From Beijing Mike:
So I was on The Beijinger one night researching bars or something, and on The Beijinger there’s a bunch of guys who talk all this shit about China, and other guys who defend it, and it’s just one big dissident-defender-online shitshow. So I jumped into the fray and said something that had to do with Tibet, something in hindsight was really stupid to do. By this time I was feeling comfortable in China, so, you know, fuck it.
The next morning I try to login to Gmail and I can’t get online. I freaked out. I turned my computer off, pulled the ethernet cable out — I dunno, maybe they can backwards-access my computer — and then I started thinking about all the spies movie I’d seen and how it was all leading to this moment.
So I take a piece of toilet paper, lick each end, and attach one end to the door and the other to the frame. That way if someone broke into my apartment during the day I would know and I would have time to burn my place down and run for my life.
I got to my office and asked my assistant if the government monitors this stuff, and if I should book a return flight home and send my resignation letter. She laughed.
Turns out I just hadn’t paid my Internet bill that month.
It’s Monday morning at Skyscanner Headquarters, and the team is preparing to release the findings of its ‘perfect flight seat’ survey.
“Mullins — brief me. What were the findings?” asks Woodruff.
“Survey findings suggest that passengers prefer a window seat towards the front of the plane,” responds Mullins.
“Which seat damnit, which seat?” barks Woodruff.
“Well, after filtering the results, we’ve concluded the most sought-after spot on a standard plane is seat 6A. That’s the one a few rows from the front.”
“Ya think?” mumbles some asshole in the back. Everyone heard him say it but they’re ignoring him because this is too important a study to get bogged down in office politics.
“Tell me about the methodology,” says Woodruff.
“You mean the method?” clarifies the woman next to Mullins.
“No, the — well, what’s the diff — Christ, just tell me about it.”
“More than 1,000 airline passengers were questioned on which section they preferred to sit in and whether they opted for a window, middle or aisle seat,” says Mullins. Mullins really knows his stuff.
“Then we filtered the results,” offers the woman.
“Right, then we filtered them,” chimes in Mullins.
“And then we just knew,” concludes the asshole in the back.
“Where does this fit into the bigger picture?” Woodruff is getting angry and no one knows why.
“Well,” Mullins says, “the finding supports previous studies that have suggested the front six rows are the most popular for ease of getting off the plane, reduced engine noise and a better selection of food.”
“So not only is our study obvious, it’s also redundant,” says the asshole, whose name is Carl and who actually might not be so bad after all.
Mullins shifts his feet and tries to recover. “Nearly half of those surveyed agreed this was the optimum section of an aircraft, sir.”
“You needed 500 people to tell you that sitting closer to the front is better?” asks Carl. “And what, the other 500 people enjoy rubbing against strangers in the aisle while they wait longer to get off?” Everyone’s silent. “Who are these people?”
“Sixty-two per cent of the respondents said they would prefer an even seat,” offers Mullins with a smile.
“Sixty-two per cent of the respondents have OCD,” says Carl.
Mullins has had enough. He spins around and looks at Carl. “This stuff matters, you know.”
The woman speaks up. “It’s interesting. Only one percent of those questioned said they would choose a middle seat instead of a window or an aisle seat. Only one percent.”
“Of course. People who want a middle seat are insane,” says Woodruff.
“Or they’re easygoing,” says Mullins.
“Or they’re in love,” says the woman. Everyone stares at her.
I’ve been reading all the hoopla on the world wide web about 7 Things I Find Attractive in Women now that I’m 30 and 7 Things I Find Sexy In Men Now That I’m 40 and good for them but people my age need some advice too you know.
Here’s the thing. I’m at a point in my life where I know what I want and can occasionally remember what it is. I don’t gotta apologize for how I feel, just like I don’t gotta apologize for calling my nurse “that nice negro girl.” She’s a lovely person and she likes me and goddammit so should you.
Things change when you turn 90. Things that used to bother me when I was 85 are pretty good now. I’m not saying these are the MOST important things in life, but hey — I was able to remember my WordPress password, so listen up for once in your life. You might learn something.
Things I like about women now that I’m 90…
Doesn’t yell at the bingo guy when she loses.
I mean, it’s just chance, right? It ain’t fair to get mad at the guy just because the numbers didn’t come out right. I want a lady who can lose like a champion. I want her to fold up her bingo card like a nice person and lie down for a nap. Maybe try again tomorrow. There’s always always a bingo game tomorrow. They happen every day. Or maybe it’s every other day, I don’t remember.
Doesn’t stay in my room past 9 o’clock.
I don’t mind the company, but it grinds my gears when a ladyfriend overstays her welcome. After Jeopardy I’ve got an hour, maybe an hour and a half left in me. Then I gotta do my crossword puzzles and go to bed. I’m on a goddamn schedule here. It’s called life. I’m tired.
Calls World War I ‘The Great War’
Because it was, goddammit.
Doesn’t try any funny business.
Jeopardy means Jeopardy. I didn’t call you up here for a quick squeeze and a peck on the lips. I mean, that would be nice, but I gotta prepare for that. I have a pill, there’s a routine. I don’t like surprises.
Drinks her Ensure.
I’ll give you all my Bingo winnings this week if you don’t catch me saying, “Goddammit, that elegant, responsible, well-informed lady sure looks sexy drinking that shake packed with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants.”
Gets along with my ladyfriends.
It ain’t fun to hear, but she’s not the first one to catch my eye, if you know what I mean. They don’t last long around here. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. She’s gotta be nice to my former sweethearts or I’m not saving a spot next to me during Jeopardy. That’s final.
Keeps the jokes clean.
One time I courted a woman who told me this one about a whore in Poughkeepsie who tried something, or screwed someone, or something like that I’m not so good with these things. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think a lady should be going around telling blue jokes and whatnot. I like the knock-knocks and the ones about the rabbi. I don’t remember them but Stanley down the hall is pretty good at ‘em and I can ask him after bingo and get back to you.
That’s all I got. What, you want more? These ain’t enough? Geez. I’ll think about it maybe. I gotta go. I have to find the “Publish” button now.
The current selection of reality TV leaves something to be desired. You might recall my frustration with Pawn Stars – specifically with this episode:
Did you see the guy in the second part? He walks in with a clump of rupees minted in 1702 by the son of the man who built the Taj Mahal. Where are you getting these historical artifacts, sir? I demand to know. Here I am putting 6% each month in a 401(k) that might or might not exist, and these people are taking baths in ancient coinage and drinking 2-buck Chuck from Macbeth’s goblet. I’m starting to feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know how to acquire ancient valuables. It’s not helping that the host of the show says how much “I just LOVE old shipwreck items. You can just imagine the journey they’ve been on.” I can imagine it too, sir, but how do I get some?
Sour grapes! you’re probably thinking, and to that I say: Sour grapes, indeed. I sat through 30 minutes of pawn porn only to be left with antique blue balls. Until I get my hands on Moses’ walking stick or discover the secret Hogwarts porn collection, this show does not speak to me.
But I’m not a lost audience. Here are the top 5 reality shows that I would watch if they were on the air.
1. Deadliest Snatch
Deadliest Snatch follows a group of unscrupulous johns who test their limits — and their immune systems — by seeking out the country’s most dubious sex workers.
Or, I could just use the description of the show that inspired this series, Deadliest Catch:
A documentary series chronicling the real-life high-sea adventures of crab fishermen. This is the most deadly profession in the world.
Well said. Why reinvent the wheel? If I’ve seen further than others, it’s because I’ve paid to stand on the shoulders of giants.
2. Storm Evaders
Storm Evaders is a show that follows a group of people who find the country’s most dangerous storms and then, like rational fucking humans, run as far away as possible. These heroes have one mission: To find a nice, dry place with reinforced windows to weep uncontrollably until the storm passes.
3. Yellowcake Boss
Follow the quest for the world’s best yellowcake recipe in Niger’s charming Uranium Bakery! Watch these cutthroat chefs cook up their own nuclear wars in the kitchen and vie for dominance in the zero-sum-game that is the nuclear pastry industry.
4. Project Redlight
Project Redlight offers first-time filmmakers the chance to pitch a feature film to a team of bitter executives who always reject their ideas. Follow the adorable dreams of the next Billy Wilder and watch a group of bitter suits pass on the next Citizen Kane, every time.
5. Storage Hoarders
A gripping hybrid of Storage Wars and Hoarders, Storage Hoarders follows people whose obsession with space compels them to continually lease new storage units. Watch these poor souls deal with the crushing obligation to buy enough things to fill all of their empty space.
I urge the networks to consider producing these shows immediately, before I give up on television do something ghastly like read a book or spend time with my own thoughts. We all know what happens when I starting doing that. I write things like this.
From the General Partner, on life at the investment bank:
Today we unofficially-officially rebranded our euphemism for firm-wide layoffs, taking it from “right sizing” to “having constructive discussions with people on the wrong side of the ledger.” Call me old-fashioned, but I think the first one was better. My only beef was that the right size never seemed to be larger.
Not much else new to report. I lost in the quarterfinals of an in-office Wii tournament (coincidentally scheduled the same day they started this series of “having constructive discussions with people on the wrong side of the ledger”).
In a meeting with a new analyst today, an associate sitting next to me turned to the new analyst and said, “Hi, I’m Rob, I don’t think we’ve met,” to which the analyst replied, “I think you actually interviewed me.” End of meeting.
Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, on his requirements for a wife:
She must be young, handsome (I lay most stress upon a good shape), sensible (a little learning will do), well-bred (but she must have an aversion to the word ton), chaste and tender (I am an enthusiast in my notions of fidelity and fondness), of some good nature, a great deal of generosity (she must neither love money nor scolding, for I dislike equally a termagent and an economist).
In politics, I am indifferent what side she may be of; I think I have arguments that will easily convert her to mine. As to religion, a moderate streak will satisfy me. She must believe in god and hate a saint. But as to fortune, the larger stock of that the better. You know my temper and circumstances and will therefore pay special attention to this article in the treaty.
Though I run no risk of going to purgatory for my avarice, yet as money is an essential ingredient to happiness in this world — as I have not much of my own and as I am very little calculated to get more either by my address or industry — it must needs be that my wife, if I get one, bring at least a sufficiency to administer to her own extravagancies.
– From Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow, 2004
When you name your cult, you have to come up with something that’s not too intense but not too mundane either. Something like “The Collective” won’t cut it — you don’t want people thinking they can come and go as they please. But you can’t name it The Zorlax, either. People will start talking.
Something like “Sacred Falls” is a good one. “Second Window” is also good. Nice visuals put people at ease and give them something pretty to think about while you get to know them.
Once you print up the business cards you don’t hand them out to just anyone — only the people who really need your help. People who say things like “I want to discover the inner me” and “I am inspired by like-minded individuals who share a common goal” and “I love sneakers but Nike is too expensive.”
At the first meeting you need to serve something to make people feel welcome. Skip the vegetables and dip; you’re not running a book club here. Finger sandwiches and coleslaw are in the right neighborhood. Baked goods are the best, because they smell nice and remind people of the childhood they never had.
Go light on the reading material. Skip the manifestos and the mission statements. Something in the pamphlet family is good. You want something that they’ll skim before bed and have vague dreams about. You want them to wake up curious.
“There are two ways we can do this: The easy way or the reality TV way,” said the officer as he handcuffed me.
I know an opportunity when I see one. ”Reality TV way, please!”
“Very funny, wise guy.”
I didn’t see any cameras around but I had a feeling this was the start of something big. Do the criminals on COPS get an IMDB credit, I wondered?
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
“SAG has a court now?!” I hadn’t read about that in Variety.
“Sure, kid. Whatever.”
“In that case, I should tell you that I trained with Lee Strasberg and he gave me very positive notes in class last week.”
“Good for you.”
“I also have a web series. It’s about me and all these funny things that happen to me. This whole arrest bit will actually make a great episode.”
“I’ll check it out,” he said as he ducked my head into the prowler.
“Yay!” I thought. “Another YouTube subscriber.”
The script was a little rough but I think it went well. The other guys in the holding cell seemed really nervous, but not me. I’m a pro and when you have a shot like this, you have to rise to the occasion.