I Think They’re Trying To Tell Me Something

My three highly targeted Facebook ads at this moment: Play video games, get in shape and get a girlfriend.

Go fuck yourself, Zuckerberg.


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The Banana Tree

For many, many years, a troop of monkeys lived exclusively on a single, yet massive banana tree growing in the center of the forest. The tree was older than any of the monkeys knew and had produced all the food a monkey could want dating back generations. They spent their lives tending to the tree, and the tree, in turn, took care of the troop.

There was the tree and there was life. That is what the monkeys knew, which was fine, because both their tree and their lives were splendid.

As years passed, so did the wildlife surrounding the tree. Other sources of food, like berry bushes and plants with edible flowers and leaves, began to grow around the tree. They were dominated by squirrels and smaller forms of life. Yet the tree remained strong, and the monkeys remained faithful.

“This is the only tree we will ever need,” the monkeys said.

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the bananas they had always eaten.

More years passed, and the tree had begun producing less bananas. Some monkeys suggested it was the plants around the tree, which had continued to grow and bear more fruit and more flowers, stealing nutrients from the soil. Those monkeys were called fools. After all, the tree had always been the dominant provider, so they remained faithful to the tree.

“The tree is still stronger than anything else in this forest,” the monkeys said.

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the bananas they had always eaten.

It wasn’t long before the tree had begun to droop and sag. It had been some time since new limbs had been produced, and old limbs were falling off nearly every day. A couple of monkeys believed the tree was having difficulty competing for sunlight with the new bushes and plants around it, now growing taller than before, but those claims were dismissed without query. After all, the tree had always been big enough to get its share of sunlight, so the monkeys remained faithful.

“The tree still is bigger than anything else in this forest,” the monkeys said.

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the bananas they had always eaten.

Fairly soon, the supply of bananas was less than the demand of the monkeys. The tree was not producing like it always had, but the monkeys continued eating as they always had. A few monkeys left for a new life in the bushes and plants, but most stayed.

“It is only the low rainfall this year. The tree will return stronger than ever,” the monkeys said.

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the bananas they had always eaten.

The next year, the tree had shrunk to nearly half its original size. The monkeys complained about the lack of food and forced exodus of older monkeys, whom they could not feed. Fewer new monkeys were entering the troop, but those who did recommended growing their own bushes and plants to help sustain themselves for future generations. They didn’t have to leave the tree, the new monkeys said, they just had to create new food sources. Yet the older monkeys, who had grown accustomed to only the tree and its bananas, dismissed the recommendation as a waste of valuable time.

“These bushes and plants are not hearty and surely will die. The tree has been here for forever and continues to feed us,” the monkeys said.

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the bananas they had always eaten.

At last, there were not enough bananas to go around for the few monkeys who remained in the troop. Their last-ditch efforts to grow bushes and plants were unsuccessful, as squirrels and other monkeys had been growing them for years, choking off the forest floor.

They complained about the monkeys who left to join the lowly squirrels, saying their missing efforts in caring for the tree hastened its decline.

They complained about the newer monkeys for their lack of respect toward the tree, saying their focus on bushes and plants hurt the tree’s recovery.

They complained about the sun, which had deflected its rays away from the tree’s shrinking leaves.

They complained about the soil, which had provided so much of its nutrients to the bushes and plants surrounding the tree.

They complained about the squirrels, who started the problem by refusing to be satisfied with the scraps they received from the tree and began growing the bushes and plants in the first place.

“All of these things have conspired against us and the tree,” the monkeys said. “We were the best in the forest. We had the best bananas, the best monkeys, and we did exactly what earlier generations had taught us to do.”

And they all nodded their heads in agreement, eating the last of the bananas they had always eaten.

Soon enough, they died along with the tree.

The bushes and plants, which had grown to towering heights around them, concealed the stump where the banana tree once stood.

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January 16, 2012 · 12:05 pm

Occupy Ski Masks

I’ve been thinking a lot recently. About ski masks.

What an awesome product. It covers your entire head, but not the eyes or mouth. So you can be warm while continuing to see and speak — all without ever exposing your delicate face to the harsh winds of winter. They are ideal for skiing, I would imagine.

In a utopian society, we’d all just walk around in these when the temperature drops below 30. Imagine, ladies, no makeup needed for a quick run to the store. Maybe someone would invent a Snuggie that started with a ski mask at the top and worked its way into a blanket you could wear. They’d come in all sorts of styles, textures and colors. People would collect them like they do hats, enjoying the sort of comfort and warmth that can only be found within the confines of a three-holed wool bag placed over your head.

But this isn’t a utopian society. We have to deal with robbers and terrorists, who have decided to ruin the good name of ski masks. How many wind-blistered faces could have been prevented if we just mandated background checks when selling these things? How many frosted cheeks and wind-sheared chins could we have stopped with a little product distribution control?

When I see a man wearing a ski mask, 99 out of 100 times he’s either (1) committing a crime or (2) traversing handle bars somewhere in the desert with a gun on his back, training to commit crimes. Does anyone not intending to commit a crime have the stones to walk into a 7-11 rocking a ski mask? Of course they don’t, because Ahmed would blast them in the chest with a 12-gauge before you can say, “Give me a three-pack of Trojans.”

We are the 99 percent. We are being held hostage by the thugs of the world, and our faces are freezing in vain.

Occupy Ski Masks movement, unite.

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Join Me For Outback Bowl Chatgasm 2012

An impromptu live chat with yours truly as Michigan State prepares to disappoint this afternoon against Georgia.


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O’Hare Airport Manifesto

3:41: Sit down at Chili’s bar. The Asian woman seating me said I had to be 21 to sit at the bar. I told her I was. Her response, “Ahhh, you baby face.”

3:46: I desperately want a great airport bar experience. My flight to Huntsville does not take off for another three and a half hours. What the hell was I thinking when I booked this? I didn’t even notice the layover until this morning. Might as well begin drinking.

3:48: There are no drink specials, so I will be pounding the big-ol’ Bud Lights. The first sip tastes delicious.

3:49: Check phone to find out BYU beat Tulsa despite trailing when I got on the plane. That gives me 10 wins in the last 11 games, putting me in prime position for some major bowl pool disappointment tomorrow.

3:50: Need to stop typing and focus more on drinking.

3:51: And the food is here. My three-hour mini vacation is off to a great start.

3:58: Had to interrupt my meal to report that a girl with a completely white face — as in, covered with white make-up — has left the Chili’s. She even had a boyfriend. I’ll let you choose your own joke about my single status.

4:17: Beer No. 2 is underway. The bar is filling up nicely. My view of the major terminal H intersection remains unobstructed. If Jesus Christ himself could choose a people-watching spot, this might be it.

4:19: The cute older lady to my left has abandoned about 3/4 of a chocolate brownie ice cream dessert. Carlos is clearing it now, and he does not appreciate the waste. Despite this, he says he “no eat that.”

4:23: I’m seeing a lot of Lions apparel in the airport here. At least three sightings since my arrival. I would call them fair-weather fans, but I have five more pieces of Lions apparel than I did when I connected here Sunday.

4:30: Rutgers is winning. Bowl pool relevancy is so close I can taste it.

4:32: Tom is sitting directly to my left and and has been here for about half an hour. He’s upset that I haven’t included him in this live blog. Here you go, Tom.

4:33: I called him Todd the first time. He corrected me, so let the record show that his name is Tom. He lives in outside New York, just inside New Jersey, has two sons (one 13, the other 17) and is a Notre Dame fan. Sorry about the rough season, Todd. At least you beat State.

4:35: Still at beer 1.5. Must drink faster. Time is running out.

4:36: Todd is wondering why one lady at the bar looks better than the other. It’s a great point. They have similar builds, but vastly different locations on the beauty spectrum. Why is this? Is it symmetry? Is it the relative location of eyes, nose and mouth? We don’t know. How can we.

4:38: I’ve been watching the bartender here — cute-ish, my age — and trying to figure out whether I’d rather be an airport bartender or regular bartender. Airport pros: High turnover means higher tips, you get to meet new people every day. Cons: Your friends can’t easily come visit, you don’t get the luxury of regulars, airport security to get to work.

4:41: Todd adds that people get expense report money, which already is on top of everything being overpriced. So every tip is that much more. His cons: People get pretty drunk in airports. He includes himself among those folks.

4:43: Continuing on this, people might feel less guilty about stiffing you on a tip. Overall estimation = it’s a wash.

4:44: I’m going to ask her what she thinks.

4:49: Beer No. 3, ahoy.

4:51: New eye-candy at the bar, according to Todd. We’re watching her test the structural limits of the Chili’s bar stool.

5:07: Rutgers is going to win. I am a bowl pool master, and I’m happy to say that while I still can.

5:08: And on cue, Iowa State scores to pull within a touchdown. I’m going to lose.

5:12: OK, I’m going to start calling him Tom again because I’m not sure if he’s gotten the joke with me calling him Todd. At any rate, he’s asking Taren to my right who her favorite Beatle is. Mine is the Dung Beatle.

5:14: Iowa State is going to win this game. @%$#@%$#@%$#@

5:17: Some major development. Taren and her husband own some big-time private golf course in Chicago, and she’s BFFs with Matt Damon. This bar visit WILL end with me Facetiming Matt Damon. So help me God.

5:22: Rutgers is back. The world is my oyster.

5:23: Hello beer No. 4.

5:25: Tom – We only meet the smartest Indians.
Taren – I don’t like the Indians.

5:27: Quick thought … I can’t wait to be rich.

5:29: I’ve never realized how unsuccessful I am. I need to get on one of two things the minute I land in Huntsville: (1) Work my ass off to be rich/famous, or (2) Marry into it.

5:31: Tom is leaving. It’s just Taryn and I. Turns out that’s the proper spelling, but I’m not going back to change it.

5:34: At last, an answer. The bartender said she has worked in a regular bar and an airport bar. The winner? Airport bar. “I don’t have to be a therapist for all these regulars, and we’re so busy here that I’m just making money and not listening to people’s problems all day.” Good to know.

5:41: Taryn is paying for my fourth beer. Maybe I should go back and change the spelling of her name.

5:51: Rutgers wins. Blammo.

5:52: The Music City Bowl is here. If Mississippi State is losing when it’s time to get on the plane, Taryn and I are doing Patron shots.

5:53: Wake Forest sack! I’ve convinced Taryn that she needs to be a Wake Forest fan. She’s on board.

5:54: My people watching almost is nonexistent due to the conversations with people around the bar. A quick rundown from my left: Bears fan, hippie, standard dude, a shaved down female sasquatch, Luther Vandross, another standard dude, cute girl I missed sitting down, a pedophile, his accomplice, (man with vision obscured by monitor), the not-so-good-looking woman from earlier. Four beers later, she remains unattractive. I must drink more.

6:04: Enter beer No. 5.

6:13: Carlos still has not gotten me this beer. My girl has clocked out.

6:15: I have a new neighbor to my left. His name is Sam. I’ve got only about a half hour here until boarding.

6:17: I realize that I have not asked anyone to pick me up from the airport. The folks who typically would do this already have told me they’d be drunk and unable to pick me up. Great friends. Who comes through? Bethany Bickley, of course.

6:18: Mississippi State ties it up. If they ever figure out how to not fumble the ball, they’re going to roll. I’m drinking to their continued sucktitude.

6:19: Bethany and friends are drinking and bowling. They’ve invited me out. It’ll be a pleasant surprise for them to find me drunker than everyone in the bowling alley.

6:24: A few observations from my trip to the bathroom: (1) It smells amazing in there. I wish my whole apartment smelled that way. (2) I watched a kid fall down in one of those turney door things. What are those called? They spin around and you step into a slice of the glass pie, walking until you’ve reached your desired side of the wall? Anyway, the thing hit him and slid him along the floor until it stopped, where everyone else in their own glass pie slice walked into the divider in front of them. (3) I’m getting kind of drunk. Maybe. Yup.

6:29: According to my boarding pass, I’m supposed to board in one minute. Oops. It’s been fun.


7:48: I’m on the aeroplane, about halfway home. I’ve met a mutual friend and we’re talking about hockey and drinking in airports. In other news: I peed in an airplane for the first time in my life, so there’s that … I got an emergency exit row seat because there are about 17 people on this plane … I don’t think I’ll be going into work when I land … This airplane must have been built around the time my dad tried out for high school marching band.

8:05: I think I’m going to learn guitar this year. It’s going to be a good year.

8:07: What would happen if I pulled this emergency exit door? I’m not talking about the criminal fallout or anything like that, I’m wondering about the pure physics of it. If I’m sitting right next to the opening, what happens to me? What happens to everyone else in the plane? Only one way to find out.

8:08: I’ve decided that way of finding out probably isn’t worth it.

8:09: Nap time.

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Avian Migrations and Alec Baldwin

For the predators riding the tailwinds, the migrants themselves are the feast.

The swooping silhouette of a bald eagles sends ripples of terror across the waterways.

“Bald eagles are sweet,” Sheila Dolinshek said.

A duck defends his patch of river with comic ferocity.


(More slow motion video)

The bald eagle is about to learn a lesson, according to Alec Baldwin.

Gaping beaks demand up to a dozen corpses per day from their parents.

“It got a running, pooping head-start,” Dave Dolinshek said.

End of transmission.

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Sometimes, after getting out of the shower, I put my clothes on before I apply deodorant.

Sometimes I tuck my shirt in first, too.

Sometimes I decide that untucking my shirt, then retucking it, isn’t worth the added benefit of having applied deodorant that day.


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