Thursday, March 10, 2005

News Brief

Good day. I'm Joe and here's what's happening.

In world news, archaeologists announced that the results of a high-tech CT scan released last Tuesday showed that King Tut may have badly broken his thigh, puncturing the skin and causing a dangerous infection. Doctors expressed pessimism about the 19-year-old Boy King's chances for recovery, citing the fact that he died 3,300 years ago.

Not to be outdone, a different group of archaeologists claim that two brothers of the Medici dynasty, Giovanni Cardinale and Don Garcia, were not the long-rumored victims of murder, but instead may have succumbed to malaria. The 16-year-old, Garcia, was rumored to have slain his 19-year-old brother, Giovanni, after an argument during a hunting trip in 1562. In a rage, his father, Cosimo I, then supposedly ran Garcia through with his sword, and the boys mother, Eleanora, died less than a week later from a broken heart.

In response to this announcement, Cosimo I's attorney released a statement saying "We are not surprised by these findings. It's been our contention all along that there was malaria at the hunting site, and Giovanni and Garcia displayed subsequent malaria like symptoms prior to their deaths" He went on to add that Cosimo I is "relieved to finally be vindicated, and is looking forward to quietly celebrating his upcoming 486th birthday surrounded by his 1,562 great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, etc. Grandchildren."

In entertainment news, rappers 50 Cent and The Game met to publicly end the feud that began last week, when gunfire erupted between their posses outside of the radio station where 50, as he's known to his friends, announced that he was kicking Game out of the G-Unit for disloyalty. Despite the fact that a member of Game's crew was injured during the battle, both 50 and Game are willing to let bygones be bygones. "50 and I are proving that real situations and real problems can be solved with real talk," Game said in a statement. "Maybe we can help save some lives ... the way rap music saved mine." Later, he told a group of children gathered around him "I want all of you boyz and girlz out there to remember to do like I do and solve your real problems with real talk, but only if you can't roll up and kill the mother******* and his posse first."

In a related story, both 50 and Game were immediately nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. When informed of this, the rappers held another press conference to announce that they were retiring from their music careers in order to focus their energies on their next project - "bringing Piz-eace to the Middle Iz-east."

Speaking of posses, while Jacquie Roberts of Detroit and three friends from Seattle wore "Martha's my home girl" T-shirts as they snapped pictures of the prison gate in Alderson, Martha Stewart spent part of her first day out of prison tending the grounds of her estate and picking lemons. Afterwards, Stewart stopped to speak with reporters. "You know the saying about making lemons into lemonade?" she asked. "These are my first lemons. I really missed them. I'm looking forward to making hot lemonade. It's the one thing they didn't have in Alderson." When informed of this, a spokesperson for Amnesty International vowed to launch an immediate campaign to ensure that no prisoner will ever again have to suffer the indignity of going without hot lemonade.

In a hard hitting follow-up question, a reporter asked Stewart what else she missed while she was locked away. "Lemons. That's about it." she replied. There was a long, awkward pause before she added "Lemons...and family, and friends." When told of Stewart's comments, her family and friends seemed pleased that they were only slightly less important to her than lemons. "Really?" said one. "I would have guessed that we'd come in fourth behind lemons, oranges, and prunes. Especially prunes. Martha loves her prunes. She goes on and on about how they keep her regular."

Martha Stewart's priorities may be scrambled, but at least Michael Jackson's fans are able to keep their sense of perspective about his trial. "I mean, what else is going on in the world right now?" said Jenna, a 20-year-old, San Luis Obispo college student who stood among a crowd of Jackson supporters outside of the courthouse. "Our parents had Vietnam," she said. "We have the Jackson trial." You have to admire the way that she doesn't let any of the current world crises distract her from her laser-like focus on what's truly important.

Finally, in sports, Barry Bonds once again stopped short of an outright denial that he used steroids, but he did cite anecdotal evidence to imply that he was clean. Noting that certain hormones can cause head growth, while shrunken testicles can be a side effect of anabolic steroids, Bonds challenged reporters, saying "What's all this about my head size? My hat size is the same today as when I started. My head hasn't grown. I've always been a 7 1/4 to a 7 3/8 my whole career. You can go check."

"I can tell you my testicles are the same size," he continued. "They haven't shrunk. They're the same and work just the same as they always have." Upon hearing this last statement, the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy immediately volunteered to act as independent auditors to assess the accuracy of Bonds' claim.

That's all the news for today. Good night.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that I finally got around to dropping off my SUV for repairs from an accident that occured a few moths ago. We've had a pretty snowy winter here in NY and I wanted to have the four wheel drive available, so I waited to get the truck fixed. The repairs are expected to take the better part of a week, so I had no choice but to get a rental car.

The bad news is that it seems I didn't wait quite long enough. On Monday, it was beautiful and over 50 degrees out, but all of that changed on Tuesday. We got rain in the morning, followed by plummeting temperatures and a blinding snowstrom in the afternoon. The end result was a commute home on icy roads in near white-out conditions from the wind driven snow. I think you can see where this is going.

Normally, the drive home takes around 25 minutes, but in those conditions, it took nearly 2 1/2 hours. I was about 5 minutes from home, driving along at about 30 miles per hour when I got hit by a driver who was busy running a red light. He later said that he didn't think anyone else would be on the road, and he was afraid to use his brakes for fear of skidding and losing control of his car. I let that pass, since it was nearly impossible to argue with his complete lack of logic. Luckily, the impact was on the passenger side, but it still send me spinning across the road for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a few seconds. I managed to escape with just some residual soreness and a persistant headache, but the car is a wreck. Good thing it was a rental - although I'm not sure how the rental company feels about that.

Fortunately, my life didn't pass before my eyes. It's been painful enough to live through it once, and so live in dread at the thought of having to watch it again. Instead, I was just driving along listening to the Knicks game one minute, and sitting in the middle of the road in a wreck the next - dazed, and wondering how I wound up there.




Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Saved!

I don't know what to write today, so I thought I'd just type until I come up with something that amuses me. Those of you who don't have any time to waste should probably take this opportunity to click on the "next blog" button located in the upper right corner of this page. I'll give you a minute to gather your belongings.

Okay, now that we're rid of those malcontents, let's get started and see where we wind up.

Earlier today, CNN.com ran a story about the Pope delegating to senior Cardinals the vast majority of his Easter duties. Now before I move on to the point of this essay - if, in fact, there turns out to be a point - I'd like to share with you reason number 2,534 why I would never be successful as a news anchor. As much as it hurts to confess this, my first thought when I read that headline this morning was "they said doody...heh, heh, heh."

However, upon further reflection I now realize that the Pope may be on to something. Let's think this through for a minute. After the recent scandals, the Roman Catholic church finds itself faced with a staggering number of lawsuits. The settlements, verdicts, and associated legal fees place a huge financial burden on the Vatican. To add to their financial woes, church attendance has steadily declined over the years - which translates into less money in the collection plate. Consequently, the Church may need to broaden its thinking to remain solvent. By expanding just a little bit on the Pope's delegation idea, they can tap into a whole new revenue stream - one which could keep them solvent for the next few millennia.

Here's a sample marketing brochure I've drafted for them.

We've Saved Your Soul, Now Let Us Save Something Equally Precious -- Your Time!

For over 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been there in your hour of need, and we're still here for you today. How often during these turbulent times have you found yourself scrambling to carve out just a few extra minutes for yourself? Between work, family, and the myriad of other challenges that we face each day, it seems a nearly impossible task. But all of that is about to change because in return for just a small donation, you can now Delegate to the Church.™

Getting started couldn't be easier. Just review the list of options below, choose the one that fits your budget, and within an hour, we'll send a Church leader right to your door! Immediately upon his arrival, you'll be able to delegate your worries away.

After all, if you can't trust a man of God, who can you trust?™

$1,000,000 or more - Platinum
Our Platinum members can delegate to Pope himself. Tired of getting up early every Sunday morning to bless the crowds that gather outside of your bedroom window? Delegate it to the Pope and sleep in, secure in the knowledge that the devout won't be disappointed.

$500,000 - Diamond
Can't afford the Pope? Don't worry, there's something for every budget. Our Diamond members can delegate to a Cardinal. While our Cardinals can't bless the crowds like the Pope, they do make a mean Sunday brunch. The best part is that they're next in line for the papacy, so it's like getting tomorrow's Pope today -- and at just half the price!

$250,000 - Gold
Perhaps the Diamond level is beyond your means. If so, try our Gold membership which allows you to delegate to a Bishop. While your at it, don't forget to ask about our special deals on reconditioned Bishops. These "lightly used" models were cast aside for the way they handled the scandals in their respective Dioceses, but our loss is your gain because now, for the first time ever, we're making them available to the public at low, low rates.

$100,000 - Silver
Still too pricey? Become a Silver member and delegate to a Priest. Now $100,000 might sound like a lot of money at first, but when averaged out over the course of a year, it's only 27,397 cents per day! Where else are you going to find a bargain like that?

$50,000 - Bronze
Perfect for the economy minded, our Bronze members can delegate to a Deacon. While Deacons are best suited for light chores such as Eucharistic Ministry, they can still save you valuable time.

Unfortunately, we no longer offer our Copper level (Altar boys). We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Behind the Scenes

It might look easy, but content this mediocre doesn't exactly write itself. Sure, the finished product makes you convulse with laughter or pause to think for a moment. You might even find yourself crying hysterically sometimes - though that generally happens only when you realize that you've wasted several minutes reading material this poorly written. But you probably aren't aware of the hours of hard work that we put into preparing these essays for your reading pleasure. Well, all of that is about to change because today we're going on a trip "behind the scenes" to show you how we make our special brand of magic.

It begins every morning at sunrise, when a team of creative writing specialists consisting of the brightest minds in comedy today meets for a brainstorming session at a local Starbucks. The brilliant - and hilarious - ideas they come up with often leave the people around them doubled over with laughter and holding their stomachs while gasping for breath. Unfortunately, none of those writers work for this blog and I just can't seem to get myself up at sunrise to go and eavesdrop on them. Instead, I talk to the person next to me about ideas I have for this blog. At least I used to. For some reason, I sit alone a lot these days.

After the brainstorming is done, all of the ideas are listed, and each is assigned a number. Then the best idea is chosen via a complex, scientific process. The confidentiality clause in my contract prevents me from giving out too many details, but if you're thinking "velcro dartboard" you're pretty close.

Next, we sit down to draft the day's entry. It's a grueling process that requires a lot of editing, some baby oil, and a few farm animals. Er, now that I think about it, it might be best to avoid going into too much detail about that part, too.

Once the initial draft is completed, the content is sent to Marketing, where our media experts refine the message to position it for that all important 18-to-35 year old demographic. Focus groups are convened and valuable feedback is gathered. Unfortunately, we rarely get people from our target demographic to participate, so we tend to use 80-to-90 year old volunteers. We're always thinking "outside of the box," so we combat this disparity by asking the volunteers to remember what it was like when they were young. Admittedly, this method has a few drawbacks, like our frequent dated pop culture references to stars like Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, and Jayne Mansfield, and our tendency to use "hip" phrases like "23 skidoo" and "va va va voom." It also explains that embarrassing incident in which we named Tallulah Bankhead as our "Sexiest Woman Alive - 2004."

From Marketing, the entry is sent to our Legal department, where it is sanitized for your protection. Our crack legal staff is the best that money can buy, and our annual legal costs run well into the double digits. Based on the quality of their work, you'd never know that they've each failed the bar exam at least six times.

Wait a minute, what do you mean you thought I asked for an "on-crack" legal staff? Uh...let's just move along to our next stop.

Finally, our IT department publishes the material for your reading pleasure. The best part is that despite the staggering expenses we incur each day, we provide all of this free of charge - and without any annoying ads - just for you, our loyal readers.

By now you must be wondering how we can possibly turn a profit. I'll answer that in one word - volume!

Oh, and just a little creative accounting...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Need It Bad

I got a little in San Francisco a few weeks ago and while it was helpful in some ways, it also made me remember how good it feels and how badly I needed it. It was the first time since this summer, and I have to say that it was simply amazing. I find my mind drifting back to it several times a day. I think about how great it was and how happy and content I was afterwards and I find myself wondering why I denied myself for so long. Yes, the rest and relaxation I got while I was in SF was great. I really need to take a vacation.

Wait, what did you think I was talking about?
Oh, that's just sick!
Get your mind out of the gutter.
Pervert.

I have a big day tomorrow and I still have a few more things to take care of before I settle down to try to get a few hours of sleep. Before I go, I'd like to leave you with this thought.

Confucius says "recompose injury with justice, and kindness with kindness." Yet Lao-tzu says "Recompose injury with kindness." I think Lao-tzu is correct. Kindness precedes justice. As long as you seek justice by punishment you can only cause more suffering.

Pretty deep, huh? Yeah, I thought so too.
Don't be too impressed. I didn't write it. I read it on the train ride home tonight.

Catching Up on Pop Culture

I really need to brush up on pop culture so as to avoid any more embarrasing faux pas like not seeing the Burger King commercial until it was on for months, so tonight I decided to take Lisa and Pirate's advice about watching more TV. It paid immediate dividends in the form of Anaabella Sciorra's appearance on "Law and Order: Trail by Jury." I've had a crush on her for about 15 years and so, needless to say, I was glued to the set for the entire episode. Between her and Halle Berry, who has a movie showing on Sunday night, I can see how this whole TV thing might catch on.

While recovering from that unexpected pleasure, I watched Pirates of the Carribean for roughly the 20th time. For some reason, I just can't get enough of watching Johnny Depp's acting in this film. Something about the movie never sat right with me, though, and last night it finally hit me. Stick with me for a minute on this one.

If the crew of the Black Pearl was cursed until they returned the stolen coins to the chest, how did they kill Will's father, who was a crew member when they stole the treasure? Yes, I know they strapped him to a cannon and sent him to the bottom of the sea, but it strikes me that he would have lived because he, like the rest of the crew, couldn't die until the curse was lifted. Its not like he was going to drown, either. After all, later in the movie the pirates were able to walk under water to attack the British ship.

So for the rest of the movie, I sat there picturing Bootstrap Bill chained to a cannon at the bottom of the sea, biding his time until the chains rusted enough for him to be released, only to either drown or be crushed to death by hydrostatic pressure when the curse was lifted.

See? This is exactly why I don't watch TV.

Apartment Update

I spent yet another lunch hour looking at apartments today. Well, more like a lunch two hours, but don't tell anyone. The first four places that I saw were abysmal, but the fifth was pretty nice. That seems to happen a lot. I think they do that on purpose so that halfway decent apartments look better by comparison.

Anyway, it has a huge living room (by NYC standards), a new bathroom and kitchen, decent (but a little small) bedroom, a good amount of storage space, and best of all, a small balcony off of the living room. More places to see tonight, but it's hard to imagine finding a better apartment in my price range, and so I'm not going to delay. If I don't see anything tonight, I'm putting a deposit on this place tomorrow, and I could be on my new balcony sipping coffee by March 15.

The real estate agent who showed me these places was incredibly upbeat, friendly, and perky. I can say without a doubt that she was the single most annoying person I've met in quite some time. The worst part was that every time we went through a door, she'd say "Tally ho." As if that weren't grating enough, she also said it in lieu of saying "thank you."

Hand her a business card, she says "Tally ho."

Step to the side to let her pass, she says "Tally ho."

Tally ho? TALLY *&%$# HO? What the **** is that??

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Clearly, I Need to Watch More TV

Okay. I appear to be the last person in the world to have seen the Burger King commercial that I wrote about earlier. I don't watch a lot of TV these days. It's because I'm some kind of pseudo intellectual who looks down on TV. I love TV. In fact, watching TV is as close as I come to having an actual life these days. I just don't have a lot of time to watch right now because I'm busy doing...um... other stuff. Yeah, that's it. It's...ah...er.....really important stuff that I can't talk about. Yeah.

Anyway, after I posted the Hootie thing, I received a few e-mails - and one mocking phone call - from friends telling me how far behind the curve I am on this one. I validated this with several of my co-workers, who looked at me like I was crazy and told me that the commercial has been on for months. In fairness to them, the looks they gave me might have been because I'm wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes today.

Dreaming of Hootie

I was half asleep the other night when I started dreaming about Hootie, of Hootie and the Blowfish fame. Well, I'm not sure I really needed to clarify that. I mean, how many famous Hooties are there? And yes, I know his name is Darius Rucker but I'm going to call him Hootie just like everyone else does. Dammit.....now you made me lose my train of thought. Where was I?

Oh yeah, so I was half asleep and having this dream. In it, Hootie was dressed up as a cowboy. As he strolled along, he played a guitar and sang about food. Behind him, a woman was picking chicken sandwiches off of a tree as two sexy milkmaids danced and spilled a creamy, white liquid from the buckets they held. As if that weren't strange enough, there were people paving the streets with cheddar cheese bricks - and you just have to know that's going to cause all kinds of traffic problems when the sun starts to beat down on them. Finally, somewhere along the line, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders popped up. So with these visions dancing in my head, I drifted off to a contented sleep to dream of beautiful women, good food, and barely tolerable music.

Anyway, the next day, I was watching TV when the new Burger King commercial came on and I realized that it hadn't been a dream at all. As I looked on in horror, all I could think was "Hootie? Is this how bad things have gotten?" He should have called me. I could have hooked him up with some birthday parties or something - anything - that would have allowed him to maintain his last shred of dignity but, alas, its too late now.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It's a sad, sad time indeed, my friends.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Snow Kidding

Yesterday's snowstorm wasn't quite as intense as they originally forecast. I was expecting 8 to 12 inches, but it turned out to be only 4 inches.

Vote for the best punch line from the list below -- or add your own -- and win valuable prizes.

(a) Sadly, that's a complaint I've heard far too often in my life.

(b) Now I know how my ex-girlfriends felt.

(c) Those wacky meteorologists never get it right!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. You must be at least 18 years old and a regular reader of this blog to enter. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries received. Contest ends March 31, 2005. For official rules write to The Insult Joe and Win Fabulous Merchandise Contest P.O. Box 111 New York, NY 10022. I can't believe you're reading this. I would have stopped by now, but yet here you are still reading any nonsense I choose to type. JELL-O! See? Now I'm just toying with you. You're not still reading, are you? Jeez...