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I like to pretend the candidates are delicious

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

 
Does anyone else think “Obama” sounds like a delicious name for a candy bar? “Obamabar! Seven times the nougat!” It sounds youthful and exciting. I imagine an Obamabar being like a giant 3 Musketeers bar bursting at the seams with fluffy chocolate nougat.

Wait. Is that racist? Was I just being racist? It’s really more cannibalistic than racist, if you think about it. Whether that’s worse is for you to decide. Personally, I’d be less concerned about racism than about my apparent belief that human beings might be filled with nougat.

A “Clinton bar” sounds kind of old and played out, like a Clark bar. But to be fair, Clark bars are underrated. They’re actually quite delicious, despite all the criticism directed at them. It’s just that their position on the Iraq War has never been steady. Damn Clark bars won’t commit to a timetable, only to their own deliciousness.

I suppose Hillary Clinton could go with “Hillybar”, but that’s even worse. It’s too close to “Hairybar”, a product you couldn’t make me eat if you aimed a pistol at my groin. A shady, inbred name like Hillybar won’t stand a chance against Obamabar, a name which implies excitement and tidal waves of fluffy nougat crashing into my face.

I am a bum, and my parents will soon find out

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

 
My parents are coming to visit next month. Jesus Christ. How the hell am I going to make my apartment look respectable in a month? Should I quit my job? Should I vacate without notice and move into a nicer place? Is a month enough time to claim squatter’s rights in an abandoned building?

It’s not a matter of cleaning. My place is clean. It’s just a really awful apartment. The floor is slanted slightly to one side, the gas stove reeks of methane for 12 hours after each use, and the view out my window looks directly into some fat guy’s apartment. The only way to make my apartment building presentable is to demolish it and build a new one.

The surrounding community is even more worrisome. My neighborhood is interesting, but not in a “What an intriguing bunch of characters” way. It’s more of an “Oh my God, that hobo’s taking a dump in a burnt-out Ford Festiva” sort of way.

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.