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7-25-01

The best part about game shows is when the host consults a mysterious panel of judges. For example, Alex Trebek will read his little clue card and one of the contestants will give their response, but then, instead of Alex saying that their answer was right or wrong, there’s this awkward silence. At this point, nobody knows what to do, and Alex starts looking around the studio real nervously because he’s so confused. Then he’s like, “... Judges?” Somehow, these judges know the answer to everything you could ever want to know. They’re never actually shown or heard, presumably because they prefer to have their identity be kept in secrecy, and they’re almost never needed. I want to know exactly how much they get paid for doing this, because being a game show judge has got to be the easiest job you could ever have. “Uh, yeah, we’re going to need you to sit on this chair for a half hour and, when Alex is unsure of the validity of a response, give him the old thumbs up or thumbs down.” Hey, if you know the answer to every question in the world, you could probably do something more productive in your life than ensuring that Jeopardy is run democratically. These people know the cure for cancer and they’re just sitting around working for a dumbass game show.

Personally, I don’t really watch games shows due to their inherent retardedness. I’ve been spoiled by all of the Nickelodeon games shows that I used to watch back in the ‘80s. Double Dare may have seemed like a normal trivia show on the surface, but you never knew when the host would make the contestants dig around in a giant cream pie to find some sort of red flag. But the most interesting thing about Double Dare is that it was hosted by a man named Marc Summers, who was later revealed to have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which caused him to have an unhealthy fixation with cleanliness. This makes me question his career choice. If you’re worried about not getting dirty, perhaps it might not be that wise of a move to host a game show where it is routine for a participant to jump in a vat of pudding. In fact, that’s perhaps the second worst job you could ever have in such a situation. The worst job, of course, would be to host a show called What Would You Do?, which Marc Summers also did. For somebody who likes to keep clean, this guy certainly picked a fascinating profession. I’m not knocking his disease, but if I was afraid of heights, I’m probably not going to want to become a goddamned tightrope walker.

What Would You Do? was another Nickelodeon game show, only when you did something wrong on this one, you would be strapped down to a contraption that simultaneously hit you with four cream pies. It was a little thing known as the Pie Pod, and, depending on your opinion of pies, it was either one of the worst or one of the best things that could ever happen to you.

The other Nickelodeon game show that I used to watch was called Wild & Crazy Kids, which is actually pretty self-explanatory. If you’re looking for a show where kids do wild and crazy things, most of which involve cream pies, look no further. As a change of pace, this show wasn’t hosted by Marc Summers; rather, those duties were fulfilled by the three dullest people Nickelodeon could fine. Compared to them, playing T-ball would probably seem pretty wild and crazy. Especially if, instead of hitting softballs, they hit cream pies. Leave it to Nickelodeon to figure out every possible way to make use of those things. I’m not sure where they ordered them from, but you can imagine the pie company’s bafflement when Nickelodeon first figured out that lots of cream pies equals good ratings. “What’s that? Nickelodeon wants to order another 15,000 cream pies? But they just ordered 10,000 last week! What the hell are they going to do with all those cream pies?”

You don’t want to know.

7-20-01

There’s a ragtag group of dogs in my neighborhood who enjoy having barking contests at about four in the morning. These dogs have absolutely no consideration for other people’s well-being. What I want know is this: What could their barking possibly do that would benefit them in any capacity? What are they hoping to have happen? If their goal is to keep me awake, mission fucking accomplished. I don’t know if dogs can sense fear or not, but I do know that they can sense the point at which I’m about five seconds from falling asleep, because they always know to bark exactly at that time.

My favorite part about dogs is that they’re always extremely enthused about everything they do. They’ll walk down the street on a leash and just be like, “Oh, hell yeah. Walking down the street is so awesome. I haven’t had this much fun since I chased that stick a few hours ago. Being a dog kicks serious ass.”

On an unrelated topic, sometimes I accidentally read Dear Abby, which is a syndicated advice column that appears in newspapers whose editor can’t seem to find anything cool to put in their paper. I am very offended by how insane the people who seek advice from this column are. For example, there was a letter in a recent edition from a woman who was pissed off because her coworkers brush their teeth in the public rest room sink. She wrote, “Could you please share the appropriate rule, if any applies, and assist me in scolding such offenders?” There’s a rule for that type of shit? What the hell is she talking about? Here’s somebody who is so upset that people are brushing their teeth next to her while she’s washing her hands, she actually took time out of her day to write a letter to a newspaper columnist. She is actually concerned with the fact that people are brushing their teeth next to her. That’s her big issue. The thing is, she’s not alone. It’s astounding how many people write to Dear Abby with their absurd problems. “Abby, I need help! I can’t figure out which hand to wipe my ass with, and now I can’t sleep at night because of it! Ahhh! I’m crazy! Ahhh!” It turns out that the answer to nearly every one of these people’s questions should be that they need to just chill out a little bit.

7-16-01

The good thing about being 19 years old is that now I’m legally old enough to enter Canada. Me and some other people who weren’t me went to the Windsor Casino the other day, and I have to say that this was the most confusing place that I’ve ever been to. Maybe I’m retarded, but I didn’t understand what the hell was going on the entire time we were there. For example, we dedicated about 20 minutes to walking around looking for a blackjack table, but the closest thing we could find was Spanish 21. What the hell is Spanish 21? My guess is that it’s like blackjack, only with some kind of zesty Spanish twist. Gracias, but no gracias.

Eventually I just went to the roulette table, because I understand colors pretty well. Being the high-roller that I am, I put ten dollars on black, but then they were like, “Oh, you just lost ten dollars.” Casinos are fun! After they denied my request for a do-over, I decided to put another ten dollars down. Now, I’m no statistician, but I was one hundred percent sure that black would be the next color that the ball landed on, because there’s only two colors and red was just used. According to algebra, it was simply black’s turn. After I was proven right, I took my original ten dollars back and moved to another table. Here was a game that was kind of like roulette, only instead of colors, they had numbers, and instead of understanding it, I didn’t understand it at all. However, I put five dollars down on the number 1, and then they spun the magical wheel of destiny and I pretended to know what I was routing for. After the wheel did it’s thing, they handed me two five dollar chips, suggesting that I had won five extra Canadian dollars (or roughly 20 cents American). That’s when I decided to get the hell out of there.

You know, a lot of people like to make fun of Canadians, but this is merely because of those people’s own self-esteem issues. Another reason is that a lot of Canadians are kind of dumb. However, I feel that we could all learn a valuable lesson from our neighbors to the north about friendship, loyalty and, most of all, trust.

I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

7-11-01

My cousin recently told me to grow up. She’s six years old. You know you’ve got a problem when a six-year old tells you to act more mature. I would have disagreed with her, but I’ve found that it’s impossible to argue with somebody who’s that old, because they always know how to simultaneously insult and baffle you. For example, when I told her to put her wrapper in the trash while I was baby-sitting her the other day, she quipped, “You went to Jupiter to get more stupider.” I was like, “How dare you! I did no such thing!” Another time she put her hands out about two feet apart and asked, “Are you afraid of a person this big?” I said, “Somebody that big? Why, no, I don’t—” Then she clapped her hands together and was like, “You blinked! Ha, ha, you’re afraid!” I was all, “What? But I … h-how does … what?” See, you can’t argue with something like that. It’s just too bizarre. I mean, since when is fear represented by blinking? And even if I was startled by her clapping, who’s to say that this has any relevance to being afraid of a person of a height equal to the distance that her hands were apart prior to slapping them together? Still, somehow my cousin has proved that I’m afraid of midgets, and I can’t do anything about it.

The weird thing about kids is that they all have a collective obsession with wanting to dig to China. I remember wanting to do this when I was a kid, too, but I had no idea why. It’s like, what the hell were we planning to do once we actually managed to dig to China? Overthrow the Chinese government and then proclaim the country to be a no-school zone of awesome fun? It’s not a bad plan, but I just don’t think it’s very realistic. Call me a skeptic.

7-07-01

I’m not that big a fan of computer games, but back in 1994 the only things a computer could do were word-processing and running Myst. This was a game that let you walk around what you soon recognize to be the most boring island ever created. The goal of Myst was to try to kill yourself so that you didn’t have to continue walking around, but this was impossible, as there was no way to die. In fact, there was no way to do anything that didn’t involve walking around. You’d be like, “Hey, there’s a forest path I can walk through. Oh, wait, I don’t want to walk through a forest path. Fuck this.”

The only good computer games I’ve ever played were back when I was in elementary school. Occasionally the teacher would be like, “Alright, class, you can either work on your spelling packet or go play some Oregon Trail. It’s your call.” For those of you who’ve never heard of it, Oregon Trail was based on the actual adventures of people from the 1800’s who were walking around Oregon for some unknown reason. The object of this game was to try to cross a bunch of rivers without losing your entire supply of wheat and 20 goddamned oxen. This almost never happened. You’d see a river and be like, “Oh, shit, here comes another river. Dear God, please don’t kill off my oxen. I’ll do anything if you please just let me cross this one river without losing half of my freaking oxen.” Then the game would be like, “You have lost 12 oxen and have received the syphilis virus. Also, you are dying. Oh, and by the way, 3 more of your oxen have just died.” It was like, “Hey, screw you, Oregon Trail. I really don’t need to deal with this bullshit right now. I’ve got to go play some kickball to clear my head.”

What’s interesting is that, although schools nowadays are very uptight about not having guns represented in class, 50% of Oregon Trail involved hunting down various animals with a rifle. It didn’t matter how much food you caught because you knew that you’d lose it all the next time you tried to cross a river, but this was OK. Anything was better than working on some kind of packet that the teacher wanted you to do. In those days, teachers loved giving out work in the packet form.

My all-time favorite game to play was Number Munchers, which was about a frog who enjoyed doing math. The twist was that you had to deal with a bunch of monsters who seemed to be really pissed off that this frog was doing math, and they ran around chasing after you. They were like, “Oh, so you’re doing math, are you? Well let’s see how you like doing math after I kill you!” The game didn’t really make any sense, but it did teach me a lot of real-life skills. Now I can not only perform basic arithmetic, I can also perform basic arithmetic while a monster is chasing after me. Eventually, this is bound to come in handy.

7-03-01

Tomorrow is Independence Day, where everybody gets together and celebrates America’s history by lighting off fireworks in the grand Chinese tradition. But the fourth of July is not simply just a day to celebrate our nation’s independence from Canada; it’s also a day to get me gifts in preparation for my birthday on Friday.

Speaking of Steven Spielberg, a lot of people are talking about the movie A.I, which is apparently about a robot struggling to find his place in the human world. I liked this movie better when it was called Short Circuit, which is a film that chronicles the adventures of a robot who escapes from a factory and then reads books really, really fast. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a robot read a book really fast? See this movie. (Insert Reading Rainbow sound effect here).

Short Circuit was made in the ‘80s, which was a good time for filmmaking because about half of all movies that were made during this decade featured an inventor who was having trouble in his inventing career. This was a smart move by the movie industry as it allowed for the audience to be treated to seeing all of the inventions that didn’t work out. For example, if there was an invention that was supposed to automatically turn oranges into orange juice, you can bet that the oranges would start shooting out at everybody in the room in a very hilarious, very intimidate fashion. Gremlins is a movie with one such hapless inventor. It starts off with said inventor looking for a Christmas present for his son, and so he walks into a mysterious shop. This is his first mistake. It used to be that the premise for nearly every single movie is that somebody buys a strange relic from a mysterious shop, only to find out later that the item in question has some sort of mystical power. In the case of Gremlins, the item is an animal who is capable of spawning off an entire race of monsters if water lands on his fur. The two other rules are as follows: The gremlins evolve immediately if they eat food after midnight, and, just like in real life, they instantly die if they appear in direct sunlight. The director was clearly focusing on realism.

The most inexplicable thing about this movie is that whenever somebody sees a gremlin, they’re like, “Aww, it’s so cute! What’s it’s name?” What’s it’s name? Are you retarded? It’s a bizarre animal that you’ve never heard of before! Nobody in this movie ever stops and says to themselves, “Now wait a minute. There’s no such thing as a gremlin. Shouldn’t I be surprised to see one of these things?” If you saw a gremlin in real life, you wouldn’t say, “Hey, that thing’s pretty cool. Where did you get it?” You’d probably say, “Holy shit, what the hell is that? Get that hellish beast out of my sight and burn it before it comes any closer!”

On a different note, F sharp. Also, a special shout out goes to all of the strange people who have been signing my guestbook. God knows how you found this thing.