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Archives: Jan 2008

Cats don’t belong in the washing machine

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

My apartment building’s washing machine smells like cats. Don’t ask me why. I’m not God. I can’t even explain to my parents why I’m 28 and not fully employed, so don’t expect me to solve complex mysteries about cats and laundering devices. All I know is I put my clothes in the washer, add detergent, and my shirts come out smelling like freaking cats.

I can only assume that someone in the building has a cat, and chooses to wash that cat in the machines. The dryers do not smell like cats, probably because cats are self-drying. It would be silly to waste 75 cents drying a cat.

But why would someone wash a cat in a machine? That’s what buckets are for. You fill the bucket with warm, soapy water and force the cat into it. Then you scrub the cat with an adorable, brightly-colored sponge while it hisses and tries to claw your eyes out. There’s no need to bring technology into this reputable cat washing method. The “delicates” setting on a washer is meant for fancy underpants, not household pets.

There’s a sign in the laundry room reminding residents not to use the washers for cleansing rubber items, making tie-dye t-shirts, or cleaning pieces of wooden furniture. I have added the words “WASHING CATS” to this sign in large letters. I can’t imagine fitting or even wanting to fit a coffee table in the washer, but if people have to be warned against that sort of thing, there’s probably some asshole washing cats in there as well.

I’m the greatest person to ever graduate from UWS

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

Do you see the great cloud of shame forming over Superior, WI? No, not the cloud of failure. That’s always been there. No, not the blanket of alcoholism. That’s been keeping the city warm for over a hundred years. It’s a new shame, deep as the debt of its residents, smothering the city alive.

While Superior has always been shameful, its residents have never had any shame whatsoever. But that is slowly changing. This fog has begun forming over my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, as plans are made to build a new student center.

What’s shameful about building a beautiful new student center? Nothing, except the bastards aren’t planning to name it after me.

It’s long been known that I am Superior’s most famous former resident. The city’s historians often give Paul Ryan tours, showing areas where I vandalized and befouled the town. “Here’s the Hardee’s restaurant where Mr. Ryan stepped on the toilet seat and broke it, and then wrote ‘Balls to everyone’ on the wall. Here’s the Spur station where Mr. Ryan ate two bags of mashed potato balls only to vomit them upon the side of the building. Here’s the Globe, where Mr. Ryan purchased an old Playboy magazine for 50 cents and randomly placed it in the mailbox of a city resident.”

Official 2008 writers strike FAQ! Totally truthful, not at all made up!

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

Why do writers and studios hate each other so much?
In the mid-1950s, the studios promised writers that if they gave up stable jobs at newspapers and ad agencies for unstable jobs writing TV and movies, beautiful women would be more attracted to them. At first, the studios seemed to hold up their end of the bargain. Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller and there was great rejoicing. However, Monroe divorced Miller in 1961, sparking great outrage amongst the writers.

The feud was made eternal in 1962, when a group of writers from The Beverly Hillbillies – a popular show at the time – murdered Monroe in her Brentwood home. The studios were so angered by this retaliation that they cut residuals of home video sales from 2.5% to 0.3%. DVDs and VHS tapes had not actually been invented yet, but the writers were still pissed. Today, writers only receive residuals for Laserdisc sales.

What are residuals?
Laserdiscs are giant gold records with movies on them. Hilarious, right? Well you wouldn’t believe what people were paying for . . .

No, no! What are residuals?
Oh. Residuals are compensation given to writers for their past work. The amount awarded each year is decided by an annual studios vs. writers soapbox derby race. Aaron Sorkin always cheats, but never wins.

Mitt Romney hates me and my diabetes

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

“I hate you fucking diabetics!” screamed Mitt Romney in a message on my answering machine. “I will not rest until I cleanse this nation of you and all your filthy diabetic friends!” There was an audible bang as Romney slammed the phone down on its receiver.

He didn’t leave a return number. His call was not meant as a discussion, but a statement: Mitt Romney wants me and my lazy pancreas to die. He wants all diabetics dead. Our troublesome correspondence began during the New Hampshire debates, when Romney said poor people are to blame for high drug costs, not pharmaceutical companies. I sent him a polite e-mail that night, explaining the ridiculously high cost of my diabetes supplies.

He replied almost instantly: “Don’t e-mail me! You have a disease! Ew!” I sent a reply back, carefully explaining that diabetes is not transferable through computers, only through sexual contact and French kissing. I also explained that I don’t actually have any diabetic friends. We don’t normally hang out in packs. He replied later that night with an almost unintelligible message, obviously written while high on caffeine: “I SEES YOUSE DIABETUSES, HANGINGS OUT IN ABANDON BUILDING SHARING INSULIN!!! STINKS LIKE SUCROSE!!!!”