Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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Fancy Plans… Guide to North American Trees

May 28, 2010
[In the interest of buying myself some time, I’m dragging an old post out of the archives and into the harsh glare of nearly a year’s worth of hindsight. This one dates back to 06/25/09 and features the short, punchy stylings of a blogger in his prime. You’ll notice I run a lot longer now…]

In the interest of bettering our fellow bloggers, we provide this handy guide to the trees of North America. While this can generally be a tedious and forgettable subject, we hope that, when all is read and done, you’ll walk away with at least one more fact to add to your collection of useless knowledge. Prepare to be taught at!

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

Weeping Willow
Easily the most “emo” of all North American trees, the weeping willow spends its lifetime sullenly hunched over, bitterly complaining about anything and everything.* It can often be found sulking morosely in the darker corners of your yard.

  • *Wind – Fine. I’m waving. Crawl out of my ass. Jesus.
  • Calm – A breeze would be nice.
  • Rain – This is how I feel inside. All the time.
  • Not Raining – Nobody understands me. Not even the weather.
  • Snow – Why can’t we live somewhere warmer?
  • Heat – This fucking figures.

Natural Enemies: Sunny, temperate days; the laughter of children

Given local wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Depending on wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Maple
Widely acknowledged as Canada’s only export, the maple is known for its appearance on national flags and its ruthlessly efficient seed distribution system, which is regarded by many top scientists as a “miracle.”

DaVinci’s early model for a flying machine (known today as the “autogyro”) was based on the corkscrewing flight pattern of the maple seed. The U.S. military took this to its logical conclusion in Vietnam, using their autogyros to scatter “leaflets” over the irritated population, who grumbled and told their kids to get outside and rake the yard. (“Watch out for the punji pits and anti-personnel mines. I don’t want to have to clean up two messes today.”)

Natural enemies: Rakes; currency exchange rates

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Oak
A hulking metaphor of a tree, the oak tree is prized for its bold statement that even the smallest of us can grow up to do great things, like win the heavyweight championship of the world, or take out a neighbor’s water lines.

While it tends to do better in wide open areas, it can usually be found in groupings of smaller trees, rubbing its towering new look in the faces of its former classmates, who teased it mercilessly during its formative years.

Natural enemies: Squirrels; small claims court

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

Aspen
The most sensitive of all North American trees, the aspen is known for it “quaking” and “shivering” at the slightest breeze, while gusts in the 30-40 mph range will cause it to break down in full-blown tears. Recent scientific studies have theorized that the tree may actually be the most easily aroused of all plants, its quaking due to an incredibly easily achieved orgasm.

Either way, aspen owners should keep their distance, as it becomes emotionally attached at the slightest provocation, leading to late night surprise visits and drunk-dialing.

Natural enemies: Woodpeckers; frat boys

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

California Redwood
Although native to California, the redwood has begun to creep up the coastline into Oregon and Washington, prompting locals to bitch endlessly about these intruders. These diatribes, usually delivered from atop a bicycle or light-rail car, are usually disregarded by tourists and redwoods alike.

The looming threat of California’s bankruptcy should only increase the redwood exodus, providing the Pacific Northwest with novelty tree “tunnels” and yet another goddamn reason for tourists to visit. There is some speculation (as yet unproven) that the trees are only looking for cheaper real estate/heroin.

Natural enemies: Oregonians; tainted needles

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Cedar
The Swiss Army knife of trees, the cedar has been used to create everything from moderately priced furniture to bedding for pet rodents. Due to its versatility and distinctive smell, the noble cedar has excelled in many areas during the last several years (listed below).

  • Intramural volleyball team captain
  • District co-champion, debate team
  • Co-signer on Aaron Nussbaum’s auto loan
  • President of the Sierra Club (1984, 1996)
  • Personal assistant to Blythe Danner, Phillip Michael Thomas
  • Toothpick of the year (1997)
  • U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • Recipient – Don Mills Clean Living Award (2009)
  • Best Smile – Paloma County High School (Junior Year)

Natural Enemies: Cheerleader cliques; asthmatics

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Pine
Perhaps best known for its involvement in the George Brett pine tar scandal (as well as its role as an “enabler” in several lesser incidents), the pine has cleaned up its reputation to become a well-known Christmas icon, on par with Santa Claus and his son, Jesus Christ.

Also well-known to homeowners and other Christmas celebrants as “nature’s litterbug,” the pine cannot help but shed needles and cones every-fucking-where constantly. Years of domestication have failed to housebreak the tree, as its shedding reaches a peak when kept indoors. “Evergreen,” my ass.

Natural enemies: Umpires; Jehovah’s Witnesses

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

Family
Ranging in size from a full-blown leviathan (Utah) to barely more than a misshapen stump with a few rare branches (Arkansas, West Virginia), this decidedly North American institution is prized for its collection of interminable slideshows and long, boring stories.

While it continues to grow all year round, it reaches its peak during the summer reunion months.

Natural enemies: Attractive cousins; Planned Parenthood

-CLT

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Entrepreneur Magazine Presents: Best New Franchises of 2009

July 18, 2009

Entrepreneur Magazine has release their annual Franchise 500, spotlighting some new (and exciting!) players in the field of “running your own business for someone else.” Here are a few highlighted selections from the magazine’s editors and contributors.

"Well, I don't see how this could be taken the wrong way..."

"Well, I don't see how this could be taken the wrong way..."

Stop and Pop Fertility Clinics
Set up as a competitor for rival Kum & Go.

The Dreamweavery
Mall kiosk franchise, carrying “dreamweavers and shit,” according to founder Gary Wright.

Pimp My 10 Year Old
The tweens’ destination of choice for ass-writing, henna tramp stamps, training Wonderbras, and Little Debbie G-strings. All purchases come with a “pre-Friended” MySpace page.

Mr. Speedee’s Oil Changery and Add-on Shoppe
Our videotape-trained “mechanicians” will drain your oil, stripmine your vehicle of spare change and add inexplicable charges to your bill – all in under 15 minutes!

South of the Border
Overpriced knickknacks, many of them made by actual Mexicans, bring you all the fun of Mexico without the beggars, knife wounds, crippling diarrhea or favorable exchange rate. Our vendors are always thrilled to “play-haggle” and feign amusement at your clumsy cunnilingus jokes.

Another sexually precocious Yorkie deflowers your shoes.

Another sexually precocious Yorkie deflowers your shoes.

Yorkie Pride
Come paint yourself into a merchandising corner with this exciting new franchise! All yorkies, all the time! Our complimentary startup guide will help you answer many common questions, including:

  • Do you carry anything with weenie dogs?
  • Why not?
  • So, this calendar only contains Yorkies?
  • What possible function does your business serve?
  • What do you mean, “you’ll be late with the rent?” This is the mall, not some shithole studio apartment.

Barely Knit Togethers
High-priced cashmere fashions and handmade scarves. Savvy franchisees will start this business up during the Christmas season and shut down shortly after New Year’s Day, taking their profits and bolting before various disappointed sweater enthusiasts realize these goods will fall apart after a single washing. Additional tips provided on:

  • Early returns
  • How many complaints can be filed before the Better Business Bureau drops its endorsement (surprisingly few, actually)
  • Why some people will insist on pronouncing it “barley”

Blademasters
You may think this sword and blade store will give you the chance to rub shoulders with ex-Special Forces members, various Vietnam vets and trained ninja assassins. The reality, however, is that you will be constantly overrun with LARPers, Renaissance Fair rejects and hyper 10-year-old boys. Might as well open a comic book shop and sell the shit out of some “Magic” cards.

Lukewarm Topic
Take the “edge” off in this new boutique, featuring shirts and other gear with near-offensive slogans like “Son of a Beach,” Tyson Foods Breast Inspector,” “Hershey Highwayman,” and “Have you seen Mike Hunt?” Enjoy the soothing sounds of middle-of-the-road rock “artists” such as Nickelback, Rob Thomas and the grandfathers of punk, Green Day. Now nearly 80% emo-free!

Clandestine’s Pub
Meet your secretary, mistress or other “business associate” at our attractive and discreet restaurant with full-service bar. Available as a stand-alone eatery or take advantage of our partnership with Holiday Inn Express and their new hourly rates. All corporate billing and receipts will be labelled with your choice of “Applebees” or “TGIFriday’s” to allay any suspicions. VIP customers will also receive one (1) alibi-supporting phone call per visit.

Kiosk Kiosk
The first kiosk franchise to specialize in helping others get into the kiosk franchise business. Start with your friends and family to build an exponential Kiosk Kiosk network. Founder Rich De Vos says: “So meta, it’s probably illegal!”

OG’s Home Inventory System
Finally, a business that can be run from anywhere, even your SUV or van if needed. Throw surprise parties for homeowners that mix the unpredictability of Improv Everywhere with the adrenaline rush of Panic Room, with a little scavenger hunt excitement to boot! Some involuntary participants have referred to it as a “Tupperware party with guns” and “The most frightening half-hour of my life.”

Yeah, that looks like fun. Let's bring that magic to the public.

Yeah, that looks like fun. Let's bring that magic to the public.

Ye Olde Photo Shoppe
Not to be confused with the Adobe product of nearly the same name, Ye Olde Photo Shoppe combines the fun of family photography with the tedium of selecting costumes, dressing in costumes, arguing over who gets to wear what costume, selecting backdrops and spending 3 hours to take 20 minutes worth of photos. The children will also be thrilled to add new words to their vocabulary including: muzzle loader, petticoat, bowler and head lice.

Quick Pix Standalone Kiosk
Give local teens a jumpstart on drinking with this “passport photo” booth. Coin-operated and unable to tell right from wrong, this money-making booth is the closest thing to buying those kids the beer yourself. Although this will bring in the bucks, the real reward is seeing the smile on their drunken faces as they drive their vehicle through the front window and into your living room. Pro tip: couple with an unattended cigarette machine for more soul-sucking riches.

-CLT