WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: Child Watching ALF on DVD at College Graduation Ceremony
This past weekend, Anonymous A was finally rewarded for all of her nights of lost sleep and weekends spent doing homework by stealing wifi from the Subway restaurant next door to the local Starbucks with her very own diploma. And while usually I would take this opportunity to offer her my most sincere congratulations on a job well done, I'm actually going to instead thank her for getting me a front row seat to a spectacle even more enthralling than the usual baccalaureate hijinks; for, while sitting in the audience at her graduation ceremony, I was able to watch a small child watch episodes of ALF on a portable DVD player. SO MUCH AWESOME!!! And not only did I get to watch it myself, but thanks to the power of God's greatest Internet creation, I can share that joy with all three of you loyal John Eats readers out there. So please enjoy a small part of what I was able to observe this weekend by watching the video above. I'm sure you'll agree it was much more entertaining than just watching people in unflattering polyesterwear picking up diploma holders.
CELEBRITY SCHADENFREUDE FILES™: ASSHOLE WITH ASCOT NOW DIPSHIT WITH EXTREME MERCURY TOXICITY
Professional douchebag Jeremy Piven has pulled out of one-trick wordsmith David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" on Broadway due to alleged "extreme mercury toxicity" in his bloodstream, caused by, among other things, eating sushi "often twice a day."
What kind of a dumbass eats that much raw fish? The kind called Jeremy Piven, apparently.
Here's a little Jay-Z in the courtroom to celebrate my ongoing stint on jury duty.
Everyone got their proper lunch yesterday. Several people had planned to give up their free lunch and eat out, but when the bailiff saw that several names weren't on the menu list, he informed us that we all had to order something even if we didn't want it. The Cook County court has a contract with a food provider which states that every jury member must receive a meal, regardless of whether they want it or not. Essentially, every day the Cook County court system wastes tax dollars and food because somebody won a contract. Chicago politics in action!
Yesterday's interaction with the bailiff resulted in several more references to my diet, culminating in his cross-jury room shout of "Do you ever eat alfafa sprouts?" which caused me to pause for a full five seconds while staring him down, and then answer "No" with as much sarcasm as I could muster. "Oh," he said, "Maybe you gotta be from California to eat them. I used to live in California, you know, so I know." One of the jurors silently mouthed "What the hell?" to me.
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To celebrate my current stint on a jury, I'll be posting some courtroom-themed videos here for your viewing pleasure. First up, everyone's favorite defendant, El DeBarge:
At number two in the courtroom countdown, we've got Rod Stewart and his all-female jury:
Yesterday was a milieu of miscommunication with the bailiff. Immediately upon arrival yesterday morning, I asked him before I went into the jury room about getting a copy of my summons for my employer. He put his hands over his ears and said I couldn't ask him anything. He said I had to ask the judge. So I said "When do I ask the judge? During the trial?" and he said "No, right now." And I said "Ok, where is the judge so I can speak to him?" And he pointed into the jury room and said "In there."
I walked in, and the judge wasn't in the jury room. The bailiff totally lied to me to get me to shut up and go into the jury room. Charming!
Later, the bailiff came back in the jury room and threw a pad of paper and a pen down on the table, and announced to everyone "If any of you have a question about anything, you need to ask it to the judge." Then he just stood there.
I stood up and said "So...do we write our questions down on this pad of paper and give them to you to give to the judge?"
And he said "Oh. Yeah."
"Thanks for clearing that up for us," I said. He didn't laugh, but several jurors did.
So I wrote out my question on a piece of paper, and gave it to the bailiff the next time he came in the room. He left and I didn't hear anything more about it for the rest of the morning. When lunchtime came around, the judge announced that our lunches were there, so we could either eat them in the jury room, eat them out in the hallway, or not eat them at all and go outside and buy our own lunch.
We went into the jury room to get our lunch. There were no lunches in the room. The bailiff walked in, closed the door, and said "Your lunches haven't shown up yet, I wasn't able to tell the judge before he announced they were here. So please just be patient and they'll be here soon." A group of us walked out into the hallway. I called Anonymous A and talked to her for quite awhile, then went to the restroom.
When I came out, I saw everyone had gotten their lunches. So I walked back into the jury room to get mine, only to find that there was no vegetarian sandwich like I'd ordered. So I had to go out and get my own lunch.
When I came back, I found out from the juror who passed out everyone's lunches that there wasn't a vegetarian sandwich in the shipment at all, so it wasn't a case of someone else taking my lunch. He told me I should mention it to the bailiff so that it didn't happen again the next day. So I did. And the bailiff insisted on getting me another lunch immediately. I told him not to, that I'd already eaten and didn't need another lunch. He said "We promised you a lunch, so you're getting a lunch!" and then delayed the re-start of the trial until they delivered me a new lunch, which he handed to me in the jury room (that has no refrigerator). I said to him, "Awesome! Thanks for the botulism!" He made no reply, and instead immediately asked us to re-enter the courtroom.
When we got to go back into the jury room for a break, the bailiff asked me (in front of everyone, of course) how my "veggie sandwich" was. One of the other jurors said "What, did you think he ate it out in the jury box?"
The bailiff continued to mention my veggie lunch in front of the whole jury for the rest of the day. He always made sure to refer to it as a "veggie lunch", of course, for maximum "Look at the weird vegetarian guy!" effect. At the end of the day when he escorted us to the elevator, he yelled down the hallway to me that he "wants a report on how my veggie sandwich was" tomorrow. I was forced to take it with me when we left. One of the other jurors asked me how well veggie sandwiches microwave. "Oh, probably really well after they've been sitting out at room temperature for several hours," I replied.
Yes, friends, it's been far too long since I've ranted about anything here, and let me just say I feel your pain. I know many of you have stayed awake some nights wishing, hoping, praying that there would be a new John Eats entry in your Feedburner the next morning, only to have those hopes dashed yet again for months on end. Well, all that is changing, at least for today. 'Cuz I got picked for jury duty this week, and it's time to let loose.
While I can't discuss anything about the case I've been assigned to, I don't see any reason why I can't discuss two things that happened before I was even interviewed for a case, out in the big holding pen/purgatory area known as the Juror Waiting Room, a den of iniquity and red tape so all-inclusive that one could truly call it a Cross-Section of America™.
First came the "mm"-ing. A small man in his late forties, wearing a fuzzy ear-flapped winter hat, fingerless gloves and a dirty flannel shirt chose to sit next to me while we all waited to be called up for our chance to be a part of the justice system. He carried several bags, a top coat, and a newspaper, all of which he set down on the chair he left between us. He spread out some of the contents of one of the bags, laid several sections of the newspaper on the chair, his lap, and the chair on the other side of him, and then proceeded to read. All during this preparation time, however, he displayed a curious vocal tick: "Mmm mm MMM!" came the sound, at no longer than five second intervals. The "mm"-ing continued as he delved into his newspaper, making the sound as he motioned the paper my way a few times as if to get my attention about something he was reading. The tone of the "mm"s was slightly different each time: sometimes joyous, sometimes self-satisfied, sometimes forlorn, sometimes irritable. The man was truly a master of inflection, and if what was coming out of his tightly squeezed lips hadn't been so abstractly unnerving I might have developed an admiration for his skill.
Alas, he was called up before I was, and for the first time he let out another sound: a deeply irate sigh which signaled he was not there for civic duty but rather for the warm place to sit on a folding chair and the opportunity to earn a cool, hard $17.20 while reading the paper and mumbling. Then came the farting. During this time, what can only be described as a series of SBDs pummeled those of us who chose to sit in the back of the room; for although there was no sound, there was something decidedly deadly in the air. And while the "mm"ing guy might seem the obvious culprit, my money was on the woman sitting directly in front of him in the row ahead of us -- a zaftig woman also in her late 40s, with more split ends than roots in her streaky blondish hair, a mole on her cheek which helped distract from the twenty-pound bags under each eye, a pink sweatshirt on her back, an unlit cigarette in her mouth, and a dogeared dimestore romance novel in her hand. At the outset of each olfactory assault, her head would (almost imperceptibly) dart back and forth like a cat trying to determine the source of a high-pitched whine, until the smell had enough time to spread for its source to be undetectable. At this point she would lean back in her folding chair and return to her novel, letting some air escape between her lips and the dangling cigarette, making a slight whistling sound. She, too was called up before I was, in the same round as the "mm"er; this offered me the opportunity to switch seats to a less densely populated area, but quashed any chance I might have had to deduce the true source of those noxious air strikes.
This, then, is jury duty. Luckily I will be free of the Juror Waiting Room for the rest of the week, nestled instead in my courtroom's Jury Room -- that internet-free, silent, windowless, nightmarish little hovel with two adjoining bathrooms and no air circulation, where every stomach gurgle is like a trumpet blast, and every flush is like the rain.
Anonymous A uses her fact-finding skills to point us to this very literal version of A-Ha's classic "Take On Me" video. So now I'm writing a blog post to show other people this video. There, I embedded the video in the source code. Now I'm writing the second-last sentence of this paragraph. After this one, I'll insert a new paragraph which will just consist of a catch phrase with a link to the YouTube page containing this video.
This is who I want to have their finger on the button and answering that 3am phone call: a cranky old fart who gets all uppity when his ancient-ass tongue gets tied because he forgot to eat his prunes and couldn't take his nap. Jesus H.
OVERHEARD ONE-ACT THEATRE™: The Student And The ATM
The Student And The ATM A One-Act Play Transcribed by JohnEats
INTERIOR: The lobby of a bank in a midwestern college town. It is 8:26a.m. Two ATMs stand next to each other, one being used by a YOUNG FEMALE STUDENT who holds a cell phone up to her ear. JOHN EATS enters the lobby and heads to the open ATM, inserts his bank card and starts to withdraw thirty dollars.
YOUNG FEMALE STUDENT:(into cell phone) Hi Dad...I'm standing at the ATM. Yeah, and something's wrong. Yeah. Do you have any idea why it won't let me take out six hundred dollars?
At this, JOHN EATS pauses, looks up at the wall above his ATM. He quickly glances at the STUDENT, then looks around the empty lobby.
YOUNG FEMALE STUDENT:(into cell phone) This thing is so stupid...I mean, why wouldn't it let me take out six hundred dollars? (pauses) I don't know. Yeah, like, there's enough money in my account, isn't there?
JOHN EATS removes the thirty dollars from his ATM, puts it in his wallet. The STUDENT turns around and begins walking out.
YOUNG FEMALE STUDENT:(into cell phone, as she opens the door of the bank and walks out onto the busy street) Ok, yeah, well, it only gave me five hundred dollars, so I'll have to get the other hundred later I guess.
JOHN EATS puts his wallet in his bag, turns around and leaves the bank.
ADVENTURES IN THE DESIGN WORLD™: "You Have A Concrete Floor - I Have Solution"
We've discussed vehicle graphics before, but the above example re-sets the bar at an all-new dizzying height. First off, I would hate to be the poor sucker photographer who's forced to eke out a living by attempting to make concrete floors look appealing to people traveling 35mph and above -- altho judging by the ensuing quality of the images, those look a lot like Small Business CEO Photos™ to me ("Why pay a professional photographer when I can take my own shitty-looking flash photos with my iPhone for free? Wait, what do you mean they're too low-resolution to make any bigger than eight inches wide? Don't think you can sidestep me with all that techobabble mumbo-jumbo, you can do anything with computers these days, you little asshole!"). Then of course comes the racing stripes surrounding a checkerboard pattern, which does a great job of evoking the NASCAR® aesthetic without the pain and suffering of copyright infringement -- but what the fuck does it have to do with concrete floors? Oh, that's right: if you have a concrete floor problem (and I know most of the people who drive these days often do), you want it solved FAST.
Then, as always, we come to the typography. Arial Extra Bold all caps, is it not? Why bother with one of those pansy-ass fonts that don't automatically come with Windows when you can use the real deal - because if anyone knows beautiful typography, it's Microsoft! And yes, a thickly bold san serif is just SO readable in all caps from a distance -- the letter forms don't all just blur together or anything, no sir-ee.
And finally, there's the copy.
YOU HAVE A CONCRETE FLOOR I HAVE SOLUTION
Let's see...does this mean the owner of the vehicle has in his or her possession a vial of some super-secret chemical substance that can fix whatever problems are inherent within concrete floors? There must be something automatically wrong with concrete floors, as it's implied here that the mere ownership of one must generate the need for a professional's intervention. Or maybe this headline was written by an eastern European who has some trouble picking up on the English language's use of the indefinite article, and no one bothered to proof the copy before it went to press (or in this case, the gerber cutter at the FastSigns® down the street).
Jeeziseffinkriste I hate this song, especially the vocals. I had no beef with the Chili Peppers until 1992. Now I can't stand them, and it's all this song's fault. I can't even watch more than 10 seconds of any of the above videos without having to fight the urge to walk into a Taco Bell, grab every burrito I can find, throw them to the ground, and stomp on them so all the gunk inside of them sprays all over the shoes of everyone in there.
THE TOP 75 CELEBRITIES WHOSE EXISTENCE SO OFFENDS ME THAT JUST LOOKING AT A PICTURE OF THEM MAKES ME WANT TO COMMIT RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE™
#28: Rainn Wilson
Sometimes celebrity hatred hits me in the head like a thunderbolt the first time I set eyes on someone; other times it takes months or even years for those all-too-common feelings of slight loathing to simmer before they boil over into a seething rage. Sometimes I have no recollection of when I came to the conclusion that a certain celebrity so offends me that just looking at a picture of them makes me want to walk into a convenience store and turn on a self-serve soda fountain and leave it on until it runs all over the floor; other times, like this one, I can pinpoint the exact moment I realize I've had enough of someone. With Rainn Wilson, it was the first time I saw his HIGH-larious cameo in the insufferably-written Juno. Jesus, was that the last straw. I'd always been disturbed by his freakishly large forehead (which, if there were any justice in the world, would have landed him the role of The Leader in the Hulk movies) -- and that alone was powerful enough to put me off of the American version of The Office, but after that "homeskillet" line some switch got flicked in my head and that, as they say, was all she wrote.
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THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR LIVING ROOM™: Now You Can Reward Annoying Behavior With A Personal Gift!
Inspired by the fantastic "SHHH" card, JohnEats.com is proud to present our latest passive-aggressive public service initiative: The World Is Not Your Living Room™, a new series of free downloadable notecards you can print and hand out to people who deserve them. We're kicking this campaign off with four designs...
1. Hey, Superstar!
For all those wonderful people who understand how important it is that you listen to their commentary while watching watching a movie in an actual movie theater, send a "Hey, Superstar!" card their way. I'm sure they'll think twice before loudly predicting upcoming plot twists, reading captions out loud, or asking "What did he say?" every time one of the characters with an accent speaks the next time they sit near you at the local cineplex.
2. Do I Know You?
Tired of being alone at a public transit platform and having someone walk up to you and stand too close to you when there's plenty of other places they could be standing? Or having someone sit next to you at a movie when there are only about five other people in the theater? Or how about the guy who sits down next to you on a bus and insists on touching you with his leg? Just hand him a "Do I Know You?" card and he'll undoubtedly realize he needs to step off.
3. Howdy, Neighbor!
Sick of all the people with an overwhelming sense of entitlement who act like the mere fact that you had the balls to even walk into their neighborhood Whole Foods means you're automatically in their way? The next time someone says "excuse me" like it's an expletive rather than an expression of common courtesy, slap a "Howdy, Neighbor!" card on top of the $19 box of organic Cheerios®-substitute in their shopping cart. That'll learn 'em.
4. Hey, Good Lookin'!
Don't you love sitting in a cafe and listening to the person at the next table cutting their fingernails while you're just trying to read The Onion, fer chrissakes? Yup, we don't either. That's why we created the "Hey, Good Lookin'!" card...let that special someone know that nail clippers belong in the bathroom like God meant them to be, not out in public where people are trying to, you know, think.
ADVENTURES IN THE DESIGN WORLD™: U.S. Cellular Needs To Believe In Something Better Than This Shitty Billboard Design
The first time I saw this billboard, I was walking by myself down what I thought was a deserted street. Overwhelmed by the sheer ineptitude of the design, I actually blurted out "What the FUCK is that?" without even thinking I might be overheard. Of course, I was overheard by a young woman sitting on a porch, who proceeded to shoot me a nervous look which unambiguously said "Please don't hurt me".
Without further ado, let's jump right into an analysis of just what makes this billboard design look like it was thrown together in about three minutes by a Graphic Design 1 student in their first week of class.
1. Let's Talk About Fonts!
Clarendon is a beautiful typeface, even in all caps. Matrix II Italic Bold is one of those Emigre fonts that looked effing AWESOME in 1993 but passed its sell-by date no more than a couple years later. At least they didn't go for the inline version. But here's the thing, that headline uses a serif font with a semi-serif font -- and I don't give a shit if it's a slab serif, serifs are serifs and if you try to contrast a semi-serif with a serif, YOU FAIL. Add in the butt-ugly U.S. Cellular logo (which somehow manages to make Bodoni look bad!) and it looks like somebody ate the serif pages out of an old presstype book and puked all over their design.
Oh, and while we're talking about type, let's talk about the treatment. Why is the word "something" emphasized? Read that headline out loud: "Believe in something better." It sounds like life is a shit sandwich, and maybe someday something might possibly be better but it probably never will be. Why on earth did they not emphasize the word "better"?
2. Those Wavy Lines In The Upper Left-Hand Corner: Stroke Of Genius Or Design Aneurysm?
Looks like somebody's been watching the Illustrator tutorials on Smashing Magazine again...sigh. I mean, WTF does this have to do with the rest of the ad? Are the lines supposed to be cell phone radiation or something? They certainly don't represent a phone network because the lines don't intersect -- they're parallel. Dumbass.
3. What Are Little Girls Peeking Up Out Of The Inside Of Cardboard Boxes Made Of?
That photo...it's an ethnically-ambiguous girl with messed-up hair sitting inside a cardboard box with a big blue orb behind her. Let me say that again: It's an ethnically-ambiguous girl with messed-up hair sitting inside a cardboard box. What is this image supposed to be saying? That cell phones offer a brighter future for "those" people who live out of cardboard boxes in shanty towns? Is the giant, out-of-focus blue ball rolling towards her going to finally put the little girl out of her sad-sack misery? Not only does this photo not make sense in the context of a cell phone ad, it just plain doesn't make any goddamn sense in and of itself! [NOTE: Upon further inspection I discovered that the big blue orb was actually a result of my shitty camera. But that doesn't make this photo any more appropriate for the ad. So there.]
Please, designery people: we know you all hate your jobs and would rather be painting or sculpting or building all the useless shit you just learned about in Make™ Magazine during your daily B.M., but try to do the world a favor and maybe F*CKING THINK the next time you sit down to design something. Just for a couple of minutes even. Don't just slap together a company logo, a stock photo you got for free on a CD-ROM inside that one issue of Communication Arts you bought twelve years ago, your two favorite fonts of the week and an .eps file of the latest semi-hip illustrative tick you spent seven minutes learning how to incorporate into your "vernacular" and call it a design.