July 23, 2012

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August 15, 2011

Pilot Pitch #1: Black Flag

The five words that summarize Mark Anderson's epic new television show


Okay…[deep breaths]…now that that is out of the way…I’ve decided to pitch TV shows to Hollywood via the virtual fun house that is the Bucking Hoarse. This week, I’ll propose seven legitimate TV show ideas that I’ve thought up.

First, you may be wondering, Mark, if they are such good ideas, then why unveil them to the whims of the internet, possibly sacrificing them to the unprofitable land called “the public domain?

I’ll annoyingly answer that with more questions: (1) Why would I care if one of these shows were actually optioned for a first season? (2) Do you think I’m so bold as to think they’re good? (3) Do you understand how most shows get optioned?

Here is the answer, in most cases, to the last and least rhetorical question:

(Prologue) Person wakes up in a cold sweat and writes down a TV show idea (see picture above). Person tells friends. They don’t care.

(1) Person becomes a poor staff writer for PBS-type show. Person tells PBS show head writer about show idea. Head writer says “We don’t have the budget for that…and I don’t care. Get me coffee.”

(2) Person becomes an independent Film-maker/Stand up comedian and fails hard (if person is good, maybe they become an opener for Dane Cook and they hate themselves).

(3) Person becomes a slightly poor staff writer for an embarrassing cable show (e.g. Hannah Montana)…oh, and they hate themselves.

(4) Person, feeling under-appreciated goes to grad school and/or has a bout of alcoholism…because they hate themselves.

(5) Person becomes staff writer for network show his/her parents may have heard about (e.g. NCIS: Los Angeles)…and he/she starts giving his/her bottle of sleeping pills coquettish glances…because he/she hates him/herself.

(6) Person finally Graduates Grad School/has slight success at stand up comedy/Independent film-making (e.g. they are opening for Frank Caliendo and look good compared to him)…but they hate themselves.

(7) Person becomes head writer for a cable show (e.g. Anything on ABC Family)…and they get paid fairly well and are able to finally pay off your IV league education…but they still hate themselves.

(8) Person remembers show idea from 10+ years ago and starts pitching it to people they work with.

(9) Person somehow gets a head writing gig and EITHER (a) it works out and his/her show idea gets picked up [if so, skip to (10)] or, most likely, (b) the show gets cancelled, Person goes back to the bottle, and they become a high school english teacher in a part of Los Angeles that makes Baltimore look like Fargo. Person’s work in TV stops here and they begin writing a novel that their Mom will proclaims is a “triumph.”

(10) maybe Person then becomes a creator of a show based on that idea they had LONG ago and EITHER (a) the show does well and gets picked up for a second season [if so, skip to (11) or, more likely, (b) show sucks because it’s beyond passe or gets good reviews and is, regardless, cancelled.

(11) Unbelievably, Person starts putting their own money into the show they created and EITHER (a) through blind-fate, the second season does well, the show gets picked up for a third season and Person is on the fast-track to syndication-ville (i.e. rich) or, more likely, (b) the show tanks because Person overspent and their staff writers are only motivated by their own long-shot TV show pitches…which have yet to pan out…and they hate themselves (don’t worry, Person does too).

(12) Almost never Person EITHER (a) becomes rich, George Clooney is a BFF, their movie ideas get optioned, they create numerous new TV shows, and win Emmy’s and Oscar’s aplenty [if so, see (13)] or, almost always, (b) Person continues to make good money, then their once-successful show putters out in about the third or fourth season, their new show idea gets optioned for 8 episodes but has such poor ratings that the last three episodes can only be seen streaming on the internet [See Mark Brazil. Career Path: 3rd Rock from the Sun (writer)–>That 70’s Show (creator)–>That 80’s Show (creator)–>a bar near you (drinker)]. Yes, Person then starts hitting the bottle again…because they are scared of going back to (9) (if so, skip (13) and see Epilogue).

(13) Person is Tina Fey or J.J. Abrams and they desperately try to remain creative/relevant.

(Epilogue) In any event, Person hates him/herself for one reason or another (maybe season 3 of Lost).

The point is, it’s unbelievably hard to make it as a writer in Hollywood, let alone to get someone to look at your show idea. With that said, I thought I’d at least try to expedite the process. So, I’ll just pitch ideas to thirty or forty constant readers of this site and hope that their friend’s third-cousin’s uncle’s ex-wife’s sister works for Ion Television, Spike, G4, or SyFy (i.e. networks that seem to option just about anything). Maybe that remotely related relative will even call me (phone number available upon request).

Anyway, without further adieux, my TV show ideas:

Show Idea 1: Black Flag

Genre: Drama

Summary: Following the death of the near unbeatable stock car racer, Jethro Black, the Black family is forced to make hard decisions about the way of life that has been their source of income for the last fifty years. The show centers around four main characters in their fast paced week-to-week preparation for race day:

Roberta Black: the matriarch of the family and Director of the Board for Black Racing Enterprises. As the company struggles with loss of it’s charismatic figurehead, Jethro Black, Roberta tries to cope with the loss while desperately trying to find a replacement driver to lead the company out of impending ruin.

Tanner Black: after being overshadowed by the racing greatness of his father, Tanner Black (age 19) quit his own blossoming career in racing at the age of sixteen to pursue anything that would distance himself from his overzealous mother and a father that was never around. After Jethro’s Death, Tanner acquiesces in returning to the racing scene in a last ditch at preventing the demise of Black Racing Enterprise.

Buck Flannery: As the former Crew Chief of the Black Racing Team and Long-Time Friend of the Black Family, Buck Flannery is at a turning point in his life. After a long bout with alcoholism and numerous embarrassing post-race events, Black Racing was forced to part ways with one of the greatest racing minds in NASCAR. After years of unemployment the departure of New Black Racing Crew Chief, Randy Lightner, a desperate Roberta Black is forced to ask Flannery to return to lead a team of relative nobodies (after the loss of Jethro Black).  Buck, as God-Father, is instrumental in repairing the relationship between Tanner and Roberta.

Supporting Characters/Antagonists: Randy Lightner–young, arrogant new crew chief of established, yet despised rival racing team that features some of the sport’s best racers; Tanner’s younger brother, Brent, a high schooler, will try to make his own name in racing; pit crew members and other racers will face off; corporate sponsors will be explored; Buck will try to settle old gambling debts; and much much more.

Shows/Movies with similar styles: Friday Night Lights (TV), Days of Thunder (Movie), Without Limits (Movie)

Format: Each episode will feature all the cutthroat business and family activities leading up to a certain weeks’ race. Tanner will struggle to fill his father’s shoes while Buck and his pit crew do their best to give him the best opportunity to do so. Roberta will struggle to keep the business afloat. The fate of Black Racing will be decided by the exciting final race of season.

Why studio execs will like it: NASCAR continues to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world. More and more drivers from the premiere F1 Racing league have crossed over to join the league. Black Flag will be available to this large base-audience during the NASCAR off-season (Fall). Also, there is a massive opportunity for un-annoying product placement through corporate sponsorship of race drivers. Note: for those living in holes, real-life drivers are walking/rolling billboards.

For Monday: Pilot Pitch #2: Control Group.

P.S. Yes, I just pitched a NASCAR show.

Don't mess with Dale

June 21, 2011

The Stroller: The Only Father’s Day Gift I Can Afford

I don’t have a ton of  money these days, so I end up giving people things of little or no value: my fiction writing. For Father’s day, I wrote the following story for my Dad, knowing him as a person that enjoys mystery/sci-fi/horror stories that are laced with tid-bits of humor (see, e.g., Zombieland). I hope you guys like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Back to the books.

Big thanks to my friends, Jose’ S and Adam D for helping me lay the ground work for this story.

Note: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No one actually stole anything, no one was seen pissing in a sink, and no one accidentally hit on a goth dude…that we remember.

The Stroller


Mark Anderson

Inspired by a Real, Hungover Discussion

When some people wake up from a long night at the bar, they might attempt to solve their hangover with the following concoction: Gatorade, caffeine, spicy food, and Advil. The theory is that if you dilute, stimulate, and numb, you’ll have rid yourself of the toxins just in time for that Advil to wear off. That is, unless you’re still drunk, in which case you might want to postpone your treatment until later in the day.

It was this very theory that was being discussed between three college roommates, all on their way to a local coffee shop to fulfill at least one part of the proposed four-prong hangover solution: caffeine. A debate was in progress between two of the roommates: Roger and Randy. Roger, the most heavily afflicted from last night’s forays, contended that sleep was the only cure for a hangover. Probably the soberest of the three, Randy, was of a different impression: keep drinking, then slowly wean yourself off until its bed time again.[1] Roger was of the belief that he and Randy were actually in agreement, in a way, considering Randy’s solution led to Roger’s solution.  Randy, the ever contrarian, disagreed, believing that sleep only slowed down the detox process.

They agreed to disagree. Everyone had their own remedy. Needless to say, Randy had had two beers before leaving the house and “felt spry.”

Joe, the fearless leader of the bunch, was content to listen to the goof balls debate as he thought about where he might have left his credit card last night: was it at the expensive, dress-code-requiring, dance club where we started the night or the almost-free, dress-optional dive bar where finished the evening? He figured it couldn’t have been any of the bars in between because he distinctly remembered others buying him drinks until getting to the dive bar. Also, he did not want to expand his inquiry at the moment; it only increased growing anxiety.  Panic was starting to set in. Given his level of intoxication last night, he could have easily given it to a panhandler on the street and said “the credit limit is twelve-thousand dollars. Go nuts.” Who knows?

Roger looked over at Joe as they entered the hip, faux-rustic coffee/wine shop (Joe thought it smelled like hippy).

“Oh, Joe, I forgot to tell you,” Roger said, stopping mid-sentence in his continuing debate with Randy. “I have your credit card. You were trying to flush it down the toilet last night just after evacuating your taco pizza.” He handed Joe the card.

“Oh, thank God,” Joe said, knees nearly buckling from the relief. “I was really starting to freak out. Thanks, man. I guess coffee’s on me, Gents.”

Randy chimed in with a snarky comment. “And it’d be regurgitated Taco Bell on you if you hadn’t changed shirts.”

Both Randy and Roger snickered.

“Keep it up and you’re buying,” Joe said to Randy.

Randy, currently unemployed and up to his ears in student loan debt, went silent.


The line was short, so they were able to order quickly. Soon, they were all seated at a small table near the door. They decided to drink their coffee at the shop because their house was still a war zone from their reveling.

Stories from last night were swapped around the table: Randy saw a guy peeing in the sink at one bar, Roger left a bar with an entire pool cue without noticing (the Taco Bell cashier was confused, yet not remotely surprised when they walked in pretending the cue was a light saber), and Joe…well, Joe hit on a man by accident (the guy had long hair and was a bit on the Goth side).  Everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

Once the stories were over, however, an almost-awkward hush fell over the table. Each was deep inside their own conscience trying to determine what they might have done wrong—that booze can make you feel guilty even when you don’t do anything wrong.

While they all sat silently sipping their coffee and dreaming up some nonexistent embarrassing moment, a man entered the coffee shop—but not just any man. This man was pushing a peculiar empty stroller. No one was with him. He had barely-visible graying hair, a green sweater, and jeans. The man was immediately spotted by Roger, Randy and Joe. Intrigued, they each looked at each other with upturned eye brows and slight smirks. They all leaned in. Joe spoke first.

“You guys thinking what I’m thinking?” Joe said.

“Yeah,” Roger said. “Why would someone be pushing an empty stroller? Do you see any kid?”

Randy, now feeling the effects of the coffee/bargain beer combo, had an idea. “It does seem a bit mysterious, don’t you think?” he said.

Roger and Joe saw the look in his eye and were immediately struck with curiosity. What could he possibly be thinking? Knowing Randy, it was nothing ordinary.

“What did you have in mind?” Joe said.

“Yeah, c’mon,” Roger said, feigning interest. “Did he kill JFK?”

Randy smiled for a moment, then his face hardened. He then proceeded to tell Joe and Roger his idea. The conviction in Randy’s telling made the other two think Randy had been waiting for this man to enter, so he could tell this very story. Randy began.

“You see, I’ll bet his name is Sergeant Ryan Braddock—“

“Jesus, that’s rather specific, wouldn’t you say?” Joe said, Chuckling.

“Let him finish,” an already captivated Roger said to Joe. “C’mon, out with it,” he said, urging on the buzzed Randy.

“Well, as I was saying, his name is Sergeant Braddock. You see, he wasn’t always Sergeant Braddock. Before the marines he was just Ryan to his heartless father and drug addict mother.”

The other two were chuckling, but Randy remained deadpan.

Randy continued as the man with the stroller began ordering his coffee. “Ryan, Sergeant Braddock, was a three sport athlete in high school—anything to delay his having to go home to the bayou-shed he called home. Did I mention he’s Cajun? Anyway, he did real well in school and sports and ended up being offered a full scholarship at the University of Arkansas to play football—I think he was slated to play outside linebacker.”

At this point, the other two guys were putting their hands over their mouths, trying not to laugh too hard. Randy just kept pouring it on.

“But Ryan, as he was called before the service, feeling as if Arkansas was too close to home, enrolled in the marines. Given his fitness and intelligence, boot camp was easy. He ended up doing one tour in Afghanistan—no doubt taking sniper fire in the Korengal Valley–, and another taking down Saddam. He was on the fast track toward becoming career military.

“At this point, you might be wondering ‘what does this have to do with the damn stroller?’ Very good question, gentlemen. I’ll get there is due time.

“Well, everything was looking good for Sergeant Braddock…until the incident.”

The other two guys had stopped laughing and were now captivated by the story. The man with empty stroller had now received his coffee and was moving toward a table that was across the wide expanse of the shop floor. Randy, Roger, and Joe all had a view of the man as Randy continued his story.

Randy leaned in closer and continued. “Well, it was awful. Really tugs at your heart strings. Fast forward six months and Sergeant Braddock was leading a secret recon mission south of Baghdad. He was told by the higher-ups that intelligence had found a high priority target—probably Saddam himself for all he knew.

“I hate to say this, fellas, but it didn’t end well. Braddock’s team ended up infiltrating the wrong house based on bad intelligence. What made matters worse, was that Sergeant Braddock, gun drawn, came upon a boy toting a toy gun—he was no older than six. In the heat of battle and in the thick of darkness, tragedy struck. He shot the boy, killing him instantly.”

“That is some heavy shit, man,” Joe said. “But you still haven’t explained the stroller.”

Randy anticipated the question. “That’s the thing, guys. He was never able to recover from seeing that dead kid. Since then, he was honorably discharged and thereafter became a Mattress Salesman. He figured he wouldn’t be able to hurt any more children in a mattress store. I tend to agree with him on that point.”

“The stroller?” a chuckling Roger said, urging Randy to get to the point.

“Ah, yes,” Randy said. “Every year, he has a private memorial service for the kid that he killed. What he does is he buys a stroller, loads it with C4 and rolls it down a hill and blows it up. A solitary tear drops from his eye as he whispers the boys name: Ibrahim.” Randy paused for a moment to reflect. “Sad, right? I’ll bet he’s on his way to blow that mother right now.”

Joe was impressed. “And how did you come to know all this? I mean, do you even know about his—“

Joe was cut off by Roger. “You’ve got it all wrong. I mean, you were right that he’s ex-military, but he’s no kid-killer.”

Curious, Randy urged Roger to elaborate. “Well, out with it then. I stand by my story, until otherwise persuaded.”

“Well, although you may have told the story more eloquently and with greater detail than I will, I think the reason for the stroller is simple,” Roger said. His voice was gravelly, due to his current state of dehydration.

“What’s that?” Joe said.

“He’s totally a spy.” The statement caused both Randy and Joe to roll their eyes.

Roger shrugged his shoulders and continued. “Hold on, hold on. Hear me out. Although Randy’s story is plausible”—he rolled his eyes—“it seems more likely that that stroller is used for espionage.

“After his retirement from the military, Sergeant Braddock started working for the NSA—you know, real James Bond stuff.”

“Oh, yeah?” Joe said. “That’s kind of cool.”

Randy remained silent and skeptical.

“Call me dumb, but I think that stroller is some sort of high powered device used for surveillance,” Roger said. “The trouble is that it requires a lot of power. That’s the way I see it.”

“Wait, why does it need so much power?” Randy asked, now slightly curious where Roger was going.

“What do you think an Airwave Lie Detector runs on, double A’s?”

“Airwave Lie Detector?” Joe asked.

“Yeah, think about it. Instead of needing to hook people up to a machine, this guy can park himself in a coffee shop and listen to some dudes from the Taliban speaking code about their next terrorist plot. It’s simple. He’s an operative. He might even be listening to us now.”

Each of them simultaneously looked over at the man, who was now reading a newspaper and sipping at his coffee.

“I’m telling you, he’s got an ear piece in right now. He’s listening for truths and lies from someone,” Roger said with conviction.

“Hold on,” Joe said. “Why would someone need a lie detector that can tell truths and lies anyway? Wouldn’t the terrorists just tell each other the truth?”

“Ah, good question,” Roger said, anticipating the question. “That’s all part of the code, fellas. For the most part, the Taliban code consists of falsities about themselves. But whenever they tell the truth—and only they would know that each is telling the truth—therein lies an indication that a code will be dispensed. So, for example, if each of them knew somehow that one of their daughter’s names is Rhonda or something, then they know to listen after hearing someone say ‘My daughter’s name is Rhonda.’ And once they tell another truth about themselves they know that the coded message is over. But, for the most part, the rest of the conversations are complete nonsense that are used for distraction. Luckily, that machine can tell when our friend, the spy, should start paying attention. Because it will show whether or not they are lying.”

“So, your saying that that machine helps that guy figure out a code that consists rambling nonsense interlaced with bursts of truthful coded information?” Randy said.

“Precisely,” Roger said. “Whaddya think Al Qaeda just sends an email? That guy over there is protecting our country from attack as we speak. I just wonder who he’s listening to.”

Each of the three guys looked around in all directions. None of them saw any suspicious characters.

“You don’t think he’s –“ Randy said.

“Observing us?” Roger asked. “I guess that all depends on what you’ve got to hide, Randy? You have been ‘going back home’ a lot. What’s that all about? Something you want to tell us?”

“I’m not a terrorist, dude!” Randy pleaded, now convinced by Roger’s unbelievable story.

“Maybe not,” Roger said, shooting Randy a suspicious glance. “But we are the only ones that know his secret, now. I’m just saying, we gotta be careful we don’t get poisoned or something. That’s what spies do to people that find out their secrets.”

Each of the guys looked down at their coffee cups and slowly pushed them toward the center of the table.

Joe’s head remained staring down into the table, deep in thought. Then he spoke.

“Maybe he’s not a human at all,” Joe said, raising his eyes to meet Randy and Roger’s. At the start of this conversation, this statement would have drawn incredulous faces, but now they all felt like anything was possible. Who was this mysterious man with an empty stroller? “I know this may sound a bit outlandish, but—“

“No, no,” a still-concerned Randy said. “I think I know where you’re going with this and I think you’re right. Keep going.”

“Alright,  have you guys ever seen that movie where this ventriloquist is charged with a murder, but it turns out his demonic puppet is alive and is doing the killing, using the ventriloquist’s  body as a host for its sadistic deeds?”

“I think I saw that one,” Roger said. “Pretty freaky. The doll had total control of the guy’s body when they were connected to one another.”

“Yeah, well, how about this guy?” Each of them looked over at the man wearing the green sweater. His right hand sat lightly gripping the stroller handle. “Have you noticed that he doesn’t remove his grip from the stroller?”

“Holy shit!” Randy said, turning with wide eyes to face Joe. “I didn’t notice that before.”

“Yeah, exactly,” a concerned Joe said. “How do we know that that stroller’s not some Alien life-form or demon that has taken control of that poor man? How do we know it’s not some parasite, moving from host to host,  sucking the life out of each one; that poor man is that damn stroller’s protein shake. I’m telling you, you guys may have been right about the military and government stuff, but I think there is something more going on here, beyond military or even NSA. Maybe this guy is part of an extraterrestrial or paranormal program. I’m telling you, that stroller is a secret that the government does not want us to know about.”

As Joe finished his explanation, the man took one final sip of coffee (with only his left hand) and stood up.

“Uh, here he comes,” Randy said, nervously. “Don’t make any eye contact.” They all turned to face each other and put their heads down.

The man began pushing the stroller toward the door. In his peripheral vision, Joe noticed that the man had a piece of paper in his hands. As the man walked by he put the piece of paper on their table. Randy, Roger, and Joe all flinched slightly when his left hand passed into view. Moments later, the man pushed the stroller out the door. Then, the door closed and he was gone.

They each stared down at the paper and saw that something was written on the other side.  Timidly, Joe flipped it. Written on the paper were three lines of text. Randy, Roger, and Joe were shocked by the words on the page:

His name was not Ibrahim.

Don’t fly to Chicago this weekend.

It only lets me drink coffee. I’m so hungry. Please help!

They all looked up in amazement. The man had just confirmed not one but all of their wild speculations. Could it be true? Was the man really an ex-marine-spy-alien-host body? Each of them was speechless.

After a minute and as they were still dazed by the strange message, one of the coffee shop workers walked by—a cute blond, wearing mostly black that was covered by a white apron. Joe had to ask her if she knew the man. If he drinks coffee a lot, maybe he comes here often.

“Excuse me,” Joe said in the direction of the Blond woman.

She stopped and came over to their table. “Hi, how can I help you?”

“Well, see…we had this…kind of a bet going,” Joe said, dumbly.

“Now’s not the time, guys,” the girl said, implying that she was not in the mood to be hit on.

“No. No. No. It’s not that,” Joe said. “It’s just that…well, we were wondering if you knew that guy that just left–the one in the green sweater with the empty stroller? One of us thought we knew him, but we weren’t sure.”

She thought for a moment then her eyes lit up. “You mean, Mr. Anderson? He’s such a nice guy. Yeah, I know him.”

“You do know him?” Joe said.

“Of course, he comes in here every day,” The girl said. “I’ve talked to him a few times.  Apparently, he sells furniture or something. I don’t know. Seems to do pretty good for himself.”

Randy, Roger, and Joe exchanged glances. Randy lipped the words “mattress salesman.”

“That’s not it,” Joe said. “You know anything else?

The girl nodded. “I know that he used to be in the military…but he doesn’t really like to talk about that. I just noticed because he came in wearing his uniform one time. Might have been at a funeral or something. Not quite sure.”

The guys looked at each other again, growing more nervous. Randy balled his hands together then quickly brought them apart, making a small explosion sound in the process.

“Sorry about all the questions,” Joe said. “One more: does he always have that stroller with him? Is it always empty?”

The girl smiled, then chuckled. “Kind of weird, right? I asked him about that one day.”

“Really?” Randy said, unable to contain his interest. “What did he say?”

“Yeah, what’s the deal?” Roger said. They all sat eagerly awaiting her response. In a way, girl knew what they wanted to know and purposefully paused for a moment to build the tension. It was as if she too had thought up some crazy theory as to why a man would be pushing an empty stroller.

“Turns out,” she said. “His son is deaf and every day he takes him to this specialist that teaches him how to speak and use sign language.”

The guys were confused.

“Deaf son?” Joe said.

“Yeah,” the girl said. “The specialist is next door. He and his wife swap break times, so Mr. Anderson comes over to either grab coffee or to briefly sit here and practice what his son is learning. You know, to be supportive. I guess the office is small, so, when he can, he brings the stroller with to clear up room.”

“Wait, practice?” Roger said. “I thought his son was learning speech and sign language? Is he deaf too?”

The girl smirked, then leaned in. “No, in addition to sign language, Mr. Anderson has taken it upon himself to learn something else his son is being taught: lip reading. What a great Dad, huh?”

Randy, Roger, and Joe were speechless. The girl, knowing that her job was done, walked away with a pleasant smile on her face.

“So he—“ Randy said, but couldn’t get the words out. He was still flabbergasted as to what just happened.

“He was watching us this whole time,” Roger said.

“He was fucking with us,” Joe said.

A smile sprouted on each of their faces and they began laughing. They had been duped.

“What a cool dad,” Randy said.


They each finished their un-poisoned coffee and departed the shop. On the way back to their house, Joe pulled out his cell phone and noticed he had a new text message; it was from his mom.

Remember to call your father, the message said.

“Do you guys have any idea why my mom would want me to call my dad?” Joe said to Randy and Roger. They were both back to debating hangover cures.

They both thought for a moment. Randy, Roger, and Joe each gasped simultaneously and said “Father’s day.”


P.S. As many of you know, I have another site for my more serious writing. The Stroller seemed to be better grouped with my comedic writing, so I thought it would be better served on The Bucking Hoarse.

I still continue to write those stories as well. Don’t worry.


[1] He called this the “Cash Treatment,” appropriately inspired by the first few lines of Johnny Cash’s Sunday Morning Comedown. The lyrics are as follows:


Well I woke up Sunday morning

With no way to hold my head, that didn’t hurt

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,

So I had one more for dessert.

Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes

And found my cleanest dirty shirt.

Then I washed my face and combed my hair

And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.




May 1, 2011

Dean Fail: Fearmongering

At most law schools, a Dean might send out a congratulatory email to graduating 3Ls–third-year law students. Perhaps he or she will say how he or she’s had the privilege of knowing many graduating 3Ls and how “they seem like a driven crowd,” or some shit like that. Well, then you have the Dean at my school: the wheeler-dealer, law-school flipping, paranoia driven, self-donned God of jurisprudence. No cheery messages from that one.

For those that don’t know this, finals are stressful. Fortunately for me, I had one paper to write and I was done (good planning). Of course, for those 3Ls that are not done, they don’t need any additional things to worry about…like being reminded of The Bar–a test that requires grueling, all-day study marathons for 7-Weeks. Did I mention it starts immediately after graduating from a three year curriculum that made most students, on more than one occasion, want to take a bath with their toaster?

It is with all this said, that I wanted to share with you an email that was sent by the Dean of my law school on the first day of finals. I have provided a sentence by sentence translation for this “heart-warmer.” This guy should really be a mortician.

1. I hope all of your exams are going well and I hope you had the scheduling foresight not to have too many of them.

Translation: I have WAY too much to do to write a two word salutation, like “Hello Class.” Also, if you have any exams and you’re a 3L, you are an idiot. Aren’t you employed yet? Ha, who am I talking to? You went to a third tier law school. Forget what I said.

2. I have sent out an email on bar prep every year that I have been here and it seems to have some kind of positive effect.

Translation: I have sent out emails every year to scare people into studying hard for the Bar. I am the soul reason for anyone passing this test. If you ever failed, it’s because you didn’t read my email. You may want consider praying to my picture.

3. I really only want to emphasize a few points.

Translation: Look at me! Look at me! I’m important. Pay attention. Look at this Panda! LOOK.

4. Unfortunately, if you do prep properly, this will not be your most pleasant summer ever.

Translation: Have you ever raised a loaded gun to your temple? I do it every day in lieu of drinking coffee. As for you, I wouldn’t recommend leaving and loaded weapons, long pieces of rope, or excess amounts of Ambien around. Trust me, you’re going to want to use them this Summer.

5. That is just part of the deal – you need to study 8 or more hours per day.

Translation: To be honest, after law school, you shouldn’t have a social life anyway, so what’s another 7 weeks? Think of this Summer as practice for ignoring your children later in life. My kids hate me, so why do you think it would be any different for you?

6. Also, you can’t work – you need a minimum of 7 weeks before the bar of doing only bar prep.

Translation: You don’t have a fucking job. I’ve seen the numbers. No one is hiring. And even if you do have a job, do you think whatever meager wage you would make is gonna get you out of your depressingly dark hole of deathly debt. Yeah, I’m the dean and I’m awesome at alliteration. Word to your Mom.

7. Working instead of total prep is the single largest national factor in failure.

Translation: It’s also the leading home foreclosure prevention method. I could give a fuck if you’re kids need a roof over their head. My school’s rankings are far more important than your piddly little internship that will likely be your only shot at being employed after the bar. Just quit. Starbucks is always hiring.

8. Finally, don’t forget to prepare for the multistate.

Translation: BOO! Did you think I was done? I’m cackling at my computer screen right now. Why? Because I already passed the bar. I’m thinking of going on a 7-week cruise in Fiji this Summer. What are you…oh, right. That sucks.

9. I don’t mean study the essays less – I mean put in more time to do practice multiple choice questions under actual timed conditions.

Translation: Did I say EIGHT hours a day? That was just for half of the test. You’re gonna want to not sleep. Find a reliable coke dealer…or remain friends with the one you already have.

10. The exam is 2 minutes a question – you must practice at that speed.

Translation: Man, that just made me shudder. Can you imagine having so little time to answer complex legal questions? But it’s not a big deal, right? (A) You’re already six figures in the hole; (B) at this point, vodka not only looks like water, but it tastes like it too; and, (C) oh, right, if you fail you’ll perpetuate your unemployment for another six months. No pressure.

11. Do 50 practice questions a day.

Translation: This is going to be you at the end of each day (The girl in the black hoody is the Bar):


12. Also a good idea to make sure you are in a multistate prep class or that the course you are taking has significant multi-state practice prep time.

Translation: Scrape together another $3000 for a class, otherwise you’ll fail. You don’t have $3000? That’s cool. You have a great voice and TGI Friday’s is always looking for new birthday singers.

13. Sample questions and answers are also available in the library and on line.

Translation: If you fail, I’ll find you and stab you in the heart. I’ll tell people you failed the Bar because you died while taking it. You do NOT want to fuck with my passage rate.

14. You are well prepared for this and I’m sure you will be successful.

Translation: Probably not, though. EMBRACE THE FEAR!!

15. See you at graduation.

Translation: If you don’t laugh at my speech, I’ll fail you. I have that power. Do you remember who I am? Jesus is my son. Think about that.

16. Celebrate your accomplishments and then remember you will have fun again in August.

Translation: Auschwitz was more pleasant than your July is going to be.



April 23, 2011

Everyone Fails Lawschool #6: 3L Ever After

Summary: If you’re a 3L, try less. You’ll be happier and get better grades.

Just wrapped up my last year of law school. It’s been a hard fight, but I came out with only tinges of alcoholism and bouts of weight gain. Note: not dropping out, failing out, or committing suicide=law school success.

For those that don’t know, being a 3L–a third year law student–can be an enjoyable experience, if you plan accordingly. “Planning accordingly” means having as few classes as possible, picking classes that are a guaranteed B+ or above, and having enough time to do as many non-legal things as possible, like blogging daily, writing fiction, partying on weekends, rarely having to read, and…having enough to time to write and film a TV pilot (we’ll get to the last one in a minute). Oh, did I mention I have no finals? <–Planning accordingly 101.

If you are becoming a 3L, I encourage laziness and using your energy to perform scatterbrained activities. Why? (A) Your entire Summer will be spent in a library studying for the bar and (B) this will be every day of your life, once you're employed (from my experience):

  1. Wake up at 7am (at the latest);
  2. Coffee
  3. Work all day, perhaps eating lunch at your desk (Fun!);
  4. More coffee
  5. Get done with work at around 6pm (on a very good day);
  6. Maybe you’ll go to the gym for an hour (or two, if you’re not me);
  7. You’ll finally get home about 8pm and have to eat something;
  8. You’ll get done with dinner about 9:30PM because your ambitious Stuffed Chicken with Parmesan Risotto was not the “30-minute meal” that bitch Rachel Ray said it was going to be  (note: if you came home later, you microwaved a Lean Cuisine Panini and hated yourself for doing so…especially when you bit in to the cold center);
  9. You’ll watch a few episodes of The Office without laughing because your life is eerily similar to each plotline;
  10. After, you’ll start dozing off because your spin class/Risotto/God-Awful-Coworker combination inspires a stress induced coma;
  11. You’ll go to bed and try to read a novel you wanted to read in law school but never found the time–but will stop quickly because your already-permanently-damaged-from-law-school eyes are burning from document, statute, case, or memo review;
  12. Despite being exhausted, you toss and turn for over an hour because you’re dreading something you may have omitted at work that will, if omitted, cause your immediate termination (Don’t worry, the legal job market is SWEET, right now. You’ll get another, right?);
  13. Wake up the next morning and repeat…for the rest of your AA-Meeting and Cardiologist-Appointment filled life.

How awesome does that sound? Hopefully your divorce is amicable and your child support payments are low.

Knowing that this is a lawyer’s future, I spent this semester enjoying everything about life that has nothing to do with the law…or as much as I feasibly could without pissing off my professors. Without going in to too much detail, I think it’s safe to say I succeeded. It took almost an entire semester for me to realize that life can be enjoyable–despite repeated attempts from my friend/enemy, Law School, at telling me “Life is all about trying to minimize how much you hate yourself…then you die.”

So, after a semester of legal catharsis, I have come to a few important conclusions:

  1. Writing, although enjoyable, would probably be unprofitable (and very selfish) for many years…so I’ll do both law and writing, for now.
  2. Six figure debt is not only depressing.
  3. Six figure debt with the costs of an impending wedding are terrifying.
  4. Six figure debt, an impending wedding, and possibly having to pay for rent in New York City (yes, I’m taking the NY Bar) might require a Zoloft prescription (and don’t forget, drugs aren’t free).
  5. My Summer is going to test my sanity (the NY Bar is one of the hardest in the country)
  6. Lawyers can be creative people. Whoever says otherwise is an idiot.
  7. I actually got better grades when I stopped caring (something to think about)



My hat goes off to all the graduating law students. Whatever you do with your new “Esquire” status, I hope it doesn’t cause you to give up on other aspirations…and impresses a few people at dinner parties. 3Ls, you may be poor, jaded, and substance dependent, but you at least no longer have any regrets about NOT going to law school (your only regret now is deciding to go to law school).

For all those fledgling 3Ls out there, do yourself a favor: be lazy. You’ll be less stressed, be more rejuvenated to practice…and maybe I’ll get that job you would have got had you kept on trying 🙂

As a 1L and 2L, perhaps you should try a little and feel free to NEVER enjoy yourself. But, as a 3L and in all things after, have fun. I did and I will continue to do so. Okay, and I’ll try a little too, Mom. I’m not a complete hippy.

Example: As a 3L, I wrote and filmed a TV Pilot for a project worth 5% of my grade. I think I spent more time on this video than I did studying for my Contracts final:



P.S. Found this searching for “Zoloft”

Continue reading

April 13, 2011

Geri-Antics: 10 Annoying Old Person Habits

It’s difficult not to walk outside without seeing an old person, especially where I live. Now, first and foremost I want to say that I deeply respect my elders. In fact, I am one of a handful of people that can sit and chat with these wise men and wise ladies for hours. The key is to tell them when they are repeating themselves. They don’t mind. Just do it. You’ll usually get at least one crazy story out of them.

That being said, here are a list of annoying habits that old people have. Few require an explanation.

Being Lost/Dementia

I can’t go a damn day without running into an old person asking me for directions. I don’t know where the hospital is, so leave me alone, old man. So needy.









Not Bathing

Serious gripe. Grandpa, deodorant has been en vogue since the 1940’s. You smell like my gym socks. And, Grandma, take it easy on the broccoli. We all love you, but you may have just killed your canary.








Being Eaten By Cats

It’s a terrible tragedy that befalls many old people every year. It’s a plague worse than necrophilia. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but the fact that there is even ONE instance goes to show that cats are a tool of Satan…and that old people need to not have felines around when they are on the verge of death.

Blocking Aisles with Their Grocery Carts

Sir, can you please not block the entire aisle while you contemplate the potency of competing fiber supplements? Oh, you can’t hear me? Okay, I’ll just stand here and look like I have a blocked colon. Yep, that cute girl saw me.





Referring to a Black Person as “Colored” and Feeling Okay About It

I don’t know how many times I’ve reminded my grandpa not to use this word. He doesn’t understand why it’s offensive. The teller at the bank usually does.

Note: Justice Clarence Thomas (left) probably refers to himself as a “colored” man. Just saying. The dude is weird.





Making Delicious Food that Would Instantly Kill John Madden

Throw in a stick of butter, hamburger and nine eggs. Now, drizzle in some bacon fat, and, hell, lets puts some frosting on it! Don’t forget to deep fry it, Sugar! There you have it: Grandma’s Meatloaf. You’ll probably wanna wash it down with a big carton of whole milk. Hoo-eee, Mark needs a bathroom break. Be back in ten.













I swam competitively  for 15 years. If I ever do Aquajog in my life, you have permission to convince me (because I will have dementia in my gold years) that I’m on fire and I need to wade into the deep end with a lead back-pack on. I won’t sue you, considering Anderson v. Ninja Gaiden Santa will probably get thrown out of court.







Giving Grandchildren Nominal Sums of Money for their Birthday

My grandparents were usually pretty good about this, but I’ve heard some horror stories from others that are on par with Aunt Bethany wrapping her cat in National Lampoon’s: Christmas Vacation. Hey, $5 bucks was a lot of money in 1929. So, suck it up and go buy yourself one gallon of gas and maybe some tic tacs (depending on the state).











…and Giving Things of Value to Strangers

“Well, I’m not using it, you take my car, Guy That Bags My Groceries,” Grandma says. “Can you just call me a taxi home? You’re such a dear.” I’m sure that conversation has actually happened somewhere.

Don’t worry, when Nana does get home, she’ll wire some money to a “farmer” in “Nigeria” whose “genocide-facing people” desperately need him to raise money so he can overthrow his newly crowned, devil worshiping king. She’ll tell you about it in a birthday card that cost more than her actual gift: $5. Be sure to call and thank her…then alert the FBI.









Not knowing how to drive

If you’re in Arizona, Florida, or any other hot weather state that seniors flock to in their retirement, stay off the sidewalks. Hell, you might want to stay indoors altogether. Not only does our “Greatest Generation” have bad vision and hearing, THEY’RE HEAVILY MEDICATED. If you see an old person on the highway, pull over, call the cops, and watch the slow-moving carnage.









P.S. Found this article searching for “woman eaten by cat.” Fantastic.







Full article available here.

April 5, 2011

TV Pilot Idea: The Weight Loss Show

Mark Anderson, Circa 1996


After watching two hours of The Biggest Loser: Couples, I have an idea for original programming. No idea where it came from. Get this, it’s real simple:

(1) For eight weeks I get eight overweight friends to show up at my apartment, ever day after work. They will stand in the parking lot, remain in their work clothes, and await instructions from myself.

(2) Once they arrive, I get in my car and forcefully encourage them to start running down the street. I’ll be yelling “constructive” obscenities at them along the way. I’ll have them follow my car in the direction of various stores and businesses along the way. These businesses might look like banks, grocery stores, and home improvement stores.  See, the contestants will be running errands for me…but they’ll be exercising at the same time. It’s a lose-win, not a lose-lose, right? What could be better than than lose-win?

Don’t forget, some of the errands will be pretty extreme.

One of the stranger errands they'll be running

(3) At the end of each week, each contestant will be weighed. The camera will be zooming into each contestant’s face as the weights are tallied. I’ll be crying the entire time, regardless of what happens. The person with the least amount of weight loss will be kicked out…unless they bribe me (then, the 2nd to the last person will get the axed. Sorry, bro. Man’s gotta eat). I want to emphasize how much crying there will be.

James Van Der Beek will become the host on Season Two when I leave to become Executive Producer of "Why to Encourage Eating Disorders in Children."

(4) At the end, the winner will be crowned and that person and I will share a Subway Sandwich dinner. Yes, they have to pay.

My producer discusses a spin-off show with the winner. Producer: "Think of it, you find a job for Mark and that's it. Genius right?"

I’ll be on easy street in no time. This is going to be groundbreaking. Why? (A) There are very few weight-loss shows on TV and (B) NONE of them have contestants crying during the weigh-in. I’m so great. I can’t wait to pitch this to NBC, then Oxygen, then the Style Network, then late-night public access channels, then a private viewing room at Dave and Buster’s.


April 5, 2011

Professor Zzzzorn: Feminism Conference

Click to Image to Enlarge

This week, a new Professor is stalking my inbox. It’s Professor Zzzzorn. She teaches riveting business law classes that are more effective than industrial tranquilizers at rendering me unconscious.  Law School has a lot of boring classes, but, for me, hers was one of best at conjuring up my inner narcoleptic. She can turn a fifteen second aside into an entire hour and a half lecture (she’ll even keep you late). Only someone as “brilliant” as Professor Zzzzorn could do that. Did I mention she doesn’t allow laptops? SWEET!

Well, this week I got an email from Professor Zzzzorn. Many students did. Her message was in response to another professor’s call for people to attend a Feminist Legal Theory Conference (dear God). One of the activities of this conference is a THREE HOUR viewing of the movie Beloved, starring Dame Oprah Winfrey. Apparently, Professor Zzzzorn LOVES Beloved and wants the entire student body to come watch the glory of of its mediocrity…at school…with no breaks…where you can’t turn it off when you give up on it. Let’s see how she sells it:

RE: Feminist Legal Theory Conference THIS WEEK

“Beloved” is an extraordinary film. Oprah Winfrey was behind it even getting made – and it is the film that established Thandie Newton as the outstanding actor she is (she also was extraordinary in the Academy Award winning film, “Crash”.)

From IMDB:

Oprah Winfrey purchased the film rights to the novel in 1987. She claims that while reading the book, she could only picture herself as Sethe and Danny Glover as Paul D. It took her ten years to get the film made, which she finally had to produce herself.

“Beloved” did not do well at the box office 10 years ago; the depiction of inside the black slave culture in its time period was too foreign for a broad audience then. This is a rare opportunity to see the film on the large screen.

Professor Zzzzzorn
Professor of Law and Director of Nap Studies
University of R.E.M.
Baltimore, Maryland
Phone: 1-800-Mattress
Website: http://www.thiswillinduceacoma.com
My Papers: http://www.betterthanambien.com

Wow, what a good pitch: poor box office performance, production was delayed ten years (never a good sign, see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (6.5)), and….no, you must be lying…it has SIR DANNY GLOVER in it?! THANK YOU, GOD!

So you’re NOT just trying to get us to come to a snore-posium? No, you wouldn’t do that, right Professor Zzzzzzorn? I mean, you’re a professor. You have taste. I’ll bet the critics agree with your assessment of Beloved. Let’s see:

Hell, let’s just start with her first source, the International Movie Database (IMDB). Hey, they rate movies. What did their users give Beloved. Oh, a 5.7. Not bad. So, based on a little research, Beloved was edged out by such classics as Weekend at Bernie’s (5.9), The Cable Guy (5.9), and even Stallone’s Cliffhanger (6.2). Don’t worry, Professor Zzzzorn, it DOMINATED the Sex and the City movie (5.4) and DESTROYED The Human Centipede (5.0).

Okay, perhaps I’m being a little harsh. IMDB ratings are  peer driven. What do the professional critics say?

Roger Ebert: this “tragic story is the kind where the only happy ending is that it is over.”

Sign me up, Rog. Who else?

Peter Travers: This movie is “good,” but “takes nearly three draining, devastating hours to relate the reconstruction of Sethe, a former slave who works menial jobs to feed her children in rural Ohio circa 1873.”

I’m giddy. Just start the movie already. Okay, one more.

Mark Ramsey: “Unfortunately, this flick was so long, my spirit had long since left the building, enjoyed some smokes, played a round of golf, knocked back some brewskis, eaten a leisurely dinner, and slipped back into my body in time for the closing credits.”

OMG. Sign me up. Three hours long and I’ll be sad at the end? CAN I COME, Professor Zzzzorn?

Sorry, Professor Zzzzorn. If you can’t tell, I’m being a little sarcastic. No, I won’t be joining you for the Feminism Conference (no offense). Netflix said I’d give Beloved a 2.5 out of 5 stars, so I’m out. Instead, I’ll be watching an EPIC film that Netflix says I would give a 4.3 out of 5 stars. Check it out:


Click to Enlarge

April 4, 2011

What Type of Gchatter Are You?

Sigmund Freud once said “The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” Now that I have your attention by sounding intellectual and mentioning the word “sex,” I should mention that this article has nothing to do with that quote.

With that said, every Gchat’r has an instant messaging reputation.  Which behavioral trait(s) most accurately reflect you and your list of chat buddies? Today, it’s okay to judge.

1. The Shadow

Who always knows when you’re on Gchat, even though you never see them as available? The Shadow. Who lurks in the darkness, yet occasionally chats with you? The Shadow. Who do you scare the crap out of when you randomly chat them up, them being invisible (gray)? The Shadow.









2. The Snob

La la la. The Snob is always soooooooo busy (red), but will almost always respond to a chat message. Are they actually busy? No. They were on Perez just like you. So why aren’t they marked as available (green)? The Snob is all about appearances. She wants you to believe she is studying corporate tax, day trading, and doing P90x all at the same time. “I am so efficient with my time and it’s all because I’m marked as busy on Gchat,” says The Snob, lying.

Of course, if you are someone The Snob deems as a commoner and you attempt to chat them up, she will sign off, attempting to avoid conversations not worthy of her attention. “No time for you, pedestrian,” snorts The Snob.

Note: The Snob also wonders quite frequently what the poor people do all day.


3. The One Night Stand

When the moon is just right, this bipolar freak will chat with you–hell, they’ll even initiate the conversation. You lovebirds will talk into the wee hours of the morning about your love life, your ambitions, and will exchange a throng of YouTube videos. It’ll seem like a real connection. The trouble is that the next time you go on-line your former lover will either not respond to your chats or will transform into The Monosyllabist (below)–they are no longer interested in your very existence. They are…The One Night Stand.

You were a sucker. Get over it. Be thankful you’re not pregnant.

4. The Power Bottom

They are ready for and desire all visitors. You can always count on this individual to respond immediately to any query. 10am? Available. 5pm? Available. At a bar and wasted? Available (on their phone). Just send a chat to this person and you have an instant discussion. Trust me, they can take anything. That’s why they’re The Power Bottom.

Be wary of Dr. Giggles or The Coke Fiend, though.


5. The Monosyllabist

He is a man of few words. He will rarely initiates a conversation.* If you ask a question, you will receive a one word answer and no follow up discussion. That is…unless you ask another question.

You: “Hey, how’s your day, MS?”

MS: “Meh.”

You: “What is your interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina?

MS: “Long.”

*See The Linker for an example of a Monosyllabist initiated discussion.

6. The Linker

The only thing you ever get from this person is an initiated discussion with one thing in the text: a URL. If you respond with a “LOL,” a “Ha Ha,” or a “That was the lamest thing since Sweating to the Oldies“–if you say anything like that, you will either get a short response or another link to a meme, YouTube video, gif, or flash game. This person is rarely capable of producing original content, but they are proficient at finding web junk gold mines .

How does he find all this stuff? Who knows? But, maybe, if I’m lucky, The Linker will send this article to a friend. Fingers crossed.


7. The Kramer

"I gotta run, Jerry."

You know Kramer. He Jerry’s eccentric and intrusive neighbor on Seinfeld. Every episode shows Jerry having a pleasant, yet comical discussion with Elaine and/or George and all of a sudden the door opens.  IN COMES KRAMER, completely unannounced. Whatever anyone was discussing prior to that moment, immediately changes directions to a strange, pressing matter on Kramer’s mind. The pressing matter is then communicated quickly and, within seconds, he is gone and the door closes. WTF was that, Kramer?

The Kramer is the opposite of The Power Bottom. If someone–ANYONE– becomes available (green) on Gchat, like a Gnat to a warm body, The Kramer swarms i.e. opens Jerry’s door. As opposed to eagerly awaiting a desired confab, this person initiates any and all discussions. Don’t forget, though, once the strange reason for The Kramer’s intrustion has been elucidated, they are gone. No chance for follow-up questions. Their whacked goals have been achieved.

Don’t worry. He’ll be back…probably in five minutes. Too much “important” business.

May also exhibit signs of The Talking Scarf Wearer and The Trap.

8. The Assassin

Emma was exhausted from a long night of killing people.

For one reason or another, this person is the ever idle chatter (orange). No one knows why. Maybe they’re computer is on standby, maybe they’re taking a nap, maybe they are an assassin trying to create an alibi as to their whereabouts on or about the time you were snuffed out.

The point is, The Assasin is always signed on, but their whereabouts and pulse rate are unknown. Consider getting them Life Alert and lock your doors.

See also The DMV Clerk


9: The DMV  Clerk

Similar to The Assassin, The DMV Clerk is always there…sort of.  The difference is that this person is actually available (green); they are at or near their computer. Unfortunately, The DMV Clerk will not respond if you attempt to chat with them. Don’t ask The DMV Clerk a question, because it will be ignored. And remember, when your number gets called…it’s time for The DMV Clerk’s lunch break.

10. Captain Deep As a Puddle

An artsy subset of the conversation ready Power Bottom. His status messages are nothing but unattributed quotes from books, films, and lyrics from Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill Album. His motives are clear: by not crediting the quoted  material–or, hell, even if he does provide a source–he is either (A) hoping that others will know what is being referenced and want to discuss or (B) have no idea what that quote is from and have to ask “Dude, EPIC poem. What’s it from?”

Either way, Captain Deep as a Puddle is very impressed with his Art History degree and wants to share.

11. The Braggart

The Braggart just can’t get enough of his accomplishments. He’ll brag about his grades, he’ll talk about a sweet job that he just landed, or he’ll even  provide an exact measurement for his…well, just look at the picture. The Braggart will even initiate a conversation to talk about themselves.

The Braggart: “Hey, Got an A on that O Chem Final, what’d you get?”

You: “Uhhhhh.”

The Braggart: “I also got laid last night. How about you?”

You: “Uhhhhh.”

The Braggart: “I have a sweet  itch in my nether regions. You ever get that?”

You: “Really, dude?”

12. The Real Housewife

She’s the worst. The only thing The Real Housewife ever wants to discuss is how awful her life is. The constant laments and emoticons are too much to take. So, there you are, minding your own business, and POW: “I always mess things up” or “:(” or “Can I talk to you about something?”

You first inclination is to immediately sign off. You don’t want to deal with this. But, of course, you crumble and ask “What’s wrong.” That’s when you see “Drama Queen is typing…” for over a minute. Crap. Here comes the novel. BOMBS AWAY!

What follows is a diatribe about a relationship, an impending or ongoing panic attack, or, in the case of the person on the left,  Brittany Spears. Groan. You don’t have time for this.

My solution? I become The Linker and mutiple URLs to The Real Housewife for various depression medicines (e.g. www.xanax.com). Then I sign off. Give it a try!

13. Hollywood

Hollywood is a variant of The DMV Clerk. Hollywood is always available, but when you want to talk he always has the same response: “Dude, I’m on my phone. We’ll talk later.” Hollywood has no time for discussion, but will always appear to be available through some function on his Iphone. What a huge phony.

See also The Snob.





14. The Trap

The Trap is yet another variant of the The Power Bottom. The difference is that you avoid talking to The Trap at all costs. Unfortunately, you become bored; Facebook, Twitter, Perez, and GIRP are no longer entertaining. No one else is available on Gchat and there is still three hours left of work. What the hell?! Ugh, guess it’s time to talk to The Trap.

The conversation is horrible. This person could put The Coke Fiend (below) to sleep. You need out. Why did you do this? But it’s impossible. YOU initiated this conversation, remember? Jesus, how long can a person talk about belly button lint?

Suggestion: employ the “Slow Retreat”–respond in exponentially lengthier increments of time until it’s reasonable for you to pull out completely.

See also The Talking Scarf Wearer.

15. Business in the Front, No Party In the Back (BIF)

BIF can’t have a light-hearted conversation to save their life. They are all business. BIF most likely has questions for you about serious matters and once you have answered the question, they sign off. You feel very used afterward.

BIF: “Do you know the average gliding speed of a North Atlantic Flying Squirrel?”

You: “34 Miles per hour, why? Couldn’t you Google that?”

BIF: [signs off]


BIF: “What would you say was the biggest impact the 23rd Amendment has had on the Givna Cactus Colonies in Eurasia?

You: “Perhaps Colony members that were still technically Washington, D.C. residents could now send in absentee ballots and change the outcome of a presidential election? That’s a bizarre question.”

BIF: [signs off]

See also The Monosyllabist.

16. Grandpa, Check Your Battery (GCYB)

Most of the time, GCYB will be marked as available (green), but won’t respond in enough time for you to remember what the hell you were talking about when you originally posed a question. There can be alot of confusion when GCYB finally responds. Sometimes it’s hostile.

You: Does that kid in class go by Richard or Dick

[Ten minutes later]

Joe: Dick

You: You’re a Dick!

Joe: No, Richard is Dick

You: Jeez, you’re making enemies all over the place, jackass. Richard is a nice guy.

See also The DMV Clerk

17. Dr. Giggles

The only response Dr. Giggles can provide will be coupled with the some form of the  phrase “LOL.” In your mind, you’re thinking Why did I get an “LOL” when I asked “what do you wanna get for dinner?” Dr. Giggles must have thought dinner was hysterical. This is usually how the conversation goes:

You: “How is the weather there?”

Dr. Giggles: “LOL.”

You: “How was your night last night?”

Dr. Giggles: “LOL.”

You: “Can you answer one of my questions without saying “LOL”?

Dr. Giggles: “ROFLMAO!!!”

You: “I’m going to stab you.”




18. The Scrabble Douche

The Scrabble Douche is quite the perfectionist: every sentence has superb structure and grammar; each word has impeccable spelling; and even contractions and IM speak are major no-no’s. If there is even the slightest hint of a problem in what they wrote, they will immediately correct themselves, usually noted with an asterisk (“*”) and the correction. The Scrabble Douches friends would never let her live down writing the word “ther” as opposed to “there.” That would be dreadful and COMPLETELY confusing.

See also Captain Deep as a Puddle.



19. The Coke Fiend

The Coke Fiend needs to take it down a notch. If there is ever the opportunity to be excited, two pistols named “Caps lock” and “[insert word]!!!!!!!” appear at The Coke Fiend’s side. Which one will he or she use? Usually both. Example:

You: “How was your day?”


You: “Uh, not as good as yours. Please wipe your nose.”


You: “What was the restaurant you recommended the other day?”


You: “K. Might want to consider N.A., Tony.

See also Dr. Giggles.


20. The Talking Scarf Wearer (TCW)

Once TCW has the floor, you might as well go run an errand because you’re not going to get a word in. The only thing this person wants to talk about is their problems. If you want to talk, tough. TCW has far to many problems of their own to ever give a crap about your “burning house” or “imminent divorce.”

See also The Braggart.


That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. I think I have made my point: it’s amazing what one can accomplish when they should be doing something else. Note: if you don’t use Gchat, then…GITTER DONE!!!! –Mark

P.S. Found this searching for “delayed response.”

April 3, 2011

Facebook Etiquette #15: Birthdays

If you have not deciphered from my subtle hint, it’s my birthday today. Yes, just twenty-seven tortured years ago, my mother turned off the A-Team (no joke) to jettison the insomniac that writes these very words. And when I came out, not one person in the whole room–not even my passed out father–wished me a “happy birthday.” Everyone was too busy congratulating everyone else. I WAS TIRED TOO, PEOPLE.

Well, ever since that day, I have held a HUGE grudge against people that are too busy to give me a simple “Congrats on not dying in this past year” or “I’m impressed by the will of your organs” or “Mark, please stop telling people your age in months. You’re not an infant.” You know, simple things like that.

Okay, maybe I don’t actually keep a tally. But let’s just assume I do. The point is, it’s my birthday, and I thought I would pass along some age-old manners that one should be aware of when they see it’s their friends big day on Facebook.

By the way, it’s my big day today, not yours.

Lesson 1: If you see that it’s someone’s birthday, don’t be shy about posting on their wall…especially if that birthday is on April 3rd, 2011.

This is important. Every person, on their birthday, will sit hitting refresh on their Iphone Facebook app until they see a notification that says “[Person from Middle School that you don’t remember friending (AKA P.M.S.)] posted on your wall.” (Remember, this is COMPLETELY hypothetical. I set up push notifications, so I don’t need to hit refresh).

Back to P.M.S.’s post. My response: SWEET. Check it out, Me.  Oh, man, I wonder what they said?

P.M.S: “Happy Birthday.”

Thanks, P.M.S. How hard was that? Not very.

But I’m not content with one post. That’s only 1 of 409. Where are my 408 other notifications. Don’t my friends know that I will unfriend anyone that doesn’t wish me a happy birthday?

The clock is ticking. I’m talking to you. But this isn’t about me. I’m just speaking generally…unless I’m not.

Lesson 2: Be creative in expressing your undying affection for your friend.

While it was nice for P.M.S. to wish me “Happy Birthday,” would it have been so hard to add something more; something a little more personal? He could have said, for example, “Dude, I’m so happy you’re still alive. Whenever I watch Mad Men, I always think Don Draper is you. Yes, I know you’re more attractive. I’m sorry. Also, I don’t know anyone from middle school that thinks you suck. In fact, I sent a letter to your parents that said: ‘Happy Birthday to your son. He doesn’t suck and is attractive.’ I guess that’s it. I know we haven’t seen each other for about 16 years and I have never actually spoken to you, but, wow, you changed my life. Happy Birthday, Jesus 2.0.”

Even better, of course, would be a visual demonstration of your insatiable lust for Mark’s…I mean, any given Friend’s perfection.

Lesson 3: Don’t expect me to respond to your wall post specifically.

Hey, the birthday boy may have conditioned your Facebook friendship on you sharing a “Happy Birthday” wall post, but he’s got too much being awesome to do to respond to all your whiny little messages, like “I miss you so much, Love Mom” and “Happy Birthday and congratulations on your third straight Sexiest Man of the Year Award! Would it be cool if we changed our magazine name from People to Mark Anderson and Everyone Else?” I mean, these are the types of messages I get.  Who has time for that crap? Not me.

It’s MY birthday, not yours. Remember that. You should write a thoughtful, yet exaggerated message about how I donated a kidney to your dog and leave it at that (what I really did was pet the dog once).  All you have to do is pay attention and you will get a mass thank you card in the form of a status message. That’s right, three days later I’ll write a general “Thanks, Everyone, for the Birthday messages. I’m so blessed to have you all.”*  But what I’m really thinking is “Why didn’t anyone send money? What is this, Bosnia?”

*Note: there will undoubtedly be people that will comment on or like this status message. Don’t waste your time. You were already un-friended at 12:01am on April 4th. Have a nice life.

Lesson 4: April 3rd is Eddie Murphy’s Birthday

That’s all you need to know. So just pop in your Blue-Ray copy of The Adventures of Pluto Nash and think of me.

Can I get an amen?


P.S. I found this image searching for “Facebook Birthday”

That's me on the right