Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009 Bird Strike

I really don’t like to poke fun at unfortunate situations. I’m sure it was pretty scary being in a plane when a pilot says, “Brace for impact.” I’m not gonna play the tough guy card, I’m sure I’d be screaming and running around looking for a female between the ages of 13-75 to get in one last good make out before taking the eternal nap.

But everyone survived . . . so let’s get to it.

Heat-seeking missiles. Surface to Air Missiles. Terrorists with knives. Electrical malfunctions. All things that have taken lives and downed aircraft. And now that daunting list becomes even longer with a new member to the club: Birds. We’re not talking any birds, these are STRIKING birds. Just as the pilot said, “We’ve experienced a bird strike and the engines have malfunctioned.” My question is: What the hell constitutes a bird strike? I mean, was it one rogue bird that was having a pretty shitty day and decided to end it all? Or are we talking a gaggle of geese that made a cold-blooded premeditated attack on our unsuspecting victims? I guess we’ll never know as our suspects were chopped up into fish food during the process.

You know what? I bet it was them damn “Al Qaeders” that trained those birds. Goddamn terrorist birds. Now we have one more thing to look out for. I bet they used Bald Eagles to perform the strike too. Turning the pride of America against us . . . bastards. You’d think these crazy airlines with their huge aeronautics contracts could devise a way of creating “engine grills” that go over the intake manifolds of these huge jet engines to prevent these multimillion dollar pieces of machinery from being brought down by birds. One would think. But then again, we can’t give people TOO much credit, we do live in a world where this is possible.
Oh yeah, one other thing.


Song of the Week: "Black Mags" by The Cool Kids. Chicago's finest

"Pennies" by The Cool Kids. Life's too short to have just one song of the week

Quote of the Week: “Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.” - Bill Cosby

Random Fact of the Week: No president of the United States was an only child.

Picture of the Week: Hell, $10? I'd give you it fresh for free.


Until next week, keep the change ya filthy animal.


Fred

Friday, December 5, 2008

December 5, 2008 The Snuggie

Alright. We’re cutting the crap today. Straight to business. You may have all seen it by now. If you haven’t, then now you will. It’s the Snuggie. Watch the commercial. Seriously, right now. Watch it.

Marinate on that one for a bit.

Ok. Let’s jump in . . . are you F***ING kidding me?! I wrote earlier in life about how these As Seen On TV products always make life seem so much more difficult than it actually is. However, once you buy their product, everything will be so much easier. I just don’t know how I’ve managed to get by all these years without the Snuggie. I mean, reaching for those damn remotes and drinks and stuff? Jesus, it’s like my damn blanket is trying to keep me prisoner. I've had some serious issues as well with trying to work my remote, or read a book, with a blanket on. I think that's one of the more annoying/frustrating things in life. I might order it: 1) Paying bills when you know you're getting ripped off, 2) watching dirty politicians fast track this country down the tubes, 3) spinal tap twosies, and 4) my crazy ass blanket having a life of its own and preventing me from being a fully functional human being.

And last, but certainly not least: Wearing it to a sports event. I think the executives at Snuggie were huffing glue before, during, and after production of this commercial, because they were certainly about seven steps from reality. I would NEVER let my parents come watch me play a sport wearing one of those. Ever. That would be more embarrassing than pissing your pants in school in front of everyone. Speaking of school, maybe Papa Snuggie there in the video forgot what middle school was like. Seriously, what man in his right mind would show up at a sports event in one of those and NOT expect an ass-beating (and not of the prison shower room variety). Hey Tooley McToolstein, put on a damn sweatshirt if you're cold! You fail my friend. You fail BIG TIME.

I just can't wait to embarrass the shit out of my kids when I get older . . .


Song of the Week: “My Mind Playin Tricks on Me” by Geto Boys. The original Dirty South beats.
Quote of the Week: “Every fight is a food fight when you're a cannibal." Demetri Martin

Random Fact of the Week: The ears of a cricket are located on the front legs, just below the knee.

Picture of the Week: Tease.

Until next week, damn it feels good to be a gangster,


Fred

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7, 2008 A Polite Plea

As we’re all coming off of our political hangovers, I’m sure the last thing we all want to talk about is politics . . . so don’t worry, I’ll keep it light. I don't want anyone to burnout. I’m coming at this topic with a plea, not a rant. But here we go . . .
Let’s talk about voting . . . mostly just waiting in lines to vote in particular.
Now I understand it can suck waiting in line for a few hours in order to vote. I don’t think anyone really enjoys standing in line in order to do something that should take a few minutes. Luckily for me, I just had to walk my little ballot on down to the mailbox in the mailroom of my building. No lines for me . . . suckers. But I digress . . .
As I watched the news after the early polls opened up, the coverage focused on the long lines and interviewed people who seemed to be less than pleased about waiting in those lines. But let’s chat about that a second. I know it’s shitty to stand in a line for hours at a time. But let’s put it into perspective. You have the opportunity, the privilege, to be a part of and vote in what will be one of the single most historic events in American history. Your grandkids’ grandkids will study this in American History classes for years to come. And you can say you were there. But instead, you chose to complain that you had to wait 2 hours to vote, and were upset because you had to get back to work. That disturbs me. This is work where a client wanted a document by the end of the day, and if you didn’t get it to them, you’d be in “big trouble.” Well I’ll let you in on a little secret: you client or boss isn’t going to read it that night, so go ahead, live a little, get it to them Wednesday morning. I’ve waited longer to decide who’s more insane, Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olberman, than you waited to vote. It’s time to get our priorities straight.
A lot of nations would kill (and do kill) to have open and easily accessible elections and stations the way we have them. Sure, there are flaws, but there are flaws associated with anything of this magnitude. People waited for up to 12 hours in South Africa on April 27 1994 to cast their ballot in their first fully democratic election. And you know what, that will probably be one of the highlights of their lives on this earth. And you don’t think they had better things to be doing? They weren’t worried about going to work that day. They were worried about putting food on their tables that night, worried about being harassed, intimidated, and beaten by people that still didn’t recognize them as citizens.
So I think it’s time we stop and appreciate some of the opportunities we have. It’s easy to take things such as voting for granted, and I know a lot of people do. So my plea is for people to step back and look at this in the grand scheme of things, not on an individual level and how it may inconvenience you that one particular day.

Song of the Week: "Death Letter" by The White Stripes

Quote of the Week: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato


Random Fact of the Week: Starfish don't have brains

Picture of the Week: To the judge: "We didn't know he was there, honest."


Until next week, I need a dime,


Fred

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24, 2008 Glory Days

Now, seeing as I am from New Jersey, I understand that I may perhaps have a more thorough recollection of Bruce Springsteen lyrics than those not from the great Garden State (seriously, if I hear one more snide remark from the backseat, I will pull this blog over and you kids can walk home on the information superhighway.) In particular, Springsteen recorded a song in 1982 that was released in the year of my birth and peaked on the Billboard charts at #5 in the summer of the next year. It's called Glory Days.

Sadly enough, I have a series of characters that only have one thing in common: they hang out at the bar enough that I know their life stories well enough that I knew which parts are complete bullshit. To start, we have the high school basketball star, BG. Now, I watched this guy play in high school. Those of you who know me know that I suck at basketball and care little for things even remotely basketball related. However, I know from witnessing the way that this guy played the game that he scored a lot of points but I also know that he scored a lot of points in the same way that Reggie Jackson hit a lot of home runs. Basically, he took a lot of shots and enough of them dropped that no one had the nerve to complain that he never passed the ball, ever. His teammates just waited for rebounds and that was the only way they ever saw the ball. The way he tells it though, he lets you know he scored over a thousand points in his career and that he was recruited to play college ball and that he was forced to transfer because the coach who recruited him was fired and that he tore his Achilles tendon and he was never the same. He frequently ends the story of his college career, which ended at Fairleigh Dickinson University (also known as Fairly Ridiculous University), by informing those around him that were it not for the injuries he "would have been a lottery pick." For those of you who don't know, lottery picks are awarded to the 14 NBA teams that do not make the playoffs, meaning this guy was one of the 14 best players around the world not already in the NBA in 2007. Look, I'm not going to hate too hard but I would have gotten drafted into the NFL if I didn't leave the football team at Richmond to concentrate on my academics or if I was stronger or faster or bigger or whatever else I could have been. I've played against dudes in the NFL, both in high school and in college and fact is, I wasn't good enough. Neither was this guy but at least I'm not lying to myself about it.

Next up is BG's father, who is worse than his son about his glory days. Not only does this guy relive his own glory days, he relives his son's, telling me about how he and his son are the only father-son combination to score 1000 points in basketball in the history of the State of New Jersey and possibly the nation. Worse than that, he also relives his BROTHER's glory days. Apparently, his brother was robbed of the Heisman by Pete Dawkins, a teammate of his on the Army football team. The assertion is just so ridiculous that it literally boggles the mind. I just hope I've accomplished something by the time I'm 60 so I don't have to vicariously relive the accomplishments of my life, my son's life, and my brother's life to be satisfied with my day.
Worse yet than either of these characters, is a former vice president of a Fortune 50 company who regularly comes in before noon and is sloshed before 3. I've heard that he made vice president before he was 30 about 1000 times. Worse than that, he brags about his time in the Navy, about all the money he made in the stock market (he comes in and drinks for a different reason these days), boasts about his pull with mayor of the town and town council (awesome dude, you are friends with the people in charge of running a town of 10,000, tell them I said hey next time you hit the country club), and about how he has written letters to our congressman Scott Garrett about a variety of topics from a nomination for the Naval Academy for his friend's son to the condition of the Turnpike. However, none of that is quite as creepy as the way he talks about his own son. I've heard people talk about their kids and most of their boasts are benign and nice but this guy is telling me about how his son has a man's shoulders at 12, "like 0% body fat," and "a nice V-shape" with "great lats." I was irritated when he kept telling me about his son having his county golf card but I was just plain FREAKED OUT when I had to hear about a 12 year old boy's lats from the cigarette-scented mouth of his vodka-swilling father.
When this guy keeps telling me he wants to write a letter for me because he sees me going places, all I want to do is tell this guy I'm not going to let him put his finger inside me so he'll tell all his friends I'm a great guy.

Only other time I was more uncomfortable at this job was when I helped one of our female regulars carry her leftovers to the car and she asked me to come back to her bed with her. Pushy, unattractive, older women are terrifying.


Song of the Week: “Mr. Wendal" by Arrested Development

Quote of the Week: “There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them.” - Lawrence Welk

Random Fact of the Week: You share your birthday with at least 9 million other people in the world.

Picture of the Week: Me fail English? That unpossible!

Until next crime, don't tell me no lies and keep your hands to yourself,


Nils

Friday, October 10, 2008

October 10, 2008 Tales of a Waiter in an Affluent Suburb

Chapter One: Basics of Tipping

As a county, Bergen County, NJ is among the top 20 counties in per capita income as of 2006. The median income for a family in Rivervale is $105,919. In the town of Rivervale, there is a restaurant, which will remain nameless, where I work. (Interestingly enough, it's called an Italian and American Restaurant but that only legitimately describes one guy who works at the restaurant and he is a server. Our manager is Moroccan, the owner and executive chef is Korean, and all the guys in the kitchen are Mexican.) Despite the material comfort of the surrounding neighborhood, I'm holding in my hand 8 Washingtons, single dollar bills for those of you who don't know your presidents. I'm left with three questions: "How the fuck did I get here?", "Are people seriously bad at math or did I really do a bad enough job to warrant an 8% tip?" and "How on earth can people justify spending 100 bucks on food and legitimately stiff the guy who served it?"

First question, I know how I got here and thank god, its temporary. You know that miserable old bag at the diner? I work with her. Her name is Lorraine and for the love of God, tip her ass; her life sucks. The least you could do is help her afford that bottle of Aristocrat vodka that puts her to sleep every night. I mean, the only thing she has to look forward to is driving the bus to the high school tomorrow and then serving the parents of those ingrates cocktails at the bar later that night. Besides that, most servers are students of some kind and most customers are rich douche-bags. Somehow, the leftward political lean of academia makes sense with that revelation.

Second, yes, people are seriously bad at math. I saw a guy break out his tip calculator on a check that was exactly 50 bucks. Off the top of my head 20% of 50 is 10, an $8 tip from that guy would have been 16% which is fine, though not awesome. If ever you are in doubt, here is a little exercise: Say the bill is 65.50. Move the decimal point one spot to the left (6.55) and now double it (13.10). That's 20%. The new industry standard is like 18% so knock off a dollar and voila, 18%. That's a waiter's tip for you.

Thirdly, I know the stock market is crashing, I hear about it everyday from the horrible prick who is at the bar every day drinking Sobieski on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Drinking vodka on the rocks at noon on a Wednesday should be the clinical definition of alcoholism (this guy and his cronies are a whole other can of worms). However, none of that justifies stiffing the waiter on the tip. I get paid $2.30 an hour which, by the way, is 10% of what I was making an hour at my last job, which also had benefits. I'm learning more and more that the reason people get rich is not because they make a lot of money but because they are assholes, capable of ignoring all the rules about how business is supposed to be done in an effort to cling to every train-track flattened penny that enters their grasp like grim death. The rich are just more effective thieves.
Unfortunately for me, getting an 8% tip is not the worst thing I've dealt with on this job. I'm prepared for bad tips, I can see those people a million miles away and it has nothing to do with race, mode of dress, or gender. In fact, I can only identify three things that always regularly identify bad tippers: if you ask about the complimentary salad, use a coupon, and order no beverages: I'm talking anything from a Coke to the fanciest shit our bar tender can mix up to the house white zinfandel. If all three of those things happen, I'm just about ready to not serve you, like, at all. I mean, I do and I do the same job for every because I'm an optimist. I'm prepared for the idea that I'm wrong and that you'll leave 25% . . . but my expectations are low.

Look, dude, if you are so strapped for cash that you need to use a coupon to afford dinner and you will forego salad if it isn't complimentary, you can't afford to go out to dinner. Take your wallet, drive over to McDonald's, and pick up a Big Mac because you're getting the same number of calories. And none of this shit about how Mickie D's is bad for you; if you witnessed the amount of oil and deep-frying and other things that go into your veal marsala, you would be perfectly aware that the only difference between a Big Mac and anything we serve (unless you get a salad) is about 45 minutes and $8 per person, plus tip.

Oh, so your girlfriend won't blow you if you take her to McDonald's? Guess what? If she will blow you only because you can afford to take her to a fancy restaurant, she doesn't really love you, it's just what she can get by being with you and how that makes her feel. Consequently,coupons are like condoms: they take away all the feeling for her, and asking about the complimentary salad is like bad dirty talk, it ruins the mood. She's just a hooker who takes her payments in the form of wine and crab meat while getting off on how hard you are trying to get laid. And you guessed it, you can't afford her. Find a girl who wants a forty of malt liquor and a pack of menthols. Where I come from,that's about 8 bucks and you could probably have her in the back of your Camry all weekend.


Songs of the Week (we're giving you two): "Leaving Trunk" by Taj Mahal
"The Celebrated Walkin' Blues" by Taj Mahal. Grab that chair and a bottle of whiskey cuz there ain't nothin that makes a song like a good harmonica and a broken heart.

Quote of the Week: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

Random Fact of the Week: The average person has 100,000 hairs on his/her head. Each hair grows about 5 inches (12.7 cm) every year.

Picture of the Week: I prefer the practice of uncivilized urinating, than you though.

Until next crime, keep the change, you filthy animal.


Nils

Friday, October 3, 2008

October 3, 2008 The Adventures of Frank

So it’s Friday, and after last week’s political rant, I figured I’d lighten it up a little bit. This is a little story of my friend “Frank.” Enjoy.

The Setting: Friday night, a bar called Brendan's Pub.

Backstory: Frank went to this pub during the week a few times watch his favorite baseball team. The demographic at this bar are the typical "regulars"/locals. It's like Cheers, it's a place where everybody knows your name. It’s the watering hole on the corner that’s really friendly with really cheap drinks, and where they don’t ID you. The waitress is cute and really friendly. The second day Frank went in, all the same characters were there and remembered his name and such. It's definitely a middle-aged man/blue collar bar. So, on a Friday night, Frank went out with some co-workers, but they went home around 12, but Frank was still wired, so he went over to this bar by himself to see if anyone he had met was still hangin around . . .

The Story: Frank walks into the bar, sits in the same spot near the door, and gets his usual can of PBR. He pops it open, and looks around. Something seems off about the scene that night. Then he notices that it's 90% guys. Ok, no big deal. The waitress disappears, and he sits for 5 minutes or so before a guy comes over to him and says that the waitress is downstairs and will be up shortly. Thanks for the info broseph, but what's with the lisp and flamboyantly gay attitude? Oh.
All the dudes in there were gay. Shit. Frank couldn’t just leave a brand new beer though, that’s against man-law. But then disaster strikes; due to previous drinking, Frank realizes he has to piss. Due to the layout of this small bar it requires him to move through the bar all the way to the back, cutting through groups of gay dudes. Frank took his chances. Poor decision Frank. He would’ve been better off swallowing his socially competent pride and hosing those nice jeans of his. It was raining out anyways, no one would've noticed. So Frank goes through a group, and hears a guy say to his friend, "Oh, check out this guy here." Frank noticed that the guy gave him the up and down. Frank felt dirty . . . real dirty. So Frank did his business, while also filling the porcelain with tears. Frank now appreciates how girls feel when they go out.
He walks back out and takes his seat, feeling utterly violated. But then his night takes a turn: a blond walks over to him and sits down and initiates conversation with him. This is something new, maybe this night isn't so bad after all Frankie Boy. She asks him how old he thinks she is. Frank, being an intelligent guy, says 26, playing the safety card and blatantly shaving a few years off his guess. Turns out she's 30 (nice job Frank). So she asks him what he wants to talk about. He says travel, because she's foreign, and usually that's a fun conversation. She declines, saying that because she's been so many places that other people don't go, it's not fun for her to talk about it. Frank finds this fairly odd, so he asks her what she wants to talk about instead. "Politics." Again, using his intelligence, Frank immediately declines and tell her that it's a bad idea to talk about this at a bar, especially this late in the night. So the conversation quickly shifts again to a new topic.
Frank: "So, if we can't talk travel, and politics is off limits, what else do you want to talk about."
Blond: "Sex."

Frank was a deer in headlights. He asks her what about it that she'd like to know, and she says, "What do you think about it?" In the toolbag response of the century, custom for any 24 year old male caught in headlights, Frank replies, "Well, sex is great, and I love having it."
Strike one for Frank
So then he asks her what else, and she immediately responds: "Well, what do you think of bisexuals?" Again, headlights and Frank meet again.
"Well, I've never done it or anything, but I figure, if it makes you happy, more power to you."
Strike two for Frank
So she turns to the other side of the bar, then looks back at Frank and says: "Alright, I gotta go save my girlfriend (not “girl that’s a friend” girlfriend, but “let’s go home and play with rubber toys” girlfriend) from that guy that's hitting on her, but I'm gonna bring her back over here and we'll chat some more."

So let's pause here for a moment and digest what's going on. An attractive blond (with an accent, so it makes her hotter) approaches Frank, and starts talking about sex and bisexual experiences with Frank, and THEN tells Frank that she has a girlfriend, and that they'd like to talk some more with him. This is the part where Frank tells me he had the most amazing experience of his life with two lesbians, right?

Wrong. What did Frank do? As soon as she turned to go get her girlfriend, he panicked, threw down a couple bucks, and ran out the front door. Literally.

You fail Frank.



Song of the Week: "Hospital Bed" by Cold War Kids

Quote of the Week: "Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake when you make it again." - F. P. Jones

Random Fact of the Week: The longest one syllable word in the English language is "screeched".

Picture of the Week: Oh HELL no!

Until next week, you chose . . . poorly,

Fred

Friday, September 26, 2008

September 26, 2008 Palin? Pal-OUT!

So I’m just gonna throw this out there: I despise Sarah Palin. I think she’s bat-shit crazy. “But Fred, you’re such a sexist pig, you’re just saying that because she’s a woman!” Nay, I say. I don’t like her because she has about as much experience with politics as George W. has with being successful.

I was watching CNN like I usually do (only because there aren’t any other “more unbiased” news sources on TV), and one of the female news anchors jumped up on her soap box and started preaching about how it’s unfair that the men are protecting Sarah Palin and preventing her from speaking to the media and such. She said that Palin’s not a “delicate flower,” that she’s a strong woman and can handle herself. She called for the McCain campaign to “Free Palin.” Well, I’m sorry Miss Rosie Riveter, but the real reason the McCain campaign is sheltering her from press conferences (which she has held none of yet) and network news interviews (which she’s only conducted 3 of) is because of her overwhelming lack of experience. If she were to sit at an open forum press conference, she would get so grilled it would cast a serious doubt over the McCain campaign. Foreign policy? Fughetaboudit. Foreign policy to her is going to the local Chinese restaurant and trying to negotiate the menu and get a proper order through to the waiter. Her economic policy is spitting out as many poorly named kids as possible to try and get some sort of tax break. And abortion? We all the know that’s a short argument.

It has nothing to do with the fact that she has two boobs and a vagina, so please, watch your step when you’re getting down from your little platform there. I’m just really confused with how people have made such a huge deal about Obama’s “lack of experience,” but are overlooking the fact that there’s a 50% chance that John McCain will die in office, and it could feasibly be President Palin, of Alaska, soon. Luckily, there have been some cheap one way flights circulating online around the time of the election.

Song of the Week: “Na├»ve” by The Kooks

Quote of the Week: “You have a cough? Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax, tomorrow you'll be afraid to cough.” - Pearl Williams

Random Fact of the Week: The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

Picture of the Week: Symbolism? (Hint: Think US Economy)

Until next week, $700 Billion,


Puck Mule