The Great Big List of Things that Make Me Angry

Here are a few things that make me angry. Keep checking in. This summabitch is going to get really long.

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Blatantly Unprepared Gameshow Contestants
If you can’t swim, don’t go on Survivor. If you’re afraid of spiders, stay off of Fear Factor. If you’re an idiot, don’t fake your way onto Jeopardy. You’re just embarrassing yourself and taking the opportunity away from more worthy contestants. My old university roommate could list to-the-penny prices of Rice-a-Roni for the years 1982 through to 1999 (adjusted to 1999 dollars) then add up the total and know exactly how far it was above or below the price of a Sunbeam four-slice toaster. But he never got his shot at Price is Right glory because some Hawaiian-shirt wearing dude who can’t guess the price of a Chevy Malibu within $10,000 keeps getting the order to “come on down.” Oh the humanity.

Guys Who “Know Karate”
Q: Which demographic group gets their asses kicked more than any other? A: Young males who say they know karate.
While many people deserve to be punched in the face, nobody paints the target on themselves quite so distinctly as these guys. Some of them may in fact know some karate, most of them don’t, but it hardly matters. Saying “I know karate” in a bar is the equivalent of saying “I’ll be right back” in a horror movie. Bad things are about to happen to you. Next time you open your mouth, pour a drink in it instead.

Ambiguous Warning Shouts
Look out! Watch out! Heads up! What are you supposed to do when someone shouts one of these at you? Most people hunch over slightly and feebly raise their hands close to their head. Another common reaction is to turn directly towards the source of the warning, which, if this is also the source of the impending danger, is about the worst thing you could do. I propose instead a series of six generally accepted warning shouts: Stop! Run! Duck! Jump! Step left! Step right! Doesn’t that seem much more likely to save your life than HEADS UP? Even if you don’t know your left from your right, you still have a 50/50 chance, which I would say is better odds than you get from WATCH OUT!

Surprise Parties
If you are surprised by your friends throwing you a surprise party, I strongly recommend that you get some new friends. There are two primary surprise party situations where surprise is likely to be induced.
Situation 1: You like parties, but never expected that your friends would throw one in honour of your birthday – you must think your friends are jerks.
Situation 2: You hate parties, and because of this you did not expect your friends to throw one in honour of your birthday – surprise, your friends are jerks.

Christmas Lights
Why do homeowners take their lights down every year? Because they know that they’re fucking ugly. If the lights looked good, people would leave them up right? If for some reason you insist on Christmas lights (baby Jesus sure did love ostentatious displays of unnecessary spending) please follow two simple rules. 1: Consistency of colour and illumination – nothing looks tackier than blue, yellow, green, orange, orange, orange red, pink; and nothing looks more ghetto than one strand of lights that flashes quickly, one that flashes slowly and one that doesn’t flash at all. 2: No “icicle lights” – while they can be applauded for generally being uniform in colour, they sure as hell don’t look like icicles. They look like a raccoon has gotten at your wiring and created a fire hazard.

Sue Thomas F.B.Eye
First, let me say that the real Sue Thomas, a deaf woman who works for the FBI is by all accounts a talented and fascinating woman. But then let me quickly say that the TV show based on her experiences, Sue Thomas F.B.Eye is F-ing horrible. Some talents just aren’t interesting to watch. Who thought lip reading would make for compelling drama week after week? OK, great, she read the terrorist’s lips and saved the day…again. I strongly suspect that the producers came up with the lame pun of a title and worked backwards from there to develop a show. Maybe I’m just bitter because the networks didn’t pick up my pilot episode of Stevie Johnson “Special” Agent in which a mentally handicapped Secret Service agent saves the President’s life every week through a series of wacky misadventures. Yay Stevie!!!

The Learning Channel
When I say learning, you say… that’s right, decorating and human oddities. No matter what you’re trying to learn, you would be hard pressed to put together a worse curriculum than the schedule from The Learning Channel (TLC). Here are some listings from today’s lineup: A Makeover Story; Clean Sweep; Trading Spaces; While You Were Out; Martha; and Wild Child: The Story of Feral Children. Why not put the Dukes of Hazzard on there so I can learn how to make moonshine and slide across the hood of a car? Other recent educational fare includes: The Half Ton Man; What Not to Wear; and a show about a bunch of dudes who run a tattoo parlour. What I really want though is a single show where a huge fat guy raised by dogs gets the world’s biggest tattoo, a new wardrobe and some simple tricks for making his dining room more inviting. TLC? How about WTF?

Stories About Your Cat
There are slightly more cats in North America than there are children. And there are infinitely more owners’ stories about their cats than there are audiences who give a damn. Since all cats do is sleep, eat, shit and attack things, there are very few possible permutations of cat story, and I guarantee I’ve heard them all a million times. I hate to tell you this, but your cats, just like your children, are neither unique nor interesting. If your cat discovers a new element and has MrBootstonium added to the periodic table, by all means let me know. But until then, keep your damn stories to yourself.

Math Rap
As a new crop of adorable little munchkins totters off to meet the teachers responsible for forming their minds, I’m reminded of what dumbasses so many of those teachers are. At the top of the dumbass teacher pyramid is the Math Rapper. Rap by white guys sucks. Rap by old people sucks. Rap from the 80s sucks. Put it all together, and it goes a little something like this (yo beatbox):I’m DJ Plus Sign and I’m here to say,
I can teach you fractions in a funky new way.
Math is cool and I am too.
Two is an integer.
And by math rap standards, the above isn’t even that bad. If rappers are going to go around shooting people anyway, why not target everyone involved in this.

Getting Stood Up
Having someone stand you up is an exception to the rule that things that don’t kill you make you stronger. The self-doubt and feeling of being unwanted (not to mention the anger) just seem to accumulate with every instance. Whether you’re standing alone in a bar, or sitting on the couch waiting for the phone call that you tell yourself will come any minute now, this is an intensely humiliating experience. It’s interesting that in an age when a telephone is never more than an arms-length away, people are less inclined than ever to let someone know that they are cancelling their plans. I’m a very positive person, but I don’t know if my optimism can take much more of this. What is the price of having your night wasted, your ego shredded and your faith in womankind destroyed? I’ve crunched the numbers, and it comes out to 12 beers and a lap dance.

Telephones on Television
An unanswered telephone is the most annoying dramatic gimmick ever employed. It’s a tired cliche used either to establish just how overworked a mother is (in which case it precedes a shot of the mother carrying a baby on her hip and little Timmy’s lunchbox in her hand) or to set an eerie mood right before a body is revealed (generally slouched in a wingback chair right beside the phone). But what the unanswered phone does particularly well, is annoy the hell out of me. Why so loud? Why so ridiculously many rings? If I wanted to hear the telephone ring incessantly, I’d work the Christmas Eve shift at the suicide hotline. If I was lucky, screenwriters, depressed over their complete lack of originality, would call me in their hour of need. And I’d let that bloody phone ring a thousand times.

Elevator One-Stoppers
Anyone who works in an office tower already knows what I’m talking about, and knows why I hate these people. One-stoppers are the lazy sons of bitches who ride the elevator just one floor rather than take the stairs. I’ve seen a guy with no legs climb Mount Kilimanjaro, so you better have some kind of serious handicap if you want to convince me you can’t handle one flight. This basic laziness makes me angry, but you can also count on a one-stopper to do two or three of the following:

  • wait in the lobby for more than three times as long as it would take to walk up
  • move directly to the back of a crowded elevator, forcing everyone to get out of their way 2 seconds later upon reaching the 2nd floor
  • block the door from closing in order to finish an inane conversation with a friend (the friend is likely getting off at the 3rd floor)
  • press the “door open” button 10-15 times in a brain-dead attempt to close the doors and send us on our way
  • hold a bag of french-fries that smells up the entire elevator

Celine Dion
I’ve been thinking long and hard about why I hate Celine Dion. I wanted to identify the reason precisely before I added her to the list. Turns out she’s just really fucking annoying.

False Nudity Advisories
A less honest man could protest against these false alarms on the grounds that they needlessly discourage minors from watching what is in fact harmless or maybe even culturally enriching programming. I protest on the grounds that if I’m told there are going to be boobies, I want to see boobies. I sat through 2 hours of Lethal Weapon telling myself there was no way that “the following program contains scenes of nudity” could refer to a one-second shot of Mel Gibson’s ass. Two hours of my life I’ll never get back and at least two body-waxing questions I’ll never get answered.

The Missile Shield
It’s really not a shield at all, is it? It’s actually just a bunch of other missiles. If you thought someone was going to throw a dart at your head, would you defend yourself with intercept darts? Hitting a mid-flight dart with another dart or a missile with another missile is hard, and it pretty much never works in either case. I wouldn’t declare my head dart-proof based on a system like that. And I sure as hell wouldn’t spend billions of dollars trying to dart-proof my head in response to having a brick thrown at my crotch on September 11th.

So Garfield likes lasagne – we get it. I doubt it was funny in 1978 and it sure isn’t funny now. How on earth do you turn a comic strip about a cat that likes lasagne into a 25 year career? Wouldn’t most people go insane if every single morning they woke up, drew three pictures of a cat and called it a day? Before he goes to bed each night, Jim Davis should say a prayer for Marmaduke. That really big dog is the only reason Garfield isn’t the biggest piece of shit in the newspaper.

Tsunami Relief
Tsunami relief is starting to piss me off. There, I said it. I’ve been holding my tongue for a couple of weeks now, but somebody has to speak out against this self-absorbed fund-raising pissing contest. Charity concert number fifty-seven was the last straw for me, although I did appreciate the irony of washed-up rock stars raising money for washed out communities. There’s a world full of tragedy, but it takes a special kind of high profile catastrophe to get the celebrities and the has-beens out. In 2001 I noted that it would suck to be a fireman who died on September 10th. And I’m getting that feeling again. In 2005, it would suck to be a victim of anything other than a tsunami. There are two kinds of charity that make sense to me: helping those who need it the most, and helping those whom I can best help. Helping those who make the best headlines, that I’m not so sure about.

Ray Romano
Everybody loves Raymond? Oh really? I don’t remember everybody loving Welcome to Mooseport. And now his sit-com re-runs are on the Comedy Channel. Putting Ray Romano on the Comedy Channel is like putting Ike Turner on the W Network or Steven Hawking on ESPN. He just doesn’t belong. If Ray Romano ever makes me laugh, I solemnly swear to remove this entry from the big list and replace it with an apology and a picture of me licking sidewalk chewing gum.

Chevrons and Hidden Driveway Signs
We’ve all seen the sign “Watch your distance, keep 2 chevrons apart.” Why can’t they just double the distance between the chevrons and ask drivers to keep one chevron apart? We could cut our chevron budget in half. It’s almost as stupid as “Hidden Driveway” signs. Couldn’t the sign just say “Driveway”?

The Summer Olympics
Technically, the Olympics bore me more than they anger me, but they still merit a mention on the big list. Of the 2 billion events at the Summer Olympics, all but three of them (boxing, wrestling, sprinting) bore me to death. Here are my suggestions for spicing up the games; they may not be pretty, but they’ll pull better ratings than women’s light coxless pairs repechage:

  • For all the gymnastic events where you can fall off an apparatus, an alligator pit should be set up directly underneath the apparatus
  • Synchronised swimming should be run as a head to head competition with 2 teams trying to complete their routines while simultaneously drowning their opponents
  • Shot-put, javelin, discus and hammer-throw should work more like the egg toss, where a throw doesn’t count unless it is caught by your team-mate
  • And after each round of the long jump, an extra six inches of broken glass should be added to the pit

Hand Holders
I know you’re in love, and I couldn’t be happier for you. But can you not let go of each others hands for four seconds so an oncoming pedestrian can get past you on the sidewalk? Admittedly I am not an expert on the subject, but I can’t imagine that pure eternal love would want to see someone run over by a bus.

Huge Band-Aids
I picked up a variety pack of band-aids the other day thinking that various sizes of band-aids would be helpful in covering various sizes of cuts. Opening the box, I couldn’t believe the size of the largest models. They must have been 4″x4″. If you’re even considering using a band-aid that big, get to a hospital – either a canon ball has ripped through your abdomen or an escaped gorilla has torn your arms off. You’re going to die, and a band-aid won’t help you.

Salmonella Hysteria
There are a million and one ways to die, and eating poultry isn’t exactly at the top of the list. There are a billion and one ways to live your life, and I choose not to live mine worrying about some mythical bug that may or may not be present in under-cooked meat. If cross-contamination through inadequate hand washing were as dangerous as the Salmonella alarmists want us to believe, every restaurant patron in the world would be dead by now. If you’re old, worry about cancer and heart disease. If you’re young, worry about car accidents and suicide. If you’re smart, don’t worry about any of this crap. To prove my point, and for your entertainment, here’s a picture of me licking a raw chicken leg.

Golf Clubs
This is the part of golf that I don’t understand: you’ve got architects, landscapers, horticulturalists and diabolical former golfers working their tails off to design courses that are trickier and longer than ever before. Then you’ve got a bunch of metallurgists, physicists and aeronautical engineers working just as hard to make space aged titanium-graphite-polycarbon-nanotube golf clubs that can hit the ball 400 yards dead straight every single time. Of course Phil Mickelson is good – NASA made his clubs. If I was writing the PGA rulebook, every golfer would get three “clubs”: a shovel, a pool cue, and a wooden leg. Let’s see how Tiger does with that in his bag. A par 5 would be about 12 yards long and you could fit 18 holes in your backyard. Now that’s a game.

The 4 a.m. Traffic Light
You know the light I’m talking about. At four in the morning, you’re driving down a flat desolate highway. You can see forever in every direction and are entirely sure that you are completely alone. Out of nowhere, and for no good reason, appears a red light. You stop and wait for it to turn green. It doesn’t. You know it’s completely safe to run the light. There are no cars coming – you can see that with your own eyes. And yet you wait. A tumbleweed blows past you as you ponder the possibility of some sort of police sting operation to catch late-night red-light runners. By now you are cursing yourself for being such a law-abiding fraidy-cat. You tell yourself that the Dukes of Hazzard would run the light (yes, even Daisy). Minutes later, just as you’re about to almost gather up enough guts to start thinking about maybe getting the courage to perhaps go through the red, it turns green. You’ve wasted some time, burned unnecessary gasoline and proven yourself to be a pussy. All because of a little red traffic light. Multiply this frustration by a billion if you have to pee really really badly. The Europeans have a system where at 4 a.m. lights such as these, become flashing reds, to be treated as a stop sign: stop, look, go. No wonder they look more relaxed than us.
A special thank you to Officer Probst for suggesting this topic. He’s a good cop – or at least he’s never beaten me with his flashlight for no reason.

Shower Caps
When you look at the line-up of hotel toiletries, one item stands out as being particularly useless. I’m appreciative of the soap. I’m glad to have the shampoo and conditioner. I’m very pleased to see moisturizer, as my skin often dries out when I’m on the road. I’ve even grown dependent on the shoe sponge or its poor cousin the shoe mitt, since I’m generally travelling on business and the feet can always use a little polish. And then there’s the shower cap. About as useful as a bag with a built-in elastic can be. Get this useless piece of junk out of my bathroom. How about replacing this antiquated perm-protection device with something like toothpaste that might actually come in handy. Do they think all travellers are old ladies with dye-jobbed hair and false teeth? From now on, whenever I make a hotel reservation online, in the special requests box I write “I like my hair and my teeth clean. In lieu of shower cap, please provide small tube of toothpaste.”

Tampon Commercials
Pizza commercials, on occasion, make me order pizza. And sometimes beer commercials make me buy beer. But do tampon commercials really make people buy tampons? Isn’t this one of those products that you either need or you don’t? Aren’t the ads entirely unnecessary? And the embarrassing situations they portray are just too much. Do we really need to see tampon disaster scenarios? The toilet paper people don’t do this. Cottonelle ads show two fuzzy kittens playing with a roll of paper. They don’t show a teenaged girl afraid to stand up because she has shit stains on her white pants, or a middle aged woman who won’t change into her bathing suit because she didn’t wipe her ass that day. Get these commercials off my TV. Just put tampons on the shelf and we’ll buy `em when we need `em.

Ski Masks
Since it’s been 30 years since anyone wore a ski mask to go skiing, can we finally face the facts? If you see someone in a ski mask, he’s not a Winter Olympian, he’s a goddammed burgler. Don’t congratulate him on his finish at Lillehammer – knock him the hell out. I’m not sure you could walk into a ski lodge wearing a ski mask without getting gunned down by the police. If not the real police, at least the fashion police – there may be no dumber looking piece of clothing than the ski mask. Why do they even sell ski masks anymore? They wouldn’t if we called them robber masks. If your store sells robber masks, you deserve to be robbed at least once a week. I think ski masks are about the dumbest thing in the world, and will do my best to ruin the ski mask industry.

The Subway Sub Club
This is Subway’s customer loyalty program. As you know, due to a total absence of efficiency and politeness in the retail and food sectors, free crap is the only customer retention strategy left. I have a few problems with the Sub Club in particular. First, there’s the requirement to purchase a drink in order to claim my free sub. I know that the mark-up on the drink exceeds the cost of the sandwich, so I have a hard time swallowing the “free” sub line. The other requirement for claiming a free sub is to lick the 12 tiny little postage stamps that you’ve received with your previous purchases. I’m not sure I want to lick 12 little stamps that have been handled by the guy behind the cash – he’s the only one back there who’s allowed to have dirty hands (money is filthy in more ways than one). I’m trying to talk Subway into giving customers the option of donating their free sub to a soup kitchen – stay tuned for updates.

Bicycle Helmets
When I was a kid learning to ride a bike, I fell off a lot. But guess what? No helmet, no elbow pads, and not a single case of brain damage. None of us wore helmets back then, and none of us ever hurt ourselves. And we were 10 billion times more reckless on our bikes than kids are today. I saw a guy ride off the roof of a church in 5th grade. I’d like to see the Nintendo generation try that. Nowadays you see helmets everywhere: on roads and trails, on adults and kids, on bicycles and tricycles. How the hell do you fall off a tricycle? If your kid needs a helmet on a tricycle, I hate to say it, but your kid needs a helmet 24 hours a day. A total stranger pulled up beside me the other day and told me I should be wearing a helmet. I asked him why he wore his, and he said it was to protect his head. So I punched him in the neck.

Jessica Holmes
If you are American, you can count among your blessings the fact that you will likely never see Jessica Holmes on television. She’s a Canadian “comedian” who has somehow managed to earn a living impersonating Liza Minnelli. I’m not even sure Liza Minnelli still makes a living out of being Liza Minnelli. If nobody cares about the person you’re impersonating, how much do you think anyone cares about your impersonation? Get off my TV. I don’t think I would even know who Liza Minnelli is if it weren’t for bad impersonations and the cheapest brands of sketch comedy. She’s a haggard old nobody. Jessica Holmes, behold your future.

Given the Last Angry Young Man’s mission to eliminate apathy, you would think I’d be in favour of voting. And you’d be wrong. Voting is just another way for apathetic couch-potato losers to feel good about themselves while still doing essentially nothing. I don’t know exactly what you expect from that guy you just put an X beside, but I do know that if you’re not out there doing it yourself, it’s just not going to get done. Next time you vote, wipe the sweat from your brow, catch your breath and see if you can find the energy to pat yourself on the back. You’ve just made the smallest imaginable contribution to improving your society. You are a fart in a hurricane.

Golf Umbrellas
Do you know what a golf umbrella is? It’s the thing that’s been poking your eye out on rainy days for far too long now. It looks like a twelve-man nylon tent on a stick. A golf umbrella takes up the entire sidewalk, and allow the jackass carrying it to avoid making eye contact with the hundreds of people who are scowling at him ferociously. Surprisingly, you can even spot a golf umbrella user on a sunny day when he’s not carrying his umbrella. Just look for the little Napoleon-sized guy in the Dockers with the slight pot belly and the pouffy hair; he’ll be walking as fast as his little legs can carry him towards a car that, while it’s more than he can afford, doesn’t impress anyone. Apart from being entirely too big for downtown use, do you know what distinguishes a golf umbrella from a regular umbrella? It’s lightening-proof, which is a real shame. Men with small penises and large compensatory umbrellas deserve to be blasted off the planet by about 300,000 volts.

Credit Card Junkmail
Pre-approved. Yeah right. A bank hasn’t pre-approved anyone for anything ever. They’d ask the Dalai Lama for 3 pieces of ID and a year’s worth of pay stubs before they pre-approved him for a savings account. So I know the bank is full of crap when they send me junk mail saying I’m pre-approved for a $50,000 credit card. How can you approve someone named Occupant? If I really am pre-approved for fifty grand, just send me the cash. Small bills. Otherwise, keep your deceptive and amoral marketing practices to yourself.

Billing Inserts from the Hydro Company
What’s worse than an inexplicable billing insert from the hydro company? How about two billing inserts, one from the hydro company and one from the hydro company’s regulator, both of which use the same euphemistic language to explain in the same confusing way that your rates are “changing.” They’re not changing man, they’re going up. Just say that my rates are going up. I am strongly suspicious that a larger part of my bill goes towards printing billing inserts which I neither want nor understand than goes towards providing electricity. But these are the hydro people, so I guess I shouldn’t be shocked.

US Airways
The airlines continue to impress me with their endless array of ways to drive me crazy. Here are four new ones from one recent trip with US Airways. 1) No headphones available, but they still insisted on playing the preview to see if we would be “interested in watching the film.” 2) As if stewardesses don’t have enough to do, and passengers aren’t annoyed enough, US Air now has the crew shilling Bank of America credit card applications. 3) The oft-abused word “gourmet” has suffered no greater shame than being used in the description of a chicken sandwich from TGI Fridays served in a cardboard box. 4) A two-hour delay announced in 10 minute intervals, and marked “on time” all the way to 12:00.
Expected departure is 10:00 – on time
Expected departure is 10:10 – on time
Expected departure is 10:20 – on time
Expected departure is 10:30 – on time
Expected departure is 10:40 – on time
Expected departure is 10:50 – on time
Expected departure is 11:00 – on time
Expected departure is 11:10 – on time
Expected departure is 11:20 – on time
Expected departure is 11:30 – on time
Expected departure is 11:40 – on time
Expected departure is 11:50 – on time
Expected departure is 12:00 – on time

Cocktail Onions
Quick, name a cocktail that requires a cocktail onion. If you said Gibson, join the rest of the world. Even the National Onion Association can only come up with five. And of those, I’ll guarantee the Gibson is the only one you’ve heard of (the rest being made-up garbage that no one would ever order, let alone drink). So why the hell are they called cocktail onions? You could just as easily call a raw egg a “cocktail egg” since it’s used in making a Prairie Oyster. Three years ago I bought a jar of cocktail onions. So far, I’ve used two. The first one I ate. The second one I threw at the neighbour’s cat. It should be obvious which one I got more enjoyment from. So from now on, I’m calling them cat-chucking onions.

Tall, Grande, Venti
Attention beverage retailers of the world! If you have three sizes, those sizes are small, medium and large. If you have a fourth size, it is extra large. Describing beverage sizes in any other way can only confuse, annoy and anger your customers. The trouble started when some retailers began referring to small as regular, presumably because they didn’t want the customer to know they were in fact getting a small beverage. But Starbucks, with their tall, grande, venti scheme, took the idiocy to new heights. I suggest that Starbucks take some of that sick profit they make from selling four-dollar coffees and buy a dictionary; then explain to me how “tall” fairly describes the smallest size on the menu. Oops, wait one second, I’ve found the answer in my thesaurus: “…as in tall-tale: absurd, difficult, embellished, exorbitant, far-fetched, implausible, outlandish, overblown, preposterous, steep, unbelievable, unreasonable.” Bingo.

Here’s an experiment you can try yourself. Ask four women to sit down together, then count the microseconds before they start talking about chocolate. No one can actually care that much about what is, essentially, candy; I hold women in too high a regard to believe it. So, why all the chocolate talk? Women talk about their love for chocolate the way young men talk about the amount of beer they can drink. Chocolate has become so strongly associated with womanhood that professing one’s love for it is now a shorthand proclamation of female solidarity. Nobody actually loves chocolate, just like nobody loves drinking 17 cans of Steeler and falling down the stairs. And in the same way that nobody gives a crap about your college drinking stories, nobody gives a crap about what you had for dessert.

Dinosaurs in the Classroom
Before the end of first grade, North American kids can identify about 15 species of dinosaurs and separate the carnivores from the herbivores from the omnivores. By second grade they can name all the dinosaurs that ever walked the earth and group them by period of the Mesozoic era. In fourth grade, students are familiar with basic archaeological field technique and about a third of them are being recruited to go on active digs. Before they graduate from primary school, they have a favourite theory on the cause of mass dinosaur extinction and could probably be teaching masters-level archaeology courses. These are the same kids who can’t find their state or province on a map, name the leader of their country or multiply two two-digit numbers. But by God they know a stegosaurus from an ankylosaurus. If they ever find themselves trapped in a dinosaur amusement park gone bad, they’ll be all set. Otherwise, they’ve pretty much wasted a third of their school days (another third was inexplicably spent on volcanoes). When the next meteor hits, we can only hope that it wipes out whoever put dinosaurs on the primary school curriculum.

Good Days
Do you know what got me angry today? Nothing. Not one damn thing. Woke up, felt OK ate a really good orange. Walked to work without getting splashed by a bus and I remembered to bring my security pass. Had a good meeting in the morning, ate creamy lentil soup at lunch and read some interesting reports in the afternoon. Walked home and drank a premium imported beer. That’s a pretty good day. What the hell is the last angry young man supposed to do with a good day? Write a poem about it? Not bloody likely.

Two-hundred bucks for a unicycle? You’ve got to be kidding me. With all the ways you can look like a dumbass for free, why would anyone pay two-hundred bucks for a unicycle? Why not just wear your underwear outside your pants? You’d look just as stupid and you’d still have your two-hundred bucks. Normal people of the world unite – whenever you see a loser on a unicycle (i.e. anyone on a unicycle) push him off, berate him publicly and smash his little idiot-mobile.

Cell-phone Users
It’s not cell-phones themselves, or even cell-phone users in general that I hate. Mostly it’s just the people who talk about their boring little lives in great big voices. Shouldn’t they have the good sense not to publicly broadcast what pathetic losers they are? From what I can tell, one in every three cell calls is made by a slow-witted, trucker-mouthed girl who just got dumped by her boyfriend. So while science hasn’t yet proved it, I know it’s true. Cell-phone radiation does damage the brain, the parts that control volume, manners and shame. In a perfect world, it would damage the medulla oblongata, the part that controls breathing.

Cat Poop
Who decided that cats are allowed to poop on my lawn? Dogs aren’t allowed to. Dog owners are subject to leash bylaws and stoop and scoop bylaws. But the neighbourhood cats walk around wherever they want and leave their rotten smelling stool wherever they please. What kind of fecal double standard is that? Why the dog/cat dichotomy? More importantly, why does the cat have more privileges than I do? I’m not saying I want to crap on every lawn in the neighborhood, but I’d like to drop off a little something for that prick with the ten-billion watt stereo and I wouldn’t mind hiding a little nugget in the grass for Mr. six-in-the-morning lawnmower. And when I’m done, I’m wiping my ass with your cat.

Does anyone else find it weird that we have a word for the planned extermination of an entire race or ethnic group? I’m no linguistic anthropologist, but I think it’s a good indication that your society is pretty much fucked when you find yourself in need of a word that describes such an occurrence. Think of all the crazy things we had to come up with words for. Necrophilia – sex with human corpses. Holocaust – massive destruction of humans by other humans. Pedophile – an adult sexually attracted to children. Infanticide – the act of killing newborn infants. We felt we had to come up with words for all that sick stuff, but we’ve never had to come up with a word for giving someone a free slice of pie. I think the world could use a word like that. Pienacious – prone to giving away free pie.

Car Alarms
Before you buy yourself a car alarm, take note of this. If your alarm goes off, I’m 800% more likely to smash your windshield or key your door than I am to try to prevent whatever theft may or may not be occurring. Have you ever seen a car alarm interrupt a robbery? I’ve seen police officers walk down the street without turning their heads when an alarm goes off. It’s not an anti-theft device, it’s a mass public infuriator. So weigh the slim odds of an alarm saving your car against the near certainty of me sending a garbage can through your driver-side window, and think long and hard about whether installing a car alarm is the right choice for you.

The Running Mate Selection Process
It seems to be an unwritten rule that the Vice President has to be at least 30% more boring than the President. It’s why Al Gore was such a great VP. And it’s the only reason anyone knows who Joe Lieberman is – Can you name one other person 30% more boring than Gore? If Lieberman ever won the Democratic nomination, he’d pretty much have to dig up a corpse to be his running mate. Comedy fans get ready for Weekend at Bernie’s III: Party at the Whitehouse. In the current Democratic race, what this means is that poor old Howard Dean doesn’t stand a chance of getting the reward he deserves. Because of the 30% rule, the excitement and charisma that could have won him the top spot almost certainly disqualify him from being picked as the number two. That’s why I’m now rooting for Al Sharpton. That lunatic makes a monkey covered in fireworks seem dull. Sharpton/Dean in 2004!!!

Monster Truck Promotional Material
Sometime between now and when I outgrew my interest in monster trucks (around the age of 7) something strange happened. According to every current piece of monster truck promotional material, the most famous monster truck in the world is Grave Digger. What the hell happened to Bigfoot? Bigfoot has appeared in Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caracao, England, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Thailand, the United States, Venezuela and Wales. From a 1980’s cartoon to the Franklin Mint, Bigfoot has done it all. Gravedigger the most famous monster truck in the world? As if.

Government Sponsored Athletes
Attention synchronized swimmers – you are a waste of water and spandex. I can always spot government sponsored athletes, because they participate in sports that no one gives a crap about. The professional luge circuit pays about what you would expect it to, so athletes rely in part on government funding to be able to participate in their sport. But in spite of that generosity, I have never in my life heard an amateur athlete thank the government or the taxpayers. They should be kissing the feet of everyone who has ever paid taxes. That’s money out of our pockets that pays for them to play games for a living. Sure your grandma’s social security check won’t cover the heating bill, but David Leoni shaved 8 seconds of his 7.5km biathlon. Awesome. Just what the country needed. In missions, shelters and foodbanks across the country, people are doing real work for no money at all. The next athlete to complain about a lack of public funding gets a bobsled stuffed where the sun don’t shine.

The makers of the Sensor, Sensor Excel, Mach 3, and Mach 3 Turbo raise the question: how many ways are there to drag sharp metal across your face? I was pretty happy and pretty well-shaven back when I was dragging a measly two blades across my delicate visage. But that wasn’t good enough for the lads down at Gillette. They wanted to give me the privilege of shaving with at least 3 blades, 5 weird little rubber fins and a thin blue lubricating strip. Oh, and just to be nice, they’re going to charge me about a million dollars for each replaceable cartridge. And they won’t last more than 2 shaves before they work worse than a single-bladed disposable. When will it end? How many blades do we really need? I suggest they save us all the trouble of incremental growth and skip right to the Gillette Excel Mach 47 Turbo Super Deluxe – 47 blades, 8 space aged lasers and 24 acid strips that shave you to the bone and leave your skull sexily smooth with less irritation, even when shaving against the grain.

Janet Jackson’s Boob
I have to admit that I didn’t even notice Janet was exposed at the time. I couldn’t see anything. Certainly not anything to get angry about. If only the brouhaha that ensued had been so easy to miss. But the self-righteous preaching of a bunch of delicate busy-bodies didn’t make me all that angry either. So what was it about this whole half-time affair that boiled the blood of the Last Angry Young Man? Just one little thing. Janet’s haggard old boob, by popping out at the Superbowl, effectively ruined any chance sports fans had of viewing Beyoncé’s much more attractive boobies at the NBA Allstar game. Pity.

Convenience Fees
The banks would have to work pretty hard come up with a more insulting way of taking my $1.50 than calling it a convenience fee. How retarded do they think I am? It should be called the thick broomhandle vigorous anal probe fee, because it has more in common with a vigorous anal probing from a thick broomhandle than it does with convenience. Splinters and all. What would they call it if they kicked me in the junk every time I wanted to withdraw some of my money? The Swedish massage fee? Banks, consider yourself warned. This is bullshit. You know it. I know it. And it won’t be long before I’m going to have to do something about it.

The Colborne Big Apple
If you’ve spent any time on Ontario’s Highway 401, you’ve no doubt seen the big apple. You couldn’t miss it if you wanted to. And believe me, you want to. It’s about thirty-five feet tall and resembles an apple only in that it is red and round. It could just have easily been called the big tomato, the big pomegranate, or the humongous cherry. With millions of people driving down the 401 every year, I know hundreds of thousands of dorks in minivans are making Big Apple jokes. You’ve probably thought of a couple already. Keep them to yourself. If I’m ever filthy rich, I’m going to buy a piece of land right down the rode from Colborne and build a slightly bigger apple. Thirty-five feet two inches. Colborne, your days are numbered.

Newspaper Articles About the Newspaper
I can’t think of anything less interesting than the newspaper business. But thanks to the good people at the newspaper, I constantly read all about it. Every time someone wins an award or edges ahead in the readership race, it’s considered front page news. But for the massively overwhelming majority of us who don’t work at newspapers, it’s about as interesting as a pizza flyer. The editor of the Times doesn’t give a shit about my day at work; what makes him think I give a shit about his? It’s blatant self-indulgence, a masturbatory exercise. Everyone else in the world masturbates in private, newspaper editors should too.

Low-Carb Beer Drinkers
At first I couldn’t believe the beer companies were dumb enough to make this. Then I couldn’t believe that people were dumb enough to buy it. How many carbs does a regular beer have? You have no idea. Seven? Four hundred? But you’re convinced that low-carb beer will help you lose weight. Your problem is not that beer has too many carbohydrates, your problem is that you drink too much, you drunken tubby bastard. UPDATE: Angryman is right, people have no frickin’ idea what carbs are

News Stories About Siamese Twins
Are we still living in the 1920’s when medical rarities constituted fascinating stories? Are Barnum and Bailey programming the news? It’s just two people stuck together. Sometimes the doctors can separate them; sometimes they can’t. Leave ’em alone. What bugs me even more is news stories about “conjoined twins”. Producers who are quite prepared to parade people around the six o’clock freakshow news don’t want to offend anyone by calling them Siamese. Until two people who aren’t conjoined decide to get stitched together, I don’t want to hear another story about Siamese twins.

Standing Ovations
I shouldn’t have to hate standing ovations. But good lord do I ever. Tony Blair, when addressing the US Congress received 19 standing ovations during his 32 minute speech. George Bush received 6 in the first six minutes of the last state of the union address. A standing ovation is meant to be reserved for the best of the best. This should automatically exclude the following from receiving them: 1) all school productions (I’ve seen your kids, they’re not that cute) 2) speeches by presidents who say “nukular” 3) concerts from local musicians 4) amateur plays. Most performers and speakers aren’t that good and you devalue those who are when you arbitrarily dish out standing o’s. I propose that everybody get a lifetime quota of three ovations that they can bestow on performers. No more. It might make people think twice before they stand up and start clapping like idiots for a kid hitting a tambourine.

Avalanche Safety Advocates
Originally I was planning to put avalanche victims on the list, but that was a bit harsh even for me. The key message here is if you don’t like avalanches, stay the hell off snowy mountains. Did you know that as you’re reading this, people are lobbying to get funding increased for avalanche awareness, avalanche safety and daily avalanche reports? I can understand that it’s very sad to lose a loved one in an avalanche, but if your loved ones hang out in avalanche-prone mountainous areas, this is the kind of thing that happens. Here’s your avalanche report: move to Texas.

Few things in life make me angrier than Oprah Winfrey. I find it faith-shakingly disturbing that tens of millions of women turn to an overweight former local television reporter with an enormous head and an even bigger ass for the final word on moral, ethical, spiritual and educational matters. She has a lot of fans. The word fan is derived from fanatic, the same word we use to describe people who commit mass murder as an act of devotion. If you can find a word that describes the show-opening frenzy of screaming and cheering better than fanaticism, please let me know. And what qualifies Oprah to be the leader of this brainless mass of hysterically shrieking devotees? She’s good at selling advertising. It’s the only measure of success in the TV business, and the only reason anyone stays on the air.

Oprah’s Book Club
Here’s a tip for aspiring authors: if you want to sell a million copies, write a novel about a sexual abuse victim dying of breast cancer. Instant book club selection. Instant best seller. It could be the worst book ever written and it wouldn’t matter.

American Bombs
The bombs that the United States is dropping these days are more expensive than the things they’re blowing up. It would have been cheaper to buy Iraq than it was to demolish it. Here’s your money, and we want all you Iraqis out of here by Friday. Explain to me why it’s more acceptable to spend taxpayers money killing people than helping people. But in the age when governments cut welfare and throw vagrants in jail, I guess I can’t be surprised.

Young Fogies
Robertson Davies once complained that the world is full of young fogies, “…men who look young and everlastingly harp on the fact that they are young, but who nevertheless think and act with a degree of caution that would be excessive in their grandfathers.” Damn right Robertson. I hate these people too. They say things like “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” in their first week on the job. They obey the law without understanding the law. They like to reach consensus in order to spread the blame around. They remind you ad nauseam about the dangers of rushing in but are blind to the dangers of delay. They like to wait and see. They are dicks.

George Bush
It’s embarrassingly cliche to even say it, but George Bush makes me angry. Who else could tell Congress that they must “restrain spending and act in a fiscally responsible manner” in the same week that he announced his intent to ramp up the Star Wars system, build a moon base and send a manned mission to Mars? There are over 291 million people living in the United States of America. This is the guy they put in charge. How did he even make the short list? He’s not the smartest American, or the most organised, or the most inspirational or the best spoken, not the best looking, not the most economically savvy, and he’s demonstrated precious little service to his country. I’d be happier to see a President chosen using any of those selection criteria. I’d be happier to see the American Idol run the country. There’s something wrong with George Bush, and there’s something wrong with a system that selects him to lead a country.

The Porn Industry
I’m not mad at the porn industry for making porn, I’m mad at them for making porn boring. If your job was to make movies and websites featuring attractive naked women, wouldn’t you put a little effort into it? I’ve seen busdrivers, garbagemen and falafel-shop guys who do their jobs with dedication and panache. Can’t we expect the same from pornographers? For some non-formulaic interent porno, check out Suicide Girls to see how interesting porn can be when the models are in control rather than being manipulated by fat old white guys. Or try reading some porn at Literotica.

Cold Weather
Do you know how cold it was in Ottawa last week? Forty-five degrees Celcius below zero. That is so incredibly cold. On my way home from work, afraid that I wouldn’t survive the 15 minute walk, I started to think about just how cold -45 is. Think of ice. I think we can all agree that ice is pretty cold. Ice is in fact synonymous with extreme cold. Ice is zero degrees Celcius. Last week the air was 45 degrees colder than ice. How nuts is that?