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Archives: May 2010

A one-act play about smoking outdoors

A man stands at a bus stop smoking a cigarette. A woman approaches and frowns.

Lady: Excuse me, sir. You can’t smoke here.

Dude: Why?

Lady: Because it’s illegal and harmful to others.

Dude: How so?

Lady: Because you’re smoking!

Dude: But we’re outside.

Lady: It’s still harmful.

Dude: No, it’s not. The great thing about outside is that it’s outside.

I smell carnies in the summer breeze

It was a gorgeous summer day in 2004. The breeze lightly ruffled the feathers of the thrushes and warblers perched in the trees, the sun’s warm rays covered the road like a blanket, and a mentally retarded man chased me down the block, shouting, “Picture in the newspaper! Picture in the newspaper!”

I was a reporter working for a weekly newspaper in La Crescent, Minnesota, and the mentally retarded man was an employee at a nearby traveling carnival. I was writing an article about the carnies, finding out where they came from and what had led them to this unusual line of work. What had they been through? What stories did they have to tell from all these years on the road?

Sure, everybody knows carnies are all fugitives wanted for rape in 12 states, but it’s much more charming if you dance around that fact for a few hundred words before blowing your journalistic wad, so to speak.

The Miss USA pageant: Dumpster of love

Sunday was a very special day. There I sat, in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, eating an entire bucket of fried chicken by myself. Most of you probably think I spend every day this way, but you’re mistaken. I’m a man of discipline. True hedonists know moderation is the key to keeping decadent acts enjoyable. So when you see me half-nude, drinking scotch out of an empty fried chicken bucket, it can only mean the Miss USA pageant is on TV.

And if you see me doing that completely nude, that means the Miss Teen USA pageant is on TV.

To those of you disappointed in me for watching the sexist prison that is the Miss USA pageant, let me offer three rebuttals: 1) Have you read this column before? I’m a horrible person. 2) It could be worse. For instance, on the third Wednesday of each month I watch Mary Kate and Ashley VHS tapes while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. 3) When you said “sexist prison”, I only thought about how much hotter the Miss USA pageant would be if all of them were dressed in prison outfits and forced to battle each other with shivs.

Cable TV is for dunces

I haven’t had cable or satellite TV in eight years. I’m not saying that to brag, like some obnoxious commune hippie who travels to town every month to gloat about how much more boring they’ve made their already lengthy existence on this planet. I’m just saying it as a fact. I haven’t had cable or satellite TV in eight years.

The weird thing is, I love TV. I love cheesy pop culture, mindless escapism, and Dr. Oz shows where people have goiters in their eyes. I love garbage. Give me the most worthless, selfish, degrading piece of entertainment you can find, and I’ll lap it up like George Rekers’ rentboy. I’ll barely even move from my spot on the couch. You’ll have to periodically check on me to make sure I’m blinking enough.

Yet, with five channels of such poop already available for free, I just don’t see the point in paying for more poop. One might suggest that multiplying the poop will allow you to discover more gems, but is finding more poop gems really necessary? I mean, cable poop is excellent poop – there are a lot of shows on cable I like – but is any poop worth paying $60-$100 every month? Call me old fashioned, but poop should be free.

To put it into terms my readership may understand better, paying for cable or satellite TV is like paying for internet porn. Sure, maybe the paid stuff has better selection and more kink, but topless photos of Ayn Rand on Google Images do the job just fine and don’t cost a penny.

Q&A with the UMD chancellor finalists

The University of Minnesota-Duluth is set to name a new chancellor, and three extremely prestigious candidates remain as finalists. Lendley Black, provost at Kennesaw State University, and Belinda McCarthy, provost at Missouri State University, refused to be interviewed by a newspaper as poorly written as this one, but Paul Ryan, who is not a provost anywhere and has actually been unemployed for a year and a half, was more than happy to stoop to our level for a chat.

Ryan began his academic career in journalism, which in hindsight was kind of like majoring in Latin or VCR repair. With the newspaper industry dying and exotic male dancing having way more male customers than he initially anticipated, Paul needed a new plan. His epiphany came, as such things usually do, through late night Cinemax. Seeing the film “Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo”, he quickly realized that anyone could write movies, so he moved to Los Angeles. Paul currently sleeps on piles of soiled towels and eats discarded food from dumpsters.

Do you have a vision for UMD?

I haven’t really put a lot of thought into it. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 just came out with new map packs, and Red Dead Redemption is out in a few weeks, followed by ModNation Racers a week later. By the time I finish all those video games, the summer will be over and Fallout: New Vegas will be released, and that game takes forever to finish. If hired, it may very well be a full year before I do any chancellor-related work at all.