Category Archives: Language

Way Behind the Music

I’ve always enjoyed writing, music, and comedy. It seems that the three have violently collided, thanks to this guy, Harfax Johnson, that my uncle Matt and I have teamed up with.  Both a musician and an artist, Harfax has been in the business for many years, and we think he’s one smash hit away from his big break.  You can check out his debut video here, and be sure to visit his blog for even more hilarity.

Without further ado, I present to you the world premiere of “I Kissed An Earl” by Harfax Johnson.

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Filed under Entertainment, Funny, humor, Language, Music, Video

Topic Tunder

I was laying on the couch last week watching the news (I won’t say the channel, but it was a certain Cable News Network), and a story came on about the “controversy” surrounding the then-impending release of Ben Stiller’s new movie, a rated-R comedy entitled “Tropic Thunder.” Dozens of people were protesting the film’s “liberal use of the ‘R’ word” (‘R’ word = retard) during one particular scene of the movie. Here are a few snippets of things seen and overheard at the protest:

“Tropic Blunder” – t-shirts worn by protesters featuring one of the few words that rhyme with ‘thunder’

“When I heard about it, I felt really hurt inside.” “We have feelings. We don’t like the word retard. We are people. We’re just like any other people out there. We want to be ourselves and not be discriminated against.” – Dustin Plunkett, Special Olympics global messenger

“I just think Ben Stiller and the people involved in this movie just didn’t think it was going to be offensive.” – Andrew J. Imparato, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities

“If you want to pick on people, as the old playground saying goes, pick on people your own size. This population struggles too much with the basics to have to struggle against Hollywood. We’re sending a message that this hate speech is no longer acceptable.” – Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics

“Using the ‘R’ word brings our people down,” – an anonymous protester interviewed by the news reporter

Call me insensitive, but this all seems a little ridiculous to me. It’s a comedy – rated R, no less. My first comment is, if you don’t enjoy this type of off-color humor or are offended by the ‘R’ word, don’t go see it. If you’ve seen or read anything about the movie, you would know that the movie is making fun of actors and how seriously they take themselves. Yes, it’s edgy. Yes, they make fun of stereotypes. But did Ben Stiller and friends intend to hurt the community of the mentally disabled? No way. The use of the ‘R’ word was taken out of context, and that can’t be construed as discrimination against an entire community. I suggest that most of the people protesting have not seen the movie (and probably shouldn’t), and that this is merely political correctness gone too far.

I think I’m more surprised that people aren’t up in arms over Robert Downey Jr. playing a black man, but that’s another story entirely.

I’d like to think that I’m a good person, with good morals. There’s always room for improvement, but overall I think I’m a pretty good guy. I would never call a mentally disabled person retarded. My brother David is a retard though, and I’ve told him that countless times. I think Grey’s Anatomy is retarded, and I won’t watch it no matter how many times Girlfriend asks me to. John Edwards is retarded for continuing to lie – you got busted John, you might as well come completely clean.

My point is (and I could be naive in my thinking) that the use of the word “retard” is generic, and I don’t think I’m alone in that attitude. I would call my brother a retard much like I would call him a dork or a dweeb. What I’m essentially doing is calling him dumb, not mentally disabled, and in doing so I am not referring TO the mentally disabled. On the other hand, I can respect someone who comes from a different place and isn’t comfortable with the word (someone like my uncle who works with children). Ben Stiller has every right to make a movie like this, the protesters have every right to protest it, and I have every right to write this retarded blog.

I’m not here because the movie upset me or because I liked it (I haven’t even seen it yet actually, but I plan to). I’m not trying to get you to agree with my opinion one way or the other. I’m here today because I need to apologize.

There was one guy in particular who was protesting during that news piece and told the reporter, “Using the ‘R’ word brings our people down.” He opened my eyes – I had no idea that every time I’ve called my brother a retard that I was actually hurting this guy on TV, and others like him, whom I have never met. Using that logic, I decided to take this opportunity to apologize to a few others that I may have unknowingly hurt:

Albert Einstein – Einstein was a physicist best known for his Theory of Relativity. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, and Time Magazine named him “Person of the Century” in 1999. So I’m not really sure why, if my aforementioned brother made a bad decision or did something stupid, I would say “way to go, Einstein.” I can assure you, Mr. Einstein, that I never called him by your name in a complimentary manner, and for this I apologize.

Girlfriend – This is a fairly new one, but I might as well sneak it in here. Girlfriend and I play tennis with some of my relatives every week, and we’re not very good (but we are less bad every week). Girlfriend likes to swing and miss at easy ones. It’s happened enough that I have noticed it, and when anyone else with whom we’re playing does the same thing, I proclaim that they “Girlfriend’d it.” Sorry, Girlfriend. (On a side note, I hit the ball into the net, a lot. Long story short, I’m also owed an apology.)

Prostitutes – I’ve had many different relationships over the years. Some have ended badly, others not so badly. I have to admit that a few ex-girlfriends became known to my guy friends in conversation as “stupid whores” rather than their actual names. Most were deserved. What isn’t deserved is my careless use of the word “whore.” Just because a couple of ex-girlfriends put me through hell doesn’t mean I should do the same to prostitutes. I know you’re only trying to put yourself through college, you fell on bad times, or your boyfriend is a pimp and you have no choice. You don’t deserve the negative connotation attached to the slang I threw around like a frisbee. I’m really sorry, prostitutes.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Today, if someone said something to me that was a painfully obvious fact, such as “it’s hot outside” or “you’re awesome,” I may respond with “thanks, Captain Obvious.” When I was younger though, the response would have been “no shit, Sherlock.” Why? Who knows? Sherlock Holmes was a fictional detective known for using his intellectual prowess and deductive reasoning to solve difficult cases. Like Einstein, using Sherlock’s name as an insult in this manner didn’t make a whole lot of sense. That didn’t stop me from doing it over and over and over, though. For that, I offer my apologies to the creator of the great Sherlock Holmes. It’s quite obvious (no shit) that I was a jerk.

Homosexuals – I have nothing against homosexuals, nor am I afraid of them. So, why I would call my brother a fag when he would squat over my head and fart while I was laying on the floor trying to watch TV, I don’t know. I don’t think this is typical homosexual behavior, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Regardless, I owe you all an apology. So, from the bottom of my fabulously gay-friendly heart, I’m sorry.

Lead singers of bands – I was in a rock band for six years. It was definitely fun, but mostly it was hard work. It’s very difficult to find four people who get along, have things in common, agree artistically, and are willing to put in the work required. In my band, the lead singer was a lazy retard jerk who’s antics ultimately led to our band’s demise. Any time he missed a practice, canceled a show, or was late showing up so he didn’t have to help load equipment, we told everyone that he had “Lead Singer Syndrome.” Axl Rose had it – it does exist. However, it should be called something else, like “Scott Stapp Syndrome.” The hard working lead singers of the world far outweigh the lazy ones. So, to all of the musicians out there busting their asses, I sincerely apologize. To the rest of you, you should get your S.S.S. checked out.

My brother David – I’m really sorry. You’ve obviously taken a beating.

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Filed under Funny, humor, Language, Life, Movies, Relationships

Listen, I Heard You

Many times when I’m out in public, I’ll give or receive either a few friendly words or a hello gesture, whether it be a nod or a smile, to a complete stranger. If I’m on the receiving end of such an occurrence, often times it’s because I’ve already made eye contact and offered a grin; I can’t help it. Not only am I an incredibly friendly (and extremely modest) person, but I’ve been trained to be friendly as well, thanks to the many customer-oriented jobs I’ve held throughout my life. “Thank you, pull around!”

drivethru

I can tell you with certainty that if you’ve ever asked a stock boy at a grocery store “Are you working hard, or hardly working?”, you’re not nearly as original and funny as you think you are. In fact, chances are good that he’s probably been asked that question over a hundred times and he’s probably sick of having to laugh and pretend that he finds it amusing, especially if he’s having a bad day and is working very hard. Same goes for the person who tells him “Don’t work too hard!” He knows that you don’t really care how hard he works, and actually, you secretly figure that if he was working harder, maybe the Preparation H you planned this particular shopping trip around would be in stock so you wouldn’t have to make another stop on the way home. Besides, people in general will continue to work at the same pace no matter what wannabe-witty saying you “come up” with.

The worst thing that happens is when you ask someone a generic question, out of a desire to simply be friendly and acknowledge his or her presence, and you get an answer that has nothing to do with the question you’ve just asked. People who do this are total dorks, and I encountered one such dork in a grocery story this afternoon. The gentleman worked there, I figured out that much by the name tag stuck to his shirt, a name tag that had become clearer with each step we took toward each other. I noticed him noticing me noticing his name tag, so I offered a mere “How’s it going?” as I nodded my head in his direction. As we passed each other, he responded with “Not much.”

Not much? What the hell does that mean? It’s not going much? There’s not much going? Or, did he size me up before I had neared him, ultimately deciding that I was a What-have-you-been-up-to type of asker? I’m sure that’s what happened – when I opened my mouth and began speaking, all he probably heard was Charlie Brown’s teacher. Of course, once I was five strides beyond this exchange, I muttered “what a dork” under my breath. Then I laughed.

Why was it funny? I’m not sure, but I snickered about it a couple more times as it replayed through my mind. Maybe I’m too easily amused. Whatever the case, I finished up what I was doing and continued on with my day. Later in the afternoon, I shared a pleasant conversation with a liquor store manager during one of my last stops. He explained that he couldn’t wait to go fishing this coming weekend, and I promptly retorted with information regarding my upcoming family vacation that is taking place next week, a week which I am impatiently looking forward to.

“OK Luke, have a good vacation,” he encouraged as I gathered my belongings and prepared to leave.

“Thanks, you too.”

Doh.

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Filed under Funny, humor, Jobs, Language, Life, People

Haiku Friday, Vol. II

It’s time for the second installment of Haiku Friday:

Swollen uncle is
Suffering from side effects
Swollen brother, not

All comments must be posted in Haiku form (if you don’t remember the rules, click here).

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Filed under Culture, Funny, humor, Language, Poetry, Relationships

Haiku Friday, Vol. I

I’ve easily written Girlfriend over a hundred poems, but don’t let that statement influence the type of guy you think I am. I’m no overly-sensitive wussy.

Back in the day, Girlfriend and I would communicate throughout the week electronically (via email and chat). She works in an office, and even though I work on the road, my work laptop is always nearby. This internet interaction broke up the monotony of the work day, and always provided me with laughs. Our conversations didn’t consist of anything substantial most of the time – it was more of a contest to see who could out-funny the other.

To keep things interesting, we started coming up with themes for that day’s correspondence: Joke Day was full of horribly corny jokes that were funny for that reason only; Poem Day didn’t last because it didn’t have enough structure; Random Day was OK at first but quickly devolved into total weirdness (examples: “your veins are hot” and “you have good handwriting”); Roses Are Red Day was great at first, but didn’t have staying power due to the format’s predictability (example: “Roses are red, stinky are farts, I hope you know, I’m better at darts”).

Then we came up with an idea that has provided us with the most comedic opportunity thus far: Haiku Day. Yes, an entire day of communicating only through Haiku. That is just funny, in and of itself.

For those of you who don’t know, Haiku is a kind of Japanese poetry. It consists of three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. There is typically a pause after either the first or second line, although we didn’t always follow that rule. Here are a few of the gems I found while browsing through old emails of ours:

Yep you are so right
Good to know where lawn tennis
Originated

Don’t worry OK
I like my little dummy

Man, you cant teach that

You can lick my balls
Oh yes, you can lick my balls

I said lick my balls

No, you cant teach that
I said that you cant teach that

Now THAT’S repeating

I am not a girl
Unless you’ve heard of a girl

With goatee and d**k

We are getting good
Japanese would be jealous
With their squinty eyes

Try to impress me
I double-dog dare you to
Go on, rock my world

You liar liar
Look, your pants are on fire
Better take them off

Whatever you say
Enjoy the view of my head
As I walk away

I’m so tired today
I wish it was tomorrow
I’m gonna smack you

There will be smooching
Oh yes, there will be smooching
I mention smooching?

Don’t twitch, it is bad
People think you’re seizur-ing
They have meds for that

Wonder how long we
Can keep this sh*t up, all day?
So nice to have you

Isn’t that a trip?
We are meant for each other
You are an a$$hole

I hate you so much
You are such a f**king b*tch
First line is a lie

I look retarded
Driving around, counting words
Good idea, so fun

Sound like a robot
When I read Haiku poems
In my head of course

How are carrots fun?
They are small, orange, and boring
I’m a vegetable

We had such fun with it, that I decided to try a Haiku Day here and see how it goes. So, each Friday I’ll be posting a Haiku. There is only one rule: your comments must also be in Haiku form. Other than that, anything goes. Here’s the first entry:

Haiku are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
Refrigerator

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Filed under Culture, Funny, humor, Language, Poetry, Relationships

I’ll Try the Steak; Hold the Small Talk

I realize that the ability to conduct small talk is a social skill. I wonder… what do they call “the inability to enjoy” it? Inhuman? Could it be a genetic trait? (I can picture my grandpa coming up with witty retorts (read: the straightforward kind of witty (OK enough with the parentheses)) that left many a person speechless.) Whatever it is, I have it.

Now, don’t get me wrong – almost every job I’ve ever held has required my friendly interaction with complete strangers. I would say that I am “above average” in the small talk department. It’s not pointless conversation as a whole that annoys me, it’s the apparently-inbred, forced, robotic, nonsensical vocabulary of one vocation in particular: waiters/waitresses.

Before any of you slam me for making fun of pointing out a few server idiosyncrasies, know that I worked in this industry for several years. I’ve been a busboy, a waiter, a server trainer, and even a manager – it’s very possible that I taught you how to do your job. Keeping that in mind, here are a few rules to follow that will ensure the continuation of a long-standing tradition in the restaurant industry: annoying small talk[1]. I may or may not be guilty of some of the things you are about to read.

♦ Rule #1: Make sure that, when you come to my table, you tell me that you’re going to be taking care of me today (more on the word today later). I, as a stranger in your building, am probably very nervous. It’s comforting to know that if anything happens, you’re going to be there for me no matter what. What a relief! I can finally relax and eat, which is what I was hoping for.

♦ Rule #2: It’s important that you are honest with me from the moment I take a seat in your section; make sure that I understand our relationship will be over almost as quickly as it’s about to begin. Leading me on could cost you money. You can impress this upon me by simply using the word today, over and over. Examples: From Rule #1 – “I’ll be taking care of you today.” “How are you doing today?” “Can I start you off with something to drink today?” This will make it clear to me that you don’t really care if I’m going to be hungry or thirsty tomorrow. The time is now and I need to enjoy this moment while it lasts. By doing this, you are not only going to quiet my growling stomach, but you’re also teaching me one of life’s lessons. That should be worth an extra dollar at the very least.

♦ Rule #3: Also known as, “The For-Ya Rule of Five.” Confused? It’s simple. Try to end as many questions as possible with the prepositional phrase for ya[2]. Examples: “What can I get for ya?” “Can I get that out of your way for ya?” “Can I get anything else for ya?” “Can I rub your back for ya?[3]” This lets me know that you are paying extra attention to my needs, and tells anyone else within an earshot of your voice that you are not talking to them.

♦ Rule #4: Any question that you don’t end with the words for ya (which must be done at least five times, hence the name of Rule #3) or today must be completed with the word or, but make sure you don’t offer the second choice that or so obviously indicates. This will leave me momentarily confused and forever-wondering what the other choice might have been. It’s also very important that your voice trails off into oblivion. Following this rule will make you seem secretive and mysterious, and will surely make me want to leave you extra tip money in the hopes that you might open up to me. Examples: “Would you like some more to drink, or…?” “Does everything taste OK, or…?” “Do you need a box, or…?” I still wonder what the other container-choices are for taking home leftovers.

♦ Rule #5: There is one way, and one way only, to ask me if I will be ordering dessert: “Did you save room for dessert?” (It’s optional, but not necessary, to incorporate Rule #3 into this Rule.) Asking me for dessert in this way shows me what an incredible sense of humor you have. You watched me stuff myself silly in true American fashion for forty-five minutes, and only afterwards did you let me know that I could have had something else, something sweet and delicious, had I monitored my intake a bit more carefully. My answer, of course, will be “No,” causing you no extra work whatsoever. What it will do, however, is cause us to share a laugh and smile. I will feel closer to you than ever at this point – how can I not be even more generous with my gratuity?!

♦ Rule #6: If your server is extremely hot, all other rules are thrown out the window. Her small talk is never annoying, no matter how stupid or robotic or forced. It’s cute and endearing, and she probably wants you. She now has permission to speak in Pig Latin if she so chooses[4].

Footnotes

[1]Including, but not limited to: bad grammar, bad jokes, bad breath, or just plain stupidity.

[2]Using “ya” in place of “you” shows that you are very casual, laid-back, and chill. It makes me feel like we are friends.

[3]This one hasn’t actually happened yet, but one can only dream.

[4]Ouyay obablypray illstay on’tway etgay ay ackrubbay.

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Filed under Food, Funny, humor, Language, Life, Restaurants