If the Internet annoys you try using the Internet differently
If you’re the type of person who spends a lot of time — and I would describe “a lot of time” as, like, five minutes a week — getting upset and/or complaining about things that happen or exist on the Internet, allow me to make a simple suggestion that could save you and those around you a number of headaches going forward: try changing the way you use the Internet.
I can’t stress this enough. It really is that simple. I know because I did it recently. Do you dislike the content and/or tone on certain popular websites? Stop going to them and fill your RSS feed and bookmarks with whatever exactly it is that suits your fancy. Do you hate that every site posts the same story within 10 minutes of each other and it clogs up your feed or timeline? Cut a few of those sites out of your life. Do you get upset about everyone on Twitter making the same joke and/or live-tweeting something you don’t care about? Unfollow people. Or mute them. Or mute the word or phrase that’s driving you up a tree. You have options.
(Quick note on Twitter muting: Do you mute? My God, it is wonderful. I, too, am easily annoyed by people and things that are not worth getting annoyed about. Muting has been a gift from the heavens. Tweetbot for iPhone even gives you set time periods for muting — one day, one week, or one month. I use these ALL THE TIME, sometimes on people or websites I love dearly, just because I can feel myself needing a brief, non-permanent break from them. Use the mute feature. I don’t even care if you mute me. Your mental health is what’s important here.)
The Internet is a big place, man. There are so many websites and people out there. Find the stuff you like. There’s plenty of shit in the world to go be miserable about, but this, this you can fix. It ain’t hard, either. I bet you can dramatically improve your Internet experience in under 50 clicks. Watch this. Go find the profile of a Twitter user you secretly hate but follow for work/personal reasons. Right now. You there? Great. Open settings and click “Mute user.” (Or ‘Mute forever” if you use Tweetbot, which is even more satisfying, because “forever.”) THEY WON’T EVEN KNOW. THAT IDIOT. AHAHAHA.
What was that, five clicks? And you feel better now, right? See how easy that was? Boom, 45 clicks left. Go nuts.
Now, this won’t solve all your problems. Sometimes the Internet does suck, hard, as anyone who has been actively trolled by a wave of monsters can attest. But it’s a start. And no one gives a shit about your 140-character dismissive wanking directed at whatever the hell anyway, especially if that’s most of what you do online. It gets to a more general point: Don’t be Always Complains Guy. Always Complains Guy is the worst. Be Fixes Shit And Has Answers Guy, instead. People love Fixes Shit And Has Answers Guy.
In conclusion, yes I do see the irony in telling people to use the Internet differently in a post about how you should spend less time complaining about how other people use the Internet, but IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN I DO IT SO SHUT UP.
How long does it take you to write your posts? I like to picture you writing by candlelight at 3am trying to figure out the ending of a post about a pineapple becoming NFL commissioner.
Preliminary note: Writers writing about writing is the third most insufferable thing possible, behind only (2) stories about bad beats in poker or fantasy football, and (1) writers complaining about the state of media, so please just skip over this. Don’t read it.
The short answer is that it depends. A quickie, 200-word post accompanying some dumb video can take like 10-20 minutes, total. A longer one, like my 2500-word, GIF-heavy recap of the Korean baseball movie Mr. Go, can take hours over multiple sittings.
The post you mentioned, where I proposed that we replace Roger Goodell with a pineapple in a top hat, probably took me about 30-45 minutes to write, but by the time I actually sat down to write it I already had most of the beats worked out in my head. Stuff’s always floating around up there in various stages of completion. Sometimes it’s just a matter of dumping it into a draft and sanding down the rough edges.
1.) What do you recommend when you feel a cold coming on? 2.) There is a gross jellyfish named the "Pink Sea-Through Fantasia" which sounds like a Victoria's Secret swimsuit line. Do you agree that this is very wrong? 3.) What are the best websites?
1) Drinking tea, taking a medically inadvisable amount of decongestants, and whining a lot has always worked for me.
2) I would have liked to be in the room when the scientist who discovered the Pink See-Through Fantasia explained it to his colleagues.
SCIENTIST: [very dramatically] … and I call it…. the Pink See-Through Fantasia!
Looks less like unauthorized Lifetime movie subject: 4'9" "Zach Morris" or [uhhh] "Brittany Murphy"?
The Zack Morris one is more incredible by far because Lifetime made a BIG HONKING DEAL about the fact that they got the original casting director for the show to cast the movie. Like, that was one of their major selling points. I still can’t believe that movie happened.
Oh, and speaking of garbage heap Lifetime movies, we’re all aware there’s a Grumpy Cat Christmas movie on the way, yes? I will have plenty to say about this once my brain stops spinning around like a Tilt-A-Whirl inside my skull.
Last night on Franklin & Bash, the guys tried to pull some strings to get their fire marshal buddy to allow an extra table for one at a fancy restaurant that was booked solid a full six months out. (Because of baseball. And an areola specialist plastic surgeon. And mounting debt due to their well-hung sex addict boss being suspended for embezzling funds. It made sense. Kind of.)
Anyway, this “pretty please just let them add one more person” thing was also notable because of this sign in the kitchen earlier in the episode…
How To Have Fun And/Or End Up On A Government Watchlist In Five Easy Steps
Buy flash drives. As many as your personal budget for stupid hijinks will allow. Quality and storage size don’t matter. Go to Amazon, type in “flash drives,” sort by Price: Low to High, and select the cheapest one that would still be identifiable to an Average Joe as an electronic storage device. Preferably black or silver.
Set up a burner email account. Just make it a string of random letters and numbers @ whichever email service you prefer.
Put three files on each flash drive: 1) A spreadsheet filled with dollar amounts and names of famous works of art; 2) A document with pages and pages of nonsense, compiled in a way that makes it look like it might be a code, and; 3) A document titled “IMPORTANT” that contains the words “THE SWEDE” and that burner email address you just set up.
Go out the next day and litter the city with your mysterious flash drives. Leave them everywhere: public parks, under bus seats, taped to the leg of a chair in a popular coffee shop, wherever. Any high-traffic area will do. For a few of them, walk up to a stranger on the sidewalk and slip one into their hand while whispering “Reply within 72 hours if you’re in.” If you really want to get creative, right after you hand them the flash drive, pull out an old flip phone you haven’t used in years and say “The package has been delivered” into it before snapping it in half and tossing the pieces into two separate trash cans as you scurry off. Have some fun. Make a day of it.
Log in to that burner email account every couple weeks to see if anyone contacted you. Check Reddit, too, to see if someone went on there to tell the story. You’ll probably never hear from anyone, but if you do, and it’s not a stern FBI agent who has some very serious questions he’d like to ask you in a windowless room, hoo boy, will that ever make your day.
Sooooo yesterday, at the end of a post about the Big Bang Theory contract negotiations, I said that Parks & Rec is a better show. The post hacked the Facebook algorithm somehow, and it ended up in front of hundreds of thousands of Big Bang Theory fans, and
in the comments. It’s been the highlight of my week.
... And I'll Take With Me The Memories, To Be My Sunshine After The Rain
Here is an email that was forwarded to me by my editor last night:
Reaching out to see if you would be interested in interviewing Boyz II Men tomorrow.
Let me know ASAP if you’re interested.
WHAT HELLO YES HI HELLO I AM INTERESTED IN INTERVIEWING BOYZ II MEN BY PHONE WHERE DO I GO WHO DO I SEE YES HELLO HI.
Unfortunately, the only time available for said interview conflicted with other things I had going on this morning, none of which could be moved at the last minute. I missed a chance to interview Boyz II Men. I was going to ask them so many questions. This is terrible. I’m going back to bed. See you sometime next week.
A Very Normal and Non-Troubling Conversation I Had With a Nurse at My Doctor's Office
NURSE: … but you’re still young. We’re gonna try to keep you around for a while.
ME: Well, that’s good.
NURSE: But some of these old people that come in here gotta go.
NURSE: Don’t get me wrong. I’m a medical health professional. I’ll give anyone quality care. But some of these old people, I’m telling you… [makes what I can only describe as a kaput gesture with her hands]
Tom Cruise brings most of this on himself, really. Between the boundless enthusiasm and the part where he’s the public face of a weird religious organization that periodically is the subject of 7,000-word magazine articles about how secretive and creepy it is, it’s just kind of easy to poke fun at him and write him off. “I loved him in everything up until A Few Good Men,” you’ve probably said at a party when the subject came up, “but he’s just gotten so… strange now.” Yes, fine. This is an understandable and defensible position to hold given the things we know — and don’t know — about Tom Cruise here in 2014. But I have this theory, and the more I think about it, the more sure I am it’s true: I think you would like Tom Cruise if you met him.
I don’t even think it would take long, either. Oh, you’d talk a big game before it happened (“Hey, did you hear Tom Cruise is coming to this party?” “Pfft. That weirdo?”), but you’d probably roll over within minutes due to the sheer force of his friendliness. He’d walk up to you at the snack table, take that charisma that won over millions around the world via large two-dimensional screen, focus it all in on your real-life three-dimensional face with the intensity of a laser, and you’d just melt all over the floor like a Rocketpop on the sun. In fact, I bet the whole thing would startle you so much you’d choke on the pretzels you had just piled onto your plate.
And who would come to your aid when you start turning blue due to the jagged chunk of sourdough pretzel that is preventing oxygen from getting to your brain? Why, Tom Cruise, obviously, because of course Tom Cruise is the kind of guy who jumps up to perform the Heimlich while other partygoers stand around in semi-shock. He would squeeze your abdomen until the pretzel became dislodged, and then, as you desperately gasped for the sweet, sweet air you feared you’d never taste again, he would stare into your eyes with that earnest, innocent look of his, like a puppy who is concerned his master leaving for work means he’ll never return again. Then you’d cough and regain your normal color and he would smile his bazillion-watt smile right into your big stupid face. Seeing it for the first time in person, you’d realize that those sunglasses he always wears are a necessity, not an accessory. They’re to protect his eyes from his own radiance. You’d begin to understand.
Later in the evening Tom Cruise would swing by to check on you, see how you’re doing. After he’s convinced you’re okay, asking you if you’re sure three times and telling you to remember to chew thoroughly and hydrate (and not as a joke, either … very serious), he’d ask what you’re up to the rest of the night. Thinking he’s just making conversation, you’d tell him: you and a few friends are going to a little dive bar to do karaoke.
"I love karaoke! We can take my car!"
You, a person who is new to the experience of an international film icon who just saved your life inviting himself to karaoke, would say “Uh, sure,” because you wouldn’t know what else to say. Also, you’d already be in his car. You wouldn’t even be sure how it happened. It would be like his excitement teleported you all there.
And guess what? Tom Cruise would be REALLY GOOD at karaoke. Not just the performing either, because of course Tom Cruise is great at performing, committing fully to the experience and using the unbridled power of his personality to get the rest of the crowd to sing back-up on his rendition of “Suspicious Minds.” No, he’d be great at the whole shebang. Patting people on the back after their turn on stage, using his infectious enthusiasm and self-esteem to convince bashful wallflowers to give it a go, buying pitcher after pitcher of beer every time one gets half empty, all of it. And not just for you and your group, either. He’d do this for everyone at the bar, for the entire night, save the 20 minutes he’d spend listening to the bartender tell him about the problems she’s having in her relationship, which Tom Cruise would be happy to do. Later, the bartender would tell you in private that he provided excellent advice, as though he’s known her for years.
Anyway, the night would end and you’d wake up the next day unsure if it all really happened. I mean, it couldn’t have, right? But just as you were convincing yourself that maybe it was a hallucination triggered by bad hummus at the party, your doorbell would ring, and a giant man in a suit would be standing there with a gift bag.
"Mr. Cruise wants you to have this," he’d say, before turning and walking back to his jet black Mercedes. Inside the gift bag you’d find Vitamin C tablets, Gatorade, gourmet coffee beans, and a card for a Dr. Torberg in Beverly Hills. There would also be a note. It would read:
Thanks for a fun night. Hope this helps with the hangover. Call Dr. Torberg (my personal Ear, Nose, and Throat guy) on Monday. I’m worried that pretzel may have scratched your esophagus. He’s expecting your call.
Months later, at your office Christmas party, you’d overhear hear two tipsy secretaries gossiping. Tom Cruise’s name would come up. One would say to the other “I just don’t know about the Scientolgy thing. He’s so weird now.” You’d walk over and lean in, just as the other secretary is about to see that statement and raise it some baseless speculation.
"You know," you’d say, "I think you would like Tom Cruise if you met him."
If you think instead of the residency as a two-year tour to promote the album, which is sort of what it is, the jury is still out on how well it did. This is the kind of efficiency born of a smart management team, sure, but also what Britney has become since we last really watched her: a single working mother, and all that entails—a balancer, a scheduler, a picker, and a chooser. Britney is the machine that supports both her immediate and extended family. And of course there’s the matter of keeping her sons’ father, the upwardly motile Kevin Federline, who receives a $25,000 monthly child support check from Britney. That money mostly helps support Kevin’s new startup, which is building an empire of tiny Federlines to rise up and one day demolish us all, Idiocracy-style. At this writing, Federline’s sixth child had just been born.
"Upwardly motile" is the best description of Kevin Federline I’ve ever heard.
As the legend goes, Servius’s mom, Ocrisia, was a former princess who was captured by the Romans and made a slave for the wife of the queen. Servius’s father was either (a) a nobleman from back home who impregnated Ocrisia before dying in battle; (b) a Roman noble who the king set up with Ocrisia; or (c) a giant disembodied penis that rose from the dampened flames of the hearth after she made a sacrifice to the gods, and proceeded to penetrate and impregnate her. (It’s fun to imagine, like, a janitor or someone stumbling into the room while that last one was happening. Or a giant disembodied penis that was born of flames doing dad stuff 20 years later, like buying Dockers and driving to Home Depot. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, is my point.) In any event, enter Servius.
When Servius was a baby, Ocrisia and others in the king’s employ claimed to see a ring of fire appear above his head while he was sleeping, which was believed to be an indisputable sign of future greatness. Because of this, the king, possibly at his wife’s request, possibly because they were fearful of what would happen down the line if they didn’t, more or less adopted him and started giving him responsibilities in the government. When he got older, I mean. Not as a baby. Babies make awful civil servants, just laying there doing nothing and crying every time something doesn’t go their way. You’ve seen C-Span. You know what I’m talking about.
(Quick digression: Different versions of the legend say different things about the ring of fire thing. Some say the members of the royal household witnessed it, others say the royal household just heard about it. I have chosen to believe it’s the latter, because that raises the possibility that Ocrisia just pulled a sick ruse on the king to rise to power, and I am 100% in favor of sick ruses being pulled on the powerful.)
Cut to: a number of years later, the sons of the previous king, who were passed over when their father died because they were too young, hired assassins to kill the current king, which they did via ax to the head. (Assassins were not very subtle in antiquity.) Rather than announce the death to the Roman people, however, Servius and the king’s wife pulled off a Weekend at Bernie’s-esque maneuver where they pretended the king was alive, and had selected Servius as his spokesman, long enough that when king’s death was officially announced, the people were pretty much used to the idea of Servius as king, and let him stay.
For those keeping score, this brings our Ruses Necessary for Servius’s Rise to the Throne to two, possibly, and maybe even three if Ocrisia just made up that thing about the giant magical ding-dong, which I suppose we can’t rule out until we talk to that janitor.
Anyway, Servius proved to be a great king. He brought honor to Rome through military victories, and he extended voting rights to common citizens, and all in all he was a pretty good dude, as far as Roman kings go. Unfortunately, he also had a daughter named Tullia.
(Another quick digression: He actually had two daughters named Tullia, which is just ridiculous and stupid. They were both married to sons of the previous king. Thing is, the younger Tullia and her sister’s husband didn’t like this particular arrangement, so they had their siblings/spouses murdered and married each other. It was all very Game of Thrones-y. Point being: RIP other Tullia.)
Tullia and her husband set a plan in motion. The short version is that her husband went to the senate with a small army and proceeded to go on a long, slanderous rant about Servius until he showed up. Then the husband pushed him down the steps and the small army killed Servius in the street, where his body was later run over by a chariot driven by Tullia, because, JESUS CHRIST, TULLIA.
Tullia’s husband, whose name was Lucius Tarquinius, and was later given the moniker “Superbus,” which means arrogant and not “a bus that is super,” became king. He ruled for about 25 years and was so terrible at it that the Roman people eventually threw him out of the country and abolished the position of king altogether, choosing instead to put a republic of elected officials in place.
(Third quick digression: A good way to tell if you’re really bad at your job is if they abolish the entire position after giving you the boot.)
To recap: Servius was a great king who rose to power through hijinks and may have been born to a slave and a huge floating penis, and after his shitty daughter and a dude named Superbus murdered him, the Roman people said “Well screw this” and put democracy in place.
You’re smart, right? Of course you are. Or at least you think you are. Very few people think of themselves as dumb. Case in point: Fredo in The Godfather. Poor, sweet Fredo, literally shouting “I’M SMART” at his brother and the heavens after 4+ hours of getting bamboozled and steamrolled by every adult male between Havana and Las Vegas. He was too stupid to know he was stupid, so he just went ahead and assumed he wasn’t. That’s usually how it works. In fact, for the most part, the only people who won’t insist that they’re smart are the people who are actually a little too smart. They’ll probably reply with some sort of smug self-satisfaction dipped in melted false modesty like “I have my moments,” delivered with half a smile and an implied “… or at least that’s what the thesis committee thought after reading my analysis of the societal ramifications of nautical trade routes in the mid-1700s.” Which, ugh. Give me dumb people any day. We can drink High Life and talk about Guns ‘n Roses videos. It’ll be fun.
The point is, let’s proceed from the assumption that you’re a bright, reasonable individual who is capable of critical thought and seeing obvious direct correlations between things. Sound good? Great. I have a question for you:
Why are you hate-sharing things?
Actually, hold on. Let me rephrase. I know “why” people hate-click and hate-share things. There’s something therapeutic about screaming “HEY. LOOK AT THIS ASSHOLE” after reading some poorly thought out, factually inaccurate, mildly racist screed you just saw online. I get that. What I’m asking is why you, who we have just established as a smart person, repeatedly share these articles with everyone you know, knowing full well that by doing so you are providing the web traffic that the writers’ employers value as much as, if not more than, the content of the piece itself?
It’s like this: Say you have an alligator living in your basement. And say this alligator has already bitten you a few times. And say there’s no other food in the basement, so it can only survive if you chuck some chicken chunks down the stairs every now and then. The solution is simple, right? You just stop feeding it, lock the door, and wait for it to starve to death, then you walk down there once it’s deceased, put it in a Hefty bag, and toss it in the trash. Hmm. This analogy appears to have gotten very dark. I promise it made more sense when I started this paragraph. Also, I do not advocate kidnapping alligators and starving them in your basement. I’m just saying if it got there on its own, like by crawling through the window, or showing up disguised as a Comcast employee then scurrying down there and refusing to leave. And even then, maybe just call 911 or Animal Control. What I’m getting at is that you shouldn’t feed strange alligators. You know what I mean. Work with me here.
Anyway, this is why people like Andrew Sharp and the crew at Fire Joe Morgan are geniuses. They found a way to shine a light on this garbage and tear it apart from the inside through satire, rather than just directing people to the source en masse and starting a click-hate-share-click-hate-share cycle where everyone loses except the people who turn around and trade all those clicks for advertiser cash. I mean, I know it’s frustrating to see willfully ignorant putzes be given a platform, especially if it’s a prestigious platform at an outlet that hasn’t replied to your pitch for a piece about an important yet under-reported issue, like why Air Bud’s children can talk in the Air Buddies sequels even though Air Bud couldn’t talk in the originals, and whether it’s meant to imply that the puppies’ mother is secretly a human (still waiting over here, THE NEW YORK TIMES), but knowing how the business works and continuing to do that anyway is just madness.
And, yes, if I’m being totally honest, I am very, very guilty of this, despite all the accusatory “yous" I’ve been throwing around so far. That’s why, as of this post, I am making it my goal to stop doing it, or at least cut it down significantly. I’m really going to try. It’s not just the thing about pageviews, either, although it’s definitely that. It’s also the thing about how hopping around from outrage du jour to outrage du jour — as social media seems to be doing at an alarming rate lately — is really no way to live life, and I worry that doing things like devoting a whole afternoon to collectively ruining the day of some random dipshit who made an awful joke before getting on a plane might be affecting our ability to express actual, lasting outrage when there’s a legitimate call for it. Leave something in the tank, you know?
I suppose I’m probably being a little simplistic and Pollyanna-ish about all this. Saying “Guyyyyyysss let’s just stop, okay?” is kind of like being the college freshman who comes home for Christmas and starts explaining that “if every person in America donated just $10, we could raise over $3 billion to fight world hunger” without taking into account that those population figures include babies, and babies rarely have $10 of disposable income laying around. (This is one of the many issues I have with babies, for the record.) Especially when this is so ingrained in both human nature and the way we consume media now. To be honest, I’m not even saying you should never do it ever, really. I’m just saying think about it, at least a little, and decide if it’s really worth it to become the 10th person in your timeline to share the article written by the ideological hack who made the awful pun in the first paragraph, or if maybe you’re just giving him/her exactly what he/she wanted, and you’re now just as guilty of poisoning the public discourse as the author.
So, yeah. That’s my new goal, to cut down on contributing to the part of the outrage cycle that does nothing but make me upset and line the pockets of the people who caused it to happen. Maybe it can be your new goal, too! Unless your goal was already, like, curing cancer or building a functional, inexpensive time machine or something. Then go ahead and stick with that one. But everyone else, less hate-sharing. Starve that alligator.
Dear god, I randomly started googling facts about the music video for "Hero" cause OBVIOUSLY. 1. I would totally see that movie. 2. I don't even know you but I wish we could both turn gay and gay marry each other.* *I don't know actually, maybe you are gay, which is cool and totally awesome but I'm not, so that doesn't work, but hope you still appreciate my level of commitment? What I think I'm trying to say is, I love you man.
As for hangover remedies, they are legion. There are certain unifying themes, however. When you ask people, worldwide, how to deal with a hangover, their first answer is usually the hair of the dog. The old faithful in this category is the Bloody Mary, but books on curing hangovers—I have read three, and that does not exhaust the list—describe more elaborate potions, often said to have been invented in places like Cap d’Antibes by bartenders with names like Jean-Marc. An English manual, Andrew Irving’s “How to Cure a Hangover” (2004), devotes almost a hundred pages to hair-of-the-dog recipes, including the Suffering Bastard (gin, brandy, lime juice, bitters, and ginger ale); the Corpse Reviver (Pernod, champagne, and lemon juice); and the Thomas Abercrombie (two Alka-Seltzers dropped into a double shot of tequila). Kingsley Amis suggests taking Underberg bitters, a highly alcoholic digestive: “The resulting mild convulsions and cries of shock are well worth witnessing. But thereafter a comforting glow supervenes.” Many people, however, simply drink some more of what they had the night before. My Ukrainian informant described his morning-after protocol for a vodka hangover as follows: “two shots of vodka, then a cigarette, then another shot of vodka.” A Japanese source suggested wearing a sake-soaked surgical mask.
The next time you see that one Toyota commercial, imagine being the person who lives in this apartment, and waking up late on a Saturday morning to find this scene — a car parked diagonally across the middle of the intersection; a large, ethnically diverse crowd of young people in brightly colored clothing doing a choreographed dance routine around it in the street; loud laser music blasting through the air — taking place outside your window, with no idea why any of it is happening.
A hypo in my MPRE review lecture: PROBLEM NO. 3Attorneys Franklin and Bash hire Sandy, a third-year student at a local law school, to assist them as their clerk. Sandy is not licensed under any state law or court rule that allows third-year law students to engage in practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. For which of the following tasks performed by Sandy are Franklin and Bash subject to discipline? Where is the hot tubs? The booze?
The correct answer to this question is: “Trick question. Bash is sleeping with the head of the Disciplinary Board. All charges dropped.”
In 1995, after Jordan returned to basketball from his year-and-a-half-long baseball sabbatical, he spent the summer in Hollywood making the movie “Space Jam,” but he demanded that the producers build a basketball court where he could work out every day. Old friends dropping by the Warner lot noticed that he was working particularly hard on a shot that was already a minor part of his repertoire but which he was now making a signature shot––a jumper where he held the ball, faked a move to the basket, and then, at the last minute, when he finally jumped, fell back slightly, giving himself almost perfect separation from the defensive player. Because of his jumping ability and his threat to drive, that shot was virtually unguardable.
Currently picturing Michael Jordan shooting thousands of fadeaways in his Tune Squad uniform.