Monday, December 01, 2008

Blank Stare: Thanksgiving Edition.

Still not in comic strip form. Drawing boxes obviously requires more energy than I'm willing to exert.

Frame 1: Deb this chicken tastes like pork tenderloin.
Frame 2: It's eggplant.
Frame 3: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Jess, have you given any more thought to going back to school to be a veterinarian?
Frame 2: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Frame 3: Oh, I don't know.
Frame 4: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Hey dad, what does tare weight mean?
Frame 2: Empty weight.
Frame 3: Does tare stand for something?
Frame 4: Yeah, empty.
Frame 5: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Jess, this is delicious! You could be like that celebrity chef Lance Bass.
Frame 2: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: That's a nice color for a car.
Frame 2: Yeah, it looks like a pearl.
Frame 3: No, it was a man in there.
Frame 4: Dad, I said PEARL.
Frame 5: Oh. Well she looked like a man.
Frame 6: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Vermont plates!
Frame 2: Yup.
Frame 3: You know, Vermont's slogan should be, "Come to Vermont for a nice meal and a good book."
Frame 4: Blank Stare.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

(T)issue.

I was watching the CEOs of America's Big Three automakers beg for money last night in front of the House Financial Services Committee (because that's how I do) and was slightly disappointed that no one brought up the issue of Kleenex in the rear windows of Lincoln Town Cars. I guess that's not what the meeting was about, but it has always sort of bothered me.

Has anyone ever sat behind a Lincoln Town Car at a red light and NOT seen a box of tissues in the rear window?

Seriously. Anyone?

I want to start a photo collection of different Town Cars I see with tissues in the rear window and call the collection, "I'm Driving And I Need A Tissue But I Can't Reach Because I Drive A Lincoln Town Car And The Box Is In My Rear Window."

I'll need to work on the title.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

As Seen On TV.

"If any of you are looking for any last minute gift ideas..."

The Aqua Globe. This is something you fill with water and stick into your plants to keep them watered. Right. That seems like an extra step I wouldn't be willing to pay for. You still have to remember to water something. Plus, having to hear, "Did you water the Aqua Globe?" would probably send me into a rant about the Aqua Globe every time.

Debbie Meyer Green Bags. These magic bags keep your fresh produce "fresh" for weeks. Few questions here. Why is Debbie Meyer buying so much fresh produce if she knows she won't be eating it for 18 days? Why not just buy a fresh green pepper when you need one? What is running through Debbie Meyer's head at the market? "Oh, cucumbers. I might want one of those in three to four weeks. Better buy 12 of them now." The commercial for these bags says, "Here are baby carrots after 26 days!" Maybe Debbie doesn't like baby carrots as much as she thinks she does.

The Slanket. Don't even get me started. All I'll say is that in all honesty, without exaggeration, I am afraid of this thing.

And on Sunday I saw a commercial where the man from the Oxiclean ads was selling a health insurance plan. That seems like a sound choice. Medical coverage from a man who feels compelled to throw red wine and ink on everything he sees. Why not refinance your mortgage through the ShamWOW! guy, or apply for a student loan with the people who brought us Kinoki Foot Pads?

Call now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Productive Day.

Gloomy weather is good for me when it comes to getting things done. I have a ton of stuff to take care of and so far I've put a pretty nice dent in the list.

1) Dance around to Janelle Monae's "Many Moons" for 5 minutes, or an hour. Check.

2) Brainstorm ideas for an online cooking show called Pinscher of Salt where Stella makes sandwiches. Check.

3) Stare at things. Check.

I should be a life coach.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Work In A Bikini!

That was the actual title for a job posting on Craigslist. "Work In a Bikini!"

The exclamation point kills me. I usually don't even wear a bikini to the beach, but gosh, I never thought about showing up to work in midtown in a bikini. That might be pretty exciting! And winter is right around the corner! Working in a bikini in the winter! Cool!

I read the ad merely out of curiosity (I'm not qualified. I get it.) and it turns out it's to work as a food server in a restaurant. I shouldn't be surprised I guess. This economic downturn has caused most other people who work in their bikinis to lose their jobs. Just this morning CNBC was talking about the spike in unemployment rates for bikini-clad accountants and the Detroit area is losing bikini-wearing auto manufacturing jobs left and right. I recently read that the entire law firm of Mono, Micro, Tankini & String folded, leaving associates there wondering what to do next.

The ad for the Craigslist posting described the ideal candidate for the position as "fit, attractive, experienced in restaurant and bar operations, and comfortable working in a Bikini." Makes sense. They also asked job applicants to show up to the interview with "heels and a bikini." That makes sense too. No mention of a cover letter or résumé, but I assume that goes without saying.

"So I see here you've had experience working in a bikini before?"
"Yes, that's right. After getting my degree in Swimwear Studies, I worked for Beach For America for two years in Chicago and then went on to work as a molecular/cell biology Research Assistant at a university here in the city."
"Oh, but that wasn't in a bikini?"
"Well, the job didn't call for it, no. But I do prefer to work in a bikini and I ALWAYS do research in a bikini."
"O.K. good."

Because I have issues with restaurant cleanliness, it's particularly upsetting to me that bikini jobs are limited to working in food and beverage. You'd have to be a pretty big perv to overlook the fact that people are serving you food in their underwear. It's gross. I'd be like, "Could you do us a solid and throw some pants on before you bring out our appetizer sampler? That'd be great, thanks."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting To Know You.

Helping D setup an online payment system for an account this morning, it occurred to me how much you need to know about yourself to fill in the security questions. I remember when the only question was "What was your High School Mascot?" or "What is your mother's middle name?" and even trying to answer those questions took five seconds of serious thought. But now there are multiple questions. So many in fact, that she had to write down the answers and file them. That seems insane to me. That security questions about oneself are now so wide in scope that a person needs to keep a "me" cheat sheet in their filing cabinet. "My favorite band? I started this account online in the 90's, I have no effing clue. Let's see, what was my favorite band in 1998? Aqua? That can't be right."

In the event that you can't remember your password, which is highly likely because it often must include 3 digits and an umlaut, these security questions are meant to help verify that you're you. But what if you can't even verify it? Trying to recall the answer to a question you filled out seven years ago is difficult, but if the question concerned something about personal taste at the time, it's nearly impossible. My nightmare would be having to call customer service and run through a list of possible answers I might have given to security questions.
-We're sorry that you're having trouble accessing your account. Can you remember how you answered the "What did you want to be when you grew up" question?
-Um, was there another question?
-Well, we have to start on this one.
-Oh. Um, did I say teacher?
-Let me check. No, that wasn't the answer given.
-Doctor?
-No.
-Um, MacGdkjfhds?
-Sorry?
-Um, Macfrummsblerg?
-Miss Martin, I can't understand you.
-Did I type MacGyver?
-Yes, okay. And now I just need to verify your social.

I let D pick her questions and fill out her answers and afterward she agreed that they were ridiculous.
"One of the questions asked me to name my greatest fear."
"Really? What is your greatest fear?"
"I don't know. I said choking."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's A Common Sense Thing.

Imagine you're out to eat when the waiter announces your order to the entire restaurant. "Excuse me ladies and gentleman, she said she wants tonight's special. Yea or Nay?" And then by a show of hands, the entire dining room votes on your meal. "I'm sorry, the other customers think you should have a salad."

It'd be totally ridiculous, right?

But the gay marriage ban that passed in three states on election night isn't so far removed from this restaurant scenario.

Entire states were asked to walk into a voting booth, close the curtain, and decide whether or not a gay person should be allowed to marry someone they love. A majority of voters in California, Arizona and Florida decided they should not be allowed that right. I don't remember being asked to vote before any of my straight friends and family members got married.

I've never been cryptic about my views on marriage, but I am deeply concerned with actions taken to limit rights and the use of bigotry to hold a nation back from achieving equality. And that's what this is all about--equality. The idea that gay people are somehow different, or deserve an altered set of rules to exist in America is insulting and dangerous. It creates an idea of "the other" and is a breeding ground for injustice. What worries me is that this is not really an issue of marriage (as long as it's between consenting adults, does anyone honestly care who anyone marries?) but more of a device used to spread intolerance.

There are suggestions that gay marriage leads to the destruction of the family (huh?) but I like Ellen's response to these claims:

"I don't know what people are scared of. Maybe they think that their children will be influenced. And I gotta say, I was raised by two heterosexuals. I was surrounded by heterosexuals. Just everywhere I looked, heterosexuals. And they did not influence-- I mean, I had dabbled in high school, who didn't? But I think people are going to be who they're going to be. And we need to learn to love them for who they are and let them love who they want to love."

Note: The blog has taken a political turn as of late. Back to reporting on the absurdities of life soon. But on some level, I think the political posts qualify.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That's What I'm Talking About!

Obama's win last night was America's win. "This is your victory" he said. And because the coverage kept showing Oprah so many times throughout his speech, I really thought America was going to win her favorite things as well. "Can we give everyone in this great nation a Weber Grill? Yes We Can! Oh, okay. I've just received word that no, no we can't."

But unlike other victories where the enthusiasm fades away awkwardly, with the camera zooming in on some fan with a slowly waving foam finger, Obama's/America's win last night resonates. If anything, it feels more like victory today. To actually feel inspired by a political leader, to see the results of grassroots efforts and to watch a nation come together as a nation, you start to think, holy crap, we really can. It's huge. (But it's still a no on those grills-- I checked.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote Tomorrow!

Well, it's about that time, people. (Finally.) So many things have happened during this election that I decided to put together a little list of the highs and lows. But lists can be boring, so please sing this list aloud to yourself to the tune of "We Didn't Start The Fire."

Freddy Mac, Fannie Mae, Fundamentals A-Okay
Town Halls, Live Debates, Can I Call You Joe?

Joe Six-pack, party division, automakers, television
Oil prices, polling devices, The Rachel Maddow Show.

(Instrumental Break)

Colbert runs as "favorite son," superdelegates overdone,
Fred Thompson's presidential run called Law and Order: WTF?

Socialism, skepticism, idealism, optimism,
Health care, warfare, Kucinich's wife.

(Chorus)

Robocalls, op-ed pieces, talking heads, rally speeches,
Flag pins, middle names, snowmachining spouse.

Troopergate, swing states, pig and lipstick, interest rates,
Wal-Mart moms, Neiman's spree, Russia's by my house.

Tim Russert, SNL, Mitt Romney ( told ya pal).
Katie Couric, Late-Night Diss, NYTimes, Maverickyness.

Brokaw played clock-referee, weird touch screen map thing on TV, Hillary, Tina Fey, what else do I have to say?

OK, you get it.

Vote.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Move Over Sexy Hobo.

I was a "hobo" for halloween basically every year of my childhood for two reasons:

1) It was always freezing by the time halloween rolled around and any costume I was wearing was covered up by a sweatshirt, a winter coat, and one of my dad's flannels before I was allowed to go outside.
"No one will know what I am!"
"You're a hobo!"

2) I actually was a hobo one halloween and we kept the plastic cigar and bindle on a stick that the costume came with, so those things were given to me at the last minute, every year.

Anyway, I know the sexy costume discussion is brought up annually, but it really has become ridiculous. Think of any costume you've had throughout your life, add "sexy" in front of it, and I'll bet you a sexy dollar they sell it somewhere on the internets. Mark my words, by October 31, 2009, Sexy Crayon and Sexy Pumpkin will be making out together somewhere in America. In the meantime, these are for real.

Sexy Dirty Cop
Sexy Queen Bee
Sexy Rag Doll
Sexy Army Nurse
Sexy Lady Bug. (really?)
Candy Corn Witch Sexy Costume
Sexy Gangsta Lady
Sassy Gangster Jumpsuit Adult Costume (for the sexy gangsta lady's business meeting)
Sexy Pirate Booty (well played)
Sexy Victorian Pirate
Sexy Renaissance Pirate (because there's a serious difference in period piece costume design)
Vixen Pirate Wench (out of stock)
Buccaneer Beauty
Playboy Buccaneer Beauty
Sexy Zorro
Sexy Ghostbuster
and Sexy Hobo (which is just the bindle and the cigar. brrr.)

V's co-worker is going as "The Conspicuous Ninja," wearing brightly colored spandex, bells, and covering his sneakers in bubble wrap so it snaps when he walks. I'm sorry, but one funny play on words costume is sexier than all of the above combined. Puns and ninjas beat out Sexy Candy Corn Witch every time. And seriously, what the hell is a candy corn witch?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your Call Is Important To Us.

Robocalls were the big story on cable news yesterday. Apparently the automated calls are growing nastier and more frequent, inundating and annoying the voters in key swing states. CNN reported that studies show "half of us hang up on our robo friends" while "other voters listen angrily and then hang up." Question. How were those studies conducted? Over the phone? And how scientific is a study that concludes that all telephone calls end with someone hanging up?

It's a sad commentary on our times that 12 days before the most important election of our generation, the issue news networks are covering concerns not wanting to go over our monthly minutes. Joe Biden recently insisted that McCain stop the robocalls sent out by his campaign, saying, "John, stop your ads! Bring down those robocalls!" Kind of has a "Tear down this wall!" vibe to it, only, it's about pre-recorded messages. Imagine the historic significance of a Reagan speech that demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, stop calling my home during the dinner hour!"

Aside from spreading untruths and being ridiculously annoying, the robocall thing is upsetting in that it shows us how little politicians have learned about America. Namely, that if you absolutely must use robocalling techniques, you absolutely must hire Samuel L. Jackson to record the message. No one is going to stay on the line while Giuliani bashes Obama, but if Samuel L. Jackson had a few things to say about Snakes on the Straight Talk Express, I'd probably put the call on speakerphone.

Note: Given the nature of the name Robocall, it's nearly impossible not to think of RoboCop. I really wanted this post to be about RoboCop, but I'm not sure I've ever actually seen that movie, so I came up with very little. I did, however, stumble across the tagline for the 1987 film. "Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement." And I thought to myself, why is this not the tagline formula for every movie? And then (true story) I stumbled across the tagline for Beverly Hills Chihuahua-- "50% Warrior. 50% Lover. 100% Chihuahua"-- and realized that it already is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Suspended Disbelief.

This has been a hell of a week for suspension.

David Blaine started it off on Monday by hanging upside down over Central Park for 60 hours. MAGIC! Only, he didn't actually remain suspended for the entire 60 hours. Cameras caught him taking breaks, standing on platforms and stopping for water about once an hour. In an article in the TimesOnline, Veronica Schmidt quoted a spectator as saying, “Finally, after 15 minutes or so, Blaine went back to being upside-down. There wasn’t much to see. He just hung.”

Anyone who as ever been a babysitter has probably seen a living room version of this stunt as a little kid hangs upside down over the side of a sofa.

John McCain was obviously so impressed by Blaine's illusion that he decided to pull a suspension trick of his own. Calling for the suspension of his campaign to deal with the financial crisis, McCain hinted that the debate scheduled for tonight would have to be canceled, he skipped an appearance on David Letterman ("you work on commission right? big mistake, big! HUGE!"), and pulled an impressive disappearing act from the political stage that would make Sarah Palin proud. Is it just me, or do you see some sort of traveling magic show in the future for these two? Something involving shooting rabbits in a hat from a helicopter.

Anyway, in the same way that bystanders in Central Park were utterly unimpressed by forty-five minute intervals of David Blaine's purple face, Americans and the media called McCain's bluff. They spotted the wire, or the mirror, or the hidden tiger, or dove up his sleeve or whatever other magic analogy you want to use. People, you can't suspend a campaign! There's no crying in baseball, there's no basement in the Alamo, and there's no suspension in politics! Where did he honestly think he was going to go during this suspension? Washington?! Did he forget that there are a couple of cameras in DC right now covering the death of money?

The Great McCain's trick was up when he arrived in the Capitol and people noticed that his campaign suspension simply meant that instead of helping to reach a financial agreement, or facing Obama on the issues, or actually running for president, he just hung.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Might I Suggest A Bake Sale.

I pay attention to the news, but I usually zone out during the stock market stuff because the flashy charts and ticker thing scrolling along the bottom of the screen at the speed of sound make me dizzy. So all I ever hear is "blerg blah blah...Bear Stearns..blah blah, Fannie/Freddy...blerg blah...oil....bloop blah...subprime... blah blah blee poptarts..." and then i'm like, "Hold up. Poptarts?" until I realize I just want a breakfast pastry and I shut off the TV.

But to use a lyric from an old Alan Greenspan song, "The economy is fucked, and I hope you have a new place to stay because chances are you don't live here anymore, and the government now owns all of this Wall Street debt meaning you taxpayers out there are basically screwed for a few years while we try to figure this out. Baby."

That song was called, "Milkshake" and later remixed by Kelis, where it lost most of its economic undertones.

I won't go into a rant about the state of things and how we got here, but I have to question these huge government bailouts for these irresponsible companies. Yesterday the Fed gave the failing insurance company AIG an 85 billion dollar loan saying the economy would be in worse shape if the company was just left to die. OK, I don't know if that's true or not, but dude. $85 BILLION??!!! And we're giving that money to a company that has clearly demonstrated that they can't handle their ish. It boggles the mind.

I'm sick of Wall Street giants messing with everything and then pulling a Steve Urkel, "Did I do that?" when Americans start to feel the strain. And I'm even more upset with the fact that the government just keeps throwing money at these businesses that didn't really try to help themselves.

When we were in school and needed money for a school trip, what did we do? We sold shit. We made everyone we knew buy $1 candy bars and crappy coupon books. Yes, it sucked, but it usually worked. If companies like Lehman Brothers had stopped whining for five minutes to pick up a big-ass case of M&M's and sold about one hundred million of them in the subway, maybe they'd still be around. And if someone in Washington had told the people at Bear Stearns or AIG to have a car wash to raise funds before asking for federal cash-monet, maybe normal citizens wouldn't be so mad right now.

All these Wall Street big shots were bright enough to make millions of dollars for themselves while creating this mess. The very least they could do before having the rest of us pay for their mistakes is bake and sell a few hundred billion trays of brownies. That's all I'm saying.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Are You Doing To My Towels?

While shopping in Philly over the weekend we overheard a sales clerk mention to a customer, "Just so you know, we're having a special today and anything you buy can be mammogramed for free."

The customer paused for a second before asking the girl to repeat herself.

"We're giving away free mammograms with purchase."

Standing next to a giant sewing machine in the store, I glanced up at a line of people waiting to have their initials put on polos.

Smiling to myself about the obvious mistake, I grabbed a sweater from the shelf and made my way to the dressing room, just to be sure.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Picture Day.

Typing "picture day" immediately reminded me of picture days in school. Those were pretty much the worst, right? All of my school pictures were taken before the golden age of digital photography so whenever the photo packages arrived with the 8x10 of my non-smile and half-closed eyes peering through the window of the Lifetouch envelope, I just shoved the whole thing in my bag before my friends could ask to see. Kids always compared photo packages too for some reason. Like your parents loved you more somehow if you signed up for package A, which came with 105 pictures, as opposed to package E, which came with a yearbook photo and one wallet.

The photographer's main job was to pass out combs, as if it was going to be a fly-away hair that ruined the picture and not his shoddy work or the ridiculous background choices. Sitting in front of a neon green or bright purple background was wonderful for a child of the 80's. All of my elementary school pictures look like advertisements for highlighters. But the really exciting backgrounds like "outer space" or "autumn" were the most memorable. I have a space picture. I also have one in which I'm sitting in front of what appear to be lasers. All of those pictures are still in my parents' house, shoved in drawer of the dining room hutch.

My sisters and I recently met up with Deb and Steve to have a family picture taken. I know a lot of families do this regularly (and include a pic with their holiday update letters, letting the world know how great their lives are, even though no one asked) but my family has never actually taken one together. So because we were all able to meet at the same time, my mom scheduled a session and we went to have our first ever professional family photo.

We all decided to wear white button-down shirts and jeans because it's classic and because we always wanted to be in a Gap commercial. I've mentioned before how I have a terrible sweating problem, so I refused to put my shirt on until the very last minute and had to keep explaining to the photographer that I had my shirt with me, and I'd put it on when she was ready. She claimed she was ready so I got dressed and 25 minutes later, as she was still setting up lights, my shirt was ruined.

My mom's one request before going into the studio was that she didn't want to sit on the floor. "It can be a casual picture, I just don't want to get on the ground." So of course, once we were ready to take our places the photographer said, "I want to try a few different things. To start, mom, why don't we have you lay here on the floor." and my mom happily agreed. The photographer arranged the rest of us and started to take the pictures, using different suggestions of things people might find exciting to get us to smile. The problem with this was that my dad finds everything exciting, and agrees with almost anything people say. So as she was using her smile technique, my dad kept turning around to tell us how great her ideas sounded.

Photographer: OK, Martin Family! You're going on a cruise!
Dad: Oh, a cruise girls! That sounds like fun!
Photographer: Mr. Martin, up here please. OK, and you just won the lottery!
Dad: Oh! Better get those tickets, today might be our lucky day!
Photographer: Just a smile please. Keep your head facing the camera. And, you're out at your favorite restaurant.
Dad: Oh, Jess, what was that place in San Francisco? The rolls!

By the end of the session the photographer was just saying "smile."

We took a whole bunch of cheesy family pictures and then my sisters and I wanted to take a few together, so the woman asked my mom and dad to get up and step aside. However, my mom had been seated on the floor for quite awhile, and her knees were not agreeing with her, so she was having some trouble getting up. Sabrina gave her a hand, but apparently my mom was just going dead-weight, so my dad rushed over to help, sort of lifting her from behind, as Bri pulled on her arms. By this point my mom was giddy, and she started to fall back a little so I went over to assist my dad and Sabrina but realized that my mom wasn't making any effort whatsoever to help herself up. Naturally, this made me burst out laughing as Nessa shouted at the photographer to take the picture. "This should be the family picture. Please take it!"

She didn't. But I'm thinking of having a portrait of the scene painted.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Our Future Is Not A Blended Beverage.

For the entire campaign, the Republican Party has sounded something like this: Pay no attention to the concrete facts of the last 8 years because those things are all about to change. Using the same traditional organic GOP ingredients (truthiness, gut politics, restricting civil liberties, and ignoring a growing class of "have-nots") John McCain is gearing up to make something incredibly new and delicious.

"But wait," you say. "If John McCain is using the same ingredients, how will the product be any different?"
Well, foolish consumer, we're blending all the old solid stuff together so that you can't really see it anymore and it goes down easier. Solid to liquid. That's change that the phases of matter demand you believe in! Plus, you drink it! With a straw!
"But I still don't see--"
I'm sorry, no more questions at this time.

John McCain's change is a smoothie. If there is difference and change in his plans I'm having trouble deciphering. Sometimes I get a little piece of something crunchy, but I think it's most likely a raspberry seed. I can see the allure of a Smoothie Plan. Bush gave us two terms of Garbage Plates so we're all looking for a more sensible option. But don't blend up a Garbage Plate, offer me a free boost, and expect me to think I'm at Jamba. I'm not suddenly going to think that conservative policies are good for me because they're mixed with whey protein, or that limiting a woman's right to have a say over her own body, or pretending gay people don't exist somehow makes sense when served with a smile.

And while Jamba Juice recently discontinued the "Femme Boost" from the list of free boosts it offers because many smoothie enthusiasts didn't want vaginas (I'm not sure that's the actual reason, please don't sue me Jamba), John McCain, maverick that he is, thought to bring that femme boost into his campaign--proving the old adage, "Political Strategy is like a nine dollar smoothie."

Choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate was clever, I'll give him that. The Republicans were obviously thinking of the thousands, maybe millions of Hillary supporters who are still steamed about her loss and Obama's failure to put her on the ticket and McCain's team concluded that CLEARLY, women will vote for a woman just because she's a woman, regardless of her policies. I'm sure the brief sent to McCain about the Palin choice included a copy of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with a post-it attached that read: You see? They all stick together no matter what! It's genius!

Palin was the best choice for the McCain Campaign in that people are now actually talking about the McCain Campaign, but no one has gone so far as to mention what flavor she brings to the mix. She's new, and exciting, and made a joke about a dog wearing lipstick. That's good enough for Washington. I saw a picture of someone holding a sign at a rally that read, "Sarah, you had us at Hello." Are you serious? The person holding that sign better stay out of Wal-Mart because they're going to want to nominate every elderly person who greets them at the door. And are we really kicking it back to the Jerry Maguire references for this campaign? McCain's next speech will include a variation of the "Ask not what your country can do for you" line when he pleads, "Help me, help you! Help ME! Help YOU!" or maybe, "My friends, do you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?" And the crowd will start to cheer in unison, "8-pounds, U-S-A! 8-pounds, U-S-A!" as Palin slaughters a moose that has been brought out onstage.

In the last two weeks Palin has brought so much attention to the tired blend of old ideas that McCain has been trying to push that people have overlooked that John McCain is trying to sell us a tired blend of old ideas. My biggest fear is that we'll all realize too late that something tastes familiar.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Like A Golden Books Title.

"I'm in a relationship for three years. His name is William, but really his name is Ratbones."

Right.

I have to say, Stella from Project Runway is really growing on me. She usually has the best line in every episode, like when she said a lot of bikers in this country watch the Olympics or when she reminds us for the 100th time that she "doesn't do this." The best part of the show this week, perhaps the best part of any reality show ever, was when Stella made a phone call to her boyfriend, Ratbones.

"Uh, guess who?"
Pause.
"It's me."

People with names like Ratbones usually don't like guessing games. Remind me to tell you about the time I was paired up with a man named Snakepiss for The $10,000 Pyramid.

Anyway, I guess the two of them want to start a label together, but don't you think "Stella and Ratbones" is a name better suited for a series of children's books?
"Stella and Ratbones Make Leather Vests"
"Stella and Ratbones and the Adventures of the Bad-Ass Kitten"
"Stella and Ratbones Meet Their Biker Friends To Watch Old Kerri Strug Footage."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Have A New Fridge Request.

Kevin J. O'Brien wrote an interesting article in the NYT discussing advances in home technology and the push within the consumer electronic industry to have all appliances connected to the internet--all of them. O'Brien writes, "a world in which televisions, stereos and computers — even dishwashers and refrigerators — can communicate with each other over a wireless home network."

Hmm, let's think about this for a second. Ignoring the fact that a household full of inanimate objects that can talk seems like something straight out of Pee-Wee's Playhouse (Let's get Chairy a Wii and a Wireless router), can you imagine how annoying this would be? When someone has a computer in front of them, or their Blackberry, or their iphone, it's obvious that they're not paying attention to you. And usually that's OK because you're probably texting someone else anyway and it's nice to be alone, together. But to have every appliance in your house connected to the internet and talking to each other?! You'd never get any respect. It's a binary code recipe for disaster. Oh, and you better get used to reading binary recipes because when you ask your oven to print out granny's favorite cookie recipe it's going to come out like this: "001010001010101111001010.11110001010101000010010. 100010101010010010110010. 1001010100100100 11100010010010010001110 1010110101 10101010010101 10101110."
Followed by some sort of tongue sticking out of oven emoticon.

Imagine how difficult it will be to wash the dishes or veg in front of TV when everything you own is online, meeting other appliances on e-harmony and poking things they met at Best Buy. You'll no longer be able to open the fridge to grab a beer, you'll have to send an IM request to the fridge to see if it's a good time. Every command will be typed over the internet, but because all of your appliances will be busy updating their blogs, you'll have trouble reaching them. Suddenly getting in touch with your stereo will be as difficult as tr ying to meet up with that friend you keep playing phone tag with. I give you, the future.

[Microwave Request On]: I want some tea.
Microwave: Talk to the stove.
You: No, it takes too long and I want to go to bed. Please? It'll only take a minute.
[Incoming Message from Stove]: WTF?
You: Oh, sorry. No, you know what i mean. it's just... i have to fill the kettle...wait for it to boil.
Stove: No, you know what? save it. [Stove has signed off]
You: So microwave, what's the deal?
Microwave: I'm busy.
You: It's after midnight, what are you doing?
Microwave: Looking at porn.
You: sears.com isn't porn.
Microwave: Oh yes it is.
You: You're disgusting.
[Microwave is away]

[Stereo Request On]: Hey could you play the cd i have in there.
Stereo: brb.

[TV Request On]: Show TiVo list.
TV: oh hi.
You: Show TiVo list.
TV: Oh, i should tell you that i cleared out your list to make room for all of Ken Burns's documentaries. PBS is playing them back to back.
You: You're never going to watch all those!
TV: I know, but i feel smarter just having them there.

[Incoming message from fridge]: Yo, you're going to need milk for tomorrow morning.
You: You're telling me now?!
Fridge: Sorry, lost track of time. Also, something in the vegetable drawer smells rank.
You: I'll get in in the morning.
Fridge: I'd prefer you do it now.
You: I'm going to bed, I'll throw it away in the morning.
Fridge: You suck. I hate it here. We all hate it here.
You: Is that true?
Fridge: Yes. Some of us were talking and we want to be donated to the kidney foundation
You: I think that's only for cars.
Fridge: Well then we want to be treated better around here. No more abrasive cleaning products. And Coffee-Maker deserves a day off every once in a while. It's just a respect thing.
You: Yea, OK. you're right. I'm sorry. I'll clean the drawer. Hey fridge?
Fridge: Yea?
You: Are you still running?
Fridge: Yea, of course I'm always run-- Oh, wait a minute! YOU! That gets me every time!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ten Things To Do Before London 2012.

Well, the Olympic Games were fantastic. A 17-day exercise in having my mind blown. It all started at the Opening Ceremony where we played my new favorite game, "Are People Under Those Boxes?" (Note: My old favorite game "Hat or Hair?" is still a classic and the rules are simple. When someone with large hair or a furry type hat walks by, ask, "Hat or Hair?" The answer never really matters. If you're bright enough to ask, you win.) In China, it seems that the answer to the "Are people under Those Boxes?" question is always yes. People were under everything during that ceremony. Chinese people are the Russian Dolls of people. No country will ever top that ceremony. Ever. The organizers for London's Opening Event should just blare The Clash throughout the stadium and have Harry Potter sitting in a spotlight eating fish and chips, because to put any more effort into it would be silly.

The mind-blowing continued throughout the Games. This is a small list.

*Synchronized swimming. Did you see this?!! I mean, seriously, it's not human. Absolutely amazing considering the sport was invented at a fourth-grader's pool party after everyone got sick of making a whirlpool.

*Ping Pong (mainly because the athletes had to chase after their own balls showing the world that if it's played in your parents' garage or at the Olympics, the game doesn't change)

*The Weightlifting event I watched where the announcer described the weight one man was lifting like this: "Go grab the family next door, put the husband, the wife, the kids, all on a bar and then throw it over your head."

*All things Phelps. The kid's insane. Michael Phelps was declared a national hero, the most popular person in the world, the greatest athlete of all time, Employee of the Month, Miss America 2009, and Bob Costas went on record saying he was in love with him. I also enjoyed the personal life piece NBC put together that showed Phelps sleeping with his dog before getting up and eating cereal, playing Guitar Hero, and going to a Chinese buffet by himself. People, if that's the formula then I should be the greatest Olympian in the history of the universe.

* And two former SU rowers won medals for their countries! This one is huge. Anna Goodale brought home Gold for America and Helen Tanger gave the Netherlands Silver. When we used to run stairs for crew I remember Helen sprinting around the Dome yelling, "Two at a time for strength!" as I ran one at a time. It helps explain why she's an Olympic Silver medalist and why I seriously debated buying one of these things for my apartment.


But if I want to make it to the 2012 games as an athlete, I have to get my act together. By then I'll be 30, and that seems like my last chance, unless I want to do something like shooting because that sport's motto seems to imply that age doesn't matter. "Got A Finger? Then You Can Shoot!" (I forgot that shooting was an Olympic game but then I remembered the Winter event where people cross-country ski and stop occasionally to shoot at things. Makes sense. Because when I think skiing, I think, bring the gun.) So here's my list of things to do before 2012.

1) Stretch.
2) Research Rhythmic Gymnastic Supply Stores
3) Buy Ribbon on a stick
4) Buy leotard
5) Shuffle through ipod for ultimate floor routine song. (Note to self: Revisit Baha Men)
6) Practice waving ribbon on a stick
7) Eat Cereal
8) Play Guitar Hero
9) Eat 12,000 calories a day at Chinese buffet
10) Stretch. I know I said it twice, but it really is important.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unofficial Gallup Poll.

What Will Be The Most Popular Halloween Costume For 2008?

a) Batman
b) The Pregnant Man
c) The Pregnant Batman

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"It's a beautiful name for a boy or a girl. Especially a girl... Or a boy."

"I defy you to come up with a better name than Seven."
"Alright, let's see... How about Mug? Mug Costanza. That's original. Or Ketchup. Pretty name for a girl."
"Alright... You having a good time now?"
"I've got fifty right here in the cupboard... How about Bisquick? Pimento? Gherkin? Sauce? Maxwell House?"
"Alright already!"

Seinfeld never ceases to be relevant.

We were talking about "The Seven" episode last night while watching Project Runway because I was convinced that one of the models was named Candle.
-Did she just say Candle?
-I think so.
-That girl's name is Candle?
-Yeah, I guess.
-Happy Birthday, Candle. How about mug?
It turns out her name was Kendall, but after hearing Candle a few times, I decided that she looked more like a Candle than a Kendall. And actually, compared to what celebrities call their kids, Candle isn't such a weird name. (Unrelated story: One time I was in Yankee Candle and saw a sign that said "Please Don't Eat The Candles.")

Anyway, I thought of the bizarre name thing again today after reading an article about a young girl in New Zealand who had to have her named changed by a family court judge. The name given to her by her parents was Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, and the judge felt the name set her up with a social disability. The article didn't mention her last name but it really would have been another nail in the coffin if it was Weiner.

I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, kids can be cruel, and she'd probably have people doing the hula dance around her until she turned 19. I can see how that could get old. (Talk to poor Macarena Weiner. She never got over it). But on the other hand, no one would EVER forget her name. That's huge.

People are always forgetting my name. My parents--who named me--have trouble remembering. My neighbor, who I met probably 7 times before moving in here, and now see everyday while walking the dog, always introduces himself to me. What does my name have to be for you to remember that we've met 75 times? I have to say, Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii is looking pretty good.

And how many repeated names do you have in your cell phone? It's hard to tell people apart, right? No one will ever delete her from their cellphone after thinking to themselves, "Hmm, Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii...Did I meet her through work? Or was it at that party? The area code looks familiar, but I just can't think of who that might be. Talula...Hmm...Does The Hula...Hmm...From Hawaii...Nope, not ringing any bells."

The article said that the girl's new name wasn't made public because the court wanted to protect her identity. However, I saw a few reports online that said the judge overseeing the case was leaning toward Candle.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shall We?

If a pollster called you right this second and asked you to name the one thing America needs more of, what would you say?

More dance shows. Exactly.

Because while candidates and the media keep talking about healthcare, Iraq, the economy, and the environment, what this nation really needs right now is a another televised tutorial about how to dance. It's not enough that we all know how to pop it. We also need to learn and understand what it means to lock, and drop it. It's called current events, people. Pay attention. And to date, there just haven't been enough shows on TV to dispense all the necessary information to the public.

So I was recently overjoyed to see an ad for a new dance show called Master of Dance. Without Master of Dance, those looking to learn about the issues could only turn to this tiny list of dance shows:

Dancing With The Stars
America's Best Dance Crew
America's Best Dance Crew Season 2 (But shouldn't it actually be called America's Second Best Dance Crew?)
Step It Up And Dance
So You Think You Can Dance?
Your Mama Don't Dance
Dance War: Bruno vs. CarryAnn
Dancelife
The Deadliest Dance on the Discovery Channel
Ice Road Dancers
Law & Order: Flap Ball Change Unit
Iron Dance America
How I Met Your Dancer
My House is Worth Dance?
Ellen
And Dance Dance Dance Dance Dance which is currently in pre-production

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today's Secret Word Is...Tomato.

Listen carefully to the conversations of those next to you on trains, in restaurants, or at the market and you are sure to hear one word: Tomato. If salmonella and food recalls teach us anything, it's that people love to talk about salmonella and food recalls. People love to talk about foods they can't eat in general (See: Vegans, vegetarians, those with gluten allergies, and every elderly person alive) but the food recall puts everyone in the same boat. Suddenly, we all can't eat the same foods and if we don't tell someone about it, our heads might explode.

The E. coli in spinach had everyone talking a few years ago. I was working in the food industry during that time and nearly every person I spoke with asked about spinach.
"Is it safe to eat spinach yet?"
"Well, I can't eat spinach, I know that. But do you have something like spinach?"
"Are you serving spinach?" "Yes." "YOU ARE?!" "No, I was just kidding." "You shouldn't joke! The E. coli!"

Mad Cow had people talking for years, but I think most Americans thought of it as the Pop Rocks/Pepsi urban legend because the subject was usually only brought up over a burger. "Oh, this looks good. Hope I don't get mad cow!" (note: a rancher with many heads of cattle is said to have "mad cow" and this only added to the confusion during the whole beef scare)

But this tomato thing really has people talking. I've had three people in the last two days tell me how upset they were that they couldn't get tomatoes on their sandwiches. Really? The tomato absence ruined your day?
"Was it a BLT?"
"No."

This morning a stranger at the produce shop in our neighborhood (ironically called Top Tomato) started to list for me the tomatoes I could and couldn't eat. I was buying bananas.

And while out to eat last night, a debate at our table began concerning an appetizer that contained tomatoes. In a tone very similar to a child's declaration of bravery, a friend said with a shaking head, "I'm not scared. I'm not scared of tomatoes."

If you want to try a fun social experiment, casually slip into conversation that you're on an all-tomato diet and see what happens. If at least one complete stranger doesn't scream at you, I'll give you a tomato.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Sure I Am a Coward.

So it's been unbearably hot in New York. I was going to put up a little post about the heat called "Baking Like a Toasted Cheeser," but it was mostly about how much I sweat and the fact that no matter how I look when I leave the apartment, I always arrive at my destination looking like a crack addict. I will say though, the heat has not deterred tourists from taking rides in those human rickshaws. How can people ride in those things? Having a person pull you around like a horse while you sit and enjoy the view? The people who employ these pullers in this heat are without a doubt sadists and I find myself giving them dirty looks as they pass. Most of them are probably wondering, "Why is that sweaty homeless girl staring at us?"
But I digress.

A break from the heat finally came last night in the form of a breeze during Shakespeare In The Park's production of Hamlet. During one of Hamlet's monologues, the breeze started to pick up slightly and leaves from the park started to swirl around the actor. Everyone in the audience thought this was pretty sweet and even the actor looked weirded out by his apparent control of the weather. He raised his voice and the intensity of his words grew. With that, the wind grew. More leaves and wind whipped around the stage while lightning started to flash from behind the theatre. The entire audience turned to see if it was a lighting effect. The wind picked up faster. Hamlet's character, screaming now in a storm on stage, raised his sword (idiot, there's lightning) and everyone in the audience cheered while turning to look at everyone else to figure out what the hell was going on.

I'm not going to lie, it was creepy. I heard people in front of me and behind me say that they were getting scared and maybe they were thinking about King Hamlet's ghost but I was more concerned with the fact that the entire set was made of metal and the lightning was still flashing. I looked to Bob and my sisters, who were at the show with me, and we were all like, "Let's get the hell out of here."

So we jumped up out of our seats and followed the other people who were running out of the theatre to avoid the thunderstorm. By this point, the wind was crazy. I can't stress this enough. Ushers were yelling at people to leave the park while Sabrina calmly approached one of them and asked, "Now who do I speak to about possible tickets for a make-up performance?" The usher looked at her and screamed, "Get out of here! It's dangerous!"

That's all I needed to hear. I'm terrible in emergency situations and as soon as even part of my worst case scenario thoughts are confirmed, I run. People exiting the theatre ran, but no one was running to leave the park so I started shouting "Anon! Run! Posthaste!" because those seemed like the things to shout in an emergency situation at a Shakespeare performance. People still didn't run. It wasn't until I started jumping over huge branches that had snapped off trees that everyone around me started picking up their pace. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that I yelled, "The trees are falling! The trees!"

Lightning flashed again and again and I thought of the metal buckle on my bag as a lightning rod so I held it out away from me as Bob and I ran faster through the park. Wearing his sunglasses to fight the flying debris he shouted, "This is fun! Let's go get a drink!"

I began to run in zig-zags because I thought I remembered reading that you should do that if heavy branches were falling off trees in parks. Or was that if you were being chased by a car? Or being shot at? I couldn't remember. I just kept running because the visual of me being crushed by a branch kept popping into my head. We ended up running into an open lawn with fewer trees and jumped a gate to get out of the park. Waiting at the corner to run across the street to the subway, I noticed that Brina and Ness weren't with us. When they finally emerged from the park they immediately started yelling. Apparently Ness had been following me but got caught in a bush trying to jump the gate and I didn't hear her shouts for help because I was already gone. Sabrina had tried to keep pace but I broke out into unnatural speeds after seeing the falling branches and she didn't see where I went. Who knew I could run like that?? Maybe I should pull a rickshaw.

Anyway, I think people's true colors shine through in situations like this.
I was convinced I was going to die by branch, Sabrina was looking for comp tickets or the name of the person in charge of the theatre so she could list her grievances about how the staff was trained, Ness was just going along with what everyone else was doing, and Bob was looking for a cocktail.

At least it cooled down outside.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Before E, Party People.

I heard three similar songs in a row yesterday on the radio and then waited for the DJ to mention something about the theme, but he did not. It's possible that he didn't plan or notice the resemblance because it seems to be an increasingly popular trend in P-O-P-ular music.

Spelling out words in songs has become about as common as the use of the words baby, or girl, or club. Actually, I'm pretty sure that if you just spelled out Baby, Girl, and Club, and then put a catchy little beat under it with a few instructions to clap, you'd have a hit on your hands.
I saw you in the c-l-u-b (clap clap clap)
You were standing next to m-m-m-me (clap clap clap)
B-a-b-y can't you see (clap clap clap)
G-i-r-l
And that doesn't even rhyme, or make sense, or sound good. And that's ok. There's a song out now about an elevator. Anything goes.

The three songs I heard on the radio were Fergie's "Glamorous," Danity Kane's "Damaged," and a guy named Webbie with "Independent." (Webbie really kept it street with his rap name. I definitely feel more confident with my choice to go with Baby Bok Choy as my name for my debut EP)

Fergie and Will-i-am basically took the spelling thing to its extremes on their own. Will-i-am incorporated it into his name. That's dedication. D to the E to the dication. In "Glamorous," F to the E,R,G the I the E shows us that glamour means being able to spell glamorous many times. Also, she shows us that one word can take up the entire hook of your song if you spell it slowly enough--a lesson for all you aspiring song writers out there. Can't think of more lyrics? No problem. Just pick a word to spell, and then slow it down.

In their song, "Damaged," Danity Kane (could Sean John P.Puff Diddy Daddy please stop making the band?) asks with perfect spelling:

"Can you fix my h-e-a-r-t?
Cause it's d-a-m-a-g-e-d"

This song is about heart disease and has a serious message about plaque buildup. It is also not very g-o-o-d.

My boy Webbie holds it down with perhaps the best spelling lesson of the year with his song "Independent." "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that mean?" I've heard this song twice and haven't stopped spelling independent since. I'm thinking of switching political parties.

Spelling words in song isn't going anywhere and I imagine it will grow. Soon there will be entire songs spelled out so that while you're driving down the road listening to the radio you'll be like, "H-A-N-D-S U-P, R-N-B-Y-C-O-T-K-V...what's this song about?..." [crash].
And imagine the pressure at the club. Not only do you have to dress right and dance well, but now you have to be a good speller. People at clubs are going to start overhearing things like, "Yeah, she's cute, but she misspelled neighbor."

Note: I'm not really into the club scene, go figure, but just so you know, "bub" as in "bottle full o' bub" is referring to champagne, NOT bubbles. I made that tragic error when I showed up to Les Deux with this thing:


Anyway, I'm hoping the pop-spelling will work into an educational tool somehow, like School House Rock feat. Timbaland and Mnemonic Device. Look for these upcoming tracks:

The K is silent, fool
Spell Check on AutoCorrect
Except After C
and Sound it Out.

That ish would be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fire! Just Kidding.

Was there ever a less necessary day than April Fool's Day? I think life is absurd enough without having fake poop be the hallmark for an entire day of the year.

For those as clumsy as myself, calling any day "Fool's Day" seems redundant. I suppose there's a small comfort that on the first of April one could play off their own foolishness with an interjection of, "April Fools!" but that's such a tiny variation of what is said every other day. Nine times out of ten something I say or do is followed by silence so I find that I'm forever attaching "Just kidding" as a footnote, to sort of spackle over the awkwardness. Even when I'm serious I'll usually say just kidding, just in case. But April Fool's has never been about getting out of socially awkward situations. It's about stepping in them. It's about having them pushed in your face. It's about falling on them, smelling them, tasting them, having them squirted at you, or wearing them on your back for a few hours as people kick you. But at some point a rubber chicken might be involved, so all's forgiven. (If someone can explain to me how/why a rubber chicken is funny, I'd be very grateful.) ,

I've always been too lazy to get into practical jokes. As the name suggests, it's the doing of something, the "practice" of a joke, and who are we kidding? I never practiced my saxophone, why would I spend a few hours saran-wrapping the toilet? Clever word play takes almost no time and you can stay seated, so I stick to those types of jokes. But I am somewhat interested in the psychology surrounding the practical joke. It's the quickly changing series of emotions that you'd be hardpressed to find anywhere else. Trust, confusion, surprise, anger, embarrassment, all followed immediately by the desire to do it to somebody else. What is that? People watch an unsuspecting person fall into the traps of the practical they've just fallen for and laugh, forgetting that a few minutes ago, they were that guy. I guess we all just want to feel equally stupid.

You know that in this clip the same thing had just happened to all the people involved, and they decided to stick around to see how others would react.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just Double Up on Hash Browns.

I saw something on the History Channel that said scientists believe pigs are as smart as 3-year-old humans. For real.

The study was conducted after researchers watched Babe: Pig In The City. The scientific community refused to test swine sophistication after the initial Babe release saying, "That was an isolated case of a miracle farm pig." But when Babe went to the city scientists believed it would be irresponsible not to investigate further. Farm pigs don't go to cities. Pigs might be 3-year-olds.

I didn't catch how the actual studies went but I imagine coloring was involved. Or perhaps the testing took place on a playground. Pigs with monitoring devices attached to their heads playing in a sandbox or pushing each other on swings.

Personally, I've always hated breakfast meat and ham makes me so sick I can't even tell you. I don't want to tell you how to eat but the next time you order that lumberjack breakfast or whatever, know that your bacon probably knew its ABC's.

Addition: I googled Lumberjack Breakfast just to make sure there was meat in there, and found this recipe with cooking instructions. Please take note of the note they've included. 6 Ordinary people, or one mutantly large hardworking lumberjack.

Ingredients :
12 x Eggs
1 lb Bacon
1 lb Ham,thickly sliced
1 lb Sausage links
12 lrg Pancakes
1 qt Orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 lb Sliced bread, (or biscuits)
1 pt Maple syrup
1 lb Butter
1 qt Strong black coffee

Method: Cook eggs to order. Fry bacon, ham and sausage. Prepare pancakes. Toast bread or bake biscuits. Prepare fresh-squeezed orange juice. Prepare coffee strong and black. Great day-starter for hardworking lumberjacks.

Note: Six ordinary people can easily share one lumberjack serving.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Careful, This Plate Is Hot.

We've seen it a thousand times. The server arrives at your table holding a steaming hot dish of whatever and tries to speak through a burning-hand-grimace. "This plate is very very hot. Please enjoy."

The server turns to grab the pepper mill and some idiot at your table moves the dish. "Ow, that's hot."

This is usually the same person who boasts of his/her tolerance to spice. "I love spicy food!" And then three bites into the Vindaloo shouts, "Gahhhk, too spicy!"

These people are related to the, "Yes, I can drink a gallon of milk in one sitting" folks, the, "Punch me as hard as you can" clan, and the, "I bet that paint's not still wet" posse. (To be fair, we're all in that posse. A "wet paint" sign is a magnet for fingertips. What are we all trying to prove?)

I think about these types of people and wonder what their family get-togethers must look like. Probably just a regular BBQ with a lot of exclamations of "Shit!" "Ouch" "Crap!" "OK, let's go again!"

I've never had much tolerance for dares and the "Jackass" phenomenon escaped me on every level. Doing something ridiculous on purpose makes no sense to me. I do stupid stuff by accident all the time. To go out of my way to plan my foolishness would require far too much energy. If I wait long enough, it'll probably happen on its own. I remember playing the board game Girl Talk as a kid and on all the dares I'd look at everyone and be like, "Now why would I do that? Five minutes from now by some unfortunate series of events, my underwear probably will be over my pajamas anyway. I'll take my chances. Oh, the zit sticker? Yea, that's fine, I'll just use it to hide this real zit."

But there's something interesting about the human condition when it comes to experiencing things for ourselves. It's sort of a, "Thank you LeVar, I believe I won't take your word for it" mentality as we all reach for the plate we're told not to touch.

Taser guns have sort of become the scotch bonnet peppers of contests to see what people can endure. Why are people so eager to volunteer to see what this feels like? I'll bet you a dollar it hurts. People don't line up on TV to get paper cuts, why do they think it's a good plan to be shot with a taser? Just take the zit sticker and sit it out, you'll thank me later.

Anyway, I was watching 60 Minutes last night and caught this report about a new military device called a Ray-Gun. It sends out intense bursts of heat and the Pentagon hopes to use it to get rid of crowds in a nonviolent way. I thought perhaps the reporter would stand in the line of fire once, to describe what it felt like, but honestly, he did it like 20 times.

All I wanted to do was yell, The plate is hot, idiot.
Also, I like how he shows up to his investigative report with plywood and a twin mattress, just in case.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Look, Same Great Taste.

There was a time in my life when the introduction of a new marshmallow charm, or berry variation, or coco conversion in a breakfast cereal would have basically made my morning. That period of time ended about a year ago. A year ago the guys I worked with thought it would be a good idea to make Rice Krispie Treats with Chocolate Lucky Charms used as a main ingredient substitution.
Obviously, I thought this was brilliant.
After eating almost enough of them to cause a permanent look of pain on my face, I learned that what goes down magically delicious does not come up that way.

Since then I've taken to eating a lot of spelt or Kashi products in the morning.

Here's a timeline of the events for your reference:


I guess the only reason I bring up the Lucky Charms thing is because America has reminded me of a giant box of sugary cereal lately. Every week a new flavor or charm is introduced with hype and the media act as the cartoon characters telling us all about it.

America The Cereal! Now With Superdelegates!
Where do they get all their power? Who cares! They can vote for the Democratic candidate of their choice and change an entire election! That's what we call super! Or do we call that kingmaking? No, right, we call it super! Look for the superdelegate marshmallow cape charm in your bowl of America. If you get enough, maybe you could be the Democratic nominee! Yum!

America The Cereal! Now With More Shameless Lies!
Have you ever wanted to know what lying under oath tastes like? It tastes good! When you can't make it to Congress to lie about drug use in baseball, but still have a craving, reach for America The Cereal. Covered in self-preservation, a lack of integrity, and misremembering, you'll really notice all the extra lies we've packed into every box. Raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth. These frosted little fibs are tasty!

America The Cereal! Helps Lower Economic Value!
High Cholesterol? A few extra pounds? Well, we can't help you with that. But studies have shown that replacing 2 meals a day with America the cereal can help lower your overall worth after two economic quarters. Some call it recession, we call it delicious! Housing crisis, oil prices, negative job growth, and a weak dollar (Hey dollar, talk to Major League Baseball--We'll get you strong in just a few butt injections) all combine to form a crunchy cluster of goodness. Kids say, "my cereal tastes sad!" And mothers agree. Sad cereal! Cool!

And don't forget to look for the prize! No, not in the box, silly! It's falling from the sky! That's right. For a limited time only, America The Cereal, in a joint effort with NASA and the American Military will offer you the chance to have a piece of the disabled spy satellite that is currently hurling toward earth! Nothing says "spy" quite like a bus-size satellite crashing through the atmosphere! Send two proofs of purchase along with a SASE and $4.95 s/h fee for a piece of the destroyed mass that we will attempt to shoot out of space! No purchase necessary. Void in AK and HA.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lacks Direction.

While stopped at a red light the other day my friends and I noticed two guys dancing with large signs. Each sign said, "OPEN HOUSE" and below that there was a huge arrow. The kids must have also been jugglers or something like that because they kept whipping the signs around in a circlular motion-- behind their backs, over their heads, through their legs-- it was crazy.

So we were sitting at the light sort of in awe of the spinning signs and my friend goes, "I'm confused. Which way are you supposed to go for the open house?"

Life is funny, right?
Looking at a sign with a giant arrow and still wondering, this way?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Strip Club.

I think I'm going to start a comic strip called "Blank Stare" based solely on the things I hear my father say.

The only problem with a comic strip is that I can't draw. So I'm simply going to use a dialogue bubble for each frame and then the last frame of every comic will be a photograph of my blank stare. Can it be considered a comic if you never actually draw? I can sketch a very convincing tree and sometimes a bug, so maybe I'll include those off to the corner of the dialogue bubbles and it can be like looking for the scroll in the Waldo books. People love stuff like that.

OK, so I haven't taken the time to actually put these ideas into comic strip form yet, nor have I taken a picture of my blank stare. I've literally just come up with the idea, give me a minute. But like I said, each frame is a talking bubble, last frame is a picture of a blank stare. It's not hard to visualize. And maybe try to imagine a little tree floating around somewhere.

Frame 1: Jackie Chan. Remember him? He's dead.
Frame 2: Jackie Chan's not dead.
Frame 3: Oh, good.
Frame 4: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Well, Oprah threw that huge party for Obama a while ago.
Frame 2: Oh, really? Are they in love?
Frame 3: Blank Stare.

Frame 1: Think I'll have my sandwich on a roll because that's how I roll. Get it?
Frame 2: Yea.
Frame 3: No, wait. I'm going to have it on a pita. That's how I roll. Get it?
Frame 4: Blank Stare.

For this next one it might be helpful to know that my parents live in Monroe County.

Frame 1: Deb, who was that guy from that Fantasy Island show in the 70's?
Frame 2: Ricardo Montalban?
Frame 3: Yes! Monroe Countybalm.
Frame 4: Blank Stare.

For this last one it might be helpful to know that my father saw Napoleon Dynamite for the first time a few months ago. And I feel like I'll want to use this comic like five times, because that's how many times it's been used as a message on my phone.

Frame 1: Jess, it's dad. Call me back you stupid llama.
Frame 2: Blank Stare.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hillary's On The Phone. Does Anyone Want To Say Hello?

My mom used to do this great thing when talking to electronic voices on the phone. All we ever heard was her side of the conversation that went something like, "Oh, Hi Stacy. Well, your calls are important to me too. Oh no, I never mind. How are your kids by the way? Oh boy, I know what that's like."

Eventually one of us would ask, "Who's on the phone?" and my mother would answer in a whisper, "It's Stacy. She's very busy," before pressing the speakerphone button and letting us in on the joke. As The Girl from Ipanema played over the phone Deb continued the fake conversation. "Stacy, I noticed before that you were speaking in Spanish. I take it you decided to visit Madrid after all."

Stuff like that always got a laugh out of me.

So today the phone rang and the caller ID said, "Friends of Hillary Clinton."
Hey, nice of them to call.

-Hello?
-Please hold for an important message from our friend.
-What's the deal, yo? Haven't heard from you fools in forever. Thought we were meeting up for Super Bowl.
-Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton.
-Hillary! Hills Bills! Hillaryous! What up, girl? I was just saying something to your buddy about Super Bowl. But Super Tuesday's more your slice of pie, right?
-Elections...I'll support...vote vote vote...
-Hey, is Bill there? He was sort of ruining your campaign there for a hot minute, huh? Tell him I say holler.
-Primary...vote vote vote...
-Aiight, I actually have to run. I'll call you soon though. No, really. Let's do brunch or something. Ok. You too, bye.

Hmm. I should probably get a job soon.

But how great would it be to come home to a bunch of voicemail if Hillary left pre-recorded messages that were like, "Hi, this is Hillary Clinton. I'm at the mall and my car won't start. Can you pick me up? Hello?... Are you there?... Hello?" And then called back and left another pre-recorded message that said, "Hi, it's me again. Still at the mall. If you're there pick up."

It'd be hard not to vote for that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

That's A First.

Have you ever pulled an abdominal muscle trying to open a jar?
Freakin strawberry preserves.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eat Fresh.

Subway sandwich shops are probably the least offensive fast food chain. I mean, besides the fact that they all smell the same, that makes me a little sick. Do you think it's because of the bread? Or is it some trademarked Glade Plug-In with a ham smell? Either way it's trippy that the smell of Subway is so distinct. I was in a shoe store once and heard a girl say, "Ugh, it smells like Subway in here." And she was right, it really did. It doesn't bode well for the business if people are repulsed by the idea of a sandwich while looking for shoes.

But if "Super Size Me" had documented Morgan Spurlock eating Subway exclusively for a month it probably would have been boring more than anything else. I mean, Jared has worked that system for a while now and stripped to its essence, it's probably just a guy eating a lot of sandwiches.

Here's why I bring any of this up. The last few times I've been to Subway, the exact same series of events has taken place. And this is not at the same shop. This is a cross-sectional study I'm talking about. Tampa, NYC, Upstate NY, and some ridiculous setup inside a gas station the other day in Pennsylvania. The same thing. (Note: I have a paranoia that my life is secretly being taped for the purposes of a hidden-camera show and the fact that this keeps happening to me only helps solidify that theory.)

When I was in Tampa I noticed a sign that read, "Ask for the works" and showed a picture of every possible veggie. Since I always order the Veggie-Delite I thought, that's a time saver! How nice for me that I can limit my interaction with the kid making my sammy by simply saying "Veggie Delite with the works, please."

Right. I have to say that "The Works" has become the ongoing joke of my fast-food experience.

Clearly, corporate never got the memo about "the works" out to the people making sandwiches. But obviously something was sent out about totally ignoring the giant "Ask for the works" signs with pictures of veggies all over them.

To: Everyone making Sandwiches
From: Jared and Corporate
Re: Messing with this girl (picture of my face) and ignoring the signs that have images of veggies on them.

So for the last four times I've been into a Subway, this has been the exchange. I'm not kidding about any of this.
-Hi, can I get a 6-inch veggie delite, please.
-What kind of cheese?
-Um, no cheese but otherwise the works.
-What do you mean?
-The works. Like, every possible veggie.
-(pause, stare, wait for further instruction)
-Sorry, just everything.
-Wait, so you want cheese?
-Oh, sorry, no. No cheese, but everything else.
-Meat?
-Hmm, no. Sorry, just a veggie sub, with all of these veggies that you have in this area right here.
-Ok. You want lettuce?

This is where my eyes start to water. After that full exchange that happens EVERY time, they ALWAYS come back with, so you want lettuce? and I start to tear up. I always have to swallow my smile so I don't burst out laughing and it just gets worse as they work through all the toppings.

-Yes, lettuce, thank you. (eyes watering)
-You want tomato?
-(Laugh building, biting lips) Sure, tomato, thanks.
-Onion?
-(looking away from the counter so not to make eye contact and just nodding)

And this continues through every possible veggie. People, there are a lot of veggies on that sandwich. The other day I was so surprised that this was happening to me again, I literally had to grab napkins and wipe away tears as I was paying for my sandwich. The girl there who had had such a difficult time grasping the idea of the works was actually very sweet and asked with concern why I was crying. I shook it off saying I just really loved subs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ahoy!

Juliet is currently off shore in the Gulf of Mexico doing important seismic research for Columbia. While I have no idea what that means, it sounds cool. There's a part of me that can't help but love the idea of being out on a boat, taking readings and looking at big confusing charts. While I wouldn't know how to, or really want to explain said charts, it all sort of appeals to the kid in me.

My childhood best friend and I used to play for hours in his backyard pretending that his jungle gym was a large ship. His backyard led to the Erie Canal so we used to run to the water, and then back up the slide for lookout. Sometimes we were pirates, sometimes just lost at sea, sometimes explorers. It didn't really matter. It was always the same basic formula: Out on a boat, lookout for other boats, make stew.

The only reason we had any backstory at all concerning what we were doing was so making "stew" seemed more important. Simply collecting mud and twigs isn't fun. But if you were lost and starving and unsure of your fate, you needed that stew. You needed it for survival, to keep you going until you found land that you recognized. That's what we kept telling ourselves for the full afternoons we spent collecting grass and leaves and soil and mixing it together in the McDonald's Halloween Happy Meal Bucket. "Hurry! We'll have to jump ship! Bring the stew!"

We never ate it of course. And we had no problem putting the bucket of glop down to go inside, eat real lunch, and then go back out to the stew. I spent a few solid summers of my life on this stew kick. Bored? Want to go out and make stew? You would think that it would get old, but you'd be so wrong.

Anyway, not sure why I brought all that up. I guess just because when I heard about Juliet's adventure it reminded me of little kid adventures and suspended disbelief, and how fun that can be. I've been thinking about her and her coworkers out on the water and wondering if they had to hold back shouting "Iceberg!" or "Land Ho!" or any of that.

She sent out an email yesterday with the subject, "Very hard at work." I opened it immediately wanting to know all about it and found only this picture.

Note the life-jacket. Note the napping. Note the lack of stew.
sigh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good Morning America, Indeed.

I'm not a fan of morning shows. It's all just too much. I think the Today Show is now 4-hours long, and it would need to be, what with the two and a half hours worth of greetings.

"Good Morning Ann"
"Good Morning Matt, Thank You. Morning Al. And good morning to you. Back to you Matt, thank you. Good morning."
"Thanks Ann. Good morning. And now let's send it back to Ann for a look at today's world news."
"Thanks Matt. Good Morning."

And then your head explodes.

Plus, these shows really think they can change pace and tone simply by tossing it to somebody else in the surrounding area.

"Authorities say this is the worst case ever recorded and that the world will never be the same. (pause) Now let's go out to Al who's grilling on the plaza."

"Thanks Ann. Good Morning. Who likes chicken?!"

And I get the feeling that all the other reports that fill in the hours are meant to be a joke played on the American people. It's the graphics they use, bullet-pointing the useless information they're dispensing. Matt Lauer will be covering sunglasses and a PowerPoint presentation will roll across the screen.

"Here are some tips when wearing sunglasses. Sunglasses should be worn on your head and should cover your eyes.
1) Wear on face.
Make sure your lenses are 100% UV protective.
2) Sunglasses should have lenses.
And I know a lot of people wonder if the tint of the lens affects protection. I asked local experts at the Sunglass Hut kiosk in the Manhattan Mall and they assure me it doesn't.
3) Tint Don't Matter.
As Always, all of this information can be found on our website."

Thanks, I'll be sure to print that out.

I can't digest hard-hitting news, music, national weather and useless reports that early in the morning. And I really don't think I need to. Throw in a little Willard Scott and I become quite confident that no one should start their day out with a combination of all these things. "Marjorie is 135 years old. She credits her long life to laughing, fishing on Sundays and oatmeal. Happy birthday, dear. You look fantastic. Now back to the studio."

"Thanks Willard, Good morning. News just in about the dangers of laughing, fishing and oatmeal, but first, this is Today on NBC."

Right. So if I can avoid the mess of these shows while drinking my coffee, I do. But flipping through this morning I saw that Diane Keaton was on Good Morning America and I had to stop. I love Diane Keaton. I would watch her on an Oxy-Clean infomercial. I just think she's great. I caught the interview halfway through a story about her stealing belts. I don't know the context but she sounded hilarious and I enjoyed it. And then she interrupted Diane Sawyer to tell her how beautiful she is and that she loves her lips and Sawyer became a little flustered. I swear they were flirting. It was wildly amusing. And then Keaton dropped the f-bomb and because it's live the word just sort of resonated around the studio. And that was also amusing. But really, what a refreshing way to start the day. A little sexual tension, some rough language and the 5-day forecast. Thank you and good morning.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shh! I'm Listening To Reason!

Francis: Morning Pee-Wee.
Pee-Wee: Hello Francis.
Francis: Today's my birthday and my father says I can have anything I want.
Pee-Wee: Good for you and your father.
Francis: So guess what I want? (flips a handful of dollar bills)
Pee-Wee: A new brain!
Francis: No! Your bike.
Pee-Wee: ha! hahahahahaha! It's not for sale, Fran-CIS!
Francis: My father says anything's negotiable. (Pee-Wee rolls his eyes) Come on Pee-Wee! Remember the first time I saw your bike, you were riding it past my house and I ran out to tell you how much I liked it even way back then?
Pee-Wee: I love that story.

OK first off, that movie is brilliant. But I read an article in the NYT this morning about Michael Bloomberg and it sort of reminded me of this scene with Francis and Pee-Wee. If unfamiliar, Bloomberg is the billionaire Mayor of New York and political pundits have been hinting that he may or may not join the Presidential Race. Note: It must be nice to have a cushy job like political pundit, or sportscaster, or local weatherman, or telephone psychic. You can basically say anything you want if you say it confidently enough and if you turn out to be wrong just mention something about how nothing is ever really certain in (fill in your occupational field here).

Bloomberg can take his sweet tea time deciding if he wants to run because he'll use his own cash for his campaign. If it's his birthday and he wants a bike...that sort of thing. Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, how great that Americans won't pump millions of dollars into commercials and flyers--dollars that could have been spent building a healthcare program for an entire state. On the other hand, it's pretty annoying that he can just wait around while somebody else makes the bike all cool and easy to ride, and then decide, hey, i want that bike. The bike is a metaphor. Are we on the same page?

Clearly, something has to change with campaign financing in the near future. I get that it takes a lot to run but I don't think we're all dumb enough to keep giving millions and millions of dollars to all of these candidates so they can fly around the country a few 100 times eating breakfasts with voters.

If someone came up with a plan to take campaign contributions and invest them, then agreed to set up programs using said dollars once elected, they'd have my support. And if they didn't win, to have a contingency program ready to pump all that money into, like education, or the environment, or alternative energy research. If today's candidates can't even get creative with how they spend money that's been given to them willingly, how can we expect them to care about the money that just flows in through taxes?

I get that transportation, ads, food, and offices cost money. But running for office should be like office Secret Santa--set a price limit. You're either going to run a really creative campaign on that price limit, or a really shitty one. Just depends on how clever you are. Every person will have x amount of dollars for their campaign. Any money raised after that will be invested. If you're doing well, you'll stay in the race longer and that contribution money will accrue interest, adding to the social policy you support. If you win the election, cool. People will be stoked their candidate won and you'll start your presidency off with this wicked new program that people support. If you don't win, fear not! That issue you believe in will still be served with all the money you've raised and set aside.

Ok, I know. But dare to dream, right?

Anyway, the Bloomberg thing ultimately worries me. Sitting back, waiting to see how everybody else does and if at the last moment it seems beneficial to him to get in on it, he will. Like that kid in a group lab who does nothing and then puts his name on the paper once the work is finished. I don't like that other candidates and their staffs have worked so hard only to have Francis possibly come along and say he could buy their bike.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You Read My Mind.

Found this little "How to Read Minds" article online today. AOL featured it on its homepage with a link that said, "10 Mind-Reading Tricks (Really)."

I would have passed right by it had it not been for the "Really." I tend to believe anything that ends with "...really" because that seems like the ultimate marker of truth. I use "really" or more often, "no, seriously" all the time to emphasize that I'm making the truest point possible.

"Hey, you're on fire. No, seriously."

See? It works.

So I thought to myself, hey, reading minds could be helpful in certain situations, why not read that little article. After all, they are actual tricks to help you read minds. Really.

This is straight from the article written by M.E. Williams:

*Eye contact denotes interest. Brief eye contact denotes nervousness or some disinterest. Prolonged eye contact may denote an attempt at intimidation.

*Eyes looking straight up may denote contempt or annoyance, unless the conversation is religious in nature.

*Eyes looking to the left suggest that someone is imagining what something sounds like.

*Eyes looking to the right suggest that someone is recalling what something sounds like.

*Eyes looking up and to the left mean that someone is imagining a picture.

*Eyes looking up and to the right mean that someone is trying to recall an image.

*Eyes looking down and to the left mean someone is thinking about their emotions.

*Eyes looking down and to the right denote an "internal dialogue" of some kind, whether it's the recollection of a past conversation or an internal debate about what to say next.

*The directions may be the opposite for some people, but they should be consistently so for the person concerned.

*To see if someone is lying, establish a "baseline" for them by asking questions you know they won't respond to with a lie; observe what they do when you know they're telling the truth.

As I read through each tip I thought about a picture or a sound and waited to see where my eyes went. This is also called, instant headache and/or how to make yourself dizzy while sitting still in a chair.

I like how it says "the directions may be opposite for some people." Ha. "You're thinking about your feelings. No? You're picturing an image. No? Are you praying?" And apparently what people think about is limited to noise and artwork.

Also, people move their eyes a lot I guess but nothing like this list suggests. To get a chance to use all that info would almost require that all your friends have eyes like this.




Note: I wanted to find a pic of those eyes but couldn't remember what they were called so i just typed in "googly eye" and apparently that's their name. There's actually a site on Wikipedia dedicated to them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googly_eyes

And this was the definition on urbandictionary.com

Googly Eye:
The googly eye (or just googly) is the eye-contact used to relay your interest in another.
"Girrrrrl, he TOTALLY just gave you the full-blown googly."

I'm sorry. Full-blown googly? I'll admit my fingers may have been off the pulse of streetwise American lingo for a little while now, but I will bet my two regular eyeballs that no one has ever in the history of the world said, "Damn girl, you just got the full-blown googly."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Write Stuff.

Robin Williams said something really great when the Writers Strike had just begun. Something like, "I was the only person on the picket line with nothing on my sign."

Funny. But there's also a lot of truth there. TV shows give us all something to talk about. They're safe. They're neutral. Perfect conversation when meeting someone new. (Except for those "Kill your television" types. Why are you so angry people? Watch Planet Earth and relax.) But if our shows aren't on, what the hell are we supposed to talk to strangers about?

I try to avoid asking people what they do for a living (various stretches of unemployment have made me HATE this question). I figure if someone really loves what they do and want to talk about it, they'll bring it up. I'd so much rather ask, "What do you do for fun?" or "What's your favorite snack...and why?" You always need that follow up. I really believe that the small stuff tells you just as much about a person as the big issues do. If someone takes a board game too seriously, guess how they probably approach life? I don't really have to know the political views of the person who keeps challenging everybody's words on the Scrabble board. I've got a pretty good idea of who they are.

For me, the most important small-stuff indicator is what a person finds funny. I think what a person laughs at tells you almost anything you need to know about them. In terms of TV, if someone says they love 30 Rock so much they want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant, we're probably going to get along. That's part of the reason why the 2-month Writers Strike is so significant. The lack of new catch phrase quips poured out and absorbed by the masses, limits the connection we have with each other. Hearing a stranger repeat something from TV that you found amusing creates an instant little connection, and I don't think we can overstate the importance of instant little connections. Because if in a room full of strangers someone was to say, "These pretzels are making me thirsty" it's a joke we'd all be in on. Inside jokes establish a bond between buddies but are only funny if you happen to be on the inside. Sitcom lines create inside jokes for the whole world. Outside, inside jokes. That's effing huge!

That's what she said.

Oh, right. I do have to say that the one positive of the Writers Strike has been the cancellation of the Golden Globes. Woody Allen so perfectly summed up award shows with his line in Annie Hall. "Awards! They do nothing but give out awards! I can't believe it. Greatest fascist dictator, Adolf Hitler."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Just Nod.

The other day around 10:00 in the morning the doorbell rang. I've been expecting a delivery so I ran happily to the door because a) even if you know it's coming, mail in a box is fun and b) signing for packages makes me feel important. I always take the plastic stick like I can't be bothered and then scribble my mark as fast as I can so that "Jessica Martin" looks like a combo of a Richter reading and a gummy worm.
Writing my name illegibly also makes me feel important.

I opened the door and saw two men in suits. UPS goes formal? FedEx does the buddy system? The older gentleman introduced himself and his friend while I stared at their hands looking for my delivery and a place to sign. Seconds after realizing I wasn't about to get my fun boxed mail, the older man asked me, "Do you believe peace is possible?"

OK, I should mention that sweeping philosophical questions kill me.

I have a hard time making on-the-spot points (making points in general isn't my forte) and when a question is so large and so open, I close up as a way to counterbalance it. I jump into my head and try to remember things about loaded questions and informal fallacies while simultaneously trying to think about how I want to answer.

So, standing at the door, working through a mental Rainman-esque rundown of how peace is defined, how power is distributed, the history of war and the innate human desire for stuff, I was about to point out to this guy the problem with his question when the younger man pulled out a Bible and started talking about that.

Right.

I'm always reading so much into questions and overanalyzing the best way to answer when 10 times out of 10 I forget to consider who's asking me. Clearly, people don't go door to door before noon looking for debates. I'm an idiot.

I was sharing this story with a friend and it reminded me of something similar that happened this summer. I was at the post office in Astoria and a man with a very thick accent came over to me.

"S'cuze me ma frund. What mean forever?"

I looked at him and considered the best way to explain this vast concept of time in limited English. Should I skip Kant's ideas of space and time? Probably. But maybe hit upon the whole frame of reference thing? Gah.
I just ended up extending my arms a lot.

"Very loooong. It lasts a long long time. Forever means always. On and on and on. It has no end."

The man looked at me with absolutely no expression. Holding up a Forever Stamp he said, "Dis stamp. Ees good?"

Right.