Thursday, November 29, 2007

Witz Pickz: Quick Pickz

Busy busy day today. Here are some pickz that aren't funny, but will help you get through a snowstorm in a cabin, and isn't that equally important?

Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin: I just finished reading this book about the John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, Theo Epstein era Red Sox, and was very impressed by it. Ordinarily, I don't find myself reading any sports books or books about sports, even by reporters, but this book came highly recommended from my friend over at The Hot Corner, so I gave it a whirl. Quick reading and insightful journalism were the keys to the book being a success, and I don't think you need to be interested in baseball and the Red Sox so much as business, sports psychology, or mathematics to enjoy it. Plus, you get to hear all the crazy stuff Sox players said and did, such as Big Papi saying bye to the press everyday by saying, "Now go home and get some ass!" or Kevin Youkilis responding to being called The Greek God of Walks by saying, "It's better than being called 'The Greek God of Illegitimate Children'," or when being interviewed for SI for Kids, Pedro Martinez saying this:

SI: Favorite color?
Pedro: Green.
SI: Faovrite book?
Pedro: Whatever.
SI: Favorite Actress?
Pedro: Sandra Bullock.
SI: Secret Ambition?
Pedro: I would like to fuck Sandra Bullock.
(SI explains that's not acceptable response for a children's magazine)
Pedro: I would like to sleep with Sandra Bullock.

That's awesome, right? Read the book.

Songs For Moms: I just discovered this female trio yesterday and am already a big fan. Local to the Bay Area, these three create one upbeat, energetic, indie-folk-rock-bluegrassy song after another, and they're all ridiculously catchy. Check em out at


Converse All-Star: But not the ones you're thinking of. The ones you're thinking of are from back in the day and with my flat feet make me look like I'm wearing clown shoes. THESE Converse All Stars are the new model, or at least one of them. A regular shoe with regular materials and a pseudo-suede feel to the exterior, they have a sewn on star patch that makes them look throwback, but still feel new and cool. I'm totally diggin' the brown ones I bought and they are quickly approaching "Top Buys Ever" status, as they were only forty bucks and are exactly what I need. Other "Top Buys Ever" of mine include my 30 dollar blue jacket from Bob's, MVP Baseball 2004 for xbox (I don't imagine too many other people are on year 2010 having played every game of all those seasons), and the brown blazer I got for 40 bucks from J.Crew and wear at least 1/3 of the year. "Buys That Went (Not-So Shockingly) Wrong" include my 60 dollar cowboy hat (which I've worn about 15 times in the four years I've owned it), The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen for 20 bucks (I haven't even touched it to read), and my acoustic guitar ($250) that I said I was going to learn to play and have in the last four years only fought out 2 or 3 songs made up entirely of power chords. The only one I regret is the book.

2006 Chateau de Brandey Bordeux: I got this wine for 15 bucks at Beverages & More during a sale where you get another bottle for 5 cents. So I got it for $7.50 essentially and it was great. I think it was ranked at 90 pts or more, and had all kinds of interesting flavors and the slight sharp edge that apparently I've come to learn I like. If you need a good wine and want to spend a few bucks on it, try this one.

MLB Bloopers: I couldn't believe it when I read the Netflix thing and saw that this DVD was 90 MINUTES LONG! How is that even possible?? Turns out it was only 60 minutes long, and they blatantly lied. But it was still slightly enjoyable. People falling down, bad base-running, behind the scenes interviews and pranks were enjoyable because you got to see players' personalities (Tim Hudson is awesome), Harry Caray impressions, and COOL HANDSHAKES. I mostly enjoyed the cool handshakes. My biggest complaint was that effing Chris Kattan was the narrator and kept talking over the clips and ruining the ability to hear the players joking around. And ohhhh boy, you're gonna be stoked to see how many Grounds Crew bloopers there are....

I also realized that by renting MLB Bloopers from Netflix, I was potentially raising a suicide watch on myself. After all, what are the last stages before suicide besides being unhappy about job situation, financially concerned, having watched the "Faith Rewarded" Red Sox 2004 World Series DVD the night before until 3am, and having MLB Bloopers sent to your house by Netflix? They probably thought they were one day away from someone finding me dead on the couch, wrists slit, Safeway Brand Cookies in my lap, and MLB Bloopers on the goddamn tv.

Suddenly Inundated With Job Offers...I Mean Inebriated With Wine Boxes,

Radio Show Tonight From Midnight-3am on KZSU live and on webcast. (podcast tomorrow)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Society Tellin' Me What's What

Despite what last post might have implied, I am an adult-- at least legally if not actively. I've been around for a bit and I have picked up some of the cultural knowledge and baggage that is all around us. I know not to pick my nose, not to yell "bomb" on a plane (or "boom" or leBRON!" or "QUALM!" and I'm even wary of saying "lip balm" when declaring my Carmex lip gloss in its 3 oz ziplocked bag), and I know how to board busses, hail a cab, and speed up at stop lights (right?). SO it really bothers me when society starts tellin' me what's what when I'm very capable of making a decision for myself.

I first noticed the trend at a baseball game. After going to plenty of games at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, and watching thousands of games on television, I know when things are good and when things are bad, and I know when to clap accordingly. While driving cross-country and visiting other ballparks, I noticed a horrifying trend-- The giant electronic boards and banners TELLING me when to make NOISE. And when to CLAP and when to say, "LET'S GO (INSERT HOME TEAM NAME HERE)." Whoah whoah whoah. No giant scoreboard is going to tell me when to do things during a game. I think we are all capable of knowing when to make noise and when not to make noise (almost never during a sporting event), and maybe I'm gonna go ahead and decide when I feel it's appropriate. If there are two outs in an inning and your pitcher needs to get this last guy out, everybody better already be standing and clapping. Same goes for when you need a big hit. If it's 6-0 the away team, and it's the fifth, and I'm a Florida Marlins fan...maybe I'm not feeling like making any noise, regardless of what the scoreboard would like me to do. I'd much prefer to use a Lite Brite of my own to give them the message, "Higher Bankroll!"

Now there's a good chance this practice got started in hockey. The jumbo-tron is there, the game is fast paced and energy-ridden, and let's face it, hockey is not the most beloved sport in our nation. It's not crazy that somebody at a hockey game for the first time would say, "Wait, should I be getting excited now?" I mean, goals and fights are times to cheer. But you maybe don't know to cheer when somebody gets checked hard 30 feet from the puck. And maybe you don't know to start getting excited on a 2 v 1 offensive break. It's tough to get excited for faceoffs and icing, but these things happen. So fine, I'll give it to hockey, but that's it. I'm entirely ready to make life decisions regarding the words and noises coming out of my mouth, and any respectable home fan base should be able to start chants and cheers and excitement all on their own. I'm blaming girls on this one.

Last night I encountered another example of society tellin' me what's what that blew my mind. I bought a package of Safeway Brand Chocolate Chip Cookies aka Treasure Chips because clearly I enjoy the middle path like Buddhism preaches (meaning that I wanted cookies, but wasn't willing to pay a lot or have actually good tasting cookies). I am eating a couple of them and glance at the package. Wanna know what it tells me? "Great with milk!"............I was astounded. "'Great with milk?' Yeah, I know they're great with milk-- they're FUCKING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!" I can't even remotely imagine a situation where somebody is eating generic brand cookies as their first cookie, with no sociocultural experience at all, reads the label is like, "Hey, that's an interesting idea, I think I'll try that!" It's just not gonna happen. It's insane to think that the helpful hint label is useful to ANYONE. Maybe if you have a smart resourceful baby, who stumbles upon these cookies at eight months, somehow squeezes open its eyes to then read the label, and then uses its resourcefulness (see, you were wondering where that came in) to acquire some milk to test out the theory-- then and only then might it make sense to have on there.

Does this mean Safeway puts this type of thing on other products? Does their turkey say, "Excellent with bread!" or their pasta say, "Try with sauce!" or their condoms say, "Great for sex!" I'm gonna give you a minute to mull over and possibly google the possibility that Safeway sells generic condoms. Done? Great. I have to assume that the ad people were under great pressure to ad a very small addition to the cookie packaging. Maybe their boss is a crazy person, or maybe he wanted this round of Treasure Chips to be the "Goddamn best round ever!" To be fair, there wasn't much else to say. They can't really say, "For fatties!" or "Eat them like crackers!" or "Like a sex appeal vaccuum!" so in context, "Great with milk!" probably seemed like a fair play. I just don't need my cookies telling me something I learned when I was three. And I don't need my sports telling me when to clap. And I don't need my car telling me when its out of gas. I'll know-- it's when the car stops moving. The little yellow light isn't going to allow me to afford $3.65 a gallon any easier.

Pshh-- What A Complainer,

Peep the podcast from this week's radio show if you haven't and be sure to checkout Couples Therapy the short web-show I write for. New episode should be up tonight or tomorrow (but usually every Tuesday).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Witz Pickz: Hitting Bottom

Let me first say that while I am a hairy guy, I am not THAT hairy a guy-- which is to say, I am not as hairy a guy as you might expect if my crazy curly hair, darkened legs, and facial hair are any indicator. I don't yet have the "Sweater" although I'm pretty sure there is an epic genetic war going on in that department to determine my future. I have had two separate hairdressers say, "Oh, you don't need me to shave your neck-- most guys with me to shave their neck." What I have on my back are sporadic, but symmetrical patches of hair that can best be described as "Wings." They are right where you would expect wings to start growing, and they are primarily conical in shape. To be clear, I don't THINK I have wings, I am simply telling you what these patches look like. And then, of course, there's the slight glazing of rebel hair, awaiting their moment to find a weakness and strike-- to become the dominant hair group.

SO, now that you have a slightly better knowledge of my furrial lanscape, lemme tell you how I hit rock bottom. Because of the sporadical nature of the wings, it's a pretty easy process to shave the hair off when I feel like it. So yesterday, grabbing my electric razor, I jumped into the shower without turning the water on, popped open the medicine cabinet so I could see in the mirror, and went to work. I mean, sure, some of the most uncomfortable arm angles known to man were involved, and yes, it is extremely difficult to manuever a razor on your back IN A MIRROR with your arm TWISTING AROUND (have you ever played that game where you twist your wrists around, interlock your fingers, flip your arms up and have someone pick a finger you are supposed to try moving, but your brain can't quite figure out which moves which? It's like that), but I pulled it off. It's not something I would attempt to do smoothly in public to impress anybody, and people would probably think I had MS or cerebral palsey, but in the privacy (pronounce that priv-a-see just this once and see how it feels-- creepy, right?) of my own home (and apparently in text for all to see), I felt comfortable.

I get distracted by email or lunch or something else after doing this, so instead of taking a shower, I leave the bathroom for about forty-five minutes. No big deal.

Here's something else you should know about me if you don't already: I'm terrified of spiders. I don't like em. I don't like their look, I don't like their Poisonous/Not Poisonous randomness, and I don't like their schtick-- the web-making, the waiting, the pouncing, the saving their food for later while they lie stunned. I don't like that they can swing, stick upside-down, drop, repel, and sometimes jump. I don't like that they have fangs, venom, and sometimes fur. I am wary and freaked out by the little ones just as much as I am by the big ones, but the big ones are absolutely terrifying. Except, I would rather have that "Attack of the GIANT Spider" than an "Attack of a Regular, but Poisonous Spider," any day, because the giant ones would not really have the properties I fear the most. Stealth. I don't like how they scuttle. I don't like that they could be in my bed without me knowing, I don't like that they might bite me while I sleep, and I didn't like the movie Arachnophobia except for the part where John Goodman goes crazy with the blow torch. I don't like how they may or may not have laid eggs in Taco Bell tacos (just the fact that the rumor exists says something...for both spiders and Taco Bell). I disapprove of their moral compass and their innate judgement. So I don't like spiders.

Getting back to the bathroom, it's time for a shower. I futz around with the mirror and my scruff for a minute lackadaisically, strip down, turn on the water and hop in. Get ready for it. Suddenly, a large brown mass floats past my vision as I get into the shower. It is large, and brown, and dangerously close. So I SCREAM. Not like a little girl, but like a Man, fearing for his life, and shocked out of his wits(z). I SCREAM and I hop out of the shower, tripping over myself, grasping for a towel and something to strike with at the same time (note: I don't like how spiders could be hiding in my towel). I step back towards the shower and that's when I see it-- a clump of hair. Yes, people, I screamed in terror as a clump of MY OWN BACK HAIR that I SHAVED OFF attacked me. And that's when I knew I'd hit bottom. When your own excessive body hair comes back to scare you, you have to start re-examining your life.

Now, I'm not a physics man, but I think I can tell you what happened. The water pressure is strong in my shower, and since I aimed the nozzle at the wall as I entered, the draft created along with the curtain being open, led to a breeze that blew the clump from the curtain where it had clung earlier towards the wall, forcing it past my vision. The surprise, in conjunction with the delay between shave and shower, in conjunction with everything I'd been hearing about California having spiders, in conjunction with recent comments from adult figures regarding spiders, made me believe this brown object was a spider. I would say that if I thought about it, I believed it was a Brown Recluse Spider-- theoretically the worst brown RECLUSE spider ever. There's no hiding in the shower.

Regardless of reason or explanation, there's no turning back from the shame that I now have from the event. In telling this story, I hope to at least admit that I have a problem, and hope that someday I can move on. If there is any truth in Fight Club, it is that you have to hit bottom before you can start rebuilding, and yesterday, I did just that. Of course, I can't help thinking that this is now the best possible time for a spider to strike in the shower. It's like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, only far more scary, because I'd notice a wolf in the shower and you'd probably see some evidence. So if you find me dead in the shower with swelling on my body, don't assume that I had a panic attack-- that's just what the spiders want you to think.

Step By Step, Day By Day, Fresh Start Over...Something Somethng Something Something,

Witz Pickz: The Picking War

On this, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, in the year two-thousand and seven, a new enemy has emerged from the shadows and stands tall and cockily against the disorganized backdrop of the Picking Landscape: The Malou Review.

With Andy Rooney in my rearview, and fueled by turkey and sweet potatoes, it is time for me to charge headlong up the scale of life (a metaphor that alllllmost works) and set my sights on the Malou Review. Let's take a quick peek at the Scale O' Life to find out where we're at:

Scale O' Life (Fragile: Do Not Tip or Drop):

1) John Henry/Tom Werner/Larry Lucchino/Theo Epstein (Momentarily)
2) George Clooney (Yeah, I saw Ocean's Thirteen)
3) Oprah Winfrey
4) Jerry Seinfeld
5) Bill Clinton (with a slight boost from Hillary)
2,304,001) Sandra Oh (a downgrade-- get a better tv show or get a plotline-- oops no writers)
4,112,345,326) LonelyGirl15
4,304,059,673) Andy Milonakis
5,000,108,423) Malou Nubla (of the Malou Review)
5,001,118,322) Witz Pickz
5,908,345,347) Andy Rooney

HEY HEY! Looks like Witz moved up a few mill. Nice. But there's that Malou Nubla character just a million and a handful ahead, taunting me with her professionalism and spot in the public eye. It's time to take a look at this Malou who is partial to the Review.

I first saw Malou Nubla on Thanksgiving while relaxing and working on a heart attack of a plate of food. The two are very important in tandem. So you can imagine my odds of cardiac arrest when all of a sudden on my television, I see a promo for a woman being described as making judgements of quality of everyday items. From restaurants to pies, to vacation spots to wines. She's based on FOX 2 in San Francisco and has her OWN SHOW on Sunday nights at 6pm (see how I'm not scared to give you the details? I don't fear Malou, even bearing consanance). At first, I wasn't all that worried, I thought, ok, this is fairly normal for local channels, and My Friend With A Pool joked that she "pickz" stuff too. Which was find up until I saw the name. THE MALOU REVIEW. RHYMING. CONSONANCE RIDDEN! And it has an even goofier, freewheelin' edge to it (the Ma-LOO part makes it funnier) that I can never achieve. Slight panic. I checked her site and she has only FOUR episodes available labeled episodes 1-4. This is good news. Malou is New and might not survive. Only I have to cringe when I hear her slogan at the top of the show:

"I'm Malou Nubla, and I'll review just about ANYTHING."

EFF. THAT'S MY THIIIIIIIIIING! Why couldn't she say like, "I'm Malou Nubla and I'll review everything except for robot clock radios!" or "I'm Malou Nubla, and I'll review everything you don't want to hear about and not make it funny or intriguing!" And the fact that she's a fairly attractive woman makes it even worse. Here I am, stuck behind HTML while Malou can throw on all sorts of cleavage revealing dresses and talk about NBA players' hair cuts. This could be a brutal war, but I'll do my part to win it. Oh no, and as a woman, I bet she can review things I won't ever review; like tampons, or the Subaru Forrester, or Man Ass! Oh God, she's gonna review Man Ass! How am I gonna--

WOOOOOT! Right? Am I right?? You know what I'm talkin' 'bout ladies. Holla for the tightness! Ain't nothin' better than watchin' a six foot eight latin man walking down the street after working out at the gym and watching that buh-buh buh-buh buh-buh of his beating like a Native American drum signalling it's time to migrate to the south and make some babies (or is that birds...)! Butts us women like to make food eating references off of, like, "I'd eat a turkey dinner off of THAT ass (insanitary and afterwards I'd get tired and fall asleep)!" And not WOMEN ASS neither-- MAN ASS. I'd like to take that song My Girl and change all the choruses to "Talkin' bout MAN ASSSS-- man ass!" thats how legitimately and honestly I am in a position to pick it. Just like Malou who I am better than. ........MAN ASS! And also, Go tampons...with the, uh, pads, and...uh...wings?
WHATTYA THINK OF THAT MALOU!? I can do anything Malou can do better-- I can do anything better than Malou. The war is on, I'm comin' for her, and while she might not be aware enough to do anything about it, she'll feel my presence from afar as a tingle on her neck, like the sense of danger a deer feels when being hunted by a crocodile, just before the crocodile pounces. And she'll itch her neck, and try and giggle and not smudge her make up as the camera's about to roll, but deep down inside, she'll know, like a night hawk being well aware that there's probably a day hawk. I am...both hawks...and Malou is...the deer. Witz Pickz: Victory.

I'll Just Sit Back and Wait For This To Be Taken Out of Context,

P.S. Look at her ishy blog! Witz Pickz is a dominant force. "Consider Malou's endorsement a stamp of approval," it says. Phff, gimme a break. You can't TELL the people, you gotta SHOW the people.

P.P.S. She does seem nice though...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Witz Pickz: "Chocolate"

Chocolate. "Chocolate." Chocolate what? Cho-- co-- late. Eff. Why was the whitest middle aged man on the bus wearing a shirt that simply had the word "Chocolate" across the back, like on a jersey? I drove by, I glanced at the bus, and there it was. There he was. "Chocolate" just like that. So ok, let's say he plays a sport. Softball maybe-- perhaps soccer if he's kept his heart fit and found an older league. So ok, he needs the jersey. And he's wearing it on the bus, so maybe he's going TO a game, I mean, it's 4pm, that's possible. Or maybe he's done using it as a jersey and needs it as a SHIRT shirt, so it's from when he was a little younger. Fine. But still, WHY CHOCOLATE??

If he was black I'd understand. I wouldn't be able to SAY that I understood because then I'd get my ass beat, but I know the drill, I've seen Scrubs, and maybe this black guy goes affectionately by "Chocolate" when around his sports buddies. But the guy's not black. He's white and he's fifty-ish. Which brings up three options:

1) He shops at the Goodwill, but not very thoroughly. Totally possible. Finds a nice t-shirt that fits him, he's into sports, doesn't see the big deal or maybe doesn't even notice the name on the back. Not likely.

2) He has a friend named Chocolate and they traded jerseys. Possible, slightly more likely. Maybe his buddy couldn't play anymore and so he passed off the shirt. Maybe they traded jerseys and some black guy is walking around with a "Vanilla" shirt on somewhere, getting high fives and smiles. Which leads to our third option...

3) This is the coolest middle-aged man around. Is that possible? Is it possible that this guy is wearing the jersey knowingly and ironically? That he KNEW that being white and older would make wearing a "Chocolate" sports jersey ironic and amusing? I mean, what are the odds of me randomly seeing the Coolest Middle-Aged Man Around as I drove past him on the bus-- and in a position such that I was aware of his coolness? The odds have to be slim, right? But I mean, assuming that I wasn't LOOKING to find the Coolest Middle-Aged Man Around, the odds have to be better, I mean, because I wasn't WAITING for it to happen. So I just as easily could have seen the Most Slovenly Middle-Aged Man Around or the Shortest Shelf Stocker At the Grocer's. What I mean is that since I wasn't seeking anyone in particular, finding someone who is exceptional isn't all that crazy. If I was looking for Burt Reynolds and FOUND Burt Reynolds, well that'd be a whole lot crazier. Shit, it'd be practically insane of me to be looking for Burt Reynolds in the first place.

So what now, Chocolate? We never meet again? The mystery doesn't get solved? Is that really how the world is gonna work? Probably. I mean, it'd be shocking to run into the guy again, especially in the same shirt. The best I can do is put this out there, maybe place an ad in Craigslist's Missed Connections and see what comes of it.

"Missed Connection: I wore a track jacket and you wore a Chocolate jersey tee. You're glazed with age and I'm youthful with a little facial hair. I drove past you while you were on the bus and part of me thinks Will Smith's "Just the Two of Us" was playing on the radio, while another part of me knows that it was really a commercial for Trader Joe's. Perhaps we can meet in the "Cereals Nobody Wants to Eat Ever" aisle. I'll wear green, to blend in, and you-- well-- you'll be wearing your "Chocolate" jersey tee, and a smile that says, 'Hey, let's give this thing a chance.'"

I Am Way Too Old To Have My Real Last Name On the Back of a Real Professional Sports Team Jersey (and You Probably Are Too),

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Witz DOESN'T Pick: The Mist

It got foggy last night, and I wondered briefly if I should close more than just the screen door. You know, because it was the type of fog that is famous from such movies as The Fog-- so I didn't know if something was coming IN the fog. Ultimately, I left the door open and slept comfortably, but that's not the point. I have HAD IT with these absurd horror movies involving nature. Ok, Volcano, there's a volcano under the city-- whoops, we missed it. Deep Impact, fair enough, meteors. The Cave-- fine, maybe we shouldn't spelunk. The Dark is bearable because it's people ARE scared of the dark, all the water movies make sense because what's under there? SHARKS, for starters! But then there came these last movies like The Fog. Fog is tough to see in, and if it's a movie about scary fog driving and tips such as "drive slower" or "make sure you're using your foglights" I would appreciate it. But I'm pretty sure it's not about that. And yet, I was still able to mildly abide it...and then I saw the newest. THE MIST.

When I saw the preview, I laughed out loud-- I couldn't and still can't believe that they would sink to having to make MIST scary. "BEWARE, hot and cold have merged and visibility has been....REDUCED!" You gotta be kidding me. There are really gonna be lines like, "My God, it's MISTING!" Couldn't they have been a little more specific with the title, if only to avoid sounding like idiots? How about, "What Comes In the Mist," or "Death Mist: Planet Terror"? Both viable options. I mean, The Mist?? Do you know what the difference is between FOG and MIST? Visibility. You see, it's called "fog" if visibility is 1 km or less. If visibility is hindered, but not that badly, the ancients (and meteorologists) call it...MIST....

So we're supposed to be afraid of limited visibility not quite as bad as fog. "Turn your mist-lights on." We're supposed to be afraid of something thats name is shared by a refreshing lemon-lime cola. And I understand that there are bugs in the mist...or locusts, or aliens, or something. And sure, that could be alright-- but again, that's not the focus of the title. ALSO, now that I think about it, from those previews, visibility appears to be limited more than it's not even mist! It IS fog! Unbelievable the liberties they're taking. Also from the previews, it appears that The Mist itself is actually "Horror Movie Racist." That is to say, the black dude dies first. And not just any black dude-- the black dude from Homicide: Life On the Streets. From what I can gather, he decides there's nothing in the-- "mist"-- and goes out on a leash to see, returning in blood spattered pieces. Freakin' RACIST mist. And ya know what I found out, that makes it all the worse, all of it? Stephen King wrote it. Talk about phoning it in. Stephen King might be the master of horror, and maybe he was hit by a car, and maybe people will love whatever he writes, but COME ON. PARTICLES OF WATER IN THE AIR? He must be living in a palace built of two dollar bills and laminated with gold resin. Wow, if that's the case, I bet his house smells like ass and bacteria. "The Ass Bacteria" by Stephen King.

What Was I Saying,

P.S. The podcast for Thurs radio show is actually up now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Witz Pickz: Job Interviews and Withholding Pickz

Job interviews trump pickz today. I'll leave you with this:

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Has been upgraded in my mind from my once disliking and distrusting of it to an absolutely freaking hilarious show. I'm sure you know this already, buy wow is the third season great. The cast is completely attuned to the rhythm of their dialogue and are hitting their lines perfectly, and the chemistry is stronger than it was in the first and second seasons. Danny DeVito is adding more depth and the general writing and plots are keeping up the hilarity. Great stuff-- checkout the first two seasons on DVD and the third currently airing on FX at 10pm on Thursdays (I think).

Friday Nights: Are great. Hangout and watch a movie, go out and party, cuddle up with a bottle of wine and read Witz Pickz, or whatever you want, because it's the weekend. You could even support Friday Night Lights if you feel so inclined. HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND.

Wish Me Luck (retroactively, as I probably won't read the comments AT the interview),

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Witz Pickz: Continuing the Toothpaste Discussion

Hopefully I'll give you more than just this today, but if not, let's just be happy for continuing learning, TV on DVD's, and white meat.

In response to yesterday's toothpaste post, I received a chat from....let's go with D From the SEA. D From the SEA said "They actually did package toothpaste in a stand-up pump dispenser at one point." Followed by, "I want to say Aquafresh was the industry leader in that particular packaging experiment." This is DOUBLY AWESOME!

First of all, the fact that this happened at all restores my faith in the human spirit, while at the same time crushing my human spirit, because my potentially good, creative idea is old news. But thank goodness this was attempted! Toothpaste is a pest-- we don't want to use it, we HAVE to use it. It's gloopy, sticky, and if it has baking soda in it (oh crap, I forgot about that yesterday-- which category does WITH BAKING SODA! fall under?? Is that better or worse than EXTRA GLIMMER SHEEN!), it's salty too. And now we know that it can't be manipulated to our every command-- but that's no reason to stop trying. The glory of the Human Mind is that we will always think of new ideas and new ways to fail. Sometimes we succeed, and when we do, we call that time "Thanksgiving." Our battles with Toothpaste are the epitome of our culture as humans, and as long as we keep trying new things, we cannot lose.

Second of all, OF COURSE Aquafresh was the company that attempted the pump. Aquafresh is the most creative name in toothpaste. It's not just the paste pump, but the Fresh Stripe, the Silver Rocket Tube, the low low prices...and although they haven't always been the best quality, they've certainly tried hard to be creative. The Witz Gal (meaning my girlfriend, not my sister-- so technically she's not the WITZ Gal, but more like Witz's Gal, but that's kinda possessive, no? But we're not married, and even if we were, she might not take the Witz name and all, so that's a big question mark, so really Witz shouldn't even be in that moniker, except it is now, so forget about it, you get the idea), describes Aquafresh as, "The LA Gear of toothpastes." I don't think anything could be more accurate, but the difference is that she means it as a negative thing, and all I can do is think back and remember wearing about 10 different pairs of black LA Gear high tops (LA Lights anyone???). Sure, their version of the pumps broke in about 5 minutes, and sure, they WERE cheap, and easily ruined, and ultimately disappointing, but they were also CREATIVE and that's what I remember. If I can get orange-striped toothpaste in a Silver Rocket Tube for A DOLLAR-- I'm sold.

Page France -- ...And the Family Telephone: is another great album in the line of recent albums using ellipses in the title. Say Anything...Is A Real Boy. Others I Can't...Think Of. It's also really good indie/country stuff. Lots of instruments, lots of styles, all thrown together for a really enjoyable sound.

Conversations With Other Women: I finally got around to seeing this last night and enjoyed it. It's shot entirely in split screen, but usually the two sync up and when they don't, one of the panels is used for good effect. Basically, a man (Aaron Eckhart) and a woman (Helena Bonham-Carter) meet at a wedding and a conversation/night ensues. You find out more about who these people are and what their relationship is to each other, and the story revolves around whether or not they will have sex. Interestingly, this is not really the biggest focal point, and it's not all that much of a mystery. What's interesting is the relationship and the conversation and how they both evolve. It is extremely well done, and I only got bored at a few moments when the conversation seemed a little over done and no plot had really unfolded in a while. It's only 85 minutes long, and the music is terrific. They used 3 songs by French singer Carla Bruni (who I totally Pick) and one song by Rilo Kiley ("Ripchord"), all of which leant a great deal of emotion and guidance to the film. Definitely worth checking out. It's not nearly as depressing as I thought it would be, even though it kinda is.

Don't Forget To Download The Podcast Tomorrow,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Witz Pickz: Toothpaste.

That's right-- toothpaste. And I'll tell ya why (what if one day I just DIDN'T tell you why-- I just said it was so)-- because they just don't give a damn.

For years, YEEEEARS, people have complained about the toothpaste tube and how it gets stuck at the bottom, and you have to roll it up, etc, etc. And have toothpaste manufacturers responded at all? NOPE! Toothpaste containers have not advanced AT ALL in the last fifty years (at least). No amount of complaints, jokes, or quips will make them budge. They know they have the market cornered, and as long as everyone sticks together, there won't be the need for any changes. But would it really be that difficult to fix? Couldn't toothpaste come in a pump like soap? Wouldn't that solve all problems? I'm gonna find out the next time I empty out a soap container. It might be incredibly difficult to get the toothpaste in there, and yeah, maybe it'll clog up the pump, but if it works, I'm gonna be rich. See how often I post THEN! I mean-- on to other things.

The other and more important reason I choose Toothpaste, is that they seem to have no oversight whatsoever. They slap on whatever the hell they want onto a package and get people to buy it for all kinds of reason. "WHITENING!" "CAVITY PROTECTION" "TARTAR CONTROL!" they boast. "EXTRA WHITE!" "SPARKLE SHINE!" "MINTY SPARKLE!". They all mean essentialy the same thing, "We're gonna clean your teeth now." But they find millions of ways to say it. "ADVANCED WHITENING" shouldn't exist at the same time as "WHITENING." Once the advancement of technology has been made, it's time to let the old stuff go. But everytime I go to buy toothpaste, I have to make the decision between "Advanced Whitening, Whitening, Extra Whitening, Sparkle Shine White" and on and on. Can we get a chart on the progression of "Advanced, Extra, Ultra, Super, Premium," when it comes to whitening and control? And then I see, "Tartar Control" glaring at me from down on the shelf, forgotten. Well, I still want tartar control right? I can't just let it run free. And I probably stick want Cavity Protection-- I mean, it IS toothpaste right? But then there are ones that say, "Advanced Whitening with Tartar Control." Doesn't the act of brushing teeth CONTROL TARTAR? Isn't that how it works? And if something is "With Tartar control" or "With Cavity Protection" does that mean the quality of the secondary promise is less than the initial promise of whitening? Grammatically, I fear it's subtleties and lack of clarification. But at the same time, I do respect it, because we don't know shit about shit when it comes to toothpaste, or teeth, or dentistry. When people come close to learning the secrets (aka becoming Dentists), the toothpaste people secretly kill them and make it look like suicides. THAT'S why dentists have the highest "suicide" rate. And you have to respect and Pick a product that has such commitment to itself.

Union Trade, The -- Now the Swell: Check these guys out on They are kinda like Explosions in the Sky and The Album Leaf with a little bit of southern accented vocals every now and then. Good stuff.

Advancedly White,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Witz Pickz: In the Land of Women, Polish Dinner, and The Accomodating Spirit of Caramel!

In the Land of Women:

Having recently worked in event planning and at a non-profit, I thought maybe In the Land of Women starring Adam Brody had to do with donor relations or perhaps a book group who read nothing but The Notebook over and over again. I will say these two things for the record: First, In the Land of Women was NOT about either of those things and secondly, while I didn't read The Notebook, I DID see the movie, and I LIKED IT. There. Ryan Gosling is the man, Rachel McAdams is perfect for the role, and Eric from Entourage is in it. What's not to like? Back to In the Land of Women. As I said, it stars Adam Brody, who plays a softcore porn screenwriter. The film starts with him breaking up with his girlfriend (shockingly not because of his job), and moving to live with his grandma to get away for a while. It's mildly unclear why he would move in with his crazy grandma as opposed to like, getting an apartment or living with his Mom, but whatever. The answer becomes obvious when he meets Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart who live across the street. Meg Ryan is the mother, who he immediately clicks with, and Kristen Stewart is the seventeen-ish daughter. Now, this very easily could have made the movie terrible. If the film devolved into which one was he going to sleep with and be happy with, I would have hated it. The mother was married to a man who had an affair and the daughter is "bad, but not really and too cool for school...but probably gets good grades-- oh and she paints." So they are both viable love interests.

As I waited for the shoe to drop, however, I realized that I was 90 minutes into the movie and all of a sudden it was the credits, and all of a sudden I realized that it hadn't. That's when I realized that I not only liked the movie, I totally respected it and found it interesting. You see, Adam Brody's character is at an age right in between the two women. He is too young to honestly get into a relationship with Meg Ryan (who has not been in a movie I've seen in so long that it's possible to forget she's Meg Ryan and enjoy her acting), and is too old (logically AND especially legally) to start dating the jailbait daughter. He actually ends up developing relationships with both women, but while romance is just below the surface, it is friendship, shared knowledge, and life experience that bind them together. You aren't rooting for him to hookup with one of them (alright, maybe the daughter a little, I don't think she'd press charges), and you know you won't be disappointed if he doesn't. Instead, the film focuses on each person as a PERSON, not as a romantic possibility, and as people, they are able to help each other become better people. I definitely wasn't expecting such an interesting dynamic, but I was sure glad to finally get it. (one final note-- I was shocked to find out that the daughter who looks like a 21 year old playing a teenager, is, in fact, a teenager. I give credit to the film for that, but also, a) nobody looked like that in high school and b) oh dear god, I'm getting older-- like Adam Brody's character's the movie....crap)

Polish Dinner:

I hinted a few posts ago about a polish dinner I had recently at some friends' house. Well, now I have to tell you about it, because I found myself trying to recreate it last night. I don't know enough of the details, so I will stick to the two main hitters: pierogis and kielbasa. Pierogis are terrific-- they pack delectable filling into hearty pasta and always fill you up. We had two kinds-- Cheddar and Potato and Sauerkraut and Mushroom. The cheddar potato is the obvious kind, and was absolutely delicios. Who doesn't like cheese and potato? Perhaps the answer is The Nazis. Because we also had sauerkraut and mushroom pierogis. Now, while I have very little knowledge about German customs other than beer, unfortunate historical facts, and the Autobahn, I was under the impression that sauerkraut was German. Didn't we call them "the 'krauts" during the war? I watched Band of Brothers, and I'm pretty sure that's the case. So even if I'm mistaken, such as people calling french fries Freedom Fries even though they were Belgian, are Sauerkraut Pierogis really Occupation Era Pierogis? It seems logical. In fact, one of my hosts was half Polish and half German. Now, I'm not suggesting that she was an Occupation Era Baby, but the fact that the two cultures came together and had apparently similar cuisines, makes me think that I could be right. And what am I if not occasionally, shockingly correct?

Next, we had kielbasa. Two kinds again-- one pinker and lighter and the other browner. The difference was apparently NOT just because one was undercooked, but the type of kielbasa. I tried not to worry about the difference and ate both, and they were both tasty. But then again, I'm a sucker for intestinal tubed meats. Regardless, with a little garlicky mustardy sauce, they hit the spot. I tried to recreate the meal last night with some frozen pierogis (from a Polish Deli, mind you) and with some Hilshire Farms kielbasa (I was mostly into having the pierogis again), but it didn't live up to the first meal.

The Accomodating Spirit of Caramel:

I never really thought about caramel as so flexible and user-friendly until I had to clean off a big melty-hardened pot of caramel (which frankly is just awesome to have in the house). But as I was sitting there, watching the hot water liquify and erase the sticky mess from the pot, I realized how accomodating caramel is. It comes in solid form, sure, and that's tasty. But then, you can easily melt it down and make, say, caramel apples. It grips right to the apple and forms the perfect spherical treat (don't even talk to me about gobstoppers, jawbreakers, or sour balls). Then, it can be liquified and put on top of things like Chai, Coffee, or Frappuchinos. AND THAT'S DELICIOUS TOO! But ultimately, it knows its role and doesn't get cocky or arrogant. The time came when it had to go down the drain, and it abided. I thought I was in for a horrible long battle, but simply by letting the hot water fill the pot, it slowly liquified the caramel and washed it down the drain-- and the best part-- THE WHOLE APARTMENT SMELLED LIKE CARAMEL! That made it worth it, even if it took a little while. Plus, it allowed me to walk out into the hallway and declare loudly:

Who can take tomorrow,
Dip it in a dream?
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream,
The candyman? The Candyman can, the candyman can…
The candyman can 'cause he mixes it with loveand makes the world taste good…
And the world tastes good 'cause the candyman thinks it should…

Then, I was able to walk out onto the balcony and say, "I'm some sort of caramel chef WIZARD!" and make my neighbors question their assumptions about my lack of a daily job....or clothes....

Here's one more note: What the fuck is carmel? I've heard of caramel, and I've heard people say carmel. But I don't know what the difference is or if people are just awful. I mean, if someone heard my grandma talk, they'd ask what a "begel" was? Or an "idear?" When listening to a Jerry Remy broadcast, someone might question who "Hideki Okerjemer" is or "Dustin Pedroiaer". So is "carmel" just lazy speak for "caramel?" Are people walking around thinking they're eating "Carmello" bars? Do they think they're supporting the Denver Nuggets? Does anyone even eat Caramello bars anymore anywhere anyway? Did they ever??? At Halloween I found out that little kids STILL EAT MILK DUDS! Who knew? Anyway, please someone let me know, because I can't imagine I'll ever take the 30 seconds to look it up on google/wikipedia/jdate.

The Day After Veteran's Day Is Always Such A Let Down,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Witz Pickz: Veterans's's's Day

I know you're thinking "Witz doesn't post on holidays and he certainly won't post on Veteran's Day" and I want you to know that you're assumption is absolutely correct most of the time. Today, however, I have the time and, apparently, some people DON'T get today off from work (most people? I don't know-- if the Federal Govt Employees get the day off, why shouldn't everyone else?). I think it's totally ridiculous. What if I need to mail something for my job-- that ain't happening. What if I need to have a Congressional Bill debated? Not on THIS DAY. I'm guessing banks are closed, since banks are the veritable kid in the back of the class when it comes to businesses. They have the capacity for brilliance and limitless potential, but are ultimately lazy and no one ever told them they needed to work just as hard as everyone else to get what they want. Maybe they are able to skate by on their natural talent, never truly extending themselves to make better. Fuck it-- I'm not "coming to class" on Sundays. I'm not "Going to class after 3pm on weekdays and noon on saturdays." No two are the same, but they all suffer from the same inability to establish structure that they so desperately need. So what's the point in working on a holiday when you probably can't do most of your work?

Also, FYI, it's Veteran's Day-- meaning what if YOU YOURSELF ARE A VETERAN!? Do you have to work? Is it like if for my birthday someone said, "Happy Birthday, wash my car?" Veteran's shouldn't have to work on their day, even if you do give them cupcakes so they maybe want to be there like how people with summer birthdays got screwed out of celebrating at school. Oh yeah, I'm really pumped about the "Everyone with Summer Birthdays Party." That's a freaking fun-festival for my individuality.

And aren't there parades on Veteran's Day? I remember there being some or at least I remember a lot of parades with old guys in army uniforms walking slowly down a street. Maybe I just lived in a heavily aged military community with a strong sense of healthy exercise and disdain for fossil fuels (which would be ironic). If there ARE parades and people DO have to work on Veteran's Day...does that mean there are loads of veterans walking around proudly with NOBODY watching them? I bet a lot of bugle players shed tears over that. A parade with nobody watching is just a long walk of shame, as if everyone passed out after a night of bad decisions when the wars ended and now they have to walk back home to change. Yeesh.

And what's with Veteran's Day anyway? I mean, I'm 100% behind celebrating our veterans, but how come it's called Veteran's Day and it's only for our armed forces? What about people who have been working ANY job for over like, 30 years? Shit, shouldn't all old people be given a parade for working for so long. I mean, they might not have contributed ANYTHING useful to ANYONE, but I've been out of school for only a few years, and I already can't imagine having to work for the next 30-40 years. AND I'M NOT EVEN WORKING NOW! So hey, let's expand the franchise-- let's have a day where everybody gets the day off and we celebrate old people working for a long time, except the all Federal jobs HAVE to work, banks HAVE to be open for everyone who has the day off to actually cash checks and talk about IRA's and CD's, and Congress is available for me to lobby the hell out of them. I mean, granted, half the old people will have NO IDEA what's happening, and most will probably call all of us younger folks "Lazy" for taking the day off, but hey, that'll be a part of it. Like the Groundhog coming out of his hole or fireworks on the Fourth of July. Old people grumpifying. Way more diverse than fireworks.

Consider Yourself Posted,

Friday, November 09, 2007

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Mayan Armageddon Prediction

OK-- so I think by now we've all seen these previews for I Am Legend. Now, while it sounds like a cool band name, and is deliciously grammatically incorrect and mysterious, what the hell is it about? It looks like it's about the last man on Earth, and from what I've gathered, a disease wiped out everyone else. Except for Will Smith of course-- he was too Fresh. But then zombies are in the equation? Animals maybe? I don't know-- the commercials are baffling. I needed more info, and I didn't want to use "reputable sources." So I asked some people at a party and here's what I got:

Apparently, the idea is based on the Mayan calendar. The film is set in 2012. The mayans, who were phenomenal at calendars and astronomy (which didn't work out as well for them as say, being good at guns and looting), have December 21, 2012 as the last day on their calendar. That's 12/21 2012 which seems like it's a palindrome, but actually isn't. 12/21/12 is ALMOST a palindrome, but not quite, so it has nothing to do with that. Allegedly, what it has to do with is the Earth being at the very very center of the Milky Way Galaxy. That is very cool, but I'm not sure what physics forces would then cause us to die. In fact, as I'm not scientifically inclined, my very first thought upon hearing this way, "Whoah-- ya know what would be cool? Going to the very center of the Earth on that day and being at the VERY center of the galaxy!"......Yeah, see, I was thinking like Ecuador or Indonesia...that's not the center of the Earth. The center is far hotter than that, and probably more expensive to get to (but probably fewer diseases-- AHA! Is that a clue?). So the whole thing is supposed to mean that we will all die somehow. Except for Will Smith, again, on account of his level of freshness which rivals that of my deli meats from the local grocer-- oh, let's be honest, he's far fresher than that.

Regardless of why He, Robot survives, let's look at the theory. Mayans pick last day of calendar 12/21/12. Well, here's a little thought on the subject-- I have a calendar....for 2007. Next year, I'll get one for 2008. Calendar companies probably have calendars up until 2015 maybe 2020. My COMPUTER calendar only goes to 2099. So maybe, in the 17th century when the Mayan civilization began its collapse, they didn't feel the need to have a calendar past TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE. "Hey Erubiel, it's 1645, I've been getting ahead on some calendar making, and I'm three-hundred and sixty seven years ahead. You think that's enough?" YES. It's probably enough. I mean, c'mon, I don't do ANYTHING more than like 2 days in advance. Plane tickets max out my forethought at about a month. What kind of logic is it to say that the Mayan calendar ending predicted the end of the world? No kind of logic at all.

But if we're to believe this idea and the film IS based on it, it should be released on 12/21 2007 right? Unless they want to wait 5 more years, which I'm sure isn't in their minds. So 12/21/2007 it is...right?...NOPE! 12/14 fuckers! DEAL WITH THAT! They couldn't wait the extra week. Independence Day came out on Independence Day. Christmas movies come out a few days before Christmas if not on Christmas itself. But a movie potentially tied into Mayan legend? ONE WEEK EARLY. BAFFLING. You Is Not Legend. You Is Idiots.

I still want to see the movie, and maybe it'll be great. There's also a more than likely chance that whoever told me these things off hand at a party is entirely incorrect. But it all kinda sounds right, and it IS legend, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. And let's all try not to be shocked when Morgan Freeman is ALSO not dead, and potentially narrating.

I Am...Hungry....,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Witz Pickz: Chuck Ragan, Slam by Nick Hornby, Southwest Airlines...

My Friend With A Pool and I saw Chuck Ragan performing his solo material at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco the other night, and we were blown away. Not like in the movie Blown Away, i.e. with bombs, but metaphorically blown away by his presence and voice. First, the man can sing. Sure, he was the lead singer of Hot Water Music, a prolific punk band with great vocals. But in his solo album, he has to bring a lot to the table with his voice, since only a guitar and occasionally a fiddle, are behind him. So he does. Chuck Ragan brings what a large Polish person would bring to the table and then some-- pierogis of all types, not just cheddar and potato, but saurkraut and mushroom as well, kielbasa, some well grilled, others nicely sauteed, other meats I can't describe, and also wine. I don't know if Polish people drink wine, but I think it's pretty clear I'm just describing a meal I had recently at a dinner party, and boy was it delicious. Anyway, Chuck Ragan brings the goods to the table with his voice. Gruff, smooth, angry, calm, but ALWAYS involved-- every word he sang he meant, and he meant it each time he sang it, not just that first time.

That's the other thing with Chuck Ragan-- I have never seen a more blatantly honest performer (which could also be like saying I've never seen a better liar perform). He bent and sweated and shouted with every emotion in him for every song and I believed him. He smiled uncontrollably when fans in the audience shouted along to some of the lyrics, clearly just thrilled to be performing and having people CARE about his music. And this isn't some nobody-- this is a guy who's performed for over 10 years successfully for audiences. But he still cares, you can just tell. And it's clear he's the type of guy who genuinely would care. When he thanks the audience for clapping, or cheering, it's obvious he means it. When he says thank you to his wife and says he loves her, there is no doubt in my mind that they aren't thrilled with each other and completely in love. The man is genuine, and it comes across in his music, making some lyrics that might otherwise seem sappy or overly poetic, believable and acceptable.

For anyone in the area-- Bottom of the Hill is a tremendous venue. It's like a crazy hidden house in the middle of residential/old warehouse San Francisco. Once inside, there's a stage, a bar, and a merch area, but it's all very cozy and integrated. There's a little porch outside where you can hangout with tables. Or people. You can hangout with tables or people or potentially squirrels, should any appear. And they get great music and most shows are cheap. Excellent.

Slam by Nick Hornby: So I read that new Nick Hornby book pretty quickly on my flight back west. It's about 300 pages and marketed as a teen novel, but I can't really imagine many teens reading it. I don't know who Hornby intended it for, but I feel like he unwittingly writes it in a way that teens wouldn't appreciate so much as adults would for his reflections on being a teenager. It's typical Nick Hornby tone and voice, but I'm a bit at a loss for if he wrote the sixteen year old character well. At first I thought that the kid sounded a little young, like not quite a real sixteen year old, but then I tried to remember when I was fifteen/sixteen and how I acted or spoke, and how others did around me, and I honestly couldn't remember well enough to say Hornby was wrong. The other thing is that at times the character sounded too old, saying things like, "mustn't" or "this evening," but then I remembered that he's supposed to be British, and I don't know a damn thing about British kids except for some cool words and phrases they get to use, "mum, bullocks, init, toss off," and on and on. SO maybe he nailed it, I don't know. Regardless, the story was fairly interesting-- originally ordinary, but then a nice narrative twist made things more interesting from a storytelling perspective. Nothing to blow me away like Chuck Ragan, but definitely alright to read if you're starved for Nick Hornby writing. Lemme know what you think if you do.

I'll conclude with the fact that Southwest Airlines defeated air travel once again. After my miserable trip TO the east coast on United, I flew back on SW and it was a success. Even with the 2 stops while staying on the same plane (2 hours to chicago, 4 hours to LA, 1 hour to SJ), and 9 HOURS on a plane without a meal or movie, I felt fine. I won't give Chicago any props though-- while usually it's weather than ALWAYS effects a flight to or from Chicago, this time it was the fact that right before we landed, we had to accelerate and shoot back up into the air. Apparently, the air traffic controller had given clearance to a plane to takeoff, but they hadn't gotten off the ground before we were supposed to land on the same runway. Fortunately, they caught it in time, resulting in us flying about for 10 minutes (and seeing nice aerials of Chicago), but it was just proof that no matter when or which airport you fly into Chicago, SOMETHING will go wrong, cause a delay, or a cancellation.

Even I Want the Weekend, And I Don't Do ANYTHING,

P.S. Radio show tonight, so new podcast tomorrow for ya'all.

Witz Pickz: Yogurt Being Yogurt

There's a saying you've probably heard if you follow baseball at all-- "Manny Being Manny." This refers to Manny Ramirez being absolutely ridiculous, but true to his nature. He says crazy stuff, he acts a little off sometimes, but he is himself. Well, it's about time yogurt takes up the Manny baton and starts acting like yogurt. You know that Mitch Hedberg joke about Ritz crackers and how they have all the suggestions as to what to put on there, but he bought Ritz because he wants Ritz. The company has no faith in its product. I feel like yogurt producers have lost faith in yogurt. Why do I think this? Because I was at the store, and looking for yogurt and saw how far past the line it has gone. Here are the acceptable types of yogurt historically: Strawberry, Blueberry, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla, French Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Peach, Blackberry, etc with the berries. What did I see on the shelves? Boston Creme Pie Yogurt. Key Lime Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Lemon Chiffon Yogurt. Those I've seen before. Here are the new ones-- Caramel Apple Yogurt, Caffe Latte Yogurt, Chai Yogurt, S'mores Yogurt, and on and on and on. Those are the big hitters. Now here's the thing-- I'm ok with yogurt where clearly you add something and it ends up being that flavor. Add blueberries to yogurt-- BAM-- blueberry yogurt. But somehow, I don't see them shoving a Boston Cream Pie into a yogurt cup. I haven't even seen a Boston Cream Pie in years-- are they using them all for yogurts now and donuts? Orange Cream as in a Creamsicle was one of the other flavors. They just throw that all in a blender? Pumpkin Spice? They throw Pumpkin pie in yogurt because I tried it, and it tastes like damn Pumpkin Pie. Oh-- but here's the rub:

You can say that all these flavors are acceptable and hey, let's not be prejudiced, right? I mean, to be fair, I could be writing this in the early 1800's and be like, "Witz Pickz: Slaves Being Slaves" and I'd think I was right, theoretically. So why be such a flavorist in this case? Here's the thing-- they all taste terrible. By nature, yogurt tastes a little sour, right? With the berries it kinda works because they are tart or simply chunks of fruit. But what does a Chai Latte Yogurt taste like? Well, it tastes like a sour chai latte. Nevermind the fact that it's solid and sour, meaning, it's exactly like if you left our your chai latte for a week on the counter. What's a Boston Cream Pie Yogurt taste like? Yep, it tastes like SOUR Boston Cream Pie. Pumpkin? Sour Pumpkin Yogurt.

And none of this really struck me until I ate the Pumpkin one. I kinda was ok with the Banana Cream Pie although it's a little sour, and I can get down the the BCP one, don't get me wrong. But, I ate the pumpkin pie yogurt and had to admit that, "Yes, this tastes exactly like pumpkin pie...only a little sour." Why am I needing to ingest pumpkin pie in yogurt form? If I want pumpkin pie, holy shit, I need to live life at the level of self-respect and enjoyment that I will go get some actual pumpkin pie. Yogurt isn't toothpaste-- we don't need to hide the flavor. If you like yogurt, eat yogurt. If you don't, eat something else that's healthy. Don't force yourself to eat yogurt in secret sneaky form. Just drink a glass of milk for your calcium and wash down a small slice of Boston Cream Pie. I guarentee you'll be ok. And if you can't handle the calories, try jogging a little longer than usual (I assume you must exercise already if you're that worked up about it), do an extra few pushups, situps, or ass-crunches (sounds half like a torture method and half like a really good kind of apple). All I'm saying, ultimately, is that I DO like yogurt, and guess what? There are a lot of good flavors out there. I don't need my yogurt to be my serving of Key Lime Pie. I want my yogurt to be yogurt, and I think it's about time the yogurt execs get back to basics and restore some faith in their product. It must have all started when someone said, "Why don't you go ahead and throw some grapenuts in there?" It's a slippery slope from granola, nutmeg, or grapenuts to Boston Cream Pies, Chai Lattes, and ultimately, Crack. And while I do LOVE the idea that crackheads rob a Safeway/Stop & Shop/Big Y and are caught slurping up crack-gurt in the alley, it's not really part of the world I want to live in.

Go-Gurt's Blowin' Dudes At the Bus Station Now (How Quickly Things Change),

Monday, November 05, 2007

Witz Theoretically, But Not Consequently Pickz: The TV Writer's Strike

Hey, remember all those good shows I told you to watch the other day? Well, that might be a problem. As of November 1st, the WGA's contract ran out, and the television writers' threat to strike is becoming a reality. This would be terrible news for us tv viewing citizens of the world, but it's also not entirely uncalled for. Here's the deal:

Hollywood writers have been getting screwed for all of time-- and not in the way that the Hollywood actors and actresses have been getting screwed. They've been getting screwed out of credit and cash for years and with DVDs and iTunes sales now being bigger than ever, the WGA has decided it's time for a change. The last contract that was signed basically cut writers out of all the DVD and iTunes residuals, and they weren't happy about it. Now, as DVDs are becoming even more important than live television, and iTunes is horribly, but prevalently providing content, studios are making more money than ever and writers are seeing even more money passing through, but never into their hands. SO, they are gonna strike for the first time since 1988 until they get a reasonable offer. On the one hand, this is good, because writers completely deserve more money and it's awful how they are cut out of the profits and credit. As someone who would love to write for hollywood in the future, I'm for the strike and ultimately, getting a fairer deal. But on the other hand, this might take months to resolve and television is going to suffer.

While television shows are always written several episodes in advance, and while studios have been stockpiling scripts and shows, there is a good chance they will run out as early as January and certainly by sweeps. This means good strong shows that people like such as Heroes and Grey's Anatomy won't have new material, and struggling shows like Friday Night Lights will likely go off the air, potentially for keeps (I wonder if Coach Taylor got a paper a day early telling him the news??). It also means that reality tv (whose writers aren't under WGA contract) will become even more dominant and prevalent, and I honestly don't think I can take it. Over the weekend, while relaxing, My Brooklyn Compatriot and I watched an episode of Salt N' Pepa's reality show (cleverly entitled The Salt-N-Pepa Show), followed by an episode of America's Most Smartest Model (somehow hosted by Ben Stein who must have the most rollercoaster life/career out of anyone), and then a couple episodes of A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila-- who is a self made internet celebrity (she's got a lot of facebook friends). With full writer availability, THESE ARE THE SHOWS THAT ARE STILL ON TV. I can't imagine what will happen when more are requested. "America's Least Retarded Mentally Challenged Dog", followed by, "Decide If You'd Like The Bargain Or Would You Rather Eat Something Gross", followed by, "Goiter Love." Plus, shows like Primetime Rachel Ray might start happening. We were all confused enough when 60 Minutes was on twice and when somehow Dateline and 20/20 made it onto regular television viewing schedules, but I couldn't take something like "Al Roker Goes To Waterparks." Maybe Anthony Bourdain will somehow get the hookup and make a primetime unscripted food/travel special like No Reservations. That'd be cool.

On the plus side, sort of, internet television might get a boost. Channels like NBC and ABC already have original online content and shows only available at their sites, but they are also under the WGA. Which means other online shows such as everything on and my biased enjoyment of Couples Therapy, might get a boost of viewing. This won't effect the strike directly, but it might change viewership somewhat once it is resolved. The internet is pumping out some great stuff (It's Always Funny In Philadelphia won that pitch a show yourself and make it contest on FX), and this might open up opportunities for more people to get discovered ( has been a creative breeding ground-- if ultimately an inbreeding ground-- for new talent).

So there are positives and negatives. Hopefully, this thing will get resolved quickly and television life will go on. Ideally, the writers will get a better deal. Unfortunately, with so much money and intricate financials operating in the equation, there's a good chance it will take some time. We can only wait and quick it will go....who Tila Tequila chooses...who America's Most Smartest Model is (incidentally, Hollywood Steve from's Yacht Rock, was in the episode of America's Most Smartest Model)...if Pepa will ever grow to be as together and with it as Salt is (WHO WOULDA GUESSED!).....

I'd Also Feel OK If Everyone Got Fired And I Somehow Managed To Get A Job As A Writer,
Witz (call me)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Witz Pickz: Wristcutters: A Love Story -- NOW PLAYING!

FINALLY! I know I've talked about it a lot, but the movie I saw two+ years ago, Wristcutters: A Love Story is FIIIIINALLY out in theaters EVERYWHERE. They couldn't get distribution, won tons of festival awards, got distribution, was released only in NYC on October 19th despite my announcement that it was released nationwide (as I'd been told), but NOW, as of November 2nd, it is officially in theaters nationwide.

Click Here for showtimes near you!

Click Here for the Wristcutters: A Love Story home page!

Click Here for the Wristcutters: A Love Story myspace page!

Click Here to buy the soundtrack!

Click Here for a hilarious picture of a gopher!

Wristcutters: A Love Story -- Starring Patrick Fugit, Shannon Sossamon, Shea Wigham, Tom Waits, Will Arnett, John Hawkes. Directed by Goran Dukic. Music including Serge Gainsbourg, Gogol Bordello, and more. Runtime: 88 minutes

Patrick Fugit, Shea Wigham, and Shannyn Sossamon star in this morbid dramatic-pseudo-romantic-comedy based on the short story, "Kneller's Happy Campers" by Etgar Keret, Zia (Fugit) commits suicide after his girlfriend Mikal (Sossamon) breaks up with him. He then ends up in the land of the suicides, forced to "live" in the strange realm and all of its unique rules, still pining after Mikal and meeting strange and interesting "people" along the way. With great acting, cinematography, and soundtrack, you have to pay the 10 bucks to go see this in theatres, if only because of how hard everyone involved worked to get it into theatres. I'll open up some time for you: Gone Baby Gone will be just as good on your DVD player and Into The Wild probably isn't playing near you anymore. Bee Movie is gonna make you feel lame when you buy tickets, and you're probably a bad person (who needs bad movies) if you go to Saw IV. Wouldn't you rather watch Saw IV at home where you have a better chance of getting laid during a "scared" moment with a special person/cheap date? American Gangster will probably be good though...and I also wanna see Lars and the Real Girl...but if you see Wristcutters: A Love Story, you will get to a) be hip and cool b) say that you saw Wristcutters out loud and without regret in public and c) make me happy and be able to talk to me about it.

I realize I've hyped this thing to the extreme over the last ton of months, and it might not end up living up to that hype, so just know this-- it's not the best movie ever, but it's a terrific indie flick that won a lot of awards, has a great sense of humor, not the best ending ever, but is the epitome of what indie films must go through to succeed.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Witz Pickz: Ultimate Television Lineup!

I wrote one of these a few years back when Witz Pickz was a column in a student newspaper. How far I've come-- now Witz Pickz is an online blog read by...well fewer people probably. That's kind of a downer. But I respect you all so much more. So here's the glorious TV Lineup Post-- just far enough into the seasons that I can tell what's good, but not so far that you can't go back and watch the first episodes online.

9pm: Dexter (SHO) -- There can't possibly be a better way to kickoff the week than with Dexter. One of the most brilliantly conceived (by Jeff Lindsay in his books) and executed series on television, Dexter has finally started to blow up all over the place. I won't tell you what it's about if you don't already know, because finding out is half the fun. Since nobody gets Showtime, check this out on iTunes, or download it. SO GOOD.

9pm: Family Guy (FOX) -- still hilarious. You know what it is. Watch it.

10pm: Curb your Enthusiasm (HBO) -- Has put up a terrific season thus far. Unlike some of the seasons which wavered and had some annoying episodes (where everyone blames Larry for things that nobody in real life would blame someone for), this season has been packed with laughs and some great new characters.

8pm: How I Met Your Mother (CBS) -- There's not much on Monday nights, but if you have to watch something at eight, you might as well watch How I Met Your Mother, which was amusing the few times I saw it and I wholeheartedly support Jason Segul (Slackers, Undeclared, Knocked Up).

9pm: Heroes (NBC) -- The second season has more twists, more characters, and more of the same X-Men ripoff that Season One had. PLUS, Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) got signed on, so that's great.

10pm: Weeds (SHO) -- Topping off Mondays is the show nobody watches live. I still don't know more than one or two people with Showtime, but hey, that's why downloading and iTunes exists. Pickup the newest episodes of Weeds on Tuesdays. It's gotten better with time, and this season really is more interesting and amusing than ever.


9pm: House (FOX) -- Hugh Laurie is still solving Medical Mysteries the way Sherlock Holmes solved Regular Mysteries. I love it. I went back and watched Season 3 on DVD and it was great. The 3 fellowship people are gone in Season Four and he has to get a whole new group to help him out. It's a credit to the show and to the viewers that they feel ok doing this. The new group is promising and Hugh Laurie is still brilliantly acting. I swear the show used to be called House MD, but I guess they dropped the MD in the way bands drop the (A) or (The) before their name or people drop last names.


8pm: Pushing Daisies (ABC) -- This show might take a grain of salt to get into, but it's entirely worth it for the dialogue. The show is narrated and shot like a fairy tale, with a hint of Amelie, but with a whole lot of attitude and wit. Quips abound, amusing narrative devices and interactions, and fast paced witty writing keep the show interesting, even if some of the happier moments are a bit cheesy and overdone. The writers are well aware of this issue, however, as they always have a cynical character present for any moment that is too "fairy tale ending." Also, the show has the "I don't have a pen..." guy from Heatvision and Jack. AWESOME (but you probably don't know what that is).

9pm: Kitchen Nightmares (FOX) -- Going along the angry British people theme, Fox made an American version of the Gordon Ramsey show still airing on BBC. Starring Gordon Ramsey the brilliant, passionate, and extremely angry chef from Hell's Kitchen, the show has run down abominations of restaurants use Gordon as a consultant to get the place back in working condition. Along the way, Ramsey screams, swears, and insults his way to success. It gets redundant after a few episodes, but your other options are Private Practice, possibly the worst spin off show in years, and Josh Schwartz's new project, Gossip Girl, which is like The OC, but without any wit, quirk, or good soundtrack. (Note: A lot of you are probably wondering, "But wait, doesn't that mean he's SEEN Gossip Girl??" to which I reply, I'd do anything for you readers, even sit through an episode or two of a bad show on The CW brutalizing the talents of Kristen Bell).

10pm: Dirty Sexy Money (ABC) -- Losing steam as it goes on, DSM to fans (or bloggers who don't want to write it out all the time) is just a decently solid show with some good cinematography and interesting characters. It's purposefully a bit over the top, but with Peter Krauss and Donald Sutherland holding down the cast, along with some good young actors and the chick from The OC (Anna) and Entourage (Ari's first assistant who dates Eric), it's pretty good acting too. And for my disgruntled fans of a previous DSM post, The Baldwin Brother does the job well.


8pm: Survivor China (CBS) -- I'm not just writing this because I blog about it on'm not...

8:30pm: 30 Rock (NBC) -- Funnier and funnier. Tracy Morgan found his role. Alec Baldwin found his role. NBC better keep it going another season or two.

9pm: The Office (NBC) -- I'm wondering how long The Office can keep it up. Eventually, it's going to get bad and how many seasons can it seriously last? Each week they put up solid comedy and they managed to get Pam and Jim together without jumping the shark. Oh-- you didn't know about that? Get over it, it's just a comedy, the plot's not important. Unfortunately, NBC has plans for a spinoff show, which I can't imagine not being terrible. It would be a spinoff of a show that was an American version of a BBC program. Don't do it (unless they want to use my show about telemarketers as the spinoff-- which would be perfect incidentally...-- then it'd be ok)


9pm: (NBC) Friday Night Lights -- They basically gave up the goods in the first season since they didn't know if they'd be back, but keep FNL alive by at least TiVo-ing it. Please? Go Panthers.


There's no good tv on Saturdays. Don't even bother.


Entourage -- Not currently airing new episodes, but obviously great
Flight of the Conchords -- Hit and miss, but not airing new episodes either
Grey's Anatomy -- Seriously, it's not a good show. You know it. I know it. We watch it. Fine.
Moonlight -- Vampire detective with Shannon Sossymon and Logan from Veronica Mars in it? Worth a shot. (FRI @ 9 on CBS)

I will repost this with links and such later today. Maybe a few more jokes, who knows? It's a living organism, this internets.

I'm Gonna Make A Show Called Crack And Have It Be About A Drug Dealer Who Sells Crack While Bending Over A Lot With Low Cut Jeans, And People Will Be Like, "Yo, It's So Funny When You Watch It While On Crack!",