For most of my interweb-connected life I have been lucky with spam. I get the occasional letters from pitiable Nigerian princes with fathers dead in flaming Jaguars on the road to Accra, but rarely the deluge of advertisements for pharmaceuticals made for people older and *cough* less virile than me. Rarely, that is, until recently.

You see, like a college junior whose mom gave him a Brita pitcher for Christmas, my employer has failed to change the filter. Now, despite having the fancy-pants pitcher, our e-mail is full of scum. It’s the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

The second best thing about getting spam is seeing how the spammers contrive to get around screening software that picks up words like ‘penis’. I get all these e-mails that start as news reports about Heath Ledger or civil unrest in East Timor. The articles are getting longer and longer, so even the people that get the spam and open it aren’t really seeing the “Cialis Cheep!” graphic before they realize it’s spam anyway. Recently, I got this:

Monday update.
Symb: T A D F (Tactical Air Defense Services)
Tactical Air
Defense Services (TADS), a leading provider of tactical aviation training and services to the United States and Allied Nations, has quietly positioned itself to utilize a fleet of the most advanced fighter jets and aerial refueling tankers in the world for military aviation training needs. Those who get in now are likely to see profits soar through the stratosphere. Headquartered at the Grayson County Airport in Denison, Texas – formerly the Perrin Air Force Base – Tactical Air Defense has the capability to provide clients with the most comprehensive logistical, repair, and aircraft training support available. TADS IS AS CLOSE AS IT COMES TO A SUREFIRE MONEY-MAKER.

That’s the entire message. I don’t even think there’s an advertisement in there. The spammers are now simply sending out informative articles as a public service.

The best thing about spam is the writing in the penis enlargement ads. The subject lines are hilarious enough:

Beat her womb with your new big rod, let her knew when pants are off

I decided I want the job writing those subject lines. If any spammers are out there reading this, here is my audition...

“Plumb her depths with big man submarine so she moan when you home”

“Leave extra in her bun with a big wiener”

“Hit her in the ovaries ... but with your dick this time”
The sales pitches are even better. I know, I know, you’re saying to yourself ‘they simply cannot be any more absurd than the suggestion that you beat your woman’s womb with your member’. They can:

are you sick of being laughed at in the men’s room? Get a bigger prick.

Why yes, MegaDik*, I am quite sick of it. I will order five bottles of your product immediately.

As an aside, how did your marketing staff know that I prance around naked in the men’s restroom?

when was the last time you took off your pants and your disappointed partner ran
from the room yelling ‘it’s too small’?

Okay, no. Never. That has never happened. And I’m not saying just to me, I mean ever. In the history of sexual relations that scenario has never, ever happened. Does MegaDik really presume that there are hundreds of small-dicked Cassanovas out there; wooing women into bed night after night only to have them flee at the sight of their teenie-weenie.

The list of things that can cause a woman you have gotten naked and into your bedroom to leave without first engaging in “activities” is relatively short (no pun intended):

1) you pull out the gimp mask (before you know if she’s into that stuff);
2) you reveal that you have AIDs. Or probably the clap;
3) you mention that condoms made of sheep's intestine “feel more natural”;
4) you share a bedroom with your mother; or,
5) she finds the severed head in your freezer.

The marketing plan boggles me. I understand that you prey upon the insecurities of the modern male, but should it really be so absurd? Spam is cheap, but is there a single person that clicks on these ads? I hope so, otherwise my supply of little day-brighters will dry right up.

*can you imagine that someone actually sat around trying to author a clever, eye catching name for the product and came up with that?


I could not make this shit up:

At last you've found a lass that's hot
You wanna hump her tasteful twat.
She's cute and taking, she's so nice!
But would your penile size suffice?
Not sure she will wish for more?
You need a dic'k she would adore!
But how to get it long and thick?
Your only chance is MegaDik!
You'll get so wanted super-size
And see wild craving in her eyes!
Your schlong will stuff her pink so deep,
Tonight you'll hardly fall asleep!


Trick or Treat: A Belated Halloween Entry (bumped for the holiday)

I’m never quite sure what to make of the slutty cop costume. You know the type:

Or the slutty nurse:

Or the slutty firefighter, bunny, kitty, axe murderer, axe murder victim or… whatever:

I mean, what are you even supposed to be?

Desperately seeking attention?

How is that any different than yesterday?

The problem with these costumes is that they reject the premise that makes Halloween great: that you can be something different for a day. Instead, we have the same thing all over: girls in tight clothing feeling both offended and flattered (a sort of female nirvana) that the guys would dare stare at the tits they have exposed to the 45 degree evening and guys ogling chicks they’ll never get. The only difference is that some of us men are dressed as wolves and Neanderthals, a sort of ironic take on Halloween in which we appear as we really are.

If you are a man, you may find yourself asking “Dude, are you suggesting girls shouldn’t dress like that on Halloween?”

Yes I am. Sort of. What I’m actually suggesting is that one night per year, men deserve not to be tortured by scantily clad females who won’t sleep with us. The problem is, we have neither the strength nor fortitude to quit looking, which is what tortures us and pleases them. So I need to appeal to the general sense of humanity in women to step up to the plate, reject the gender paradigm that enslaves men, and dress like something interesting.* Or, if it’s easier, just sleep with the guy who ogles you the most.

*In a way other than boobs are interesting.


On Pabst and Prada

My roommate and I left for work at the same time today, and since he takes the bus and I drive right past his office on the way to mine, I offered him a ride. On the way, we discussed a certain section of road (First Avenue, from just north of the Hennepin Avenue bridge to Washington Avenue) where we tend to see more attractive women than elsewhere on the commute. I, in my class and subtlety, had taken to referring to it as ‘Hot Chick Alley’.

My roommate guessed, correctly, I think, that Hot Chick Alley is where it is because a growth of expensive condo buildings had sprung up there recently. He remarked that the area, known when we first moved to the city as an off-beat but hip working class neighborhood full of Polish and German themed dive bars, had changed into a mirror image of Uptown, an area of Minneapolis full of expensive restaurants, boutique shops and, more recently, condominiums.

I feel a little bit sorry for the blue collar folks in Nordeast who were once able to bowl at Elsie’s in peace. It happens all over the city; where there once were smoky taverns with deer antler chandeliers, now there are tapas bars that offer Thursday Flamenco classes. French bakeries moved next to ‘drinking clubs’ that served canned beer.

I found it hard to believe that condo-dwelling yuppies would be infringing on the space of the working class families, the punks and the freaks alike. There are bunches of neighborhoods in Minneapolis with local dive bars; why these places and why now? It hit me like a ton of bricks:


Those chambray and women’s jeans wearing nerds, with their ironic life view, were unaware of the real irony. They are nothing but condo-seeds. Wherever they go, the trendy is replaced by the faux-trendy, the authentic with the gauche. These indy-rock-listening eaters of worlds are like worms in reverse, consuming the soil of good culture and shitting ... well, shit.

But worm poop really isn’t shit, it’s dirt. Or fertilizer.


I know what you’re thinking. How can you blame the hipsters? It’s not like they ask lawyers and accountants whose cool faded with their acid wash jeans (which I can only assume are actually popular again, on account of how ironic it is to wear stuff so ugly) to follow them from neighborhood to neighborhood

I can blame them mostly because they are prettier than me and more likely to have a trust fund. I have no scruples that way. I can also blame them because of their irony. Hipsters don’t seem to do anything they actually like and that includes living somewhere. When hipsters claim that something is cool, they mean it in the same way you used to mean it when you rolled your eyes and said ‘yeah, Mom, real cool’. So when they move somewhere, they aren’t simply saying ‘this place is ironically cool in such a fashion that mainstream people should move here to imitate us’, they are also saying ‘these people are so tragically unhip it’s okay to shit on them’.

But never fear! I have the solution. All we need to do is convince hipsters that condos and fusion restaurants are ironically cool. The hipster-followers will go into a frenzy knocking down condos to put up more condos; the eclectic neighborhood will no longer get besieged by people looking to cash in on their lifestyle, and the construction / demolition business will get just the boost it needs to fight the housing slump.


Getting Out of Work for a Work Out

I like to wok out during my lunch hour. It’s one of the very few fool-proof ways to be regularly and excusably absent from your job during normal work hours. What’s the boss going to say? “Be healthy on your own time!”

Anyway, it seems like a lot of people agree with me, because my gym is really busy during the noon hour. It’s fun to watch people circle the parking lot; trying to find the closest spot before going in to run on the treadmill. Like the extra three calories you burn will kill you, fatty.

I actually work out at a suburban YMCA, which is basically a game preserve for old man flab.

That’s a terrible analogy, actually, because in my experience, old man flab doesn’t need preservation; it’s an abundant resource. I imagine someone could win the Nobel Prize for making cars that run on old man flab. If I invented the car, I’d give the design away for free and demand as payment only old-man-flab mining rights to all the YMCA locker rooms in America.

I work out and the YMCA rather than one of those tomb-like commercial gyms for a couple of reasons. First, the Y doesn’t make you sign some two year contract, presumably because they don’t expect half their members to live two years. Also, it’s a family environment, which is nice. You get some variety, which not only livens things up, it helps you feel good in the locker room. I’ve already mentioned the old man flab, which makes my young man flab look stately by comparison. Plus, if there’s kids, you can always think to yourself ‘on average, I’m pretty well hung!’


Of Mice and Mice Made More Better by Steriods

Esquire magazine recommends the following summer cocktail:

The Bay Bomber

3 oz. orange juice
2 oz. grenadine
1 oz.

garnish with asterisk

I’d suggest it get served in a size eight fitted ball cap, but who am I to mess with success?

It would take to long to gather all the funny, interesting or outrageous arguments surrounding Barry Bonds. Suffice to say that his row with Bob Costas tells us enough: steroid use in baseball is in the public eye. The recent marring of the Tour de France with 34,875 allegations of doping has done little to quell public debate about athletes, drugs and the purpose and joy of sport.

With these issues firmly in the back of my mind, I recently ran across the following video of a five-year old American who has been deported to a tennis camp in France:

Watching the video of this talented youngster, I began to wonder if such complete training at such an early age implicates the same ethical issues that cause fans (outside of San Francisco, at least) to uniformly boo Barry Bonds home runs. The blurring of the line between practice and dedication, and turning people into sports machines is, to my mind, almost complete. This realization has caused me to embrace a rather radical and unpopular solution to the ethical boondoggle presented by steroids: two leagues. One allows use of all types of drugs, the other bans them.

Just to be clear, it seems quite obvious that, following a short period of adjustment, everyone in the world will start watching the juiced athletes. One of the obvious criticisms of this idea is that two leagues for every sport is commercially unsound. I know. I also know the league that features the 95-pound striplings will be the one going bankrupt. But, for reasons I will shortly illuminate, simply dropping the drug ban doesn’t solve our psychic issues with doping.

First, we need to cast aside the idea that banning steroids in professional sports helps keep young athletes off drugs. Estimates of steroid use among high school students varies widely, but it clearly happens.

It’s easy to see why, steroids offer major advantages to juiced athletes. Enough advantage, apparently, to offsets the risk of a shriveled twig, smaller berries, acne, big head syndrome and, I dunno, spending so much time in the weight room huge-ing that you forget to go attend practice and never get good enough to hit the bigs even if you can rep 1500 lbs. four hundred seventy-five times.

The other major complaint is that sport is about celebrating human physical ability, and steroids unrealistically inflate those abilities. When proponents of this argument wax nostalgic for a time when ‘real’ athletes strode the field, they mention Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. But today’s athletes are different from those guys in a lot of ways. 24-hour nutritionists. Intensive weight room coaching. Training from obscenely early ages. Training for the Olympics (an amateur competition) is essentially a full–time.

The fact is that athletes, even amateurs, lost any connection to normal humans when sending your five-year-old to live at tennis camp across the pond became acceptable. The idea that a person can be molded from a single digit age by trainers and nutritionists stretches the credibility of sport as measure of human potential to the breaking point.

But I can understand not wanting to compare Tiger Woods and his titanium clubs to the Golden Bear, or a juiced Bonds to Hank Aaron. They are, after all, playing different games. That realization obviates the need for putting an asterisk next to Bonds’ record. And that’s the beauty of having a different league. We get to keep all the old heroes from the days when pro sportsmen were the car salesmen and factory workers who could swing the stick best, and we get to watch what we really want: monster home-runs, big hits and goals from thirty yards.

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This was just an odd experience. I went to Target to get a day planner. They have an aisle for calendars and planners and journals, and what I really want is basically a notebook with half a page for each day. A check most of the planners on the rack, but they all start in January. Now, I presume that most people who go to the store to get a day planner would just as rather get organized today rather than four months from now, but whatever. It’s not as though I expect Target to always carry 2006 planners and have some guy go through and rip out all the old pages or anything, and it is a bit late in the year to expect someone to purchase a full 2006 planner (though I would have), but it is back-to-school time; not only a pivotal time of year for people to start getting organized, but also the time when planners provided by your school run out. Like mine had.

So, having been a student for the last twenty-odd years, I head over to the ‘back-to-school’ section to see if they carry planners than start nowabouts. Now, I gotta say that I feel a bit uncomfortable in the back-to-school area, like I’m a poser of some kind. Little did I know… This guy who looks about my age walks by me, gives a little start, and turns back around.

Guy: Hey, do you go to school around here?

Fuck. I’m caught. Wait. Caught doing what? Being a non-student in the back to school section?

Me: No, I’m actually done with school.

Guy: Oh, you look familiar.

I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

Me: Yeah, you too.

Guy: You go to high school around here?

Me: Yeah, down in [internet freaks who steal your identity].

Guy: Oh. I went to [redacted for you’ll see why in a second].


Me: Ah. In college I dated a girl from there for a lot of years. Maybe you were friends and I met you through her. Her name’s [she hates me but I don’t hate her].

Guy: You’re a college grad?


Me: Yeah.

Guy: You just finished college?

Me: No, I just finished law school.

Guy: Oh, very cool. What do you do for work now?

Have we met? Are you going to buy me a drink? Should I just e-mail you my resume?

Me: I’m a clerk at a law firm up the road. In downtown [don’t you pederasts wish].

Guy: Oh. I see. Say, I gotta question. Are you ever looking for extra money?

Now, there’s one more weird part, but I need to stop here. Without looking back, do you remember what line this guy opened with? Give up? “You look familiar.” Now, it didn’t occur to me until about five minutes later, but this guy never thought I looked familiar. That’s actually his opening line to offer people a job with some pyramid scheme sales company or something. Anyway, for whatever dumbass reason, I say that I am looking for money, and yadda yadda, trying to be polite, and then:

Me: I’m pretty busy.

Guy: That’s perfect! We love busy people!

Yeah, well I don’t love being busy. I like reading and playing video games. I hate work, jackass.

Me: So what exactly would I be doing? Do you have a website or a brochure or something?

Guy: We have a website, but I don’t want to get there just yet. How about we set a time for coffee?

I hate to admit it, dear reader, but I gave the guy my phone number. He's too embarrassed to let me see what the job is without him there to give me hard sell, and I didn't bow out gracefully. Now I’m going to have to break up with him over the phone.


Left Behind

A few weeks ago, the majority of my law school classmates finished their bar exams. I went out to party with them, but having not taken the bar myself, I felt a little out of place; a little lonely. So, to commemorate the achievement of my friends and wallow in my own late development, I thought I would put together a list of other people who feel awkward, silly and little left behind.

A color-blind painter.

The only gay Eskimo in the tribe.*

A kitten in a room full of bears.

The left-handed kid in an art class with only right handed scissors.

Kevin Federline.

The inventor of the 8-track.

Winner of the Second-Most Improved Award.

A guy who orders french onion soup without knowing he’s at one of those shit restaurants where the french onion soup comes without cheese.

The only guy at the table that can’t use chopsticks.

Anyone got any others?

* I know, but it was too perfect to pass up.