Thursday, December 29, 2005

Guess the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Winner (#31)

Marginally clever, but largely toothless describes the bulk of the finalists and nearly all of the winners of the The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest. Part of the problem is that you can't work blue. The New Yorker isn't going to print anything that has, say, the word "dickbag" in it, so you're hamstrung right out of the gate. Sure, some people can be funny without resorting to words like "dickbag," but those people are a)extremely rare and b)don't submit to the Caption Contest anyway.

The sad result of all this is that a typical submission reads like something your 60-year-old Aunt Bernice would find funny. You know, the same Aunt Bernice that still delivers a full belly laugh when she reads an Ogden Nash epigram.

I originally planned to do something along the lines of Daniel Radosh's Anti-Caption Contest to bring this to light, but was, alas, beaten to the punch.

A similarly poignant send-up can be found in this McSweeney's List.

I thought it would be fun and possibly entertaining to attempt to guess the winner. Now, by chance alone I should score 33% over time, as there are three finalists presented each week. To better gauge my performance I will also throw in a guess from a random number generator.

Surely I should be able to outperform a virtual dart-throwing monkey, right?

Ok, off to the races! Here are this week's submissions along with my deliberations (in red) and final guess. Feel free to keep score at home.

1. "If I'm not back at the maze by eight, my wife reels in the damn string."
Submitted by Lou Primus
Horsham, Pa.

In the land of the Caption Contest, brevity is king. Or something like that. What I'm trying to say is that if your caption is more than 10 words long, it better be really fucking funny. And this is not. It's a long-winded way of saying that you stayed awake at least one day in your freshman Greek mythology seminar.

2. "Don't tell me it's halftime already."
Submitted by Mark Swartz
Forest Hills, N.Y.

Concise, accessible, and resoundingly lame. I think we have a contender.

3. "If they ask for Ted's Stud Service, I'll take it."
Submitted by Lane Fike
Philadelphia, Pa.

The oblique reference to intercourse gives this one some valuable "edge." Don't rule it out.

Ok, here's the verdict,

Muk: #2
Random Number Generator: #3

Stay tuned for the winner, which I will announce sometime on or after 1/9/06 when The New Yorker posts the results.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NYC Transit Strike Ends Just in Time

Thank god this whole thing is over. I had enough.

To anyone that cares: I am now gone til late next week. Have a happy holiday, be good to your family, and then you can go back to your terrifying, misanthropic existence on 1/2.

Oh wait, that was a note to self.

Whatever. Peace out, friends.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Target (Literally)

To the subhuman fuckface that swiped my wife's wallet this morning and ran up $3,000 worth of charges at three different stores in the space of 45 minutes:

I wish you the worst tidings this holiday season. I hope Santa comes down your chimney, fucks you in the ass, and shits in your stocking.

Please God, if you are really out there, give this guy $3,000 worth of repeated crow bar blows to the face. Thanks in advance.

Fucking asshole.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tragedy Aint Tragicomedy

The story of Darrell Russell, the promising number 2 pick of the 1997 Oakland Raiders, is just, well, sad. It was downhill well before today when he died, according to the AP, with a friend in a car that,

hit a curb,
fire hydrant,
light pole,
another tree
and an unoccupied transit bus.

Jesus, that reads like the script to a fucking Warner Brothers cartoon.

Does anyone else find this a bit too detailed and, I dunno, undignifying?

[Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chowhound Banning Draws More Curiousity, Ire

This latest in a series of pieces on Eater continues to shine light on the mysterious banning policy of food website, Chowhound.

Eater made reference to an older post of mine in which I decried Jim Leff and crew for banning yours truly. A number of you have asked what exactly I did to warrant a summary excommunication. A commenter implores,
so . . . give us the gorey [sic] details of your Vandalism. How indeed did you "urge others to defy CH policy"? You are now going to get a bit of traffic via Eater/Curbed so SPILL!

Ok, Anonymous, you got it. What follows is a complete transcript of the email I received from someone named "Harrison" over at Chowhound. It starts with my original offending post and concludes with the actual text that bans me.

Peep it,

From: Harrison []
Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2004 7:39 PM
To: Muk
Subject: Your posting on Chowhound

Posted by: Toon
Message Subject: Re(1): When is this "place that can't be named" crap gonna end?

I say just keep on posting, but make things snappy. One of the beneficial things about Chowhound's lack of resources and primitive technology is that it will take them a while to catch on.

I'm sure they even agree that the rules on banning are pretty crude, but if you've been around long enough you'll see that they are not really interested in discussing it.

Anyhoo, thanks for the post. Very helpful!



Our message board rules ( state:

"Users may not post under multiple 'handles' or nametags. Those doing so will be banned from our discussion."

It's especially out of bounds when someone dons an alias to urge other participants to defy Chowhound policy and make our work more difficult and aggravating than it already is -- as we struggle as volunteers on behalf of food lovers exactly like you to foster a reliable, honest resource.

You do have a choice of food forums, and we urge you to find (or
start) one run more to your liking by a team less deserving of your snide disrespect and vandalism. You're no longer welcome at

For Those Who Live To Eat

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I was a dick in the original Chowhound post. I certainly violated the "think before you post" credo. But still, did my transgression really warrant such a rebuke, especially given that I contributed to their book?

Another anonymous commenter has this to say,

I am a moderator myself -- not on CH, but elsewhere. I never ban someone until they've first received a warning, and defied it. Moreover, I nearly always provide a way for them to eventually return.

Hmm, I suspect that the Chowhound crew is just too busy for that kind of due process.

Alas. The exile continues.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Smells Like Victory

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two suicide bombers struck at police trainees in the Iraqi capital Tuesday, killing at least 43 people and wounding 70 others, including an American contractor.

[The Mercury News]

Friday, December 02, 2005

The War

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A roadside bomb Thursday killed 10 Marines while they were on "foot patrol near Falluja," the Marine Corps said Friday.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

I Got Nothing This Week

Sorry, folks, very busy this week, as the whimsical Bill the Cat image makes all too clear.

More next week.