Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Musings on Parenthetical Pronouns

I know, you read that title and you thought 'WHAT IS THIS WILD SHIT ABOUT?!"

Sometimes when I’m reading a news article, I run across a quote where the writer or editor has put in parentheses around a pronoun. Supposedly, this is just a way for them to alter a quote so that it makes sense in the context of their article. However, sometimes I wonder what the hell the original quote was and why it had to change. For instance, today I see this:

"We know (he) can score," Prince said. "We know what (he is) capable of with the ball in (his) hands.”

Like… what did he actually say? I don’t know what the speaker could have said other than ‘he,’ ‘he is,’ and ‘his.’ It could have been the person’s full name, but that’s not likely given that he would have to use it three times in two sentences.

Is the speaker unable to speak? Like, is he unintelligible? You see that sometimes, usually when interviewing old-timey gold prospectors and the like. Here, though, the rest of the sentence is perfectly legitimate English so he must not be mealy mouthed.

Is the speaker getting his pronouns mixed up? “We know it can score. We know what she is capable of with the ball in they hands?”

Is he using some weird alien pronoun that nobody on Earth understands? “We know Blorgon can score. We know what Blorgon is capable of…?”

Is he just shouting at the top of his lungs? “We know AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH can score?”

Or, is he throwing in a bunch of profanities? “We know cock-faced assmunch can score. We know what fuckface is capable of with the ball in asshole douchtard’s hands.”

I suppose we’ll never know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Miami Marlins: Colorful

Lately, there has been a lot of hubbub and hullabaloo over the comments of one Oswaldo Guillen, formerly of Chicago White Sox infamy, over his comments basically saying he respects Fidel Castro for being a zombie cyborg cockroach. Naturally, the Cuban ex-patriot community of Miami is up-in-arms, given that Ozzie now manages the Miami Marlins and given that many of them either escaped from or are descended from people who escaped from Castro’s repressive Communist regime.

Ozzie was known around Chicago as being that 'lovable scamp' who 'always had something to say' and was often 'verbally abusive' and 'hated homosexuals.'
Far be it from me, the man with the strange obsession with Vladimir Putin, to cast stones here. After watching the sports television apparatus and having discussed this issue thoroughly with a coworker of mine over $2 burgers this afternoon, I have come to the conclusion that the Miami Marlins and Ozzie kind of deserve each other.

This logo screams "AAAAAAAARRGGHH!!"

You may not immediately recall the Miami Marlins. Up until this year, they were known simply as the Florida Marlins. And while they have in fact won two World Series titles over the course of their twenty-two year existence, are roundly ignored by the majority of baseball fans. They have a reputation for stinking worse than microwaved salmon. I make this joke for three reasons: (1) as I write this, there is an eau du cooked fish wafting about the office, (2) their mascot is a damned fish, and (3) ten games into the season, they are not so good at the baseball.

This widespread indifference, combined with the stench of suckage and the presence of the eternally Evyl Miami Heat distracting people from all other sports, lead the Brass Marlins – er, Marlin brass – to make some “marketing corrections,” which involved changing their uniforms from bad to abominable, moving into a new stadium the design for which is based off of the owner’s napkin doodling, and installing this monstrosity in centerfield.

I wonder if there were any conscientious objectors among the work crew.

This is called, rather creatively, the “Home run feature.” Supposedly, whenever the home team hits a home run, this… thing lights up and then murders taste, tact and tradition.

And so, as you can see, the Marlins scream colorful. Their uniforms are colorful; their stadium is colorful; the Home Run feature, oh God the Home Run feature; and so now they have a ‘colorful manager.’

Good luck Ozzie, and happy hunting.  Or fishing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Email Style Guide for A$$holes

Vonnegut drew a portrait of you!

So you’re an asshole and you’re struggling with the limitations of email. In person, others know you’re an asshole because they can see you being an asshole, hear your asshole voice, watch you roll your asshole eyes and smell your asshole breath. But email is such a limiting medium: how do you convey unwarranted sarcasm when there’s no sarcasm font? How will they know how unwarrantedly angry you are if they can’t see the contortions of your dumb asshole face when you talk? What if people read your email and come away with the misconception that you’re just being a normal human being or, even worse, that you’re actually nice?

Calm down, asshole. I hear you, and I’m here to help you.

A little bit about me: I work a job that is a hybrid of customer service and tech support. As such, I deal with incredibly anti-social people at their worst, and I do it over email. As such, I’m uniquely qualified to assist you in broadcasting to the world how much of an asshole you are. And I can guarantee you, if you follow these tips to asshole emailing then you will be well on your way to showing the world your true asshole colors.

1. The One Word Forward: Did you receive an email from someone that you don’t understand because you’re lazy or an idiot, and you want your intended audience to feel like they’re not doing enough? While you could write a lengthy dissertation on how inadequate your victim is, the more efficient and assholean way to do it is to click forward and write their name with a question mark after it. This conveys the notion that you are too important to explain the problem, which would require you first understanding the problem and then figuring out what you do and do not know. To hell with that! Make someone else do it, and make them feel like garbage while they do it!

2. Don’t Read: If you really want someone to hate you, don’t bother reading the email they sent you in the first place. This gives your rambling an irrationality that conveys to your victim, “This person doesn’t give a damn, they’re going to be angry no matter what you tell them.” Nothing makes people loathe to work with you than being intractably angry despite already having what you need.

3. CAPSLOCK!!: This is how people know you’re yelling. You use the biggest letters imaginable. Loud equals big. Bonus points if you pick random words that would never be yelled in normal conversation. Bonus bonus points if you just capslock the whole thing and let God sort it out.

4. Bold/Italics/Underline: use only on things that are already obvious, so as to make them even more obvious. If it’s something that is important that you’re worried someone else might miss, don’t bother because you’re worrying about someone else. Only use these when trying to make someone else think that you think they’re an idiot.

5. Ellipses: You know that thing that’s like three periods together and means an open ended sentence? It’s called an ellipsis and it’s a great way to be unwarrantedly patronizing. The thing you are asking for is so obvious that your idiot victim should be able to guess. Bonus points here if you use more than three periods. The longer the ellipsis, the more patronizing and the more intelligent you look!

6. Excessive Punctuation: particularly when it pertains to exclamation points and question marks. Double punctuation amounts to punctuating the punctuation – it’s not important what you’re yelling so much as the fact that you’re yelling. Conversely, you could…

7. Use No Punctuation: make them guess what you mean! Nothing makes people angrier than being yelled at by some unintelligible douchebag who is incapable of separating ideas – if you want to call them that – with periods, commas or semicolons.

8. Include “Have a blessed day” in Your Email Signature: this only works if it’s abundantly clear that you want your audience to go back in time and die in the Great Chicago Fire. The dissonance between your ranting and your cheery signature acts as a double word score tile, but for asshole points. Having your signature writ in hot pink amounts to a triple word score.

"Have a blessed day!"

Remember, the important thing while being an email asshole is that you convey your own anger and insecurity through the degradation of others. If what you’re writing is coherent, earnest and meant for the betterment of humankind, consider cutting that sentence out altogether.

You know, it used to be I would write posts to dissuade people from such behavior, as evidenced here and here. Perhaps it’s a sign of my ever growing cynicism, or perhaps even my own increased assholishnes, that I’ve given up hope. But then again, maybe I just want you to be the assiest asshole you can be.

Good luck, asshole, and happy hunting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Second Annual Saint Drunken's Day

Sweet holy hefeweizen! St. Drunken’s Day is less than two weeks away!

For those of you who are uninitiated, St. Drunken’s Day is a religious drinking holiday that was completely made up by we inebriates of Robot vs Dinosaur. The kernel of the idea came from a post I wrote in 2009 to kind of lampoon what St. Patrick’s Day has become – essentially, an excuse to put on some green t-shirts and go make asses of ourselves in public – and invented some fake old timey sounding quotes, such as:

He reportedly is the first person to urinate on a building. Quoth Saint Drunken, "I hath Christyned meself with all the holy spriryts I maye, and anon I Christyn thee, ye Bush that doth sit tidily beneath the Pryor's window, with what remaynes."*

Well now we at RvD use it as a fundraiser and, more importantly, as an excuse to drink beer with friends and play plinko drinking games.

This is our second year holding festivities. Last year was a hell of a lot of fun, and I see no reason why this year’s celebration, which is essentially the exact same format, wouldn’t be just as fun. There’s a pageant, some games, a silent auction for drunken artwork, a raffle and general tomfoolery. Here are the details:

What: St. Drunken’s Day!
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 3036 North Lincoln Avenue, #2
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

** Doors open at 7. The St. Drunken's pageant with sketches and songs starts at 8 p.m.**

You can buy tickets from me, either in person or you can email me and I’ll work out reserving you some tickets. Or leave a comment here to get my attention.