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Things I Think About A Lot

By Ben Fogler

The concept of a necktie is really far out. Who thought of that? Some guy way back when was like, “the proper gentleman should appear classy and put-together when he leaves his humble abode. He shall don a button down, blazer, dress pants, but… something is missing… It lacks pizzazz. Eureka! He shall knot a patterned rag round his neck!”

Cellular data ads were super aggressive towards each other a few years ago. Remember that kerfuffle when Sprint stole Verizon’s “can you hear me now” guy (I hate that man -- what a double-crossing piece of crap. I haven’t seen a bigger traitor since Brutus and Caesar), and then in the commercials he would go up to a family who was dangling in the air, their shirts stuck on Verizon’s checkmark, and be like, “Verizon hooked you too?” What do you mean, “hooked you too?” You weren’t hooked, Paul (his name is Paul), Verizon made you. You wouldn’t have a career without them, but the second Sprint was like, “we’ll give you a better dental plan, and you won’t have to pay twice as much for a 1% difference” you just lost your sense of loyalty. Don’t gaslight us into thinking you’re the victim -- we see right through you. It’s for that reason that I will never switch to Sprint -- I think it’s dirty what they did to Verizon, which also happens to be my network of choice.

Speaking of Verizon, it felt like everyone was ganging up on them for a while. I remember when they made a commercial with a bunch of balls going down little ramps and ending up in a circle. The balls were different colors, and the colors represented the four major networks -- Verizon (red), AT&T (blue), T-Mobile (purple), and Sprint (piss yellow). The number of balls of each color was directly proportional to the quality of the network, and since it was a Verizon ad (and also because Verizon is objectively the best), Verizon had the most balls.

Now, this ad was clearly dissing the other networks, but not any more than what they’d all been doing, so it was quite surprising to me when each of the companies took it as a personal attack. Soon after this commercial dropped, Verizon’s competition made their own with the same premise, except in their ads they were the ones with the most balls. And they’d be like, “T-Mobile presents: Nice Try Verizon,” and then flood the ramps with their own spheres. It felt quite lacking in creativity to me -- it’s the same as going, “I know what you are but what am I?” Like c’mon, if you’re gonna do a comeback, at least make it original. Don’t just copy/paste, you poser. Though I suppose it’s very indicative of the fact that all the other networks are just hopelessly trying to imitate Verizon, because Verizon is better. What can I say? Unlike Paul, I’m a loyal customer.

My sister looks a lot like Greta Thunberg. Whenever I say that out loud, people always go, “Really? What does she look like?” And I always answer, “I just said -- Greta Thunberg.”

When the War in Ukraine first broke, all the news programs were talking about it, even ones that don’t usually cover political stuff. I turned on the TV, and Access Hollywood was doing a special report on the civilian resistance in Ukraine. I’m not sure if it was a stylistic choice or if they just forgot to turn it off, but during that segment they were still playing their peppy EDM soundtrack. So while Natalie Morales was talking about the destruction of Kyiv, in the background you just heard, “bum ba doom ba doom ba doom, whoomp whoomp whoomp, untz untz untz dadadada untz untz untz” and so forth. It seemed a little insensitive to me.

Kleptomania is really wild. What an excuse for theft. I feel like it could be applied to other crimes as well -- “Why did you kill that man?” “Well, Your Honor, it was my kleptomania! I was compelled to steal his life!”

A lot of singers nowadays tend to put their song titles in all uppercase. I’d love to know the thinking behind that creative decision -- “My song will be more impactful and reach more people if I SHOUT THE TITLE!” To all the new artists out there, you know that caps lock will not mean that I actually yell the words out loud, right? I’m not gonna share your song with friends because you didn’t take your finger off the shift key.

On the topic of singers (wow, the first natural segue in this article!), Doja Cat doesn’t really sing anymore, she kind of just groans and yelps. It sounds a lot like my dog when his stomach is upset and he needs to go outside to do some diarrhea in the middle of the night. I was listening to “Need to Know” a few days ago, and half the song is just her going, “Yuh! Ooh… brr… huunh? …Yeahh! Ahh,” and the like. Even when she says words, she’s still moaning. I hope she’s not having GI problems -- her impression of my dog really is spot on -- but I’m sure she’s fine. If she wasn’t, she’d probably “Say So.”

I saw a YouTube Shorts clip (yes YouTube shorts, don’t judge) of world-famous drag queen Trixie Mattel trying life-size cakes in her likeness, and I couldn’t help but notice that she uses the same silverware as me. Isn’t that something? Trixie’s probably the most successful and well-known drag queen besides RuPaul, but she still bought her forks at Ikea. Stars, they’re just like us!

Speaking of drag (I’m on a roll with these transitions all of a sudden), I can’t help but think that a lot of crimes would make really good drag names. “Coming to the stage, Ms. Felonie Hit-N-Run!” Or how about, “Vehicula Manslotta,” or maybe for an Irish drag queen, “Contempt O’Court.” Uh, Hello! Not all crimes are great drag names though. “Failure to Pay Legal Child Support Obligations” doesn’t really roll off the tongue for some reason. “Fraudulique Extortioniste Embezzla,” though? Now that’s a serve.

It kind of pisses me off when UK News refers to us Americans as being “across the pond.” The pond? You mean THE ATLANTIC OCEAN? It’s so condescending to call it a pond. That’d be like if I referred to the entire British Commonwealth as “just a little island.”

There’s a thing that happens in period pieces a lot where a young damsel who’s disorganized and quirky but also has perfectly styled hair will rush into a man’s office unannounced and beg for a job, and she’s breaking down barriers as a woman because she’s in a male dominated field (which back then was every field), and she’s both eager to please but also independent, and also all of this is just context for the really interesting trope. Let’s do a little act out:

Damsel (ignores the secretary who tells her that she cannot go into the office without an appointment and bursts through the door): “Hello! Are you Mr. Johannes?”

Mr. Johannes (looking up at her from his seat with a bewildered but patriarchally amused stare): “You’re in the right place. And you might be…?”

Damsel: “Rebecca, Mister. Rebecca Mayella Prescott.” (she extends her hand in a handshake, which, after a moment, Mr. Johannes rises out of his seat to take)

Mr. Johannes: “And what might be your business here, Ms. Prescott?” (He turns to face the window behind him)

Rebecca (gathering herself, looking downwards to mentally prepare, then back up): “Mr. Johannes, I’d like the job. I saw your listing in The Guardian, and I want to write for you.”

*I’ll skip this extended dialogue where they tussle back and forth over whether or not she can work there -- Mr. J: “I don’t normally hire women for this sort of thing,” Rebecca: “Why shouldn’t I work here? I’m strong and independent! I wear pants! Can you tell that this script was written by a bunch of older men who are desperately pandering to feminism so that they can remain culturally relevant without including any actually meaningful dialogue about gender roles or sexism?” -- and get to the part where he finally begrudgingly takes her on, establishing himself both as his boss and love interest with this set of lines:

Mr. Johannes: “Fine! You’re hired. But don’t make me regret this.”

Rebecca: “Oh, thank you, Mr. Johannes! You won’t be disappointed!”

Mr. Johannes (a sly grin upon that old dog’s face): “I better not be. And please -- Mr. Johannes was my father’s name. Call me Ephram.”

Rebecca (blushing a little bit): “Of course, Mr. Jo-...Ephram.”

And then the rest of the movie.

Anyway, I think that’s plenty of thoughts. I gotta keep some to myself. And if I save a few, I can write a part 2, establishing a series on The Milking Cat, which will help me out a ton in the long run with branding etc. See you next time!


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