Friday, December 16, 2005


The winter solstice is fast approaching and I wanted to remind everyone to eat their cheese.

Because the earth is tilted on its axis, the northern and southern hemispheres do not enjoy equal access to the sun’s light and heat year round. So we have to SHARE. If only the folks in the Middle East could work on the same principle, there’d be a whole lot more peace. Half the year Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, the other half the year it belongs to the Muslims. See how the earth does it with the sun? It’s easy!

But back to our place in the cosmos. While one half of our spinning orb is blessed with extra sunshine this time of the year, the other is cursed with bonus darkness. And that added darkness can really add up. In fact, a lot of people end up suffering from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder this time of year. It’s a condition caused by lack of exposure to natural sunlight…combined, of course, with all the normal shit that makes this time of year suck: long lines, bad traffic, crappy customer service, slush, sub-zero wind chills, retail stampedes, strollers at the mall, annoying commercial jingles playing over and over and over again, advertisers trying to convince me that giving a Lexus as a gift is a good idea, etc. Never mind the decrease in sunlight, rampant seasonal consumerism is depressing enough!

But Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and people suffering from it report having many of the symptoms of clinical depression:

- Constant buzzkill sensation
- Excessive sleeping
- Excessive eating
- Weight gain
- Craving for strarchy, sugary foods
- Lack of motivation
- General intolerance for Ben Affleck

If this short list describes you, fear not – the symptoms typically subside come March. That's when panic usually kicks in as you realize you've got just 60 days to squeeze into a bathing suit.

So why is S.A.D. such a common phenomenon? As the seasons change, so do our circadian rhythms. Circadian Rhythms are the body’s normal changes over a 24-hour period. Most of these changes are automatic, controlled by a biological clock we aren’t even aware is ticking. Your clock helps regulate things like body temperature, hormones, sleep patterns, feeding patterns, cell regeneration, and much more. As our exposure to sunlight changes, our biorhythms adjust accordingly. For example, the body’s level of melatonin typically increases with darkness, making us feel naturally drowsy. If it gets darker earlier, we get sleepier earlier as a result. That’s one of the reasons we feel so damn lethargic in the dead of winter. As the sun goes down, we find ourselves POOPING out instead of going out.

Here’s an interesting side note. Through light deprivation experiments, scientists have learned something I find creepy. Our biological clocks actually operate on a 25-hour cycle, not 24. So it’s only natural that we’re gong to be off from time to time. Or is it? Why are we set to a 25 hour cycle when our days are and always have been 24 hours? Is that a magic number of some kind? There’s a screenplay in this – I can feel it.

Anyhow, for those of us stuck in the northern hemisphere this time of year, we’re fast approaching what will be our farthest point from the sun. It occurs every year between December 20 and 22 and is called the winter solstice. You and I know it as the shortest day of the year. In Chicago, there will be just 9 hours and 20 minutes of sunlight on that day. Just remember to eat your cheese and you'll be fine. I recommend Taco Bell. In fact I'm rewriting the lyrics to Silver Bells to pay tribute to the fast food palace.

Taco Bells. Taco Bells. It's feeding time for my belly.
Nachos please. Extra Cheese. Soon I will be very full.

Hark to the Bells!

Here comes old man winter! Hide! No - don't hide. Hit him with a snowball in the head. Yeah! Fuck you, old man winter!

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Seems like everywhere you turn these days you're faced with more bad news. Postage is going up to .39 cents in January. Interest rates are still on the rise. People dying over here. People dying over there. Fires, floods, and famine. Abduction, murder, and conspiracy. Job cuts. Pollution. Terror. Price gouging. Deadly tuna. Gridlock. Red tape. Filibusters. Nuclear threats. Scandal. Rape. Arrest. Conviction. Execution. Environmental disaster. Health risks. Epidemics. Warning after warning after warning.

For those of you sick of being inundated daily with news stories full of fear and smear, here’s a little good news for a change. It’s a web site that aggregates good news only. Nice to see some folks are looking on the bright side for a change. After all, there’s a lot of good going on out there, too!

Thanks to Dr. Faber for sharing this gem.


Who came up with the phrase “screwed the pooch”? Someone used it the other day here at the office and it got me thinking, how did making a blunder become associated with having sex with a dog? I’m not an expert on bestiality, but it would seem to me that if you’re having relations with a canine, you KNOW you’re having relations with a canine. Make no mistake about it – that’s an intentional act.

“They printed off the wrong presentation deck before heading to the airport? That sucks – sounds like they really screwed the pooch this time.”

A statement like this one doesn’t really seem to work, as sex with a dog doesn’t signify “catastrophic blunder” to me. “Screw the pooch” sounds more like an intentional act so embarrassing the committing individual can’t tell anyone about it. As in:

“High Grant got caught soliciting oral from a prostitute? Man, did he screw the pooch!”

That seems a little more accurate to me…but in such cases we walk a fine line between the literal and the metaphorical. “Screw the pooch” is simply not an easy expression to pull off, which is why I recommend this colorful phrase be retired and replaced with something a little more universal in appeal – like the standard go-to phrase “fucked up.”

That way there’s no confusion over whether there was an error made or whether someone just did something grossly unacceptable, like pork the pet.

If someone told me this guy "screwed the pooch," I'd believe it!

For your files, I did look up the origin of the phrase and it turns out it's a derivative of the old phrase "fuck the dog," which originally meant to waste time, or loaf around on the job. In addition to being a little more abrasive, the original expression doesn't work so well in its intended context. A friend just called me at work and asked what I was up to. "Not a whole lot," I said. "Just fucking the dog."

That opened up a line of questions I'd rather not get into. All you need to know is that confusion can be safely avoided by sticking to more widely accepted figures of speech.


I’ve got a pair of quitters on this morning and they’ve been driving me up the fucking wall. Don't play coy with me - you know what I’m talking about. Quitters ... older socks that no longer have the elastic wherewithal to stay up around your calves. Nobody likes a quitter, Danny.

Yeah…all morning these bastards have been sliding down my calves and hugging my Achilles like an ankle scrunchie. It totally sucks. I’m walking around like I’m doing leg lifts with 4oz. cotton ankle weights. I keep pulling them back up in the hope that “this time” they’ll stay up. But they never do. Within minutes they ooze back down my leg and open up like a Venus Flytrap.

It’s definitely time for new socks.

Speaking of which, socks are item numero uno on my Christmas list. Yes, CHRISTMAS list. Not holiday list. Strange how socks were the last thing in the world I wanted to open up on Christmas morning – and here I am today ASKING for them. Sign numer #425 that I'm getting old, right between a sunburned scalp and random acts of flatulence. I still remember my great grandmother giving me a large package of white tube socks when I was just a pup. I don’t think I could have been more disappointed. Good thing I was taught at an early age to feign excitement in the face of great disappointment. In hindsight, I may have been a little over the top.

“Socks? Socks?!?! SWEET! Socks! I LOVE socks. I can’t wait to try these on!”

And I didn’t wait to try them on, to the olfactory displeasure of the entire extended familial unit. I’ve always been good at that…trying on gifts of clothing right then and there. It’s a risk, to be sure, because you never really know how something is going to fit. But I’ve always known how to mitigate those risks – rolling the sleeves up, sucking the waist in, tucking, fluffing, etc. Sometimes I’d try something on knowing full well it would be the only time I’d ever be caught dead in it. But that’s a courtesy I've never minded extending in the spirit of the season. I'm considerate like that.

"This is the coolest belt ever! No, it's not too big. I'll just have to eat more!"

Fortunately, socks are easy. I don’t bother matching them most days, so what they look like matters little. All I ask is that they hold on for one more day. There's a little Wilson Philips action for ya. You love it, don't lie.

If you’d like to send me some socks, or a CHRISTMAS card, I’d LOVE to get one from you. Just mail your crisp dollar bill to:

My favorite monkey, AYNtK
1460 N. Sandburg Terrace, #2009
Chicago, IL 60610

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


There’s a lot of shit online these days that makes absolutely no sense to me. But this link speaks for itself. I don’t know how you teach judo to a dog, but I would imagine it takes a great deal of patience. These canines kick ass!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Leaving my apartment, I noticed the headline on this morning's Chicago Tribune lying outside my neighbor's door.

How safe is tuna?

How SAFE is TUNA? Not safe at all, I'd say. We keep catching them and eating them. I sure wouldn't want to be a tuna fish in today's world. In addition to all the bigger fish and sharks out there making meals out of the shiny bastards, they've got to keep a big eye out for insatiable land-borne predators who keep dragging nets through their backyards - harvesting their children so we can hungrily mash them into salad. Yeah - now is not a good time to be a tuna. Tuna is not safe at all.

What? Oh. It doesn't? I get it now. Ha. I'm so silly. How safe is tuna to EAT. I get it. Why didn't they just say that in the first place? That changes the meaning entirely.

Wait a second. How safe is TUNA? Shit! I eat tuna all the time. I've even been working on a secret holiday recipe for extra creamy tuna butter bread spread. It's going to be fishtacular. Nothing like a tuna butter and caviar jelly sandwich!

I'd better read this article here. I hope it's online.

It is. Okay, let's see. WHAT?!?! Tuna contains unsafe levels of metal? Come on. Nevermind how safe tuna is, how UNSAFE is metal? Metal is tough and hearty - chock full of the good stuff, right?

For YEARS, medical experts have been touting fish as a good low-fat source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, presumed to help prevent heart disease. Now it's loaded with mercury and unhealthy. Is this story for real or just another media scare drummed up to create widespread public panic for no reason? Hard to tell these days. All I know is I'm not going to stop eating tuna until refrigerator magnets start sticking to my tummy. Of course, by then I'm sure it'll be too late. And you just know someone is gonna sue, to the tuna a lot of money.

Maybe then the tuna will be safe again. To swim, that is.

Hey Cletus, what's all this business I hear about tuna?

I don't know, Ralphie, but I don't like it. If we can't eat tuna anymore, we may need to consider dragging down some of those curious bipeds always handing us poisoned fish. Fuckers.


I have no idea what this is, why it is so amusing, or how it managed to keep me occupied for so long. But I share it with you because you need to know it is out there. Thanks to my Windy City neighbors Cindy & Steve for this time-waster…

(Hint: Make sure you click and drag to make the most out of this seemingly pointless cyber-experience!)