Friday, July 29, 2005

Some Useless Trivia, A Fancy Word, and a Strange Case of Synchronicity...

Useless Trivia:
Marilyn Monroe had six toes.

Fancy Word:
Main Entry: syn·chro·nic·i·ty
Function: noun
1 : the quality or fact of being synchronous
2 : the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality -- used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung

Now that you know what it means, here is a mild case as example:
Yesterday, while driving in to work, I heard a commercial on the radio for PNC bank. PNC is a new competitor to the DC market and is looking to put the word on the street.

The commercial included a tagline about people are stepping up to the big blue microphone and had some hella-gay jingle goin on in the background with some diva singing "what I want, what I want, W-H-A-T-I-W-A-N-T." It sounded absolutely craptastic, in a true William Hung sense.

I had to ask myself, what were these people thinking when they cooked this monstrosity up? Did they even test consumer reaction to the ad? Or was it just a bunch of crocthety old white dudes around a table assuming that this is exactly what those young D.C. whippersnappers want to hear.

My first contention is with the whole "stepping up to the big blue microphone" thing. Sounds too much like singing into the purple microphone and is that the image they really want to portray?

Secondly, the music sucks.

So later that very same day, I get pulled into a project that will require me to travel to NYC, London, Munich, Zurich, and Italy to do some research for a large banking company on consumer reaction to ad music.

How freaky is that?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin'

In keeping with our Burt Reynold’s phase, Shannon and I watched Smokey in the Bandit 2 this past weekend. Yes, believe it or not, they made a sequel.

Supposedly, it is a trilogy, but virtually nobody knows if there really was a third movie, not even Burt Reynolds himself. A reporter recently insisted on this fact and got into an argument with Mr. Reynolds. The matter was settled in true Burt Reynolds fashion, with his greatly feared Media Freshmaker (a strong-arm slap of Rick James caliber).

The DVD we watched listed Smokey and the Bandit 1,2, & 3 on the menu, but when you try to access Smokey and the Bandit 3, all you see is a prompt to flip the disc over (note: the DVD is on a one-sided disc, thus trying to play the label side will only result in frustration and possibly a broken DVD player…personally I think it is one of Burt Reynolds’ practical jokes, but more on that later).

Anyhow, I thought I would give a brief synopsis as to why the original was and still is far superior to the sequel and rumored to exist “Smokey and the Bandit 3.”

As a true bench mark to any film’s worth, let’s first examine some of their finer snippets of IMDB Trivia.

Smokey and the Bandit was the second highest grossing movie released in 1977 next to Star Wars…compare that to…(Re: Smokey and the Bandit 2) To the chagrin of the stunt crew, the Turbo Trans Ams didn't have quite the performance they were hoping for. So to get a respectable amount of speed out of them, they installed nitrous oxide tanks.

Cleary the 1977 Trans-am (used in the original) was far superior to the 1979 Trans-am (used in the sequel).

The screen time of Fred, Cleetus Snow’s loveable hound dog and film’s true acting genius, was severely cut in the sequel in order to quell Sally Field’s complaints on continually being upstaged.

Anyone who’s worked with Burt knows he’s an absolute rapscallion of a practical joker. After shooting the Don Williams bar scene, they whole cast went out to blow off some steam. Everyone got sauced and when they returned to the set, Burt thought it would be funny to put a padlock on Dom Deluise’s personal refrigerator. Once discovered, an infuriated Deluise retaliated by eating Burt’s entire wardrobe except for the gay caballero outfit, which Burt was forced to wear for the remainder of the film.

After riding high on the hog of the first film (and not anticipating a sequel) Sally Field’s party-hard lifestyle finally caught up with her as she balloon to 8,000 pounds. Back then fitness routines were in the dark-age and personal trainers non-existent. As a result, Sally Fields made excessive demands in order for her to agree to be in the sequel. She insisted the sequel included BOTH Dom Deluise AND an elephant so as to give the optical illusion of her slimness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Poweroutages and Paybacks...

Good morning sunshine!

Well this will be an impromptu post as my spectacular thesis regarding the superiority of the original Smokey and the Bandit is at work and I am at home due to a poweroutage which has consumed several blocks of Reston's fine establishment (including my place of employment).

So I will try my best try improvise a suitable proxy. On my way home I noticed a swimmermom/cheermom minivan (far more rare, and exceedingly more dangerous than your run of the mill soccermom minivan). The entire back of the van included a vinyl graphic of what I assume to be their child in full cheerleader regalia (sp?). Just plain spooky. I don't know what it is about swimmermoms and/or cheermoms and their propensity to adorn their vehicles with all sorts of "flare," but my assumption is that it results from their vicarious desire to live through their kids while at the same time embarrass them.

Which brings me to the subject of today's post, the time honored tradition of multitasking parents using their vehicle not only for transportation, but as means for embarrassing their children.

This phenomena is perhaps best illustrated through the case of my sister and our parents 1968 Pontiac Executive Station wagon.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this was the premier vehicle for embarrassing adolescents in the 1980s. Obscenely large, dated in style, adorned with wood veneer, and a fading olive green paint job made this beast a virtual unnatural disaster for any teenager's social status. Fortunately, I was still young in those days(thus oblivious to social status), so I didn't car too much about the car one way or another. I do remember, quite vividly in fact, that the speedometer went to 210 MPH and that when you turned on the hi beams via a kick switch on the floor board, a big a$$ blue indian head lit up on the dash board.

My sister's feelings for the car, however, were no mystery. On the way to the wheaton Ice Skating rink on Friday night, she had asked to be dropped off no less than 3 blocks away from the building. This, of course, prompted my dad to enter the parking lot at 60+ MPH with the horn blaring, coming to a screeching stop smack-dab in front of the building. Even the most rookie economic analyst could figure out the net result was a significant decrease in my sister's coolness stock.

But hey, things could have been worse. We could have been in our ugly car. Yes, believe it or not, the Pontiac was "the looker" of our two family vehicles. Our other car was an orange AMC Gremlin.

As if its heinous looks weren't bad enough, ye olde gremlin was also infested with ants. The car previously belonged to an uncle of mine who cultivated a rather large ant farm. One day, while transporting the farm, something went wrong. Very wrong. Some fat chick in the back seat crushed the farm when my uncle took a turn too fast. Alright, that part I made up. Actually, I don't know as much about how it happened as much as that it did happen. Furthermore, I think that minor detail failed to come to surface until after my parents bought the car and couldn't figure out where all those damn ants were coming from.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Party FAQ

Party FAQ

When is the party getting started? (alternate version…when should I show up?)

In theory, the party kicks off at 2 PM. Philosophically, it begins as soon as you arrive. In actuality, most people tend to arrive around 3ish. Notice, however, that I said “most” people. The party, much like society in general, has a contingency who deviate wildly from the norm. It is not unheard of for folks to arrive a full 24 hours in advance to stake their claim at the crab table. Ok that’s a lie. They are usually those who come in from out of town. Furthermore, I often hear of people requesting to start the party Thursday night (just like the good ole college days). Conversely, there are latecomers. While most arrive around 3, a few will continue to trickle in until the wee hours of the morning. These are generally hippies, miscreants and local vagabonds. To put things in perspective, I think I arrived at 2:30 for the last two parties. Plan accordingly. The more you like crabs, the earlier you oughta plan on arriving.

Will there be a keg?

To keg or not to keg, that is the question.

Let's review historical events, shall we?

2000 party -- 1 keg MGD -- finished in two hours
2001 party -- 2 kegs Yeung Ling, didn't even finish 1 keg (second keg finished a few months later despite slight hint of tangerine skunkiness—we told people it was a microbrew)
2002 party -- 1 keg miller lite --finished in one hour
2003 party -- actually, I don’t remember
2004 party -- 1 keg miller lite –Not even close to finished (thanks spooky chocolate)

It would appear that 2005 is slated to be a "finisher" year, but I have my doubts. I may hedge my bets and stick with cases (of both 40s and cans).

In fact, I've got the better half of a case of OE in my fridge right now. I will augment that with 2 of every kind of 40 I can find between now and then. I will also hit up Costco for a few cases of swill brew. People tend to show up with beer as well. I often receive 40s as tribute and individual or two have been known to come packing coolers full of PBR.

One quick word on drinking. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Yeah, I know that is falling on deaf ears, my own included, but if you come out of the gates blazing like Paul Omps did last year (ie finishing a 40 of steel reserve in less than 4 minutes)—or even more foolishly, try to pace him like I did, you probably won’t make it much past sundown. Which means you won’t get to see Fridge’s repeat performance of his 2004 4th of July’s chariots of fire run with Desert Storm Fountain Firework ablaze in hand. Nor will you see the subsequent, yet equally if not more impressive, laser beams from Jen’s eyes as she realizes what her husband is doing. For the less daring, we may also have sparklers, or as Dave Attell calls them, the gay cousin of the fireworks family.

What if I don’t like crabs?

You probably aren’t from Maryland. Fear not, land-luber, as always the party will feature a delightful cornucopia of urban treats of the like that would make Big Pun holla with pride. Translation= for sure there will also be hot wings, cheese doodles, grape soda, and pickles. Yes pickles. According to Dave Chappelle, some people say cucumbers taste better pickled. Huh? What! Yeah! OK! In all probability, there will be other food as well, especially if you bring it.

What if I don’t know anyone else on the evite?

Honestly, I don’t know half the f@ckers on the evite either. It’s no big deal. Really. After all it’s a social event and Beer and Crabs can unite even the staunchest of enemies. Remember the fall of the Berlin wall? Beer and Crabs. Remember those two days David Lee Roth was let back into Van Halen? Beer and Crabs. OJ and Nicole? Definite lack of beer and crabs.

Besides most of these people tend to make friends pretty quick (Unless you are on the receiving end of an errant horseshoe, are run down by the junior mayor (who is known for his uncanny ability to hotwire my dad’s Kubota tractor), or try to play late night tetherball against one James Elliot (who’s smacktalk is unparalleled on this side of the Anacostia)). Aside from that, everyone is just peachy.

Will there be another dick cheney cake featuring foul language?

We can only hope. Maybe I will buy some twinkies and sharpie obscenities on them just for back up.

I hear there is a watermelon scented pool, is that true?

At one-time, the pool was watermelon scented thanks to the great watermelon pool football game debacle of 2003. But thanks to the strainer and copious amounts of chlorine, the pool is once again non-watermelon scented.

Is there a lifeguard on duty?

No. Swim at your own risk. And no diving either, superman. The pool is no more than 4 feet deep, so unless you are Gary Coleman, stick with cannonballs. And while we are on the subject of pool rules, no make pee pee in the pool, okay? Drinking 40s in the pool ala Troy Milliken while doing acrobatics is strongly encouraged. In fact, that is the sole reason I purchased a floating cooler (yes you heard it here first).

What about cameras?

Another subject of great debate. Do we really want to document what goes on after the consumption of alcohol in Gary Busey quantity? You bet your sweet a$$. Please bring your cameras and take lots of pictures & videos (and send them back my way). If we have enough footage, I will try and compile one of my special slideshows to showcase the highlights (and ever increasing popular lowlights).

Is there a dress code?

While not mandated, if you plan on eating crabs, you may want to bring a crab eating shirt or perhaps a poncho. It’s always a great idea to have a poncho. Costumes are acceptable as well. Extra points for cowboy hats and airbrushed shirts.

Are there sleeping accommodations?

Good news, there have been several vacancies in shanty-town, so if you are so inclined, bring your tents for some camping. I plan on going to sears in search of a hot water heater box for my very own shanty-town condo. For all you indoor divas, we have the finest hardwood floors available (bring the aerobed), along with an assortment of couches and a bed or two. Folks are welcomed and encouraged to stay as you are able to party like a Viking and attend the morning after trip to bob evans.

Do it, do it.

See you bustas Saturday.

PS I will post this mess on my blog.

Why? Because I can.

Also, I get asked these same four or five questions every year, and it will save me the trouble of retyping in the future.

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's friday!

Which means it's time for some useless triva.

For whatever reason, it seems that from time to time, I come across dated phrases in an unusually high occurence. I don't know if they are featured in a book of the month, comic strip, or movie and as a result, the general population picks it up and recirculates it or what. But it does happen.

Recently, I keep hearing people describing someone or something as being "long in the tooth." It means old. real old. Like having a social security number 1 old.

I though it maybe it was a poke at Gary Busey.

For the first time in my life, I was wrong.

A short google search reveals its orgins being related to describing the effect of a horse's receding gumline on the appearance of its teeth. As the gums recede, the length of teeth appears to grow longer.

If you thought that was useless, get a load of this:

In the 60's, some yahoo thought it would be a good idea to strap a couple of jet engines on a train in order to help railroads keep up with the "jet" age.

This frankenstien contraption reached a top speed of 183.85 MPH between Indiana and Ohio, allowing passengers to leave someplace nobody wants to be to go to someplace nobody wants to go in record time.

Only in the sixties.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Washington Post, you big dummy

Ha Ha! Washinton Post, you so stoopid!

On injury confirmed as British police continue to investigate minor explosions at three subway stations and on a bus.

Seems like I'm not the only one who's brain outpaces their typing and is too lazy to go back and proofread.

Ben's fancy word of the day...

Legerdemain -- no, not an obscure member of the Jackson Five, rather it means slight of hand or display of skills and after last year's magnum opus, Napoleon Dynamite we all know how vitally important skills are.

As for fancy words, they are a skill in and of themselves so don't discredit their ability and how one can leverage them on a day to day basis. In fact, the only reason I got my first job right out of gradschool was because I non-chalantly dropped the word multicollinearity during the interview.

I am pretty sure at least half of you, right now, are thinking, WTF is multicollinearity? Not only is a ringer for any game of hangman, but also a polysyllabic term meaning several things are related to each other. You probably wouldn't be nearly as morbidly terrified of the term correlation, nor if I told you there were multiple cases of correlation.

Drop that multicollinearity bomb and watch people freeze up like a deer in headlights and presume you are either (a) hella-smart, (b) crazy, (c) a stats freak or (d) a hella-smart, crazy stat-freak named ben.

Now get back to work hippy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization


While at the gym at some ungodly hour the other morning I caught a snippet of the today show or good morning america or some other typical morning program popular with this country's geriatric population. What I saw was disturbing evidence of the rapid descent of our culture through the continued celebration of mediocracy, the US Air Guitar Championships.

I found it exceedingly hard to believe that not only do people admit to playing air guitar, but practice it on a competitive level. Will other air instruments follow suit?

Perhaps the only thing more embarassing would be the inclusion of air drums. Have you ever seen some @$$hole driving down the road playing air drums? I found myself driving behind someone like that the other day. From behind I thought maybe they were being attacked by an angry hornet or maybe they had some sort of violent tick. Nope, just your run of the mill cracker playing air drums.

While on the subject of race, have you ever seen a black man play air guitar? No I didn't think so. Homey don't play that, so neither should you. It is the essence of someone who is uncool thinking they are cool.

I shudder to think what's next.

A jort fashion expo?

A mullet competition?