July 31, 2007

Your Average ThunderJournalist, Son, Don't Take a Dump Without a Plan

Melissa and I are planning a Yellowstone vacation for late August, by which I mean she's making all the plans and I grunt my approval or disapproval of said plans.

Mt. Rushmore? *approving grunt* Montana's largest doiley factory? *disapproving grunt*

The most debate, currently, surrounds the decision as to which vehicle we should take.

On the one hand, there's Mel's VW Jetta. Pros? Good gas mileage, better storage and low total miles. Cons? The thing squeaks and we don't know why, or how to stop it, and neither did the mechanics in the shop. Also, no cruise control.

On the other hand, there's my '96 Cadillac Eldorado. Pros? Comfortable as hell. Cruise control. Seats that recline to the point of being beds. Cons? Over 110,000 miles on the beast. Any breakdowns on the trip would cost a ton, if they could even be fixed at all.

This is going to be a most interesting vacation. . .

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July 27, 2007

Death Cat Is Watching You Die

As most of you already know, I occasionally consult the newswires for ThunderJournal ideas, because I firmly believe it’s my duty to you, my dedicated readers—who have outstanding taste in ThunderJournalists, by the way—to bring you news you may have missed or went unreported in your standard news circles.

Also, I’ve found posting on news that’s already been reported by other people to be a fantastic way to produce a ThunderJournal post without actually having to do all that much work. So, there’s that.

Today, we turn to animals in the news. Specifically, we turn to domestic animals in the news. Even more specifically, we turn to cats. Finally, taking specificity to new specific levels, we turn to Death Cats.

That got your attention, didn’t it?

According to a July 27 Associated Press report out of Providence, Rhode Island, Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

Now, my immediate question upon reading something like that is: do the patients at the nursing home know about this, or just the staff? Because, and this is just little old me here, if I was a patient in a nursing home, and there was a kitty reaper roaming the halls, I’d want to know where that cat is at all times, day or night.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

As a cat owner myself, I’m kind of torn here. On the one hand, I want to say “awwww, that’s so. . . cute?” But, on the other hand, I know what it feels like to have a cat jump up into bed in the morning and curl up between my legs and, after reading this article, I don’t think I’ll ever have the same reaction to what was formerly kind of a cute routine.

CAT: *hop* *purr* *curl up*

ME: AHHHHHHH! Back! Back! Away with you, vile feline! My time is not up! You shall not take my soul across the river Styx! I have years left in me! Decades! Perhaps even a century, depending on advances in medicine!

Honestly, after a couple weeks of that, I can’t expect my fiancée to stick to our future marital agreements.

And now for the creepiest paragraph in the entire article:

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

First off, that answers my previous question: No, patients aren’t aware a Death Cat haunts the hallways, selecting souls for its nefarious cat intentions. Secondly, “when Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure?” How twisted is that? It’s not enough for Oscar to put his Paw of Death upon the doomed. No, he also just HAS TO BE IN ON THE ACTION or he whines about it.

Okay, I’m obviously mostly kidding here. Oscar sounds like a very sweet, unique cat. It's always the sweet, unique things that end up killing you though.

Think about it.

Posted by Ryan at 09:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 25, 2007

Post-Potter Nick Fisk

As predicted, I finished the fine tome, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night, and I was greeted this morning by the latest installment penned by Nick "Grandpa Poopshoes" Coleman. In this latest Nick Coleman piece, we find our tragic hero, once again, heroically whining about something, in this case, high-end real estate development.

We join our heroic scribe, who is frantically using his wand/pen against the evil Realtormort, firing a salvo of fairly unimpressive jibes in order to construct an equally unimpressive lead paragraph:

You can still get an Ellington, a Hemingway or a Thoreau. But forget about the Twain, the Whistler or the O'Keefe. They're gone, and they probably were out of your price range anyway.

Peering from the smoke and carnage of his opening salvo, Nick spies his nemesis, Realtormort, who is busy being successful and prosperous, which tells Nick something must be gravely, gravely wrong:

I'm talking real estate, baby. Prime property above the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis, where a luxury 400-foot-high condo tower called the Carlyle offers a taste of how the river gorge in the Twin Cities will look in a decade if development is our only value.

DEVELOPMENT! One of the Unforgivable Curses! Development is a sign of prosperity, which is an evil our hero cannot abide, unless it's his own, but NEVERMIND THAT!

The Carlyle's residences, "designed to fulfill the aspirations of our nation's greatest artists" (and named for writers, musicians and artists), are priced from the $300,000s to $1.5 million. Ninety percent of the 255 units have been sold, including a million-dollar one purchased by University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks and his wife, Susan Hagstrum. Finishing work continues on the upper stories, but floors 5 through 28 now have residents.

90 percent! How could so many souls be taken by the false promises of Realtormort?! How could so many wish to have a luxury condo on the banks of the Mississippi? Don't they know that land could have been better utilized as an unprofitable, and probably poorly kept-up city park, sustained through tax dollars taken from people who would probably never even use said park? Sparks sputter from our hero's wand:

From all appearances, the Carlyle is a big hit. And a big hit is what it put on the historic river district in its shadows.

Realtormort doesn't even notice.

At 39 stories, the Carlyle towers over the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, one of the most endangered historic sites in the state.

Endangered historic site! Wait. . . what?

I think you can like the Carlyle, or even lust after its luxury, and still wonder, "How did this gigantic project on the edge of a historic river district get approved?"

Realtormort fires back: "Because people want to see the land value go up, and they want to see continued growth for Minneapolis, you stupid moron, so it got approved!"

People far from Minneapolis have asked the same thing.

"The scale and impact on the river corridor is undesirable," says Royce Yeater, Midwest director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The trouble, he says, is the building stands almost on the edge of the river, rather than a block or two back from the river, closer to the central loop.

Realtormort rubs his temples in exasperation: "Let me get this straight: you're saying the Midwest director for the national trust for historic preservation is also somehow an expert on architectural and design asthetics? Also, you are aware, if the Carlyle were to be located two blocks from the river, it would be that much less desirable? There would be no incentive for people to buy anything lower than the 10th floor. It's appealing because IT'S RIVERFRONT PROPERTY, not two-blocks-away-from-riverfront property."

The trust's president, Minnesota native Richard Moe, has called for a moratorium on development in the area. Yeater says the trust would like to see something along the lines of Chicago's effort to save the Michigan Avenue Street Wall, which preserved a "wall" of 10-to 12-story vintage buildings along Lake Michigan by pushing taller new developments a block or two away. Such a strategy here would have kept the Carlyle at a respectful distance from the Falls of St. Anthony.

A respectful distance?

But I guess that's just water over the falls now.

"I sense you're running out of whining jinxes, Coleman," said Realtormort, a thin smile curving his upper lip. "Perhaps you'd like to change tactics, and duel me with your 'Staff of Nonsensical Segues?'"

Two workers died during construction of the Carlyle.

Kraig Arnold died in 2005 after falling down an open shaft. And in November, an ironworker named Arne Fliginger died after falling 35 stories.

"AHA!" cried Realtormort. "A most excellent riposte! Yes, Coleman, when your logic and common sense fail you, as they they so routinely do, you can always fall back on your horcrux of human mortality."

After Arnold died, the builders were fined $25,000 by the state -- the minimum when a death is ruled to have been caused by a serious violation of safety rules. Another $25,000 fine was levied after Fliginger died, although the case is still open.

"Falling down a shaft is considered a serious violation of safety rules?" queried Realtomort. "So noted."

Undeterred by Reatormort's dismissive disdain for his human mortality horcrux, our valiant hero attacks again with his 'Staff of Nonsensical Segues!'

The name "Carlyle" was picked for marketing purposes and has no significance, although it reminds me of Carlton the Doorman on the TV sitcom "Rhoda," a spin-off from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" after Rhoda moved back "home" to New York.

"Carlyle" connotes New York, where a luxury hotel called the Carlyle bills itself as "a Manhattan Legend."

Taken back by the sheer, oppressive nonsense rained down by Coleman's enchanted staff--as well as the mere thought of Coleman's staff in general--Realtormort falls back to regroup. Sensing his advantage, Nick goes on the offensive, casting a pathetic One-Liner Charm:

If the Big Apple can have a legend, the Mini Apple must have a mini-legend, I guess.

Realtormort takes the charm directly in his chest, and Nick hurriedly fumbles in his vest an unveils "The Brochure of Lazy Journalist Research," brazenly using Realtormort's weapons against him:

"For the first time in this city's history, a residential building has come along that offers the kind of lifestyle found in places like New York, Chicago or San Francisco, and even there, only rarely."

That's the breathless pitch in the sales brochure, which calls the Carlyle "history in the making" and touts "extraordinary residences" that "take your breath away" (I told you it was breathless) which "overlook St. Anthony Falls, a place of magnificent prominence, where the city of Minneapolis was born."

"Please. . ." croaked Realtormort. "No more. . . "

But, Nick wasn't done yet. No, he had a Shakespeare Charm remaining in his arsenal:

Yep. That's the rub.

Now, nearly lifeless, Realtormort watched as Nick Coleman once again held forth ""The Brochure of Lazy Journalist Research:"

"You've never seen Minneapolis like this before," the Carlyle's brochure brags.

No. And you shouldn't see Minneapolis like this again.

With the lifeless body of Realtormort behind him, Nick Coleman walked triumphantly away, his two imaginary friends at his side.

The end?

Posted by Ryan at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2007

Admitting My Shame

Okay, I'm just going to admit it. One of the main reasons I've been a crappy ThunderJournalist lately, in addition to actually doing work and stuff is. . . I can do this. . . I'm strong. . . I'm Double Dragon strong. . . is. . . *whew*

I'm reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

And I'm liking it, DAMNIT!

With any luck, I'll finish it tonight, and ThunderJournaling will resume with renewed zeal.

Posted by Ryan at 08:38 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Give a ThunderJournalist a Little Room

Yes, posting has been light. What can I say? It's summer, and living is easy. Or some other Will Smith lyric.

Posted by Ryan at 10:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 17, 2007

Told You So

Remember yesterday when I wrote the P-B watches Money Magazine like a dog with a biscuit on its nose? You do? Good.

Because I nailed it.

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July 16, 2007

So true. So very, very true

Here in Rochester, Minn., the local newspaper, the Post-Bulletin, makes a huge--shall we say "ginormous" now that it's a recognized word--deal when the city makes Money Magazine's #1 place to live in America, or falls in the Top 1,000, or is mentioned in passing in an ad the city of Rochester placed in the magazine.

Suffice it to say, the P-B apparently watches Money Magazine's "top places to live rankings" like a dog with a biscuit on its nose.

I thought I was the only one in the entire state who thought the Money Magazine ranking was about as meaningless as a Nick Coleman column. Thankfully, I was wrong!

Chaska is up two points in Money’s annual list of “Best Places to Live,” as defined by magazine editors who wouldn’t live there if you gave them a million dollars. Last year the tiny river town was #10; this year it’s #8. Like most lists, it’s an entertaining exercise in useless subjective judgments, and by some peculiar twist of events, the top ten cities are scattered throughout the country, as if to appeal to every possible market. New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, California, Nebraska. It’s almost they expect blogs and talk radio to give them lots of publicity, for free.

Well, let’s get on with it, then.

Posted by Ryan at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A New Look

Since my jiu-jitsu rolling and subsequent numerous launderings has reduced my current uniform/gi into something just a step up from threads, I finally bit the bullet last night and ordered this:


Obviously, mine won't have a black belt, but it should still look pretty slick with a blue belt. I'm all about appearances in jiu-jitsu. Oh, sure, I'll still be tapping out and screaming like a girl, but I'll LOOK GOOD doing it, damnit!

Also, I suppose I should do a shameless shout-out to my Brazilian jiu-jitsu school, the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Association (MRJJA). Rochester, Minn. and surrounding area residents take note: this is THE place to train if you're at all interested in ground-based self-defense or mixed martial arts. Sure, I'm biased, but this is my ThunderJournal, so I'm allowed to be biased, even shamelessly so.

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Sooooo, there he is.

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July 13, 2007

One Nice Thing About the Blogosphere

Is there are so many people willing to punch garbage can size holes in the "logic" of Nick Coleman.

Posted by Ryan at 07:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Not that there's any reason for you to care, but one of my latest obessions is entering Pepsi codes for their current ongoing Pepsi.Yahoo.com/transformyoursummer/">promotional sweepstakes. I actually dig through trash cans when I'm golfing to retrieve the caps. There's not limit to how pathetic I can be.

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July 12, 2007

The Most Melodramatic Lead Paragraph Ever Written

If ever there was a reason to stop reading "Men's Health," this article is it.

The baby-faced kid is crushed against the chain-link octagon, swallowing punches from a fighter twice his size. His skin glows under the lights, until something gives way, and soon he's covered in blood. He's done, pinned, but too proud to tap out yet the crowd jeers when the ref stops the fight. Even his father protests. Somehow, this Cleveland cage fight has become Caesar's coliseum.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to just roll my eyes into the back of my head and let loose with a drawn out. . . JEEEEESUS CHRRRRRRIIIIIST!

You just know, in the deepest pit of your being, the person writing this drivel doesn't know the damned first thing about MMA fighting. If the kid didn't tap out, maybe, just maybe, his opponent didn't have a technique locked in adequately enough to make him want to tap out. Maybe the kid had some wiggle room he could have exploited, and the fans saw this, but the ref stepped in anyway, hence the jeers. This writer makes it sound like a newborn was ripped from his mother's bosom and tossed to a panther, while the crowd writhed in orgasmic revelry at the spectacle.

Oh, and the rest of the article sucks, too. Or, maybe I'm just SOOOOO ANGRY!

Also, this is a quibbling point, but Caesar never had a coliseum. Caesar predated the coliseum by a couple hundred years. Yes, I know Roman emperors after Caesar were sometimes called "Caesar," but somehow I don't think that's what this moronic writer had in mind.

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July 11, 2007


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Sweet Merciful Crap

I was beginning to think maybe Nick Coleman's neck was amongst those that found the chopping block during the Strib's recent round of employee beheadings. The state's most eminent hacktacular columnist this side of Susan Lenfesty had been remarkably silent for the better part of a month.

But, of course, a man who has burrowed so deep into the folds of the established media elite of the Twin Cities, a man who is the brother of the St. Paul mayor, will likely never have to fear being ejected from his lofty position as the local Cicero of complete nonsense.

Today, Nick Coleman penned what could possibly be the most nonsensical, bizarre, pointless, incoherent, pathetic, adolescent, horrible, mind-numbingly stupid thing he's ever written in his entire storied career of writing complete and utter crap.

Nick Coleman: Holy Scripture! Bible thumpers can pack a punch

Ugh. Here we go. . .

We have arrived at the point where we aren't just throwing interpretations of Holy Scripture at each other. We are throwing the scripture itself.
State Rep. Mark Olson, a Republican charged with domestic abuse after an argument with his wife last fall, has brought forth a novel defense at his trial in Sherburne County. Olson says that he is the victim and that he was abused by his wife, Heidi, who threw a Bible at him on several occasions, grabbing it from him as he read it and thumping him with it.

News! Nick Coleman style! Now, one would expect, seeing how Coleman is, you know, a METRO columnist, this little bit of written bolus would somehow focus on, one would hope, Mark Olson, or at least something remotely metro or local. You would expect that, but this is a Nick Coleman column, sooooo. . .

Many men have the same problem with their wives and the TV remote.

Bah dum bump!

*loser horns*

Fortunately, remotes don't do damage to vital organs, so men take it in stride. After all, He who Shall Not Listeneth to his Wife During the Game Deserveth a Good Beaning.

*loser horns*

If you want to read scripture in front of your spouse while she is doing the chores, you should read it in pamphlet form. Or wear a Holy Helmet.

*loser horns*

I don't mean to make fun of domestic violence, which is a serious problem.

Despite three gasbag stinko jokes indicating otherwise. . .

And I believe the Bible offers many words of wisdom to live by, including these from Jesus: "Let he who is without sin cast the first Bible." Or something like that.

Mmmmmmmm, sacri-liscious.

It's never good when the good book hits the floor.

Okay, everyone, cue the Nick Coleman Google-infused history lesson!

In 1532, an Incan emperor named Atahualpa threw a Bible at the feet of a Spanish conquistador, who promptly began an attack that killed 7,000 Incans. For his sacrilege, Atahualpa was sentenced to be burned at the stake until he converted to Christianity, after which the Spaniards rewarded him with strangulation, which was quicker and neater.

Mark Olson? Metro? Point? Hello? Is anyone here? Can anyone steer this column back to some sort of point?

Thanks, brothers!

Four hundred and 75 years later (in May), Pope Benedict angered many Indians by saying in Brazil that their forbears had been longing for Christianity and implying that the deaths of their ancestors had been worth it. That's another story, too long to tell here.

Nick Coleman stopping short of telling a story that's too long? First time for everything I guess.

But the point is that the Bible is capable of being used to beat people over the head, as well as to change hearts. Turning a missal into a missile is an old habit that persists today.

Gosh, you'd almost expect Nick to mention some of the acts of recent violence done in the name of ANOTHER HOLY BOOK that's gotten quite a bit of press lately. But, nah, let's keep this focused on the Bible, which you can berate endlessly and never worry about reprisal.

Just last month, a guard in the Blue Earth County jail in Mankato was charged with using a Bible to beat a prisoner. And it's a two-way street: In Athens, Tenn., a street preacher was pepper-sprayed and arrested in May after hitting a cop with his Bible. And then there are the times when a man must open a can of good Old Testament whupass on someone to defend himself from a Bible-based assault:

And I remember back in elementary school, back when I had to walk 40 miles through the snow, barefoot, carrying snakes, when my neighbor-friend, Jedidiah, went and threw a Bible at my childhood sweatheart, Minerva. We had a good dust-up over that one, we did. Damned Bible-chucker. That became his nickname, too: Jedidiah The Bible Chucker. Confused the hell out of the opposing football teams in our later years.

Take the case of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was accosted in 2002 by a skeptic who didn't believe man had been to the moon and demanded that Aldrin -- the second person to walk on the moon -- swear on a Bible that he had been there. After the man poked Aldrin one too many times with a Bible, Aldrin punched him in the schnozz. The cops refused to charge Aldrin.

What the hell was Nick injecting into his veins while writing this? Heroin For Codgers? An ADD drip? Before you answer that, consider the next paragraph, a descent into incoherent nonsense you'll not likely see again. . . until Nick's next column:

The stakes and the contusions can be great when you are talking about a king-size clout with a King James. I have a 10-pound Bible at home, a reproduction of an ancient Irish Bible. Actually, it is only the New Testament, but if my wife dropped it on my head, I would be in heaven half an hour before the devil knew I was dead. Or the cops. But I wouldn't complain.

What. The. Hell? I don't know if I could accomplish such a feat of literary gibberish, but I feel compelled to try:

The stakes and porterhouse steaks can be monumental when you're talking about getting hit in the groin with a groin-ball. I have a 20-pound groin ball at home, a reproduction of an ancient Gaul groin ball. Actually, it's only for the left testicle, but if my girlfriend threw it at my groin, it could crush my right testicle a good hour and 15 minutes before my left testicle knew what was going on. Or my penis. But I won't complain.

Mark Olson, an eight-term conservative who has been one of the preachifying lawmakers who have spent years trying to write their religion into government, shouldn't complain, either.

That's quite the claim by Coleman, but of course he doesn't cite any examples, so we're just expected to believe what Nick writes, which is a tough pill to swallow, considering his previous paragraph.

You are asking for it when you walk out of jail carrying a Bible, as Olson did, claiming your beliefs make you the "head of the household."

It's nice how Nick has already condemned Olson as an abuser, even though he hasn't even gone to trial yet. Perhaps he should be reminded of a certain Duke lacrosse rape case before passing summary judgement. But, what fun would that be?

To the moon, Olson.

Ooh! Snap! You see that Nick did there? He totally did a call-back to his Buzz Aldrin anecdote earlier! That was a kind of joke! It was funny! It was. . . it was. . . *loser horns*

It's not the Bible that's the problem. If Bibles were outlawed, outlaws would still hit people with them. The trouble isn't the word of God, but the actions of his confused creatures, we angry, lonely Bible bashers.

Nick is a fine one to opine about confused creatures.

Friends, the lesson is simple:

Read your Bible. Or your Koran or your Torah or any sacred text you choose. Follow their wisdom. Just don't throw them at other people.

This passage of Coleman-esque advice-erating reminds me of another classic Nick Coleman bit, specifically:

His best rap is called "Son of Perdition," and it preaches a message of turning to the Bible and the Qur'an, or what have you.

To which I correctly zinged: The Bible and the Qur'an, OR WHAT HAVE YOU?! He wrote that? And left it in? OR WHAT HAVE YOU? What? You don't have a Bible or Qur'an handy? You have The DaVinci code? That'll work. What have you.

Welcome back, Nick. The Strib just isn't the same without your unique brand of journalism.

Posted by Ryan at 09:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007


Firstly, someone will have to explain to me someday how car repairs consisting of new spark plugs and wiring can amount to over $600. Because, you know, that just don't seem right.

Nextly, whatever spambot piece of crap that's out there posting comment spam, just stop that shit already, mmkay. I've had to delete hundreds of spamments and close dozens of comment threads just to try to head off that jackass. Lousy InterWeb bastards.

Posted by Ryan at 07:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

You Just Knew I'd Have To Post About This

Just when you thought it was going to be a slow news day, this appears:

Sometimes, you can’t stop your weight-loss secrets from leaking out.

Dieters have been flocking to drugstores to pick up Alli, the first over-the-counter weight-loss pill to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, despite the scary warning: Stray too far from your low-fat diet and you just might poop your pants.

This has officially become the best day in the history of the universe. 4.3 billion years of existence, and I was here for the one day that trumps all others in sheer awesomeness. I'm a little bit humbled, frankly.

The drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has been up front about the pill’s side effects, suggesting that first timers wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work until they get used to the diet pill’s potentially yucky consequences.

Seriously, from this moment on, I'm going to be on the lookout for people on this diet. It'll be kind of like a "Where's Waldo" exercise, except I'll be looking for people crying into their hands in front of a brown wet spot on the ground, like in "The Sims" when you don't let your Sim relieve itself.

Still, it seems there’s no shortage of people willing to risk public humiliation to shed a few pounds. At one Los Angeles-area Walgreens, pharmacist Susie Uyu’s seen customer after customer march directly through the store toward the prominent Alli display. “I think they’re excited that it’s an over-the-counter product,” Uyu says.

They'll be "marching directly" somewhere else by the end of the day. Or, maybe not marching, but sliding, cheeks clenched, to the nearest pound shedding depository.

And even though pharmacist Miyuki Anderson, who works at a Bartell Drugs in Seattle, warns everyone who eyes the Alli display about the messy side effects, it doesn’t stop most of them from buying the diet pill. (Anderson does, however, arm them with this helpful tip: “I tell the patients, try when you have a day off.”)

People! Do not listen to Miyuki's advice! That would spoil this joyous day for everyone! Rather, take my advice: Wear shorts and mini-skirts! Skip underwear entirely! Crap yourselves with pride!

“We know it’s selling very well — better than we expected,” says Brian Jones, a GlaxoSmithKline spokesman. Jones declined to share any specific numbers. “But we don’t know if it’s going to last — there was a lot of pent-up anticipation.”

Yeah, well, this new pill should deal with any remaining pent up anticipation. In fact, anything that's remotely pent-up should slide through the sluice gates with ease!

That anticipation refers to the origin of Alli; it’s the newly approved over-the-counter form of the prescription weight-loss drug Xenical. Now that it’s available in many major drugstores and grocery chains, it’s not just for the obese with a doctor’s prescription in hand — anyone who wants to lose a few can try it.

More importantly, anyone who want to slip a little poop-inducer into the food or drink of their unsuspecting victims can try it! To any of my friends or family reading this right now, consider this your warning.

“The pill offers the promise of convenience, that someone has done the job for you,” says Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington in Seattle. “People who don't live well, who stuff themselves with bags of snacks, in desperation they reach out for a pill.”

"That someone has done the job for you?" Technically, I think you'll still be responsible for "the job." Also, "in desperation they reach out for a pill?" In addition to sounding suspiciously like your typical addict or drug abuser, doesn't this sound kind of like abdicating personal responsibility? Don't get me wrong, a nation of pants crappers is still deliciously funny, but I'm just sayin'.

The drugmaker states very clearly that it’s no miracle drug, and only promises to help people toward moderate weight loss. For example, if someone were to lose 10 pounds from dieting, they’d lose 15 by combining their diet with Alli.

Five additional pounds. . . for them TO POOP ON! Sorry, I was channeling my inner Triumph The Insult Dog there.

The diet pill works by blocking 25 percent of fat from being digested. Alli users take one pill with every meal, and to avoid an “Alli oops,” they should eat less than 42 grams of fat a day, or about 15 grams per meal. But those fat grams can be sneaky. One grande Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino contains 15 grams of fat, and if an Alli user adds even a low-fat muffin to that meal, it could get icky.

An "Alli oops?" An "ALLI OOPS!" ROTFLMAO! Those fat grams can be sneaky! OMG! This is about the funniest unintentionally funny article ever filed!

“It’s so important to understand that you must adopt a low-fat, healthy lifestyle,” Jones says. “We call them treatment effects — that’s a signal for you that you’re not staying in the guidelines. What Alli will not do is make up for not living a healthy lifestyle.”

Treatment effects! Squirting oil out your ass is considered a treatment effect! This is seriously TEH AWESOME! The next time I take a dooger, I'm going to say I'm "going in for a treatment effect, so I better grab a magazine." People won't know whether to feel sorry for me, or remind me to hit the fan.

But we don’t always like to bother with directions.

Really? Do tell!

Those who haven’t completely followed instructions offer cautionary tales on the drug company’s Web site.

As if crapping yourself dry isn't embarrassing enough, you can write about it! Lord knows I've done that myself here countless times, without any help from Alli, even.

“(I)’ve pooped my pants 3 times today, and sorry to get descriptive but it even leaked onto the couch at one point!” writes one user.

No, no, no. You don't apologize for descriptive writing. You revel in it. You crap your couch and you write Shakespearian tomes about it. You don't just dump your drawers three times a day. . . you take PRIDE in it!

It can strike any time — even in the early hours of the morning. One user writes: “(Y)a know how when you start moving around in the morning ya pass a little gas. Well, I did and then went into the bathroom and to my horror I had an orange river of grease running down my leg.”

Or, what Harry Potter fans would refer to as "Pumpkin Juice." I love how it was "to their horror." What did they expect? A river in Greece? No, a river OF grease.

Fellow cheaters advise each other on the best clean-up methods, and some even suggest using panty liners or Depends. One frugal user noted, “I’m thinking that infant diapers might be a cheaper way to go, just use them as a large pad.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we've officially reached the end of the world. Please exit on the left. In my previous post, I mentioned being uncomfortable with the invective commentary on some blogs. Well, now I'm just plain wigged out at the thought of Alli cheaters sharing advice on how best to deal with the consequences of cheating rather than, you know, STOP CHEATING. Then again, that would mean an end to this hilarity, to which I'm adamantly opposed.

The gross side effects might scare away the less-committed, but some experts appreciate Alli’s very real, very immediate consequences of cheating on your diet.

And even some non-experts like, say, ME, appreciate the very real, very immediate consequences. They're the most super-funny awesome consequences the drug industry has ever come up with.

“It forces you to eat a lower-fat diet — if you don’t, you’re violently penalized for not doing so,” says David Sarwer, the director of clinical services at the Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “When they eat a little too much fat, they’ll learn not to do it again.”

Orrrrrrrrr, they might just use Alli as an excuse to eat every fat saturated morsel they can get their hands on, because they're perfectly happy to act as human oil fountains if it means they can suck down a guilt-free Big Mac.

The drugmaker claims Alli is promoting healthier lifestyles by teaching users that weight loss involves eating healthy food and getting enough exercise — and Sarwer agrees.

"Healthier Living Through Anal Seepage" would be a great slogan.

“People who are struggling with their weight assume that thin people never think about what they eat,” Sarwer says. “I’ve always been impressed by patients who really rolled with the punches with some of these events. They say, ‘Well, I learned that I couldn’t do that. It taught me to eat differently.’ And that’s where I think Alli can be the greatest benefit.”

Packing on the pounds, heart disease and arterial clogging apparently aren't enough to convince people. No, they need to see a river of orange grease sliding into their shoes to get the point across. Stop the human race. . . I want to get off.

Some Alli enthusiasts have been conscientious enough to avoid any side effects. Carole McMahan, who’s trying to lose 10 pounds, started taking Alli the day the product hit drugstore shelves on June 15, and has been careful to follow the low-fat diet.

You can't just follow the rules. You HAVE to include the threat of random butt sludge.

“No pun intended, but I’m very anal about it,” says McMahan, who’s 44 and lives in Greensboro, N.C. She appreciates the way Alli holds her accountable to her eating habits.

“I started very cautiously, and I’ve just grown more and more comfortable with it,” McMahan says. “I just follow the diet. I knew I couldn’t go out and order hot fudge cake.”


But some Alli fans, like 25-year-old Rachelle Beaini, are just asking for it. Beaini, who lives in Henderson, Nev., and wants to lose 20 pounds, has lost 6 pounds in two weeks without a single side effect. Inspired by her success, last week she dared to eat a meal of chicken nuggets — while wearing white pants. (Still no unpleasant consequences, she swears.)

Look for a Rachelle Beaini ass explosion video to grace YouTube any day now.

Still, as some obesity experts point out, if you’ve made a change in your eating habits, why is a diet pill necessary? Drewnowski, the Seattle public-health researcher, says that hearing “Alli oops” stories frustrates him.

Why do Seattle public-health researchers always have to be such. . . such. . . oh, hell with it. . . SUCH PARTY POOPERS?

“I think it's utterly revolting, frankly,” Drewnowski says. “It controls your life — you focus on it all day. It’s like walking around with a colostomy bag.”

Note to self: "Walking Around with a Colostomy Bag" would make a great children's novel title.

Instead of investing money in a diet pill, he encourages people to take the money they would’ve spent on Alli and put it toward buying healthier food. (A 20-day supply of Alli costs about $45 to $55.)

Again, people, don't listen to this Seattle-based nincompoop. His common sense and logic are total impediments to a grand old greasy time.

“See how much money you are spending on food daily,” Drewnowski says. “Factor in the extra amount for this drug and spend the entire amount on better food. You'll be happier and better nourished — and not obese.”

But, but, but. . . the POOPING! There'd be a total lack of POOPING amusement! Why are so against amusement and hilarity, Mr. Seattle-Stick-in-the-Mud?

He adds, “I can't think that a healthy lifestyle requires carrying a spare pair of underpants.”

If a healthy lifestyle doesn't require a spare pair of underpants, well, let me just be the sickest man alive!


Posted by Ryan at 11:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


People have asked and e-mailed me about the name change to this blog and have seemed a bit unmoved by my explanation. I do apologize for those of you who thought the previous blog name was superior, and for what it's worth, I agree.

The fact is, though, the Internet has changed radically within the last couple years, and people new to it just don't seem psychologically equipped to handle it. I've perused Web site comment threads that read like a societal acid pit. Some people, honestly, approach blogging and blog commenting almost as if they're suffering obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And, quite frankly, I'm not sure I liked what I was seeing.

Back in the Plain Layne days, commenters seemed so much more civil and humorous, or at least that was my perception. Oh, sure, you had your comment smackdowns (typically administered by Joshua), but for the most part comment threads were an awesome part of the whole blogging experience. Somewhere along the line, that's changed; in my opinion, for the worse.

I didn't like the threatening nature of many of the comments I was reading on other blogs that were far more popular than my own. So, I decided to make a play for a little bit more anonymity before my blog simply got out of control when it comes to daily traffic. I'm not sure I can really put the genie back in the bottle at this point, but I figured I'd at least give it a shot. Rest assured, it's still the same guy behind this little Web experiment. . . he's just a little more cautious.

Posted by Ryan at 09:41 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007


Question: How do you know you may have inhaled a bit too much firework smoke the night before?

Answer: You take a dump the next day and it smells like a sparkler.

The more you know. . .

Posted by Ryan at 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 3 Recap

Melissa and I hosted a July 3, pre-Independence Day party at our house, and it was quite the successful affair. Much swine and poultry meat met the searing kiss of the grill. Everyone who was invited managed to attend, if only briefly in a few cases. In all, 13 people, including Mel and myself, milled about doing the social networking thing.

Mel hovered about, making sure the table was stacked with edibles, while I played the role of "Tender of Prometheus' Gift," dutifully grilling anything passed before me.

Cigars were smoked, poker was played and beers were ingested; about three beers too many, in my case, judging by the groggy noggin the next day. All in all, a grand time, although it sucks to be back in the office today. Having a random Wednesday holiday off just doesn't entirely compute. The mind is thinking "hey, we should have, at least, one more day, shouldn't we?" Alas, no.

Although here at work, there are about 1/3 the normal number of workers present. Apparently, most of Big Blue is taking the rest of the week off. Makes for easy parking, that's for sure.

Posted by Ryan at 11:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 5

Holy Crap. Summer is half over already. Where the hell does the time go?

Posted by Ryan at 08:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

More Editorial Oversight: Abracadabra


Posted by Ryan at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For Those Who May Be Interested

Mitch Berg has been busy exposing Minnesota Monitor for the shoddy crap that it is.

Posted by Ryan at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Editorial Oversight

Caroline says: I wonder what anti-gay protesters look like.

Ryan says: If they're protesting anti-gays, aren't they protesting straight people?

Caroline says: That's my point.

Ryan says: We're awesome editors.

Caroline says: I think we rule.

Ryan says: We're better editors than what they have available at the P-B apparently.

UPDATE: Okay, the headline has been changed and the story updated, so this post is largely nonsensical now. Originally, the headline included the term "anti-gay protesters," which sparked the whole conversation.

Posted by Ryan at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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