in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to people who just don’t know how to act with their trucks and their conversations

so, time to do this thing again: the good old house of hate “open letter to (insert group here).” now, i admit i am, as always, way behind on my updates. the “dates” these things get published are almost 100% fiction at this point. but to be clear, don’t think i am running with this because i am trying to catch up: these things happened, your hero (that would still be janklow at this point) got TOTALLY OUTRAGED, and thus the internet must be informed. so, without any further delay or unnecessary introduction, we should get right to it, no?

and now, janklow with an open letter to the people who have been seriously out of line regarding the use of their trucks and how they chat recently.

giant trucks, parking like jerks
fuck you, people who drive and park poorly with their trucks, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not understand how to park your cars like reasonable people? do you not understand how to drive them like responsible adults? and do you not understand where and how to have a chat about long-winded, emotional matters? do you not know that we’re living in a society? and that we’re supposed to act in a civilized way?

so let’s talk about a couple of things:

what the fuck are you people doing with your trucks

now, i know we’ve all been in that situation where you’re trying to park and you see some guy’s EXCESSIVE pick-up taking up two or three spaces and you think, “man, who the hell does this guy think he is?” while this is incredibly rude, and while i will never truly understand why someone wants to park in a public place with a massive truck, on some level i can understand that MAYBE you have this truck for legitimately reasons and MAYBE you can’t afford multiple cars and MAYBE this means you have to take that giant truck when you want to go out to dinner or to the movies or whatever else you’re doing. FINE. i will come to terms with this. but i have two remaining issues:

one, there’s an intersection where i work that’s on the way out, which means it sees a fair amount of cross traffic; if nothing else, this means one would like to be able to see both ways to avoid getting mashed in my tiny little compact car. and yet, at least two of the guys who work in the building near this intersection have been parking alongside this intersection in a way that obstructs one’s view because they drive MASSIVE GODDAMN TRUCKS. now, i don’t know why they park on the road as opposed to in their parking area; this concept alone does not sadden me. but there’s plenty of roadside parking near this facility that’s not RIGHT NEXT TO THE INTERSECTION. this is just unacceptable.

two, one day after i drive home after another day of dodging those trucks, i pull up at a local intersection that’s notorious for the number of accidents that occur there (per capita, at least). it’s one where there’s a turn lane on the right hand side that’s meant for people to turn without stopping for the majority of traffic, but which, as we all know, is primarily used by people who want to zoom ahead of their fellow man. this particular day, though, it’s not the average car or SUV, but rather a MASSIVE GODDAMN TRUCK … that’s hauling a fucking giant trailer. A TRAILER. do i need to break down how absolutely inconsiderate this is to everyone who’s trying to drive like normal? fuck that guy.

how the fuck you people are having your conversations these days

so i’m stopping to fill my car with gasoline (and presumably asking myself how i shall be getting INCREDIBLY OUTRAGED today), and upon walking into the station, i realize that i find myself running the gauntlet of four or five men who have stationed themselves on both sides of the entrance, and are having some kind of emotional meeting. while i would like to say that i respect their ill-advised decision to have an emotional meeting in a gas station, i would really prefer if people could do so in a manner that doesn’t force me (or anyone else) to run through the midst of a crowd of middle-aged men talking breathlessly. i honestly don’t think that is THAT much to ask. but maybe that’s just me?

now i do understand that sometimes you have a spontaneous meeting in public that evolves into an impromptu conversation that takes a surprising amount of time, but typically, considerate people nudge that conversation out of the way of everyone else. further (and as i said on the internet prior to this), if they were having some kind of conversation about Serious Business (for example, discussing which of their team of Bad Enough Dudes was going to rescue the president), i’d be fine with it, but this looked like it was going to break out into uncontrollable sobbing within the next ten minutes.

WHEW. i feel better. also, things that have nothing to do with this…

Savage 110

like i always say, it’s not a Super Bowl party until someone sells you a rifle. i suppose, what with all the recent legislation, that i should just embrace the scoped, deer rifle thing all the fudds have going on. so here we go! this will, of course, last until i get something cooler.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to this guy with the saddest pair of sweatpants in America

recently, because i live the kind of turbo-cool lifestyle i need to post about on the internet the MOMENT it happens, i did this thing where i saw something colorful happen (a ridiculous individual who was INCREDIBLY excited about his awkward scooter), posted mockingly about it on the internet (go go social networking, the gift that keeps on giving, if by giving you mean “this shit has never done anything of consequence for us), and THEN proceeded to do the “Bruce McCullough’s idea” thing with the event. it was sort of a cross between an actual update and something i spent 13 seconds crafting on Facebook to get some cheap laughs (and it at least got a couple), and frankly, while i am not that proud of it … eh, it’s an update. i think it worked out okay.

…and so i’ve decided to do the exact same thing: sad observation followed by salty internet observation followed by the “Bruce McCullough’s idea” thing. it can only get old if someone reads it and decides to tell me it’s gotten old. and this will never happen!

and now, janklow with an open letter to the sweatpants-wearing gentleman i witnessed making fun of an outfit worn by a random woman he worked with.

someone's sweatpants, i guess
fuck you, sweatpants, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not comprehend the contradiction between looking like a ridiculous mess and calling someone else out for dressing like a ridiculous mess? did you think your awful attempt at comedy was worth making such a contradiction come to pass in a world where we ought to place some value on logic and reason?

so basically, if i can lay out the background for this rant, what happened was that our hero overheard a large man in an office setting begin to make fun of the outfit being worn by a female co-worker of his. in my humble opinion, this situation raises a series of problems.

I. the issue of being so fucking loud
granted, i have been identified as “too sensitive” on occasion by an old lady who is usually very nice and kind, but who is clearly wrong and maybe a jerk on this point where i am being called too sensitive, because to hell with THAT. however, either way, i view it like this: even IF i am too sensitive, there’s a point where i think one should note their behavior is inappropriate in an office. this joke-making man, however, believes that every conversation he has should take place at a maximum volume, including the one where he’s making fun of how a woman is dressed.

now, let’s say this was all 100% joke: don’t you think it sounds different to walk up to a lady’s work area and, at a volume correct for one-on-one conversations, playfully tease her about her apparel choices, as opposed to screaming about them so loudly that someone like, say, your narrator can hear the whole exchange fifty feet away even though he has NOTHING to do with this matter? because the former implies a friendly relationship, whereas the latter is basically you being a giant bully… and this is presuming you’re actually just a loud-as-hell friend and not a jerk. and then…

II. the issue of looking and dressing like a disgrace
leaving aside the issue of volume, if one is going to start mocking a woman’s outfit out of nowhere (let us note that this classy gent approached the woman and launched immediately into his joke-making), i would hope that person would at LEAST not be a disgrace of a man whose idea of a classy outfit is a tastefully-soiled t-shirt tucked into a pair of sweatpants that can be charitably described as “inadvertently skin-tight” or perhaps “threatening to dissolve completely,” both of which seem to be the result of one’s body being composed of what appears to be some kind of Lovecraftian horror, or maybe a whole lot of sausage. or maybe a whole lot of horrifying Lovecraftian sausage? (the latter part of this paragraph is verbatim what i used before because, hey, should you tamper with perfection?)

now, to be fair, you can dress like a bum or Chechen warlord (guilty on both counts, i think) and still recognize that someone else is dressed poorly, just like you can be in terrible shape and note that someone else is as well. but typically, the 600-pound man realizes he’s not in a position to walk up to a 500-pound man and start ripping on him for being chubby. so when your clothes look like they’re being tortured for their past sins (to whatever extent someone’s clothes can have sins, i guess), you should MAYBE resist the urge to bash clothes being worn by someone else for being ill-fitting. didn’t you notice that situation in the mirror that morning?

III. the issue of randomly mocking the way ladies dress at all
in short, it’s pretty much lame to be doing this, no matter what. okay, okay, there are always going to be woman who are dressing in ways they absolutely should NOT be, and it’s pretty likely that i will violate my “LEAVE THOSE WOMEN ALONE” policy by mocking the hell out of those women. so perhaps the lesson is more along the lines of “if you’re going to do this, actually be funny.” because honestly, the greatest crime committed by those making lame jokes is that of not being funny.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to this guy with a scooter

recently, our hero janklow was at one of the local fueling stations here in semi-rural Maryland (admittedly, this introduction does not speak of the most exciting lifestyle being possessed by yours truly) when i witnessed a rather large man who was fervently singing the praises of his mode of transport to several people, most of which appeared not to know who the hell this guy was, outside of the gas station. this is weird, but not SAD, i suppose… until you realize that said mode of transport was a bright blue scooter (brand not recalled because, let’s face it, who gives a damn about scooters). now, look, it’s a free country and you drive what you like, but i am still going to call it ridiculous.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the morbidly obese gentleman i witnessed extolling the virtues of his scooter to random people at a gas station.

random blue scooter
fuck you, scooters, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not realize how ridiculous you look or sound? i know there’s something to be said for not getting wrapped up in the views and opinions of others, but i think we’re going well beyond the acceptable standard for that when we start to co-sign nonsense like “living the kind of lifestyle that involves a grown man motoring around on a bright blue scooter!”

look, let me tell you some things i understand about scooters:

01. they get phenomenal gas mileage. yes, random scooter guy, i heard you making this point, and i know it’s correct. in fact, i used to work with ANOTHER guy who rode a scooter to work and spent a lot of time defending this decision to those of us who would taunt and boo him until our throats were sore. his major (and possibly only) point was that he got some unrealistic amount of miles per gallon from that scooter; i don’t remember what it was, but let’s say he claimed it was hundreds of miles per gallon. my counterpoint is very simple: great, but this doesn’t change any of the NEGATIVE stuff i’m about to say about scooters. and it’s not like your only choices in life are “awful, awful scooter” or “giant, gas-guzzling pick-up truck.”

so sir, while i admit that scooter must get phenomenal gas mileage, it’s still a scooter and the combination of you and it look completely ridiculous.

02. they lack the aspects of a car that protect you from the weather and/or other drivers. remember that co-worker i mentioned? he would drive to work ON THE GODDAMN BELTWAY on this scooter. forget how you look or the lack of comfort (i can’t imagine a scooter is as comfortable to drive long distances as a car is), what about the harsh elements and/or psychos driving into you with their motor vehicles? my economy-class car might not provide me THAT much protection… but it’s still going to handle a collision with another car better than a scooter will. and yeah, guys manage to drive motorcycles in the cold and the rain and so on, but i think we all know they have to acknowledge and accept those things. that’s why, for example, they dress the way they do, although even that results in people being mocked furiously for their over-the-top “motorcycle outfits.”

so sir, given the lack of protection that scooter will give your bloated physique, i cannot fathom what would occur were you to ride it, say, on the beltway in rush hour in a storm … except that i actually can, and i picture it prominently featuring the recovery of your ill-used corpse.

03. you look RIDICULOUS on a scooter. everyone does, that’s part of what you embrace when you decide to become a scooter guy. that said –and this is not to rag excessively on the plus-sized members of the American tribe– there’s still a difference between a regular guy on a scooter and a guy who weighs 300+ pounds on a scooter. let us not pretend we don’t know what i am talking about.

and finally…

04. there’s no reason to be so goddamn EXCITED about your scooter. you know what kind of things are suitable for making you run around and accost random dudes at a gas station for the purpose of demanding they listen to you? having a child, i guess, and maybe winning the lottery, although the latter might just get you kidnapped. THAT IS THE LIST. when i get a new gun, i’m turbo-excited about it, but i don’t run around demanding people who i have never met listen to my heated extolling of how wonderful those guns are. although i suppose that would make you sound a little crazier than ranting about your scooter.

so in closing, sir, i hate your scooter SO MUCH. and speaking of things i am not supposed to rave at random gas station customers about…

Tantal & M57

things got very Soviet-style-but-not-quite-Soviet around here this time of year with this adorable little Tantal (kind of like an AK-74, but more Polish) and a companion in the Yugoslavian M57 (kind of like a Tokarev, but with better magazine and safety features). now, if only the support for AK-74 clones was as robust as the support for AK-47 clones. oh well…

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to damn lazy kids with parents unnecessarily spoiling them

recently, our hero janklow was attempting to drive to work in the morning when- well, honestly, i could probably start a LOT of “open letters to” rant-style posts with “something that made janklow LOSE HIS GODDAMN MIND while driving” events, because if there’s one thing in this world not named “David Miscavige” that makes me completely loose it, it’s Maryland drivers: the Worst Human Beings Ever, excepting of course, myself, and all those whom i hold dear in this world, unless i have specifically told you that you, yes, YOU, are one of those shitty Maryland drivers. chances are most of you Marylanders have heard this by now.

ANYWAY, recently, our hero janklow was attempting to drive to work in the morning when he realized a very sad fact about this modern world we live in, a fact that a) deeply upset and saddened me on some fundamental level, and even worse, b) slowed my drive to work, a sin that is truly unpardonable.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the parents driving their children to the school bus.

the noble American minivan
fuck you, minivans, fuck you

well, why do you do it? are you all some sort of jerks or something? obviously you’re not the kind of jerks who hate your children and split your time either beating them with random objects from your home or outright neglecting them, but you’re the kind of jerks that are turning them into terrible, terrible human beings by spoiling them unnecessarily in the most ridiculous of ways. wait, what the hell am i talking about? well, let me elaborate!

so when janklow drives to work, he takes some roads that, while a little longer and more winding, generally work out well due to a lack of traffic and the related bane, traffic lights. people keep telling me that no matter what i think, my route is longer AND slower, and in response, i can only say that i wish all those people would consider that… well… SHUT UP, that’s what! anyway, this route features a large amount of suburban-to-rural homes, so while it’s good much of the time, when you hit that magic “here come the school buses” hour, you’re bound to suffer from the ill effects. this, however, is okay: it’s the way school buses, and we all have to accept that.

however, while waiting behind a bus this morning, i had the experience of watching every single parent drive their child to the road where the bus picks them up. say what? okay, maybe when you’re in a neighborhood where you’re set some distance from the end of the road AND you’re paranoid about your child’s safety, i can sort of see the point, although when i was a child, all those kids dealt with just walking themselves to the bus stop, and i don’t think any of them were worse for it.

…but then there are the parents who hop into their massive SUV (or maybe minivan, but i mostly see SUVs doing this, and really, they’re more offensively gas-guzzling, so picturing a Suburban will help you get more riled up here) and drive their children 50 feet down their driveway to deliver them to the school bus… and there are a lot of them. so many, in fact, that on a ten-minute drive, i might see 8 parents do this… out of a total of 10 kids getting picked up (the other two having marginally more excessive driveways). to this i must ask: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

first, there’s the basic “why don’t you let your goddamn children get some very easy, very basic exercise,” which frankly, if we’re talking about concern for the safety of the children, would ALSO benefit the parents. now, i’ve considered the possibility that these parents are more concerned with their laziness than their child’s exercise, but a strictly LAZY parent would just stay in their damn house and let their wiener kids walk themselves to the bus, so there must be a mixture of “shameful laziness” and “concern, i guess” involved here.

second, i understand you want to spoil your kids –i mean, think of poor Johnny, forced to walk FIFTY FEET to the PUBLIC SCHOOL BUS in SEVENTY-FIVE DEGREE WEATHER where there was a BIRD somewhat NEARBY– but there’s a difference between not denying them reasonable things (like “food” and “air,” i guess) and spoiling them in that way where they end up thinking they’re the be-all and end-all of the universe and, even more importantly, grow up to bother me when i’m out in public, which is something i try to keep to a minimum, since the public is absolutely jam-packed with your goddamn annoying kids, people.

third, i know a lot of us were raised on panicking about STRANGER DANGER abducting your children, and it’s really, really hard to get people in their thirties and forties to let go of that regarding their kids… but again, there’s no reason not to just walk about there with them or god forbid, keep an eye on them FROM your house that’s a whopping 13 feet away from the bus stop.

also, ironic note: one of these fathers today zoomed out of his driveway in his minivan, WILDLY INTO TRAFFIC (which included myself), and began honking like a madman until the bus stopped and he could let his kid run from his van to the bus (which was MAYBE ten feet past his house and which was assuredly making more stops down the line). now, i know this wasn’t about safety as much as “damn it, i don’t want to have to drive my stupid wiener kid to school myself,” but i still find it ironic that a parent who’s maybe the only non-overprotective one in the bunch (on the grounds that he wasn’t sitting there with his kid in the minivan at the end of his 20-foot drive) almost got his kid killed in a car accident.

okay, i feel better now. i’ll get over it, i guess. still, make your damn kids exercise.

at least i’ll be able to make myself feel better with this:

S&W 29-2

ooo… papercraft Travis Bickle is SO JEALOUS. also, an interesting study has developed from the purchase of this fine S&W product: women (with one exception) all think this hand-cannon is “excessive,” whereas men all want to shoot it, like, right now, preferably into something that will explode in a way that’s really, really cool. in summation, i think women (with one exception) have problems.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to road repair

recently, our hero janklow was attempting to drive to work in the morning when he came into contact with some road repair being performed by the illustrious members of the Maryland State Highway Administration. it… did not go well. the major problem, however, was that i’m not exactly sure who i should be blaming for some of the specifics of this situation, causing our hero to fume with impotent rage… and i think we all know what THAT means.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Maryland State Highway Administration
fuck you, man(s), fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerks or something? do you not understand what various times of day mean and are called? or the very concept of detouring traffic around obstructions? or is there some kind of “blah blah blah lazy government workers blah blah blah” commentary i should be getting into here? alright, alright, point made; let me break this down.

the initial road that janklow drives to work has the misfortune of having only one lane in either direction, but a respectable amount of traffic nevertheless; some would probably say too much traffic, although those people tend to be either a) older folks or b) janklow. Maryland’s State Highway Administration has been telling us for some time that there would be impending road closures at night due to, you guessed it, nighttime repairs. the morning in question, however, has led me to believe that the State Highway Administration has some sincere problems.

problem one: apparently no one at the SHA knows what “night” means

as in, it’s eight in the morning… so why are the roads closed? why are we still doing repairs? now i SUPPOSE there’s some legitimate reason to explain all this, like delays or something… but let me just say this: if i can’t even SEE any work being done, it’s hard for me to believe that there are CURRENT repairs going on this morning. it’s fair to say that i am not America’s most trusting soul.

problem two: apparently no one at the SHA knows how a detour works

i initially followed a detour that went on… and on… and on… before being forced to abrupt stop in a massive backup that led me to believe the initial plan by the SHA was something along the lines of “eh, direct everyone down into the swamp region of this county indefinitely and hope everything works out.” i admit this is an optimistic portrayal of their thought process –i suppose it’s equally likely people were just high– but i submit it bespeaks poor planning.

so our hero then decided to follow some available back roads, which a) found him being a school bus, b) led to the discovery of surprise detour signs, and c) ultimately deposited us back at the original detour. i really, really want to believe that this was done on purpose rather than accident, because then at least there’s some halfway-intelligent pranksters at work behind it all as opposed to some horrible, empty-headed entropy at work making all things more difficult for no rhyme or reason.

problem three: apparently someone at the SHA knows how a detour works ALL TOO WELL

after backtracking some ways to a traffic circle, our hero THEN discovered the following detour sign, which i shall now represent in cartoon map form:

the world's most awesome map!

…where the “joke detour” is where i found myself trapped in a cruel loop, and the “hidden detour” is a detour sign in the circle ONLY visible when you’re facing it. so i think we see how helpful THAT is.

then began a long, long meandering route that had randomly-located detour signs that seemed to point nowhere in particular AND sometimes directly in contradiction to the previously-seen detour sign. and i’ll just say this: i don’t have anywhere NEAR the world’s best direction sense, but i know this area a little… and i am pretty sure i left the state twice and saw one of those arching “here there be monsters” sea serpents during the course of following this detour.

ultimately, i HAVE to assume this was intentional, because it was too complicated to be solely the work of idiots. so, okay, Maryland State Highway Administration, you got me. i had to drive to Virginia and back and sit behind a school bus. YOU WIN THIS ROUND. KUDOS. and anyway, eventually i got to work and everything worked out okay…

…except for the part where i passed off all this off as a legitimate update. so the joke’s actually on you, loyal reader! AHAHAHAHAHA! wait… that’s probably not very conducive to repeat viewing. i’m sorry, loyal reader, you know i love you. i just get so FRUSTRATED sometimes.

J.Miles’ Choose-Your-Own-Update Adventure!

recently, given that the week ending in 07.23.2010 was somewhat truncated by people’s birthdays and/or the consumption of a reasonable amount of alcohol (not a heroic one, a feat that, while impressive, is limited to certain times and locales), myself and my colleague J.Miles were talking about this week’s update, and i came to the conclusion that there were two easy, mediocre options i could run with for the week, and that he could choose between them:

01. a continuation of last week’s “13 greatest white rappers of all time” update, wherein i culled some choice video selections to make my point about the quality and/or ridiculousness of said rappers;
02. a fairly unoriginal “ripped from the headlines” open letter update based around this whole “ground zero mosque” ridiculousness, which was bound to feature me being disgusted at some point.

in either case, i figured there would be a point where i would tire of BOTH concepts and that only one of them would ever get written, so i let the choice be his. and after some deliberation, J.Miles made his (perhaps unsurprising) choice:

and now, janklow with an open letter to all those people protesting the “ground zero mosque.”

ground zero mosque protest
fuck you, man(s), fuck you

well, why do you do it? are you all some sort of jerks or something? actually… let me pause here and have some background. this is the basic scenario in question: there is talk of building the Cordoba House, a community center that would basically be the Islamic version of a YMCA or Jewish Community Center, and it’s going to include “prayer space” (which let’s just assume is a political way of saying “mosque”). and it’s going to be located in New York City, where terrorism was once perpetrated by some Muslims, and now people are INCREDIBLY agitated about this. and this is where i say “America, what the fuck is your problem?”

now, granted, i am sure this taps into some very real emotions for people; a lot of the argument that’s getting ignored is logical, “let’s proceed based on the foundation of free speech and religious tolerance that this nation was supposedly founded on and continues to extol” stuff, but when people get emotional, they tend to forget that. but see, that’s when the politicians and commentators are supposed to keep a level head and NOT get caught up in all the raving about Muslims, something they’re clearly not doing because it’s much easier to score cheap political points.

there are already mosques in New York City; there are mosques as close as four blocks away from ground zero RIGHT NOW. a mosque in and of itself doesn’t have shit to do with a terrorist attack; neither does the average Muslim. as my dear friends at the classy Economist pointed out, “what about the hearts, and for that matter rights, of Muslim Americans? Even George W. Bush, for all his verbal infelicities and one unhappy choice of the word “crusade”, understood the importance of drawing the sharpest possible distinction between Islam and a murderous terrorist organisation that claims, but has no right or mandate, to speak in its name.” granted, they still don’t know a damn thing about gun rights, but they’re right about this.

this mess also led us, of course, to Palin’s “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up,’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.” look, Palin, here’s the deal: all those words/phrase suck ass, aren’t worth coining, and aren’t worth using. and if you’re equating yourself to Shakespeare… well, i don’t know where the fuck to begin with THAT one. this is a bit of a tangent, but goddamnit, can a person not just say “whoops, mistyped that” instead of pretending some intellectual-while-anti-intellectual gambit? fuck that nonsense.

the only thing i take issue with on the pro-mosque side that i can think of was a random note from a New Yorker that “the people of New York [were] the ones actually attacked on 9/11.” one, it’s legit to take an attack aimed at America that happens to strike New York City as an attack on America; two, people on the planes, in this area at the Pentagon, and from other nations (and thus probably not New Yorkers specifically) also got attacked and killed, so spare me the fucking “only New Yorkers can get emotional about 9/11” nonsense, dude, even if we agree about the mosque stuff.

also, if i may, i’d like to add two additional, brief open letters:

01. to the guy that came perilously close to hitting me in the face with an office door: hey, it wasn’t a big deal, because it wasn’t on purpose, and you didn’t hit me… until you shot me this disgusted look after you wildly swung the door into a hallway and almost hit me. YOU almost hit ME, you raging asshole, so you can spare me the fucking look, okay? i would say “go die in a fire,” but i gather that’s a little cliche on the internet at this point, so go die in a bear attack.

02. to the men and women that were merging like spoiled, bratty children on Route 97 today: i expected no less worse behavior than i got, but i am boiling with anger nonetheless; at some point i expect everyone to admit we’re living in a society! and we’re supposed to act in a civilized way! eh, again, i know the drill, everyone’s in such a fucking RUSH that they can’t work together to keep the traffic flowing, but i can’t help being disappointed; i suppose i’m just a hopeless romantic. guys, just try to keep in mind what Ray Liotta said in Cop Land: the goal is perpetual motion.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to literature

and now, janklow with an open letter to Nicholas Sparks in light of his commentary on his work and the work of others.

Nicholas Sparks

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you really not understand the difference between quality literature (such as that written by Cormac McCarthy) and terrible literature (such as that which you have written)? are you yet another author that doesn’t understand that merely comparing yourself to better authors does not make you a better author? do you understand that financial success (which i ultimately do respect from authors) is not the same as critical success? or that the amount of money you make is never going to make your writing better?

so let’s get into it: Nicholas Sparks – he of the Notebook and A Walk To Remember and Dear John and Message In A Bottle and, most infamously hated on by janklow, Nights In Rodanthe – has recently made some comments that are in danger of putting him on the Bill Callahan list. the Bill Callahan list, you ask? well, in the past i’ve commented on my great hatred for Callahan, and some of those who know me know i have declared i would fight Callahan on sight. but it’s not even a matter of CHOOSING to fight him; at this point i think it’s a primal, genetic response. if i was to be driving and see Callahan walking down the street, i probably wouldn’t be able to help myself: i’d slam on the brakes, leap out yelling a variety of profanity and fight him. and probably lose, but that’s besides the point.

so let’s get right to the article, because it is full of nonsense at which to rage:

Nicholas Sparks, Miley Cyrus share a ‘Last Song’ love story

LOS ANGELES — Nicholas Sparks has no love for people who call his stories “romances.” The mega-best-selling author of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and Message in a Bottle stands in the aisle of Book Soup, literally and figuratively defending his turf. “If you look for me, I’m in the fiction section. Romance has its own section,” he says toward the end of a long conversation. Sunshine streams in from Sunset Boulevard. He’s smiling. Hard.

what indicates a douchebag writer is when the guy starts claiming his work doesn’t deserve to be lumped into a section it clearly does. does anyone make the claim that the movies based on those books aren’t romance films? isn’t that the entire reason that all girls love the Notebook? and yet Sparks can’t admit that his successful romances are romances. for example, i know Stephen King wishes, deep down, he was a “serious” writer, but does he try to claim that ‘Salem’s Lot isn’t a horror book? “if you look for my book about the vampires, you’ll find me in the FICTION section!”

“I don’t write romance novels.” His preferred terminology: “Love stories — it’s a very different genre. I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance novels.”

oh come the fuck on. if you’re going to call your fake-as-hell genre “love stories,” then just call them romance novels and get into a discussion about how you’ve elevated them from some ridiculous Harlequin romance pulp into something that classy ladies love to read and touch themselves to before they drag their sad, sad husbands/boyfriends/whatever to in theater form. because at least MAYBE you’d have a point there.

Nights In Rodanthe
yeah, i don’t know how i could look at a cover like this and think “romance”

“Mmmmm, OK,” he says. “I think, above all, the characters in my novels feel universal to the readers. I feel as if, when they read them, they can feel — for instance, if you take The Last Song— that ‘I know a 17-year-old like Ronnie.’ And these characters are by no means perfect, but when the going gets rough, they do the right thing. People want to say, ‘I would do that.’ “

on the one hand, i see the point here, but on the other, it sort of seems like an excuse for boring, generic characters. shouldn’t your characters seem more unique? should they ALL “feel universal” as if you know them?

Sparks says: “I’m going to interrupt you there. There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.”

you know, when you’re telling someone how you “dominate” a genre of books – while earlier, mind you, you claimed that your novels inhabit this mysterious genre that you seem to have created and be the sole inhabitant of – and you’re telling them how “very rare” your ability to do so is, you yourself are the living embodiment of melodrama. see, Sparks, i don’t think you actually get the difference between drama and melodrama:

drama: “a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance” or “movie or television production with characteristics (as conflict) of a serious play; broadly : a play, movie, or television production with a serious tone or subject.” does this sound a little general? yeah, it should. drama doesn’t mean “evoking genuine emotion.” drama can be BADLY DONE.
melodrama: “a work (as a movie or play) characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization.” wow, doesn’t this sound kind of like something that would have “universal” characters and:

But, well, he always does kill someone by the end of his tales, usually to maximum handkerchief effect.

…and plots that predominate over their characters by their predictability.

“Of course!” Sparks says. “I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies. A thriller is supposed to thrill. A horror novel is supposed to scare you. A mystery is supposed to keep you turning the pages, guessing ‘whodunit?’ A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms.”

so now we have Sparks comparing himself to the great Greek writers and Shakespeare and Hemingway, and this is generally where i start getting annoyed. for one thing, it’s poor form: you should let others make such a comparison IF it is apt. for another, it’s shocking wrong. you have to write your shitty books the way you do because Greek tragedies were written a certain way? huh? there’s been NO progression in fiction ever? and third, you DO write in a genre defined by you! we started this piece with you claiming to write in this fucking fake “love stories” genre!

i’m not going to shed any tears for Jane Austin, however. i hate her works. garbage! that said, Shakespeare’s work needed a “human twist” from Austin? excuse me? was he writing about robots?

Ernest Hemingway
apparently this man is the closest author to the great Nicholas Sparks

That’s one of his favorites, and he points it out as he walks the aisles of the bookstore. “Hemingway. See, they’re recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It’s a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it’s not my cup of tea.” Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. “A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”

oh, excellent. when in doubt about your ability to convince anyone you’re a real writer with your own work to base that on, just think of a popularly renowned book and claim “that’s what i write.” what the hell is that even based on?

i’m reminded of that time when Ann Rice made a comment about how she didn’t need an editor because you wouldn’t imply that someone like Hemingway needed an editor… when Hemingway did, in fact, have a goddamn editor. if you’re going to compare yourself to a well-regarded author, at LEAST know what you’re talking about.

Cormac McCarthy? “Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”

…what.

i could get long-winded about this, but i’ll just boil it down to this: Nicholas Sparks, where the fuck do you get off making a comment like this? you are not fit to READ McCarthy’s books, you moron.

Even hearing a passage about a sunset in which “the mountains in their blue islands stood footless in the void like floating temples” doesn’t sway him.

BECAUSE HE IS A TERRIBLE AUTHOR AND A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING.

Cormac McCarthy
CORMAC MCCARTHY = GREATER THAN NICHOLAS SPARKS WILL EVER BE

Cyrus pipes up: “The Catcher in the Rye. That’s my favorite book.” She smiles. J.D. Salinger’s classic may be, by law, every 17-year-old’s favorite book.

mine was, incidentally, the Talisman. fuck it, i stand by the selection to this day.

Sparks’ favorite tale of youth? “I think A Walk to Remember,” he says, citing his own novel. “That’s my version of a coming-of-age.” He pauses and adds: “You have to sayTo Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time classic.”

seriously, you’re asked about your favorite youth work and you mention YOUR OWN GODDAMN BOOK? and then you pause to add another book that, while a good book, tells us nothing about your personal taste? maybe that latter part is too demanding – popular and well-regarded books tend to be popular and well-regarded for a reason – but you mention YOUR OWN GODDAMN BOOK as your all-time favorite? what the hell.

Any he thinks are overrated? “I don’t like to say bad things about others.” Except McCarthy? “He deserves it,” Spark says with a laugh.

Sparks, i hope all the bad things in life happen only to you.

Blood Meridian
unlike the Notebook, this is the kind of book people with intellects discuss

Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: “There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.”

but remember, he also says “I write in a genre that was not defined by me.” furthermore, he’s willingly cited his OWN BOOKS when asked about his favorites in fiction. now, i suppose he could presume he’s being asked solely about current authors (a fair assumption) and thus demure on those grounds… but then why not just say “oh, in my own genre? i like MY OWN TERRIBLE BOOKS!” because it’s not like you’ve proven reluctant about self-promotion, Sparks.

When others (James Patterson?) are suggested to him, he keeps his lips pursed.

it’s awesome to me that the equally-shitty-but-not-writing-books-like-Sparks’ Patterson is mentioned as a peer of his genre. this makes me smile.

Sparks cringes at the word: romance. But since it comes up again, isn’t he kind of splitting hairs with this whole “love story” vs. “romance” thing? “No, it’s the difference between Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet,” he says. “(Romances) are all essentially the same story: You’ve got a woman, she’s down on her luck, she meets the handsome stranger who falls desperately in love with her, but he’s got these quirks, she must change him, and they have their conflicts, and then they end up happily ever after.”

honestly, it seems like he thinks the difference between “love story” and “romance” is that the former has a sad ending and the latter has a happy ending. i also don’t think he should be criticizing anyone’s simplistic story-telling.

Some might say that’s the plot to Nights in Rodanthe, apart from the happy ending.

sounds like the interviewer’s even getting a little salty. awesome!

Sparks disagrees. “No, the themes in love stories are different. In mine, you never know if it’s going to be a happy ending, sad ending, bittersweet or tragic. You read a romance because you know what to expect. You read a love story because you don’t know what to expect.”

maybe it’s been a little while since i was in school studying all this literature stuff, but i really don’t think the difference in the way a book ends changes the “theme.”

Is it annoying when someone doesn’t see the distinction? “Uh, no,” he says. “But it has been a struggle.”

SPARKS, I HOPE ALL THE BAD THINGS IN LIFE HAPPEN ONLY TO YOU.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to football

it’s been noted a couple of times here on this illustrious blog that i am an Oakland Raiders fan; as one can imagine (and has also been noted a couple of times here), this has led to hardships of various types. some of this has been due to people i notoriously hate (such as Bill Callahan), some to this has been due to just overall poor play… and most of this has to do with JaMarcus Russell.

and now, janklow with an open letter to JaMarcus Russell.

JaMarcus Russell
fuck you, man, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not understand what you’re supposed to do as the quarterback for an NFL team? do you really not understand why you were repeatedly benched? are you that unappreciative of the vast amount of money you are guaranteed? or the opportunity that you have that many, many former college football players would love to have? mostly importantly, i guess: do you understand that now i cannot even see your fat face on the sidelines without getting ridiculously angry about it?

JaMarcus Russell
fuck you, man, fuck you

look, i wasn’t wild about the #1 overall draft pick thing; it wasn’t personal, i just think the pick itself is far too likely to produce a bust (or even a “bust,” who’s merely just a good player) and i didn’t think the Raiders were going to do anything great with it. and there’s always the questions about how well a rookie QB can adjust and adapt to the NFL when he goes to a bad team (which the Raiders were) and especially one with a questionable offensive line (which the Raiders had). so there was some sympathy there.

also, i made the tragic mistake of purchasing a Russell jersey, which, while i did because it was a phenomenal deal on an authentic jersey, is something that i consider to be bad luck. i mean, the guy hasn’t even played a snap for your team, right? doesn’t that scream jinx? luckily for me, then some things happened to ruin my sympathies.

–the holdout. yeah, remember this? here’s the deal: extended rookie holdouts are basically never good. they make you look greedy, they make you look spoiled, and, mostly importantly, they hinder your football development. forget the knee-jerk reaction to just label guys calling you greedy “haters” and make an argument in defense of maximizing your earnings; it hinders your development, and THAT hurts your earnings as well. and by holding out weeks into his first season, this is what Russell did. notice how he still sucks? exactly.

JaMarcus Russell
fuck you, man, fuck you

–the fatness. i don’t want to seem excessively harsh here, because it’s fine if people are fat. really, if that makes you happy, okay. but when you’re a professional athlete who’s guaranteed millions of dollars, i expect you to act like it … and one of the ways you do that is by showing up in shape to play football, especially when you’re a player who people are constantly accusing of being out of shape. as a fan, when you remain a huge fatty even in the face of your money and all those trainers and all the rest, it’s sort of insulting. plus, there’s also a factor where you’re huge – and i mean massive, not fat, because Russell is HUGE – and yet you’re unable to resist being sacked CONSTANTLY.

–the inability to care. for the love of god, man, you have GOT to have a little bit of fire in you to lead an NFL team … and yet Russell can’t be bothered to care. not when he’s losing, not when he’s getting benched, not when he’s being asked about a benching. seriously, you can get benched and not know why? you can complete less than half your passes, throw no touchdowns and a pile of interceptions, get constantly sacked … and not understand why you got benched?

Russell, here’s the bottom line: you honestly seem like a fairly nice kid, i’ve never heard of you doing anything downright BAD in either college or your NFL days, and i can’t fault you for being drafted high and thus getting paid and started. but you are so worthless and terrible at football that i need you to just go away. i get immediately furious when i see you starting now. it would be best for both of us if you would just stop playing football.

also, while i don’t have the material for a full-length update about this, and as i have gone on the record with rants about terrible, terrible book advertisements before, i want to punch whoever wrote the ads for this new James Patterson book (and i use that phrase loosely, since i guess it’s sometimes hard to tell who wrote one of “his” books) I, Alex Cross for their use of the phrase “un-put-downable.” this is not a real word or a real phrase and it makes me want to vomit.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea for political reasons

in the wake of recent elections that are supposed to be such a big deal, i find myself once again confronting some notable anger (which i am apparently composed of, or so some studies tell me) regarding some statements from the right before, during and after the elections. and as the past has shown us, there might be no better way to express this than with some kind of missive on the internet that everyone can read. i guess i should add this DISCLAIMER: i don’t think there are any jokes coming. sorry.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the conservatives that keep pissing him off at election time.

Richard Viguerie
fuck you, man, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? and by “do it,” i mean “continue to behave in the counter-productive, short-sighted, gloating manner than you always seem to act in.” and by “you,” i mean the hardcore conservative members of the GOP that seem to approach and respond to elections in the exact same way that drives me absolutely crazy. i suppose this all started when i happened upon the news that conservatives were pushing for this third party candidate in the race for NY-23, where a “liberal Republican” (Dede Scozzafava) and a “regular Democrat” (Bill Owens) were competing with Conservative Party representative Doug Hoffman. now, look, they have their principles, and that’s fine; it’s perfectly acceptable to a) be very conservative and b) expect your elected officials to respond to that. well, maybe not “perfectly acceptable,” but whatever.

so cut to Scozzafava dropping out of the race and all the conservatives essentially getting what they wanted; we THEN get an arch-conservative like Richard Viguerie gloating about it (although this was before their candidate ultimately LOST the election. still, because it highlights some of my points, i shall now break his statement from that article down.

“The GOP leadership’s backing of Ms. Scozzafava was a slap in the face to Tea Party activists, town hall protesters, and conservatives across the country.”
this is, however, a local election. yes, there are national ramifications, but we’re talking about a political office that is supposed to respond to the LOCAL electorate in New York. so why is it a slap in the face of anyone for New York Republicans to nominate a New York candidate? why are politicians in Alaska or anywhere else offended by their whims not being heard in elections that have nothing to do with where they live?

“The Washington GOP establishment’s abandonment of fiscal responsibility led directly to the election of Barack Obama as President and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.”
and you know, i get that, and i get that not every conservative was on board with the way Bush and his administration planned and spent. that said, i don’t recall this level of outrage when Bush was actually in office. and i don’t recall these conservatives attacking his legacy so specifically during the last presidential election. in fact, i’m pretty sure that they consider this “Washington GOP establishment” to be something that exists, but not include anyone they KNOW. who makes up this establishment?

“The American people see the GOP leadership and establishment every bit as much a part of the problem as the Democrats.”
true. but what Viguerie doesn’t seem to understand is that this includes people like him as well.

“Doug Hoffman and NY-23 is an earthquake in American politics, and is the first of many challenges to establishment Republicans that we will see for the 2010 elections and beyond.”
now, again, he said this before the actual election, so this may seem petty: but this is a challenge that resulted in a DEMOCRAT taking the seat. a seat that’s been held by a Republican for 100+ years. so we’re not talking about a challenge that has resulted in anything more for the conservatives than the “establishment Republicans.”

“The stupid decision by Republican leaders to pour $900,000 into the NY-23rd race [to support Scozzafava} against a conservative [Hoffman] has unleashed a fury that will lead to new GOP leadership.”
i can flip this right around and point out that the stupid decision by conservative Republicans to alienate the moderates that supported Scozzafava and who thus didn’t vote or voted for her on principle or voted for Owens are the reason Owens bested Hoffman. and so i will.

here’s the thing that i have been saying since the presidential election in 2008: these conservatives are fucking morons, for several reasons:

01. hypocritical stance on “being heard”: conservatives are obsessed with having their voices heard in the GOP tent, and often phrase this as if no one listens to them. but McCain bent to please you. and Palin wound up on the ticket to please you. and yet every time moderates want something (such as for you to NOT ruin the election of a moderate Republican), it’s an outrage. good job preaching what you preach, guys.

02. counter-productive results: during the national elections last year, conservatives talked about staying home rather than voting for McCain or whoever for Senate/House seats. but when you reject a moderate GOP option in favor of nothing… you get a Democrat, and i can’t imagine that sits better with you. and wanting someone you think is a poor choice in office now to get votes down the line is an ignorant attitude.

look at the Scozzafava/Owens/Hoffman situation. Scozzafava may be a “liberal Republican.” she may not vote the way conservatives and/or the national GOP like every time. but let’s say that she votes with the conservatives 50% of the time… how often is Owens voting the way they want? if a Democrat is less of the vote you want than a “liberal Republican” is on a regular basis, what’s the percentage in helping the former get elected?

03. this shit is all about money: look, i am sure that there are conservatives who are really about the issues, really about the politics, and really taking stands on principle. but when half of the people crowing about this stuff are on radio or television or might very well end up there (i’m looking at you, Palin), then i have to think seriously about the notion that says Beck and Limbaugh and Malkin aren’t so much about ideas or solving any problem as much as they are about being ridiculous to fuel outrage that, in turn, fuels their personal finances.

and when you tell me or anyone else that we’re Republican In Name Only because we don’t agree with you 100%… man, fuck you. when you’re declaring that NEWT GINGRICH is a RINO because he didn’t leap to back Hoffman… FUCK YOU. Gingrich can say with a straight face that he got a bunch of Republicans elected in 1994; who can you tell me that you got elected, Malkin? or better, come to Maryland and tell me how you get Republicans elected to state seats that require independent votes to happen by being as hardcore right-wing as you possible can. because i don’t see how it works.

that’s it, i’m done. fuck these short-sighted assholes.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to my grandparents

well, the cardinals and raccoons have been behaving over the period of time that’s passed since our last internet open letter, so we’re going to have to run with a different target for such directed complaints. maybe all these deer that keep eating everything? nah, this “directing letters toward animals” thing is just getting a little weird.

and now, janklow with an open letter to whoever keeps taking my grandparents to the goddamn movies.

janklow's excellent grandparents
seriously, i don’t care how harmless they look, STOP TAKING THEM TO THE MOVIES

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerks or something? it’s- well, okay, it’s going to be a little hard for me to continue this in the exact format as before, so i’ll just boil it down: people keep taking my grandparents, either one at a time or as a pair, out to the movies, and the end result is always some awkward or weird situation. i suppose this might have been happening throughout my entire life, but recently it’s gotten a little more severe. examples?

Gran Torino
so we have this movie that involves a salted old Clint Eastwood in his final lead actor hurrah, and i gather that he’s basically a turbo-salty old guy who doesn’t relate to the younger generation and then later threatens and loves said younger generation in equal parts, depending on what member of that generation we’re talking about. it’s all well and good and it rates an 8.4 on iMDB. however, there’s a slight problem with people having taken my grandfather to this film.

see, in this film, Eastwood spends some time threatening hooligans by pantomiming a pistol with his hand before actually producing one. after seeing this film, whenever i see my grandfather, he starts making that hand-as-a-gun threat towards me. frankly, i think this isn’t the way old people are supposed to behave in polite society; they should mostly be napping or complaining about the government. and i know he might actually have a pistol in his old man vest one of these days. should i have to wear body armor just because people take my grandfather to Clint Eastwood movies?

Made Of Honor
this movie… this movie… i don’t like this movie. and it’s not just because it’s yet another stupid fucking romantic comedy (starring the divine combination of Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan, no less, though anything with Kevin McKidd in it can’t be ALL bad). yes, i hate comedies for the most part and romantic plots of ANY type in film make my body fill with proverbial rage-flavored vomit, but this film has gone beyond even that.

see, my grandparents were taken to see this film, and at some point a grandmother in the film starts wearing glow-in-the-dark anal beads around her neck; the joke, i guess, is that she doesn’t know what they are, but we all do. only here’s the thing: my grandparents have no idea what the fuck the deal with glow-in-the-dark anal beads is, and that’s as it should be. they’re grandparents and i would prefer they don’t know anything about sex toys of any type. only because they know your hero janklow knows lots of things, my grandmother has to ask me what the joke with the “large plastic beads this old lady was wearing” was all about. so NOW i have to tell her that this old lady was wearing anal beads. bad enough… until she wants me to explain what the hell anal beads are and how they work.

so, Made Of Honor, not only are you yet another shitty romantic-comedy, but you forced me to explain to my favorite person ever, my grandmother, the purpose and usage of anal beads. if i ever happen to meet Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan or Harry Elfont, i am kicking their asses. or in the case of Deborah Kaplan, since i probably shouldn’t beat up a girl, i’ll get my sister to do it. and she will, because she’s fucking nuts and she likes to punch kidneys.

so maybe i’m being petty about this? just a little? all i know is that i don’t want to have any more anal-beads-related conversations.