Friday, January 22, 2010

Witz Pickz: Steve

I walked past a church today that said, "Nothing is too hard for God!" which is great, except it seems beside the point, doesn't it? That's like if you were trying to start a lawnmower and someone said:

"You know who could start that mower for you? Steve."
"Awesome, where's Steve?"
"Oh, I dunno, I haven't seen that dude in years."

You know what seems like it might be too hard for God? Proving His existence. Now, I know that everyone remotely religious will contradict that with, "He doesn't need to prove His existence-- the point is to have faith-- to believe," and I can agree with that sentiment and can even throw my hat in with the "faith is good" crowd (as long as I get it back when the hat throwing and happy hour is over-- in fact, I can't think of anything more immediately disheartening than to have enough faith to throw your hat into a big pile of hats to prove your faith and then end up without the hat you were expecting to get back. There's a life lesson there). However, that argument only seems to work when you drop the G-bomb. It wouldn't work if I said to people,

"There's nothing too hard for Steve!"
"Can Steve knit?"
"Can Steve play a clarinet?"
"That is so easy for Steve."
"What about inverted rock climbing?"
"Absolutely, Steve can do that."
"Steve can INVERTED rock climb?"
"...Fine, prove it."
"Steve doesn't need to prove it to you."
"Is Steve even here?"
"No-- I mean yes-- I mean kind of."
"He's not HERE, but he's like...around, you know?"
"But he won't come hangout or prove that he can inverted rock climb?"
"I don't see that happening, no."
"But he can?"
"Yes. NOTHING is too hard for STEVE!"
"So Steve can knit, play clarinet, and rock climb?"
"Of course he can."
"Steve sounds like a tool."

It's all just so presumptuous. Maybe God IS omnipotent, and omniscient, and all that, but the Sunday crossword puzzle is REALLY HARD. Yeah, He's all-knowing, but there's SO MUCH TO KNOW. I've only been around for twenty-seven years and a lot of the time, I can't remember what I did THE DAY BEFORE. I probably KNOW the answer, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna remember it. Maybe the Rubix Cube is too hard for God. I wouldn't think any less of Him, but maybe He's one of those guys switching the stickers when nobody's looking. Or maybe He can do the Rubix Cube, but has trouble creating worlds where plate techtonics don't cause parts of the world's crust to grind on each other like teenagers in the backseat of a mustang, thereby causing major earthquakes in places like Haiti. Or maybe that's part of His Plan.

Even if the answer is YES to all of these things, that doesn't help me out at your church, unless he's set up some kind of booth (I mean an "It's Easy For G" booth, not a kissing booth). Until then, I'm going to keep having faith in my own abilities and the abilities of those I know-- regardless of how inverted Steve's rock climbing might be.

Religious Race Car Driver's Bumper Sticker: "God Gets My Motor Running,"


I want to have this conversation with someone at that church:

WITZ: Nothing's too hard for God?
WITZ: Could God drive drunk?
PRIEST: I-- I don't think he WOULD, but yes, I suppose he could.
WITZ: Isn't that dangerous?
PRIEST: God would be able to make sure he didn't hit anyone.
WITZ: Still, that seems a little irresponsible, no? I mean, he's a major role model, he shouldn't be driving drunk, that's not legal at all.
PRIEST: He wouldn't get pulled over by the police.
WITZ: So he'd use his power to impede law enforcement? Even Harry Potter didn't--
PRIEST: --NO! He wouldn't--
WITZ: --Besides, why is God getting drunk in the first place? I mean, sure, the job's stressful, but it's not too hard for Him...
PRIEST: God's not-- He-- You think you can just waltz in here and write a fictional religious conversation between yourself and a Priest about GOD??
WITZ: Well...I guess I just liked the idea of God getting wasted, but for some reason having to drive home...and Him being really good at it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Witz Pickz: Things I'm Telling People About YOU

That's right, YOU! I've decided that it's time to spread some rumors and ruin YOUR chances at running for office for a change, so here are some of the things I've been telling people:

Remember when you were reading that book and laughed so hard that you peed yourself even though there's nothing funny about The Diary of Anne Frank? I'm telling people about that.

Remember that time you wore a "Show Us Your Tits" t-shirt when you went to see Mother Teresa speak? I'm telling them about that, too.

Remember that time you stole those Slim Jims and Mountain Dew even though you had enough money to buy them because you wanted the purchasing experience to be, "As extreme as the flavor?" Shame on you.

Remember that time you were regional manager of Dunkin Donuts and had all the stores throw out their unsold goods at the end of the night instead of giving them to hungry homeless people? They'll remember that about you.

Remember when you said you wish you had "Gandhi's waist and flexibility," because you'd "Bang like a champ"? I'm telling people about that.

Remember when we were little and we found that cat in the woods and you wanted to name it Gregory and I wanted to name it Midnight and then you stabbed it repeatedly while I screamed and cried and you just laughed and laughed and stabbed and stabbed? Now THEY know about that.

Remember when you didn't use all the chains on The Wolfman?

Remember when you said the ending of Milk was, "Contrived and unrealistic?" Don't you feel silly, now?

Remember when you started the Boston Massacre by shooting Crispus Attucks? They won't forgive you for that one.

How could you sell the Whalers away from Hartford?

Remember when you yelled at the mentally-disabled bagger at the grocery store because he crushed the hot dog buns and "If he can't do the job right, he shouldn't have the job?" That was a bit much, wasn't it?

Remember when you swore that "Her eyes said yes."?

Remember when you swore that "His eyes said yes."?

Remember when you swore that "Its eyes said yes!"?

Remember when you said you missed, "The good old days," and I asked, "You mean the '90's?" and you replied, "The Slave Era"? You shouldn't have gone around saying things like that.

Remember when you said that there are only two great actresses in this world: the first being Sandra Bullock and the second ALSO being Sandra Bullock?

Remember when you voted YES on Prop 8? You're an asshole.

Remember when you referred to Charles Dickens as "The Dan Brown of the 19th Century?"

Finally, I'm telling people a story about you. I'm telling them about the time you were having trouble getting your work done at school, and so instead of working harder, you scored some amphetamines to help you out. Even though you never took them, you left them in your locker, where your unsuspecting cousin found and took them, thinking they were vitamins. Yup-- it was all your fault that your cousin was rushed to the hospital and could have died. I'm telling people that story, and not a single one realizes that it's the episode "Just Say Yo" from season three of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

I'm Gonna Be Pissed When I Find This Idea As A Far More Successful Spinoff Blog In Six Months,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Things I Don't Understand

I just saw the trailer for The Wolfman and I'll say this: If I'm ever in a position to chain or tie up a man or creature who's strength I don't know, I'm gonna go, what some might call, overboard. Who are these people that haphazardly throw on restraints and say, "Yeah...that wooden chair and basic pair of shackles oughta do the trick."? And who are the ones thinking double-knots with rope are going to keep superhuman strength from breaking free? You know how many chains and ropes I'm going to use on The Wolfman? ALL OF THE CHAINS AND ROPES. I'm going to use ALL the chains. I'm going to tie him to something sturdy, and I'm PROBABLY going to put him in a sack up to his neck. Because it's a frickin' Wolfman! What do these townspeople think? "Well, these chains will hold a man...and they'll hold a this should be enough to hold a Wolf-Man." Unbelievable.

Harry & David: After receiving peanut-butter filled pretzels, chocolate covered almonds, truffles, and a bag of pistachios from Harry & David this Christmas, it occurred to me that Harry & David might be the most openly gay company in America. When mentioning this to some people, I was shocked to find out that Harry and David are BROTHERS and not two gay guys. Right...of course they are...Harry and David are just two heterosexual brothers selling candy treats, delightful snacks, and kitchen goods. Oh, and boxes of pears.

HARRY: You know what would be totally fucking badass, David?
DAVID: What's that, Harold?
HARRY: High-end gift baskets!
HARRY: Right??
DAVID: Hell yeah-- oh!
HARRY: What? What are you thinking?
DAVID: Wait for it...
HARRY: What is it??
HARRY: HOLY SHIT-- you're like the George Washington Carver of mail order food stuffs.
DAVID: We should try hunting again.

I mean c'mon, they have a "Fruit-of-the-month-club!" These guys were closeted in 1930, but times have changed. It's time for Harry & David to come out and be heralded as the openly gay pioneers they have always been.

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant:
There is actually a television show on (amusingly) The Learning Channel called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and it's absolutely as literal as you don't want to believe it is. These women were unaware that they were pregnant right up until they actually gave birth to A BABY. The most astonishing thing about the show, to me, is that THERE IS MORE THAN ONE EPISODE! This has happened enough to create an entire series out of it. In fact, there's a second season!

From the few clips and stories I've seen and from what I've been told by fans of the show, there's pretty much one way things go down. They shouldn't call the show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," they should call it, "Oops, I Pooped a Baby," because there is an astoundingly high number of women who think they need to eat more greens and the next thing they know, the toilet bowl is crying. Can you imagine a more terrifying situation?? Talk about life going from bad to worse. If that was me, I'd-- well, first I'd probably pass out from the pain-- but then I'd push, and then the baby would scream, and then I'd scream, and the baby would scream, and I'd flush, and the baby would scream, and I'd flush and scream, and then we'd both be screaming and crying and screaming and the person in Stall #2 would run out of that bathroom with a speed never before known possible. If you think walking back from a dorm room the morning after in the same clothes is a "Walk of Shame," try the walk back from the bathroom to your table at the restaurant with a goopy toilet baby that you didn't have on the way in.* Needless to say, this show is going to the top of the To Watch List, hopefully an an encore after The Jersey Shore.

"Our Daughter Learned To Swim At a VERY Young Age,"

*The only acceptable joke to make in that scenario is to reach back into the movie quote vault and make a "Do NOT go in there!" Ace Ventura reference.


VILLAGER: Hi, I need to buy some chains...
CLERK: Oh yeah? What do you need them for?
VILLAGER: Well, we have kind of a Wolf...Man...situation.
CLERK: What, like, part wolf, part man, kinda thing?
VILLAGER: Exactly.
CLERK: Right. Well, these chains here are pretty good.
VILLAGER: Are they the best?
CLERK: No, but they're the best value.
VILLAGER: Alright, that sounds good. How many do you think I need? Like, one? What do you think? One? Maybe two?
CLERK: Yeah, I should think one would do the trick, but you might grab two just in case.
VILLAGER: Really? You're not just upselling me?
CLERK: No no no, not at all. But alright, here-- why don't you get the ONE chain, and then maybe grab a stool-- like one of those rickety ones over there.
VILLAGER: Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.
CLERK: Great, I'll give you a deal on the set.
VILLAGER: Oh yeah?
CLERK: Yeah, seems fair.
VILLAGER: Well, thank you, thank you very much. You'll give me a deal. How kind.
CLERK: Anything else?
VILLAGER: Uhhh, no, nope, ya know what, I think I'm great with this one chain and rickety stool, thanks. I mean, it's just a never before seen part man, part wolf creature with an untested amount of strength and dexterity...see you later!
CLERK: You absolutely will not.
VILLAGER: What's that?
CLERK: Have a good day!

SO many things here: Did you know that Danny DeVito and Arnold were reunited in Junior after having done Twins together?? Isn't that kind of a genre-specific reunion? Did you know that Emma Thompson was in Junior?? Did you realize that the tagline for Junior is "Nothing is inCONCEIVABLE?" Do you realize that they probably made the movie AFTER thinking of that pun? Do you realize that Arnold Schwartzenegger, star of JUNIOR, has the power to make major political decisions even after choosing to make Junior??

Monday, January 18, 2010

Witz Pickz: Ronald Reagan Couldn't Remember if He was Racist and Now We Have MLK Day

Like many white people of my generation, I was raised and schooled to be overly aware and sensitive to race. This means that I was taught so much about race and racism that I'm actually probably racist because of it, just in a benevolent way.

Sometimes, when I'm at the gym, for example, if I see a black guy drinking from the water fountain, even if I'm not thirsty, I'll go over and take a drink next, just so he knows I'm on his side. "We've sure come a long way, haven't we?" I'll imply with my generous sips and friendly smile ( least I hope that's what it implies, as opposed to, "Men's locker room-- five minutes.").

While I believe that "we're all the same" and we should "celebrate diversity," it's not always so easy to see the cultural similarities on a daily basis. On the train from Waterbury to NYC the other day, however, I learned that you just have to stop looking and start listening to see exactly how similar we all are.

At first, when I heard the following cell phone conversation by the kid sitting a few seats behind me, it was dull and irrelevant:

White Kid on Cell Phone: Hi, Michael? Hey, I just wanted to let you know I'll be at Grand Central around noon. Yep, I'll meet you there and we can get a sandwich or something. Yeah then we'll-- hello? Hello? Michael?....Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now???

Then I heard this conversation from...the kind of guy Harry Reid would not expect to win the presidency:

Black Guy on Cell Phone: Motherfucka, if I see that nigga, Fritz, I'm gon' fuck his ass up, boy-- I'm an OG, motherfucka, he don't know where I'm from-- talkin' EAST END, nigga, Bridgeport. Cops'll pull yo' ass over for wearin' a fitted, know what I mean? Nigga best be-- yo? Tio?...can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now???

WE'RE ALL THE SAME! A little while later, my hunch was confirmed. Here's a typical scenario that has happened when I've been on the phone:

WITZ: Hi, Ryan? How's it going? Yeah, I--
JAMES: Is that Ryan? Tell him I say "Hi."
WITZ: --Hey, Ryan, James says, "Hi." (pause) "Ryan says, 'Hi.'"
JAMES: Cool.

Now here's the phone conversation I overheard from the same guys in front of me:

KWAN: What up, Tio? Where you at, nigga? Oh, for real? I--
RICO: Yo, tell Tio I say "What up."
KWAN: Yo, Rico says "What up." (pause) "Tio says, 'What up.'"
RICO: Cool.

Granted, that conversation is infinitely cooler, but it reveals the bond between us all; that everybody just wants to say "what up."

Here are some other things I've thought about this MLK, Jr. Day:

-Is it racist or just stupid that TNT has "Honoring MLK" above the scores during their NBA basketball coverage? Furthermore, is it borderline disrespectful for Celtics forward, Brian Scalabrine, to be on the court?

-"So what is it? If MLK, Jr. see's his shadow, there's three more months of winter?"

-Is it racist that I still don't know who the eff Tyler Perry is??

-I think if you were the millionth man at the Million Man March, you should have won a prize.

-Regardless of whether stereotypes are true or not, was Gallagher really really ridiculously racist?

I Like How Christmas Is Always On the 25th of December because That WAS OBVIOUSLY WE'RE NOT MAKING THIS UP Jesus's Birthday, but MLK Day is Celebrated on the Third Monday of Each January, when His Birthday Was DEFINITELY FOR REAL on the 15th,

P.S. It's probably important to note that the conversations I referenced are VERBATIM what I heard on the train.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Witz Pickz: The Things We Carry

I hope nobody ever finds me dead and judges me based on the gift cards found in my wallet. I don't need some stranger at my funeral eulogizing me with, "He was an Applebee's and Chili's kinda guy who loved shopping at Target and acquiring free games of mini-golf." To be fair, that's not very far off from the truth, but it's not how I want to be remembered, which is why I've decided to start carrying around a "Just In Case" wallet:

"Witz, why do you have an XXL magnum condom, an organ donor card, pictures of several African children, and a AAA card in your wallet??"

"Because, if I ever die and someone looks in my wallet, I want them to think I have a huge penis, care about others more than myself, and have numerous adopted children. The AAA card is just good sense-- you never know when your car will break down..."

"Hm. Because, it looks like you kidnap, rape, and murder children."


"It's like a emergency felony kit."

"I--...did not think about it like that."

So, maybe I won't. Either way, looking in my wallet really made me think about my material posessions and how they can be taken out of context. For example: I have an "I (heart) NY" mug on my desk which was, ironically enough, given to me at my last job, where I was later laid off, which is when I moved to NYC. Out of context, however, I'm just the kind of guy who lives in NY and owns an I heart NY mug-- which seems both smug and oddly competitive to me. "No, no, I'm sure you enjoy NY, I'm just saying that I cared enough to buy this t-shirt..."

Some other items in my room that might be given more significance than they are due include: a touch-lamp (because I'm so lazy that if I want something to function, I just want to haphazardly swing my hand at it), an inordinate number of vitamins (from my dad), incense (from my mom), a shopping bag from Anne Taylor (formerly full of food sent back with me after Christmas), the book "Jewtopia" (gift), and a pair of boxers with soccer balls on them which announce on the waistband, "Just Balls."

On the other hand, here are some items I hope are not discovered or given the amount of significance they actually have: currently five empty poland spring water bottles (it's starting to be a problem), an unpaid speeding ticket from 2001, my brand new Cuisinart, eight bottles of wine and two bottles of whiskey, a pair of Stanford socks (purchased to be worn AT the Stanford gym when I forgot to bring socks to work one day), four partially consumed bags of trek mix consisting predominantly of dried cranberries, a homemade sign I found in my closet back home over the holidays that declares, "Something's BRUIN on FOX!" (My friend, Zak Jazz and I always tried to get on TV at sporting events...), and a ziplock bag full of a highly suspicious number of "Stanford Leading Matters" flash drives.

Finally, here's a list of items that I hope people see and give far more relevance to my life than they actually have: a pair of O.R. scrubs, a cowboy hat, a copy of Infinite Jest that I doubt I'll ever finish, a longstanding Netflix DVD of Drag Me to Hell (maybe someone would think that I loved the movie as opposed to the fact that I haven't watched it alone because it would be too scary), WORK shoes, WORK shirts, WORK ties, and really anything serving as evidence that I'm on some sort of career path-- obviously excluding a career path that includes the condoms, donor card, and pictures of African children...

I Apple New York,

P.S. It's 01-11-10! And props to my friend, Melanie C But Not Sporty Spice, for pointing out that January 2nd was an even better palindrome: 01022010

Friday, January 01, 2010

Witz Pickz: 2010 -- A New Year's Revolution

As I lay in my twin bed, alone, having just finished the better part of a large cheese pizza, and watching Glee on my laptop, it occurred to me that maybe it was time for some New Year's Resolutions.

For the last few years, I have built a structural foundation for my resolutions. As you might recall, three years ago, I made a resolution to stick to future resolutions. Two years ago, I made the resolution to make more plausible, attainable resolutions, which would, in turn, give me more confidence for attaining future resolutions. Last year...I don't think I made any resolutions, was kind of a step backwards, I suppose. THIS YEAR, however, the time has come for action. After all, as I sit here writing this, my phone is declaring that it is January 1, 2010.


It looks like the future. It looks like the kind of date that would appear along with computerized beeping at the bottom of a movie screen, right before robots step into the frame and destroy New York City. When you say twenty-ten, it sounds like action; powerful, like a military command or a police code for "righteous vengeance."* In retrospect, "two-thousand-nine" sounds like the police code declaring that two british gentlemen are planning on meeting for tea-- and both are running on time. The whole ought's are weak-willed, spineless sounding years, full of pandering and doubt.

So this year, I have my action based resolutions, which, thanks to three-ish years of preparation and framework, will be successful:

1) Burritos will be a sometimes food. Anybody can eat burritos all the time, but it takes a strong individual to not eat a burrito when you want one. This is not a metaphor. Burritos are way too delicious. This leads us to...

2) Start having my friends refer to me as "The Hypothetical." For those of you enlightened folk who have already been watching the Jersey Shore, you know what I am referencing, but because not everyone has found the true path to peace and wisdom, and because it's worth repeating anyway, I will explain. There is a guy on the Jersey Shore who refers to himself as "The Situation." He does this, and other people actually call him "The Situation", because he is absolutely ripped, especially his abs. His ridiculous abs ARE "the situation." Once girls get a look at "the situation," it's game on.

So I decided that I'm gonna start referring to my abs as "the hypothetical." They aren't completely ripped, but IF I cut down on the burritos and IF I started injecting my ass with steroids, I could turn my vague six-pack into a ripped, cut, crowd pleasing situation. "Once girls get a look at The Hypothetical,they KNOW I-- probably have a decent personality and they could probably do worse. That's The Hypothetical."**

3) Cut down on extraneous entertainment. This encompasses a few things. For instance, it means that I should continue to not watch The Sing-Off, even though watching Glee kind of made me want to see the real deal-- but acapella is acapella and the line has to be drawn somewhere.

This also means cutting down on spontaneous arts and crafts projects because it's starting to get weird. I'm not an arts and crafts guy by any means, but in the last month I both made a menorrah out of a gingerbread house kit, and put together a star for the top of my apartment's christmas tree. The gingerbread menorrah was a complete failure and ended up simply being The World's Most Dangerous Menorrah; I stuck thumb tacks through a piece of cardboard to hold the candles in place which had the dual function of stabbing everyone who couldn't see the tacks, AND allowing the candles to fall off the menorrah incredibly easily to then potentially light the apartment on fire.

The christmas tree star was a cardboard star cut out of a pizza box (yep, the aforementioned Glee watching pizza box), wrapped in tin foil, and taped to a roll of toilet paper. "I know it sounds ghetto, but my family has had one on my christmas tree at home for the last twenty-seven years," I told my roommates as I taped the cardboard toilet paper roll to the star. "You're, like, really craftsy, huh?" one roommate replied, and I knew something in my life had gone horribly awry-- hence the resolution.

4) My final resolution this year is to not get down on myself if I don't hold to all of my resolutions. I'm making this resolution because YOU know and I know that I'm absolutely going to watch The Sing-Off, HOWEVER, I am also making this resolution because it's better to realize that it is ok to fail sometimes than for me to simply give up on resolutions in the future. The future that has arrived. Twenty-ten is here.

Happy New Year and 01/11/10 Is Gonna Be A Badass Palindromic Date,

*It doesn't mean that. There's no twenty-ten code, but there is a 10-20 which means "location" as well as a code twenty meaning "acute trauma" and code ten meaning "critical trauma" a twenty-ten could kinda mean, "definitely injured in some way" which is, like, kiiinda badass...

**If I was really muscular with a golden tan I'd ask people to refer to me as "Shredded Wheat."