Overshadowed by Michael Jackson’s death, turmoil in Iran, and Bernie Madoff’s sentencing, was the tragic death of Billy Mays: internationally renowned infomercial pitchman. More than a man. More than a marketing genius. More than a skilled orator.
He was also the proud owner of the thickest, darkest beard on the planet.
I’m not sure if one of the products he sold made his beard as black as the distant depths of space. My hunch is that Mr. Mays – along with his tremendous charisma and knack for finding innovative products – was born with that beard. Or more precisely, born with the exact combination of genes that lead to incredibly thick and luxuriant facial hair.
It’s a strange coincidence that just yesterday I was watching Discovery Channel’s “Pitchmen,” about Billy Mays and fellow infomercial guru Anthony Sullivan. I spent a small portion of time learning about the new products they were trying to sell, and much more time marveling at Billy’s beard.
I’m certain, that under high magnification one could discern the individual hairs that compose the beard. But on TV, and from a distance of several feet, Billy Mays looks like a man painted with coal dust – from the blackest, purest, most carbon-rich coal this side of the Appalachians.
As I watched the show, I was unable to comprehend how light could possibly escape from such a dark, dense beard. And in fact, I think that’s the point: Light doesn’t escape from Billy Mays’s beard. It never could. And now, tragically, it never will.
I hypothesize that the light entering Billy’s beard was absorbed into his face and skull, exiting his head through his mouth, in the form of high-energy sales pitches. His beard was his strength – much like Samson’s hair, or Madonna’s cone bra.
Billy’s beard was a gift from the gods – a miracle, much like Orange-Glo, Oxi-Clean, and Mighty Putty; except much, much darker than any of those products. But could a normal man wear that beard like Billy Mays? Wouldn’t an average man get tired of trimming it every 2 hours, and just shave the whole thing off?
And that’s only part of the reason why Mr. Mays was not your average man. He was an exceptional human being, in terms of talent, intelligence, perseverance, generosity, and sheer darkness of facial hair.
So take a moment to remember Billy Mays’s life and beard. He passed on before his time was up, but he left behind a great many happy memories. If you get to crying, I highly recommend the super-absorbent Shamwow. It can absorb a gallon of spilled milk from the carpet, and still be able to dry your tears.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I spend a lot of time in traffic. A LOT of time. I repeat. Very much time spent in traffic. And one thing that annoys me to no end is the most common form of traffic jam – the Gaper Block. Aka, the Rubbernecker. I've written about it before, and I'm sure I'll write about it again.
I’m sure you know it well, in all its varied and equally maddening forms. Its essence – at the true heart of any Gaper Block, and writhing in its deepest, darkest soul , and that which gives it life – is a bunch of stupid assholes slowing down to stare at another asshole or bunch of assholes who have somehow managed to collide into one another, and are now parked on the side of the road.
Maybe it’s raining and the roads are slick. “Oops. I’m an asshole and I don’t know how to use my brakes so I slammed into your bumper.” Maybe someone’s drunk. “Shit dude. I had like 15 beers, and I accidentally drove off the road into a ditch, after sideswiping a minivan and two Passats.”
Whatever the case may be, and whatever the spectacle, people feel the need to slow down to see what’s going on. The general public is completely helpless against this phenomenon. It’s a fact of life. It’s unavoidable.
Taking this into account, I’ve finally decided to go with the flow, instead of screaming at the top of my lungs to no one in particular when I encounter one of these jams.
Often times, the slow down is due to something really fucking stupid – like someone changing a tire, or some jerkoff who being pulled over for speeding. Big deal. I wish people wouldn’t waste their time – and mine – by slowing down for that kind of scene.
My only defense against the intense, undying rage I feel while stuck in one of these Rubberneckers is to try to view the situation as if through the eyes of an outside observer. In other words, to imagine myself above the scene, floating over the terrible traffic – and imagine that I wasn’t so fucking pissed off about missing “So You Think You Can Dance” because of this goddamn 2-hour traffic jam.
And you know what? It kinda works.
When I finally make it to the source of the actual jam, I take a good long look – just like everyone else. I slow to a crawl, and allow my eyes to gorge upon the twisted metal, the carnage, the stupid asshole with the road flare who’s trying to change a tire. And what I’ve found recently, is that often times the scene is worth slowing down for.
“Wow, how the hell did that tractor trailer make it over the barrier and up into those trees?”
“Oh man, why is that smashed up car on the back of the flatbed completely covered in mud?”
“Heavens to Betsy. I can feel the heat of that engine fire from here! And how did that hippo get into the middle of the road?!? What a mess!”
The point is, if you’re given lemonade, make lemon ice pops. They’re incredibly refreshing and delicious, after all. And don’t despair if you find yourself mired in a hopelessly miserable traffic jam. It’s like waiting in line for the greatest ride at Disney World, or for the best hamburger you’ve ever tasted. When you finally get there, savor the scene. And don’t forget to pull your new iPhone out so you can capture some sweet video footage.
Monday, June 22, 2009
As you probably assumed, I haven’t put my new iPhone down since I got it on Friday. I’m truly, madly in love with it. How do I know for sure?
- I would save it from a burning building.
- I’ve bequeathed it my Great Grandfather’s name, as a middle name.
- I’m thinking of buying it a car seat.
- I frequently let it out of my pocket so it can get plenty of air.
- I don’t charge the battery for long periods of time – I’m worried that the plug may cause some discomfort.
- My fiancée is jealous as hell, and I'm afraid she may try to flush it down the toilet or boil it in a pot of water.
While we’re at it, let me hand out a particularly fresh and funky brand of kudos to Apple for shipping the iPhone on time - so that I didn’t have to even consider waiting in line with a bunch of Star Wars geeks at a physical store. Home activation was 100% seamless, and it was a cinch to transfer all the info from my old phone to the new one.
To be clear, my love for Apple is different than my love for the iPhone. It’s more of a love-at-a-distance type of feeling - like how you might feel love for Bo Obama, even though you know you’ll never get to meet him.
But the iPhone feeling, well, that’s as near as the smell of summer dew in the morning. It’s close to your heart, like your hometown, or memories of a childhood friend. It’s a leisurely drive along the coast, and a night of fireworks down at the pier. It’s your favorite food and your favorite movie. It’s all of these things.
But it’s also not at all sexual, lest you think I’m some kind of iPhone freak. That would be as unnatural as a Twinkie.
Anyway, my full review of the new iPhone is forthcoming. I’m trying to find something that I don’t like about it in order to keep my review fair and balanced.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Dear Mr. Zicam,
“Mr. Zicam,” if that is, in fact, your real name. You see, I don’t know what to believe anymore. Ever since I read this article, about how your product can literally kill my sense of smell.
I’ve used your namesake product – Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel – for a number of years now. I’ve recommended it to my friends. I’ve bought it in bulk from Costco. I’ve tried to give it to the dog, for God’s sake.
And now I found out it could kill my sense of smell?!?!? Forever?!? And ever?!?!
Pardon my French, but what kind of fucking bullshit is that? Why don’t you just take away my sight, my hearing, and my sense of right and wrong while you’re at it?
I used to swear by your nasal gel. As soon as I felt that tingle at the back of my throat – either signaling the onset of a cold, or some type of severe seismic activity – I would spray that god-awful stuff directly into my nose. Right on in there. Like a plunger in the toilet, or a thermometer in the rectum. Completely unaware of the potential life-changing implications.
If you can’t smell, you can’t taste. If you can’t taste, you can’t enjoy life. It’s basically that simple. And your product threatened to ruin my life. I take that type of threat rather seriously.
I can recall numerous times when I recommended Zicam to those suffering from the common cold. I would say, “Oh, you’re getting a cold? Try Zicam. It will clear that cold right up. It’s a little bit of healing magic in a plastic pump. I swear by it. And if you don’t like it, I’ll give you my first-born child.”
Because of you, Mr. Zicam, I owe my first 52 children to those I recommended your stupid, piece of shit product.
I demand recompense!! In the form of your throat lozenges, or any sort of non-nasal cold remedy. May I suggest a suppository, the size of a policeman’s Mag-Lite? And you can try it out yourself first to make sure it’s safe.
Sincerely, and with no regard to your safety, just as you had no regard to my safety,
- The Mill
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
(I'm thinking about setting this to music - a dirge on the demise of General Motors, and its final chapter - Chapter 11.)
O, master of industry, we thought you'd live forever.
But your management and design teams were not very clever.
It's a sad time for all of us, dear General Motors.
From your huge, flaccid corpse emanates terrible odors.
You once held such power across our great nation.
From Corvettes and Buicks, came true elation.
Cadillac was a brand with top-notch reputation.
A Chevy big-block V-8 was a marvel of creation.
Before long things soured, as often they do.
The Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans came too.
They offered good value, and rarely broke down.
While your cars lay disabled all across town.
They guzzled gas to no end, and belched toxic emissions.
Inhaling this crap led to chronic conditions.
Our lungs and our kidneys and our pancreas too.
We hacked up black mucus, our feet swelled in our shoes.
But still, you drove on, full steam ahead.
With nary an inkling of how you had led.
And how you had lost, and how you had lied.
Japanese and German, from your grasp we were pried.
Now you're but a shell of former greatness.
Auto workers all over feel serious hate-ness,
Towards you, who drove the auto industry to shame.
As you scramble around and attempt to lay blame.
Oldsmobile was classy, but now pushing up flowers.
Only driven in Florida, at 20 miles per hour.
Pontiac built excitement, received many industry mentions.
Now I think all they build are lawnmower engines.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Cool! My first pandemic. This is AWESOME!!
It’s a worldwide flu party, and everyone’s invited. Everyone, of course, except for those with compromised immune systems, or other serious pre-existing health conditions which may lead to a weakened immune system. If you came to this party, there’s a good chance you’d die. So please stay away from the party. The rest of us promise to take plenty of pictures and record video of all the action.
But if you’re a normal person, with a normal constitution, then you’re heartily invited. Leave your hospital masks at home and hop on the subway. Sidle up to that lovely lady who just sneezed all over the place. Take a drink from the same cup as that guy who just had a coughing fit. And go kiss a pig - thank the porcine playmate for carrying this wonderful virus for so many years, before it mutated enough to leap into the human population with reckless abandon.
This flu virus is here to party!! And it doesn’t discriminate. Black, white, Puerto Rican, and Haitian. Jew and gentile. Dog lover and cat lover.
It’s free, and something you can give to your friends. They’ll be thanking you for weeks. Swine flu makes a great gift:
“Happy Birthday Tom!! Here’s some swine flu for ya!!”
Thursday, June 11, 2009
When you heard the news about the next iteration of the iPhone, were you: Excited? Disappointed? Angry? Satisfied? Carefree and bra-less? In the middle of something more important, like cleaning the fuzz out of your hairdryer?
Or were you just trying to rationalize why you need to trade in your old, first-generation, stone-age iPhone in order to get a new one?
If you’re anything like me – which I hope you’re not, for my sake, as I can often be self-loathing – then you spent the hours after the new iPhone’s announcement rationalizing the upgrade. I mean come on, the new one has a compass. I NEED a compass in my cell phone. It’s about goddam time somebody crammed a compass into a phone, if you ask me.
And so, I placed an order for the compass-containing, faster-than-Hermes, smarter-than-Athena iPhone 3GS. And while we’re on the Greek gods references, can we all just admit that Steve Jobs is the Zeus of the technology world? An unseen force, firing thunderbolts of ingenuity and user-friendliness from his mountaintop palace.
Furthermore, you don’t have to camp out for 72 hours in order to get the new iPhone. You can order it online and they’ll mail it to you – or knowing Apple, they’ll figure out a way to email it to you. It’ll be delivered on June 19th, so I’ll have to wait until then to see the actual method of delivery.
Did I need to get a new phone? Does my life require downloads at 3G speeds, and 32 gigabytes of storage? Did I mention the new iPhone has a compass?
No, no, and yes. But one fantastic way to rationalize the expense is that I can probably sell my old iPhone for pretty close to what the new one costs. Apparently, the old one can be “jailbroken” which means that you can hack into the system and opne up the phone for use on any GSM cell phone network. Or, it contains a large amount of gold within its circuitry. I’m not sure.
In any case, it’s somewhat valuable to certain people on eBay. And so, on eBay it shall go. Unless one of you wants to buy it. You will get special Mill pricing and free shipping. The special pricing may be higher or lower than you’d pay elsewhere, but it will be very very special – it will be converted from US dollars into Israeli shekels, then into drachma, then into rinminbi, then back into US dollars.
Anyway, I’ll have a full review of the new iPhone when it arrives via whatever futuristic method Apple deems appropriate.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Not to make light of a plane full of people disappearing over the Atlantic Ocean – it’s a pretty fucked up thing for a plane full of people to disappear over any ocean, even the Atlantic. The Atlantic Ocean is, after all, home to the Bermuda Triangle – a paranormal vortex/alien landing zone/obsession of high school kids who couldn’t get a date to the prom and instead stay up late at night to formulate conspiracy theories and carve handguns out of bars of soap so that they’ll make it through the metal detector, well, undetected.
So it’s not inconceivable that this plane was lost due to some sort of paranormal disturbance in the space-time continuum, a la “Lost.” And in fact, if television has taught us anything it’s that the most obvious explanation – and the one involving the least expensive special effects – is usually the right one. It would follow then that Air France Flight 447 found its way into a terrestrial wormhole, and now exists mostly in a parallel universe – minus the bits and pieces that investigators have so far located, as of this writing.
Here’s what happened, according to my investigative intuition:
Flight 447 leaves Rio de Janeiro at some time during the day. Or night. (I didn’t really do any research before writing this purely speculative report.) The plane gains altitude in whatever amount the pilot deems necessary.
Beverage service begins.
Fasten seatbelt light is turned off. The flight proceeds as normal.
Several hours into the flight, a man sneezes. A flight attendant kindly hands the man a tissue. The tissue becomes electrically charged due to vigorous nose blowing. The tissue is placed on the seatback tray table. The Airbus A330 has plastic tray tables, and thus the tissue is not given a chance to discharge against a metallic surface, as would normally be the case.
The sneezing gentleman decides to use the lavatory, in order to empty the contents of his bladder – three Diet Cokes and a Red Bull. He abruptly closes the tray table against the seatback, crushing the energized tissue between the tray surface and the fabric-covered seat. A fusion reaction results, as the tissue is instantly compressed by the force of the man’s urge to urinate.
A tiny, white-hot star begins to form within nanoseconds. The intense heat of this microscopic sun is enough to melt ice, and warms all cold drinks within a 2 foot radius. It also tears an airplane-sized hole in the fabric of space-time, which engulfs the plane and sends it back to 1880’s wild west America.
Unfortunately - as often as I wish life played out more like a science fiction TV show - the above scenario is completely fabricated. The sad truth is that the plane crashed in the ocean, taking all 228 souls aboard to the bottom of the sea. They haven’t found the wreckage because it’s 22,000 feet under water, not because it landed on the Planet of the Apes.
No other point to this post than to remind people that even though jet travel is, statistically speaking, one of the safest modes of transportation - even more so than rickshaw - terrible tragedies such as the loss of Air France Flight 447 do occasionally occur. The only good that can come of it is that they figure out what went wrong, and use the knowledge to develop safer airplanes. In any case, my heart goes out to the families of the victims.
It’s a stark reminder as to how batshit crazy it is that we can throw 600,000 pounds of aluminum 5 miles into the sky, and actually get it to stay up there, and return safely to the ground most of the time.
Friday, June 05, 2009
(This post is in response to an apparent job opening in North Korea. It’s an executive position, and requires several years of management experience. A physical science background and/or degree from a certified 4-year college is preferred, but not required. Graduate studies leading to a Master's degree or equivalent is a plus, as is membership in your local Communist party. A polygraph test and urinalysis is required - to make sure you are alive.....and able to urinate on command.)
Supposedly Kim Jong-Il’s looking for a successor. One of his sons is the front runner – his most loyal son, and the one who bears the strongest resemblance to dear old Dad. Well, Mr. Jong-Il, I may not look a whole lot like you, and I may not think a whole lot like you, and I sure as hell don’t dress a whole lot like you (I don’t wear the same, gray, Dr. Evil suit every single day of my frackin’ life) but I’d like to apply for the job.
Just like I declare myself eligible for the NBA draft every single year, with almost no hope of actually being picked I hereby declare myself a candidate for the next Dear Leader of North Korea’s communist regime.
What about Kim Jong-MILL? How do you like those apples? I think I’d make a fantastic successor to the current Dear Leader.
That’s right. I’ll take that ass-backwards, barren, starving, nuclear-armed country and turn it into an Asian version of New Jersey – endless strip malls, decent beaches, and state-sponsored unlimited kimchi for every man, woman, child, and dog in the country.
Not only that, but I’ll get along with Obama really, really well. Hell, I’ll even try to stop any transfer of nuclear weapons, or other WMD’s to terrorist organizations. With me in charge, it will be safe to remove North Korea from the axis of evil, and place the country firmly within the nexus of fun – along with the Netherlands, and Tarminikijistan.
So maybe the CIA could pull something off, and install me as the head of a puppet regime. Whatever, I’ll happily be somebody’s puppet. So long as it gets me a chauffeur, a million man army, and some nukes.
Just like my main man, Kim Jong-Il. Come on buddy, choose me as your successor. I’ll even let you guest post on my blog if I can succeed you. I mean really, no skin off your nose, right?
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
One of the most exciting playmakers the NFL has seen in recent years – a truly electrifying talent with his rocket arm and fighter jet legs - Michael Vick is also an ex-convict and a dog murderer.
Will any team overlook Vick’s animal murdering ways, gambling problems, and poor grammar to take a chance on the former All-Pro quarterback? All he needs is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him, and his services will be available to the highest bidder. The highest bidder is likely to be the worst team and/or the team that most hates dogs.
The rumors are flying as thick and fast as Vick’s thighs – will the St. Louis Rams make a move for the canine killing quarterback? The Rams have one of the worst teams in the league, with strong-armed, yet weak-willed quarterback Marc Bulger leading the offense. Bulger is known for throwing as many passes to opposing players as to his own receivers - that is, of course, when he’s not on his back following a helmet to the solar plexus.
But this isn’t about Marc Bulger and how terrible his team is. This is about Michael Vick and how animal-murderously talented he is. Imagine a human being who can outrun a locomotive, bench press a thousand pounds 25 times, and throw a hand grenade 500 yards with pinpoint accuracy. Now imagine a man who kills dogs for fun, and has problems paying his bills. Michael Vick is some combination of these two people.
So yes, Vick’s return to the NFL would be worthy of significant news coverage. He could bring with him a sense of excitement to a town with a terrible football team - St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit, I’m talking to you! He’s paid a lot for his crimes against canine-kind in prison, and in the loss of his livelihood – along with the confiscation of 5 Escalades, diamond-encrusted salt and pepper shakers, and a gem-studded iPod Touch with his name and jersey number hand-engraved into the solid gold casing.
Yes, Mr. Vick has largely paid his dues, and deserves a second chance. Just keep him the hell away from your dog.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Whether or not Judge Sonia Sotomayor passes muster with the Senate, and becomes Justice Souter’s replacement on the highest court in the land, there will be other opportunities. There will come a day when the President searches for a moderate, well-read (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Freckle Juice, Batman – a book based on the movie, etc.) thoughtful, and completely legally inexperienced citizen to take a place on the Supreme Court.
After all, who would know better as to what an appropriate interpretation of the Constitution is, than a casual humor blogger.
In other words – President Obama, when do I get my shot at one of them Supreme Court gigs? My judicial philosophy is as follows: “ I’m here to drink beer, write blogs, interpret laws, and kick some ass. And it looks like we’re all out of beer, and also all out of blog writing.”
I think I’d hold my own during the Senate confirmation hearings. A piece of cake.
Abortion? Let the states decide. Gay marriage? Let the states decide. Praising Jesus in schools? That one doesn’t much concern me right now. Just don’t make my kids worship any idols.
But a playoff system in college football? I’m all over this one. And I’m ready to write a 500 page court decision on it.
I guess my main problem with Sotomayor is, we don’t how she’d rule on college football playoffs and when or if she’d even want the current bowl system to be overhauled – when it inevitably goes to the Supreme Court for a decision, of course.
In my eyes, we have two choices: 1) give me Souter’s spot on the bench, or b) grill Sotomayor like there’s no tomorrow during her confirmation hearings – and make sure that I’m comfortable with her answers regarding college football playoffs.
Oh, and also, I want to be sure that she’s okay with allowing dogs to serve as substitute teachers in public high schools. This is a new one I just came up with, and has a lot to do with my new “Equal Rights, Whether Two Legs or Four” initiative. Which I also just came up with this minute.
I’m sure you’ll agree this is all very important stuff, and we need to be absolutely sure we choose the right blogger, er, I mean person for the job.