Wednesday, April 30, 2008

#12 Gas Prices

Yeah, yeah, I know. This should've been number one on the list. But first of all, this list is in no particular order. And secondly, putting this at number one would've made this blog look waaaaaaay too predictable.

But yes, gas prices suck. As in more powerful than a Dyson sucks. And what pisses me off most about it, is that someone is getting filthy rich while the rest of us suffer through this "supply shortage." Puhleez. Shell and BP just posted record earnings this past quarter. Yeah, that's right...they made more money than they've ever made in a quarter before, while we suffer through this gas crisis.

Let's be honest: Right now, career politicians are trying to prey on your misunderstanding of how the system works, to get your vote. Right now, Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain are pushing for a "holiday" on the federal gas tax. Yep, they're telling you that if they can pull it off, they'll get rid of the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax for the entire summer. Sounds like a great deal huh? And they are trashing on Senator Obama for not supporting it. So, what's the deal? Is Obama an elitist who doesn't care how high gas prices get? Or is it because he knows what you don't know:
  1. That the federal gas tax is a tax levied on the oil producers...not the consumers. And there's no gaurantee that the producers will pass the savings on to you. They don't have to. Heck, they're gouging you right now and making record profits. Since when have they shown that they're in this for you?
  2. The average consumer would only save $28 during the entire summer, as a result of lifting the tax. That's a little over $9 a month. There's not a lot you can do with $9 these days.
  3. Lifting the federal gas tax would hit the Highway Trust Fund to the tune of $8.5 billion. So...we'd get rid of some of that annoying summer road construction. That doesn't sound too bad, right? Except that every billion dollars worth of Highway Trust Fund money supports 33,000 jobs. Multiply that times 8.5. What good is it going to do those 280,500 workers to save $28 on gas this summer, when they don't have a job anyway?

I'm not trying to get political here. I'm not playing favorites. I'm just saying that there are some politicians out there who are going to try to play your worries about gas prices right into their own political gains. Be prepared.

Meanwhile, we're the ones caught in the middle of this mess...and it's killing us. I just filled up my Jeep Wrangler for $48.98. It's getting to where I can barely afford to drive to work anymore. What a bunch of greedy bastards. But we also have to admit that we caused much of this problem by refusing to wean ourselves off this dependence for oil.

And don't even get me started on how our insistence on creating biofuels is creating a hunger crisis in this world. (Maybe that's a topic for a future Things That Suck.)

To try to help ease the pain a bit, here's a list of what others around the world are paying for a gallon of gas (in US dollars.)

  • Italy: $5.96
  • Norway $6.27
  • Ireland $4.78
  • Sweden $5.80

Gas Prices...You Suck...on a global basis!

Monday, April 28, 2008

#11: Non-Synchronized Traffic Lights

I really don't enjoy driving. Never have. Except maybe when the top's down on a convertible, on a gorgeous sunny day, miles of open road and no one else around. And...

No stoplights.

But let's face it, that's the exception rather than the norm.

The worst is driving on a stretch of road where the stoplights are not synchronized.

Depending on which route I take to work each day, I hit either 15 or 16 traffic lights. (Yes, I counted.) The frustrating part is that 8 of those are on the same stretch of highway. And every single one of those is less than a mile from the previous one. Less than a mile! So why oh why do I hit 5 of those lights red everyday? It's impossible to drive the posted speed limit and make the next light. Would it be too much to ask to be able to drive four or five miles without hitting a red light?

And there's one stretch where, if I push for 12-15 mph over the speed limit, I can make the next light. But guess what...that's where the traffic cops hang out. Tell me they don't know what's going on!

Sometimes I wonder if there's a guy sitting at a bunch of video monitors in a city office somewhere, watching us drivers...getting a kick out of tripping the lights just so we can't make the next one. Ha!

I suppose some people love the non-synchronized lights. Like the brake repair shops. They've gotta love all this start...stop...start...stop. Everytime we see a red light...they see green!

Let's be honest: Coordinating traffic can't be easy. But it seems to me that you should be able to drive the speed limit on major roads (highways, etc.) and make it through at least three lights without having to stop.

Non-synchronized Traffic Lights: You Suck

#10 Being Sick

I haven't posted for a few days. That's because I'm at home...sick as a dog. In fact, I'm lying in bed right now, with my laptop, putting this post together so you know that I haven't disappeared. But it won't be a lengthy post.

I already had a different #10 picked out and was ready to write about it, but given the circumstances, I will hold off and hopefully post that tomorrow. (If I can manage to climb out of bed.)

I hate being sick. I hate feeling achy and lethargic...almost lifeless. I'm going to go back to sleep.

Being sick: You Suck.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

#9 Showing Off Your Underwear In Public

Take a look at the picture to the left. Is there anything sexy about that? Honestly..tell me...cuz I don't see it.

What's the deal with people wanting to show us their underwear all the time? Are there really people who make a conscious decision to get dressed, spin around in front of the mirror and say, "Hmmm...I'm just not showing enough of my underwear?"

Some people call it a whale tail. I can only assume it's because it looks like a whale's tail sticking up out of the water. If I were a girl, I wouldn't want anyone looking at my butt and saying the word "whale." (But that's just me.)

Look, when I'm out in public, I really don't want to see your underwear. I don't care how lacy, frilly or sexy you think they are...keep 'em to yourselves.

Remember when we all used to joke about "plummer pants" and how disgusting and gross it was to see a man's butt crack when he bent over?

So, is it disgusting only when it's a big, hairy man butt? But sexy when it's a girl? I don't think so. I don't think it matters how nice your butt is. Butt crack is not for public consumption.

Don't get me wrong...I like a nice butt. But I don't necessarily want to be looking at a butt crack at the grocery store when you go digging through dairy section trying to find the best "use by" date on the milk jugs.

And it's not just girls who are doing it today. I was at a Chipotle restaurant recently, eating lunch with my wife. These two young boys came in and one of them had his jeans pulled so far down, it was almost pornography. I'm serious...just like the kid in the picture above. Only the boy in Chipotle was wearing boxer briefs. (Fruit of the Loom as a matter of fact.) I totally expected to find out we were on a hidden camera was just that silly.

All of the sudden, this lady gets up from her table, leaving her chicken burrito for a moment, walks up behind the boy while he was filling his drink cup...grabs his pants by the belt loops and pulls them up back over his butt. The kid, who must've been 13 if he was a day, looked horrified.

"Nobody wants to see your skinny little butt while they're eating!" The woman snapped at him. The boy sheepishly went back to his table and finished his lunch. I felt like applauding...but I figured the boy had suffered enough embarassment.

Let's be honest. There's a reason they call it UNDERwear. It's supposed to be UNDER your clothes. As in, out of sight. If I had a teenage daughter and she was prouncing around showing off her underwear where every man could see it, her wardrobe would be changed to one-piece jumpsuits faster than she can sing "tho-tho-tho-tho-thong!"

Have a little dignity.

People who show off your underwear in public: You Suck.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

#8: "Those" Commercials--Updated

You ever get that "not so fresh feeling?" You know what I'm talking about. That feeling that comes when you're watching your favorite TV show, only to be interrupted by a commercial for a "personal hygiene" item?

Man oh man. Some things used to be sacred. Used to be. Last night, I'm watching TV and a commercial comes on with a woman squirming around in her chair. The voice-over says:

"Got an uncomfortable itch? But you can't scratch it in public?"

Oh come on!!!

What has happened to television? We've got women talking about vaginal odor and some goober grinning from ear to ear because his "natural growth enhancement" pill is working. (I absolutely could NOT believe the Christmas commercial where the women are lining up to sit on Santa's lap because he took the enhancement pill.)

As I said, USED TO BE sacred. Ugh. Can we keep some things to ourselves?

Tampons, douches, vaginal cream, erectile dysfunction, incontinence name it. We'll talk about anything on TV these days.

Some of them even come with jingles. Take a look:

"Summer's Eve...brings back freshness everytime!"'s got a nice ring to it! Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

What about the abomination that they did to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas for the Viagra commercial? If he were really dead, he'd be rolling over in his grave!

Let's be honest. Yeah, these are natural things that happen to people. And yeah I'm glad that there's a product to help with these problems. But why oh why do we have to see these commercials? If you've got one of these problems, you can find the product. Trust me...if you really need it, you'll find it.

So can we just keep some things to ourselves? Let's get back to the commercials that make toys look much more fun that they actually are...and the ones that show unrealistically happy families sitting around the dinner table. Let's get back to car commercials that show drivers doing things we'll never be allowed to do without getting arrested. (Professional driver. Do not attempt. Then why show it on the commercial when you're trying to sell me the car?)

Sorry. I digress. The point is, there are plenty of other annoying commercials out there. Can't we stay away from anything that has to do with the area between the belly button and thighs?

"Those" commercials: You Suck.

UPDATE: I found a copy of the Christmas commercial I was talking I added it. Also...I thought of another one this morning. Couldn't believe it when I saw it. It was for one of those adult diapers (not sure if it was Depends or not), where a woman is stuck in traffic and has to go to the bathroom. The announcer says something like, "Good thing she's got her Depends" and then you see the woman just start smiling, as she's sitting in her car. She's peeing in the car!!! For crying out loud!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

#7: Hard Shell Plastic Packaging

Why? Why oh why do they use that awful hard-shell plastic packaging for so many products today?

I bought a flash drive a few weeks ago and for the life of me, I couldn't get the darn thing out of the package with my bare hands. So, I resorted to the teeth. good. Then I had to break out a box-cutter razor. So I sliced a hole in the package and then reached in with my fingers to pull the plastic pieces apart. Guess what? I cut my fingers on the plastic that I had just cut!

Ugh! I've heard the phrase, "wrap rage" to define how frustrating it is to try to open these things. I think that sounds about right! The Consumer Product Safety Commission says thousands of people are injured every year by trying to open these sealed plastic packages!

It's gotten so bad, some companies are selling products like the "Open X" just to help you open the other products you bought! (Oh...and in case you were wondering...the Open X comes in a cardboard package!)

Let's be honest: I know that retailers are demanding packaging that deters theft. But there has to be a better way, doesn't there? I mean, it's 2008 for crying out loud. Maybe we aren't to the point where we are driving flying cars or colonizing Mars, but you can't tell me that we can't come up with a better solution to plastic packaging!

Or maybe we can at least come up with a better use for it. What if clamshell plastic packaging was how we wrapped all nuclear weapons? Then we'd never have to worry about a nuclear war! Who's gonna take the time? Or think about how much weight we'd all lose if candy bars came wrapped in this stuff. But oh no! They want THAT to be easily accessible!

Hard Shell Plastic Packaging: You Suck.

Monday, April 21, 2008

#6: "Experts"

It seems these days almost anyone can call themselves an expert in something. But how often do we see these so-called experts completely getting it wrong?

Did you know that NASA spent over 125 million dollars on a Mars orbiter program...only to find out that their "experts" did the math wrong and sent the orbiter burning to ashes in the planet's atmosphere? Here's what's rich: Their downfall was that they actually had TWO teams of "experts" working on the orbiter program. But one team used metric units and the other used English units. Oops. There goes 125 million dollars! That's an expensive candle.

And how many times this campaign season have the political "experts" told us exactly how a primary race was going to go? Only to be completely wrong? New Hampshire's primary this year was a good example of that. Polls showed Hillary Clinton was going to get beaten pretty soundly by Barack Obama. It was going to be the impetus for her getting out of the race. Instead, Clinton clearly won New Hampshire and used it as a reason for why she should stay in.

Or how about those movie critics?

"You MUST see this movie!"

"An EXCITING thrill ride!"

So you spend your 8 bucks for tickets, 6 bucks for popcorn and 3 bucks for a soda...only to walk out feeling like you just got mugged. Critics for Norbit told us it was "Hysterically Funny"...yeah, cuz the first three movies with Eddie Murphy in a fat suit just weren't enough for us.

Sometimes, I think critics just like to hear themselves speak. Or maybe they just like toying with people's emotions. In the case of movie reviews, I know there's some sort of "prestige" that comes with having your quote on the movie poster or DVD cover.

Let's be honest: Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody's got one. Some are shallow. Some are deep. Some are fuzzier than others. But just because you have one, doesn't make you an expert. And it certainly doesn't mean I want to see it. Unless you know what you're talking about, please just keep it to yourself.

So-called "experts": You Suck.

Friday, April 18, 2008

#5 Cheesy Actors

C' know who they are. Bet you can name an actor that just oozes cheese everytime he/she is on screen.

Let's start with the obvious. David Hasselhoff. Seriously, that's just too easy. I think his middle name is Limburger. Ha! Wanna know what's funny? I was checking to make sure I spelled Limburger correctly and saw this definition:

A pungent semi-soft surface-ripened cheese.

C'mon! You can't make this stuff up! Think about how each one of those adjectives describe The 'Hoff so perfectly. Pungent: acting stinks. Semi-soft: He's a little muscular, but a little flabby too. Surface-ripened: Does that not refer to the year-round tan? Ha!

Okay, our second Cheesy Actor of the Year Award goes to:

CSI: Miami's David Caruso. Dude...what's with the raspy whisper? Did they not teach you to enunciate and speak up in acting school? Oh, who am I kidding? Did this guy even go to acting school? And what's the obsession with taking off and putting on the sunglasses?

Here's a fun drinking game: watch an episode of CSI:Miami and you have to take a shot everytime Caruso touches his sunglasses.'ll be wasted before it's over! The fact that he even posed for this picture proves the level of cheesiness that is David Caruso.

Alright, we need a girl to pick on just to make it fair. Hmmm...let's see. There's just so many! Carmen Electra...yep. Sharon Stone...for sure.'s hard to use her name and the word actress in the same sentence. Tara Reid...oh definitely. Lindsay Lohan...yeah, she's up there.

But the Cheesiest Actress of the Year Award is actually a tie! Between one of the prettiest and one of the richest women to ever taint the silver screen:

First, the prettiest. Yeah, Jessica Simpson is beautiful. But is that reason enough to put her on the big screen? (Don't answer was a rhetorical question!) Seriously, it's one thing to put her in a makeup's a whole other to ask her to portray a character and deliver lines like she's not an 3rd grader reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now the richest. Paris Hilton. Ugh. Proof positive that, if you've got money, you can buy your way into a movie or television series. Because let's face it, this poor girl doesn't have an ounce of talent in her body. And don't even bother asking me how long it took to find a photo of her online that was appropriate to post here. Geez! Personally, I don't even find her remotely attractive either. The word "skanky" does come to mind though.

Let's be honest: Acting isn't easy. But the good ones make it look easy. And there are enough good ones out there that we shouldn't have to shell out 8 bucks to see these lifeless, charisma-less dolts single-handedly destroy the profession.

Cheesy Actors (And Actresses): You Suck.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

#4 Ridiculously Loud Car Stereos

First, let me say that I play my car stereo loud...really loud. I have a bass booster and a nice amp...even an overhead speaker toolbar. So I likes me some loud music!

But I always turn it down when I'm stopped at a red light.

My music is for's not for you. Even though it's much cooler than the Linda Ronstadt you're singing along to in your mini-van. ;-)

No, this isn't about playing loud music in your car. This post is for those guys who fill their trunk with ridiculously large speakers that rumble bass so loud that it hurts to be sitting next to them at the stop light.

Tuesday, on my way home from work, I was sitting at a light, pretending I know all the words to Nickelback's song, Rock Star, when I suddenly felt my car moving. My stomach was vibrating. (Okay, it was jiggling...but do we really have to get that specific?) And seriously, I thought my head was going to split open. This kid pulls up next to me with his ridiculous bass pumping system, crouched down in the driver's seat with oversized sunglasses on and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I honestly don't know how this system wasn't hurting him. I bet he goes home complaining of headaches all the time.

Here's what I don't get: (And I realize I might sound like an old fogey here, but stay with me for a sec.) Can they hear the song? Cuz it seems to me that they've got the bass cranked so much that they can't hear the rest of the music that's being played. I play my music loud (not at stoplights)...but it's mixed to where I can hear the guitars, the drums, the bass, vocals, keyboards...whatever. But I honestly couldn't hear anything coming out of this car but bass. Maybe it wasn't even a song. Maybe it was just a music track of bass thumps over...and over...and over...again.

Let's be honest: How you listen to your music is up to you. I don't really care if you want to render yourself deaf before you turn 25. But how *I* listen to your music does concern me. And there's no reason for you to crank your bass system as you're sitting in the drive-thru or at a red light for all to hear. Be respectful. Turn it down. You can destroy your own ears while you're driving along if you like. But don't force me to listen to it while I'm trapped at a stop light.

Ridiculously loud car stereo systems: You Suck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

#3 Campaign Season

Anyone who has known me for awhile has probably heard me say it:

"The only thing I hate more than politicians."

Campaign season is terrible and this year's presidential primary campaign seems to be the worst. All the pandering to would-be voters...the lies...the flip-flopping...the mudslinging. And the ads...oh, the ads. I'm so sick of hearing about who's going to take the 3am call. Ugh. It's enough to make you scream. Go ahead...let out a little scream right's okay.

I'm going to pick on all three candidates, so I make sure I offend everyone. :-) we go. Sorry, but when I see Hillary Clinton hanging out at the bar throwing back shots with "the locals", I just have to laugh. When else would you see Hillary at your local bar? Puhleez! But come campaign season, she's rubbing elbows with us "common folk", telling us how she understands our hardships. This from the woman who, along with her husband, has made $109 million in the past four years. Yeah...she gets me.

And Barack Obama could not have looked more out of place at the local bowling alley. He's throwing gutterballs and slamming watered-down beer with chili cheese fries like it's a regular Saturday night for him. How much you wanna bet he was barfing like a supermodel as soon as the cameras left? Ha! But kudos for not wearing the bowling shirt for the local bowling league championship team. How is it he can make those bowling shoes look good?

And then comes John "I'm not George Bush but I'm just like George Bush" McCain...who many have nicknamed the "pander bear" because of his incessant trait of "becoming just like whomever he is around." The chameleon candidate. Oh, and did you see him on Idol Gives Back? He got in a little jab at Simon, so he gets kudos there. But you could tell the man has never watched an episode of American Idol in his life.

So why? Why do politicians who desperately want us to vote for them spend months of pretending to be someone they're not? Are voters so stupid that they buy into the "he/she's just like one of us" routine?

Let's be honest. Seriously. How about a politician who comes out and says it like it is?

"Hey, I don't know what life's like for you. I'm rich. When I want
a drink, I pour myself a shot of 100 year old Scotch that I keep in the
wetbar in my house...not the pub down the street. I don't bowl.
I don't watch the popular tv shows. I didn't even know that
there was such a thing as chili cheese fries. I wear $1000 suits.
But, I do know a thing or two about running a successful organization.
And I can see areas of improvement for this country that I believe I can offer."

Would that be too much to ask? Apparently so.

Campaign season...You Suck.

#2 Local Commercials

It never fails. No matter where I travel in this country (and I travel a lot), as soon as I plop down in my hotel room and turn on the TV, there it is...the local commercial. You can recognize it right away.

The worst is the local car dealer. Talk about a walking, talking cliche'. Just switch over to any local station and he's there...with his greasy hair, standing in front of a line of used cars, shouting at the camera. Sometimes he wears a costume. Sometimes he's riding a horse. But he's always there. And is it just me, or do they all buy hair creme at the same place? Is there a brand of hair gel just for used car salesmen?

And when the screaming cheeseball isn't enough, they start with the kids (usually pre-pubescent twins who monotonely drone on about how "their daddy is the best car dealer ever!") and the animals. I've seen dancing dogs, talking cats and yes, even a yodeling camel.
Probably the worst local commerical I've ever seen, is Eagle Man:

But car dealers and insurance companies aren't the only ones. Here's a commercial for a local furniture store that's just awful:

That's 30 seconds of my life I'll never get back.

Lets be honest. Yeah, maybe they help make the name of the business memorable. But do you really want to do business with grown men who ride carpet rolls and lay eggs on cars?
I used to work in television. And it doesn't matter how much you tell the client that he shouldn't be in his own commercial...these guys insist on it! I don't know if its ego or the fact that they're just too cheap to fork over money for a quality spot. Probably both.

Local television commercials...You Suck.

Monday, April 14, 2008

#1 Teen Superstars

I think there are fewer things in this world more nauseating than a teenager who has become a pop icon for no other reason than mommy and daddy had money or influence. Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears (though she's not a teen anymore) are a couple of good examples.

Our media-soaked children suck up the drivel that these teen pop stars ooze out like it's a free-flowing AirHeads candy dispenser.

Let's be honest...Britney Spears' first project came out and she was all cute and adorable. Then the record label found out that boys were buying it because they thought she was, dare I say, "sexy." Then off came the clothes...all of the sudden you couldn't find the wholesome apple pie faced girl anymore. It was cleavage-bearing blouses and short skirts. And it's only gone downhill from there. Now, she couldn't sell an air conditioner to a desert rat without a picture of her half naked on it.

And Miley Cyrus...are you serious?
Her dad was the Achy Breaky cheeseball of country pop that we all laughed at--and some line-danced to. Who allowed him to procreate? So now he's parading his daughter ala Hannah Montana on stage for an entire generation of simpletons who couldn't care less that she can't sing to save her life. Did you see her on Idol Gives Back? Does the kid even know how to sing?

This weekend, as my son was watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was also bombarded with the pathetically predictable Naked Brothers Band of tweens as they slopped their way through the "I Don't Want to Go to School" anthem. Geez...who could've predicted that jingle from a 12 year old?

It doesn't take much to market to children. Flash it up, give it a predictably hooky song and you've got 'em. But record labels have never feared stooping for the lowest common denominator. (And our music industry wonders why it's dying a slow and miserable death.)

Teen superstars (and those who "create" them) You Suck.