Friday, September 28, 2007

Top Ten Fridays

Top ten reasons why McDonalds sucks

10. They did that xx billions served thing on their sign well past the point of plausibility.

9. Letting your kids play in the ball pool is the bacterial equivalent of dunking their heads in a vat of bloody ape stool.

8. Grimace, a major staple in their marketing campaign for decades, began as an evil milkshake thief before losing two arms and becoming an androgynous, arbitrary gumdrop who is vaguely enthusiastic about McDonalds offerings.

7. They own Chipotle, a restaurant that has compelled me to coin a phrase... Mexitarded.

6. Began the trend of throwing leftovers together with their "snack wrap" and McGriddles sandwiches. Next in like, the McEnjoyment: Six skinny french fries and a burnt Chicken McNugget between two applie pies with your choice of Honey mustard or two tablespoons of an improperly mixed milkshake.

5. A visit to McDonalds.com features a picture of a drummer, a scuba diver, and what appears to be a man dashing his spouse against rocks, along with the autistic headline "I'm Going to McDonalds". There is no immediate link to menu items, locations, specials, or any information that one might which to acquire by visiting the website of a fast food establishment.

4. There really is no excuse for Ronald McDonald, is there? One childhood memory. In the 80s, there was a particularly gratuitous E.T. ripoff called Mac and Me. The main character was an adorable space alien who loved Coca-Cola (and maybe needed it to survive). McDonalds did a cross promotion advertising Ronald, who invited kids to "see me in my first movie!" While the movie does, indeed, feature Ronald McDonald, he is portrayed as a cynical jerk who belittles kids. Thanks for inviting me to your movie, prick.

3. They have somehow cornered the market on the mentally disabled.

2. They are apparently under the impression that everyone my age is an unemployed skateboarder who goes on road trips a lot and goes to freaky raves.

1. In 50 years, our nation's convalescent homes will be teeming with drooling obese people tapping their heads against the wall, chanting "ba-da-buh-buh-buh" over and over again.

Thanks for nothing, McDonalds.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My quirky indie flick

I want to write an indie flick. None of this violence and boobs stuff we're seeing. Just a little slice o' life picture about, you know, just folks. People like you and me, with hopes and fears.

I'll have a protagonist, played by Bill Paxton, or maybe Aidan Quinn. Yeah, Aidan Quinn would be perfect, not too old at all. Just a widowed dad trying to do right by his boys, without letting them get away with TOO much. Ha, ha. There will be misadventures, though. He'll fall in love with Jennife Connelly, and there will be SCANDAL....

It will all be misinterpretations though. Cause that's the way life is. One misinterpretation after another.

Take old man chester, the town drink. He has all sorts of wisdom, once you get to know him, which we will before the closing credits.

And then there is the town gossip. She seems like a real rat, and she causes trouble for everyone. Wouldn't it be just charming if a cow pooped on her? She would totally have that coming.

One of Quinn's boys will come of age of course, becoming aware of the neighbor girl, played by Dakota Fanning. No need for boycotts. She'll keep her pants on in this one.

Connelly won't. She'll be arbitarily nude in a scene that could easily have been executed in a kitchen or out of doors, but will take place in the shower, and isn't really relevant to the film in any substantial way. My quirky indie-flick will earn a hard R. It's for families, though.

Of course, we're going to need comic relief. That's where Queen Latifah comes in. She's not gonna take your sass! She's a strong black woman! Not a stereotypical one, though.

Now, just because this is a slice of life, doesn't mean we shouldn't build to a climax. The old Baptist church burns down in the end, which will be symbolic of so many things. The town will come together to rebuild, learning that we have to accept each other and learn how to love and that the negro is people too.

It will be so original and so anti-Hollywood and Multimax will pick it up and I will be nominated for an Oscar and I will thank my mom, but also those who fight oppression, which is really what films like mine are all about and we need more of them.

I'll invite you to my after-party. You can meet Benicio Del Toro.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tax Hikes for Happiness

Brokeback mayor R.T. Rybak is proposing an 8% property tax hike for Minneapolis residents. Of course, Minneapolis residents pay exorbitant property taxes to begin with, and apparently most of the people who live in this city love their taxes.

And, naturally, we get very little in return for the constant rate hikes. Crime is up (partly because Rybak has refused to hire the budgeted number of police officers... You read that right.) The public schools are so awful that neighboring suburban schools hold lotteries to determine which Minneapolis students will be accepted. The city lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because Rybak insisted on hiring a lesbian fire chief (as a payback to the advocacy groups who were responsible for his election).

The city council refuses to take common sense steps to make the city a safer cleaner place. Two strip clubs in NE Minneapolis remain open in spite of the fact that they are operating illegally, the city council successfully fought a challenge by the Christian club 3 degrees to oppose the establishment of a strip club within 500 ft. of its premises.

City Council president Barb Johnson spearheaded an effort to bring Kowalski's to the Camden neighborhood, absurdly kowtowing to their demands that the cty forbid the establishment of any other grocery store within a two mile radius. 18 months later, Kowalski's closed, and residents are forced to go to the suburbs for their grocery needs.

And so on and so forth. If we are going to have incompetence, we should be able to get it for cheap.

Of course, Rybak's office does its able best to put the wool over our eyes, and he has plenty of help. The Star Tribune lovingly reprints his press release verbatim, detailing all of the funding increases entailed in Rybak's budget plan while failing to note the tax hike. This piece of non-pulitzer journalism is accented by a picture of Rybak with his trademark vacant stare that is so utterly disconcerting.

Absurdly, much of the proposed increase is going to fund a $16 million plan to combat foreclosures. Ends-means type relationships are clearly not R.T's forte. The faster I foreclose, the less of his stupid tax I have to pay.

This is getting old. Thanks to anemic voter turnout (12% IIRC), a bastion of liberal well-to-do's, who spend their days hosting fundraisers for Al Franken and shopping in Edina, get to play kingmaker. So we have a mayor who was more interested in city leadership as a social experiment.

By any objective measure, Rybak's tenure has been one of failed logistics and non-existent execution. Perhaps, if he is so unable to get along with our Republicn Governor, he should simply step down in favor of someone who can. If he wants to perform social experiments, he should become an anthropologist, and he can hire lesbians on his own dime.

For the rest of us, it's time for a change.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Musings

Nothing will drive them away. But we can beat them just for one day. Let’s Muse


President Ahmadinejad is in New York, where he will have the opportunity to speak at Columbia University. That quite a thing, isn’t it? Opening the doors to one of our nation’s premier post-secondary institution to provide a pulpit a Jew-hating madman? But then, my city elected another one to Congress, so I shouldn’t be all that surprised.

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The United Auto Workers are on strike. Good timing, guys.

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Was perusing the world wide web for information about David Duke (don’t ask) and I cam across the following interesting tidbit, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“using the pseudonym Dorothy Vanderbilt, Duke published a self-help book for women, titled Finders-Keepers, in 1976. The publication gives advice to women regarding (sexual activities to explicit to replicate on a family blog)…. (Duke) published the book to raise money for his activities, though the book turned out to be a flop.[12]”

That is utterly bananas. I have no words.

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Here’s the thing about Ahmadinejad’s appearance. He will offer reasonable-sounding meditations about Iran’s desire for a better middle east, talk about co-operating with the United States, deny that he would ever, EVER, touch even a hair on Israel’s pretty little head.

And the major news outlets will have to quote him verbatim, without commentary (commentary, of course, reserved for those of a certain political stripe). And there is a large subsection of people who will swallow it whole, repeating it (again verbatim) as though everything he says is to be believed… Except, you know, that stuff about bombs and denying the Holocaust. That’s just bluster.

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Thank you Detroit Lions, that was more like it. The Notre Dame of the NFL

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sorry

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately.

My pinky hurts. It sucks. I've got a band-aid on it, but, OWIEEE!

Anyone want to kiss it? Anyone?

Damn it Buchanan, put your pants back on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Interview with Andrew Meyer

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to talk with various newsmakers and important people. Today, I would like to welcome Andrew Meyer, who made headlines recently for his outburst (and the subsequent police reaction) at a University of Florida event at which Sen. John Kerry spoke. Without any further adieu, Andrew, welcome to TPWK.

Andrew: I'm glad to be here, now I have a few questions for you.

TPWK: Um, sure... I mean...

Andrew: Now, it's true that you have done work for conservative causes. Is it true that you even stole campaign signs before the 2006 elections.

TPWK: Well, no, I...

Andrew: I have more questions. Isn't it also true that you were involved in a conspiracy to undermine the Constitution by helping prop up this Christofascist president? And isn't also true that you failed stats class in college, but that you graduated anyway after appealing to the dean?

TPWK: I, well, these are important questions, so I'd like to answer...

Andrew: Isn't it also true that you work for...

TPWK: Well, calm down and let me ask the question.

Andrew: Hey, what are you doing?

TPWK: Um, I am just trying to.

Andrew: Are you arresting me? AHHHHH! AHHHHHH!!!!

TPWK: Have you ever met my roommate Leroy? You two would get al...

Andrew: Don't tase me bro!

TPWK: I don't have a taser.

Andrew: Don't tase me!

TPWK: I don't even have, like pencil. The worst I could do is jab you with my keys.

Andrew: Oh my God! He's giving me the government. He's gonna kill me.

TPWK: You know come to think of it, where the hell are my keys.

Andrew: OWWWWWWW!!!!

TPWK: Yeah, I would have to slap you with my wallet. I could do that, if you want.

Andrew: I'm going to prison! You are all witnesses! Follow me! Don't let them kill me.

TPWK: You know, if I do that, then my credit cards will come flying out, and it's kinda hard to get them back in the slots.

Andrew: I'm dying!

TPWK: Hardly. Why don't you get up off the floor, we'll go to Dairy Queen and get a couple of Dilly Bars. How does that sound.

Andrew: Get away from me!!!!

Adam Omelianchuk (holding a pipe in one hand and a Miller High Life in the other): People like you are why sensitive guys can't get women!

Andrew: Don't pipe me bro!

Adam: (thmup, thump, thump)

Andrew: OWWWWWW!

Adam: (thump, thump, thump, blood sprays onto loveseat) I AM WILD AT HEART!!!

Andrew: DEMOCRACY IS OVERRRRRRR!!!!

TPWK: This has certainly escalated.

Adam: MOLINISM!!!!

TPWK: What the hell did you just say?

Andrew: BLOG ABOUT MEEEEEEE! (dies)

Adam: ...

TPWK: Wow, that was somethin;...

Adam: Yeah, I know... I know. (Takes a swig of beer)

TPWK: Hey, you livin' the High Life?

Adam: Yes I am. Yes I am.

TPWK: Sonbitch. Sooooonbitch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An interview with my tomato




Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to talk with various newsmakers and important people. Today, I would like to welcome Horwitz, the hyper-intelligent and, possibly, hydrocephalic tomato from my garden. Without an further adieu, Horwitz, welcome to TPWK.

Horwitz: Yes, it’s fantastic to be here.

TPWK: Now, I think the first thing everyone wants to know is…. Um…

Horwitz: What the hell is wrong with me?

TPWK: Yes, well that’s, not how I would have… I’m glad you said it.

Horwitz: Early in the growing stage, I was fused to another tomato.

TPWK: Almost an annexation.

Horwitz: Yes, well, you could call it that.

TPWK: Fascinating.

Horwitz: And from there, we essentially grew from one lifeblood, until we were picked, freed from the branches to explore all that this great Earth has to offer.

TPWK: Yes, and that is what I want to discuss. Since I picked you two weeks ago, you have actually begun hosting your own radio program on MPR.

Horwitz: Yes, “TOMATO, TOMAHTO.” Tuesday evenings at 10 pm CST, if you don’t mind the plug.

TPWK: Not at all. And your program recently made some ripples when Rep. Jim Ramstad announced his decision not to run for re-election on your show.

Horwitz: Yes, Jim, um, Rep. Ramstad and I had been discussing his decision off and on, and I wanted to provide a forum where he would have some space. So many times, these sort of announcements, no matter how innocuous, can create so much speculation.

TPWK: Absolutely, and I thought you struck a nice balance between asking the tough questions and simply letting him explain himself.

Horwitz: Yes, and he told me afterward that he felt he was better off for it.

TPWK: And you have quickly established a reputation as an independent, moderate voice yourself.

Horwitz: Yes, I think, as a tomato, and a non-voting citizen, I have been able to stay “above the fray” if you will.

TPWK: Important in these contentious times.

Horowitz: It absolutely is, yes…

TPWK: …

Horowitz: ….

TPWK: I am going to consume you.

Horowitz: Yes, well, I expected as much.

TPWK: Things being how they are.

Horowitz: Right, no way around it. I have actually thought it some what noble. My body spliced in concentric circles, laying on a nuanced ciabatta with some melted gorgonzola. Maybe some basil and olive oil on top.

TPWK: I’m putting you in a salsa.

Horowitz: Oh…. No, no…

TPWK: …

Horowitz: Not like this.

TPWK: Hold still while I get my paring knife.

Horowitz: Not like this… Not like this…

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Musings

It’s Monday. Jodi Foster has taken her rightful place as queen of the box office. Let’s muse.


My Lions dispatched the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 2-0. I don’t think the 1972 Dolphins have much to worry about. The game did correct one major injustice. The Lions now own (or, rather, share) the record for futility, with 12 combined turnovers in one game between the two teams.

On top of that, we had an illegal substitution in the 4th quarter. Some guy named Jimmy O’Toole played quarterback for the Lions. Jason Hanson missed a potentially game-winning field goal. I was listening to the game on the radio, and I would not have been remotely surprised to hear “and Tavaris Jackson is literally taking a dump on the 10 yard line in the middle of the play! This is a spectacularly bad decision!”

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And now for some bad news. It appears as though Apple Valley is now home to one less mortgage company. Well, TPWK is never one to withhold constructive advice, so here is a link to an organization with which Richard Garvey and pals might wish to get acquainted. Don’t say I never helped you in a pinch. Seriously, though, thanks for helping crash our economy.


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I should just set up an automated complaint line:

If you have a complaint about Kevin’s blog – Press 1
If you disagree with Kevin’s politics, or think Kevin has been too forward in expressing his political beliefs – Press 2
If you think Kevin drinks too much beer – Press 3
If you have a complaint about Peter or Adam’s blog – Press 4
If you plan to pursue legal action – Press 5

For all other complaints, please stay on the line, and an operator will be with you shortly.

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The baggy pants crackdown is going national! Kinda Big Brother’s Eye for the Straight Guy. Actually, it seems kinda racist. Maybe they can balance it out by banning pink vintage tees and polos. Or, at minimum, the church should do something about it. What would Jesus do?

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This season’s fall line-up has been announced! The show generating the most buzz is based on characters featured in a commercial for Geico insurance. I mean, good for Geico, but is this what its come to? Remember Mary Tyler Moore? Cheers? Roseanne? What has happened to us all?

I look forward to a new CSI: Cereal Mascots Edition..

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Stay tuned next week, when I build a bridge to a better tomorrow for our children.

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*Editors note: Apparently Mr. Garvey has brought his unethical services to Great Rivers Mortgage (what is with all the generic names for these scumbags?). Suffice to say, unless you are looking for the opportunity to jump on the subprime foreclosure bandwagon, I would go to Great Rivers Mortgage. And no, Rich, you can't sue someone for calling you a scumbag, especially when the shoe fits.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jim Wallis: Man on fire!

Those who read this blog know that I consider Jim Wallis to be a sort of dangerous clown. This week, Wallis has launched into a series of anti-war screeds in light of the recent comments by Gen. Petraeus that the surge is showing modest signs of success and should be continued. Today, Wallis lashes out (absurdly) at the people who post in his comment sections (one Kevin Sawyer included). Read the whole thing here . Selects excerpts and responses below.

The fragile security improvements are not sustainable without a political solution, which is simply not forthcoming.


This is an intriguing statement in light of his advice that we should pull out and exercise diplomacy, which is, of course, an attempt to forge a political solution.

And contrary to some comments on this site, I have suggested several times an alternative strategy that would have to involve serious international intervention and regional engagement to secure Iraqi security and stability


Serious international intervention and regional engagement being the easiest thing in the world to come by of course. The beauty of hypotheticals is that you get to determine your own outcome. In Wallis' hypothetical, the whole world, including Iran, chips in to make Iraq a better place. Right.

the kind of bold, strong, and creative multilateral strategy that is completely obstructed by the ongoing unilateral American occupation.


Naturally, Wallis thinks his own plan was bold strong and creative. I found it derivative and implausible, but different strokes I suppose.

But exercising American responsibility without U.S. control is not likely to occur on the Bush watch. So we can only look and hope for a future change of direction.


I want a presidential candidate to run on a platform of American responsibility without U.S. control. Yikes. Thank God we have a president who takes control over that which we are responsible.

But let's turn from politics to theology and, even, ecclesiology.


Why start now, Jim?

The vitriol against Christian Iraq war dissenters from the handful of neocon war promoters who regularly clog the comments to this site forget both.


This from the guy who states that the monologue is over. Notice how the "neocon war promoters" (because that's what I do for a living) are not labelled as Christians. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN because he is a Democrat, after all. Wallis sounds exactly like Pat Robertson here.

Both the teachings of Jesus (remember: "blessed are the peacemakers" and "love your enemies")


Well, that settles this question, doesn't it? How does this apply to sectarian violence? Are we supposed to lovingly allow them to keep killing each other? I'm glad we took this little field trip to the religious veneer.

and the rigorous criteria of the "just war" from Augustine and others in the Christian tradition clearly leave believers with at least a presumption against war.


Not the most scholarly take on just war theory from the Harvard Prof. but okay.

And the ignominious origins and now disputed rationales for this war in particular, along with its enormous human cost, clearly put the burden of proof on the war's supporters much more than its critics



Ignominious origins? And what are those ignominious origins, Jim? Right, President Bush lied us into a war for political gain and oil. Oh, and all those Senators went with him. But they didn't read up beforehand, so trusting were they of this ignominious new president.

that is, if we are to be Christians about all this, and not just American nationalists or neoconservative apologists for American hegemony in the world.


If we wanted American hegemony, we'd occupy China, not Iraq. Hasn't Jim Wallis ever played Risk?

That brings me to a second point -- about the body of Christ and our loyalty to the global Christian community. Outside the borders of the United States of America, a vast, vast majority of the world's people are steadfastly against the American war in Iraq and the foreign policies of the U.S. in general.


So, to disagree with them would be disloyal? Do they have any loyalty to me? That argument doesn't turn both ways, does it? Of course not.


Because of my work and transatlantic family ties,


Here's where Jim talks about himself for awhile. "Blessed are the self-important" after all.


So if the international body of Christ generally doesn't support America's war in Iraq, or U.S. foreign policy generally, what do some American Christians know that the rest of the global Christian community doesn't?


This is a disingenuous comment. If the majority of Christians worldwide disagreed with him, he wouldn't be appealing to their authority.


Is the rest of the church just wrong?


Yes.


Do we have access to information that they don't have? (Actually, they have much more access to information and different perspectives than most Americans have, which is a big part of the problem.)


Of course, while we American troglodytes toil in ignorance, the rest of the world gets the straight scoop from the BBC.

Personally, to be frank, I think it is because far too many American Christians are simply Americans first and Christians second.


This from a man who has never, in any single one of his writings that I can find, mentioned the need to repent before Christ for our salvation. Really, we should be Democrats first of all, and also whatever religion floats your boat so long as you vote the right way.

Many American Christians are simply more loyal to a version of American nationalism than they are to the body of Christ. I want to suggest that the two are now in conflict, and we must decide to whom to we ultimately belong. That's the real issue.


Translation: Agree with me or you are not a Christian.

No thanks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How it went down - Part 1

“Do you wanna see the inside of a police car?”

I did not want to see the inside of a police car. In the aftermath of what is now referred to as the Rodney King incident”, police were not held in the sort of national esteem that would render instantaneous acceptance of an invitation to tour the inside of a police car. Besides, such an offer was an inherently condescending, if not outright disingenuous.

But the burly, black police officer insisted. I should see the inside so I did. He may as well have raped me, or thrown me down a stairwell, or called me with news of my parents (or my own) imminent demise. That was the magnitude of the thing, it turns out. Nonetheless, I obliged.

Truth be told, I cannot imagine how a police officer can be excited about showing a child the interior of a police car. To the extent that children harbor Vatmobile-type illusions about the things (which again, I did not) said illusions are surely deflated by the cornucopia of rote functionality within. There was a radar, gadgets and switiches, none of which held the promise of fulfilling curiosity (which again, I did not possess).

No matter. The tour de 5.0 was simply a ruse to get me out of the house. Investigators needed to investigate. At that point, I imagine that my father was at the center of some sort of intrigue. He had witnessed something, and the police (prone to beating blacks as they may have been) needed his assistance. My father had taken me to see Goodfellas the year before. Maybe we were going to join the witness protection program. Not an unpleasant diversion, I supposed, to myself, in vain.

After an hour of chatting up Officer Smalltalk in his unimpressive police car, I was allowed inside to eat some dinner, an impromptu macaroni and hot dogs scenario that reeked of desperation on the part of my clearly distraught mother. And then…

“Mmmmm… Looks good.”

So said a woman with a commanding visage which would present itself intermittently throughout the next year of my life. Under no fathomable circumstance did the concoction I was devouring look “good”. Like the offer to tour the police car, it had all the appearances of being a charade.

At that moment, I got the distinct impression that this investigative visit was not related to my dad’s heroism. An impulse of rage and injustice welled within me. I snuck off to my parents bathroom and stood in front of the mirror, gesturing angrily at invisible demons who would threaten my father, my reflection flailing in the imperfect lights of the nearby hallway.

After some length of time, the entourage left with little fanfare, taking with them this or that envelope. An hour later, we picked up my father, not as a witness, but as a prime suspect. Sexual assault of a minor, the holy grail of sins, and my father was said to have committed the act.

We rode home in my mother’s Corolla hatchback, my father’s exasperated eyes recalling the humiliating things he had to deny or admit. My father had been observed for the previous several weeks as he went to and from work (or not), commit acts of sexual infidelity, shirk parental responsibilities and generally do everything but molest a minor. Shaken and terrified, our lonely family came back to our thoroughly searched house.

I remember laying in my bed that night, unsleeping, my fingers moving vigorously back and forth across the lines and divots of my red-orange blanket. My dreams were truncated by the stabbing pangs of worry that find their way into our fantasies at such times, jolting me awake with smooth cloths of sweat.

For those who are understand what it feels to be numb, this was numb. Unhungry, unwanting, defeated and mangled. My life was entirely different from anything it had been before, and it was only about to get worse.

The date was September 11, 1991.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No intention of forgetting...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Musings

It’s Monday. It’s late. Let’s roll.


Moveon.org has released an anti-war ad. The concept is a play on the name of Gen. Petraeus, asking whether ought, in fact, be referred to as “General Betray Us.”

Wow. Either they are banking on a heretofore unacknowledged national obsession with the game “Mad Gab”, or this is a colossal miscalculation. Of course, it is the latter, as the left-wing blogosphere apparently assumed that the whole world had caught on to their pedantic naming schemes (BushCo, Bushitler etc…)

Even so, it is tough to see how something this insipid got past someone who makes commercials for a living. Good grief.

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Oprah.com (via CNN) has some middling on advice on what to do if your kid is being bullied. “Build their self esteem,” “tell them to make friends,” blah, blah, blah. Here’s where I won’t be going for parenting advice. Oprah.com. If my kid has a problem with a bully, I’ll show him the clip from A Christmas Story where Ralphie beats the piss out of Scott Farkas.

I remember playing “Final Fight” at Chuck E. Cheese when I was 9. I put in a token to continue my game, and some kid pretended to put coins in himself, then took over the game. I went to my dad to ask for more tokens and he said “are you gonna let that f----n’ little wop play your game? Go back there and push him off.”

So I did. That did more for my self-esteem than any woman’s advice would. I did get my butt kicked by a mini-boss with yellow hair, though. Oprah’s an idiot.

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I think it’s safe to say it just isn’t the Wolverine’s year, don’t you?

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This past weekend, I think there was literally so much construction that it was impossible to get to Uptown, except by foot. Think this stopped gaggles of over-dressed white trash from descending on Williams Bar? I’m guessing no. I think, just for fun, that Minneapolis should just host a “drink-in”. Everyone gets a free bottle of schnapps and stays home. Sven Sundgaard can host a live drink-a-thon to raise money for, I dunno, horses with cerebal palsy

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Yesterday, me and my wife went to the 10th Avenue Bridge to get a peak at the 35W bridge collapse. That’s right, we went to a bridge so we could get a look at a collapsed bridge. Icarus would be proud. It was cool to see all the damage and stuff though. In a way, I’m glad it happened. Gave me something to do, you know?

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This should go without saying, but that was a joke.

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Human-bee relations have reached a boiling point. Wouldn’t you agree?

Friday, September 07, 2007

WEEKEND EDITION: TOP TENS

Welcome to an arbitrary decision on TPWK. Top Ten Fridays! Here’s where I countdown the top ten of something. And you read it. And maybe you comment. You know, it’s really up to you how or whether you interact with it. I’ll be bored with it in three weeks anyway, so don’t invest too much into it.

This week, I rate the top ten fast food side items. Who gets fast food for the burgers anyway?

10. Potato Oles – Taco Johns: Fried mini-hashbrown discs. Sometimes with cheese sauce. I don’t know what it has to do with tacos, but that cowboy monkey sure knows what the hell he is doing. Assuming they were his idea, of course. Seriously, is there any other reason why Taco John’s should exist?

9. Coffee – Dunkin’ Donuts: Dunkin’ Donuts sells more coffee than any other coffee maker in the United States. That is completely ridiculous and also apparently true.

8. Chili – Wendy’s: Can someone explain to me why soup is so damn expensive. That café downstairs charges like $4.29 for a bowl. Even Denny’s doesn’t let you off the hook. Unless, of course, you order an entrée, in which case places practically give it away. That doesn’t make any sense. Wendy’s, however, makes oodles of sense, charging $1 for a cup of chili that, while certainly devoid of any kick, is meaty and tasty and reasonably healthy.

7. Onion Chips – White Castle: These little bastards were so successful they compelled White Castle to make the tragic decision to start offering chicken rings. These were a high-school staple at lunchtime. Like all things White Castle, they are more ironic than good.

6. Curly Fries- Arby’s: More of a historical pick here. Just when French fries were getting boring, this innovation forced other fast food establishments to step up their game. Thank you Arby’s, for everything you have done, except for killing Barry White and replacing him with that insipid oven mitt.

5. Apples in Sauce – Boston Market: Now this is how you do fruit. Take an apple, and drown it in a sugary sauce. It’s as American as, um, then continuing to put the apples in a crust, I suppose. BOOM! Whatever happened to Boston Market anyway?

4. Root Beer Float – A&W: An instant classic. The only downside is that it is very easy to make at home, and that actually going to A&W means eating and/or sniffing a fast-food chili cheese dog.

3. French Fries – Inn n’ Out: Vastly underrated reason for visiting the best fast food chain on earth. Robust and succulent, but not greasy. The process by which these are made literally violates the law. That tells you something.

2. Chicken McNuggets – McDonalds: The first fast food item to make people stand up and say “okay, now this is just not real food.” Who cares? They come with honey mustard. Everyone likes honey mustard.

1. The Biscuit – KFC: When you think of the word biscuit, you think of KFCs biscuit. I went to a biscuit-related focus group, and the reference point was a KFC biscuit. They might as well have invented the damn thing. If they had called them popperies, we would call other biscuits popperies the way we call all dessert gelatins Jell-O and all cotton ear swabs Q-Tips. That’s how you own a side item.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Five years after the switch

This weekend commemorates the five year anniversary of the official swapping of affiliations between UPN 9 and WFTC Fox 29, also know as "the switch."

I remember at the time of the switch, I was confused about a lot of things.. About life, about syndicated television. About everything. We were a nation about to go to war, still jarred by the pain of 9/11. Those were innocent times. Different times.

Then, then Simpsons were suddenlty on UPN, and the WB disappeared. Up was down, right was wrong.

A lot of times, my fingers would impulsively entone the numbers 2-9, in hopes that I might catch the nine o'clock news, only to be tricked into yet another "Mad About You" rerun. Years later, Paul Reiser's befuddled everyman haunts my soul, and even my sexuality.

I guess you could say that, after all this time, a part of me hasn't made the switch. A part of me still doesn't exactly know on which channel I can find That 70's Show from 5:30-6.

Like a lot of people my age who were confused by the switch, I did a lot of drugs to hide my sadness and confusion. It started off innocently enough. A little bit of coke maybe after church. It was months until I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem. They found me in my basement with a have eaten bottle of baking soda and a 1970s television set. My desperate attempt to make things right again, I suppose.

Over the years, the switch has changed me in a lot of ways. I no longer have faith in the goodness of network affiliates. I've lost weight. I don't speak to my father.

But, at the same time, I learned a lot. I realized that, while television is unstable and unreliable, God's is infallible. More importantly, I am still right here.

I AM STILL RIGHT HERE...

How did the switch affect you? Feel free to use this as a forum to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wednesday Musings

Labor day, schmabor day. Let's muse the day away!


Michigan football is notoriously good at dropping one game early in the season. Since College Football has no playoff and champions are determined by computers, this fact usually renders the rest of the season an exhibition along the lines of, say, roller hockey and championship square dancing. So yeah, losing in the biggest upset in the history of college football can't be entirely unexpected, can it?

On a related note, Peter, myself, and the rest of the Rock TV team anxiously await our invitiation to the Oh Boy! Oberto! Bowl in southeastern Maine.

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Now Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign from the Senate. Great. I've been looking to hear more appalling details about his wide stance. This is exactly what we want to be explaining to our children. Look, it's Idaho, there are like 400,000 Republicans eager to take over your spot. Go away.

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Over the weekend, an errant bull charged Minnesota State Fair goers, eventually killing itself by butting heads with a fire hydrant. Yep, folks, that's why we eat them instead of vice versa.

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An excerpt from a conversation with an "emergent" Christian....

Me: (Responding to a point made about intolerance of homosexuals among black people): (we agree) that blacks have a problem with a particularly virulent strain homophobia of which you ought not be proud.

Emergent: Is it worse than the homophobic postings on your blog, Kevin?

Me: Okay, I'll bite. What are you talking about?

Emergent: For example, your mocking of John Amaechi in your February 13, 2007 blog entry:

"TPWK: Wow... And you're black too? I mean, African-gayomatic whatever.."

I know...you will argue that it is not homophobia.

Me: Here is the link to that interview.

First of all, and I would think this would be mind-bendingly obvious, the interview is apocryphal. Second, it is obviously intended as comedic... My purpose was to paint the interviewer as embarassingly immature, in a bit of a parody of the breathless interview questions Amaechi was getting from reporters.

Of course, if you include Amaechi's response, which is: "I don't think African-gayomatic is the accepted term, but yes I am black and gay." Then you get a bit better picture of whether I am being homophobic.

Emergent: Utterly ludicrous in view of the fact that you wrote the whole nasty thing. I was merely noting that your pointing out somebody else's homophobia was somewhat ironic or hypocritical given your own record.

Me: What's nasty about it? A buffoon asks dumb questions, Amaechi humors them, then leaves in disgust. Do you have no concept of irony? Do you see where that might be funny? You are being utterly disingenuous here.

Emergent: Res Ipsa Loquitor- the thing speaks for itself.

Me: However, comedy, particularly satire, cannot speak for itself. It requires interpretation by the reader. If taken at face value, it is impossible to draw accurate conclusions from it....

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I win. I would note that this about sums up far too many discussions I have had with emergent peeps, online or otherwise. Tsk-tsking accompanied by bile. Maybe they should emerge into people who aren't sanctimonious, self-absorbed nits. Honestly, more than anything, it was the people who drove me away from the movement. Just sayin'.

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And with that, I'll see you next week!

Or tomorrow... Whenever I blog next.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bottle Rocket

Does a sense of humor beget self-destructive behavior? I've been challenged with this question in light of the Owen Wilson near-(self-imposed-but-sad-nonetheless)-tragedy.

By sense of humor, I do not necessarily mean the ability to sense when something is, per se, funny. This is human nature; hence comedy. But when that sense is elevated to the point where one can develop a sense of craft about the thing. When one can, at a moments notice, identfy what is and is not funny about a situation, and be empirically right about the fact, that is something else entirely.

Humor is the violation of that which ought to be. It requires the act of surprise, the ability to detect the perpendicular to the normative, if we want to get clinicial about it. The comedian must stay one step ahead of the audience, or they will simply be acting out a regurgitation of the audiences own imagination. Improvisational comedy is born of a constant tension created by this classic catch-up game. This is true at any level, from film to live performance, to social gatherings.

Those who are adept at crafting humor cannot be weird or odd. They must have a command of the normative, wherein social conventions are not only understood, but exist as a sort of second nature, to be actively defiled by this or that statement or action.

Which brings me to Owen Wilson. Wilson excels at understatement, a hallmark of british comedy. His style is further distinguished by an extraordinary sense of irony, insofar as his characters seem to observe everything that happens on screen. Take the scene in "Starsky & Hutch" where a child suddenly does back flips. Everyone else seems deaf to this transgression, except Wilson who dryly notes: "What the hell was that?"

Both styles require a particularly precise understanding of what convention demands, and Wilson is adept at finding the minimal degree to which those conventions can be exploited for comedic effect.

But with that ability comes a certain curse. By continually embracing the absurd, one can lose sight of the real. Worse, one can understand the real to simply be a sort of illusion. Once one finds reality to be a vehicle for pith and wit, one struggles to grasp the value of the real. The Matrix writ small, if you will, minus the blue pill option. That this worldview leads to depression, then, is no surprise, and suicide is the act of the ambitiously depressed.

And so, Owen Wilson slit his wrists, endeavoring toward what is generally considered among the least efficient ways to bring about one's quietus. It is, however, the act generally associated with suicide, the most graphic of self-mutilations, requiring the body to literally expunge its own lifeline.

Isn't it striking that Wilson will be playing a suicidal man in his upcoming film, and that he wrote a suicide scene into one of his films? Is he wrestling with proverbial demons by bring them to life on the screen, in the hope that, by embracing their reality, he can recognize their powerlessness over him?

There exist answers for those of us who have exhausted the authentic possibilities of this world. Amongst his ilk, those questions would seem impossible to find. But perhaps Owen has finally had a chance to look this road in the eye, to dryly wonder what the hell just happened, and to chart a perpendicular course for himself.