Archive for ‘Capitalism’

December 24, 2011

Department Store Santa Confidential

by ERTEL GRAY
edited by ANDREW HICKS

Kris Kringle needs some straight Kahlua.

I was a Department Store Santa during the hectic Christmas season of 1995. Value City was the store. For years, it’d held prime position as the face of the Lycoming Mall in Pennsylvania. Catering to the “low-income/useless crap on the cheap” demographic, Value City operated under the name “Gee Bee’s” before someone (presumably in a cheap suit), stood up in a board meeting, and said, “Look, we want to offer our customers value. Yet we want to imply that this is no mere store. So… Value Hut? Value Sovereign Nation? ValueTownXpress? Mmm…. how about Value City? Besides, what the fuck is a Gee Bee anyways? Do we really want our customers to associate our name with the song ‘Nights on Broadway’?”

The work wasn’t bad, really. I got stuck in the household accessories department, which — oddly — was filled with massive, massive amounts of African-themed knickknacks, vases, tribal masks, and so on. I was verbally reprimanded for being culturally insensitive for cracking a remark (to a black coworker, no less) along the lines of, “You got it lucky, dude. You work in the shoe department. Apparently, I wandered on to the set of Roots.” The black guy thought it was funny. My boss, Mr. Wunderlin (irony?), didn’t.

Wunderlin, around the time the entire store became a Winter Wunderlin (ha ha!), approached me to ask if I’d take on the assignment of Value City Santa Claus. My qualifications? I was slightly chubby at the time, white, and maybe just had a little “too much” dignity at the time. For six hours a night, I was forced to sit in a chair in a sweaty costume, getting groped by children with sweaty, sticky candy-cane hands. These little angels would yank at my fake beard, while I braved the time bomb that some kid would either, a) piss or shit him/herself on my lap, b) vomit profusely, or, c) all of the above simultaneously. It was as close to hell as I could be without actually going to hell.

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December 23, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas For the Giving Impaired

by ANDREW J HICKS
written December, 1993

Andrew Hicks in 1993. We think he still owns that tie.

For lack of anything better to utilize space, I will now bring to you THE ANDREW HICKS INDEX OF LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFT-GIVING IDEAS VOLUME XXIII. If you’re anything like me, you now have two shopping days left until Christmas and haven’t even started your Christmas shopping yet. And, by December 23rd, the only things left in the stores are the 8-track recording of Barry Manilow Sings the Hits of Vanilla Ice and Santa Helper, a holiday variation on Hamburger Helper with reindeer meat substituted for ground beef.

Not to worry. With these six helpful hints, you’ll give your friends and family a Christmas they won’t soon forget. I can guarantee that!

  • Give something practical. I recommend the new combination Ginsu knife/laser disc player/encyclopedia/potato fryer/water purifier/mini-blender (because “love is a mini-blendered thing!”)/Thigh Master.
  • Most people prefer something you made yourself over an extravagant store-bought goods. What, you may ask, can I create on such short notice? Ever hear of the fine art of dryer lint sculpture?
  • No one can have too many pairs of underwear. Nothing says lovin’ like Fruit of the Loom!
  • For items over $30, leave the price tag on for that lavish appeal.
  • Chances are, if you just wrap up one of the person’s old items he’s forgotten about and give it as a gift, he’ll think you bought it. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a dime… if you use a free community newspaper to wrap it.
  • If you’re planning on giving that special someone an all-expense paid trip, make sure it’s not an excursion to Beirut, Libya or downtown St. Louis.

And remember this: Even if you can’t find any last minute gift item to give them, most people will be willing to forgive you if you’ll show them how to program their VCR.

December 1, 2011

Fun With Bill Collectors

by ERTEL GRAY
edited by ANDREW HICKS

A stunned Ertel receives terse words from a deceptively smiley, multiethnic lady named Nancy. Image by Eric Dohman.

[DISCLAIMER: The following conversation between me and a debt collector literally just happened. As I was on the phone, I was furiously typing away on this porno/typewriter thing I call the Internet. The rest I filled in from memory. Some I may have even embellished. So sue me… wait, don’t sue me. Forget I even mentioned that.]

NANCY: Hello, this is Nancy with [insert bullshit collection agency name] and am I calling in regards to an overdue bill, on your account with [bullshit business name] Am I speaking with Ertel Gray at the moment?

ME: Yep. You sure are.

NANCY: Mr. Gray, I am calling on behalf of [bullshit business] in regards to your outstan–

ME: Yep. Listen, Grace, we’ve established that.

NANCY: It’s Nancy.

ME: I am who you’re looking for, and yes I owe [bullshit business] [X amount of] dollars. Congratulations, you’ve tracked me down.

NANCY: We can offer you, if you’d like to settle this debt today, by check or credit card, no service charges whatsoever.

ME: Well, that’s awfully generous of ya to waive a three-dollar surcharge if I pay today, Shelley, but I have like no money on my bank card until payday, so I’m gonna have to pass.

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November 10, 2011

Andrew vs. J.Miz: Heavy D Is Sinbad

by ANDREW HICKS and J.MIZ

From L to R: KRS-One, Scotty Pippin, Guy, Ralph Tresvant, "Sinbad," Montell Jordan, Bill Bellamy, Malcolm X, Skee-Lo, Heavy D.

ANDREW: In 1998, I made a bet with a friend that Heavy D and Sinbad were the same person. If Sinbad shows up at Heavy D’s funeral, I’m screwed.

J.MIZ: Today is Sinbad’s birthday. Irony? Or IS IT?! HES BACK, YO! And, as for determining the winner of said bet, I’m gonna go with marijuana winning that one.

ANDREW: It’d be cool if half of Heavy D could reincarnate into half of Sinbad. Imagine all those marginally funny jokes contained in all those marginally appealing rap songs.

J.MIZ: Or if they were both in the same body and had a predeliction for punching the opposing side. I’d pay top fucking dollar to see that slugfest.

ANDREW: I picture C+C Music Factory‘s Freedom Williams showing up to referee that event.

J.MIZ: Yeah! Or the fat dude from X Clan. And I’m pretty sure E-40 is the guy from P.M. Dawn.

ANDREW: I’m pretty sure Ray J is the other guy from P.M. Dawn. Which means Kim Kardashian fucked at least half of P.M. Dawn.

J.MIZ: Isnt Kardashian that Susanna chick from The Bangles with butt implants?

ANDREW: That really butch Bangle is Uncle Kracker.

J.MIZ: But didn’t Uncle Kracker turn into Bubba Sparxxx just before becoming Paul Wall? I’m pretty sure…

ANDREW: She was definitely the busiest Bangle.

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October 22, 2011

Auction War Storage Hunters

by ERTEL GRAY
with ANDREW HICKS

”]I am an addict. Step One is admitting you have a problem, and that’s why I’m here. I’ve recently become extremely obsessed with the ever-expanding glut of TV shows about storage unit auctions. You know, those C-level reality shows where people haggle over one-of-a-kind items with pawn shop owners, and/or people rummage around in dilapidated barns and garages, finding rusted-out treasures that I’m told are high-dollar items.

A 19th-century steam-powered vibrator? $300. Thomas Jefferson’s giant granite dangling-cross earring, yanked from Mount Rushmore after fierce protests from Quakers? Four thousand bucks all day. A rare acetate demo of John and Yoko’s blistering 22-minute version of “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”? Actually, there are 2 million copies of THAT garbage, but I’d still pay at least three grand for the chance to own it.

This is all my fault. I’m addicted to junk. For those who remain uninitiated to shows like “Storage Wars” and “Auction Hunters,” the premise is this — every day, thousands of unclaimed storage lockers are put up for auction. Bidding is fierce, and rivalries develop instantaneously over these storage lockers, which just might be chock-full of rarities and untold riches. It’s the ultimate in Ponzi* schemes, the rule being “buy low, sell high.”

Oh sure, there’s storage units that turn out to be a bust. Apparently, SOME people don’t feel that a damp, 8′ x 10′ concrete storage locker is the best place to keep their priceless copies of Action Comics #1 and miscellaneous Aztec artifacts. But the rule of thumb in the “Storage Wars” world is, if something has intrinsic value, you put it in a glorified carport and lock that shit up with a high-school-locker Master Lock. Then forget you owe $400 for the past four months’ rent and lose your padlocked carport altogether.

Meanwhile, think of how many actual archaeologists have given up scouring the actual ruins of some long-forgotten city whose name Indiana Jones couldn’t even pronounce correctly. Honestly, you can’t blame them. Spending months at a time in some dense jungle, amid the constant threat of attack by large primates and bot flies that lay eggs in open wounds — not to mention the oppressive “jungle stench” — doesn’t help morale. Especially after you’ve spent several months with a Maybelline rouge brush, carefully and intently brushing the faint traces of dirt, layer by layer, from a couple of shards of clay pottery. And it’s Christmas Day.

Take any archaeologist who’s been inspired to unlock the mysteries of Indy movies past, and ask that archaeologist if he or she now feels cheated for having taken that career path, and I’m almost positive the answer will be a resounding FUCK YEAH. (“I’ve been out here in the jungles of Costa Rica for four MONTHS now, and not ONE fucking Nazi! No crystal skulls!  It’s bullshit!”)

What the budding archaeologist fails to realize when he sets out on an Indy mission is that most of the good treasure has already been looted and sold on the black market. Now it’s somewhere in an 8 x 10 storage shed that’s in default of payment, waiting for some hulking behemoth of a man with head tattoos and Oakley shades to slowly bid it up to roughly $1,200 American.

So, in short, to any and all of you potential treasure seekers out there who might be reading this, give up dreams of Custer’s Gold. Put away the maps of Oak Island, and don’t even THINK about going near Fort Knox.

Bid on a storage unit.

You may end up with Lincoln’s personal stash of bukkake tintypes. Or, you might just end up with a fuck-ton of Tupperware. Either way, you played the game.

*Given our fascination with combining celebrity couple names, I can only conclude that — somewhere along the line — Potsi Webber and Arthur Fonzarelli, both of “Happy Days,” had a brief, albeit torrid sexual affair. The offspring, carried in Potsi’s butt for three trimesters, was the now-famous word Ponzi.

October 13, 2011

Woo Stands Erect In Solidarity With Occupy Wall Street

by CHRISTOPHER WOO

August 8, 2011

Taco Liquors

by Eric DOHMAN
 
Irvine, Calif., June 24, 2011 – Taco Bell® is calling out to those ready to celebrate, who want to be the “life of the party,” and has announced the launch of an experimental store combining its immensely popular “Late Night” menu with an extensive liquor selection. The new entity is to be open 24 hours a day and is to be marketed as, “Taco Liquors.”To combat the impending rebuttal and outrage from groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Taco Liquors is creating a new “Pink Taco” menu. “A minimum of 25% of the proceeds from the Pink Taco Menu will go directly to breast cancer research.” said Roger Eaton, Chief Executive Officer. The Pink Taco Menu will include new specialties, all served on pink hard and soft shells such as the: Tuna Taco, Skirt Steak Enchilada, Roast Beef Burrito, Head Cheese Chalupa and Pork Pudding Taquitos.Along with traditional liquors, Chief Operating Officer for Yum! Brands, Inc. Emil Brolick stated that Taco Liquors plans on accentuating their line up with such specialties as: Cockburn’s Port, Drysack Liquors, Fat Ass Tequila, Crystal Head Vodka, Black Bush Whiskey and Beefeater London Dry Gin.
Initial stores are to be launched this October in selected areas. Those currently announced are: Bernal Heights in San Francisco, CA, West Village in NYC, NY and West Hollywood, CA.Taco Bell® Corp. (“Taco Bell®”), a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain. Taco Bell® serves tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos, and other specialty items such as Crunchwrap Supreme®, in addition to the Why Pay More® Value Menu. Taco Bell® serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.

August 3, 2011

Lola’s Nutella Lunacy

by LOLA TUCKER
edited by ANDREW HICKS

Nutella is the new water.

For two years, I have measured, weighed and calculated every morsel of food that I have consumed. I’ve counted calories, carbs, protein, fat grams and fiber content. I’ve said “no” far more often than “yes” to the foods I love. I’ve given up most everything that is white – rice, pasta, sugar, flour and whipped cream. Yes, I’ve lost a ton of weight; yes, I’m much happier thin than heavy; and yes, I’m freaking STARVING!

Enter Nutella, that blissfully silky substance made of hazelnuts, chocolate and sugar. I eat Nutella and peanut butter on pretzels. I eat Nutella on English muffins. I eat Nutella on a spoon inside my mouth. It melts on my tongue and just plain makes me happy. My ass may just grow large enough to get its own cell phone line thanks to that damn jar of Nutella.

Somewhere, a very official group of people is having a meeting in a strip club at lunchtime. They’re paying no attention to the strippers. They’re there to eat from the free Manwich buffet as they thinktank the next great food product with little-to-no nutritional value that will blow up your waistline and cost you a small fortune at the grocery store.

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July 24, 2011

Inappropriate Candy Product Names

by WOO and ERIC DOHMAN
edited by ANDREW HICKS

  • SweetSharts
  • Senior Mo’Mints
  • 3 Musky Skeeters
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter D-Cups: “When you hunger for more than a handful!”
  • Charleston Jew
  • Razonets: “Sharper than ever!”
  • Allmen Joy
  • Jelly Beaners: “¡Son tan dulces!”
  • Skattles
  • ‎Reasonits: “Tofu coated in Kierkegaard”
  • Bling Pops
  • Mounds Deferens