Writing
Meet the Guy Riding 10,000 Miles to Save the Lives of Veterans
Second Update, 7/31/2015: After nearly losing his life, John lost his bike. But he’s refusing to quit. Here’s his video diary explaining his adventure through the California mountains. Please support him.
Update, 7/28/2015: Those of you asking, “What’s the big deal about a 10,000-mile solo motorcycle ride?” should note that yesterday, atop a mountain with this hell road in front of him, John’s brakes died. Luckily, he didn’t. Here’s a post he wrote on the other end. “I’m in some sort of diabetic shock because I just ate a ton of Reeses pieces and I have the choco shakes and my ex girlfriend is texting me ‘OMG COME HOME NOW.'”

Original Post, 7/24/2015

22 American military veterans die by suicide every day. That’s the statistic that got John Veon onto his bike.

A vet himself, of the 82nd Airborne in the first Gulf War, John came out of the army still a kid and developed into one of the most thoughtful and earnest people I know. I met him maybe eight years ago when we were both working at Nickelodeon. In an office full of know-it-alls (myself included) John was the one guy you could pose a question to and be answered with silence, because he was genuinely thinking about what you asked. He also had tattoo sleeves and a rocket-tail goatee and, when he wasn’t between a pair of headphones pumping out sludge metal, he’d come into my office to talk about how to find satisfaction in life.

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Here Are Your Newest Reasons Never to Use Uber
photo © Adam Fagen

photo © Adam Fagen

It says plenty about Uber, our nation’s most beloved villainous corporation, that the newswire documenting its iniquitous deeds fires so frequently that I can’t report them all and instead have to compile the highlights in these occasional digest posts. If you’d like a primer on how Uber exploits its driverscheats and gouges customers, flagrantly breaks the law, and endangers public safety, you’ll find some links to my earlier rants at the bottom of the page. Meanwhile, here’s the latest on Uber’s flagitious 1A word I had to look up because I ran out of synonyms for “evil.” doings:

  • Uber knowingly deceives its customers with the map of available cars users see when launching its app. As uncovered through exceptional reporting by data researcher Alex Rosenblat and published on Motherboard, the map consistently shows cars around the potential rider that don’t actually exist. Despite presenting the screen to users as an accurate representation of drivers available to pick them up, Uber considers the map a “screen saver,” a mere “visual effect letting people know that partners are searching for fares.”

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1. A word I had to look up because I ran out of synonyms for “evil.”
The Battle of the Seths: Final Four

The Battle of the Seths: The Final FourThe round of 16 and quarterfinals of the cataclysmic Battle of the Seths have left standing the least likely clutch of Seths to emerge from the smoke and blood. Heavyweights like Seth MacFarlane and Seth Meyers have fallen to four guys you’ve never heard of, myself included.

The Seths in the semifinals, as in previous rounds, are facing off in multiple Tests of Sethness. Pick your winners, submit your bracket, then do it again for as many as the 101 Tests of Sethness as you want. The two Seths that win the most face-offs before August 3 will duel in the final for Ruler of all Sethness.

Vote as many times as you want and share the battle with friends.

Click here to vote now →

Who is a Real-Life Bond Villain?

Today, possibly motivated by the new trailer for SPECTRE, a pal of mine asked on Facebook, “What living people are closest to being actual, real life Bond villains?” Knowing my affinity for 007, he singled me out for an answer. What follows is an expanded version of the comment I left.

A couple of early responders to his question named Dick Cheney, who at first glance seems like a good bet. He’s certainly a villain, likely psychopathic, and hideously deformed. But Cheney fails the crucial test of persona: a Bond villain must either be unknown to the general public–like Dr. No, Francisco Scaramanga, or Blofeld–or must be known to the general public but no one suspects to be villainous–like Hugo Drax, Elliot Carver, or Max Zorin. 1A commenter suggested a third type, that of the person that everyone knows is a villain but no one can stop. He for that reason nominated Vladimir Putin, an interesting choice, especially since Vlad is unnervingly similar to General Orlov from Octopussy, who conceives a knotty scheme to bring glory to the Soviet Union by planting a nuke in a circus cannon, a plan which one imagines were it pitched to Putin he’d shrug and say, “Worth a try.” But I can’t think of an actual Bond enemy in the books or movies that fits that described persona. It better describes a Batman villain. Cheney’s too obviously evil to qualify.

So then who is it? →

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1. A commenter suggested a third type, that of the person that everyone knows is a villain but no one can stop. He for that reason nominated Vladimir Putin, an interesting choice, especially since Vlad is unnervingly similar to General Orlov from Octopussy, who conceives a knotty scheme to bring glory to the Soviet Union by planting a nuke in a circus cannon, a plan which one imagines were it pitched to Putin he’d shrug and say, “Worth a try.” But I can’t think of an actual Bond enemy in the books or movies that fits that described persona. It better describes a Batman villain.
The Phoneix Must Burn to Emerge

After this morning’s Emmy nominations were announced without a mention of Alex Borstein’s name, I cremated my hospital gown in a small, private ceremony. I laid the ashes to rest on Alex’s porch in a tasteful sarcophagus.

#TastefulSarcophagus

A day of silent prayer, nonetheless lifted by the nomination of Niecy Nash for outstanding supporting actress as nurse Didi Ortley in Getting On.

The Battle of the Seths: Quarterfinals

The Battle of the Seths: QuartefinalsWith over 4000 votes cast, the first round of the historic Battle of the Seths has ended. The victories include some surprising upsets, not the least of which Seth Rogen being trounced by a fictional cosmic entity.

Now we move on to the quarterfinals. As with the last round, the remaining Seths are facing off in Tests of Sethness. Pick your winners, submit your bracket, then do it again for as many as the 101 Tests of Sethness as you want. The four Seths that win the most face-offs before July 20 will move on the the semifinals.

Vote as many times as you want and share the battle with friends.

Click here to vote now →

Pick the World’s Greatest Seth

From the ages of 0-20, I only met two other Seths. Since I’ve been around the world and live in America’s two largest cities, yet I’ve only known a handful of other Seths. Yet every time I turn on a screen there’s another new celebrity Seth staring at me. The number of famous Seths shouldn’t be greater than the number of Seths I’ve ever met. There are strange otherworldly forces at work. And those otherworldly forces have proclaimed: Only one Seth shall reign supreme.

You get to pick which one.

We’re doing it tournament style. 16 of the most famous Seths 1OK fine, 15 plus me have been randomly seeded in a bracket to compete in Tests of Sethness. Pick your winners, submit your bracket, then do it again for as many as the 101 Tests of Sethness as you want. The eight Seths that win the most face-offs by midnight July 12 will move on the the quarterfinals.

Vote as many times as you want and share the battle with friends. The Era of the Seths is in your hands.

Click here to vote now →

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1. OK fine, 15 plus me