Posts Tagged ‘Platitudes’


Platitudes for a New Millenium Vol. 3

May 19, 2010
[Another abandoned concept dragged from the verge of complete annihilation! Will wonders never cease? I’m guessing they will. Cease, that is. Until then, enjoy Vol. 3 of Platitudes for a New Millenium, which coincidentally enough was proceeded by Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.]

Not only is it green as all hell, but look at the size of that yard!

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Now, why is that?

It’s not as if you don’t try. Up at 4 a.m. to water. Long discussions on lawn treatment options at your local nursery. Experimental products recommended to you by the groundskeeper at the country club.

Even the home owner’s association has noticed, sending you a threatening letter concerning your inability to meet “adjoining lawn color intensity,” thereby disrupting “cul-de-sac curb appeal in regards to resident eyeflow.” They take care to point out that this is “nothing personal” but that they have no interest in seeing their property values dip because of your inability to color match.

Then he comes out to condescendingly hand out some unsolicited advice, all handshakes and warm clichés, wearing that sickening Enzyte smile.

Now you’re on 24-hour lawn surveillance, looking for his secret. Is he watering illegally? Could be. But you can’t stay awake 24/7. You’re already catching a lot of flak at the office thanks to your spotty attendance. You’re faring no better at home, having become little else than a twitching mass of paranoia.

Is he burying corpses for superior fertilizer?

It’s a distinct possibility. After all, he does own a shovel and is incredibly unlikable. Who buys a t-shirt that says, “Ask me about my golf handicap”? Obviously it’s much lower than yours. No one brings down that kind of ultra-competitive heat without something to back it up.

So very tired.

I'm just... um... birdwatching? Um... the birds in your... uh... garage?

Are you coming to bed? Not likely. That guy’s probably whipping up something containing depleted uranium and Miracle-Gro right now. No. He wants me to sleep. Just to gain another 2-3% in “lawn intensity.” That magnificent bastard!

What? Who am I talking to? I’m not… Fuck! He just went into the garage! Where’s my ski mask?

I have you now, my friend. Who goes into their garage at 2 a.m.? … I’m not talking to anybody! Just… weren’t you going to bed?

Shit. Where did he go?

Honey, grab me my night vision goggles. OK… thanks… Maybe next time you could bring them without the attitude?

Hey! These are 3-D glasses! My goggles! On the nightstand! Why… why do we have 3-D glasses readily available? Night vision goggles just make sense, but just to have these lying around… What is this, the seventies? I’m…

Oh… right… Avatar.

My goggles, honey. He’s making his move. Again, without the attitude would be great. You know, if I had a nickel for every time you’ve told me to go fuck myself over the last six weeks, we could have purchased that washer/dryer set you’ve been looking at.

No. The one with the stainless steel and LED screen.

The hell if I know. Sears?

You were looking at it while I was off at the Sharper Image pricing surveillance equipment… Let me worry about the legalities of those cameras. All I’m saying is that your negative attitude is swiftly nickel-and-diming us out of a new washer/dryer set.

We can discuss my “fundamental misunderstanding of how money works” later. The goggles, please. We’re burning moonlight.

What? Well, where the hell are they? … Your cousin? What the hell?

Without even bringing up the fact that they are not yours to lend, for someone so concerned with legality you sure seem to bypass that issue when it comes to your family members.

All I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure a restraining order is valid whether or not the other person can see you. You know, fuck it. I’m just going to get a dog and train it to pee in his yard.

Of course he’ll know whose it is. That’s kind of the point.

Well, I can always get more dogs. The pound is full of them.

Whatever. I’m out of here. Is my scuba gear still in the basement?

Never mind. I’ll get it. If you need me, I’ll be lurking in his koi pond. Don’t wait up.



Platitudes for a New Millenium Vol. 2

March 9, 2010

And, of course, all the best spots are taken.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”  

This phrase stems from the belief that the key to a fulfilling life is holding onto a grudge well past its sell-by date, leading to situations like the following:  

Man: Jake? Is that you? Man, it’s been like… years! How’ve you been?
Man: Jesus Christ! My eye! You shot me in my eye!
You: Remember junior prom? When you told Cindy Johnson I had syphilis? And she ditched me and fucked you in the bathroom? I told you I’d make you pay!
Man: Oh, god! Oh, my god! I thought you had syphilis! You were blind in one eye!
You: And now you’re blind in both. Oh, and you owe me $77.50 for the tux rental!

Or this, more recently:  

You: Are you Salman Rushdie?
Salman: Yes, yes I am.
You: Huzzah! The Islamic faith is avenged and its fanaticism totally justified! Let’s see you write something heretical with no eyes!
Salman: [faints]
You: Oh, yeah. Stay the fuck away from Cindy Johnson.

As you can see, delayed gratification is still gratification. And while the reward money for capping Salman Rushdie will help you pad your legal defense fund, sometimes randomly shooting people in the eyes is its own reward.  

But is bitter and syphilitic any way to go through life? Sure, it worked for Van Gogh and Hitler, but why hold on to all that anger?  

Why not get some of that sweet sweet revenge now?  

Here’s a “for instance:”  

It’s a shitty day. Raining like hell. You decide to head to the mall, perhaps to stock up on ammo. You spy someone backing out of a choice parking spot near the entrance. You turn on your blinker and wait patiently for them to pull out.  

Despite your clear statement of intent via the turn signal, some random asshole in the oncoming lane steals the spot.  

What do you do?  

Your immediate response may be to deploy some reliable stand-bys: the “finger,” the “horn,” the “string of obscenities,” or the “gypsy curse.”  

Unfortunately this will have no effect on this person. Calling him an “asshole” won’t phase him as he probably doesn’t restrict his “dick moves” to mall parking lots. There’s also no real benefit to calling him an asshole in front of his family, either, as they spend every day with him and are well aware of that fact.  

So, now what?  

I suppose you could key his car but I’m guessing that his general assholishness has already seen his vehicle deflowered by multiple keys, both foreign and domestic.  

Here’s what to do:  

Trail him into the mall. Make your move when he is being helped at a service desk or otherwise has several people (in addition to his family) gathered around in earshot. And then… drop one of these on him:  

  • See you at the “thing” tonight. Wear protection.
  • You said you’d “fix it” and now they’re dredging the lake? How’re you going to fix THAT? (Start sobbing hopelessly.)
  • Do they know? How could they not know? (Affect a combination of shock and dismay.)
  • See you at the “thing” tonight. Bring something to sacrifice. Or someone.
  • You pyramid-scheming son of a bitch! It’s all gone! All of it! (Start sobbing and acting “penniless.”)
  • I should violate your ass right now! (Try to sound like a parole officer or this may have unintended consequences.)
  • You’re married?!? How long were you going to keep THIS from me? (Start sobbing inconsolably.)
  • I urinated on your car seat.
  • Sir? I think you left your car on fire.
  • See you at the “thing” tonight. You should be able to find a sponsor at this meeting. You know, for when you’re feeling “gay.”
  • The power of Christ compels you! (Sprinkle liberally with water.)
  • Beware the Ides of March. (Stab liberally.)
  • I urinated in the holy water.
  • See you at the “thing” tonight. Ralph got a 2-for-1 from the local pimp!
  • Nice parking, cockface. (Start sobbing.)

With this time bomb set, you are free to wander the mall. Maybe pick up that Beretta you’ve had your (perfectly good and non-shot) eye on. Or maybe a smaller backup piece, in case something goes awry during your daily face-shooting.  

Your freshly-minted nemesis will suddenly have a lot of explaining to do and no earthly idea where to start.  

To sum up:  

Revenge is dish best served.”  



Life’s Little Lessons: Vol. 2

January 4, 2010

Life's Little Lessons (in conjunction with Fancy Plans) would like to remind you not to stare into the sun, dumbass.

Today you are faced with a crisis: your wife/girlfriend has returned from a Christian women’s retreat with a rare combination case of pregnancy and lesbianism. You have several choices on how to handle this, the most important of which may be to determine whether this is your girlfriend or your wife.

You may have several questions, especially of the “chicken or the egg” variety, or possibly of the “cart before the horse” variety. These questions are not unimportant, but they are unlikely to provide satisfactory answers.

As you ponder this conundrum (from the Latin “conundra,” or “WTF???”), you’ll find that the possibilities of life are endless, especially those of the “bad-to-worse” variety.

Try to approach this with love. “Honey, you know I love you, but what the fucking fuck?” Your unexpected tenderness and casual swearing may allow your suddenly less-significant other to open up, much like she apparently did for Pastor Dan and to a lesser extent, Pastor Dan’s soon-to-be-estranged wife.

If you can do it, try to see this from her viewpoint. This may be initially easy as you can probably imagine fucking several other women at this point, but it may be much more difficult to see it her way in relation to Pastor Dan. Unless, of course, your sexual relationship has already included a fair amount of role reversal and scented lubricants.

Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in by all the negative aspects. Try to remain positive and look for possible benefits:

  • A lucrative settlement from a lawsuit against Pastor Dan and his church.
  • You may finally learn Pastor Dan’s last name.
  • There’s always blackmail. That’s kind of fun.
  • Hot lesbian sex happening within possible earshot/eyeshot.
  • With adultery and lesbianism removed from your church’s “taboo” list, you may finally be able to take the “governor” off your own life, so to speak.
  • A lifetime supply of instant argument winners.
  • Most conversations will now be awkward for the other person.

If you look at these unfortunate incidents with the right mindset, you’ll find it easy to grow as a human being, if only more childish and resentful.

For instance, consider this piece of wisdom from the ancient Chinese: the symbol for “crisis” is the same as the symbol for “opportunity.” As you can see, every problem can bring about positive changes. The correlation also holds true in other areas, as the Chinese symbol for “peace” is also their symbol for “world domination.”

As your life partner prepares to head off for a lifetime of “box lunches” down at the “Y,” you too can be prepared to view every potential partner with a mixture of deep-seated suspicion and somewhat rational paranoia. All while raising someone else’s kid. (Just like Joseph! Except for the “lesbian” part, I guess.)

Coming up on “Life’s Little Lessons:”
Your Diner’s Club card is rejected down at the local eatery and its very existence mocked openly.



Life’s Little Lessons Vol. 1

December 31, 2009

"Cliche #46: Sunrise/Sunset." Available at Inspirational Stock Photography.

Sometimes events happen in your life and you know right away that they were meant to happen… to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or help figure out who you are, or who you want to become. Other times they seem to happen to shape people’s perception of you, long after the critical first impression.

You never know when these will happen or what shape they’ll take, but when you they occur, you know that very moment that they will affect the rest of your life in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen that at the time seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, will power or heart. It’s only with the power of open-mindedness and hindsight that you will be able to look back at these events as horrible, painful and unfair. And if therapy is involved, prohibitively expensive.

Like when the clerk at the adult bookstore informs you that they have run out of black bags and only have two different types remaining: clear and promotional bags featuring the phrase “A Fistful of Dolly.” And you begin to question whether this was the best use of your lunch break and ponder the quickest route back to your vehicle, which is parked between a storefront daycare and the local NOW office.

Yes. Difficulties lie ahead but everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or bad luck. Sometimes your day just won’t cooperate. Perhaps it’s time to simplify. Consider cutting down on your carbon footprint by bringing in your own reusable (and nondescript) porn bag. Try marking it with something like “Adidas” or “Not Porn.”

So as you begin your nonchalant speedwalking, you hear your name being called. You turn around to see a recent ex-girlfriend who is apparently out shopping with your mom. You find them drawing closer and attempt to jam four DVDs and a half-dozen magazines into the pockets of your sports coat.

You can’t think of what to say. It’s all stuff no one would believe, like “It’s for a bachelor party,” or “I lost a bet,” or “It’s time for ‘the talk’ with my oldest son.” None of that will draw attention away from your colorful porn and the fisting reference. For that matter, you don’t even have kids.

Without these small tests, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. Safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless. Can you feel the blood rising and your heart beating faster? That’s life right there, deflowering your dignity.

So after embarrassing yourself and everyone else, you head back to your car and drive to work, forgetting that you left your porn on the roof while you got into the vehicle. It’s gone now, but it will live on, causing many angry letters to be written to many editors by many perturbed parents and outraged NOW members.

The successes and downfalls that you experience can create who you are, and the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones, not to mention the most scarring and psychologically debilitating. You can expect some awkward phone calls from your mom and a mental (and mutual) restraining order from your ex-girlfriend.

Life. Too often we take these formative experiences for granted and try to “power through” them to get on with what’s left of our lives. It’s time to sit back and take stock of these experiences to better prepare ourselves for an often unpleasant future.

Thanks for reading.

Next on Life’s Little Lessons:
Your wife returns home from the local Christian women’s retreat pregnant. And a lesbian.



Letters to the Editor

August 14, 2009
Our art department honed their skills publishing the company newsletter, which was distributed alternate Tuesdays in the breakroom

Our art department honed their skills publishing the company newsletter, which was distributed alternate Tuesdays in the breakroom

In our endless efforts to collect as much useless information as possible, our research team at Fancy Plans has compiled the letters to the editor from nearly 300 major newspapers (including AP, those litigious motherfuckers). After several days of sifting data and making shit up, the final tallies rolled in.

We now present you with the most common topics for letters to the editor, listed in order from most common to least common. There’s no need to thank us. Your slightly drunken smiles are all the payment our abused interns need.

Questioning periodical’s political leanings
Abortion rights (against)
Abortion rights (for)
Low voter turnout
Gun control (for)
Gun control (against)
Gun control (undecided)
Gay marriage (against)
Gay marriage (for)
Gay marriage announcements

Taxes (too high)
Taxes (too low – gasoline)
Taxes (too low – cigarettes)
Taxes (too low – porn)
Taxes (drunken rambling about the price of cigarettes and porn)
Taxes (pro-Tea Party)
Taxes (anti-Tea Party)
Taxes (Biggest and Best State evar!) 

How the old days were better
Reckless driving (teens)
Reckless driving (elderly)
Calls for a four-way intersection to be installed directly in front of writer’s house
Why did the library stop “renting” videotapes?

City councilman baiting 

Oil prices too high
Oil prices too low (Al Gore; Prius dealers only)
Why ethanol is a waste of money
Why ethanol is the best thing since overpriced produce

"It was such a beautiful day, too. It's a shame more people didn't turn out to support whoever the hell this is at whatever the hell this event was..."

"It was such a beautiful day, too. It's a shame more people didn't turn out to support whoever the hell this is at whatever the hell this event was..."

Congratulations for all involved at poorly-attended local event
Complaints about low turnout at poorly-attended local event
Why “X” needs more public money for “Y”
Why property taxes need to be raised
Public school suxx
Public school roxx
Public school = free babysitting!

Complaints about public’s ignorance of obscure nationality-specific quasi-holiday
Inappropriate language in PG movie
Inappropriate language at local baseball game
Inappropriate language at Denny’s

Conspiracy theories (birth certificate)
Conspiracy theories (Sept. 11)
Conspiracy theories (Billy Mays + Freemasons + U.N. + Grand Theft Auto IV = Four Horseman of the Apocalypse)
Conspiracy theories (My two apartment neighbors are stealing my paper, alternating days)

Astroturf grab bag

Church attendance (too low)
Church attendance (too high – c’mon folks, chip in. The folding chairs won’t pay for themselves.)
Utility bills (too high)
Utility bills (conspiracy theory crossovers)
Utility infielder (Mark Bellhorn)

Disagreements about Top 50 Songs of the New Millennium (misdirected from Spin magazine?)
Griping about lack of support for piss poor local team
Unruly zoo animals
Lists of platitudes
Drunken tirades
Inexplicable defenses of Liz Taylor; Diana Ross

Medicare Plan B not covering brand name medication, 14K Gold MedicAlert bracelets, Enzyte
Medicare Plan B not covering jack shit, apparently
I’m sorry. Could you speak up? I’m a little hard of hearing.

The bad service the writer got at local business no one gives a shit about
Not enough handicapped parking spaces at local business no one gives a shit about
Owner of local business that no one gives a shit about defending lack of parking spaces, jackass employees and begging people to please, please, please start giving a shit

Concern about lack of coverage given to issue near and dear to only the writer
Irritable letter displaying the writer’s false sense of entitlement
Pointlessly bitchy letter in response to large number of recent pointlessly bitchy letters
Wandering, pointless letters about cats, landscaping issues, Mad Dog 20/20, etc.
Letter from Mom (put in wrong envelope)

Well written, thought-provoking letters



Profiles in Uselessness: Nostalgia

July 20, 2009
Not only do they not take or comprehend credit cards, but it is apparently, "Whites Only."

Not only do they not take or comprehend credit cards, but the store is apparently "Whites Only."

Ah, nostalgia. Like selective amnesia and repressed memories, a yearning for a simpler time is often the result of something annoying in the present triggered a rose-tinted mental Super 8 film, often accompanied by With a Little Help from My Friends, by a twitchy Joe Cocker.

Whether the trigger is an “Insufficient Funds” notice, being lost in the “wrong side of town,” kids cutting across the lawn late at night, multi-racial new neighbors or the latest chart-topping single, “Remember When” dementia can strike at any time.

No one ever remembers a terrible time from their past during these stroke-like fits of retrograde amnesia. It’s always a “simpler time” when you can prune life’s variables down to just the ones you can handle, like when men were men, children were respectful, and women shut the fuck up.

To a simpler time!

I remember…

  • When women burned bras rather than wearing them.
  • When Christians were fed to the lions, rather than elected to positions of power.
  • When candy cost a nickel and came in two flavors: licorice and horehound.
  • When this was all orange groves. Tended by illegals.
  • When Coke used to contain actual cocaine and could treat polio, male pattern baldness and the gout.
  • When arranged marriages were the norm, rather than this “speed dating” that everyone seems so fond of.
  • When your news came once a day, delivered by a child laborer on a Schwinn.
#1 in its time slot for six years in a row (1947-1952). Rerun briefly by TV Land.

#1 in its time slot for six years in a row (1947-1952). Rerun briefly by TV Land.

  • When there was good television, broadcast two hours a day, on one channel. And the rest of the day, the schedule was filled with great wholesome test patterns and technical difficulties.
  • When Russia was our only enemy, rather than a loose confederation of religious fanatics, both domestic and foreign.
  • When After School Specials dealt with harmless subjects like hookworm, comic book theft and smoking Dad’s pipe without permission.
  • When cars were made in the U.S. of A. Great, hulking beasts that were more aerodynamic when driven in reverse and contained such safety features as 30 feet of hood and plate glass windshields.
  • When women and minorities couldn’t vote, leading to the great presidencies of Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland (twice).
  • When buying a pack of gum wasn’t like an interminable trip to Baskin-Robbins, which in those days only carried vanilla, licorice and horehound.
  • When people didn’t undermine nostalgia by using inflation-adjusted dollars, thus turning our wonderful five-cent candy into a 95-cent gouging. Things were cheaper back then, dammit!
  • When children received only the education needed to secure an entry-level position in the fields of textile manufacturing, railroad construction or chimney sweeping.
  • When everyone at the bank knew your name. And your kids’ names. And your sexual indiscretions.
Zach Wild's later work introduced a new layer of subtext, with the larger deer indicating an object in the foreground and thus closer to the eye.

Zach Wild's later work introduced a new layer of subtext, with the larger deer representative of an object in the foreground and thus closer to the eye.

  • When art was actual pictures of stuff, before affordable photography made it redundant.
  • When singers actually sang about things, rather than vague emotions. Wonderful and powerful songs like Mellow Yellow, Yummy Yummy Yummy and Twist and Shout.
  • When someone ran Old Glory up the flagpole, people saluted, goddammit! And wouldn’t ask impertinent questions like, “Did you mean to hang it upside down?” or “Man, do those Chinese make an awesome flag, or what?”
  • When our favorite actors and actresses had the good sense to stay “closeted” until they died, giving their body of work a sudden injection of subtext.
  • When “Duck and Cover” could protect you from a 30-megaton blast, flying debris, deadly levels of radiation and intelligent discourse.
  • When you could smoke everywhere: on an airplane, at the movies, on the operating table, while working the medicine ball at the gym, at AA meetings…
  • When America used to head home from a war with the spoils of victory, rather than a red “Participant” ribbon.
  • When Indians were real Indians and stayed on reservations when not entertaining us during Wild West shows or parades. Back before we got all these fake Indians who don’t speak a lick of English and field customer service phone calls or assemble electronics.
  • When there were only three religions in this country: Christian, Catholic and Jewish. And we were free to hate on the third one.
What is not readily apparent, due to the angle of the photo, is that every man is sitting in a pool of his own urine.

What is not readily apparent, due to the angle of the photo, is that every man is sitting in a pool of his own urine.

  • When men were men and beat the fuck out of scab workers, pausing occasionally to be photographed taking their lunch break 500 feet in the air, atop some unfinished skyscraper.
  • When men were men and would join forces with the all-Irish police department to beat the fuck out of union members.
  • When firing up a cigar at the bar meant you were a rich and well-respected individual rather than a rich and insufferable prick.
  • When the worse thing local teens did was suck down a few too many jerked sodas and occasionally kick the diner jukebox.
  • When accusations of witchcraft were taken seriously, rather than just dismissed with, “They’re just goths, for christsakes. And they’re as scared of you as you are of them.”

God bless the good old days. Let’s hope they never return, bringing with them racism, sexism and a general xenophobia. We’ve put that all behind us now, in our present utopia.

So the next time the bank turns down your loan application, a local merchant asks for your photo ID, or you have an embarrassing and disturbing conversation with a sullen and profane teen, don’t wish yourself back to your childhood days. Instead, seize the moment, enjoy your life, live in the present and try to remember all the shit you put up with when you were younger.