Check out these Special Doggy Style
Columns about London, Paris, Prague, the US, souvenirs, road signs, and
it Holiday Style
Columns about Thanksgiving,
Christmas, New Years, and Valentine's Day.
Dispatches from the land of ducks, geckos, and
and lots of rice.
to find just what you're looking for!
Blame it on El Niño -
Hurricanes in the Pacific? Blame it on El Niño. Volcanic eruptions
in Montserrat? El Niño. Janet Reno breaking down and starting an
investigation into campaign financing? El Niño again! You might
as well brace yourselfeverything that happens during the
next ten months will be blamed on El Niño.
Size doesn’t matter, and neither does Godzilla
The advertising for Godzilla screams "Size matters", which for them it does,
considering the size of the production budget they need to cover. Hugh McColl,
emperor of the newly formed Amalgamated United NationsBank of America, predicted
that in a few years there will be only four major banks left in the country and
his will be all of them. And then, of course, there’s the phenomenal sales of
Viagra, which is the final proof that an awful lot of men (and their mates) are
firmly convinced that bigger is, indeed, better.
The Truth About Stereotypes
It’s hard not to categorize people. I’m sure you’ve heard the stereotypes, if
not uttered them yourself: Italians are gangsters, Mexicans are lazy, Arabs are
terrorists, feminists are men-haters, loners in Montana are militiamen, yuppies
are scum, presidents lie, politicians only care about re-election, and TV programmers
live to insult our intelligence. But as rational human beings we know that not
all the people in a given group fit the stereotype. Well, except for presidents,
politicians, and TV programmers.
Bigger! Better! Faster! Moronic!
Every decade has its identifying label. The ‘60s was the Age of Aquarius, the ‘70s
the Years No One Wants to Own Up To, and the ‘80s the infamous Me Decade. Finally,
as the ‘90s draw to a close, it looks like it’s official: these are the Superlative
Years because everything has to be The Biggest! The Best! The Fastest! The Tallest!
Come to think of it maybe we should change it to the Exclamation Point Years.
The Truth About Truth in Advertising
The truth in advertising laws in this country aren’t as advertised. These are
the laws which were passed by Congress to stop companies from bragging, exaggerating,
and making claims which just aren’t true. This is necessary since advertisers,
if left to their own devices, pretty much act like high school boys bragging
on Monday morning. The difference is, with advertising someone actually gets
screwed. Unfortunately it’s us.
Taking the Junk Out of Junk Food
It’s not easy eating a healthy diet. We spend our lives on the go, work long
hours, try to cram in a semblance of a social life, and one day wake up to realize
we’re so busy we have to schedule time to write things in our dayplanner. So
if we, as role models for the youth of this country—a thought even scarier than
Dan Qualye running for president—can’t eat well, how can we expect kids to? That’s
why it should come as no shock to hear that teenagers are getting over 30 percent
of their vegetable intake from potato chips and french fries.
The Rise and Fall of Artificial Organs
Artificiality has become a reality of life. We put Sweet ‘N Low in our coffee,
top it off with the oh-so-enticingly named coffee whitener, drool over breasts
which have been pumped up with silicone and saline, and then have the nerve to
name an imitation margarine "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter." So it should come
as no surprise that doctors at the Impotence World Association (motto: "We want
to get a rise out of you") are aiming for what may be the ultimate in artificial
organs: penises and vaginas.
Living at Your Own Risk
What makes politicians think adding warning labels to everything
will do any good? This is, after all, a country where reading is
a dying art. It's also the country where three times as many people
can name the Three Stooges as can name three Supreme Court Justices.
(Hint: Manny, Moe, and Jack are NOT stooges.)
Women Love Valentines Day, Men
are From Mars - Men and women see Valentines
Day very differently. Then again, men and women see just about
everything differently. But the stakes are much higher on Valentines
Day. Its like the final exam for a relationship, except
of course theres no book to study, no CliffsNotes to
cram with, and even though there are movies which would give
a man a good idea of what the days all about, theres
just no way hes going to sit through it since Pamela
Anderson Lee isnt in it.
Tourist Attractions of the Future
They just dont make roadside attractions like they used to. I know people
say that about everything from cars to movies to humor columnsokay, maybe
not humor columnsbut this one is definitely true. After all, when was the
last time someone looked up from the morning newspaper and said, "Honey,
I think we should blast a home out of the side of a huge rock so we can live
in it."? Actually, it was in 1945, and Albert Christensen
of Moab, Utah did just that.
Working (and Dying) for
Charles Schultz died the night before his last cartoon strip ran. In the words
of Canada’s foremost philosopher, Alanis Morissette, "Isn’t it ironic?" Somehow
I don’t think he saw it that way. I doubt his last words were "What wonderful
timing! Tomorrow’s the day the last new Peanuts strip will run!" Instead
I suspect he looked up, shook his head slowly, and quoted one of his creations
Don't Hate Me Because
I'm Beautiful, Hate Me Because I Bought It
There are three things that separate us from animals. First, we
use toilet paper. Second, we’re the only ones that complain about
people emailing us unfunny jokes, then turn around and forward
them to all our friends. And third, we get plastic surgery. Most
plastic surgery is done simply because people want to look better.
Some people do it so they can look like someone else. Women want
to have the facial features of Julia Roberts and Cindy Crawford.
And why shouldn't they?
It's a Fact, Jack. Isn't It?
Separating fact from fiction these days is like separating egg
whites and yolks from a plate of scrambled eggs—you should have
thought of it before you ordered the Grand Slam breakfast with
the extra side of hash browns. Between hype, spin, sound bites,
ads, and web sites masquerading as information when all they’re
really trying to do is sell useless products to people who have
more money than sense, how’s a person supposed to have any idea
what to believe?
Where Are The Food Police When You
Really Need Them?
My concern isn’t with the health purity of food, it’s with the
ethnic purity. I’m afraid that with the way current cooking trends
are going, the line between ethnic cuisines is blurring faster
than an eye chart after a bottle of tequila. America may be the
melting pot of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary
to throw anything that’s handy into the double boiler, does it?
This is, after all, the same cooking method that led us to Slim
Jims, Spam, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cereal.
A Summer Vacation Guide
This year it’s time to do something a little different, to break
out of that rut and forget about going to Disneyland for the umpteenth
time. To cancel those reservations at Lake Fertilizer-Runoff. Been
there, done that, got the glow-in-the- dark complexion to prove
it. And whatever you do, don’t even think about going camping—if
we were supposed to live outdoors in tents God wouldn’t have invented
Motel 6. That’s why I’ve put together a few suggestions and pointers
which will help you find new and fun things to do this vacation.
Fame! Now There's a High Maintenance
There’s something about fame and notoriety that makes a person
want to, well, use it. This isn’t exactly a new concept, it’s been
going on since Adam parlayed being booted out of the Garden of
Eden into a chain of barbecued rib stands. Nowhere does this
happen more than in Hollywood, where actors love to cash in—I mean,
use—their fame. They use it to sell books. They use it to sell
perfume. Some even lapse and use it for good by raising money for
charities. Usually they get over it.
Home is Where the Heartburn is
There’s nothing like going home to bring out the worst in us. It
doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been away, how old you are,
or how much you tell yourself you’re a grown up now so you won’t
pout when your mother tells you to stop picking on your sister
and go to your room without dinner—reversion is unavoidable. Face
it, at one time or another Ghandi hauled off and slapped his brother
when they were both home for the holidays. The truth is, if it
wasn’t for dysfunction most families wouldn’t function at all.
E.T., Phone the Three Stooges
Ever alert to making their life easier, the astronomers at SETI,
the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, started a program
which, after a lot of thought, they brilliantly named SETI@Home.
What you get if you go to their website and download
some software is a computer screensaver which replaces the passé South
Park one you’ve had for ages (the one where Kenny gets killed when
Bart Simpson throws a Beavis and Butthead lunchbox at him) with,
well, a bunch of graphs. This really isn’t as geeky as it sounds.
Okay, yes it is. But it’s also popular.
Honeymoon at Viagra Falls
Suppose impotence isn’t really as widespread as it appears to be? What if we’re
being sexual lemmings jumping off a cliff to get a publicized cure for a problem
we don’t have? Maybe the truth is we’re just being Americans, a nation of people
convinced that it’s our civic duty and birthright to brag. To be the biggest,
the best, the fastest, the strongest. Thus it’s no surprise that when it comes
to impotence we have no problem standing tall and shouting out our superiority. "We’re
Number One!" we boast as we raise our arms, fists encased in huge foam rubber
hands with a large finger outstretched—it is a finger, isn’t it?
Sticks and stones may break your bones,
but your name, well, it could kill you
Most people choose their children’s name very casually. They pick something
they like, often a name that honors a dead relative, a revered historical figure,
a character on Beverly Hills 90210, or their favorite endangered waterfowl. Well
you’d better think twice if you’re in that position, because a name has more
to do with how someone turns out than all the genes in their little finger.
It’s the culture, stupid
People in other countries aren’t like us. That's what's known as a mixed
blessing. On the one hand we can take pride in the fact that we didn’t
come up with the concept of eating raw fish, idolizing Jerry Lewis, or dancing
to a band which features tuba-players in leather shorts. Then again, we have
Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs cereal, Pauley Shore, and Marilyn Manson.
Throwing the book at them
It’s not easy making the punishment fit the crime. Sure, virginity may be its
own punishment, but it’s not technically a crime like armed robbery, assault
and battery, or giving Tom Selleck another TV show. That’s why you never hear
of anyone being sentenced to ten years of virginity.
Taking the Real Out of Reality
Recently, when Prince Edward ("The Other White Prince")
got married, they corralled the family and took the usually battery
of photographs. Lo and behold, when they got the film back from
Royal One-Hour Photo Processing (Motto: "Our photos rule")
they discovered that Prince William, second in line to the throne,
wasn’t smiling. So, in the great tradition of Charles I, Lady Jane
Grey, and Ann Boleyn, William had his head lopped off and digitally
replaced with a smiling version they kept on hand for just such
Drawing Straws in Iowa
In their quest to show that they can be the most impatient organization
in the country—a title previously held by Macy’s, which actually
advertised a Dancing Santa on August 13th using the line "Only
134 days ‘til Christmas"—the Iowa Republican Party went and
held their primary straw poll. This is the political event where
candidates spend a lot of time and even more money, well, buying
votes. It’s true. It’s legal. And it’s really too bad they don’t
do it in my neighborhood.
Who Has Time For Patience?
Patience is a virtue. So is bravery, fidelity, and putting the cap back on the
toothpaste tube, especially if you're a man. But patience is in a category all
its own, for unlike other virtues, our patience has run out. Gone are the days
of leisurely strolls, lingering dinners, and curling up with a good book. Nowadays
we run for exercise, bypass any restaurant without a drive- through window, and
listen to the Cliff Notes Booklets-On- Tape of "Monica’s Story" because
the full-length version is just too damned long. And boring.
The new fall TV season has begun and I couldn’t be much more excited.
Okay, maybe a little. But that’s only because it promises to be
a pleasant change from the stupor brought on by summer reruns,
the same four episodes of Seinfeld rotating in a continuous loop
24-hours a day on three channels, and my new nightly ritual of
turning the sound down during "Change of Heart" so I
can pretend to be Chris Jagger and say "Will they stay together?
Or will they have a change of heart?" along with him. Now,
thanks to Must See TV—hell, if it’s that imperative it has to be
good!—there’s a glimmer of hope on the network horizon. Yeah, right.
The Big Duh!
We've always been told that if we ask a stupid question we’ll get a stupid answer.
Unlike "The harder you work the more money you’ll make" and "Pauley
Shore just needs to find the right vehicle", this saying happens to be true.
It’s a shame no one in the media seems to have heard it, though. Lately they’ve
been asking a rash of stupid questions, consulting experts or taking a survey,
never stopping to realize that they’re the only ones who didn’t know the answer
in the first place. Somewhere along the line reportable, rhetorical, and ridiculous
have become one and the same
You Are What You Say You Are
For years we’ve been told we are what we eat. I sure hope that’s not true since
I’d hate to think we’re a nation of S’mores cereal, Oreos with orange Halloween
filling, and tuna jerky in plain and spicy flavors. But like customer service,
quality control, and our waistline, what defines us as people has changed over
the years. Today you are whatever you say you are.
Smartening Sonatas or Silly Symphonies?
The debate over the Mozart Effect is in full blast. Parents are sitting their
children down and making them listen to Mozart, hoping it will make them smarter.
Pregnant mothers who don't want to wait until the kids are born are putting speakers
against their stomachs in the hopes that their unborn fetuses will grow smart
at the same time they grow fingers. And fathers, not wanting to be left out,
are strapping headphones to their testicles so they can boost their sperms
IQ. Yes, the passengers on the Titanic were right when they said: "Its
never too soon to go overboard."
Fear of Loafing Outside of Las Vegas
Certainly Nevada has a lot going for it, like the slot machines which are
in every convenience store, gas station, beauty parlor, and mortuary. (Remember
the state motto: "You can never be too poor or too dead to play the slots.")
And of course there are the euphemistically named rancheslike the Mustang
Ranch, the Bunny Ranch, and the Well Do Anything For Money Ranchwhich
offer up sex like another order of chicken fried steak in gravy, the state dish.
But thats pretty much it.
Looking for a *beeping* date
Here comes the latest Japanese import, the Lovegety. This is a small pager-like
device which supposedly helps you find an appropriate mate. Thats right,
it beeps when it detects someone as desperate as you are. Just kidding. Kind
Surfing For The Saviour
I predict that by this time next year everyone on the face of the
Earth will have their own website. And a lot of them will
have webcams. A religious group, Daystar International
Ministry, has taken online voyeurism one step farther by setting
up the MessiahCam. That’s right. Now you can drop by www.messiahcam.org
any time of the day or night and look at live shots of the Eastern
Gate of Jerusalem, which is where they claim Jesus will show up.
Of course they don’t say when he’ll show up, which creates a big
problem. At least with the ChangingLeavesCam I know to watch during
Do You Miss Manners?
Experts predict that on October 12th the population of the Earth
will hit a whopping six billion. With this many bodies packed
onto the planet we’d better make sure we start treating each other
with courtesy, respect, and "Hey! I’m not done talking
to you, bonehead! Quit skipping to the end of this paragraph, will
you?" That's why it’s good to know that some people
are trying to be civil, even if they’re passing legislation to
What's Your Specialty?
If its ever crossed your mind for even a moment that were
in the age of specialization then you can put your mind at ease.
We are. Doctors specialize in arcane branches of medicine like
post-pediatric neuro-gastro-oncology, there are lawyers who make
their living by only handling lawsuits against presidents (a lucrative
field these days), and God help you if you take your aging Yugo
to a mechanic who only works on new Chryslers. Face it, nowadays
generalists are about as common as a guy who hasnt put in
for his Viagra prescription.
Holiday Gift Suggestions for
the New Millennium
If youre like me, and I sincerely offer my sympathies if you are, you
once again vowed not to wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping.
But of course, you will. Since you probably havent even thought about making
a list, better yet gotten around to checking it twice, here are a few gift suggestions
which may help ensure that you and your family dont end up on the Fox Networks
Christmas special, "Americas Best Holiday Massacres Caught on Tape."
The Official Column of the Millennium®
Since youve probably been too busy trying to remember to write 1999 on
your checks and scheduling your Advanced Macaroni Sculpting class around the
upcoming cavalcade of awards shows, Im going to make your life a little
easier by providing a handy Guide to the New Millennium®. Just
follow these few short rules and youll find yourself talking like the pros
and impressing your friends. Well, the ones who arent already holed up
in a fallout shelter eating C-rations and counting down the days until the year
Take my throne, please!
Polls say 60% of parents think being President is a bad career choice.
This places it right below used car salesman, lava lamp repairman, and guest
on the Jerry Springer show. They probably think this because the Presidency has
become such a difficult position. It wasnt that long ago it was admired.
Where the President used to be portrayed in movies by such acting legends as
Raymond Massey, Henry Fonda, and Ralph Bellamy, now we get Kevin Kline and John
Love The One You Drive
After being dumped by his girlfriend, Buster Mitchell decided it
was time to marry his one true lovehis 1996 Mustang GT. He
went to the Knoxville, Tennessee courthouse and filled out an application
listing his fiancées birthplace as "Detroit", her
father as "Henry Ford", and her blood type as "10-W-40".
The clerk told him no go. The problem is that Tennessee law
says its only legal for men and cars to marry if the car
is older than 16. Just kidding. Actually it turns out your bride
has to be female.
Ill Take "The Price
of a Life" for $500, Alex!
You dont need me to tell you that things are getting more expensive.
All you have to do is look around. Gas prices have jumped again. Movie tickets
cost almost as much as the bucket of popcorn youll eat during the coming
attractions. Even a cup of coffee at Starbucks just went up a dime, which makes
it ounce for ounce more expensive than beer, soda, or even that gasoline you
just agreed cost too much. Mothers, on the other hand, turn out to be a
The Ultimate Car Option
Its hard to think of many things scarier than 20,000 car
salesmen under one roof. Sure, the Third Reich marching through
Poland comes to mind. So does Ken Starr and Jerry Falwell sitting
around watching the Teletubbies episode where Tinky Winky gets
a male intern and runs off to Key West to wear leather chaps, get
his antenna pierced, and write a tell-all book called "I Put
the Pee-pee in PBS." But were talking car salesmen here.
You know, the guys the public ranks below columnists on the Faith
and Trust scale, if you can believe such a thing is possible.
No News Would Be Better News
Thanks to the so-called Information Age, and in particular the Internet,
its becoming increasingly more difficult for the media to find enough news.
CNN and MSNBC are on 24 hours a day. Dateline is expanding next season, putting
them dangerously close to airing 8 days a week. And now it turns out that ABC
News is so hard up that theyre planning to broadcast 27 hours of live coverage
of the turn of the millennium. Thats right, twenty-seven hours of it.
The Price of Politics
The American political system is based on the idea that our elected
officials ("the weasels") represent us ("the peons").
The thinking goes: We elect them and pay their salaries, therefore
theyre supposed to pass the laws we want them to pass. But,
like the hard to find Yasir Arafat Beanie Babies, politicians go
to the highest bidder. The difference is they dont get sold
on the Internet. Yet.
How come our heros aren't sandwiches?
Everyone wants to be remembered after theyre gone. Thats
why cemeteries are filled with tombstones, libraries are overflowing
with autobiographies, and subway cars are covered with graffiti. But
there are better ways to go about this. One is by donating
your money instead of leaving it to your ungrateful childrennot
only does this ensure a form of immortality, it also has gives
you a tax deduction and revenge at the same time. Another
way is to invent something. Then theres politics.
Thirty Something Burgers
The Big Mac is thirty years old. Think about it, if this was the 60s we wouldnt
be able to trust it anymore. If this was the 80s it would be starring in a TV
show about whining yuppies who have nothing to whine about. But this being the
90s, well celebrate by leaning back in our La-Z-boy recliner, chowing down
a few more of the triple-decker burgers, and clicking the remote until weve
either watched all the TV shows that are plugging it, from the Discovery Channels "Stalking
the Wild Big Mac" to the Fox Networks "When Big Macs Go Bad",
or need to call Batteries-2-Go to deliver some emergency AAAs for the remote,
whichever comes first.
Welcome to Fantasyland
Its a normal, healthy thing for human beings to have fantasies.
Unless, that is, your fantasies include Rosie ODonnell naked,
AK-47 assault rifles, or group sex using Jell-O, Spam, Chee-tos,
or any other food product thats made from things wed
rather not think about and is a color not normally found in nature. Men,
of course, always fantasize about sex. Or so weve been led
to believe. Now it turns out this long held belief just isnt
Blowing Away the Smokescreens
A lot of things just arent what they seem to be. Take global warming,
for example. What at first glance is a very serious subjectwell, for those
who dont like the idea of bathing in SPF 372 every morning before going
out into the sunnow turns out to be a laughing matter. This
is because of catalytic converters. You remember them, theyre the empty
metal thingies on your car engine which allow the mechanic to nod his head, inform
you that you failed the smog test, and call his wife to tell her to extend their
vacation in Fiji by another week.
Developing Lo-Fat Humans
Now that scientists have managed to make lo-fat versions of every food product
known to shopperkind, isnt it time they did the same thing to people? Youd
think this would be easy. After all, if they can push the evolutionary scale
of butter ahead by first creating margarine, then lo-fat margarine, and then "I
Cant Believe Its a Food Product!", why cant they figure
out a way to take the fat out of us?
Upgrading the Olympics - This
year there are two brand new events: snowboarding and womens
ice hockey. There are several other events which, while not being
seen for the first time, are probably unfamiliar, including the
200m Luggage Carry which is held at the Nagano Airport and the
5 km Slip n Slide which takes place between the parking lots
and the event viewing areas. As a public service, heres
a guide to the newer additions to the Games.
It's In The Cards
In order to combat a market that appears to be shrinking faster
than Pamela Andersons breasts, the greeting card companies
have taken several strategies. The more traditional one has been
to fabricate new and better holidays in the hope that well
buy more cards. Then, in a flash of brilliance not seen since
someone decided that The Mod Squad would make a good movie, they
decided to create cards for non-occasions. Lewis Carroll and Edward
Lear would have been proud.
Thanks for the (lack of) Memory
The next time you go into the hospital for surgery, dont
be surprised if they hand you a pen so you can write a big note
to the doctor telling him or her where to operate, only the note
wont be on a piece of paper, it will be on you. Surgeons,
like many of us, sometimes have trouble remembering things. The
difference is, when you or I forget something its usually
not which kidney to remove.
Trying to Be a Good Sport
Its amazing how much time people spend with sports watching them
on TV, reading about them in the newspaper, and shopping for paint to slather
on their bodies so they can honestly call themselves a fan when they go to a
live game. Yet as much fun as all that sounds, I have to say that on my list
of favorite things to do, sports falls somewhere between watching a Brooke Shields
retrospective and moving next door to Slobodan Milosevic.
I've Seen The Future and It Is Tomorrow
Some days I worry about the future of the world. Just look at it. Kids are shooting
up schools. People are planting bombs throughout London. There are hard pitched,
furious wars going on between groups of people who hate each other in Kosovo,
Algeria, the Middle East, and the Senate. And worst of all, theres Star
Wars mania. Lets think about this for a second. Its a movie--hardly
an excuse for mass hysteria.
Motto-less in Iowa
Its not surprising that Iowa is in such an uproar over their
motto. You see, their motto, wellit sucks. Its
so bad that when highway crews went out to take the old governors
name off the signs, the new one told them not to put his up there.
Its: "Iowa, You Make Me Smile." Let me know when
you get back from the bathroom so I can continue.
Will The Last Person Counted Turn Out
The census is coming. This is the once a decade head count which is the adult
equivalent of sitting in class yelling "Here!" when the teacher calls
your name. Unlike school, though, they won’t send a note home to your parents
if you don’t answer the questions. Instead they’ll come to your house and be
more persistent than a minivan full of Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially if you
scratched out your name and penciled in "Dick Hertz." Trust me, they’ve
seen it before. And they’re very serious about their census.
It Would Be An Honor
There are many ways to honor people. Some have airports named after them. Others
have sandwiches in their honor. Now Hugh Hefner is joining these ranks. Chicago,
the home of the Playboy empire, has decided to make the site of the first Playboy
Club “Hugh Hefner Way”. And why not? If they can name streets for Mike Ditka,
Michael Jordan, and Gene Siskel, why not for the man who did more for flesh-colored
airbrush paint than anyone in history?
Appearances can be deceiving. You know this is true because weve developed
so many platitudes about it, like "Dont judge a book by its cover", "You
never get a second chance to make a first impression", and "What do
you mean, did I see the Crying Game?". Take Jesse "The Body" Ventura.
Go ahead, the people of Minnesota did, and they took him seriously. Well, sort
of. He admitted that during his campaign he used a body double in a TV
commercial that some say helped clinch the election while cinching his waist.
Inspecting Customs - In
Ireland on St. Patricks Day, the Irish go to church and thank
St. Patrick, their patron saint, for driving the snakes out of
their homeland. Here in the United States we celebrate St. Patricks
Day by throwing parades and parties and giving thanks to the inventors
of green dye and potable alcohol. Somehow it would seem more appropriate
if we celebrated Clare of Assisi Day and Bernadine of Siena Day,
who are the patron saints of television and advertising.
Just Because It’s a Concept Doesn’t
Make It a Good One
If there’s one thing we as humans never seem to be at a loss for, it’s bad
ideas. Recently the National Rifle Association held its 129th annual convention
in Charlotte, North Carolina where executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre announced
that the organization is planning a theme restaurant and megastore in Times Square.
This pretty much defines bad idea.
The View From the Future
Thanks to perspective, a lot of things going on these days will
look better somewhere down the road. The Viagra craze, Kosovo,
and Adam Sandler come to mind. Not to mention the Y2K problem,
which will look a whole lot better sometime after the first of
January. That is if anythings left standing. On the other
hand, there are things which all the perspective in the world wont
help, like airline food, Waterworld, or caffeinated water. Hey,
even perspective has its limitations.
It's Only Rock 'n Roll, N'est Pas? -
The French have done it again. No, they haven't posthumously re-elected
Charles de Gaulle as President, though judging by the current state
of affairs over there it wouldn't be surprising. Or a bad idea.
Rather, in their quest to maintain that much admired Gaulish purity
and thigh-quivering sexy accent, the government has moved to eliminate
non-French music from the airwaves. Okay, they haven't banned it
completely, but they did declare that from now on 40 percent of
the music played on the radio must be in French.
Hey! Who Moved The Arctic Circle? - For years scientists have known that
her continents are sagging, her ocean floor has dropped, and
her youthful figure has given way to a shape that would drive
Richard Simmons to tears, something normally reserved for David
Letterman. But now theyve made a more startling discovery:
Howard Stern can drive Richard Simmons to tears too. Actually,
theyve known this for years. The real news is that the
Arctic Circle has moved.
Opening candy wrappers at the speed
Just when you thought scientists were finally buckling down to tackle the truly
important problems of our times, like unraveling the keys to the genetic code,
finding a cure for AIDS, and creating amber bulbs for traffic lights that people
don’t mistake for green, along comes a startling breakthrough: They’ve discovered
why candy wrappers make noise. It’s revelations like this that instill confidence
in our education system.
Wind-up Romance - Scientists
all over the world may retire now, safe in the knowledge that their
probing minds and tinkering hands are no longer needed, for the
ultimate invention has been created. Yes, after putting up with
such bogus technological advances as the light bulb, the telephone
and the Flow-Bee haircutting system, we can all sleep better at
night knowing that any day now we'll be able to buy a wind-up radio
that can help us find a wife.
This is Your Pilot Speaking -
Traveling is a funny thing. Especially if you find humor in waking
up at 4:15 in the morning so you can catch a 6:00 flight, known
in the trade as the red-eye because your pilot got as little sleep
as you did. It's easy to tell which one on the plane is the pilot.
He was the only guy left in the bar last night after you went home
at closing time.
Email Me When Armageddon Comes
It doesn't take much more than a glance at the 78-year-old Pope to get the
idea that religion is stuck in the Dark Ages, which is generally defined as the
years before Entertainment Tonight. Yet while some religions are being dragged
kicking and screaming into the new millennium, others are embracing it. There
was a photograph in the newspaper recently of an ultra-Orthodox Jew holding his
cell phone to the Western Wall so a family member could recite a prayer, which
should do wonders to promote Cellular Ones new "100 Prayer Minutes
a Month Free For Life!" cell phone plan.
The Olympics – The
Greatest Freak Show on Earth
It’s amazing that freaks were banned from sideshows in the U.S.
during the ‘70s yet watching them is not only legal but the favorite
post-Survivor pastime. Normal people can’t leap 8.55 meters in a
single bound. Normal people don’t swim across a pool faster than
I can drive. And normal people don’t go home crying before they compete
like Marie-Jose Perec of France did because they have paranoid delusions
about people following them. At least not the people I know.
The Trouble With TV--The Price is Wrong - They say Jerry Seinfeld turned down an
offer of $5 million an episode to return to NBC. This proves
that money wasnt the point, insanity was. Not Seinfelds
for turning it down, but the networks for proposing it.
Brand New Roadside Attractions -
Terrapin Station, the planned ode to the Grateful Dead, will have
a museum, a concert hall, an amusement park, a research center,
a hotel, and a very big first aid station specializing in drug
overdoses. They expect to have 1.2 million people dropping a year.
I mean, dropping by a year.
A Laymans Guide to Millennium
Fever - The first thing you want to know about the
millennium is WHOas in, who cares? Actually, a lot of
people care. And by some coincidence they all stand to make
money from it. Miller Beer got a trademark to call themselves
the "Official Beer of the Millennium" because, well,
they thought of it before you did.
An Immodest Proposal -
We're being told that it could cost upwards of $37 billion to keep
up with prison needs over the next ten years. That's a lot of money.
Almost as much as Microsoft will make during your lunch hour That's
why governors everywhere have been fighting so hard to cut costs.
Not to help Microsoft make money, but rather to give up-and-coming
criminals a dry bed and a warm meal.
it's an a-maze-ing thing
Brett Herbst of Pleasant Grove, Utah is doing a booming business turning
corn fields into mazes, but what these farmers should be doing is raising hornets.
Scientists in Tokyo say the bug juice gives athletes a big energy boost. It’s
natural, legal, and tastes better than tuna Kool-Aid. It will be in Gatorade
any day now.
Testing...one, two, three - On one side of the discussion are those
who say national or statewide testing is the only way to ensure
that all children learn the same things in school while offering
a way to see how they rank among other students. On the other
side of the argument are those people who are too busy watching
Americas Funniest Multi-Car Collisions to form an opinion.
Theres always room for...Hey,
whats that jiggling on my plate?! -
Face it, Jell-O is for kids. It shimmies, it shakes, it bounces
and it slides down without having to chew. What an ideal food!
If theyd put lots of vitamins and minerals and other
things they tell us we should eat in addition to our usual
diet of fat, chemicals, and snack foods that come in colors
not found in nature, then we could live on Jell-O and Jell-O
alone. But until that happens were just going to have
to fill in the nutritional gaps by eating pizza-flavored corn. Really.
Playing by The Rules -
We all must have done something terribly, horribly, unspeakably
evil in our prior lives. As if the Macarena wasnt punishment
enough for living in the 90s, now we have to put up with
hearing all about a best selling book which purports to tell women
everything they need to know in order to catch a man. Right. Like
catching a man is a big deal. Look, if you want to catch something
you can really brag about, try landing a 900 lb. marlin. Or the
Loch Ness monster. Then Ill be impressed. But a man? Pshaw!
Why Americans Get A Bad
Rap - People in other countries have
a bad attitude when it comes to Americans. For some reason
were pegged as ill-informed, loud, boorish, demanding,
and arrogant. Right, like we dont have a good reason
to be. Lets not forget who it was that came up with the
light bulb, the transistor, the computer chip, and the Talking
Nanny Doll, a 12"-tall Barbie replacement that comes with
two outfits, a hairbrush, and spouts three Fran Drescherisms
in the most obnoxious, whiny voice this side of Flatbush Brooklyn.
Whos The Boss? -
Boss bashing is nothing new. Back in Merry Olde England it was
common to use an advanced placement program to ascend the throne
faster than nature would have allowed by, uh, eliminating upper
management. Defending your decision was easier too. Back then you
just beheaded anyone who didnt approve of your means of career
enhancement, today you hire the Dream Team.
The True Price of Fame -
The famous prophet Andy Warhol once predicted that we'd each have
fifteen minutes of fame. I for one believe it. How else to explain
Kato Kaelin, Manny the Hippie, andif were luckythe
Get It Straight in 98 - The only year-end articles worth
reading are the tabloids' predictions for 1998. At least these
look ahead. While the Year in Review reminds us that over 200
people died when a Korean Airlines plane went down in Guam
("Honey! Guess what happened last August while we were
watching reruns of the Bob Hope Christmas Special?"),
the Weekly World News gives us a glimpse into the future by
informing us that a talking dog will run for mayor of Guthrie,
Oklahoma (though it doesnt say whether it will win).
There Are No Secrets Anymore - Most people seem to like having other people
know their innermost secrets. How else to explain the never-ending
stream of guests who spill their guts on talk shows, or HBOs
Taxi Stories, where people actually have sex in the back seat
of the cab, tell the driver theyre on their way to kill
their boyfriend, and explain that theyre transsexual
but his/her boyfriend doesnt know it, then sign a release
form letting it be broadcast all over the planet?
The Golden Age of Mediocrity - One
thing's for certain, the current historical period will never be
called a Golden Age. The Aluminum Can Age, perhaps. Maybe even
the Disposable Age. But most likely it will go down in history
as the Age of Mediocrity.
Trying to Focus -
There is, of course, a simple cure for all this product clutterbesides
going into the stores and slapping radioactive warning stickers
on any package that uses the word "lo", "lite",
or "luncheon meat" (three of the scariest words in the
English language). More focus groups.
The Over-Gathering Instinct -
Its possible that collecting is a genetic disposition handed
down to us by our cave dwelling forefathers who spent their leisure
hours carving stone shelves on which to keep their collection of
Cave Barbies, which included Hair Dragging Barbie, Gatherer Barbie,
and in the later, more enlightened years, Hunter Barbie. After
all, reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show hadnt been invented
Eating to live -
Try this test: The next time you make a sandwich or salad for someone,
ask them if they want sprouts on it. First, theyll accuse
you of being from California. Then theyll say "No thanks,
I dont eat anything that has a face or begins with the letter s and
ends in prouts." Dont be a wise guy and
try to fool them by putting the sprouts on anyway. The smell of
musty, dirty sweat socks gives it away every time.
Slugging it Out in Oregon -
The contestants for this years Slug Queen included Slugareina
(who did a slimy variation of the Macarena), Birtha (the token
pregnant contestant), Princess Paulina (a guy in a wheelchair),
Visca and Gastropia Nudibranchia (Siamese slugs attached at the
dress), and Slugmistress Bagonda, a 64" guy in drag
who won the crown this year after having failed in two previous
A Sensitive Subject -
As anyone whos ever seen a baseball player, a construction
worker, or Michael Jackson will attest, men are very concerned
with their penises. Thats why they grab them so muchthey
want to make sure its still there and intact. And why shouldnt
they? John Wayne Bobbitt left his unguarded and you remember what
happened to his.
Open Mouth, Insert Someone Elses
Ventriloquism may be a lost art, but that hasnt stopped people
from putting words in the mouths of dummies. Just look at Washington, DC. Now
look at it again but try not to laugh this time. The Republicans claim
President Clinton put words in Monicas mouth. The Democrats swear Ken Starr
put words in Clintons mouth. About the only thing everyone can agree on
is that Clinton managed to put both his foot and Monicas cigar in his own
mouth, neither of which sounds like a particularly tasty treat.
Being mortals, its fun to defy death from time to time. For
most of us this need can be fulfilled by crossing the street in
Manhattan, nuking a frozen burrito without reading the instructions
or ingredients, and trying to picture Bill and Monica together
in the Oval Office without choking on our cigar. But for
some this just isnt enough.
Death, Politics, and None of the
Its never too soon to start thinking about the next presidential
election. After all, no matter how much trouble Clinton gets himself into he
wont be able to runthe Founding Fathers assured this when they declared
that no one in their right mind could stand more than 8 years in office. This
means we need to start looking for someone who can serve our country by keeping
the economy on course, handling touchy foreign policy, and supplying us with
plenty of material for late night TV monologues.
Basic maternal instincts
A lot of the things we do in life are based on instinct. Survival,
sex, and staying away from TV shows on the UPN Network are all
fundamental human instincts that help us get through life intact.
They allow nature to take its proper course while freeing our conscious
brain for more important things, like wondering how many soys have
to be milked to make the soy milk for our decaf latte and whether
the soy farmers treat them humanely.
Microwave your checkbook
Machines exist to make things happen quicker and more efficiently.
Inventions let us automatically do things we could never do before.
And gadgets, well, they serve no real purpose other than to make
money for the company putting them out while using up precious
drawer space and disappearing that one time in our life when we
could actually use them.
Talk to the animals
As humans, its our God given right to look down on the so-called
lower forms of life such as animals, vegetables, and the people
who approved this years batch of new TV shows. After all,
its a scientific fact that our brains are more highly developed,
our culture is more sophisticated, and we dont sit around
picking lice off each others heads. Well, unless you have
children in grade school. But that doesnt mean we cant
learn something from those species which are less fortunate than
Eat, drink, and thank God for Purina
Going out to eat should be a lot simpler than it is. First you have
to decide what kind of food you want. Then you choose the restaurant. After you
figure out what to wear, where to park, and whether the hostess at Sizzler is
considered a maitre d and should be tipped, you get to stare at a menu
that makes War and Peace look like a Post-it note while the waiter or waitress
rattles off a list of specials that theyve been studying for two days yet
expect you to absorb at the rate of 300 words per minute. This can make dining
out a much more stressful situation than it deserves to be.
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