The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

An Open Letter to NPR, Re: Diane Rehm.

Dear National Public Radio,

I’m an avid fan of your stations and programming, to the point where I even donated my 1998 Triumph motorcycle to my local NPR station in lieu of an actual monetary donation.  I love NPR a lot, however I avoid a two hour block of programming between 10 and noon, also known as “The Diane Rehm Show.”

This week, The Diane Rehm Show, or DRS, turns 30.  Ms. Rehm is a thoughtful, intelligent and outstanding host, the show has complex issues and interesting guests with equally interesting interviews.  So why wouldn’t I dig her show?
rehm_diane
It’s her fucking voice.

Ms. Rehm was diagnosed with some sort of degenerative throat disease some years back which makes her voice sound warbled, scratchy and unpleasant.  Imagine a life-long smoker with a tracheotomy trying to give a speech with a boot firmly placed over where their larynx used to be.

I know it’s not her fault, and god bless her for having the balls to get on the air every day (she’s been out for the last like two weeks or something, as of press time, due to her condition) but come on man, this is radio, you TALK for a living.  It’s not like you’re a disc jockey and you only have to speak into the mic for thirty seconds between 90 minute blocks of classic rock or pop music.  You speak almost non-stop for TWO HOURS!  Jesus, am I monster for not tuning in?

Ms. Rehm is very self conscience of her voice, which gives her the resolve and bravery of Molly Pitcher for getting on air every day and sallying forth with her program.  But really, c’mon, it’s ok, give it (your voice) a rest.

It’s like trying to be patient while a man with hooks for hands tries to write out a check at the bank.  Every day.  For two hours.

I’m not ashamed to say that I can’t stand listening to her voice.  A comment thread on NPR.org in regards to Ms. Rehm’s 30th Anniversary cited many listeners who “don’t mind” the voice and think it “adds to her charm.”

Dude, that’s like saying a person’s colostomy bag adds to their personality.

I’m sorry if I’m coming off like a huge asshole here, but I’m calling it as I see it.  What if Ms. Rehm was horrendously disfigured and was an anchor on NBC’s “Today Show?”  Would you still tune in?  Maybe you would, because you like a freak show, and maybe that’s why these listeners enjoy tuning in to the DRS?

Ms. Rehm is fully capable of doing her show, as she has been for 30 years now (a show highlight for Ms. Rehm was an interview with Julia Childs back in 1985, according to the article I read.  Can you imagine that interview now, with Ms. Child’s high pitched muppet-like falsetto and Ms. Rehm’s unsettling cadence?  I’d almost tune in for the full two hours…) but maybe it’s time to move into something like writing for Ms. Rehm.  Or at least NPR could cut her show down from two hours to one?  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
julia-child-meryl-streep
I mean, would you make a one legged man walk for two miles, when only one would be sufficient?

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Why Am I Listening to This? | , , , | 1 Comment

Your Online Advertisement Sucks

We recently sold a couch through an ad I posted online.  I’d like to think that we sold the couch so quickly (in roughly less than 12 hours from when I posted the add, also given the fact I posted the ad to craigslist.com at 9 at night) because I had a great little write up about the couch and a good picture to go with it, and not so much the extremely low price we were asking for this shitty couch.

The point I want to make is that I cruise a lot of online bartering sites like craigslist, unclehenrys, etc – ebay on occasion, you get the point –  and I see the same shitty ad style.  If people ever wonder why they don’t sell their shit online, it’s because their ad sucks balls.

Let me give you an example of an actual ad I saw for a Suzuki GSXR 1000 I saw posted on unclehenrys.

Ok, first off buddy, allow me to address the elephant in the room:  We’re clicking the icon for your ad to read about and view your bike you want to sell, not to see some douchey picture of you and your girlfriend, that shows only a certain percentage of the bike itself.  No one cares about you or your girlfriend- and the fact that you probably nabbed the pic off your myspace page shows the same level of effort you exhibited when you wrote the whole eight word ad that was in half abbreviations and numerals.

Congrats asshole, you’ll be spending another spring/summer/fall adding more miles to your bike and taking value off from it.

And on the same topic, a lot of the ads I see have terrible pictures to go along with the descriptions; those ads that actually manage to attach a digital photo.  To those posters who can’t be bothered to post a pic or simply don’t know how, welcome to 2009, where you must know someone who at least has access to a digital camera or camera phone and who can upload it to your email and show you how to attach it to your ad.

Pictures sell:  Figure it out, because I only click on the ads with pictures.  There could be a briefcase with a million dollars in it being sold for a dollar, and I would totally ignore the ad unless it said “pic” next to it in highlighter yellow.

And of the pictures, people, I’m not asking you to be Ansel Adams or anything, but at least take a decent pic of the item.  Don’t take the pic from a million miles away and leave me to wonder what the fuck it is I’m looking at.  Don’t use some fancy college photography class “rule of thirds” mumbojumbo and try to get all artsy with the ugly dinette set you’re trying to sell, just take a regular plain picture and post it.  And for the love of Cheese ‘N’ Rice, post a photo that’s in focus.  It’s a digital camera, you can see the pic seconds after you take the shot, so if the pic looks shitty, take another until you get it right.

And do you proofread your ad before you post it?  I don’t want to come down on everyone like the Hitler of Grammar, because if you’ve read my blog enough I’m sure you can find more than a fare share of errors both spelling and grammatical, but if I’m going to consider buying a refrigerator from someone, I want to know s/he at least passed 6th grade.

I write how I speak, generally, but I don’t spell how I speak.  When I end an article with “I’m Just Saying….” What I’m really saying is “I’m just sayin'” but I hate how it looks when I type it, because I’m a fucking snob.  People, if yur gonna sel sumptin, u shud try to at leest sond untellijint.

I’d rather perform self brain surgery with a handgun than read through some ads.  It’s really that bad.

Also, could you try to make the ads a little entertaining?  Something to keep me interested instead of just specs and crap.  I don’t care that your roommate paid “big bucks” for this armoire five years ago; from what I can tell from this grainy photo you’ve attached to the ad, it looks like the doors have been chipped and there’s a fucking sock stuck to the side there.  At least I think that’s a sock.  And what’s making it stick I don’t wanna know.

Make me want to start AND finish the ad.  I’m way more inclined to shoot the guy an offer via email if I think he’s going to have an articulate response for me, not something to the effect of “shure, cum on bye l8r!” and neglect to give me an address or phone number to reach them with.

Below I’ve attached my ad for the couch.  I was flooded with calls all day as well as having my inbox almost explode with emails.  It could’ve been the price, but I think it was more the ad itself.  (Note:  I’ve highlighted the lies for you)

Amazing Couch with Built-in Drink Holders and Reclining Ends! – $400

This couch is a thoroughbred, and that’s all there is to it.

We bought this couch at Bob’s Discount Furniture about a year ago for 1100 dollars, and if you check their site, I’m sure you’ll still find it listed for that price. Either way, we’re practically giving this couch away for the low price of 400 dollars or BEST OFFER.

The couch is crescent shaped and made of a soft suede that contours to the body of whoever’s sitting in it after just a short while. The couch is tri-sected by two deep cubby holes and four drink holders, making this the ultimate home entertaining furniture. Relax and put your feet up and lean the end bucket seats back and take in the full effects of watching Star Wars if you’re a nerd. Or Star Trek if you’re an even bigger nerd.

And just so your guests won’t get jealous, there’s a matching ottoman that they can use to put their feet up too! The ottoman opens up and can be used for storage; blankets, remotes, snacks, whatever you can fit into a 3’x3′ space, you can put into the ottoman.

The only reason why we’re getting rid of this great couch is because we’re moving and we don’t have room for it. It’s super comfy and super clean, no pets or spills, well maintained by adults in a non-smoking environment.

You’re getting the deal of year by calling Jim at XXX-XXX-XXX or emailing me at the above link. Act fast because I’m taking any reasonable offer on this awesome couch.

The CouchI’m just saying…

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, Pic Post, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors | , , , | Leave a comment

Fear and (Much) Loathing in Boston

(Just got done editing The Lady’s side of today’s events.  It’s a little more factually based and less opinionated.  Read it here! -ed)

Being that I’ve lived both in New York City and in Boston for a few years apiece, it’s relatively easy for me to pick which city I enjoyed living in more.

NYC is the city I try to hate, but love, and conversely Boston is the city I try to love, but hate.

And I hate it the more I deal with it.

Boston is a cold gray square maze, that embodies everything that’s wrong with an east coast city.  Boston tries very hard to be New York despite it’s best interests, where instead of a Starbucks on every corner, it’s a Dunkin Donuts.  It’s dirty and not in the clever, self depreciating way that The Standells’ song “Dirty Water” makes it out to be.  No, Boston sucks, and this is coming from an ardent Red Sox fan.

And that brings up another point:  Boston has this smug attitude about itself, that seems to seep from the pores of every Bostonian that breathes in this city.  You can almost smell it, like it’s a hanging funk over the pithy skyline that looks more and more like a bootleg version of lower Manhattan every time I see it.  Granted, Boston has seen it’s fair share of sports championships in recent years, but it’s no reason to think your shit smells like freshly minted nickles.

When I first identified this smugness I had no way to describe it, because I was a college freshman living under a haze of inebriation.  But I’d go out to parties at frat houses in and around BU and Northeastern and I’d talk to the people there.  For the most part guys were self centered dicks, all wearing the same style of t shirt and jeans with flip flops, but in different alternating hues of closeted homosexuality, and the girls were uptight bitches who vacationed on The ‘Vinyahd’ in the summer, and Arizona in the winter.

No one seems real in Boston.  Boston is a disorganized, poorly planned Purgatory that even Dante wouldn’t care to write about.

I took the day off from work to drive The Lady to see a specialist in Boston for her RA.  She asked me to do this, because she did not want to drive herself into Boston, and I don’t blame her.  We left at about eight in the morning for an eleven o clock appointment in the heart of Boston, and on the way there enjoyed taking a tally of how many Obama bumper stickers we spotted oppose to McCain (it was tied, one to one) and just chatted about our day to day lives, opinions on current events, and the state of affairs concerning NPR.  At some point I went off on a rant about how citizens can no longer assume we’re powerless in the face of our elected officials.  Afterwards, I felt embarrassed and suggested that I tuck my soap box back under my seat.

The Lady says she loves it when I get passionate.

What was going to make this trip interesting was the fact that about a week ago my truck got broken into and the thief stole my Tom-Tom GPS, which without, makes me about as oriented as a bat caught in the sunlight.

Boston is a horrible maze as I just stated.  Roads will literally lead you no where, or into a circle (as we found out twice trying to come home), traffic is typically a snarl of people who refuse to acquiesce to the right of way, let alone wave you out as a good citizen should, lest one be left to rot at a stop sign for twenty minutes.  Twice I had to swerve last minute to get out of the way or some crazed asshole behind the wheel of a Camry who refused to abide by standard traffic laws.

Not that I could blame him while transversing through downtown Boston.

It wasn’t long before we were lost.  Flying strictly by a Google map print off, a lot of the turns we had to make were to poorly or unmarked streets, so this soon became a practice in the art of guessing 50/50.  With just under 90 minutes before she was due for her appointment, I pulled us over to talk to a cop dressed in day-glo yellow.

I got out of the car (The Lady’s Accord, because it gets better gas mileage than my truck, also, didn’t want to risk some asshole side swiping me) holding a stack of papers and approach the cop who looked a lot like ‘Star Trek’s’ George Takei.  Instantly he knew I was lost and asked if he could help.

“We’re from the Cape,” I shrug plaintively.  He nods, knowing that I’m a dipshit who shouldn’t be leaving my little hook-shaped island to come to the big bad city on his own.  He points us in the right direction, we shake hands and I take off.

We find Beth Israel, a scattering of medical office buildings up and down Brookline Ave and pull into a parking garage that’s only going to charge us an arm and a leg by the half hour.

Outside I’m treated to the city quota-filling minority cop brigade.  If you’ve ever spent serious time in one of our country’s many big cities, you’ve probably seen these guys.  They wear authentic city police uniforms, but some how don’t look the part.  They’re sickly skinny, inattentive, stooped over with half shuttered eye lids.  One in particular looked as though he could’ve had his weapon plucked (triple retention holster be damned) and have it used to beat him to death with.

Once inside and somewhat situated, I found that Beth Israel is mostly manned by (according to my notes) “uncaring middle income desk slaves from Antigua.”  The whole place reeks of dying minorities bogged down by bureaucratic red tape and a worn-thin health care system.  One skinny Asian man stared at me, or possibly through me, while I typed notes into my Blackberry while sitting in the waiting room, skimming over an Entertainment Weekly.

And speaking of EW, who the hell subscribes to this spine-stapled ass wipe?  EW is exactly that, “Ew.”  After reading a few articles, I found that the writers must be mistakenly sending their pieces to EW instead of their intended recipient, Vanity Fair, because each writer uses far too many ‘big word’ adjectives to describe a film like “Tropic Thunder.”

EW is a magazine that on one page will use French phrases to describe a movement in cinema, and on the next start a three page article on Jessica Simpson.

The mag basically panders to people who will feign intellect, but are happily sedated by re-runs of “Millionaire.”

There was a lot of waiting; Ang had to first sit with a doctor for a consultation, and then get blood work.  And then we had to get X Rays.  And then see another doctor about something else completely different.  And then get more blood work (when we got home, she asked if I could remove her bandages from where they took blood from her.  She looked like she spent the afternoon suffering from the Stigmata.)  So needless to say, every waiting room I found myself in, had a copy of EW on standby, just for me.

I read one article that was written by famous Maine horror writer and renowned Red Sox fan Stephen King;  The article was about how there isn’t any famous/good “manfiction” writers anymore.  That fiction is a women’s game now.  I got about halfway through the article before I was bored off my ass reading it and decided that poor Mr. King lost it all when he was gunned down by that van ten years ago.

Men don’t read fiction, that’s why.  I mean, sure we do, I love my Palanuik, and honestly, Hunter Thompson’s stuff is half fiction anyway, but men typically read non-fiction.  Books about history and war.  Biographies, that sort of thing.

If Mr. King surmises his point based purely on his own lagging book sales as of late, then I suggest that my once beloved muse, the man who introduced me to free reading and writing, starting doing cocaine again, and churn out another ‘Cujo.’

By now we’ve been at Beth Israel for a few hours, and The Lady is becoming more and more a pin cushion;  She’s trying to remain calm and charming, but I can see the day’s wearing her out.  We leave one building to go to another, and stop off at the car to get more paper work.  She swears that her next appointment is at 1300, which was five minutes ago, and she’s frantically trying to call the office so the appointment isn’t lost.  I could’ve sworn earlier she said the appointment was at 1345, which gives us forty minutes to get two blocks over.  She hushes me and she’s got that thing about her voice where she’s getting ready to hit me.  I relent, only voicing that it’d probably be faster if we walk, noticing how fucked up traffic is on Brookline.

She gets the receptionist and tells her that she’s running late.  There’s a pause, followed by an “Oh?”

Her appointment is at 1345.

“I’m sorry,” she tells me after she hangs up.  She has obvious fatigue in her voice and she gives my hand a squeeze as I pull out into traffic.  “I feel like I’ve been hit with a bag full of rusty nails.”

We get to the next office building and things go a little more smoothly.  While in the waiting room I’m caught between a tiny tv broadcasting a snowy CNN picture and last week’s EW.  I look down to my right, where The Lady was just sitting, and I don’t see her purse or paper work.  I panic.

Did she take it inside with her?  Did she leave it under her chair?  I look, and now I’m becoming a frantic lunatic attracting the attention of other patients and counter people.  I try to relax, but my foot’s bouncing at a high rate of speed.  I probably look like a tweeker, fixing for his next bump.  Our parking ticket was in her bag, my house and truck keys, her keys!  Her wallet and check book!  How could I be so unobservant?!

A few minutes later, she walks out holding her papers and her bag.  My asshole unclenches.

This whole time I’d been exchanging text messages with The Lady’s sister, about Taco Tuesday.  Every Tuesday night, she puts on a little get together with her friends and invites Ang and I over to partake.  Tacos are made, everyone enjoys themselves.

We haven’t been in a while because the last time we went, we got into a beef with one of her sister’s friends.  Her sister’s friend, a hippie who’s descended from obscenely rich parents (those are the worst kind) referred to me as ‘RoboCop’ (hence the avatar).  The Lady didn’t like that, and since then, we haven’t gone back.

There’s more to it, but honestly, it’s not important.

I tell her sister we’re not going to make it, because it’s been a long day.  She asks if I’m just saying that, and I tell her that I’m currently texting her from being stuck in the middle of Boston afternoon traffic, which is not unlike being slowly digested in whole by a giant Anaconda.

While on the way home, it’s stop and go, and The Lady succumbs to sleep, which is fine with me.  She’s earned it.  She’s been a total trooper and not once exploded at me, or so much as raised a tiny fist of fury to something incredibly dumb that I managed to pull off (trust me, there were plenty of opportunities.)  I turn up the radio and spend the next hour grating my teeth, being forced to listen to Boston’s arrogant, smug, self serving talk radio.

I could go off again, but really I don’t have the energy.  Just in summation, every radio jock thinks that Boston is the best at everything, despite the statistical proof that says otherwise.  As a true fan I realize that it’s unlikely that Boston will win another World Series this year, since the majority of our solid day-to-day players are walking wounded as my old high school football couch would put it.  Our pitching Ace, Josh Beckett is nursing a sore something or other, and we’ve been playing shoddy ball all through the month of September.  We’re the defending World Series Champions and we’re going into the play offs as the ‘Wild Card.’  Common sense would dictate that we just don’t got ‘it’ this year.

But don’t say that to a Boston talk radio jock (or really, anyone who lives in the greater Boston area.).  He’ll call you a “queeah from New York.”  He’ll tell you you’re wrong based purely on principles and hang up on you.  Then he’ll call your mother a “niggah hoor-ah.”  His co-host, some assclown named ‘Sully’ will agree and hit a sound effect button of a toilet flushing.

Once we crawl out of the city, like Tim Robbins crawling out of a sewer pipe at the end of “Shawshank Redemption’ we make one stop at a highway-side Mickey D’s and eat a late lunch.  We then get home, with our backs to that shitty, overrated, overpriced, wannabe player of a city.  A city that laughs in your face for trying to hail a cab, yet wants desperately to have it’s own 9/11 so it too can feel like a world recognized location, instead of a city that people say ‘oh and…’ about.  An afterthought, a less and less relevant place that outsiders commonly regard Scorsese’s’ ‘The Departed’ it’s most recent shining achievement; an extended cameo in what I would consider to be ‘Goodfellas Part 2.’

Give it up Boston, you’re a hack and a choke artist.  People with taste make fun of the way you talk, and you carry that ‘retahdid’ accent like it’s some sort of Medal of Honor.  You pollute everything around you, other cities and suburbs with your brand of apathetic lawlessness that spills over into places like The Cape, Manchester, NH, and Southern Maine.  You’re a one trick pony with a bad hind leg and with a reputation for biting it’s handlers.

No one gives a shit about you Boston, your Charles River, or your beer and semen stained institutions of higher learning.  Go ‘fahk’ yourself.

I’m just sayin’….

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Fear and Loathing, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Five Hundred Words on “Cunt.”

Few words deliver such a jaw dropping reaction from people. Cunt is probably the last swear word that actually means something, and hasn’t been beaten to death by the media.

Granted, the Britons liberally use cunt in their every day vernacular, but here in America Cunt is still the queen mother of curses. Mother Fucker, Asshole, Son of a Bitch, and Goddamn, all take second place to Cunt. I dare you, reader, to drop the C word in a public place, like a Dunkin Donuts or on line in a bank, and see who’s head reels around on it’s swivel to see where that came from.

However I fear that Cunt is going to be passe soon. More and more in films and music especially are showing more signs of Cunt usage. I guess you could say that no longer is Cunt being… a frigid Cunt. With “mother fucker” being dropped just about every ten minutes in this country, we’ve collectively become jaded towards it. Honestly, if you’re walking down a busy street, and … depending on where you are… you hear someone say “mother fucker” your day doesn’t skip a beat.

Mother fucker simply doesn’t have the same level of impact as it used to, say, twenty years ago. I don’t even realize I say mother fucker anymore, to be honest with you, it just comes out on it’s own. However, I’m very aware of when I drop a heavy C on someone or some situation.

What makes Cunt so fun to say? Probably because it’s short and guttural. Cunt speaks to our inner barbarian, our inner shit stacking, brick laying, beer drinking, fist throwing, tobacco spitting, hard hat wearing construction worker. When we bring out Cunt we’re bringing out some big guns, nothing else can be compared to Cunt. Yeah, you got “asshole” and “bitch” but you call someone a Dumb Cunt, you’ve basically pinned them to the ground, and put your boot across their wind pipe.

Cunt is the one word I won’t say in front of my mother. That said, I drop just about every other curse word in front of her, and she doesn’t mind. I’m not saying that makes me a good son, but she understands that with the type of work I do, I curse. I’m a man.

What makes me not want to say Cunt in front of her was this one time when we were watching the “Sopranos” together.

Granted, if you’re tuning into the “Sopranos” you have to kinda know you’re not going to be getting “The Young and The Restless,” you’re going to be getting tit shots and heads getting blown off. You’re going to get mother fuckers and niggers.

One character says to another “yeah that bitch is a real cunt.” Ah, so poetic.

My mother, who often would keep a copy of the sunday paper in her lap to cover her eyes with when things got too violent for her sensibilities, commented on the use of cunt.

“Did they really need to say that?” She says, slightly annoyed. She huffs and opens up the paper, as if to escape the fact that two guineas had an exchange where they doubly demeaned a woman.

I’m just sayin’….

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Too Much Time | , , | 1 Comment