Monday, August 17, 2009

Unfunny People

I haven't blogged for a little bit because, well quite frankly, I haven't felt funny. Couldn't decide whether I should just unplug for a bit or actually write about why. I mean, this is supposed to be a humor blog (if that's only
just hit you, then man have I failed!) So I had to ask myself, "Do I come clean and bum folks out for a day, or just keep mum and post a photo of somebody's shaved cat?" Well, I'm bummin' ya. It's my blog, and I get to blow steam once every 60 entries.

I found out this weekend that a friend from college passed away. Suddenly. And
not of natural causes. That's all that needs to be said. Please don't ask more, I won't know how to answer. But I've spent the past few days sporadically in tears, and mostly in secret. I've been able to open up to good friends whom I've never physically met, but not to tangible friends. It all came to a head tonight, and I just released.

So my reason for bumming you out tonight is to pass along a lesson learned through saline. Release. Don't worry if you're going to look like an ass. Don't worry that someone might judge you (or someone else) for what you're about to unload. Just release. And having a good song to cry to always helps. I still feel like utter crap. But after tonight, about 2 pounds lighter.

*I had wanted to embed the song that made me cry, but I can't get the coding. Please follow the link and click on the song "This World Keeps Spinning." I don't think you wrote it to bring tears, but it did and I needed them. Thanks, Gavin my friend.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Some People Won't Do for a Dollar

A few years ago, I lingered just a little too long near the elevators at the mall. I saw her coming right at me, the dreaded little old lady with the clipboard. I tried to run, but it was mid-December and I was weighed down with holiday bags and packages. And cellulite. So she got me. The mall "opinion poll lady." Every mall has at least one, although they sometimes travel in small packs. They come in two varieties: women over age 65 and high school girls age 17-18. Apparently surveys show that women answer more surveys when they're surveyed by seniors, and men answer more when they're surveyed by "seniors."

That momentary polite pause to answer the silverhair's questions about democracy or detergent, I can't remember which, got me onto a marketing research company's phone list. Through the years, they've called or emailed asking me to try out products and render my opinion, in exchange for an envelope of cash. Sometimes my demographic disqualifies me from a study. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, I wish it had. Cases in point:

The Great Diaper Debacle:
Twenty women with infants/toddlers in an overly air-conditioned room. Change crying babies into varying brands of disposable diapers every 15 minutes over the course of two hours. All for $100 (with a bonus if you got pee in a diaper!). Needless to say, every time the 62-degree air hit a tiny penis during a diaper change, tinkle would stream through the air and mothers would try to catch it mid-stream in hopes of another $20. It was like an unairable Monty Python sketch. Ben stayed dry the entire 2 hours. Peed like a thoroughbred on the car ride home, beaming the whole time. Somehow he knew.

The Hubba Bubba Hullabaloo:
A three-day, three-hour study on chewing gum. Bad chewing gum. Sitting in front of a computer, chewing the same piece of gum for an hour and answering questions about its flavor/texture/aftertaste after every 10 minutes of mastication. Three days in a row. All for $150. Now, ordinarily for $150 I'd be willing to chew tree bark for three days. But after the first piece of gum, I was willing to pay them to take me out of the study. Even the world's greatest piece of gum tastes like a flavorless chunk of tar after an hour of chewing. And these were not the world's greatest pieces of gum. But I muddled through, and ended up using the $150 at the dentist getting gum-related TMJ treatment.

Pancake Pandemonium:
This one may seem like a no-brainer. $100 for a half-hour! All you have to do is try three different varieties of microwavable stuffed-pancakes. Easy peasy. Who can't use $100? Who can't spare 30 minutes? Who can't stand pancakes? Yes on all 3 from me.
The first "pancake" was stuffed with what appeared to be chocolate pudding. Anyone under 12 would have loved it. I was 42. The second "pancake" was actually tolerable, with a gooey maple-esque filling. It stayed down. They saved the most interesting for last. A leavened pillow filled with thickened purplish motor oil. Oh, they called it "blueberry filling." But believe me, it was Quaker State 10w40.
This was the only marketing study I've been in where they actually asked you to write down you opinions rather than just click "on a scale from 1-10" answers. Judging from the use of expletives women were using to describe the "blueberry filling," I don't think they'll be allowing that again.

Yesterday's Yogurt Yackfest:
My most recent, most dreaded, and least profitable encounter with market research. Three different coffee-flavored yogurts in 20 minutes for $35. I'm not kidding, 3 in 20. Now let me preface this by saying: "I don't enjoy yogurt." But it was wristband night at the local church carnival, and 3 yogurts gets the boys a free night of carnie folk. Ordinarily, when I have to eat yogurt (and you women know of which I speak), it takes me about 20 minutes to get through one cup. By the time they brought out cup #3 about 15 minutes after I arrived, I had broken out into dairy sweats and was starting to understand why they had covered everyone's computer keyboards with a layer of plastic. I think I signed something last night that says I'm not allowed to talk about the quality of the yogurt for the next few months. Let me just say that two of the three cups did not make it past the lobby restroom. I think it was samples #1 and #3.

Epilogue: Marketing research studies are an excellent way to make a quick buck and develop life-long aversions to gum, pancakes and yogurt. The boys enjoyed the carnival. I went to bed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to Get Pregnant for Under $5

Trying to conceive but having trouble? Before shelling out thousands of dollars on testing at the fertility clinic, try visiting the nearest Dollar Store first! Everything you need for making a baby...all for under $5.

Step 1: Planning

Step 2: Setting the Mood

Step 3: Helping Things Along

Step 4: The Results

Of course,with family planning purchases you probably do get what you pay for. In which case, they also sell.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

We've all felt like crappy parents sometimes. Right now, my kids are eating yogurt for breakfast and watching SpongeBob. I could have made them eggs, but the yogurt was
right there. They could be eating it while listening to classical music, but the clicker was right there. Sometimes I let them stay up too late, eat too many sweets, watch too much TV... But no matter how "iffy" you're feeling about a parenting decision you've made, there will always be someone out there who makes you look like the world's greatest parent. Case in point:

Meet Joseph Manzanares of Colorado, proud father of a 4-year-old boy. Joseph is a planner. Always thinking ahead to his son's future. Some plans require you start thinking ahead very early. And like most parents, sometimes a father's plans and those of the child's mother don't always align. We've all been in his shoes. Maybe you'd like your child to grow up to be a doctor and your spouse would prefer a career in law. Common parenting dilemma. In our man Joseph's case, he would like his son to grow up and join the "West Side Ballers," while the mother prefers the "Crips."

Ordinarily this type of "dreams for the future" parenting squabble is kept private. But Joseph is so enamored with his alma mater, the Ballers, that he decided to press his case further at his baby-mama's job. The impassioned father ended up being arrested for disorderly conduct, harassment and domestic violence at a local video store. I'm sure the lady in question will end up dropping charges. Call it a hunch.

Incidentally, no word on the status of the toddler's affiliation. I'd hope that both parents have seen the error of their ways by pushing their gangs on their young son. There's so much more out there for a lad than the Ballers and the Crips. There's the Bloods, the Disciples, the Latin Kings...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

As Time Goes By

Norman Rockwell had a knack for creating images of America at its best: the family Thanksgiving table; young love; baseball. And a Town Hall meeting: where folks with differing opinions sat patiently, and respectfully listened to one another.

My, how times have changed. Today, healthcare reform Town Hall meetings are being cancelled amid death threats, and those that do take place are becoming caustic circuses, well-orchestrated by the right-wing fringe. 

Sometimes you celebrate the passage of time.  
Sometimes you lament. 
Sometimes, you do a little of both.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Midas Touch?

Saudi Arabia.
A country where it's illegal for women to drive a car or be unaccompanied in the presence of unrelated men. Where a woman's testimony is considered less than that of a man. Where women can be arrested for being raped, can be divorced without cause and can lose their children to their husband without merit. One of the more progressive countries in the Middle East.

But fear not, bleeding hearts. There is hope for that nation's most oppressed:
Billionaire business men with very small penises.

Yes, thanks to Canadian know-how, help is on the way for the most poorly endowed men of means. Montreal's X4 Labs is creating a one-of-a-kind,
18-karat, diamond and ruby encrusted "male enhancement device" for one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest businessmen. At a cost of $35,000. The company is ecstatic about the possible new market for their dingaling bling.

"Whether it be dictators, politicians, oil rich middle easterners, or successful businessmen, they are willing to pay good money to spoil themselves," said product coordinator Matt West.

"Dictators." Yes, you may all giggle.

What exactly will the poor, rich little man do with this $35,000 golden bejeweled contraption? Remember "The Rack" from the Spanish Inquisition? Think that, but much smaller. And glitzy. He will literally and willingly have his dick in a vise. Nice. There are a few men I'd like to send one of these gizmos to, mostly from Fox News. But I don't think X4 can make them that small. Ann Coulter however uses hers regularly, and with great success.

So here's to the ill-equipped Middle Eastern elite. I don't begrudge you your new Willie Wonkanator. It's nice to know that as Americans suffer through these tough times, men like you have found a way to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your wealth. Just remember...when the discretely wrapped package arrives from Canada, your wife will be arrested should you send her to pick it up for you. But you can always get another wife.

"Now available with more bling!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Got Guns?

Enough already, Vladimir McConaughey, we get it.

Sometimes, a Picture Speaks for Itself

I Need a Fix!

Brown paper packages, tied up with strings...

Woke up this morning at 3 a.m. as usual. Normally would have reached over for the glowing iFriend I keep by the bed, to do a little tweeting with the West Coast or listen to music until the insomnia settled. But we let Evan take it to Camp Grandma this week, so I just had to toss for a while.

Woke up again at 7 and went to the office to do my usual "first things" routine. Check email. Check. Check weather. Check. Check Twitter. Hold up. Refresh. Check Twitter. Refresh. CHECK TWITTER! What the hell? Twitter is down. Has been for hours. No one knows why or for how much longer. Only way to get through the lack of morning Twitter updates is with a very large coffee. We're out of coffee! As I microwave what's left in the pot (from two days ago!), it occurs to me that I may have some issues.

Hello, my name is Suzanne and I may be an addict.
(This is where you all say, "Hello, Suzanne!")

I'm not addicted to cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. OK, stop laughing. I confess to liking things with the word "proof" on the label, but I'm not addicted to them. Stop laughing, I mean it! But there are several things that I have grown so attached or accustomed to that I actually feel the effects when they're removed from me.

Coffee...that's no surprise. No coffee = headaches.

Diet Coke...also no shocker. It's the after 11 a.m. equivalent of coffee.

Beer...I can get along fine without it, but I prefer not to, that's all!

Internet...This one I share with 90% of the population, so I don't feel as bad. I'll be in Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks, in a place sans access. Pathetic that I'm actually pre-mourning its absence.

iThing...since Christmas. They're indispensable. Just ask anyone who has one. Right Vince? Right Steve? Right Kara? These things become part of your fiber quicker than crack.

And now, apparently, Twitter...

Surely I'm not alone with my addictions. There have to be television, chocolate, cigarette, lottery, Krimpet addicts among you. So even if you think Tweeting is moronic (I know who you are), take pity on me should you see me twitching in the aisles of Acme later today, speaking only in sentences of 140 characters or less. Could be you someday, when the cable goes out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Give It to Me NOW!

This isn't my usual type of blog entry, but once in a while you get so worked up about something you have to vent. An online acquaintance calls them rants, and eloquently blogs them daily. Well here's my rant, thanks to Grant (who sent the story).

A 27-year-old woman--let's call her Veruca -- is suing her alma mater for $72,000 (cost of tuition and "stress") because she cannot find a job. After three whole months of trying! She graduated waaayyy back in April from New York's Monroe College with a bachelors degree in business administration in information technology. With a 2.7 GPA! She claims the college's career placement office isn't promoting her as hard as their graduates who managed to pull something higher than a mid-level C throughout their four years at school. (As if just meeting her would get potential employers to overlook her shoddy GPA and more qualified applicants) And she's encouraging other graduates who have yet to find work to start suing as well.

"It doesn't make any sense: They went to school for four years, and then they come out working at McDonald's and Payless. That's not what they planned," says the genius.

OK, here's where I start to blow. This is so much of what's wrong with this generation (not that I'm old enough to be a generation beyond them ---shut up). Too many people have been raised to feel that they are entitled to everything. Sure she went to college. But that doesn't entitle her to a job. So did millions of other folks out there, who maybe spent a little less time with the funnel and a little more with the books. So did millions of other folks who have been working for years, decades even, who now have to compete again for a job thanks to layoffs and Bush's legacy. But this gal is entitled to a job. And if the college isn't going to hand her one (after's been three whole months!), she's entitled to be reimbursed for her time and her stress.

This is just an extreme case, but you see this crap all the time and nothing boils my blood more. Parents who suffer from "Best Friend Syndrome" are raising kids who suffer from "I'm Owed Disease." I see the young versions in my kids' school all time. Kids who behave abominably, and when they're called on it by teachers/principals/chaperones/volunteers, their parents either say "Oh, no! It couldn't have been my child!" Or worse yet, "Who the hell do you think you are to even dare speak to my child!"

Well folks if you said "No" to your kids once in a while, if you taught them the value of a dollar and hard work, if you showed them that they need to respect others/rules/diversity then they wouldn't grow into grubby leeches and hangers-on who think that things should just come to them, like the inspiration for this blog item. "Best Friend" parents will eventually, and sadly too late, see the error of their ways when the time comes for them to need help from said leeches. Good luck getting Miss Litigious to take you in, Mom and Dad! But Veruca will be happy to sue you for the stress your old age has put upon her. Phew! I'm done!

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear your stories!