Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday Cake!

My birthday's coming up in a few days. I didn't surround that statement in blink tags because I stopped being really excited for my birthday when I turned 14. I don't know why, but after my bar mitzvah, turning another year older just never seemed a huge deal any more. Even the prospect of presents arouses only slight excitement from me. Actually, I really dread the inevitable pre-birthday question:

What do you want for your birthday?

First of all, since when did we start telling people what they're getting for their birthday? What about the joy of anticipation, the excitement of tearing wrapping paper away from the unknown? Now, opening presents is like a formality, a useless chore we do for tradition's sake, like daylight savings time. It gets even worse when someone gives you a gift card. To me, a gift card says, "I like you, but not enough to carry your present out to the car." By the way, if you're going to give a gift card, PLEASE give more than 15 dollars. There's nothing quite like going into a Barnes and Noble and being confined to the little books of inspirational sayings near the cashier.

And please stop telling me that you can't believe how old I've gotten. I swear to God, arthritis is a communicable disease; its spread by morons who tell you that you're old on your birthday. I'm going to be twenty, which means that I'm still indestructible for a few more years.

Birthdays do make you look back, though. For me, they make me remember all of my accomplishments, and al of the aliases I've had over the years. Here is a partial list of my accomplishments; the full list can be found by going to and clicking "Random Article."

My Accomplishments:

  • Created the first vaccine for polio. FDR gave me the Invisible Medal of Honor for this one.
  • Ran the 100 yard dash in 9.4, making Hitler look like a damn fool.
  • Accidentally droppeda VCR on the Radio Star's head, killing him instantly. Sorry.
  • Grew a beard, sold Oxi-Clean on TV.
  • Invented the interwebs, which is an information superexpressway.
  • Started a fist fight in the Taiwanese parliament by sneezing the wrong way.

This is why I get depressed on my birthday. I've accomplished so much! What is there left to do?

I guess I could work out a bit...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dream On

Everyone has a dream, some goal that they aspire too and work towards. Some people want to dig ditches for a living. Others are happy to fetch files and coffee in a law office until they are discarded like a threadbare dishrag. As for myself, I have a bold, inspiring dream, one which will come true within the next ten years. I guarantee it.

Knee a mugger in the face.
Here's the scenario, daddio: A defenseless elderly woman is walking down the street, minding her own business and generally looking as harmless as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone is as nice as I am. Out of an alley springs what can only be described as a "punk"; that is, a skinny, angry boy with a Black Flag t-shirt from Hot Topic and bad hair. The miserable bastard grabs her purse and tears down the sidewalk towards me. Luckily, I have seen these troubling events, and I am in total control of the situation. I dart across the street to get to the mugger, causing a car to swerve into a fire hydrant. I then let loose my best battle cry, which sounds something like, "RRRRRAAAAAUUUUGGGHHHHH." The mugger sees me coming, and starts to turn back to run away. That's when he sees that he has most definitely mugged the wrong old lady. She takes off her jacket to reveal that she is in fact Stephen Hawking, and not a very short old lady on wheels. Hawking drives his wheelchair at full speed into his attacker's legs, forcing him to his knees. Right at that moment, I jump up, fly through the air anime-style, and knee that sucker in the face with a satisfying "Ker-thunk." Then, Hawking blasts him with Hawking radiation, which he keeps in a tank underneath his chair. The mugger gets everything cancer, and Stephen Hawking and I go to a bar. He later beats me in darts, but lets me use his voice machine to pick up chicks.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

¡Fantastico! Stories from the life of an American Madman

I am somewhat of a mysterious figure to many of you, as my frequent ranting affords me little time to talk about myself. I feel badly about this, as you are all my friends and therefore ought to know what you're getting yourselves into. Too late to turn back now, but at least you're not going into it blind, right? Here's a little story that I like to tell. I changed all the names, but otherwise, everything in this story is true, and as free from exaggeration as possible. My life doesn't need exaggeration.

When I was 16, I got an internship in a Senator's Office in Washington D.C. I won't bore you with details of the job itself, we're here to talk about the weekends.

My friend Alex and I went to a house party one night, where we met two people who worked in the same building as us. Julie was a good-looking girl who offered us beer and laughed when I told her I was 20. I managed to get her number with all the charm that a 16-year-old could muster. Her friend Gabriel was a dumpy Panamanian with sweat stains on his shirt and a beard that I could have grown in 3 days. I specify his nationality because when I told him that my mother was Venezuelan, he insisted on calling me "Venezuela" for the rest of the night. Guess who I wanted to hang out with.

Alex, Gabriel, Julie and I talk for about an hour. The three of them are fairly buzzed by now, and Alex suggests we go to the kitchen for some snacks. I grab a box of Cheez-Its. They grab a quarter-full jug of vodka. Shot after shot reduce the three to one large, tipsy animal, trying to balance on six uneven legs. When the bottle drains, I fill it with water; only Alex notices the change in taste, though he merely winks at me and stays silent. The group gets drunk off its own drunkenness, and makes enough noise that the residents kick us out of the house.

I should mention here that I was completely sober, and in fact did not drink until I got to college, 2 and a half years later.

With difficulty, I herd them in the direction of Alex's apartment, and make some decent progress until Julie breaks from the group and starts to cry. To a 16-year-old boy, this is a new and troubling experience, comforting a spontaneously hysterical drunk girl on the street at 1 AM while my best friend accidentally headbutts a tree. I sit her down on a stoop, and she pours out a semi-coherent sob story, which after 10 minutes basically translates to, "People only want to hang out with me because of my uncle." Sitting down on the sidewalk next to her, I could think of a few more reasons, but I didn't say so. I asked her who her uncle was. "Pete Domenici," she says. Not a name you would recognize, probably, unless you live in New Mexico and know who your senator is.

So here I am, an employee of a United States Senator, carrying the drunken niece of another senator on one shoulder and my friend on the other. No way I was touching Gabriel. We get to Alex's apartment, which appears at first to be mercifully empty. The group collapses on the couch, and I take a much needed break from my job as shepherd. All good things come to an end, of course; Alex's roommate, John, wakes up from the noise and stumbles out of bed to find three drunk people and a confused teenager in his living room. John asked me, "Taylor, are you drunk?" I replied that I was not. John looked me straight in the eye here, and said, "Then I need you to get these people out of here. Now." There is a bond that happens when one man kicks another man out of his apartment, a strong and unbreakable connection. To this day, I think John is one of the coolest people I have ever met.

I am thankful that Alex is sobering up quickly, as he has no qualms about giving Gabriel a shoulder to lean on, and Julie wants nothing to do with Gabriel. Gabriel, on the other hand, very much wants to have something to do with Julie, and begins to grab her arm in an attempt to lead her home. He attempts to wave off my offers of assistance and merely succeeds in unbalancing himself, and Julie in the process. He insists that he knows where Julie lives and can take her home from there. He again grabs her arm, and resists weakly when Julie pulls away. I am now convinced that he is a rapist. Julie seems to realize that Gabriel's intentions are less than noble, as well. She giggles, yells "Taylor, run with me!", and shoots down the sidewalk with all the speed and grace that drunkenness allows. I am rather confused as I run after her, unsure if I was going to get laid or arrested. As it turns out, she leads me straight to her house, with Alex and Gabriel not far behind. She goes around to the back door of the house and lets herself in quietly, to my relief. A quick goodbye leaves Alex, Gabriel and me alone in Senator Domenici's driveway.

I though that my little Odyssey was over, that I had reached Ithaca and Penelope was already making me a sandwich. Not so, unfortunately. Gabriel decides that he is going to spend the night at Julie's house. Alex, who is nearly sober by now, tells him to go home, but Gabriel is too fast for us. He darts into the house and locks the door behind him, marking the first time that night that I was truly scared that something bad might happen. Strangely enough, calling the police never occurs to me. Instead, I call the number the Julie gave me, but it goes to voicemail and I suspect her phone is off. As Alex and I silently panic, two people approach us on the sidewalk. They're scruffy college kids, looking for a late night weed dealer. I recall that one of them had a "Jew-fro." We explain the situation to them quickly, and the one who asked for the marijuana looks me straight in the eye and tells me, "Dude, she's gonna get raped and it's your fault." I didn't feel the same connection with him that I had with John.

Finally, I am reduced to banging on the door of Senator Domenici's house, hoping to God that Secret Service doesn't arrest me. I imagine the conversation I might have with the senator, if he answered. "Hello sir, your niece is being molested by a smelly Panamanian." Unbeknownst to me, the Senate was in a special 2 AM session that night to vote on a gun bill. The purpose of the bill was to keep American homes safe. To my relief, after 5 minutes of banging, Julie comes to the front door and motions for me to go to the back of the house. I run there, ignoring the inquiries of Alex and the stoners.

Julie comes to the door and sweetly asks what's going on. The tears are gone and she has forgotten the paranoia of the hour before. I muster up all the authority that I can, and explain to her that for her own good, she needs to drink water, go to bed, and lock her door until morning. I told her that Gabriel was up to no good, and that he was in the house. She tells me not to worry, that she would do everything I said. She closes the screen and whispers, "You're the greatest, Taylor."

That Monday, I wanted to go see Julie in Senator Domenici's office, to ask her to lunch. Alex tells me not to, says I might seem too eager. I listen to him, and eventually forget about asking her out. I never see her again. I learn later, from various sources, that Alex wasn't giving me girl advice. My good friend Alex was shielding my young ego from an unpleasant truth.

Julie was completely unharmed, thank God, but she had no recollection of me or anything that happened that night.

I will conclude with a personal note to Alex: Life was always more interesting when you were involved. D.C. was fun because you were a true friend, and you dragged me out of the house when I was feeling lazy and you knew that I needed to get out and meet people. I can't thank you enough.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ramblin, Gamblin Man

I suck at poker. I realized this at my grandfather's poker room today. I know this must be hard to believe, but a man as charismatic and witty as I can't bluff a hand to save his life. My problem is that I have faith in Gaussian statistics, so I naturally assumed that if I sat at a poker table with $100 in chips and waited for 4 hours, I would get a few good hands. Here's the conversation that I had with the universe today:

Me: Hey universe, how about dealing me ONE good hand, maybe?

Universe: How about a King-2, off suit?

Me: I don't want that.

Universe: How about FIVE of them?

This is why I want to be a physicist: The universe is a jerk, and the more we understand it, the sooner we can get revenge on it for pulling all this crap. I know the LHC isn't gonna destroy the universe, but how about giving it a little scare, you know?

The International Tweecore Underground

I will admit to a fondness for unusual band names. Belle & Sebastian, Aesop Rock, Camera Obscura, Gorillaz, and The Pipettes got a first listen from me solely on the merit of having interesting names. If the greatest band on Earth decided to call itself "John's Rock Band," I would probably miss out.

Los Campesinos! caught my attention the same way, but they kept it with a mix of catchy melodies and enthusiastic, upbeat vocals. Plus, they've taken the interesting names concept a step further: Every member of the band legally changed their name to Campesinos!, including the exclamation point.

The first song I heard was a catchy one called "Please Don't Tell Me To Do The Math," which I thought was ironic, seeing as I go to a tech school. You can download it free from their website, and I guarantee that the rest of the album is just as brilliant.

Here's the first track off the new album, Hold On Now, Youngster. Its called "Death to Los Campesinos!," and its pretty representative of what you're going to hear on the album, so if you like this song, buy it!

Tragically, she really did die of her unicorn-inflicted wounds.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Lonely, But I Ain't That Lonely Yet

It's official, folks: Barack Obama has a majority of the Democratic delegates, making him the presidential nominee. Now, I am a Obama supporter, but I have to hand it to his opponent. Hillary Clinton ran an excellent campaign, especially considering that she hasn't watched the news for the past 3 months, and therefore still believes she is in the race.

I kid you not; as of time of writing, she still refuses to concede, and her website had this to say,

The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening.

That is the entirety of the release, and is therefore one of the shortest press releases in the history of campaigning, second only to Nixon's post-Watergate statement:

Go to hell.

There is really only one reason that she is still in the race. Its the same reason she made that little Bobby Kennedy reference, and its the same reason she felt the need to talk about non-existent sniper fire during her trip to Bosnia.

This isn't the goddamn New York Marathon, you don't get hugs for chugging along until the end. The only way for her to win now is for Obama to kick the bucket, and seeing as he is the only candidate who can't join the AARP yet, I don't see that happening. So either Hillary is gunning for some last minute support from the NRA, or she's sending Obama a message: "Make me VP, or you're gonna OD on 50 caliber aspirin."

So now we face the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket. Can these two really forget all the bitterness that they've been flinging back and forth for the past 5 months?

In other news, Billy Graham and Anton LaVey were seen holding hands and cuddling in Central Park today. When asked for comment, LaVey giggled like a little girl, and Graham reportedly nibbled on LaVey's ear. Details forthcoming.


  • I should really give my Grandpa Armando credit for the "Hilary is going to kill Obama" idea. He's the other genius of the family, and his rantings are no less phenomenal.
  • Hillary is going to concede the race on Saturday, so the assassination story is shot, but she still wants to be VP, and that's just as bad.
  • Billy Graham and Anton LaVey are NOT gay lovers, according to a recent joint press release. The statement goes on to explain that LaVey recently underwent a sex change operation in Thailand, and therefore the relationship is technically heterosexual.

It's A Wonderful World

I remember a time when people used to put their thoughts into journals and diaries, and nobody ever read them until long after that person died and his stuff was auctioned off to pay his gambling debts. How lucky you all are! You get to read my thoughts, and then congratulate me on my rapier wit, in person.

I was watching a commercial for a new TV show called MXC Wipeout last night. Contestants in the show run through a ridiculous obstacle course, and get smacked around in ways that most TV contestants would benefit from. For example, if I were an executive at ABC, I would devote a whole episode to beating the bejeesus out of this woman.

Maybe we can have a Beat-a-thon, where kids with leukemia get money every time they muster up the strength to kick this woman in the face.
Seriously, when did it become OK to say the truth on national television?