Gimme some Money.

That about sums up my needs at the moment. Between needing a new roof, a new water heater, a water softener, heating oil, six tons of coal and a new car, I am about to start knocking over liquor stores on the weekends.

In the spirit of sharing inconsequential things in my life with total strangers, here's a picture of my new car:

It's a Honda Fit, and I had to wait about a month for it to be shipped over here from Japan because they don't make them here yet. I've had it for about a month now, and I think I really like it. It gets about 38 mpg if I'm careful, and about 35 if I'm not. It's halved my gasoline bill, and dropped my monthly payment by about 90 bucks. It also holds a lot of shit. The other day I filled it with twelve 2x10x6 pieces of treated lumber, some 2x4's and a bunch of other crap. A few days before that, I hauled about eight 50lb bags of salt for the water softener. It will hold a couple of backpacks and other assorted camping gear, which is the main reason I liked it. The interior is pretty nice, considering it's the cheapest car Honda sells, and it has an AUX port for my ipod. Yes, I upgraded to the sport model just because of that feature.

There are a few things I don't like about it, however. 109 horsepower, for one. It really could use an extra 20 horses. Also, the gas pedal spring is weak. So just the normal weight of your foot presses it down. You have to hover your foot, which is tiring on longer trips, and if you don't use the cruise, you tend to pick up speed unintentionally. Speaking of that, this is the first thing I noticed when I test drove one:

That's the speedometer in a car that has 109 hp. I would say Honda was overreaching a bit, because I can't think of a single way this car could break the 100mph mark. Oh wait -- yes I can.

The water softener purchase was because our hard water was wrecking everything in the house that has water running through it. The boiler, the ice-maker, the washing machine and our first dishwasher all succumbed to the appliance equivalent of arteriosclerosis.

The new water heater was necessary because the aforementioned hard water also completely crapped up the copper coil inside the boiler, and as a result, our hot water slowed to a trickle. I decided that I couldn't go through another winter taking showers that felt like I was being pissed on by a demon with a prostate problem, so thank you jeebuz for Lowe's "12 months no interest for anything over $299" deal.

On the plus side, I'm getting really good at sweating copper pipe, and I consider that solid training for when I become a plumber. You can't outsource that. My friend Yort and I have decided we're going to quit working in IT and just start a plumbing company. Here's our new logo:

I am actually glad Yort is giving serious thought to a career in plumbing, because I think he would make a really shitty fireman, judging by this photo of the 3rd Annual June Burning of the Christmas Tree:

I don't know why he feels the need to burn my christmas tree. I just let him. It's easier that way.


Sundays With Sylvia: Volume IV

Remember when you were a kid and you'd mold your face with your hands and your mother would tell you not to do that or it would stay that way?

Well, unlike your mother, Sylvia wants you to mold your face, because she actually believes it will stay that way. In today's issue of SWS, you are going to learn how to mold your face like clay.

Not by the hair on my chinny chin-chin.

First, we're going to take care of that double chin of yours, because it makes you look like crap, and there's no reason for it. Why? Because you can rub it out, and then slap it gone. How, you say? Exactly like this:

Slap firmly under your chin with your hands for as long as possible? What sort of bullshit advice is that? You can't just leave a good neck-slapping open-ended like that. Neck slapping, when done properly, needs to have a definite starting and ending time. That's just the way it is. I will have to do some research to see if anyone died of self-inflicted neck-slaps in the 30's, because that's just bad advice right there.

On the other hand, suppose two chins isn't your problem. Instead of two chins, what if you have, say, half a chin? Or even worse than that -- what if you have so little chin that if someone painted you yellow, you could be an extra on The Simpsons?

Well, Sylvia can help you with this problem, too. How? With her hands....and her mind.

So apparently pushing your chin around in some sort of chin-cream 20 times can make it grow. Who knew? Sylvia, that's who.

In this next picture, you might think Sylvia is using her amazing mental powers to grow herself a bitchin' chin, but you'd be wrong.

She's actually working on her nose. The "mental" way is actually a gyp, if you ask me.

Convictions. Speaking your mind. Lame.

Her nose used to look look like Jimmy Durante's, but with hard work and perseverance, she was able to push that nose-fat right off her face using the following technique:

Crepey Neck? Arouse those glands.

I am not exactly sure what the term "crepey" means, but I'm guessing it's nothing good. I picture either the fine wrinkles on crepe paper streamers, or those thin french pancakes. If your neck looks like french pancakes, you're pretty much screwed, right?

Not necessarily.

All you need to do is arouse your glands.

Sadly, you don't do this in quite the way you're probably thinking, but that's because you're all pigs and your collective minds are in the gutter. Instead, arouse your glands this way:

According to Sylvia, nothing awakens the glands like a hearty laugh. With all due respect, I beg to differ. If I learned anything at all from dating in college, I learned that my glands do not respond well to laughter. I'm not saying she's wrong -- your glands may eventually get used to the laughter, but mine never actually came to terms with it.

Also, drink raw eggs. That will help.

And remember, Sylvia wants you to be sloghtly pink. So go ahead -- light some candles, put on some soft music and spend some quality time alone with your neck. It's OK, I'll wait.

When you come back, we'll talk about one last thing, and it's very important, so don't get all carried away with your neck and forget about me.

Back so soon? Your glands don't look aroused to me, but hey, what do I know. Maybe your neck is easy to please.

The last thing we're going to talk about in this issue of Sundays with Sylvia is the bane of crones everywhere -- the dreaded...

Old Woman's Bump.

That bump of fat on the top of your spine. Sylvia had it. Between you and me, I think it probably used to be her nose. Regardless, she got rid of it, and here's how she did it:

To be honest, this one kinda creeped me out a little. Especially when she says "You can feel that back lump moving." Yikes.

Sylvia also instructs you to "all the time keep thinking about the bump."

Riddle me this. If you had some sort of lump doing the jitterbug under your back-skin, what are the odds that you'd be all the time thinking about it? Pretty good, I'd think.

All I'm saying is that if I felt some lump on my back moving of its own free will, I would probably lose my shit and try to dig it out with a barbecue fork.

Her advice is sound, however. She tries to kill it. By smashing it off.

Ten to 20 times a day.

Those little bastards are nothing if not tenacious.


And remember, every time you click on the button below, it prevents a ventriloquist dummy from coming to life.



Sundays With Sylvia: Volume III

Sylvia had shit to do on Sunday.

It turns out that in addition to her stellar advice on how to reduce your boobs, Sylvia also has some pearls of wisdom on ways to make them larger, if by chance you aren't happy with what nature has seen fit to give you.

On Bigger Boobs And The Right Underwear: Sylvia Knows Best, Goddammit.

There are two things about Sylvia that I love -- First, she doesn't pull any punches. She's the kind of friend who would tell you in no uncertain terms that yes, you do look fat in those jeans, and you would take that opinion and like it. Second, she is 100% positive that her methods work. She is like the voodoo priestess of fat reduction, and god help you if you don't believe something she is telling you.

So let's make our boobs bigger, shall we?

You feel inferior. You look inferior. Your life is no bed of roses. Do you know why? Because you are boobless. You have nipples with no support system. If you were held up at gunpoint and you raised your arms in surrender, you bra would slip up and snap you in the chin.

Rest easy, my flat-chested friend. All that is in the past. With Sylvia's help, you WILL have bigger boobs. And then....oh yes....THEN....world domination is within your grasp.

How do we know this to be true? Because Sylvia said so.

Here is her secret. Remember, you MUST do this before an open window. Why? Isn't it obvious by now? Because Sylvia said so.

That's it. That's all there is to it. And I know this works, because my wife's grandmother had the largest set of knockers I've ever seen on a 70 year old woman, and this chapter had the corner of the page folded down. I rest my case.

With that dog-eared page still fresh in my mind (and my nightmares) I am confident that if you follow the above advice exactly, in no time you will have breasts to call your very own. And as an extra bonus for all you flat-chested women reading this -- just in case you need an extra boost to get the major cuppage happening -- here's more of Sylvia's sage advice:

If any of you are planning on doing any naked singing in front of an open window any time soon, please let me know, because it will help my disposition, too. Plus, I can probably get a ton of hits if I post the video of you singing, followed by the video of you being arrested and hauled off in the back seat of a cruiser with your freshly-sprouted breasts bobbing up and down in the rear window. (Note: If you live in the northeast, I would also suggest not waiting until January or February to start this practice, because you could inadvertently take an eye out.)

Of course, if you avoid the whole police scene, and manage to sing naked in front of a window every morning for a few months without attracting any unwanted attention, you will need something to carry your newly-minted cans.

And for fuck's sake, don't go waddling into a room without any corset. That's just stupid. Given the rest of her comments, however, I'm guessing Sylvia would have something to say about this alarming trend:

Also, don't sit around after dinner, talking. Apparently, that will kill you, and if it doesn't kill you it will, at the very least, get you a big, fat stomach:

And remember fat people: No swimming. Instead, lay in the sun and then jump in cold water.

Because that makes much more sense.


What's in a name?

Seriously. I actually talked to that guy on the phone Friday, and it was a complete cluster. Granted, he spoke English better than I spoke Hindi, but still -- I understood about every seventh word, and that word was usually "Yes?" which he repeatedly asked me after every unintelligible outburst.

It was brutally painful, and I found my desire to end the call rapidly beginning to outweigh my desire for other things like the answer to my question, or my continued life. He kept trying to get me to understand his e-mail address, and all I heard was someone gargling small rodents. It reminded me of the scene in Office Space where Samir says "No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Samir Na-gheen-an-a-jar. Nagheenanajar."

I am not a student of history, geography, linguistics, or apparent glossolalia, but I found his name intriguing. It wouldn't be the first time Dell or Citibank or some other random company's phone system shuffled me off to India, but this was an overseas contracting company and I needed to straighten this system problem out. I knew I would get an Indian guy because it's an Indian company, but still -- when I saw the name, I realized I was suddenly ear to ear with someone who would have to buy four packages of rub-on vinyl letters just to put his last name on his mailbox. I think it was the sheer magnitude of letters that most impressed me.

As an aside, I think we could save ourselves a lot of aggravation if all telephone support people overseas dealing with American callers were required to use names similar to certain monosyllabic celebrities. Sting. Cher. Prince. Seal. Slash. Easy, right? I realize this would make e-mail addresses more difficult, but maybe we could use numbers. "This is Seal2378, how may I help you?"

After I finally got him entered into my e-mail contact list, I decided that I was going to do a little quick research on Indian names when I got home, because that's the way my stupid mind works. Honestly, I don't know what I did before I became the knowledge vampire of the Internet. Oh yeah, I went to the library and they had these things called books, and you would pay a dime to make a photocopy. Man, those book-things sucked.

Anyway, back to the names.

I realize that all names have literal meanings. Indian names in particular appear to be rife with the power of the gods, and it seems that Indian parents are not afraid to use them.

With that freedom of expression, however, comes much responsibility. The first name Akhilesh, for instance, means "Indestructible Lord of the Universe" and I am not even kidding.

I mean, holy shit. I could see where, as a parent, you would have hope for your child's unlimited potential, but you are setting yourself up for a complete fail right there. You have no shot. None. And think of your poor kid. The first time he loses a fight on the playground he's going to have a nervous breakdown. "How can this be? Am I not the Indestructible Lord of the Universe? How did Nirav sneak up behind me and strike me down?" At least if you named him Chinmay and he ended up working the customer service support line for IBM he would maintain some small measure of self-esteem.

The other thing that cracks me up are the e-mail messages we get from overseas. There is one popular phrase in particular that makes me laugh every time. About once a week I will get an e-mail asking me to fix a problem, and at the end it will say "Please do the needful."

I looked up the origin of the phrase on Wikipedia and it said "many phrases that the British may consider antiquated are still popular in India. The legacy of the East India Company and its practices still prevails in all official correspondence in India. Official letters continue to include phrases such as "please do the needful" and "you will be intimated shortly."

A woman I work with forwarded me a support request from overseas the other day that had the phrase in it. She wrote "Can you tell me how to fix this? I'm not sure what to do."

I wrote back, "You just have to do the needful."

A few seconds later, I received a reply that said, "Ha! Could you tell me what that would entail?"

So I sent her this:

Do the needful. Then click the button below. You will be intimated shortly.


My future, she is-a so bright.

A while ago, someone contacted me via e-mail and asked if I'd be willing to give an honest review of his product for a free sample of said product. I agreed, thinking it might be something fun to play with, and there was always the possibility I could make my review slightly amusing. I waited and waited, but nothing showed up. He never contacted me again. I figured he had decided against it after I told him I had a humor blog and I would be brutally honest in my review. I also told him there was a good chance I'd make jokes at his expense.

Well, De Filippi, he came-a through!

The other day, my "free gift" was sitting in my mailbox. After coming here all the way from the old country, postaprioritaria, the package was still in one piece. Yes, it came from Italy. Milano, to be exact.

So now I know exactly two things that are produced in Milano:

Weird little cookies*, and these things:

In case you're wondering, these strange-ass looking things are called pinhole glasses. If you think they look freaky just sitting there on the desk, you should see how weird they look when you put them on. I think the fact that they appear to be cut out of a black leather car seat probably has something to do with that.

The funny thing is, they kinda-sorta actually work. I've needed glasses for quite a while (I'm nearsighted) and these work by focusing and limiting the amount of extraneous light that gets to your eye. If you're interested, you can read about it here.

Unfortunately, they are almost useless unless you're looking at something very bright, because not much light gets in at all. If I look through them for more than a few minutes, my head feels like it's going to explode. There's an odd momentary distortion when your eye moves from hole to hole, but things are actually quite clear. I'm not sure if you'd ever get used to it, but the overall experience is probably pretty close to being knocked unconscious and waking up trapped inside of an air hockey table.

In the history section of the website, they mention Eskimos using a variation on these to prevent snow blindness, using slits instead of pinholes. I thought that was pretty cool, because one of the first comic book titles I ever collected as a kid was The Flash, and this cover immediately popped into my head:

Yeah. Captain Cold and the Heat Wave. Supervillains or a 1970's Funk Band? You decide. But The Flash on crutches? That's the best they could come up with? Looking back on it now, it had to be a low point for DC.

Anyway, if you choose to view this as a paid advertisement, consider this: I don't care. I got me a free pair of pinhole glasses, and you didn't.

Besides, they've done wonders for my piano playing.

You've got the right one baby!

Uh huh.

* When I was a kid, I always thought they were called mulatto cookies.


Sundays with Sylvia: Volume II

Out of all the things that could ruin your appearance, think of the worst thing. Angry boils all over your body? Or that freaky pigmentation thing Michael Jackson has going on? Or maybe instead of leaving it up to mother nature, you'd like to take a more active role in ruining your appearance, like this person:

I only said "person" because I wasn't sure if it was a guy or a girl. Anyway, all of these things are wrong.

In today's issue of Sundays with Sylvia, we're going to address the thing that can ruin your appearance most.

The Abdomen: It's nothing at all like Cowbell.

Interestingly, your abdomen can make you look like a bag. Let's get rid of it. First, Sylvia recommends a pretty decent exercise for toning your core muscles. You'll look pretty funny doing it, but it *does* work. I've seen it or variations of it in many workouts:

Then, in typical Sylvia fashion, she takes the fast train to crazy town:

Breaking down fatty tissues by having someone yank on you for five minutes? Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure this would be more of a workout for the yank-er than the yank-ee.

And remember, always stay relaxed. Otherwise, all bets are off. And of course, then we have the turkish towels and the slapping. I like how she gives you the option of doing it yourself if your helper is unable or unwilling to assist, like if your helper suddenly decided you were batshit crazy and she wasn't going to stick around to slap you anymore.

Throughout the book, she goes off on the weirdest tangents. For instance, right in the middle of this abdomen workout, she starts talking about anemia. By the way, if anyone out there is anemic, she advocates eating lots of liver, and boiling radish greens and spinach and drinking the juice. And if you happen to anemic and also fat, you can do this workout:

I am guessing that Sylvia would not like emo/goth kids at all, and I am pretty sure Marilyn Manson would give her a coronary. Also, most anemic people are crabby assholes.

She goes on to share her vast medical knowledge about anemia and how to best get the circulation going in your spine:

In fact, Friday night I was slapping my wife's spine and got a little carried away and started using a flat hand by mistake. However, after I held her down and scrubbed her raw with the towel, she did grudgingly admit she felt alive, almost sensationally so. I think she's still a little pissed though, because she's had a headache and a cough for the last two days.

And lastly, don't forget to wear proper footwear when you workout. Ankle support is very important:

Next time, maybe we'll talk about how to make your boobs bigger, and fix those bow-legs of yours.

If you liked this post, vote for it on humor-blogs where you might find another funny blog to read.


Sometimes TV tells the truth.

I know some people say they love George Clooney, but I've long suspected that nobody loves George Clooney as much as George Clooney loves George Clooney. Finally, I have proof:

Here's a rare backstage shot from the 2006 Oscars:

On a different topic, I want to pimp one of my favorite artists. He has a new CD out, and I've been listening to it non-stop. Go here and press "LISTEN NOW" in the upper left-hand corner. Let me know what you think. Personally, I think he has one of the most unique voices I've heard in a very long time. (If you click "Listen" at the top menu of the widget, you can pick and choose the tunes.)

Another thing -- apparently, when your blog reaches a certain traffic level (a surprisingly modest amount, believe it or not) people start coming out of the woodwork to try to get you to endorse this or that for them. It could be a product (a legal alternative to weed? Do I look like Jeff Spicoli to you?) or even a website or a video. At any rate, this one guy e-mailed me, and told me that if I did an impartial review of his product, he'd give me a freebie to keep. I warned him that it wouldn't be pretty, but I guess he believes any publicity is good publicity. So be prepared for that one. I'll give you a hint: It's something you wear. And no, get your mind out of the gutter. It's nothing like that.

Lastly, I am getting my ass beat down over at humor-blogs.com because you guys are lazy. Don't make me send Sylvia over to your house to make you join up to vote. You thought she was a harsh mistress when she was alive....


Sundays with Sylvia: Volume I

It's the first installment of Sundays with Sylvia, and todays topic is one that is always on everyone's mind: Your enormous cans.

If you're sick and tired of pinning your own arms down when you sleep on your back, you might be interested to hear what Sylvia has to say this week.

If, however, you make your living by crushing beer cans with your enormous breasts on national television, you might want to skip this post.

It probably goes without saying that if Sylvia thinks massaging the breasts is dangerous, then using them to break boards and crush cans would almost assuredly get you on her shit list.

I'm not exactly sure how drinking a glass of buttermilk every 2 hours for three days straight would do anything except give you diarrhea, but there you go. I have no theories on this subject, so if there are any nutritionists out there who know the boob-reducing ingredient in buttermilk, please let me know.

Apparently, it never fails.

I didn't want the twitchy, nervous, thin people to feel left out this week, so here's a little tip for you regarding your bathing habits:

Listen to Sylvia. Don't kill yourself, skinny people.

Also, there's something new happening over at humor-blogs.com -- you now have to register to vote, and you can vote on individual posts. I know that's a pain in the ass, but Sylvia would want you to at least check it out. Thanks.


I'm going to have a dirty, dirty 4th.

I know it's probably some sort of faux pas to drink French vodka on the day of our independence, but my awesome wife gave me this beautiful gift:

So we're having our own little anti-tea party. Don't wait up.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!


Jovi Rocks. As does Sylvia.

First off, this made me laugh, even if it is just a typo:

NEW YORK (AP) - Bon Jovi will perform a free concert July 12 in Central Park. It's billed as a prelude to the July 15 All-Star baseball game, which will highlight the final season at Yankee Stadium. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Jovi will help ensure it goes out in a blaze of glory, hopefully a blaze in late October at the World Series.

I'm not sure what's funnier -- Mayor Bloomberg thinking that the guy's last name is Jovi, or that his first name is actually Bon.

In other news, I met someone new, and her name is Sylvia. Sylvia of Hollywood, that is. (Not to be confused with Sylvia of North Jersey.) My wife was cleaning out her grandmother's desk, and stumbled on this book:

To really appreciate this book, you have not only read it, but FEEL it. It has a fuzzy, velvety flocked cover, and it is awesome both inside and out.

Sylvia, as it turns out, was the 1930's equivalent of the 1980's equivalent of Jane Fonda. But in this case it's not all about the diet and exercise, although I think in some respects Sylvia was ahead of her time -- she also gets into some pretty hilarious body-shaping quackery that had me reading this book aloud to my wife at 2 am.

Not only does she give advice on how to reduce if you are fat, she also gives advice on how to get fatter if you are too thin. Want bigger boobs? Smaller ones? Sylvia can help. If you'd like a smaller nose, or a more pronounced chin, she can do that too. And why does she do this? Because Sylvia knows you wish your girlfriend was hot like her:

And by god, she will work your ass until you toe the line.

There is way too much good stuff in this book to do it justice in a single blog post, so from today until whenever I run out of Sylvia, I will be hosting

Sundays with Sylvia -- Because You Suck.

Every Sunday, I will offer up a Sylvia post. To give you a non-Sunday taste of her awesomeness, I now present you with her method for spot reduction:

And here is Photo 3, just because I care.

Apparently, squeezing fat cells right off you gives you ginormous man-hands, so you ladies should watch out for that.

Additionally, I have to take exception to the "never squeeze or massage the breasts" thing. I think she needs to qualify that statement because there is a right time for squeezing and massaging the breasts, although if you ask my wife she will no doubt tell you that I have no idea when that time actually is. Also, I think the mashed potato analogy was a stretch, unless squeezing handfuls of mashed potatoes was a big fad back then, like wearing an onion on your belt.

And while we're on the subject, I want to know where the squeezed off fat cells go. She's squeezing them off, right? They have to go somewhere. I'm thinking maybe they go into the towel, or maybe into the hand cream, but that sounds pretty gross so maybe they just dissolve into thin air.

I'm a little skeptical about this whole theory of hers. For some reason, I find it hard to believe that covering your fat with a hot towel and then beating the shit out of it is going to help you much on your long road to a better you. Tell you what -- all you fat babies out there (one of her terms) give it a shot and let me know how you make out. I'll listen for the slapping.

I'll be looking forward to spending my Sundays with Sylvia, and you should, too. Besides, prime-time TV is all reruns right now anyway so what else do you have to do?

Also, every click here is a vote for original humor. (And keep in mind that, at least in my case, original doesn't always mean good.) Sylvia would want you to click. And you should always do what Sylvia says.

So go slap your fat.