March 31, 2008

Talk About toilet Paper

Over the weekend, I was sent out to purchase toilet paper, a substance which was dangerously depleted within the household: a couple more spins of a single roll were all that remained, which clearly is not enough.

As with any trip to purchase a single item, the shopping sojourn morphed into a multi-purchase experience. As I wandered the aisles, I realized we needed cat food, and then I realized we needed Diet Pepsi. All of which, of course, led to the uncomfortable experience of going through the checkout aisle with a 24 roll batch of toilet paper, a big bag of cat food and a 12-pack Diet Pepsi, which no doubt had the cashier wondering what I had planned for the weekend.

Whatever my weekend proclivities may have been, this post is about toilet paper or, more specifically, the marketing campaigns intended to sell toilet paper. As I perused the immense selection of hind-wipe, I was primarily struck by the images emblazoned upon the packaging.

Now, it's well-understood in the marketing world, if you want to sell your product, babies and puppies are the way to go. The human psyche, apparently, is unable to resist the purchasing allure of babies and puppies. If cigarette companies could somehow craft an ad campaign that featured babies and puppies smoking, with their arms/paws around each other's shoulders, you'd have 100 percent of Americans lighting up.

toilet paper companies are, apparently, well aware of the psychological draw of babies and puppies. Kleenex Cottonelle, for example, has gone down the puppy route, utilizing a yellow lab puppy that inexplicably has the voice of Zach Braff from the T.V. show "Scrubs." Even though puppies have no earthly reason to take an interest in toilet paper beyond being a chew toy, the Cottonelle puppy is unnaturally concerned about the cleanliness of the assorted behinds of its human overlords.

Angel Soft toilet paper, on the other hand, has decided a strategically-placed baby is the ticket to moving their product although, according to their Web site, they're not opposed to firing out a puppy of their own. Again, like puppies, babies don't have a particular burning need for toilet paper (at least not for a couple of years), so their affinity for toilet paper--and, if Angel Soft is to believed, babies like to be literally blanketed in the stuff--is a tad circumspect.

Perhaps most inexplicable of all is Charmin, which has been wistfully pining for the days of Mr. Whipple. Charmin has eschewed both babies and puppies and has opted, instead, for bears. Specifically, Charmin has opted for cartoon bears and, perhaps intent on capitalizing on the deep partisan divide in our country, they offer up a blue bear and a red bear--the red bear being "Ultra Strong" and the blue bear being "Ultra Soft." If the Charmin Web page is to be believed, both the red and blue bears truly like each other (although they seem somewhat suprised by the existence of the other), even though they're clearly divided.

Personally, I tend to opt for what's the least expensive when it comes to my toilet paper needs, so babies, puppies and bears are little more than silly distractions, as you can see. However, if I were to come up with my own toilet paper advertising campaign. . .

I'm thinking an image of Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker," except he's on a toilet, and above his head, in a thought balloon, would be a baby, a puppy and a bear cub, playing with a roll of toilet paper.

Hey, I'd buy a 24 roll package of THAT.

UPDATE: For no particular reason, I thought I'd share what it must be like to write a Nick Coleman column:


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March 28, 2008

*drool* x 4

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Going Green Sucks

Just before the turn of the year, I bought a new computer. As new computers go, it's still pretty new. It's newness hasn't worn off. It sits its corner, looking all newish.

The newishness of my computer being so noted, I have to say, I have some problems with my new computer. First and foremost, I hate how the damn thing goes into "low energy" mode after about 15 minutes. It's like this: I leave the room to, say, take a dump, and when I return my computer is in "sleep" mode, meaning I have to click the mouse to bring it back to consciousness. But, before it comes back awake, I have to click which workspace I want to access and, since there's only one workspace, this is a totally meaningless and unnecessary step.

But wait, there's more! Occasionally--and there's about a one-in-eight chance this will happen--when I'm confronted with the "choose your workspace" screen, my computer will just lock up. There's no reason given; no, "oh, you did this wrong, that's why" screen. Nope. It just locks up. Which means I have to push in the power button in for five seconds to shut my computer down (five seconds being the magical power cut off time, as decreed by Bill Gates back in 1995, after he had five shots of tequila, or so I'm guessing), and then tap the button one more time to breathe electrical life back into the machine.

If this were a car, it would be like turning the key in the ignition, having the car spark to life, and then not willing to perform any other car-related functions, at least not until you shut it off via an elaborate process, and then turn it back on again.

Of course, at this point in the restart-up process, the computer has the temerity to flash up a screen that tells me my computer was not shut down properly, and it gives me a 25 second window during which I can choose to run a diagnotic process (I feel I should note here: the computer declares it wasn't shut down properly, which seems to indicate it feels as though it locked up quite according to the rules). Having run the diagnostic process three times now, just to be on the safe side, and having the results come back "okey-dokie," I've decided this adds an additional 25 seconds of wasted time.

Just in case the frequent computer lock-ups aren't enough, my machine has also come equipped with an indifferent attitude towards its Internet connection. Any time I nudge it awake from its sleep status, there's a pretty good chance it won't recognize a network connection until, in order, I restart the computer, unplug the modem, unplug the router, and then plug said devices back in again. Seriously, how much sense does THAT make? None! Yet I just accept it as part of the routine.

But, all that isn't the worst of it. It's all annoying, don't get me wrong, but the most annoying of the annoying is the bright blue LED light that beams forth from the power button. If the bright blue light would remain steady, I probably wouldn't have a problem with it. As it is, however, once the computer goes into "sleep" mode, the LED light starts blinking. Now, anyone who is at all familiar with LED lights will know this to be true: they're the brightest entities in the known universe just short of supernovas. When you get a blinking LED light at night, when you're trying to sleep, it's the visual equivalent of listening to a snoring horse.

To circumvent the blinking LED light, I've resorted to draping a couple of socks over the power button at night. This seems to do the trick but, honestly, I'M DRAPING A COUPLE OF SOCKS OVER THE POWER BUTTON AT NIGHT. It's almost as if I'm offering up some sort of sacrifice on an altar.

All this, of course, is in the interests of saving energy, so I suppose I should look at it as kind of doing my part, or some such nonsensical feel-goodery.

However, it just seems like, for all the worldly energy I'm supposedly saving, I'm sure burning a lot of my own.

Posted by Ryan at 10:03 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 26, 2008

That's Hot

As I mentioned previously, I'm fending off the last vestiges of cabin fever by reading all seven "Harry Potter" books, one after the other. I'm now down to the last few chapters of the final book, and last night, I noticed something I hadn't during my first reading of the book.

Just prior to the break-in to get the Horcrux cup from Gringott's, Hermione changed into Bellatrix Lestrange by drinking Polyjuice potion with one of Bellatrix's hairs in it. This is what Hermione had to say on the matter:

"She tasted disgusting, worse than Gurdyroots! Okay Ron, come here so I can do you..."

*growl* Shamelessly forward AND bi-curious. Daddy likes.

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March 25, 2008

Random Web Observation

You'd think, since blogs have been around for quite some time now, and there are MILLIONS of them, people would start to realize how miniscule an online presence actually is.

Nope. I still run across nothing little blogs that take themselves more seriously than nuclear experimentation.

Don't worry about me, though. It's all fart and poop content here.

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Silent Treatment

Apologies for the light ThunderJournaling. Things have been happening in Ryan-land. Hopeful things. Distracting things.

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March 21, 2008

Like the Good Old Days

There was a time when my blog comments took the form of mocking limericks and off-color poetry. I thought those days were gone forever.

Thankfully, I still got it.

UPDATE: Because I don't want to see it lost in the commenting either, because I was particularly happy with it, I'm posting my best limerick here:

Peev, the quintessential contrarian,
Can drone on like a scolding librarian.
If you take time to read
His meandering screeds,
You’ll emerge as an octogenarian

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March 20, 2008

Cartoons Again? Really?

Well, in honor of this:

Osama bin Laden warned in a new audiotape of a "severe" reaction for the publication of cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad in what experts saw as a direct threat of a new attack in Europe.

I thought I'd resurrect one of my old sidebar images (with appropriate nods to the now defunct "Strip Mining for Whimsy").

Because, really, fuck off Osama bin Laden.

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March 19, 2008

Olympic toilet Time

As we continue our slow, trudging slog through 2008—a year that has so far proven that, yes, you CAN become nauseatingly weary of today’s 24/7 election cycle as early as Jan. 4—it’s important to remember there’s another huge event being planned and prepared for at this very moment: the Summer Olympic Games!

What? Didn’t you hear me? I said the SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES!

*crickets chirping*

*uncomfortable cough at the back of the room*

Okay, granted, the Summer Olympics aren’t quite the shining beacon of pure athletic prowess they once were, since it’s been disclosed practically every athlete outside of badminton has taken steroids at some point in their training. I could be wrong, but I think even some of the Olympic television announcers have probably been guilty of juicing up; there was something about John Tesh’s commentary during the 1996 games that just seemed steroid-ish.

If you’re not already aware, the Olympics this year are going to be held in China, which is a large Asian country that’s doing its level best to ensure every American child has the proper amount of lead in their bodies, and that American pets receive enough tainted pet food to ensure the proper level of dead in their bodies. Yes, China has a storied history of looking after us Americans, so be sure to show your gratitude come this year’s Olympic games.

Now, China has always had a flair for the dramatic. Back in 1993, for example, when they lost their bid for the 2000 Olympic Games, they set off—er, I mean, TESTED—a nuclear weapon as a form of protest, so you just KNOW the opening ceremony for the 2008 games is going to be a must watch event. Come for the athletic competition. . . stay for the healthy radioactive glow.

Unfortunately, despite all their preparations and government controlled media hype, China’s reportedly hit a bit of a snag. According to a March 19, Associated Press report our of Beijing, “at the more than 30 test events held by organizers, the presence of squat toilets at many of the new and renovated venues has drawn frequent complaints.”

According to my own sources, which don’t exist, a majority of those complaints were made by a certain toe-tapping senator from Idaho. It’s generally understood that it’s notoriously difficult to proposition undercover law enforcement officers for sex while hovering over squat toilets. I spent some time living in Japan, where squat toilets are quite common, so I know what I’m talking about here. . . and you know who you were, Mr. Officer, sir, and I apologize again for that terrible misunderstanding.

Where was I? Oh, right, China’s Olympic squat toilet problem! Back to the article we go: “’We have asked the venues to improve on this, to increase the number of sit-down toilets,’ Yao Hui, deputy director of venue management for the Beijing organizers, said Wednesday. ‘Many people have raised the question of toilets.’”

The main reason I excerpted that paragraph was because I wanted you all to enjoy the sheer deliciousness of saying “Yao Hui” to yourselves. Your pronunciation of “Hui” may vary, but no matter how you deign to pronounce it, it translates into AWESOME. Personally, I pronounce it “way,” so I’m left thinking: “Yao Hui? No way! Yao Hui? No. . . way! Yehweh?” And then my brain kind of goes on and on like that for several minutes.

Once more into the breach, dear friends! Er, I mean, let’s go back to the article, shall we:

“Yao suggested it would be difficult to change every permanent toilet in the 37 venues, 31 of which are in Beijing. So he said the focus would be on satisfying three groups of visitors: athletes, journalists and the Olympic family, meaning primarily VIPs.”

That’s right, you lowly, sullied, plebian, non-VIP Olympic-goers will have to squat with the lowest of the low. You shall hover uncomfortably whilst expunging your bodily waste. You shall make collective bathroom time as equals, which is exactly as Chairman Mao envisioned while leading his Communist revolution.

Or, something like that.

UPDATE: By popular demand, but which I mean Donna, I present you with an image of the good-old Asian squat toilet:

toilet.jpg">squat_<a href=toilet.jpg" src="" width="450" height="495" border="0" />

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I Can't Help That I Find It Funny

Yes, you'll have to click the extended entry, because this one is marginally NSFW.

Via LearnedFoot, who has been responsible for a lot of my Web surfing destinations lately.

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March 17, 2008

Welcome to the InterWebs

This article made me smile. It's hilarious because it's just so completely years behind the times.

As traditional news outfits migrate online to become dot-coms, one of their biggest headaches is how to adapt to the sprawling new frontier of public comment.

The sprawling NEW frontier of public comment? Sure, if by new you mean more than a decade in the making.

In the pre-Internet world of TV and newspapers, public comment wasn't a problem.

Sooooo, public comment is a problem?

Broadcast news didn't have any -- aside from the weekly guest spot, usually some hapless civic association president reading from a prompter and staring terrified into the camera. Papers had their letters pages, but allowed only enough space for a few dozen a week, and they were generally written with care and were easy to prune for taste and diction.

Only enough space for the chosen. Those with the proper taste and diction. Gah, he makes it sound like it should be a poetry reading. I'll grant the Web is chock full of bad grammar and spelling, but you can ignore it if you're so inclined. It's not that hard.

Things were nicely under control.

Free speech! Under control!

But on the Internet, public comment isn't kitchen table talk, it's saloon brawl. Postings are sharp and rough-and-tumble. Harsh and derisive exchanges are common. So are personal attacks. Chat rooms and message boards routinely allow people to post comments anonymously. Only when postings are so egregious, so outrageous, racist or vile that other participants cough up hairballs do managers strike the comments and banish the authors.

Where has this guy been living for the past five+ years? Jeez, that paragraph pretty much sums up what my ThunderJournal comment box was like back in 2003. And I was just fine with it. Made for some pretty entertaining coversations, back in the day.

That's the cyber pond that traditional news organizations are diving into. They understand that their own futures hinge on re-establishing online the central role in civic life that they've played offline. So they are eager to host forums where people in the communities they serve go first to offer comment.

The role in civic life they've played offline? Seriously? Just how much of a self-important opinion does this guy have of himself and his profession?

What about taste, civility?

What about it? Taste and civility are almost entirely irrelevant online. I think there's a general understanding, with a few exceptions, people don't act like they do online. I, for one, don't tend to devolve into unchecked profanity when someone says something I disagree with at the local convenience store. Instead, I make a mental note that that particular person is a dumbass and procced onward with my day.

So they embrace the rambunctious discourse of the Internet with the zeal of the convert -- and the sweaty fervor of the desperate: Got something to say? Tell us!

Sounds about right. So, what's the problem?

Editors who would never dream of running an unsigned letter-to-the-editor now argue for promiscuous anonymity.

It's the Internet! Who cares?

And taste and civility, respectfulness? Old-line values of a discredited media elite.

And don't let the door hit you on your way out, you old bunch of pretentious cock gobblers.

I exaggerate, but not that much. The new guiding principle is hands-off. At an American Society of Newspaper Editors workshop I attended recently in California, some very good and high-powered online journalists -- not the consensus, admittedly -- suggested that even screening postings would drive commentators to other websites, where they could speak their minds without restraint. And that would be ruinous to newspapers' online strategies.

And they would, too. Not all, but many.

The Organization of News Ombudsmen, a group I admire and to which I belong, has an e-mail thread right now soliciting input on how news organizations should handle public comment: Is it to OK to block anti-immigrant rants, to weed out defamation, to protect privacy and attempt to enforce some standards of reasonable expression? What about unsigned comment?

An e-mail thread? Dude, get an online forum.

Some organizations argue that they are providing a public space, which they don't have the right, let alone the duty, to regulate. It will look after itself.

That's my policy on my ThunderJourrnal. Okay, I don't have a policy. Let's just say I'm too lazy to regulate. Granted, I try to whack down spam comments when they appear, and I tend to close comment threads that get too spammy, but that's the extent of my regulation. I regularly visit some blogs that feature commenters that sorely need to be banned just because they quite obviously suffer from Internet Commenting Disorder, but other than that, I say let 'em all comment and let stupidity sort 'em out.

But is the marketplace of ideas self-regulating?


Is defamation canceled out by testimonials, falsehoods by truth?

Is he talking about newspapers, or Web discussions? Because there's plenty of defamation, testimonials, falsehoods and truth printed DAILY by established media outlets.

Or does Internet talk promise another sad case of what the late ecologist Garrett Hardin called the ''tragedy of the commons'': Each individual herdsman benefits from putting one more head of cattle onto public pasture, and suffers little from cumulative overgrazing. In time, though, community disaster ensues.

Good God, man, could you be more melodramatic? Community disaster won't ensue because of a lack of civility in online discourse. If you've been paying attention to sites like, say, over the past several years, the community tends to thrive (and a huge chunk of those Farkers pay $5 a month to dabble in unfettered, uncivil, online discouse) and some of the most original, hilarious and downright ingenious contributions emerge there as a result.

In this case, the extreme license given individuals to vent, dissemble, excoriate and indulge their hates verbally, winds up destroying the expressive freedom that other people, less bold and less opinionated, need.

Look, if you're afraid to mix it up in online discussion boards and comment threads--where the most that usually happens is someone insults you *gasp*--then you have a severe case of uncurable wussy-itis.

Venturing an opinion, even a sound one, just isn't worth the risk. The overall result is a less expansive, less robust sphere of expression -- and sound, worthwhile thoughts aren't shared.

Honest to God, is this guy for real? Is he even remotely familiar with the storied history of online discussion of the last decade? The online sphere of expression is more robust and inclusive than anything dead tree newspapers ever came close to achieving in their golden age.

Public conversation -- exchanging ideas about what a community is and ought to be -- is something that has to be learned.

What a bunch of flaccid twaddle.

Unfortunately, mainstream media have made a fortune teaching people the wrong ways to talk to each other, offering up Jerry Springer, Crossfire, Bill O'Reilly. People understandably conclude rage is the political vernacular, that this is how public ideas are talked about.

Yeah, welcome to human civilization. It's been around now for about 10,000 years or so. Thought you'd met. Burr and Hamilton duel it out with pistols a couple hundred years ago, and this guy has the vapors because an anonymous commenter can call another commenter a "douchenozzle." Jesus wept.

What's going on, what matters

It isn't. With the move online, journalism has the opportunity to morph into a practice based not just on information gathering and narrative skill, but of stewardship, of presiding over a community-wide conversation about what's going on and what matters.

Gah. What a self-important toad-screwer. He doesn't get it. The days of a newspaper "presiding" over a conversation are gone. They've been gone for years. They don't get to "preside" any more, they just get to participate. As soon as a newspaper decides it wants a presiding role online is the same moment their audience, or at least a huge chunk of it, goes elsewhere, to the seemingly infinite number of forums, blogs and other venues that encourage unfettered discourse.

Those message boards and chat rooms aren't just market extension opportunities for media owners. They're warm and busy spaces where a new world of expression and communication is incubating.

Okay, so, we agree. Great. Awesome.

To say there should be rules, that communicants should be admonished to strive for honesty and civility and respect, is not to justify elitism. It's not even to prescribe the rules. But it's to acknowledge that rules are needed, and to kick off the process of writing them.

Uhhh, it's not about prescibing rules. . . it's about writing them? How's that different?

Edward Wasserman is Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.

Knight professor! Neat-o!

Posted by Ryan at 11:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Quick Question

Pardon my lower-middle class naivete, but at what point was it decided that the "a" was going to be dropped from "apologize?" There's this God-awful song that gets repeated play on one of the area's only two radio stations, and I swear, I SWEAR, the overly-repeated refrain is "It's too late to pologize." Come to think of it, the name of the song is probably "Too late to pologize." They repeat the phrase so often, I almost suspect they're trying to indocrinate the listeners into accepting "pologize" as the actual word and spelling.

Combine that with all the Web-speak that's out there right now, and it's a bit disconcerting to think about what we can expect of our educated youth once they join the workforce. I'm dreading the day a co-worker comes up to me and says something along the lines of: "WTF? Why did you write that? I want you to pologize right now!"

On the other hand, since my chosen career path is one that requires above average spelling, grammar, editing and general English skills, I sometimes look at today's youth and their "hip" ways of communicating in broken, nonsensical gibberish and I think "Hey, job security!" since I'm one of the few remaining people who actually care about communicating in written English.

I realize I may be insulting many of today's youth with my broad and sweeping overgeneralizations. If I have so insulted you, I sincerely pologize.

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Unexpected Monday Laugh


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The Broken Branches of My Family Tree

Well, today is St. Patrick's Day! So, drink hearty! And begorrah! And something. . . IRISH!

True fact that's factually true, unless it isn't: I'm 50% Irish, with a 25% dilution of French and 25% Polish blood if the conventional wisdom is to be believed. It's the 50% Irish that's always been up for speculation, however.

You see, my father was adopted at around the age of five (maybe seven, I'm not sure on some of the particulars), along with one of his brothers--another brother, and a sister, were never adopted and thus lived considerably different lives. The important point is, my father spent quite a bit of his early life in an orphanage after being taken from his biological mother and father, who were deemed abusive at worst, neglectful at best. Whatever the case, they weren't up to parental snuff, according to the state.

At any rate, my father and one of his brothers were adopted by a good old, hard working, salt-of-the-earth couple who owned a farm out in the agricultural Minnesota flatlands around New Ulm. Specifically, my father went to school in the state's toughest-named town called Gaylord, and was a football running back for the intimidating-sounding Gaylord Gaybees, which has, since that time, I believe changed it's mascot. He eventually went on to college in Bemidji, where he was quite the successful track and field pole vaulter. It was there where he also met his future wife, with whom he'd eventually spawn his most important achievement. . . me.

But, getting back to the ancestry of all this, my father never much cared about, and never sought out, his biological parents, and they, certainly, had no interest in seeking him out. My father was busy being a happily-adopted young man, while his biological parents were busy living lives of unconcerned debauchery, if the accepted narrative is to be believed, and there's no real reason to doubt it. As far as my father was concerned, he and his brother were adopted and loved and nurtured. What more could he they ask for?

Forgotten, in his adopted bliss, was he had a sister and a brother who had journeyed down far different paths. His sister, having never been adopted, found her way to San Francisco, where she eventually married and had two children. The other brother, similarly, gravitated to the West coast, although he didn't quite make it all the way--details about his life and whereabout are sketchy on my end, although I'm told I met him at least twice when I was quite young. The sister, fortunately, never forgot about her lost siblings and eventually sought them out, locating them in the late 1970s, which resulted in a reunion of sorts that garnered a little bit of local press coverage. While the sister did, indeed, also have the opportunity to speak with her biological mother, my father never had any interest to do so.

Which brings me back to today: St. Patrick's Day. I'm told my father's biological mother--my grandmother--was 100% Irish, with a storied history that included being purchased at a religious revival event, as well as being one of the few Minnesota women of the time to attend college, although I don't think she ever graduated. My father's biological father--my good old grandpa--was also supposedly 100% Irish, and named "Jonathan Ellington Jr." Again, if the accepted narratice is to be believed, my biological grandfather is buried in Minnesota's very own Ft. Snelling National Cemetary, although I've never sought to verify this.

So, there you have it; my tenuous claim to 50% Irish blood on this St. Patrick's Day. I don't know if it will help me celebrate the day any more or any less, but here's to a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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March 14, 2008

From the Department of "No Duh" Headlines


Really? Data contributes to the digital universe, does it? It contributes? Hey, you know what, I think data does a little more than contribute to the digital universe. It think it may, possibly, CONSTITUTE the digital universe. I think the digital universe may be made up entirely of data. I think data and the digital universe may be one and the same.


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March 13, 2008

That New Candidate Smell

Far be it for me to jump on any old bandwagon and rain ridicule on something that basically ridicules itself by default. . . but:


Yes, yes, staring resolutely forward into an audaciously hopeful future, as the aromatic tendrils of "Sex Panther" radiate off your newly-purchased and freshly-pressed Men's Wearhouse suit.

Rolling Stone. . . 60 percent of the time, it's quality journalism every time.

DISCLOSURE: Just so you know, I hated the movie "Anchorman." I seriously considered walking out of the theater while watching that steaming pile of cinematic hobo vomit. Still, some scenes stick with you, even from the world's worst movies, and the "Sex Panther" scene was one such anomaly. I'm not saying it was a particularly funny scene, but the idea of a cologne called "Sex Panther," made with bits of real panther--so you know it's good--just kind of has an eternal quality to it that you shouldn't feel ashamed to reference.

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March 12, 2008

The Internet. It Moves Fast

So, I thought I was being all clever and funny. I thought I came up with a Spitzer joke called "Client 9 From Outer Space."

A quick Google search proved me wrong. Again.

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Going Commando

Last night, I happened to catch the last 45 minutes of that 80's classic AHNULD movie, Commando. I freakin' LOVED that movie when I was ten years old. I mean, it featured EVERYTHING a pre-pubescent boy weakling could hope for. First off, there was AHNULD at the peak of his muscled musculature, which for whatever reason gave us weaklings an uncertain sense of hope for our future. There was Alyssa Milano, who any boy of my age at that time desperately wanted, even though we weren't particularly sure what we'd do if we actually HAD her, but she still made us think strange and wonderful thoughts in bed at night. There was Rae Dawn Chong, who we all just generally understood was supposed to be pretty hot. And guns, guns, GUNS and killing and impossible M-60 hip shots!

Fast forward 23 years to last night. MY GOD is that movie a horrid piece of bat guano! It's just so BAD! How was it possible I at one point in my life actually bought the character of Bennett as a tough bad guy? I mean, the guy was wearing a chain mail vest, shiny black chaps, and he had a porno guy's moustache. Seriously, look at the guy:


He's one dog chain away from being the next member of the Village People. I thought THAT was the definition of a bad-assed villian? Holy Jeebus. Oh, and I couldn't believe it took me until last night to make the connection that Bennett was also Lord General from Weird Science, from the same freakin' year:


My God. You wouldn't believe how many happy childhood memories went up in nostalgic smoke last night. Even that scene when AHNULD goes ashore with the inflatable raft. Why the Speedo? Why? WHY?! He's going ashore on an island that's fortified and manned by, roughly, 8,000 armed guerillas, or henchmen, or whatever you want to call them--for the purposes of the movie, I guess you can call them "inevitable corpses"--and his clothing of choice for storming the beach is a freakin' Speedo?!

At any rate, there was a moment last night when I was just shocked into silence at the pure dipshittery of that movie, and it made me kinda sad. Oh, and seeing Alyssa Milano as a kid again, and remembering all those awkward childhood nights thinking naughty thoughts about her, made me feel kind of. . . well. . . I don't want to talk about it.

Posted by Ryan at 11:23 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Obligatory Spitzer Post

Ryan says:

Ryan says: That why I went into Journalism. For the chance to write puff like that.

Caroline says:No doubt.

Caroline says: "This isn't Britney Spears we're talking about. This is the governer."

Caroline says: er, governro

Caroline says: or whatever

Ryan says: Governro would make a great name for a wine.

Caroline says:It's full-bodied.

Ryan says: Enjoy the rich, sumptuous taste of Governro.

Ryan says: Each bottle only costs $4,000.

Caroline says: What a steal.

Caroline says: Prostitutes have it good. $4,300 a bang.

Ryan says: Do you get HBO?

Caroline says: Yes?

Ryan says: Do you ever watch the series "Cathouse?"

Caroline says: Can't say that I do.

Ryan says: Some of those girls rake in $40,000 A DAY.

Caroline says: How much of that do they spend on ice packs?

Ryan says: Can you imagine that kind of income?

Ryan says: No pun intended.

Caroline says: Hey-ooooh!

Posted by Ryan at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008


I caught my left pinkie finger on an unknown, sharp SOMETHING while dressing for work this morning. And, despite my bestest of best efforts to avoid getting blood on my clothes, I still managed to accidentally swipe my left thigh with a nice smudge of crimson. So, of course, that will be what I'll be thinking about for pretty much the rest of the day.

Yep, there it is.

It's still there.

Lousy blood. Why does the body have to be filled with so much of it?

Posted by Ryan at 08:49 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

The Secret of My Success

The other day, I was making a hefty donation to O.P.E.C. at a local petrol establishment, and I happened to catch snippets of conversation between a father and his son, a child who looked to be about four years old or so. It was the usual exasperated stuff, with the father doing the rapid-fire question and answer thing while trying to concentrate so he could exactly hit $25 on the fuel pump. It was at about $21 or so when he uttered a classic line:

"Someday, you'll learn the value of an honest day's work."

I'd heard this line before, of course, from parents and teachers and other people who just wanted to say something to shut me up, but I suspect most epople never really think about what a bunch of propagandist bullshit nothingness that statement actually is.

Because, seriously, I've experienced, firsthand, the value of an honest day's work and, quite frankly, it leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily, it leaves me with a desire for a lot more value for my honest day's work.

At some point along the line, having dabbled for years and years attempting to ascertain the value of an honest day's work, I very seriously started to think there was probably something about a dishonest day's work that people weren't telling me. I started to think the benefits and value of a dishonest day's work were so alluring, the people who discovered it wanted to keep it to themselves and invented the phrase "value of an honest day's work" as a diversion, a way to keep us in the dark as to where the real value can be made.

When you really stop and think about it, when you hear the term "value of an honest day's work," it's often followed up with words and terms like "strong work ethic," "integrity," "dependability" and "productivity." Who has time for shit like that?

So, I started to think in terms of a dishonest day's work. I did this by taking the words and terms previously mentioned and acting as opposite of those words as I could. Rather than developing a strong work ethic, I thought in terms of sloth and laziness, striving to achieve the most lax work ethic I could possibly muster.

Then, when I looked up "integrity," I discovered it involved a strict adherence to a moral code, which frankly just sounded to me like it required a lot of work. Why spend all sorts of time and effort trying to adhere to a moral code when I could opt to, you know, NOT adhere to a moral code of any kind? I could be free to wallow in any amoral whim that caught my fancy. So, now I was free to be both lazy AND randomly hedonistic.

My next step was to tackle the whole "dependability" issue. Let's face it, there's a fair amount of responsibility required if you want to strive to be dependable. And for what? Once you become dependable, people start to think they can rely on you. Really, being dependable just means people will feel more apt to use you. You basically become a rube. So, I decided to become wildly inconsistent and unreliable. I wanted people to look at me and say "Holy hell, steer clear of that guy if you want to get anything done with any amount of quality."

Finally, I had to achieve the polar opposite of "productivity" if I really wanted to realize the value of a dishonest day's work. I had to find a field where I could produce a bare minimum of output and still be recognized occasionally for something I produced.

With all my targets and goals for a dishonest day's work in place, my path was crystal clear.

I went into journalism.

Posted by Ryan at 11:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


I'll occasionally drop by some of the blogs run by the local newspaper of note, the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Awhile back, when a local mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter was being featured in the reality TV show "The Ultimate Fighter," I ended up mixing it up in a comment thread with a few people whom I could only classify as Grade A Douchebags. It was the typical kind of thing; people who are basically ignorant about the thing they're offended about, easily provoked by online comments, and with a Mr. Miyagi concept of "martial arts as self defense only" bullcrap.

One of the great things about training in the boxing gym where I'm learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the rawness of it all: the occasional blood splatters on the floor; the phlegm mixed with blood stuck in the drain of the drinking fountain; the completely un-PC tee-shirts and sweatshirts proclaiming "Fighting Solves Everything," "Tap, Snap or Nap" and, as worn by one of the few women in class, "You Wish You Could Fight Like a Girl."

Walking into the gym is like briefly unplugging from the wussified city life of people who think all of life's problems can be solved by a long chat with a therapist followed by a good cry.

Posted by Ryan at 09:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

This Winter Can Just Go Take A Flying Leap

I'm determined this winter won't break me, but it's putting up a most valiant effort to crush me. I don't know if the early daylight savings time this weekend will be enough to see me through to the light at the end of the tunnel, but I need something to combat these blahs. For crying out loud, I've been reduced to reading the "Harry Potter" books for a second time (just now wrapping up "Goblet of Fire" and on to "Order of the Phoenix"). The consecutive days of below freezing temperatures; the gargantuan blanket of snow that will take weeks to melt; the seemingly neverending sameness of it all. It's enough to make a lesser person weep.

Posted by Ryan at 09:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

Why yes, this does make you feel insignificant


The earth and moon, as photographed from Mars.

Posted by Ryan at 01:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

This Made me LOL. . . out loud.


Via this Fark thread.

Posted by Ryan at 04:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Yes, We Have No Bananas!

Saturday was my 33rd birthday, and Melissa and I were excited because we were going to a local Japanese steakhouse to celebrate. Melissa had the forethought to locate a coupon that touted half-price entrees to people celebrating their birthday.

So, we were seated, and I ordered the combination filet mignon, shrimp and chicken entree, and Melissa goes to hand over the coupon, at which point the waitress informed us:

"I'm sorry, but we don't honor those on Saturdays."

What kind of a policy is that? That coupon is completely useless if your birthday happens to fall on a Saturday. I mean, COME ON! As my co-worker, Caroline, puts it:

"that's like saying here's a coupon for memorial day, but you can't use it on Mondays"

Posted by Ryan at 02:34 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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