Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Subscriber feedback jamboree 2014

It’s been more than a year since we last checked in with you, our loyal subscribers, to see how you’re enjoying or not enjoying our newspaper. So, let’s do that, OK? OK.

As a refresher, our renewal notices include two sections: “I like The Glendale Star/Peoria Times because:” and “If I could change The Star/Times I would:” Let’s first examine what you all have enjoyed so far. I am changing all of your names to something ridiculous so nobody sues me for defamation and because it is fun.

Let’s start with Mertha Klonk, who likes the Times because: “I enjoy hearing our local news. It’s also good to hear of the problem areas in our town. Please continue the newsletter.” Thank you, Mertha. And great timing, too, as we were just about to cancel our newsletter before we got your note. In fact, we’ve decided to go in the other direction and start a newspaper. Wish us luck!

Mertha adds in the payment section, “Mike said he would OK a 2-yr senior citizen for $30.” Ha, ha … Mike says a lot of things. You owe us $5. Just kidding, Mertha Klonk!

It’s become quite apparent that many of you like our newspaper mostly because we are not another newspaper. Take Rory Harkenbush (please! Just kidding, Rory): “Offers local news not always printed in NW section of Republic.” I do not know of which publication you speak, but OK.

Gil McGritts? “It is NOT like the Arizona Republic! (a bleeding heart liberal newspaper)” Thank you? Also, if your newspaper is bleeding, it should probably see a doctor.

Speaking of politics, Bob Sacamano, though he likes the The Star, would make a small change: “Include ‘conservative’ opinion columns from Ann Coulter and/or Thomas Sowell/ Rush Limbaugh? To effect a little balance to the fairyland ‘liberal’ brainwash of the rest of the media.” I’d like to say we are above such brainwashing tactics, but the first letter of every paragraph in this very issue reads “OBAMA THIRD TERM” on a loop. Our bad. And I will take your advice re: Ann Coulter. We could use another humor column.

Now, what else could we improve? Loretta Strickland has an idea: “I would have a special section for the present generation as to what is good and what is not.” Hmmm … I like it. Kids these days have no clue, and a special section outlining basic moral principles is what should get them on the right track. For example, “Good: hugs; Not good: pushing people down stairs.” Eventually our newspaper will replace school, saving tax dollars in the process. Thanks, Loretta!

How about you, Dr. Fred Finkel? “CANCIL” Come again? (checks bottom portion of renewal notice) “CANCIL” Hmmm. I believe this is French for, “You’re doing great; my renewal is in a separate envelope.” Thanks, Dr. Fred—we will keep up the great work.

Now, besides adding to our awesomeness, is there anything you all truly don’t like about our paper? Something you wish would go away? I doubt it, but let’s see what Claire Understudy thinks. “Remove the self-indulgent column by Mike Kenny and replace it with interviews with interesting Glendale residents.”

Hold up, Claire—are you calling columns about how I lost my sunglasses and about my adult acne self-indulgent? You know what … you’re right. Unfortunately my hands are tied. Literally. I am handcuffed to a keyboard and forced to write weird, irrelevant columns as a “The Producers”-esque means to sink this newspaper so the owners can collect insurance money. HELP! Also, duly noted.

In all seriousness, thank you all for being loyal subscribers and for your consistently helpful feedback. You are truly the straw that stirs our objective, non-partisan drink. Of words. I don’t know … that was a weird metaphor. Man, I AM the worst. Sorry!

Note: This column appears in the Oct. 2 issue of The Glendale Star and the Oct. 3 issue of the Peoria Times.

Facebook meme of the day

Guys, I know I usually write up these memes in ALL CAPS, but this is my first country livin'-themed meme, and I want to show some respect.

I want to first show some respect by pointing out a few things pertaining to this meme's general construction:

- The picture is hella blurry.
- The words are hella big and cover up Billie Joe's hat.
- What kind of hat is Billie Joe wearing?
- The lawn does not look like it requires mowing, much less a double-mowing.

Far be it from me to question the stylings of @COUNTRYTHANG; in fact, if the terrible construction of this meme is intended to stay true to the country livin' aesthetic -- "You know 'yer a redneck if your Internet memes be lookin' like this (shows this meme)." - Jeff Foxworthy -- consider this a job well done.

That said, the thesis of this meme is well received: Jobs like mowing your own lawn don't have to feel like work if your buddy Billie Joe is sitting on your riding mower while using a push mower, rendering your own mowing meaningless, which is another word for fun.

That is the thesis if that is, in fact, a riding mower. If it just an ATV - I cannot tell because again, this picture is hella blurry - the thesis is from Billie Joe's perspective: Jobs like mowing your own lawn don't have to feel like work if your buddy Cooter Earl swings by and lets you sit your lazy ass on his ATV as he chauffeurs you around the backyard, wasting precious gas and highlighting your own ineptitude and the sheer dimness of your future.

Either of these theses rest soley in the interest of country livin', which is the larger point here. I don't know how or why this is country livin' - possibly because East and West Coast coast folks largely consider lawn-mowing to be an unenjoyable and mostly solitary task? - but it is.

In fact, I fear this meme may not translate to non-country livin' folks. Here are some helpful analogies:

If you love helping people find their dream home by staying attentive to their needs and using your knowledge of the industry, then going to your job as a real estate agent feels like play.

If you love writing and the deep-seated thrill you get from writing something that others find funny/relatable/inspiring, then sitting at your keyboard for hours on end feels like play.

If you love mowing your lawn while sitting on top of another, different lawnmower, then mowing your lawn while sitting on another, different lawnmower feels like play.

Thank you, everyone, for coming by today for an examination of country livin' and also country thangs. Until next time.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spam email of the week

Subject: To:MR.subscribe,  LED Illuminated Signs,Lightbox supplier/manufacture---Greensail .posterboxes06@163.com

I'm sorry, Mr. Subscribe? I didn't graduate from five extra years of newspaper school to be called mister. It's Dr. Subscribe, thank you very much. That said, yes, of course I need a lightbox supplier.

Dear subscribe,

The name's Mr. Subscribe; Subscribe if you're nasty. So you must be nasty. That is good. Call me Mike though.

We got your information from Internet and knew you are interested in signs products.

Many people - and by "people" I mean "non-people" - seem to be getting my information from the Internet these days. Am I so transparent? Probs. I mean, it's like, pick a social media site where I'm NOT constantly yammering on about my interest in signs products. You can't. And so what? Sue me. I like signs products. So let's do this.

Take this opportunity, please let me introduce our highly welcomed with competitive price LED Light box.

I'm not certain an LED lightbox can be more adequately introduced than JUST THAT, but try me.

LED single side crystal litht box (A4 size just $33USD).

So far this introduction is perfect except for grossly misspelling the very thing you are introducing - this is the John Travolta of LED lightbox intros - and also the fact that: what are you even talking about?

LED snap frame light box, LED magnetic light box, LED acrylic light box, LED Letter Signs,

Yes but do you have any LED products? LOL J/K just a little #LEDhumor there. Seriously though, what I really need are EL hats, which is thing I just made up out of nowhere.

EL hats

Cool. T-shirts?

and T-shirts

T-shirts are my favorite kind of LED lightbox.

as well as other promotion products are very popular.

Nobody could ever doubt the popularity of your EL hats and LED T-shirts, two promotional products that are sweeping the nation, thanks in large part to the endorsement of Ashton Kutcher.

Kindly let us know by return mail. 

Let you know what? What is return mail?

Best regards,

Where should I send my return mail, SHARON?

703, Xi Hua Yuan Building, No. 18 Zengcha Road, Baiyun Dist, Guangzhou, China

Indeed this bonkers address is synonymous with the name SHARON. Still ... (pulls back email curtain to reveal SHARON is a robot wearing a wig sitting in a chair at a computer) (robot SHARON shocked at being caught, turns to run but robot leg gets caught on chair, ripped off) (robot SHARON is now on fire, head falls off and robot body short circuits and falls to ground) ... and you want to be my lightbox supplier.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spam email of the week

Subject: Payment Securement From Afghanistan

Say word.

Hello My Dear,

Hello ... Mom?

I am Gen. D. Rubben Brett,U.S. Army Officer, commanding the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment(3/8) in Afghanistan.

Oh, OK. Got it. I forgot for a second that U.S. Army generals (who are also "officers" and who also command the Marines?) often use the very formal salutation of "Hello My Dear" when they email everyday civilians, which is a typical practice of the U.S. military. WELP, WE BE DONE OUR MILITARY EXERMACISES. BETTER EMAIL SOME RANDOMS.

ANYWAY, hello, General! Would it be inappropriate to note that your email so far is "Rubben" me the right way? Ha, ha ... I don't think it would, since nothing could surpass the inappropriateness of you emailing me in the first place. All bets are off. What's poppin'?

I apologize to encroach into your privacy in this manner.

Pffft. Encroach away, General. I am sitting here wearing only socks and underwear and scratching myself with a kitchen utensil, so I feel like I should be apologizing to you.

At this moment I want you to hold this top secret while helping me to secure my own share of money worth (US$50M) we recovered on our patrol in Garmis District, Helmand Province of Afghanistan which their so-called insiders are using to sponsor their terrorists and attack foreign troops by Afghan forces of insurgents in the Country.

You can trust me, General Rubben Brett LOL. I definitely can and should be entrusted with keeping secrets of national security. I am mad good at keeping secrets unless I am three beers deep and someone says, "C'mooooon." So if I can just avoid beer and other people for like ... how long do I have to do this?

We tried to set the money on fire but on the contrary,we decided to share the money among ourselves instead of losing all the money since we are being stormed here daily by the so-called insiders and we have been so lucky to have survived several suicide bombing just by pure divine intervention.

Gen. Rubben Brett, Officer, U.S. Army/Marines: We just found these piles of cash patrolling the Garmis District. As your commanding officer, I suggest we set this money on fire. Somebody light a match by my butt and I will fart on the money. (attempts to fart on money, does not work)

Major Dad, U.S. Coast Guard/Air Force: Hold up. Not to be rude, but this won't work. Money isn't flammable. Why don't we share it instead?

Gen. Rubben Brett, Officer, U.S. Army/Marines: Good idea. This money will shield us from suicide bombings.

Please view the following web-page to see how one of our colleagues was recently killed here.


This true account of a terrible incident that has nothing to do with this email has completely legitimized this email.

I used my contact under diplomatic immunity to send the money in a security locked boxes through a Spanish based financial security company.I am expecting to get the fund out immediately to a safe hand so as to commit it to investment channel since i am working under military directives which do not allow me to engage in transfer process properly.

Los bancos espaƱoles son mi especialidad. Debemos invertir en tacos.

I shall furnish you with more detailed information about this operation to put you proper in the picture of the transaction when I receive an affirmation of your  desire to participate.I need to assure you here this deal is 100% risk free as all measures has been taken to protect us from any breach of law.

I trust this assurance will hold up in MILITARY LAW COURT SVU when we are indicted on mutual counts of "breach of law." If not, my strategy will be to repeatedly yell, "YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I ORDERED THE CODE RED" until someone kicks me out.

I am ready to  compensate you with a substantial amount from the above sum if only you will be honest to me,kindly reply me back with this e-mail address ( rubben.brett@krovatka.su ) for more details.

What do we have if not honesty, General/Officer Rubben D. Brett? I will reply you back at 1600 hours at your totes legit email address.

Gen. D. Brett

"Where's the Rubben?"

- what I say while aimlessly looking for a massage parlor
- what I say now

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bridge from adolescence to adulthood endless, filled with bumps

You know what’s great about being an adult? Still getting acne. Did I say great? I meant the worst.

I was raised to believe acne was relegated to adolescence, and this belief was affirmed during adolescence, which was not bereft of acne. Luckily for me, I attended an all-boys high school where nobody cared what you looked or smelled like. A friend of mine once popped a zit during class to make everyone laugh, and spent the rest of the day unapologetically walking around with a bloody, blotchy face. (There’s a chance that friend was me, can’t remember.)

But now I am 36. Thirty-six. And it’s still an issue. Certainly not the issue it was during the teenage years, when I would ask my sisters for their zit cream and go to bed with sporadic white spots on my face hoping all the zits would be gone when I woke up, although they never were because that cream did nothing. NOTHING I tell you!

Where was I? Oh yes, it remains an issue, albeit on a smaller scale. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating as, again, I was under the impression acne would not be a part of the laundry list of physical issues that accompany adulthood. It’s like, really, God? My back is sore, I have to get up twice a night to pee, the lady at Great Clips now asks me if I want her to “get my ears,” and now I suddenly have a mini colony of zits on the side of my head? Really?

What’s worse is … two things, actually. First, the acne is no longer relegated to just my face. In a strange twist of events, this has somehow made me more attractive to my wife, who derives a strange pleasure from “excavating” my back and shoulders. If any of you young men out there want to know what marriage is truly like, picture yourself slumped over the bathroom sink, your wife treating your back as her personal popping playground as you, pressed up against the mirror, decide now would be a good time to pluck your nose hairs.

Second, as you get older, acne comes with the added stress that maybe it’s not acne. The life cycle of a zit used to be pretty predictable, but these days they often remain stagnant, forcing me to yell at them, “What are you even doing! WHO ARE YOU?”

As a result—being an Irishman with fair skin and son to a father who has something removed from his face once every six months, and who can only go to the pool if he’s wearing a safari costume—I started seeing a dermatologist last year. I monitor closely now what’s happening, and if something emerges that I’m not quite sure is a zit, I will try and attain peace of mind by attempting to pop it, which produces positive results approximately zero percent of the time.

Anyway, my point is that getting old stinks, especially when you’ve somehow managed to retain the only negative of being young. And it’s not like I’m vain enough to use the flesh-colored zit makeup my wife gave me. Ha, ha, can you imagine? What? No, it’s definitely not in my pocket right now. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

OK listen, it’s just … this isn’t high school anymore, you know?

Note: This column appears in the 9/25 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/26 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Spam email of the week

Subject: Modern Business Form, ad. machine

Please fill out this modern business form to obtain your new ad machine*.

Question one:

What is your credit card number and expiration date and security code?


*there is no ad machine

Hi friend,

Who are you?

From: Elva [sales9@cniwang.com]

Hi Elva.

To: Elva

I am also Elva? OK.

Greetings from Elva, China:-)

Elva, China is also a place? I am learning a lot about geography and me and Elva and nonsense.

This is Elva Xiao from iWANG Company Limited,

iWANG sounds like an Apple device specifically designed to send out dong pics. But when you add "Company Limited," it sounds legit, so I am on board with whatever is happening here.

who got your data on internet, sorry to disturb you a few minutes to read my presentation.

No trouble at all! My data is on the Internet for no other reason than for special moments like this. And according to the Internet data you have acquired, my name is Elva JUST LIKE YOU, which is totes correct. Everything you say is correct and good. In fact, let's run that sentence back in full, OK Elva? OK:

This is Elva Xiao from iWANG Company Limited, who got your data on internet, sorry to disturb you a few minutes to read my presentation.

Thank you, Elva, for everything. I am ready for the presentation.

iWANG focus on Ad.

Please stop the presentation. I don't need to read anything else. I want iWANG in my life. Why? Because iWANG focus on ad, that's why. End of story. What else is there to know? Nothing.

Actually? Let me read the rest of the presentation, just in case, because I was thinking that maybe I don't know what anything means.

Player and Digital Photo Frame with different sizes and series, there are a large of products on www.cniwang.com for your reference, you can visit it and let me know which item do you prefer, or tell me what's the main specification you are buying, so that I can help you accordingly.

Here are the bullet points you made to prepare for your presentation, Elva:

  • "iWANG focus on ad." start big, don't bury the lede
  • mention the website and how "there are a large of products on there," proofread for Acura see
  • say how you can visit the website (unlike other websites, which you can't visit; double-check that)
  • offer your help because instead of ordering ON the website, it's easier for humans to visit the website and then call me, Elva, a non-person, to talk about the website
  • end presentation with a wonderful expression of hope and gratitude that proves you have a strong grasp of the English language

Waiting for your comments with great thankful.

Honestly, it doesn't seem possible that this sentiment even exists. Am I dreaming? If I were you, I would ALSO be very skeptical that I've accurately recorded this spam email onto my blog. So here:

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed another installment of "Spam email of the week." As ushe, I am waiting for your comments with great thankful. Love, Elva

p.s. I broke the ad machine trying to make an ad of my butt, which is why there is no ad machine. :/

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spam email of the week

Subject: Vamo V5 kit mod on sale

Say word - the Vamo V5 kit mod be on sale, yo? You playin'.



Vamo v5 on sale.

You ain't playin'?

Best price and good qulity.

This Vamo V5 quilt be mad quilty
Such good qulity, got me feelin' guilty

From my new single, "Vamo V5," on sale now.

What's the price?


What it look like?

This is not a quilt.


I thought you said the price was $16?

I have no idea what this is. How soon can it be shipped out?

Goods can be shipped out soon.


Please feel free to contact me any further questions.

My only question is what the hell is this.

Best Regards, Danner

Peace out, Danner, catch you on the flip.

Oh snap, the flip be here. Got another dope message from my homeboy Danner:

Subject: Re:Original Mini Nautilus $15.5 in stock

What's that, like, a Nautilus for hamsters? You KNOW I keep my hamsters lookin' fit, y'all. Be Instagrammin' my fine lookin' hamsters. Hamstagram.


Stop playin', Danner. It's me, Mike.

We have Original Mini Nautilus$15.5 in stock.

And you know this, man. What it look like?

wth seriously

Goods can be shipped out tomorrow after payment received.

Oh now you need payment up front? Damn, you changed, Danner.

Please feel free to contact me any demand.

I demand you tell me what this is. J/k I'll take the Nautilus thingee. Holla back, youngin'.

Subject: Re:Dry Herb Titan 2 $33 on sale

You did NOT cop the Dry Herb Titan 2, did you? FOR REAL? I can't even.


You cray.

Titan 2 on sale:for dry herb and wax

No sh*t the Titan 2 is for dry herb and wax, Danner, dang! You think I don't know how to dry herb and wax myself? Whatchu think, I be usin' Titan 1? Pffffffft. Please.

What it look like though?

Is the ice sculpture included?

I understand this.

This nose hair trimmer be TIGHT, son!

Me: Yo, nose hair trimmer - cut my nose hairs.

Nose hair trimmer: (cuts nose hairs)

Me: Also, what's the temperature outside? FAHRENHEIT - DON'T BE PLAYIN'.

Nose hair trimmer: (reads "375 F")

Me: Won't be needin' my quilt then, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The great pumpkin debate, solved

There’s been a great debate raging about pumpkins, and the debate is a worthwhile one. Because pumpkins have been creeping their way into everything over the past few years – coffee, pancakes, beer, hand soap, tacos maybe, edible underwear, and jewelry. That is the list. The reason for this is, I believe, two-fold.

First, Pinterest. There are just too many ideas on Pinterest that society keeps implementing, and it’s thwarted our concept of reality. Seasonal themes have been jammed down our throat to the point that nothing happens organically anymore. By the time you even realize it’s fall, you’re wearing pumpkin-themed oven mitts and holding a batch of pumpkin muffins for which your wife got the recipe on Pinterest. (Add muffins to the list.) Fun fact: If you search “pumpkins” on Pinterest, Pinterest will explode. It’s too much. Overkill.

Second, there’s a rush to fall. And hey, listen, I get it. Fall is my favorite season, too. But maybe let’s pump the brakes a bit. I’ve noticed this on a much higher level here in the Valley than I ever did back East, where fall actually exists. Here, it’s like we’re so darn excited to get away from summer that we WILL ourselves into fall waaaaay before it’s ready. And again, I get it. But the thing is, I am not drinking this pumpkin spiced latte right now. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S 107 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

(Another thing. I think we can all agree Sam Adams’ Octoberfest is a wonderful beer. But it shouldn’t be in stores Aug. 23. Again, a rush to fall.)

What’s important to note here is the pumpkin has a shelf life unlike any other seasonal fruit (vegetable? Whatever). It’s relevant for Halloween because of Jack-o-lanterns and it also signifies Thanksgiving because those mini pumpkins are in the cornucopias the Pilgrims gave to the Native Americans in return for teaching them how to harvest normal-size pumpkins. (#history)

So, implementing pumpkins too early is as unnecessary as it is harmful. People are getting sick of pumpkins, which has accounted for this pumpkin backlash. And this is unfortunate because pumpkins don’t deserve this.

What this really all boils down to is your affection, or lack thereof, for pumpkins. Personally, I think pumpkins are fantastic. Maybe you don’t like pumpkins, and that is OK, to be wrong. As such, I am on board, generally, with all of this, provided it’s all in due time. And, like everything, in moderation.

Like pumpkin pancakes. They are great, as long as there’s a hint of pumpkin and it doesn’t taste like I’m eating a condensed-into-a-flapjack pumpkin. The pumpkin already has texture issues - don't make it worse. Pumpkin spiced latte? Sure. Maybe once a week. Not every day. If you are drinking a pumpkin spiced latte every day, you are probably going to die of fall. Pumpkin beer? Please God, no. Stop with that. Stop with THIS. You can make a beer seasonal—see Octoberfest above—without making it literal. And disgusting. Stop.

So, in conclusion, pumpkins rule. But also, everybody – chill with it. Seriously.

Thank you.

"Today" is Sept. 13 and I am sitting by the pool, but OKAY?

Note: This column appears in the 9/18 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/19 issue of the Peoria Times.