“That’s funny. This expired when I was ten years old.”
I’d been shopping through my mom’s spice cabinet yesterday for herbs to add to my soup.
That was when I encountered some containers that should’ve been tossed out around the same year I sucker punched Marquita for kissing my first boyfriend. One or two of the spices had gone funky – as a quick whiff confirmed. And for whatever reason, this sort of surprised me. Bio degree or not, I keep around expired stuff. Part of that’s the “ah, it’ll be fine” part of my brain. And the polar opposite other-half reason is the “in case there’s an apocalypse” part of my brain. I even have some canned chicken soup leftover from my meat eating era - and every time I look at it, I envision my future dystopian family and I huddled around it with spoons, covered in soot, and saying “good thing we saved this…” as the moans of the reanimated dead beckon tirelessly below my apartment, like a soused crowd at the end of a day long Buffet concert. This jarring concept of condiments going bad made me wonder…
…what other horrors does my kitchen harbor?
Aside from me being the cook?
And I got my answer today, in the form of something probably more life threatening than a bottle of French something-or-other spices whose ambient moisture served as bacterial utopia over the past two decades: like the stuff that keeps CDC dudes from catching anthrax - bleach. 75 employees were exposed to live anthrax last month, as theirs had been expired. I remember using bleach in the labs back in college - along with UV radiation – to denature (unfold/render useless) the proteins of infectious agents. What I didn’t realize is that after six months or so, the stuff in it meant to defeat those bad-guy proteins starts to decompose. And in summer time – that happens even faster. It’s not that it’s totally useless after six moths, but that’s just when the “at your own risk” bit kicks in ‘cause they can’t guarantee anything past that date.
Other everyday stuff they say expires are condoms. Snakey skull caps bite the dust in half a decade because the latex degrades along with the moisture – and so does the swimmer-killer (if you use spermicide). Then there’s sunscreen – which clumps up and thus doesn’t cover the skin evenly (and as frequently as I don't use mine, that's probably exactly how the one in my closet looks). They say your loofa should also get the boot every month (wait, can't we just wash it like the kitchen sponge?). And mascara starts to breed bacteria before too long, too – a fact I’m generally unwilling to follow because of how expensive makeup is.
And then there’s the not-deadly-but-ineffective stuff around the house that also goes bad (allegedly) like acne creams and soaps. It’s said that - as with the bleach - because of the degradation, these items become ineffective; so you shouldn’t buy in bulk.
I tend to disagree.
I’ve reached for outdated benzoyl peroxide on weeks my mug looks like the moon (that’s why they call it lunar cycle, right?) and it hasn’t failed me. You know what else hasn’t failed me? That moment when I realize I’m out of my snobby soap and a simple bar of whatever will do. When I’m all scrubbed clean (because half the point of scrubbing is to mechanically wash off bacteria, not smite them where they stand) and emerge from the shower smelling like the inside of Yankee candle company, I can’t help but think soap doesn’t really expire.
But I’m the see-for-myself sort of person. And I tend to think a lot of people are, since so many other products we buy seem to have built in “obsoletion” dates (set to stop working just after warranty so you hafta buy another). That said, as I’m still reliving the scent of rotten French seasoning, I’ll pay attention to those dates. But just those.
Mmwell... maybe both the condiments and condoms.
Although my future kids I'm not having could do stuff like filter out my expired spices.
What? She missed like, three that expired yesterday.
Could've killed me.
Bitches gots to learn.
Cell phone bans make for shitty accident prevention.
Thoughtless drivers always find new ways to be thoughtless; so distracted driving wasn’t an innovation brought about by the horror show that is texting while driving (though I do wonder how many "one phone one wheel" half-finished vlogs have made their way to bestgore.com). Sure, mobiles may have served as a good extra attention stealer, but we can’t blame all our traffic accidents on our handheld Hals. Back in 2008 – when using a mobile behind your automobile’s wheel became illegal, there was a study done to see if it helped any. They had to run the study quickly (to avoid variables like better cars or weather being the reason for rise and fall in accidents instead of new laws), but within a mere month or two of banning cruise-and-chat… nothing happened.
Well, except accidents... Those kept happening.
Well, since it's hard to get straight answers outta Crashy McDistraction, we guess:
1. Eff da police!
People know, but they don’t care. We’re all guilty of this. Even the best of us. We know it’s a rule, but we really don’t like it, so we make amendments to it like the “Oh, it’s a stop sign/stop light/the traffic’s slowed down” one I’m guilty of enacting at will. And I know other people are too, because I can’t count how many times a light’s turned green and… nobody moves. The problem with these personal amendments is that when you’re addicted to technology, one hit’s never enough. You open up that text or comment convo, and traffic reality gets black-holed. That’s fine if you’re at home. But when you’re conducting a death weapon around other people doing the same? Not so much.
2. Didn’t ban Bluetooth!
Hands-free devices are still super distracting. I didn’t really understand “how” until the first time I saw a person walking down the street, muttering, and issuing me a Manson-esque stare-through-my-soul kind of stare. It wasn’t till I got closer that I saw the earpiece. Where he was, I didn't even exist. Homie was in another world. So, it makes sense – that even hands free technology would be distracting. I get a little distracted just talking to someone who’s sitting shotgun. When you add in the whole “can you hear me now?” element, it’s like juggling two different realities at once: conversating and navigating. And if that convo’s a high-anxiety work or school or PTA related one, your chances of crashing probably go up a good deal.
3. ADH-oh look! It’s a horsie!
Of the three, I’mma go with this one, which I’d like to rename BFD (bad fcking drivers). This one’s nice because it doesn’t exclude the other two. They say that where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I tend to think that this extends to both general stupidity and the will of the perpetually distracted. The former doesn’t bother to follow road rules. The latter aims to have their thumbs in as many pies as possible all the time to avoid the pain of living - and cry later when nothing gets accomplished except a trip to the junkyard. I say this as someone who's been guilty of fixing makeup in the rearview, making plans with my speakerphone on, and holding a mocha with one hand - for more years I’ve spent driving than not. All’a that shiz can wait. The weight of the world is only on our shoulders if we fail to take it off one pound at a time. Try it all at once and we end up in a hospital.
I know it's hard to remember, so imagine Tyler Durden saying it: you’re not special. Your busy life doesn’t matter. Hang up the phone, speakerphone, ear-piece, makeup, coffee – and just drive. Because you look like you’re doing a slalom down I95.
And I have no idea what the cops are doing when they're actually needed.
Have you ever lived in a place you can barely afford?
And feel like a hooker browsing on Rodeo anytime you walk through your own foyer?
Well, good. You should.
In fact, a New York apartment building that’s in the making is going to save you some trouble of feeling bad about being alive in the presence of your you-so-fancy neighbors. The 33 story building imminently coming to 40 Riverside Bouleveard will allow your wealthy fellow tenants to live suspended in the celestially high suites (which you’ll never see in your lifetime much less be able to afford) up above… while you enter at stage street-bum, out in the back alley. That’s right. We’ve installed a separate entrance for you to protect the pure senses of the prosperous from ever having to be reminding your ilk exists.
What’s that? That sounds like segregation based on income?
Well, I never! How dare you be so dreadfully ungrateful when the only reason you’re living here in the first place is a tokenistic afterthought so that we can get valuable tax breaks! You should feel lucky to reside in such opulence for such an affordable price at all. And now you want to taint the olfactory bulbs of the opulent with that oh so familiar I-don't-have-my-own-driver stench? Preposterous! Egregious! Inconceivable!
They’re just minding their own business, riding down a slide of gold from their LED, O2 controlled penthouse homes every morning – and you want to ruin their whole day by stealing their oxygen? They were right about you classless bastards - you are thieves!
Just how selfish are you, peasant?
You know, I bet that however much these apartments go for (there’s only gonna be 55 out of the total 219) they'll still be ridiculously expensive too. And while I love a bit of money-guilt-tripping against rich folk, I can’t help but try to see the other side of this story. The “other side” I’m willing to concede is that there are the Dicaprios and Depps and whoevers of the world who don’t get to turn anonymity or obscurity off and on at will. They aren’t special, but they are people. And they’re made to seem special, so everyone thinks they have a right to infringe on their privacy in hopes of financial gain. It’d be annoying to live in a place where I had to wonder if I’m getting iphone or googleglass sniped every five seconds all because of my line of work. And if living exclusively around people who can commiserate means having to pay more – I’m totally doing that. (And then secretly sniping my neighbors in high def... And then selling it to the Examiner for even more money.)
What? Don’t look at me like that.
I’m saving for my “bubble in the sky hovering above poorer people's penthouses” upgrade.
How “self-confident” are you?
No – rather – how do you define self-confidence in the first place?
That was a question I had to think about after reading this Gallup survey on “self-confidence” in our culture. Blacks and Hispanics seemed to feel better about their appearance, while Caucasians (except the elderly) did not – especially teens and middle-aged folk.
But I don’t think this is self-confidence in the “grrrll, I look gooood” sense so much as self-awareness.
When you’re self-aware, your priorities change a lil bit.
And there’s nothing like the prospect of death looming around the corner to bullet train you into that headspace. Who would be good examples of this? Those approaching their golden years. When your next holiday is gonna be a Sunrise funeral home layover en route to the tombstone suites, that whole generativity-versus-stagnation thing kicks in, too. Maybe not for the wolf o’ wall street ilk, but more often than not, that craving to do more than collect crap like Halloween candy sets in around the same time arthritis does.
(Also, I’d like to try and speak for the poor-people-not-being-treated-as-relevant-in-this-study: if you happen to be poor and never know where your next meal’s coming from, my guess is that keeping up with Armenian socialites reveals itself as the ridiculous misplaced value it undeniably is and confidence aligns a bit less with the Hollywood barometer.)
As for black and Hispanic groups? I can’t speak for a race I don't belong to (and even if I did, one doesn't represent the whole). However, as an outsider who’s worked in the medical field around all sorts of different racial groups, I can make a couple small observaches: More of the African Americans than whites I've met seem to have a deeper sense of spirituality and less lost-in-my-own-little-anxious-world-ness I see with middle aged white ladies. As for the Spanish-speaking patients I’ve worked with? Many tend to bring their families in with them – a testament to the values and support of a family-centric culture. Could this something-bigger-than-me connection to spirituality and family have something to do with feeling beautiful? A different definition of what self-confidence is? To something more intrinsic?
Which, sadly, brings us to to my homies, the honkies. Again, can't speak for the whole. But it seems like part of why we are so not self-confident superficially is because unlike wine, we don’t age well - surprising considering so many of us drink so much of it. We must’ve missed the #doingitwrong memo on that one.
Also, most of the white folk I’ve met are more "religious" than spiritual.
They talk at you with a closed mind, a furrowed brow, and judgey eyes - more concerned about gaining converts like they’re Twitter followers than actually caring about the purpose behind what they’re doing. Why would I want to join a club when the recruiters look wracked with anxiety about winning souls? This is just the whole “he who dies with the most toys” repackaged and branded with a cross.
And then after you've godlessly followed a religion you reluctantly joined, you start to live in fear of becoming a grumpy raisin nobody loves anymore. But who can blame you? When everyone laughs at the elderly and sticks ‘em in a home – versus revering them for all the epic shit they’ve seen and done – that’s a terrifying prospect, isn’t it? So, no. We don’t feel self-confident as middle age approaches. We’re about to become geriatric pariahs of society and we only have a god we believe in when there are people in pews next to us balancing their checkbooks and ignoring the sermon. All that amounts to is worry furrows instead of laugh lines (gonna get one or the other, either way #sorryboutit).
Plus, if you’ve got kids while you’re going through this mid-life-lose-your-shit twister of selfishness and vanity, then they’re double fccked. They’ve got media telling them to avoid looking old as you're freaking out into a bottle of benzos and going in for the Leatherface special everytime the botox wears off. That’s their reality. Of course they don’t feel confident. They’re being told self-confidence is a thing that can’t last.
Those capable of seeing this cultural game for what it is, can grow laugh lines from the elevated sidelines - watching the anxiety match below, and serenely sighing. You can’t force other people to change, but you can show them that “self-confidence” doesn’t come from a trip to Saks or the salon. That shiz doesn’t last (as my rapidly growing out roots can confirm.)
One way comes by easing into acceptance in older age (happy old people rock).
Another is by becoming self-aware enough earlier to look at the lie, laugh in its face...
...and make up our own fcking rules about "self-confidence".
So… a four winged dinosaur was discovered!
I dunno man. While the science kid in me was totally enchanted when I first heard this, the let's-ruin-christmas-for-myself side of me was like… “wouldn’t that just slow it down? Or make it go in big vertical circles?”
How the eff's that supposed to work?
Indeed, Changyuraptor yangi - the majestic relic related to velociraptor - did manage to "find a way". Magic? Even though they still aren't sure if he flapped or glided, buzzkill scientists have another theory - saying flight and landings depended on that big ass tail. Because this griffin of the skies was Peter Griffin sized, that means he'd fly faster and have a bit of a conundrum of the crash landing genre without a few deceleration accessories.
And in that respect, the feathers were kinda magic. Because while the snobby-nose upturn pre-touchdown was part of his landing plan (like a horse pulling back it's own reigns), it was that feathered tail that was “instrumental for decreasing descent speed and assuring a safe landing,” according to a study on him that I only skimmed over. The body blueprints of this badboy made him able to captain his body toward earth, the same way you'd land a plane and those motherfluffing feathers were 12-inches long apiece. The ruler long plumage adorned every inch of his glorious body, right down to the tail. Even his legs rocked quills.
Aw, he's actually starting to sound kinda cute - like a flying shih-tzu!
Without the cute ears or-
Wait, is he stabbing that shadow man in the heart?
Like he's already killed him - and now he's still haunting him in the afterlife?
Eternal damnation by sodomizing his cardiac cavity with his feather phallus for the remainder of eternity?
Probably. Because the levitating dyno demon hailing for Northeastern China wasn't messin' 'round. Homie may not be as large and looming as the giant dinosaur tyrant (who became a douchebag after he got teased all through middle school for having hypochondroplasia arms) - but yangi still backs a punch. 125 milly years ago, those four flying limbs probably came in pretty handy for his predatory proclivities - affording him a steady diet of smaller birds, fish, mammals, and lizards he'd eviscerate with those mean ass claws and beak.
In sum, my non-science-no-evidence-whatsoever assessment is that he definitely broke at least one and a half laws of physics what with all those feathers on four flapping limbs – since each feather was one fourth the size of his whole body. Wait, wait - can we talk about this for a second? How long must it take to grow that shiz? Is it like when starfish grow new arms?
Or more like the time I was a fish who grew new legs to evolve into a land animal?
Oh, wait -... GUYS!
(*yells toward backroom*)
That's the wrong gif! Can we please get -...
Ah, there it is.
I kinda stand up straight like a roman emperor after grocery day.
Looking upon my vast and frigid kingdom in a box, the landscape of my gastronomically seductive empire comprises colors that delight the eyes and jump start the belly with all its prismatic glory. There’s water filled fluorescent fruits dotting the shelves hither and thither. There’s enoki, maitake, and whatever the pre-sliced mushrooms are called in the drawers below. Baby spinach leaves and bags of kale and collard greens look up at me anxiously – knowing a boiling bath awaits them. But, lo! (I forget what that phrase means, but I feel like it might be something Shakespeare said before drinking poison with Juliette Roberts because she was a blood. And he was a crip. And she was a hooker.)
But lo! Yonder, just there!
Just in the center sits the gem! The magic lamp! The golden calf! The tree of life from that one Hugh Jackman movie that squirts jizz reminiscent of the icing in which they drown Cinnabon confections.
It is… the durian.
My lover. My comfort.
And now I allow you to take the journey with me of our torrid love affair...
1. Buy frozen durian.
My spikey Aphrodite sits patiently awaiting. Her fruits kept locked behind the chastity belt of a thick and thorny cloak. Her majesty came to me frozen and in despair. Could I break her down right now? I could… I’ve done this with past loves, but it always goes too quickly and we both end up hurt.
2. Let durian thaw.
So, like the kind and gentle ruler I am trying to be, I vow to display empathy and patience as I allow her some time. Her apprehensions and fears of being in a strange land should melt away in a day or two.
Then, I can test the waters.
I can make contact – a gentle, flirtatious touch. A press to her lower back, to show my protective and affectionate nature. Is she receptive?
3. Press durian to see if it's soft enough to cut yet
I think she is…
I prefer to bed the wife I’ve taken outside of the bedroom; somewhere strange – like the kitchen or balcony - surrounded in a sea of my most luxurious towels, as I’m hoping she’s not been conquered before. Somewhere unexpected will be both arousing for me and distracting enough in its novelty for her to ease the pain of being broken.
4. Cut durian in a wide open place so remnants don’t get caught and stink up your kitchen. Outside may be better. Use a big bath towel to facilitate clean up
And why wait for night when I can have her feminine musk upon me all day?
5. Remember, the durian has an odor!
Nay, I shall surprise her with my morningwood of metal, while we’re both bright and alert. I want her fully aware of the experience. And why waste the opiating rush that will result from the efforts of her undoing for nightfall? Why be half-asleep when we can ride the sexual elixir through the day like a steed made of serotonin?
6. Don’t be deterred by the odor, though! Some say this fruit's an aphrodisiac!
Indeed, as I lay her down, I can tell she’s reverted to a mild version of her former fear. As is common for virgin maidens, she scratches me. Part of it is a show of defense, but most of it’s just a show – she doesn’t wish to seem too eager for the impending penetration. I pull out protection - chainmail (in case she scratches).
Oh, and also an anachronistic condom (in case she has the clap).
7. Use gloves to avoid “durian kisses”
But I won’t be stopped. I couldn’t if I wanted to. The lizard-like primal ape is already stewing within me like a ravenous and relentless twister. I am a gladiator. I am Sparta. I am Beowulf here to pillage Grendel as our grundels perform a manic mosh pit dance, only to leave one another bruised and disoriented. She takes some time – between my own adrenaline and all of those billowy skirts, I can’t be certain which curtain is hiding her fleshy fruits.
8. Make sure to get the seam of the durian pod before cutting – so you don’t cut into the fruit, but between it. And definitely don't do this:
I probe one crevice.
Ew. No that’s not the right one at all…
Ah! AHA! I’ve found it. She gasps a little as my gleaming weapon teases the crack in her – a line I stole from a Bjork song. I’m not permitted full entry on the first attempt though. I readjust my grip on her haunches, take a deep breath and try again. After a few strokes, she surrenders… and a wave of endorphins overcomes me as only a fruit fuhrer can know…
I am in. She is open.
And I feel open too.
My inner ubermensch is dancing.
9. Pry it open!
Despite our mutual initial anxieties, we celebrate our maiden voyage into the flesh as man and wife with several more episodes of the same … once I’ve regained the strength to dazzle her again.
10. Get all of the pods! There’re usually four sections
To show her I’m grateful, I next draw a hot bath of oils and incense.
And then I take the bath myself.
After beheading her like queens past and throwing her corpse in the trash.
11. Clean up – both the remnants and your body or you’ll turn a lot of noses!
Yes, I’ve a few. My sexual thrills overtook me. I never could keep a wife for long enough to bear my heir. But I intend to change my way. For example, I’ve long dreamt of building a tower for my next conquest to live in while my seed beguiles her ovaries into manifesting a miniature replica of me.
Curses! What witchcraft is this?! Another female?!
Throw it away.
Burn them all.
12. Keep the seeds! They're edible and delicious! I keep mine in the freezer (less stinky – especially if you don’t plan to use them right away) and nuke em up or boil them later.
Sidebar on the aphrodisiac part… That experience is subjective, apparently, but most people who get past the smell (or don’t mind it) at least find some good feeling that comes with eating it. I actually didn’t realize it was supposed to make you feel anything until I ate my first sexy pod pillow. Five giant bites in, I gleefully asked the caterpillar reading Ulysses next to me, “Does this have drugs in it?”
And he assured me it was-
Well, actually he just stole it for an opium pillow without answering me.
But the interwebzs says it's all legit. #reasonenoughforme
Virtual reality at the dentist?
As a pain reliever? Instead of numbing agents? Or happy gas?
What sorcery is this?!
Yep. A virtual reality experiment had some surprisingly effective results at the tooth doctor’s office. The claim – that it minimizes pain and anxiety during procedures – seemed to hold up according to the testimonies of the patients themselves. But even more telling was the contraption they were hooked up to. A biofeedback machine measures heart and breathing rate (which go batshit crazy if you’ve just experienced something like, say, dropping your coffee mug right onto the boniest part of your foot at 6 AM). And the numbers seemed to corroborate their claims of painlessness.
So, what gives? Why and how does this work?
Well, the "why" is obvi. Any chemical you introduce can eff you right on up. There was something in SciAm I read not long ago about how the few times I’ve had to undergo anesthesia might’ve permanently screwed me up for life. 'xplains a lot, though it probably didn't help that two outta three times, the dude who's puts me down always looks like he's getting high on his own supply.
The "how", however, is that one thing that’s a constant revelation to me. I literally learn this thing every single day like my lesson from 24 hours ago was 50-first-dates’d out of me: that pain is largely psychological. Ah, I hate that. Because it means I can fix it. And if I'm not fixing it and I'm still suffering, it's totes my fault. Whether it’s from fibro, a herniated disc, or a dentist going all raiders of the oral cavity on you – the brain can be hacked. Can we hack it ourselves? Yeah-bsolutely. But when we can't even Zen-neutralize the pain of Breaking Bad being canceled, I really don't expect that we'll be able to tolerate a drill sans distraction.
The second part of the "how" is the nature of the escape: by retreating into alternate worlds of beaches, mountain trails, and forest sceneries, our brains half-forget the oral horror befalling us back IRL. But it’s not just distraction (like I thought the cause might be). In fact, they even tried movies and stuff on another group - which did very little to induce any sort’ve difference at all, compared to no during-procedure treatment. Rather, the success is found via combination of both distraction and immersion. Kinda like when I watch Orange is the New Black for too long and start creating a food womb over my dinner plate at family gatherings using my arms while menacingly gripping my spoon like a shank for anyone who dare come near.
“False alarm. That was-... that was just me. As you were.”
(To be fair, my brother's an avocado thief.)
But the combo of these two things seemed to work regardless of the procedure.
Come drill or hosewater, the mouth matrix delivered pain-free peaceful escapism.
You know, we’re really kinda spoiled. It’s one thing to try to avoid real danger-to-my-life kind of pain. But all this coddling my culture’s raised me on has turned me into a pansy and a half. The last time I went to my orthodontist, I couldn’t believe what a little bitch I regressed into. It was literally like I was having an out of body experience, watching a giant vagina recoil in fear of a filing tool. And while that would hurt on actual lady parts, cosmos-god thankfully put my uteral exit at the opposite end of my body without using any of the sensitive leftover dermis for my dentin.
I literally just heard the words “get me a filer” and instantly worm-holed back to age two.
Between pain relieving gases and distractions and the benzos we reach for anytime life gives us anything other than a gold star, our heads are pretty far up our own gas-giving orifices. We’re such pussies. So entitled that it’s driven us to preferring long-term-everyday-for-the-rest-of-your-life-until-you-die-face-down-in-your-TV-dinner kind of pain, versus just spending five minutes feeling it for long enough to fix it.
That’s why when I become a dentist, the first thing I’m going to do – right before I jump off the roof at lunch – is team up with Kubrik and direct my own cinematic-level virtual-reality experience for patients called:
“Shut Up And Open Your Mouth; It Could Be Worse”.
We're working on the title.
It's a mouthful.
So, a man burned down his house trying to kill a spider.
Mmmyes. I can already identify with this story.
After seeing eight legged satan in his laundry room, the man did what any sane person acting rationally and calmly would do: went after it with a lighter and a can of spray paint. You know, that’s good… And… I like where your head’s at, buddy.
But you could have really hurt yourself and your family.
That’s why I’d like to offer a suggestion for next time in the form of this new app I got on my phone for when the incubus of the insect world arises in my domicile
If you’re a loyal reader o’ mine, you might have seen this video a kajillion times already, but I can’t help but be reminded of my dear friend’s desire to go pyro on his swimming pool post pouring concrete on it, when he found the badboy at 4:11 However, inside both of our grinchy hearts apparently sits the try-not-to-kill-things guidance system which led him to pool-net carry this motherfluffer into the woods and set it free, babies n’ all.
(I’d be remiss if I failed to add the part where one of its evil offspring returned to haunt his bathtime later that night). #NoGoodDeed
Then there’s the dude who lives in Australia and capitalizes on morbid fear-iosity like my own, by making anxiety inducing videos where he captures giant Huntsmans with a too-narrow-for-my-comfort vacuum hose. You know, I hate that term - Huntsman. It’s too anthropomorphized, and in the worst kinda way. (“Oh, it’s a man capable of higher consciousness? And it hunts? And it’s hanging over my bed where my face and nose and mouth are exposed for three hours at a time each night if I’m lucky? Mmmgreat.”)
(Camera hose? Oh, you fancy...)
As for me, I’ve not totally eschewed my arachnid assassination ways.
But I am getting better. For example the demon who weaves a castle where my balcony railing meets the wall, works days and then commutes home to have hooker parties night. So, instead of knocking him outta his web with a peach pit or the neighbors cat (like the old days), I just kept cutting it down every morning when he left. He rebuilt it a couple of times before realizing that the locale was a silk money pit of shitty real estate, gave up, and left.
Even in the house, I’m trying my hardest - if I spot Charlotte on a wide wall (where it can’t either jump on me or the floor where it'll be MIA forever), I get a giant Tupperware in one hand, magazine in another and surround the bewildered creature. Once it sees what’s going on, it tries to jump – into the Tupperware. The magazine goes over the opening, everything goes outside, and if it tries to thank me with a handshake on the way out of captivity...
Well, then that magazine suddenly serves its Plan B purpose.
In sum - I get where this guy's head was at. So, I'd call him stupid like everyone else is - but I'd be lying if I said the exact thought hasn't crossed my mind one or twelve times.
Can't judge-touch this one even with a camera laden go-go gadget vacuum pole.
Headline for an article I reluctantly read today:
“Family Guy stolen teddy bear suit”.
I feel the need to preface this with the fact that I only read this because I was half awake and thought it was going to be about Seth MacFarlane stealing the actual teddy bear suit from “Ted”, and doing musical numbers in it around town like a man in an ill-fitting animatronic costume en route to a furry convention. I quickly had to stow my popcorn and 3D glasses though, when I got the disappointment grenade that it was just about some talentless youtuber filing a lawsuit... for "stealing their profane teddy bear idea".
Right. Wait. Before we go any further, let's leave no stone unturned.
Let’s get Brickleberry involved, too - for making a cartoon version of the same thing. Actually, let’s just sue them anyway for wasting my time in general. I'll never get back the two and a half minutes I survived giving that show a chance. (#neverforget) It makes no sense; Tosh is such a sardonic winner with his million dollar grin when he’s on stage or doing that show where he delivers jokes other people have written about internet videos really well. To bastardize all of that by being part of an animated holocaust parading as comedy is unforgivable.
After all, if we learned anything from the Cleveland spinoff fail, talking bears don’t translate well to 'toon world. Even "American Dad" only gets away with a talking alien because he has that La Cage aux Folles voice. And that works for the same reason talking dogs and babies do on Family Guy - the "surprise" element. Surprise! They're refined and well read and one of them's even English when the man of the house is a loveable idiot.
But a talking stuffed animal? There's too many layers of too-far-removed when it's a cartoon and a teddy bear. What's my basis for how it should act in reality? I expect a dog to sound doofy or a baby to stumble over words. A stuffed animal might sound like snuggles - but still, it's risky. Maybe a regular bear might work - one's who looks perpetually ferocious but actually has a voice like Napoleon Dynamite? Or Pedro? Or Fez from That 70’s show? Whatever.
I'm sure there's a formula to it, but I feel like my suggestions might be getting racist.
And that's 'cause I'm just a douchey armchair Ebert.
(Or Siskel. Or whichever one is still alive.)
This is why it took a comedy king to Midas its ass into multi-million dollar submission on the silver screen via green screen and superb supporting actors. To say that some piece of pig vomit that surfaced on the internet around 2009 was even remotely similar is just embarrassing. No, let’s be serious for a second. I get that times are tough and we’re all looking to profit, but “Charlie the abusive teddy bear” is one of those things you make when you’re having a momentary lapse of sanity, and then spend the rest of your life treating it like the sploshing sex tape your ex stole and you pray every night never comes back to haunt you.
I’m sure the people who made this are lovey. And these poor souls must be living in abject poverty to willingly exhume it all the way from back in two-thousand-and-when-there-was-still-two-consecutive-zeroes-in-the-year-number. So, I feel badly for them. I do. But – and I say this with love – it’s awful.
The jokes are unfunny. The canned laughter doesn’t even work ironically. I can’t tell what expression I’m supposed to be reading from those close ups on his face. And, finally, I’m disappointed in Vincent D'onofrio for reprising his brilliant roach alien from Men in Black to play voice-over for the bear.
Even on its own, this youtube abomination is hot garbage in a glaze of diarrhea. That said, I concede that anything the creators of Family Guy touch is tough to compete with (tough with which to compete? A tough thing with which to compete? Toug-… Fuckit.)
So, don’t. Don’t compete. Find something else.
Instead of carping, we can always learn from the people who are better than we are.
Part of why “Charlie” sucks is because of a thing Seth calls “tonnage”. If you want to make domestic abuse funny, you have to intersperse it with other jokes during the skit. Something unrelated. Like the game he’s watching is so bad that he’d throw the T.V. in the pool if he weren’t so lazy… or had a pool. And then the wife character jumps in with the surprise element of “this isn’t the game, this is our wedding video!” Even a terrible eyeroll two-part joke like that is better than some cyclical theme that feels like my brain’s being masturbated with sandpaper. Also, you’ve gotta make Charlie affable enough for his assholery to be funny, and the chick has to play off it well. Surprise is the key element of comedy and there’s none of that here, besides the initial “Oh. It’s a teddy bear – except he’s Al Bundy with a side of Ted Bundy. Funny. Now what?”
For example, this…
… is funny although it’s over the top because there's always a “surprise” element like the housewife fighting back fearlessly or an infant with an English accent assuming the roll of a loan shark. Unexpected is funny; the trailer park version of Chrissy from Three’s Company being fearful is painful in its predictability. Also, Seth makes sure his punch-athons get punctuated with "we're still laughing" moments (comic relief, I believe it's called) via interjected zingers or pop culture references. And those "don't have enough time to do all that for a Youtube video" arguments don't work. Not when the superstars of Vine manage just fine in five seconds.
You know what? Nevermind. This whole thing is giving me a headache because I'm realizing halfway through writing this, that it's just one of those things you either have or don't. But, ya know, enjoy all the hits your videos are getting because of your lawsuit… ‘cause it’s probably the most this field will ever be willing to offer you.
I’m sure you’ll find your thing someday, my dude.
But in the meantime – don’t keep pushing the things you suck at.