Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stuff I Can't Explain

Do you like the show, Scrubs? Are you a gay man? Now, you might not think those two are related, but according to some ad buyers on a Chicago local station, they are. At the 11:30 P.M. showing of Scrubs, there’s a commercial for a gay chat line. As a straight man, I had no idea that Scrubs drew such a gay audience.

Every night, when I’m watching the reruns, I have to watch the same leather-clad dudes on a white studio background fake laugh on the telephone. Is a syndicated Scrubs rerun really the best way to target that demographic? If I wanted to promote a gay chat line (and a part of me deep down inside that I don’t really want to talk about does, simply for the ad challenge it brings), I’d be hitting some more homocentric channels like Bravo, A&E, TLC, HGTV, and Spike TV. Not some crappy-ass local station. If I were running that gay chat line, I’d fire the agency that recommended that ad buy and then reinvest the funds in calls to my own gay chat line.

Hey, I just said the ads were misplaced, I didn’t say they don’t work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change I Believe In

Let me tell you something, this Obama dude's got nothing on real change. Sure, he might have pimped the phrase to serve his campaign purposes, but the change he's talking about is far from the real changes we face every day.

Change is all around us every day, as long as we're willing to look for it. Seek it. Live it. And sometimes it just sneaks on us so suddenly that it completely shifts our paradigm forever.

What am I talking about? Salma Hayek's boobs. Duh. I can't believe I never noticed their sheer mass in the past. Then again, even as a hetero male, I'll admit that I haven't really spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about her bazoombas. Maybe 17, 18 hours, tops on a really slow weekend. Now, after watching them shift the gravitational pull of the Earth on Thursday nights, I'm thinking that I really missed the boat on this one.

Thank you to 30 Rock for getting me up to speed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Great Day for a Soapbox

Lord knows I don’t ask you for much. Then again, Lord knows I don’t give you very much with this blog. So, let’s do a little bit of giving, eh?

Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 84 if he were alive today. And, I can’t help but wonder how the world would be different if those events hadn’t transpired nearly 40 years ago. I’d like to think they’d be better, but you never know. What I do know is this; YOU can make it better.

15 years ago, Congress decided to shift the focus on this day to more of a “service” day and encouraged citizens to spend their time off volunteering. Bet you probably didn’t know that (which goes to show how effective Congress can be about spreading a cohesive, non-partisan message). So, let me ask you this: How much time did you spend in the past year volunteering? I don’t care how much money you gave to charity last year. That’s not the point. Did you take any time whatsoever trying to make the tiniest little corner of the world a better place?

Look, I know that No is so much easier to say than Yes. Yes has 50% more letters than No, so it’s not just a word thing, it’s a numbers thing. Yes is hard. Yes requires a commitment. Yes requires accountability. Yes requires you to spend some evenings avoiding “Gossip Girls.” The requirements of Yes are infinite.

Don’t let that scare you.

The requirements of Yes are infinite. You know what? So are the possibilities. There’s some good stuff floating around in that head of yours. Chances are, there’s also some good stuff floating around in your heart. Why don’t you tap into both of them and share that good stuff with someone who could use it?

You have something to offer. So, offer it. If you need ideas, think about the things you love, the things you know, the things that bring people together. There are a bajillion organizations out there, and I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t need your time.

True story. In the fall of 1996, I was finished with grad school and having trouble finding the kind of work I wanted to do. Even though I wasn’t working, I knew I could be doing something. So, I called up the guys who used to run the local Boy’s Club I attended as a kid. Turns out they were still doing it, so I asked if I could help. What did I have to do? Just show up for a couple hours every week and spend time with some kids. Maybe take them camping a few times per year. Maybe help run some fundraisers for them. Whatever I felt comfortable doing, I could do.

So, I did. And here’s the thing: it was awesome. Once a week, for a couple of hours, I didn’t have to worry about not having a job, or money, or a love interest. None of that mattered. All that mattered was that for one day every week, I had given my life some sort of purpose. I found a job about a month or so later. I hated it, but I tolerated it because I knew there were some kids out there who depended on me to give a damn every week. As long as I had that, things would get better. Over the years, I’ve gotten a better job. Found a person who made my life infinitely better. Fathered a child who is more incredible at age 5 than I could ever hope to be. 13 years later, though, I’m still giving a damn about those kids.

But, I didn’t intend this to be about me. I wanted it to be about you. We stand on the eve of an historic day. Whether you voted for Obama, or didn’t, there’s no denying that our world has been drastically changed by the power of volunteers. A large part of Obama’s campaign success came from the fact that he inspired a large group of people to not just give him money, but to give him time as well. He persuaded people to volunteer for him and his vision for this country. Think it worked?

Go ahead, give somebody your time and your belief. Yes is too big a word to ignore.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Throwdown at the O.N.Corral

So, I'm clothes shopping today with the wife and daughter. As usual, I'm perusing the clearance crap looking for ridiculous bargains while the two girls are looking at girlie stuff like shoes and purses. Anyway, some Hispanic dude walks by and starts giving me the eyeball. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe all 5'2" 110 pounds of him thought he could handle a full plate of the 6' 200 and too much pound Donkey. Whatever his reasons, he's trying to stare me down with the one crazy eye he has peeking out from under his crooked cap.

I thought he had to have been joking, but nope he looked as serious as serious could be. And then, I started to chuckle. I mean, here we are, at a freakin' Old Navy Store in one of the more affluent suburbs of Chicago's north shore and this freakshow wants to start something with me? Could there be a less likely place for a throwdown? Maybe he just got back from a brawl at Abercrombie & Fitch. Or, perhaps Crate & Barrel didn't have enough aisle space for his liking. All I know is that if we started something, I'd be knocking him through the walls of the Eddie Bauer store next door faster than a cashier can say "Would you like to save 20% by opening up an Old Navy credit line?"

He had to have sensed that in me because he blinked first. He looked me up and down one last time and then moved off to the cardigans. And me? I found two awesome corduroy jackets that were 50% off. Yup, I definitely won both battles today.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Five Minutes of Reading Could Have Prevented This

Somebody can’t read. Just a few minutes browsing this blog entry from eons ago and this guy would never have been caught. Look, if you want to take off your pants in a public place, I applaud you. However, know what you’re getting into first. I’ve got no sympathy for this mofo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reason #3,412 why people are morons

The movie Transformers brought in box office receipts of $318,759,914 (according to To date, No Country for Old Men has brought in box office receipts of $55,148,960 (, again). In its first week alone, Transformers brought in over $70.5 million. In its first week, the worst movie I’ve seen in a long, long time outdid the entire run of the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.

That’s fucking ridonkulous.

I’m not a huge movie watcher. I rarely see them in the theater, but I’ll rent movies from time-to-time. Give me a good book any day of the week. A lot of my friends tend to forget this and make movie recommendations that are, frankly, retarded. I’m all about story, plot, character development, narrative. You know, the stuff that makes a movie worth watching. The things that make you pause and wonder about yourself and the world around you. The things that stick with you long after the credits have faded.

All right, I know these movies are for two completely different audiences: the sane and the lobotomized. I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognize that. But there’s a lot wrong with people who would rather plop $10 down to watch cars turn into robots and recite constipated dialogue than watch Javier Bardem’s character, Anton Chigurh, flip a coin in front of a gas station attendant in one of the most tense scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. No shit. I’d read the book already and I knew what was going to happen, but that didn’t stop me from holding my breath while the coin spun in the air. And I wondered if I’d have the courage to watch as I wagered for my life with a madman. If I’d make a desperate attempt to flee. If I’d attack him. If I’d pray. If I’d cry. If I’d crap my pants. If I’d think about Transformers and kick myself for wasting over two hours of my life. If I’d do all the above.

But no, people want the robots from outer space. And they’ll tell you to watch the movie because . . . well, they’ll just say the special effects are cool. As if that’s a reason to watch a movie. Because something that’s rarely integral to good story telling is “cool.” No, people want to see shit blow up for no reason. They want to watch explosions. They want noise that deafens without purpose. And I don’t get it.

Yup, people are definitely morons.

Monday, January 28, 2008

All Apologies

Have you ever done something you thought was a good idea at the time, only to regret it later? Sure you have. We all have. Maybe you’ve taken a dump on someone’s car. Or “borrowed” your roommates shirt and stained it beyond all recognition with a substance not appropriate for mixed company. Or cut a fart in a crowded elevator right as you were getting off. Or peed in someone else’s bed while you were off on a Mormon mission. Or stole your neighbors cable AND ordered porno flicks. Or . . . Well, you get the picture. Please note, I’ve only done one of the aforementioned things.

If you were on the short end of any of these activities, wouldn’t you want someone to apologize? I know I would. That’s why I’m still waiting for an apology from ESPN after they’ve done the equivalent of all the above to me.

I used to watch SportsCenter religiously. Just about every night. Sometimes, a couple of times per night. But, I’ve basically stopped watching SportsCenter entirely simply because of one segment, the putrid“Who’s Now?” segment that appeared about nine months ago. It might possibly have be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen them do, and I’ve watched them do a lot of stupid things over the years.

I’m not a complete SportsCenter hater . . . yet. I used to love the show, but I got real sick real fast of the anchors thinking they’re more important than the story or the score (yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Berman and Mr. Scott). “Who’s Now?” is the segment that finally broke the Donkey’s back.

It was so bad it was almost laughable. And it went on for so long it was painful. I’d flip over for a second and, sure as shit, they’d be broadcasting this complete farce of a sports segment for about 10 minutes straight.

Really, did anyone care who’s “Now?” What does being “Now” really mean? Why do the filler segment at this time? I mean, it’s not like baseball wasn’t in full swing, the NBA signing period hadn’t just started, and NFL training camps were beginning in a week, or anything like that.

See, the thing about it was that it was so antithetical to the SportsCenter brand, that someone should have had the foresight to kill it before it saw the light of day. If you’re going to call yourself “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” well, then you’d better stick to sports. That’s why people watch ESPN. For sports. Maybe they forgot that. After all, they’d only been doing it for a quarter century or so. It’s easy to forget about your identity over such a short period of time. Instead, they turned about 15 minutes of every show into some bizarre hybrid of local cable access sports and E!’s red carpet special.

I’m not saying I’ll never go back to watching a full episode again. I’m just saying it’s going to take a sincere apology. If they’d been thinking, they would have run a 30 second spot a couple of times during every episode that just said, “Sorry for being completely lobotomized over the last month. We’re not sure what came over us. The intern that came up with the crap fest ‘Who’s Now?’ has been beaten like a piƱata and then wedgied. Atomically. We’d like to say we’ll never pull a bonehead stunt like this again, but Sweeps Week will be here before we know it and we’ll probably have the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in here doing their own version of the Vagina Monologues. We’re that slutty for good ratings. And, since we’ve already bought the ad space, we’re apologizing for that stunt in advance as well. Thanks for watching.”

They would have had me at “Vagina Monologues.”