December 31, 2008


Just when I thought I'd read the most nonsensical thing ever written (usually by Nick Coleman), the Star-Tribune goes and tops itself with something even more non-sensical (usually by Nick Coleman). Well, today the Strib outdid itself by printing the most off-the-wall, non-sensical, delirium-infused piece of "what the fuck?" ever penned, and this time the author was none other than Garrison Keillor:

Minnesotans are a humorous people and we are attempting to elect a comedian to the U.S. Senate, which is delicate work, as you might guess. You shouldn’t sweep a comedian into office on a wave of public adulation any more than you should let him win the heroine in the first reel and fly off to Paris and suddenly start ordering meals in fluent French. You need him to move a piano up a long flight of stairs, and that’s what Al Franken is doing now. He is leading the race by 50 votes or so out of 2.9 million cast. And when he boosts the piano to the top, he’ll sit down and play Chopin.

Okay. So, this column is about the Minnesota recount for U.S. Senate between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Right? Well. . .

Meanwhile this earthquake activity at Yellowstone has me thinking maybe I’ll fly to Paris myself. Hundreds of tremors in just a few days — "We might be seeing something precursory," says a geophysicist. As you recall, Yellowstone sits atop an enormous volcano, red-hot lava bubbling just a few miles underground, which is what makes Old Faithful blow thousands of gallons of boiling water 150 feet in the air every 90 minutes or so. You can see this on live streaming video on your computer. All around it are scores of other geysers bubbling and hissing, as the monster dozes.

Huh? Wha? What's going on here? What happened to Al Franken? Is he a geyser?

The volcano hasn’t blown for 70,000 years, which suggests to me that the Big Belch is overdue.

Well, if it suggests to Mr. Keillor, it must be true. It's SCIENCE!

And when the volcano blows and Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Nevada go 30,000 feet into the air and drift east to become part of the Midwest and Eastern seaboard, you will be able to watch it on Google Earth until the boulders start dropping on your roof and fifty feet of topsoil and the power goes out and you lose your Internet connection and all your Facebook friends disappear and you must now bang on the pipes and hope the rescue parties hear you.

And you're forced to eat your toes to survive, and then your feet, and then your legs, and then you work your way gingerly around your groin, because you just can't stand the idea of eating that part, and then Al Franken will arrive with firefighters, but they'll be too busy counting ballots to save you from eating yourself.

What? Hey, it makes just about as much sense as anything Keillor has written thus far.

I would rather be in Paris.

Gosh, he'd rather be in Paris then buried alive? Who would have thunk it?

A Yellowstone spokeswoman says, "There doesn’t seem to be anything to be alarmed about." When a government spokeswoman says that, a person looks around for the nearest exit.

Seeing as how Yellowstone spokespeople have been saying that for pretty much the park's entire existence, including when the wife and I visited last year, I'm not sure Keillor knows what the hell he's mewling about. But, just when you thought you figured out where Keillor MIGHT be going with this column. . .

I am in Miami this week with my sandy-haired, bright-eyed daughter, staying at an old hotel with an enormous pool, and Air France has a flight to Paris this evening -— a 747, my favorite plane, with that first-class section on the upper deck, vast leg room, your flight attendant Juliette Binoche serving you Camembert on a baguette with a glass of Pouilly-Fuisse, and so what if it costs $14,000, money means nothing when the End is near. Suction out your pension fund, get a suite at the Ritz, and live on oysters and champagne until the money runs out.

Wait. What? What's going on? What about Al Franken? Yellowstone? My God, man, it's like watching TV with an autistic eight-year-old controlling the remote, only worse. This discombolulated train of thought is so seemingly impossible to replicate, I feel compelled to at least try:

I am in Rochester, Minn. this week with my red-haired, dark-eyed wife, staying at our ranch-style house that's having work done in the basement, and an enormous three-season porch that serves as a giant freezer this time of year, and a monthly mortgage that's inconvenient, but affordable, and the doll's trying to kill me and toaster's been laughing at me, and the penguin dust has been accumulating on the window sills, and my favorite TV shows are now available on Netflix. And so what if I have some vague belief that Yellowstone is going to erupt based on my own mental suggestion. Where was I again? Oh, right. . . back when. . .

When I was a fourth-grader in Benson School on the West River Road north of Minneapolis, Mrs. Erickson gave us the essay topic, "What would you do if you had one day left to live?" We had just read an inspiring story about Helen Keller and the rich, full life she led despite being blind, deaf, speechless and horse-faced, and Mrs. Erickson wanted us to write something inspiring about smelling flowers and listening to birds sing and watching the sun set, but I wrote that I wanted to get on a plane and fly to Spain.

Great googily moogily. It's like some sort of stream-of-conscious rambling penned by a meth head on the walls of an asylum. A note to the Strib: Just because it's written by Garrison Keillor, doesn't mean you actually have to run with it; at least ensure it makes some sort of SENSE first. Gah.

I had never flown in my life, and we had finished a unit on Spain and learned about bullfighting, which seemed like a very cool thing to do. So it was Spain for me.

So, the elementary school Keillor was about as dumb and non-sensical as the aged, droopy-pantsed Keillor. Good to know.

Mrs. Erickson told me to choose something else. "Spain is too far," she said. "It takes almost a day just to get there."

Mrs. Erickson: the precursor to an online fisking.

I stuck with Spain. Even at that tender age, I knew that life is the journey, not the destination. So Mrs. Erickson kept me indoors for recess, which was fine by me — if she wanted to punish me, she should’ve made me play outdoors with other children.

No, no, no. If she wanted to punish the other children, she should have made them play with Keillor. She was, in fact, rewarding the other children with a Keillor-free recess.

I’ve never been to Spain because I associate it with having only a day left to live. But I’ll get there one of these days, maybe after Yellowstone blows and I’m already in Paris, propped up in bed reading about the disaster in the International Herald Tribune as my close personal friend Audrey Tautou pours Dom Perignon on my cornflakes. (My daughter is at school in a house that is covered with vines.)

Apparently, Mr. Keillor is unaware of the global impact of a full-blown Yellowstone eruption. Paris my not be inundated by pumice stones, but the general fallout would make Paris a tad less than the ideal sanctuary he envisions.

"Tell me about ze Meedwest, mon amour," she whispers. "Ze peoples, are zay fonny?" Yes, sweetheart. Until Montana landed on us, we were hilarious.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we have absolutely no idea what the hell this column was even about. And people wonder why so many newspapers are dying. . .

Posted by Ryan at 06:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 30, 2008

Impotent Stupidity

If there's one thing I've grown to appreciate about the Internet over the years, it's the false sense of importance people build up around themselves when they first experience the thrill of free online expression. It doesn't matter if they blog, or post on forums, or carve off a MySpace or FaceBook account, or what; A LOT of people take the Internet far more seriously than they probably should.

I've been guilty of dabbling in the phenomenon, I'll admit. Back when I was once linked to by Wonkette, and another time when I was being mocked by the Daily Show, I can admit to feeling a bit more popular/influential than I was.

I bring all this up for a reason, sort of. Remember back when I exposed David Hanners as a humorless douche?

*thinking back* Good times. . . good times.

Well, in order to adequately display his utter doucheness, I first had to create an online petition so I could parody a different petition, which meant I had to register as a user of the petition site. As a guy who absolutely HATES registering for anything online, you can understand just how determined I was.

Anyway, the whole underlying silliness of the petition site was that ANYBODY could create a petition, and ANYBODY could sign the petition using ANYBODY'S name, over and over and over again. As petition engines go, it was pretty much the most useless thing ever conceived. It was laughable right down to its core.

Well, in order to register for the petition site, I had to provide an e-mail address; thankfully, I maintain several "junk" e-mail addresses specifically for filtering the nonsense that comes my way after registering for something online. I check those junk e-mails very infrequently, mostly to ensure they're at least still active.

Today, I happened to check the e-mail address that I used when registering for the online petition site, and I was stunned by the sheer, choking number of petitions people have created for any number of pet causes. There was a petition to stop Japanese whaling, and another petition to stop wailing Japanese. There were so many freakin' petitions, it was frankly sort of sad. Keep in mind, these are completely USELESS petitions; they accomplish absolutely NOTHING. I could go out there an create a petition calling for an end to table salt, and people would freakin' "sign" it.

Which all comes back to the whole false sense of importance the Internet engenders in so many people. The petition site is just one example of how people feel they're accomplishing something on the Web by basically expending the bare minimum of effort.

I guess I'm not sure if all this minimum impotent effort being put into nonsensical causes and self-expression is a good thing or a bad thing, or just a thing.

But, man, it sure seems like a massive waste of time.

Posted by Ryan at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2008

For those just tuning in

Yes, I've added a Twitter feed. Now, you too can follow my musings at 140 characters or less.

Kinda like my blog recently, now that I think about it. . .

Posted by Ryan at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2008

Vegas Redux (Now With a Post Title!)

As was noted here in passing, I spent a goodly portion of last week in Las Vegas, a metropolitan locale known for its glitzy glamour and omnipresent options for separating otherwise-frugal tourists from their hard-earned (or borrowed) monetary denominations.

For the second straight year, Vegas treated me like the bitch I am, which is to say I lost money, foolishly in most cases. Alas, I cannot resist the allure of an errant $20 into the maw of an awaiting slot machine, or the unliklihood of hitting on a hard eight.

Granted, we did manage to take in some fun activities, such as dining during lunch atop the Stratosphere, and walking to the old downtown Fremont steet district, both of which I highly recommend.

And, of course, we walked the Strip, which continues to undergo its never-ending transformation, with the Trump Tower standing forlornly, seemingly vacant, just tantalizingly off-Strip, like a mesmerizingly huge golden cigar that no one can be bothered to visit. I couldn't help but look up at that collossal failure and think "Wait. . . you built a Vegas hotel WITHOUT a casino? You're fired!"

The rest of the Strip soldiers on, with its annoying porn-card-flicking immigrants, bundled and trussed as if 50 degrees is somehow cold. As a Minnesotan, I encounter 50 degrees and have to fight the urge to strip down to my boxers and ask "Where's the pool?" But, the porn flickers? They think 50 degrees is a reason to dress up like the Nazi army retreating from the Russian winter.

For the third straight year, I ended up getting lost in the Venetian; I don't know what it is about that place, but every year I find myself getting all ass-backwards and filtered into the adjoining Palazzo. I have to locate an exit and orient myself accordingly. I imagine the Venetian to be what it will be like for migratory birds when the earth's magnetic poles switch: "The North Pole? WTF? This isn't Florida."

As a Vegas first, I took the bus, mostly because I didn't want to walk back from the downtown district at night, lest I risk an un-solicited cornholing or other such unpleasantry. The bus sojourn was pleasant enough, and featured a female driver with fingernails long enough to warrant Guinness Book consideration. As an added bonus, I overheard a woman on her cell phone detailing how she intended to sleep with no less than five man-friends before the night expired. Looking at her, I felt deeply grateful not to be counted among her man-ranks.

As noted previously, I had the extremely surreal experience of passing by an Internet kiosk and seeing my ThunderJournal home page called up, which is kind of like seeing a picture of yourself in college doing a keg stand during the six o'clock news. There were competing dual urges to introduce myself and run away at top speed. I opted to walk by hurriedly and awkwardly, like I had to find a toilet, pronto.

And with that, the 2008 Vegas Holiday experience came to a close. Once again, I'm poorer, but wiser.

Okay, I'm just poorer.

Posted by Ryan at 12:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 26, 2008

Why Bailouts Won't Work, Part II

No one does what they say they're going to do.

Posted by Ryan at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Holiday Reminder


I was going to pin this image to my cubicle wall, but then I thought better of it.

Posted by Ryan at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Here's something that made last week rather surreal. I was walking through the Circus Circus resort in Las Vegas, and I happened to walk by an Internet terminal.

The person using the terminal at that moment was on MY HOME PAGE.

Too weird.

Posted by Ryan at 09:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 25, 2008

Before I Forget

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Ryan at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2008

Random Question

Okay, so why is it those Microsoft Vista commercials--you know, those commercials where they do the Pepsi Challenge thing, except they call Vista "Mojave--seem to feature Hawaiian music? There's something disconcerting about hearing "Oh, Mojave," apparently being sung by Don Ho.

Posted by Ryan at 10:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 17, 2008

Local Man Not Shaken By Dismal Economy

Says Fiscal Responsibility, Employment Diligence Both Key Concepts

Rochester, Minn. (Rhodes Media Services) -- With much of the country clutching its gut and bleeding from the eyes due to the worst economic decline arguably in the history of all human civilization, one local man says he's "getting along just fine."

As foreclosed houses fall into disrepair and are swallowed whole into the earth by a Mother Nature bent on revenge, and hordes of unemployed masses claw, zombie-like, at the doors of local shelters, Ryan Rhodes, a writer and editor, has managed to stave off the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune the global economy has unleashed upon us.

Incredibly, records show Mr. Rhodes has not only been able to keep his house, he's actually been paying anywhere from $200 to $500 OVER the minimum monthly mortgage payment for the past three years. Even more unbelievable, he's reportedly been putting enough money away to be able to afford materials and a non-Mexican carpenter for a basement remodeling project.

"Well, I knew that it would probably cost about $4,000 for the initial framing work," said Rhodes, speaking casually on his cell phone, from the place where he's inexplicably employed. "So, I looked at my financial situation, did a little simple math, and put away a little bit of money from every paycheck. You'd be surprised how quickly the money accumulated."

Even as the economy sucks people into its maw like Dante's three-headed Satan in the ninth circle of hell, Rhodes remains irritatingly upbeat, actually apparently hopeful, as he calculates how much he'll have to put away to bring an electrician in once the carpenter has completed his task.

"I figure it won't be more than $5,000, depending on the electrician," said Rhodes, obviously scheming how best to scam struggling electricians in this most dire of times. "I know I'm due for a raise come February, so I may be able to afford carpet earlier than I thought."

Although it defies belief, Rhodes maintains he has never had a credit card account at any point in his 33 years, thereby avoiding the credit trap that caught so many unsuspecting, innocent, completely credit-worthy borrowers.

"I get credit card crap in the mail all the time," said Rhodes. "I've just never had a real compelling need for one yet. I suppose some day I'd consider signing up for one, but so far I've been able to make do with what I have."

As for being able to keep his house during a housing collapse that has decimated entire neighborhoods, Rhodes attributes his success to not taking a home loan he knew he couldn't afford.

"Man, I was actually approved for a mortgage almost twice the amount I ended up getting," said Rhodes. "I looked at the monthly payments and thought 'yeah, right, maybe if I had two part time jobs and gave blood twice a week.' I basically knew what I could afford, and took into consideration the possibility that I may not be making the same amount five years down the line. I eventually got a loan, and a house, that I've been very happy with."

Posted by Ryan at 10:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2008

And This is Why Bailouts Won't Work

Over the past few months, we've been inundated with term "bailout." Everyone, it seems, has been scrambling for a bailout. We here at "Sandwich of Ruin" have never liked the term "bailout," as it conjures images of using a bucket to empty a sinking ship, without actually addressing the underlying problem that is a MASSIVE LEAK.

Unfortunately, the misgivings aired by our editorial department here at Sandwich of Ruin went unheeded, and the government dolloped a big $700 billion of whipped cream on the steaming turd that is the national financial sector.

And today we learn that some of that bailout money, that bailout money that was so immediately necessary to save our economy, cure cancer and save both the whales AND polar bears. . . is being doled out in the form of fairly lucrative bonuses.

The company (AIG) has told 168 employees they'll receive between $92,500 and $4 million per individual if they stay with the company for one year. That angers some on Capitol Hill.

That angers some on Capitol Hill, eh? Well, you know what? That angers a whole shitload of other people who aren't on Capitol Hill as well, myself included. If you and your employees helped orchestrate the near collapse of your financial institution via unwise lending practices and dabbling in toxic debt, you don't get to saunter up to the public bailout trough and suck down $4 million in "employee retention" goodness. Rather, you thank your lucky-loving stars that you even have a job after helping to drive AIG into a giant pile of FAIL and AIDS.

AIG says it needs its best people to keep its healthy businesses profitable until it can sell them and the company plans to sell 65 percent of its businesses to repay its federal loan and get back on track.

Its "best people?" If these are your best people, what do the slackers look like? You'd think you'd want to be recruiting some fresh talent, rather than keeping in place an old guard that helped create your current crisis.

I know, I know. . . it's never as simple as all this.

Although, sometimes, it actually is.

Posted by Ryan at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Degrees handed out by ones and twos

Just so you know, I'd give my left and middle testicles for a little global warming right about now. Did someone hit the pause button on that shit or something? Does global warming take a vacation during an economic downturn? The wife's car wouldn't even start today, for crying out loud.

Posted by Ryan at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The return of Gamblor!

Come Saturday, I'll be in Vegas, baby!

They say "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but I bet that doesn't extend to venereal diseases.

Posted by Ryan at 12:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

We Aim To Please

One of my regular ThunderJournal readers, who himself maintains the ThunderJournal "Koolaid Report," has seen fit to admonish me with the following:

Would you fucking post something already? I'm bored.

One thing I've been acutely aware of lately is the relative dearth of posts here at. . . what's it called now? *looks up* Right. Sandwich of Ruin.

There are several contributing factors to my craptacular ThunderJournaling, not the least of which is the requisite learning curve here at my newish occupation. Back in my old job, where things were so well-oiled and efficient, I could get all my writing and editing done with time to spare for poop-related writing, now I'm actually neck deep writing and editing content about all the various things that can go wrong with the human body and how modern medicine goes about fixing them.

Also, thanks to this crumbling economy, the newspaper I write my column for has scaled me back from every week, to every other week (apparently, they discovered they can fill their pages with dispatches from local state representative offices for free, rather than pay me each week). So, I spend less time searching for odd news items to comment on, and thus my trove of ripe material has diminished considerably.

Thirdly, I've honestly branched out a bit, trying desperately as I am to stay on top of the latest Internet trends. So, I divide my time between. . . *looks up*. . . Sandwich of Ruin, as well as FaceBook and Twitter. Twitter, incidentally, provides me with a venue by which I can immediately save for posterity such important missives as:

Swung home following a downtown meeting to take a gloriously massive dump. I think I heard angels singing when I flushed that puppy down.

So, you can kind of see why I think Twitter is so important.

The point is, my dirty little digital underwear skidmarks can be found all over the InterTubes; I'm not simply limited to. . . . *looks up*. . . Sandwich of Ruin. I'm trying to stay hip and relevant, mannnnnn.

Also, I'm tired of hearing people bitch about the comment engine here at. . . *looks up*. . . Sandwich of Ruin, which I basically can't do anything about.

Posted by Ryan at 12:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 09, 2008

Well, that was different

I was expecting an observation deck when I watched surgeries yesterday. Instead, I found myself often standing right behind the head surgeon, peering over his shoulder. I got to wear scrubs and everything, which made me feel strangely official; I almost expected the surgeon to ask me for a scalpel.

Overall, it was a pretty fascinating experience, although most of the time I couldn't quite tell what I was looking at. I watched one prostate removal, followed by a bladder removal that also included fashioning a new bladder from a section of the patient's small intestine. Pretty cool what they can do, even though I sincerely hope I never have to undergo any of it myself.

Posted by Ryan at 11:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 07, 2008

Geode Tool Time


Posted by Ryan at 05:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 05, 2008

This will be interesting

I'll be sitting in on live surgeries come Monday morning. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. I'll be sure to bring a box of Junior Mints.

Posted by Ryan at 03:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


So, I see O.J. Simpson is getting some long overdue justice. I hope there's another televised white Bronco chase.

Posted by Ryan at 02:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2008


There was a departure last night from our usual six minute live grappling stints during jiu-jitsu last night. Instead, we did one 20 minute straight live go. Don't get me wrong, it was a great work-out, but man I'm shot.

Posted by Ryan at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2008

Economic Decline

You know how you can tell that the economy is in a severe slump? I'll tell you how: you go to Subway and ask for Swiss cheese, only to be informed SUBWAY HAS DISCONTINUED SWISS CHEESE.

Here's how you know you've really made it in life: you wake up one morning, lazily dial an underling, and decree a discontinuation of a certain cheese. Then you hang up and fall back asleep, with a wry grin on your face as your unconscious mind plays out all sorts of scenarios unfolding due to your rash decision.

Seriously, what goes into a business decision that leads to a discontinued Subway cheese? I'd love to see that PowerPoint presentation:

PPT GUY: "So, as you can see, Swiss cheese sales are down 5 percent from last year, easily falling below sales of both pepper jack and cheddar. As this graph shows, if we simply stop stocking our stores with the triangle slices of Swiss cheese, we can realize a profit increase of .07 percent."

ME: *raising hand*

PPT GUY: Yesssss?

ME: I don't get it.

PPT GUY: What don't you get?

ME: Well, it's a building that turns into a robot. . .

PPT GUY: Exactly.

ME: What's fun about that?

Okay, I'm clearly going off in a different direction here. Tom Hanks would be proud.

Posted by Ryan at 09:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Apparently, the latest craze in blog spamming is "Christian Debt Consolidation Online."

Seems a bit niche to me.

Posted by Ryan at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2008


Judging by the sniffles, sneezes and coughs emanating from the various people who inhabit my existence, we're in the cold and flu season. I just wrapped up a cold last week, so I guess I'm due for a good bout of flu. Can't wait.

Posted by Ryan at 09:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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