Central Snark

Unidentified Flying Post
Thursday, 1 November 2007, 10:37am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

So I get home from taking the kids to their Halloween shindig last night and I see an email from the shapely and brilliant Lady Lampsha asking whether I can do a post for today. And I was like, hey, sure, because it’s not like I have to do a post for my own site or prepare for a meeting with these guys in the morning or anything.

Then I run across this item about how Dennis Kucinich once saw a UFO at Shirley MacLaine’s house, which prompts the question, “What is it with Dennis Kucinich and hot redheads?” I mean, I’m starting to think this guy really does know something the rest of us don’t. I mean, besides how to make a tin foil hat. And yes, Shirley MacLaine was cute once, about six lives ago.

Of course, this is going to make great fodder for talk show hosts and comedians, who are known for their ability to identify every flying object they’ve ever seen. Actually, I think you have to have some kind of mental disorder to claim to never have seen an unidentified flying object. I mean, haven’t you ever felt something whizz past your head and thought, “What the hell was that?” That, my friends, was an unidentified flying object. Or maybe a june bug.

I can’t identify three quarters of the flying stuff I see. I mean, I’m pretty sure that a lot of them are planes, and the quieter planes tend to be birds. And the smaller birds are usually insects. But the odds that I can tell you what kind of airplane or bird or insect it is are usually pretty slim.

In any case, I really did see an actual UFO once, by which I mean something that I’m pretty sure wasn’t a bird, plane, insect or Dennis Kucinich. It was shaped like a profile of the planet Saturn — a circular shape with a ring around it. Except, unlike Saturn, it was orange. At least, I don’t think Saturn is orange. I’ve never been there.

I was nine years old when I saw it. I was letting our cat out. Or maybe in. It’s not really important where the cat was. I opened the door and saw this orange thing in the air, moving around crazily in the sky. It looked like something that was being projected on a screen, except that it was in the sky above our garage, where I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any kind of screen. I’m not very observant, but I’m fairly certain we never had a movie screen above our garage.

Kucinich said that when he saw his UFO, he “felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind.” When I saw my UFO I felt confused for a while, and then bored — which is, coincidentally, how I feel whenever I hear Dennis Kucinich speak. It zoomed around for a while for no apparent reason (the UFO, not Kucinich), and eventually I got tired of the pointless alien spaceship maneuvers and went inside. I never saw it again.

It’s true that I make up a lot of wacky stuff for these blog posts, but I swear I’m not making this up. I really did see a weird orange thing flying around in the sky. So I ask you, does this mean I’m insane, or unqualified to be president? Of course not. Does it mean I’m sane, or qualified to be president? Probably not.

My point, if I had one, would be that seeing a UFO doesn’t make one insane — although this stuff about Kucinich hearing directions in his mind has me a little scared. I mean, what did they tell him exactly? And why won’t he tell us? Sounds a little fishy to me. Come to think of it, though, somebody must have told him that hot redhead thing.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Humor-blogs.com!

Uhhh, Diesel?
Thursday, 25 October 2007, 12:34am
Filed under: funny...

What the hell did you do to our template? I know you never really liked the creepy chick pictures, but you can’t just go changing the template whenever you want. Why oh why did we ever set you up as an admin?

What is that supposed to be anyway? Oh, I get it. It’s a parody of that 1942 painting by Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks.”


Yeah, because that’s never been done before. Perhaps you’re not familiar with Gottfried Helnwein’s takeoff, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Were you even aware that the version with James Dean, Marylin Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Elvis wasn’t the original? Uh huh. Sure you were.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

So not exactly an original idea, except that you’ve replaced the characters with famous comedians. Looks like Groucho Marx, Lucille Ball, Steve Martin… and is that Jon Stewart behind the counter? Kind of an odd group, isn’t it? I guess you were going for sort of a “wisecrackers through the decades” theme. You’ve got Groucho for the 30s and 40s, Lucille Ball for the 50s and 60s, Steve Martin for the 70s and 80s, and Jon Stewart for the 90s and the naughties.* Interesting. Steve Martin doesn’t really fit, though, does he? Chevy Chase would make more sense. Yeah, I guess his career kind of peaked with Fletch, didn’t it? Hmmm. Letterman? But then you’d have two talk show hosts. Woody Allen? Clearly a genius, but a little too creepy. And his career peaked about the same time as Chevy’s. I guess Steve Martin is a pretty solid choice, Cheaper By the Dozen notwithstanding.

Still, you can’t just change the template like that, without even telling anybody. Oh, you thought it would be a nice surprise for Snuppy? Yeah, good thinking. How would you like me to redecorate your house with a Holly Hobby theme the next time you leave town? You’d better hope that she likes it, pal, because you’re on your own with this one.

And that tagline, “Where everybody knows you’re lame”? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Huh? No, that’s completely different. Everybody knew that was a joke. Besides, you can’t bite someone over the internet. Yours is just mean. It alienates people right off the bat. Maybe that kind of gratuitous cruelty flies over at the Mattress Police, but we try to be a little nicer over here.

What do you mean, you think you can put the old template back? Don’t you have a backup somewhere? Good lord, man, this is the Snark you’re messing with. You’ve got some cajones, I’ll give you that much.

Well, I guess we’ll see what the commenters think. You’d better hope they like it.

*This still might catch on.

Psst:  You wanna talk about cajones?!  Head on over to Humor-blogs.com. ~ Lampsha

Stephen Colbert Won’t Stop Copying Me
Thursday, 18 October 2007, 10:06am
Filed under: funny...

I heard yesterday that Stephen Colbert is running for president. Surprise, surprise.

First he copies me in being a tall, skinny kind-of-geeky-but- in-a-not-unattractive-way humorist. Then he copies me in devising a humorous persona who is an obnoxious blowhard to cover the fact that in real life he is, in fact, an obnoxious blowhard. And now he has announced that he is running for president, much as a certain someone else did a few months ago.

colbert.jpgWe’re not in direct competition, because I’m running for the 2020 election, but this is totally going to ruin my chances to build momentum over the next 13 years. My plan was to double my number of supporters every week until the election, so that by 2020 I’ll have (13 x 52) squared people in the Diesel for President organization. You’re probably wondering, “Why so many squared people? Why not round people or trapezoidal people?” Well, I am a Republican, after all. Squared people is all we have.

Colbert, that weasel, hasn’t declared a party affiliation, but I’m guessing he’s a card carrying member of the Stupid Copycat Party. Colbert can’t do anything original. He even copies himself. He actually has two Wikipedia entries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert_(character). That’s right, Stephen Colbert he has a whole Wikipedia entry devoted to a character he has created named Stephen Colbert.

Here’s an idea, Steve. Can I call you Steve? Why don’t you create another character called Stephen Colbert and make him your running mate? Maybe we can call him Steve. Every presidential ticket should have at least one person named Steve. That way, when you don’t know the answer to a question, you can say, “I’m not 100% sure on that, but I’ll check with Steve.” Come to think of it, you could probably do that with other names too.

Steve even copied me in writing a book. Mine is called Antisocial Commentary: From the Secret Files of the Mattress Police. His is called I Am America (And So Can You!). They are basically the same book, except that mine has a title that makes sense. Sort of. His also has more pages, but I have it on good authority that they are filled with racial epithets and bees.

Also, someone* once said the following about MY book:

All work and no job makes Diesel something something. Really funny? Why yes! That’s exactly what I was trying to say, in my own pathetic-yet-well-meaning fashion! And thank you for filling in those blanks.

The Better BookIn truth, I’m guessing it will be significantly easier to write a review for this book after I’ve actually read it, but, since I’ve had the pleasure of reading at least ONE draft (maybe two?) I know “Antisocial Commentary” is filled with many words, most of them spelled correctly, and all of them in complete sentences. The fact that these “words” are well crafted, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious is but a bonus, but that’s beside the point. The point, which is working its way through my fragile little mind, even as I type, is that Diesel is that rare author, who manages to find humor in just about anything. And not just “regular” humor, but the much more difficult/rare Oh My God I’m About To Wet My Pants Because I’m Laughing So Hard, Help Me Jeebus! variety. You know, the really good kind. The kind you’d expect to find in a book written by someone like, say Dave Barry, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and close personal friend of yours truly. Now THERE’S a humorist… but I digress.

Buy this book, not just because it’s completely hilarious, but because Diesel is a decent fellow, who laughs every time I make a “diesel fitter” joke, even tho’ he has NO idea why it’s supposed to be funny. I’m almost positive most folks will enjoy each and every fun-filled page — and I have no doubt “Antisocial Commentary” will be that rare volume that finds a permanent spot in most households right next to the toilet. Yep, it’s just that good. Did I say “good”? I meant to say Brillaint. ; )

Take that, Steve!

*Our beloved Snuppy, if you couldn’t tell by the rambling-yet-infectious writing style. What, she steals stuff from me.

Humor-Blogs.com something something something.

Behind No Eyes
Monday, 8 October 2007, 8:22am
Filed under: funny...

I know that you all think of me as “affable, fun-loving Grundir the Implacable,” but in truth there are times when I find it difficult to keep my spirits up. Do not misunderstand me; I am very grateful to my lord Diesel for appointing me as the official meme-wraith of the Mattress Police. I am glad to be able to employ my razor sharp wit to dispatch troublesome memes, as well as to occasionally employ my slightly less sharp but equally deadly broadsword to slay the occasional troublesome hobbit. I also rather enjoy living in Diesel’s barn, and helping out with the weeding and what-not.

In spite of these noble and enjoyable pursuits, it is difficult to be a Nazgul in these times. Of course I miss the barren wastelands and choking sulfurous fumes of Mordor. Who would not? But there is more to it than that. Oh, I’ve gotten used to the curse of eternal living death brought on by my enslavement to an accursed magical ring, and I’ve basically adjusted to having no corporeal form. Sometimes at night I wail uncontrollably because of my inability to imbibe a tasty mead or deflower a tasty virgin, but even that I am hopeful I can get over with therapy.

No, what weighs heavily upon me these days is the little things, like the way small children look upon me when I’m at Target. I know, I should not let it trouble me so, but it wears on one, being constantly treated as if I am some sort of monster. Bah! I hear your protests. It is immaterial that I am, in fact, some sort of monster. (Get it, immaterial? I slay me!)

Do I not have feelings? If you stab me, do I not bleed? Ok, bad example. The point is that it is lonely being a foul creature of the night, neither alive nor dead. If only there were some way to express how I feel, perhaps in song.

Bah! Enough of this meaningless sentimentality. I have hobbits to slay.

Before I go, I must remind you that tonight is the deadline for my master Diesel’s caption contest. Also, I must urge you to visit humor-blogs.com or risk tasting my steel.

Finally, best wishes to mistress Snuppy, who is tending to her injured son. I would like to meet this young man, as he sounds as if he might be tough enough to withstand even a Morgul blade.

~ Grundir the Implacable

A Compelling Protagonist
Monday, 17 September 2007, 8:34am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

diesel avatarFact 1: A while ago I promised Snuppy I’d do another Snark post for her.

Fact 2: Snuppy insists she doesn’t like The Family Guy.

Fact 3: Snuppy recommended this craptastic book, which I then tore apart because I’m a book snob.

Fact 4: I feel just a little bit bad about that. Not much, but a little.

Fact 5: I’ve mentioned several times that I’m actually working on a novel myself — a fact which makes me a prime target for ridicule.

The only conclusion one can logically draw from these five facts is that I need to (1) do a post for Snuppy in which I (2) illustrate how funny The Family Guy is, thereby (3) demonstrating my own good taste and (4) redeeming myself in Snuppy’s eyes while simultaneously (5) making fun of myself. Therefore, I present to you, Stewie Griffin grilling Brian about his novel:

I’ll admit that The Family Guy is uneven, but to me it’s worth it for moments of brilliance like this. One of the things that I love about The Family Guy is the way they push a joke so far that it becomes almost unbearable and then rounds the bend back to funny again. The Family Guy is what The Simpsons would be if the writers had the freedom to say, “You know what would be cool? If Homer got attacked by a giant chicken for no reason in this scene. The chicken fight would go on and on and on, like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, and then eventually it would just end and we’d pick up the plot where we left off.” Sometimes those kinds of bizarre tangents are hilarious, sometimes they’re a disaster, and sometimes they’re both. I find it fascinating, because the tangents pull you completely out of the story, so that you feel like you’re watching the writers writing the show, rather than just watching the show.

Anyway, I really am working on a novel. I’ve probably started about 30 novels in my life, never getting past chapter four. This one is different. I’ve actually written about 110 pages of this one so far. I’ve shown the first 80 pages to a few people, including my wife, (not so) Crummy Joel, and even our beloved Snuppy. If any of them are to be believed, it’s not bad. Mrs. Diesel, in fact, keeps bugging me to tell her what happens next, which is a good sign.

Of course, I don’t actually know what happens next, because I’m making it up as I go along. I have a very vague idea of where the story is going, but I start each chapter without knowing what’s going to happen in it. My rule of thumb is to end each chapter with an explosion. Well, sometimes it’s a pillar of fire or an earthquake, but generally something blows up at the end of each chapter.

If it sounds like I’m not taking this novel-writing business very seriously, you’re right. I originally conceived of this as a Serious Novel about a fallen angel who takes refuge on earth because he has doubts about the Divine Plan. But knowing how all of my other Serious Novels ended up, I decided to write a parody of that novel. I decided, in fact, to make a joke out of the idea of writing a novel. So I incorporated a lot of pointless explosions and plot tangents that don’t go anywhere, like the Family Guy‘s chicken fights.

The book was never really supposed to make any sense, but in a weird way things started to come together. I realized my characters are stuck in the same situation as the rest of us: they’re surrounded by inexplicable and pointless events that seem to have been devised by someone who is just having a little fun with them. At one point a character remarks on a particularly odd coincidence, and another character replies, “Synchronicity. You’ll be seeing more and more of that. Don’t read too much into it. It’s just a way of keeping things moving along.” He’s referring to the Divine Plan, of course, but he’s also referring to the fact that I, as the author, needed an odd coincidence to keep the plot moving.

I keep piling up bizarre and arbitrary events, but the characters somehow find the connections between them. It’s an uncanny experience to have characters you’ve created make sense of the world that you’ve constructed for them, despite the fact that you weren’t sure the world made any sense to begin with. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. I often start a blog post having no idea where it’s going. I end up incorporating references to Night Court or the Planet of the Apes and somehow it all comes together in the end. Usually. In fact, I might even write a post that starts off with a Family Guy clip making fun of the idea of writing a novel, and ends with me explaining to you how writing a novel is like an episode of the Family Guy. And neither one of us has any clue how I got there.

Humor-Blogs.com is where friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

~ Diesel

Rock is Dead
Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 8:04am
Filed under: funny..., music music, Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselI will freely admit that I don’t know anything about music.

I don’t know anything about most of the other stuff I write either, but I’m less willing to admit that.

I do know that there was a time when musical virtuosos poured their souls into their music, producing works of genius that will live on for ages to come. That time was the early 90s, with the release of U2’s Achtung Baby and Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion 1 and 2.

I’m also pretty sure that music can’t possibly get any worse than Fifty Cent and Fergilicious. And I’m not just another old guy who is disgusted by what the kids are listening to these days. Well, ok, I am. But seriously, have you heard this crap?

Motley CrueWhen I was in high school, listening to music by the likes of Mötley Crüe and Poison, the grownups just didn’t “get it.” Guys in wigs and leather pants squealing operatic vocals that delivered a message of dimestore Satanism in time with mind-numbing percussion was cool, dammit. And you know what? It’s still cool. I can still rock out to Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me and Foreigner’s Urgent, and as far as I can tell I’m just as cool as I was in high school. I mean, hell, I still hang out with one of the guys on the debate team, and he’d tell me if I was slipping, right? Of course he would. Yeah, I’ve still got it. I think Night Ranger said it best in their song “You Can Still Rock in America” when they said, and I quote, “You can still rock in America.”

So I call foul on today’s music. I remember thinking, “When I grow up I’m not going to be square like my parents and listen to Mozart and Smooth Jazz™. I’m going to listen to kickass hardcore rock and roll! And you know what? I’ve lived up to my end of the deal. I still listen to rock, and not just sexually confused 80s hair bands. When grunge came along, I was like, “This stuff is dope.” Before there was illegal downloading, there was 8 CDs for a penny from BMG Music Club and changing your address. I snapped up CDs by Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana. Then when rap-metal came along, I was like, “I can hang with this.” Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave? Hell yeah, I was on board. And I’m not just a metalhead either; I dig the classic rock and a lot of alternative stuff too.Rob Zombie

Then something weird happened. Kids stopped listening to rock music. Now they listen to insipid pop garbage by “artists” like the Black Eye Peas and James Blunt. So here I am, feeling like that crazy guy who waits for the bus in the phone booth every morning. “When’s the rock getting here?” I mutter to passersby, who hold their children close and shuffle past.

Are today’s youth just so mellow and well adjusted that they have no need for the likes of Nine Inch Nails or Nirvana? If so, then I think we as parents have let our kids down. We haven’t provided the kind of environment that produced tortured souls like Kurt Cobain and Trent Reznor. I say we drop all this self-esteem nonsense and start meting out harsh punishments for flouting convention. Stop treating your kids as if they were equals, and for goodness’ sake let’s all stop talking about our feelings. I want to start seeing some repression, needless belittling and arbitrary corporal punishment.

It will be hard at first, but with some luck in a few years some of those angry youths will become brilliant musicians. And with a little more luck, none of the rest of them will move into my neighborhood.

~ Diesel

Humor-Blogs.com can still rock in America. And sometimes Canada.

Self Starter
Thursday, 5 July 2007, 8:10am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselIt’ s been awhile since I’ve updated my resume, but one of the things you used to see on resumes all the time was “Self Starter.” This was meant to signify that you were the kind of person who would just show up for work and start doing what needed to be done without having to be told. You might, for example, make the coffee, sweep the floor, organize the place a bit, maybe even clean the bathroom if you’re feeling particularly motivated. But nobody appreciates that kind of initiative any more. “That’s not your job,” they’ll say. “Why aren’t you wearing gloves?” they’ll say. “Shouldn’t you be on the other side of the police tape?” they’ll say. What do they expect me to do, just stand around watching the front door until the detectives show up?

Well, I’m sorry, I’m a self starter. I don’t wait around for people to tell me what to do. In fact, by the time someone gets around to telling me what to do, odds are that I’m hip-deep in something far more important, and whatever they want me to do is just going to have to wait. I’m like a pit bull. The only thing that’s going to make me release my vice-like grip on whatever task I’m currently obsessed with is to dangle an even bigger, juicier task in front of me. If you want me to do something, your best bet is to hold it behind your back so that I can just barely get a glimpse of it, and maybe wrap it in bacon. Then I’ll be like, “Ooh, forbidden bacon!” And then you’ll “accidentally” loosen your grip on it and I’ll drop whatever it is and lunge for your thing. I’m surprised my employers never learned this trick. I can be a pretty good employee if you know how to manage me, and you don’t mind losing a finger once in a while.

Take our beloved Snuppy, for example. If I worked for her, I’d probably be dead from exhaustion (or bacon-induced coronary) by this point. What’s that you’ve got there behind your back, Snuppy? Guest post for the Snark? Wrapped in bacon? Woohoo! I can build my house later. I always thought that Maslow rated shelter on the high side anyway. What? Put together a book of my Mattress Police posts? Yeah, that’s what I want to do! And is that bacon I smell? Forget this novel I’m working on, let me at that bacon-wrapped book idea! And then another Snarkster mentions something about t-shirts, and I’m like, Yeah! So what if I’ve been working on this master’s degree for four years? What I really need to do is design my own t-shirts!

So yeah, I’m a self starter. I can start things like nobody’s business. You know what would be a fantastic trait to go along with being a self starter? Being a self-finisher. If I had a nickel for every project that I’ve gotten 90% done but didn’t quite finish, I’d have a big jar of nickels sitting on my counter, plus one extra nickel for never quite getting up the motivation to cash in the nickels at the bank.

The funny thing is, about 9 months ago I was finally getting a handle on all my unfinished projects. I laid to rest a software application that I had been trying to get to market for about three years, resisted the urge to learn to play the guitar, and made plans to quit my job so I could finish my other outstanding projects (basically my house, my master’s degree, and a screenplay I’d been toying with). No more projects, I told myself, until I finish at least one of these.

Then one day I was screwing around on MySpace and I wrote a goofy blog entry called What I Learned Today from a Sea Turtle. And then I wrote a dummy movie review called The Widow of Turmeric Falls. And I kept writing them, just for fun. That grew into MattressPolice.com, which then spawned Humor-Blogs.com and guest posting at the Snark. My discovery that I was halfway decent at humor writing prompted me to scrap my morose screenplay and start on a humorous novel. Then Antisocial Commentary, a compilation of my Mattress Police posts. A post about Antisocial Commentary prompted an email from a friend asking me if I wanted to pitch a book to an editor she knew. So now I’m working on that as well. And then there’s my ex-employer, who keeps taking me up on my exorbitantly expensive project proposals. I can’t say no to that kind of money, so I’m working on projects for them too.

Anyway, if you’re wondering why I’m not around much any more, that should explain it. I’m really trying to wrap up the Antisocial Commentary book and the other book proposal this week, but my motivation always lags when I get this close to being done with a project. Somehow once something starts to become real, it loses its appeal for me, and I want to get working on the next Big Idea. I guess this post is my attempt to (1) take a break from the craziness, (2) let you all know where the hell I’ve been, (3) get up my motivation to get this crap done. Any encouragement you can give me would be much appreciated.

~Grindstone Diesel (no, Snuppy, not “Rhinestone”)

I can’t hear you over the laughter coming from Humor-blogs.com!” said the blind man to the deaf mute, as he picked up his hammer and saw.