Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Mill's Helping Hand - Vol. 2: The Art Of The Deal

I've been known to swing a heavy stick at the bargaining table. Negotiating with me, I've been told, is a bit like being hit over the head with a 12 pound medicine ball over and over and over again. You're gently pummeled into submission. In other words, it's just very annoying at first. But your skull soon begins to hurt. Before you know it, you're unconscious. And your watch is missing. Sounds like I'm pretty much a professional negotiation ninja. Or so I'll have you believe. Come to think of it, why don't I give you some tips on negotiating?

Tip #1 - Never give in. Ever.
You must stand your ground no matter what. Even if that means negotiating back and forth into eternity. This is a simple rule of mine, which I strictly abide by during my daily routine. It doesn't just hold true for the negotiating table. For example, here's a recent conversation I had at the local diner:

Mill: "I'd like some meatloaf please."

Waitress: "Sorry sir. It's 7 am. We don't serve meatloaf until lunch time."

Mill: "No."

Waitress: "Pardon?"

Mill: "I said I'd like some meatloaf please. Thank you very much. That will be all."

Waitress: "Uh, sir. I'm sorry but we don't have meatloaf on the early-bird breakfast menu."

Mill: "Meatloaf. Now. Please. Thank you."

And so on for the next 4 hours, until lunch was served. So you see, I basically win no matter what. I'm ruthless. And that brings us to the next tip.

Tip #2 - Be ruthless.
Have zero ruth. Do not be ruthful. But rather, be the opposite. This may not be the best way to win friends, but it certainly gets you want you want more often than being a pushover. You must try your best to appear cold and calculating. Do not let your emotions get the best of you, unless you happen to be negotiating for a shoulder to cry on. In that case, if you cry, and you can get the tears on someone's shoulder, then you win. But otherwise, try not to cry. Or laugh. You are allowed to get angry, though, as that will make you appear even more ruthless. I don't have any examples of me being ruthless, so I'll just make something up. This one happened, um, like, last month or whatever:

Mill: "Hi. Can I have your dog?"

Surprised Dogwalker: "Hi. What? No."

Mill: "I'll have your dog now. Thanks."

Surprised Dogwalker: "Sorry. Please leave me alone. You can't have the dog."

Mill: (petting the dog, talking to dog) "Nice dog. You're mine now."

Surprised Dogwalker: "It's not even my dog. But even if it were, you couldn't have it. Please leave us alone."

Mill: "No. It's fine. I brought my own leash." (presents leash from back pocket)

Surprised Dogwalker: "Are you high? You can't have the dog. What kind of lunatic asks for someone's dog?"

Mill: "Oh, I'm sorry. Perhaps English is your second language. Allow me to repeat slowly."

Surprised Dogwalker: "Listen, I'm walking away now. Briskly. And if you keep harassing me, I'll call the police."

Mill: (pointing at dog) "My dog."

With that, I put the obstinate dogwalker into a figure-four leglock. She submitted about 5 minutes later, which is quite an impressive length of time to hold out, for a 75 year-old. And that's the story of how I got my dog. And how ruthlessness prevailed.

After a very successful day of ruthless negotiating.

OK, fine. That was a terrible story, and completely fabricated. But I just wanted to drive home this point. If you're negotiating for something you want, whether it be a dog, a person, a car, a sandwich, whatever, you need to be persistent and focused. Maybe ruthless is not quite the right word. I meant persistent and focused. But probably being ruthless would help too. Or at least be whiny. Which reminds me of my next tip.

Tip #3 - Whine incessantly. Whoever whines, wins. That's what I've always said. And it's true for the most part. Some of the greatest negotiators in history simply sniveled and sobbed their way to success. Time and again, history has demonstrated this. So there's no need for me to demonstrate it here. You should just accept the notion that the toughest opponents will always yield to your extremely annoying bellyaching. Especially if you're also able to be persistent, focused, ruthless, and unrelenting all at once.

With these tips, you can't possibly lose. You'll be a dangerous adversary in any negotiations. So go haggle with that used car dealer. Ask your boss for a raise. Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Get a free dog. The world is yours for the taking.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poll Results #2 (8/28/07) - Oprah Rules Supreme

Here are the results of my second poll (unless any others happen to vote within the next 12 minutes):

If you had to participate in a winner lives/loser dies competition, which of the following would you choose?

  • Invent-off vs. Thomas Edison - 2
  • Cheez Whiz Cookoff vs. Rachael Ray - 3
  • Animal Rights Debate vs. Mike Vick - 2
  • Foot Race vs. Oprah - 6

Oprah in a landslide. Of course, our sample size of 13 measly respondents, does not a definitive study make. However, I feel the need to point out that Oprah has been slim for some time now, so she may be more fleet of foot than you think. Remember, you agreed to readily accept death if you lose this competition. And keep in mind that your clicking on the radio button next to your selection is a legally binding action. Just like signing a will. Perhaps you'd like to reconsider your choice?

Oprah: thin and fast. You: dead. Care to change your answer?

Anyway, all threats aside, you do not need to rescind your decision. If you truly, madly believe you could beat Oprah in a foot race, then so be it. I'm more worried about the two vainglorious fools who believe they could beat Edison in an invent-off. Well, come to think of it, Edison died almost 76 years ago. So maybe that's the smartest choice. Yeah, a contest against a dead guy. Although in his heyday, or even when he was alive at all, he'd probably kick your butts at inventing stuff. Edison could have invented circles around you. Who the hell do you think you are? A young Ron Popeil?

Ron boasts: "I invented this thing right here. Also, Edison was a pussy-ass inventor poseur."

Keep an eye out for my next poll, which will be appearing shortly on the right-hand side of the page.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why Do I Sweat SO Much?

I was sweating for about 10 hours straight yesterday. If I had a means by which to measure the volume of sweat my body produced during that time (besides wringing the 4 shirts I had to change out of during the course of the day into a measuring cup), I bet it could fill up a bathtub, or so it seems. But to be conservative, I'd estimate it was around 64 oz. of sweat. Pure and unfiltered. Fresh as the morning dew or a mountain stream. Except it's human sweat.

Please keep in mind that less than 1 of those 10 sweat stained hours was spent exercising. I went for a 4.5 mile run in the early afternoon. I was profoundly sweaty during and after the run. But the rest of the day was spent not exercising. And yet somehow, still sweating.

What is it with me? Do I have some kind of hormone imbalance? Are there gremlins in my sweat glands?

I really don't know. And before we delve any further, I need to let you in on a few facts: 1) I'm not overweight; 2) I'm not an overly nervous or anxious individual; and 3) I don't smell that bad when I'm sweaty. So while you're imagining a super-sweaty, holy mess of a sweat-covered somebody, also imagine that this person doesn't smell bad. And that non-smelly person is me. Trust me, this exercise in imagination is for everyone's benefit. Got it? Good.

I've always been well aware of my propensity for profuse perspiration. It doesn't even need to be very hot outside for my forehead to bead up. And if I'm in any sort of rush to catch the subway on a steamy August morning, forget it. I'll look like I took a shower with my shirt on. So knowing this, why then, did I decide to go for a run yesterday around 1PM? In 95% humidity. And then follow that up with a hot shower? And then a bowl of steaming ramen from RaiRai Ken? And then rush to the subway to meet my girlfriend in order to head to hotter-than-hot Brooklyn for some sort of outdoor get together? Just like the mystery of why I sweat so much, I can't answer these questions. Except that the ramen was a damn fine salty soup. And I remember thinking to myself that it would be an efficient way to replace all of the salt I had lost through sweating earlier that day. Little did I know the sweat would continue, unabated, for another 8 hours. Only an air-conditioned movie theater finally spelled relief.

Unlucky Buick finds itself in a bit of a pickle - caught in a flash flood of my perspiration

So how to better understand my sweatiness? Here are a few things that are approximately as wet as me after exercising yesterday:
  • Deepest, darkest depths of Loch Ness
  • Titanic Grand Ballroom (present day)
  • Mt. Waialeale, Kauai - aka, the wettest place on earth (that is, of course, next to the inside of my t-shirt after about 10 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise).
Perhaps I'm overreacting. It's perfectly conceivable that plenty of folks sweat as much as I do. Maybe even more than I do. 300 pound NFL linemen, for example. They sweat buckets. But sometimes it seems like my body is a perspiration factory, and we have a very large order to deliver. For a big new client. All systems go. Fire up the sweat reactor.

By the way, I'm not sweating right now. Am I cured? No wait. There's some sweat on the keyboard.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Mill's Helping Hand: Volume 1 - Interview Tips

I've done a fair share of interviewing in my time. Unfortunately, very little of it has been spent in the interviewer's seat. That's a real shame for me. Because there's nothing better than the sensation of absolute power one receives when those first beads of sweat appear on your interviewee's forehead. Truly magical. So although I, admittedly, possess insufficient experience in conducting interviews to give any useful advice, I'd like to offer you some tips. I'm just here to help. And thus, "The Mill's Helping Hand" series was born.

Don't you hate those stupid brain teasers that the interviewer often asks, to see if you can reason logically under pressure? Me too. But they can be a very useful tool in determining whether or not someone is dumb. That being said, by now everyone knows all of the old standbys. For example: What's 99 times 99? Or, that one about the race car. Or the other one about the expanding lily pad. Then there's the one about Al Sharpton's hair. We all know how to unravel these riddles. The answers are easily found on the internet. To truly stump your interviewee, you'll need something new. Or newish. Below are a few immensely difficult brain teasers that I'd bet a million bucks you've never heard before. Because I just made them up. In like, only 5 or 10 minutes. I are a genius.

1) Your good friend Roger has been drinking 7 cans of diet soda every day for the past 10 years. Each can of soda contains 300 mg of artificial sweetener. The sweetener is known to cause cancer in laboratory monkeys at a dosage of 2000 mg per day over a 1 month period, but no one has told Roger about this. How do you tell Roger that he has cancer without upsetting him?

2) If 1,000 men can make 300,000 hot dogs from 25,000 cows in 25,000 seconds, how many cows would it take 500,000,000 men to make 600,000,000,000,000 hot dogs, and how many could you eat in 15 minutes? The hot dogs, not the men.

3) Last month, a toy store sold 200 plastic bucket-and-shovel sets for $1.99 each. The toys were made in Mexico. The same store sold 300 plush floppy-eared puppy dogs filled with asbestos and polonium-210, and coated in inhalable lead powder and weaponized anthrax. Made in China. Also, imagine you are the store manager. So, as the toy store's manager, tell me exactly why you are trying to kill 300 kids by selling this crap.

4) Your Bluetooth headset just fell in the toilet at the bus station. You are alone in the men's/ladies' room. Do you go after it with your bare hand, or do you say a quick prayer and leave it for dead? Explain your reasoning, while imagining that this is the same Bluetooth headset you just stole from Best Buy. Why do you steal things? What is it with you people?

You may have noticed that I haven't provided the answers to any of these brain teasers. That's because there isn't a single correct answer to any of them. Except for maybe the hot dog question. But it's too ridiculous for anyone to even waste a minute trying to solve. As for the other questions, you'll be able to determine a lot from the candidate's answers. Such as: Is this person smart or dumb? Is this person nice or not nice? Is this person likely to rat you out to Human Resources when you make a hilarious but racist/sexist comment in front of him/her?

Please let me know how these questions work out for you. I can make up some more if these first few become too widely known.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poll Results August '07 - Kittens On Top!!!

Final vote results are in:

Which do you like most? -

  • Kittens: 8
  • Derek Jeter: 6
  • iPhone: 6
  • Leprosy: 3

This month's big winner: Kittens. Congratulations to the furry, fuzzy, lovable, allergen-encrusted, funny little kitty monkeys. Clearly, humans love you. At least, 8 out of 23 humans who voted in this month's poll love you. I expected kittens to make a strong showing mostly because they are so goddamn cute. You should know, dear kittens, that those who voted for the other choices did not really vote against you. They either clicked the wrong button, or were trying to be funny. I mean come on, you're goddamn adorable, goddamnit.

Good work little buddies! Congrats on beating Jeter...and leprosy!

This month's big loser: Leprosy. You are a terrible, gruesome, flesh-eating disease, most often associated with filthiness, medieval decay and that time period's ignorance of the causes of disease. They used to think you were the result of a witch's spell. Or a Gypsy's secret prayers. Also, the Jews were often blamed for your mischief. You have been well known for your leper colonies - where your victims gather together in an odd sort of summer camp, to receive treatment and play beach volleyball. It must be sad for you to see that, nowadays, your colonies have lost much of their former trendiness. Although you did receive a few votes (from a few sick f#cks), you couldn't muster enough support to challenge either Derek Jeter or the fantabulous new iPhone. You're welcome to try again later this year. And I wholeheartedly invite you back for another poll. Thanks again, Leprosy. It's been a wild ride.

Leperd Colony

Runners up - Jeter and iPhone: The two of you put up a good fight. And I truly believed one of you might prevail in the end. After all, you're both hypoallergenic, beautiful, and sleek.

Derek, you've been putting up MVP-type numbers this season. And with your team back in the pennant race, I'd imagine you'd be the most disappointed with the outcome of this poll. Also, you're the only choice in this poll that can potentially feel any sort of complex emotions, such as would be necessary in order to be disappointed in the outcome of a poll in the first place, much less have any sort of understanding of the meaning of a poll, especially one in which you were included as a choice. Does that make sense? It certainly doesn't make any sense to the kittens, leprosy, or the iPhone. And that's exactly my point. I just feel like you're the only one I could talk to in this poll, Derek. I don't know. I wish you'd email me back.

Don't fret, Derek. You could still win another World Series, or date another super model.

iPhone, you've got my vote (at least when kittens and Jeter don't have my vote). I'm a huge fan. I don't own you, as your price point is a little outrageous. And I may never own you, except for a refurbished model or a used one from eBay. That being said, you're absolutely brilliant. Bloody brilliant, if I were British. I love how your entire face is a touch-sensitive screen. It's awesome. And you're a phone, and an iPod, and a computer, and, and, and......The list never ends. I'm pretty sure that if you boasted a 3G chipset for high-speed internet access over AT&T's wireless network, and possessed a replaceable lithium-ion battery, you would have beaten the kittens hands down. You would have kicked the shit out of those kittens. Figuratively speaking of course, as this is just an online poll and you are just a cell phone. I mean, you're so much more than a cell phone, and I hope I didn't offend you with that last sentence. I think you're just a few transistors away from being sentient, so I want to tread carefully here. Come to think of it, you have no arms or legs. And even if you did somehow threaten me, I could just chuck you into the river and be done with it. But I would never do that, because you are so totally sweet.

So, to my readers, please, please vote in my newest poll. You'll find it on the right-hand side of the page. Your vote matters. Especially when only, like, 20 other people are voting and there are four choices.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Mill's World-famous Hot Dog Casserole

One in a series of fine dining suggestions, for those who prefer to prepare their own fancy feasts.


48 hot dogs (pork, natural casings)
96 oz. full-fat mayonnaise
Two 16-oz. bags Nacho Cheese Doritos
Two 16-oz. bags Munchos
Two 16-oz. bags Funyuns
1 lb. bacon, cooked and undrained
Margarine or butter, to taste


  • Boil hot dogs according to package directions.
  • Coat bottom of 14" X 10" baking pan liberally with butter or margarine.
  • Spread 1/2" layer of mayonnaise over top of butter or margarine.
  • Arrange 12 hot dogs (unsliced) about 1" apart from one another on top of mayonnaise layer.
  • Spread another layer of mayonnaise (1/2") over hot dogs.
  • Repeat with remaining hot dogs and mayonnaise, finishing with 1/2" layer of mayonnaise.
  • Finely crumble Doritos over final layer of mayonnaise.
  • Repeat crumbling step above with Munchos and Funyuns.
  • Bake in oven at 500 degrees for 6-8 minutes, or until mayonnaise begins to bubble/smolder.
  • Carefully remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes.
  • Completely cover top of casserole with strips of cooked bacon (undrained).
  • Slice into approximately 16 pieces. Serve warm with '98 Barolo or '02 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Temp: 500 degrees
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: approximately 16 manly servings.

In case of accidental ingestion of this casserole, you may want to have a few of these handy.

Disclaimer: Please, for your sake and the sake of your loved ones, do not attempt to prepare this dish at home, or anywhere else for that matter. At the very least, do not serve it to anyone you care about. On the other hand, if you happen to be in need of punishment for your enemies' despicable crimes against your family, then this might do the trick. I don't have access to the equipment necessary to determine nutritional value of foodstuffs, but if I did, I think this dish would break the machine. However, if you do decide to try it, please let me know how the mayonnaise reacts to a high temperature oven. Nice and firm, or a sloppy mess?


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's Bust Some Myths

I don't watch all that much television. Really, I don't. And the shows I do watch are, for the most part, ones that edify my mind in one way or another. For example, "Antiques Roadshow". Great show, and you get to learn about the current market value of various bits of old trash. You never know when that kind of knowledge could come in handy. You might need to trick your Great-Grandmother into giving you that original 1862 Colt revolver autographed by Robert E. Lee. "It's worthless garbage. And besides, you might accidentally shoot yourself," you could tell her. And then sell it on Ebay for thousands.

Another show that nurtures my brain is "Mythbusters". I'm sure you've heard of it, as it is the most awesomest show in the whole world. The idea behind the show (and presumably the inspiration for the title as well) is the busting of myths. They bust those myths wide open. Oh man, those myths get busted like you wouldn't believe. Must feel great to bust a myth or two every so often. And this show lets you vicariously experience that feeling through the two hosts, Adam and Jamie, and their team of sidekicks.

Often times, the myths to be busted are fairly mundane. And sometimes, instead of busting the myth, they actually demonstrate that the myth is possible, or "Plausible" as my Mythbusters t-shirt reads. A few actual examples of myths examined on the show:

  • Can you escape a car submerged in water by waiting for it to fill up and then opening the door?
  • Can you paint a room by putting a stick of dynamite in a paint can and blowing it up in the middle of the room?
  • Can you stop a car traveling at high speed by throwing the gearshift into reverse?

The full list of myths explored is quite extensive. And they answer a great deal of important questions about life, the universe, physics, and what types of situations to avoid, e.g. - painting a room with dynamite. Here are some myths that I'd like to see busted (or found to be plausible) that have as of yet, not made it onto the show:

  • Did Moses really part the Red Sea?
  • Did Zeus actually give birth to Athena out of his head? If so, how is that possible?
  • Does Poseidon cause hurricanes only when he's angry at us for fighting wars against those that worship him, for example the French?
  • Do the lightning bolts that Odin shoots out of his hands generate enough heat to scorch wheat fields and ruin the harvest of an ungrateful heathen town?
  • Do fresh flower arrangements really live longer in sugar water, as opposed to plain water?

Just an artist's rendition, but come on, how'd he REALLY do it.

Lightning? Or is almighty Odin angry with the sinful townspeople?

I'm sure they'll eventually get around to the myths I've listed above. But until then, and in the spirit of "Mythbusters", I'll be starting a new feature on this site entitled "Millbusters". The hope and dream is that I will be thoroughly busting, or demonstrating the feasibility of, all kinds of wacky-ass shit. Don't worry though. This blog will continue to lack any sort of real theme.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Friend's Bra Business

And panties too, of course. I have a friend, let's call him "Karl" in order to keep things anonymous, who owns a lingerie business. He's a dear old friend of mine, and I like to help him out with his business whenever possible. That can include anything from purchasing a tasteful silk bathrobe from Karl as a gift for someone special; rendering my opinion on the latest line of boyshorts; modeling anything that comes in a 42AA; and so on and so forth.

Now, with the advent of the internet, I'm able to help Karl in more ways than ever before - especially as his business expands to the web. I don't accept many advertisers on this site, and I'm very picky about those which do appear here. You will NEVER see an ad for General Electric, General Motors, or General Mills on my website. I'm talking to you, Exxon-Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, and Forever 21. Don't even think about approaching me for advertising space. Just forget about it. Not gonna happen. But my friend Karl, that's a different story.

So please visit his website. It's quite nice. If you're in the market for ladies' underthings, then this is the place:

Click above to be transported to lingerie land

And if you mention my blog, you'll get an additional 20% off. Well, maybe I should check with Karl about that. I'm not sure if you'll get a discount. But it's worth a shot. He might get pissed if everyone starts asking for discounts, but I suppose a sale's a sale. Even if your sales margins are destroyed by your stupid friend's offer to discount your merchandise without you knowing about it. Sorry in advance Karl, for potentially ruining your business. I'm just trying to help.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Frozen Confection Hostilities

Not necessarily the winner of this showdown

Our topic today is the recent outbreak of Frozen Confection Hostilites in New York, also known as "The Fro-Yo Wars". But I think that name might be trademarked or something. So with the help of my best friend, Thesaurus, I came up with this new non-protected name. Non-protected, that is, until I get one of my many lawyer friends (that means you, Jaimi) to help with the paperwork required to protect this new term. For free. Zero billable hours. Pro bono. Thanks for your help in advance. In any case, not all of these frozen products claim to be yogurt, and I'm not in the business of misleading anyone. So we'll stick with "frozen confections".

As far as I'm concerned, the main combatants in this fight are Pinkberry and Tasti D-lite. That's what we'll focus on for this showdown. I'm well aware that there are a number of other frozen treat players out there - Mr. Softee; Baskin-Robbins; Tastee Surprize; Tasty Frozen Fun; Mary's Dairy; Cold Stone Creamery; Carvel; Tasty Freeze-lite; Frozen Party in Your Mouth; The Dominican Gentleman Who Sells Popsicles Out Of The Trunk of His Car. Among many, many others.

Let's begin with a little background. Tasti D-lite has been around since 1987. And according to its website, "Its secret formula began in the kitchen and was perfected in the lab." Not a good start, Tasti D. So you opened the freezer in your kitchen, found there was no ice cream, and went directly to the lab to whip up something tasty? Or rather, "tasti"? And what kind of lab are we talking about? A basement meth lab? A high school chemistry lab? Animal product-testing? This does not bode well.

Pinkberry started out in Los Angeles, and became almost instantly successful, even wildly popular. It's supposedly something of a ripoff of a Japanese frozen yogurt chain. This makes sense. The Japanese are well-known and widely respected for their fascination for frozen treats. Case in point is Mochi - a chewy rice-gluten-ensconced little chunk of ice cream. Truly delicious, and just another example of Japanese innovation. The result of the relentless pursuit of frozen morsel perfection.

Anyway, back to Pinkberry. There was distressingly little information available on the Pinkberry website. They offer you a catchy tune, but give little insight into the actual ingredients of the frozen yogurt. The only hints I could glean were that Pinkberry contains some amount of dairy, is not kosher, and is both physically and mentally addictive (just ask Pinkberry's legions of devoted fans). Beyond that, no clues are offered. On the other hand, the basic ingredients in Tasti D are listed on their website. And most of the words are ones I'm familiar with. I didn't see any benzene, acetone, rat poison, or herpes listed as ingredients. I think that's a positive: Tasty D 1, Pinkberry 0.

Flavors. Pinkberry offers just two: Original and Green Tea. I've tried both, and they are quite refreshing. I prefer the Original, because it tastes more like yogurt. Even if it's not actually yogurt, or even a distant relative. On the polar opposite end of the flavor offerings catalog is Tasti D-lite. They have over 100 flavors. You read that right. It's not a typo. At least, the "100" is not a typo. There may be other errors in this blog. I don't really use spell-checker, as I strongly believe we should all be responsible for our own actions. Spelling mistakes included. Own up to it. Don't be a wuss. Spellcheck's for losers. And loossers/

Tasti-D's "Tasti Engineer" contemplates a potential new flavor creation

Tasti D's flavors range from your standard Chocolate, Cookies 'n Cream, and Rocky Road, to more exotic flavors like New York Cheesecake, Marzipan, Chicken 'n Bacon, and Philly Cheesesteak. Any way you slice it, Tasti D has a spectacular variety. And fans have been known to haunt a variety of locations in order to sample as many flavors as possible. If you track down a store that's offering the Peanut Butter 'n Jelly, or Pineapple Cake flavors, please let me know. I'd like to have a word with the manager. Or maybe just punch the manager for offering these flavors to the public.

So clearly, as far as flavor variety goes, Tasti D wins hands down: 30-Love, Tasti D's serve.

Toppings. As lopsided as Tasti D's victory was in the flavor offerings category, Pinkberry dominates the struggle for toppings supremacy. Pinkberry is, after all, the king of fresh fruit toppings. The big, beautiful blackberries are unstoppable. The perfectly ripe, luscious blueberries are irresistible. The bananas are pretty good. Tasti D has rainbow sprinkles and carob chips. This one's a landslide: Tasti D 2, Pinkberry 1.

Mouthfeel. Supposedly an important part of the frozen confection experience. They're both really cold. And soft. I don't know. Let's call this one a draw. Tasti D still leads by one point.

Healthfulness. I don't have any cold, hard data to back this up, but I'm pretty sure Tasti D-lite uses a buttload of chemicals to achieve their mind-boggling array of flavors. They do a good job in terms of flavor, but it makes you wonder what all that stuff does to your insides. I'm doubtful its does a body good, but I'm willing to look on the bright side. Maybe all of those chemicals could help treat that pesky urinary tract infection. Or if fed to dogs could get rid of heartworms. I smell a clinical trial somewhere nearby.

Not another crazy flavor idea. Or is it?

Although they won't tell us what's in the secret formula, Pinkberry probably doesn't use as many chemicals as Tasti D. We can't know for sure, (they might use some advanced petroleum-based polymers in place of milk or active yogurt cultures) but I just feel like I'm eating healthier at Pinkberry. So I give them the point for this category.

And guess what? This competition ends in a tie. Tasti D 2, Pinkberry 2.

What a cop out. How anti-climactic. The battle goes on. But wait! Pinkberry's got a switchblade, and is approaching Tasti D from behind, silently. Tasti D doesn't suspect a thing, just sitting their enjoying a cone of its newest flavor, Pepperoni Pizza. And now Pinkberry pounces! And now the D is down!

What I'm trying to say is that I actually prefer Pinkberry.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blue Man Group - What the F@*k?

Have you ever stopped to think about Blue Man Group, and the serious consequences their existence has on our society, and the world as a whole? The Blue Men have been entertaining an ever-growing fan base for over 15 years. For those not familiar with the Blue Man Group, allow me an attempt to explain succinctly, yet vividly.

Yeah. This guy's totally fine to babysit the kids.

The Blue Man Group is, in essence, 3 totally mute, totally crazy guys who paint their heads (and possibly the rest of their bodies as well) with bright, shiny blue paint. I suspect the paint is lead-based, judging by the group's behavior during the show. They also don blue gloves (so as not to get paint absolutely everywhere) and black sweatsuits. Very unromantic. Very utilitarian.

In any case, the blue paint provides a tough, glistening outer coating, without which, this performance art trio would simply be known as White Man Group. Or perhaps just Man Group.

Why have audiences been fascinated by this terrifyingly bizarre-looking threesome of bald, hairless aliens? They splatter paint on each other, beat plastic pipes with sticks, swallow and regurgitate billiard balls, waste extraordinary amounts of paper, and occasionally flail like seizure victims to a techno beat.

I have no answer.

Of greater interest is what was going on in the minds of the creators of Blue Man Group when they originally decided to paint their heads blue, and scare little children and adults alike. Did the birth-of-Blue-Man conversation go something like this?

Blue Man 1- Dude, pass me that bottle of vodka.

Blue Man 2- It's almost empty.

Blue Man 1- I don't care. Give it.

Blue Man 2- I can't believe we drank the whole bottle, dudes.

Blue Man 1- And those four other bottles of vodka.

Blue Man 2- Yeah. Totally.

Blue Man 3- Whoa, I'm starting to see shit.

Blue Man 1- What do you mean bro?

Blue Man 3- It's like, starbursts and lollipops and fireworks.

Blue Man 2- What is he talking about?

Blue Man 1- No idea.

Blue Man 2- Wait. What's that bottle of wood varnish doing there behind him?

Blue Man 1- Oh man! It's like half empty. He must have drank it or snorted it or something!

Blue Man 2- Give it!

Blue Man 1- What are you gonna do?....No way! Isn't it like poisonous or some shit like that?

Blue Man 2- Yuck. It tastes stone-cold nasty. But whoa dude. It totally messes with my head.

Blue Man 1- Let me try. I'm gonna take a huge whiff.

Blue Man 2- Oh dude!!!! Your face is totally turning blue! If you gotta puke, take it to the kitchen sink or out the window or something.

And thus Blue Man Group was born. They then went on to become the completely inarticulate spokespeople of Intel, for which they are perhaps best known. So how can Blue Man Group refresh and invigorate their act for the 21st century? For those of us who associate them with Intel's microprocessors, they really need to up the ante a bit. Those selfsame Intel processors are used to produce the most amazing special effects ever witnessed (see Transformers). And paint flinging, tennis-ball-spitting, bald and blue freaks simply won't meet our entertainment expectations any longer.

Here are a few suggestions to liven things up:

- More blood. Much more blood. Here's something the American public can never get enough of. We want to know if these guys bleed blue, as many of us suspect. On a separate note, many have wondered whether they pee blue as well. But this is a bit of a prickly thing to demonstrate to an audience without drawing the attention of the police. That could somehow be a good segue to introducing more blood into the show. And nothing fills seats like a live police shootout.

- More wildlife. Also all blue. Shaved dogs covered in blue paint, shaved cats, monkeys, and squirrels all dipped in a complete coating of shiny blue.

- More dangerous tricks. I'd like to see them juggle chainsaws, and I know I'm not the only one. It would also be fun if one of the Blue Men tried to assassinate the others. Or two teamed up on a third. The beauty of the anonymity of being covered in blue paint is that the performers are completely replaceable. If one expires, there is a blue army waiting to replace him.

- Add some blue women. Come on. It's 2007. Women are allowed to vote and go to college. Why shouldn't they also be allowed to shave their heads, paint themselves blue and become mute? Not every little girl wants to grow up to be a doctor or lawyer.

Instead of paint, maybe Blueman Group should use blood. Preferably their own.

I should mention that I went to see the Blue Man Group perform a couple of years ago. And it was pretty entertaining. Even so, those guys really are bigtime freaks.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Kitchen or Bathroom?

Campbell's Chunky Sinus, Cold and Flu Relief?My roommate mistakes the bathroom for the kitchen....again. And luckily not the other way around. That happened twice last month.

A picture's worth a thousand words, or so I've read. But I think this picture speaks for itself. Notice anything out of place here?
Generic aspirin next to the brand-name dental floss? No, try again.
Is that Waldo peeking out from behind the the hair gel? No. I'll give you another guess.
Omigod! That CANNOT be a Gillette Mach 3 cartridge in a Sensor Excel handle?!?!? Could it? Well, yes, it is. But I don't think that's so strange. After all, when a new high-tech razor is introduced, I'm the first to get in line. Besides, I've always appreciated the perfect balance and ergonomic design of the Sensor Excel's handle. It's as if the razor was lovingly molded from a rubber cast of my own hand. How could I give that up?
No, there's something else out of place in this picture. And it starts with the word "can" and ends with the word "soup". And it's next to what would appear to be MY dental floss. Now is when I should mention that this photo was not fabricated, altered, or photoshopped in any way. Additionally, this is truly how I discovered my medicine cabinet when I opened it, after a long day at the office. You can't make this stuff up.