Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the End of the World As We Know It and I See Why

(I still can't figure out when Veterans Day is, but they know when the world ends?)
Personally, I don't think the world is going to end on Friday. I don't even think that the Maya predicted the end of the world with all this calendar business. I believe that as much as they liked making their calendars (because let's face it, if they'd had The Wire or Homeland, their calendar would have ended centuries ago), they took a look around and decided that 1000 years in advance was enough calender-ing and called it a career. In fact, I believe they were supposed to stop at the year 2000, but overachieving Suzie-zuma* kept going another 12 years:

"Pencils down!"
"But, I'm almost at 2013!"
"You were supposed to stop at 2000!"
"But it's gonna look weird!"
"This is not up for debate!"
"Fine. But people are gonna read into this someday..."

And look--if you've paid any attention at all to the news in the last year, then you know that there are plenty of reasons to believe the end of the world is near: from horrific environmental events to horrific man-made events, the signs are there. Hell, a week before 12/21 there were TWO simultaneous meteor showers that could be seen from Earth, i.e. the setup to every armageddon movie from the 90's (specifically 1998). Combine that with the whole Mayan End-of-the-World Prediction and you'd think that instead of sky-gazing, people would have been freaking out and demanding Obama get Bruce Willis on the horn--or at least Gary Sinise!

Yet, for the most part, people aren't freaking out. Sure, I've seen a few "End of the World Survival Guide" posts and articles, but those all seem to be missing the point. They say to stock up on things like batteries and canned goods, and to invite your friends over so you're all in one place if something bad really does happen. These all seem to be missing the point. It's the END OF THE WORLD, not the end of perishable goods, retweets, and overages. It's all over! (Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) High-fives, fantasy football, Fox News. Donesies. Earth. Destroyed.

And while I don't believe we're all going to be doomed in the next 24-36 hours, I'll understand why we are if it does happen. It won't be because of the big, horrible news-making events which humanity perpetuates--no, those are too big, too major--those are things we as a species endure and eventually put behind us, for better or worse. It's going to be because of the small things--the things which nag and nag and nag until one day, they make the universe snap and flush the whole damn experiment down the proverbial toilet:    

The Overabundant Use of "Curate": You used to have to work for years to earn the position and title of curator. The curator of the museum. The curator of the archives, or art collection, or a zoo. Now, everyone's a goddamn curator. "I curate the summer movies in the park," and, "I curate the menu at this pizza place," and, "I curate the contents of this publication." People may schedule, pick, or manage things, but only a very few curate. You are not the curator of your bed, no matter how carefully you select people to sleep with. You are not the curator of your blog, even if you're Witz-picking what is on it. And you are not the curator of your toilet, even if you're the one making the decisions about what ultimately gets flushed. But more and more people seem to think that they are. And that's why we're all gonna die.

Bill Murray Refusing to Make Another Ghostbusters Movie: What, you're too good to add to the classic oeuvre of ghosts and those who bust them? Murray just played FDR in a movie that nobody knows exists, but he repeatedly refuses to be in a new Ghostbusters movie. And that's why we're all gonna die.

(Seriously, stop talking)
Eddie Murphy Refusing to STOP Making Movies: Eddie's most recent release was A Thousand Words, a movie entirely about forcing Eddie Murphy to shut the fuck up. And yet, he persists. IMDB informs me that his next movie after that box-office gem will be a TV movie of Beverly Hills Cop, in which he will play the same character he played in the Beverly Hills Cop movies that came out in theaters back when he was entertaining, thus closing the loop. And that's why we're all gonna die.


(And that's why we're all gonna die.)
50 Shades of Grey: The book which began as Twilight fan-fiction has been at the top of best-seller lists for months. I'm all for reading, but somebody needs to tell these people about the internet. It has porn everywhere! And while you may think your imagination and E.L. James' awkward sex descriptions are more vivid, I'm sure the internet has whatever gets you going, from romantic love scenes to a video of Gandalf shouting, "Call me Smeagol!" while banging Saruman next to a Dothraki hoard where Bella is giving birth to a half-hobbit-half-vampire who likes to watch. But instead of doing that or reading books which might enhance themselves or the way they see and understand the world around them, people are reading lines like, "Christian follows with two sharp thrusts, and he freezes, pouring himself into me as he finds his release." And that's why we're all gonna die.

So, even though this whole Mayan Prediction thing is just a misunderstanding** and it's only the smallest of small chances that the world ends tomorrow, at least we can take refuge in the knowledge that we absolutely deserve it. Here's to 12/22/2012.

Now Maybe Jesus Will Understand How it Feels to Have a Birthday So Close to Christmas,

*Calm down, I know Montezuma was an
**Article explaining calendar fiasco:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Witz Pickz: People With AIDS Plaza

Yes, seriously. There's a place in NYC called "People With AIDS Plaza." Now, if you're over forty, you're probably thinking, "Boy, we sure have come a long way; I remember when it used to just be called 'Dying Homosexuals Square.'" But, if you're under forty, your first thought was most likely, "Yikes! There HAS to be a better name for that!" Really think hard about it, though--there is no other name. Sure, it SOUNDS like it might be offensive, but it's really not.* It's just super specific. Like, try and think of any other location that is that specific. You can't, right? As far as I know, there's no "People With Dandruff Plaza" or "Folks With Nut Allergies Park." What else would you call it? There aren't nicknames for people with diseases. AIDS-ers? AIDSies? PWAIDS might work (People with AIDS), but that just sounds like a cute little kid asking for braids in her hair. So "People With AIDS Plaza" was really all they had to work with.

Now, why they would possibly name a place "People With AIDS Plaza" is a whole other question. How'd that meeting go, exactly?

"We should name a place for people with AIDS. Maybe a plaza?"
"Okay, but what should we call it?"
"How about...People With AIDS Plaza?"
"Nailed it."

That's why you don't schedule meetings at 4:30pm on a Friday. Once I got over the name, my next thought was, "How awkward must it be to eat lunch there??" to which my friend Muckduck (formerly C-Murder) of Hardly Housewives fame, replied, "How awkward must it be to have unprotected sex there??" Fair point. It's just uncomfortable. Nobody is gonna name that as a meeting place. You're never gonna hear, "There's something just very calming and zen about hanging out at People With AIDS Plaza..." 

("So, you're gonna lose the case and oh boy are you ever gonna be persecuted, but they ARE going to name a plaza after people with AIDS...Good trade?")
I guess the real question is just: what was the goal? Was it supposed to make people with AIDS feel better? "Sorry you have a horrific and life-threatening disease, but here's a plaza for you. That's what you were hoping for, right? A plaza?" Was it supposed to be informative? Because, sure it's a sign which might momentarily make people think about people suffering from AIDS, but most people are ignorant and disconnected and while there's a chance it will inspire some kind of empathetic act, it's far more likely that it will be ignored while people stare at their phones, trying to figure out who Malcolm 10 is.

Let's Petition For A "People Who Are Homeless Plaza" Even Though The City Would Probably Post a Sign There Which Says "Plaza Closes At Dusk, No Sleeping On Benches,"

*If you replace "People With AIDS" with another group, it definitely sounds uncomfortable. "The Jews Plaza." "Hispanics Place." "Native-American Square." It's like the city's saying, "Yep, that's where you go. You're welcome." BUT, none of those are actually offensive or racist or prejudiced in any way. They're just...really straightforward and ill-conceived.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Witz Pickz: Reynolds Parchment Paper

Parchment paper. I don't know what it is. I don't know how its magic works. What I know is that you can put it in an oven and it won't burn up and that my Great-Grandma was pretty into it--and for those two reasons I'm on board with it. Well, apparently, not enough people feel the same way, because Reynolds is attempting to bulk up their parchment paper sales via a terrible commercial. I looked for it online, but I guess it didn't go viral, so I'll just have to describe what happens:

A woman is baking gingerbread men. Apparently, she didn't put any oil or spray on the baking sheets because when she goes to spatula one off, the head sticks to the pan and breaks off from the body. The next thing we see is this woman's pre-teen daughter holding the body of the gingerbread man, which the woman still took the time to dress up with frosting. Her crappy daughter takes a look at the cookie and proceeds to feed it to the dog, who also looks uninterested. Time to teach your daughter about being happy with what they have, right? NOPE!

The next shot is of the woman scraping the entire two sheets of cookies directly into a trash bag. It's not entirely unlike those "Crying Indian" litter PSAs from the '70s.* Bare minimum fifty g-men are mauled and tossed away. Now, I'm only thirty and don't have any kids, so maybe I just haven't experienced the omni-present day-to-day shattering of one's mind and spirit which comes from being a long-time spouse and parent, but I would eat those cookies. Even if my disappointing child wouldn't touch them, I'd be like, "Alright, whatever, (fuck you), more for us."

Maybe, and I mean MAAAAYBE, she doesn't want to eat the cookies herself for some reason, but how about asking her husband (while we don't meet a husband, I'm assuming the people pushing parchment paper at Reynolds aren't also pushing any kind of progressive household) if he'll eat the cookies before throwing them all out? My only conclusion is that she has a terrible marriage and a terrible life and the only thing she has left is waiting for her husband to come home so she can show him the bag of discarded body parts and say, "This. This is my life. I'm leaving."

ME: And then she just throws out all of the gingerbread men!
EM-DASH: That's bullshit.
ME: I know--
EM-DASH: --Everyone knows you can just glue the heads back on with frosting.**

Now get ready, because this is where PARCHMENT PAPER comes in! The woman proceeds to bake an ENTIRE NEW BATCH of cookies, this time placing the parchment paper down on the baking sheets first. They come out GREAT! Their heads are INTACT! Her horrific shit-princess of a daughter delights in the eating of the gingerbread man. And here's where I would differ from this TV mom: after biting off the head of the g-man, the cookie looks identical to the broken one from earlier. One bite. In the commercial, the mom is psyched that her child is happy. In my world, I would take that opportunity to lay into my hellscape of a daughter, question her intelligence, break her down emotionally, and then tell her that no matter how good the cookies turn out, there's still no Santa Claus and her nose is always gonna be that big (my child will be genetically doomed nose-wise, that's just a fact). Then, her mom will start yelling at me, as well she should. So, yeah, I'm not ready for kids.
(You think telling a kid there's no Santa Claus is tough, try tellin' an adult there's no Jesus!)
And yet, possibly the saddest moment in the whole commercial comes at the very end when they show the product with the information, "Look for Reynolds Parchment Paper next to Reynolds Aluminum Foil Wrap in your local grocery store." Their product is so obscure at this point and is selling so badly that they have to explain where it might be in the store. Soup never had that problem. Campbell's is never like, "Look for it next to the broth at your local supermarket!" Everybody knows where the soup aisle is.

Your Move Wax Paper,

*About those. Yeah, the Native-American had a tear rolling from his eye, but am I the only one who thinks he had a lot of other things going on? Litter is bad, but in this PSA, the guy rows his canoe through industrial waste, parks it on the beach, walks up the hill to see an endless landscape of cars and white people who stole the land he loved and destroyed the heritage he embodied. So, while I'm sure the littering wasn't ideal, I'm guessing a single blanket is enough to trigger some tears for everything and everyone he has lost.

**And that, ladies and gents, is why we're getting married.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Witz Pickz: The Post-Hurricane Lifestyle

("They named it Hurricane WHAT??")
I was one of the incredibly fortunate people whose home was almost entirely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy. We never lost power, nothing in our neighborhood flooded, and the local stores began reopening 24-48 hours after the storm. However, with the subway closed and with power out around most of Manhattan, most people I know have either gotten time off or have been working from home, and have been going a little stir crazy from being inside and isolated for so long. This made me realize something: I've been living a post-hurricane lifestyle for months now.

Most days, I don't commute to work, I eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than my sanity would appreciate, and the most talking I do during the day is to an unblinking rabbit with a flagrant crack-level addiction to golden raisins. So, as the seasoned veteran, I thought I would offer some suggestions on how to occupy yourself until you can escape your neighborhood and return to  your usual routine:

I've always found that when I'm not working to maintain my finances, going to the gym at least makes me feel like I'm maintaining SOMETHING. It also helps maintain Not Being Sad and Alone Forever. People seem to be gravitating this direction already, as the gym has been looking like the first week of January, when for 5-7 days every year Resolutionists flail like terrified gazelles on the ellipticals, push weights mightily towards and away from their bodies, and yoga the shit out of their ligaments before remembering that it sucks to do all of that stuff.

My tip to you is to try making up stories about why you're doing the different exercises. Maybe you're trying to bench-press your own body weight so that when your eight identical evil clones fall from the sky onto you, you can throw them off. Maybe you're not running redundantly on a treadmill, but steadily chasing that semi-attractive girl or guy on the treadmill in front of you. And using that ab crunch machine is never not gonna look like you're straining to make your head reach your crotch. Them's just the facts.

After a few days, you're going to get bored and while Netflix boasts all the under-the-radar gems you never saw from 1987, you are going to need an alternate entertainment source. allows you to answer that question, "Under what circumstances would I watch 'Magic Mike'?" and gives you complete justification for watching, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "Tower Heist." Keep an eye out for some legitimately good/interesting new movies to watch before they're out on DVD or just because they're free. "Ruby Sparks," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap," "Shut Up and Play the Hits," "The Campaign" (which I can honestly say is 90 minutes of time that will pass...), and lots more. Big smiley faces with teeth = great quality. Buy the HDMI cable on Amazon and hook your laptop up to your TV.

For those of you without power, thanks for making a ridiculous effort to read this and here's a game I was taught recently by my buddy Zopf The Hook. It's called Greed and will keep you sharp for your return to capitalistic society. All you'll need are six dice, paper and a pen, and either the basic remedial math skills you drank/smoked away years ago orrrr a calculator. Take THAT, school!

"But I don't have six dice!" you say. Yes, you do. Check all those old board games--Parcheesi, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, or the mother-load, Yahtzee. If you don't have those, check old drawers and boxes. I don't know what it is, but something in the universe guarantees that everyone has dice somewhere in their home (it's probably to remind us that everything is up to chance and we have very little control over our fragile, desperate lives).

(It's looked down upon to shout "Yahtzee!" while looting the game for dice, but also very fun...)
Each person rolls all the dice on their turn and earns points. The goal is to get to 10,000 points. I could give you all the rules here, but instead, just read this Wikipedia article. To make it more fun, add incentive prizes at different point levels, and/or (like everything in life) make it a drinking game.

Thousands were affected by the Hurricane in much worse ways than you or I, so I would first suggest seriously that people volunteer in their community or help someone in some way, even if that just means letting someone without power crash with you, donating blood, or supporting a small business which lost money during the storm and needs your business to, ironically, stay afloat. Now on to my next-level charitable ideas (read: schemes):

-Give one homeless person peanut butter, another jelly, and another bread. You've just built a community (or death match).

-Crash Cab: let people sleep in your car.

-Rob people taking photos of the devastation and of the people who are working to rebuild. Donate that money to collection funds in those neighborhoods.

-Can-non Fooder: PVC piping + hairspray + lighter + canned goods = hunger relief. Launch non-perishable canned goods directly into the windows of those in need. 

-Since Halloween was a bust and the subways still aren't fully functional, if you have a car, use it to pick up passengers and drive them where they need to go for free. The twist? Dress you and your car up as the cab and cab driver from "Ghost Dad"! Then you both can be like:

I have more ideas, but I've already opened myself up for a lot of scrutiny and lawsuits, so I'm gonna stop there.

Everything will be back to normal, for better or worse, in the next few weeks, so until then, I hope these few tips make a difference and if anyone shows up at your door posing as ConEd or Time Warner people, punch them immediately in the face and shut the door. Worst case scenario, they were actually people from ConEd and Time Warner, so they'll understand...

Our Old Breakfast Lady In High School Was A Greek Woman Named Sandy, and While She Never Destroyed a Coastline, She Got Pretty Worked Up When We Asked For Extra Cheese On Our Breakfast Sandwiches, So I'm Just Saying I GET IT and Also I Miss Breakfast Lady Sandy (and You Should Too),


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Paul Ryan's Playlist

Paul Ryan, seen here listening to "Smug Hits of the '80's"
 While much can (and will) be said about Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC last night, one seemingly innocent statement struck me as not only odd and contrived, but incredibly revealing: 
There are the songs on his [Mitt Romney's] iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, “I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.”

WHY DOES PAUL RYAN’S PLAYLIST END AT “L”?! I mean, if he’s a fan of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, he’s surely got some Mötley Crüe or Whitesnake in there, right? What about Twisted Sister? Are we to believe that Paul Ryan went through his entire life willing to “take it”? As my friend pointed out, "What kind of monster doesn’t have at least some ABBA mixed in?"

Even if we are to believe that Paul Ryan listens exclusively to metal and hasn’t been tempted into potentially calling Carly Rae Jepsen, party rocking, or celebrating within the bounds of America alongside Miley Cyrus, that would make Paul Ryan a guy who listens exclusively to metal and is completely out of touch with mainstream America!

"Paul Ryan hates black music..."
I don’t want that kind of guy anywhere near the Presidency. AC/DC and Zeppelin Guy can DJ my house party, plan a rafting trip, or sell me weed, but I’m not putting him in the White House. Doing that sounds like the plot to an unreleased Pauly Shore movie from the ‘90’s. You know what doesn’t scream “Starting a war for no legitimate reason?” Bon Iver. The Head and the Heart. Taylor Swift. Mix it up, is all I’m sayin’. We get that you want to sound like a youthful badass, but you already look like the brother of the T-1000. Stop trying so hard; you’re freaking us all out. Besides, if I’m going to vote based on someone’s appreciation of Black Sabbath, then Chuck Klosterman is a much more appealing candidate.

But enough about Paul Ryan, right? He’s only the Vice-Presidential nominee. What was it he said about Mitt, again? Oh yeah, that he’s heard Mitt’s music on hotel elevators. I understand this probably means he listens to a lot of James Taylor and thoroughly enjoys “The Girl from Ipanema,” but what if Mitt Romney’s iPod is stocked solely with muzak? Isn’t that something we should know? I’m pretty sure only sociopaths and the deaf listen to muzak for enjoyment, and it seems entirely possible that Mitt Romney is so out of touch that he sees muzak as some kind of higher art form.

So while Paul Ryan’s comment was made in jest, he has inadvertently given us a window into the musical hellscape that is Romney/Ryan 2012. We may never see all of those tax documents, but for the sake of the American people, please, show us the iPods.

 Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Witz Pickz: The XXX Olympic Games

Well, the Games of the XXX Olympiad are behind us, and while Vin Diesel never made an appearance (a glaring mistake by NBC during Olympic coverage which was characterized by glaring mistakes), the games did live up to their sexually explicit connotations.

Women's water polo became a veritable "Where's Waldo" of nip-slips and oops-boobs, while simultaneously proving itself as one of the most bad-ass, intense sports I've ever seen. They don't touch the bottom of the pool the entire time, and then wrestle, smack, and battle during every possession. No wonder various body parts are all, "I'm gettin' outta here!"

Meanwhile, I watched so much of the men's swimming and diving that I can now sketch each competitor's package by memory if one of them goes missing. Did we really need that many torso and crotch shots every race? I get it: swimmers have ripped up abs and their crotches look like a hamster got caught in a water balloon. But it became so prevalent that NBC started inadvertently censoring a small portion of the junk-age:

Synchronized divers kept, "entering at the same time," while basketball announcers talked incessantly about, "double penetration," and even, "triple penetration," which, frankly, I don't understand in either--oh, nevermind, yes I do--gross. (How do you even get into synchronized diving? Are you just like, "Man, I like diving, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable if someone else was next to me doing the exact same thing at the exact same time."?) Not to be outdone, the swimming announcers were praising the athletes for their, "long, smooth strokes," how well they were, "working their hips," and how they knew, "not to go for it too soon."  

Tennis had all the moaning and grunting covered, and if my future child ever inquires what those noises coming from Mommy and Daddy's room last night were, I'm going to tell them we were throwing a shot put. I will then reiterate that there's no throwing a ball in the house and that they shouldn't throw shot put until they are in love or if it will advance their career.

(Oh man, when one makes a bigger splash than the other, don't you just want to throw up on something beautiful?)

This all makes sense. If you think about it, the Olympics are really just sports porn: the best amateur athletes in the world, competing against each other for two weeks while the rest of us voyeurs watch, occasionally commenting, "I had no idea I'd be into that," or, "I think I'd like to try that sometime." I mean, they used to compete completely naked back when these things started, which had to be both awkward and somewhat exhilarating for the archers and marksmen. I'll tell ya one thing though, they didn't have any "was it/wasn't it" erection controversies back then*:

("Bronze medal! I just went from 6 to 10:30...")
So, overall, I deem the XXX Summer Olympics a success. The US brought home the most gold and overall medals with 49 (104 overall), while China finished in second with 38 (88 overall). Ordinarily, I would say that the medal count doesn't matter, but this time it's huge because we need that gold to pay back some of our debt to China. We finished first, they finished second, but China's going home with 87 gold medals. So until the winter of 2014, we bid the Olympics adieu and can now return to our American bubble, where Vin Diesel keeps doing things in a quick and angry manner and our best athletic nudity comes when Katy Perry goes on a water slide. "...and the hoooooooome of thaaaa braaaaaaaaaaave!"

There Are People Better At Badminton Than I Will Ever Be At Anything In My Entire Life,

*How horrible for Henrik Rummel. The guy wins a bronze medal in the goddamn Olympics, which he has worked years to achieve, and the entire media goes, "Okay, okay--but IS YOUR PENIS ERECT??" And the weird thing is, instead of being like, "Yeah it is. I have a lot of training in that department, too," he replied, "No. I swear it's not erect!" I mean, if that's true, then congrats sir, but your canoe should have been disqualified for having an extra oar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Witz Pickz: "Girls"

I like Girls. That's not some unsolicited, overcompensating statement of heterosexuality--I'm not a conservative running for political office. I mean the HBO show Girls, which has had plenty of its own controversy since the season began a couple of months ago. But despite all the criticism and my predisposition towards hating it, it turns out I really like the show. Remember when I actually used to PICK things on this blog? Before I just started rattling off my tales of shame and embarrassment? Well, here we go:

(Lena always kinda looks like she washed her hair with soap) 
When you first hear about Girls, your automatic rage-jealousy-hatred response should kick in; that's to alert you that you still have unfulfilled hopes and dreams of your own. If it doesn't, you have no business reading this blog and should probably go spend your time on Etsy, admiring how creative and unique all we human snowflakes can be. Girls is written, and directed, and acted in by Lena Dunham, the 26 year old daughter of a wealthy NYC family whose incredibly uneventful film Tiny Furniture launched the incredibly similar HBO series thanks to Judd Apatow & co.

Both projects are unabashedly upper-class Caucasian accounts of being very well off and not knowing what to do with your life after college. Almost all of the actors/actresses are the children of famous rich people like Brian Williams who Lena knows. Each episode is satirical and self-effacing, vaguely (if not directly) annoying, and generally unnecessary. Even things that I would ordinarily be in favor of, like nudity and promoting/showing off body types that AREN'T the cultural ideal are so prevalent and overwrought that they come off as redundant and forced. Not to mention, all of the girls are non-charismatic anti-heroes who we've all seen before. And yet, somehow, going against every fiber of my being, I really like watching it.

(If I were dating Allison Williams, I'd call her boobs "The Nightly News")
I think a large part of my interest and enjoyment is that despite the trappings mentioned above, Lena Dunham seems to be a genuinely amusing girl. She comes off as being quick-witted, intelligent, and fun to hang out with in real life. She's making fun of herself and those like her, alongside the people who come from the background she's mocking, and yet it works. The dialogue is snappy and well written. The jokes are funny. And hey, eventually, one of the actually attractive girls has got to get naked, right? But the best part of Girls, as far as I'm concerned, is the guy.

Lena's character's booty callin' boyfriend, Adam, is an ego-maniacal, bipolar maelstrom of douchebaggery and emotional support intertwined with overtly demeaning sexuality and casual emotional abuse. I feel the same way about him as I do about my friends' dog, Fred. I don't like his actions, but I do like him.

Because, despite his actions, Adam is the best character on the show. When he talks, he's hilarious and often insightful. Unlike the girls, he's not a stereotype, and it's impossible to quite pin down who the hell he is and what the hell it is he does. Beyond that, he acts as a mirror for the girls, revealing their own selfishness and ignorance/naivety. My way too expensive, incredibly unnecessary English degree wants me to compare him to a Shakespearean jester, but I won't, because what difference does that make? So, fuck that noise. I'll simply say that each episode I've liked his character more and more, especially after the most recent episode (5/27).

Every time I hear someone say Lena Dunham is "the voice of her generation,"* I want to have a trained Vengeance Monkey rip their face off and remind them that the people she represents is a very, very small portion of people having what the twittiot twipsters have tagged #whitepeopleproblems; I imagine Zach Braff strung out in some cabin in New Jersey, crying softly, holding a dead rat dressed up as Natalie Portman, and mumbling, "What about me?" over and over; I want to say that Girls is a terrible show about rich, self-involved, lazy white girls. But I just can't do it, and I know that come Monday, I'll be sitting down to enjoy the next episode (Girls is on Sunday nights, but I'm no rich white girl--I watch that shit on my parents' account online...attached to my projector with an HDMI cable...which I watch on the huge bare wall of my Brooklyn apartment....because I'm keepin' it real.)

Deep, Slightly Nasal Voice of My Generation,

*Like in this excruciating, premature gush-piece, where-in the author believes that after one movie and a TV series replicating the themes, style, and characters of that movie, Lena should and will join the household name pantheon of Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and Martin FUCKING Scorsese. I hope this writer Troy Pattersen grew up near a power plant or prenatally consumed water from a stream near some fracking project, because I'm going to need him to have more than two eyes for me to stab.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Witz DOESN'T Pick: The Great Brain Deuce of 2012

Infrequently, but more and more often as I've gotten older, my brain will decide to take a break and just tell the other guy he's in charge. The problem is that there is no other guy, so when this happens, I'm essentially brain-dead for the duration.

This has happened in little ways like never noticing I've written "you're" instead of "your" no matter how many times I re-read something, or opening the refrigerator door and then standing there helpless while trying to figure out what the hell it was I wanted to get. You know what I'm talking about; these are the little mental blips which people usually refer to as, "brain farts." Well, if that's true, then what I'm about to tell you is the equivalent of my brain pounding a carton of spicy Indian curry, topping it off with a burrito and then going for a run.

A few weeks ago, I was flying down to Austin for my buddy's wedding. I had booked the flight myself, had my ticket in hand, and had checked it numerous times the day before. I had looked up the flight status online, and when I couldn't retrieve the flight by date/time/airports, I blamed it on the site and searched by flight number. The flight was on-time.

I was packed, prepared and ready to go to JFK. I left early, caught the train right as I got to the station, and got to JFK with a little under 90 minutes to take-off. "Man, I'm really good at this whole flying thing," I thought, walking over to the baggage kiosk. I looked at the flight board and didn't see my flight. "Uhh, I don't see my flight on the big board there," I told the guys standing nearby. "Am I missing something or what?" They told me to go use the kiosk and see what it said. I typed in my confirmation number and got an error message, "No reservation found." I swiped the credit card I used for the purchase and got the same message.

"Can I help you with something?" an American Airlines woman asked me. She had a slight southern twang and the usual perky customer service voice which goes up cheerily even when it's delivering bad news.
"Yeah, I can't find my reservation, but I have my ticket right here."
"Okay, well, lemme just see that for a minute...hmmmm...ohhh. Well. You see, the thing here is that you're at JFK right now, okay? Aaand your flight is leaving out of LaGuardia."

The nice thing about JFK is that the airport code is JFK, so it's very easy to know when that's your departure airport. Which is why I was skeptical when I grabbed my ticket back, looked down at it and saw--"LGA." I could feel my brain landing back in my head, finally relieved of all the coffee and straight Olestra it had consumed. I had somehow convinced myself that I was flying out of JFK and no matter how many times I'd looked at my reservation and ticket, the "LGA" hadn't changed my mind.

"Well, sir, you can--"
"FUCK ME. Holy shit. I'm an idiot."
"We do have flights to Dallas we can take a look at."
"How far is LaGuardia from here?"
"15 minutes--"
"50 minutes!?"
"1-5. Fifteen."
"Oh okay, thanks."
"But you see, the problem here is that you need to check a bag and they close the baggage gate 45 minutes prior to the flight." I looked at my watch. 65 minutes to take-off. I took a dramatic pause, looked at the woman and told her:
"I think I can make it."

I sprinted out the doors with my bags to the lone waiting cab at the departure gate. I jumped in the cab (illegally, you're supposed to wait in line down at arrivals), shouted, "I'm a moron and need to go to LGA!" and with a sidelong glance at the cop cars parked nearby, the guy drove off towards LGA.

It was clear about 30 seconds into the drive that I'd gotten the only cab driver in NY who cares about speed limits and has an almost admirable loyalty to the lane in which he is driving. And yet, somehow, we managed to get there with 5 minutes to spare for my bags. I sprinted to the baggage kiosk and started rambling to whoever would listen, "I need to check my bags! Wrong airport! What do I do?" I was then told that they close the baggage gates 30 minutes before a domestic flight, so I had plenty of time to wait in line.

 When I got to the front of the line, I was sweaty and my hair was crazy from running. I had adrenaline still pumping through me, and I was shaking a little. On top of that, I was nervous because I wasn't sure my checked bag was under the weight limit AND it contained 3 bottles of expensive alcohol which I wasn't 100% positive I could bring. If I was a movie credit, I'd be, "Guy Who Tried to Bring a Bomb On the Plane." So, naturally, I decided I should come clean:

"I went to the wrong airport," I blurted out.
"Oh my," the woman replied, not caring at all.
"But I made it!" I said, without any of the correct inflection or meaning.
"You sure did," she said in such a way that for a split second I thought I might be able to get some kind of priority seating for the NEAR-mentally disabled. "You're all set, have a good flight," she concluded and, in shock, I turned and walked away, through security, and onto my flight.

I'd made it.

Unfortunately, that's not where this story ends. I found that my seat was directly next to one of the engines toward the back of the plane. It turns out that a plane's engine is JUST AS LOUD as you think it should be--so, I had that to look forward to over the next 4 hours as I leaned against the window trying to sleep.

I saw a family of four walking toward my row, talking to each other about seating. The parents were very large and the two children--a boy around 6 and a girl about 8--were very small. The boy said he wanted to sit next to his sister, but the dad said he had to sit in the middle seat with an adult. The dad sat down in my row and I thought my luck was finally changing. But the boy didn't want to sit in the middle, he wanted to sit next to his sister. The mother told him the same thing, but as it turns out, given the choice between your children's safety and just having them shut the fuck up for four hours, the latter is more appealing.

The very large dad pushed over into the middle seat (and a little of mine) and the very large mom sat next to him. While reaching for his seat-belt, we made eye-contact, which is why a few seconds later, as he got settled, I decided a smart thing to say was:

"I was hoping your child was going to sit there."
"Excuse me?" he replied. I immediately realized what I'd said. I hadn't even used "kid," which might have been marginally better. I'd said, "child." They're not called kid molesters.
"You know, because they're smaller," I explained, just digging a deeper hole in the shit my brain was producing.
"Uh-huh," the guy replied, and I turned to the window, cutting my losses.

I sat there, being squished by human poundage on one side, hearing the excruciating roar of the engine on the other, and, just as I thought I might be able to space out to pass the time, my brain suddenly perked up, back in charge, ready for action; like a tiny voice in my head, innocently asking me, "So. What do you want to do now?"

I Just Hope I Can Always Refer to This As "The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Done,"

Friday, April 06, 2012

Witz Pickz: Same Old Blog

I've had a few readers express their concern recently that my new job writing ad copy would somehow alter my blog posts. I understand where they're coming from, but I want to assure everyone that my writing will continue to be the same style and quality that you've come to expect over the years from a Witz Pickz post or even a good pair of Levi's jeans. Now, I know I haven't always been as dependable as the new 2012 Ford F-150, but I'm hoping to post more in the coming months to keep everyone as entertained as M-Dash and I were when we saw 21 Jump Street the other day. So sit back, relax, take a sip of that Smirnoff Vodka Cocktail, and enjoy:

(Uhhhhm, either that chick's so drunk she's gonna get boned by her poodle or Smirnoff's new campaign is that you'll get so drunk off their vodka that you'll be bangin' like rabbits. Both seem like a weird direction to take...)

I was at the grocery store a while back, probably shopping for some Nabisco snack products like Wheat Thins or Triscuits because they're big on flavor but low on fat, when something weird happened. Now, this was Key Food, not some Stop & Shop with every day low prices, so the only reason I was there in the first place was so I could buy something small and get some cash back. I went to pay and was swiping my debit card when the kid behind the counter said, "No cash back."

I liked the 1969 Striped Oxford shirt from Gap that he was wearing--it was 100% cotton and available in big and tall sizes--but I still needed my money. "Oh, shit," I said, dismayed. And that's when something unexpected happened. Upon hearing what I said, the woman behind me suddenly declared, "Ohhhhhh, he said a baaad wooooord!"

(the look)

Astounded, I turned to look at the woman. It was an old lady with a sheepish, child-like smile on her face like when someone does something wrong and gets in trouble with their parents. I gave her a look which could only have meant, "Just how molested were you as a child??" and turned back to the guy at the counter. He smiled at me in a way that said, "Yeah, that lady's batshit crazy, but Miller 64 STILL only has 64 calories*." I nodded, took my bags, and left.

A thousand thoughts were running through my head as I left the store: "Why weren't they giving cash back?" "Where should I go to get money now?" "Who was that woman and how does she make it in NY on a daily basis if hearing 'Shit' is enough to get her worked up in a grocery store?" My head felt like it was crowded with graymail--you know, all those newsletters, daily deals, and social updates you choose to receive? I wished Hotmail was able to organize and manage my thoughts the way its new features handle graymail.

(Nope, that's not what you meant your ad to be.)

Overwhelmed, I decided to go back to my apartment. I returned disappointed and without cash, but I felt better when I remembered that Dove Men+Care had me smelling great and feeling clean just like it always did. And that's the same kind of consistency you can continue to expect on Witz Pickz.

The New iPad,

*I have to credit Roy Shivers for this reference.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Witz Pickz: "Back-Cuts"

(Lamest. Book. Ever. Who knew Patty Mayonnaise would grow up to be such a narc?)

I was thinking recently about the insane shit we got away with when we were kids that wouldn't fly at all in the real world. Back in elementary school, "cuts" were where it was at. If you knew one person in line, you could roll into the cafeteria, walk up to them in the hot lunch line and say, "Cuts?" and they were all, "Sure." You'd snag the last grilled cheese (along with the three grilled cheeses before that if you were me--kid's gotta eat) and cruise outta there guilt-free, because you weren't the one who let you cut.

Occasionally, you'd run into someone who would give you the, "No cuts!" attitude. Then, the conversation went like this:

KID 1: Cuts? (We're friends right?)
KID 2: No cuts! (No freakin' way! We're not THAT good of friends.)
KID 1: ...
KID 2: ...
KID 1: Back-cuts? (Look, we're 9 1/2 years old, let's be reasonable about this.)
KID 2: Yeah, sure. (I don't give a shit about these eraser-eating marker-sniffers behind me, do what you want.)
KID 1: Cool.

And then you'd just slide behind your buddy, while the rest of the line had to suck it up. If they called you out, all you had to say was, "I got back-cuts!" (I could never have predicted that twenty years later, I would be saying this to explain the physical repercussions of shaving my own back) and they'd shut up. The only recourse was telling a teacher and then you were a tattle-tale and social outcast. Even I knew better than to try that and I was the kid wearing turtlenecks and corduroys to school. So yeah, I was cuttin' like a motherf**ker.

Can you imagine trying to use "back-cuts" as a grown-up, though?? That would be totally unacceptable! People kiiiind of do it when they save a place in line for their buddies who are running late, but that's just generally accepted as how lines work for entertainment or bars. You can't just walk up to someone in line and be all, "Back cuts?" and get away with it--especially in New York. You'd have everyone behind you screaming, "Get to the back of the fucking line, asshole!" because you're a goddamn adult.

(The exception to the rule)

And I'm glad that's how it is--I'd be one of the people silently fuming at whoever cut or I'd be chiming in with the group if people decided to put them in their place. Every time I'm waiting in traffic to take an exit and watch cars zip up and cut in ahead of me, I wonder about the legality of paintball gun attacks from a moving vehicle and make a mental note to get a baseball bat for my trunk. People who drive like that are worse than Hitler, because at the end of the day, nobody they care about knows they're that douchebag, but when Hitler met people for dinner, everybody still knew he was HITLER.*

But I'd be lying if I said that every time there's a long line for a concert, movie, or comedy show, I'm not scanning the hell out of it for any person I've ever hungout with, met, or seen at the gym. And while it might just be in my head, at that moment, I can swear I smell grilled cheese.

I'm Not Cutting, I'm Networking!,

*Ok, this is an exaggeration. Selfish drivers are not worse than Hitler, but they do believe that they are more important than every single person they pass on the way to getting where they need to go. Can we settle on "Worse than, I dunno, Slobodan Milosevic?"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Witz Flickz: The 84th Annual Academy Awards

I hate the Oscars. I do--and you probably do, too. It's not a unique perspective. And every year I say I'm not gonna watch, but every year I inevitably find myself bored out of my mind in front of a television for four straight hours, listening to the painfully awkward award introductions and hoping something crazy happens. Would it be so tough to "accidentally" mic Mel Gibson? Is it so much to ask to have ONE of losing nominees mouth, "You've gotta be fucking kidding me!"

Every Super Bowl half-time show seems to have some sort of scandal, but you put hundreds of ego-maniacs in a room vying for prizes and NOTHING?? The best we ever get is the mandatory shot of Jack Nicholson smiling drunkenly from behind his shades--a reminder that some wild guys are out there, and eventually Something's Gotta Give--but that's As Good As It Gets...

SO, instead of pretending I'm not going to watch this year, I decided to lean into it and keep a running commentary of the 84th Annual Academy Awards. I'm warning you right now, this is going to be as much a reflection of me watching the awards as it is a commentary on what happens, so if you need a verbatim summary, this isn't the place for you and also you're probably wasting your life.

On to the Awards!

6:15 - This is the only pre-show comment I'm gonna make. The NYC affiliate has Oscar coverage by Sandy Kenyon, which sounds ridiculously like a porn name.

7:00pm – I thought the show started at 7pm, but it turns out there’s 90 minutes of OFFICIAL Red Carpet Coverage! In an unexpected move which I won't even bother explaining, M-Dash and I spend this time watching season one, episodes two and three of The O.C. instead. The standard has been set for the night.

8:30pm - Morgan Freeman kicks off the show. Just to be clear...we're all cool with him banging and marrying his step-granddaughter? Really? We're just gonna let that be a thing that’s ok? Alright...

8:35pm - I immediately regret my decision. Billy Crystal hasn’t had his gchat status set to “busy” in ten years, so, yeah, he was available to host the Oscars. I’ve read that, thanks to The Artist, this year’s Oscars are featuring the history of film (so it’s basically Hollywood celebrating Hollywood while celebrating Hollywood), so I guess having a host who hasn’t been funny or relevant in a decade makes sense. Remind me again why they got rid of Eddie Murphy…

8:37pm – Crystal goes through his usual routine: video montage, song and dance, talking to the front row and having them awkwardly reply or shrug. It’s alright, but feels more like an impersonation of what he used to do than something new and well-done. He makes fun of Jonah Hill for losing weight, which is weird coming from a dude who looks just like Wooly Willy:

8:40 - Tom Hanks gives out the first award, and with his haircut and new beard, he looks like one of those Nazis who hid out in South America. Achievement in Cinematography goes to Hugo and this guy who looks like Kenny Rogers immediately sets the bar for quotes of the night by telling some dude in the crowd to, "Stick it in there all the way." (???)

8:50pm - There's a McDonald's commercial where this teenage girl is lookin' at some teenage guy and eating fries while saying, "He loves me, he loves me not," after each bite. I'll tell ya what, girl, it doesn't matter what you end up with--high school's rough and if you keep eating all those fries, he's gonna love you not.

8:53pm - And now, scenes from movies!

8:54pm - Costume Design goes to The Artist. I didn't know the guy from Guess Who got into film!

9:00pm - I looked away for a minute and was like 95% sure that J-Lo's boob popped out, because she and Cameron Diaz were suddenly laughing and saying, "Well, ya take a chance people--hello--ya take a chance!" but after reviewing the footage three times, it turns out that they just thought it would be hi-laaarious if they TURNED AROUND while announcing the winner and--get this--it was NOT. Comedy. Wizards.

9:07pm - A Separation wins Best Foreign Language Film. Soooo, are we cool now, Iran?

9:10pm - Goddamn it! Billy Crystal practically begged Christian Bale to make a scene, but instead he just sticks it to us by talking and reminding everyone that he's British.

9:12pm - Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for The Help even though her role didn't include handling a herd of puppies or pretending to have food poisoning. I guess I just don't know what the Academy wants, anymore...

9:17pm - Well, "Miracle Whip: Keep an Open Mouth" is a thing.

9:22pm - Bradley Cooper looks just like Jean Dujardin. They have the same expressions. It bothered me the whole time I was watching The Artist. I thought, "He's like a poor man's Bradley Cooper!" and then I thought, "Wait, that can't be right..."

9:23pm - And the Award for Best Editing goes to: me, for skipping over these awards that no one cares about.

9:35pm - Cirque du Soleil performs and it's easily better than any of the Best Picture nominees. One guy misses a move and gets a foot up his ass, but it's still pretty amazing. Though, if the Academy really wanted to impress me, they should have gotten The Book of Mormon tickets.

9:42pm - Best Documentary - YYYYEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!! UNDEFEATED! Sure, it might have been the only documentary I saw of the nominees, but it's also GREAT. Aaaaand, they forgot to thank the kids who they documented. C'mon guys. That's the type of stuff that loses games.

(The closest thing to Friday Night Lights that reality has to offer...except for the actual kids who Friday Night Lights was based on...)

9:45pm - Chris Rock kills it with his intro for Best Animated Film. He also reminds me that I really want to get into voice-acting and get paid bank to talk every now and then. Anyway, I'm rootin' for Rango for my buddy, Turbo, at ILM.

9:47pm - BOOM. RANGO. Take THAT people who thought it was awkward that three dudes went and saw Rango in a theater full of little kids, especially when the movie was over and one of us had to go to the bathroom so the other two had to stand by the bathroom while lots of children walked by and their parents gave us suspicious looks! Best Animated Film.

9:54pm - Is Ben Stiller like...3 feet tall? Best Visual Effects should go to whomever makes Ben Stiller not look like a tiny little ape-man in all his movies.

9:56pm - Hugo wins for Visual Effects. It's gonna be awkward when everyone who worked on Hugo has an Oscar except for Martin Scorcese.

9:58pm - Best Supporting Actor. Holy shit--Nick Nolte looks like a boulder with a drinking problem. Christopher Plummer's favored like a billion to one on every gambling site, which are actually the same odds that Jonah Hill has a career now that he's skinny. Plummer wins.

10:19pm - So, the entire theme of the Oscars tonight seems to be, "The Artist is going to win Best Picture." It's almost awkward.

10:23pm - Speaking of which, now's as good a time as any to rant about Best Picture. I saw six of the nine nominees (yeah, ask me if I saw War Horse), and it's insane that Drive wasn't nominated for most of the major categories. I'm not saying that Ryan Gosling should win best actor--I mean, the guy barely talks the entire movie, so how could that win, right?? BUT, Drive should easily have been nominated and potentially even have won for Best Cinematography, Sound Design, Score, Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture.

10:30pm - Best Adapted Screenplay goes to The Descendants and Best Screenplay goes to Woody Allen who isn't there because Midnight in Paris wasn't the best screenplay.

10:44pm - Every Animated Short they ever show looks like they were made by a blind person and a squirrel who dropped acid together.

10:51pm - Best Director goes to The Artist. That's all--i just thought you should know.

10:58pm - I know it wasn't a joke, but when Alec Baldwin says, "James Earl Jones is one of the greatest actors in American history," sounding like Jack Donaghy, I can't help but laugh.

11:09pm - I can't believe Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is still advertising. If I ever get "the blue-box blues," I'm gonna fucking kill myself.

11:13pm - Best Actor. If Jean Dujardins wins, I'm gonna stab a fat baby. All that guy did was run around with exagerrated expressions of happy, sad, angry, and confused. I know there's that whole, "He did it without talking," aspect, but...HE DID IT WITHOUT TALKING. Everyone else had to act and talk.

11:18pm - One less fat baby. Jean Dujardins wins--oh! Oh! Now you can talk, huh? He's smiling and you'll never guess what--it looks exactly like when he was "smile-acting." Tap-dancing doesn't make friends.

11:24pm - Best Actress. Meryl Streep wins and starts throwing out sound bytes for her Lifetime Achievement Award montage. They cut to Sandra Bullock because apparently, she's the go-to "Heartfelt Reaction Shot" these days.

(Because she always looks like this, i.e. sad.)

11:27pm - Uhhh, is Jack Nicholson dead? He wasn't in the memorial video, but I don't ever remember him missing the Oscars. Who's the next "Old Drunk Icon" gonna be when he's gone? I'd say Nick Nolte, again, but Jack made everyone happy when they saw him and Nolte makes everyone, well, make the Sandra Bullock face.

11:33pm - Best G.D. Picture goes to The Artist. A film about a movie star who has a big ego and is too proud to accept help when he becomes obsolete. BUT none of them talk! And the score sounds like a DVD menu on repeat! And there's a dog! Meh. I'll take a scorpion track jacket over that any day. Seriously, though, where do I get a scorpion track jacket?

When Will They Have a Best Outtakes Award?,