Every time Kanye West speaks, a puppy dies

I can’t believe I had to watch an entire Kanye West speech to prepare for this post.

I somehow made it through. And my conclusion is that it’s nothing short of painful that this man has a platform to speak on. That people will listen to him. There’s millions of people in the world who have inspiring, thought-provoking things to say, but will never be given a venue in which to express them.

Kanye West has that venue that others can only dream of. And he wastes it with nonsensical, mind-numbing drivel that helps nobody.

Kanye WestOK, so his speech yesterday was actually sincere. He wasn’t really trying to be controversial or combative. That is, until the end, when he declared his bid for presidency in 2020.

A day later, the world is trying to find out if he was being serious or not. But does it really even matter? Donald Trump is running for president right now. Any sanctity or honor that once existed in running for our nation’s highest office is long out the window. There’s no doubt in my mind that, if Kanye ran, he would succeed in the polls.

Ironically, last week, in light of the Deez Nuts amusement, I pleaded for an independent-minded citizen to bravely announce their bid for president. Well, I got it.

Besides my 15-minute belated viewing of Yeezus’s speech, I did not watch the Video Music Awards. I just can’t anymore. It’s too painful and disappointing for me to know that this is what the world now accepts as contemporary popular music. I heard there was some B.S. involving Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus, but I literally could not care less.

Indeed, I care more about the Chinese economy than I do about any feuds between Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. I guess that means … I’m maturing? Damn, that sucks.

I do know that it was Taylor Swift who introduced Kanye West to accept the Video Vanguard award, whatever the hell that is (hence the speech). It was an obvious ploy by MTV to capitalize on the whole Kanye/Taylor controversy from years ago, and something that was actually acknowledged by Kanye in the beginning of his speech.Taylor and AVril

Taylor, who showed up to the show with her usual cool girl posse, actually did something totally unrelated this past weekend that caught my attention.

Her 1989 world tour has been filled with star-studded cameos by prominent musicians and celebrities, and the other day, she sang a duet with Avril Lavigne, another pop star I have had a crush on at one point or another. They sang “Complicated.” I support this duo.

I coin them: Tayvril. Which could also be some type of cough medicine. Extra strength.

In other news, the Oxford Dictionary added 1,000 new words this week, including aswesomesauce, beer o’clock, bruh and pwnage.

I officially hate everything about the 21st century.

Let’s talk about Alison Brie today.

After yesterday’s tragic news, I want to talk about something happy today. So let’s keep today’s post to topics only about puppies, sunshine, rainbows, double fudge brownies and Baymax from Big Hero 6.

Oh, and Alison Brie.

I never really jumped headlong on the Alison Brie bandwagon, but only because I never watched any of her shows. I’m not a Community guy, and nor have I ever watched Mad Men.

It’s easy to develop an affinity for a particular actress you watch frequently on TV. The only things I personally knew of her came from when my male friends verbally drooled over her.

Alison BrieNaturally, that led me to seek out images of her. And by gosh, she is truly perfection. I know “perfection” truly doesn’t exist because everyone has their own personal tastes. But in my eyes, it exists in Alison Brie. Again, I don’t know anything about her, but she’s stunningly gorgeous.

Sleek, dark brown hair, an unassuming smile, puffy cheeks and a pretty slammin’ body, to boot. But the best part is that her appearance does not scream “Hollywood” at you, but rather, she has the look of someone who doesn’t fully understand just how gorgeous she is. Supposedly, she has a pretty awesome personality, too.

I’ve even seen candid pictures of her taken by paparazzi as she’s walking down the street without makeup on and in a T-shirt. And she still looks like a 10. How much greatness can one girl possess? Do ugly girls hate Alison Brie?

Why am I even talking about Alison Brie, you ask? Not that I really need an excuse to discuss hot chicks, but she got engaged earlier this week to Dave Franco, the younger brother of James Franco. If you don’t know who he he is, he Alison Brie2basically looks like his older brother, but with lupus.

But I’m not one of those disillusioned Internet people who hears about an engagement and goes, “NOOOOOO, SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO MARRY ME!!!!!”

I’m happy for her, as I am for anybody who finds love. It’s not an easy thing to come across in this world, and it should be cherished and celebrated.

Fuck that. Dave Franco, I hate you with the light of a million suns.

Nah, for real though, her name popping up in the news by virtue of her engagement just gives me more reason to talk about her. So I’m good.

Yesterday’s news made me sad. Thinking about Alison Brie makes me happy.

You know what else makes me happy? Brie cheese.

I’m easily satisfied.

A tragic farewell to two journalists

Sometimes you hear about something, and it’s so impactful that it makes it impossible to even attempt to be funny for the rest of the day.

A television reporter and cameraman in Virginia were killed this morning, live on air while filming a segment, by a disgruntled — and clearly psychologically disturbed — former employee of the station.

The reporter, Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman, Adam Ward, 27, are dead. Two young people who were just trying to do their job, and had a long career and life ahead of them. The killer committed suicide a few hours later.

Alison Parker Adam WardAs a journalist, this especially hits home for me. I know what it’s like to be young and eager in this industry, while starting at the bottom of the totem pole and genuinely being excited to cover local news. Just by looking at Alison Parker’s Facebook and Twitter page, I can tell that she embodied what it meant to be a young and cheerful aspiring journalist.

Not to mention, she was beautiful, too. And now we’ll never get to see what her career would have amounted to. And Ward was engaged, eagerly awaiting what would have been the happiest day of his life.

The details are horrific. The killer premeditated the attack, waiting for the cameras to go on air so it could be captured live. The broadcast actually caught the beginning seconds of it as it happened. There’s no violence captured on camera, but you can hear it. Watch with caution.

Parker had a smile on her face up until the millisecond the gunshots fire. The very last thing she ever expected was that her life was about to end.

People are fucking sick. And things like this make it terrifying to know that every day we step outside, some psychopath with a gun can change everything in the blink of an eye.

Not that it’s related at all, but I was watching the movie Pleasantville this morning on TV, for the first time in a while. It’s about a community of people who follow the same exact routine every day. Nothing bad ever happens and they live in blissful ignorance. That is, until Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon screw it all up.

The whole thing is a joke, but sometimes I can’t help but think that, sometimes, it would be nice to live in Pleasantville. Even if it means missing out on some of life’s biggest thrills.

Because, if that were the case, at least Alison Parker and Adam Ward would still be alive. RIP.

Finally, an intelligent mind returns to the late night TV scene

Without a doubt, the late night television scene has changed.

It’s more interactive now. There’s more action, and less interview time. It caters perfectly to this generation’s limited attention span. Every bit in late night TV is just short enough to be made into a viral video.

In that regard, Jimmy Fallon is absolutely killing it. He’s brought games and skits to the Tonight Show, and it’s made him extremely popular.

But as much as I love Jimmy, there’s something lacking in his show — intelligence. Jimmy’s brand of comedy does not involve much thinking. Nor are his interviews hardly thought provoking.

Stephen ColbertAnd that’s why I appreciated Dave Letterman so much. He could tell a stupid joke with the best of them, but he also could have a serious, smart conversation as well. His show featured not only actors and musicians, but politicians, CEOs, Purple Heart winners, authors and documentarians. They were knowledgeable people, and it was brought out by Letterman in the interviews.

Jimmy Fallon had Chris Christie on his show a few months ago, and I’m pretty sure all they talked about was ice cream.

Now that John Stewart has also left the scene, who will fill that void left by Letterman?

Enter Stephen Colbert. The man has proven his intelligence during his nine-year run on Comedy Central. He won’t be covering strictly politics anymore, but he already has shown his desire to accommodate his guests to his eclectic tastes — his first week of guests will include not only actors George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, but presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and author Stephen King.

You see, now that’s interesting. I want to hear what these people have to say. Sure, it’s fun to watch Bradley Cooper and Wiz Khalifa square off in a game of Pictionary, but every now and then, I like to be intellectually stimulated.

So I plan to give Colbert an extended look. I’ll still tune into Fallon — don’t get me wrong, the dude is funny as hell — but beginning Sept. 8, my first inclination will be to turn to CBS.

Conan O’Brien is a smart dude — a Harvard grad, in fact — but the man is doomed to TV purgatory on TBS. Even one of his longtime lead writers jettisoned his show to join Colbert.

It’s the same goal I have with this blog. Make people laugh and learn at the same time.

Or cry. Mostly just cry.

The rise of Deez Nutz, and fall of the global economy

It’s been a week of ups and downs.

On the upswing is the presidential campaign of Deez Nutz, a candidate only on paper, a registered independent fabricated by a 15-year-old Iowa boy named Brady Olsen.

But this isn’t just your average gag or Internet meme. Credible polls have actually added Deez Nuts to their surveys, and he is excelling.

It’s pretty convincing evidence that the general public is pretty fed up with America’s two-party system, and more specifically, the slew of candidates that have been presented before us for 2016. Of further evidence is the fact that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, candidates in each party that in most years probably wouldn’t be taken seriously (for completely different reasons), are actually earning support.

Deez NutzThe best part of this is that the New York Times, which, historically, adds the titles “Mr.” and “Mrs.” upon the second mention of a person in a story, actually refers to Deez Nutz as “Mr. Nutz.”

But I think it’s what this represents that is most important. In a Democracy, we, the people, choose who we want as president. But we don’t get to choose who runs for president, at least not in the beginning, and if we don’t like the people who we’ve been told to vote for, then fuck it, we’ll make some one up. Even if it took a 15-year-old Iowan to do it.

Viva Deez Nutz!

On the other end of the spectrum: the stock market.

You all likely heard the panic reports early this morning, when the Dow Jones dropped 1,000 points within minutes of the stock market’s opening, only to recover almost completely by noon, and then drop again for a net loss of 585 points, or 3.4 percent.

Either way, it was hardly the economically crippling drop that some were making it out to be. By contrast, the drop was 22 percent on October 19, 1987, a day that has come to be known as “Black Monday.”

But the good news is we get to blame China! That’s always fun. Their economic woes of late, which caused them to devalue their own currency — and placed their own stock markets into turmoil — is throwing the entire international economy off kilter.

This is the reason why I do not dabble in the stock market. It’s too unpredictable. Well that, and the fact that I haven’t the slightest clue how the stock market works.

But this is a boring story. Let’s go back to Deez Nutz!

Can you buy stock in him? Because I’m all in.

I know it’s not a real person, but somewhere out there, there is a real Deez Nutz. He or she is a motivated, enthusiastic independent-thinking patriot who who, last week, thought they had no chance to run for president.

But we’re in a post Deez Nutz era.

Anything is possible, baby.

This Ashley Madison fiasco shows how many people suck at marriage

Thousands of would-be cheaters were exposed today when hackers released the private information of millions of users of Ashley Madison, a website that enables people to cheat on their spouses.

This is a tough one to react to. Do we feel sympathy for the victims, who are cheating and lying scumbags? Do we praise the hackers for exposing them, despite the fact that they clearly invaded Internet privacy?

In fact, it’s a crime. And it underscores the lack of secrecy that exists on the Internet. But if the Edward Snowden revelations years ago taught us anything, it’s that anything you write online, or any information you provide, can be accessed by somebody else if they want it badly enough. Or just the NSA.

Ashley MadisonThe hack, committed by a group which calls itself The Impact Team, exposed some 28 million unique emails. More than 15,000 were related to the government or military, which the latter is reportedly looking into.

But I think the lesson here is simple: don’t cheat on your freaking spouse.

I’m the last person who will ever say that marriage is sacred. That’s not the reason why you shouldn’t cheat. You shouldn’t cheat because, well, you should marry someone that you don’t want to cheat on.

I know it sounds simple. And I’ve never been married. But it seems like way too many people marry the first person that they have a serious relationship with, without realizing just how much time they are going to be spending with them. If you marry at 25, you could be spending some 60 years with this person.

And that’s every day. They’ll be the person you come home to night after night, and the one you share your problems with. You’ll take annual vacations with them. And of course, they’ll be the person you have kids with. Choose fucking wisely.

Otherwise, you’ll end up on Ashley Madison with your private information and sexual fantasies exposed to the entire world.

Even if you do marry someone you truly love, I’m sure marriage is still very hard. There will be temptations and moments of weakness. I’m also familiar of the concept of the seven year itch. I’ve even seen the movie, starring Marilyn Monroe, featuring the famous subway grate scene.

But the answer is not to pay money and create a detailed profile on an online website. Just tell your spouse that something is wrong. You’re bored. You’re not happy. It won’t be a fun conversation, but I promise you it will have better long term effects than cheating.

If anything, the fact that Ashley Madison exists, and is so popular, underscores civilization’s inability to marry correctly.

The website’s slogan is “Life is short, have an affair.” Disregarding the considerable lack of morality at play there, I’m pretty sure there’s better ways to grab life by the horns than humiliating and shaming your life partner. Try adopting a cat.

And if you really, really must cheat, pull a Ben Affleck and bang the hot nanny.

It’s a much better story.

Are you taking female Viagra or are you just happy to see me?

Jared from Subway to serve prison time on child pornography charges. Sesame Street moving to HBO. Female Viagra.

Today was a goldmine for people who enjoy off-the-wall news stories. I don’t even know which topic to talk about first!

My original idea was to write about what an R-rated episode of Sesame Street might look like on HBO. But then, I remembered that I already did that! For no particular reason five years ago, I penned a script about my pretend visit to Sesame Street, and the entire thing captures my extremely perverse sense of humor. I reread it a few minutes ago, and, not to toot my own horn, but it’s pretty good.

It involves Elmo changing his name to “E-Nizzle,” Cookie Monster with an opioid addiction, and Snuffleapagus spitting mad game with the ladies. I’ll just leave it at that.

Sesame StreetAs for the actual show, those who love spending the day with Big Bird and company will be happy to hear that the move to HBO will enable it to double its annual episode output — from 18 to 35 — while producing spin-offs and other fun stuff.

Or, if you’re like me, you were surprised to learn that Sesame Street is still on the air. I guess you lose track of such things when you’re no longer a 5-year-old boy.

And speaking of 5-year-old boys … female Viagra.

OK, that was supposed to be a misdirection joke, because you assumed I was going to segue to Jared from Subway, but instead I chose the other topic. Unfortunately, in this case, the other topic happened to be equally as inapproporiate. If not worse.

But let’s stick with it. There seems to be some misconceptions regarding this new “female Viagra,” which is actually called flibanserin, with the brand name Addyi. Unlike Viagra, it’s not designed to fix impotence. It also doesn’t take effect instantly. Not that I’ve ever taken Viagra. There was one time when I was drunk and met up with an old flame when I could have used … you know what, let me stop this story.

Rather, the drug, approved this week by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, is meant for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, HSDD, a condition marked by low sexual desire, which apparently can cause low self-esteem and psychological issues.

Men typically do not have that problem. But women must take Addyi for several weeks before it takes effect, and it comes with a whole host of side effects. One of them being that they can not mix it with alcohol. Well, that takes away all of the fun.Jared from Subway2

Some one who apparently had too much fun in recent years — and yeah, there’s really no way you can possibly segue into this story — is Jared from Subway, who I guess is legally Jared Fogle. He will be in jail for at least five years for his role in distributing child porn, as well as driving across state lines to pay for sex with minors.

Subway had cordially severed ties with him when he was first targeted by the feds, and now they are throwing him completely to the curb.

Jared, you’re a scumbag. The reason men go on diets and lose weight is to be appealing to girls their own age. It’s an accomplishment. One minute you’re fat and undesirable, and after hard work, you’re an eligible bachelor back in the game.

You did not do that. Instead, you lost 200 pounds so quickly that you not only looked like a pedophile, but you became one. Shame on you.

Overweight men of the world, do not let Jared’s vile acts discourage you. If you lose weight, I assure you the attractive women will come.

So much so that they’ll be taking Addyi just to keep up with you. And the next morning, the two of you can watch Sesame Street together on HBO.

Yeah, there really is no way to blend these three stories at all.

Women of the world, listen: you have purses, we have cargo shorts.

Women often complain about the amount of things they have to do that men don’t.

It ranges from sitting down while peeing to giving birth. And they have every right to be annoyed. Being a man is awesome. I love every second of it. While there are transgenders in the world converting from men to women, I want to do the opposite. I want to become more of a man. I want to be the manniest man that’s ever manned.

However, there is one thing women have that I envy — purses.

It is your societal and fashionable right to carry around a bag of any size to hoard all of your things. This is a luxury you can’t even begin to understand.

Cargo shortsNow don’t get me wrong. I don’t actually want to carry a purse. But I am jealous that women do at least have the means to transport their belongings with them everywhere they go.

We stack our pockets to the brim, sure, but it isn’t enough. How am I supposed to bring my phone charger, my sunglasses, my iPod, my headphones and a hearty snack with me out in public? What if my plan is to take an afternoon stroll in the park and read from my Kindle?

How am I supposed to do that?

Women don’t face this problem. You can wear your entire lives inside of your pocketbook. It’s like a handheld Narnia.

But fortunately, there is one saving grace. And it’s cargo shorts. Cargo mother effin shorts. They’re not the prettiest shorts in the world. In fact, they’re as fashionable as wearing a layer of cardboard around your waist, but by golly are they practical.

I can fit a small village of guinea pigs inside my cargo shorts. That would be a very weird thing to do. But I can.

I honestly don’t care what women think about them. And, according to Buzzfeed, it’s not very good. In fact, it appears that women share the same view on cargo shorts as I do about Buzzfeed.

A former acquaintance from college posted the above link on Facebook today, accompanied with “HAVE I NOT BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS?!”

Reading it made me want to make a noose out of the material used to make cargo shorts, go to her house and … uh, attach a note saying “I disagree with your opinion” to it and promptly hand-deliver it to her and wish her a pleasant day.

But she clearly doesn’t get it. And I challenge her to go one week without a purse and let me know how it feels. Because that’s how men have lived their lives, lacking the proper apparel to fully equip ourselves for the day. It’s like a kangaroo without a pouch.

Women, you’re right about many things. But just shut up about cargo shorts.

We need this.

Has Taylor Swift lost her shine?

It took one very public award show interruption for Taylor Swift to become America’s sweetheart.

A newcomer to the industry, Taylor’s innocent demeanor, dressed-down appearance and emotionally raw music won her a cult of followers. She quickly rose to become among the most popular artists in the industry, with the capability of selling out any stadium in the world.

But it’s been six years since Kanye West disrupted 19-year-old Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, and what we see today is a very different version of the former country star turned pop sensation.

Taylor Swift 2015She’s outspoken. She’s glammed up. And she’s got an entire clique of friends that makes her resemble one of the antagonists from the movie “Mean Girls.”

In 2012, Taylor performed the song “Mean” at the 54th Grammys Awards in a wardrobe that could only be described as a heap of rags that maybe could double as window curtains. The attire personified her modest disposition and the song tapped perfectly into her voice’s country twang.

That Taylor is no longer anywhere to be found.  In 2015, she looks every bit the pop star diva.

And it’s not a fault against her. People change. They evolve as they age. She’s 25 now, and she has every right to dress and act how she wants. And by all accounts she’s still a great role model for young girls.

But it does appear that public opinion of her is taking a turn. This started to become evident after she incited a mini online feud with Nicki Minaj last month, in which Taylor misunderstood and responded to a tweet by Minaj, thinking she was being called out.

This week, she has her Scottish boyfriend (and alleged electronic musician) Calvin Harris fighting her battles for her after she decided to take all of her music off of Spotify.Taylor Swift 2012

Those who follow Taylor on Instagram — which, at this point, I’m not even going to pretend I don’t — will notice that she’s often parading about with dozens of other female celebrity musicians, actresses and supermodels, like some sort of exclusive cool club. Or a female Frat Pack.

And that’s really all she’s guilty of. If anything — she’s annoying people. Rubbing them the wrong way, if you will. There’s no crimes here.

But I think what’s really forced the tide to turn on her popularity is the complete transformation she’s made since she first became famous. The sweet country girl from humble beginnings embraced her celebrity, jazzed up her style, has become somewhat confrontational, and is only friends with the coolest of the cool.

Taylor, once you get over this dating-the-bad-boy-Scottish-DJ phase, call me. I have an out-of-tune banjo sitting in my closet that my cat could play better music with than him.

Plus, I brush my teeth twice a day. I say “Bless you” to people who sneeze within five feet of me. One time, I thought about making a donation to charity.

One week with me and your reputation will soar.

Even if your pride plummets.

Think about it.

Newsflash: people are not divided into two broad personality spectrums!

We don’t need scientific evidence to understand that the human brain is highly complex. It’s a complicated series of neurons and lobes that essentially makes us who we are.

And yet, when we use labels to define people’s personality type, we insist on lumping each other into two categories: introvert and extrovert.

Introverts are shy and prefer to keep to themselves. Extroverts are outgoing and in their element when surrounded by people.

But it’s a huge oversimplification to ask somebody if they are introverted and extroverted. Not everybody is either Nell or Van Wilder. If you don’t get those references, then you need to brush up on your movies, my friend.

extrovert-introvertThere are different degrees of outgoing, as there are various grades of shyness. And then there’s some people who have the capability of molding their personality to a situation. They can be introverted and extroverted. What do you call them?

Enter the ambivert.

The Wall Street Journal reported in the above link that that social psychologists have coined the term to define people who “move between being social or being solitary, speaking up or listening carefully with greater ease than either extroverts or introverts.” They’re not overly talkative, but they don’t sulk away in a corner, either. They’re adaptable.

It’s amazing that it took a social psychologist to figure this out.

Not to turn this into being about me — even though this is my personal blog and you have no say, you subservient minion — but I’ve long known that I am an ambivert, even if I didn’t call it that. I’ve just called it awesome.

I thrive in large groups, particularly in social settings like a party. I have no problem speaking up or initiating conversation when the time calls for it. At the same time, I can be very self conscious about things I say or do, and I also love being independent and alone. In case you don’t believe me, I have almost 1,500 blog posts over six years as proof.

Even though this is hardly a groundbreaking revelation, it’s still fun to think about what personality type you lean towards. I imagine after this article came out, there was a shitload of people who shared it on Facebook and said, “This is SO me! I’ve always wondered what the name of my personality is. I am totally an ambivert 🙂 ” And then the comment underneath said “Me too!!! 🙂 ”

And I’m also being told that experts have identified a fourth category of personality type, solely to describe Donald Trump.

The douchovert.