If you haven’t already enjoyed this astounding video, please do so now. It’s not safe for work … I guess, I dunno. Hard to say. If your boss walks into your office while you are watching it, he will either fire you on the spot or promote you to CFO, one of the two.

The artists behind this masterpiece also have a MySpace page, which has attracted thousands of visitors. In fact, the amazing amount of attention these guys have attracted makes me wonder if there might be a market out there for this kind of stuff.




Thanks to debit cards, cash is pretty much obsolete. I can walk around for days without a dime in pocket or a care in the world, cheerfully deducting all my purchases from my checking account.

In fact, the only time I find myself in need of greenbacks is when I’m purchasing something so inexpensive that I cannot use my debit card, either because the store has a “minimum charge” policy, or because I’m trying to get Ho Hos out of a vending machine. In these cases there’s always the ATM, but it’s a drag to have to navigate seven menu screens to get cash, and then I typically wind up with $19.15 more than I wanted anyhow.

That’s why I think ATMs should have a QuickCash option. Here’s how it would work. Two prosthetic hands would be attached to the top of the machine. If you want $5, you hit one and shout “Gimmie five!”; hitting both and shouting “Gimmie ten!” submits your request for a sawbuck. Voice recognition software verifies your identity and the money is dispensed immediately.

I think this idea could really catch on. And, if successful, the machines could be retrofit to dispense girlie magazines as well. “Gimmie some skin!”

Dumb Or Really Dumb?

Have you seen that show Deal or No Deal? It’s incredible. And by “incredible” I mean “incredible it wasn’t canceled seven minutes into the pilot.” Seinfeld fancied itself “a show about nothing,” but, man, these guys really walk the walk.

A contestant comes on and is given an amount of money between one cent and a million bucks. That’s it. That’s the entire program. Everything else is suspenseful music and reaction shots.

The other day I saw a woman at Target buying a copy of the Deal Or No Deal board game. Yes, the only thing that could make that formula more exciting is if you took the money and the models out of the equation. Man, throw in a six-pack of nonalcoholic beer and your evening will be off the hook!

Of course, the real weakness of Deal Or No Deal is that the show is all carrot and no stick — I mean, even a “loser” still walks away a penny richer. That’s why I’m currently pitching an even better show to ABC called “Ten Grand Or Tennis Ball To The Nuts?”

Here’s how it works. A contestant comes on stage, and a tennis ball cannon is aimed at his privates. A giant digital stopwatch begins counting down backwards from 30 seconds; when it reaches zero, the player either receives a check for $10,000 or an incapacitating groin injury. Sometimes, in the latter case, the ball is fired with such velocity that it bursts, whereupon children rush on stage to collect the candies that spill out.

Hypothetically the contestant would have a 50% chance of receiving the money. But, because I know what the American people want (i.e., “to see people roll around on a stage while groaning in agony”), we’d rig it so only 3 out of any 10 players walk away with cash, while the rest don’t walk anywhere for a fortnight.

Best of all, the scenes of Testicular Trauma can be repackaged and aired again later in the week as part of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” And 70% of the people stupid enough to go on my program would be unable to reproduce thereafter. ITS WIN-WIN-WIN!

Captain Retcon

I’ve finally discovered my superpower. It wasn’t readily apparent, since it alters the entire space/time continuum every time it is activated and essentially erases all traces of its own existence. But I think I have its number.

Here’s how it works:

  1. I come up with a great idea;
  2. My power makes that thing a reality.

This would pretty much make me the most powerful man in the universe, were it not for one catch: my power assigns ownership of this fabulous thing I have conjured into existence to someone else. And it even goes so far as to alter history so that this thing, whatever it might be, has been around for some time.

I should have realized all this back when I came up with My Big Fat Geek Wedding, an idea so ingenious that it was inconceivable anyone could have thunk it up first. But I just dismissed that as a fluke. Recently, though, the evidence has been mounting. Last week, for instance, I witnessed a friend open a bottle of beer with his wedding ring. “That’s pretty cool,” I said. “But you know what would even cooler? If someone invented a ring with a bottleopener built into it. The cool part would be if the inventor was me, and I made a million dollars for doing it.”

And then, a few days later, I was at a stoplight in the middle of a bike ride, and happened to look down:

Okay, see: that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Every great idea of mine is retroactively invented.

Oh well. Even though I won’t personally profit, I guess I can still use my powers for good. For instance, here’s a great idea I just now thought up: three Star Wars prequel films that don’t totally suck.

Woohoo, I’m going to go rent them again now! This time they’re going to be awesome!!

Update: It appears that my powers do, in fact, have limits.

You Are What You Antique

My Farrell recollections (see previous post) came to me while watching Antique Roadshow the other evening. I presume you’re familiar with Antique Roadshow. It’s that program on PBS where a bunch of people from the Dakotas bring their junk to a big convention and a Antique Roadshow expert will look at it and drone on and on for a hundred minutes about how the brand of lacquer on the frame was only used in 1867, and finally he announces that this particular hunk of useless would probably fetch “in the two thousand to three thousand range,” and the owner gasps and says “rilly?” half a dozen times before announcing that, while she no idea it was worth so much, she would never dream of selling it because it’s been in the family for years, but later, after taking it home and deliberation for three days, she lists it on Ebay, whereupon someone from the other Dakota buys it for thirty-five bucks. That program.

Anyway, I was watching Antique Roadshow and doing what I always do — namely, wondering why the hell I was watching Antique Roadshow — when someone got an appraisal on some Ye Olde Tymey Ice Cream Parlour paraphernalia, and, bang, just like that I was thinking about Farrell’s. One of the greatest things about Farrell’s was their “Pig’s Trough,” a two-bananas, six-ice-cream-scoop sundae so large that, if you finished it, the entire Farrell’s staff would come out and sing a song about what a pig you were. It was every kid’s dream to one day earn the Pig’s Trough ribbon of completion.

Now that Farrell’s is out of business, I think Antique Roadshow should adopt the “Pig’s Trough” model. I mean, occasionally someone must bring in worthless crap, and they desperately need to do something to break up the monotony of that show.

Appraiser: … and, see this shoddy worksmanship? You don’t see that kind of indifference to quality until the late 20th century. I’d estimate this was made in 1977, maybe early 1976.

Owner: Oh …

Appraiser: It’s also worth noting that the “up” button doesn’t work at all, and the lower switch is permanently jammed in the “Pro 2” position.

Owner: Yeah …

Appraiser: Taken as a whole, I’d estimate this Mattel handheld electronic football game would sell somewhere in the neighborhood of nothing whatsoever.

Owner: Aw, nuts.

Appraiser: But, I’m willing to make you a special Antique Roadshow offer. If you can eat the entire thing in one sitting, we will give you this huge and ridiculous-looking blue ribbon.

Owner: I’ll take it!

{Forty-three minutes later.}

Owner: I can’t do it … I can’t …

Appraiser: C’mon now. Just one more swallow.

Owner: I can’t …

{Owner swallows. Antique Roadshow staff members spring from everywhere, clapping and singing.}

Antique Roadshow Staff: Oh, he’s a certain special someone! Oh, he’s just so darned unique! He’s a piggy, piggy, piggy! And he ate his whole antique!

The Buddy System

I don’t think the government should get involved in gay marriage. But, on the other hand, I don’t think the government should be involved in straight marriage either.

That might sound like a strange sentiment coming from a happily married guy like me. But The Queen and I, not religious in the slightest, got married only because it was the only option available to us. If we could have gotten civilly unionized, we probably would have gone that route. Instead, we just made it as secular an affair as possible, with a retired judge as the officiant and a ceremony held in the Seattle Aquarium.

The fundamental problem with “marriage” is the word, not the institution. It means different things to different people, which largely accounts for the acrimonious debate over gay marriage that grips the nation every election year. For some “marriage” is a religious arrangement, where two people are joined together by God; to others it refers to the purely secular tradition of pledging fidelity to one another in the hopes that your friends and relatives will give you DVD players and ice cream makers. Until the two sides in the gay marriage debate agree on a common definition — something unlikely to happen anytime soon — we’re going to just go around and around in circles on this issues for decades to come.

The gov needs to get out of the marriage business altogether, ya’ask me. Separation of church and state, yo. It should relinquish claim to the word “marriage” altogether, let it revert to its original, religious meaning, and wash its hands of the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong — I still think there should be a secular equivalent. Just don’t call it “marriage.” And don’t call it “civil unions,” either — that term is sullied by those who have been trying to pawn it off as some kind of bargain basement matrimony.

I think the United States should adopt the Buddy System.

Here’s how it would work. When a citizen reaches Buddying age, he or she will receive a charming, hand-written note in the mail from the government. This is what it will say:

Hi there! Welcome to adulthood. You've had it relatively easy so far, all things considered: what with the parents, and the no job, and the not paying taxes, and the ability to eat an entire Italian sausage and black olive pizza without feeling like crap the following morning. Sure the whole puberty thing sucked, no argument there. But by and large life has been pretty sweet.

Unfortunately things get a little trickier from here on out. You might have to work a job you don't particularly like, or find yourself with all kinds of obligations you'd just as soon avoid. Maybe you'll feel your idealism leech away, and your patience for the status quo dwindle. Perhaps the people who signed your yearbook "2good + 2b = 4gotten!" will move away and 4get you, and your opportunities to meet new, fun people will become increasingly limited. And -- trust me on this one -- no TV show will ever seem as cool as the ones you enjoyed when you were 13.

Yeah, adulthood is a drag sometimes. And that's where the Buddy System comes in. At some point, you may find it useful to Buddy up with another person, someone you will watch over and who will, in turn, watch over you. Like the earlier version of this system you may have used at school or at camp, your Buddy's job will be to make sure you don't get lost. But less a literal "don't get lost in the forest during a dayhike" and more a figurative "don't get so lost working at a crummy job that you forget how much you like gardening." Or, you know, whatever.

So, at some point, feel free to take a Buddy. Or don't: whatever works for you. But iIt's a scary world out there, and sometimes a Buddy is just the thing you need to make it seem a bit more manageable.

Also, couples wishing to Buddy would be required to have their ceremony somewhere awesome, like a waterslide park or a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert or the Seattle Aquarium. And an open bar would be mandated by law.

I think this is a compromise the whole nation could all get behind, don’t you?

The Bachelor-Ate

Let’s face it: dating reality shows have gotten boring. That’s why I think they should really push the envelope, with a new show called “Black Widow.” The program would begin with one woman and twelve suitors. But instead of voting one of the guys off at the end of each show, once a week the woman would, after having sex with one of the men, kill and eat him.

See? Now that’s something I would tune in to watch.