Friday, August 25, 2006


to me!

Yeah, that's right. Old as the hills. Moving on in age. Entering the twilight of my youth. Actually, did that about a decade ago.

Last Thursday I celebrated another spin around our glorious sun with a trip to Six Flags Great America. Birthday celebrations are really for the kids, so I figured why not spend mine pretending I still am one? I had a blast whipping around on roller coasters and other rides, eating junk food, and playing carnival games. I even pouted a little bit when it was time to leave, stamping my foot, crossing my arms, and screaming, "No! I'm not leaving and you can't make me."

After being removed by security, I fell asleep in the car on the way home and had to be carried into the house.

Okay - so that's not quite how it went. But I did have a great time and highly recommend you connect with your inner child next time you notice the digits turning over. In the week since I've been jamming that old Cracker tune "Happy Birthday to Me" over and over again in my car. Man, were those guys fucked up or what?

Love the lyrics:

I was having a good sleep
in my car
In the...parking lot of the
Showboat Casino hotel

I say, "I remember you
you drive like a PTA mother"
You brought me draft beer
in a plastic cup

I'm feeling thankful
for the small
I'm feeling thankful
for the small

Happy...Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
and to you

Happy...Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
and to you-ah

I'm feeling thankful
for the small
I'm feeling thankful
for the small

I remember you
I crashed your wedding
With crepe paper
and some Halloween candy

And sometimes
I wish I were Catholic
I don't know why
I guess I'm happy to see your face
at a time like this

Happy...Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
and to you-ah

Happy...Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
and to you-ah

Happy Birthday, baby, to me
Happy Birthday, to me
Happy Birthday, to me
Happy Birthday, to me


That shit kills me every time.

Anyhow, I'm feeling thankful for the small things today. For example, the little hair I still have left on my head. My little sister. The little sized cans of Coke they're making now that are the perfect serving size for me. Little By Little, that kick ass Oasis tune. And, of course, the little bit of time you share with me every once in a while when you are bored out of your skull and wondering what that silly monkey has typed up recently.

Just some nonsense about a penis pump and a photograph of a roving horde of naked people. You know - the usual.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Here is the scene from just outside of Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia where Federal officials have instituted its controversial new pre-flight screening policy. Passengers can be seen abandoning their carry-on luggage so that it can be inspected by police dogs while spot cavity searches are performed. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said the skies will be much safer when all airports conform to this strict new policy, and denied speculation that the added inconvenience of stripping completely naked will discourage people from flying.

"It's been a pretty smooth transition so far. A few erections here and there caused a stir initially, but for the most part everything has gone according to plan. And no terrorist incidents, which is always the most important thing."

I AM 1,073,578,660 SECONDS OLD!

Wow. I had no idea. That's got to be wrong because I've been counting out loud for two days now and I passed that number a couple hours ago.

Check out this kick ass birthday calendar site. It has all kinds of information about the day and year you were born.

It even listed my birth tree. Yeah - a fucking tree! I had no idea I had a birth tree. It's like being adopted and finding out who your real parents were. Actually, it's probably nothing like that. But it was exciting. Check it out for yourself.

I am a Leo, born on a Thursday, and my life path number is an 8. I have no idea what that means, but I really get along with 6's apparently. Oh yeah, and then there's my tree.

Cedar, the Confidence. Of rare beauty, knows how to adapt, likes luxury, of good health not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, determined, impatient, wants to impress others, many talents, industrious, healthy, optimism, waiting for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.


You're going to love this one.

Mardin Amin was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport after joking that bag inspectors had discovered a "bomb" in his luggage. The object in question turned out to be a penis pump. It's not mine, baby - I swear!

According to news sources, a female security guard was rifling through his things when she identified the foreign, suspect object. She asked Mardin what it was and claims he told her it was "a bomb." So she asked him again to identify the object and, again, he explained that it was a bomb. Mardin, who was traveling with his mother to Turkey, was promptly arrested and now faces prison time. Like most men would, Mardin chose to get arrested for plotting a terrorist attack rather than admit to owning a penis pump. Really, baby - it's not my bag!

And all in front of his poor mother!

The defense's side of the story is a little different. They argue that Mardin had actually whispered "a pump," under his breath so as not to draw attention to the fact that his penis was in training. When asked a second time, he again said it was "a pump," but the security guard mistook "a pump" for "a bomb" and placed him in custody. I must admit that this version of the story does sound more plausible than the first one. Why couldn't he have just explained to her what it was for?

"It is a device used for blowing things up."

On second thought...

I just want to know why he needed to pack it in his carry-on bag. Every time I try to use mine mid-flight the attendants tell me to put it away.


Pluto was stripped of its planet status today, rendering all science books written since 1918 obsolete. Can you believe that?

One day you're a planet, the next day you're not. Kind of like Star Jones.

Let's hope this deplanetization stops here, because Earth could be next! Then what will we call ourselves? "Planet" Earth would no longer fit. It would be something like Orbiting Chunk of Matter Earth. Doesn't have quite the same ring.

Fellow Earlthlings, fret not - for your status as planetary dwellars has been secured. After all, we're the ones calling the shots. We can kick Jupiter, the largest of them all, right out of the Planet Club if we want to - and they couldn't do anything about it! Hell yeah! Scary, but I imagine this is what Dick Cheney sounds like behind closed doors.

Totally off topic, I have verified for you that Paul Wolfowitz is NOT the antichrist. My grandmother once declared this and I was so moved by her stoic prescience I had to look into the matter. Turns out the antichrist will be young and dashing, without children, and hail from Europe. So Paul is off the hook.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


No one's ever mistaken me for a genius.

They've actually been right every time!


Oh Mylanta! Have you seen what my favorite television show is doing this season??? They've completely lost their fucking minds.

Survivor is planning a new "twist" to Season 13, set in the Cook Islands (scheduled to premiere on September 14th), and it's a controversial one. They're dividing up the tribes by race.

For the first time, 20 castaways will be divided up into 4 teams by ethnic background. There will be the White team, the African-American team, the Hispanic team, and the Asian American team. Is anyone else cringing at the discomfort this is likely to create? I can't imagine how this is going to unfold, but it can't be good. Can it?

I know this may sound like another one of my far-fetched brainchildren taken to absurd heights, but I assure you the report is true. It was announced on this morning's Early Show and the controversial concept has already got people talking. As a series-long fan of the show, I'll likely watch out of unwavering loyalty, but I must admit I have my reservations. The entire stunt seems like a cheap way to create tension, drama, and - of course - ratings, at the potential expense of racial harmony. But Producer Mark Burnett is a reality programming wizard, so perhaps I ought to give him the benefit of the doubt until I've seen how this touchy twist is handled. I just can't help but have questions.

Are viewers supposed to be "rooting" for their race? Are we supposed to be analyzing the truths and misconceptions behind racial stereotypes? And how are we to view this objectively, denying our many prejudices? It feels awkard to even think about.

Interestingly, they chose not to have an Arab/Muslim American team. We can only imagine the politically incorrect ways producers might have envisioned that playing out. Suicide drownings. Jungle Jihad. Booby-trapped immunity challenges. A deadly "merge." Better we stick to races we can SAFELY stereotype in today's delicate political climate.

I think the key here, as is the case in most reality shows, will be in the editing. How will they cram three days of footage into 50 minutes? Past contestants have complained they were unfairly portrayed by selective editing. What will they choose to show us THIS season? What exactly are they hoping will be revealed? That we're all really the same when facing the elements? Or that the stereotypes are true? Let me tackle the controversy head on by establishing some of those now.

The White team: This is the control group by which to measure the other groups: plenty of in-fighting, lying, and ego clashes.

The African-American team: Fares poorly in water challenges, quicker and stronger in other challenges, lazy around camp

The Hispanic team: Super hard-working, tight-knit group, will have the nicest looking camp, lacks leadership

The Asian-American team: Exceptional problem-solving skills, proud, hard-working, but can't steer the damn raft for shit

These lists, which I offer in jest, could go on and on given all of the racial stereotypes prevalent in society today. Is this season's "twist" meant to expose them, or crush them underfoot?

We'll all know soon enough - when the tribe has spoken...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


A businessman in India admitted himself to a New Delhi hospital this week to have his penis removed. One of them, anyhow.

The “gifted” 24-year-old reportedly had an extremely rare medical condition called diphallus, or penile duplication. What made his case even harder to swallow, pardon the visual, was the fact that both of his members were, ahem, sexually active. In most cases of diphallus, as I am sure you are well aware, one of the limbs is for decoration only. But apparently this guy always delivered a double shipment of wood, likely to the surprise and exasperation of a very confused partner.

According to reports, he wanted to get married and have a “normal” sex life, hence his cutback in the cock department. There are only around 100 reported cases of diphallus in the world, making it extremely rare. It is known to occur among one in around 5.5 million men. So this guy is literally one a million…or five million, as it happens.

And for some reason I can’t help but think of the future this guy could have had in porn, starting with his own line of films:

Doublefucker Productions


Two For the Honey

Linkin’ Logjam

Double Sixes

Dueling Handjobs

Twice as Hard

Cock & Awe

Wonder Twins

Two the Hard Way

Salami Sandwich

The Daily Double

The DoublePecker

Johnson & Johnson

Monday, August 21, 2006


Researchers of the placebo effect have been looking into the mysterious power of positive thinking. It turns out that belief actually alters brain chemistry, enabling patients who THINK they are receiving medical treatment to get better, even if they are taking little more than a sugar pill. Another way of looking at it: you're not really sick until you believe you are.

People who look on the bright side tend to be healthier and live longer than their pessimistic counter parts. Is it because healthier people tend to be happier, or because keeping a positive frame of mind staves off illness and depression?

Recent studies have revealed that anticipation of relief from a placebo can be enough to improve someone's condition. I find it curious that a society so obsessed with pharmaceutical answers doesn't really need drugs at all. At least not in the capacity that we think we do. Certainly, some drugs are able to do what they say they do - but at what cost? I tend to error on the side of Tom Cruise here (which pretty much makes me insane, I know)...drugs in many cases are more harmful than they are helpful and should only be taken when absolutely necessary.

For most everything else, that pill isn't what's making you feel better - it's the BELIEF that the pill is making you better that's really making the difference. The pill, meanwhile, is altering your biochemistry in ways nature never intended.

Check out this article on the placebo effect for more.

Meanwhile, turn that frown upside down!


Here’s an extremely revealing look into the mysterious world of magic.


According to statistics, Americans work harder than any other industrialized people – and more than our medieval ancestors! The reason is simple. Getting ahead in our material world is based upon the idea that the sky is the limit. You get paid for the work you do, so if you agree to do more work, you can get more money. Have five jobs if you want. Go nuts. But money's not the valuable commodity. There's something infinitely more precious than money - and people are spending all of it chasing down money.

Did you know that Americans work, on average, nearly 9 weeks more every single year than our Western European counterparts? It may prompt you to ask the question, as it did me, “What the fuck is wrong with us?”

But that’s America. We’re addicted to work.

In advertising, which is both a mirror and shaper of culture, happiness is tethered to the consumption of material goods. In subdivisions from sea to sparkling sea, achievement is measured in purchase power. Status is determined by what you have, not what you do. The people we need the most, it seems, are the ones who get paid the least. Our values are more than a little askew, if you ask me.

My dad once explained that people get paid what they’re worth to whoever is paying them. I considered that bit of wisdom incredibly simple advice, yet profoundly true. People are commodities like anything else, and worth what someone is willing to pay for them. But I’ve found that’s not entirely true in the case of human resources – most people are either getting paid more or less than they are actually worth to the company for which they work.

I know from past experience that I have been both undervalued and overvalued. At my first job I did not bill enough hours to pay my salary – which was pretty damn meager to begin with, as salaries at first jobs typically are. I actually hung onto to that position for far longer than the agency should have kept me on, largely because I am a likeable person. My boss had actually told me over lunch one day that he couldn’t envision ever firing me because I was “cool.” Of course, 7 months of sitting around with nothing to do later, he had to let me go. I was a little hurt at the time, but in hindsight I understand.

At my next agency, I worked hard to prove the true measure of my worth. I busted my ass and made myself an indispensable piece of the company puzzle. And when I marched in to ask for a 10K raise, I got it. And when I ended up leaving a year and half later, they wanted to know if there were anything they could do financially to change my mind. Turns out I had been worth more to them than they were paying me – which was a bittersweet thing to discover. Sweet because it meant I had been valued and my contributions appreciated; bitter because I’d missed out on a lot of dinero.

But that’s the market system at work – people getting paid what they are worth. And, sadly, unless you have the nuts to march in and ask for a raise, you probably won’t find out what you’re really worth until the day you leave. That’s when they call, raise, or fold.

According to polls and surveys, most people believe they are not getting paid what they are worth. It’s hard to put an exact number on something like that, but the general consensus is that whatever our salary is, it should be more. I don’t know where this sense of entitlement comes from, but it’s pretty widespread. I think it comes from the fact that we see other people doing well around us and believe we should be doing just as well, if not better.

“Can you believe they just got a brand new Mercedes? What does he do that’s so important? I’m more important than that guy. I should have a new Mercedes, too!”

And this logic makes us unhappy at work. The fact is, society and the business world value different professions more than others. It’s not that other people are more or less deserving of their salaries, it’s that they are willing and able to perform different corporate functions. Take sales, for example. You can make an absolute killing in sales if you’re willing and able to do it. Sales people can make 2X-4X more in a year than I do, which has prompted me to wonder if I chose the wrong profession. But the fact is, I am not willing OR able to hold a position in sales (largely because I hate people). Sales is a tough gig, which is why those who can do it well are so well rewarded.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the people in the top 1% tend to share a pretty similar professional background. That doesn’t mean they’re smarter or more deserving or performing a more vital job – it just means that the company they work for values their contribution a lot more. So then it’s really no wonder that the people who get paid the most in America are people who turn money into more money, protect money, and use legal loopholes to find money: corporate officers, financial brokers, real estate magnates, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, and the like – the suit and tie kings of capitalization, if you will.

While we all agree that teachers are vitally important, too – I think the proof is in the paycheck.

Money matters more than education.

Why? Because money is what sustains us now. Aside from a handful of Amish communities, few Americans are self-sufficient enough to meet all of their needs on their own. Money means access to food, clothes, and shelter. And the more money you have, the better food, clothes, and shelter you can get – from a pantry-sized apartment in the projects to a high-rise penthouse downtown.

There are basically four ways a person can come about money:

- Win it – A rare and wonderful way
- Inherit it – The family way
- Steal it – The dishonest way
- Earn it – The good, old-fashioned way

Winning it. From slot machines to sports betting to online poker rooms to the State Lottery, there’s no shortage of people hoping to win a chunk of change. But winning enough money to sustain a comfortable lifestyle is not common, and most people know better than to expect they will win enough money to quit working. Plus, what’s enough money to quit working these days anyhow? A million bucks sure won’t get what it used to. A nice house in a nice Chicago neighborhood goes for a million bucks these days.

Inheriting it. One of the most bankrupting facts of life is that you can’t take your fortune to the afterlife. So people bequeath their estates to surviving loved ones in an effort to ensure their money, and loved ones, are well taken care of. To those fortunate enough to be born into money, the rules to the American game are a little different. Working is often optional, as large sums of money have a way of multiplying on their own. A good financial advisor and a trust fund are all one needs to enjoy a life of celebrity, designer drugs, high fashion, and cosmetic enhancements.

On inheriting it. I knew a guy named Nick who strolled into our office every day looking for someone to go out to lunch with. He’d stand at your desk for an hour talking about his weekend as if you had as little to do as he did. Nick had a trust fund he knew was maturing in a couple of years. In an effort to teach Nick the value of a dollar, his parents demanded that he take a job somewhere doing something. He took a job doing nothing and, instead, made it impossible for other people to work by standing at their desk and talking about his weekend. My boss once uttered as Nick left for lunch without us, “Man, if that guy didn’t eat he’d have nothing to do.” I remember I was envious of Nick then, but at least I had something to do – and a good reason to do it.

Stealing it. Some people find ways to scam other people out of their money, with or without them knowing it. From massive corporate heists like the Enron scandal to a good, old-fashioned smash and grab, there sure are plenty of ways to steal. As long as there has been money there have been people willing to take it from us. We live in a nation of laws, which, sadly, some believe are meant to be broken.

Earning it. We work hard so we have the freedom to go places, and to buy nicer things, and to live in bigger, better homes, and to provide our children with more than what we had growing up. But are we ever really satisfied? Where do our aspirations end? What’s good enough?

Everywhere you look, the message to our children is that money makes people happy. More money equals more access and better things – which must mean more happiness, right? But money doesn’t really make people happy. Money actually makes it harder for people to enjoy the things that used to make them happy. It’s really no wonder 9 out of 10 kids prefer the Chicken Soft Taco at Taco Bell to the Filet Oscar at Smith & Wollensky. The value of eating either meal is the same to a kid because eating is about being hungry and doing something about it. It’s not about being able to afford the experience of an expensive piece of meat.

As I get older, the things around me get nicer and nicer. A nicer car. Nicer clothes. Nicer meals at nicer restaurants. I used to get a great deal of satisfaction out of things that cost significantly less money – but now I find little satisfaction in those same things because I keep upgrading to something “better.” Could I be as happy now living in the place I was living in just 5 years ago? Eating at the same places I ate 5 years ago? Driving the same car I had 5 years ago? My tastes keep maturing, and getting more expensive as I become accustomed to a higher standard of living.

Today I drink expensive imported beer, drive an expensive imported car, eat at expensive 4-star restaurants, and buy expensive brand-name clothes I’d never even heard of five years ago. I guess that’s the American dream. I guess I’m supposed to feel “better off” now than I was then. But am I really? Is it easier for me to find happiness now than it was then?

Every once in a while I like reverting back to the simple life. I like turning off all of the games and gadgets. I’ll take a walk over to the beach with a crossword puzzle, sit on a breaker, and just be for a couple of hours. I’ll listen to the waves. I’ll admire the horizon. I’ll let the wind have its way with what little hair I have left and actually be completely happy doing it – happy having an experience that costs me nothing.

It’s in moments like these that I can appreciate the value of a commodity far more precious than money. It’s a commodity we are born with, spend so much of during childhood just having fun, but come to appreciate less and less as we get older.

It's called TIME.

You can’t win it.
You can’t inherit it.
You can’t steal it.
And you can’t earn it by working any harder.

All you can do it enjoy it while you’ve got it and hope there’s enough left to do everything you hope to do while you’re here – in this roller-coaster filled amusement park called life.