Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blogging About Blogging

Some college friends and I are attempting to start a blog together because we think it's still 2005. So most if not all of my posts will go there until we all lose interest, after which they'll migrate back here. In the meantime, if you would like to read my thoughts on the latest Rolling Stone countdown, please click here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Thought

I don't think you're truly great friends with someone until you reach the point where you're incapable of taking that person seriously in a position of authority.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If Scrooge was just a nice, misunderstood Jew instead of a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone

Look, my night started out normal enough. It’s six o’clock, we’re about to close up at my…bank, I guess? Or my real estate office, or whatever it is I do. Anyway, Bob’s on his way out the door, so I tell him, “See ya tomorrow!” I swear, that’s how the whole thing started: I just said “See ya tomorrow.”

I figured I messed up pretty quickly because next thing I know Bob turns around, and he looks so distraught I’m worried he’s gonna tell me Emily’s having an affair or Peter’s got typhus or something. The guy doesn’t even say anything for a while. He just stares at me. So I start wracking my brain trying to figure out what the hell I just did until finally I go, “Something wrong, Bob?” And he stammers out, “Why…t-tomorrow’s C-C-Christmas, sir!”

Christmas! Can you believe it? I had completely forgotten about it! What a schmuck, right? So anyway, I apologize, tell him of course he can take tomorrow off—never mind that he freaked out and filed a missing person report when I stayed home on Yom Kippur—and send him on his way. A slight misunderstanding, but it’s all patched up now. No harm done, right?

Well, that’s what I thought. But once I made it home, things got really fucking weird. I grab some food, light the menorah, start getting ready for bed, and then all of a sudden—and I swear I’m not making this up—who appears but the ghost of Jacob Marley! I’m serious! He starts yammering on about how if I don’t start getting into the Christmas spirit I’ll wind up in hell, which—and I hope I’m not being hypersensitive here—I just found incredibly offensive. And I tried to tell him that I’ve got no problem with Christmas; it’s just that my people don’t celebrate it, so the holiday slips my mind sometimes. But, nope, he’s not having any of it. And then he goes and tells me that, before my night is over, three more ghosts are gonna come visit me!

Anyway, I do my best to get to sleep after this, but sure enough some little girl shows up an hour later. She tells me she’s the Ghost of Christmas Past. I tell her this oughta be a short visit since I don’t have any past Christmases to look at. But she insists on taking my hand and flying me into the past anyway—meanwhile, my indigestion is killing me at this point—and what do we see? Just year after year of Fran and me, bored and playing jacks. I told her the reason we were always so bored was because Christmas has such a dominant role in our culture and that if people like her would just back off from time to time—maybe give Hanukkah a chance in the spotlight—this wouldn’t be a problem. But she wouldn’t budge. It was either convert or be damned. And then, she goes and makes me watch Fran die all over again! I mean, seriously, what the hell? I’m just glad Fred wasn’t around to see it.

Fred got my dreidel, right? Good. And he does still collect dreidels? Well, let’s make sure we check on that for next year.

So this girl finally leaves, and I get all of one minute to myself before the next one shows up: big fat guy, calls himself the Ghost of Christmas Present. This one actually turned out to be a real mensch. He said he was gonna take me to Bob’s house, but then it turned out he had never tried a latke before, so we just wound up eating those for the whole hour. It was great. Reminded me a lot of Abe's bar mitzvah.

So then he leaves, and the last guy shows up. Ghost of Christmas Future. Big surprise with the name, right? He takes me to this lonely, neglected gravestone that says Ebenezer Scrooge on it. I tell him, great, now take me to the one that says Ebenezer Scrimberg. “My business was about to establish a branch in America, and I didn’t want to risk anything,” I say. “Got the idea to change my name from a friend named Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. Am I proud of it? No. Which is exactly why I had my will specify that I was to be buried under my given name.” Guy didn’t say one word the whole time. It was pretty awkward. Reminded me a lot of Fred's bris. 

Finally, he leaves, and whaddya know, I’m back in my house. It’s like the whole thing never happened. Don’t know what the hell I was supposed to get out of it, apart from a sense of relief that we don’t prioritize missionary work.

Am I ok? Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired is all. Now come on, let’s go grab some food in Limehouse. Maybe catch a theatre production if we have time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Probably Too Old To Be Talking About These Things

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to go see The Muppets with my family. Although a few jokes—such as Kermit picking up the phone and asking to speak to President Carter—indicated that the film was trying to target the older audience members who had grown up with the Muppets (Digression: I know I’m not technically part of the generation that grew up with the Muppets, in that I wasn’t alive for The Muppet Show or the first three movies. However, I did grow up watching Muppet Babies, Muppets Tonight, A Muppet Christmas Carol [which my family still watches every Christmas], Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space Which Wasn't That Great But It Was The Muppets So I Really Wanted To Like It, etc. I will admit that none of these things are as good what those lovable rascals were up to in the 70s, but since they were consistently putting out new material when I was growing up, it does mean I get to feel justified in having missed them.), the previews were skewed much more to the younger demographic. Especially this one:

I don’t have very much to say about the actual content of this trailer, apart from the observations that (1) I will probably not be going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked anytime soon and (2), hey, it’s Phyllis! Granted, there are plenty of cynical observations I could make and questions I could ask, but they all have the same answer: “This film is intended for kids, asshole. Not self-righteous 23-year-olds who would probably really want to see this if they were 15 years younger, especially given that they watched Alvin and the Chipmunks pretty regularly on Cartoon Network for years. What, you thought I didn’t know that? I’m your subconscious, bro! I know all sorts of shit you don’t want getting out.” Or something along those lines, anyway.

There is one question I had, however, that this would not be the answer to, as it concerns something I was genuinely curious about: how long and how many people did it take to come up with the phrase “Chipwrecked?” Was there a board meeting where dozens of studio executives brainstormed words that rhymed with “Chip?” (“What about Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip? They could get into hijinks all across the country!”  “How about Alvin and the Dripmunks? We could have them all get really into impressionism! Ed Harris could cameo!”) Did the writers decide that the chipmunks were going to get marooned on an island before coming up with the title, or can this entire movie premise be traced back to the realization that “ship” rhymes with “chip?” Were any words that rhymed with “munk” considered? Maybe Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Punk where they get really into The Sex Pistols? Or Alvin and the Chipmonks, where they join a monastery and teach the uptight abbot, played by Tommy Lee Jones, how to combine religion with rockin’ out thanks to a last minute cameo from Creed? Also, why didn’t Gonzo have a bigger role in The Muppets, my only complaint about what was otherwise a very enjoyable, heartwarming movie?

Okay, so maybe that did get a little cynical. I apologize. Cynicism is pretty hard to avoid when discussing the Alvin and the Chipmunks films. Still, my interest about the origin of “Chipwrecked” remains. It seems like such a simple decision, but given that it’s Hollywood, I wouldn’t be surprised if people market-tested this and agonized over it for weeks before settling on it. Maybe someday I’ll get to Hollywood myself and figure out the answer. But if I want that to happen, I’ll need to get cracking on my screenplay. Tentative title: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Trip-Funk.

In this movie, Alvin, Simon and Theodore invent a new genre of music called “trip-funk.” It is not pleasant to listen to.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Love Community

Trust me on this. I've seen every episode since it premiered back in 2009. I actually decided I was going to be a fan before I even saw the first episode as soon as I found out that Donald Glover was going to be in it. And the thought of it not returning in the midst of its third season makes me cringe (What's going to happen between Troy and Vice Dean Laybourne? They can't leave a story like that unresolved.) and brings back bad memories of "Arrested Development." Especially because I don't think I can wait until 2018 for a movie.


Comparing keeping this show on the air to winning World War II seems a bit melodramatic. Aren't there any posters from the Spanish-American War someone could Photoshop?

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Strained Attempt At Justifying My Emotional Commitment To Television

After the end of last week’s How I Met Your Mother, I was legitimately sad. It wasn’t especially crippling or debilitating, and I’m happy to report that I’ve since made a full recovery. But one question remains, and it’s something I’ve been having a hard time figuring out for years: why do I continually let the actions of fictional characters affect my emotions? And couldn’t this emotional energy be put to much better use if I directed it towards people who are actually, you know, real?

(Very quickly: the answer to the second part of the question is “yes.” Now, onto the first part.)

I started thinking about this approximately one while ago after coming across an article that said Jenna Fischer had recently gotten divorced. I didn’t care, to be blunt, nor do I care about most celebrity divorces that make it into the news. It’s a very easy way to feel morally superior, and I would recommend it to anyone.

The article did, however, fill my head with thoughts of The Office and how I would react if Pam ever got divorced from Jim. Given that I’m capable of discerning the differences between television and reality, I don’t think it would upset me too much. At the same time, I can almost guarantee that it would upset me more than the news of her actual divorce did. In other words, a real life event that had a real life impact on two (probably more) real live people made me feel virtually nothing. On the other hand, a hypothetical made-up event that would have a made-up impact on two made-up people (probably more, although they would all be made-up as well) would disappoint me. Something about this seems wrong.
I think it boils down to a pretty simple concept: I know Jim, and I know Pam, and I don’t know Jenna Fischer, and I literally don’t know her first husband (the “literally” is there because I don’t know what his name is). And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t just know Jim and Pam. I know them very, very well.

Given that I’ve seen every episode of The Office, this means that I’ve spent, at minimum, around 56 hours getting acquainted with Jim and Pam (probably more when you factor in reruns) (also, yes, that number does kind of depress me. I think I’ll go outside after I finish writing this). And it hasn’t just been 56 hours of random small talk and inane chatter. Rather, it’s been 56 hours of revealing character development mixed with a healthy dose of often revealing humor. I was there when Jim got rejected by Pam, when Pam got rejected by Jim, when they started dating, when they struggled through a long distance relationship, when they got married, when they had a baby, etc., etc. It’s almost as if some higher power—let’s call it a “network”—has been deliberately making sure I witness a relatively constant stream of important events in these characters’ lives so that I’ll feel a strong enough attachment with them to keep checking in week after week. But when you put it that way, it just sounds sinister.

Contrastingly, I haven’t spent any time with Jenna Fischer in person. The few times I have seen her as anyone other than Pam, she’s either been portraying a different fictional character or in promotional-tour-late-night-talk-show mode, which I assume and hope is not her genuine personality. I’d get suspicious if anyone was really that cheery and full of amusing anecdotes in real life.

The same thing that’s happened with Jim and Pam has happened with Barney and Robin, whose failure to get back together about two weeks ago caused my aforementioned sadness. I’ve now been hanging out with them for six and a half seasons (give or take a few episodes from season five—I slacked off that year), so at this point, I know a significant amount of information about their personalities, their jobs, their families, their love lives, and their catchphrases.

(Digression: whatever happened to “suit up?” I feel like Barney hasn’t said that in years.)

In real life, when you know this much about another person, you call them a friend (exceptions: historical figures, anonymous sources, people you’re stalking). And if one of your friends just, say, broke up with someone to be with someone else who then decided not to be with them, it seems natural to empathize.

So I guess this means I’m friends with Barney and Robin (and Jim and Pam. And others, but if I start thinking about that too much I’m afraid the list might get embarrassingly long), which in turn explains their ability to make me feel feelings. I’m not entirely comfortable saying that because, again, these are two people who don’t exist. But after spending so much time with them—and, as with Jim and Pam, this time has been purposely constructed to consist of multiple defining, poignant events—I don’t think there’s another option.

Apart from not watching the show anymore. But, come on. I couldn’t ditch my friends like that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My First Time Watching A Kardashian-Related Program

It’s impossible to watch your first episode of Kourtney and Kim Take New York in late 2011 without any expectations. At this point, the family has been prominent in the media since 2007, and it seems like their toxic effect on American pop culture has been documented for even longer than that. So I went into this show knowing more or less exactly what I was going to get and how I was going to respond. I would witness a bunch of whiny, entitled, shallow females overreact and be self-centered for 22 minutes, and then I would mercilessly mock them with prose vicious enough to make them forget that they could buy and sell me for approximately 12—maybe even 13—seconds. And then they would shake it off and go continue their million dollar contract negotiations for Kourtney, Khloé, and Kim Konquer Kolorado.

On a certain level, the episode—“A Dash of Respect,” chosen strictly because its title reminded me of an Aretha Franklin song—met these expectations. Kim openly frets about Kourtney not paying enough attention to her before the show even reaches its opening credits. At one point, Khloé utters the phrase, “I’m a rebel in a wolf’s head” with what appears to be complete earnestness. And the inability of each sister to form facial expressions has not been exaggerated.

The Kardashians’ behavior, however, is not particularly over the top. As a result, the problem with this episode of the show is not that it’s rage inducing. The problem is that it’s boring.

“A Dash of Respect” is constructed almost exactly as if it were a scripted episode of a television series entitled Clichéd Storylines. The A story consists of Khloé coming to New York to help Kim and Kourtney open their new Dash clothing store. However, when Khloé arrives, she hangs out exclusively with Kourtney. This upsets Kim, so she tells them about it, and they make up, ending the episode as three happy sisters. The problem is created and resolved in a convenient 22 minutes, all of which were painfully reminiscent of a middle school cafeteria.

The B story is centered on a man named Scott. Scott is never introduced in this episode, so I spent much of the time wondering who he was. He does share the sisters’ inability to form facial expressions and at one point helpfully tells the camera, “I’m very busy, usually, working on corporate stuff,” so I assume he is somehow related to the Kardashians and only makes occasional appearances on the show, as he is usually too busy with corporate stuff.

Scott is very excited because he’s going to be on the cover of Men’s Fitness. This leads him to hire an assistant named Dale to help him manage his busy life of reality television, magazine modeling, and corporate stuff. He is rude to Dale at the Men’s Fitness photo shoot, however, so Dale quits. Scott apologizes to him at the end of the episode and tries to get him to come back, but Dale stands his ground, calling Scott an “egotistical, pompous asshole” in the process. Scott then congratulates himself for giving Dale a backbone, proving that this description of him was well founded. Another problem created and resolved in 22 minutes.

The strongest impression one gets of the characters on Kourtney and Kim Take New York, then, is not that they are insufferable brats. It’s that their lives have been perfectly constructed for a television series. While the viewing populace has to deal with problems that tend to exist both when they go to sleep and after they wake up, the Kardashians’ problems hang around long enough to cause some excitement but leave before they can do any actual damage. And since these problems occur under the guise of “reality” television, maybe that means someday us viewers can live in a world of 22-minute episodic problems as well. It seems a little implausible; then again, so did four hit shows featuring the Kardashians.

This episode does inadvertently reveal why this family has such a reputation for melodrama, however. After all, if the problems they deal with can be resolved in one episode, it effectively disqualifies them from being serious and, subsequently, interesting. Since people have a habit of not watching boring television shows, the best way to combine the audience’s desire for drama with its desire for escapism is to have the characters treat these trivial problems seriously.

That didn’t happen in “A Dash of Respect.” Kim reacted to Khloé and Kourtney leaving her out of their plans—a typical, almost mundane familial problem—like it was a typical, almost mundane familial problem. As a result, it was a boring episode. A huge, sensational brawl in the middle of Dash might not have reflected well on America, but it would have made for some captivating television.

I think we all know which of those two things is more important.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Winter Break

I wrote this back in my collegiate days when I still got to enjoy 5-week winter breaks, but apart from the Jay Leno references I don't think it's too dated. So here you go:

“Boy,” we all think as we look back on yet another winter break, “was that ever relaxing!” We use the word “relaxing” here in place of “boring” because it makes us feel better about having just spent five relatively immobile weeks on our parents’ couch watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch marathons and winning World War II again with our Xbox on the off chance that it turns out we actually lost on a technicality back in the 40s.

So let’s face it: winter break was probably not the most exciting time in your life. I would guess that, overall, it ranks somewhere alongside the first time you tried corn.

The most obvious way to fix this problem would be to spend the massive amounts of free time you have over winter break doing something productive, such as learning to play an instrument or studying Japanese. However, as long as YouTube still exists, that will never happen. Besides, at this point you’re entitled to some time off. I mean, come on, you just spent an entire semester being productive! Or, at least, you meant to, except you and Trent hit such a hot streak on the pong table you just never got around to reading about the Treaty of Adrianople (which I hear is quite fascinating).

Regardless, you aren’t going to be spending your break doing anything like that. Another option, then, is to think back to all the things you used to do to pass the time in high school. After all, if you were able to keep busy in your hometown for four years, you should be able to keep busy for five weeks pretty easily. Unfortunately, if your high school years were anything like mine, you spent them hanging out with people you are now only marginally certain haven’t died yet complaining about how there was nothing to do in your town. So that might not be the best option either.

So with your high school friends now virtually nonexistent, your high school parking lots now too cold to hang out in and your high school family still insistent on doing nothing but telling you the same surprisingly racist story about the time grandpa saw a deer in the backyard that was slightly larger than a normal sized deer, it does appear that your best friends for the duration of break are going to be the television and the Internet. What makes the most sense to do, then, is to complain to the television companies about how they need to come up with more interesting shows or, at the very least, stop giving so much airtime to Jay Leno. I would suggest you do the same thing to the Internet, but I’m not really sure who’s in charge over there. I would assume either Star Wars Kid, or one of his friends.

You know what? Forget all those plans. What you should really do to combat the boredom of winter break is just embrace it. The only other time in your life you’ll ever have to have such a small amount of responsibilities happened when you were a baby, and at that point you were far too busy urinating with wild abandon and not remembering things to enjoy it. So instead of spending all of winter break complaining about not having anything to do, why not enjoy not having anything to do before spending the next 50 years of your life trying to transform your cubicle into a youbicle?

But maybe write a letter to the television network executives anyway. In our nation’s fragile state, we really can’t afford another Jay Leno Show.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1, 2, 3, 14

I have an almost limitless number of good memories involving music, my dad and me, but today I took this Sporcle quiz, and one in particular stood out.

It was in the Fall of 2004, and it was very early in the morning. I had spent the past year being driven to high school by my sister, but she had just started at Villanova, and since I was cursed with a late July birthday, I didn't have my license yet. So for the first half of junior year, my rides to school consisted solely of my dad and me. Most of the time these occurred in almost complete silence, not because we hated each other but because we typically had to leave the house around 6:45 AM. That's an early time for anyone to be awake, let alone a 16-year-old who had stayed up past midnight the night before studying for an AP History test (sort of).

But one morning, things went a little differently. Thanks to willpower, effective time management, and an episode of Family Guy airing that I had already seen, I managed to go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before, so I was able to wake up and get ready pretty quickly. By the time it was 6:40, I was already completely ready to go. Rather than turning my world upside down by showing up to school any earlier than I absolutely had to, I plunked down on our family room's couch and turned the TV to the sorely missed Vh1 MegaHits (I mean that "sorely missed" part, by the way. My family only had access to it for about a year, but in that time it helped me find out about Secret Machines, The Killers, and a pre-hey-let's-just-start-canceling-all-of-our-tours Kings of Leon. Everyone who wants Vh1 MegaHits to come back and Vh1 to start airing I Love The 80s all the time again, please raise your hand. Thank you.). At the time, U2 was about to release How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, an album I'm not particularly crazy about now but was very excited for at the time, especially because of the catchy single "Vertigo." And that's the video that started playing right when I tuned in.

My dad walked into the room shortly after. I expected him to tell me to turn off the TV and get in the car, as he was pretty consistent in terms of getting me to high school earlier than I wanted to be there. Instead, he sat down to watch the video with me. Neither of us said anything while it was on, but when it was over, he looked at me with a satisfied grin and asked, "Ready to go?"

I responded with a grin of my own and a "Yeah" that was actually earnest. Because today I really was ready. Today I had gotten to start things off by listening to a song that I liked and that it turned out my dad liked, too. And this wasn't an old classic that had already been confirmed as "great" by thousands of faceless rock critics. No, this was hip, new music from a band that had reached its peak when I was a little too young and he was a little too old, but that didn't matter because we could still enjoy listening to them together now. For three minutes, we both got to enjoy listening to a rock song that made each of us feel a little cooler than we actually were. I think we both knew this, but I don't think we cared.

So yeah, I'm ready for school. It'll probably be a good day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Summation Of Everything I've Been Worrying About Since, Say, 19

(Only instead of "33," pretend he said "23.")

"I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and is passing faster and faster every day. Day after day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I'm starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life's sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time. It is dreadful. But since it's my own choices that'll lock me in, it seems unavoidable--if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them."
-David Foster Wallace, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"

Beautifully written and expressed, but, admittedly, kind of a downer. So here's this:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Wilco

I was trying to make a "My Favorites" playlist (sidenote: it still feels a little weird to say "making a playlist" instead of "burning a CD." Hopefully I'll eventually come around.) of Wilco songs from all the albums I have by them (Wilco [the album], Sky Blue Sky, A Ghost Is Born, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Summerteeth), but I couldn't do it. Not because I got distracted (although I did get distracted multiple times, just never to the point of giving up) (sorry for all the parenthetical asides) but because...well, I had too many favorites. Sure, there are a few that stand out, but overall it would be more efficient to just type "Wilco" into iTunes and play every song I have by them.

This isn't exclusive to Wilco. It would be tough for me to do with, say, TV On The Radio as well. Also with Ace of Base, but that's because I only have one song by them. I do think it's particularly funny that my Wilco fandom has proven so all-encompassing, though, because they're also the only band I've ever actively boycotted.

It was based on a Jeff Tweedy quote in a Rolling Stone article that I can no longer find but that I think came out sometime in high school. He was talking about older bands that he still either liked or didn't like, and he said that The Who's records hadn't held up very well. At the time, liking The Who was a bigger part of my identity than it had any right to be, so the fact that Jeff Tweedy had the nerve to say this was a personal affront to me. I vowed to never listen to Wilco right after reading that line. It actually lasted for about two years, following which I mentioned it to a friend during one of our countless conversations about music. He promptly told me I was an idiot and sent me Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Honestly, I was still reluctant to give it a try--how could a band who didn't like The Who be worth listening to?--but this particular friend knew a lot about music, so I figured I should give it a shot. And now I like literally every song of theirs I have. So, y'know, keep an open mind about things.

Having said that, if you told me I had to pick a favorite, I would tell you to start reading things more carefully because I said earlier that doing so was basically impossible. So here are two:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear Ke$ha,

I'm not sure where you've been lately, but I have a simple request: please put this to music, record it, and release it as your newest single. I think it would be a huge success. We can talk about the money later. Also, you can change the bridge to make it about a boy if you want to.

"Fill It Up"

7 PM on a Friday night
We gotta start the pregame cuz the timing is right
I'm ripping shots with my girls
Drinking beers with my boys
Had too much, time to hurl
On my little bro's toys
But it's fine, boot and rally as we head out the door
To forget about our problems on a sweaty dance floor

Cuz tonight is the night
That we're goin' all out
Gotta grind, gotta drink
Gotta shout, shout, shout!
Only two days off, so ya gotta go hard
Hopefully when we're out at a bar that doesn't card
So it's go, go, go 'til the sun comes up
'Til then fill, fill, fill, just keep fillin' up my cup

Now we're rockin' at the club and we're havin' a blast
Cuz my crew lives every night like it might be their last
Grabbed some bottles of Patron
Washed 'em down with some Skyy
Now I think it's time to roam and get a little bit high
And if the pot leads to coke there's still no need to cower
We'll just tell the 5-0 we found some top-notch flour


Bars and clubs are closing up, but we're still not done
Cuz I just found a girl and she looks like a lotta fun
Tonight she's comin' home with me to keep the party goin' strong
Looks like we're staying in the bedroom all day long



Monday, October 10, 2011

A Study

Approximate Number of Times I Drink From A Nalgene Water Bottle Per Day: 20

Approximate Number of Times At Least Some of the Water Falls on my Shirt: 18

I feel like this is one of those things I should be too embarrassed to blog about. So is the fact that I just found out "blog" is short for "web log" a few weeks ago.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Love The Subway

After I've earned enough money to do anything I want, I'm going to try and make the MTA let me do PR for them for free. If anyone calls to complain about the subway, I will tell them to try finding another city with a more convenient and more thorough mass transit system. If they can do so, I will listen to their complaints. If they can't, I will tell them to stop whining and hang up on them. I don't think I will last very long at this job.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Words Of Wisdom From Someone Who's Better At Writing Than I Am

"The key to mostly anything is pretending your first time isn't."
-Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress Of Solitude

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


My first major crisis in masculinity came in second grade, when the other boys in my class decided they wanted to spend recess digging holes in the sand. The choice made plenty of sense: you’re pretty curious at age seven; you can’t see what’s below the ground; and the best way to remedy that is by digging until you can. The fact that the answer invariably seemed to wind up being “more sand” didn’t discourage them in the slightest. There was always a chance that someone had snuck onto the playground last night to bury some gold plated Power Rangers for safekeeping, and if someone besides us discovered them, we would never forgive ourselves. So every day when the recess bell rang, we would scamper over to the sandbox to begin the excavation anew.

Most of us would, anyway. I was great at the scampering part, but I was never very good at the excavating. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty.

I couldn’t explain it. I still can’t, really. Seven-year-old boys are not supposed to care about getting dirty, and for the most part, I didn’t. As far as I was concerned, owning colored articles of clothing was a completely useless endeavor, as they were all destined to become completely brown within three weeks of being purchased. But something about the idea of making my hands dirty and then having to suffer through the rest of the school day just leaving them like that—or, even worse, being told to go wash them, like I was some type of animal—never sat well with me. So while my classmates started getting dirty in earnest, I stood gamely by, doing my best to embrace the role of the benevolent supervisor. “Good job!” I would say, for instance. Or, “Nice job!” Or…actually, those were usually the only expressions I could come up with. My vocabulary had not developed very much yet.

The other guys didn’t mind. Sure, they thought it was a little weird that I never took part in any of the actual digging, but this was more than offset by the fact that I was smart, which meant that I got lots of Starbursts as rewards for doing well on my assignments, which meant that I had lots of opportunities to subtly grab additional Starbursts for my friends who hadn’t done as well, which meant that I was always going to be at least superficially well-liked, which is pretty hard to differentiate from being genuinely well-liked in second grade (Mrs. Fritz, if you’re reading this, I’m really sorry for stealing all those Starburst, and I promise you it didn’t lead me down a path of convenience store robberies or anything like that. I’m more than willing to replace them, but I’m a grad student now, so it might be a few years before I can afford to).

The only person who my lack of participation really bothered was me. Standing around every recess watching all my peers have gratuitous amounts of fun digging while I only had moderate amounts of fun watching them was nearly unbearable. I wanted desperately to join in the fun, and my classmates would have been more than happy to let me, but my aversion to getting my hands dirty was just too strong. Eventually, I decided that this was just one of those petty things that made me different from other people, and this was something I would probably have to deal with a lot throughout my life, so I might as well start trying to do so in a healthy fashion now, except none of that actually happened and instead I went to my mom and complained.

“All the boys in my class want to dig at recess, and I want to play with them, but I don’t want to dig,” I said.

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because I don’t want to get my hands dirty.”

“So use a shovel. You know we have shovels, right?”

My face lit up. We did have shovels! I used them all the time! To dig! And when I dug with them, my hands didn’t get dirty! It was a perfect solution, and my glorious, wise, wonderful mother had come up with it in less time than it took me to put a shirt on. This inspired feelings of loyalty and devotion in me that lasted all the way until that evening when she had the nerve to cook and serve dinner. Devotees of this blog (I don’t think you exist, but if I’m wrong and you’re reading this now, hello! Also, thank you!) will recall that I was not a very big fan of dinner.

I woke up the next morning feeling better about going to school than I had in weeks. Finally, finally, I would be able to participate fully in recess again. Instead of witnessing other people find out what was underneath the sand, I would get to actively participate in the discovery! And, hey, maybe my shovel would revolutionize the way we dug! Maybe tomorrow, all the other kids would come in with shovels, too, and then on the next episode of Power Rangers they would all be digging with shovels, and it would all be because of me, and…wait, what are they doing? Why is Chris grabbing that brown, spherical thing?

“Hey, guys?” I asked as we lined up for recess. “What’s that? Aren’t we digging today?”
“Nope,” said Chris, smiling. “We’re gonna play football! Come on, it’ll be fun!”
Football, I wondered. Does that make your hands get dirty?
“Yes,” the answer turned out to be. “Unless you don’t play it well.”

So I had nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rick Perry

I wrote this a little over a month ago, back when Rick Perry was still all new and exciting and Keri Hilson was...actually, Keri Hilson was still just about as sort of famous as she is now. It's to the tune of the timeless pop classic "Pretty Girl Rock." Enjoy.

Rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
Now what’s your name?

My name’s Rick Perry, I’m so very
Texas tough, born and raised on the prairie
Gays wanna marry, that is pretty scary
Next thing you know, it’ll be man on canary
Governed like a fighter, proven as a writer
Give me a chance to make our country’s future brighter
I can beat Obama, heck I killed at the state fair
I sure didn’t break the law with my Christian day of prayer

My name’s Rick Perry, Dems be wary
Just drink beer, you won’t catch me with a sherry
Chest nice and hairy, strong bones from dairy
Firm jaw line, trust me that’ll never vary
We need revolution, I’ve got the solution
Hard work, grit, and a lot of executions
Ready for the White House, please erase all of those doubts
And if you don’t believe me, go and ask the Boy Scouts

I’m in this race, I’m gonna win
Time to save this country from sin
Don’t mock me, I’m electable
My hair just screams “respectable”
Tax cuts, go nuts, that is my creed
And if I lose, we’ll just secede
It’s time to take our country back
We’ll be as stable as Iraq

I’m the Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock
Not George Bush, just the Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock
(Let’s slash some funds!)

Think that you can beat me? Hold up, pardner.
Think again.
Streak for winning these things just hit number ten
Critics say I’m reckless, wild, too gutsy
All of that because I threatened Ben Bernanke
People listen to me forthwith
(I’m reforming!)
Those complaints are nothing but myths
(Like global warming!)
I’ll be rational, I’ll cut it out with the “amens”
And if that’s not enough, hey, at least I’m not Bachmann

I’m in this race, I’m gonna win
Time to save this country from sin
Don’t mock me, I’m electable
My hair just screams “respectable”
Tax cuts, go nuts, that is my creed
And if I lose, we’ll just secede
It’s time to take our country back
We'll be as stable as Iraq

I’m the Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock, rock
The Republican rock, rock
Pawlenty’s out, I’m the Republican rock, rock
I’m Reaganesque, the Republican rock, rock
Check out my pecs, the Republican rock, rock
Romney’s a fraud, I’m the Republican rock, rock
Who is Herman Cain?

I’m in this race, I’m gonna win
Time to save this country from sin
Don’t mock me, I’m electable
My hair just screams “respectable”
Tax cuts, go nuts, that is my creed
And if I lose, we’ll just secede
It’s time to take our country back
We’ll be as stable as Iraq

Why Journalism School Is Awesome

Today I got to start a telephone conversation by asking, "Hi, is this the man in black?" And yes, I was being completely earnest about it.

I Remember Way Back When

I don’t have much of a problem with nostalgia, a topic I recently found out smart people have been talking about. I don’t entirely trust it, but overall it seems like a pretty harmless and enjoyable way to kill some time. This is especially true if you’re with friends you haven’t seen in a while who feel like reliving something fun that happened the last time you all saw each other (usually college, at least at my age).

The only issue I have with it has very little to do with a fear that it's destroying artistic creativity. I just don't like that it hurts sometimes. And I mean that literally: sometimes, it physically hurts me to be nostalgic. Specifically those times when I'm not reminiscing about something with other people. Rather, I'm by myself and listening to a song that reminds me of a particularly happy moment from my past. And then my stomach starts tightening up, and it becomes impossible to think about anything else apart from all the good times I used to have while listening to this song that I don't have anymore. A small part of me knows that those times probably weren’t actually as great as I remember them being, but a much larger part of me doesn’t care. That’s when it hurts.

This doesn’t happen very often, mainly because things are largely ok right now, just as they’ve been largely ok for the past 23 years. I’m a middle-class white male who lives in America and listens to Louis C.K., so it’s near impossible to feel like my existence is or ever has been difficult in any meaningful sense of the word. But I’m human, and my life was simpler when I was eight like everybody else’s was, so I can’t say wistful nostalgia is something I’m immune from. And when I do succumb to it, music always plays a central role.

I think there’s a pretty simple reason for this: songs don’t change. I’ve changed a lot since 2003 (not so much in terms of maturity, but I’m taller); my friends have changed a lot since 2003; the world has changed a lot since 2003. But The Who’s greatest hits album that I bought in 2003 hasn’t changed at all. When I listen to “I Can’t Explain,” it sounds exactly the way it did when I heard it eight years ago because, well, it's still the same song I heard eight years ago. It almost seems unfair. I’ve had to grow up and start paying credit card bills and stop living in gigantic buildings with all my friends, but the song still gets to exist happily and permanently in its static little music bubble.

At the same time, though, the fact that songs don’t change is really awesome. And the awesomeness tends to outweigh any unfairness. Because it means that whenever I hear “I Can’t Explain,” it’s almost comically easy to pretend I’m 15 again, and it’s summer, and I’m lying on my bedroom floor rapturously reading the album’s liner notes in order to learn everything there is to know about The Who with a type of passion that you really only have access to from about ages 14 to 17 (For instance, they were originally called The High Numbers. Chances are high that, if you went to high school with me, I told you this many, many times).

So maybe the fact that nostalgia can be painful isn't actually anything worth complaining about. That "I Can't Explain" memory hurts like hell sometimes, but that's only because it's a happy one, so I really don’t want to lose it. And as long as “I Can’t Explain” doesn’t change, I don’t think I ever will.

Unless, that is, I become old and senile. I’ve heard senility can be pretty rough.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Conundrum

Today I saw a sign reading "Don't Litter" that had been thrown carelessly on the sidewalk.


Was that litter?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

When I was 14, I Sort of Wrote a Book

I say "sort of" because I don't think it was quite long enough to actually be considered a book and because it's basically just a less funny version of Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States. Anyway, I just reread it for the first time since 2003 because why not, and I gotta say: not very good. Most of the time I'm either:

a) talking about The Simpsons
b) saying that I don't know very much about a subject/am not going to talk about a subject because it's boring and trying to turn that into the joke
c) awkwardly and blatantly hating on George W. Bush
d) making references to my friends/family/Newtown that no one outside of my friends/family/town would understand
e) pointing out that a lot of words throughout American history kind of sound like words that have to do with sex

Still, I remember having a lot of fun while writing it, and there were a few jokes that made me laugh when I read it the second time around. They are reproduced here for your enjoyment in their original Bookman Old Style font:

The Vikings pretty much lorded over Europe until one day, a young man named King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) rose up from the depths of defeat, got together the toughest warriors he could find, and went on a quest seeking the Holy Grail, only to be stopped by some American cops at the very end in what has been described by many as “the worst part of the movie.”

This year begot the hit song “In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue”, which narrowly beat “Without Me” and “Dirrty” for the number one spot on the billboard charts. This song “wowed” everybody except for Columbus himself, who had always viewed the ocean as more of a turquoise color. As June rolled around, people realized that Columbus wasn’t taking the hint, and if they didn’t act fast, soon it would be 1493, and they would have to change the song.

(Concerning Paul Revere's ride): This woke up a lot of already tense colonists and British, so they decided to just say the hell with negotiating and go have the Battle of Lexington. However, it was soon realized that the author did not actually know where Lexington was, so they just decided to skip over that and go right to the Battle of Concord, which is probably in New Hampshire. (I didn't think this one was that funny but wanted to include it because I found it oddly prescient of Michelle Bachmann)

When you were younger, I’m sure you were told that the only thing that caused the Civil War was the issue of slavery (and you probably believed it too, you cretin). However, as any historian will tell you, there were actually several issues involved that went much deeper than the simple matter of slavery, and the roots of the Civil War went back much further in United States history. This is why we would not recommend asking a historian what caused the Civil War. Slavery is good enough for us.

Anyway, the next president to step into office was Ulysses S. Grant, who spent most of his terms trying to stop people from making fun of his name, and the next president, Rutherford B. Hayes, did virtually the same thing.

However, the nation’s joy was soon to end, for in 1901, their beloved president, William McKinley, was assassinated. This caused Americans to go into a state of mourning for days, due to the fact that no one had bothered to tell them he was president.

The Treaty of Versailles (pronounced “if you want to learn how to pronounce this take Modern European History”) basically accomplished all of Wilson’s 14 points, except for the first 14.

(Concerning the Teapot Dome Scandal): The point is, right as the scandal was becoming known to the public, Harding died, thus using up all of the presidential luck that had been accumulating over the years and permanently screwing over Richard Nixon.

(Concerning writers in the 20s): Among the more famous of them was the poet e. e. cummings, who grew up so poor that he couldn’t afford to capitalize his first name.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Free Advice

If you are walking down a crowded street in Manhattan, it is not safe to assume that everyone around you is a huge "Arrested Development" fan and will either laugh or smile knowingly if you randomly sing "You're a crook, Captain Hook! Judge, won't you throw the book at the pirate?" aloud. You are much more likely to be met with awkward stares.

Friday, September 30, 2011


I was not aware that a life in hiding involved appearing on magazine covers.

Something I Noticed

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the most creative writers ever. He was able to create an incredibly vast world with its own unique history, inhabitants, languages, mythology, geography, Viggo Mortensens, etc.

And yet, a major villain--and arguably the scariest of the series--was just a giant spider. I think it says something about their inherent creepiness that, when a writer who could clearly use his imagination to invent just about anything needed to come up with a frightening hobbit-eating character, he ultimately went with a bigger version of a creature that actually exists. And you know what? It worked. Just look at this picture. It's terrifying.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, this is a great way to start a conversation if you're on a first date. Provided you don't want a second one. You could also ask whether or not Gandalf could beat Dumbledore in a fight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Things That Aren't Fun

-Realizing once you've already left your house that there is something that looks remarkably like petrified bird poop on the only nice pair of pants you took with you to New York
-Wearing those pants all day anyway because, hey, you already left the house

One of these things did not happen to me today. Try to guess which one!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recipe For A Reality Show


--One host who attained a minor degree of celebrity years ago for reasons people can no longer remember (anything that was popular during the 1980s is a great place to start looking)

--One television network that no longer has enough money to produce scripted shows

--Six to twelve contestants all seeking the same job/mate/monetary reward/vaccination. These should consist of:

--One genial everyman

--One tough male, preferably from New Jersey or Long Island

--One attractive yet mentally unstable female

--One individual who is medically insane

--One minority (purists recommend a black man/woman, but these

days an Asian or Hispanic should work just as well)

--One easily hateable individual (if you are running

low on contestants in certain regions, the minority can fill this role)

--One to six individuals with no distinctive characteristics

--One arena where all contestants can engage in various physical and mental competitions

--One habitat where all contestants can live for the duration of the show. Specific designs may vary, but it must include one isolated area where contestants can reveal and overreact about inane secrets to a camera


1. Place all contestants in the same area of the habitat. Have host stride into the area in a manner that suggests everyone should already know who he is and explain the rules of the show. Cut to pensive yet determined reaction shots of contestants every time host completes more than 50% of a sentence.

2. Allow contestants to disperse. Linger on shots of genial everyman and attractive yet mentally unstable female interacting for 2-3 minutes to create an artificial aura of sexual tension. Let simmer for 4-5 weeks.

3. After approximately 12 hours, have host remove all contestants from the habitat and bring them to the arena to engage in their first competition. Have host explain that whichever individual does the poorest job performing in this competition will be removed from the show by his or her fellow contestants, the viewers, or a celebrity judging panel. Do whatever is necessary to ensure this happens to one of the individuals with no distinctive characteristics.

4. Repeat step three until all individuals with no distinctive characteristics have been removed from the show.

5. During the first competition after the departure of all individuals with no distinctive characteristics, have easily hateable individual perform an action that slightly inconveniences tough Italian male. Once the two return to the habitat, have tough male explain why he is angry about this to easily hateable individual via a physical altercation. This should culminate in a teary revelation from tough male and a biting, caustic remark from easily hateable individual in the isolated area.

6. Have genial everyman and mentally unstable woman engage in some form of sexual relations. Film using grainy black and white footage to hide the fact that the two do not actually care about each other and will forget each other’s names almost immediately after the finale.

7. Begin the process of using the competitions to remove individuals with distinctive characteristics from the show. It is recommended that you do so in the following order: tough male, medically insane individual, minority, attractive yet mentally unstable woman. However, if you desire a spicier end product, easily hateable individual may be switched out for mentally unstable woman.

8. Pit easily hateable individual against genial everyman in the final challenge. Invite back all former contestants to watch and criticize the performances of the two contestants who have proven themselves to be better at these competitions than they were.

9. Have former contestants, viewers or a celebrity judging panel vote on the winner of the final competition. Do whatever is necessary to ensure genial everyman is proclaimed the victor.

10. Engage in brief yet lavish ceremony to celebrate the newfound fame/money/sexual fulfillment/disease-free life genial everyman will now enjoy.

11. Embroil genial everyman in a minor scandal soon after the finale to briefly keep him in the public eye. Following this, allow him to naturally fade into obscurity until he resurfaces years later to host a reality show of his own.

The above recipe should comfortably serve one populace of a country nurturing a 60-year-old love affair with television and desperate for distractions from such things as economic crises and children. If said populace remains unsatisfied after consumption, add C-list celebrities as needed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Butter Days

It’s hard to trust a six-year-old with something important. They can generally only be counted on to ask a question hauntingly poignant in its innocence or make sure Tom Cruise and Renee Zellwegger wind up together, and I wasn’t even very good at those things when I was six. My questions didn’t get much more poignant than “Why do I have to go outside when Full House is on?” and I was still years away from knowing who Tom Cruise was, his appearances on Full House being few and far between.

Still, my parents were good parents, and they understood the importance of teaching me responsibility at a relatively early age. And so it was that, in the midst of enjoying my carefree life staging historically inaccurate battles between plastic dinosaurs in the family room, I was called into the kitchen for my sobering entry into the working world.

“Eddie,” my dad said methodically, “do you see this?” He was holding up a butter dish.

“Yes,” I said.

“Good. From now on, it’s going to be your responsibility to put it on the table every night when we’re getting ready for dinner, ok? Can you handle that?”

I had to think for a second. This was the first job my parents were asking me to do with any sort of regularity, and there were all sorts of implications to consider. The main one was, “What is the fastest way I can end this conversation and get back to playing with dinosaurs?” So I said, “Yes.”

“Good,” my dad responded, breaking out into a benevolent smile. “So tonight, when your mom and I call you into the kitchen for dinner, what are you going to do before you sit down?”

“Put the butter dish on the table,” I said anxiously, as countless thoughts about all the fun things my dinosaurs were probably doing without me ran through my head.

“Exactly!” my dad exclaimed, his benevolence turning into pride. “Do you have any questions?”

“No.” They’re probably in a rocket ship right now. I’m going to go back in the family room, and my dinosaurs won’t be there because they all got on a rocket ship as soon as I left the room. I’ll bet it’s payback for letting my sister play with the stegosaurus last week.

“Ok, then. I guess we’ll see you at dinner.”

My dad turned around, and I dashed back into the family room, relieved to find that my dinosaurs were still insentient and immobile.

Life continued on as normal until 6:00 that evening. My dad called out “Dinner!” and I walked into the kitchen, ready to sit down like I always did. Then I saw my dad’s knowing smile and the butter dish sitting all by itself on the counter. I abruptly changed course, grabbed the dish, and set it on the table before I sat down.

“Thank you, Eddie,” my mom said, beaming with delight. “That was excellent!”

My dad remained silent apart from a nod of approval, but it was enough to make it clear that he was pleased, too. We then said grace and began eating. Or, more accurately, my mom, dad, and sister began eating, and I began moving the food around on my plate and eyeing it warily.

To say I was a picky eater at this age is an understatement akin to saying that Hitler was not particularly fond of the Jews. I didn’t become a picky eater until around age nine. At age six, it was more accurate to say I legitimately disliked food. The concept of eating was something I did not look forward to on good days and dreaded on bad days. This typically made dinner a very unpleasant occasion. The most notorious of these had occurred a few months earlier when I took a bite of chicken and decided afterwards that I could stomach neither swallowing it nor spitting it out. It remained in saliva soaked purgatory for a good 20 minutes, by which point the rest of my family had already finished eating and was devoting all of their energy to exasperatedly coaxing me to swallow. Their efforts eventually proved successful, but I emerged from the situation so scarred that I had to avoid chicken for the next three days, at which point my mom served it for dinner again and I ate it, my memory at age six not being particularly long lasting.

There were, however, a few golden exceptions to my aversion to food, and butter was among them. Peanut butter was still a little too intimidating for me at such a young age, and peanut butter and jelly was outright terrifying, but a nice simple slice of white bread with some nice simple butter spread over it always made for a very tasty part of a meal. And as I bit into the first of two slices of buttered bread I was allowed at every meal while attempting to ignore the rest of the food into nonexistence, it suddenly dawned on me: the bread itself is not what tastes so good. The reason this bread is so tasty is because it has butter on it.

And I’m in control of the butter now!

It may have been only for the few seconds that it took me to walk from the kitchen counter to the kitchen table, but for those few seconds I had near total authority over one of the few items of food I unabashedly enjoyed. So soon I got to thinking: what does butter taste like? Because if it makes bread taste so delicious, it must taste pretty good by itself, too.

This curiosity gradually turned into an obsession over my first few weeks of dutiful butter carrying. Plain butter was no longer something that “must taste pretty good by itself;” it was something that undoubtedly tasted better than anything else in the world. By not tasting the butter even though I was in charge of it, I was both disrespecting my position and depriving myself of the only possible source of enjoyment I could ever take from food. It was my right, my obligation, my goddamn patriotic duty to find out what it tasted like by itself.

But first I had to ask my mom.

“No,” she said.


“No,” she repeated. “That’s disgusting.”


“Go watch TV or something,” she said, one of the few times she ever uttered that phrase and the only time I was disappointed to hear it. My mother had just doomed me to live my life wondering what butter tasted like instead of finding out.

Or had she?

Sure, my mom had told me I couldn’t taste the butter, but she hadn’t revoked my responsibility. I still held the dish all by myself for about three seconds each night, which in theory gave me free reign to do with it whatever I felt was necessary, regardless of parental consent. And figuring out what it tasted like was something that I had recently decided was very, very necessary.

It took a few more weeks before I actually worked up the nerve to try it. Disobeying my parents was something that did not come naturally to me, to the point where sneaking into the kitchen to taste the butter when they weren’t there never even occurred to me. But eventually, curiosity overcame me, and I woke up one morning determined that tonight would be the night I solved the mystery.

My mom, dad and sister went about their business for the day as usual. Those poor fools in their perfect little bubbles had no idea what was about to happen just a few hours from now. I was fairly certain they never would either, as my sizable streak of incident-free butter carrying meant that my supervision had become very lax.

The evening started out normally enough. My dad called out “Dinner!” at 6:00 like he always did. I walked in towards the counter like I always did. I grabbed the butter dish like I always did, only this time I walked to the table at a slightly slower pace than usual, determined to maximize the amount of potential taste-testing time I would have. And then I slowly, slowly opened my mouth, stuck out the tip of my tongue, and touched it to the butter.

It tasted ok. At least, I think it did. My gustatory memories are slightly overshadowed by the shocked and disappointed cry of “Eddie!” coming out of my mom’s mouth immediately after I made contact. In retrospect, I don’t know why I thought I would be able to get away with licking butter when I was in the same room as two people who had made it clear they did not want me to lick butter. Chalk it up to youthful exuberance. Or, more aptly, stupidity.

My parents were crestfallen. Their first attempt to give their son responsibility had failed. Instead of ennobling him, it had corrupted him. They weren’t raising an Abraham Lincoln; they were raising a Richard Nixon. The only course of action was to dishonorably discharge me from this duty and assign me one that was less edible.

I was ashamed as well. At least, back then I was. But now that we’re in an age where fried butter is the latest craze at state fairs, I’m starting to think I was just ahead of my time.