If You Can Ask Google About Loki…

I’ve run across some fairly awful grammatical, spelling, and stylistic errors in my time, but most of them were made by teenagers—people (hopefully) still learning how to write well. However, thanks to meme generators, e-card makers, and other innumerable sites that allow people to create their own images, we’re now caught up in a tsunami of awful writing. And the worst part is, no one seems to notice. How do I know? Because they create and share the stuff without a second thought. Take this one for instance.

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**Images can be enlarged by clicking on them.**

Someone tagged me in this one on Facebook because I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I can’t get over the fact there are two errors in this card. First off, “that” is the incorrect relative pronoun; it’s typically used for objects, animals, things, and groups. For instance, you could say, “The bees that stung me are in a hive up that tree.” Girls who love baseball (in addition to being awesome) are most definitely not objects. Hence, “who” is the correct relative pronoun in this case.

There is also a glaring run-on sentence that could be fixed by placing comma right in front of the “and.” Brother, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve added one of those to a sentence for someone, I could pay to house Mark Harmon in a manor on the English moors and make him pretend to be Mr. Rochester for my literary amusement.

And then there’s this one that makes me despair because it’s a witty observation ruined by a single incorrect letter.

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A “suicide pack”? Seriously? It would have taken two seconds to check the many meanings of “pack,” none of which is “an agreement, covenant, or compact.”

I’ve taught English for more than a decade. I know the English language can be an aggressive, hairy she-beast sometimes. It is unwieldy and hard to train, but the Internet has made it so much easier to prevent errors like this one. Back in the 80s when I was wee, I used to think the phrase was “for all intensive purposes,” and I was roundly chastised by a teacher (in front of the entire class) for writing it that way.

Today, I would simply look it up on the good ole’ world wide web, correct my mistake in the privacy of my own home, and save myself the public shaming. It also would’ve saved Mrs. Wilcox from an afternoon spent wiping up a bottle of liquid  soap off the bathroom floor. (Hey, she brought it on herself. I just worked out my feelings with the tools that were available to me. Don’t judge.)

There are teeny tiny errors that make exactness impossible….

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Which owl trusts the cat? We’ll never know. (My money’s on the one to its right. He looks pretty content with the state of the world.)

And there are enormous errors that make a sentence’s true meaning completely indiscernible.

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The way this sign reads, the only person who can hope to take a leak in this facility must be disabled, elderly, pregnant, and a child. I could see someone being elderly and disabled. That’s easy peezie, lemon squeezie. Disabled and pregnant? Sure, that’s plausible. Elderly and pregnant? Hey, it happened to Sarah. But the only person I know who could combine “elderly” and “child” is Benjamin Button, and even he couldn’t be both at once. So while the owners of this store are very excited about you shopping with them (hence the “THANK YOU” written in all caps), the bathroom is verboten to all patrons, even those who meet some of the qualifications. We all know what they meant, but that’s not what they said.

And then there are errors that just make me wonder what the heck is going on with the public schools these days.

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People with a limp-wristed grasp of grammar always claim, “I know it’s correct because it sounds right to my ear.” I hate to break it to you, but your ear is only as good as the stuff it hears. So if you’re surrounded by yutzes “that don’t talk good,”  chances are you aren’t going to either. Your ear is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

I know verb tenses can be treacherous, like staircases in Europe, but the correct one is easy to discover. And, let’s face it, “I would have came” is as awkward on the ears as a rousing chorus of “Let It Go” performed by precocious children. “I would have come,” on the other hand, is pure bliss, the auditory equivalent to a glass of ’47 Cheval Blanc. Besides, why would you trust a person who spells wisdom with a Z?

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If people can ask pressing questions like “Why does everyone I know like ‘The Walking Dead,'” surely, they can ask “What does suicide pack mean” and discover their word choice is flawed. So simple. And it would make the world (at least my corner of it) a little better.

But I’m totally with the people who asked Google about Loki. I can’t figure out why the sight of Tom Hiddleston drives some women to self-immolation. Seriously, he looks like he should be playing D&D in his parents’ basement and working at Sbarro.

I don’t even know if Google’s algorithms can solve this mystery.

Shhhhhh….it’s a secret.

What do you think? Is good grammar dead and gone, or can it make a comeback? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the sad state of American English. However, if there’s an error in this blog, don’t point it out. Keep that little gem to yourself. 🙂

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Last Saturday evening, my husband received a cryptic text message from Stan, a friend and fellow trombonist. It was something straight out of The Matrix, an indecipherable garble of letters and numbers, and Wayne decided he’d have to tease Stan about it at church the next day.

He wasted no time and shouted across the orchestra room, “Stan, what are you doing butt dialing me in the middle of the night?”

The older man’s head whipped up, a deep furrow creasing his forehead, and he snapped, “Son, you ought not talk like that in the Lord’s house.”

Wayne looked at me, panicked—like a kid who’d forgotten his one and only line in the school play. He stammered and sheepishly asked, “What did I say? ‘Butt’?”

“Worse than that,” Stan replied. “I’m not mad, but you just shouldn’t use sex talk here.”

Then it clicked in my head, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I kept on even though my gut hurt and tears filled my eyes.

“Wayne,” I said, trying to catch my breath, “he thought you meant ‘booty call.’”

A few beats later, Wayne got the joke as well. Then the only one not snickering was Stan. It was then my rather unenviable job to explain the difference between “booty call” and “butt dial” to a man thirty years my senior. It was uncomfortable to say the least, like having to tell your teacher the meaning of a dirty word when she (and you) would be better off if she remained blissfully oblivious. But, thankfully, by the time I finished, he was shaking his head and laughing too—a deep, whole body chuckle that made his shoulders shake.

Several years ago, I taught ESL classes and enjoyed many zany moments like this. And if there’s one thing those amazingly determined students taught me it’s that words matter. Especially when they have different connotations. For example, when it comes to her body, a woman would much rather be described as “voluptuous” than “chubby.” The same holds true for someone who’s good with money; I’m willing to bet “thrifty” is much preferable to “stingy.” (I wouldn’t know as I’m as prodigal as they come.)

And vocabularies, unlike currency, don’t always convert well. Consider the word “fag.” Say it in England, and a Brit will go looking for his pack of smokes. However, it’s disrespectful on this side of the pond. And you better not call your bag a “fanny pack” when you’re looking for some bob to pay for your fish and chips. It will end with you being roundly mocked.

Words also morph over time, changing their colors as easily as a chameleon does. The word “awful” once meant “full of awe” (something wonderful and amazing.) Now, it’s the last word you’d use to describe the Mona Lisa. Same goes for “manufacture.” It’s original meaning was “made by hand.” Now that term only applies to mass produced junk coming from the bowels of a factory. That’s why the sentence, “The awful manufactured lamp made my house look bright and gay” means something radically different than it did a century or so ago.

Yeah, words matter—no ifs, ands, or “butts” about it.

Is It Crazy for Nuts to Be So Literal?

The day after Thanksgiving, I sat my uncomfortably overstuffed fanny in one of my parents’ equally overstuffed armchairs fully intending to zone out to whatever football game I could find. That’s when I noticed a can my grandmother had left on a nearby table. The label got me to thinking–a dangerous pastime, especially when one has a stomach full of dressing and yams.

Maybe it’s because I don’t often eat cashews or because the starkness of the generic label made it more apparent, but I never noticed the clever use of the verbiage “and pieces” before. However, a quick consultation of The Google confirmed that most brands do in fact use this phraseology.


Is it just me, or does this seem like a cop out? After all, there is no such caveat on a jar of peanuts, a bag of walnuts, or even a single-serving snack pack of pistachios. (Believe me, I looked. Don’t judge, I was facing a six-hour car ride home and had a fully charged iPhone for research purposes. I can think of less constructive uses of one’s time, only some of which involve a Kardashian.)

Why do the canners of cashews cover their bases so thoroughly? Was there once an irate consumer who felt he had been sold a faulty product and sued hardworking, honest horticulturalists because there were more pieces than halves? Whatever the reason, one thing is blatantly obvious…

Halves + Ampersand + Pieces = Manufacturer is legally absolved of quality control and painstaking shipping practices. After all, the packaging makes no bones about the fact that some of your nuts will arrive in less than pristine condition. If other manufacturers were this truthful about their products, bags of chips would have “& air” at the end. Shampoo manufacturers would finally have to admit what’s in their overpriced bottles is as much “& water” as it is soap.

So maybe it isn’t a cop out. There is something noble about the proclamation “& pieces.” No one is perfect after all, so why should we expect that of nuts? Cashews somehow seem more humble and unassuming for their willingness to admit their weaknesses, their penchant for falling short at times. I can’t imagine Brazil nuts or almonds being so high-minded. Hazelnuts are all too busy trying to be magically transformed into Nutella to worry about ethics, and pecans can’t even decide how they want their name to be pronounced. (Seriously, is it Pee-cans or Pe-cahns?) Macadamia nuts, nature’s ultimate guilty pleasure, are so fatty and delicious they don’t feel a need to justify themselves to anyone. They’re like the Lady Gaga of Nutworld.

Like I said, a full belly coupled with an overactive imagination can be a dangerous thing. But I’ve come to the conclusion that, despite the fact they fall to pieces, there’s no reason to eschew the cashew.

What do you think? Is it nuts….or am I for asking!? Have you noticed any weird or random labels on products lately that made you wonder about the world’s sanity? Link up and discuss below in the comments!

The Shuriken of Marital Success

My husband and I are now in the stage of life where we attend fewer weddings and more baby showers. And while the sum total of my baby knowledge could barely fill a G.I. Joe thermos, I happily admit that I am a connoisseur of connubial bliss.

Having been wed for nearly thirteen years as well as a witness to both successful unions and those whose endings made the Hindenburg look like a deflated hot air balloon, I can tell you there are certain things that are non-negotiable when it comes to a happy marriage.

I’m not talking about the trivial things like socks on the floor or who puts gas in whose car*. I’m talking about five most essential elements that must exist in total harmony—those things that make up what I call “The Shuriken of Marital Success.”


Image from billrichardsonblog.com

1. Politics–This and my second point are the obvious, the ones most people know to be true, but stick with me. If you’re young and in love (AKA “deliberatley stupid”), you think you’re little Snoogly Woogly’s political leanings aren’t as important as washboard abs or an esoteric  iTunes playlist. To you, those voting tendencies are something that can be left outside like a yowling cat. The trouble is that, over time, the cat slips in between someone’s legs and takes a proverbial crap in your shoes. If you’re conservative, I highly suggest you marry someone who’s as red as you are. If the thought of being red makes you blue, go out there and find the jackass of your dreams! 🙂 Other than Mary Matalin and James Carville, I’ve never known a couple comprised of political polar opposites who survived. If you’re not sure about your views, you might want to take care of those before you settle down “til death do us part” style.

2. Religion–This is the other given on my list, but even I (in my more naive days) believed it to be inconsequential. To me, it was one of those things my future hubby and I would just “figure out” as we grew old together. As a result, I dated a Mormon, two Catholics, a convert to Judaism, a Jehovah Witness, and (albeit briefly) a surprisingly Type-A Wiccan who faithfully observed all eight Sabbats and made the purchase of marijuana a part of his monthly budget. Thankfully, however, all of these little flings didn’t end in a legal union because, having caught up with quite a few of them via social media, I realize that living with them would be impossible now.

Granted, a Methodist and a Baptist can likely marry and have a perfectly happy life together because the basics are covered, but when you disagree on your choice in deity, you’ll soon find out you’re in for a world of hurt. After all, it’s much easier to put a bumper sticker on your car than it is to share a bathroom with a practitioner of a neighboring symbol. (Especially when he or she drinks the last of the milk or forgets to pay the cable bill on time.)

Image from http://clintwells.blogspot.com

3. Intelligence–I know this is going to make me sound like a terrible person, but you and your spouse need to have IQs that live in the same neighborhood if you want your marriage to have a long shelf life. Trust me on this. I’ve dated men much smarter than I and ended up feeling like a third-grader covered in paste and glitter at a Mensa meeting. I’ve also dated men who were just short of needing help cutting up their food, and that wasn’t pretty either.

I’d say anything within a ten point spread should be safe, but if you go beyond that green zone, be prepared for frustration. Your intellegences need not be identical however. For instance, I score higher on logic and verbal skills while Wayne rocks anything to do with mathematics. (But we both kick it like Beastie Boys when it comes to spatial reasoning.) I’d say we’re truly paronymous…but I know he’d think of us as being more equilateral.

Image from iqtestforfree.net

4. Socioeconomic StatusI know, I know, I know…despite the copious amount of fairy tale pablum being produced in Hollywood, most relationships that feature lovers from opposite sides of the tracks end up with getting someone cut in half…emotionally speaking at least. Pretty in Pink, The Notebook, Pretty Woman, Roman Holiday, and The Breakfast Club—they all give you a serious case of the warm fuzzies. I mean, seriously, if you possess two X chromosomes and don’t get a thrill when Bender takes Clarie’s diamond earring as his own, then go see a doctor… STAT.

However, real life is nothing like Saturday detention. Hookers (even those with hearts of gold) stand a better chance of being picked up by a serial killer than a kindly millionaire. The truth is that most cross-status relationships end of like that between Daniel-san and Ali (Remember the beginning of The Karate Kid, Part II?) or Jack and Rose (Like you didn’t know that tragic ending was coming!)

Image from thegoodlife-lindsay.blogspot.com

As with IQ, there is an acceptable range. Upper middle and lower middle can get together and get along with little fuss, so can lower and lower middle and even upper middle and upper. Any more degrees of separation than that, and you can expect family get-togethers to be awwwkkwwaarrddd! I warn you, if your idea of a fancy party involves cocktail weenies swimming in a Crock-Pot full of grape jelly and bar-b-q sauce, I’d advise you not to date someone who knows the difference between Beluga and Sterlet caviar. It won’t end well.

They serve caviar on mother of pearl spoons to avoid tainting the flavor. Seriously!? Who lives at that speed!? 

5. Hotness–And here’s where I’m going to sound like a total jerkette, and I’m okay with that. Why? Because, once again, I speak from a deep reservoir of personal experience on this. I dated a man in college who was so far out of my league when it came to appearance that people must have thought he was on a pity date (or was the best Wing Man of all time). If we were peppers and our hotness ranked on the Scoville Scale, I was barely a Jalapeno. He, on the other hand, was Trinidad Scorpion. Ironically, I ended up dumping him several months into the relationship because I felt so unbearably awkward when we were out together in public that I couldn’t enjoy myself. I also dated a man who was about four inches shorter than I, and I spent most of our evenings together sitting down to avoid feeling like Lurch. Granted, he was a pilot in the Air Force, but that didn’t make the dancing any less awkward.

If you’ve got a muffin top, a lazy eye, or webbed feet, I highly suggest finding someone with a similarly interesting imperfection and hugging, kissing, and squeezing that person for all he or she is worth. We all know that beauty is more than skin deep, but there’s also something to be said for being comfortable in yours at all times.

Image from zazzle.com

What about you? Do you have any “unbreakable rules” when it comes to choosing Mr. or Mrs. Right? I’d love to hear your thoughts and those stories that taught you the value of selectivity! Share them in the comments section below! 🙂

* It’s obvious that the husband is always responsible for pumping gas regardless of how independent and self-reliant a wife might be.

Hooray for Hollywood!!

My family, half jokingly, says, were it not for sarcasm and movie quotes, we would never speak to one another. While that statement is slightly hyperbolic, the truth is that we watch movies. A lot of movies. And we quote them early and often. When it comes to films, we’re fairly omnivorous and enjoy a good “film for the common man” as much as we do rarefied ones. Essentially, we’ll quote The Jerk in the same conversation as The 400 Blows and think nothing of it.

We quote them for distance, seeing who can go the longest without muffing a line. FYI—I still hold the record because I managed to do most of the “damage control” scene from One, Two, Three.


We quote them for accuracy in all mediums as evidenced by this text conversation my brother and I had regarding one of our all time favorite flicks, The Fugitive.

However, there is something even more wonderful about movie quotes than simply parroting them for an appreciative (or sometimes annoyed) audience, and that is delivering one that is perfectly timed and fitting for a specific situation. As you can see by this top five list, sometimes the quote is perfect in its purest form, and on other occasions, a slight bastardization is required for optimum humor and applicability.

So, without further ado, I give you our best uses of movie quotes in various situations…


5. “The nine-year-olds from the karate school are karate-ing the picket fences.”–Jaws

Image from http://stars.ign.com

This one is mine. My cousin, who was then nine, was taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. My aunt had given him specific instructions not to use his rad new moves on any of his friends as school, which of course prompted me to say, “Why not? All the nine-year-olds from the karate school are karate-ing the picket fences,” perfectly mimicking Polly’s voice and karate-ing gesture, of course.


4. “Sweep the leg, Johnny.”–The Karate Kid

This one was executed by Jarrod while standing atop the Hoover Dam. Yes, many a “dam” jokes were made, but after that, he looked over and saw a young man in a huge air cast and using crutches to hobble around the national landmark. (Though why anyone would put up with sore, aching armpits for a tour of a dam is beyond me.) Jarrod looked over at his friend and delivered the line under his breath. Sadly, only the group he was with (all there for a Vegas bachelor party) got the joke.


3. “Let Polly do the printing.”–Jaws (Yes, again. Don’t judge.)

Image from http://www.yourprops.com

My dad flawlessly delivered this one when he and Mom were driving home one afternoon. They passed one of the ubiquitous fruit stands common to Florida roadsides, this one offering boiled peanuts and peaches. Well, the enterprising young man stationed there had crafted his sign using a piece of plywood and some paint offering his wares from “Geogria.” Well, he started out with grand plans, making each letter gargantuan in size. But by the time he got to “peaches,” the most essential term to advertise, he’d run out of room and had had to cram it in the corner. My father saw the sign, snorted, and said nonchalantly, “He should have let Polly do the printing.” Genius. That is all.


2. “I have to push the pram a lot!”–Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail

Once again, Jarrod was behind this masterpiece. We were in my father’s new store–a Sam’s Club–without any of the steel in place. It was a glorious span of virgin concrete, and two forklifts sat parked by the front door. Dad handed us each a set of keys and told us not to go crazy. Naturally, we drove around the store at full speed (which was nearly equal to the brisk pace attained by elderly mallwalkers) and quoted Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider episodes the entire way.

We ended up near the receiving docks where the baler (A.K.A–“The Cram-A-Lot”) was housed. Jarrod looked at it then at the stack of uncrushed boxes sitting outside it and finally at my dad who nodded like a some kind of retail Caesar. Jarrod squealed with joy and exclaimed, in mock baritone, “We get to use the Cram-A-Lot!!!!!!!!!” He finished the beautiful moment by dancing up to the leviathan machine singing the closing bars of the song.


1. “A couple of wavy lines…”–Ghostbusters

Strangely enough, though we are a family who prides ourselves on our comic film quoting prowess, the number one pick was uttered by a relative stranger–a friend of mine named Brock who came in to help me when I was the director of a Sylvan Learning Center. (I needed a calculus tutor, and he was perfect for the gig.) Well, before the center opened for tutoring, he and I were setting up and had a few minutes to spare. A deck of multiplication flash cards was on his table, and I grabbed them to see if he could do the entire stack before I had to open the door and let in the insufferable hooligans adorable children eager to learn. About eight cards in, I said, “What about this one?”

No lie…Brock looked at me nonchalantly, raised his left hand and gestured the shape as he delivered the quote, “A couple of wavy lines.” I’m only sad because no one else but I was there to witness this samurai-level quote. Thank you, Brock, for allowing me to experience “The Quickening”… albeit by proxy.


How about you all? Are you movie quoters? What are some of your favorite lines? Any great stories about perfectly-delivered ones? I’d love to hear about them. 

Also, what are some of your favorite quotable films? As you can see, we usually go for the classics, but I bet there are some hilarious ones (GASP!) we’ve never seen we might want to plumb the depths of for new material. Please leave a list in the comments below!

Shrieks and Squeals to Shout About!

Image from muppet.wikia.com

Wayne and I took Mom and Dad to visit the Center for Puppetry Arts here in Atlanta this weekend to see a live performance and take in the exhibit “Jim Henson: The Wonders of His Workshop.” We saw Fraggles, Doozers, Emmett and Ma Otter, and a plethora of other favorites. However, as I lovingly stared at the Sir Didymus puppet (sadly sans Ambrosius), Wayne openly admitted he’d never seen Labyrinth. We corrected that rather egregious oversight that evening, and while he was slightly weirded out, he admitted he enjoyed it. It had been quite a while since I’d seen it, and I came to realize that there are many scenes involving David Bowie in a codpiece, Jennifer Connelly vapidly staring off into the distance, and a copious amount of yelling. Well, the last fact got us to discussing our favorite movie screams. This ended up being our top five list…

5. Albert Goldman (A.K.A. Starina) in The Birdcage

I don’t know if it’s the timing or how he manages to pitch the scream at the exact same range as the car horn, but this always cracks me up.

4. Doc Brown in Back to the Future

The jaw drop in combination with the sound makes this gasp priceless. It’s quirky and befitting of Doc Brown, the mad and loving genius friend of Marty McFly. Christoper Lloyd has several great moments of hollering in the trilogy.

3. Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (at 0:21)

This montage is proof positive that Harrison Ford is one Hollywood actor who knows how to yelp, howl, and cry out like a pro. I’ve always been fond of some of the Han Solo moments collected here, but the scene where he’s bashed in the chin by the full length mirror when he’s already beaten half to death is classic. I also love the fact Lucas chose to pull back and give us a shot of the boat to accentuate the size of Indy’s pain and the barbaric epicness of the yawp.

2. Person in the Hallway in Ghostbusters

This one happens so quickly it’s easy to miss it. However, it’s one my family has used early and often when we come upon a scene we didn’t expect. I have to hand it to the actor who huffs this one out. After all, you have to be on your game to express such surprise and horror when looking at..well…nothing.

1. Lando Calrissian in Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi

Like Han, Lando is a man’s man. An adventurer. A scoundrel. Which is why the scream that bursts out of his throat when he’s snagged by the Sarlacc Pit is one of the funniest on record. It’s half cartoon sound effect and half girly squeal with a dash of flair thrown in for effect.

**Honorable Mention** Marv in Home Alone

It’s a little too obvious because there’s a tarantula involved. However, the bloodcurdling shriek that Daniel Stern emits when that spider is placed on his face is nearly Oscar worthy for sheer volume.

How about you all? What’s your favorite movie outburst? Is it one caused by terror, surprise, or sheer vomit-inducing grossness? I’d love to hear your top five!

Lord, Just Take Me Home to Glory!

Whether it’s the the political cronyism surrounding the Solyndra collapse, the impending U.S. Day of Rage scheduled to begin on Wall Street tomorrow, or the thought of total strangers giving 16.6 million NFL fans pat downs “from the ankles up” before each game, it’s hard not to feel like the country is slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard.

However, the true measure of America’s collective sanity cannot be taken using major social and economic events. Oh, no no. The only way to ascertain whether or not the fuzzy red, white, and blue sweater of America is unraveling is to examine the finer details, the evidence of micro-fissures. You know, those things that show up on the front page of the TMZ or Us! Weekly in garish, hot pink text.

We want to laugh it off much like the young man now famous for making a mockery of the $17.9 million Kardashian/Humphries nuptials. (This kid, by the way, is now my personal hero.)

But, alas and alack, we must begin sweating the small stuff because, well, that’s where the magic happens. And I’m not talking the amazingly wonderful stuff like the trick David Copperfield pulls off with a duck and a bucket. (Click the link. You know you want to!) No, I’m talking about the repugnant, abhorrent underbelly of culture where the social sausage is made.

I give you five pieces of seemingly unimportant evidence that, like Cassandra, predict our doom. But like the Trojans, we just don’t believe what we see and hear.

#5–Unnecessary Anthropomorphic Objects

Yes, this is a set of Truck Nutz. These delightful little beauties, also known as “Truck Balls,” “BumperNuts,” “BumperBalls,” and (my personal favorite) “Trucksticles,” can be seen hanging from many a trailer hitch. I cannot say with any authority that they are more prevalent in the South as I have not traveled “from California to the New York islands” recently, but the fact wouldn’t surprise me. They are available in flesh tone, white, black, red, yellow, green, blue (“for the married man” according to one website), chrome, and (you guessed it) brass. There are even camo colored ones and ones decorated with the American flag. *deep sigh* Thankfully, only a small portion of our society finds these things desirable or amusing, but I found four companies on the Internet making a tidy profit from them.

#4–The “Tootsie Syndrome”

Yes, apparently everything is about gender these days. Gals long for the supposed “freedoms” of men while the fellas are choosing to be stay-at-home dads. (Please note, I’m not knocking the latter. Some families gotta do what they gotta do. Just relax and enjoy the humor.) We’re not talking the confusion that comes from poorly labeled restrooms. (Think “Blokes and Sheilas” at Outback and “HeShells and SheShells” at Red Lobster.) That’s bad enough. I’m talking products that should not be marketed to one gender doing just that.

Chick Beer

According to their website, “Chick Beer is a craft-brewed light beer that doesn’t taste like a light beer.  The flavor is soft, smooth and full-bodied.  Yet Chick Beer magically has just 97 calories and 3.5 carbs. Chick Beer celebrates women: independent, smart, fun-loving and self-assured women who love life and embrace all of the possibilities that it has to offer.”

So apparently, this beer is magic and it celebrates women! (Hey, I just got two free repeater jokes–the magic duck/bucket reference and the second use of anthropomorphism! Bonus!!) I’m sorry, but ladies don’t need a special girly beer to celebrate; regular beer should do just fine. After all, only swill is marketed directly to men using the can’t fail combo of chicks and sports. Quality brew knows no gender.

Men, you’re not immune to this Mrs. Doubtfire nonsense either…

4VOO Cosmetics

Again, according to the manufacturer, “4VOO (pronounced “forvous”) is an innovative Canadian skin care & cosmetic’s company that offers the luxurious experience of enhancing the appearance, confidence, and allure of men.”

I don’t know about you all, but I don’t know if I want a man to have “allure.” Also, if beer can’t ensure that women will “embrace all the possibilities life has to offer,” there’s no way on earth cosmetics can enhance a man’s “confidence.” Women have been trying to use the stuff for years to enhance that, and we haven’t made it yet either. Moisturizer, cleanser, toner? Sure, I can get behind that. A fella should take care of his skin. But paying $29 for lip maximizing serum, $23 for lash & brow styling glaze, and (get this) $34 for something called “confidence corrector”–well, that’s just folly.

#3–Excessive Caloric One-Upsmanship

It’s becoming painfully obvious that most of America is eating themselves into an early grave. However, some of us are doing it with greater panache than others. Ladies and gents, I give you two shining examples of gustatory seppuku.

The Donut Burger

Yes, from the Wisconsin State Fair, the same bastion of fun that brought us deep fried butter, I present a quarter pound of fatty beef, cheese, bacon, grilled onions, and whatever else the cook decides to chuck on there placed between the two halves of a vivisected Krispy Kreme donut. I’m sure it’s good. What’s not to like? It’s greasy, fatty, and sugary all at once. And it has bacon on it.  Come to think about it, I’m sure crystal meth could be described as “enjoyable” too, but you don’t see me purchasing that either.

The PB&C Shake from Cold Stone Creamery

You know it’s bad when the Brits (who are not known for their dietary good sense) complain about something we’re serving up here in the Colonies. However, their ire is well earned. This frozen atrocity, which is made with whole milk, peanut butter, and chocolate ice cream, also contains 2,000 calories, 131 grams of fat (68g of which is saturated), and 153g of sugar. You might as well begin injecting cellulite into your thighs if you drink this because that’s where it’s going to end up. Even a skinny high school freshman with a metabolism like a cheetah would end up looking like Gilbert Grape’s beloved mother after a dozen or so of these bad boys.

#2–The Embarrassing Lack of Natural Selection in Hollywood

If Darwin’s theories hold water, only the strong should survive. How is it then that so many truly awful actors keep getting jobs…high paying ones at that? Discount the obvious ones like Jennifer “You Saved My Shoe” Lopez,  Keanu “Whoa!” Reeves, and Vin “I’ll Kill You With My Teacup” Diesel. 

Why do people keep paying their hard-earned (or government provided) money to see fools like…

Shia Le Bouf, aside from having the most annoying name on planet earth next to Lauren Bush-Lauren, only knows one speed when it comes to acting—spastic! He would be the result if Red Bull and Rohypnol had a one night stand and created offspring. Seriously, watching him act is both exhausting and painful.

Nicolas Cage is a little harder for me to openly lambaste. After all, the man can act. I’ve seen him do it!! He won an Oscar for a great performance in Leaving Las Vegas. However, being a Coppala and having several worthy film credits to your name (The Rock, Bringing Out the Dead, and Guarding Tess just to name a few) cannot cancel out a poor choice like excessive gambling. This is what placed him hip deep in debt and created the need to make films like Ghost Rider, Bangkok Dangerous, Season of the Witch, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and The Wicker Man (a film that, unlike the original, made me cheer when he turned into a human torch)

There are many more actors I could list (*cough *WILL FERRELL* cough*), but I thought, in the sake of fairness, I should include a fem on my list as well. Ever since I saw Kristen Stewart in Panic Room, I thought she took awkward to new levels. However, when you’re playing the part of a girl dying from diabetes who is the product of two wormy people like those Jodie Foster and Patrick Bauchau played, she really didn’t stand much of a chance. Add the literary and cinematic abortion that is Twilight to her resume, and she makes me want to kill myself by eating Clorox wipes. Monotone in the extreme, she’s like the color beige came to life.

#1–Vending Machine Celebrities

Oh, we all love to hate them, that’s for sure. They come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of skankhood. From Nancy Sinatra all the way to Ke$ha (who we have FloRida to thank for), there have been plenty of “singers” who have gotten their big break because someone paid for it. Put some money in, and canned celebrity comes out. How long it lasts is anyone’s guess, but I’d rather listen to William Hung’s greatest hits than the three featured below. I suggest watching the clips in short intervals, and for the love of all that is holy, do not watch them all in one sitting!

Williow Smith–“I Whip My Hair Back and Forth”

Yes, this precious little rapscallion is the progeny of Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. It’s easy to break in to the biz when both your parents are Hollywood big shots (one in both acting and music). However, that does not guarantee you’ll get a quality song out of the deal. This one always makes me think the video is skipping because of the repeated assertion that she’s going to, you guessed it, “whip her hair back and forth.” Also, I worry about the already endangered preteen brain; all that sloshing around is bound to do damage and finish off whatever Spongebob Squarepants didn’t get.

Rebecca Black–“It’s Friday”

Oh my, how many times did we hear this little tonal gem this year? It is, quite literally, a song about nothing. I get up, I have cereal, I decide what seat to sit in, and I look forward to the weekend because my life is so jam packed with these meaningful activities that I need a full forty-eight hours to recuperate and do some “partyin, partyin…hey!”

Benni Cinkle–“Can You See Me Now?”

Don’t know who she is? Well, apparently she was “that girl in pink” in the previous video. Basically, she’s a remora feasting on the leavings of a shark. (I tell you, if there is such a thing as “celebrity backwash,” this is it!) Have you ever made a copy of something and then a copy of that copy? What happens? It degrades in quality and clarity. And that’s what we’ve got here. And the original was none too sharp herself.

I wonder if Rebecca Black’s parents got a cash bonus for recommending their daughter’s producer to a friend…..kinda like I do when I send someone to my hairdresser and get $10 off my next cut and color.


So, there you have it, proof that intelligent life is rapidly becoming endangered here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Please take issue with me. Argue. Comment. Add to the list. 

Together, we can stop the madness.