever remembered as the man who could blow his way out of a rusty prison in a fake Central American country with nothing but the light bulb, come chewing gum, and his belt. All while looking stylish in a Calgary Flames hat. But the A-Team was pretty great at doing the same thing, it just took all four of them to do it. I mean, BA could always manage to make a tank out of a broke down Chevy Nova, some corrugated tin, and whatever Face was able to con out of the local townspeople. And then, of course, Murdock would be able to fly the tank and they would use the large arsenal of weapons that they always seemed to carry with them to kick the bad guys' ass and the Colonel would say "I love it when a plan comes together." So, in the spirit of the show where they take different terrorist groups and pit them against one another in a mock battle, we are going to set the A-Team and MacGyver against one another, buy only by looking at their respective pros and cons, and then I will pick a winner. How do you feel about that, Company.

The A-Team

Pros: group of four people working together; top-level Army training; sweet van; each man is unbelievably good at one thing; kick-ass intro music; chicks dig them; huge firepower; always telling kids to stay in school

Cons: always being chased by Army; BA won't fly; short relationships; Murdock is bat-shit crazy

MacGyver

Pros: Swiss Army knife; always good at coming up with a plan; mysterious Phoenix Foundation training; golden flowing mullet; not unbelievably good at one thing but sort of great at everything; Jeep or '57 Chevy always close at hand; extremely mobile; kick-ass into music

Cons: spends too much time trying to do good deeds for everyone; Pete Thornton too chubby to be much help; hates guns, will only use them to hit people

This is a terribly hard pick for me to make, like when you are at Delaware Park trying to pick the 1-2 quinella for the fifth race. It just can't be done with any certainty. In reality, or in as much reality as we can get when talking about two 80s-era television shows, if MacGyver and the A-Team every had to face off, either there would be a sudden and violent rip in the space-time continuum, or they would realize that they are both good guys and they would team up against the bad guy that is trying make them fight one another.
That being said, if for whatever reason they actually finally came head-to-head, my gut tells me to pick the A-Team. I know, it's hard. They are very evenly matched. I consulted Mike-a-licious on this one and he thinks that the A-Team would probably win, but MacGyver would probably escape and survive, and I am tempted to believe him. But when it comes right down to it, I have to pick the A-Team because of sheer number. Mac is always working alone or with some nimrod that he picks up along the way, the A-Team can work together like a team in an inspirational movie about high school football. So I think that is why the call goes to the A-Team, but only if there are all of them. If it is MacGyver vs. any one member of the A-Team, I go with Mac in a heartbeat, with no questions asked. But when it's MacGyver vs. the A-Team, I'll take the A-Team.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stranger In My House

There is a stranger in my house tonight; I can see him as I sit here at the dining room table frantically typing out this blog post for you tonight. No Company don't worry. Don't go calling the police or mounties to get out here to the Worldwide Headquarters on your cell phone to help save me, it's not like there is some weird unknown person creeping through the grand halls and galleries and back rooms of the joint, it's just me, alone in the dining room.
Contrary to what Mike-a-licious wants you and your loved ones to believe, I am fully clothed in ruby red windpants with a burn hole in them from one time when I wore them to a bonfire, a shirt proudly proclaiming my alma mater that in the years since graduation has acquired a hideous looking grease stain that just won't come out and that sort of looks like I wiped someone's bottom with it, and a hat. Yeah, I am wearing this God-awful cheap tropical-looking full-brimmed hat that I got when playing in a band at the Amber Part of Samber's birthday party years and years ago. There is no reason why I should be wearing this hat on an unusually cold October night, but I am, because I found it in my bedroom and just sort of wanted to have it on my head.
I know, that's weird. That's strange. I know Company, I understand that I am a little strange sometimes, you don't have to recoil in horror at the thought of me. Because you are strange too, Company. We all are, and it's totally okay. That's the nice thing about being at home, hanging out in your own abode, you can be a little quirky and a tad strange. You can wear a goofy hat around in the middle of the week for no reason. You can wear gym shorts and a dress shirt if that if your sort of thing. You can do whatever you want, within reason. You want to sit on the middle cushion of the couch and juggle stress balls? That's fine, have at it. You want to act out plays with yourself? Strange, but harmless. Slowly whittle down stick after stick into nothing? Sure, but be careful not to cut yourself.
Here is the deal, Company, we all have these quirky little idiosyncrasies that define us and help make us a person but that we would NEVER EVER want to go about doing in public, and that's okay. So long as you aren't doing something like skewering rodents or something it is cool. There is nothing wrong with being a little strange in your own home, that is why it is your own private space. Be strange and don't be ashamed of it. Knit yourself some new toe-socks. Be you there is nothing wrong with that. You are just a little bit of a stranger in your own house.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day

Well Company, it is Columbus Day, and I would love to talk more in depth with you about it but quite frankly, I don't know why it is Columbus Day or what exactly we are supposed to be celebrating.
Part of the reason that no one knows exactly what we are supposed to be celebrating is because well, nobody really celebrates anything. The Post Office and most banks are generally closed, as are US Government offices, but that's about it. So I suppose that those people are probably celebrating their extra long weekend day off by lying around on the couch watching General Hospital or maybe by going musky fishing in the snow or something, but I can't really imagine that anyone is at home today, cleaning and preparing for their giant Columbus Day celebration fling that they are throwing tonight. I would be greatly surprised if somewhere there was like a table with little meatballs, taco dip, chips, a veggie tray, and four different types of cheese and crackers with a cooler full of frosty adult beverages just waiting for a bunch of people to come over and kick this thing off right. I would be taken aback if I found out about something like that going on.
Maybe though, there would be a few cannoli and a spicy sausage or two, since I hear that some people of Italian-American ancestry use Columbus Day in order to celebrate their Italian-American-ness. I suppose that is fine, I mean, they don't really have a day like St. Patrick's Day to use to celebrate their heritage, so I guess they might as well use Columbus Day, even though Christopher was sailing under the Spanish flag. Whatever, that's fine. Celebrate away.
You who IS celebrating Columbus Day? Shoppers. For some reason stores, you know, massive retail chains that advertise on the TV and with inserts into your Sunday paper, they for some reason think that this is the perfect event to hold a sale, so they have big sales sort of like they do on President's Day, which is also kind of a crock but we will get into that another time. So shoppers who like to get bargains, and retailers who realize that shoppers are stupid and will buy things just because they are on sale, are foaming at the mouth because it is Columbus Day and they have a nice excuse to have a sale on stuff on a fake, made-up holiday.
Yeah, that's right. I called it fake. I said it was made up. I went there. The reason is that up until FDR got his fingernails into it, Columbus Day was never really celebrated. They only celebrated the centennial anniversaries of his landing in what is now the Bahamas I believe. Sure, in 1792, 300 years after he sailed the ocean blue, New York City and a few other major American cities had little things to honor the event, and in 1892 they really went all-out and all-boring with a bunch of preachers and government-types giving patriotic speeches all around, but that was really it. I am sure there was a big party or celebration in 1992, unless of course everyone was still bummed out about the tragic fall of Milli Vanilli only a few years before. I don't remember, I was still pretty young then - my voice hadn't even changed yet. Anyway, the reason I say it is fake is because it is one of those "second Monday" type of holidays, like Presidents Day or Thanksgiving or Easter or Labor Day or Memorial Day that they just didn't care enough to give an actual date and stick to it. Now, I am not saying that Easter or Thanksgiving is fake, in fact Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite holiday, but I mean come on. Al those other "second Monday" or "first Monday" holidays were totally made up to get us an extra day off. And Columbus Day even failed on that account.
Another thing here, is that maybe Columbus isn't the sort of character we should be celebrating. I mean, sure, he had a sort of unfortunate luck to land in an area where there were a lot of warlike, pissed-off Native American tribes, which sort of set the tone for European treatment of the Native Americans for many, many years to come, but honestly, Columbus was still kind of a dickhead. And he wasn't even looking for us and he didn't even find North America in his way anyhow, all he found were a bunch of islands in the Caribbean and Central and South America. So if he only visited Haiti, Nicaragua, and Suriname then why can't I mail a letter today? That doesn't make sense. Did he really do anything for us then? I am not sure.
All that aside, I hope that you have a wonderful Columbus Day if you are choosing to celebrate it with you and yours. If not, then I hope you are just having a wonderful second Monday in October, because it's that for all of us who, you know, use that calendar. I hope that today brings you whatever it is you want it to bring, be it a great new scarf at an unbeatable sale price, a warm sense of pride in your Italian heritage, or even just a fond memory of a long sea voyage on a creaky wooden ship that you shipwrecked on Christmas Day and turned into a land fort. You know, whatever floats your boat. Please excuse that awful pun. Happy Columbus Day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ship Without a Sail on Sunday

A lot of people who live outside the United States cannot understand this country's fascination with American football. Here, we call it football but everyone else calls it American football because they all call soccer "football" which really does make sense because, quite frankly, you are only allowed to use your feet unless your are the goalie. Anyway, they don't understand our fascination with what we call football by in large, and that's okay. I have tried to explain it to non-Americans many times, the best I could ever do was to explain that it is as popular as soccer in this country but that it's only played once a week on Sundays. And one game on Monday. And on Thursdays in the second half of the season. And the last Tuesday of the season for high school teams. And Wednesday-Saturday for college. Anyway...That was always the best that I could do when trying to explain the football was like for us. But they never believed us. They would note that Chelsea or West Ham aren't exactly playing every day, and a lot of times major European soccer clubs are off playing other major European soccer clubs overseas. They are also quick to point out that football never inspires the kind of passion and allegiance in us as football does in them. And always their heavy gun is that soccer is WAY more popular worldwide than American football is.
Okay, that's fine, but I am talking about America here, not the whole world, and I think that I have come up with a good example of just how football affects the American people. See, every regular season runs for seventeen weeks, but each team plays sixteen games, meaning that each team has a bye week somewhere during the season. On any given week, starting in week four, four teams have a bye week each week. This week is the bye week for my team, and quite frankly, I am not exactly sure what to do with myself.
See, for me and tens of millions of other Americans, Sundays in autumn are scheduled and formed around football. I will attempt to schedule events or chores away from whatever time my team is playing, which is usually in the afternoon. I will do whatever I have to do in the morning. I will save certain other things for nighttime, because the hours between say noon and three I am usually parked in front of the TV watching football. If I can't be there for whatever reason I assure you that I won't be far from the radio listening to what is going on. Everything in my life, and the life of all those other people, comes to a screeching halt for like three hours. I think that's pretty powerful.
This weekend, however, is a completely different animal. Since my team has a bye this week, I am not exactly sure how to go about myself. I sort of feel like a ship without a sail because the one thing that always drove my schedule is gone. I sort of feel like I am drifting on the sea through the Doldrums with no hope of making it through. I mean, it's not that I won't watch or listen to ANY football at all, but I am not exactly going to chain myself to the mass media like I otherwise would. And this afternoon I might actually find myself out in the sunshine doing something productive. How strange is that? I won't be able to figure out what the hell is going on.
So that's all I got. That is the best that I can demonstrate just how much of an event, how deeply ingrained in society, is football in America. I know that it won't convince the soccer skeptics, and that's okay. But that is how it goes. I am like a ship without a sail on this bye week Sunday. Hopefully I land on a productive shore.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lazy Saturday

I have been surfing around the Internet, and checking out some traffic on Twitter, and it seems like everyone I know is sort of in the same boat that I am in. It's cool outside. It's blustery. So it seems to me that most of us are having a lazy, lazy Saturday. I had a bunch of stuff to do, lots of little projects and errands and I have done exactly one of them. What I did instead was decide to take a ride and make lasagna.
Well, not at the same time, Company. That would be difficult at best, unless of course one had a motor home or something. And I don't have a motor home. So I got up, eventually, and got dressed, and actually put on shoes, and cleared the snow off of my window, and went out into the community.
What I managed to do was stumble across the most perfect, if not cool, fall day. Let me lay it out for you: sun breaking intermittently through the clouds, tons of fall color on all the trees, with just enough pine trees breaking through to make some green, twisty, hilly, relatively unused road with lots of fallen leaves just waiting for me to drive through. Oh yeah, it was exactly the scene that they spend thousands of dollars to create for car commercials, and I just sort of happened to find it. And the the road turned to tightly packed slightly wet gravel and it was all the better. It was nice. It was fun. Mostly it was peaceful and serene. Just me and my car and acre upon acre of beautiful. So nice.
It was actually so nice that I came back the same way that I went out, and it was just as perfect the second time around. As I cruised these lonely back roads, around and through the logging machinery and trucks with trailers (which seemed to be everywhere) and the last of the annoying tourists attempting to take in the peak of the fall colors, I slowly but surely became hungry. It was somewhere about the time that I got off the back road and onto the highway that I decided that it was a good day to run the oven all day long. So I made the adult, grown up decision to make lasagna.
Despite what one may think, lasagna is only hard to make if one wants it to be, and it is great in that one can make it ahead of time, put it in the refrigerator, and then just stick it in the oven when the dinner hour is sort of on the horizon. So that was my plan: make it, chill it, and go to town when we were ready to eat. That's nice, because during the in between time one can be an absolute lump. So that is what I was. I watched some college football, including a very encouraging but frustrating performance by my team, and was generally enjoying myself. As I type these words I am about halfway through putting together my lasagna, and I have done nothing productive or noteworthy with my day other than cleaning the toilet. So how do you feel about that?
I, personally, feel pretty good about it. There will be lots of lasagna left for lunch this week, the house will be nice and toasty warm on a cold, blustery day, and I will be happy as a lark, if not a little bored. But I have lots to do if I want to. I just don't know if I want to. That's the beauty of a Lazy Saturday.

Friday, October 09, 2009

News Yak: Supporting Evidence

Okay, so I am going to bring this article to you that has been zipping across the wires from the Associated Press the last week, and which I believe originated in the Dallas Morning News.

DALLAS (AP) -- Dallas police are looking for a man who they said repeatedly sneaks into backyards, dances around naked and then runs away. Police believe the man has been exposing himself in the same neighborhood since 2005. The most recent incident was on Sept. 30.
Police said he usually climbs a fence or goes through a gate and either dances naked or jumps in a swimming pool naked. Police said he also has danced naked on top of a backyard air conditioning unit.
Police said they're looking for a pudgy man who is about 6 feet tall and covers his face while dancing.
Dallas Police Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said police want to catch him before it escalates into something worse.

This is why I regurgitate the news. I can't even, in my wildest dreams, make this shit up. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

News Yak

News Yak. What the hell am I talking about? I can hear you asking all about it out there, Company. And it's okay. I am not sure that term has ever been thrown about before; what could it mean? Is it a Himalayan animal that wanders around Tibet carrying newspapers? Is it the Nepalese version of those terrible news vans you see all over the place in the West with the little satellite dish antennas on top of them? I mean, what is the deal with News Yak?
Well, Company, this is what I mean by news yak. It is not an animal. I have been accused, well, no. I shouldn't say that, it was not an accusation. It was an observation, because it is completely and totally true and I will not deny it. It was observed to me recently that what I do here at Big Dave and Company like 87%+ of the time is simple regurgitate the news. And you know what? That is absolutely correct. I do. And I have no problem with that.
First of all, let me tell you why I regurgitate the news, and then I will tell you why it is okay. First off, I do it for two major reasons. Reason number one, and the reason that I do most of the news yak (get it? yak? regurgitate? vomit? all synonyms.) is because, not to complain, but it's not always easy to come up with topics to post about every day. So sometimes, and by sometimes I mean quite often, I am long on need and short on inspiration, so usually what I do is turn to the many varied Internet news sources to find interesting and pertinent articles. And I won't lie, I find a lot of them being reported on by the British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC. They are like a wealth of ridiculousness and they cover all the globe.
The second reason that I yak up the news for you kids to read on a regular basis is because there is nothing that can come up with a story as strange or ridiculous as real life. It's true, think about Law and Order or any of its little offspring. On that show just about every case is based on something that really happened, because there is no way the writers could ever some up with something so sick or twisted as those things that they read in the daily newspaper. Real life always has intrigue. Real life always has twists and turns. Real life always has people who strap their beer into the back seat of the car while their kids roam free around the back. Nobody in their right mind would ever, EVER write that into any sort of fiction because it is too ridiculous for anyone to believe that someone would do. But it really happened.
The reason that I feel absolutely no remorse, no sort of bad feelings regarding how I seeming cop out day after day, week after week is that I would be willing to wager most if not all of Little Jeffy's next paycheck that you wouldn't know about those things if I didn't write about them. Right? Yeah, you have to admit that, Company. I am sure there are some things that you would know all about, but most of them I would guess are pretty obscure and you wouldn't have had the time, energy, or desire to root them out yourselves. Not that I am going to say that you couldn't, but let's be honest, WOULD you? Yeah, that's right. So I am not so much one who regurgitates the news as I am someone who disseminates it. So how do feel about that? I feel the best I've ever felt after yaking.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Social Networking Warning

If you take the time to scroll way down to the bottom of the page, and look at all the different labels that have been applied to all my different blog posts over the years, well, months, you can see that "stupid people" is one of my most frequent topics, and that is because there are a lot of stupid people out there and they do a lot of stupid things that I like to poke fun of. That being said, I don't want you, Company, to become part of that group of stupid people. So it is in that spirit that I bring you today's post, to warn you about one major, nasty feature of social networking sites.
Social networking sites, sure you know: Facebook, Twitter, mySpace, etc. They are certainly wildly popular, you can even find Big Dave and Company on some of these sites. In fact, you could sort of call Blogger a social networking device. Anyway, these sites are so wildly popular because they are great. They allow people to have their own little corner of the Internet where they can tell you all about themselves, and where they can be found easily by their friends and peers. The double edged sword with this feature, this idea, however, is that unless your site offers a feature that sets your little bit of the Internet and you choose to use that feature, everybody else can see your little part of the Internet world. This is a double edged sword because it's great for you, right? Long lost friends from high school can find you, someone with the same name as you can find you and you can get married like happened earlier this year in Florida, whatever. That is a neat feature, and that is what draws many, many people into these sites and services. There is however, the possibility that one might fall on the other blade of their own sword.
The second blade is that, while all these people you WANT to find you can find you, all those other people who you don't necessarily want to find you can find you just as easily too. Yikes. This includes the people who you are bitching about or slamming on your wall or whatever. This includes all the people you are Tweeting about. This includes people like the government and employers. Yeah, I bet you didn't think about that option. And it can lead to lots of havoc. First of all, when you are talking about how bad your ex-boyfriend was in bed, and how small his penis is, there is a pretty good chance that he is going to read that, and he is going to be pissed, which is fine if that's what you are going for, but if it's not you could be in trouble. And if you are talking about how you partied until 6 am on Thursday night and then called in for work on Friday and your employer sees it, you could be in trouble.
There is actually a long history of this, and there have been repeated warnings in the media - in magazines and the like - that corporate recruiters and human resource departments routinely check sites like mySpace and Facebook to see what kind of stuff their candidates for employment are putting up there. Accessing these sites, which they invariably will unless you are extremely careful, allows these companies to make psychological and character assessments of its applicants. So if they see that you are a little bit off-kilter, or that maybe your act certainly isn't together, or that you are 45 and you spend your spare time trolling college bars, they might think twice before calling you for that second interview.
Twitter is the latest social networking site that has claimed a victim from their job. A waiter (read out-of-work or aspiring actor) at a posh, trendy, star-laden restaurant in Beverly Hills was fired because he posted Tweets on Twitter regarding the behavior of one of the celebrity patrons. Strangely enough, he was not reprimanded or let go because he let this particular patron leave without paying (which he did) but because he posted tweets about how she did not tip on Twitter, which the restaurant management subsequently read. End of game man, you are done for.
And he was done for because he is an idiot. Here is the deal, Company. Whenever you post something on Twitter, whenever you write something on yours or someone else's wall or whatever you Facebook people do it is going to be read. It is going to be discovered. So here is a good rule of thumb to use when using a social networking site: Always assume that EVERYBODY can read what you are writing.
Now, one way to sort of mitigate these effects is to make your sites or feeds or whatever private, so they can only be viewed by invitation or acceptance. That's easy enough. And I understand that means that some people won't be able to find you through the years and the miles, but by in large these people can ask for permission to view your business and then it's on like Donkey Kong. This will keep the great majority of nasties and government or corporate types out and to themselves. But still, it is not foolproof. Act like anyone is going to be able to see what you post.
So that's it. That's a good rule of thumb to protect yourself when networking socially. It's easy. It's so easy. Just use your brain, think about what you are doing, and take like ten seconds to think about the potential ramifications and consequences before you make those first keystrokes. Oh, and one more thing. Remember that even once you have deleted something from your social networking site, remnants of that thing survive for months or even years out in the clutter of the Internet. So don't put up shit that you don't want hanging over you for a long time to come, okay? Great. So be smart and be safe. And you'd better go check your Facebook, I think one of the Unpaid Interns just posted something to your wall.