Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Open Letter to my Mortgage Company

Dear Mortgage Holder,

Allow me to extend my sympathies for your recent financial woes. I recognize that you've incurred the wrath of...well...pretty much the entire world for your role in the current economic meltdown, but

Believe me, I know the feeling. I mean, who among us hasn't woken up after a drunken night of investing assets in mortgage backed securities backed by questionable loans made to dishonest applicants by predatory lenders to learn that not only did we have a killer hangover, but that we’ve imperiled the global economy? Boy, if I had a dollar for every time that happened to me I would have been able to fund the buyout myself! (lol)

But I digress. The point of this letter is that the bailout package approved by the government will wind up costing each working American somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,635. Now this is supposed to be a loan, but we both know that the odds are against us ever seeing that money again. Let's be honest, right about now I trust you to do that as much as I'd trust a meth-head with my debit card and PIN (and believe me...that's a mistake I'll never make again).

Anyway, I've decided to recoup my share of the bailout money by not making one-and-a-half of my monthly mortgage payments. Rest assured that I'm not refusing to pay nor am I defaulting in any way. In fact, I will make those payments to you as soon as you repay the government. After all, fair is fair. Meanwhile, think of this as an interest free loan from you to me.

As an alternative, you may also elect to take repayment in the form of options to purchase non-voting stock in my blog. Sure its worthless now, but if this thing takes off you may get rich! Of course if that ever happens I'll just hire lobbyists to convince you to not exercise said options - but I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Meanwhile, my thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Your Friend,

Joe

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not Very Politic

The other day Crys called the blog world to task for the plethora of political posts (though, fortunately, not for an abundance of alliteration). Being guilty of writing just such a post the other day, I thought I'd write about things that interest her. Fortunately for me, she was kind enough to provide the topics for discussion when she wrote "Wouldn't you rather talk about boobies? Sex? The Mysterious And Potentially Real Yeti? How about life on other planets? Because that shit intrigues me."

Why yes, Crys. I would love to talk about those things.

Boobies - Three words: I. Love. Them.

Unless they're on a man, of course. Otherwise, I'm a huge fan. I mean, what's not to love? They're pure, unadulterated fun for men of all ages. I do, however, seem to lack Grant's refined taste (for further details see pretty much every comment Grant writes) in these matters as I have no size restrictions. Frankly, I'm just happy whenever I see 'em.

Sex - What a coincidence. I love this too! As is the case with Boobies, I'm a huge fan. I even hope to one day experience it again!

The Mysterious and Potentially Real Yeti - First, it would be excellent if Yeti were found to actually exist. Of course, it would likely be only a matter of time before we messed with them to the point that they were either extinct or otherwise endangered. As for their likes and dislikes, I'd like to think that they, too, are in favor of boobies and sex.

I also believe that The Mysterious and Potentially Real Yeti would be a great name for a band. I can almost see the MaPRY t-shirts now.

Life on Other Planets - I have a theory that other planets are populated solely by Yetis and that the females spend all of their time fending off the advances of males asking to (1) see their boobies and (2) have sex with them.

So, in summary, I have to get back to work now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yoga Bear

As some of you know, I recently decided to shake off my sloth and begin exercising again. After barely being able to gasp my way to the one mile mark when I began running, I’m now able to complete just over 4 miles. In response, my body - which had become accustomed to evenings spent laying on the couch downing my usual diet of fried food, chips, and iced tea – has begun to rebel. Not only have I developed a mysterious, sharp pain in my left ankle that hurts when I walk but not when I run, but my muscles have begun practicing for rigor mortis as I sleep making the first few steps each morning an excruciating experience.

Eventually, I had enough. If my muscles wanted to cause me pain, I thought, then I'd do the same to them. And so began my involvement with Yoga. For those of you unfamiliar with the practice, the word Yoga is Sanskrit and it derives from screams of beginning practitioners, which sound something like this:

“YOW-OH-GOD-AAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”

And that's pretty much it. From the Sun Salutations (Sanskrit for “Son of a B*tch!”) to the
Awkward Chair pose to the exercises to build my stomach and back muscles there is one overriding theme:

EVERY. SINGLE. THING. HURTS.

Much like natural childbirth, they tell you that concentrating on your breathing will remove blocks and lessen the pain and from what I gather, much like childbirth, they're lying.

In fact, the only things that I don't mind are the gentle stretches I do after the ab work to remind my muscles that this is the most I'll ever exert them once they start acting right, and the Corpse pose that concludes each session.

On a side note, that particular pose seemed familiar but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why - until I realized that it's the position in which 99.9% of the women I've slept with have remained during the entire ordeal.

Anyway, I suppose that if I persevere, I'll eventually become as strong and supple as Dr. Lan Phan, who is featured in the picture at the top of this post doing a pose that she calls "Praying for Grant to Visit" and that I call "Something I'll Never Be Able to Do."

Erm...the pose I mean - not actually waiting for Grant.

So, in conclusion I say Namaste to people who are able to stick with this Yoga thing.

Now where did I put those chips?

Friday, October 17, 2008

This Just In...

Vicodin has surpassed happiness as the best medicine.

Other random thoughts for the day (proving that I do sometimes think about things other than jokes):

It appears that most of America has mistaken the stock market for the economy. Market fluctuations are based on people betting on a crystal ball and aren't indicative of the underlying fundamentals of the economy. If I remember my college economics correctly, the economy is in decent shape - though the growing national debt portends issues down the road, particularly if other countries such as China are no longer willing to lend us money at some point.

As positive as the current polls look for Obama, I can't help but to wonder about the Bradley effect, which is generally thought to be about six points - well within the margin of his projected lead in many polls. I think that the comparison between the pre-election polls, the exit polls, and the actual results will provide an interesting study as to how far we've come as a country.

Speaking of the election, there is an excellent article in Slate about the voter fraud controversy that everyone should read. Not that there will be a quiz on it or anything...

And a final note on that topic, I've heard more people spreading disinformation this election season than ever before. For the most part is seems a matter of ignorance rather than malice, but if you're going to vote you should know the facts. As Alice correctly points out, there are sites such as PolitiFact that separate the truth from the lies and can help you make your own decisions.

Everyone is excited about the price of gas dropping below $4 a gallon, but 18 months ago we would have been outraged at the prices we're paying now. That said, it's encouraged conservation so it's not a bad thing (despite the fact that record profits are still being reaped by oil companies - and that the high prices have diminished any desire they may have had to pursue alternative energy sources).

Okay, that's enough for now.

I had to get that off of my chest, but as a service to y'all I posted it on a Friday when there are even fewer readers than usual.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Open Letter to Celebrities

Dear Celebrities,

Despite the fact that the island of Manhattan is crawling with the likes of you we have been able to pass the vast majority of our time on this island blissfully unaware of each other's presence. This week, however, you seem to have made it your mission to stalk me wherever I go.

When I nearly collided with Colin Farrell on 54th Street on Tuesday, I thought nothing of it other than briefly considering turning back to kick his ass for for breaking poor Rosario Dawson's heart a few years ago. Unfortunately, I had a meeting to attend so I left that for another day.

Then yesterday morning I feared that my prior night's bout with insomnia had caused hallucinations when on the the far corner of 43rd Street I saw hyper-annoying fitness personality Richard Simmons emerge from the midst of a group of people who were inexplicably dressed as crash test dummies. Unfortunately, I wasn't that lucky and it turned out to be him. Oblivious to the truck that was patiently waiting for him as he ignored the "Don't Walk" sign, he stood in the middle of the road and shouted "COME ON, CHEER UP EVERYONE! IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY!" at us while we prayed that the "Don't Walk" sign would change. Still oblivious to the emerging pattern, I simply thought about how badly I wanted to punch him in the face.

The proverbial penny didn't drop until I left my company's Fall Sales Meeting yesterday and observed Mark Wahlberg making his way down 49th Street. When I got to the corner I came upon a group of our (male) Associates giggling like schoolgirls because they claimed he said "What's up?" to them - but I now suspect that he'd ingratiating himself to obtain information on my whereabouts.

Apparently, he passed that knowledge on to Elliott Gould who spied me as I walked through Grand Central Station and who, in turn, relayed to Keira Knightley that I was heading downtown. When I saw her that afternoon she was on her cell phone, no doubt passing along my whereabouts to the rest of the celebrity world.

Now I recognize that this signifies that my blog has officially "blown up" - which is no surprise since people have been telling me for years that my blog blows - and given me superstar status, but frankly it's gotten annoying.

My desire for privacy isn't all that dissimilar that which a few of you demonstrated by obtaining restraining orders on me simply because I followed you home spent the night shouting "We're meant to be together!" at your bedroom window. (I'm talking to you Shakira, Halle Berry, Marisa Tomei, and the 20-30 others whom the court-ordered confidentiality agreements prevent me from naming.)

Anyway, all I want is to be left alone to practice my craft. Is that too much to ask? If you feel the need to contact me, do what almost nobody else does - comment on the blog and I'll do my best to respond to you there.

Sincerely your friend,

Joe

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rejection Pile

From time to time I drop random thoughts into my blog drafts with the intent of one day going back and expanding on them, but more often than not, I just delete them. Want to know why? Here are a few examples:

Example 1
I remember the time I totally misunderstood the meaning of "Toys for Tots." I dropped off my new, unwrapped gift and...well...let's just say that baby's mother was pretty angry no matter how many times I explained that I thought it was an exchange program.

Example 2:
Snow White was feeling sleepy. Rumor has it that the other six dwarfs were up all night listening to the two of them go at it.1

Example 3:
Vice Presidential Candidate Gov. Palin often cites foreign policy experience based on Alaska's proximity to Russia. I like that line of thinking and have decided to adopt it to expand my areas of expertise. I now consider myself a Financial Expert because I sometimes go my bank and "Michelin Three-Star Chef" because I occasionally walk by Le Bernardin.

Based on what I accidentally glimpsed from my bedroom window last night, I'm also now an expert on having sex with my neighbor's wife.

But I can't see how I can possibly put that on my resume.

---------------------------------
1Thanks to PracticallyJoe, Deidre, and GreenJello for correcting my Snow White / Cinderella gaffe. Clearly I wasn't paying attention when we covered that in school. And also I'm not that bright.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

How to Loathe Yourself in One Day

I'd hate to have your job.
I hate my job, too sometimes...

Layoffs are the bane of any HR professional's existence. It's a dirty, ugly, and thankless part of the job that makes you want to go home and shower until your skin is raw and then get drunk in the hopes of forgetting the role you've played in ruining people's lives.

I don't know how you do it.
Neither do I.

It doesn't matter if it impacts a handful of people or a sizable portion of your workforce. These are people you see and speak with every day. You know their stories like you know your own. You've chatted about their families and friends and vacations. You know how they spend their weekends and what their plans are for the future. These are people that you genuinely like and that you greatly enjoy working with. They've confided in you work challenges and who have

I couldn't sleep at night if I had to do what you do.
What makes you think I'm able to sleep?

A sizable portion of the people you speak with cry when you tell them. Some do it quietly, allowing the tears to stream down their face. Others sob uncontrollable. The worst discussions are like bad breakups. "Why me?" they ask. "I'll do anything. I'll take a pay cut. Just please don't do this." they plead. Each word is like a knife in the chest. You don't feel sorry for yourself - after all, you'll still have a job tomorrow - but your heart breaks for them.

I guess you get used to it after so many years but...
No, you don't.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What Not to Wear

I was jogging the other day as part of my goal of working my way up to completing a 10 mile run when I suddenly remembered a story about a friend of mine who was training for a marathon.

As you may be aware, most marathon runners tape their nipples before the race since failure to do so results in chafing and bleeding. My friend was no exception - and he apparently favored round band aids during his training runs.

The reason we know this is because one day he returned from his run and instead of showering right away, he decided to strip off his shirt have a beer with us while he cooled down.

However, in his haste to imbibe, he neglected to remove his band aids and thus his impossible-to-shake nickname of "Pasties" was born.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bogged Down

Sure other blogs have nicer templates, and more appealing themes, and significantly better writing, and...

Hold on, I've forgotten where I was going with this. Oh, right. With all of those things in mind, why would anyone come here?

Two words, my friends: Personalized Service

By way of example, just last week, famed artist and author of the popular Stepping Over the Junk blog read my Week in Pictures post and commented "I totally want to stand in a bog of cranberries. "

Well, I'm pleased to announce that after days of tense and protracted negotiations between the Cup O'Joe editorial staff and the good people at Ocean Spray we've devised a way to make her dream come true.

But then we got to thinking: who knows how many other readers share that cranberry-bog fantasy? So back to the negotiating table we went and we were able to convince them to add this for those folks on the West Coast; a special "Patriot Place Bog" on October 25 - 26 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA; and free-standing bog exhibits at select Kroger grocery stores in Ohio and Kentucky in October and November. Finally, blog readers who shop at other Kroger local banners in the western United States - including Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers and Ralphs supermarkets - will have the opportunity to learn about the taste, health, and heritage of the cranberry from the wonderberry experts and sample Craisins(R) 100-Calorie Packs.

Now I ask you, what other blog offers that level of dedication and devotion to its readers?