Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

     Well Company, it is the last day and last post of 2010, but we are going to leave the resolutions and looking forward for tomorrow.  So that is something to look forward to.  However, just because we aren't looking forward doesn't necessarily mean that we are going to be looking backward either.  Year in review?  Not here.  Everyone is going to be doing a year in review type thing so we most definitely are not.  At least not at this time.  But we will reflect just a little bit.  So let us begin.
     First of all, I seem to be out of The Doldrums that we talked about the other day, they seem to be gone.  Some sort of wind has moved me away and beyond that state, and I am thankful because that is no way to end what has been a pretty good year.  Lots of new and exciting things have happened in life and and here around the Worldwide Headquarters.
     A lot of the new developments have centered around the Big Dave and Company Podcast, which will look at 2010 as the first year that it was on the air from Jan 1-Dec 31, which isn't such a big deal but is still kind of exciting none the less.  Aside from cranking out 50 fresh and exciting podcasts during the year (that's right, only 50, we took a couple of weeks off in there) we were able to do a couple of contests, get established on Facebook and Twitter, and we were even able to open a store where you can buy high quality and super cool merchandise.
     We have had a good year here at the blog too, weaning another set of Unpaid Interns, churning out quality posts, giving away the Dirt Devil Presents the Third Annual Big Dave and Company Blog of the Year Award Brought to You By Shrek Forever After (In Theatres Now) to Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century.   And, as an added bonus we have avoided sticking our foot in our mouth like we did last year and getting in trouble by running our mouths.  Maybe we should have, because it really makes for a much, much more interesting time.
     And so on we go into 2011.  We will celebrate tonight just like you will, and tomorrow we will begin 2011 by making some resolutions and spending a very cold and very tiring morning at the dump.  What a way to start the season.  Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours, and may your 2011 turn out to be much better, joyful, and successful 2011 than was your 2010, no matter how good your 2010 was.  We will try to make it so as well.  Be safe and and have a wonderful New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Doldrums

      Have you ever heard of The Doldrums, Company?  They are the part of the ocean, sort of just a little bit north and south of the Equator, where the trade winds disappear.  Back in the days of yore before steam or internal combustion, ships would get caught in the Doldrums for days and days or weeks and weeks with no real usable winds and propulsion and just drift around feeling like shit and using up supplies.  Fast forward to the 21st Century, where certain people use the term The Doldrums to talk more about mood and attitude of a person, when they are a little down and don't seem to be moving forward.
      Well, I am in The Doldrums folks, and I am not sure why.  I am sort of just feeling like I am floating through my days with no real direction, which is just fucking stupid.  I have been having a splendid last couple of days.  I have been with people I love.  I have received many, many wonderful presents.  People have done wonderful things for me, but I am just sort of feeling this feeling down in there somewhere.  There being inside of me, of course.
      So what to do, what to do?  I am not exactly sure, Company.  I am just not sure.  I certainly do not want to send a pretty great 2010 out with a course of The Doldrums, but I am not quite sure how to make them go away and I am running out of time awfully quick.  There has to be some wind come through - there always is, even for all those sailors back in the day - but I am not sure what it will be.  Until then I guess that I will just continue to drift along waiting for the answer, and hope it comes by midnight tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Open Letter To People on Vacation

Dear Vacationers,

      Nobody like you.  Okay?  It is even a line in a British song "Everybody hates a tourist."  So you are just going to have to deal with it.  Oh, the people might seem like they like you, like they are happy to assist you or deal with you or set up your travel package with you, but they don't really like you at all.  You are just another face to them, a face that is pissing them off.  And do you want to know why?  I will tell you why.  Because you are on vacation and they live there.  That's it.  You are there mucking up their world that they have to try to live in every single day.  So when they go to the grocery store because it's the only grocery store around, and they have to wait in line for 45 minutes because you and all your vacationing friends and kids are buying beer, the anger starts to seethe.  When you cut them off because you aren't from around here and you don't know where you are going and you don't really care anyway because you are on vacation, they anger starts to grow.  When you begin to tell them that you know all about the place because you have been coming here for twenty years or because you just read a book all about it, then it sort of explodes.  So sure, they might be nice to you when there is a chance you will tip them (which you never do enough, by the way), but once you are out of earshot they will turn on your faster than Eric Cartman.
     Don't worry though, vacationer.  They will get yours.  Because someday they will go somewhere and be the object of similar venom.  And there is nothing you can do to prevent the anger, either, so don't even bother.  Don't try to pretend you are a local, because you will still stick out like a sore thumb and that will make the locals even angrier.  If you want to be a local so bad move there, but not for retirement.  Move there and be a productive member of society.  Don't be a total dipweed tourist, either, lest you want your wallet stolen.  The easiest way to not be 116% hated is to realize that you are a tourist, pay attention to what is going on around you, know where you are going and how to get there, and most importantly do as those around you do.  Realize that there is validity in the way locals do things and that they probably do things the way they do for a reason.  Never say "Where I am from..." because nobody gives a fuck.  If you want things to be like where you are from, fucking go back there, okay?  Nobody selling magazines in Aruba fucking cares about how they arrange the magazines at the newsstand by your office in Baltimore.  Nobody in Idaho cares that in California you can pay for your stay when you check out, because you are not in California. And you are not in Baltimore.  And you are a doofus.
     Also, if you happen to catch flack from a local, have a little restraint please.  Don't bring up how much money you are spending or have spent in their area over the course of your life, because they don't care.  Just accept that they have to deal with, oh, about eleventy billion people just like you every day and maybe, just maybe, their patience slipped a little.  Don't remind them how much more than you they make (because nobody ever vacations somewhere where people are making a lot more than they are...people from Jamaica don't vacation in Switzerland, am I right?) or any of that shit.  Just accept their apology and move on.  If you get an apology.  Because everyone hates a tourist, especially when they are not on vacation themselves.  They are just trying to make a living, and you are a fucking prick.  Deal with it.

Sincerely,

Big Dave

Monday, December 27, 2010

The A-Team Van

If you follow this link (Editor's Note: Not anymore.  The vehicle was removed from sale shortly after this post was written but before it actually posted. Sorry) you will be able to see the coolest thing that is available for sale anywhere in the world right now.
    That's right Company, the A-Team van is for sale.  Not the exact A-Team van - I am sure that thing was wrecked like 96 times - but an exact replica.  Made and certified by the guy who made the van for the show.  How freaking cool is that?
    It is and will always be a 1983 GMC Vandura with sliding door and V-8 engine.  It has a genuine paint scheme and brush guard, and authentic interior.  And here is the best part: It is filled with all sorts of A-Team sort of replica stuff.  Like basically it is filled with fake guns and grenades, and a flat-screen TV with DVD player and the A-Team on DVD.  How freaking awesome is that?
    What that means is that you can actually sit in your A-Team van and watch the A-Team van cruise around the California countryside on your TV.  Now I understand that the whole flat-screen thing maybe isn't true to the original A-Team van but I don't care, because it is a nice touch.  The whole package goes for $38,000 and would make the perfect gift for the man who grew up in the 80s and has everything.
    I almost would be afraid to drive the thing, which makes it stupid to buy because why buy the A-Team van when you aren't going to drive it around, right?  I would just want to park it in the front yard in the summer and spray it with some water so that it looks like I just washed it, even though there is no reason to wash it because I am not driving it anywhere, it is just hanging out in my garage.  But it always looks cool when you have a hot car (or van in this case) that is parked like all across your lawn because you just washed it.  I am envisioning it parked sort of on the green lawn under a willow tree in a small California town with some brown hills in the background, it looks so cool it is almost beyond belief.  And all this can be yours if you just buy this van.  Oh man it would be sweet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas at Home

     I know that the Christmas holiday is over, and that I am a staunch supporter of ending a holiday once the holiday is over, but Christmas seems to drag on forever anyway with people leaving their trees up until the middle of January and their lights until the middle of July, so I figured that one day off would not hurt.  That being said, I saw a lot of planes landing and taking off during my holiday travels (especially today) despite the fact that I was not flying myself, and that got me thinking a little bit.
     I am not a fan of the whole Christmas away from home thing.  And I am not talking about leaving the comfort of your very own Worldwide Headquarters to go to grandma's house, I am talking about the whole family hopping on a plane to Paris like we were in Home Alone or something.  I don't dig it.  TB at work did it this year, carting the whole family off to a central-ish location for merriment, and I suppose that is okay, but it is just not for me.  I am not a fan.
      See, I understand that the holidays are all about people and family, and spending the time with the people who count, but the sense of place is very important to me and my life.  So even if the people are right, if they aren't in the right place, it might as well be a spooky dream to me, because that is what the craziest of my dreams tend to be: the wrong people in the wrong place.
     So that is what Christmas would be to me if I had hopped onto one of those planes with their bright lights shining down on the world below.  I understand that many of those people were probably returning to New York from the family homestead in Kansas, and that is fine, but I am sure a lot of them decided to go to Aspen for the holiday.  Or the lake house, which I always sort of thought was just as bad.  That sense of home just sort of gets lost if you ask me.  If that is what you choose to do, that is just fine.  Most power to you.  You won't find me doing it anytime soon if I have any say in the matter though.  That is just the way that I am.  From everyone here at Big Dave and Company, we hope that you had a Merry Christmas and that you were able to make it to and fro with safety and speed.  And a Happy Pre-Emptive New Year to you as well, since that is right on the horizon.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!  May you have a safe and joyful holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Greetings

    Well Company, it's Christmas Eve, and the holiday that has been upon us since October is finally here.  If you and yours are celebrating the holiday today, I hope you have a happy and joyous time.  If you are traveling I hope that you enjoy a safe and speedy trip.  We also hope that you receive every present you may have wanted, and that the people who receive yours like them as much as you hoped they would.  If you have children in your life take extra care to watch them, because there is nothing like watching children open presents at Christmastime.  Merry Christmas to all this holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

     Holy fucking shit, it's almost Christmas.  It seems like we have been here before.  All that being said, I am sitting in pretty good shape for the person that I am, vis a vis the holiday shopping.  See, I am a boy, and I am not like my sister who has her Christmas shopping and probably wrapping done sometime before Black Friday even rolls around.  Nope.  I am one of those last minute shopping sort of people who is usually scratching to have everything together at the right time.  I am, however, doing pretty good this year, as I was saying before.
      I am sitting here looking at just wrapping left to do with a whole day off work in which to do it, and I am feeling pretty good about that.  I also have all the stuff that I need to do said wrapping.  So I am feeling even better.  I am not ashamed to admit that there have been years when I have started my Christmas shopping...oh, right about now...but this year I got all my shopping done early and my Christmas buying done in one night sometime last week.  So today there will be an all day wrapping festival in the Worldwide Headquarters, which will go especially quickly seeing as how there is no never-ending parade of made-up college football bowl games showing on my TV.  And then it will be off to wherever to make people happy, hopefully, starting tomorrow on Christmas Eve.  Good luck to you, and I hope that you are all finished as well.  The season is here, and the day is coming.  Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Flarp

     Flarp. It seem harmless enough, doesn't it?  It is just a pile of luridly colored goo in a little plastic jug.  It costs about $1.  So harmless, except that if you sort of pull it out of the jug, then push it back in with your fingers, it makes a sound.  A very specific sound.  A sound like flatulation.
     And it sells.  On an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Danny DeVito's character repeatedly shits the bed because poop is funny.  And so to, it seems, are farts.  Family Guy once featured a whole song about farts.  Legions of college fraternities have based their rituals on fart sounds.  So people all over the place buy jar after jar after jar of Flarp.  And I just can't help but wonder - Who the hell came up with that stuff?
     What chemist at DuPont was trying to make Teflon and came upon Flarp instead?  And what genius finally decided to go down to see Albert Einstein at the patent office and wrap that little gem for himself?  And which Hawaiian Island does he own?  I just can't imagine how it came about.  Maybe a janitor discovered it.  Perhaps the chemist at Nickelodeon was trying to whip up a batch of slime for one of their many slime-based shows and just sort of put the ingredients in wrong and it was the end of the day, so he just left it in the beaker to take care of tomorrow.  The janitor, being a dedicated person who was proud of his work, tried to clean out the thing and couldn't get it out, so he stuck his fingers in there and "VOILA!" Flarp was created.
    So I don't know.  But Flarp is Flarp I guess, and it is here to stay.  In all its raunchy, gooey, and strange smelling glory. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

    Company, for those of you who aren't into reading or paying attention there is a super cool thing happening tonight in the sky over your house if you live in the Americas, Northern or Western Europe, parts of Northeast Asia like Japan and Korea, and parts of Oceania: A total lunar eclipse.
     A lunar eclipse, unlike a solar eclipse, is when the moon passes through the shadow of Earth.  You don't need anything special to view it, just your peepers and a clear sky, and this year it is coming at a special time with special conditions.
     First of all, at least where I am located here in the Worldwide Headquarters, the moon will be full.  So that in itself makes the pending eclipse extra special.  It is called the "Cold Moon" whatever that means.  Second of all, the eclipse is happening on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the year in Australia, South Africa, and all the other places in the Southern Hemisphere.
     That last little bit of coincidence is what has everyone all up in arms.  Lunar eclipse on a solstice?  Are you sure that the world is going to wait until 2012 to end?  There are going to be a ton of people who are going to be out in the nighttime chanting and dancing around in circles as things like the umbra and penumbra are breached.  Wow, that sounds like something straight out of childbirth, doesn't it?  But I digress.  If you have the means and availability to get out of your house at say 6:00 GMT or so, do it.  Check your local listings for when the eclipse is coming to you.  But take a look, it's something new to see at least.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Things I Cannot Do

     I can't ice skate.  Or roller skate.  Or any kind of skate really.  Nor can I downhill ski or snowboard.  I can also not tie knots, other than the overhead kind or the kind that you tie by mistake and then have to spend like a half-hour getting out, that is why I flunked out of Boy Scouts.  Until recently I could not make good pancakes, although I made some pretty delicious if a little dense ones this morning.  And they were all round.   I also cannot play piano or guitar.  Anyway, this is just a small sampling of things that I cannot do that I wish I could.  When you are faced with things that you cannot do that you wish you could do there are really only two options: learn to do those things or just accept that you can't do them and that you are still an okay person.  Guess which path I chose.
     I suppose that in reality there are an infinite number of paths that lie somewhere along that spectrum between learning everything and accepting everything, and most of us choose an intermediate path.  Like for instance we would learn to skate and to make pancakes and play the piano but we would leave the rest of the things to the people who were good at them.  And I suppose that you are going to tell me that is the path that I chose to take because I have become proficient at making pancakes - because that's the kind of dick that you are, Company - and I guess that you would be right.  But I didn't choose to become good at pancakes, it just sort of happened as I made more and more pancakes.  Regardless of how you want to look at the whole thing, I am still much, much closer to the who acceptance thing than anything.
     I am okay even though I can't skate.  You are okay even though you kill every plant you touch.  And that other guy is okay even though he can't put together 3-D puzzles.  That is what makes the world so great, we are all good at some things and we are all bad at other things.  No big deal.  I will be happy to cook you a delicious lasagna if you are willing to help me tie knots when I need to.  It is the basis of a barter economy, and look at how well that worked for all of those years.  So keep on keeping on, and so will I, and we are all going to be okay.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

iTunes Runaround

     I used to love iTunes, especially the iTunes store.  I always thought it was a great program for managing your music - you could sort it by anything and see it in all sorts of neat ways.  I especially liked it because the Big Dave and Company Memorial Laptop of Justice is a Mac, and it just works so splendidly with it.  The problem, though, is a problem that I run into time and time again: I liked the version of iTunes I had when I first had it.  But they, in this case the folks at Apple, kept tweaking it and adding features and - here's the problem - nagging and forcing me to update to the newest, latest, and best version.  Soon the iTunes that I was used to was just a shell of its former self, maybe newer and better and faster but not the one I liked, and certainly not the one that I was familiar and comfortable with.
     So here I am today, looking for and finding the song that I am looking for on iTunes, and I am attempting to buy it.  Yeah, that is not working so well.  I used to use a shopping cart so I could put all my songs in there and buy them at once instead of buying them one at a time.  Well, iTunes promptly tells me that I am no longer able to have a shopping cart, that they do not offer that feature any longer.  They now allow only one-touch buying and instead have something called a "Wish List" which is very much like Amazon, probably because apparently Apple is in league with the folk at Amazon.  Except that the Wish List has a buy all button so it is just like a Shopping Cart anyway.  So why couldn't they just let me have my Shopping Cart?
     Okay, fine, I have learned all about the Wish List but I have still failed to download the song that I want.  Okay.  I think I have this figured out.  So I go back to get the song that I want and suddenly it is 30¢ more.  That's fucked up.  Turns out that this song is on like six different albums, and on some of them it is worth $1.29 and on others it is only 99¢ worth of music.  That's fucked up too.  So of course I buy it off one of the 99¢ albums because, duh, it's cheaper.  Not that hard to figure out, Apple.
      So I am ready now to click the little semi-mandatory one-click buy button.  So I do.  Simple enough, right?  But no.  I still can't buy anything.  Turns out that my credit card billing information that they have in their files is out of date.  That card is expired.  So I go though the motions of changing the whole thing.  Done.  Update.  New card.  New date.  New address for the Worldwide Headquarters.  Now I can buy.  Long story short - I could have driven to the used record store and flipped through the stacks faster than this.  It took my two days to get a new song from the formerly great iTunes.  But I got it, and it makes me happy.  if now I could just get the album art straightened out... 

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Day You Were Born

     I was sitting down in my office and going through the 2011 calendar, getting ready to put everyone's birthday on it.  I happened to notice that there were a ton and a half birthdays in December, and hardly any anywhere else.  Then I started looking through all my stuff and I noticed that most of my friends seemed to have birthdays in November and December.  So what's up with that?
     Humping, that is what's with that.  And humping on two specific days.  Here are the facts for you, Company, laid out and plain - if you were born in late November your dad probably knocked up your mom on Valentine's Day, and if you were born in the middle to late December, it probably happened on St. Patrick's Day.
     That's the truth.  Fancy dinner and flowers and green beer seem to be both work equally well, and since December seems more popular than late November, it seems that green beer works much better than the whole Hallmark thing.  This is rooted in truth, and I have science to prove it.  The normal human gestation period is considered 37 to 42 weeks by the World Health Organization (WHO), but for all intensive purposes it is considered 40 weeks, which is 280 days.  So, I did the math.  280 days from February 14th is November 21 on the average (non-leap) year; 280 days from March 17 is December 22.  So there you go.  That pretty much sums it up.  Valentine's Day humpage leads to late November or very early December children, and St. Patrick's Day humpage leads to December babies.  It's science.
      So how do you feel about that?  It really wasn't that hard to figure out.  If you can plan out when you want to have a child so as to conceive at a more convenient time, you can always extrapolate backwards and find out what was going on.  And that is that.  Lots of couple stumbled home from the bar in their festive green and went at it, and a lot of us popped out at Christmas time as a result, which is not all so bad because back in the day you got to go home in a little Christmas stocking and wake everyone up super early on Christmas morning.  Happy birthday to all you St Patrick's Day conceptions.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old Parked Cars

     Don't ask me why, but I was looking at pictures of Renault Encore's (I said not to ask my why!) when I came upon this blog post: http://www.oldparkedcars.com/2010/12/1982-delorean-dmc-12-quiznos-delivery.html  Not, not only did I come across these hilarious pictures of a DMC-12 (you might know it as a Delorean) being used as a Quizno's delivery vehicle somewhere in Oregon, which I will comment on in a moment, but I came face to face with what is now one of my favorite new blogs: Old Parked Cars.
     The premise of this blog is simple.  The creator and a couple of his friends, as they wander about their lives in the Pacific Northwest, take pictures of rare or old cars parked on the street, in parking lots, in driveways, etc.  I am not sure if they are seeking permission from the owners or what - because they never obscure the license plates - but there are some gems in there.  The thing about it is this: They aren't just some schmoes taking photos, and these aren't just car photos.  They are done with a very highly developed sense of scene and light and all that good stuff.  They are pictures of cars taken artfully.  So if you are into cars then they are good for you, and if you are into artful photographs then they are for you, and if you are into artful photographs of cars you will never leave the site.
     But back to the lecture at hand: why the hell would you use a Delorean as your Quizno's delivery car?  What the fuck is with that.  Do you think that you can just kick in the flux capacitor and get the sandwiches there faster?  There aren't that many floating around out there these days; they are kind of a collector item.  Plus, they get super shitty gas mileage.  I could see if maybe you were going to use it as a marketing tool or something, but all in all it is pretty stupid I think, unless of course that is the only car that you own.  I just don't think that some pizza-faced teenager in a Delorean bringing me my chicken, bacon, and whatever sandwich is really something that I want to see or experience.
     But in all seriousness, I would advise you to check out http://www.oldparkedcars.com/ if you want to see some pictures and kill some time.  I know I will be.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Show Me the Right Situation

     You know, Company, that I try not to go into sports here with you because I know that you don't really like it all that much, but I have also never shied away from using sports to illustrate important points of life, since I am always having to give you life advice like the wise guru that you look to me to be.  So I am going to make a case for one of the most despised people in sports and someone else showing an ideal that is important in life.
    Cliff Lee, the most prized pitcher available in the baseball off-season signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, passing up larger offers from The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, in part because he had a great affinity for Philadelphia the last time he played there.  There may have been other reasons too, such as it being a place where he could win, a place where more pieces were in shape, oh, and the fact that there aren't usually 118 degree field temperatures in Philadelphia as well.  So he eschewed the money for the right fit, which is something that can't be underestimated.
     I hate to say it too, but the aforementioned "one of the most hated people in sports" Lebron James did something like the same thing.  He passed on places that would have paid him more to go play in Miami, which despite what the rest of us have said he felt was the right place for him.  Or at least his handlers thought was the right place for him.  Sorry Lebron, I had to throw a shot across your bow.  But seriously, he went where he thought was right, even though he could have been a lot of other things - included paid more - in a lot of other places.  So what have we learned from Cliff and Lebron?  Well, we have learned that there are a lot of things that are more important than the money.  There has to be the fit.
     For instance, if you are a small town sort of person, then maybe making a smaller salary in a small town will be better for you than making a boatload in Manhattan.  Sure, 100 G's a year is nice, but maybe a walk-up on the Lower East Side and a pocket full of subway tokens just isn't for you and you want to touch the third rail every day.  So why even bother then if you hate every day of your life?  Make $30,000 in a small town and be happy in your little bungalow.  Life is all about choice, and it is important to remember that taking the money isn't always the best choice.  That is why people throw away all their belongings to move to Bhutan.  It is just right for them.  That is why people turn down promotions.  It is just not right for them.  It is all a matter of perspective.  For some people the money might be the right thing.  Who knows.  The trick is to do that Lebron and more probably Cliff did: do what you think is right for yourself.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Not-Quite Bionic Man

     Sometimes, Company, when I am in the car, I like to hear like other voices talking to me.  Not so much the voices that are in my head, but other people...human voices.  I had one of those times today, and since I like sports, I tuned my radio to sports radio on the AM dial.  That is when I heard something freaking amazing.  They were talking about some sort of football player who had hurt himself and was expected to be out for the rest of the regular season after getting arthroscopic knee surgery.  That is not terribly impressive until you realize that there are only like three weeks left in the regular season.
     Holy fucking shit!  Do you realize how amazing that is?  I mean, I understand that professional athletes are highly conditioned and in the best shape, and that they have medical coverage that is way beyond what even the Big Dave and Company HMO could ever dream of.  And that is all well and good, but that is still impressive.  They can take a person with an injury that in caveman times a.) probably wouldn't have happened and b.) probably would have killed the person and make two little holes, insert some tubes with cameras and little grabbers, and sew stuff up and make it good again.  Then, in three weeks they could be back to playing PROFESSIONAL SPORTS like they were before.  That is incredible.
     Have you ever really thought of that?  By the time they started to get some sort of medicine, by the start of the 20th Century or so, they would have put some braces on the guy and he would have been lucky to be walking again, but here we are and he is going to be not only walking but running and bearing a ton of weight and getting pushed on by fat sweaty guys?  That is fucking nuts beyond nuts.  One hundred years ago, fifty years ago, nobody would have been allowed to even think about something like that happening because it would have been so far fetched.  But these days it happens routinely, to the point where it almost didn't register in my mind when I hear it come out of my speakers.  How amazing.  The miracles of modern medicine, hey?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time to Leave the House

     There is a guy who lives across the street from the Worldwide Headquarters who doesn't leave his apartment.  Well, I am not sure it is his apartment because another guy has lived there and the guy in questions just sort of moved in, but we have watched the place like all day and night for a long time now and he just doesn't leave or go anywhere.  Periodically, his mom comes around in her little Hyundai and brings a bad of groceries or clean laundry or a 24-pack of Keystone Light, but he doesn't ever seem to leave the place.  Now that is fucked up.
      There really isn't a reason for it, other then because he can get away with it, as far as I can see.  He is in his 20s and seems perfectly capable of holding down a job, but he seems to have no interest because his mom brings him everything.  I just don't understand it.  I thought for a while that maybe he was a seasonal worker type - there are a lot of those people around here - but he has pretty much had the same sort of agenda in both summer and winter.  It's nuts.  Does he realize how much he is missing?  Does he know that there are other people and things out there?  I don't think he has some sort of mental disease that keeps him in or anything, I think he just sucks.  I wish he'd leave, if even just for some fresh air.  All that dusty, guy-stink air can't be good for his lungs when breathed in continuously for six months or so.  Go outside guy.  See and be seen. It is good for you.  And maybe your mom won't have to bring you Keystone Light every other day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cactus Christmas is Not For Me

     I am sorry, but I saw a guy on TV selling Christmas trees down in Florida with clear, sunny skies and palm trees in the background and he was talking about chopping trees in 80 degree weather and how much it sucked and I was like, fuck that shit.  You can keep your warm Christmas.
     You know that Corona ad where the person is whistling "O Tanenbaum" and then he plugs in the Christmas lights on the palm tree.  Well you can have that too.  I understand that it is all a function of where you live and where you were brought up and all that jazz, but to me it just doesn't seem like Christmas is right without some snow on the ground and a little cold in the air.  If you were born and raised in Florida, then maybe decorating your Christmas tree in 82 degree weather and swimming more than a half hour after Christmas dinner is the norm, and that is what you like.  And that is okay.  I am just saying that it is not for me.  Just like if you are from Arizona and you brave the spines to put your lights on and presents under a cactus, that is cool.  It just doesn't seem right to me.
     Not that it is morally wrong or anything, it just doesn't fit my ideas of Christmas.  Part of that is probably because of what the popular media always sort of portray as Christmas, but I really do believe that it is more of a function of where you have grown up and your experience.  I always felt that coziness should be a big part of Christmas, and there is something about having the window open and the air conditioning on that just destroys the coziness. But put some snowflakes in the air, darkness that comes at around 4 pm, and a 4 degree wind chill, and your grandparents' living room packed with relatives sounds pretty cozy now doesn't it?
     So that is that.  I am not saying that tropical or semi-tropical or generally warm Southern Hemisphere Christmas is wrong, it just doesn't feel like Christmas to me.  I know that I have been going on recently about how the holidays are about celebrating and family and all that good stuff, which is true.  But a little atmosphere can't hurt, now can it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let It Snow

      So there is a gigantic winter storm coming towards the Worldwide Headquarters, and they are forecasting somewhere between 2 and 18 inches of snow to fall down upon us, which is an awful large gap I think.  I mean, I could make vague predictions like that too, but then I would be a psychic and I could charge $1.95 per minute to have people hear me pump them out over the phone.  But I digress.  People, no matter were they live, tend to get a little scatterbrained and hectic, and a little wild, when a major event is on its way.  As such the supermarkets were packed today, everyone is cancelling plans, and the town is just generally running amok.  Those who are keeping their cool on the outside are mostly complaining and getting all worked up about the agony of the whole thing.
     Well let me in on a little secret there, Company.  I am very quietly and totally discretely leaping with joy.  I LOVE the big weather event, and I love it even more when it is a big severe weather event.  But most people don't so I conceal my joy, at least until I announce it to the world on the Internet.  But I do love it, and as odd as it sounds I am looking forward to it.  One of my strangest dreams is that someday I get stuck on the Interstate in the middle of a blizzard for a couple of days until men in blaze orange can dig me out with a giant snowblower on some sort of Caterpillar.  Then, someday the Weather Channel can talk all about it, and they can do a sweeping picture from above from a helicopter and all you can see is white and snow blowing around and just the tops of cars sticking out from above and I can be like "I was there!  That was my car!  See it right there!?"  That is one of my messed up dreams.  So I am looking forward to the opportunity for that to happen, except that I am not going to be going anywhere on the freeway.  So that won't be happening.
     But there will be plenty of looking out the window and talking about how bad things look out there.  And there will be plenty of shoveling in the screaming cold wind afterward, and there will be the sweet silence and the sweet sound of plows scraping the asphalt clean.  I love it.  I might even go out and drive around for a bit just to get the misery of the whole thing.  There is something about the misery that I just seem to like, or at least of the misery of the wintertime.  So it's coming.  And I will be happy.  And it will be cool.  Cold actually, but that is for another time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Happy Holidays

    Well Company, it is that time of the year when we begin to give each other holiday greetings, and since most of the major worldwide religions and groups have some sort of holiday that falls around the change in the calendar year, there is always someone who is ready and willing to get offended by whatever holiday greeting one happens to give, hence the "Happy Holidays" that is becoming the official norm for just about every corporation or public entity.  Because then no one can be offended.
     Well guess what?  I am offended.  I am offended that nobody seems to have their head on straight, that too many people take too many things way too seriously, and that way too many people seem to have forgotten that the world does not revolve around them.  In fact, some of these loser assholes have postulated in academic papers that the world, solar system, and universe all revolve around them at the center, but they have been unable to get acceptable peer reviews and hence be published.  That is because it is bullshit, and the world doesn't revolve around them.  The world revolves around its own axis as well as the sun, as well as whatever is at the center of the Milky Way.  So take that little piece of science and cram it down your cramhole.  You can also cram your "Happy Holidays" bullshit down there as well because this year, I am all about the Merry Christmas.
     That is because I choose to celebrate Christmas, and I don't give a shit if you don't happen to.  If you wish to celebrate Hanukkah or Chanukah or Chanuka or however they are spelling it these days, then you can wish me a happy that.  Because you, as the particular devotee, are able and free to wish anyone whatever you want.  I am not going to wish you a joyous Ramadan because I don't care about Ramada, I don't celebrate Ramadan, and I don't know anything about Ramadan.  But I am also not going to get offended if you celebrate Ramadan and give me Ramadan tidings.  I don't expect you to tailor your holiday greetings to me because I don't expect you to know what holiday each person walking by or coming to your register or that is on the other side of the gas pump.  Plus you don't celebrate whatever they do, one would guess. 
    But is because I have come to understand that the world does not revolve around me and my choices, and I am not a jerkbag asshole who has no real sense of reality and things that are appropriate.  So I know what the hell is going on.  It is all about expectation, and I expect that you aren't going to get all pissed off if I wish you a Merry Christmas.
     So there it is.  There is no reason whatsoever for you to get mad when someone wishes you a holiday-specific greeting, okay?  If you do you are a self-absorbed, condescending asshole who should be drug out into the street and beaten repeatedly.  Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are really, truly, insulted because I wished you a Merry Christmas.  I am going to suspect that the answer is no.  And if the answer is yes then I think that I am going to have to burn your house down while you sleep, right after I put a burning tire in front of each exit and board up the windows, because you are not the type of person who should be out and about in society.  You are what is wrong with this world.  As such, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and you may feel to wish me a happy whatever you want.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Use the Telephone

   So, in case you didn't know it Company, thinking of topics to write blog posts about for you on a daily basis is not easy.  It takes creativity, patience, and a willingness to regurgitate news regularly, which is why I skip days sometimes.  That and because I am a lazy, lazy person.  That being said, when I actually am getting around to posting something, I usually scan the "Strange News" section of my friendly local newspaper's online edition to see what kind of tomfoolery is occurring all around the world.
     I have noticed, while scanning these sections, that there is one kind of news story that seems to be popping up more and more and more regularly around the country, so I am going to attempt to address the problem here today.  See, drug dealers in America must be fucking idiots, not because they are dealing drugs, but because they are doing it in a retarded sort of way.
     I understand that to sell drugs you have to make all sorts of contacts, and that you are probably young and like to text, and since you can't advertise like over the air or on billboards or other traditional media type ways, sometimes you have to reach out to your contacts.  But I would advise all you drug dealing types out there not to use text messages as a means to sell drugs.
     See, lately, there have been a lot of little news articles or snippets that have been appearing about people sending text messages to law enforcement and district attorney types offering to sell drugs, and that never ends well.  One recent example saw a text message go to a ten year old kids phone (really, a 10-year-old with a cell phone?  Is that really necessary?) whose grandfather just happened to be a State Trooper.  Another recent example saw a text message go to an assistant district attorney on her work cell.  Oops.  And so it goes.  This is a bad thing to happen to you if you are a drug dealer because those types - the police, the firefighters, the prosecutors, pretty much anyone that they talk about during the opening theme to Law & Order - they are going to initiate some sort of sting operation and arrest your ass.
     The problem, retarded drug dealers of America and Europe and really anywhere else, is that if you aren't paying attention to the number that you are texting, you have no way to know who is at the receiving end.  Like if my number is 555-1231 and I am a big pothead, but the police chief has a cell phone with the number 555-1234, then if you have fat fingers or are just a moron you could easily misdial the police chief and text him asking if he wants to buy some marijuana.  Bold strategy, because the "1" key and the "4" key are right next to one another on the phone keypad.  They are on the calculator keypad as well, but that really isn't pertinent to our discussion here today so you don't have remember that part.
     If, however, you called my number and heard the voice on the other end say "Miami-Dade Police" or maybe you heard a woman's voice or a child's voice instead of the voice you thought you were going to hear, then you would know, oh I don't know, not to offer the person on the other end illegal drugs.  That seems like a simple way to not get caught.  Even if you misdial my number and the female dispatcher at the sheriff's office picks up, you can still ask for me and when she says that there is no one there by that name you can say thank you and hang up scott free.  There is no law against accidentally dialing the wrong number.  There is no law against accidentally texting the wrong number.  But there is a law against offering to sell drugs, so once you say that or your text says that your ass is grass.  With a text to the wrong number, there is no turning back.  With a phone call you have options, now don't you.
     It seems just so simple to me, but then again I don't sell drugs so what do I know.  Maybe via text message is the only appropriate way to do it these days.  But maybe, just maybe, going a little old school is a good way to go about it.  I am not saying that you need to start carrying a beeper like this is 1991 or something, but maybe just a nice, old-fashioned telephone call will do the trick.  It will keep you from offering drugs to the governor on accident unless you are a total moron.  And in that case I guess I just can't help you at all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pearl Harbor Anniversary

     So, Company, today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which is in Hawai'i, which wasn't even a state yet when it happened.  If you are of a younger generation and you are failing to grasp the significance of this event, think September 11th.  That was the type of thing this was.  And so it stands that today, an ever smaller group of survivors will walk out onto the monument that sits atop the sunken hulk of the USS Arizona battleship, one of over a dozen US Navy and civilian ships that were destroyed during the attack in order to honor their fallen brethren - almost 2500 killed and 1300 wounded between the military and civilians - with a ceremony that has been going on for 69 years.  We are not going to get into all the specifics and details here beyond what we have already laid down, but let us just say that flags are flying at half staff today for a very good reason.  So take a moment to remember all the fallen heroes from so long ago, and to remember as well the heroes who haven't fallen yet, or who survived that day but aren't with us anymore.  Thank you to them all.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A New Holiday Outlook

    Christmas is still 19 days away, but it's already stressing me out and pissing me off.  I was thinking about all of the reasons that is was stressing me out and pissing me off and I had a moment of true and perfect clarity.  That's right, I had an epiphany.  Say it with me, Company: epiphany.  And it is not that the holiday is all about giving either.  I hate it when people think that is the what the whole thing is about, so don't expect that, okay?
     I was thinking about all the reasons that I was feeling stressed out this holiday season: what if my loved ones don't like the gifts I got them, what if the things they want aren't available, I couldn't find my Christmas lights to put up outside the Worldwide Headquarters (by the way, I know you are thinking that I should make the Unpaid Interns do that, but I actually like hanging Christmas lights, so I do it myself.  Same thing with mowing the lawn) and what will people think, the cat is eating the Christmas tree, what if I don't get to see everyone that I want to see, why does it have to start in mid-October, etc, etc.  I was just starting to think about how I disliked Christmas because it was so stressful and expensive and retarded, and the brain aneurysm was just beginning to form, when I had a sudden thought: all of my holiday stresses are related to someone else.  What will others think?  Will others be disappointed?  Why do others have to start celebrating so early?  That is when I realized that I don't have to care.
     Christmas is all about celebration, okay?  That is what it is about.  Celebrating the birth of Christ, or celebrating family, or celebrating whatever you want, really.  If you choose to celebrate by singing carols, having ham dinner, going to church and giving gifts, then that is fine.  If you choose to celebrate by blowing $3000 on courtside Lakers tickets and watching basketball, then that is fine too.  If you choose to trim your hedges into the shape of a rocket ship and put a big spotlight pointing up into the sky on your roof well then damn it, that is fine too.  And if I choose to celebrate by giving out small gifts and not putting up Christmas lights and maybe not getting home until Christmas morning, well then that is fine too.  And if the other people in the world, including my loved ones, don't want to recognize that the way I celebrate the season is just as valid as the way they choose to just because it doesn't conform to their standards, well then that is their problem, not mine.  Just because they choose to celebrate by giving expensive electronics and I like to make origami swans in my own home, doesn't mean that either of us is right.  I am not judging them because of their origami-free holiday, am I?
     So that is what I have decided: I am not going to be stressed out anymore.  I can actually feel the weight lifting off my shoulders as I type the words and actually start to buy into them.  I can feel the proverbial elephant stepping off of my very real chest.  I feel better about the whole thing, to the point where I might actually pull off everything that I think is expected of me.  But you know what?  If not, that is fine too.  No matter what it is going to be a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Land for Sale

     It is Sunday morning and I am confused.  Granted, I have been up for over an hour and am still trying to shake the cobwebs from my head, and I am only about three sips into my first cup of coffee, but I am still confused.  Because there is some property up for sale in Montana and the realtor listing it doesn't seem to want to talk about it.
     Now that's strange.  I work with a lot of realtors, and I know a fair amount about realtors, and I have seen a lot of them in life and I can tell you some things about them.  First of all, they are salesmen.  Or saleswomen.  Don't be confused by their fancy blazers and professional associations, they are salespeople who sell property.  And they live off the commission that they receive from selling those properties.  So when the realtor has a national news syndicate on the phone asking about his listing, one would expect.  Every realtor that I know would be touting the wonderful things about his listing so that people from Seattle to Sarasota would be willing to plunk down $69,500 for 1.4 acres of prime, secluded Montana mountain glory.  That struck me as odd, even in my morning haze.  Especially since he touted all the super special things about it in his online advertisement.
     Maybe it was the barbed wire that surrounded the 1.4 acre property near Lincoln, strung around the property atop a chain link fence.  Maybe it was the cryptic "FBI" branded into a tree.  Or the lack of running water or electricity on the property.  Or the fact that the cabin that belonged to the property is now housed on display in the Newseum in Washington, D.C, thousands of miles away.  Or maybe he was just sick and tired of fielding questions about his high-profile listing.  See this was Ted Kaczynski's property.  Yes, this was the home of the Unibomber.
     And it can all be yours.  And for a shockingly low price.  Recently it was on sale for over twice as much - $154,000 - but now it can be yours for a price that is still pretty high for a piece of land so remote and small.  But whatever.  Someone will pay the price of the property just to have a piece of history.  Unless the next Unibomber will want it because it seemed to work so well for the first one.  Who knows.  But either way, it can all be yours for one low price, from a realtor who won't talk, on a confusing Sunday morning.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Morning At the Dump

    For those of you who don't know about the intricacies of my life, I should tell you that I moonlight on certain weekend days at a local small town transfer site.  If you live in the city I will be happy to explain: in many areas if you live in the country they don't come down your road and pick up your garbage and recycling, you have to take it to a centralized location that is only open during certain hours and then they haul it off from there.  In some instances you have to pay to take it in, but then there is no garbage fee on your taxes.  The place you take it to used to be called the town dump, but now they are officially called transfer sites, even though around here they are almost always at the site of the former town dump.  Anyway, I work at one in one of the friendly local communities around here that is located smack dab on top of the former town dump, and I collect money from people for their trash for three hours on certain Saturday mornings.
     There isn't a lot to the transfer site.  There is a series of like a dozen dumpsters into which people can put their trash and different brands of recycling, and they are all lined up along one side of a big gravel turnaround area.  At the end of the turnaround is a pole barn in which to store various things, and inside the pole barn there is a little office with a desk and a heater and for some strange reason a medicine cabinet.  Anyway, being on the site of the town sump, the site is a little elevated at the end of a long, bumpy road, and it is totally surrounded by trees.  You can't see any other buildings or anything.  There is electricity so there are no trash compaction machines or anything, just cars making their way through and a radio that always seems to be spewing out polka music or NPR.
     So there I was this morning, and as it turned out it was my idea of a perfect winter day.  See, a lot of people get off on that sort of winter day when there is a fresh blanket of snow and it is bright sunny blue outside and about 31.9 degrees.  Not me.  That is certainly a beautiful winter day in my eyes but when I think of winter I think of a day like today turned out to be.  It was not terribly cold, maybe in the mid-twenties, with cloudy gray skies.  Then, beautiful, almost magical, light, fluffy, certainly benign snowflakes began to fall.  Not enough to accumulate on the ground, and not enough to cause any trouble, just enough to make the scene into an absolutely perfect winter day.  Standing outside, all alone except Roy and Mary who handle the recycling and the polka music, bundled up against the cold in my work clothes, watching the snow fall through the gray air and brown, leafless trees, it was exactly where I wanted to be.  In his book The Geography of Bliss writer Eric Weiner talks a lot about feeling at relaxed and contented and at peace as he goes around searching for happiness.  And he finds that feeling in a multitude of places.  That was the feeling I had standing in the middle of the lot in the middle of the former dump in the middle of the woods in the middle of the snow flurries in the middle of winter.  Wow, I was in the middle of a lot of things.  That was, until someone showed up with some gross garbage and a trunk full of recycling.
      That, time and time again, disturbed my perfect winter morning.  But that is okay, because those perfect, peaceful moments aren't really designed to last for a long length of time.  The are fleeting be design, otherwise they would be commonplace and a lot less perfect.  But that is okay, as long as you have some from time to time.  And I did today, so all is well.  And all was well this morning at the dump.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Microsoft Ignores the Off Button

    Everybody out there these days seems to have an iSomething, a Droid, or a Crackberry or whatever - some sort of phone or device that lets them video, text, talk, search the web, wipe their ass, overthrow a Central American government, end world hunger, and get their hair done right from the comfort of their own phone.  Therefore, they can be constantly entertained and babysat at all times of the day, and they don't really have to pay attention or hear their own thoughts, because someone else will do those things and there will be an app for that.  Well, the minions up at Microsoft have decided that they want a piece of that - because God knows they don't make enough money as it is - and so they have developed some sort of Microsoft Windows Phone or something.  This has led me to becoming very, very angry with Microsoft.
     Well, let me qualify that.  I am more angry with whomever Microsoft hired to make their advertisements for this new phone, although I sort of suspect that maybe they just have a computer program to take care of all of that shit.  See, their pitch, to the busy VIP in all of us, is that their phone will allow you to get all your shit done and spend less time on your phone.  They then show lots of people on their phones in situations when they could or should be off it, like when they are about to get laid by a smoking hot chick in lengerie, or when they are supposed to be playing ball with their son.  In that instance, the son throws the ball at the dad and clocks him in the head at full bore, which is sweet and makes me laugh so hard that I usually start to cough and choke so much that the projector in my mind fires up and the images of my life start going by.
    The reason these advertisements get me mad is because maybe, just maybe, instead of getting off the phone quickly in those instances, YOU SHOULDN'T BE ON YOUR FUCKING PHONE IN THE FIRST PLACE!  God damn it, that was fucking simple.  Here is the deal, Company:
YOU
DON'T
NEED
TO
BE
ON
YOUR
PHONE
EVERY
MINUTE
OF
THE
GOD
DAMNED
DAY.
There.  I said it, and someone needed to break it to you, and Microsoft, and Apple, and Google, and whoever else makes a phone with apps and functions other than talking and maybe texting.  And you needed to be told in a very loud voice with a fair amount of physical slapping involved.  Listen, cell phones are great - I have one myself - but there has to be a limit.  And if you can't make it through your day without spending at least a little time not being on it fucking around with the various gadgets, then you have bigger problems and should probably be lying on an uncomfortable couch talking to a nice doctor about your mother or something.
    I catch a lot of flak from people because I turn off my cellular telephone while I am work.  First of all, I have a perfectly good land line right next to me that rings all day long, and the number is in the phone book so if you call you can ask for me and I will say "This is he" because I am the one who answers when you call me at that number.  Second, I don't get reception and all it does it draw down my battery until it is gone and that is just counter productive.  Thirdly, and most importantly, the workplace is really no place to be having your cell phone unless your job involved you being on your cell phone.  You are supposed to be at least half playing attention, not dicking around with fucking ESPN Fantasy Football App while your boss is giving a presentation or your secretary is trying to tell you that the fire alarm is going off.
     There is a reason that your phone has that big red button on it that when you hold it down turns the phone off.  It is because there are times when you just don't need to be on your phone, okay?  And if you think that the new Microsoft phone is super duper because they are promising you that you will have more time to spend doing other things because it will get you off your phone quicker, you are a double moron.  You are a moron because even if you do have more time you are just going to spend it doing other things on your phone.  And you are a double moron because all you have to do is hold down the power button, or even just set the fucking thing to silent, and you will be free of your wireless communication device.  You are just doing Facebook and Twitter anyway because nobody really wants to talk to you, which is why your phone isn't being used as a phone anymore.
    So fuck off Microsoft, I don't want a phone that is going to give me the blue screen of death once a week anyway.  And shame on you for trying to tell people that you will get them off the phone more quickly when you could just turn it off.  Maybe I will raise some money and put out some ads to make people turn off their fucking phones.  I bet that the Foundation for a Better Life would pony up for that.  A better life it would surely make.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

For All the Wrong Reasons

     Did you know, Company, that there are people out there who famous for being famous.  They don't do anything of note other than be well known, and I am failing to see what they contribute to society.
      It's not like they do nothing - like Seinfeld - or not that they are actors or actresses.  Or they have perfumes lines or clothing lines or make anything.  Oh wait, they do do most of those things, but in their messed up and backward realm they get to do those things that make most people famous just because they are famous.  That's fucked up.  That is the wrong direction.  That is like when rain falling created clouds.  Let me give you an example, okay Company?  Let us take that useless waste of space Paris Hilton as one of the prime specimens.  She got famous because her dad was rich and she liked to party.  Sorry, PART-TAY.  There you go: getting drunk and acting like a hooch gets you on TV a lot.  And she made a sex tape.  That, coupled with copious amounts of her father's money, got her a clothing line, and pretty soon she was in movies, etc.  Her fame led to her becoming an actress, not like everyone else where being an actress makes you famous.
     As a matter of fact, on Wikipedia it lists her first occupation as "socialite" which I didn't know was an occupation until I looked it up today.  It says that on Kim Kardashian's little profile as well, along with "entrepreneur" which to me says that you can't figure out what they do as a occupation, which is sad.  Sort of like when Lewis Black says that a corporation shouldn't be allowed to exist if they can't explain in one sentence what they do, you shouldn't be famous if you can't tell me why.  And I am sorry Kim, having a domineering mother, quasi-famous stepfather, a big ass and making a sex tape doesn't really seem to me like a sound basis for being famous for more than 15 minutes or so. 
    All of this makes me sad.  Super sad about the state of the world in which we live.  I mean, none of us could pick a Nobel Prize winner, or the Prime Minister of South Africa, or the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court out of a lineup if our lives depended on it, but we could pick Kim Kardashian's ass out of a book of ass photos probably.  It's terrible.  And don't tell me that these celebrities - and they aren't all girls, Company - are doing good things for the world.  They aren't.  Getting arrested and serving time isn't setting a good example.  They have some philanthropic efforts, but it is the bare minimum that they need to do to sleep at night and get endorsement deals.  Real philanthropy involves giving fifty bucks to buy mosquito nets for an entire African village, and doing it even where there isn't a camera in your face.
      I am not exactly sure what my point is here, Company, and to be brutally honest I am not sure that there even is one.  Maybe I am just bitching and moaning because I like to bitch and moan.  Maybe I am just sick of seeing them.  Maybe I am jealous of them.  I just don't know and to be honest I just don't care.  I just want people to validate their celebrity with something more than just "people like me."  No.  I need you to do something.  Make a good movie.  Write a book that is about something other than being famous.  Just do something, because otherwise there is nothing good about what you do.  And looking hot is not a reason to be famous.  And that is that.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Let The Madness Begin

     HOLY FUCKING SHIT!  It's December 1st already, Company, and I suppose as such it's time to let Christmas officially begin.
     Now I know that we have been through this before, but I can't help but belabor the point: I refuse to participate in Christmas until it is December.  I am sorry, but that is just how I feel.  And I don't think that you will be surprised to hear that there are a fair number of people who agree with me, and even more who totally understand where I am coming from and support me.  Granted, there are those nutjobs out there who are full of fucking Christmas cheer from the minute the first leaf changes, and I suppose that is okay, and I have been known to take advantage of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal you know, as I grow up and get poorer with each day.  But there has to be a limit.  Walking past Christmas decorations while shopping for a Halloween costume makes me want to vomit red and green, but not on Red Green.  He's cool.
     So I haven't been a part of it, other than to buy a gift or two.  But the bulk of them remain on store shelves, and my tree is not up and my lights aren't either.  If you are one of those people who put your lights up a long time ago because you didn't want to be bothered by the snow and cold, that is okay, as long as you haven't had them burning brightly since mid-July.  Let's use some discretion here, Company.  Christmas is for December, and it shouldn't be encroaching on Thanksgiving and Halloween.  If Valentine's candy and cards went on sale in two weeks, the Christmas people would be freaking out.  So let's celebrate our holidays at the appropriate times.  New Year's in January.  Valentine's Day in February, and so on and so forth, all the way to Christmas in December.  Not November.  And not October.  And none of that Christmas in July horseshit.  Christmas belongs in December.  And December is here.  I am going to go hang some ornaments.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIP Leslie Nielsen

    Well Company, it's Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and since we have taken the whole long weekend PLUS an extra day off, I suppose that it is time to get back to writing posts.  So here we are.  The is so much to talk about from the last five days - Black Friday/Cyber Monday, how I spent Cyber Monday rounding the Unpaid Interns up and putting them back in their cages, I mean dorms, the major leak of US Diplomatic cables, the continuing row between the Koreas, the EU beginning to investigate Google for violating anti-trust laws - but I think we need to talk about Leslie Nielsen.
     By now I am sure you know, Company, that he has passed away at age 84.  The veteran actor, who began his career as a serious television actor, became one of the most beloved and quotes comedic actors in the industry.  After acting in over 150 live television dramas and a series of dramatic movies including Forbidden Plant and The Poseidon Adventure, he came across the script for the disaster spoof Airplane! and wanted in, because he knew that it would be the future of comedy.  And so Dr. Rumack was born with his now world famous line "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" which was his deadpan response every time someone said "Surely you can't be serious."
     I was always a fan of "We have to get these people to the hospital.""The hospital!? What is it?""It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now."  Genius.  It was the method of his delivery, his dry wit and deadpan facial expression, that always sealed the laughs.  I personally have always thought that his deep, sort of official voice had something to do with it too.  He had the perfect cop voice for The Naked Gun and Police Squad, and would have made a voice-over guy on par with Phil Hartman.  Couldn't you hear him selling you orange juice?
     I think that my favorite part of the life of Leslie Nielsen, aside from the hilarious laughs, is that he always seemed to know himself but never be too serious about himself.  It takes a lot of self assuredness and a great sense of humor to make a movie like Spy Hard.  And so he will be missed from this world, even though he laid low as he increased in age, making cameos and the like, and even doing a one-man show on the life of Clarence Darrow.  That is the kind of show that your wife drags you to in order to force feed you some civilization, and you hate it until you find out Leslie Freaking Nielsen is doing it, then you are enthralled by him in his white hair and black tuxedo.  A lot of people could learn a lot of things from him, but I suppose that in the end we will always have Dr. Rumack and Lt. Frank Drebin under the dusty covers of our VHS tapes, and we will always be able to call him Shirley, despite that he doesn't like it.  Rest in peace Leslie Nielsen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

     Well Company, it is the day before Thanksgiving, the turkey has been pardoned, the pies are probably already being baked, and as all or most or some of you get ready to head out for your trips to wherever, I thought I should just take a moment of time to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and the safest of travels.
    As those of you flying are flagrantly violated by the folks at the TSA, either via machine or special hand maneuvers so they can see if you are trying to sneak a travel-sized bottle of Pert Plus on the plane, try to think about what Thanksgiving is all about: thankfulness for family, friends, health, wealth, etc, etc.  If you aren't particularly thankful for those things - perhaps because your wife left you and took the kids with, your now ex-wife left you for your best friend and golf pro Travis, you were recently diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of blasomycosis, and your hours at the factory were cut from forty a week to two half days twice a month - then feel free to use the holiday to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrims, goofy belt buckle hats and all, were able to con the local Native American tribes in New England to sit down and share a meal with them, using nothing but the most primitive form of charades.  Or, if you aren't into history or historical recreation, use the holiday to be thankful for more modern things: pro football and green bean casserole.
    I, however, choose to spend at least one portion of the day being thankful for pregnancy pants, and another part being thankful for my bed.  One usually comes before dinner, and one after, but I will leave it to you to figure out which goes where.  That is sort of like a little game you can play as you get ready for whatever it is you are doing today.  As for me, I am also thankful that I have the ability to take the long weekend off, which I am going to do.  I am even going to let the Unpaid Interns take the weekend off too, but I have tracking chips implanted in their skulls so I can know if they are trying to go to the police.
     Anyway, the point here is that you shouldn't expect any fresh and exciting content the next few days, unless of course I decide there is something that I can write about, of course.  So I hope that you have a happy holiday doing whatever it is that you are doing, and that you get to your destination safely should you be travelling.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Driving

    Baby Doll was telling me the other day about a friend of hers who posted on Facebook something like this: "Attention all drivers of Minneapolis! Now that winter is here repeat after me: I will not drive like an idiot, I will not drive like an idiot, I will not drive like an idiot."  I don't know if that is the exact quote but it is true to the idea, and I couldn't agree more.
    Now I don't live in the Minneapolis, but I live in the north in an area that thankfully has a lot less snow than they have there.  But last night in an icy rain I had an experience with a winter driver who I am completely convinced shouldn't have been winter driving at all.  First of all, they had out of state plates, from a state where a lot of people around here come from and for the most part have gone back to.  But it is still a state in the north where they should know how to drive in rain that is quickly freezing into ice on paved surfaces.  So they were driving approximately ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit.  Let me come out and say that I am absolutely okay with this.  In bad conditions, where it is hard to see, and there is a mix of ice and standing water on the road, at night, I have no problem with ten below, okay?  I am not going to tell them to go faster, and I will gladly settle down at ten under and watch the dark tree-like shapes pass by.  No big deal.
    I do, however, have a problem with hitting the brakes every time that an oncoming car approaches.  I am not sure that hitting is the right word, and it certainly wasn't slamming.  But it was a purposeful braking every time oncoming headlight appeared.  And it was enough braking that, had I been following a little closer, I would have had to apply my brakes, and the same goes for every car behind me, and so on and so forth.  That is enough to cause a spinout, or a chain reaction if one car gets into another, or a number of other bad traffic incidents.  And there is no reason for it.  None.  If you are so nervous about conditions and darkness and unfamiliar roads, you shouldn't be out driving.  If you have to slow down a little more overall, then slow down a little more, but remember that there still comes a point where you could be driving so slowly as to be a hazard anyway.
     Here is the deal, folks: As you head out into the winter in your car, remember some things.  1.) Every action you have affects all the other cars around you, 2.) Doing anything quickly in the snow or ice is a recipe for disaster, slow and purposeful is the key, 3.) Don't try to do multiple things at once, either brake, accelerate, or turn, but don't try to do two out of three and 4.) If you are too scared or nervous then don't go out.  It's so simple.  Because if you are causing a problem by being overly cautious, or overly afraid, or overly stupid, you are going to compound problems by pissing everyone else off.  And that pisses off the rest of the people, even the ones who weren't pissed off to being with.  So don't be an overly aggressive asshole, don't be an overly cautious dingus, and let's all repeat after me: "I won't drive like an idiot.  I won't drive like an idiot. I won't drive like an idiot."

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Short Week in the Office

A short week is upon us,
And we go forth much filled with glee;
For those of us so lucky
Don't work five days, we work three.

So with holidays before us,
Monday morning is at hand;
We nurse productive feelings,
Or are too lazy just to stand.

For the short week makes us crazy,
In one bizarre way out of two;
For we work with extra vigor,
Or shun what we must do.

We dedicate to output,
With but three days we must face;
To get a ton of work done,
And increase productive pace.

Or else we just put time in,
No ambition can we fake;
We waste all time for time's sake,
Steal every minute we can take.

So if you are not like us,
And work the weekend through;
We owe a debt of gratitude,
A million times "Thank you."

For the end we know this,
In holiday's we're blessed;
Even though it sucks your soul out,
Sometimes office work's the best!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ice Skating in the Real World

It's an ice skate.  Duh.
     I am sure that you have watched ice skating on TV before, Company.  Men and women in tight, spandex, sequined uniforms do things that are actually unbelievably impressive in their complexity and degree of difficulty.  Since I have a personal policy of being impressed by and respecting the hell out of people who do things that I can't do, I respect them and am impressed by what they do.  That being said, it's not exactly a real world situation, because they are highly trained professionals.
     We, however, in the real world, ice skate as well.  And sometimes we do it in 2000 pound, self propelled hunks of metal that we call cars.  But often we do it on our own two legs.  Like today, when I walked outside barefoot in the wintertime and surprisingly there was an eighth of an inch of ice coating everything - cars, sidewalks, bushes, etc.  I, however, was not aware of this fact, so when I hit the sidewalk at a medium pace, I was doing all sorts of real world ice skating.
     And it was glorious.  None of that super safe penguin walking that most of us do when it's icy outside, like I was doing Saturday.  Oh no.  This was glorious in its own way.  I was sliding sideways around the corner like a car careening out of control, like Lightning McQueen when he finally figured out how to turn on dirt.  There were arms flailing about and - for a brief moment - I was on one foot and there was actually a leg flailing about as well.  I may have actually performed a triple lutz, or a double sow cow, even though I don't even know what those things are.  I am still pretty sure that I pulled them off, and they might have even been in a row.  There was an Austrian guy, a Mexican guy, and a Belorussian guy sitting on a bench across the street, and I got a 9.7, 9.5, and 8.5, respectively.  I always get screwed by the Eastern European judge.
     Anyway, the point here is that you can see ice skating for like six months out of the year if you go to the right part of the United States, or most of Canada.  And all of Greenland, because even if you are in the part that is actually green there is still a glacier nearby that someone will by trying to walk on.  So I guess that what I am saying is that if you are an ice skating fan, or an aspiring ice skater, there is no more buying sure expensive satellite TV packages to watch your sport, or waking up at 4:30 am to get to the rink and get ice time to practice before the hockey players show up.  Nope, just go outside in the winter.  Sit on a park bench, not only will you be able to watch lots of real world ice skating, you will be part of it on your way to the park bench.  It's great.  And hey, if you are on the right park bench, me and my super sow cow double lutz action might show up.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hybrids: The Silent Killer

     Sometimes, Company, all it takes to reverse one's opinion of a subject, perhaps to make you think it is less insane and more of a great idea, is for one to have an experience with the subject.  And it can spin your world on its ear.  And that is what happened to me one day recently.
      When Nissan and Toyota announced recently that they were thinking about adding SOUND to their electric and hybrid cars that are about to come out, I thought that was the stupidest thing that I had ever heard of.  I have lived in cities and downtowns and high traffic areas and I know that cars are loud.  New Yorkers wouldn't be able to tell you that because they hear it all the time, it is just part of the white noise and cityscape, but believe me you notice when you aren't around it all the time.  Cars are just loud.  So I always figured that nice quiet, fuel efficient hybrids and electric cars would be nice and help eliminate some of the din.  But what the engineers at Nissan and Toyota discovered was that their alternative fuel cars were too quiet, and that pedestrians were doing crazy things like stepping out in front of them because they just didn't know that they were there.
     I, of course, thought that was fucking retarded.  But they had science to back them up.  And now I have personal experience to back them up and change my mind.  Not that I almost stepped in front of a hybrid car, but I was standing in a parking lot when one started up and drove away, and I didn't hear a thing.
     Scared the shit out of me.  One minute the thing was there, the guy was getting in, and the next moment and the thing was moving.  No sound.  No starting.  No nothing.  Just rest then motion.  I couldn't hear anything, and I wasn't exactly looking.  But I was standing next to it looking down and suddenly it was moving.  If I wasn't paying attention and the driver wasn't paying attention, I would have been a pancake.  A big, sexy, blogging pancake, but a pancake nonetheless.  It was so quiet and so lethal.
     So I have changed my mind a little bit.  Maybe a little bit of noise would be a good thing.  If I was in the car and wasn't paying attention I wouldn't know that it was on.  And that would be dangerous.  Maybe a little bit of a rumble, or at least some fake engine sounds.  That would be nice.  Something to driver and passenger and pedestrian knows that shit is going on.  Not necessarily a clicking or a beeping or something, but engine sounds.  Just like automotive engineers spend a lot of time worrying about how their car doors sound then they close, they should worry about the driving experience, and that includes being able to hear your engine.  And that is all I have to say about that.  Just another reason for me to dislike the Prius I suppose.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Joy Through Food

     You know, Company, sometimes it is the little things in life that give us the most pleasure, and you find those little things in the strangest places.  Things like wildflowers, a child's laughter, or maybe just sitting down and putting your feet up when you've been on your feet all day long.  I could go on and on...driving past the bakery when they are making bread, hearing a professional musician practicing his clarinet, etc, etc.  But one of my favorite things that I was reminded of recently, and which will sound kind of stupid, is how much I like it when I am the first person who digs into some sort of food product that is unopened.
     For instance - and this is the exact thing that made me think of this - I love being the first person to dig into a jar of peanut butter.  It is so smooth and perfect and undisturbed, so pristine, sometimes I find it hard to disrupt things.  But...there is also that destructive side to everyone, including yours truly, that loves to just destroy all of that smooth perfectness.  I love to do that too.  So it is like the best of both worlds.  I know that it is probably just a trick of the human mind, but I will also swear to you up and down that the peanut butter from those first spoon or knifefulls tastes better than the rest.  I swear it does.
     Miracle Whip is the same thing, although that has like a neat little tip-like thing that looks like the top of your soft-serve ice cream cone.  I love that, but it is always the first thing that I destroy when I am making the first sandwich of the jar.  It actually sort of extends beyond jarred condiments too.  I love the look of a cake when it is undisturbed, but there is a pleasure in plunging that knife in for sure that comes as well.  Plus then you get to eat the cake, and that is always good.
     But anyway, undisturbed food.  Think about that the next time that you open a jar of anything, and it will bring a smile to your face.  Unless, of course, you are a Communist.  But we won't go there.  It will bring a smile to my face. And if you don't get the same joy out of it as I do, I will be happy to open any jar for you that you need opened.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pent Up Anger

I pretty much want to go outside and scream obscenities at the top of my lungs for like a half hour straight.  How's that for a blog post?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Unfriend Day

     I don't know if you have noticed, Company, but I am sort of against Facebook. I think that there are a lot of problems with Facebook and I generally think we'd be better off without it.  That being said, there are lots of people who disagree with me and think I would be left in a river with concrete boots on.  But I am glad to find that there is another person, who admittedly has access to a much larger platform to announce his feelings than I do, who has found a big problem with Facebook.
     That's right, Jimmy Kimmel has declared today National Unfriend Day, or NUD.  Last night was National Unfriend Day Eve, or NUDE.  But I digress.  The idea behind this day, today, National Unfriend Day, is that you go to your Facebook account, and remove as friends everyone on your friend list who isn't actually your friend.  For instance, all those celebrities? Unfriend.  That guy from high school that you didn't even know?  Unfriend.  Your boss?  Unfriend.  Anyone that you do not see socially outside of the Facebook realm should be unfriended.  Anyone that you wouldn't give your phone number to should be unfriended.  Anyone that you work with but don't genuinely like should be unfriended.
    The idea here is that you have Facebook "friends" who aren't really your friends.  They are just acquaintances or people you happen to know.  So your measure of 1200 "friends" isn't really accurate.  It just means that 1200 people happen to know or know of you.  Plus, you don't care about what half of your "friends" have to say, so how is it that they are your friends?  They aren't.  Some of them annoy the hell out of you with their posts, so they probably aren't your friends (although your friends might do that as well I suppose.)  On one episode, he featured the account of a young woman who posted that she was wearing her sneakers that day, and who posted the day before "Monday kickin me in da booty." and encouraged her to be the first person unfriended.  I tend to agree.
     That is the other segment of your "friend" population that Kimmel is encouraging you to unfriend on NUD: those people who refuse to post useful or interesting information.  If there is no reason really to have them as a friend, other than because they count as a friend in your total: Goodbye!  Get rid of them.  The irony here is that your unfriending them might cause them to begin to write interesting things on their Facebook page, in which case at least you have provided some sort of service for all the other people who still haven't unfriended them.
    The point here, Company, is not to hurt the feeling of, or deride, or embarrass the people you associate with on Facebook.  And it really isn't to bash Facebook either.  The point is to bring you closer to your real, bona-fide friends in life by filtering out all the other stuff getting in the way.  And isn't that what life is about?  Being close to the people who you cherish?  That, and making boatloads of cash.  Wait, what?  Never mind.  Life is about friends and loved ones.  Keep them, ditch the rest.  Happy National Unfriend Day.  And thanks Jimmy Kimmel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten Pieces of Helpful Advice

Here is some helpful advice for you as you go through your life that we learned from recent crimes that were committed:

1.)  Don't commit a crime while driving a car with vanity plates.

2.)  If you go through all the work to remove a safe from its normal location, and then crack it open, make sure to take all of the money inside.

3.)  Get a permit or license if you intend to sell anything in a public place.

4.)  Don't expose yourself in public when already under arrest for something else.

5.)  You can get a DUI on a forklift.

6.)  If you are planning an illegal event, don't post notice of it on Facebook.

7.)  Don't smoke marijuana in the hospital smoking area to celebrate the birth of your first child.

8.)  Writing a robbery note on the back of your paycheck.  You will be found.

9.)  It is not appropriate to call 911 if you believe that you are locked IN your car.

10.) Working out on the freeway bridge is a fucking dumbass idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Listen to the Music

    Hey Company, did you know that people don't make a whole lot of money off putting TV shows on TV anymore?  Not really.  It's true, too.  The big money to be made is when those shows come out on DVD, a season at a time, for people to buy up at big box retailers around the world.  There is, however, a major problem with this plan, with all these shows being on DVD.  That problem, especially for older shows, is that most of them have some sort of opening and closing theme songs, and the folks making the DVD's always include those a.) probably because they have to and b.) probably because they are lazy.  Well, we need to cut that fucking shit out.
     Have you ever watched a season of Family Guy straight through in one sitting before, Company?  After hearing "It seems to me, that all we see, is violence in movies, and sex on TV." for like the fourth time in a row, I just want to buy a plane ticket and repeatedly stab Seth MacFarlane in the pubic arch.  Now, I am not going to do that, but I just sort of feel like I want to.  The ultimate worst part about that is that they arranged it so that if you hit the button on your remote control to go to the next scene, you miss the first part of the episode.  So you are forced to sit through the whole thing.  Seriously uncool.
     But it's not just Family Guy.  Try Ren and Stimpy.  MacGyver. The A-Team (although that one never gets old to me).  WKRP in CincinnatiThe X-Files.  The list goes on and on.  I don't understand it.  We don't buy the first season of the Facts of Life to hear the song, we download the mp3 for that.  We buy the first season of Facts of Life to get our rocks off to the thought of Blair and Jo making out at a sorority fundraiser.  Wait, what?  Or because we have a fetish for braces and we just can't get enough of Tootie.  Huh?  Anyway, the point here is that while there are important names of actors and actresses and executive producers displayed during those introductions, we really can live without the music.
    So get rid of it, we don't need it.  You didn't leave the commercial breaks in there, did you?  Or how about this, I will work out a compromise with you, DVD folks.  Why don't you just take pains to make sure that when I hit the "Next" button on my remote, the next scene starts immediately after the opening credits.  That would be okay.  Because I am a lazy sack of crap most times, but even I am willing to push a button so I don't have to see the artist painting in the Keaton family portrait for the sixth time today.  I am especially willing because the remote is probably just lying on my chest anyways so I don't even have to do a sit-up or anything.  That is a good meet-in-the-middle, everybody wins sort of solution as far as I can see.  All those washed up actors and executive producers still get to have their names shows twelve times on the DVD, but I don't have to watch it if I don't want to.  That's freedom of choice.  That's America.  And that's how I like it.