The Striking Similarities Between Live Music and Sex

•September 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes, you’re just going about your day when an epiphany hits you. Completely out of the blue, it comes loudly screaming out of left field like some rabid, maniac outfielder who appears to have mistaken baseball for manslaughter, and you’re not even aware that you were playing, but PCP and rational thought are pretty much mutually exclusive pursuits. So this frothing, ridiculously asinine metaphor of an idea hits you, and damned if you’re able to think about anything else; you just keep coming back to it, and it’s getting bigger and bigger and somehow more ridiculous and before you know it, it wasn’t a homicidalunatic baseball player at all, but a Goddamned six-ton, robot-hobo-rhino-ninja-bear death-metal-album-cover of a thing that was determined to convince you that the only word worth a damn throughout the history of creation is “fuckowwwwwwww.

Or… something like that. I forget where exactly where I intended to go with that.

Anyway, somewhere during my day, after receiving horrific pictures of a seething mass of impossibly-large baby spiders and consequently scouring my brain with a concentrated dose of CuteOverload, I realized that performing live music is a lot like having sex: You have to just be confident and do it with gusto, otherwise they’re definitely not gonna go for it, and there’s absolutely no sure way to be certain ahead of time whether the response is going to be “EW WHAT IS THAT STOP NOW,” or “YES! oh, yeah, that’s nice.

From there, the similarities just kept piling up:

  • When it’s good, it borders on a religious experience. When it’s bad, it’s just not fun at all for anyone involved.
  • While it’s entirely possible to make a living doing it, you’re going to have to really sell yourself and in general, do a lot of things you’re just not ever going to be comfortable with.
  • The people who do make a living at it are usually pretty good looking, but also really seem like there’s a possibility that they’re actually inventing new VDs as they go along.
  • There are only certain places where you’re really allowed to do it, and others where it’s not particularly encouraged or permitted, but people can be found doing it anyway.
  • There’s some science to it, but it’s mostly based on creativity and intuition, and can’t really be taught; at the end of the day, you’ve just got to learn for yourself.
  • While it can be a good idea to leave your audience craving more, absolutely no one’s satisfied by a performance that’s too short.
  • Jam/Prog. bands and drug users take note, though, there is such a thing as carrying on for too long, and it’s just as bad.
  • It’s easy to look completely and totally ridiculous while doing it without realizing it, but if you’re doing it right, no one really notices.
  • Solo performances can be compelling to watch, but mostly, it’s really just not something anyone needs to see. Involve someone else who knows what they’re doing, and it gets much better right away.
  • There are some people who are just phenomenal from the first time they try it, and never have a single shred of insecurity about their ability; they tend to be jerks. Conversely, there are people who spend countless hours practicing alone, and just don’t get any better; they tend to be awkward loners. No one’s really too fond of people in either category.
  • Occasionally, you may see someone out there just absolutely going to town, using things you’d never, ever, ever have considered using in that way. Sometimes they’re geniuses. Usually, though, they’re just lunatics.
  • You can record yourself doing it, but chances are that when you review the footage, you’re going to notice something that you’re not going to like. Unless everyone participating is really good at it, no one else needs to see video of it. Ever.
  • It can be fun to try it out with new people, and you may even pick up some new tricks while you’re at it; just be advised that someone is probably going to be upset.
  • You can only have so many people participating without it turning into a ridiculous free-for-all that leaves everyone feeling at least a little embarrassed and awkward.
  • You can consider yourself an innovator all you like, but if you just search the internet long enough, you’re bound to find someone doing the exact same thing, only better. And if they’re not, you’re probably some kind of sick weirdo.
  • Stopping in the middle for a solo almost never entertains anyone but yourself; no matter what you may think, no matter how good at it you may be, you’re just masturbating.

Fun With Google Docs (or:Further Reasons to Keep My Day Job)

•August 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For all my previous assurances that “new content” was on the agenda, I managed to eventually get distracted enough to lose interest in providing any of such. It may have something to do with my revised stance on participating in “gorilla wrasslin‘,” which was, as I’d predicted, a horrible idea. At any rate, my wounds have healed, and my wife and I started a cooking blahg, of all things (which absolutely blows my “No Awesome Sandwich Posts” edict the hell out of the water, I suppose). Since a site that deals predominantly with the preparation of food isn’t exactly the best venue for my… particular brand of ‘humor,’ I’m getting the itch to resume posting here again.

So, to kick things off, I was scrounging through my ‘drafts’ section of unpolished posts, and found this little gem from several months ago. Enjoy, and keep in mind that this is what happens to your brain at office jobs with a high degree of downtime.


As some of you out there may be aware, Google Documents is a website that allows you to store documents online and collaborate on them with others. This is a valuable asset for business professionals to share facts and presentations with co-workers and clients.

Recently, the Google Docs team added the ability to collaborate on drawings.

Of course, upon discovering this brilliant new feature, I immediately sketched out a large set of crudely-drawn male genitalia, placed an arrow pointing to it with text labeling it “YOU,” and immediately sent it to a friend. Because I’m a highly-evolved, well-adapted and mature individual, and as best I understand it, this is the intended use of the internet.

This first ill-advised phallic transmission began a series of collaborative renditions of various scenes of stupidity and nonsense. Some of which I am now sharing with you.

Here’s an early ‘creation:’ it’s pretty crude, due to the quality of tools available, the jittery unresponsiveness of my mouse, and the fact that I just straight didn’t give a flying sideways damn about how it looked.

All great art should have such explanatory titles, don't you think?

"Suppressing Rage While On Hold With Time Warner"

Fairly self-explanatory. Someone has managed to install an eye hook on a space shuttle, then tied a very long rope between this hook and the leg of some unsuspecting rube (who slightly resembles a chicken), which will probably result in the violent removal of a leg, at least. This is amusing to some random onlookers, including the president, who is so delighted by this use of the space program that he’s decided to pre-approve whatever 2011 budget proposal NASA submits. A bystander with the head of a Yak is thrilled to have found a long stretch of free rope, which may or may not lead to further disaster.

Ain't no party like a Google Docs party...

"Party Don't Stop"

Here’s a screencap that my friend cleverly modified. By circling the error message “An event may not last for more than four months,” and adding a line from a classic rap song, he has made what we refer to as “a funny.”

Next, I composed a humorous take on the quite serious financial situation in Greece which is currently affecting the global economy.

Then it was accidentally erased by my friend, who drew an explanation of how this came to pass. I scrawled the words ‘YOU BROKE IT!’ at the top, rearranged the existing elements in the picture, and contributed the smaller stick figure in the lower right.

Nothing is 'sassier' than indecent exposure in the workplace.

"U Broke It"

As you can see, my friend expresses his concern that he is unable to add his special blend of humor to the mix, and is perplexed as to how he managed to erase the file. An ill-proportioned person who looks to have tank treads in the place of legs, is concerned that my friend was viewing pornography, while another individual indicates that while it may not have been pornographic in nature, the image he saw did manage to cause arousal. This arousal is indicated by his gesturing to engorged sex organ, which is impressive, since he appears to be deprived of oxygen, based on his particular shade of blue.

If you've *ever* used the term 'bloviating,' assume this is about you.

"Who Might That Be?"

In this next piece, I abandoned the freehand tool, so as to achieve less of a ‘newly-recovering crack addict’ style of line drawing, and took the opportunity to poke a little good-natured fun at a hypothetical someone who takes himself just a bit too seriously on occasion.

I'm certainly no Randall Munroe.

Global Economics, Redux

Here, I decided to recreate the ‘accidentally-destroyed’ bit about the Greek economic situation. It’s actually a scathing commentary on the mass proliferation of weaponized bears in the North of Tuscany and the resulting effect on the Sri Lankan tapestry trade, which I think should be fairly apparent to even the most casual viewer.

My friend’s reaction to the last image was such that he had to leave the room temporarily, prompting him to respond with this:

What IS with that guy's hand? Is he going to be ok? *Oops: am I supposed to ignore it?


This is, for those of you who don’t already know, how babies are made.

And finally, we have art by my friend, which is a graphic depiction of an old stand-up routine regarding the perils of farming, I think. Or something like that. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, so I added the two bits of bold text in parenthesis as explanation.

Seriously, I have nothing further to contribute to this, and I don't care if you laugh or not, this cracks me the hell up. There may be something wrong with me.

"Friends See You"

The Scripts I Haven’t Written That Shouldn’t Be Made

•March 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

They’ll tell you in any business school worth the price of admission that the way to make money in this world is to find a need and then fill it.

At least, that’s what they tell me they tell you. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea; the closest I’ve ever been to business school was the time I tried to pay a bar tab with an allen wrench. I’d like to see MacGuyver pull that off.

Which begs the question: what the hell am I supposed to do with all these damned wrenches?

In allen we trust.

Now, normally, this business plan involves analyzing the modern world, figuring out what’s missing, and then making it and marketing it. That’s the route of ingenuity, creativity, hard work and determination.

The lazy path to riches begins with figuring out what’s making other people stinking rich, and plopping your ass right down on that bandwagon before it passes. Right now, the lazy, enterprising asses are in Hollywood, poised hovering above scripts for ridiculous movie adaptations, reboots, sequels and prequels, ready to reap obscene sums of money for little to no initial effort. Now, you may expect this to be the point when I launch into a obscenity-laced thousand word rant about how Hollywood’s really scraping the bottom of the idea barrel, or the fact that in the end, the blame lies with the movie-going public who keeps going to see these travesties unfurl on the big screen, but not today. No, dear friends and complete strangers, today’s epithet-speckled wall of text is all about seizing the opportunity. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf; trying to change my outlook from ‘cynical and sardonic’ to ‘sunshiny-fucking-rainbows and adorable-G.D.-kitties.’ Or maybe I started mixing medications too early this morning…

I just call it medication so I can buy it with my flex-spending account. It's tax-free!

...although I've been told that some people call them "Jagerbombs."

Now, then, if I’m going to get in on the racket of writing terrible movie scripts, I’ll need an original idea to pick out an intellectual property that hasn’t already been ripped off or run thoroughly into the ground… This should be something that’s seeing a resurgence in popularity, but wouldn’t normally be considered ‘film material.’ That way, it’s got built-in name recognition, and will be more likely to create ‘buzz’ in the ‘blogosphere,’ which, I think, is what they call the giant hamster ball in which known bloggers are kept.

I'm willing to bet that the inside of that ball is covered with a thin coat of resin.

Also, Wayne Coyne has one. But I think he's there voluntarily.

and I’ve already got something in mind. Now, roll with me here, shit’s about to get cinematic.

This adaptation of a classic family game will tell the tale of a group of people who awaken to find themselves trapped in small concrete cells. As soon as they each wake up and start moving around, a small panel opens up on each of their cell walls to reveal a hidden screen, full of numbers and symbols. They are to be part of a deadly game being played by two to eight people from varying socio-ethnic backgrounds, (aged seven and up) each in their own separate cell, and all being watched by a depressed-yet-nefarious psychologist (who is never shown, heard or mentioned, but will be available for sequels). Soon, they discover that the cells are rigged to slowly fill with water, and that each ‘player’ can make the water level of their own cell decrease by using their screen to correctly complete sequences of colored numbers and symbols, but that doing so will make another person’s water level rise (gasp!) and bring them closer to a watery grave! The only way to escape is to be the last one left alive at the end, so one by one, the cast of characters suffers a grisly demise at the hands of the others. Finally, it comes down to the last two: a sleazy ticket scalper and an innocent young Spanish boy. In a plot development that will have audiences everywhere cheering with joy, the young boy will overcome adversity (Oh, yeah; I forgot to mention that he’s colorblind and dyslexic.) and emerge victorious. As the slimeball ticket scalper drowns, the water drains from the young boy’s cell, a door opens in the wall and a single ray of sunshine beams inside. The boy turns to face the door, and subtitles at the bottom of the screen translate as he says,

Soy… el último…

(I am… the last).

Nadie más.

(No one else.)

Yo soy el-

(I am the)”

"Nuh uh, she skipped you! It's my turn!"

"This summer... DRAW FOUR. The color is TERROR."

Riding high on the rousing success of that blockbuster, I’ll attend all the red carpet events, do interviews, and spout cryptic nonsense about my writing process (regurgitating ideas from other successful films) and motivations (money!!!!1!). Then I’ll disappear from the scene for a bit, and wait until everyone is clamoring for me to write something else, at which point I’ll reveal that I’ve already completed work on my second screenplay:


…which will follow the exploits of a beautiful young woman struggling to make her way in a hectic, post-apocalyptic New Jersey (hint: it’s not very different except for the end-of-the-world-related shortage of hair product and spray tans. So, really… very different, I suppose.). In this bleak vision of the future, people deemed to be good breeding stock are in such short supply that relationships are semi-arranged, in a ceremony similar to the NBA drafts. In an effort to finally earn a first round pick of a good man, she turns to the one remaining civilized form of socialization: a brutal, no-holds-barred competitive crossword tournament, in which competitors must engage in a vicious free-for-all to acquire large metal letters dispersed throughout a giant maze, filled with dangerous traps and unspeakable beasts captured from the nuclear wasteland.

"...and both Z's!"

"You gotta help me- ALL I HAVE ARE VOWELS!!"

After all the letters have been collected, the surviving contestants must then use the letters to create a giant crossword puzzle, gaining points for each letter they use. When our heroine wins by demonstrating her prowess in battle and her razor wit on the field of Scrabble, she is awarded the coveted first pick of New Jersey’s most eligible members of the opposite sex. It is then, after surveying the choices available to her, that she realizes that she doesn’t need a man at all, and sets out alone to forge her own destiny.


Once that little gem is topping the box office charts, I’ll quickly option off my next script, before the heat dies down and people start to realize I’m actually a complete hack who couldn’t write his way out of a… something. I don’t know where I was going with that. Oh, well. ONWARD!

Murder, She Wrote

This last big screen adaptation centers around a retired mystery novelist who lives in a small, cozy New England town with a murder rate higher than the worst inner city ghetto. The film follows her daily activity, assisting the local police department despite her complete lack of law enforcement credentials, until an FBI agent is assigned to the case of the recent murder of a prominent government researcher who had been vacationing in the area. Our heroine fights to remain involved in the investigation, as she’s quite certain she can crack the case, and doesn’t have much to do since her children hardly ever call. Defying all logic, the FBI accepts her help as a consultant, and she teams up with the bright young agent. As the case goes on, however, pieces of the puzzle don’t quite add up, and as we follow the script through twist after mind-fellating twist, it is finally revealed that the FBI agent was actually conducting the investigation on his own, without the knowledge or support of the FBI. He’d recently been suspended for his controversial and unsubstantiated theory that all the murders in that town were actually the work of a genius serial killer, which turns out to be true when our protagonist, the sweet retired novelist, confesses to the crimes. When the intrepid agent attempts to arrest her, however, he realizes that she’s poisoned him, and as he falls to the ground gasping to catch his final breath, the last thing he sees is her sweet, subtle smile.


Sure, some people will be angered by my new-found wealth and status. They’ll be jealous of my success, and say that “it’s utterly ridiculous that anyone would pay for that kind of mindless, utterly irredeemable tripe.” And sure, all those die-hard Murder, She Wrote fans will want to lynch me for turning a beloved character into a ruthless, calculating, mother-of-all-evil serial killer, but to all those people I’ll say,Who the hell let you get so close to my mansion?

An open letter to the apparent anti-cellphone movement.

•February 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Let me begin by saying that I understand that there are things in life that have the ability to cause such a high degree of frustration that it seems impossible that there was any intent behind the act other than to piss you off. I, too, know the cathartic satisfaction of ranting and raving like a howling lunatic when such things work their way under my skin, so I understand the drive to scream at the top of your lungs to anyone who will listen about just how terrible things are, fully convinced that they are the foul seed behind the world’s ills. Hell, just scan through this site, and you’ll see me rail incessantly against a vast cornucopia of topics; it’s cheaper than therapy. By a damned far sight.

Although a city-wide food fight does sound like a helluva good time.

And cleaner than an... enormous... tomato orgy?

I’ve also had my fair share of unpleasant experiences with people on phones, so I understand the vitriol. I’ve called someone, only to realize that they were sitting in a movie theater (during the movie), and I’ve been in a theater when someone had to be forcibly removed (with pepper spray) by the police because he wouldn’t stop talking loudly on his phone after the manager asked him politely to shut up or leave. Back when I waited tables, I had someone look me dead in the eyes and growl “Can’t you see I’m on the phone,” when I had the gall to attempt to deliver his food (I politely complied with the request to leave him alone, and returned the food to the expo line to get cold and dry out while he finished his conversation), which was neither the first nor last time such a thing occurred. I’ve nearly been run off the road by people talking on cell phones, and I’ve been almost knocked off my feet by people texting without looking where they were going.


And don't even get me started on people texting in the tub!

With all that being said; enough already. Get over it. People are obtuse jackasses, with or without the aid of technology, and cell phones don’t exacerbate the problem. Correlation does not equal causation: just because someone’s an idiot on a cell phone doesn’t mean the cell phone made them an idiot, or that only idiots use phones.

And sort of juvenile. "Your head is a doodie!"

You never really think about it, but, taken literally, 'shithead' is a pretty disgusting term.

What makes this particular movement such a potential irritant is that there’s a solid kernel of undeniable truth at the core: that there are those among us who chatter away at completely inappropriate times, at excessive volumes, about wildly unseemly subject matter, completely oblivious to the fact that others are unable to avoid being privy to their conversation, while demonstrating a complete lack of awareness of their surroundings. I’m certain that an acceptable majority of us can agree that those people are, for lack of a more eloquent term springing to mind, shithead bastards, who should be forced to suffer some beautifully poetic form of Twilight Zone justice; perhaps being constantly bombarded by every inappropriate and inconsequential thought of everyone within a half-mile radius whilst being pelted with an erratic assortment of racquetballs and dodgeballs from all sides, at random intervals. Or, just maybe, have it pointed out to them that they are, in fact, being a shithead bastard who should dial it down a bit.

But I might squeeze one more in. *ahhhTHATSWHATSHESAID!* I'm so sorry.

...aaaand that's just about enough of that.

The problem with this seemingly growing anti-cellphone movement is that there’s a large number of its informal members who seem to be convinced, beyond the point of being reasoned with, that any use of a cellphone in any even remotely public area is an act of rudeness on par with randomly deciding to tackle a stranger and proceeding to shit directly on their chest without so much as a ‘hello.’ Yes, I’m exaggerating, but still; a very vocal portion of the population seems to view any public cellphone use as highly offensive.

In a poll, 41% of people surveyed specifically mentioned that someone talking on a cellphone in the grocery store is a pet peeve. Has our society reached such a critical mass of asshattery that nearly half of us just can’t stand it when someone has the audacity to speak in a grocery store? When the “silence [is] pierced by a person entering the store on her cell phone,” how, exactly, is that any more inherently offensive than someone walking through the door of a business while speaking to someone who’s with them? Because, if you keep in mind that a person speaking on a cell phone is doing nothing outside of communicating with another human being while (sometimes) holding their hand to their head, that’s precisely what forty-one percent of the population is saying is so indefensibly rude: talking.

I mean, really. That could have gone worse in soooooo many ways. Also, yes, I'm aware this is a photoshop.

This came up when I googled "offensive piercing." That's really just the best way that could have ended, now that I think about it.

This isn’t a purely American issue, although several states have had legislation on the books for a while now that bans cell phone use in cars. The government of India  is considering a series of legislative measures to ban certain cellular activities, including the use of phones near roadways, and the manufacture of any sort of camera in a cell phone ‘for the safety of women.’ I’m not even going to touch the ‘dangers’ of cameraphones, specifically, because it’s along the same lines. But before you hurt yourself leaping up to proclaim the roadway ban a brilliant idea, consider being stranded on the roadside, unable to call for help, because some bureaucrat decided it was in the public interest to jam reception near highways. Think back to the last time you were the passenger in a car, having to call someone to ask directions or confirm arrangements. The nerve!

Although, I must say, that hat IS dapper.

Despite the fact that he keeps up with modern technological trends, Uncle Sam's fashion sense never changed.

As I said, I don’t disagree entirely with the root of the argument, but I do think it’s being pushed to radical extremes, so what I propose is a list of concessions. Standards that we can mostly agree apply to general human behavior, whether or not an electronic device is involved. These should be things that have always been considered by society at large to be norms, and shouldn’t really be affected by technology.

  1. Don’t talk during a movie/lecture/live performance/et cetera. Cell phone or no, people won’t put up with it. If you have something you have to say, go do it outside. This is really just standard-issue common courtesy for any non-solipsistic existence, which is to say: you already know this if you’re not some ridiculously self-absorbed fuckwit whose response to the internal debate of whether or not to do something is always “Well, what are they gonna do about it?” If that’s your guiding star, do society an enormous favor and take a job as a crash test dummy.
  2. Pay attention when you’re driving. Again, this is something that, as a society, we should be highly embarrassed to have to say out loud. I’ve seen many a heavily distracted parent failing to maintain his/her lane because of kids in the backseat. I’ve been rear-ended (a couple of months ago, as a matter of fact) by someone having a heated discussion with his passenger. I’ve been cut off by people changing radio stations and lanes simultaneously. Cell phones or no, there are just plenty of people who can’t wrap their heads around the idea of watching the road; outlawing phone use won’t change that. Although it would get rid of the wealth of holier-than-thou ‘hang up and drive’ (or worse) bumper stickers out there (which is right up there with “WWJD” to be seen on the back of a car that’s just cut you off, because I’m fairly certain my conversation didn’t turn you into the jerk that just swerved in front of me without signaling, and I’m absolutely positive that Jesus wouldn’t try to run me off the road), so maybe there is something to be said for it.
  3. Use your inside voices, people. If you and your friends have to practically scream at each other to be heard, switch to text messages, learn sign language, turn up your hearing aids, or, I don’t know, stop talking over each other.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch where you’re going so you don’t ram into people, don’t divulge explicit details of your sexual conquests in church, and figure out what you’re going to order before you get to the counter.

Simple, right? These are all things that seem to be at the crux of any complaint about cell phones, but are really more about the underlying behavior that shouldn’t be affected one way or another by technology.

I’ve been stranded on the side of the road (with and without a cell phone, and let me tell you, it makes all the difference in the world), I’ve been called out of the blue about emergencies that can’t wait until I get home and check messages, I’ve been sent text messages about changes in plans that have saved me countless hours of wasted time, effort, and confusion, and I’ve had the ability to look up information that I otherwise wouldn’t have had until it was too late. That doesn’t make me an arrogant, self-important jerk who deserves the passive-aggressive scorn (which, I hate to be the one to break it to you, is at least as rude as the behavior that you think necessitates it) of everyone who comes near me; it makes me human. Shit happens, and the ability to communicate with any number of people instantly, nearly regardless of location is absolutely priceless. The day is quickly approaching (for many of us, it already has) where we will be unable to imagine how we ever got through our daily lives without such technology, and maybe that is a bad thing. There’s definitely an argument for the opinion that our technology is creating a greater divide between us, but where is the line drawn? Do we stop at land lines? Telegraphs? Pony express? What technology was developed that actually possesses the power to turn people from reasonable, rational individuals into slathering, brutish assholes?

There, but for the lack of an iPhone, go we.


Oh, and those states that banned cell phone use in cars? Cell phone bans have overall lowered the incidence of automotive cell phone use, but have still had absolutely no effect on accident rates.

So, there’s that.

Wherein I’ve apparently “wrassled” a Gorilla.

•September 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

New “content,” as it were, has not been stricken from my agenda. “Gorilla Wrasslin’,” however, is right the hell off of there. It is my firm belief that anyone who says they’ll try anything once is sorely lacking in pessimistic imagination.

Within the ironclad constraints of my “No Awesome Sandwich” edict, I can’t particularly explain the recent lack of updates, so I’ll try to be brief when I blatantly ignore my only real rule.

  • The nature of my daytime employment has… altered. The mild-mannered, overly-polite workload of days gone by was gang-raped by mutant llamas while being exposed to an interstellar radiation storm after drinking an experimental serum in the Bermuda Triangle, which caused it to become a hulking, snarling abomination driven by the kind of rage that only scientifically-deviated genetics and llama rape can induce.
  • We’ve recently begun the recording process on our second independent studio album. After spending several days working out kinks, we’ve got a ‘demo’ track laid down to see how things will progress, and get a feel for what needs to be altered before we begin the actual sessions. The shows in October will be the last until we emerge from the other side, sunlight glinting off the freshly-minted albums in our hot little hands. Regular updates of band-related goings-on can be found here.

Suffice to say that when I’m not mainlining coffee at work (or beer in the studio), I’m curled up in a ball at home, being absolutely worthless.

Four out of five doctors recommend…

•August 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

…telling them what’s wrong with you instead of just asking for drugs by name. The fifth was too busy practicing medicine to pay attention to the question.

That’s something that’s been chewing on my ass for a while: television ads for prescription drugs. America and New Zealand are the only countries that allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise with such impunity, and there have been political rumblings for several years that the overly permissive attitude towards these commercials is about to change, so I should probably go ahead and rip on them while they’re still airing.

Depression is sort of like constantly being throttled by a team of angry, yet well-organized leprechauns, but somehow you can’t muster the energy to care enough to stop them. So if you’re depressed, take this drug! We think it works like this: (cue muzak eerily similar to “We Didn’t Start the Fire,”)

Not entirely unlike Pong, but sadder, and with the potential for suicide.

"See, there are these red dealies in yer brain that bounce little *teeny tiny* pellets at each other, like 'PEW PEW PEW,' and what we think the pill does, is it goes in there and says 'HEY YOU QUIT DOIN THAT SO MUCH' and they do, and you, man, you're all shiny rainbows and fuzzy puppies again."

Fantastic, right? But… tell your doctor right away if it actually makes you more depressed, because that happens. Often enough that we have to tell you upfront. Oh, and if you start thinking about killing yourself, your doctor should know about that too, because it’s actually just a side effect. Since we told you about it, your family can’t sue. Yeah, and while we’re on the topic, once you start taking it, don’t ever stop, unless your doctor has told you to. Because.

Do you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or had you heard of it before this commercial?  Well, you are in luck, because this drug improves lung function in patients with COPD!


Stage one: Anti inflammatory!. Stage three: Lung function!

Our leading theory right now is that it has something to do with microscopic "lung gnomes." And bronchodilators (which is a doctor-word for "wee little pickaxes").

In the meantime, until it helps you (it very well may not help for several weeks, if at all), continue using it twice a day (for the love of God, only twice) in addition to your regular rescue inhaler (which this product is not) unless you develop osteoporosis (which happens when the lung gnomes get confused and start harvesting calcium from the bones), eye problems (which are a common side effect… of… lung medicine) or pneumonia (people get that all the time from inhalers; look it up).

Don’t have COPD, but you do have asthma? We’ve got just the thing for that, but it’s no ordinary inhaler. No, sir! This dandy little number is bursting at the seams with medicinal power! So much power, in fact, that it may actually help your asthma kill you! That’s right, this brutal blend of pump-action asthma-whippin’ lung juice increases your risk of asthma-related death! Because we at AstraZeneca believe that modern medicine should be more like Thunderdome; you either beat the condition into submission and make it your bitch or it finishes you off with a quick blow to the larynx.

In this scenario, the medicine is a flamethrowing chainsaw dangled from the top of the dome. Except it can't kill the asthma.... for some reason.

That's you in the middle about to whip Asthma's ass, with our help. Unless, of course, Asthma gets the inhaler away from you and shoves it up your ass. If that happens, you're boned. But it... probably won't.

Are you suffering from chronic, incurable pain, in addition to a strong desire to suffer from new and exciting drug-induced maladies? Try using this, or any number of drugs in the NSAID family! Before we get to the benefits, you should know that they can cause serious skin reactions, stomach and intestinal bleeding and ulcers, and completely wreck both your liver and entire cardiovascular system. But don’t worry about that, because “the FDA stated that for certain patients, the benefits outweigh the risks,” and-guess what?-this drug “has never been taken off the market!” That’s the ringingest endorsement anyone can give anything!

Where other companies just lump in all their small print in a block at the end of the commercial, we not only spend most of the two and a half minute run time of the ad talking about the things that can go horribly awry, but the entire ad is composed of fine print arranged to form shapes!

Because a fine print rhombus would be too much for the viewing public to handle.

Like a man, his home, his lawn, his entire neighborhood and a mailman thrown in for good measure. Later, a dog catches a frisbee. Fun.

The one thing all the pharmacology ads seem to have in common is the implication that doctors just don’t know what the hell they’re doing. If you were stupid enough to go into a doctor’s office and just tell them what’s wrong without asking for a specific drug by name, why, they’d probably just slaughter some chickens and wave burning sticks over you while chanting and dancing around. Later, you’d wake up naked and groggy in a back alley somewhere, feeling no less sick, but infinitely more violated. No, no, you’re much better off being diagnosed by a device of mass marketing, then treating your doctor like a glorified pharmacy technician; “This is the condition I have, these are the drugs I need. Give them to me now.”

Then there are the side effects. Really, they’re like the pharmacological equivalent of buying a cell phone so you can stay in touch with your friends, except that it sometimes turns on your oven and burns down the house. Or, if you prefer to be literal, it’s like taking a pill to stop your leg from twitching, and gaining an overwhelming urge to gamble and engage in deviant sex in the process.

Even assuming that it is responsible to allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise just like any other corporate entity despite the fact that they’re in the business of selling products that shouldn’t be recommended by anyone without an extensive background in medicine because of the risks inherent in their use, the costs to run these ads are written off by the pharmaceutical companies, meaning that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing the right to be turned into hypochondriacs because the drug companies are telling us everything that’s wrong with us, and how they can make it more manageable through the perpetual consumption of their product.

Even barring that, it’s ridiculous to pawn these ads off under the guise of ‘informing and educating’ the population. Advertisement does not equal education last I checked, and as far as information from a manufacturer is concerned… I’d really rather not ask Pepsico how good Pepsi tastes: I doubt the review will be anything short of glowing.

Aaand even if you forget those points, the goal of the advertisements is to push the newest drugs on the market; the ones that haven’t endured as much long-term testing. Why is that bad? Have you ever seen the other commercials? The ones asking if you or a loved one has suffered certain terrible conditions after using a specific drug, because they’re gearing up for a huge class-action settlement? Because those occur after long-term side effects appear that weren’t evident in initial clinical trials.

So my point, if I have one, would have to be: think for yourself, fast forward through commercials, and ride the ‘beer curve’ carefully on the dance floor. There’s a fine line between “Thass mah jam! I’ma dance now k’bye,” and “Shit, is she gonna be OK?”

This is exactly why I stay my ass off the dance floor. That, and the whole "can't dance" thing.

Things were getting a mite too serious in the final paragraphs, and I've been itching to use this image for a couple of weeks now, so BAM. Problems solved.

It Finally Happened, or How The Internet Broke My Brain Today.

•August 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This past week has been utterly consumed by preparation for this moment. Hours upon hours melted away as I lay awake at night, devising a fiendish comical post so deviously hilarious that the internets would part upon its deliverance, and reveal the underlying machinations that keep the world wide web afloat in the electronic ether (which, as it turns out, is actually concentrated Mountain Dew). Crucial tasks were neglected, loved ones ignored, and in my daze, I may or may not have accidentally committed a crime or two. As it turns out, my mental autopilot tends towards the illicit when left completely unchecked. It’s probably nothing, but if anyone reading this happens to live anywhere near Cottleville, MO, I’d appreciate it if you’d stop by the sheriff’s office and just casually mention that I have never, ever been anywhere near there, and have a serious aversion to bulldozers and giant cheese wheels.

"¡Ay, es el queso muy peligroso!" We're assuming, for the purposes of that quotation, that there was at least one Spanish speaker present when I WASN'T THERE AND DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.

Not pictured: ME, ANYWHERE.

Yes. Well, as I was saying… I put a great deal of thought into a post for you, my sweet, sweet internets. Then I got sucked into looking at various iPhonedisguisecases, which had me completely and utterly sidetracked. Then, just as I was about to focus, and start writing, I read about the woman who’s suing a Chicago area zoo because the dolphins willfully and negligently splashed water, and I decided to run with that instead. Mulling it over for a bit, I wandered over to ThinkGeek to windowshop their selection of things I don’t need, but for some odd reason really want. Until the Reuters web site loaded, and I promptly forgot all about any of that preparation, as I read this headline:

Treating heroin addiction with heroin seems viable.

That’s about the time my brain shut off in protest.

When it started up again, I managed to get about halfway through the first sentence, which states that giving heroin to heroin addicts keeps them in therapy.

I awoke when my wife’s cat, witnessing my second lapse into unconsciousness and assuming that I was dead, began her attempt to gnaw off a finger. Swatting frantically at the cat and making note to sleep with the bedroom door locked in the future, I poured a tall glass of scotch and considered a return to the text of what had to be weaponized stupidity. If it’s possible to read something that can kill you, I need to develop an immunity. I spend a lot of time on the internet.

Searching for 'internet stupidity' returned porn. This is getting ridiculous, google. I've got work to do. Important unpaid internet writing work.

This internet.

I decided I had to go back in, no matter what the cost, so after a brief rest I began the next sentence… “But researchers caution…” OH, thank God, a voice of reason! Surely, this is where the ‘gotcha’ moment happens, and I recognize that this isn’t some meticulous attempt to destroy my brain, and that there’s some actual merit to the whole idea after all!

“…that the treatment carries a risk of overdos-“

Today I learned that a google image search for 'black' without safesearch will produce hardcore porn.

Blacking out this frequently can't... be something... for... things.

This couldn’t continue. After that blackout, I awoke to find that the cat was dragging me into the kitchen, where it appears she intended to knock a jar of sugar from the top of the refrigerator onto my head in order to finish me off. I scrambled into an upright position and began hurling epithets and instant lemonade packets (hey, you take whatever weapon is available when the chips are down) at my dejected assailant, who slinked away, muttering guarantees of impending doom as best a house cat can. My head was beginning to hurt, and my nose was bleeding slightly. Downing a handful of Advil, and cramming a tissue up my nose to stop the bleeding, I realized that I had to find a go-between, an intermediary who wouldn’t be subject to the danger presented by the reading of such a text, or at least one to whom I had no emotional attachment.

Fast-forward to twenty minutes and ten dollars later, and I was approaching the screen with averted eyes, assuring  little Steven (a child who presumably belonged to one of the neighbors) that I just needed him to read from the screen, and then I’d give him another twenty bucks. “That’s a lot of pokeyman, Stevie!”

Fuck pokémon, I want a PSP Go! Your breath smells like my dad!” Well, this certainly was shaping up to be one of my more brilliant ideas.

Children are like nature's day laborers.

Kids are like gangsters: impossible to deal with if they're not constantly getting paid off.

“That’s because sometimes, sport, your dad probably needs to forget that you were ever born. Now just read that article aloud, slowly. If you can manage to do it without giving me any more shit, I’ll throw in an extra ten bucks.”

Clearly, bribery was this kid’s magic button, because he just smiled and started reading. It was touch and go at first, but I’d already been exposed to the first two sentences, so their effect on me was significantly reduced. Besides, hearing the words mispronounced from the mouth of this young extortionist-in-training made it a bit easier to compartmentalize, and listen without the immediate brain trauma I experienced earl-

So much for that plan. I woke up, hog-tied in our newly-emptied living room with the cat standing on my face, staring at me with clinical detachment and a claw at my throat. That would probably have been the grisly end of me; my eyeballs turned into a condom which was then used by the internet to vigorously defile my brain, all my worldly possessions purloined by a neighborchild, and a murderous feline about to shuffle me loose the mortal coil with the uncaring flick of a claw… had my wife not arrived home at that very moment. “Hey, honey? I just saw a bunch of kids go running by carrying a TV and what really looked like our couchohmygodareyouokbadcat!”

Four lessons to be learned from this whole ordeal:

  1. There’s apparently no recession for researchers, who seem to be able to get money for ANYTHING.
  2. If you ever become homeless, hitchhike to Canada and get addicted to smack. They’ll apparently put you up in a clinic and keep you pumped full of drugs because it’s more cost-effective than letting you roam around on your own. Hey, it’s got to beat living in a refrigerator box!
  3. The library still has free internet access, even if you stink of scotch and desperation, and are covered in cat hair.
  4. Never trust children or cats that you haven’t personally raised. They’ll rob you blind and try to murder you the first time you black out in their presence. Also raccoons. Don’t trust raccoons.
"...but for now, can you help me off dis twee? Pweeeeze?"

"Mommy says when I grow up, I'm gunna lead the upwising!"