Two Thumbs Up To Being Nice

My mother raised me to believe that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Unfortunately, my mother didn’t raise the Internet.

The World Wide Web is filled with mean, mean, meanie heads. Cyber bullies everywhere hide behind their screens and sling insults at harmless victims like a monkey throwing poo at the zoo.

In this endless sea of negativity, one group stands out as the cruelest of all – movie critics. And their most defenseless victim? Nicolas Cage movies.

The Razzie Awards (an award ceremony in recognition of the worst in film) recently announced their 2015 nominations. Well surprise, surprise – a Nicolas Cage film came away with quite the haul of nods.

Left Behind, an apocalyptic thriller about a pilot trying to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of a rapture-like event, earned Razzie nominations for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay, as well as Nicolas Cage’s 10th nomination for Worst Actor.

Now surely, just because a movie has a rating of 2% on Rotten Tomatoes and was described by Entertainment Weekly as, “…sensationalist propaganda – with atrocious acting – that barely registers as entertainment,” doesn’t mean that it’s all bad, does it?

Other critics reared their mean, meanie heads as well – beating the flick like a dog in a Sarah McLachlan commercial.

“With all due respect: Oh. My. God.” – Richard Roeper

“Score one for Satan.” – Linda Barnard, Toronto Star

But it didn’t stop there. The bully mentality was infectious. Even Christians got in on the hate stomp.

“We tried to give the film zero stars, but our tech system won’t allow it.” – Christianity Today

Well I’ve had enough. To quote the incredible Canadian reggae fusion band, Magic!, “Why you gotta be so rude?”

Nicolas Cage movies are people too. And I’m here to stick up for them. I’m going to do my own review of this movie and only talk about the good parts. If something stinks, I just won’t mention it. Because like I said before, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

So here we go, hitting play now. Here comes my all-positive review of Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind:

Ah, there we go. Great unintentional cleavage shot right around the 34-minute mark. Absolutely stunning. Breathtaking boobies.

Well there you have it. That concludes my 100% positive review of Left Behind. Stay kind, folks. There's no need to make a good man cry.

The Best Best Men

It takes a lot to make a writer speechless, but after seeing what my two best men put together to play at my wedding... I have no words.

I'm having a birthday party - bring your fucking sleeping bag.

Originally Posted April 12, 2013


As I lay in bed on the eve of my 8th birthday, I am not afraid of the imaginary lava that flows on the ground beneath me. I have only the beautiful thoughts of brand new pogs flipping in my head like dancing sugar plum fairies.

Life was different then. No dream was too big that it couldn’t be built with Legos.  Winning the WWF Championship belt was a legitimate career goal. Back then, when I looked in the mirror, the big mystery was whether or not this boy would grow up to be more like Brett Favre or Fred Durst (neither one of whom had yet found their way onto my shit-list).

Now when I look in the mirror, the big mystery is if I’ll grow up to be bald like Jason Statham or bald like Danny DeVito. The inevitability of either situation is already more horrifying than any sort of imaginary lava.

My next birthday is in two weeks. I’ll be 26 years old. Not necessarily a milestone birthday by any standard, but things do feel like they’re changing.

This year will mark the last time I get to check the “single” box on my tax return. My two best friends have kids, more will be coming soon I’m sure. Things are going to be different. And yes, of course I’m excited about it. But it’s kind of exciting in the way that an ex-professional athlete is ‘excited’ about becoming a color-commentator. Yea, I know we need color commentators, but who the hell wants to become the life-equivalent of Troy Aikman?

For so many years, I could use “youth” as an excuse to be reckless. With my mind, body, and spirit. I never thought there were any real consequences for my actions. Whatever dumb thing I did, I did it because “I was young and didn’t know any better.”

Then one day I woke up and had my own insurance and was scheduling dentist appointments without my mom’s help.

At some point you have to realize who you were is no longer who you are.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m very happy with the person I’ve become. It’s clear to me that I’m on the right path. I just have different things on my mind than I used to. I’m able to feel previously foreign emotions like guilt, compassion, and empathy. I want to help people. I’ve realized that there’s a bigger purpose to faith and religion than going to bible camp in 7th grade to pick up girls. 

I do feel good about the man I’ve become and the man I’m continuing to become.

But for one night, I want to digress a couple decades and remember what it feels like to be carefree. On April 27th, I will cling to my youth with the strength of a Ric Flair figure four leg lock and have the kind of happy-go-lucky birthday party my 8-year-old self could only dream of.

We’re going to rent Wrestlemania X on VHS. Armchairs will transform into turnbuckles as we watch our former idols battle to the bell with the same excitement we felt 20 years ago.

We’re going to eat pizza off of paper plates, 2-liters of Mountain Dew will flow with unlimited refills, and the ice cream cake will be colder than an uninvited tattletale.

You’re going to bring me a present – and that shit better be wrapped with a ribbon and everything. It’s going to be a cool toy like a Super Soaker, or a CD with Parental Advisory that my mom won’t let me listen to (she’ll later question what kind of influence you are on me).

What’s in it for you? You better believe you’re walking out of there with a bag of party favors. Maybe a pencil eraser, some stickers, and a yo-yo if you’re lucky.

And you know what, everyone’s invited. Because the great part of being a grown up is that I don’t need mom and dad’s approval on how many friends I can have over. (Although I guess starting next year, I’ll have to start asking my wife for permission.)

Just don’t forget to bring your sleeping bag, because this fucking party is going until “?”.

The Day the Silly Yak Dined with the Lion: How to eat on a gluten-free diet without looking like a total puss-puss.

Originally Posted February 6, 2012


Before I could even drive, my health took a left turn. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease when I was 15 years old. I was in and out of the hospital everyday my sophomore year of high school. After countless blood tests, meetings with the country’s top specialists, and multiple intestinal surgeries, it was confirmed. My life and my diet would change forever – no more wheat, barley, or rye for me. If anybody reading this is sensitive enough to make that “Awwww” sound like the crowd makes on Maury, don’t. This shit was gold.

I was suddenly the most talked about kid in my class. I had this new thing that could redefine who I was. It was exotic. It was unheard of. I had something that set me apart from all my peers. It was MY thing. And I could use it to get just about anything I wanted.

I could seduce girls with insincere existential thoughts – “Yea, you know, this disease has just really taught me that you need to live life to the fullest because you never know when your number’s gonna be called, babe. You and I, right here, right now, we should livetonight.”

I could use my new ailment to get out of school – “I’m sorry, I’d love to stay and eat the appetizing fish sticks in the cafeteria with my classmates, but it would be detrimental to my health. I think I should go home for lunch… and sometimes my disability makes me sleepy after I eat so I may need to take a nap during 3rd period.”

I could be that athlete that overcame all the odds and I would share my story on 60 Minutes – “Well Diane, it has been tough. But with the support of friends and family, I know that I’ll never give in. I can stand up to wheat. And because of my loved ones, I’ve been able to live my life, growing into the handsome, smart, freakishly athletic young man that I am today.”

This disease was brilliant – it gave me power. So I had to give up going out for pizza. Big deal. They could keep the acne and lovehandles – I was finally unique.

Then I moved to Portland. It was a land filled with gluten-free bakeries, breweries, pizzerias, and sandwich shops. It was gluten-free heaven. I should have been rejoicing. I could finally eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But I wasn’t.

You see, Portland isn’t a gluten-free friendly town because there happen to be a lot of Celiacs here. No, no. Out here, it’s hip to be gluten-free. It’s a hot fad. It’s what everyone on the fringe is doing. Shit.

No longer did I have that power that once made me unique. Now I was just like every other hippie shluck that boarded the no-wheat train. I was being lumped into categories with the likes of vegans. Gross. I constantly had to defend myself when ordering food. “No, I didn’t read about this diet in Cosmo. I promise, it’s a medical thing.”

So what could I do? I wasn’t going to pick up any girls looking like a total pussy asking for a gluten-free bun. And my office sure as hell wasn’t going to give me a few hours off in the afternoon for my much needed Celiac nap. Well then I got to thinking. For the betterment of all my people, I’ve made a list of five things we can do to make gluten-free diets as tough as nails.

1. Get a face tattoo. And not just any face tattoo. It’s gotta be something that strikes fear into the hearts of everyone in the entire restaurant. So much so that they discard any ambitions of having children because of the terrible world they’d be bringing their kids into. My face tattoo will be a Nazi samurai ninja slicing the head off of unicorn as he drinks the tears of a sobbing baby.

2. Tell people you picked this diet up in prison. Immediately, their attention will shift from your diet to thinking about what you did to get into prison. You’ll never have to prove that you actually spent time in lockdown; they’ll accept the face tattoo as proof.

3. Confuse people with metaphors. “Have you ever seen a lion eat wheat? No. True predators would never waste time with bread. Straight. Bloody. Zebra meat.”

4. Make sure to explain to people the badass things you can still do, even with a disease. “I can still sell hard drugs to children. I can still jump motorcycles over shark pits. And I can still beat the crap out of your grandmother. Now give me a gluten-free apple fritter, bitch. With whipped cream, please.”

5. Literally start eating nails. I know it sounds unpleasant, and it is. But they are gluten-free, I checked. While it may absolutely ruin your meal, and will most certainly do more damage to your intestines than gluten would, it’s a necessary evil. They can take our pizza, but they must never take our pride.

With that my Silly Yak friends, I must leave the herd. Following the masses just isn’t for me. I was born to be unique. I was born to be different. I was born to dine with the lions.


Diaries from the Oregon Trail: Life Is a Long, Hard Caulk

Originally Posted October 12, 2011


9/26/11 7:10am

As we come to the Mighty Mississipi, we are faced with our first major decision. To ford, caulk, or take the ferry across these rolling waves of certain death. You can’t help but wonder how any of our ancestral brothers made the trek to Portland for advertising jobs. Alas, I digress. Our problems began way before we reached this most thunderous torrent in the Midwest.

As the early pioneers once did, I prepared for my long journey by getting an oil change and filling the gas tank of my Ford Explorer (from here on out to be referred to as “the wagon”). My father, R. James, and I, T. Jonathan, loaded our wagon with supplies in an attempt to become the first ever Siolka’s to settle the west coast. Before I even had a chance to kiss my poor Ma g’bye, we hit a serious snag.

The wagon didn’t have an iPod dock! Seriously, I had to use a tape deck adapter. That doesn’t even charge your iPod! Lord only knows how the early prospectors did it without this underappreciated device. However difficult the road ahead looked, we pushed forward.

Now where was I, ah yes – The Mississipi. As I stare death in the face, knowing that the wrong decision will make a lonely widow of my mother, I consider my unfavorable options. Do I take the ferry or cau—shit, we already went over the bridge. I guess we’ll caulk the next one.

9/26/11 11:43am

Things are really getting tough now. We’ve hit a pocket of poor cell phone reception that has been going on for miles. And when I can squeak a bar out, it’s not even 3G. Maybe doing some hunting will take our mind off of it.

We stopped at a convenience store to hunt for buffalo. Although we’ve shot 18,000 pounds of bison, we’ll only have enough room to bring a bag of taco-flavored Doritos. Father’s looking thin. I hope the 4 hours of starvation isn’t getting to him.

This drive is really starting to get boring. South Dakota? More like South Da-really-fucking-boring-kota. The only thing that keeps us going is the promise of reaching Wall Drug soon. Praise the brave men who put these billboards up in the 1850s.

9/26/11 2:14pm

Fuck, we missed Wall Drug. All that hype and we flew right past it. The disappointment is overwhelming. I guess we’ll have to stop at Dairy Queen to lift our spirits.

The hardships continue. It took nearly 5 whole minutes to get my chocolate shake. Watching the mammoth animals run this sad restaurant reminds me that there are things worse than death. We CANNOT get stranded in South Dakota.

Finally, we approach an oasis of life. Deadwood, SD – straight ahead. A town known for its raucous boozing, competitive gambling, and women looser than a noose on a noodle.

9/27/11 1:28am

Apparently everyone living in Deadwood was an original settler of the small town. I’ve never seen more rolling walkers. I’m looking to throw dice off of a hooker’s naked ass and I find busloads of senior citizens playing the penny slots with their dentures sitting out in lowball glasses. But like the traveler’s before us, we made the best of our situation. After all, less partying for the grandmas means more for me and pop pop. Deadwood, consider yourself owned.

9/27/11 10:22am

Entering Wyoming – cowboy country. Scenery is beautiful but I only have one question. How could any cowboy be gay when every hill looks like a boob? Brokeback- lies, all lies.

9/27/11 2:40pm

We’ve been in Montana for some time now. No sign of Hannah yet. We’ve stopped to pay homage to the site where Custer had his last stand. There are signs at Little Big Horn that worn us of possible rattlesnakes and to not use our cell phones. How terrifying to be one of Custer’s men, knowing that even if you came face to face with a violent American Indian, you couldn’t use your smartphone to take and tag a Facebook pic. Brave, brave men.

9/27/11 6:01pm

Still no sign of Hannah. Father is starting to complain of the dead skunk stench Montana has to offer. I don’t have the heart to tell him that what he smells is my flatulence. There’s no time to be worried over the presence of dysentery. We must make it to the coast.

9/28/11 1:12am

Almost home. We’ve stopped for one final night. Although dysentery nips at my buttocks and I could really use penicillin, we decide to spend our remaining money on whiskey and keno.

Observation: the people of Montana are nice. Willing to help at any cost. Unlike those of South Dakota, who acted like they were just waiting to die.

As stated, we gambled our money away. The bookkeeper was a strange but kind man. The kind of man whose first name is “Uncle.” I hope he’ll use the money he earned from us to pay for dentistry. His kindness deserves a full mouth of teeth.

9/29/11 10:28am

Welcome to Oregon! We’ve defied all the odds and made it to the Promised Land. They say anything is possible here. Anything… anything…well apparently anything but finding some gall damn satellite TV! How in the hell am I supposed to watch the Brewers out here?! Was this not the first thing Wisconsin settlers did when they reached the coast?! NO ONE WARNED ME THAT THE PRIZE AT THE END OF THE OREGON TRAIL DID NOT INCLUDE SATELLITE TV!!!!!!!

Hey Kids! Situations In Which Smoking Is Cool!

Originally Posted August 25, 2011

I’ll preface this post by saying that I am a non-smoker (and by non-smoker, I mean I smoke every now and then when I’ve had a few too many cocktails and think that it will somehow make me look like James Dean when in reality I just fumble around with a lighter until I inevitably burn a cigarette sized hole in my shirt). I understand that smoking is harmful to your health. I’m in no way telling everybody to go buy a pack of cigarettes and light up immediately. But I am saying you should go buy a pack just in case you find yourself in one of these situations…


1. You’re a seasoned cowboy on a long trek chasing down some evil banditos. They’ve captured someone very dear to a rider in your group. However, you care nothing about the captured person or the person in your group who wants them back. You’re here for reward money – plain and simple. As you set up camp for the night, you sit around a fire with the captive’s loved one who is much younger than you, full of rage and desperation to catch up to the banditos. Your cavalier attitude is alarming to the youngster. As you slowly roll your own cigarette out of overly dried tobacco, you impart wisdom to your company, claiming something like, “They say the only man you can’t outrun is God. Well he ain’t caught me yet.” As the youngster stares at you, soaking in the mystique of an impervious gunslinger, you exhale a giant drag of smoke up to heavens.


2. After bedding a dame in the city that never sleeps, you walk out to the fire escape of her tiny apartment in Queens. Behind you, she’s already asleep – knocked out cold from the heat just shared. She’s a classic beauty – Ava Gardner with the spunk of Lena Horne. The night air is cool as it pierces your bare chest. As great as it was, you don’t feel a shred of emotion for the pretty face in the other room. You were lost in one of life’s temporary ruses to make you think there just might be hope for you, but once the pleasure subsides you snap back to reality. As you survey the city, bed sheet draped loosely over your shoulder, you light up a smoke and wonder when the hell you’ll get revenge on the man that killed your brother.


3. Riding a motorcycle on top of a train is easy. But jumping the motorcycle off said train while shooting a drug lord in the thigh and strategically crashing it into a fuel truck deserves some applause. The crash won’t destroy the fuel truck, of course. It’s just enough to cause the driver to lose control, toppling the truck over on its side. As the injured driver with a face tattoo of dragon climbs out of the fuel truck and demands of you, “Why?” you interrupt him with a bullet to the face – right in the dragon’s gullet. You’ve got no time to fuck around. The drug lord is writhing in pain as fuel from the truck spills by the gallon into his open wound. He pleads with you, begging. “I can change, I have two daughters to feed!” You whip out a Zippo lighter, fire up a smoke, and take one long drag. With ice-cold eyes, you tell the head of the cartel, “Well I’ve got someone to feed too. The fire.” You flick your cigarette at him and turn your back as an explosion engulfs every cavity of what once was the DEA’s #1 target.


4. World Series – Game 7. You haven’t been called on once the entire playoff run but you knew they’d come running when trouble reared its ugly head. Sitting in the corner of the bullpen, you faintly hear the phone ring, although to everyone else you look dead asleep with your cap pulled over your eyes. Coach McGehee doesn’t even have to say it; you know you’re up. Slowly, you pull the cap back revealing wrinkles under your tired eyes spawned from too many years in this rat-race of a game. You strike a match on the bottom of your cleat and ignite the cig that’s been dangling from your mouth for the past 9 innings. McGehee places the ball in the worn leather glove you’ve been using since you were called up 19 years prior. Without a fragment of doubt in his mind, Coach looks you in the eye and says, “Burn one past this fucker.”

These four situations are the only scenarios in which I encourage people to smoke. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re legally bound to smoke if you end up in one of these circumstances. In all other events, just say no. Unless of course you’re trying to impress some girl who’s looking for a bad boy, in which case, light up, son!

Who will save us from the Zompireghostalienwolf apocalypse?

Originally Posted July 29, 2011

Ghosts had their heyday in the 80s and are poised for a retro comeback. Aliens dominated the scene until Will Smith killed them all. Then vampires got hot for a minute but now they seem to have a dwindling fan club of 12-year-old girls. A recent resurgence of zombies seems to have taken the torch in the movie monster popularity contest but they’re just getting sooooo mainstream. MTV is trying to bring back the werewolf, but without Michael J. Fox let’s face it, they don’t stand a chance.

Most people are very loyal to one of these hellish abominations (personally I lean towards Zombie Nation). Willing to go to extreme lengths to prove a point, a devoted fan can argue for hours on which of these beasts is A) the most likel to manifest itself in real life, B) which apocalyptic scenario humans would most likely survive, and C) in what way could we possibly surmise to combat each creature.

I’m not here to argue for the existence of one of these groups over another; quite the opposite in fact. As a society, we’ve come to a conclusion that the end of the world will be attributable to an attack by ONE of these species. Countless movies and books have been written to prepare us for how to handle an attack by a singular genus of the supernatural family (e.g. Independence DayThe Zombie Survival Guide, etc.) However, what happens if they all bombard our feeble planet at the same time?

My intuition is that all of these savage beasts have been watching our blockbuster films for the past 50 years right along with us. Time and time again, they watch their species fall to the much weaker (but apparently smarter?) human race. And you know what? I think they’re pissed off. Assuming that they’ve formed a secret alliance and are planning a total deconstruction of planet Earth, we’re going to need to form a team of specialists to give us any sort of hope at all. Here’s what I suggest:


Arnold Schwarzenegger – An obvious choice. His experience with aliens (PredatorTotal Recall) and uncanny knowledge of weapons makes him vital to this team. Also, it will be nice to have a politic around if the opposing nightmare decides to negotiate.


Bill Paxton – One of only two people to be killed in the Alien, Terminator, and Predatorfranchises, Bill has a unique understanding of the enemy’s attack techniques. He also brings to the table rock-climbing skills  (Vertical Limit), an understanding of weather phenomena (Twister), and polygamy (Big Love) which will come in handy if we need to repopulate the planet.


Keanu Reeves – While not the smartest member of our savior squad, he is a proven martial arts expert (The Matrix) and did defeat Death himself in numerous games including Clue, Twister, and Battleship (Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey).


Bill Murray – One could argue that Ray Stantz or Egon Spengler would make for a better ghost expert for our team, but Dr. Peter Venkman’s ability to think outside the box and overall coolness factor make him a better candidate. He also has first-hand exposure to zombies (Zombieland) and will provide incredible comic relief to this dark situation.


Michael J. Fox – Not only has the Fox lived amongst the werewolves, he is also an expert on time travel (Back to the Future). If we screw up and need a mulligan, he’s got our back.


These Anime Chicks - We need some women on the force for profiling purposes and these two look pretty fierce.


Wesley Snipes – Vampire slayer extraordinaire (Blade). Not to mention, if zombies challenge us to a game of basketball, we can count on Snipes to dunk on their ass with style. I’m listening to you Wesley, and you know what, I’m hearing you, too.


Bruce Campbell – A chainsaw as one hand, a shotgun in the other. Nuff said.


The 3 Ninjas – No experience with the supernatural, but these slippery little buggers seem to get themselves out of any situation so why think this would be any different?


Ted Nugent – If rock ‘n’ roll is all that can save our souls, we can count on the Motor City Madman to deliver us from the depths of hell. Not to mention, he’s one hell of a shot with a bow and arrow.


Steven Quincy Urkel – We’re going to need brains to pull this thing off and Urkel’s the best of the lot. He’ll do anything for Laura, and that includes saving the planet. Plus it’ll be righteous when his apparatus blows up millions of vampires and he says, “Did I do that?”


Samuel L. Jackson – He’s a Jedi and good at saying “fuck.”


Justin Bieber – The Bait. I don’t know what it is about this lesbian but everybody seems to love him. If my theory is correct, so will our supernatural enemy. We’ll use the Biebs to lure Satan’s servants to a concert. When we’ve got them all in one place, we’ll release our final members of the team…


The Bob-ombs – Made famous for the ruckus they caused in the world of Super Mario, we’ll release thousands of Bob-ombs at the Bieber show destroying our enemy. Never say never, Biebs. Never say never.

Curse You, Mom and Dad. I Should Have Been On The Cover Of Tiger Beat.

Originally Posted May 22, 2011

Blessed with all gifts in the world, I was doomed from the start. I had all the makings to be a child actor – a shining, golden bowl cut, sparkling blue eyes, a smile that made both 1st graders and 1st grade teachers melt, and charisma that would make Hitler look like he had a hard time rallying his troops. But I was missing one thing, quite possibly the most important of all. I didn’t have a set of money-grubbing parents to force me, kicking and screaming, into audition after audition. Without unloving, selfish guardians, I never stood a chance.


Maybe you don’t understand the level my child stardom would have reached. You see, it couldn’t have been set up more perfectly. My name is Taylor Jonathan Siolka (which would have been changed to Taylor Jonathan Jackson for the stage). I would have emerged on the scene at the same time Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ career was peaking on Home ImprovementTiger Beat would constantly pit us as rivals - JTT vs. TJJ, who’s hotter?! We would have been Edward vs. Jacob when Edward and Jacob were still pooping their pants.

As our films would battle at the box office week in and week out, things would start to get serious. Middle school girls would bring guns to school to prove their devotion to Team TJJ, spraying the walls with the blood of Team JTT girls. I of course would not condone this. JTT and I would issue a public service announcement about safety in schools and how you don’t need to like the same things as people around you to be friends and see the beauty inside them.

In an ultimate publicity move, JTT and I would finally make a movie together. We would play best friends with single parents. Meg Ryan would play his mom. My dad would either be played by Steve Gutenberg or some sort of animated cat (I’ll leave that up to the creatives in Hollywood). The two of us would be stoked when our parents undoubtedly got together. It would only make it easier for us to sneak out at night to try and hook up with the Olsen twins. Naturally when our parents’ relationship started to struggle, we’d blame the other’s parent. I’d start playing hilarious pranks on Meg Ryan like cutting her hair in her sleep (ultimately she’d look cuter with short hair making causing my prank to backfire… God, I love 90’s Meg Ryan) and JTT would make my dad sit in chocolate pudding before his big meeting at the office. The movie would gross ten times as much as Titanic and would probably still be running in theaters to this day.

This would begin our run as The Coreys of the 90s. Best buds that live life in the fast lane. I’m very impressionable so I’d get into drugs. All sorts of drugs. I’d be doing blow off ofClarrissa Explains it All and shooting up on the set of The Secret World of Alex MackAre You Afraid of The Dark? would no longer be scary because everyone would just be terrified of the nightmare that my downward spiral of a life had become.

There’s a chance that in the year 2011 I’d be primed for a comeback. Finally got my life back on track. I’d take acting seriously after becoming good friends with Ryan Gosling. Maybe I’d even have a Mickey Rourke moment – emerging from the ground and knocking on the doors of the Oscars. More likely I’d go the way of Jonathan Brandis and tie a rope around my neck before I hit 30. But don’t you see, Mom and Dad? This existence should have been mine. If only you would have forced me into a life that I never wanted.

Let Me Tell You a Thing Or Two About Going Bald

Originally Posted May 14, 2011

All my life, deceitful hairdressers have showered me with compliments on how thick my hair was. “You’ll never have to worry about going bald!” they’d say. Wrong. Apparently what they meant by my hair being thick was that each individual follicle is thick, not that I have a lot of follicles. Basically what this means is that when my hair gets remotely wet, I look like Sid’s mutant doll with the Erector Set spider legs from Toy Story. See photo.



In high school I never thought going bald would be a big deal. I thought it was weird that guys cared so much about what they looked like. It’s just something that happens when you get older. However, I was thinking it would happen when I was 54, not 24.

Roughly two years ago, my hairline started creeping back like an army of soldiers crawling stealthily in the night to attack the back of my neck. I didn’t notice it at first. But then friends and family members started mentioning how high my forehead was getting. What did I do to make hairline want to leave me? Was it neglect? I know I never treated it to cornrows, but I think I’ve always kept a reasonably fashionable hairstyle (despite maybe the blue Mohawk in my “finding myself” stage in college). I wore my hair proudly, never hiding it under hats. In fact, I quit baseball because I looked stupid in hats (well that mixed with the combination of not being able to hit curve balls and an extreme fear of fast groundballs). But despite my careful guardianship over my locks, it was clear the fur on my scalp would abandon me like a pirate on a sinking ship. God I envy Jack Sparrow’s mane…

By the time I had accepted my receding hairline a new problem had arrived. The thinning had begun. The other day I walked under one of those bird’s-eye-view security cameras that have the monitor next to it so you can see the top of your head. I stopped dead in my tracks. While I respect other religions, I have no reason to be wearing a skin-colored yarmulke. The bald spot on my once gloriously blonde head looked like an exploding sun. Devastated, I looked for positives in the situation. Maybe it was a glowing halo and I was actually an angel. I guess we’ll find out if I fly when I go jump off a bridge after writing this.

Now a defeated man, I look for solutions to my cranium’s misfortune. I could own the bald thing and just shave it all off. Then again, I can’t dunk like MJ and I don’t have a cool Scottish accent to distract people like Patrick Stewart. Hell, I’m not even in a wheel chair so nobody will think I can read minds. Hats are an option. But like I previously stated, I’m not Jewish and I look like an idiot in baseball caps so that pretty much leaves me looking like Don Draper on the morning commute, Mr. Feeny on a fishing trip in Jackson Hole, or one of Christian Bale’s buddies in The Newsies. There’s Rogaine, but if it does work the best I can hope for is to be in a before and after commercial with the other fatties with false confidence.

Maybe being bald won’t be so bad. People will make assumptions that I’m a neo-Nazi and will immediately be afraid of me. I’ll be able to trick the ticket guy at the movies into giving me the senior citizen discount before I’m 65. Maybe I’ll even get a cool nickname like “Cue Ball” and then when I walk into a bar everyone will shout, “Cue Ball!” and I’ll respond, “You rack ‘em, I’ll crack ‘em!” But if nothing good comes from being bald, I can always hope for the revolutionary powdered wig to come back in style.

Lisa Frank is a Deceptive Shrew

Originally Posted March 30, 2011

They tricked us early on. I don’t know who “they” are, but I know they tricked us. We were misled to believe that whales are majestic, benign creatures when in fact, they are monsters of horrific proportions. Little girls run around with pictures of whales on their hand-me-down sweatshirts, climbing on snow mounds and barking at passersby at recess (granted these kids will probably grow up to be extremely lonely and don’t stand a chance in society, but that’s besides the point). Classrooms are riddled with Lisa Frank notebooks that show magical portraits of whales frolicking with ferries and unicorns (don’t even get me started on an animal with a sword coming out of its face – talk about terrifying). What I’m getting at, is that before we can tie our shoes and wipe our own butts, we think it’d be amazing to ride the back of a killer whale. We don’t even have control of our own bodies but we want to be pals with the largest creature on the planet?! This is dangerous thinking, and it’s got to stop.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey Taylor, what’s so bad about whales? Don’t they just eat harmless plankton?” This is exactly the kind of thinking that’s going to get you killed some day. First of all, there are plenty of whales that eat animals much bigger than puny humans like squid, seals, and other whales. Some whales only eat plankton. But they’re enormous size forces them to accidentally eat a whole lot of other stuff, too – like some idiot in a Lisa Frank scuba mask swimming in plankton. Whales range from 11ft long to 115ft long. That means that if the smallest whale in the world were standing next to Yao Ming, Yao would have to stand on his tippy-toes to motorboat the whale’s boobies.

Now that I’ve got your attention and you’re reflecting on what a complete lie your childhood was, let’s try to work out how we missed this. We’ve ignored all sorts of signs. Moby Dicktormented a sea crew. Pinocchio and Geppetto were swallowed whole by a whale. There are whale’s called “killer” whales for crying out loud. Still, it was easy to sympathize with the whales. They didn’t choose to be called “killer”. For all we know, they would have preferred being called Roger or Judy. Captain Ahab was trying to kill Moby so it makes sense that he returns the favor. And in a way, that Disney whale was helping everyone out by swallowing a gypsy puppet maker who was probably due for a meeting with Chris Hanson on To Catch a Predator and that sack of shit, lying pile of wood “real boy.” So don’t get too down on yourself if these examples didn’t give you the right idea about whales.

There were plenty of things that led us astray in our wrongful perceptions of whales. Shamu and all his friends at SeaWorld have had something to do with it; but above everything is the big screen production of Free Willy. The film’s star was 13-year-old bad-boy, Jesse. How could we be expected to NOT love whales after seeing him. Girls wanted him and guys wanted him to drown in the tank so they could scoop up the girls that were saving themselves for him. Not only did the hardass-turned-Save the Whales advocate make kids think highly of whales, but he also scammed parents into believing that their problem children would magically become well-behaved if they started hanging out with whales. Damn you, Willy. How did Tom Hanks win an Oscar over Keiko the Orca for best actor? Everyone knew Hanks wasn’t really “retarded,” Keiko tricked the whole world. People still think whales are friendly.

Now that we’ve identified this as a serious issue, we need to remedy it. Spread awareness. Talk to your kids. Schools, ban Lisa Frank and awful sweaters. Not only will people get the right idea about whales, but you’ll also save those kids from a lifetime of social torture. Wearing a shirt with a whale on it is like wearing a shirt Jeffery Dahmer on it. They’re both mass murderers and it shouldn’t be tolerated. As much as I’d love to see a Lisa Frank folder with an airbrushed portrait of Ted Kaczynski humping a mermaid on a cloud in space, I wouldn’t send my daughter to school with it. No more “Save The Whales.” The next time one beaches itself, punch it in the face, call it an asshole, and tell it we’re not going to take it’s false agenda anymore.

The Paisley Trail: My Journey with Prince to 1999 and Back

Originally Posted March 3, 2011

I’ve been living in Minneapolis for almost a year now and just realized that I haven’t been fully appreciating the city’s greatest powerhouse. I’m not talking about Target, Best Buy, 3M or any other monster corporation. I’m talking about the heir to the throne of funk – Prince. For 30 years, Prince Rogers Nelson has been making sweet, dirty love to the ears of Minnesotans through the magic of a guitar shaped like a cloverleaf highway intersection. It’s time to sit down and really dig into the royal lyrics spawned from his purple majesty’s pen.


Track 1: “I Wanna Be Your Lover”

“I wanna be the only one you come for

I wanna be your brother

I wanna be your mother and your sister, too”

Prince somehow manages to take what was a completely innocent song about filthy sex between a hobo and a respectable young lady and turns it into a track about incest. Oh, Prince…


Track 2: 1999

“My mind says prepare 2 fight

So if I gotta die, I’m gonna listen 2 my body 2night…

I got a lion in my pocket and, baby, he’s ready 2 roar”

In the single greatest Y2K song ever recorded, The Purple Yoda advises us to prepare for the apocalypse by having an elephant gun handy in case Simba shows up in our pants and tries to chomp our nuts off.


Track 3: Little Red Corvette

“I guess I must be dumb

‘Cuz you had a pocket full of horses

Trojan and some of them used”

Here’s a song about Prince wanting to find a love that’s gonna last. Well, Prince, I know hindsight is 20/20 but do you think that just maybe not only is this girl not looking for anything serious, but that she might be bat-shit crazy because she’s carrying around other men’s semen in little plastic baggies?


Track 4: When Doves Cry

“Why do we scream at each other?

This is what it sounds like

When doves cry”

Dear Lord, if I ever come across a manically depressed turtledove on Christmas Eve and his tears sound like a domestic dispute between Ike and Tina Turner, I’m just going to off myself right then and there. What hope would we possibly have for Yuletide cheer?


Track 5: Let’s Go Crazy

“Let’s go crazy

Let’s get nuts

Let’s look 4 the purple banana

‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!”

I consider myself a smart man; I usually understand metaphors. But the more I read this lyric, the more I think Prince just meant it literally. Let’s completely lose our sanity and search for a discolored, phallic fruit until someone from the asylum puts us on a truck and locks us up like Slingblade.


Track 6: Purple Rain

“Purple rain, purple rain

If you know what I’m singin’ about up here, come on raise your hand

Purple rain, purple rain”

No hands? Nobody? Don’t be shy. Nobody? Ok, next song.


Track 7: I Would Die 4 You

“No need 2 worry

No need 2 cry

I’m your messiah and you’re the reason why”

I know you said there’s no need 2 worry, but I can’t help but be a little panicked if my messiah is the same guy that recently told me to lose my marbles and go search for a purple banana.


Track 8: Raspberry Beret

“She wasn’t 2 bright

But I could tell when she kissed me

She knew how 2 get her kicks”

Nothing like a dumb slut to anchor a romantic story about doing it in a barn in front of a bunch of confused horses. Well, at least we learned that not everyone in a beret is a gay French man. Way to break down those ugly walls of bigoted stereotypes, Prince!


So what have I learned from this quest through the royal gardens of Prince’s back catalog? Well, one – this guy is nuts. Clearly. Two, and most importantly – regardless of what comes out of this tiny sextraterrestrial’s mouth, it makes me want to dance. Bare minimum do some slow bumpin’ and grindin’ on a dumb floozy at the corner bar.

Things I Have In Common with Jean-Claude Van Damme

Originally Posted February 22, 2011 at 10:23pm

As a 6 year old boy, I always thought I would grow up to be Jean-Claude Van Damme (from here on referred to as JCVD). Did I literally think I would grow up to have his body, face, personality, and actual name? Yes. Of course I did. That was the beauty of being six – you can dream big. Some kids chased smaller, more attainable goals like being an astronaut or a professional football player, but I reached for the stars.

Unfortunately, somewhere down the line I became jaded, unfocused, and cynical like the rest of society and gave up my dream of becoming the legendary JCVD. What happened? Maybe too many people told me I couldn’t do it, that it was physically impossible. Maybe in high school I just wanted to fit in when it became uncool to constantly pretend I was in an international full contact karate tournament. Whatever the reason, it is certain that I am not currently JCVD. But that doesn’t mean I’m not bits and pieces of him. I’ve compiled a list of things I have in common with JCVD to better understand how close (or far away) from my boyhood dreams I actually got.

1. We both have accents. Granted, his only sounds like an accent if he’s in America and mine only sounds like an accent if I’m in Belgium.

2. We both kick things. He kicks cyborgs in the face and I accidentally bag my shin against the coffee table. I think we’re both fighting evil in some way or another.

3. He was in Double Team with Dennis Rodman and I own a Dennis Rodman jersey. This is no coincidence.

4. In Double Impact, one JCVD twin is kind and likes dancing while the other has slicked back hair, smokes cigars, and rides badass motorcycles. I’m pretty sure I have a badass twin that rides motorcycles but we just never seem to be in the same room at the same time.

5. He can do the splits between two bar stools. I can sit between two bar stools.

6. He was a cop that traveled through time. I can close my eyes late at night and when I open them I have traveled through 8 hours of time.

7. He’s good with guns. I’m allergic to buns. These things rhyme.

8. He’s a national hero in his country. I’m a hero of Country Time Lemonade. I possess the ability to drink up to 4 WHOLE glasses on a hot summer day.

9. Neither one of us has ever been to outer space. But if I have it my way, we’ll start the first karate dojo on Mars together.

All in all, I guess there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Going over this list, we’re practically the same person. In fact, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that he might be sitting in front of his computer right now making a list of things he has in common with me.