Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh, Marriott...say it ain't so...

Marriott International announced today that it plans to "phase out" adult pay-per-view movie options in its hotels worldwide.

And another one bites the dust.


If you haven't been following me for long, you probably are not aware that I believe that hotel room porn is a fundamental right.  Like free speech.  And shooting dolphins with assault rifles.

And NOT because I spend a significant amount of time watching hotel room porn.

I just like to read the titles.  Seriously.

Fine, don't believe me.

I first took up the cause back in March of last year when I accidentally (no, really) discovered that the Ritz-Carlton didn't offer pay-per-view porn options - and then face-planted into a glass door.  NOT related incidents, I assure you.

So I contacted the Ritz Carlton to voice my opinion on the injustice of it all.   I mean, the primary demographic for the Ritz Carlton is repressed rich people (and when I say "people", I really mean "men") who likely consider a night at the Ritz Carlton as an opportunity to escape their lives (and when I say "lives", I really mean "wives") and so they pack some lube and a toothbrush and settle in for an evening of pay-per-view fun and maybe a hooker or two.  Imagine their disappointment when they can only find MSNBC and the Disney Channel.

What a missed marketing opportunity.  Tragic.

The Ritz-Carlton people obviously didn't appreciate the genius of my logic.  Their loss.

But now Marriott is following suit (like the Ritz-Carlton wannabes that they always were).  But I LIKE Marriott.  I have all of my "frequent flier" points with Marriott.

My business travel usually involves a Marriott.

Oh NO!  All of those poor George Clooney/"Up In the Air"-esque business travelers!  What will they do?  There's a reason that half of these guys get into a business that requires ass-loads of they can get away from their families, order beer and steak topped with bacon and cream sauce, and watch porn in the privacy of their Marriott hotel room.

Now they'll have to...I can hardly say it...

...balance their computers on their laps and watch free porn on the computer!


Marriott says that the reason for the phase-out is due to a "transition to the next generation of in-room entertainment" that definitely does not include porn, and it is definitely not because they were getting lots and lots of pressure from "family values" groups (likely led by the high-strung, sexually repressed wives of the men who travel all of the time and stay at the Marriott to get away from them) and CERTAINLY NOT because Mitt Romney stepped down from the Marriott board after criticism that he didn't pressure Marriott enough on the whole porn thing and is about to announce his presidential aspirations - or at the very least to be Sarah Palin's butt, I mean, running mate.

Marriott also says that their revenues from adult pay-per-view content have been steadily decreasing... which is why they want to do away with the revenue COMPLETELY!

Makes total sense.

I guarantee that the people who are crying the loudest about the evils of porn are the ones who - when nobody is around - are holed up in their basements with a ball gag, a gallon of Crisco, a vibrator the size of a chainsaw and a subscription to  

I made that that last bit up.  The domain name still seems to be available if anybody's interested.


At least there's still the Westin.

Monday, January 17, 2011

So who's on your team?

Every year for the last few years, my friend, B, has invited me to go to Tahoe over MLK weekend for skiing, sushi, drinking, and general debauchery.  And every year, I have bowed out because (1) I don't get on things that slide, (2) I don't eat sushi, and (3) it seemed kinda lame to go just for the drinking and debauchery.

But I rethought my position this year, had no other obligations and decided to go.  What the hell.

Magnificent place, Tahoe.  Stunning views.  Snow-covered mountains.  Beautiful sunsets.

And the best people watching EVER!

How did I not know about this?

Saturday night, we went to one of the South Lake Tahoe casinos and B and the rest of the crew introduced me to my new favorite game..."Your team!".

The concept is this...

Step one:  Drink.

Step two:  Observe.  Watch for passers-by who are strange and/or grotesque and/or crazy and/or freaky and/or just plain slutty and awesome.

Step three:  Call out "Your team!" and point to the friend nearest you or the friend who has irritated you last - by, say, winning $50 at video poker.

Step four:  The freak is now assigned to your friend's "team" for all eternity.  The concept is that when you die, you won't be able to spend eternity with your family and friends (unless, of course, one of your friends is a freak and has been assigned to your team).  You must spend eternity with the fabulous specimens that your friends have kicked to your team.

There are bonus points for mullets.

Now, at first glance, this may seem a bit cruel and juvenile.   And I assure you that I considered this for about 5 seconds before I was rolling on the floor laughing because it was SO MUCH DAMN FUN!

Conscience cleared.

Now you may be wondering how we had time to gamble when there were so many obvious potential team members in a Tahoe casino.

The good news is that you can collect team members for your friends WHILE you gamble.

The mother-load find of the night, however, went to our friend, R.  She spotted "Tiger Man" first...

When Tiger Man strolled by our little corner of the bar, we shamefully erupted into uncontrollable laughter and a chorus of kitty growling noises.

I wish you could see the detail in the picture - it was really dark.  What you might NOT be able to see is the following:
  • the tiger stripped labels on the jacket;
  • the matching tiger tuxedo stripe down the side of each pant leg;
  • the tiger stripped jacket pockets;
  • the red skull cap and tortoise shell glasses;
  • the Puma tennis shoes - in keeping with the kitty theme; and
  • the Johnny Depp (circa Alice in Wonderland) wanna-be friend sporting the top hat with two feathers (because one feather wouldn't have made any sense) with him at the bar.
Tiger Man is now on B's team - probably because she had just won at video poker.

My buddy, E - he's so funny - he said he was going to go over to Tiger Man and invite him over to meet the cougar.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh wait, I'm the...

Shit.  Nevermind.

After the rest of us left to head back to the hotel, B stayed behind to consume about 15 more drinks and claims to have spotted a mullet - which of course would mean that she had trumped us all for the night.  She got a picture of the gentleman at a Blackjack table - but only from the front.  Frankly I'm not buying it.  If you're going to call mullet and document the business in the also have to document the party in the back.

I'm calling foul.

There were many many MANY other worthy nominees for our respective teams.  Too many really to showcase here.  Suffice it to say, we will all be having a grand freaky spandex-wrapped time in the afterlife.

But in the spirit of true self-reflection, two of the biggest freaks this weekend were actually me and B.

This is B and I in a local hardware store with our faux-fur critter hats.  In other words - totally team worthy.   So now B is on my team and I'm on hers.  And this makes me kinda happy because now I know that I'll be spending the afterlife with B in her roadkill cap (gopher maybe?).

Go team!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Patriots want Jane...and, no, not the New England Patriots

Sometimes things happen in the universe that really make me start to think that there is a God...things so ironic that they could not POSSIBLY have happened by accident.

Example - I have been added to the Patriot movement's email distribution list.

Not the fun football Patriots, but rather the gun-toting, Obama-hating, Bible-thumping, anti-tax, grammatically-challenged Patriots.  (Note: I'm really not calling people names here.  This is more or less a Patriot self-description made available on a t-shirt.  See below.)

Those Patriots.


I have a junk AOL email account that I use as a catch-all for general email coupons, make-up tips, Vegas deals, fur recommendations from Rachel Zoe.  I hardly ever look at it - I mean does anybody actually use AOL anymore?!  So imagine my surprise when, right after Christmas, I started receiving daily Patriot Update emails in said account.  My reactions went something like this...

Get the fuck outta town!
Hey, this shit is funny!
Ewww...this shit is disturbing.
Oh wait, there's a blog topic in here somewhere.

Patriot spam.  Really.  Each email was primarily a list of links to very important Patriot-related "news" items followed by a series of ads for very fun Patriot-related items.  Such as...

  • The 1599 Geneva Bible - back in print AFTER 400 YEARS!  The Bible that "Obama does NOT want you to read!"  I'm not sure why Obama doesn't want me to read this version of the Bible, but there wasn't an FAQ section to the ad, so I guess this will remain a mystery...unless I buy the Bible.  Awesome marketing idea.
  • The 2nd Amendment t-shirt -  "The 2nd Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security, Right to Bear Arms"
  • The D.A.D.D.D t-shirt - "Dads Against Daughters Dating Democrats".  Get it?  Like Mothers Against Drunk Driving?  I'm a little disappointed that I didn't come up with this one myself.
  • The "I'm a God Fearin', Bible Believin', Gun Packin', America Lovin' CONSERVATIVE" t-shirt.  Conservatives evidently hate g's.  Unless it's capital G in God.  I believe this purchase comes with a free bumper sticker: "I'll keep my guns, freedom, & money...You can keep the 'change!'". 
  • And my personal favorite...The 2011 Cruise for Liberty.  Only $599!  "Makes a great Christmas gift for that conservative who needs a break from Obama and the Democrats!"  I guess this is what conservatives do with the money that they kept - along with their guns and freedom.   Maybe they'll be able to shoot dolphins from the ship!
I didn't dig much deeper at the time that I first discovered my newest email resource because of all the other shit that was going on in my life.  But I made mental note, logged it under "possible blog topics" and moved on.

And then yesterday, I turned on the TV to watch football and came face-to-face with the horrifying coverage of the shooting in Tucson of U.S. Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.

I wish I could say that I was surprised that this happened.  Given the hate spewing from both sides of the political spectrum...given the unbalanced fringe of audiences hanging on every could it not?

It was sad and frustrating and so completely senseless.

I remembered the Patriot email and was curious.  So I decided to have a peek at the site.

It's not for the faint of heart.

The articles are obviously written with a Tea Party slant but are, for better or worse, not completely offensive.  

But the comments - holy shit, the comments!

Here's a taste...Nancy Pelosi in a body bag, Barack Obama in a body bag, solve the country's problems by taking away White House Secret Service funding, Barack Hussein Obama, how all Muslims are generally evil and want to kill us, Obama is not really the president, the goal of healthcare reform is to control the people, Obama is a socialist, Obama is evil, "Barry Odumbo" is a power-hungry Muslim, Allah is a god but has to bow to God the Father, you can't take the "slum" out of Obama, and on and on and on.  A lot of it is incoherent, grammatically indecipherable rambling - a bit similar to what we've been seeing from the YouTube videos allegedly created by the Tucson gunman.

And I'm not sure who this Barry Odumbo is, but he sure sounds like a dick.

But the most chilling - for me, at least - was this comment, "In Arizona we saw a tragedy yesterday.  The assailant was 'pissed off' at his Rep. She backed the healthcare, and abortion. In November, We The People have spoken against this Tyrannical Government and their Socialism Run Regime...yesterdays result is from the after-affects of this healthcare, someone finally 'had enough'....I'm saddened for the little girl who passed, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But for the Rep., she represented Obama." (sic)

In other words, it's ok.  She had it comin'.

And this is only one comment that I chanced across on one site.  What the hell else is out there??

I'm going to step back here and say that I firmly believe that everybody deserves a voice.  If you have an opinion, you have the right to make it heard.  But...BUT...if somebody is already on the edge of crazy, and is prone to seek out fringe opinions such as the one stated above...that somebody might start to think that crazy is ok and, worse, actionable.

My goal here is not to preach.  God/Allah knows, I hate preachy.  And if you're a card-carrying Patriot or Tea Bagger, don't just fire off on me here because - you know what - I'm bringing awareness to your crazy and maybe somebody will seek out your site as a result of reading this blog and will be so taken by the strength and conviction of your crazy that they decide to become a Patriot/Tea Bagger too. 

Or not. 

And if you're a "main stream" Tea Bagger with legitimate issues and are interested in engaging in a conversation to find a productive solution to what ails us, doesn't it bother you that the crazy in your fringe have taken over the conversation?  That you are now lumped in with them?  

There are valid points to be made on all sides of every issue.  But - for the sake of all - let's take a step back, breathe deep and quiet the crazy.  

Or just put it on a t-shirt.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Observations from a way sucky holiday

I haven't been blogging for a few reasons.  First, the holidays have been brutal and it seems that brutal doesn't translate well into entertaining reading.

Second, I generally don't dive deep into my personal life here.  There are a few people who read this and who know me and my life.  The trouble with telling people that you write a blog is that sometimes you want to write about something but then you don't because you're afraid that somebody is going to read it and take it the wrong way or get their feelings hurt.  Every time that I have tried to write something lately, I've stopped because it feels too personal and I don't want anybody to feel bad.

I'm done with that now.  This is my blog.  If you don't want to see what I have to say - don't read it.

Alrighty then...moving on.

Breakups, in general, are hard.  Breakups during the holidays are worse than awful.  Breaking up and then talking about reconciliation only to get your heart stomped on again during the holidays is practically unbearable.  I don't recommend it.

But out of this unique experience has come a few minor, rather unentertaining observations.  I apologize in advance for the uninspired nature of this post.

Observation No. 1 - Being a quality, attentive parent is nearly impossible when you are trying to survive a broken heart.  It is assumed that to be a good parent, one has to shove all personal emotion aside.  Kids are not stupid and are likely to notice when your eyes are swollen, there are tissue pieces stuck to your nose and you haven't showered in three days.  Kids don't like that.  So you push your emotion aside and try to throw all of your attention to your child.  The result is a half-assed constantly on the verge of a break-down style of parenting.  Or in my case, staring blankly at iCarly while my daughter tries in vain to engage me by filling me in on the finer plot points and calling that quality time.  

She knows I'm a mess right now and I hate that.  It's not fair.

I'm learning that this is a constant single-parent threat.  A single non-parent person falls in love and then breaks up - only that person gets hurt.  A single parent falls in love and then breaks up - the parent and child get hurt.  No matter how careful you are.  No matter how much you protect your kid.  I'm learning that people without kids don't get that.  It's too easy for a non-parent to compartmentalize the parent that they are dating from the child.  The parent understands that it's an intractable package deal.  

Observation No. 2 - The holidays were intended for couples - not single people.  Every kiss may begin with Kay, but Kay can kiss my ass.

Observation No. 3 - Exercise really is the cure for what ails you.  I learned that time on the treadmill with a chick-lit book on the iPad is time spent not being sad.  I just have to learn how to time my workouts better.  I keep walking in to the workout room right after Smelly Guy has left.  Which sucks because then the next person that walks in thinks that I am the one who has generated this fabulous scent combination of sweat and ass.  Eau de Smelly Guy can be detected on the elevator on the way back to my apartment an hour later.  He's a gem.

Observation No. 4 - This whole instant movie Netflix thing on the Wii is AWESOME!  How long has this been available?

All right.  I realize that, like me, this is a big ol' mess so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.  I have better stuff ahead...better writing, better life, better attitude.  

Better year.

Happy New Year everyone!