Monthly Archives: November 2012

Oh no you didn’t!

Dude, what is that? Seriously, dude – what the hell is that thing? That thing hanging off your lower lip! What is up with that? It’s really distracting because it’s just this random piece of fuzz hanging below your mouth, like you just ate a squirrel – whole – and somehow part of its tail got stuck just above your chin, maybe because your gravy can double as wallpaper paste. Or maybe it’s some weird kind of furry caterpillar. Or your razor broke before you finished shaving this morning. Or you’ve been drooling something disgusting. Or you’re in jail and hoping to grow it long enough to braid into an escape ladder.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that it’s not just unsightly, it’s not just sloppy, it’s completely illogical.

I mean really, it’s as if you can’t make up your mind. You think you want facial hair, but can’t decide between a beard, a mustache, or a goatee, so for unknown reasons (you don’t seriously believe it looks good, do you?) decided that having a distracting caterpillar perched over your chin is a good alternative.

(Note: it’s not)

Because it is distracting. But not in a good way. No. More like the people who have way too many piercings so totally creep you out kind of way. (Note: any piercings anywhere but the ears are automatically a distraction; more than 2 per ear also fits this category.) I mean, you know you should look at people when you’re talking to them, it’s the polite thing to do, but when the person is in a service job and has enough metal hanging from their face to qualify as a Borg, it’s not just unsightly. Suddenly you can’t stand to look at them at all, ever, so you stare at the floor, at the ceiling, into your lap, anyplace at all just so long as it’s a place where you don’t have to see what has to be really painful because it’s a piece of metal the size of a pineapple poking through their eyebrow/cheek/nose/lip and suddenly you change your mind and run out of the restaurant/store/mall because you can’t stand it anymore and just want to go home.

It’s not a good look.

Second (for the same reasons), it’s just not attractive. Think about it: it’s just an odd, small, random patch of fuzz. What if women grew odd small patches of fuzz? Maybe a triangle just below their knee cap? Or on their calves? Or better yet, stopped shaving completely? Then used a razor to carefully create odd and whimsical designs on their legs, like spiral stripes, polka dots, or a nice houndstooth check? Or stopped shaving AND stopped combing? Until one day their lower limbs are covered in a crop of luxurious dreadlocks? (I’ve already done this so can honestly say it does not work well with pantyhose.)

So please, don’t call it a soul patch. Call it what it is, a pretentious frou-frou piece of fluff that is the result of the unthinkable and unnatural: Donald Trump’s combover mating with a Tribble.

Take a stand and do women a favor. If you choose to shave, shave wisely and well. We will all be eternally grateful and we won’t be tempted to yank it off while you sleep. Because unless you’re this guy (and even if you are) – we will.

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Being Thankful

It’s that time of year when we pause to spend some time (when we aren’t gorging on enough food to kill a horse) in quite contemplation, being grateful and giving thanks.

This year, I’m thankful I’m not this guy:

Utility worker pierced pipe before Mass. gas blast … that injured 18 people and damaged 42 buildings.”

Why I never get anything done

I’m a writer. So I have what many people consider to be an ideal job: sitting at home all day long in my pajamas playing computer games.

But that’s not why I never get anything done.

The real reason I never get anything done including not writing my new novel is because things happen.

Things like the really rude survey phone call which demands an immediate response …

To: Seedy Research Partners
From: irate member of the public

Dear Seedy Partners,

Tonight I received a call from someone who was calling me on your behalf and who was not only rude – she hung up on me.

Note: If you hire crappy companies to do surveys for you, you end up looking like crap.

A female voice basically identified herself as calling with some questions which is when I interrupted her.

When strangers call me with questions (ESPECIALLY from an “unknown number”), I like to know who they are, where they are from and a little bit about them and why they are calling me before I decide whether I want to share anything at all with them but ESPECIALLY my age range and whether I prefer artichokes or George Clooney.

So I asked her for the company name. She said “Seedy Research.” I asked if she worked for that company and where it was located. She said she was calling from New York. When I asked again if she worked for Seedy and where it is located, she hung up.

Very bad form.

So I googled and found your website.

Note: incoherent descriptions full of buzz words do not impress anyone. If I was a potential client, I would immediately decide never to hire you after reading something like this: “His situational awareness enables his decision-making … finds the reward of the transformation”  “Jenny is … energized by the journey from ignorance to competence … diligently governs all kinds of situations … Jenny knows every intricate piece of information” [really? – she’s omniscient?] “Sean is reflective in careful in considering information” [not even grammatically correct]  “His ability … ranks high on his favorite activities.” [Hmmm. Sounds like an egomaniac to me.]

Seriously: if you want people to answer questions, be nice to them. Answer their questions honestly. After all – they are the ones doing you a favor.

Note: call from a real business telephone number, not an “unknown number.”

And for god’s sake – stop with the gobbledegook buzz words strung together in meaningless phrases. Pay someone to write something that makes sense while making you look good. Right now your website just sounds like pretentious nonsense.

And do the surveys yourself.

Yours truly

Ironic Headlines, Part I:

“Milk truck strikes, kills two cows”

How not to run a magazine.

(My apologies but I might be a tad upset.)

Newsweek. That’s right, Newsweek. News. Every week. Since 1933.

A venerable weekly news publication covering national and international events of note.

A damn fine periodical. Been a subscriber forever.

Then, two years ago, they decided to “improve” it. I knew what that meant.

Last month they announced the death of the print version. Big surprise.

So I called and asked how they intended to honor their obligation to their print subscribers to deliver a news magazine in their mail box. Every week.

In a chipper voice they told me, “We’ll convert you to our digital format, Newsweek Global.” They clearly mistook me for a Borg.

I told them to end my subscription with the end of the print version in January. They said fine – but wouldn’t send me my refund until six to eight weeks after that.

“What?” I asked. “I’m telling you now. You know the end date so you can send me the refund now.”

No we can’t. “Well,” I said, “if that’s a problem then the option is to cancel my subscription immediately and send me my check now.”

That we can do.

Are these people out of their minds?

Of course they are. And their decision to cancel me sooner rather then later, losing them more money is logically consistent with everything else they’ve done the past few years.

Step one: decide that cutting circulation in half is a good thing. “It’s hugely counterintuitive,” the then editor said, “the staff doesn’t understand it.”

When step one doesn’t work, make Tina Brown the editor-in-chief.

This makes perfect sense because she had been a long term editor of that well known news magazine Vanity Fair.

You know, “the cultural catalyst that drives the popular dialogue” – THAT well known news magazine. The one with the breaking news of the day like Unseen Photos of Lana Del Rey in the Early Years of Her Career and Roger Moore on Skyfall: “Daniel Craig Is, Without a Doubt, the Bond” – you know, those important news stories. Because everyone needs to stay up to the minute on a career like Lana Del Rey’s – you know – the “early years” that happened a really long time ago – like in 2010 and 2011.

So Ms. Brown changed the focus from all that boring politics, business, and world affairs blah-blah-blah to more important stuff like fashion and pop culture.

And then redesigned the magazine, moving or eliminating all familiar features so the loyal reader would be completely lost in unfamiliar territory.

(Instead of an analysis of the impact of austerity programs on European Union economies with interviews with the head of the World Bank, readers could find intellectual satisfaction in new features like the “My Favorite Mistake” column written by celebrity guest columnists.)

And then chose relevant, news-related cover photos like phallic asparagus. And a computer-generated, computer-aged picture of Princess Diana.

And switched to a pay-to-view, all digital format.

Because people will rush to their computer to pay to read in-depth stories with names like “Obama ‘the first gay president‘.”

As if we couldn’t already read in-depth stories with names like “Obama hid ‘gay life’ to become president” for free.

And no longer being able to tell the difference.

One of life’s little oddities

The hospital sends a thank you card to your home after you’ve been discharged.

Think about it. What they are really saying is “Gee, thanks for having a medical emergency.”

I don’t think Hallmark makes a card for that.

Dear America, Please Don’t Fall for This Shit Again

By Adam McKay. Reprinted here because this is important.  Original at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-mckay/romney-obama-election-2012_b_2080326.html

This election season there’s a billowing cloud of misinformation being sprayed into the American psyche like a burping tail pipe on a primered Vega.

And its smoke is thicker and blacker than ever before thanks to the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.

Billions have been spent for one purpose and one purpose only: to obscure and distract from the fact that Mitt Romney is backing the identical agenda George W Bush did.

It’s really and truly that simple.

Lower taxes for the rich, cutting regulations for Wall Street, hawkish foreign policy with in many cases the same neocon foreign policy advisers W. Bush used make Romney/Ryan “W Bush 2: The Sequel to the Greatest Disaster Movie in Recent U.S. History, Available in Imax.”

So please, America, don’t fall for this con all over again. Taxes for the rich are at record lows. The uber-wealthy and corps hide profits overseas and work the loopholes to avoid paying what they should. And because of the resulting tax shortfall, deficits soar and education and infrastructure are cut. Why in God’s name would anyone in their right mind support cutting taxes for the wealthy more? Especially when it’s been proven over and over again to do very little for the economy?

And the idea of cutting regulations for Wall Street after the ’08 collapse is as crazy as a guy in a hospital gown by the side of a highway waving Barbie dolls at passing cars. With the derivitives market larger than ever we need way more regulation of Wall Street, not less. And worst of all, Romney’s hawkish foreign policy is a beat for beat redux of the Bush doctrine of attack at the slightest hint of threat that led us into the disaster of the Iraq war. Call it “the edgy drifter with a knife” policy.

Voting for Romney after the train wreck of that was the eight years of W. Bush is like losing your pay check playing a rigged game of three-card monte and then playing the same game again a week later cause the cards are a different color.

But Obama is a socialist! He’s made things worse! What about the deficit?! Stop your witchy liberal word spells!

These objections to Obama are nonsense and lies at best. They just are. This isn’t a “liberal” POV. It’s just the truth. Obama does have real failings as a president (illegal drone strikes, a baffling desire to make more trade deals, failure to prosecute past war crimes), but being a socialist big spender is not remotely one of them. The stock market and corporate profits have soared under the Obama administration. And the deficit is 60 percent from tax short falls from the ’08 collapse and 20 percent from the Iraq war finally being properly counted. Only $1 trillion of the $5 trillion deficit is from spending that was for the stimulus package that stopped our nation from falling into a depression by any economic metric available. The fact is Obama has spent less than any president in 50 years.

Even Obamacare is a private mandate that will drive billions to the insurance industry, much like the auto insurance mandate. Hardly socialism. In fact, it was a Republican plan to begin with.

But Romney and his billionaire backers have twisted facts and outright lied like we’ve never seen before. And why? Because if they had to stand on the issues they wouldn’t receive a vote. Because Romney and Ryan are exactly on the same page as W. Bush. And that page is stained with champagne and sturgeon eggs.

If Romney wins it will be because voters voted for the lies and the brand ID of the Republican party, not because of facts, context and reality. This is the essence of how a con works. The con man gets the mark to respond emotionally rather than logically. Please, don’t fall for it. With climate change becoming the biggest challenge of the next hundred years we can’t afford four years more of corruption, misinformation and inaction. We just can’t.

We must give up on this blind brand allegiance nonsense — “the Republican party is for self-reliance and America” — and start looking at the reality of what they do. They ignored warnings on 9/11, making us far less safe, give billions in subsidies to oil companies, no-bid contracts to the former vice president’s company, cut taxes for the rich during a war, stand against equal pay for women, froze the budget to drive our AAA rating down. They are corrupt, for the rich getting richer and for dismantling our government including FEMA, Medicare, and Social Security.

And worst of all, the Republicans do everything they can to make it hard for people to vote. This isn’t just creepy and dirty. This is anti-American and an insult to all those that have given their lives for our right to vote.

At a certain point if you’re voting for Romney you have to look around the room and see who you’re with. W, Bush and Cheney will vote for Romney. Sarah Palin will vote for Romney. Glenn Beck will vote for Romney, as will Rush Limbaugh. Rupert Murdoch, Hannity and Donald Trump are voting for Romney. Have these people been right about anything in the past 20 years? For real. Think about it.

This election needs to be the end of the con. The end of “trickle-down economics.” The end of the loopholes. The end of no rules for the rich and powerful. The end of veiled racism, sexism and homophobia as a way to distract those you’re ripping off.

This era of “relative truth” can end. We can return to science, facts and fairness. But it means stopping this right vs. left, Dem. vs. Repub., North vs. South idiocy. A lot of money was spent to divide us like this and every day that we don’t stop and question the messaging this country slips a notch.

We’ve been having the same argument for 30 years and the evidence is clear: Cutting taxes for the rich, deregulating all the rules set up after the Great Depression and needless wars don’t even remotely work, whether it’s George W. Bush or Romney who’s at the wheel of the belching sputtering Vega.

Seriously, America. Take a beat, think and look hard at the numbers. You’re better than this crap. And we’ve got real stuff to work on together.

Warning! Non-gratuitous Profanity Ahead!

Dear Person Wanting to Exploit Others By Getting Something for Nothing,

Yes, I know you think you shouldn’t have to pay creative people who work for you because that reduces your profits, and instead those people should pay you for the privilege of being allowed to give you stuff.

And I understand that you think you’re entitled to take advantage of people because that’s what America is all about: the opportunity to get rich by ripping off others.

And I realize that many people think creative endeavors should not be compensated with actual money because after all, they just have to think stuff up, it’s not like work or anything.

But let me point out a few things.

1. This may come as a surprise, but creative people do not exist merely to give you stuff for free.

2. Coincidentally, creative people have to pay bills like just about everybody else.

3. “Great exposure” or being able to “include it in my portfolio” or “list the experience on my resume” which “may lead to paid future work” is not exactly what creative people call adequate compensation.

4. Offering creative people the “opportunity” to work for you for free and calling it an “internship” is, to be completely accurate, complete B.S.

5. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Yes, you’re important. You own a for-profit dinner theater. Which makes a profit because people pay you so they can watch a live theater show while eating dinner.

And you hire cooks and wait staff to prepare and serve the dinner. And you pay them.

And you hire creative people called “actors” who perform the shows. And you — what? You DON’T pay them? You call yourself a “dinner theater” – which requires someone to actually perform the “theater” part – but you don’t want to pay them for it?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

“The majority of the acting positions are considered volunteer”?

Seriously???? At a for-profit enterprise??? (Note: even the Peace Corps pays its volunteers.)

And even though “the talent, time and commitment of those cast in [the] productions” are the reason people come and pay you money in the first place?

But … because you have such a big heart, “To show [your] appreciation, [you] often give [your] performers a cash ‘thank you gift’ at the end of a production”???

So a group of talented people is supposed to donate hours upon hours of memorization, rehearsal and performance time and god knows how much in gas expenses so that you, the owners of a for-profit business – can make even greater profits than if you paid the people who actually make you money?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

This makes as much sense as the business owners seeking volunteer writers or graphic designers to work for free to help build their business. Because, you know, otherwise the owner won’t make as much profit. But, instead of wages, the writer/designer will have the “opportunity” to gain “great exposure” for their work that they can “include in their portfolio” and “list on their resume” which “may lead to paid future work.”

So I ask not this because I am a creative person who writes and acts but because I am a sensible, sane, reasonable and rational human being: what the fuck is wrong with you?

This is an NBC News Special Report

Bom-bom-bom-bom

Here is Brian Williams

Bom-bom-bom-bom

Good evening. This is Brian Williams with an NBC News Special Report. I’m reporting live from an undisclosed location. Here with me tonight are the last survivors of a group that has been hunted mercilessly for weeks, stalked, followed, bombarded with mail, phone calls, and strangers pounding on their doors. I am, of course, talking about the undecided voter.

Who are they, these people who have attracted so much unwanted attention, who have become the focus of an intense manhunt by hundreds of political pollsters and pundits, been followed into stores and accosted on the street?

We’re here to find out.

As you can see behind me, conditions here are harsh. Trapped in a dark, windowless safe house with no wi-fi or cable, these undecided voters have been forced to abandon the comfort of their homes and the companionship of their loved ones to live out their days until the election with only network television and MRE’s to sustain them.

I’d like to introduce you to Bob K. We won’t reveal his last name or home town because of the risk to his family; many of the Super PAC’s have already shown they respect no personal boundaries. Police are concerned that, given the chance, Fox News would relentless hound them with reports that undecided voters are responsible for the attack in Benghazi.

Bob, how are you holding up?

Well, Brian, it’s been tough. I haven’t showered since yesterday and the pressure on us to decide has been pretty intense.

What’s been happening?

Well, I’m on all the do-not-call lists but they call anyway. Day. Night. Morning. Evening. Nothing stops them. They’re heartless.

Who’s calling you?

Mostly robo-calls. Sometimes it’s a celebrity like Clint Eastwood. Only at first he couldn’t remember his name or why he was calling. I felt pretty bad for him but then realized maybe it was a ploy to get Romney a sympathy vote so I hung up.

Anyone else?

Oh yeah. A lot of anonymous people saying they’re a “National Polling Firm” but when I start asking questions like “what’s the company’s real name and who’s paying for this?” they hang up. I’m pretty sure it’s Republicans, because the Democrats are all really nice. Maybe too nice. They just want to help people out in times of trouble but sometimes you gotta be a tough son of a bitch so I just don’t know.

Thanks, Bob, and best of luck to you. Let’s get another viewpoint from Maddie. It is Maddie?

That’s right, Brian.

Maddie, why do you continue to be undecided, despite all the hardships you endure because of it?

Well, it’s complicated. I’m Presbyterian  and I was raised to believe that we all have to look out for each other and we need to be good stewards of the earth. So that should mean voting for the Democratic candidates. But then I keep seeing all these commercials by all these patriotic groups like Concerned Women of America and Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Tax Reform and they tell me that President Obama is a Kenyan socialist Muslim who is going to put my grandma on an ice floe, pass Sharia Law, and pay Mexicans to have babies in America which makes me wonder. I mean, they couldn’t say that unless it was true, right? I don’t want my Granny to die although with the polar ice cap melting I don’t know where the President would find an ice flow to put her on, I hear polar bears are drowning without them. And some people attack him because he’s black, but other people say he’s white. So I’m torn.

Thank you, Maddie, for sharing. As you’ve heard, ladies and gentlemen, these people are facing tough choices. But they show strength and courage, resisting efforts to coerce them to make up their minds.

[series of explosive sounds off camera]

Wait a minute, what was that noise? Can you get a camera on that? Ladies and gentlemen, this is breaking news. The security cameras show a mob has gathered at the entrance to the safe house. You can’t see the details, but it appears as if they are all carrying clipboards and flyers of some kind. What? I’m hearing that it appears they are Republican canvassers.

[Undecided voters in the background begin to scream. Several rush about in panic. Two men are locked in battle, stumbling past the camera as they struggle.]

They triangulated our location using your cell phone! I told you no fucking cell phone!

Screw you Reginald Ludwig Dunston of Barrington Illinois! I wanted pizza!

This is Brian Williams on location. Now back to the studio and our next segment, Yes, People Who Believe What They Hear On Fox Really Are That Stupid.

The time has come.

Willard Mitt Romney,

I don’t care how.

Willard Mitt Romney,

will you please GO NOW!

You can take a jet.

You can take a yacht.

(Toys only the 1 per centers have got.)

You could buy a limousine,

or any fancy new machine.

Willard Mitt Romney!

Don’t you know

the time has come to go, Go, GO!

Get on your way!

Please, Willard Mitt!

The Cayman Islands

would be a good fit.

Join the money and jobs you’ve sent abroad,

your claims to the contrary are a fraud.

The faux-relief drive?  Jeep jobs to China?

Just go there – and get out of my vagina!

Willard Mitt Romney,

I don’t care how.

Willard Mitt Romney,

will you please GO NOW!