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

Friday, August 31, 2007

FCN Held Hostage by FCN

They say that you get a special little tingle when power is handed to you: being handed the keys to your first car, getting a diploma, being promoted to assistant manager, sitting behind the oval office desk for the first time. Now, none of this has ever happened to me. I've never had authority over anything more significant than the length of my fingernails, which I'm growing out to make a point. Anyway, I felt that special little tingle today, and it hasn't worn off. I can't feel my hands. This is great.

Early this morning, I decided that this whole one-man show was a little too much fun to let go of. I'm just getting started running FCN all by myself. So I changed the password, and wild horses can't drag it out of me. It doesn't matter what they do to me. I'll never disclose! Never! This is my blog now. I'll talk about what I want to talk about, and I won't let those other two losers embarrass me with their pathetic attempts at humor. Everything will be straight-up hysterical from here on out. The pictures will be way bigger. We'll switch to an evening post schedule. The posts will be more frequent, and there won't be any bells and whistles cluttering things up. Just me and my awesomeness, and you the reader, soaking it all up and thanking me for it.

I'm lonely.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcome to my World.

It's not FCN anymore. And it's not CN. Now, it's F, which stands for Totally Awesome.

My fellow contributors are both out of state. They left me trusting messages like "our baby is in your hands," and "We have some unfinished posts you can touch up and use."

Well, I'm not using their posts, thank you. And I'm pinching the baby. FCN is all mine until Monday, and I intend to have some fun. You've seen those hacked websites with big red letters carrying some obscene message until the admins get back into the code and fix it? Well, FCN is going to be a little like that for the next few days, only it isn't being hacked. It's going unsupervised. Stand back, Mommy G. Stand back, Em. Heck, stand back everyone. This is my time. I'm not here to serve the audience. I'm going to do whatever strikes my fancy and I'll write whatever I want whenever I want, and while I'm at it, I'm not going to work out and I'll eat whatever I want and stay up late watching violent movies and I'll get tattoos on my upper arms and torso and the back of my hamstrings and I'll snort sugar and drink too much Coke and mix mustard into everything and paint my walls pink and send Will You Marry Me emails to all my friends and kidnap my neighbor's poodle and throw cucumbers at the gal in the Post Office and wear lots of heavy chains with white leather jackets and turn my collar up and not answer my phone and never take off my sunglasses even to sleep.

I am so. Excited. No, I have not had caffeine.

Okay, yes I have.

I've arbitrarily gone through the FCN code and deleted things. I really didn't know what I was doing; Uncle Wally is the one who put it up in the first place. But hey. We need shakeup. I'm sure Uncle Wally can fix it back on Monday.

I'm going to go get another Coke, and while I'm gone, I'll post this. Then I'll go do something really devious. No, you do not want to know.

The FCN Honesty Policy

You can't believe everything you read.

Especially if you read it on FCN.

It's a fact. We're dishonest. We'll say anything to attract readers, and that means some (meaning all) of our posts are riddled with deliberate inaccuracies (meaning lies). Apparently it works. The past few months have seen steady growth.

However, some of our more seasoned readers can get tired of the drivel-du-jour. It's one thing to be lied to and laugh it off. It's another to be fed hogwash on a daily basis. We at FCN can't change our ways. Heck (pardon our language), we're nearly a year old, and that's only counting our time on BlogSpot. We're ancient by blog standards. We're set in our ways. We're incurable liars. Seriously. So, while we can't change our formula for growth, we can give you a guideline by which to read our posts. A weighing mechanism, if you will.

We realize that we can't persuade you FCN veterans - you Desperate Students - that we're being honest simply by saying so. We could tell you we're giving out an iron-clad, to-the-death, cross-our-hearts money-back guarantee with a vengeance and you wouldn't buy it. It wouldn't matter how serious we came across. Nobody takes us seriously anymore. We have that track record. Not seriously seriously. Not anymore.

But we think we have something even more credible than our die-hard words as gentlemen (don't say it) to vouch for us. What we have to tell you is downright unflattering. But, by setting our standards low, we hope to ensure a level of credibility that is completely without precedent in the annals of FCN history (don't say it).

We present to you the Official FCN Honesty Policy:

At least 20% of each post must be true.

There's still some disagreement on enforcement. We spent two hours today in bitter argument over what should be done to the FCN contributor who lies more than 80% of the time. Dan thinks we should drag the offender through a recently-harvested hayfield tied to a golf cart wearing nothing but jeans and a rubber duckie. Cody thinks we should force-feed the offender twenty blueberry scones with nothing to wash it down. I think we should shave the offender and put eagle tattoos all over him, then send him to a homeschool rally. Whatever we agree to, it'll be good, because nothing is ... good ... enough for a cad who lies more than 80% of the time.

The honesty policy enters force at noon today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Smile, You're On Google Earth!

The other night a couple of friends and I dragged our sleeping bags outside and, roughly a hundred feet from our comfortable beds, lay down on some uneven cement to watch the stars and sleep in the great outdoors. The material we laid our heads on was designed more for aesthetics than comfort, but our goal in spending an entire night outdoors was so pure and altruistic that we scoffed at all insinuation that a little hard ground could deter us.

When we first started making plans for this outdoor night adventure, I had expected the party to include Reginald, who often tags along in unpleasant activities if his friends are doing them. In fact, Reginald was all ready to go, extra stuffed sleeping bag and all, until we told him there would be no tent overhead. He insisted, for several argumentative quarter hours, that a tent is an absolute must for any outdoor adventure and that he wouldn't go along without it. We intoned that a tent defeated the purpose of star-gazing and invited him to stay inside while we roughed the outdoors.

Only after we implied that we would be going outdoors no matter what did Reginald get a wide-eyed look in his earnest commie eyes and beg us not to go out alone.

"It's Google; they'll see you." Reginald whispered the words as if Google had a sound detection device in the room with us. Then he ran into the room he appropriated some years ago, shut the door and, as is his custom, pulled the comforter over his head.

Are you reading this, Luce? He pulled the comforter over his head, like a small child; like a scared papoose in need of his Sacajawea. Reginald's afraid of Google! A search engine with fewer employees than that little town in Iowa that John Edwards was campaigning in yesterday, and he runs for his blankie! Poor Reggie!

Ok, back to the story.

Only slightly discombobulated by Reginald's behavior, my friends and I made our way outside and lay down on the hard cement. Small pieces of gravel had accumulated between the decorative cracks in the deck and I had to wiggle for several minutes before finding a place to rest that didn't stab me like Brutus. Then, if I could ignore the jostling of my friends, I gazed at the wonder of the star-scape in tranquility until an appendage started to fall asleep.

The first part of the night followed a seemingly endless cycle of adjust, pain and readjust, until I discovered I could live with something poking into my back or no feeling in the left part of my body. The affliction was severe, but I could cope.

At about 2:37 AM - for reasons that will soon become apparent, I checked my watch to memorialize the moment - a series of bright flashes filled the sky. I saw the first of what looked like small sulfur-fueled explosions come up from the western horizon and then ease gently overhead, creating a colorful line in the sky. One by one the tiny flash bulbs entered my vision and then slowly eased away.

"Hey, did you see that?" I shook my friends to see if they had noticed the spectacle. Their murmured replies expressed disgruntlement at the rude awakening and the fact that they had missed the lights in the western sky.

Maybe, I thought, the explosions were the result of an overactive imagination fueled to eccentric ramblings by the hard surface upon which I was laying. But I've never had these kinds of dreams before, even in past rough excursions. Maybe it was some terrible accident like a plane crash or space satellite failure. Or perhaps I had witnessed something I shouldn't have seen, like a missile test, alien invasion or the posthumous rise of Anna Nicole Smith. In fact I couldn't think of any good reasons why the explosions weren't all of those - maybe even at the same time.

Later that morning, after a pained levitation exercise and a shuffle into our house that was more fitting for Bill Walton, I sat down in front of Steve to resolve a hunch. Something Reginald had said made me wonder if those late night flashes were generated by the worlds' most fantastic search engine.

I ordered my computer browser to Google Earth and entered my address. Then I zoomed in as far as the pixels would allow and strained with bloodshot eyes to make out the image. There, clearly impregnated into my computer screen, was the image of three teenagers lounging outside a large house, at least the house looked pretty large zoomed all the way in.

I couldn't believe it! I had made the Google pictorial! Reginald was right! How in the world Reginald was able to figure out that Google was taking pictures that night is a query too distressing to even contemplate. But he had, and they did.

I wanted to scold Reginald for not telling me more sincerely, so I could have made some signs beforehand or had a Google photo party, but instead of going to see him, I printed the image and showed it to my friends, both of whom had an attack of the privacies and became hysterical.

My new picture makes me very proud. I sincerely wish I could show them to you without completely violating my personal privacy. Regardless, the pic shows that Google and I have a connection; we picked the same night to do our thing. And the photo really isn't that bad, either. If you squint just right, the pixels align to almost make it look like I'm smiling. Almost.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oops! We did it again.

If you've read FCN for very long, you already know that we're shameless liars, and probably have at least a sneaking suspicion that we're blooming morons. What you may not have noticed is that we're traitorous turncoats. We're indecisive. We have no follow through. We're windbags. Let me explain.

A few months ago, we vowed to take to the straight and narrow. And then we started right back up again in our irresponsible ways. In a recent post which supposedly lauded the magical awesomeness of Coca-Cola, we deviously snuck in the following line:

Coke, glorious Coke!
Don't care what it looks like --
Too foamy!
Mommy G was quick to notice that Coca-Cola is not to be smoked, and, in her unique way, guided us back toward the path to righteousness.

We try to be a humor blog. We like to think we're pretty funny every now and then. But drugs are no laughing matter. Drugs do terrible things to you, like slaughtering your grammar which one of reasons we quit in the first place? There are plenty of other things to poke fun at - instructors, each other, American politics, the weather, your hair. There's no excuse to start goofing off on such a serious issue. Drug jokes interfere with the public dialogue surrounding an issue of grave import to everyone. There are some topics that are just plain out of bounds.

We, the FCN team, would like to use our last vestiges of credibility to say that we know we messed up and we beg moral relief. Our behavior was irresponsible and inexcusable. We don't ask you to forgive and forget, only to cut us some slack and realize that we all make mistakes every now and then. We'll do our level best to never, ever, ever let it happen in the future.

EDIT: This is another fellow contributor. An issue came up in the last FCN staff meeting that could stand to be announced here. FCN just keeps falling off the wagon. We're like bad dieters. The longer we stay on board, the harder we fall. Perhaps this whole Funny Class Notes thing wasn't meant to be. In the interest of public safety, maybe it's better that there be no FCN. Your thoughts on this issue will be read in the next staff meeting for a good laugh. Thanks.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome to the new term!

It's that time of year again. While the other two FCN writers have already started the fall term at their respective education institutions, I had one more week of responsibility-free summer to enjoy lallygagging, twiddling and generally doing nothing (except a little bit of work at General Mills). The last week was, indeed, filled with such sophomoric fun as taking IQ tests, designing snazzy Ts and going a whole day with ridiculous semantic limitations.

I also went for a slow walk in the hot dusk of fading summer by a river a few miles from my house, picking wild berries and skipping rocks, before taking a refreshing skinny dip in the muddy water and grabbing a soft serve at the local concession. The entire time I was partaking in this painfully quaint exercise, I had Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" stuck in my head.

OK, that was FCN's Snickers Bar moment. I'll go ahead and do something manly now.

[To simulate the time I am gone, please go grab a drink or use the facilities. This page will not automatically reload and will therefore be here when you return. Unless, of course, a sibling, parent, TA or well meaning friend gets to the terminal while you are absent. Go drink, release or do push-ups or something!]

As I return to my keyboard, after painfully tearing off a couple handfuls of chest fuzz (yes, I do have chest fuzz and, yes, I did just tear some of it off), the vapid melancholy of returning school wraps around me like a dark bearskin rug, only scratchier. In an effort to visually portray the pain of returning, I've found several cute pictures of crying school children that, in some small way, reflect my own feelings.

It isn't that school isn't or can't be fun - some of my fondest memories were created in a classroom under the "watchful" eye of a professional educator - but unstructured time is more conducive to the kind of fancy free excitement that titillates a free soul like myself. For instance:

Having to get up before nine in order to prepare a homework assignment that wasn't done the night before because you were partying is a real drain.

Having to get to lecture by a specified time in order to keep the teacher from automatically dropping you from his class and having to sit in the front next to Madame PJ and her Slobbering BF is a real drain.

Having to skip the all night pizza eating contest at Mo's in order to study for a test that I will probably fail anyway is a real drain.

But I do it anyway; we do it anyway. Starting today, I rejoin a class of citizens, so progressive and forward-thinking that we sacrifice four (or five, or six, or seven) of the best years of our life in order to make tad bit more money when we are overweight, cranky and have back trouble. I re-pledge my allegiance to a way of life that puts the dereliction of responsibility and the abrogation of duty on the front burner and manages to learn a little about something (or other) along the way.

Yes, school starts today. But my first class doesn't begin until tomorrow, so I think I may grab a handful of skipping stones and head back to that river. I may even get a chance to do some tanning, which might cover my new lack of chest fuzz.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Introducing FCN's Reader Survey

With growth and expansion come growth pains and dangerous collapses. While we sincerely hope to avoid the latter, our recent growth brings with it the need for a census. Wait, we never informed you all about our latest reader, did we?

Reader number ten is an exceptionally overweight individual named Chip. Chip's main reason for coming to our page was to find solidarity. That's right, our tenth reader came to FCN because he wanted to find dumb people with whom to associate. Chip has, according to his G-Talk picture, an affinity for tight white undershirts and the style he chooses does little to hide his bulky middle or hairy back. He sent us a long email full of lovingly misspelled words in which he poured out his life's wish to work as a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company. We assured him in our reply that white collar work isn't all it's cracked up to be and that he would be much happier working graveyard at Taco Bell while supporting eight kids and his own beer belly. We also advised that one major prerequisite to the Chief Executive's chair is teeth brushing and that he might want to consider other personal hygiene innovations as well.

Yeah, we really hit it off.

Anyway, we were remiss in not informing you of the growth in readership immediately. After all, ten is a huge milestone (three more than the perfect number, two less than a dozen and eight away from legal) and the advance is something we should all share in.

Speaking of sharing, it recently came to our attention that we don't know that much about many of FCN's faithful readers. Actually it didn't come to our attention; it was never there to begin, but you get my drift. We know your IP addresses, what kinds of websites you visit and all your computer's stats, but we don't know meaningful things like the stuff the U.S. Census Bureau asks.

In an effort to remedy the situation, FCN has enlisted the support on an online Blog Reader Survey tool, which asks an arduous number of difficult and pointed questions to ascertain your true feelings about FCN. The survey is so complete and, well, long that you shouldn't attempt to answer all of them, at least not on one meal. Fill out as much as you like and then send it in.

Speaking of which, here is the link to the survey.

Which, for those of you who don't click on things, is:


Or you can find the link cleverly hidden in our sidebar.

We won't fib and say the information requested by the survey is essential, but we are curious; the more data you can provide the better. At the end of the survey (whenever we decide to close it), we will cull through the online results and post some information we find particularly juicy. Empirical data taken out of context can be riotously funny, so you will want to come back to read our misinterpretation of the results.

So what are you doing? Go take the survey!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Coke, Glorious Coke

To be sung to the tune of Food, Glorious Food, from Oliver Twist.

Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is wa...ter!
Ev'ry day an empty fridge --
Will they change our beverage?
Still we get the same old wa...ter!
There is not a can, not a bottle can we find,
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge,
But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag...ine

Coke, glorious Coke!
Brown sugar and caffeine!
Ready to provoke --
Sudden uncontrolled laughing!
I'll have it with any meal!
Canned, bottled or poured!
Beg, borrow, buy, or steal --

Coke, glorious Coke!
We're anxious to drink it.
Three liters a day --
Our favourite diet!

Just picture an eighteen pack --
Buying till we're broke!
Oh, Coke,
Wonderful Coke,
Marvellous Coke,
Glorious Coke.

Coke, glorious Coke!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or choked --
Still worth a king's ransom.
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Foaming goodness, piled about
Six cans high!

Coke, glorious coke!
In the back of the menu.
Just open your mouth
For the straw and then you
Work up a new appetite.
Helped me when I woke --
The Coke,
Once again, Coke
Fabulous Coke,
Glorious Coke.

Coke, glorious Coke!
Don't care what it looks like --
Too foamy!
Don't care what the cup's like.
Just thinking of passing out --
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Coked-up feeling!

Coke, glorious Coke!
What wouldn't we give for
One extra soak --
That's all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but joke
About Coke,
Magical Coke,
Wonderful Coke,
Marvellous Coke,
Fabulous Coke,

Beautiful Coke ...

Glorious Coke!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In Defense of Moronitude

I recently took an online IQ test. You know the type: 40 questions to determine the taker's Intelligence Quotient. The test I took had an introduction that correlated IQ with "success" in life and a final page that completely contradicted the opening by disclaiming any accuracy of the test and pointing out that dumb people can be successful as well. Incidentally the disclaimer was about six times as long as the introduction.

They say you can't fail an IQ test, but I think I came mighty close. My intellect puts me among the company of the smart domesticated animals and retarded children of the world. The short blurb offered at the end of the quiz advised me not to have children so I wouldn't pollute the gene pool and presented several examples of "famous" people with a score like mine, the most notable of which were Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Harpo Marx.

I scored a 41 (click on the image for a larger view).

But 41 out of what?

Being (apparently) dumb and unfamiliar with the IQ scoring system, I went back to the internet and located this snazzy webpage which gives a thorough if not succinct explanation. The first chart of details that anyone scoring below seventy suffers from "Definite Feeble Mindedness."

The website also says that only 2.2% of the population falls into this "defective" category, putting me in what I like to call elite company.

In search of a finer classification of my mental capabilities, I continued my trek further down the page and found a graph which breaks up Definite Feeble Mindedness into four distinct categories.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a moron.

But I am a proud moron. I take pride in the fact that I am not an imbecile and I most definitely am not an idiot; I am a medically classified moron and there is a certain rest that comes with being a peace with one's mental deficiency.

Some years ago, after the rabble of society hijacked terms like idiot and imbecile for use as pedestrian insults, the psychiatric community resolved to use more suave terms to describe my condition, or inability to pense as the case might be. They must have been concerned about my feelings and how I would react to school yard taunts being handed me in triplicate by a licensed shrink. Regardless of their intention, people like me were relabeled as "Moderately Mentally Deficient" and, with the exception of the new title, treated with the same disregard as before.

I know, turn on the violins and begin feeling sorry for me. I am slightly mentally retarded and well below the intellectual capacity of most of my peers. I will never live a truly normal life and will always wonder what my existence could have been - or would wonder if my brain allowed the activity.

Look at the bright side: my score qualifies me for a long list of educational and financial advantages, most of which will be paid by smarter people like you. I can go through life ignorant of many evils and enjoy the fact without ever paining to ask why. I can be simple - in every way - and never have to worry about things getting complicated, because they can't.

You are probably scoffing right now; maybe even considering a comment that pokes fun at my retardation. And, as long as you aren't a beautiful celebrity or a sports star, you can probably get away with such a wisecrack. That's something your intelligence let's you do better then me.

But before you get too self confident in your own abilities, I want to remind you that the great intellects of history, the true brilliant minds of the past, all lived miserable lives marked by more suffering than morons like me can imagine. Intellects like David Hume, John Belushi and Ernest Hemmingway were just too smart for their own good. Their lives would have been much nicer and much longer had they not overthought their own existences.

Mental ability makes life so much more complicated, so much more intense. God above has spared me the horrors of that kind of existence by giving me a 41.

So go on living your smart life. I'll just be the moron; happy, simple and alive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Explaining our Poll

The observant among the faithful FCN few may have noticed the evolution of the FCN sidebar poll over the last month or so. The poll started out as third party HTML code that we found at a free survey manufacturing site. The site asked us to simply enter our polling information and press enter. The necessary HTML was then auto generated and we sent the code via email to Uncle Wally who then updated our page. The results are the entertaining surveys you have undoubtedly seen and maybe even participated in a few times.

We were genuinely happy with this arrangement and saw no impetus for change, until Blogger introduced its own polling widget. The HTML is always sweeter on the other side of the broadband, or something like that. The beauty of Blogger’s innovation is that the FCN reader can instantly view poll results without having to navigate to a third party webpage. Those of you who run webpages are familiar with the concept of an exit path; quotidian readers will return no matter what but the transient visitors will forget their browser’s back button.

Techno jargon notwithstanding, we all thought the new poll format was snazzier, so we made the switch after little discussion. No sooner did the new poll grace FCN’s page when it encountered some insurmountable error and was forced into an early retirement.

You may recall the question “Who would you rather see gain 400 pounds?” which graced this page for a period of some weeks with an error message beneath the caption. The normative reader would think the question excessively cruel unless she actually read the answer options, which turned the query into a comic setup. Believe us; the error deprived you of a great laugh.

We had two ways of fixing the broken poll. Both involved deleting the offending section of code and one required returning to the third party poll host to satiate our desire to find your opinion on arcane interrogatories. But instead of acting to resolve the problem, we did nothing. For over two weeks we let the error message reside high on our sidebar, occupying valuable blog space and keeping a working survey from gracing the page.

It would have been so easy to fix the problem, but none of us had the necessary gumption or resolve. In fact, the page started to look more welcoming, more familiar with the error message. We grew accustomed to seeing the weight gain question without any working answers. We got a couple emails helpfully informing us of the problem and we answered both the same “thank you” and “we will notify Uncle Wally,” but we never did notify our web geek.

We got our “F” back from his tour of the subcontinent and we still took no action to remedy our broken poll. To the contrary, we practically gloated in our laze. At first he wanted us to remove it, but after a few days of inaction he too began to see the beauty of a broken poll.

Eventually Uncle Wally logged in and removed the poll. The action was first met by shock and horror from the contributors; we felt we'd lost a part of ourselves and wanted the problem reinstated post haste. Then the new simplicity of a working blogpage, unencumbered by error messages was realized. Our love for the status quo was and is solidified; pretty much whatever the status quo is. For the time being, we will continue without a survey. Afterall, there is a certain beauty to an unadorned page. A very certain beauty.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Day I used no Adjectives

I got up this morning and, in the middle of my shower, shave and shine routine, was hit with an idea. I’m not sure where I was hit, but the idea went something like this: Why not go a whole day without any adjectives? Describing words are, afterall, not absolutely vital to everyday existence. I often went a whole conversation or two without ever having to utter a modifying word and I was sure I would be able to go a whole day without one. Guys are supposed to say a lot less than girls anyway, so if I found a way to let others do the talking, my experiment might be pain free.

I went down to breakfast just as my mother was putting out some pancakes. They looked delicious (although I didn’t say that out loud!).

“Did you sleep ok?” Bummer, my mother was trying to make conversation. My plan to listen through breakfast was thwarted already.

“I slept…” Oooh. Tricky. “My bed was…” Humph! That doesn't work. “Yes, I did.” Inward grin.

“Great. Well, we’re going to visit some friends tonight so be sure you come home straight after work, ok?”

“Yes, ma’am; I’ll come home after work.” I didn’t mean for my reply to sound sarcastic, but in my effort to use complete sentences, it might have come across as a little tart.

“Immediately?” Was my mother trying to derail me? It was only 7:50 and I’d already encountered my first adjective-only question.

I just smiled my biggest, most boyish grin and nodded.

“Got home pretty late last night, didn’t you son?” My father had just entered the room and was putting me on the spot. There is nothing worse than having a semantic limitation while justifying a late night to your parents.

“Well, yes. I got home at 11:30. I was in town with a friend; we went to a Bible Study, remember?”

“Oh that’s right. That girl from school; was the study good?”

I tensed, trying to think quickly but reasoning more slowly because of the effort. Then it hit me.
“We were in Revelation reading about…about the…” I was going to say “end times,” but “end” could be considered an adjective, although not necessarily in that use. My father was looking at me expectantly, so I shoveled some pancake into my mouth and mumbled incomprehensibly behind the food. My father seemed satisfied and turned to talk with my mother about something.

I finished breakfast quickly and headed to class where my economics teacher was ruthlessly attacking the institution of a federal currency and the Federal Reserve System in general. More than once I wanted to ask a question pointing out his inconsistencies and asking if his ideology would work well once applied to the real world, but I could never phrase my question without an adjective. For the first time all semester, I stayed silent through the entire class period. I left somewhat depressed and ate lunch alone.

At work, I was called into my boss’ office. As a refresher, my boss is a J. Jonah Jameson wannabe who stopped smoking cigars in the office when OSHA confiscated his supply of Cubans.

He sat me down inches from his face and began speaking gruffly. “We had three bite sized morsels go through our cereal inspection system yesterday on your watch. Young man if this happens again, we will have to consider demoting you from the Wheaties belt. Is that understood?" His breath smelled like a mix of coffee, tobacco and gingivitis.

“Sir, no flakes got through on my watch. I looked. Nothing happened.” I wanted to say that no bad flakes had gotten through, that I had looked carefully and that nothing untoward had happened, but without adjectives I was left with a very simple sounding response.

Maybe it is better that I used simple, absolute words that weren’t amended by adjectives my boss may have found intimidating, because he looked assuaged.

“Well, ok then. Call Randy in on your way out.”

I drove home in the late afternoon with Carrie Underwood playing on my car stereo. I sang along, except, of course, where she used adjectives.
I dug my key into the side/ of his…drive/ carved my name into his…seat./I took a... slugger to…lights, slashed a hole in...tires
There is nothing quite as tiring as editing a song while listening to it on the radio.

When I arrived at home, my mother was ready to leave for our friend’s house. She asked me if I liked her blouse, which I assume was new.

“Well, it’s a blouse,” I answered, giving her a big hug and cringing at the same time. I pulled away and showed her a thumbs up with my best tough guy look. “Gotta change,” I said, practically running to my room.

At our friend’s house, several younger children were playing Apples to Apples and wanted me to join. I declined, knowing I would never be able to read a green apple card, and went to chat politics with a group more in step with my age, if not my vocabulary de jour.

“I think this whole thing about Obama raising money through YouTube is ridiculous. The feds regulate every other kind of donation; you’d think they have a limit on the online gifts.” My friend was woefully misunderstanding the situation, and my pain must have been apparent because he asked my opinion. Before I could flinch, the entire group was looking my way.

“Barrack Obama is running for President.” I squinted, looked slightly upward and nodded. It worked, after three seconds of this mimed thinking (which passed like a Mother-in-Law’s visit for me), everyone lost interest and resumed their own conversations.

I left for some water.

That night, I called a friend and we chatted for just under an hour. While I am aware that real men do not chat on the phone for extended periods of time, I was comfortable enough in my masculinity to leave our conversation unperturbed. I am proud to say I went through the entire conversation using "yes" and "no" answers and was able to hang up unscathed, with my friend only slightly suspicious.

My takeaway from the experience is that semantic errata are better articulated in determinate vocabulary environments. Then again, that last sentence may be a solid argument for sentences with few and simple words.

Friday, August 17, 2007

FCN Branches Out

FCN's T-shirt line was wildly popular. I mean, we could practically retire on all the money we've made in the last few months. Hanes contacted us about a design buyout, but we stayed true to ourselves and the FCN brand, because we're not in this for money.

Oh, what the heck. Who are we kidding? Our T-shirts aren't wildly popular, we'll probably be scrounging for food when we're eighty (if we live that long), Hanes doesn't know we exist, and we're definitely in this for money. About the only true thing in the above paragraph was that we stayed true to ourselves. Whatever that means.

Anyway, since the T-shirts aren't selling, we thought we'd try expanding our horizons. Today, we proudly unveil the official FCN hoodie and the first and second official FCN bumper stickers - one for each side of your car. Come on, people. You know you want one. You know your friends want one. You know people you haven't even met want one. You know you'll make people envious if you have them. You know you'll make people even envious-er if you have a dozen.

We'll tell you honestly: our self esteem is in the tank right now. Nobody seems to love us enough to buy our stuff. If you like us, even just a little smidge, go check out our gallery. Please. Pretty please. With sugar on top. And whipped cream and a cherry. Which we can't pay for. Just go to


and have a heydey. After all we've done for you, it's the least we could ask for.

If you are feeling especially devious, get one of the bumper stickers to put on your parent's car when they aren't looking. The stickers are, like us, really cheap, and you're parents will be elated to do some free advertising. Trust us. Or you could put one on a friends car when you come over to visit; it would be like smoking a peace pipe with them, only less gross. Or you could get several stickers (cheaper in bulk!) and go through parking lots pasting them to various random cars. The owners would become irate and peel the offending message from their bumpers, but they might also become curious and check out the site: It's a new form of FCN evangelism.

Okay, I'll stop.

Life Tip #36

Don't take crack cocaine.

If you must take crack cocaine, do not do so while driving.

If you must take crack cocaine while driving, do not drive a tractor-trailer.

If you must take crack cocaine while driving a tractor, don't go 102 miles per hour.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pop Quiz #3

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls please clear your desk of all notebooks, papers and digital assistants and prepare yourselves for an FCN Pop Quiz! You may, of course, keep your computer on, just don't click on the answer hyperlinks until you've answered all the questions. That includes you, Team Cheese; no fair clicking on the hyperlinks until after taking the quiz. Simply select the best solution you can, maybe scratch a notation on a pad of paper to signify your decision and force a modicum of consistency, and look at the bottom of the post for the answers.

1. Who is older?

a) Cindy Sheehan

b) Shania Twain

c) Oprah Winfrey

d) Cynthia McKinney

2. Which of the following pled guilty?

a) Scott Peterson

b) Micheal Vick

c) Tim Donaghy

d) Phil Spector

3. Which is a bigger killer of American males (measured by total mortality)?


b) Alzheimer's disease

c) Flu

d) Colon Cancer

4. Which nation has the highest tax rate (measured by the highest average effective tax rates on business capital investments)?

a) United States of America

b) France

c) Congo

d) Hong Kong

e) Mexico

5. Which Republican candidate won the Iowa straw poll?

a) Mitt Romney

b) Mike Huckabee

c) John McCain

d) Ron Paul

Ok, have you finished? No fair peeking unless you're done...

If you answered "C" to questions 1-4 and "A" to question 5, you aced the test. That's pretty good; you did well enough to enroll in a European school.

If you answered something other than the key listed above on one question, you did decently. I hear an American private school calling your name.

If you missed 2-4 questions, you are a product of the American public schooling system. Not a lot you can do about that, buddy. I have some controlled substances that help ease the pain, but you are pretty well situated in your peer-defined education. Enjoy it.

If you missed all the questions, you should try cheating next time or join me in America's higher education system. Or you could go back to day care. Or you could leave a comment disputing the answers and bemoaning the quality of our pop quiz.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm baaaaaaaaaack: The 'F' in 'FCN' Returns!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to FCN.

That's right, FCN. Not CN, but FCN, which stands for Fight like Chuck Norris or Freaky College Nerds. Or Free Core Nutation, Florida Center for Nursing or Force Change Now. Sorry to disappoint, but our beloved contributor has returned from his unexplained tour of Scandinavia and the sub-continent (to say nothing of the Orient), and is now ready to reassume the mantle as one of the most pathetic writers in the blogosphere, second only to his fellow contributors and the dudes at the Daily Kos.

I was gone for five weeks, and a lot happened while I was gone.

Before proceeding, I'd like to reflect in a vague, unhelpful way on the fact that I just switched from referring to myself in the third person to doing so in the first. Third person sounds more professional, first sounds more personal. The agony of decision. At least I don't have to worry about consistency anymore. On with the post.

A lot happened while I was gone, not including keeping up with CN (now FCN, for all of you with continuity complexes). I didn't read a single thing from this blog in my absence and, from looking at the hit counter, so did most everybody else. When I got back, I skimmed the titles and noticed with displeasure that only a paltry handful of my works were worthy of being considered classics. My fellow contributors assured me that the selection process was completely scientific and unbiased, so I guess I can't complain. Still, something seems fishy.

Enough of this. Let's cut to the chase.

I found a new stylist.

My hair was sprouting off in all directions, thank goodness. I was well on my way to undoing the damage caused by my well-meaning but incompetent former stylist. I could shake my head, and my luscious locks would flutter around, much to my satisfaction. I began to get careless and unruly. I quit shaving. I stopped doing anything to my hair after the toweling stage. Then, I collapsed under the pressure and stole a beanie from one of my homies while he was looking the other way (at a fruit snack, of all things). It was clear that I needed a trim - just a little something to get my hair back into presentable condition. Enter V. E., an amateur snipper with the mad h@x0r skills of a seasoned hair dressing veteran. I don't know where she got it, but she had the technical know-how to do Nancy Pelosi's hair, and trust me, I don't say that lightly. I wouldn't let just anyone mess with dear Nancy's image.

So I knelt down in a badly embattled hallway and explained to friend V exactly - and I do mean EXACTLY - what I wanted. She proceeded to give me exactly - yes, EXACTLY - what I, you know, wanted. I went into the men's restroom and did a double take. I looked good. I mean, I looked way good. My ruggedly handsome visage was so knock-down stunning I nearly lost it right there. Whatever it is.

Anyway, I was pleased. My five weeks spent away from home were well-rewarded. If I ever need another cut (and that is a distinct possibility), I know exactly where I'm going. So consider yourself warned, FCN readers: I'm here only as long as the hair is.

And that's the story of my trip. No, nothing else really worth mentioning happened. Not one piddly little thing. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jack, Jack, Jane, Jane, Jeremy, Jeremy...

This post is a warning to my good friend Nick who is about to leave for law school: Keep reading FCN, buddy, or we'll have even more stories about you.

The other day a personal friend and coworker (same person) was chatting on his phone with all the innocence of a twenty-two year old male. Posterity will never know the exact nature of this young man's conversation, but history can rest assured that the content was as pure as the driven snow. He was talking about nothing prurient, obscene or in any way degrading. The writer of Philippians would have loved to listen in on the conversation. My coworker wouldn't even have minded his mother eavesdropping; in fact, he probably even gave his mom the transcript after the fact.

At the conclusion of this pure conversation, my coworker shut his flip phone. It might now be appropriate to mention that my friend uses a Cingular brand telephone. While FCN hasn't been contacted by any phone company to do a product endorsement, we are not terribly big fans of the Cingular brand. We believe the company's national motto should be "more dropped calls than any other network" or "we charge for the static" or "fewer bars in more places." We believe AT&T, a picture of corporate responsibility, was corrupted by its merger with Cingular; we believe that the folks at Cingular regularly eavesdrop on conversations just for kicks. Incidentally, we also use Cingular as our cellular service provider, but that's another story.

Somehow, when my friend shut his flip phone, the top part of the phone (the one holding the earpiece and monitor) detached from the mouthpiece and keypad portion. The separation was soundless and quick, like a Las Vegas divorce, but it left the phone quite dead. My friend showed me the remains of the device that had once been the conveyor of so many pure ideas and warned me not to touch the exposed wires for fear of electrocution.

The next day at work, my coworker arrived with a phone that looked exactly like his old one, only it was connected again. I asked what had become of the old phone and my friend replied that he had "borrowed" his brother's and left his broken device in the trash. My friend told me how he was able to receive calls on the new phone because he had transferred his old SIM card to the new phone, leaving his brother's SIM card, I imagine, in the trash.

Then my friend made a comment that ruined my day and the next three hours of my life.

"The only bad thing is that I lost all of my telephone numbers; they were stored on the phone and went down with the ship," he said with a grim expression.

His words completed a circuit in my mind and a little light bulb went off. (That was a figurative attempt to match my friend's "down with the ship" line). What if my phone, a flip device lovingly named "black magic," suffered a severing fate similar to its cousin? What if I lost all the precious numbers of all the girls who'd never returned my calls?

I stopped what I was doing, putting the love letter I was writing aside, and opened up my phone.

When I first received Black Magic, I'd familiarized myself with all its meager features. I learned how to take pictures, send text messages and tinker with the operating system. I even suffered an embarrassing episode wherein I locked up my device and had to get a new SIM card from the Cingular store. I consider my adventures well paid tuition, because I knew exactly where to go with this problem.

I navigated quickly to the settings menu and selected the "Address Book" menu. There, I asked that all my contacts, currently saved to the phone, be moved to the SIM card. It took several minutes (more of a reflection on the quality of the phone than the number of friends I have) but eventually my entire address book was on the SIM card.

That's when it hit me like a head-on collision with a locomotive: What if my SIM card were to become corrupted?

SIM card corruption is genetic in my family. My father has had two cards go Nixon on him and I already wrote about my experiences. The threat of SIM corruption is so real that I always set my phone down gently and sometimes wrap bubble wrap around it before I slide it into my pocket. This practice never fails to get stares from my friends, but I take consolation in knowing that my equipment will last longer; you can never be too sure about SIM cards, and I'm pretty big on protection.

To answer this fear of SIM corruption, I copied my entire address book back to the phone, while keeping the originals entries intact. Then, satisfied that my addresses were protected, I opened my contacts list to examine the results. What I saw there turned my satisfied glee into tepid concern:







The imbecilic phone had duplicated all my contacts! Now I had to thumb through twice the number of contacts to get to the name I wanted to dial. This inconvenience would be a serious crimp to my Cool, Calm and Collected approach to phone use. I didn't want to be another converse clad nerd who has to spend several minutes with his keypad to call his best friend. I liked the ease of push button calling and glide-like navigation through names; I felt that by ruining my phone, I had ruined my life, or at least my social life.

I ended up fixing the address book by tediously removing the duplicative listings on the way up to a friends' house in the mountains. Driving while using my phone's keypad through bubble wrap was an experience that, while comic, is not fondly remembered.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You did what?

As most of you are probably unaware, I recently procured gainful employment. In an effort to reform my derelict self and prove to the world that I can actually perform meaningful and productive labor tasks at the directive of an employer, I joined the ranks of the California work force. A couple weeks ago, I began my position as Assistant Cereal Technician for General Mills (Or is it Assistant to the Cereal Technician? I get the two confused).

I still live with my parents, sleep in my clothes, take extended shaving, shower and general cleanliness vacations, skip class, make crank calls and generally behave like a poorly adjusted derelict, but now I have a job.

My job requires me to stare at hundreds of thousands of bite sized chunks of Wheaties cereal and watch for any irregularities like rampant mold and fungi, discolored clumps, soggy morsels or, and this is particularly disturbing, pieces of uncooked human and animal flesh. If I see anything, I write it down and make a report of my findings in the evening. If the problem is especially egregious, I have a button that sends my boss a signal asking him to come down and scoop the offending material off the conveyor belt. Most of the time, though, he just lets things go by.

My boss is a stickler about alerting the media and he does all the talking when the health inspectors arrive, which has been only once so far, but that visit was precipitated by more job training than I had had to that date. My technical job description reads "batter mixer," but really I'm the last barrier between you and the Wheaties microbes.

Breakfast of champions, my pinkie finger. Don't think about that too hard.

While this new job cuts a terrible blow to my idle time, it has some distinct advantages. First, I get free cereal. I can take home for myself anything I flag as below General Mills' impossibly ignoble quality standards. Second, the pay is really good for a job that has me doing little more than sleeping in front of a conveyor belt.

The strangest thing about working all day is coming home to discover all the things that are different about your life. It's one thing to be away at school during the winter and spring months, but family life can change radically in the weeks before school begins.

The other evening I came home after a slow day at work, pulled my wallet and keys out of my pockets and plopped down at the dinner table to wolf down a few bites of suspicious cereal. Reginald, a family friend who uses our house as shelter from the elements, wondered into the room and made an announcement:

"I spent over fifty bucks today on clothes."

"Goodness, Reginald!" I sputtered from behind a moldy chunk. "That's more money for clothes than I will probably spend the rest of my life, unless of course these jeans tear. What on earth were you getting?"

"A red scarf." My curious look prodded him to continue and he added: "For the YCL meeting on Friday."


"Young Communists League." I stopped chewing, allowing an unidentified food-like object to slip through my slack jaw and into my bowl with a plop. A communist, in my own house? Was being a communist the in thing these days or was Reginald being an outlier?

"Yeah. Anyway, I'll need your car again tonight."

"Again?" I didn't recall giving permission for the first time.

"Oh, you hadn't heard? I took Luce out the other day. You know Luce, right?" Click, bang. In my mind, Reginald was pasted against the wall with a .45 slug between his eyes. Luce wouldn't go out with me but she would be seen in public with this good for nothing Commie? I would definitely be calling Luce about this. But wait, she'd prohibited that. I was stuck. Reginald and Luce would get married and have a dozen little commies. They would take over the earth and establish a new world order. I would be their Godfather and have to reign in my emotions every time I saw the two of them together.

No longer hungry, I pushed my food aside and answered, "yes, I know Luce."

Reginald forged ahead. "Sorry about your pants."


"The grass stains should come off with the application of a little force and detergent, but those grease stains are there to last."

I looked down at my pants and noticed for the first time that my best pair of jeans had been ruined. I hadn't noticed the problem when I put the pair on in the morning but now I could clearly see streaks of green and black laced across them. I'd been at work all day and nobody had said anything.

"Reginald?" I leaped forward to seize the derelict in front of me who had abused my absence to toy with my life. He dodged deftly and ran for the door, swiping my keys with him. A few moments later, I heard the soft roar of my car and the crash of our neighbor's trash can as he sped away, probably to join Luce at the young communists meeting.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Day I Smashed My Proboscis

I have promised, somewhere in the annals of CN past, to tell the faithful few more about my nose. The exact wording was that it would be a “great topic for another post.” As is my habit, I had completely forgotten about that pledge and was ready to write today about the beauty and grace of undersea turtles, when I was violently reminded of my commitment.

By violent, I mean Hoss sucker punches Little Joe not Brad Pitt and company in Fight Club. You guys have plenty of reasons to be worried about me, but violent rages are not one of them.

Anyway, I was playing basketball yesterday at the gym and taking on the local Arab community which apparently sees hoops as a cultural passtime. You know the scene: A bunch of sweaty twenty-somethings whose little social interaction is the high fives and crude taunts of community ball. If I were of Arabian descent, I would fit in perfectly.

The team that was dominating when I arrived consisted of two super tall college students one of whom could dunk from a standstill, a wizened old man who continues to play only because he has no other life but makes up for it by having a great perimeter shot and a girl. Yes, a female had broken the sanctity of male dominated hoops culture and deigned to play our game.

I hate to say it, but she was good. As I watched the game from the sidelines, taking an occasional warmup shot and stretching periodically to keep my joints lubed, I saw her juke an experienced player for an easy lay-in, pop a perimeter trey while an opponent had a hand squarely in her space and make some awesome ball handling decisions that set up her teammates for easy baskets.

Maybe it was that she jinxed her opponents or maybe her opponents were distracted (if you get my meaning), but it seemed that quality players turned to raspberry Jello as soon as they assumed the defensive posture against her. Predictably, those watching the game would issue snide and sexist remarks at the expense of the player who got “fooled by the girl,” but my attention was focused on the competitive side.

She favored her right hand, shot from the chest like a WNBA player and telegraphed her shots with a long face up. Her defense was tolerable, but she was slow. If her defender guarded against the right side drive and watched closely for the sign of an impending shot, her play might not be so hot. On offense, quick penetrations and perimeter ball teases might use her own court sense as a weapon to open up driving lanes and maybe allow for the occasional deployment of my favorite move, the pull up jumpshot.

She was good, but I felt she was beatable.

As I took the court and waited for the next game to begin, I stood next to the girl, a nonverbal message to my teammates that she was the person I wanted to guard. She introduced herself as Cindy and we did the athlete's version of a handshake: a firm but soundless handslap that occurs about roughly waist height. Eye contact is optional. There isn't any version for girls, so I used the guy-guy greeting.

My first touches of the game were terrible embarrassments. Somehow Cindy was able to reach in during one of my cross-over teases and poke the ball away for a steal and an easy breakaway lay-in. On the next possession she blocked my pull-up, stuffing the ball back in my face and earning a series of catcalls from the sidelines. I was embarrassed and my team was losing. But none of that was as bad as what followed.

With the game close, we were having success in the low post, banging the ball in low with our big man, an overweight kid from the East side of town named Troy (He was probably named Mohamed, but they called him Troy so as to not confuse him with the other Mohameds) . I dribbled into the front court, fed the ball to Troy and then waited on the perimeter as a kick-out option. Troy did a spectacular post move but his shot landed short on the rim and I ran toward the hoop for the offensive rebound.

What followed was a collision. I don't remember all the details of the smash, but I do know that it involved Cindy and Troy, was about two and a half feet off the ground and that my nose was at the very center. I felt a squish sound – not a crack, but a squeak, like a tire rapidly deflating – and heard gasps from those the sideline spectators. Time stood still for a second and then I landed hard on my rump, creating a bruise as colorful as it was painful.

My younger brother has twice broken his nose and I was present for both occasions, so I am familiar with the circumstances that surround protuberance fractures: One bone is pulled loose from another and the schnoz assumes a shape quite dissimilar from the one it used to claim. A little blood and swelling are inevitable side effects.

But my schnoz wasn't broken. When I inspected my nose in the mirror after the game (which we lost, in case you had to rub it in), I didn't feel any swelling or bone irregularity. The the cartilage was stretched and blowing my nose was painful, but the bones were just as sturdy and stable as before. You really thought I broke it, didn't you?

For shame.

I really think my feat of physical sacrifice earned me respect from the other guys. They all wanted to see my bruise and several were complimentary about my nasal swelling. One guy even said I had "hops," which is pretty rare "for a white guy."

In retrospect, however, I wasn't completely satisfied with the game; I think I would have sacrificed my nose, if only I'd beaten that girl.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Study: Xbox 360 Fries Users' Brains

PHILADELPHIA, PA – A new study by the National Association of Really Concerned Moms and the Scientists Who Back Up Their Claims (NARCMSWBUTC) says playing Microsoft's latest game console may actually inhibit brain functionality. The study, titled Functional Undertaking for Brain Understanding (FUBU), measured mental activity in over 1,000 teenagers and found that those who play more than an hour a week of Xbox 360 have a measurably lower Intelligence Quotient.

"It's actually quite stunning," said Neil Wormer, the study Chair and staff writer for Junk Science, at a press conference in front of a small collection of obviously stressed mothers. "We were able to find evidence that not only correlated Xbox 360 use to brain decay, but actually linked the two."

Researchers had 1,081 students wear brain activity monitors while playing the console and required weekly IQ tests to measure their progression. The volunteers also filled out periodic surveys and had a complete physical before and after the experiment.

"By breaking up the group into different playing times, we were able to correlate time spent with the console to the disadvantages addressed in the study," said FUBU data analyst Morgan Ponty. "There is no doubt that the more you play, the dumber."

Rodney Sisters and Peggy LaRoue have become poster children for Xbox-induced low IQ. Both of them have signed hefty contracts with NARCMSWBUTC to do television and radio ads decrying the mental dangers of static entertainment. In a conference telephone conversation with the FCN staff, they answered our questions with earnest monosyllables. From what we were able to gather, they sincerely regret the combined thirteen years they have spent playing video games, but are also really excited about the financial opportunities generated by their decrepit mental states.

"Take some of the stuff you guys write: Before 360, your writing was really dry; now man, it's hilarious!" Sisters said when he finally understood who FCN was, putting together his only complete sentence in the entire interview.

Sisters and LaRoue's agent sent us a webpage picturing the two spokespersons as fatter version of Napoleon Dynamite and a young Janet Reno clone. Both are holding a facial expression that can only be described as vacant and a caption below the picture says: "Don't be like us; turn it off." During our interview, LaRoue took credit for the line.

But not everyone is so sure about the study results. Chad Flute of EA Sports is skeptical of the results. "I'll bet [NARCMSWBUTC] couldn't make heads or tails of the results so they shook their tails," he told FCN. "These data could be interpreted any which way, and they have. To blindly assume that FUBU is right is foolhardy; I'm sure my office will have a study out in a few months proving the opposite is true."

"I actually think that the whole experience balances out," argues Microsoft hardware developer Randy Ewberg. "Sure, you get a little brain cell deterioration, but your hand eye coordination improves drastically, your fight skills go through the roof and you can actually burn calories and stay in shape by depressing the thumb controls."

NARCMSWBUTC, meanwhile, has another project up its sleeve. "Functional Undertaking for Brain And Reasoning" or FUBAR will tackle iPod ear buds. "I can only imagine the kind of deaf poster kids we'll be digging up for that study," said Wormer.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Life Tip #35

Don't link a blood drive with a horror film.

If you must link a blood drive with a horror film, don't call the project the "Give 'till it Hurts" drive.

If you must link a blood drive with a horror film and call it the "Give 'till it Hurts" drive, be ready to handle some fainting.

More Evidence of Genderism in the American Legal System:

You have mail fraud, but not female fraud.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How to Count to 10 like a Consumerist

How do our young learn to count? Do they learn in kindergarten in front of a caring teacher and a colorful piece of cardboard? Do they grasp the fundamentals of our numeral system by watching road signs as their parents drive them around? Or is it by flipping channels on a TV set?

I learned to count to ten by consuming print, radio and television advertisements. That’s right; a difficult number would appear in front of me and I would try to grasp its meaning. If I was really stumped, I would ask the closest adult: “Daddy? What does the ‘two’ in ‘Halo 2’ stand for?” I must have been such a cute child. Here is how my parents first heard me count to ten:

Coca-Cola Zero Soda

Pepsi One Soda


Halo 3

Fourthmeal at Taco Bell

Take Five (XM)

Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

7Up Soda

Super 8 Hotel

Cloud 9 Productions

Hang Ten Clothing Company

Monday, August 06, 2007

Part the Sixth: She has a 'Crush' on you

A continuation of previous Crush episodes...

Luce and I met in front of the theater and I almost didn't recognize her. Her hair, normally a golden blonde, had been dyed bright red, like Maureen O'Hara only longer. At first I thought she was wearing a wig, but on closer inspection I saw that her hair had indeed been dyed all the way to the roots.

"You dyed your hair." I probably should have thought first and come up with a better introductory remark, but I was in a blurt mood.

"Oh, hey! Yes, do you like it?" Luce had a smile that was both pleading and brilliant. I didn't want to disappoint her and deny her earnest complexion the complement she sought, but I also wanted to be honest.

It looked ugly. The hair, that is. Her smile and complexion were awesome, but the texture of her locks was inconsistent with the dye and it came together to form a muddy consistency. From close up, you could see blonde strays that hadn't taken the color correctly. Finally, the color was wrong. It didn't fit with the light smattering of freckles on her cheeks or the hue of her lips. The whole picture was, as we guys sometimes intone, good from far but far from good.

I must have taken too long to answer because Luce's face soured and she sighed in disgust.

"Oh, whatever. Let's get our tickets."

I tried to smile and followed her to the box office.

As we entered the theater and sat down to await the previews, I tried to break the silence with conversation.

"Well, that was a pretty bad first date we had, wasn't it?" I honestly can't recall the thought process that lead me to that question.

"Uh-huh..." Dang; Luce thought I was going somewhere with this.

"Um...Well, why would a girl like you go out with a guy like me?" I asked, inadvertently deploying a line from Eric Church's Guys Like Me. I had a feeling the answer had nothing to do with "drinking too many beers on Friday after work," but I asked anyway.

"I have a crush on you, remember?" Luce had a smile on her face that invited me to laugh. I obliged, then turned away to return to my thoughtful musing; her answer was, as always, completely unsatisfying.

Just because you have a crush on someone doesn't mean you go out with them after a disastrous first date, or does it?

I thought a change in subject might be in order.

"Why did you dye your hair orange?"

"You don't like it, do you?" More earnest nonverbal pleading.

"Well..." Luce was obviously insecure about her hair. And why wouldn't she be? She had replaced her gorgeous blonde locks for a garage sink special that reeked of ammonia. My guy friends had advised me to be complementary in any comment I made about Luce's looks, so I made an attempt:

"It's not antipathetic or entirely odious. In fact it has an aura of originality that's almost congenial. Um...It's not posh, but it isn't schlocky either." I smiled while wincing. Maybe I'd thought too much about my answer. There were a lot of SAT words in my response and I did not want to splice their meaning for Luce.

I don't think Luce understood what any the adjectives meant because she had a pleased look on her face when she sat back and said "ok." I exhaled deeply with relief.

Just then the previews started, and we began almost two hours of uninterrupted screen watching. I never had to say anything to Luce; she never had to conversate with me. We sat within inches of each other, faced straight ahead and just looked. It was glorious.

Several times, after Jason Bourne made a heart stopping leap or performed another noteworthy stunt, I leaned toward Luce to whisper a comment I thought humorous, but then chickened out before I was close enough to speak. We were so tranquil, watching the movie without intervention, I didn't want to mess all that up by saying something.

Neither Luce nor I said anything for the entire movie. I don't even recall us laughing at the funny parts, although I laughed in my head.

As we were walking toward the exit, I made another attempt at conversation.

"Great movie, huh?"

"Yeah, I guess. Listen..." Luce paused as if struggling to phrase her next sentence. "I don't want to hurt your feelings or anything, but I think you are really boring. You haven't said more than fifty words all evening. When I saw you interact with people at school, you were animated and, well, interesting. Here, tonight, and the other night, you were completely deadpan. Are you high or something?"

"Well, no, not intentionally, um, well, not that I know of, I, well, I...Luce..." I was trying to be eloquent.

"No." Luce paused and looked as if she might cry. "Let's just let this die, ok? You aren't the same person as the one I have a crush on. You're boring. You used the word "schlocky;" I hate that word; what kind of guys says "schlocky?" The movie was terrible. I hated this evening. Don't even...Don't call me, ok?"

With that, my date left the theater in her Bronco, leaving me to rationalize the situation by tearing Luce down. The Bronco was probably her dad's. She probably never worked an honest day in her life and planned to go on milking unsuspecting males the rest of her days. Such a Daddy's Little Princess; everything must be just so. Dependant and completely selfish; a spoiled brat. Her home life was probably a total wreck and she was taking her disgruntlement out on me. I was the real victim here.

Then again, I thought, maybe I was uninteresting. It was true that I hadn't said much, but Luce didn't leave a lot of room to talk. I'd tried hard, but come up short.

But Luce hadn't liked the movie. Could we be compatible as mates if she rejected my man crush out of hand? Wasn't a relationship with me somewhat like a relationship with Damon? Does that concept make me more attractive?

I drove home that night with a heavy heart. More than once I had to fight back tears as my car stereo played the latest hit love songs. Why couldn't I be like the guys on the radio or TV? Why was I so inadequate in the female department? Why did Luce hate me so much? Why in the world did she decide to dye her hair that ridiculous orange?

I called a meeting of the guys this morning and their take was bleak. They think my chances with Luce are blown, but I'm not so sure. I've got a couple new ideas that, though disapproved by my advisors, may get me back in the game.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Confession #1: I like Chick Flicks

"Confessions" are a new series from FCN in which readers submit or the FCN staff write secret or private confessions for the amusement of others. Like other confession driven writing enterprises, the author of the confession will remain anonymous. Unlike other confession driven writing enterprises, the truth of the confession will not be guaranteed or even supposed.

If you have a confession for the faithful FCN few, send it in to us at FunnyClassNotes -at- gmail -dot- com

Confession #1: I like Chick Flicks

I'm a guy. I'm a shade under six feet tall and athletic. I have a pretty deep voice and I know how to talk tough. I don't flinch very often and I can't stand sissies. That's why it's ironic that I like chick flicks.

Guys are supposed to appreciate the "art" of dramatic gun, grimace and go home flicks, a genre generally labeled as "action movies." We men are supposed to be disgusted at the simple plots, thin acting and male pansies who adorn the screen of so-called "date movies." We are supposed to roll our eyes when our female friends talk about the latest Lindsay Lohan, Charlize Theron or Mandy Moore production; we aren't supposed to appreciate the clichéd acting of Kate Winslet or get excited at the thought of a movie with Cameron Diaz.

I break the mold. I thought John Tucker Must Die was an absolute delight of a film. I thoroughly enjoyed The Holiday and thought Mean Girls was one of Lohan's better productions although Just My Luck gave it a run for its money; Bridget Jone's Diary left me panting and Something's Gotta Give was so sweet; The English Patient was slow, but worth it and Titantic, oh, Titanic!

The Horse Whisperer was one of Robert Redford's better performances; You've Got Mail was the highlight of Tom Hank's career and was a perfect showcase for Meg Ryan; The Beach House had me spinning until the end; and one line brings back all the happy memories of Truly, Madly, Deeply: "I really, truly, madly, passionately, remarkably, deliciously... juicily love you...." Oh yeah!.

Don't get me wrong; Rogers and Hammerstein is a bit much and kiddie movies don't do the trick. Some musicals are excellent, others are too slow to justify the viewing and I outgrew Anne Hatheway years ago.

As a rule of thumb, if it's on Lifetime or O!, I will probably appreciate it. Like any genre, it needs to be done well; I didn't confess to liking cheap movies, just chick flicks.

(As an aside, I just realized it took me about three minutes to write the above four paragraphs. That's how conversant I am in chick flicks. Ask me any question about the genre; I can probably answer it).

It's not that I don't like action movies - the Die Hard series was excellent and Jason Bourne is still my man crush - it's just that I also appreciate the tender films. That's my confession.

EDIT: Thanks to an email from a concerned reader for the reminder, I should note that none of the above referenced movies come with the FCN endorsement. In order to garner the requisite knowledge about the films, we are sure our author viewed the Clean Films version or closed his eyes during the inappropriate sequences.