Friday, December 3, 2010

Bananas and Lemons

So I took the day off yesterday to celebrate my birth and hang out with Baby, Alia, and ... uh, the new baby, whose nom de blog has yet to be generated. His nicknames around the house are Ike (he bears -- as many babies do -- a passing resemblance to Dwight Eisenhower) and Benazir Bhutto, but I don't think either of those will do. Baby got me a new amp for my Rhodes piano so I can once again torment the household with my sub-mediocre renditions of popular songs and Christmas carols. We ate twice-baked potatoes with steak (mmm ... beef allowance) and afterwards drank beers and played Bananagrams with Arkay and our housemate Mollrats. (I hope she doesn't mind that nickname -- I can't imagine why she would have a problem with it.) It was good times.

Yesterday, I ran into the word "cisgendered" for the first time -- twice. First, in this overlauded but amusing video mocking "postmodern" Christians somewhat accurately. Second, in this thoughtful but amusing blog post ruminating on "Liz Lemonism." Turns out cisgendered is the opposite of transgendered. Who knew? That will be useful in future Bananagrams escapades.

The Liz Lemon post is smart enough, but reading it on the bus this morning -- the wrong bus, by the way, since the driver put the wrong text up on the sign and denied it, despite six of the eight riders having to get off at the first stop and walk back to the transit center -- clarified something about what bothers me about certain segments of feminism. Now, before I go and say something ill-advised about feminism, know that in certain crowds I could easily be called a feminist. My wife, whose RSS reader proves her bonafides, may or may not agree with that assessment depending on the day, but ultimately I am generally inclined to be sympathetic to feminism and highly suspicious of anyone who, like me, would make generalized claims about feminism on the whole.

However, reading the post and the comments I was reminded of my young adulthood as a sort of fundamentalist Christian. Specifically, I was reminded of reading Focus on the Family's BreakAway magazine for teenaged boys. One of the recurring themes of BreakAway was analysis of the content of media from a "Christian perspective," to determine whether the music or movie in question could be called Christian -- primarily to satisfy a legalistic requirement that one only consume Christian products. Readers would write in asking if their favorite bands were Christians. Is Metallica Christian? Is Beck Christian? Is Sonic Youth Christian? Spin Doctors are not Christian because "Two Princes" encourages rebellion against one's parents, by the way. (I don't remember them ever actually critiquing the generally vapid content of any of the "actual" Christian musicians popular at the time.)



Now, I was an English major, so I'm aware that critique of pop culture from an ideological perspective is essentially all the humanities have to offer at this point, but there is something really dumb about this "in or out" attitude. One of the commenters says, "someone once told me that 30 Rock was premised on Liz Lemon’s ugliness, and . . . that made me swear to never watch it. That doesn’t sound like feminism at all to me. Just more picking on women." So, she won't watch a show because it's "not feminist?" That's silly. Even as a young fundie I knew it was okay to listen to The Who, even if they say "fuck" now and again. Lighten up!

Having said that, I'm now going to be accused of supporting the myth of the humorless feminist, so I'll stop on this note: I like women. I like feminism. I'm glad my daughters will reap the benefits of the hard work of feminists past and present. But seriously, avoiding 30 Rock because Liz Lemon is too pretty and not feminist enough is dumber than Dan Quayle decrying Murphy Brown's proud single motherhood.

UPDATE: Baby says this is basically me just now:

Using an image from the very blog I was writing about is a nice touch!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Xmas Wars

It's officially Advent, and that means it's time for everybody's favorite holiday tradition: listening to blowhards complain that Christmas is becoming secularized. My favorite of these complaints -- which are best made from the campout line in front of Best Buy on Black Friday morning as the complainer laces up his Nikes and tightens his elbow pads in anticipation of cracking the skull of anybody who gets between him and his $250-off HDTV -- is that using the abbreviation "Xmas" in place of "Christmas" is part of an agenda to remove Christ himself from Christmas.

Most to least ethnic: Joseph, Mary, Jesus

I'm not really sure what those who would remove "Christ" from Christmas could possibly do to desecrate the holiday any more than we modern Christians have already done, but some people are insistent that this abbrevation is just plain evil. Who would do such a thing? My first thought would be people who are running out of space on whatever they're writing on, but beyond that I can't really come up with a profile of your typical Christmas abbreviator. Except, there is this one blatant instance that comes to mind ...

There! Right at the top of the page, it says "ARXH TOU EUAGGELION IU XU" -- "The beginning of the gospel of I.X.!" What is this I.X. blasphemy? Is this some XX knockoff with gospel influences? Oh wait, it's Mark 1:1 from Codex Sinaiticus, a fourth-century Bible manuscript, and I.X. is an abbreviation for Jesus Christ. Well, fourth century -- that's kind of late. Maybe the Church was already corrupted with secularism by then.

What about the earliest known gospel fragment that contains Jesus's name? What does it say, eh? Let's see, it refers to someone wearing a purple robe and a crown of thorns, going by the name of ... "I." Oh.

This really leaves only one question: why did the early Church insist on secularizing Christmas?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Performance Evaluations

Yesterday I had to lay off a young, hardworking employee so that I could keep Mustafa -- an old, incompetent, lazy, passive-agressive bastard who is taking Friday off so I can't -- on my payroll. Shit ain't right. My more-competent employee may be a grown man with a shrill laugh more girlish than my five-year-old daughter's, and he may have an underdeveloped sense of professionalism, but dammit, he actually works on shit when I ask him to. You may ask why I can't just fire Mustafa instead. Turns out when you're a member of four protected groups (elderly, foreign, minority religion, slightly disabled) and old family friends with my boss's boss's BOSS, and you have a spouse on the faculty in the same department -- HR won't let you "just get fired." So we're doing these performance evaluations where Mustafa and I sit down with my boss-of-sorts and we go through his job description and enumerate the ways in which he has failed at his modest tasks. This is a painful procedure that I dread every week. In fact, I made my wife have a baby just so I could get out of a month of these evaluations. But I've got one lined up for Friday -- OH SHIT HE'S TAKING FRIDAY OFF! YES! Hot damn, another evaluation postponed! Anyway, the idea is that these evaluations are supposed to (a) lead to the possibility of firing Mustafa or (b) make him realize it might be time to retire, but neither (a) nor (b) is happening as of yet.

I'm supposed to be working on his eval, so I've been thinking about million-dollar t-shirt ideas instead.

Here are a couple of my ideas:

1. Scrawled in fake handwriting: "I'd rather get laid oft than laid off!"

2. A drawing of William Shakespeare (a.k.a. the Bard of Avon, for the slow among you), and above him, in beautiful cheesy calligraphy: "I have a BARD-ON for reading!"

Just spitballing some ideas here. Returning to my terrible management skills -- Mustafa's strategy for keeping his job is primarily to send me a shitload of emails anytime I ask him to do something. So I'll ask him to do a simple task and he'll shoot back (four hours later) an email filled with inane questions that I don't have time to address, along with a list of impediments towards doing his work. Then, when it comes up in the performance evaluation that he's fucked everything up beyond hope of redemption, he can say "Lazlo didn't answer my email about this, so how could I possibly know what I'm supposed to do?" My counterstrategy has yet to be created.

Anyway, this was a blog post I wrote. I was at a Thanksgiving feast the other day (and it was a feast!) and I came up on two friends who said "we were just talking about your blog." I immediately felt the awakening of a long-dormant sense of shame I once knew well, pertaining to not writing enough on my blog. I'm going to turn 31 tomorrow, and I don't want to be that lame 31-year-old with a shitty dead blog just hanging out on the Internet, so I'm going to try to post a bit more. Blame Twitter for my lack of posting, btw.

Yeah, Twitter.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The end of the internet

It's insomnia time, and I've just run out of internet.

Here's the order in which I check for new shit on the internet to amuse myself:

1. Email
2. Twitter
3. Comment threads I've posted on
4. My RSS reader
5. The Onion
6. The Onion A/V Club
7. My wife's blog, to check for new comments
8. Facebook
9. Flickr
10. Huffington Post
11. Drudge Report
12. CNN
14. Random comment threads on newpaper websites
15. Chat Roulette
16. Hacking acquaintances' email
17. Casual Encounters

Just kidding about those last three, but God help us all if there's nothing new on any of my sites. I mean, it's pretty obvious that I'm scraping the barrel with the Huffington Post, but it turns out there is more material underneath the barrel, not to mention the possibility of reconstituting whatever was in the barrel from barrel shards trapped in amber in the stomachs of prehistoric termites.

My insomnia-and-boredom-induced browsing this evening has only reinforced my conclusion that the internet is going to destroy civilization as we know it. Democracy simply can't endure the existence of newspaper website comment sections. If Thomas Jefferson had read the comments on any article linked to by the Drudge Report, I have no doubt in my mind he'd have been all "fuck this shit, I'm just going to be king of America."

"ppl are just so fucking dumb lol"

That being said, the internet has brought us much to enliven our lives. For instance, this Gawker article which highlights the "conspiracy theory" (is there a term that does more to discredit the word "theory?") that President Obama (PBUH) was in the video for Tag Team's world-changing 1993 hit "Whoomp! There it is." (My love for this song, and the inanity it represents, is well-documented.) Also, there's a certain amount of satisfaction that results from the schadenfreude (HOLY SHIT I SPELLED THAT RIGHT ON THE FIRST TRY) of watching my distant relatives' nuttier friends utterly lose their shit over the continued presidency of secret Muslim HRH Mr. Obama.

I thought about doing a post where I rate the relative idiocy of Huffington Post commenters and Drudge Report commenters (via articles he links to, since there are -- wisely -- no comments on the Drudge Report itself), but I got depressed coming up with the criteria. Both sites' readers score high on the Reactionary / Didn't Read The Article Before Commenting matrix, but HuffPo readers would probably wreck the curve on Hypersensitivity portion of the exam -- as would the Drudge readers for Vigilante Justice / Internet Tough Guyism.

Anyway, I think I've now bored myself enough that I might be able to get to sleep. So, let me just add this one last thing: HAPPY 30TH, JAMIE! You've had 'em all. You are a super-ho. I bet you're doing something regrettable right now (well, it's 7am where you are, so you're hopefully sleeping it off by now) but I wish you my sincerest well-wishes on this, the anniversary of your birth. You make the world a little bit better; may you continue to do so for the next 30 years and beyond. Prosit!

Friday, January 22, 2010

McCafe revisited

After dramatically spilling every last drop of coffee from my otherwise-untouched travel mug onto the living room rug this morning, I decided I didn't deserve the convenience of homemade coffee and used my recently-acquired Starbucks gift card to get some "Café Estima."*

Since I have, in the past, implied that Starbucks is hardly the right target for McDonald's anti-hipster McCafe radio spots, I felt I would be morally remiss if I didn't tell you what I saw there: the gentleman in front of me in line was wearing -- I shit you not (I would never shit you) -- a black turtleneck. Exactly as the commercial says.

I didn't touch it to feel whether it was itchy or not, and I didn't attempt to strike up a conversation about impenetrable French cinema, and the dude was more of a yuppie businessman type than a hipster, but DAMN if the commercial wasn't right.

I didn't take a picture because I'd hate to have to tell people I got my ass beat in Starbucks taking a picture of a dude in a turtleneck for my blog.


Monday, January 11, 2010

How people found this blog in 2009, pt. 3

This is the final installment of the list of search terms people used to find this blog in 2009, categorized and italicized.

Category eight: Beyoncé
beyonce vocoder
obstacles beyonce had to overcome
beyonce reader

If you're looking for a good Beyoncé reader, I'd recommend Scott Foresman Company's Beyoncé Reads! Learn to Read with Beyoncé Knowles, second edition. It's aimed at kids in first grade, and reinforces phonics and "sounding it out" through a series of short stories involving Beyoncé and her coterie of friends and associates.

Also, obstacles Beyoncé had to overcome include being average height, the breakup of Destiny's Child, and acting in a Steve Martin comedy made after 1990.

Category nine: Misc.

This is really my favorite category, becuase for the most part I have no idea how these people ended up at my blog.

christian mccafe the porn star

I'm guessing there's a porn star whose name is Christian McCafe or something similar. Which is pretty awesome, really -- the idea that she decided to call herself McCafe, after the cut-rate McDonald's espresso drinks. Because that was the most sensual or suggestive thing she could come up with. I'm guessing this post is responsible for this searcher ending up here, along with a number of other McCafe-themed searchers.

Since writing my post on the confused McCafe hipster-bashing radio spots, I have actually had the occasion to try McCafe. I have to admit I was a little afraid at first -- what if it were really delicious, and everything I knew turned out to be a lie? Would I have to throw out my beloved scratchy turtlenecks and stop watching French films? Well, that turned out not to be a problem because my "Americano" (ordered black) was a sickly sweet, high fructose corn syrup-laden cup of filth with almost no discernible coffee flavor. I was so relieved.

how to get people angere
is there a reason it seems to be faces on rocks

Probably because you're tripping balls.

nostic cargo shorts

I think you're looking for gnostic cargo shorts. Those are with the rest of the early church artifacts, such as Marcion's Jams and the True Umbros of Paul of Tarsus.

people breathing annoys me


s it rocked mean?
simple simom sxhool fpr advamces pie thrpwong
teddy ruxpin thriller
case study song and lyric bring negative things to the youngs
groupie confessions adam ant
bill cosby gets pie in the face

I don't have time to analyze the last few search terms, but I had to include these because they're so awesome. I love the internet.

Anyway, here's to 2010 -- may it be less 'tarded than 2009.

Postscript to my blogging friends who never blog anymore: HOW DARE YOU. HOW. DARE. YOU. I like Twitter and all (really, I do), but you cannot delve into the minutiae of life with the necessary depth in 140 characters.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I forgot

Today is Saturday, and nobody reads blogs on Saturday. So the third part of that last post is going to have to wait until Monday.

For reasons too dumb to go into in this space, I've been listening to various versions of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" this evening.

Every time I listen to this song, I am left with the impression that the singer has a fuzzy concept of how human sexuality actually works. The specific lines in question are: "Yesterday, I was one of the lonely people / Now you're lying close to me, making love to me" and later "Now you're lying next to me, giving it to me." The phrase "lying close to me" makes me think of people who are near but not touching each other. I don't know of a sexual position that matches that description. "Lying next to me, giving it to me" makes sense in that it is actually physically possible, but it still strikes me as a really weird description of sex.

Just saying.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How people found this blog in 2009, pt. 2

Continuing yesterday's post, here are the Google searches that led people to this blog in 2009, broken down by category and italicized for your viewing convenience.

Category five: Perverts

Other than Jon Bon Jovi searches (see below), this category utterly dominated, proving that the Internet is pretty much the grossest thing ever. Below is a small sampling (no, seriously, it's just a sampling) of the searches in this category. (See this post if you're confused about why I'm getting these searches.)

actor young bare feet
devon sawa bare foot
dirty bare soles
dirty barefeet walking pictures
kids barefeet
"bare feet" actors
"messy bare feet"
bare feet in paint
bare feet in pie fight
bare feet kids in movies
bare feet messy
barefeet walk for charity
dirty bare soles gallery
flikr barefoot guys
foot fetishist's wife
feet pie face
feet of actors
kid bare sole
kids "dirty bare feet"
kids bare soles
kids in their bare feet
kids walk around bare feet
kids who love bare feet
sexy guys bare soles of feet
pranks "her bare feet"
writing on bare sole
young barefoot guys

Ahhhhhhhhhhh ... internet. Contrary to what certain commenters may think, I'm not creeped out by foot fetishists. What I'm creeped out by is people who -- to steal a quote from one Amanda Hess writing on the "Christian side hug" -- sexualize even the most mundane forms of human contact. Watching a PG movie primarily in the hope that you're going to see some sexy, sexy feet ... yeah, that's weird. I stand by that. Oh, also I'm creeped out by pedophiles.

Category six: Jon Bon Jovi

There are about a millon of these, and most of them aren't even slightly interesting. My favorite Bon Jovi search is definitely:

cite instances when bon jovi considers his life important

Sorry, pal, but I'm not going to do your Psychology of Bon Jovi homework for you.

Category seven (also 5a, 6a): Questions, various

was bon jovi two face?

No. That was Aaron Eckhart, who looks nothing like ... wait, let me image seach this first. Holy shit, he's practically a dead ringer for Bon Jovi! See?


Aaron Eckhart

Also, Aaron Eckhart has the best coffee table art ever:

So, that wasn't a bad question! I liked that one. Thanks for not creeping me out, random Google searcher. Let's see what else we've got.

why do people enjoy going to the islands?

That's another nice question. Maybe a little obvious, but I'll answer it regardless. People like to go to beautiful places with nice weather when they're vacationing, and tropical islands have economies centered around tourism. It can be very relaxing to go to a place where people are accustomed to serving tourists, even if it can feel a bit exploitative at times. Good question. Next?

why do people enjoy fucking

Oh, hmm. Okay, well, you're going to want a question mark on that. And ... well, I'm not going to answer that one. Next?

why do guys like other guys bare feet?

Oh, for fuck's sake.

pic "his feet" "jon bon jovi" fetish

AAaaahhhhhh! Okay, so that one is in the wrong category, but just imagine how disappointed our Google searcher must have been to find a blog that mocked not only foot fetishists, but also Bon Jovi. Just to make it up to you, my pervy friend, here is a picture of JBJ barefoot and humping a tablecloth.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

How people found this blog in 2009, pt. 1

2009 was an interesting year for this blog. Well, the first nine months or so were, since I didn't actually post in the last quarter of the year. I have a good reason for that, though -- you see, I didn't feel like writing anything at any point during those three months.

Nevertheless, a lot of people found the blog, and a large number of them arrived here via Google. Here are some of the interesting search terms, broken down by category and italicized.

Category one: Incompetence in the workplace
incompetent coworker
my coworker is incompetent
my coworker skips work
what to say to an incompetent coworker
jobs you can't get fired from
i am an incompetent worker
long list of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility

If you came to this blog looking for advice on what to do about an incompetent coworker, you're in the wrong place. I have an incompetent subordinate and I haven't been able to do anything about it in the almost two years I've been at this job. If you are searching for jobs you can't get fired from, you're on the right path, but the job you're looking for is currently filled by Mustafa and is -- sadly -- unlikely to become available anytime soon.

Category two: Young people, enjoyment
things that people enjoy
25 things young people think
band names for young people
band names list for young people
because young people today enjoy
ross fashion for young people
enjoying in the face of little less than sixteen
things that people enjoy from trees
some joys of like people enjoy

This one just breaks my heart. I'm imagining oldsters trying to figure out how to entertain their grandkids or whatever, only to discover this terrible blog. Well, I'm going to become part of the solution: young people enjoy croquet and mostly they listen to good, wholesome music like Pat Boone or Cannibal Corpse. Also, they love receiving clothes from Ross Dress For Less. And some joy of like people enjoy include running happy in field yes and to drunk easter mallow. You know, from trees.

Category 2a: The bone roller coaster, riding it
ride the bone roller coaster
bone roller coaster

I really wish this had drawn a lot more traffic to my site, but yes, young people also enjoy roller coasters.

Category three: Lil Wayne
what's wrong with lil wayne's voice
why does lil wayne use the vocoder so much
lil wayne's voice
do lil wayne get stuck writing
down lil wayne's voice
is lil wayne's voice natural
obstacles lil' wayne face

In response:
1. What's wrong with Lil' Wayne's voice is that it makes him sound like he's a robot dying of emphysema. He uses the vocoder so much because a teleporter accident fused his larynx with a nearby autotuner.
2. No, he does not get stuck when he's writing songs, because he doesn't "write" anything, per se. He freestyles terrible rhymes over shitty samples, laughs at his own jokes, and repeats words in order to make his rhymes work.
3. Obstacles Lil' Wayne has had to overcome include addiction to cough syrup and a general lack of talent. Working in his favor, however, is the apparent inability of music consumers to discern between music that is good and that which is well-marketed. Also, the aforementioned teleporter accident has doomed him to slowly transform into Jeff Goldblum.

Category four: Hipsters
hipsters in san antonio
40 year old hipster
overweight hipster

Don't get nasty, brother. Also, I'm not forty. And I'm only ... slightly overweight. Fuck you, Google.


The Talented Mr. Snipes

(or: The blog post in which I pretend to be a racist)

Greetings, blog friends.

Below is a new blog post that "I" "wrote."

laaazlo: morning
danecookfan4life: good morning
laaazlo: without consulting the internet, do you know what the vietnamese currency is called?
danecookfan4life: dong?
laaazlo: yes
laaazlo: dong
danecookfan4life: lucky guess on my part
laaazlo: always bet on dong
danecookfan4life: that's what that guy from designing women said
laaazlo: yes, wesley snipes from designing women
laaazlo: or maybe it was in ghostbusters
danecookfan4life: no. wesley snipes said always bet on black
danecookfan4life: the guy from designing women said always bet on dong
danecookfan4life: although i think he said it in mannequin
laaazlo: i've always preferred wesley snipe's work in driving miss daisy
laaazlo: although his standup movies (delirious, raw) were quite excellent, if a little homophobic
laaazlo: pretty good for a guy who got kicked off the mets for doing cocaine
laaazlo: and then murdered his wife and her lover but got off scott-free with some highly skilled self-representation in court
laaazlo: although you feel for him, since he was only recently allowed basic civil rights in south africa
laaazlo: which is ironic, since mr. snipes is 70% of the population of that country
danecookfan4life: you should publish this under a pseudonym.
laaazlo: my most well-known pseudonym is probably a little too well known
danecookfan4life: you can find another
danecookfan4life: Here's one for you: The Talented Mr. Snipes
laaazlo: i'm going to start another pseudonymous blog for mock racism
danecookfan4life: you can't go wrong with that
laaazlo: all right
laaazlo: i'm on it

UPDATE: Early reviews of this post have declared it as truly racist, since there is no such thing as mock racism. I have also been equated with the kind of man who would wear a shirt with a rape joke on it. I would like to state for the record that I do not presently own any rape-themed shirts, nor do I currently have plans to acquire any. I also plan to prove that I am in fact not racist by following this post up with a completely non-racist one.