Monday, June 27, 2011


Logic is an interesting subject. I have spent some time over the years studying mathematical logic. This allows me to be entertaining at dinner parties.

That is a nice perk, but I study logic for a different reason. On an exam years ago, I was asked to prove that one does not equal zero...and I got it wrong. Ever since then, I have been on a quest to prove to myself that I am not completely stupid.

I thought I was making progress. Then I had children. Let me tell you, it turns your whole world of logic upside down. The following are perfectly logical statements in the eyes of a three year old.

I'm sad because I'm sad!

We also had this nice exchange the other day: "Daddy, you're mean!" Why am I mean? "Because you are mean!"

The computer is on so I need to watch YouTube Sesame Street videos.

Beware: if the computer is turned on between 7 AM and 9 PM, it will be summarily commandeered. You may not check your email, and you may not pass Go.

My foot made very light contact with the couch / bed / chair / wall / door / crib / pillow. I need a Band-Aid!

Band-Aids have magical properties in our house.

Our country is $14 trillion in debt and we have huge fiscal holes we need to plug. Therefore, [let's cut taxes] OR [social security and medicare are untouchable] (choose one).

Okay, my three year old did not say this. But she could have.

I'm doing the potty dance but I do not need to go potty.

My three year old has way more important things to do, like watch The Backyardigans karaoke DVD and dance along, or ride around the apartment on her scooter in nothing but her underpants.

Eat three bites of [insert food that won't be eaten, i.e. just about anything] because you are three years old.

It never ceases to amaze me, but this works, and it works well.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ways in which you can be helpful to your fellow man

I spent the majority of my day yesterday paying the truck tax,1 and pondering other ways in which I could be useful to my fellow man.

As I am obviously brilliant, and my ideas should be shared and studied by all, I present them to you here.

Never throw away a whiteboard marker

You never know if your magician co-worker2 who uses the conference room after you will be able to conjure up some ink from the set of markers that were immediately sucked dry by marker gnomes upon their opening several decades ago.

So keep them around. Try each one, and kindly replace it back on the rack for the next inhabitant. Nobody hates you for this.

Ask people why they didn't call you when they were in town

Because there's obviously a non-awkward response to that question, right?

Let me guess, they told you they were busy, right? See, it's fun to force people to lie to you. Keep asking them.3 They love it.

Start a fast food chain. Invent patronizing dish names. Force customers to say them. Profit.

Because people love this. One of my hobbies is to hit up the local purveyors of cardboard, Pizza My Heart, and order a slice of Hawaiian pizza, and count the milliseconds until the server corrects me by telling me the slice is properly called Maui Wowie in their establishment. Thank you, Pizza My Heart, for inventing the most infantile slice name in the history of pizza. No, I do not lose a bit of respect for myself every time you make me say that.

If I wanted to walk around in public and sound like a weenie, I'd have stuck with the Econ major.4

An Honorable Mention goes to Wendy's, for forcing the American population to admit their consumptive corpulence by causing them to "biggie size" their meals. Has their ever been a time in my life when I could order that without whispering it across the counter?

No, there has not.5

Put Flash intros on your site

I scrubbed this from the original list, but because Pizza My Heart subjected me to one while looking up the spelling of the Evil Slice that Shall Not be Named, I mention it.

Theirs was, admittedly, tame.

Nevertheless, we, humanity, love Flash intros. We love waiting for something to open while you present us bubbly animations. Love. Love. Did I say love yet? Love.

Where do you live, oh web designer? As my friend Strongbad mentioned, your house is in no way the target of multiple eggings and toilet paperings.

Pop up new windows with advertisements if I accidentally click anywhere on your page

Because you are not personally responsible for the delirium of uselessness that the internet has become, and I in no way blame you for destroying the soul of humanity.

The ways in which you can be helpful to your fellow man are many and varied. Perhaps I will discuss more of them with you in the future.

1. Levied every Saturday on the suckers who own one.
2. No, seriously, my co-worker is literally a magician. Not the fake kind you normally hear about in the workplace, but an honest-to-goodness, read-your-mind-and-pull-bunny-rabbits-out-of-iPads magician.
3. Former hobby: seeing pictures people posted of London, then asking them why they didn't call me. Response: palpable awkwardness.
4. Lies. I perfected the skill years before college.
5. I stopped ordering meals from Wendy's years ago for this very reason. Standards or psychiatric neurosis? You decide.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Online ads

Online advertising is a real joy. For some reason, I have been blessed to have this picture following me around lately:

This image is accompanied by something like, "If you owe less than $729K, the government may pay you up to $5000 to make your mortgage payment."

(Let me pause here and ask: Why is it that whenever I see a terrible ad online, it is always for mortgages? I refer, for example, to the woman-dancing-in-four-frames-repeated-endlessly and old-man-with-tongue-sticking-out ads. Now back to our featured ad.)

Like most ads with a woman in a bikini, the connection between the picture and the product being sold is obvious. She is a down-on-her-luck marketing executive, and she has been having trouble with her mortgage.

She decides to go on one last vacation before her finances implode. She purchases a bikini in preparation. And frankly, she probably had to highlight her hair, since most "blondes" aren't really blonde.

Meanwhile, he is clearly a super popular and suave tax accountant, like most accountants I know. He takes regular walks around a romantic mud hole near his neighborhood, always with his shirt off.

This romantic mud hole just happens to be where our down-on-her-luck marketing executive has chosen to vacation with her bikini. They meet, and she can't help but confide in him. "If only there were a way the government would pay me up to $5000 to make my mortgage payment", she says breathlessly.

And that picture is taken right as he is about to tell her that there IS a way, as long as she owes less than $729K.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

internal memos you compose to yourself while dancing about wildly in the bathroom

Next time, return the towel to the towel rack upon laundering.1

1. With a sub-memo reminding yourself to inquire as to your roommate's general level of antipathy towards seeing a pale streaking man around seven in the morning.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Open Letter to the Best Fast Food Establishment

Dear Wendy's,

Allow me to congratulate you on a job well done. We all know that your large combo number one, no onions, with a frosty instead of a drink is second only to your large combo number two, no onions, with a frosty instead of a drink.

I also very much appreciate that you offer oranges with your kids meals as a healthy alternative. My three year old still wants your fries like any normal person, but it is nice to know the option is there.

However, as much as it pains me to do this, I must mention some areas which require improvement.

First of all, make more of yourself. This should be a no brainer, and yet you don't seem to get it. I ask you, why should I have to pass exit after exit on a road trip with McDonald's and Booger King signs at each one with nary a Wendy's in sight? Why should I have to work in downtown Chicago where, despite being the third largest city in the US, you only have one location? And why do you force me to drive 20 minutes each way from my suburban home just to taste of your goodness?

Secondly, on a recent trip to Utah, I was reminded (by my in-laws, touting Utah's livability) that you give out a free frosty with every kids meal, yet you do not do this outside of Utah. We need more consistency here. If you cannot make my life better by giving a free frosty outside of Utah, then please make my in-laws' lives worse by not giving a free frosty inside Utah.

Thirdly, a frosty should always be frosty. The next time I am sold a drippy frosty, I will be forced to take drastic measures.

Finally, your location just off I-294 in Glenview, IL by the Mormon temple has a plugged drain in the parking lot, which will cause a very large and rather deep puddle in the event of a substantial rainstorm, such as yesterday's. Please fix it. My shoes are still not dry.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

dr. seuss

The primary reason to go to BYU is to have access to The Daily Universe, the student-run rameumptom of self righteousness newspaper. And the primary reason to read the Daily Universe is for the letters to the editor.

Nothing contributed more to my overall college satisfaction than kicking back and reading those delightful morsels every Tuesday and Thursday.

With this in mind, I present to you1 the best sequence of letters written to the editor, ever. Well, my writing isn't anything to brag about,2 but the responses are priceless.

Scott Albrecht was my roommate, and one of the best roommates a man could have. I have no idea who John Buffington is, but if anybody knows him, please tell him that I think he's the coolest person on the planet, even if I never did track him down to tell him. Seriously, the anagram bit is absolute genius.

Links as of this writing take you to the original articles.

Letters to the editor - November 30, 2004


I am writing to protest the general acceptance in our free loving society of the bastion of Communist propaganda that is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." You would think that after decades of the Cold War and Mcarthyism we as a democratic people would have been able to purge the red elements of society, but alas, we have failed at the deepest level — the indoctrination of our children.

The Grinch is a Communist. He hates the established free market system, culture and religious holidays. He conspires to overthrow society. Building up to the climax, he steals all wealth from society. We are led to cheer for the Grinch when he redistributes all goods equally among the people, a pillar of Communist doctrine.

"The Grinch" also contains elements of cannibalism ("Who hash") and animal cruelty (the dog Max, the anglicized version of Marx, is forced to wear reindeer antlers).

I hope that we can band together and eradicate all influences of godless Communism from our peace-loving society by banning "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" from our airwaves and preventing further penetration of our homes and our children's minds.



Letters to the editor - December 2, 2004


Chris Perry on November 30 courageously exposed "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for the evil communist propaganda that it is ["Red side of Seuss," Readers’ Forum]. I now feel the need to tell my story of the subliminal attacks I suffered at the hands of those innocent looking Who’s.

After watching the movie a few years back, instead of being filled with a desire to "Welcome Christmas," I instead wanted to forcibly overthrow the government. After overcoming this urge, I decided I needed to do some research into the film, and was startled by what I discovered, particularly in those final verses of song in which the giftless Who’s welcome in Christmas (causing the Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes).

The words best expressed as Wa-hoo Dor-e in our English alphabet are not nonsense in a fictitious Who language. They are found in a little known Indian dialect and mean "revolution’s day" or the day of revolution: "Welcome Christmas, (The day of Revolution)."

"As long we go hand in hand" the song then goes on to say, but when they say hand the first time, if the tape is watched in slow motion, an M-16 is flashed so quickly it cannot be detected by the conscious mind. In other words "Christmas day is here at last, as long as we go M-16 in hand." I made my most startling discovery, though, when I recorded the song and played it in reverse. The tune, played backwards, is nothing more than the Soviet National Anthem. I warn you, watch this film only at your own risk.


Bryan, Texas

Letters to the editor - December 7, 2004


I concur with the insightful sentiments expressed by Scott Albrecht in his letter of Dec. 2 regarding the concern expressed by Chris Perry on Nov. 30 ["Red side of Seuss" and "Subliminal side of Seuss," Readers' Forum"].

While I think this exposé has been done for the public good, it falls far short of the mark of what I would expect at a top-tier institution such as BYU.

While I am outraged at the progressive, income-redistributing nature of the Grinch, I can live with this fable, if only because it appeals to our baser elements for one, or at most, two months per year.

Of far worse impact on our daily lives is the insidious tale woven and--gasp--memorized by millions of our young; "Green Eggs and Ham".

The environmentalist bent of this tale is all too obvious in the title.

Those who refuse to accept the established orthodoxy are dismissed as cranks, or worse, as anti-earth.

"Try them! Try them! And you may.

Try them and you may, I say."

Is the stanza an attempt to mimic the Nazi maxim that a big lie if often repeated becomes truth? We are comforted to know that if we do bend our will, submit to public pressure, and partake of the green message, we too can discover that this is "so good, so good, you see".

Do you think it is a coincidence that "Green Eggs and Ham" is an anagram of "SHAM RED GENE GANG"; an obvious reference to the bogus collectivist groupthink relating to all things scientific (genetics or the environment?)

I would also point out that Dr. Seuss is an anagram for REDS 'S' US, which--although not grammatically correct (of course neither is Toys ‘R’ Us, one of many merchants who peddle this type of smut)-is a clear evidence of his true subversive nature.

Don’t even think about getting me started on the anti-establishment undertones found in "The Cat in the Hat".

I immediately propose burning all books by Dr Seuss et al.

John Buffington

Calgary, Alberta

1. And especially to my brother, who is spending some time down there this summer.
2. Not my finest work, but decent enough I suppose.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

questions you do not want to ask yourself on your first day in the office of your new job

1: Will the company dog bite me again?1

2: Is my tetanus vaccination up to date?

Related to the second question, let me present to you exhibit A:

Any guesses as to why that sign might have been placed on the door?

Well, let me tell you. For anybody stupid enough to try and walk through that door, and not wrap their arms around themselves in a ball and shuffle through, scared and whimpering,2 they need to be warned that if they don't keep their hand well clear of that door, they could end up next door, wiping industrial-grade gashes on their fingers3 with hand sanitizer, trying desperately to not personify complete and utter incompetence to their new boss and co-workers, and failing due to their need to lie down to avoid passing out over what to others appears to be the equivalent of a paper cut.

Crazy, huh? Yeah. I'm sure glad I'm not that guy, because boy oh boy would that be embarrassing.4

1. Like he did in the interview, ripping through my trousers. Lousy dog. We now stare at each other, knowing one of us will strike again, but each unsure of when and where it will occur. Watch your back, buddy.
2. Like I did at all other times when trying to walk through that door the rest of the day.
3. Incidentally, this also preceded one of my favorite gchat conversations ever, which included the phrase, "I just bled on the keyboard. awkward". It also had the undesirable effect of making it impossible for me to shake hands with people. Do you know how awkward it is to reject a hand shaking? Especially at church? Yeah. Awkward.
4. I don't know that there's any way I can recover from the damage done to my reputation. Seriously people, how do you show up to work after almost passing out because of some gashes on your fingers, after smashing them in a door that thousands of people have walked through without nary an incident? Seriously. If this were two hundred years ago, I'd be forced to move out of town in shame, never to return again.