What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Part the Fifth: She has a 'crush' on you

A continuation of previous 'crush' episodes...

I accumulated the nerve. It took a long time, some serious counseling with my male friends and a little Red Bull, but I picked up my shellular phone and pressed the appropriate speed dial button to call Luce. I'd only called her a couple of times - certainly not often enough to deserve one of my nine prized speed dial buttons - but with some people you want the facility of dialing to be so pronounced that you haven't a chance to think twice.

As the phone rang, I began to think that maybe I should have thought better. I thought twice about thinking twice. My mind raced with questions as difficult to answer as they were relevant. What should I say? Why was I calling? Why should Luce care? What if she told me to go moon myself? What does it mean to moon oneself? Is that even appropriate?

I wished for a piece of paper just so I could scribble or make a snazzy notation or do something intelligent. Absent a writing utensil, my hands were left to tremble, exposed. Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. My throat felt dry and clearing it made an unmanly gulping sound. I made a mental note not do do that while talking with Luce.

I heard a clicking sound, like someone picking up the line and then, with a background of several voices forming a cacophony like that of a party or other large gathering, I heard Luce's voice.

"Hello?" Boy, it was good to hear her voice again.

"Hey, Luce, it's me. You know, the guy, well, the guy you have a crush on." I scrunched my face in frustration. That was lame! Maybe I should start writing for the next Lindsay Lohan movie. My dialogue skills had to improve if I wanted to get anywhere. The guys around me shook their heads. Move on! "Anyway, I --"

"Wait, I can't hear you, let me move away..." Luce interrupted me, and I heard the voices in the background fade away. "You were saying?"

Grateful for the chance at redemption and eager to show Luce that I could conversate without making myself into a total beast of burden, I began again.

"Hey Luce, it's me, the guy from school. We went out and it didn't go so well, remember?" More scrunching. More shaking. Why did I have to bring that up?

"My reception here is awful. I've got, like, no bars. Say again?"

Sigh of grateful providence! Another chance.

"Luce? Luce?" I waited for an answer. After a fair pause I thought maybe the call had been dropped. Only a trace remnant of background voices kept me from hanging up and redialing. Then I heard Luce's voice again.

"You've just been punked. Leave a message at the tone."

The beep of her voicemail was like a buzzer on a bad game show. What did it mean to be punked? Was it an overt reference to "punk" rock or "punk" fashion or maybe something Ashton Kutcher would think up? I may not have known what a "punked" was, but I knew it hurt to be punked.

My fumblings continued despite the fact that the voicemail was now recording. For all of you who have never witnessed me thinking - which is probably all of the faithful few, especially those of you who know me best - when I am pensing through difficult questions, I tend to make unpremediated mumbling sounds, like a culinary connaisseur at a buffet line.

I stopped the involuntary thinking noises and left a message:

"Hey Luce, it's me, the guy you have a crush on. Well, used to have a crush on before you blew your top in the restaurant. But we're cool, right? Well maybe? Like Brad and Jen? Anyway, I'm calling to see if you want to go out again, with me. I mean, you probably want to go out again - I didn't scare you that badly, did I? - but would you deign to go with me? I promise not to lecture you or look dumb, although it will be hard, because looking dumb is what I do best: I get paid to do it at work and it's state of nature at school. Um. [EXTENDED PAUSE] Anyway, I thought we could go to the movies, just you and me. It would be a date. Not a friend date, but a romantic one. Like, a guy and a girl going to the movies together so they can sit next to each other for two and a half hours but never have to make conversation. Does that sound terribly incongruous or do you think you could swing it? You have my number, please call me."
My male advisors who were listening in as I left the message, making emphatic hand gestures I'm sure they thought were helpful, rushed to give me feedback the moment I hung up.

"OK, solid, a little sappy, but solid."

"Dude, what were you thinking with the 'Um...' routine? There's no way she'll get that!"

"Really nerdy."


"Next time, just leave your number."

Luce called back a few minutes later and said she loved the message. I stuck my tongue out at the guys and figured they were just jealous because none of them have been on a date since Chuck Heston became president of the NRA.

We're on. Our date will be at the theater next week. We are catching the Bourne Ultimatum premier, and I am more than a little nervous. I'm nervous about Luce, too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Anatomy of a Scandal

Meet Mike. Mike is an amateur wrestler. Mike doesn't do the crazed, pre-determined, "give him an Oscar" type of wrestling that comes on the TV after the FCC regulators go to bed; he competes internationally in referred Grecco-Roman bouts. As a competitor in an amateur sport, Mike doesn't win money for his victories, but he has a couple of small sponsorships that allow him to live comfortably while spending his days lifting weights and training with a coach.

Mike has been blessed with a lot of wrestling success. He wasn't always the fastest or strongest in the ring, but the last couple of years had seen him win some major international competitions. Mike is a strong fundamental wrestler and his work ethic makes him a difficult opponent.

Mike was gaining a following and many people watched his sport, just to see him. A few months ago, Mike did a Nike commercial and put on a cream mustache for full page "Got Milk?" spread in Sports Illustrated. Mike was even in talks with McDonalds to be the franchise's main spokesperson. He was invited to several late night talk shows, including Jay Leno and Bill Maher to crack a few jokes and peddle his next bout. He was recognized as the face of Greco-Roman wrestling.

Then something went wrong.

A blood test showed that Mike had elevated testosterone levels. An investigation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed a connection between Mike and a Mexican pharmaceutical company - a company who's main product is anabolic steroids. The test was inconclusive and the connection weak, but Nike pulled its commercial and Mike got his name in bold font in a front page story in the New York Times.

Sports radio picked up on the news quickly. Within four hours of the IOC's press conference, commentators were taking sides. Some argued that Mike's predicament was the sad but inevitable result of a sport culture hellbent on performance. Others said that Greco-Roman wrestling needed something like this in the age of WWE. A distinct minority urged caution, noting that the evidence was weak and Mike's innocence was to be presumed until proven otherwise.

At the request of the IOC, Mike submitted more blood samples. The results from those tests would be available within a week.

CNN broadcast an investigatory news piece on the use of steroids by amateur wrestlers at a high school in Washington Park, North Carolina, Mike's hometown. Oversized youths who had really hurt themselves with performance enhancing pills sat down in front of the harsh lights of CNN news crews to tell their sad stories. Wolf Blitzer made a comment about the importance of good role models and CNN received over a thousand emails voicing disapproval against Mike. Some of those emails were read on the air.

George Bedard, the District Attorney of Beaufort County North Carolina issued a statement saying he would not rest until justice was done in the "Wrestling Scandal." His office filed criminal charges against Mike alleging tax evasion and money laundering, both in connection with his steroid use. Bedard admitted that he had "very little" evidence to support his claim, but promised more would surface during the course of the trial.

Jorge Sedano made a disparaging comment about rednecks, in connection with Mike and was suspended from his radio program by Fox.

Katie Couric led off her CBS broadcast with a segment on Mike that showed archive footage of him lifting weights and drinking a protein beverage that looked suspiciously large.

Matt Lauer had a sit down interview with Mike on the Today Show in which Mike categorically denied any knowing steroid use. Matt pressed on the meaning of "knowing," and asked Mike to apologize to his fans, but both requests were denied by Mike "on the advice of his lawyer."

The New York Times, the first print publication to break the steroid scandal news, published an article criticizing all the media attention Mike was getting and urging the media to "let him settle his demons alone."

Tim Montgomery and Floyd Landis were guests on ESPN television to talk about what it feels like to be investigated for steroids. Both had encouraging words for Mike.

George Clooney began a three medium campaign, spanning radio, television and print, against amateur steroid use. Mike never consented to having his image used in the campaign, but Clooney used it anyway.

Micheal J. Fox made a YouTube video calling Mike selfish.

Barack Obama pledged to regulate steroid access more closely if he became President.

Hillary Clinton followed suit, keeping her campaign in step with Obama's. Political observers pointed out the strength of this move to position herself for Vice President.

Press secretary Tony Snow said the White House had no comment on Mike's situation.

Doug Brandow of the Cato Institute warned against government intervention in organized sports.

Jorge Sedano was reinstated, but only after a sincere apology to Mike and the addition of 30 seconds to his broadcast delay.

Though pressed for more evidence in Mike's case, District Attorney Bedard was unable to produce more material.

Phillip Dunhert, the Attorney General of North Carolina, began an investigation into Bedard's handling of Mike's steroid allegations.

Mike's second blood test came back negative, meaning that no trace of steroids were found in his system.

The IOC cleared Mike for competition.

The IOC discovered a cataloging error in its blood lab and noted that the original positive sample actually belonged to Eric, one of Mike's opponents.

Eric was suspended from competition pending an investigation into his positive blood sample.

George Bedard was suspended from his position as District Attorney and the state dropped all charges against Mike.

Mike competed for several more years in Greco-Roman wrestling and he even won a few more international meets. He never failed another drug test, but Nike never offered him back his sponsorship and the talks with McDonald's came to an abrupt end. And while Mike never did take steroids, a Gallup poll reveals that 65% of Americans strongly believe he did.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sign a petition to ask Matt Damon to stay on as Jason Bourne!

Pursuant to Chris Yerziklewski's germane comment on today's post, we have prepared a petition requesting Matt Damon stay on as Jason Bourne in the next Bourne film. Please take a second and sign the petition here. Then tell your friends about it and have them sign it too. Or inflate the number of signatures by signing the petition again and again using fictitious names and email addresses. Change computers or visit a lab so that they won't be able to tell you are signing the page multiple times. If you have a roving IP address or can camouflage your internet location, just sit at home and use your mad h@cker skills to get the word out to Matt.

Yes, we did just advocate fraud. That's how much we love you, man!

For those of you who don't click on things, the address for the petition is:


What are you waiting for? Go sign!

Open Letter

Some of you were apparently distraught by yesterday's post which referenced the past in the future tense. We used the word "yesterday" to refer an event which happened the day before and today we will make the old record current. Got all that?

Some probably assumed, erroneously, that yesterday's use of "yesterday" was a mistake. You know what they say about assumptions.
We were actually trying to point out a major flaw in the time space continuum and derive a semi-semantic conclusion about the ineptitude of the modern tongue. So, in reality, you were the ones who made a mistake. Makes you think twice about the English language doesn't it?

Well, how's that for an excuse? I think we're getting better at it.

Dear Matt Damon,

You rock. You have this knack for adding gravity to every role you play and transforming mediocre scripts into critically and popularly acclaimed masterpieces. Your face has this amorphous quality to it exudes manliness, sensitivity and art all at the same time. You are, without a doubt, one of the finest male leads ever to act in Hollywood and have proven your versatility with numerous roles. You are an A-list actor and one of the best on that list.

You – and this is going to get even more gushy than the first paragraph so skip down a few lines if you're the judging kind – make me swoon like no other man. I mean that in a purely man-man context; but you still make me swoon. Maybe swoon isn't the right word...

At the same time there is an ugly rumor – the kind of rumor that ruins the reputation of respectable junior high girls – that you will be abandoning your loyal fans; leaving us behind and ignoring our cinematic desires. I'm writing, of course, about the Bourne franchise and the recent announcement of two new movie adventures in planning...without you. Rumor has it you are leaving Robert Ludwig's creation behind and that, because you don't want to be typecast as an action hero, you are going to seek your fame and fortune elsewhere. You said as much in an promotion interview for your latest film, Ocean's Thirteen.

You, Matt, are the only person who can carry the role of Jason Bourne. I have followed the series since you were first introduced in Identity and completely associate you with the quick thinking former black operations officer. You define the role. Matt Damon and Jason Bourne are synonyms in my book. Your parents may just as well have named you for that role; had they known Ludwig, I would suspect the connection.

If you choose to move away from the Bourne franchise, you will join legions of down and out actors who left what worked to “try something different” only to be panned later on. Al Pacino could have stuck with successful movies like Godfather, but he decided to seek himself in overacted critical flops like Simone. Halle Berry had a great career ahead of her before she settled for Catwoman. Even Robin Williams, the genius behind Mrs. Doubtfire, had to let it all go to star in stupid comedies like the one in theaters now. William's only recent good movie was Good Will Hunting, which, coincidentally, was a movie you wrote and starred in.

Can't you read the tea leaves?

Please say that your comments were a publicity move to direct the media to your current project. Please deny the rumors and say you will never forsake your loyal fans. Please don't abandon us. Please make another movie so I can get of my knees and stop my crazy Bourne vigils. Please, Matt?


Funny Class Notes

Thursday, July 26, 2007


We were going to have a post for tomorrow - we had it written, proof-read, edited and even had a really cool graphic of a hairy ape doing the Hokey Pokey picked out - but we ended up not posting anything. We want to assure you that this reality was not our fault. We fully intended to post, but the circumstances of life preempted that result and you were deprived of content as a result.

Here's our excuse:

One of our writers - the one who was "blessed with the opportunity" to write the day's post - got up and went to his computer. There, faced with a blank word processing screen, he lost his inspiration. It wasn't his fault that he lost his inspiration, it just happened. He told us later that the chirp of the birds outside, the hum of the computer tower and the wind against the window blinds combined to form a cacophony of sensations, blocking out any humorous thoughts. We think writer's block had something to do with the abysmal state of his love life.

Our writer picked himself up out of his chair and, in a way that hit me as very feminine, marched outside to gain some "new ideas." Once outside, all heck broke loose. The ground opened up and swallowed part of the backyard, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the lawn. Fire poured out of heaven, blasting the mailbox and creating a small regional disturbance. There was a natural disaster. A hurricane. An earthquake. A tornado. A giant thunderstorm with hail, sleet and so much rain that the ensuing flash flood filled up the gaping hole and drowned several domesticated animals. If only our writer had thought ahead to poor some concrete, he would now have a swimming pool.

In an attempt to mitigate the damage of the flood, our writer brought out a portable shop vacuum. Unfortunately the water had covered the electrical plug and when our writer tried to fire up the machine, a short circuit was created, cutting off power for the entire neighborhood. He wasn't trying to be malicious - in fact his goals were purely philanthropic - but he ended up doing some real damage. PG&E arrived quickly, but not before the entire street had lost power. One man, a neighbor who commuted to work in an electric car, was so irate at the delay that he smashed in our writer's front window.

That's when the fire and brimstone from the already broke loose heck started to rain down.

An investigative unit was sent over from the police department to look into the origin of the crisis in our writer's neighborhood. One of the patrol men was a K-9 officer and his dog leaped out of the back seat of the squad car and, before the vehicle had made a complete stop, chewed up our author's paper draft. He didn't really eat it, but he masticated it so totally that it was no longer of use to intelligent beings. It might have had some utility as fire starter, though.

Over the next few hours, we got a series of frantic phone calls from our writer informing us of his amazing morning and advising that he wouldn't be able to do the post.

Please don't judge us based on what we cannot help. We couldn't stop the K-9 dog or hold back the lightening. We were complete and total victims of a reality that we had no part in causing.

We are, of course, terribly sorry. In a way that doesn't admit culpability or open the door to liability, we apologize. We regret any heart feelings we might have caused and are sincerely sorry you feel the way you do. We swear by all the Greek gods that it will never happen again. Ever. Cross our hearts and hope to be derelicts for the rest of our lives. It was just this once - a momentary lapse that in no way reflects our genuine attitude or devotion to you, the readers.
Columbus! Somehow the above excuse doesn't ring true. But maybe our earnest faces and moist cheeks will compensate for the fantastic nature of our justification. You tell us, was it persuasive?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Todd's Paper

Todd has a five hundred word assignment due in his online History class at 11:00 on Wednesday morning. He rises at 8:00 and completes his shower, shave and shine routine in just under 15 minutes (Todd is very much a guy in this regard). He swallows a quick five minute breakfast and presses the power button on his computer to begin work on the paper.

8:22: The computer takes several minutes to load the Vista operating system because of the stock ticker, weather information and quote of the day docked on the desktop. Todd never uses these, but he thinks they're cool.

8:26: The computer has loaded, but the Internet connection is a little choppy because Todd's file sharing application is competing with his browser for access. Todd sighs and disables Limewire; that new Kelly Clarkson song will have to wait.

8:30: Todd's hompage, ESPN news loads quickly on Mozilla Firefox and Todd inhales sharply when he reads the bold headline. Alex Rodriguez, the Yankee's superstar slugger and Todd's favorite player, is considering negotiating a contract extension mid-season. The Yankees never do that; they didn't even talk with Babe Ruth until after the playoffs. Todd reads the Sports Guy's analysis and then navigates to the basketball tab.

8:48: Todd checks the clock on his computer and is satisfied he has plenty of time to finish his paper. He loads his Facebook and smiles when he sees the list of people who have poked him. Todd pokes back.

8:51: Todd adjusts his profile picture to the goofy one he took last weekend at the carnival, removes Rascal Flatts from his list of favorite musicians, accepts four friend invitations, writes a note about how pathetic and clichéd Rascal Flatts have become, writes on three friends' walls, gives a cyber gift, comments on a friend's photo, asks a public question and adjusts his status.

8:58: Todd is "smothered in work."

8:59: Todd glances again at the computer clock and decides to get to work on his paper. He opens his email to retrieve his earlier draft.

9:00: Todd is shocked when he sees a message in his inbox from an old friend. He and LaTasha haven't talked since, well it's been at least four weeks. The message is long, detailing a summer of fun, relaxation and little work. It includes a couple of current photos and a vague invitation to come visit.

9:12: Todd writes his reply.

9:31: His curiosity about LaTasha aroused, Todd navigates to her Xanga and reads the latest entries. She has some real wit and Todd finds himself poring through several pages of old archives.

9:45: A Firefox email notification informs Todd that he has new mail. LaTasha has responded already and her sharp conversational repartee demands an immediate answer. Todd begins crafting a reply when his buddy Craig instant messages.

9:49: Craig wants to know about Todd's plans for next weekend and has a bucketload of teasing for him about Donna, the girl Todd took with his family to the carnival last week. The new Facebook picture has aroused Craig's suspicion and he is convinced that Todd and Donna are more than just friends. Todd tries hard to defend himself, but even he doubts the real nature of his feelings.

10:05: Todd puts the email to LaTasha aside and tells Craig he needs to run. He downloads the draft and opens it in Microsoft Word, letting the three paragraphs of already written text poor over his monitor.

10:06: The phone rings. The ring tone is Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang and Todd makes a mental note to change that ASAP. The caller is a chatty Donna who is making plans for next weekend and wants to include Todd.

10:10: Donna tells Todd about a new YouTube video and Todd loads the hilarious clip and watches while Donna provides running commentary.

10:14: Todd follows the YouTube related links to watch several more videos.

10:33: Todd hangs up with Donna but feels bad that he had to end the conversation so abruptly. He turns his attention to his computer screen, only to discover that his terminal has gone into standby. Todd pushes the power key.

10:34: A Fox News urgent news alert pops up on Todd's Firefox browser. Todd reads the headline carefully. Barack Obama has fallen to number two in several key states and the Hillary Clinton campaign is celebrating the advance. Todd reads the article.

10:38: Todd turns his attention to his word processor and rereads the content of the earlier draft.

10:40: Todd opens his browser again and conducts a Google search for articles on the British slave trade, the topic of his assignment. A couple of early hits catch Todd's attention and he opens those pages in new tabs. One of the articles is hosted on a blog.

10:43: Todd is intrigued by blog author's writing style and, after browsing a few other articles, decides to send the author an email praising him for his work.

10:57: Todd glances at his computer's clock and closes his eyes in disappointment. He was just too busy to finish the project. He sighs and remembers something his teacher said about late work being downgraded by 10%. Todd feels he is doing well in the class; he doesn't have to get an A on this paper.

11:00: Overwhelmed by the morning's workload, Todd exits his word processor and goes into the kitchen to find something to eat.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ninth Reader!

Uncle Wally blessed my morning with some excellent news. He's been keeping close tabs on CN's readership information since we rebuked him for falling behind on it late last May and his vigilance has paid off. Today we celebrate our 9th unique visitor since we moved to this domain nine months ago. The growth rate of one unique visitor per month is the fastest of any of my previous writing endeavors and we are elated with the numbers. Nine visitors also means that there are three readers for every writer on CN (or will be when Desperate Student returns from his Orangatan Dung (OD) expedition).

The ninth unique reader is a testament to CN's resilience. Despite a cyber-napping onslaught from Really Funny Class Notes and a week of re-runs, the CN family is still adding new members.

As soon as he got the signal, Uncle Wally initiated the tracing procedures that have proven successful at pinpointing the location of new readers in the past. We like to know what kind of people are reading our blog because it makes us feel better about ourselves and because it's like spying on your personal life through the Internet. In that regard, it makes us feel like Google.

In order to help us fulfill these carnal desires, Uncle Wally hooks a 9 volt Duracell battery to a light bulb that is designed to handle a smaller voltage. He closes the circuit by connecting the light bulb to a two way radio and then turns the radio on quickly. By short circuiting the whole connection, Wally is able to blow the bulb and create a small energy wave which actually enters the Internet like a radar ping. The closer he is to a DSL connection, the fewer light bulbs Wally has to waste to get this to actually work. Any new readers who happen to be reading CN reflect this ping and send back to Wally. Our Uncle will then use a cybermetric scale and a stopwatch to determine with reasonable accuracy where the reader is from and pass the data on to us.

As a side note, if the energy wave were any more powerful it would act like an E bomb, tearing blogs off the web like so many papers off a bulletin board. We are saving up to purchase a light bulb big enough to blast away Daily Kos, but we'll keep you informed of our progress.

We were beginning to think the system was broken because our readership wasn't growing and some in our midst were concerned that maybe the whole logic of reverse pinging the World Wide Web is a load of TooTee HuWee Bollucks. This new information is a reaffirmation of the utility of the system and a Uncle Wally deserves a huge pat on the back for his groundbreaking work.

As far as our Ninth Reader is concerned, we know virtually nothing about her. We don't even know for a fact that she is a “her,” but we think it's safe to assume given that most of our readers to date have been male and we're about due for a female reader. Uncle Wally's Ingenious Pinging Reverse (or IPR, as he likes to refer to it) was foiled by an ingenious system he believes could only have been developed by the United States Government.

Wally's ping was returned in a mangled state. It looked as if someone had laid down on top of it in a bath tub full of water and used the hairdryer. Any information about gender, location or favorite colors were completely and utterly eviscerated by a catastrophic event. We can only hope the reader survived.

Uncle Wally, heart of gold that he has, prepared a graphic that shows what we know about the new reader. We reproduced it below:

Here at CN, we are elated with the regular growth this blog has experienced. Nine readers is probably fewer readers than most of the 50 million plus blogs out there, but we are growing and we are satisfied with where we are.

To our Ninth Reader we say, welcome to Funny Class Notes! Please have a look around and get to know the site. If you are the new reader and want to let us in on who you are, what your IP address is and what kind of browser you run so we can customize the page to you, please fire us an email and let us know. Or you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

To those who have been part of the faithful few for longer, thank you for being loyal to this site and laughing at our jokes and being such an awesome gang of readers. There may not be many of you, but you guys are the best readers any blog could ever ask for.

Or, because you're not supposed to end sentences with prepositions is it "you guys are the best readers for whom any blog could ever ask"? Gotta love the flow of that sentence.

I know, AWWWW and happy sighs, but seriously, pat yourself on the back. You too, Uncle Wally.

Friday, July 20, 2007

FCN Classic: Bad Game Ideas

Game ideas that didn't make it out of the brainstorm room:

The Barney Hunter
Sim City - Atlantis
The Mammoth Hunter
Escape from Kansas
Halo 4 - The Teenage Years
Escape from Lone Palm Island
Pirates! 3 - Terror of the Oil Rig
Kansas: Total War
Night of the Living Dead Sims
Age of Plumbers
Ghost Recon 5 - Trouble in Kansas
Frankenstein - The Game
Half-Life 3 - Flowers for the G-Man
The Plumber Hunter
Huxley 2 - Apocalypse Kansas
Escape from Greenland
Command and Conquer - Kansas
Goldilocks - The Game
Splinter Cell 5 - Homeland Security
The Pedestrian Hunter
Red Sky at Night
Doom 4 - Teleport to Kansas
Unreal Tournament 2007 - Plumber Wars
Call of Duty 3 - Mushroom Kingdom
Plumber: Total War
Quake V - So Happy Together
Spanish Inquisition: The Game
Civilization V - Stone Age Kansas
Medal of Honor - Main Street Plumbers
Battlefield Kansas
Escape from the Oil Rig
Barney - The Game
Doom 4 - Lone Palm Island
Sim City - Kansas
Halo 4 - Feisty Little Porkers
Barney: Total War
Day of Defeat 2 - Nobody Wins
Pirates! 3 - Marooned in Kansas
Revenge of the Rubber Duckie
Resident Evil 5 - Barney's Revenge

And the worst game idea ever to be squelched in committee:

Counter-Strike 2 - All Steam, No Game

FCN Classic: Mike Winther Should Shave

This post was written as a plea to Mike Winther requesting that he remove his attractive but altogether inappropriate facial hair. It is republished here as a classic, only so that our plea might once again be noticed. I had the honor of seeing Mr. Winther a week ago, and his face was just as hidden. It was great to see him, but I couldn't help but be saddened by his facial hair stubbornness.

Mr. Winther: I'll go ahead and make you a deal. If you shave your beard and send me a picture of the finished product, I will remove my sideburns and send you a picture to show the results. That's how serious I am about this; C'mon Mr. Winther!

We all love Mr. Winther. He has lived competitive academic debate for the vast majority of his life and artfully leads students through the process of becoming better speakers. His debate prowess, intellectual integrity and good humor make him one of the most adored debate coaches in California, perhaps even the nation. Those who know him are not likely to forget his contribution; those who don’t are missing out. Despite his individualism as a coach, Mr. Winther has made one concession to popularity that is visible to even the most casual observer: Mr. Winther has a full beard. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a beard -- Santa Claus wears a beard and nobody complains – there is something terribly clichéd about a debate coach hiding behind whiskers.

After some deliberation, the folks here at FCN sat down to state our objections to Mr. Winther’s beard in an organized manner. We don’t in any way intend to impugn this lovable debate guru, just promote a visit to the barber, a Fusion purchase or whatever method he likes to remove his facial hair. We also aren’t promoting a completely clean shaven visage. If Mr. Winther likes a mustache and goatee combination or wants to keep his sideburns, we’ll be happy.

Without further ado, here are 10 Reasons Mr. Winther should shave:

1) Abraham Lincoln wore a beard

The bastion of inconsistency, patriarch of situational ethics and wet noodle executive chose not to shave and sported some rather unruly clumps of facial hair. Lincoln’s beard wasn’t just on his face, it is on the penny; it's his trademark. His striking features were made even more impressive by the dark growth he refused to hold back. While Mr. Winther’s beard is nicely trimmed, the very fact that he wears a beard creates a mental link between a libertarian hero and pragmatist politics. Cut the link: cut the beard.

2) People you love want to see your face

Since Mr. Winther grew his beard he has started a debate club, had a child and changed careers. While we don’t know the exact period of time (he has covered his presumably beautiful face as long as any of us have known him), we can deduce from personal interviews with Mr. Winther and a family member that the period of facial disguise has been for longer than 10 years. That’s a long time to keep one’s face covered. No one wears a hat or a pair of socks for that long. Few keep the same hairstyle for ten straight years, much less a facial hair arrangement.

This isn’t a matter of style, but responsibility to loved ones. A child should be able to know his or her father’s face, friends should not have to read between the hairs when gaging someone’s sincerity and those Mr. Winther judges in debate rounds would really like a peak at his real face. Mr. Winther should cede to the understandable wishes of those around him and pick up a razor. Cut the frowns: cut the beard.

Please excuse the uncharacteristic sentimentality of the above paragraph; we wrote it while listening to Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You. Strange things happen when you listen to that song.

3) Mrs. Winther wants you to shave

We don’t know this for a fact. Mrs. Winther never said anything to us, but she didn’t have to. We here at FCN take non-verbal communication very seriously and it doesn’t take a degree to read the wistful remorse on Mrs. Winther’s face every time she glances at her husband’s visage. She would never mention it to anyone, but the feelings are there, burning deep inside her. As with all non-verbal messages, we can’t be absolutely positive as to meaning of these looks. But we’re pretty confident here. 90 percent.

4) To whom much is given, much is required

Let’s face it; God gave Mr. Winther a really nice face. From the limited information we were able to gather, he was once very handsome. That’s not to say that Mr. Winther is ugly now, just that he has made lifestyle decisions that limit other’s ability to enjoy his good looks. We feel that he has been given a responsibility to show off his face and that he is abandoning his duty when he covers his features. If someone were gifted in horticulture, he should try to use his skills to God’s glory. If someone has a penchant for mathematics, the rest of us can be benefited from the utilization of that ability. Mr. Winther has been gifted with excellent physical attributes to accompany his intellectual abilities. He doesn’t keep his mind covered; why shouldn’t he display his face?

5) You will look younger and healthier

The last time Mr. Winther had a clean shaven face, he probably looked at least ten years younger. If he wants to enjoy that feeling again, the razor is waiting. As far as looking healthier goes, it is an empirically verifiable fact that clean shaven men look more vigorous. Unless Mr. Winther has some kind of terrible skin disease or a persistent wart that needs camouflaging (an independently disproved question) he will look better without the extra hair. Look younger, look healthier: snip, snip.

6) The comfort of five blades, the precision of one

Razor technology has advanced to such an extent that shaving is no longer a hazardous experience. The new Gillette Fusion, for instance, allows a reasonably cautious man to get a really close shave without fear of nicks and abrasions. And, as the ad shows, it makes people like you more too. The fact is that the morning shave is no longer something to be feared. Experts and novices alike are perfectly able to navigate the razor over their face and remove even the thickest growths. If technology is holding Mr. Winther back, we advise a trip to the Modesto drug supplier to look at today’s shaving alternatives. And hey, if the whole razor scene is too scary, chemical hair removers and laser surgery are viable substitutes.

7) That’s gotta itch!

Some members of the FCN staff have tried to or are currently supporting facial hair. While none of us approach the complete coverage Mr. Winther has achieved, our experience is enough to teach us that goatees, sideburns and mustaches can itch! Due to our relative youth, many of our hair growth attempts have yielded pitiful fuzz instead of the manly bristles like Mr. Winther’s. But even our fuzz itches. We can only imagine the torment Mr. Winther must suffer every day as he must live through the ticklish spines on his face. The pain isn’t necessary!

8) You need to show Kyle how to shave

Mr. Winther’s youngest is becoming a man. Kyle is, indeed, attained the age of twelve and has consummated his years by debated at his first tournament. Facial hair will inevitably follow. It would seem very hypocritical of Mr. Winther to ask his son to shave while not doing so himself. Sure, Mr. Winther could set up a dummy or bring in a volunteer, but a shaving lesson is best accomplished with a mirror, a razor and two faces. Don’t leave your son in the five o'clock shadow: shave!

9) The biggest libertarian thinkers are all clean or mostly shaven

What do David Boaz, Edward H Crane, James A. Dorn, Chris Edwards, Thomas Firey and Daniel T. Griswold have in common? These libertarian thinkers are all clean shaven. Join the crowd: shave the beard.

10) Because you like multiple points

We threw this one in to satisfy Mr. Winther’s carnal desire to see a wealth of arguments for a position.

FCN Classic: I'm A Victim!

A song that predates FCN, helps define one of our authors and plays prominently in much of our material is the original I'm A Victim! If you haven't heard this pretty chanson, you are missing out. Put it on your iPod and play it on repeat until you too begin to feel victimized.

If you want, you can read a couple of additional verses to the I'm A Victim song as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

FCN Classic: Some Things Just Don't Need...

This post was inspired by Ron Burgandy's gaffe "When in Rome!." We thought that was funny. Not that we know who Ron Burgandy is. Originally posted in October of 2006.

Please accept the chorus of apologies to all the FCN faithful for our infrequent posting habits. Our classes have been so interesting – and our mid-terms so strenuous – that we haven’t had the chance to be funny in class. That all changed for me in an exceedingly tedious Business lecture the other day that served as a catalyst for the following:

Some lines don’t need to be finished; just the first part of a famous quip allows the reader to connect the dots. This has a great conversational application. Whenever you want to utilize a cliché, just use the part listed below and those around you will think you are hip. If they don’t, reconsider your facial hair choices.

Disagree? Decide for yourself…

A bird in the hand...
A fool and his money...
A penny saved...
A picture is…
A rolling stone…
A stitch in time…
A taste of your own...
Actions speak louder...
All bark...
All foam…
All that glitters...
All work…
As long as you live under my roof…
Beauty is in…
Bite the…
Dead as a...
Dead men tell…
Do not ask…
Don’t cry over…
Don’t put all your eggs…
Don't count your chickens...
Don't look a gift horse...
Great minds...
Idle hands...
It is water under...
It takes two...
It’s all Greek...
Leave no stone…
Let bygones...
Let’s bury…
Neither a borrower...
Never bite the hand...
Not the sharpest…
Out of sight...
Out of the frying pan...
People who live in glass houses...
Rome was not built...
Six of one...
The bigger they are...
The early bird...
The straw that broke...
Three bricks shy…
Two wrongs...
What goes up...
What they don't know...
When in Rome...
You can’t teach…
You can't judge a...

FCN Classic: Minnie The Moocher

Another media file from the dark ages of FCN, this one starring all the authors and a few of the authors' siblings shows our interpretation of Cab Calloway's Minnie The Moocher. A big hit when it was first released back in September of 2006, we hope you enjoy it today.

Watch Minnie The Moocher here or, for those of you who don't click on things, copy and paste the following URL:


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

FCN Classic: Louis XVII

Jack was my best friend and room mate. We were both Political Science majors at a bad state university, and one day, Jack got an envelope in the mail. It said - and I'm not kidding - that some distant relative had died and deeded all his worldly possessions to him. This included so much money I need a drink every time I think about it. It also included the deed to Versailles.

Versailles is located about twenty miles away from Paris. It is one of the most impressive palaces in the world; with a massive statue of some French king - I never figured out who - in front, a grand courtyard that could hold tens of thousands of people, and a massive, massive palace structure that took Louis the XIV hours to cross. In the back and on either side are miles and miles of incredible gardens, with fountains, summer villas, fake country hamlets, massive canals, statues everywhere, the works. It backs up to a huge forest where French nobility used to go hunting.

By some freak of the legal system, though the French government operated Versailles, it didn't technically own it. Now, Jack had the property.

First thing he did was send out an invitation to all his friends. I still have my email copy. It ran like this:

Hey guys: I just got a new place and I'm inviting you all over for pizza to celebrate. I have everything planned. Bring a dessert or a snack. If you can't get a plane ticket, call me and I'll see what I can do. - Jack

And then it had the address and driving directions from Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Needless to say, Jack's girlfriend Jacqui (I think the name was on purpose) called a few hours later and said, in a word, are you nuts. Jack said he wasn't. Jacqui said she couldn't afford a ticket. Jack said he'd fly her over himself.

He did the same for all his friends. All of them were really surprised about him moving to France. At the appointed day, limousines came by and picked them up (there were about forty of them), then drove them to the airport, where Jack's private plane was waiting. It had his name written in big letters on the side. Remember, up until then, no one but me knew he was filthy rich. I need a drink.

When we arrived, there were thousands and thousands of tourists all over. You don't have to pay to get into the gardens, so the doors were open, and there was a crowd of people strolling all over, just like old times, only their clothing was modern. There was a line a quarter of a mile long to get in.

Jack had thought ahead. He'd hired one hundred armed security guards, and they were parked just out of sight behind the stables, which is across the street from Versailles, which is about a mile away. I am not kidding. Versailles is big.

There is a gate with the Fleur-de-Lis in gold (everything there is gold) all over the tops of the bars, and we went through. Then Jacqui said:

"This is nice, Jack, but I thought we were going to your place." Rather than explain, Jack punched some buttons on his new, very ritzy cell phone.

"Stand very still," He said calmly.

"Why?" Asked Jacqui. Jacqui is a very smart girl usually, but that was a stupid question. Within seconds, guards were swarming all over the courtyard waving M4s, which have never been seen before in France and will probably never be seen again. They're really dangerous military rifles made by Americans.

The M4s had rubber bullets, which the guards were using very freely. People began to scatter in all directions. A few people tried to fight back. The French police showed up and had to be roughed up a little. For about four hours, things were pretty ugly. Jack invited his friends into the palace accompanied by a dozen bodyguards while the rest of his boys flushed the gardens.

When Versailles was clear, the servants were invited in. There was a huge French police presence outside the gates; they'd even sent in a helicopter and it was shining a spotlight down on us (it was getting dark). But Jack's guards, who were now using real bullets, were holding tight.

It was a great party. We had some of the hottest music idols performing live, and the rooms were all huge and interesting, and the pizza was fantastic. The only thing that wasn't good was Jacqui's dip, but nobody complained, as far as I can recall. Jack had studied up on Versailles before we arrived, and he gave a guided tour of the King's Apartments before we settled down to sleep around six in the morning.

Here's a sample:

"And this is your room, Bob. This used to be the Dauphin's private study. Three doors that way is the restrooms with all the modern luxuries; I had it installed in the former Monsegnieur's bedroom. Don't touch that painting, it's really old. Everybody else come with me, please. This next room is the Monsengieur's first antechamber ..."

We slept really well. The air mattresses were fantastic. I woke around noon and, after a shower with one of those new ten-mode showerheads, got lost in the palace. After awhile, I noticed there was an intercom system installed. I called Jack, who was just getting up in the King's bedroom (which has the most awesome view of the courtyard ever), and he sent a bodyguard to pick me up. It took the guard fifteen minutes to find me and twelve minutes to lead me back.

We had brunch in the hall of mirrors, where the treaty of Versailles that ended World War I was signed. While we were eating (the food was fantastic; so was the live music), a smoke grenade came through the window, which is a shame, because it was really old and expensive, followed by three ninja types who shot the four guards in our room immediately with shotguns. Then they made us all put our hands in the air. They wanted to arrest Jack. Jack showed them the deed.

They got really upset and talked into their radios a lot. They were talking in French. More people came in, and Jack's guards came in and there was a confrontation, but Jack had them hold on so they could get this thing sorted out and put away the helicopter and the snipers.

Finally, the French left. They said, in French, that they had been bad little boys and they were sorry. Actually, I don't know what they said. I presume they were cursing at us. The chief inspector Kluzo was really mad.

After breakfast, we toured the gardens. Then we came back for dinner. Two hundred more guards had shown up and the whole left wing was being remodeled. There was scaffolding out and it was pretty loud. Priceless paintings were being taken out (or cut out, in some cases) and carted away to sell to the Louvre. There were a few protesters, but they kept their distance.

During dinner, which was in the courtyard, somebody showed up and asked if he could join us (in French: permitay?). Jack said oui. I hadn't known he could parlay-voo until then.

The bash was awesome. We went to bed at sunrise. Jack put the newcomer, Jean-Marie, in Marie Antoinette's bedroom. I don't think he got the joke. French.

The next afternoon, word had gotten around about Jean-Marie, and there were a thousand outside wanting in. Jack let them in and beefed up security to around four hundred and quadrupled his staff. There was a grand party in the chapel with more live music and great food. I was starting to get used to this. Incredibly, Jack managed to find rooms for everyone, but he was up so late making arrangements that he slept until nine the next day. In the evening. Of course, that's when things were really picking up anyway.

The day before it had been a thousand. Now it was forty thousand, with more people coming every minute. By the time Jack woke up, they were starting to get angry about being ignored and were chanting for him to come out.

I was with him when he woke up. He opened one of the three huge windows to the King's Bedroom and wandered out onto the balcony in his striped pajamas. The crowd roared. Jack literally jumped.

"You know something," He said, "The last time there was a crowd like that outside those gates, it was the French revolution. That was two hundred years ago. They broke down the gates and killed everybody inside."

That got me thinking.

"This might be bad," I said. "There's no way we can keep that many people here."

"Maybe," Said Jack. "I have a lot of money, remember ..."

I need a drink.

Anyway, Jack's solution was to get a bunch of catapults and launch food, water, and pup tents by the thousands over the fence. There was a huge scramble and some people got hurt. Jack realized he needed to organize things better. With the help of the guards he got everyone in lines. They gave their name and were then handed their allotment: two days food and water, one pup tent, a first aid kit, and a cell phone with three hours and lots of cool games on it so they could call whoever and say they weren't coming back for dinner.

The French were theoretically in control of the city of Versailles, but they couldn't do much about this. They started complaining, so Jack bought the whole town from them. Of course, by morning, there were a hundred a fifty thousand people outside, and Jack's guards were working round the clock to keep the people with tents and food from getting stormed. More people got hurt.

Jack made a speech to the people in the palace that evening (a Versailles morning), and said that everyone was going to have to make a few sacrifices while he got everything sorted out. Then they got back to the feasting. Afterwards, Jack went with Jacqui and me to the gate. The whole city had been taken over and most of it was burned, which is a shame, because it was really old and expensive.

Jack distributed more pup tents, phones, and rations than I care to think about. Everyone had their name recorded. Then Jack chose two thousand people from the list and invited them in, kicking out the people who had been there before, except for his old friends from America, including me, and Jean-Marie, who was overlooked in the madness.

The next day, there were a quarter million people there, and Jack's police force was huge. It had taken most of the hunting forest for headquarters. A UN ambassador landed next to Le Grand Canal, which is French for The Grand Canal, and helped Jack set up his new government, which Jack was calling The Oligarchy of Versailles, which you can just call Versailles. I didn't find that very clever, but he was adamant. I suppose he was referring to the original forty, or forty-one, if you count Jean-Marie.

Versailles was a protectorate of the French Republic, but that didn't keep it from building its own standing army to defend itself from lawlessness in the former city, which was starting to become known as the slums.

Finally, we settled into a system. Everyone was given a card that identified them. Every four days, two thousand people were rotated out of the palace and into the slums, and from the slums into the palace. Every six months, the whole crowd was told to leave so new people could come.

When the world heard that they could book a spot being a bum in an burned French city with a pup tent and a cool cell phone for six months, Jack's secretaries got very busy booking tickets. The next six months sold out in two and a half hours.

By the way, for those of you who can't count, only about a third of the folks in the slum would ever get called up to the palace, and then it was only for four days.

After a week, Jean-Marie realized that there was a huge garden going to waste, and told Jack to let some of the bums, as they were starting to be known, take up residence there. Jack agreed.

Every four days, twenty thousand people were called up to the gardens. Two thousand of the old batch were sent to the palace, and the old occupants of the palace and gardens were sent back to the slums. Soon, names developed: King Jack, Council of Forty (forty-one, actually), Courtier First Class (in the palace), Courtier Second Class (in the gardens), and Bum (in the slums). Even a bum carried his title as temporary resident of Versailles with pride.

"Long live the oligarchy!"

The feasting, live performances, fun and games, and general state of luxury continued nonstop, with parties all night and sleeping it off all day. The first four days passed. Then, when the rotation started, Jack invited three people to stay indefinitely. They agreed. Duh.

Well, that turned out making things pretty complicated. The next rotation, everyone was trying to get a piece of Jack, and he realized he'd have to change something if he wanted to get some piece and quiet. He announced he would decide who could stay randomly. That settled them down.

I was there when Jack "randomly" selected the people. He put all the names in a hat, and then fished around until he found the ones he wanted. Then he drew four more just to throw people off.

By now, there were fifty-eight people in the council, and a few were starting to think long-term. Jack gave them unlimited expense accounts, so folks started building summer villas off in the gardens. Jacqui's was the coolest. It was modeled after the Taj Mahal and was placed at the end of Le Petit Canal (the Small Canal). When you looked out the right window, it looked just like India. Only Jacqui's palace was a bit bigger than the real thing.

"Viva l'oligarchie!" (Long live the oligarchy!)

Well, you can probably see where this is headed. Five and a half months later, the Council of Forty consisted of One thousand, nine hundred and twenty-six people. One thousand, nine hundred and twenty-seven, if you count Jean-Marie. That meant not very many Courtiers First Class were being turned out; most of them stayed to build their summer palaces. The mood in the slums stated getting ugly. They saw their opportunities closing up. The gardens started getting permanent residences too.

The morale at the palace had never been better, though. Versailles had all the conveniences and festivities money could buy. I need a drink.

One day the President of France called asking for a tour of the oligarchy. Jack told him there were a few tickets unsold for the slums three years from now, but he had to act now if he wanted to get them because they were selling fast. The president got angry and said some rude things. Jack said some ruder things. Then he hung up. The French can curse pretty well when they put their minds to it.

"Xx xx xxxx xxxxxx!" (Xx xxxx xxxxxxxx!)

At the six month mark, the non-permanent residents of the gardens were sent to the slums, and then everyone was told to leave. By now, the council of forty was a full two thousand, one, counting Jean-Marie. The quality of life as a Versailles bum was actually pretty good, they had set up semi-permanent communal residences and played with their big screen TVs all day. But when the bums were told to leave, they refused. Jack sensed that a blood bath might be coming and told his guards to pull back behind the gates.

The next morning (evening, technically), there was an angry mob outside the palace demanded entrance. Most of those people had waited for six months and had never been allowed to the palace. The rest had only been there for four days. They demanded that Jack permitay. Jack said non.

"Vers le bas avec l'oligarchie!" (Down with the oligarchy!)

"Mise à mort Jacques!" (Kill Jack!)

"Brûlure dans l'enfer!" (I am unhappy!)

Eventually things went downhill. They got out a battering ram made of big screen TVs and knocked down the gate. The guards started shooting at them, and they were slaughtered, but there were so many of them that the guards couldn't do much about it. The mob stormed the palace and started killing people with silverware and remote controls. I was with Jean-Marie in his bedroom, which had a great view. A guard showed up at the door and yelled:

"Sauvez la reine!" (Run for it!)

Then he mised à mort. We sauvezed. There's a secret passage (passage) next to Marie Antoinette's bed that she used to escape from the French revolution (revolution), and we made good use of it. We snuck through the palace and made our way outside, where the bums were using a lawnmower blade to behead the council of forty one at a time. I decided to make good my escape. We ran for a rendez-vous point (rendez-vous point) we had discussed before hand, which had a helicopter (helicopter) hidden behind some tall hedges.

Jean-Marie started powering up the helicopter. Then he realized he'd forgotten his suitcase full of souvenirs (souvenirs). I told him to forget them. He said non and ran back for them. The bums caught him and put him in line, then started going for me. I lifted off the tarmac and sauvezed myself.

I was the only survivor out of the council, as far as I know. Eventually the French came in and put a stop to the whole mess. They tried to sauvez the palace and restore it to the way it had been before, but it was too far gone. Now it's a museum to Jack and his friends. I personally think Jacqui's Taj Mahal was the best.

FCN Classic: The Day I Ate A Whole Mess Of Taquitos

The other day I ate a whole mess of Taquitos.

I went to the freezer and opened a large blue box of El Monterey Steak and Cheese Flour Taquitos. The box said 24 count, but I didn't intend to eat all of them. I put the package in the kitchen by the microwave, tore open the sealable plastic inner packaging and laid a handful of frozen Taquitos on a microwavable plate.

I wasn't hungry, it was just the time to eat. There were healthier foods in the house, even more convenient faire, had I looked for it, but Taquitos were a comfort food. Just watching them rotate slowly on the turntable reminded me of their salty aftertaste and rich flavor. The microwave's gentle hum had a prozaic effect and the morning's stress seemed temporarily repulsed by the thought of Americanized-Mexican finger food.

When the microwave beeped, my appetite had improved and I tore into the first Taquito quickly. It was still a little cold in the middle, but that didn't bother me. It tasted just the way I remembered it and my stomach was ignited to the possibility of more Taquitos. I finished the plate quickly and, before anyone saw what I was doing or my voice of reason could interrupt my decision-making, I grabbed another handful of Taquitos and started the microwave again.

As the next batch heated, my stomach sent a message to my brain saying that it was pretty close to full and that no more food was really needed to satisfy the hunger requirement. My brain treated the message the way the CIA treats urgent FBI bulletins.

The next batch seemed to have less flavor than the first, but I wolfed it down as well and started on a third.

I ate the third plate of Taquitos while touching up my Philosophy term paper. In one greasy hand I shoved morsel after morsel toward my gullet while the digits on my other appendage helped explain Descartes' Cogito.

I wondered briefly if the Taquito has feelings and mental formations we might call thoughts. But I didn't wonder for long.

My plate again depleted, I returned to the kitchen for more. This trip wasn't out of hunger or even desire for more, it was just habit. One eats at lunchtime and Taquitos are food. The eating doesn't stop until the food is gone and, since none of my brothers were there to join me in devouring the box, I was alone in fulfilling the Taquito task.

The fourth plate emptied the box, and it felt strange to throw away the now vacant packaging which had been so full of calories a few moments before.

It was kind of hard to eat the fourth plate. My stomach was now sending urgent bulletins to my brain to stop the incoming nutrients and now and again my mouth had to fight against the gag impulse. But I got them down.

I felt heavy. Five minutes after the last Taquito it hurt to stand up. Ten minutes afterward, my stomach felt bloated and tight. I had to loosen my belt by three notches. Twenty minutes later I got really thirsty. But the crazy thing about the thirst was that I didn't want to drink anything. My stomach was too stuffed for fluids. Thirty minutes later I decided to write this post.

I dug the box out of the trash and looked at the Nutrition Facts. The serving size was Two Taquitos (230 calories, 12g of fat, 490 miligrams of sodium); I had eaten 24. After a quick visit with my computer's calculator (I was too stiff to get up and get my own), I found that in the last fifteen minutes, I had consumed 2,760 calories, 144 grams of fat and 5,880 milligrams of sodium or over 240% of my daily value of salt. No wonder I was thirsty.

That evening I tried to eat a normal meal and, to my surprise, was successful. Five hours after the Taquito binge, I was ready to approach the dinner table again. My Gastrointestinal tract was unphased by the barrage of calories and my body was ready and willing to take additional punishment.

I don't suggest the Mess of Taquitos as a daily meal plan -- the activity is not without side effects -- but it was a good experience and one I may repeat if habit and hunger permit.

FCN Classic: UP!

Prepare to be disgusted. UP! by Funny Class Notes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

FCN Classic: Extract Of Curiosity

In my humble opinion, the following is one of the best posts I have ever written for FCN. This is a completely true story and it really happened to me when I was fifteen years old. I am still embarrassed. Our posting it here is Dan's way of getting back at me.

Some years ago, when I was old enough to know better and young enough to do foolish things anyway, I decided to sample interesting items in our pantry. As I entered our spacious walk in, I looked around for any items of interest. The extracts quickly caught my attention. Lining the back row were many small dark bottles with exotic and romantic names like “Rum Extract” and “Dark Chocolate Concentrate.” Some tasted wonderful, others bland and still others wickedly bitter. The Vanilla Extract was sharp and left a burning sensation as it went down; the Lemon Extract made me gag.

It was a small bottle at the far end of the row with a faded label and a suspiciously inviting cap that finally got my attention. I opened it and smelled its contents. Nothing. So I took a swig. The taste, except for a mild bitterness, was unremarkable and it struck me that perhaps the extract was old or had otherwise lost its flavor.

I left the pantry satisfied with my explorations.

Ten minutes later the worst case of nausea struck me. Before going any further, it’s important to understand how our family treats nausea victims. When someone throws up, they are starved of dairy products for three days, of hard food for two and are allowed only the meager comforts of a sip or two of Sprite every hour for the first day. It doesn’t matter if the cause is food poisoning or just exercising too quickly after drinking a coke; starvation is the only way to settle the innards. This scheme, argue the powers that be, ensures that no painful relapse will render the nausea victim prostrate on the bathroom floor a second time.

This strategy has the unintended consequence of discouraging the act of throwing up. With such a powerful disincentive, who would want to vomit?

I struggled against the impulses of my body for over four hours. By breathing deeply, taking small sips of uncarbonated liquid and praying with every ounce of my being, I delayed the inevitable until just before lunch. When I finally succumbed, I emptied myself of a large breakfast and the remainder of several earlier meals. As my mother watched my pitiful retching, I knew I was losing future repasts as well.

I bowed before the porcelain god for over an hour; my abs felt like jelly and my throat like a fireplace flu before my convulsions ceased. But when I stopped throwing up, the nausea disappeared. I felt wonderful. I could have eaten a large hamburger had the starvation mandate not been in place.

That evening, as my family enjoyed a steak dinner, I took slow swallows of the sprite my father had purchased on his way home from work. Despite my earnest entreaties to be allowed to fully join the table, I was not allowed any more then my soda.

Before breakfast the next morning, I returned to the pantry to make a closer inspection of that last bottle in the line of extracts. I peeled away the label to read “Ipecac, use to induce vomiting.” Sighing, I went into the kitchen and took a frustrated sip of warm sprite.

“I loathe that low vice curiosity” ~Lord Byron

FCN Classic: Jump, Jump, Jump!

This little music video was made by Dan back in the dark ages. He is terribly embarrassed about it and has a self esteem complex that surrounds the production. In fact, he begged and pleaded that it not be posted. In an attempt to justify his plea, he contacted a couple of FCN readers and played the video for them while fabricating criticisms. He threatened to delete the file and produced some photographs that would have caused me to relent and not post this had I been a Miss America contestant. He did some very unmanly things to show how humbly he wanted this to remain mired in oblivion. Eventually, however, art prevailed over decency and the result is reproduced here for your enjoyment and so I can watch Dan blush.

Check out FCN's music video for True Vibe's Jump, Jump, Jump.

Or, for those of you who don't click on things, the address is:


Monday, July 16, 2007

FCN Classic: The Original Master

Remember that hilarious audio segment called The Master on Wal-Mart? Ever wondered what the original Master was like? If so, check it out now:

The newest Master can be found here.

FCN Classic: Gazing At A Piece Of Meat

What follows is one of our favorite posts that got attention from The Rebelution and shows that Funny Class Notes can use humor to make a point. Originally published here.

Please, take a long look at the above juicy slab. Gaze at it, fill your nostrils with the imagined scent of its cooked glory and think of what an amazing taste it will bring to your buds. Doesn't it look wonderful? When cooked, maybe it will be seasoned with a foreign herb or domestic spice, perhaps it will be served in its natural splendor or maybe with a dab of A1. It might be made rare or well, but regardless it will melt in the taster's mouth. The cut can be prepared so many ways; so many tender possibilities.

I have a confession to make: I can't stop looking at meat. Every day, when no one is looking, I open up cookbooks or surf recipe webpages trying to find a good shot of a savory cut. Sometimes I sneak down to the local supermarket and stand around the butcher section for hours, absorbing the rays of uncooked meat.

As I look, I imagine the possibilities: A T-Bone with lemon and pepper. A sirloin made just so. Or maybe a classic Bourbon Street steak. What cut should I pick? How will I eat it? How long will I cook it? At what temperature? The more I think, the more my mouth waters and the longer I gaze.

When I eat other foods, I'll keep a cookbook handy to imagine I am actually eating steak. For that matter, I hardly go anywhere without a photo to remind me of the awesome flavor of meat. One look at the picture, and my desire is temporarily satisfied, although it often returns stronger than before. My computer desktop image is similar to the one above, only it has been airbrushed to remove the fat and accent the bone lines. Edited photos look better and are more effective at inducing hunger, so I prefer them to the untouched images. Sometimes I purchase videos of people eating meat or read stories about other's culinary adventures. This, too, can be satisfying for a fleeting instant, but meat has a way of always calling you back.

I have purchased large posters of uncooked meat and placed them on the walls of my room. Each slab is in a different provocative position. Some of them are adorned with sides of vegetables or steaming mashed potatoes, others are left at awkward angles leaving the viewer to guess what is on the other side. They are all beautiful cuts, well above average, some even surgically enhanced to look more like meat. When I wake up, they welcome me to the new day.

Every now and then, when my family purchases meat at the supermarket, I go nearly ecstatic with anticipation. Sometimes I wake up during the night, rip open the plastic wrap and hastily cook the cut. The result is often unsatisfying and pangs of regret tell me that I might have enjoyed it more had I waited for the others. Other times I gorge myself, eating many times a humanly decent serving in one sitting. That feels good during the feast, but the negative implications of stuffing one's face become readily apparent soon after. A belly ache, temporary inability to eat and, in rare circumstances, food poisoning are inevitable.

After a great deal of soul searching and self reflection, I've decided that my habit is perfectly natural. I mean think about it: we all need to eat, right? Looking at pictures is just part of anticipating a natural human physiological need. Videos, desktop images and stories are a natural extension of human hunger . Those who feel I should put the cookbook down or reduce my consumption habits are obviously starved themselves, or they wouldn't feel the need to criticize. Most of them are vegetarians anyway.

Sometimes I get the feeling I am not the only one. Others look at meat in an equally lurid way and that makes me wonder. Tell me: Do you enjoy gazing at a piece of meat?

FCN Classics Week

When we were on vacation last month, we promised you, the faithful CN few, that we would devote a week of posts to the good 'ol days of Funny Class Notes. You, in reply, echoed back with a chorus of posts that just had to be included in our collage. If we were mean-spirited like Microsoft, we would ignore your requests and just repost the posts we like. But we're only half mean-spirited, which means we will post some of the posts you liked and then run off with several of our own favorites.

If you're new to CN and are just digging your toes into the sand that makes this blog, this week will be a great chance for you to read the posts that help define us and have charted the course we now maintain. Many of this weeks posts are from our old address and are being posted here for the first time, so no amount of URL digging will bring them up for you. Our old site didn't allow comments (or much of anything else, really), so don't be a stranger about commenting. Yours will be the only feedback this writing has ever gotten.

If you've been around the blog awhile, you are still going to want to check out our classics week all the same. Unless your screen name is Adrialien (in which case you are so much a part of the CN family that you experience some posts before they are even written), I can guarantee this week will have some content you have never seen before.

The posts will come quickly; we have prepared a high number of posts for this week so either click refresh a lot or wait until the next Classics week (sometime in the next 12 months) for the re-repost.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Life Tip #34

Don't attempt a robbery by pointing a gun at an innocent girl and demanding the money of everyone in your vicinity.

If you do attempt an armed robbery, do not accept the wine and cheese offered by the people you are robbing.

If you do attempt an armed robbery and take the wine and cheese offered by the people you are robbing, make sure the wine isn't Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and the cheese isn't Camembert.

If you do attempt an armed robbery and accept the Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and Camembert offered by those you are robbing, don't ask for a group hug.

How To Get Your Name Onto Wikipedia

Many people hold the belief that Wikipedia is "editable." By that we mean that Wikipedia is quite tasty and will cause no harm to one's stomach when consumed. Or is that "eatable?" We don't know what we mean. Mommy E, a little help?

Semantics aside, anyone who has tried to add themselves to Wikipedia knows that the process of editing the site can be quite cantankerous; Jimmy Wales doesn't let just anyone mess up his cyber love child.

While it's very easy to make a new article, it's very difficult to have your article published on the official wiki web system. Some have compared the process to Biblical canonization. Apparently Wikipedia expects you to have done something outstandingly amazing to merit a listing, which probably excludes most of the people we spend our time with and eviscerates any chance of our getting in because of our own achievements.

To help all those poor souls who would otherwise spend their remaining days in wiki oblivion, we have composed an extensive (meaning more than four) list of easy ways to make the big time.

"On July 5, 1999, Thor Alex Kappfjell was killed in a jump off Kjerag mountain in Norway. Having lost his bearings in the night fog, he crashed into the side of the mountain. His body was found at the base of the cliff, parachute open. Fellow jumpers suspected that he hit the face of the cliff and slid down. He was 32 years old."

Pros - Requires nothing more than a building and your feet (the parachute is, of course, optional). Generally very easy to do. Is stylish.

Cons - Can be difficult to climb to the top of a building. Requires advance notice of the media which may impede ability to perform if law enforcement becomes involved. May result in injury or death (as per our disclaimer, CN is not responsible for any unintended consequences of an attempt).

2. Become A Nobody

And you always thought you had to be somebody to be baptized into Wikipedia. Think again. You can't be just anybody, someone or a random Joe, but you can be a nobody.

Pros - None

Cons - There are no pros. Who needs a Con?

3. Rip Someone Off

As long as it's an original and big heist, Wikipedia will have no choice but to take notice. We would give you our ideas, but we're saving them. Develop your own sense of creativity!

Pros - Few things are easier than stealing from someone else. This is a "double dunk" in the eyes of wikipedia; you will be mentioned, first, because you are a thief, and second, for being a big, fat, jerk.

Cons - You may be unpopular. You break the law. You become closer friends than you want to be with a passel of unsavory characters in your state's detention center. You lose respect. You rip someone off. You sacrifice your dignity and enter the scum of the earth lottery.

4. Reinvent The Wheel

"Spinners are wheel covers which spin independently of the wheel itself when the brakes are applied. This is achieved by using a roller bearing. Typically, the spinners are attached onto existing custom wheels, but there are a couple of exceptions; Dub Spinners and Omega Spinners are the most notable."

Pros - It's been done once, it can be done again.

Cons - You risk inventing something really dumb.

5. Marry A Successful Spouse And/Or Have A Lot Of Successful Children

It's a crap shoot, but sometimes marrying someone who is already worthy of making Wikipedia or having children that Wikipedia decides to shower with affection actually works. I love to read those entries that list people who, according to Wiki, have done nothing in their lives but marry the right person. So lucky. They should spread the love. People who are going to make it to Wikipedia automatically (like Jenna Bush) should marry someone who stands no chance, that way she can bless a "nobody" with wikifame.

Pros - Includes a spouse.

Cons - Includes a spouse.

Here at CN, we are still trying to decide the best option. If we opt for the building hop, we'll let you know in advance so you can capture the YouTube footage.

P.S. Jenna, honey, I'll always be here. If you want to drop me a line, we can talk. I really think we have a future. Call me, ok?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Part 3: Driver's License

The event couldn’t have been more anticipated or more dreaded. After accruing the requisite number of hours driving the car (or, at times, being driven by the car), I was invited back to the DMV office to complete my certification.

It's worth noting that DMV offices are depressing places. You get the feeling that many of the patrons come to the office to die, not renew their vehicle credential or be cleared for the road. The rules of the DMV are similar to the rules of the men's restroom: Nobody smiles, nobody looks around, nobody asks serious questions. You take care of business and leave. Don't start a conversation and do not, whatever you do, do not flirt with anyone.

It took a few minutes to process my information, during which I made a number of cutting observations like the one above, but eventually an older woman whose haggard face and cocaine wrinkles belied her pasted smile welcomed me to step into “my” vehicle and perform basic automotive functions like initiating a turn signal and pressing the brake. When she was satisfied that I understood these commands she felt safe to enter the car herself. There, strapped into the passenger side seat, her mouth inches from my ear, with both windows sealed and the car turned off she started laughing.

Her laugh was a maniacal as it was loud in the confines of the small hatchback and the closed windows trapped in the sound. Specks of spittle spattered the dashboard and my earlobe felt moistened. I desperately wanted out. Maybe I didn't need a driver's license afterall. Maybe I could just walk and take public transit the way they do in Europe. I could be environmentally and

“What’s the matter?” I asked with natural timidity. The laughing stopped.

“You wanna pass this thing?” Her voice was scratchy, acidic and thin reminding me of a female version of Marlon Brandow. I forced myself to look at my evaluator. Her eyes were dilated and her pupils enlarged, leading me to believe she had just run a line of methadone


“Then shut up and drive. When I say turn, you turn. Otherwise, follow the rules of the road.”

An eerie silence permeated the car and was only pushed away when I started the engine. My older brother - the one who knew almost as much about driving as he did about women - had warned me that driving tests are like marriages in that the slightest little misstep can make for an unhappy ending. He said to move slowly, ask no questions and show some fear because evaluators like to feel empowered.

I moved through the parking lot in first gear, keeping my eyes pointed straight forward and turning my head in an exaggerated sweep of the oncoming terrain. I followed every detail of the driving manual, accenting my hand motions with finger twirls to show the woman in the passenger seat that I knew what I was doing.

The first few turns were uneventful, almost calming after my initial scare. Maybe the licensing process wasn’t so bad after all.

My brother had warned me against any attractive lull the proctor might design. It was the calm before the storm, the quiet before the smash, the last breath before the death shudder. I was to stay on the alert the whole time and never lose focus.

A bead of sweat dropped from my nose onto the steering wheel and I hoped the licenser didn't notice. Sweat could be interpreted as nervousness or discomfort with driving and nobody wants to have an uncomfortable driver certified for road driving with the full blessing of the state government. Nobody but Ron Paul and this lady wasn't Ron Paul.

“Turn left at the next stop.”

I arrived at the stop easily, and took pride in my ability to navigate the straight, unoccupied road at 35 mph. I stopped right in front of the sign and paused to recapture my focus. I looked to the left and saw no traffic. On the right side, my vision was obstructed by a protruding building, but from what I could see, there were no cars. I pulled ahead. As soon as my line of vision allowed me to see past the building on the right, it seemed a whole town's worth of cars appeared.

“Stop!” My evaluator yanked the parking brake and we screeched to a halt in the middle of the right-hand lane. Cars whizzed passed opposite us and I got a new lesson in finger obscenity from the passing traffic. Fortunately, the right lane stayed clear - or I would have been united with my instructor and a little vehicular steel in violent fashion - until I was able to squeeze into the lane and complete the turn. By the time I was safely driving along the road, my heart was beating like over a hundred and sixty beats per minute, I was sweating like Shaq at halftime and involuntary whimpers were escaping my mouth despite a good faith effort to hold them in.

My evaluator pulled out her clipboard and made some aggressive scribbling notations that were as illegible as they were large. I tried not to look at what she wrote and continued into the DMV parking lot, wiping my nose on the back of my sleeve. There, parked in the expansive government parking lot, she smiled at me with the same evil grin she had deployed at the beginning of the exam.

There, in the confines of the parked car, across from a heavily painted ugly woman, I thought about life and blind turns. I had a series of profound and marketable thoughts about the futility of trying, the sovereignty of God and just driving in general. Unfortunately, I forgot all of them when she opened her mouth to speak.

“Young man?”


“I'm going to let you pass...”

She said a lot of other stuff. Something about inching forward to check around a building before barreling ahead and some advice about saving my clutch by not riding it, but I was too giddy to listen. I hugged the evaluator with sincere affection and then sprinted out of the car to tell my father.

I've been driving now for a period of several months and I have never gotten closer to being in an accident than when the DMV official was sitting right next to me. You can't fault my timing.