Friday, March 22, 2013

Environmental Catastrophe

These people have been openly plotting a global environmental catastrophe for almost 150 years (founded in 1866). There definitely aren't any paint cans that big, but if successful this would literally kill everyone. They MUST be stopped. Buy Glidden.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Siri and Her Serious Problems

So I did, in fact, get the iPhone 4S on Friday - pre-ordered and delivered to my door. No waiting in line required. It was a beautiful experience. And as is surely the case with the other 4 million or so new iPhone owners, I 've spent a decent amount of time playing with Siri, the new iPhone’s personal assistant. In theory, Siri can help you find restaurants, make appointments, send emails, check the weather, and rhyme with the word “theory.” I have generally found Siri to only be useful for that last item listed.

Mostly, I just want to digitally choke her.

She seems to actually work about 25% of the time, and the rest of the time either can’t understand what I’m saying - although I haven’t tried a British accent yet - or has trouble connecting to “The Network.”

I understand Siri was released as a beta product - so no guarantees that it’ll work perfectly. And after sniffing around the web a bit, it’s clear that I’m not the only one having problems. Furthermore, don’t believe some of the quick fixes that are out there on tech blogs, etc. - such as resetting your network connections and/or restarting the phone, and turning Siri on and off. If they work, it’s only by chance. I’ve tried.

It appears that it’s some kind of network issue - likely due to millions of lonely iPhone users trying to talk to Siri at the same time - and Apple’s servers just can’t handle the overload of emotional neediness. Apple seems to have underestimated the broken dreams and neurotic insecurities of their user base. They just want someone to talk to, is all. And they want that someone to not be a human, but to be an iPhone. Is that so much to ask?

Personally, I love the phone, and would love it even more if it could also be my friend. It would be my first inanimate friend since early childhood - or maybe a bit more recently than that, if I’m being honest with myself. But I’ve made it this far without Siri, and I expect I’ll be able to make it a bit further. Luckily, I haven’t forgotten how to perform a Google search for “Italian restaurants near zip code 19147”, or type an email or text message.

Because once Siri’s working like a charm, and people are fully dependent on it, I believe the next iPhone update will feature an intracranial implant of some sort. Just close one eye, and it dials. Think about pizza, and Siri 2.0 orders it for you. Siri 2.0 will also allow you to taste sounds, and see other people’s thoughts. It’s simply a matter of time.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Jobless and the Jobs-less

With unemployment at a very shitty 9.1%, a double-dip recession looming, the Phillies knocked out of the playoffs prematurely, and the release of Hugh Jackman’s latest steaming pile of crap “Real Steel” in theaters now, it didn’t seem like anything else could really go wrong. I mean, what else could possibly happen that could make things worse than they already are?

And then Steve Jobs died. My iPhone literally shed tears and the screen faded to black. Which, of course, voids the warranty and fries the circuit board. Now I’m literally forced to get a new one. Apparently, liquid originating from inside the iPhone is even worse than liquid on the outside - like when you drop it in the toilet, as I’m sure we’ve all done at one time or another. My advice: if it’s a public toilet, just let it go, man.

Anyway, Jobs was truly the man with the master plan. Apple was well on its way to unrestricted world domination before his untimely passing. And who’s to say if his dream will ultimately be realized without him. So far, things don’t look good. The new iPhone - the 4S - endured a rather tepid reception due to the fact that it can’t drive your car for you, or teach your dog how to read. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain a bottle opener, or a laser leveling device for hanging pictures. Other people were disappointed that it didn’t have a redesigned body. Superficial bastards. For that, I couldn’t care less.

I for one, am waiting for my dream iPhone to be made a reality. Jobs and his fellow imagineers had done a nice job - gotten off to a strong start. But there’s so much more work to be done. Sure, maybe the iPhone features I mention above only appeared in one of my more recent iPhone dreams. Maybe technology can’t yet control a car via wireless radio signals, or teach a poodle how to pronounce “pusillanimous.” It’s crazy, I know. But one thing that Steve Jobs and I had in common is that we’re both dreamers. Call us visionaries. Call us futurists. Call me "Skittles." But don’t call me on my iPhone and tell me not to dream. That’s like telling Albert Einstein to comb his hair. Or telling the Philadelphia Eagles defense to tackle a running back.

It's not gonna happen.

For nostalgia's sake, some of my previous iPhone dream features included: integrated egg timer; jumper cables; fruit-flavored touchscreen; baby wipes dispenser; built-in breathalyzer and rape whistle (depending on which end you blow into).

The list goes on an on from there, trust me. The only dreams of mine that Apple has so far included in any of its iPhones is the fact that the device makes me more popular, and better-looking. I’m pretty sure I also lose about 8 or 9 pounds whenever I upgrade, but we’ll have to see if the iPhone 4S can improve on those statistics. Stay tuned.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Jones Bacon-flavored Soda - A Review of Something That Was Probably a Mistake to Drink

(Volume 1 in a possible series - depending on what other interesting stuff I find to drink)

Despite the label, strange-nosed, ethnic-looking children are not one of the main flavoring ingredients - at least not as disclosed by Jones.

Just like Orangina, 7-Up, or Dr. Pepper, Jones Bacon Soda tells you exactly what it will taste like from the name on the label.

But before I get into the real meat of this review - and other tasty puns - I’d like to be perfectly clear as to how I came into possession of this (or any) meat flavored soda. Quite simply, it’s known far and wide that I love the taste of bacon. And my brother thought this would make an interesting Hanukkah gift. He was right.

I’m pretty sure if I saw this soda in a grocery store, I’d be tempted to buy a bottle. So it’s quite possible I would have tried this on my own anyway. But as usual, my bro beat me to the punch and bought me a gift that I didn’t even know I wanted until after I received it.

To be clear, Jones does not use any real swine or swine-derived products in this soda. It’s 100% vegetarian, and only includes nearly 100% artificial flavors and colors. I’m pretty sure that’s the only way it could be made, considering it contains 0% pork.

Perusing the ingredients list provides few clues to the presumably earthly origin of this beverage. There’s not a whole lot there that seems out of the ordinary for any soft drink. I can’t say for sure that every soda I’ve ever tried contains propylene glycol alginate, but I also can’t say for sure that this isn't an ingredient commonly found in oven cleaner.

Further perusal of the label teaches us that this beverage has zero fat, and only 10 calories per bottle - definitely not bacon-like attributes. But on the other hand, a single bottle contains over 500 milligrams of sodium - 21% of the US RDA. I’d go out on a limb to say that this a shitload of salt to find in a soft drink. But maybe not too much to find in a bacon soft drink.

Now for the official tasting notes.


The liquid itself is a deep ruby red with purple highlights. It looks like beet juice, or maybe pig’s blood mixed with beet juice. Neither of those are listed in the ingredients, so this description is just for your mind’s eye. It pours a fizzy pale pink head of rapidly dissipating foam, leaving only a wisp of ephemeral lacing on the glass. I was also going to use the word "gossamer," but that sounds stupid, particularly when describing bacon soda.


A sulfurous, smoky nose overwhelms the nostrils and confuses the brain. Is this bacon and egg flavored soda? Is this stuff safe to drink? It doesn’t really smell much like bacon unless you use your imagination. Maybe it smells more like a pan in which bacon had been cooked three days ago, and then left out in the sun and urinated on by a cat, and then allowed to heat up again to boil off most of the cat urine. MOST, but not all of the urine.


This shit tastes like bacon. It’s weird. It actually kinda tastes like bacon. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. It’s sweet, smoky, and salty all at once, with slightly sulfurous, minerally, cat pee undertones. It’s as if the cat had eaten a lot of nutrasweet, or sucralose before peeing in that pan - lending an artificial flavor to that sweetness. (Note: do not feed your cat massive amounts of nutrasweet or sucralose and then see if their piss tastes strangely sweet. This will give your cat brain cancer, and make you a fucking maniac.)


There is something oily about this soda. It coats your mouth in a way that soda really should not do. Maybe it’s the propylene glycol alginate. I certainly hope that’s all it is.


VERY, VERY LOW. I would say it is almost impossible to drink 12 ounces of this stuff in a single sitting. I defy you to do so without a Coca-Cola chaser. Or even a whiskey chaser. I really appreciate the novelty of the bacon flavor. But the thought of drinking a full serving of this makes me a little nauseous. It might actually be good as a flavor component of deep-fried sweet and sour pork. I will send Paula Deen an email about this immediately.


If you like bacon, I would recommend you try Jones Bacon-flavored soda. But be prepared to dump out most of it. In other words, five out of five stars, and 10 Michelin diamonds.

Just kidding, 3 out of 10.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Mill's New Mayoral Fan

The Mill's new biggest fan?

(It's rare that a single man wields such tremendous power over both what we perceive as reality, and the many worlds of our imagination. But this week is gigantically important for the NFL and for fantasy football teams - and Mayor Michael Nutter is the most powerful man in both realms. I decided to write him a letter thanking him for pretty much winning me my fantasy league this year. And for being an all-around nice guy.)

Dear Mr. Mayor,

You are obviously a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. I’m pretty sure it’s stipulated in the city charter. But I had no idea that you were also such a big fan of my fantasy football team, “Vick and the Underdogs.” You see, your decision to postpone this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings will most likely guarantee us another fantasy championship.

Please allow me to explain.

My team consists of a bunch of players (see Schedule A attached), including - but not limited to - Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson. The original game time, 8:30pm on Sunday night, would have coincided with a ferocious blizzard of biblical proportions. These are not conditions typically conducive to Vick’s and D-Jax’s field stretching deep game. Instead of watching the dynamic duo make TD passes fall like rain on an overmatched Vikings secondary, we were more likely to see handoff after handoff to some running back who is not on my fantasy team - WhoSean McSomething, or whatever - as the teams slowly battled across a frozen tundra of shattered fantasy dreams and broken make-believe promises.

But thanks to you and your so-called concern for public safety, we can now see Vick and the Eagles run and throw unencumbered by blinding snow and 6-foot snowdrifts. There will also be less risk of an avalanche burying the goalposts, which would confuse David Akers enough to possibly kick the ball the wrong way - which he hardly ever does. (Note: Akers is also on my fantasy team).

Consider the fact that the NFL has not postponed a game due to snow (not including the Metrodome’s recent roof collapse) since some time right before the War of 1812. This can only lead me to believe - and since my fantasy football team has only been around since some time AFTER 1812 - that you postponed the game to virtually assure my fantasy team of victory. No other logical explanation exists.

So instead of waiting for your imminent fan mail to me - soon after I capture my crown as repeat champion of our fantasy league - I decided to beat you to the punch and send a quick note to you - not only thanking you for your patronage, but also providing some answers to a couple of questions that you were probably wondering about.

Question: Mill, how do you do it year after year?

Answer: I’ll assume you’re asking about my rampant success with fantasy football, and not the fact that my waist size hasn’t changed since college. Well, it all comes down to being smarter than everyone else. And/or having a faster internet connection so that you can pick up free agent players like Michael Vick before anyone else in the league gets their dirty little paws on them.

In fantasy football, as in like, you need to “take it one day at a time.” Like the Marines, you need to be “Always Ready.” And as General George S. Patton said, “A man is not a baby or a woman. So quit crying, take off those pantyhose, and get back to shooting some Nazi bastards!.....Seriously, they’re headed this way.”

As a fantasy football manager, these are all words to live by, and sometimes you just have to hope that the other managers in your league are not Nazis.

Question: What’s your prediction for the game tonight?

Answer: Thanks for that question. Of course, the Eagles are going to win big. 48-10 would be my most conservative guess. Vick throws for over 400 yards, and rushes for another 80. DeSean catches 9 passes for 196 yards and 3 TD’s. Akers kicks 6 extra points and two 40-yard field goals. I win my fantasy league by, like, a gazillion points or so.

So, Mr. Mayor, thanks again for being such an all around nice guy in both fantasy and reality.

Warmest Possible Regards During This Coldest Possible Weather,

- Mill

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Handy Homeowner

My wife and I joined the elite, highly-stressed, constantly worried about being foreclosed, risk-taking club of first-time homebuyers about two months ago.

At the time, it just seemed to make sense. And I don’t think either one of us regrets the decision (even if I did recently lose my job a few weeks after settlement - which is an entirely different story for an entirely different day.)

Ostensibly, we bought a house because we plan to settle down in the neighborhood - and need a bit more space than our 2-bedroom rental could offer. Plus, mortgage rates were historically low, and the entire market has been in the shitter for a couple of years now. I mean really, how much lower could prices possibly fall? Famous last words, I realize.

In any case, 2 months in and so far, so good. The house has good bones, as they say. But I wait, vice grips in hand, anxiously anticipating the day when one of those bones breaks.

Because for me, buying a house isn’t just about the opportunity to settle down, or build a nest, or have a place for little Mills to roam free and play. It means the chance to become something I’ve never been before. To assume an alter ego of sorts, even more mysterious and alluring than that afforded by a Blogger account.

That’s right. I now have the opportunity to prove to the world (my wife) that I am, in fact HANDY. Because this house is great in many ways, but it sure as hell isn’t perfect. And there are enough minor problems - structural, cosmetic, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, creaking doors, out-of-whack windows, and dead or dying plant life - to offer almost unlimited chances to be handy.

Why, just the other day I replaced a missing vent in the dining room. Kinda handy.

I patched a big-ass hole in the ceiling of the garage. Pretty handy.

I resealed the cap flashing on all 5 dormers on the third floor facade, and replaced all the windows with energy-efficient, triple-paned, double-hung Andersen windows. Extremely handy.

Of course, this is all incredibly great and you’re probably thinking I’m so super-handy. Except that I’m lying about that last one. We pay professionals to do that kind of shit. In reality, anyone with a screwdriver and some scrap drywall could do what I’ve done. But this is just the beginning of my jaunt down a very handy road. And without a home of our own, I’d never be able to take this journey.

I’m sure the trip will include some missteps - that’s why I’m forbidden from undertaking any projects that feature live electrical circuits. There will likely be a hammer blow to this thumb, and a cabinet dropped on that foot. Shoes and shirts will be ruined with paint, and rickety ladders will be used without a spotter. I may even try to get up on the roof through the bathroom skylight, but only when there are no thunderstorms in the area.

I hereby pledge to never use a pneumatic nail gun (too many possible horror movie scenarios), and will try my best to avoid the temptations of using a circular saw (I REALLY like having all ten fingers). I promise that I will not fix it if it ain’t broke. And I will keep all of my bits with my drill - if you know what I mean.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm a lot Like Michael Vick

We are both in our 30’s.
We both (currently) like dogs.
We both really like the Eagles.
We are approximately the same height.
We throw things primarily with our left hands.
We run faster than many of the people around us (for him: linemen and linebackers; for me: my wife and my parents).
We are both responsibly repaying our debts to creditors (me: $20k in student loans; Vick: $20 million in jewelry, cars, mansions, solid gold toilets, and champagne dreams).
We both hate folding our socks and underwear.

I’m sure I could go on and on.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ikea: The Nordic God of Frustration

Ikea, the bastard offspring of Odin and a giant boar, is a mighty magical being of incredible strength. Ikea has the ability to control the Earth’s tides, as well as the power to turn sawdust and leftover Styrofoam into delicious – and affordable – little meatballs.

Just as his cousin Loki is known as a rascal trickster, so too does Ikea play games with the puny, weak-minded humans who worship at his particle-board altar. Many well-known myths demonstrate Ikea’s masterful trickery – but none so famous as “The Tale of the Seventy Misaligned Pre-Drilled Screw Holes.” I will not go into the details of this extraordinary story, as the yarn has been spun thousands of times over the ages – to the horror of children and adults alike.

Suffice it to say, Ikea is a brilliant rogue.

There is, however, a lesser known Ikea myth which (I believe) merits much greater distribution throughout the Ikea-worshipping world (aka, the internet).

Have you heard of the story of “The Shoe Maker and the Furniture Labyrinth”? I thought not. This fable involves one stubborn, silly human – Sven Magnusson – who dares to flout Ikea’s omnipotence, and has the audacity to doubt the great god’s cleverness.

As revenge for Sven’s indolence, Ikea tricks him into entering what appears to be a large barn - with the promise of a fantastic collection of magical hex-wrenches. But instead, Sven finds himself wandering through a never-ending maze of furniture, none of which is comfortable enough to sit on for more than 5 minutes at a time. He is relegated to this personal hell for all of eternity, aimlessly browsing well-staged groupings of sleek sofas and chairs, lighting and accessories.

But the legend speaks of Sven’s chance for redemption, as described by the Lord Ikea himself:

And upon that holy day dost thou finally accept defeat at my hands, I shall allow thy release from this brilliant labyrinthine prison. And only on that day, as it is promised, thou shalt be rewarded with unlimited, sleekly-designed Nordic-style furnishings of every shape and size – so that thou may distribute these gifts to all of mankind, at ridiculously low, low prices.

However, in order to get these gifts to pass from this world to the next, most of the items will need to be disassembled. Thou shalt pack them flat for ease of transport. I shall include simple instructions for reassembly, of which thine youngest and simplest child shall translate into all the languages of the world – so that all men may enjoy the value I hath provided, whilst accepting mostly minor difficulties due to shoddy craftsmanship. And all the Earth shall praise my name for ever and ever. And so it is written, and so it shall be. Amen.

The clear morals of the story are “might makes right” and “it’s better to look good than to feel good.” And, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, Sven did indeed make it out of that frightful maze, to fill the world with inexpensive, difficult to assemble furniture.

Sven Magnusson, I salute you as I write this - even though my Ikea desk chair just fell apart because it was missing several screws.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ode To Vick

Your legs are like jets, your arm is a rocket.
Bad Michael Vick - doggie’s tail in a socket.
Better Mike Vick – he’s kind and humane.
Best Michael Vick – throwing touchdowns like rain.

Lurie gave you a chance, Fat Andy did too.
One chunky Mormon, one well-dressed Jew.
Now you’re together, three peas in a pod.
On the NFC East you’ll trample and trod.

I remember the game that you played in the cold.
And you threw for four touchdowns, let the legend unfold.
You ran for two more, and I heard the dogs cheer.
I was so goddamn happy, I spilled a whole beer.

The problem with that is we have wooden floors.
And wood in the walls, and thick wooden doors.
With beer seeping in, and without too much time.
I couldn’t keep on with the theme of this rhyme.

So I leapt to my feet and rushed to the kitchen.
Grabbing some towels and warm woolen mittens.
The mittens – mistake - I returned them real fast.
And grabbed some more towels, what a pain in my ass.

I sopped up the beer like a bat out of hell.
A little too late, the floorboards did swell.
They buckled and broke, and twisted and cracked.
My wife’s gonna kill me, I better buy her a present

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ways to Cap The Gulf Oil Spill

If the job was all mine, and thankful it’s not,
And BP allowed me to give it a shot,
I’d dive down so deep, stuff that billowing pit,
With golf balls and golf clubs and all kinds of shit.

If that didn’t work, I’d use heavier things.
Anvils, and airplanes, and thick leaden rings.
It just seems to me if you crammed it all in,
There’s no way that oil could soil more fins.

I’d pile on tractors and pieces of trash.
I’d jam in old cars and cigarette ash.
I’m sure before long the flow would slow down.
The king of well-plugging, I’d wear the gold crown.

And speaking of gold - of course, the black kind.
The amount that it’s spewing is blowing my mind.
Thousands of gallons of crude every day.
The poor, stupid sea life just gets in its way.

It’s heading for shore with no visible slowdown.
Sea birds, sea monkeys, and fish it will mow down.
Covered in goo, like a small newborn child.
The slick, you might say, is going buck wild.

Subsea dispersants and huge concrete caps.
Those fine BP douchebags have still left huge gaps.
So back to my plan, how I’d cap that well’s ass.
I’d use crazy glue and some balls made of brass.

Force it all down there, far out of reach.
The oil stays put, we can all hit the beach.
And BP will pay for the havoc they wreak.
A well clogged with golf balls and dirt will still leak.

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