Thursday, May 29, 2008

Emerald Dry Cleaning Sucks

A month ago, I had no opinion w/r/t dry cleaners. Hell, I do not even know what martinizing is. Now I do, however, have an opinion. Fortunately for me, I also have a blog.

I should backtrack.

Given my paucity of dry cleaner knowledge, I was pleased to discover that my wife had discovered an inexpensive place to get our comforter cleaned. Our washer and dryer? That is far too sensible. Remember, Khris is a woman, and women are the people who pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to have people choose flowers for a wedding.

After some discussion about the merits of sending a comforter that says "do not dry clean" to the dry-cleaners, her solution was Emerald Cleaners, which was offering one of those ubiquitous half-off specials. As such, instead of absurdly paying $40 to wash a $60 comforter, we were only absurdly paying $20. It costs just as much to not dry clean, which, apparently, dry cleaners also do things that are not dry cleaning (martinizing?). This is how husbands lose arguments.

Well, I do know somewhat more about dry cleaning than the lackey Emerald Cleaners hired to not dry clean our comforter. I know this because he dry cleaned the damn comforter. Unfortunately, the "do not dry clean" instruction proved utterly prescient, and the comforter was torn and shrunk.

As any reasonable person would, my wife called to ask for the replacement cost of the comforter. She was referred to the manager, Lynn, who asked us to bring in the comforter. Here's what you need to know about Lynn at Emerald Cleaners. She is the least pleasant person in all of Minnesota, which is huge because Keith Ellison lives here and he is a horror of a human being. Suffice to say, I sure do despise me some Lynn.

When I went to the store, Lynn greeted me by noting that she was upset that aforementioned lackey had provided her personal number. Now, I work in public relations. I give out my personal number like it's Altoids, and hope to God that I get a phone call because it gives me an opportunity to kick ass and make money.

The good people of Emerald Cleaners, I would discover, guard personal numbers the way a nun guards her viriginity. Lynn doesn't strike me as the "too busy to take a phone call" type, but I digress.

Lynn takes our complaint, and our comforter, with the promise that the owner, Helene, will offer a resolution within one week. One week was last Thursday.

So, today my wife calls Emerald Lynn to inquire as to the status of our comforter. Lynn explains that the owner has gone on vacation, and that these issues can take months to settle. My wife notes that this is an example of bad customer service (which, empirically, is the case) and so Lynn commences to accuse my wife of harassment, and tells her that the issue will be resolved when they get to it.

As regular readers know, when someone bullies my wife, I turn green and smash things, symbolically speaking. Ask Rich Garvey how that goes.

So I call Lynn, explaining our troubles, and ask for the owner's number. Lynn notes that she is not at liberty to provide the owner's personal number, which makes it difficult generally because Helene does not work at any of the store's locations and cannot be reached by traditional means.

Lynn then proceeds to hang up on me, and refuses to answer the phone when I call back. Again, I'm not a Lynn fan.

So I decide to call another location. Loretta answers the phone, listens to my story, and refers me to Wendy. By the way, I am not making up these names. Apparently, Emerald cleaners is run by a bridge club.

Wendy explains, again, that I will not be given the owner's number, and that the owner is on vacation as of TODAY. I ask why my issue was not dealt with in a timely manner, and offer some commentary as to how the people of Emerald Cleaners could improve their business practice. Wendy informs me that Helene is visiting a sick sister, which comples me to add a side note.

Side note: Since when is a sick relative an excuse not to do your job? I have had all manner of sick, dying, and otherwise incapacitated relatives. I have never, once, thrown them under a bus by using them as an excuse to not do my job. End side note...

Wendy then proceeds to call me a "jerk". Why am I a jerk? For asking for a follow up call early next week. This request is "irrational", especially since Helene is returning from vacation early next week and will be home and obviously has a million better things to do than to run Emerald Cleaners, which happens also to be THE BUSINESS SHE OWNS.

Wendy offers a nebulous promise for a call back at some point next week, reiterates that I am a jerk, and then hangs up on me when I promise to call her back next Tuesday (one gets the sense that she has been through this rigmarole before).

Fast forward to ten minutes later. Wendy has spoken with Helene-the-unreachable. Apparently, Lynn-the-imcompetent was supposed to call us and ask for a receipt for the comforter. After all, doesn't everyone keep every receipt for every single thing in their possession? Of course, we explained (many, many times) that we did not have the receipt, having provided an online printout of the comforter, complete with cost from IKEA.

Wendy apologized for the fact that "we both got emotional" and explained that Helene the absentee landlord would be visiting IKEA on the way back from visiting aforementioned moribund sister, to verify the cost of the comforter. I am not going to get into the absurdity of that particular exercise as it relates to Emerald Cleaners' ROI, but the upshot is that I can expect a phone call next Tuesday.

If it's anything less than the full cost of the comforter, Kevman will be very angry. Helene won't like it when I'm angry.

This is why I vote Republican, people.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Inane disobedience

That white people blog should do an entry on press releases. Witness Against Torture, a left-wing advocacy group that wants the U.S. to shut down Guantanamo, is going to stage a protest. And what good is civil disobedience without television cameras? None, that's what. Here's the release. Selected excerpts and responses below.

"35 Americans from cities and towns across the country will go on trial for a protest at the U.S. Supreme Court on January 11, 2008. They face charges of either “unlawful free speech” or “causing a harangue” or both."

Actually, the charges related to illegally protesting on Supreme Court grounds. You can take a wild guess as to which protestors were the original target of that law. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, eh hippies?

"In a new twist on traditional protest, the 35 activists will enter their names as those of actual Guantánamo inmates. "

The Washington Post will lap this up, I guarantee it.

"Father Bill Pickard, a Catholic priest from Scranton, PA, is one of the defendants. But he will be tried “as” Faruq Ali Ahmed, a Guantánamo detainee. "

Faruq Ali Ahmed is a detainee because he was living amongst members of the taliban, and gave his passport to one member, in his words, for "safekeeping", and those are just the settled facts. If he wants to have his day in court, he'd better hope it's in the south side of Chicago.

"Among the defendants is a hog farmer from Grinnell, Iowa,"

Strictly speaking, if you are a devout Muslim, would you want a hog farmer pretending to be you?

"At 7:45 am, dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, those facing trial will carry their Guantánamo inmates' names from the U.S. Supreme Court (Maryland Avenue and First Street) to the D.C. Superior Court (Carl Moultrie Court House, 500 Indiana, Ave NW), where their cases will be heard."

At this point, I am completely confused as to what the protestors are going to do. Are they holding a mock tribunal? Are they going to pretend that they are Guantanamo court detainees at an actual court proceeding? Are they simply marching? I could not, for one second, imagine a conservative organization attracting press attention with such a poorly written, confusing release.

"At 8:30 am, Witness Against Torture will hold a press conference "

Natch.

"They will also hold a ceremony of justice, expressing their demand that the rights and humanity of the detainees be respected by placing placards bearing the detainees' names alongside copies of the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Convention, and the sacred texts of various religious traditions."

I like the "sacred texts of various religious traditions" part. What is the argument there? Some religions might indicate that these people deserve a trial! Who cares?

"The trial will begin at 9:30 am."

Wait, so what was the 7:45 thing?

"Press is invited to attend all the proceedings."

Translation: Forget the rest, just attend our press conference, and you can construct an article from our talking points. I can't imagine why mainstream journalism is dying.

Here's my guess. These people are going to do whatever they can to get arrested, and will not stop until they do. Then, they will send out another press release about how they were arrested for "exercising rights" or some damn thing. Meanwhile our tax dollars are wasted on a publicity stunt conducted by people with way too much time on their hands.

Forget the 60 days in jail. Fine them $25,000 each, and sentence them to 500 hours of community service. We'll see how many show up for the next photo-op on behalf of poor, innocent Faruq.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A conversation over chess

Vilnius: Check... And mate!!!

Ceausescu: Alas!

Vilnius: It was the strength of my central pawns.

Ceausescu: I thought I would exploit your bishop.

Vilnius: And I exploited you.

Ceausescu: Sweet, sweet chess. I was wondering...

Vilnius: You are always wondering, you old scoundrel!

Ceausescu: A scoundrel, nay a prophet?

Vilnius: And now you play the card!

Ceausescu: But to my thesis, what if man were also machine.

Vilnius: You confound me.

Ceausescu: That calculus of the robotic, the inuition of the beast.

Vilnius: A God among men, a man among Gods!

Ceausescu: To achieve such balance.

Vilnius: Your paradigm anew!

Ceausescu: A conquerer of impulse, an intellect mightier than pen or sword.

Vilnius: Oh, paradox.

Ceausescu: If only it were so.

Vilnius: The implications (unveils a hatchet)

Ceausescu: Ah, the blade of the working class.

Vilnius: Upon you! (with a slice, removes Ceausescu's hand)

Ceausescu: Now, I am confounded!

Vilnius: Go, and become the machine-beast of your dreams.

Ceausescu: Let's revisit this at our next match old chum.

Vilnius: But now, to the medic.

Ceausescu: To the mortuary!

Vilnius: Alas... 'tis so. (slices Ceausescu's neck)

Ceausescu: (gurgle)

Vilnius: Checkmate, old chum. Checkmate indeed.


This post brought to you by Bed, Bath and Beyond

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Disturbing Roommate Conversation

Leroy: Hey, I'm gonna need to crash at your place for a couple of nights. Krista said it was alright.

Kevin: Okay, first of all, Krista is YOUR wife, not mine. As such, her permission is meaningless as it relates to my house.

Leroy: ....

Kevin: Yes?

Leroy: I was hoping you'd go to the second point. That first one's pretty airtight.

Kevin: We have a boarder through the end of the week.

Leroy: I was hoping for more of a yes/and scenario here. That was a denial.

Kevin: Those are terms you learned in your improv comedy class. They do not apply here. Why can't you stay in your own home?

Leroy: Krista's painting.

Kevin: The home?

Leroy: The interior, to be precise.

Kevin: Precision is your strong suit, after all.

Leroy: The house smells like paint. I'm all packed.

Kevin: Where is Krista staying?

Leroy: Home. Painting. We've been over this.

Kevin: Why aren't you helping? You like to paint.

Leroy: We couldn't agree on a motif.

Kevin: A motif?

Leroy: Yeah, I was going for kind of a jungle vibe, with angry jungle men gouging each others eyes out, symbolizing the futility of man's existence.

Kevin: Powerful. And what did Krista want?

Leroy: Burgundy.

Kevin: Artistic differences, then.

Leroy: If you can call what she is doing "art". She made me take all my supplies back to the store.

Kevin: You win some, you lose some. Why the new paint job?

Leroy: There was a fire.

Kevin: Sounds serious.

Leroy: A waste of perfectly good tacos. I'll be there in ten minutes.

Kevin: You are not following the trajectory of this conversation.

Leroy: Can I sleep in your car.

Kevin: I don't have a car. You sold it for concert tickets.

Leroy: Didn't insurance cover it?

Kevin: As it turns out, my policy didn't cover "Acts of Leroy".

Leroy: See, that's why I support Obama.

Kevin: You support Obama because you think his ears are funny.

Leroy: You underestimate me. Can I bring my salamander?

Kevin: You are raising the stakes, here.

Leroy: He likes to run around.

Kevin: You're in the backyard.

Leroy: YOU FOUND ME!!!!

Kevin: You can sleep in the basement closet.

Leroy: Just like old times. I brought "Two if by Sea".

Kevin: I only enjoy that movie ironically.

Leroy: ...

Kevin: How many salamanders do you have?

Leroy: Eight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Emergent Nehemiah?

Anyone who has read emergent pastor Brian McLaren's stuff knows that he is less than charitable to his critics. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I can be counted among his critics.


Recently, however, Mr. McLaren has identified a peculiar target in the form of a (heretofore unbeknownst to me) online newsletter. The Lighthouse Trails Research Project (that rolls trippingly off the tongue doesn't it?), whose stated aim is "Exposing the Dangers of Contemplative Spirituality" (ditto) recently took to task Kay Warren, wife of mega-church svengali Rick, for participating in Envision '08* alongside some left-wing Christian muckity-mucks, McLaren included.

The strenuous objection of LTRP has compelled McL to ruminate on the nature of fear, and its various strata**. In his words:



First, there are the fearsome -- those who like to make others afraid.

Second, there are the fearless -- those who refuse to be intimidated by the
fearsome.

Then in the middle are the fearful -- those who are afraid to associate with the fearless because they might incur the ire of the fearsome.

In this paradigm, the LTRP (whose moniker is better suited for a redwood preservation society, or a band of elk enthusiasts, IMO) fits neatly into the first category, employing "guilt by association" to achieve their means. Actually, the tone of their piece is one of befuddlement more than condemnation, but I'll grant him his point, since these folks are a bit off generally, and because Kay's advocacy on behalf of the poor is above reproach***.

But fearsome? Here is a picture of Deb and Dave Dombrowski





Call them the plaid Sanhedrin. At any rate, this ferocious duo has prompted McL to gush of Kay Warren's heroism:

for attending an event that includes people like (shudder) Shane Claiborne, Jim
Wallis, Jay Bakker, Doug Pagitt, and (shudder again) me.


The parentheticals are a bit disingenuous - nothing in the LTRP piece evinces shuddering or even wincing - but they serve a larger purpose than dismissing an obscure online newsletter. McL wants us to believe he is not only fearless (I'll get to that in a moment) but harmless as well. But whether McL's theological gerrymandering merits convulsion is another question entirely. McL's critics find quite a bit of shudder-worthy prose in, for example, A Generous Orthodoxy.


Nonetheless, in the narrative of the fear triumverate, McL is eager to cast himself as Nehemiah, who doesn't "want to get involved with their debates" (emphasis mine). Whose debates? The LTRP did not hold a debate, but simply offered its assessment. One could argue that the mere offering of an assessment constitutes a de facto opening salvo to such an exchange, but I find this a curious tact coming from one who has written reams of books, blog posts, and open letters castigating what he perceives to be a stingy orthodoxy.


Suffice it so say, McL has taken the ball in this hypothetical debate and carried it across the goal line. So what does he have to offer? A reference to Paul's admonishment to Timothy regarding petty debate, and a wish for God to "bless the fearsome with a good night's sleep and a better attitude tomorrow."

I would argue that McL has insufficiently engaged his critics to be so casually dismissive (is there anything more petulant than unearned smugness?), much less compare himself to an author of an OT text. But even if I grant this conceit, devoting 518 words to Mssrs. Deb & Dave for the sole purpose of dismissing them hardly merits the silopsistic hand wringing of McL's post. After all, if one does not possess the time nor the inclination to engage a debate (another day, another anti-poverty conference) then why take the time to respond at all?

There is a host of substantive criticism directed toward the Emergent church, some accurate, some less so. Opting to neglect these criticisms in favor of bullying those he concedes to be "well-intentioned but less-than-fully-informed," hardly seems fearless. Bullying via a forum that shares his theology and his politics, where amens, trackbacks and high-fives are assured, seems downright fearful.

Jesus took on the Biblical scholars of his day. They were certainly fearsome (as he would soon discover). Brian McLaren vision of fearlessness is to embarass the innkeeper and the milkmaid.
Nehemiah, my ass.


*Side note: Do emergents host a conference on poverty every weekend? I'm sure the nation's poor would be delighted to know just how many Christian conferences are conducted on their behalf. If Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne pooled their Marriot Rewards points, they could house every victim of the Myanmar cyclone for two years.

**Now, a cynic might posit that the categories might as well read as "those who crticize my books", "those who buy my books", and "those who have never heard of my books". But I am not cynical, so I'll leave this thought for the footnotes.

***Of course, one could just as easily ask of McL what business he has associating with the likes of Kay Warren, husband of Rick, whose Purpose Driven Life, for all it's numerical prescriptivism, is so firmly entrenched in the rudiments of modernism it may as well have been written by Dedekind.

Top Ten Fridays - Clowns

Hey, everyone loves clowns! This is irrefutable. Let's talk about my favorite clowns ever. This is a reasonable thing to do.

10. Bozo the Clown. He had a hit show where kids couldn't throw a ping-pon ball into a bucket. Those kids sucked. Bozo, however, is wonderful.

9. Jojo the lover - This clown is scary and does things that I don't think a clown should do. Come to think of it, Jojo is not a clown at all. Uncle Steve sure has weird movies.

8. Krusty the Clown - He's from the Simpsons! The Simpsons everyone! Cartoons! Itchy and Scratchy!!!!!

7. Krusty the Clown - I get to count him twice because he's on the Simpsons.

6. Eskimos - Hilarious. Like human penguins.

5. Pigmies - Ditto. Nuk-Nuk is my favorite.

4. IT - Scary clown from a made for television mini-series that hasn't aged well at all.

3. Sideshow Bob - He is also from the Simpsons.

2. Horatio - The clown who haunts my soul, and yours too, if you don't learn your lessons. I have had Horatio in my heart ever since I learned to hate.

1. Garfield - He's a cat, but he's funny so he's kind of a clown.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So, if we move forward with this presentation, I think the client is going to balk. We're asking for an increase in services without offering compensation. I'm just saying we need to...



Uh-oh


UH-OHHHH

Look at this guy...





Look at that! Squirrel's gonna gitcha!


So what I think we should do on a go forward is offer a tiered structure... No, I didn't say a la carte. I'm saying make it scalable in accordance with their budget. They have a Q3 fiscal year, so they...



BOOOOM!!!!!





I just think if we can maintain the entry-level offering, we'll be in a position to grow that business after Q1. And the thing we have to have in the back of our minds is, what is Dexter going to do after the merger? That's what....



Oh, wow...


BOOM! It's a dog eat dog world, folks. He's gotcha... Heeeeeeeee's gotcha.

This post brought to you by Meineke Auto Parts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Musings

Sorry, no musings yesterday. Musings today instead! This is great all the way around.

Did anyone else catch John McCain dissing ethanol last week? That's awesome. More awesome? He was doing it in Iowa, a swing state that would be a nuclear storage facility if not for corn demand. I have never bought into the "McCain is above politics" narrative, but I'll take straight shooting where I can get it.

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On the other side of the aisle, the Obama campaign plans to declare victory over Hillary Clinton on May 20. Doesn't the whole declaring victory before everyone has voted thing seem a bit, I dunno, totalitarian? Would he like to make himself president for life while he is at it? How about the voters decide who gets to be the nominee, clingy though they might be?

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I recently caught "Into the Wild", the Sean Penn directed, rich-kid-runs-away-from-home-and-finds-himself-and-other-people-too, saga. I found myself more impressed with Eddie Vedder's work here than with the maudlin film itself (incidentally, is Penn capable of any note besides Maudlin?).

Whether you really enjoy the film probably depends on whether you would enjoy the company of the films protagonist, who evinces Henry David Thoreau with mild Attention Deficit Disorder. I find him slightly unbearable, which casts a pale over a film in which every secondary character is instantly in love with him. The film is schismatic, idolizing the kid while simultaneously unfurling his doom. Watching this film, I was left as cold as he was.

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I guess I'm unsympathetic to rich kids who do stupid things, generally. Forgive my impertinence.

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I'm planting peas this year, dammit.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Shaverjoy

You can imagine my elation...

I should backtrack.

Yesterday, some anonymous soul vanquished Peter Welle, fiend, and recovered my electric shaver. The hero left the shaver, fully charged, inside my front screen door.

Upon having my shaver returned to me, I immediately set to work shaving myself and all of my worldly possessions. Here is a summary of shaved objects, with a shavability score attached to each.

(Scale of 1-10)

Dining room table - 2
Spider - 8
Own toenails - 4
Wife - 1
Couch - 9 (note: wife disagrees)
Remote Control - 7 (surprisingly)
Curtains - 10 (see: Couch)

As I shaved away my existence, I imagined Peter's final moments, the cool realization of eminent death sweeping over his fading consciousness, the dulcet tones of Vertical Horizon straining in the background.

"It's not so bad..."

Shhhh... Peter... Shhhh...

"You're only the best I ever had..."

Shhhhhhhhhhhh.......

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shavershame

My belligerent lowlife of a friend, author of the John Larroquette Project, an absurd, obliquely pedophilic romp through the man's (lowlife, not John Larroquette's) psyche, has committed an utter trespass against my naive trust.

I once had an electric shaver. It was a birthday gift from my soon-to-be inlaws, a mutual transaction wherein gift satisfied need as to connote filial good graces.

My friend, we'll call him Blake Hopkins, teacher and professional son of a bitch, has wrenched the equation. The man has my shaver people.

I remember my last encounter with my shaver. Its triumverate of blades swirled about my neckline, caressing my whispets of manhood into the creamy stew in the basin below. The vibrating teeth of the trimmer nuanced the overgrowth above my lip into an exquiste coif (a so-called "goatee") that was the envy of the fairer sex.

To imagine those same electric incisors undulating like deranged jellyfish against the jowels of my nemesis makes me seethe. My saliva, engorged by the frothy effluvium of my angst, ejaculates unto my hirsute chin, where it collects like a waiting avalanche. I foam for thee, Blake Hopkins.

My attempts to redeem this voucher of my virility have been rebuffed with efficiency. "Feel free to stop by after 6:30," says the note on the door. "But Bridgette and I might be out for Groceries!!!!!"

Four exclamation points, the excess taunting of my soul. I suppose there won't be any need for shaving cream. May your store-bought good render unto you as poison droplets.

If you are reading this, oh god of that which is tall and ironic, return my man-blade to me. That is, if you can find a moments respite from shaving the Satan's nether regions. That is, after all, your wheelhouse, is it not? Do not think I mis-comprehend the depth of your depravity.

Make with my shaver posthaste, oh Bitch-Goddess of the blogosphere, or I will reign my torrent upon thee.

Seriously dude, can I get my shaver back? I have job interviews, and my sideburns are uneven.

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Monday Musings

It's Monday. It's sunny. I'm holed up on my computer. So are you. Share my malaise.





This weekend's Kentucky Derby turned tragic when "Eight Belles", the runner up and first filly to enter the Derby since 1999, was euthanized on the track after breaking both ankles. You know, if the WNBA adopted a similar approach, maybe people would attend the games.

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Note to Francisco Liriano. Good thing you're not a horse.

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Saw this headline on CNN.com: "$5 gas near, 78% of Americans say"

There's news we can use. I mean, if AMERICANS say it's true...

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OMG!!! NEW DEATH CAB!!!!

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I'm out... As in outside!!!

See, that's another great catch phrase. I'm chock full of 'em, people.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Catch Phrases

Everyone loves me for my catch phrases. I use them to impress women and employers alike. How do I do it? I dunno, call it "The Big Cheese Within Me". See? There was another one... Here are ten of may favorites that you can steal.

10. Boom! - Whenever somebody is having a bad day, simply go up to them and yell this. They will appreciate the way you jolted them out of complacency. They will also laugh at the funny way the word sounds.

9. Catch you later, Harold. - What? You don't have any friends named Harold? That's the key to comedy! I am always catching people off guard with my comedic stylings. Harold? Is that Harry for short? When Harry Met Sally? WHHHATTT!!!

8. Squirrel time. - This is the perfect thing to say when someone introduces a bag of mixed nuts at a party. Everyone will appreciate the connection.

7. Can ya hafta? - I know, it makes no sense. Can you? Do you have to? It's sort of in the middle, but it is always great for lighting up the room.

6. Where's the Hoobastank? Kind of a play on "Where's the Beef?" which is also highly relevant to introduce into a conversation. This is one I like to use during those awful silences when everyone has decided to stop talking. It's perfect because then everyone can hear you.

5. All that with a chicken in a biscuit!!! - This one is for my "bruthas" out there. I like to use my "black voice" when I say this, which introduces an added element of humor, but also let's people know that I am not in any way racist.

4. You mama in a cheesestick! - See above, another great reference to salute our homies.

3. Slap mustard on that! - The perfect zinger whenever you're finished dressing down a person at a cocktail party. Really brings the point home, but let's everyone know it's all in good fun. For added effect, follow this by shouting byyyyyyaaaaaaatch and pretending to do a guitar solo. Sorry ladies, I'm married.

2. This patio party needs my broad sword! - Self-explanatory.

1. AAAAAAHHHHHH! - Nothing says wild and out of control like simply screaming at the top of your lungs. Every will be moved by your infectious energy, and will be much more likely to listen to your viewpoints.