Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Plane Blunder

On Monday Barack Obama and the White House military office thought it would be funny to scare the living shit out of everyone in New York City.

One of Obama's presidential planes flew frighteningly low over ground zero, sending residents into a justifiable panic. The White House military office director Louis Caldera had this to say:

"While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption…I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused…I take responsibility for that decision."

He then added that he approved the mission over New York, describing it as a photo opportunity.


The only photo opportunity you're going to get by flying a jumbo jet over New York City would be the photos of the people freaking out in the streets. Did you want pictures of panicked business people running and screaming from their office buildings? How about pictures of the random bicycle messenger crashing into a cab while his eyes were locked on the GIANT PLANE flying over his head? Or were you trying to see how many people you could get to shit their pants?

I’m someone who subscribes to the idea that either everything is okay to make fun of, or nothing is. I’m someone who thinks that it’s okay to make Holocaust jokes, someone who thinks its okay to make fun of Sonny Bono hitting a tree, and even I think this was over the line.

Obama said he had no idea that this was going to go down, that he was completely unaware of the military office's plans. I say bullshit. I say bullshit all over town. He had to know they were planning this, it’s his damn plane. I’m convinced this was just a huge practical joke perpetrated by the greatest mind the oval office has seen in nine years. Seriously, he’s a pretty laid back dude. He drinks beer and watches basketball. He plays with his blackberry while in meetings. Obama seems like the kind of guy who can appreciate a good prank. I bet it was something he tried to make fun, and had all the best intentions, but just spun out of control...


(President Obama and Director Caldera are having a meeting with the White House military staff in the oval office.)
Caldera: So, next on our agenda is…
Obama: Hey, do you guys remember that whole 9/11 thing?
(Stunned silence)
Obama: You know when the planes flew into the Twin Towers…
Caldera: Oh, we remember very well sir.
Obama: Yeah, (takes a drag off of a cigarette) that was pretty messed up.
Caldera: It was a horrible tragedy, Mr. President. I don’t think saying it was "messed up" really gives it the…
Obama: Hold that thought… (Starts texting on his black berry)…ha ha…Biden is sending me these pictures of cats playing the piano.
Caldera: Mr. President…
Obama: (Puts black berry down) I was thinking, maybe we should do something to make that whole thing seem a little less tragic. I mean it’s been eight years, don’t you think people should be over it by now?
Caldera: …Are you serious?
Obama: What if we just flew a plane over them, like one of our planes? Hell, send Air Force One.
Caldera: Are you insinuating that we make light of September 11th?
Obama: (Sparks up a joint while setting up his iPod) Dude, it’ll be a gas. People will totally get it. They'll think it’s funny.
Caldera: I don’t feel comfortable with this Mr. President.
Obama: Yeah, it’s going to be hilarious (blasts “Regulate” from his iPod and starts thugging out.)
Caldera: Mr. President, I think we should reconsider…
Obama: Someone shut him up and get me a Colt 45!
(Billy Dee Williams walks into the room tossing Colt 45’s to everyone. A huge party erupts with booze and women.)
Caldera: (Yelling) MR. PRESIDENT, I DON’T THINK…
Obama: (singing) “…Just hit the eastside of the LBC, on a mission trying to find Mr. Warren G, seen a car full of girls aint no need to tweak, all you skirts know what’s up with 213…”

Okay, so it probably didn’t happen like that. No matter whose fault it was, it was still a huge blunder on the part of our government. Seriously boys, this is a Bush administration mistake. You guys are supposed to be smarter than this. Here’s a new rule you should go by from now on: If you get the idea to fly a plane anywhere near ground zero…DON’T DO IT. It's too soon to do that. I can't believe you have to be told not to fly jumbo jets over New York City, it should be common sense. If you guys would just have some decency, and take other people’s feelings into consideration, then maybe these kinds of things wouldn’t happen. I say shame on you White House military office, and shame on you President Obama. You guys really need to grow up.

Now, who wants to hear a good Holocaust joke?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vampire Kids Suck Part 2

I was surprised to find that the “mall” they were talking about was nothing more than the local shopping center. And, the “court” they were talking about wasn’t a vampire sex lair at all; it was just the food court. Disappointed, but still eager to see some blood splatter, I entered the mall with a new found dedication to vigilante justice. I was excited at the prospect of jumping in after they made their kill and eliminating them Blade style. I took a seat at the far end of the court to keep a low profile, but still close enough to hear their conversation. I listened intently as I whittled a stake out of some chopsticks I got at PF Chang’s, and doused myself in the garlic I got from Olive Garden.

“We need to make a decision Vampier,” said Russell the fat vampire.

The skinny chick vampire nodded her head in agreement and said, “I haven’t eaten all day, I begin to weaken.”

“Don’t worry my friends, I know what we are having tonight,” said Todd/Vampier/Assface, “We are having steak…RARE!”

Bullshit, I thought. Steak? Is that some sort of slang for cashier’s blood? It turns out it wasn’t as I watched them place their orders at the Steak and Shake, and then proceeded to NOT kill anybody. These kids clearly lost their balls. Vampires don’t eat steak, unless “eating steak” means being stabbed by me in the heart with a sharp piece of wood. Disgruntled, I holstered the chopsticks; it was time for a more direct approach. In order to infiltrate their ranks I needed to go “incognito”. Luckily, I had brought with me an old Dracula costume from my 8th grade Halloween party. I slung the cape around my shoulders, put in the fangs, and added some catsup around the edges of my mouth so they knew I meant business.

“Hey there,” I said as I approached them, “I’m a big vampire nerd just like you fellas. I just got off the boat from TRANSYLVANIA,” I said with a wink, “And I’m in some desperate need of some BLOOD,” I said with another wink and a thumbs up.

The three vampire kids stared up at me with puzzled expressions. As awkward stillness swept over us, I decided to break the tension with a few menacing hisses. When that didn’t work, I decided to end the silence and said, “Feel free to incorporate me into your communal brood anytime now, I don’t have all day,” and threw in a few more hisses for good measure.

“Johnson, what the hell do you want?” asked Todd, the super vampire queen.

Realizing that Todd had seen through my disguise, I started to panic. “Uh…Johnson? Who is this Johnson? I am…Count…Darth…Fett. Yeah, that’s right. Count Darth “Blood taker” Fett…the vampire…from Alderaan.” I then started to flex and pose, “I’m a bounty hunter...and a vampire…from space.”

“I thought you were from Transylvania?” said Todd.

“I said I got off the train from their idiot,” I said as I threatened to slap him with my hand. He cringed, so I gave him two for flinching. “Vampires don’t flinch, Todd. Don’t be a pussy.”

“His name is Vampier, and you’re lying. Alderaan is from Star Wars,” ” said skinny vampire girl.

Russell took the steak sandwich out of his mouth long enough to say, “Ignore him, he’s just a poser.”

Poser? I think. You fat-shit bastard.

“Poser?” I say, “You fat-shit bastard. Here I am trying to unit with my brothers and sister of darkness and all you do is stuff your fat face and judge me?” I grabbed Russell by his skin tight tee-shirt, his eyes filled with terror, “You’re lucky there isn’t a bounty on your head or I’d be cutting you open and curling up in your innards for warmth.”

“That was in Empire Strikes Back,” said skinny girl vampire.

I snarled at her, showing my fangs, “What the hell? Are you a vampire or some Star Wars fag? Want to put up your hair in buns and hang out with Ewoks? I should rip out your trachea and feast on your throat cartilage.”

Todd stood up, “What the hell do you want? Why are you acting like such an idiot? You’re not even Vamp, man. You’re just dressed up like a tool.”

“Look, I’ll level with you,” I said, removing my vampire fangs. “I’m doing research on the vampire fad, and I wanted the real scoop from the people who know most about it.”

“Well why didn’t you just ask us?” said Russell, who was shoving French fries into his food hole.

“It would have been a lot easier that way,” said skinny girl vampire.

With my notepad open and my pen at the ready, I sat down with the three vampires, ready to learn their secrets. “Alright gang, what is so appealing about the vampire lifestyle?”

“Definitely the powers,” said Russell.

“No, it’s the romanticism of it all, the raw sexuality,” said the girl vampire.

“Come on guys,” said Todd, “The best part about being a vampire is that you’re outside of the established order, you’re not part of the main stream.”

“Hold on a sec,” I interrupted, “Did that fat-shit bastard over there just say powers?”

“Oh yeah,” said skinny girl vampire. “I’m a telepath, and an empath vampire.”

“I can fly and hypnotize my prey,” said Todd.

Russell flexed his fat arms, “I have super strength and super speed.”

I maintained alert silence and waited for more. Nothing was forthcoming. I looked Todd in the face, “Get out of town. Tubby has super speed? The only thing he's running toward is a plate of cheese burgers.”

All three of them sighed; it would seem that I “just don’t get it”. They then ignored me and began to hotly debate the best part of the vampire lifestyle. It was at this point I realized the flaw in my plan. I had indeed found the right people to interview for my article, but what I didn’t realize was that they were the most boring bastards on the planet. I slumped in my chair as the debate raged on for thirty minutes.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” I interrupted, not sorry at all. “But I just don’t think this is a constructive use of our time. Is there anyway you can just show me what you kids do?”
The three of them looked at each other, and smiled. “You want to see what Vampires really do?” asked Todd.

I glared at him, “That’s what I said, retard.”

“Then come with us my friend,” Todd said in a way that made me feel like he was hitting on me,

“And we will make you one of us!”

Next week, Chapter 3

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lies That Old Wives Told You

Everyone has heard an old wives' tale at some point in their lives. They have been passed down from one generation to the next to provide comforting advice about experience we all share, have little control over, or worry about. What you probably haven't heard is that most of them are pure bull shit. These stories were concocted to get people to straighten up by putting the fear of God in them. Today it seems as though old wives' tales have fallen victim to these new fangled fads we call technology and modern medicine. Here are some old wives' tales you have probably been told are true, and were foolish enough to believe.

Swallowing Gum Takes Seven Years to Digest

If you heard this myth than you probably pissed off your mom more than you realized with your cow-like chewing. Fortunately though, this tall tale is completely bogus. Gum doesn’t break down in the digestive system, but it will pass through like everything else. If you occasionally swallow your gum, then you have nothing to worry about. But, if your some sort of idiot who doesn't know how to use a trash can or a napkin to dispose of your gum, you might not be so lucky. If you’re regularly swallowing wads of gum, then they could meld into a giant blob in your stomach and cause serious health problems. Not to mention you could blow bubbles out your pooper.

If You Pluck a Gray Hair, Two More Will Grow in Its Place

Chances are that if your hair is going gray, once you see one you'll start noticing them all over your head. Its funny how one tiny little strand attached to a follicle on your head can create so much insecurity. But follicles produce one strand of hair, no more, no less. Plucking a gray hair won’t cause more to grow. You're more likely to damage the follicle and create a situation where you end up balding yourself. It’s okay to tweeze the occasional stray gray, but if your hair is already thin or thinning, get over your insecurities or buy some hair dye. How do you think Lex Luthor lost all his hair?

You'll Die If You Swim After Eating

Just think of all the time you wasted in the summer waiting for your lunch to digest. Mothers have been warning their kids not to swim after eating since the invention of the swimming pool. But, do you know how many people have actually died due to a food induced cramp?


Cramps happen when the blood that should be rushing to your stomach to aid in digestion gets diverted to your arms and legs. Cramps don’t usually occur while playing Marco Polo or holding your little brother's head under water. You’d need to be doing laps or seriously exerting yourself in order to be at risk, and even then, cramps are pretty easy to get over. This tall tale may have originated with parents who wanted to have some time alone for "water sex". Hopefully, irony got the last laugh when they "over exerted themselves" in the pool.

Touching Toads Will Give You Warts

Toads get such a bad rap. This lie may have been originated because toads have bumps on their backs that slightly resemble warts. Just like the kid in school who had "cooties", the Toad was ostracized by the rest of the animal kingdom.

The truth is that warts are spread by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and reptiles do not carry the virus. And another truth is that those bumps are glands that store toxins to protect the toads from predators. So handling a toad won’t give you warts, but the toad might release a poison, giving you a completely rational reason to never touch one.

Picking Your Nose Will Make Worms Come Out of It

Come on, who really believed this? It's easy to understand why mothers would come up with some elaborate story to keep their kids from going elbows deep in to their own nostrils, but to defy logic by saying worms would come pouring out of their head is just ludicrous. The worst things that could happen is a nasal infection, occasional nosebleed, and in rare cases perforation of the nasal septum.

That still doesn't make it okay to pick your nose. The main issue about nose picking is social acceptance, and public urination, drunkenness, and sexual conduct are all more socially acceptable than nose picking. So if you are a hardcore nose picker it would probably explain why you believe these old wives tales; you most likely still live at home with mom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vampire Kids Suck Part 1

Chapter 1

“I have a full house!” Kyle exclaimed, joyfully reaching for the chips.

I looked down at his cards and shook my head. “No you dip shit. That isn’t a full house. You don’t win.”

“Are you sure?” he asked with a stupid look on his face. “You told me a full house was 3 of a kind and two of a kind.”

“Yeah, but they all have to be the same card,” I lied. “Besides, my 2 pair would beat your full house anyway.”

“That doesn’t seem right,” said Wade who was sitting across the table from Berry and looking even more stupid, mostly because of his red hair.
"Shut up Wade," I said. "You're just pissed because you lost the last hand to my pair of 2's."

"I don't understand how that happened," he said. "I had three aces."

I laughed, "Yes, but this is Russian roulette poker Wade... there are different rules. I just wish we had a loaded gun so we can play it for real." There was no such thing as Russian roulette poker, but I I often dreamed of killing Wade, so I try to find any excuse I could to get him to put a gun barrel against his head.

Kyle threw down his cards in frustration, "I don't even know why we play this game, it's so hard to remember all these rules."

I shot them a shit eating grin and raked in the chips as I continued lying to them, “Guys, poker is hard to learn. But, if it’s any consolation you’re both doing a lot better.”

As I shuffled the deck and palmed a few aces into my sleeves, a loud sound came from the kitchen.

“Hey Kyle, I think someone is in your kitchen,” said Wade.

“Yeah, you might want to go check it out,” I said as I casually stole a few chips from Wade’s pile.

Kyle shrugged, “It’s just my younger brother and his friends. They’re heading down to the basement.”

“Isn’t your brother into that vampire crap Kyle?” asked Wade, who was completely unaware that I had just lifted his wallet.

Kyle gazed at Wade and I with a look of shame in his eyes, “Yeah, he and his friends are really into that Twilight crap.”

I rose from my seat and flipped the table over, sending the cards and chips flying across the room. “Twilight! Why the hell is he into Twilight? Didn’t he read my review on that stupid book?”

“I don’t think he reads your blog” said Kyle, who was obviously irritated at me for flipping over his parent’s coffee table and creating such a mess. I made a mental note to buy him a present with Wade’s money to try and make up for my outburst.

“I just don’t understand how teens these days can be into something so lame,” I said. “When we were their age we were into backyard wrestling, underage drinking, and starting fights with the homeless.”
“It’s just a fad, it’ll pass,” said Wade, who was breathing in all the air that belongs to normal non red-headed people with his big stupid nostrils.

“But, why is it a fad?” I asked. “When did sparkling and being emo become cooler than blood sucking and murder?”

Kyle looked up at me as he cleaned up the mess I made, “I’m not really sure how it happened. I don’t really understand the fan base.”

Suddenly I was hit with inspiration faster than Sonny Bono hitting a tree. Tapping into the one semester of journalism I took in college, I realized that I could write an article that deconstructs the Twilight fan base, giving normal people an understanding on what the hell the appeal is. Smelling a Pulitzer Prize, I started to move toward Kyle’s kitchen to confront his little brother on his horrible taste in literature.

“Hey, where are you going?” asked Kyle.

“I just need to ask your brother a couple of questions,” I said.

Kyle laughed as he and Wade picked up the coffee table, “Good luck. He doesn’t talk to anyone who isn’t ‘Vamp’”.

I spun around and locked eyes with my him, “What the hell does that mean? Is it some sort of Communist code? Because I’m down with the hammer and sickle, man.”

Kyle looked at me in utter shock, “What? No, he won’t talk to anyone who isn’t into the vampire lifestyle like he and his friends are.”

“They hang out in the basement and have little rituals and stuff,” said Wade, who was looking around for his missing wallet.

“So, you’re saying I need to dress up like a vampire to even get him to talk to me?” I asked.

“No,” said Kyle “I’m saying you should just leave him alone.”

“Shut your mouth Kyle,” I said as I kicked over the coffee table again, “No wonder you’re 25 and you live with your parents, you have no back bone! You'll still be living in this shitty house while I'm polishing my Pulitzer with a diamond encrusted handkerchief.” I then stormed out of the room with my right middle finger extended in the air, and my left index finger pointing at it in dramatic fashion.

On my way out of the room I could hear Wade ask, “Has anyone seen my wallet?” I quickened my pace as I headed for the basement door.


I decided instead of trying to make contact with them, I would first study their behaviors and see what I could learn. I entered the basement quietly in order to avoid detection. I used the darkness to my advantage, quickly moving from the stairwell to the dryer, and then sneaked over to the dusty, unused treadmill in the corner. From there I could see Kyle’s younger brother Todd and his group of friends sitting in a circle on the floor, surrounded by candles. Todd was wearing black eye liner, although you could barely tell with his long black hair covering most of his face. He was wearing tight leather pants and a white puffy shirt. He looked like a pirate, only more depressing and gay.

Next to him was a skinny blonde girl wearing fish net leggings and a black dress covering most of her body. She could have been hot if her face wasn't covered with gratuitous amounts of makeup and eyeliner. Across from Todd was a fat kid wearing a black eyeliner (I noticed a pattern arising) who was stretching out a black Atticus t-shirt and giving his jeans a workout as he tried sitting Indian style. Fat vampire kids also wore make up and had his mouth pierced. I wondered if he had pierced his mouth shut maybe would be able to fit into that Atticus shirt.

“What do you want to do tonight, Vampier?” the skinny girl said to Todd.

Vampier? I thought to myself. Who the shit is Vampier? That's Todd. I used to hold his fists, make him punch himself and call him a dick wad. This is lame little Todd, what the hell is this chick doing calling him Vampier?

“I don’t know Night Star,” replied Todd. “The moon has not yet risen, and I hunger. We must feed at some point tonight that is for certain.”

“Perhaps we should take to the local court to seek our prey,” said fatty.

“An excellent proposal, Russell,” said the skinny moron.

“Yes,” said Todd, king of wieners, “Once the night sky has taken over the day, we shall depart.”

I couldn’t take it anymore. I had only been listening to them for thirty seconds and I was ready to break my hands on their faces. I was about to jump out from behind the treadmill and pounce on the chubby one with fists flying, when they suddenly got up and started to head for the staircase.

“We will go to the court my friends,” said Todd the shit faced goon, “And there, we will find our prey.”

It suddenly dawned on me that Todd and his homoerotic buddies were talking about going somewhere to hunt for people, and then feed on them. Twilight vampires don't do that. Twilight vampires are vegetarian pussies that sit around and talk about how much the world doesn’t understand them and pour glitter on their pale, acne ridden skin. I realized that maybe my perception of the Twilight vampire fad might have been wrong. Never one to turn down a blood splatter show, I silently waited as they read poetry, played HIM albums, and read their vampire fan fiction to each other.

Just as I was about to strangle myself with my boxer shorts, Todd stood up and and said "It is time for us to go to the court, and feed." I watched as they made their way up the stairs and prepared to follow/stalk them.

My mind started racing to what this “court” could be. Was there some underground vamp kid kingdom I had been unaware of? Did they have blood orgies and feed on young virgin women? Did they sleep in coffins and turn into bats? Did they sparkle? These were questions that needed answered. I stopped when Todd got to the top of the stairs and watched him slowly opened the door.

“Mom!” he yelled, “We're going to the mall!”

I smiled the coy smile that only geniuses can muster. I was going to follow them to this “mall” and discover their blood sucking vampire secrets...

I decided before I could do that I needed to stock up on as much vampire killing supplies as I could, regardless of the price. I wasn't worried; I still had Wade's wallet.

Next week, Chapter 2

Friday, April 17, 2009

John Madden Announces Retirement, Sports World Rejoices

John Madden’s last game as a football commentator was announcing a thrilling Super Bowl in which he had no interest in.

John Madden, one of the sports most decorated announcers and greatest coaches, announced his retirement on Thursday. With this announcement he officially ended a storied career that seemed to tailspin in the last decade. Yet it didn’t fit Madden’s style to think about his retirement that way.

“I love grinders,” he said when asked about his favorite part of the announcing job. “You just get all these free submarine sandwiches, these grinders, and go through them and when it’s all over, you think about it. That’s what I’ll miss the most…the sandwiches.”

Madden’s exuberance for football and blue-collar persona endeared him to TV viewers for twenty years, and annoyed them for the last ten.

“I’m so thrilled he’s leaving. I felt like he was really just calling it in for the last few years,” said longtime broadcast partner Pat Summerall. “At the Super Bowl he wasn’t even paying attention to the game. All he did was eat his sandwiches and watch two interns play Tiger Woods PGA Tour.”

Madden said his health is fine, but at the age of 73, he wanted to spend more time at home. “The thing that made it hard is: ‘Is it the right decision?’ But I enjoyed it so damn much,” Madden said. “I really liked getting those free sandwiches.”

Cris Collinsworth, who will replace Madden, has been partying in his basement with Bob Costas and Stuart Scott since the announcement. He was unable to be reached for comment.

Dick Ebersol called Madden “a mediocre sports broadcaster and best example of a ‘human garbage disposal’ who ever lived.”

“He will eat anything he can get his hands on,” Ebersol said. “I’m not kidding. Once he tried eating my microphone when he dropped his stupid grinder on my shoe.”

Now that he’s retired Madden expects to sit at home all the time, except when he’s busy with his many endorsements. His Madden NFL Football is the top-selling sports video game of all time, and is in negotiations with Quiznos to become their official spokesman.

“I haven’t done shit for the video game in like 7 years. I was shocked they still made them,” said Madden. “As for the Quiznos deal, I’m really just in it for the free grinders.”

Madden won 16 Emmy Awards and became one of the most recognizable voices in television, mixing high-volume over-enthusiasm with blindingly obvious analysis on the telestrator.

“He was like a double edged sword— that guy you really wanted to come to your house to watch the game because he brought free food,” Ebersol said. “But, after a while you kind of get tired of him making the obvious calls, and reiterating exactly what you just said. At that point you realize no matter how good the free meal is, you’d rather just eat a bag of Doritos alone and watch the game in peace.”

Madden said he waited until two months after the season to determine whether to continue, not wanting to rush into a decision. “The last game I did was the Super Bowl, which was pretty good,” Madden said. “Or so I’ve heard. I don’t really recall. I know I was there, and I remember talking. Was it about the game? I can’t say for sure. To be honest every game I’ve ever called is just a big blur to me.”

When Madden had second thoughts he decided to call Ebersol to discuss the option of him finishing his 6 year contract. Ebersol flew to California on Wednesday morning and spent 11 hours with Madden, trying to persuade him to change his mind. A deal was struck when Ebersol agreed to let Madden come over every week for Monday Night Football to do the play by play in Ebersol’s kitchen while eating free food.

“It’s a small price to pay to keep him off TV,” Ebersol said, while wiping away tears. “Just let the world know of my sacrifice.”
When asked how he was going to prepare for Madden spending so much time at his home every Monday night, Ebersol laughed. “Prepare? He’s been coming to my house every week since we struck the deal! I don’t think he really knows when the season begins; he’s just been showing up at my house every Monday commentating on my grandkids game of Madden 09 and eating my food. One visit from John costs me up to $1,000 in grocery bills.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, Ebersol said, “I need to go get enough groceries to sustain John's next visit. We ran out of food last week and he tried to eat Ziggy, my miniature Dachshund. I can’t let that happen.”

When asked for a comment, Madden said, “Oh yeah…I’m going to eat the shit out of that wiener dog…BOOM!”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Plan to Get My Student Loans Paid

I, like most Americans, am in a tremendous amount of debt. My debt however is not due to frivolous spending or an addiction to online poker. My debt stems from the greatest racket in the history of all mankind…college loans. Sometimes I sit back and think about all the money I would have right now if I had not pursued that golden goose. Where would I be if I wasn’t paying off loans for a degree that I’m not even really using? Instead I wasted five years of my life and spent money I didn’t have. Now I’m stuck paying off massive amounts of cash to a company that is as heartless as Timothy McVeigh.

Since I am tired of taking such a thrashing from Sallie Mae I have come up with a simple solution to my financial woes…begging. Don’t worry; I’m not going to be hitting up you good people to pay my student loans. Most of my readers can barely afford Ramen Noodles.

No I’m hunting for bigger game. I hope to appeal to one of the most powerful men in the world to pay off my loans, Mr. Bill “Super Nerd” Gates.

I know what you’re thinking. Bill Gates is the type of guy that would acknowledge me the same way he acknowledges a fart in the wind, why would he ever consider paying off my undergraduate financial burden? I’ve thought about it, and I have come up with four reasons why he, Bill Gates, should pay off my student loans.

#1: He can afford it.

Let’s not even play that game. Bill Gates could pay off my loans with the money he uses to line the bottom of his bird cage. I hear from less informed people on a nearly constant basis that Bill Gates “isn’t as rich as he once was”. That might be true, but guess what people; the man is worth over $90 billion. That’s in dollars. 90 BILLION DOLLARS. The guy could buy and sell you off this planet. Being $90 billion liquid means the guy has money to spare, and I'll seriously take any money he has lying around. I’d even take the money he uses to wipe his ass, I don’t care. With his turds on it I could sell it on Ebay for more than it's value.

#2: I would become his friend.

I like to think that I'm a pretty rad dude. People seem to like spending time with me, so why wouldn't Bill Gates? I'm sure that if he got to know me than he and I would become great friends. We both like XBOX 360, we both like money, and we both seem to enjoy spending it. I can imagine what a day hanging out with Bill Gates would be like. We would start by taking a dip in his Jello pool which would double as breakfast. Then we would take his jet packs to the nearest mall and buy it.

Then we would wave money in front of homeless people only to pull it away at the last moment. After that we would get home in time to eat dinosaur eggs for dinner and watch the cast of M*A*S*H* act out scenes from the show in his home theatre. We would then reenact the battle of Helm's Deep from Lord of the Rings on his holodeck before we had his robot butlers put us to bed in his futuristic tree house. Sure the friendship seems one sided, but I would bring a bag of Doritos.

Ranch flavored.

#3: I could become the official face for his PC campaign.

Let's be honest, Bill isn't the best looking guy around. I'm not saying he's dog shit ugly...I just think his company needs a fresh face to appeal to the younger crowd. Mac has Justin Long, what does PC have? It has Bill on TV with Jerry Seinfeld peddling his wears. Now I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, but he's not exactly the voice of our generation. He's more the voice of a few generations back. I, on the other hand, am a young 20 something male with mop top hair and stylish rimmed glasses...I could be the bridge between PC and my generation. Also, I am not as computer literate as you might assume, so I could rant and rave about how user friendly the PC really is! And, in the end Justin Long and I could have a showdown...MAC vs. PC in a steel cage at Madison Square Garden. I like Justin Long, but I would murder his grandmother in front of him to get my student loans paid. Which leads me to my last reason Bill Gates should pay off my student loans...

#4: I would destroy Apple.
I love Itunes, I love my Ipod, but they would all fall victim to my merciless rage if Bill Gates agreed to pay off my debt. I would be like the Grinch; moving from house to house, taking all the MAC's and Ipod's and Iphone's, and destroying them. I would then hit every store in the nation (using my jet pack that my best bud Bill let me have) destroying every Apple product with my laser death cannon, (another gift from Bill). I would then confront Steve Jobs in his home and take pictures of him using a PC, then spread it around the Internet. With his credibility destroyed, Apple would be forced to file for Chapter 11. Now eliminating the only competition he faces, Bill Gates will rebuild the monopoly that the U.S. government made him disband all those years ago, eventually leading to world domination. And, my good friend Bill Gates will award me with a seat at his right hand, while he rules the world with an iron, limp wristed girly fist.

And, I would bring the Doritos.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Guest Blogger Simon Woods: Simon At The Movies

One of the best parts of having this blog is it gives me the opportunity to give my friends a venue to get their writing out to a wider audience. Today I am posting some movie reviews by my good friend Simon Woods. Now these are not written specifically for the blog, these were already pre-written on his facebook page. Encourage him to write some exclusives by reading these reviews.

Observe and Report

Over time, artists begin to build a trust with their audience. The artist will sometimes create something that seems off-putting, but the artist will say, " Trust me, you know I know what I'm doing." That is this movie with Seth Rogen and Jody Hill, both of whom I love. The movie is not quite unlikeable but not quite like able at first. I had no idea where it was going or what it was building towards. It turns out, it was building towards one of the biggest, funniest, most powerful conclusions I have ever seen. In this case, the end will justify the means. It is filled with amazing performances, and ends up being Taxi Driver for our generation. There is a good bit of frontal male nudity, so be warned of that.

My Name Is Bruce

This movie is like an ode to the career of Bruce Campbell. It makes fun of every movie he has been in and incorporates plot points from all of them too. It is a decent enough movie, even though in the end it isn't nearly as good as the movies that Bruce Campbell is known for. The demon wasn't near cool enough, and for a movie that is a tribute to Bruce Campbell, the monster should have been the second most important thing in the movie, next to Bruce Campbell of course. It was entertaining, but not as fun as many of Bruce Campbell's other movies.


This is visually one of the best movies I have ever seen. It has a very B movie quality to it, but that is what makes it so awesome. This is one of the finest examples of "so bad it's good" to ever be made. It is very self-indulgent, but also in a strange way pretty intelligent. Sean Connery is awesome as Zed, the pinnacle of manly testosterone. He is a savage brute who hijacks the flying head of a God and rides it to a Utopian society. When he arrives, and the inhabitants size him up, everyone decides they either want to sleep with him or be killed by him. This is quite simply one of the most hilarious plots ever. In spite of myself, I love this movie.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

The first 3/4s of this movie are pure gold. It is a hilarious take on the slasher genre with a documentary crew following around an aspiring psycho killer. Nathan Baesel is probably the most likable serial killer ever filmed, with everything portrayed in a very tongue in cheek manner. It is funny that every slasher institution is included, and he even uses Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers as role models. The parts with the retired killer explaining the rules if the game are hysterical. The last quarter of this movie denigrates into the kind of typical slasher movie that this is sending up. I don't know if it is on purpose or not, but for me it detracted from the rest of the movie. All in all, I really enjoyed it, but it did have its flaws.


This movie was not the disaster I thought it would be. It had an interesting world populated by interesting characters. You could obviously tell that things were cut out though. It spent an hour and a
half on the girl discovering the world of vampires and falling in love with one, and about 20 minutes on villains that were supposed to be intimidating. I cared not one bit about the villains, and even though a lot of time was spent on them, I didn't feel anything for the characters when they were put in danger. I think the best thing this movie did was whet my appetite, and make me open to seeing another one.

I Love You, Man

This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. In fact, Paul Rudd has starred in the last two really funny movies I've seen. The real beauty of this movie is that it captures the interesting, sometimes awkward, dynamic between guys and their friends. The cast is dynamic. It would take me too long to sing the praises of everyone who impressed me in this movie. Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, and Rashida Jones are so good, and the chemistry among them is really well developed. I loved this movie.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets
This movie is a piece of garbage. It had just a ludicrous story and the characters are just plain silly. It is actually worse than the first, which at least had Sean Bean. In this movie, Nicholas Cage is his usual sucky self, and Justin Bartha is equally bad. It seems those two managed to suck the talent out of normally good actors like Jon Voight, Ed Harris, and Helen Mirren. The only way in which this one wasn't as bad as the first was that it wasn't an infomercial for the Freemasons.

If you enjoy these reviews, look for Simon on, friend him, and read.

Also learn more about who Simon is here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why I Called A Six Year Old A Lesbian: A Dramatized Explanation

I love kids. I love them so much I spent three different summers of my adult life mentoring them as a camp counselor. Kids generally love me to, I have a very teddy bear like exterior which they find appealing. But, every once in a while I meet a child that is more vindictive than Chubs whipping out that alligators eye in Happy Gilmore. Here is the story of my experience with one of those children.

It was a crisp January day when my cousin Sam came to visit with his family. Sam lived near Boston, so we didn’t see each other very often. Sam and his wife Stacy have two little girls named Emily and Abby. I had recently graduated college, which should tell you two things;

1) I had the ego to assume that a piece of paper made me intellectually superior to anyone who did not have one.

2) I lived with my parents.

Yes, I was young and confident. I strutted around my parents home like I was king shit, ready to take on anyone who thought they knew more about world history than me. This of course is before I realized how useless a history degree actually is. Sure it’s great to get into grad school, but if you have no desire to further your academic career it’s about as useful as a letter of recommendation from your high school janitor.

Because I grew up without an older brother I always looked up to Sam. I was excited to have them here to visit, and it was a good chance for me to get to know his two daughters a little better. I never met Abby, and I hadn’t seen Emily for close to four years. What I remembered about her though was how sweet she was as an infant. She was very cute, always had a smile on her face, and seemed to generally be a happy child.

Four years can do a lot to a person. By the time I met her again, she had turned into a devious trickster who knew a lot more than she let on. Her smile was gone, as was her love for people in general. She had a hint of darkness in her eyes, as if she had already lived through her life once, and was being doomed to repeat it. Basically, Emily had become as bitter a human being as I had, the difference was that she was only six years old.

That, my friends, gave her the advantage.

They arrived really late, and I had stayed up to greet them. When they came in, Abby was asleep, Sam and Stacy were very tired, but Emily was surprisingly alert. I approached her as she carried her pink Little Mermaid bag through the door.

“Hey Emily,” I said with a huge smile, “Do you remember me? I’m you’re Cousin Andrew.”

Emily responded with stone silence. I assumed her memory had not developed to the point of being able to record memories that early in life, and took it with a grain of salt.

I patted her on the head and tussled her hair, “You came to my graduation party. It’s okay, it’s been a while…I understand why you don’t remember me.”

“Oh, I remember you just fine,” she said with what can only be described as utter contempt in her voice. She passed right by me, and began to head down the hall to the stairs.

“We’re staying in your room aren’t we?” she asked. Since I had the second biggest bed in the house, I had offered to sleep on the couch for the duration of their stay so that their whole family could bunk in my room.

“Yeah, that’s right,” I said approvingly, “You guys get the best room in the house.”

Emily walked up the stairs, only looking back at me to say, “Sucks to be you then.”

I could do nothing but stand there in shocked silence. Little Emily Chevalier, no older than six, had just insulted me. I don’t put up with that kind of talk from men twice my size, why would I take shit from a child with a Little Mermaid backpack? I shook it off and headed to bed, hoping this would be an isolated incident.

Over the course of the next two days Emily made it her personal mission to make me her bitch whenever possible. When no one else was in ear shot, she would make some smart ass offense to put me in my place. I don’t remember most of the insults; to be honest they were pretty tame. Things like “you have a big head,” and “you have poop breath”. Pretty innocent in nature, but when they came from her, I felt a part of my soul die. What really bothered me though was how aware she was of WHEN and HOW she could get away with it. She knew I wasn’t going to tattle on her. I was a grown man, what grown man is going to tell on a six year old for making fun of his breath? She also knew that once anyone was out of ear shot she could deliver the intended blow without any repercussion, and used this to her full advantage.

Now the first few times she did it I was able to let it roll of my back without any problem. Eventually I had enough, and we soon began a battle of insults. I didn’t say anything malicious, I was just playing the game by the rules she had established when she delivered that first insult. I felt I was in the right to defend my honor, even if no one else agreed. Unfortunately, because she had crafted the timing of her attacks so well, I was usually the one who came across like an asshole for picking on a little girl.

The worst part of it for me though was that I was the only one who saw it. To everyone else she played the “innocent little girl” part so well, no one ever thought she was capable of such atrocities. But, when it was just her and I alone, her smile would disappear and she would look at me with the eyes of a evil mastermind. When I tried to tell people how twisted she actually was, I was dismissed with looks of disgust and contempt. I felt like Elijah Wood in The Good Son; all I was trying to do was warn them of the monster before she could turn her hatred for the world toward someone else.

It all culminated on the last day of their visit. I had taken a new defensive strategy, and decided not to react to her attacks. I believed that her power came from the acknowledgement of her insults, and if I took that away she would eventually stop, making me the victor. After several attempts at trying to get me to spar with her, Emily eventually stopped. I could tell this angered her by the way she glared at me from across the room, and this made the victory all that much greater. I had beaten her. I had proven my own self worth and decided to reward myself on a job well done with a glass of chocolate milk.

As I stood in the kitchen alone mixing my chocolate prize, I noticed a small figure appear in the doorway. I turned and saw Emily standing there with the biggest smile you’d ever see. Immediately I went into a defensive position, ready for her verbal barrage of insults. She opened her mouth ready to unleash what I was sure was going to be the Mecca of all slurs,

“Will you make me some chocolate milk too?”

I was surprised, but eager to mend our relationship. I began mixing two glasses of chocolate milk, all the while having the first pleasant conversation ever with my little cousin.

“I hope we keep coming back, I like it here. Maybe I’ll bring my friends with me,” she said as she danced around the table.

“Well that’s fine, just don’t bring any boyfriends here,” I said jokingly, “We don’t want their kind around.”

She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face, “But, what if I don’t like boys? What if I like girls?”

Forgetting that the person I was talking to was six my immediate reaction was to respond with the most honest answer possible. “Well I suppose if you like girls, that would make you a…”

At that moment my mother and Sam walked through the kitchen door and heard only the last word of the sentence that escaped my mouth,


Sam, (who is usually cool about these things) and my mother, (who is never cool about anything) were both enraged. Thinking I was using the word as an insult, they both went off on me. I tried to clarify myself, explaining that they missed the context, but they wouldn’t hear of it. In their mind that was it; I was officially the guy who called a little girl a lesbian.

I looked at Emily, and she had the biggest smile I had ever seen. Only, this wasn’t the smile I had seen her fake on so many occasions with everyone else, nor was it the smile she used to dupe me…this was a smile of accomplishment. She did it…she beat me. But, she didn’t just beat me, she outsmarted me.

A six year old outsmarted me.

That was the day king shit died. I had been usurped by a cocky, malicious, evil little girl. It’s been over a year since that happened, and still to this day I am reminded about that event by my family at almost every gathering we have. When I’m around the other little kids my mother feels it necessary to remind me not to call them lesbians. Every once in a while Sam will bring it up for no apparent reason other than to mock me.
I won’t even display my degree at my own home, because I feel as if I don’t deserve it. But, in the end,I’m glad for the experience. I’m glad because I now know what we are all up against. This little girl, this Lex Luthor caliber mastermind will one day grow to be a woman, and that woman will no doubt use her powers of manipulation and timing to secure herself in a position of power. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to have some sort of counter for her attacks. Until then, enjoy your nightmares world, I pray for us all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I "Read" Twilight: The Review

Before I get into this review I need to make two things clear:
1: This is not a review of the movie, it's a review of the first book in the series.

2: My opinion really doesn't matter.

Well to be more accurate my opinion doesn't really matter to you, but it means a hell of a lot to me. When it comes down to making decisions, my opinion is the first one I seek out. It means a lot to me because I take time to think about my opinions, and I try to give everything an honest to God try. I think its important to learn about something before trying to pass judgement on it. For the most part people don't want your opinion if it doesn't already confirm their own. Nobody is really interested in debate; you either agree with them, or to hell with you. All too often people confuse taste with intelligence, and it ends up making us look uninformed and small minded. We take what we like and attribute that to what we believe is important to the world, and by doing this we severely limit ourselves in our experiences.

I'm just as guilty of this as anyone. For the longest time I looked at the Twilight books as the ramblings of a lonely, horny, middle aged woman. But, I had never read them, thus creating a dilemma. In order for me to accurately pass judgement on the works of Stephanie Myers, I had to first read them myself. I'm not expecting this review to change any one's mind. Chances are if you are reading this you have already read the books or seen the movie and have created your own opinion on the subject.

I have some friends that are fans of these books. They range from being casual fans who enjoy stories about vampires, to borderline obsessed fans who have multiple pictures of Robert Pattinson on their walls. All of these friends are people I consider to have generally good taste, and by that I mean they have interests and opinions that are usually very close to my own. It is because of them I decided to read this book. To be honest I wasn't really expecting much based on the movie trailers I saw, and my opinion was already kind of one sided, but I charged into the story with an open mind.
That being said, lets get down to it. After reading every single page of that book, I think I can sum up my Twilight experience in five words:

What a piece of shit.

I honestly don't know how I made it through that book without slitting my own wrists. I can't believe this is what people are reading and trying to pass it on to others as "good literature". I think if someone gave me the ultimatum of either reading her books or watching Transformers everyday for the rest of my life, I'd say bring on the Michael Bay shit storm. You can try to make an argument for this book. You can try, but you will be unsuccessful. Of course, I can understand why people would be entranced with Myer's's clearly exemplary:

"Aren't you hungry?" he asked, distracted.
"No." I didn't feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full - full of butterflies.

He unleashed the full, devastating power of his eyes on me, as if trying to communicate something crucial.

He paused to catch a stray lock of hair that was escaping the twist on my neck and wound it back into place. My heart spluttered hyperactively.

Bella-"I love you more than everything else in the world combined. Isn’t that enough?"
Edward-"Yes, it is enough. Enough for forever."

If you hated those four passages be warned, the whole damn book is like this.

Before I read the book my biggest beef with the story was that the vampires could walk around in the daylight. Over all the years, from the bad ass Dracula stories to the homo-erotic Anne Rice novels, one thing has always been consistent; when hit by sunlight vampires turn to dust. When I brought this up to one of my friends her response was "Vampires sparkle, fool." I thought she was using some sort of slang I didn't really understand and was trying to be cute.

I didn't realize until reading the novel that she was being serious. When hit with sunlight, the vampires don't burst into flames...they just...sparkle.

I thought Anne Rice had made vampires as gay as they could be. I was clearly wrong.

Sparkling aside, the biggest problem with Twilight is the characters themselves. To put it bluntly, they're stupid. Bella, who is supposed to be a plain girl, with no discernible personality, and no specific likes and dislikes. How plain can Bella be, when she has the attentions of Edward Cullen, Mike Newman, Eric Whoever, Jacob Black, AND Tyler Crowley? She's all, "I'm pale. I'm skinny. I'm not athletic. I'm not blonde. Wah, wah, wah." And yet, every single dude in the book wants to jump her bones. Bottom line is that Bella is the main character, and she's a completely unlikable "Mary-Sue".

Edward is worse. It seems like Myers has taken it upon herself to make this character to appear as "perfect" as possible. He sparkles, he's gorgeous, and he has cut out of marble abs. Yet, this demi-god of sex is only interested in the plain girl that seems to be nothing but a hassle. Oh, and he's kind of a creeper. He sneaks into her house to watch her sleep because he thought she "smelled nice". If he were any other person he'd be on a sexual offenders list, but just because he's mysterious and he sparkles, it's suddenly okay. Also he's over protective of Bella. My coworker gave me a brief run down of his insanity. Through the course of the other books, Edward destroys her car engine to keep her from seeing Jacob, and has his sister kidnap Bella. I guess Stephanie Myers wants girls to know that when a guy hurts you, he's only doing it because he loves you.

The only remotely likable character is this kid Jacob. You can tell he's into Bella, but when she does stupid shit he doesn't sugar coat his words, he lets her know when she's being a dumb ass. Edward on the other hand is a passive aggressive pussy who can't seem to get over the fact that his sperm will eviscerate her ovaries. It's great to know that young girls everywhere are being taught its perfectly okay to string along decent guys who love you until your vampire boyfriend shows up. Bella chooses Edward because he makes her feel "alive" even though he's constantly on the verge of killing her. And stalking her. Can't emphasize that enough.

This book was absolutely terrible. It was so bad I can't even really consider it reading, it was more like peering into Stephanie Myers's deepest darkest desires, which I find creepy. From now on when people tell me they read Twilight, I'm going to automatically put the word read in quotations (like this: "read"). I do not condone this book, I will not "read" the rest. As I said this is my opinion. You are free to have your own, but now that I've "read" Twilight I feel I have the right to criticize it as much as I want. I implore you people, please read real books once in a while. If you want to "read" this bullshit, fine. But, for the love of God read some real books too. I'm saying this, and I have an embarrassingly large comic book collection. How sad is that?

I'll leave you with this; when Robert Pattinson signed on to play Edward Cullen in a three-movie contract deal, he was unaware of how bad the books really were. When he discovered his mistake, Pattinson took to insulting the book and its author in interviews as much as he could. Check out the link and see for yourself. When the main actor of the film based on your books hates your work, you know you've hit a new low.

Suck it Twilight, you make even Michael Bay look good. For that reason, I will hate you forever.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 Reasons Why I Think Natalie Portman Would Be Into Me

As my loyal readers know, I have had a somewhat on again, off again relationship with Natalie Portman. All of my friends have maintained that Natalie Portman would never be into me, considering the fact that she can literally have any man she wants. My argument is that I’ve never heard anything to contradict my assumption, but clearly that is not enough proof for my nay saying friends. So here are three reasons I think I could win not only her heart, but her bank account pin number and house keys.

Reason #1: I’ve seen all of her movies…even the really bad ones.

Dedication is something that women love, and I have proven that I am dedicated to Natalie Portman’s career by seeing every single movie she’s been in. I’ve seen the good, I’ve seen the bad. You would think it wouldn’t be that hard, considering she’s done movies like Garden State, Beautiful Girls, Closer, The Professional, Cold Mountain and V for Vendetta. Don’t forget she’s also done Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and the Other Boleyn Girl…not to mention the new Star Wars Trilogy. Those movies were so painful to get through I had to take up cutting to alleviate the pain.

But, I watch them regardless. I don’t care if she’s wearing stupid makeup and talking to a retarded fish man. Sometimes an actor just does a movie to get paid, and I’m okay with that. Especially if it means she could use that money to buy me a bad ass sword with a gun attached to it.

Do all the shitty movies you want Natalie. While the critics blast your decline in film making, you and I can live in our Scrooge McDuck sized bank and swim in our pool of gold coins.

Reason #2: Chicks dig dudes that are mysterious.

How many of you people can actually say you know everything about me? Two, maybe three?
HOW ABOUT NONE OF YOU. That’s how fucking mysterious I am. Did you know I carry smoke capsules in my utility belt? How many of you knew I had a utility belt? Zero would be the correct answer. Sure it might be just an old tool belt, but it’s got more function than anything you have around your waist. I bet you don’t even have a socket wrench or a hammer attached to your “I use it to hold my pants up” belt.

That not mysterious enough for you? How many of you were aware that Simon Woods and I fought crime in Huntington for a year? I’ll go ahead and give you the answer…NONE OF YOU KNEW THAT. Hell, I’m reasonably sure Simon has completely forgotten about it. He was known as Fists of Justice and I was The Shovel. He would kick criminal’s asses and decapitate them while I buried them in an abandoned lot. The only reason I retired was because he felt I was slowing down his killing by limiting him to criminals.

Natalie Portman would totally dig this stuff. And, years from now when we have been in a relationship for a long time and we start to lose the sizzle, I’d just randomly throw down a smoke capsule and escape through a vent. She would be so captivated by this seemingly mysterious act that she would have no choice but to be even more into me.

If I have all of these things going for me, imagine what I’m not telling you. And, don’t expect me to tell you anymore of my mystifying secrets.


Cause I’m mysterious.

Reason #3: Science backs my theory.

If I have learned anything about Natalie Portman by watching her movies it is that she usually plays characters that are really into emotionally distraught guys who are coming of age. Here are some emotionally distraught characters she’s fallen in love with in her movies:
  • Willie Conway in Beautiful Girls

  • Andrew Largeman in Garden State

  • Forney Hull in Where the Heart Is

  • Dan Woolf in Closer

  • Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars
Since I automatically assume she takes on roles that she identifies with personally, I naturally will think that SHE is into emotionally distraught guys who are coming of age. Scientifically speaking, if I can have the emotional range and personality of Zach Braff, it is conceivable that Natalie Portman could be into me. If you need it dumbed down for you, here’s a graph I made with Microsoft paint and science.

All of you pessimists may be able to disprove my other arguments, but you cannot argue with science. That’s why it’s called science; contesting it would be like saying Thomas Edison was a lying sack of shit.
Do you want to be the person who called him a lying sack of shit? Why don’t you say it to his face?

I didn’t think so.

This is how I plan to win over Natalie Portman, with a sexually deadly combination of dedication, mystery, emotional vulnerability and Zach Braff. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shopping for swimming trunks with a huge dollar sign on them.