Skip to content

The future is lame. Water balloons are not

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


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This economy is like a monkey locked in a microwave. No one can get the microwave open or switch it off, and rather than allowing us to turn our heads, the major news outlets babble on endlessly about it, almost forcing us to watch as the facial features of the monkey melt into goo.

Well I say enough is enough, reader! The goddamn monkey is dead, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Are you a surgeon? Are you able to mold a melted monkey mug back into its former shape? Of course not. We’re just regular folk. We work in offices and warehouses, not monkey hospitals. There is no shame in closing our eyes and thinking about sexy things instead.

With that in mind, this Pulitzer Prize winning columnist* is not going to follow the sniveling crybaby trend put forth by our media. Sure, that damn monkey is on my mind as much as the rest of you, but complaining won’t help, and neither will forcing ourselves to think about it. In fact, that might make things even worse. We need to get that monkey out of our heads for at least a few moments each day. With that in mind, the remainder of today’s column will consist only of tips for how to win a water balloon fight.

*Not true.

Valentine’s Day FAQ

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

What’s the true meaning of Valentine’s Day?
The holiday is named after a priest who was rejected by his mistress, and pledged his love by cutting out his heart with a knife and sending it to her in a box. So Valentine’s Day is kind of like the movie “Se7en”, except Saint Valentine never won an Oscar for best editing.

How is it possible that he tore out his own heart and still had the ability to wrap and mail a package afterward?
Shut up! It’s religious! Believe it!

Does Paul have a lover?
No, he does not. Women tend not to be attracted to 29-year-old office temps who treat state unemployment workers like naive relatives.

Does Paul have someone he doesn’t care for but whom will still have sex with him on Valentine’s Day?
Not anyone who’s worth a $40 plate of ravioli at a local restaurant.

Is this still an appropriate event to buy Paul a gift?
Yes. Whenever this question is posed – whether it’s during a pretend holiday or at a funeral for one of Paul’s closest friends – the answer is always “yes”. There is no wrong time to buy Paul a present.

You can’t stop an idiot from betting $100

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

As the kickoff for Sunday’s Super Bowl drew closer, I paced my apartment. It was time for a big decision, and I was nervous. Unemployment had taken its toll on my finances, and I was getting itchy for some spending money. The big game was a chance to win just that, and I had a good feeling about it. But should a man with no money, no job, and barely enough cash left to buy groceries really be betting?

I tried to justify it by thinking up ways to get back the money if I lost. I made bizarre claims to myself about the ease with which I could become a 29-year-old newspaper delivery boy, or how I could sell bags of oranges at freeway entrances better than Mexican immigrants could. Never mind that everyone reads newspapers online now and good oranges aren’t in season for another month. I was sure my landlord would let my February rent slide until mid-March when the “summer oranges” came into season.

There were other ways to save money, I told myself. For instance, did I really need an internet connection? It’s the modern age. I could send my resume to potential employers via text message, or start every morning with a seven-hour drive around town in search of an unguarded wifi connection to steal.

If your apartment is near a bar, I will stalk you

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

My friend Mike, who doesn’t drink much, recently moved into an apartment next to a really awesome bar. I’m not sure if he knows why all his friends suddenly want to come over every night, but we’re hovering around his new home like fruit flies. When he moved in, he had no fewer than six of us trying to shove his oversized refrigerator up two flights of stairs for him. I’d love to say it was for friendship, but it was really an excuse to go drinking afterward.

While we value him as a friend – and he is an excellent friend – what we value more is a place to crash when alcohol makes us vomit. If he had asked us to move a 200-pound fridge to the suburbs, we would have told him to go screw himself. But move it next to a bar that has a dozen authentic German beers on tap? The only gathering this year that had more attendees was Obama’s inauguration.

It doesn’t help that Mike’s apartment is awesome. It has a gigantic balcony, from which all of us can get loaded and throw empty cans and other smelly garbage at people on the street. Add to that a couch that folds out into a bed and the presence of an Xbox 360, and you have planted sweet, sweet nectar that will attract drunks from hundreds of miles away.

The News-Tribune looks like crap. Crap, I tell you!

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

My God, what have you people done? I just saw the Duluth News-Tribune for the first time in a year, and the front page looks like a preschool art project. I know times are tough, but did the publisher really have to let his six-year-old son design the layout of the front page?

What’s with all the colored boxes, Andy Warhol? Did you just realize QuarkXPress has a color palette? That feature has always been available. The reason your predecessors didn’t use it is because they weren’t retarded. If you want an array of colors to attract readers, try using some photos that don’t involve someone sitting in a chair or standing behind a podium. You live in Duluth. Send your photographers outside, you jackasses.

To be honest, News-Tribune page editors, you’re pooping out ugly ducklings at an alarming rate, and rather than critiquing your mess, my instinct is to drink myself to sleep and ignore your newspaper. But for the sake of the readers you’re treating like guinea pigs, I’ll try to help. Please remember that if I’m rude, it’s only because you completely and unquestionably deserve it.