Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Under 30 Final Episode Clip Show

I don't want to write this column. Not because I'm sad that it's my last one. I have written more than 250 Under 30 columns in the past five years. It is time for me to shut up.

I hate farewell columns because, honestly, who cares? If you read the column even once since I started, thanks, I appreciate it. Really, I do. But it's not like I was an important part of your life. It's like reading the newspaper and finding out Charlotte Rae died. For a moment you think, "She played Mrs. Garrett on 'Facts of Life.' I used to watch that show every week when I was in elementary school. Bummer." Then it's on to Beetle Bailey. A fixture of your childhood disappears and the mourning period lasts approximately 1.4 seconds. For me it's measured in nanoseconds.

FYI: Charlotte Rae isn't really dead. But this really is my final Under 30 column.

In case you missed the announcement with last week's column, I'm leaving the paper to work for The Onion. I will be the Milwaukee city editor of The A.V. Club entertainment section. I was hired two weeks ago, and I still don't believe what I just typed. This isn't just a dream job. It's a dream job you never expect to actually get. The fact that I did must mean it's not really true. So if somebody could point out the hidden cameras and pull Ashton from around the corner before I move, that would be nice.

Assuming this isn't an elaborate "Punk'd" stunt, I start at The Onion on Monday. By the time you read this, my desk at The P-C will be cleaned out and ready to be occupied by the assistant features editor. Julie, you might want to run a dust rag through the place. It hasn't been cleaned since, well, never.

At least the desk I'm leaving looks better than the one I was given when I started here on Aug. 14, 2000. Fresh out of journalism school, I was assigned Tom Richards' old workspace. I grew up in Appleton, so I knew Richards arguably was The P-C's most popular columnist. You couldn't miss his mug in the paper. He looked like Charles Manson's friendly younger brother. When I came into work I could see a collection of hairs from his legendary beard lodged in my keyboard, along with assorted crumbs and coffee stains. Ah, the glamour of daily newspapers.

I was hired after being a summer intern the year before, but my history with The P-C goes back even farther than that. The week before I turned 16, I submitted a CD review of the U2 album "Zooropa" to the embarrassingly titled teen page, Get With It! The features editor, an incredibly nice guy named Ed, asked to meet with me because he suspected the review was plagiarized. It wasn't. How could I plagiarize the review? I was the only guy in the country who thought "Zooropa" was a decent album.

I ended up contributing an opinion column to the "Get With It!" page every other week for three years. It was a great read if you were looking for thoughts on the latest news by a dopey, know-it-all high school kid. I love that, unlike most people, all the idiotic stuff I said in high school was put on paper, read by 50,000 people and preserved on microfilm at the library for future generations.

Ed ended up being my boss when he gave me my second first big break in newspapers. What a guy. He let me write pretty much anything I wanted. I still can't believe he let me put the words "beer," "bong" and "boobs" in a single column. My only complaint about Ed is that he wasn't a bigger jerk. His genuine care, concern and love for his staff robbed me of entertaining "bad boss" stories for six years.

Before I shoot this dying horse in the head, I want to address you, the readers. My goal was to reach people who felt out of place in Appleton because, for as long as I can remember, I have, too. I remember covering Country USA one year and looking out over a crowd of 30,000 people eagerly waiting to see Brooks & Dunn. Make that 29,999 eager people. I felt like the loneliest guy in the world.

Don't get me wrong, I love this place. I have to. It's a part of me. But I never felt like I fit in here. I was a sarcastic liberal who loved indie rock and movies that never, ever played in local movie theaters. How many of those people do you see hanging out at Anduzzi's on a Friday night?

If you got me, good. If you didn't, that's OK, too. Thanks for reading.

Goodbye Post-Crescent, hello swearing on Under 30 Blog

So I'm at home now putting off packing and other errands and not working at The Post-Crescent. I celebrated my one day of unemployment (I start at The Onion Monday) by eating at the Asian buffet next to Office Depot on West College.

What is it about Asian buffets that is simultaneously satisfying and degrading? The last time I ate at an Asian buffet was two years ago. I had just broken up with my fiance and was about to move in with my mother for what turned out to be a three-month stay. I thought stuffing my face with warmed-over General Tso would make me feel better. I was wrong. Like wearing sweatpants or growing a goatee, eating at an Asian buffet is inherently pathetic. If you don't believe me, look up from your plate for a sec and scan the other diners. The woman sitting behind me weighed about 250 pounds and wore a faded Miller Lite T-shirt. Her destined-to-be-250-pound baby stared on from a crooked-looking baby seat in silence, perhaps realizing for the first time what life has in store. But, hey, it's been three hours and no explosive diahrrea, so that counts for something.

Anyway, I just wanted to let y'all know (again) that I'm keeping the blog and the unfortunate blog name, though that may change soon. Also, I wanted to remind you folks that Holy shit! I can swear on this blog now! Not that I'm going to do it excessively or anything, but it's nice to know I no longer have to type "darn" when I mean "goddam motherfucker."

Feel free to swear in the comments if you wish.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Excerpt from a fan letter

I always felt that Steve's column and articles (I could usually tell which ones he penned) pushed the envelope too much for a family newspaper like the Post-Crescent.
Ironically, I often thought to myself, "Who does he think he's writing for, The Onion?"

PS Now will you get rid of that stupid last page of mindless tidbits. What a waste of newsprint. I hope Steve's replacement is a little more mature.

Me, too.

I'm only posting this for T-Roz

Dustin Diamond, star of TV and questionable house-saving schemes, is rumored to have a starring role in a new project: his very own sex tape.

The less said about this the better, especially since the Dirty Sanchez reportedly makes a cameo and the proposed title is "Saved by the Smell."

(Unfortunately I can't explain the Dirty Sanchez to the uninitated. However, look for plenty of uncensored action on this blog once I go independent on Friday!)

The Onion A.V. Club (cough, cough) has a funny deconstruction of the sex tape story on their (our?) Web site.

Sadly, I don't have any sex tape footage. But here is a truly offensive clip from "Saved by the Bell" featuring some dirty Dustin Diamond dance moves.

Now my fantasy team is really f%&^%ed

Not to be callous, but autodraft totally screwed me this year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Celebrity sighting

This guy...

I saw him at The Wedge co-op in Uptown Minneapolis on Sunday. He looked confused and gray. He bought a Star-Tribune.

And, um, he was grabbing Paris Hilton's butt.*

*My feeble attempt to make the story more exciting.

In case you missed Bill Clinton getting P.O.'d on Fox News

Everybody is talking about this today and each side of the political divide is spinning it as a win. Personally, I think Clinton comes off pretty badly. I mean, he's supposed to be Mr. Slick. He ain't very slick here. But, hey, who doesn't like to see presidents yelling at pencil-neck Fox News anchors?

"You may remember me from such cartoons as 'Christmas Ape' and 'Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp.'"

Act now because there's no way this site is going to be up for very long. You can find any episode from all 18 seasons of "The Simpsons" and watch for free. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Matt Groening didn't sign off on that one.

I'm not as big of a "Simpsons" fan as I used to be (I like the older albums before they were popular), but the show obviously belongs on the short-list of all-time great TV comedies. Along with "Saturday Night Live" and "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Simpsons" pretty much defined comedy for me growing up, and played a big role in shaping my sense of humor. So, you know, thanks for that.

My favorite "Simpsons" episode ever is the one where Homer does the voice of Poochie the Dog, a crappy new character on "Itchy and Scratchy." (The ep is titled "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show," and it's from season eight.) The subject line is one of my favorite lines from the episode and it belongs to Troy McClure, perhaps the greatest second tier "Simpsons" character. (And reason No. 132 why Phil Hartman's murder is one of the worst celebrity tragedies ever.)

What's your favorite "Simpsons" episode?