Tag Archives: Humor

A Money Hole, Stupid

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* For a brief explanation of this weird project please click here.

What do you think it is?

Uhhh….a money hole.

A money hole? That’s stupid.

You’re stupid, stupid.

I’m not stupid, stupid. You’re a stupid stupid face.

……..No I’m not.

 

Let’s get a stick.

Where?

From a tree dummy.

Stop being mean to me!

Okay, I’m sorry. Go get a stick.

What’s the magic word?

 

Thank you.

If you find any money then it’s mine since I was the one who said it was a money hole.

That’s not how it works.

How does it works then?

I keep the money because I found it. You get the stick.

If you find money and don’t give it to me I’m telling.

 

I think I feel something!

Lemme see!

No!

Hey! I’m telling! Let me see!

You’re too little, stupid face.

Shut up! I wish you were dead.

 

Hey, come back. I’m sorry. Tyler I’m sorry.

No you’re not. You’re a big fat stupid meanie.

If you stop crying and don’t say anything to mom, I’ll give you half.

Half of what?

Half of all the money we find.

Promise?

 

Okay, I think I hooked something! It’s probably a tweny or fifty!!

Quickly quickly pull it out!!

Oh….

What is that?

I don’t know, it’s…it smells like…ewwwwww!

That’s it! I’m telling! Mom!!!

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Sir Alex Ferguson, and the Dog

Today has been a very peculiar day for me. I rose a little earlier than I normally would, egged on by my weekly cross-country-and-then-the-Atlantic phone call to my mother, and felt a little dusty. I called her and listened to the Skype tone as I thought about coffee, and work, and writing, and all of the things that sat before me that day. She answered, and within seconds knew that everything was not well. You get to know the inflections in your own mother’s voice when they are often the only markers of mood. Being as far away as I have been for as long as I have been, your senses become mostly dormant when pointed towards home. I can only hear my mother. Her tone of voice tells me so much.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, taking a moment to pause and quickly scan over her feelings, “we, eh, we had to take Mollie to the vet today and have her, eh…and have her put down.”

I heard how difficult the last few words were for her. I almost cried at the sound of her almost crying, and at the thought that she had been crying but thought it necessary not to for my sake. I wasn’t really affected by the dog. It didn’t matter much to me anymore. She was old, and it was best for everyone. But I was sad for my mother. She let go of something a little sooner than she hoped to.

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We got that dog when I was eleven years old, one year after my father died. I think mum felt that she needed to have something around. She told me later that she thought about a cat, but we’d had one of those when dad was around. And a cat isn’t the same as a dog. There’s something inherently sad about a cat. So one day we went to Stirling and picked out Mollie, a tiny Cocker Spaniel puppy out of a chaotic, yelping litter of seven.

I’m not going to sit here and say that the dog represented my father, or that my mother sought to preserve his memory through canine affection, but there was something in that dog that helped all of us. For a little while it distracted us. Suddenly there was something exciting, something newborn and fragile to focus our attention on. In a house that spent a year filled with a sense of loss and expiration it was so refreshing to have this little black and white ball of fluff and ears bouncing around, so upbeat, innocent and tangible. But after the excitement died off it was a companion to my mother. She had someone to run with, something to cuddle into, a fourth mouth to feed. The dog filled a void that lay desperately open for the year after my father’s death.

Fast-forward fifteen years, and the dog is now in a box in the back garden, buried by my mother and my step-father. Le temps détruit tout. Did she let go of something today? I don’t think so. I don’t see there being some kind of emotional burden of grief attached to the poor animal anymore. It shed that a long time ago. Mollie’s roll changed over the years, and yesterday she was just a dog.

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Ta’ra Mollie.

After coming off the phone to my mother I looked on the Guardian’s website, as I do somewhat compulsively everyday. Now, I’ve managed to trim a lot of the fat from my lifestyle over the last few years. Torturous levels of self-discipline and a panting notion of replete failure nipping at my coattails keeps me focused on my goals and working as hard as I possibly can every single day. But, I am prone to daily slip ups. And these slip-ups typically appear in the form of football (soccer) journalism. I don’t even watch the beautiful game anymore. I just like the new breed of football journalists. I take a sickly pleasure in reading suppressed authors douse an often tedious sport with effervescent language and stuff it with philosophical undertones far beyond the contemplative abilities of the “artists” that craft it on the field. I just like imagining their smiles as they write. Reading about football is my equivalent of reality TV. My harmless little vice.

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And today, if you’re someone that knows anything at all about football, you will have heard that Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed, knighted Scottish manager of Manchester United, retired from football after 56 years in the game, with 27 of those spent at the helm of United. He took Manchester United from being a rusting, once-great side scrambling in a deep rut, to being one of the richest, most successful and consistent teams in the world.

I’m not going to get into the psychology of the man, the controversies he courted, or even try to dwell too much more on belting out a verse upon verse of praise to the tremendous weight his legacy is sure to wield over the game. There are many more talented writers than I doing those very things at this very moment, and my words would ultimately contribute very little (mostly because I would be merely paraphrasing the writers I wish I didn’t read). But I find it hard to imagine life as a football fan without him.

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Since before I was even born, Sir Alex Ferguson was in complete control of my football club. The only team I have ever watched have only ever had one person standing at the touchline berating the players and referees. He’s the craggy faced ogre that flashed flaccid pieces of mangled chewing gum as warning signs between exasperate sighs to the journalists that asked him “stupid bloody questions”. He swept the old boys out and nudged the new ones in with the butt of his broom. But most importantly, he didn’t succumb to the modern trappings of football management, like player egos, result-based success, reactionary fan pressure, or trigger happy billionaire owners, often because he was smart enough to negotiate his way around them, but occasionally because such things simply did not apply to him. There were football managers, and then there was Ferguson. He was the last of the old school, and the world will never see another one like him.

But how does that relate to the dog? I’m not sure that it does. It seemed profound in the moment I declared it significant, and, despite all the sadness, I was tingled by a precisely serendipitous feeling. Perhaps it’s that relief. I have finally buried something I have been subconsciously reappropriating for years. Football once defined me. As a child I was a footballer, and I was a Manchester United supporter. But today I’m nothing more than someone that finds an incubated feeling of removal in reading about a team I once loved. Every day I make the decision to read something innocuous about Wayne Rooney’s goal drought, or Moaninho’s future over becoming versed in US politics, or the escalating situation in the Middle-East. I should no longer seek an escape route from the news, but a feeling of empowerment through knowledge.

Like the dog, maybe we’ve all served each other well, and can pleasantly move on with our lives. Thanks for everything. Maybe it’s time for me to let it go, and let the past be just that.

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Presence by Chris Buck

* Originally published in LA Canvas magazine.

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From the off it should be clearly expressed that this book is not going to be for everyone. You could lean back in your russet recliner and chortle as you shake your head and note that, ‘darling, no art is for everyone’. But Presence, the graceful yet unapologetic new photo book from celebrated pop culture photographer Chris Buck, is one of those things that some people will never, ever see where the appeal lies, like sardines, or Drum ‘n’ Bass.

Presence is a collection of celebrity portraits in which the celebrity himself is hiding somewhere out of sight within the frame. Yeah, I told you.

Jay Leno…allegedly.

Each page turn is a taunting carrot and stick ordeal that never ceases mocking you. Yet the statements signed by the subject and by a witness tease you just enough that you start to peel away the layers of the photograph to dive deep into the depth of field. And it’s there that you imagine these familiar faces crouched behind a sofa or standing behind the drapes, giggling.

Underwhelming, yes. Contradictory, yes. Strangely captivating, yes.

Snoop and his Dogg (now Lion)

Chris Buck has been documenting the evolution of pop culture since the early eighties. Finding his in through documenting the underground punk scene in his hometown of Toronto, he gained his reputation by catching early glimpses of iconic artists such as R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and the Fall’s Mark E. Smith, and hinted at the abstract projects and themes that would later define his work and cement his reputation as one of the genuinely unique photographers in the industry.

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After a few years submerged in the music scene in Canada he made the jump to New York City where he immediately found his surreal sense of humor and precise attention to detail in high demand. His portfolio showed someone that was not only technically strong, but had a personality that put subjects at ease and soothed the presence of the intruding camera. And whilst he was amassing his little black book of who’s who of who’s, which includes Louis C.K., Steve Martin and even Barak Obama, he would end many of his shoots by politely asking the subject if they wouldn’t mind hiding behind something for a moment.

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Presence casually swats away the inevitable ‘gimmick’ tag by being beautifully composed on every level. The concept, whilst having a breezy air of whimsy and being almost immediately predictable, does carry a hefty weight when examining the notion of celebrity and the objectivity of portrait photography. It is also a wonderful collection of photographs of America, with the draw of a hiding celebrity giving you the ability to see and inspect the details as you probably wouldn’t otherwise.

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Desmond Tutu

There is a bold streak of humor as dry as marrow running through Chris Buck’s entire career, and his ability to convince ‘The Talent, darling’ to indulge in his bizarre concepts really comes in as a triumphant after-thought. He clearly places originality high on list of priorities when composing collections of photographs, and while some would write that off as being a hindrance on his unquestionable brilliance as a portrait photographer, it does bring him into a world of fine art that clearly suits his mind as well as his eye.

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Where’s that accent from?

Based on the same conversation I have every single day about my f**king accent.

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What can I get for you?

Can I get a…wait. Hold up. Where’s that accent from?

Same place I’m from.

Funny. Where’s that?

Guess.

Oooh. Okay.

 

Australia? No. Do I sound Australian?

I guess, a little. I don’t know. Just foreign.

Again.

New Zealand?

What?! That’s almost the same accent as Australia. No. Way off. Culturally, physically, and aurally.

South Africa maybe?

 

I’m Northern European. Look at me. I’m really, really white. I’m from the source.

God, I don’t know. Ireland maybe?

Scotland. I’m from Scotland. It’s a Scottish accent.

Scotland! That was my next guess. Wow. Scotland eh?

Yeah.

My friend’s been to Ireland.

 

It is the same.

Shut up, no it isn’t. They’re different countries. I’m just being a stupid American.

Honestly. Alcoholism, depression, recession, Anti-English sentiment. It’s the same place.

I think the UK sounds awesome. Old buildings and like the history and stuff. Culture, you know?

I think you’re mostly thinking of London.

Maybe. But Scotland is probably dope too right? Like castles and nature and stuff right?

 

I mean, you should always have a return ticket though.

I think I’m like one eighth…Scotch? Scottish?

Scottish.

Scottish. And then like there’s some Dutch, a little German, and maybe like a sixteenth Native American.

Really? That’s an interesting mix. I’m just Scottish.

Well, I think that’s better. You get the accent and stuff. I just get this.

 

You do have one. This is what you sound like. You sound like this.

Oh my god! Shut the f**k up. That’s freaky. You actually sound American.

I am. I have an audition tomorrow. I’m actually from Fresno.

Oh my God! Shut the f**k up right now! I actually believed you were from f**king Scotland!

I’m joking. I am actually from Scotland.

Okay, now I’m confused. Anyway listen, what’s a good Scottish cocktail?

 

 

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Blood and Sand – Cocktail Recipe

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Recipe: Equal parts blended Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino Cherry liqueur and Orange juice. Shake well with ice and strain into some nice stemmed glassware (see above). Garnish and zest with an orange peel.

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Okay, it’s last call on the flavored vodka troops. As it turns out your consumerist bhagwan Puff Dirty Daddy is laughing at you as you follow the scent of his ethereal goji berry spirit down the rabbit hole and into his bejeweled lair of misappropriated excess. Time to drink up and move on.

The majority of flavored vodkas have all the complexity of the supporting female role in a Kevin James movie, and the finish of George’s Marvelous Medicine. Bought because you heard that the Flow Rider and his ‘boyz’ drink it in the clubs, you fully embrace the bland, characterless spirit, and because of the shrewd product placement you gladly overlook the fact that it’s actually best used to clean burnt soup from cooker surfaces and congealed sin from the embossed initials on wedding rings.

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It’s time to grow up and start enjoying the taste of alcohol.

Blood and Sand Stuff

The Blood and Sand originated at some point around 1920, and is a fantastically well-balanced Scotch-based cocktail transcends seasonal pallets and themes and often defies those that have an aversion towards whisky, and wince at the bone-dry echoes that sweet vermouth tends to leave behind. All four flavors are present in this drink, coming on one at a time, politely stepping aside and clearing the path for the next with a bygone sense of noble chivalry.

As one of only a handful of cocktails that uses Scotch, it does tend to raise the odd eyebrow with Puff Daddy’s flavored vodka crowd, but it is a hit. To ensure that people approach the drink with the necessary state of open mindedness, assure your more reserved party guests that they are in fact drinking the new Ciroc® Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry & Orange flavored vodka.

For best results use a blended whisky that’s relatively neutral, sweet and smooth (J&B, Johnnie Walker Black, Famous Grouse should be fine. Just don’t go near anything from Islay, unless you want your drink to taste like smoked surgical bandages), get some Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (hard to come by but worth it) and keep it chilled, and I always like to toss a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry into the shaker to get a bit of pulp in there.

Sweet, strong, dry and a little tart, this is an exceptionally well-rounded cocktail. Jay Gatsby would have gladly served drinks like this at his appropriately excessive parties. Not something that can be said for a double Ciroc® Bratwurst with Monster Khaos…

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Mental Breakdown #2 – Writer

Two

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Date: 03/14/2013

To the ceaselessly trending you,

This morning I posted a single paragraph blurb about some pop-up gluten-free cupcake store in the Arts District, and two hours later posted a 1500 word satirical essay I wrote last year about technological developments being directly proportional to the gory death of masculine identity. The cupcake scoop presently has 34 ‘likes’ and 16 comments on the magazine’s Facebook page. The essay received two ‘likes’, one of which was from our tech guy in Bangalore, and no comments. At what point can one legitimately begin to blame the audience for one’s shortcomings?

I am presently being smothered in the clutches of a hateful relationship with myself. I work in an industry I thought that I loved for people that I loathe, for an almost-negligible sum of money. I worry that my boyfriend is fucking all his skinny actress friends, but I’m possibly just being all #overlyattachedgirlfriend about everything and that he’ll realize he’s better off without me. And despite the fact that this is going to sound like such an LA-thing to say, but I’m worried that I’m just a big ball of negative energy that people want nothing to do with.

A few days ago I could barely afford to make the repayment on my enormous school debt. It’s really beginning to sink in now that I voluntarily put myself into thousands of dollars of debt to attain a qualification that does nothing but feed itself back to itself. I have an MA in Creative Writing. So in order to find work that actually pays actual money I will almost certainly have to join the education system, and start teaching more kids to be teachers in order to pay off the debt that their silly little passion lumped on them. Perhaps as a result of my extensive online fieldwork with GRIT/SHINE magazine I will one day be considered the preeminent authority on Twitter Literature (#twitlit), and will be able to explore the bowels of minimalism, teaching undiscovered Hemingways and Salingers to consider vowels implied and punctuation frivolous.

There are lots of reasons I despise my job, but the biggest one at present seems to be that our priority has shifted from print towards the internet. This means gouging the bottom of the dried-up superlative well for more innocuous praise for ‘cool’ things we found whilst trawling Gawker, or Fader, or Hypebeast, or Pitchfork. But once we’ve declared something to be ‘super-sick’, it immediately becomes, oops, ‘super-[sic]’, and we’re, pfffft, over it. God forbid you should miss out on a ticket to today’s Super Rad Flying Lotus Circle Jerk because you were busy standing in line for yesterday’s Gnar Gnar Kendrick Lamar Pants Festival. We, the Damp Hype Journalists, armed with an ‘@vice.com’ email address and right-click button for synonyms, build careers to tear them down, and have smugly reinvented ourselves as ‘Trendspotters’. And I’m dreading the well-earned irony it would be if my work was one day fed through the ruthless system of fragile hype that I helped to facilitate for almost no reward, other than the initial weightless euphoria of my career freefalling the second after said epitaph was declared ‘of note’.

I guess it was last night’s party that really brought me to you. It was at some kitschy street art gallery in Hollywood. The art was by another purposeless stoner that found his calling in life wallowing somewhere on the surface level of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. It was a ‘VIP’ event, despite their being a large number of people in attendance that I knew to be anything but important. The all stood around, schmoozing and fawning all over one another, then moving on to the next. I watched conversations dip into awkward troughs as people blanked on names before being saved by the exchange of deceptively marked, Bateman-esque business cards. From my vantage point of the deepest corner, every single smile in the room seemed fake. I could see it in their eyes. I imagined every time someone looked at their phone they were wishing the hours away until they could be alone and curse themselves for falling for the gag again.

I slipped out of the party early. Darryl asked if I minded if he stayed. I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, but I did mind. I wanted him to come home with me. I said, ‘No. Stay, if you want to.’ He smiled, gave me a kiss, and walked off into the crowd. I left, and let the tears fall out onto the street. I took the subway most of the way home. I got off at Westlake/MacArthur Park and walked the rest. I just walked, dabbing tears, laughing and swearing at myself, looking like another crazy that came here and lost. But I didn’t care. At that moment I was far too worried about what I thought of me to worry about what anyone else thought of me. At least that’s a start.

Help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous

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Mental Breakdown #1 – Comedian

One

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Date: 03/14/2013

To the cleaner that finds this,

I’m just about ready to pop a bag of Xanax like Skittles and dive to the bottom of this bottle of Popov. Leave the world like a silent fart made from Guinness and Mexican street meat. Perhaps my legacy will burn brighter than my life ever did. Perhaps people will realize that I was too far ahead of my time to ever achieve the recognition I deserved. ‘He was like Hicks, Kauffman and Stanhope rolled into one!’’ They’ll read my Wikipedia page and lament about how young I was, how expansive my career could have been, and how it just didn’t need to be that way. But it did need to be that way. And at this point I think it probably will be.

I’ve been sitting in this dank, cavernous little motel room in Fresno for two days now. There are little blood shots on the ceiling that are either from squished mosquitoes or stabbed veins. Everything white has turned the color of smoker’s fingernails, and the pipes heave and splutter before spewing their bile into the sink. The smog that hangs over the city probably comes from the crematorium for anonymous souls that slashed their wrists in their ‘luxury motel rooms’ as they fled from abject failure in Los Angeles. It’s exactly the sort of place that a degenerate fuck up crawls to die.

I decided I would try to write my own Wikipedia page. I didn’t have time to write a book, so it would be Wikipedia, a quick Tweet and a big fat ‘Fuck yourself’ post to everyone on Facebook, and I’d be gone. Yet despite the fact that it’s widely known that anyone can make a Wikipedia page, it still manages to instill a sense of legitimacy. Like, ‘Oh shit, he’s got a Wikipedia page? He must be worth something.’ They don’t need to know that he made it in a motel room in Fresno, drunk, in yesterday’s yesterday’s underwear.

I fantasized about what I’d write. I made some notes and categorized everything. ‘Early Life’, ‘Mid-Career: Seattle to Los Angeles’, ‘Final Years: 2010 – 2013’ ‘Death’, ‘Legacy’ and everyone’s favorite, ‘Personal Life’. Once I was planned and ready to start I opened it up and realized that you need to have some knowledge of internet coding. So I gave up and here I am, writing this letter that may or may not be a suicide note. It’s certainly a cry a for attention, but I don’t know whether I want you to come and save me, or to just bring your poncho and a spoon and watch me explode like Gallagher’s watermelon.

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I feel like I owe it to you to briefly explain the “Schindler’s List on Ice” that my life has become in what could amount to its final few days.

After getting on more than 400 mics a year for six years straight, my “agent” lands me a headlining spot at the Laugh Factory. There were big promoters, producers; all the spokes on Hollywood’s greasy wheel were rolling in to see me. And I bombed. I fell apart, like a cat shit sandcastle. They just didn’t get it. They just stared at me, watching the school bus crash in super slow motion. So I did what anyone would do in that situation: I go home, get fucked up, and smash stuff. Kitty comes home from work and explodes, hits me with an ashtray and bursts my head open. Tells me to get out. I leave with all my stuff flying out after me, and pass out in the car.

Woke up covered in blood still piss drunk, still angry. I grabbed all of my stuff that lay outside, threw it into the car and started driving to Seattle. I was done with Los Angeles: The place where creativity washes up dead and bloated on the shore.

But here I am. In a motel in Fresno, out of gas, out of money, and out of everything I need to feel like things can possibly get better. I look at myself and see a worthless nobody that duped himself into thinking he was somebody for his entire life. But the game’s up. I’ve been circling the drain for years and now I’m just about ready to disappear.

But here’s the punchline of my entire life: I’m out of vodka and I have no money to buy Xanax. How much is six feet of rope?

Fuck my life. And fuck yours too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous

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The Hierarchy of Facebook Approval

Based on real conversations I have every day with my friend Kyle.

It’s a numbers game.
What is?
Facebook.
Yeah?
You’ve got to get your numbers up.
Fucking nonsense.

You’ve got to get your numbers up.
For what? What do the ‘likes’ even mean?
They mean people like something.
What people? Like what? Like you?
No. Just like what you said.
But why? Why do you care? Likes are not currency. They never run out.

Look, I got 28 ‘likes’ on my last status.
I don’t care.
I got 28, and your last status got…
I don’t give a fuck mate. I makes no diff-
Seven ‘likes’.
What?! Who cares!?!

Yeah baby, 29 ‘likes’ and oh, Janine Woodford says ‘LOL’.
I hate Janine Woodford, she sounds horrible.
She is. But still, a ‘LOL’ is one step higher than a ‘like’.
This is the hierarchy of Facebook approval? Where does a ROFLOL fit into it?
It goes: ‘Like’ bronze medal, ‘Comment’ silver medal, and ‘Share’, gold fuckin’ medal, baby.
One of your acquaintances saying, ‘Look at this thing this guy I know said, on Facebook’ is as good as it gets then eh?

It’s a game we all play, just some of us play it better than others.
Bullshit. You know what I think it is, I have a higher caliber of friends.
Nah. That’s not it. My friends are on point. They reflect me.
Exactly. Your friends are clapping seals and your status updates are haddock.
And what, your friends are a bunch of scientists and your status updates are beakers or something.
I do actually have scientist friends, so go fuck yourself.

You try to hide your personality. You’re all miserable on there, like a wet sock on a Monday morning,
Cute, is that your next update?
I think it might be.
No one’s going to ‘like’ that.
…………………….Oh! Janine Woodford likes this!
Fuck Janine Woodford. Let me see her.

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The Election – Part One

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I went to the polling station before work. I’d given myself a liberal amount of time to stand in line to vote. They’d made it sound like we were going to be standing in line until the inauguration, the media and such. But I normally knew better than to believe the things they said. They told us the race was ‘too close to call’, yet everybody I spoke to said they were voting Obama. But perhaps that’s cause I live in California. I didn’t much plunge into the Deep South these days. A lot of people down there would sooner stone a black man than vote for one.

So after standing in line for almost an hour in the obscene 90-degree heat of a typical Los Angeles November, I dropped my meaningless vote into the ballot box, smiled, and left. I walked past all of the vibrant, young liberals and sighed. My vote meant nothing and my hour was gone, never to return.

Work was slow in getting started. We had a few tables in. I was just chit chatting with the sexy cocktail server, pouring a glass of beer here and there, and watching the results of the count come in on the TVs. She didn’t know anything about politics. I didn’t much either but she made me feel smart. I liked her. We stood in front of one TV. It was showing CNN. The other was showing FOX. A young Asian couple came in and sat in front of the FOX TV.

“Hey guys,” I said, sliding a menu out to each of them, “you in to watch the game?”

They laughed a little.

“Yeah, just happy to see it all end,” said the guy. I looked at them both. They looked ‘Democratty’.

“I don’t mean to presume or anything, but we’re showing CNN down there.” I said, pointing to the empty and of the bar.

They picked up their menus and shuffled down to the other end. I looked at the screen that they were sitting in front of. It was projecting pretty much the same thing. No real news yet. Just that Romney had taken Kentucky. I tried to think about what I knew about Kentucky. Horseracing and Jim Beam were the only immediate things that came to mind. And gravy, although I was almost certain that that was just something people ate there. I wondered if any of those things bore any relation to the Republican party.

“Bartender!” I heard someone shout. I turned around. There was this old man at the end of the bar. He looked like a beat-up old alcoholic. He had one of those purple alcoholic noses and a damp alcoholic jacket. You could imagine the smell of boozy pores trapped under that damp boozy coat. He sat a little too close to the Asian couple, and she was clearly starting to lean towards her man. He was fixed watching the television. “Get me some whisky. But nothing from Kentucky. Fuck Kentucky!”

He started laughing and slamming his bandaged hand off the bar top. The young couple looked down to me. I saw a pleading in their eyes. They just wanted to have a quiet drink and watch the drama on the TV unfold. They didn’t order an old sodden alcoholic man with a bandaged hand. I tried not to laugh.

“Jack Daniels okay sir?” I asked.

“Where’s that from?” he shouted.

I picked up the bottle and scanned for a place I recognized.

“Tennessee” I said.

“That a Republican state?”

I nodded.

“Something else then. A Democrat state whiskey.”

I thought about where bourbon and rye came from and all I could come up with were southern states. I looked to the top shelf.

“How about Laphroig?” I asked, plucking the bottle from the back bar.

“Which state is that from?”

“Scotland”

He gave me the old thumb that looked like a burnt sausage and looked back to the screen.

“That’ll have to do then,” he muttered. “They’re Democrats over there.”

I poured him a big one, and splashed a little into my glass of coke. The old boy held up his glass to me. I raised mine and smiled. The Asian couple sat between the old boy and myself, moping amongst the cheers.

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TOP 4 REASONS WHY I HATE LISTS

The #list is still #trending. This must cease! And here are my top four reasons why:

1. You’re all doing them



Everyone is making lists in lieu of structured, narrative driven content. It seems that absolutely everything must be in list form or no one will read it. Cracked seem to be the first super blog to base almost all of its content off of its ability to organize things, but so many other media outlets have been tempted by the once-modest, now-contemptuous ‘list’. I’ve caught the column sections of every major news outlet dropping their narrative arcs in favor of spiking you repeatedly with information.

I’ve decided that if I can find a few more articles that share our bitter tone I’ll make a list of the top [however many people have already had this hack idea] lists that detail why lists lack originality.

I could probably create a list ranking the many fragrant pieces of irony that are housed within this list.

2. These lists feed people’s inability to concentrate



Putting these Lunchable sized pieces of information into a bullet point format with a photo break every second sentence is like allowing an extremely fat person to rest on the hood of every car he passes on his long jog towards a safe blood pressure.

We’re reading, but reading extremely badly.

This form is ruining our ability to digest simple narrative structures. You can scroll down the page, look at the headings, look at the pictures, get the outline and move on, learning almost nothing in the process. In fact you probably pushed out the last of the French vocabulary you learned at school and replaced it with the opinion of some twat that a dog is better than a cat.

3. They’re desperate



They are. The casual list is currently the cheapest form of blog writing (and that sentence really carries weight) and it pains me to see online publications that I used to avidly follow resort to pandering Top Ten lists that beg for social interaction and grovel at your top ten toes for ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’.

I recently found myself reading a top one hundred list of books that you should have read before you die. It made me sad to know that most of the people reading that list, and almost certainly myself included, wouldn’t get to read all of those books before death allowed its spiders to weave cobwebs on their lives. It made me think that someone should probably restructure each of those iconic novels into a three point, 500-word list.


4. They always get so much weaker towards the end




By the time our blogger gets to about number seven on the list his gusto is almost shot and he’s left deflated, stumbling roughly towards the end, before retiring in a saggy heap a few points short of an acceptably round number.

*

“The Top Nine Household items one can use to hit a nail into the wall if one has misplaced his hammer?” asked the editor, raising a brow to the timid young contributor.

“I couldn’t think of anymore,” he replied, shuffling in his spot, “I already did book, shoe, stone. I even put Bible in there, but technically that’s just a thick book.”

They stood in silence for a moment, their eyes glancing around the office for inspiration.

“Force?” said the editor, squinting at a ‘Phantom Menace‘ mug on a nearby desk.

“Is ‘Force’ a household item?”

The editor stared deep into his thoughts for a moment. He started nodding earnestly as he handed the slim list back to the young contributor.

“Force is definitely something that is used my house.”

*

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