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.