Friday, June 30, 2006

Sad News: Rob Schneider Is Not Dead

For a few bright moments today, the world was Rob Schneider-free: God heard a nation's prayers and delivered a bout of heatstroke and food poisoning to the star of The Animal, The Hot Chick, and The Stapler, temporarily postponing production on his new minimalst arthouse comedy about a con man who's afraid he'll be raped in prison. Because, ha ha, prison rape is sooooo hilarious — I can't wait to see how Schneider's comedic subtlety will illuminate the taboo. I'm sure this time, he'll definitely win an Oscar.

Unfortunately, Schneider was taken to the hospital, and since L.A. remains Adam Sandler's Quality-Free Neverland, his sweaty, vomiting body wasn't immediately discarded with the rest of the biohazardous waste but rather treated while forty-two million more deserving Americans lack health insurance. Schneider is reportedly back at work, presumably sucking at his job, so next spring when you're at the movies trying to enjoy the previews and Movie Trailer Guy is selling you a cringe-worthy Schneider flick ad, you'll know you have the Los Angeles medical establishment to blame. The only silver lining in the story is that Schneider's set typically reaches a hundred degrees or more, and summer's just beginning, so I think if we convince his caterer to only deliver week-old sushi and gin for the cast's lunch every day, there may still be hope that Schneider won't be much longer for the silver screen.... No, Paramount will probably find something there that'll appeal to twelve-year-old boys and the kind of parents who raise twelve-year-old boys to like Rob Schneider films: "Rob Schneider had it all, until one day he ate some bad seafood. Now he'll show everyone how that being deathly ill can be loads of fun...."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pimp My Toaster

It was a sad day when this appliance came to America. It probably emigrated from Japan or Korea, where engineers are less squeamish about cross-breeding gadgets into mutant abominations of God, and now you too can head down to your local Hammacher Schlemmer and purchase a stainless-steel refrigerator with eight electronic temperature sensors, in-door water dispenser, and, oh yeah, a built in fifteen inch plasma screen television with remote control. It's a televator, or a refrigerision, or a hybrid appliance that I believe we can use as a nation to determine, when the Martians attack, who gets a seat on our fleeing spaceships and who gets to be stuck at home, watching the invasion on CNN on their refrigerators.

Just how goddamn lazy do you have to be before you're going, "Gee, I'd like a snack, but that would mean I'd have to get off the couch, walk ten feet to the kitchen, walk ten feet back to the couch, and sit back down and stretch out, all before the commercials end. How am I ever going to manage that! Wouldn't it be great if someone could put my snacks inside the TV?" Not that I blame LG for putting out the refrigerision — they're in business and the indolent, fat-ass American market has to be huge. In fact, I'm going to suggest they improve on refrigerision by adding a toilet to the appliance so you'll never have to move for anything. I call it Barnacle-Vision: The American Dream.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I ran into this little kid heading to work on the PATH this morning, and ugh... I just look at him, his retarded, ostentationous Brooks Brothers Junior suit and courtroom tie and then his cargo shorts, and I want to fucking scream. Mostly at his parent-slash-guardian: "Why?!" Why is your poor little five-year-old dressed like that — is he going yachting later today?

I know that I pretty much look like a dork no matter what I'm wearing — formal, casual, Halloween costume — so I have a lot of experience wondering who the hell do you think you're fooling getting dressed like that. It's not like anyone's gonna mistake him for the keynote speaker at today's shareholder meeting or the company's chief operating officer or something.... No, the tie's a clip-on, so that's a pure giveaway: middle management.

The problem is that his outfit probably will impress someone — a secretary who thinks the whole thing's "just darling" or a the head waiter at a restaurant who subconsciously believes someone dressed like that would never scream and cry and crap their pants. Give him a Bluetooth headset and a briefcase and he'd probably land on one of those "Kid Genuises" episodes of Maury.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Talent Shows

Been a while, right? I've been busy with my new pastime, devouring America's latest craze: self-satisfied freaks with ridiculous, pointless talents parading themselves in front of Hollywood has-beens like Hasselhoff, some British guy you've never heard of, Uncle Joey from Full House, and 1977 Superstars competitor/culturally insensitive billfisher Steve Garvey. I guess people are pretty desperate for their fifteen minutes of fame, to the point where people with no talent of their own but lots and lots of free time pimp out their pets doing rather ordinary pet things for Mario Lopez, who you'll recall made us laugh and made us cry but most of all, made us kind of bored with his performance as Slater in Saved By The Bell, Saved By The Bell: The College Years, and Saved By The Bell: Wedding In Las Vegas.

For instance, meet Chalcy, silver-medalist hula-hoop dancing dog who, thanks to Animal Planet's extremely low budget and America's even lower standards, now has a three-episode arc on Darcy's Wild Life. Sara Paxton better watch her ass, cause if you look at that dog's mad walking-through-its-owner's-legs talent, it'll soon be upstaging her and possibly stealing her boyfriend. But I'm not here to make fun of Chalcy, because she's a dog and that would be juvenile. Chalcy probably eats her own poo; she has no idea that her dance routine embarrasses her entire species. I am, however, quite interested in Chalcy's handler, ordering the poor mutt around like maybe Chalcy's a bit more recalcitrant than she wants the cameras to catch.

First of all, how much time did this lady spend training and rehearsing with her dog? Basically, there's no good answer to that question. Either she and Chalcy choreographed this in the hotel room the night before after a few too many tequila slammers, or, more likely, she's devoted her clearly-unemployed life to this asinine performance — she hasn't done her laundry for months and there's two hundred unheard messages on her voice mail and her family's forgotten what she looks like, all for her three minute appearance on a basic cable stupid pet tricks show. And second, take a look at the judges and how in awe they are. I don't get it. Are they high?! It's a dog jumping around, for Christ's sake — stop staring as if the animal just solved a Rubik's Cube and close your damn mouths. Save it for the dogs who find people trapped under buildings when there's an earthquake, none of whom have ever appeared on Animal Planet's Pet Star because apparently they're not talented enough to share the stage with A. C. Slater.

Back to our own homo stultus, it's not that I don't appreciate a good rapping granny or breakdancing cow, but there's a difference between being talented and being desperate for attention, Paris Hilton. Even this guy, Mr. Snaps-a-lot: sure he has a talent, and I bet he impresses everyone down at the, uh, drive-thru wedding chapel where he works. But now that the judges passed him through, what's he gonna do for the next round? Snap some more? Boy, good thing that'll never get old.

The show that really caught my eye, however, was ABC's Masters of Champions, even though I can't figure out what the hell its title actually means. Pretty much all of the other talent shows fall into one of two camps: people performing their hobbies and doing a generally half-assed jobs or creepy children whose parents are vicariously living out their showbiz dreams through them. MoC breaks out of the mold, bringing us ordinary Americans who are way too passionate about incredibly stupid things. If you ever wondered what Ripley's Believe It Or Not would be like if it didn't leave you covered in that dirty Jack Palance film, now you know. The pilot featured an act with some x-treme sports dude jumping around an obstacle course while riding a unicycle, which, okay. I figure if I've only got one wheel to start out with, I'm gonna keep it on the ground, but I can see some crazy Jackass guy wondering if it's possible to hop his unicycle from here to there and finding out that it is. And there was a competition between racecar drivers to see who could grate a cheese wheel with their car (don't ask), and the x-treme trampolining basketball team... and then there's this woman, Princess Elayne. You'll be shocked if I tell you she's in a circus.

So be shocked. Really? In the Moscow State Circus? Because looking at her standing on her hands, shooting a bow and arrow with her feet, while blindfolded: I thought she worked at Bank of America. What I want to know is how one starts a career in blindfolded foot archery — because I took a few archery classes in high school, and it never even occurred to me to try it with my feet or holding the bowstring in my teeth or whatever. Was there a day when she was like, "This is too easy, I keep hitting the bullseye. Well, I could make it harder by moving farther from the target... but that's sort of pedestrian. I know: I'll pretend I've got opposable toes! And just to be extra-safe, I'll close my eyes, too!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

My Big, Fat, Fat, Fat... Fat, Fat Fathers' Day

Another unnecessary holiday: you either appreciate Dear Old Dad and you don't need a special day reminding you of his existence, or you don't, and the holiday is just pretense. I believe I fall into that latter camp: I bought Dad a kitchen timer for Fathers' Day because he's always hogging the one built into our microwave, and I told him that my real gift to him would be a day without me and my typical surly attitude. But no, he wanted to spend Fathers' Day with me. I can't understand why — I don't want to spend Fathers' Day with me.

My whole family, by which I mean "the subset of the Harris clan that still speaks to my immediate family on a regular basis," otherwise known as "my immediate family," went to this dive at the Holiday Inn in Edison. The first thing that drove me a little bit nuts is that not only is there a Holiday Inn in Edison, but there's a Sheraton, too, a block away. Who the hell is staying at these hotels? It's not like Edison, New Jersey is exactly the tourist capital of the East Coast. This bothered me, so naturally I had to bother Dad about it, which he didn't really appreciate... I did offer to let him spend the whole day away from me and my irritability.

We had dinner at this place Harold's New York Deli, which claims to have the world's best pastrami, corned beef, and cheesecake. Total bullshit. I mean, have they even tried every cheesecake in the world? I doubt it.

They also claim to have the world's largest pickle bar, and again, how do they know? I don't think the Guinness world record people keep track of those sorts of things.

No, they don't. I checked.

Harold's more or less combined everything I hate about diners and everything I hate about delis into a single irritating dining experience, and then, just for good measure, super-sized it. They super-size every freaking thing there — not only is the restaurant itself the size of a factory and the pickle bar supposedly the largest in the world, but their dessert cart has German chocolate cakes that are basically foot-high cylinders of sugar and frosting (their dessert cart also had Fear Factor push-pops, which... ewwwww. It's one thing to be on the show where you can win money for putting this shit in your mouth, but you've got to be just plain maladjusted to want to do it for free), and if you ask them for a corned beef sandwich, they'll charge you forty bucks and bring out pretty much the whole cow, cured and salted. And one of those tiny Solo cups of mustard. Granted, we were the only family there with fewer than twenty people — and this isn't some organic place, so these are some pretty damn corpulent families there — but you could seriously end world hunger by dropping just one of these platters in a Rwandan refugee camp.

I'm a little surprised I felt so much animosity towards Harold's, since normally I love it when my food spends its final days drowning in a pool of vinegar and brine. Hell, sometimes I freaking bathe in sauerkraut cause I love reeking like it's Oktoberfest all year round. But you know, that cabbage odor is even sweeter when you're crammed at a tiny table between a family with ten kids running around and some dipweed fatso wearing a t-shirt that says "My Sons" with a picture of his two boys, like he just found out his grade on the paternity test and he's hoping the shirt will be good for some extra credit and maybe bump it up to a C-minus. I bet you don't have to deal with that sort of inanity when you eat at the restaurant inside the Sheraton.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Welllllcommmmme To The Fuuuuuuturrrrre!!!!!

This morning finally culminated the painfully long process of buying a new computer: ten minutes of research, a week to get used to the concept of spending $1500 on something I already own two of, and two weeks negotiating a deal with Apple. I'm not particularly happy about the MacBook, or Apple in general, but I wanted a mainstream computer with a UNIX back-end, so there wasn't a lot of choice. But now that I've got a Mac, I'll be greping and linting and chmoding all day and night. Total dream come true.

I'm embarrassed to say that what sold me on the laptop was the thing's built-in microphone and camera and the prospect of telephony and video-conferencing. I got the computer home and started up iChat, and I've never been more disappointed in my life to see none of my friends online. I got a new toy! I want to show off! Me demand attention! It took for-freaking-ever, but someone finally came online, and I started the voice chat, and I was totally giddy. Remember how when you first got a cell phone six-hundred years ago and the very first thing you had to do with it was call a friend and be like, "Hey, guess where I'm calling from? Yeah, that's right, MY CAR!!!! Can you believe all these new-fangled gizmos they have these days! What'll they come up with next?!" It was that same feeling — "Look Ma, no phone!" ...until, of course, I realized that this is exactly what a phone does, except it's restricted to people on the Jabber protocol, and who are on my buddy list, and who are online, which is usually no one. So, it's exactly like a cell phone when you're in a tunnel or elevator, or it's exactly like a regular phone when there's a psychotic killer stalking you in your secluded house and trying to prevent you from getting help. Very useful technology.

I haven't gotten a chance to try out the video chat yet, but I seem to be anticipating the event: by this time, I've usually debased myself to plodding around my room in my underpants — but not tonight. Tonight, I still have my shirt on and I'm constantly combing my hair, just in case my big moment comes. Ridiculous. This is going to be our entire future though, and not just because the government's right now making a deal with GE to install cameras in every light bulb in your house: some asshole will drunk dial you on the holo-phone at three in the morning and then laugh at your bed-head, and we'll pretty much all be wearing a "Please Pardon My Appearance" sign on our foreheads.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

In light of New York City's dropping violent crime rate, our right-wing yellow journalists are looking for something else to scare middle-class white people into buying the tabloids and voting Republican. So here's the New York Post fearmongering headline of the week: ATTACK ROOSTER ON LOOSE IN CITY. The details are sketchy, but it looks like a rooster has taken up residence in a Harlem park, and it's been seen fighting with a dog. Ooooh, scary.

So Harlem: gangs, drugs, killer rooster.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Completely Impartial Review of the New Apple Store on Fifth Avenue

One of the things that distinguishes New York City from, say, Bismarck, North Dakota, or any other place in the world populated by normal, healthy, down-to-earth people (sorry, Dubai!) is our penchant for ridiculous, gimmicky businesses vying for your tourist attention and all trying to outdo each other. It's not just the crazy animatronic Christmas displays around town and the multi-billion dollar, special-effects laden musicals, but even places that don't deserve to make it into the guidebooks somehow figure out a way to make it into the guidebooks: the bed-and-breakfast (literally) restaurant or the toy store with a robot elevator and a dance-on piano. And into this mess of eye-popping glitz, Apple Computer brings us the eighth architectural wonder of the world: a computer store hidden inside a giant aquarium.

No wonder so many people showed up for the grand opening, standing around in the rain and waiting for someone to explain what the hell iWork is actually supposed to do. And here's a gratutious picture of Spike Lee showing off his iPod... I guess... to James Woods, who probably got lost on his way to a Texas Hold-Em tournament.

The store fits nicely in the Apple design tradition — clean lines, minimalism, and a unique look that you get over pretty quickly once you come face-to-face with its banal insides. I'm not entirely sure what I expected, but I was totally disappointed when, underneath the terrarium, it was just shelf after shelf of computers and people from the midwest who can't figure out how to turn their iPods off. And this differs from Best Buy how, exactly? Oh, I see, they offer seminars on podcasting and the questionably-marketed Genius Bar and they're open 24/365.... because, who the hell is buying a PowerBook at two in the morning on Thanksgiving Eve? It's pretty much Apple's philosophy: lure you in with a ton of superfluous features (as if anyone, anywhere ever uses iMix) then charge you an extra four hundred bucks once you're indoctrinated, wearing the white earbuds and the compatible sneakers. On the plus side, you can smugly bash Microsoft and look down upon the PC conformists.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I chose my official, super-permanent MySpace name this evening, and you can visit my supremely unnecessary MySpace page at Tom — did I mention I can't stand Tom? — has provided me with the following information inaugurating my new MySpace handle.

Your new username is:
Your MySpace URL is:
Your Real Name is:
Jay Harris
Your Display Name is:

  • Edit your Real Name and Display Name anytime.
  • Your username and URL is permanent.
  • Put your new MySpace URL on business cards, on email signatures or add it to your AIM Profile.
Take a look at that last line there, and now tell me that Tom isn't a twelve-year-old. I can understand having a link to your MySpace page in your AIM profile or maybe as an e-mail signature (for friends only), but if you're putting your MySpace URL on business cards and handing them out, you really don't deserve to have business cards. Or clients, for that matter.
In happier MySpace news, I'm proud to announce that I'm working on a Greasemonkey user script that should get rid of all of MySpace's trillions of little annoyances: the "Featured Profile," the "Cool New People," the CSS apparently hand-coded by psychotic howler monkeys, the DHTML written by people who don't know the first thing about DHTML, the Quicktime videos and Shockwave music plug-ins that automatically start up with whatever cacophony the Black-Eyed Peas are putting out this week. Unfortunately, it won't get rid of all the assholes who actually put that clutter in their profiles. Nor will it get rid of Tom. :(

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I Need A New Pair of Lucky Pants

...because my current pair is defective. It was Singles' Night again with the New Jersey Young Professionals and again my exceedingly low expectations were met, but not exceeded, trendy pants notwithstanding. I didn't meet any women — although I didn't get rejected by any women either, so score one for me! — but I did meet a guy who thought he could breakdance but couldn't. You've been to your junior prom; you know who I'm talking about: Kid is like ninety percent legs, ten percent show-off, zero percent shame, bouncing around in this epileptic way that's almost with the beat, "I'm just waiting for someone else to start dancing first so I can get out there and breakdance." Really. Dude, you're not Asian, you're not black, you're not in a Gap commercial: you can't breakdance.

But there's always someone who's gotta be the first on the dance floor, and tonight it's some girl who's basically the village terpsichorean slut. She's just dragging random, reluctant guys onto the floor to dance with her, and naturally I don't win the male lottery but Breakdancer here does. He makes an ass out of himself and the crowd goes wild because standards are now officially dead, thanks to Napoleon Dynamite and misbegotten nerd-power. I'm all in favor of giving everyone dancing in front of the crowd an "A for Effort!" sticker, but it's one thing to push your boundries and another to leap over them, land on your head, and spin on the floor like you meant to do that.

Maybe I'm a little bitter, but I think I ought to at least get some consolation points for dancing in time to the music — I can pretty much only do a slow-motion variation on the Charlie Brown Christmas dance, which means I fit right in with the idiots on Youtube — and I should get bonus points for being the only guy there who found this annoying the first time, and the twenty or so times I heard it thereafter: "There's only three or four hot girls here, and it sucks that the best-looking chick works here." What's with this being so damn picky? You're at Singles' Night in central New Jersey pretty much because none of the women you know are willing to date you, and it's not like if you weren't here, you'd be hanging out backstage at a Vogue fashion shoot. You'd be home masturbating.

...Well, I'd be home masturbating. You might be home watching repeats of Monk or reading Dear Abby in the local newspaper or whatever it is you do when you're out of socks. Doesn't matter. Point is, you're no adonis either, and if God only intended for the most attractive of us to reproduce, we'd have a lot more music videos and a lot fewer people in this world. Judge not, people, lest ye be judged.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

I'm posting today live from Java Boy, which is a coffee bar here in the city. Apparently, it's a gay coffee bar, but since I'm totally oblivious to, well, everything, it took me like an hour and a half to figure it out. Even after I checked out their website, which subtlely says "Women Welcome," I was just like, "Why wouldn't women be welcome?" Whatever. I'm not sure why gay people need their own coffeehouse — as if they're totally homophobic at Starbucks — but since I'm just as unlucky at a straight coffeehouse, a gay coffeehouse, or an microphiliac Asian tranny coffeehouse, it doesn't really matter to me where I am.

However, I don't think I'll be coming back here any time soon. I stopped by to try the place out because of their wi-fi, but that's spotty at best, and there goes my incentive. I kind of liked the look of the place when I first walked in, but now that I've been sitting here for two hours, the semi-finished industrial groove they're going for is starting to grate on me. It's ill-planned, and the plasma screen TV's and colored mood lighting don't really make up for the fact that the tables are maybe two and a half feet high and the chairs next to the tables are two feet, five inches high. Seriously, the place is for gay people, not disproportionate people. And a good half of what they play on the radio is The Smiths, so I'm a little surprised it took two hours for the grating to start. But actually, the clincher, so to speak, is the bathroom. Here's the helpful note on the door:

is Single Occupancy Only
1 Person At A Time
This is the naive me: Who the hell needs to be told that a bathroom is single-occupancy? Twice!?

And now here's the me that finally gets that this is a gay coffeehouse: That sign is why those red states hate us, why there's this gay marraige debate in Congress, why people in the heartland even give a damn about gays. I don't know if there's really hot gay sex going on in there after hours, or during hours, or whenever, but I imagine they wouldn't put that sign there if they weren't trying to obviate some, uh, unmentionable problem. (Maybe it's a legal thing since inside the bathroom — which is gorgeous, by the way: right out of Architectural Digest — they've got the standard No Smoking sign and Employees Must Wash Hands sign, but also a non-standard "Cocaine Use In Bathroom Is Illegal" reminder sign. I always thought that went without saying, but then again, I'm not the kind of person who'd ever even contemplate having sex in a public restroom.) There's a reason we have stereotypes, and he's walking through Chelsea right now in assless chaps, all leathered up and heading out to the bank at three in the afternoon. Dude, The Rocky Horror Picture Show doesn't start till midnight — you're freaking early.

The whole fundamentalist disdain isn't borne of people being sexual creatures — it comes out when they flaunt their sexuality, gay or straight (Flaunting your sexuality by having more kids than a rabbit colony, however, is cool because the Vatican just put out an encyclical about how Jesus wants you to fuck, and fuck copiously, within the confines of your loveless, monogamous heterosexual marraige.) It comes as a psychic challenge; run into a public display of affection and you play that little mental game of Am I Hot or Not? "Look at that bitch, kissing him. I'm better looking than that dickweed. And I'm probably funnier and nicer and I've got a better personality. I bet he doesn't even know how to bathe. I think he's secretly gay." Or the opposite, feeling totally inadequate basking in the glowing presence of the lovebirds. Now take that worry and dredge up that beer-drinking, football-watching, truck-driving latent homosexuality from your teen years, and the easiest way to deal with the conflict, reveling and questioning your masculinity, is to blame whoever pulled this quandry out of your subconscious in the first place.

So the Dust Belt will bitch about gay marraige and then cry their eyes out when Will and Grace goes off the air. I don't drive a truck or own a pair of cowboy boots or know the first thing about football, but even I feel ballsy next to Sean Hayes. He'll tell you which tie goes with those shoes, but he's a shy teenage girl waiting by the phone when it comes to actually having gay sex (and in all likelihood, very, very shrill and annoying sex), and we're all comfortable with that. Makes Jack a dull character who isn't very telegenic, but that's exactly what I want with the random strangers God puts in my milieu. Take your private identity back in private — get a room! — and when you're out in public, just drink your coffee like you'll never experience anything more exciting than caffeine.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Today started off looking good: the world didn't end in a storm of hellfire, Ann Coulter made an ass of herself on the Today show (even FOX News is trying to distance itself from her) and lost her column in USA Today, and it's finally finally finally pouring. The last makes me particularly happy, even though I have almost as little tolerance for the rain as I have for Ann Coulter, because I was waiting for the train this morning, when that jerk Traffic Safety Cop pulled into the parking lot, ready to ticket anyone who can't figure out our train station's needlessly convoluted parking payment plan.

Let me say that I have nothing but a mixture of respect and contempt for the police — especially here in the suburbs because we don't have any drug kingpins or mob hitmen for them to chase down, so they're pretty much stuck harassing people going twenty-eight in a twenty-five zone and not catching the petty vandals who go around tagging our street signs — but this one cop in particular, driving around town in his cheesy Traffic Safety SUV, makes me crazy. First of all, the simple process of parking legally is so tortuous it's like New Jersey Transit and our municipal council is doing their best to encourage workplace violence. It's three dollars to park for the day, but you can't just put three dollars into the meter, because that would be easy. You have to put three dollars into the token machine, which may or may not be accepting money on any particular day, wait fifteen minutes for the machine to cough up a token, and then put the token in the meter, punch in your space number, press the green button, and take your receipt and put it on your dashboard. By this time, you've missed the whole day at work, and you've just wasted three dollars.

So Big Fat Traffic Safety Cop there is just the bureaucracy's human arm that perpetuates this ridiculous parking system, and there's a little bit of disdain because of that. Also, in the past year, he's given me three tickets, all of which were bogus. First ticket was for parking in a monthly space without a monthly permit, except that I parked there after ten AM, and the space was about two feet away from the Parking Rules sign that said you can park in a monthly space after ten AM. I had to go to the police station and explain the rules to the guy — which you'd think knowing the parking rules ought to be a requirement for the job of Parking Cop — but he was totally cool and professional and tore the ticket up right there, so no hard feelings. Then my second ticket was for THE EXACT SAME THING!!!!

That's sort of the point when I get a little paranoid, like maybe he's just ticketing legal parkers and figuring some of them won't bother to fight it. Maybe he gets a little kickback or something. I don't know, but I can certainly make baseless accusations.

And the third ticket he was literally writing while I was putting my money into our insane Rube Goldberg parking validation system. Three strikes, dude: you're clearly not very good at writing parking tickets, so maybe you could ask for another post, like Cop Who Keeps Kids From Reading the Nudie Magazines at the Corner Store. But today, since it was raining, I was totally giddy watching this guy have to get out of his truck and stand there in the downpour, struggling with his poncho and having the heavens open up upon him as he checked the meters and wrote out the tickets. Dude, if I were rich, every rainy day, I'd deliberately park in the handicapped space or in the middle of the road or on top of another car, maybe putting a few dents into a streetlamp, just to make that guy get out and write me a ticket. I'd be nice and dry inside the station, watching him stand ankle-deep in a puddle, and I'd just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Double or Nothing

I've never done anything like this before, but I noticed that has posted odds on the apocalypse occurring tomorrow, and I'm going to wager all my money against the event at a mere -100000/1. I can see myself on Wednesday, cashing out the fourteen cents that I won from the Rapture not happening. Now, those of us following along the Rapture Index might consider taking the plus ten-to-odds in favor of the world ending tomorrow — the index, "the prophetic speedometer of end-time activity," is at a healthy 157, but thankfully worldwide apostasy has declined. I guess.

I'll do the bookies at one better — I'm offering infinity-to-one odds on the apocalypse happening sometime between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM EST, June 6, 2006. Hell, I'll sweeten the pot even more and take out that Eastern Standard Time requirement; if it's June 6, 2006 anywhere in the world when it ends, you win. Assuming you're still around to collect, which you won't be, because the apocalypse just happened.

Friday, June 2, 2006

At a Queens College graduation ceremony yesterday, New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi put his foot in his mouth when he tried to praise Senator Schumer, saying the senator "will put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it." And then, of course, he was forced to apologize, because even though Republicans run the entire country, they're insecure little weenies.

I believe Hevesi should have apologized, too. Like this: "I'm sorry... that you're all too dumb to grasp the concept of a metaphor. Certainly the president's No Child Left Behind education reforms will ensure that this confusion never happens again."

However, Hevesi's using the indicative mood when he should've used the subjunctive? Unforgivable.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Guess who sent me a letter today.

My Young Alumni association.

And now, guess what they want. Give up?

Money. What a surprise. The thing that is a little surprising is how much they want, the cheapest box on the little form for the Young Alumni Leadership Fund is $250. For $5000, I can get two invitations to the Dean's Luncheon, whatever that is. Or I could get like an eighty-inch plasma TV. It seems like such a difficult decision — I mean, if I had five grand and it wasn't totally moot.

I'd never give a dollar to Columbia — beyond the hundred and fifty thousand I already gave them — not only because I got a whole hell of a lot of frustration out of them and not much more (certainly not any financial aid), but also because the Columbia bigwigs have spent countless hours trying to coax, wheedle, guilt-trip, and peer-pressure money out of their alumni (like, they mailed me a list of all my classmates who are already Young Alumni Leaders) and I'll bet they've never given a thought to lowering the goddamn tuition! I mean, for $250, at least PBS gives you a tote bag.

One time, I even tried suggested to one of those trustee-student liaisons that Columbia lower its tuition so they wouldn't have to keep hitting up the student population for financial aid donations. Not eliminate the tuition totally, like at Cooper Union, just maybe put off buying all of Hamilton Heights for a few years or something, and this guy just stared at me like, "We should who in the what now with tuition? The liberal elite at our fine institution don't want to share dorm rooms with middle-class riff-raff!"

I don't actually think that's the students' or administration's attitude, either consciously or subconsciously, but it's always been pretty clear to me that the school looks out for itself more than the students. The trustees are locked away in their little $5000-a-plate dining room, smoking cigars and drinking brandy, thinking of all the wonderful things they could do if just twenty-thousand students contributed thirty-five thousand dollars apiece to the endowment. It's partly an ego thing, too — as a Columbia student, at least twice a day you'll get a friendly email from someone on the student council reminding you that Harvard has an $18 billion endowment while Columbia rots in penury with a mere $4.2 billion — but it's more that attitude rich people who chair boards and donate to philanthropic organizations and have their names on hospital wings have where "I can afford to drop fifty grand without batting an eyelash, I don't see why it's so hard for the rest of you to do the same."

Well, rich guy, we don't have fifty grand. We, just out of school, don't even have $250 to hand over to someone else. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the company you worked for and made you rich back in the eighties is now outsourcing all its jobs to India and China for twenty cents an hour, cutting back on employee benefits, and raiding the pension funds for the stockholders. Tell you what... if you give me some money first, then maybe I'll make a donation or two.

But probably not.

Why I Hate Brad, Angelina, and their Stupid Pseudo-Namibian Baby...

...because thanks to them, I have to agree with this Fox News gossip reporter. The columnist, Roger Friedman, also noted back in January that the Cult of Scientology likely forced Isaac Hayes to quit his South Park gig, so this means that I've agreed with Fox News twice, and now my world is spinning. I can't tell the difference between good and evil anymore — remember how amidst our nationwide panic over missing Jennifer Wilbanks, the only voice of reason pointing out the possibility that she just got cold feet was Sean freaking Hannity.

So please, Hollywood liberal elite, will you stop doing such hugely assholey things like willingly delivering your goddamn messiah baby in a third-world country that even the huge assholes at Fox News are pointing out what huge assholes you are?