Current Events

Everyone wants to be famous.  If anyone has ever looked you in eyes and said “You know, I don’t care for fame,” you were looking into the eyes of a liar. I think most people want that rush of having to make their way through a crowd of screaming adoring fans, to be invited to the most exclusive events, and to be asked their opinion on a multitude of topics while on camera for national broadcast.  What’s more, I don’t think such desires translate to an inflated ego or megalomania, rather it’s just a sign that you’re human.

Wanting to be famous is wanting to be valued more than your worth.  Don’t believe me? Okay, even if you despise Dane Cook (as you should) you know who he is, right? Now, without looking it up, can you tell me what Joseph Lister did? Give up? He discovered anti-septic surgery! Dude is the reason that millions upon millions of people were/are able to have lifesaving surgery without dying from infection, but instead of knowing that you know who Dane Cook is…Dane Cook.  Think about that. Honestly, let’s admit that there are very few famous people who deserve to be famous.  Oh, you disagree? Then how come more people can tell me who the hell “Snooky” is, but draw a blank when I ask them the same question about Abigail Adams…No, it’s not the little girl from Little Miss Sunshine.

Look, I’m not saying that being famous makes you overvalued scum.   I’m also not going to claim that I’m immune to craving fortune and glory.  I regularly have daydreams about being profiled on some TV news magazine for a variety of reasons—writing a literary bestseller, leading political/cultural movement, or foiling a terrorist plot in a Die Hard like scenario (It could happen!).  But in the past couple weeks certain events have made me think about what it means to be famous and I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Earlier this month, 80’s teen movie star Corey Haim died. Early reports seem to indicate that it was an accidental overdose of illegal prescription drugs. If anything Haim’s death illustrates the dark side of fame.  Money and notoriety can get you in the door of the most exclusive parties, but it can’t cure the addiction that may come with it.  Why is it that there is such a wealth of personal tales detailing drug and alcohol problems out of Hollywood that it’s practically become a cliché?  We applaud those that overcome it and empathize with those who don’t, yet we never question why it happens so readily.  Where does the idea that because you were in Lost Boys you can take half-bottle of oxycontin a day and not have a problem come from?

Meanwhile Lindsay Lohan filed a lawsuit against e-trade because one of the company’s commercial features a “milkaholic” talking baby named Lindsay.  Lohan’s lawsuit is a trifecta of fame-induced egomania.  Not only is she claiming she’s a first name star (she isn’t), but that people would recognize the commercial as referencing her (Uh…I don’t think anyone did until she suggested it), and thusly she’s entitled to $100 million (What the hell?!).   My friend Christine was actually excited at the news, because, as she says, “it pretty much gives me the green light to sue Stephen King for his book Christine. Aside from the obvious name similarity, I always thought that the characteristics of the character drew a clear parallel to my life.” Wait, wasn’t that the one about the car that came to life and killed people?   “Yep. That’s right. Clearly a rip off of my life,” she said, adding later: “Hello $100 Million!”

And most recently Sandra Bullock’s husband, apparently, cheated on her.  I’ll be honest here: I couldn’t care less about that fact.  But it seems most people do. And as much I can attest that Sandra Bullock staring in a film is the main reason I won’t go see it, even I don’t think she deserves to have all this played out in the media.  Hey, your husband cheated on you, that sucks. Oh, and EVERYONE in America knows about, mainly because of your recent career success.  I think that’s motivation enough for her to unleash Miss Congeniality 3 on the movie going public as payback.

This month alone we’ve seen that the excess of fame can last well past one’s success (Haim), the constant attention can lead to unbelievable heights of self-aggrandizing (Lohan), and that even your most embarrassing personal problem can’t stay private (Bullock).  And yet people will still resort to almost childish means for their 15-mintues of national attention, something I like to call “Balloon Boy Syndrome.  The most example of this: the guy in California who quite possibly faked his out of control Toyota Prius.

I think that, in the end, as much as I want to be famous, I just as badly want to have a life of substance. I want to be able to keep things in perspective, especially my own self-worth, and still have my privacy.  I still want fortune and glory, but if I never get it… well at least I have the consolation that it definitely has a downside.

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On Sunday, just over 106 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, edging out the final episode of MASH as the most watched televised event U.S. History (Get fucked, Moon Landing).  Now, I’m not a big football fan, but I enjoy the Super Bowl; dare I even say: I love it.  If you think about it, the Super Bowl is actually one of the few cultural traditions that we have in America.  We gather with friends and family for food and shared entertainment.  There are even some theories that it’s part of our tribal nature.  And since it’s one of the few times a year that advertisers can pretty much guarantee that people will be watching their ads (it’s cliché to say it, but most do agree with the “I watch it for the commercials” statement) they reel out their best commercials.  Here are a few things I learned from watching them this year’s Super Bowl Commercials :

All women are harpies that want to dominate and steal your soul, but you can get away…in a Dodge Charger while watching your Flo TV.

Misogyny was in the TV air that night.  While there were plenty of sexist commercials, they’re par for the course with advertising that airs for the biggest game of the year, but Jesus these two take the cake. Depicting whipped men who gain freedom through buying things instead of, you know, telling their girlfriends/wives they don’t want to go clothes shopping with them or carry their lip balm.

Anheuser-Busch has no clue who really drinks their product.

Once again the biggest ad presence of the night was Bud Light.  I counted four for the light beer with three more for other Budweiser brands or general branding.  And as usually, it all proved what I’ve also believed about Anheuser-Busch: they have no idea who really drinks their beers.  In all the Bud Light spots, going back for as long as I can remember, there are these young guys (mid-20’s to 30’s) going nuts over Bud Light.  I’m in that age group and I can tell you bringing a six pack of Bud Light never gets the “YEAH! Bud Light!” reaction, but more an “Awwww, Bud Light?” The only people I ever knew who get excited over Bud Light are high school girls…and I can’t go into how I know that exactly, except in states with of age of consent of seventeen or younger (God Bless the South!).

There are guys still wearing tighty whitey underwear.

Maybe it was the double whammy of the Career Builder and Dockers spots, but I was shocked (Shocked! I say) to witness so many men in white jockey underwear (though they were more a beige, which is really gross).  Haven’t we as a gender moved past this yet? Come on!  I get it if your mom is still buying your underwear for you, but not when you’re older than thirteen.  You move onto boxers or boxer briefs, just like how you upgrade to soft-core pornography from the Sport Illustrated swimsuit issue.  It’s evolution!

VolksWagen loves bullies .

Remember that “game” when you were a kid where the biggest jerk on the school bus would punch you every time he saw a VW Beetle? Well, with this ad the carmaker is setting the precedent for said child douchebags to hit for punch-buggies for ALL its models.  My arm is already numb in sympathy for grade school nerds everywhere.  But what do you expect with a company that was started by the Nazis?

Tim Tebow hits his mother.

After all the fuss made about the Focus on the Family spot staring Tim Tebow, I was surprised just how tame it was…Aside from the fact that over a third of America saw the 2007 Heisman Winner assault his mother.

Last Weekend:

The reports came across the airwave like the warning of an encroaching invading army.  Snow was coming (more specifically, a blizzard).   It is moving surely without haste– an armada of clouds sailing across thousands of Doppler screens to cover the entire Eastern seaboard in their flakes of cold white death. It…is…coming .

“It’s going to be a big one,” the weathermen said, his large bright teeth gleamed an unnatural whiteness on the television screen, foreshadowing the coming snowfall.  I sprung up from my perch on the couch, legs evenly apart, arms held up to block or strike a blow—I was in the “ready” position I learned from my six months of Judo when I was a kid.  A glance over to my girlfriend confirmed that she too had jumped into the posture from the other end of the sofa. The “women’s interests” magazine she’d been perusing tossed into the corner.   “I’ll get previsions, you secure and ready the perimeter,” she said in a flat even tone that had a tint of hurry to it.  “Copy,” I responded.

While she headed out to the grocery store, I made sure the windows were locked with no draft making it past the weather stripping, mad sure the gas heaters were working, dug out the electric space heater in case the building boiler crapping out, and a hatchet to break apart furniture for firewood if the electricity went out.   I then gathered as many weapons to defend my home for when society crumbed under the cold weight of snow.  A hammer, extra sharp steak knives, and a crossbow (yeah, I own a crossbow).  Just as I was finishing filling up as many spare containers I could find with water for when the pipes froze, my girlfriend burst in with bags of groceries, mainly canned and dried food so it wouldn’t go bad.  We then settled in, ready for the coming winter dystopia to come.

And you know what? NOTHING HAPPENED!  It snowed a lot, stopped, I did my laundry and then went to work the next day.   Despite all the warnings and everyone’s fear, it was not bid deal.   It never is. The few times that I’ve experienced being snowed it, it went something like this: I looked out and said, “It’s really coming down out there.”   Then I watched TV and about an hour later looked back outside and discovered that the roads had been rendered impassable and my family’s car was buried.  “Oh, I guess, we’re snowed in,” I said turning back to the TV. THAT’S IT!  Unless you live in some desolate rural area of America, being snowed just means you don’t go out until it stops snowing.

This is modern America damnit!  It’s not the mid 19th century on the prairies. The majority of our population has regulated itself to the suburbs, areas with paved street and governing bureaucracies, and thus have snowplows!  Seriously, it’s not that big a deal people.   So next time a big snowstorm is coming, please remain calm…or I’ll be forced to use my crossbow.

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Dear Main Stream Media,

I don’t care about Tiger Woods cheating on his wife.  Now, will everyone shut up about it?  Usually, in situations like this involving something utterly pointless about a celebrity, I can just avoid the whole thing by ignoring it.  But sometimes, I just can’t escape it.  Atop the constant barrage of headlines and news coverage in this 24-hour news cycle digital world, there’s always someone (usually at work) who will inevitably bring it up.  “Did you hear about Tiger Woods?” a moronic co-worker will ask.  No, I’ve been on the moon all week…with my head buried in the ground…and my eyes and ears sown shut.

Look, no one, least of all me, is surprised that Tiger Woods was sleeping with women other than his wife. The man is rich and famous, so this shouldn’t shock anyone.  There have been multiple seasons of Rock of Love, a TV show in which women compete to hook up with Bret Michaels, the lead singer of Poison.  So if the ass clown who sings this song can get legions of women to want to be with me, what do you think the man who many agree will hold the title of “greatest golfer who ever lived” when he finally retires gets?  I bet that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of women who have stalked Tiger Woods and tried to have sex with him (and probably knew he was married).  Personally, I don’t understand the psychology of so called “star fuckers”.  I’m pretty sure fame, or wealth, is not sexually transmitted.  And before anyone accuses me: I’m not excusing Woods’s actions. I’m of the mindset that you don’t want to sleep with one person for the rest of your life than you shouldn’t get married (or tell your wife that you want an open relationship).

Some may argue that since Tiger Woods is the highest paid professional athlete in the world (estimates are that next year he will be worth a billion dollars) along with his inevitable seat on the thrown of the sport and high visibility, he’s fair game for coverage.  I’d like to point out that he’s also the most boring famous person in the world.  It’s the key to his greatness.  Seriously.  Have you ever played golf? It’s the dullest sport known in the history of humanity.  Tiger Woods has literally spent the better part of his life practicing swinging a rod with a piece of metal attached to the end.  Hours upon hours, every day, week after week, month after month, for years.  Interesting people who have profound insights don’t do that, only someone who has nothing better to do would practice hitting a five iron for three hours straight. And thus, inevitably, his scandal is equally boring. Did he sexually assault these women? Pay to have sex with them? Take steroids in front of them? No, he just had consensual sex with them and kept it from his wife.  I don’t care.  So please move onto to something else…or I’ll kill a celebrity to get you to.


The Word Ninja

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Well, it’s that time of year again. This Thursday is Thanksgiving, AKA Turkeyday.  And you know what?  I love this holiday. I love the food, the history, the traveling back home, and the togetherness.  It’s great. But you know what I love most about it? The fact that it’s total bullshit.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  Its foundation is based on a brazen lie with a farce of imagery at the center: white English settlers dining in peace with Native American in celebration of their arrival.  Let’s focus on that this for a second.  Is there a holiday in Ireland, where they celebrate when the British came over?  Or in Germany where Germans and Jews celebrate a dinner their people had together? Did the early Americans invite their slaves to eat with them?  Maybe I’m being over dramatic.  But where are all the Native Americans now?

Look at how we celebrate this sham of a festivity.  We, adult children, go back home (if you made it out), a place we used every ounce of energy to leave before we turned twenty-three (once again, if you were able to) and sit around with our family, people we make every effort not to be with the rest of the year, and pretend to be a loving family.  So there you are asking your grandmother to pass the mashed potatoes while ignoring your uncle’s quasi-racist comments and doing your damnedest not call out your poser cousin.  Then, if you have the strength, you go out the next night to the local bar that EVERYONE you went to high school with shows up to and pretend that “everything’s just great” as they do the same (even though most are the same old fucktards you remember and all still hang out together). No one’s ever having a tough time when they’re talking to a former high school classmate.

So why do we go through it all? And why is it the reason I love Thanksgiving?  Because when push comes to shove, I’ll take the good self-aware lie over the bad truth without hope.  Because, more often than naught, what’s real isn’t good enough and we need more than what we deserve.  We all know that what we’re commemorating is a crock of shit, but who wants to strive for that?  Life sucks, but we can pretend it doesn’t for one day.

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fbOn Friday, some of you (if you’re like me) may have thought that you had stroke—but it was just Facebook changing the layout of its homepage.  “That’s it!” You no doubt yelled, disrupting the bureaucratic quiet of your office.  Co-workers turned to glance from their computer screens, unfazed (they are quite familiar with your outbursts by now).  “I’m done with this shit,” you probably cried. “I’m quitting Facebook!”  If you’re anything like me…

Okay, so I’ll admit it: Within ten minutes, I had posted an updated status message about the latest Facebook layout and how much I hated it.  Look, I know I’ll never quit Facebook.  I’m addicted to it.  Just ask anyone I’m friends with.  I’m always posting links, notes, pictures, mobile updates, status updates, etc.  I’ve actually been told that people enjoy my posts that pop up on their newsfeeds.  Seriously, I’m that awesome.

But this whole foray into possibly finally ending my long and sometime combative relationship with the social networking giant (as brief as it was) churned up a few moments of self-reflection and forced me to ask the question: Just why the hell am I on Facebook?   The answer came quickly, without a moment’s contemplation: To make sure that people I know (but are not really that close with), particularly ex-girlfriends, are living less fulfilling lives than mine.  AND to continue the charade that I’m living the high life that I always hoped I would (but really never did).

So listen up:

  • Everyone I knew growing up in Virginia and stayed there after I moved to New York—I’m living the good life up here.  Partying every night, on a successful and promising career path, and most definitely did not have a dinner that comprised solely of ramen noodles seasoned by my tears last night.
  • Kid I was on the track team with—I don’t want to see photos from your solo motorcycle trip across the country.  Yes, I want a motorcycle.  No, I can’t afford it.  God, I envy you.
  • The girl who sat next to me in trig class—I don’t want to read about your crazy nights out with your close-knit group of friends.  Don’t post pictures either.
  • That chick I hooked up with Sophomore Year—I don’t care about your bachelorette party. Or your wedding ….to your “soul mate.”
  • Guy who I was roommates with for a semester—please stop sharing the details of your incredibly successful and important job that compensates you both with karma and a huge salary.  Also, can I borrow some money?

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Ladies, we need a moment.  Halloween is fast approaching.  I know, right?  Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday it was the middle of summer and now here we are, almost at the end of October.   Personally, I love Halloween.  Ever since I was a kid, it was my favorite holiday and I would spend weeks planning what I would go as.  These last two weeks especially have a place in my heart.  This is when party invitations start arriving, decorations come out, and final costume decisions are made.   That’s why I’ve chosen now to address an issue with your entire gender.

I’ve held my tongue about something I see every Halloween for years, but I can’t anymore.  I mean no disrespect to say this, but: dressing slutty doesn’t count as a costume. I’m not the first to make this complaint, but it seems that every year all I see are sexy schoolgirls, naughty nurses, or god know what else with the attached sexual adjective.  The last straw for me was this:  a sexy dogcatcher.dogcatcher

WHAT THE HELL?!  I’m not offended by the short skirt, I’m offend by how lame a costume idea this is!

When I was younger, I enjoyed seeing such blatant ritualistic displays of female sexuality. Contrary to what others may say—I am a man…a straight man.  And as much as I’ll claim to embrace the spirit and cause of feminism and women’s rights, I’ll always be that and carry the, huh, “desires” that come with it.  But come on!  Dressing up for Halloween is meant to showcase your imagination, your wit, or at the very least some sort of long lost fantasy (no, not that kind of fantasy).  It’s not about donning the style and dress of some member of a uniformed class that’s been forced into prostitution!  That’s just stupid.

Look, I’m not saying you can’t choose a costume that’s risqué or showing some skin, just don’t make that the whole purpose.  Why not a Victorian prostitute that’s been murdered by Jack the Ripper and has risen from the grave as a zombie?  Or a stripper that’s been bitten by a vampire and beginning to turn into one of the undead?  And if you want to show off your legs, what about Wonder Woman?    It’s not the sexuality that’s bothersome,  it’s the lack of imagination.  And isn’t that what Halloween is supposed to be all about?

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