Category Archives: Humor, Satire

Is Authenticity Unnatural?

I didn’t watch any recent Republican debates. This is not because I didn’t¹ think it would be entertaining, or for any political objection to our democracy being made mockery-of; I didn’t watch them because I don’t have cable. Is that an authentic revelation or am I just cheap? I’m certain I missed a lot of zingers and whole lotta intentionally inauthentic behavior and I’m also certain it would have been pretty boring.

While I did have a nightmare that Trump was marrying my wife...

Revealing that I had a dream that Trump married my wife and that it didn’t bother me would have been a pretty authentic revelation, but like most things having to do with Trump, it would have been made up. Photo credits: Ninian Reid – Flickr (for the stock Trump face photo), Peter (for our wedding photos in Copenhagen), and me (for photoshopping Trump’s face on my body to what we all must admit is a pretty accurate scale).

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Is it Getting Hot in Here? Seattle’s Overcrowding Sandwich Metaphor

Seattle is the fastest growing major metropolitan area in the US and we are all feeling the heat from it. Or maybe that’s heat emanating from this global climate change? Regardless of causation, soon Seattle will basically be Houston, and I for one don’t like it.

The population explosion is undeniable — or so says some reputable sources like recent census data and the guy that was complaining about all the recent traffic congestion that was standing next to you having a conversation with no one while you waited in line at Jimmy Johns. I don’t eat Jimmy Johns per se, in fact I think Jimmy Johns is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with America and is a great illustration of why everyone should leave Seattle.

It’s so uniform and sterile, like the high-rise condo complexes that are exploding on South Lake Union, Ballard, and Interbay — and you know exactly what kind of perfectly-manicured-genetically-modified sandwich is coming out of the assembly line of smiling-sandwich-assembling-faceless-bots that are asking you if you want extra cheese for just $1 more – NO I WOULD NOT LIKE EXTRA CHEESE.

This may look like an innocuous sandwich, but I got it the day this place went out of business... I generally avoid going-out-of-business food

This may look like an innocuous sandwich, but I got it the day this small “Mom n’ Pop” place went out of business. As a rule, I generally avoid going-out-of-business food, but I also believe that this sandwich represents what was once right with the world. Yes it made me sick because this was the last of their inventory, but I took one for the American dream.

Give me an old-fashioned $5-footlong from Subway with brown lettuce and green tomatoes any day of the week or an instantly disintegrating meatball marinara sub from TOGOs that I can eat with a spoon in front of the TV. These were sandwiches that you could drive to without being stuck in gridlock, be treated terribly by staff while no one else was waiting with you, and then shame-eat in the comfort of your own desk or dark living room while Die-Hard 3 was playing in the background. You didn’t have to worry about all these other people coming in and demanding higher quality ingredients and timeliness. He’d get to making your sandwich as soon as he was done with his text, k!? Stop being so pushy!

All of the transplants migrating to Seattle for that great tech job are jump-starting the course of sandwich innovation and ruining all of our lives in the process. Don’t get me started on the concept of innovation. There is good evidence that innovation in fact hurts our economy and well-being. The argument being that making things cheaper/faster/easier leads to more consumption.

Let’s all collectively agree to take a deep breath and not worry about the fact that our sandwiches are sloppily made with terrible ingredients. Let’s get back to the simpler times where everyone was getting a  no-interest/no-income mortgage that allowed them to live out their American Dream of moving to the ‘burbs to live in a 4,000 square foot McMansion. They can all work from home making up to millions of dollars per day in their spare time as well. That should cut down on all of this traffic congestion and get us back to the day when a modular condo wasn’t created every 3 seconds!

 

 

Oops, I did it again… Chipotle

3 Irrefutable facts:

  1. We are all creatures of habit…
  2. Habits are hard to break….
  3. Burritos are the best comfort food on earth as well as the most perfectly engineered super-fast-food (as long as the tortilla and foil hold).

Up until recently, they were the province of those who lived in states within relatively close-enough proximity to Mexico. Not anymore. Damn you Chipotle.

I railed against a horrible ailment that stricken’s us all when I used to work in The Mission (San Francisco) — the failure of many of us to expand what I succinctly and elegantly coined, our TADSTFWFL. 

I’ve seriously been at a new job downtown (Seattle) for less than 3 weeks and I’ve been to Chipotle 3 times. Seriously 3 of 12 days – 1/4 of all lunch’s for you math nerds, with the others filled with some pretty awful Chinese, leftovers or a company party.

McDonald’s used to own Chipotle I thought? Then they were super green for recycling all the used paper towels into the bowls they put their delicious “burrito without the bun” or whatever they call it into. They are publicly traded and I should definitely buy their non-consumable stock, because the line to buy the stuff is horrendously long.

Anyway(s)

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Down 14.5% – this is Kung-Foolery’s, “karate-chop-stock-of-the-week”! Buy it now. It’s packed!

that Repurposed Here…

Stretching the boundary of Comfort.

It is a little known fact that 54% of all statistics are made up on the spot.  A more well established statistic is this:  The Average Distance Someone Travels From Work For Lunch (TADSTFWFL) = 1.189564450 sq. blocks.  For someone downtown this means eating the same sandwich over and over again from the same 5 or 6 places.  For someone who works in SOMA it means eating out of the same dumpsters time and again. 

Considering Ovahere.com is situated in the beautiful and historic Mission, I would surmise that I ate around 548 burritos from within a 1 block area of our office last year alone.  I love these burritos, and they love me, there’s no denying that.  They are undoubtedly delicious and fulfilling in the moment, with their guacamole, black beans, salsa verde, rice, carne asada/carnitas/pollo, crema y cilantro (and of course love), but each one is bordering on the surgeon generals recommended daily caloric intake and 4 times the recommended fat intake.  That coupled with the Popeye’s that is within 10 feet from the entrance to our building leads me to the conclusion that I should be morbidly obese any day now.  Popeye’s is actually nominally better for me, because at least the portion sizes are only recommended for 3 people.  Despite what G.W. says, the future is not big and bright; it’s almost bed-ridden. 

For the sake of simplification we will refer to the 1.189564450 sq. block area that the average American worker walks to get lunch as their “Area of Comfort” or AC for short (not to be confused with OJ’s number one homeboy).  That being said I go on a mission (pun intended) to walk outside my AC about once every 3 weeks, or about as often as I used to go to the gym when I was still tricking myself into paying them every month.  I tell you it is remarkable what you will find if you just walk a little beyond the border of your AC — quite remarkable.  I’ll give you an example:  I was making my bi-monthly conscientious effort to move beyond the AC and what did I stumble upon?  That’s right, you guessed it, Pizza!  Yes in between Mission and Valencia on 21st St. there is a great little hole in the wall with tasty slices.  If I had never bothered to look beyond my AC, it would have remained hidden. 

On another such venture I walked even farther down Mission and found a gem called Pete’s Barbeque.  This is a 50’s style diner that serves up roast beef sliced thick right in front of you on homemade bread and tender ribs slathered in tangy sauce.  The place looks like it hasn’t been remodeled since it was opened, but considering the block of Mission it’s on, it appears relatively clean.  I have one might call an “addictive personality”, especially when referring to fine cuts of bloody red meat.  Needless to say I got stuck in a little bit of a rut with Pete’s and it was incorporated into my AC, which definitely wasn’t the point of my exercise.  Only when I was affected by a bout of dysentery (unfortunately caused by the lack of hygiene at Pete’s) did I take a break.  Everyone in our office had been turned on to the beauty of the Pete’s roast beef sandwich, but we all suffered the same way after eating that beautiful sandwich. 

What is the point to this breakdown of conventions you may ask?  It’s that we all get too accustomed to things being a certain way, we get fat and happy, but it’s a façade.  To truly be happy you must go beyond your limits, find that pizza or tasty-yet-dysentery-causing sandwich, and you will have truly found satisfaction.  It’s out there people, just go that extra block.

Right on, and other horrific sayings…that I can’t stop myself from using!

I’ve made it my life’s work (well, passion project I guess you’d say) to silently mock people that use terms like “right on” in ernest.  Whenever the phrase is uttered I shudder with joy and silent superiority and a knowing grin that says “right on” right back to you, but really means, “saying ‘right on’ sucks.”  I’ve been thinking more recently with my advancing age that maybe, just maybe, I’m a bit off-base on this whole phrase-hatred.  Really, it’s a nice, well-intentioned thing to say and a throwback to the 1960’s when everyone just did drugs with flowers in their hair, and smushed each other in giants piles of smelly, hairy, unprotected ecstasy – and what’s wrong with harkening back to this simpler time with this simple saying?

If you were here in the 60’s or 70’s, you were well within your rights to use “right on” – if you’re here since 1990, you absolutely do not have that right.

Since the 1990’s, in my experience, the phrase is generally used to thank you for handing them a beer or any other menial party favor, or, even worse, it’s used to AGREE with something, unlike it’s original intent, which was just to say something different than, “far out.”

“I think Nixon was our greatest living President.”

“Right on man, but wasn’t he, like, a dick or something?”

“He’s dead.”

“Right on, I thought so.”

See, it’s ridiculous.  But since having a kid, I’ve softened a bit, and realized that maybe my opinions on the subject matter are off-base.  Maybe my contempt is simply masking my jealousy or insecurities about language and the freedom some have to use it as they please, frankly, because it’s a pretty far out saying.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve railed against things like “FREE HUGS” signs and I will never stop until all of those signs have been destroyed and the sign waivers are behind bars, and I still strongly believe I’m right on that one.  But… I just responded to a text with “right on” – and it was totally involuntary and I didn’t feel gross about it at all.  Maybe I’m getting soft, or maybe, just maybe, its not such a bad phrase after all.

Brilliant Invention #1 – Robot that delivers the perfect cliche, Clichebot (pronounced like Tebow)

As many of you know, I am a strong believer in cliches as a catchall for anything and everything.  Not only did I write about my overall love of cliches SEE I can write stuff! but I also wrote about my new favorite type and use case for cliches, the military jargon for corporate communications cliche!

I’m always thinking about things to help improve the human race through technology and innovation while keeping in mind that cliches are totally awesome and usually 110% right.  With that (you all signed and returned the NDA right?), I introduce Clichebot (pronounced like an elongated Tebow; phonetically:  KLEEEEEEE-Shay-BOW), the human-like bot that can read your emotional state and react with both the perfect and perfectly timed cliche.

Clichebot (pronounced like Tebow), will be as deferential as this guy is to that guy.

Go Clichebot! Go!

We are looking for a combo British man-servant and schaedendfreude-ian German staccato voice.  If you have that voice or know someone with that voice please let them know that there is an amazing opportunity that they will be unable to say no to.  They should look a bit like Mr. Belvedere, but be considerably more dry and droll and draconian, and they should be willing to pretend they are a robot.

Clichebot will not be your siri, he provides nothing of value beyond delivery of the ultimate cliche at the right time.  Timing is his M.O. and will be algorithymically based and will have computers and stuff in his stuff.

This is Clichebot at his deadpan-niest, he will come with various props such as ice bag attached here for particularly asinine questions you pose.

Here’s a bit of ad copy I’ve written for the prototype (currently in beta in a remote location in Sri Lanka as well as the US patent office).

Clichebot is currently accepting voice-over applications.  While we initially had our heart set on the voice of Kit from Nightrider, in all likelihood that guys voice sounds nothing like Kit anymore and will be prohibitively expensive (we’ve already spent all the R&D money on various his-and-his outfits for Clichebot and ourselves). This clichebot will be the Roomba of human-like cliche delivery.  If interested in sending us your demo tape than think about making an mp3 or some sort of digital recording, we don’t have a tape player.  If  you insist on the tape, please send along a vintage yellow walkman with really expensive Beatz by Dre to listen to your recording with.  

Don’t worry, Clichebot isn’t here to make you feel worse about yourself than you probably should already be feeling about yourself.  He can be nice.  Sometimes, you want your robot friend to comfort you with a cliche like, “tomorrow’s another day” or “you’ll get ’em next time” or “at least you don’t have cancer,” and he’s programmed to know when that cliche is most crucial to deliver (facial and body language recognition, and keywords like, “fuck” and “shit”).

Clichebot is preprogrammed to know when to throw out a nice platitude like, “at least you have your health”

He’ll be the best friend you ever had.  In good times, n’ bad times, he’ll be friends forever more.  Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call.

Clichebot is going to be the best friend you ever had.

Who couldn’t use a best friend in this economy?

Military Precision Put into Corporate Cliche’s

I love cliche’s.  As I’ve said countless times here on Kung-Foolery, they are super effective at hammering home any point you are trying to make and really ramming it down your throat….SEE!  They provide the proverbial proof that is in the pudding.

I work in a corporate culture that was previously a startup culture and the two are fighting a ground war of epic proportions.  Just like cliche’s, I love a good culture war as much as the next guy (perhaps not as much as Glenn Beck, but significantly more than Sarah Palin).

All this war talk has gotten me thinking about how we communicate and more importantly, how we ram our ideas down people’s throats.  What I’m finding, is that the most effective way to ram your idea down someone’s throat is to cloak that idea with the military jargon.  I am taking the military euphemism to an extreme and I am here to say… I love it and it’s really working!

Always remember to stay well cafeinated when “in the trenches” of corporate culture warfare.

Here are some jingoistic military cliches that are of the utmost importance in communicating your business strategy:

1) Build a beach head.  The only way to create the “network effect” is to build a beach head. Whether it occurs in Normandy or on the internet, you must build a concentration of something, somewhere, and penetrate it.

2) Follow the rules of engagement.  The process only works if there are clearly defined ROE and all relevant parties do not OVERSTEP THEIR BOUNDS (I’M TALKING TO YOU JACK!), let the chips fall where they may, yes, but follow the ROE or risk being a victim of collateral damage.

3) Establish an extraction point.  This is the point where all parties meet to confer and decide whether or not Johnny and his term sheet are worth saving, or perhaps we’re all better suited just not responding to that email.

This post is the jumping off point for this lesson as we have not yet hit the drop zone, so stay tuned for at least 87 million more examples that will help you succeed in communicating your strategies in an effective way through military cliches.

At ease.

 

 

Cost Benefit Analysis of Ruining my Child’s Childhood

Andie seems to do some really funny things when bathing, and I’m frequently trying (and missing) to capture a gem.  Well, this past weekend I caught what could be considered the holy grail of hilarious and exploitative material – a snippet that has the potential to go more viral than a cat falling curiously off the side of a couch while reaching for something.  As my iPhone began to roll, a humongous, water-displacing fart rumbled out of my 27 pound darling.  A fart that you’d think to be generally reserved for a 300 pound man, exploded out of the kiddo and she immediately started riffing on it.

“It’s poopy daddy!”

“Big Poopy!”

“Poop-tastic.”  (or some derivation)

Thankfully there was no poop.

Now, like you, I’ve spent probably 1,000’s of hours of watching dad’s get hit in the nuts by ill-set-up tee ball equipment on America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV to those of us in the know), and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of that time spent – fart jokes are 3rd only to crazy animal behavior or the aforementioned nut-shot-to-dad-while-playing-tee-ball (NSTDWPTB for short) in terms of both laughability and likelihood of prize money.

You know how all communication nowadays is structured around a pun - well - this was the pioneer. "Thar she blows" might have been a nice one if this video were to get on TV in 1989.

I watched some AFV this weekend to verify my suspicion that this video could actually be a gold mine and my suspicions of grandeur were confirmed.  This has the potential to make Andie’s daddy a very rich man for a couple of months.  If you win one show it’s like $10,000 and if you win the whole season it’s $1,000,000 (although this is the same as it was in 1989 – so how about a little consideration to inflation!).  Like you, I immediately thought of all the fly cars and clothes that that mil will buy me and I even put a down payment (or was it a retainer?) on a helicopter time-share I’ve had my eye on.

It’s going to be amazing how rich I’ll be!

Then the funniest thing happened, I started to think about how getting massive attention for a video of yourself in a bathtub farting might affect Andie as she grows up.  Would that negatively affect her?  Or… could it possibly give her that springboard to the even more lucrative Disney/Nick Kids/Spike TV world that we’ve both always dreamed of?

A small part of me thinks there could be some fallout as she grows up, but then, we’ll be so rich that I can simply pay to have it removed from the internet later right?  Or at the very least I’ll be able to afford some very fancy therapy for myself to help me cope with those negative feelings associated with ruining your child’s life.

Check out this video of a cat falling off the side of a couch and tell me it’s not hilarious?  TELL ME!  That’s what I thought.  So… I should go for it right?

Please help me make my decision by filling out this one question poll.

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