June 28, 2006

Unobservant Simpleton Fails Again To Think Before He Acts

Last summer, when I was interning at a law firm in New York, a group of fellow vegetarians and I agreed to share information about vegetarian-friendly restaurants we discovered in Manhattan. Although I was new to NYC and had zero knowledge of its restaurants, I was eager to ingratiate myself to the group, which consisted mostly of NYU students and at least two attorneys at the firm.

One day, I emailed the group about a small fast food place I often passed on my evening walk to the subway. It was one of those vaguely tex-mex places, and I had noticed they often served explicitly vegetarian options (like veggie chorizo tacos) in addition to regular bullshit like bean and cheese burritos. I ate there once and enjoyed it; it was cheap, close to the office, and tasted pretty good.

The restaurant was BurritoVille. Over the next few weeks, I discovered that BurritoVilles were peppered all over Manhattan, from Battery Park to the Upper West Side. There was one by the office, one near my apartment, two in the Village. Twelve in all. Essentially, I had emailed a bunch of Manhattan residents about the existence of a well-known, lightly-regarded chain restaurant.

For those of you unfamiliar with New York, my "recommendation" was basically the equivalent of walking up to a bunch of homosexuals and saying "Hey guys- I just discovered this great new technique called fellatio! You might prefer anal, but if you're in a hurry, you should try it out. It's a lot faster, clean-up is a breeze, and it still feels pretty good!"

While I'm here, I'd like to recommend this cool band called The Beatles (I think they spell the name wrong on purpose). If you like Oasis, you should check them out!

June 26, 2006

This I know.

For some trucker tells me so.

June 21, 2006

The definition of homophobia

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen recently engaged in another of his frequent rants. Angry over criticisms leveled at him by columnist Jay Mariotti, Guillen made headlines by responding "What a piece of shit he is, fucking fag."

This incident piqued my interest for two reasons. First, the ESPN.com story produced the following hilarious quote:

Guillen also told [another reporter] that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.


But aside from that, the story got me thinking about the term 'homophobia'. 'Homo', depending on its usage, means either 'human' (in Latin) or 'same' (Greek). And I think most people believe 'phobia' to mean 'irrational fear', although it can also mean 'a strong dislike or aversion'.

So, fine, obviously the 'homo' in 'homophobia' really means homosexual. But when and why did 'homosexual' become the specific referent of such a general prefix? Why doesn't homophobia refer to homophones? What about homogeneity?

I suspect the homoptera lobby wasn't powerful enough to put anything together. Which is too bad- I hate those fuckin homos.

June 20, 2006

Fortune Cookies

I had Chinese for lunch yesterday and was reminded of an old joke:

Two men were sitting next to each other at a Chinese restaurant. At the end of their meal, the waiter brought fortune cookies along with the check. The first man cracked open his cookie, read his fortune, then punched his neighbor in the arm. Hard. The second man stared at him, wild-eyed, and asked why he would do such a thing. The first man shrugged and handed him the strip of paper. It read, "You will punch your neighbor in the arm. Hard."

The second man considered this, nodding his head. Slowly, he cracked open his cookie, read his fortune, then lived a life of unbridled happiness and prosperity.

June 16, 2006

The Bullshit Diary

In 2004, my New Year's resolution was to keep a bullshit diary. Having spent most of my young life mired in a staggering amount of bullshit, I decided I could amuse my friends by keeping a miniature notebook and documenting as much as I could. Although I now realize that bullshit is inherently unpredictable, I also maintained the naïve hope that I would eventually be able to detect a pattern to the bullshit, which might one day help me to avoid it.

Now, to be clear, I should distinguish between two types of bullshit. The first definition pertains to things you think aren't true; e.g., you might call bullshit on someone who tells you a peanut isn't a nut. This kind of bullshit bores me. When I say bullshit, I refer more generally to things that strike me as shocking or at least mildly unfair. Here are a few examples, culled from the diary:

January 4: My waitress told me the restaurant is now serving Sierra Mist instead of Sprite.
January 6: I'm trying to apply for a passport, and my own mother doesn't know where my birth certificate is.
January 17: No one gives "The Hudsucker Proxy" the respect it deserves.

The best part about keeping the diary was the opportunity to lord it over others. If someone had to cancel plans we had made, she would be forced to watch as I pursed my lips, reached into my breast pocket, and documented her lame excuse. My friends loved to watch as I'd whip it out in front of strangers and refuse to tell them what I was doing.

But alas, it wasn't long before the bullshit emerged victorious: I lost the diary. My longest-ever New Year's resolution was over after three months.

I found it a year or so later, but I didn't have much desire to start it back up. Glancing at the most recent entries, I found the diary had become little more than a string of sloppy rants about crowded bars and losing poker sessions. It appears the bullshit diary was just the next in a series of mildly creative ideas that I had neither the drive nor the wit to follow through on. Maybe I lost it on purpose.

I've considered blogging about the bullshit that still runs rampant over my life, but I'm afraid it would again degenerate into something embarrassing and trite. Still, some of the entries make me think I was really onto something:

February 12: I can't find malt vinegar at the grocery store.


Boycott Update

As long as I'm boycotting stuff I don't buy anyway, I might as well add Cristal to the list.

June 14, 2006

Blogs on Film

I recently watched Ghost Busters for the first time in years. I was amazed by how much everyone smoked (as a kid, I was vehemently anti-smoking; in retrospect, I'm certain this is why Egon was my favorite character). Also the special effects are hilarious. But what really struck me was how heavily the Dudley Heinsbergen-Raleigh St. Clair relationship in The Royal Tenenbaums borrowed from the interaction between The Key Master (Rick Moranis) and Egon.

I probably won't win a Pulitzer for this.

June 5, 2006

Certain Boycotts

Watch any televised sporting event and you'll undoubtedly find yourself bombarded with commercials extolling the virtues of being a man. The most prevalent current examples are the T.G.I. Friday's commercial where some assholes (including the guy from Office Space) scream at each other about beef and pork, the Dial commercial for men's body wash (shaped like an oil can!), and the Burger King commercial for the Texas DOUBLE WHOPPER, where the protagonist rebels against his girlfriend's restaurant choice, laments having once been served tofu, then throws a minivan over a bridge (meanwhile, an Asian guy breaks a cinder block with his bare hands). The Miller Lite "Men of the Square Table" series, where B-list celebrities decide the (previously) unwritten rules of male behavior, is a somewhat subtler example of this unsubtle phenomenon.

It is my contention that these commercials suck.

Exactly when this cartoonish distortion of the male id became an advertising staple is difficult to pin down. Chuck Klosterman locates its genesis in the standup comedy of Tim Allen. My associate, Blog Stevens, blames Maxim magazine and its progeny. But I believe these commercials have their roots in the Republican Revolution of 1994. The uneducated male voting bloc, dubbed Angry White Males, was widely credited with allowing the Republicans to regain control of Congress after Soccer Moms helped Clinton into office two years earlier. In the wake of the Republicans' success, advertisers realized that dumb people could be swayed by bad ideas if they (the ideas) were delivered in a vehicle that not only recognized but celebrated their (the dumb people's) mundane lifestyles and myopic Weltanschauungen.

But I don't know. It's not like I expect advertisers to be smart or socially responsible or anything. Their job is just to sell a bunch of shit. What bothers me is that the commercials are just so fucking uncreative.

THIS JUST IN: Men like meat! Men don't like doing things that women like doing! Men are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to obtain beer! Thanks a fucking lot. What's funny about pointing out what everyone already knows?

So anyway, Blog Stevens and I are organizing a boycott of these products. The way we see it, a vegetarian and a guy with zero income boycotting two shitty chain restaurants and a soap company should have ripple effects that shake the advertising industry to its very core.

Perhaps you'd care to join us.

June 1, 2006


I think Faux Pas is a pretty good name for a pet.


You have discovered a certain blog. Everything else remains to be seen.