Battle Royale: Sad Kitty vs. Dirty Kitchen

February 2nd, 2010 3 comments
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When not neglecting my blog, I work in operations for an art gallery. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m the office manager, which is a fancy way of saying I need to make sure our half-dozen kitchens (seriously – there are six of them) stay clean. It’s an awesome job.

Lately my co-workers, in what I can only assume is a cooperative effort to make my job more interesting, have been making a real mess of our tiniest kitchen. I reacted to this professional challenge the same way I do to most of life’s little problems, which is to say:

  1. I stomped around and held my breath until I passed out.
  2. I woke up and had myself a good cry.
  3. I fought back with clip art.

And after carefully employing the highly sophisticated work habits detailed above, I am now the proud owner of this little beauty:

Effective, no? I know that you, dear reader, would never leave a dirty mug in a sink with that pathetic looking cat posted nearby. Unfortunately, my boss thought this might be a little too silly and that it would only ensure that my coworkers have themselves a nice chuckle while they pile more dishes in the sink.

I respect my boss’ authority, and have resigned myself to the fact that Sad Kitty will never grace the wall of my office kitchen. But you know what? I’m the boss of this blog, and I say Sad Kitty rules! I don’t ask for much, readers, but I’m asking you to send this image to your respective office managers and get them to put it up in your office kitchen. Send it to your friends and tell them to do the same. Hang it up in your apartment: Sad Kitty works as well on roomates as it does coworkers. Together you and I are going to conquer America’s kitchens, one kitten tear at a time.

And please, PLEASE, if you do hang up Sad Kitty, take a photo and send it to Little things like that make my day, and if I get enough of them, I’ll post a gallery of the many places Sad Kitty has been.

Terrible TV Show. Awesome Street Name.

January 31st, 2010 No comments
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I was driving in Pleasantville, NY today and passed a sign for Coprock Road. Awesome. I can only hope that this is the start of a new trend: naming streets after ridiculously terrible TV shows from the 80’s. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one day I’ll own a home at 227 Airwolf Drive (at the corner of Simon & Simon Boulevard). Dare to dream.

Fonzie of the Week #19: Anybody but J.D. Salinger

January 29th, 2010 2 comments
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Guess what? Your mom is Fonzie of the Week! So’s mine! And this week, so long as you are Anybody but J.D. Salinger, you too can call yourself Fonzie of the Week. Congratulations!

Lots of people are going to go out of their way in the next few days to demonstrate what a genius J.D. Salinger was, but don’t you believe the hype, loyal reader. The supposed greatness of his one novel and several short stories aside, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and point out that he was a complete nutjob, and definitely not deserving of the honor that you and everybody you know has earned this week. Mourn not the loss of Mr. Salinger, rather congratulate yourself for not being him. Way to go, you Fonzie, you!

I suppose I should provide some explanation for my dislike of the recently-deceased Salinger. To start with, I hated The Catcher in the Rye, which by all accounts I should have loved, having read it as a young white guy. Now there’s no accounting for taste, and I’m not going to argue with people who love the book. That’s a perfectly valid opinion to have. But so is mine, which is that Holden Caulfield was a spoiled rich kid who couldn’t hack it at his expensive private school, so he goes to New York and wastes a bunch of money he didn’t earn feeling bad for himself. What a page-turner. If only we could all afford to treat ourselves to a weekend in New York when we were depressed at 17. Now I’m not saying that Mr. Salinger didn’t create a believable character in Holden Caulfield. He did, and skillfully so. But that doesn’t make The Catcher in the Rye a good book: I’ve had to endure rich assholes in real life; I see no point in wasting my free time reading a book about a fictional one.

Regardless of my feelings towards Caulfield, J.D. Salinger’s life was an insult to people (espeically artists) who actually work for a living. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but facts are facts. I hated The Catcher in the Rye, but let’s pretend for a moment that I loved it. Hell, let’s assume that I loved every scrap of fiction that Salinger ever published – there are plenty of people who do. Even so, the guy hasn’t published anything in more than 40 years! There’s plenty of speculation that he continued to write prolifically in his little New Hampshire fortress of solitude, but at best Mr. Salinger didn’t die an author; he died a former author and active weirdo recluse. I only write this blog that very few people read, and I often manage to fail my lowly goal of one post per week – and yet I’ve released more original content to the reading public in the last 6 months than Salinger has in decades. I’m not saying I’m a better writer than Salinger. I’m just saying I’m the only one of the two of us to actually write something people can read in the last 40 years.

But here’s the worst part of the hoopla surrounding Salinger’s death: people are praising him for not writing. What the hell? Verlyn Klinkenborg wrote in a New York Times editorial that “there was a purity in Mr. Salinger’s separation from the world, whatever its motives, whatever his character. His half-century of solitude and silence was a creative act in itself, requiring extraordinary force of will.” Bullshit. Anorexia takes extraordinary force of will, too, but I don’t see the Times honoring all those tapeworm-eating teenage girls out there.

Let’s apply the J.D. Salinger path to greatness to an equally important but less lauded career: janitor. In this scenario, a young J.D. Salinger, just home from the war, fulfills his lifelong dream of perfecting the art of custodial maintenance. And he’s great at it! He quickly rises through the ranks, landing the most coveted shifts at the swankiest office buildings. Until one day, sick of his superiors and clients lavishing praise on him for his keen attention to detail, he retreats to his home and never cleans again. Or, in Salinger’s case, there would be wild speculation that he continues to clean in private, compulsively toothbrush-scrubbing his floors with furious abandon. But nobody can say for sure, because he won’t let anybody see his (possibly) spotless home. I guarantee that when Salinger the janitor dies, nobody’s going to claim that he was the greatest American janitor of his generation. Rather, they’d wonder why such a promising young custodial all-star went so batshit crazy. That’s what I’d like to see written about the real Salinger – preferably in a more prestigious publication than my lowly blog. Salinger may have been a great writer, but he wasted the second half of what could have been an even more accomplished life, and there was nothing noble or artistic about his freakish seclusion. It was his right to be a recluse, but let’s not praise him for it.

So to conclude: congratulations, Anybody but J.D. Salinger! Your steadfast dedication to not being J.D. Salinger is a true inspiration to children everywhere who boldly aspire to grow up to be somebody other than J.D. Salinger. Get out there and share your gifts with the world.

Fonzie of the Week #18: Conan O’Brien

January 15th, 2010 No comments
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I’m real late to the party in supporting Conan O’Brien and joining the internet riot against the treachery of the Leno Industrial Complex. And if you’re reading my obscure little blog, then it’s a safe bet that you already know all about the poor guy getting royally screwed by his soon-to-be ex-employer. Needless to say, I’m with CoCo. So with gratitude for the many years of laughs he’s provided as writer or host for Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Late Night, and most recently his criminally short tenure at The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien is Fonzie of the Week.

True story: on December 29th I sent myself an email as a reminder to make Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg (the trombonist from the Tonight Show band, and the guy who sings the “In the Year 2000/3000” theme song) Fonzie of the Week someday. If only I had known what was to come, I might have sped things up and honored him already. But with what looks like only one week left before Conan is off the air – at least on NBC – LaBamba’s out and Conan’s in. (Sorry, LaBamba: you are just another piece of collateral damage generated by NBC’s deal-breaking blitzkrieg. Damn you, Jeff Zucker!)

The bad news is that Conan is most likely going to lose The Tonight Show in the next week or so. It’s a slap in the face to hard-working people everywhere. Conan paid his dues and patiently waited his turn, only to have NBC yank the rug out from under him less than a year later. The real insult is that Jay Leno got his 10pm show in the first place: it’s insulting to Conan because it sent a clear message that NBC was willing to handicap his Tonight Show to keep Leno happy; and it’s insulting to viewers because NBC’s reason for creating The Jay Leno Show was primarily an economic one: Leno’s show is way cheaper than scripted dramas or comedies. I understand NBC has to protect its bottom line, but this strikes me as putting the cart before the horse. It’s almost as slimy as the reality show boom of the last decade, but at least this time they were paying writers (if only those employed by Jay Leno).

The good news is that Conan will be back, and I believe better than ever. It’s disappointing that his unique brand of humor won’t carry the Tonight Show brand, but with Leno hijacking the show from its rightful host for arguably the second time, that brand no longer carries the street cred it once did. The only question now seems to be which network will host CoCo’s triumphant return. FOX seems to be in the lead, if the rumors are to be believed, but I think that Conan might be best served by a cable network where he’ll have fewer restraints placed on him by the FCC. Sure, Jon Stewart never had as big an audience as Leno or Letterman, but it’s easy to make the case that he’s made a bigger impact on American culture, even with his smaller platform. The history books will elevate him higher than any Nielsen ratings ever could. Conan is great on network TV…how much greater could he be minus the red tape that comes with a broadcast network? It’s a question worth asking.

Lastly, even if he weren’t the comedy dynamo he is, Conan would be Fonzie-worthy this week because of the statement he published in defense of his show. It was classy, thoughtful, gutsy, and striking in its honesty. And in true Conan O’Brien style, it left you with a laugh. Here’s hoping your final shows at The Tonight Show are great ones, Conan. I’ll be watching. You will be missed while you figure out your next step, and rest assured there will be many of us waiting to join you when you make that step. Viva Conando!

Fonzie of the Week #17: Cavemen

January 8th, 2010 No comments
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A couple of quick things before I commence with the Fonzie naming: happy new year, TLF Readers! (Yes, I just started abbreviating the blog’s name. We’ll see if it sticks.) And second: sorry for the lack of posts in recent weeks. I suggest you blame it on Baby Jesus. He’s rolling in the free frankincense and myrrh, and the rest of us get screwed out of our weekly Fonzie fix. What a raw deal!

Anyways, 2010 is upon us. So let’s stop focusing on the past and look to the future!

…Actually, on second thought, scratch that. Everybody and their mother is out in Las Vegas at the International Consumer Electronics Show looking to the future, and news flash: in the future, all your cutting-edge electronic gadgetry sucks big time. Honestly, it was only a few months ago that I finally managed to scrape together the dough to pick up an off-brand semi-big HDTV, and next thing you know Al Roker communicates through said TV that it’s no longer any good because it’s only 2D. Apparently “what’s happening in my neck of the woods” is seething rage over the short shelf life of 21st century electronics. Which leads me to the point: Cavemen are the Fonzie of the Week. Think of it as a retro thing. Really retro.

Cavemen are fast runners. They discovered fire and the wheel. And reportedly they’re skilled at obtaining competitive insurance rates. But the important thing here is that they’d be suitably impressed by my crappy no-name HDTV. So screw you, Al Roker. Screw you, James Cameron’s Avatar. I don’t need 3D glasses to appreciate cave paintings. Fonzie on, cavemen. Fonzie on.