Life lessons and a Guinness

“Anyone who openly says, ‘I’m good at public speaking,’ is not ‘good’ at anything.”

-SpudWeb

handwritten note

Home Nepot

I hate nepotism. Pick a celebrity or a famous/wealthy citizen and, more likely than not, society is forced to live with their offspring and all of the advantages they’ve been bestowed. Sure, Jayden Smith is hilarious in a bat-shit crazy sort of way, but do we (i.e. society) need him? Do we need Judd Apatow’s daughter who couldn’t act her way out of a gazebo? We (society again) gave up on Michael Jordan’s kids as basketball stars (go us!), but at least in sports you have to earn it (see Steph Curry vs. Austin Rivers). In entertainment, you don’t have to be good (there are few metrics of talent), but if your mom or dad made it, then you and your next 12 generations are set. Politics works the same way (not necessarily as Jeb Bush hoped and anticipated; but he never would have even had the pedestal to attempt a presidential run if ma and pa hadn’t paved the way). Hillary’s riding Bill’s gravy train. Bono’s daughter is acting up a storm. So’s Phil Collins’. Can’t wait for little Apple Martin and North West to start their own bands, fashion labels, perfumes, etc. Millions and billions of dollars just funneling into the same ol’ grubby hands because they can and we will. I’m in the camp that believes a silver spoon sets the wrong example. If Brooklyn Beckham is going to make it, let him make it (or not make it) on his own, without the built-in PR army pillaging on his behalf. Let others stand on equal footing. But it won’t happen like that. We like our royals. We’ve been genuflecting for too long to stop now.

Love’s Labour’s Lost in Translation

How humans used to communicate feelings of love:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st; 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

-Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

How humans communicate feelings of love today:

ios_emoji_smiling_face_with_heart-shaped_eyes

Makes sense.

It’s like

Brushing your teeth is like a shower for your mouth.

Watching TV is like radio for your eyes.

Grapefruits are like the obese love-child of an orange and a lemon.

Mirrors are like windows you can’t see through.

Maple syrup is like boiled down tree piss.

Circus peanuts are like orange death.

Greeting cards are like letters you were too lazy to write.

Musical greeting cards are like letters you were too lazy to write (with music).

Dinosaurs are like big chickens.

Chickens are like tiny dinosaurs.

Forests are like nature’s lungs (so are large bodies of water).

Die Hard is like the best 80s action movie.

 

 

All Natural

I don’t understand why I can’t just eat all the damn sea salt caramel chocolate bars I want without becoming diabetic. Or as many bacon wrapped anythings without having my chest sawed open and my veins suctioned out. Or as many Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken sandwiches. Or as many buckets of movie theater popcorn layered with real butter-flavoring as I damn well choose. It’s all natural. Every single ounce of it comes from this planet. Something had to live or spawn to become the food that ends up in my stomach. And if was invented in a lab, someone with a pulse and a mother had to get in that lab to grow it, mutate it or invent it. Okay? Seriously, if it exists in reality, it’s natural. Now, who’s with me?

An Unprovoked Rant

In her best-selling memoir, Just Kids, the legendary Patti Smith tells the story of her – wait, who? A songwriter author performer visual artist poet?  That’s like ten things; I’m calling bullshit. Did she write Blowin In the Wind? Does she have pipes like Aretha?  Did she shock the world with Leaves of Grass? Does she get the stadium rockin’ with Born to Run?  Do her paintings hang at the Met next to Cézanne and Manet?

Why does every Baby Boomer who slummed it in New York City in the 60s feel the need to write a 500-page biography with some bullshit twee title slapped on the front?

I like cherries

I like their tartness. I usually eat them frozen. They’re pretty great fresh, too, but then you have to eat around the pit and that’s more effort than I really care to give. Plus, in comparison, fresh cherries are typically more expensive per pound. They are also quite enjoyable dried, but only without sugar added. I mean, they’re right up there with blueberries, and definitely higher than strawberries, which tend to be blander than anticipated. The key to flavorful strawberries is to find the smaller variety available at local farmers’ markets, when in season. Those gargantuan, bright, shiny, Rudolph’s nose strawberries have all the looks, but none of the substance. All in all, I prefer cherries.

Biotic Diversity of Opinion

CNN Moderator: Yes or no: Probiotic or antibiotic?

JEB: Yes.

Cruz: I’m probiotic and anti-government. I enjoy yogurt and I don’t believe in government or politics. Vote for me for president.

JEB: Can I just clarify what I said?

Huckabee: Oh boy, I don’t know about yogurt but I’ll tell you this, my granddaddy used to take us out behind the church and slather our backsides in mayonnaise. [crowd cheers]

Trump: Your granddaddy was ineffectual, and, and, I’ll just say it, let’s be honest, he was a total pussy. [crowd cheers]

JEB: Can I, can I say something?

Carson: History shows us that antibiotics were invented by Turks as a common sense approach to keep the slaves healthy while they built the pyramids.

Rubio: Good evening. [shuffling cue cards, sweating]

Christie: Do I like yogurt? I am yogurt. [lifts shirt; crowd gasps, slowly transforms into cheers]

Work style is the new black

Since workers moved into offices, workplace evaluators have attempted to understand how people prefer to work. We take Myers-Briggs exams to unlock our personalities. Managers sit us down and ask, ‘What is your work style?’ or ‘How do you like to work?’ And we share anecdotally based on our own self-comprehension. Then the learnings from these analyses are recorded and shared and then everyone goes back to ignoring all of it.

Vice Squad

As a New Yorker (and not altogether illiterate), it’s been fully ingrained in my sense of morality that smoking is a physical evil. It’s bad for you, science and health are conclusive on that. Those who smoke on a consistent and lengthy basis are in for a world of hurt later in life, and, for many, even sooner than that. We’ve all seen the anti-smoking campaign ads on TV. The blackened lungs. The electronic voice box. The escalating body count. And it’s all true. There are no real smoking-truthers out there. Even the occasional human who makes it to 90 smoking two packs a day knows they lucked into the 3rd standard deviation; a statistical anomaly.

But the truth goes beyond billboards and television screens. Even at the point of sale, cartons and shelves speak out against the horrors of tobacco products. It’s unavoidably in your face. To smoke is essentially to give one giant middle finger to life. And in no place is that middle finger more vertical and erect than in Amsterdam, where I’m currently visiting for work.

If I tried to count every person I passed who was lighting up, lit up or exiting the nearest tobacconist (and lets exclude marijuana to keep things focused), I’d run out of fingers and toes before I reached the next canal (note: this city has canals like Chiquita has bananas).

Of all places, I observed two old ladies vaping at the top floor cafe of Amsterdam’s public library. At the library.

I’m not a stock market prognosticator, but no matter what’s ailing the world’s economy—housing bubble, tech bubble, low oil prices, China’s floundering manufacturing sector—if you need a guaranteed winner you can always count on humanity to not give a fuck.

There Is No Sign Without Sin

When I was a child I saw a sign near the highway that said “There is no Good without God.”

As a matter of spelling, letter arrangements, technically I agree. You can spell God with Good two different ways if you swap out the “O”s. Also there is no good without goo. There is no Patriot without riot. There is no legislation without legs. There is no whole without hole. Eleven Plus Two = Twelve Plus One. 26 letters – there’s gonna be some overlap from time to time, don’t read into it too much.

There is no highway sign without moron.

Target Market

In the bathroom at the last movie theater I went to there was a vending machine. In addition to breath mints and Ibuprofen, the machine had table top footballs for sale; those pointy triangle things that you made yourself and played with back when you were in middle school.

You could buy one. In a movie theater bathroom. On your way to or from a movie.

I would’ve figured condoms.

Complaints & Criticisms

I’ve heard people say the following:

“He never complained.”

“Her whole life she never complained.”

“He had a lot of physical problems. He was in a lot of pain, but he never would complain. Not once.”

“A lot in her life went wrong. She lived a very hard life, but she never complained. She was a saint.”

Every time I hear those words I think, liars.

Death on Earth

David Bowie died yesterday. Otis Clay died last Friday. Roughly 1,073,973 people died in the past 7 days. 106.6 people die every minute. 1.8 per second. Every second I waste thinking what to write next – correcting ‘right’ with ‘write’, etc. – is another couple of dead humans (not to mention the sizable number of insects, mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, other species/lifeforms, all dying simultaneously).

About 255 babies are born every minute. 4.3 per second.

Life is still winning.

Maybe one of those babies will become the next evolution of David Bowie or Otis Clay. Or Otis Redding or David Foster Wallace.

Maybe one of those lives will live on Mars. A real space oddity. Let’s dance, and hope.

 

The major differences between ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Interstellar’: an expert’s analysis

In Star Wars, there are laser blasters with loud sound effects (pewpew). In Interstellar, explosions in space are witnessed in silence.

In Star Wars, spaceships travel at light speed to other galaxies. In Interstellar, a spaceship travels through a wormhole to another galaxy.

In Star Wars, a spherical robot runs cleanly on sand. In Interstellar, a rectangular robot spins like a pinwheel through two foot deep water on a planet with 130% of Earth’s gravity.

In Star Wars, a wookie gets all the chicks wet. In Interstellar, there’s a lot of dust.

Verdict: Basically the same movie.

 

 

The King of Picking Nits

It’s always bothered me how in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Guy of Gisborne says to Robin Hood: “Might I have the pleasure of your name, before I have you run through.” But after Robin Hood gets the best of Guy and his men, with his sword at his throat, he turns the tables and says: “Now sir, if you’d be so kind to give me your name, before I run you through.” They don’t match up. “Have you run through” vs. “run you through.” The accuracy of each statement’s ownership of running throughness aside, I prefer proper parallelism.

Narcotic Harmonic

Nothing goes together better than Vicodin and a Starbucks Holiday Spice Flat White. Except maybe Vicodin and a fifth of Jameson. Or Vicodin and road head. Vicodin and the original Die Hard trilogy. Vicodin and Eggo Waffles. Vicodin and butterflies. Vicodin and puppy pictures. Vicodin and a full-body Swedish massage. Vicodin and Reese’s peanut butter cups. Vicodin and a nap. Vicodin vicodin vicodin. Vi-coding. Vic Odin. Vic O-D in. Vic-accordion. Violin dandelion. Valid orderly. Viking a ding a ling a ding dong.

Buster bypassing blocks

I moved from New York City four months ago. I’ve been back a few times since. A week here. A day here. And now two nights for work. It’s no longer my city. I’ve lost all shares of ownership. Back when I lived in Queens, I was already renting it out. But it was still in my possession and whenever the mood struck I could turn off the lights, plop it in and hit play. The City did away with late fees; I could keep it as long as I wanted.

I kept it for a while.

When it was time, I slid it through the metal chute and moved on.

Now that I’m back, I’ve discovered, the store’s gone, replaced by something newer, and I can only stare at its newness through the glass. They don’t sell my film anymore. Or rent it either. But if I download the right app and install the update there’s a vine I can watch on repeat, the same 6 seconds over and over until I move on again.

Optimism

I don’t have much faith in the world. In humanity. In our species’ chances of making it another 100 years. I bet previous generations felt the same way. Probably every generation. It doesn’t mean this time it’s wrong. We have a death drive. We want to see our great structures crumble, and be reminded of our smallness. At the same time we want to shit on a toilet while we scroll over an iPad screen, wiping our butts with moist, flushable wipes that are most likely clogging our septic systems, pushing our filth through the semi-solid soil surface. Beneath our feet. Propping us up. Until we all come crashing down, tumbling down the shitty slope of inevitability.

Technologia non facit athleta

A popular gift this Christmas, I suspect, will be those colorful little wristbands that supposedly track how much you move. Ignore for now that the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that these wristbands are less accurate than iPhones at tracking steps and calories, or that the companies that make them collect your data and sell it to other companies, or that commodifying walking around is silly. There is no evidence that the wristbands (or any technology for that matter) result in people getting in shape. On the contrary, one of technology’s chief characteristics is that it replaces manual labor. Despite knowing this, now faced with the modern problem of not enough manual labor, we seek newer, better technology. (See Law of the Instrument.) But if we were genuinely concerned with fitness results, rather than the pleasantries of gift exchange, we would give our chubby loved ones the gift of less technology. I broke half your stuff, Merry Christmas.

saturday night bites

at some point you reach an age when your saturday night plans cease to exist, you’re home, alone, and your only hope is the chance that there’s something you haven’t seen on netflix that’s worth watching, but there’s nothing because after you’ve swallowed the thin layer of frosting at the top all that’s left is a trite, redundant, gimmicky pile of donkey turds like e.e.cummings and his fucking lowercase bullshit.

The (other) dark side of the moon

No one cares for Pink Floyd until they realize that they need to care for Pink Floyd to get those random, pseudo-goth, stoner chicks who wear black and chokers and midriff revealing tops with 70s tight pants, like Katie Holmes in Disturbing Behavior, which was classic, untainted, pre-TC Katie.

Also, the moon looks like a person’s face if that face was blasted with craters and was a huge moon face.

10,000 years into the future

10,000 years into the future there won’t be humans. Or robots. Or aliens. Just human-robot-aliens that self-copulate and give birth to baby human-robot-aliens called _______________ ; because there are no more words or speaking and everyone communicates telepathically, and conference calls still last for one hour even though no one had anything to share after ten minutes and everyone on the call is multitasking in multiple dimensions, and even in the fourth dimension where there is no such thing as time those conference calls still seem like a huge, giant time-suck.