This Thing Called a “Selfie Stick”

When people get old, you sometimes hear them say how they can’t keep up with the latest trends.  Well, I recently experienced an incident in which I was not only late to party of the trend, but it had actually already gone out of style by the time I arrived.

You see, some things become a thing and remain a thing until we hate the thing.  That’s a confusing sentence, so let’s try it this way:  some things become a thing and remain remain a thing until we hate the thing.

Note:  There are rare occasions where a thing becomes a thing only to technically lose its thing status but still remain somewhat thing-esque, so perhaps we could refer to it as a “thing.”  For instance, Saturday Night Live spent nearly four hours on Sunday reminding us how it was once a thing, and despite no longer being in the golden years, it could probably, at least, still be considered a “thing.”

All of this somehow leads us to selfie sticks.  Extenders, tri-pods, sticks, fishing poles, whatever-you-want-to-compare-them-to that you attach to a camera in order to get a better angle on your selfie pictures.  Honestly, I didn’t even know that these things existed until we, as a society, decided to hate them.  And even after extensive research, I can safely say that I have no idea what the big deal is.  There have been articles, exposés, and I’m sure dissertations are on the horizon. People have started petitions to ban these harmless props from not only restaurants and museums, but entire countries.  Think about the kinds of literally-death-inducing items you can carry around with you anywhere, but we’re more concerned about a group of tourists trying to take a goofy picture in front of the Statue of Liberty?

Are we really so offended that a person would want to take their own picture from about three feet away?  No really, that’s a legitimate question.  I need to know this stuff so I can be one of the cool kids again.  Maybe there’s an app that can keep me up-to-date on the latest things.

P.S.  I sincerely apologize to all my former English teachers who told me to never use the word “thing.”  I look forward to your comments.


How to Make a Hot Dog

I was with a couple of peeps the other day and the topic of conversation turned to hot dogs.  Person A stated that they were quite fond of hotdogs, to which Person B said, “Well, then you certainly don’t want to see how they’re made.”  Of course, Person A promptly agreed with Person B.

“If you like hot dogs, then you don’t want to see how they’re made.”  That’s a phrase that I’ve heard different iterations of my entire life.  But honestly, shouldn’t that phrase alone be enough to dissuade anyone from eating a hot dog?

Think about it.  The process is so disgusting that if you saw it in action, you would cease to ever again desire a hot dog.  But if you only know — or I suppose, have only heard various rumblings — that the hot dog making process is repulsive beyond your wildest imagination, well then, hey, what’s the problem?  Toss some mustard and canned chili on that footlong and pass it on over.  Like a tree falling in the forest — If you don’t see it, it didn’t happen.

Oh, which reminds me:  Does anyone know when a Sonic is going to open in Los Angeles?  I’m, uhh, asking for a friend…

The Dire Consequences of an iPhone Alarm

The past few weekday mornings I’ve been cuddling with my phone.  Not because I feel any special affection for my phone (although, I must admit, it’s quite an amazing piece of technology), but more so because I’ve been riddled with guilt.

You see, as us kids do these days, I use my iPhone as an alarm clock.  Well, a couple weeks ago I hear a knock on my apartment door.  I answer and there’s someone who I’ve never seen before, but turns out he’s my next door neighbor (another “city life” anecdote — not knowing who’s been living next door to you for the past four years. ).  After some brief chit-chat, he asks me if I was hitting snooze on my alarm — and by “hitting snooze,” he meant repeatedly hitting snooze over the course of an hour or so — because he could hear it and it was waking him up.

Perhaps it was just me catching the new year’s resolution bug, or just your average attempt to get more out of the waking hours, but I’ve been trying to rise out of bed earlier and earlier.  Well, the first day I gave this a shot, it was nothing short of an abject failure.

But I couldn’t admit defeat that easily.  So when my neighbor asked me about it, I lied!  I straight up said it wasn’t me — or if it was me, I must’ve been doing it in my sleep and had no recollection of it whatsoever.  He knew I was lying, I knew he knew I was lying, and yet I still lied.  The truth is I snoozed the ever-loving hell out of that alarm.  I hit snooze so many times that even Siri was like “God damn it, dude!  I can’t do this any longer!” I mumbled out a few b.s. scenarios of what it could’ve been,  apologized “if it was me,” and told him I would do my best to make sure I’m not the cause of any wake up calls for the foreseeable future.

So now, in my perpetual pursuit to have my unproductive cake and eat it too, when my alarm goes off the first time, I grab it, hit snooze, and muffle the alarms that follow nine minutes later with my pillow.  I get to snooze my way through another wasted morning and my neighbor can continue to catch his z’s.  A win-win for everyone.

Now that I’ve solved that problem, maybe I should actually just try getting out of bed.

Police Lights, Big City

This is not the kind of reaction you would have in a situation like this in your hometown.  But here you are…

Okay, enough of the homage.  You’re I’m not going to write this in 2nd person.

On my way home from dinner the other night, I turned onto my street and immediately noticed that at least twelve police vehicles were lined up outside an apartment building just a few down from mine. One of the cruisers was parked just a little too far away from the curb, which made driving between it and the car on the opposite side of the street a tight squeeze.  I managed to wiggle my way through unscratched and pulled into my driveway, all with a single thought running through my head:  “Man, these cops really need to learn how to park.”

So to clarify:  In relative extreme proximity to my home was an incident that required at least a dozen squad cars.  Assuming (for dramatic purposes) that each car housed two cops, then there were approximately twenty-four police officers.  Just a few houses over.  At night.  Clearly, something big was going down.  Was it a huge drug bust? Domestic violence involving a gun?  It doesn’t even matter, because all I could think about was how terrible of a job they did parking.

I believe this is somewhat unique to living in a city, because when a major incident likes this occurs, you don’t think of what the hell could be happening — you only think of how it’s going to inconvenience you.  See, if I was back in Oklahoma, and two cop cars showed up in front of someone’s house in a town that was fifteen minutes away, then boy oh boy.  You’d best believe that we’d be gathering up some canned food, grabbing a battery-powered radio, and beelining it to the safe room.  Lock the door and get cozy, y’all — we’re riding out the apocalypse.

But now, ehh whatever.  Just don’t let your armed robbery interfere with me getting my Starbucks in the morning.


John Kerry (Apparently) Hates France

I woke up this morning and saw that “James Taylor” was trending on Twitter.  Of course, I immediately think, “Oh, I guess James Taylor died,” because, you know, that’s how we’re conditioned to react when we see an older celebrity’s name trending on Twitter.

But after a little bit of digging (okay, just after clicking on the trending name — it’s not that much work), I see that what really happened is James Taylor joined John Kerry on a trip to Paris as a token of condolences for the Charlie Hebdo attacks.  Mr. Taylor played his hit “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and Kerry delivered a speech.

However, judging by the reaction of those in the Twitterverse, this is how you would’ve expected the press release to read:

Secretary of State John Kerry visited France today.  He whipped out his penis and proceeded to urinate directly onto the Arc de Triomphe.  Upon completion, he let out a monstrous fart and said “Keep the change, Frenchies.”

Look, you have the right to be upset with how the United States failed to appear at the unity rally this past Sunday.  But let’s not overreact and pretend that this is the most egregious foreign-relations act the U.S. has ever made.  And come on, at least we didn’t send Pitbull or Right Said Fred, ya know?

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Kind Of An Ass

I love astrophysics.  I understand very little of it, but I do indeed love it.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson seems to be the de facto celebrity on all matters that come to astrophysics — and it’s well deserved.

He has a BA from Harvard, an MA from Texas, and a PhD from Columbia.  I’ve seen him interviewed by Stephen Colbert and seen him debate a myriad of folks on Real Time with Bill Maher.  I’ve read his multiple Reddit AMAs (consistently voted “Best Of” by Redditors everywhere), and on occasion have listened to his podcast, aptly titled “StarTalk Radio.”  I’ve watched his The Most Astonishing Fact video about a billion times, and each time I get chills and have no choice but to contemplate the meaning of life.

Unfortunately, Neil is an active member on Twitter.  And with each and every tweet, I can only think one thing:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is kind of an ass.

This was exemplified perfectly this past weekend with Neil’s critique of the new film Gravity.  Here are a select few tweets to give you the general picture: 

The film #Gravity should be renamed “Zero Gravity”

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock’s hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.

Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.

Mysteries of #Gravity: Nearly all satellites orbit Earth west to east yet all satellite debris portrayed orbited east to west.

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space.

Now, minus the obvious opinion tweets, everything he said is true–at least, I assume it’s true (I generally conclude that anyone with Harvard, Texas, and Columbia on the resume knows what he’s talking about).  But that doesn’t hide the fact that those tweets are soaked in a bath of dickishness.

Remember when you were little kid, and you’d get in trouble for hitting your sister?  And your parents would say, “You’re not allowed to touch your sister.”  So you’d wave your hands about an inch from her face and repeat several times, “I’m not touching you.  I’m not touching you.  Nananananananananana,” and then she’d go crying to your parents?  Well, that’s what Neil was essentially doing there, and this is me crying to my parents.

Neil, we get it.  You’re a genius.  The knowledge of the cosmos that you have in the tip of your pinky is more than than I’ll ever know.  But please, just let us mere mortals enjoy our scientifically incorrect works of fiction.  I can’t help but think of what The Dude says in The Big Lebowski:  “Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.”