December 2010 Archives


"What do you want me to make?" I asked Flo, who'd just announced her impending visit.

"The brioche tart!" she replied. And then for good measure she added my short ribs in cab sauce. Two of the more time-intensive dishes in my repertoire, those.

And thus I started the three-day process that is the brioche tart. I mixed the creme fraiche on Saturday, carefully monitoring it on Sunday. It's got to be just the right consistency when you toss it in the fridge. Meanwhile, I made the white sauce (caramelized sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and white wine with egg yolks whipped in for 30 minutes. And of course the brioche dough itself, which requires some 30 minutes of intense kneading until it's just the right consistency, then oven and overnight rising sessions. While that was going on, I drove 30 minutes to the good grocery store to get fresh fruit to serve with the tart. On Monday before Flo and her bag of Cheetos got here, I started assembling the tart, lining its edges artfully with unrefined sugar and baking it until the custard in the middle was 175 degrees. Not 170. Not 180. A perfect 175. And then after dinner, which itself required five hours to prepare, I sliced Flo's tart. I put freshly sauteed fruit on it, then white sauce on that, then toasted almonds on that, then powered sugar on that. Flo took a bite, proclaimed it delicious, and then never took another.

"I'm just too full," she said, handing it back to me with her orange fingers.

google bitch

When Darcy worked for me, she asked me 10x a day for information that:

  1. She could have looked up herself, and
  2. I had to look up instead

When she was new to her job, I didn't mind, but as the years went by I became a tad resentful.

"I am not your google bitch," I growled into the phone when she called from a bar, wanting to know which was the deepest Great Lake.

Darcy is gone, but my scars remain. Just this morning I had to google something for Veronica, who, like Darcy before her, found it easier to type her search criteria into IM instead of the Google toolbar.

What tipped me over the edge, though, was when a buddy asked me where a new Indian restaurant is. He emailed me from his office at Google.

I'm going to interpret this as my being especially renowned for my search prowess—and not as my having the laziest friends on Google Earth.

Boot all their stupid, selfish asses off the team. I don't even want to see them in the bowl game next week.

"But John," some 'tard will write. "College football makes millions of dollars from these kids. They deserve a cut."

Immaterial. I actually support paying players a modest stipend—"Enough to take a girl on dates," as Dirt says—but this is an unrelated issue. These kids knew the deal. In exchange for playing a game for free, they get to play on a national stage and, by the by, go to college for free. Sweet deal. They knew these rules. They knew that by fencing their conference championship rings, they were putting their teammates in as much jeopardy as they put themselves.

Not an ounce of sympathy. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way to washing out of the NFL because you're ill-prepared.

collateral damage

Is it rude for me to ask my ex to change her Facebook photo to one that I'm less embarrassed for people to see? Would it kill her to think of me just this once?

• • •

In response to your mails: no, I am not in the photo. It's her I'm embarrassed by.

thank you email, translated

From: John
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:54 AM
Subject: eats, shoots and leaves

Thank you!
That seems like something normal people might say.

I've heard so many good things about this book,
From the three people who have already given it to me

but I've never read it.
Despite ample opportunity. Guess why?

Now I know how my mom felt about feigning enthusiasm for all those ashtrays.

I'll pour over it over the holidays
Specifically, I'll put a glass on top of the book and pour myself a Long Island Iced Tea.

and let you know what I think!
I'll paste a glowing Amazon review into email. As a courtesy, I'll correct the spelling.

flo's visit

The good news is that there's a hot young Asian chick in my house this morning.

The bad news is that she's watching Scooby Doo on my iPad.

the sexiest man alive

"I'm just dropping off a piece of mail. I won't even be getting out of the car," I thought, justifying my wearing Uggs to run an errand.

"Oh wait, I need booze for tonight," I thought later. Thus did I dash into the liquor store.

"Crap. That's right. I lost my credit card and the new one hasn't come yet," I thought, looking in my wallet.

And this, folks, is how your humble correspondent came to stand in a liquor store in his slippers, buying liquor with his home-equity line.

another reason to oppose gay rights

I'd previously thought there was exactly one reason to oppose gay rights: if gays can adopt children, there go the rest of my friends.

I stand corrected.

How annoying is this sentence, lifted from my car insurance statement?

When used in this policy or in any endorsement attached to this policy, the word "spouse" has been replaced with "spouse or party to a registered domestic partnership considered valid under the laws of the state shown in our policy records as your state of residence."

Me: "You fucking drama queens. Having half-rights wasn't good enough for you? Now you have to go and make me parse that crap?"

Mike: "I'm sorry for existing."

Me (wiping tear): "I've waited so long for someone to say that to me."

them damned kids

144GabbyHayes.jpgWhen Dirt and I want to make fun of Metamuville geriatrics, which is often, we invoke our best Gabby Hayes voice and cackle "They wuz goin' a HUNNERD MILES AN HOUR!" Why? Because that's how they describe every driver who maintains the speed limit. Never 70. Never 110. 100, every single time.

Today I legally passed just such a coot. He was doing 42 in a 50. Importantly, it used to be a 55 mph road, but after the geriatrics killed three people in a year, they decided to force the county to lower the limit. So they organized as only Old White Farts with Overdeveloped Senses of Entitlement (OWFOSEs) can, and now instead of driving 42 in a 55, they drive 42 in a 50.

A few minutes later, I stopped at the Metamuville store. And for the third time in my life, a Metamuville OWFOSE saw fit to chase me down and chew me out.

"You wuz goin' a HUNNERD MILES AN HOUR!" he concluded.

"A hundred miles an hour. In a Prius. Uphill," I responded.

"I don't care WHERE you wuz goin."


I played Monopoly last night for the first time since I was a little kid. My childhood memories of how long that game takes were not exactly hyperbole. Monopoly hunts entire weekends down and ruthlessly strangles them.

Because I was not yet employed the last time I played, I didn't notice the gallows humor of Go (players get paid $200) being immediately followed by Income Tax (players pay $200).

validate me

It will come as no surprise to longtime readers that when fundamentalist Christians rub my nose in their testimony, all I hear is "Validate me!"

Theirs, after all, is a world wholly predicated upon their own specialness. All you need to do to be special too: share their beliefs. If you disagree with them, no worries. Enjoy the ravages of eternal Hell, and God bless!

You'd be hard pressed to find as good an example of zero-sum validation as religious fundamentalists.

Or so you'd think. Right up until atheists feel compelled to shit on someone else's holiday.


What the billboard says: "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."

What I read: "Validate me!"

Y'all look alike to me.


After careful deliberation, I've decided upon the pseudonym for my new neighbors.

Madam and Eve told me that during the inspection of Percy's house, the crawl-space was laden with mice. Considering that my house is 15 feet away and I have no problems, I found this hard to believe, so I inquired further. It appears that sometime in the last century, something dug through some insulation and crapped in their crawlspace. No actual mice, dead or alive, were found.

This is my introduction to all-girl households. It appears that they're not merely twice as girly. There's some sort of multiplier effect that makes the girly quotient cascade out of control. For based on this information, Madam and Eve have spent thousands of dollars on exterminators and on digging the earth to the foundation and pest-screening the entire foundation.

"And if we see a mouse," Madam told me, with Eve already nodding her head behind her, "We're calling you over to kill it."

I've never understood why my y-chromosome compels me to slay unwanted creatures, but I've never understood this less than I do now.

"Even if we have to wake you up," Eve added.

I'm now the only straight guy in the world who dreads beginning a story with "So I'm sound asleep when my lesbian neighbors slip in and tap me on the shoulder..."

show them all the beauty they possess inside

The 2005 baby boom has hit the grand age of five, and Uncle John is finally hitting his stride. I think I've finally figured out the purpose of kids: they are an exquisite parent-torturing mechanism. You take these creatures who, by biological definition, are already on your friend's last nerve, give them a can of Silly String, and munch some popcorn while watching the pandemonium unfold. Sure, your friends hate you. You remember your friends, right? The ones who disappeared five years ago? Right, them. Screw them. Their children are the future. And they love you.

I had Henry open up his Amazon package with me on the phone. "Do you remember Uncle John?" Amy asked.

"Ummmmmmmm....yeeeeaaah...." he replied unconvincingly, doing a fair imitation of me when my boss asks if I've completed a task that I forgot about the moment I stood up to leave her office.

I heard Henry tear into the box like a raccoon in a dumpster. I wonder if he'll even know what it's for, I thought.


41J-hvBbEDL._SL500_AA300_.jpgWell, his mother certainly knows.

Seeing his new, real-world-not-a-toy bullhorn (complete with siren!) was an instant memory restorative for Henry. "Oh! He's the guy who got me the drums! And the cymbals! And the hamster! And the gun!"

• • •

The best part of this effort: parents screwing each other over. "Man, if you really want to give kids an annoying toy," one told me a year ago while I was tapping furiously on the Amazon app on my phone, "You need to send them one of these hamster things."

family ties

I haven't seen my cousin Melanie in 25 years or so. I remember nothing about her except for what she looked like in pictures, pictures long gone. When I got her Friend Request, it took me a full minute to realize who she is.

This is a person who for 25 years has been marinating in uncontested John mythology. Eesh.

"But it might be nice to talk with her," says Allie.

Right. "No, I am not on drugs. No, I do not deal drugs. No, I did not beat Celeste. No, I am not gay. No, I am not a pathological liar. No, I am not in the gutter, blowing strangers for crack."

Talking with Melanie would be too much work. It's not worth it.

"Yet Melanie wanted to be friends!" Allie counters.

"She's probably just jonesing."

poll results

In my completely scientific and unassailable poll, one reader responded that he knows non-Microsoft-employees with a Windows 7 Phone.

windows phone math

Metrics estimate that there are now 130,000 activated Windows 7 phones in the world.

Microsoft gave a phone to each of its 90,000 employees.

More anecdotally, the only non-employees I know with one of these phones are Microsoft wives.

Today's poll: does anyone out there who isn't on MS health insurance have one of these phones (or know of anyone who does)?

I ask not just to be mean—although there is that—but because Softies' collective, excited discovery of multitouch smartphones four years after the fact neatly illustrates my lack of confidence in Microsoft. Their not-invented-here tech myopia doth appall.

moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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