Friday, March 30, 2007

Tide detergent: now with math lessons!

I wash my clothes a lot, so when I buy detergent I always pick up the biggest bottle. The 200-ounce size of Tide was on sale and there was a big blue banner printed on it saying "33% more" so I figured it had to be a good deal: you know, like "33% more for no extra charge!" When I got home, though, I discovered what it really said:

33% more ounces than 150 ounces.

Which, you know, is true. It has absolutely nothing to do with detergent, but it's true. Something that's 200 ounces is 33% bigger than something that's 150 ounces.

Look for more mathematics facts on future bottles of Tide, like how many socks you have to pull out of a drawer before you'll get a pair, and when a train leaving Cincinnati at 6 a.m. will pass a train that leaves New Jersey at noon.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mississippi has special laws that only apply to gays.

Soulforce is a group of idealistic young people who travel America in a bus, stopping at colleges that gay people aren't allowed to attend. They confront the locals about discrimination, engage in dialogs about tolerance, and let everyone see what gays and lesbians look like. No word on whether they're paraded around the campuses in little cages, but if visitors are encouraged to throw snacks then count me in for next year's ride.

Naturally, some of these colleges don't appreciate the visits, but when Soulforce turned up at Mississippi College the SWAT team was called in. Five members were arrested, and police officials told Soulforce that they'd all be cited if they travelled or gathered near the campus in a group of four or more.

After the ACLU intervened, explaining that this wasn't exactly legal, the police relented. To demonstrate their fairness and to protect themselves from lawsuits they went on to shut down some locations where groups of four or more heterosexuals congregate, including a Hooters, a WalMart, and Congress.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wait . . . is the stuff in the Bible supposed to be TRUE?

Thousands of years ago in a desert far, far away, there was a judge who was renowned for his wisdom. Two women came to him with a baby that each claimed was hers, and it was up to him to decide who'd get custody. He thought and thought and finally announced his decision.

"Let's cut the baby at the waist," he declared, "and each of you will get half."

One of the women immediately went pale. "NO!" she screamed. "DON'T KILL MY BABY! Give it to that other woman, but don't cut the poor thing in half!"

"AHA!" the judge said, glowing with insight. "Then you must be the child's mother, because you love it so much you'd rather give it up than see it hurt. I award the baby to you!"

The spectators cheered and everyone came away happy, and from here until the end of time this story will be used as an example of judicial wisdom. Except, well, it's got just a small flaw. It leaves out the response of the other woman to the judge's decision. When we make up her dialog the whole thing starts to sound, well, preposterous:

"Cut the baby in half?" she'd reply. "Why, that's . . . that's . . . fabulous! Sure, ideally I wanted a whole baby, since partial ones tend to have health problems and leave their sheets rather spotty. But half is better than nothing! I'm thinking bookend, or paperweight, or hand-puppet. Okay, buddy -- hack away! I got dibs on the upper half!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I just can't WAIT to get old!

At Barnes & Noble the other day I wandered the travel section, because looking at pictures of foreign places is a poor person's idea of a vacation. When I spotted book called "Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50," the clouds of depression parted in my head. Was it possible? I wondered. Could my impending old age actually be something to look forward to? Maybe instead of dreading aging, I'd wake up every morning and run to the mirror, anxiously looking for wrinkles and spots so I too could get some of these Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures.

Unfortunately, my heart sank with every page I skimmed. Here's some of what we have to look forward to:

-- Volunteer Senior Ranger Corps. (Their "Great Adventure"? Go to a National Park, and bring a broom.)

-- Shepherd's Center of America. (Call other seniors like yourself and convince them they shouldn't be depressed.)

-- Service Opportunities for Older People. (Do volunteer work in other countries. You pay for your airfare, food and lodging. I imagine the volunteers staffing their phones just automatically answer it with, "No, really, we're not kidding!")

-- The Peace Corps. (Um, you know that part about "Can't Get Unless You're Over 50"? It was a total lie.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dennis Kozlowski knows why he was found guilty.

Dennis Kozlowski stole millions of dollars from Tyco International, treating the company as his own private piggy bank. In a shopping spree that makes New York gays look Amish, he bought a $50,000 umbrella stand, a $6,000 shower curtain, and threw a toga party that cost two million dollars. Tyco dumped him from their board and the police investigated, and after he was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison his wife and friends dumped him too.

Last night he appeared on "60 Minutes." "I was a guy sitting in a courtroom making $100 million a year," he told their reporter from his jail cell. "And I think a juror sitting there just would have to say, `All that money? He must have done something wrong.' I think ... it's as simple as that."

Yeah, bud -- your guilt's got nothing to do with it. All us poor folks are just stupid and vindictive, and can't wait to get back at you rich folk whether you deserve it or not. That's why Sam Walton is currently sharing a cell at Rykers with Donald Trump and Bill Gates.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Trust Sleepy's for the pest of your life.

All the stereotypes say used car salesmen are the lying bastards of the retail world, but I disagree. Yesterday I bought a mattress at Sleepy's, though, and found mattress retailers put them to shame. They've somehow arranged it so mattresses have different names at different stores, so you can't call around and compare prices. Macy's is the only store with the Sealy Plush Swordplay. Bloomingdale's is the only store with the Pillowtop Tuscany. J. C. Penney's is the only store with the Extra-Firm Back Orgasm. And no one will tell you they're all the same thing.

I've bought mattresses before, so I wasn't surprised to get totally screwed. I expected the bait-and-switch. I expected the runaround, the haggling, the prices that changed like the stock market, and of course, the ridiculous fees. One fee in particular, though, tacked onto my bill with no explanation, struck me as the sine qua non of chutzpah.

Don't want to pay $99.95 to get that mattress delivered today, or $69.95 for later in the week? No prob. Do like I did: strap it to the top of your car and take it home yourself. You'll only get stuck with a $29.99 fee for something called "Cust to load and tie merchandise." Yes, you're being charged nearly thirty dollars to carry your mattress out of the store.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Propositioning for sex is illegal. Every hetero male now in jail.

Anyone who's had the wacky luck to be born different knows the score. We live in a country that screams equality from the rooftops while firing its gay people, and declares "justice for all" while its police drag copulating homosexuals from their pillowtop beds. Recently in Oklahoma they've decided that even asking other men to have sex is a criminal offense.

Lonnie Latham, a Baptist minister with the least gay name in existence, was arrested for propositioning an undercover male police officer. Obviously this law doesn't apply to heteros, or every hetero male would now be serving five to ten. It's lewd conduct when a man politely asks another man if he wants to have sex, but typical red-blooded behavior to grab your crotch when a woman approaches and exhort her to "Suck on THIS!"

Fortunately, a judge decided that these overzealous police were wrong -- making one think that these judicial types should get together and discuss law more often, and maybe occasionally while sober -- and I'm sure now the cops are really, really sorry. It's no great relief for Lonnie, since this cost him his job and his reputation, but sometimes when you want to protect the public you just have to ruin people's lives.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Delta Airlines: 2 out of 300 = "not all"

No human being has ever been debased more thoroughly than I was scrounging for frequent flyer miles. All I needed were ten thousand more to get the sixty thousand I needed to fly to Tokyo via Delta Airlines. Delta's website helpfully lists hundreds of humiliating ways to earn miles, and I did them all. Though I have twelve dollars in the bank, I met with an investment firm for a "personal financial consultation" to earn three thousand miles. I signed up for Netflix for twenty-five hundred miles. I asked -- shudder! -- Kissimmee, Florida to send me information on tourist fun for another hundred miles.

But finally, the golden day came. Sixty thousand SkyMiles in my account. I would soon be winging my way to Tokyo.

Now, sixty thousand miles wouldn't get me on any flight: only special "SkySaver" ones. They're the runt of the litter, flights that are unpopular for some reason (like, jaunt to Maine in February) so they cost fewer miles. I'm nothing if not flexible, though, so the minute those miles showed up in my account I went to Delta's calendar to book my flight.

And so I searched, day after day. I checked departures from JFK, LaGuardia and even Newark. I checked April all the way through next January. There were, out of every flight Delta offers over the next eleven months, exactly two days where SkySaver flights were available for the return flight from Tokyo to New York. One was two weeks from now (useless, since it's a little hard to come back when you haven't gone there yet) and another for some odd day in May.

I decided to check SkySaver availability for Venice, Italy, since that was my second choice. Same problem: over the next eleven months, there were only two flights back.

So, now I'm pretty much feeling like an idiot. I've been busting my ass to get these miles -- hell, even my mailman thinks I'm dumb to consider going to Kissimmee, Florida -- and now I discover they're USELESS? I emailed Delta to ask what was up, and here's part of their reply:

Dear Mr. Hans,

Thank you for your e-mail to Delta Air Lines.

As you may know, our schedules load 331 days out, and there is no way to predict when or if Award Seat inventory will be made available. Fluctuations in passenger demand, seasonal trends, peak travel times and other factors determine if and when Award Seats will be offered, and if so, how many. As a result, SkySaver Award Seats may not be available on all flights. [my emphasis]

Delta led the industry in Award Travel redemption for the last three years blah blah blah.


Online Customer Support Desk

So, fifty asshole points to Delta. Not even the dumbest nitwit in America -- and I'm talking a Mets fan who reads the Post and never misses "According to Jim" -- would call less than one percent of their flights "not all." Delta, maybe you led the industry in Award Travel redemption for the last three years, but now you can lead the way out of my ass.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

CW = Crackheads & Weasels

I'll admit it: I enter contests. It just takes a second, and sometimes means I'll wake up to happy surprises in my inbox. More often, though, it means a lifetime of problems. Take, for example, "The CW"'s recent "Sex and the City" contest. Now, I have no idea what "The CW" is, since I barely have enough time to watch the few funny sitcoms on television, and CW to me means "country/western." The last thing I want to see on TV is guys in plaid shirts and suspenders sucking on straws of hay.

So, even though I'm not a "Sex and the City" fan, I filled out the form, because I'm the kind of guy who's blinded by the chance at free crap. The form, like most, had a check box reading something like "YES! Email me all you want, and sell my address to penis enlargement spammers as well as folks hawking fake Rolexes and Viagra." I un-checked the box as always, but almost immediately the spam began, offering paltry discounts on "Sex and the City" bus tours.

Yes, I've been ridiculously bored before, but not quite bored enough to pay $36 to eat a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery with a busful of squealing tourists.

I followed the unsubscribe instructions included in the email, and the next day received a reply:

i. This is the qmail-send program at I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.
Sorry, I wasn't able to establish an SMTP connection. (#4.4.1)
I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long.

So, "The CW" gets thirty asshole points. Five for spamming me, five for lying and saying I asked for it, and twenty for giving fake unsubscribe options that mean some time verrrry soon I'll get another chance to ride a double-decker bus through the Meatpacking District with happy, chubby folks wearing pastels.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Since I am young and handsome, Wendy's food SUCKS.

New York recently passed a law that says all restaurants that provide nutritional information, whether on request or online, must include the same information on their posted menus. A few fast-food restaurants took exception to this, and decided to dodge the rule. They decided to make the nutritional information unavailable, thus avoiding the need to post it in the stores.

Wendy's defended this on their website:

"We fully support the intent of this regulation. However, since most of our food is made-to-order, there isn't enough room on our existing menu boards to comply with the regulation."

Now, if they'd taken Miss Duggan for English at Our Lady of Lost Causes High, they'd currently have an eraser wedged deep inside an ear. Because as she all-too-frequently told us, when one uses a "since" clause, the second half of the sentence has to be related to the first. And what does the fact food is made-to-order have to do with available space on a plastic board? It doesn't make any difference whether the food is made by squirrels from Lithuania, or has been laying around since Jesus took off: the menu originally listed stuff like HAMBURGER, CHILI, and SALAD MADE OUT OF OLD FRITOS, and now it'll say HAMBURGER 440 calories, CHILI, 330 calories, and SALAD MADE OUT OF OLD FRITOS 770 calories.

But no, rather than address us like thinking beings, Wendy's tries to dazzle us with bullshit. Like we're all Homer Simpson, and we'll be thinking "Mmm, made-to-order food," rather than "What the hell are they afraid of? They don't want us to know we're eating eight days worth of saturated fat in a six-minute span??

Since I'm attractive and successful, they're imbeciles of the first degree.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Athlete and wife swap medication. Ah, love.

So, yet another professional athlete was busted by a drug test. This time it's Detroit Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter, who tested positive for phentermine, a banned substance used for weight loss.

His excuse? The pill -- available only by prescription -- was something his wife uses, and at his house, he and his wife just randomly take each other's pills.

Just randomly. Take each other's pills.

His exact words: "If I've got a head cold, I might grab one of her pills. It was just a bonehead mistake on my part."

Yeah. Sure. I guess that explains why he was hospitalized for Midol poisoning last October. And why his wife has an erection that just won't go down.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

American TV is controlled by idiots and wackos.

American television is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission, and like most bureaucracies the FCC does nothing until people yell. It doesn't even take a huge percentage of the population: when Fox¹s "Married by America" program showed a racy little scene involving whipped cream, it prompted 159 complaints . . . and got Fox a million-dollar fine. Obviously, our televisions are being controlled by small groups of idiots and wackos that determine what the rest of us see.

The latest outrage to these people was the Super Bowl halftime show. Now, I didn't see it -- which reminds me that I need to write that article about sports fans being brain-dead -- but evidently Prince performed behind a giant sheet, and the silhouette of his guitar looked like a penis. (Well, if you've never seen a penis: generally speaking, they end well below the bearer's head.) Even before it was over, the idiots of America were running for their crayons. The FCC received 150 letters, evently divided between idiots and wackos. Here's an example of the former, posted on "The Smoking Gun" website:

"I am very offended and would preffer not to have showed it to my 4 children who love football. One of them has hoped to be a quarterback and now he will turn out gay. I am actually considering to check him for HIV. Thanks CBS for turning my son GAY."

And here's an example of the latter: "During Prince's rendition of "Purple Rain" there seemed to be a shadow puppet of his penis. The sheet? That was the backdrop seemed to be (stained?) with something (semen?). My children were watching and now I have to explain to them what a wet spot is on a cum-covered sheet. Thanks CBS."

Now, in a perfect world, the FCC would have acted on this letter. They'd have forwarded it to the FBI, and a SWAT team would have burst into this house. Because picture this happy little family all sitting there watching the Superbowl: Daddy, in his Barcalounger, with a Pabst in his hand, and little Billy and Betty, wondering when Daddy will play checkers with them and wishing beer had never been invented. Suddenly Prince appears, and little Betty is intrigued. "Daddy," she says, in a burst of childhood exuberance, "why is Prince jerking off behind a cum-covered sheet?"

Seriously, if this is what happened, THE POLICE NEED TO GO TO THIS MAN'S HOUSE.

Now, maybe this will all come to nothing, because they're not talking about fining Prince. But if we want America to stop being the punchline to a joke, we need a government that doesn't exist solely to protect us from imagined penises. We need a government that doesn't listen to idiots. And, since that halftime show is turning all our children gay, we need a government that'll organize more kickball teams in our schools.