Thursday, July 21, 2005


My girlfriend, Geri, was recently named to her company’s Circle Of Excellence. I was excited to learn that, as a Circle of Excellence winner, she had been awarded an all-expenses paid trip for two to sunny Palm Springs, California. I was even MORE excited when I won the coin toss and got to go with. That was a joke. She actually asked me to go, and I’m pretty sure she asked me first.

Anyhow, I know you people are curious, so here is my account of our sunny little adventure.

For the geographically unacquainted, Palm Springs is in the middle of a desert, two hours due east of a tiny town called Los Angeles. Apparently, beneath the dry desert surface, there are a bunch of underground springs that, once tapped, allowed for the rampant spread of golf courses. Left unchecked, the golf course population exploded. Today it is estimated there are more golf courses in Palm Springs than people. Really. (No, not really. This story is going to take a really long time if you insist on questioning every little detail.)

The first thing you notice when you step off the plane in Palm Springs is the temperature. It can get hotter than Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers in the video camera section at Circuit City. It’s really not a mystery – the land may be irrigated, but it’s still a fucking desert. I should also explain that the term "dry heat" means nothing when the temperature is 106 degrees. Dry heat is no less hot than dry ice is cold.

So we stepped off the plane into the wide-open arms of hell and made our way toward the terminal. A ring of dirt-brown hills surrounded us, rippling seductively behind an invisible wall of heat. They reminded me of those mounds of clay on the set of an old Tonka truck commercial. Crossing the black tarmac I felt like I was passing over a bed of hot coals. I noted there were palms, but no springs. Palm trees are nice to look at, but taking cover in the shade of one is like using a Post-It note as an umbrella. And I would know because I've tried both.

Geri and I hustled inside the terminal where we inhaled the air conditioning like someone had been holding our heads underwater. We then agreed on a strategy.

1.) Upgrade car rental to convertible
2.) Stop somewhere to stock up on booze
3.) Power nap

Motoring toward our lodgings from the airport, a 35-minute drive in blinding sunlight with the top of our rented Sebring down, we noticed that ours was the only convertible to be found. This was not a dubious observation. It turns out there's a good reason people don't drive around in convertibles in Palm Springs, to which my burnt scalp would later testify. Not only is it painfully hot, it’s dangerously sunny. We cranked up the air conditioner so we wouldn’t pass out from heat exhaustion and carried on – two idiot tourists frying fast and furious under a scalding desert sun.

It was around noon when we pulled into the La Quinta parking lot. This is not the same La Quinta Inn at which you may have crashed with the kids for a night on your last interstate vacation. This was a luxurious multi-acre spa and resort; home to somewhere between 42 and 88 private pools (each piece of marketing literature we scanned bragged of a different figure). It also had a fitness center, health spa, golf course, tennis courts (hard, grass, and clay), several restaurants and a plaza full of shopping boutiques for those interested in a little retail therapy.

Rooms were clumped in clusters called casitas that were built around a shared center wall, with individual units that jutted from the center in different directions, allowing for private entrances and patios. Once inside our unit, we immediately mixed a few drinks, turned the air up, and unpacked. Honestly - that's all we did.

Later that evening, Geri’s company sponsored an outdoor reception where we nibbled on cilantro and lime basted shrimp served in martini glasses, and sipped sparkling white wine while mingling with fellow award winners from around the country. I realized that few people knew one another, and it was by virtue of this fact that it dawned on me: I too was in the Circle of Excellence. My true identity as a fantasy sports aficionado, Internet jester, and advertising underachiever was stashed in a dirty hamper hundreds of miles away. Out here I was a celebrated success…and an achiever!

At least I was for the first ten minutes. Introductions out-ed me as Geri’s guest, which led to an entirely different brand of mistaken identity. Because Geri is a beautiful, leggy blonde knockout, and a good 4+ inches taller than me in heels, it was assumed I was her harmless travel companion, Francois – a.k.a. “Geri’s little gay friend.” And the shirt I wore the following night did not help clear things up. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Geri and I tied on a good buzz that first night and headed back to our air-conditioned cave for a long night’s nap. We kicked off day two by playing a little tennis, and by "little" I mean what we played only remotely resembled the actual game as it was meant to be played. Geri told me she had been quite the competitor back in the day, and I’m no stranger to the sport – so we managed a number of impressive volleys that morning. I should qualify that statement. The volleys impressed US. I don’t think Bjorn Borg would have been impressed. Although we gave each other a good workout, our most formidable opponent that morning was the sun. There was a reason (we discovered after about 10 minutes of chasing down errant swings in the crockpot of the west) that all of the other courts were all vacant. Tennis was not in season in Palm Springs. We ended up calling our match a draw and found lunch.

That night we partook in a lively event called “Casino Night.” It was a company-sponsored mingler designed to get people interacting with one another. Geri and I tied our buzzes to the craps table and tested some betting strategies we’d learned at a craps seminar just a month prior (yes, really). I started out hot, rolling nearly a dozen times without “crapping out.” When I finally did, the company’s CEO, decked out in Tommy Bahama at the far end of the table, grabbed an armful of winnings, pointed at me and announced as he walked away, “I'm not coming back until THAT guy shoots again!” If only I’d been as fortunate. As the night went on, I showcased an unremarkable talent for making everyone else money but me.

On day three, Geri and I hit the spa for some relaxation therapy. She enjoyed a facial while I enjoyed a half-hour massage by Jared Leto, after which I took Geri back to our room in an effort to salvage what was left of my manhood. That evening we attended the awards banquet at which it was announced Geri was the number one Senior Account Executive in her entire company. Her name was met with much applause...and a standing ovation from one particularly dashing gentleman front and center. (Yes, me!) After dodging kisses from two guys named Barry and Barry, she returned to our table with a trophy to mark her achievement. Her little gay friend could not have been more proud.

On day four we enjoyed a big breakfast, took a long dip in the pool, then drove high into the mountains with our rent-a-vertible. It was a relaxing cruise to 5000 feet from which we could see Palm Springs in all of its expansive, sweltering glory. It was during our ascent that I learned of Geri’s distaste for mountain driving. She became so anxious during the cliff-side ascent we had to pull over and switch drivers. Being deathly afraid of heights myself, I had little problem empathizing. But we’re both obstinate wonders, and nothing would stop us from rising to the top!

We pressed on – if slowly. So slowly, in fact, a train of cars lined up behind us as far as the rear view mirror would permit. As leader of the procession, courtesy became a concern. But Geri was quick to remind me that my allegiance was to the woman in the passenger seat with her hands over her eyes – not the string of impatient strangers behind us. At one point she even shouted, “I don't care about all the cars behind us, will you slow down already!” I looked down at the speedometer and noted that we were tearing up the narrow hillside at a scorching 28 MPH.

We eventually settled in, and as our confidence grew we picked up our speed a little until reaching the top. From there we drove on to explore a tiny mountain town nestled in the middle of no where – a quaint little tourist trap called Idyllwild that, despite having nothing to see, nothing to do, and nothing to buy, was jammed with eager vacationers. It was there we enjoyed our finest lunch of the trip before coasting back down the mountain in complete terror.

Our flight was to leave at 7am the following morning, so Geri and I decided to head out for an early dinner and a couple of farewell margaritas. As fortune would have it, we ran into a few of her friends who were also heading off to dinner and were invited to join them. A couple of margaritas quickly turned into five and before we knew it, it was after 11 and we were lit up like the stars... swirling like sparkler fire in the desert sky. It was a fantastic finale to our stay.

After retiring for the evening (and the week), Geri and her “little gay friend” held a private celebration to commemorate the California adventure, the details of which I will spare you other than to say it was a good thing our room had two beds.

We flew back to Chicago the next morning…exhausted, sunburned, and hung over – the three hallmarks of a successful voyage anywhere...


It’s official – Johnny Depp says he didn't base his Willy Wonka character on Michael Jackson. Further, he’s actually surprised that many people report a resemblance!

“A few people have mentioned it, and it kind of took me by surprise,” said Gilbert Grape. “I really didn't expect that. Michael Jackson was not a sort of ingredient or inspiration for the character at all.”

Closer to the truth is the likelihood that Michael Jackson has based HIS character on Willy Wonka. I’ll let you people be the judge.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It was reported last week that approximately 80% of the penguin population at the San Francisco Zoo was infected with chlamydia. Eventually, more than a dozen of them died.

I think it’s time to admit that my drinking problem is worse than I thought.

Click on the header to enjoy a little Penguin action of your own. (I think you'll remember this one. Good times!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


News from around the world - at a glance. Check it out.

Way cool.

Click the header, or visit


"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."

~ Stephen Wright


President Bush is expected to announce his pick for a spot on the Supreme Court tonight at 9pm EST. Insiders are saying he has settled on U.S. Circuit Judge John Roberts Jr. According to various sources close to the president, Judge Roberts was selected after it was explained to him that his first pick, Judge Reinhold, was an actor named Judge and not legally qualified. Additionally, it has been reported that the President originally planned to make his much-anticipated announcement in Spanish, until a White House speechwriter proofed a rough draft of the speech and informed G-Dub it was not called the “Taco Supreme Court.”

It is expected Bush will now deliver the announcement in his native language, Englibberish – a complex fusion of American English and Seussian gibberish. Stay tuned…details to come.


I know you have been curious, so let me reassure you that, at long last, the final remnants of my Summerfest binge have been permanently expunged from my system. It required a Herculean strain, and proved nearly as difficult to produce as WMD in Iraq. But in the end, everything worked out – so to speak. Thanks for your concern.


On the heels of his liberating exoneration from child molestation charges, Michael Jackson has undergone what his publicist claims is “one final round of elective cosmetic alterations.”

“Michael has never felt comfortable in his own skin,” said long-time fan Carlita Williams. “If changing his appearance makes him feel better about himself, then I’m all for it.”

Following a week of intensive surgical procedures, the king of pop is said to be recovering well. He even made it out for a brief appearance to greet well-wishers at his new estate yesterday, and was captured in this photo posing with an eager fan.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Just curious.

Which one moves the fastest?
Lance in France
Smokin' Potter
Jude Law on his nanny
Kirstie Alley at a BBQ

Free polls from


I love it when the people write!


"Hi Terry. My boss HATES combined made up words. For example:

racino = racetrack and casino
shoppertainment = shopping mall with entertainment options
webinar = online seminar
jazztini = we dont even know what that is

I was wondering if you could post this on your blog to drum up more of these combo words out there. I'd like to use them more to secure my place in the unemployement line.

Holly ~ your loyal fan for many years. Keep em coming."


Holly – I put some of my best people on it and we have a short list of real winners. Use at your own risk:

Chesticles – a.k.a “man-boobs”

Constirrhea – Sever constipation which, when finally unblocked, unleashes a storm of diarrhea

Lentertainment – The mindless things you do to pass time when you’ve given up beer for Lent.

Genitalevision – Late-night, soft-core porn, a.k.a. Skin-e-max

Popcornholing – What happens on your first night in prison

Vagitative state – That dazed, post-coital feeling of bliss

Cinemasochism – sitting through a painfully bad movie, like Be Cool

Feculling the herd – The routine firing of employees with shit for brains

Fart Deco – Those skid marks in your underpants

Coup d’etwat – A sexual encounter with someone “way out of your league”

Snorgasm – a.k.a. The nocturnal emission

Cuervocalization – Asinine comment made at the height of good tequila buzz

Manscaping - to neatly trim the Chestlands or Back Forest for appearance

FlashBlack – Any reference to Michael Jackson prior to his “Bad” album

And then here are some tamer ones (but good ones) I found in a SPAM e-mail that purported to contain winners from The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational. Readers were supposedly asked to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Who knows how true any of that is - but these are worth reading.

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15 Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating

Anyone like to add anything? Click on the comment link below and let us know!


I do a lot of work for credit card companies and think you should be aware of some of the ways they are raping your wallet. Oh, yes they are.

Let me start you off with a little statistic. Okay – a big statistic. The credit card industry collected $43 billion in just fees last year alone. Yes, 43 BILLION dollars in one year in fees. Fees, people. Fees. Check your statement EVERY time because there are plenty of ways they’ll get you. Let’s examine a common one that a lot of people don’t think about: the balance transfer fee.

It must seem like every day that you’ll get an offer in the mail for a new credit card offering you an incredible rate on transferred balances. Sometimes they’ll offer you 0% for up to a whole year…or more! Of course, there’s typically a fee for this “service” hidden in the small print – and a lot of people are too lazy to do the math. Follow the footnotes to the bottom of the page, or to the reverse side for all the details. Do the math and you’ll likely discover that the savings you’d enjoy by transferring balances will be offset by the costs incurred in balance transfer fees.

So why do you keep getting these offers if they’re not that great? Because people keep responding to them. A smart shopper will wait for an offer that boasts of NO BALANCE TRANSFER FEES. Only then is it safe to move a balance from a higher rate card to a promotional 0% APR, provided the go-to rate is competitive.

What else? Well, chances are you’ve missed a payment date or two in your life. We all do it – set the bill on the counter…it gets buried by other bills, paper plates, newspapers, wads of cash we haven’t burned yet, etc. By the time you find the fucking thing, it’s due yesterday. So you write a check and hastily wish it off in the mail.

Big mistake. Better you call customer service and have them deduct a payment electronically. It can cost you up to $12 to have it done this way, but it’s better than the $29-$39 late fee you’re going to get hit with for missing the due date. Not only THAT, but a single missed payment date can trigger an interest rate hike. Suddenly, that innocent slip of the mind means you’ll be paying more in interest for as long as you carry a balance – a not-so-insignificant period of time also known as “forever.”

Speaking of missing payments and rate hikes, check out this popular credit card scam. It’s called the Universal Default Penalty. What it does is enable credit card companies to scour your credit report for missed payments of ANY KIND. Yes, my friend – if you’ve missed ANY payments, your credit card issuer has the authority to hike your interest rate – even if you have a perfect repayment history with them! The justification for this is that a missed payment of any kind means you are more of a credit risk. And here’s the part that’s shadier than Robert Novak. They’ll do it without warning, without notification, and without explanation. You’ll just open your bill one day, as I did last month, to discover your APR on purchases is now 14.9%. I know because this happened to me just last month. Here's a recap of the ensuing drama...

After uttering the phrase “What the Fuck?” several times with increasing disbelief and volume, I phoned MBNA America to inform them of my desire to “cancel my account right now.” I was transferred to a customer retention specialist who attempted to butter me up by using my first name several times in conversation. It did more to piss me off than anything else.

“Hello, Terry…how are you today? Terry, I see here that you’d like to leave us. We sure don’t like to hear that. Can I ask you, Terry, why you’d like to cancel your card?”

I wanted to throw a holy fit, but decided to keep it cool – after all, there was a possibility the call was being monitored for quality assurance purposes.

“Well you obviously already have my name, so I’m guessing you can see my APR, too, which I’m sure you’d agree isn’t even remotely competitive,” I remarked.

“Oh, let’s see here. Yes – I see you’ve got a 14.9% on purchases…”

“I do now.”

“What was that?” he asked quickly.

“I said I do NOW. I HAD a much lower rate, but today it’s 14.9% for some reason. I don’t know exactly why it’s 14.9%, but I do know that I don’t want this card any more for that reason. Please cancel my card now – I’m in a hurry.”

“Sure, Terry. But can I ask you quickly…what if I could lower your rate for you?”

“You’d have to lower it quite a bit,” I shot back knowingly. Threaten to cancel your card and they always lower your rate. That’s because credit card companies know it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.

“Well, I could give you 0% for a year, then knock 3 points off the go-to rate?” he asked confidently.

“Interesting,” I noted…pretending to ponder his proposal. “So if I QUALIFY for a 0% APR for a full year, and an 11.9% go-to rate after that, why is my rate 14.9%? Help me understand because I’ve been a cardholder for 4 years and have never missed a payment.”

“Well, they have these computer models that calculate everything. All I know is I can get you 0% for a year today if you stay with us.”

Naturally, I accepted the offer. It’s hard to argue with the big zero. (Alan Colmes has been trying, with little success, for years.)

One more tip in shopping for a credit card that’s right for you – a fixed rate is usually better than a variable rate. Rarely will a credit card company LOWER your APR – but they’ll be more than happy to RAISE it if the Prime Rate goes up. The prime rate is the cost of money to banks. Variable rates are tethered to the Prime Rate. So if the Prime Rate goes up, so will your variable APR. A fixed rate is not tethered to the Prime Rate. So if you’ve got a 9.99% FIXED APR on balance transfers for life, you don’t have to worry about your company jacking the rate up to 13.99% when the Prime Rate jumps.

Finally, if you haven’t done so in awhile, I recommend calling up all of your credit card companies to cancel your cards. Tell them your APR is too high and you no longer want it. Don’t worry – they won’t actually cancel your card. They’ll offer you all sorts of incentive to remain a customer – lower rates for which you are already qualified, for will never receive unless you threaten to leave.

This is way more than you wantedto read about credit cards, so I'm going to stop.