Monthly Archives: November 2003

This Is Russia Calling You from Across Oceans

Hello Friends of Russia,

Last night it snowed about a foot (which is a few million centimeters), and then it’s been raining all day, so Russia is awesome! It’s all covered in sludge and mud. My feet have been sopping wet since 9 this morning, and it is now 7:30 p.m. I feel so awesome and am having superfun!

Went shopping this morning, although I couldn’t find the pair of Sketchers I wanted, nor the awesome bootlegged house music c.d. so it wasn’t so great. Did manage to find some buttons with Putin’s big face on them.

Went to the blockade museum. It was all in Russian. Didn’t understand a thing, but of course I saw lots of swastikas. You’d really think these people had it out for the Germans!

The worst part about Russia is food. There are no little sandwhich shops or hot dog stands, so we rarely eat lunch. Today it was espresso and pecan pie (no food, but plenty of pastries and cakes). Yum. That didn’t make me shaky at all! Besides, my feet were wet! Superfun awesometimes!

Then we walked across a bridge to a fortress where they imprisoned revolutionaries and also where a tsar tortured and killed his son. So great! Superbest! They even had a giftshop!

Then soup.

Finally Mr. M. found his Russian aa meeting, which he has been looking for nonstop. While he was gone to talk about his sobriety I went to the store and bought vodka to bring home to the United States of America, the greatest country on Earth.

I would like to go to sleep now. It is a lot of fun to go to the hotel and go to sleep.
Have an awesome time!

Russia Update Superfresh!

dearest Komrades,

today there was no sun in Russia, which I guess is normal. “No Sun Ever” is the old national motto. we went to the hermitage, which is the russian equivalent of the louvre, which is the french equivalent of the metropolitan museum of art, which is new york city. it was gigantic, begun as catherine the great’s personal collection and then expanded upon. the main difference between a giant art museum and a small art museum is that in a giant art museum i am almost instantaneously overwhelmed. i was tired before i even got there.

then we went to the symphony and saw a rachmaninov performance. i’ve never been to the symphony, and it was great. russia loves people who learn, because the hermitage was free for students, and the symphony only costs about two dollars (fourth row center). the thing that is best about this is that it makes something like the symphony ultimately enjoyable for itself, rather than a show of pomp requiring lots of money and cumberbuns.

then we had dinner. that was fine. borscht and some food with meat in it.

now we are back at crazy internet cafe where we always end up so crazy.

the one thing that is most upsetting about russia is the gift situation. there is really nothing to buy apart from overpriced american clothing and pharmaceuticals. i hope y’all like vodka.

dosvedanya, that means goodbye in russian, it is the only word that i know.

I Write You from Crazy Russia

Russia Update:

I write you from crazy Russian internet cafe. It is so crazy. I am in Russia!

We fly many hours and over many miles to be here in Russia with you! Five hour layover in Frankfurt, which is in Germany, which is in Europe. I slept on a bench. A man from Syria asked me if I was going to Syria and I said no and then went back to sleep. Finally we get to Russia where everything is crazy. My brother met us at the airport with his host brother who asked: “you are just here to relax?”
Our hotel is on Ploysha Vitanya, and I am just making up this spelling because I can. There is a giant neon sign on top of our hotel that says “Leningrad–Hero City”.

Yesterday we are walking for hours, everywhere, walking. There are four kinds of stores in Russia. Shoe stores. Bootlegged dvd stores. Cell phone stores. Pharamacies. If you want any of these things you can get them everywhere. If you want ice cream, that, too, is available. We had dinner at my brother’s host family’s apartment. They made us a salad out of onions and some rice pilaf with lamb and some homemade pickles and also homemade salsa and some pickled mushrooms. They showed us over one hundred million thousand photographs. They got their apartment in the nineteen sixties. They love America very much, and also know that Russia is one hundred percent crazy.

Today we took a bus out of the city to see a palace in a city called Pushkin, which is named after some writer. Over the city you can see a thick layer of beautiful brown smog as far as the eye can see. St. Petersburg is boring because they’re always like “nazis this, blockade that” but so we went to the palace anyway. It was destroyed by germans during a war except for the shell, so even though it looks just like it did over a million years ago, everything is actually new! crazy! just like russia! then i fell asleep on the bus back into town. then we walked around for a long time until we ate dinner. meat!

tonight i am hoping maybe we will get back to the hotel in time to catch the evening news on CNN.


What’s Grosser Than Gross?

Does anyone remember the series of “Grosser Than Gross” jokes that circulated first through the halls of Tappan Middle School and then throughout the world?

I’ll give you an example:
What’s grosser than a pile of dead babies?
A live one trying to eat his way out.

And there was another one that is on my mind this morning:

What’s grosser than eating a jar of mayonnaise?
Finding a used condom at the bottom.

Now, I’ll admit that finding a used condom at the bottom of a jar of mayonnaise is certainly gross. But it’s not that much grosser than eating a jar of mayonnaise, which is SUPER GROSS. I mean, let’s say eating a jar of mayonnaise is like a 10 on the gross scale, well, then finding a used condom at the bottom bumps it up to an 11. That’s only a ten percent increase on our inveterate gross scale.

I think, too, that this is a comedic form that deserves a come-back. So I urge you to use this space to create your own grosser-than-gross jokes, and simple descriptions of Fear Factor stunts do not count. If I remember correctly, there is often a third tier to these masterpieces, i.e. finding a used condom at the bottom…What’s grosser than that? Having your Dad walk into the kitchen and say “hey, what are you doing with my old condom?” Also, I’ve just noticed that grosser than gross jokes tend to have something to do with eating something, so keep that in mind as you create your own.

So, to get things started I will write the first new grosser-than-gross joke of the new millenium:

What’s grosser than filling the toilet with diarrhea?
Finding a whole peanut in it, washing it off, and eating it again.
What’s grosser than that?
Having your Dad walk into the bathroom and saying “why are you eating a peanut out of my diarrhea?” and suddenly realizing that it’s not your diarrhea at all, that the toilet was already full when you came in to get a kleenex for your nose bleed, which you have been collecting in a glass to wash down the peanut.

Cut Them Some Slack Fries

Now, the Corporate Casual Headline of the Day for today, Wednesday, November 19th, 2003, is tremendously hillarious. BUT, I must admit that the writers at the Genius Times deserve a little slack. For this headline, much like the “No Longer Just a Cupcake” headline of days past (see entry “Still a Cupcake”) is in the food section, and there are very few ways to punk up writing about a bodily neccessity. Eating is, despite rumors to the contrary, something everyone must do to remain alive, and so we can forgive these wayward “journalists” for their comedic constructions. Anyhow, I bring you the CCHOD:

“Idaho: Still the Potato Capital”
(taken from the New York Times)

The reason that I love this headline is that:
a) I didn’t know this was a heavily contested title. I would think that most states would be more than happy to leave Idaho this one, pyrrhic victory.
b) It hints at a certain insecurity on the part of Idaho, as if they bribed a journalist to put their name back out there, reminding the public that they are not to be challenged for they CANNOT BE DEFEATED!

That’s it. Go away.

I Am So Famous

This morning I noticed a small poster hanging over the receptionist’s computer that pictures a rose in a black-glass vase in an otherwise black room, with slim letters spelling out: Suite Scent. This is perhaps the strangest poster I have ever seen, not only because I can not ever imagine, EVER, being in the mind set of decorating with a poster of a rose, but because the double entendre of ‘suite’ makes no sense to me. Obviously, there is nothing ‘sweet’ about sitting at the receptionist’s desk day in and day out, nor is the receptionist’s desk anything like a ‘suite’. Also, there are no particular scents there, other than the vague dry dustiness of recycled air. And all suites do not smell like roses, so even a straight-forward reading is not clear. Are they implying that this rose in an otherwise black room is something worth striving for? Is this akin to the cat on a screen door with the words “Hang in There”?

Also, I missed the Today Show‘s unveiling of People magazine’s “Sexiest Man of the Year” this morning. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough, but I would have liked to been the first on my block to know. I always think maybe, just maybe, they’ll choose me. Somehow I will have been nominated and seconded and try as the editorial board might, they just can’t knock me from my plinth. This is similar to the oft-had experience in high school of going to a rock n’ roll concert and thinking maybe, just maybe, Billy Corgan will invite me onstage to sing “Mayonnaise”. It never happened, but I think it was pretty close to happening on a number of ocassions. There is just something so magnetically compelling about me that it would be hard for any celebrity to keep him/herself from hitching on to my rising star.

In other news, good morning, motherfuckers.

You Make None Senses 5? Appletree!

I feel like I am trapped in an asylum for crazy robots. There is a total disconnect in my social interactions, and I often find people staring at me like I’ve just vomited on their tits. Or, they wrinkle their brow as if I am staring at them. People talk to me and it sounds like this: “buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, ha ha, know what I mean? buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzuzzzzuzzzzzzzz”
So the answer is always No, I have no idea what you mean, because to me you seem insane, and I don’t know how to talk to insane people. Everytime Lambchop grins I think she is going to kill me. Only Shaft’s Cousin seems lucid, but that’s because he uses preprogrammed language logarithms like: “that costs a pretty penny” and “it’s a dream of mine, but we’ll see if it shall ever become a reality.”

What’s next, drinking your own pee?

Move Over Headlines, Here Comes Some News

I thought there might not be a CCHOD today, but then the A.P. filed a very special story at 10:54 a.m. So, I bring you the Corporate Casual Headling of the Day, late but still spectacular and deserving of your attentions:

“Man’s Finger Stuck in Payphone for Hours”
(taken from the New York Times)

In this instance, the article is so choice that I think I have nothing to do but reprint the entire thing here. I have read through it three times trying to pick out the best parts, but there are so many for such a short piece that it’s easier for you to just read it. From time to time I will add paranthetical commentary in order to bring out the funnies.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A man and a pay phone were rushed to a hospital after he got his finger stuck in the coin return slot while trying to retrieve his 50 cents.
(Already fucking hillarious, and the story clearly goes deeper than the headline implied. You thought a man was simply caught in a payphone until help arrived and got him free, you never imagined the jaws of life prying the telephone from its metal girder, or the payphone being laid delicately in an ambulance next to the man, carefully positioned lest the finger break. Do you think there were separate EMS Technicians for both the man and the payphone?)

Emergency room doctors gave Emanuel Fleming a painkiller Monday and pried his middle finger loose using a wooden device and lubricant, ending the three-hour ordeal.

“The bone in my finger felt like it was going to break. My finger was numb. It was very painful,” said Fleming, an elementary school janitor.
(The bone did not even break, and yet this crap receives national attention. He describes it like he’s taken a bullet.)

Fleming had tried to call his wife, but the line was busy. Two passers-by tried to help. When they failed to free him, Fleming used his other hand to dial 911.
(I like how despite his life flashing before his eyes, Mr. Fleming was able to maintain his composure long enough to make that last, saving call. Also, um, why didn’t the passers-by do it for him?)

Emergency crews and a representative of the company that owns the phone were sent to the scene. But they were also unable to free Fleming.

The phone was near a busy bus stop.
(This is my favorite sentence of the entire article. It was published like this. All alone.)

“People on the bus who know me were laughing at me,” Fleming said.
(This is my second favorite sentence in the article.)

With few options left, ambulance crew members cut the telephone off at the base and took it and Fleming to St. Mary’s Hospital.
(With few options left? Has the journalist forgotten that once they arrived at the hospital all it took was a piece of wood, some lube, and a painkiller? Unlike an iron lung, these are items that are easy to remove from the hospital.)

“I’ve been in this business more than 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of weird things, but never anyone trapped in a telephone,” said Herb Simmons, manager of the ambulance company.
(Notice that Mr. Simmons is the manager of the ambulance company, a figure as far removed from the scene as possible. More appropriate interview subjects might have been: the ambulance driver, the manager of the payphone company, the emergency room technician who freed Mr. Fleming, the President of the United States, a bystander. When reached by phone, the manager of the ambulance company declined to comment.)

These Jerks

HP Turtleneck has arrived. She shows up once or twice a week and crowds me. Oh, and I forgot to mention that a girl who I will name T-Boz got her own cubicle, much nicer than mine, and she’s only been here for a few weeks. I think they hired her as a temp (like me) and then immediately shoved her into a full time position (not me, still happily working by the hour) where she enjoys delightful perks and HEALTH CARE. I wonder if she’s gotten her flu shot. Also, she is a hard worker, and for young people that is the worst thing you can be, because it makes other young people look bad.

Stop it, T-Boz. Just stop it. You too, HP Turtleneck, quit crowding me.