Friday, August 28, 2009

Dopes To Infinity

The girl cutting my hair yesterday was telling me about a friend of hers who recently graduated with a degree in finance and got an interview with the CIA. She marveled at the depth and breadth of the agency's background check- they knew the high school pranks he had pulled, produced a spreadsheet of every porn site the guy had visited, blah, blah, blah- obviously wanting to let him know that they don't fuck around. However, most potential employers don't need to have degrees in diagramming algorithms to dig up the dumb stuff people do, because people put it on a silver platter by posting that dumb stuff online. 80% of companies now say that one of the first ways they check on a potential hire is by examining their Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Talk about leading the canary to the cat. The generation raised on social networking sites is just entering the workforce and it's always hilarious when they discover that all the zeroes and ones they willingly added to the ether can easily come back to bite them in their drunken and barely-covered asses.

To wit: A couple of enterprising cats have aggregated this glorious lack of self-awareness into a new page called Lamebook. (As a smug wordsmith, I'm especially partial to the TypOH!s category.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Next Of (Nap)kin

The health care/ insurance reform debate boiled down to its essence. (Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Motorhead Case

As a teen of the eighties, I was a big fan of MTV's Headbanger's Ball. I still occasionally watch it- the occasion being when I'm hammered on a Saturday night and accidentally find it while channel-surfing. Long gone are the Aqua-Netted bands of my horny teen years, replaced by the screaming Hot Topic bands du jour of my horny adult years. Sure, they still throw up a respectful nod to the show's history with the occasional Iron Maiden or Pantera track, but most of the 21st century metallurgists- who grew up memorizing the riffs of those aforementioned bands- are melding styles that seem more schizophrenic than groundbreaking. Spending a few minutes with the show this past weekend yielded me a video from The Devil Wears Prada, an Ohio band straddling the line between metal and "screamo". Now, I know inspiration can come from anywhere and every artist is influenced by something- but, really? The Devil Wears Prada? If your musical worldview can be summed up by appropriating the name of a shitty Meryl Streep movie, I've already tuned out. (What, another band had already taken Sophie's Choice?) I stuck around for the song, which was emblematic of a band trying to mix too many styles, without wholly understanding any of them. As genres go, metalheads like their music pretty simple. Deicide and New Order never went on tour together, so why any band would think that sounding like both of them would be a winning combination is a mystery. At the risk of being cranky, I'll take the lunkhead simplicity of Judas Priest over the uninspired machine gun nonsense of Kramer vs. Kramer...or whatever that band was called.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beagle & Cream Cheese

South Korea has announced plans to open a major dog-cloning center, to focus on pets and endangered species. Sure. Given the number of people trying to cross the border and escape a hellish existence in North Korea, it's more likely about stocking the pantry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Challah Back Girls

What do you get for the kid who has everything? Apparently, a shiny new knob. Word around the prep school scene is that an increasing number of Jewish girls are giving blowjobs as bar mitzvah presents. Jewish parents are unsettled to discover that their daughters are just as sexually desensitized as their Gentile counterparts. Oral sex has long been on par with a handshake in Catholic school, but it seems our Talmudic daughters are closing the gap (if not their mouths).

Personally, I'm always happy when stereotypes get broken. Back in the day, Jewish girls wouldn't eat any kind of pork.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Renegades Of Junk

The core of democracy is messy, even in the best of times. When the republic isn't teetering on the brink, our government is still a perfect storm of informed voters, willfully ignorant citizens, and the ambivalent officials who represent them- all eager to have their say. This greasy threesome is currently on display in the health care "town hall" meetings taking place around the country, which more closely resemble fist-slinging sessions of Japanese parliament than meaningful political discourse. It's no shocker to discover that many of these screaming "grassroots" movements are planted by right-wing groups with a vested interest in the status quo. When a guy in a "Git 'Er Done" cap waxes eloquent on the intentions of the Constitutional Convention, Obama's not the only one guilty of being prompted. The shocking part comes from the mindset of the actual grassroots members- voters who have been easily seduced by the lure of remedial talking points: the mentally flatlined "I'm scared of Obama" folks, the people who want to return to "the America I grew up in" (who wouldn't pine for the romance of coat-hanger abortions?!), and the thinly-veiled racism of the "birther" movement. Next time you hear someone parrot the cries of "Socialism!", ask them to actually explain its tenets. I'd bet a long night's worth of pints that most of them would revert to dead-eyed stuttering about the Bible or Ronald Reagan.

So far, neither side of the debate has properly articulated the fiscal implications of health care reform. What's puzzling is why some people are freaking out over the possibility of choice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He Also Reported "Feeling Goofy"

A Pennsylvania man is charged with groping Minnie Mouse at Disney World. Keystone State represent!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just The Tip...See How It Feels

I'm a great tipper; it's the result of years of waiting tables. If you know someone who isn't- that dude who always leaves five percent- you can bet your ass they've never done the job. The code of conduct has always dictated that tips are never mentioned to the customer, but there seems to be a trend to the contrary. Recently, my girlfriend and I had dinner with some friends. Before we were able to settle the tip situation on our separate checks, the waitress snatched them up. She returned within a few minutes with the manager to ask why the tip wasn't bigger. My girlfriend (spitfire that she is) asked the manager if it was customary to question tips, to which the manager responded, "we're used to getting 18%". Somehow, I doubt it. The restaurant's sushi is too good to write them off permanently, but we were stunned by the collective balls of their employees. Is it a lost-in-translation thing? It's a Japanese restaurant staffed by people who can barely speak english, but I expect them to at least nail the math. Maybe it's an economic thing- has the recession hit the service industry so hard that they've thrown decorum to the wind and are brazenly squeezing us for every penny? I'm prone to believe the former; when we got delivery from the same place a week later, the driver asked about my tip. For a culture steeped in the concept of shame, this place has definitely gotten over theirs.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Generation Ex

The pop culture landmarks we use to denote important times in our life vary greatly. Sometimes we configure memories around meaningful songs, other times it's a book, movie, porn, or anything else of sentimental artistic value. In the summer of 1986, I distinctly remember watching John Hughes's Weird Science or Ferris Bueller's Day Off at least once a day; after 23 years, I can still recite both films verbatim. As a high school kid, it was good to have someone making movies that illustrated our ambivalence about graduating into responsible adults. As an Illinois kid, it was cool that they were set in or around Chicago. Plus, I had a giant crush on Mia Sara. Hughes died this week at 59 after suffering a heart attack on a Manhattan street. Still young himself, it's a terribly inauspicious end to a life that was creatively leveraged on genuine affection for youth. The clothes were hilarious, the hair was huge, and the music introduced Brit pop to the States- but John Hughes probably represented us better than anyone. If anyone needs me, I'll be wearing a bra on my head in his honor. It's ceremonial.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How Much For Just The Taffy Pull?

Service station in Flint, MI. Looks like the automotive industry's woes have hit the prostitution sector.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Tagged as a socialist by the right-wing mouth breathers. 27 million Americans on antidepressants. 1 in 4 women can misread a pregnancy test. Fake grassroots health reform "protesters" bussed in by conservative PAC groups, so they can shout down town hall meetings. New HIV strain discovered in Africa. Arrested Development still off the air. Rising oil prices further threaten global economy. Iran and Israel in potential nuclear standoff. Pizza Hut simply going by "The Hut". Top cybersecurity official in the White House resigns. MC Hammer has a TV show. Earthquake rocks California. JFK blown away. What else do I have to say?

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Partners In Grime

My girlfriend and I finished the Illinois Muddy Buddy 2009 on Sunday. For the uninitiated, it's a 6 mile race (touring multiple cities) on a treacherous farm course where teams of two alternate between biking and running, culminating in a crawl through a long, foot-deep mud pit. Neither one of us have competed in anything like it and we trained ahead of time, for fear that race day would come and we'd be dead last. Among 1700 teams, we completed the course in an hour and 12 minutes. Not bad for our first time. Given the kind of year many people have had, where opportunities for accomplishment may be few and far between, I'd recommend doing something like this. Hit the trails, run a 10K, train for a marathon, whatever. You may end up bloody and/or muddy, but you'll be damn glad you did it.