Monthly Archives: July 2009

In-Flight Entertainment – the Bug Vacuum (as seen in Sky Mall)

I am Keith. I am the man who sits on an airplane and reads Sky Mall. I like to look at the advertisements for new and useless devices. The copy makes me laugh, like the ad for the Mosquito Sentry (a bug repelling device) that reminds travelers that more than a hundred people died of the West Nile virus last year. Although most of them were likely in third-world countries and consider airplanes to be demon birds sent by a mystical shaman from a rival tribe to destroy the year’s yucca crop, the fact is effective on many a Midwest mom looking for any knick-knack that can prevent little Megan, Mason and Tyler from a premature death. Keith notices an especially inspiring advertisement. It is for a device called a “bug vacuum.” It looks like an electric hand-blender with a vacuum on the end. The tube is two-feet long and can capture “flies, bees and spiders” as well as other pests. An electric grid in the handle spells instant electrifying death to any insect or arachnid intruder. Keith imagines the various stakeholders involved in the design, production and use of such an item. He decides to write a blog about this. After all, what the fuck else is he going to do on this flight. There isn’t even one hot flight attendant. Not one! Ugh! Airline cutbacks are really diminishing the quality of the flying experience.

Hi! My name is Gregory! I’m 7 years old. I go to Houston Elementary. It’s named after a famous singer my mom likes named Whitney. My mom says she likes Whitney’s music because Whitney has had a hard life like her. She says dad was a lot like the man Whitney married. I don’t remember my dad, but I have a picture of him that was hanging in the post office that I keep under my bed. I have Dora the Explorer sheets. Tommy Jenson says only gay boys like Dora. I hate Tommy. He’s so mean. Why does he say these things to me when he was the one who was looking at all the boys’ wieners in the bathroom? He said he was just looking in the mirror, but he was looking in the mirror for a long time. And only gay boys look in the mirror for a long time. Anyway, my school just had an inventor contest! I entered it because I thought of a great invention. First, I want to tell you how I thought of it. Ms. Beamer said you have to think of a problem before you can think of an invention. By the way, Ms. Beamer used to be Mrs. Beamer. But then one day Principal Jenkins had to teach our class because Mrs. Beamer wouldn’t come out of her Cadillac. She just sat in the parking lot with her head on the horn. It was really loud. I had to cover my ears. The next day Mrs. Beamer was Ms. Beamer. Anyway, Ms. Beamer said you have to think of a problem and then an invention that solves that problem. The first problem I thought of was how my mom sometimes can’t sleep. She likes to walk around the house at night. Sometimes I confuse her for a ghost because she wears a white nightgown and her hair looks like a witch’s. But then I see a glass of ice in her hand and a bottle of “Mom’s Feel-Good-Juice” under her arm, and I know it’s just her. But the only solutions I could think of were already invented. Like when I can’t sleep my mom will tell me to read a story or pour myself a glass of warm milk or that she’ll just throw her arms in the air and say, “What’s the point of sleeping when my whole life is one big waking nightmare!” I don’t like nightmares, especially ones with snakes. So I tried to think of another problem. And I thought, what about Tommy? He makes fun of me. That’s a problem. So then I invented a machine that has a button that would make Tommy go away. I drew a picture of it and showed it to Ms. Beamer. In the picture I had the machine and I was pushing the button and Tommy was exploding and his arms and legs were flying in the air and a seagull was pooping in his mouth. Ms. Beamer said I can’t invent that and that I have to talk to the counselor. Finally, I found a problem that made me think of an invention. My house is full of bugs. I hate bugs almost as much as I hate snakes. I hate killing the bugs because sometimes they bite me and then my cheeks get puffy and my face turns blue. My mom says it’s allergies and that mine are really bad, so bad that she says if I wasn’t born and she didn’t have to always take me to the doctor she could buy that purse she saw at that fancy store downtown. Anyway, I thought I could invent something that could kill bugs without me getting bit. But I couldn’t think of anything. Then I had what Ms. Beamer calls a moment of inspiration. My mom was hurting me with the vacuum chord like she does when I do something stupid. This time I told mom I didn’t want her to go out with Bruno, mom’s boyfriend. Bruno smells like smoke and his face is covered in boo boos. He likes to pull my hair and call me a “little piss ant dog fart.” So anyway when mom was hurting me with the vacuum chord, I realized I could vacuum up bugs and then they couldn’t bite me. So I drew a picture of my invention and gave it to Ms. Beamer the next day. Soon I found out I won a contest and my invention would be made into a real invention. Now I’m an inventor!

Hal Goldsberg’s the name and selling cutting edge technology is my game! I am the CEO of Sky Mall Corp. My associates and I travel the world looking for the most revolutionary devices on the face of the planet. Need a can opener alarm clock? We got one! How about a suitcase that turns into a lawn chair! Got those too! Cheeky welcome mats, singing dog bowls, toilet lights! Our inventory is endless, ENDLESS! It takes a lot to become one of our featured products. Any reader of our catalogue, casual or religious, knows that Sky Mall only highlights top-quality goods. No cheap and chintzy portable microwaves here. If you want a piece of Korean-made trash, you should buy from Air Depot or Cloud Store or Space Space. No siree. Sky Mall means dependable, non-toxic goods…unless listed as otherwise ever since we had that lawsuit over our Flintstones-shaped rat poison tablets. It said “rat poison!” You’d think a kid could read. Oh well. IN any case, we recently discovered an exceptionally useful item that we just had to feature within our prestigious publication. I was driving my Lincoln Towncar behind the local McDonald’s to pick up a couple of cheeseburgers for me and my prostitute when I decided to take a peek in the Dumpster for inspiration and because it was the only private location I could think of where my wife wouldn’t try to find me while this prostitute was making moist on my rod. Inside said Dumpster was a stack of papers. Doodles if you will. All done by kids or maybe retards, or quite possibly retarded kids. I don’t know. But what I do know is that in this pile of what otherwise looked like uninspired trash was a diamond in the rough, or as I like to say, a goldfish in a pond of shit. It was a drawing, a blueprint of quite an inspired invention. A vacuum to suck up bugs. Bugs! Ha! Those little pests that infect lesser people’s homes. I for one have no bug problems, what with my electric fly swatter, my Channel-scented flypaper and my robot that eats bugs. Still, other people, like the kind that work for say Flight Bodega, might not be able to afford such amenities. So I immediately told the prostitute I was an undercover cop and ran like the dickens back to my still running Lincoln and headed straight to the office, which is in fact my garage which is more of a car port, but who’s counting?!? Anywho, I got to work on making this drawing a reality. With a little bit of tinkering, elbow grease and a few lost fingernails, I managed to make a working prototype. And what do you know! It sucked up bugs alright! I’m proud to say my house is pest free, save for my nagging wife. That’s a joke of course.. (No it’s not). And look at Sky Mall! We’ve already pushed out 1,000 of these puppies. Pretty soon every household in the U.S., or at the very least Wichita, will have one of these bad boys. Yup. Life is pretty sweet, thanks to the bug vacuum. Oh, and prostitutes.

Tucker! Get down from there! Mommy’s vanity is not a plaything. Neither are mommy’s pearls. Put those down! And get that candelabra out of your mouth. It’s only for company. Oh hi! I didn’t see you, what with being a mother. I’m Janice Reynolds, and my life has been forever changed thanks to this darn bug vacuum. It sure is a pretty neat thingy. And it’s so simple even I can work it! Tucker! Get off of the dresser! That’s where mommy keeps her diaphragm. Di-a-phragm! Good! Anyway, before this little gizmo came into my life, my kitchen was over run with all kinds of little nasties. Ants, thanks to my husband Mike and his habit of leaving crumbs on the counter. Oh but bless his heart, he sure works hard. He’s a lawyer for McGribson & Grimm. He’s been trying to make partner for the best 10 years. You’d think after working every weekend six months straight they’d consider him. I mean, after all, he is the oldest associate in the entire firm! I think he has a fear of success, but the doctor’s say it’s early dementia. Dementia my patooty! A man can’t step outside for a breath of fresh air? Even if he is on the 30th floor of his office building? Oh well. Anywhosie, we also get a lot of wasps and hornets around here especially during summer. Normally I’d just spray them with a bit of Raid but I read somewhere that spraying too much Raid can give cats heart murmurs. And I swear if I knew I was causing Leopold health issues, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. Probably bake a cake. Tucker! It is not t.v. time. You do your homework young man. And put on some pants! Anyway, it’s embarrassing when I’d have Denise or Louis over for an afternoon glass of merlot and all the sudden a centipede is climbing up the floral wallpaper. I mean, I keep a clean house, especially with all that over-the-counter speed I take. Oh, I know, it sounds like a bad habit, but I have it under control, except for the migraines and nosebleeds But anyway, now I can just suck those little critters right up. And I love that little zap sound it makes. Like the buzzer on Wheel of Fortune, which I never miss, sweet Jesus! Tucker! Did you finish your homework? What do you mean you forgot it! Why are you telling me this now? What do you expect mommy to do? It’s Wednesday. Mommy’s racquetball league is tonight. No mommy can’t stay home tonight. But you can have the anti-Boogie Man machine. Ok. Goodnight. The anti-boogie man machine is what I call the bug vacuum when I’m around Tucker. He thinks it will protect him at night from monsters. They are so darling at that age, so innocent and naïve. Why if I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve come home in the early morning hours after one too many glasses of Chardonnay to see him clutching that little bug vacuum like it was like the puppy I accidentally dropped down a sewer drain, well I’d probably belong to an even nicer country club. Oh! Behind you! A spider! Let me get that. SUUUUUUUUCK! ZAP!

bugVacuum2

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Why “17 Again” Is the Greatest Movie of Our Time: A Critical Essay

“17 Again,” the pre-teen sci-fi fantasy comedy about a 1970s high school basketball star turned Chandler Bing, is a complex narrative spiderweb that takes a fresh approach on time-tested thematic ideas, such as the unfulfillment of the self, the role of the father in contemporary society, and Zac Efron sweaty and shirtless.

Let me start with (and solely discuss) the latter point. Not even five minutes into the movie, we see Zac Efron sweaty and shirtless. His perfect frame, petite yet strong, muscular but not bulky, embodies awesomeness. It is the kind of body you could eat sushi off of and not care that you are objectifying another human being. His features are so perfectly that of a teen heartthrob, one must ask if he was manufactured in some sort of TigerBeat laboratory, genetically manipulated to have an endless gaze, angular cheeks and luscious, kissable lips. Taken in holistically and you have a barely legal piece of ass that just won’t quit.

In the movie, Zac (whose character probably has a name but who’s counting) has grown up and turned into a fat, bloated turd of a man (played by man-turd Matthew-what’s-his-face from Friends). Then one of Bill Murray’s brothers (or maybe his father) transforms the present-day failure and shell of a man into Zac Efron. Zac then goes back to his old high school for some reason and re-enrolls. Although he was super popular 20 years ago and even his basketball coach is the same, no one remembers him. This part of the movie was highly implausible. No one would forget Zac Efron. Those abs. That well-defined chest. That tight little ass. Nope. A man-boy like that is Velcro-ed to the brain for life, like a tumor, a tumor filled with smooth skin and shiny hair that always hangs oh so right.

When Zac re-enrolls in school, all the students make fun of him. The movie never explains why, so it is up to the viewer to assume that his colleagues are bitterly jealous of his God-given beauty. I mean, you can almost smell his sweet, sweet scent just by looking at his image, like when you see a commercial for cookies and then smell cookies because you are stoned and are already eating cookies.

Like a blood clot, Zac slowly starts inching his way into people’s hearts. And although it’s still the middle of the movie as I write this, I assume everyone learns to accept and love him before he turns back into the ugly pumpkin that he actually is.

So in conclusion, I want to do Zac Efron so bad. So so so so so bad. Oh, God. Who do I have to blow to blow Zac Efron? Just tell me. I’m already on my knees.

Also, Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 fame plays Zach’s best friend, which is pretty cool too. (Note: Regrettably his highlights are extraordinarily distracting. Jeers!)

Zach Efron

My Taxes Pay Your Salary, And I Can Get Your Fired!

My boyfriend and I were parting ways in front of Einstein Bagels this morning. As many couples, both hetero and homo do, we gave each other a peck on the lips along with our goodbyes. Innocent enough, right? Not hurting anyone, right? Not bothering anyone, right? WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG! DEAD WRONG!

That’s according to some city workers who were driving a truck past us. The trio in the bright orange-colored asphalt hauler decided to whoop, holler and howl, saying “Oh no! Oh no!” and putting their hands to their mouths and eyes in obvious disgust.

I just turned to them, my aviators masking my eyes, which exuded a mixture of shock, confusion and sadness. I should have looked for a department sticker or a vehicle number to report them. I don’t mind someone expressing their thoughts, no matter how ignorant, but my paycheck pays these jackasses to do their half-assed job of pretending to fill potholes. And frankly I’d rather fund more open-minded and tolerant bloated blue-collar workers to do a half-ass job pretending to fill potholes.

Listen. As much as I like to think I’m impenetrable to intolerance, as much as I like to think I have a thick skin and that we live in an age where homophobia and hatred is becoming a relic, these incidents hurt. They serve as a reminder that something I consider to be routine, healthy and an expression of love (LOVE GOD DAMN IT!) can be construed by others to be something silly, disgusting or sinful.

Listen assholes in the truck and listen hard. I am not here for your amusement. I’m not kissing my boyfriend so you can get a rise or a chubby or whatever it is you get from seeing two men who care and love for each other kiss. I’m not your quarter slot peepshow whore or your faggity minstrel show. I’m not some nameless punk ass on a street corner who you can chide from the safety of your moving vehicle. I’m a human being, and although I’m not perfect, I believe in treating people with respect and kindness and love. How about you pull your heads out of your asses and look at your fucking reflections. Maybe after you wipe the shit from your eyes, you’ll realize the source of your own misery and decide to stop projecting your pain onto others in the form of senseless ridicule.

Audiophilic Poop Youths

I went to the final day of the Pitchfork Music Festival on Sunday. This was my first year to not attend all three days. I had a stand-up gig in Michigan (see post “Dinner Comedian”). It went well by the way, and I made a great new friend. Thanks, Adam, for the invite. And thanks Jo and Jim for being such gracious hosts.

Anyhowsers, much like the Man Man concert in which post-teen suburbanite trash and collegiate wasteoids knocked each other around like a bunch of retarded hamsters starved and trapped in a shoebox, Pitchfork revealed to me just how void of style, culture, thought, taste and deoderant today’s youth are. Brace yourselves…Old Man Ecker is in town and he brought his soap box,  rocking chair and a yarn he’s going to knit and knit and knit.

Plastic sunglasses? The neon-colored kind? And now ones that flip and convert to regular glasses? These aren’t new. He-man gave me a pair at the Texas State Fair in 1987. I probably had a whole cubby hole in my closet full of them. They were made for sitting on and losing in couch cushions. They are not a fashion statement. They are not cool. And they are especially not cool when half of an entire batallion of indie kids are littering a Chicago park with said fashion motif. So take them off already and get a job, punks!

Then there’s the hair. The hair! Really? Really! I thought subversive subcultures were supposed to have something going for them. Art. Bohemian tastes. Something! But you all had long hippie hair or toned-down mohawks or (egads!) normal boring hair! Can’t you find something to attach yourself to, as far as folicles go! How I long for something as retarded but as original as the faux hawk. Sure, it was the corporate version of a punk rock do, but it spoke loudly of an ideology. It said, “Hey! I’m going to kick the shit out of you with my steel-toed boots…right after I finish typing up this QC report on the Johnson account that needs to go to Fran in compliance stat!” So in short, you kids need to really get together and dream up something to put on your empty heads…oh, and get a job!

I always enjoyed Pitchfork not only for the music but for the fascinating buffet of various fashions, some borrowed from classic styles, some borrowed from current trends and some completely original…but always working, creating a harmonious and pretty holistic look. Not this year! Maybe it’s the economy, but when girls are wearing capes made of weather balloons (see bottom of this post), you know there’s desperation in the air…and maybe rain, depending on what the weather balloon says. These twits are still wearing thrift store shirts that say things like “Plaxico Glass Installation.” Who cares? What is cool about that. You need a shirt that bad, so bad that you don’t give a shit what it has on it? I’ll wipe my butt with a shirt and you can wear that. I’ll even make words out of my poo. Here’s a design I just shat out, “J&R Heating and Air.” Brilliant! And relevant! (to no one) Other walking fashion nightmares included mishmashing multiple colors that all looked like shades of puke as if the more clashing an outfit had the more inventive it is. Imagine vibrant purple tights with a yellow skirt and a a green top. You may as well douse yourself in radiation in the hopes your body glows in the dark or your skin turns green or something. That’d be cool, and you’d probably die. Oh, and get a job!

I don’t consider these…these things hipsters, if you think I’m just bashing hipsters. They aren’t. They are whatever is next in line to take the throne of indie, esoteric-loving subculture youths. Face it. Our generation’s hipsters are going the way of the dinosaurs (and the Gen Xers). We’re beginning to own businesses, buy homes and birth babies. Sure, we still have tight jeans and drink PBR. But we do these things on the weekends, after we’ve finished brushing our cats, calling our moms and helping our spouses with painting the bathroom. It will happen to these little turds to. I just hope they don’t squander this chance to really be relevant before they’re brushed aside and seen as some old man telling them to….

GET A JOB!

I'm a professional weather balloon!

I'm a professional weather balloon!

The Asshole Behind Me

The asshole behind me in the coffee shop thinks that Metropois Coffee is his personal office. He thinks he can take phone calls here and make sales calls. He thinks he’s building an empire.

He’s speaking to a loved one right now. I’m assuming his girlfriend. No one would marry him. He’s spouting off things very loudly because he wants us all to hear. “What am I doing? I’m building a business!” No! You’re being a douche. A big stupid douche. You look like a douche too.

I wonder what kind of business you are starting. Obviously not haircare as I see from your comb over. Obviously not a weightloss clinic because you have quite a bit of pudge. I’m guessing a moron school. A school where you teach smart people how to be stupid. Because I can tell you have a PhD in big gaping stupid asshole. Why would anyone want to go to a school to be stupid? Beats me. Sounds like a dumb idea, the kind of idea a big fat stupid imbecile would think of you stupid ape-like cretin.

Ugh! I need more coffee.

Keith Ecker: Dinner Comedian

I’m traveling to Michigan on Friday to tell jokes to people. It’s kind of cool that something I decided to do several years ago, something that consists of me getting drunk or stoned in my apartment and then scribbling the stupid thoughts that come to my head down on a piece of paper or a napkin or a Reese’s wrapper, has enabled me to travel two hours away from where I sleep, eat and poop. Yippee!

I know. It’s Michigan. It’s not even Detroit (or rather thank God it’s not Detroit). I’m going to Sawyer, a sleepy little township just a ways outside of Sagutauk (sp?), the great gay escape locale of the Midwest. From the limited amount of research I have conducted regarding this trip (a Google search for ‘Sawyer, Michigan), I have deduced that Sawyer has a small population of retirees, and its main export is antiques (objects, not the retirees…they stay). But it does have beachfront property, and my boyfriend and I will be staying in a quaint little B&B-like house along with the other comics…for free. At the least, it will be a nice romantic getaway for my man and I. Oh, and there’s a winery close by so I might be able to get super wasted and then run through the woods buck ass naked. I smell college!

The best part about this story that hasn’t happened yet is that I’m slated to tell jokes at a local eatery. It’s some sort of pub. I’m not sure. Wherever the station wagon drops me off, that’s where I’m telling jokes. That’s what I have written in my contract. Here, I’ll copy and paste for you:

“Management shall provide Mr. Ecker with transportation to said venue, preferably a station wagon or Dodge Caravan, as Mr. Ecker is most comfortable riding in vehicles reminicent of his suburban upbringing. Upon arriving at the venue, Mr. Ecker will likely be unaware of his location, the time, the day, the month, the year, the amount of chemicals in his system, whether it is night, whether it is day, whether gravity is still an active force of nature and whether his bladder is full. Just open the passenger door, coax Mr. Ecker out with Ben and Jerry’s new marzipan-themed ice cream (a dilectable frozen treat that Mr. Ecker has grown incredibly addicted to) and shine an unimaginably bright, blinding light into his eyes. He will automatically begin telling jokes. When he stops, hand him a check, drink ticket or bag of Funions (whatever the negotiated pay may be) and offer to let him sleep in the supply closet.”

So as I said, I’m not 100% clear on where I’m telling jokes. What I am clear on is the fact that the show is being billed as “Dinner Comedy.” Yes, Dinner Comedy. You should be giggling. It should bring to mind the pathetic nature of dinner comedy’s more famous kin dinner theater, in which school teachers with time off during the summer dress up in period piece costumes and over emote while a bunch of people try desperately to focus on their chicken vesuvio for fear that one of the performers might make eye contact causing the patron to see the endless dark depths of a person who has long lost his (or her) soul.

So yeah, I’m a dinner comedian now. Which is kind of awesome cause it really gives me a lot of leeway to be stupid. I mean, people are going to be expecting safe comedy. The problem is I don’t know safe jokes. My sets consist of criticizing hypocritical, overzealous Christians and ripping on the gay community for its skewed priorties. I might write some new material just for this show. I’m thinking something very graphic. Something that menitons a lot of sex and bodily functions. I want to interact with the audience, make sure they’re enjoying their food.We’ll see.

But seriously, I’m pretty stoked. Yay!

“Is everybody having a good time? How’s the fish?”

Support Your Local Farmers

Note to readers: I’ve been drinking some wine, so this post may end abruptly as I’m easily distracted when toasty buzzed.

Mario and I saw Food Inc. yesterday, a documentary on “corporate agriculture.” Corporate agriculture is the current practice of industrializing our food supply. You know: bigger, fatter, more, more, more!

Anywho, I already knew most of what they showed in the film. But it really drove some points home. So I realized, although I still love meat and will continue to eat it, I’m not so fond of the taste of genocide. So I told my boyfriend we’re going to the farmer’s market.

Flash forward to today. We went to the farmer’s market in Andersonville. It was fantastic. Tomatos, asparagus, lamb meat, herbs, puppies! Most of it was too expensive because organic food doesn’t grow on trees I guess. But I bought some organic mango salsa, asparagus and cucumbers.

The best part was, as hippie dippie as some of these Chicago-area farmers are, many of them are uncomfortable with seeing an interracial gay couple. So as I asked to sample a woman’s pulled pork, she seemed to inch closer to her spatula for protection and winced out a smile before ever so politely giving me a taste. Also she looked like Paula Dean, but like if Paula had gotten into a fight. I mean, she looked like she won the fight. But her opponent definitely put up a good struggle. Just saying.