The Best of ‘Snide Remarks’: 2008

In the spirit of laziness that seizes us all this time of year, and in the spirit of tradition that also holds sway in late December, let’s take a look back at some of the chunks of “Snide Remarks” columns from 2008 that were slightly less unfunny than the other chunks.

I’d never seen anyone make a curb before. I guess I’d never thought much about it. It turns out they put the curb in before the sidewalk, which surprised me — real men right now are saying, “Well, duh” — and they do it with this vehicle that drives very slowly down the street while smoothly and steadily excreting cement in the shape of a curb. It looks like the Play-Doh Fun Factory, or like the time I had food poisoning. — “Male Pattern Badness”

[From Mike Huckabee.] The United States is a Christian nation. It always has been. All of the candidates in this election are Christians, though of course I have to put sarcastic finger quotes around the word “Christian” when I refer to Mitt Romney. Oh, I know he SAYS he’s a Christian, in the sense that he worships Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. But we true Christians know that there’s a lot more to being a Christian than merely believing Jesus is the son of God, praying in His name, and seeking to follow His teachings. Being a true Christian also means home-schooling your children, fearing science, and hating foreigners. And in those areas, my friends, Mitt Romney falls short. — “A Message from Mike Huckabee”

The Ajax Diner is locally famous, and the fare is hearty, traditional Southern grub like your momma used to make, assuming your momma was a buttery short-order cook in a diner. I got something called The Big Easy. It’s chicken-fried steak on an oversize bun, with mashed potatoes and gravy — not on the side, but on the sandwich. Pickle chips and butter beans are on it, too. It comes with fries and a defibrillator. I used to look down on Mississippi for having the highest obesity rates in the country, but not anymore. Now I nod understandingly and salivate at the thought of shoving another plateful of Ajax Diner food down my gullet. — “A Visit to Mississippi Part 2”

Utah state senator Chris Buttars is in favor of outlawing abortion. He would make exceptions for cases where the mother’s life is threatened — but only if it’s her life at stake, not merely her health. He said in 2007, “If you just consider the health of the mother, is it ‘Will she just be tired more often?’ or is it something much more serious in the ladder of health deterioration?” Because as you know, the main reason the liberal media is always encouraging women to have abortions is that they hate listening to pregnant women whine about how tired they are. No more of those hasty, tiredness-alleviating abortions under Chris Buttars’ watch! — “A Crock of Buttars”

One of the fun things about Ikea is that they give their products made-up Swedish-sounding names. So my love seat was actually called a klobo, my desk was a johan, and my bookcase was a flärke. The klobo, johan, and flärke are sturdy, well-designed pieces of furniture, and like all of your finest furniture, they come in a box and you have to put them together. That’s how it’s possible to make impulse buys at Ikea. You’re about to check out and you think, “Hey, you know, I should grab a box of bed before I go.” But I was strong and did not buy anything not on my list. Klobo, johan, flärke, that’s it. OK, and a footstool, because it was only 20 bucks, and I’d been putting my feet up on a stereo speaker. So klobo, johan, flärke, and solsta pällbo, that was it. Sure, I was tempted by the pflüng, and the poorg, and the velm, and the jarkolg, and the glaven — who doesn’t need a glaven? — but I remained steadfast. It takes more than just a handsome and stylish klarng to make me go off my budget! — “Artificially Swedened”

A group of witches is a coven. A group of gay men is a cast, a group of lesbians is a munch, and a group of drag queens is a tuck. — “Little-Known Facts”

So for better or worse, it’ll be a Chinese Olympics this year. Beijing is ready. The Chinese have been practicing their fire drills, which it turns out are quite different from what I thought, and they’ve beefed up security. (All they had before was that really long wall, which anyone with a ladder could get past.) I say we should give China the same benefit of the doubt that the world gave Salt Lake City back in 2002: We’ll give ’em a chance to prove they’re not as hilariously backwards as everyone thinks … and then we’ll get the hell out of there before they kill us all. — “The China Monologues”

Lou Dobbs is a cranky-looking man who is very angry all the time about two things: illegal immigration, and the fact that some people are not as angry about illegal immigration as he is. — “Defence Is De Answer”

Anything would be better than this never-ending primary season. The current presidential election is already annoying, and we don’t even know who the two candidates are yet. Before this year, did anyone even realize how many individual state primaries there were? OK, I guess we probably knew there were 50. But we never had to pay attention to them before! They would just happen in the background, and then the TV news people would finally tell us who the two candidates were, and then in November we would vote for whichever one belonged to the same party we did. It was simple. — “Between Barack and a Hard Place”

I refer to Thomas Beatie, famous in recent weeks as the “pregnant man” who has appeared on Oprah and numerous news programs. When I first heard there was a pregnant man, my reaction was the same as most men’s: WHERE IS THAT BABY GOING TO COME OUT OF?!! (Secondary reaction: IS HE GOING TO BREAST FEED?!!) If men can get pregnant now, that changes everything. For one thing, it means men will actually be concerned about birth control, instead of giving it two seconds of thought during eighth-grade sex-ed class and then forgetting all about it. If men can get pregnant, we’ll start seeing baby showers held at Hooters. Prenatal vitamins will be added to certain brands of beer. Taco Bell’s new slogan: “You’re eating for two, dude.” Men will get high-definition ultrasounds on wall-mounted flat-screen plasma TVs, and then change the channel after 30 seconds. To educate their unborn children, pregnant men will press their bellies up against the TV when Eli Manning is playing. — “Brovaries, Duderus, Sirvix, Vaguyna, and Fellow-pian Tubes: A Guide to Male Pregnancy”

Most people figure you don’t get to choose whether you’re a man or a woman; you are what you are. And most of us feel like if you have ovaries and Fallopian tubes and a uterus and all that paraphernalia, you’re a woman. Having facial hair and a flat chest doesn’t make you a man. If it did, half the women in Germany would be using different bathrooms. — “Brovaries, Duderus, Sirvix, Vaguyna, and Fellow-pian Tubes: A Guide to Male Pregnancy”

I love New York. This probably comes from not living there. — “YM I So Tired?”

I was considering booking a room at this discount hotel when I looked at the reviews it had gotten from other travelers. They were filled with alarm and horror. “THE FILTHIEST PLACE I’VE EVER STAYED!” “THERE WAS STILL POLICE TAPE AROUND THE BED!” “A RAT ATE MY WALLET!” “MY HOOKER DIED!” The litany of complaints against this hotel encompassed every possible aspect of the place, and it convinced me not to stay there, at least eventually. At first I thought it might be fun to stay there just for the stories I would get from it. Then I remembered that it is unwise to spend so much money for the sake of a joke, as Nicolas Cage’s hairpiece will tell you. — “YM I So Tired?”

What they say: “Gwyneth Paltrow turned heads in a Stella McCartney jumpsuit at ‘Iron Man’s’ L.A. premiere.”
What they mean: “Gwyneth Paltrow turned heads because people wondered why someone had put a jumpsuit on an ironing board.” — “A Good Sense of Rumor”

TIPS FOR REDUCING YOUR GASOLINE USAGE: Public transportation is a great way to get around, especially if you like homeless people and being late. — “Gas Pains”

“Sex and the City”: If a woman gains five pounds and develops just the merest hint of a slight “tummy” — you know, like 95 percent of all women have — then her closest, dearest friends will openly mock and laugh at her for being such a big fat pig. This includes the friend who has the body of a praying mantis and the face of a racehorse. — “I Learned It from Watching You”

All of this makes it difficult for drivers and bicyclists to co-exist. This tension has led to the rise of bicycle activism, a movement that, like most forms of activism, seems to attract primarily the strident, the humorless, and the unemployed. — “Bike Curious”

Arguing with a Wal-Mart employee is like arguing with the bookie at a cockfight: You might win the debate, but what were you doing there in the first place? — “Bike Curious”

My niece Emily, who is so adorable she makes you want to poop your pants in sheer ecstasy, is notable for the fact that she is almost always playing a pretend game. She is usually a princess or an animal of some kind, and if you wish to interact with her you will need to adopt a fantasy persona that is appropriate for her situation. (That last part is key. If she is pretending to be a mermaid, it will not be helpful for you to pretend to be a character from a Chekhov play.) Someday a therapist may diagnose this as a dangerous mental condition, but for the time being it is merely adorable. — “Uncle Morning Shift”

Would the Belgians actually sell SeaWorld to PETA? Probably not, but maybe! You never know with the Belgians! The prospect of it has put some SeaWorld employees on edge as they contemplate their job security. For example, read what Shamu wrote on his blog last week:
    Whassup homies? It’s your favorite killa whale comin’ atcha from SeaWorld, and lemme tell ya, things is TENSE up in this joint right about now. Errybody who work here be like, “Damn, PETA be takin’ over our jobs? Shoot.” If PETA be buyin’ up SeaWorld and firin’ us, what they think we gon’ do from there? File for unemployment? Ain’t like no damn orca gonna get himself a job at Old Navy. I got skillz, but those skillz is limited to the followin’: jumpin’ up outta the water, eatin’ fishes, and splashin’ fools what be sittin’ in the front rowz. PETA say they all concerned about animals. Well if they so concerned, how they gonna come take away a sea mammal’s job from him? Ain’t no way to show respect to nobody, puttin’ him out in some damn sanctuary, floatin’ around all day, bored as hell. Shoot. Sounds like PETA be watchin’ too much “Free Willy.” Them seals is probably all happy about it — damn seals be kissin’ up to whoever wave a fish at ’em — but us killa whales ain’t gonna stand for it! If I needs to, I be cashin’ in my 401(k) and moving up to Alaska! Holla! — “That’s So PETArded”

I had the same reaction to Canadian money that most Americans have, which is to giggle and offer to buy Park Place and Boardwalk with it. Canadian currency is multi-coloured and fanciful. It’s a rainbow of cash! Working in a bank must be like working in Willy Wonka’s candy factory. At the bottom of each bill it says, “Congratulations to Mrs. Jensen’s grade 3 class at Beaver Tail Elementary School in Saskatoon for coming up with the winning design!” On the front are pictures of elderly white people, as expected, while on the back are images of famous Canadian things (geese, hockey players, inferiority complexes, etc.). Then there is the matter of Canadian television, which I sampled in small bites late at night in my hotel room. Everything about Canadian television looks like it was made in the 1970s. In the 1970s, Canadian television looked like it was made in the 1950s. In the 1950s, Canadian television consisted of a still image of a moose wearing a hat. It was Canada’s most popular programme, with upwards of 10 viewers a week. When the moose died, the Canadian flag flew at half-mast at all government buildings, and the hunter who shot it was charged with treason. — “Oh, Yeah. Canada.”

Elephants having babies is a big deal in the zoo world. For one thing, while you lazy human mothers can pop out a baby in nine months, elephants work on it for 22 months. For another thing, breeding elephants in captivity is difficult. Apparently elephants are so big and hideous that even other elephants don’t like to have sex with them. But the Oregon Zoo has been quite proficient at it, with 28 baby pachyderms born there since 1962. It’s actually the most successful elephant-breeding program in the world. The only thing that comes close to the Oregon Zoo’s knack for getting enormous, baggy-skinned mammals to copulate is when Wal-Mart has a sale on lingerie. — “The Elephant in the Womb”

Rock Band is a game which allows you to spend many hours practicing a fake instrument without the burden of developing any actual musical skills. There’s a plastic guitar that has five different colored buttons on it, and whichever color appears on the screen, you press that button on your guitar, and it causes the game to play music. It is an excellent game for teaching people how to recognize different colors and press buttons that correspond to those colors. Don’t think it’s super-easy and that even a mouse in a laboratory can be taught to press a sequence of buttons in order to procure food, though! Sometimes in Rock Band you have to press the buttons really fast. — “Boys Nintendon’t Cry”

Well! There has been quite a rhubarb over this whole gay marriage thing! On the one side, you have the fags. The fags, the queers, the dykes, and the lesbos. They want the government to let them marry each other the same way people of the opposite sex marry each other, i.e., expensively, and followed by a lifetime of sexless drudgery. The homos also want to require kindergarten teachers to promote homosexuality to their students, complete with visual aids and in-class demonstrations; they want to destroy the traditional family unit and replace it with a society where everyone just walks around naked all the time, sometimes pausing in the street to do it with a stranger; they want the First Amendment rewritten to make all churches illegal except for the ones with fashionable interior design; and they want the national anthem replaced with something by Sondheim.
    On the other side, you have the religious nutjobs — the zealots, the whackos, the crusaders, the cultists. These bigots want to enforce Christianity — their particular brand of it, of course, since all the other kinds of Christianity are wicked — throughout the land, first by putting up Nativity scenes in federal courthouses, and eventually by replacing every American city’s street lights with giant crucifixes and all state constitutions with copies of Guideposts magazine. They believe that gays are second-class citizens whose deviant behavior strips them of any rights under the Constitution, and that if the gays want to get married they should all just move to an island somewhere, start their own little gay-marriage colony, and eventually kill each other with AIDS (which religious people believe is spontaneously generated, like fire, when you rub two gays together). — “The Gay Marriage Column”

Gays and Mormons should focus not on their differences but on what they have in common. They both love being persecuted and telling the world what martyrs they are, for example. They both love Disneyland. They both prefer Mitt Romney over John McCain. They’re both always well represented on “American Idol.” They’re both unwelcome in Alabama. They’re both suspicious of Catholic priests. The list goes on and on. — “The Gay Marriage Column”

EDWARD: Hi, I’m Edward. I’m every girl’s fantasy boyfriend: moody, humorless, violent, capable of snapping your spine with my bare hands, liable to do creepy things like watch you while you’re sleeping, but also really cute.
BELLA: There is something strange about you.
EDWARD: (recoils at her garlic breath) I don’t know what you mean.
BELLA: I just can’t put my finger on what it is.
EDWARD: (lifts automobile with one hand) You’re imagining things.
BELLA: I feel like you’re hiding something from me.
EDWARD: (grabs passing rabbit with lightning speed; drinks rabbit’s blood) Don’t be silly!
BELLA: It’s like you’re different somehow.
EDWARD: (turns into bat; flies away)
BELLA: Hmm. I bet he’s gay.
“My Rejected ‘Twilight’ Screenplay”