Top Ten Clues You Are Not A Great Criminal

Sorry, everyone. I could say that something came up yesterday, but the sad truth is I just forgot to post.

10. Bank holdup plan involves Nerf guns

9. Keep trying to acquire a “meth lab” from dog breeders

8. Settled for stealing the gumball machine from outside the liquor store

7. Stole own identity

6. Are not a bank executive

5. Explaining to the officer that pulled you over that you weren’t driving drunk, you were texting instead

4. Tried to sneak meth in to prison above dentures

3. Difficult to run from cops in raccoon outfit

2. Have filled house with cases of “Cheerios” and “Lucky Charms” but still can’t get serial killer career off ground

1. Your speakeasy is no longer illegal

20,000 Leagues and Still Beef

(Originally published in 2003. Note: the web site described in this article no longer exists; I have updated the link to direct to a site with an image of the product.)

There has been an ever-increasing trend over the past few years of people writing books and traveling the media circuit, claiming that the world will end on a specific and imminent date. They usually claim to have based these claims on such factors as intensive study of unspecified clues in the Bible, reading tea leaves, developing a complex mathematical formula based upon springbok migration patterns and the alignment of Alpha Centauri with certain weather satellites, or just drinking Windex until God tells them. As evidenced by the fact that you’re not currently burning in Hell, since it’s well-known that the only Net access in Hell is AOL dialup with full parental controls which would prevent you from reading this, these claims are always proven false by the date in question passing quietly.

However, dear reader(s), I am forced to greet you with something that can only be considered an omen of the apocalypse, something that can only be described as a clearly defined sign of impending doom. What have I seen that would so thoroughly convince me that our society is doomed, you ask? Well, the answer is simple: The “Octodog.” Go ahead and check out the link. I’ll just use this opportunity to insert a paragraph break.

If, after examining the site, especially the pop-up window demonstration of how the “Octodog” works, you do not think that there are severe and immediate problems with the civilization which spawned both a mind capable of thinking of such a thing and an apparent market for it, then you probably also voted for Bush. And yes, I am aware that most of you are Canadians.

Let’s take a look at this step-by-step, shall we?

First, we have the device itself. It basically appears to be a cartoon octopus attempting to ingest a marital aid, wearing the shocked and (hopefully) horrified expression of one that has just managed to turn its switch to “on.” It’s the brilliant crimson color that you would expect of a device burning with the humiliating knowledge that its sole function in the world is to turn a phallus of animal by-product into the Freak of the Dinner Table.

Second, we have the Converted Frankfurter. It was shown in the midst of a fairly mundane looking cookout-style dinner on the website – mac and cheese, some chips, and in the midst of it all, the Oscar Meyer Kraken. I kept expecting a tiny macaroni Captain Nemo to sail up on a mustard bottle and start assaulting it with toothpicks. It even has eyes, though they are fixed into the blank, zombielike stare of the cow whose rectum it was once a part of.

And how does this magic work, you pointedly fail to ask? Well, from the web site:

“1. Insert your favorite hotdog brand into the Frankfurter Converter Holder.” (the octopus)

“2. Insert the eyes to secure the hotdog in the holder.” That’s right, the eyes pop out. This thing just gets freakier and freakier.

“3. Gently slide the holder down onto the Frankfurter Converter Base firmly until it stops.” Aside from the grammar issues, the picture here is priceless. I keep expecting a gentle pumping motion to be involved. Should this thing somehow catch on, one of the side effects will be kids walking in their parents having sex (the parents are having sex, that is) and accusing them of making Octodogs.

“4. Remove the base, then eyes, then lightly shake the holder to allow the hotdog to drop out.” Then throw the freak dog into the trash, because no one likes Ballpark of the Sea. Well, that’s what I’d do.

“5. Cook your octodog as desired and enjoy!” Lobsterburger sold separately.

Now, maybe it’s just the vegetarian in me talking here, but isn’t eating a regular hotdog exciting enough, always wondering if the next bite will contain a zesty blast of beef scrote? Whichever, we can only assume that the Octodog is merely the first in a line of Zoological-Appearing Food Products that will eventually include the Sharkbun, the Antelope Ice Cream Sundae, The Bengal Tiger Twinkie, The Urban Falcon Processed Meat Food Product and the Fat-Ass Taco chip.

Today’s Handy Animal Tip: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if a real octopus tried to mate with an Octodog? HAHAHAHAHA- er, I mean, don’t put the cat in the microwave, kids.

The Young Men and the Sea

The waves lapped gently against the hull of the boat, just as they had for the past six days. I was beginning to long for a nice big storm, just to break up the monotony. I looked across the boat at Ted, who was still playing tic-tac-toe on the top of the cooler with an erasable marker that he undoubtedly packed instead of sandwiches. And he was cheating, too. I sighed, looking out over the gently lapping waves for shark fins. I found none.

 

“Hey.” I had come to realize over the past six days that Ted’s voice was whiny and grating. I longed to jam one of the fish we kept failing to catch down his skinny throat.

 

“Hey, Steve.”

 

I looked over at Ted without raising my head from where it rested on the side of the boat. “What?”

 

Ted absently rubbed out an “O” and replaced it with an “X.” “You know, we may not make it through this.”

 

“The thought had crossed my mind, yes.” This wasn’t the first time I longed for an oar, but it was the first time I didn’t want to row with it.

 

“I just wanted to say, you’ve been a good friend, and I’m sorry.”

 

“Mmmm.” I absently prodded one of the fishing poles sticking over the side of the boat, as if that would cause a lifesaving fish to bite, Or nibble. “I should have brought an umbrella. Or a tarp.”

 

“I wonder where we are?”

 

“Well, given we left Fort Lauderdale, and the wind is blowing roughly east-northeast, and judging by the angle of the sun, I’d say we’re in the middle of the fucking ocean, Ted.”

 

“You know, I am handling this a lot better than you are. I think you’d feel better if you joined me for a game of tic-tac-toe.”

 

“Can I be X?”

 

“You know I always play X. It’s how my dad taught me.”

 

I grit my teeth. “How about another game?”

 

“Sure. I spy something . . . blue.”

I stared at Ted for a long moment. “Ted, are you sure you got 1280 on the SATs?”

 

“Something like that.”

 

I rolled over onto my back. The sun beat down on my face. I shielded it with my reddened arm. I briefly thought of Caitlin, and wondered what she was doing. She is always so busy that she probably hadn’t noticed my absence. I made a mental note to haunt her.

 

I rolled over, and looked at the jagged hole in the top of the stern where the outboard motor should be. I sat up, and looked at Ted. “At least I learned something.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“There are now two situations where I will Immediately start running. The first is when you invite me anywhere farther away from my home than the mall.”

 

“And the other?”


I looked back at the splintered wood. “Anytime anyone says, ‘Hold my beer and watch this.’”

Top Ten Signs Your Relationship Is Not Going To Work Out

10. Keeps trying to saw through bars on bedroom window with dental floss

9. No longer bothers throwing the good china during arguments

8. Only seems to want to spend time with spouse anymore

7. Not impressed with how you rip off 30-year-old joke ideas from David Letterman

6. Too busy with fourth grade

5. Every time the ad asks “what would you do for a Klondike bar,” sneers “Not YOU!”

4. Insists on wearing “Star Trek” uniform to meet your parents

3. Bitterly disagree on best Ninja Turtle

2. Keep waking up to them standing over you, breathing hard and muttering while holding pillow

1. When making sex tape, only lets you film

From Clowns to Sommeliers

(Originally published in 2003)

Humans are, by nature, very social creatures. Any student of the human condition will often be found in a bar, where the people come and go and exchange greetings and subconsciously communicate via subtle body language. This will all go unnoticed by the student of the human condition, because he is throwing back up to an entire fifth of vodka in fifteen minutes while despairing and wondering where he went so terribly wrong in his life that he was forced to become a student of the human condition.

However, people do tend to prefer congregating in the presence of food and drink. Now, I have never found a satisfactory explanation as to why people have this compulsion to shovel food into their faces in order to socialize. The best I’ve been able to come up with is either that in a restaurant, there are people paid to clean up after your nasty friends (though whomever is tasked with cleaning the bathrooms is paid nowhere near enough), or there just weren’t enough “Pop-Tarts” at home.

Restaurants are a major element in our culture. They’re everywhere. From the smallest of towns to the biggest of cities, from tiny greasy spoons to fine, urbane French eateries, restaurants are a place not only where one can actually use real-life math skills when figuring tips, but a place to gather, socialize, and drink until the bartender starts reading medical textbooks on diagnosing catastrophic liver failure.

Generally speaking, there are three major classes of restaurant. The lowest class is of course fast food. Fast food is defined not only by the blandness and monotony of its menu (The new McBun!), but by the general homogenization it brings to our culture. You can walk into a McDonald’s in Boise, Iowa, and it will be exactly the same as being inside of any other McDonald’s on the planet. Now, I admit that there are subtle menu variations based upon geography, and I assert that it makes no difference. I was in a McDonald’s in Montreal, and I noted that they had poutine on the menu. I freely admit that I am not French Canadian. I am not Canadian at all. I cannot claim to be from any geographical or cultural zone that in any way, shape, or form is connected to anything French Canadian. I am from the American South, where even the ice cream is deep-fried. And yet, I know instinctively that McPoutine is bland McDonald’s crap just like every other McFood on the McMenu. It might as well be that every McDonald’s restaurant is just a hollow shell, with the doors being portals to the Mc Dimension, which is just one large McDonald’s restaurant. Such is the acute degree of homogenization that McDonald’s brings to an area.

An oft-looked sub category of the fast food phylum of the restaurant kingdom is the diner. Now, in the States, particularly in the South, there’s an interesting chain of diners known as the Waffle House. I doubt that many of your Canadian readers are familiar with this chain, as it’s based in Georgia and seems to taper off no further north than Virginia. Waffle House restaurants are the most homogeneous buildings on the planet. Every Waffle House is THE SAME. They are identical, tiny little yellow and brown buildings that are actually prefabricated. There is but one Waffle House architectural design. Once you get as far south as Tennessee, and especially in Georgia, Waffle Houses are EVERYWHERE. They especially tend to sprout at interstate exits. And yes, they do in fact SPROUT. You can drive by a location one day, and it’s an empty field. The next, there’s an open Waffle House, complete with battered Formica and a tired-looking waitress. Now, here’s the craziest part about Waffle House placement: It is common to be driving down the interstate, and see a bright yellow Waffle House sign at the end of an off-ramp. Then, if you look across the interstate, on the exact same road at the end of the off-ramp for the other direction, there is ANOTHER WAFFLE HOUSE. I swear this is true. They are often less than one hundred feet from each other. The first time I encountered this, I was on a road trip with a friend of mine. I pulled over. Right on the shoulder of the interstate, I got out. I slowly looked from one Waffle House to the other. And I turned to my friend, and I told him, “you drive.” And I refused to open my eyes until we were safely out of Georgia, lest such visions of madness destroy my very soul.

However mad Waffle Houses can appear on the outside, inside they are true diners. And the internal diner ambiance is what differentiates a diner from typical fast food. Inside, you’ll see some of the most incredible people you will ever see. And I do not mean incredible in the “Martha Lou is an incredible person for raising her six quadrapalegic kids alone in a trailer in the middle of the Gobi Desert after her husband was brainwashed by the Nigerian Army” sense, but in a “I am calling the eye doctor as soon as I get home” sense. This is especially true if you visit during the graveyard hours, where there is guaranteed to be one person there who will have some sort of physical or emotional problem manifested to the point where you will just gape. I once saw a person who was every bit of six and a half feet tall and three hundred pounds of a truly indeterminate gender waiting on a woman who was three feet tall, a hundred and fifty pounds who was wearing a miniskirt, a fuschia tube top and enough makeup to fill a moderate-sized pothole. If singer-songwriters ever discover this, we’re all doomed. On a different visit to a different Waffle House, I struck up a conversation with a waitress who turned out to moonlight as a prostitute. She offered me quite a competitive deal on her services, but I declined on the grounds that the cost of having penicillin injected directly into my sex organs for the next ten years would probably offset her discount. I defy you to have experiences half as interesting as that in a Burger King.

The middle class of restaurant is typified by the dime-a-dozen “Bar and Grill” places like TGI Friday’s, Applebees, Chilis, Moose Hut and N*SYNC’s House of Below Average Masculinity. These places offer table service and food that is usually some sort of organic matter made to order. They are typically characterized by “flair,” which is what restaurant designers call their accomodating a paranoid fear of empty walls. “Flair” is stuff like typewriters, skis, canoe paddles, old books, and pool tables screwed to the walls. The general effect is that of being served food in a well-appointed garage. All in all, though, these places aren’t bad, and tend to have the most flirty of servers.

One notable exception to the “Flair” rule is a restaurant called ”Hooters,” which as you would expect is devoted to calling the diner’s attention to the plight of the Spotted Owl. No, seriously, Hooters eschews wall flair for waitress flair, in that the entire restaurant is staffed by busty young ladies in tight tank tops and hot pants. I’ve been there several times to marvel at how exploitive and sexist it is. On my most recent trip, some friends invited me to watch a wrestling special there. I agreed, because I am an idiot. So I’m sitting in Hooters, with my friends, who are all single straight guys, and we’re watching wrestling. They’re ignoring the waitresses in order to watch large musclebound men in bikini bottoms writhe on a mat. And then, they get to the “Main Event,” which is the founder of the wrestling league or whatever you call it wrestling his OWN DAUGHTER. So I’m sitting there, and these waitresses are bending way over to fill my ice water, and all of my friends are laughing and cheering as these “fights” play out, and there’s a guy on the big screen using a lead pipe to beat upon a woman who is at least pretending to be his daughter, and in that moment I realized what it must feel like for Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk. Dan smash room full of morons!

The highest class of restaurant is the fancy, or “Hoity Toity” restaurant. These restaurants are never part of a chain, and usually boast a waiting list just to get on the waiting list. They inevitably have a French name with a lot of apostrophes that translates into something like “The Gilded Asparagus.” There is always a formal dress code, and you’ll want to slip the maitre d’ a twenty if you wish to get a table while your jacket is still in fashion. Basically, the big draw of restaurants of this caliber is being able to say that you ate at a restaurant of this caliber. When you’re wanting to impress someone, load them up into your Gremlin and drive them up to L’aisselle Piquante. Just be sure to tip the valet extra for having to be seen in public near your car.

Now, on the previous two restaurant classes, I followed up on the description with a personal anecdote. However, I don’t have one for this one because none of the restaurants would let me in even to bus tables. So the best advice I can give you is that when ordering wine, always ask for a sample of the house wine. Sniff the cork when the sommelier presents it to you, then recoil in disgust as if the cork were actually dog feces on a stick. Then, grab the bottle firmly by the neck and bludgeon the sommelier about the head while bellowing about how if you had wanted dishwater you would have asked for dishwater, dammit! This helps to establish yourself as a connoisseur of fine wines, which will impress both your guest and those around you. Panties may be thrown.

So in summary, restaurants are cool, always tip 15%, and never expect valet service at a Tim Horton’s. Trust me on this. And always go with the frosted “Pop-Tarts.” They have a more classy flair.

A. Turnbull 1 day ago

Hey, @KCB, did you get the recipe I emailed you? I was thinking about trying it and wanted to know your thoughts.

A. Turnbull 23 hours ago

@KCB: I just sent you a review of that show you said you liked, “A History of Swords.” I hope you like it!

A. Turnbull 22 hours ago

@KCB I just had a dream where you were a unicorn! But no ORDINARY unicorn. You granted WISHES! So I wished for a JETSKI, and MORE UNICORNS, and

A. Turnbull 22 hours ago

@KCB HUGS, and a WEREWOLF LAUNCHER. and for a nice little cabin in the mountains where we can watch anime together! Tweet me back.

A. Turnbull 16 hours ago

@KCB: You’ve been quiet lately. Is everything okay? Tweet me, email me, call me, or leave a comment on the foursquare page for that pizzeria.

A. Turnbull 15 hours ago

Dear @KCB: You should really set up your voicemail.

A. Turnbull 14 hours ago

I’m getting worried, @KCB. I am going to microwave a Hot Pocket and watch “Firefly.” After, I will drive over if you don’t tweet me back.

A. Turnbull 13 hours ago

You weren’t home, @KCB! Called the cops but they say you have to be missing longer.

A. Turnbull 12 hours ago

WHERE ARE YOU @KCB??

A. Turnbull 12 hours ago

Went back to your place and popped the lock. No clues to your disappearance. Brought back your cat to take care of until I find you.

A. Turnbull 11 hours ago

Your cat has urinated on everything I own, @KCB, including the Saber figma you bought me. Should have brought litterbox.

A. Turnbull 10 hours ago

I lost your cat, @KCB. He ran out the door when the cops showed up to ask me about some break-in in your neighborhood.

A. Turnbull 10 hours ago

Cops told me not to leave town for some reason, @KCB. Like I’d leave when some burglar might have you.

A. Turnbull 9 hours ago

I SAW YOU POST TO FACEBOOK FROM YOUR PHONE, @KCB! WHO IS THAT GUY? WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME??

A. Turnbull 8 hours ago

Hey, @KCB, I’m sorry I yelled. I was just worried. Are we still friends?

A. Turnbull 8 hours ago

I guess not, @KCB. I’m going to Kroger and buying some wine coolers to soothe my broken heart.

A. Turnbull 7 hours ago

I DONT NEED YTOU @KCB MY LIZARD LOVES ME AND MY MOM MAKES ME COOKIES SOMETIMES

A. Turnbull 4 hours ago

I feel so sick, @KCB. Getting over you is hard. I’ve lost who I am, and I can’t understand. And I am puking Bacardi.

A. Turnbull 3 hours ago

Who am I? Who are you, @KCB? What is the true nature of friendship? Reddit has no answers.

A. Turnbull 2 hours ago

I can’t go on like this, @KCB. Forgive me.

KCB 1 hour ago

Hey guys my cousin is in town and we are having lots of fun ❤

A. Turnbull Just now

So this is a monastery.

Top Ten Signs You’re Poor

10. Trips to Walmart are special occasions

9, Frustrated by the fact paper plates tend to fall apart after three washings

8. Credit score is a skull and crossbones

7. Employer pays you with prepaid debit cards

6. You have groceries on layaway

5. You’ve never driven a car younger than you are

4. Thanksgiving dinner is ramen with gravy

3. “Swimming pool” is truck bed lined with plastic

2. Can only afford store brand brown mustard and not Grey Poupon

1. Fire department could not put out house fire because it was parked in front of the hydrant