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Back To The Desk.
Tuesday February 28th 2006, 4:42 pm
Filed under: rants

After an amazing nine days in New York City, I’m finally back at my desk. Thank god. I was starting to get used to doing whatever the hell I want.

So what, might you ask, am I doing now? After a week and some change of hanging out with awesome kids, getting crunk until 7 am, then waking up to ride around in the subway and get lost in the biggest city in the country, how could I possibly get back into the habit of waking up and going to work? I needed something to calm me down, to break my spirit all over again.

And I found it. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my most sincere pleasure to present to you the most boring conspiracy theory of all time.



New York Rules
Tuesday February 21st 2006, 6:07 pm
Filed under: lists

Here's a list of things I've done in the past four days:

– Walked through central park.

– Ate a cheeseburger at the Seinfeld diner.

– Went to the bathroom at Columbia University.

– Ate soup dumplings. – Peed on the roof of a warehouse in Brooklyn.

– Walked about a thousand miles in Manhattan and saw like a gazillion famous places where you can buy souvenirs.

– Saw CBGB's. Shrugged.

– Saw the firehouse from Ghostbusters. Was like "whoa."

– Played a shitload of video games at a weird little arcade in Chinatown.

– Bought dead mexican jumping beans for a dollar.

– Got wasted.

– Saw a black guy dressed up like the Statue of Liberty almost beat the shit out of a bunch of gangbangers on BMX bikes.

– Took a "stress test" at the Church of Scientology.

– Laughed at the Church of Scientology people.

– A bunch of other stuff.

Five days to go. Seriously – This city kinda rules.



Overheard In Chicago
Thursday February 16th 2006, 11:26 am
Filed under: rants

Yesterday I rode the brown line for the first time in ages. Riding the blue line almost exclusively makes it easy to forget how different the train lines are from one another, but it didn’t take long to remember that the brown line is a different beast altogether. I was wedged against the window, pinned by two women. They obviously worked together, and both were blonde and bubbly late-20s or early-30s professionals. They got on at Clark & Lake and started talking about the new office hottie.

“When I saw him on our floor, I was like ‘finally!’, you know?”

“Totally. I totally had to ask Chris for a 10 minute break to cool down…”

They blathered on and on about that for a while until there was a lull in the conversation. I love that part, because that’s the part where the office-buddies-talking-outside-the-office phenomenon is stripped of its pretenses and it becomes blatantly obvious which one of them wants to get away from the other. Her eyes shift and you can tell she’s thinking about how she’d much rather be reading her dog-eared copy of The Da Vinci Code, or finishing that Sudoku she started earlier, and the awkward pause continues for a few more seconds. Then one of them breaks the silence. The person who breaks the silence is the person the other one wants to get away from. In this case, the person broke the silence did so to complain about her disastrous trip to Ethiopia. Part of the problem, apparently, was that she took the trip with a guy she had only been on four dates with.

“He was nice, and we totally got along, but it was touch and go the whole time,” she said. “He was so disorganized. I mean, I planned the whole trip anyway, but he wasn’t ready at all. He kept drinking my bottled water and taking the medicine I brought… I mean, I only packed for one.”

Then there was the flight fiasco. They booked flights on Ethiopia Air to take them to different parts of the country, but when they say to reconfirm your flight on Ethiopia Air they mean it, apparently. “The guy was like, ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t let you on the plane. Your seats have not been reconfirmed.’ I was like, who does that? They always say reconfirm, but nobody actually does it! Then the guy started saying, ‘Ma’am, please, be legal.’ Be legal! He kept saying that! I was like, uhh, no you didn’t!”

Oh. Here’s a picture from Ethiopia so you know what Ethiopia we’re talking about here.

Yeah.  'That' Ethiopia.

Yeah. THAT Ethiopia.

Seriously though – who goes on vacation to Africa with someone you’ve been on four dates with?!

Oh yeah – then this morning some chick on the blue line was telling her friend that when she has a baby, she’s gonna teach it to eat “real good.”

“I’m gonna give him fruit snacks and stuff. Not the sugary kind – the good kind with the real fruit in ’em, cuz babies don’t know the difference,” she said.

“Yeah, those are good for you,” her friend replied.

“I’m gonna feed ’em all kinds of good stuff. I’m gonna teach my baby to like fruit, and cheese. And meat.”

(this post has probably been at least to some extent inspired by the very excellent website Overheard In New York. Oh – and go here to read devastatingly depressing info about Ethiopia, like the fact that the average life expectancy is 48 years, or maybe that they have a 10% infant mortality rate. Think about this, cluck your tongue and nod your head “no” because it’s such a shame. Then finish your Quiznos sub and go watch that Chronic of Narnia video for the millionth time. Done with that? Afro Ninja. Ha ha. Internet funny.)



The Radio Project
Friday February 10th 2006, 12:26 am
Filed under: internet crap

A radio documentary I made a while back called “A Word To Our Players” is featured in Episode 3 of a very cool podcast called The Radio Project among various other cool stuff. Special thanks to Kyle Klipowicz for including it. Check it out.



Hot Tamales Knows What Gets Hot Americans Hot
Thursday February 09th 2006, 3:01 pm
Filed under: consumer action

Hot Tamales have issued their first ever “Report on What is Hot in America,” a veritable geyser of important statistics based on a random sampling of households in America. The study reads like a who’s who in Hollywood… from 1998:

Hottest Female Celebrity: Angelina Jolie

Hottest Male Celebrity: Brad Pitt

Hottest Musical Artist: Mariah Carey

Hottest Family: The fucking Osbournes.

Hottest Politician: Bill Clinton

America also, apparently, hates “stupid people,” “bad drivers,” and “bills.” On the other hand, America enjoys “friends and family,” “sports and exercise,” and “video games.”

If you love Hot Tamales brand candies as much as I do, you might want to know that it’s not only normal people like us that love the spicy cinnamon burst of Hot Tamales brand candies – celebrities love them too! Madonna, Lindsay Lohan, Lara Flynn Boyle… hell, Mariah Carey even calls her FANS “Hot Tamales!”

The survey was conducted by International Communications Research in January. According to the Press Release, “In order to participate, respondents were between 18-29 years of age.”

Wait a minute. So anyone between 18 and 29 in America can determine what’s “hot?” And it doesn’ even matter if the people surveyed regularly enjoy Hot Tamales brand candies? What then, I ask, does this have to do with Hot Tamales?

“The Just Born candy company is our client, and they contracted us to do the study for them,” said John DeWolf, a representative from International Communications Research. They do this, apparently, “to raise awareness of their brand and publish the data. It’s not your typical market research thing here,” he said.

So what, you ask, is the absolute hottest thing? What is the one thing above everything else that’s got all of America shitting themselves with excitement? Something even more exciting than, say, Hot Tamales FIRE – the newest addition to the Hot Tamales family? When asked what they’ve learned is the hottest thing in America, DeWolf doesn’t pull any punches. “Honestly,” he said, “we do so many studies here… We don’t have time to sit down and study the data… unless we’re contracted to do so.”



Hail Satan
Wednesday February 08th 2006, 9:51 am
Filed under: letters,satanism

I decided a week or two ago that I really wanted to interview a Satanist. I’m not talking about a teenager who hates his parents either, or one of the members of Slipknot. No. I’m talking real, bonafide Satanism. Like, an actual member of the Church of Satan. I’m curious about how many real, actual Satanists there are in Chicago and what they’re up to. Plus, well, Satanism is just kind of funny. Do they feel persecuted? Do they feel the world is more or less evil as a whole than it was twenty years ago? There’s only one way to find out. I sent off an email to High Priestess Magistra Peggy Nadramia asking if there was anyone in my area who could possibly give an interview. I got this reply this morning:

Ross-

We do not have any members who serve as spokespersons in Chicago at present. Our members there and nearby are rather private and thus underground regarding their affiliation.

Generally speaking, since our church isn’t about doing “organized” things, we don’t comment on the “state” of our church in any particular area, as that state is defined by the productivity and creativity of our members, and is only public if they choose to make their efforts and affiliation known.

So, because of the focus of your piece, there isn’t much we can do for you. Our News page and the archives of News pages for the last several years demonstrate what our members are doing, and we think that is a healthy barometer for our organization’s public face. Of course our members in politics and other fields remain resolutely “in the closet,” as such is required for their success in today’s climate.

Best wishes!

Magistra Peggy Nadramia
High Priestess



The Most Depressing Website In The Universe
Tuesday February 07th 2006, 4:36 pm
Filed under: internet crap,rants

Screw Bonsai Kittens – that shit was fake and you knew it all along anyway, but THIS. Whoa. That’s some next-level awfulness. Here’s a little sample:

Date:
12/27/05

Needed:

I’m deaf mother with 4 children. Salvation Army have no fund for rental assitance until April 2006. Right now, we are at shelter only for 30 days to stay. I need a rental assitance for rent house or rent apt before January 1st 2006. Please. Don’t put us on the street, again. I never ask my parents or friends for help. I’m idependence and depend on God and hope Angel will come to me for rental assitance and need furntuires, 4 bikes, computer, and large 1 tv set, that’s all. Help us will be great!! God bless you always. There’s never focus on deaf mother or deaf people’s need in my hometown. I have hard time, but very great patience. Text message me at 704.345.8205. Thank again.

Yeesh. It’s nice to know there’s no shortage of real, actual misery in the world. None of this I-hate-my-job-I-just-want-to-do-something-creative crap. Real, tangible human suffering. Speaking of which, hey, you know that bitch at the bar? You know – the really well dressed one who’s always making shitty faces? She’s been talking shit about you. Swear to god. Yeah, I know – she is a cunt. Fuck – I thought I ordered this burrito with no cilantro. I did, didn’t I?