Saturday, May 31, 2008

Microsoft to the Rescue

Okay, I admit it. I subscribe to Kim Komando's Cool Site of the Day. But I read it just for the articles, never for those fetching photos of Kimmie in Hawaii. Honest. Besides, she's married. To Barry. Who is a total tool. Kimmie deserves better.

Dear Kimmie

But I digress. Today's Cool Site was, Microsoft's latest attempt to control my life. Once they figured out people were blogging without their permission or even involvement, and they couldn't buy the reigning blog site, Blogger - which, to make things worse, was bought by their nemesis, Google, the Don't Be Evil Empire - they published this "helper" software, a product of their busy Tits on a Bull Division.

With Windows Live, you can write and preview blog posts offline! (Shhhhhhhhhhh ... you can do this without their software, but keep it to yourself, or risk having Windows Vista crash your computer. Oh, right, it does that anyway - for some other undocumented sin, no doubt.)

Here's the best part: By using Windows Live, you can more easily share with Microsoft your Blogger login information, which enables them more easily to bring their nemesis, the Don't Be Evil Empire, to its knees.

Just for fun - and because I'm a total geek - I am writing this entry using Windows Live, which is like breaking into Pravda and using their presses to print anti-Putin rants.

Viva la Revolucion!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sonicare Barrier

In the never-ending battle against plaque and gingivitis, my dentist told me to get a Sonicare toothbrush, which apparently uses the same principle to clean your teeth as those gizmos that use sound waves to clean your jewelry. Although I don't have any gold in my mouth, having opted for the Russian-roulette quality of Mercury, it's good to know that if I ever do, my Sonicare toothbrush will make it as shiny as Fitty Cent's grill.


Anyway, I try this toothbrush. While my mouth has that clean, tingly feeling, the unit is a pain in the ass to use. For one thing, toothpaste goes flying everywhere. The only better way to ensure that every surface of my bathroom and person is covered with Colgate would be to apply a couple of tubes to my dog and then tickle her.

And then there's the timer. The ever-helpful Sonicare people have built into the unit a handy two-minute timer to make absolutely certain that every surface of my bathroom and person gets a good thick coat.

Because the timer also represents some ideal of brushing effectiveness, once I turn the damn thing on, duty forbids me to turn it off myself. If I do, the Tooth Fairy might come over and bitch-slap me. So I let it rip, but when it turns itself off I'm so surprised I usually drop it -- which is good, in a way, just in case I missed a spot on my bathroom or person.

But I finally figured out how to solve all my problems with the Sonicare: don't turn it on. The added bonus is that I get to feel like Al Gore, knowing that the unit's lack of power consumption may not save a tree, but it's good for a small weed, at least.

There is one small drawback, however, but I've solved that one, too: right before I brush, I wash down a handful of amphetamines with several cups of coffee and I'm good to go.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Emergency Measures

Note: From time to time I post stuff I didn't have anything to do with, but that I find funny. (If you know the source, let me know so I can give proper credit.)

The U.S. government has a website that's another attempt at scare-mongering in the style of the old "duck and cover" advice after WWII. The fun thing is that these pictures are so ambiguous they could mean anything! Here are a few interpretations:

man-on-fire If you have set yourself on fire, do not run.
terrorism If you spot terrorism, blow your anti-terrorism whistle. If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud.
arrow If you spot a terrorist arrow, pin it against the wall with your shoulder.
sprayed If you are sprayed with an unknown substance, stand and think about it instead of seeing a doctor.
flashlight Use your flashlight to lift the walls right off of you!
wash-hands The proper way to eliminate smallpox is to wash with soap, water and at least one(1) armless hand.
michael-jackson Michael Jackson is a terrorist. If you spot this smooth criminal with dead, dead eyes, run the fuck away.
fish Hurricanes, animal corpses and the biohazard symbol have a lot in common. Think about it.
pinkeye Be on the lookout for terrorists with pinkeye and leprosy. Also, they tend to rub their hands together manically.
karate If a door is closed, karate chop it open.
blowjob If your building collapses, give yourself a blow job while waiting to be rescued.
radiation Try to absorb as much of the radiation as possible with your groin region. After 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, you may become sterile.
too-big After exposure to radiation it is important to consider that you may have mutated to gigantic dimensions: watch your head.
deformed-hand If you've become a radiation mutant with a deformed hand, remember to close the window. No one wants to see that shit.
radio If you hear the Backstreet Boys, Michael Bolton or Yanni on the radio, cower in the corner or run like hell.
respiratory If your lungs and stomach start talking, stand with your arms akimbo until they stop.
rubble If you are trapped under falling debris, conserve oxygen by not farting.
contact-lens If you lose a contact lens during a chemical attack, do not stop to look for it.
powerline Do not drive a station wagon if a power pole is protruding from the hood.
door-radiation A one-inch thick piece of plywood should be sufficient protection against radiation.
apple-can Always remember to carry food with you during a terrorist attack. At least you'll be able to enjoy a nice coke and apple before you die.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Who Needs Writers?

The discovery came about quite by accident - kind of like the guy who accidentally put a few kernels of dried corn in the microwave and - voila! - popcorn.

I was using voice-recognition software to transcribe an interview, stepped away from the computer for a few minutes and returned to find I'd left the microphone on, free to record the TV show I wasn't watching while I worked.

If you must know, the TV show was a "Mystery Woman" movie on the Hallmark Channel, which goes to show you that "57 Channels and Nothin' On" is more than just a Springsteen song.


If you must know, the "Mystery Woman" series is a Kelli Martin vehicle, the heretofore lack of which, as far as I can tell, was a gaping void apparent only to Ms. Martin, her people and the leisure suits at the Hallmark Channel. (Memo to the leisure suits at the Hallmark Channel: the next time Ms. Martin needs a vehicle, get her a Prius. It's way cheaper, and you can easily transport the entire viewership of the "Mystery Woman" series.)

But I digress. After my interlude, I came back to the computer to find that the voice-recognition software had faithfully recorded what it heard on television:

Her have her to have her have her and her have her have her have her and her have her have her have her have to have her have her have her have her have her have her her have her her her have her her her have her in her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her her her her her her and her her her her have her her her her her have her head and have her have her hair have her have her have her have her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her and her have her have her have her have her have her when her have her where have I have her have her have her have her have her in her have her have her her her have her have her have her her her have her have her her her her have her and her have her have her her have her have her have her and her have her have her her have her here have her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her why have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her have let her have her her have her have her where her have now have her have her have her her have her have her her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her have her have her her have her have her have her have her have her to have her to have her have her have her have her have her have her and her have her have her have her have her have her have ...

Okay, so it needs a little work. Maybe a slightly larger vocabulary. Maybe a bit more character development. But it's a start. And already worthy of, say, Nora Roberts.

I'm thinking about inviting Ms. Martin, her people in tow, over to train the voice-recognition software to record her lines more faithfully.

On second thought, what "Mystery Woman" screenplay could possibly match the raw power of "Have her have her to have her"?

Say what you will, I'm going to cash in big-time when the writers go on strike again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Monkey Short of a Great Book

Let's face it: staying organized sucks. Like any Type-A wannabe, I've been trying to stay on top of the really important stuff in my life, well, all my life ... and I've failed at it so miserably that I've been officially reclassified "Type Z."

But the other day I had an epiphany that promises to change the lives forever of anyone who is anywhere on the list from Type B on down.

I got to thinking - while avoiding doing things I should have been doing, of course - about the random nature of life, and why shouldn't our approach to organization be random as well?

(You might not want to mention this to computer programmers or librarians, unless their insurance plans include mental health care.)

Examples of successful random approaches abound:

  • Automatic pool cleaners, which creep randomly around the surface and take mere hours to do their thing (and a lot less time if you don't have a pool)
  • Roomba vacuum cleaners, which can clear a room faster than Ann Coulter

(As intimidating as it is, my to-do list certainly isn't as big as the average room or backyard pool - or Ann Coulter, for that matter.)


But the mother of all random approaches is the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which says that given an infinite amount of time, an infinite number of monkeys can write all the Great Books. Inspired by this insanely ambitious example of randomly getting it done, I am calling my epiphany the Monkey Time Management System. (I even came up with a slogan: "Time is Monkey.")

The underlying principle of my system is this: You'll get everything done that you have to get done - and everything else - if you have enough time.

My system has only one rule: Do something.

The following table shows examples of acceptable and unacceptable definitions of "something":

Acceptable Unacceptable
Watching "Happy Days" reruns Being dead
Reorganizing sock drawer Being in a coma
Forwarding lame email jokes Being in an iron lung
Staring into space  
Responding to Mr. Phwutu's email pleas for money with your own pleas for money  
Thinking about the Infinite Monkey Theorem, pool cleaners, Roombas and Ann Coulter  
Discussing "Lost" TV-show Easter eggs with nerdy friend  
Stalking Ann Coulter  
Violating restraining order  

As you can see, as long as you're alive and breathing on your own, it's nearly impossible to come up with an unacceptable activity in the Monkey System.

Multitasking is encouraged. You might, for example, forward lame email jokes while watching "Happy Days" reruns ... or discuss "Lost" Easter eggs with your nerdy friend while stalking Ann Coulter and violating the restraining order. (We call that a "Monkey Trifecta.")

The genius of my system is that it completely avoids pesky list-making, planning, prioritizing - and stressing about it. Just do what you want, and when you absolutely run out of things you want to do, do something you should do.

If you have the time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Chemical Romance

Like about 99.9% of America's adult population, I take drugs. These days they are prescribed by a licensed practitioner, unlike a few years ago when my practitioner was a guy named Kenny who lived in the woods with a long beard and a large, er, medicine cabinet.


A big shout-out to Kenny, by the way, who is probably in charge of something at Pfizer. Kenny, if you're out there, remember me? I'm the guy who sat in the corner for hours on end, organizing my pocket lint.

But I digress. A few days ago I had a scary drug experience, next to which the nastiest unprescribed adventure pales: Aishwarya, my friendly neighborhood pharmacist (I believe her surname is "Costco") gave me the wrong prescription.

And I didn't know it for three days.

Sure, my pee was a color I haven't seen since the light shows at the Fillmore. And I swear that sparks were flying out of my ass, though no one else seems to have noticed. But I thought those were just side effects documented in those pamphlets that nobody reads ... and in the TV ads, right before the discredited artificial-heart guy tells me to ask my doctor if it's right for me: "Side effects are generally mild and may include psychedelic pee and sparks flying out of your ass."

Anyway, the whole experience took me back to those halcyon "We don't need no steenking prescriptions" days. We also didn't need no steenking HMOs ... and when was the last time you and your doctor sat around the shanty with his stash of Benadryl and got a good buzz on?

Paging Dr. Kenny!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Title Bout

A basic rule of essay writing is to come up with the title first and then write the piece. (At least I think that was a basic rule in the composition course I took in college, but frankly, given my youth and pretty much constant state of, er, medication, the whole course could have been about heavy earth-moving equipment, for all I know.)

Meanwhile, there's a basic rule of modern life: we're all way too busy. (None of us needs a college course to figure out that one. Just try taking a nap and see what happens.)

Combining these two basic rules, I can save both you and me precious time by writing just titles, with short synopses of what the articles would be about if I actually bothered to write them. (Think how much time we'd save if all we did was look at the pictures in Penthouse, too. Okay, bad example.)

Author's Note to the Hapless Reader: This essay is never really finished; I'll think of another title from time to time - usually at 3 AM - and stick it in. If you subscribe to this blog, you probably won't be notified of changes, so to preserve world peace, or at least along the 38th parallel, bookmark the thing - here's the direct link - and return often. Better yet, if you are completely insane, make it your home page so every morning you can scan it for changes.

Author's Note to the Aspiring Writer: This essay is an example of what we professionals call "a steaming pile of excrement" - I know, jargon can be tough to follow sometimes - or, as they call it in Hollywood, "comedy gold." This is very advanced stuff; do not attempt without the guidance of a qualified specialist - someone we professionals call a "hack."

Here goes ...

CONFINED TO QUARTERS. We all know that the penny is too expensive to produce and is in danger of being eliminated. It turns out the same fate awaits the nickel and dime, too ...

WRITERS BLOCK. In yet another last-ditch effort to survive, the city of Flint, Michigan - inspired by storied artist colonies like Laguna Beach, California - is trying to attract authors by constructing a special apartment complex ...

BLIND FAITH. Of all the colorful street people I've met along the way -  One Nut Johnny, No Pants Eddie, Screw Loose Bonnie - the one that sticks in my mind is a sightless but religious woman who goes by the sobriquet ...

ONE-ARMED BANDIT. Another of my favorite street people was a small-time thief who lost a limb as a child ...

KITCHEN SINK. When we bought our dream house, little did we know that the soil under the cooking appliances wouldn't support their weight ...

DUCK AND COVER. A grandmother in Tennessee has combined her loves of quilting and all things anatine ...

TRASH TALK. A radio station in a small Texas community is turning detritus into dollars with a weekly feature about the local sanitation company ...

CHANGING THE CHANNEL. Leave it to the British, those ambitious chaps, to try to alter the course of the famous body of water that separates them from France ...

PETTY THEFT. When the NASCAR champion arrived home one night, he was shocked to find ...

A DATE WITH DESTINY. A night on the town with Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle is anything but dull ...

I just hope Readers Digest doesn't get wind of this or we'll all be out of business.