Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Take on our issues with BB

I realize that I am easily three years too late to the party but I am
finally getting around to watching -and loving- Breaking Bad. It's
not just the fact that Walter White bears a drinking resemblance
physically, not to mention intellectually and emotionally to somebody
I know quite well. It's the rapport between student and teacher, the
complications of a major disease and how it affects a household, the
intrigue of a drug trade which seems, at it's core, to be one that is
all science and of course the great dialogue
But halfway through season 4, what has bothered me most, other than
that ridiculous plane crash, is the fact that Skyler has put on about
30 pounds in, what is supposed to have been, one continuous day
between the two seasons.

Just look at the screen shot, which has to be one of the most
disturbing ones of all time, with a pale pimples assed chemistry
teacher standing in front of a chick who looks like she ate a bunsen
burner. Add to that the haircut which adds another 10 pounds and you
wonder how Vince Gilligan, who has an eye for detail, ever let her on
screen as it broke all continuity of what was supposed to be the same
day as the end of season three.

It's incredible how much hotter she was the second she uttered IFT and
how much less attractive she is when she just uttered

Monday, December 30, 2013

Take on the end of innocence

My brother-in-law took his son to Times Square a few days ago, I guess
to give the kid the experience of hell on earth. They caught a
movie, had some Stone Cold Creamery and checked out the characters
willing to have their photos taken for a mere $5. What they didn't
realize was that unlike Disney World, the Times Square characters have
no issue coming out of costume. I realize the guys working down in
Anaheim or Orlando are no angels but the fear of Disney still hangs
over their heads which is very different than the ones who are working
as freelancers in NYC. Having worked a block from there, I have seen
plenty of dudes pick their masks off to smoke cigarettes, pick their
teeth or do lines of coke off of Minnie's ass, so nothing they do now
surprises me much. But, I have to think that it could be a bit
traumatizing for a 5 year old to see Cinderella on her knees giving
some dude a hummer, seeing Winnie the Pooh cursing out a competitor or
catching Super Mario adjust his junk.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Take on the make it yourself 5000 piece dollhouse

Is there anything more emasculating than one of those
build-a-dollhouse kits? There are hundreds of parts, handfuls of
screws and instructions which may as well be in Spanish and are the
size of a phone book. Years ago they would throw all those screws and
bolts into a bag but now try came up with this genius concept of
putting them in this marked box thing with each screw or Allen wrench
bolt in it's own compartment behind plastic. If you have ever gotten
a box like this, you know that you have to turn the thing around an
open up each compartment which seems smart until you realize that you
have to turn it back over to see which item is which, meaning all the
acres from a particular section are now all laying mixed on the table.
Why they don't just mark then on both the plastic compartment side and
also on the back cardboard side is beyond me

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Take on the Saturday morning look

It's over. I am officially done!!

I walked out of the house today like a man who just doesn't care
anymore. Unshaven, not showered, hair unkempt, teeth in rushed,
wearing pajama pants, an old snowboarding jacket and snow boots. Not
because I was hoping to have a blizzard nightmare, but because as a
father of soon to be three who drives a minivan and spends his entire
waking life trying to figure out how to spend less money and throw
away more junk, I am done. I have officially become the prototypical
suburban dad with too little sleep, too much waistline and too many
I spend my weekends shuttling between gymnastics, tumbling, Trader
Joes and Target and find the odd minute of solitude when I try to
catch up on old episodes of Breaking Bad, which, by the way, is the
main reason I fear getting cancer cause I would start cooking meth the
second I felt a lump. The again, I don't know how to cook meth, so
I'd have to find something dangerous to do. Maybe I'd just do a lot
of jaywalking and not recycling.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Take on the greatest headline

Say what you will about the New York Post, they may be slanted,
trashy, sensationalistic and biased but you cannot deny they are
funny. The latest greatest was the picture of Client #9 getting out
of his car with his new fling, a few days after it was announced that
he was separating from his wife.
Mrs. Spitzer stood by her man through thick and thin, through triumphs
and through disgrace, through successful political campaigns to an
epic downfall and, of course, through countless hookers.
I thought it was odd that they announces they were separating a few
days before Christmas, not so much for the timing but much like when a
random old celebrity dies, I often think "I thought he was dead
Anyway, the Post decided that there had been enough mourning for a
failed marriage and captured Spitzer walking into his girlfriend's
parents' house with an absolutely great headline

Thursday, December 26, 2013

take on the genius bar employee

When my IPhone stopped charging last night, I knew that'd I'd spend the day  at the Genius Bar which sounded incredibly painful the day after Christmas when a bunch of grandma's show up to have the dude with a nose piercing show her how to turn on her IPad.  I showed up early and was pleasantly surprised that I was one of the first people there, which I think can only be due to the fact that it was 8:30AM on a what is essentially a holiday morning.    
I was also pleasantly surprised that the new battery connection I was sure was the culprit was intact and even more surprised when the Genius Bar guy pulled out a wad of lint from the charger hole like he was cleaning out a dryer.   My IPhone was back to running and charging normally and I was on my way to work, a few ounces lighter and my full wallet intact. 

But as I was waiting for the dude to pull out the lint, it occurred to me that much like a skinny surfer guy in Southern California, the Genius Store has a type..   Almost every person who works at the bar is a dude, and they all have some noticeable body piercing or tattoo, they are all a little awkwardly cool and they they all look like they would rather stab themselves in the eye with a lightning charger cord but what really stands out is that they are all ridiculously soft spoken.   it's like you have to strain to hear whether or not the new operating system will require a complete reboot and you leave the place not sure if you heard anything at all.   Maybe Steve Jobs envisioned an army of hipster  who wouldn't disturb his zen palace or maybe there is something about a guy who can't raise his voice which attracted him but it's ridiculous how quiet that place is..

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Take on the Starbucks pay for the guy behind you trick

Having been up since before 6am with two overly excited and sugar
rushed kids on Christmas morning, I felt that a trip to Starbucks for
a large Pike Place Roast was well deserved. First of all, finding a
Starbucks open on Christmas morning is impossible, especially in the
suburbs but when I finally found one, it had a drive-through line
wrapped around the building.
I finally get up to the window after neatly a 20 minute wait and am
told that the guy ahead of me paid for my coffee, which seemed like a
very nice gesture on this Christmas morning. What I didn't quite
realize was that this was now expected of me for the next guy as the
barista dude asks if I would like to reciprocate which I felt pressure
to do. Problem was that the guy behind me had some kind of calorie
death-wish cause he ordered two large pumpkin spice lattes with whip
cream and butter and sugar, both coming in at like 500 calories.
Usually this would only annoy me as I don't like to contribute to
gluttony but what really annoyed me was when I got his bill $9.45
which I now had a peer pressure obligation to pay

So I shelled out almost $10 for a large coffee, even for Starbucks
standards that is ridiculous

Ba humbug

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Take on the Christmas forwArd distribution list

Is there anything less Christmasy than getting some lame "merry
Christmas" email forward from some random acquaintance? I get some
email today and notice immediately that the guy who sent if included
everybody on the to: line. Let's leave the fact that this incredibly
tacky and terribly unprofessional aside and focus on the fact that
it's also incredibly cheesy for a grown Asian man to send everybody in
his Rolodex a lame message with a picture of a burning fire.
I need to discuss this with President Obama the next time I see him
but it seems to me that all random distribution lists, should have one
of those unsubscribe buttons on the bottom. Either that or, at
minimum, you should be allowed to kick the offender in the groin.

Monday, December 23, 2013

take on the polar bear club

There must be a direct correlation with the kind of people that are willing to do stuff like jump into a freezing cold lake at Christmas time and body weight because there over decades of watching people do Polar Bear jumps, I have yet to see anybody who isn't built like Santa Claus.   You never see some 24 year old rock solid coed doing this, you don't see a 34 year gym going mom doing it, you don't even see a 64 year old grandmother doing it, you only see ridiculously huge people.
I get that the extra blubber might help you withstand the icy cold temperatures but watching a 400 pound man in a speedo jump into a lake isn't a sight anybody should be exposed to.  This poor slob can't see his d*ck over his belly when he's standing in a steam-room with Kim Kardashian felating him, imagine how deformed that little weasel looks like after being exposed to -30 degree temperatures

So, for the sake of mankind and my eyeballs, jump into a warm pond and don't film it..

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Take on the line outside Foot Locker

While walking to work this week, I came across a line which stretched
from 7th avenue all the way to 8th. People were camped out with
chairs, blankets, hot chocolate and tents like they were on line for
free money, so of course TOR had to investigate. Apparently, the new
AirJordan's came our this week which seemed like a good reason for
thousands of people to stand in the freezing cold to the right to be
the first idiot to drop almost $200 for a pair of sneakers.
I will never understand the desire to want to be the first to own
anything so badly that I'd camp out overnight to spend my money to buy
it. You can walk up two days later, spend the same money and not have
wasted a night of your life with a bunch of similar idiots. I may
make an exception for a once in a lifetime concert or a sporting event
but to stand in line to buy sneakers seems beyond idiotic.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Take on the Boitano coming out announcement

We try do our best to cover a wide variety of topics on TOR and are always more than happy to take some suggestions from regular readers, especially ones that fancy our own interests.   Regular reader Peeper Zed asked why on earth the Brian Boitano announcement that he was, in fact, gay, was news at all.   First of all, celebrities and sports stats having to make this public confession at all, is shameful.  Who gives a flip about somebody's sexuality, there really isn't anything less interesting...especially when it was obvious.   What we do appreciate is the enormous weight it must lift off of people, who can then, for the first time, live outside of the lie.  

But the figure skating 'news' got us to thinking about the least shocking coming out announcements of all time.   These were so expected that the fact it hasn't happened, yet, was the only thing groundbreaking about it

The top eight least shocking coming-out announcements

Freddie Mercury. 
This was a bit before my time but anybody who watched Mercury perform must have known he was gay.  For god sake, his band's name was Queen.  

This chick only wore khakis.  

He put the flamboyant in flamboyant 

Ricky Martin
Living la vida loco 

The only thing less shocking was that Ellen did if first

Boy George
Not sure if he was ever in the closet but if he was, it could not have been a stretch to assume he was being that his name was Boy George

Elton John
I read that he announced he was a bisexual back in the very early 70's, so the fact that he was gay, can't have ever been a shock.  

Brian Boitano
Kind of thought this was something well knows already

I am sure I am missing somebody, so feel free to add to the list.  Here is to hoping for tons of coming out parties that make no news at all 

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, December 20, 2013

take on Bank of America's Museums across America "deal"

i got an email a few days ago from BankOfAmerica offering me all sort of great deals for banking with them.   There was 10% off of coffee at fourbucks, there is a 10% discount at California Pizza Kitchen and there was a separate email giving me free access to a bunch of museums throughout the country.   It sounds like a great deal until you actually look at the museums they have in their package, they are either some no-name museum in Idaho or Wisconsin.  
There are a few ones in big cities but even those offers are disingenuous .   For example, they offer free entrance to the Met, which any New Yorker will sniff out as crap..    See the Met has a 'suggested donation', which means that you can walk up to the teller, give her a nickel and walk in and enjoy all the art that's fit to hang.   

So the BoA offer to give you free admission is like telling somebody they can get free admission into Central Park

Thursday, December 19, 2013

take on Busy Hands Biden

You gotta love Joe Biden.. Forget his politics, his tooth caps, his hair plugs, his gaffes or his irresistible charm..   What is the best about him is that unlike his boss, captain boring, Joe looks like the kind of guy you'd like to go drinking with.  He's might not give you as many good stories as GW Bush if he'd ever tell you about the old cocaine and drunk driving days back in Texas and unlike Bill Clinton you probably won't find Joe banging the snot out of some fat chick in the bathroom but he does seem like a down to earth kind of guy..

I love the picture that's been circulating with Busy Hands Biden groping an intern who just happens to be unlucky enough to stand with her ass pressed against his pecker.

So Joe, you'll never be president, you'll probably be completely forgotten when Obama leaves our lives in three years but you'll never be forgotten at the local watering holes in Georgetown..and that's the way we like it

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

take on the time zone crunch

in preparation for 2014, CNN has been running some special of the 10 most likely (and some not very likely) things that will change your life in the few years.  They have all sorts of drones, new medicines, self driving cars, new barriers to avoid flooding during hurricanes etc but the only one I'm really interested in is the one where they propose getting rid of daylight savings time (TOR has been on this for 5 years running) and condensing the four continental US time-zones to two..  They'd basically combine the Eastern and Central time zones to make one zone and the Mountain and Pacific into the other one which have essentially been combined anyway (8PMEastern/7PMCentral for TV listings)  

I can't tell you how sensible this sounds, for no other reason than to make a frequent traveler's, like myself, life a bit easier.   I can't tell you how ridiculous it is to drive from Indiana to Illinois and lose an hour. 

so sign me up for this time-change thing and boot the entire concept of daylight saving while you are it..

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

take on the season's greetings email

There really aren't many things I despise more than getting Merry Christmas emails from random companies I've bought stuff from over the last year.   You get on somebody's mailing list because you bought candle-sticks and all of a sudden they feel like you have a personal relationship with them.   Maybe it's poor form to not send season greetings but honestly I don't care, I think it's worse form to send season's greetings from people who you don't know personally.

So unless you are going to send me a box of Godiva chocolates, a gift certificate for $100 at Outback or a rubber pussy, please stop sending me all of your spam!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Take on the new hairdo

I just spent half of my lunch going through my twice a year money
splurge, a trim at Jean Claude Van Haircuts. I can't say that the
overall experience was much different than previous engagements other
than a Russian chick with leather pants two sizes to small, I got a
dude who looked like Vizzini which is kind of like getting a food
recommendation from a guy who eats a dirty gyro from the grease trucks
Well this dude tugged, yanked and ripped on my hair for 15 minutes
like I was a chick into sadomasocism and then have me a slew of
instructions of how to have my head look like unjust left a salon when
I get out of the shower. This list must have been 20 pages long with
conditioners, gels and other treatment. So, here is to hoping that
it doesn't look like a mental patient tomorrow morning

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Take on the Disabled person's hatred of taxes

I've noticed that when a car has handicapped plates, they are almost
always right of center and very often far right of center. I get the
appeal to of personal responsibility and self reliance but if there is
one group of people who benefit from a large social safety-net, it
would be the people on disability. Between the SSD handouts, the
Americans with Disabilities act and the best parking spots -all
things they need and deserve- they get their share

I am just not sure where the anti-government mentality stems from but
talk to anybody who has a disability and they will complain more about
taxes than anybody, even if they pay very little of them and also
likely get regular payouts from Social Security Disability. I am all
for lowering my taxes but it will mean major cuts in services and Mr.
Ford Escapes monthly had out might be first in line.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Take on the golf umbrella

There really aren't many more annoying things in this world than
people who walk around with those ridiculous golf umbrellas during a
little rain or snow storm. I get that you don't want to get your
precious shoes wet but you also realize that you are up using a lot
more real-estate than you can afford. I've started to stand under the
back of the umbrella whenever some idiot decides to take out his
store-front awning, if you feel like you need to take up 9 square feet
of floor space, the least you could do is pass on your dryness for
your fellow commuters

Friday, December 13, 2013

Take on the Chinese urinal ads

Chinese bathrooms are obviously filthy but I so appreciate the urinal
reading they provide at the higher end restaurants. In China there
are no flat screen showing sporting event hanging over the urinal but
instead ads which I can only imagine are aimed at dudes, it's sort of
like those subway ads for Dr Zizmor or some terrible tech college
nobody will ever attend except these are designed to reach a more
targeted audience; Rich Chinese dudes who have issues with their junk.

What makes them so great is that they have these incredibly clear
visuals showing a sad banana or a leaking faucet and as I can't read a
word of Chinese, so part of the way I kill time is trying to decipher
what they mean

I am sure the leaky faucet is about not being able to hold your stream.

But I am still trying to figure out the banana one.l but one thing is
for sure, whatever the issue the overly exited Chinese doctor cartoon
can help you with it.

My best guess is that is is about impotence but looking at it more
closely it could be an ad to fix unit stink. This might explain those
weird halos surrounding the banana and the overly excited Chinese
doctor character. Then again, this could be an ad for a brothel which
may explain the need to clean up a stinky unit or for all I know it
might actually be an ad for a plumber who sells bananas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

take on Dean Martin's Rudolph the Red Dicked Reindeer

A buddy mentioned to me the other day how American Icon Dean Martin snuck one past the American censors for a half a century with his rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.   He swears that at the end of the song, Martin, who appears to be completely sloshed, sneaks in a Rudolph the Red Dicked Reindeer right as the song cuts off.    Of course, this is the kind of thing that the high-paid reporters at TOR take very seriously, so we've gone on the hunt listing to every rendition of that classic.    First of all, the Rat Pack in the early 60's were as big as it got and it would be no surprise to anybody that there wouldn't be anybody who could have stopped Martin from doing what he wanted to do.  Secondly, with the way technology worked back then, it could easily have gotten past somebody and now has been playing on radio stations in heavy rotation for 50 years.

We put on some high-fidelity earphones and searched YouTube and found a great version.  

My buddy is 100% right about the fact that Martin is completely inebriated throughout the song as he ad libs his way through much of it and is slurring his words from the first verse on.   The YouTube version I have has a cartoon playing over it but it's not hard to imagine old Dino playing a little grab-ass with the girls in the background chorus singing the bridge about half way through the song.   You can tell he's going to go off the deep end when he starts referring to the lovable Rudolph as Rudy like he's an old drinking buddy and if you listen closely it does sound like scotch glasses are clinking in the background.   It gets a bit more bizarre even before the final fateful verse, as Martin goes into this crazy German accent with the line "Rudolf wiz your nose zo bright, won't zhou guide mine sliigh zoonigt."  He recorded this song in 1959, so the scars of WWII were probably just receding a bit, yet he seems to poke a bit of fun at the Krauts on the other side of the pond.  You'd think that was the ultimate move until he goes into the final line in question and it does appear that Dino sneaks in a Rudolph the Red Deeked reindeer like a drunk dude tries to sneak one in the five hole of his equally drunk girlfriend

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

take on Mama's family

When I was a kid and would get sick on a school day, my parents would call the school to tell them I was sick and then I'd sit plopped in front of the TV where I'd marathon watch a combination of I love Lucy, The Price is Right, Let's make a Deal, The Jefferson's, All in the Family and Mama's Family.   All those shows are ones I remember fondly and some of them are ones that I consider my favorites of all time but I was convinced that the lead character on Mama's family was actually a dude in drag.  There was nothing that screamed Adam's apple and hairy legs more than this 'chick'.

 It wasn't until many years later that I realized that the Mama character was played by Vicki Lawrence and not a Robin Williams wannabe.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

take on the sitting pee-er

A friend of mine has been telling me about all the virtues of peeing while sitting.    I get where he's going with most of his arguments which revolve around it just being more clean as there is minimal back-splash and I've been known to partake in when I'm in my own home.  

I do this for no other reason than so that I can give myself legs a few minutes off.   There is also the beauty of not forming a puddle of piss right outside your bowl which, when you have a couple of young kids, is the only sanitary thing to do but really the reason I like sitting when I pee is that I'm always checking my phone when I get into the pisser and right as I'm about to cut off the stream, I have this crazy chill that runs right up my spine, leading to a quick shiver which would usually mean I splatter all over the toilet roll, back of the seat and the walls.

But my real fear is that this shiver will be a bit more severe than expected and I drop my cell-phone into the bowl

Monday, December 9, 2013

Take on the bike helmet

A buddy commented the other day that i was a total dork for wearing a
bike helmet when I ride the Citibike through the streets of NY
claiming it was one of the least cool things anybody over the age of
nine could ever do.

First of all, I am fully aware that I am not cool. At this point of my
life I am the furthest thing from cool. Within a few months I will be
a father of three driving a minivan to my 2700 square foot house in
the suburbs, so I have no pretense of cool. Cool left when I stopped
going to jazz bars listing to a funk band until 2am every Wednesday,
cool left when I stopped going to happy hour and instead started
racing a citibike to catch the earlier bus home to see my kids, cool
left when wearing sneakers to work went from a casual Friday to a
necessity because of the sleet.

The second reason his argument means nothing is because riding a bike
in midtown manhattan is actually a bit dangerous and I really don't
want to have a broken skull. Between the cabbies, swinging open car
doors, poorly marked (and often completely ignored) dedicated bike
lanes and millions of pedestrians, it is a miracle I am still in one
piece. So, if looking like a dork costs me a brain injury, that is a
cost I am willing to absorb. Now that I think of it, at this point, I
may get one of those reflective vests to wear when I ride

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Take on the fragile package

Nothing is as reliable as the US Mail, through rain and sleet and snow
and sunshine, they deliver a letter from California to your door for a
mere $0.39..uh, $0.42..or maybe $0.44 in a matter of days or weeks.
But where they really excel is in delivering fragile packages, like
the poster I got my kid for Christmas. It came in one of those
cardboard tubes designed for pictures and posters with a couple of
great big "fragile" and "do not bend" caution stickers on it, so all
should be secure, right?

I guess you know what happened when I opened up the tube.. The poster
now has a big ugly streak in the center and is all crumpled up in the
corner. But hey, if it had been sleeting they would have gotten me
the bent poster with a smile, right right around Christmas time

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Take on the NY Times hecklers

I always laugh when people heckle, whether it's heckling a comedian, a
politician or a newspaper, it always just looks like sour grapes.
There really isn't a more desperate group than people who spend their
time and energy openly throwing insults at people who don't even
realize they are alive. Once you begin heckling, it doesn't matter if
your argument has merit, you just look like a tool
I just noticed a huge sign hanging on the corner of 40th and 8th
staring right at the New York Times building, chastising the paper for
now having covering the apparent 9/11 coverup. This gets me to the
second most desperate group of people: conspiracy theorist

It's been 12 years since that Tuesday in September and people are
still on this 9/11 was an inside job thing?? You have to be kidding
me, do people really have nothing better to do than spend tens of
thousands of dollars hanging signs up and throwing pies at people?
And if you are going to spend god time and effort on something, at
least don't be an activist for some recycled conspiracy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Take on the lack of Paul Walker outrage

I am not one who finds pleasure in death but I also find it a bit
ridiculous when you are the entire world fain incredible heartache
when a celebrity passes away. I haven't seen a single Fast and
Furious movie although I have nothing against Paul Walker, Vin Diesel
(who has a great gay porn name), The Rock or any of those pretty
skinny white kids they hang with. What does bother me is how upset
the fan-base is with his death, all of which seems completely
disingenuous. People who have never met him have said they feel
personally connected with his loss like he was some kind of saint.
I see stories of how nice he was to some fan or how he spent time
talking to some kid who wanted his autograph but this celebrity bull
shows you nothing about who a guy like this really was. Maybe he was
a good dude and maybe not but to have me all to walk news coverage on
this is pretty disgusting. Yeah, he may have made cool movies and now
he won't be in any more but a dude who you don't know driving 1000
miles per hour in some supped up Porsche who wraps himself around a
tree isn't all that tragic, sorry.

It all comes down to the fact that he was a good looking dude and
Hollywood and the left leaning media loves that type. You just know
that if a guy like Jason Biggs, who is another actor from a successful
movie franchise, died similarly, nobody would give a crap.

But even that isn't what bothers me. What does is the fact we
lionize a guy like this when really he was acting like a total idiot
but nobody takes him to task for that. I know he wasn't the driver
but he knew exactly what kind of thrill ride he was getting into, so
he is as much to blame for this kind of idiotic behavior as anybody.
These two could have easily ran over a couple of kids while drag
racing, destroying the lives of innocent people, because they had a
need for speed yet nobody mentions that. The media is too wrapped up
into the legacy some pretty boy actor left behind to realize his
behavior could have killed more than just the two who made the
decision to put their lives in danger

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Take on Zwarte Piet

Every year on December 5th, I'm reminded of my childhood.   Growing up in Holland, this day was our Christmas.  We still celebrated December 25th but kept that one mostly about religious traditions and family gatherers, but December 5th was the kid's holiday because that is when we would all get our presents.

But for weeks before this day, the kids in my neighborhood and I were on edge because Sinterklaas had arrived in the harbor a few weeks earlier on a large barge from Spain.   He would stay in Holland for two or three weeks visiting kids and preparing to deliver presents.    Unlike the American Santa Claus, Sinterklaas was a much less jolly soul, with his entire persona based on Saint Nicholas.   He was a skinny tall man with a big pope hat and if you've ever seen a kid cry when he had to sit on Santa's lap in the mall, you should have seen us in Holland when we had to even come close to the old man.  Santa Claus was jolly and fat with a bunch of friendly reindeer, Sinterklaas was regal and sophisticated riding on a pure white-horse.  
But all those perceptions are still secondary to the helpers of each man.   Santa has elves who make toys up in the North Pole and help him during picture day when overtired kids are forced to take one cute picture for their parent's Christmas card, Sinterklaas had Zwarte Piet's, which for no better way of describing it were indentured servants.   Zwarte Piet is directly translated as Black Pete and these guys would come along with the regal saint on the boat and then run havoc over the entire land for three weeks.  They would break into your house to make sure the kids were behaving, often pelting them with candy.. they would sneak through windows and open doors and all Dutch Kids were told that if they behaved they wouldn't get coal in their stocking but instead would be taken away by the Black Pete's and brought to Africa until next year.  

Today, Dutch people defend Zwarte Piet as a fun child character and will claim that their faces are black because of the soot of the chimneys but I remember as a kid knowing that these were black people from Africa, ones we were very afraid of.   Just look at the facial features and you know that these were supposed to be African people, regardless of what they tell you today, I know that the Zwarte Piets of my youth all had big red lips, curly hair and tons of jewelry, they almost looked like circus clowns.    And regardless of what they tell you, the imagery of an old white guy dressed like a plantation owner with thousands of dark skinned 'helpers' coming onto shore is something that no Dutch person should ever forget.

with that said, it was a great holiday

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Take on the slow walkers

I will never understand slow walkers, never. Every time I walk out
of anyplace I am hurrying for something, maybe to yet to work, maybe
to get home, maybe I'm hurrying just to hurry but somehow the lazy
masses out there have nowhere to go, ever. This is what is wrong
with America because they walk down the streets on a Wednesday like
they are going for a Sunday stroll. I'm not talking about the tourists
who are sidewalk nightmares in their own right but at least they have
an excuse (plus they are usually 500 pounds of muscle-less blubber).
It might be time to add a fast-land to the sidewalks of NYC

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Take on the Jesus Life Church SUV

I am usually not one to have too much commentary on religion but when
I caught this car the other day, I couldn't help myself. Parked on
an unassuming block in front of an unassuming house was an Escalade
with the words "Jesus Life Church" in huge block letters across the
back window. Now, I am by no means a Jesus aficionado but something
tells me that a dude who is came from and preached about being humble
would not exactly approve of this kind of extravagance. That is not
to say that JC may not have enjoyed getting chauffeured around but I
sort of doubt that when he spoke of helping the poor, being able to
drive over them without feeling as much as a speed bump was probably
not what he had in mind. For a church named after the Life of Jesus,
there seems to be some kind of message disconnect

Plus, these Church of Jesus folks were probably able to get some kind
of tax exemption.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Take on the Amazon Drone

All the talk today will be about the Amazon drone which will change
the way people get books delivered in much the same way the Kindle
changed the way people got books delivered. I think we're all pretty
intrigued by this thought because it may finally mean we are getting
close to the flying cats, hovercrafts and robot housekeepers we have
been promised. I can't say that I'm quite ready for the future but
the fact I can travel to Asia for 10 days and only bring my IPad is
pretty amazing.
But the problem with these drones past the obvious issues like parking
spots, interference, crashes and scaring the living hell out of all
the grandmothers is that we may have hit an over-saturation point with
this instant gratification. Do we really need to have a battery
charger delivered to our door by a remote controlled airplane, or can
we possibly get off our lazy fat asses and maybe drive
or...gasp...walk to the local CVS to buy something you need

Although, to be fair, the Flintstones were a lot fatter than the
Jetsons, so maybe this technology will allow for more exercise in the

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Take on the $45 topless haircut

When I read an article this morning about a woman getting arrested for
giving topless haircuts, I had two thoughts.

- this chick probably could have charged a lot more than $45 if she
didn't look like Vin Diesel's fraternal twin. -side note, if there
isn't a better gay porn name than Vin Diesel please let me know/

- why the hell does a chick cutting hair really need a license? I am
all for making sure medicine is practiced with a license but cutting
hair?? I used to get my head shaved by a buddy sitting on a toilet
with my head hanging over a garbage can. This isn't rocket science
and the worst that could reasonably happen is a really bad haircut,
and I have gone to plenty of licensed hair stylists for that and they
were fully dressed

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take on the $0.05 discount for bringing your own bag

Places like Whole Foods and Target will give you back a nickel for
every reusable bag you bring in when you check out. I'm all for
recycling and reusing and I'm incredibly cheap, so it's a great

One issue I had, though, was when I went into Target the other day to
get some bread. I went to the checkout counter and when the girl
went to out it in a plastic bag, I asked her to not worry about
bagging it as I could easily walk it out without using a plastic bag.
Then I realized that I although I did not use a bag, I did not get the
discount. This is ludicrous, if I had walked in with a backpack they
discount me $0.05 but if I hand carry they don't.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Take on Brown Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is almost as big a holiday as Thanksgiving
itself. People will waste hours of their lives to get 15% off a
camera or a Tickle Me Elmo and take pride in it. But as much as
Black Friday has become it's own day and tradition, I think it might
be fair to consider that we change it to Brown Friday because this is
the true color of the day after. That is because after all those
turkey legs, cranberry sauce, pecan pies and gravy, the entire country
will get together for a big colossal dump. I was stuck in a
confined space with a fellow Thanksgiving guest and the seeping out of
their ass smelled like it came from a sick Rottweiler. The stink was
just unbearable and this is coming from somebody who has cleared out
his share of rooms, even a few ballrooms.

So, Black Friday will be known as Brown Friday from here on out, let's
all flush on if

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Take in the turkey stuffer

I have done a lot of difficult things in my life including running the
marathon while passing a kidney stone, roundtrips to Eastern Europe
within 2 days, winning the D-cup in an uber competitive fantasy
football league and writing a daily blog for 5 years But nothing
compares to trying stuff a turkey. After a night of prep, there I
am, 8AM this morning with my entire arm shoved up a turkey's ass,
pulling out guts, hearts, kidneys, gizzards, chicks and god knows what
else. That in itself wasn't even that hard, it was the part where
you have to put butter between the skin and the breast.
I spent nearly an hour trying to follow directions asking me to
carefully separate the skin from the breast and line the space between
with herb butter. That in itself isn't ridiculously hard but when
they warn you repeatedly that you should not puncture the skin, it
gets a bit tedious which is especially challenging for somebody who
isn't exactly graceful.

Happy thanksgiving, hope you don't mind that I didn't wash my hands

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Take on the hairy man

I read this interesting factoid the other day and being that it is on
the internet, I reason it must be true. It basically said that an
increase of body-hair has a direct correlation with intelligence,
which as a fairly hairy man, I like to believe to be true.
Obviously, it can't all be true as my own circle of friends is a
collection of the hairiest trees this side of Siberia and there isn't
a single PHD amongst them. So, somehow this study seems to lack some
real world knowledge and turns the preconceived notion of the hairy
oaf on its head. Russians and Easter Europeans are hairy and they
always win chess competitions but then Asians, who are some of the
least hairy people on earth represent an oversized population at Ivy
League schools, Indians are often doctors and they have a lot of
forehead hair but not a lot of chest hair, I believe.

Then again, maybe the really smart people are manscaping (I am looking
at you Z&Z) which the hairy apes might think is a total waste of
efficiency and time.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Take on CitiBiking in the winter

Well it took almost six months but the CitiBike program finally seems
to be working. I was able to pick out my choice of 25 bikes at my
office and returned it to an almost completely empty rack 15 minutes
later right by my mass-transit hub. Granted it was pouring rain and a
windchill which made it feel like -10degrees but when you are Dutch
there are two things you can be counted on: that the Dutch rider will
not be scared to bike because of a little bit of inclement weather but
more importantly that said rider would make sure he gets his money

Monday, November 25, 2013

Take on the Youth Shield

Get where advertising is going most of the time, but it wouldn't kill
somebody to run an ad or a sign past ave average a$$hole before
posting it in their window. Just look at this sign I caught walking
down seventh ave this weekend, it's for an anti-aging cream called
"youth shield," which sounds great until you realize that shield in
the common vernacular is used to protect against what it's named for.
Take the Missile Defense Shield, for example, the idea is that you
are shielding yourself against missiles, the Slomin shield protects
you against rabbi's coming door to door and the NFL shield protects
you against concussion lawsuits , so I can only assume the youth
shield protects you against youth. Maybe it's actually meant as
protection on the subway from unruly city kids.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Take on the new meat labels

When I read the CNN headline that meat will now be labelled for it's
birth place, I realized it might be time to become a vagitarian. It's
like the meat industry took a cue from the beer industry and now
decided to add a born on date, which is about as desirable as having
to drink Bud Lite. I am a red-blooded, meat eating American but even
I don't really don't need to know when some little calf was born or
slaughtered. Give me a sell-by date or better yet an eat-by date but
don't humanize the slaughtering process with all this additional

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Take on old people email etiquette

I hate old people.. Well I don't hate all old people, just the technologically challenged ones. 
For the last month, we have been in the process if trying to buy a house which, as many of you know, has it's shares of frustrations, setbacks and annoyances.  But what has annoyed me most is the fact that all the people involved do not hit the "reply all" button when responding to emails.   So basically my wife will send an email with me copied to it but the response will only come to her, so what was one thread becomes two of three disjointed ones.  
It doesn't matter how many times we ask to reply all because nobody listens and I'm starting to wonder if this is by design because they prefer to deal with only one person but, as most people realize, the CC concept on these email chains is meant to keep people in the loop, not encourage interaction and now I spend half my time forwarding responses back and forth 

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 22, 2013

take on the Chinese business traveler rules

he definitive guide to traveling for work to China

Having now done the China trip 13 times in my life, it might be time
to put some of my thoughts to paper

Compression Socks
I know this is probably like a frown man wearing a bike helmet but
sometimes you realize that cool is stupid and stupid is cool.    It
doesn't matter if you are sitting in seat 1A or 62C, if you are going
to sit on a plane for 14 hours, your feet will feel like two blood
sausages.   At 30,000 feet all the blood will rush to your feet unless
you are wearing compression socks, in which case they will feel like
two Wiener schnitzels

Don't be that guy at dinner
Don't be the guy that refuses to eat anything.  We all hate the food
but you can't sit at a business dinner and refuse to eat, as you'll
not only insult your guests but more importantly make you look like a
tremendous douche.   Find five things out of the thirty on the lazy
Susan and chow down.   Jellyfish is fantastic, most mushroom dishes
are good and the beef is usually edible.  Sea urchin on the other hand
looks like a rubber pussy and tastes worse

Use chopsticks
Only a real loser asks for a fork

Don't breath the air..ever
Although I got lucky on my last trip, I have been there enough when
the air quality index hits over 300.  That basically means that all
children, pregnant people and old people should not even venture
outside.   Nobody living in China listens to those warning, otherwise they'd be locked in their apartments for 6 months out of the year..  The air gets so thick you feel the grit in your teeth.  So your best bet is to hold your breath from the second you get off
the plan until you get back on a week later

Don't dress up
You are going to be the only person wearing a suit and you will be
covered in people's backsplash and forget about wearing that suit again after a night of food because it'll smell like stinky tofu

Learn a few words
Nothing ingratiates you with the locals more than attempting to speak
their ass-backwards language.  Learn the nuances between tone
inflection and pitch because the same word means radically different
things if you pronounce it one way or another

Mao Tai sucks
This stuff is complete gasoline and there is no way to avoid drinking it but you have to figure out a few ways to dump some of it in a cup to avoid getting completely sloshed.  Your hangover is going to be terrible tomorrow but just realize they won't have a ham and egg sandwich to cut through your haze..

Don't waste your time at the local hotels
There aren't a lot of options in certain places but when they are you should NEVER opt for the cheaper option.. unless you like to watch the mold grow on the ceiling as you sleep..  This last trip had me in one local hotel and the shower didn't drain, so the entire bathroom got flooded every time I took a shower.   Miraculously it was completely dry by the time I got back later that day but I really doubt any of it went down the drain.

Your internet usage is going to be severely capped
Maybe it's the fact that they make the NSA look like amateurs because it takes hours to download anything in China.  The internet connections are so slow, you'd think you were in your parent's basement logging onto your AOL account.    then again your web-browsing is so hamstrung that 90% of the websites you'd want to go to (read RedTube, Tube8, youporn) are all blocked

Every meal ends with a fish that looks like it's got three eyes
the Chinese character for "fish" is the same as that for 'profit' so they like to make sure you enjoy the radiated sucker together..  Hope you like your balls glowing in the dark.

There will be many times that you feel like you are Bill Murray
it's unbelievable how many times you will be a part of a conversation with two people and they'll discuss in Chinese for hours on end and then come back to you and say  "the boss says. yes" and this will happen over and over again..

The Soviet era planes won't kill you..most likely
nothing like getting on a plane and realizing it's older than you.   You know that old flight-attendant who took your drink order flying from El Paso to Columbus, well she was a hot chick when the plane was new, she now has ankles the size of grapefruits..not even compression socks can help her now.

Don't puke
Chinese people hate people puking on their shoes, can't blame them

Don't try to sleep during the day
no matter how tired you are, don't give in to your sleep needs because otherwise you'll be watching CNN all night and Wolf Blitzer looks worse when turned upside down.. if you do have insomnia, realize that your adrenalin will get you through.

there are more.. will add when we get to it

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Take on Asian Hotel art

Have you ever noticed that Asian hotel art always tries to replicate
the female body? I get that a woman is beautiful and her body a
treasure but when I sit down at a meeting I find it very distracting
to stare right into the crevice of a woman even if it is under the
guise of art.
Although being that this is Asia, maybe they should lie it on its side

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Take on Chinese cuisine

A buddy used to theorize that if there was a lost civilization on
earth who we found to be eating cockroaches and spiders, we would be
disgusted and assume they were total savages , yet some of our
delicacies are really just the same thing jazzed up and overpriced.
Just look at a lobster, it looks like a gigantic cockroach, yet we
spend $60 for a steamed and this it is a bargain. Not to mention
things like tartar, mushrooms, shrimp, rare steak or even chicken
wings with pieces of hair growing from it.

But I gotta say, we have nothing on the Chinese, those guys will eat
anything. The difference is that although we all eat chicken, in the
pampered west we prefer only the most pampered white meat while our
Eastern friends will say that it has no flavor. But the differences
don't even end there, the Chinese are so overly concerned that
somebody will substitute rat for chicken or dog for beef that they
insist on showing you the entire animal. They will bring out a dirty
mop bucket with a flopping fish inside to 'prove' it's fresh even if
you are sure they used the same bucket to clean the bathroom. Then
they serve the entire fish whole and the diners get to fight over who
gets to eat the eyeballs or the gills. But what is more
disgusting is when they bring out fowl, because they serve it with the
chicken or pigeon head still attached and they will grab it and suck
on it like a lollipop.
No wonder they drink that lighter fluid, it's the only way you can
disinfect your stomach

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Take in the mop slop

When you add in a Chinese restaurant and on your way to the bathroom,
you often pass these huge vats of gunk. It is hard to describe but
it's like a mop bucket filled with leftover food that the busboys just
constantly scrape add onto. I have no idea where this goes, but I
have a pretty good thought that the food in these buckets have not
seen their last plates. Maybe they are sent out to the peasants,
maybe they are repackaged and sold again or maybe they are injected
intravenously to unsuspecting tourists but be sure they in China it
won't go to waste.
Quite honestly, it might look more edible than 2/3rds of the stuff they serve

Monday, November 18, 2013

Take on the Asian Lunch

There are not many things more vile than watching an Asian person eat
soup. You sit across from somebody and the entire experience feels
like you are up close and personal at a porn shoot. Between the
slurping, burping, sweating and flying slobber, I'm shocked I haven't
picked up an STD. It's like I want to put a condom over my face to
avoid the backsplash
I get that the culture embraces chop-sticks but would it kill them to
provide a couple of spoons at lunch, there really is no dignified way
of eating soup otherwise.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Take on the Death Star Toilet

I have a few buddies who swear by the handheld bidet, and has been
trying to get me to pop my cherry. He relies on the standard
technology of a hose attached to the side of his toilet with a nozzle
that resembles the thing you use to wash vegetables but my first
opportunity with this concept came in the form of this robotic seat.

First of all, the seat had some kind of self-cleaning capability and
came with more controls than a massage chair which made it a bit
intimidating. I wasn't quite sure about the technology but threw
caution into the wind and plopped my white arse down on Asia's finest
piece of technology. The Japanese may have groundbreaking technology
but apparently the Koreans have the Death-Star of toilets
I sit down and, to my complete surprise, realize that the seat is
heated. I get the theory behind that when you are getting into your
car when it is 12 degrees outside but on a toilet seat it feels a bit
like overkill. After the initial shock of the heated seat wore
off, I got to work with the deed, quickly forgetting that I was
perched upon the Death Star. When I was totally done, I looked down
at the control panel which shows pictures of sprays, jets and rhythmic
squirters. It was sort of intriguing but it also felt like u had
taken a dump inside of a hot-tub. I could not quite decide which
option to choose and more importantly I was not sure how I was going
to dry myself off after I was done, but I closed my eyes, pressed a
button and was met more of a homoerotic feeling any straight man
should ever experience. Apparently, this small hose comes out from
the side of the seat and sprays the equivalent of the jet-stream into
your five hole. There must have been 20 gallons sprayed at 1000
miles per hour and I just about hit the ceiling. I have a buddy who
got his salad tossed inside of a Mustang who told me he almost out his
head through the roof. Well, I almost concussed myself with the
ceiling of the Hyatt. Iget that this probably is a more thorough
cleaning but getting a colonic is maybe a bit too clean

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Take on the Chinese sh!t

There is something very special about the Chinese sh!t, it's not
particularly pleasant and is not at all larger than other sh!ts but it
is sort of transforming. Sh!t smells like sh!t but somehow a
bathroom in China always smells worse. I think it is all the crap
they eat or the lighter fluid they drink but you walk into any
bathroom in China, be it at a five star hotel or on the side of the
highway and the smell is just unbearable. I, myself, have contrived
nightly to this over the last few days even if I have avoided most of
the really gruesome food and drink choices. It's like after spending
three days here, your stomach becomes like a natural sewage plant.
The stink from my own hotel room bathroom today was enough to knock
out a hippo and sadly I don't even remember going.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Take on Chinese Chicken

This is not chicken. I don't care how many times I am told that it
is, I will not believe that the stuff they serve as chicken in China
has anything to do with the stuff Frank Purdue was hawking on American
television when I was a kid. When they serve you a dish and the only
thing you can place as having possibly been on the bird is that little
scrotum looking thing on their necks, you know you will be spending a
good few hours praying to the porcelain gods. I have eaten chicken my
entire life and have had white and dark meat, I have had chicken
breast, chicken legs and chicken wings but what they serve here is
unrecognizable. It's all bony, all tastes like some weird spice and
all seems like a Where's Waldo episode when trying to peg it on the
actual bird.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Take on Korean fashion

Apparently, fashion sense in Korea is a bit of a misnomer.

The women all have perms, wear basketball sneakers while rocking
colorful pant-suits and visors but the dudes really aren't much
better. Can somebody explain why Korean men wear women's jackets
because it's really not very becoming. I get that they all seem to
have prepubescent girl physiques and no body hair, but this has to be
something more than a cultural quirk. There is no good reason for an
adult man should dress like Missy Misdemeanor