Monday, June 29, 2009

“Happy Birthday” song

There’s no way to sugar coat it. This song blows chunks of dry birthday cake. You can’t put a candle on top of it and hope to distract folks from the monumental awfulness of this little ditty about Jack and Diane and everybody else’s birthday.

No one likes to sing it.
No one likes to hear it.

Even in French, it makes my ears bleed.

Please, for the love of all things holy—like today, the sacred day when my magnificent mother gave me to the world—sing me a song that you aren’t roped into chanting with lackluster enthusiasm (often at a crap-ass chain restaurant).

Sing one of my favorite karaoke songs. Sing me “Love Shack” or “Fever” or “Don’t Stop Believin’” (as trendy as that may be now). I wouldn’t mind a little bit of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” To make my birthday wish come true, sing me some Jovi, namely the chorus of “Livin’ on a Prayer:”

Oh, we’re halfway there
Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear
Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer.

That sort of seems more appropriate these days anyway. While I appreciate the gesture, sing me something that won’t make me lose my appetite before I get to the birthday cake.

With what song would you want to be serenaded on your birthday?


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Intentionally misspelled titles

I was just reading the latest issue of Allure (I’m its Seattle reporter) and read a quote from cover girl Fergie. When asked why she named her album The Dutchess and not the proper “duchess,” she had this to say (hint: she's not from the Netherlands): “The spelling is different because I didn’t want people who didn’t know how to say it to call it ‘the Douche-ess.’”

It gets better.

“I thought, ‘Let me dumb-ify it a little bit.’ Sometimes you smarten things up and get more clever with words. It’s fun to go the other way, and it’s always nice for people not to expect as much from me.”

Um, sweetcheeks, sorry to break it to you, but after “My Humps,” I wasn’t exactly expecting you to play chess with Bill Gates. But I did hope that you'd proofread the title of your CD.

Is it street to be stupid? Is it in vogue to be a low-forehead asshat? Call me nutbar, but why not use your celebrity to educate and elevate your audience? Why ya gotta be an inglourious basterd?

This sort of widespread dumbing-down interferes with my pursuit of happyness. And it certainly chaps my lovely lady lumps. I guess the only way to deal with these spellwreckers is to grab an OED and knock some sense—or at least an ability to spell the title of their album or film correctly—into them.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Yorker cartoons

I have never, ever subscribed to The New Yorker.

There. I said it.

Call me unsophisticated, a troglodyte, a knob, whatev. I’m okay with it. I read The Pew Yorker occasionally when hanging out with friends more refined than me. But after eyeballing an issue, I put it down and walk away. It makes me feel stupid and I’m already full-up in that department.

It’s not the articles. I can deal with a lengthy piece now and again and I’m always able to soldier through “Shouts & Murmurs” and reviews with little damage to my ego.

And it’s not the pompous Mr. Peanut dandy who represents. I get it. Dudes with monocles read The New Yorker. As they should. It’s their thing, along with spats and a penchant for crème brûlée (not to mention words using the accent aigu).

It’s the goddamn cartoons. When I'm in a dentist's office, I'd still rather reach for Highlights than The New Yorker. I can always detect what doesn't belong in a picture but fuck if I know what is clever or funny about a cartoon of a dude who, while raking leaves, holds up a maple leaf and says to his wife, "They're all pretty, but this one is my favorite"? Am I missing something? Like IQ points or my frontal lobe? I'd like to change this caption to read: "You know, Jennifer could dip this in resin or metal and make a five-pointed weapon to kill me with." That I would understand. That I could get behind.

I want to punch these cartoons in their smug, insidery face. What's black and white and red all over? A New Yorker cartoon after I've beaten it to a bloody pulp.

What New Yorker cartoon had you scratching your head?

(photo: This cartoon I get.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I kicked Ponell Williams in the head in second grade because he tripped me when I was rounding third. I also got into a locker-room scuffle after gym class in seventh grade. I think some girl was disrespecting me during 4-square. Other than that, my hands are clean.

Sure, I verbally smack shit right and left and it gives me more pleasure than you know. It’s a great release for my anger, be it a passing peeve or deep-seeded fury.

What I’m not down with is physical violence. I try to keep this blog light but I have to tell you, I wanted to smack Rhianna upside her head after she entertained thoughts of returning to a guy who tenderized her face. And yesterday, I heard that Perez Hilton, the reigning king of the verbal shit-sling, got clocked by the Black-Eyed Peas’ manager. He allegedly got into it with and the next thing you know, boom, boom, pow! A black eye and a call to the po po. Will, I am not impressed.

I am reminded of something that a former co-worker told me: “Sometimes, words can hurt more than fists.” I know what you’re saying, brother, but tell that to a woman who is holding her face in her hands after being hit in the face with a baseball bat or a recumbent cyclist who’s been sideswiped by a red-faced (and possibly redneck) driver. Sometimes, Perez Hilton or I am going to say something that somebody will take offense to. That's fine. Talk back; we can take it and we'll get your point loud and clear.

Raise your voice, not your fist, or I’m coming for you.

(photo: this is Perez Hilton with a fake black eye; haven't been able to find one of the real shiner;

Monday, June 22, 2009

Texting at the table

You’re having a lovely time at dinner with friends or family. Maybe you’re even on a date. Conversation, along with the wine, is flowing. You’re relaxed and feeling connected. You’re experiencing the power of now.

Then someone pulls out a cell and checks his text messages. He might try to be subtle about this, holding it below the table so you’re only tipped off by the glow of the screen and the fact that he hasn’t heard what you just said.

What am I, chopped liver? Who are you texting who could possibly be more important than me? What could be cybersaid that could rival the pearls of wisdom and wit dropping from my lips?

Everyone agrees that it’s rude but when it’s you, you always find a way to rationalize it. So as not to be a massive tool and hypocrite, I have to admit that I’ve been guilty of this, when in the throes of a weird text and IM-only relationship. But no more (I'm tired of punching myself in the face). If I need to text or call someone, that’s what the bathroom or the front door is for.

I can see only a couple of instances where texting at the table might be allowed:
  1. You’re a brain surgeon, or someone else with a job way more important than mine, and you’re on call. And if this is the case, excuse yourself and take care of your thumb business out of my sight line.
  2. You’re by yourself, since your friends have ditched you and your boorish behavior.
The most fitting punishment, aside from breaking your thumbs, would be to take that snazzy new iPhone of yours and drop it in a really large glass of red wine.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Mirrorless dressing rooms

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, should I buy this dress? What's your call?

Cricket, cricket.

Oh, right. There's no mirror in here. Not even a fat or funhouse mirror.

Question, crappy clothing store: When you don’t outfit your dressing room with a mirror, are you trying to be merciful, preventing me from seeing muffin top, camel toe, or uniboob? Methinks not.

I think you have something more insidious in mind.

Here I am, stuck in the crawlspace of a dressing room, shimmying into some garment. Call me crazy, but if I miraculously manage to zip, hook, and button everything, I’d like to see what I look like in it. But if I slink out to eyeball the damage, sycophantic sales associates pounce on me, doing their best to convince me that the sausage casing look is the new black.

Yeah, no.

To be fair, there might be other reasons you decided to trick out your boutique or store with closets instead of dressing rooms. You might have broken your last mirror and are only two years into your seven years of bad luck. Maybe you're Medusa and want to make sure no one has a reflective surface when you're trying to turn them to stone. You might just be cheap.

But I think the most likely reason that the mirror has no places is that you’re trying to be wily, flushing me out of the retail brush so you can get me in your sights and kill me with false compliments.

It's time to fight back. The pacifist's way of getting even would be to just boycott your boutique. But where's the fun in that? I think I should call upon the evil queen from Snow White, who knows a thing or two about the power of reflection. She can offer you up some shiny poison apples. Better yet, she can turn you into a wizened old witch in a bad dress and hair desperately in need of conditioner. You will be resigned to a lifetime of looking like ass, and you won't be able to fix it, since mirrors seem to be nonexistent in your world. Reflect on that.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mr. Darcy

Over the years, I’ve been sucked in again and again by your sang-froid, your stateliness, your brooding tall, dark, and handsomeness, your ability to make me hot just by climbing out of your pond, soaking wet and fully clothed.

Since you are, well, not real, I’ve looked from here to Hampshire for a flesh-and-blood Fitzwilliam. I have not fared well. I entertained one yahoo because I thought he’d look dashing astride a horse wearing one of those long coats you fancy. I swoon at the sight of those things, the way they sweep the ground as you walk with determination, legs encased in breeches and knee boots…

I digress.

I dated another gentleman who, like you, was sensitive and felt deeply. But he didn’t act on shit. He just stewed in his emo juices. Miserly compliments and infrequent attentions kept me wondering about his intentions until he laissez-faired us to death. I mean, how long is a girl supposed to hang in there, in hopes of securing moody blues like you?

Let’s not forget the know-it-all narcissist who had clearly spent some time at Pemberley in your company. He was a real treat, spamming familiars and strangers with his prideful advice and prejudiced judgment. Proclamations as pillow talk don’t exactly blow my petticoat up, sir.

Darcy, you’re a prick. You don’t like to dance. You throw your best friend around like a ventriloquist’s dummy, telling him what to do and say. Bingley's one step away from sitting on your lap. Not cool. You publicly skewer a gal for her lack of connections and lowly parentage—we can’t get enough of that—while secretly admiring her moxie and form. You bottle up your feelings until they bubble over and you blurt out your affections, telling her you love her despite your better judgment. Be still, my heart. This is going to take a lady off guard, particularly since she’s spent nigh on a year avoiding you, wondering what she ever did to irk your shit, and thinking you’re a grade-A, navel-gazing jackwipe.

Yeah, you came through in the end, saving the Bennet family from social disgrace and all that. Always the hero, Mr. Darcy, you’ve ruined me for the real world of dating. No man can measure up and yet, I don’t want to hold them to your standard, since you—how can I put this delicately?—suck.

You’ve screwed me, and, indeed sir, not in a good way.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shoulder harnesses

This one is for the ladies (or men with moobs). As I may have mentioned before, I have a healthy rack and every time I strap myself into a car, I am tortured by the shoulder harness. Talk about an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, the shitaceous strap never falls across my chest properly. It never, ever stays between my tatas. Instead of crossing in a straight diagonal line the way it should, it mashes one of my girls or it rides up so that the edge of the strap chafes my neck and puts me in a stranglehold. Sometimes—before I lose consciousness—I pull the harness up and over my head, so my seatbelt is the only thing holding me in and I feel like I’m in my dad’s old Dodge Charger, doing up safety old-school. I sit back against the strap until a collision propels me forward and my bladder bursts and my nose cracks against the dashboard. Nice work, car designers.

To wrap up this Saab story, I want to lash car engineers in the face with my shoulder harness for overlooking something so obvious that half of the driver’s license-carrying population winds up with road rash without ever actually hitting pavement. Next time, try designing a car with a double-D crash test dummy in the driver’s seat. Just a thought.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spencer and Heidi’s grip on reality

I know it’s like shooting spray-tanned fish in a barrel but I want this gruesome pair to go away. I want their 15 minutes to be up, done, over. Like Brian Dunkleman or Jimmy Hoffa, I want them never to be heard from again. They are ugly people, inside and out, famous for nothing except venom and vapidity. Paris Hilton used to be the poster child for meritless celebrity but Speidi has kicked her to the curb.

Spencer’s a straight-up dick to his family, friends, and strangers. He’s barely civil to his grandma. Heidi is a robot fueled on silicone, Juvaderm, and Pinkberry. The one thing these Bozos did do right was find each other, since I can’t imagine anyone with a soul wanting to be anywhere in their vicinity, breathing in their toxic, asswipe air.

Let’s collectively stop giving a damn whether they are married, if Spencer can successfully grow facial hair this week, whether Heidi is channeling Mother Teresa, or if they are on or off the I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here reservation. I, for one, am voting the Pratts off my television and sending them back to hell, where they belong.

And yes, I want to punch myself in the face for being so worked up over them.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Makeover meltdowns

You’ve seen one of the shows: What Not to Wear. How Do I Look? America’s Next Top Model.

Chicks (and sometimes dudes) get a style makeover and then, to complete the transformation, they head to the hair chair.

Utter. Fucking. Meltdown.

All the gorgeous free clothes, pep talks, and newfound confidence fly out the window faster than you can say “split ends.” Some refuse to have their fried Crystal Gayle hair cut even an inch; others suffer silently, tears streaming down their face, while their Dynasty hair is transformed into something fashionable this side of the millennium. Others whine, complain, and can’t wait to hit their Hair Cuttery and get their ugly back.

I want to shove the cut locks down their goddamned throats. Last time I checked, hair grows back. Get over it. If you think your hair defines you, it probably does. And what it says is: This woman is hella-lame. Try losing your hair to cancer. You’re not dying. Suck it up: If you can’t cope with looking attractive, go home and get some ratty Jessica Simpson hair extensions and revert to your signature 1991 Dress Barn persona.

I don’t always take to an extreme haircut initially. But I squeeze and spray some styling product into what’s left, and rock the fuck out of my modern mullet. And I wait for it to grow out, like a big girl is supposed to do.

And don’t tell me that you can’t cut your hair because your man loves your long hair. Are you serious? Your dude will think that he’s cheating on you with a hot chick whose hair doesn't choke him during sex. And if a guy is turned off by a different hairstyle, your relationship has bigger problems than your bob.

Get a life. Get a hat.

(photo:—I'm not suggesting this little one has had a hair meltdown yet; clearly, she's never been on a makeover show.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Starbucks drink orders

Cue the singsong voice: “So that’s a triple grande nonfat no-whip hazelnut latte? Is that right?”

Yeah, that’s what I said.

When I slink into a Starbucks and order up a large decaf single-shot Americano or a nonfat almond iced latte, do you really have to read it back to me in the correct, Starbucks-sanctioned order? Do I give a rat’s ass? Am I going to learn my mocha choka latte lesson next time?

Hells no.

It’s bad enough that I’m paying four bucks and downing a day’s worth of calories in my 20-ounce (i.e. venti) drink. Do you have to shame me as well? Isn’t slowly putting me in the red with your demon breakfast blend satisfying on its own? Why aren't you just content with making me tubby off of your blended fattuccino? Instead of writing N, D, or S/S on the side of the cup, try listing the minutes I need to work out at the gym to burn off my bevvie. That might be helpful.

If you keep correcting my Starbucksese, I’ll have no choice but to interpret them as fighting words and throw my double tall iced mocha in your face. Did I get that right?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ventriloquists' dummies

Are you looking at me? Ahem, I said, Are. You. Looking. At. Me? Don’t just sit there with that insipid smile on your face; answer me, you little fuck!

Silent treatment, huh? Okay, fine. Just sit there and listen. But wipe that smirk off your face before my fist does it for you.

I bet you think it’s pretty funny that you give me nightmares. Yeah, it’s a freakin’ laugh riot. I just love it when you talk to me without moving your lips in that whispery lisp you can't seem to shake. Would it kill you to say words starting with Bs or Ps? It’s a sideshow bonus that, with those permanently surprised eyebrows, you look like that scary rap-sheeted cougar from the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Don’t look away, you shifty-eyed little spawn of Geppetto. Own your creepy. Your lockjaw looks like Keira Knightley’s mandible. Sand, shave, or whittle that thing down. Lay off the Botox before you morph into Carol Channing (although a little filler like Juvederm would work wonders on those laugh lines; just a thought). Work on your conversational skills and look people in the eye when you're talking to them. And, for the love of Barnum & Bailey, lose the smug mug, you knob, before I turn you into firewood and really light you up.


Unresolved TV shows

Dear TV execs:

I have a bone to pick with you. Each year, I am drawn into one, two, or twelve new shows. Some get renewed, others don’t. But when shows are canceled unexpectedly—sometimes in mid-season—there’s no chance of resolution. These permanent cliff-hangers keep me on edge and, like the Kennedy assassination and Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, drive me cuckoo crazy with unanswered questions.

Twin Peaks ended before we found out what led up to Laura Palmer winding up in a body bag at the base of Snoqualmie Falls. At least David Lynch had the courtesy to give us the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire, Walk with Me. But fuck me if it clarified shit: it made about as much sense as a dwarf in a velvet suit dancing in slow motion and talking about the White Lodge. It was as clear as Agent Cooper's cup of black coffee. But you get points for trying, Dave.

My teenage years were permanently scarred when Paper Dolls went off the air. The show was about models, Morgan Fairchild was in it, and it ended with a giant department store fire. In other words, it was pretty much perfect. I’ll never know if Nicollette Sheridan and those rad Nolan Miller dresses survived or if Terry Farrell’s modeling career was cut down in its prime due to her first-degree burns. ABC, choke on my remote.

Millenium never made it to the year 2000 so I have no goddamn idea if the world ended or Lance Henricksen finally showed some emotion and stopped looking like that preternaturally calm android he played in Aliens.

Could you cut us a break? We suffer through bad plot lines, long-winded expository dialogue, and enough beer commercials to make us pissed-ass drunk just by watching them. The least you could do is to clean up after yourselves. Tie up loose storylines somehow: Act out Angel’s fate on youtube, post the final script for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip online (don’t tell me Aaron Sorkin doesn’t have one), send up some smoke signals to resolve Carnivàle… Do something, anything to take care of business, take care of your viewers.

If you don’t, I’m going to sic Bob, Laura Palmer’s freaky killer-in-her-dad’s-body, on you. I’ll pour some black coffee, cut a slice of pie, and pull up a chair. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


What prematurely canceled shows caused you to die a little on the inside?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Flavor savers

Frankly, I’m stumped. What’s the thought process behind this crumb catcher? I wish I was a passenger on that train of thought…

It’ll make me look handsome, slimmer, younger, cooler, douchier…

Clearly, there has to be intent behind the soul thatch, since it's groomed and shaped to within a hair of its life. Are you trying to lengthen your face? Did you need an arrow to find your mouth? Did you slip with the razor and had to keep on pruning? Whatever the case, I have to break it to you: Dude, you’re sporting a bikini wax on your chin.

Be it the Frito or Dorito, you’ve got a landing strip on your face. Runways belong at O’Hare, not on your nearly-hairless mug. Only Bruce Springsteen can pull that shit off, and, while he was born to run, he’s still skating on thin ice. Adnan Ghalib, it’s time to embrace the Brazilian. It’ll only hurt for a minute. However, if you keep that thin dead line on your puss, you’re in for a world of pain as I wax, thread, sugar, and shave your face, all the while withholding the ibuprofin. Just call me a flavor shaver.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Mustard juice

The smell of charcoal and roasting mammal wafts through the air as the Polish sausage/burger/fill-in-the-blank meat is turning a glorious shade of crispy red-brown on the grill. My mouth—my whole body—tingles with anticipation as I split open a fluffy potato roll. Heaven is literally in the palm of my hand and it’s about to be in my piehole. There’s only one thing standing between me and the Divine. I reach for the condiments and watch as…

It all turns to shit.

I flip or twist the top on the yellow mustard, aim it at my bun, and watch in slow-motion as mustardy juice squirts out of the bottle and turns my bun into monster mush. Of course, this clocks in at under a second so I’m helpless, hapless, unable to stop the stream of yellow mustard pee from raining on my meat parade.

My meal in ruins, I unleash my own stream of colorful spew, this time in the direction of the French’s bottle.

I forget about the mustard juice every single time I bust out the pondiment, so you could say it’s my own fault for not draining off the mustard spit in the sink before getting to the real deal. But I’m already full-up on the self-loathing so French’s, Ghoul-dens, Grey Poop-on, Hellmann’s, Heinz, and other purveyors of mustard, you can kiss my heinie…with relish.

Ketchup, you’d better watch your back.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Punch Bowl round-up

To cap off a week of guest posts that were sometimes spot on and occasionally controversial (no, I do not promote actual violence against anyone on or off a recumbent bike ever, under any circumstances), I thought I’d share some of the shorter posts and laundry lists people submitted. Maybe someday I’ll write about these, and maybe I won’t. Personally, there are one or two Beatles songs I actually like.
  • School children as a whole population.
  • Old people who whine.
  • People who have ugly dogs and think they are cute.
  • People who do not do the courtesy wave when you let them in when driving.
  • People who do quizzes on Facebook—GET A LIFE.
  • People who are late.
  • People who try and get on the train before people have the chance to get off.
  • People who don’t respect old people (though if they are the ones who whine, then I am fine with that).
  • The people at the post office working so slow...
  • Call center workers who cannot speak English.
  • Most of the time, people in general.
—Alyssa, My Life in a Blog

Men who think that just because they can go without a shirt that it's okay. Hello, ever heard of this thing called a mirror? Check it out sometime. Get the side view. There you go. See what I mean? It's exactly like Spandex—it's a privilege, not a right. And women, just because you can find tiny short-shorts to fit your ass doesn't mean you should wear them. Ah, the first few days of hot weather are always so painful, aren't they? I really wish I could snatch these people up and drop them into the 360-degree mirror they use on What Not To Wear. Once the screaming died down, perhaps some common sense would kick in.

—Nancy from Eugene, Klevabich

  • People who type "wanna" instead of "want to." You're not fucking Mark Twain, y'know.
  • A fucking ex-President and Veep that keep saying, in essence, "we violated the Constitution to protect you", when protecting Americans isn't in their fucking job description but protecting the Constitution is. I'm counting down until their Secret Service protection expires.
  • Strict Constitutionalists who haven't read the fucking 9th Amendment.
  • Libertarians who refuse to admit how much of their success in life was due to their being white and male.
  • The UPS guy who keeps delivering things when I'm masturbating in view of the front door. (Of course, he probably wants to punch me, too. And he'd actually have grounds for it.)
  • Whoever gave the new Moon Knight Minimate blue eyes. Moon Knight doesn't have fucking blue eyes!
  • People who end business calls with "bye-bye." Bye-bye? It's not even "buh-bye," which is still bad. It's "bye-bye," as if they were three years old. Grow up! You're a fucking adult! How about "good-bye?"
  • Whoever made the decisions to bring back Bucky and Uncle Ben.
  • Religious people who think discussion is a substitution for experimentation.
  • Cynical people who complain about trivial things. No, wait, those people rock! :)
  • Oh yeah, one more: people with misleading URLs. goes to the same place.
—Tommy, Sexy Red-Headed Nuns

I could be happy to never hear any Beatles again.

  • Women who tell how far along they are in their pregnancy in weeks. “Oh I’m 17 weeks along.” Are they serious? Say “over four months” and save me from having to do the math.
  • People who give their children’s ages in months. “He’s 22 months old,” again what’s with the math? This isn’t a test and I didn’t care that much to begin with. So spare the rest of the world and say almost two years; that will suffice.
  • People who clear their throats profusely. What the hell is wrong with you, do you need water, are you drowning via your saliva? Either way I don’t care, so please die quietly next time.
  • Loud typers and talkers. Would it bother you if I stood up and screamed annoyingly at the top of my lungs like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber? I bet it would, and that’s how I feel about you. Again, die.
—Kristi Lewandowski

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Stuff made from neckties

I couldn't believe it when I saw this photo, because it's for a show at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, which is a nationally-known and respected center for fiber arts. Did they run out of good ideas? What's with the sensible shoes? Ack! If I made this purse I would puke on myself. If someone gave it to me, I would puke on them. Not that I'm an ungrateful person, I just have this aversion to ties being made into anything else. Perhaps this is a sign that ties are really not earth-friendly, because there is so no way to reuse them and not look absolutely hideously ridiculous.

Unfortunately, the website for the Textile Center does not have this picture on it. Instead there are pictures of richly colored textiles from India, the current show in the Joan Mondale gallery. Perhaps they deemed a photo of the tie purse too embarrassing to leave up on the website. But the postcard provides shock value and gets your attention amidst a pile of other junk mail. Hmmm.

The point is, ties are ugly. Not ugly like Ugly Dolls, which are cute, or dogs that are so ugly they are endearing. Ties have no soul. They try to be bearable as ties, and sometimes they are, just barely. But most of the time they are cheesy, over-the-top with power madness, or just plain dull. And surprise, surprise, none of these are features I look for when I'm hunting for fabric! So although I can understand the urge people have to turn them into something else, unfortunately they're always going to be recognizable as the hideous soul-crushing uniform of corporate America. Perhaps cutting them up in very small and unrecognizable bits and leaving them out for birds to bling up their nests with would be a more humane gesture all around...

—Carrie, Finding Jim Macinko, Alterior Motives

Personally, I am sort of charmed by quirky re-imagined neckties, but I take Carrie's point.

(photo: Carrie)

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Bumper-sticker frenzy

Why the hell do people put bumper stickers all over their cars advertising brands and places, for example, the douchebag with Black Diamond, Arcteryx and Patagonia, maybe a Dave Matthews Band tossed in? Am I supposed to think you are cool or something? There is actually a car in my neighborhood with a Chaco sticker!! Really? I mean, they're great for comfy summer outdoor shoes, but could someone actually love them sooo much they want to advertise them on their car? I want to sell kits that come complete with all the stickers to create your own persona. Oh yeah, those European country stickers too. Dumb.

—Ineke van Waardenburg


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: People who only text

There are people who have decided they no longer need their phones for voice-to-voice contact. They've given it up, and instead let their thumbs do all the talking.

I have a friend who is infamous for this. I have called her to make plans, only to have my call go to voicemail. Thirty seconds later, I get a text "What's up?" So I call her back and again; voice mail. So I answer her text to get a response instantly and I think, WTF?!?! Would it kill you to answer the phone? We can have a quick chat and have plans made in ONE two-minute phone call, but instead will have to go back and forth with 20 texts because your precious vocal chords are what? On rest? On strike? BROKEN?

MOREOVER, my thumbs and my wallet want to come to your house and give you the WHAT FOR, the one, two, and you’re out, because your text obsession is costing me money! At least five dollars! Plus, my thumbs are precious and are needed for Xbox Pac-Man and cannot be wasted on your ridiculous notion that having a phone conversation is too inconvenient for you!


—Andrea, Adventures of an Abbreviated Andrea


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Bluetooth megalomaniacs

Bluetooth. Sure, I admit I was impressed when I first saw these hands-free devices. Better technology...Easier communication…Reduced risks…What’s not to like?

Well, the Bluetruth is that there is, indeed, something not to like. Bluetooth Megalomania. Hello? Can you hear me now? How ’bout now?

I’m calling you out—yes, you…all of you phone-ies whose hands-free devices have become permanently affixed to your big heads. Yes, that’s right—I’m talking to you, you Bluetooth Megalomaniacs. You, who think that you are so important that you must be hands-free but you cannot be Bluetooth-free. Ever.

Are you so very important that you cannot remove these devices during dinner? In church? At your grandma’s house? Who is calling you anyway?

Well, I’m calling you now. And you might want to hands-free dial 9-1-1 on your other line because I’m about to slap you upside that Bluetooth-wearin’ big head of yours. I just hope that my fist has a good connection because I’m planning to drop you like a cell-phone call.

And don’t call us…we’ll call you.

—Dave Reynen, Sacramento, CA


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: "To whom much is given, much is expected"

Oh boy, what I am going to do to the next person who says, "To whom much is given, much is expected."

I hear it quite often at graduations and political speeches. For example I just heard it at Notre Dame’s graduation, the Lakeshore High graduation, and from George Bush (43rd President) at a speech he gave at Lake Michigan College. It is used often in political speeches because it means, “Don’t deny me your vote just because I am a rich person and got things easy in life because I’m really looking out for lowly people like you.”

The Kennedys said it a lot and it was made popular by Michael Dukakis when he ran for president. Sorry, I’m not normal; I remember everything I see and hear.

—Jim Pantelleria

I love this; it reminds me of what Uncle Ben tells Peter in Spider-Man: "With great power comes great responsibility." No, with great power comes awesomeness.


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Slow drivers in the fast lane

What IS it with people who haven't yet acclimated to freeway travel? Freeways have been around for awhile, now. But by some hideous stroke of fate I am continually met with drivers for whom acceptable freeway behavior is a complete fucking mystery. If these maroons don't want to drive over 40, WHY do they even get on!?

I'm driving home from Torrance, which is 45 minutes of hell in itself, and things are going pretty well because it's still mid-day and it's a holiday weekend so a lot of people are home getting over bad decisions from the previous night, so I'm tooling along, pretty happy with myself. Which, apparently, can only be conveyed in a run-on sentence.

We're coming up on a series of transitions. You know, the 91 to the 605 to the 60 to the river Styx—those ubiquitous transitions which make the Los Angeles Freeway System one of the eight wonders of the world, just after wrestling togs.

So, I'm driving in the number-one lane as usual, because I can manage to drive 70 and think at the same time. In my peripheral view, I notice someone moving systematically from the number four lane inward. And I'm thinking, hey, this guy's gotta take the transition to the 60. It's clear that the guy is kind of on the inept side, but he's probably trying to time it right and doesn't really intend to slow everyone down and make a complete ass of himself.

So I withhold judgment, because it is my way.

As expected, he insinuates himself into my lane several cars ahead. We have to slow a bit, but hopefully, he'll be onto the 60 soon and thus, someone else's problem. But the transition to the 60 comes and goes, and he's still sitting here, in my and everyone else's way, in the FAST LANE. And I'm now going 63 instead of 70, because the drivers in front of me have had to slow down to 67 and 65, respectively.

Now. I'm. Officially.

Getting Pissed Off.

Look, Fuckwipe, WHY are you in the fast lane going 60? I was having a relaxing Sunday drive, glancing leisurely now and then at the passing scenery of snarled transition roads and haze. Now, I'm painfully reminded yet again that the L.A. gene pool has receded to Neanderthalian depths. My speedometer is sinking steadily toward 50, as you, in your epic cluelessness, settle into the fast lane, take out your blankie, and prepare for a long fucking nap.

In the midst of this foray into feebleness, we hear multiple Harleys rapidly gaining on us and then passing us as we snail along into oblivion. But my blood pressure is going faster than they are. And just as I’m about to do what the three drivers ahead of me have been forced to do, which is to change lanes and go around this loser, two cop cars approach in the number-two lane behind us with berries flashing, and the traffic compresses further.

Well, now it's all over. Mr. Troglodyte becomes startled by the noise and pretty flashing colors, so he slows to Mercury-in-retrograde. The rest of us have to break as quickly as it is safe to do so, which causes everyone else to break, which causes me to lose sight in one eye. Maybe it's a stroke or something. I'm about to lose valuable depth perception because of this tragic waste of spermatozoa.

Dear Troggy; Do you not realize that the Harleys are now in the slow lane, and the cops are in the slow lane behind them, and two lanes separate those of us in the fast lane from the criminals in the slow lane? Do you not see this? I know you must see this, because your head is continually snapping 90 degrees to the side and back, watching other people doing things that don't involve you, as you creep toward the next transition.

Which happens to be MY transition.

I have despaired of ever seeing home again. I’m going to be forced to drive behind Chromehead onto the transition, around the curve from the 605 to the 210, and merge with traffic at a much faster prevailing speed, which will further challenge Trog's already tasked reasoning abilities and likely cause a complete systematic shut-down and certain death. The transition approaches, and I wonder if I've forgotten to put my gun back into the glove compartment.

Troggy, I know you are the center of YOUR lane of peaceful, untroubled existence, but, clue in, Lameass: those cops are not concerned with you! They are currently busy! And there are other worlds besides yours, vehicles in motion, in service toward actually getting somewhere before the Apocalypse.

Oh, to have you alone, you of the low brow and prognathous jaw. Oh, to be in a bulletproofed, soundproofed room with you and Jack Bauer.

—Chris, Prism Trail

The number-one request I’ve gotten from people is to punch the living crap out of slow drivers and send them back to driver’s ed where they belong. Clearly and unfortunately, Chris’s tale of slow is something we can all relate to.


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: People who can't take responsibility for their own actions

“The mortgage companies tricked me into an adjustable rate mortgage.”—No, you signed a contract without reading it.

“The credit card companies are keeping me from paying my bills”—No, you charged too much on them, didn't pay your bills, etc.

Oh, and this one I love: "I shouldn't have to follow the rule, because it is a stupid rule"—No, you knew the rule, you broke the rule. Face the punishment like an adult.

I also want to punch my neighbor in the face. If I wanted a motor home parked in front of my house all summer, I would go buy one; I don't need yours there. I should charge you rent.



Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: David Caruso’s slow enunciation

Long time reader, first-time face puncher—and I am so excited for the opportunity! To be truthful, I think about this subject a lot. Sometimes, I will be driving or just living and either get frustrated and/or upset and just think "Argh! If only I could punch right in the face!" But then I think about how if I would really want to waste my one, good chance on said annoyance. So please know, that a lot of good mental research has gone into the following.

The thing I would like to punch in the face is David Caruso's slow way of enunciating everything he says in order to make it sound more interesting. It's not! Just say it at normal speed! Just because you lower your voice...draw out each syllable...and give a cocky little head tilt does not mean that you just made the Nobel Prize Winning statement of the year! "But it seems...that our victim...has already met....his....fate...."

Yeah, no crap! He's dead on the floor! And now you just took up 25 minutes stating that fact when I could have been figuring out through the miracle of television who killed him. It chaps me, it really does. You have so much time when he starts talking that you can change the channel, check in on another show, come back and catch the middle of his sentence, switch again, then slide on in for the last 17 seconds or so of his phrase and still know exactly what he said.

I mean really? I gave up reading because I read too slowly and wanted to get to the story line—that's why I watch TV! You're killing me, Horatio Caine. Speed it up.

—Marissa Diamond, Marissa in Houston

How can I not love this, seeing as I punched David Caruso’s neck back in March (TIWTPITF, March 19)?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: A professor who shall not be named

From a review letter for a professor, whose contract was subsequently not renewed. Coincidence?…

Professor X has all the organizational abilities of a rabid, starved squirrel covered in itching powder and being chased by dingo dogs. Meetings with him can most easily be described as a sort of alien abduction, during which a whole lot of very interesting things happen, most of which you are unable to remember, but at the end of which, you are fairly certain that, at some point, you took it up the ass. His personal style seems to consist of degrading people around him when they’re not listening and being self-absorbed to the point of neurosis.

There is also a great deal of wine involved.

How this fits in, I’m not sure, but I don’t think this review would be complete without mentioning the wine. And the gin.

Courses are conducted in a variety of ways. Lecture format courses seem to consist of him remembering approximately 30 seconds before he is due in class that he is supposed to lecture that day, him grabbing his laptop, running off for a cup of tea, and showing up anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes late on a good day. Lecture format consists of whatever factoids he can pull off the top of his head, accompanied by whatever images he was able to pull off the internet at short notice and a liberal sprinkling of name-dropping whenever remotely appropriate. Unaccountably, the undergraduate students seem to enjoy this.

The only theory I have to explain this is that they are stupid.

Seminar courses, on the other hand, are not conducted so much as refereed. Rather than have group discussion of set readings, Professor X, apparently channeling Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert comics, has decided that multi-shirking is excellent instructional strategy, as is convincing (or in this case, forcing) others to do his work for him. Given anywhere from 48 to 6 hours notice, students in seminar classes are required to become “mini-experts” (not to be confused with “Mini-Me’s,” which I believe is copyrighted) in the topic of his choice, such as an entire cultural phase and present to the class on this topic. Presentations are not so much a unified lecture on said topic by the victim, er, student as they are a series of interruptions, digressions, and twitches by Professor X accompanied by a few unintelligible sentence fragments on the part of the victim, er, student. At times, it seems that Professor X is playing some sort of game involving guessing the amount of time it will take for the presenter to get the “please shoot me face” in front of a class of his or her peers.

Conversations regarding papers tend to conform to the alien abduction scenario described above. Suggestions on improvement typically involve favorite buzzwords such as “impressionistic.” Suggestions for paper topics are apparently chosen on the basis of whatever the last word he heard before you walked into his office was. Frequently this involves a disjointed description of his idea, waving several books around, a personal phone call that interrupts the already disjointed conversation, and a request to please leave, as he “is busy.” When this fails to produce the paper he had in mind, he is unaccountably upset, presumably because he is in fact telepathic and can’t understand what the hell is wrong with the rest of us. While I am well aware that I am far from perfect, I don’t think my papers suck quite so much as he seems to feel that they do. Nor do other professors who have read the same papers and raved about them. Perhaps his telepathic mind-powers are picking up on my uncertainty, like a shark smelling blood in the water. Or perhaps it’s the gin.

Despite this ostensible telepathy, his ability to understand others seems limited at best. At times it seems the only way to get him to actually listen would be to hog-tie him and beat him into submission. Tempting though this solution is, we have yet to find anyone willing to tie him up. We’re afraid he might enjoy it. Also, we’re having trouble finding enough rope. (Donations may be directed to the author. Checks should be made out to “The Get X to Shut the Hell Up for 30 Goddamned Seconds Fund.”) While I am not the most passive of people at the best of times, I find myself increasingly escaping into fantasies of murder and mayhem, usually involving attack squirrels and a stun-gun. I desperately, desperately want to cut his bitch ass. Perhaps I need some gin. But I digress.

In conclusion, Professor X is one of the most irritating, self-absorbed, pompous, punk-ass little bitches I have ever had the misfortune to come across. Not only should he be denied contract renewal, he should be transferred to Guam in the company of Paris Hilton and forced to live out his days explaining to her the difference between her left and right hands. Overall, my impression of him is that I would like to impress my boot on his face.

—Dr. Jones

Professor Gilderoy Lockhart is not the professor in question but aside from the gin, he sort of fits the bill.


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: The new Chester Cheetah

Imagine my shock when I am watching television, at an hour just late enough to forget about my ability to fast-forward through commercials on the DVR, and am assaulted by the presence of a long-forgotten figure from my childhood. Only something was wrong. Desperately wrong.

No longer is Chester Cheetah the loveable cartoony tiger always in a hurry to get more cheese coursing through his veins. Now, he is, well…what he is exactly is somewhat of a mystery. Is he an evil super villain, come to infect the world with his version of Agent Orange? Or is he simply a giant dick encouraging others to make equally dickish moves while using his product?

Enough is enough, you personality-morphing, shades-sporting, king of the cheese. Though I am all for your apparent movement to equalize the class structure, you are still the trademarked figure of a snack brand that no one over the age of 16 will ever admit to eating. Isn’t it bad enough that you stain our fingers with your powdery proliferation without creeping us out with your deeply voiced dogma?

It is time for my fist to make high-velocity contact with your face. The punch will be crunchy, your face will be puffy, and the result will surely be flaming hot. Serves you right for spreading your cheesiness all around town.

In case you need some video references:

Or this one at a laundromat:

—Cameron Smith, Bag Stranded

Damn, I love Cheetos. This Chester, not so much.


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Cheap toilet paper

We already know that impossibly compact airport bathroom stalls are punchable (TIWTPITF, Feb. 11). Fast-food restaurants, gas stations and bars everywhere seem to be vying for top honors in some unspoken contemptible crapper contest. But even a five-star restaurant's roomy restroom or the luxurious loo at a squeaky-clean Starbucks might as well be a street-festival Port-O-Let on Sunday night if it doesn't have a decent roll of toilet paper!

Apparently there is a market for tightwad TP. But that cheap-ass, see-through excuse for a personal hygienic helper brings literal meaning to "crap that chaps my hide".

Is it really saving them that much money? In these tough economic times, I can think of much more effective cost-cutting measures. Although I'm not one of those guys who needs to pay for a second seat on Southwest, I'll use up half a roll of that pitiful parchment in one, er, sitting. But pamper me with some of that aloe-infused, huggably soft good stuff, and a few luxurious squares will do the job!
Are these stingy purveyors of paltry processed pulp afraid their customers will steal it to fortify their personal stashes at home? I'd be ashamed to get caught "decorating" my worst enemy's front-yard foliage with their vile vellum, much less foisting it on my own house guests! I've been unemployed for almost five months now, but if it ever comes down to buying bargain-brand asswipe or eating canned cat food, I'm shopping for Charmin and noshing on 9 Lives. Might be a little tough getting it down, but much more tolerable on the way out!

Sorry if I offend your incompetence with incontinence, but in this age of plasma televisions and iPod nanos, this is one area where thick trumps thin. So, while I'm reaching over to the hand-towel dispenser for something that can appreciate my high-fiber diet, I'll take a double punch at you, ribald roll of single-ply sandpaper! You'll wish you had some quilted softness to cushion your gossamer grimace from the Mr. Whipple-worthy whoop-ass I'm about to unleash!

—Kevin Grover

This is from another Kevin, who always has an opinion and a funny comment about my posts.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Mister Six

I’m all for amusement parks. God knows, while growing up in suburban New Jersey, I enjoyed many days of a misspent youth riding roller coasters at that grand utopia of adolescent frivolity known as Six Flags’ Great Adventure which (aside from that horrible Haunted Castle incident in 1984) always seemed to be a safe, fun place to hang out. As the good folks there so aptly put it, “There’s a time for work and a time for play.” This is true. However, there is ALSO a time to bust someone square in the mush, which is why I hereby nominate “Mister Six”, the current TV ad rep for Six Flags, as the latest recipient of this well-deserved honor. If you’ve never seen this so-called “ambassador of fun” in action, you can get a gander at the child-frightening insanity here:

Now that we’re all clear on who I’m talking about, can someone please explain to me how Uncle Junior from The Sopranos got stuck with this fucking job? Better yet, what Red Bull-swilling, coke-snorting genius in the Six Flags’ advertising department came up with this concept? I would LOVE to have been a fly on the wall during that discussion: “Hey, I got an idea for a great new family-friendly way to promote our product! Let’s get an old bald guy in a tuxedo to drive around suburban America in a red-and-yellow version of the Rosa Parks bus and coerce unsuspecting adults and kids into going on a field trip to one of our theme parks by showing off his obnoxious dancing skills! Doesn’t that spell FUN?! Hah?”

How about a nice pipin’-hot fistful of NO, Six Flags? Never mind that your TV spots disregard basic rules for personal safety (RULE NUMBER ONE being: Never let a STRANGER drive you ANYWHERE, especially if he promises that it’s someplace “fun”), but watching a skinhead version of Lew Wasserman freak dance to “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys does not spell FUN. It spells CREEPSHOW. It doesn’t exactly make me wanna get on a magic bus ride with this Gooney Goo-Goo to Six Flags either, even if it does boast the Rolling Thunder, Lightning Loops and a Log Flume. It does, however, make me wanna go smashmouth on your mascot’s ancient ass. I wanna knock him right out of his two-tone boogie shoes and throw him in front of the Runaway Train. In fact, if I set foot inside the gates of a Six Flags ever again and I see this obnoxious geriatric spaz so much as “bunny hop” within 50 feet of me, I’m gonna send a big fat knuckleblast flying into that gaping Latex mug of his. So consider yourself warned, ya rug-cutting Crypt Keeper. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who feels like inflicting physical harm on this silly, street-swingin’ septuagenarian. The folks at Robot Chicken have already arranged an all-too fitting demise for him, which is, admittedly, a lot more violent than a biff to the cakehole. But hey…this is America and the right to bear arms, even the animated kind, is one I can support in this case. So, kudos to them for offing this dancing douchebag; Uncle June himself would have approved. Then again, I would have been happy if they’d used a giant Claymation fist, too.

—Kevin Byrne

Kevin suggested I write about Mister Six a while back, but since I don't live near a Six Flags, I hadn't been introduced to—that is, driven to the brink of insanity by—the commercial.


Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: Recumbent bike guys

Hey! You! Gray-bearded guy with glasses on the recumbent bike. I see you. You don’t really need to wear that Body Glove circa 1980 neon yellow windbreaker. Or fly that dorky bright orange flag behind your seat. WE SEE YOU down there. Oh, and that rear-view mirror arm that’s attached to your helmet? That is one accessory YOU ACTUALLY NEED so that so you can see me drive up behind your ass and punch you in the face.

Dude. Why ya gotta be? What ARE you trying to prove? That you’re still an active, athletic man? Sure, you’re technically riding a bike WITH A BUILT-IN CHAIR but you look like you’re pedaling your grandson’s Big Wheel while real men BLOW by you on their road bikes. Sure, your Terra Tryke cost you $1000 but you look like a douche bag. And wear some deodorant, why dontcha? No one wants to smell your old-man decay.

Oh yeah, I see you next to my truck’s wheel well, pedaling furiously to prove yourself. Give it up recumbent bike guy; once you see my fist coming at you, your riding days are over!

This post comes from Lil. I particularly dug this post, as I live in Seattle and see these ponytailed eco-warriors clogging the lanes during rush hour.


Punch Bowl 2009

As I pored over the many submissions for Punch Bowl 2009, my heart was full as I realized that, like that lame Michael Jackson song, I am not alone. I am blessed to have friends and strangers who think like me and want to punch like me. You've taught me something new, you've made me bust a gut laughing, and you pissed me off for beating me to the punch on some really deserving people, places, and things.

So without further ado, let me get to showcasing the TIWTPITF Punch Bowl posts that really tickled my fancy.

And as you read through the winning entries this week (there are definitely more than 5, so I'll be posting a few a day), I urge you to comment on each other's posts. Show the punch-drunk love, my caustic, curmudgeonly, cynical, and hilarious friends.